Yes! After years of saying we’d never do one because frankly, it all seems like a terrific bother, we’ve been headhunted by a lovely publisher who really believes. I know, my flabber was as gasted as yours – I was making Harold Bishop concentrating noises for weeks in disbelief.
So what’s our angle? Easy: 100 or so of the slimming recipes that helped us on our journey last year to lose 265lb between the two of us! All new recipes that haven’t been slid into your inbox before. Recipes that you can count on to be delicious (because it’s us, and yeah, we might have filthy mouths and make far too many knob-jokes than is decent, but by god we can cook!), slimming and, perhaps most of all: easy to make. The whole ethos of twochubbycubs is that we aren’t chefs, we aren’t fancy and we certainly aren’t boring blah-blah writers – and that’s going to get tipped straight into the book, we promise. We’ll make an effort to make sure the recipes are suitable for your slimming plans.
Vegetarian? Vegan? Don’t you fret. We haven’t forgotten about you – we’ll make sure there’s a good spread of recipes that suit your needs straight from the off, or, are easily adapted to your ways. Fan of meat between your cheeks? We hear you, and have you covered too. In short, it’s a book for all!
Possibly the biggest question though: is it going to have the twochubbycubs’ brand of humour and smut? Of course it bloody is. It’s us. Whilst the recipes will be clear, easy-to-follow and simple enough to cook at home, there’s going to be more than a thick portion of our personality spread over each page. I did ask if the centrefold can be a casual photo of me in a bath of Quality Street with my moobs pressed lusciously together but that was vetoed on the grounds that it would be so damn hot, it would pose a fire risk. Plus they’d might lose a toffee finger or two when I shifted. We might tone down the swearing in case the book ends up on a table in a WI hall at some point, but everything else remains the same.
We want this book to be three things, most of all:
* inspirational: we lost 265lb between us, we know how to lose weight and that the key thing to remember is that you want your diet to feel less like a chore and more like a lifestyle – we can give you the help you need without being patronising arses;
* fun: if you’re like us and reading 300 words about someone choosing the right quinoa in a Venetian market bores you to tears – we will be different; and
* lucrative: listen, we’ve got an American road-trip planned for next year and there’s only so many meat-boxes that we can convert to airmiles.
Oh, and the blog: worry not. We’ve had our foot off the pedals for a while, but we’re back on it big-style. We’ve got recipes banked up to post, stories to tell and finally, thankfully, we’ve got a bit of zim about us. This will be our year!
Two final points: you can pre-order the cookbook now, and we’d love you forever and ever if you told your friends and slimming group members all about it – we promise you won’t be disappointed.
And, just to be clear, Paul and I aren’t splitting up. I just couldn’t do that to him. Honestly, he’s co-signed as a joint party on our book contract and I’ll be damned if he’s getting half of the spoils if he’s not around to scratch my feet and keep me centered.
You have come for the lamb and mint burgers – I nearly did too. But in order to get to the lamb and mint burgers, you’ll either need to scroll through a tale of DILFery OR jump straight to the picture of two men nearly kissing. Either way, I’m going to make you work for it.
They say never meet your heroes, and nor should you reuse your opening joke from a similar blog entry two posts ago, but sometimes you have to take a risk that the man you’re meeting off the Internet isn’t going to brutally attack, sodomise and chop you into bits. Much to my chagrin: I could do with the easy weight loss a leg amputation would bring. Following hot on the heels of my recent jaunt to meet Paul II, the chap behind our roast potatoes recipe, we rolled the dice again and agreed to meet another mate for the first time. His name is Andy, and if you’re a member of our Facebook group, you’ll have seen his arse more times than you’ll have seen our recipes. He was up to see Suede and had decided to make a weekend of it and thus, plans were afoot. We were going to meet Saturday Night, but then I realised Sunday was far more appropriate.
We had arranged to meet in Newcastle’s cigar lounge for a few drinks and a catch-up, but then Paul came along (as did Andy’s wife) and thus we had to find a new venue to accommodate everyone. I shan’t call it cockblocking, even though that’s clearly what it is. We settled on Newcastle’s premier ‘why yes, I am vegan’ hotspot (although technically it’s Gateshead) ‘By the River’, which is a charming collection of shipping containers full of pop-up boutique eateries and fancy places to drink. It’s wank, aye, but good wank: the type of wank which doesn’t take forever and rewards you by just leaving your pubes looking like an iced-bun. By The River, if you want to use that in your advertising, my fees are entirely reasonable. Gateshead has a rough reputation – some of which is deserved (there’s more than a few places where if you’ve got a full set of teeth in your head you’ll be beating the street’s total) and some of which isn’t, but By The River at least feels safe.
We were late but they were later still and on entirely the wrong side of the river so, whilst they minced over the swing bridge resplendent in their winter wear (She’s In Fashion), I went in and ordered a couple of beers.
“We only serve our beers in 2/3rds, no pints” said the charming lady behind the bar, and who then stuck her hand out for £11 – for not even two pints. When I asked whether I was renting the pub for the evening and whether I only needed to pay 2/3rds of the bill, she gave me a look that turned my beer flat and jostled her hand at me again. I love to make friends. I took my sunkissed tangerine press beer and Paul’s grapefruit and hops liquor nonsense (surprised it didn’t come with a tampon floater) outside just in time to meet Andy, Sarah and their children. A baby (she’s a roight good babby she am!) and a young lad. I’ll say this now – what an absolute treasure their children are. Absolutely Beautiful Ones. You have to understand that I’m coming at this as someone who dislikes children immensely and would think nothing of dropkicking the little buggers into the Tyne if they so much as slightly inconvenience me in any way. It’s testament to Sarah and Andy’s excellent parenting that the lad, So Young, was able to sit and be cheerful through ten hours of our nonsense, and was content to nurse his Jaegerbomb and twenty deck of Lamberts whilst the adults chatted.
We sat by the river for about half an hour chatting like old friends before we realised that the baby’s lips had turned blue and she had icicles hanging off her nappy and thought it would be wise to head indoors but, met with a sea of shaped beards, brittle wrists and occupied seats, we were forced to decamp to the Wetherspoons over the bridge. I’m not a fan of Wetherspoons for political reasons and because the owner looks like Professor Weetos mid-CBT, but nevertheless, it’s cheap and cheerful and at least the baby would have a chance to thaw. Finding a table for six proved difficult, not least because Captain Potato Paint was sat at a table for six and refused to move. He wasn’t sat with anyone and yet refused to swap over, taking a fair bit of joy in watching us crowd around a tiny table. Prick. With any luck, he’ll have pitched himself into the Tyne on his way home.
Eventually a table came clear and, with a final shitty look at the melt who wouldn’t move, we took our seats and started drinking. Here’s a cute thing: we posted our table number into our facebook group and mentioned if people wanted to send us a drink or two, they could. They sent a bloody table’s worth of booze – gins, whisky, pints, shots, pitchers of lurid cocktails and, of course, some smoothies and a lemonade for the little one (Paul). That was amazing, and if you sent us a drink, thank you – but it gets even better. People, knowing what fatties we were, sent food. So much food. We had 12 trays of halloumi fries, seven bowls of mushy peas, a token salad and so many biscuits. Whilst We Are The Pigs and Can’t Get Enough, even we can’t manage that much. At one point both the ‘Chef’ and the bar manager came over to ask whether we actually wanted the drinks and food that people had sent and tried to guilt-trip us because we’d caused a run on the bar. Fancy, a pub having to serve drinks and food! They both had a right strop on – presumably the Chef’s microwave had reached critical mass and was threatening to become the next Chernobyl, but even so – people paid for the food, you give it to them! I blame BREXIT.
A good few hours passed in delightful company and let me tell you, conversation never felt strained, save for when we were trying to work out the nuances of Sarah’s Sam Allardyce accent. The baby was getting restless at around 10pm (I’ve never seen a baby call for her own Uber before) and the decision was made to return back to their Premier Inn with us two in tow. What followed was a smashing game of car Tetris which saw the delightful Ahmed (5*) trying to fit a baby, pram, two fat blokes, a small child and his Switch, one rugby-build bloke and one wife with a better beard than all of us into a Vauxhall Zafira. To his credit, once we’d strapped Sarah onto the roof like the granny from The Beverley Hillbillies, popped the baby in the glove box with a rusk and I’d persuaded Andy to sit on my face and wriggle, we were away.
The Premier Inn was a wonderful establishment with kind staff, a bottomless bar (well until I turned up) and cheery receptionists who were just so eager to please. The rest of the evening was spent messing about, talking Trash and laughing until about half one, when we definitely chose of our own volition to leave the bar. We were waved off warmly by the staff and even had a long conversation outside with the kind, good-natured receptionist and just charming security chap. Paul and I jumped in an Uber home and although the driver seemed not to mind detouring into Gosforth Racecourse so we could all go for a piss, he hid his disgust well behind a cloud of our piss-steam. A good night indeed!
Tell you what though, what a pleasure it was meeting such a lovely group of people. I’m not one for overwrought writing but sometimes you just know when you’ve made good friends – so well done Sarah and Andy, you’ve melted our hearts. They’ve made the catastrophic error of inviting us to their wedding later in the year – sounds like a gas save for the fact I love being the centre of attention and if Sarah thinks I’m not turning up in a size 36 white wedding dress with mascara smeared on my face and Astroglide smeared up my arse then she’s got another thing coming. Probably Andy, to be fair. Up my bum, hopefully. We haven’t been to a wedding since the last time when we got drunk and I tried to fuck to the strains of Gina G. How am I gonna beat that?
And finally, before the recipe, a moment of congratulations for me, if you don’t mind. I’ve managed to type 1400 words or so and never really made clear what an absolute fucking DILF this man is:
There’s just something about his looks that appeals to me, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. We’ll Stay Together again!
Right, speaking of tasty meat, shall we do this lamb and mint burgers recipe? Let’s get your dripping from your mouth instead of your blurter.
Here for the sundried tomato, chicken and parmesan couscous? Something for the weekend, madam? Sir? Well regardless, it’s here, but continuing the theme of less blog posts but more quality writing, the next entry is a long one – feel free to scroll down to the food pictures if you’re short on attention / time / desire to read 2400 words about a camping trip.
It was my birthday last week (29, again, thanks – sure) and, confession time, I don’t handle getting older very well. Due to a mixture of being ill, a general lingering sense of disenchantment and work commitments, I took a strong and stable decision to postpone any celebrations until later in the month. I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday on Brexit Day, either. I think this is why Theresa delayed it.
This led to me trying to fill the void with all manners of tedious activities including clearing out the garage, which I’m totally doing because I want some extra space and not because I want to move the gloryhole into there as our knees are wearing a tread in the carpet. We’ll touch on that in another entry but all you need to know was that on one Saturday morning, we were to be found Sorting Out Shite in the garage. Well, I was, I’d sent Paul to try and find somewhere to store all of his nonsense / sentimental keepsakes.
Now, you must understand, for as much as I love camping, Paul loves the act of complaining about it even more: he’s got a bad back / legs / attitude and no amount of sleeping out in the wild will cut the mustard for him. Paul’s idea of roughing it is a hotel without a bidet to wash his knot with and full room service. He’s all fur coat and no knickers, that one, and has certainly changed from the days when his mum used to put Netto washing up liquid in his bath because they were too poor for Matey.
So, for years, every time I suggested we go camping, it would immediately be shot down or a ‘compromise’ offered where he stayed in a nearby hotel, appeared on command for cuddles (or to check there wasn’t another man in my tent) and then fuck off. Well, I wasn’t having that: either shit or get off the marriage, I say. Hence on this Saturday morning, tent in hand, I decided that I ought to take myself off into the wilds of Northumberland – alone mind you – to have a night to myself. It was a glorious sunny day, the sky was full of hope and my heart full of joy, so after a quick mince to Argos for the essentials (air-bed for two, sleeping bag for two, night-light you could flag a plane down with) and Morrisons for the even more essentials (twelve packets of crisps, bottle of gin, six cans of tonic and blue Rizlas) I was set to go.
However, in my search for a carrier bag for my snacks, I noticed our greenhouse was now overflowing with garage stuff, and that just couldn’t do: I spent the next two hours clearing that out until events came to a screeching (quite literally) halt with the appearance of a spider that I genuinely could have boxed with. I’m not too bad with spiders as long as I can see them but this was a big, mean looking bastard and it came hurtling from under the table I’d just sledgehammered with the look of a neighbour whose bin I had knocked over. To be honest, had I been bent over at the time, this could have been a #metoo moment. Paul, alerted by my more-screaming-than-usual, came out to see what the problem is, then went immediately back inside, smartly closing the door, and taking a position at the bedroom window to peek at me through the blinds as though fearful the spider itself could have crowbarred the door open.
I’d made such good progress at this point that, after my heart resumed its normal beat of 180BPM, I dashed back in and valiantly set about the area with a shovel like I was beating out an oil fire, cracking two floor tiles as I went – but I got the bastard. It was certainly the first time I’ve ever felt a spider fight back. You know in Infinity War when Scarlet Witch is using her powers to hold back Thanos? That was this spider. I do hope its children were watching – I left the carcass on the floor as a warning. That and I couldn’t lift the bugger because adrenaline had left me weak. That all wrapped up, I was in the car and heading for God Knows Where in no time, just as the heavens started to open with that indecisive rain where it’s wet enough to make your thighs chaff but not enough to warrant putting the windscreen wipers on. Of course.
After a good solid hour of yelling and shouting and foaming at the gash about being stuck behind weekend drivers (seriously: why do you have a car with a three litre engine if all you’re doing to do is drive it to your hospice appointment at a speed so low I’m surprised the reversing lights don’t come on – why? Who hurt you? Me, if you don’t get out of the friggin’ way, you lavender-haired shitemare), I pulled into Wooler. Found a charming little campsite only to be immediately and snootily told that oh no, chortle chortle, they don’t allow tents. Yes, I can see the concern – the last thing you want on a campsite is people camping, after all. I mean, where would all the aforementioned arseholes park their Range Rover Evoques? I gave a harrumph of disgust and spun on my heel as gracefully as a fat bloke in size 12 Dr Martens can manage, swishing my none hair at the same time. You know, it’s been over 15 years since I had long hair and if you look carefully, I still instinctively push my hair out of my eyes when I’m concentrating or arguing. Fun fact.
All was not lost, though – a little down the road I found somewhere quiet and flat to pitch my tent and, after Youtubing how the hell you put up a tent, set about it. You might expect that I’d struggle with such a task, but it was easy! I had two ropes to pull and up the tent popped, legs locking themselves and boom, done. The only tricky bit was forgetting to bring a hammer, but it’s OK – one of the advantages of being so burly is that most things bend underfoot and I had that tent secured in no time. Trickiest part was inflating the air bed – it was a manual pump (aren’t we all?) and boy did that take some doing. I was wrecked – in any other situation I’d have given up there and then but damn it, I won’t be beaten by a velour covered mattress with all the structural integrity of an old man’s scrotum. I huffed, puffed and almost blew my house down but by god after ten minutes that bed was as taut and firm as my coldness towards my husband.
All set up, I set about reading the book I’d brought along for all of thirty seconds before my feet start itching and so, I set off to explore a rural village in Northumberland in the hope of finding somewhere for a drink. Well now. It was a pretty village absolutely, and I’m a confident guy, but wearing rainbow sheen DMs paired with this understated t-shirt:
gave me a touch more pause than I usually have. The pubs didn’t look terrifically welcoming and perhaps not the place for a cheeky crème de menthe. I’m sure everyone was going to be very friendly but I’d forgotten my douching bulb and if we were going to go full Deliverance in Wooler, this wasn’t going to be the night. I mooched about, bought some petrol station sandwiches and somewhat disgustingly sober made my way back over the hill to my tent to set about enlightening myself. I noticed a caravan parked nearby but they left soon after, presumably after they realised they’d be kept awake by my snoring and farting.
I had the snazzy idea that if I needed emergency lighting I could use my car key fob to turn the headlights on and bathe my tent in bright light, however, the car was facing the wrong way. That’s fine – I got dressed (and you have no idea how difficult it is to put a pair of wet jeans on in a 5ft tent when you’re 6ft 1″) and nipped out. A quick reverse to turn the car around and we’d be good, only, in classic me fashion, I managed to reverse over two of the lines keeping the tent fastened and also a good third of my tent. Listen, it was dark and I didn’t have my glasses on, so don’t be a judgemental cow. Tell you what though, instead of snapping, those ropes held firm and the car did a smashing job ramming the tent pegs into the Earth. I hope there wasn’t a lassie sitting having a piss on a beach in New Zealand because she probably got the end of my tent-peg tickling her clopper. Aside from a tyre print across the side of the tent, all was well, and I congratulated myself on my ingenuity by sitting and flashing my lights off and on: – …. .-. — – – .-.. . / — . .-.-.- / -… .-. . . -.. / — . .-.-.- / .-.. . .- …- . / … -. .- -.-. -.- … .-.-.-
And so it was that the night passed along, me entertaining myself to the fullest degree I could. The idea of setting in a canvas coffin, your breath and farts condensing on the ceiling and dripping into your hair as you sleep, might not appeal to most, but it was worth it for one moment in the middle of the night: I stepped out for a piss and after marvelling at the fact I no longer had a penis because it had hidden away in my lungs for the night, I looked up – not a cloud in the sky and all the stars you could ever want. Somewhere out there, a star shines for me. There was no sound, no light nearby, and it was just magnificent: an absolute blanket of space and for all intents and purposes, not another soul around. I haven’t felt so perfectly alone in a long while and, far from it being awful, it was everything. Now admittedly, my giddiness could have been somewhat influenced by intoxicants, but I don’t care. I love the stars and I adored that moment. I do wonder if there was another couple watching the sight of an almost nude me staring transfixed at the sky for a good solid fifteen minutes and, if they were, I hope they enjoyed the sight of my bullet nipples and my milky-white bumcheeks positively coruscating in the moonlight.
Back inside, comfortably returned to the welcoming embrace of rustling sleeping bags and my own scent, I fell into sleep, and my night was done, save for an arresting gasp at about half five when I woke up disorientated and panicking due to shuffling so far into my sleeping bag that I thought someone cruel had buried me alive, I slept like a log. Honestly, I could have cheerfully stayed, but boo, work and someone needs to feed the cats. And oh aye, Paul. I nicked into a nearby toilet block for a shower and what a treat that was, mind – I’ve never felt fresher than I did soaping my balls under a shower I had to walk around in to get wet. Temperature? Glacial. Which made the next fifteen minutes of drip-drying all the sweeter, I can promise you – I’d forgotten to bring a towel and well let’s be frank, there’s a lot of flesh and hair to hold the water. I had to knock the icicles forming on my cock before I had a piss. After twenty minutes of dry-humping the airbed to try and get enough air out to enable me to fold it into a C3 and ten minutes of feeling sorry for myself for falling over in the mud whilst doing so, I was on my way. Stopped for a fried breakfast in somewhere artsy-fartsy and was pleasantly surprised that she didn’t judge me for not having muesli, then a quick drive back home (after the briefest of 200 mile diversions, you understand, to take in some familiar views) it was all over.
Camping, done. Definitely going to do it again. But enough about me, suppose we should do the recipe. Sundried tomato, chicken and parmesan couscous, here we go.
A handy lunch this, if you're stuck on stuff to eat during the day. Keeps well in the fridge and tastes better for being left. If you're feeling like an indulgent hussy, add yourself a small knob of butter when you add the couscous. Enjoy!
200g Ainsley Harriott sundried tomato and garlic cous cous (6 syns) (save syns by using plain couscous, but you know: taste)
6 handfuls of baby spinach, chopped up
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 chicken stock cube
2 tsp dried basil
½ tsp pepper
30g parmesan, grated (1x HeA)
chop the spinach finely
spray a large frying pan with a little oil over a medium heat
add the garlic and cook for one minute
add the chicken and cook it off until it's white
add spinach, basil and pepper to the pan
crumble over a stock cube and add 350ml water along with the couscous
mix everything together and bring to the boil
remove from the heat, cover the pan with a lid and stand for 5-10 minutes until the water is absorbed
sprinkle over the parmesan and serve
Make it more indulgent by adding 90g more of parmesan (3 x HEA!) and living the bloody dream. Stir it in!
As with all of our recipes, you can add anything you like into this. It would work well with roasted peppers, feta cheese, olives, sausages, packet of crisps or Trex.
The problem with recipes like sundried tomato chicken and parmesan couscous is that it’s super hard to make the photos look good – doesn’t help that it looks as though I’ve tipped a ped-egg over the top! But damn it, it tastes good and is worth giving it a go! Want more lunch ideas? Sure thing, sugartits:
Here for the cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers? Who can blame you: it’s like breakfast but someone tickling your molly at the same time – it’s that good. But fair warning: there’s a big entry in front of it.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it, since I really got my juices flowing and spaffed a long article all over your keyboard? Listen, I know you might not be in the mood for a long entry – you’ve turned into such a frigid cow since the days when you used to have me in your bed every night – so if you’re not in the mood to read, simply click the entirely random set of teeth below to be whisked straight to the cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers.
They say, in life, never meet your heroes. Well no, they say it somewhere on Pinterest in between all the inspirational quotes and pictures of satchels. Anyway, last Thursday, I went to Liverpool for a day out to do exactly that.
Imagine my disappointment when I realised Cilla passed away in 2015 after a quick breakdance routine down a flight of stairs. Actually, that’s a fib. My eyes couldn’t have been drier on that day, and you’re talking to someone whose eyes are ruined from squinting owlishly at the most appalling porn on a mobile when Paul’s fallen asleep.
The original plan was to go down on the 4.30am train but, as with all my plans, it all fell apart at the last moment with the appearance of Storm Gareth. Gareth! Who the fuck is in charge of naming storms these days? If you were told Storm Hercules was approaching, you’d batten down the hatches, lock the cats away and get in the Anderson shelter. Well, you would, I’d be outside in the garden with my bum-cheeks spread and ‘DON’T STOP EVEN IF I USE THE SAFE WORD’ carved in my jiggly-joggly bumcheeks. But Storm Gareth? No disrespect to any Gareth folks that are out there but the name suggests a storm that couldn’t blow the froth off a pint of piss-weak bitter. It’s like being menaced by a headache called Susan or shaken down for money by Lil Dwayne. Pfft.
However, two things: I’m prone to catastrophic thinking and I’m a tight-arse Geordie: there was fuck all way I was going to miss the escape rooms and cinema that had all been paid for simply because Storm Gareth had Selby-ed my train. So, after begging mercy from the man upstairs, praying to the good folks at First Direct and sweet-talking the husband to ignoring my demands for a frugal month, I was on a train travelling down the night before.
And what a journey! I’ve never known such opulence as the Transpennine First Class. I wasn’t expecting luxury given I was travelling on a converted bus, but fucking hell. The clues were there: the fact that first class was cheaper than standard class should have given it away. No reserved seating – I had my eye on the one individual seat but this was immediately taken by some bampot with a face like a bee-keeper’s apprentice, forcing me to share a table. Now look: I’m a social guy and I like a conversation but only on my own terms – on a train, unless his cock is nudging against my knees under the table, I’m never going to be keen.
So of course, I was immediately joined by a chap who wanted to talk about business and nonsense and his marriage, and this was all before I’d finished fussing around in my bag and making sure I had easy access to the four bags of Haribo that I’d spent eighty quid on in WH Smith. I feigned polite interest until I managed to detangle my headphones then gave him a ‘long day mate, just gonna relax’ smile to get him to shut the fuck up. He didn’t. He was lovely, don’t get me wrong, but by the time we reached Durham and I’d taken my headphones out for the eighteenth time I was four blinks away from smashing his teeth out with the wee red emergency hammer which was tantalisingly close.
Luckily, the train manager provided him a distraction when she came around with the ‘free food and drinks’, which amounted to a cheese muffin that had survived the Cold War and wine: red or white. I had to pinch myself to remember I wasn’t on the Orient Express, truly I did. I ordered white wine and was pushed into a cup of tea to go with it (the perfect pairing!). Must have made her day because she clearly poured the white wine from the same kettle as the tea. Warm? I could have made a Pot Noodle with it. I had five more glasses because it was free, of course. Chatty Man stopped his nonsense once we were past Darlington (amazing what the sight of an impoverished war-zone can do for a good mood) and I was left in relative silence for the rest of the journey.
Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram decided to have a shitfit at this point meaning there was literally nothing to do, so the three hours just flew by. There was a curious moment when a businesswoman sat next to me, then got up and sat across the aisle ten minutes later and started crying. I tried to catch her eye to reassure her that one day she too could smell as good as me (Maison Margiela, Across Sands eau de parfum, since you were wondering: I’m giving the Tom Ford a rest) but she wouldn’t look at me. I thought about changing my Wifi Hotspot name to ‘sorry love, that’ll be the cheese muffin and hot wine’ but that seemed like altogether too much hassle, so I left her to her wracked sobs.
I want to qualify that last sentence though: I’m not a monster. If I had a chance to do my ‘there there’ voice and ask if she was alright, but there was a very clear ‘everyone leave me be’ vibe. Hmm. Now I’m thinking about it, I hope she’s out there with a smile on her face and not floating in the Mersey. Contact me if you’re reading this: I was the chap in leather who was spilling over into your seat. Perhaps that’s why you moved, maybe it was me shallow-breathing through my nose, perhaps you were upset I never offered you one of my Starmix. Who knows?
The train dropped me off in Liverpool and after a short argument with Google Maps (I don’t trust technology) I found my hotel, had a lovely plate of the very best Iceland microwave bits they could find, read my Point Horror book (it was the best friend all along!) and after checking Paul hadn’t killed himself in my absence, went to bed. I actually didn’t make it that far, I fell asleep fully clothed because I couldn’t be arsed to take my boots off. Which sounds lazy, until you realise I was wearing these:
Once all laced up and tight, it’s actually quicker to saw off my own legs than it is to clit about trying to untie them enough so they can slip over my cankles. I woke up bright and literally breezy the next day with Storm Gareth making the windows rattle and after picking newsprint off my face, went to meet my mate.
Remember a few posts ago there was a foul-mouthed recipe for roast potatoes and a guide to a buffet that would have made your gran blush? Well, that was the chap (Paul II) I was meeting up with – thrashing out negotiations for payment for his blog post Theme Park style (wouldn’t work through, I have tiny hammy hands, he has hands like a water-swollen badger corpse). What better way to immediately test a friendship than to try an escape room together?
Boy, were we good. We’re both massive fans of the escape room format (as previously discussed) but it’s always a risk doing one with an unknown personality – and you never know which personality either of us is likely to have on any given day. However, Team Myra and Ian’s Cassette Mix were a delight, even if the name made the room host wince. The theme was time travel and although I spent the first thirty minutes taking it far too seriously and desperately searching for a button to plummet me back twenty years, we escaped with a good thirteen minutes to spare.
And mind, this room was hard. A tiny central room which opened up four times over to reveal scenes from different times, meaning one minute you were fumbling around trying to work out the moves to Saturday Night Fever (or, as I call it, cock-throat) and next you were working out morse code to discover where the nukes were dropping. It was very well done indeed and the combination of someone being excellent at maths and sweating (Paul II) and the other being great at words and getting in the way meant we absolutely nailed it. Before we went in we were full of bravado and told the Host that she mustn’t give us clues and that we were super-clever. We only caved once, and to be honest I think that was more her stepping in before we ended up wrestling on the floor with him trying to extract my Mind Stone.
A brief tour of Liverpool followed and I’ll say this: I had in my head some dystopian town, full of homelessness, graffiti, no-go areas, low value shops and gruff, barely literate shufflers. I realise my error now, in retrospect: due to the addition of Liverpool Cathedral, it’s actually classed as a city. Silly me! No I jest: what a beautiful place – I was very pleasantly surprised.
Speaking of pleasant surprises, Captain Marvel was next. We were temporarily held up by some pipe-cleaner in a Burtons suit who not only pushed in front of me in the popcorn queue but then who proceeded to hand me his card to tap it on the contactless point. If I’d been less tired and emotional I’d have thrown his Vanquis card straight into the nacho cheese pan and let him suffer the third degree burns needed to it out. It was bad enough paying a trillion pounds for two fizzy worms, let alone repeating the process for him.
There’s always a frisson of excitement going to the cinema with someone new, isn’t there? Are they a talker? Will they want to share your sweets? Will they spend half an hour asking ‘who is that’ and ‘why are they talking’ and ‘why is that cat on fire?’ etc? I was fearful as to whether I’d be able to hear Captain Marvel kicking off over the sound of his nose whistling – it was like being sat next to an idling bus – but all was well, with only minimal dipping into my sweets bag (not a euphemism, readers – or for good measure, Paul I). Captain Marvel was a perfectly pleasing romp with simply the best angry pussy committed to film since Teeth.
We then had a wander around some of the finest shops known to man (dressing like I was on remand and trying to turn my life around had never seemed so possible!) and ended up down on Albert Docks, where I was furious to discover that they had taken away the This Morning weather map. I mean honestly: it served as a handy paedo-holding pen if nothing else. I blame Alison Hammond. For everything that has gone so astonishingly wrong in my life. A quick restorative coffee and a ham and cheese toastie in Costa and it was time for Escape Room 2. Again, we made lots of small talk with the very handsome cub behind the counter (my heart sank when he mentioned his wife) (and then rose again when I remembered how many times I’ve had ‘don’t tell the wife’ muttered emotionlessly into my ear) and asked that we weren’t given many clues. Old pros, you see.
Well fuck me: we were terrible. The room was Viking themed and terribly clever, but some of the clues were a little too abstract for my tastes. We spent the first twenty minutes shrieking and banging cups about before things started to click into place – you always know you’re onto a winner when a bookshelf slides open revealing another two rooms to complete. But boy, did we need help. What started out as ‘only raise your hands if you’re desperate for a clue’ became such a farce that I’m surprised she didn’t dash in to see if I was standing on an exposed electrical wire.
At one point you had to climb into a Viking barge and row in unison to the soundtrack of a man shouting commands. In theory, easy, but see it required me to perch on a tiny seat with Paul II (we need a better name) immediately behind, and well, we’re both husky gentlemen. My back fat hindered his forward stroke (story of his life) and his Honey Boom-Boom frame blocked my backwards movement (story of my life). What should have taken a matter of moments took nearly four minutes of solid rowing, though I imagine that was due to the hostess spending three minutes and forty seconds silently dry-heaving at the sight of us sweating and panting through mild exercise. We’d have looked like two bouncy castles attempting coitus.
However, we did escape, and with plenty of time on the clock. She was very positive about our efforts but there was a glint of second-hand embarrassment in her eye that suggested we’d be on the staff Christmas Party blooper-real. Ah well. We never needed anything spelling out – except how to use the defibrillator – and actually, for two fat blokes still grappling with each other’s idiosyncrasies and personality traits, we did alright.
We finished off the day with a cocktail or two in Revolution. Fun fact: I haven’t been in a Revolution since before Paul I days, and the very last time I was there I gave an old-fashioned to my married manager. Funnily enough, he said don’t tell the wife too, especially pertinent since she worked in another team across the floor. Come again? Yes.
I’m beyond this current trend to put all sorts of tat in with a cocktail. I ordered something sickly sweet – a Cherry Hot Karl or something – and it came with slush and a scattering of rainbow drops. I’m comfortable enough in my sexuality not to be phased about carrying the drink equivalent of twink night in a sauna through a crowded bar but there was a guy sat next to us with arms as thick as my legs – fraction less stretch marks though – and I could feel his judgement. I loved it.
In no time at all it was time to say goodbye / get the fuck back to the train station so he didn’t miss his connections. The walk was no problem for him: he’s six foot four and can cover distance surprisingly quick given his gazelle like pins – but I had to hide my agony as my feet were flayed in my boots. It was unusual being the short one and I now have a newfound appreciation for Paul I’s vista of having to look up all the time. I like an ass in my face, don’t get me wrong, but not when it’s billowing out breakfast-scented death as it galumphs up a flight of stairs.
It had been a great day with a marvellous friend but now it was over, he was on his way back to the land that vowels forgot and I was left with an hour to kill in twilit Liverpool. I decided to spend that hour pooping in John Lewis (he didn’t mind) and spraying myself with industrial levels of expensive aftershave before realising, far too late, I was a good distance from the train station with only minutes to spare. Power-mince? I sashayed so hard I brought the paving slabs up. I made it with moments to spare and enjoyed a lovely trip home, with only an hour to spend in York despondently waiting for a connection that never came.
Still: at least I had the total absence of free snacks and drinks to cheer my soul whilst I waited. Pfft.
And that folks, was my day trip to Liverpool. It’s been a while since I did some proper writing so I apologise for the length, but you bloody loved it. Next time I visit there’ll be more culture, more umming and aahing at galleries, more cooing at national treasures. Aye rights – it’ll be more escape rooms and Infinity War. Yasss!
Suppose we ought to do a recipe, eh? Let’s knock out the cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers – just something super easy for breakfast that is better than your usual pap.
Aye it's a cheese toastie, but hey, let's call it breakfast soldiers and just get on with it. Fussy knickers. This makes enough for two, or if you're like us, one person with double portions. And yes, they're called cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers, but that's because the thought of having a soldier for breakfast amuses me.
four slices of whatever wholemeal bread you can have on your SW diet (2 x HEB)
160g of grated mature cheese (oh I know - you don't need that much really, you could get away with saving half for your other HEA)
good quality ham
bit of dijon mustard
boil four of the five eggs to however you like them
smear a bit of mustard on half of the bread, add ham, add most of the cheese, add the other slice of bread so you're left with two sandwiches
beat the remaining egg and add the rest of the cheese then dip the sandwiches in
fry them in a dry non-stick pan until the cheese melts and the crust forms
Been away, haven’t we? Anyway shut up, nonsense to follow. If you’re here for the chicken soup for the soul, that’s fine, scroll down until you see Willem Dafoe’s cumface. Everyone else, sit back, push out and prepare yourself, because I’ve got a lot to say!
First, a cat update! We’ve been ringing the vets occasionally over the last two weeks to find out how the stray cat we tirelessly and selflessly passed over to another gay is getting on. Good news: they’ve cleaned up his eyes, wiped his bum and found him a new home where he’ll be fussed over and spoiled rotten. The cat’s also doing fine. I did have to affect a genuinely awful accent when I called the vets because I loosely know the woman on reception and couldn’t deal with a guilt trip about rehoming him. We would have – in a heartbeat – only our two cats would have killed him without blinking. They’re hard cats: I’ve seen Bowser fighting a dog before, and Sola sells passable quality gear from her radiator bed. We were reflecting over this and patting ourselves on the back for a job well done when Paul started up with his nonsense about getting a dog. I shut that right down because, although I bloody love dogs, it’s too much of a commitment. With cats you can go on holiday, say, to Canada for five weeks, and as long as you leave their water fountain on, a tin opener within reach and a slab of Whiskas, they’ll be reet. They don’t care. I could die in my sleep tonight and the only concern Sola would show is that she’d have no-one to show her dewy bumhole to first thing in the morning.
We had a proper together-for-twelve-years day out yesterday. We’re not quite at the stage where that involves going to the garden centre and fingering the heathers whilst wishing for each other’s death, thank heavens – besides Paul won’t let me go to the garden centre because it’s right next door to a notorious gay cruising ground and frankly if you’re going to add getting seagulled into your day, you’re better off setting aside a couple of hours. So no, we went to Durham for no other reason than I wanted to go to the fancy tobacconist there and Paul wanted to ogle a bear we know. His was the better suggestion because he was fine (he had every episode of Juliet Bravo on tape!) and the tobacconist had nothing I needed and an unhelpful attitude. Paul, fan of a creaking apophthegm, told me that we’d come all that way for nothing and I could put that in my pipe and smoke it. How we laughed as I practised filling out a form D8 on his back with a rusty compass. We had a couple of drinks in a pub that gave me 60p change from a tenner for two pints and therefore made an enemy for life, then wobbled our way into a Wetherspoons.
Mentioned where we were to a good friend (introducing Paul II) who immediately sent us drinks via the app: I say drinks – he got me a double chambord (excellent choice, because I love insulin chasers) and Paul a glass of milk and a smoothie (he was driving, and Paul II is nothing if not a keen observer of the laws of the land) with some biscuits and crisps. Paul II tried to have Paul I’s milk delivered in a saucer for catty reasons but sadly, Wetherspoons weren’t playing ball.
Let me tell you: Brewdog Punk IPA combined with chambord and banana smoothie is a struggle to keep down, even for me. That app is cracking for mischief and I very much look forward to throwing it open to a group of 80,000 in due course. My liver has already taken a kicking – it’ll look like a pickled walnut by the end. Wandered back to the car, popping out little Chewit-scented burps and chewed-it-scented farts all the way – happened across an argument between a couple across the road. Spent ten minutes ‘tying my shoelaces’ so we could earwig from afar and it was a gloriously tawdry tale of cheating, shouting, adding ‘man’ onto every other word ‘Darren man for fucks man it meant nowt man’ and crying. We had to stop gawping when she clocked me trying to get a surreptitious recording of her grief: I don’t fancy breathing my last in a mist of Exclamation and spittle.
Went for a late dinner in Newcastle and I made the fatal error of saying to Paul he could pick anywhere he fancied. He fancied Chiquitos. I mean Christ, Newcastle has some proper exciting places to eat and he chose the last-resort restaurant of a regional airport. I had forgettable nachos and a beef burrito that celebrated Christmas in 2017. Paul had some jalapeño poppers and a chicken quesadilla that tasted like sandwich spread folded into one of those trays cheap pizza comes on. I ordered myself a honey and rhubarb margarita which tasted like a Strepsil and Paul’s cuba libre was adorned with a piece of palm and three fruit flies. We aren’t ones for complaining because we’re not devoid of all joy but didn’t fancy the desserts, so paid via the wee app thingy so we didn’t have to tip and made a dash for the escape room we were booked in for.
We’re all about escape rooms at the minute and reckon this was probably our 60th room – we’re still terrible at them, but always escape amidst much yelling and fretting. You know who I feel sorry for? The operators watching us on CCTV – we’re competent enough to crack on ourselves but they’re treated to all manner of sinister sights, including my arse-crack pushed up against the CCTV whilst I clit about trying to find clues. You’ve never lived until you’ve seen a 34″ waist pair of Calvin Klein knickers stretched over a 38″ waist. The name band looks like Japanese. Paul is no better – because he has absolutely no arse at all his trousers spend all their time jostling around his knees, meaning his cock and balls tumbling around in his Tesco boxers appear with frightening regularity. We finished the room with nine whole minutes to go and that’s after spending ten minutes furiously arguing over a combination lock, which, for the record, I was absolutely right about. The argument ended when I used my foot to tip him over as he bent to pick up the lock, leaving him rolling on the floor like the gluttonous turtle he is. We celebrated by having our photo taken and then immediately deleted because we look like two hot-water storage tanks, and then, after a brief stop to add more shit to the bottom of my shoes by visiting a Hungry Horse pub for a Stella, we were off to the cinema.
And how’s this for bliss: a cinema to ourselves. I spend all my time whingeing at Paul to come along to see superhero movies and he always says no, because the spinning fights make him queasy and they’re all the same. Please. Yet, in a rare moment of complaisance he readily agreed to come along and see Aquaman yesterday – I can’t imagine why a JASON MOMOA led movie would catch his interest but he certainly seemed more keen than joining me for Spiderman, for example. Actually, Spiderman 3 remains a sticking point in our Paris-car-crash marriage: our first date* involved us seeing that at some pokey Portsmouth cinema. Paul enjoyed it at the time – though it was probably just because he was sat next to the fragrant beau-ideal that is I – but even since has hurled it back in my face as ‘me suggesting bad movies’ whenever I point out my flawless record for choosing films. That’s how I knew we were a couple for life, you know: he shared all of his Revels with me, and not just the shitty raisin ones. Something I forgot yesterday when I almost snapped his fingers as he tried to reach into my £8.96 bag of pick-and-mix to steal a cola-cube: you can fuck right off, mate, you chose ice cream and picked shit flavours so I wouldn’t want to try any. I’m as wise to his games as he thinks he is to mine.
*I’m going to call that our first date, because me noshing him off behind the Spinnaker seems less romantic (he’s the one night stand that never went away!)
Aquaman was absolutely class though. Proper popcorn movie: brilliant action scenes, Patrick Wilson chewing the scenery like me with a vegan sausage roll and a villain who looks like a giant cock blowing things up. Highlights: Australia’s nana Nicole Kidman in a full-on action scene braying the shit out of water meanies. Jason Momoa ensuring I’ll be seeing those eyes whenever I shut my eyes during a “quiet moment of reflection” (I suppose I fell in love with him – like you do!). Fucking Pitbull sampling Rains of Africa during the bit in the movie when they go to Africa. Willem Dafoe in a good-guy role for once instead of being the last-minute turncoat like he always is (Willem Dafriend?) although I argue he’s never acted better than when he was knocking Sandra Bullock about in Speed 2:
Scary how much he looks like Paul’s mother when she finds an unopened 20-deck of unfiltered Rothmans in her boob creases, there. Anyway, final added bonus of the night? Empty cinema means time for shenanigans and I gave Paul a ‘thanks-for-coming’ handjob during the quiet bit in the middle. He seemed pleased (I was just a shag – I knew that!) and we agreed to meet again for the sequel. Came home, and so to bed.
And that’s that! Suppose we’re a recipe blog and I should bang out this chicken soup recipe, eh? Now look here: you can’t make a chicken soup look attractive in photos, you can’t. So don’t judge.
Oh and if you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t shit the bed: you can make it in a pan too. Pleb.
Yes that's right, just a bog-standard no frills instant pot chicken soup recipe, or use a pan if you're still mastering the basics. We'll cover both. This might look like a bowl of arse but damn it if it doesn't taste good!
This recipe comes from A Saucy Kitchen, and we've adapted it for SW. Take a look at her site though, there's all sorts of tasty shizz on there!
two large stalks of celery
three carrots of indecent size, sliced
one giant onion, sliced and diced
two big handfuls of mushrooms, sliced
two cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp of rosemary
1 cup of wild rice (we buy ours in Tesco) (but feel free to use white rice)
3 big chicken breasts
1200ml of good quality chicken stock (low sodium is better so you're not clutching your arm in fright later)
Now honestly, you can add anything into this soup veg wise - don't be frightened
press the sauté button, wait for it to heat up and then add a few sprays of olive oil - or if you're sensible, like us, a good glug, and don't count the syns because oil is good for you - add the onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms and cook for three minutes until they're softened
add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another minute
add the chicken breasts (whole), stock and rice
seal the Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for five minutes (select Manual and then five minutes) and go pick your bum whilst it does its thing
let it depressurise unless you fancy putting a new parting in your hair with the roof tiles from your house
lift out the chicken and shred it on a chopping board and tip it all back in
let it sit for a few minutes to thicken nicely and then eat!
Admit it, you’ve been worried that, following our eight minutes on prime-time TV, we’d have gone all celebrity: shagging about, coke binges, drunk-driving and fisticuffs outside the top bars. Please: they barely let me into a Wetherspoons with my rent-by-the-week shoes and I make Paul buy the Lidl own-brand paracetamol.
I meant to post a new recipe last week but time got away from us. We’ve been doing some exciting stuff on the back of This Time Next Year (did you know we were on the telly?) and well, look. Mischief takes time. But, before we get to the potato, bacon and beer bake, let me tell you our tale.
The story starts like all of mine, with an unexpected pussy. I was busy leering out of our bedroom window at the one neighbour we have under seventy (and who mows his lawn with his top off, which I know is for my benefit – even if he doesn’t acknowledge it, there’s a twinkle in his eye that gives away his intent) (could be cataracts, though, he does smoke a lot) when I spotted a cat in our greenhouse. That’s not uncommon, we have all manner of feline visitors who love nothing more than falling asleep on all of the gardening equipment I leave out to show our gardener that I mean well. Out I trot, handful of Dreamies and a heart full of love, to make a new friend. I’ve yet to meet a cat that I haven’t been able to seduce with a scratch of their ears or a rub under the chin, which is also how I got Paul to agree to polygamy. Hand outstretched, I manage not to scare the cat away and he turned his wee head to me…and…oh my.
Poor little bugger had completely caked over eyes, scratches all over his face and well, looked like he was about to die. Cats leave their home to die away from their owners and it would just be my luck that this cat would roll a seven on my tomato feed. We couldn’t bring him in because we’ve got two of our own who I barely trust not to kill me in my sleep, let alone an imposter, and anyway he was lifting with fleas. A stray. Well, that was me. I know you see me as some stone-hearted brute with the emotional range of a house-brick but not when it comes to animals. People, fuck ’em. Children? Pah. But cats? Oh no. I lifted him into a cat basket and sat him on the cat tree, wiped his eyes with water and went to fetch my Abide with Me CD. I brought him a slab of Whiskas (incurring piss-taking from a friend who took great delight in pointing out I was feeding stray cats on a Le Creuset saucer), some water and left him to it on a blanket. Our own cat came dashing out of the cat flap but, perhaps sensing the other cat was no threat, left him to it (though ate half the food – cat after my heart). We checked in during the day and he was sleeping, barely moving, and after we returned from seeing Escape Room at 11pm, popped our heads in only to see he had still barely moved and was breathing shallowly, like me reading a sentence longer than eight words.
Well, we couldn’t cope with that level of emotional discomfort and a decision was made to take him to the vets, finance be damned. We rang the RSPCA who were absolutely bobbins (of course!) but luckily our own vets agreed we could bring him in, but could we drop him off at an emergency shelter up the road? 30 miles up the road? Of course. Nearing midnight now, on a Sunday no less. We attached a blue light to the Smart car and went to bundle the cat into a car carrier. In the dark, because no lighting in the greenhouse, because of course.
Let me tell you: for a cat that couldn’t see and was nearing death, he came to life like Evel fucking Knievel, hurtling around the greenhouse in a petrified blur. Could we catch him? Could we balls. Imagine trying to get a distressed cat into a carrier with only the light of a phone to guide you. I’ve got hands like Freddie Kreuger trying to get a jacket potato from a campfire. Hissing, shrieking and screaming – and with the cat making similar noises – we got him into a corner, only for Paul to drop the carrier and set him off again. We were about to let nature simply take its course when an unexpected turn: a very stylish gay lad turned up at our gate. At midnight. Asked if we wanted a hand, and I was a second away from asking him if he’d made an appointment and even so, you’re at the wrong door for that mate, when he mentioned he’d lost a cat. He was walking past looking for his cat at the very moment we were trying to stuff him into the carrier. What serendipity! We let him in, he looked at the cat and confirmed that indeed, it was his. Well, not immediately: the first thing he did was sniff the air and say our greenhouse smelled like cat piss. My gay peacock-feathers shot up at this barb but I resisted the urge to say that it was because OF YOUR BLOODY CAT, and let it slide. He joined us for a cigarette in the garden, which must have looked peculiar to the neighbours to have three men sitting in the dark at our fabulous garden table, but hey. He was actually very lovely and friendly and I want his coat but that’s by the by.
We swapped numbers (because: I’m a slut) and off he toddled. All done, cat rescued.
Phone rings ten minutes later. Cat guy. Sounded terribly perturbed. Turns out he had passed the petrol station behind our house at the very moment it was being turned over. We could hear the alarms blaring in the background, and of course, we immediately called the police. Less than a split second later our house was locked up, we’d sprinted across the lawn at the front and were away in the Smart car to have a gawp. The CCTV footage of our dash is hilarious – Paul’s car goes over the speedbump like a rocket. You may remember he drives a toy car. The police were indeed there and we realised it would look suss to drive past eight times in a bright orange tiny car, so made our way home, where the police were waiting because they thought the robbers might have made their escape down our street. Listen: it’ll not be the first time a rough local trick with an ASBO has dumped his hot load in my back-alley, but I thought it remiss of me to boast. The policemen were delicious, though it was super awkward when they asked us for our new friend’s name and I had to explain I’d put him into my phone as Cat Man Noooo and didn’t know his name. In a sweet twist, the policeman asked if we’d been on the telly recently because his girlfriend comes to Elite with us and had mentioned us. I tried to hide my tittylip at the mention of his girlfriend because fuck me, he was handsome as all outdoors. All the while our cat chap is ringing with updates and then texted to say he was nearly home.
All done, cat rescued, petrol station robbery embroilment over. And so to bed.
Phone rings. He’s lost his keys and is terribly upset. Perhaps they fell out during the cat chase, perhaps whilst he was dashing away from a robbery. Well, as much as I wanted to go take advantage of the horn that only a brush with the law could give me, out we went to search the garden, again with phonelight, with Paul away up the street to help look. Ten minutes later, the chap calls. Found his keys. In the inside pocket of his jacket pocket, because bless him he was all a tizz from the night’s excitement. We confirmed that he was in his house, settled, cat in the carrier, no chip pan fires or plane crashes. Content that the night’s excitement was over, we all said goodnight, I got his real name and we all agreed to meet for a drink in a couple of week’s time when we’re not doing bootcamp. Just getting into bed and vehemently disagreeing with Paul that 2am isn’t too late for bumming even when one of us has to be up at 5am to register for Elite’s weigh-in thingy when oof, phone rings.
It’s not his cat.
In a curious turn of events, our lovely friend had assumed it was his cat (and later sent a picture of him with his actual cat to show the similar markings) and in a fit of excitement, taken the wrong cat home. Well, honestly. At this point, what more could be done? He graciously agreed to look after the cat and take him to the vets the next day, and after three more calls in the night to discuss the cat’s wellbeing and invite us over (hmm), this story was wrapped up neatly. He did indeed take the cat to the vet and sadly, it wasn’t chipped, but at the time of writing he’s still alive and responding well to whatever they’ve given him. We’ve made a new friend as it turns out that Cat Man – Dan – is actually hilarious (and it’s nice having a fellow gay in this town, and unusual in that we haven’t tasted his semen before learning his first name) and everything has turned good.
But the worst part? The cat, in its panicked state, flipped our Le Creuset saucer onto the floor and chipped it. I mean, for Christ’s sakes.
Gosh: that was a story and a half, wasn’t it? I so much prefer it when I have something to tell you. But, your poor belly. You must be starving, you’ll be working your way through your back-up gunt at this point. Let’s do the recipe: potato, bacon and beer bake. As you were.
Now. You can lower the syns in this by swapping out the beer for stock, but honestly you're doing yourself a disservice. The beer adds a lot of the taste, but it isn't essential. For the sake of a couple of syns, you'll get a great side.
We found this recipe in an Italian cookbook by a chap called Gennaro. We adapted it slightly, but full credit to the guy who looks the double of Paul's dad on the front cover. You can pick up an ecopy here.
This makes enough for four decent servings as a side dish, but we had it between the two of us because: obesity.
1kg or so of potatoes, peeled
200ml of good lager - I used Brewdog's Lost Lager but any will do - around 6 syns
1 tbsp of olive oil (6 syns)
salt and pepper
2 large onions
200g of bacon - you can buy medallions and cut them up if you like, but we just used bacon lardons and didn't syn them because we're not frightened of a bit of redundant fat, unless it's Paul's mother
80g of light extra mature cheddar (1 person's healthy extra, so fuck it, I'd be minded not to count it, but that's your choice to make) (or, do as we did, and double the cheese because you're a greedy heifer)
put the oven onto 200 degrees
using your mandolin or a knife, thinly slice the potatoes and onions
throw the potatoes into a large bowl, add the beer, oil and lots of salt and pepper
line the bottom of an overproof dish with sliced tatties, onions, few cubes of bacon and some of the grated cheese
layer over and over and press down damn hard with your hand as you go, covering the top with more grated cheese
pour over the beer mixture, give it another press down and cover in foil
bake for an hour, then remove the foil and cook for another 30 minute
And it’s done! The most erotic thing you’ve ever seen on the TV since Nigella pushed her fingers into that cream horn that one time. Just me?
We didn’t hit our weight loss target of 20 stone between us before the recording – but I came closest to 10 stone, missing out by a few pounds – we then followed it up afterwards and stopped when we were happy – I (James) ended up losing 10 stone 3lb, Paul lost 8 stone 7lb, which means a combined weight loss of 265lb between us – 18 stone and 9lb. To put it another way, that’s about 120 bags of sugar, or a weekend delivery to Katona HQ. No wonder our bed doesn’t scream when we climb in anymore.
You can watch our bit below – there’s two videos, the ‘before’ bit and the ‘after’ bit. Fair warning, you might want to put a towel down.
We’ve got a load of blog articles about the experience queued up but just to answer a few of the pressing questions:
How did you do it?
Diet – Slimming World
We’re huge fans of Slimming World, as you know. We’re also rebellious in the extreme. So we did the plan, but by god, we did it our way. We didn’t use Frylight, we used olive oil and didn’t syn it. Never synned a bloody avocado, cooked fruit. We had full-fat yoghurt, not Mullershites filled with sugar.
Not once did we have: Slimming World ‘sweets’, crappy treat bags, CREAM HORNS MADE FROM WRAPS AND QUARK, apple turnovers made from bread and sweetener, pease pudding ‘lids’ for pies. If we wanted chocolate, we had it. Ice-cream, no bother. Give up booze? Pah! We took NINE holidays during our ‘year’ and still lost just shy of nineteen stone between us in a year.
So, now, I can finally say with PROOF what we’ve been saying all along: EAT PROPER FOOD. Cook with proper ingredients, with decent recipes, and you’ll not be hungry, you’ll not feel like you’re on a diet and your weight will come off. Other recipe blogs, in between nicking from Pinterest, push Frankenfood recipes made from sweetener and fake food all to sell ingredients and it is bollocks. And now, look: the proof is in our pudding.
That pudding doesn’t contain any xanthum gum, forty eggs and seventy-five Amazon links, either. Do Slimming World, the support is fantastic and the plan if you follow it is great, but instead of chasing colossal weight losses every week – do it properly, cook more, avoid the temptation for fake food and look at what you’re actually putting into your body. No quick fixes, just a diet that doesn’t feel like you’re missing out.
Six months in and, finally able to buy one pair of jeans instead of two and stitching them together, we realised our weight loss was slowing and our fitness levels were absolutely shite. It’s all well and good being thin enough for sex but it loses the horniness when your lips turn blue when you climb on top. I’ve always said there’s no point being skinny if you get out of breath pulling back the lid of a yoghurt, and the above is just a fruitier take on the same line. So, what did we do? Gyms are boring, we’re too fabulous to run outside and there’s no guarantee of totty at a spinning class. We found Elite!
Elite is a nationwide company, expanding all the time, which offers a range of programmes to build your fitness. They are bloody amazing. We signed up for the ‘Transformation’ package where you pay a chunk for six weeks of high-intensity workouts (three a week) and a diet plan (which, because it’s low-fat healthy stuff, we made work with Slimming World). Here’s the kicker: if you lose 20lb (or more) in those six weeks, you get your money back – in total, no catches, no deductions. What greater incentive for a fat tight-arse Geordie can there be? We completed the first transformation, rolled it over another few times and lost 11 stone between us before we finished in April.
Worried you can’t do exercise? Trust us: you can. And they’re fun classes of bloody hard work, different nearly every time, with a great mixed group of people. No machismo, no pretence – everyone just getting on with their bit. Previously, the only time we’ve laughed during exercise is when Paul’s shorts split bending over to pick up a stray chicken ball – with these, it’s actually good enough fun that you can ignore your tingling fingers. There’s a mix of abilities from people who are super fit to those, like us, chubbies who could barely move. You do what you can do: you’re pushed bloody hard, but never beyond your limits. By the end of it, you’re a team. It’s cheesy and as confirmed anti-social helmets, we thought we’d hate exercising with people. Now we wouldn’t be without it. I mean Christ we ran a bloody 5k last year (remember?)
If you lose the weight, you get your money back. Simple as that. If you join up through our link, we get commission too, not going to lie, but I’ve been recommending this for months without the promise of cash in my pocket. You know us: we don’t bullshit with recommendations. If you’re local to Newcastle, let us know, we’ll happily keep you company if we can. I’m fully first-aid trained so if you pass out, my whiskery face will bring you back. I’m going to write a proper blog post about Elite and general fitness, but feel free to ask questions or, even better, click the banner below to be whisked away to find out more – and if you do sign up, mention us: twochubbycubs. Something has to pay for the great American road-trip in 2020…
What’s Davina like?
Tiny. But such a lovely, genuine, warm person – I wasn’t starstruck, I’m used to dealing with celebrity – I once saw the back of Raquel from Coronation Street’s head as she rummaged around in a freezer for frozen carrots in Presto – but any nerves disappeared the second Davina started talking to us. She’s a class act, through and through.
How do they film it?
That’s for another blog entry, but simply: you go down to London to film the first part of the show where you’re sitting on the sofa breathing shallowly and wearing your best ‘fuck me, that’s a bold pattern’ shirt. Then a whole year of filming bits into a camera, which is then edited for the middle part. Then off you go to London after a year, Davina puts the same dress back on and you walk out new men. Stitch it all together and boom, it looks like it happened overnight.
Didn’t get the number of the gorgeous bear who did my make-up. I fall in love easily, and anyone who doesn’t wince as he gets out a giant pot of foundation for my fivehead is a keeper for me. Also, the cameraman who came up to film us was absolutely dreamy. If you’re out there and fancy doing a bit of extra on the side, we’ve got an onlyfans account that needs excellent production values.
It would have been nice to hit the target, but damn, we stopped where we thought we looked good. We could have done it if we had signed up to Elite a bit quicker or spent more time at home instead of holiday, but you know what, if ifs and buts were sweets and nuts, we’d just eat them too.
If you’re reading this, and you’re inspired – do it. Start tonight. Start right now – make your own pledge, tell your family, take a whole year. Ten stone in a year sounds frightening until you realise it’s about 2.5lb a week. There’ll be days when I bet you could crap 2.5lb by 10am, the amount you eat. People get hung up on massive amounts to lose and get disillusioned when you only lose three pounds in a week. It’s Slimming World’s biggest curse that you’re constantly being pushed for bigger losses. Don’t fall for it. Lose weight slowly, lose it well, and you’ll be magic. Finish this for me.
God I hate writing about ‘us’ in the third person, but I couldn’t get the title to work. I promised you an update, a salacious one, and then merrily forgot to update because a) we’re unspeakably lazy and b) we’re surprisingly busy and c) my tonsils have decided they want out and are rebelling against me. Lots of people are suggesting going to the doctors but I don’t want to explain why each tonsil has a perfect imprint of a bellend pushed into it like wet clay. So I’m riding it out, but you best believe I’ve lived on nothing but fags and ice-cream for the last three days. I’m looking after me.
SO OUR ANNOUNCEMENT.
We’re on the telly! For a change, it’s not some blurry footage of me getting bummed in a lorry park either, which at least my mother is thankful for (though no-one forces her to hold the camera, just sayin’). Nope, we’re on THIS TIME NEXT YEAR, Tuesday 5th, 8pm on ITV. See if you can spot us in the trailer below (I’ll give you a clue, we’re the ones who look like Jeremy Spake’s stunt doubles wandering in from the cold).
There’s blog stories a-plenty coming about this, but the basic conceit is that you go on the show, pledge to do something significant and challenging and then you have a year to do exactly that. You go see Davina for a wee chat, film yourselves throughout the year and then come back a year later to reveal all. It’s a lovely programme and, how could we not? We applied and they turned down my original pledge to taste-test a chap from each town in the UK with a population over 5,000, but we got talking about weight loss and this snowballed into ‘THIS TIME NEXT YEAR, DAVINA, WE WILL LOSE TWENTY STONE BETWEEN US’.
Well, we had to:
Crikey. No spoilers, of course. You’ll have seen we have lost a little weight, but did we do it? Did we make a big change? Did we do the right thing by our readers and follow our own recipes and lose weight? Are we proof that not synning avocado, not drowning everything in Frylight and not making apple turnovers and cream horns from Quark and wraps will help you lose weight?
Actifry Southern Fried Chicken! I know, listen to us, rubbing our breasts with spice (classic Newcastle behaviour that, just need a quick romp in a bus-shelter and a bag of chips and I’ll be sorted) and going on about the Actifry. You know what that means…
Yeah, I know. Usual twochubbycubs stuff applies here: we’re always honest, we don’t say it’s good for the sake of it and frankly, this Actifry Southern Fried Chicken will leave such a good taste in your yawning gob that’ll it replace the bad taste from our sponsorship. And anyway, hush, Paul has rickets from New Year and I’m putting cardboard in my shoes. What more do you want? If you want me on my knees begging, well, contact us on Grindr and make a payment.
We’ve got a couple of big posts coming over the next two including a big announcement tomorrow (!) so I won’t keep you here too long. I’ll only tell you this: how our New Year’s Resolutions are going. I’ve taken up smoking. Paul’s had two affairs and worn out his knees in the local forest (and he wasn’t looking for truffles, as you may suspect). We tried to give up terrible trash telly but Paul’s busy shouting at the telly because there’s a family with one set of teeth between them on Jeremy Kyle. Exercise is going great guns though: I split one pair of gym shorts trying to do a somersault at boot-camp and Paul had to take a seat and catch his breath from filling up his water bottle. My attempt to calm down behind the wheel came to an end the second one of the distant neighbours didn’t wave animatedly enough as I let him onto the street and it took all my strength not to back the car up at 60mph and run over his loafers. Kindness to the cats disintegrated once one of the little hellions decided the best place to put his face, including his tiny cold nose, was between the cheeks of my arse as I slept. I don’t know who screamed more: Paul at the shock of me hurtling out of bed, the cat because, instead of the rich Bovril scent he expected, he was met with a blur of chronic obesity and swearing, or me: I’ve been married twelve years and any unexpected action around the rear is both a colossal shock and an unwelcome distraction.
Anyway. Enough razzmatazz. We’ll save that for the upcoming posts.
Actifry contacted us to take part in their New Year Revolution a couple of weeks, challenging us to make something new in the Actifry. Once I’d checked that this involved absolutely no physical movement, and been reassured that no, I could do it from the comfort of my chair, we were good to go. They sent a fetching pinny (I can’t begin to tell you how hot I look: imagine someone rolled a marshmallow on a barbershop floor and stuck two boss eyes on it) which I can’t wear because it excites Paul too much when I wear a smock. He thinks he’s getting fed. Also, a wonderful plastic meal-decider which makes a charming rattle when you spin it. The good folks loved me as I shrieked through playing with that, I promise.
The Revolution (because the Actifry spins, see) was to take an old recipe or a family favourite (my own family’s favourite is bitter arguments over cheap supermarket beer, but that option wasn’t on there). We spun the spinner and landed on Southern Fried Chicken. Well, honestly: that’s easy, we spend so much time in the KFC drive-thru that they know when to rota extra staff on to cope with our order. So, off we went.
Before the recipe, the advertising bit. I know, but bear with us. If you take a gander through our old posts you’ll see we have always been advocates of the Actifry – hell, we’ve shifted enough of them via Amazon that we really ought to have shares in Tefal. But there’s a reason: they’re excellent. We chuck all sorts in ours but here’s a top tip: put your sausages in with your chips – the oil from the sausages cooks the chips, the chips roughen up the sausages and everyone is happy, including even you. Syn free chips? No bother: no oil, bit of Worcestershire sauce, beef stock cubes. Go. The Actifry cooks things nice and gently and means you can still have your favourites without all the fat and grease of a deep-fat fryer. Personally, the only deep, fat fryer I love is Ali who runs our chippy: he has a belly I could build a nest in and arms that could ‘gently persuade’ me to sleep. Sigh. One day.
You might think OH BUT I CAN GET AN AIRFRYER FROM LIDL for a tuppence and yeah, you’re right, but you’re so much better than middle-Lidl-purchases and anyway, at least this Actifry looks the business. I tire of seeing £19.99 rejects looking like bad Daft Punk cosplay littering our reader’s kitchens. What price dignity, people? Have a look under the recipe to see you can do so much more! And here’s a guide to the various Airfryers out there.
Right, let’s do this Actifry Southern Fried Chicken, shall we? Don’t want to use syns? Shame on you. You can make this syn-free though. Don’t forget if you’re having a burger, use your HEB.
Now then. We've done a KFC recipe before, we've done bits and bobs with crispy chicken, but we reckon this is the best. I mean obviously we would say that because the good folks at Actifry aren't going to give us silver if we say it's pap, but listen, we've been honest all the way through this!
Don't have an Actifry? Well, gosh. Get one. Or, do this in the oven - it'll be a wee bit soggier though. Not a huge fan of soggy breasts, usually.
five chicken thighs and four chicken breasts or whatever you want
100g panko (18 syns, but this makes enough for 6 people - and if you use panko, you can use a HEB for your breadbun and have a burger - IMAGINE SUCH LUXURY)
2 tbsp onion granules
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp garlic granules
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried sage
1 tbsp marjoram
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
cajun spice from the supermarket because haway, you're not that fancy to have all them spices. Bet you say ORIGANNO too
pour the panko onto a plate or shallow dish and mix together all of the other dry ingredients
crack three eggs into another shallow dish and beat (the eggs, that is)
dip the chicken into the egg and let any excess slop off
roll the chicken into the panko and herb mixture until well coated
place into an Actifry (paddle removed) and cook for 30 minutes
make into a lovely burger, have with salad, yeah right, and crack on
panko is a type of breadcrumb y0u'll find it in all the main supermarkets (head towards the 'world foods' aisle, or near the Japanese stuff). If you can't get your hands on it normal breadcrumbs will do
you can reduce the syns by using your HeA choice wholemeal bun blitzed up. It won't be as nice, but it'll work
use any chicken you like! We used thighs because they're juicy (like us) and breasts (because we wanted a burger too) but you can use whatever you want. Drumsticks and even chopped up chicken will work just as well
if you can't be fannied on with all the herbs and spices any mix will do, cajun works well in this, or chicken seasoning. The flavour will be different, but as long as you like it, who cares?
Cheddar cheese risotto. Listen, if that doesn’t put a teardrop in your knickers then you’re dead inside and no amount of me luridly describing Jason Momoa spitting in your mouth during rough sex is going to get you in the mood, is it? What an opening sentence! It’s Saturday, so that means new post day, and here I am, up at the crack of dawn feeling sorry for myself because Yodel are delivering a parcel and that means having to set aside fourteen years to anxiously pluck at the blinds in my living room and wait for the delivery man to come sauntering up the street to the house next door to put a ‘sorry we missed you’ card through their door. They’re not sorry.
I’ve been suffering with a particularly severe form of tinnitus the last few weeks and I can’t deny it’s been getting me down. I’m alright at work, surrounded by noise, but first thing in the morning, or when I’m sitting on the toilet, or just drifting off to slumber, I hear it – this slightly camp, Liverpudlian/Oxford/Welsh accent (imagine if Inspector Morse fucked Cilla Black, and then sent the offspring to a detention centre in Llandudno (and a consonant please, Rachel) and you’ve got the idea) mewing away saying ‘when are you posting part two of my article, you fat, unloved bastard’. It’s been especially distressing the last couple of weeks when it’s become an endless barrage of lisped letters and threats so thinly-veiled you could use them as petrol station shit-tickets. So, without further delay, and possibly because there’s a real threat of my eyes being set on fire if I don’t comply, here’s part two of Shigella’s guide to the perfect buffet. Please do leave him feedback: he’s a budding writer (in that he’s just learned how to use a pen at 38 years old) and craves attention.
STRONG WORDS OF WARNING: he, like me, has an especially blunt sense of humour. If you are easily offended, boo-hoo, have a box of biscuits and shush. It is, however, a long article, so scroll until you see a plate of pure sex in the form of cheddar cheese risotto if you’re just here for the recipe. But trust me, you’ll be missing out.
With sausage rolls done, you’ve now got the beige foundation in place. A scotch egg, whilst delicious, is too big to be a buffet food, so go for the mini eggs you can get in every supermarket. You want the ones that contain the egg mayonnaise type mixture inside, don’t do what I did recently and get caught out by one of the fucking awful imposters that have flooded the market. I fell for this trend for fuckery from Marks and Spencer’s of all places (a yellow stickered reduction, obviously, I was only in there to shoplift pants). I got home, tore feverishly into the packaging and lobbed a whole mini egg into my gob (I’ve had the entire patronage of a German Gentlemen’s club in there before, one egg is nothing). I bit down expecting a meaty, eggy explosion only for my mouth to be filled with…ketchup. Now I realise those fancy folk at M&S are my social betters and must know more than me about these things. I’ve tried to be M&S standard but I’m too fat to go fox hunting (have you ever seen a large family car on top of a horse – if not, imagine that, and you’ll see my distress) and my uncle prefers my brother over me so I’ve given up trying to understand their ways. But who in their right mind thinks ‘well Kenneth, if they like smooshed up egg and mayo, they’re going to fucking love vinegary tomato water as well’?
It’s all a bit ‘Heston’ for my liking. All that shit he knocks out for Christmas. Christmas Pudding with a whole plum in, mince pies with half a satsuma, turkey stuffed with a goose, stuffed with chicken stuffed with a divan drawer containing a missing girl from Dewsbury. Like Pandora’s Box or James’ legs, once they’re opened they won’t close. A line needs to be drawn. Stop buying this shit and they’ll stop making it.
Next to your mini eggs, eggs being the keyword here, not Asda own brand red sauce, you need something a bit more robust. You can’t go wrong with pork pie. Whilst I admit I may sound slightly hypocritical by saying I enjoy pork pie topped with and onion chutney or a pickle, these are too fancy for a buffet. Like any good gay I keep the satisfying toppings to the privacy of my own bedroom, kitchen, living room, the woods, the back of a car, the bonnet of a car, next to Boy George’s radiator, public toilets… I’M A PRIVATE KIND OF GUY AND I WISH YOU’D RESPECT THAT. Slice your pork pies into quarters so your guests can decide whether they want a bit with more delicious boiled pig jelly or if they’d prefer to go in dry.
Now you need some crisps. Unless you’re serving them from the bag (you fucking tramp) no one is going to see what kind you’re serving so there’s no need to go posh. Pringles from the tube, whilst convenient, are a fucking nightmare to get out unless you’ve got a Jeremy Beadle style claw-machine hand, so it’s a no to them. I remember a birthday part I went to as a kid where the bowl of crisps was loads of different flavours mixed together. My tiny little mind was blown. Every bite a different flavour? Fucking witchcraft. Things to avoid: Wotsits: you don’t need people wondering round your house smearing orange gunk all over your soft furnishing. Plus, there’s always the risk of getting found out that one of your guests wanked you off to thank you for your hospitality when your husband sees your knob glowing bright orange like you’ve had a tit wank off Katie Price on fake-tan top-up day. Also, I’d pass on the Scampi-n-Lemon Nik-Naks. For obvious, unfortunately-censored reasons. [James edit: aye, I like it near the knuckle, but so do they]
Fancy up your crisps up with a dip selection if you’re so inclined. There is nothing wrong at all with one of those four in one dip packs you get at supermarkets. When serving one of these it is important to throw away the lid before it reaches the table so no one knows what they’re eating. That way people will eat all the dips because they’ll forget which one tastes like the underside of a rent boy’s foreskin after the weekend of the Tory Party conference. If you’re having dips you may as well get breadsticks. When I went to America a few years back my mind was blown to discover a breadstick could actually be a delicious, warm stick of actual bread and not those brittle sticks of dust that could be used as an effective weapon in a prison brawl. Regardless, someone eats them so pop them out and they can be used to mop up residual dip.
A good buffet needs sandwiches. This is the most time-consuming part of the preparation but I’m afraid they’re essential. However, the best part of buffet sandwiches are they fact they’re so arse-numbingly boring that you don’t need to spend ages on the fillings. You only need to do 3 types of sandwiches, all on bread so white and cheap it would vote leave, get hard over a blue passport and complain their Spanish holiday they got for a tenner from tokens in the Mail on Sunday is ruined by being full of foreigners. Smear liberally with your favourite ‘I can’t believe it’s not dripping’ butter substitute then apply one of the following three fillings:
grated mild, flavourless, cheddar from a bag.
ham – the kind you get 20 slices for a quid and have to blot with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. One single slice per sandwich.
egg mayo – from one of those giant tubs that when you open the house fills with a smell best described as Rolf’s arsehole after his first week in prison.
That’s it. No pickle, no mustard nor any cress. A true buffet sandwich is as basic as a pumpkin spiced latte drank whilst wearing Ugg boots and listening to Ed Sheeran. Cut into wonky quarters and cover badly with cling film so the edges stale slightly until ready to serve.
A buffet staple that is becoming increasingly overlooked these days is food on sticks. I’m not talking the frozen stuff you get from Iceland (I’ll get to them) but the homemade stuff. That’s right people: cheese and pineapple. This is the stuff that childhood dreams and adult wank fantasies are made of. Hacking away at a block of Smart Price cheddar the size of a house brick and spearing it aside a pineapple chunk you’ve fished out of a tin then having it displayed proudly from a foil wrapped baked potato is what this country was built on. Well that or racism, but as one of my friends is black I’d like think it’s this. If I don’t see one of these bad boys on your buffet table you better believe I’m going to fuck your husband and wipe my knob off on your nets after. Britain is already broken, why make it worse?
Now, here’s a controversial one for you but hear me out. You trust me, right? We’re all friends here. I promise it won’t hurt for long, shhhhh don’t cry, just push out as I push in…cocktail sausage and mini pickled onion on a stick. Now unclutch those pearls and let me explain my logic to you. Cocktail sausages are more of a texture than a flavour, they need a fuck load of salt or ketchup to really get them tasting of anything. The sharpness and crunch of a cocktail onion really bloody works with it. Next time you’re setting up a buffet, try it for yourself! Worst case scenario and I’m wrong (but if I managed to convince that jury I fell and landed on every single penis in that football team, then legally I can’t be wrong) then you can serve the sausages and onions separately. But we can’t be friends. Lovers, but not friends.
These are your buffet staples and you can make large enough quantities to feed everyone without extra fuckery. But if you want to pad it out, supermarket party food is the way to go. Especially now it’s always on multibuy offers so you can fill your freezer until you need them. Unless like me, it’s 3am on a Wednesday and the fit ginger lad from Greggs as just been around to feed me his YumYum and I feel the need to follow it up with 24 assorted vol-au-vents. If you’re using pre-packed party food the biggest piece of advice I can give you is FOR THE LOVE OF CHER MAKE SURE THERE IS ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE. Got 20 people coming? 40 chicken skewers minimum. Don’t be that fucker that puts out 10. If you are that person, look in the mirror. Take a long hard look at yourself. Who hurt you Brenda? Why are you like this? Most supermarkets have got clever so the party food all cooks at the same temperature so you can do it in advance. Except mini kievs. Do these fresh, no one likes a cold kiev. If there’s no risk of a garlic butter spray that leaves you with third-degree burns then, frankly, it’s a waste of chicken gristle and panko.
What even is panko, anyway?
[James edit: fuck off]
I don’t serve pudding at a buffet, I’m a savoury kind of guy, but if I’m feeling festive I’ll empty a few tubs of celebrations into bowls and scatter them around the table and that usually will do it. I will put on a cheeseboard but my love of cheese is a whole other ten-thousand-word essay.
So, to surmise:
hot fork buffet are for wankers who put their Lidl shopping in Waitrose bags before they get out of the car
make enough fucking food for everyone
beige is best
Thank you for reading. If you’d like to hear more from me, let the cubs know. They’re keeping me in their attic at the moment and I’m having to survive on what I can wring out of their ‘magic’ socks and rainwater. Please send help/cash/nudes.
I know, right?
You’re back with James now, don’t worry. The gay sex jokes are just as laboured but at least you won’t be starving. Please. You’re always hungry. Neither of us got to the point of scrolling right to the end of the available sizes on H&M and crying from being moderate with our food intake.
Food time. This is another recipe we’ve ‘appropriated’ from Nigella, but she’s cool, she’ll appreciate the thought of two fat blokes shrieking in the kitchen as they tip an entire worktop’s worth of grated cheddar into the risotto pan. You, with those raw thighs, ought to stick to the SW recommended amount of cheese.
cheddar cheese risotto: with ham and leeks and everything
Right, look - risottos take a bit of time, and I actually made this the proper way by adding ladles of stock one at a time, stirring until absorbed and gazing icily into the sitting room where Paul was watching telly whilst my ankles ached. But you can do it the twochubbycubs way too: just throw all the stock in, bang the lid on and walk away for twenty minutes or so. I don't care, I'm not your mother: if we were, you'd never go out wearing that, young lady.
I use butter in this recipe because it's nicer, but if you wanted to make it syn free, just use Frylight. Pfft.
This makes enough for four, but only uses four Healthy Extra A choices. Because that matters. So don't worry, if you're being a fatty fatty bum bum, you can have an extra Healthy Extra A later. But I don't care.
25g butter (7 syns, if you use reduced fat butter, or if you're like me, make out like you did but actually used proper full fat butter because it's sexier)
5 finely sliced baby leeks
as much shredded/cut-up ham that you have
300 grams risotto rice
½ teaspoon dijon mustard (which I'm not synning, and you can fuck right off if you're worried about a tenth of a syn)
1.2 litre hot vegetable stock
120 grams grated extra mature cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
melt the butter on a low heat and add your leeks - allow to soften and burble away nicely
add the mustard and the rice and stir everything through, coating all the rice in that delicious, filthy butter
now, it's up to you:
add all the stock at once, throw the lid on and allow to simmer for about twenty minutes until cooked; or
add the stock one ladle at a time, waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more - this makes a creamier risotto and is generally worth the effort but, I know, that Chat magazine isn't going to read itself
once the rice is cooked, add the cheese and ham and stir, saving a bit of ham for the top if you're fancy
sprinkle with chives or, if you're like me, leave them in the fridge
for a risotto - and especially if you're going to do the old throw-it-all-in-and-walk-away technique - you want a good heavy pan that doesn't stick - we use Le Creuset because we're posh and Amazon currently have a good range
can't afford to spunk £150 on a pan or just plain old tight? No worries - Marks and Spencers currently do a knock-off Le Creuset range which is really decent for the price