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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meatball masala sauce – syn free and tasty!

Meatball masala! Why not? Plus, because we’re all about quick and punchy these days, the recipe is just below! But first…

I’m actually feeling particularly cross after having an argument with an idiot on Facebook about aspartame. We can all take a view on it, that’s fine, but she was adamant that she ‘never ingests any sort of chemical, only pure and natural’. I pointed out that water is a chemical and she got in a right old strop, pointing out that because she gets a headache from aspartame, it clearly means that it’s poison, not just that she’s sensitive to it. I cautiously mentioned that just because I’m allergic to pineapple doesn’t make the Man from Del fucking Monte a bioterrorist.

We agreed to disagree and so here I am, brain leaking from my ears. The problem is people get themselves so wound up in their misguided belief in some shitty product that they can’t possibly see reason or logic or common sense. There’s a post going around with some insoles for shoes that people ‘swear’ drain the fat out of your body as you wear them. How, at the end of a busy day, do they not take off their shoes, realise that these plastic insoles don’t look like buttered toast and then realise it’s a load of bloody twaddle? Where do they think the fat goes – decanted out of their shoelaces like a tiny petrol pump? There’s no helping some people. I genuinely think if I set up a facebook profile selling jars of ‘slimming air’ that has ‘been PROVEN BY SCIENCE’ to ‘help shift those pounds’ I’d get at least five people trying to sell it to me.

Anyway, enough chitter-chatter. Let’s get this meal done. Now this dinner doesn’t look amazing, and trust me when I say you could easily bulk it out with more veg and other nonsense, but it tastes mighty fine and served with decent rice, you’ll be cooking on gas.

to make meatball masala you will need:

  • 400g beef mince
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of chilli powder
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp turmeric

Our hampers have meatballs 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 pork, say (unlike me), hoy some more chicken 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 meatball masala you should: –

  • in a bowl, mix together the beef mince, egg and chilli powder and form into twelve meatballs, then leave in the fridge to firm up
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, spray in a bit of oil (don’t ruin your pans with Frylight, get one of these instead) and add the sliced onions
  • cook the onions for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden
  • add the garlic, cumin, garam masala and turmeric
  • stir well, and cook for about a minute
  • add the carrot, celery and red pepper to the pan along with the tin of tomatoes
  • fill the tin with water, slosh about and pour into the pan
  • bring to the boil, cover, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes
  • meanwhile, heat another pan over a medium-high heat and spray with oil
  • add the meatballs, stir frequently until they are completely cooked through (or, even better, use an Actifry and take out the paddle – it works perfectly)
  • when the masala sauce has finished cooking, use a stick blender (or an upright one if you have one) and blend until smooth
    add the meatballs to the sauce and serve

Easy peasy! Warning, you might get a hot ring! More ideas?

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J

rich and tasty guinness BBQ meatballs

Guinness BBQ meatballs – yes, Guinness. This is a nice, hearty, manly meal which is sure to put hairs on your chest, which at least will be a pleasant distraction from whatever sauce you’ve managed to slop down there. I love a Guinness, although ordering one in a pub round here normally means deafening tuts and COPD-esque sighs as people are delayed getting to their fizzy piss pint.

As an aside, before we get to the recipe, I want to hear from anyone out there who works for canal boat holiday sorts – we’re looking to get something booked in but goodness me, is it expensive. Some help appreciated!

Right, the recipe…

to make guinness bbq meatballs you will need:

for the meatballs

Now, this is where I’d traditionally link to our Musclefood deal which has lots of mince 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 pork, say (unlike me), hoy some more chicken 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.

for the sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tsp sriracha (or any hot chilli sauce will do)
  • 250ml guinness (4.5 syns)
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (1 syn)
  • 80g tomato puree

to make guinness bbq meatballs you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • mix together all of the meatball ingredients until well combined
  • roll out the mixture into about 20 meatballs and place on the greaseproof paper
  • bake in the oven for about thirty minutes
  • meanwhile, mix together the cornflour with 2 tbsp water until dissolved and set aside
  • place a saucepan over a medium high heat and add a little oil
  • add the garlic cloves and stir for about thirty seconds
  • add the rest of the ingredients and the cornflour mixture into the pan and whisk to mix
  • bring to the boil, and keep whisking, then reduce the heat to a simmer
  • cook for another fifteen minutes, whisking regularly until the mixture has thickened and reduced
  • when the meatballs are cooked, remove from the paper and stir gently into the sauce to coat
  • serve

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tasty low syn chubby gobstuffers – twochubbycubs

Chubby gobstuffers! You know sometimes when you want a good portion of meat but you can’t be arsed logging onto gaydar? Well, this will serve you well. Now: apologies if you’re not a fan of the holiday entries but our Year of 12 Holidays is thundering on and we need to catch-up! Just scroll to the bottom if you want the recipes for chubby gobstuffers without the flimflam!

If you’d told me that at some point this year I’d have not only bought a copy of The Sun but also stayed in a caravan without someone holding a gun to my mother’s head and threatening to pull the trigger, I’d have laughed my big jiggling boobs off. I’m not a snob by any means, but the idea of staying in a caravan has never exactly got me stiff. I think it’s because I spend so much of my time swearing angrily at the back of them whilst they dawdle at 40mph on the non-dualled parts of the A1 that it has coloured me against them for life. But regardless…

I’m going to open this holiday entry with a strong caveat – loads of people out there love caravanning. If you’re one of them, don’t get sand in your vag just because it didn’t look like it would be our cup of tea. Everyone has different tastes, remember! Also: the staff were amazing, each and all. Everyone was enthusiastic and cheerful and exactly the right sort of person you need working a holiday park.

That said, don’t expect any gushing panegyrics to caravan parks either.

I have ‘caravanned’ before. For a start, I learned to walk in a caravan: true fact. My parents had taken me and my sister away for a grey weekend by the sea when I was a mere tot and for good measure, had brought along my nana just to guarantee that the heating in the caravan would be turned up until it was hot enough to melt steel. Anyway, filled with an outrageous lack of safety and sensibility, they nipped out of the caravan, leaving me alone for I’m sure just a moment whilst they nicked off to get their Lambert and Butler fix. On their return they were shocked to see my little moon face appear at the window. To be fair, I’d only got up to turn the chip pan off. That photo, along with the one where I’m fast asleep half hanging out of bed with my arse on show, is the one that always gets wheeled out for cooing over.

Weirdly, in a fantastic bit of symmetry, I use a similarly posed for my Grindr profile. I’ve always had it in me, so to speak.

Only two other caravan memories – I once “enjoyed the company” (i.e. we needed somewhere private to rut) of a lad from school in a grotty wee caravan at the end of his garden. You know the sort of caravan – covered in bright green moss and usually the home of someone you see on the news for killing prostitutes. Anyway – how to put this delicately – I was legs akimbo and he was going at it like an enthusiastic spring-time buck when the entire sofa / bed / pounding-platform wrenched away from the sides of the caravan with an ear-splitting crash, leaving us in a sea of splintered wood, floral cushions and foist. I gamely suggested we finished the job there on the floor but it’s hard to get to vinegar-strokes when you have a ‘This cushion is fire retardant’ label slapping against your face. Bastards. That must be why I hate caravans, I was cock-blocked by one!

Oh and the final memory isn’t quite as gasp-worthy but it sticks in my mind. Back in the day I used to go away with a mate to his caravan in Montreuil-sur-Mer. It was great fun – loads of good food, good company and hair-raising drives where he would doze off at the wheel sending us skittering across the lanes at 90mph. Anyway, because we were poor and couldn’t afford to go out of an evening – and plus, Montreuil was hardly a city of sin and excitement – we used to sit outside the caravan in the evening getting stoned. This was fine for the most part until one night I took a bad turn and my poor mate had to spend two whole hours listening to me explaining the plot of each Bad Girls episode (I was a big fan) from season one through to season six whilst I tried desperately not to spin out.

Ha, speaking of Bad Girls, I thought I was the absolutely bees-knees because I was sent the preview tapes by someone who worked in TV and who wanted to get in my trousers. I knew what happened to poor Yvonne Shittin’ Atkins before anyone else! Sadly, the same guy turned out to be insane but hey, worth it.

SO. You can imagine my reaction when, as we were scoping out ideas for different holidays, Paul suggested we go caravanning. Attaching a caravan to the back of his Smart car was a non-starter – it would be like me trying to pull a cargo-ship through rough seas with my teeth – and there was no way I was putting a caravan on the back of my car and becoming ‘one of them’ (is impotence catching?), so we settled for a fixed caravan. But the prices – good lord! I didn’t want to spend hundreds of pounds for the joy of lying sweating in a mattress still wet from the previous occupants and so we were stuck.

Until, salvation: The Sun. Now you need to understand, I’m not a fan of anything they do, but ooh: cheap holiday. £9.50! A whole holiday for £9.50. Goodness me: my tight-arse Geordie heart fair swelled with joy. We dutifully ignored having to actually buy the paper and instead nipped online to get the tokens for free and then, one stormy night, whilst Paul slumbered beside me at 3am in the morning, I committed us to spending a whole weekend at a Haven caravan park in sunny Berwick. The moment I clicked submit Paul shuddered beside me, perhaps subconsciously aware of what I’d done.

Now, let’s clear one thing up. It isn’t £9.50 for a holiday. It’s £9.50 per person, per night. That still works out remarkably cheap, but we ended up paying almost £200 to stay, not least because we upgraded to the fanciest caravan they had. We were going to rough it but I mean, by the time you’ve paid for all the STI tests and crabs treatment afterwards, you break even. I was surprised to see an extra charge for the provision of bed sheets. Surely that is mandatory? They weren’t even fancy like our rubber, wipe-clean ones at home, for goodness sake. I paid it begrudgingly, worried that if I acquiesced to one charge, another two would pop up like moles in a garden. Perhaps they’d charge me for windows to let the air in, or set up a £1 per flush system in the toilet. How I long for the days when you click on the website and you get the exact price for something there and then, instead of all the hidden charges later on.

Anyway, like the inevitability of having to sleep in the wet patch after great sex, the holiday rolled around, and we beetled up to Berwick in Paul’s Smart car. Nothing really to report bar the usual motorway arseholes who think because their sales company has given them the cheapest low-end BMW in factory-finish white that it gives them the right to drive like a twat. I don’t get it. We had someone so far up our arse that I’ve probably got BMW on my prostate and for what? So he could get in front of us and be stuck behind the same tractor as we were only he’d be close enough to read the tyre pressure? Fucking moron. When he did overtake us – and then got stuck immediately in front of us – we took great delight in doing the ‘bet you’ve got a cock like a Wotsit’ little-finger-wiggle at him. I mean him no harm, but I can’t help but feel Earth would be a finer place if he’d spun off the road and turned his car into a tiny metal cube with him still in it.

Our arrival and check-in were smooth and professional – even the security guard on the front gate had a big smile and didn’t laugh as the Smart Car bounced over the speed bumps like a pea in a drum. Our caravan didn’t have a sea view but hey, I’m an optimist, I’m just glad it had a lockable door. We dumped our stuff, inexplicably forgot to take any photos (sorry!), tested out the bed and had a poo in the smallest toilet in the world. It was like being in an aeroplane toilet, only without the pool of piss and jizz around your feet. We had a cup of tea (having had the foresight to bring tea and milk with us – I took a gamble that they’d provide us with water for the kettle at least) and realised immediately that we had a problem.

Our smoke alarm was very intermittently beeping. No rhyme or reason. Just every now and then a little chirrup. Made to check the batteries but it had one of those ‘TAKE THIS OFF AND WE’LL CUT YOUR FACE’ stickers on it so we had to call reception, who dispatched a man to come and check it lickety-split. He spent ten minutes timing the beeps, looking angry and muttering, whilst we had to flit about making awkward small talk and trying not to get in his way. He seemed a bit ill-at-ease, perhaps he thought we were trying to engineer some swinging, but definitely not. I just wanted to be able to watch Tipping Point without getting tinnitus.

He eventually fixed the battery and, after a particularly sweaty bout of holiday shenanigans, we were dismayed to find that the only towel in the caravan was about the size of a postage stamp. Great if I wanted to dab daintily at my lips but I’ve got a lot of jiggling flesh to dry, I need a towel that takes two men to fold like a flag. Paul was dispatched to buy a set from Tesco (more expense) whilst I wandered about trying out each bed to see if there was one where my feet didn’t stick out of the bottom. There wasn’t. Once he returned we went exploring in the arcade and bar.

You know what struck me? The sheer amount of ways they can get money out of you. Fruit machines, skill machines, video games, expensive drinks, expensive food…goes without saying though. Also, I’ve never seen so many kids who look like tiny versions of their roided-up dads. You know the roided-up look? The ‘yes, you’re muscly, but everything looks like an inner tube about to go pop’? That, but in tiny Lee Cooper jeans. I’ve never seen so many people look like they’re about to punch a hole in the wall. Oh and I know it goes without saying but there were an awful amount of unnecessary double-barreled first names, including a right pair of horrors whose names sounded like flavours of fabric conditioner.

Now: I always waffle too much in our holiday entries, so I’m going to cut it at this point and crack on with the recipe! Chubby Gobstuffers. I wanted to call these chode-burgers but Paul said no. Poor sport!

Why chubby gobstuffers? Well, why not? Something has to fill that gob of yours, love.

to make the chubby gobstuffers you will need:

  • 4x 60g wholemeal hot dog buns (we used white buns because they photograph better, what are we like)
  • 500g lean beef mince (you’ll get all the mince you need and more in our special Musclefood deals – just click here!)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • quarter of an iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 10 gherkin slices
  • 4x 25g reduced fat sliced cheese (3.5 syns or roughly ½ HeA)
  • 2 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (2 syns)
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce (1 syn)
  • 2 tbsp american-style mustard (3 syns)
  • 4 bacon medallions, chopped (we cheekily used lardons because it was too late to go to the shop – YOU SHOULDN’T! – well, not unless you want Mags to be sticking her Poundland hair-clips into your car tyres)

to make chubby gobstuffers you should:

  • bring a medium pan of water to the boil
  • add the chopped onions, simmer for 30 seconds, drain, run under a cold tap and then set aside – this helps to reduce the ‘sharpness’ from them (it’s totally worth it – trust me)
  • mix the mince together in your hands (no need to add anything) and divide into four
  • roll into a ball and push down on the top until it makes a burger shape – it doesn’t have to be too neat
  • grill under a high heat until cooked to your liking, then add one cheese slice on top of each burger and pop under the grill again until melted, then remove and set aside
  • make the sauce by chopping two of the gherkin slices finely and adding to the mayonnaise and tomato sauce – mix well
  • heat a small frying pan over a high heat and cook the chopped bacon until crispy, then remove from the heat
  • place the hot dog buns under the grill (cut side up) to toast them off a little bit – they won’t need long – then remove
  • add a little lettuce to each of the buns, topped with the chopped onions, remaining gherkin slices and mustard
  • slice the burgers into 2/3 slices each and stuff into each of the buns
  • top again with the burger sauce and the bacon pieces

Still hungry? we’ve got even more recipes waiting to fill your hole! Just click the buttons below!

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Yum yum in your bum, right? Slut!

J

speedy mexican lasagne and día de las madres

Mexican lasagne, yes, but first: happy Mother’s Day! Yes, it’s that time of the year again where mothers all around the country have to smile wanly through being woken up early and eating a poorly made fry-up just because their spawn have put a macaroni approximation of Mother on a card and can’t wait to give it over. A day where boxes of Dairy Box go through the roof, the Ambassador has a run on his Ferrero Rochers and there’s someone stabbed to death over a bunch of Tesco flowers at quarter to four. With my birthday on Wednesday I was hoping to come to some sort of arrangement with my mother where we don’t bother with cards and presents for each other but sadly she beat me to it. Bah! I know, my generosity warms your heart, no? I love my mum to bits – she’s me but twelve stone lighter and with a better moustache. I’ve typed many words over the years about how supportive she’s been, how honest she is, how hilarious I find her, how generous she can be, and well, we don’t need to go to that well again.

So, to mix it up, I thought I’d share a memory about my mother (I was going to call it a mummory, but that sounds too much like mammory, and Christ that wouldn’t be appropriate…well, perhaps for Paul’s story) and Paul would do the same. I’m even taking off his leash so he can type out his own words, bless him. You know, he always frets that he isn’t funny when he writes his bits so if you’re reading this, do me a favour and show him some love. Now, I know I always describe my childhood as some dystopian timescape where I was left foraging for seeds whilst Father toiled in the sun for pittance, but actually, it was full of laughter. I’ll give you one memory plucked from deep within.

James’ memory

I’ll open with a confession: my sister and I were horrible people sometimes growing up. But all kids are, even yours, so please don’t sit in judgement, you’ll only break the seat. We grew up in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere and fighting and bickering and bullying was the only thing to do. My sister and I had a mortal enemy (well, no, we would be friends with her one minute and then, following a fall-out over a Madonna CD or something we’d all be bickering) in the village who we used to call by a very mean name to do with her top lip. She’d give as good as she got, mind, and we were forever fighting. Things came to a head one day on the school bus between my sister and this girl and there was an almighty scrap. Hair was pulled, there was lots of screaming and shrieking, but once I calmed down the fight itself was the usual girlfight. We were all unceremoniously chucked off the bus and made our way back to our own houses to calm down.

My mum comes into it at this point. She was busy watching Countdown when we snuck in, only to have the phone ring and it to be the mother of the other child ranting and raving. Now given we all used to fight with each other no one child was in the wrong, and my mother wasn’t having all the names being thrown at us via the phone. On went the comfortable shoes and out she strutted with a face like thunder, Lambert and Butler furiously clamped between her teeth as she departed. At the other end of the village was the other mother and they’d agreed to meet in the middle. Gasp! It was like a duel at sundown. We followed as surreptitiously as we could, hoping to see a flurry of fists and fag-ends and hair pulling, but it was all terribly anticlimactic – they shook hands, agreed their offspring were all little bastards and agreed to become alcoholics together and run away like a budget Thelma and Louise. We then both got the top layer of skin smacked off our arses and sent to bed.

Pfft. Oh and as a quick aside, who could forget the time I went careering off my bike, landed on my face tearing my lip open and I suspect breaking my nose, and she came running across four farm fields and a motorway with merely a teatowel to staunch the blood loss. No trip to the hospital either! No wonder I’ve got a nose that constantly whistles.

Right: over to Paul.

Paul’s memory

James loves me telling this story – I sometimes have to go through it as some sort of bedtime story to help him drift off but if anything it just makes him more awake through chuckling. This story takes place back in…oooh, I reckon about 2002-2003. I was a fresh-faced yet acne-pitted sixteen year-old on a residential weekend for some youth worker event. Me and my friend James (not my James, he was just whoring himself in Newcastle at the time) had been nominated to attend which was pretty much just an underage piss-up over at Loughborough University with a couple of workshops on during the day to make it seem a bit more legit. I had a whale of a time! Now, because my family were so poor, I was sent away with no more than £5 in my pocket – thankfully everyone else was kind enough to let me share their bottles of 20/20 and the odd Superking.

Anyway, when I returned home I did the usual thing of firing up the Compaq and dialling-up onto AOL to check on my Faceparty etc to see what had happened when I was gone. Mother, in all her Littlewoods-outlet-glory, was on fine form and almost as soon as I’d walked through the door (a fog of Lambrini fumes behind me) started arguing about something. Mother has this great knack of when she’s in a huff managing to pull an argument out of nowhere and flogging it and flogging it and flogging it until you just admit whatever wrongdoing she’s pinned on you just to get her to piss off. This argument started with something innocuous like me leaving the milk out (easily done), but then managed to snowball into a multitude of other things. I think she was just getting a weekends’ worth of whinging out of her system, like lancing a boil. So on it rolled –

“You drink far too much fackin’ squash. It’s no wonder you’re so fat! A pint! A fackin’ pint of squash!”

“I can never get you trousers, I have to go all the way to BHS for ‘em! They ent cheap, yer know!”

“And you nicked my Fleetwood Mac CD” – for some reason she was convinced that I’d stolen her Fleetwood Mac CD. Bear in mind that I was sixteen at that time and hadn’t even heard of Fleetwood Mac. What did she think I’d need with ‘Rumours’?! Anyway, it turned up years later in a DJ Sammy DC case of my brothers but she’s still convinced that I snuck in during the night after hopping on the midnight train from Newcastle to slip it back in.

This went on for a few hours and I was getting pretty tired (I was also likely still pissed) when she come around to “and I know you’re on that internet, speaking to them mens” – that’s a direct quote by the way, the Fens have a lot to answer for. I feigned outrage at such a suggestion, as I hurriedly minimised as many Gaydar chatroom windows as I could and ‘brb’d all the busily-wanking 40 year old blokes. I wasn’t prepared to put up with such slanderous accusations so I leapt out of that chair in preparation for a mega-strop out the back door. She must’ve been just as frustrated as I was and grabbed her flip-flop to give me a slap across the arse with it (as was the style at the time) and duly did, but in a state of pure rage I pushed her onto the sofa. I didn’t have a clue what to do next so I thought that I’d made it that far, I might as well do *something* so I grabbed her flip flop and slapped her on the arse back just as hard as I could. They still talk of the Phantom Slap that ricocheted round Yaxley to this very day, inbetween gazing cluelessly at aeroplanes and interbreeding. Her face was an absolute picture and it was completely worth it. I think it was a mixture of shock, bit of pain but also trying to understand what had just happened. Before she had a chance to retaliate I ran screaming from the house and spent a week living between friends houses so she could fucking find that CD and stop bloody whinging.

Back to James.

Bless him, he loves her really. The way one might miss the ache of an ingrown toenail once the doctor has removed it. Speaking of cheese, let’s do this mexican lasagne. Why is it Mexican? Who knows. I had refried beans in a Mexican restaurant a while back and, having spotted they’re free on SW, and inspired slightly by that meat’n’beans mince you get in ASDA, here we are! This serves six – we served ours with wedges done in the Actifry before you ask: the new Actifry is dropping in price again on Amazon!

mexican lasagne

to make mexican lasagne you will need:

  • 1kg beef mince
  • 16 pitted sliced green olives (3 syns)
  • 1 tin of refried beans (free!)
  • 3 tbsp of taco seasoning
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp sliced jalapeños
  • half an onion
  • half a box of lasagne sheets
  • 160g grated low-fat cheese (4x HeA)
  • 4 tbsp low fat sour cream (6 syns)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced

You get so much beef packed into our freezer filler with Musclefood that’ll give you a tingle somewhere intimate just thinking about it! Treat yourself: you can’t beat our meat. Don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window!

to make mexican lasagne you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • brown the mince in a large frying pan
  • meanwhile, chop up the green olives in a mini-chopper
  • tip the chopped olives into a bowl and then add the cherry tomatoes, jalapenos and onion and blitz to make a salsa
  • (you can do the above two steps by hand if needed)
  • add the chopped olives to the mince along with the taco seasoning, salsa and tin of refried beans, and stir well to combine
  • spray a little oil around a 9″x 13″ baking dish
  • add one third of the mince mixture to the dish and top with lasagne sheets
  • sprinkle over a quarter of the cheese
  • spoon over another third of the meat mixture and top with lasagne sheets and a bit of cheese, and then do that once more
  • sprinkle over the remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake for 1 hour
  • remove from the oven and add the diced tomato
  • drizzle over the sour cream and sprinkle over the spring onions and extra jalapenos
  • enjoy

Good news with all that spice too: you’ll have plenty of time to re-evaluate your life as it thunders back out of you later on!

More recipes you say? Of course.

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J

taster night tiny tropical towers – twochubbycubs

Taster night looming? Can’t face another quiche that tastes like a discarded shoe? Then this post of taster night tiny tropical towers is for you! But first…

In what world, in what grey, dystopian, horrendously bleak outlook, does a fucking breadbun rolled in sweetener and stuffed with a hotel breakfast portion of jam become a doughnut? Well? It’s no more a bloody doughnut than I am a red-blooded heterosexual who could confidently annotate a diagram of the vagina. It’s a friggin’ jam sandwich at best only with the added advantage of making your teeth retract so far into your body through the sweetness that you’ll be eating out of your own arsehole.

Gah! Christ, if there is one thing that really boils up my piss about this diet, it’s stuff like this. That isn’t healthy. It isn’t going to be a ‘sweet treat’, it isn’t going to ‘taste just like a doughnut’ and you really WILL be able to ‘taste the difference’. A proper doughnut tastes so good because it’s a) full of butter b) full of sugar c) full of flour d) fried in enough oil to make a Deepwater Horizon sequel and e) because you can actually feel your heart strain and protest as you eat it. A bloody breadbun with a period of seedless Hartleys isn’t going to do the same thing! I understand people are desperate to find recipes that allow them to eat how they used to eat but you’re already on one – Slimming World! Just use your syns, have a proper bit of what you fancy and jog the fuck on.

I should totally write the opening guff for Slimming World magazine, shouldn’t I? I’d be the first person in history whose asterisk key on his keyboard crumbled to dust through overuse.

Anyway, what a diversion. I wasn’t even going to post a recipe tonight because Paul’s had an awful day but to hell with him, I’ve put him to bed already and now I have an hour to myself. Don’t worry, I’l wake him up later with a Dominos delivery, so he’s really not doing too bad. To be fair, I’ve actually had the whole day to myself because I now work from home on a Friday – the excitement! No but it is exciting for me, not least because it is one less day that I have to spend screaming myself hoarse at some shovel-faced cacafuego in an Audi who inevitably cuts me up because he’s such a big deal. I love my job but the seventy minute commute (which takes twenty minutes during half-term) does my nut in. I’ve had to fit a roof-rack just to hold my fucking blood pressure, it’s that high.

I did have anxiety about whether I’d be able to focus on work, being by myself, but what a joy it’s been. Again, I love my job and I like the cut and thrust of working in a modern office, but there’s something to be said about doing the same work in your worst underwear whilst Jeremy Kyle plays quietly in the background. My writing desk looks out onto the street and I’ve been able to watch the comings and goings of various folk. Weirdly, for a cul-de-sac holding twenty or so houses, we’ve had two ambulance visits. We nearly had another visit when I strained my neck from being too nosy but I put one of those heat cushions on and we’re tickety-boo.

Another positive about working from home is that I was able to have visitors – today, a sparkie and a delivery man. Not in an Irina Palm way, you understand, but simple honest reasons – we need a quote for moving a light switch six inches along the wall and some new lighting for the food photos. Our previous electrician seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth – there’s literally no record of him or his business anywhere on the Internet now and I’m beginning to think we had all of our lights installed by a particularly industrious ghost. Actually, I remember the last time he was here he did such a rotten fart climbing up the loft ladder that there’s no way he could have been fiction – we still get a whiff of burnt eggs every time I flick that loft light on. Anyway, the new chap came highly recommended, turned up on time and didn’t so much as flinch when he saw the awful Venture Photography special photo of me and Paul perched on the bookcase. It’s awful – a nasty studio photo with the cheesiest pose you can imagine because they made us tickle each other in front of the camera so we had natural smiles. Pfft. It doesn’t help that I’m dressed like an office worker from a 1980’s fire safety video and Paul’s sweating like a whore on Sunday under the studio lamps.

We only bought it out of courtesy for the poor lass who had tried to touch the photo up the best she could. We use it now to keep our nephew away from our drawer of sin.

The other chap was delivering a new kitchen gadget from Amazon – a pressure cooker. This is how easily I’m persuaded by advertising – I had seen a link to some pressure cooker recipes on Facebook and without even opening the page I’d ordered one from Amazon. I’m the worst. It’s the size of Sputnik II and has more buttons on it than a 7XL shirt. Of course, having a delivery means you have to be on high alert all day because you don’t want to miss it and have to fart about with redelivery, which in turn meant I was scared to leave my computer. Naturally, he didn’t turn up to 4.45pm, at which point I’d given up and gone for a shower. No sooner had I squirted a blob of Molton Brown on my boobs when I hear a knock at the door. He was lucky, I hadn’t started singing yet. I hurtle out, throw a dressing gown on and then promptly manage to wrest one of our internal doors clean off its hinges by virtue of my dressing gown cord snagging on the door handle, resulting in me bellowing ‘OH YOU FUCKING C*NT’ at the stricken door, which I’m sure the poor delivery bloke heard. As if the sight of me answering the door, beetroot-faced, barely holding my dressing gown together whilst dragging a door behind me wasn’t entertaining enough.

Still, pressure cooker, eh – recipes coming soon for that, I’m sure. But first, a new taster night idea, if you’re feeling generous and kind. If not, make them for yourself like we did and you get the added bonus of not being shouldered in the tit by someone desperate to scoop every last ‘JAM DOUGHNUT’ into their gob.

taster night tiny tropical towers

taster night tiny tropical towers

to make taster night tiny tropical towers you will need:

  • 8 small wholemeal buns (Sainsbury’s sell them – they’re really tiny!)
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 4 bacon medallions (or 4 rashers of bacon, all fat removed)
  • 2 fresh pineapple rings (watch the syns if using tinned)
  • 8 tsp of any sauce that tickles your fancy (we used our own syn-free tomato ketchup, recipe here, or you could syn the tiniest wee blob if you want)
  • 1 mini-gem lettuce, chopped
  • 160g reduced fat cheddar, cut into small squares
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

This makes 16 wee little towers – the bread on each is roughly 20g or so and 10g of cheese – a tiny portion of your HEA and HEB. You could have three for no syns!

Looking for good, decent, less than 5% mince? Then let Musclefood help you. We’ve got a banging deal – you’ll wonder if you can take all the meat but if you just relax, you’ll be fine. Have a look at our deals, don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window.

to make taster night tiny tropical towers, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 240 degrees celsius
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray in a little oil
  • pat dry the pineapple slices and place in the pan, and leave to caramelise for about 5-6 minutes
  • flip over and do again for the other side
  • when the pineapple is cooked, remove from the pan then cut into eighths
  • in the same pan, add the bacon and cook until crispy, and then remove and cut into quarters
  • meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the minced beef, salt and pepper
  • divide the mince mixture into 16 and roll into small balls, and flatten into a mini burger shape
  • plop all of the burgers onto a wire rack over a baking tray and pop in the oven to cook for 3-4 minutes
  • turn over and cook for another 3 minutes
  • top the burgers with the cheese squares and cook for another minute until melted
  • remove from the oven
  • spread a little sauce over each of the bun halves, add a bit of lettuce, then top with a mini-burger, slice of bacon and a pineapple wedge
  • if you’re after our fancy moustache spikes, they’re from Tiger but also available on Amazon, see here

These are lovely cold so fine to take to class!

After more fakeaway recipes or taster night ideas? Then look no further, my friends. Look no further. Buttons will lead the way.

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J

big mac tater tots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

big mac tater tots big mac tater tots

to make big mac tater tots you will need:

for the special sauce:

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

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

big mac tater tots

¡Válgame Dios!

to make big mac tater tots you should:

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

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

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

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Eee, canny.

J

low syn cheesy nacho mince and rice

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

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

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Oh I know, I’m a sod.


twochubbycubs on: a nice day for a white wedding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

cheesy nacho mince and rice cheesy nacho mince and rice

to make cheesy nacho mince and rice you will need:

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

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

to make cheesy nacho mince and rice you should:

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

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

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

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I know, we’re wonderful.

J

introducing the girthburger and a happy new year!

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

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

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Where were we? Ah yes:

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

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

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

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

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

the girthburger

to make the girthburger you will need:

to make the girthburger you should:

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

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

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

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Happy new year, all!

J

chilli beefy macaroni cheese

Now, before we get to the chilli beefy macaroni cheese, just a couple of opening thoughts before Christmas Day lands. A neighbour, albeit a distant one from the street next to ours, stopped me this morning as I was going to the car to find my wallet (in my “paint” splattered dressing gown, the shame) (at least I wasn’t wearing my Club World slippers that I nicked from BA mind). You know why he stopped me? Because he felt he had to tell me why we weren’t getting a Christmas card from him this year – because we hadn’t given him one last year. I’m glad he let me know, the evenings I’ve spent sighing dramatically into my pillow and turning my back towards the sun through the sheer anguish of not knowing. For fucks sake. I bet he’s been fizzing about it all year. I tried to hide my upset as he broke the news but I’m sure my face crumpling into my chest and my wailing as I shuffled back to the house gave the game away.

Along those lines, another big thank you for the Christmas cards which are still arriving – the fact that so many of you took the time to send a card with a wee note in it has warmed my heart and touched me in a way that hasn’t happened since I was in the school choir. It really has been lovely reading everyone’s stories and well wishes and I promise that we’ll continue on for a bit longer yet!

Finally, I just wanted to say to everyone: have an amazing Christmas. Eat, drink and be merry. You can slim in the New Year. Enjoy the day and remember, it’s the people around the tree rather than the gifts underneath that matter most of all. You’re all the best!

Of course, before we get to the chilli beefy macaroni cheese, we’ve got part three of our trip to Switzerland to discuss!

swissthree

part one | part two

You know what I like best about that banner? I’m already planning the next banner for the next holiday and I’ve just had a do a search for an icon for diarrhoea. Hey, it’s non-stop glamour writing this blog, I don’t know how I don’t come each time the Mac start-up sound chimes.

When you last left us we were sleeping solidly in our warm, Geneva beds, ready for the day ahead. Rather than bore you with by-the-minute details of what we did, I’m just going to pick out the rough highlights and write about them instead. In the ‘missing gaps’ just assume we were either drinking tiny coffees or spending money, for that pretty much covers all bases.

We awoke then and decided to check Tripadvisor for ‘things to do in Geneva’. I’ll save you the effort of doing it yourself – there’s frightfully little. Clearly this was a city for business and not so much for pleasure – the first activity cited is Lake Geneva (the second is a small mountain outside the city), which, whilst undoubtedly beautiful, provides very little diversion on a cold, December morning. We could see the lake from our hotel room, anyway, if we squinted hard and the lady across the lane had taken in her bloomers from the washing line. I like lakes, I do, but we have such a bonny one nearby in the form of Kielder that perhaps I am spoilt. Nevertheless, we decided to walk down to the lake and then to totter about on our own steam, finding what interests us along the way.

There was, as is so often the case with empty days filled with no plans at all, plenty of things of interest. We walked along the lakeside around the many parks that litter the way, smiling cheerily at joggers as they ran past, pulling that odd cum-face that joggers do whilst they run. The parks were full of shuttered shops and stalls and buildings that looked welcoming from afar but firmly fermé when up close. My new walking shoes were busy turning the back of my feet into little more than hanging strips of skin so we found a nearby pharmacy to try and get a box of Compeed blister plasters – you know the ones that swell and then root right into the blister so when you take it off, you’ve got something gross to throw at your husband if he doesn’t make the tea? No? Just me?

Anyway, this box of plasters came with a price tag of over £14 and I was served by the most unsympathetic, rude bumhole I’ve met in a long time. For one, he didn’t look up from his Prendre une Pause (Oh non! C’est horrible! Mon mari serveur a des rapports sexuels avec ma soeur et mon Alsacien!) when we came in, nor when we approached the counter, nor when he scanned the item in. He could have put through a box of Lillets for all he knew. A brief, cursory glance at the till was followed by him spitting out the price and holding out his hand like I was going to high-five the twat. I would deposited my chewing gum in his hand and ran for it if my feet hadn’t resembled used Christmas crackers at this point. Instead, I paid with my contactless card, spun on my heel and left, saying ‘merci beaucoup, how do you say…chatte géante’ under my breath.

We spotted that the United Nations building was nearby and so hustled in that general direction. We were greeted by a couple of armed but very friendly men at the entrance who told us the museum was closed (but of course) and alas, we couldn’t come in even to take pictures of the flags. I tried to explain that, as a Geordie, I merely wanted to extend the pastry-flecked hand of solidarity to our Swiss brothers, but he was having none of it. He encouraged us to turn around and take some pictures of the giant broken chair that stands across the way, designed by the artist Daniel Berset to remind the politicians streaming in and out of the UN that land-mines were a very bad thing indeed (because one of the legs of the chair has been blown off, see? Give me an art degree right now!). I don’t know why they didn’t just put a picture of Princess Diana smiling wanly at them instead.

Paul attempted to pose in front of the chair for a photo but then realised we were selfishly in the way of the 12,000 Chinese tourists who were snapping at the chair from every single one of the 360 degrees available to us all. So much shrieking. The chair was quite something, admittedly, but it is difficult to be sombre and reflective when you’re being jostled and pushed by a high-pitched collection of cameras with limbs attached. We pressed on, electing to take the tram down into the centre of the city.

Oh, that’s something worth mentioning – all tourists to Geneva (and later, Bern) are given a free ticket to travel around on their public transportation system. It’s excellent, reliable and frequent and a perfect way to see the city. We’d paid lip-service to walking around and now it was time to let the train take the strain. Paul told me to sit next to him but I wanted to spread my legs a bit, only to immediately have a child plunked down in front of me who spent the rest of the journey staring at me with a slug of snot hanging out of his crusty nose, which he took great delight in sniffing back up his nose and letting it fall back out. I would have taken great delight in opening the window and flinging him into the Rhône but luckily, our stop came before I snapped. Brr.

At this point we both needed two things: some breakfast and a good poo. We wandered for a bit before finding somewhere with a board outside that promised a coffee and croissant for less than the owner’s mortgage payment. A miracle. However, once we’d sat down, I realised my mistake. Almond milk. Wan-faced, 90% there, slightly ethereal customers, shimmering in the half-light. Everyone talking with that affected, Pecksniffian air of the better-than-you set. We were in a…vegan cafe. We ordered a pastry and coffee and were curtly told to sit down. I wanted to cry out that my leather belt was actually pleather and all of my meat-box pushing on this blog was merely a front for Save The Soya Beans of Sudan or something but I didn’t get a chance. We ate our breakfast hurriedly, trying not to gag as the milk curdled on top of the coffee like the results of a particularly rumbustious sexually transmitted disease, paid up and left. I think I stepped on a beetle on the way out of the shop, leading to a plaintive cry from the owner. Either that or she had realised I’d accidentally spilled the sugar bowl on the floor.

I know, I’m a horror. Vegans, you know I’m joking, please don’t write to me. Save your strength, I don’t want your wrists shattering like a dropped piano from the weight of an HB pencil. We spotted that the Jet d’Eau, Geneva’s colossal landmark water fountain, was a twenty minute away. However, before we got to that, I had to go and relieve a high-pressure blockage of my own, and it was with a euphoric cry that I spotted one of those shiny automatic toilets near the Plainpalais tram stop. Phew! I’m a huge fan of these individual toilets because they’re always spotlessly clean and you can have a shite in the safe knowledge that you’re not going to have a man standing next to you wanking away whilst you strain.

I hurried in, assumed that the stupid thing had locked because there was no button to lock the door and sat down to say goodbye to yesterday, my jeans and boxers round my ankles. Sweet relief. No, sweet relief cut immediately short because no sooner had I opened the release valve than the door swooshed open, revealing me to Paul and the busy street like the worst episode of Blind Date you’ll have ever seen. I bellowed like a stabbed bull, jumped to my feet, tripped over my jeans and fell over hard, creating an impressively loud clang (imagine a church bell falling onto the top of a bus) and drawing even more attention to me. Thankfully my Scottish Widow cloak hid most of my shame but honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever gone from semi-nude to clothed and composed (and slightly pee-soaked) so quickly. I didn’t even get to finish my crap but actually, the shock of the stumble made everything tense and my urgent need to go had disappeared.

I exited that toilet coolly and confidently, meeting the gaze of anyone who had the temerity to look at me. Paul was doubled-over with laughter, the insensitive sod. I walked off, leaving him to breathlessly catch up with me a few minutes later, at which point he just promised that he hadn’t pressed the ‘open button’ on the door ‘to see what happened’. He was definitely lying – I’d have been more convinced if he’d ran up and told me he was turning straight – but I had to forgive him because, away from the staring eyes of the folk in the street, it was bloody hilarious.

We tottered down to the Jet D’Eau. What can I say about this? It is a giant fountain originally built to release the pressure from a hydroelectric plant – thank Christ it wasn’t a sewage processing facility, though I reckon my arse could do a fair impression after two bowls of “delicious” speed soup. Anyway, the Swiss thought this burst of water so delightful that they recreated it by the lakeside and indeed, it does look pretty spurting into the air. We walked up, took a few photos, I pretended like I was douching using the fountain and all of Geneva fell about laughing and slapping their knees. Honestly, how they laughed!

Now, I could go on, but let’s cut it short here and get to the recipe. It’s chilli beefy macaroni cheese – crunchy, spicy, cheesy – just bloody amazing. Yeah it’s a few more syns but fuck it. Spending your syns might scare you but remember – this is ooey-gooeyness that doesn’t skimp on flavour, AND it serves SIX! Plus, it’s Christmas for goodness sake. If that isn’t the time to let your gunt flap over your knees and fill yourself with calories then I don’t know when is.

chilli beefy macaroni cheese

to make chilli beefy macaroni cheese you will need:

  • 500g pasta (we used spirali because we’re decadent bitches)
  • 400g lean beef mince (you know, like the sort of stuff you might find in say, our fabulous Musclefood deal? See? Have a look!)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 240g reduced-fat cheddar cheese (6x HeA)
  • 200ml skimmed milk (4 syns)
  • 1½ tins of chopped tomatoes
  • handful of chopped jalapeños
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp olive oil (4 syns)
  • 1 tbsp flour (3½ syns)
  • 75g panko (10½ syns)

Right: final time this year. Treat yourself to a microplane grater. It’ll do for ginger, it’ll do for garlic, it’ll do for getting those callouses off those trotters of yours. The one we use is lovely and cheap – see?

to make chilli beefy macaroni cheese you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat, add a slosh of oil and add the onions and garlic – cook until the onions have softened a bit
  • add the mince to the pan and cook until no pink meat remains
  • add the tomatoes, jalapeños, chili powder and chili flakes to the pan, stir and cook for another 4 minutes
  • scoop the meat out of the pan and into a bowl and set aside
  • quickly rinse out the pan, fill it with water, add some salt and bring to the boil
  • cook the pasta according to the instructions, reserving half a mug of pasta water for later
  • drain and set aside
  • put the same pan back on the hob, add the oil and flour and mix into a paste using a whisk, and slowly pour in the milk a bit at a time, until the mixture has thickened
  • chuck in the cheese, remove from the heat and stir until melted
  • add the mustard powder, oregano and black pepper and stir
  • mix the drained pasta into the cheese, using the reserved pasta water to loosen it if necessary
  • stir in the mince, mix well and tip into a big baking dish
  • sprinkle over the panko and bake in the oven for 15 minutes
  • serve!

Want more pasta, beef or just bloody amazing food? Here!

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Have an amazing Christmas, all!

J