The Mud Queen and her Recipe for Success – Elke van Ewyk
Elke van Ewyk paddling past Cattai in the 2016 Classic Photo courtesy of Abbey Digital
You probably will not recognize her, but that mud-covered person at the Low Tide Pitstop, holding you steady and serving you hot drinks and delicious treats, may well be Elke van Ewyk. She is one of the real stalwarts of the Classic - a paddler and a volunteer and a landcrew over many years. She is also an amazing cook and in the dark you may well get to sample one of her famous slices.
It’s that mud, isn’t it, at the Pitstop. What did it feel like? As my leg descended deeper and deeper into the sticky viscous mud, it felt wet and cold and gave this big squelch when my foot reached a firmer surface. I did get out in the end but I wasn’t sure at the time.
What makes you keep on volunteering there? Being able to help the paddlers. Tony Carr told me one of the highlights of his 2010 race was seeing me wading through the mud towards him bearing a scone with jam and cream and a cup of tea on a silver tray. Another paddler, whom I will never recognize in daylight, called me an “angel”. Then there is the way paddlers wrap their tired and frostbitten fingers around a hot drink with such delight. It makes the mud seem a bit less muddy.
What is the most popular slice? I have volunteered at the Lowtide Pitstip for 3 years. Caramel Slice was the most popular slice during the 3 races I helped at the Pitstop. All other slices, scones, cakes and biscuits are appreciated by both paddlers and LTPS volunteers.
Share with all the landcrews out there your favourite recipe for a slice that will get their paddler down to the finish. My favourite slice is Anzac Slice.
1 Cup of Plain Flour
1 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Cup of Rolled Oats
¾ Cup of Desiccated Coconut
150g unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons of Golden Syrup
1 ½ Tablespoons of Boiling Water
½ Teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
Preheat Oven to 170 degrees C. Grease your slice tin. Place Flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine.
In small saucepan place the butter and golden syrup and on a low heat, stir until the butter has melted.
Mix the Bicarbonate of Soda with water that has just boiled. Remove saucepan from the heat and slowly add water mixture. As you add together the mixture will bubble and froth to approximately triple the size.
Make a well in the bowl containing the dry ingredients. Add wet mixture. Stir until combined.
Spoon mixture into the slice tin. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown.
What’s the easiest role? Paddling for sure. That’s why I’m paddling this year. I have enjoyed all my roles – be it volunteering at the Pitstop, scrutineering, handing out medals at the finish or landcrewing for my friends. I love the Classic from every angle.
Best tips for first timers? If you are volunteering, don’t forget a headtorch and a thermos. If you are paddling you the Wiseman’s Dash, make sure you change your clothes at Sackville. You will feel fresh and you will have more layers as the cold sets in after dark.