quick sticky beef with kale

Quick sticky beef with kale is just below the guff. It’s on the gunt of this page, if you will.

A productive day today.

Firstly, thank you to all and everyone for the reassuring words in response to my last post about health anxiety. I’m just having a wobble, all will be well. Always darkest before the dawn and all that shite. I did see the doctor today who mentioned carpal tunnel syndrome and gave me a few exercises to try with my wrist. Now that sounds filthy, but I can assure you it’s all non-erotic and safe. I don’t pay for private healthcare, after all. He did ask what I thought may have caused it and I tried to explain that there is quite the collection of Audi drivers around where I work, and frankly, given the amount of wanker-signs I do in my mirror it’s not surprising my wrists sound like a cement mixer.

He told me not to worry about my fogginess and had a bit of a feel of my stomach. He had the good grace not to ask for the block and tackle be brought in. I hate taking my shirt off at the doctors (almost as much as I used to hate taking my underwear off in church) because, although my doctor is wonderful, kind and non-judgemental, I’m embarrassed that he has to see how much I’ve ruined my beautiful body by filling it with gravy and chips for a solid ten years. At least I get a brownie point when he asks if I smoke and I get to say only after sex, because then he remembers I’m married and therefore that means two cigarettes a year. I certainly can’t claim I’m tee-total anymore, given we’ve now got a giant bookshelf full of hard liquor.

Liquor? I barely knew her!

Paul dealt with the man who came to test our boiler. This is possibly the most terrifying thing for me – we’ve touched upon my hatred of having anyone in my house who isn’t delivering food and boiler men are no exception. See, to get into our loft (we’re a bungalow) you climb through a hatch in the ceiling via a strong metal ladder that comes down automatically. Yes, that is the most pointless sentence I’ve ever managed to write – you’re hardly going to trampoline into the fucker, are you? When Paul steps on this ladder, it doesn’t so much strain as shriek.

I’ve watched enough Air Crash Investigation to know what metal fatigue is and this ladder is absolutely fucking knackered. I try to ask Paul to make sure the ladder is locked before we have anyone climb up so it doesn’t snap down but he ignores me on the basis I’m being irrational. Of course I’m irrational – you’re talking to someone who diagnosed himself with a brain tumour because his ears were warm, for goodness sake. I have visions of some gruff type climbing the ladder only for it to plunge down on his hands and cleave his fingers right off. Paul always looks at me non-plussed as I try to demonstrate why this is a bad thing by thumping my palm on a piano or clumsily trying to pick up a pen with a balled fist. Jeez. As it happens, the guy went up the ladder like a rat up a drainpipe, banged around a bit, confirmed that our boiler wasn’t killing us and beat a hasty retreat.

He’s probably been warned by either the last guy who went up into the loft only to be confronted with a big old box of free condoms that well, we don’t have much use for, or the alarm guy who couldn’t help but notice the douching bulb that was unfortunately sat on top of the alarm box. Meh. I hope we’re not getting a reputation – although actually, I did put ‘If you’re quick, I might nosh you off 😉 Paul xxx’ on our Just-Eat order last night knowing that Paul would have to get the door when the delivery man came. That was my revenge for Paul writing ‘I <3 COCK’ on the back of my car and letting me drive it around for a week. Do you know, I wasn’t so angry with that as the fact I didn’t get one beep’n’leer from passing lorry drivers.

We also arranged for new cleaners, too. Which I know sounds terribly frou-frou but hey, got to spend the huge advertising spoils somehow. Our last cleaner was great at cleaning but ridiculously expensive (only because she came from Sunderland, so we had to pay danger money) and used to leave the TV tuned to MTV Clubland at full volume, which was a fright when we came home from a hard day’s graft. Nothing says …aaaand relax like some harpie more herpes than woman screaming ‘BUY CLUBLAAAAAND EIIIIIGHTY-SIIIIIX NAAAAAAAW’ over some sped-up Faithless.

We did manage to cause instant intrigue by telling them they must never enter our bedroom. I know, suspicious, but I don’t want anyone seeing our black sheets and thinking they’re a Jackson Pollock homage. I know they’ll have seen it all before but still. They start on Friday and seem like lovely people, so fingers crossed.

Finally, we fixed our cat. He’s been licking away at his knob all summer. I know what you’re thinking, we’d all do it if we were able, but I reckon he’d probably scratch your face if you tried. We had him checked to make sure he could urinate properly (he can, and evidenced the fact by having a long, luxurious piss on the vet’s table when she squeezed him) and all was fine. But still he persists. It seems I can’t go outside without seeing him sitting on the path in front of the neighbours licking away at himself with his bumhole on show. They must think our lifestyle is catching. One of our more distant neighbours on another street absolutely hates our cats – he’s taken to staring furiously at the cats whilst they pad about in our garden. I’m not sure who he thinks he is scaring, but honestly, even a cat wouldn’t be intimidated by a man who looks like he bought all of the clothes he’ll ever need in one trip to Woolworths in the seventies. He’s the same man who once came pounding on our door inviting us to look at the shit one of our cats had apparently done in his flower-bed – notably how large it was. I wasn’t sure if he was expecting us to stick a 1st prize rosette on it or something. We just let him go red in the face.

Anyway, turns out our cat is allergic to fleas. He doesn’t have fleas, which is lucky, but every time he fights with another cat who has been in contact with fleas it makes his skin itchy then he bites away at it, hence the sore bit around his knob. Our vet, a very jolly woman who looked like a farmer’s wife from a James Herriott novel, and had bigger hands than I did, manhandled poor Bowser this way and that and then gave him an injection. He already seems much happier. I was less happy when I was presented with the bill – £49! For one injection. I mean, he’s worth it, don’t get me wrong, but what the hell did she inject him with? Saffron via a diamond syringe? He’s fully insured but that’s too little to claim, meaning we’ll just need to soak it up. Things between us and the cat were tense on the car-ride home, with Paul barely slowing the Smart car down as we passed over the speed-bump into the street and the cat sulking all the way home.

It’s a relief to know that I might not be woken up by looking directly into Bowser’s balloon-knot tomorrow morning, though.

Right, let’s get this wrapped up. Great British Bake-Off is on soon and I need to prepare myself for an hour of looking furiously at things I’ll never have and idly wondering whether Mary Berry ever climbed our loft ladder.

Now, when Paul suggested beef with cumin, I got entirely the wrong end of the stick and that he’d finally lost his mind, Dahmer-style, but no, apparently I’m just being silly. Of course! However, the other name for this recipe is hunan beef, and that looks just a little bit too close to human beef. So either way we’re fucked. All you need to know is this is a simple, quick dish with lots of flavour and a decent way of getting kale into the diet. Of course, the best way to enjoy kale is to hurl it maniacally into a bin and then seal the bin in concrete lest any of that earthy, crinkly shite escapes, but in the meantime, here we are…

quick sticky beef with kale

to make quick sticky beef with kale you will need:

  • 400g stir-fry beef strips (or use diced beef and cut each cube in half) – you get beef strips (much tastier than queef strips) in our Musclefood deals, yes you do, which are just perfect – and plus you get tonnes of mince and chicken too – what’s not to enjoy about that – click here for that
  • 1 tbsp sherry (about 1 syn)
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (1 syn)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 6 big handfuls of kale
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2 syns)

Now I post this periodically, but just a reminder: if you buy ginger, buy a big knob and keep it in the freezer, grating it when you need it. It’ll keep quite happily in there and saves a lot of money on wasted knobs. And yes, I know, I know, but get one of these mincers for your garlic and ginger. Much easier. MUCH EASIER. And so cheap. You could make this serve 4 but listen, we didn’t get where we are eating little portions, so pull out your trough and make it serve two.

to make quick sticky beef with kale you should:

  • mix together the sherry, dark and light soy sauce, cornflour and 1 tbsp of warm water and pour over the beef – leave to marinade for about 20 minutes
  • in a large pan, heat some oil from your favourite spray dispenser over a high heat and add the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes and cook for about a minute
  • add the beef and cook for another three minutes or so
  • add the kale and cook for another few minutes, until it has all wilted – keep stirring!
  • add the cumin and stir well – cook for another minutes or two
  • turn off the heat, add the spring onions and sesame oil, stir and serve with rice

Easy. As. That.

Right, if you’re looking for more fakeaway recipes, beef recipes or, shit, why not, soup recipes, why don’t you just click on these buttons like a big man?

beefsmallfakeawayssmall    soupsmall

Yeah that’s right.

J

roast beef and mustard lentil salad

Now, before we get to the roast beef and mustard lentil salad, I want to discuss something. Serious faces please. Fingers on lips. Not those lips. Not those fingers. Good lord, contain yourself.

After yesterday’s post I received a comment about how tired someone was because of ‘all the advertising’ on our blog. Fair enough: everyone’s entitled to an opinion, of course, and you’ll note that I approved the comment where I could have just deleted it. It’s a discussion worth having, after all. It’s been on my mind a little.

Here’s the thing – take a look at other food blogs – you’ll see tonnes of little adverts all over the page. I could do the same thing and quadruple my blog income in a shot. But on our main page, I’ve got one little google advert at the top. It’s not spread all over the place, it doesn’t slow the page, it doesn’t detract from the content. It could, very easily, but we chose to have a clean blog which is easy to access over something buggy and full of ads. When we email out to subscribers we could send a snippet rather than the full blog meaning that you had to visit the page and thus, drive up our adsense – but we don’t do it, because it would be crap for you. That’s the reason there’s no pop-up whenever you load the page asking you to subscribe, that’s why we don’t send out spam, that’s why there’s no ‘read more’ button which loads more ads. It’s about making it good for the reader not the writer.

How most blogs make money is via affiliate marketing – if I recommend Musclefood, I get a very small commission. Same with Amazon. That’s why, when we do a recipe with mince in it, I’ll stick a link in to Musclefood and if a recipe calls for grated garlic, I’ll mention the mincer. I don’t mean Paul. But this is the thing: we do use Musclefood for meat and we do own the few gadgets and Amazon products that I mention. I’m not just shilling for the tiny bit of money it makes me, I recommend them because I believe in them. I’ve always been totally transparent about the advertising, too – I don’t hide it away. We mention our books occasionally because I’m bloody proud of the fact I have a book – of course I should be! But that’s about the extent of the adverts.

Our blog operates to a very simple template – 1,000 words or so of preamble and nonsense, one decent photograph of the food, a very simple no-fuss breakdown of the recipe and then a couple of links to other posts on the blog. It takes me about 90 minutes to type up the ‘story’ and to try and add the funny bits. Sit and type out 1,000 words, try to make it faintly funny, see how long it takes you. We spend a couple of hours over the weekend researching and planning the recipes. We have to buy new ingredients and unusual ingredients because we like to have different styles of recipes spread out over the year. Paul spends an hour or so cooking the meals, I spend a few minutes photographing, then typing. I then spend 20 minutes or so publishing the blog in our various mediums. That’s a lot of time for two blokes who work full-time in demanding jobs and who, let’s face it, are bone-bloody-idle.

And there’s the cost too – we had to buy a proper server for the blog to sit on – that costs a fair chunk every year. New ingredients cost money. Photography software costs money. As much we don’t struggle for money, I’d much rather spend that money putting my fat arse on a beach somewhere than talking about servers with some chap in Wisconsin.

So why do we do it? Because we fucking love it! We adore all the wonderful, lovely comments we receive. We love hearing from folks who have cooked one of our meals and been pleasantly surprised that slimming food could be so delicious. We eat so well because we’re constantly trying new things. We’ve met amazing folk in our groups, on our facebook page, via here. Everyone’s got a story and we love to hear them. I love to write, so this is a perfect outlet for my verbal diarrhoea – and we’ve got a very unique thing in that we’ve got a perfect diary of our last two years. Paul could barely cook before we started and now he’s confident in the kitchen. It’s great!

We’re not going to stop any time soon despite all the effort it takes. But the balance for that is that in the big blog posts, you might get a couple of text links to ingredients and a mention of Musclefood. It’s easy ignored and I think a decent exchange for the work we do. When we’ve got a Musclefood sale on, you’ll get a paragraph, but it’s always delineated from the post by blank lines. Skip over it. It’s easy to forget that we’ve already done over 350 recipes which are all indexed by syns – you couldn’t buy a cookbook with that many recipes in it, and we give it away for free. Always will be!

I hope that clears things up! I am sorry to moan, but there just something in the wanky, passive-aggressive comment that pushed a button.

To make things worse, here’s a salad! It’s syn free, full of taste and made up of only a few ingredients – it’s an excellent way to use up any roast beef you have kicking about, but you can also throw sliced beef in there for no syns. We’re talking proper roast beef though, not the processed stuff as that sometimes does have syns. Before I do, though, I’m obliged to mention – because it’s possibly the last day we’re running this, our current Musclefood deal. If you’re already frothing at the gash at the thought of ONE advert, just scroll on by.


Remember: our Musclefood deal is running with 10% off but ending soon. Canny deal – even if you don’t want it, share it with a friend!

FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that. TO THE RECIPE.


roast beef and mustard lentil salad

to make a roast beef and mustard lentil salad, you’ll need:

  • lots of leftover roast beef
  • a can of green lentils
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • a wee bunch of spring onions
  • a lemon
  • a spoonful of wholegrain mustard (this might have syns from recollection – 1 syn – but shared between four)
  • a bag of bistro salad leaves – the ones that have the little strips of beetroot in that make your poo an alarming red – or use any other salad leaves

to make a roast beef and mustard lentil salad, you should:

  • nice and simple this one – chop your tomatoes into quarters, thinly slice your spring onions and put a nice bunch of salad leaves on your plate
  • empty your tinned lentils into a microwavable bowl and cook for about three minutes in enough water to cover them, then drain
  • stir the mustard through the lentils while they are warm and then allow to cool
  • time to assemble – leaves on the bottom, mix of beef, lentils, spring onions and tomatoes on the top
  • dress with the juice of a lemon and some of the zest – no oil needed, perhaps a pinch of salt!

You know, I wasn’t going to do this but hell. You can use one of these to grate the lemons – it creates a nice fine zest and then you can use it for every other recipe we do! You can even see the zest in the photo. HARRUMPH.

Anyway, enjoy!

If you’re looking for more beef recipes, you could do no better than having a look on the links below! I’ve also thrown in some vegetarian recipes because, although this isn’t a veggie recipe, there’s lots more salads in there!

beefsmallvegetariansmall

J

beef in a black bean sauce

I bet you’re here for the beef in a black bean sauce, aren’t you? Well, before we get to the main event, let me tease you with some words. Thoughtplay, if you prefer. Nah, it’s not that posh. The bits in my blog before the recipes are the equivalent of a chav spitting on his fingers beforehand. Before I do, though…


Our Musclefood deal runs for another couple of days only – 10% off our already amazing value freezer box! It’s a delivered chilled box of wonder – with 24/26 big fat chicken breasts, 800g of extra lean beef chunks, 2kg of extra lean beef mince and lots and lots of bacon. It’s usually £50 – which is cheap when compared to what you’d pay in the shop – but we’ve knocked off 10% for ONE WEEK ONLY. This brings it down to £45 – the cheapest it has ever been. Remember you can choose the date of delivery and payment doesn’t come out until your chosen date, so you can order in advance. To order, just click this link, add to basket, add the code TCCFREEZER and choose standard delivery – £45! Easy! But this is for ONE WEEK ONLY.


Sorry, we’re not normally so heavy with the advert, but well, it only runs for a little bit longer, and you’ll be twisting your gob if you try and buy it and it’s full-price, so buy it now. Hell, you can use the beef chunks to make the recipe below!

We’ve been swimming. Good god I know. Normally we confine getting our tits out to times when we’re at least two large water masses away from the UK, but balls to that – literally buoyed up with goodwill from the gym, we thought we’d dip our toe in the water, not least before all the swimming pools in the United Kingdom get filled up with cement and turned into posh hat shops. Anyway, look at the state of us – at least you know we’re going to float with all the blubber.

I love the thought of swimming – I enjoy thinking about getting up early, getting myself a nice fresh towel, driving myself to the baths and doing a few luxurious lengths of the pool before laughing gaily in the changing rooms and talking of times past with some accountant with a verruca. It never happens though. It’s probably the early morning – we have four alarms in the morning and it’s only the fourth, an exceptionally loud chorus of Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl playing through every speaker in the house, that gets us up. There’s a lot to be said for having a fancy connected house sound-system but having that tangerine-faced little shit-tickler caterwauling throughout until you get to the iPad and turn him off isn’t one of them.

I did used to swim with my old flatmate, Mary, but she stopped going when she thought the chlorinated water was giving her cystitis. Not the regular parade of blokes you understand, but the mild waters of Hexham baths. She’d put on a coach over the weekend. I’ve always fancied having a pop at wild swimming, which, from what I understand from the Guardian, is where lots of people whose first name ends in a -reh or a -rah sound get together, show off their varicose veins, swim in a river and then stop for an elderflower press on the way home. That’s fine but my closest river is the Wansbeck and I don’t fancy swimming using someone else’s recently passed stool as earplugs. Plus, remember, I’m scared of dams and sluices and grates and weirs. I’d wind up having a panic attack in the water near a sewage pipe and end up with Michael Buerk narrating my dramatic rescue, with candid overhead shots of me being winched into the helicopter on a slab of tarpauline like the time that poor whale got stuck in the Thames. Fuck that.

Now, the last time we did venture into a swimming pool that we hadn’t rented all to ourselves was at David Lloyd, where the pool comes with a steam room that makes you smell like oranges. Which is great, given a lot of the ladies (and indeed most of the men) had the skin colour of a bottle of Tropicana as it was. We didn’t enjoy it because there were so many beady eyes watching us attempt to swim, so we sat in the jacuzzi farting just as hard as we could. If you’re going to be snooty with me, Madam, you can enjoy the smell of pizza stuffed meatloaf dispersed through so many jets of bubbles.

So anyway, it was at 8am on Saturday morning that found us pouring into Paul’s Smart car, destined for the salubrious wonderland that is Morpeth Riverside Leisure Centre. See, Morpeth is canny posh and we thought most of the residents would be too busy making soufflé or beating their help to be bearing witness to our attempts. The morning hadn’t started well – the swimming shorts that I had previously worn in Corsica had somehow shrunk in the wash (yes, that was it) meaning the netting inside pressed right up against my clockweights, giving them the impression of an overstuffed tangerine bag. Paul was fine, his elephant’s elbow were tucked away neatly. I cut out the netting, thinking at least I’d be able to use him like a rudder if the water was warm.

It wasn’t, by the way.

But I will say this – it was very enjoyable! Yes, you’ve got to get changed in front of everyone else, and yes, there’s always one man see-sawing a towel in his arse-crack like he’s rubbing out an error in an exam, and yes, everything jiggles, but once you’re in the water and swimming, it’s actually very pleasant. Burns about 500 calories an hour if you swim slowly, though let’s be realistic. Unless you’re committed, you’ll do one length and then fart about in the shallow end for an hour before it’s a reasonable time to get out and get a Mars bar from the vending machine. Paul likes me to go underwater and swim between his legs, but I’ve stopped doing that since he left a racing stripe on my freshly-shaved head. We will definitely be talking about going back.

In the meantime, if you fancy giving wild swimming a go, have a look here!

By the way, not going to make a fuss, but we lost 10lb between us this week 🙂

beef in a black bean sauce

This makes 4 VERY generous portions!

to make beef in a black bean sauce you will need:

  • 800g beef strips (two packs from our Musclefood deal!)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1″ knob of fresh ginger, minced (for the garlic and ginger, use a mincer, you’ll have it done in a doddle – click here for ours!)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 3 tbsp black beans, mashed up a little bit (this is optional – they’re a bugger to find!) (though we found ours in our local Chinese supermarket, fermented – tasty!)
  • 2 red chilli peppers, sliced thinly
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

for the marinade:

  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2 syns)
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

for the sauce

  • 160ml beef stock
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce

Don’t worry if you don’t have dark and light soy sauce just make do with one of the other!

to make beef in a black bean sauce you should:

  • firstly, mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl
  • place the diced beef into a freezer bag or bowl, drizzle over the marinade, shake it up and marinade for at least 20 minutes but ideally overnight, though I know, you’ll be cooking it the very second the minute hand sweeps past thirty
  • when ready to cook, mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside
  • heat a large pan over a high heat and add a little oil or a few squirts of Frylight
  • lob in the beef and cook until browned
  • remove the beef from the pan, add a little bit more oil/Frylight and throw in the onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry for a few minutes
  • chuck in the red peppers and black beans (if using) and cook for a bit longer until the peppers have softened
  • next, add in the red chilli, rice vinegar and spring onions and return the beef to the pan
  • stir for a minute, add the sauce, cook for another thirty seconds and serve with rice!

You can actually cheerfully leave out the black beans, though they do add something to the dish. Try and use low salt soy sauce if you can. Enjoy!

For more fakeaway recipe ideas or beef ideas, click the icons below!

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J

rick stein’s filthy macaroni

Very quick post tonight – just time to rattle off the FILTHY macaroni!

Ah Rick Stein, let us count the ways we love you. Your food is simply delicious. You look like a Waitrose take on Brendan from Coach Trip. You have a great sense of humour which shines through all of your shows. You make us both feel confident that when we get to 70 we’ll still have a twinkle in our eyes and the ability to act slightly camp in unusual situations. People at work have decreed that I must want to stare moonily through his windows at him because I idolise him so much.

Gush, gush. Look, we’ve only just happened across Rick via his Long Weekends show on BBC2. For years we didn’t bother because most of his meals revolve around seafood and although god knows we’ll put most things in our mouth without blinking, neither of us have ever managed to get away with fish.  We spotted, however, that he was holidaying in Berlin and Iceland for his show, staying both times at the same hotels we did, and since then we’ve become massive fans. He’s brilliant! Let’s do the recipe, then, shall we? I absolutely can’t claim this as one of our own – it’s all darling Rick’s work. The original recipe is called sporki macaroni which he doesn’t like as it means dirty pasta. Frankly, we like him so much we’re going to call the recipe FILTHY macaroni! 

You can buy Rick’s book with this recipe from Amazon and I’d heartily recommend it – yes, you’ll spend syns per meal but christ it’s worth it. Click here for that. Oh and we’re not getting paid to promote Rick. I reckon the fact we bought two fish and chips from his little outlet in Padstow means we’ve given him enough money. They were delicious.

filthy macaroni

to make filthy macaroni, you’ll need:

  • 400g lean beef – we used one of the packets of diced lean beef you get in our Musclefood deal – very tasty meat indeed! Have a look!
  • small red onions, chopped
  • small carrots, sliced
  • bay leaf (we have a little plant growing in the garden – buy one and never look back)
  • pinch of salt
  • a good grinding of black pepper, then do it again – you can never have too much
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced, using a fabulous little mincer that feels good in the hand, such as this one
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • a few handful of spinach
  • 250ml full-bodied red wine (11.5 syns – this serves 4 and I reckon most of it boils off, so let’s live life on the edge and call it 2.5 syns each) (don’t tell Mags though, she’ll key my car with her nails)
  • 600g pasta – any old shite will do, but we used penne that’s been rattling around amongst the weevils for the last year – only the best

to make filthy macaroni, you should:

  • unusually for a gay man, I’m going to recommend you brown off your beef – do this by putting a drop of oil in a decent, heavy pan, getting it sizzling and then dropping in the beef – better to do this in two batches rather than trying to cram your meat into a space that perhaps isn’t designed to accommodate it all at once (also unusual for me to say…)
  • add the chopped onions and carrots and stir
  • once these are brown, add the bay leaf and a good pinch of salt and all the pepper
  • stir in the tomato puree, cinnamon and garlic and fry gently for a couple of minutes
  • add the red wine and chicken stock – heat all the way up to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about an hour or so until the meat is tender
  • about fifteen minutes before, cook up your pasta – don’t cook it to mush, keep it nice and al dente (not Al Murray) – and about five minutes before it is done throw the spinach in – drain the pasta, add to the meat sauce and stir – then cook on a low heat for another ten minutes to get the flavours working together

Done! Rick serves with chopped parsley but I’d genuinely rather set my eyes on fire than do that. Bleurgh. It’s the Devil’s Pubic Hair!

If you’re looking for more beef or pasta recipes, click the icons below to be whisked away to our fabulous bank of recipes!

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J

beef satay with peanut dipping sauce

Beef satay with peanut dipping sauce? On Slimming World? Surely not! But YES. Let me tell you, it actually tasted like something you’d get in a Chinese restaurant too, as opposed to the usual Slimming World slop-swap, where the end result isn’t so much divorced from the original as moved to a new city and never seeing the children. You know when people theatrically slap their hand to their open mouth in shock? Well, I didn’t have time to do that as I was too busy making sure Paul didn’t eat my share. Recipe below.

Can I just take a moment to say I thoroughly enjoyed Batman v Superman? I just like to think that Ben Affleck is probably reading this blog, dying to know how to turn ASDA beef chunks into something palatable, and after all of the criticism he’s faced over his boring film, this might cheer him up. Plus, Paul and I both agree that you have quite an impressive knob in Gone Girl, and I’m not talking about Rosamund Pike. I went to see Batman vs Superman with an old friend (literally, she’s well old) and it was all very enjoyable, even in blurry 3D-vision. I’m a fan of 3D if done well (Saw 3D, of all things, was fun) but not if it’s just to make the odd leaf or snowflake look like it’s coming towards you. No amount of blistering 3D detail is going to make me think I’m right there in Gothametroplis (right?) – my arse-cheeks turning to concrete on the rock-hard cinema seats keep me grounded.

Oh, that and the little shits along the row who, along with their father, spent every other minute looking at their phones and being unnecessarily rambunctious. Naturally, as a Brit, I tutted and sighed for two hours until I was on the verge of hyperventilating and had to blow into my pic-and-mix bag for comfort. The father took a bloody phone call at one point! Unless it’s a doctor ringing up to tell you that “yes, Mr Smith, we’ve found you a brain, you’ll need to come in for fitting immediately” you don’t take a bloody phone call in the cinema. If I had my way, everyone would have their hands stapled to the arm-rest and if your phone rang or you needed a poo, well tough titty. The cherry on the cake was towards the end I went to get the last sour apple snake from my bag (not a euphemism) (also, yes, hypocritical) when one of the children sighed like he was blowing out the candles on a birthday cake and said ‘I CAN’T WATCH THE FILM IF PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO RUIN IT‘. I’ve never felt so chagrined. 

Anyway, today we’ve said at least two things that hammer home how old we’re getting – first, Paul suggested we go out “for a drive in the car“. I don’t know why we do it, we invariably get stuck behind someone for whom the fourth gear is uncharted territory and I end up going apocalyptic behind them trying to overtake. I have to come home and punch a brick wall to calm down. The second line that tumbled from my ageing lips was the clincher though – when Paul mentioned that our home town could do with some decent flowers being planted (in itself a very Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells thing to say), I replied by saying ‘yes, but the young’uns would just pull them up and cause a mess‘.

May I remind you I’m 31.

Goodness me. I almost stopped at the Lloyds Pharmacy on my left there and then for a hearing test and a fitting for Tena for Men but well, it would take a while to get parked and with my aching hips, getting out of the car is too much of a chore. So instead we drove to the beach and ate sandwiches in the car whilst listening to Gardeners’ Question Time and nodding at nothing in particular.

Ah well, to the satay! It’s something I always order whenever we get a takeaway, though sadly our favourite local takeaway seems to have closed down. I like to think they couldn’t keep up with our demands. I’ve definitely had more than eight ‘it’s my birthday, can we have a free giant spring rolls please thanks‘ events this year. I certainly hope it hasn’t been closed down by the council because that would bring our total of ‘favourite then condemned’ eateries to three. We used to have a Chinese takeaway literally across the street from us when we lived in Gosforth which was fantastic.

Paul was confused when he first went to order because the tiny, very Chinese looking lady behind the counter spoke with a Geordie accent that sounded like she was possessed by Tim Healy. And he’s not even dead. It really didn’t gel with her beautiful cheongsam dress and I-kid-you-not chopsticks in her hair bun.

Still, the food was delicious and tasty up until the point the ‘Scores on the Doors’ folk came around and rated them zero out of five for cleanliness, food safety and hygiene. Nothing says did you enjoy your chow-mein like seeing it again two minutes after eating from one end or twenty minutes from the other. I must have a stomach of asbestos though as so few things ever upset my natural balance.

We now get our Chinese food from a car-park in Morpeth. So far, so good – they certainly don’t seem to be using the same microfibre cloth to wipe their work-surfaces and their bumholes, so they’re already up on the Gosforth Chinese.

beef satay with peanut dipping sauce

to make beef satay with peanut dipping sauce you will need:

  • 700g beef, cubed (why not use the beef you’ve got from our wonderful Musclefood Freezer Filler? You get a couple of packs with your mince, chicken and bacon, and it has the added benefit of not feeling like you’re chewing on a bike tyre like so much of the beef in your average cheap supermarket beef does – click here to order. Oh, and we’re running a competition to win one of our £50 hampers – click here and enter!)
  • 8 shallots or two large white onions (shallots are far nicer though, much sweeter)
  • a little knob of ginger, peeled
  • haha, I said little knob
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, sliced (can’t get lemongrass? Use a teaspoon of lemon rind)
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fennel (or crushed fennel seeds)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a few squirts of olive oil spray

for the peanut sauce:

  • 4 tbsp reduced-fat peanut butter (18 syns) (be sensible here, a tablespoon is a tablespoon, but don’t go scooping it out like it’s mortar and you’re building a brick wall at gunpoint)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sweetener
  • 2 drops of sriracha (or any hot sauce)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

to make beef satay with peanut dipping sauce you should:

  • place all of the ingredients together (except the beef) in a food processor (aside from the stuff for the peanut sauce, obviously) and blitz until you get a thick paste – loosen it off with water if it’s too thick but you do want a paste, not a slop
  • in a large bowl mix together the beef and the marinade until it’s well coated, and leave for at least six hours (or overnight)
  • push the cubes of beef onto skewers and grill under a high heat for about 15 minutes, turning regularly

Feel free to ramp up the speed factor by adding peppers and mushrooms onto your skewers. Also, if you’ve got wooden skewers, remember to soak them for as long as you can – basically, if you’ve got wood, get it wet. Lesson to live your life by.

To make the dipping sauce, mix together all of the ingredients with 4 tbsp of water – to make a really thick paste. keep mixing in 1 tbsp water at a time to the required consistency.

Enjoy!

 

loaded wedges and philly cheese steak sliders

Yep, you’re getting two recipes for the price of one with this post for loaded bacon and cheese wedges  and philly cheese steak sliders. We’re really spoiling you lately. Least you could do is show willing and buy my ruddy book or a meat-box! Haha.

I’m in a bit of a huff tonight, if I’m honest. Came home to find a big bill waiting for me on the doormat. Normally I never say no to bending down for a Big Bill but this one was our council tax and it’s fucking £1700! What the hell for? They’ve turned off our street lights, driving on the roads feels like I’m playing Moon Patrol and they only pick up the bins when there is a full solar eclipse. There’s more chance of me getting pregnant than getting a book that doesn’t have Katie Price on the front cover out of our local library and if you fancy a stroll in the park, best get used to the dogshit and litter billowing around your feet like the shittiest version of the Crystal Dome. I don’t know why they don’t push all the dog-sausages into the fucking potholes in the road, at least that way I wouldn’t get out of the car with my neck canted a forty-five degree angle from being clattered off the roof of my car.

MOAN MOAN MOAN. But seriously, it would be a bloody welcome change if they said oh James, you work hard, here, enjoy your wage to do whatever you want with it, instead of grasping it out of my cold, cruel hands. I’m paying into a pension and being sensible by saving, but what’s the use? So when I get to seventy the Government can take away my house and stick me in a care home? Fuck that. We’ve already decided that when we get to seventy, if we’re both alive and capable of getting lob-ons, the house is getting sold and we’re getting two lithe twenty year olds to rub our bunions and change our oxygen tanks. BAH.

I might start a go-fund-me accompanied by a picture of Paul looking sadly into middle-distance and footage of me looking through photo albums. Maybe.

Can I just take a second to remind you of something? We have a list of every recipe we’ve EVER done right here. I worry that some people don’t know where it is. Use it, it’ll serve you well!

Anyway look, let’s get to the real reason you’re here. These recipes make enough for four. Each recipe is syn free if you use the appropriate HEAs and HEBs. If you have both of them at the same time, syn the cheese on the wedges – 40g is one HEA or 6 syns, so at most it’ll be 1.5 syns per portion. It’s syn free if you don’t combine the burgers and wedges. I’m just being a slut.

 loaded bacon and cheese wedges

to make loaded bacon and cheese wedges, you’re going to need:

  • ‘wet’ potatoes, like Maris Piper, as many as you dare
  • a few squirts of olive oil spray (0.5 syn for 7 squirts)
  • one beef oxo cube
  • packet of bacon medallions (we used half a pack from our Musclefood freezer filler, because it doesn’t disappear to nowt – proper tasty bacon)
  • spring onions
  • lighter mature cheese (40g or one HEA)
  • optional: hot sauce if you want it

to make loaded bacon and cheese wedges, you should:

  • cut each potato in half, then cut into each half in a ‘v’ shape, so you’re dividing each half into three triangular wedges – or you know, don’t fuck about and just cut them how you like
  • tip them into a bowl, sprinkle over the oxo cube and oil, and shake the buggers so they’re coated in a bit of stock cube and oil
  • put them into an oven for 30 minutes or so to colour and soften
  • meanwhile, fry off the bacon in small chunks, slice the spring onion and grate the cheese (remember, one of these makes that cheese allowance stretch further)
  • check your wedges – if they’re nearly done, take them out, scatter the bacon and cheese and spring onion over the top, and put back into the oven until the wedges are done and the cheese is crispy and delicious
  • serve
  • best get a defibrillator ready, just saying

If you’re looking for something to serve it with, these tiny sliders (fancy word for little ‘burgers’) will do the trick. There’s no speed food on your plate, but fuck it. If you don’t tell Mags, nor will I. This was our treat night after all. Jeez.

philly cheese steak sliders

to make philly cheese steak sliders, you’ll need:

  • a big white onion
  • a big green pepper
  • one slice of Swiss Gruyere (we buy ours from Waitrose) – 5 syns for a 25g slice, or a HEA
  • a suitable breadbun for your healthy extra allowance
  • 120ml of beef stock
  • packet of beef strips (I promise I’m not deliberately over-advertising but we genuinely used our beef strips from our Musclefood freezer filler, and they were tasty as all outdoors)
  • lots of black pepper

to make philly cheese steak sliders, you should:

  • cut your onion into decent slices, same with the pepper
  • soften them in a dot of oil, a few sprays of olive oil or even better, a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, or if you’re an imbecile, use Frylight and wreck your pans
  • once they’re softened, set them aside and throw in the beef, cooking it off and giving it a bit of colour – I use Worcestershire sauce instead of oil because it adds taste
  • once the meat is browned off, put the stock in plus lots of pepper and whack the heat up, stirring until the stock has cooked off and thickened – give the bottom of the pan a good scrub with your spoon to get all those juices up
  • assemble your slider – breadbun cut in half, cheese slice, beef strips, peppers and onions
  • easy!

It doesn’t look terribly exciting but my word these were fantastic.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to perform oral sex in exchange for money. By the time I’ve paid off the council tax I’ll be permanently yawning. 🙁

J

potato crust meat pies

Just a quick post tonight because I want to get this recipe for potato crust meat pies up – can’t pretend it’s my own, it’s one of the current facebook fads doing the rounds, though we’ve pimped it up a bit with slow-cooked beef and onions. The recipe is after the photo, if you’re wondering where to go.

Before I get to that though, something has been sitting a little heavy on my mind. There was a heated discussion in our facebook group about whether or not it was right for the NHS to fund access to places like Slimming World or Weight Watchers, or whether people should be expected to pay for themselves. For the most part people agreed that it was a marvellous idea and that a little bit paid out now might stop a lifetime of the NHS having to pay out for obesity related diseases. Seems sensible. Of course, if you’re in a position to pay yourself, then you should, but if you’re unfortunate enough to struggle to find the money for Slimming World (and let’s be quite frank, although it might only “be a fiver”, it’s always a bit more – costs of getting there, bit of fruit for Slimmer of the Week, raffle prizes, magazines, books. Yeah, you don’t need to buy into any of that, but let’s be honest, there’s plenty of ways to lose money so although it might only be a fiver, it’s often a quite a bit more. Do we stop people going if they can’t afford it? Say no, sorry, go home and cry into your Smart Price bread and Extra Value glass of rainwater? Of course we fucking don’t, and it boils my piss that it was even suggested.

ANYWAY. The reason I bring this up is because Paul, quite rightly, vehemently defended the NHS (for they are marvellous) and pointed out quite saliently that we all claim from the NHS in some way, whether right now or in the future. It’s there for all to use, and rightly so. As part of his argument, he mentioned the fact he went to Cambridge University and, being from a poor working class background, was often made to feel inadequate by some of the folks there. Which is daft, because Paul is undeniably wonderful in every which way. He’s even got a big knob for someone of his height, so you know, work with it. His argument was comprehensive and fair and surprisingly free of swearing and innuendo – I thought someone had swapped him out for someone else. One of the posters disagreeing with him kept having a pop, so he ignored her, only to wake up this morning to a private message (it’s interesting, these folk never say what they want to say in front of others, only hidden away behind the shadows) from this woman who told him she couldn’t “believe he went to Cambridge” because he was so “classless and uncouth”. She “thanked God” that she never bumped into “someone like you”. All this because Paul’s an advocate for folk getting help when they need it as opposed to when they can afford it.

Naturally, he blocked her, despite me wanting to point out to her that clearly the Cambridge education of her son hadn’t rubbed off on her based on her many spelling errors and nonsensical grammar. Disappointing. But honestly, how pathetic. I can’t bear actual proper snobbery, especially when it’s coming from someone who clearly has all the class of a fingerbang in a taxi-rank. There’s something so undignified about someone in their late sixties scrabbling around on facebook trying to put others down based on class. It’s like Jeremy Kyle but with Sanotagen. So your son went to Cambridge and you never saw anyone uncouth there? Pfft. I once ‘went back’ with a lad from Cambridge and he asked me to pee in his bum, the logistics of which I couldn’t fathom, so stick that in your cigarette-holder and smoke it. I shan’t name the lady and I don’t want people to comment below adding their twopenneth, because sometimes it’s easier just to let people’s ignorance stand clear and undiluted.

The point to mentioning this? Well, just to lead to a reminder of what we are all about at twochubbycubs. We don’t discriminate – we’re awful about everyone, but in a teasing, gentle way. If you actually want help, join our page or our group and get asking and I’m fairly sure someone will be along to help, though don’t ask for syn values otherwise you’ll get a boot up your arse. We’re all here for the same reason – we’re fat and the smell of bacon follows us wherever we go. Our recipes are free (and I do think we could make a lot more money if we actually charged for them, but we don’t) and hopefully there’s something for everyone. Well, no, not everyone. If you’re a needlessly haughty sort with hair like someone has run their finger around the inside of a plughole in the shower room of a men’s prison, perhaps you should skip on by.

Bah.

Let us go somewhere nicer for a moment. I spent the afternoon volunteering at our local cat and dog shelter (Brysons) and had the pleasure of spending an hour with this little furball, Spitfire.

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He is a kitten and was absolutely terrified after spending many weeks by himself in the cold, he had a bloody nose from fighting, but now he’s in the right place and will be loved and nursed. He was found after scratching at an office window to be let in from the cold. Oh, and when the RSPCA were called to pick up this stray cat, they told the caller to leave him outside and that there was nothing they could do. For a cat no bigger than my fist, stick-thin and shivering, with blood all over his face. Great work, “caring” animal charity. Brysons went to pick him up and are looking after him now, so all is well!

Right, let’s get to this smash crust pie. Before I type the recipe up, fair warning – this could be considered a tweak. Gives me an excuse to pop this on though.

TWEAK

My views on tweaking can be found here. It’s hopefully a marvellous read.

You’re using Smash to make the ‘crust’ of the pie, but frankly, I don’t think it uses any more Smash than you would if you were having it on the side. So I personally say don’t sweat it. You could negate all of this by making your own mashed potato from scratch, but this is just convenient. If you’re making your own mash, keep it as ‘dry’ as possible. Don’t be adding lots of milk and egg otherwise a) your consultant will implode and b) it’ll be hard to ‘mould’. This made enough filling and mash to make two big pies (see photo), just tweak the recipe for more folks.

potato crust meat pie

to make potato crust meat pies, you’ll need:

  • a decent quantity of made-up mash, whether through the Smash route, cooled and set aside (we used a normal sized bag of ordinary Smash – 176g pack – and added our own onion granules)
  • a cheap joint of beef, with no fat, or chunks of beef, or even mince
  • a tin of peas, a tin of carrots, a tin of butter-beans
  • two large onions
  • a dollop of Marmite (leave this out if you’re not a fan)
  • 100ml of stock
  • one clove of minced garlic (use a mincer like this one, so much easier!)

to make potato crust meat pies, you should:

  • slice your onions and cook them gently in a pan with worcestershire sauce instead of oil
  • once they’re softened, whack the heat up, put in your beef joint and ‘seal’ on all sides (press it against the bottom of the hot pan, you’re not trying to cook it but just seal it off) – or if using chunks or mince, cook them through
  • tip the meat into a slow cooker and add the stock
  • before you take the onions from the pan, keep the heat high and add a few more drops of worcestershire sauce and scrape at the bottom to get all the lovely meat juices mixed with the onions, then drop into the slow cooker with the carrots, peas, garlic, Marmite and butter-beans
  • cook for as long as you like – we went for a few hours, but get the meat softened and the sauce thick
  • when it’s time to prepare your pies, get two glass bowls (Pyrex) or a decent sized dish, squirt them with a tiny dab of oil (and rub this in), then mould your mashed potato to create a thin ‘crust’ around the sides, saving some mash for the lids
  • fill the pies with your meat, right up to the top
  • create a lid with the remainder of the mash and press it down to seal
  • bake in the oven on 170 for around thirty minutes, adding your healthy extra cheese if you desire a crusty lid
  • listen, a crusty lid is never a good thing on a bloke, just saying
  • you can either eat it out of the dish like we did or have a go at tipping them out – good luck!
  • serve with your speed food.

In our picture you can see gravy in our fancy container – to make our gravy, we just sweat off a tonne of onions, add some stock and then blend in our Nutribullet. Easy. We served with some frozen mixed veg because we’re lazy. This is pretty much a shepherds pie, I guess, but the heart likes what the eyes see, so if you’re wanting a big ole pie, this will help the cravings! Not our original idea, no, but we’ve added a bit of razzmatazz. It’s what us common, uncouth fuckers do, see.

Enjoy!

J

spicy beef bowl, and christ, we’re back

BOO. Yes, spicy beef bowl below.

Been wondering where we’ve been? Well, see, I had to keep the fact we were going away a complete secret. We’ve actually been in New York for seven days, doing all sorts of wonderful things and having a gay old time. But I hadn’t told Paul about it – a complete secret as a surprise for his birthday / our anniversary. Good, right? You have literally no idea how much anal that’s going to get me. Also, I was unable to arrange for a housesitter and I didn’t fancy advertising the fact our house was empty for a week. Again. Now you might be thinking how utterly extravagant, given we’ve been to Corsica, Iceland and now America in the last four months and well, it’s true, I am becoming Judith Chalmers, only I don’t have that weird neck that comes from holidaying in the sun too much. Listen: shrouds don’t have pockets, that’s all I’m saying. You can’t take it with you. New York was amazing and I’ll undoubtedly get round to writing up my book of notes from the trip (once I’ve finished Iceland off!), there’s lots of things to say.

This also meant a week off from the diet, because I’ll be buggered if I’m expected to go to New York and eat houmous made from chickpeas. Everything I put in my mouth had cheese on it (what can I say, it gets hot and humid when you’re riding the subway) – I genuinely wouldn’t have been surprised to be given a Cheesestring to stir my coffee with. You’ll see below the results of this time off…

Another twist which I couldn’t really talk about is that I’ve sort-of-got-a-new-job. Whilst I won’t bore you with the details, it’s something that is going to demand some of my attention whilst I get up to speed, so although we’re planning on regular posts again, they might not be so long. But hell how many times have I said that and I’ll end up talking the hind legs off a donkey!

So yes, our weight chart…well, it’s pretty buggered.

the big apple

Gosh! Oh I know I know. It looks bad. But a few good poos (we both have logjams in the river), a week of being on plan and we’ll be cooking on gas. We did get Couple of the Year, though, which led to an awkward moment where someone struggled to get the sash over my man-tits. I felt like an elephant on parade. It’s a lovely gesture but I think the cheery mood blackened when our considerable weight gains were revealed. Oops.

spicy beef bowl

to make spicy beef bowl you will need:

  • 400g beef strips, like the ones you get in our musclefood deal
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 2 good handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 chilli pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp of sambal paste – you can buy this in any Tesco, it’s not essential, but adds a good depth of flavour
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (2 syns)
  • 160ml low sodium soy sauce (seriously, use low sodium, or it’ll be too salty)
  • 60ml white wine vinegar

to make a spicy beef bowl you should:

  • using a food processor (a nutribullet works great for this) pulse the sesame oil, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, garlic, sambal oelek and ginger until smooth
  • place the beef in a freezer bag and add the dressing – tie the bag up and leave to marinate for about 1-2 hours, shaking it regularly
  • heat a large saucepan over a medium high heat and add a little oil or Frylight
  • drain the meat from the marinade and place in the saucepan – keep what’s left of the marinade mix
  • cook the meat for about 1-2 minutes, it’s all it will need!
  • remove from the pan and set aside on a plate – if you don’t like it pink don’t worry – it will keep cooking
  • in the same pan, cook the peppers and spinach until softened with about 75ml of the marinade mix – add more if you think it needs it, it should all be well coated and you’ll have plenty of the stuff left
  • add the beef back into the pan and cook for another minute, making sure everything is mixed well
  • serve immediately, and sprinkle on the spring onions and chilli pepper

Don’t forget, put a loo roll in the fridge to wipe your taint with later, because this’ll make it sting! You can make it less spicy, but what’s the point in living if you can’t feel alive?

J

easy peasy beef curry – weigh in week two!

Normally I’d just shove the old cock thermometer onto a post but you know what, we’ve had so many lovely comments from you lot that we’re actually putting a recipe on too. But no chat. What is this, a knitting group? I read about a knitting group in America called Stitches and Bitches and do you know, I almost took up knitting just so I can set up the same. I’m forever thinking of names for businesses that Paul and I could establish – a gay wine bar called Bottoms Up, a café of Slimming World meals called Guntbusters, a cigar shop called Buttsuckers…list goes on. It’s how I entertain myself in between screaming wildly at Audi drivers on the A1 (I smile, with murder on my mind) and dreaming about a double page spread in Pick Me Up with my giant trousers held aloft.

Before I get to weigh-in, a curious thing. A couple of weeks ago I was walking to my car along Stowell Street in Newcastle when I noticed what looked like a binliner just chucked on the pavement. Once I was closer and my boss eyes has focussed, it turned out to be a young lad, lying on his back, eyes rolling to the back of his head. Of course, me being first aid trained, I immediately set about dithering and flapping and fussing, asking him what was wrong, no response, turning him over, no response, then calling for an ambulance. No sooner had I asked to speak to the ambulance service then he leapt to his feet and ran off, albeit somewhat shakily. Odd. Perhaps it was the thought of my bristly top lip brushing the top off his coldsores during mouth to mouth that managed to ‘revive’ him. Who knows. But see, I received an email a few months ago warning me (and others, I’m not that important) about a fella who would pretend to be unconscious up until the point he heard you call an ambulance, then he’d fuck off like Usain Bolt. No attempt at nicking your stuff, no rudeness or threatening behaviour, just lying prone, pretending to be unwell, then shooting off. I didn’t think anything more of it until it happened personally to me.

The reason I mention this is because it happened again today. Sort of. As I was walking back to the car, I noticed someone lying on the ground. Everyone walking past him – probably a good twenty or so people, despite him lying right in their way. I actually had to umm and aah a moment before I went to help, but luckily, someone got there ahead of me. They wrapped him up in a coat, and I took my leave. I’d be interested to know whether it was just another scam. What I can’t understand is the people who walked past. Now look, I’m a realist, I know some people are out to scam and others are unpredictable and wild, but for goodness sake, surely we’re not at the point where we can’t give a prone body lying in the street the benefit of the doubt? I actually saw two people step over his legs like he was rubbish. Maybe he’s done it to them before, maybe they’d been warned, or maybe it was some poor sod taking a bad reaction to god knows what. Made me feel a bit sad, though. Still a human being.

Eeeh well. I feel better for getting that off my chest.

Speaking of my chest, it’s looking a bit smaller than ever…

twochubbycubs

Ah yes! Considering we were aiming to lose 2lb a week, we’re quite happy with how this is going, thank you very much. Unusually, Paul lost more than me, but I put that down to the fact I had two pints of Guinness yesterday. Tsk. Paul got his half stone award, I’m 2lb away from a stone award. We’re doing well – that cock thermometer will be spurting in no time! 

Tonight’s recipe, then – easy peasy beef curry. We had a pack of the beef chunks left over from our Musclefood box and this seemed like an appropriate place to use them. I do love a curry, but if you don’t like it super spicy, don’t worry – just leave out the chilli pepper and use the mildest chilli powder you can find. Or even leave it out, give that a try. This serves four, very easily.

easy peasy beef curry

to make easy peasy beef curry you will need:

  • 1kg diced beef (why not use some beef from our big box? You know that’ll leave you satisfied and smiling. Click here for a look at our excellent meat deal!)
  • 250ml beef stock
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin and one of turmeric
  • 2 tsp grated ginger (not ground!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (for both the garlic and ginger, you can use your fabulous microplane grater, oh what fun! Seriously though, one of the best things you can get for the kitchen – click here)
  • 2½ tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 chilli pepper (optional)
  • 1 big old beefy tomato (optional)
  • 1 handful of rocket or spinach (optional)

to make easy peasy beef curry you should:

  • in a small bowl, mix together all the dry spices and the lemon juice into a paste and set aside
  • heat a large pan over a high heat and add a little oil (GASP) or frylight (BOO)
  • add the beef, stir and cook until brown (you might need to do this in two batches) (for once, browning your meat is a good thing)
  • remove the beef from the pan, turn the heat down to medium, let it cool a little, add the spice paste and stir around the bottom of the pan for about half a minute
  • return the beef back to the pan and stir for about a minute so that it’s well coated with the paste
  • add the tomato puree, beef stock and chilli pepper (if you’re using it), bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover
  • cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes
  • optional: about fifteen minutes before the end, cut your tomato into chunks and chuck that in, with however much rocket or spinach as you dare
  • remove the lid and cook for another fifteen minutes to thicken

We served ours with brown rice and peas – cook the rice, but chuck peas in at the same time. Couldn’t be easier!

Here’s to week three! Don’t forget, we have a book! I’ll dance at your wedding if you buy a copy from here!

J

sizzlin’ steak

I’m going to warn you, I’m in a right old grump today. But what’s new! I write better when I’m angry anyway.

You have no idea how much it pains me to write sizzlin’ in the title instead of sizzling, but Paul threatened to withhold sex if I didn’t acquiesce, and so here we are. In a perfect world there would be no need for unnecessary shortenings of random words, but it’s not a perfect world, and I’m not a perfect person. So sizzlin’ it is. Sizzling puts me in mind of those awful pubs where they bring your food out and slide it out onto a scalding hot bit of stone so it ‘sizzles’ and you’re supposed to sit there rapturous whilst your food bubbles. Perhaps it’s because I’m a curmudgeonly-old-before-his-type fart but I don’t get it – I’ve seen stuff heating up before, I’ve used a pan in my lifetime. If they brought it to the table and heated the food via some Rube Goldberg machine that involved flamethrowers and magnetite, I’d perhaps crack a smile. Those types of pub are always full of the same type of people:

  1. those who can’t eat their Sunday dinner without the application of three separate condiments that have to be brought to the table by some harried waitress with a lot more consonants than vowels in her first name;
  2. access day visits from dads sharing wan smiles and thin conversation with the top of their iPhone-engrossed children; and
  3. the elderly, fussing and gumming their way through a special menu printed in Times New Roman Size 32 so everything looks like this:

“puree of turnip served with turkey paste and parsnip wisps”

OK, so I exaggerate, but still. 

It’s been an uneventful day. We had two things in mind – go to Costco to see if they had the giant bar of Dairy Milk that was 10kg, £160 and came with a tray of prepped insulin on the side, and to Dobbies – our local garden centre. It’s a terribly posh garden centre, you can tell because the person blocking the exit tries to sell us an ‘orangerie’ on the way out, rather than double-glazing. An orangerie! Just the thing – I was beginning to grow concerned that my lemon tree was becoming a mite chilled in the North Sea air. Actually, confession: we’ve already got an orangerie, but because I’m not a pretentious tagnut, I call it a greenhouse. He’s actually stopped asking us anyway, possibly because last time he did so I replied that ‘I couldn’t possibly, I’m Jewish‘ and rushed past aghast. I could almost hear his brain whirring trying to work it out, by which time we were away.

Costco, then. Costco on a Sunday. Four weeks before Christmas. On ‘sample’ day. On a list of fun activities, that sits just above peeling off my face with the edge of a corned beef tin and just below shitting out an armchair. Busy? We didn’t walk around, we just blended with a group of around 200 into one giant shell-suited mass and went as one, gliding down the aisles grabbings things as we went. I was gutted – there’s nothing I like more than taking my time, judging people who are buying 84 Andrex Quilted and wondering who the fuck decides on a Sunday that what they really need to buy is 24 jars of chilli peppers. Naturally, because it was sample day, every single aisle was capped by some poor dolt in a pinny handing out ‘samples’ and, as a consequence, 50 or so slack-jawed simpletons all jostling and pushing to try and get a paper cup with FOUR FUCKING HARIBO in them. I can’t abide queues at the best of times and wouldn’t have stopped if they were offering to tickle my balls and give me cold hard cash, but jesus, the lack of dignity people display over a ‘freebie’! I was tempted to spit my chewing gum on the floor and shout ‘FREE PRE-CHEWED MINTS’ to cause a stampede but the exit was far away and I didn’t have my running shoes on. 

You witness this ugliness on Black Friday and during the sales and I just can’t get my head around it. I can’t! You see them on the television, queueing up outside of Next so at 5am they can rush in and have the pick of all the shit that no person wanted during the only time of the year pretty much guaranteed to empty your stock room, so what’s left is the absolute dregs. Wahey! I’m sure Aunt Marjorie will be delighted with her jumper stained with the greasy fingers of the desperate and the nonsensical. There was a guy on Look North the other day who had been queueing outside of Currys all night in anticipation of the bargains galore he expected from Black Friday. He was the only one who turned up. When they interviewed him on the television you could see in his eyes that he regretted his decision, but clearly didn’t want to back down, and he was later shown staggering shamefaced out of the shop after two hours (TWO HOURS! The only way I’d spend two hours in Currys would be if I’d had a cardiac arrest in the TV section, and that’s pretty bloody likely given how high their prices are). What had he picked up? I couldn’t see everything, but there were at least four graphics cards, two blu-ray players and some speakers. Not good speakers, I add. It was as if he was the sole contestant in the world’s most depressing version of Fun House – one where Melanie and Martina had long since died and Pat Sharp didn’t have a haircut that looked like Stevie Wonder had done it as a favour. He claimed to have spent £4,500, and all I could say to Paul was ‘Yes, but what price dignity?’. Takes all sorts.

It took us almost 45 minutes in Costco to pick up a wheelbarrow of tea-bags, a mountain of coffee and a box of Rice Krispies so big that I feel like I’m in a shit version of Honey I Shrunk the Kids every time I look at it. It then took us almost an hour to get out of the ‘Metrocentre’ area, which was awash with red-faced families in oversized cars all trying to cram into the same lane. Luckily, we had the audiobook version of Carrie to finish in the car, so we were fairly content, though god knows what passer-bys must have thought to hear some American woman screaming about dirtypillows and menstrual blood coming from our car. I’d love to be telekinetic but I’d definitely end up being sent to Hell afterwards – people who so much as blocked my way for a moment in Marks and Spencers would be sent flying up into the air-conditioning fans and turned to jam, or all those Audis that insist on cutting in at the last second and blocking the box junction outside of where I park – they’d end up crumbled into a cube no smaller than the dice from a Travel Monopoly set. The world would be on fire before the end of the week, I almost guarantee it. I already spend roughly forty hours a week looking crazily at the back of someone’s head and willing their brain to start leaking out of their ears. Sigh.

Dobbies was an absolute no-no, too. Quite literally, we got there, and there was no parking and no hope of securing a spot, given the place was awash with those fucking awful white Range Rovers (oh look at me, I’m driving a car designed for mud, all-terrain and exciting driving, and I only ever use it to ferry little Quentissimo and Angelica-Foccacia to their organic flute lessons) (bitch) and other such ‘luxury’ cars. We drove around and around and around and around until I felt like Sandra Bullock in Gravity and we admitted defeat. Paul and I did get a colossal serving of schadenfreude though with the sight of a spotlessly white BMW being completely and utterly trapped on the muddy overflow parking field. The silly arse behind the wheel kept spinning his tyres, sinking him even further into the mud, whilst his granite-faced wife looked coldly at everyone who went past laughing. Hey, it’s not my fault your husband is a useless tosser who doesn’t know how to pull a car from mud. We did, along with everyone else, smirk in that very British way when he got out of the car and started shouting at it. KNOB POWER ACTIVATE. I like to think he went home and had a good hard look at his life.

Anyway, that’s enough bile. I feel like someone who has shouted the anger out, and now I’m ready to give you a recipe. So without a moment more of hesitation, I present to you sizzlin’ beef. Sigh. SIZZLING. IT’S FUCKING SIZZLING. SIZZLE SIZZLE CRASH BANG WALLOP IT’S THE PRINCESS.

sizzlin' steak

to make sizzlin’ steak, you’ll need:

to make sizzlin’ steak, you should:

  • in a small jug mix together the bicarbonate of soda with 125ml of water and mix until well dissolved
  • pour the water and soda over the chopped steak in a bowl and leave to tenderise for an hour (but no longer)
  • meanwhile in a small jug mix together the worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, passata, honey and 3 tbsp water and mix well. set aside.
  • drain the meat in a sieve and pat dry using a clean tea towel or kitchen roll. 
  • if you want it to sizzle at the end, place an empty iron griddle pan in the oven and heat to 250 degrees
  • heat a large saucepan over a high temperature with a little oil and add the meat – it will froth and look gross but that’s fine – spoon out the steak after about 2-3 minutes, wipe the inside of the pan and then put the meat back in until it’s browned all over
  • remove the meat from the pan and place onto a plate
  • put the pan back on the heat and add the onions – stir fry for a few minutes until softened and starting to turn golden
  • remove from the pan and place into a bowl
  • add the meat back into the pan and pour over the sauce
  • bring it to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes – it should go nice and sticky
  • remove the pan from the oven and place the onions around the outside, and then spoon the steak into the middle – it should sizzle! (if you’re skipping the sizzling part, you can serve it as normal)
  • serve, and enjoy!

We served ours with a tit of rice, as you can see. We’re classy bitches, see?

J