Guilt-less Desserts & Treats for your Family
This weekend I completed my first Ultra Marathon; 52kms of hills, sand and muddy undulations in and around the Great Ocean Road. It took me 6 1/2 hours, which was faster than I had anticipated, although those last few kms seem to take forever! I’m super excited by my efforts, finishing quicker than I’d planned, with only a few bruises and a small limp.
I’ve trained long and really hard for this event. I’ve run in -5C temps in 4 layers of clothing, done early morning hill runs in the fog and rain, I’ve missed early morning toddler snuggles and sacrificed family time to achieve my goal to do an Ultra Marathon. Most people would think that all sounds crazy, but it was all part of my planned training to be able to prove to myself that I can do this…and I did.
Having a goal outside of my Mum life is important to me. Before kids I was very goal driven with plans, objectives and things to strive for. I still have those in my life; but they’re rarely ‘me focused’ instead being centred around my kids, their needs, and how to simply make our family function within the madness. I needed something for me that wasn’t work related, that didn’t involve anyone else and where I could have some ‘me time’
And yes I know that running a Marathon in order to achieve some peace and quiet might sound crazy but it’s the only way I get to have time to myself!
So, I’m not a runner.
5 years ago I couldn’t run at all.
4 years ago I struggled to get to 10kms.
3 years ago I did a HM and a 25km then got pregnant.
2 years ago I’d just had a little baby and could barely run.
1 year ago I set some pretty high goals and set out to master them, on the bare minimum of sleep.
Since I started running longer distances 12 months ago I’ve had people tell me that “I’m inspiring”, but I don’t agree. My story’s not special; my efforts aren’t extraordinary. I’m not genetically blessed and I definitely don’t have the body of a ‘runner’. My running form is clunky at best and I’m not very fast. But none of that matters. I set a goal and trained for it. I went out each time with the goal in mind knowing what I needed to do to reach the finish line. The inspiration isn’t in running the race; it’s in making the daily effort and taking the brave step to show up at the starting line, not knowing if you’ll be able to do it. As silly as it sounds IT IS all about the journey and the experiences you go through to get to the destination.
Your goal might not be to do 50km or even run at all. Maybe your goals are work or family related, hobby or passion driven. Whatever your audacious goal is, don’t convince yourself you can’t do it. Try to imagine what it will feel like when you make it, and work out what you need to do to get there. For me it was running 60-70km per week, for you it will be something else. Make a plan, follow it and make your goals happen.
Why? Because you are worth it and your dreams are important.
A wise woman told me “Don’t feel guilty about time away from your family. You are showing your children how to work towards goals, to keep themselves healthy and that hard work and perseverance is what is needed to achieve your goals”. Maybe instead of thinking that focusing on our own goals is selfish we need to see ourselves as role models for our children.
Why? Because we are more than just the sum of our past – and our future, and that of our children, is not yet written.
This Berry Curd is a simple and short recipe, because after 52kms that’s all I could manage. I realised after the race that I had no new recipe to post this week, as all my recent recipe development has been for my new ‘Veggies for Dessert’ cook book. I looked in the freezer and found ½ a bag of frozen mixed berries… and there was my inspiration. My plan was to use the Berry Curd for my Birthday Cake this week, but I soon realised that thinking I would have leftovers was just plain silly. The Berry Curd is now all gone… and Miss 2yo L is now looking like Veruca Salt!
Making this Berry Curd is pretty easy once you work out what a double boiler is. Using a Double Boiler is a method of cooking that prevents the curd from burning and sticking to the pot. A medium sized saucepan is ½ filled with water and brought to the boil, and then turned down to a medium simmer. A heat proof bowl (I used glass) is placed on top of the saucepan so that the bowl rests just above the water. The heat from the boiling water cooks the curd slowly in the bowl and it won’t burn or turn into scrambled eggs (just be sure not to boil the saucepan dry!).
We all just ate the Berry Curd straight from the jar, but I did have good intentions of making it a bit more fancy by baking these Chocolate Macaroons into little thumbprint cookies. The Berry Curd could also be used on these Gluten Free Scones or could replace Lemon Curd in this Pie.
- 1 3/4 Cups Berries (I used a mixed frozen bag but fresh can also be used and any type of berry you prefer)
- 3 Eggs
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup plus up to 3 Tablespoons more
- 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (softened slightly)
- If using frozen berries, place the berries in a large glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (this is called a double boiler). Allow the berries to soften and then purree/mash (use the juice that forms as you defrost the berries).
- Use a hand blender (or masher) and puree the mixture until smooth. It will be about 1 cup but a bit more or less is fine.
- Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and maple syrup into the berry puree.
- Place the bowl back over the saucepan of simmering water. Do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water.
- Once the mixture has started to warm, add the coconut oil 1 spoonful at a time. Whisk after each addition.Only add the next spoonful once the previous one has combined. Stir regularly.
- This should take approximately 15 minutes. When done the mixture will be thickened and able to coat the back of the spoon.
- Taste the Berry Curd. Depending on the tartness and tyoe of berries used it may require more sweetner. Add the Maple Syrup, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the desired taste is reached.
- Cool and place in a glass container. Store in the fridge.
- This Berry Curd tastes awesome as it is or it can be used on scones, in macaroons or be used inplace of Lemon Curd in a pie or cake.