the dirty threesome burger with the twochubbycubs!

A dirty threesome burger? Bet that got your attention, you saucy minx! You know sometimes you see something on the Internet, you long for it, you lust for it – it pervades your thoughts, wears you down and ultimately you NEED IT. You HAVE to have it. So you just do it? Well, this burger is that thought process brought to life. It seems I was in an especially suggestible mood yesterday because I only saw a picture of this sexy monstrosity yesterday and there I am, not 24 hours later, toiling in the kitchen. So easily persuaded. It’s lucky my postman didn’t offer to take my package round the back this morning – I’d have put on a condom and reached for the Flora Buttery before he had a chance to take off his satchel.

So, because something like this needs no introduction, I won’t go on and on with my usual spiel. I did want to point out that we’ve developed a new page however:

Go ahead and click – it’ll open in a new tab so you won’t lose this page. We’re just pig sick of people buying a £3.99 rotating candle from Wilkos and saying they’ve got an Actifry and they’re shit because they can’t cook chips in it. It doesn’t help that the halogen oven markets itself as an airfryer when it’s bloody well not – it’s a lightbulb in Darth Vader drag. Anyway, click the link and let me know what you think.

So what is a dirty threesome burger? Easy! It’s for when you can’t decide what you want in your mouth and thus combines pizza, burger, bacon and chips in one unholy, terrifying, WONDERFUL alliance. Shall we begin? You might want to pop a towel down to catch the sloshing. This makes enough for two BEASTS.

dirty threesome burger

dirty threesome burger

dirty threesome burger

to make a dirty threesome burger, you’ll need:

  • 500g of extra lean beef mince
  • one chopped onion
  • a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • your healthy extra breadbun – or any bun you like, as long as you syn it (cough)
  • six thick rashers of bacon
  • a little carton of passata
  • whatever you want for your pizza topping: we used peppers and a bit of chopped chorizo – a tiny amount of 5g, which is about half a syn – but you know what, who is counting
  • potatoes for chips
  • tomato sauce (tbsp – which is what we used – is a syn)
  • 40g of lighter  mature cheddar for the burger (1 x HEA)
  • 40g of lighter red leicester for the top (1 x HEA)

Wondering about the two HEAs? Remember, this makes enough for two – so you get half of each – which is one healthy extra. Simple!

Also, you can get decent mince AND bacon (plus loads more!) in our fantastic Musclefood packs! Just click here to find out what deals we’ve got on!

This looks complicated but read the recipe first, it’s a genuine doddle.

to make a dirty threesome burger, you should:

  • first, turn your gold-framed photo of Mags away to face the wall, she doesn’t need to see this
  • cook your chips however you want them – but we have a definitive guide to cooking Slimming World chips right here, which will open in a new window – you’ll need a handful per burger
  • prepare your burger by taking 400g and keeping 100g of mince for later, then squash that mince with your hands – we don’t like to over-complicate things assuming you’ve got good beef – so just add good pinch of salt, a good pinch of pepper and perhaps some garlic powder – form into two rounds
  • grill your burger however you normally do it – we used our Optigrill for this recipe (heat up, press burger, go) and it worked a charm, but it can be done just as easy under the grill or on a George Foreman – no expensive kit needed with us, remember
  • once the burgers are almost done, stick your bacon on the grill to cook
  • whilst all that is sizzling away, chop up your onion, throw it in a pan with the leftover mince and cook it off with a little bit of passata – you don’t need much, just enough to make a small amount of basic bolognese – maybe add some garlic if you’re fancy – cook until really thick!
  • once that is thick, and the burgers and bacon are cooked, it’s time…
  • first, top your burgers with 20g of mature cheddar each – better to have a couple of slices rather than grated
  • next – cut your breadbun in half and then, using your fingers, push the top down so you create a well, pressing the bread down – imagine, of all things, you were making an ashtray out of clay – you don’t want to push through though
  • add the bolognese, grated red leicester and whatever pizza topping you want – then a bit more cheese
  • whack both the bolognese bun and the burger under the grill for two minutes to melt the cheese and then…
  • assemble! Bottom of the breadbun, chips, tomato sauce, burger with cheese on, bacon, then top with the top of the breadbun with the bolognese and cheese topping! Chips topped with burger topped with pizza.

I mean really. Listen, I don’t suggest you have one of these every night – clearly it’s an ‘excess’ meal, but goodness me what a fun treat!

Oh and if you liked our outrageous burger, DO SHARE using the buttons below, and even better, why not try our other burgers?

Phew!

J

cheesy potato cake – goodness me, it’s good

Do you know, I very nearly called this post Potato Cakes (I Just Don’t Know Know) but had I typed that out, the song Baby Cakes would enter my head. Should this happen, the only reasonable course of action would have been to step outside, nip into our garden shed, tip the lawn mower on its side, douse myself in the petrol that runs out and set myself on fire because I ABSOLUTELY HATE THAT SONG. I hate it! Not just in a ho-ho-how-silly way like most people hated on that Crazy Frog song but in a ‘whoops, there goes the skin on my back, cascading over my skull as I cringe in on myself like an alarmed tortoise’ fashion.

You know what’s the real icing on this particular shitcake though?

The stupid head-bobbing action of the frosted-tipped Matalan-shirted, pouting primadonna on the right, pursing his lips throughout the whole thing.  You’ve got no idea what black, boiling rage he stirs up inside me. Everyone has their Moriarty – I didn’t expect mine to be dressed like an fired ice-cream salesman.

Anyway, that’s all entirely by the by – I have every intention of this post being a quick recipe post, so let’s get straight to it. I happened across this recipe in a book by Antonio Carluccio – naturally his recipe calls for all sorts of butters and cheese so we’ve had to dial it back, but this is still a bloody taster dinner or, even better, leftovers-the-next-day meal. It sounds interesting, but honestly, make it and you’ll never look back. I do like Antonio Carluccio and it’s-sad-that-he’s-died-isn’t-it-mate – I love men with those big bushy eyebrows. I feel he’s what I’ll eventually end up looking like, although my eyebrows are already doing that awful thing where a couple of hairs on each side branch out looking for independence from the rest, pointing straight out in front of me just enough to get in my field of vision. Bastards.

The cheesy potato cake then. This is a load of carbs and cheese, but listen, that’s OK sometimes. Sometimes you need something heavy to sit on your stomach, and I’m not always available. This serves six very generously, so don’t balk at the amount of cheese. Trust me: I shagged a doctor once.

cheesy potato cake

cheesy potato cake

cheesy potato cake

to make a cheesy potato cake, you’re going to need:

  • about 900g of potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed – or use leftover mash
  • 200g of mozzarella – we actually used a smoked mozzarella from Tesco called Scamorza, which was tasty, but any will do (4 x HEA)
  • 80g of extra mature lighter cheese (2 x HEA)
  • I used about 250g of chopped wafer ham, but you could use bacon, boiled ham, chicken, anything you want
  • three eggs
  • a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • a bag of rocket, chopped nice and fine – use spinach if you want
  • one whole leek

top tips for a perfect cheesy potato cake

  • this is a good recipe if you’re making the creamy green veg medley that I posted yesterday – any leftover leek, chuck it in here
  • this recipe isn’t an exact science by any stretch – you can add anything you like into this – think of it as a ‘leftovers’ cake
  • get a potato ricer, for the love of God – mashing potatoes is a ballache and you invariably end up with lumpy mash – not with a ricer. Pop the cooked potato in, push it through and you’ll have perfect creamy mash (oh, and if you want to be super fancy, throw in an egg when you beat the mash together – lovely)! You can pick up a ricer from Amazon for just over a tenner and it really will change your life
  • we topped our cake with 25g of panko (dried breadcrumbs) (4.5 syns) for a bit of crunch – I’m trying to re-use ingredients in our recipes so you’re not left with any waste! You could just blitz a breadbun but honestly, worth getting some panko – most major supermarkets stock it
  • if you’re not planning on getting intercourse for a week, you could roast a whole garlic bulb and mash that in with the potato – oh I say!
  • the cheese is the thing that’ll make this dish – go for strong, bold flavours – trust me

to make a cheesy potato cake, you should:

  • if you haven’t already, peel, boil and mash your potatoes (preferably using a ricer, but I won’t shit the bed if you want to do it by hand)
  • heat the oven up to 185 degrees and get a cake tin out of the cupboard, lamenting that you’re not making something with butter, flour and sugar – I know babes, fkn snakes the lot of them
  • chopped up your cheese into little tiny cubes, chop up the ham into rags, chop up the rocket, thinly slice that leek – throw all of this into the pan with the mash, add the three eggs, a really good pinch of salt and pepper and stir
  • stir it like buggery! Stir it with all your might!
  • slop it into the cake tin with all the style and grace you’d ordinarily reserve for a crap behind your car door by the side of the road
  • smooth out the top, coat with breadcrumbs if you want, add more grated cheese if you dare
  • cook for a good forty minutes – though watch the top doesn’t burn
  • once it’s solid (it’ll not be rock solid when it’s hot mind, so use your common sense) take out of the oven and allow to cool
  • once cool, slice and serve – and this is lovely the next day

We just served ours with a simple green salad and Dynorod on standby to handle the inevitable carb-drop.

Want more lunch ideas? Goodness me, you’re keen, but here we go:

Enjoy!

J

six slimming world sandwich fillings

Now, it’s been a while since we did a load of recipes on one post, and, although you might think that this is a holiday blog dotted with the odd moan about Mullers, we’re a recipe blog first of all! So, here’s a helpful wee post of Slimming World sandwich fillings that frankly wouldn’t justify a post of their own. Sandwiches are the one thing I truly miss on Slimming World – that and not measuring my worth by mass-produced shiny weight-loss stickers.

These fillings, with the addition of chopped lettuce, veg or whatever the hell you want, make for great fillings for wraps and bread. But, as you know, we’re huge fans of the broghie here – 1 syn each, they’re like giant crackers which act as the perfect platform for whatever nonsense you want to top them with. I’d rather have four of these buggers for four syns than blow it all on a sandwich. You can buy them in Iceland across the country, so no excuses! But, no time for flim-flam, let’s go to the recipes…

egg and cress – syn free

  • pretty simple, this one – boil an egg for ten minutes, peel, mash with a fork and mix with 2 tablespoon of natural yoghurt, with plenty of salt and pepper and, if you’re feeling sexy, add a dash of mustard

chinese chicken – 1.5 syns for the lot

  • make the pulled chicken by sticking four chicken breasts in a slow cooker overnight with 250ml of stock, or even better, put them in an Instant Pot with 250ml of water, cook on high pressure for 12 minutes and then shred – easy!
  • once cool, mix with 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce and 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt and a tiny bit of five-spice, together with cubed cucumber (not the seeds, use the flesh) and sliced spring onion – easy!

ham and pease pudding – syn free

  • spread pease pudding onto your bread, broghie or wrap and layer with slices of wafer thin ham and tomato – yeah, not much to this one, but I just want to put a special plea out there that if you haven’t tried pease pudding, give it a go. Yeah, it looks like baby poo, but it tastes damn fine

cheese savoury – syn free

  • to make enough for two, mix together your HEA of Red Leicester (30g) with their HEA of 40g extra mature lighter cheddar, add thinly sliced red onion, cubed pepper with enough fat-free natural yoghurt to bind it together

beef with red onion and mustard – barely a syn

  • layer slices of beef (or you could use leftover pulled beef from our amazing bloody mary beef) with thinly sliced red onions, mini gherkins and 1 tsp American style mustard (1 tbsp, if you bother synning it)

houmous and crunchy veg – syn free

use one of our delicious syn-free houmous recipes and top with chopped onion and chopped peppers

How easy was all that? If you’re wondering, they’re Le Creuset plates, from Amazon. Hope you enjoyed. One other bit of housekeeping – see that row of buttons below? They’re share buttons – share all over!

J

chorizo and bacon stuffed mushrooms

Chorizo and bacon stuffed mushrooms – there’s not one bit of that description that doesn’t give me a stiffy. You’ll find the recipe below, but first, the next part of our trip to Benidorm. If you read the entry and enjoy it, please do leave feedback. I love feedback on the holiday entries, I truly do! Don’t let me down. However, if you’re feeling mean, you can skip straight to the recipe by clicking on the GASSY OLD SAGGY BAG below.

Right, she’s gone. Did you see her clothes? Is she wearing those for a bet? Let’s get straight back to Spain…

click here for part one

Let’s get straight back into it. That Wilkinson own-brand sun lotion won’t slap itself on, you know? You last left us at the airport, which is totally understandable. You were probably like me and, having seen the place as the plane descended through the clouds of Lambert and Butler, were wondering whether you ought to take a chance clinging to the undercarriage on the returning flight. With a deep sigh, we pushed on.

Paul then decided to hit me with another revelation – we had a private transfer to take us the 40 minute or so trip to the city centre. Marvellous – I can’t stand transfer buses: they’re always full of loud folks in loud clothes smacking their children and fretting whenever some half-finished shitpit looms large in the driver’s window. I envisioned a nice air-conditioned taxi, deftly driven by some Spaniard with big brown eyes and reassuring arms, who might be so taken by Paul and I that he would whisk us up into the mountains to feed us tapas and make us both his wife, spending many many years trying to make us bear children.

Well, that didn’t happen. The taxi driver looked like an meth-addicted gopher and the car had seen better days, namely the 1970s. I can get past that but then Paul explained that our private transfer wasn’t private at all – we had to share with two other folk. The indignity! How is that a private transfer? If you nip into a public toilet and have to shit in a cubicle with someone else, that’s not private, is it? Adding anyone extra into any situation, unless it’s an orgy, negates any notion of privacy. I started rolling my eyes so much Paul thought I was going into hypoxia and made me blow into a crisp packet that was caught against the airport doors.

As it happens, our company was terrific – just the type of people we would actually want to be stuck in a hot car with, full of laughter and bawdy jokes. Sharon and Kim, I remembered your names, which is some feat as I find most people so completely forgettable that they drift out of focus by the time we get to the ‘and who are you’ part of the conversation. They did little to allay my concerns about Benidorm’s reputation mind, given their second sentence was warning us about pickpockets and their third was telling us the areas to avoid if we didn’t want to get beaten up. I felt I didn’t know them well enough to lean over and ask them for directions to the sexual assaults hotspots with a knowing wink: well, I didn’t want to look too keen.

The taxi ride passed remarkably uneventfully, though it was had to discern anything outside as it was going past in such a blur – the guy was driving so fast that I can only assume that he was trying to blast the rust off his car. We arrived at the Hotel Melia precisely four minutes before we set off from the airport and first impressions were excellent. The lobby was airy and full of plants, mobility scooters were banned* and the staff were exceptionally welcoming. Alejandro on the front desk could not do enough for us – I genuinely think if I’d asked for a quick rim in the panoramic lift he’d have been on his knees quicker than you can say ¿te has sentado en un poco de chocolate?

* mobility scooters. Don’t worry, I haven’t gone all Jim Davidson on you (not least because I’m reasonably funny, as opposed to being an objectionable shovel-faced c*nt) and started taking pot-shots at the disabled. No – Benidorm gained a bit of a reputation for chavs and cattle hiring mobility scooters to blaze around the place in, as much as you can blaze anywhere with a setting of ‘tortoise’. People were being dashed against walls or tumbled into road as these whirring menaces scooted past. Benidorm Council decreed that you must be over 55 (years, presumably, though stones would do it) and/or disabled before you can hire them, and quite right too. If you’re disabled then of course you should use them, but if you’re only doing it to rest your sweaty cankles or to be a dick, then frankly, I hope you have your next period in a shark tank.

We took the lift to our room on the 20th floor and took stock of our bedroom. Comfortable, well-appointed, decent bed and the TV was tuned straight into ITV2 so you know the previous occupants had been watching Jeremy Kyle. Least I hope that’s the case – I’d hate to think a housekeeper has been learning English by watching that show given none of the people on it can speak it in the first place. Hell, most of them can’t blink in unison. We immediately decanted all of the toiletries into our suitcase and called down for some more. We also ordered room service – we wouldn’t normally be so greedy but we hadn’t had anything since our gold-plated yoghurt and it was too hot to move.

Room service was disappointing. I called up only to be put on hold for a good five minutes and then passed to someone who spoke neither Spanish or English. That’s fine, no problem, but I didn’t have the time to look up the Latvian for cheeseburger (sorry Mags) and two diet cokes. We stumbled around each other before he gave up and handed the phone to someone else. I can only assume he did so for a bet because this chap was even worse – it was like trying to place my order with Ludo from Labyrinth. I was giving it the old college try with my broken Spanish, but no. Nevertheless, after four days, we placed the order and what turned up was dreadful. A pre-BSE beef burger, chips that managed be so tasteless I wasn’t sure I’d eaten them and time-machine salad which catapulted me back twenty years to when my rough nana thought a salad should consist of sliced cucumber, quartered pink tomatoes and the shitty part of the iceberg lettuce (i.e. all of it) tossed in vinegar and cigarette ash.

We gamely tried to choke it down but most of it ended up being scraped into the bin. Paul thought I had tears in my eyes but it was actually my long-suppressed gag-reflex coming to the fore. We lay on the bed for a bit, watched a bit of TV for a bit and must have dozed off because we only came around when the dulcet tones of Susan Calman came bellowing out of the TV. I was confused: if she was on the TV, who was taking part in every single Radio 4 show? Goodness. For some inexplicable reason this seemed to trigger my ‘let’s get the fuck out of here’ button so we moved out on the balcony to admire the views.

Not bad considering the air is 40% Jet2 fuel and 60% Joop

Look at that sea view! It’s like a beach hut in Corsica, no?

I know what you’re thinking – we must have felt like the only ones there! I can’t say this sight filled me with any joy – looking at all these indistinct high-rise buildings towering in front of me left me feeling like a piece of knock-off Lego. In the 50s Benidorm’s fishing industry fell on its arse, leading to the Council approving all sorts of charmless buildings. It worked though – in a rare instance of ‘if you build it they will come’ actually working out, tourists flocked to the city. So, a necessary evil, I guess.

We took the lift and went over the road to the supermarket to get holiday hotel room supplies, namely off-brand Coke and sandwich making bits and bobs. I picked up a packet of something which looked a lot like ham but had no mention of jamón on the packet, but fuck it, I’m a game soul, I bought it anyway. Upon later consumption it had the taste of a teabagged-scrotum – and I finished the lot. 

After shopping, sex and a shower, it was time to finally head out and see what was out there. First stop: the airport to check for any possible free seats. I jest. No, we went to the Red Lion just down the road where we immediately dropped any pretence of staying sober by ordering two double vodkas and cokes. We took our drinks outside to watch the people walk by.

Now here’s the thing: you know what struck me? A glass hurled by a chav. No, obviously not. It was the sound of laughter. Every single person in that bar – and all of the people walking past – were laughing, having a good time, enjoying themselves. I think it’s easy to forget sometimes when you’re being faux-snobbish about Benidorm that people don’t go there for the haute cuisine (thank fuck) or the fabulous architecture but rather because it’s cheap, hot and fun. Just like Paul. Oh and also, everyone was talking to everyone else. People weren’t sitting primly at their tables rolling their eyes and tutting at others but rather engaging each other in conversations and jokes. Hell, we’re the most antisocial pair you’ll ever meet and even we ended up getting involved and it was marvellous. This scene would occur over and over and over in every single place we went to on this holiday and it was such a wonderful change.

Now, the rest of the night was a blur, if I’m honest, because we simply walked along the beachfront and stopped at random places on the way. I’ll save some of the descriptions for a later post. We can chart our progress in photos:

6pm: Happy to be here.

7pm: The look of a man who is terrified how much the charge will be for two double vodkas paid for on a credit card.

I know! It’s like wandering through Florence in the spring, isn’t it? I’m including this photo because it was immediately after we both shat ourselves – just behind that sign was a fireworks display. We (perhaps sadly) thought it was a terrorist attack and we were being shot at. When I got my breath back and asked Paul why he hadn’t run for cover, his reply was ‘eh, I’d rather die than run’. That’s my man!

8pm: sliding. Also, I love how this looks like we’ve taken the photo using Photoshop, but let me reassure you, we DO actually own these shirts and wear them out in public. And yeah, I know my glasses are bent. But so am I, and I could wreck your arse if you made a cheap joke.

We went to a bar and ordered something called a Fat Frog. It was revolting. I think it was a blue WKD, a Smirnoff Ice and a Bacardi Breezer mixed with a Brighthouse payment schedule and a lot of regret. It was like being 15 again, only I didn’t need to tug off the rugby captain to get a drink.

10pm: decay

Midnight: deterioration

2am: ruin.

We finished the night by stopping at The Red Lion on the way back – well, we needed a local. Another double vodka and coke please, barman. We sat down and people-watched. It was great, if incredibly loud, bar one thing that spoiled it completely. A few tables across from us was a young lass sitting by herself tucking into a fishbowl cocktail. Great, why not? Well here’s why: her easily-less-than-two-years-old baby was in the pram next to her, gristling and grumbling away, and she was sitting glued to her phone, cackling at something asinine on Facebook. The only time there was any contact with her child was when she practically burnt his eyelashes off every time her fag-holding hand slumped down off the table. Now, doubtless, I’ll get told off for being judgemental, where was the dad, blah blah, but no: there’s no situation where a kid that young should be in a bar that loud that early in the morning. It’s as simple as that. If he couldn’t sleep, then stay with him in a hotel room – she was paying him absolutely no heed at all. I’ve never been so close to snatching a child – it was only the worry that Ryanair would probably charge me a £55,000 Unexpected Infant Companion tax that put me off.

Didn’t put Paul off though – in a rare bout of gobshiteness, he called her Mum of the Year as he left. She responded with a volley of abuse as filthy as the table her drink was sat on. Pfft. Don’t care. We retired to bed in what would be an early for this holiday 2am. Let’s leave it there!

REMEMBER, leave us some feedback on the holiday entries!


Right, to the recipe, which works wonders as a posh starter or for a taster night or a tapas night! You can use the rubble to stuff a pepper with if you prefer. Or a marrow. Or your big gob. Whatever!



to make chorizo and bacon stuffed mushrooms you will need:

  • 16 biggish button mushrooms
  • 100g chorizo, finely diced (12 syns)
  • 4 bacon rashers, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sherry or white wine (not sure how to syn this, to be honest – it’ll be around 2 syns, if that, divided by 16, and most of it cooks off – so I’m not choosing not to syn it)
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs (same)
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan (same)
  • ½ tsp paprika

If you want to be super anal about it, work out how many syns in a tbsp of breadcrumbs and cheese and divide it by 16. There’s your answer.

For this whole recipe, we chopped everything in our little Kenwood mini chopper. It doesn’t need to be uniform or fancy, just everything cut really fine. Can’t fault ours – we use it all the time, and it even handled the chorizo well. Just like Paul. Buy one here: opens in a new window!

to make chorizo and bacon stuffed mushrooms you should:

  • preheat the oven to 220ºc
  • chop off the mushroom stalks and – you got it – finely chop
  • add the mushrooms stalks, bacon, chorizo, onion and garlic and cook for five minutes – you don’t need to add oil here as the chorizo will release plenty of oil
  • add the parsley, chorizo and then the white wine or sherry and cook until the booze has evaporated
  • remove the pan from the heat and add the breadcrumbs and cheese, add a little salt and pepper to taste and then the paprika
  • spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps and place on a baking dish
  • cook for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms have browned and the mixture is hot
  • stick a cocktail stick in each one to make them easier to handle and eat

Done! Less than a syn per mushroom. Good for a taster night, a tapas meal or anything else you like!

Want more ideas? Fine! Click the buttons and go!

fakeawayssmall lunchsmall   breakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmalltastersmall

J

chickpea and chorizo tapas – a super speedy dish

Chickpea and chorizo tapas, of course. But first – I’m going to open tonight’s post with a full and frank apology. Well, two, because I don’t like odd numbers.

First: I am sorry for anyone who is itching in the nethers at the excitement of another Copenhagen entry, but I’m actually going to interrupt the Copenhagen holiday entries to bring you our latest holiday shenanigans. I know, I’m such a cheeky kusse! But see, we’ve just been to Benidorm for five days and I want to write about it whilst it is fresh in my head. I usually take a notebook with me and fill it full of nonsense but I was so delirious from my anti-chav injections (you go to BUPA and they put you on a drip of Waitrose cordial) that I plum forgot. So: for necessity, before my mind decides that I need to know the names of the Apprentice candidates more than the precious memories of holiday past, we’re going to write about Benidorm. The posts will start tomorrow, assuming I don’t die.

But then, what of the second apology? It’s contrition served up with a big slice of full-fat humble pie. I poo-pooed Benidorm (my fault for drinking their tap-water) for years, thinking it would have nothing to offer me. I mean, I’m in gainful employment, I don’t look at a toothbrush with suspicion and I’m not a grandfather at the age of 31. My idea of a good holiday is seeing the world a bit, talking to the locals, buying shite in shops that haven’t seen a duster for twenty years and gorging myself on all the food that is decent, and then a bit more after. The idea of holidaying in Benidorm horrified me – I’d seen my fair share of those awful low-rent TV shows on Channel 5 with people almost 94% cremated barrelling around on mobility scooters and shouting in what I thought was Portuguese but was actually a thick Scouse accent. I thought it was going to be an absolute shithole full of the worst of society. However, Paul thought it would be a good idea to have two sunny long weekends away – one in 5* luxury in Portugal, one in a fleapit in Benidorm. In my haste to shut his mouth so I could open it again and get my end away, I agreed, only realising later how horrible it would be.

But fuck my arse, was I wrong. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My own blinkered (somewhat tongue-in-cheek, mind) snobbishness had led me down completely the wrong path. Whilst you’ll need to wait for the upcoming entries to see everything, I’m actually ashamed of how I had summed it up in my head. I’m not a snob, I promise you, but people have certain ways they like to enjoy themselves and I didn’t think there would be anything for us there. What I actually found was a fun place full of lovely people. Who would have thought? There’s some good stories coming your way, including us meeting our evil doppelgängers, Paul getting run over, me setting my face on fire and flatulence being used as a weapon against the miserable.

Oh and a black Rod Stewart. Of course!

Right, let’s crack on with the recipe. Have you noticed that our holidays are loosely following the man, the myth, the legend Rick Stein’s recent TV show where he stumbled around Europe like a lost pensioner from a Saga coach trip? He went to Cadiz, we went to Benidorm. Faintly similar. Anyway, he made this lovely wee tapas dish and, having watched the show on the plane to distract myself from all the vocal fry and glottal stops around me, I knew we could make it too. It’ll keep lovely for a lunch the day after.

NOTE: this one serves SIX instead of the usual four! Remember that it’s a tapas dish, you’re not supposed to have a bowl you can bathe in. Self-control!

chickpea and chorizo tapas


chickpea and chorizo tapas

to make chickpea and chorizo tapas you will need:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 100g chorizo, diced (12 syns)
  • 1 small red pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1 small green pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 60ml red wine (about 3 syns)
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2x 400g tins of chickpeas (drained)
  • salt and pepper

You can find plenty more of Rick’s recipes in his book, available here. And look – just to prove we aren’t just corporate shills, not only do we have the book, he also signed it! What a delight.

I know, it’s hard to make out, but the ‘run away with me and be the Queens of Padstow’ bit is very faint.

to make chickpea and chorizo tapas you should:

  • heat a medium saucepan over a low heat and add a little oil
  • add the onion and garlic, stir well and then put the lid on the pan and leave to cook for about 5-6 minutes
  • add the chorizo, peppers and bay leaves to the pan and cook for another five minutes, until you can see orange oil starting to come out of the chorizo
  • add the red wine and paprika to the pan, whack up the heat and give a good stir, and cook for a few minutes until the sauce is only loosely coating what’s in the pan (you’ll know what we mean when you do it)
  • add the chickpeas to the pan, reduce the heat a little, put the lid back on and cook for about 5 minutes, until the chickpeas are warmed through
  • add salt and pepper to however you like it
  • serve!

Get that in you, and then click the buttons below to get even more!

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Enjoy!

J

pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad

Here for the pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad? You fancy bastard! It’s the short post tonight – but can I least offer up a few words of encouragement? Every now and then a meal is worth spending a few syns on. See in the picture below? There’s cheese and there’s fat on the ham but do you know, it’ll do you no harm. Have it, syn it and enjoy it. Life’s too short: remember our views on making gravy from mushy peas? Apply the same logic here! Of course, if you’re not a fan of cheese that smells like a bellend, pears that make your teeth itch or capers which serve no purpose, leave them out! To the recipe, then.

pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad

pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad

to make pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad you will need:

  • 200g mixed salad leaves
  • 200g rocket
  • 2 pears, peeled cored and sliced (or 6 quartered figs, or 2 white peaches, sliced)
  • 8 slices parma ham (4 syns)
  • 60g parmesan shavings (2x HeA)
  • 100g gorgonzola, cut into chunks (16 syns)
  • 500g tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • handful of basil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

to make pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad you should:

  • mix it all together
  • no really, that’s all there is to it

We’ve had a glut of good salads recently – partly because we’re trying to eat lighter meals but also because I’m sick of eating boring lunches. Make a little box of this up the day before and you’ll be looking forward to it all day. You could even team it with the tomato salad we posted the other day and have a right posh night of it!

Classy, eh? Fancy slumming it for a bit? Click one of the buttons below to go straight to some of our other recipes!

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Classy, eh? Fancy slumming it for a bit? Click one of the buttons below to go straight to some of our other recipes!

J

roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad

Don’t worry yer boobs: the roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad will follow shortly, so try and keep your girdle on. But first, it’s part two of our trip to Copenhagen, land of swearing children and amazing sandwiches. But even before we get to that know that this might all be cut short again by my new office chair collapsing under me – we finally caved and bought a new one after almost a year of crippling back-ache and slowly sinking into the carpet as we typed/wanked/twanked. However, in our haste to get out of Costco before spending our annual wage on bulk-buying baked beans and Pepsi Max Cherry, we bought a cheap office chair without looking at the instructions. How foolish: there’s a weight limit of 15 stone. I’m closer to being a straight black lady than I am under 15 stone. The whole thing is creaking ominously under my arse. It’s like the time we went to Disney and took a Segway – the weight limit was a good four stone under my weight. Did it anyway. You’ve never felt guilt until you’ve made an autonomous self-balancing scooter shriek with pain.

click here for part one

When you last left us I was barrelling down the plane stairs on my arse like a low-budget Indiana Jones skit and Paul was looking disdainfully at me. No concern, ever. I could have been sucked straight into the engine and he would have merely tutted and wiped the resulting James-jam off his face.

Let me tell you, that certainly wouldn’t have been the first time.

Oh, and I forgot to post our typical photo from the aeroplane, so here we are. I know it’s a pretty pat photo but hey.

After our recent experience of waiting approximately four years to clear security at Charles de Gaulle airport, we were naturally concerned about clearing security, not least because my bladder was at full ‘strain’. I couldn’t go on the plane – it was an old easyJet plane with the packed in seats and once I’m sat down, that’s me for the entire flight come hell or controlled descent into high water. However, thankfully, the wait was minimal indeed and, rather unlike our visit to France, the customs people were cheerful and didn’t look at us visitors to their fine country as though we’d swam up through the sewer. Oh and the best bit about Copenhagen Airport? You have to walk past all the people waiting to board the flight back home after their holiday. Don’t you lie to me, you love it as well: getting to grin and wink and do the ‘WAHEY I’M ON HOLIDAY’ walk whilst they stand there looking as though they’ve been told they’ll be sat in the cargo hold for their flight. It doesn’t work the other way – when I’m stuck in the queue for my flight back home I’m silently wishing everyone traipsing in with their bright sunglasses and cheap suitcase an awful holiday. I know, I’m a sod.

That said, Copenhagen Airport does have a down-side (at the moment, at least) – they seem to land the plane in Belarus, given how long the bloody trek was to get our suitcases. I swear halfway to the luggage hall I had my passport stamped and my pockets searched. I’d made the fatal error of not wearing a belt ‘for comfort’ meaning I had to do the hike in that awkward ‘trying not to let my trousers fall down’ gait that all of us men know. I desperately tried to get an erection just to hold my trousers up but all the blood was rushing to keep my heart pumping, for shame. I had to beg Paul to go on ahead without me whilst I decamped to the toilet to dispense of what felt like Kielder Water from my bladder. I’ve never felt relief like it, I swear – the entire English rugby team could have rushed into that cubicle and tugged me off and it would have still paled in euphoria to that piss, I can tell you.

Seven stone lighter and considerably less sloshy, I resumed the hike through Lithuania, caught a ferry and undertook a seven hour taxi ride to arrive at the luggage hall where OF COURSE, Paul was nowhere to be found. He’s a hard man to miss, given he looks like a pillbox in Jacamo slacks. I searched high (in that I looked up) and I searched low (in that I sat down) and waited fifteen minutes. I had his phone in my fag-bag so I couldn’t call him, so waiting it was. He appeared twenty minutes later, flustered and beetroot red, to tell me he’d gone back to look for me, like I was a cat in a house fire. How the hell we missed each other I don’t know, but I can only presume that the gravitational effect of two large, planet-esque bodies approaching each other at equal speed on opposing travelators caused a fat-rift in space and time. I pushed him a little further and it turned out that whilst he had been looking for me, he’d also decided to get himself a hot-dog on the way. Did he get me one? Did he balls. It’s OK, we’re starting divorce proceedings soon.

Having located our luggage we made for the exit, jumped on the local train to Ørestad station and then switched to their wonderful, driverless Metro system to take us a few stops to Bella Center St station, where our hotel loomed large in the distance. Their metro system is amazing – driverless, reliable and cheap. We bought a three day Copenhagen Card allowing us unlimited use of their transport systems for about £80 each – seems expensive until you realise that it includes entry to all sorts of tourist places around the city, including Tivoli Gardens, which would normally cost £15. I’m telling you this because we completely bloody forgot about the pass and paid full price everywhere. I had to put Paul on the game for a night just to fund our shenanigans, but he came back in desperate need of lip-balm and owing £240.

It amazes me that other cities get transport so perfectly right. The metros (and trains) were spotless, they turned up exactly when they were supposed to and you didn’t need to sell a kidney just to get into town. Compare that to Newcastle’s Metro System – it costs a bomb, the trains always smell like a cheesy cock and the only perk you get is that you might not be punched in the teeth by some smackrat off his tits on spice. Oh, and that’s only when the bloody system is working. I follow our local paper on Facebook and I swear I read at least two stories a week where the rail infrastructure has failed because it’s too hot, too cold, too windy, too icy, too busy, too quiet, 2Unlimited or Tupac Shakur. I’d no sooner rely on that to get me to work than I would a bicycle made of steam.

Anyway, I digress. As ever.

Paul had picked the hotel and, as usual, I had no say in the matter. It’s the only way these things work – he has to pick the hotel otherwise I spend so long dithering and umming and aahing that we’re desperately trying to secure a booking somewhere as the plane taxies down the runway. I worry about picking the wrong place, see – it only takes one bad review on Tripadvisor and I’m comparing the place to Beirut and stroppily demanding somewhere else. Which, on reflection, is daft: I couldn’t care less where I eventually end up, but see, there’s always some new hotel, some better hotel,  just waiting around the corner. That’s why I keep checking out…forty points if you get the reference. The only input I have now is for Paul to call out the price, the star rating and then, once he has the nod from me, he books it. No fussing about! It works for both of us.

For our few days in Copenhagen Paul had picked the  AC Hotel Bella Sky and I swear he’d only picked it because, well, look at it (apologies for the quality, Paul took it on his Nokia 3310):

It looks like two cornflake boxes squaring up to one another for a scrap, doesn’t it? Even more confusing is, as you walk towards it, the perspective shifts and the walkway that joins the building at the top looks as though it’s at a forty-five degree angle. It hurt my eyes looking at it, although the bountiful clouds of weed smoke drifting over from a nearby bus-shelter took the edge off somewhat. Fair play to Paul – once we were inside the hotel it was gorgeous – very modern and stylish, which is exactly what I like from a hotel. I don’t want ‘home comforts’, I want to spend twenty minutes trying to figure out how to turn the light on and what all the little switches next to the bed do. I was especially taken with the plug socket, who seemed positively delighted to see us:

The chap who had checked us in – Lego haircut, charming smile, come-to-bed-and-destroy-my-hole eyes – had followed up our request for a high floor and gave us a room on what used to be the ladies-only floor. Tsk, honestly, you offer one blowjob in exchange for a better room and you’re pegged for life. There was an awful amount of pastel pink in the corridors but the room was swish and fancy and just look at the view:

I know, right? I’ve never seen such an extensive cruising ground. As ever, Paul tested out the facilities, I grimaced for a good twenty minutes and then we had a wee sleep, tuckered out from our luggage-hall shenanigans. We’ll pick this up next week – I apologise that once more I’ve eked out 1500 words and we’ve only just arrived at the hotel. What are we like? The next holiday entry will be a bit of a change of pace – instead of detailing our adventures chronologically, I’m going to write about key places we visited. Hopefully that’ll plug my verbal diarrhoea, but who knows? Until then, I welcome feedback always.

Finally, did you know we have three books out, all of which contain our travel stories from times gone by? Why yes! In proper paper form and Kindle, no less. Have a look and take us on holiday – we’ve got over 170 5* reviews between them!


Shall we do the roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad, then? You know we should. Here’s the thing: if your idea of a salad is a bit of lettuce, half a tomato and a cucumber with a splash of vinegar, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Dinners like that leave me wanting. But if you make a proper fuss from your salad and use interesting ingredients, then they’ll become a proper meal. This, would you believe, is a Heston Blumenthal recipe. I’m not his biggest fan – he looks like a thumb with glasses on – but this turned out tip-top. We’ve tinkered with it to make it SW friendly. This makes enough for one, but double, triple or quadruple it accordingly. Fatty.

roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad

to make roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad, you’ll need:

  • a decent handful of rocket
  • 30g of good Gruyère cheese (HEA)
  • 3 slices of decent parma ham (1.5 syns)
  • 25g of balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • one large peach
  • one tablespoon of Tesco Honey and Mustard Light dressing (1 syn)

to make roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad, you should:

  • pop your parma ham in the freezer whilst you do the initial bits of this recipe – it’ll be easier to slice when you get to it
  • dress your rocket leaves in that dressing – obviously – don’t go mad though, it’s meant to be very light
  • just lightly boil your vinegar (said that before) until it goes thick and fairly stiff (said that before) – you don’t need to do this if you want
  • take your peach and slice it in half, removing the stone, and spray it once or twice on the flesh side with good olive oil
  • get a decent non-stick pan and get it up to medium heat, placing the peaches flesh-down so they lightly caramelise, then remove; OR
  • use the grill on your Optigrill to grill them – press temp control until it is red – but don’t close the lid – just ‘sear’ the bottom of the peaches
  • either way, once they’re cooked, slice the peach thinly
  • thinly slice your Gruyère – I recommend using a potato peeler for this, saves the faff
  • slice up your parma ham
  • assemble on the plate as shown above
  • drizzle with your balsamic glaze if you want

If you have leftover Gruyère, you could always make our bloody amazing cheesy rosti!

That’s it! A gorgeous salad with lots of different textures and tastes. Some SW hardnuts will probably tell you, between blowing flakes of eggy brownie at you, that you should syn the peach because you’ve heated it up. Up to you – personally, I think it’s bollocks. If it makes you feel better, put it in the fridge to cool down and that’ll cancel out any hot syns, making it fine. See how silly it gets? 300g of cooked peach is 5 syns, and you use nothing close to that here, plus it isn’t cooked through. Frankly, I wouldn’t syn it for all the tea in China.

Happy? Want more ideas? Something fancy? Click the random buttons below!

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Cheers all. Remember to please leave me feedback if possible on the holiday stuff! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

J

chicken and ham picnic loaf – a perfect snack

BOO.

I’m only back because I was getting hassled at work about not updating the blog enough and, simply because I don’t want to upset this man in case I miss out on his annual tea-making, here we find ourselves. It helps that I have an amazing recipe for a chicken and ham picnic loaf and some exciting news to report. Naturally, before we get to the recipe, there’s some guff to wade through.

THE GOOD NEWS FIRST! You may recollect that we have two Kindle e-books of our articles on Amazon – they sell well and we get excellent reviews. I know, modest. But we have, until now, been unable to offer you a proper paperback – one that you can rest on your boobs in the bath or flick through by the pool in Majorca. I can only imagine how bereft you’ve been. Well – thanks to the wonders of technology, we’re now able to offer our books in PAPERBACK FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! These do make good presents if you’re looking for a gift for someone with a foul mouth and a rude attitude. If you’ve ever wanted to support the blog, feel free to buy a copy! They actually look decent, too! Click the books below to buy and don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window.

Hope you enjoy! Right, that’s quite enough positivity!

Goodness, two days of hot weather and I’ve already seen enough red and white flesh to last me a lifetime. I’ll never understand the British approach to getting a tan – I appreciate we only get fourteen hours of summer a year but please, hold something back. You’re supposed to bronze, not sear. Ah, I’m only bitter because the next eight months means sweaty backs, feeling far too hot and the sound of children laughing gaily, which goes through me like nails on a blackboard. I’d rather listen to someone planning to set my face on fire. Admit it, you’ve missed my sunny disposition on life, haven’t you?

You know what ruined my sunny weekend most of all though? The ice-cream van turned up during the day for once (he comes down our street every single night, even when it’s cold, and I get the feeling he’s selling a bit more than screwballs and 99s) and, full of joy, I dashed out to buy Paul and I an ice-cream. Normally I’m as tight as a wet knot so don’t bother but clearly I’d taken too much sunlight to my bald head and was having a moment. I handed over over £3 for a 99 for Fatty and a Feast for me.

And what do I get? A bloody Festival! That’s not a Feast, that’s a knock-off barely worth eating! I mean, you get your hopes up for something delicious and then boom, ruined – like being about to get a blowjob only for them to take their entire set of teeth out and set them in a glass of water by the bed. I had to sit and watch Paul make a big show of eating his delicious ice-cream whilst I looked sad. I mean, naturally, I still inhaled mine, but the injustice made it taste sour.

Hey, I did manage to startle the poor chap who came to fit our new kitchen blinds this morning. The old blinds used to hang down over the bay window and the cats used to climb through them like they weren’t there. This meant that they were bent (the blinds that is, we’re not contagious) and covered in cat hair and it just looked so unseemly. The chap came round a few weeks ago, full of sales bluster and promises, and gave us a quote that made me ask whether he was planning on putting in double-glazing at the same time. He immediately dropped the price by 50%, then again by another 10%, then gave me a £25 voucher. I had to stop him before he emptied his own wallet out on my kitchen counter. I appreciate these guys are on commission but I’m just too lazy and fat to do the dance of finance with them. Anyway, he told us he’d be here about quarter to ten so I dutifully arranged to work from home.

9am comes around and I think to myself, now that I’m freshly showered and logged-in, that I really ought to clear our big kitchen windowsill of all the various nonsense we store on there (coffee pot, basil plants, cats).  I stumble into the kitchen, nude save for a tiny Holiday Inn towel that barely covers my urethral opening let alone my flabulous body, and pull the blinds up. Normally this would be fine, save for the fact that our blinds man was on the other side of the window looking in, and there was me unveiling myself like the Star Prize at the end of Bullseye. “Congratulations Kenneth and Joyce, you’ve won yourself a morbidly obese shrieking man”.

And mind, I did shriek. Partly because of shock, partly because of modesty – I tried to duck out of sight but gave that up when I realised I’d look like Alex Mack disappearing fatly into the carpet. He at least waited a minute or so before ringing the doorbell and we both had to bluff our way through as though nothing had happened. There’s always something with me, isn’t there? I caught him pouring dishwasher salt into his eyes later, which I thought was a mite excessive. Anyway, they’re up now, and it looks lovely. Paul can’t reach the middle blind though because his short legs and spherical belly preclude him from getting anywhere near the window, but hey, that’s a small price to pay for better blinds.

Right! The recipe for a chicken and ham picnic loaf then. This looks like it would be a pain in the arse to make but it’s actually ridiculously easy. Barely any cooking, customise it how you want and completely syn free. This is based on a Romanian dish called drob – you would usually use chicken livers but Paul isn’t a fan so we had to swap them out. Finally, we used wild garlic – it is growing everywhere in the wild now and as long as you wash off the dog piss, it’s great to use. Out walking and notice a smell of garlic (and it isn’t blasting out of your hoop at the time)? Pick the leaves! Here’s a guide if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Can’t find it? Fret not. Swap it out for rocket. Or basil. Whatever you like!


chicken and ham picnic loaf

to make a chicken and ham picnic loaf, you’ll need:

  • 500g of chicken breast
  • 500g of cooked ham (I bought a joint with no fat on it from Lidl for two or three quid – nice and easy!)
  • two big bunches of spring onion
  • a couple of big handfuls of either wild garlic leaves or rocket (washed)
  • 1 bunch of dill (use dried if you prefer)
  • 1 bunch of parsley (see above)
  • 8 eggs
  • lots of salt and pepper

Looking for good chicken breasts? You know we love Musclefood and I’d normally pop an advert in for our hampers, but actually, they’ve got something brilliant now – build your OWN hamper, choosing from whatever slimming or lean meats you need. Now there’s no excuses! Click here to have a gander.

Look though, you can customise this how you like. Add different herbs, spices, different meat…you’ll need a bog-standard load tin, lined with greaseproof paper. Give it a few squirts of oil if you’re not convinced it won’t stick. Pop the over onto 180 degrees.

to make a chicken and ham picnic loaf, you should:

  • boil four eggs for twelve minutes or so until hardboiled, then leave to cool
  • cook your chicken breasts – I went down the route of boiling them – worked really well – boil for fifteen minutes then allow to cool (make sure it’s cooked through)
  • assembly time – cut the chicken breasts into small cubes – 1cm or so
  • do the same with the cooked ham
  • chop the spring onions nice and fine (including all the green stalks), chop the parsley, chop the dill and then chop the rocket/garlic
  • you want nice uniform pieces of everything
  • put everything into a bowl, beat four eggs with a load of salt and pepper, then stir everything together – you don’t want too much egg but if you think it is looking a bit dry, beat another egg into it
  • press the mixture into a loaf tin about 1/3 of the way – really press it down, you want it compact
  • lay your four cooked eggs on top and then put the rest of the mixture around and over the top – press it down as compact as you can
  • if everything is ready to go, pop it in the oven for about fifty minutes until the top has browned off a bit, then allow to cool down – overnight in the fridge preferably
  • slice and serve – it might be a bit crumbly but mine stayed together well! Enjoy!

This really is worth getting some wild garlic for if you can be arsed – and if you have any left over, make it into this garlic pesto!

Want more recipes? Click away!

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J

risotto with thyme, prosciutto, pecorino and crumbled goat cheese

Now then: does the risotto with thyme, prosciutto, pecorino and crumbled goat cheese get you all of a-tingle ‘down below’? Are you chewing the seat with anticipation? Then by all means scroll down, but first, part six of our Swiss tales – part seven is the final entry and that’ll be coming online soon, but I’ve got such a bad habit of not finishing our travel stories that I’m determined to see this one out. Remember, this is holiday zero of twelve this year: this is a bonus one! Oops.

part one | part two | part three | part four | part five

Bern, then.

You last left us as we fell off the train in Bern, completing a ridiculously scenic yet slightly tiring eight hour trip around Switzerland by train. You need to understand that this was easily the most beautiful train journey we’ve ever done (though that’s not an especially high benchmark – I can’t imagine the Metro journey from South Shields to Shiremoor making many bucket lists) but even in the face of such beauty, you find yourself dozing off. My eyebrows were aching from raising in delight. The last entry dealt with our first night in Bern and a couple of day trips, but I did say I’d revisit this to tell you a little more about Bern itself. But before we begin, here’s Paul as a biscuit:

Firstly, did you know it’s the capital of Switzerland? I have to admit, I thought the capital was Geneva, but no – little Bern holds the title. On the edge of your seat yet? You ought to be: clamp down whatever pair of lips you’ve got available and hold on because here’s another riproaring fact for you: it’s also known as the City of Fountains due to the many ornate fountains dotted around. By extension, Newcastle should be called the City of Broken Teeth, or Southend the Land of the Split Hymen.

No, let’s be fair, there are an awful amount of fountains everywhere, to the point where you’re constantly needing a piss thanks to the incessant background noise of tinkling water. Hilariously, one of the fountains, the snazzily named Kindlifresserbrunnen, depicts an ogre eating little children. I assumed it must just be a metaphorical take on child cannibalism but nope, there it is, proud as punch, standing in the centre of the Kornhausplatz, with the body of a devoured child sticking out of his gob. It’s what I imagine Theresa May has in her front garden to keep the local peasants away from her gooseberries.

Like Geneva, it’s obligatory to smoke – I never left a building without feeling like I was the Phantom from Phantom of the Opera, appearing from doorways in a flourish through the whirling cloud of fag smoke. The main area of Bern is called the Old City of Bern and it is this you’ll be familiar with – the Medieval buildings, the chocolate-box shops literally selling chocolate boxes and dozens of tiny shopping arcades and cobbled streets where the buildings above actually hang over the walkways. It’s all exceptionally twee and stunning to look at – so much history and culture in one glorious settings – and thus it was inevitable that the first shop Paul and I would enter was a seedy sex shop on the main arcade.

Well: gosh. It was dark around the back of the shop and the air heady with poppers – I put my hand out to steady myself on a bannister only to hear a loud groan of pleasure. We didn’t like to loiter because it looked like the type of place that was due a raid from the vice squad and so we made to leave. On our hasty exit out of there we spotted a fondue shop just over the road and made a mental note to return to it later.

I mean, look at this astrological clock on the Zytglogge..It’s beautiful. Paul stopped to use the pissour nearby and I shouted ‘I can see Uranus!’. The crowd went mild.

We spent the rest of the morning just casually walking around Bern – it’s a pleasantly compact place and the streets lend themselves to just exploring, though you can hop on the trams if you like. There’s a tram every half second, seemingly. We crossed the River Aare (presumably so called because you’re constantly going ‘Aare, that’s reet beautiful that is‘) via the Nydeggbrücke bridge (itself an absolute beauty, not least because it gave you a perfect view of Old Bern). Paul took a photo:

I spotted signs for the Bärengraben – a bear park.

Now come on – if there’s anywhere that’s going to pique my curiosity, it’s a heavily wooded area supposedly filled with bears roaming around looking for action. I’d already lubed up and adopted the ‘airport security check’ position when Paul pointed out that it wasn’t bears in the sense of hairy, older gay men, but rather the ursine variety. The ones that kill and steal honey. I tried to hide the disappointment as it cascaded across my face and we headed over. Also, we had a brief conversation there and then about at some point having to change the name of the blog when we’re no longer classed as cubs – I’m already in the grey area – we’ll be known as two burly bears. See, always thinking ahead.

There’s many varying accounts of why Bern has live bears frolicking about, but the most widely accepted idea is that Bern’s soldiers returned home from a wee skirmish in Italy with various spoils and er, a live bear. Christ, I thought I was doing well coming home from Rome with 200 Chesterfields smuggled down my trousers. Anyway, since then, they’ve always kept a few bears in the bear-pit. Don’t worry, they’re well looked after – lots of bedding, room to scratch about it and occasionally they’ll hurl a particularly noisy tourist in there for them to maul. Oh how excited I was to see them – I love bears!

Except, no, they’d been put away for the winter, like a set of Christmas decorations. We were told we could watch them via a webcam but frankly, I get enough action watching bears in bed on the internet at home, I didn’t need to see it. We still wandered about stroking our chins at the information boards and trying out the new lift for the disabled, then we made our way down to the banks of the river and had a walk along.

A quick mention of the weather: it was my absolute favourite: freezing cold but not biting, air so fresh it’d like you’ve sucked it out of Tom Hardy’s freshly Sminted lungs, sunlight bouncing merrily off every surface and the sky a deep blue. I love winter and this was just the place to experience it. Paul somewhat broke the moment by telling me to get my fat ankles walking a little quicker as he needed the toilet and had spotted a public lavatory on the horizon. Other people visit churches and cathedrals on holiday – Paul seems to class a holiday as a failure if he hasn’t evacuated his bowels in various ways four times a day.

Paul disappeared into the gents and I stationed myself nearby, loitering in a way that I hoped didn’t make me look like a pervert hanging around the bogs but wanting to be near enough in case of any emergencies. Paul managed to snap the lock off a toilet door once and as a result I’m always on edge. Fifteen minutes – I kid you not – passed before he came hurtling out, telling me to come and have a look at something. I protested, naturally – I mean, we’re a close couple, but I do have limits, and anyway what did he want me to do, stick a first prize rosette in it? He pulled at my shoulder and dragged me in.

I have to admit, I’ve never seen one quite like this. I took a video of it to send to my work colleagues, and Paul was so excited. He loves anything unusual! I’m glad he did call me into the toilet because frankly, I didn’t want to miss this! I mean, just watch:

How fun is that? OK look, to anyone else, it’ll probably be nothing, but we love anything gadgety and this way, you’re not having to sit on someone else’s arse-sweat to do your business. A miracle! And in a public loo! In the UK you count yourself lucky if you’re not sitting on a filthy syringe. You can tell they are well off!

After we’d finished shrieking and gasping we emerged from the toilet together, and after only a forty minute interview with the police, we were free to get on with the morning. We spent the morning visiting the cathedrals (stunning) and churches dotted about, making sure we signed the visitors book with ‘Too much body of Christ this winter? Try www.twochubbycubs.com’ before we left. Oh I know, I’m a tinker, but hell, if God is going to strike me down for anything, it’ll be the rampant sodomy, not a bit of advertising.

We eventually made our way back to the tiny restaurant back in the main square to finally try out the Swiss delicacy of fondue. The place was packed full of couples having intense conversations and speaking every language but English. I could barely make my way to the table past all of the glottal stops. I love this type of restaurant – unfussy, homely and a bit ramshackle. All it needed was Paul sitting there without his shirt on spilling his dinner over his tits for me to feel completely at home.

For those that div-not-knaa, fondue is (normally) Gruyère cheese mixed with alcohol and melted slowly over a naked flame – the entire pot is then brought to the table and you’re given cubed things to dip into it. Frankly, it took all of my self-control not to push my entire face into the pot and die a happy man, but I knew easyJet wouldn’t let me through if my face looked like the top of a lasagne.

We ordered Fondue Pesto Rosso – they added sundried tomato pesto and basil, bringing me to full stiffness – with a side of Kalte Gemüsebeilage (bless you) (cold vegetables) and (Kartoffelbeilage) (no no, after you) boiled potatoes for dipping. I don’t need to tell you how delicious it was. There’s lots of etiquette around enjoying fondue – always stir clockwise, do twirl your fork to keep the table tidy, do make some noise. Pfft. They were lucky I didn’t ask for the entire thing to be delivered intravenously.

We spent a happy half hour dipping our bread and scraping every last bit of crusty brown cheese from the bottom of the dish (we weren’t being common, you’re supposed to do it – it’s called ‘la religieuse’ and is a delicacy, promise) and settled back with a loud groan and bellies full of cheese. With the sure and certain knowledge that we’d be pooing Cheesestrings for a good two weeks, we decided not to risk dessert and simply to get the bill.

Well, that sounds easy in print, doesn’t it? I can’t imagine what we had done to our waitress – we’d been unfailingly polite and ho-ho-British – but could we balls get her attention. By this point lunch hour had clearly finished and the place was nearly empty bar us and an elderly lady shaking her way through her seventh kirsch of the day, but help was nowhere to be seen.

We waited politely for almost twenty minutes – our waitress very occasionally popped her head out and stole a glance at us, only to disappear again – and then we started getting distressed. Paul had to google whether there was some unspoken way of showing we had finished and had enough but nothing came up. I did offer to pitch face-first into the pot clutching my heart but he didn’t want to make a scene.

She appeared a good ten minutes later, finally, looking terribly flushed in the face. My working theory: she was letting the chef dip more than a cornichon in her cheese pot. Her bajingo was giving off so much heat that she nearly relit the fondue candle. After paying Paul’s entire annual wage for our meal, we headed back out to explore Bern.

That was the idea, anyway: we actually, oh the shame, had to waddle back to the hotel room and have a nap. We were having the cheese-sweats and Christ we knew about it. That seems like a good point to leave it!

Speaking of cheese, shall we get to this delicious risotto with thyme, prosciutto, pecorino and crumbled goat cheese? Shall we? Then let’s not delay a moment more.

to make risotto with thyme, prosciutto, pecorino and crumbled goat cheese you will need:

  • 2 pints chicken stock
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ head celery, finely chopped
  • 400g arborio rice
  • 2 handfuls of thyme leaves, chopped (or 3 tsp of dried thyme will do)
  • 50g soft goat’s cheese (8 syns)
  • 105g extra light soft cheese (this is one HEA, by the way)
  • 25g pecorino (5 syns) (if you don’t have pecorino, parmesan, parigiano reggiano or grana padano will do just as well)
  • 6 slices prosciutto, torn up (3 syns)

I’m not a huge fan of celery but it actually adds something to this dish, so leave it in. This comes in at 4 syns each, so it does Elizabeth.

to make risotto with thyme, prosciutto, pecorino and crumbled goat cheese you should:

  • in a bowl, mix together the goats cheese and soft cheese until well combined, then put in the freezer to firm up whilst you do the rest
  • heat a little oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat
  • add the onions, garlic and celery and fry slowly for about 4 minutes
  • add the rice to the pan, stir well and knock the heat up – keep stirring for about a minute
  • add the thyme
  • add a ladleful of stock and stir until it’s absorbed – stir the rice gently
  • keep adding stock, a ladle at a time, until it’s all gone
  • remove from the heat and stir in the pecorino
  • serve, then drape over the prosciutto and dollops of goaty soft cheese over the top
  • enjoy!

Doesn’t that feel like a proper cheat day dinner? And yet, still within your syns! Get it made.

Need more ideas? Well gosh, click a button below and get on with it.

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Enjoy!

J

mini meat volcanoes – taster night idea

Just a quick post tonight – we’ve got far too much ironing to be fannying on with, and a whole sky box of Jeremy Kyle waiting for us. Don’t fret though, because we’ve got an absolute belter lined up for you which is another notch on the bedpost for a snack, taster night idea AND for a proper meal! I know, I know, we spoil you. Speaking of spoiling, we spent a lovely few hours today out and about at Brysons in Gateshead which is a great local animal shelter – if you’re in the area and looking for a new pet, please do give them a look – they take wonderful care of all their animals and provide a great service. We took the handsome Harvey out for a walk around Eighton Banks and were mesmerised by his wobbling bum. I think any animal becomes a hundred times cuter when they’re a little chubby. We also spent some time getting our hands on some pussy which, believe me, we don’t get to say very often. Our own cats are now in a massive sulk with us and insist on only coming near us to fart. The dirty buggers.

Today’s recipe, then – we got the idea from/ripped it off from one of those videos you see looping and making you shit yourself when the sound starts going off on Facebook – full link here if you want to take a look for yourself. We’ve adapted it slightly to make it more Slimming World friendly. A doddle to make, taste fantastic and a new, interesting way to tart up mince. Oh I know that they’re not especially photogenic, but not everything needs to look like it’s come out of Smug Fucker magazine.

mini meat volcanoes

This makes nine. 1.5 syns for the lot.

to make mini meat volcanoes you will need:

to make mini meat volcanoes you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • carefully cut the slices of ham to make 9 thin slices – they don’t need to be neat, no-one is standing behind you tutting and this isn’t Art Attack
  • in a bowl, mix together the mince, salt, pepper and onion granules
  • divide the mixture into nine and roll into balls
  • loosely wrap the ham around the ball to make a ‘collar’ – making sure the two ends overlap
  • gently push your thumb into the middle and pinch the edges to make a cup shape – do this for all nine
  • place the cups into a large baking tray or yorkshire pudding tin
  • drop a slice of jalapeno into each cup, a small dollop of passata and top with a chunk of mozarella
  • cook in the oven for about twenty minutes

Serve with speed foods, or, if you’re normal, chips. These can also be stuffed in a tupperware box and eaten cold at a taster session. But listen, that’s a lot of meat to be sharing with people who have probably only brought in a rotten banana or made a Mug Shot in the kitchen. Fuck ’em, take a bag of Snack a Jacks instead.

If you’re looking for more beef or taster night ideas, click the buttons below:

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J