Cheesy sprouts and bacon as a side-dish? I know, but it’s Christmas, and the little fart-balls deserve some love. Get it made! I appreciate that I’m the side-dish that you really want under your tree this Christmas, but I’m otherwise engaged.
Before we get to the cheesy sprouts and bacon, a gentle reminder that our cookbook comes out in two weeks, and frankly, if you haven’t ordered it, then what’s wrong with you? 100 slimming recipes to help you lose weight with the typical twochubbycubs humour splattered across it like a hedgerow edition of Razzle. You can pre-order it for £10 by clicking on the tasteful banner below, which will open in a new window!
Now before we get to the cheesy sprouts and bacon I must warn you that there’s a long entry ahead from our latest holiday. Buckle up buckaroo, it’s a good one, but if you’re so inclined, you know what you need to do: click the banner to go straight to the recipe.
As ever: our holiday entries tend to be skewed a little more adult, so if you’re a sensitive soul, please, click the banner
I know, forgive us: we are on holiday an awful lot. But in our defence, we never made the mistake of fathering children and so we can fritter away our pound coins with literal gay abandon. Plus, the world is out there to be seen and there’s hardly any chance with my current lifestyle choices that I’ll be one of those older folks in leisurewear prancing around the Alps, so let’s take what we can before the rickets kick in. Continue reading →
Here for the sausage colcannon bake? Of course you are, and I’ll get to it, but I first I want to express my dismay. If you’re only here for the food, scroll down to the pictures!
A year or so ago I posted that I was going to try and ‘be nicer’, less quick to temper, warmer to strangers and generally, a more affable guy.
I finally got round to implementing that today and decided that from the moment I got up until the moment I went to bed, I’d be ‘good’. I let Paul get up and make my breakfast without intervening (I know, I’m a joy). That went well, and I was rewarded with scrambled eggs made from duck eggs as a result.
I then set off for work, giving the neighbour a cheery wave as I left the street. As usual, he stood there with his face that would make an onion cry and point-blank ignored me. He always does this, just because I once had the temerity to put up a Vote Labour sign and I don’t shit myself every morning when I read the latest tripe in the tabloids) (oh, and the cock-loving doesn’t endear me to him, either). Off to a good start! The short drive in took an hour because someone put their brake lights on in Cornwall and thus every car in existence had to immediately stop. Nevermind, we’ll get there eventually, there’s no rush!
Against better judgement, I flashed some painted harlequin in a financed-Audi out at a tricky junction. Normally, given they were driving an Audi and were therefore the worst people in the world (you know I’m right) I’d have sailed past sticking my fingers surreptitiously up on the side of my face, but no, be nice! Did I get a wave? A blink of acknowledgement? A smile? Did I balls. I did however enjoy a far more exciting drive as she wandered all over the road in front of me with her phone in her hand. It’s hard to remain focussed on being nice when you’re hoping for her tyres to blow-out and impale her on a broken street-light. But hey. Worse things happen in Rome.
Work passed in its usual way and you better believe my day was lightened when someone on the phone asked ‘to speak to someone who could actually be of some use’ despite them ringing the wrong number entirely and asking for the wrong person. Doesn’t matter, James: smile when you dialhun. A quick toilet break was full of deleting posts from our group from people who think the rules don’t apply to them and no, really, I want a facebook full of ‘how many syns in my shitty knock-off Muller yoghurt’. But hey! They know no better!
Luckily, I had the afternoon off – plenty of opportunities to smile at people and pay it forward. I decided to drive to Craster and do a nice five mile trek up to the ruined castle and then around in a loop. Lovely! I especially loved the last four miles of windy road which was only made better by being stuck behind a caravan – who needs a sea-view when you’ve got the Turbo-Sprinter Deluxe 1999 in puce weaving in front of you at a slow crawl, driven by two people who died last year. Clearly pulling over was beyond them, and why would they? Why, they have as much right to be on that road as anyone else.
I pulled into the car-park only to find all 80 of the parking spaces taken up by 60 cars, all parked rakishly over the lines to ensure no-one scratched their expensive, fancy motors. I sat and waited – big grin now – as an elderly couple doddled back to their car – at last, a free space. Nope: they opened up their wee tupperware boxes of sandwiches and sat chewing themselves to death. My grin, now rictus, would only have been dashed had they choked on a stray bit of egg salad. It’s always egg salad, presumably because it masks the smell of decomposition that occurs when you seal the aged in a red-hot Suzuki Swift.
Ticked off, I parked outside of one of the bays and minced into town – I say minced, I can barely walk at the moment as I spent an hour doing squats on Monday and now every step looks like I’ve shit myself. Nevertheless, I gamely struggled along the path, approached the gate to access the field where the walk started only for some old fart in altogether too much knitwear to shut it pretty much in my face despite watching me painfully hobble up to it. I don’t think it’s too much of an over-reaction to hope he’d do a Harold Bishop and tumble unnoticed into the sea, dashing his beetroot-nosed skull on the sharp rocks, then be swept out to sea unable to call for help because he’d been paralysed from the fall and only had a lifetime of regret and missed opportunity to comfort him as he gasped his last in the water. On I went.
A sheep gave me a shitty look. I stepped in a cow-pat. I got stuck behind a group of haw-haw-jolly-good ramblers braying on about their hiking boots for a good ten minutes, unable to slip past because I can’t walk at speed. The castle itself was fascinating and the man behind the counter had a lovely Scottish burr in his voice that almost made me pay another year’s membership to English Heritage, save for the fact I had to wait ten minutes whilst a coach party dithered and dathered at him about places to go in the area. I wanted to suggest the crematorium, but kept quiet. Be nice. When I was eventually served, all my positivity had disappeared, and paying £1.90 for a Diet Coke did little to help. I finished my walk in a gloom and made my way back to the car, only stopping to leap out of the way of a giant pristine white Range Rover (of course) driven by a gammon of a man who thundered down the road with his phone to his ear. Again.
I realised at that point that being nice was to have no reward for me, and bollocks, let’s get back to being mean-spirited and cruel. As I was leaving the car-park I spotted another pair of Saga-louts pulling in and driving around looking for a space. I handed them my pay-and-display ticket and trilled ‘it’s good for another few hours’. They looked positively delighted, and for a moment I felt guilty. See, in a fit of ill-temper, I’d deliberately given them the pay and display ticket from a different car-park from last week, and I know they’re shit-hot on parking control in Craster so that means they’ve doubtless got a ticket.
My drive back was far more pleasant as I spent most of it deciding how I’d ruin the Earth if I ever became an overlord. Let’s be honest: it’s so much more fun being an arsehole, yes? But if you see me out and about, give me a smile. Try and change my view on life. Make me hopeful that there’s something other than blackness out there.
Tell you what will cheer you up though: our sausage colcannon bake. You’ll love it, because it’s easy to make and tastes damn fine. Let’s do the recipe.
Sausage colcannon bake - listen, it's sausage casserole topped with mashed tatties and kale. It's proper comfort food and listen, it's not going to make itself. It freezes well, serves four (MASSIVE portions, mind) and is easy to knock out. Get on it!
6 medium-sized potatoes, cut into large chunks
8 sausages (see notes)
1 large onion, sliced
2 tbsp plain flour (4 syns)
3 beef stock cubes dissolved in 500ml boiling water
125g sliced mushrooms
100g frozen peas
1tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
preheat the oven to 200ºc
put the potatoes in a large saucepan, fill with cold water until covered and bring to the boil
reduce the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes, then drain
meanwhile, splash in a little bit of water to another pan and add the kale
cook over a high heat for 3 minutes until softened a bit
crack the egg into the potatoes and mash with the kale and add some salt and pepper to taste, and keep to one side
next, cook the sausages however you like (see notes)
spray a large frying pan with some oil and add the onions
fry over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and beginning to caramelise
add the flour and whisk with the onions for about a minute, then slowly add a little stock at a time, continually whisking, until you have a thickened gravy
add the sausages to the pan along with the mushrooms, peas, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf and give a good stir
tip into a large dish and gently spoon the mash on top, spreading evenly across the top
you can leave the egg out of the mash if you like but it really does make it taste creamy - trust us! if you prefer to use milk or butter or whatever you can, just remember to syn it
we cooked the sausages in our Tefal Actifry (best to remove the paddle) and you can cook yours however you like, under the grill, in a frying pan, Optigrill, George Foreman, Airfryer... it's up to you!
Ham and cheese scones. Nope. They’re not Slimming World friendly. But sometimes, you’ve got to let your gunt out, shake that Elnett-by-proxy out of your hair and live your life a little. Anyway, a little bit of what you fancy does you good, or at least it does until you’re left with an STD and Graeme from Jeremy Kyle is fussing about your nethers with a box of tissues. I’m feeling a bit soured towards the whole Slimming World thing at the moment anyway: any diet where people are making lemon meringue pies by scrapping a Muller yoghurt into a pastry made from PEASE PUDDING isn’t good.
To be fair, that’s not Slimming World’s fault such as it is people just trying to eat without spending syns, which is ridiculous but ground that we’ve covered so many times before that I earned my Body Magic Platinum badge (urgh) just from eye-rolling alone. You know, perhaps if they changed the name from something as negative as syns (short for synergy or some other such abbol) (abbol being short for absolute bollocks) people would be more inclined to ‘spend’ them instead of fretting about eating something perfectly normal.
Ah well. If I had to represent via the medium of cat how I feel looking at these recipes for Frankenfood, this is it:
super cheesy cheese scones - no, not Slimming World friendly
Cheese scones, proper ones mind you, with no nonsense. These have more cheese in them than is entirely decent and you know, that's good because frankly, if you're not having mild chest pains spreading the butter, then are you even alive?
I use the recipe from theguardian because I'm a hippy-drippy middle-class sort. Feel free to swap the butter for Trex and the gentle touch for a bad attitude, if you're so inclined.
Oh and if you're wondering why a diet blog contains a recipe for cheese scones, it's simple: because we're a cooking blog, and we all have a naughty side. Though if your idea of being naughty is a cheese scone, we need to get you out more...
450g of self-raising flour (70 syns)
1 tsp of smoked salt (ordinary salt is fine)
1 tbsp of English mustard powder
100g of cold, from-the-fridge, salted butter (36 syns)
250g extra strong mature cheese, plus a bit extra for the top (50 syns)
180g of shredded ham hock (buy it from Tesco, it's cheap, or cut up some ham yourself)
120ml of cold milk
120ml of cold water
1 egg, beaten up with a drop or two of milk
156 syns. Oops! 12 syns each.
heat your oven to 220 degrees
sift your flour, salt and mustard powder into a big bowl
grate in the butter and rub with the tips of your finger until you have fine sand
grate in the cheese and add the ham, then stir to combine
mix in the milk and water until everything starts to bind together, but don't overwork it - it'll be a sticky dough to begin with but you'll get there
tip onto a floured surface and roll to about 2cm high
cut into circles of about 6cm across, reshaping as you need
pop on a good non-stick baking tray, brush with the egg and milk mix and top with lots more cheese
cook in the oven until golden on top - mine took about 16 minutes
Mine came out perfectly but scones are a bitch sometimes - if they don't come out looking great, who cares: strive for good taste, not good looks!
You don't need any expensive kit to bake. A big bowl, a grater and some scone cutters. Hell, you can use a pint glass if you want. But if you're looking for ideas:
Well look, if there’s two lads you can rely on to jerk your pork, it’s us! Jerk pork and pineapple skewers! Another skewer recipe but it’s glorious weather and this is the type of food you need to enjoy. Plus, if the weather lets you down, there’s nothing to stop you throwing these under the grill.
But before we get there, two things. First, look what appeared just as I sat down to type this:
We don’t live in some Dickensian workhouse, but we’re near an awful lot of fields full of mice and this is the end result. Rats and mice don’t bother me as a rule but you better believe that I simultaneously leapt and shat when this bugger scuttled out from behind my router. I thought it was a spider, though if it had been, this house would have been razed to the ground. No second chances.
We only went and bloody did it! The two fat blokes (How fat? When we fall down the stairs people think Eastenders is finishing! So fat our patronuses are cakes! So fat that you need a bus journey with two connections just to get on our good side! Ho ho! Fuck off) who never exercise upped their game and ran a bloody 5k! We weren’t even the last ones to finish – I had visions of being lapped over and over before someone came and asked us to leave as they wanted to get home and only had tent hire until 11pm.
As it happens, we ran a good 80% of it and power-minced the rest. All we’ve done is focus on running a bit more each time – no fancy trainers, no expensive regimes, just walk, run, go. You know what made it lovely though? So many people clapping and encouraging folk as they ran past. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting to be chased with pitchforks (though it was Alnwick) but even I was surprised how lovely it all was. Who knows what lies ahead, other than plantar fasciitis and jogging cum-faces? Maybe we’ll do the Great North Run?
Pfft, aye, no.
Oh and we crossed the finishing line holding hands (with me leading Paul, who remember, has tiny corgi legs as opposed to my long, gazelle pins), just to make you sick up in your mouth a little. Cubs who finish together, stay together. Certainly not the first time I’ve tugged a chubby bloke to a happy finish in the vicinity of a rugby pitch, either.
Easy! The key with BBQ food is that it is easy and quick to make - this really couldn't be easier, given it's rubbing a bit of meat, chopping fruit and grilling it! What's not to love?
Remember, Slimming World's official line is that you should syn your pineapple if you're following the diet to the letter. Our view, and mind it is our view and not an official one, is that this is bollocks. But follow your own path - if you need to syn the pineapple, 100g is 2 syns. We're also not including the 0.5 syn drop of sriracha - this made six fat skewers, and I'll be damned if I'm dividing 0.5 between 6.
Then again, we're living in an era where people are making lemon meringue pies using pease pudding, so all bets are off.
Not sure what sriracha is? It's just a hot, spicy sauce. Leave it off if you've got a delicate balloon-knot, and replace it with a few drops of Worcestershire sauce.
Just here for the peanut butter pork skewers? Don’t blame you, and the good news is that we’re going to go straight to the recipe! I, unsurprisingly, love a bit of pork: whether it’s bacon, ham or a good love-length, I’m all about it. Remember folks, buy the best meat you can afford in a dish like this, because it’ll make all the difference to your dinner!
Oh, before we do get to the recipe actually, I learned three animal facts today which I need to share:
queen bees carry the sperm of their suitors around inside them for months before fertilisation takes place: pfft, amateur. It only takes me about an hour before I’ve turned it into more moustache;
the baby of a horse is a foal – up until today, I would have told you entirely seriously that a baby horse is a pony. Apparently not, and every single person I’ve asked about this have looked at me as though I’m touched in the head and said ‘foal’ really, really slowly. Harumph; and
if a cow comes running towards you, the best line of attack that you have is to punch it square in the face as hard as you can – now I know this because I’m terrified of the cows on the town moor and they’re back for a fifth year. I can tolerate them if they stay at the other end of the town moor crapping all over the cycle path but recently they’ve become bold and started staying on the path. You better believe that if they come charging towards me with swishy tails and shitty arses, they’re going to get a left hook
Actually no, let’s be honest, there’s going to be about twenty seconds of screaming and flailing and power-mincing on my behalf, then they’ll bugger off to literal pastures new. I’m thinking I might use the punch defence when Paul gives me his come to bed eyes when I’m not in the mood, although, with his home and away eyes, it’s hard to tell whether he’s coming onto me or having a seizure.
Let’s do the recipe for the peanut butter pork skewers, what what.
We know the syn value might shock you a bit but trust us - this one is definitely worth it! And, it's only 4 syns a skewer (less if you reduce it a bit) - have one of these with loads of other BBQ stuff and you'll still have plenty of syns left. They're there to be used!
750g pork fillet, cut into chunks
4 garlic cloves
½ red onion
1 red chilli
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
zest of 1 lime
60ml lime juice
200g crunchy reduced fat peanut butter (40 syns)
thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated
cut the pork into skewer-size chunks
next, chuck everything else into a food processor and blend until nearly smooth (a few small chunks is fine) - be prepared to add a little water to thin it out if it's too thick
slop the mixture into a bowl and add the pork chunks, and give a really good mix
cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes
skewer the pork chunks - we reckon you should get about 10, especially if you chuck some peppers on the skewers too
cook over the barbecue for a few minutes each side, or under a hot grill
look - we know that 40 syns is a lot BUT remember that this makes LOADS - and it's totally worth it! It's a PROPER satay that's sticky AND crunchy!
you can reduce the syns if you like by adding some veg and making it go further, or use less peanut butter (it won't be as nice though)
we cooked these on the barbecue but you can do them under a hot grill too
if you're using wooden skewers remember to soak them first to stop them burning. We always prefer metal skewers as they help to cook the meat better - we used these ones from Amazon
Just a lunch idea tonight: roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta. How many times do we end up buying something bog-awful for lunch just because we didn’t plan the night before or because we can’t face another day of choking down an asbestos-flavoured MugShitz? Make a batch of this and never look back! And look, no nonsense to read through to get straight to the recipe!
Looking for a quick lunch? Have yourself a packet of crisps and a good cry, or, make this gorgeous little pasta salad - it'll keep well in the fridge and serve you well for a good couple of days. Don't be tempted to make this roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta without the chorizo - the tiny crunchy bits of oily goodness is what makes this dish sing!
100g chorizo, diced (12 syns)
6 bacon medallions, diced
½ red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
300g cherry tomatoes, halved
130g reduced fat feta, crumbled (2x HeA)
pop the tomatoes in a roasting dish and set away on a low heat, chopped in half, for about twenty minutes - you want them softened but not burst
cook the pasta according to the instructions, scoop out a little of the water into a mug and keen aside, then drain
meanwhile, spray a bit of oil into a large frying pan and place over a medium-high heat
add the chorizo and bacon and fry until golden
remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside
add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook in the chorizo oil until translucent
add the tomatoes to the pan and a couple of tablespoons of water
cook until the tomatoes have softened and the sauce has reduced, add a bit more water if it starts to look a bit dry
chuck in the chorizo and bacon to the pan and give another good stir
add the pasta and stir again - use some of the water you collected earlier if needed to thin out the sauce
serve into bowls, top with the crumbled feta and salt and pepper to taste
don't be afraid to use chorizo - it's what makes this one so tasty! Substituting it for something lower in syns will just dull the flavour. Syns are there to be used!
mince the garlic in seconds with one of these! Don't fanny on with awkward garlic presses!
you can use normal tomatoes in this if you prefer - just cut them up into cherry tomato-sized chunks
don't like feta? Use any cheese you like - just remember to check the syns
you can use any pasta you like - we used Gigli because it's pretty and cooks quickly
Courseslunch, pasta, salad
See? What’s not to like about a dinner like our roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta? Easy, uses only a couple of syns and actually tastes of something other than the shite you pick up in the supermarket!
Want more ideas for lunch? Of course! Try one of these:
Chicken and chorizo jambalaya: because you need an easy chicken recipe, and we need an easy life. So, not only have we found you possibly the easiest chicken recipe we’ve ever done, we’ve even done you a video!
We get a lot of feedback with people mentioning that it’s a faff on having lots of different deals all over the place and that they want just ‘pure’ meat, as opposed to flavourings and rubs and meatballs and sausages. So, with that in mind, we’ve revamped our Musclefood offering so that you can buy different sizes of our popular Freezer Filler deal – all three sizes will save you money on buying it in the supermarket and of course, it’s all syn-free. Up to you how you cook it!
So here it is: the ULTIMATE FREEZER FILLER SELECTION! There’s three packs here for you to choose from so there’s something for every budget. If you haven’t ordered from us before then what are you waiting for?! You’ll save a fortune compared to getting the same amount of stuff at the supermarkets, and not only are you getting a bargain but it all tastes nicer too. The chicken breasts are HUGE and won’t shrivel when you cook them, the beef isn’t like chewing on a dry tampon and the mince isn’t mushy! Seriously, give it a try – we promise you won’t look back! Everything in these packs are syn free!
You’ll save a fortune ordering from us compared to getting the same amount of stuff at the supermarkets and the bigger the pack, the more you save. Fill up your freezer and it’ll last you for ages!
Full disclosure: we get a small commission for the meat we sell – it doesn’t change the price you pay, but helps keep us in the gin, buttplugs and fancy living lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to.
Now for a sneak inside my box – here’s what you get in our deals. We did try and get Musclefood to call the boxes ‘mouse’s ear, wizard’s sleeve and hippo’s yawn‘ but apparently, that’s too off-brand:
This super easy chicken and chorizo jambalaya is a one-pot, quick cooking marvel: it tastes good, it's low in syns and if you're shite in the kitchen, you'll be able to knock this together without breaking a sweat. It's an all round good guy!
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 onion, chopped
200g frozen peas
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tbsp Morrison's No Fuss garlic paste (1 syn) (or mince your own garlic, you fancy sod)
100g chorizo, diced (12 syns)
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
250g long grain rice
400g tin of plum tomatoes
400ml chicken stock
if you haven't already, dice and chop up everything that you need to and set aside
spray a large pan with oil and pop over a medium-high heat
add the chicken and cook until no pink remains
next, add everything else and give a good stir - give the tomatoes a bit of a squash with the edge of the spoon so they break up a little bit and spread out
add the lid to the pan and simmer for 25 minutes
we used garlic paste for this because we ran out of proper garlic - if you're using garlic cloves you can knock a syn off
Because putting a bit of mince in a wrap does not equal sausage rolls. Honestly, we weren’t going to bother with a sausage rolls recipe but having seen people passing off wraps stuffed with mince as sausage rolls, we felt we had to. Remember, Slimming World is about eating proper food, not pretend food, using your syns to eat something someone on a diet would eat, as opposed to pretend fake-food. The proof, as they say, is almost certainly in the pudding.
Although that pudding will probably be a smear of cinnamon and a photocopy of a chocolate bar wrapped in a Weight Watchers wrap and called a cinnamon swirl. Maybe on other sites.
Anyway, a quick word before we get to that recipe. Keen observers may have noticed that our recipe / blog output has slowed down a bit the last few weeks. There’s a reason for that but alas, I can’t go into it! We are trying to balance it back out, but at the moment we’re working during the day, coming home and going out to work on something else. But the end is in sight, and we have some cracking recipes coming up. So do bear with us, please! Remember, if you need inspiration, we have:
The recipe for the sausage rolls isn't much of a recipe at all, so we thought we'd bulk it out by including a veggie alternative that isn't just using vegetarian sausages, although you can do so. The veggie version is called pea pastizzi and comes from Sabrina Ghayour's FEASTS book that we keep banging on about!
to make the meaty sausage rolls (makes ten)
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
whatever six sausages you like - we use syn-free sausages from Musclefood, but you can use anything here
one red onion chopped
a pinch of garlic
to make the veggie pea alternatives (makes ten):
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
two large fat garlic cloves
one large onion, chopped fine
300g tin of marrowfat peas
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 large egg
pinch of salt
for the meaty sausage rolls:
preheat the oven to 200°c
squeeze the sausagemeat from the sausages and fry in the pan with the finely chopped onion and garlic - the little bit of fat will soften the onions, so no need to add oil
add a good twist of pepper
take your puff pastry, roll it out - I prefer to actually roll it out a little thinner than it usually is, but you know, up to you
cut into ten squares
spoon the cooked sausage meat into each square and fold over the sides into a nice roll shape
wash with beaten egg and into the oven they go for 20 minutes or so to cook nicely
if you want, cut them in half again when cooked for 1-syn taster night sausage rolls
Easy! Do you see what I mean though - it's an easy recipe! Cook off the sausagemeat, add into puff pastry and cook.
for the veggie pea alternatives:
soften the onions by cooking them off in a little oil, adding the garlic as they get nice and golden
add the peas, curry powder, pinch of pepper and a good dash of dalt
allow everything to cook for about five minutes and soften and mash gently
do as you did above - roll out your pastry, spoon in your mixture, fashion into rolls, egg-wash the top and whack them in the oven for twenty minutes or so
as you have no doubt noticed, FEASTS is my favourite book at the moment - every last thing we've cooked from there has been a delight - you can pick it up cheap on Amazon
Ham, cheese and egg pancakes – well, it’s better than yet another overnight oats recipe, no? Bit of a preamble on this one so do just click here to go straight to the recipe!
Do you know who I can’t bear? Gavroche from Les Misérables. I jubilantly throw my box of Poppets in the air whenever that tatterdemalion shithead gets blasted in the stomach. Perhaps that makes me slightly psychopathic, celebrating the untimely end of a wee (albeit fictional) child, but there we have it. I’ve always been a Javert man, anyway.
I mention Gavroche as there was a kid in front of us at the swimming baths yesterday who was giving it such great funs with his loud, obnoxious shrieking that we elected to go for a spa day instead of a calorie burning frontcrawl. It’s half term: the children are off the roads but by God, they’re everywhere else, like lice on a dog.
It may surprise you that neither of us are born ‘spa boys’. The idea of people fussing about me with unctures and rubs holds zero appeal. However, we’re fortunate enough to live near a reasonable spa and, thanks to Groupon, entry was reasonably cheap. We did feel a bit out of place parking our muddy car in the sea of spotlessly white Range Rover Evoques (so-called, as they evoke feelings of ‘oh, what a smug looking c*nt’ whenever they swoosh past), and even more so traipsing in with our swim kit in an ASDA carrier bag. The lady on reception did blanch a little as we sashayed in. Pfft. I’m taking no judgement from someone who wouldn’t be able to register a look of surprise even if she dropped a pan of hot oil on her feet.
We’re realists – we weren’t going to inflict our naked, hairy bodies on someone whose on work experience certainly didn’t call for massaging our fat around like spreading butter on hot toast. Plus, I’m not one for being touched. I can take someone gripping my ears for stability and that’s about it. Although actually, I’ve heard masseuses prefer fat bodies as there’s more to work with, otherwise let’s face it, it’s like rubbing wax into a xylophone. I was having mild intestinal issues however, and didn’t fancy taking the risk of someone creating a biohazard by squeezing me like a tube of budget toothpaste. So, massages were off, and we decided to make use of the other facilities, which all involved some degree of sitting down and sweating. Couldn’t help but feel a bit ripped off, not least because I sit down and sweat just writing the blog.
Before that, a quick change. Luckily the place was quiet – not that I mind getting my knob out in front of folks, you understand, as a reasonably quick search on xtube will verify – and we were able to get changed in peace. Well – up until the point where it came to putting our stuff in the electronic lockers. We were just closing the door when a boiled beetroot in Jacamo shorts came barrelling over to shout at us / instruct us how to use the locker. It was a four digit pin, not the fucking Enigma machine, and I assured him we had it under control. He didn’t bugger off though, ‘supervising’ us as we locked our locker, leading to a slightly awkward moment where I had to shield the pin as though he was a street beggar after my money. Can’t be too careful. Satisfied that we had managed to satisfy Fermat’s last theorem / input four numbers into a locker, he lumbered off. We’d meet again.
Paul, keen to lose some weight through simple sweating, pushed us into the sauna. I hate saunas. I don’t see the appeal – I feel like a chicken breast in a sous vide machine, sweating and struggling to breathe through a dry heat of other people’s sweat and stink. Thankfully, unlike the other times I’ve used a sauna, there was no-one else in there – that’s great, because previous occasions have invariably had me sat oppostite an old dude sitting with his balls out. Have you ever seen what happens to a scrotum in extreme heat? Mine becomes so elastic that I can throw them over my shoulder and have them banging about like one of those old clackers toys from the eighties.
What’s good about a sauna, anyway? This particular one was turned up to over 90 degrees. To me, that’s approaching boiling point. I get uncomfortably hot when someone lights a church candle the next village over. I tried lying down but that made my back-hair sizzle. I tried sitting but was worried I’d cauterise my bumhole shut. Standing was no better – I just felt faint and knew that if I passed out, there’d be no way Paul could lift me out and I’d end up in there forever, cooking and desiccating until I ended up looking like Madge, Dame Edna’s assistant. I stayed in as long as I could but then had to dash out.
As I left the sauna our friendly neighbourhood beetroot appeared out of fat air and admonished me for not shutting the door quick enough, as though four seconds of the door being slightly ajar would reduce a room that was previously hotter than the surface of the sun down to the temperature of an Icelandic crevasse. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or just hot, though his skin had moved from rose to ruby coloured. For someone who had self-appointed himself as the King of the Spa, he certainly needed to fucking relax. I shut the door as quick as I could, leaving only four layers of skin crisping like bacon on the door handle. I thanked him. We’d meet again.
Paul slunk out of the sauna immediately after Al Murray had left, and we enjoyed a quick brisk shower before going for a sit in the aromatherapy room. I’m not going to lie: it was a novel experience to have the both of us in a heated room and for it not to smell like something has died behind a radiator, but there’s only so much pine scent you can inhale before you start getting light-headed and conscious of the fact you’re going to smell like an Air Wick for the next ten weeks. What is the aromatherapy room meant to do? I’m already Polo-shaped (I’m certainly mint with a hole), I don’t need to smell like one too. We left after about five minutes.
The last room was a steam room. To me, that’s just another sauna, but this time with steam. Woohoo! In we went, and there was Barry Big Bollocks spread-eagled, thankfully with his shorts on, steaming lightly. Now I could have cheerfully stayed in here save for the fact that the steam was clearly helping with his COPD, because no sooner had we sat down then he started coughing and hacking and clearing his throat as though he was drowning in phlegm. Nothing soothes the soul like steam and a fine miasma of the net result of forty straight years of chaining Lambert & Butlers. Every time our conversation halted he’d kick off again, clearly really getting in amongst his air-sacs for the full effect. He wasn’t so much clearing his throat as resurfacing the fucker. We left after about five minutes, speckled with blood and tar.
Only one thing left to do. The jacuzzi. I’m not a huge fan – let’s be frank, they’re nothing more than less portable hot-tubs – but hey, when you’ve spent twenty quid to get in, you have to get the use out of it. In we went. Now, yes, it was very pleasant, although they had positioned several jets in such a way that it was blowing my balls around rather a bit too dramatically in my swimming shorts. I had to move before my entire ball-sack floated to the surface and acted like a pool cover.
But even here I couldn’t relax. With my belly being pummelled from all directions, my fear of accidentally sharting and ruining the whole experience for everyone else was too much. Can you imagine how mortifying that would actually be? The more brazen amongst you might have been able to bluff it out by pretending you’d spilled a can of oxtail soup in the water but come on. I had to get out.
In all, we spent about 30 minutes at the spa and came out slightly pink and far less relaxed than when we went in. Best part for me was having Paul use the hairdryer in the changing rooms to dry my bum hair – such luxury! The receptionist asked if we had a nice time given it seemed as though we had hardly stayed. Naturally, we lied and said it was wonderful and we’d cheerfully come again, before spending the entire home bitching about everything. This is why we can’t have nice things, see. She did offer to see if someone was free to give us a pedicure but when I asked her if said person would be proficient in using a belt sander, she didn’t get the joke. We all mutually agreed that we ought to move on.
Sigh. Speaking of moving on, let’s do the recipe for ham, cheese and egg pancakes, eh?
I was going to call this recipe croque madame crêpes but Christ, I’ve seen how some of you lot spell two chubby cubs, I’m not going to start adding circumflexes into the mix. Without a moment of delay, let’s get to the recipe!
Something new and tasty for breakfast for those days when you can't face spooning yet another load of dry as old nick overnight oats into your aching gob.
For the basic pancake batter, we're using the pancake advice from February, namely:
My recipe makes enough for six pancakes - four which will be filled with ham and cheese, and then two extra for gobbling. It's either that or having to mess about with smaller ingredients. Don't be tempted to fart about blending oats or any of that nonsense, there's simply no need. You're so much better have a couple of real pancakes and cracking on. Oh and if you find yourself reaching for a wrap instead of making a pancake, please, throw yourself into the sea.
TO MAKE THE PANCAKES
50g plain flour (8 syns)
150ml of skimmed milk (2 and a quarter syns, but really, 2 syns)
So that's ten syns for six pancakes. But I'll syn them at 1.5 syns because you can bugger off if you think I'm putting 1.66666666666666 syns per pancake.
FOR THE FILLING
whatever ham you fancy
60g extra grated mature cheese (2 x HEA)
So to be clear, you're having two filled pancakes each, and you'll have enough batter leftover for a third if you want to scoff that too!
blend all the pancake ingredients together - add a pinch of...a pinch of...bleurgh...a good grinding of pepper, please
now, depending on your skill in the kitchen, you could fry the eggs in one pan and prepare the pancakes in another, but let's assume you've got the cooking skills of a turnip, and go step by step
fry your eggs off - don't cook them into full submission, you still want a bit of give on the yolk so it pops
pop your fried eggs on a plate on the side and start making your pancakes - a couple of sprays of olive oil, nice hot pan, tip a sixth of the batter in and quickly spread it around the pan
once the pancake has 'dried out' and coming away from the pan, flip it over - don't be frightened, you've got spare batter
once it is flipped, layer 15g of cheese in the middle, top with the ham and the fried egg
fold the sides of the pancake over like in the photo and cook for about thirty seconds to melt the cheese a bit
top with chives and eat!
Honestly, it sounds like a faff, but all this recipe is is a pancake stuffed with cheese and ham and egg - if you balls it up, it might not look great, but it'll taste absolutely fine. Remember, aim for taste, not perfection!
we whisk up our batter in our Nutribullet - gets rid of any lumps, but honestly, a bowl and a fork will do the same job and get you some Body Magic. Don't buy one just for this - though they are very good!
Now come on, that was easy! But if you fancy something different for breakfast, why not try something new from our list?
Sausage and white wine risotto, if you don’t mind!
We’ve come to the end of our second bootcamp and can’t quite believe it. For two lads whose idea of exercise was a casual Sunday wank or rolling over in bed so our sleep apnea doesn’t suffocate us, I’d say we’ve done really rather well! I’ll talk about it more in due course but honestly, if you’re out there thinking you can’t exercise, get yourself moving! I mean…I haven’t died, yet…
Just a quick recipe tonight to keep you going – but this is delicious! You may know our approach to risottos – just chuck everything in and leave it to cook itself. Might not be 100% authentic but by god, it’ll leave you satisfied. Without further delay…
Sausages, booze, and stodge. This sausage and white wine risotto is THE perfect dinner idea that you've been waiting for! Robust, meaty and just a little bit fruity - just like us. Even though it's full of rich ingredients this is just one syn and a bit each and one of the tastiest things we've ever made!
We've adapted this and made it a bit skinnier from our 'spirit daddies', The Hairy Bikers. Their original recipe is in the brilliant 'Meat Feasts' book - you can get a copy at Amazon! Don't forget to check out their website for more tasty ideas.
4-6 sausages (see notes)
1 litre chicken stock
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
300g arborio rice
125ml white wine (5 syns)
60g parmesan, grated (2x HeA)
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
cook the sausages however you like them, and then slice and keep to one side
meanwhile, heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and spray in some oil
add the sliced onions and cook until starting to turn brown - remember to stir them about regularly
once the onions have started to lightly caramelise, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, herbs and rice and stir well
add the wine and give a good stir, and then pour in the stock and stir again, and then put the lid on the pan
cook for twenty minutes - no need to stir!
gently drag a wooden spoon through the rice - if it falls back in 'waves' it's at the right consistency - cook for a few minutes more if it's not
stir in the sausages slices and sprinkle over the parmesan
serve and sprinkle over the parsley
you can cook the sausages however you like - we used our Optigrill - but however you like it will do, just make sure they're cooked!