Every day as part of my daily exercise routine, I do around 40 minutes of vigorous bouncing on my gym ball. I find it difficult and painful to weight bear for any great length of time because of my disability and my damaged ankle so once I’ve done my stretches and warm up exercises, I bounce away to raise my heart rate.
Usually I’ll take that time to look out of the window, watch people walking by on their way to work or school. I’ll watch the cars driving past and note with some amusement whether someone is running rate, or whether that yellow Aygo that passes at 8.30am has been washed yet.
The scene outside my window has changed and there’s less to see. I love watching the birds nesting in the hedge opposite, the red kites wheeling in the sky above.
But now I’ve discovered “virtual running”! I used You Tube to look up virtual treadmill runs and have found a whole new world (literally!) I can run in Rome, Paris, London, Prague and even Singapore.
I’ve run a 10k in Durham – which was incredible – I really did feel as though I have been a participant as I overtook the runners ahead of me in the field and as I saw runners slowing down to a walk. The feeling as I passed the finish line may not have been quite the same as the person who was doing the filming, but I held him in awe as I realise that he’d run in one session what had taken me over two days (2 hours) of bouncing on my ball.
As well as achieving my cardiac workout, I’m enjoying my tour of the world, seeing cities filled with tourists taking in the famous landmarks and sights.
Best of all, the “runner” climbs steep flights of steps to I get to see parts of the city that I may have struggled to access from my powered wheelchair. That was certainly the case for my run around Prague where I enjoyed seeing parts of the old town that I didn’t see when we visited many years ago.
It wasn’t as cold either….. Prague in February is very, VERY cold!
Manchester tart – a dessert that was served for school dinners when I was younger. Or “pudding” as it was always know. Not actually too calorific or too difficult.
This is the second time during the Covid-19 lockdown that I’ve made pastry and it’s actually really simple (using a food processor) and much nicer.
It was bloomin’ lovely and only 212 calories for a portion. Thought I would share the recipe. The custard came out rather too runny, so I’d adjust it by either using less milk or adding more custard powder:
Manchester Tart – 212 calories per portion
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Calories per serving: 212
Plain Flour – 55g
Unsalted Butter – 33g
Salt – 1 Pinch/0.1g
Water – 3 Tbsps/45ml
Milk, Semi Skimmed – 575ml
Custard Powder, Original – 20g
Sugar, Caster – 3 Tbsps/45g
Jam, Raspberry – 3 Tbsps/45g
Desiccated Coconut – 30g
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Butter a 22cm round loose-bottomed tart tin.
Make the pastry – Place the plain flour into a large bowl, add the (chilled) diced butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Stir in a pinch of salt, then add 2 – 3 tbsp water and mix to a firm dough.
Knead the dough briefly and gently on a floured surface.
Use the sheet of pastry to line the tin. Prick the base with a fork, then lay a sheet of baking parchment on top and fill with baking beans. Bake for 20 mins. Remove the beans and baking parchment and cook for a further 5 mins. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
To make the custard, mix the custard powder and sugar with a small amount from the measured milk in a measuring jug. Place the remaining milk in a pan and heat over a medium heat. Once the milk is fairly warm, add the custard powder mixture and continue to cook, stirring constantly until smooth and thick, around 5-10 mins. Leave to cool and cover with cling film to stop a skin forming.
Once the base and custard have cooled, spread the jam over the pastry and sprinkle with half the coconut. Pour in the custard, then sprinkle with the remaining coconut and chill.
Quite impressed with the flavour, texture and taste of this “pretend” hoisin duck and will definitely have it again! Far less calories per 75g portion (159 calories) than shredded duck would usually be.
Linda McCartney Vegetarian Duck, Shredded, Hoisin, Frozen – 2 Servings/150g
Brown Onions -50g
Mange Tout – 50g
Carrots, Peeled -1 Carrot/75g
Hoisin Stir Fry Sauce -1 Packs/139.545g
Wholewheat Noodles, Blue Dragon – 2 Servings/100g
Chestnut Mushrooms -½ Pack/125g
Olive Oil – 2 Tsps/10ml
Red Peppers – 0.33 Med/52.8g
Peas, Frozen – 100g
Put the noodles on to cook as per packet instructions.
Peel and slice the onion. Se-seed and cut the pepper into strips. Peel the carrot and chop into matchstick sized pieces. Wipe and cut the mushrooms into chunks. Defrost the frozen peas.
Place the oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the onions carrot, pepper and stir over the heat until softened. Add the mange touts, mushrooms and the vegetarian duck. Stir for a further 5 minutes. Add the stir-fry sauce and 100ml of water and continue to cook for 10 minutes, lowering the heat.
Drain the noodles, mix in with the stir fry mixture and serve.