kalamata spread with tasty pitta chips

‘ey up! Kalamata spread with tasty pitta chips – no messing about, just a good simple recipe for when you’re craving a snack in front of the TV. It’s the one thing Paul and I miss the most when we’re on a diet – we have a large coffee table in front of us and feel cheated if we can see even a postage stamp sized portion of it underneath all the dips and crisp packets. It’s not a good night unless my lips are sloughing off from all the salt and vinegar.

Now: to make this low-syn dip takes no time at all and would easily do for a taster night too – if you want to make it go a bit further, mix some greek yoghurt in with the tuna and add some chives. Easy! This makes enough for two hearty portions.

kalamata spread

kalamata spread

to make kalamata spread with tasty pitta chips you will need:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tin of tuna, drained
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 25g reduced-fat feta, crumbled (2 syns)
  • 5 kalamata olives, chopped (about 2 syns)
  • 1 wholemeal pitta bread, cut into triangles (1x HeB)

top tips for kalamata spread with tasty pitta chips:

  • the red pepper is optional, but hey, it looks fancy and gives you something else to eat along with it
  • make a nice, fine mist of oil for the pitta breads with one of these!
  • can’t find kalamata olives? black olives will do

to make kalamata spread with tasty pitta chips you should:

  • preheat the grill to medium-high
  • chop the pitta bread into triangles and spray with a little oil and a pinch of paprika
  • cook the pitta breads under the grill until brown and crisp then turn and cook for a few seconds more
  • meanwhile, slice the top off the pepper and remove the seeds
  • next, mix together all of the other ingredients in a bowl and spoon into the empty red pepper
  • eat – don’t forget you can pick the pepper apart and eat that too – waste not want not…

Are you enjoying our Greek meals? We’ve got more!

J

greek salad cheese toastie: syn-free snacking!

A greek salad cheese toastie? On a Friday? Good evening all! Just a quickie (ooh I say) for today as we’re off to a rave. No, seriously. I’m digging out my dummy and E’s especially for it. It’s a good job I’ve got a strong jaw. Years of practice, that.

But just because we’re out doesn’t mean that you miss out – oh no. We’ve got a treat for you with this one – a fantastic greek salad cheese toastie! I know that doesn’t sound like it should go but it really does and I demand you go make this immediately. You’ll feel like you’re in Mamma Mia. As always, this makes enough for four! Shall we?

greek salad cheese toastie

greek salad cheese toastie

to make a greek salad cheese toastie:

  • 4 wholemeal pitta breads (4x HeB)
  • 8 tbsp twochubbycubs’ houmous
  • 65g reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled (1x HeA)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • quarter of a cucumber, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced

top tips for a greek salad cheese toastie:

  • our houmous is the best you’ll ever have and it’s syn free! If you can’t be arsed you can use the shop-bought stuff, just remember to syn it. A tablespoon of reduced-fat stuff is 1½ syns)
  • make quick work of the veg with a Mandoline slicer!
  • we used pitta breads because they’re tasty but you could use your usual Healthy Extra B choice bread instead
  • we used an Optigrill to cook this, just because it’s easy and makes nice slices. You could put these under a normal grill or in a George Foreman instead
  • add olives if you want, I don’t care

to make a greek salad cheese toastie you should:

  • cut the pitta breads in half and microwave for 15 seconds to help open them up a bit
  • spread the inside of each pitta bread half with one tablespoon of the houmous, then add all the other ingredients
  • cook for a few minutes until nicely golden (see top tips above)
  • eat!

Love a good sandwich? So do we! Have a look at our other recipes below!

five spice chicken skewers: taster night or bust!

Taster night five spice chicken skewers – there’s a lot of love in Chubby Towers for these – but as it is Valentines Day tomorrow, we’re having a night off! So no blog post, just a wee bit of admin – first of all a message, then the recipe.

That’s right folks: try another new and lovely recipe! You might find it sticks in your throat at first, but just relax, you’ll be fine, and you’ll end up enjoying it! And now, a recipe…

five spice chicken skewers

five spice chicken skewers

to make tasty five spice chicken skewers you will need:

  • 400g chicken breast or thighs, thinly sliced
  • 250g pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 green pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 tbsp five spice
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 100ml soy sauce
  • 8-10 wooden skewers (soak in water to stop them from burning)

top tips for making tasty five spice chicken skewers:

  • want juicy breasts that won’t shrivel up? Order from our fantastic Muscle Food deals!
  • you can also cook these under the grill instead if you’d prefer, set it to medium-high and cook for ten minutes, turning frequently
  • yeah, technically you should syn the pineapple if you’re following the plan to the letter, but lets be honest – it’s not a huge amount of pineapple, it’s not getting mashed down or owt, no magical sugars are being created and frankly – life’s too short. We didn’t bother. You can if you like.
  • Fry Light is crap because it tastes crap and you get a pissy little stream. Get a mister instead – you’ll never look back!
  • metal skewers work fine too – just watch your hands!

to make tasty five spice chicken skewers you should:

  • mix together the five spice, garam masala, black pepper and soy sauce in a bowl and add the chicken
  • leave to marinade for as long as possible – overnight is best
  • preheat the oven to 180ºc
  • thread the chicken slices onto the skewers followed by the peppers, onion and a big chunk of pineapple
  • give a good spray with a bit of oil
  • place on a baking sheet and cook for twenty minutes
  • eat!

Want more Chinese style recipes? We’ve done a whole raft of them recently, see?

Enjoy!

J

bacon and egg fried rice – perfect for breakfast!

Bacon and egg fried rice – for breakfast, to boot! This is the perfect recipe to keep in mind when you cook some of our recipes and have leftover rice, but for the love of good, make sure you heat leftover rice to within an inch of its life otherwise your weight loss will be from shitting out your intestines. I’m not kidding!

We’re away tonight so no nonsense – straight into the recipe! This kicks off our next theme of Chinese inspired meals, we hope you enjoy!

This makes enough bacon and egg fried rice for four people – if there’s just you, you know what to do.

bacon and egg fried rice

bacon and egg fried rice

to make bacon and egg fried rice you will need:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 6 bacon medallions, diced
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 500g cooked rice (doesn’t need to be exact)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • pepper

top tips for bacon and egg fried rice:

to make bacon and egg fried rice you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and spray with a little oil
  • pour in the beaten eggs and stir quickly to scramble, then remove and set aside
  • put the bacon in the pan and stir fry until nice and crispy
  • add the frozen peas to the pan and stir fry for just under a minute
  • add the rice and give a good stir
  • add the scrambled eggs back to the pan and give a good stir
  • add the soy sauce and a pinch of pepper, then serve straight away!

Good stuff right?

We’ve done a tonne of rice dishes – have a look!

J

the posh burger: red wine beef and sticky onions

A posh burger? Yes: after our recent run of geet-common-as-owt fakeaways, we’re making the place all classy like by introducing a fakeaway burger you’d be proud to take home and show to your parents. I was proud to show Paul off when we first got together: he looked relatively normal, see. My exes beforehand had either been freakishly tall, hilariously fat, curiously-long-armed or particularly fat-lipped. It was nice to finally be dating someone who didn’t look like the reflection in a fun-house mirror.

But before we get to the burger, just a quick note. It came to our attention today that someone has been printing out our recipes, putting them in a file and selling it online to unsuspecting slimmers. Once we found out about it, down came the hammer and the problem was solved quickly, with a cheerful extra donation to our cat and dog shelter fund. Here’s the thing: we are decent, honest lads and we don’t mind helping anyone. If you want to print off one of our recipes to keep in your kitchen, you go right ahead.

(unlike Other food Blogs who tell you not to print off the recipes ‘because they get updated so often’ – but it’s actually because they don’t want to lose the ad revenue from you nipping back to check, just sayin’)

But don’t take the piss. We do this for free because we want everyone to have access to decent, proper food recipes with a side of laughs as an accompaniment. We own the literary works on our blog, including the heavily stylised writings of our recipes and as such, unauthorised copying (especially to make a profit) of our literary work and failure to identify us as the author infringe our copyright and moral rights. We will absolutely, 100% come after you for it if we find out you’re doing it, it’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got “good intentions” because “not everyone wants to read on a website” – I can’t ring up JK Rowling and tell her I’m going to stick the Harry Potter books on some bog-roll because people might want to wipe their shittoris on it, after all. Our recipes, content, images and style belong entirely to us. That wee (c) on our photos doesn’t just stand for (c)littyboomboom, you know.

Can’t be arsed to read all that? Let me sum it up:

  • planning on ripping off our work for profit – don’t, we’ll get you in the end;
  • fatty fatty jiggly boobs looking for recipes – you’ll find them all on here, free. You never have to pay to use us, and that’s doubly important if you’re a big brutish man

Done.

Right then, the burger!

to make a posh burger, you’ll need:

  • 500g lean minced beef
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 60ml balsamic vinegar
  • 4x wholemeal rolls (4x HeB)
  • 160g soft goats cheese (4x HeA)
  • 2 tbsp red cooking wine (1 syn)
  • salad leaves (lettuce, rocket, spinach – whatever you fancy)
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

top tips for a posh burger:

  • don’t like goats cheese? swap it for any cheese that you like – or leave it out entirely! It’s up to you!
  • slice the onions in double-quick time with one of these – just watch your fingers if you’re a clumsy twat
  • can’t be bothered with caramelising your own onions? use the premade stuff instead, a tablespoon of caramelised onion chutney will set you back 1 syn
  • red cooking wine doesn’t contain any alcohol and is a great, cheap way to get the same flavour, but you can use proper red wine if you want – just remember to syn it!
  • we used an Optigrill to cook our burger and it did the job brilliantly – just press the ‘Burger’ button. A George Foreman will also do the job, or you can cook this in a pan or under the grill
  • we won’t lie – we used a brioche bun because wholemeal rolls always look crap in photos. You shouldn’t!
  • as you know, we think Frylight is rank! We use this instead and it’s never let us down! This is great for misting the onions in this recipe
  • We used Musclefood’s excellent lean minced beef for this one – if you haven’t tried them yet you should! We’ve got some cracking deals suitable for any budget, and if you buy through us you help keep the site going!

to make a posh burger, you should:

  • spray a saucepan with oil and place over a medium heat
  • add the onions to the pan and spray over a little bit more oil
  • leave the onions to cook in the pan, stirring only when they start to go a bit brown, and make sure to scrape up any bits on the bottom
  • add the balsamic vinegar and wine and leave to cook until most of it has evaporated off – this won’t take that long – you’ll be left with tasty caramelised onions
  • let them cool for a bit, and then mix half of it into the mince along with the salt and pepper – save the other half for later on
  • divide the mixture into four balls and squash (or press) into burgers
  • cook the burgers to however you like them – in a pan, under the grill or in a fancy Optigrill like we did – whichever way you prefer!
  • meanwhile, start to assemble your burger
  • place the salad leaves on the bottom along with the sliced tomato, then add the burger, remaining caramelised onions and top with the goats cheese

Love nowt more than stuffing yourself full of meat? We hear you gurl. Check out some of our other recipes! We’ve also got a few veggie ones!

J

syn-free chicken doner kebab wraps

Syn-free chicken doner kebab wraps! Yes! We’ve got a fantastic streak of recipes coming down the line and this is just the beginning – proper ‘naughty’ food, and yes, I cringed too writing that.

I’m not going to keep you too long, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve found a butch new past-time – boxing! Well past-time might be overselling it but we’ve just done a boxing class at boot camp and I bloody loved it. I suppose there was always a certain inevitability that I’d enjoy being pummelled in the ring by someone more tattoo than man but still. N0, none of that business, just a few boxing moves in the darkness.

One thing that it brought to light was how terrible I am at throwing a punch – but see, I’m a lover, not a fighter. I prefer to cuddle, but that’s frowned upon, especially when everyone is sweaty. When it was my turn to be the ‘puncher’ I really struggled to work out the technique until, miraculously, that annoying little ‘What’s A Computer?’ shitrat’s face appeared on the pads in front of me and I absolutely leathered them. It felt great! All that anger being released in a safe and controlled fashion, rather than coming out in the form of the spittle dripping down my windscreen. In my head I felt like Conor McGregor, but I’m sure in the harsh light of the gym I was more John Prescott when he got hit by an egg.

I could have cheerfully carried on punching but we had to switch roles (it’s OK, I’m gay, it’s a routine part of our existence: sometimes you’re Jim Henson, sometimes you’re Kermit) and it was my turn to block the punches. That’s fine when it’s Paul and his brittle wrists but when you’ve got people with arms like oil pipelines, it becomes terrifying. All I’m saying is that it’s probably quite hard for the leader to keep up the macho, aggressive atmosphere when you’ve got a big fat mincer shrieking ‘mind me teeth! MIND ME TEEEEEETH‘. Aaaah, good times.

There is a downside to the whole experience – slipping on a pair of communal gloves that have been used for eight classes previously that day…was grim. I felt like I was fisting an especially lubed bumhole. Now: I’m going to tell you something but because it’s super rude, I’m going to a) hide it in white text so you’ll need to highlight it and b) suggest that anyone prudish scrolls to the next paragraph. Don’t say you weren’t warned!


Wondering how I know what fisting someone feels like? Because I did it accidentally. I had met someone for – let’s not be polite here – casual sex (long before I met Paul) and one aspect of gay sex is that usually, you’ve got to apply a fair bit of lube. That’s fine, I was oiling his keyhole when he pushed back without warning, sending my whole fist and half my forearm up his arse, the way a vet does to a cow when he’s trying to deliver a difficult calf. He didn’t even flinch. I’m not into this at all, but what the hell do you do in that situation? It didn’t so much kill my mood as tear it wide open and leave it gaping. I pulled out my fist, checked I still had my ring on (he didn’t) and apologised profusely. He was fine about it, but there was no fucking way I was following it up – I’ve got nowt to be ashamed of, but I’d hate to meet the man who can compete with the girth of his own balled-up fist. I made an excuse (my arm looks like a giant fizzy cola bottle, THANKS) and legged it. 

Legend has it that if you listen carefully, in the right conditions, you can actually hear Ben from Hartlepool’s arse whistling in the breeze even now.


You’re back! We’re going to buy our own set and one of those wee mannequins that you can punch about the room without fear of being sent to jail. I might stick Little Mo’s face on it from Eastenders and pretend I’m Trevor. Man, I used to have such a thing for him, which I know is terrible: he was a monster, but I wouldn’t mind being face-down in his gravy, I can promise you.

Anyway, on that charming note, to the recipe! We’ve adapted this from recipetineats which is a fantastic site – if you haven’t visited yet go there now!

chicken doner kebab wraps

chicken doner kebab wraps

 to make chicken doner kebab wraps you will need:

  • 8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • half a red cabbage, finely sliced
  • half an iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp tabasco sauce (or any hot sauce)
  • 4 WeightWatchers low fat white wraps (4x HeB)

for the marinade

  • 250g fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or hot chilli powder)
  • 1½ tsp onion granules
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2½ tbsp tomato puree
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

for the yoghurt and mint sauce

  • 100g fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp mint sauce

top tips for chicken doner kebab wraps

  • we had lettuce, cabbage, onion and tabasco sauce in our kebab but you can have whatever you like!
  • cooking in the oven will give you the best results but if you can’t be arsed you can also do them under the grill – just be careful they don’t burn and make sure they’re cooked in the middle
  • a Tefal Optigrill will also make light work of this – just press the ‘Chicken’ button and cook until the light is yellow/orange, turning once or twice halfway through
  • you can help keep the chicken moist by spraying with a bit of oil before it goes in the oven, and just before you turn them halfway through. Frylight tastes rank, get one of these instead and go for a proper tasty mist, with real oil!
  • you really want chicken thighs for this one – you could use breasts, but they might go a bit dry
  • don’t be shy when stuffing your wrap – you’ll probably have quite a bit of meat left over – this makes LOADS

to make chicken doner kebab wraps you should:

  • in a large bowl mix together all of the marinade ingredients
  • add the chicken and mix to coat well
  • cover the bowl in cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or ideally overnight
  • in another bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients and leave in the fridge until you need it
  • preheat the oven to 220°c
  • find a baking tray that’s the right size so that you can sit the skewers for the next bit on either side – a pyrex dish is perfect for this
  • remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and divide into two piles
  • fold the chicken thighs over and push onto two parallel skewers – think about those horrible ice lollies you had with two sticks – that’s the kind of thing you’re after. use two skewers for each pile, so you’ll end up with two big kebabs
  • sit the ends of the skewers on the edge of the dish so that the meat doesn’t touch the bottom – you don’t want to lose any of that tasty marinade!
  • bake in the oven for 35 minutes, then turn and bake for another twenty minutes
  • remove from the oven and then carefully stand them up on a chopping board, and slice thinly
  • open up a wrap and fill with your chosen toppings
  • add the chicken, drizzle over any sauces, fold over the wrap and eat
  • make it tastier by toasting the wrap first in a griddle pan or Optigrill!

Or, to put it simply: marinade your chicken, skewer it and cook it in the oven – easy.

That’s a wrap! Oh noes, my sides. If you love wraps as much as we do, have a look at some of our other recipes!

Enjoy!

J

syn-free minestrone soup in a hurry

Syn-free minestrone soup in a hurry tonight, and that’s very fitting indeed because I have to get the blog done, get washed and showered and dressed all before our taxi gets here at 7.30pm. I wish I could say we were off to do something exciting but good lord, we’re going to play bingo in Ashington. If you’re not familiar with Ashington, just picture Aleppo but with more B&M outlets. It’s a safe bet that I’ll be mugged, but all bets are off as to whether it’ll be by the taxi driver, the smokers outside the entrance doors or the old biddies feeding their pensions into the lobby slots. Wish me luck!

Now this syn-free minestrone soup looks like it’ll be a pain in the arse but it’s ridiculously easy, although I’ve taken some liberties with the recipe. The recipe this is cribbed from (Delia Smith) has you sweating vegetables and taking your time. Balls to that: this is soup in a hurry. This makes enough for four big bowls of soup.

syn-free minestrone

Ours looks a bit oily because we didn’t cut the fat off the bacon. Because we’re decadent.

to make syn-free minestrone soup in a hurry, you’ll need:

  • 100g of bacon medallions (see note below)
  • one large onion (see note below)
  • two stalks of celery (see note below)
  • 150g of carrots (peeled) (see note below)
  • 2 large tomatoes, ripe
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • two leeks (see note below)
  • handful of spring greens
  • 75g of pasta (little macaroni is best, but we only add proper size)
  • 1.5 litres of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree

top tips for syn-free minestrone soup:

to make syn-free minestrone soup in a hurry, you should:

  • spritz a heavy-duty pan with oil, heat to medium and chuck your chopped onion, bacon, minced garlic, celery, leek and carrot chunks in on a medium heat with a splash of water – allow to sweat a little
  • add a good pinch of salt and pepper and continue to let them sweat for a good twenty minutes or so, giving it a bit of a stir every now and then so it doesn’t stick
  • add your hot stock, bring to the boil and then allow to simmer gently for a good hour
  • once the hour is done, add the macaroni, spring greens if you’re using, and cook uncovered for another ten minutes or so until the pasta is cooked
  • serve in bowls topped with your healthy extra allowance of Parmesan and lots of black pepper

Easy! Want more soups?

J

beef chilli and bean pasta bake – canny winter food!

Beef chilli and bean pasta bake! We’ve done a fair few pasta bakes lately but see, they’re excellent winter meals because you can make a huge portion, freeze the leftovers and thoroughly enjoy them as a meal! It’s a holiday entry though, so if you’re here just for the recipe, click the button below and it’ll take you straight to the recipe. Move along, sugarboobs, there’s nothing for you here.

You absolutely made the right choice, let’s go!


click here for part one | click here for part two

You last left us just as we stumbled, blinking and frowning into the apricity of a Stockholm winter, having spent a merry hour groping around in the dark with a total stranger. I appreciate that’s pretty much the start of all of our holiday entries but you get the idea. What next? Over in the distance from the Museum for the Blind loomed the Kaknästornet, a 155 meter TV tower. We weren’t planning on visiting until we realised there was a restaurant on the 26th floor and given how windy it was, it was likely to be deserted. A quick tramp through the woods led us there and, after handing over a small fortune, we were dispatched to a rickety old lift that sounded like it clacked and clicked against every last bolt and screw in that shaft. Despite the whole tower swaying ominously it was absolutely worth the trip – the views were amazing. We sat and enjoyed a strong restorative coffee and a slab of cake the size of Paul’s arse and all was well with the world. I like being high up looking down – it makes me feel like a God, albeit one with lingonberry jam dripping on his chin.

Admittedly not the best photo, but it was swaying…

 

We should explain at this point that we had, for once in our lives, managed to plan ahead and purchase a Stockholm Pass, which afforded you entry into all sorts of attractions for a one-off fee. A quick google search revealed we were within walking distance of a bus-stop which would take us straight to the museum district which held, amongst other things, an Absolut Museum and even better, the friggin’ ABBA museum. Well now come on, some things are inevitable, and us two benders paying homage to the campest band ever, well, it was always going to happen. We wandered over to the bus-stop and took a seat, reassured that one of Stockholm’s incredibly reliable buses would be along within six minutes. The timetable and electronic board certainly confirmed this. So we waited. Waited some more. Then a bit longer. Thirty minutes passed and I made to leave only to spot Paul sitting there with that grim, sulky and determined look on his face that told me that because he had wasted half an hour waiting for this bus, he was going to damn well wait until one turned up. I know this face well: bottom lip pops out, eyebrows furrow like he’s solving a cryptic crossword – normally the only thing that can break the spell is if he hears me unwrapping a Crunchie bar, like an obese take on Pavlov’s dog.

Even the bus-stop suggested filth.

So we waited even longer until I snapped and ordered him to stand up and start moving. So much protestation but I’d be damned if I was going to spend another minute gazing at the minutiae of the Stockholm bus timetable and trying to work out whether överföra meant cancelled, transfer or that the typesetter had taken ill at the keys and slumped over the keyboard. After promising I’d rub his feet if he started moving we were finally off.

We were about twenty steps away from the stop when a bus sailed straight past us, depositing a pleasant mix of slush and schadenfreude across the bottom of our trousers. Paul was furious and only calmed down when we happened across The Museum of Science and Technology. Now we’re talking: buttons to press. It was great fun! Highlights included a stage where you could pose whilst virtual reality dinosaurs ran around you, the sight of which was beamed to the rest of the museum live. It took less than seven hot seconds before Paul was pretending to get bummed by a tyrannosaurus rex and was roundly tutted from the stage. Oh and let’s not forget the winter sports section where you could try all manner of sporty experiences in the comfort of a warm museum and a reassuring proximity to a defibrillator. I climbed a tiny little mountain before realising my own giant crevasse was on show.

It’s like a Lidl take on Cliffhanger

We both tried our hand at curling only to realise you need dexterity and grace rather than a considerable weight advantage – most folks glide on ice, we look like a landslide. My favourite part was an enclosed booth which offered you the chance to be commentators on an ice-hockey game playing out in front of you – we started off with good intentions, yelling and blaring, before it degenerated into ‘HAWAY TORVILL, YOU LAMPSHAPE-FACED SLAPPER’ and ‘SKATE FASTER, NANCY KERRIGAN: THIS TIME THERE’S NAILS IN THE BAT’.

Not exactly Match of the Day

All in good fun – the booth was soundproof from the inside so no harm no foul, and we took everyone’s icy stares as simply being that crisp Swedish attitude so common over there. That was until we realised I’d managed to shut my coat in the door, preventing it from fully closing, and allowing the museum full audible access to our rantings, shrieking and wailings. We left ashen-faced, but not before a quick go on the virtual toboggan – only a quick go because a four year old child appeared and start pressing the buttons.

Honestly, do folks not know how to behave in museums?

We tackled the big issues!

After the Science Museum I somehow managed to persuade Paul to keep walking (it’s easier in cold countries – because of the icy ground, you just need to shove him gently and let gravity do the rest) and we headed a couple of miles along the river to the Spritmuseum down on Djurgårdsvägen, having found out that the Abba museum was shut for the night. Bastards. The Spritmuseum is a museum dedicated to booze – how they make it, how they bottle it, what it does to the body and even better, with some free tasters. You understand why we were lured in, yes? I can’t pretend it was terrifically exciting, and I don’t think we took the ‘hangover simulator’ as seriously as the guides wanted as Paul promptly fell asleep on the sofa during the ‘a hard night out’ movie, but it passed the time. There’s something about museums abroad that the UK can’t seem to match – our museums are always full of tired exhibitions hidden behind glass cubes coated with fingerprints, smelly children barrelling around being noisy and loud and lots of ladies who have never known what it is to love yelling at people that THEY MUST NOT TOUCH and STAND WELL BACK and YOU CAN’T EAT THAT IN HERE. I swear I once had an argument with a curator who had a pop at me for eating outside food when I took a packet of Halls from my pocket. Pfft.

Found Paul!

Found my bedroom friend!

The museum itself took up only half an hour but afterwards we decamped into the bar and, in a fit of ‘but I don’t care that it cost more than the flights over’ excitement, I ordered a taster selection of the various spirits for us to try.

Pictured: Cyril Smith enjoying a drink

It’s hard to look butch in that shirt

Now listen: I’ve swallowed some disgusting things in my life. Top tip: pinch your nose and gulp, you’ll find it slips down that much easier. But these spirits absolutely defeated me – I felt like Anne Robinson back when she was necking her dressing room Chanel. I tried to sip them to ‘taste the flavour notes’ but it would have been nicer to chew open batteries. Paul was merrily necking them and so, in my haste to get past it, I threw the lot in my mouth, grimaced and swallowed. Worst 50 Swedish krona we spent that holiday. We should have left, but the very friendly bar staff noticed how quickly we had knocked it back and filled our glasses up again for free. Very generous indeed, but you have no idea how difficult it is to fake pleasure in swallowing what tastes like something they’d use to dissolve a London fatberg, especially when some blonde bombshell is looking at you both approvingly whilst you savour the flavour. I’ve never acted so hard in my life but after the second round – seeing stars – we had to pretend to urgently leave. We were absolutely bloody smashed.

We had an escape room booked for the evening and so, conscious of the fact we were both seeing double, we decided to make our way to the escape room via a nice long boat ride. Ah it was glorious – floating along in the ice-cold really freshened the mind and by the time we were pulling into the port, we were back in full ‘Rose and Jack’ voice.

Our Escape Room was hosted by Fox in a Box and they welcomed us with open arms, wincing only gently at the alcohol fumes pouring out of us. It was a very unusual location – underground with several rooms with different themes. You know we love an escape room and we have made a point of doing one on each holiday so far: this one was themed like a laboratory and the idea was that we had to stop a zombie apocalypse. Of course. Escape rooms are fun but it’s so hard to look serious whilst someone who couldn’t care less is telling you that there’s zombies just outside the door. She sealed us in. I started looking for clues when, as though he’d been holding it in since the TV tower, Paul let out a fart so loud and so elongated that I thought he’d found a trombone. You know how your ears ring after a large firework goes off? That was me. I might remind you that the rooms are linked to the reception so that they can hear if you get stuck, so they would have been treated as well. We were absolutely creased – we’re huge fan of toilet humour – but then it literally sank in. In a sealed room, with no air-conditioning or window, that fetid air wasn’t going anywhere. If anything, it seemed to get worse and worse, smelling like someone was burning tyres in a fire made of shit. It’s hard to concentrate on mixing colours and typing codes when your eyes are streaming and your nose is bleeding. The hour passed and we ‘saved the day’ with moments to spare. That’s all well and good, but when the lassie unlocked to lock the door and the air rushed out of the room, she was hit with the full force and set away with a coughing fit. I’ve never been so embarrassed and this happens a lot on our holidays: I’m left beetroot faced and Paul is standing there grinning like the cat that shat the bed.

Oh, at least the McDonalds had a compliment…

Cheers mate!

Seems like a good moment to get back to the recipe, doesn’t it?

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Right, let’s do this recipe eh? This serves 4 big portions!

beef chilli and bean pasta bake


beef chilli and bean pasta bake

to make beef chilli and bean pasta bake you will need:

  • 400g lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of kidney beans, drained
  • 2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp chilli powder (as hot or as mild as you like)
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 300g wholewheat pasta
  • 120g fat-free greek yoghurt (check the syns)
  • 220g Philadelphia lightest (2x hea)
  • 80g reduced fat extra mature cheese, grated (2x HeA)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten

top tips to make beef chilli and bean pasta bake

to make beef chilli and bean pasta bake you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200ºc
  • cook the pasta according to the instructions, then drain
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, spray with a bit of oil and add the onions and celery
  • cook for a few minutes until starting to soften, then scoop out the pan and set aside
  • add the mince to the pan and cook until browned
  • add the onions and celery back into the pan and tip in the tomatoes, kidney beans, celery, tomato puree, chilli powder, garlic and beef stock
  • stir well, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes
  • next, mix together the yoghurt, Philadelphia, salt, pepper, cheese and eggs and set aside
  • mix the pasta and the mince mixture together and tip into a large dish
  • top with the cheese mixture, making sure that it’s even spread over the top
  • bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes – finish under the grill for a few minutes to get the top crispy

Who couldn’t love that?! Try our other pasta bakes!

J

gallo pinto: a pan of tasty rice and beans

Rice and beans! Gosh, those words take me back. Absolutely no messing about tonight, straight to the recipe – I had plans to sit and type out the next part of our Stockholm adventures (one a week) but like all best laid plans, they were unravelled by the introduction of a wildcard third party, this time in the form of my parents. We received a phonecall at 2pm to inform us that they’d broken down (the car, not their personalities) in Blyth (for those that don’t know, Blyth is a verruca on the model’s foot that is the Northumbrian coast) and could we possibly get them a pack of batteries as they thought the immobiliser key was at fault. Meh, fair enough: should be easy, no? You’d think so, only they didn’t know the size of the battery. Or where to go. I rang Halfords who were about as much help as a glass hammer, Maplins who didn’t bother to answer and Homebase who put me on hold until time immemorial to ‘check the stock’. I don’t know if anyone is missing a pleasant-voiced nana in the North East area, but I assume she’s trapped somewhere in the back of Homebase under a load of decking. We schlepped around the shops – in the snow, no less – and managed to secure one of those cards of tiny batteries from B&M of all places. I hate B&M – it’s all a bit shellsuit, isn’t it – but at least they had what we needed.

A nice 15 mph crawl back to Blyth (stuck behind someone who was driving as though the lightly falling snow were greasy ball bearings) revealed the next part of the fun – none of the batteries were the right size. Oh good! Helpfully, neither parent had brought along their glasses meaning they couldn’t read the tiny make and model of the battery, but luckily Paul’s eager eyes spotted it. Off we went, once more, into the snow, car swerving merrily on the slick roads. If I asked you where to get a PX28A battery at 3pm on a Sunday – with only an hour to go until the shops shut – what would you do? We took a gamble on a mad dash to another Halfords a few miles away. Paul rang ahead to check and salvation lay within: they had six of what we needed. Driving altogether too quickly for safety and adding in an alarming drift around a roundabout, we arrived with minutes to spare. I sent Paul in for what should have been a quick purchase and out, but five minutes passed and still he hadn’t reappeared. A text came through from him to say he was “stuck behind some chavvy c*nt with liquorice teeth arguing about baby seats”. I went to investigate and he was spot on – one of those vile arrogant-without-a-good-reason bucket-boxed trollops giving it the Big I-Am because she’s got an bottom-end Audi on extensive finance and who thinks she’s Anita Roddick because she’s a green level Younique seller. She was doing that awful thing of repeating what she was complaining about over and over and louder and louder (with a foul mouth) without listening for a reply. To her absolute credit, the cashier managed to shut her down in the end and turned to serve us with broken eyes. We bought those batteries with two minutes left on the clock.

I don’t like to be cruel, but I do hope that Audi span into a river on the way home.

Anyway, a sharp drive back to Blyth was met with sarcastic replies about timekeeping from my parents and much shivering. The battery was hastily replaced, the key was turned…and the battery was flat. Repeated attempts to start the battery had left it as flat as a witch’s tit. We tried to jump start it using my car but a combination of me being a total fanny about anything mechanical and us all being unable to get to my engine meant we had to rope someone else in – and then it turned out that wasn’t the issue either. Finally: time for my parents to bite the bullet and phone a bloody breakdown service. We then had to sit all huddled in my car for an hour or so, which was fine, but the car park we were in is a notorious dogging spot and so it was altogether exceptionally awkward. To pour salt in the wound, we were dispatched to get a McDonalds for our nephew meaning my car now smells delicious and we had to watch all sorts of lovely food being chowed down by folks who don’t know they’re born. Bastards. Ah well. We got home at 7pm and whaddya know, the local newsagents just doesn’t sell the green beans nor veal that we needed for tonight’s tea.

I’m thinking about having them put in a home prematurely.

Anyway listen, let’s not procrastinate. I said I would get straight to the recipe and I failed you wildly. I apologise. Let’s do the rice and beans – to me, this makes more than enough for a proper meal (veggie too) but if you want to bulk it out, grill some chicken breasts with peri-peri sauce and feel like you’re in Nandos, only without having to pretend that the chicken and chips you’ve massively overpaid for isn’t a bit shit, actually. I hate Nandos: it’s a cesspit of first dates, crap chicken and folks who think they’re too good for KFC.

I’m sure this recipe is entirely inauthentic but I don’t care, it was tasty! Serves four-ish. I found the recipe on stripedspatula.com and adapted it only slightly to make it SW friendly – full credit to them!


rice and beans

to make gallo pinto (rice and beans) you’ll need:

  • one large red pepper
  • one large white onion
  • two cloves of garlic
  • a tin of black beans – you can find them in most major supermarkets, sometimes in the ‘World Foods’ bit, but if not, use kidney beans)
  • 8 tbsp of salsa (2 syns – the salsa we use is from ASDA and comes in a Hot and Spicy edition) (but most salsa kicks in about the 1/2 syn for a tbsp mark)
  • a good glug of worcestershire sauce (or tamari)
  • 200ml of beef or chicken stock (or veggie)
  • chopped coriander for the top
  • 400g of cooked rice – much better to use day-old leftover rice, but MAKE SURE THE DISH IS COOKED THROUGH GOOD AND HOT
  • if you can’t be arsed with leftover rice, cook some fresh and allow to cool.

top tips for gallo pinto (rice and beans):

to make gallo pinto (rice and beans) you should:

  • chop the onion and pepper up into little chunks and gently fry them off in a few squirts of oil (0.5 syns, but between four? Come on)
  • once they’re softened, add the garlic (minced: use one of these to save your smelly fingers!)
  • tip everything else in bar the coriander and give everything a stir and allow to bubble quickly for a few minutes until the stock has almost boiled off and the rice is steaming hot
  • top with the coriander and serve!

Easy peasy – and a great side dish! Want more random ideas? Click any of the buttons below to be whisked away on on adventure through time and eating!

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J

super sticky mushrooms (or chicken) one-pot

A super quick fakeaway dinner of sticky mushrooms tonight because it’s boot camp in an hour or so and I need to go put on my industrial-strength Lanacane with a paint roller. Honestly, you could fry an egg on my thighs after boot-camp, which to be fair would go remarkably well with the scent of bacon that pervades. Cor, stinks in ‘ere, dunnit!

Anyway I’m terrifically excited. You know how last year was the year of mini holidays? This is the year of the beast, and we’ve finally agreed it with work, booked the flights and figured out how we’re going to look after the cats – we’ve decided to spend the next few months training them how to use the electric tin opener and leave them a slab of Whiskas. We’re going somewhere we’ve always wanted to go but never found the time: OH CANADAAAAAAA! Yes! It’s like Cub Heaven: it’s cool in temperature, hot in bearded-men stakes and full of beauty. If we happen to catch the eye of some bearish mountain daddy who wants to keep us both and take us logging, both literally and euphemistically you understand, then so be it.

You know the best bit? We’re turning left on the plane. That’s right, the pilots have read all my witty comments about having a go at the controls and said, you know what, he’s seen enough episodes of Air Crash Investigation, he knows what the flaps do, let’s give it a whirl. No, I’ve actually just come off the phone with an incredibly helpful agent who managed to get us into first class both ways (proper first class, mind) for pretty much the same price as premium economy. I was breathing that heavily with excitement that he patched me through to 111 thinking I was having chest pains. We’ve flown first before but not for 10 hours and not on the massive A380. I don’t doubt that I’ll make a tit of myself within ten minutes by blowing cheese pasty crumbs across the floor and breaking wind as they hand me my pyjamas but what can you do? I’m just upset that poor Cilla Black carked it because I would have loved to have pushed her out of her seat.

Now we’re not boasting or showing off here – we save up all year for our holiday and forgo all of life’s little pleasures to get there – we don’t smoke, don’t do drugs and only drink alcohol every other hour. We tried prostituting Paul but he just came back with a runny nose and an empty wallet. Anyway listen – it’s going to make for an absolutely blinding set of travel posts, so look forward to it!

Speaking of looking forward, I bet you’re just wishing I’d shut the hell up and get to the sticky mushrooms. Of course! This is a veggie recipe but you could very easily swap in some chicken or beef – but actually, the mushrooms work just fine on their own. Trust me! Plus if you’re in the mood for something quick and tasty, this will really hit the spot because you can make it in less time than it takes to cook the rice. You don’t need to serve it in quite such a froufrou fashion as me, either, but I remind you: I am homosexual.

sticky mushrooms

sticky mushrooms

to make super sticky mushrooms you’ll need:

  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • 400g of mushrooms – now, get a good mix (the oriental selection in Tesco is absolutely perfect) of types and flavours and chop them up to a good uniform size – don’t just get boring plain mushrooms, you need the flavour
  • 4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (please, don’t use sweetener – you could, but it’ll ruin the taste of the dish) (3 syns) or swap for honey (1 tbsp – 2.5 syns)
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • serve with steamed rice, sliced radishes and chopped spring onions, or whatever veg and rice you want!

top tips:

  • if you want to use chicken, you may need to add about 50ml of stock – the mushrooms release a lot of water which is what creates the sticky sauce
  • keep the chicken chopped nice and small
  • mince your garlic with a little mincer and stop your fingers reeking
  • seriously don’t use sweetener – this’ll taste so much better with proper sugar!
  • this serves two

to make super sticky mushrooms you should:

  • get a good solid pan out of the cupboard and start cooking your rice – this dish only takes about fifteen minutes or so
  • spray with a Gina G of oil (ooh-aah just a little bit)
  • add your minced garlic and gently saute it until it smells laaahverley
  • add all the mushrooms and cook for a minute or two more
  • add everything else into the pan (bar the rice and spring onions and radishes, duh) and then leave to gently burble away on the hob for about ten minutes – add some stock if things start looking dry
  • once it’s dark and delicious, serve with your rice!

Now come on. Tell me that’s not easy – you add everything into one pan and gently heat until deliciousness ensues. Short of me coming around and feeding you, I can’t do anything more than that!

Want more fakeaways? Want more vegetarian recipes? Have no fear, we’ve got stories for years – click the buttons below!

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J – who is off to practice his ‘oh how cute, this is economy, is it?’ expression. I’m kidding. I’ll never change. I’m one shave away from being Rab C Nesbitt.