Like most people, I’ve started 2012 on a mission to get fitter and healthier. Sadly, this has meant easing off the baking, but so far it seems to be a worthwhile sacrifice as I’m already feeling better and lighter for my efforts. To help things along a bit, my boyfriend and I went for a Sunday afternoon hike on a nearby island, Cheung Chau. Despite Hong Kong’s reputation as a sleek, modern city of skyscrapers, it’s actually astonishingly green and leafy with numerous places to stretch your legs.
This little place is not only beautiful and rural, it’s also a residential area too. Looking at the houses here, it’s hard to believe it’s just a 30 minute ferry ride from the towering apartment blocks of Central.
Unfortunately it was a rather drizzly, overcast day so visibility wasn’t the best, but the rain brought out the vivid greenery and created that wonderful aroma of wet earth.
All the walkways were paved so it wasn’t a proper muddy hike like you might attempt through the English countryside, but nevertheless it was a marvellous opportunity to get some fresh air, enjoy the scenery, get some exercise, and, of course, wear some stylish walking gear.
These pictures are my inspiration to keep on hiking and getting healthy. And this delightful recipe (from the much-needed ‘Detox’ section of the Christmas Good Food magazine) is inspiration to keep eating hearty, healthy grub.
Three Bean, Tomato & Spinach Stew
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ground cumin
400g tin chopped tomatoes
200g kidney beans, drained and rinsed
200g cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
100g green beans, trimmed and halved
100g spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin and cook for another minute.
2. Tip in the tomatoes, plus a cup of water, and simmer for 10 minutes until it’s started to thicken.
3. Stir in all the beans and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Finally, add the spinach for another 5 minutes. Season, and serve with a good, wholesome bread bun. Glow with smugness at how healthy you are.