It’s early, very early on an ice-cold morning. Temperatures are just above freezing. My legs are aching, my throat is rasping and my lungs are burning from the effort as I grind out another few meters. I stand out of the saddle. Press left, press right. The wind cuts across the road and freezes my hands to the bars.
I am on a training cycle in the Wicklow Mountains. I pass a gateway. “Windleigh” the house name. Nonsense, I am buffeted from left to right. I grind on. Another house, “Hillcrest”. Balderdash! The crest is supposed to be at the top. I focus my energy on my thighs. Press, lift. Press, lift. Not far to go and I can breathe easier. I pass “Holltop House” also flattering to deceive the weary cyclist. The house names anger me and set the adrenalin rushing.
This gives me the energy to push out the remaining hard yards. Onwards and upwards. Up to what feels like the top of the world. Up where there is nothing but mountain bog, sky and the occasional Wicklow sheep, eyeing me sideways as they chew the luscious grass. Up top, things flatten out and I enjoy the ride, the scenery and prospect of one big, big tasty dinner.
One of the upsides of the big bike rides in the mountains is the calorie burn. A few hours and I can leave between 2,500 and 3,000 calories behind me. That means that I have free reign to cook and eat anything and everything I like. And today, I like Sole Meunière with Baby New Potatoes and Green Beans.
The first thing I have to do is to clarify some butter. I show the pictures just to prove that I did it. Stefan posted about how to do it over on his blog here.
One side benefit of clarifying the butter is the buttery aroma that fills the house. It does not help quell the raging appetite.
Thankfully, there is plenty of butter for other dishes as well.
Now, back to the sole. I got two big lemon sole for this dish. One between the Wife and my Mum. One for me. This is a very simple dish to cook.
- 2 big lemon sole
- A big serving of green beans
- A lemon
- A big bunch of parsley
- Lots of potatoes
- Clarified butter
- Flour, salt and pepper
First thing to do is get the potatoes on to steam. Next, trim the beans. Then get them steaming. I have a steaming appetite to satisfy, so no hanging around.
Then chop the parsley.
Then dust the fish in seasoned flour and fry it in the clarified butter.
Remove the fish and turn down the heat. Add the parsley and give it a stir in the remaining butter.
Stir in the lemon juice, spoon this over the fish and serve.
I am a small chap, weighing in at around 75 kilos (165 lbs) but the mountain cycling gives one an incredible appetite. If you want to eat without guilt, get on your bike.
Now after all that, I might have to go up the mountains again to burn it off. Happy eating and happy cycling!
Note: I am doing this training in advance of May 4th 2013 when I am participating in Cycle4Life. I intend covering the 143k course for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it is one of my goals for the year. Secondly, we are raising funds for specific works at Dublin’s Temple Street Children’s Hospital. Thirdly, well, there is no thirdly apart from the fact that I have got to love cycling in the past two years. It’s great to be able to do something that one loves while doing a bit of good.