Winter has been a cold wet bitch tese past few months, with few opportunities to do any real cycling, and as a result, sandwich-ing. That being said, school is now over, spring is here and the weather is slowly perking up. All of this will hopefully result in much riding as well as eating and consequently, blogging and possibly tweeting (gasp!).
Having the pleasure of working a typical ‘9-to-5’ job has it’s ups and downs, sure you get money, but then there are expenses that must be addressed during the daily grind, like lunch for example.
Having now done this work thing for some time, I have grown a little tired of constantly eating out, as usually it involves choosing something that has the nutritional value of a pint of lard. In an effort to avoid poor judgement and eventual heart failure, there are days when I opt to drop by the supermarket at lunch and knock up something a little fresher and healthier than the average burger joint/takeaway.
What you need:
– lean turkey/chicken breast (bout 2 – 3 slices depending on bread to breast size ratio)
– 1 slice of wholeneal bread (preferably toasted)
– 1 tomato
– 1 cucumber
– 1 teaspoon of dijonaise (can be light if you are super diet conscious)
– cracked pepper
Steps for this one are dead simple:
– start by toasting the bread (if not already toasted)
– cut the tomato into thick slices
– cut the cucumber diagnally, again be generous and cut thick slices
– layer onto bread as follows:
— turkey breast
— tomato slices
— cucumber slices
– finish it all off with a bit of salt and pepper and enjoy whilst those around you marvel at your brilliance and healthy eating style (I don’t k ow how but this simple one gets heaps of attention, must be the crunch)
Oh yer! Thats how we roll down south! Given that it’s winter in Australia and the Melbourne weather has just recently been wet, cold and miserable, the conditions were perfect for a cross race. For this leg, the Brunswick velodrome (and its surrounding parkland) was turned into an ad-hoc cross course.
It was my first ever cross race, so I didn’t really know what to expect, but it’s cool, there was something for every man and his dog:
OOh that was poor but I had to get the little guy some exposure given that it was freezing and he was brilliantly obedient (not to mention interested in the race). In any case, the day started with an ‘Open’ race which attracted a wide variety of bikes. The star here was no. 4 though, riding a BMX:
And then there was this dude, riding fixed, brakeless, and with the most ridiculously tight tire clearance I have ever seen in my life (apparently he spent the previous night shaving the tread off of his knobby tyres), and he still managed to come second if I remember correctly:
The open was great fun, but then the CX began:
The race continued on and about half way through, the field started thinning out somewhat. There were a couple of DNF’s due to punctures (I think one of em was the dude with the dog pictured above) and a few small spills. Honourable mention goes to these two guys for pretty much racing each other a few laps in, and for the (poorly photographed) Boonen-esque victory pose during an impromptu sprint:
Which, to quote the MC, ended in tears (but not mine) only a few meters later when using muddy cross tyres on a velodrome proved to be more difficult than riding with no hands:
All in all, a great day of racing with (thankfully for the guys and girls racing) no major injuries. Bring on Round 2!
Towards the end of last year, i had the good fortune to participate in a try out session on the Joe Ciavola velodrome at D.I.S.C in Melbourne. So awesome was the experience, that I decided I needed to take up track, which meant I needed a dedicated bike. Unfortunately for me, a dedicated bike required me to have some money, and more importantly, time (which was of short supply at the time).
Flash forward to the present, and coincidentally, end of financial year sales. A few weeks ago, uni for me had finally finished, and to celebrate my liberation from what seems like a lifetime in academia, I decided to treat myself to a new bike. The original plan was to get my hands on a cannondale six, but whilst shopping around, I had what seemed at the time to be an epiphany (turns out it was just a rush of blood to my brain after drinking my 6th coffee for the evening) and decided that I must buy a dedicated track bike instead.
After much time spent walking around and wasting many a sales assistants time, I finally stumbled onto the bike I was looking for, a 2009 fuji track comp:
Thus far, the only real action it has seen has been spinning around my neighbourhood, getting used to riding fixed, and trying not to run into something, like a car or truck. I am happy to report that it’s twitchy, aggressive and hella fast! As well as completely crap to ride on the street for long periods of time.
BUT Thats not what it’s for! So it doesn’t really matter. My only concern now is the weather, as soon as it decides to stop raining EVERY damn weekend, I intend to hit up the outdoor track in Brunswick and give it a proper spin!
Oh yer, and I have some spankin’ new Keo 2 Max pedals on there, initial impressions have left me smitten, so much so that I wanna pick up another pair for the roadie and relegate my Keo Sprints to the spin bike.
A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I would be making some themed sandwiches. This is still on the cards, and coming up (hopefully this weekend) will be a homage to the Giro. In the meantime, however I have decided to make a tribute sandwich to the current World Champion: Cadel Evans.
So to keep things interesting I decided to focus on the MOST Australian thing I could possibly come up with as the centre of the sandwich. With this in mind, the answer was clear, what could be more Australian than Kangaroo?
Ok, so normally a sandwich won’t take you more than a few minutes to put together, this time around though, its a bit different. Prep for this will take roughly 15 – 20 minutes thanks to the roo meat, so planning ahead is a good idea. Now, without further ado:
– Kangaroo Fillet (1 per sandwich)
– Tarragon (Be liberal)
– Thyme (2 Sprigs)
– Bowl of Olive Oil (Explained in a little bit)
– 1 Tomato
– Beetroot Chutney
– 1/4 of an Onion
– Turkish Bread
- Ok, so I mentioned before that the prep will take about 15 – 20 minutes, and that you are going to need a bowl of oil. Basically, because roo meat is so lean, it’s a good idea to soak in oil, some recommend no more than 15 mins, some recommend 30+ minutes. Personally, go for 15 – 20 based on the thickness and size of the cut of meat you have. Submerge the meat in the bowl of oil, and get to prepping the other ingredients.
- Take the 1/4 of onion, and chop into thick chunks
- Take the tomato and slice it. Once sliced, take the slices and cut them in half (so you get some semi-circles going)
- Prepare the tarragon and thyme leaves, and scatter them onto a plate.
- Cut the turkish bread in half, toast it lightly in the sandwich press, enough to warm it and give it a slight crunch (you can use a grill or oven to warm, just make sure you don’t leave it in for too long), the set aside.
- At this point, the roo meat should be reasonably soaked in the oil. Take out the fillet/s and place onto the tarragon and thyme mix. Gently roll the meat and try to get as much coverage as possible on each side. Add some salt and a little pepper on each side.
- Now the fun part, make sure the sandwich press/grill is hot on both sides. Place the roo meat onto one half of the hotplate, and the onions on the other. Close the press, but don’t squash the meat, just let the lid rest on the meat. Now, be careful here, you CANNOT overcook the meat, or it will be super tough and taste like crap. Depending on your cut, cook for NO MORE than around about 3 mins (based on size and thickness), for these particular cuts, I cooked for 1 and a half minutes, then flipped them (for some light grill line action). Basically, you want to make sure it is cooked medium-rare so that it is soft and juicy.
- Once your 3 mins are up, lift the lid and remove the roo meat onto a plate so it can rest. Close the lid and led the onions grill. Personally, I prefer mine to be well cooked. Once done, take them off of the grill, now we are ready to construct the sandwich.
- Start with the turkish bread and the beetroot chutney. Take each piece of bread and spread the chutney on one side. Keep the chutney reasonably light as you don’t want it to overpower the other flavours.
- Take the meat and cut into thick strips (it should be soft and juicy). Once cut, arrange on to the bread.
- Take your onions and scatter on top of the meat.
- Take the tomatoes, place on top of the meat and onions.
- Fold over, cut in half and enjoy!
The fantastic thing about living in Melbourne is undoubtedly the sheer amount of restaurants, cafe’s and bars there are within a short ride away of wherever you might be. These range from the horrible through to the epic, and it can sometimes be a crapshoot when you are jonesing for some sandwich-y goodness to avoid a bonk or stock up for a ride.
One place that you can’t go wrong with though, is the Earl Canteen. These guys have sandwiches down to a fine art, almost literally, and fall well into the ‘epic’ category. The interior is swanky and modern, and throughout the time spent there, we had staff coming up and offering up help, water/drinks and pleasant conversation, giving it the homely feel of the kind of place you might be remembered as a regular in, where everybody knows your name, when they are always glad you cammmeeee… wait a minute.
Back to what makes Earl, the menu. Earl has a variety of gourmet styled sandwiches ranging from Wagyu Meatball to Pork Belly to Truffled Mushroom. The star for me at this point though, is the REAL Steak Sandwich. The best description I have of it is a steak dinner (sans potatoes) jammed into a wonderfully tasty focaccia, this is a sandwich that is easily worth a century ride. With a total of 10 sandwiches and a lunch box currently filling out the menu, there is ample excuse to make return visits to Earl and make yourself known.
Perhaps my only real criticism of Earl Canteen at this point, is the location. Earl is located at the ground level of the 500 Bourke building, inside the Little Bourke St. Courtyard in Melbourne. For the directionally challenged with a map reading disability, such as myself, finding Earl based on Google maps was a bit of pain, but after making the dot move in the correct general direction (and being politely escorted out of the building by security) I found myself out the front of Earl, ready to eat.
Earl is open on weekdays (God I hope they pop-up a weekend location as well) from 0730 for breakfasts, all the way through to 1730, giving you ample opportunity to avoid a bonk.
Overall: 89km’s (Highly Recommended)
(images shamelessly lifted from Earl Canteen)