slow cooker cottage pie

Super quick post tonight of slow cooker cottage pie – Christmas party was last night and we’re both proper rough! Straight to it!

slow cooker cottage pie

to make slow cooker cottage pie you will need:

I’m going to say this is syn free – if you want to syn the 0.25 syn of milk, then do. If you’re looking for a decent slow cooker, the one we use is reduced on Amazon right now, and pretty to look at!

to make slow cooker cottage pie you should:

  • add the onion and mince into a hot pan and brown off
  • add the carrots, tomatoes, garlic, peas, tomato puree, celery, worcestershire sauce, thyme and stock and stir to combine
  • decant into the slow cooker and cook for as long as you like on low – a few hours is best to really meld the flavours
  • four hours before you want to eat, cut the potatoes into large chunks (no need to peel) and cook in a large saucepan until tender.
  • drain, add the milk and quickly crack in the egg – mash furiously so the egg mixes in well and doesn’t scramble (don’t use the egg if you’re pregnant – treat yourself to some butter instead)
  • use a spatula or ladle to flatten the meat mixture in the slow cooker so it’s level
  • gently spoon in the mashed potato and smooth off with a fork
  • cover and cook on low for three hours
  • about half an hour towards the end, sprinkle over the grated cheese
  • cover with a tea towel so that it doesn’t touch the food but is taut across the top – this helps to absorb moisture
  • serve!

Easy!

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Enjoy!

J

garlic prawns on roast potato with pesto and rocket

Yes! That’s right – garlic prawns. Prawns on twochubbycubs’ blog! I still think they’re vile little things but see we’re trying to introduce some new foods into our diet because man cannot live on semen, reduced price yule logs and slimming world chips forever. Everyone’s laughing until Paul gets rickets. Plus we get asked so many times for seafood recipes and always come up blank save for a few token gestures so here we are: a proper prawn recipe.

Of course, before we get to the garlic prawns, some random thoughts. Firstly, thank you so much to all the kind, lovely folk who have sent us a Christmas card with kind words, rude words or just plain filth on the front cover: we absolutely love it. Honestly, I get so excited when I see our postman now, and not just because he fills out a pair of Royal Mail trousers with such panache. If you want to send us a card please do: our PO Box is: twochubbycubs, PO Box 217, Bedlington, NE63 3FA – I’m not kidding when I say it makes our day – thank you!

Secondly, there will definitely not be a post tomorrow because it’s our office Christmas party. I’m excited, but saying as I was one of the four who organised it, there’s a certain air of ‘phew, we made it’ to the whole affair. Who knew that organising shenanigans for 150 people could be so exhausting? Thankfully I work for a company with some flair and imagination so it’ll be a bit more than a few Tesco quiches and a glass of warm piss – party on!

I’m not exactly a social butterfly when it comes to work parties but I always make the Christmas one. There’s been some absolute corkers. Back in the heady days of a Labour government I used to work for a quango (long since shut down) doing a very important job – literally no-one else could use the photocopier. No, I was a secretary, but my boss was this amazingly posh woman with a filthy sense of humour and the rest of the team were equally as fun. It was a fantastic place to work – you’d turn up whenever you fancied in the morning, fanny about a bit with some papers and then fuck off home at around half past two. We spent more time outside dicking about at the smoking shelter than upstairs working and at one point the entire team hid in a meeting room for a surprise 70s buffet, emerging several hours later pissed on Babycham. In retrospect, it’s not difficult to see why the government shut ua down. Maha.

Anyway, the Christmas parties were immense – starting at 10am with drinks in the office, followed by a rude secret santa, followed by the entire department going out for ‘Christmas team lunch’ and staying out until 3am in the morning. Hilariously, we worked right next door to the HR team who were led by a manager who had never known joy. Her PA used to log what times we’d all rock into the office and send us prim notes which we’d all ignore and go smoke instead.  One especially messy Christmas party saw our Head Boss get so bladdered that we had to bundle her onto the last train back home into rural North Northumberland only for her to promptly fall asleep missing her stop. This then meant her husband had to chase the train to Edinburgh to pick her up, scattered as she was with her knickers around her ankles. That was after the point where I’d received a drunken lap-dance from her, I hasten to add. There were some exceptionally sore heads the next day.

Oh, and we got asked to leave a pub for failing to realise that every time we nipped out the back door for a smoke that we were setting off the fire alarms for the entire pub. Oops. We weren’t to know, surely. Also, at some point, someone set themselves on fire by accident. All every eventful. Oh and one more addendum to this little tale: I accidentally bought said boss a vibrator for the secret santa. In my defence I thought it was a little duck for the bath – turns out it was, but with an especially-shaped beak that vibrated. She loved it though and any embarassment was soon put to bed when the next person along opened a book of sex positions and a half-used jar of Vaseline. Seriously, that jar looked like the one in Kill Bill 2.

Ah, truly halcyon days. I love where I am now, don’t get me wrong, I do, but you never know what you’ve had until it’s taken away thanks to budget cuts!

Conversely, my worst Christmas party was at BT, where our team manager had promised to take us out for dinner and a piss-up if we met our sales targets. We worked our arses off for weeks pushing 1471 onto folks who didn’t need it and ‘accidentally’ putting people on Option 4 broadband (£7 commission!) knowing that they’d always be able to cancel it later. I know, that’s awful behaviour, but to be fair, I was pretty much permanently stoned during that job. You had to be, dealing with so many complaints. Hell, I went outside for a smoke during a quiet time and was approached by someone in another team selling speed to get through ‘the difficult calls’. I politely demurred, given my dicky ticker, but that should give you an insight to why people are often so peppy in a call centre. Smile when you dial…

Anyway, Christmas rocked around and we were told he was putting on a bus (which we had to chip in for) to take us to a country pub. He did, fair enough, but after charging us £10 a time for the bus and then putting no fucking money behind the bar for food and drink, well, that put a bit of a downer on things. We worked out later he’d actually made a profit on the coach, too, the oily-skinned fucker. We made the best of a bad day but most of us just buggered off home after an hour or so of strained conversation about sales targets. The manager clearly knew he’d upset us as we returned to find a selection box each on our desk. Most of the team left them on a point of principle – as did I – but I made sure to nip around and get all the Double Deckers out of them first.

Damn, I could murder a double-decker now, actually. But no joy. Instead let’s get this prawn recipe out of the way. I can’t claim credit for the idea – it’s actually from Hello Fresh (which we’re trialling – not for the blog but because we can’t be arsed to shop). We’ve adapted it for Slimming World though.

You know why I don’t like prawns? They have an unexpected texture. You bite into them and are met with a moment of resistance and then pffft, it almost bursts on the tongue. There’s a hint of seaside about them that I don’t care for, too, and when they are cooked they look like what I’d imagine a sphincter would look like if you took it out of the anus. Same as cockles are clearly belly-button knots. That’s a fact. However, as much as I don’t like prawns, I actually enjoyed this meal! You couldn’t write the script. Even Hoggle, normally so anti-seafood it hurts, agrees!

Somewhat unusually, this makes enough for two people. More of you? Scale up!

garlic prawns

to make garlic prawns on roast potato with pesto and rocket, you’re gonna need:

  • a strong stomach, to look at that god-awful things with their cruel bodies and mean textures
  • 150g of tiger prawns (deshelled, deshitted and beheaded) (why I haven’t been a cookbook deal escapes me)
  • one bag of rocket
  • one garlic clove
  • one medium box of cherry tomatoes
  • one large red onion
  • a few large potatoes
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat green pesto (3 syns)

to make garlic prawns on roast potato with pesto and rocket, you simply must:

  • make some tiny roasties – cut up your tatties, spritz them with some spray oil and hoy them in the oven for about twenty minutes or so until they’re all cooked nice and crisp – if you’ve got an Actifry, chuck them in there (especially as the new model is currently cheap on amazon, see?) – then set aside
  • get a pan, spritz with some oil or give it a slick of olive oil – so daring – and gently soften your onions – that’s not a euphemism for resting your tits on the cooker top mind, just so we’re clear
  • once they’re softened, chop the tomatoes in half and chuck them in together with the garlic which of course you’ll have minced using one of these fabulous graters I so often bang on about – see? Right here?
  • allow everything to soften for a moment or so then chuck in the prawns with a pinch of salt and black pepper, cooking them on medium until they are pink on the outside and opaque in the middle
  • serve by putting a few roasties in the middle of the plate, then some rocket, then the tomato, onions and prawns
  • drizzle over the pesto because why the fuck not, and enjoy!

This feels like such a frou-frou dinner and for that I apologise. I hope you enjoy it. Looking for more seafood ideas? Click the button below, along with the others. I’m going to bust out some of the lesser-posted badges for this!

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So pretty, like me. Oh and fair warning: Penny’s just been introduced in our great Lost rewatch. That’ll be the both of us sobbing into our raspberry gins when they have their tearful phonecalls all over again! I’ve got my fist balled in my mouth now watching it on Youtube. Sniff.

J

kung pao chicken meatballs with dressed spaghetti

Hello! Here for the kung pao chicken meatballs? Well you’re in luck – there’s no time for a long ramble today as lots to do but you know, I think you deserve a treat. So we have the kung pao chicken meatballs recipe coming up in a moment but first, look at our tree!

tree

Isn’t that a beauty? But let me tell you: blood was almost shed. Let me paint you a picture. There’s me, in the bath, luxuriating / basking in a sea of Molton Brown bubbles and The Archers omnibus playing in the background. Paul was in the living room fussing about the tree like a make-up artist at a wedding. I could hear the occasional shout and strop but hey, the bath was lovely. After an hour or so a plaintive cry came from the living room for me to come and help – his tiny Nick-Nack legs didn’t quite afford him the height needed to pop our furry star on top of the tree. Fair enough – the tree is 7ft and Paul drives a Smart-car.

I clamber out, the bubbles caressing my every curve. It was exactly like the bit in Casino Royale when Daniel Craig emerges from the sea in his little blue knickers, only with far more heart disease and loud straining. I mince into the living room and exclaim at how pretty the tree is before immediately fretting as to whether our Dyson Digital can cope with the quarter-tonne of pine needles that already litter the floor. Completely nude, I lean into the tree to make the final adjustment, to adorn it with the shiny star of Christmas, and how was I rewarded?

With a fucking pine needle right down my hog’s eye. My beef bullet was speared by the cold fingers of Christmas present. I know that a lot of you ladies out there will have been through child birth but honestly, that would have been like ripping off a wet plaster compared to this. I don’t like to exaggerate but it was literally the worst pain in the world. There’s places that nothing should ever venture and a gentleman’s scrotum-totem is one of these. I since looked it up on the internet only to find it’s an actual fetish, with people putting all sorts of things down there. Internet: what is wrong with you?

Anyway, you’ll be relieved to know that he’s fine and still in working order. Phew, right? Let’s get straight to the meatballs, apropos of nothing. This makes enough for four and yeah, it looks like a bit of a ballache to make, but it’s worth it – something different to that boring old SW meatballs in the freezer! Plus you could make the balls and freeze for later.

kung pao chicken meatballs

to make kung pao chicken meatballs you will need:

for the spaghetti

  • 500g spaghetti (or noodles!)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 160ml soy sauce
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 75ml shoaxing rice wine (4 syns)
  • 2 tbsp red chilli paste
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (2 syns)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (6 syns)

for the meatballs

  • 500g minced chicken (or turkey)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 egg
  • 35g porridge oats (1x HeB)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (1/2 syn)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

You know when we say mince ginger or garlic? Use a microplane grater. It’ll stop your fingers smelling, as long as you stop picking your bum. But seriously, don’t fart about peeling ginger or garlic, just grate it as it is – it’ll be perfect. Click here for our recommended mincer! 

for the sauce

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (1/2 syn)
  • 1 tbsp red chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp honey (3 syns)

to make kung pao chicken meatballs you should:

bit of a fuck on this, but I promise it’s worth it.

  • firstly, preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • then, make the meatballs – spray a non-stick baking sheet with a little oil
  • mix together all of the meatball ingredients, roll into about twenty meatballs, plop onto the baking sheet and cook for twenty five minutes, and whilst that’s going on, do the other bits
  • next, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti (or noodles) according to the instructions – try and time this so that the spaghetti will be finished at the same time as the meatballs
  • meanwhile, in a bowl whisk together all the other ingredients for the spaghetti, except for the garlic, and keep to one side
  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat
  • add the minced garlic and cook for about thirty seconds
  • pour in the reserved sauce, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for a few minutes, until slightly thickened
  • add the cooked and drained spaghetti (or noodles), toss well until nicely coated with the sauce
  • in another bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients
  • when the meatballs are cooked, toss them gently in the sauce
  • serve the spaghetti onto plates, and top with the meatballs
  • sprinkle over the spring onions
  • we added a few chopped peanuts as well for a bit of crunch (if you’re doing the same, remember to syn them)

Serve! The oats really bulk the balls out. Mahaha!

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Enjoy!

J

deck the halls with a twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap

AH YES: the twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap! We know it’s not technically a wrap – it just sounds sexier. Remember when the Spice Girls released that god-awful version of that god-awful ‘Christmas favourite’ song, Christmas Wrapping? Wasn’t it just awful? We’d be shit Spice Girls, though I’ve got the bust to carry off a Union Jack leotard. I could be Grindr Spice – guaranteed to blow your mind and your cock. Paul would be Spherical Spice, or Mmmmace for short. Anyway, that’s quite the digression for an opening paragraph, isn’t it?

Before we get started remember: we’d LOVE a Christmas card from you! It’s all we want for Christmas – if you enjoy our recipes or we’ve made you laugh until you’ve moistened your nipsy then please let us know. Send us a card to twochubbycubs, PO Box 217, Bedlington, NE63 3FA and we’ll love you forever. Honestly, I’ve never been this excited to see a man empty his sack for years!

We have our tree! It’s beautiful. 7ft of glorious Nordmann fir, equal branches, lovely deep green, smells like a taxi-cab office. We flirted with the idea of buying a really good fake tree but do you know, it just wouldn’t be Christmas unless a good couple of hours was spent with us furiously trying to squeeze a 7ft tree into a 7ft car. Paul suggested taking the Smart car and simply strapping the tree on the top but come on. It would be like using a Little Tikes Cosy Coupe to tow a friggin’ plane down an icy runway. One of Paul’s friends has a fake tree which she last decorated back in 2008 and all she does after Christmas is wrap the whole tree in cling film – lights, baubles and tinsel still in situ – and then bungs it up in her loft.

I like her style, but such shenanigans wouldn’t work for us, not least because we have a new theme every year. We’re not one of those sentimental (for sentimental, read classy) couples who buy a tasteful decoration every time we go somewhere fancy and then spend hours at Christmas reminiscing and smiling at each other over memories past. No, every single Christmas since we’ve been together Paul has decided that the last decorations were old-hat and that we needed to buy new ones because what previously looked amazing now looks drab and tired. We’ve had a snow theme. We’ve had a rainbow theme. We’ve had a chuck-everything-on-there-at-once-theme. I suggested a budget theme where we don’t dress the fucker at all but that was shot down for being grinch like. My second suggestion of a retro-theme where, god forbid, we actually use the same decorations as before, was met with a look like I’d just shat in his coffee.

However, Paul doesn’t cause me too much fuss, so I tend to just retire to the Xbox and let him crack on with decorating it. He does a grand job, to be fair, even if there is an unusual amount of swearing during the decorating process and far too much Mariah Carey for my liking. I get to come and appraise his efforts, drink Baileys and turn on the lights, which every year fills me with so much angst because I’ve seen 999 and I know my Christmas tree is just itching to burst into flames.

Anyway, perhaps we should have exercised a modicum of common sense when it came to picking the tree because getting it home was an adventure in itself – whilst we did indeed manage to squeeze it into the car, it meant driving the fifteen miles or so home without any visibility behind me, the ability to see any of my mirrors and great difficulty in changing the gears because the car at this point was 85% fir needles. I had to rely on Paul to check his side when we were pulling out of junctions and this is a man who gets distracted wiping his own arse. I’ve never feared for my life more behind the wheel. Imagine having a crash and the ambulance men not being able to get at your prone body because you have a £70 tree through your face. Goodness.

We made it home – obviously – and the next part of the struggle took place: trying to get it back out of the car. It was wedged in so tight that it had almost become a feature of the car itself and it was only after twenty minutes of jimmying it every which way that we were able to get it free, stumble across the lawn and into our house. Paul took great care to make sure every possible wall received a scratch or a bit of mud which resulted in me getting one of the eighteen tester pots of paint out to gussy the place back up. Final insult? The bloody thing wouldn’t go into the tree-stand from last year because the trunk is too thick. Pfft. Listen, if being a gay man has taught me anything, is that you’d be surprised at what you can slide into a very small hole if you just take your time and apply enough gentle force. Fifteen minutes of wrestling back and forth was rewarded with the trunk sliding in with a satisfying pop. I’d have offered the tree a cigarette afterwards but see above re: fire risk.

And there it stays. Paul will decorate it tomorrow once it has dried out, leaving a 24 hour window for the cats to climb all over it and scratch away at the trunk. Hell, I’d hate to feel like they were left out. Sola might have enjoyed the Christmas experience so much yesterday having wrapping tape stuck to her bajingo that she’s become a full Christmas convert. However, because you enjoyed the tale so much yesterday, she’s actually deigned to do a posed photo for you all.

twochubbycubs' christmas wrap

You might be thinking she looks adorable but let me tell you, she’d sooner cut your face clean open than return any love. So be warned.

Shall we crack on with the twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap then? This makes enough for four people – if you’re making more or fewer, just amend the recipe as needed. Feel free to change it up, leave out the cheese, add more stuffing, eat all four and spend the night crying into an endless glass of gin. Up to you. Apologies for the poopy photo, though, I tried my best!

twochubbycubs' christmas wrap

to make a twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap you will need:

  • 4 pitta breads (from your HeB allowance)
  • 2 chicken or turkey breasts, cooked and sliced into four
  • 4 bacon medallions

You get chicken and bacon in our excellent meaty mix-up deal with Musclefood – only £40 delivered for all sorts of syn-free deliciousness! Stock up for winter!

  • 100g Paxo sage and onion stuffing mix (6 syns)
  • 4 tbsp cranberry sauce (8 syns)
  • 4 slices of cheese (from your HeA allowance)
  • 4 lettuce leaves

Comes in at 3.5 syns for a full pitta. Pitta? I barely knew her! RECTUM? Damn near killed him!

to make a twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap you should:

  • if you aren’t using leftover chicken or turkey, cook the raw breasts in the oven on 200 degrees for ten minutes, then turn and cook for another fifteen minutes
  • cook the bacon too if you haven’t already – yeah go on, do what you’re told
  • make up the stuffing mix according to the instructions, roll into balls (to be clear, if you’re a bloke, we mean roll them into sphere shapes, not spread them onto your scrotum) (chipolata anyone?) and bake
  • next, toast the pitta breads in the toaster for a few minutes
  • cut into two halves and open up the middle
  • fill the pitta breads with a slice of chicken/turkey, a bacon medallion, stuffing ball (cut them in half to spread the love about), a slice of cheese, bit of lettuce and finish off with a tablespoon of cranberry sauce
  • shove into your gob

Lovely right? You want more delicious things? Then click the buttons my squashy friends!

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Eee, there’s more buttons there than any pearly queen! Please remember to share!

J

syn-free broccoli and cheese breakfast wraps

Can I make a plea? Please don’t write this recipe for broccoli and cheese breakfast wraps off without trying it because the idea of broccoli at breakfast makes you queasy. It’s absolutely worth a try! They freeze too so if you like them, make a batch and then that’s breakfast sorted!


Second plea: turns out Paul set up a PO Box for us! We often get asked if people can send us gifts or other such things at Christmas: honestly, there’s absolutely no need. We’ve got everything we need because we’ve got each other and easy access to a local takeaway. But we would love – absolutely love – to get a Christmas card from you! We’ve already had some absolute corkers and I’d love to fill a shelf with lovely messages! If you can spare a moment and a stamp, please send a card to:

twochubbycubs
PO Box 217
Bedlington
NE63 3FA


If you’ve found our recipes useful or had a laugh at our antics, this is the chance to let us know! We would both be absolutely touched 🙂 – thank you all!

Before I even start, I need to regale you with a bit of hilarity. We’ve been wrapping presents in the utility room this afternoon and we’re just sitting down with a totally syn-free Baileys Hot Chocolate when our cat came steaming into the living room. Nothing unusual in that, you might think, only she was scooting across the living room carpet at a rate of knots on her arsehole, pulling herself forward with her feet. She looked like a determined, furry Roomba, only leaving a faint hiss of digested Whiskas for good measure on our fancy black carpet. Naturally we were full of concern and once we’d stopped laughing (laughing to the point Paul actually fell off the sofa) we managed to catch her and check her over. Turns out she’d got a piece of double-sized tape stuck just above her minnie-moo and was pulling herself along to try and get rid of it. I spent a minute very carefully pulling it away, being treated to a far more detailed view of my cat’s vagina than I could have ever hoped to see on a Saturday evening, and she was back on her way, ignoring us evermore. I’m sure she will take her revenge tomorrow once we put the tree up. We once came home to find the entire tree tipped over which, when you consider it was standing in one of those tree-gripper

Speaking of my cat’s vagina (because why not?) I remember when we first got Sola, our queen. We saw an ad online from some rough trollop in nearby Blyth who was giving cats away because she didn’t want them anymore. So aghast was I by the state of the living room in the photos of the cats that I told Paul we had to rescue the littlest one at the very least and so it was that we ended up in a derelict car park at 10pm at night picking up a cat. It was like Breaking Bad, only with more mincing.  She was the tiniest little thing and we spoilt her rotten until one day she broke. Yes, broke.

We awoke to the most horrifying sound imaginable – like she was meowing into a hoover tube, all distressed and unhappy. We hastened out of bed and found her lying in the hallway, at which point she immediately stopped meowing and started purring all content as could be. As soon as we stepped away the awful meowing would start up again. Surely she hadn’t fallen in love with us so hard that our absence from her field of vision caused her such suffering? We were perplexed and it was only after 20 minutes of googling and ringing my mother that we found out what was wrong – she was horny.

Which, to be fair, explained why every time we looked in her direction she was lying on her front with her fadge raised up into the air.

It was awful. We couldn’t take her to get spayed because most vets won’t do it when the cat has come on, so we had to wait for her kitten-bajingo to cool off and calm the fuck down, meaning we were subjected to almost a week of her caterwauling, licking away at her privates and backing herself up against the front door for every passing tom. She was like Paul when the binmen turn up to take our bins away. At one point I came through the front door just as she was pressing herself against it and I swear she ended up like those stick-on-Garfield’s you used to get on car windows. We had her spayed the very second we were able to (presumably when the vet’s scalpel wouldn’t come out looking like someone had sneezed on it) and all was well again. We were given strict instructions not to let her jump up anywhere in case her stitches burst open and her innards came tumbling out, so we took turns sleeping with her in the spare bedroom. That week, post operation, was the nicest she’s ever been to us – all nuzzling and warm and friendly. Since then, she’ll give us the occasional moment of civility in amongst all the hissing, scratching and ignoring she manages to throw at us, but that’s alright, I’m a big lad, I can take it.

There’s no secret that we love Christmas – it’s the best time of year for both of us, even if last Christmas we ended up so ill we spent three days on the sofa snoring and sniffing and farting and only moving to nip to ASDA for tonic water and more gin. I don’t think one single hour passed that Christmas that wasn’t punctuated with the sound of Paul slicing a lime or the hiss of a tonic. This year we plan to push the boat out a little and have lots of decorations, including getting our Christmas tree nice and early as opposed to waiting until December 24th to buy a tree with as much foliage as a 12 year old boy’s top lip.

One new thing this year that we’ve just finished doing is putting up lights outside. Every year we fill our windows with twinkling beauties but this year, thanks to us having the foresight to arrange for some thick-fingered electrician to come around and fit us an outdoor sockets, we can finally light up Chubby Towers the way it was meant to be. We nipped onto ebay, researched the brightest possible LED Christmas lights available and naturally, bought two sets. It looks tremendous. Best part? It’ll wind up the one neighbour who hates us. Everyone else in the street is lovely bar the arse who thought the gays would bring the house-prices down. You can imagine how distressed I am at the thought of him being inconvenienced by our lights. I hope a plane attempts to land in his front garden – it’ll give him a distraction from our cat pooing in there.

In the meantime, let’s not keep you a moment longer than is necessary – here’s a genuinely fantastic recipe for a breakfast wrap that you can make, freeze and reheat at your leisure. I made six and two went in the freezer, which tells you everything you need to know. You might be put off by the thought of broccoli for breakfast but come on, when have I ever steered you wrong?

to make broccoli and cheese breakfast wraps you will need:

  • 1 broccoli (cut off the main stalk but leave the rest)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • few slices of ham
  • 160g reduced fat red leicestershire cheese, grated (4x HeA)
  • 4 bFree gluten free tortillas (4x HeB) (take a moment to double check your tortillas – the HEB allowance changes often!)

to make broccoli and cheese breakfast wraps you should:

  • put the broccoli and red pepper into a food processor and blitz until chopped – it’s fine to have lumps though, it doesn’t need to be fine dust
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a little oil or a few sprays of whatever you use
  • add the onion and chopped ham and cook for about five minutes
  • add the broccoli and pepper mixture to the pan and cook for another five minutes
  • meanwhile, beat the eggs with a bit of salt and pepper
  • add to the pan with the broccoli and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until the eggs are cooked
  • remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly
  • heat another frying pan, big enough for a tortilla, over a medium-high heat
  • add the tortilla to the pan and in the middle spoon in some of the broccoli mixture and top with the grated cheese
  • fold along the bottom and across the sides, and turn over so the seam is against the bottom of the pan – sear for about 20 seconds to form a seal
  • serve – the cheese will be gooey and I promise this will be lovely!

Enjoy. More breakfast ideas you say?

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I’m adding the vegetarian button because you could easily leave out the ham!

J

pork and apple burgers with blue cheese

Did you miss us? I know, we’re just awful people. You’ve probably been logging on every day, typing through your tears, crying into your pillows, wailing and sobbing and bawling about our lack of posts. For that I apologise. But see, we just needed a proper break from the blog just to freshen up and do some back-end stuff, which isn’t a euphemism for anal sex, unusually. Most of it is done, second book is almost finished, all is well in the world.

One mistake we’ve made though is declaring that we really ought to watch Lost again. See, we have a big fancy TV and that Sky Q service that gives you everything you need and more for a vastly overpriced sum every month, yet all we watch is Police Interceptors (and that’s more because it’s the only way for either of us to see how our nieces and nephews are growing – aaah, they look so grown-up in their ASBA ankle-bracelets and Madidas tracksuits). Lost took over our lives a few summers ago to the point where both of us feigned having swine flu just to stay at home and see what happened next. That was back in the day when I used to work for an organisation which class a full day’s work as turning up before 11 and nicking off at 3pm. No wonder they shut the place down…

…anyway, as a result of our foray back into Lost, we’re losing time all over the place. Every night becomes ‘one more, just one more’ and I’ve taken to calling Paul ‘Hurley’ on account of his big fat tits. Poor guy.

We’re still fat, by the way. We did toy with the idea of relaunching the blog as a Weight Watchers blog for shits and giggles but I didn’t want to be responsible for eight hundred heart attacks at once – I’ve seen how angry some of you get over Iceland running out of curry sauce, let alone us taking the recipes away. I swear to God I’ve seen a poor Iceland worker covered in so much spittle by a venting Slimming Worlder that I nearly wiped his face down myself with my sleeve. We’ve accepted that this year is a bit of a write-off and that we will shallow breathe our way to New Year, but we have something nice planned for 2017 which really will provide some focus…

My health anxiety made a brief but unwelcome reappearance when I went to the loo only to notice a load of blood in the water. Frightening. Naturally, I had diagnosed myself with advanced and terminal bowel cancer by the time I had wiped my nipsy and it was only after eight hours of hyperventilating and worried emailing that Paul remembered we’d had about four bowls full of red pepper soup the night before and his er…droppings, were equally as scarlet. So at least I can add that to the list of diseases I’ve beat this year.

We took the recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I had to persuade Paul that he liked blue cheese after all when he did one of his usual 180 degree spins on food – he’s as bad as our cats. We bought 84 pouches of Whiskas a few weeks ago as the cats seem to love it only to find that the very first pouch was completely ignored, meaning we have 83 pouches to take along to the cat and dog shelter to give to cats who don’t have a rod stuck up their arse. Anyway, Paul was simply adamant that he didn’t like blue cheese because ‘it smells like off-cock’ (to be fair, he’s right on that point) until I reminded him that he’d managed to put away half a wheel of cheese at my mum’s Christmas buffet last year to the point he constipated himself over the New Year. Suddenly, when faced with that enticing detail, he remembered he DID like cheese after all. It’s the little things.

Right, to the recipe then…this really is an easy dinner to make – serve with a side salad or, more realistically, a load of chips, and you’ll be in Fatty Heaven.

pork and apple burger with blue cheese

to make a pork and apple burger with blue cheese you will need:

Can I make a recommendation? If you make a load of homemade burgers, get yourself a little burger press. This is the one we have – there’s plenty of cheaper models out there too but this has the advantage of not looking like your kitchen has been fitted out by Fisher Price. Plus, it’s only a couple of quid more. You get nice uniform compressed burgers that don’t fall apart in the pan.

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to make a pork and apple burger with blue cheese you should:

  • mix together the pork, diced apple and paprika
  • leave to chill for twenty minutes to firm up
  • divide the mixture into four and shape into burgers
  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and put over a medium-high heat
  • add the burgers and cook for about 6 minutes each side
  • when cooked, lob into a bun with a bit of lettuce and crumble over the blue cheese

Done! It’s as easy as that. You could make a few extra burgers and freeze them if you please. Looking for more meal ideas? But of course. Click the buttons below!

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Enjoy! Ah, I’ve missed you guys.

J

apple, mushroom and sage risotto

Paul’s had a difficult day dealing with 185 million emails and I’ve shouted myself hoarse at some twat in a BMW who seemed to think the 70mph limit was 40mph too fast and thus trundled along in front of me reading his phone, so it’s straight to the recipe (as promised). We love risottos here at Cubs Towers, and this unusual flavour combination couldn’t be more autumnal. Why the fuck have I started sounding like Mary Berry when describing my recipes? Good grief. RECIPE NOW. This makes enough for two big bowl fulls, and later, two big bowel fulls.

apple, mushroom and sage risotto

to make apple, mushroom and sage risotto you will need:

  • 4 bacon medallions
  • 2 shallot, sliced
  • 100g shittake mushrooms, chopped
  • 200g arborio rice
  • 125ml apple juice (about 3 syns)
  • 1 litre chicken stock (make by dissolving three chicken stock cubes in a litre of boiling water
  • ½ cooking apple (peeled, cored and chopped)
  • ⅛ tsp sage
  • cooked chicken breast (optional)

Here’s the thing. Technically, if you’re following Slimming World to the letter, you should syn your quarter of a cooking apple. However, that, to me, is nonsense. If I was saying you should put a pack of butter in and not syn it, that would be wrong, but a nice healthy apple – and a tiny bit of it at that? Nope! Always your decision to make though!

You could easily use the chicken and bacon from our new Musclefood box, which has lots of those, and others, inside – click here for that.

to make apple, mushroom and sage risotto you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add the bacon, cook until crispy and put aside on a plate. when cooled, chop it up into crispy bits
  • wipe out the pan and add a little oil, reduce the heat to medium-high
  • fry the shallot and mushroom for about 4 minutes, until softened and add the rice
  • stir well until the rice is coated
  • add the apple juice to the pan and cook until it’s mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes or so
  • add 1 ladle of chicken stock and stir frequently until it’s mostly absorbed
  • add the next ladle and stir again until absorbed
  • add the chopped apple to the pan along with another ladle of chicken stock until absorbed, and keep adding stock by the ladleful until it’s all absorbed
  • remove from the heat and stir in the sage
  • serve into bowls, top with the chicken, bacon and apple slices

Need more inspiration? Just click one of the buttons below!

 

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Enjoy!

J

teriyaki steak with autumn coleslaw

Teriyaki sauce with autumn coleslaw? No, I don’t know what makes it an autumn coleslaw, save for the fact you’ll be falling over yourself to make it again if you’re a fan of crunchy veg. It’s not supposed to be swimming in dressing,

Right, here’s the deal! We are really struggling to find time to write blog entries at the moment as we’ve both got something big on at work and I’m busy getting our second book together for release in December, which, as you can imagine, takes some doing. But see I always feel bad if we’re not putting on new recipes so for the next couple of weeks or so, we’re going to be posting the recipes that we’ve get saved up and, where I can, I’ll try and put some guff on first if I have the time! All I ask in return is a simple favour: please share our blogs, recipes, ideas wherever you can!

Time does make fools of us all though, doesn’t it? I call Paul the minute-man, not because he’s a two-pump chump but rather whenever I ask him to do something he’ll reply ‘I’ll do it in a minute’. I could run into the room, choking on a Hi-Fi bar, clutching at my throat and he’d still merely look at me with absent-minded disdain and finish his tea. Bah. So, let’s get on with the recipe, and I promise we’ll be back properly in a couple of weeks!

Can I just point out one little thing? If you’re looking for an Actifry, the newest model is £79 on Amazon – which is by far and away the cheapest I’ve ever seen it, with the bigger model actually being the same price as the smaller one. Click here to have a look. It’s probably the one gadget we use the most and it’ll not get cheaper than this. Yeah, you can get a Taffle ActiLie from Aldi for cheaper but at this price, it’s worth paying that bit more for the decent version.

Also, bit unfortunate, yes, but we’ve also got another Musclefood deal sorted with…er, Musclefood – we’ve had a lot of people asking for a more varied box, so we’ve sorted one out for £40! Here it is:

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You can find more of our MF deals on one page by clicking here – we’ve got a deal for everyone. Right, no more advert stuff!

teriyaki steak and autumn coleslaw

to make teriyaki steak with autumn coleslaw you will need:

  • 2 decent steaks (we used the steaks in the box above)
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey (2.5 syns)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 fennel bulb, halved and sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • bunch of coriander, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime

to make teriyaki steak with autumn coleslaw you should:

  • mix together the soy sauce, red wine vinegar and honey
  • lay the steaks out onto a plate and pour over the soy sauce marinade – turn the steaks over so they’re well coated
  • leave to marinade for fifteen minutes
  • meanwhile, make the coleslaw by mixing together the carrot, fennel, red onion, coriander and lime juice, and put into the fridge to chill
  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat, add a bit of spray oil and add the steaks, reserving the marinade – cook to your liking
  • when the steaks are cooked, remove from the pan and allowed to rest
  • pour the remaining marinade into the frying pan and cook until reduced and thickened to make the sauce – pour this over the steak
  • enjoy!

We did the chips in the picture in the Actifry – no oil, just worcestershire sauce and a crumbled oxo cube! Easy! Keeps it syn free, too.

More recipes? Yes:

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Cheers!

J

beef, bean and chorizo chilli

Yes, another slow cooker recipe if you please, but you can always just make this beef, bean and chorizo chilli on the hob if you prefer. Apologies that we’re a bit slow-cooker heavy at the moment, but we’re batch-cooking see and the slow cooker lends itself so well to having food portioned off into foil containers, ready to disappear into the freezer until they’re thrown out fourteen months later. Batch-cooking: it only works if you don’t have a freezer that looks like an Iceland lorry crashed down an embankment. We must be the only couple in Britain whose freezer is 50% Häagen-Dazs, 50% good intentions.

The other reason for this chilli was so that we’d have something warm and comforting to come back to after nipping out last night to watch the fireworks at Hexham. I know I’ve waffled previously at length about firework displays – in short, I thoroughly enjoy the spectacle but not the a) crowds b) thought of wasting so much money and c) did I mention the crowds? And of course, the main problem with Hexham fireworks is that the whoooooosh and squeeeeeeeee of the fireworks is almost drowned out by the braying and neighing of all the posh, chinless lot scrabbling around in their Hunter wellies and desperately unhappy marriages. I’ve never seen so many children dressed like accountants and stable-hands squealing and yelling. Still, the fireworks were really very good, and the hour or so we spent trying to get out of the overflow carpark in a sea of BMWs, Range Rovers and other shitcarriages gave me plenty of time to practice my swearing and make adamantly clear to Paul that we’ll never have a child. To be fair, I think that’s rather a moot point, I can’t envision Paul ever telling me ashen-faced that he’s managed to get someone pregnant. I mean, we’ve been trying for ten years…

Oddly, it’s not the first time this month that I’ve been sliding around in a muddy field. No, for whatever god-knows-reason, we decided to go along to the local car boot sale a week or so ago. I didn’t take much persuasion, but then I never do when it comes to being in a dimly-lit field surrounded by men with their car doors open flashing their wares. My DS3 is possibly the only model out there whose interior lights don’t so much blink on and off as actually strobe. Ah well. We are what we are. No, I rather relished the chance to revisit a bit of my youth, spending many Sundays way-back-when as a boy at the Corbridge car boots. I remember it fondly – lots of colourful board games, piles of NES cartridges, stopping at the mobile hot-dog van for a small saveloy and severe gastroenteritis. I did once find a set of James Herriot books which came in useful 20 years later propping up my broken bed, so that was useful.

We piled into the car at ungodly’o’clock on the Sunday morning (by ungodly, I mean before dusk) and beetled up the dual carriageway, giving my nana’s old house a friendly wave as we chugged past. She was always such a big part of our Sundays that, even now, it feels odd driving through the village where she used to be. Any soft feelings of nostalgia were eventually swapped with mild anger as, upon getting to the general area of the car boot sale, we joined a queue of waiting traffic. I couldn’t believe it. I thought we were the odds ones for going but here we were, part of an eager mass of beige coloured cars, cardigans and fingernails. I touched Paul’s hand and asked if they were giving out free blowjobs and chocolate but nope, these were just folk wanting a ratch about. What had we become?

We were shown to an overflow car-park by an officious looking tit with a poor attitude and dandruff – the exact type of person who you know came a bit when he was given a hi-ves jacket and a clipboard. He told me off for going around the overflow car park in the wrong direction as though I’d killed the second coming of Princess Diana and then scuttled off to harass some poor old biddy in her Fiat Pubis. With heavy hearts, we trooped in.

What’s to say? It was awful as I expected. Look, I know that so many of you will get a lot out of a car boot sale, I really do, but it definitely wasn’t for us. For a start, the absolute fucking tut on display was second to none. I wanted to see if I could find any decent N64 games and, whilst I managed to locate a small cache of them, the owner wanted way more than I’d pay for them on eBay. I tried haggling – I’m not shy – but I would have had more success arguing with the decorating table he had spread his wares on. Someone else seemed to have brought everything from her home that wasn’t fastened down – books (fine), dirty cups (dubious) and various magazines, including last week’s What’s On TV? Why? Who needs that? I’d cheerfully bet my house that there hasn’t been a single instance of someone sitting bolt upright in bed in the dead of night clamouring to read the synopsis of what’s happening in Eastenders a week ago.

The same bewhiskered dolt was also selling a selection of used ashtrays. We’re not, as you might expect, talking tasteful art-deco pieces here, no no, just those awful pub style ashtrays with XXXX on the side, with lots of burns and ash-marks on them. Here’s the thing. If you smoke, you’re going to already have an ashtray, unless you’re a common slattern who puts her ash on the carpet and hey, you laugh, but I know of at least two blood relatives who do this. I fell over in their living room once and came up with my hair looking like Doc Brown from Back to the Future. Returning back to the point, who did she think was going to buy these ashtrays? It’s not like they could be roughly distressed by some twat in a lumberjack shirt who has set about it with a power sander. I find it all very odd. We moved on.

I wish I could say we had at least some success, but nah. Stalls full of unwanted nonsense, committed (at least, they fucking should be) car-booters all scrabbling around and being rude, rubbish fast-food options – we won’t be going back. We did make a purchase, though, in the vain hope that they could at least look good in our games room – a battered box with some Super Mario rollerskates. Great! No, sorry, not great – shit. When we got back to the sealed box that was our car, we realised that they’d clearly come from a house where it was obligatory to smoke forty Capstan Full Strength tabs before dinner, meaning they’re now in our shed gathering dust and wheezing gently. We should have returned them – I was half-tempted to nip back to the old lady’s stall and buy the Rollerskates Family a few ashtrays as a pointed joke – but the clipboard man was looking furiously at us again so we drove away. All in all – a failure. Nothing of interest and a new bit of shite that will clutter up our lovely shed.

Of course, where there’s muck there’s money – perhaps next week Paul and I should load our car with all of our tat (my car, not his: it would be a bit of a shit display if we used his car, given we could only fit a tie-pin and a sachet of coffee into his car) and go and sell it. I couldn’t, though. For a start, I wouldn’t be able to deal with hagglers – I’d take it as the purest insult if someone tried to suggest my slightly-wrong-colour-Le-Creuset cups weren’t worth full price, for example. Then, if we didn’t sell, I’d fall into a deep self-doubt – thought the giant lava lamp was tasteful – why didn’t Elsie and Eric want it for their caravan? The soft light would really diffuse the harsh blue veins of a swinging party, for example. Ah well.

Right, come on now, let’s do this recipe, eh? Remember, you can make this in the slow cooker (after browning off the meat and veg) (and trust me, I’m not usually a fan of browning my meat) (too far?) or on the hob. Do as you wish, my love. If you’re trying to save syns you could perhaps leave out the chorizo, but why? It adds a lot of taste and warmth. This splits out between four and you can freeze it.

beef, bean and chorizo chilli

to make beef, bean and chorizo chilli, you’ll need:

Now, you can any old extra shite into this chilli, that’s the joy of these things, but if you eat it as it is above, it’ll be less than 2 syns a portion. Nice! For the photo, we served ours with rice (underneath), a few Doritos (7.5 syns per bag, we shared one, so 3.5 syns each) and a dollop of black pepper soft cheese (2 syns for 25g, we used less than that – so 1 syn) – so all in all, if you have it with the toppings, maybe syn the lot at 7 syns. Not bad if you want a treat! Alone, with rice, the chill is wonderful in itself. Anyway, enough guff.

to make beef, bean and chorizo chilli, you should:

  • phew, deep breath now
  • get yourself a good pan and give it a few squirts of oil
  • slice your onion, dice your chorizo, cut up your peppers, mush up your mushroom – put them all into the pan on a medium heat and let the onions soften and the chorizo sweat a bit
  • chuck in the mince and the garlic, spices, pepper and leave to cook right through – no pink!
  • add the tomato puree, beans and chilli beans and then give everything a good stir with the beef stock
  • either leave to simmer nicely for an hour or two, or, much better, decant everything into your slow cooker and leave to cook on low for six hours (we actually went for about ten hours, it did no harm)
  • easy!

Remember, this freezes well, or, kept in the fridge, makes for a lovely topping for a jacket tatty the day after. Enjoy!

Looking for more inspiration? No worries! Click the buttons below. Let’s go for the full house today!

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I mean really.

J

easy peasy spaghetti and meatballs

Just a quick recipe tonight for easy peasy spaghetti and meatballs as we’re on a date night – I’ve been to Waitrose and got some fancy food, Paul’s given his sausage a more extensive rinse then the usual ‘bit of Listerine and polish it on the face-towel’ and the cats have been shut away in the shed with the sound of fireworks to rock them gently to sleep (Christ I’m kidding, I really am – they’ve still got run of the house, I’m not daft).

Tonight’s recipe actually comes from The Hairy Bikers. One common thing we get in the comments is that people imagine us to be exactly like The Hairy Bikers. Pfft. The closest I’ve come to getting my leather-clad leg over a throbbing Harley was a good few years ago in London, and Paul’s wrists are too delicate for anything above a push-along lawnmower. So, without further ado…

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to make easy peasy spaghetti and meatballs you will need:

  • 400g beef mince
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tins of cherry tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes)
  • 400g spaghetti
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • pinch of salt and pepper

to make easy peasy spaghetti and meatballs you should:

  • in a bowl mix together the spring onions, mince, thyme and salt and pepper
  • divide the mixture into twenty and roll into balls
  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and cook the meatballs over a medium-high heat until browned all over – this will take about 10 minutes or so
  • meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to the instructions
  • add a little oil to a saucepan and whack onto a medium-high heat
  • add the garlic and chilli flakes and cook for a minute or two
  • add the tomatoes to the saucepan, turn the heat to high and simmer for five minutes until the liquid has reduced, add a little salt and pepper if you like
  • drain the spaghetti and serve, top with the meatballs and spoon over the sauce

Looking for more recipes? More guff? You can find it all below!

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Enjoy!

J