Why swim in the cold, cold North Sea in winter? Is it all about the endorphin rush? Well yes and no. The endorphin rush is pretty good, you do feel very fantastic, even heroic, after a swim. But, I also like just being in the water. I love Shingle Street and Sizewell – the two places where I swim most – they are both beautiful in different ways. It is lovely to swim in the brown-blue water, to watch the sea meet the sky and to feel alive.
OK, here I look more shocked than euphoric but wait for it …..
I also love swimming with Alfie. It is great having a crazy friend to swim with, even better a crazy friend with a beach hut and tea-making facilities.
If you are having tea after a swim, it would be somehow remiss not to have cake or biscuits. If you swim in winter you can eat as much cake as you like – that is a true fact!
I tried a new brownie recipe yesterday adapted from Byng and Smith Byron: the cookbook as I knew we were going swimming today.
They are good for breakfast, but better after a wild winter swim shared with a friend.
The sea was remarkably calm today and beautiful, but a fishing competition was about to start – the beach was full of fishermen setting up, we got in and out just in time.
Chocolate Brownies: 200g dark chocolate (I refer you to my survive the zombie apocalypse stash of chocolate buttons); 225g butter; 3 medium eggs; 300g caster sugar; 100g plain flour; generous pinch of sea salt.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water – don’t let the bowl touch the water. When melted let it cool slightly. Whisk the eggs, sugar and salt until very light and maybe double in volume. Whisk the chocolate and butter into the egg mix and then the flour – don’t over whisk. Pour into a baking tin about 20cm square or so that is lined with baking paper. Cook for 35-40 minutes in an oven set to 160C. Leave to cool in the pan. Cut and eat.
N.B. Yes we do wear woolly hats in the sea – trust me it helps with the whole cold thing.