a big thank you from twochubbycubs!

Well, this is exciting, is it not?

It’s been exactly two years since our first recipe – a curry loaf that looked like someone had pooed out a polysterene brick and presented in that awful comic-book style we thought was a great, unique idea. It wasn’t. You don’t know stress until you’ve attempted to distil a complex risotto recipe into four pictures and five speech-bubbles.

It was never going to last, we thought, because who wants to read about two fat mincers from Newcastle who do very little and moan all the time?

Turns out quite a lot of you, actually! We’ve grown in these last two years from a tiny little blog into something that we can’t begin to tell you how proud we are of doing. I remember getting to 100 subscribers, then into the low thousands and now we’re over 11,000 of you who want us to come in your inbox once a day. We can’t manage that anymore (we’re getting old) but we usually manage to get it up for you at least four times a week, and that’s not bad. The focus of the blog shifted right at the start – we planned on being a ‘recipe’ bank, posting a new recipe every day (we’ve got over 370 now!), but give me a platform and I start chuntering – most blogs fall on their arse within a few weeks because of lack of comments and feedback – not a problem with me. I’d cheerfully talk to a brick wall.  We’ve got 26,000 in our group on Facebook (which we only allow a few people in at a time to stop all the posts about how many syns in a fucking Brooklea yoghurt) and, incredibly, 100,000 likes on Facebook. I find that mind-blowing and I could not be more grateful.

One thing that I hope runs right through this blog is our love of Slimming World. Christ knows that, as a diet, it has some major flaws (avocado anyone? Tweaking? Sweetener in a bolognese?) but we remain members and love the ethos of it all. I do like to think we provide a bit of a counter for all the sugary flim-flam they’re keen on pushing – no-one is on a journey, for goodness sake, we’re all just big balls of fat and muscle trying to fit into an aeroplane seat without them having to let the stitching out on the chairs. I dread to think what Slimming World think of us, but I like to imagine that occasionally our Fierce Overlord “Mags” puts down her gold-plated Chat magazine, lights up her 60th prison-rollie of the day with her penis-shaped SHAGALUF lighter and cackles and coughs her way through our posts like everyone else. There’s a love and a warmth in Slimming World that doesn’t come through in other diets and that’s why we stick with it, even if we don’t really follow the diet 100% all the time. I hope that shows. We certainly get plenty of messages from consultants who chuckle at our descriptions…aah SW, you should have returned my calls, all my disposable income and sass could have been yours! Right, some memories…

All links below will open in new windows, don’t worry.

I asked our facebook group and page for some memories and the feedback was amazing – the time Paul got bitten by a horse was a favourite, as was the night we got caught getting up to dickens by a farmer in the quietest tractor ever. The cats have featured heavily, as you’d expect, and Bowser’s trip to the vets or Sola’s hankerin’ for a spankin’ getting top billing. You’ve come with us to Ireland, Corsica, New York, Iceland, Cornwall and er…Peterborough. Who could forget our wonderful day out at Lands End (not me, I’m still paying for the counselling) or Paul dealing with the rep in Corsica with his cock hanging out?

You’ve hopefully laughed along with us as I shut a fart in a cupboard, fell out of a hammock, shouted uuuuuuuuuuuunt at a car, met the in-laws, exposed my hairy arse to a station load of waiting Germans, went accidental dogging, had an MRI scan (“vulnerable as I am on a metal tray being slid into a giant Samsung-branded sphincter”), explained in no uncertain terms what I think of tweaking, accidentally put a gaping bumhole up on facebook instead of a steak recipe, absolutely nailed what it is like to be a Slimming World member, created a new enemy in the car park, spent five hours not buying a caravan, ruined a tourist’s selfies…the list goes on! We’ve certainly had fun.

Actually, that’s one of the best things about this blog for me and Paul – we’ve now got a record of the last two years of our lives that we can look back on and enjoy. We have always said that we’ll keep doing the blog as long as it stays fun to do and, thanks in absolutely no small part to the wonderful folk in our group, page and who comment, it is fun. We love to laugh and hope that we’ve tickled you at some point. We’ve had about six complaints in all of the time we’ve done this blog – three of those were because we swear too much, which I abso-fucking-lutely took on board. One was about advertising but I’ve always kept that subtle:


BUY OUR MUSCLEFOOD PACK RIGHT HERE – IT’S A BLOODY BARGAIN – MMM MEATY-MEAT-MEAT


Another complaint came because I made a poor taste gag (“shaking like Josef Fritzl on Through the Keyhole“) and the clincher complaint was some moon-faced harlot whinging because we didn’t do enough to support her despite sending her recipes, advising her on what to eat and checking on her. I presume she wanted us to get a bus to Leeds, chew her food for her and spit it in her mouth like a fucking swallow. Ha!

Of course, it hasn’t all been shits and giggles – there’s been some sad times too, and having this blog has given me an outlet I previously struggled to find. The week my gran died was both a low and a high point, when not a day goes by that I don’t miss her, I was able to pour out my grief in the only way I could – laughter and fondness. She died before the blog really took off, but I reckon she would have been tickled pink had I told her about getting a mention, albeit she probably would have preferred to be alive first.

There’s also been a couple of posts that touch on my anxiety, too – I struggle with health anxiety and whilst I’m usually very up, when the downs come, they come hard. Just like Paul. But here’s an interesting thing. When I ‘lapse’ now and start fretting, I can look back at previous entries where I mentioned I definitely had something awful and see, with hindsight, how silly it was. I feel fantastic at the moment. Let that be a quick message to anyone else suffering with anxiety – it can, does and definitely will get better. It never seems like it when you’re low, but trust this big old gay, it absolutely does.

Perhaps the lowest point of all though – even surpassing death and anxiety – was what happened this March. Even now it makes me feel sick, worried and regretful, and I’m a bloody strong person. It’ll absolutely take some getting used to, I know that, but I reckon I’m not going to be right for another couple of years. Changed my life? Yep. Ruined my life? Almost. But see, Paul was so desperate for change. So we bought a fucking Smart car.

Of course, you can read all of our previous entries in a lovely book, available right here!

Finally, let’s get this wrapped up – we owe the biggest thanks to YOU lot. No, honestly, we do! As I said before, I’d type even if no-one read what I garbled onto the page, but our page-views (now easily 60,000 – 70,000 a day) says we’re doing something right. We get so many lovely messages from folk who enjoy what we do and tell us it’s invigorated them or lit a spark in their dieting, private messages with ideas and thoughts, comments left on the blog from you good folk about what you like. We’re massive softies under the cynical, jaded fronts we put out and some of the stuff proper moves us, which as anyone on a Slimming World diet knows, is bloody important. We do read every comment and although we’re crap at replying (we work full time!) don’t think we’re not grateful! We love what this blog has become and we love you all – so thank you, thank you very much 🙂

A final favour, and this would REALLY make us happy – please do leave a comment on this post, either via WordPress or Facebook, just letting us know of a moment or bit of wording that has made you laugh. We forget so many that it really does wonders for us! We’re not looking for anyone to stroke our egos but it would just be brilliant!

Here’s to another year!

James, and of course, Paul

smoky sweet potato and bacon hash

Here for the smoky sweet potato and bacon hash? I won’t keep you! Well, that’s a fib, there’s the usual twochubbycubs’ guff to wade through…

Only a quick post tonight as we have a lot to do – I’m away all next week and we’re trying to spend some nights together. D’aww. Listen, in the almost ten years we’ve been together we’ve probably slept apart from each other less than ten times. Not bad eh! I don’t know if I can drop off without the sound of him choking on his fat-collar during the night and I’m sure he’s equally concerned that sleep will elude him if he doesn’t have the stench of last night’s dinner blasted in his direction in five minute intervals. Paul doesn’t sleep at night, he just passes out from holding his breath for so long. I might have to get room service to wrap a vending machine in 95% polyester and place it on the bed next to me just so I can relax.

In other news, we’ve finally secured tickets to the biggest show in town! Ahem. We applied at some point last year and they’ve finally found us a seat in the audience of…Question Time! No, of course not. We’re going on Judge Rinder. I know! I’m actually very much looking forward to it – it’s all a bit of a nonsense but he does make me laugh and he can do a mean dance, I’m told. I mentioned it in our facebook group and a few people are asking if we can make a sign so they know it’s us. Now come on – just wait for the complaints to OFCOM to roll in about the sofa-sized man with two heads nodding sagely in the background. That’s how you’ll know it’s us. We did apply for the Jeremy Kyle show but once they realised we had our own teeth and didn’t have ALL COPS R BASTURDS tattooed on our faces, we never heard from them again.

I’d love to go on TV, though – it would need to be the right vehicle, however. I certainly couldn’t be part of Geordie Shore for example, given I don’t look like a lump of mahogany varnished with jism. I’ll reiterate what I’ve said before: these people are not real Geordies. They’re barely real people. I’ve applied to go on The Chase but that’s only so I can make coo-eyes at Mark or Paul, but knowing my luck I’ll get The Governess and she’ll make me shit myself live on air before I get through the opening round. That’s not a slight against her, mind, I think she’s absolutely fabulous – she just reminds me too much of Miss Trunchbull from Matilda for comfort.

Paul just stuck his head in from the kitchen (I knew that pump would pay off!) to say he was once on Trisha! GASP. I didn’t know that about him. See, knowing his family as well as I do, I immediately imagined his mother throwing a chair across the studio and wheezing through nicotine-lacquered lungs about infidelity, but actually it turns out he was in the audience. Turns out that a) it’s a very long, boring business and b) Trisha is a right moody cow. Who knew? We’ve been advised that we can’t wear any sporting tops or anything with a big logo emblazoned across the front. I had to stop the chap on the phone right there – we buy our clothes from the garden centre, the worst thing that’s going to be stuck on our jumper is ‘40% OFF OUTSIZE FASHIONS BY STEFAN DENNIS’.

Now, remember our Christmas challenge? Lose 2lb a week until Christmas and that’s two stone lost? We’re both doing it and I’m glad to tell you that Paul lost 3lb and I lost 2.5lb. To say I’m seething is an understatement but don’t worry, I’ll have the last laugh when I’m spooning powdered glass into his Ovaltine later. Look, we went and coloured in our graph!

smoky sweet potato and bacon hash

Yeah, I miss the Knob-o-Meter too. If you want to take part, click here to go to the page with 100 syn free recipes. I’ve also updated the colouring charts at the bottom to take into account folks who want a completely blank one so they can set their own targets and also, because I’m canny, a chart suitable for them slim types who only want to lose 1lb a week. Hey, everyone’s on their own journey, after all.

RIGHT. So tonight’s meal – smoky sweet potato and bacon hash. This was bloody amazing! You can make it all in one pan or actually, you can do it all in an Actifry too! So either way is fine. This makes enough for breakfast for four people or a main meal for two.

smoky sweet potato and bacon hash

to make syn free smoky sweet potato and bacon hash, you’ll need:

  • six thick rashers of bacon, with the fat removed
  • two large sweet potatoes
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • four large eggs
  • a few sprays of oil

to make syn free smoky sweet potato and bacon hash, you should:

  • it’s really a matter of prep: cut your sweet potatoes into 1 inch slices and then into nice diced chunks – doesn’t need to be anything perfect, so just fart about with the knife
  • pop into the oiled pan (make sure it’s oven-proof) and let it cook gently for a little bit
  • slice your onion into reasonable chunks and chuck that in
  • and the pepper, of course, and add that
  • grill the bacon until crispy and then cut that into chunks too and put that into the pan with the paprika and salt – stir
  • on a medium heat, gently saute everything – add a bit more oil if things are running dry
  • you want everything to soften nicely
  • once everything is beginning to soften, take the pan off the heat, make four wells in the mixture and crack an egg into each one
  • cook in the oven on 180 degrees for about 15 minutes until everything is soft, golden and amazing!

Very easy!

ACTIFRY RECIPE: we did ours in the Actifry up until the point where it needed to go in the oven, but actually, we didn’t need to decant it into a pan after all…so if using an Actifry…

  • chop up your sweet potato, onion, pepper, salt and paprika and throw into the Actifry with the paddle in and a few squirts of oil for about 16 minutes until everything has softened nicely
  • take out the paddle
  • crack four eggs into wells you’ve made in the potato mix
  • turn the actifry back on and allow to cook for another 6 minutes or so until the egg is cooked through

We love our Actifry – it can be a bit moody sometimes but it makes perfect food every time. It’s available on Amazon for the lowest I’ve seen it for a while, hence me mentioning it. Click here for that!

Done! Easy, eh? Right, if you’re after more breakfast or other  ideas, give the buttons below a whirl!

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J

spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap

Here for the spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap? Who could blame you – it sounds wonderful. But first, some housekeeping. We’ve updated the Christmas challenge to include two very helpful colouring charts for you to monitor your progress on. You can find them at the bottom of the Christmas page – right here.

Let’s face it, breakfasts are a proper ball-ache on Slimming World. Yeah, you can have a fry-up the size of a multi-storey car-park, we know that, but who has time for that in the morning between getting ready for work and a forty minute crap? Honestly. That said, we’ve made some absolute classics in our time and here’s another to add to the list: a spinach, egg, tomato and feta wrap. Apparently this is a big thing in the United States, but so is Donald Trump, so what do they know? I kid, I love America. Anyway, a quick glance at the massively user-friendly and totally-worth-the-money syns calculator…

…reveals a Starbucks wrap comes in at 22 syns! Well butter my tits and call me Sally, no wrap is going to be worth that! So naturally we’ve made our own and you can find that all the way down at the bottom of the page. Because, naturally, I have shenanigans to discuss.

A friend of mine received a speeding ticket over the weekend and it made me think of the speed awareness course I went on. I’ve touched on it before but I recently found my hand-written diary and the notes I put down put some putting together – I essentially scribbled ‘whistler, bald, Posh Spice, 80s’ on the back of my ‘naughty boy admission’ card and frankly, that deserves fleshing out. That’s how I remember things, by the way – I’m forever jotting down nonsense on the back of things and then putting them away somewhere to get lost forever – if I ever die suddenly and they can’t find Paul, they’re going to be really confused when they open my desk drawer and a load of ASDA receipts with ‘cock, gingivitis, farting am-i-right and spiraliser’ on the back come tumbling out.

I was made to go on a speed awareness course after committing the heinous crime of doing 55mph in a 50mph zone at 6am on a motorway. I know what you’re thinking, it’s amazing that I didn’t kill anyone. To be fair, it was probably more to do with me caterwauling and screeching away to Smooth FM than anything else, probably knocked a sleeping policeman out of his slumber. The last time that happened was Raoul Moat and look how that ended up – that could have been me crouched all roided-up in a ditch in Rothbury, shouting at the police helicopter until I decided it was time to clean my ears with a sawn-off shotgun. But hey, a crime is a crime and I was speeding so it’s a fair cop, guv. I received a letter calling me a tinker in the post and was offered a speed awareness course or points on my licence.

Naturally, I chose that, and I was ordered to attend a course in a Holiday Inn near my home. A Holiday Inn, I might add, that’s slap-bang in the middle of a gay cruising ground, because who doesn’t like looking out over two carpet salesman furiously frotting away whilst they learn about road-signs? Incidentally, you know why they call it a Holiday Inn? It’s actually short for ‘Fuck me, I’d rather Holiday Inn anywhere but this shithole’. At least the one at Seaton Burn is. With a heavy heart, I turned up in the morning and was made to sit around a table with various men, all at various degrees of baldness (in my ideal world I would have stood up and rearranged them like matryoshka dolls) and each one, to an absolute fault, with appalling coffee-breath. I didn’t feel I knew them well enough to offer up chewing up or a hydrochloric rinse either, so I was stuck crinkling my nose all morning.

One guy was late, bursting in through the door 20 minutes after the course had started and we’d all done our introductions (“Hi, I’m James, I was speeding because I was too engrossed in the harmonies on Boyz II Men’s End of the Road, ironic, am I right?”) and explained that he had been stuck in traffic. I made a gag – my one and only of the day – that he should have put his foot down, but that was met with a few people sucking air over their teeth and the guy leading the class looking at me like I’d wiped out a bus full of children. His very next sentence was that ‘we needed to show we had the right attitude or we would fail the course’ and it wasn’t so much pointed as me as lubed up and rammed up my arse. I bit my bottom lip and tried to look as solemn as possible.

You know what though, despite my reservations that we were going to get shouted at by someone with bad teeth and glasses as thick as my wrists, it was actually really interesting. I’m not going to lie and say the day passed in a blur like a visit to Disneyworld, but I didn’t die of terminal boredom, not least because of the instructor’s tendency to add horrific detail into the most innocent of sentences. I’d be slumbering my way through a bit about junctions when he’d casually mention that he’d found a decapitated head once in a layby and shock us all back in the room.

We paused for coffee at about 11. I say coffee, it was some brown water that was dispensed sputtering from a machine first used in the Sufi monasteries in Yemen back in the sixteenth century. I can’t make small talk, not least with people whose only common denominator was that they were heavy on the accelerator, so we all sat in silence looking at our phones, a pointless endeavour as they didn’t give us the Wifi password and the mobile reception couldn’t get through the asbestos. Anyway, it didn’t feel right to check into Facebook on a speed awareness course, not least because I didn’t want my mother finding out and ringing with an earbashing. I’m 31, by the way.

Perhaps the most unusual part of the day was the little video where we learned all about stopping distances. All very sobering and factual – I’ve never looked so intently at a chart full of numbers since my doctor weighed me and told me it would be kinder just to push me into the sea and have done.  No, what made this unique was the fact they used a cardboard cut-out of Posh Spice as the target for the speeding car. Even now as I speed merrily along the motorway the sight of Posh Spice bouncing off the bumper of a Nissan Sunny and crumpling under the tyres will creep into my thoughts and make me slow down. Maybe that was their plan all along!

Anyway, after we all promised to be good and signed a form saying how naughty we were, we were released back to the car-park. There’s a bit in the Simpsons where they all leave the road-rage camp at the same time and everyone is unfailingly polite. Don’t worry, it was the same for us, which made me screeching past the waiting Audis much easier. I’m kidding, I spent so much time waving people out that my wrist sounds like a cement mixer.

Right, that’s quite enough guff. Let’s do the breakfast wrap. That sounds like the worst dance craze, doesn’t it?

jspinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap

That tomato ketchup you see behind? That’s coming online shortly too!

to make a spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap, you’ll need:

  • one BFree Foods Multigrain Wrap, Wheat & Gluten Free – currently a HEB, but do check for others
  • two eggs OR if you’re feeling decadent, three egg whites instead (we buy those egg whites in a carton, super easy)
  • a bag of spinach
  • a few dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes – not the ones in oil but the ones you rehydrate in water – now SW say this is 2 syns per 25g, but you use 10g at most – if you want to syn it, you can, but frankly, it’s a dried tomato, not a bloody Wispa)
  • 45g of feta (HEA)
  • a tablespoon of Quark – not a fan? Use Philadelphia Lightest – it’s 1 syn for 25g and again, you’re not using 25g so…

Now with this, customise it however you want. We used egg-whites but you can use the whole egg. Add garlic. Add peppers. Take out the tomato, it’s all good.

to make a spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap, you should:

  • start by rehydrating your tomatoes by putting them in boiling water, or just chopping up some normal tomatoes
  • add the spinach into a large dry pan over a medium heat and let it wilt right down
  • once that’s done, drain and squeeze your tomatoes and spinach to get all the water out, then chop finely
  • using your spinach pan, drop the beaten egg or egg whites into the pan on a medium heat, cover with a lid and allow to cook for a few minutes
  • chop up your feta in the meantime
  • then it’s just a case of assembly – a smear of soft cheese, some chopped spinach, some chopped tomato, a chunk of omelette and a sprinkling of feta – go ahead and add some black pepper and salt too, why not?
  • roll, serve, turn into poo.

Rolling a wrap is easy enough. If you imagine the big round wrap as a face, you want to put your filling where the mouth would be. Definitely just below the middle of the wrap. Tuck the sides in, fold the bottom up over the filling and then roll it!

You can toast it off in the omelette pan if you want. If you want a meatier version filled with sausages, chips and cheese (really!) click here!

For more breakfast ideas, overnight oats recipes or slow cooker links, click on the buttons below! EASY.

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Cheers,

J

100 syn free recipes – the two stone before Christmas challenge

Syn free recipes you say? Well, yes…

syn free recipes

I know, I’m an absolute stinker for talking about Christmas in September but look, I have a good reason. I do! I’m not sure when I publish a new page as opposed to a post whether it gets sent out to everyone on our mailing list so apologies if you already know this, but I’ve collected together 100 of our syn-free recipes in one handy place. Why? Because I get wet over copying and pasting, naturally.

No, it’s for a Christmas challenge. We are a weight loss blog after all! If you lose 2lb a week from now until Christmas, you’ll lose two stone. That’s two stone of empty stomach that you can stuff full of Celebrations, booze and roast dinners on Christmas Day in preparation for the New Year New You nonsense we’ll all invariably sign up to.

You can find the recipes by clicking right here!

Now, the favour I ask of you all is to send on this email – or post the link to the recipe page (www.twochubbycubs.com/christmas) – to whoever you want to do the challenge with. Post it in FB groups, share it on twitter. We’ll be doing this plan too so you can expect to see the tree a few times more!

Thanks all – I hope this helps!

J

one pot chinese braised beef

We’ve done many quick beef recipes before, but this one-pot Chinese braised beef really hits the spot. The G-Spot. Put down some plastic sheeting and let’s get cooking! Oh wait, no, no, we have to finish our Peterborough report, don’t we? It haunts me now like a Vietnam flashback. So many soiled mattresses. I’ll bust out the old graphic…

peterborough

…and kindly advise you that part one can be found here and part two can be found here. If you’re a fan of our travel tales and writing, you can find our previous trips to Corsica, Ireland, Iceland and Berlin, along with many other articles, in our big compendium book! It’s been a while since I mentioned it – you can find it on Amazon right here!

When you left us we were just finishing up Bletchley Park and steeling ourselves for the journey back to the hotel. Despite the sat-nav’s attempts to make our head explode scanner style by repeating roundabout over and over, it was a pleasant enough journey and we were back at the hotel in no time at all. True to their word, they had switched our rooms to an altogether more charming one (although Paul’s face was ashen when he realised it was up a flight of stairs, the poor lamb). They told us to nip back to the old room and pack our things, which we promptly did.

On our thigh-chaffing walk to the old room, Paul pushed me out of the way and hurtled ahead. Turns out that his ashen-face was more down to the immediate and pressing need to dispose of the World’s Shittiest Italian Meal from the day before. I, being a thoughtful chap, told him that he’d need to hold it in because the housekeepers would be waiting for us to leave so they could clean the room and there was no way I was adding ‘walking into a deathcloud of barely digested pancetta’ onto their list of reasons to hate life. So began the quickest debate you’ve ever seen, with Paul dancing back and forth on his feet and me being firm and telling him he had to hold it. I only relented when he said it was either the toilet of the old room or the hood on my hoodie in the corridor.

Well, you can’t argue with that. I stepped aside. There was a lot of noise and motion.

Of course, it smelt like someone had died, meaning we had to stay in the room for twenty minutes frantically wafting the curtains and flapping the duvet to try and get the stench to dissipate. I don’t want a mark on my Premier Inn record that states we leave the room smelling like someone has burnt a tyre full of human hair. Having done the best we could, with me liberally sprinkling Rive D’Ambre everywhere (and that stuff is £170 a bottle, just saying: we’re fat, it’s the only designer thing we can wear), we switched rooms.

Why is it, no matter what time of the day or night it is, you can turn E4 or More4 or 4Skin or 4goodnesssakepickaname on, there’s always a Come Dine with Me quintet to watch? At the very last there’s a Four in the Bed chain to work through. Having realised that there was absolutely bot-all-else to do on a Sunday in fair Peterborough, we settled down with vending machine snacks and a tiny cup of Barely Grey and made the best of it. Naturally, we fell asleep. Say what you want about Premier Inn, they do make a damn comfy bed. I should know, we’ve got one installed.

We woke up at 7, full of piss and vinegar for falling asleep and wasting our evening, only to realise that there was nowhere in Peterborough that caught our eye. Paul did suggest a visit to a floating boat which served Chinese food but then we bought realised we didn’t fancy stopping every ten minutes on the way home to revisit our dinner. Casting our net a little wider we eventually spotted somewhere that did take our fancy – Stilton, just over the roundabout. Lovely. I made to make a reservation at a lovely looking place that I can’t remember the name of (Bell Inn?) but Paul reminded me of something.

See, my lovely, confident husband frets something chronic about going to ‘nice places’ to eat. He has an inferiority complex – he absolutely shouldn’t, he’s wonderful, but he thinks he is going to make an arse of himself. I reassured him that he amazing in every way and so we made a reservation and set off.

Well, honestly. It was a gorgeous little pub and the menu sounded great. We were given a seat on a tiny table by the fire (not a criticism mind) and ordered our food. Paul was a little on edge but we got through the starters without any difficulties. The mains arrived and we got stuck in. Everything was going just so until Paul illustrated a particularly bold point with an expansive sweep of his arm, which pushed his pint of Pepsi off the table and down the wall. Nobody noticed, thankfully, despite the pool of Pepsi around my feet. Fair enough, everyone’s allowed one. I went to take a bite of my burger – one of those overly stuffed, towering piles of meat that are the style these days – only to have the cheese covered meat slide out and cascade down my pink shirt. Great! All equal.

Naturally, Paul had to one-up me. He’d ordered pork belly which came with a smashing bit of crackling which, try as he might, Paul couldn’t crack into small enough bits of eat. He couldn’t very well pick it up and eat it with his hands so he tried many different ways to get into it. No joy. I suggested using the knife as a chisel and to tap it from the top with his hands, like hammering a nail. I thought he’d be careful. Of course not. The ham-fisted dolt hit his knife so hard that it not only shot through the crackling but also cleaved his dinner plate in two. He very much won that round. We finished our meal, polished off a cheese-board, paid the bill and left a hearty tip before we were asked to leave. It was a gorgeous meal and a lovely place, mind.

We stopped at the hotel ‘bar’ for a gin and tonic – me resisting the urge to ask if he’d gone to press the juniper berries himself he was gone that long. We won £7 from the Itbox and made for bed, safe and snug in the knowledge that we’d be home in the morning.

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We woke at eight, peeling ourselves apart once more like two flip-flops in the sun due to the room being the temperature of lava. I walked around in the shower for ten minutes until I was wet enough to clean myself and then we made for the car. It was here we made a rash decision. You need to understand we were motivated purely by hunger at this point.

We went to a Toby Carvery for our breakfast.

I know, we’re monsters. I’d seen an advert somewhere and it seemed like a filthy proposition – and as I’ve mentioned before, we do love a buffet breakfast.

I barely need to tell you how awful it was. It was foul. I could talk about the fact we were having breakfast on an industrial estate. I could describe the food: baked beans cooked last November, bacon you could reupholster a settee with, sausages with less meat content than a butcher’s pencil, eggs that I’m still working through my teeth now. Hell, I could go on about the fact that they advertise the fact they have ‘special breakfast Yorkshire puddings’ (i.e. the Yorkshire puddings they didn’t sell in the roast dinner the day before that were so hard I could have used them to stop a runaway train) or the ‘cheese and potato hash’ (i.e. the roast potatoes that didn’t get used the day before with a bit of Primula added) or even the ‘special breakfast gravy’ which was yesterday’s gravy with some tomato ketchup in it. This gravy didn’t so much have a skin as a coat of fucking armour. I’ve never had to slice gravy before, I can tell you.

No, what put me off (after all that, shocking!) was the sheer, unadulterated, naked greed from the person sitting a couple of tables away. Everyone makes a pig of themselves at a buffet, yes, but this guy deserved a gold medal. Three plates of breakfast, each heaped like a mini cowpat of excess. He ate and he ate and he ate without barely drawing breath – which was in itself not such a bad thing because when he did breathe it sounded like someone hoovering up a pile of rubber gloves. When he did stop he burped, and it wasn’t a polite wee burp into a hand like decent folk, but a really resounding baaaarp like he was clearing out just another pocket to cram breakfast into. Bleurgh.

I must be clear: I adore a buffet, I’m capable of great amounts of eatings, but have a bit of fucking decorum. When your chin is more bacon fat than skin, stop. This is why we don’t do those all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets in town – you always get someone who treats it as though it’s their last meal and I’m sorry, it makes me feel queasy.

We drove home, ashamed of ourselves for the breakfast and full of regrets that we’d spent as much money as we did on an awful weekend. It was lovely meeting Paul’s brother and Paul’s dad and his partner, but those were the only high points in an otherwise dismal 72 hours. Paul chastised me constantly for driving at 90mph all the way home but in my defence, it was the fear of breaking down and the car having to be towed back to Peterborough that kept my foot firmly on the accelerator. Never again.

We nipped back home to pick up my car and then made our way back to the car rental. Paul, naturally, forgot to have the windows down on the drive over so when the rental guy bent down to check the interior of the car for cleanliness, he visibly paled. I’m surprised he didn’t charge us for making vegetable soup in the boot. Paul also helpfully forgot to un-sync his phone from the car’s entertainment system so when the guy started the car back up, it reconnected with Paul’s phone and started blasting the chorus from Big Girls Don’t Cry by Lolly. A fitting end.

Naturally, upon our return, the cats paid entirely no attention to us and carried on licking their bottoms. We did have a moment of hilarity when we realised we’d accidentally packed the little purple Premier Inn branded bed-runner into our suitcase. I confessed our accidental theft on Twitter and they kindly told us to keep it. I put it on the bed for ten minutes, Paul chortled, then we both realised exactly how many different accountants and salesmen must have wiped their cocks on it. We’ve packed it away in the cupboard for when his mother comes over.

And that’s that. I was disappointed but Paul even more so – he remembered growing up in a place with lots to do. Heraclitus wrote that ‘it is impossible to step into the same river twice‘, and no more so is that true then when you go ‘home’. Bah.

Right then, let’s do the recipe. This serves two fatties or three or four healthy appetites. The main dish cooks all in one pot and we just microwaved some noodles rather than cooking fresh because we’re super lazy. Remember to syn that. As usual, you can use frylight if you prefer for frying, but proper spray olive oil is 7 sprays for half a syn or something, and has the advantage of not tasting like a sweaty arse.

one pot chinese braised beef

to make one pot chinese braised beef you will need:

to make one pot chinese braised beef you should:

  • preheat the oven to 150°C
  • heat a casserole dish on the hob over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • fry the garlic, spring onions, ginger and chilli for about 1 minute
  • toss the beef in the flour and add to the pan, and stir until browned all over
  • add the five-spice and honey and stir until combined
  • add the rice wine vinegar to the pan, scraping up the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula
  • pour in the stock and the soy sauce, mix, cover with the lid and cook in the oven for an hour
  • pull the pak choi apart and place on top of the stew for the last fifteen minutes so it wilts down
  • serve!

We thought this was amazing, no kidding. It’s quite like our Mongolian beef but a lot more saucy.

If you want more beef or fakeaway recipes, hit the buttons below! Oh and we’ve finally added the one-pot section, so click that for more one-pot ideas! PHEW

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I’d love some comments and feedback!

J

one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne

Lasagne in one pot? But of course. To be fair, this one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne is not strictly a lasagne, rather more bolognese and soft pasta, but hey, it’s still easy to make and it all comes out the same colour in the end, right? Naturally, before we get to the recipe, I’m going to say words at you until your eyes glaze over and you stop nodding politely. It’s part two of our fabulous whirlwind tour of Peterborough, so let me bust out the banner once more…

peterborough

You can find part one by clicking here, but honestly, don’t bother. Actually do bother, I’ll get 0.0001p for each page-load, and if I earn enough money, I can pay someone to raze Peterborough to the ground so it never haunts my life again. Where were we…

Ah yes. The charming Norman Cross Premier Inn. After a night spent sweating, tossing and peeling our back fat away from each other with loud slurps, we woke bright and breezy. We decided that we’d take care of our ablutions and then see about getting some breakfast. Can I let you in on a mortifying secret? We chose not to get the Premier Inn breakfast that we normally do because it wasn’t an unlimited buffet. How greedy, I know. Technically it was unlimited in the sense that I could ask the waiter to bring me more bacon, more eggs, more sausages and a portable ECG monitor, but I’m always too shy.

We like our breakfast to spread far beyond what the eyes can see and frankly, if I’m not clutching my chest, hoisting my fat-arse out of my chair and walking to a tureen of beans with the barely-disguised disgusted whispers of the other occupants of the hotel, I’m not interested. We made do with a Twirl from the vending machines and that was that.

We stopped by reception to ask if we could change rooms. I explained that the room was too hot and that Paul’s genitals now looked like a trio of celebration balloons left tied to a fence for a week, and the receptionist promised that she would arrange a new room for us once we returned from our day out. The charmer from the day before was obviously off meeting with Big Men in New York. We decamped back to our sweatbox so Paul could slide the chocolate bolt across, giving me time to plan our day.

I logged onto tripadvisor to find something to do. When the third or fourth suggestion is a chain cinema, you know you’re in trouble. I searched High Wycombe and Lowestoft (sorry, I’m so proud of that laboured joke that it’s staying in) and there was absolutely bot-all to do that didn’t require an outrageous drive and the threat of growing old prematurely by osmosis due to close proximity of coach tours.

Eventually Paul’s voice piped up from the thunderbox to tell me Bletchley Park (home of the codebreakers during WW2) was about an hour away. Shamefully, my reaction was meh, but faced with the prospect of X-Factor repeats and turning into a prune in the hotel room, we agreed that Milton Keynes our best chance of happiness – something which I’m fairly sure has never, ever been said about Milton Keynes before. Before we yawned our way down the A1 we needed fuel, and thanks to the good folk at the Mace garage in Yaxley, even that turned into a right song and dance.

See, Paul got out, put the nozzle in and clicked the handle. The pump dispensed about 4p worth of fuel then shut off. The lady behind the counter looked grimly at him through the window and ignored his plight – he kept clicking, the fuel would dribble out enough fuel to get us approximately 4ft off the forecourt and then shut off. I’m sitting in the car effing and jeffing because I’d spotted an Esso literally over the road and Paul’s clicking away like he’s a farmer counting his sheep.

Eventually, the Queen of the Pumps spots something is awry and comes out. What followed was an excruciating exchange where she just didn’t accept it was her fuel pump that was broken. No, Paul hadn’t ‘put it in right’ (I find that easy to believe, given the years and years of ‘up a bit, down a bit, up a bit more, push forward – honestly, sometimes gay sex is like I’m guiding someone in Knightmare – SIDESTEP LEFT), then he ‘wasn’t clicking hard enough’. In a gesture that speaks volumes about his character, he decided against going all No Country For Old Men on her and smiled politely throughout. IT TOOK TEN MINUTES. I mean, God loves a trier, but we know how to use a bloody petrol pump for goodness sake, we’re not on the fucking Krypton Factor.

She went in and reset the pumps about a dozen times before asking whether we’d like to switch to another problem. Guessing that the second pump would probably require us to solve a cryptic crossword and a complex Sudoko we politely declined and went on our way over the road, where only a packet of Cadbury’s Snacks could calm our ire. I wouldn’t have minded so much but Paul actually went in and paid the £2.10 of fuel we eventually got. Bah.

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Driving in Milton Keynes is an adventure, isn’t it? Bill Bryson absolutely hated the place and whilst I thought it looked alright from the car, I had no desire to step out and trip the light fantastic myself. Things became tense when we realised the Sat-Nav, built into the car with no obvious way to turn her down, was having a complete shitfit over the amount of roundabouts. If the British government ever need to break a terrorist they need only to strap them into a Ford Fiesta and let them endure 20 minutes of ‘AT THE NEXT ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE SECOND LEFT AT THE NEXT ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE THIRD EXIT AT THE NEXT ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE THIRD ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE JUNCTION TAKE TAKE TAKE ROUNDABOUT ROUNDABOUT ROUNDABOUT’. I felt like I was being driven by Johnny 5 in the throes of a nervous breakdown.

We arrived at Bletchley Park with only mild tinnitus and discovered a small computer museum at the arse-end of the car-park. Being giant geeks we were very excited, and, being giant geeks, we waddled breathlessly to the entrance just as the volunteer flipped the open sign over and opened the door. Hooray! We immediately got stuck behind a visitor who thought he was God’s Gift to comedy, every line to the cashier was a ‘joke’ and bit of patter. It was just awful. I had a thought that it must be what it is like to be stuck behind me in Tesco but I quickly tucked that thought away into the same mind-folder where the ‘I bet that ingrown toenail goes septic and you lose your foot’ and ‘is your heart supposed to go boom-badum-boom-badum-BOOM-whoo when you climb stairs’.

The computer museum was a treat. It was a pleasure to be somewhere which wasn’t full of screaming children getting their arses smacked and stupid interactive displays that don’t work. No, this museum was decidedly (and fittingly) old school – full of amazing old computers and genuine pieces of history like the Tunny machines and Colossus, which were both instrumental in helping decipher secret messages during World War Two. We revelled at the old computers from times way past and then were horrified to find that computers we remembered from our youth were classed as ‘retro’. I’ve never felt so old. A lot of the old machines were switched on and I couldn’t resist typing

HELLO SORRI HUNS MI APP IS DOWN HOW MANI SUNS IN ALDI YOGURTS PLEASE XOXOXO

into an old ICL DRS6000. I know, I’m a stinker. We did want to sit and play on the old BBC computers (I’ve never finished Granny’s Garden and god-damnit, I still remember where the magic tree is) but there was a group of three lads in the room spraying spittle through their braces and chuckling loudly about frame-rates. Is there a word for intimidation mixed with pity? I bet there’s a German word. Regardless, we moved on and after a quick fanny about with a few knobs in the classroom (oh that takes me back) we were done. We left a lovely positive Tripadvisor report and made our way down to the actual Bletchley Park estate.

Now, something to annoy you, due to ongoing issues with the managements of both attractions, you pay twice – once to visit the Computing Museum (block H of the estate) and once more to visit the rest of the estate. Hmm. Naturally, because the estate had a few interactive boards and a video tour, the price for entry is £34.50 for the two of us. Bah. However, this too was a lovely few hours – we wandered around at our own pace, taking in the interesting stories and displays, and credit where it’s due, the attraction does an excellent job of celebrating the amazing work that folks like Alan Turing did. I confess to a little bit of museum-fatigue: there’s only so many times you can walk into a hut, look at a map on a table and nod appreciatively. It also gave us both pause to think that only 64 years ago being gay was cause enough to lock someone up for gross indecency. How far we’ve come, eh.

Tell you what – let’s pick the rest of our tale up tomorrow – we’re already at 1,500 words and I know how you all get when you’re hungry. Tonight’s one-pot recipe then is one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne and whilst it doesn’t look like much in the photo, it’s a very tasty wee dish to make during the week and take to lunch the next day. On we go…

to make one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne, you’ll need:

to make one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne, you should:

  • add a little oil to a large casserole pot and heat over a medium-high heat
  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • add the garlic and onions, stir and cook for another three minutes
  • add the passata, chopped tomatoes, stock, spinach, herbs and pasta and mix well
  • bring to the boil the reduce to a simmer and cover with the lid
  • cook for about 15 minutes until the pasta is al dente
  • add the mozzarella to the pan (tear into chunks if you’re using a ball) and stir through the mixture until melted
  • serve

Nice, right?

If you’re looking for more recipes with beef, pasta or seafood (why not), click the buttons below!

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Goodnight all.

J

one pot sausages and boston beans

Do you ever cook something, expect it to be awful and then are blown away by how good it tastes? That’s this recipe for sausages and boston beans, and better yet, it genuinely is one the easiest dishes we’ve ever done on here. Of course, because this is a twochubbycubs recipe and I love the sound of the fat on my fingers slapping against the slightly tacky keys on my keyboard, you’re going to get a bit of nonsense first.

Tonight’s post the first of a two-parter about our long weekend to Peterborough. I love writing ‘travel’ entries because they’re usually full of fun places, wonderful food and trills of laughter. I’d like to caveat this entry by stressing: we went to Peterborough. Look, I even knocked together a wee graphic.

peterborough

Normally at this point I’d apologise for being cruel in anticipation of the angry emails and comments I’ll get about slagging off a town, but I’m not actually convinced Peterborough has electricity, nevermind the internet, so I shan’t bother.

It’s all Paul’s fault. His family are all from down South whereas my family are from The North. Thus, he sees a lot of my family and only rarely does he venture down South to see his. He hasn’t fallen out with them, you understand, but we’re talking about a man for whom turning over in the bath to wash himself is an effort – the thought of driving however many miles and spending a weekend nodding at nonsense is beyond him. It’s certainly beyond me and that’s why whenever Paul has previously slopped family-bound down the A1, I’ve stayed at home eating delicious food and idly masturbating. It’s what every single guy does when his partner leaves and if you’re sitting there thinking that your partner doesn’t, then you’re in for a very rude awakening when you find all the crusty hand smears down the side of the mattress.

Oops, I got diverted. It began a couple of weeks ago when Paul turned to me, ashen-faced, and told me it was time we both went to see his family. I’d have been less frightened, alarmed and upset if he had wrote me a letter explaining he was Patient Zero of that antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea and I could expect a cock like a dripping nose within a week. However, because I’m a gentleman, I acquiesced – not least because Paul’s had ten years of trying to decipher my Dad’s Geordie accent and eight years of my nana force-feeding him butter sandwiches like he was a foie-gras duck, so me visiting his relatives seemed fair enough.

Just so you’re aware, I have visited Peterborough once before – we stayed at Orton Hall and visited the cathedral. It was mildly diverting in the same way a repeat episode of your third favourite TV show may hold your attention. We got drunk with a friend of his and ended up sat in a Vauxhall Nova in a McDonalds car park eating chips. I’ve literally never felt more street in my life. So we weren’t in a rush to repeat that and decided to book a nice hotel on the outskirts. Finding a decent hotel that wasn’t massively overpriced turned into such an insurmountable challenge that I threw a sulk once we reached Nottingham on the map and demanded that we just check into the first Premier Inn that came up on the map. We later found out that the Burghley Horse Trials were on and that explained – apparently – why all the hotels were booked up. Personally, I hope all the horses were found guilty.

We agreed that we’d drive down to Peterborough on the Saturday morning in our rented Ford Tedium and despite willing my liver to rupture, I was unable to get out of it. Actually, nevermind getting out of it, I could barely get into our rented car. Perhaps you’ve been in a Ford Fiesta – do you find the doors ridiculously small and low down? I had to fold myself like an accordion of chafed skin just to get inside. I haven’t quite reached the stage where I can’t physically fit into a car (probably a few pounds away) but this was a nightmare. I actually think I cracked a rib jumping in after I’d filled the bugger up.

To make my joy complete, Paul decided that he would be the one to drive most of the journey, leaving me to sit in the passenger sit twisting my face and eating crisps. I did spot that, being a fancy new model, I could text the car and it would read out a message for Paul. You may have seen the advert on TV where some spurned husband has the car read out a heartwarming apology and they laugh gaily at one another and ruefully shake their heads? Yeah, well, this was my attempt – warning, there’s a naughty word.

I blurred out my name because well, privacy.

The drive down was spectacularly uneventful – the usual parade of stopping to have a piss in amongst the poo-cloud of eight hundred harried dads and children, paying way over the odds for a cup of tea and moaning about it for ten minutes in the car, spending too much money on the fruit machines in the vain hope I’d win the jackpot and I could whisk Paul away somewhere exotic and full of promise, like Norwich. Nope. We arrived at his mother’s house at 11am.

I had a cup of tea. It was nice.

Twenty minutes later we agreed to take his brother out for lunch. I love Paul’s brother – he’s a proper gentle giant and really knows his stuff. He has severe autism which leads to moments of slight awkwardness when he blurts out to a waitress that she’s gorgeous and can share his milkshake. Or, memorably, when he whistled at a poor woman in Seahouses literally three inches from her face as he walked past. He just says what we’re all thinking. Anyway, a quick look at decent places to eat nearby turned up absolutely nothing and anyway, he wanted to go to a Bella Italia, so off we went to an industrial estate to have a meal that was about as Italian as I am a Calvin Klein model with a cock like a roll of wallpaper.

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I’m not going to review the place in depth because well, it was a Bella Italia for goodness sake, but understand that it was a dismal meal in dismal surroundings for £90. Until that day I would never have thought a pizza could actually look bored but there we have it. We asked for a quiet table away from any noise and the prissy little manager who seated us looked like I’d personally walked into the kitchen and shat in the carbonara. When I first typed that I typoed walked as wanked – that also works, so pick one. He sat us next to the bar with a fetching giant cylinder of blue-roll to sit with. Perhaps he thought we could snack on that in the vain hunt for flavour.

Our starter was described on the menu as a ‘real taste of Italy’. Who knew that Italy tasted like a third of those continental sliced meat platters you get in ASDA sweated behind the radiator for an hour or so? It did come with shaved fennel and orange segments but there’s only so much excitement you can wring from such a lacklustre repast. Between the three of us we had it finished before the bubbles on my diet coke had come to the surface. Naturally, it cost £15.

We had a pizza each (at £15 a pop) which tasted like a carpet tile smeared with passata and shunned by society. At one point I nearly gave up and smeared the blue roll with tomato sauce to get my money’s worth. The sides consisted of six onion rings for £4. 66p an onion ring. I did want to enquire whether or not Gino d’Campo was slicing them personally with a diamond but Paul shook his head at me and said no. Oh and the drinks! The diet coke came in a glass that Thumbelina herself would have considered meagre and, as usual, was more ice than drink. They were £2.60 a time, non-refillable. From my vantage point I was afforded the sight of the barman preparing a ‘fresh apple juice’ by opening a carton of Tesco Value apple juice and pouring it into a tiny milk bottle. That cost £2.50, by the way.

Desserts were a little better. Paul’s brother wanted ice-cream but also wanted to pick the flavours – his treat, so why not. The waitress had the good grace not to vomit into her mouth when he ordered a mixture of rum and raisin, chocolate and bubblegum ice-cream all topped with limoncello sauce and crushed almond biscuits. Paul and I ordered a Mean Joe between us which is apparently:

“Nutty fudge brownies, vanilla and chocolate gelato, chocolate sauce, fresh cream, popping candy, dark chocolate tagliatelle and a wafer curl. He’s got it sorted!”

What we got was four scoops of chocolate ice-cream, a brownie that could have been used to chock the tyres of a runaway bus and a shitty look. I’ve had more delightful desserts free from the Chinese takeaway. Paul’s brother gamely ate all of his ice-cream and we settled the bill. You know what stung the most? Our waitress was lovely and I couldn’t not tip her, so the meal actually ended up costing £100 in total. Imagine my delight. We bundled Paul’s brother back into the car and made our way back to his mother’s house to drop him off before the sugar kicked in.

I stroked a dog. It was nice. Paul had threatened in the car to make me laugh by pulling faces at me whilst his mother made conversation with me but that never happened.

We made our way to the Premier Inn, at least comforted by the fact we’d get a good night’s sleep, guaranteed. Things got off to a shaky start when Paul realised that the guy checking us in was his mortal enemy from school who had told everyone he was better than everyone else and was off to New York to pursue a music career. Seemingly the bus to the airport terminates at Junction 16 of the A1. Who knew? I had noticed that our welcome was a tad more frosty than normal but it was only when Paul explained in the corridor – and I had ascertained that he hadn’t actually sucked him off at some point (which, to be fair to me, seemingly applies to anything with testosterone within a 60 mile blast radius of Peterborough) that it all became clear.

The Premier Inn itself wasn’t bad, but meh. We were put into a weird extension bit which required trundling down an endless corridor of foist and extra-marital-sex-stink and our room eschewed curtains, instead sealing out the light with a huge set of sliding wooden doors. This mean the room was hot and tiny, the two worst things for two fat blokes. We freshened up (i.e. Paul immediately had a introductory thundering crap in the toilet like he does in EVERY SINGLE HOTEL ROOM WE EVER, EVER BOOK) and set out for his dad’s place, a little bit further down the A1.

Well, this was actually lovely. His dad and his partner are lovely, funny folk with witty conversation and big warm hearts. I’m not even being sarcastic (I know!) – we stayed for two hours and it felt like minutes. I’m actually quite a shy person and find making conversation tricky with people I don’t know but it was wonderfully easy and I was sad to leave. We did manage to subscribe them to the blog so, if you’re reading this Mrs A, take comfort in the fact that you both were a bright spot in an otherwise relentlessly grim weekend!

After leaving we did a cursory glance on Tripadvisor for a delicious place to eat, realised we’d have more marginally more success finding someone with a complete set of teeth and instead decamped to Tesco, where our Saturday night was made complete with a few packets of Cup-a-Soups and some crisps. We both fell asleep in front of the X-Factor, wishing for death.

Let’s leave this entry there, shall we? Bake Off starts soon and I want to watch Mary Berry gum and gurn her way through bread week. Tonight’s one-pot dinner genuinely couldn’t be easier. It’s probably a bit of cheek calling it boston beans but hey, if I put sausage and beans on the recipe, you might get misled. This makes enough for two.

sausages and boston beans

to make one pot sausages and boston beans, you’ll need:

  • two tins of kidney beans in chilli sauce
  • two large white onions
  • one packet of sausages (your syns will vary depending on what you use – we use our Musclefood sausages from our giant mixed summer pack because they actually taste of meat and which come in at half a syn each – click here for that – enjoy)
  • one beef oxo cube
  • one garlic clove
  • splash of worcestershire sauce
  • two large jacket potatoes
  • pepper

to make one pot sausages and boston beans, you should:

  • stick your jacket potato in the oven
  • cook your sausages off until nice and brown and then take them out
  • slice your onions nice and thin and add them into the pan
  • add the minced garlic and cook off for a few moments
  • open the tins of kidney beans and put all the contents, including the gloopy water, into the pan
  • fill one of the tins halfway full with water and add that along with the worcestershire sauce, oxo cube and plenty of pepper
  • add the sausages and allow everything to simmer gently until the sauce is thick
  • serve with the potatoes – delicious!

We get asked a lot for recommendations for a decent one-pot pan. I can’t recommend Le Creuset enough. They’re expensive, oh yes, but we use ours daily. Invest in one right here and never look back. Cheaper alternatives are absolutely fine mind!

If you want more sausage recipes, plus some delicious beef, chicken, pork or fakeaway recipes, click on the buttons below!

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Hope you enjoy!

J

one pot week: french onion risotto with grilled cheese

Of course you’ve stumbled onto our blog desperate for the french onion risotto with grilled cheese – well, you know we’ll get there eventually. But first, some chunter. We haven’t had a theme week in what seems like ages – and this week’s theme is ONE-POT-MEALS. We’ve even created a new icon for the recipe page, which we’ll update when we’re done.

onepot

Although we’re generally quite good at keeping our meals simple, our recipes can leave your kitchen looking like someone’s crashed a small plane right through the window. We’ve got a cleaner so we’re not especially arsed but hey, we thought with this being the week of the kids going back to school, a lot of our readers might benefit from quick, no-mess dinners. Now, if you cook with all the grace and elan of someone having a cactus inserted into their anus, we can’t change that, and it might be that your kitchen still looks messy. But that’s your problem!

I can’t bear this time of year – I’ve had six weeks of being able to roll out of bed at 8.00am, have enough time for a good scratch of my balls and a morning poo, a warm shower and a hot coffee, then to make my merry way to work with no pressure or stress. Now the kids are back it means the roads are full of red-faced parents erratically driving cars the size of a combine harvester, swerving over the road as they simultaneously do their kid’s homework, feed them porridge and tan their backsides for being cheeky. Everywhere suddenly becomes super busy and I can’t even relax on Facebook as my feed is full of children in uniform standing in front of doorways showing off their uneven teeth and inappropriate-for-school-haircuts. Listen, I know you think your children are adorable and they undoubtedly are, but I’ll never find out why DENTISTS HATE THIS SOUTH SHIELDS WOMAN AND HER $20 TOOTH-WHITENING TRICK if all I can see is little Letitia and Amyl writ large and toothy on my iPad.


Caveat time: your children are fine. When I’m talking about annoying children, I obviously mean the offspring of everyone else.


One good thing that comes out of this return to school period, however, is the inevitable deluge of moon-faced parents doing a sad-face to camera in the local papers because the school sent home their little darlings for not observing the uniform rules. I’ve already seen one where the kid has hair like a pineapple and his mother is mooing about human rights, as though King John himself demanded a clause in the Magna Carta to cover dressing like an insufferable arse. I’m not a complete monster: I think sending kids home or putting them in isolation because they have grey trousers instead of black is ridiculous and often the sign of a power-mad tosser in charge, but when you’ve got teenagers walking around in skirts so short you can lip-read and boys with hair that looks as though it’s been cut underwater with a power-sander for a bet, you have to draw a line.

And that line should be 30cm off the ground in a light charcoal, thank you very much.

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Perhaps these parents are the same folk who think going shopping in pyjamas is the correct and adult thing to do. Let me tell you now: it isn’t. You sleep in those clothes. You sweat in those clothes. Knowing at least half of the readers of this blog, you probably scratch your minnie until your lips turn blue in that outfit. I don’t want that sweaty terry-towelling number brushing over my vine tomatoes, thank you. I’m not demanding a return to top-hat-and-tails or anything, just a modicum of common decency. The sight of someone accidentally flashing their growler at me whilst they bend down to pick up the Daily Sport is not a risk I should have to take. It’s bad enough I see so many tops of arses peeking out over jeans without belts – not because I find the arse an especially ugly thing (hell, I dare say I’ve seen enough of them from enough bewildering angles to draw you a topographic map of the average English anus) but because I yearn to drop a pencil down the crack – or, if they’re especially zaftig, a fire extinguisher.

Anyway, enough tittle-tattle. I’m clearly in for a rough few weeks getting to work so I might switch to walking in over the moor, which means you can expect several entries about dealing with cows and the general public. It’s OK, it’s common to feel tingly at the thought. Coming up in the next few days you can also expect a recount of our trip to Peterborough. Let me give you a sneak preview: it was grim.

To the recipe…it’s worth remembering that this method works for all of our risottos and it saves you having to ladle in stock. Who has time for that? You need to be polishing the front door to line the kids up against!

french onion risotto with grilled cheese

to make french onion risotto with grilled cheese, you’ll need:

  • five large white onions
  • a few squirts of spray oil – 1 syn at the very most, but divided between four, it’s barely a scratch
  • a good pinch of salt
  • a bit of thyme if you have it – fresh is always better but dried is fine too
  • 350g arborio rice (or look for paella rice)
  • worcestershire sauce
  • black pepper
  • three cloves of garlic, minced (use one of these if you like – it’ll also come in useful later for the parmesan, but a bog-standard grater will do the job too)
  • about 900ml chicken stock (swap for veggie if you’re that way inclined) (pervert)
  • a really small baguette – now 50g is 6.5 syns and will make enough for a couple per bowl, so let’s go ahead and syn that at 1.5 syns per serving
  • parmesan cheese – 30g is a HEA – this makes enough for four people, so if you want to use 120g overall in the dish, go right ahead! Though obviously not if you’re eating it all yourself. Do you get me?

Now, this makes a decent, fairly simple bowl of stodge. If you want to liven it up, chuck in some peas, chorizo (syn), chicken, bacon, leeks, anything you like. I like the simplicity of it, but see that’s because I’m a simple minded fool.

to make french onion risotto with grilled cheese, you should:

  • peel and slice your onions nice and thin – we used our gorgeous baby to do it in under a minute but you can also use a trusty old mandolin (cheap on Amazon right now) to do it just as quick – just watch your fingers
  • spray the bottom of your heavy duty pot with a few squirts of oil – be generous
  • put the sliced onion into the pot with a decent pinch of salt, shake it around
  • cover with a lid and leave to cook gently on the hob on a medium heat for about 50 minutes – every five minutes check and give them a stir – if they catch a little on the bottom, that’s fine, just loosen them off, if they go super dry just add a splash of water
  • once they’re golden and delicious, add your minced garlic and cook for another five minutes
  • in goes the rice – stir it once only to get each rice bit sticky and covered
  • add the stock, pepper, any extras you want, put the lid on and cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes, checking after twenty to make sure it hasn’t boiled dry – but don’t keep lifting the lid off every minute like you’re trying to catch the rice wanking
  • whilst that’s bubbling away, make the crostini – slice the baguette nice and thin – you only one two or three discs per person and arrange on a tray
  • finely grate your parmesan and sprinkle over the discs with a bit of black pepper – use the same mincer as you did for the garlic!
  • grill for a couple of minutes until golden
  • if you want, make little heaps of parmesan on the same tray – they’ll melt down and crisp up, giving you parmesan crisps, but stay within your HEA
  • once the dish is ready – i.e. the rice has absorbed the liquid and is nice and soft, grate in the remainder of your Parmesan and stir
  • serve immediately – in a nice bowl, lots of black pepper and the grilled crostini on the top

If you’re looking for more one-pot recipes, here’s four from our archives:

And, if you’re looking for more vegetarian, fakeaways or chicken recipes, just click on the links below!

vegetariansmallpoultrysmallfakeawayssmall

J

tomato panzanella with haricot beans

The tomato panzanella with haricot beans will be with you shortly, don’t worry.

Apologies for the lack of posts this week, but see real life got in the way and I didn’t have much time to sit at my desk typing away – normal service should resume next week.

We’ve hired a car for the weekend. Now, hiring a car when you’re young free and single may bring to mind a fancy sports car or a top-end muscle car, but no, not for the Cautious Cubs, oh no no. Because we’re a) tight and b) stingy, we just went for the cheapest option which has landed us with a Ford Fiesta. Nowt wrong with a Fiesta but it doesn’t exactly get the blood pumping, does it? It doesn’t help that it comes in ‘Aged Pubic Grey’.

The guy serving was clearly on the same bus as us so there was lots of knowing looks at us ‘going away for the weekend’. Luckily, he wasn’t one of those prickly gay men who get uppity and peacocky around other gay men, so all was well. He had the good grace to look ashamed when he handed over the key to our temporary Ford Tedium, though he brightened up when he asked how we got to the rental place and I pointed at Paul’s smart-car and explained that we’d come over in a rollerskate.

I hate driving unfamiliar cars – I like the comfort of knowing what every knob does (in my car he usually sits in the passenger seat telling me how to drive) and how to turn on the air-conditioner. Some silly fool has set all the radio channels up the incorrect way, with Radio 2 being on the number four present and all the other channels being full of Now That’s What I Call Tinnitus. The indicators don’t make a pleasing clicky-clack like mine and to top it off, it’s an automatic. Nowt against automatics you understand, but it isn’t proper driving unless I’m wearing out the clutch and over-revving like I’m the lorry driver in Duel.

Oh a final thing I need to say – sorry, but boring legal bit here. We’re happy for you to share our photos in your groups and links to our blog everywhere you can, that’s grand, no problem at all. However, we’ve had an incident where some greasy-faced spunkguzzler decided to make our recipes into a book and sell them for profit. Let me make one thing clear: we will pursue the rights to our content to the very end. The photos are ours, the content is ours, and we do it for free for a reason – to help those who can’t afford to go to SW. Don’t be a cheeky twat – we will come after you!

Anyway, no time for chitter-chatter as we’ve got stuff to sort. We will be blogging again next week with lots of new recipes, and we’ve even got a theme week planned. I’ll leave you with this quick recipe for a panzanella to use up any tomatoes you have kicking about – perhaps you have some spare from the previous recipe! We found the recipe on another blog – right here – so full credit to them. Naturally, we’ve give it a bit of a Slimming World tweak. Makes enough for four light lunches.

tomato panzanella with haricot beans

to make tomato panzanella with haricot beans, you’ll need:

  • as many tomatoes as you dare, warm from the sun not cold from your heart/fridge
  • a red onion
  • a few basil leaves
  • two teaspoons of olive oil
  • however much bread you want – so if you’re having four portions, use 4 x HEB allowance
  • a tin of haricot beans (or butter beans), easy to find in the supermarket (they’ll be near the sweetcorn)
  • one orange pepper
  • one red pepper
  • tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and black pepper

to make tomato panzanella with haricot beans, you should:

  • cube up your bread allowance and put into a bowl with the oil and some salt and pepper
  • swish it around, rough and tumble, so everything has a bit of oil
  • put onto a tray and slide it elegantly into the oven – maybe for ten minutes or so until it’s just nice and toasty but not actually toasted
  • if you can’t be arsed to fart about, just toast the slices and then cut them up after
  • meanwhile, thinly slice your peppers and onions, drain your beans (that’s not a euphemism, you filthy tart) slice your red onion nice and fine and shred those basil leaves – you don’t need to be elegant here, just cut it up any old how
  • quarter your tomatoes – lots of different sizes and colours
  • chuck everything bar the bread into a bowl, add the vinegar, mix it all up and leave until you want your meal
  • add the breadcrumbs at the last moment and give it a mix
  • serve!

Lots of speed foods and lots of flavour. Enjoy! Looking for more ideas? Take your pick…

vegetariansmall  sausagessmall  seafoodsmallbreakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmallslowcookersmall

J

tomato and ricotta breakfast toast

A lovely summery breakfast of tomato and ricotta breakfast toast awaits you. But, before we get started, I thought you’d all appreciate this picture of our cat.

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We bought him a Dreamies mouse the other day and since then, all we’ve heard is the click-clack of the blasted thing in the kitchen where the cat is bouncing it off the walls. We took it away this morning because the sound was proving distracting whilst I was, how to put this delicately… checking Paul’s oil. The cat has taken great umbrage and taken to dying at random opportunities all round the house – he came into the bathroom and collapsed (much like I do after Paul has been there), he died again on the television stand and then he chose to die once more in front of our lovely see-through toaster. You know, I don’t know where he gets this dramatic side from.  Don’t worry though – he immediately springs back to life if he hears Paul straining to take the lid off the dry cat food box.

If you’re wondering where we got the gorgeous see-through toaster from, it’s right here. I know, I know.

Hasn’t it been a lovely bank holiday? We had my family over for a BBQ yesterday. I didn’t think my mother would catch but once we’d applied enough petrol, she was away (must have caught up with all the Jim Beam in her blood) Boom. No, despite both Paul and I absolutely hating having anyone in our house aside from ourselves – and even then that’s sometimes more a chore than you’d expect – we gamely invited everyone over for food and drinks. With everyone arriving at 4, we realised at 2.30 that we had a) no meat b) no normal alcohol and c) no charcoal. No chance, you might think, but Paul leapt into his Smart car, broke both axles, gingerly got into my car and sped off to ASDA. £90 later, he returned. I mean for goodness sake, we have a freezer full of meat, a bookcase full of liquor and all manner of nonsense we could have burnt, but with nothing defrosted and no alcohol that you don’t ordinarily stick a sprinkler and paper umbrella in, we had no choice.

It was lovely, though. My nephew in particular was in good form, not least because he’s stopped bursting into racking sobs whenever he sees my face. We went through almost two years of bawling, screaming, red-faced anger before he finally mellowed. Now he’s always laughing and chortling and although I still can’t get past my phobia of being near children because they’re a) so fragile and b) so loud, it was pleasant enough to see him (and all). In the one minute that I allowed him to sit next to me on the outside table he immediately tumbled backwards onto the brick patio and was saved from his brain being turned to scrambled egg only by the quick reactions of my sister’s charming friend. Oops! Anyway, such a roaring success was it (no-one had the merry shites from undercooked meat, no family arguments erupted and no emergency services were called) that we’ve all agreed we must meet up and be eat together more often, which means I’ll see them again in 2017 and that’s that. Similarly, we’ve decided to go down to see Paul’s parents next week, which I’m incredibly enthusiastic about.

tomato and ricotta toast

One thing I strongly dislike about where I live is that you can’t do anything in our garden without people passing by and nebbing in, invariably adding some witty comment or rejoinder, because yes, I really give a toss what the man in the nicotine slacks has to say about how I cook my meat. We have one couple opposite us who are just wonderful but there’s a few ‘chores’ around. If I’m washing my car, they’ll nip across and go ‘when you doing mine oh ho ho’ and start slapping their knees, amazed by their own wit. I smile politely, but oh how I wish I could reply ‘after I’ve done yer dad’. I know they’re being nice to our face but the same guy told another neighbour of ours that when ‘the puffs move in, the house prices will fall’, so he can fuck the fuck off. Twat.

We had a quieter day today, doing very little other than picking tomatoes, tidying up and breaking up the day with a visit to Boundary Mills. For those lucky enough not to know, Boundary Mills is a giant shop up near the coast that is advertised regularly on the TV up here with some loud nonsense and lots of smiling people milling about. I’ve managed to avoid it for thirty years but see, a friend from work recommended it so highly that I thought, why not.

Well, here’s why not. It was what you’d get if you combined the waiting room at Dignitas with a village jumble sale. I’ve never seen so much tat and nonsense under one roof. What stressed me out more than anything was the total lack of a coherent theme – a Yankee Candle section sits next to a cookery book stand which sits next to towels which sits next to reduced skirts with a display of shortbread balanced on the top. Why? Who has ever clutched their heart in anguish and bemoaned the fact they can’t buy their scented candles, valance sheets and tin openers under one roof? Paul took a cursory glance at the Yankee Candle section and informed me that they didn’t have anything he didn’t already have in a drawer at home. We pushed on at the speed of a melting ice-cap thanks to the bundles of tiny old ladies milling about sucking their teeth and complaining, then made hastily for the exit. I’ve never been so relieved to see Paul’s matchbox excuse of a car.

I understand from their website that they actually organise bus tours for the old folk to come and have a day out – I don’t know how they dare, to be honest – they’re already close to the grave and the tedium would surely push them over. Well, honestly. It would be quicker and kinder to seal the doors, put a brick on the accelerator and let the bus drive into the sea.

Aside from that, it’s been a perfectly pleasant weekend, and to celebrate, let’s get to the tomato and ricotta toast.

Ah one thing before the recipe: we get asked a lot to do video recipes. We’ve thought about it, but honestly, it would take up too much of our time and plus you wouldn’t be able to concentrate on our recipes for all the shrieking and screaming and cock jokes. Plus, well, they’re all a bit samey. Actually, if we were tired, it would be more like this:

I think Paul’s actually got that tie, though god knows how I haven’t managed to set it on fire yet.

Right, the recipe, which really doesn’t need a recipe at all.

tomato and ricotta breakfast toast

to make tomato and ricotta breakfast toast, you’ll need:

  • as many tomatoes as you dare – try different colours, different sizes and if you can, homegrown
  • two slices of bread from your healthy extra B
  • ricotta (90g is a HEA, and you’ll use nowhere near that)
  • black pepper, pinch of salt

to make tomato and ricotta breakfast toast, you should:

  • toast your bread
  • slice and lightly salt your tomatoes
  • spread ricotta on the bread
  • top with salted tomatoes and black pepper

Easy! If you love tomatoes, do yourself a favour and keep them out of the fridge. Put them on a window sill to sit in the sun – it’ll improve the flavour tenfold. Luckily, we’ve got more tomatoes than we know what to do with (and expect a few tomato recipes coming up) because we planted ten plants of the fuckers at the start of the year and they’ve all come good. BUGGER.

Right, if you want more vegetarian or breakfast ideas, click the buttons below.

vegetariansmall  breakfastsmall

Hope you all had a lovely holiday!

J