bacon cheeseburger sloppy cubs

Is there a more unattractive name than sloppy cubs? I’m worried that if you type that into google you’ll end up with our other blog, where we discuss things to do with willymilk that’ll really put hairs on your chest. But hey, I like a bit of clickbait title, so bacon cheeseburger sloppy cubs it is!

I’m going to talk seriously about something that’ll make you panic. Wheeze. Clutch at your chest. Possibly even cry.

Exercise.

Now before I do, let me explain that I know there’s nothing worse than the fervent zeal someone who has just started doing something (like going to the gym, or not smoking, or wiping their arse the proper way) (front to back) and feels the need to tell everyone else why they should do it. I’m not going to be that person. But here me out.

If you’re wanting to go to the gym, and you’re scared of what people will think of you, put your trainers on and go. Don’t waste another second worrying about the looks you’ll get as a fat person exercising, or the snide remarks people might make as you struggle on the machines, because honestly, it just doesn’t happen. If it does, people hide it well. I’ve had support from blokes built like they could compress me into a cube the size of a fluffy dice, women who could run further in an hour than I have in my entire life, but for the most part, thankfully, wonderfully, I’ve been totally ignored. Don’t let a pointless fear hold you back.

And I love my gym. I won’t tell you which one it is, partly for the paragraph following this one but also because I don’t want anyone joining and interrupting my treadmill with ‘HOW MANI SYNS HUN’ whilst waving a bottle of Lölt from the Aldi next door. You know someone would. But I enjoy the fact I can turn up any time I want, sweat a bit on the treadmill and then leer lasciviously at the chaps doing the boxing. Everyone just gets on with what they’re doing, and, unlike that time we signed up at David Lloyd, it isn’t full of peacocking men grunting in front of the mirror like the bellends they are.

That said…

I have a real problem with the exercise bikes. You’ll laugh, but it’s incredibly awkward. I can sit and merrily pedal away for a good thirty minutes now, working up a sweat, but I must be pressing on a nerve or something because it always gives me a solid, diamond-cutting, hammer-a-nail-into-a-brick-wall level erection. I genuinely have to sit for a good few minutes ‘cooling down’ before I can dismount and sweat somewhere else. I stress that I don’t get a sexual kick out of watching a blurry More4 on the bike monitor, it must be a purely physiological reaction, but god help me if the fire alarm ever goes off and I’ve got to jump down fully torqued and ready for action.

I asked Paul whether he suffered the same thing and he advised me to put the saddle back on the bike before I sit on it. Because ha-de-ha-ha. He’s not the one inadvertently pressing the emergency stop button without moving his hands. You’re thinking I’m boasting? It’s not like I told you I used it to open the window with and wipe my face.

Whilst we were having a gym conversation, I also asked Paul what the funniest sight he’s even seen in a gym was. Turns out there used to be a gym in deepest darkest Peterborough where people smoked as they exercised. I don’t know what tickles me more – the thought of the ashtray on a treadmill or the fact that people could be so contradictory. That said, you may recall the time I witnessed a lady outside of Tesco with her fag in one hand and an inhaler in the other: now that’s commitment.

Anyway, yes, just a short entry tonight if you please as we have things to do, but by God it’s a good one. You know sometimes you just need something sloppy, cheesy and packed full of meat – but you don’t have Katie Price’s number to hand? Well this will hit the spot, I promise.

bacon cheeseburger sloppy cubs

to make bacon cheeseburger sloppy cubs you will need:

  • 4x HeB buns (we used brioche buns in ours, because it makes the photo nicer, but you get the drift)
  • 400g lean beef mince
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp passata
  • 1 tbsp american-style mustard (1/2 syn, between four, I mean haway)
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 4 slices bacon medallions
  • 125ml beef stock
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (mixed with 2 tbsp COLD water) (1 syn, between four, so again up to you…)
  • 160g reduced-fat cheddar cheese (4 x HEA)

We’ve got loads of good Musclefood hampers at the moment but, SHOCK, you can build your own hamper! Pick which slimming items you want and go go go! Fill yer boots with mince and bacon until the cows never come home again. Click HERE to build your own hamper!

Whilst we’re here, Musclefood are also selling Frylight – three bottles for three quid! We don’t use it ourselves but if you fancy it, it’s right here!

to make  bacon cheeseburger sloppy cubs you should:

  • first of all, get the bacon cooking to however you like it – we put it in our OptiGrill but you can do yours however you like. When it’s cooked, remove to a plate until you need it
  • meanwhile, heat a large pan over a medium-high heat, add a little oil and chuck in the mince
  • cook until a nice crust forms on the bottom, then begin to break up
  • when the mince is nearly fully cooked, remove from the pan and add the onion
  • let the onion cook for 2-3 minutes, THEN stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes
  • add the mince back into the pan
  • stir in the beef stock, cornflour, worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce and mustard
  • cook the mixture until it’s nice and sticky and not as watery – you want it to be a bit wet, but not too wet (fnar)
  • remove then pan from the heat, add the cheese and stir until it is all melted
  • add a slice of bacon to each of the buns, and top with the mince mixture.
  • eat!

Serve it with chips and chest pains.

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J

syn-free carbonara quiche – yes, it’s amazing

Evening all! Carbonara quiche if you don’t mind – I was looking at the proper ham and egg quiche we did a long while ago and wondering how we could make it better without adding to the syns. And boy, have we managed it. You’ll find the recipe below. Now, because we have guests coming over tonight, we’re going to hand you over to a guest writer! It’s been a while but I love getting new writers in, not least because it means I get to rest my wanking wrist for a bit. I implore you – please, as fans of my blog – to leave feedback. There’s something fun about reading comments from an audience who appreciate you, and I love to share. If you want to write for us, leave a comment below or contact us via our Facebook page here.

This one’s all about pregnancy – you can understand, can’t you, why we’ve never covered this on our totally gay blog? I can’t remember much about my own labour other than it was a fairly easy one. Well, no, I finished typing that sentence and called my own mother to ask her whether it was true. Her response? “It was like trying to shit a melon”.

See, it’s that type of chat that meant we were never on the front cover of Prima or Your Baby. Sounds like I was a big bugger though – 9lb! First and only time in my life I’ve wrecked a woman’s vagina. Paul was even worse – he didn’t exactly come swinging out like Tarzan like you might expect from his mother, but rather, in typical Paul fashion, he finished eating his tea (his twin sister, who he absorbed in the womb, the fat bastard) and slopped out at a mere 4lb.

Plot twist: he was so weak when he was born that the vicar gave him the last rites. To be fair, the poor bugger was probably gasping for a cigarette. The only baby I know who has yellow fingertips in the photographs. Eee, on that note…


baby, baby, baby nooo – by Julie Wansboro

So it’s bad enough that you end up the size of a small cottage when you fall pregnant without then having to meet all those ‘Mothers of Year’ in waiting rooms. It starts in the doctors surgery when you come out with a little cheesy grin and you see people smiling at you knowingly. Of course they don’t know but you think your smile has given it away instantly.

They’re like velociraptors, seeking out a new mum and ripping her ideas to shreds.  Why, oh why do they feel the need to tell you about their horrendous child birthing experiences?  It could reduce you to tears or hurling depending on your strength of stomach. They talk of tears, stitches, forceps and ripping, the burn, the stretching.  They’re not content with that, they go to discuss the whole labour experience from the first ‘braxton hicks’ and the hilarious mad dashes to the hospital thinking they’re in labour followed by laughter.  All the while you’re trapped in this waiting room praying they call you in next.

Dignity leaves the room the day you fall pregnant, no end of clinicians will view parts of your body that you’ve never seen in your life and nor did you want to (well you might want and if you’re a contortionist might well have).  During one of my four birthing experiences I was asked if I’d like a mirror to be held at the business end so I could see the head crowning?! What kind of sadistic bastards are you?  No, no I don’t want to see that, if I’d wanted to see that I’d be a midwife.  Are they trying to scar me for life?  Beautiful my arse!  Whilst I agree the whole falling pregnant, having a healthy baby is indeed a minor miracle at the same time millions of women manage to give birth every day without having to watch.

J Edit: I’m sorry but this is hilarious – why a mirror? I’d rather there was an amateur dramatics group just to the side recreating it by trying to roll a bowling ball through a rasher of bacon

Being awkward I’m O-neg, so joy of joys I marry an O-pos! This means absolutely nothing to anyone until you fall pregnant then it’s like arrrggghhh what have you done!!They decide you are a pin cushion and you must have blood tests on every possible trip to the hospital for check-ups.  Woe betide you if they then discover you’re anaemic, the joy of iron tablets, black poo and constipation to accompany the ever-growing circumference of your middle.  It gets to the point where you forget what your knees look like or know if you’re wearing matching shoes.

Then you get the talk about breast feeding, cracked nipples stories, swollen breasts and leaking…….stop please, I really don’t need to know.  Where are the mums who tell you the great stories, the love at first sight of their babies stories that make you forget the journey there?  Oh hang on, they’re the same mums telling you the horror stories!!!!  Four children later the stone I gained with each of them has managed to rigidly stick to my ribs, Zara my SW saviour has helped shift two of those stones and I reckon by the end of the year I’ll have shifted another one.  Wish me luck!


Well, frankly, it all sounds horrendous. Paul and I are never going to be one of those gay couples who both jizz in a tea-cup and slosh it inside a willing lady using the ‘blow’ function on a Henry hoover. That is how it works, isn’t it? For one, I can’t bear waste, and two, no. There’s no stage of childhood that I think is worth the upheaval. Babies are red-faced poo machines, toddlers are angry red-faced poo machines, children are vexing time-sponges and teenagers are rude pockets of acne and emotion.

I’ve mentioned before that I hate it when people bring their baby over to me and expect me to be all emotional and coo over it. I can’t. I have zero paternal instinct. I see a bundle of beetroot cells swaddled in something far too expensive from Mothercare and I just shudder. I’ve found that people have stopped doing it now that I pick the baby up and put it in the filing cabinet as protest.

Oh and let’s be honest, any combination of Paul and I is going to look awful. It’ll come out with my bent nose, Paul’s boss-eyes, my ‘yes, I’m British working class’ teeth and Paul’s inability to grow a decent beard. What hope would it have?

Anyway, let’s do this carbonara quiche recipe, shall we? I’ve mixed things up a bit from the previous quiche – our all time most-visited recipe, you know – so pay attention. This makes enough for eight good thick wedges – plus it freezes well!

to make carbonara quiche, you’ll need:

  • two large red onions (or white onions, tsk, racist)
  • 8 large eggs (and look, the best you can get, please – it’s the main part of the recipe and well, treat yourself)
  • about 500g of gammon or bacon – I bought a 1kg uncooked joint from Lidl for £3, cut it into cm cubes and froze half of it for another time – either way, you’ll want to dice it into cubes
  • a pack of cherry tomatoes
  • 100ml of 1% milk (2 syns, or 1/3 of a HEA) (to be honest, I didn’t syn this – it’s between 8 servings, so it’s a quarter of a ruddy syn)
  • 100g of spaghetti or however much you have left over at the end of a meal
  • 120g of lighter mature cheddar (3 x HEA, but you can cut that back if you like)
  • one clove of garlic or one tsp of that lazy garlic you can buy

You’ll also need a decent cake-tin. I use a silicone baking tin and absolutely nothing sticks to it – click here to order one. One of the best we’ve ever used! I give it a couple of sprays with olive oil – not Frylight – and the dispenser we use can be found here. We fill it with olive oil and if we’re bothering to syn, we syn it the same as the Tesco sprayer at 7 squirts for 0.5 syns. We hate Frylight.

to make carbonara quiche, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 170 degrees and get a pan of water boiling for your spaghetti
  • once the water is boiling, throw in your spaghetti – has anyone taught you the spaghetti trick? Grasp all your spaghetti together in your wrist like…er, well, honestly, like you’re gripping a cock, lower the ends of the spaghetti in the water and let go – it’ll fan out into the water rather than going in as one big lump
  • chop up your onion and in a frying pan, sweat it off with your garlic and bacon / gammon chunks until the onion and garlic is soft and the bacon is cooked
  • whilst that’s sweating, prepare your cherry tomatoes – you don’t want the seeds in the quiche otherwise you’ll make it too watery so, pop those tomatoes! You don’t need to be fancy, literally burst them in a bowl, tear them in half and put the flesh in a bowl on the side
  • drain your spaghetti and run it under cold water to cool it down and stop it sticking together
  • in a jug, beat your eight eggs and milk with a load of black pepper – no salt though, the bacon/gammon will be salty enough
  • grate your cheese – this is where the microplane grater we always bang on about comes in handy, it does it so finely that it spreads out easily!
  • mix everything together (hold back a handful of cheese for the top) in a big mixing bowl – get your hands right in there – you want everything mixed well – and once combined, slop it into your cake tin
  • press down any errant strands of spaghetti and top with the remaining cheese
  • cook in the oven for a good forty minutes – test it by sticking a knife into the centre – it should come back clean – if it doesn’t, keep cooking it until everything is set – cover the top with foil if you think it is starting to catch
  • cool and serve

Two pointers: this is AMAZING the day after, once it’s sat in the fridge – and it is perfect for freezing and lunches. Also, if after you’ve mixed everything together, if it looks as though you need another egg, crack another one in. You don’t want it too ‘sloppy’ but there needs to be a decent liquid to contents ratio. Oh, I’m so flirty!

Please tell everyone you can about this recipe, it’s a corker and we love it so!

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Stay safe.

J

boozy bangers and mash with amazing gravy

Here for the boozy bangers and mash with a gravy that’ll blow all other Slimming World gravy out of the water? Fine. But first…

I am pleased to announce that, after nine months of worry, tension and angst, we have finally chosen our new car. Well, my new car. Paul’s still ‘driving’ around in that ‘Smart’ ‘car’ of his, looking to all the world like a sunburnt wine-gum squashed into a lego car. After months of putting it off, I bit the bullet and went to the car dealership to see what the crack is. First thoughts? So much hair gel. Second thoughts: I’d rather spend my Saturday chewing toenails than have to go through the ignominy of pretending I give a toss about cars. We were greeted by an exceptionally exuberant man who bustled over to greet us before I’d even had a chance to park up.

Before we could start the dance of finance, he had a look around my car to make sure it was in a good working order for a part-exchange. Well, no, he had a glance and took me at my word that all was well. That really made the £400 that I’d just paid for the ‘obligatory’ service seem like good value, I can tell you. He commented that I keep a pristine car – I thanked him, neglected to tell him it’s because we’re always ‘wiping it down’ and prayed to myself that he didn’t sit on the back seat. The cushions in the back are like a Twinkie. Don’t get the reference? Click here and feel ashamed.

He took us inside and offered us a drink, having the good grace to laugh when I asked for a whisky to take the edge off getting fucked. He brought us some grey coffee instead which I tipped into a plant-pot on his desk when he wasn’t looking, only for it to start dripping out of the bottom and onto the floor. He didn’t notice, thankfully – he was probably lost in my eyes.

I knew we were on shaky ground when the portly chap (I’m going to call him George, not because that was his name, but because he looked like a George) grasped my hand, called me by entirely the wrong name and then asked what type of car I want. You need to understand, readers, that I know nothing about cars. I know how to drive one, of course, but what is horsepower? Why is a petrol better than a diesel? Why is there always so much blood and matted hair on my front bumper? It’s useless knowledge to me, like where to buy skinny jeans or how to stimulate a clitoris. Irrelevant data. To me, clitoris sounds like the name IKEA would give a coat-hook.

Anyway, dear George, to his credit, didn’t laugh when I said ‘something colourful’ and ‘a bit fast’. Those were my sole requirements. My previous research, so far as I’d glanced at Auto Trader, turned this up:

Fancy, but Paul had pointed out that I wasn’t Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, didn’t need a car with an automatic amyl-nitrate dispenser and anyway, it was over £500 a month. I appreciate I’m a tightarse Geordie but there’s fuck all way I’m spending that sort of money per month on a Citroen, unless it comes with a feature that automatically changes my number plate and flashes the interior lights whenever Paul and I pull into a layby of an evening. I asked if there was anything similar with an onus on lots of tech in the car and he hastened us over to look at the C4 Cactus.

Why? God knows. I’d rather get the bus, especially as this car was the colour of a dying man’s lips. Sensing I wasn’t swooning and completely ignoring the fact it’ll only be Paul and I so we don’t need a family car, he plopped me into the driving seat and leaned across to show me the ‘latest tech’. I mean, come on – you know someone’s clutching at straws when he’s feigning astonishment at the radio as though he was Marconi himself. I resisted the urge to be sarcastic and clutch my pearls when he mentioned the air-conditioning, and, knowing he was onto a loss, he got us back out and showed us an altogether more sensible solution, the new C3.

Imagine that but black. Tsk, racist.

Now this was more like it – it pretty much looks like a DS3 but designed by Fisher Price, but that’s fine – I’m a fan of bright colours and spend more time angsting about people banging their car doors into mine than I do blinking, the air-bumps on the side were a big ‘yes’. Even if they do look like someone’s stuck a particularly hi-tech jamrag on the side of the car. I selected the black and red version and so the negotiations began.

I like to think I’m pretty good at negotiating, but only for about 15 minutes. I simply can’t be arsed to haggle. I see Martin Lewis chirruping away on the telly about arguing for a better deal but sometimes, what price dignity? I did knock about £80 off the monthly amount but once George had gone an especially lurid shade of crimson and was looking at his own wallet with watery eyes, mumbling about having to feed the kids, I collapsed like a wet cake. I don’t doubt for a second that I could have maybe squeezed an extra ten quid or something off a month but it was hot, I was tired, I hate having to do the dance and that was that. I signed there and then and was told my car would be here in two weeks, thanks very much.

It actually turned up four days later – hooray – and with Paul away throwing himself at Jeremy Corbyn at the Durham Miners’ Gala, I picked it up myself and decided to go for a drive up to Coldstream. I’d never been before but I knew it is a good seventy miles of twisty-turny country road away from my house. It was a great drive – the car was responsive and zippy, my driving was top-notch and there was a minimal amount of people in my way all the way to Coldstream. I had, quite literally, just driven past the ‘Welcome to Coldstream’ sign when the in-car phone rang, almost forcing me to crash into a coach full of elderly folk in sheer shock – it was so bloody loud.

It was Paul asking where I was. He was home, see, but hadn’t thought to take a key with him. To make matters worse, he was “hot” and “tired” and “had been in the sun all day and was feeling faint”. The one set of neighbours we trust with a set of keys (i.e. the only ones who wouldn’t let themselves in to have a bloody good gawp) were out, of course. Thinking the poor bugger had sunstroke I performed an entirely illegal u-turn in the middle of the road and set straight back off for home, at an altogether terrifying speed.

All legal, I must say.

But certainly far faster than I should have been driving, and all in the name of love, with the thought of Paul’s scalp crisping up like a salad crouton rattling in my head. Naturally, he turned his phone off, so I couldn’t get hold of him, which led to even more panic as I thought he was slumped on the doorstep shallow-breathing. As opposed to his usual stance, slumped on the settee shallow-breathing. I overtook lots – and lots – of old dears, all perched as usual right up against the steering wheel, all doing a committed 40mph no matter what the occasion. There may have been swearing. I may have bellowed myself hoarse. I was definitely putting the c*nt in country road. But by god, I got back within the hour, just in time to see Paul relaxing with a cold drink and flicking through his facebook notifications.

Turns out the neighbours had come home about five minutes after his call to me and he’d put his phone onto charge, completely neglecting to tell me.

You can imagine the laughs we had about the whole misunderstanding, can’t you? How I chuckled as I ironed his face.

So yes, that’s my new car. It’s very nice, it goes like the clappers in comparison to my old one and I’ll never miss it in a car-park. All good.

Now, tonight’s recipe. Boozy Bangers and mash. I know that’s a wank title, I know. It’s sausages and mash but more importantly, it has an AMAZING gravy. Can we talk about gravy for a second? I made this for our facebook page:

I genuinely can’t stand it when you see a delicious looking roast and then someone pops up with ‘omg make sun-free gravy by blitzing (always fucking blitzing, how exactly are you blitzing your peas you spittle-flecked moron, dropping a bloody bomb on it?) a tin of mushy peas, or eight roasted onions, or some other AWFUL slop. That’s not gravy, that’s a grave injustice. A war crime.

Gravy is low in syns and given that so many people have more gravy on their plate than carbon atoms, you might as well get the good stuff. Make your own or use instant at a pinch. It’s a syn per teaspoon of powder. Unless you’re having a bath of gravy, how much do you bloody need? Drives me up the wall, which is fine because I’ve got that fancy new car, but still. So here’s a recipe with PROPER DELICIOUS GRAVY. We are going to be steering away from ‘pretend’ food (to be fair, we don’t do it much to begin with) as a blog and I’m sure you’ll come with us!

boozy bangers and mash

to make boozy bangers and mash you will need:

We get asked a lot about how good our mash looks. We don’t add anything, you know – it’s just good potatoes riced with a potato ricer once cooked. The one we use is only a tenner and can be bought here!

to make boozy bangers and mash you should:

  • bring a large pan of water to the boil and the potatoes – cook until soft and then mash, to however you like it (we like to chuck in some wholegrain mustard but not everyone is as classy as us)
  • whilst the potatoes are boiling away, make a slit down the sausages and squeeze out the meat into 3-4 equal-ish balls. don’t worry about rolling them into neat balls, they’ll be fine as they are
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • add the sausages to the pan and fry until cooked, then remove from the pan
  • add a bit more oil to the pan if needed, and then add the chopped garlic
  • stir for about 30 seconds, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sliced onions
  • cook the onions until they begin to caramelise, stirring now and again. Don’t worry if they stick a bit – that’s good
  • after about 15-20 minutes, add the stock and the guinness to the pan and bring to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan
  • in a little bowl, mix together the cornflour with 2 tbsp COLD water (it MUST be cold), and slowly dribble into the gravy, stirring constantly, and when you’re happy with it take it off the heat
  • dish up the potatoes and sausages, and pour over the tasty gravy
  • enjoy

See now come on, that’s a proper dinner right there! No? Want more? Get more!

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Beep beep (Richie!)

J

buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches

Buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches. If sandwiches were gay, this one would be a powertop with a vein-cane like a draught excluder. And we’re off! BUT FIRST.

If I see one more gay pride rainbow or business logo turning rainbow-coloured, I’m going to scream. Or theatrically flounce, at the very least.

Hear me out before you start lighting the pitchforks and assembling the L.G.B.T.Q.A.I.S.P.T.S.D.R.O.F.L.B.B.C.R.A.D.I.O.O.N.E unicorns to put my windows through. I have no problem with gay pride, hell, I’ve done my bit for the gay community simply by being born and fabulous. No, it’s the fucking comments that get left by other people that do my nut in.

OMG WHEN CAN WE HAVE A STRAIGHT PRIDE PARADE‘ being the main one, although there’s normally a few more spelling mistakes and flecks of spittle involved. They are, almost to a point, middle-aged men or women who think they’re being original and edgy asking the same question that gets asked every single time there’s any reference to Gay Pride.

It’s such a pointless, doltish comment to make, and it’s nearly always followed up by someone you know pronounces England with three syllables saying ‘it is PC gone mad‘ or ‘BECAUSE THE WHIRLED IS HETROPHOBIC‘. It isn’t heterophobic at all – anyone can come along and support, wave a flag, have a good time. But see there’s a key difference – everyone is welcome whereas us gays, and all the various iterations that involves these days, are still excluded or prejudiced against in certain ways, both big and small.

For example, we have to really think about where we go on holiday. I’d love to go to Russia, but when you see videos of young lads being kicked, beaten and punched for being gay uploaded onto Youtube and the swill of comments underneath in support, it puts you off. Brazil sounds like a fun place to visit, but less so if you’re a transperson – then you’re running the risk of being beaten to death in the fucking street surrounded by people who won’t help you simply because you’re not some shitty version of normal. Least you’re safe in our progressive country where Pride isn’t needed – well, unless you’re getting an Uber (thrown out for being gay), or perhaps you fancy a stay in a B&B but oh wait you can’t because you’re bummers and the owners are good tolerant Christians. Need a drink to settle your nerves? Fine – but don’t go out with your lesbian friends otherwise you’ll be jumped by a gang of fifteen men who’ll knock your teeth out. That was three months ago, by the way.

Hell, I’ve told you before about my ex, haven’t I? He spent two months building up the courage to come out to his parents because he was so imbued with happiness at being in his first gay relationship and wanted to be open about it. They responded by ramming a screwdriver against his throat, telling him he was ‘wrong’ and then locking him away in his house. Imagine how fucked up that would make you feel – all because you love someone of the same gender. I know of at least two other similar stories in my circle, and I’d hazard a guess that if you asked most queer folk they’d have a similar ‘cheery’ story. Do you think there are many young teenage straight lads out there who agonise for months – years even – about telling their dad they love a girl? Do you reckon the streets are awash with straight people holding hands and being told by perfect strangers that they’re sick, immoral, nasty or perverted? Nope.

That’s why Pride is needed: the more something is celebrated, the more something is held up as a perfectly acceptable way of living life, the less of an issue it becomes. Your ‘straight pride’ is every fucking day that you go through without some judgement being cast on how you live your life.

I’m amazingly lucky – I have fantastic parents who have been nothing but supportive right from the get-go and as a result, I’ve always felt comfortable talking to them about anything. You don’t understand what a difference that makes – imagine being unable to talk to your parents about who you love or what you’re confused about. Imagine what it must feel like to know they think of you as a disappointment or less of a person just because of a biological setting no more able to change than your eye-colour or your skin tone. Paul has the same, sort-of – his dad was marvellous about it and his mum made retching noises and ignored him for a few weeks, but she’s alright now, even if I might as well not exist for all the interest she shows in our life. I remember a few weeks after I came out to my mother (she may have been drunk, it was just after I got in from school) telling me that if I needed lubricant or condoms I ought to tell her and she’d buy some and leave it outside my bedroom, like I was ordering the express breakfast in a Travelodge. I didn’t have the heart to tell her at that point that me and my ‘good friend’ who would stay over for weeks at a time were already merrily boffing away and we would go through condoms like an Amsterdam hooker.

Anyway, it’s not all bad. Paul and I were discussing only the other day how far things have come for us (usually the wall behind the bed, thank God for wipe-clean Dulux Endurance paint, that’s all I can say) and how easier it is for us to be gay. Not many people bat an eyelid when I introduce him as my husband, although there’s always a few startled gasps that so much beauty shouldn’t be in one room together lest we collapse in on ourselves like a rainbow-black-hole. There’s the option to tick civil partnered on every form and most places will refer to him as my husband rather than ‘my friend’. Even my nana, back when she wasn’t ash, embraced us as a couple, only stopping occasionally to ask who was the woman. The answer of course being Paul, because he does the dishes, makes the dinner and iron the clothes, if he doesn’t want two black eyes and his pin money taken away.

Enjoy Pride, folks. But more importantly, enjoy your life, however you choose to live it, and don’t stop to give a second thought to a single person who thinks any less of you based on who you love. They’re the ones who’ll end up alone. Frightened, alone and looking back at a life filled with hatred and bile and realising they’ve wasted it, and the only thing waiting for them is blackness and fear.

I saw on a t-shirt the very thing I’m trying to say but encapsulated in only two sentences, rather than the usual 1,000 word burble you get from me.

Gay Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So instead of wondering why there isn’t a straight pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one.

Oooh, get her.

Right, now, I was going to do a rainbow recipe, but I can’t be arsed. You’ve had a ranty polemic instead, be happy. No, instead, I’m going to introduce you to one hell of a dirty treat – amazing buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches – yes, you’ll need a syn, but then what do you expect from two sinful gays?

buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches

This makes four sandwiches! FOUR! Scale back if you need to. We used our Optigrill for this recipe and it worked a charm, but it can be done just as easy under the grill or on a George Foreman. No expensive kit needed. Though, it makes it easier. If you’ve bought an Optigrill on our recommendation, have a look at our other recipes:

to make buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches you will need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 8 slices bacon medallions
  • 8 slices wholemeal bread (this’ll be your Healthy Extra B choice)
  • 135ml Frank’s Hot Buffalo Sauce (1.5 syns)
  • 50g Philadelphia Lightest (2 syns)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 80g reduced-fat red Leicester cheese, grated (2x HeA choices, so half an A choice each)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • salt
  • pepper

If you’re looking for a decent place to buy chicken and bacon, you can build them into your own slimming hamper at Musclefood! Come take a look at our hampers or build your own. No longer do you need to suffer with breasts that turn into prawns once all the water has leaked out and bacon with less meat than a sparrow’s knee!

to make buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches you should:

  • we used the Optigrill for this recipe and it was champion but you can use just a normal grill or a George Foreman and it’ll still be as good. first, cook the chicken:
    • on the Optigrill, press the Chicken button, wait for it to heat up, slap the chicken on and wait til it’s done, then set aside
    • otherwise, heat the grill to medium-high and cook the chicken until done, then set aside
  • next, cook the bacon – same deal as before:
    • on the Optigrill, press the Bacon button, wait for it to heat up and chuck on the rashers – it’s that easy. You want them to be quite crispy
    • otherwise, put the bacon under the grill and cook until crispy
  • pour the Frank’s into a large bowl and microwave for thirty seconds
  • stir in the grated cheese and philly, it should melt a bit but if not don’t worry about it
  • next, shred the chicken breasts by pulling apart with two forks, it doesn’t need to be perfect, just get it ripped up
  • add the chicken, sliced spring onions, salt and pepper to the bowl and mix in well
  • dip the slices of bread into the egg and ensure it’s well coated and gloopy
  • top four slices of the eggy bread with the cheesy-chicken mixture, topping with two slices of bacon and then the other slices
  • next, finish off the sandwiches:
    • press the Manual button on the Optigrill and select Red, when it’s heated add the sandwiches to the plates and close the lid until nicely cooked and the cheese is melting out the sides – about 2-3 minutes
    • otherwise, heat a large frying pan over a high heat and cook the sandwiches one-by-one for about three minutes per side, flipping halfway through
  • inhale it

Come on, get this made. Get it made and enjoy it like life! Want more ideas? Click the buttons below!

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J

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce

Meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam? Topped with tomato sauce sweetened with honey as opposed to some watery old passata and the tears of the terminally disappointed? Yes! Not going to lie, this is an amazing recipe. I had to stand a good eight inches back from the cooker as I made it, if you get my drift. However, sound the klaxon, boop-boop:

We’ve been asked to do a recipe featuring Hellmann’s Tomato Ketchup Sweetened with Honey, so here it is. Easy enough to do because everyone likes meatloaf and tomato sauce is always a winner, but see we’ve done meatloaf before so how to make it different…stuff it with bacon jam. Oh my!

But first, the usual flim-flam. I couldn’t think of a natural link between tomato ketchup and our usual blog content – there’s not many hilarious stories about tomato ketchup that’ll have people slapping their knees and wheezing into a paper bag, after all. Then it struck me: let’s revisit the ‘trivial things that annoy me’ post – we did it in 2015, I’m sure we did it in 2016 but I can’t be arsed to check, so here’s the 2017 list!

Paul buys far too many bottles of ketchup

See! I bloody well managed to link the recipe and the blog content after all! Just call me Mark Zuckerburg. We’re not a couple who feel the need to drown our dinner in condiments, not least because we season our food properly in the first place, but see it’s always nice to have something to dip your sausage into. It’s why I married Paul. However, he takes it too far: our little spinning cupboard in the kitchen is actually canted to one side because of the weight of the 87 bottles of sauce currently wedged in there – he buys a new bottle every single time he goes to the supermarket “just in case” – in case of what? Nuclear war? I’ll be far too preoccupied with shitting my lungs out than having a seasoned bloody chip. Shopping with him has become a passive-aggressive two hours of him putting a bottle in the trolley and me taking it back out again. I’d rather he came home and told me he was having an affair with my mother rather than see him surreptiously pulling another bottle out of the bag for life.

Oh and mother, don’t you dare.

Black car badges

These:

I may have adjusted the picture slightly. Anyway, you’ll see them everywhere now, I can guarantee it. A black fadge-badge like the one pictured isn’t too bad on a black car, but I’m seeing it on all sorts of acne-carriages that barrel around on the road with their rubbish mods. What looks (arguably) passable on a decent motor looks like an embarrassment on a car that sounds there’s a bee stuck in the engine. We all know that certain cars attract certain types of driver – I feel like this little embellishment is just another way of reassuring you that yes, indeed, the person behind the wheel is a pulsing sphincter.

Vaping

I know, I know it is healthier than smoking. I know it’s a great thing to do if you’re trying to give up the fags. But do people need to be so…theatrical about it? Walking past a bus-stop these days is like being stuck in the middle of a chewing-gum flavoured hurricane, with blasts of vapour from all around. I’m tempted to chuck a load of gold and silver tokens in the air and pretend I’m in the crystal dome. You see people billowing out clouds like they’re a Chernobyl cooling tower and it just looks ridiculous. Yes, less ridiculous than coughing out your last in a hospital bed, but ridiculous none the less. I saw a wonderful little meme on Facebook that simply said how hilarious it was to walk past all the hard meatheads standing outside of pubs vaping away and stinking of strawberry shortcake. Now, before you think I need to be told how much better it is that people vape, please don’t, because…

I also hate people who smoke in cars

It’s fine if you are by yourself, though I do worry that if you were to drop your tab into the crack of your boobs, you’re not going to be looking where you’re going as you try and fish it out. No, it’s only a problem for me if you’ve got kids in the back. It’s the height of selfishness.  Both of our parents smoked like chimneys on every car journey when we were growing up – it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve realised Northumberland doesn’t have a faintly yellow patina to every vista.

Ridiculous packaging

Yes, it’s an obvious thing to moan about, but let me give you an example. We were told to bring a calculator to my last exam as we’d need to add up international fees, all very basic, but I can’t add up under pressure. Hell, I can barely remember to breathe in and out. Naturally, I forgot to pick one up from the cupboard at work, meaning a last-minute dash to Argos to buy a calculator. £15! They had none of the basic models in stock (of course) and so I had to buy a calculator that I’m fairly sure I could hack Sellafield with. Anyway, on my Tube ride over to the exam hall I set about trying to extricate the calculator from its sealed plastic packaging. Could I hell. I wrenched at it with my fists, I tried to chew my way in, I tore a nail trying to open the bloody thing up. I went four stops before I had to give up, not least because the sight of me sweating and fumbling in my rucksack was understandably making people anxious.

No, I had to go out of my way to go and buy a pair of bloody scissors in order to open the calculator with. Scissors are a surprisingly difficult thing to track down at the last second and even those came with a stupid cable tie attaching them all together. The sales assistant clearly sensed my anguish because she at least offered me a bag, though I turned it down thinking it would probably involve me doing a full turn on the Krypton Factor assault course and naming the top forty capital cities in the world.

Oh, and it turns out I didn’t need the calculator after all. Imagine my cheeriness!

Now, the other thing that annoys me is food blogs that don’t get to the damn point, so, after that 1,000 mince around the gardens, let’s get to the moment you’re all waiting for: american meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce!

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

to make american meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce (phew), you’ll need:

to make the meatloaf:

  • 500g of lean beef mince
  • 500g of lean pork mince
  • one large red onion
  • 1 tbsp of dried mustard powder
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic – fresh or powder
  • a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • a good mix of cherry tomatoes
  • 8 tbsp of Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened With Honey (4 syns)

to make the bacon jam for the middle:

  • four large red onions
  • 700g of unsmoked bacon, no fat
  • pinch of salt
  • 125ml of water
  • 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp of Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened With Honey (2 syns)
  • pinch of pepper

Now, of course, you can use any ketchup for this recipe – but the reason Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened With Honey works here is that it replaces the sugar you’d usually use to make the ‘jam’ and is half the syns of regular ketchup. Plus, sweetened with honey rather than extra sugar means it contains 30% less sugar than the ‘market leader’. We all know who that is, don’t be coy. Oh and it actually tastes decent, so fair play to them for that. You can buy it in Tesco for £1.89 but it’ll roll out all over the place as we speak.

This meatloaf recipe might look difficult to make but it really isn’t, but start with the jam first, eh? This makes EASILY enough for four and could stretch to six, and we served ours with green beans and skin-on mash, as is tradition.

to make american meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce (phew), you should:

to make the jam:

  • do you have a chopper? One of these mini chopper things I always bang on about – if so, get it out, save your poor wrists, but if not, that’s fine
  • peel and chop your onions nice and fine – we’re talking really diced, but it isn’t going into an art gallery, make it as messy as you like
  • grill all the bacon until nice and crispy whilst you’re doing that
  • once you’ve got the bacon crispy and it isn’t so hot it sears your flesh, cut it up so it’s about the same chopped size as the onion
  • get a good, solid-bottom pan and spray some oil in – or use olive oil, I’ll never tell – add the onion, bacon, water, vinegar, ketchup, salt and pepper
  • cook slowly and gently for a good forty minutes – keep checking on it, add a dash more vinegar or water if it needs it, or some ketchup, until you have a nicely reduced jam
  • this isn’t going to be the smooth jam you see on a scone, no, but this is sticky, delicious bacon-goodness
  • keep to one side

to make the meatloaf:

  • get the oven on to 180 degrees and line a loaf tin (or just spray it with oil if you’ve got a decent one)
  • slap everything from the meatloaf list (save for the ketchup and tomatoes) (dice the red onion nice and fine first mind) into a big bowl
  • you can cheat and use chopped chives rather than onion if the thought of chopping more onion drives you to drink
  • mix – mix by hand and my goodness, don’t you stop for one moment – it’s very theraputic, get all that frustration and anger out by making sure you have the perfect mixture
  • if the meat is dry, add an egg – if it’s too wet, add breadcrumbs – but you’ll be able to ‘tell’ when it’s firm and ready
  • slap a good half of it into the loaf tin and press it down
  • make a channel for your bacon jam – I pressed the side of a glass into the meat to give a nice uniform look but honestly, no-one is going to care how it looks
  • spoon and press down as much jam as you can, being careful not to go right to the sides

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

  • press the rest of the mince on top of the jam – think of it like trying to create a core in the middle – make sure you press everything down nice and firm mind
  • spread your tomato ketchup over the top of the loaf, then slice the cherry tomatoes and arrange them in a sexy, pleasing manner
  • cook for a good hour or so – cover it with tin foil if the tomatoes start to burn – the internal temperature should be over 70 degrees if you have a meat thermometer to hand
  • remove from the oven, allow to cool for a good ten minutes or so, then serve!

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

It really is easy to make – you’re just slapping together a load of ingredients and baking it – it just looks like a long recipe typed out!

Looking for nutritional info? Based on the average lass’s intake of 2000 calories…

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

Not bad eh! If you want to find out a little more about the ketchup, you can speak to Hellmanns on Twitter  or via their Facebook page. If you want more recipes, click on the buttons!

 

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See? I can do a sponsored food post without it being boring and buy buy buy! Let me know if you have concerns! But this meatloaf man, amazing…

J

steak, feta and veg wraps – more lunch ideas

I know, wraps again. This blog has more terrifying wraps than a Madonna comeback album, though I flash my fadge in skintight leggings far less than that old bugger does. But listen, there’s method in my madness – I thought that saying as you might have went and bought a packet of wraps to make the last delicious recipe, you might have some left over, and so, here we are. At least I’ve saved you the ignominy of coming up with some dire alternative use for your spare wraps like the barely-breathing idiots who write into those lifestyle magazine Top Tips pages.

Case in point, I once saw someone who had unspooled a load of VHS tapes, taken the ribbon out and hung them in her doorway like those multi-coloured strips of plastic you used to see in poor people’s houses to keep the smell of chip fat out of their living room. Nothing says glamour like trying to serve a tray of Findus Crispy Pancakes through a mouthful of TDK 240. Actually, much to my eternal chagrin, I’m sure one of my grandmothers had this in her kitchen until the end of a Superking Yardstick Ultra caught the plastic and set it away.

Actually, there was one worse than that – I might have mentioned it before so longtime readers give yourself a minute – pick your teeth, flick your bean, sing a song – but someone had actually taken the time and effort to write in and explain that when they had tired of having a beer fridge (I mean there’s your first clue as to the type of person writing in) in their living room, they had taken the plug off it and affixed it to their bathroom wall. Why? Who knows. Who thinks that a big nicotine-yellow FOSTERS fridge hanging above their hundreds of half-empty bottles of Tresemme is just the place to keep their tampons and bog roll? I mean honestly.

And, oh god, there’s more – this is like picking a scab. I wanted to find you a picture of the fridge on the wall and I happened across an absolute belter – some dreary bugger who makes his own jigsaws by shredding family photos and putting them back together. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get much joy about the thought of seeing my poor mother descending through the shredder and then trying to sort her fizzog from my bank statements. What possesses people?

Anyway, just a quick post tonight, not least because I’m absolutely itching to get in the bath with my Chat Fame and Fortune magazine and find out what Devinaha from Runcorn’s knicker-stains says about her upcoming future.

to make steak, feta and veg wraps you will need:

To make steak, feta and veg wraps you should:

  • mix together the red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, parsley and oregano and pour over the steaks, coating them well
  • mix together the yoghurt, lemon juice, cucumber and mint sauce and pop in the fridge
  • next – prepare the meat and veg – we used an Optigrill for this bit and it was cracking! Just slap it on and go, and you can even chuck it in the dishwasher afterwards. You can of course use a normal grill and a pan and it’ll still be dead tasty
    • if you’re using the Optigrill, simply press the manual button, set to Red, preheat and then add the peppers and courgette and cook for about 5 minutes. Then, press the steak button, slap the meat on and cook to your liking, remove to a plate and then slice
    • if you’re using the grill, heat to medium-high and spread the vegetables out on a tray, cook for about 5 minutes each side, turning frequently. Then, preheat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the steak for about 3-4 minutes each side, remove to a plate and then slice
  • take a wrap and layer with the yoghurt dressing, steak, courgettes, peppers and feta and fold up, and repeat for the other four
  • enjoy!

Yamas! Fancy more tasty recipes? You’ll get a tonne of them just by clicking one of the buttons below for whatever tickles your fancy!

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J

grilled chicken tikka wraps – great for lunch

Yes, grilled chicken tikka wraps – great for lunch indeed, or rather, great for saying you’ll make a few extra for lunch only for you to eat them all over the course of the evening and then spending your time sobbing down a Pringles tube and lamenting your obesity. No? Just me then. Scroll down if you’re just here for the food!

Hey, we’re back. Like that super gonorrhoea going around, we’re back and here to stay. Never before has the prefix super been attached to something less worthy. Super gonorrhoea comes across as the worst comic book hero ever. Spiderman can shoot webs, Batman gets a voice like Madge Bishop gargling gravel, what would Super Gonorrhoea’s ability be? You can’t save the world with a burning pain when urinating and cottage cheese in your knickers.

WHAT AN OPENING PARAGRAPH – please, companies wanting to do sponsored posts, get in touch.

Where have we been, anyway? Well Paul has been busy nurturing his big fat belly and dashing here, there and everywhere with work – well, as much as a morbidly obese man with ankles made from wet sponge cake can dash. No, it’s been me who has been missing in action as, for the first time in about ten years, I’ve had to put my head down for reasons not connection to playing a tune on the pink-skin trumpet. I’ve had to revise. For a proper exam, not just a ‘omg which Spice Girl are you’ quiz in my sister’s More magazine.

Turns out that I really, really struggle to revise. I forced myself, but by god was it difficult. I’m too easily distracted – just look at my writing style on here and you’ll see how my brain works, floating from one abstract nonsense to another. You know those type of people who can spend hours sitting at their desk writing studious wee notes and highlighting everything primly in a smart set of colours? Yeah, that’s not me.

I tried recording myself speaking my notes aloud and asking myself questions, giving time for real-time James to answer back, but it all got super weird. Driving into work having a conversation with yourself like the world’s most boring interview is awful. The last person I want to argue with about licence documentation is myself. Especially when I sound so ridiculously posh on recordings (I’m not posh in the slightest, I just have a nice voice).

Things came to a head anyway when the MP3s of me asking myself questions imported across into Spotify and then appeared in my most recent songs playlist. Nothing concerning there until you’re halfway through a good session of testing out the emergency exit with Paul only to have SONOS to start playing ‘2.3: the benefits of international registration’ at full volume. Paul, with his hearing muffled by being face down in a pillow, probably thought I’d invited Nigel Havers around for a threesome.

I deleted my MP3s after that, it just felt tainted.

No, instead, I spent the last two weeks ignoring the little flashcards I’d typed up and instead holed myself up in one of the conference rooms at work, frantically scribbling on the wall of whiteboards there like I was Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. I took a gamble that the exam would be based on the stuff in the many, many Powerpoints we’d been given rather than the notes we’d been given and so, it was simply a case of memorising every last word of the slides and checking the notes for comprehension. I’ve found that I work best by creating mnemomics and I was especially proud of creating MINGEGAS for a set of legal terms and GRINCHBLOW for another. I had to rewrite the order of a set of countries though: BRA(zil)N(igeria)CH(ina) is fair enough, but writing CH(ina) IN(dia) K(enya) felt far less appropriate.

I spent the night before holed up in a very swanky hotel in London frantically revising and even more frantically trying to scrub clean the white sheets on my bed which I’d managed to slew a bottle of black ink across. I ordered pho via Deliveroo, not least because I wanted to try tofu and it came up as an option, and it was disgusting. I’ve never scraped something into a bin with such venom. The hotel itself was fine save for the fact they’d wedged the toilet inbetween the side of the shower cubicle and the sink, creating the slightly awkward issue of barely being able to fit in the gap to have a plop. And, without being gross, exam anxiety always makes me more regular than normal.

I always get major exam anxiety – not so much about not knowing anything, but rather, I’m always frightened I’m going to make a tit of myself somehow. I remember in my first GCSE English exam chewing the end of my pencil (not a euphemism) and biting off the little metal ferrule that holds the rubber in place, causing an almighty coughing fit, which ended only when one of the invigilators took a break from playing with her testicles and slapped me on the back. The rest of the exam was spent trying to suppress the tickly cough caused by my poor savaged throat. But hey, at Least it didd’unt affect my Engerlish skillz, babes. ROFL.

Since then I spend more time fretting about having a fit (coughing, sneezing or shitting) that I end up lugging around a box of tissues, a Sinex inhaler, two bottles of water and 24 blackcurrant Strepsils to numb my throat in case of emergency. It’s the same bag I take when Paul and I go for our midnight drive around the lorry park, weirdly enough. I spent more time getting my exam accoutrements out of my murse than I do actually writing the answers.

So, on the day of the exam, I turned up to the venue two hours early, panicking as I was that we were warned this was a one-shot only exam and if we were late, that was it, goodnight nurse. I took myself down to the little restaurant downstairs and thankfully realised that I wasn’t the only one who had arrived before the exam papers. I took a seat amongst the sea of ashen faces and got out my file. I had a minor panic when it turned out that everyone else at the table had reams upon reams of notes and I just had my wee Powerpoints to glance through, though. I took the view that if I didn’t know it by now it was too late and drifted back upstairs to wait anxiously at the door of the very fancy hall where the exam was being held. At least I looked keen, that would surely be worth an extra point or two?

As it happens, it all went well. Really well. Unless I’ve totally ballsed up somehow, I reckon it’s a pass, and the relief is so palpable I could shit, assuming I’d fit on the toilet. After the exam I had a few hours before my train home so I took myself to St. James’ Park to sit under the trees and let the stress melt away. Best part? Being able to chuck the giant lever arch file away that has clung to my side like a boil these last few weeks. Honestly, I’ve never scraped something into a bin with such venom since that pho.

And now we’re done, and the recipes will resume once more, and let me tell you know, we’ve got some absolute corkers coming up. Get ready to get moist! Moist like the chicken in these chicken tikka (tell me what’s wrong) wraps! LET’S GET THIS DONE. This makes enough for 4 big wraps, so you get two halves for one syn! CANNY.


to make grilled chicken tikka wraps you will need:

  • 4x BFree Multigrain Wraps (4x HeB)
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips (
  • 2 tbsp Patak’s Tikka Spice paste (4 syns)
  • 5 tbsp fat-free natural yogurt
  • ¼ of a large cucumber (you know what you can do with the rest, you saucy bugger)
  • 2 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 handfuls of rocket (or any salad leaves)
  • 1 pouch Tesco Everyday Value Golden Vegetable Rice (you can use any brand, but this one is free – others will vary up to about 3 syns so check!)
  • 2 large onions, sliced

We were kindly sent a Tefal Optigrill to try out and it worked well for this recipe – no messing about with tinfoil under a grill and it could be chucked in the dishwasher afterwards! We really do love it, and I promise we’re not just saying that because they gave us one for nowt!

All of our hampers have massive amounts of chicken in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of chicken, say (unlike me), hoy some more beef in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make chicken tikka wraps you should:

  • mix together the Tikka paste with 1 tbsp of the natural yogurt, and then stir into the chicken to coat completely – longer you can leave it, the better, but we just marinated for an hour or so
  • whilst the chicken marinades, add the onion to a large frying pan with few squirts oil and a good pinch of salt, and cook over a low heat with the lid on – stir every now and again until well caramelised and when it starts to stick, stir a bit more often – they won’t go golden, but when they’re sticky and gloopy they’re done
  • whilst that’s cooking, make the raita by peeling and dicing the cucumber and stirring into the natural yoghurt and mint sauce – keep in the fridge until you need it
  • make up the rice according to the packet instructions (leave out the oil, even if it says to use it)
  • next, get to business – if you’re using the Tefal Optigrill, simply press the Manual button until the light is orange, and once preheated add the chicken and close the lid until cooked
  • if using the grill, heat to medium-high, place the chicken underneath and cook until done, not forgetting to turn it now and again
  • grab your wraps and spread over as much raita as you like, followed by a sprinkling of rocket leaves, a couple of spoons of rice, caramelised onion and finally the chicken – this doesn’t need to be exact, just stuff them with as much as you want!
  • roll into a wrap shape, cut in half and enjoy

Oh! If you’re struggling with rolling wraps, it’s dead easy.

Nicking that video from Tesco. Don’t even care.

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summer salad with fried feta and a tomato consommé

You wanted summer recipes, so here’s two: summer salad with fried feta and a tomato and nasturtium consommé. But first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The searing hot, radioactive, giant ball of gassy matter that pumps out offensive levels of heat and that could kill us all. That’s right, my husband – he’s currently in bed, so I’m going to discuss the sun. For those in Scotland:

this is the sun – it’s the thing that turns you from that milky white colour to freshly butchered mince in 8 seconds.

I hate it. I’ve discussed at length the many things I hate about the great British summer but, because I’m a) tetchy and b) fat and c) sweaty, I’m going to moan about it again.

Insects

Literally everywhere you turn. Now I’m not daft, I know bees are important and without them we wouldn’t have pollination and food and existence and, perhaps more importantly, this gif of a bee giving a high-five:

but even so. Just once I’d like to spend more than eight minutes outside without something biting me, swarming at me, worrying me or just giving me shitty looks. I took this salad outside yesterday to take a decent photo in the light and I swear I’ve come back without at least one full layer of skin thanks to all the bites. I know I’m irresistible but I’d love to enjoy a meal outside without the both of us swearing and screaming like the table is on fire and we’re eating petrol sandwiches. The situation escalated surprisingly quickly when Paul knocked over a bottle of limoncello syrup – you can imagine how the wasps and bees reacted to that. Hopefully they’ve got smashed off their tits and are comatose in a hedge somewhere, the vespine equivalent of a teenager celebrating getting his fingers wet. I know of a friend who foolishly went camping in summer at Kielder Forest and was sent back to Newcastle by a roaming gang of midges. And we’re Geordies, you understand, we’re geet hard as ‘owt. Pfft.

Cars

Dogs die in hot cars. True, and you always get a satisfying story in the papers of some idiotic clot who dashed into a clinic to get her vag steamed only to leave poor Fido sizzling away on the parcel shelf, who then came out to find some hero has smashed all the windows in the car and called her a c*nt on national TV. I’d be tempted to let the dog out and do a big steaming shit all over her steering wheel, claiming the dog did it out of distress. But that’s not all – getting into my car at the moment is like trying to make yourself comfortable in an active volcano. I climbed in yesterday, peeling layers of skin off my hands as I did so, and found that the car was registering 34 degrees. 34! I turned the engine on expecting the car to blow up and leave me smeared across the street like fat jam. Paul’s car is even worse thanks to his asthmatic air-conditioning – I had to check whether he’d bought a new air-freshener yesterday but the smell of cooking bacon turned out to be the seatbelt clip sinking into my tit like a hot knife through butter.

Increased neighbour interaction

Most – though not all – of my neighbours are decent folks now, especially since they’ve had five years to come around to the fact that two gay men living on their street doesn’t mean we’re going to have all-night orgies and an amyl-nitrate fountain put in the front garden. About half of them actually stop to talk to us now, would you believe. That’s acceptable, but it means we also see the other half a lot more. Take this morning. I was awoken at 8am by the sound of my neighbour yanking and swearing at his shitty Lidl lawnmower to try and get it started. You need to understand that there’s only two reasons I ever want to be woken up on a Sunday before 11am: either I’m sleepshopping naked in ASDA and I’ve got my cock resting in the bananas or Paul has managed to convince the entire first team squad of the Newcastle Falcons that I’m their pre-game warm-up.

He eventually managed to get his £7.99 lawnmower going (and bearing in mind he’s one of these type of folks who’ll spend £35,000 on a car then never take it out of third gear) and I was left trying to dose whilst he whirred and spluttered and farted around his postage-stamp lawn. At 8am. On a Sunday. When he is fully retired and could do this at any time during the week. You can imagine my good humour, can’t you? I did a terribly British thing of getting up and slamming the window shut, but that in turn made the room boiling hot so I had to get up. Paul slept on. You know when they detonate those giant cooling towers and they crumble to the ground in a cloud of dust and excitement? You could stick Paul on a camp-bed right in the epicentre of the blast and he’d still only fart, turn over and start grizzling about his lumpy pillows. The fat bastard.

Go out and enjoy yourself  

Oh fuck off. I can enjoy the oppressive heat when I’m lying baking on a beach in Corsica, somewhere where I can dash into the sea to wipe away my sweaty boob rash and to peel my scrotum away from the sides of my ankle if it gets too much, but what can we do here? As I said, we can’t sit in the garden because we’re like cocaine for insects and we can’t go out in the car because it’s like driving a convection oven down the motorway, so what is left? Standing outside trying to surreptitiously peel clothing out of fat rolls and going ‘ooooh this is nice, bet it won’t last‘ like every other Brit? I don’t want to go outside. I want to stay inside where it is cold and air-conditioned and lovely and yeah I might get rickets but so fucking what, I’ll look bloody hilarious running for a bus. Beer gardens are full of boorish hooray-henries vaping and existing, public parks are awash with children screaming and laughing and even the cold, dark of the cinema is ruined by the kids being ‘on holiday’. Bah.

We need a decent plague and for him upstairs to turn the air-conditioning back on. By him upstairs I mean Paul, and, as we live in a bungalow, even that tortuous analogy doesn’t work. Let’s blame it on the heat.

Recipes then – summer salad with fried feta and a bonus recipe for a tomato consommé. I realised there was no point in sticking the tomato consommé on as an individual recipe because no bugger will make it, but hey, let’s roll the dice.

to make summer salad with fried feta you will need:

  • 250g reduced-fat feta cheese (4x HeA)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour (4 syns)
  • 4 tbsp panko (or any other type of breadcrumb, but panko works best) (4.5 syns)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • any sort of salad stuff you want to throw together
  • spray oil

Notes

You will need a fair few sprays of oil on this one – for each portion I’m going to say 10 sprays of a decent spray oil – so unusually, I’m counting the oil as an extra syn (5 sprays for 0.5 syns). It’s up to you, though. We use a spray oil dispenser from Amazon and top it up with decent quality olive oil – you can see the one we use right here (it’s dirt cheap). You could use Frylight but why would you – it’s shite. Plastic, nasty shite, plus it’ll mess your pans up. God knows why it is constantly recommended.

Those lovely looking pink onions? I’ve posted the recipe for them before right here (it’ll open in a new window) – they’re amazing. Soaked in vinegar, the sharpness melts away and they look amazing in a salad. Any time you have a red onion approaching the end of its life, follow this recipe!

Our salad consisted of a yellow pepper sliced and turned into matchsticks, moonblush tomatoes (made from our recipe here – we’re really using up the old favourites), a few black olives which I don’t syn so shoot me, peeled and sliced cucumber, rocket, sliced red onion and sliced pickled red onion. Make your salads interesting – it’ll serve you so much better – lots of flavour and textures.

to make summer salad with fried feta you should:

  • prepare the salad
  • cut the feta block into four equal pieces
  • dredge each block into the flour, then coat in the egg, and finally roll about in the breadcrumbs so it sticks (roll the feta, not yourself)
  • next, heat a small frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray some oil (save your pans and get yourself one of these)
  • whilst the feta is frying, gently spray a little more oil over the top so they brown when you flip them, which you’ll need to do do after about five minutes
  • when golden, serve on top of the salad so it’s just slightly soft in the middle

Delicious! Now onto the consommé – this is delicious but only if you’re a big tomato fan. I didn’t syn the drop of olive oil I used but up to you whether you include that! This is a clear(ish), pure tomato soup served cold. Very refreshing!

to make tomato and nasturtium consommé, you’ll need:

  • 2kg of tomatoes – red and ripe – soft is fine, we bought a giant box for a couple of quid from our local garden centre
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and 1/2tsp of tabasco
  • either a big handful of nasturtium flowers or, if you can’t get them (and you should bloody grow them because they’re amazing for you AND for the bees – they add pepperiness and you can eat both the flowers and the leaves), a big handful of basil
  • some decent salt flakes
  • a squirt of decent olive oil (optional)
  • a couple of pretty little tomatoes or nasturtiums and chopped chive

Notes:

This will serve four people a bloody big bowl of soup. It’s a faff timewise to make but worth it if you’re a fan of tomatoes and you want to try doing something different.

If you’re a vegetarian, remember to swap out the Worcestershire sauce for a veggie equivalent.

to make tomato and nasturtium consommé, you should:

  • chop the tomatoes into quarters, removing any particularly beefy stalks
  • tip the lot, together with the shallots, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and basil/nasturtium into a food processor and blitz it – you might need to do it in stages – season with salt and then blitz again – you do not want a smooth paste, you want it lumpy
  • now the tricky part – I found it so much easier to do this over the sink – put a large pan into the sink and then you’re going to want to take a large piece of muslin cloth and tip the tomato mixture in – tie the cloth up so the mixture can’t pour out of the sides and then find a way to suspend it over the pan so that the juices can drip through overnight (oh you flirt!) – I just tied my cloth to my tap which hangs over the sink
    • if you don’t have muslin cloth, use a very clean tea-towel – we’re not talking about the Congratulations Charles and Diana tea-towel that you wipe your minnie with when no-one is looking but a good fresh tea-towel – maybe use two – try not to get one that you’ve washed with fabric conditioner though eh, because the smell of Lenor is going to be off-putting
    • you can buy fine muslin cloth from amazon for a couple of quid – so much easier
  • the longer you leave it the better it will be, but DON’T SQUEEZE THE BAG otherwise your consommé will be cloudy (it’s natural for it to be a bit cloudy or yellow, but don’t make it worse)
  • in the morning, add a tiny dash of olive oil (1 tsp – 2 syns, up to you if you syn that tiny amount between 6) and gently simmer the liquid for about quarter of an hour – don’t boil it
  • season to taste with a bit of extra Tabasco sauce or salt if needed, then refrigerate until ready to serve
  • when serving, decorate with a few thin slices of the nice looking tomatoes or a couple of nasturtium flowers and chives and serve as cold as can be

Done! Enjoy! Want more veggie or lunch ideas? But of course you do. You know what to do by now!

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J

the perfect Slimming World Big Mac

Big Mac in a bowl? Big Mac tater tots? What happened to a plain old Big Mac stuffed firmly into your mush until the grayus runs down yer chin? Well, on Slimming World, that dirty Big Mac will cost you 25.5 syns and a threatening midnight call from Commandant Bramwell. Something needs to pay for her timeshare in Magaluf and the second-hand, nicotine-tainted Subaru Impreza (private reg: MMB 4EVA), let me tell you.

So, us being generous Cubs, decided to finish our American holiday entries with a Slimming World Big Mac which weighs in at an altogether less unseemly 6.5 syns. You could have four! But don’t, you greedy bugger. Before we get to the recipe, indulge me for another few minutes as I give you a happy ending to be proud of, as it’s part seven of our New York trip!

slimming world big mac

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four | click here for part five | click here for part six

We decided that it was imperative we be at the airport in good time lest we be late and miss our flight – I mean, can you imagine being stranded in New York? I’d feel like little Kevin McAllister, only without the shenanigans and inappropriate touching. As such, rather than clart about with the trains, we hailed a taxi. Our taxi driver was colourful with his language, going to great lengths to tell us what’s wrong with most Brits (we don’t tip, we’re too hoity-toity, Paul’s too fat, that sort of thing) and speeding through the streets like he’d stole the car. When it came to paying the fare I made a gag about asking Paul if he had twenty cents so we could give the exact fare and I swear to God, I thought the driver was going to shoot my face through the back of my head. I don’t like to exaggerate but I’ve never seen such ire in a man’s eyes – and I’ve gone in dry on more than one occasion. Just saying.

Naturally, with Speedy McMoodytits at the wheel, we arrived at the airport thirty minutes before check-in even opened, meaning we had to sit around forlornly by the front doors with our suitcases. It’s about the only time I miss smoking, at airports – it gives you something to do between getting fingered by some terse security attendant and spending the rest of your ‘foreign money’ on expensive tat for work colleagues. Do you know, I don’t think I’ve successfully managed to pass through an airport without buying a giant Toblerone since I was eighteen and got my first job? There’s always sarky remarks about originality but hey, at least it wasn’t a giant bag of wax fruit sweets that every other fucker brings back from their holiday.

I remember the first time Paul and I flew long-haul together (to Orlando, the tales of which you can find in our honeymoon book, which I’ve told is attractively priced on Amazon and available at the touch of a button on the very device you’re reading this on now). We were committed smokers at that point and the thought of nine hours in the air filled us with terror and dread.  We spent almost an hour mainlining fags outside of Manchester Airport then, once we had landed, it was literally the only thing we could think of. Fuck Mickey Mouse I cried, we’ve got emphysema to nurture. Naturally, Paul had lost the lighter and we spent a tense fifteen minutes trying to buy matches before some kind soul wheezed to our aid. It’s embarrassing, looking back.

Anyway, without smoking to pass the minutes, we occupied ourselves by streamlining our hand luggage and eating the bags of sweets I’d bought for my parents. It’s what they would have wanted. Finally time moved forward just enough for us to be granted permission to check in. The guy behind the counter was another grumpy sort who spent more time than I thought was decent fannying about with my passport. I resisted the urge to touch his hands and say ‘I’m sorry, I’m married, but I can send a signed photo by Fedex’ but he looked as though he’d snap my fingers.

What followed was the longest three hours of my life. Is there a more surprisingly awful, boring airport than JFK? I assumed that, being an exit hub, it would be full of vibrant shops and classy eateries for the carefree tourist to spend their money in. Nope. We had a Starbucks and watched the planes for a bit. Then we had a McDonalds and watched the planes for a bit. I enjoyed twenty-five minutes of furiously looking at my iPad whilst it failed to connect to the public Wi-Fi. We both went for a shite just to pass the time but found ourselves unable to commit the dirty deed because yet again the toilets only had a metal postage stamp for a door. I hate making eye-contact with anyone, let alone when I’m trying to birth an otter. Bah!

After looking around the duty free shop for the fourth time (why? Perhaps we thought there was an undiscovered wing to explore just behind the Smirnoff stand? Or that they rotated the stock on an hourly basis?) we succumbed and bought some aftershave: Paul some cloying Issey Miyake stuff, me some classy Tom Ford. I’ve come a long way since spraying my Mum’s bottle of Mum under my boobs before PE, I can tell you.

Finally, it was time to board. As usual, four hundred people leapt up at once as though fearful the plane might accidentally nip away before they’d had a chance to fuss about with the safety cards and put their duty free in the overhead bins. We hung back – we’re too fat to move safely in crowds – one of us trips and we’re taking people out on the way down. When we eventually made it to the final beep-beep check of the tickets and passport, a very stern lady with ice-blonde hair and a face that had never seen sunlight told us to stand to one side.

They then took our passports and tickets away from us whilst people walked past tutting at us as though we were terrorists. I mean, fair enough I hadn’t shaved, but I wasn’t a complete disaster.  For almost five minutes we waited whilst they let other people past. My arsehole was nipping so much I was surprised the two kilos of coke stuck up there didn’t fall out. Paul remained calm – as usual – I could hurl a burning pan of hot oil into his ear and he’d still yawn and look impassive, though he might feel a bit sad that he wasn’t getting chips.

Finally, we were given new tickets and told we had been moved from our original seats. We’re not fussy so didn’t say much and rejoined the queue. It was only on boarding that we were told we’d been upgraded. Hooray! Premium Economy is the lowest class we’ll fly because we’re fat and snotty (just kidding: it really is just because we’re fat) so anything higher was always going to be great. A genuinely lovely end to a fantastic holiday.

Quick thoughts? It was great being able to lie down properly on an overnight flight, although I didn’t like not being right next to Paul – I find it hard to sleep unless some of his fat isn’t rolling over me and the sound of him choking on his own neck is lullabying me to the land of nod. Having my own ‘pod’ was a novelty though – I spent a good forty minutes pressing every switch, turning on every light, opening every little drawer (a drawer to put my shoes in: how clever!) and carefully secreting every freebie into my bag. It was only when the Captain announced that someone was draining the power from the engines that I stopped whirring my chair, charging my iPod and frying myself some chips.

slimming world big mac

BYEEEEEEE LOL MISSING U HUN

The stewardesses came around shortly after take-off and asked everyone if they would like anything to eat. Paul, much to my horror, said he was full and only wanted a vodka. I was foaming. Everyone knows you need to make the most of this type of situation, even if it makes you look like a grasping harlot. I ordered a gin and tonic and a full meal (despite having already had a three course meal in the airport – ah well, I had plenty of time to sleep it off).

Here’s the thing – this is why I can’t have nice things. I was served a wonderful array of dishes but to me, they were nothing special and the portion sizes were tiny. I appreciate this is just me being a big fat pig but it seems the more you pay for food, the less you get. Don’t get me wrong, I put it all away in record time and did a discreet celebratory burp into my pillow for good measure, but I don’t like being served a big white plate with a shaving of radish on it and a flea-bite of cheese. I could have breathed my dinner into my lungs. I did make Paul watch me eat a delicious chocolate melting pudding, though – I stared right in his eyes and smacked my lips. That’ll teach him.

The night flight passed smoothly, soothed as I was by the sounds of my fellow fliers sleeping soundly and farting long into the night. Paul woke up at one point thinking the landing gear was coming down until I explained it was merely the mechanics of my chair straining under my bulk.

I was disappointed by the toilets – I wasn’t expecting someone to come in and wipe my taint but really, it’s not very upper class to be standing in someone else’s piss whilst you slap on the Elemis eye-cream. I know that on Emirates’ A380 you can actually have a hot shower whilst you fly. I can’t conceive of something I’d rather do less at 38,000ft – I know that as soon as I undressed and climbed into the shower we’d hit extreme turbulence and I’d end up shooting out of the bathroom with suds in my hair and my cock a-flapping whilst everyone screamed around me. It’s what happens when I get changed at the gym, why should it be any different in the sky?

We landed in good time and, unusually, were through security in no time at all. We did the usual things – updated Facebook to show off our fancy flying, texted my mother to tell her that I hadn’t made an unscheduled stop into the sea and that she could cancel the hearse, then made our way through grey London for our Virgin train back home. As you’d expect with a train journey, it was entirely uneventful, and we were home in no time for a good sleep.

That’s that! New York – done. It’s somewhere we’ve always wanted to go and it was made all the sweeter by Paul not knowing about it in advance. Normally I can’t keep a secret for toffee but somehow I managed to pull off a full holiday without giving the game away. The people, for the most part, were friendly, and everything we visited was absolutely worth it. I can see why people go back – we’ve only scratched the surface of what the city has to offer.

We’d move there in a heartbeat save for the fact that a decent flat in a nice area is over a million quid and well, we don’t have that sort of money hidden down the sofa (feel free to buy more copies of this book though, it might pay for a lamp or something). I think my favourite day, of all of them, was walking around Central Park – nothing much happened but it was so beautiful and so New York.

We travelled with Virgin Trains (reasonable), British Airways (excellent) and stayed at the Wyndham New Yorker (lovely, but ask for a newer room – our room was a bit old-fashioned and stuffy. We liked it, but you might not).

Onto the next holiday…


Right! Yes. THIS MAKES FOUR! If you want fewer, just reduce the amount as you need to.

slimming world big mac

to make a Slimming World Big Mac, you’re going to need:

  • (this makes enough for four, mind you)
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 6 wholemeal rolls (use 4x as a HeB each, and then syn the remaining two at 12 syns to make the middle bun)
  • half an iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • sliced gherkins
  • 4 slices of reduced-fat processed cheese (12 syns)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced

for the special sauce

  • 4 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp reduced-fat thousand island dressing (1 syn)
  • 4 tsp chopped gherkins
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt

We used a proper bun for the pictures and don’t even care – if you’re using white buns with sesame seeds, you’re looking at about 12 syns, and even then it’s half the syn cost of a proper one. AND you can reduce the syns further still by swapping out the cheese for some of your proper HEA cheese, but if you’re going to do this, you’ve got to do it properly, see?

Two things we used to help with this recipe, neither of which are critical to the recipe but they do help: our Optigrill and our canny little burger maker (dirt cheap)!

to make a Slimming World Big Mac, you should:

  • bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and add the chopped onion – simmer for 30 seconds, then drain and set aside
  • next, mix together the sauce ingredients in a bowl, including 2 tbsp of diced onion, and set aside
  • add salt and pepper to the mince and then divide into 8 balls (just over 60g each) and flatten into burger shapes – they don’t need to be perfect, and remember, McDonalds burgers are normally thin!
  • if you’re using the OptiGrill: fire it up and select the ‘burger’ option – when the light goes blue simply whack the burgers on, close the lid and cook until the light is orange
  • otherwise – preheat the grill to high and cook the burgers until done – remembering to flip over
  • whilst they’re cooking, toast the buns
  • next – assemble the burger – you want it in this order:
    • bottom bun
    • tbsp special sauce
    • tbsp diced onion
    • chopped lettuce
    • slice of cheese
    • burger
    • bun half
    • tbsp special sauce
    • tbsp onion
    • lettuce
    • gherkins
    • burger
    • top bun
  • forget you’re on a diet
  • turn into poo

How nice is that? For the full McDonalds experience, try and eat your burger whilst eighteen kids off their tits on e-numbers and sugar run screaming around your ankles whilst neck-tattooed dads stare glumly at you with their dead, soulless eyes.

Big thanks to @TEFALUK and @Foodies100!

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J