super cheesy ham and cheese scones

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:

I’ve never known a cat have such resting bitch face. For balance, here’s Bowser.

Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful. Shall we do cheese scones then?

cheese scones

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super cheesy cheese scones - no, not Slimming World friendly

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 13 scones

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...

Ingredients

  • 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.

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

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:

Courses x-rated, scones

Cuisine naughty

I know, right? Want more naughty ideas? We don’t have many but the ones we have…

Ta

J

chicken, leek and bacon quiche – syn-free and delicious!

‘ey up!

I think, if someone held a gun to my head and demanded I pick one meal to eat for the rest of my life, I’d go for quiche. You have no idea how much I love it – I grew up on my nana’s cooking and her idea of quiche was two eggs, bacon that was still oinking and more salt than the Dead Sea. It was delicious, not least because it took away the taste of her apple pie. I’m not sure if it was a result of growing up in the war (she fought a pivotal role in the Transvaal Rebellion) but she was never lavish with her ingredients – she remains the only woman I ever met who could turn a postage stamp sized bit of pastry into eight full fruit pies and a batch of sausage rolls. The apple pie didn’t so much have a filling of apple as a light dusting. I would love to be able to bake like that – absolutely no measurements, timings or fuss: just 100% pure instinct.

That leads me to my simple point that I want to make before getting straight to the recipe: don’t fall into the trap of following recipes slavishly – everything we post is merely a guideline. Don’t like an ingredient? Leave it out (though use common sense, you’ll struggle to make tomato ketchup if you use Weetabix and tears, for example) and put in something you actually want to eat. Recipe not looking quite right? Cook it for a bit longer. Use cheaper meat if you’re short on cash. Don’t stress about the little things – and never more so then in this chicken, leek and bacon quiche recipe, because you can chuck any old shite into a quiche and as long as you season it well, you’ll be laughing.

chicken, leek and bacon quiche

chicken, leek and bacon quiche

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chicken, leek and bacon quiche

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 large wedges

This chicken, leek and bacon quiche is perfect for either using up all manner of leftovers from the fridge or specifically for a tasty, lovely lunch. You can add anything you like - add more cheese, some mushrooms, pepper, red onion...anything you like! Easy to make too.

Ingredients

  • two chicken breasts - grilled, poached or baked - cut into cubes or shredded
  • a few rashers of bacon
  • one large yellow pepper
  • one chilli pepper
  • one leek - get a big one, mind, you want it to leave you wincing every time you pick it up
  • lots of salt and pepper
  • 180g of ricotta (2 x HEA)
  • 40g of extra mature lighter cheddar (1 x HEA)
  • eight or so eggs (if you're using whole eggs) or 12 egg yolks (so much nicer!)
  • 30g of parmesan (1 x HEA)

NOTE: so this makes enough for eight wedges, but let's assume you'll eat two wedges. That's one HEA.

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan
  • cut your bacon into raggedy chunks
  • thinly slice your leeks - we used a mandolin slicer because it'll do it in no time at all
  • thinly slice your pepper and chilli
  • cook off the leeks, pepper, bacon and chilli together in a pan until the bacon is cooked and the leeks have softened
  • add the chicken
  • mix together the ricotta, cheddar and the eggs - now this is where you need to use your judgement - you may not need as many eggs if you have big eggs or less mixture - you want a good thick 'sauce' when it is all beaten together
    • I prefer to use egg yolks only because it makes a lovely rich quiche, but can work out pricey for eggs - if you go down this route, don't waste the egg yolk - make these peppermint meringues!
  • mix everything together in one bowl and add a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • slop it all into a good non-stick dish - I like to grate half the parmesan into the bottom of the dish before putting the mix in, then top the quiche with the rest of the cheese
  • cook in the oven for about 35 minutes, or longer if it is still wobbly
  • allow to cool and serve with salad!

Notes

  • we use a smart silicone dish for this chicken, leek and bacon quiche - this has never failed us once!
  • this freezes perfectly - cut it up, wrap the pieces in foil and take one out the night before for lunch
  • feel free to tip the mixture into several smaller tins to make individual quiches
  • you'll note that there's no wrap involved in this mixture - that's because we're not insane, see?

Courses snacks, evening meal

Cuisine British

You can’t beat a good quiche! Want some more quiche ideas? Of course!

Plus, we’ve updated our recipes page again, we’re now nearly at 600! Enjoy!

J

full english breakfast risotto: a perfect bit of stodge

Full English breakfast risotto – not a breakfast recipe, no, but rather a delicious risotto with all the lovely bits of a full English breakfast! Yes it’s indulgent, yes it’ll probably give you blue lips, but it’s so, so good: plus as with all our risottos, it pretty much cooks itself – no clarting about with adding ladles of stock! This is a rollover recipe – you can use the leftover sausages and bacon from yesterday’s recipe of super scrambled eggs to make into this beauty! I mean, I don’t recommend you have them both on the same day, but there’s nothing stopping you cooking off all the sausages and bacon and leaving half aside to make this.

Not a fan of congealed blood and fat and oats? Please: call yourself a blubber-merchant? Feel free to leave it out. If you do, it’s syn free. Top tip for this: once you’ve finished serving it up in that effortlessly stylish way of ours, pop the yolk so it runs through the risotto, mash the tomatoes in and crumble over that black pudding. It’s so, so good!

No chitter-chat tonight as we’re off to the gym. I know: who have we become? But after yesterday’s diatribe I need to stop bumping my lips for a bit.

This serves four, by the way – normal portions. If you’re a greedy sod like me, two massive bowls.

full english breakfast risotto

full english breakfast risotto

to make full english breakfast risotto you will need:

  • 400g arborio rice
  • 3 chicken stock cubes (dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water)
  • 4 low fat sausages, cooked and sliced (see top tips below)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 bacon medallions, cooked and chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 slices of Morrison’s black pudding (9 syns)
  • 2 big handfuls of mushrooms
  • 150g cherry tomatoes

top tips to make full english breakfast risotto:

  • we used the sausages and bacon from Musclefood which are both syn free! If you want to check out our special deals just click here! Of course, you can use other sausages – just remember to syn them
  • we used Morrison’s black pudding which is 4½ syns a slice – they vary a lot across brands though so do check yours
  • you can cook the bacon and sausages however you like them – we used our Optigrill but you could use an airfryer, a frying pan, a George Foreman grill or a normal grill – however you want! For best results cook the sausages halfway (they’ll cook fully later)
  • don’t like black pudding or mushrooms? Just leave them out! You can add or remove whatever you like – make it however you like it!
  • an oil sprayer will make this so much easier and won’t strip your pans like Fry Light does – we use this one and it’s excellent!
  • if you want fancy fried egg like us *cough* you can get your mitts on some fancy food rings at Amazon

to make full english breakfast risotto you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190ºc
  • lay the cherry tomatoes out onto a baking tray and spray with a little oil
  • cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and spray in a little oil
  • add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and fry until the onions start to turn golden
  • add the rice to the pan along with the sausages and bacon and give another stir
  • pour the stock into the pan, cover and simmer on a low heat for 20-25 minutes
  • meanwhile, spray a frying pan with a little oil and fry the black pudding for 3-4 minutes each side, and set aside
  • in the same pan, add a little more oil and fry the eggs to your liking
  • once the risotto is cooked serve into bowls
  • top with the tomatoes, halved black pudding and fried egg

Craving more ooey, gooey risottos? We’ve got loads!

Yum!

J

sausage and ham super scrambled eggs

Sausage and ham super scrambled eggs: because you’re worth it.

Guys, if you want the recipe and aren’t in the mood for a politically-correct, bang-on, leftie snowflake moan, just scroll down until you see the pretty pictures of the dinner. Because boy, am I going to moan.

You may recall a while back I did a post complaining that the ignorant fuckers banging on about Tesco pandering to Muslims because they had the temerity to include an Asian family in their Christmas advert. I know: shock horror! If not, you can find it here. You would have hoped that the passage of time might have quelled the ignorant, or perhaps they might have found something shiny on the floor to distract them, but no – that sound you hear, like someone standing barefoot on wet rice krispies, is the spittle collecting in the corner of their downturned mouths once more. Why? Because Cadbury’s are BANNING THE WORD EASTER FROM THEIR EASTER EGGS TO APPEASE MUSLIMS. 

Except, much like Tesco, they’re not. This one is even easier to discount: whilst you can argue that maybe Tesco weren’t being honest in their right-on PC approach to inclusivity (which is bollocks, plenty of Muslim families take part in Christmas), you can’t argue that Cadbury’s are banning the word Easter when you can walk into any shop, pick up any number of Cadbury’s eggs and see the word Easter emblazoned on the box, or on the chocolate egg, or sat amongst all of the other Easter eggs in the friggin’ Easter egg section of the supermarket. It’s quite literally there in brown and white. It’s like getting in a tizz about the sky not existing or grass not being green – it’s an unequivocal, incontrovertible fact. They say the word is banned, people post photos of their eggs showing otherwise. That would surely be enough to calm their tits, no?

No.

No, despite absolute evidence to the contrary, they still believe in a great conspiracy to ‘devalue the importance of Easter’ and that Cadbury’s are head of the coterie working hard to bring this country to its knees. They ignore the fact that most eggs have Easter on them in order to point out the few that don’t (carefully side-stepping the fact that the Help for Heroes egg doesn’t mention Easter) as justification of their anger. Some learned sort posted pictures of eggs from the 1970s, also Easter-less, as proof that sometimes an egg is just allowed to be an egg, but this too was ignored. At this point anyone pointing out the fallacies in their arguments is usually made out as a JEREMI CORBIN LOVER or typical leftie libtard or some other such nonsense, as though having a rational mind and decent principles is something to be ashamed of.

What vexes me is that most of these people couldn’t give the shiniest of shites about Christianity and indeed, the last time they were on their knees in a church it was probably to either suck off the vicar or wrench the lead from the stained glass windows. They’re about as Christian and as God-bothering as I am a sofa cushion. Do you think these people are good Christian soldiers? No: it’s just another excuse to bash the Muslims and to try and justify their thick, idiotic behaviour. They wheel out the ‘importance of the true Easter message’ as though they’ll be doing anything at Easter other than ransacking the shelves of B&M and watching Jeremy Kyle, who might tip his hat to Easter by adding bunny noises over the punch-ups and tying a bonnet on Steve the bouncer. Pfft. The only thing I want to tie behind Steve the Bouncer’s ears are my thighs. You ask most of them which muscle-bound adonis was well-hung at Easter and they’ll probably name some stripper they saw at the last lock-in at whatever flat-roofed barred-window shithole they had their Shenice’s 5th birthday in, for a beige buffet all round.

The final argument is the finisher though: good people are told that ‘they just don’t see the bigger picture’ or ‘you’re too scared to admit the truth’. It’s as though the truth that they have rattling in their brains like a grain of rice in a tumble drier is the gospel and that they, not you, are the enlightened one because they’re one vein-pop away from crouching down in a barnyard yelling at the hens because they don’t imprint ‘I LOVE JESUS’ on each egg they fire out. If that’s the truth, then slap my arse, call me a salty bitch and make me a liar, because I want nothing of it.

Paul pointed out that I have to stop arguing on facebook, and he’s right. What does it ever get you? No-one, no matter what side of the fence you come down on, is ever going to change their mind on a hot-button issue because Sandra from Stanley weighed in on her Radio Rentals Amstrad to tell us why Brexit is a good idea, why gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry or who really did wear it best between Holly Willoughby and a toilet-roll cover. And yet, everyone feels the need to voice, to speak, to get their opinion across: I’m doing it as we speak, but don’t worry, I’m safely strapped in on my high horse. It’s very comfortable. But it’s all so…pointless. I’ve decided then to give facebook a rest, at least outside of my social circle.

I’ve unliked all the local news stories, where an article about a new bus-stop can turn into a smear against the mayor, an argument about Poles coming over here stealing our daffodils and why Theresa May is good/bad/incapable of smiling without looking like she’s pissing blood-soaked nails. I’ve stopped following anything faintly contentious or interesting. American articles are an absolute cesspit of who can call Trump the worst thing, which is pointless because everyone knows the correct answer to that is that he’s like a pube-covered Wotsit that a deranged person carved a face onto. TV shows fanpages are a no-go because they’re full of people who have never left their mother’s busom and who take everything so seriously. Comment sections on newspaper sites are like the table in the pub you avoid at all costs. And now, even the sanctuary that was a chocolate facebook page has been sullied by the thick and the ignorant.

What’s the cure? If I was ever Prime Minister, I’d have all of these people who graduated from the School of Hard Knocks and who have a degree from the University of Life rounded up, popped into a lorry and driven into the sea. Don’t worry, they’d be long dead before they entered the water, drowned in a yellowish froth of their collective bile, disgust and self-righteousness, arguing and spitting to the very end. You know how I’d celebrate? With a large, generous slice of politically correct cocoa-ovoid.

Sigh.

Anyway, let’s do the recipe. It’s super scrambled eggs but done all fancy and meaty! Now, if you buy a pack of bacon and sausages, keep half of them for the recipe that’s coming tomorrow – we’re calling this a rollover recipe! Let’s do this.

super scrambled eggs

super scrambled eggs

to make super scrambled eggs you will need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 6 bacon medallions OR 100g of cooked ham, cooked and chopped
  • 4 low fat sausages (see top tips below), cooked and sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 100ml skimmed milk (1½ syns)
  • 30g cheddar, grated (3 syns)

top tips for super scrambled eggs:

  • the milk and cheese is optional but totally worth it
  • we used the sausages from our incredible Musclefood deals which are free! If you use a different type be sure to syn them
  • Fry Light will ruin your pans – get one of these misters instead!
  • you can cook the sausages and bacon however you like, we used our Tefal Optigrill but you can cook yours in a frying pan, under the grill or in a George Foreman – it’s up to you!

how to make super scrambled eggs:

  • whisk the eggs together with the milk
  • spray a saucepan with a little oil and add the sausages, bacon (or ham) and tomatoes
  • cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently
  • add the eggs to the pan and stir constantly until they’re scrambled to your liking
  • serve and sprinkle over the grated cheese
  • eat served on whatever you like

Looking for more breakfast ideas? You greedy bugger!

J

 

bacon and egg fried rice – perfect for breakfast!

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

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

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

bacon and egg fried rice

bacon and egg fried rice

to make bacon and egg fried rice you will need:

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

top tips for bacon and egg fried rice:

to make bacon and egg fried rice you should:

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

Good stuff right?

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

J

syn-free minestrone soup in a hurry

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

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

syn-free minestrone

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

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

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

top tips for syn-free minestrone soup:

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

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

Easy! Want more soups?

J

syn free cheesy leek and bacon pasta bake

Here for the cheesy leek and bacon pasta bake? WITH NO BLOODY QUARK? But of course you are, my love – the recipe awaits you at the bottom of this page. But before we get to the cheesy leek and bacon pasta bake, we have part one of our holiday entry for our Christmas trip to Sweden and Norway! Newcomers to the blog may not know this, but we’re also a ‘travel’ blog in that when we go away, we like to post the stories of what we get up to. Admittedly, this can lead to a long post, so to help you – if you’re here solely for the food, click the button below to go straight to it! I promise not to cry too much.

The rest of you settle back – this is a long one! And look, to celebrate, I’ve even tidied up the banners – I was sick of that awful messy looking banner template I had. This looks altogether more…Swedish, ja? Let’s go!

I’ve been looking forward to typing up this holiday entry ever since we came back – why? Simple: it was amazing! It’s not as though we did anything out of the ordinary or unique – just our usual pottering about in cities getting lost and having a good time – but there was just something terrific about the whole experience. Every day was a happy memory – I haven’t been able to say that about any holiday since we went on that coach trip. I jest, that was Hell in a 57-seater. But before you join us on our Scandinavian adventure, we need to dip back in time a bit further to a wet October afternoon, where you would have found me slumped over my keyboard at the end of a very, very long email exchange with the other half. Here’s how every single holiday of ours gets planned: I suggest somewhere, Paul sucks air in over his teeth and say ‘oooh’ with that look a roofer gives you when he’s going to need to take your tiles off, I suggest somewhere else, he grimaces like he’s shitting an acorn. He then suggests somewhere wildly expensive and extravagant and pouts when I point out he’s trying to live a Waitrose lifestyle on a shoplifted-from-Lidl budget. We both then give up and stop talking until one of us cracks and we’re friends again, holiday completely forgotten about. Hence, on this October afternoon, conscious of the fact we’d need to book somewhere before all the parents and (shudder) their snotty-nosed litter booked up all the fun places, I sent a plaintive little email asking if we dare broach ‘booking the big holiday’. Paul, to his credit, was very agreeable, but then we immediately started arguing about where to go.

So, I did something I would never normally do because it’s altogether too much effort: I acted unilaterally. Straight onto hotels.com to book four nights in Stockholm, flights to Oslo, four nights in Oslo, a train journey to Bergen, three nights in Bergen and then the flights back to London then to Newcastle. For good measure, I booked the train to take us up to Edinburgh Airport for our Stockholm flight and a hotel for the night before. I parcelled all the reservations in one big PDF and sent them to Paul, triumphant. His reply? ‘Ah good, sounds nice

It’s lucky he works twenty miles away and I’m so fat and lazy that I couldn’t be arsed to get in the car to go and tan his arse because damn, was my excitement punctured. He only won me around later by explaining he was in a meeting and actually he was very much looking forward to our lovely holiday and indeed I was the best husband in the world and no, he’d never sin again. I can’t say his agreement was purely because I was pulling on his balls like a farmer milking a cow at the time. Who can say…

To day one, then. Our journey begins as so many of them often do: a taxi ride to the train station by a man so Geordie and hardcore that he explained he’d recently suffered a heart attack at the wheel of his car, chalked it down to indigestion and carried on driving passengers around. It was only after a whole day of chest pains and breathlessness that he went to A&E. Great! I imagine he took my endless staring into his rear-view mirror as rapt attention to his mildly-racist stories but actually, I was just making sure his lips hadn’t turned blue and he wasn’t going to career us into a lamp-post. We made it safely to the station and I left him a generous tip. Well, something had to pay for the funeral buffet. We were due to take the 14.30 Virgin Train to Edinburgh, but, to add a frisson of excitement to the start of our holiday, they elected to jumble all the trains around and delay our train by a full hour. Super, but have no fear, we’re Rockafella Skanks – we had first class advance tickets and thus the utopia that is the first class lounge awaited us – what a treat!

No. You may know this yourself but the first class lounge at Newcastle is fitted out like the waiting room of an NHS dentist – all pastel colours on the wall, hotel biscuits and furniture that looks as though it’s blown in from a storm. It really is dreadful. We comforted ourselves with the fact we could eat as many biscuits as humanely possible and entertain ourselves with our phones, able as we were to take full advantage of the charging points. Only the charging points didn’t work, they had run out of biscuits and the toilet was blocked and overflowing. We’d have had more luxury fighting the rats on the train-tracks for some discarded Greggs and somewhere to shit. To compound my misery I spotted my old HR director from a previous job who I absolutely despised. She was to fun what I am to a chaste heterosexual lifestyle. She was very much one of those type of people who would click ‘skip straight to recipe’ on this blog and then email me to tell me she was allergic to food and how insensitive I was being by posting a recipe. She hated me especially because I burst out laughing when she fell over in the middle of the office, having stumbled into an open floor socket, falling down like one of those cooling towers you sometimes see getting blown up on the telly. I couldn’t help it: I have a nervous laugh, and anyway, she deserved it. She was Miss Trunchbull in a Jigsaw-outlet suit. We clashed many, many times – she upheld a complaint that I laughed too much, for example, and that I didn’t take the job seriously because I wore trainers to work. Pfft. I never said anything about her homage-to-Robert-Winston moustache.

I made sure to give her the sickliest, fakest, cheesiest smile I could muster up – a smile that said ‘Damn, I honestly thought you’d be dead by now, but here’s to the good times, you vile husk of a woman’ and walked past her, making sure she saw I still wore the trainers that used to irk her so. It did mean, however, that I couldn’t relax, because every time I stood up for a fresh coffee or a newspaper she would give me 100% pure stink-eye. So, all in all, a rubbish experience. Luckily, the train journey made up for it, though I wish they’d do away with the pretence of unlimited tea and coffee – we had one member of staff come around with the hot drinks, leave us a gin and gave us a sandwich, and that was it, no more, goodnight nurse. We’d polished off our ‘dinner’ by the time the train was whooshing past the house we’d left only 90 minutes before. No matter – we arrived in Edinburgh in the pissing rain, jumped straight into a taxi (why oh why oh why do people stand and wait for taxis these days? Just use bloody Lyft or Uber for goodness sake – embrace technology!) who whisked us straight to the hotel, but not before regaling us for forty minutes about why electric cars were the future. Forty minutes is a long time to nod politely: my poor neck sounded like popcorn by the end of it. Paul and I have an agreed arrangement: I deal with taxi drivers, he deals with the people who bring room service to our hotel room whilst I hide in the bathroom. It works very well indeed simply because I’m good at making small talk and he’s very believable as a fat bastard who has ordered enough food to feed two people. He’s seen many a hotel worker cast him a pitying look as they put down the laden trays of food in front of him.

Don’t worry, that bedspread soon looked as though someone had spilled Marmite everywhere   

Our night at the Dakota was very pleasant indeed, even if the room service left a lot to be desired. It’s all a bit frou-frou – I like to see people buckle under the weight of my plate, not be able to frisbee it across the room because there’s a bit of cress and a hair of cheese on the plate. In fact, we were so unsatisfied by the volume of our food that we waited a discreet twenty minutes and ordered another round. Well, when you’re on holiday, these things don’t matter, though I could have done without the judgemental ‘oh, TWO rounds of room service, my mistake’ remark from the receptionist when we checked out. I don’t think she had warmed to me because, upon seeing that the reception was full of blokes all in black kilts, full Scottish regalia and beards you could lose a dog in, I remarked ‘but I didn’t order breakfast!‘ to her with a nudge-nudge-wink-wink leer. That’ll be us on the blacklist.

I won’t bore you with the 150 minutes we spent at Edinburgh Airport only to make two remarks:

  • can someone please persuade my husband that we absolutely do not need to be at the airport so far in advance of a flight, especially when the only thing we’re taking on board the aircraft is hand luggage and chewing gum – I swear that unless Paul’s at the airport the day before he’s an unbearable nervous wreck; and
  • massive thank you to the Scottish toilet cleaner who, having not realised I was sitting in the cubicle next to the one she’d just gone in to clean, exclaimed ‘now which fuckin’ dirty c*nt has gone and done that’ in a loud Scottish burr. Thank God I was sitting on the toilet at the time because I would have pissed myself outright – it was so loud and so disgusted that I almost wanted to climb on my toilet to peer over and take a look.

Now here’s a new thing: we weren’t flying easyJet! I know! I want some reassurance from you all though – am I the only one who likes to fly with an airline they’ve flown with before? I think I rationalise it in my mind that they didn’t crash before, so it must be safe. Nevertheless, the lure of a cheaper flight won me over and so it was that we boarded an SAS flight to Stockholm. Well: what a revelation! Lovely new plane, free tea and coffee, USB sockets in the back of the seats – even the bog didn’t smell like a foot and mouth crisis in an open sewer like they normally do. I was very impressed, and even more so when they landed us safely in Stockholm without ditching us into the North Sea. Don’t get me wrong, my heart will always be with the tangerine-trolleys of easyJet, but I might use SAS on the side like the plane-hopping slag that I am.

Byeeeeeeeeeeee

Before we continue, I want to give praise where it’s due: to Paul. We’ve flown twenty times this year and each time he lets me sit by the window because he knows I like to be able to look at the engine and the wing to make sure everything is OK. I mean, I know the captain has a fair idea, but I’m sure it’s a comfort to him (or her) to know that I’m keeping an eye on the flaps from the back. Story of my life, that. Anyway, I always offer to sit in the aisle but Paul always gives me the window seat and for that he gets a gold star, or a go on my brown star, whichever he prefers. It makes the flight better for me so I want to say a big thank you to my gorgeous and lovely Shitty McGee.

I love this woman’s face. It’s like she’s being asked to blow into a smeggy knob.

We landed on time and were ushered through immigration in a wonderful Swedish efficient manner. I was pleased to see that the lady looked the spit of Agnetha from ABBA – exactly as I expected. We sloshed our way to the train station, took the airport express straight into Stockholm Central and then made our way on foot to our base of operations for the next few days: the Hobo Hotel on Brunkebergstorg. I chose the hotel simply because of the name and the fact it looked so cool and hip on the website. I wanted to see how they’d deal with two fat blokes whose idea of high fashion is a Cotton Traders. To their absolute credit, the staff – though they all looked like they were part of a really shit/unknown yah-yah electrosynth band – were unfailingly lovely and helpful.

Our room – we could watch the office workers over the road. No doubt my fat hairy arse has appeared in their company newsletter.

Our room was gorgeous too – massive bed, good steamy shower, television with Discovery on it (thank heavens – Paul was almost at 24 full hours without watching a How It’s Made) and lots of neat little touches. For example, there was a water pistol – imagine Paul’s delight when he’d just settled down for his ‘Welcome to Stockholm’ crap and I opened the door and squirted him right in the ear. How we laughed as he almost wrenched the toilet away from the wall in sheer fright. Ah, we’d arrived.

All I wanted was one nice picture.

Now, I’ve done the classic twochubbycubs holiday report opening and spent 2000 words getting us to the hotel. I did it with Copenhagen, Paris, Geneva…at this point, it would be rude not to. But let’s close part one here and get to the recipe.

Remember, folks – if you enjoy our holiday entries, please do let us know. I know they’re a longer read but we like to make it interesting. Feedback always welcomed!


Gosh, I’m spent – and now I need to do a full recipe for the cheesy leek and bacon pasta bake that you’re all actually here for! This makes a giant dish of pasta – easily enough for six – but it freezes well and tastes bloody amazing. Let’s go! This uses six HEAs but makes enough for six – so I count it as one HEA per portion as you’re using a sixth of each. Yes, we’re splitting HEAs, but hey, let’s live a little. This is a heavy, rich dish so you’ll not be eating loads in one go. YEAH RIGHT. You could knock down the HEAs by using Quark instead of Philadelphia, but it won’t be nearly as nice.

pasta bake

pasta bake

to make a cheesy leek and bacon pasta bake, you’ll need:

  • 500g of pasta – any type will do, I promise
  • two fat leeks (use onion if you prefer)
  • a pack of bacon medallions
  • optional: 200g button mushrooms, chopped
  • two cloves of garlic
  • 120g of extra mature lighter cheese (3 x HEA)
  • 220g of Philadelphia Lightest (2 x HEA)
  • 250ml of semi-skimmed milk (1 x HEA)

top tips:

to make a cheesy leek and bacon pasta bake, you should:

  • preheat your oven to 200 degrees
  • cook your pasta – boiling water, salty as Paul in the morning, remove when there’s still a bit of give in the pasta
  • thinly slice your leek and chop your bacon (and add the mushrooms, if using) and gently fry it off in a pan with a few squirts of oil from your sprayer – as they soften, add the minced garlic
  • meanwhile, make the sauce by tipping your Philadelphia and milk into a pan, put it on a low heat and gently whisk until it’s all mixed together – it’ll be quite runny – at this point, add 100g of the cheese and keep whisking – you’ll end up with a nice thick cheesy sauce – season it with plenty of salt and pepper
  • tip everything together in the pasta pan, give everything a bloody good mix, slop it into an ovenproof dish, top with the remainder of the cheese, some chopped spring onion or leek if you’re feeling fancy, and pop it in the oven for about thirty minutes until the cheese is golden and everything is delicious
  • serve with a side salad which you studiously ignore

Gorgeous! Of course, if you’re looking for more delicious pasta ideas, we’ve got you covered:

Enjoy!

J

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

Hawaiian pizza pasta bake – no seriously, hear us out

Hawaiian pizza pasta if you please! I know what you’re thinking – years of my brain stem being nudged increasingly repeatedly from the front twice a day for ten minutes has left me addled. Well, you’re not wrong, but we’re actually making Hawaiian pizza pasta bake to celebrate the fact that Vera returns to the telly tonight. Don’t get the link? It’s simple: Hawaiian is how she tells people to enter a building in that “Geordie” “accent” of hers. “Hawaiian pet, there’s been a moorda

See? It’s that easy. If you’re wondering what that snapping noise was, it was sound of a tortuous analogy breaking in two.

Actually, speaking of pet, did anyone see that storm in the teacup with Virgin Trains in the middle of the week? Someone complaining was told to ‘go right ahead, honey‘ and when she mentioned it on their Twitter that actually, when complaining, it doesn’t do to be overfamiliar in return, the customer service guy replied with ‘would you prefer darling or sweetheart, next time?

I have to admit, I was absolutely howling. That’s exactly why I couldn’t work in social media, I’d be putting my foot in my mouth that much I’d need to tie my shoelaces with my uvula. Everyone is kicking off as though she’s Millie Tant in human form but reading beyond the typically salacious PC-GONE-MAD headline, she only complained that the train guard had called her honey in a voice dripping with sarcasm. As someone who was told loudly that WE MUST SERVE EVERYONE ELSE BEFORE YOU GET SECONDS when I asked for a sandwich on their train, I can sympathise.

It did make me think, though – I give absolutely everyone a nickname and I can’t help it. Paul is shittyarse, Shitty McGee or sugartits, my mum is Boot, dad is Greengrass, even my bosses are Chief and Guv’nor respectively. I wouldn’t think twice about sticking a love or a pet or a flower on the end of my hello or thank you in a shop. Sex doesn’t come into it, unless they’re giving me the keen-eye and I’ve got time. In fact, this habit teamed with my booming voice in shops probably doesn’t endear me to about half the people I come across, but meh, fuck it – no malice is meant – but I ought to apologise on behalf of almost every Geordie in existing who use this over-familiar terms of endearment like Southern folks use full-stops.

WE JUST DURNT KNOW ANY BETTA PETUL!

Right, to the recipe. Hawaiian pizza pasta bake! Just trust me. After all this time? Always. This makes four big portions. Cook it, freeze it, keep some extra! Lovely. If you’re after a carb hit, I just happen to have got what you need, just exactly what you need…

Hawaiian pizza pasta bake

Hawaiian pizza pasta bake

to make Hawaiian pizza pasta bake, you’ll need:

  • 250g pasta
  • 750ml passata
  • 4 slices of thick ham, chopped
  • 300g bacon medallions
  • 230g pineapple chunks (fresh is better, just buy a pre-cut pack in the supermarket if you can’t be arsed)
  • 140g reduced-fat mozzarella, diced or grated (2x HeA)
  • if you’re feeling extra sluttish, add 80g of extra mature lighter cheddar on top – I know, I’m pure filth

Get proper tasty bacon in our Musclefood deal! Make your own hamper so it’s full with only the stuff you love! Click here to find out more.

Top tip: use your microplane grater, the one I always recommend, to make your cheddar go that much further – nice and fine creates a proper crunchy top!

Up to you if you syn the pineapple. We don’t, because it’s a bollocks rule.

to make Hawaiian pizza pasta bake, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions
  • meanwhile cook the bacon under the grill, and then roughly chop
  • add the passata to a saucepan and heat gently
  • spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
  • add the chopped ham and pineapple and cook for a few minutes
  • add the passata, bacon, ham and pineapple to the drained pasta and stir well
  • stir through half of the mozzarella and tip into a large pyrex dish
  • sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes
  • finish under the grill for a few minutes to brown the cheese
  • serve!

Love pasta bakes? You’re not the only one! You’ll find more ideas below!

Mwah! Don’t forget to share our stuff by simply clicking the buttons below!

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