The home crowd are waiting expectantly for their Hero to enter the stadium to claim a momentous and historical victory, reaffirming national pride in a small Nordic nation's sporting success. Finally the racers come around the corner in the classic ski tuck position.
The stadium is eerily quiet. The champion is not in front. He is in 3rd place. Amazingly the Finnish number 2 skier is in the lead but his lead is being eroded far too quickly by, unbelievably, the Brit.
The stadium is mesmerised as the drama unfolds. Inexorably the Brit is overhauling the leader. Suddenly the Finnish number 2 and race leader catches an edge and wipes out right in front of the Brit, denying him an unlikely victory and the Finnish champion skis into the history books.
That was the scene for me on the final shush last Sunday after 22km. I was into the last 200m, tired and straining to finish when the skier in front decided to commit suicide by throwing herself in front of a speeding Brit!! Somehow I managed to stand up at high speed and step around her and claim that famous victory the Finnish champion behind me didn't deserve!!!
Skiing 22km was quite a milestone for me. When I started training in the new year I could barely manage 1.8km without needing to stop and recover and now I can manage 22km without stopping. Hopefully this means the actual race (32km) should be fun. In any case I can always construct elaborate fantasies of sporting glory to keep me going.
Once I had got home and cleaned up to the point that the Boss would consent to be in the same room as me I was straight into the kitchen. Here are a couple of meals we have cooked this week.
All quantities are for 2 with leftovers.
Pork, chorizo stew with potato and carrot mash
Half an onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
200g stewing pork
2 carrots chopped
1 400g tin of tomatoes
A good handful of pearl barley
Thyme, oregano and sage
Heat the oven to 180C
In a casserole pan add some olive oil and warm through
Gently fry the onions and garlic
Add the pork and chorizo and continue to fry
Add the carrots & broccoli
Add the tomatoes, water and vermouth
Add the pearl barley
Season with the herbs, salt and pepper
Cook in the oven for 2hrs plus
Serve with mashed potatoes and mashed carrots that you mixed together with a big knob of butter
Lemon chili chicken with noodles and oriental cucumber dressing
2 chicken breasts sliced
1 small piece of ginger roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Handful of beansprouts
1/3 of a normal sized cucumber grated
1 large piece of ginger really finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 handful of freshly chopped coriander
In a frying pan heat some vegetable oil and gently fry the chili and ginger
Add the chicken and bean sprouts
Pour over the lemon juice
Cook for 5 minutes
Meanwhile cook the noodles in boiling water and drain when cooked.
To assemble the dressing mix all the ingredients in a bowl, you can be pretty cavalier in terms of how much cucumber and coriander you add but you need to keep the ginger, garlic and soy sauce in balance. Finally less is more with the sesame oil.
Noodles onto the plate first, then the chicken and finally the dressing.
I have to acknowledge my debt to some strange cooking programme the Boss has found on one of our local TV channels. The basic premise is a bunch of South Africans drive around the countries of southern Africa cooking but more often drinking. The main presenter can clearly cook in all sorts of places, vehicles and contraptions that do not resemble kitchens and furthermore he appears to be able to do so in many varied states of inebriation. However I personally don't like his style. However he was on a boat and he made a version of the dressing I set out above. I remember nothing about it except a proportion of the ingredients. So I just riffed on it.
In other news I went to the supermarket this evening and my card was refused at the checkout. I paid with the credit card and went down to the car park only to discover that the car wouldn't start. My professional opionion is that the car is dead . Consequently I want a new one. C you need to call me when you read this and sell me a car!!!
This week we have the Pub Quiz on Wednesday night, I'm working late on Thursday so will miss the movie which is Tom Cruise's Valykerie which I have to be honest should maybe described as a lucky escape and then Friday we are off (downhill) skiing in Tahko with friends for the weekend. Should be fun.