I haven’t exercised since last year. Not entirely my fault. I like to go to swim squads at my local pool but towards the end of last year they closed the facility for renovations. Then came the school holidays but they don’t run the program at that time so I had another forced absence. But, a few weeks ago it was back to business.
And a few weeks ago I was highly motivated and I put my swimsuit on and grabbed my swimming bag only to find my goggles were missing. As every swimmer will tell you, your very own goggles are as precious as diamonds and they do not sit in a community basket for anyone to use. I had a bit of a tantrum and accused every member of the family of taking them.
They all denied it. Hardly surprising. Especially as this morning I found them and they were exactly where I last left them.
I headed off to the pool but I was a bit nervous because I knew, having done NOTHING for months, it would be a punishing 60 minutes. But, I had a strategy. I would hide down the back of the pack and just cruise along at a snail’s pace and let all of the coach’s energy and focus be on the keen-beans up the front.
But there was no where to hide because there weren’t any keen-beans. I stood on the pool deck and looked all around and it was just me and the coach. Nobody else turned up. What were the odds? And he said, ‘Jump in and give me 500’, before I even had time to mention my sliding level of fitness.
After the first 500 metres there was more and more and more. He had the stop-watch out, he had my name on the white-board and he was writing my times beside my name. Every time I reached the end of the pool he said, ‘Go again, head down, streamline off the wall, don’t stop, GO’.
I was puce when I dragged my body out of the pool.
And the coach said, ‘Thanks for coming, Charlie, it was a slow set but a good set’.
‘Slow set’? He can’t be serious.
I’m going to need a meal high in protein. Fortunately, I have a kilo of organic chicken thigh fillets in the fridge so I’m making Penang Chicken Curry. I would normally make my own curry paste but as I can barely lift my arms, I’m taking a few shortcuts.
Penang Chicken Curry
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: Not too expensive if you use vegetables in season and buy your chicken on special like I did.
- 2 cups coconut cream
- 3 tbspns red curry paste
- 2 tbspns fish sauce
- 2 tbspns palm sugar (or brown sugar if you can’t find palm)
- 1kg chicken thigh fillets trimmed and sliced
- 2 large red chillies, halved and de-seeded
- 6 kaffir lime leaves
- 200g sliced green beans
- 1 small tin of bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup roasted, crushed peanuts
- 1 bunch of Thai basil, leaves only
- 1/2 cup seedless red grapes, halved
Skim off half a cup of coconut cream and boil in wok until starting to separate.
Add the red curry paste and fry for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add fish sauce and palm sugar and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Add remaining coconut cream and chicken thighs and simmer until chicken is cooked, about 15 minutes
Add chillies, lime leaves, green beans and bamboo shoots and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Stir through basil and grapes.
Serve with steamed Jasmine rice.
This recipe has been adapted from Travels with Thai Food
And no, Carl didn’t forget Valentine’s Day. He came up with the goods. Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. I will drink to your health!
Have you ever ended up nearly dead after a work-out?