Do I agree that this is a basis for a life well-lived? I think, on balance, yes. I scare myself every day, in negative (driving too fast down narrow country lanes to get the kids to the bus in the morning) and positive (putting myself out there for work - in fact, being freelance scares me low level all the time in a "what if no one wants me to work for them" kind of way then realising that people do want me to work for them) ways, and on balance, I think scaring yourself in a positive kind of way is a good thing. The negative kind of scaring, where nothing positive comes out of it at the end (apart from getting the kids on to the bus, thereby avoiding an additional 20 minutes drive) is not so good.
But this is all fairly pointless pondering for the moment. I don't have to scare myself any more for at least 6 months, because last weekend, I went coasteering and scared the complete bejesus out of myself - in an exhilarating and positive "definitely do it again" kind of way. And this kind of scaring yourself is something I'd totally recommend, and makes me understand exactly what Eleanor Roosevelt was talking about. About stepping out of your comfort zone - in this case, quite literally: 12 m jump into the Blue Lagoon anyone - and surviving. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway never felt so real or so amazing. And when your 9 year old daughter has done it first, really, there's no option...
|(this is me, btw, not the daughter)|
As I've wittered on ad nauseam on here, the coastline where we live is completely stunning, and what better way to enjoy it than kitted up and with the full immersion of clambering over swimming round, leaping off and generally enjoying the coastline a little bit further away from the madding crowd. Abereiddy, Pembrokeshire was our destination
Celtic Quest Coasteering our amazingly fun, competent, utterly confidence-inspiring guides as we donned wetsuits, helmets, bouyancy aids, gloves and set off for one of the most brilliant and terrifying afternoons I've had for a long time, albeit that I had to spend quite a lot of time trying not to lose my contact lenses....
And to fuel this afternoon of adrenaline, baked scotch eggs: lovely eggs from our new neighbours' chickens, sausage & bacon from the butcher, my latest chilli sauce discovery, from Estelle's Gower Goodies and some homegrown chives... And because they are baked, they are healthy. Or less bad for you than the deep fried variety. Not very scary, but hey, you can't have anything.
Baked Scotch Eggs
for 5 Scotch eggs
5 large eggs - free range, organic, from your neighbour, if possible...
2 shallots, finely chopped
5 fat pork sausages, skinned (about 350g sausage meat)
1-2 tablespoons chilli sauce
1 slice of brown bread, turned into breadcrumbs
good handful of chives (or parsley), finely chopped
3 slices of streaky bacon
You also need a muffin tin - one with deep holes.
Hardboil your eggs - I do this by putting the eggs in a pan and covering to about 1 cm depth with cold water. Bring the water to the boil, then simmer the eggs for around 6-7 minutes. If you over cook them you start to get horrid black lines round the yolk, and also I like the yolks being not quite solid. But if you're pregnant or cooking for babies or small children, you probably wan to simmer for 8 minutes.
Once cooked for the requisite time, plunge the eggs into cold water to stop them cooking, and leaving the shells till needed.
Turn your oven on to 200C/180 fan.
Gently sweat off the shallots in a little olive oil for 10-15 minutes, then set aside to cool a little.
Combine the sausage meat, cooled shallot, chilli sauce, breadcrumbs, chopped chives and a good grind of pepper until well mixed.
Peel the hardboiled eggs (one of my favourite cooking things to do).
Divide the sausage mixture into 5 and then flatten a portion of sausage into your hand and wrap an egg in it, squidging and shaping as you go.
When all eggs are wrapped, cut the rashers of bacon in half, then stretch each half with the back of a knife and wrap each sausage-coated egg in a piece of bacon.
Pop each bacon wrapped, sausage coated egg into a hole in the muffin tin and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the muffin tin onto some kitchen paper to get rid of any more fat which hasn't drained into the bottom of the muffin tin, then leave to cool and enjoy as if it were your last meal, before heading off for adventure...
Linking this up with the Simply Eggcellent challenge on Belleau Kitchen where for June, 'anything goes'...