* LARP: “Live-action role play”
Just killed a 7M run-walk-run, the first in the new training plan towards a half-marathon. Adjust your training to what works – I have zero interest in exercise-induced migraines or over-use injuries, but Jeff Galloway’s training regime works for me for summer time heat. It wasn’t fast, but that’s ok. I feel great 😀
Still a lot of work to get to full Kung Fu Panda, though. My kungfu kicks need some extra attention because it’s been a while, and I’ll have to work on this cool move on one side only rather than alternating between both arms as Panda and Shifu do here.
No regular planks or push-ups for a good while I reckon, as part of post-shoulder-surgery recovery. Those makes me reach for the nearest jar of Aleve within three hours, and for the next three days. But hey, my single-right-handed plank/push-up should be awesome if I really dedicate myself to this! I also have a long-standing relationship with stairs as a form of exercise. Not quite my enemy though.
The secret ingredient
I finally got round to making for the very first time a family classic and family favourite: Aalsterse vlaaien (no links in English to be found, that’s how local it is!). It has been so long since I last ate it, I didn’t even remember what it was supposed to taste like! When I tested the spice mix in the batter before it went in the oven it took a few seconds 😱 before it clicked but phew I remembered.
I was very worried about getting it just right, because I wanted to share it with one of our freshly graduated Mules, who had seen this in Belgium but couldn’t fit a taste of it in her brief visit. And… I did not have the secret ingredient, mastellen.
These are bone-hard, dried little breads seasoned with spices. They’re specific for making vlaaien and even locally in and around Aalst increasingly hard to find, and bakers seem to be sworn to secrecy because we cannot find a recipe anywhere. (The ones we have found online are a different kind, not suitable for our purposes.) Mum suggested rusks, or ships biscuits might do the trick, but I couldn’t find those either, so I replaced all of that with… white bread, dried in the oven.
It worked beautifully. Fresh jars of Mace, and Organic Vietnamese Cinnamon probably helped, as well as the original brown sugar and sugar syrup imported from Belgium. A taste of home, recreated here on the other side of the Pond.
And now I know the secret ingredient (à la Mr. Ping), I also know I have ingredients for 3 more pans of this deliciousness. Perfect: