A few months ago, i decided that this blog would concentrate on cycling related activities, rather than my opinions and thoughts on what is going on in the world, food, books or anything else really. The only problem with that is that at the moment i am doing precious little riding of note, and a lot of other stuff. To be fair, not much of that is interesting to anyone but me and mine - so i aint going to clog up the interweb with lots of 'Dear diary' type posts. However, there have been some things recently that i think are worth sharing.
1) G Funk savalas and myself have been busily working on our chili con carne recipes recently. Such a simple meal, but it benefits from refinement and repeated experimentation with ingredients. Really a stew of meat and chilies, it seems so simple, but initial appearances can be deceptive. Most recently i have been messing around with green chili/oregano based mixes. Last night's version makes me think i'm pretty close. 'Scuse the crappy phone pic, but here is a run down of the way to make it. Changes will include swapping bacon for lardons, and perhaps the mince to pulled pork loin or something, ideally from the bbq. It also needs a shed load more heat. Adding pickled chilies after is ok, as is green chili sauce, but it doesnt really cut it. Ideally i would be using Poblanos from the broiler but getting hold of fresh poblanos in the uk is almost impossible....so, for what its worth, here you go:
Fry chopped bacon in olive oil in a thick, deep bottomed pot. Remove bacon once it is crispy. Add chopped onions 2 good size or 3 small spanish/yellow. Add 7 finely chopped cloves of garlic. fry until the onion is soft. Add the pork mince - 500g or so. colour the meat. Next comes 500ml of chicken stock. Use good stuff, not a cube. Add a tin of mooshed green chilies. While this was going on, you had chopped the flesh from 3 green peppers, and stuck them in a frying pan under a VERY hot grill to blacken the skin. Run around as the smoke alarm goes off, then put a lid or a cover on the pan (once you burn your hand removing it from under the grill) and allow the steam to lift the skins, which you then peal off, before chopping the flesh and add this to the stew, along with a tablespoon (really) of dried oregano. Add the bacon back and cook on a very low heat for at least 30 minutes. Boil up some rice and serve with soured cream, some grated (mature) cheese and pickled jalapenos and green chili sauce.
Course, if you're going to have this, you're going to want a good beer with it...if it was me, i'd go with something hoppy and strong...like Odell's IPA.
2) Read a book. The Cordillera is a journal of writing inspired by the tour divide. This year, proceeds are going to a fund for the daughter of a racer who died while riding the course last year. The proceeds are being matched by a charitable donation from a benefactor. As good a reason to buy this book as ever. You know what to do: order it here.
3) G funk has been on a roll recently, and sent me Travels with Charley. Mind blowing: thanks, G. You *must* read this book. That is all.
4) Going back to food again, Daisy has been ramping up the food intake pretty solidly now for a couple of weeks Croissant, red peppers, Bread sticks, porridge, cream cheese, you name it....its all going down the hatch without a scratch...Awesome!
5) I did manage to squeeze in a ride yesterday - probably the first time i have seen Hamish and Dave chops options in about a month, maybe more. The trails are wet beyond belief: Hamish mentioned that the jet stream is playing up which is the reason that north ireland and west scotland are getting a deluge, while the rest of the UK basks in sunshine. Dammit. Anyways, Hamish had some home made energy bar with him, which he picked up off the Hungry Cyclist. The website is well worth a read - thanks go to Hamish for the gustatory heads up.
6) I have been considering Centre of Gravity recently. Most of my recent off road bikes have been 29ers with relatively large bb drop - giving a relatively low bb height, and thus a pretty low C of G. They are wicked good in the turns and flow, but recently i have started to wonder what would happen if the C of G were a little higher? Not Beast of the East high, but maybe 1cm or a little more. Good for slower, more trials-y riding? rocks and fallen trees and slow muddy conditions? I cant remember what first made me start chewing this over, but the recent article about Geoff Apps in the latest (and most excellent) issue of Privateer magazine certainly made me go into full on ponder mode. Fortunately, most of the recent bikes have EBB's that were designed to run in the 'low' positions. Its a pretty simple matter to decrease the bb drop and see how we go...more on this in future...course there are limits:
I need a bacon roll....