Downhill skiing seems dangerous and too fast, and requires clunky equipment. Whereas snow-shoe walking would involve a lot of uphill trudging -- my heart will not go on and on (unlike Celine Dion's).
Now how about sledding? It looks relatively safe and fun. I had always thought tobogganing was a tame sport for lily-livered wussies like me.
How wrong I was.
The tobogganing path on Mount Rigi, near where I live in Switzerland, was twisty with requisite speed bumps, which meant bumping along at hair-raising speeds while my other half tried to steer us away from the steep precipice on the left of the lane. There was no railing, just an itty-bitty bit of a snow bank, between us and the blankety-blank yonder way below. 'Braking' meant putting your heels in, and 'steering' was merely putting down your right heel if you wanted to go right.
After one particularly vicious bump, both of us fell off and my right shoulder joint was dislocated (old tennis injury, happens once in a while). After it clicked back in, we rested at the side for a bit before we continued our slip-sliding journey down the mountain.
I'm amazed Swiss parents let their wee children go down on their own toboggans. No doubt their light weight meant less momentum (unlike the hefty combined weight of my other half and me, ahem! Maybe we shouldn't have shared a toboggan, but the rental ain't cheap) but the steep bank on the left is always threatening to swallow up a few delicious, winter-fattened mortals.
Here are lovely diamonds. Bet you didn't know they grew on twigs, huh? ;-)
Anyhow, after coming down a snowy mountain, what's a welcome sight and taste is Rip-roaring Rendang. I've adapted Rohani Jelani's recipe in her 'Homestyle Malay Cooking' booklet to what's available here:
Had no dried chillies, so this Rendang Veal looks less reddish-brown (aside from unsuitable kitchen lighting).
500g lamb, veal, duck or chicken, sliced into bite-size pieces (I found beef too tough or took too long to soften)
3 tbs dessicated coconut, dry-fried on medium-low heat till golden brown
3-8 shallots (depending how big they are; they're HUGE here!), sliced (substitute: 2 onions)
2cm ginger root, sliced
2 (or more if you like it hot!) big red chillies, seeded and sliced
4 dried chillies, softened in hot water for 10 minutes (substitute: 1 tsp chilli powder)
150ml coconut cream
1 tbs sunflower seed oil or corn oil
2/3 tsp turmeric powder
3 stalks lemongrass, the fat part sliced, the remaining stalk trimmed and smashed lightly
1 small fennel, sliced or julienned (this is untraditional - for added flavour, bulk and texture)
3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 tbs dark brown sugar
sea salt to taste (about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp)
1. Pulse the shallots, ginger, chillies and sliced lemongrass, adding enough of coconut cream to make a thick paste.
2. Heat oil in a thick-bottomed non-stick saucepan till medium hot. Stirfry the shallot paste for 2 minutes. Add turmeric and smashed lemongrass stalks. Cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add sliced meat. Stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add sliced fennel.
4. Add rest of coconut cream. Cook on medium-low heat till meat is done and quite tender, and curry sauce is very thick (you're lucky if the timing of both coincide!). If curry is getting dry before meat is tender, add a bit of water.
5. When curry is thick and almost dry, add fried dessicated coconut, brown sugar, salt and kaffir lime leaves. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Serve hot with plain white rice. Mmmm!