This weekend, we’re the support crew for a bunch of friends who are tackling the Three Peaks Challenge. They are walking to raise money for The National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society and my hero and I want to do everything we can to make their challenge that bit, well, less challenging.
Though I’ll share some of the driving, my skills are more suited to the nutrition side, so for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been putting 200kcal goody bags together. Rather surprising to see how many (few) wine gums or M&Ms there are to the bag when compared with, say, dried apricots. But I’m not sure that overloading them with fibre is altogether a good idea – how many loos are there on Ben Nevis?
As well as the pocket snacks, we’ll need some things to nibble in the minibus. Having tried the ginger slices out a couple of weeks ago, I made more of them, using GF flour so that we can all enjoy them. I also made Martha Stewart’s Zucchini and Orange cake, which is OK… but not quite in the same league! Never mind, there’s always the good old favourite Rice Krispie bars. Is there anyone who doesn’t like those?
The Zucchini and Orange cake results in one of those strange kitchen phenomena: the half bald orange, which lurks around the kitchen for several days before someone gets tired of moving it around and throws it in the bin. Why don’t we cut it in half and squeeze it right away? Who knows?
The hot food presents a slightly different challenge for me. I’ve got three sets of large ziplock bags in the freezer with hearty one-pot casserole-type food to have ready for their return from each mountain, but thinking they will want to get right on with the ascent as soon as we arrive, I’ve been thinking of more ready-to-go meals for them as well. Enter Hugh.
I recalled having watched a programme where he made his own “pot noodles” and googled to find the recipes. Though they looked a great idea, we had no pots to put them in and, thinking about it, would I expect our friends to carry and then return bulky plastic tubs? After a bit of thought, I had a go with making them in the stronger, heavier freezer-type Ziplock bags and bingo! Worked really well! So, tonight, we’ll pack the dry ingredients into the bags and when they’re ready to go, they’ll be able to pour a cup of hot water into the bag and voila. Five minutes later, a hot and tasty snack ready to go. Not only that, but they might decide to stuff it in their pocket and eat it a little later. Yes, those bags really are water-tight ;-)
So, there was just one last meal to prepare – a ribollita soup a la River Cafe. Loads of chopping – so how handy was it to have Ben on hand to whizz through those veggies in no time? Well, how great is it to have a guest who brings his own kitchen knives with him?!
So, I think we’re just about there. With bags of muesli and pasta (and smaller bags of GF muesli and GF pasta!) there in the box, I haven’t actually gone to the bother of working out if we have the recommended 8000 calories per walker in there but am pretty confident that we’ll be ok.
The Support Crew challenge will be to resist joining in the feast.