eggy bread cups – a syn free breakfast idea

Syn free eggy bread cups – possibly one of the easiest recipes we’ve ever done, but if you’re looking for a quick, healthy breakfast, fill your boobs. Not a typo.

So, here’s the deal folks. We need to knuckle down and focus on our fabulous cookbook, which is coming out in December.

Coming up with eighty-six jokes about willies per paragraph is taxing on the old fingers, I can promise you. But we can’t leave you without something to read of an evening, and as a result, I’ve decided to publish a chapter from the other book we’re writing, a memoir of our month in Canada last year. Our travel blogs, like your dear writer, always go down well.

Canada has been on my mind a lot lately, so it’s always nice to revisit it. Seems like a lifetime ago, but it’s only been nine months. Anyone got a contact for Bernard’s Watch? Anyway.

If you’re here for the eggy bread cups recipe, scroll right to the bottom and you’ll see it right there!

We landed at Toronto Airport in double-smart time and, after a restorative coffee and a mental note of all the airport shops available to us for the end of the holiday ‘get rid of the Canadian money because I’ll be buggered if it’s getting added to the drawer of mystery money at home’ dash, we made our way to the car rental place to pick up our motor for the brief trip to Niagara. I had asked for an exciting car, something with a bit of zip, something that an NHS dentist wouldn’t drive. They gave me a Nissan Qashqai that, if it were represented by a sound, it would be that little sigh you make when you bite into an apple and it’s soft. I mean, it’ll do, but. Toronto to Niagara is about a two hour drive if you drive like Paul, about an hour if you drive like me. By drive like me I mean furiously, with scant attention to road-signs, other users and the fact I was falling asleep at the wheel because I was so, so tired. Who would have thought that thirty days of travelling would catch up with me so suddenly?

Luckily, Canadian motorways are wide, many-laned and never particularly busy, so I was able to get some shut-eye for a good few miles before Paul’s screaming and wrenching at the steering wheel rudely brought me around. He can be a very selfish passenger. Oh, I should preface this by saying I asked him to drive but he couldn’t because he was tired. But we couldn’t play loud music because he had a headache. He also wouldn’t talk to me to keep me awake because he was sulking because I wouldn’t let him wear my sex-trophy hat. So actually, had we rolled the motor and shuffled into the afterlife, he’d have only had himself to blame.

After our brief sojourn onto the hard shoulder Paul made me stop for a coffee. I immediately poo-pooed this idea because the last thing I need when I’m trying to nod off is caffeine and instead made a swap for a Dairy Queen Dime Bar Blizzard. Listen, if you’re at a computer, look into flights to Toronto right now and get one of these into you. I’d cheerfully push the Scottish rugby team off my bumhole to have another bash at one of these. It’s worth losing a foot over, I promise you. It’s like they blended a whole bag of Dime bar miniatures with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food and rubbed it across my prostate for a solid ten minutes. I’ve never had a dessert give me a full stonk-on.

Back in the car, absolutely smashed off my tits on the sugar, the rest of the drive flew by in a blur of metal and me screeching along to Cher. Paul laughed as his ears bled.

Our hotel was the Sheraton by the Falls. It’s called that because of the amount of old people I pushed over in my haste to get in (there was a much, much better joke there originally, but in this age of hysteria, I pulled it). Gosh no I’m kidding, it’s a wonderful hotel that overlooks the falls – if you’re fancy and pay for an upgrade you can gaze out of your window at the majesty of the falls. Which sounds just lovely and indeed it is, but it comes with a significant downside. Being so near so much thundering water means everything is ever so slightly damp. It’s like a hen-party with an aged male stripper. This in turn creates an overwhelming smell of foist in the room, which admittedly was alleviated a little once Paul and his toxic arse settled in. Something to consider if you’re planning on booking it: great views, deathly smell. twochubbycubs in a nutshell!

We farted about in the room for a bit – the usual, you know, Paul has a dump, I have a browse through the porn channels and lament that yet again, the Hilton have failed to cater for us delicate souls who can’t get off unless there’s stuff on there that would make a jury wince, then made to go out. I got as far as the bathroom before I realised – through a haze of Paul’s effluence – that the bath was one of those fancy doohickies with bubble jets and all sorts of fancy buttons to pulse your sphincter and make your boobs jiggle. I couldn’t let that go, so promptly set the taps away, adding just a drop of Molton Brown for that luxurious black pepper scent. Nipped out to give Paul some ‘we’ve been married twelve years, let’s get it out of the way’ disinterested attention, and came back to the bathroom to wipe the shame off my hands only to find the room absolutely awash with bubbles.

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Bubbles.

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It was fantastic. I climbed into that bath and entirely disappeared into a cloudscape of gently popping bubbles. I’ve never felt gayer. With my head just poking through the bubbles I looked like the campest meringue you’ve ever seen. I must have been cooing and oohing too loudly because Paul came in (maybe he thought I was finishing myself off? Cheers, Mr ‘And I’m Done’, for the concern) and shrieked. Nothing spoils a peaceful moment like one of Paul’s shrieks. He explained that we’d probably be charged for wrecking their plumbing and pointed to a tiny sign on the wall which implored folks not to use bubble bath with the jets turned on. Please. The sign was the size of a postage stamp: you’re talking to someone who needs all his focus to hit the bowl when he has a pap. The bubbles showed no sign of abating – possibly because I still had two of the jets focused on my cock – so I dried off and out we went, deciding to worry about that problem later in the night.

That’s enough for now. Part two coming soon! Let’s do the syn-free eggy bread cups!

eggy bread cups eggy bread cups

syn-free eggy bread cups

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 eggy cups

The cheek of us calling this a recipe, honestly. But sometimes, you just want something quick in the morning so you can spend all your time outside pushing a couple of weeds around so you can surreptitiously gawp at the one hot neighbour pushing his lawnmower around with his shirt off. No? Just me? OK, quick and easy so you can get back to your stories.

Ingredients

I'm making the recipe enough for two egg cups - enough for one person, I think you'll agree. Scale up accordingly.

  • two slices of whatever bread Slimming Would have decided is alright for you that week (your Healthy Extra B choice)
  • two large eggs
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • get a deep muffin tray and spritz it with some spray olive oil
  • cut the crusts off your bread and then cut each slice into two
  • layer the two halves into one of the muffin spaces and crack an egg into the middle
  • give a couple of grinds of salt and pepper
  • repeat as many times as you like and then cook in the oven for fifteen minutes (runny) or twenty (firm)

Notes

  • gussy these up by adding a sprinkling of cheese
  • I threw a load of cherry tomatoes into the muffin tray to let them roast whilst the eggs cooked
  • we're a huge fan of silicone in this house - you can just pop these right out once cooled - Amazon have a good selection but you don't need to spend very much
  • remember we have a cookbook coming!

Courses breakfast

Cuisine dunno, what am I, an atlas

I know, it’s a travesty but damn these eggy bread cups were good!

Want more breakfast ideas? I remain your loyal servant:

J

chicken taco wraps – and a bit of Spice

Chicken taco wraps! Remember we’re old school here at twochubbycubs. We use wraps for making wraps as opposed to making apple pies and panty liners with them. But if you want the recipe for chicken taco wraps, you’ll need to hold onto your nonny for a second because, as usual, nonsense follows! Scroll down to the food photos if you’re not quite ready for me to spice up your life with my shenanigans.

First, a gentle reminder. We have a cookbook coming out – 100 recipes of slimming classics (but none of the use sweetener, use fry-light shite) that’ll help you see your bajingo again when you’re naked. They won’t let us use that as a strapline. It’s coming along terrifically and we promise it’ll scratch the itch you have. Which saves you buying natural yoghurt, which be fair, you’d only eat anyway. Click to pre-order and say you’ll be there at launch day!

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! Usually I’d write a post about my dad but he’s terribly shy and stoic and wouldn’t enjoy the fuss, and this isn’t a love thing, so I’ll just say that he’s an amazing dad who never once rolls his eyes when his 34 year old son rings him because he needs a washer changing or a shelf putting up. By the same token, our mutually respectful relationship means I don’t judge him too vociferously for not turning the keypad noises off on his phone or watching him stab at the iPad like a chicken hunting corn. He’s always been there for me, providing me with a haunting visage of the looks I can expect when I hit sixty. Thank God my deleterious lifestyle choices will shuffle me into the Earth by 54 at best.

Anyway, how have you all been? Well? I’m asking as though I’ll read the replies when you all holler. It’s been terrifically busy at Chubby Towers – the disadvantage of writing a cookbook is that we’re having to cook so many new recipes and write them up that I’ve barely had time for my nine hour daytime naps and ‘let’s have another round of The Office, seasons 2-7’. It’s a chore being us. But we’ve managed to fit a few exciting things in, one of which was a trip to see the Spice Girls.

Well, one of us. Spice Girls is to Paul what water is to a rabid dog, so he bailed out after eight months of me geeing him along and instead, Paul II replaced him. There was no chance he wouldn’t do it – Spice Girls is to Paul II what water is to a chip pan fire, if I may torture that analogy for a second more. A hotel was secured, a train driver was cautioned that he would be dragging especially heavy cargo and I managed to accidentally leave work early by 28 minutes, so all was well. I say that, the plan was for me to come home, pick up my stuff and be straight out, but I got collared by one of the (very few) sweet neighbours on our street who asked me to nip her back passage and take a look at her abelia bush.

Frankly, it was the best offer I’d had all day and I needed practice at making the elderly happy, so off I went. She kept me there for thirty minutes despite my ‘must get on’ and ‘time goes by’ schtick but honestly, she was so lovely and a proper nana that I didn’t want to go. I did point out that it was nearly the weekend, love, but she didn’t pick up on it – I was wasting my time. I’ve been hankering for a substitute nana since mine was Endgamed and she could be the one. Although she didn’t have a television operating at Chernobyl-disaster levels of volume so I’m not sure. Once I managed to get away I quickly shaved my noggin and off I went.

The trip to the Stadium of Light was an ordeal and a half, not least because as someone with (albeit the faintest possible trace) Newcastle United running through my veins (thanks to my parents), it feels wrong. This was compounded by the Metro carriage being full of loud, shrieking Geordies wearing lip-readable skirts singing all the wrong words to every Spice Girls song they could imagine. Paul II is quick to anger and I could see the rage building in his yellow eyes and, as for me, I would have been glad of a tunnel so I could pop my head out of the window and shave away my ears at 60mph on the brickwork. It was a long journey, though livened up by Paul II’s surprise that the North East has a) fields and b) horses. Well aye: we always need somewhere to knock together a Catherine Cookson adaptation at a moment’s notice if Robson Green’s gas bill needs paying.

After a slow walk of life to the stadium (Paul II has weak knees, I have thick thighs) where we were accompanied by a lass telling us she had shaved her whisker biscuit for a Nelly concert, we found our seats. I’d picked spectacular seats for sure, even if they were high enough in the stands to require oxygen. Well, ticketmaster did – we were sat down above the entrance with an unobstructed view and even better, nothing in front of us bar a precipitous drop and a view of everyone’s dandruff as they wandered in. I was dispatched to find alcohol  because once Paul II has sat down it’s a four man job to get him up again and I’m delighted to report that I politely asked them to move over and only managed to stand on eight feet on the way. I’m told she’ll walk again but her dancing career is fucked. That’ll be the last time, lover.

The concert was terrific, mind you. Absolutely mint. People had been making pointed comments at me for a couple of weeks about sound quality but come on, for four ladies in their seventies they did an absolutely cracking job. All the classics with a load of album tracks in the middle which I sang along to despite not knowing the words or the key. But when does that ever stop this boy with song in his heart? You have to sing if you can’t dance! I admit to my Emotional Response Unit faltering a shade when Viva Forever kicked in and everyone was singing. I may have got wet eyes, much like Paul II when Let Love lead The Way came on and everyone picked up Posh’s bits. I was schooled by Paul II who knows every single word to every single Spice Girls song and who also sang along, which must have been a treat for everyone around us to have two giant gay bears bellowing and screaming like cows in a Foot and Mouth fire.

Oh! Something kinda funny happened though – events were livened up still further by a fight breaking out a few rows behind us between a few lasses who all had the look of ladies who know where the best local dogfights are held. The video is worth a watch, if only to see the chunky mama in green fall down between the concrete of the row and the seats in front like the thick blue line in Tetris. She was escorted out by all manner of chaps in hi-vis (when they came sprinting up the stairs next to me I thought one of my wishes had come true and instinctively started pushing out) (though I wouldn’t be the first person to leave that stadium suckered to their chair like a Garfield toy on the window of a Vauxhall Zafira; the dancers were very handsome indeed) and that was that. Fancy fighting at a Spice Girls concert though. Listen, girls – who do you think you are? We’re all sore Posh was too busy clipping out her ingrown toenail to turn up, but keep your shit together – the lady is a vamp, remember, and she has David Beckham to enjoy.

Any sense of excitement and joy was immediately tempered by the queue for the Metro though. In an astonishing bit of not-like-me, I’d forgotten that 50,000 people would be trying to get home. Naturally, as we had taken our leisurely time leaving (stopping for a piss in the gents only to be confronted by what looked like the Saturday night divas from the bingo hall all sitting in the urinal) (thankfully, though only just, sitting not a typo) we were position number 49,890 in the queue. We contemplated trying to wave down the Spice Bus but it didn’t happen, so we pooled our resources and found the most expensive Uber trip ever back to town and told him to take me home. Traffic was bumper to bumper and I was bursting for a piss – I had tears in my eyes at the end that had nothing to do with the optimistic Magic Tree hanging on the dash. Taxi driver was a treat though – complimented my glittery bear shirt and everything. Right back at ya, driver!

Paul II also stayed for the day after and we filled it with food and escape rooms. I’m saying absolutely nowt about our performance in the second escape room because honestly, it’s not worth my life. Ah balls to it – I wanna be honest. We escaped with ten seconds to spare, and in our defence the very last action of the room involved an actual sprint to the exit. We were doomed from the start, not least when Paul II had to get down with me to retrieve all the balls I’d spilled on the floor. But we performed admirably, with absolutely no mistakes made.

By me.

Ssssh.

And that was that! Spice Girls concert done with my mate and a great couple of days away from looking at a computer screen with bile in my eyes. When the Spice Girls come back for their eighty-seventh reunion tour, be sure to see them if you wanna have some fun. They’ll never give up on the good times, it wasn’t certainly wasn’t too much and there is no denying – they were so much better than I hoped!

Right! Let’s do the chicken taco wraps, shall we?

chicken taco wraps

chicken taco wraps

chicken taco wraps

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 wraps

To be honest, calling this a recipe is a bit cheeky - but you know sometimes you just want a quick dinner? This is one of those meals. Grill the chicken however you like it - add some spice, if you prefer, but I like it naked. This is meant to show you how quickly you can make something up!

Ingredients

  • 4 wholemeal wraps (use your HEB)
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 8 tbsp salsa (4 syns)
  • 4 tbsp guacamole (6 syns)
  • 180g reduced fat mozzarella (use your HEA)
  • chopped iceberg lettuce

This makes enough for four wraps, one each, 2.5 syns! But I appreciate it's hard to stop with wraps, so don't be surprised if two become one!

Instructions

  • cook the chicken however you like - we grilled ours in an Optigrill
  • lay out the wraps and dollop 2 tbsp of salsa mix and guacamole onto each one and spread out (like you're topping a pizza)
  • sprinkle over the chopped lettuce and diced chicken and top with the grated mozzarella

Notes

There's so little to say here, bar:

Courses lunch

Cuisine chicken

Delicious right? I know it’s a cheek calling that a recipe but look, sometimes you want a quick lunch and this will do it. Want more wrap ideas?

Goodbye.

J

chicken, chorizo and seafood paella

Chicken, chorizo and seafood paella, if you don’t mind? Firstly, let me kick off proceedings by announcing this is a sponsored post. That is, the good folks at Tefal have sent us another Actifry to test out and have compensated us generously for farting about in Adobe Premiere for an hour or two. Usual rules apply though: if we don’t like the product, or it doesn’t work, or it sets Paul’s training bra on fire, we’ll always tell you. Five years we’ve been doing this dance, you know, and I know all the steps by now. But first, a reminder!

chicken, chorizo and seafood paella

When Tefal approached us to ask us to take part in their Spin Class activities, my first thought was that it meant exercise and frankly, I’d rather set my eyes on fire. Thankfully, once they’d explained and cleared the Zippo fluid from my eyeballs, we realised it was their new promotion to show the new Actifry Genius XL off, with all the fancy features you’d expect from a product called Genius. The Spin Class is a clever pun on the spinning of the actifry paddle, see. It’s all very clever. And the paella…well, I’ll come to that a bit later (and if you don’t have an Actifry, don’t fret, we’ve covered you too!), but first, nonsense.

I’m not saying I’m anti-exercise, I’m really not, but it’s altogether too much effort at the moment. We’re back at Elite, and bloody loving it, but good lord I genuinely thought I was going to die last Wednesday. It was forty five minutes of squats, thrusts, push-ups, jumping jacks and lying on my front with my bumcheeks in the air gasping for breath. And listen, I’ve been there many times before, but usually it’s pitch black – this wasn’t my scene. You’re reading the words of someone whose lips go blue buttoning his shirt up of a morning. Paul, who normally wouldn’t notice if I came into the kitchen with my arse where my face should be, turned to me with concern etched across his face and asked whether I needed an ambulance. He was wrong: I needed a hearse.

I blame my PE teachers at school. For the last two years of high school me and a gaggle of the other fat, camp and lazy kids used to refuse to take part and eventually, the teacher realised we weren’t going to take him seriously and so let us sit on the gym mats spectating. That got knocked on the head a few months in when we made a proper event of it and brought a picnic and a CD player. I wasn’t an especially camp teenager, but it’s hard to look butch when you’re bringing crisps out of a wicker basket whilst Vogue plays. I was good at three sports: basketball (because I was tall and excellent at dribbling – still am!), cross-country running (in that I could run 400m out of sight, and then share all the fags I’d nicked from my mother’s nuclear-war stockpile) and rugby. Rugby was great – being fairly fast yet superbly chubby meant I was hard to knock over and it became possibly the only sport I could have enjoyed playing more. However, I spent too long looking moonily at the other players that it never went anywhere. A couple of my friends play for the Newcastle Ravens and have invited me to take part, but I’m fairly confident that it would make things uncomfortable if I’m used as the table for the half-time oranges. Or worse. Ah well.

I asked Paul what exercise he enjoys and he replied ‘resting his ears from your nonsense’, which seems unnecessarily catty.

The Actifry, then. Tefal will kick off if we don’t tell you a little bit about what it can do. Firstly, it looks a little less like the Daft Punk era models of old, which is lovely. But it’s an absolute beast: 1.7kg capacity, which they tell us is enough for five portions of food, or a snack for Paul. You know how they work, yes? Add a tiny bit of oil, switch it on and the heat and the moving paddle turns and cooks your food with very little fat involved, bar the two chunkers operating it. Unlike the earlier models, this machine allows you to change the temperature (so low and slow for things like a chilli, nice and hot for crispy chips) and set the time it cooks for, which is handy for when, like me, you’re catching up on your stories and really want to see how this Chernobyl story plays out without burning your dinner. There’s also pre-set cooking options which takes the mystery out of pressing buttons AND there’s a handy app which showcases 300+ recipes, of which you may even see a couple of ours lumped in there. I have to confess, not usually a fan of tie-in apps, but this one is actually decent – not too much clucking about and presents the recipes in an attractive, step-by-step fashion. Might nick it.

I’ll say this though. We’ve been using our Actifry for years, mainly for chips because: obesity, but it’s genuinely our favourite kitchen gadget we own. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, with minimal fuss. It doesn’t leave your kitchen stinking of fat and it’s easy to keep clean, given all but the base can go in the dishwasher. It’s like the antithesis of Paul. There’s plenty of cheaper alternatives out there but – and mind this is rare because we’re usually all about not needing to spend money to eat well – this is worth spending your money on, even if you get a smaller or older model. Buy cheap, buy twice, and plus I’ve seen the clip of some of the models you can get in B&M and it looks like someone’s parked a coke-ravaged R2D2 on your worktop. Nobody wants that, now do they?

Find out more about the Actifry and the Spin Classes by clicking here, and don’t you fret, lover – it’ll open in a new window.

Let’s get to the recipe then. We’ve done a handy video recipe for you, though I must advise you put a towel down when you catch a glimpse of the pure sex involved. Let us know what you think!

It’s OK, we know he’s fit too. The Papa Bear to your Chubby Cubs. Imagine my distress and agony at having to clip and trim all that video footage of him working out on my 27″ screen. I had to push my chair back at one point. Now the text recipe – and look, if you don’t have an Actifry, don’t fret, we’ll give you a non-Actifry route to cook too! Because we’re canny.

chicken, chorizo and seafood paella

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 large servings

Paella in an Actifry? That's not chips! I know right - but this is tasty. If you're not a fan of seafood, leave it out, and you've got a tasty chicken and chorizo paella. Don't leave out the chorizo though - it's 3 syns per serving, but the oil from the chorizo makes everything that bit more tasty!

Ingredients

  • 200g of paella rice
  • 800ml of water
  • 500g chicken breast (diced)
  • 200g cooked prawns
  • 200g shelled mussels
  • 100g chorizo (12 syns), sliced
  • two sweet onions, sliced finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large red pepper 
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1/2 tsp each of curry powder, turmeric and smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

Actifry route

  • boil the rice in the water and stock for about five minutes, then set it aside
  • select 40 minutes and 220 degrees on the Actifry
  • tip everything in, shut the lid, go sit and pick your feet for forty minutes whilst it does all the hard work
  • serve!

On the hob route

  • in one pan, boil the rice in the water and stock for about five minutes, then set it aside
  • whilst that's cooking, gently fry off the onion and pepper for about five minutes
  • add the garlic and the spices and keep gently frying until everything is sweated down
  • add the chicken and cook for a further couple of minutes
  • tip the rice, stock and water into the onion pan, add everything else and pop the lid on, cooking and bubbling for forty minutes - make sure the chicken is cooked through, whatever you do!
  • serve

Courses lunch, dinner

Cuisine low syn, Spanish

Yum! Want more Actifry recipes, you saucy minx? Fine!

Mwah!

J

cajun steak dirty rice, and time to feel proud!

Here for the cajun steak dirty rice? Bless your soul. The recipe is down the bottom, but first, an apology for the time between posts. I’ve been either:

  • on the pop;
  • in a crisis;
  • in a crisis whilst on the pop;
  • on my knees;
  • on my knees, drunk, causing a crisis; or
  • at a Pride event, see above.

But I’m all sorted now. Of course, the other thing gobbling me up is this cookbook of ours. You know, we’ve got a cookbook coming out, with all our new recipes in it, plus a delicious spurt of sassiness. Click the banner to pre-order! And remember if all you’re here for is the cajun steak dirty rice, get scrolling!

Whoops. Posted this the other night, but hit the schedule button rather than publish. So pretend it’s Monday, won’t you?

*hic*

I wasn’t going to post tonight, but I sent Paul into our bedroom an hour ago to pick something up off the floor only to find him fifteen minutes face-down with his arse in the air. Now you might reasonably think, oh, James, your luck is in, but I must remind you of one salient fact: I’ve been married ten years. The only time Paul puts out these days is when he’s angling for a surprise holiday or wants a few minutes lying prostrate so he can finish his book. No, the poor guy is all tuckered out because we’ve been down in Birmingham (at this point, I’m considering getting a second job down there, given I’m like a yoyo between the two cities at present) for Pride and I made him drive all the way down on Saturday and all the way back today. I’d have driven, but it’s a Smart car, and honestly I’d sooner drive a hearse full of ashen-faced mourners to the wrong funeral than that orange little rustbucket. So we can forgive him his sins, for now, and I’ll continue on my high horse, thank you.

Pride came out of nowhere for us this year – we’d been invited down by a good mate and were umming and aahing (not least because I was hungover from Wednesday in Leeds) until we watched a particularly gruesome episode of Chernobyl and decided life’s too short, let’s go. Packed my best rainbow knickers (I really ought to wash them, but I’m waiting for the Daz Doorstep Challenge to make a return just so I can see Danny Baker blanch when I hand over my barely foldable keks), told Paul to book a hotel and tickets and away we went.

Paul doesn’t travel well with me on long journeys when I’m the passenger. It’s like having four personalities in the car:

  • the shrieking me who holds onto the door handles and winces every time we go around a corner like I’m on that rollercoaster from Final Destination 3;
  • the shrieking me who sings along to every last song (I choose the music) – Paul’s recently been told he’s going deaf and actually, I’m not entirely convinced that it isn’t a lifestyle choice he’s made;
  • the shrieking me who litters the bottom of his car with crisp packets, coke bottles, whatever I’ve found in my bag, whatever I’ve found in his glovebox (the man has a surprising amount of baby wipes stashed in his car – I’d be worried, but no-one’s going to approach a Smart car pulled up in a layby, let’s face it);
  • the shrieking me who reaches over and beeps his horn for him (not a euphemism, see earlier comment) because he’s altogether too polite and frankly a car journey for me isn’t complete until I’ve started bringing up lung from screaming at anyone who gets in the way.

So understand, the four hours it took us to get to Birmingham – well, I had a whale of a time, Paul less so. The important thing is I enjoyed myself.

We checked into a Premier Inn in the city centre and, after a moment or four hours to enjoy the glamour and to pack away the towels, we minced out to meet our friend, who you may recall from an earlier post. He was easy enough to spot, given he’s the epitome of our ideal man and well, we were semi-flaring within 100 yards. What followed was a terrific amount of drinking, diversions and some mild peril. It was a great night, though in a great example of him never being off, Paul ended up engaged in political debate with two drunk fellas who wouldn’t leave us alone. That’s what I’m told, I was experiencing an X-Files-esque lost period of time in the gents. We parted ways around 2ish and after a brief interlude (actually lasting forty minutes) where I sat and chatted with a homeless fella who offered to show me his leg ulcer, went to bed. Sunday was better still – back out and on it, this time joined by Andy’s long-suffering but lovely girlfriend, a good friend from Facebook, Paul II and his husband and two of Andy’s friends. Another great night! To share details would be lurid but there were some fabulous twists and turns and fun was had by all. The best kiss of the night wore lipstick.

But that’s not why I’m writing. I’ve touched on the importance of Pride many times over – including this fabulous article – and all those things stand. But what did strike me, as we wandered around, was how happy everyone was. Bar one overweening queen who looked my husband up and down and did the ‘yes, I know who you are’ gambit, there was not a blot of bother. We live in a country that is becoming increasingly fractured, and for the first time in my entire life I’m worried about where the rights for LGBT+ folks are going – you’ve got ministers supporting the banning of tolerance teaching in schools, an American president who sits proudly with the bigoted bastard in charge of Brazil and, more so, the far right given a voice that remains unchallenged. All this for something as immutable as eye colour or the size of your feet. It’s easy to sit on the outside looking in when you have the luxury of not being the one getting looked down on, but we need Pride more than ever. Yes, it’s overly commercial, yeah there’s something arguably cynical about HSBC and Argos changing their logo to a rainbow, but damn, it’s always a pleasure to see so many people having a good time without any second thoughts. Even nicer to see lots of families bringing their children along and showing them a world full of colour, and doubly more important when there’s protests outside from ‘caring parents’ who ‘don’t want their kids to see deviant behaviour’. Pfft. My mother was incredibly supportive of all my fabulousness growing up and I turned out perfect, right? Hello?

As an addendum, given with the miracle of time-travel (i.e. the advantage of forgetting to post for a week), we’ve also just returned from Northumberland Pride, which is like Birmingham Pride but done on a budget befitting a much smaller enterprise. Brum had Faithless, we had Lorraine Crosby (star of 1993’s hit single I Would Do Anything For Love, But I Won’t Do That) (that being trading on past glories) (I’m kidding, she’s great). Brum had a pub full of bears and an attitude full of sin, Northumberland Pride had a cake stand and some hashtags. But it was smashing, actually, partly because I got drunk and didn’t manage to make a fool of myself, partly because we both took full advantage of all the caterers. We even camped overnight, breaking Paul’s camping cherry and also his lower back. He’s such a diva, honestly. If you can’t get comfortable on a single deflating £14.99 airbed from Argos whilst yesterday’s sweat and spittle drips on your face, then you just aren’t trying.

Support your Prides, people. Go out and have an amazing time. If you’re worried about your husband not feeling comfortable with all that rampant homosexuality, don’t fret, I’ll look after him. We can add another S-fluid onto the tent of dreams.

Right, all that schmaltz aside, shall we get to the recipe in hand? Cajun steak dirty rice! Easy to make and will definitely get you some action if you serve it in your best lingerie. Apologies for the photos – we took them outside in the dark, so had to artificially lighten them.

cajun steak dirty rice cajun steak dirty rice cajun steak dirty rice

cajun steak dirty rice

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

An absolute classic, why? Because it's so damn good! Piece of piss too, and everyone loves it. An easy way to sneak some veg into your kids if they're that sort. A little bit of prep is needed but it's all worth it. This works great on its own or even as a side. Have it for breakfast for all I care. 

Ingredients

  • 200g long-grain rice
  • 400g steak
  • 4 bacon medallions, diced
  • ½ red, yellow and green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 6 mushrooms, diced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce (optional)

Instructions

  • cook the rice according to the instructions, and set aside
  • spray a large frying pan with some oil over a medium-high heat and slap in your steak
  • cook the steak to your liking, remove from the pan onto a plate and leave to rest
  • wipe out the pan and add a little more oil and place back over the heat
  • add the bacon and onion and cook until the bacon is done
  • stir in the cajun seasoning along with the worcestershire sauce (if using)
  • dissolve the stock cube in 200ml of boiling water and keep aside
  • chuck the peppers, carrots and mushrooms along with the stock and give a good stir - cook until most of the liquid has evaporated 
  • once most of the liquid has evaporate throw in the rice and stir until well mixed and warmed through
  • dice the steak and stir into the mixture
  • serve and sprinkle over the spring onions

Notes

  • You don't need fancy or expensive steak for this, any will do
  • If you can't be arsed to cook rice just use the microwave pouches, cook in the microwave towards the end and stir into the pan with the vegetables - make sure you check the syns though
  • Stop ruining your pans with Fry Light! All it does is evaporate off and leave a sticky, gungy mess. Use one of these instead
  • No-one has time for dicing a carrot so do we what we did - use a julienne peeler, and then simply slice across to get easy, small diced bits
  • You can find cajun seasoning in most supermarket along with the herbs and spices, but to be honest any spice mix you have gathering dust will do. We've done this with piri-piri and fajita mixes and it comes out just as good! 
  • WE HAVE A BLOODY COOKBOOK COMING OUT REMEMBER! Yessss: click here for sexiness!
  • Any meat will do in this if you haven't got any steak - diced chicken and pork work especially well, or even sausages! Divvn't be shy, pet. 

Cuisine cajun

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JX

BIG NEWS LADY! REAL BIG NEWS!

We have an announcement. Please stand by. Or take a seat, get the weight off your bunions. Either way, it’s all terribly dramatic.

Paul and I have decided – after twelve years – to split up.

That’s right, split up the responsibility of WRITING A BLOODY COOKBOOK. YASSSSSSS!

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER NOW! IN A FANCY NEW WINDOW TOO!

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.

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER NOW!

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.

Enjoy!

lamb and mint burgers, plus time for DILF!

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.

lamb and mint burgers



lamb and mint burgers

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lamb and mint burgers

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 burgers

This recipe really is just so easy - just two ingredients, so any old simpleton can do it. Whack in a bun with whatever the hell you like and you've got yourself a top BBQ favourite!

If you don't fancy lamb, swap it out for a pork and apple burger!

Ingredients

  • 500g 10% fat lamb mince (5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp mint sauce (1 syn)

Instructions

  • in a bowl mix together the lamb mince and the mint sauce
  • divide into four, roll into balls and squash into burger shapes
  • cook on the barbecue (or hot pan, or under the grill) until done - they'll only need about 5 minutes each side
  • eat!

We served ours in a HEB bun with some natural yoghurt and a tiny bit of mint sauce added, with lettuce and onion. But you don't need to follow us slavishly, you know.

Notes

  • You can get 10% fat lamb mince from Tesco, or any decent butcher. You can use the normal stuff too if you like, just remember to syn it
  • Your burgers don't need to be neat and tidy, all we do is roll into a ball and smash down and they come out perfectly everytime, but if you're anal/fancy/trying to pull you could do with one of these burger presses
  • Don't worry if the mix feels sloppy, it'll firm up a bit as you keep mixing
  • Don't be tempted either to crack an egg into it or add breadcrumbs like many recipes tell you to do - it just isn't necessary at all!
  • We cooked ours on the barbecue but these will do just as well under a hot grill or in a hot frying pan, just make sure the internal temperature is above 72°c if you don't want the shits 
  • Stick whatever you like in your burger - we had a wholemeal bun (HeA), lettuce, onion and a bit of yoghurt and mint sauce
  • After a decent barbecue recommendation? Of course! This is what we have and it's cracking

 

Having a barbie? We’ve got tons of proper good recipes to tickle that fancy of yours (ooer)! Just click any of the links below!

Ta la!

J

sundried tomato, chicken and parmesan couscous

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.

sundried tomato chicken couscous

sundried tomato chicken couscous

sundried tomato chicken couscous

sundried tomato, chicken and parmesan couscous

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

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!

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

  • don't let Frylight ruin your pans - use one of these oil sprayers instead!
  • you can easily make this syn free by using plain cous cous instead
  • to chop the spinach simply bunch together a handful and slice thinly, then slice lengthways. Or, if you're really lazy, just chuck it into a food processor
  • make quick work of the garlic with one of these Microplane grater! No fiddling!

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.

 

Courses lunches

Cuisine dunno mate

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:

Mwah!

J

cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers – oh, and hello Liverpool

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.

cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers

cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers

cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 people

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.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 5 eggs

Instructions

  • 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
  • cut into soldiers and serve with your boiled eggs

Notes

Courses breakfast

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Delicious, right? Get it in you, quick! Oh you can make it fancier AND make your wee stink – try the asparagus stuffed ones!

Looking for more breakfast ideas?

Mwah!

J

chicken soup for the soul: instant pot or in a pan

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.

chicken soup

chicken soup for the soul: instant pot or pan!

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 bowls

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

Instant Pot

  • 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!

In a pan:

  • saute the veg
  • add the stock, rice, chicken and everything
  • cook until the chicken is cooked through
  • shred

I mean haway.

Courses soup

Cuisine dunno, something fancy

Want more Instant Pot recipes? No bother cock – fill yer boots:

Enjoy!

JX

potato, bacon and beer bake

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.

potato bacon and beer bake

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potato, bacon and beer bake

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Yield 4 servings

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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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
  • serve with whatever slop you want on the side

Notes

Courses side dish

Cuisine italian, supposedly

Nice, eh? Problem with making a potato bake is that the resulting photo always ends up looking like a scabby knee so, just trust your cubs on this one and I promise you it’s worth a bake.

Want more? Greedy cow.

Enjoy!

J