Back on the Road Again; Wife-Carrying and Fish-Pickling - It's All in a Day's Work for the Hairy Bikers. JEANANNE CRAIG Catches Up with the Duo

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), September 5, 2015 | Go to article overview

Back on the Road Again; Wife-Carrying and Fish-Pickling - It's All in a Day's Work for the Hairy Bikers. JEANANNE CRAIG Catches Up with the Duo


Byline: JEANANNE CRAIG catches

HAIRY Bikers Dave Myers and Si King were determined to throw themselves into the action while making new BBC Two road trip series Northern Exposure - even if that meant a spot of wife-carrying.

The pair circumnavigated the vast Baltic Sea for the six-part series, which sees them biking and exploring the cuisine of countries including Poland, Sweden, Russia and Finland, where Si was persuaded to indulge in a favourite local sport.

"Dave said, 'I think he would like a go at the wifecarrying', and I went, 'Pardon me, WHAT?"' Si recalls.

"I disappeared down the boardwalk with this very light and lovely lady attached to my neck going, 'See you later lads, I am not coming back!"' The trip had been in the pipeline for a few years, but had to be put on hold after Si received emergency treatment for a life-threatening brain aneurysm in 2014.

Today, the 47-year-old dad-of-three is recovering well - although he admits he does have to keep an eye on his fatigue levels, given the high-energy nature of the Bikers' work.

Dave, meanwhile, says getting back on the road with his pal (who he met more than 20 years ago) has been "magic... like putting on a pair of comfy shoes".

"It's better than ever really, because we appreciate it a bit more," the former Strictly Come Dancing contestant adds.

The pair slimmed down in 2012 after embarking on a healthy eating kick, but admit they are feeling a bit softer around the edges again, after enjoying such delights as strawberry vodka cheesecake and pickled fish during the filming of Northern Exposure.

"After the three months on the road in the Baltics and Sweden, we need to practise what we preach a bit really," Dave, 57, confesses. "We've both put half a stone on and need to shift it."

The busy pair have also released a new cookbook in which they celebrate meaty recipes, from shepherd's pie and chilli con carne, to pies and curries.

"It's a big book, with more than 150 recipes," says Dave. "We wanted to write the perfect meat book with everything we've learned."

According to Si, the key to a good meat dish is buying the best quality meat you can.

"I'd rather have one piece of fantastic meat that's been subjected to good husbandry, than have 20 bits of the cheapest mince."

After almost a decade on our screens (their first series was aired in 2006), the pair are still learning about food all the time.

"We're not trained chefs and we haven't got a restaurant, but we've had the most incredible opportunities to experiment with food," says Dave.

"I often say we must be the two most over-stimulated human beings on the planet," Si adds. "We go from one fantastic thing to another. That's always an enormous privilege."

Having Dave on the road with him through thick and thin has meant the most of all.

"It transcends friendship, he's like my brother. We love each other's mad foibles," says Si.

Here are three tasty recipes from Meat Feasts.

the Hairy Bikers.' Meat |Feasts is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, PS22 hardback, eBook PS12.99. The Hairy Bikers' Northern Exposure is on BBC Two on Tuesday nights.

LAMB VINDALOO (Serves 6) INGREDIENTS 1.3kg boneless lamb shoulder, cut into chunks of about 4cm 100ml red wine vinegar 2tbsp vegetable oil 2 bay leaves 500g potatoes, peeled and cut into 2.5cm chunks Flaked sea salt For the sauce: 125ml vegetable oil 4 onions, 3 thinly sliced and 1 chopped 6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 3 long red chillies (do not deseed), roughly chopped 25g fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped 1tbsp English mustard powder 1tbsp ground cumin 1tbsp ground coriander 1tbsp ground paprika 2tsp ground turmeric 2tsp cayenne pepper 1tsp ground cinnamon To serve: Rice or naan bread and yoghurt METHOD TRIM the lamb, discarding any really hard lumps of fat and sinew. …

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