Viking Flatbread with Thor Nogson (His Mum’s Recipe)

Viking Flatbread Recipe

Flour, butter, salt, sultanas, honey and an egg.

Flour, butter, salt, sultanas, honey and an egg.

Vikings ate a really tasty and good for you flatbread.
Thor Nogson’s mum made the best flatbread in the world:
here is her recipe. It’ll take an hour or so to make.
She used to bake it on a large stone in the middle of the fire
but you can put it on a baking sheet and cook it in the oven.

Thor Nogson likes his flatbread with honey and sultanas but you could use sugar and raisins or currants or you could make it savoury by adding cheese . You can be as creative as you like! Then eat it like a Viking!

 

Ingredients:

250g (9 ooz) plain wholemeal flour (you can use white but don’t cook it for quite so long),

1 beaten egg,

185g (6.5 oz) butter,

a pinch of salt,

a handful of sultanas.

A spoonful of honey. (you can be really creative and try other fruit, like blackberries, raspberries, currants, nuts, anything really, give it a go)

Put the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle and add the beaten egg

A beaten egg

A beaten egg

Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the flour and egg

 

 

A handful of sultanas

A handful of sultanas

Add the Honey and sultanas or whatever fruit you’ve decided on

 

 

Squish them all together

Squish them all together

 

Get your hands in and squish it all together.

 

 

Roll it into a ball then let it rest for half an hour (you can rest too after all that squishing)

With flour on your rolling pin, roll the dough out flat

With flour on your rolling pin, roll the dough out flat

Now, roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it’s thin (put flour on your board and rolling pin or it’ll stick)

 

 

 

 

Fold the dough in half ...

Fold the dough in half …

Fold the dough in half, then half again.

 

 

 

Roll it out once more and repeat. Then squish it into a ball and leave it to rest covered with a tea towel for about 15 minutes

Flatten it out then roll it into a round about as thick as your finger.

Flatten it out then roll it into a round about as thick as your finger.

Roll the dough into a round shape and as thick as your finger.
put the dough on a huge hot stone in the middle of the fire … or put it on a baking sheet and bake it in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees centigrade (Gas mark 7/425 degrees Fahrenheit) for 25 to 30 minutes.

 

 

 

Pop your oven gloves on and take the bread out of the oven when it is golden brown.

Pop your oven gloves on and take the bread out of the oven when it is golden brown.

When it is golden brown take it out of the oven, let it cool a little then eat it like a viking!

 

 

 

 

 

 

... and then eat!

… and then eat it like a Viking!

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Why Noggin the Nog?

Noggin the Nog enthrals the average British family

Noggin the Nog enthrals the average British family

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog were first shown on British television in 1959. It was made by Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate. They also made Pogle’s Wood, Ivor the Engine, Bagpuss, the Clangers and loads of others: the stuff that many childhoods were made of. The films were made in less frenetic times. The stories were beautifully crafted and the characters carefully drawn … but the films were also quite, quite mad! Vikings who appear to come from Surbiton, who are constantly stopping for tea and toast, who will go on any adventure at the drop of a hat. And what adventures! Travelling to the other ends of the earth to meet a possible bride. Travelling to the Hot Water Valley to do battle with an Ice Dragon that is ruining the farmer’s crops. There was a Goon-ish silliness about the tales. It was these qualities that attracted us to the Sagas and made us want to create a piece of theatre that would do justice to the marvellous nonsense of Firmin and Postgate.

Queen Grunhilde the Lazy One and her maid, Ignora!

Queen Grunhilde the Lazy One and her maid, Ignora!

The stories feel utterly modern though laced with the sensibilities of gentler times. When we came to make the play we referenced the Goons, Monty Python and cartoons that adorned our telly screens … Tom and Jerry, Road Runner and even Scooby Doo and Danger Mouse. The resulting piece of theatre is Pythonesque in its clever silliness, Goon-ish in its character driven narrative, cartoonish in its “feel” and Firmin and Postgate-ish in its attitudes.

“The Nogs are a charmingly mild-mannered bunch of Vikings. They sound a bit like Terry Jones, they look a bit like him too. Except for Noggin. Noggin the Nog, their young leader, is handsome in a Viking sort of way. From my seat in the audience I was almost picked to marry him. But Noggin decided on the Princess of the Nooks instead. They bonded over cocoa and hot buttered toast.
Buttered toast is very important to the Nogs. There’s no threat so desperate, be it storm-lashed seas or marauding dragons, that they can’t stop to make toast round the sine qua non of Viking icoNOGraphy: a glowing camp fire.
The first ever stage production of Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate’s much loved television series retains the homespun, low-tech aesthetic of the original without looking in any way amateurish.
While much of the low-key humour derives from the sort of knowledge of the series which belongs to the older members of the audience, there’s still plenty of fun for the younger ones. It’s a close call as to who enjoys it more, the children or their grandparents.
An expertly acted, beautifully realised stage play with the warm charm of a bedtime story.”

Amanda Kriek’s ★★★★ review for The Independent

I have reprinted this because it sort of bears out what I was getting at.

RWD15_Noggin The Nog_Dragon PNG

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog play is a fairly gentle madcap dash with live music, created on an old and charming harmonium, high-tech projection of Peter Firmin’s original drawings, beautiful puppets both small and, in the case of the dragon, blooming big, some clever theatrical tricks and a cast of Vikings that always appear to get through to the end of the play despite much giddy recklessness and a terribly English absurdity en route.

Nostalgia is often levelled at the play and, of course, the play is based on a 1959 stop motion film, so there is a nostalgic feel to the piece but it is also very much a modern play. It does the play a dis-service to think of it as purely nostalgic. The play is truly cross-generational (I hate that phrase, it sort of puts the play into a pigeon hole that is so big you could get a Giant Bustard in it) … it has been performed to people from babes in arms to much more elderly people (87 years old I seem to remember in one audience). And is enjoyed by all … everyone says that, I know but it really is true of Noggin the Nog. The play is sort of “panto-esque” (not my phrase) but only in the sense that it has a baddy, a few songs, is funny and has a sort of Dame in Queen Grunhilde … but it differs in that it does not have one section for children, dirty smutty innuendos for adults and an inapposite modern pop song for the fairy tale character to “get down” to … the stories and the way we portray them are genuinely accessible and can be understood and often laughed at by all.

So … come and see it.

Follow this link to find out where and when.

Zooming to Brighton … Slowly! Part 2

We left the indomitable Nogs at the “Edinburgh Festival Stage Stage” at the end of the last post … which is down there 🔽 … or just scroll! Did I mention the rain in Edinburgh? Oh, did it rain, Dear Reader! However, despite the rain, the Nogs performed every day (almost, we had a day off per week) for a month and audiences flocked in … which was fortunate as we definitely needed to recoup some of the “Plastic Money” that we had spent on getting there in the first place. We had a fabulous festival not only as a company but also as individuals … I saw theatre great, theatre poor, theatre exciting, theatre weird, theatre absurd, theatre beautiful, theatre intellectual and theatre downright awful but that is the way of festivals! I met a great many amazing people. I listened to incredible musicians. I walked by the canal. I drank beer and ate incredibly well. I handed out Noggin flyers (in the rain, of course … it was sometimes quite difficult handing people who were clutching bags, children and umbrellas a flyer that had the consistency of papier mache). I even had an evening at the whisky society … I was very careful … I counted the steps on the way in so I knew how many I could fall down at the end. Did I mention the rain?

There were a lot of these in Edinburgh!

There were a lot of these in Edinburgh!

The main reasons for us taking “The Sagas of Noggin the Nog” to the Edinburgh Festival was to give the play a longer life, to introduce new audiences to Noggin, to bring the original films and books to the attention of the general public and to create a bit of a buzz around the wonderful and charming stories of Firmin and Postgate. Our audiences literally ranged from babes in arms to Methuselah and his mother. We had Grandparents with their Grandchildren, Grandparents without their Grandchildren, young families, whole generations of families, young people on their own, groups of young adults, middle aged Noggin groupies and a great number of bookers, venue directors, producers and many other theatre and arts professionals … and occasionally drips of rain that crept in through the canvas roof and threatened to soak our projectors and us. We also had a number of reviewers that came in to see the play … and fortunately, they enjoyed it. We had some fabulous reviews, ★★★★ and ★★★★★ and, more important in a way, lots of people who had seen the show wanting to talk to us about it … and where can we buy the books, DVDs, and so on … the answer is at the bottom of this post, Dear Reader.

Nogs enjoy the Edinburgh Summer!

Nogs enjoy the Edinburgh Summer!

Our exciting and tiring sojourn in the land of whisky, theatre and rain eventually came to an end. We loaded up the Nogbulance and headed south and … home! This we called the “What Do We Do Now Stage”. It is hard trying to readapt to home life after a month of fun and nonsense (oh, and hard work). We debriefed … see a previous post . We rested. We moved on to other projects … and we started to create a National tour for the Autumn of 2015. We were incredibly fortunate to meet someone who wanted to support the play financially … and so we began to plot. In our heads, which are often slightly fuzzy at the best of times it has to be said, we were working towards an Autumn tour … then … the Brighton Festival came along and asked us if we would perform over the May Bank Holiday in the Theatre Royal Brighton. This we called the “Oh Blimey, May Stage” May didn’t quite fit into our plans but … the whole point of Edinburgh was to create a Noggin buzz and work for the Noggin team and here it was being offered to us on a plate … the “Plastic Money” investment was beginning to pay off. So, we cranked up the producers (Me and Tony) and tried to get the team back together again …. which we almost did except that Nick had prior engagements and so we asked another fine performer and all round good egg; Kevin James if he would like to become a Nog … and he said yes!

We had new costumes made. We had a new set built and painted (it was still wet during the final rehearsal). We had the Ice Dragon rebuilt (to make him taller and give him wings). We had a new Ronf, the little fellow from the Hot Water Valley, built. We re-imagined and re-rehearsed the whole of the second half of the play. We added a new song. We bought a new brighter (and therefore more expensive) Video Projector. We wanted two but that was too much for the bank to bear. We all turned up for a week in a rehearsal studio in North London and set to work. This we called the “Brighton Festival Stage”.

A naked prototype humanet of Ronf, the little man from the Hot Water Valley.

A naked prototype humanet of Ronf, the little man from the Hot Water Valley.

And now a note of sadness … (violins play) … THE NOGBULANCE IS NO MORE! Our trusty old ambulance that has transported the Nogs and all of their kit, has gone to the scrapyard in the sky! It wasn’t dramatic it just wound to a halt and made a strange strangled noise … which proved to be terminal. We managed to hire a van from Proteus Theatre in Basingstoke and transferred the set and props and said goodbye to a trusty old friend.

Nogbulance 2

The Nogbulances Final Resting Place … by the railway lines in Battle!

These things are sent to try us … and they did, try us, I mean. Losing your Nogbulance when you need to move all of your kit to Theatre Royal Brighton is very trying indeed … crikey, we said, and stamped our feet. But … we made it to Brighton. There will be another post shortly that will give more details of the last few days of rehearsal and our weekend by the sea in Brighton.

In the meantime … if you would like to purchase a book or a DVD, then follow the link.

http://www.dragons-friendly-society.co.uk/main.htm

 

Edinburgh Diary … number 5

★★★★★ Three Weeks

★★★★ The Independent

★★★★ The Stage

★★★★ The List

★★★★ Broadway Baby

Nogbad Spies

Nogbad the Bad searches for more 5★ reviews.

Below are links to various reviews:

http://www.threeweeks.co.uk/article/ed2014-childrens-show-review-the-sagas-of-noggin-the-nog-third-party-productions/

http://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/article/63205-the-sagas-of-noggin-the-nog/

http://www.thestage.co.uk/edinburgh-reviews/72826/the-sagas-of-noggin-the-nog/

http://www.broadwaybaby.com/shows/the-sagas-of-noggin-the-nog/701276

Can’t find a link to the independent review … so here’s a photo of it …

Independent Review

Alright, trumpet blowing complete.

What have we been up to since last we met?

Well, we have all, of course, been battling against the Edinburgh summer … and at times losing. I got trench foot from wearing damp socks, and snuffles and sniffles have been appearing due to the ridiculous summer clothing we brought into the arctic bluster of Edinburgh in August. Despite all that we have had a lovely time. We have seen theatre good and appalling, comedy funny and otherwise, dance of beauty and downright poor and we have all so far got a favourite. I’m not telling yet, it isn’t really fair!

I’ve had a few disappointments … waiting at Summerhall twenty five minutes for a ticket only to be told that that particular show is sold out … surely not difficult to write on a blackboard which shows are sold out so as not to force people to wait twenty-five minutes for a show that is sold out! I’ve listened to some great music; much of it free in the streets and there is, of course, a fabulous atmosphere in the city. I have seen unicyclists, jugglers, nurses, mimes, clowns, zombies, tarts and vicars, aliens and voca people … and that is whilst just popping for a coffee. I’ve walked a few hundred yards and been given a few hundred flyers … I’m always nice, I always take a flyer and usually have a chat with the flyerers … it is a fairly dispiriting task when no-one takes a flyer and so many people are just downright rude. The funniest ones though are the ones that pretend you are not there … they walk up to you, they can’t not have seen you and then just ignore you totally when you try to engage with them … they make I laugh!

I went to the circus last night … the NoFitState circus … unbelievable … incredible … do go and see it, it is a masterpiece of energy, skill, inventiveness and sheer brilliance in its design and conception … well worth a few of your coins of the realm! It is mesmerising!

Snogging the Snog: Noggin and Nooka of the Nooks.

Snogging the Snog: Noggin and Nooka of the Nooks.

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog is going from strength to strength … we have a great routine in setting up … we can do it in about twelve minutes … set/costumes/projectors/puppets, the lot. Not bad really and the getting out is even quicker!

For those people who have seen the show and are looking to book it into their venue or for their event … the play here in Edinburgh is slightly truncated … we had to fit it into an hour slot. The full length show is about 70 to 75 minutes and we play it with an interval of 15 to 20 minutes, so it is a full length play for families. 90 minutes in all.

I have read a lot of tosh about how Edinburgh is ruining touring theatre … of course it isn’t sillies! Every professional theatre company that tours regularly understands how theatre works … we know what venues want and we know what audiences want. To suggest that theatre companies aren’t clever enough to make a piece of theatre that plays at the Edinburgh Fringe and can then play to arts centres, theatres and other venues around the country, is very demeaning to those professional companies that have made their livings from touring … we know how it works … that is what we do, so please don’t be so condescending and superior to professional touring theatre. The very idea that Edinburgh is forcing companies to create shows that can only be performed at Edinburgh is quite, quite pathetic and could only have been suggested by someone who (excuse me for this) has their head up their own arses!

Anyway, mild rant over … we have a few more days left here in “sunny” Edinburgh, so don’t wait too long to book your ticket. See you in George Square Gardens at 12.50 every day!

Kickstart-ering Our Way to Edinburgh!

You can help Noggin the Nog by clicking here!

 If you click on the link above it will take you to our Kickstarter Campaign page.

It’s always good to get the “ask” in early, I say. We have calculated that it is going to cost in excess of £16,000 to take Noggin up to the Edinburgh Festival. We have raised £12,000. We have a shortfall of £4,000. If you can help; anything from £1 to … well … £4,000 would be incredible. It will enable us to take Noggin to Edinburgh and beyond.

The Edinburgh Festival is the biggest shop-window in the world for performance. The Sagas of Noggin the Nog has to be there: we have to show our work to Promoters, the Press and New Audiences in order to spread the word!

The Ice Dragon Cometh

The Ice Dragon Cometh

Silly Vikings, Live Music, Puppets and Video Projections taken from the original 1959 film, The Sagas of Noggin the Nog is a feast for the eyes, ears … and occasionally the nose (sorry about that).

“Clever, witty and entrancing … unquestionably a hit”.

As we toured the show last year we were pleasantly surprised by the audience reaction. We knew the show was good but we were not expecting the sheer volume of “brilliants”, “amazings” and “wonderfuls” that we received from the audience and indeed the press.

“Utterly brilliant show – couldn’t praise it highly enough, so thank you very, very much!”

“That was brilliant. I wish all my friends could see it.”

We know that this “delightful, gentle and inventive show” has to be seen by more people. It is a play that crosses the generation boundary. We performed to 4 and 94 years olds. Children who had never heard of Noggin the Nog were spellbound and from e mails that we have received from many parents, their offspring are creating their own Noggin adventures at home and in school. We have also received lots of enquiries about the Noggin books and DVDs. If you look up and to the right you’ll see a link to The Dragon’s Friendly Society … click on that and you’ll find all kinds of goodies you can buy; including books and DVDs.

170px-Wfm_lewis_chessmen Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate created The Sagas of Noggin the Nog back in the late fifties. Peter, the        artist, saw the Lewis Chess Pieces at the British Museum and they became the inspiration for the stories.

The stories were told at a slower and less frenetic pace than most TV is now. Initially this worried us a little: what if the modern audience gets bored at the gentler style of storytelling?

“What a spellbinding and magical show we enjoyed at Ilfracombe today! A truly lovely experience!”

“Today we went to see Noggin the Nog at Lighthouse in Poole. It was absolutely brilliant and very funny… if the tour is coming to a theatre near you then you should see it!”

“Just as another chorus of “when will it start” is about to begin – BOOM! Two little spines stiffen and heads whiz around to face front, craning to see. A drummer steps from behind the deceptively simple, but effective and versatile, set. My two little boys are transfixed and remain so for the duration of the performance.”

We needn’t have worried. It seems that the style and the pace of the production is just right even for modern audiences who are used to seeing TV and Films that hurtle and rush and cut from one scene to another with increasing rapidity.

“In the Lands of the North where the black rocks stand guards against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the Men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires; and they tell a tale …”

So, if you are in Edinburgh for this years festival, do come and see us and say hello and if not … watch out for a new tour coming to a venue near you, next year.

The Sagas of Noggin the Nog Heads to Edinburgh … Part 1

We’re on our way to Edinburgh … by way of Theatre Royal Margate! 

In the lands of the North, where the black rocks stand guard against the cold sea, in the dark night that is very long, the Men of the Northlands sit by their great log fires and they tell a tale … and the tale they tell is of Noggin the Nog, strong and fair and brave as the men of the Northlands are. So begins the tales of Noggin the Nog.

Our tale is about a group of performers, musicians, directors, puppet makers, designers and a team of dedicated people who all want The Sagas of Noggin the Nog to go beyond the one successful tour of 2013. To this end we are starting again.

Monday 30th June 2014 …

After three or four days of putting together a project for Kickstarter (of which more later) and checking costumes, props, set and sending e mails by the score, Monday arrives! We have almost two weeks to re-write and re-rehearse the play. Why? Well, we are taking The Sagas of Noggin the Nog to Edinburgh and we have to shorten the show to fit in with the festival schedule; currently the play lasts seventy-five minutes and we have to cut it so that it fits into an hour slot. We also have to lose some of our equipment because there is nowhere to store it at the venue. We also want to rework the second half of the play which has a slightly different feel to the first half and we would like to make it more consistent. So, Monday … thanks to an association with the Theatre Royal Margate, we have a rehearsal space at The Winter Gardens … up lots of stairs, I might add … still it keeps us fit. And then on Friday 11th July 2014 we are previewing our new slimline version of the show at the Theatre Royal Margate (there is a link at the end of this post).

 

Caroline titivates the Hot Water Valley Ambassador, Ronf

Caroline titivates the Hot Water Valley Ambassador, Ronf

Why?

During the tour of “Noggin” last year we made an important discovery … this play is genuinely a piece of family theatre. Yes, it works for children, yes, it works for adults but it works particularly well for family audiences. Why is that important? I have noticed over many years of touring theatre that there are fewer and fewer family shows being produced. There are lots of “kids” or worse “kidz” shows and many shows for adults but few that attempt to entertain, intrigue and engage the whole family. In Britain we have the Pantomime but the majority of those have long since stopped trying to engage all of the audience. It is rare that as a family we sit in a large room filled with other families and share an event, an experience, and it is this shared experience that makes it special. We get home and talk about what we experienced collectively; something that happens less frequently in this “solo world”. We see parents sitting with their mobile phones or tablets whilst their children sit on their mobile phones or tablets and no matter how brilliant and engaging they are, they are not sharing an event. The Sagas of Noggin the Nog is an event, an experience to be shared. Last year at the Lighthouse, Poole whilst talking to the audience afterwards, we met four generations of one family who had watched the show together: there was something quite magical about that … four generations talking about a shared experience.

So?

So, we want to take the play to more venues, to be seen by more people. For this, we are taking the show to Edinburgh. The festival is the biggest showcase for performance in the world. If we are going to take The Sagas of Noggin the Nog to a wider audience, move it onto another level, we have to be there. There will be thousands of theatre professionals, venue bookers, producers and so on at the festival; we have to let them see our show, meet them, talk to them; we have to create an interest in the play in order for it to go further.

Sunday 6th July

As I sit here on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon I am aware of all of the thousands of things we have to achieve in the next few weeks. Most imminently is the next week of rehearsal and the preview at Theatre Royal Margate; we are doing two performances, one in the afternoon for schools (which is free) and one in the evening for the general public. Follow the link for more information.

We then have to prepare everything for the Edinburgh Festival. Not least of which is raising a little more money to make it viable. We have set up a Kickstarter project to this end … if you can help us by backing the show we would be most appreciative. Again, follow the link.

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1884588791/the-sagas-of-noggin-the-nog-goes-to-edinburgh-and

http://www.assemblyfestival.com/event.php?id=153 

http://theatreroyalmargate.com/event/the-sagas-of-noggin-the-nog-edinburgh-preview/