Did you know?

1. There exists a book called the Axis of Evil Cookbook (published 2007) which is evidently unconnected to an nthposition copyleft book of the same name, published in June 2004 (copyleft means you can get it for free, here). The irony behind both remains ambiguous.

2. There also exists a prestigious award called the Golden Spurtle, which is what you win if you become the World Porridge Making Champion. The event is in its 15th year, and Simon Humphreys, who came third last year (but counts himself as the ‘best English porridge-maker on the planet’, given that he was beaten by Scots) is now ‘seriously obsessed‘. He shares the winning recipe from the “Speciality” (ie. bling) division:

Al Beaton’s Eve’s porridge

‘Serves 3

Oatmeal (1 part oatmeal to 3 parts water)


2 Bramley apples

2 tsps demerara sugar (plus more to taste)

pinch of cinnamon

handful of raisins

whipped cream, grape nuts and melted milk chocolate to finish

Cook the porridge with the water in a saucepan and add salt to taste, stirring throughout.

Stew the apples. Add 2 teaspoons of demerara sugar (more to taste), the cinnamon and the raisins. Cook until the apples collapse. Pour the mixture over porridge.

Cover with the whipped cream, dust with the grape nuts and add a swirl of melted chocolate.’

3. They take allergies pretty seriously in the army, as I recently discovered when I read about the man who was very disappointed to be excluded from fighting for his country because he’s allergic to cardamom and coconut, and therefore may die from a ration-pack of chicken tikka masala (which is, of course, the UK’s national dish). From The Times: ‘Mr Hudson said: “I want to fight for my country. It’s not like I’m going to be fighting a curry. But they said there was no way of appealing.”’

4. Jeremy Clarkson suggests that Binge Drinking is Good For You (and his irony is a little easier to spot).