pina colada cheesecake – syn free too!

Do you like pina colada cheesecake, and walks in the rain? Well shut up. There’s a cracking recipe coming up from the lovely Rebecca – but first…over to another competition entrant with what I believe is one of the best stories you’ll read this year. Originally posted in our Facebook group to rapturous support, it’s one of those stories that will make you smile, with a sweet little twist at the end. Over to Andie…


I shall try and keep this brief, but it’s kinda hard to fit about four decades of being transgender, doing nothing about it and then doing EVERYTHING about it into a few sentences.

So, in a nutshell, I’ve known I was trans since I was six or seven. I’m now 44. I went through my teens, 20s and early 30s thinking I was not quite a transsexual but much more than a crossdresser. I had no plans to transition – I was far too scared.

By my mid-30s, the feelings began to grow and, by the time I was 40, it was clear I wasn’t happy living my life as a “bloke” anymore.

So I began to evolve slowly, wearing more feminine but rather androgynous clothes and shoes, getting my eyebrows waxed, shaping my fingernails. Little things. Every time I took another step, I’d tell myself that was the final step. But, ha ha, then I took another and another, such as laser on my facial hair (now long gone) and treatments to bring back my head hair (I was as bald as a Chubby Cub this time last year!)

JAMES OBJECTION: not bald, just smooth. There’s a difference!

I started using phytoestrogens – plant-based estrogens – to give me a bust. All they gave me was a deep vein thrombosis. I could easily have died. And I joined Slimming World. I was overweight and wanted to lose 5st. I wanted a more female body and figured that, if I was slim, that would be a good start.

I did well, losing 4st 3lb. I caught the Body Magic bug, too. I started cycling, beginning with 30-mile charity bike rides and then going further and further. I’m now doing 300k rides and do my first 400k in September. And, after my DVT, I decided that, if I was going to tweak my hormones, I needed to do it properly. So I asked my GP for a referral to my local gender clinic. That was three years ago. And so began a long process of waiting, counselling and blood tests.

Two years ago, I won my group’s Man of the Year title.

While it was lovely to win an award voted for by the other members, I also felt like a massive fraud because I’ve never truly felt male.

I came out to my group a few weeks ago and, a week later, turned up “en femme” for the first time. The support I received was incredible – both from my consultant and all the other members – even the rugby-playing, pint-swigging blokes. No judgment – just love.

Then I was nominated for Woman of the Year. Just to be nominated meant the world to me. I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d win the title. But, last Thursday, I did win. I was in total shock – I still am!

I put photos of my Man of the Year and Woman of the Year wins on the Two Chubby Cubs Facebook group with a little write-up – and was astounded by the love I received from the members – almost 2,300 “likes”, and hundreds of comments – every single one of them positive. Thank you so much, everyone! A couple of other trans Slimming World members got in touch, too, so I hope reading about my journey can somehow inspire them.

Not only was it great to win an award voted for by members of the group I’ve been attending for over four years but it felt like I was being accepted and validated. And that was an incredible feeling because I’ve had a fair bit of transphobia in my time, from blokes on the streets laughing at me to pure hatred from transphobic rad-fems on Twitter.

It’s not been easy, and it won’t be easy. Being trans meant I lost my long-term girlfriend – and then my fiancée. I’ve lost a couple of friends. I’ve also had the reaction from my family to deal with!

But I don’t regret for a second coming out and starting my transition. It’s still early days – I only started my HRT three months ago – but feel a damned site happier having done so, and I know I won’t get to old age sitting in an armchair as an old bloke, sad, bitter and full of regret.

If you want to know more, see my blog, http://andiepasdedeux.com, or follow me on Twitter, https://twitter.com/andiepasdedeux, or Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/andiepasdedeux


I know what you’re all thinking – I’d be muttering under my breath about the fact she has two stickers too. FOAMING HUN. Isn’t that the best story though? I welled up a little reading it – any story about a positive transformation is a winner in my book. I encourage you to look through the blogs and the twitter and support Andie! Meanwhile, ding ding: competition entrant time!

And now, double-whammy, time for a recipe entry too! I’ve been reassured that this piña colada cheesecake doesn’t taste of eggs, sadness and sweetener. If it does, don’t worry, I have her email address, I’ll sharp sign her up for emails about fisting. Pervert.

pina colada cheesecake

pina colada cheesecake

2 votes

Print

pina colada cheesecake

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 slices

You make the base first, then follow it up with a topping. Sounds like the way most of my Saturday nights turn out. Now listen here, I know you lot can be frightfully judgemental, but the chickpeas thing works well - remember, there's such a thing called chickpea flour!

Yeah, you should probably syn the grilled pineapple if you're a SW rule-follower. And possibly syn the blended chickpeas. But then you should do a lot of things and you don't, do you?

The beauty of this is that you can make it for taster night, then take them a packet of grapes and eat it yourself. Always thinking ahead. Note it requires an overnight chill.

Ingredients

  • tin of drained chickpeas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp truvia
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pot of 0% activia vanilla yogurt
  • 1 large tub of Muller light Greek style coconut and vanilla yogurt
  • 1 small pot of quark
  • 1 package of gelatine crystals/powder
  • 10 drops of coconut flavouring
  • chunks of pineapple with the edges blowtorched to look pretty

Instructions

  • make the base by blending the chickpeas and eggs in a blender and pour into a loose bottomed cake tin and bake at 120 degrees for around an hour, it should be a dark golden brown on top, don't worry if it puffs up a bit like a cake, it'll sink back down when you cool it, a few cracks on top are ok too
  • soak the gelatine in 4 tbsp of cold water for 10 minutes then warm the mixture up to dissolve the gelatine
  • then mix with all the other ingredients until you have a smooth liquid - I find it easier if everything is at room temperature
  • pour over the cooled cheesecake base and let it set overnight in the fridge
  • decorate with chunks of pineapple that you've blowtorched to full effect
  • lovely!

Notes

  • a blowtorch in the kitchen is never a bad thing to have - though we just use my cigar lighter because I'm so butch (this is James writing, to be clear) but look! You can have a lot of fun with this - who needs fingerprints?
  • technically, according to SW, you should syn the pineapple because you've heated it slightly. Because, as you know, adding heat turns it into a pineapple fritter.

Want more desserts? So demanding!

Tasty!

J

melon basket of joy – perfect for Slimming World taster nights

The melon basket has arrived!

You know what it’s like, taster night rolls around and you get the usual eighty seven texts gently reminding you to bring something along. The dilemma is clear: do you nip over to the Co-op and get a bunch of grapes, do you make something super fancy knowing it’ll be ignored whilst everyone paws over the Weetabix and cat-litter cakes, or do you do as we always do and pretend you’re working / on holiday / on the game / in hospital getting your worn-out knees replaced? I know, but I can’t stand watching other people eat or other people judging me on my choices.

I’ve touched upon the fact I hate witnessing buffets at the best of times, but it reminded me of one sight I saw in Disney a few years ago. I say Disney, we were actually in a Sizzlers at the time, which for those not familiar with Sizzlers simply imagine a Little Chef stocked entirely with what they found behind the bins at Lidl. I’ve never known shigella (hi Paul!) be given as a topping choice on a salad before. Anyway, we were sat visibly blanching at the amount of flies on our breakfast when this absolute unit of a bloke stood up / was helped up. He rolled towards the buffet, loaded his plate to the point where he’d have struggled to get a sprig of cress on top, and then made to slow-shuffle back to his station. We were transfixed – by this time in our honeymoon we had exhausted all conversations and the realisation of spending eternity together was lying heavy in our thoughts so a distraction was welcome – and we watched as he conveyed his food pile back as though it was a newborn baby.

Then: a loud crack, a rumbling noise, a plaintive cry and the splatter of food hitting the deck. He’d loaded his plate so full and so high that it had snapped like the strut of an Italian motorway bridge. I’m sure it was months of sub-standard dishwashing that weakened the plate but the poor bastard looked utterly bereft, with a whole restuarant of folks immediately judging him. Which was rich, given they had one collective set of teeth between them, but nevertheless. I always remember his wee crumpled face – he looked like Dr Robotnik when you defeat him at the end of Sonic 2.

Oh and it’s Robotnik, not Eggman, you can fuck off with that nonsense.

I believe he was given a voucher for a free meal, and he won my respect for not picking the best of the dropped meal off the floor and eating it, which is what I would have done in our house. The three-second rule has been extended to three days here: I ate a wine gum the other day that I’m not entirely sure the cat didn’t bring in from outside on the back of her tail. Ah well.

Want more American nonsense? We put all of our honeymoon stories in a book, you know, and it’s as cheap as I am in my Primark knickers. You can download it here!

Anyway, that was a sidetrack and a half, wasn’t it? But that’s our blog all over – side-tracks and cheap ugly shoes. Let’s do the melon basket.

melon basket

melon basket

melon basket

taster night idea: the melon basket

Prep

Total

Yield 1 basket

I've got a bloody nerve calling this a recipe, haven't I? But listen, we're all about taking things easy here at Chubby Towers, and this is ridiculously easy to make but it looks damn good! Plus all the extra fruit can be turned into smoothies which of course you'll syn, rather than enjoying like a normal person. Right? Hello?

Ingredients

  • one large watermelon
  • one big pack of raspberries
  • one big pack of strawberries
  • one big big girl in a big big world (it's not a big big thing if you leave me)
  • one pack of pomegranate seeds
  • one lemon
  • chopped mint

Of course, you can use any fruit you like in here. Soft, hard, Barrymore.

Instructions

  • the trickiest bit is cutting the watermelon - cut a small disc off the bottom so it lies flat
  • then cut two 'almost' quarters from the top, leaving a strip down the middle - then cut through that so you make a handle
  • it's hard to explain but come on, look at the pictures and work it out - this isn't The Crystal Maze love, you have all the time in the world to figure it out - but you want to make sure you leave a thick enough handle to support the weight of the fruit
  • use a melon baller to scoop some melon balls out of the flesh you've cut away
  • scrape out the melon so you have a pleasing bowl
  • slice up the rest of the fruit into a bowl, add the melon balls, chopped mint and the juice of a lemon
  • tumble it gently to mix it up, then tip it into your basket and serve

Notes

Courses breakfast

Cuisine taster night

Easy as all outdoors. Want some more taster night ideas? Fine! Here you go!

Get them down you!

J

no regrets: custard cream blondies

I’ve been inspired to post the recipe for these custard cream blondies because I’m sick to my back teeth of seeing cakes that look like someone’s foot in stage 3 of active decay. Why would you eat that? Goodness me. A little bit of what you fancy does you good and whilst yeah, these cost a load of syns, sometimes you need to actually live your life instead of chasing stickers in a book. Plus, CHRIST ALMIGHTY, they’re delicious. So, in an unusual bit of brevity, let’s get straight to the recipe!

custard cream blondies

custard cream blondies

no regrets: custard cream blondies

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 20

Why a blondie and not a brownie? BECAUSE YOU'RE A SICKENING RACIST. No, blondies tend to have more vanilla, brownies usually have chocolate in them. So just calm yer tits, Tommeh Robinson.

I found this recipe on reddit via a blog called krishthebaker - have a look on their website, but put a towel down. You'll be snail-trailing around the biscuits. I've seen it before in the BBC Good Food magazine too, but frankly, I'm not saying thanks to them because I'm sick of getting TV licence letters despite being a good boy all paid up.

The biscuits then, if you please.

Ingredients

  • 250g melted butter (90 syns)
  • 400g light soft brown sugar (80 syns)
  • 4 x eggs
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80g caster sugar (16 syns)
  • 500g plain flour (90 syns)
  • 100g custard powder (18 syns)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarb
  • 15 custard creams (crushed, like your consultant's dreams of buying a caravan on tick) (45 syns)
  • 4 tbsp of milk (0.5 syn, best to be accurate)

I make that 340 syns, give or take a crumb. So 17 syns a brownie. OOPS.

Instructions

  • turn that oven to 180 degrees
  • mix the butter and sugars until combined
  • add the eggs and vanilla and beat it to buggery
  • add the flour, custard powder, baking powder and bicarb - stir and mix - if it's looking a little dry, just add some milk
  • pour into a 13 by 9 inch brownie tin - greased, use a bit of butter, not like you're dieting
  • smooth the top with an offset spatula if you're classy, or use a butter knife if you still say Tescos instead of Tesco
  • scatter the crushed custard creams over the top and into your gob too
  • bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, if they're burning on top put some parchment over the top
  • allow to cool in the fridge, then cut up - I got twenty squidgy squares
  • serve to rapturous applause and congratulations

Notes

Courses biscuits

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Enjoying your night off? Want some more recipes that are terribly high in syns but actually taste good? Here!

Yum!

J

rhubarb and ice-cream – a dead easy dessert

Rhubarb and ice-cream, if you don’t mind. But first, we have a competition to announce, but you’re going to have to be QUICK.

Too blurry for you? Judgemental cow. We want recipes! But – and this is important – you must provide two high-quality photos like the ones we use in the blog. Have a scroll through our blog and you can see what I mean. I don’t want a pile of cat-sick served on your best Matalan Le Gusset plates, I don’t want photos of your crotchfruit in the background and if it looks like something that might adorn a tablecloth in a church hall and be pawed at by women with more hair on their knuckles than I have on my arse-cheeks, that’ll also be a no. Aim for food that would be served with love, not endured with reservations.

A few simple guidelines:

  • we don’t use Frylight or Quark, because we’re not insane and/or sponsored by Frylight – you can, but we will adapt your recipe accordingly;
  • please don’t be afraid to use your syns – we will always favour proper food over ‘let’s race to zero syns’ nonsense;
  • please have a cursory glance through our recipe page to see if we’ve already done it – you can find it here
  • please don’t fret if you’re not a strong writer – that’s my job, I’ll tart you up!

Every published recipe gets a new entry. And let’s be honest, you love an easy entry!

We also want stories! You know how we write about 600 words before each recipe? Let’s hear your side of things. Everyone has a story and if there’s one thing I’ve learned since moderating a group consisting mainly of women, aged 30-49, medium prolapse (thank you facebook stats), is that you love to gab. So do it! If you’ve got something important to say, this is your chance. Write it under a false name. Send it to me in crayon, I don’t care. One thing though: as mentioned above, please don’t feel as though you need to be crass to be funny. It takes a certain lack of wit to force as many gay sex puns into a story as I do, trust me, and you’re better than that.

Submit your entries by emailing cubs@twochubbycubs.co.uk – if you’re successful, and mind our bar for entries is low – you’ll be entered into a draw to win a box with £75 of stuff in it. It’ll be good stuff – nonsense, but good. The runner up prize will be £25 worth of something good from Amazon. Though let’s be honest, the main prize is the sheer thrill of knowing you’re making the world a better place.

Now, to sweeten the deal, here’s an incredibly easy dessert idea. It’s nothing flash, but nor are you, and we still love you.

rhubarb and ice-cream

rhubarb and ice-cream

rhubarb and ice-cream with ginger nuts

Prep

Total

Yield 4 servings

Listen, are we even going to call this a recipe? Yes! Rhubarb and ice-cream with ginger nuts! People always want new ideas and this couldn't be simpler, and I like it because it's an interesting mix of textures, heat and tastes. 

Ingredients

  • 500g of rhubarb (2 syns when cooked, if you choose to syn it, which we don't)
  • 400ml of Halo Top vanilla (12 syns)
  • 4 ginger nuts (10 syns)

Split between four very large portions, this comes out at 5.5 syns, which is nothing for a good dessert!

Instructions

  • chop up your rhubarb, cook it with a tiny splash of water over a low heat until it has stewed - I like it sour, but feel free to put a few drops of honey in there (but don't forget you've got ice-cream going on top)
  • plate it up - hot rhubarb, cold ice-cream, crushed ginger nuts
  • easy!

Notes

Courses dessert

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Yum! Not fancying rhubarb and ice-cream with ginger nuts? Try these dessert ideas:

J

slimming world tiramisu – no quark, no sweetener

Slimming World tiramisu – that might fill you with horror at the thought of someone whisking an egg into a tub of Splenda and smiling wanly as they try to pretend they’re eating anything other than their own crashing disappointment, but don’t worry – you’re in good hands with us. That said, instead of a wordy post tonight, because we’re on the subject of awful desserts, I present to you our recipe for Slimming World doughnuts. Worth sticking with until the end, it explains our stance on desserts and Frankenfood ever so well…

Christ, that thumbnail. I look like Moby with dysentery. Trust me, it’s worth a watch. Let me know what you think! Let’s get straight to the Slimming World tiramisu. We know that desserts is the one thing we lack on here – well, that and modesty, so we’re working hard to put that right. This Slimming World tiramisu could be lightened by using jelly instead of sponge and sweetener instead of cocoa, but you know what else you could do to save syns? Keep your gob shut.

slimming world tiramisu

slimming world tiramisu

That’s Bowser, by the way. Or as we call him, Kittler.

Slimming World tiramisu, but done properly

Cook

Total

Yield 2 large servings

Tiramisu, but done properly, like it ought to be. Yes, we've replaced a few of the heavier ingredients but with smart substitutes to make this a proper tasty dessert. It's OK, I dry-heaved at the use of the words proper tasty too. Let's get to it.

Ingredients

  • two nice glasses, like the ones shown, or stick it all in a pyrex dish. Hell, you could serve it from the cat's dinner-bowl for all we're going to judge
  • 6 sponge fingers (you'll find them in any supermarket baking aisle) (6 syns)
  • 25ml of strong black coffee (syn free) or if you're better than everyone else, use 25ml of Tia Maria or similar coffee liqueur (3.5 syns)
  • 180g of ricotta (90g is a HEA)
  • one of those large pots of Muller Greek Style coffee latte yoghurt
  • 50g of chopped hazelnuts (25g is a HEB)
  • 1 tsp of cocoa powder (1 syn)

SO, as this makes two, this will either be just over 5.5 syns each if you use coffee liqueur or 3.5 syns if you use plain coffee. Also, you could adorn it with something other than hazelnuts - fruit maybe - to save your HEB! If so, knock another syn off.

Instructions

  • take your glasses, put them on and read this bloody recipe
  • cut the sponge fingers up and layer them in the bottom of the glass
  • spoon over the coffee or the coffee liqueur and allow the sponge to soak it up with a big old slurp
  • mix the ricotta with enough of the yoghurt to get a nice thick mix - if you're feeling extravagant, add a pinch of coffee into the mix so you get wee pockets of coffeeness - yeah, coffeeness
  • spoon over the top and lightly shake until it is level
  • pour the hazelnuts into a bowl, top with cocoa and move them around until each one is coated - then pour over the top of the tiramisu
  • job done!

Courses Desserts

Cuisine Fancy

Come on, that looks as good as me getting out of the bath with half of the towel wedged up my crack, no?

Want more dessert recipes? Really?

J

a proper old fashioned trifle – two ways to syn!

We had to make this – we’ve seen someone passing off a frozen yoghurt with crushed berries on the top as a ‘traditional trifle’. That’s about as much of a traditional trifle as I am confident around a fusebox / football discussion / vagina. Sometimes it feels like we’re screaming into the wind trying to encourage people to eat proper food, but nevertheless, here’s a rare beast: a twochubbycubs desserts. Yes, it has syns, but it’s easy to make, tasty and you know, proper food. Before we get there, two things:

  • wouldn’t normally stick an advert here but Amazon have a proper cracking deal on Morphy Richards soup-makers at the moment, including this £100 model down to £40. If you’re looking for one, now is the time to get it! Prices correct at the time of writing (18 March). Click for that – it’ll open in a new window!
  • and – this is also a holiday entry – boo – so if you’re here just for the food, click the button below and head straight there!

Yeah that’s right. Moany bag! Let’s do it.


 

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

The last time you left us we were getting pulled off by the police. In my imagination, because the officer looked like Javert’s lumberjack brother. I almost certainly would yield when we came face to face. BOOM: culture/anal reference right off the bat! We went to bed shortly afterwards (unaccompanied, sadly) and awoke the next day as fresh as a daisy. We ordered breakfast: croissant, coffee and amyl nitrates to bring me back round when they put the bill down, then off we went. For the sake of your eyes, we’re going to wrap up the two days left in Stockholm in one concise entry.

Museums

We spent the morning wandering about the Vasa Museum (a museum about a famous Swedish warship which was the best of its time, until it sank six minutes into its maiden voyage), the Nordiska Museet (a museum of Swedish history) and the Fotografiska, an art gallery. You know where we stand of those: usually eight steps away from the exit, moving swiftly. Don’t get me wrong, there were some interesting pieces to look at – there was a great exhibition of x-rays to gaze at and diagnose myself with (I knew my uterus was hurting, I just didn’t know why) and it gave me an always-welcome opportunity to stare disdainfully at people whose legs were thinner than my wrists and shoes more expensive than my car. Why do so many art aficionados always look so brittle? You’re not living in squalor in the Bohemian bedsits of 19th century Paris, love, have yourself a sandwich and fuck off.

We did find something a bit vag-esque outside though. Hence the faces. Also, Paul perfecting his Jayda Fransen face. Only, he’s not banned from Facebook, unlike that vile racist shitbit. Mahaha!

The Nordiska Museet was slightly more entertaining, not least because a lot of the exhibitions had buttons to press and TVs to gawp slack-jawed at in that uncultured fashion of ours. We know what we are. There was an exciting moment when Paul attempted to crawl through a small door made for a child only for his arse to catch on the frame of the door and wrench a good portion of it away. We made our excuses and left, with no-one around to witness our embarrassment.

The Nordiska Museet

We did get a chance to dress up, mind, and I think we can all agree that I make a Santa that you’d happily allow to empty his sack onto your best duvet cover, no?

See? And look, Paul makes a sexy secretary elf!

You’ve never been wetter, have you?

Speaking of wetness, the Vasa Museum was an absolute bust. Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing that they managed to salvage and restore the boat, and it looks mightily impressive in the grand hall, but…OK, deep breath now…sigh…

…if I wanted to see an old, creaking wreck that resulted in the death of an immeasurable amount of seamen, one that was barely held together and had succumbed terribly to the harsh ravages of time, something that just didn’t work and was 95% rust and rot, something that appears preserved in time but smells of foist and rot…you’ve guessed it…

I’d go see Paul’s mother! Eh? You having that? Hello?

Eee she’s lovely really, you know, and I give her some awful stick on here – she was absolutely cracking as Zelda in Terrahawks, too.

After paying polite respects, we left.

Subway stations

You may laugh, but we spent the next three hours tootling about on the subway system taking pictures of the stations. Partly because we needed to rest our cankles but also because Stockholm’s subway stations are awash with art – some painted in very dramatic fashion, some stations themed, some looking like the entrance to Hell. It was terrific: cheap, fun and, rather unlike the Tyne and Wear Metro, we weren’t asked for a tab, money or used as a soft spot to rest a carving knife. It makes me realise that, as much as I love the UK, we could do everything so much better by spending a bit of money to make things a little less shit. The artwork on our Metro extends to some toerag writing INCH everywhere and PUT ARE CUNTRY FURST stickers left by spittle-lipped wankers. Stations, bar for a couple in the centre of Newcastle, are grey and dingy and threatening. Luckily, the Metro only runs for 5% of the time before being cancelled, so you get plenty of time to appreciate the squalor. Here’s three of our favourite Stockholm shots, and if you’re wanting to try it yourself, here’s a very handy guide to the best stations!

Fun fact: this is the exact same viewpoint as one of my sperm.

N3rdsbar

Cruising over, my phone suggested that we were near to a place called N3rdsbar – a videogame themed bar full of vintage games consoles you could actually play, Nintendo artwork and a toilet full of retro instruction manuals. Paul thought I had the shits when actually I was just finally figuring out how to get past Grimace’s Highlands in MC Kids. Anyone who disagrees with me that MC Kids was one of the best NES games out there can go burn in a fire.

Silly me, that’s not how you spell Count!

I’ve never felt more masculine in my life.

It was fantastic – they even had a full range of videogame themed cocktails, including a ladder of multi-coloured shots called Rainbow Road. Imbued with nostalgia and more than a little pissed, we put our card behind the bar and settled down for a game of Mario Party 2 on the N64, signalling for more drinks and shots and beer and wine and burgers whilst making the absolutely fatal error of not asking the prices and forgetting we were in Stockholm, where you get charged forty quid just to wipe your arse after a plop.

£310 later…

Yep. Not our proudest moment. A brilliant night though, only tempered with what happened next – we were just deciding what to do when my phone flashed up with a text from our lovely neighbours who look after our house – emergency! That’s all it said, with a short message asking me to give them a call. Naturally I start catastrophising – clearly the cat had been run over, or had somehow worked out how to get the chip pan out and start a fire. Perhaps we had been burgled – the thought of some rough scally running his fingers around in my underwear drawer usually gives me pause but not when I’m on holiday – but no, no notifications from our Nest alarm. I tried to call back but in my heavily drunken state couldn’t remember how to dial internationally, or indeed, how to form words consisting of more than strings of vowels and slurred Ss. When I eventually got through I was inconsolable and speaking gibberish (I was worried and drunk, be fair!) – my poor neighbour, it must have been like the calls Bryan McFadden still gets from Kerry Katona when there’s been a 25% discount at Oddbins. Eventually it transpired that our outdoor tap had burst in the cold and was spraying water everywhere, necessitating a quick call to my dad to establish what a stopcock was (do I look like someone who has ever said that word?) and then a second call to the previous owners of the house to find out where the stopcock was, then a third back to our neighbours who were dispatched to turn off the stopcock in our bathroom. The thought that Paul might have left a skidmark on the toilet before we flew to Stockholm that had been sitting baking for four days was enough to sober my mind and it was with that image that we decided to cut short our night out and head back to the hotel – we were flying to Oslo in the morning anyway, so perhaps a clear mind for international travelling would be wise.

As a side-note, we really do have excellent neighbours – well, the ones that look after our house, anyway. They’re like surrogate grandparents – I don’t think I’ve ever met a more cheerful woman and her husband keeps me in vegetables and stories. There’s still a few living near us who don’t speak to us even when we speak to them, but you can imagine how little that concerns me. Ignorance wears tan corduroy. Five years we’ve lived here and never been so much as a bother – we even employ a gardener just to keep our lawns short even though frankly, I couldn’t give a monkey’s jot what our garden looks like. Anyway…

We did, however, stop for hot-dogs on the way home.

I genuinely can’t remember the last time Paul looked at me like that.

Still, we were home in good enough time…

Night night!

We awoke the next day to absolutely wild weather – a proper winter storm. It was amazing – certainly puts our Beast from the East into keen perspective – it was like stepping into an untuned television. Would we get away to Norway? Were the trains running? Of course. Indeed, our fretting about whether or not we would be able to even get to Oslo in light of the heavy snow, blowing winds and freezing temperatures were relieved as soon as we got to Stockholm Airport and saw that not a single plane was showing as delayed. Very much business as normal. Now I’m not daft – I know that their infrastructure is designed to cope with harsh weather and ours isn’t, and I’m not going to be one of those curmudgeons who goes on about how we can’t handle snow…

…but at the same time, Newcastle Airport shuts up shop if someone so much as sneezes in Durham. Why? It was snowing that hard in Stockholm that we had to take a husky-ride with Santa just to get to the plane – which made a refreshing change from being packed into a tiny sweaty bus with two hundred other people, chewing your way through someone else’s armpit hair as you careen around the runway. Everywhere you looked there were bearded blokes in hi-vis jackets throwing snow about and bellowing at each other in some mysterious language. It was like an LSD-infused wet-dream for the both of us, and we almost missed our flight, so taken were we with the view from the window. We boarded with about three minutes to spare, with the Chief Flight Attendant giving us a look that would have emptied a lion’s cage. I gave her my best ‘but we’re British’ smile but she was having none of us, and ushered us to sit down.

Hejdå Sverige

Our plane – Norwegian Air – was clean, spotless and, more excitingly, came with free Wifi. I had managed to forget to download anything interesting to my phone and the thought of having to make polite conversation with Paul for an hour filled me with dread. I’m sure he felt the same. Paul’s role on the plane is to occasionally order me drinks and smile indulgently when I pick at his sleeve and ask him whether he thinks the chimes from the stewardesses means the cockpit is on fire or whether we’re making an unscheduled, atomised stop in Uzbekistan. The poor bugger spends so much time taking out his earphones and putting them back that his Radio 4 podcast sounds like the poshest dubstep ever. The flight was wonderfully smooth and we were descending into Oslo in no time at all. Quite literally: we seemed to go from about 33,000ft to being on the runway in the time it took me to put away my Camembert-ripe feet and do up my laces. Even the stewardess seemed surprised – she barely had time to finish her shave.

We were through security with all the brisk efficiency you expect from the Norwegian, and, one short train trip later, we were at our hotel. That’s an excellent place to leave not only our luggage but also this post – until we meet again…

…as an aside, what an absolute joy it was to jump countries: from hotel to hotel took us less than five hours, including the flight. If you’re looking at a Scandinavian trip, we heartily recommend Norwegian for internal flights – without luggage (we travel light) the flights were about £30 each and there’s a flight every hour. Can’t get vexed!

Seems like a good place to leave it!

REMEMBER FOLKS: we love feedback on the holiday entries! It makes my day! So please do leave a comment to gee us along!

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Right, the trifle then! We’ll give you two options here – the proper way and the lower syn route. We recommend the proper route – it’s tastier – but if you must, you can make some swaps for a lower-syn end result. But…

slimming world trifle

slimming world trifle

a proper slimming world trifle

Prep

Inactive

Total

Yield two bowls

If you're looking for something sweet at the end of a meal, have a Polo. But if you're still itching for dessert, make one of these dead easy trifles! Still well within your syns limit, they make a nice change from shattering your teeth on frozen yoghurts or trying to pretend your 'sponge cake' tastes of anything other than sweaty hot arse.

This makes two big bowls or, if you're fancy, serve them in a nice glass like we did.

Ingredients

Proper route:

  • a bag of frozen raspberries
  • two Tesco trifle sponges (7 syns)
  • one sachet of Hartley's sugar free jelly - we used raspberry (1.5 syns)
  • six tablespoons of light squirty cream (1 syn)
  • 200g proper custard (light) - (7 syns)
  • 10g of hundreds and thousands (2 syns)

That's a total of 18.5 syns - so for each trifle, just over nine syns. But it makes a big, proper dessert. Worth it!

But if you're worried about syns, you can drop it by either:

  • leaving out the sponge and replacing it with more fruit (-7 syns)
  • replacing the custard with banana and custard Muller yoghurt (-7 syns)

That brings each dessert to just two syns. But really.

Instructions

  • break up your sponge cake into tiny little pieces and line the bottom of your bowl with it
  • optional: you could drizzle on some creme de cassis if you wanted, 25ml is 3.5 syns!
  • build up a tight layer of frozen raspberries - pack them in so they can't roll about
  • make up your jelly and gently pour over the raspberries and sponge until it just covers the fruit
  • leave to set
  • top with custard (yes!) or Muller Yoghurt (booo), then the cream, then the hundreds and thousands

Enjoy!

Notes

Courses dessert

We don’t have a great amount of desserts to offer, but have a look…

J

chocolate and cherry porridge – breakfast done right

It’s Britney, bitch.

We’re back, and with chocolate and cherry porridge! Have you ever heard the likes? We needed a break, you know. It wasn’t you, it was us: we were a bit burned down – we wanted to see if we could do a streak of 50 recipes in 50 days, and boy, did we manage it. But when you’re trying to type with blood-soaked fingers worn down to a nub, you know it’s time to stop.

Bit brisk, isn’t it? I’m a Geordie so this minus ten weather and eight foot of snow is nothing – I might elect to put on an extra t-shirt later, but that’s about it. The country is going to shit though: you’d think it was anthrax falling from the sky, not bits of frozen water. I say that entirely shamelessly from the warm comfort of my own home – work have let me stay at home for the last two days as I can do everything I’d normally do in the office from home and they don’t have to listen to me shallow-breathing to boot. I can’t drive in snow, it frightens me – not that Paul cares. Let me set you a scene.

Tuesday night and the roads are awash with snow. We live out in the country and as a result, the approach to gritting the roads extends to one of our elderly neighbours nipping out with a tub of Saxo and scattering it about with trembling hands. I wouldn’t mind but she hasn’t even bothered with that this year – in fact, she hasn’t even thought to bring her milk in, there’s over 10 bottles on her doorstep. It’s just lazy.

Anyway, with the snow pelting down and a genuine blizzard swirling, Paul decides that no, we really ought to go to the gym and that the weather wouldn’t be that bad, oh no. The roads would be absolutely fine once we were on them, for sure. Just our estate that is bad, despite the view from the window looking as though they had been smeared with Trex. We couldn’t take my car – more powerful, bigger, doesn’t run on AAA batteries – no, we had to take his Smart car because it was already defrosted and deiced and delightful.

He took my moans of protest as little more than excuses for not going to the gym and fair shepherded me into my gym kit and out into the car. We managed to drive – slowly, sliding everywhere – about a mile before he agreed that yes, it was rather troubling out on the roads and that, like Jack and Kate, we had to go back. This wouldn’t have been such a problem if he had decided this before we had slid to the bottom of one of the many banks that surround us, but I knew there was absolutely no way this tiny, rubbish car was getting back up the hill.

Well, Paul is nothing if not stubborn, so he turned the car around (surprisingly easy to do in a Smart car – you can turn a full 180 degrees on a circle the size of a Lego steering wheel) and off we set up the hill. We crawled about two meters before the car couldn’t get a grip and we were skidding on the ice, unable to go forwards or backwards. On a dual carriageway, mind you, with traffic coming. The air was as blue as my lips – bearing in mind the windchill was easily -6 degrees or so – but I was dispatched to push.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried pushing a car with a big fat bastard in it on an ice-covered gradient whilst wearing Sports Direct trainers with about as much grip as Jeremy Beadle’s right hand, but it’s a frigging chore, I can assure you. We weren’t moving. No bastard would stop to help. Thankfully, after ten minutes, a gritter truck appeared on the horizon and, God love them, moved in front of the car and barrelled a load of salt down in front of the car, finally enabling Paul to get some traction and to pull away. Of course, with me standing behind the car pushing, my face, arms and bare legs were treated to shards of salt being blasted against them. The joy!

Sidepoint: it’s certainly not the first time that a rough lad in a hi-vis has sprayed salty muck across my face, causing Paul to quickly pull himself off with great relief, but that’s by the by.

I wish I could tell you the story ends there, dear readers, but no. Paul, so buoyed with the excitement of finally being able to move again, pulled away – and didn’t stop. There was a brief moment or two when I tried to run after the car on the ice which ended abruptly when I fell over and skinned my already frozen knees. In the salt. Apparently, if you nip down any alleyway within a radius of five miles where I fell, you can still hear my loud expletive bouncing around off the walls…uuuunt-uuuunt-uuunt-uuunt

I walked home that night with ice on my flesh and frost in my heart, I promise you. A mile in gym kit in what was the coldest night of recent memory, all the while Paul had made it home and poured himself a lovely cup of tea. I asked our Facebook group what I could rightly expect as recompense and most people suggested full anal (by the way, what’s partial anal – when you have the discussion about doucheing but then just go to sleep?) but unless said anal was with the entire Newcastle Falcons team entirely at my leisure, that wouldn’t be enough.

I did leave him a clue about how angry I was via our front door CCTV mind. Click on the cute kittens below to be shown what I did, and fair warning, it’s very, very, very adult. Don’t you complain!

If you’re wondering who CLINT is. I suggest you get your eyes checked.

It took a good few hours of rubbing my feet, making pained faces of apology at me and bringing me enough cups of tea to my make my stomach sloosh before he was forgiven. In fact, my knees have not pained me for almost nineteen hours.

All is well.

Shall we do the chocolate and cherry porridge then, such as it is? It’s not much of a recipe, but you know sometimes you want something other than eggs or two Rice Krispies and a thimble of milk for your breakfast? Well, this will scratch that itch. The other itch you might want to get a doctor to look at. Also, we’re starting to redesign the site over the next few weeks – bear with us!

chocolate and cherry porridge

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 big bowls

Something warm, sticky and sweet to fill your hole: our chocolate and cherry porridge isn't exactly high-cuisine but it'll please you for only a few syns!

Ingredients

  • 80g of porridge oats (any will do) - 40g is one healthy extra choice (B)
  • 400ml of Arlo lactofree chocolate milk - 200ml is a healthy extra choice (A)
  • 100g of black cherries in light juice (3.5 syns)
  • 25g of chocolate chips (6 syns for Dr Oetker - and mind, you could leave these out, it's sweet enough!)

Instructions

  • well now come on
  • heat your milk up and add the oats, with a pinch of salt
  • on a medium heat, keep stirring and stirring - the porridge will thicken after about ten minutes
  • top with the cherries and chocolate chips
  • enjoy

Notes

top tips:

  • swirl some of that sweet cherry juice through as the porridge thickens for a taste explosion
  • knock the syns down by using fresh cherries or skipping the chocolate
  • I can't find of a single thing to link to on Amazon that might be relevant to what you need, so instead, why not treat yourself to a Halo - they're currently cheap as chips!

Courses breakfast

I mean, you just would, wouldn’t you? And what’s this, you want MORE ideas for breakfast? Sigh. A boy can only do so much, you know…

Pure filth!

J

lemon and blueberry overnight oats

Just the quickest of posts for lemon and blueberry overnight oats tonight as I’m more than conscious that we’ve had a lot of waffle lately! Plus, it’s just been one of those days and all I want to do is lie on the settee with a cold flannel on my head whingeing to Paul about the state of the world. Let me how my day has gone:

  • woke up twenty minutes late as the alarm didn’t go off, meaning I had to shave/shit/shower/brush in approximately forty seconds – I’ve probably still got sweetcorn in my teeth;
  • stuck in traffic for a billion years because everyone can’t stop screwing and having awful children which apparently need educating;
  • work (and I like my job, but if you tell me you don’t have days where you’d cheerfully pitch yourself out of the window, you’re a liar and you’ve got no class)
  • half-day – hooray! – only no, I got stuck behind some silly bag in a Clio who decided to stop her car in front of the car-park entrance, blocking the exit whilst she went and found her parking ticket on the eighth floor;
  • volunteered to walk a dog at our cat and dog shelter only to find halfway that the world was in imminent danger of falling out of my arse, necessitating a prolonged spell in a supermarket toilet
  • three stone lighter and on a drip, I was given a dog to walk – a beautiful white husky – hooray! Salvation. Only no, lovely dog, but I don’t like dogs that are always showing their bumhole as they walk in front of you;
  • Archers omnibus hadn’t downloaded and with no signal all that I had to listen to was the laboured sounds of my own breathing;
  • fell over in the mud because they usually give me a tiny Jack Russell and I wasn’t aware of how powerful a husky can be;
  • went to cuddle the cats, got scratched on the neck for my bother;
  • came home to find one of our cats had accidentally been locked in the bathroom and had pissed in the bath as protest – I mean, there’s a friggin’ toilet right there;
  • spent forty minutes on the phone to Adobe Customer Support being passed through six different teams, none of whom could understand me nor fix my problem;
  • fixed that myself by having to reformat our Mac, meaning there’s all sorts of filth and pornography lost in the digital ether; and
  • I’ve made myself even more furious by recounting this all.

Oh, and now I have to go into work because I forgot to bring home the parcel of meat that I need for tonight’s dinner. Here’s a pro-tip, Newcastle: if you’re planning on getting on the road tonight and end up in front of a C3 apparently being driven by a beetroot on legs, either make sure you’re speeding or get out of my way. Cheers babes love you!

I know we’ve had a glut of overnight oats recipes lately but this lemon and blueberry overnight oats idea came from the fact that Slimming World have upgraded blueberries to a speed food. Begorrah! The world’s most duplicitous fruit (it’s not blue) has come through for us all. Hoy a handful into your breakfast and reap the whirlwind of barely noticeable flavour.

lemon and blueberry overnight oats

to make lemon and blueberry overnight oats, you’ll need:

  • 40g of oats
  • any yoghurt you like, but we used natural greek yoghurt – make sure it’s syn free
  • a big handful of blueberries
  • a lemon

This makes a very tart overnight oats, so if you like, use a vanilla yoghurt to temper the taste a little. I like a little tart in my mouth of a morning, so I’m tickety-boo.

to make lemon and blueberry overnight oats, you should:

  • cut up your blueberries and put them in the bottom
  • mix your oats with as much yoghurt as you like
  • finely grate the lemon rind (not the pith) into the yoghurt – about half
  • add a squirt of lemon juice if you fancy
  • mix it all together and save for the morning!

Look, I know, it’s not super exciting – but sometimes you need simplicity, no? If you’re seeking more exciting overnight oats, why not give our last three a try?

J

banoffee overnight oats – simple and delicious

Banoffee overnight oats? Oh I know, we’re terrible, but it’s been that long since we did an overnight oats and I woke this morning just itching for a breakfast that’ll stick to the roof off my mouth and take eight weeks to pass through me. I shook Paul awake [joke redacted here involving a famous case from the 90s] and sent him to the shops to buy all the bits we needed.

Well, I couldn’t very well go myself, could I? Have you seen it out there? I can’t claim that we’re snowed in or anything dramatic, but rather we’re just awash with shite winter weather. You know the sort – the snow is icy rather than powdering so making a snowman is out of the question unless you’re wearing chain mail gloves, every conceivable surface is covered in ice just waiting to send you crashing to the floor with a fat-man-oof and the roads, oh god the roads, are full of either people driving at 2 miles an hour like they’ve got a burning chip pan in their laps or sprinting along at 90mph and wondering why you haven’t moved out of fourth gear on a 20mph limit. I just can’t be done with it.

What I can be done with however is efficiency, and that’s why today I’m treating you and going straight to the banoffee overnight oats recipe! No flim-flam. Remember to share us around!

banoffee overnight oats

banoffee overnight oats

to make banoffee overnight oats, you’ll need:

  • 40g of oats – any you like, we use Quaker oats because we’re just fancy-dan
  • one big banana – don’t be shy, get one that’ll make your eyes water
  • 4 Werthers Original sugar free sweeties (they’re only half a syn each by the way, so a good sucky-sweet) (2 syns)
  • a toffee yoghurt – any you like, but make sure they’re syn-free – Muller toffee yoghurt is certainly syn free)
  • lighter squirty cream (12.5g) (look, I just put a good squirt in there, I don’t care) (1.5 syns)

You can make these in any old container, you know, you don’t need a fancy glass. Just remember to mix things!

to make banoffee overnight oats, you should:

  • if you don’t know this by now, you will never never never know this (sorry, and mind I can’t stand Mick Hucknall, he looks like a unwashed chode emerging from a sea of ginger pubes)
  • cut your banana into thirds, and then mash two thirds up*
  • put a spoonful of mashed banana at the bottom of your glass
  • then, mix your oats with the toffee yoghurt and a spoonful of mashed banana and put in the first layer
  • smash up your werthers and sprinkle most of them in as the next layer
  • add the second layer of oats and yoghurt
  • slice up the remaining banana and dot it around the top
  • when you come to eat it the next day, top it with the squirty cream and the remainder of the smashed up sweets – yum!

OMG YOU SHUD SYN THE BANDANAS IF UR MASHING THEM

Yes, technically, you ought to syn the banana if you’re mashing it with your fork. Don’t you know mashing RELEASES THE SHERGARS? Pfft. Listen, you’re eating the same amount of banana whether you poke it in your ear, mash it with a fork or stick it up your arse. We’ve been through this. To take it to the most ludicrous conclusion, you could always put the banana in your mouth, mash it with your teeth and then spit it out again. Or just be a bloody normal person and understand that mashing a banana with your fork isn’t going to make an ha’peth of difference to your weight loss.

Though exercise caution with your banana because remember:

Enjoy!

Want more of our fabulous ideas for overnight oats? Of course!

J

raspberry and Lindt chocolate baked oats

I can’t believe in the three years we’ve been running this blog that we’ve never done a baked oats recipe. What gives? I’ll tell you what – I’ve always thought they look faintly off-putting, like a callous on a foot. There’s something distinctly grim about mixing egg, oats and sweetener together – it feels so…Slimming World, that we’ve actively avoided it. However, I wanted some chocolate and needed an excuse to buy some without Paul giving me a lecture about it, so I came up with this fancy recipe. I say fancy, it’s about as fancy as wiping your clout with a KFC wetwipe. But first, a quick diversion.

We’ve had CCTV installed. We had to do it, really, a family up the street turned up with a caravan and I mean, honestly, there goes the neighbourhood. Bet they’re the type who leave their bins out all week long, trekking out to the end of the drive in their boxers every time they want to throw away a bit of rubbish. Actually, that’s us: my neighbours have seen my helmet more than Paul has. Now, being us, we couldn’t just get a bog standard CCTV camera, oh no. Couldn’t miss a second of the action that takes place on this street, at both ends of the house. Our CCTV guy was a treasure, one of those rare people we like who come into the house, barely say a word, don’t try to talk to us about football or tits, leaves plenty of their arse hanging out of their trousers for illicit gawping AND he knew what he was doing with his tools. I only mention that because we’ve had an electrician come back twice recently to fix a light fitting only to spend both times looking mystified at it as though it was an alien invention. As it happens, the CCTV man fixed that too. We can log in from anywhere and view what is taking place on the street, the cameras record audio, we can pan and tilt them, all great stuff.

However, who knew that it would tap into hitherto undiscovered voyeuristic streaks in the both of us? There’s something hypnotic about watching the street from the comfort of your own sofa. I’m aware that this means we’re becoming just like all the other curtain-twitchers we moan about, but that was inevitable – it’s like picking up an accent of those local to you, only with more hormone-replacement therapy. I wish I could tell you we’ve seen something interesting, but aside from one of the neighbours letting his dog crap on our garden (it’s OK, I’ll send Paul out at 2am to return the favour) and about a billion old people all looking into our garden as they walk past, there’s nothing. It has paid for itself already though – we’ve been able to sack our cleaner because they only stayed for 1 hour 55 minutes instead of the two hours we pay them for. We deducted that five minutes from her last pay for good measure and sent her shrieking into the cold night.

I’m joking, of course we didn’t. We sacked her for always leaving the TV tuned into TVP Polonia and rifling through our knicker drawer.

Anyway, enough about us. Let’s get this recipe out of the way, shall we?

Yep, it is. Hey, this makes enough for one. Double up as you wish.

to make raspberry and Lindt chocolate baked oats, you’ll need:

  • 75g raspberries – cor, I bet that was a shock to the system
  • Lindt chocolate balls – or any chocolate really, I only use these because the dark chocolate balls are so good – but if you have shite self-control and can’t stop yourself eating them all, keep them in the freezer – they’ll soften in your mouth as you suck on them, which to be fair is the exact opposite of what I normally say to folks
  • one small egg (from a hen, not the Cadbury’s factory, you chubby wee delight)
  • 40g of oats – bog-standard, nothing fancy (this is your healthy extra B, mind you)
  • half a ‘syn-free’ yoghurt – we used Muller, but only because we had one rattling around in the fridge. Use what you like!

Some people add vanilla essence or sweetener into this. We don’t, because it’ll be sweet enough and the clash of flavours between the raspberries and the chocolate is what makes this dish. Christ, that sounds wank. You’ll also need an ovenproof dish – we used these little heart-shaped Le Creuset ramekins from Amazon because we’re frightfully middle-class, but honestly, any old tat will do – don’t buy these especially for these recipe. Or do, because we’ll get 0.00004p commission.

Should we…should we do it? Hell yes, let’s bust out an old face from so long ago…

Although we have (unusually) counted the syns for the cooked raspberries into the recipe above (1 syn – 250g is 3 syns – and yeah I know the maths is a bit off but I don’t have the tits to carry off being Rachel Riley), we wouldn’t usually bother. Raspberries are syn free in their normal form – mushing them a bit isn’t going to up the amount of calories and sugar and whatnot in them. Your choice. Look at it this way, you could ‘forget’ to syn the raspberries and then add another half Lindt-ball in there to make it a round 4 syns…just saying. Your choice though – the official Slimming World decretum is that COOKED FRUIT MUST BE SYNNED.

Pfft.

to make raspberry and Lindt chocolate baked oats, you should:

  • have you got something to mop your brow with – you’ll need it, because boy is this recipe complex
  • heat the oven to 200 degrees
  • press your raspberries into the bottom of the ramekin
  • mix together your oats, yoghurt and egg and pop on top
  • cut a Lindt ball in half (or stop pretending and put two whole ones in there, syns be damned) and pop it in the middle, then cover it up with the oats mixture like a cat burying a poo in the garden
  • stick in the oven for about thirty minutes and then pull it out to the adoring gasps of your friends and family
  • tip it out on a plate, add a bit of yoghurt for decoration, enjoy

Come on, how easy was that? Anyway, want more recipes? Click the buttons.

breakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmallovernight-oatsnaughtyfood

Bye for now.

J

PS: I’m kidding about our cleaner. We pay her handsomely and spend two hours the night before cleaning our entire house so she doesn’t think poorly of us.