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Thursday, 27 January 2011

In Addition to my Morning Swim




SLSC member Wendy Stephens and I have been talking for quite some time about the possibility of Wendy teaching me how to make marmalade ... You see, Wendy is not only a seasoned Lido swimmer but she is one of the most enthusiastic cold water swimmers the club has!

And, to top it Wendy makes THE BEST jams, marmalades, cup cakes, muffins and all sorts of delicious cakes ...! I know that a few of our members, Gail Cartmail in particular will back that bold statement!

So, today was the day! After my morning swim in icy cold and very windy conditions... (I still swam two lengths and loved (almost) every stroke of the 200 yards ...) I cycled straight over to "Wendy's Kitchen" in Streatham for a ten o'clock start.

I was very excited indeed - never before had I ever attempted to turn my hand to making marmalade ... and yet, I have always loved receiving samples of other people's marmalades, jams or other home made goodies for that matter.

So let the (photo) feast of this experience begin :

Wendy cooked one kilo of organic seville oranges and two organic lemons for 10min in a pressure cooker with 1 pint of water the night before - so when I arrived we got straight into slicing the very soft fruit in two, scraping all the flesh - pips and all - out and into a sieve - here Wendy is slicing the orange peel into strips. Spot the audio recorder :)

orange and lemon flesh in the sieve - ready for the next step

all the peel is now in the preserving pan - what a impressive piece of equipment by the way! Wendy's Grandmother already used that very pan for making all sorts of delicious preserves.

Next step, the most laborious of all ... getting all the flesh through the sieve and into the preserving pan ready to be mixed together with the peel - To ease that process Wendy mixed the water used in the pressure cooker and a further pint of water- all the good stuff is fed through while the rest stays in the sieve.

I liked that stage so much I had to take another shot!

peel and flesh (re)united in the preserving pan - now you gotta give it a good stir ! I was good at that! On with the gas too - let the cooking begin

and now for the sugar - I wanted to use demerara sugar -well one has to add one's own touch, right! Wendy likes using less sugar than most recipes say and I was all for it - so we only added 1.5 KG instead of 2 - Once all the sugar has dissolved, a sort of foam (Wendy calls it scum!) starts to form and the marmalade mixtures releases all the excess water.

this marmalade in the making is so happy it even produced a big smile!

the marmalade boiled away releasing all the excess steam
while the scum gradually disappeared - Wendy doesn't work on set times, she carefully watches the consistency and judges its readiness by observing the moment a skin like layer forms on the surface - a trick to judge that by is to watch how the marmalade runs of the back of a wooden spoon and by putting a small amount of marmalade onto a cold saucer. I couldn't resist and immediately nicked some hot marmalade off the saucer ... :) delicious!

Yep, ready!
next step is to decanter the marmalade into well washed and sterilised glass jars

mouth watering marmalde!

seven full jars and still enough left in the pan for another jar - once all jars were full Wendy added some wax paper, screwed the lids on ...

... Et voila! Wendy's January 2011 batch of home made marmalde

and now for an audio step by step lesson on how this marmalade was made.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Some Championship Photos




Ok, time to check out all the photos I have taken at the Cold Water Championships -

I had lots of photos to look through, specially as I shot on both my Canon IXUS camera (the one you normally see me with and I can take under water) and my Canon 5D SLR which I used with a longer lens.

I have uploaded the photos on Picassa - they are in two different folders one for the images shot with the IXUS and one folder with the images shot with then 5D

Here a taste of what you'll find on Picassa - maybe you are featured ..? check it out!

let the Championship begin ... in style

and with a bit of music

Sangeeta and Charlotte in charge of more music

Lady racer set to tackle her heat

fancy hat judges in action

2nd place for this lovely hat

whatever floats your boat...

... or your boat ... far away from the action -in the deep end having a bit of a kip

the relay races are always well attended - it was lovely to see Jack (just pushing off) and Bob (just reaching for the edge of the pool after his bit)!

Lucky no. 16 - Brian and Bob

Gail was part of the "frozen smiles" team ... not only did Gail race back to finish the race she also rescued Sangita's hand made hat which she's put round her arm

made it to the end

one competitor had "butterflies" before her race ...

... while Gail was simply her exuberant self

Chris and Egg - the usual suspects were keeping the public informed (and amused?!)

Batch - best runner and collector of all the race times

Teenage racer - Harry Ingamells

(Ingamells) - family affair in the relay team

two gold medalists: Yvonne and the German lady - they swam in the same heat but in different age categories

Amazing for them both to be competing in 3 Degrees Celsius

some are winners before they even race

and others (Lou) is an exhausted (breaststroke) winner

SLSC member, Ann did extremely well defending the head up breaststroke
title she won in Bled

SLSC member, Cyril also defended his title in magnificent style - he's 88 and with that the oldest competitor!

best place to be ...

... or was this better?! I guess whatever got you warmer faster ! for me the hot tub was a welcomed change to my daily winter swimming routine which includes the sauna.

Irene, one of the many marshals in action

Mandy showing true grit and determination in her heat

cooking with freezing water

and they are off to a flying start

Lifeguard Antony keeping an eye on things

a dipper who just couldn't get enough - he kept swimming up and down the dippers lane

This year competitors had blue carpet treatment

Tricky getting ready for the endurance race

the first lot of endurance swimmers already in the pool before they are let loose!

and they're off too

time for lot two - the faster swimmers

they certainly meant business - 2 circuits of the pool ahead of them

Are they completely round the bend?!

Carl Reynolds coming to the buoy on his second lap

this competitor has made it home safe(ly) but not so dry!

Carl Richards on his way during the endurance race

Time for the prize giving - honouring the competitors was no other than the mayor himself

one of many prize giving ceremonies - Sue Rentoul won bronze in the freestyle race of her age category .. which in fact was also my category ..
However, I was no where near as fast as she was .... :)