Urban Hiking

Geoff and Gandhi
Gandhi says, “Take a walk.”

Recently I had a reader request a post on how to stay fit on $20 a day. I am the last person you’d want to ask about being healthy and working out. Exercise sounds like profanity to my ears. I only run if I’m being chased by a bear. And there is absolutely no way you’d find me anywhere near a gym. What a rip off.

You can't get this view from a gym.
You can’t get this view from a gym.

I used to be a dancer, so staying thin (and I mean really thin) was easy. I was much younger then and danced six hours a day. I could eat Cheetos every day for lunch, and it didn’t matter. But thirteen years and 25 pounds later, I find myself having to force my body into movement more often than I’d like, but dance classes can be expensive. I have a few tricks for working out on the cheap, and what we like to call urban hiking is our most used trick for burning a few calories.

Our favorite rest spot, and a great place for whale watching in the winter.
Our favorite rest spot, and a great place for whale watching in the winter.

Urban hiking is code for walking around town, but it makes it sound more like an adventure to my daughter. That’s how we trick her into walking to the movie theatre. Sometimes it’s hot and sweaty and exhausting, and I think I hate it. I get blisters or a sunburn, and I’m always exhausted when I get home. But there are a few things I love about walking instead of driving.

  1. You are forced to talk to the person you’re walking with. There’s no radio to distract you, no traffic to concentrate on. Some of the best conversations I’ve had have been on a walk.
  2. You burn way more calories than you would sitting on the couch. It’s perhaps not the most efficient workout, but if you go the long way around a crater to get to California Pizza Kitchen, you’ll burn enough calories to be able to have a glass of wine and dessert. 
  3. You get to see your city in detail. There are so many beautiful or intriguing moments that just blur past you from a car. Take a walk and stop to notice your own world. It’s breathtaking.
You'd never see this from your car.
You’d never see this from your car.

Saturday night we walked 3 miles to get to a restaurant and then walked back home again. It was like the calories were already negated. On the weekends, it’s pretty much our only mode of transportation. We even wear flip flops. No need to buy expensive shoes. 

Surprises around every corner
Surprises around every corner

Walking is free, and it’s good for your body, your mind, and your soul. The next time you need to go somewhere that’s only a couple of miles away, put away your car keys, put on your hat, and head out the door. You can even imagine you’re a hobbit if it makes you feel better. 

Don't forget to stay hydrated.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated.
Passion Fruit Victoria Sponge from Awesome on 20

Passion Fruit Victoria Sponge Cake

Passion Fruit Victoria Sponge from Awesome on 20

Today is my father-in-law’s birthday. I made him a cake because that’s what I do. If only he could eat it. Alas, my in-laws live in Northern England, in the most beautiful little town where everything is so green it almost hurts your eyes. I absolutely fell in love with the place when we went to visit a couple years ago. 

Ken with chickens

Luckily, my in-laws, Ken and Barbara (take a second to giggle) have had the opportunity to come visit us in Hawaii twice now. I think they might like it here as much as I like it there. We tend to have an overabundance of sunshine, something I understand is quite rare in England. When I asked Ken what kind of dessert he wanted for this birthday, he requested something with the lilikoi, also known as passion fruit in English, that are growing in our backyard.

Passion Fruit Victoria Sponge

I combined a Hawaiian favorite with an English classic to make this cake. I love it when two worlds collide. The lilikoi curd is sweet and tart, and the cake is rich and buttery. The fresh sweetened whipped cream is silky and light. There’s no frosting on this cake, so I think that makes it perfect for summer. You can shovel it in without feeling too heavy.

Ken and Barbara

I get a kick out of picturing Ken in his rocker days on his motorcycle, and I laugh to myself every time I hear my husband unknowingly delivering one of his dad’s jokes. I hope he would like this cake. I know we did.

Happy birthday, Ken!

Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) Victoria Sponge Cake
Serves 8
A combination of tropical and classical to make an excellent Hawaiian English birthday cake
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 175 grams (3/4 cup) butter, softened
  2. 175 grams (1-1/2 cups) sugar
  3. 3 eggs
  4. 175 grams (1-1/2 cups) self-rising flour
  5. 3 tablespoons milk
  6. 3/4 cup passion fruit curd
  7. 1-1/2 cups whipped cream
  8. 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 340 degrees and butter two nine-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. Sift the flour over the butter mixture and add the milk. Fold to combine.
  5. Divide the batter between your two pans and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cakes in the pans for ten minutes then cool completely before adding the fun stuff.
  7. Put your first cake layer on your cake stand and spread the curd (or whatever fruity and delicious filling suits your fancy) evenly over the cake. Mine dripped a lot. It's fun that way.
  8. Add the whipped cream and spread that onto your cake as well.
  9. Top with the second cake layer.
  10. Put your powdered sugar into a mesh sieve and tap it over the cake to create a dusting of powdered sugar all over the top.
  11. Slice, serve, and enjoy. Imagine yourself in Hawaii or England. Whichever you prefer.
Notes
  1. The butter is the star of this cake, so this is a good time to splurge on the good stuff, or use the rule of second cheapest. Low quality butter can lead to a mealy cake.
  2. Measurements for fillings are approximate and interchangeable. I've also made this cake with raspberry jam, which is more traditional. Use whatever you love.
Adapted from Delicious Magazine
http://awesomeon20.com/

 

Check us out at Chef in Training's link party
Check us out at Chef in Training’s link party

 

 

 

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

Ono Hawaiian Bread Pudding and Big City Diner

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

In case you missed it, I live in Honolulu, about a mile away from Waikiki beach. Yes, that was a full on humble brag. I’m poor. There’s not a lot to brag about. Being in the middle of the ocean at one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations has a few drawbacks, though. As in, everything is so so so expensive. We usually eat in which is great because I love to cook, but that can sometimes be just as pricey. Our favorite spot for a relaxed meal without a ridiculous price tag is definitely Big City Diner.

Breakfast at BCD

They’re open for for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though sadly, you can’t get the breakfast menu all day. They serve all the typical diner fare, but you can also get some dishes with a local twist, like fried noodles or loco moco. Their specials change weekly, so there’s always something new on the menu. And they have awesome weeknight deals to make things even cheaper.

Drinks at BCD

We love the family friendly, laid back atmosphere. The service is extremely friendly and quite fast. Our favorites are the burgers, of course, (we’ll do a Burgerology post on Big City Diner in the future), but they also have a tasty grilled ham and cheese, and awesome cinnamon French toast. We visit three of their many locations on a fairly regular basis. It’s our go to restaurant in Waikiki, and we’ll definitely be telling you more about this place in the future.

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

This has been a rather long preamble to get me to the thing I most want to share, my island inspired bread pudding. They have a dessert like this on the menu at Big City Diner, but this is my own personal take. Bread pudding is extra awesome because you get to use up leftover bread that might otherwise be wasted. And this one is studded with pineapple and macadamia nuts and topped with a coconut rum creme anglaise. (I actually got someone drunk on this sauce once. The circumstances were bizarre indeed, and not likely to be repeated.) The warm custardy bread and the cold boozy sauce are the perfect juxtaposition.  It’s so ono!

If you’re on our island, be sure and visit Big City Diner, but if you can’t get out here, and you want to create a Hawaiian vacation in your oven, give this bread pudding a try. It’s topped with liquor infused melted ice cream. What could go wrong?

Hawaiian Bread Pudding

 

 

Bread pudding images by Monica Szczupider

Ono Hawaiian Bread Pudding
Serves 4
A bread pudding with a Hawaiian flair
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 250 grams stale Hawaiian sweet bread, cut into cubes (a whole loaf if using King's)
  2. 1 small can pineapple chunks
  3. 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 40 grams (1/4 cup) brown sugar
  6. 2 tablespoons dark rum or coconut rum (use the dark rum if you have it, but don't buy it special)
  7. 125 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  8. 500 ml (1 cup) whole milk
  9. Coconut rum creme anglaise (recipe below)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Lightly butter a 2 quart casserole or a nine inch pie pan.
  2. Add your dry bread to the pan. If it's not quite stale, you can leave it out on a wire rack for a while. Mine is always just sort of stale, never truly hard. It's still awesome.
  3. Add the pineapple and macadamia nuts. Try and evenly disperse them around the pan. No need to stir, just let everything settle.
  4. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, rum, cream and milk. Pour this over your bread mixture and press the bread down into it to make sure everything is good and squidgy.
  5. Let the bread soak for 20 minutes before putting it in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until everything is puffy, lightly brown, and set.
  6. Let rest until it is just warm. Spoon it onto your plate and drizzle it with plenty of coconut rum creme anglaise.
Notes
  1. This will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but I recommend reheating it slightly before serving it. The combination of warm bread pudding and cold rum sauce is awesome.
Adapted from Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
Coconut Rum Creme Anglaise
Serves 4
A luscious boozy sauce to top your bread pudding or whatever else you find lying around
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Prep Time
14 min
Prep Time
14 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  2. 2 egg yolks
  3. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 cup coconut rum
Instructions
  1. Add the cream, egg yolks, and powdered sugar to a small sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Stir constantly for about 8-10 minutes until the sauce thickens. It will coat the back of a wooden spoon when it's ready. Do not boil.
  3. Stir in the rum until everything is smooth.
  4. Pour it through a sieve into a container, then chill in the fridge until ready to use. (You can skip the straining, but I find it catches any stray bits of overcooked egg yolk and assures your sauce is super smooth. I'm not an expert, so I can use the help.)
Adapted from Bahama Breeze
Adapted from Bahama Breeze
http://awesomeon20.com/

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