Monday, September 18

chilling at the club fields

As Glynn mentions on his blog the winter snowboarding and ski season is almost sadly over. Finally - after managing to survive (just) the infamous nutcrackers at Craigieburn and Patrick whispering "death,... death,..." in the car on the way up the mountain - I am now starting to link my turns on the board.

You North Island folk need to come down here next year for some of this snow action - the club fields are great. Spent a weekend at Mt Dobson which I really enjoyed. Also a favourite would have to be Porter Heights - good intermediate slopes and decent sized learners. Found Cheeseman and Craigieburn each to have their own challenges for me - mainly a bit too steep for me yet. Still enjoyed the experience of those fields though, especially the day lodges and views.

A bunch of us - Glynn, Myra, Graham, Patrick, Dave and Heidi - stayed at Bealey Hotel on the road to Arthur's Pass one weekend. After dinner at the pub we had a lazy evening in our lodge drinking whiskey and eating chocolate cake - yum! Woke up to spectacular views and drove through some great southern scenery to get to the snow.

Yesterday fell off the t-bar at Mt Cheeseman, and started hooning down the tow slope at speed towards a giant pylon. Gathered more speed, missed the pylon but took out two wee boys also going up on the t-bar behind me. Without being too dramatic - I thought I was going to die, and let out a bit of a scream that sent the lift supervisor rushing to his emergency stop button. It was really icy, and obviously... quite embarrassing. The two wee boys came to see if I was okay. That's the spirit of the club fields for you. Made my way up the lift later on but the mountain was pretty crusty and icy yesterday (aka gnarly) and didn't really thaw into the soft spring slush I needed to practice all my turns and involuntary landings.

All in all though learning to board has been a relatively injury free experience and I'm feeling pretty chuffed that I've managed to get a few good runs under my belt ready for next winter. A big thank you to all those who tutored and buddied me on their chill pass.

Definitely the best thing about the season has been getting away on weekends with great people and having loads of fun.

Wednesday, September 13

chocolate is one of my favourite things

If you love chocolate too then I have two great recipes to recommend that I enjoy baking. A super easy chocolate cake that can be literally thrown together in minutes, and a chocolate muffin recipe that contains big chunks of real chocolate making them a great energy booster if you're out sailing or climbing - yum!

Chocolate cake

This chocolate cake is one of the easiest and yummiest cake recipes ever. It's made using vegetable oil so there's no creaming of butter and sugar required. It lasts for ages retaining its moist and fudgy texture for days after baking.

2 C flour
1 ¾ C sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¾ C cocoa
¾ C canola or vegetable oil
1 ¼ C water

Beat all the above ingredients together and then add:

3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Place in oven at 180 degrees celcius for 35 mins or until the top of the cake bounces back to the touch.

Chocolate Icing

100g butter
65g energy (dark) chocolate - chunky bar size
1 -2 C of icing sugar

Soften butter and chocolate in microwave on low until they can be stirred together (do not melt the butter). Add icing sugar ½ C at a time until it reaches the right consistency for spreading on the cooled chocolate cake.

Chocolate muffins

1 egg
½ C milk
1 C yogurt – I use plain natural unsweetened yogurt
½ C melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

3 tsp baking powder
1/3 C white sugar
2/3 C brown sugar
2 C flour
2 C chocolate crushed – I just bash up an entire bar of king sized energy (dark) chocolate into good bite sized pieces

Put the first five ingredients into a bowl and mix together, then add remaining ingredients and blend until just mixed. Fill muffin tin and bake at 180 degrees celcius for 15-20 mins or until the muffins spring back to the touch.