the steak bake

For most blokes, the idea of having a soaking wet bird angrily thrashing around on their face first thing in the morning would be an entirely wonderful way to wake up. Well, admittedly, we’re not “most blokes” but let me tell you, it’s not all that. Nevertheless, that’s how we started the day, with my cat bringing a bird in through our bedroom window and throwing it against my face. Normally we’re woken very gently by our fancy alarm clock that fades unnatural light into the room like a sunrise but clearly Bowser thought that was far too decadent and we needed a new alternative.

There was a LOT of screaming. I screamed, Paul screamed, the bird was screaming and the cat got such a fright at our apparently ungratefulness that he puffed up into Giant Cat Form, picked up his prey and took off with the bird in his teeth into the living room, leaving a lovely smear of blood across the floor from where it’s wing was hanging off. We spent the next ten minutes trying to remove Bowser from the room and rescue the bird and, after much flapping around (by all of us) and some judicious use of a tea-towel, I slingshotted the poor bugger out of the living room window. He survived for all of about ten seconds before Sola, our other cat, jumped from the roof (we live in a bungalow remember, she’s not THAT good) and tore his head off. In all, we’d gone from sleeping peacefully in our beds to watching a violent murder on our front lawn, with all the screaming and dramatics that entails, within fifteen minutes.

My heart was still racing as I backed the DS3 off the drive.

Of course, the fun didn’t stop there, as when Paul posted a dramatic recollection of the encounter on Facebook, he was immediately set about by someone telling him off for not taking the bird to an animal hospital. Paul was being terribly polite and British about the whole thing but I immediately weighed in on the argument to point out that ‘the Sparrow Ambulance was tied up attending to a coal tit with hurt feelings’ and that I lamented the fact I hadn’t had the foresight to fashion the poor bugger ‘a tiny sling from a spent match and a doll’s shoelace’.

I think we can agree that I won the argument.

Anyway, that’s America week over – what fun! To recap, we covered:

That’s a lot of decent dishes! Give one a try and report back. Our next theme will be budget week – we’re going to try and map out a whole week for around £40/£50, which is half our normal shopping budget for the week. That’ll be in a couple of weeks and I’ll break with tradition by putting a meal planner on here before it starts. You know, because I’m nice like that.

Anyway, tonight’s recipe is interesting and tasty, if you’re a fan of cat-food pressed into a bit of fake-bread. This isn’t one of our own recipes – we’ll gingerly call it a Slimming World classic – but people have been foaming at the gash over these “steak bakes” which tastes “just like the ones from Greggs”. Well, really. The only thing I get from Greggs is overcome with static electricity from all the bustling masses of polyester leisure suits. Remember, I’m from Newcastle – we’ve got more Greggs than we do bus-stops. A romantic day out here is a sausage roll from Greggs and a quick fingering in the cinema. Nevertheless, it’s the new ‘in thing’ amongst all the big groups so you know, I thought we’d take our foot off the gas and relax a little, and let someone else do the thinking. So this isn’t our recipe, no no, but you might enjoy it.

steak bake

Mmm. Appetising. Paul enjoyed it, but it felt like mush in my mouth – like someone had already had a bash at eating it. Look, I’m not fussy about what goes in my mouth (fact: I don’t have a gag reflex, and god knows many have tried to find it), but the meat in this stewing steak had all the structural integrity of a licked stamp. Plus the pattern on the thins reminds me of pitted keratolysis. Did it fill me up? Perhaps, but we served them with new potatoes out of the garden and peas, so I reckon it was probably those that filled me with goodness.

for a steak bake then, you’re going to need:

  • a tin of ASDA stewed steak (syn free, but you can find plenty others that are low in syns)
  • Kingsmill wholemeal thins (one ‘sandwich’ is a HEB)
  • an onion
  • an egg
  • tip: add worcestershire or chilli sauce

and you’ll need to:

  • warm through the delicious looking tin of Whiskas stewed steak
  • add in the chopped onion (cooked if you prefer)
  • spread over the thins
  • press down and secure the edges by pressing with your finger
  • wash the top with a bit of beaten egg
  • cook for around fifteen minutes.

Enjoy. It’s free for one. That’s one thin, not one packet of thins. Or: alternatively, go cook something…healthy. I dunno. I’m not your Master.


philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers

Sorry sorry, don’t worry, we’re extending American week for a few days to make up for the gaps. See I went to see Terminator Genisys last night after a cheeky Nandos. IT WASN’T CHEEKY. IT WASN’T COCK-A-DOODIE CHEEKY AT ALL. Sorry but I can’t abide the use of the word cheeky. Having a glass of warm prosecco in a beer garden surrounded by people with red shoulders is not cheeky. An ice-cream amongst the dog turds on the beach isn’t cheeky. Jack Whitehall is cheeky. My arse is literally cheeky. STOP FUCKING SAYING CHEEKY AAAAAAAAAAAAARGH MAN.

So yes, Terminator. It was excellent, in a ‘pop your brain in your bag and enjoy the show’ sort of way. Lots of explosions, people melting, ridiculous action scenes and Arnold Schwarzenegger still looking like a varnished lamp-post with mumps. I really like him as an actor, he doesn’t give a shit and we can all respect that. If you read the snotty “official” reviews you’d think it was about as much fun as watching a beloved dog being put down in front of a crying child, but as long as you don’t go in expecting Peer bloody Gynt you’ll be tickety boo.

I also managed to swizz an extra scoop of Ben & Jerry’s (SYNNED) by telling the charming lady behind the till it was my birthday. I don’t think she fell for it, but rather just wanted me to move away from the counter and stop going ‘aaaah’ and ‘uuuum’ like an old inkjet printer.

Anyway that’s quite enough from me tonight. Remember this week is my time off! Today’s American entry is super long and the recipe is RIGHT at the bottom, so scroll scroll scroll. I’d apologise, but a gay man never apologies for length. If you want to buy the rest of the book. I’m still #1, woohoo, it’s right here. Go! 


Day 21 and 22 – lots of bits and pieces

OK, I’m going to cheat a little on these days. I didn’t take any notes and we didn’t go anywhere ‘special’, just mopped up the activities on International Drive and lazed about in the hotel. Remember, we’d been going non-stop for a good twenty days – we needed to rest! To make things easier for me, I’m going to write it as ‘one day’ where we travelled from one activity to the next. We did this, just spread over two days with lots of sleeping and honeymoon-happiness in between. So, this is going to be a long one… cue wavy lines of retrospective…

Breakfast first, and Sizzler here we come. You can’t fault somewhere where you can get an all-you-can-eat heart attack and all the British Fury (in the form of the Daily Mail) you could ever need for less than $10 a head. We should confess – if something is all you can eat, it’s all we can do not to push ourselves past the point of no return. I think it’s because I’m so tight with money that I like to feel I’m getting my money’s worth. That said, it still repulses me to see all the American land-cows loading their plate with chunks of brownies, rashers of bacon and those tiny twiglet-like sausages all in one go. I mean, at least separate the items that simply don’t belong together. I’ve seen people come back from the buffet with plates piled high like a Frank Gehry building, walking slowly lest a stray bit of food drops to the floor. There’s no need! Mind you, I’m up on my soapbox, I’m still the one who smuggles a few pastries out under my moobs to snack on later.

Go-Karting next. There’s a go-karting er…track up by Wet ‘n’ Wild, and we had passed it many a time thinking we would never be able to squeeze our voluptuous rears into the karts. This time round, we didn’t care, and in no time at all were squashed into the kart with ne’ry a seatbelt and a strong smell of petrol in our nostrils. The man in charge was the double of Kenan from Kenan and Kel and this led to me being late off the starting line whilst I wildly gesticulated to Paul to try and point this out. Ah well. I still managed to lap him. Tell you what mind, the amount of blue smoke that must have been pouring out the back of the karts as they chugged Paul and I up the hills must have been terrific. I remember being on holiday in Ayia Napa (before it went all WKD) with my family about ten years ago  – my parents hired two scooters to take us all over the island. My sister and mother jumped on one scooter and zipped merrily right up the steep hill to the hotel, whereas the scooter holding me and my dad struggled for about ten minutes at 2mph, pumping out more blue smoke than the smoking shelter outside Mecca Bingo. Bless. I’ve never been lithe.

Go-karting is good fun though for a few minutes, so might be worth a look. One of the things I want to do when I return is to learn to drive – if this is a benchmark of my driving then bring it on! We moved on, over the road to Tiki Volcano Golf Course, or whatever the devil it is called.

When we first came to Orlando, this was all we would do of an evening – crazy golf, eat, sleep. We remembered this course being amazing but I reckon it’s more down to rose-coloured nostalgia as it was…crap. Everything was chipped, sodden or broken. We still enjoyed the challenging holes (story of my life) but the volcano never went off, even when I cheated at the end and used Paul to distract the attendant whilst I reached through the netting and stuck my ball in the hole for the ‘Free Game and Volcano Erupt’. Damn it! Perhaps it was karma for me slicing my ball into the car-park with an overzealous swing…I rather thought the ball was making a bid for freedom but hey. I bet the course isn’t there when we go back in 2013, though. I won, and we left.

We had lunch at Dennys, which was fun. Our waiter was a pleasant enough chap but super-mega-fat, and he had a distractingly sweaty forehead, to the point where I didn’t bother adding salt to my fries because I was sure enough he’d manage to drench them for me wobbling his way from the kitchen to our table. The food wasn’t great, but you don’t go to Dennys expecting to have your mouth blown off with flavour, after all. It’s another one of those ‘meals’ we can cross off our list.

Now, what can two young lads do on International Drive with bulging wallets and a keen eye for history? That’s right! Titanic: The Experience. A wee bit of background – we love Titanic (the movie), it’s so wonderfully cheesy and after both of us suffering it everytime there was a ‘rainy day’ at school, we can quote big old chunks of the movie at each other. For example, on the plane to Orlando, we managed to shoehorn in a ‘Typical, the first class passengers bring their dogs down here to take a shite’ reference when we descended down the mystical stairs from the bubble to look at those wedged into economy. So yes! We love Titanic. In we went.

For those who don’t know, Titanic: The Experience offers visitors an interactive tour around artefacts from the Titanic and tells the story of the doomed ship through a mixture of actors and props. We were given tickets detailing our new job on Titanic and we were told we could find out whether we lived or died at the end. Drama! Everyone knows that fat people survive maritime disasters – we simply bob in the water until we’re hoisted out, our bulbous ankles kicking in the wind. Either that or we beach ourselves and need to be hosed down with gravy. We were greeted by Danny Devito in a smoking jacket who spent the next twenty minutes telling us about the dimensions of the ship and all those who perished then started the tour. In and out of various rooms we went to be shown artefacts not from Titanic but rather her sister ship. Not sure I get the point of this. I understand it is a bit of a swim down to the Titanic but you can’t advertise saying you’ll ‘see bits of Titanic’ then get them in from another ship! Good lord. Half of the tour seemed to enjoy the tour – but – ‘not the better half’. Arf!

Towards the end, things got surreal – you are led into a room to find out whether you lived or died (we both lived – told you!) and then watched a short movie comprising of all the dramatic bits from the movie, all accompanied by O Fortuna (the music used when the judges slither out on The X-Factor). It’s so crass! The only thing missing was Celine Dion warbling away through her 50p-shaped face.

Two minor diversions. As we were bored and a little disappointed by the whole thing, we decided on a bit of mischief, and upon finding the air-conditioning panel hidden away behind a wall, we dropped the building temperature down to a chilly 10 degrees. What can I say? I wanted to do my bit to add to the realism and I’m simply too buxom to carry off a Molly Brown outfit. The other diversion? Redneck fighting. Yep, in a museum devoted to the many victims of Titanic, a fattychops on a mobility scooter started arguing with his equally well-furnished wife about how bored they were. Awesome. They got wheeled out, to a chorus of our tuts and ‘Well I Never’ – missing out on the chance to ‘feel the chill of a real iceberg’.

Yeah – the chill. The final part of this thrilling experience was the chance to experience a real-life iceberg. Exciting! However, all was not what it seemed. We were shepherded into a room to find the iceberg, which was a slab of ice stuck to a box. Disappointment was etched on everyone’s face. I could have stayed at home and opened our freezer door to replicate this experience – granted there wasn’t a box of Crispy Pancakes wedged in the Orlando version, but we would have got the jist. Bah!  All in all, we did not love Titanic: The Experience. I can only assume they’re using ‘Experience’ in the sense that having a smear test is an experience. Not pleasurable and (I imagine) quite cold.  To be honest, if I wanted to spend an hour wandering around a museum devoted to an old wreck full of seamen, I’d break into Katie Price’s house. Yep, I went there.

From one chilling experience to another – the Ice Bar. We had walked past this place many times and always said ‘let’s give it a try’ but when you’ve got theme parks and wonder to take in, the prospect of spending thirty minutes in a freezer with hooray-henrys didn’t rank up there amongst the must-does. Ah well – with time on our hands, we paid the six million dollar entry fee and we given a charming insulated jacket to wear. They don’t suit fatties – I ended up looking like a hot water tank. Nevermind – in we went. Let me say one thing – don’t bloody bother. Yes, it looks good – everything is truly made from ice, from the bar to the chairs, but that’s it. There’s no atmosphere, no excitement, no music (I think) and the ‘fire’ is a collection of twinkly Christmas tree lights. You’re given a free shot of vodka which was nice enough, but I’m Geordie – frozen wastelands don’t excite me, I have to drive past Gateshead every other day. If you want an extra drink, it’s a case of sawing off an arm and a leg to pay for it. Whilst this is doubtless easier as you’re numb from the cold, it isn’t worth it. I don’t think we stayed for our allotted thirty minutes, and we were out of there before we were brayed to death by the chortling poshos. That made me laugh actually – the place was full of people hooting and neighing thinking they were somewhere special, but come on love, you’re in an air-conditioner unit at the back end of International Drive.

Over the road from the Ice Bar is another thing that we have always wanted to do, but always ruled out on safety grounds – the I-Ride Helicopter Tours. I’d love to go in a helicopter but there’s something about the way these guys seem to throw their helicopters to the ground that worries me – like they get rid of one party, chuck another one and away they go – where are the safety checks! The rational side of me knows that a pilot wouldn’t take the risk but still. Or maybe this is all a smokescreen because I was terrified we’d get on board and a light would light up on the dashboard saying ‘Maximum Weight Threshold Reached’ and we’d have to wobble out, shamefaced. Next time we’ll do a proper tour from Disney, methinks. Once I’m slender.

As an aside, I make a lot of jokes about our weight, but we’re not actually that fat. I WAS hugely fat at one point – that, coupled with my long hair, meant I looked like Meat Loaf. I decided to cut my hair (well, I set fire to it lighting a cigarette off a gas hob, which may have accelerated my decision) and lose some weight by joining Slimming World. I lost over seven stone and was in the running for Slimming World: Man of the Year too! However, I lost out when I was asked how I had lost the weight and replied ‘Heroin’. That answer, plus the fact that one of my competitors had a sob-story about being too fat to get onto an operating table, meant I didn’t win. The sods! Since those days, we’ve always been chunky rather than out-and-out fat, and I don’t take my weight seriously. So ignore our self-deprecation, we’ve happy really.

Another golf course – this time, Congo River Golf again. Told you this was our favourite, and despite having done it not so long since, we had to do it again as we hadn’t completed the mini-task of finding things that they offer. We had the course pretty much to ourselves, which led to a few glamorous photos being taken, including a recreation of our famous picture (in our house) where Paul looks bloody horrible – sat staring into the camera with a scrunched up face and smoke billowing out of his nostrils. I think he looks like Albert Steptoe. Undeterred, I got the original photo blown up and framed and I put it in the hallway everytime I know we have an engineer or a gasman coming round. To be fair, Paul counters this by putting up a framed picture of me in a wheelchair at Disney with a scabby leg. I didn’t need the wheelchair, but I was being lazy and wanted to try it out for an hour. I know I know, but we’ve all thought about it. If it makes it better, I didn’t use it to get onto any rides. We thought about stopping at the George and Dragon again just to ram home our dislike of it, but it seemed busy (I think there was a match on) and I hadn’t had my hepatitis vaccinations, we decided against it, and wandered a little further up International Drive in search of somewhere to eat.

We went back to Sweet Tomatoes for our evening meal. I know, we had such a crap experience in there the first time but we went for two reasons – one, we needed some more vitamins, and two, if Andre the Giant (Bumhole) was there, we were hoping he might say something. Sadly, he wasn’t, and we actually had a lovely meal. As I spent most of the last time frothing at the gob and moaning, we could actually enjoy the meal this time around, and I can’t recommend it enough to those who want something other than deep-fried animal and potatoes. Would a Sweet Tomatoes franchise work in the UK I wonder? A salad buffet is a simple idea and all we have over here is the lacklustre fare given at the likes of Pizza Hut where their idea of salad dressing is to sneeze on the lettuce. I guess we don’t have the weather for it. Anyway – we had a good mixed salad (with raw broccoli – oh my yes!), some black bean soup, and an oil-drum full of ice-cream. Delicious! This time around we left a good tip and came away happy.

The final evening at the Four Points was spent washing and ironing all of our clothes, looking out the window at the derelict lots over the road and watching lots of nonsense on the TV. We were tinged by sadness a little – after all, this was now the last leg of the holiday, and the prospect of going home was coming ever closer. That said, we were to finish on a high – Harry Potter, the Universal parks and best of all – Hard Rock Hotel!

A quick review of the Four Points – we thought it was terrific. It’s an unusual hotel which seems to attract an eclectic mix of people – the amount of ‘dashing’ pilots coming through reception would be enough to warrant taking an extra HRT pill amongst the older women, whereas the amount of rich Mexicans coming back with their Mall at Millenia bags may mean you’ll need ear-plugs. The rooms are large, the hallways well-appointed, and the whole hotel polished and clean. It would have been nicer to get a room higher up for the views but as it stood, we could still watch Rip Ride Rockit barrel around at Universal from our room, which helped build the anticipation. The only downsides that I can think of? The pool is TINY. Yes – if you’re a family, I’d think twice about this if you have water-babies, as it really is only big enough for about 10 people. Perhaps I’m biased as the last time I took a swim in it, I was getting eyed up (and that’s not me being arrogant, she was making it blatant) by this well..alright, I’ll be mean, facially-challenged porker. To be fair to her, I’m not sure she was eyeing me up in retrospect – she did have one eye going to the shop and one eye coming back with the change, so who knows. The other downer was the tiny laundry facilities but who comes on holiday to worry about laundry? Not this mincer! Anyway. Phew. I’m knackered. That’s all folks! Universal love tomorrow!

philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers

to make philli cheesesteak stuffed peppers, you’ll need

  • 600g beef steak
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 4 peppers
  • 100g brown rice
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 80g reduced fat mozarella (65g is one HEA)
  • handful of chopped chives

and you’ll need to do this:

  • rinse the rice under cold water to get all dust off
  • bring 325ml cold water to the boil in a small pan
  • add the rice to the boiling water, reduce heat, cover the pan and simmer for 45 minutes (keep an eye, but this is brown rice so it’s got to be boiled in magma until your soul departs)
  • with about 20 minutes left on the rice, rub the beef with the garlic, onion powder and black pepper and cook the beef steak to however you like it – generally with beef we just wipe its arse and wave a match over it and it’s done
  • leave the meat to rest for five minutes
  • preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  • slice the meat into thin, bitesize chunks and place in a bowl to rest a little more
  • cut the top off the peppers and scoop out the seeds
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the onions in a little oil until golden brown and translucent
  • add the onions to the same bowl as the steak
  • using a sieve squeeze as much water as you can out of the rice
  • add the rice to the bowl with the steak and onions
  • tear up the mozarella into small pieces and mix half into the steak mixture, keeping the other half aside
  • place the four peppers into a baking dish and spoon the mixture evenly into each one
  • top with the remaining mozzarella
  • bake in the oven for about 20 minutes
  • top with the chopped chives

We served with tenderstem broccoli. This makes enough mixture easily for four big peppers and then plenty left over, so I reckon you could make six or seven.


enchilada fries and a ginger nut

Gosh, it’s been five years since Raoul Moat, our local angry-faced ginger peanut, went on the rampage, shot a policeman and then spent four days shitting in a ditch in Rothbury, until the police came along and cut his hair with a shotgun.

I only mention it because he’s all over our local news again today, which makes a change from pissy-knickered biddies whingeing on about wind turbines. I remember it well – Paul and I were in our Quayside flat and we were out on the balcony, looking fitfully at the bushes below because we were sure that a rampaging murderer would be itching for a riverside view. Our local newspaper Facebook feed is awash with windowlickers saying ‘U CAN’T JUJE HIM HES A HERO’ and ‘U DONT KNOW HOLE STOREY’ and other shite. The walnut-muscled knob shot a fucking defenceless man in the face and the simpletons are making out like he’s misunderstood. Pfft. The human capacity for stupidity knows no bounds.

Hey, tomorrow our week long American week starts. We love a theme week here at twochubbycubs and it seems fitting, being July 4 tomorrow, to have a nice American-themed week. Admittedly we’re bound to cause international eye-rolling with our stereotyping but we’re basing it on our experiences when we were in Florida, where we quite literally had to actively seek out vegetables because the chest pains were getting too much. 

To go alongside this (and to give us a week off from writing) I’m going to post 7 days worth from our honeymoon book as we go along, so if you’ve already been a star and read it, I apologise. If not, buy it now, and keep us in pennies! It can be found here. If you’re a fan of my writing, you should hopefully enjoy it…

We’ve also picked and made contact with the winner of the competition to find all the famous faces – thank you to all who entered and your names gave me a good giggle. God knows where you think I’d hidden Thomas the Tank Engine mind. There will be another competition soon, and just for shits and giggles, I’ve hidden a famous face in tonight’s entry – it’s subtle, see if you can spot her. So here we go, because it’s getting late. These are enchilada fries and really it’s just an even fancier, syn-free version of burger in a bowl, with the added bonus that – unlike burger in a bowl – this doesn’t look like someone’s shot their bolt across a plate of mince and iceberg lettuce.


you’ll need these:

for the chips:

  • 900g potatoes

for the guacamole:

  • 180g frozen peas (defrosted)
  • 1 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • handful of coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp quark
  • juice of 1 lime

for the tomato salad:

  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • juice of half a lime

for the sour cream:

  • 250g fat-free natural yoghurt
  • salt and pepper
  • pinch of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp chilli pepper flakes

for the steak:

  • half a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 800g beef (in whatever form you like – we chose diced)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 80g grated reduced-fat cheddar

and you’ll need to do this:

for the chips

  • oh, come on now

for the guacamole:

  • add all the ingredients into a food processor, and blend until smooth

for the tomato salad:

  • mix all of the chopped ingredients together and season to taste

for the sour cream:

  • stir all of the ingredients together

for the steak:

  • heat the chopped tomatoes and puree in a sauce pan over a medium-high heat
  • when the mixture begins to simmer remove from the heat and stir in the beef
  • drain off the excess liquid and cook the beef over a medium-high heat to your preference
  • layer all of the ingredients onto a plate and enjoy!


beef stir-fry with udon noodles

It’s a more settled evening at The Cubs House – not least because James is working late so it’s just me and The Honeyz Greatest Hits belting out, interspersed with a little Alanis Morissette. It’s only when he’s not here y’see that I get to listen to some proper music. He says he can’t stand much of my music collection but I’ve definitely see him do Mariah hands to a few of Tracey Chapman’s catchier tunes. And as much as he complains he definitely knows all the words to a few Vanessa Carlton B-sides too. And what does THAT tell you?

We’ve actually got quite similar tastes in music which doesn’t cause too much bother except for a few distinct differences – I’m a real sucker for a miserable, piano song whereas he’ll go hell for leather with some indie crap that he’s found on Spotify. Most of the time though we work it out quite well – Barrowman and Eurovision is very much in whereas Muse is only on an off-day and out and about it’s very rare to see us both squeezed into the Micra without the Grease Megamix bursting out the speakers or some other jaunty tune. Just as an aside, I recently got a hire car to take me down to see the family and was given a rather fancy Mazda with a BOSE sound system. Well, believe me when I say I nearly shat myself when it powered up. Not only by the volume but also the bass which rattled my insides so much it practically blended whatever quark-filled monstrosity Magz instructed us to make through her own PRAVDA into pure liquid. I had to turn it down when I got to the A*Teens playlist because the rear-view mirror shook so much whenever Marie went anywhere over a high-C.

But anyway, that’s all a wholly different matter. We’re both actually much more relaxed this evening (well, I am anyway – he’s slumped over an ergonomic keyboard in the centre of Newcastle) at the good news that our bathroom isn’t like one huge giant Weetabix (HexB) gently crumbling into a bowl of skimmed milk (HexA) as we’d first imagined. An unusually hyper-aware James noticed last night a wet patch on our hallway carpet. I’d noticed it too but in this house a wet patch is either where the cats have started a dirty protest at something ridiculous or we’ve gone a little A-over-T with a glass of ginger ale. This was neither, and a quick throwing back of the carpet revealed an enormous wet patch underneath which got our heart racing, and most definitely not in a sexy way (not even a rugged plumber arriving on scene would quell the fear of opening our wallets). We’d had this before, just as we were getting the new bathroom in but was told then that it was probably fixed, unless it was something different. Well, this new patch that arrived instantly got us dreading the worst and images of ripping up the lovely tiling and eating into the Yankee Candle budget were the biggest fear. Turns out too that all home insurance companies are robbing bastards and won’t cover anything. Crooks! Thankfully after a quick once-over by our local, trusty plumber it turned out to just be a leaky overflow which was quickly fixed. New 4k TV budget remains untouched!

In my head that story sounded much more exciting. I do apologise. I certainly put more into it when I was explaining to my boss this morning why I needed the afternoon off. Ah well. I just wanted to give you a taster of what constituted high-drama in the Cub household.

And all this leads to something that is most certainly not dramatic but something of a showstopper. A really simple beef stir-fry dish using only a few store-cupboard ingredients, with a bit of meat (ooh er) and takes only a few minutes. It’s simple, but has loads of flavour. I’ll let the picture do all the talking:

beef stir fry slimming world

you’ll be needing these…

  • Dried thick noodles, or you could use Amoy Straight to Wok Udon Noodles (1 syn per pouch)
  • 225g beef steak (thinly sliced)
  • Pak Choi (chopped)
  • 100g beansprouts, three spring onions (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil (0.5 syns)

and you’ll need to do this…

  • add the noodles to a pot of boiling water and cook according to the instructions
  • drain the noodles and rinse well under cold water, and set aside
  • heat a little oil in a pan over a high heat and add the beef, stir fry until browned and transfer to a plate
  • in the same pan add the pak choi and bean sprouts until crisp but tender
  • add the noodles, spring onions, soy sauce, mirin and sesame oil to the pan and continue to stir until well mixed
  • return the beef to the pan, and serve


cajun steak and cheese pasta

Our cat has betrayed me – normally he sleeps between the two of us if it’s a cold night but he’d gotten up early doors and gone out chasing mice. How the hell he manages to spend a night between the two of us I have no idea – we’re very much a ‘spooning’ couple, constantly intertwining our legs and arms and murmuring nonsense at each other. I actually woke up once with Paul having rolled on top of me, not in a ‘but it’s my birthday’ way but rather out of comfort, like I was an especially squashy lilo. Nevertheless, around 1am Bowser will be padding around our pillow and then crawls between us like a tiny potholer. How he survives I have no idea – the squashing I mentioned above must be bad enough, but the flatulence produced between the two of us vents out right where he sleeps. It must be like trying to sleep with your head stuck in one of those Dyson Airdryers you get in toilets, only one that blows out air that smells of turned corned-beef and death. I swear after a night of our easy chicken curry he’ll disappear under the duvet as a black and white tom and comes back a tortoiseshell who suffers night terrors.


Tonight’s recipe has the unfortunate problem of looking exactly like another recipe we did earlier in the week, but what can I say, we’ve missed carbs and we had some steak to use up. Isn’t that a first world problem right there?


to make cajun steak and cheese pasta you will need:

500g penne pasta, 120g steak (sliced into bite size pieces) 1 onion (chopped), 1 green pepper (chopped), 1 clove of garlic, 300ml skimmed milk, 250g quark, 2 tsp Cajun seasoning, 120g extra mature cheddar (grated), 20g parmesan (grated), 50g chorizo (sliced), breadcrumbs (from half a wholemeal roll)

if you use the wholemeal roll and the cheese as your healthy extras (remember, this serves 4) this will be 3 syns per serving, 1.5 from the chorizo, and 1.5 from the milk.

to make cajun steak and cheese pasta you should: 

  • cook the pasta until al dente (like Al Murray, but less of a cock), drain and set aside
  • in a large frying pan or saucepan soften the onion and green pepper in a little oil over a medium heat for about ten minutes
  • add the Cajun seasoning and stir well
  • slowly pour in the milk and stir continuously
  • add the quark in small amounts and mix until smooth and creamy
  • in a separate frying pan quickly cook the steak and chorizo over a high heat for one minute
  • add the steak and chorizo into the cheese mixture
  • add the cheddar and parmesan to the mixture, remove from the heat and stir continuously until all the cheese has melted
  • add the pasta to the mixture and mix well
  • pour the mixture into a large casserole dish, top with the breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for ten minutes just to make it sticky.

Now this is proper stick-to-your-ribs cooking and we loved it, but for goodness sake, it serves four. Keep some for your lunch the next day. This with the rice bake from the other day is more than making up our carb deficit and it tasted delicious!

Oh, if you need a casserole dish, get a bloody Le Creuset one. We’ve had ours over two years now and yes, it is very expensive, but we use it daily – as a frying pan, to cook in, to roast in, and it’s never stuck or failed us. They’re £160 on Amazon at the moment. Click here and treat yourself! Do you need something so pricey? No. But you kinda want one…