carrot, mint and ginger salad – a quick and easy Slimming World lunch

Here for the carrot, mint and ginger salad? Can’t wait to get chomping? Well, haud yer wheesht, because as ever, we have some flimflam.

You know what I hate? Facebook’s Timehop service. Those whose internet experience amounts of replying positively to Nigerian Kings and typing ‘dancing jesus website lolz’ into google may be unfamiliar with it, so let me explain, as it’s very simple. Every other day Facebook will find a photo of you from many years ago and show you it in the vain hope you’ll go AAAH HOW LOVELY and post it. Not me. No, all I see is my youthful looks staring back at me accusatorially, demanding to know what Present James has done with his life to warrant wrecking Past James so horrifically. Occasionally the brightness of the iPad is bright enough that I can see my own current face reflected back on my young previous face and I feel like Dorian looking ashen-faced into his portrait in the attic. I know we all change (“We all change, when you think about it, we’re all different people; all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be“) we all age, but I swear I’m not ageing so much as I am melting into a hairy, gelatinous landslide of fat. It’s like the slowest Doctor Who regeneration ever – only I’m turning from James van der Beek into Chewbacca’s stunt double. Paul would be Billie Piper, he has the three-cock-gob. So yeah, Timehop can fuck right off.

I did something yesterday which I haven’t had to do for a long time – no, it wasn’t fumbling my way around a vagina and nor was it paying my driving test examiner to pass me despite the blood congealing on my frontbumper – no, I had to learn something. See, I’ve plodded on in my job for many years (and thoroughly enjoy it, mind you) (that one’s for HR) but recently they’ve very kindly agreed that I can broaden my responsibilities and have sent me for training. This means lots of revision and travelling and attending training. Fine for most people, but I struggle to concentrate – I get distracted and tired mid-piss, for goodness sake.

Nevertheless, I gamely headed to London yesterday, making sure I get in as many people’s way as possible as I farted about trying to find my way to Canary Wharf. Unusually for me, I managed to get there without much difficulty or upset, and I took my chair as the lecture began. I’d bought myself a nice new notebook and Paul’s Christmas present to me, a fancy fountain pen. I can’t write in Biro because we were forced to use ‘proper pens’ at school – you can imagine how difficult that was for me as a left-handed eejit. Every essay I wrote was a collection of smudges, stains and wrist-stamps. I had that much black ink on the side of my hand that my doctor thought I had frostbite. I’ve mastered the art now and as long as I take my time and don’t over-excite myself, I can write coherently.

The one thing I didn’t have was a wee desk. This made the whole thing quite difficult – try writing notes whilst you’re balancing a slides handout, A4 notebook and colour examples on your knee, especially when you have to write all cack-handed anyway due to being all sinistra (did you know that was the latin root of sinister, so, left-handed people are evil? Makes sense, I had no compunction about breaking wind on the escalators on the Tube yesterday). On top of that I have the anxiety of not wanting to write too much but also not missing anything, and every time I set my pen down, the lady next to me immediately started writing. It was like that duelling banjos scene from Deliverance, only with a far less troubling outcome. In the end I managed to pay attention and have six beautiful pages of notes to coo over. After the lectures, the worst part of all: networking.

I can’t network to save my life. I know it’s an acquired skill but, despite the three years of this blog, I hate talking about myself and have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to talking about what I do. I had it in my mind that I’d make up a bewildering, breath-taking back-story, but instead I spluttered my tea and stumbled my words. I must have looked like a simpleton. It didn’t help that whilst I was talking to the vert first victim I’d picked to talk to, I dunked my cookie into my tea only for it to fall in, meanly I had to gamely drink my tea with floating crumbs bobbing around on top whilst they chatted about what they do. Next time I’ll just pick up a cookie and go hide in the toilets like everyone else.

Ah well. I might as well be remembered as the cookie guy as opposed to the heavy-breathing-notes-taking man, I suppose. Networking finished, I realised that I had three bloody hours to kill at Kings Cross before my train, thanks to my penny-pinching ways of buying a non-transferrable ticket. I couldn’t even get into the First Class lounge as you’re only allowed in there two hours before your journey. It was rush hour, there wasn’t a single place to sit anywhere in the station, my bag was too heavy to go anywhere exciting, so I just sat outside and people watched.

I know it’s an unoriginal thought, but Christ, London is so busy. Where do all these people, scurrying about like ants on a sugar pile, live? Where do they work? I like to imagine all the threads of their lives crossing over this way and that, all in one giant tangle, and then my head starts hurting so I move my thoughts back to thinking about chips. I spent 30p to have a pee, which I still think is outrageous even now – if I have to pay to piss, then surely I should have the option of saving my money and being allowed just to piss on the tracks instead? Bastards.

After an hour or so I attempted to make my way to the First Class lounge only to be caught up in a giant mass of people all thundering for a train whose platform had just been announced. You know in old cartoons when they’d start fighting and disappear into a comedy smoke bubble with flailing limbs popping out? It was like that, only with a lot more cheap aftershave and hooraying. I was deposited out five minutes later all dazed and confused and, after a brief interlude where I was pushed around Little Waitrose by a heaving queue of focaccia buyers, stumbled into the First Class lounge.

I wish I could say there was respite to be had but no. It was busy, as you’d expect, but that meant it was full of the type of businessmen who need you to know how important they are by bellowing loudly into their phones. On top of this, I kept getting icy stares and extremely loud sighs and harrumphs from an older lady who seemed to take great offence to the fact I’d sat next to her in the only spare seat in the lounge. I didn’t let her know that I took great offence to the fact she’d seemingly put her make-up on four times over, so why was she giving me such cold looks? She soon stopped when I stared right back. I was tempted to do that thing of putting two fingers on my lips and flapping my tongue through but I didn’t want to be bundled out before I’d managed to secrete as many free bags of crisps as I could into my bag. As it happens, I decided to leave soon after I came in as it was all so very stuffy. I people watched for a while longer, made my way through the 5kg of Corkers crisps I had in my bag, and then got the train. Aside from having someone who was clearly unwell jibbering away across the aisle and the train being delayed thanks to ‘problems with the tension’ (I presumed it was sexual tension from seeing me dashing aboard in my Jacamo coat and sensible shoes), it was an entirely uneventful ride home. Job done. Until the next time…

Final thought – Paul has been raving at me about an online internet station that plays all the old nineties music we like without any crappy DJ linking the songs together. I mean, seriously, he hasn’t shut up about it, but I kept dismissing his bold claims because his Spotify playlist consists of Tracy Chapman, more Tracy Chapman and Now That’s What I Call Amyl Nitrates. However, he left the SONOS player open and I stuck on the previously played tracks – and they’re all brilliant. I mean, haway, the song that is playing right now is Ain’t No Doubt by Jimmy Nail, a man who is nothing more than a steel-capped workboot given a tongue and lips. The station is Pride Radio 90s. Yes, the rainbow face made my eyes bleed too, but we can overlook the trivialities, can’t we.

Proper final thought – can you lot calm the fuck down over these Fiber One bars? Jesus Christ man. I’ve seen so many fights and arguments with grown women calling each other worse than child-murderers for having the temerity to buy a few boxes of these in the supermarket. Why? They taste shite, they’re tiny, they’re full of chemicals and you’d get more flavour sucking on the doormat. I swear it’s very much a Slimming World thing – something gets ‘recommended’ on facebook by a couple of people and then hundreds of adults start storming the supermarkets like the boxes came with half an hour of cunnilingus by Tom Hardy. I’ve seen photos where people have bought 30 or 40 boxes and I just think, Christ, have some bloody dignity. It’s not about ‘saving some for other people’, you have as much right to buy them as anyone else, but you’re only buying them because you’ve seen others doing the same. Don’t be a bloody sheep, especially not one who is brawling in ASDA and calling others ‘fukin greedee slags’ all for the sake of a shit bloody brownie.

BAH!

Right, with all that out of the way, let’s get this recipe done, eh? You might be thinking that a carrot salad is boring, but if you’re a fan of carrots, I can guarantee it’s worth a go. I made this for a lunch but you could easily use it as a side on one of our dishes that don’t have the third speed in it. You could add cooked noodles into this to bulk it out, if you wished. You know how Slimming World have launched those little salads in Iceland that you can have for your lunch? Think of this like those, only fresher as you’re making them yourself. Yes, it has a couple of syns, but absolutely worth it. We used two packs of Marks and Spencers rainbow carrots (£3 for two packs) but you can use bog standard carrots if you want. We won’t tell. This makes enough for three hearty portions.

carrot, mint and ginger salad

to make carrot, mint and ginger salad, you’ll need:

  • around 400g of carrots, baby ones are better, peeled
  • two shallots
  • fresh mint (or dried, but fresh always better)
  • a little knob of ginger (about half an inch), peeled and grated
  • tablespoon of mustard seeds
  • juice of half a lime
  • tablespoon of olive oil (6 syns) (you could use lemon flavoured oil here, be lovely)
  • good pinch of salt and black pepper

to make carrot, mint and ginger salad, you should:

  • chop your carrots into strips or, even better and far quicker, julienne them using one of these – much easier and you’ll get nice uniform strips
  • thinly slice the shallots
  • it’s much nicer if you toast off your mustard seeds – chuck them in a dry pan on a medium heat for a minute or two, just until you get the scent of them, and then take off the heat
  • grate your ginger nice and fine (yep, I know, predictable, but please, buy a mincer for your ginger, then just freeze a big lump of ginger and grate it as and when you need it straight from frozen!
  • mix everything together in a bowl and top with fresh mint and give everything a good tumble with your fingers

This can go a bit watery if left after a while, that’s fine – just dress it when you want to eat it. You could add sliced peppers and noodles, remember. This would work very well as an accompaniment to curries!

Right, that’s all done. If you want more veggie dishes, lunch ideas or other such nonsense, click the buttons below! You know you want to.

fakeawayssmall lunchsmallpastasmallvegetariansmall sausagessmall  Enjoy!

J

cranachan – a perfect Slimming World dessert that totally isn’t overnight oats

Cranachan? Yes, that’s right, it sounds like something you’d rub on an irritated cha-cha but it’s not! It’s lovely. But first: nonsense.

In what I’m sure is karma for eating naughty synned things, I’ve just knocked an entire Sherbet Fountain across my glass desk, into my keyboard, into my mouse, onto my monitor – great! Everything is going to be sticky and covered in white streaks for months now – or well, until the cleaner comes. She’s going to think I’ve got one hell of a coke problem although Christ, she ought to know better – she’s ironed enough of my X²L shirts to know my body isn’t being ravaged by drugs. I expect the cat will be along later to sample the spillage and I’ll find her off her tits rolling around showing her minnie off to the neighbours. What fun we have.

Anyway, that’s a completely unrelated opening to what I’m going to talk about today, which is Scotland. Why? Because tonight’s dish is a bastardisation of a Scottish dessert which no doubt I’ll have some incoherent feisty Scot bellowing at me about and, more simply, I bloody love Scotland. If Paul and I could live anywhere in the world we’ve both agreed it would be Glasgow – Edinburgh is lovely, but I like a shade more menace when I’m ordering a crème de menthe in a social club. The accent is amazing – and that’s coming from a Geordie – everything sounds slightly angry and inquisitive but every single insult is hilarious. Even as simple as calling something mince – we have shite, but mince is perfect.

The landscape is beautiful – I love the fact you can trot anywhere in any direction and within an hour be somewhere completely different, not only in location but also feel, sound and sight. I’ve never had a disappointing trip up North and when we drive past the sign welcoming us to Scotland I’m always cheered, not least because I’m usually busting for a piss at this point and I know there’s a shitter in Jedburgh. Most of our holidays were in Scotland as a child, wild camping around the coast and enjoying many a summer having the first two layers of my skin chewed off by midges. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got midges down here and they’re a mild annoyance, but in Scotland they’re armed with knives. I remember my parents optimistically scanning their camping guidebook and selecting what sounded like a charming place somewhere near Glencoe. When we turned up, announced in advance as always by the spluttering engine of our car and the blue smoke pouring from both the exhaust and my parents nostrils, the place was an absolute dump. Literally, a dump: there were abandoned cars, old fridges, massive mud piles, the works. It was exactly the place where you just knew the car of the family who had arrived before you would be ablaze in a woods nearby with their skins hanging up in the owner’s living room. You could have crashed a plane into this campsite and improved it. Naturally, my dad dickered about the price for a bit and was all ready to set the tent up when my mum put her foot down and demanded we leave.

You know the worst thing? I’m fairly sure the place was called Red Squirrel and when I look at it now online, it looks bloody idyllic. Harumph. But anyway, enough reminiscing, I promised Paul this would be a super-quick post as he wants me to ped-egg his feet. We bought one of those fancy motorised versions so I’m fully expected to be diagnosed with popcorn lung from inhaling the microdust of his shaved feet for an hour.

Oh: as a final thought – we’ve never met a Scottish gay who hasn’t been hung like God was trying to give him a third leg and ran out of time before he put the foot on. I’m just saying. Is it something in the water? Goodness me!

So yes: cranachan. This Scottish dessert is usually made with double cream whipped thick, but alas, I reckon if I put that into a recipe it’ll be the very thing that tipped poor Mags back onto three bottles of Taboo a day. So – forgive me Scotland, I know not what I do – I’ve replaced it with Greek yoghurt. The rest of the ingredients remain though – whisky, honey, oats and raspberries. It’s like a fancy overnight oats recipe – one you might whirl out if you were trying to persuade your husband to give you a bit of the other. You could leave the whisky out, but it really is a key part of this, and it doesn’t overpower the dish so it’s absolutely worth doing. Up to you how you want to portion this out – up the oats, reduce the greek yoghurt, add more raspberries, or throw it all in the bin and have yet another Vienetta. I don’t mind! I saw cranachan on Come Dine With Me a while back and made a note to find a recipe – it’s thank to Caroline at Caroline’s Cooking for the inspiration. Let’s do this then – this makes enough for one big glass as shown below – scale up or down if you are making more or eating your dinner from a dustbin lid.

cranachan

to make cranachan, you’ll need:

  • 40g of oats – the better quality the better but you can just use normal porridge oats if you like
  • a big handful of fresh raspberries
  • 100ml of thick Greek yoghurt – but make sure it is 0% fat and syn free (or as low as possible)
  • a teaspoon of honey (1 syn)
  • 25ml of whisky (3 syns)

We’re not massive whisky drinkers here at Cubs Towers so we just bought a tiny bottle of Haig Club, which I now know is David Beckham’s brand. I mean, how embarrassing. Now, there’s no easy way for me to link to Amazon in tonight’s post, so why don’t you just buy my new book instead? I promise it’ll make you laugh at least once. Promise.

to make cranachan, you should:

  • toast off your oats in a pan – they don’t brown, but you want them heated through so they smell nutty
  • crush your raspberries lightly with a fork – don’t mash them, whatever you do, god no – so that the juice runs a little
  • combine your yoghurt, oats, honey, whisky, raspberries and honey in a glass and stir, or if you prefer, layer it all in all fancy like
  • serve with a couple of raspberries on the top and some of the oats
  • lovely!

This was a lovely, filling, unusual dessert that is easily customisable to your tastes. It’s overnight oats but a bit more grown up and we loved it!

Looking for more dessert, drinks or snacks ideas? Click the buttons!

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J

low syn goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast

Goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast? Yes, I know. Fancy! But look, I’m sick of looking at overnight oats and oats recipes and overnight baked wonder-oats and bloody Fibre One bars.

Remember when Paul managed to cause us much embarrassment when he accidentally posted a pulsing sphincter onto our facebook page which resulted in us getting banned from facebook for a week? Well, that was mortifying, but he’s managed to shame us yet again. See, I was driving us to the supermarket when I stopped to let a dad and his young boy cross the road in front of us. The lad was clearly learning to ride a bike and he had an adorable Union Jack helmet on and I was feeling generous, plus I wanted a chance to put the windows down because Paul’s car reeks of those bloody awful Yankee Candle air-fresheners – he has about eight dangling from his wing mirror, which given he drives a Smart car, reduces the interior by 45%.

Anyway, Paul hadn’t noticed why I’d stopped until I explained that I was stopping to let ‘that little boy with his lovely little helmet’ cross the road. Paul’s reaction? Why, it was to shout ‘UUUUUURGH YOU DOOOORTY PEEEEE-DO‘ to me at the top of his voice for a ‘joke’. The dad looked furiously at me but hey, it’s not as though we were driving an easily-identified, tangerine-coloured car in a town full of beige Range Rovers. The kid hadn’t heard, just to be clear, he was cycling away merrily into oncoming traffic (I’m kidding, he was on the path). I fully expect to have my windows put through later this evening and have Dark Justice ambushing me as I leave work. Good work Paul, what a love!

Can I ask a question which I may have touched on before – is there anyone else out there who loves nothing more than a lazy Sunday? I always feel like we should be out doing something but see, once we’ve dragged ourselves out of bed at 11am and had our 2pm nap, there’s really not enough time to go out. I know I’m super lazy but meh, I’m happy. When you watch the TV and see all those adverts with zippy young people flying about and being exciting it makes me feel momentarily bad, but I find that feeling goes away if I just shut my eyes or concentrate on opening the Ben & Jerry’s. I did manage to resubmit my application to go on The Chase though which I’ve been meaning to do for a couple of months – I don’t know why, I’ll be uniformly terrible because I can’t cope with pressure – put me up against the clock and someone could ask me what my name was and I’d still blurt out pass and then fall over. Ah well.

Been doing a lot of boring admin on the blog today – updating the recipe list, removing some Christmas stuff and upgrading our servers behind the scenes – you should notice it is loading nice and quickly. Phew, right? We were mulling over adding more adverts but have decided to leave it for another year. To me, there’s nothing worse than loading a food blog only to have 47 adverts load up, then a read more button, then a subscribe button, then a load of tracking adverts running in the background. You’re here for recipes and hopefully a laugh, not to have us fingering through your pockets clamouring for every spare penny. Do let us know if we haven’t got the balance right, though – we’re here for you!

We’ve added a new category into our recipe page for lunches, too.

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See? Most of our meals can be made in bulk and taken to work the next day, but hopefully this list will identify the stuff you can easily make the night before and portion up. Hope this helps! If we make a recipe going forward that is easily portable, you’ll see this button.

Oh! Another new thing, before we get to the recipe. We thought, for nothing more than shits and giggles, to do a short video review of the new Mullerlight blackurrant and liquorice yoghurt. Give it a whirl, at least you’ll get to hear what one of us sounds like.

I know, it’s like Brendan from Coach Trip had an illicit pump-and-dump with Denise Welch and I was the resulting lovechild. Ah well.

Anyway, let’s get to the recipe, but first…

warning

It’s not even science, to be fair, but the old tweak warning banner didn’t go with the rest of the site! Here’s the thing. This recipe, which makes enough for one (but you know, scale up if there’s more than one of you), uses 100g of blackberries, but, gasp, I heat them up first in a pan. Following Slimming World’s rules to their strictest form, you ought to syn these blackberries at 1 syn. In my eyes, there’s absolutely bot-all difference between 100g of uncoooked blackberries and 100g of cooked blackberries, but I’m not here to question Slimming World’s logic – it’s up to you to make a choice here. I’ll probably get a load of people trying to explain ‘why’ this should be synned – some blah about if you chew it with your mouth you use up more energy but haway, we’re talking about blackberries here, not bloody allen keys – it’s not like you’ve got to writhe on with your mouth to burst it through. Plus, you know, we’re not making jam here.

So yes: depending on how you view the hot-button topic of tweaking (and you can read more about our views here), the blackberries ought to be synned at zero or one.

goat cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast

to make goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast, you’ll need:

  • your healthy extra B of bread – I don’t mind what you use – use three slices if you wish or trip the light fantastic and have a bagel or something, just syn it
  • 100g of blackberries
  • 40g of soft goat cheese (a HEA – now, if you prefer, you can use maybe 10g of goats cheese and save the rest of your HEA for something else, but that’s too complicated for us)
  • quark (now I know, it tastes of fuck-all and then nothing, but we are using it with the goats cheese to bulk it out – you may not need this if you want a full on goat cheese experience
  • 1 tsp of honey (1 syn)
  • a drop or two of vanilla extract
  • chopped mint

to make goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast, you should:

  • toast your bread, whether under the grill, in a toaster or placed behind a farting arse – whatever gets the job done. Is this a good chance to show off our fabulous toaster? I’m going to. No shame. It’s so pretty. I mean, look at it! Plus, just like Paul, it has an extra wide slot – though, unlike Paul, you can change how brown your slice is when you pull it out – boom boom
  • I am so sorry for the above, I ought to be ashamed
  • to make the blackberries all lovely, put them in a small pan on medium heat with about two tablespoons of water, the teaspoon of honey and the vanilla – cook for about five minutes, keeping an eye to make sure they don’t catch, and crushing them ever so delicately with a fork to let the juice out – you want the berries warmed through and nice and soft, with a little bit of berry liquor left over
  • liquor? Why officer, I barely knew her!
  • mix the goats cheese with however much quark you want – none at all if you prefer a nice strong taste – then spread on your toast
  • top with the warm blackberries and mint and enjoy!

See, how simple was that? To get all wank for a moment, it is a lovely breakfast because there’s so many flavours and textures going on. Absolutely worth a try. You could make it syn free by using sweetener instead of honey but for goodness sake, why do that to yourself? Enjoy flavour rather than a sight of a zero on your syns count, that’s what I say!

Not a fan of goat’s cheese? Use ricotta. You can have 90g of it as a HEA, you know.

Want more breakfast ideas? This one not buttering your muffin? Click the buttons and live like a Queen!

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Hope you all had a lovely weekend, gallivanting and adventuring around like you’re in an 1980s tampon advert!

J

big mac tater tots

I did something this morning that I’m ashamed of. Normally guilt and having a conscience are two conjectural instincts that I absolutely lack – I’ll cheerfully take the last Rolo from the tube even if you don’t love me, I’ll gaily laugh as I push children out of the way so I can play in the ballpark at IKEA and I’d have no compunction at all about aggressively smothering to death the masses of elderly folk who get between me and my Marks and Spencer’s beetroot wrap of a lunchtime. I’m kidding I’m kidding – I’d tumble them into the deep freezers instead, much more humane. But, nevertheless, I’m ashamed.

See, I had to get a bus. I know, I’m not proud. What have I become? It’s not like my last attempt at taking the bus was anything to write home about (so I wrote a big old blog entry instead, see?) so what possessed me to try again?

The bloody weather. Or, perhaps more precisely, all the bloody reports about the ‘thundersnow’ and ‘Arctic blasts’ and ‘dangerous weather’. It all sounded terribly exciting and cataclysmic and it was with baited breath that I threw back the curtains this morning only to be greeted with a lovely winter scene of snow and frost. Remembering last year’s morning of tramping into Newcastle on foot because I was stuck behind an entire city of dickheads unable to grasp that if you try to pull away in first gear on a slope on your summer tyres you’ll get nowhere fast, I chose to get the bus in.

Well fuck me, it hasn’t improved a jot. I boarded at 7.20am, expecting the bus to be quiet and full of slumbering worker-bees like me who would spend the short twenty minute journey bobbing their heads in half-sleep and drooling extravagantly on my shoulder. That would have been welcome; cosy almost. What actually happened was that the entire journey took exactly two hours and I was stuck between two very Greggnant folks – presumably man and wife – who talked across and over me for having the temerity to sit between them. Mind, at least I was warm – I felt like a strawberry in a giant trifle, only this trifle smelled of fags and foist. I made to open a window but was met with such a harsh, unforgiving stare from that I went back to staring right ahead with furious, twitching eyes. The two hours was punctuated by the boom-tissh-boom-tissh of shit music played through shit headphones into a shit man’s ears, what joy. The only melody that gets played in my car is when the indicators match-up with the the little ‘ding ding’ I get when the diesel is low. That and Radio 4, and I’m even going to knock that on the head if Helen Archer doesn’t stop giving into Rob. Tsk.

I can’t blame the bus driver – he did his best, but, despite the roads being clear of snow and ice, every person and his dog had decided to come for a drive early ‘just in case’. This meant absolute bumper-to-bumper gridlock. Of course, everyone starts beeping, as though everyone ahead of them is only sitting there because they’ve dozed off and will subsequently be able to miraculously drive through the traffic now they’ve been awoken by your beep signal like the fucking Manchurian Candidate. You see cars on the news pitched into ditches and crashed through living room walls as though we’re crossing the Arctic as opposed to doing 10mph pulling out of a cul-de-sac and I just DON’T BLOODY UNDERSTAND IT. It’s snow! Half an inch of frigging snow! Why can’t people cope? Why must we fall to our knees and cry and wail because the paths are a bit slippy for all of ten minutes and the gritter hasn’t been round? For fucks sake.

I don’t want to bring it back to other countries but take Iceland – when we visited it was -1,000,000 degrees (near enough) and yet everything ran like clockwork. Our coach hurtled along roads that were literally ice with all the gay abandon of a man who only sees four hours of daylight a day. Public transport turned up, people walked along well-gritted paths and everything looked lovely. Switzerland was exactly the same – cold enough to not only take your breath away but also to make a Mr Slushy with, but ne’ry a problem at all. And us? If we do eventually get to work we spend all day starting every conversation with ‘it isn’t going to lie’ or ‘it’ll be gone by lunchtime’.

Oh, and how true that is – I swear a friend of mine lit a cigarette at lunch and the flame from her lighter cleared the snow right across Newcastle, it was that much of a bloody non-event.

I do sympathise with the folks experiencing proper disastrous weather elsewhere in the UK, though. Best of luck to you all.

There was some good news today, though – The Crystal Maze is returning! Properly, mind, with a full set (so we don’t have to watch people pretending that the smoke detectors and building alarm panels are part of the Aztec zone) and with non-celebrities playing. I know it’s the dram of many to watch Bianca Gascoigne mouth-breathe her way around solving a basic word riddle in three minutes but that’s just not happening. Hooray! However: the new presenter is Richard Ayoade. I can’t put into words how desperately unfunny I find him. I can see why people like him, and I’m sure he’s a charming bloke in real-life, but I think I’d genuinely prefer to watch the zip of a body-bag being pulled across my face than witness his shenanigans. Bah.

However look, there’s a cracking recipe to be had underneath – big mac tater tots. It combines the various bits and bobs from SW favourite Big Mac in a Bowl (which, if you give it a couple of hours, becomes Big Mass in a Bowel) and mixes it with our most favourite recipe, the tater tots! Give it a go. It’s easy to make.

big mac tater tots big mac tater tots

to make big mac tater tots you will need:

for the special sauce:

  • 3 level tbsp extra-light mayo (3 syns)
  • 5 tbsp fat free fromage frais
  • 1 level tbsp of American style mustard (1½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2tsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp of garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp onion granules
  • pinch of smoked paprika

It’s worth noting that you can douse the entire recipe in hot sauce, although you should syn this. We get asked a lot what hot sauce is and which we use. It’s just a spicy red sauce you can buy in most big supermarkets, and it adds a lovely heat. To help, this is the sauce we use.

big mac tater tots

¡Válgame Dios!

to make big mac tater tots you should:

  • if you have an actifry this is great – chuck the potato in, add a bit of oil and cook until golden
  • if you don’t have an actifry, spread the potato cubes out onto a baking sheet and bake at 190°c until golden – turn them regularly!
  • preheat the oven to 230°c
  • meanwhile, over a medium-high heat sling the mince into the pan and cook until done, then remove from the heat
  • in a large bowl mix together the tater tots and the mince together and tip back into an oven-proof dish or pan
  • sprinkle over the grated cheese and pop in the oven for about five minutes, or until the cheese has melted
  • next, mix together the special sauce ingredients along with 5tbsp of water (add more if you need to)
  • when the cheese has melted, remove from the oven and sprinkle over the lettuce, onion, then tomatoes and then add the gherkins
  • splodge over the sauce
  • destroy it – turn it into poo!

Our Tater Tots recipes are by far our most popular! If you want to find out why, give them a go!

or if you want more fakeaway ideas, just click the button below! And while you’re at it why not explore our other recipes! they’re all waiting for you!

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Eee, canny.

J

taster night fruit skewers

Taster night – yes, we hate them too. We do have loads of taster night ideas though right here, but here’s a new one – taster night fruit skewers! Doesn’t really need a recipe but even so, I’ve done one at the bottom. But first…

…here’s a minty-fresh Switzerland entry! Part five if you don’t mind.

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part one | part two | part three | part four

Now, the last time you nestled into my busom and let me tell you a Swiss story we were just disembarking from the train in Bern. I was giddy with superlatives and the clean mountain air. We enjoyed an evening out and explored the town and I’ll touch on that later but first, despite having just arrived, we were already planning to leave. GASP. If that doesn’t get you sticking to your chair, what will?

So, yes, the night before, somewhat shitfaced on gin and schnapps, we had rashly decided to hire a car and go see some nearby Swiss features. A company called Sixt took our money and booking only to then call us at 11pm to say that actually they couldn’t hire us a car after all. My reply was probably something like wellfuguthendon’twanyercaranywaaay, as I remind you I was drunk, and we managed to sort something out with Enterprise. Hence, a few hours later, after a quick tram ride into the ghettos (as if Swiss cities have bloody ghettos – even the graffiti says ‘FUCK THE COPS, PLEASE’) we were outside the Enterprise offices waiting for the effortlessly efficient Celine to finish putting her hair in plaits and open the door. We made the class awkward small-talk and were shown to our car – a very boring Peugeot 208. I almost asked if they had anything more exciting but realised that would encompass every single mode of transport ever invented. It’s not that it was a bad car, no, it was just…so…plain. It was the motoring equivalent of having a disinterested vicar read you the warranty conditions of your new kettle.

We set off, very gingerly. Actually, that’s a fib, it took us about ten minutes to figure out how to disengage the handbrake. Every button I pressed seem to do something I didn’t want (and I’d later discover I’d accidentally set the seat-warmers to maximum – I only realised when I pulled over absolutely sure I’d shit myself). Paul fiddled with the Sat-Nav. You may recollect from previous entries that I have an inherent distrust of Sat-Navs whereas Paul clings to every word like a drowning man would clutch a lifebelt. The Sat-Nav is never wrong. It could instruct him to plunge a knife into my chest then take the third exit and he’d have the cutlery drawer open before you could say Skynet.

I’d checked online previously and the motorway that we needed was a mere half mile and two junctions away – I thought that once I was on that we’d be grand – driving on a motorway is an easy way to get used to a car, unless you’re Henri Paul. Paul plugged the address for the cheese factory in and we were away, guided by the disembodied voice of Teresa May. I’m not even exaggerating – it was as though the liver-lipped old trout was in the car with us, barking orders and shrieking instructions. It was terrifying: take the second Brexit, indeed.

Anyway, I immediately noticed something was wrong when we ended up following a tram down the tram lines. That’s generally a bad sign. Nevertheless, buoyed by Paul’s strict instruction that the Sat-Nav is always right and ‘you always panic driving in cities‘, we ploughed on.

For an arresting moment we found ourselves trundling through a Christmas market in the car – I could have reached out and grabbed myself a hot chocolate as we drove past to calm my nerves – before the Sat-Nav sent us down a tiny cobbled street. Clearly, something was amiss, but Paul was having none of it. We pootled on for another half an hour on possibly the most scenic city centre tour you’ve ever seen outside of one of those lurid double-decker scenic busses before I finally pulled us over in someone’s garden and told Paul to check the settings on the Sat-Nav. Yep: he had it set to ‘avoid major roads’, which, as you can imagine, adds an extra layer of fun and frolics onto driving an unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar city, on the wrong side of the road, on the wrong side of the car, in ice and heavy fog. Oh how I laughed as I spun the car wheels on the icy grass before we made our way back to the motorway. You could see the car-rental place from the sliproad of the motorway as we joined.

Ah well. You live and learn. Once we were on the open road we were straight up to 75mph (their speed limit) despite the freezing fog. Why? Because everything just works perfectly. There wasn’t a flake of ice on the road, there wasn’t a ten mile tailback of beeping cars and lorries, no, everyone just sped along in uniform civility. It was lovely. It puts us to shame, it truly does. I know we’re not an alpine country and thus people aren’t used to driving in wintry conditions but for goodness sake, they shut the A1 in both directions if I leave my freezer door open too long. Pah.

One thing we learnt about the Swiss as we drove along their motorways: they fucking love getting their cocks out in the motorway toilets, and I don’t mean for a piss. I don’t like to be crass but for goodness sake, let me have a piss in peace without helicoptering your penis at me or wanking away like you’re beating out a carpet fire. I half-expected to be arrested for suspicious behaviour because I wasn’t cottaging. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude, and if the smell of twenty years of splashed urine and 10,000 lorry driver farts gets the blood pumping for you then all the very best, but please, try and be a bit more discreet.

Anyway, we left after five hours – just enough time for the ammonia on the floor to burn through my jeans at the knees.

As we drove towards Gruyère the fog seemed to melt away and Switzerland opened up for us – it was magical. Everything was frozen but, especially when bathed in the brilliant light of the winter sun, it shone. I wanted to walk in every forest, ratch down every street – and that’s really saying something when you consider what a fat fucker I am. You’d barely get a chance to admire the views of an ice-covered river when a hill would rear up and you’d get a load of chocolate-box cottages all glistening in the cold. I felt like I was in a chewing gum advert. Paul developed RSI from having to snap his neck this way and that as I exclaimed ‘oooh look at that‘ and ‘cor have you seen that mountain?‘ – luckily, we weren’t short of ice to put on it. To give you an idea of the beauty:

taster night fruit skewers taster night fruit skewers

We made it to our first destination, La Maison du Gruyère, in good time indeed. Now, as you might have guessed from the name, this was a factory manufacturing ball bearings. Well obviously not – it was a cheese factory. I love cheese, and I love GruyèreI will cheerfully admit to having a semi as I climbed out of the car. I know visiting a Swiss cheese factory whilst in Switzerland is as obvious as visiting the Eiffel Tower whilst in Paris or being happy-slapped for your mobile in Hull, but I don’t care. We paid the very modest entry fee and were given quite the phallic-looking handset that would translate the entire thing for us so it sounded like Paul’s sister patronising us the whole way around. It was quite distressing. However, what made up for that was the fact you’re given a packet of cheese as you enter. My kind of museum!

The displays were informative – the right mix of cutesy-poo (meet Cherry The Cow!) and blistering factory facts to keep you going. Don’t get me wrong, don’t plan a holiday around it as we were done in half an hour, but as cheese factories go, it was great. I say this from the perspective of someone who has a cheese factory you can tour a mere ten miles from my house. I know, truly my life is decadent. There’s a comedy picture of me biting into a cheese wheel that’s only just wider than Paul’s waist but as my chins are cascading down my coat like a melted church candle, I shan’t be posting it. We stopped into the well-appointed gift shop in the hope of buying me a hat but were thwarted yet again by my giant elephantine head. I don’t understand it, you know – I look in the mirror and see a normal sized head but I can’t get a single hat to fit me without being skintight and giving me a permanently startled look. I’d kill to be able to wear a tricorn hat with panache, like Inspector Javert. More like Fatbear, am I right? Sigh.

We did toy with having a tour around Gruyère but we had a lot to do and we had to return the car at 6pm, so culture was pushed to one side.

Next stop on our Car Trip of Cardiovascular Strain was a trip to a chocolate factory, which frankly, is like following up a large scratchcard win with a fantastic blowjob. I mean, it doesn’t get better than the words ‘unlimited samples of Swiss chocolate’, does it? At this point I had to push my car seat back a good few inches, and it wasn’t just my belly that was swelling. Cor! Turns out that the Maison Cailler was about a twenty minute drive down the road so off we went. Roadworks diverted us into an aerodrome which made for a startling moment or two as tiny planes beetled about around us but we were soon back on our way and, after navigating a proper hairpin bend on a very steep hill (what fun!) we were parked up and joined the queue for entry.

Well, whilst I hate to repeat myself, this was smashing too. Entry costs were minimal but the whole experience was well thought-out, interesting and interactive. We joined a group of six very obviously gay men (no need to peacock though, there were lots of knowing looks and laughter) (and actually, that would explain our eight blank faces when we got to the Frigor bit) (Frigor? Why I barely know her!) and were shown to the entrance. What followed was a good thirty minute walk around showing the history of chocolate, how it is made, the health benefits…I tried to look as interested as possible but what we all wanted to know was when were the free samples coming and would I be told off for bringing a suitcase? We rounded a corner and there it was – all sorts of different chocolates just out for the tasting.

Naturally, being British, we showed remarkable restraint, nibbling and coyly picking up just-one-more in case they decided we were obscene and shut the door. Hilariously though, there was this big gym-bunny of a man there with his girlfriend. Now, he was not that nice, toned gym-boy that you see around but rather he looked like a bin-liner stuffed with rugby balls. His Littlewoods crop-top positively strained over Wotsit coloured muscles and I’m sorry but he had the haunted look of someone who knows that he’ll be injecting steroids into his cock later that day. ANYWAY. When he saw eight burly men come mincing barrelling around the corner he immediately started puffing out his chest and strutting around like Barry Big Bollocks. You know what I mean?? That thing blokes do when they try and make themselves look hard and important? Pffft. Top tip mate: no-one was impressed, you were trying to intimidate eight gay blokes who each had a better spread of facial hair than you and it’s impossible to look macho when you’re standing in a chocolate factory shovelling dainty wee raspberry truffles into your gob with your giant shovel hands, you absolute fucking melt.

His girlfriend had the good grace to look embarrassed.

We all tittered and laughed at the little machine that pooed out the chocolates (no other word for it) and then Paul and I added our own bit of humour onto their massive interactive computer board which asked the question ‘When should you enjoy chocolate?’

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That’ll be us off the magazine list, again. Ah well. At least our effort was better than Baba Babayev’s on the right there though – what a kiss-arse. Bet that wasn’t just cocoa on her lips.

Next stop on our whistlestop tour of Things That Sounded Good When Pissed was the town of Montreux, a mere forty minutes or so away. Now we absolutely didn’t have time to tour the town and do it justice so we decided to visit the absolutely stunning Château de Chillon, down on the shoreline of Lake Geneva instead.

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The castle was the inspiration for the castle in The Little Mermaid, which is a handy link as Paul models himself on The Little Mermaid’s villain, Ursula. We were so lucky – perhaps because it was Christmas or because it was overcast I don’t know, but we almost had the place to ourselves.

This was very fortuitous indeed. Why? Because the castle – whilst breathtakingly pretty and wonderfully kept – is a series of staircases, ladders and steep climbs to get right to the very top. With both of us busy turning eight kilos of chocolate and cheese into poo and heart disease, this was perhaps not a good idea. The fact we were by ourselves was most welcome as it meant we weren’t pressured into climbing at anyone else’s pace and we were able to stop and catch our breath, shock our hearts and discreetly vomit into nearby suits of armour. Any passing staff must have thought we found the info-boards particularly absorbing (and, to be fair, they were) but actually, it was just us bent double trying to resaturate our blood with oxygen.

taster night fruit skewers

You know what made the place great, though? It took us a while to twig and then we realised – there wasn’t masses of taped-off areas and warning signs to mind your head and stop smoking and don’t run and don’t use flash photography. We weren’t being told off at every opportunity and it was most refreshing, even if I did curse loudly when the top of my head scrapped along the ceiling. Oh and I did fall down a pretty much vertical flight of stairs when I started can-can-ing my legs as I came down, which in turn made Paul exclaim that I ‘looked like the Phantom of the Opera, only more a fat c*nt’ (we had the place to ourselves, I remind you), which then made me laugh and lose my footing. I landed on my giant gelatinous arse and was fine, don’t worry. Silly Swiss: I might recommend a warning sign for ‘acts of theatricality’. We made sure to take plenty of photos to add onto our iCloud to never be seen again and then made our way out.

There was a photo opportunity as we left with a little pier that strutted right out into the lake and we made for it only to be rudely pushed out of the way by what I think were the same horde of tourists that had prevented us getting a decent picture at the Broken Chair a few entries back.  First they would each take a picture of one of them standing on the pier, then they’d swap, then they’d change the lens, then they’d shriek hysterically and change the lens again. We waited patiently for a good fifteen minutes before (conscious of the fact I’d parked the hire car in a place I wasn’t entirely unconvinced wasn’t a coach park) I invaded their photographs and walked right along that pier. It made for a good set of photos – me posing merrily with my little Swiss flag, eighteen disgruntled and sullen faces just moving out of shot. Pfft. I’d post the picture but the rage-blood seeping from my eyes somewhat ruins it.

We bought some chocolate from the gift-shop and made our way back to the car. At this point I was very tired so Paul was under strict instruction to keep talking to me and not to let me fall asleep. Naturally, he was asleep before I turned the indicators off to get out of the car park. It was a long drive home – I had to keep stopping at the rest areas to have a man-made protein shake rest. We were less than half a mile away from the car drop-off area, all ready to head back to the hotel, when the stupid Sat-Nav suddenly thought we were in entirely the wrong place and set us down a slip road onto a different motorway, adding an extra 30 miles onto our trip. I hate them. I really bloody hate them. My loud swearing woke Paul up whose first words were ‘you should have woke me up’ which, as you can imagine, really made me chuckle. I could have undid his seatbelt, opened his car door and sent him tumbling out onto the motorway at 75mph and he’d still be fast asleep, doing tiny little cheesy farts all the night long. BAH.

By the time we did make it back to our room it was all we could do to remove the tiny Toblerone they placed on our pillows before falling fast asleep. All that mountain air, see. I promise to talk to you about Bern on the next entry, it really was a terrific place, but look, we’re almost at 3,000 words and I’m just sure that means most of you will have buggered off by now. If so, shame on you, least not because you’ve missed out on the recipe for these taster night fruit skewers!

taster night fruit skewers

to make taster night fruit skewers, you’ll need – well, duh:

  • a couple of tangerines
  • a box of raspberries
  • a few kiwi fruits
  • a fresh pineapple
  • black grapes, black as your soul
  • cocktail sticks – ours aren’t anything fancy, we bought them for the burgers we do, you get 100 on Amazon for about a fiver, or you could use any old shite you have sitting around the house, no need to fret!

to make taster night fruit skewers, you should:

  • now come on, really
  • no, really?
  • OK, well, assemble as above
  • I cored the pineapple, cut it into rings and then into chunks, but you can buy chunks in juice, remember to syn it though
  • I made the kiwi stars by cutting thick slices of kiwi and then, wait for it, using a star shaped pastry cutter – I know, someone call Alfred Nobel, because we’ve got a bloody genius here
  • that’s it

Two things to remember:

  • Captain Gunt suggests that you could serve this with a melted Freddo bar or something to dip in – but seriously, come on, just eat your Freddo; and
  • not a fan of the fruits above? Well, you’re homophobic and I’ll thank you not to read this blog. Oh THOSE fruits, right right – no, just swap them out for anything you like, I don’t mind, I just like the pretty colours!

Want more taster night ideas? Love picking other people’s cat hair out of your teeth whilst you choke down a sliver of cottage cheese quiche? Then click the buttons below and be inspired!

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Goodnight all!

J

two chubby club sandwiches

The recipe for two chubby club sandwiches is coming, but first, oh god…

I swear, on my nana’s little blue dolphin ornament, if I read one more bloody word about these ASDA Slimzone meals, I’m going to burst into flame. And I’m severely obese, I’ll go up like a fucking chip pan fire hurled into a swimming pool. What a ruddy hoo-hah! You’d think ASDA were adding lard to the country’s water supply the way people are foaming and revolting. I’ve seen so many armchair lawyers stating that SW will sue (for what?) and it’s false advertising (it isn’t) and ‘ASDA should be ashamed’ – pfft! If ASDA launched a new ice-cream tomorrow that had zero syns all these naysayers would be thundering down the aisles before you could say ‘but please, a bit of restraint’. I said the same when Slimming World launched their ready-meals in Iceland: they are there if you need them. Frankly, having tried each one, I wouldn’t feed them to a rabid dog to distract him from chewing on my throat, but that’s just me. Wait and see what SW syn them at and then plan them into your diet accordingly. It’s that simple. It isn’t the End of Days. Competition is good. We know the SW diet works and this just gives us more choice. Things could have been handled better on all sides but it is what it is and I encourage each and all to stop crashing their gashes over it.

Fuck me, we need a palate cleanser now, don’t we? Well, the good news is: it’s Paul’s birthday. Yes, the French to my Saunders, the Canestan to my cystitis, the Myra to my Ian, has turned 31. Years, not stone, just to be clear. He still looks young and fresh-faced to me, though: those crinkling wrinkles around his eyes are the result for laughing so hard at all my many jokes and witty observations, I’m sure, either that or I’m not putting enough lube on when I’m round the back doing delivering the milk. To celebrate, I’m posting a rare picture of him in his true form.

I LEFT MY IRON AWN

I LEFT MY IRON AWN

Just stunning!

Before I get to the meat of the story, I want to tell you what I bought him: a box of silliness. Paul is impossible to buy for because a) we buy what we want during the year and b) the rules this year were no food, clothes, smelly stuff, books, DVDs, days out or anything flash. I was tempted to fart in a box and wrap that up but I didn’t want to be mean. So instead I bought a lovely box from John Lewis and filled it with nonsense like a large horn, a tiny suitcase, sweets and other flim-flam. He loved it. To get to his present though he had to solve the giant treasure hunt that I’d set up for him because I’m a vexing sod. At least I kept this one to the house, unlike the first hunt I ever did.

That was a bloody corker. We used to live in the centre of Newcastle so I made the clues start around our flat and then fan out across the city. Want some ideas that I used? I wrote a clue in giant letters over the walls of our airing cupboard in UV paint, meaning he had to shut himself into the cupboard so it was pitch black and then use the little UV light on his keyring to find the clue. I froze a tiny clue the size of a match in a giant block of ice in the freezer. I wrote a clue on the bottom of a tin of peaches and put it back on the shelves in the co-op. My favourite though? I sealed a clue in a test-tube, corked it off, tied a ridiculously long length of fishing wire to the test-tube, tied that to the pillars on the quayside and then threw the tube in the water. His clue? ‘Go fishing’. Mahaha! Similarly, I stuck a clue to a helium balloon and then tied it with a 30m piece of fishing line to the railing on our balcony with the clue “Up”.

It took him three weeks to finish but we got there in the end. Anyway, back to now.

We celebrated the way we always do – spent the morning in bed farting and snoring then went out for the day. I told Paul that we could do anything he wanted to do for his birthday – he chose to go to a coal museum. Not quite the going down a shaft that I had in mind for the day, but hey, lady’s choice.

It actually wasn’t bad at all. See, Northumberland is very much a mining county, though far less so now. The earth underfoot was more pockmarked and scarred than a teenage boy’s face. The place where I live was a mining village until Margaret Thatcher came in and started being a slut. There’s more to it than that I’m sure but this isn’t the right place for political discussion. Anyway, we have a museum dedicated to coal mining not a kick off the arse from us, so away we went. Here’s an unusual thing: we weren’t robbed blind for entry and it was interesting, thoughtfully put together and maintained well. Good work Woodhorn!

We had the place to ourselves save for a braying foursome of hoorayers in Hunters Wellies who were loudly rah-rah-ing their way around the place. I inadvertently upset one of them when I told Paul to ‘hold back from the next exhibition as those toothy dickheads are still in there’, only for one of them to immediately appear in the doorway in front of me. I brazened it out and nothing was said. Listen, we were in a memorial to young lads who died in a pit explosion and they were carrying on like Jigsaw had just announced an Everything Must Go sale. Pfft.

We spent twenty minutes listening to two local old men describing their old mining roles, with me translating for Paul what they were saying as by God the Geordie accent was strong. I felt like the wee woman signing away in the corner of the telly during the night only I was mouthing ‘ROAD’ (ruuuurd) and ‘JOB’ (juuurb) and ‘BIT OF A POOR SPORT’ (haway y’fuckin’ radgie fucka) and ‘PRIME MINISTER MARAGARET THATCHER’ (eeee worra fuckin’ wuuurky ticket). He still looked bemused. I got my money’s worth out of the facilities by spending fifteen minutes sobbing and clutching my belly in the lavatories (we’d ordered Indian takeaway the night before, and by god was I seeing it again today) and then we made our way back to the car to head home.

Well, not quite. We spotted a little ramshackle narrow-guage railway just by the car park and, as luck would have it, a little train was just chugging its way into the station. There was no throng of people waiting to board so we thought why not and, after buying a ticket for a return (£2: can’t get vexed) journey, we climbed aboard. I saw the driver look at us and wince and well, they didn’t need to make such a big show of coupling another engine to the back of the train, you know? I jest.

Well – if I was reviewing this on TripAdvisor – I’d file it under ‘God bless them, they tried’. I’m sure it was meant for children, not two twenty-stone blokes with hairy arses and bad attitudes, but there’s only so much fun to be had from spluttering your way half a mile around a lake in the rain.

Oh, look, I’m being mean. It was exactly what you’d expect a £2 train ride to be, and I’m being churlish to moan about it. Good on them for a) not making it all tatty and themed and b) not ripping people off. Give it a go! The driver enjoyed it so much he had to tell all of his friends, which explained why he was looking at his phone the whole way. We crested a hill and saw that our destination was the other side of the lake where a Brewer’s Fayre pub awaited. Brewer’s Fayre is bad enough but on a Sunday? I’d have enjoyed it more if the train had derailed into the lake. We stayed on-board and made our way back through the forest, this time waving gaily at all the little children who the train was clearly designed for. We tried to Facebook Live the whole experience but Paul forgot to press record, so that’s that.

As we approached the car park for the second time I asked Paul what he fancied next and he said a club sandwich. He knows how to party, our kid. Anyway, knowing that ice-queen Margaret Brambles wouldn’t give a shiny shite whether it was his birthday or not, I set about trying to make a decent syn-free version, and here we are. As I’m a huge fan of word-play, I’ve called it two chubby clubs because it makes TWO FAT CLUB SANDWICHES! I know, right? I should be on the telly! Let’s do this. The recipe below is for one big sandwich, scale up as appropriate.

two chubby club sandwiches

two chubby club sandwiches

to make two chubby club sandwiches, you’ll need:

  • bread of your choice – we used seeded bread because it’s Paul’s birthday and we don’t care, but to keep it SW friendly you’ll need to use three slices of Kingsmill Wholemeal Crusts Away bread as your HEB
  • one big fat juicy tomato
  • three bacon medallions with the fat cut off
  • nice green lettuce
  • one bouncy and juicy chicken breast
  • one large egg
  • greek yoghurt (get the 0% fat version, keep it syn free)
  • any kind of hot sauce – optional – we used sriracha which is half a syn per tablespoon – we actually should have synned that I suppose, but it makes enough ‘sauce’ for two sandwiches, so quarter of a syn? Up to you!

You can get bacon and chicken from our massive Musclefood deal, just saying. Click here and relax, it’ll open in a new window. Plus the chicken isn’t full of water and nonsense and the bacon medallions cook well! Come on, let the Cubs fill your box once and for all!

to make two chubby club sandwiches, you should:

  • way really, it’s just a case of assembling your sandwich – I included a picture above so you can see what I mean, but here’s what is on each slice – read the recipe through first and then get everything on the go at once
  • make up some sauce by combining greek yoghurt with the hot sauce – or you know, syn some mayonnaise like a normal folk
  • toast your bread and keep it to one side
  • spread some sauce on one slice and top with freshly cut tomatoes
  • grill your bacon and put it on top of the lettuce and a bit of sauce on the second slice
  • you’re BACON me crazy, right?
  • boil up your egg and mush it up in a bowl with a tiny bit of greek yoghurt and lots of black pepper
  • for the chicken, I butterfly the breast (cut through horizontally most of the way through but don’t go all the way, baby – then fry it off in a good non-stick pan but instead of using oil, use lemon juice – make sure it doesn’t stick though. If you’re feeling all classy then you could use a griddle pan, hark at you
  • assemble

We served ours with chips because we’re fat and can handle all the carbs. You can leave stuff out if you don’t like it, add stuff in – it’s a veritable hokey-cokey of sandwiches.

Looking for more snacks? Sandwiches? Drink? Food? Click on the buttons and gorge yourself silly on our words!

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I’m sure you’ll all join in wishing Fattychops a happy birthday!

J

low syn cheesy nacho mince and rice

Right look, no bullshit. This cheesy nacho mince and rice is one of the best recipes we’ve made – not sure why, the ingredients aren’t anything flash and there’s no magic ingredient (THIS RECIPE CONTAINS 4 SURPRISES – NUMBER 3 WILL SHOCK YOU! – no, it won’t). It’s simple to make, full of flavour and cooks well. I’m starting to sound like one of those awful food blogs where everything is amazing and wonderful and guaranteed to give you a wide-on. But it really is worth giving a go.

Tonight’s entry was going to be another part of our Swiss trip but I spent forty minutes writing about toilets and my fingers are aching. So, by the miracle of copy and paste, I’m going to share with you a tale from our newest book instead. Paul and I attended a wedding last year that never made it onto the blog, but hey, weddings are always fun. Especially our take on them. If you’re just here for the recipe and you’re not in the mood for any of my nonsense, you go ahead and click this lovely button below.

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Oh I know, I’m a sod.


twochubbycubs on: a nice day for a white wedding

Long-time readers may recollect a particularly disastrous trip to a wedding in the last book where, in no particular order, I forgot my tie, our suit hiring folks forgot to remove the massive security tag on my suit jacket and, after a particularly bouncy bit of drunken sex, Paul and I fell asleep and missed the entire reception.

Since then, we have managed to avoid weddings, which is probably for the best given our ability to embarrass ourselves at any given notice, but we were invited to a New Year’s Eve wedding at the start of the year before and given it was someone who I a) like and b) strongly suspect would cut my face if I had turned her down (I mean, she’s from Worksop, they use a headbutt like one might use a comma), we had no choice but to go.

A bit about the bride: I’ve been her PA at various points in my life. I follow her around like a persistent dose of thrush. I joined her team as a fresh-faced young man full of innocence – she then systemically ruined me over the course of the next few years. I’d seen her blossom from a cantankerous, foul-mouthed, cock-hungry hussy to a slightly older cantankerous, foul-mouthed, cock-hungry hussy. It was with a great sense of pride that I was to see her down the aisle, her flaming Rebekah Brooks hair trailing behind her.

A bit about the groom: Paul and I both would.

Paul hates weddings so it was a case of promising him that it was going to be a fun event, there would be delicious food AND it was to be held up in Otterburn so there was a slim-to-maybe chance the night could end with one or both of us being tumbled around a field by a gang of rough-handed, drunken squaddies. It’s exactly the same way I get him to go to family BBQs.

Usual pre-wedding promises were made: lose plenty of weight, get a decent suit, pick a decent present. Usual pre-wedding promises were then completely ignored: we put more weight over Christmas, our suits came from Marks and Spencer’s ‘GOOD GOD MAN YOU’RE OBSCENE’ range and the bride wanted cold hard cash, which was something I could immediately get behind. The cash that is, not the bride. I feel that may have been a tad inappropriate during the service and anyway, the groom looked like he could take us both in a fight.

Paul drove us the 50 miles there. You all know how I feel about his driving – there’s still three fingernails lodged in the passenger side door from my grip.

We’d booked ourselves a fancy suite in a gorgeous old country hotel – just the thing to pick our arses in, clip our toenails into the carpet and watch The Chase in. We know our place. The receptionist was a delight – he looked exactly like a tiny version of Paul, and well, Paul’s pretty miniature anyway. I wanted to reach over and pick him up, half expecting there to be an even smaller version of Paul inside, played by Hervé Villechaize in a fat-suit. The receptionist was definitely one of us and there was more than a hint of ‘anything else you need; you just ask’. I told him that we were good for now but if I woke up at 3am fancying a Mexican Pancake, I’d ring down.

I had a quick bath, mainly to rid myself of the fear-sweat that soaked me through following Paul’s ‘driving’, then, after a change into our court outfits, we were ready.

The wedding was a mile or so away at an absolutely beautiful hall (Woodhill Hall, if you please) and so we piled into a people’s carriers lest I got my shoes muddy. There was just time enough for a quick drink and a look at everyone’s pretty clothes and Sunday best shoes before we were directed to take a seat in the sunroom. The service was terrific – not all fussy and old-fashioned but some custom lyrics and a fair bit of crying. I begged Paul to let me hurtle down the aisle screaming “It Should Have Been Me” like that bit in Vicar of Dibley but he told me to behave myself. Boo. You have no idea how difficult it is for me not to cause a scene.

Rings fingered and kisses given, we were all put in another room to enjoy a gorgeous meal of local delicacies and whatnots before listening to the speeches which, for once, were actually funny. There’s nowt worse than people thinking they’re funny (although to be fair I’ve created quite a sideline from it) but these got more than a few titters from me.

Bellies full and hearts singing / straining, we nipped back to the hotel room to get changed into slightly less strained shirts – there’s only so long I can sit fretting that my collar is about to burst open and blind someone with a stray button – and the excellent news is that we managed not to fall asleep like we did at the last wedding. I’d hate to get a reputation as someone who just turned up at weddings for the sandwiches and free drinks and then buggered off away to bed before my wallet came out. I mean, that IS exactly who I am, but I’d hate to have a reputation.

Anyway, back at the hotel we bumped into El Ehma (who the book is dedicated to) and, after dressing, we headed down to the bar for a quick drink before nipping back to the venue. Emma’s idea of a ‘quick drink’ turned out to be a triple Tanqueray and tonic, which seemed to cause the barman great consternation. She had to explain several times over that a triple was three shots, and it was with a very shaky hand that he set about the optics for the third time. I didn’t care, I was already fairly tipsy at this point. After more gin we set off back to the wedding venue, with El Ehma promising hand-on-heart that we’d meet again at 1am to get the car back to the hotel, with the offer of a ‘chocolate Baileys’ as a nightcap.

I write as a hobby and like to think I have a good handle on most euphemisms but even I wasn’t sure what a chocolate Baileys entailed. Would I ever find out?

The rest of the evening’s festivities were held in a giant tent in the gardens of the hall. There was a roaring fire in the middle and thankfully, I was too drunk to entertain my catastrophic thinking that the whole place would go up like the school in Carrie. At some point in the evening the DJ started playing the songs that each guest had requested months prior to the wedding – because this was a more alternative wedding there was a lot of rock music and loud noise, but the atmosphere was great. I had completely forgotten what I had put down on my reply.

Anyway, seeking some “fresh air” and “time to ourselves” (seriously though, there’s something about weddings that gets us both hilariously frisky – I’ve only got to hear the first few seconds of the Wedding March and the old cock-clock jumps straight to midnight), we ventured outside behind the venue, eventually finding a little shed that we could “rest our feet” without fear of interruption.

Let me tell you this – naughty outdoors wedding sex is great fun, it really is, especially when the air is crisp and cold and there’s the distant sound of people having an amazing night, but it doesn’t have put you off your stroke when you’re near the point of climax and you hear the DJ shout your name over the crowd followed by the words “…specially requested this all-time classic – OOOH AAAH (Just A Little Bit) by Giiiiiiiiiiina G”.

Listen, I’ve had sex under pressure, I’ve had sex in dangerous places, but there was no possible way I was going to be able to paint the town white under these circumstances. Having a barely successful Eurovision singer annotating your thrusts is a recipe for disaster. We zipped up and headed back inside, putting our flushed faces down to musical embarrassment. Sort of true, I suppose.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur of food, liqueur, dubious dancing and actually, everyone just having a bloody lovely time. I’ve never been to a wedding before where everyone who mattered was smiling and laughing and do you know, it was grand. When people are there not out of obligation but out of friendship, well, you know you’re on the right track. The evening finished with a midnight fireworks display set to Pour Some Sugar On Me (some Canestan might have beenb better) and sparklers and then everyone slowly made their way to bed.

Not us, though. No, despite El Ehma’s promises of keeping the car ready for us, piloted by her lovely sober husband, and us turning up at dot on the time we said, she was away, leaving us stranded. Bah! We could see her brake lights snaking away down the road. Clearly she was in a rush for that chocolate Baileys / anal.

There was no chance of us walking back because by this point I was seeing six legs when I looked down, so we threw ourselves on the mercy of the lovely lady behind the bar. She was probably struck with the frightening idea of seeing our swimmy eyes and moon faces leering at her gin collection all through the night and so it was that we found ourselves packed into the back of her Fiat Uno, being driven all the way back to our hotel. I could have kissed her. Hell, I was that pleased (and blue-balled from earlier) that I would have fathered her children had she given me a bit of keen-eye.

We tumbled into bed (just Paul and I) and were straight off to sleep. Things came to a lively head at about 4am when Paul tumbled drunkenly out of bed, setting the very posh and old bedside table crashing over, which in turn knocked a chest of drawers asunder, which then set a lamp crashing to the floor. It was like Total Wipeout, only with more gin fumes and Paul trapped in sheets on the floor. We inspected the antiques with all the care and concentration you’d expect from two burly men who at that point were more gin than human, and hastened back to bed.

The cold light of day revealed that, somewhat surprisingly, there had been no damage done, save for a mobile-phone shaped bruise on Paul’s arse where he had landed on his phone. If only he’d been charging his electric toothbrush then at least one of us would have seen some action round the back. We quite literally staggered to the breakfast room where we were met with El Ehma’s fresh face (“eee we waited! We did! We did!”) and a fry-up that came on two plates. Across the way from us were a couple visiting from down South and who had ordered a tiny bowl of muesli and a cup of smugness and by God were they repulsed by my alcohol fumes and unshaven face. I’m just glad I don’t smoke anymore – if I had lit a match at that point I would have gone up like a dry forest fire.

We couldn’t leave at this point because we were still tipsy so we had to walk around Otterburn until we were safe to drive. You know when people say the best thing to do for a hangover is to get some fresh air? Balls to them. I’ve never felt rougher than I did when I had my face lashed by the cold Northumberland air and soaked by the type of rain that gets in every single gap in flesh, clothing and soul. When we could eventually drive home, we did so silently, green-faced and gingerly. What a truly amazing wedding, though.


Enjoy that? There’s all that in more in our fantastic new book The Second Coming, which at the moment is rising up the Kindle charts like a foul burp – JK Rowling must be absolutely shitting herself. Click here for that – don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window. Right, to the recipe then…

cheesy nacho mince and rice cheesy nacho mince and rice

to make cheesy nacho mince and rice you will need:

  • 400g lean minced beef (stop wasting money on ghastly gristly supermarket mince – try one of our fabulous Musclefood deals instead!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (you know it: this’ll help!)
  • 1 red pepper, diced finely
  • 400g orzo
  • 400ml passata
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (0.5 syns) (sriracha is hot sauce – any spicy sauce will do, or, if you don’t like your arse all a-tingle, leave it out!)
  • 160g reduced fat cheddar (4x HeA)
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • pinch of paprika
  • pinch of onion granules
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 olives, halved (1.5 syns)
  • 30g bag Doritos (7.5 syns)
  • bunch of chives or spring onions

Ah I want to clarify something, by the way. We’ve had a couple of Clever Dicks (who aren’t that clever) sending us snide messages about ‘wen u uze oyul u hv 2 sin it‘. Well, yes, indeed. When we say a bit of oil we mean a few sprays of Filippo Berio spray oil, or indeed, any oil decanted into one of these. That’s half a syn. Between four. If you want to get your titties in a tangle over 1/8 of a syn, be my guest. I’m not proposing people pour a gallon drum of Castrol into their frying pan, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to suckle the Frylight teat – it’s a nonsense, plastic product and why use it when you can use decent stuff and – if you feel you must – syn accordingly? BAH!

to make cheesy nacho mince and rice you should:

  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and put on a medium-high heat
  • add the mince and onions and cook until the mince has browned
  • add the garlic and pepper and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes
  • reduce the heat to medium-low and add the orzo to the pan, along with the passata, chicken stock, sriracha, chilli flakes, paprika and onion granules and stir well
  • cook for about 12-15 minutes until the orzo has absorbed the liquid, stirring occasionally
  • remove from the heat – take three quarters of the cheese and stir it through the dinner, and then sprinkle over the top the remainder of the cheese, chopped tomatoes, olives, chopped chives/spring onions and crushed doritos (and anything else you’re using)
  • heat the grill to high and pop the frying pan underneath – you want it under for just a few minutes to melt the cheese (keep an eye on if it has a plastic handle)
  • serve!

if you too can’t be arsed to wash up, why not try some of these recipes?

or if something else tickles your fancy, have a look through some of our other recipes by clicking the buttons below – we’ve got over 400!

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I know, we’re wonderful.

J

golden lentil and barley soup – look, I tried, OK?

I don’t think I’ve ever put a less appetising picture up on this blog (actually, that’s a fib, remember the time we accidentally uploaded a giant pulsing sphincter? No? Click here for that, it’ll open in a new window) than this golden lentil and barley soup. It looks like someone has already taken a stab and eating it and then chucked it back up for someone else to have a go with. But see, we do like to support our vegan members, with their milk-white skin and gunshot eyes, and this looked so appetising on the blog where I took the recipe from. Usually I take a recipe and adopt it for Slimming World myself but this required no changes so full credit and awe go to yupitsvegan. I’m sorry that I turned your delicious looking golden lentil and barley soup into a pile of tramp’s truffles.

Anyway, just a short entry tonight because it’s our anniversary. We’ve now been married six years. We both thought it was five as it happens and were shocked when Facebook’s lookback feature showed us both relaxing in the double bath six years ago. I mean, where does the time go? In May it’ll be our proper anniversary from when we started, how can I put this delicately…fucking, and that’ll be ten years. Ten years and we’re still dead romantic – only the other morning Paul murmured lightly, as I cuddled him, that I was ‘like a George Foreman grill’ – I keep him lovely and warm. D’aww. I recounted this whimsical tale of love into our facebook group only for someone to say ‘Is it not because you drip when he puts his meat in?’. Brrrr. Although it made me laugh, it does show a lack of understanding of the general mechanics of our shenanigans. Mind the romance doesn’t just flow one way, you know, look at the heartwarming notes I leave in his lunchbox (and I apologise for the naughty word, it’s rarely used on here):

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If that offends you, it shouldn’t, it definitely says fat aunt. Promise. *cough*

Now, rather than leave you unsatisfied and wanting more, I’m going to put the very first entry from our honeymoon book on here – it deals with our wedding day! The glitz. My writing style has changed somewhat since then but hopefully you’ll still get a taste of us…


Way back in 2009, also at Disney, I proposed to my stout little barrel of a man and he gleefully accepted. I think it was the fact we were in the middle of a lake and I’d be watching an awful lot of Dead Calm recently that hastened his positive reply. We got honked at by a passing Disney ferry whose inhabitants thought I was down on my knees doing something other than proposing. The nerve. I mean, it wasn’t Christmas! Zip forward to 3 January 2011 and the day before our wedding. Well, the glamour started right from the off with one of the cats deciding to do a dirty protest in the car whilst we ferried him over to my sister to look after. You’ve never seen someone wind a window down quicker than us that day, and because the cat is fearless and would have jumped, he stayed in his messy box all the way to my sisters. It was with tears in our eyes (and Vicks under our nose) to see our pooey little furball depart, but there you have it.

We spent the evening before the wedding in our first treat, a room at the Hotel du Vin in Newcastle. You may think Newcastle is purely the land of bust noses, bare flesh and broken hymens, but we’re more than capable of bringing the class, and this is one of the nicest hotels in the area. I mean, it has a cigar bar attached, for heaven’s sake. Our very first surprise of the honeymoon? We were upgraded to the best suite in the hotel, the Dom Pérignon suite. It was bloody beautiful. It’s the honeymoon suite and I was overjoyed, especially as I had only paid £68 for the room through my shrewd discount plans. A massive thank you to the staff of the beautiful Hotel du Vin, that’s for sure. The room had two bathtubs in the living room, and I think we were in the room for a grand total of two minutes before they were full of bubbles and we were laid in them watching Deal or no Deal on the giant TV and feeling like kings. The bed was wonderful too – it felt like it was 9ft wide – I could lie in it, stretch myself out and STILL not touch the sides. Sometimes I wonder why Paul married me.

There was NO late-night prodding awake with a bed this big.

After a meal on the Quayside and a romantic stroll back to our room, we settled down to sleep – our last night as bachelors! Here’s a sweet fact for you – in all the time we’ve been together, we’ve never had a night apart. A good start to the marriage methinks! And so…to the wedding!

We had decided a couple of months previously not to have a big do at all, and just a small registry office affair followed by a good dinner. I wish I could say it was for any other reason than the fact we’re both terribly selfish and Northern and thus the idea of spending money to facilitate other people having a good time appals us. Plus, I wanted to avoid the horrid old clichés of a civil partnership. Bah! I’m not casting aspersions on anyone else’s wedding but it suited us to have a small, tidy, manly do. So we did. Well, we did toy with the idea of dressing up like the sisters from Shakespear’s Sister’ Stay video but we were talked out of it. We became Husband and Husband in Newcastle Registry Office, presided over by an official who was the spit of Annie Lennox, and watched over by our immediate family and good friends.

The deed is done! Don’t you think the Argos CD player really sets off the room? 

As an aside, my gran was there, and she’s brilliant – despite being 87, she’s thoroughly accepting of our relationship and is always asking after Paul when I call up. I mean, there are limits to her acceptance – I didn’t dare explain what fisting was when she asked me one day after seeing the word on my phone (I might add, someone had texted it in a joke to me, I’m not that FILTHY). It still felt a little bit too formal for me, as I’m not used to someone addressing a suit-clad Paul without adding ‘the defendant’ afterwards. We decamped to SIX, the faffy little restaurant on top of the Baltic. It’s very posh. NOW, we’re not a posh lot, and class McCains as a ‘fancy potato style’ but you have to let your hair down once and a while, even if (as is the case in all the males at the table) you don’t have any.

So, a suitably lovely meal was had, only enhanced by the snotty waiter looking down his nose at us and rolling his eyes when I ordered a couple of bottles of reasonably-priced champagne. Well, reasonably priced for them – paying £65 for a bottle of fizzy cat pee gave me such a cold sweat that I had to excuse myself to the bathroom to calm my shakes. My nana, bless her, didn’t really fancy anything on the menu (I can’t blame her, I’ve never heard two bits of chard, a sliced tomato and a bloody drizzle of balsamic vinegar described as a French Salad before) but they were very good and cooked her up her own individual meal. I stopped short of asking them to put a glass of Banana Complan on ice, though.

After the meal, we went to the pub for an hour, then everyone dearly departed, and our honeymoon officially started. Yes! Back to the flat to really put the bed through its paces by er…putting the suitcases on it and tipping our wardrobe into them. I have to say, it wasn’t the first type of packing that I had planned for the wedding night. We slept, butterflies in our stomach (SIX would call them an amuse bouché) and in no time at all, we were in a taxi being bellowed at by a rather brusque taxi driver who wanted to know the far end of a fart and when it came from. Honestly. I spent the entire trip to the train station trying surreptiously to take a photo of his face on my phone so I would be able to identify who had burgled our house when we were away. Thankfully, that didn’t arise.

Straight onto the train, into the first class carriage (where you too can travel in style with an extra doily and a few crappy biscuits) and we were disappearing over the Queen Elizabeth bridge, saying goodbye to Newcastle from the bridge. Now here’s a tip for you. If you’re coming into Newcastle (or indeed leaving) from the South on the train, don’t look slackjawed to the right and admire all the bridges, but instead, look on the other side of the river, up the Tyne. As you cross the bridge, there’s a little wasteground, and it’s always full of men out ‘badger-hunting’. Yep – whereas most people are taken by the beauty of the moment, Paul and I spent the first minute of our honeymoon journey playing ‘Count the Cruiser’. What larks!

In no time at all, we were in London, our seedy capital. Kings Cross is lovely, yes, but in no time at all we had tubed our way to Victoria and onto the Gatwick Express, heading for the giddy heights of the Gatwick Hilton. What a place! After spending seven years navigating to the hotel from the train station (seriously, we spent so much time walking there that I almost gave up and set up base for the night), we were checked in by a clearly-couldn’t-care-less-customer-divvy and in our room. Grim. I’m not a hotel snob but after spending the night in the Hotel du Vin only two nights ago, the Hilton’s tired brown sheets and tiny bathroom didn’t exactly enamour the soul. After spending only a moment admiring the view (car-parks are just SO fantastic to gaze at), we trekked back to the airport and checked in super-early (is it still Twilight Check-in if it is during the day?) with Virgin Atlantic. We had pre-booked our seats in the bubble but no sooner had we dumped our bags than the lady behind the counter told us we had been moved. Argh! I was too busy trying to work out the best way to hide her body to take in what she was saying, but – hooray for thedibb – when I was back at the hotel I checked online and we were RIGHT at the front of the bubble. Get in! Not only do I get to look down at the cattle-class, but I was going to be on first-name terms with the pilot. OK, maybe not THAT close. And we don’t look down our noses at anyone…well…not much.

We spent the evening in the hotel, watching a home movie entitled ‘Britain’s Fattest Man’ starring Timothy Spall. It was very good, even if we didn’t feel a shred of shame stuffing a pork-pie into our gob the very moment he had his fat chopped off. A good nights sleep was had, and we were ready for day 1.


God, I’m absolutely itching to rewrite that, you know. Not least because it refers to my nana in the present tense instead of the past and I’m fairly sure she’s still Voldermort-ed. However, if you’re a glutton for punishment and you like sentences that never end and punctuation used like confetti, you can buy the rest of the honeymoon book right here.

Right, let’s deal with this delicious looking dinner, shall we? Mmmm! Get ready to gag! No I’m kidding, it looks like slop, but honestly, it tastes bloody lovely! Please don’t be put off!

golden lentil and barley soup

Look, to make up for that picture, here’s some similarly coloured cats:

d8pcbgk

Why can’t we have a cat like that one in the middle? Why must we have one that licks his knob all day and another who scrapes her minnie-moo on the floor? For fucks sake.

to make golden lentil and barley soup, you’ll need:

  • a few sprays of olive oil – frylight if you must, but just don’t do it to yourself
  • one large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic or a reet good sprinkling of the powdered stuff
  • a fiddler’s thumb of fresh ginger (about an inch) (or powdered, about half a teaspoonful)
  • as above, but with fresh turmeric – can’t get fresh turmeric? Don’t shit the bed – just use about 1/2 teaspoon of the powdered stuff, I’ll never tell)
  • one large carrot – thinly sliced
  • pinch of cumin and the same again of coriander – don’t like your meals with cumin? Then don’t get so excited! Hello? Is this thing on? Hello? Nah, leave it out if you’re not a fan
  • 1200ml of decent vegetable stock / bouillon
  • 150g of red lentils
  • 100g or so of dry pearl barley
  • two tablespoons of tomato puree
  • salt and pepper to taste

You know what’s coming don’t you? You just know it! Buy a mincer to take care of your garlic, ginger and turmeric in no time at all. Also, chop your carrots quickly and uniform with a mandolin slicer, but for crying out loud, be careful. I’ve got fingers like snapped Matchmakers thanks to mine.

to make golden lentil and barley soup, you should:

  • chop up your onion nice and fine and then cook off in a bit of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan
  • once the onions have softened, add the minced garlic, turmeric and ginger and stir on a medium heat until everything smells lovely
  • add the coriander and cumin together with the chopped carrot and continue to cook gently until everything has softened a bit
  • add the pearl barley, lentils and stock – bring to the boil then drop it to a simmer

A quick note: take the time to wash the pearl barley more than a few times. Stick it in a sieve, get the hot water running, and rinse rinse rinse. Stops it going gloopy. Right, where were we…

  • cook uncovered for about 25 minutes until the lentils and pearl barley are cooked through – longer is fine, but you might need to top the liquid off with more stock
  • add the tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste, stir through and cook for another minute or two
  • serve – oh we added a drop of chilli sauce on the top but that’s up to you, see

If anyone asks, just reassure them that it’s hearty and delicious and syn free!

Looking for more soups? Try these!

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Enjoy!

J

marinated duck salad and james’ new year’s resolutions

Marinated duck salad, if you don’t mind! I know, in these times of tight purse-strings and even tighter gusset-elastic, duck may seem like an extravagant choice. And it is. If you want to swap it out for chicken, I’ll never tell. If you want to swap it out for that chicken they sell in Iceland that looks like those polystyrene packing noodles that your parcels from Amazon get shipped in, you go right ahead. What price dignity? Anyway, we’re only having duck because our friend thoughtfully gave us a load of freshly killed meat from when he’s been out hunting. Listen, I’m not a hunter myself, but I don’t want to upset anyone who turns up on my doorstep covered in blood shouting about THE BOOORDS. He asked if I liked duck – I replied that actually, I prefer a cockatoo – and I bet he’s still chuckling now at my lightning wit and horrendously dated jokes. Either that or he’s shot himself in the face.

Now I touched yesterday on New Year’s Resolutions, didn’t I? Here’s an odd thing – I could have sworn I typed up our resolutions last year and I was going to update you on how they went, but look, if it is easier, I’ll just print out our Jacamo order history – another X has managed to sneak onto our clothes labels. Our order forms look like a Spot the Ball competition in a busy bookies. Pretty soon we’ll need to buy two 2XL shirts and just stitch them together round the back. Still, we haven’t taken up smoking or hard drugs, so at least we’ve got that going for us, eh? Without a moment more of hesitation, here’s my resolutions:

To be more sociable

This is such a hard one for me. I’m not agorophobic or enochlophobic (I’m trypophobic and hydrostructuraphobic at best) but see I just hate everyone. Perhaps that’s a smidge too far. Hate is a strong word. Dislike, maybe. Yes, everyone starts out being disliked by me but once they reveal themselves as warm, lovely humans, I’m alright with them. As a result, I struggle with being social. I like staying at home with Paul, sitting in my comfiest underwear, cock and balls sticking to the leather on the settee, eating crisps and watching TV. I’m happy in my own company. Whenever I do force myself out I always have a great time but it’s just getting there. My saying no is as much of a reflex action as my knee kicking out when tapped with a hammer or me ignoring the pains in my left arm as I shovel more food into my gob. But yes: will try harder.

Who knows? Maybe a twochubbycubs meet-up could be on the cards?!

It isn’t, by the way. You’d all be so disappointed. You’d spend all night wondering who had let two cows into the pub only to realise it was us, waspishly drinking our ale and looking furious. We were once stopped in ASDA (the glamour!) by someone asking if we were the chubby cubs (probably assumed we were by the giant marrow and bottle of Astroglide in our shopping basket) to which we stuttered, went red and just said ‘yes but we’re just here for some hummus’ – eee, they’ll be talking about that for years to come I’m sure.

To be less fat

Goes without saying, doesn’t it? I’m tired of all my clothes only-just fitting. I’m tired of the cats looking at me with ‘don’t you think you’ve had enough’ eyes every time we crack open a new tub of Ben and Jerry’s. They’re a fine pair to judge my eating habits, given they both spend a good half-hour licking away at their bumholes of a morning. I don’t know what’s in Whiskas Bite and Chew but they should make a bloody lip-gloss out of it. I know we’ve said so many times before that we need to lose weight but hell, we both feel so old and immobile – and we’re only in our early thirties for goodness sake. I’m not kidding when I say Paul has taken to having a nap before he goes to bed.

How to do it? I do think if we stuck at Slimming World 100% we’d get there, because the diet works. But see, I have strong reservations (which I’ve often voiced) about stuff like avocados being synned, and as a result, I’m going to have to tweak my own take on the diet to get by. Don’t worry though: our recipes will still be 100% Slimming World friendly, nothing is changing on that side. The main thing for us is to get moving: there are days when I get up, drive to work, sit at my desk, drive home and sit on the settee and don’t move a bloody muscle. That’s not good! I can’t pretend we’re going to end up at the gym every night or lifting weights (unless 1kg of chocolate counts) but I’m at least going to try and get my step count into four-figures.

To take up a bad habit

You know that bit in Grease when Rizzo does that impression of Sandy, saying how she doesn’t drink, or swear, or rat her hair, and that she gets ill from one cigarette (cough cough cough)? God, that’s me at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to undergo a transformation like Sandy does at the end – not least because if I clad my body in skin-tight leather I’d look like part of the DFS sale – but I need a bad habit. I don’t class drinking as a bad habit, more a necessary evil. Drugs fuck with my dicky-ticker and I gave up smoking (for the most part) many years ago thanks to Allen Carr and the shocking site of a year’s worth of cigarette ends billowing up from the drains outside. Oops. Paul bought me membership to a cigar lounge in Newcastle so perhaps that can be it – I think I’ve tipped into the age-appropriate level to carry off the look.

Now, in the interests of keeping the blog entries slightly more manageable and a bit shorter for folks, we’ll cut it there – we can talk about Paul’s resolutions tomorrow, once he has had them cleared and approved by me. HA. Let’s get to the marinated duck salad!

Final thought: don’t forget we have a new book out. It’s huge, it’s meaty, and it’ll leave you satisfied and smiling. There’s quite a bit of unblogged writing in there too – full travel tales for New York and Cornwall, a white wedding (including a mixture of Eurovision and sex) and a whole chapter about my penis. I mean, come on. If that doesn’t lure you in, perhaps the fact that it’s only £4.99 for over 110,000 nicely-chaptered words might tempt you. £4.99! JK Rowling must be shitting the bed with fear. Anyway, if you want a piece of us in your bed at night, click here and fall in love all over again!

marinated duck salad

to make marinated duck salad you will need:

  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey (1 syn)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 duck breasts (skin removed)
  • 400g noodles (we used somen but any will do)
  • 5 spring onions, sliced lengthways
  • 1 cucumber, deseeded and julienned
  • 2 carrots, peeled julienned
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce (3 syns)
  • pinch of sesame seeds (optional – 25g is 8 syns, but we used such a tiny amount we counted it as only 1 syn) (what are we like?)

Can’t be arsed clitting about julienning the carrots and cucumber? Do you think life is too short to be standing over a carrot making it into tiny matchsticks with a knife? With YOUR reputation? Please. Get yourself a £5 julienne peeler and be done with it. It makes your food look pretty!

to make marinated duck salad you should:

  • in a small saucepan, mix together the cider vinegar, honey and soy sauce and add 100ml of cold water
  • bring to the boil, stirring continuously, and then remove from the heat
  • allow the marinade to cool
  • meanwhile, slice the duck breasts diagonally and pour over the marinade, and leave for at least an hour (but overnight is best)
  • prepare the cucumber, carrots and spring onions and set aside in a large bowl
  • cook the noodles according to the instructions, refresh under cold water and set aside
  • heat a little oil over a high heat in a large frying pan, take the duck out of marinade (use a slotted spoon) and pour away the marinade that’s left over
  • cook the duck for about five minutes in the pan, stirring frequently
  • mix together the noodles and vegetables along with the hoisin sauce and serve, topping with the duck slices
  • sprinkle over a few sesame seeds (if using them) and enjoy!

If you love anything stir-fry, give some of these a go!

and don’t forget, there’s over 400 recipes on here for you to choose from! Click one of the buttons below to find another! Remember, if life gives you duck, make a marinated duck salad!

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Cheers thanks babe. Eee, hopefully this will silence our one critic who scolded us yesterday for having the cheek and temerity to post a burger on New Year’s Day because ‘people are struggling’. Pfft. Struggling not to put the whole thing in their gob at once. If anyone else would like to provide feedback, my arse is just waiting to be kissed. Mwah!

J

introducing the girthburger and a happy new year!

Well hello there! The girthburger awaits! We always get such a flood of new people joining in the New Year, and we can both absolutely sympathise. You’ve had an amazing Christmas but you’re getting out of breath wiping your bum and you have realised that things need to change. A bidet wouldn’t go with your bathroom so it’s time to lose weight. Bridget Jones once said that New Year’s Day is the worst time to make your resolutions and start your new life because everyone is still buzzing on nicotine, drugs, stranger’s semen (just us?), alcohol and good food, and I’m inclined to agree with her. It is pointless. So we’re starting tomorrow, even if new recipes are kicking off today.

Because there’s lots of new people, just a boring bit of housekeeping – I’ll keep it to bullet points though so it’s nice and short. If you’ve got the attention span of a gnat, click on this carrot to jump straight to the recipe.

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Where were we? Ah yes:

  • we’re 100% not Slimming World consultants – we’ve been members for nearly nine years and have spent so much money buying Slimming World books and magazines that we ought to be listed as shareholders on Companies House – we always check the syns online but if you’re ever unsure, check them yourself and if you have any further SW questions, speak to one of their excellent consultants;
  • along similar lines, we’re definitely not your average slimming / diet blog – I can’t bear 99% of food blogs out there. I hate all the cutesy-poo flowery language, I hate all the patronising U CAN DO IT!!!11 guff and I hate the fact that so many blogs out there advertise syn-free crap but only if you buy sweeteners from XYZ company and agar agar from ABC online. We’re not like that. We don’t soak our blog in adverts, we don’t spam people, we don’t bullshit and we don’t sugarcoat, not least because if we did sugarcoat our words, you greedy fuckers would only eat them;
  • that said, we do recommend Musclefood meat and get paid for doing so – but let me tell you this – the second they start going shite. we won’t use them. We recommend their products because we actually eat them. The same goes with the Amazon product we sometimes recommend in our recipes – if you buy them, we get a small bit of cashback, and that’s what keeps the blog going. If we don’t own the item we don’t recommend it, it’s as simple as that. We’re 100% open and honest here at 2CC – we’re not going to push a recipe just to get money;
  • our food is made with proper ingredients and we’re not afraid to use a few syns for a meal – that’s what they’re there for. It’s rare that we go above four syns though, so we’re hardly talking gutbusters; and
  • most recipes have a bit of waffle beforehand if something funny has happened or if I just fancy being gobby – just scroll down to the recipe if blue language and coarse humour offends you. Sending me a message telling me not to swear is never going to end well!

I think that covers everything! If you’re looking for all of our recipes, you can find them here. A humourous guide to Slimming World can be found here. All of our Musclefood deals are on one handy page right here. There’s a bit about the two fat blokes who run the blog right here. We’re on Twitter, we have a facebook page with 130,000 folks following and a facebook group (which is sadly full at the moment!). Ah and we have three books out – not recipe books, Mags would sulk, but rather two books of all our blog entries and another about our honeymoon in Florida. Click here for those – it’s worth it just to see what filth we get included with! All done! Here’s to a good year.

The burger then. Well christ, look at the bloody clip of it. It’s our response to all those towering monstrosities that you get in fancy burger joints these days. About eight hundred thousand of these places opened in Newcastle last year alone – I want to go (there’s just something appealing to me about cramming so much meat between two buttered buns) but I’m always worried that I’m going to have a heart attack mid-meal. At least at home I have Paul who knows his way around mouth to mouth.

The burger is syn free until you slather it in mustard and ketchup which weigh in at 1 syn per tablespoon. As the amount you put on is up to you, you’ll need to syn accordingly.

The recipe below is for one person (i.e it makes one burger with two patties inside) – just scale up as needed.

the girthburger

to make the girthburger you will need:

to make the girthburger you should:

  • add the diced onion to a small saucepan, add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt
  • stir, cover and cook over a medium-low heat and cook for about 40 minutes, until caramelised (stir every 15-20 minutes or so)
  • meanwhile, roll the mince into two balls and slap out onto a square of greaseproof paper
  • gently push down on top of the balls with one hand whilst cupping the edge, to make a burger shape
  • keep shaping and squashing until you end up with two burgers that are about ½cm thick – they might look massive, but that’s what you want!
  • in a small frying pan, dry-fry the bacon medallions over a high heat until crispy, slice in half lengthwise then set aside
  • toast each side of the wholemeal bun under the grill and then top with the sliced gherkins
  • add the tomato sauce and mustard
  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add a little oil, switch the grill on too (on high) at this point for later on
  • add the burgers to the pan (don’t overcrowd the pan – do it in batches if you need to) and sprinkle on the salt and pepper
  • cook each burger for one minute, then flip and cook for another minute, then flip again
  • spread over some of the caramelised onion and cook for another minute (the burgers should cook for three minutes in total)
  • remove the burgers from the pan and transfer to the grill pan
  • top with a slice of cheese and the strips of bacon and put under the grill on the highest shelf and grill just until the cheese has melted
  • stack the burgers on top of each other on the bap, add some sliced onion and enjoy!

if you love burgers as much as we do, give these other recipes a try!

Don’t forget, we’ve got over 400 other recipes just waiting for you! click one of the buttons below to find something else that might tickle your fancy…

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Happy new year, all!

J