I’ll come to the speedy breakfast bake in a moment, but first…you may recall we went to Iceland? And well look, you know me, I can’t go to the toilet to drown an otter without writing a 2,000 word article about it. So, here’s the first of our Iceland entries. If you’re just here for the recipes and the sound of my voice in your head makes your skin crawl, just skip down to the photo. Philistine.
twochubbycubs go to Iceland: part one
We decided on Iceland for three reasons:
- Corsica taught us that two fat men in very hot climates equals rashes, sweating and uncomfortable levels of public nudity;
- it looks fantastically ethereal and unlike anywhere we’ve ever been before; and (perhaps crucially);
- we envisioned the place being full of hairy, mountain men who could club a polar bear to death with their willies.
We actually almost ended up in Iceland three years ago but we had to cancel the trip to fund the remodelling of our kitchen – it was certainly more important, the place looked like a museum exhibit, all foisty and fussy from the previous old biddy who shuffled around in there. Broke our heart though to cancel for something so mundane, even if I do have a fabulous cerise stand mixer like Lawson and a whole load of Le Creuset. Flash forward several years later and, after watching a ten minute video on Youtube, we had the whole holiday booked within ten minutes.
Fast forward to December, you know the drill. We shuttled our way up to Edinburgh and arrived at the hotel.
We ate a perfectly satisfactory (damning with faint praise) meal in the hotel bar, where we were served by an entirely lovely young waitress who baffled us with menu choices but steered us towards the money-saving options with aplomb. Clearly one look at our tattered shoes and my Donald Trump haircut elicited a sense of pity from her. She did respond to our chat about Iceland with a question we’d hear surprisingly often both before and after the holiday:
“Iceland…is it cold there?”
I mean the clue is in the name. I was faultlessly polite, resisting the urge to tell her that they only call it Iceland to lure unsuspecting penguins there to sell them timeshares, and demurred that it was indeed rather nippy. Perhaps she knew that as hard-bitten Geordies we only feel the cold when our heart stops and our fingers turn black.
That’s a faintly true stereotype – take a look out in Newcastle on a Friday night in winter and you’ll see plenty of bubbling and rippling masses wearing less material than I use to wipe my bum. Only when both sets of lips turn blue does the cough Prosecco get put down. Anyway, yes, we were asked many times if Iceland was cold to the point I developed a tic in my eye from inwardly wincing so much.
I wish I could say there was anything eventful to write about from finishing our meal through to getting on the plane, but no – it was the usual perfect Premier Inn service. I should be on bloody commission, I tell everyone about Premier Inn. Just saying, if you’re reading this PI, a free night in a London hotel wouldn’t go amiss. We don’t mind if Lenny Henry is in there, he looks like he’d be a cuddler. We did, however, manage to deviate from our normal practice of turning up at the airport eight days early ‘just in case’ by instead spending the day shopping in the salubrious Livingston Centre. I say shopping, we minced in, fannied about in the Le Creuset shop, bought a salt pig and a honey pot and then walked around looking at all the shops that cater for people of less corpulent frames than us. We decided to have a game of mini-golf in Paradise Island. Paradise Island? More like Hepatitis Inlet. No I’m sorry, I’ve been to America and I’ve seen how they do mini-golf over there – carefully crafted courses, erupting volcanoes. What do we get? A shoddy animatronic of Paul’s mother appearing out of a crate of MDF, a vinyl recording of a door creaking and some torn artificial grass. I felt like I was having a round of golf in an abandoned IKEA. We plodded around with all the enthusiasm of the terminally bored, finished under par and didn’t dare have a pop at the ‘WIN A FREE GAME’ final hole in case we were actually victorious.
Unusually, we did manage to get lost on the way to the airport carpark – we normally have an excellent sense of direction, but somehow we missed the giant planes swarming around over our head. I pulled over to ask someone for directions and I’ve genuinely never stared into such an empty face. I asked for directions to the airport and he gazed at me like I was speaking tongues. My exasperated eyes met his watery eyes for a moment or two, then, realising he was clearly as thick as the shite that killed Elvis, we barrelled away in the car. He was still stooped over ‘looking at the car’ as we turned a corner 100 yards away, somewhat ironically onto the right roundabout for the airport. Ah well. It’ll have given him something to use his brain for other than absorbing the wind.
Having parked the car in a car-park that looked exactly like the type of place you’d see on Watchdog where they tear your cars up and down the country, touching everything with oily hands and merrily hacking up phlegm into the secret camera, we were on our way. I told Paul to ‘remember where we had parked’ and he replied with ‘Berwick upon Tweed’. He does come out with the jokes occasionally you know. Edinburgh Airport remains as charmless as ever, with the only place to eat that didn’t necessitate filling out a loan application being the little Wetherspoons up by the gate. I had four gins and a tonic, Paul had a beer and after only an hour or so, we were boarding the plane. I’ve typed many words about the way people board planes so I won’t bother you with them now, but for goodness sake, the pilot isn’t going to set away early, you don’t need to crowd on like they’re giving out blowjobs and cocaine. Bastards.
The flight was uneventful but packed – the mass wearing of winter clothes meant everyone took up slightly more room than normal and the air was soon steamy with sweat. To squeeze past someone in the aisle involved so much personal intimacy that I automatically lubed myself up. Lovely. I can handle flying but struggle with feeling boxed in, so I just shut my eyes and dozed for the two hours it takes to travel from Edinburgh to Reykjavik. Being the caring sort I also kept hold of the iPad just in case, but it did mean poor Paul had nothing to do other than gaze at the cornflakes of dandruff gently falling off the scalp of the slumbering mass in front. I’m a sod, I know.
Oh, there was a moment of interest when the overhead cabin across from us starting leaking something at quite an alarming rate, necessitating the decampment of the passenger immediately below the leak into the only spare seat available on the plane. Seems sensible? No. The woman (who was somewhat…large) next to the vacant seat kicked up such a stink that the stewardess had kick up a stink in return, and a veritable hiss-off occurred – too much make-up vs too much circumference. How selfish can you be, though, to make someone sit under a dripping leak for two hours? I feel guilty just making Paul sleep in the cuddle puddle after sex. Don’t think us gays have a wet patch? You’re wrong, though ours is mainly lube to be fair. Still, makes getting up for an early-morning piss that much easier when you can just slide to the bathroom like Fred in the Flintstone’s opening credits.
Also, I’m no expert on aircraft, despite all my many hours of sitting slackjawed in front of Air Crash Investigation watching reconstructions of plane crashes brought to vivid life via the graphics card of a Nintendo 64, but is a major leak not worrisome? Surely water sloshing around amongst the electrics is a VERY BAD THING. The stewardess opened the locker, moved around a couple of the many bags crammed in there then decreed the leak to be a mystery. A mystery! That helped my anxiety – I had visions of it being hydraulic fluid or jet fuel and us being mere moments away from landing via someone’s front room on the Shetland Isles. I still don’t like getting up for a piss on the plane because I’m worried I’ll upset the balance. A rational mind I do not have. We landed safely, obviously, and the leak was plugged by about 1000 blue paper towels. Keep it classy, Easyjet.
Let’s be fair, actually – easyJet continue to be fantastic to fly with. I have no problems with a company that will fly me around Europe for less money than I pay for my weekly parking ticket in Newcastle. Everyone from their check-in staff to the onboard team always seem to be smiling, and as a nervous passenger, that really helps. Their planes are comfy, although I noted with alarm that I wasn’t too far off needing a seatbelt extension. Not that there’s any shame in that, but I’d sooner be strapped onto the roof and flown that way than ask across a crowded cabin for a bungee-cord sized seatbelt. I’m shy!
We touched down into Keflavík Airport in the early evening and, yes, it was cold. Bloody cold – minus one or two degrees. The airport is small as it only serves a few flights a day in winter, and we were through security and bag-drop in no time. You know the drill by now – I had to wait ten minutes whilst Paul dashed into a toilet and released his Christmas log. Any airport, any time. I think the air pressure changes associated with flying does something to his bowels – I can genuinely count the seconds from getting our bag off the conveyor to Paul turning to me with an ashen face clutching his stomach and bemoaning that he needs to go for a crap. Some people tie fancy socks to their suitcase or have a favourite towel to take on holiday as tradition – my holiday tradition is looking furiously at the closed door of a gents toilet.
As Keflavík Airport is around thirty miles from the centre of Reykjavic, you’ll need to take a bus or hire a car. I didn’t fancy crashing my way through the icy roads, so we opted for the bus. It’s all terribly simple and you don’t need to book in advance, rather just bustle your way to the ticket office, purchase a ticket and step aboard the idling bus, which then takes you to your hotel. It’s all exceptionally civilised. One of the many good things about Iceland is that it doesn’t seem to attract the SKOL-ashtray-and-red-shoulders brigade, so you’re not stuck on a bus hearing fifty different English accents bellow about lager and tits for an hour. Good.
We were dropped off at the Grand Hotel first, and as it was pitch-black outside, we decided to stay in the room to drain our swollen feet and order room service. I tried to order something Icelandic but the closest we could see was a SKYR cheesecake. Oh imagine the pains. I did my usual hotel trick of hiding in the bathroom when they bring all the trays of food in so that Paul looks like a giant fatty, though I was fairly restrained this time – I didn’t make my usual ‘straining’ noises from behind the door.
Stuffed full of food and tired from all the sitting down, we were off to sleep in no time, accompanied by the only English channel we could find – Sky News.
Gosh now look at that. All that writing and we’re not even out in Iceland proper yet. That’ll come in the next entry. Anyway, tonight’s recipe. Those who are lost in mirth and reverie, get yourself together.
This speedy breakfast bake is easy enough to make – actually, ridiculously so. Not going to lie, this isn’t our recipe, it’s actually taken from another blog, found here. We were so taken by it that we adapted it slightly for Slimming World. If you’ve got a spiraliser, you’ve FINALLY got a bloody use for it. Mind, if you don’t have a spiraliser (and you can buy a cheap one RIGHT HERE), don’t shit the bed, you can just grate the sweet potato instead. This sits well – take some the next day for work.
to make speedy breakfast bake, you’ll need:
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated finely – use a spiraliser if you have one, it makes it easier – just have it on a fine setting
- 12 egg whites (see tip below – you don’t need to clart about seperating eggs)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 120ml of skimmed milk (take it from your HEA allowance or syn it – 100ml is two syns)
- 80g of extra mature but reduced fat cheddar cheese (two HEA choices, remember this easily serves four)
- as much spinach as you like, but aim for two big handfuls at the least
- a few bacon medallions (I have an idea: use the bacon from our Musclefood deal! It’s good value and cheap as chips)
Right, the eggs – that’s a lot of eggs and you’re going to have a lot of yolk – we bought these instead from Tesco:
Much easier! Used about 4/5 of it, and chucked the rest into a pan for an omelette the next day.
and to make speedy breakfast bake, you should:
- preheat the oven up to 180 degrees and line a decent square tin (or any tin, I’m not going to write a letter to the council about you) with greaseproof paper or a squirt or two of frylight
- dry fry off the bacon and chop it up
- mix everything together in a big old bowl, tip into the tin and cook for around an hour (check it doesn’t burn) until it’s completely cooked through
- leave to stand for ten minutes just to cool off and firm up
- slice and serve!
We served ours with a side salad, but the fact that this has spinach in it already makes it a super healthy breakfast or dinner.