Is Tai Chi for you?

In order to help get more movement in my recovering broken shoulder and arm, I had my first Tai Chi lesson a week ago.

I got lost and turned up 5 minutes late. I saw a teacher facing people standing perfectly still and listening to him. This went on for another 5 minutes and the teacher called me as he could see me through the glass door. He asked if I would like to join them and I briefly explained about my shoulder and jumped right in after taking off my coat. There was just one movement I couldn’t manage which involved hanging the right arm out at shoulder level with the wrist facing down. He said if I imagine doing it with my eyes closed, eventually the body will follow. Hey ho.

I wore my double air Nike trainers, whereas plimsolls would probably be more suitable for the foot swivels, so as not to damage knees.

Been there, got the
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I don’t feel I can do my physio today as my poor arm has been through a lot the last couple of days. I definitely hope to go to more Tai Chi. My knee hurt a little, but hopefully, it will strengthen the muscles around the knee. Normally after exercise I feel exhausted, but I caught sight of my eyes in the toilet mirror and they were all sparkly. I felt invigorated.

Yesterday, I returned for my second lesson. It involved the same moves plus breathing techniques but best of all balancing on one leg and walking properly to make falls less likely. I feel it’s helping to make my shoulder more flexible. Some people felt incredibly hot after the session and I must say it’s incredibly relaxing. I don’t suppose it is for everybody as it is somewhat slow, but in my opinion a good way to get fit after an illness or accident.

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Chicken and pea risotto

Ingredients

1 onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

A chicken breast for each person, cut into slices

A sprinkle of oregano and basil

2 bay leaves

Small tea cup of peas (asparagus is nice when in season)

Salt and pepper to taste

500 mls chicken stock

A good drop of white wine

A knob of butter and olive oil to cook

Padano cheese, grated into slivers with a potato peeler

Method

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large frying pan.  Gently fry the onions and garlic for a few minutes before adding the chicken pieces.  When the chicken is sealed, add the rice, peas, seasoning and dried herbs.  Stir everything to mix well.  With a ladle, add the chicken stock slowly one or two ladles at a time.  When the stock is finished, add the wine.  Continue to stir occasionally and if it needs more liquid add a little water in the same way.  Take a spoon out to check if the rice is cooked.  It shouldn’t be mushy.

Side 1

I made a side of courgettes (zucchini), cubed with sliced mushrooms in a little olive oil, butter, teaspoon of turmeric, salt and pepper with a little lemon juice.

Side 2

A large bowl of mixed salad

Avocado spring salad

They say strangers don’t speak to each other in London!

Yesterday, I went to an exercise class in Kensington and spoke to a few people in the class. As the journey home clashed with schools out, I decided not to get my usual bus from Notting Hill Station as I’d be lucky to get a seat, so walked to Holland Park to get a quieter bus.  After 10 minutes the other person at the bus stop gave up waiting.  A policeman passed me and then 5 minutes later came back to the bus stop, noting I was reading the times of the buses and looking at my watch.  He  told me the bus would be here any second as he’d checked with the latest technology.  Then I got chatting to a lady on the bus who admired my mini tote bag from Kensington Palace and we had a chat till her bus stop. Walking home from my bus stop I stopped to let a lady teaching her son how to use his camera to photograph his nana.  If I carried on walking, I would have ruined his photo and they stopped me to thank me.  Who needs the new badge the tube are handing out saying “Tube chat?”

CURRIED SCRAMBLED EGGS

 

Ingredients:

 

Cooked baby potatoes in their skin….chopped into cubes

One tomato, chopped into cubes

A handful of flat leaf parsley, washed and chopped

2 beaten eggs per person

Salt and black pepper

Curry powder to your taste

Olive oil or butter to fry

Method:

 

In a frying pan, put the olive oil or butter (or both).  Add the potatoes, tomatoes and parsley with the salt, pepper and curry powder.  Give them a stir and then add the beaten eggs and cook until scrambled.

Chicken Casserole with Red Peppers and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

6 boneless chicken thighs

2 skinless chicken breasts cut into 4

One large cooking onion peeled, cut in half and sliced

Four large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped or crushed

Fresh mushrooms cleaned and sliced

1 red pepper cut into small chunks

1 large tomato cut into small chunks (tinned is fine, if you don’t have fresh)

Splash of Lee and Perrins Worcestershire sauce

A heaped teaspoon of paprika

A heaped teaspoon of dried oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil and butter to cook

Splash of good quality red wine.  I used Spanish Faustino.

Chicken stock to cover

Method:

In a large deep frying pan, add the butter and olive oil and warm.  Add the onions and garlic.  Add the chicken and fry until sealed. Then add the mushrooms.

Add the rest of the ingredients and cook on a low heat for about 40 minutes.  I set the timer.

Sides:

Courgettes on the griddle pan

Cut the courgettes as in the photograph.  I sprinkled them with salt to release some of their water.  Then heat a griddle pan and pop them on with black pepper until charred.

Potatoes with zatar and sesame seeds

Boil some baby potatoes.  Wash and drain them.  Cut in halves.  Put some butter and olive oil in a frying pan and warm them through again, adding a teaspoon or two of zatar and some sesame seeds.  I had fresh rosemary and parsley to hand so cut some over the potatoes as well