by Lyndal McKenzie (superstar guest blogger)
I had a nap today. I’m not normally a napper, but I needed a nap.
We headed off for a bit of a walk this morning. A short hike. It had rained all night so the trails were likely to be slippery and inaccessible. So I thought we might be gone for an hour or so.
But the trails were just perfect.
We wandered along one. Then another one. Then – oh look! There’s another one! We played at waterfalls and climbed through a canyon. We marched our way up steep single trail and jogged down cruisey fire trails. We got rained on a little, but it was refreshing, not cold. Was really good of Richelle to organise the weather the way she did – well done Richelle!
So anyway, three and a bit hours later, we were back in this more-than-a-little-bit-luxurious house, and I was in that happily worn out state, that saw me waking up sometime later from an accidental nap on the couch.
There are nine of us here. Each with a different connection to the Ultra Life, but all with the shared interest of getting outdoors, away from the hassles of the working world and just having a fun, laid back time. Everyone is getting along like a house on fire and swapping stories about our everyday lives. Some are pretty standard (where do you work), some are really interesting (what wonderful places have your hiking boots seen?) and some too funny to do justice in print (frisky animals at the zoo and an unfortunate incident with Giraffe….fluids….?).
The stories started as we all rolled in last night and sat down to a delicious home cooked risotto and a glass or two of wine. The stories picked up where they left off when we sat down again this morning to some more home cooked goodness, layered apple porridge. The food Richelle is serving up is just divine and I can’t wait for the desert I can smell her preparing for tonight! We’ve got a surprise activity in store for us tomorrow morning, so I intend to fuel up in preparation, just in case!
The desert was even better than it smelled! I licked my bowl. Far too good to waste a scrap, homemade toblerone mousse is definitely on my favourites list.
Last night involved yet another amazing meal, this time a Mexican feast. There was a spontaneous show of couples fashion (ladies mix’n’match), followed by a soak in the hot tub, the delicious mousse, then some down time with a Mount Everest documentary and a couple more drinks. In the afternoon, some of the girls had taken off for a run, one out for a ride and some for another walk. The rest of us, happy with our day’s adventure, chilled out in the luxurious house, sniffing the mousse as it was prepared.
We woke up this morning, buzzing with excitement for the surprise activity and itching to head out on the next adventure we’d each chosen for our last day of the girls’ weekend. We sat down together for a breakfast of savoury quiches – filling and tasty, which was lucky, because by this stage, there were expectations!
As we strolled on down to the beach, we encountered our first kangaroo. Not out on the trails, in the forest where you’d expect, but hopping through a car park, then very all very civilised up the footpath in a residential street. Straight towards us. He was a big fella and I wasn’t so sure how I felt about one of the girls, who will remain nameless (though it starts with St and end with acey), hiding behind me…..but luckily he wasn’t interested in us and hopped off through the back of a block of units and disappeared into, well, suburbia somewhere.
So on we continued, down to meet Richelle on the beach for our surprise – flying kites! It’s been a mighty long time since I flew a kite, but I tell you what – it was a lot of fun! There wasn’t much wind about, so we had to run a bit more to keep them up in the air. It was fantastic! The faster you ran the higher it flew and the more spectacular when it came crashing to the ground!
Saying our first goodbye, we split up next, one heading home, the rest heading off for our selected adventures. Most chose to go on hikes again, fanning out through the forest in different directions. Some even chose to visit the local posh tea shop. I chose to run today, taking off along the beach front then cutting up into the trees and along some of the many wonderful trails in Lorne. I had studied the map and figured I could wing my way through. Mostly I was right, one wrong turn added a 20 minute, particularly steep loop to my journey, but hey, it was all part of the adventure. I bounded my way through the beautiful landscape, pausing occasionally to take in the spectacular views, with the biggest grin you ever saw – if you were a bird that is, because I didn’t see another single person. It was heaven.
It occurred to me about half way through I’d taken no water, no phone and no map…..but once again, it was all part of the adventure, right?! I trotted up the road (then wheezed up the steepest driveway in the history of driveways) in perfect time for a massive spread of all the weekend’s leftovers. Oh, it was so rewarding. I ate with glee – 9km on the trails will do that to a girl!
And yes, there was left over mousse.....
Thanks Lyndal for such an amazing blog. I cant believe its your first ever blog, theres some untapped talent there!
Thanks also to all the girls who made the weekend so awesome, I wouldnt change a thing!
Check out the photos of the weekend.
by Richelle Olsen
So the Lorne Outdoor Retreat Weekend (for the girls) was all about getting outdoors, hiking, trail running, mountain biking and kite flying right?? Well not entirely.....
There was also a ton of hot-tubbing, adventure DVD-ing, posh tea shop visiting, drinking and, last but not least, eating! Ill let Lyndal tell you all about it in her role as guest blogger in the next week or so, but in the meantime, let me tell you a little about the food!
Food and cooking has always been a passion of mine. In fact my dream house is mostly made up of one massive kitchen! So when I began organising the Outdoor Retreat Weekends, I wanted to make the food a significant part of it. But I had the dilemma that I wanted to share in the adventures of the weekend, rather than be chained to the kitchen while everyone else has all the fun.
The solution - Mr Slow Cooker! With a little preparation I was able to create most meals for the 9 women on the weekend in my trusty slow cooker. And if the lack of leftovers was anything to go by, they were all a roaring success.
So based on many requests from the girls on the weekend, I thought Id share some of the recipes.....and in doing so, you will quickly realise I'm no chef, I just know how to Slow Cook! Enjoy!!!
Oven baked chicken risotto, with roasted pumpkin, leek, semi-dried tomato and basil (gluten free).
1/2 (about 800g) butternut pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, cut into 2cm pieces
2 tbs olive oil
1 leek, pale section only, washed, dried, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 (about 500g) single chicken breast fillets, coarsely chopped
330g (1 1/2 cups) arborio rice
1L (4 cups) Gravox Real Chicken Stock
1/2 cup finely shredded fresh basil
70g (1 cup) shredded parmesan
Finely shredded fresh basil, extra, to serve
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Arrange the pumpkin on the tray and drizzle with half the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake in oven, on the top shelf, for 20 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, heat half the remaining oil in a flameproof ovenproof dish over medium heat. Add the leek and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until browned slightly. Add the rice and stir to combine. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
Add the pumpkin and the semi dried tomatoes to the rice, Cover the dish and place in oven and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the rice is tender. Remove the risotto from the oven. Add the basil, and ¾ cup of the parmesan to the risotto, and stir to combine. Divide among serving plates and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and extra basil. Serve immediately.
Slow Cooker Apple Layer Porridge
This is such a quick and simple way to prepare a yummy breaky the night before. It seriously takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and you wake up to the aroma of freshly stewed apples..mmmm....
Many thanks to Pintrest for this recipe!
2-3 apples, roughly chopped (skin on is fine)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp brown sugar (to taste)
1 cup rolled oats (use regular oats, not quick oats)
2 cups water
Throw apples in bottom of slow cooker.
Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the apples
Pour the oats evenly over the apples (do NOT stir)
Pour the water evenly over the porridge, again do NOT stir
Cook in slow cooker on LOW for approx. 8hrs. Serve hot first thing in the morning!
Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken (for tacos)
Theres a pattern here - this one take no time to prepare either! It takes about 5 mins to open packets and pour them into the slow cooker!
Many thanks to Bindy for this recipe!
2-3 chicken breasts
2 x 300g jar salsa (or the equivalent homemade salsa) – you could also replace 1 jar with 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
1 sachet taco seasoning
1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, drained
1 x 200g tin corn kernels
½ bunch fresh coriander
Place the chicken breasts in the base of your slow cooker. Pour salsa and taco seasoning over the chicken, and stir until seasoning combined. Make sure that the chicken breasts are covered bottom and top by the salsa. If your breasts are thick, you may need to use a rolling pin or a mallet to flatten them slightly so they are covered
Cook in slow cooker on low for approx. 8hrs.
15 mins before serving, using a fork, shred the chicken, it should easily fall apart. Then add the kidney beans, corn, coriander and continue cooking on Low for 15 mins.
Serve with tortillas, guacamole, sour cream and fresh greens
Mini Breakfast Egg Muffins (gluten free)
These little guys are great for baking a batch of, then reheating for the next couple of mornings. Great for those wishing to avoid carbs of a morning, or seeking a high protein snack. You can put anything at all you like in them, they are that flexible, but heres what I used on the weekend
Lightly grease 12 muffin tray
10 medium eggs
salt/pepper to taste
Few shakes of mixed herbs
100g cooked bacon bits
4 button mushrooms, chopped and cooked
50g chopped semi-dried tomatoes
12 olives, chopped
50g grated cheese
Beat eggs together with salt and pepper and mixed herbs and put aside
Distribute all other ingredients (except cheese) evenly through muffin pan.
Pour even amount of egg mixture into each pan, to cover all other ingredients. Do not overfill, as these will raise slightly.
Sprinkle cheese on top of each muffin
Place in oven at 180 degrees for 10-15 mins, until cooked. They are cooked if you cant see any runny egg. Do not overcook, as they will become rubbery.
Shane's an ultra runner and La Sportiva Ambassador, with a taste for adventure, always up for a new and different challenge.