stir fry cucumber and pork – trust me, it’s a winner!

Stir fry cucumber and pork? You are either doing one of two things:

  • experiencing confusing feelings in your nethers – you’re scared, but you want to try it; or
  • you’re quietly gipping into your sleeve.

But trust me, it’s delicious! Paul, who doesn’t like cucumber whether it’s sliced, diced or hidden somewhere it’s not nice to talk about, declared the dish one of the best he’s ever had – and it’s so cheap too.

Anyway: good news everyone: I’m feeling better. Not 100%, I still feel like someone has backed a transit van over my head and everything capable of producing liquid is working over-time, but at least I’m not dying. See? Always a positive. But I need to stay rested, so let’s go straight to the recipe!

Oh, this makes enough for four nice bowls of stir fry cucumber and pork.

stir fry cucumber and pork

stir fry cucumber and pork

to make stir fry cucumber and pork, you’ll need:

  • two big cucumbers (or buy three, you’ll have something to play with whilst the cucumber soaks)
  • salt (smoked salt is nice, but any salt will do)
  • 500g of low-fat pork mince (you can use turkey mince too)
  • 3 teaspoon of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine (about 0.00000001 of a syn, so fuck it)
  • 2 teaspoon of oil (4 syns) (I used sesame, it’s easier)
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce (you can buy it from most supermarkets, it’s syn free and doesn’t taste fishy)
  • 1 teaspoon of cornflour (quarter of a syn, see above)
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • two garlic cloves, minced
  • rice to serve

top tips stir fry cucumber and pork

  • absolute full credit goes to for this one – we found it a while ago and thought it would be a load of bollocks, but we’re so glad we tried it – fair play!
  • quickly mince the garlic with a Microplane grater – you’ll wonder how you ever got on without one – or you can buy ready minced garlic in most supermarkets if you’re lazy
  • if you’re using turkey mince, I’d suggest adding another tablespoon of oil (6 syns) because turkey can be quite dry, like me
  • our chopsticks are available here!

to make stir fry cucumber and pork, you should:

  • two bits of prep first:
    • marinate your pork by mixing it with two teaspoons of soy sauce, the rice wine, one teaspoon of oil, the fish sauce and half a teaspoon of cornflour – really give it a good mix, and then set aside – the longer you leave it the better it will be
    • peel slices from your skin of your two cucumbers so you’re left with alternating stripes around the outside, cut in half along the horizontal, so you’re left with two long halves, cut each half into chunks and then put in a bowl, scatter a good couple of pinches of salt on top, shake and leave them to sit for an hour or so
  • once you’re ready to cook, in a small bowl mix two teaspoons of water, the other half teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of soy sauce – mix and set aside
  • wash your cucumber chunks through a sieve to get the salt off them, and then pat
  • heat up a frying pan with a few sprays of oil, get it nice and hot, then place the pork in almost like a big burger – allow to cook for thirty seconds or so exactly like that, then start breaking it up with a spatula, add the chilli flakes and garlic and cook until everything is golden brown
  • now add the cucumber chunks and cook high and quick – mix your sauce again and pour it in – there’s not a lot, but the idea is to make it a bit glossy – remember, cook quick and hot
  • serve with rice!

Guys, do you trust us at this point? Do we ever really post a duff recipe? No. This isn’t one of them, either. The cucumbers keep a bit of crunch but go more meaty than you would imagine. It tastes lovely and fresh and is a good, cheap alternative to a fakeaway. Give it a go!

Want more fakeaway ideas? We can help:

Goodness me!


christmas clear out: lazy cabbage bowls – instant pot or hob

‘ey up! Cabbage bowls time!

We’re having to take a bit of a break from the blog to concentrate on an exciting personal project – but rather than leave you sitting there with a sulk on with no new recipes, we’re going to use it as an excuse to pump out some recipes with no guff. Trust me: some of the recipes coming up will leave you dripping like a St Bernard’s chin.

Can I ask a favour, though? If you’ve got someone who is doing this infernal diet alongside you, share our stuff! The buttons at the bottom will instantly share to Facebook and Twitter. Help us to help them – god knows they need it.

You can make this recipe in the Instant Pot or on the hob – if you’re using the hob, you’ll need a good non-stick casserole pot. Let’s go! This makes enough for four.

to make lazy cabbage bowls you will need

  • 1 savoy cabbage, chopped roughly
  • 250g beef mince
  • 250g pork mince
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 750ml passata
  • 3 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (4 syns) (you could also use honey, brown sugar or even sweetener, but just make sure to check the syns)
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mustard powder

Looking for an Instant Pot? Still on the fence? Don’t be, you’ll give yourself piles. They’re having stock problems at the moment but stop fretting – the Pressure King Pro is a decent replacement. Cheap on Amazon at the moment, too!

Oh and if you need pork or beef mince, don’t forget that you can build your own meat hamper with our Musclefood deals!

to make lazy cabbage bowls you should:

  • on the Instant Pot, press the ‘saute’ button and adjust to ‘Normal’
  • add a bit of oil and then the mince, and brown off until just a little bit of pink remains
  • add the diced onion and stir frequently until it’s starting to go translucent
  • add the rest of the ingredients except the cabbage and give a really good stir
  • sit the cabbage on top (don’t stir!) and put the lid on
  • cook on High pressure for 8 minutes, and use the quick release method when done
  • give a good stir and serve – we had ours with rice – it was lovely!

Using a hob? Same kind of idea – cook everything off first, then leave to simmer and sweat for maybe forty minutes until everything comes together like a Roman orgy.

Looking for more ideas? Naturally.

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speedy spring roll bowls – perfect for a quick lunch

Just a recipe post tonight for speedy spring roll bowls to get you through the dark days – a cabbage recipe to use up the rest of the cabbage from yesterday’s recipe! Please don’t be put off by cabbage – cooked correctly, it’s so much better than that boiled-to-mush slop you used to get at school.

Before we get to the recipe, though, we have a small treat for you. Our Christmas card! As you know, we aren’t bothering with printed cards this year, so this is just for you!

This Queen and her loyal companion wish you a marvellous Christmas indeed! A few people think we’ve been mean by posting Rolf Harris’ face onto hers, but alas, no, it’s just me with a white beard. I actually like how it looks!

This is an easy, speed-packed dish and takes hardly any time to cook – most of the time is chopping up the vegetables. Once that’s done, you’re good to go!

spring roll

to make speedy spring roll bowls you will need:

to make speedy spring roll bowls you should:

  • heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat
  • add the mince and the onion and cook until the mince is browned and the onion is translucent
  • add the cabbage and the carrots to the pan and cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally
  • in a bowl mix together the garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce and rice vinegar and pour into the pan
  • stir well, and cook for another ten minutes, reducing the heat to medium, stirring often
  • serve, and sprinkle over the spring onions

Want more like this? All you’ve got to do is click the buttons below to find even more!

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PS: it’s Graham from Jeremy Kyle in the food picture, not Gary Glitter!

caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice

I bet you’ve stumbled here expecting caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice? Makes sense, given the title, and look, you’ve only have to scroll through a few paragraphs to get there. Can I share something that I’ve learned over the weekend? There’s nothing quite as stressful as trying to give a cat medicine that he doesn’t want to take. I’d sooner run into a burning building and have a boxing match with a drunk Hartlepudlian woman than go through this again. He needs to take it because he’s had an allergic reaction to something and is pulling out his fur, the poor bugger. Naturally, because we’re caring sorts, we rushed him to the vets, handed over a billion pounds to the absolutely dishy trainee vet behind the counter (oh! to be a cow in difficult labour!) and were given a course of tiny pills to give to the cat, who would ‘eat them with no fuss, all cats do’.

Like hell they do. I’d have more luck getting Bowser to learn to tap-dance. This is a cat who shat in his own cat-box to stop us taking him to the vets to stop his own sickness. He was foolish, we just bundled him in with his sister and they spent twenty minutes tumbling around in the back of the Smart car until we arrived at the vets and had to pull them apart like old Velcro. Sola is fine, she just spends her day showing off her fanny in the window or sleeping anywhere where we’ve put down clean clothes. I don’t know what it is to own a shirt that doesn’t look 80% mohair.

First we tried the obvious route – slid out a packet of finest Whiskas Bumholes-‘n’Ash and hid the tiny pill inside. He ate every last bit, bar the atom-sized piece of cat-food with this pill on it. There was a haughty arrogance to his walk as he strutted off, dropping hair everywhere he went. Next we tried luring him in with good ham – Sainsbury’s Extra Special Ham, no less – and despite him usually wolfing this down so fast he manages to take your fingernails with him at the same time, he completely ignored it. I gave it to Paul instead, telling him to man-up and spit out the cat-hair afterwards.

Next came the nuclear option – Dreamies. Have you ever seen a cat around Dreamies? I can only assume they contain whatever the cat equivalent is of crack-cocaine because I swear, my cats would be out turning tricks in the street if they knew there was a packet of Dreamies to be had. They’ve been known to get inside our kitchen cupboards just to push the little pot onto the floor before. This time we used our brains, secured the tablet to a Dreamie with a bit of spit, and hid it in amongst a pile of other Dreamies.

Yep, he ate all but one, then went back to furiously licking his willy. He did the same with tuna fish, he did the same with cream and he’ll do the same with whatever suggestion you lot have for me. In the end we had to find a video on Youtube on how to pill your cat and I swear, our relationship will never be the same. He looks absolutely fucking furious – and this is what he usually looks like:

Paul had to hold him and I had the unfortunate job of prising his mouth open to drop the pill in – then he spat it out – so rinse and repeat. Ah well. Only thirteen more to go. I would have genuinely preferred the vet had given us suppositories at this point.

So, aside from pushing pills on the cat all weekend, what else have we done? Finally organised our bloody spice cupboard, that’s what! Anyone else on Slimming World knows the pain of their spice cupboard – a mysterious Null full of eight jars of ground ginger and dried sage that was last wheeled out for the ‘GOODBYE DIANA 4EVA IN OUR HARTS’ vol-au-vents. The amount of times we’ve bought stuff in Tesco only to find we actually had several bottles of it already cluttering up our kitchen, man, it beggars belief. So we emptied it out, like so:

Then, with a quick trip to IKEA and the purchase of all these pretty magnetic jars for the side of the fridge, we now have this:

Pretty right? They’re nice and sturdy so they’ll stay on there until the cleaner knocks the turmeric to the floor with her Henry Hoover and ruins our carpet. But that’s OK, we’ll cross that P45 when we get to it. I posted this online last night and people went wet with delight, which I wasn’t expecting given it’s just jars, but if you’re wondering:

You have no idea how long it takes to scrutinise our highly-reflective gloss surfaces for stray knob-shots, you know. Let’s get to the food, eh?

caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice

caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice

to make caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice you will need:

  • 500g minced pork
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsp grated ginger (save your fingers and invest in one of these – great for garlic too!)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bird eye chili, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (4 syns)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • rice or noodles (whichever you prefer)

to make caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice you should:

  • cook the rice or noodles to however you like it – the main bit doesn’t take long so you can probably cook both at the same time
  • meanwhile, heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat
  • add the onion, garlic, ginger and chili to the pan and cook for 2 minutes
  • add the mince and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until it’s cooked through
  • add the maple syrup and the fish sauce and stir it in only once
  • leave it to cook, untouched, for about 2 minutes – this helps it to caramelise
  • stir, then cook again for another thirty seconds – and then do two more times
  • remove form the pan and serve over the rice or noodles
  • sprinkle over the spring onions and eat

Want some more ideas? Just click one of the buttons below!

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meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce

Meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam? Topped with tomato sauce sweetened with honey as opposed to some watery old passata and the tears of the terminally disappointed? Yes! Not going to lie, this is an amazing recipe. I had to stand a good eight inches back from the cooker as I made it, if you get my drift. However, sound the klaxon, boop-boop:

We’ve been asked to do a recipe featuring Hellmann’s Tomato Ketchup Sweetened with Honey, so here it is. Easy enough to do because everyone likes meatloaf and tomato sauce is always a winner, but see we’ve done meatloaf before so how to make it different…stuff it with bacon jam. Oh my!

But first, the usual flim-flam. I couldn’t think of a natural link between tomato ketchup and our usual blog content – there’s not many hilarious stories about tomato ketchup that’ll have people slapping their knees and wheezing into a paper bag, after all. Then it struck me: let’s revisit the ‘trivial things that annoy me’ post – we did it in 2015, I’m sure we did it in 2016 but I can’t be arsed to check, so here’s the 2017 list!

Paul buys far too many bottles of ketchup

See! I bloody well managed to link the recipe and the blog content after all! Just call me Mark Zuckerburg. We’re not a couple who feel the need to drown our dinner in condiments, not least because we season our food properly in the first place, but see it’s always nice to have something to dip your sausage into. It’s why I married Paul. However, he takes it too far: our little spinning cupboard in the kitchen is actually canted to one side because of the weight of the 87 bottles of sauce currently wedged in there – he buys a new bottle every single time he goes to the supermarket “just in case” – in case of what? Nuclear war? I’ll be far too preoccupied with shitting my lungs out than having a seasoned bloody chip. Shopping with him has become a passive-aggressive two hours of him putting a bottle in the trolley and me taking it back out again. I’d rather he came home and told me he was having an affair with my mother rather than see him surreptiously pulling another bottle out of the bag for life.

Oh and mother, don’t you dare.

Black car badges


I may have adjusted the picture slightly. Anyway, you’ll see them everywhere now, I can guarantee it. A black fadge-badge like the one pictured isn’t too bad on a black car, but I’m seeing it on all sorts of acne-carriages that barrel around on the road with their rubbish mods. What looks (arguably) passable on a decent motor looks like an embarrassment on a car that sounds there’s a bee stuck in the engine. We all know that certain cars attract certain types of driver – I feel like this little embellishment is just another way of reassuring you that yes, indeed, the person behind the wheel is a pulsing sphincter.


I know, I know it is healthier than smoking. I know it’s a great thing to do if you’re trying to give up the fags. But do people need to be so…theatrical about it? Walking past a bus-stop these days is like being stuck in the middle of a chewing-gum flavoured hurricane, with blasts of vapour from all around. I’m tempted to chuck a load of gold and silver tokens in the air and pretend I’m in the crystal dome. You see people billowing out clouds like they’re a Chernobyl cooling tower and it just looks ridiculous. Yes, less ridiculous than coughing out your last in a hospital bed, but ridiculous none the less. I saw a wonderful little meme on Facebook that simply said how hilarious it was to walk past all the hard meatheads standing outside of pubs vaping away and stinking of strawberry shortcake. Now, before you think I need to be told how much better it is that people vape, please don’t, because…

I also hate people who smoke in cars

It’s fine if you are by yourself, though I do worry that if you were to drop your tab into the crack of your boobs, you’re not going to be looking where you’re going as you try and fish it out. No, it’s only a problem for me if you’ve got kids in the back. It’s the height of selfishness.  Both of our parents smoked like chimneys on every car journey when we were growing up – it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve realised Northumberland doesn’t have a faintly yellow patina to every vista.

Ridiculous packaging

Yes, it’s an obvious thing to moan about, but let me give you an example. We were told to bring a calculator to my last exam as we’d need to add up international fees, all very basic, but I can’t add up under pressure. Hell, I can barely remember to breathe in and out. Naturally, I forgot to pick one up from the cupboard at work, meaning a last-minute dash to Argos to buy a calculator. £15! They had none of the basic models in stock (of course) and so I had to buy a calculator that I’m fairly sure I could hack Sellafield with. Anyway, on my Tube ride over to the exam hall I set about trying to extricate the calculator from its sealed plastic packaging. Could I hell. I wrenched at it with my fists, I tried to chew my way in, I tore a nail trying to open the bloody thing up. I went four stops before I had to give up, not least because the sight of me sweating and fumbling in my rucksack was understandably making people anxious.

No, I had to go out of my way to go and buy a pair of bloody scissors in order to open the calculator with. Scissors are a surprisingly difficult thing to track down at the last second and even those came with a stupid cable tie attaching them all together. The sales assistant clearly sensed my anguish because she at least offered me a bag, though I turned it down thinking it would probably involve me doing a full turn on the Krypton Factor assault course and naming the top forty capital cities in the world.

Oh, and it turns out I didn’t need the calculator after all. Imagine my cheeriness!

Now, the other thing that annoys me is food blogs that don’t get to the damn point, so, after that 1,000 mince around the gardens, let’s get to the moment you’re all waiting for: american meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce!

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

to make american meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce (phew), you’ll need:

to make the meatloaf:

  • 500g of lean beef mince
  • 500g of lean pork mince
  • one large red onion
  • 1 tbsp of dried mustard powder
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic – fresh or powder
  • a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • a good mix of cherry tomatoes
  • 8 tbsp of Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened With Honey (4 syns)

to make the bacon jam for the middle:

  • four large red onions
  • 700g of unsmoked bacon, no fat
  • pinch of salt
  • 125ml of water
  • 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp of Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened With Honey (2 syns)
  • pinch of pepper

Now, of course, you can use any ketchup for this recipe – but the reason Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened With Honey works here is that it replaces the sugar you’d usually use to make the ‘jam’ and is half the syns of regular ketchup. Plus, sweetened with honey rather than extra sugar means it contains 30% less sugar than the ‘market leader’. We all know who that is, don’t be coy. Oh and it actually tastes decent, so fair play to them for that. You can buy it in Tesco for £1.89 but it’ll roll out all over the place as we speak.

This meatloaf recipe might look difficult to make but it really isn’t, but start with the jam first, eh? This makes EASILY enough for four and could stretch to six, and we served ours with green beans and skin-on mash, as is tradition.

to make american meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce (phew), you should:

to make the jam:

  • do you have a chopper? One of these mini chopper things I always bang on about – if so, get it out, save your poor wrists, but if not, that’s fine
  • peel and chop your onions nice and fine – we’re talking really diced, but it isn’t going into an art gallery, make it as messy as you like
  • grill all the bacon until nice and crispy whilst you’re doing that
  • once you’ve got the bacon crispy and it isn’t so hot it sears your flesh, cut it up so it’s about the same chopped size as the onion
  • get a good, solid-bottom pan and spray some oil in – or use olive oil, I’ll never tell – add the onion, bacon, water, vinegar, ketchup, salt and pepper
  • cook slowly and gently for a good forty minutes – keep checking on it, add a dash more vinegar or water if it needs it, or some ketchup, until you have a nicely reduced jam
  • this isn’t going to be the smooth jam you see on a scone, no, but this is sticky, delicious bacon-goodness
  • keep to one side

to make the meatloaf:

  • get the oven on to 180 degrees and line a loaf tin (or just spray it with oil if you’ve got a decent one)
  • slap everything from the meatloaf list (save for the ketchup and tomatoes) (dice the red onion nice and fine first mind) into a big bowl
  • you can cheat and use chopped chives rather than onion if the thought of chopping more onion drives you to drink
  • mix – mix by hand and my goodness, don’t you stop for one moment – it’s very theraputic, get all that frustration and anger out by making sure you have the perfect mixture
  • if the meat is dry, add an egg – if it’s too wet, add breadcrumbs – but you’ll be able to ‘tell’ when it’s firm and ready
  • slap a good half of it into the loaf tin and press it down
  • make a channel for your bacon jam – I pressed the side of a glass into the meat to give a nice uniform look but honestly, no-one is going to care how it looks
  • spoon and press down as much jam as you can, being careful not to go right to the sides

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

  • press the rest of the mince on top of the jam – think of it like trying to create a core in the middle – make sure you press everything down nice and firm mind
  • spread your tomato ketchup over the top of the loaf, then slice the cherry tomatoes and arrange them in a sexy, pleasing manner
  • cook for a good hour or so – cover it with tin foil if the tomatoes start to burn – the internal temperature should be over 70 degrees if you have a meat thermometer to hand
  • remove from the oven, allow to cool for a good ten minutes or so, then serve!

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

It really is easy to make – you’re just slapping together a load of ingredients and baking it – it just looks like a long recipe typed out!

Looking for nutritional info? Based on the average lass’s intake of 2000 calories…

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

Not bad eh! If you want to find out a little more about the ketchup, you can speak to Hellmanns on Twitter  or via their Facebook page. If you want more recipes, click on the buttons!



See? I can do a sponsored food post without it being boring and buy buy buy! Let me know if you have concerns! But this meatloaf man, amazing…


rich and tasty guinness BBQ meatballs

Guinness BBQ meatballs – yes, Guinness. This is a nice, hearty, manly meal which is sure to put hairs on your chest, which at least will be a pleasant distraction from whatever sauce you’ve managed to slop down there. I love a Guinness, although ordering one in a pub round here normally means deafening tuts and COPD-esque sighs as people are delayed getting to their fizzy piss pint.

As an aside, before we get to the recipe, I want to hear from anyone out there who works for canal boat holiday sorts – we’re looking to get something booked in but goodness me, is it expensive. Some help appreciated!

Right, the recipe…

to make guinness bbq meatballs you will need:

for the meatballs

Now, this is where I’d traditionally link to our Musclefood deal which has lots of mince in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of pork, say (unlike me), hoy some more chicken in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

for the sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tsp sriracha (or any hot chilli sauce will do)
  • 250ml guinness (4.5 syns)
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (1 syn)
  • 80g tomato puree

to make guinness bbq meatballs you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • mix together all of the meatball ingredients until well combined
  • roll out the mixture into about 20 meatballs and place on the greaseproof paper
  • bake in the oven for about thirty minutes
  • meanwhile, mix together the cornflour with 2 tbsp water until dissolved and set aside
  • place a saucepan over a medium high heat and add a little oil
  • add the garlic cloves and stir for about thirty seconds
  • add the rest of the ingredients and the cornflour mixture into the pan and whisk to mix
  • bring to the boil, and keep whisking, then reduce the heat to a simmer
  • cook for another fifteen minutes, whisking regularly until the mixture has thickened and reduced
  • when the meatballs are cooked, remove from the paper and stir gently into the sauce to coat
  • serve

We’re here to make your life easier! Want some more ideas? Just click the buttons below!

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instant pot pork and sweet potato chilli con carne

Here for the pork and sweet potato chilli? Then read on!

We have a new gadget! We have bought ourselves an Instant Pot, which is simply a fancy pressure cooker that also does slow cooking, rice and yoghurt, amongst other things. Pressure cooking allows you to cook things a lot quicker whilst retaining the moisture and is perfect for chillis. Currently, if you were looking at one, they’re reduced to £95 on Amazon.

Good news: just because we’ve bought one (and highly recommend) doesn’t mean you’ll need to buy one. We’ll always give you a non pressure-cooker method too. I can’t stand it when blogs start doing recipes just to shill products and frankly, we ain’t that type of blog. We don’t accept bungs for bollocks, unless they’re the sort slapping off our chin.

We are, however, a travel and food blog, and because we’re gearing up for our many holidays this year, I’m taking the opportunity to tie off a few loose ends from last year – posting the bits we forgot to post and so on. Newcomers to the blog – we often post these massive entries detailing where we’ve been and we’re told that they are hilarious. So blog entries aren’t normally quite this long…to that end, here’s part five of our trip to Cornwall last year.

twochubbycubs go to Cornwall – part five

part one | part two | part three: Land’s End | part four

I wish I could pretend things improved with Cornwall, but they didn’t. Disappointment, rudeness and expense lurked around every corner. Don’t get me wrong, there were some charming people and pleasant vistas, absolutely, but it didn’t compensate for my growing sense of rage. This is evidenced by the fact that my notebook, where I usually write down my thoughts of the day and which in turn gets turned into these blog entries, consists of page after page of angry faces and lots of instances of the word ‘bah’. Because of this, I’m going to break with tradition and just do a summary post of all the other scraps of our Cornwall trip that I can’t bring myself to put into flowing narrative.


We love Rick Stein – he’s a cheeky-faced cooking wonder and we watch everything he’s in whenever he’s on the telly. I could listen to him describing Russian phone-box repair and still feel a quiver of excitement. It’s not some weird daddy-fetish, he’s just wonderful. With that in mind, Padstow seemed like an obvious place to spend a fresh Spring morning.

Nope. First of all, I’ve never seen so many Audis, BMWs and Mercedes cars in one place. Secondly, same sentence again but replace cars with braying Jigsaw-wearing idiots. We parked up – eventually – took a stroll around the quaint ten-a-penny tea-shops, the lovely seen-it-all-before craft shops and the ‘oh I get it, it’s Seahouses but for people with a buy-to-let portfolio’ restaurants. It left me cold. I don’t think I have an inferiority complex – I’m not worthy of one – but the sense of snootiness and unbridled tra-la-laing wasn’t for me.

We decided that, as we didn’t stand a chance of a walk-in appointment at any of his fabulous restaurants, we’d treat ourselves to fish and chips from Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop. Naturally, it was all very to-do, but fair play, it was delicious. We ate them on the harbour and it was only their deliciousness that saved me from pitching forward into the sea to end my misery. Though, just saying, I can get a pizza, kebab wrap, large chips, can of pop (oh how I hate that), salad, curry sauce AND pot of pink up here for the same price I paid for one fish and chips down there. That said, Rick’s chips didn’t come with a side hockle of phlegm like the ones round here do.

We left, disappointed.


…and I thought Padstow has bad. Sweet Jesus. I’m sure Newquay is fabulous in the summer when you can get a tan to go with your stab wounds but in the pissing rain on a cold afternoon, good heavens no. I’ve seen grim working towns – I went through Sunderland once on the train – but this takes the biscuit. If you’re from Newquay and someone is reading this to you please don’t get yourself in a fuss (think of your invariably high blood pressure); I’m sure the bit where you live is lovely and I’m just being a horrendous snob.

We should have known not to trouble ourselves with Newquay at all when we parked up only to have someone offer to look after our car ‘for a reasonable fee’. I was tempted to enquire what this service would get me and what the possible repercussions of failing to take it up where but his yellow tooth frightened me and so we moved on. We found another car park a little further down and set out for adventure.

We found none. We walked to the beach only to be met with sea fret and the smell of fish. I can absolutely see why it would be just so in the summer, however, so please don’t think it’s all bad. We climbed to what I assumed was the main street only to be met with what is increasingly becoming a sad, common sight in the United Kingdom – a row of bookmakers, discount stores and charity shops. I would have been made up if I had wanted to bet on a horse and buy myself a cardigan someone had died in back in 1977. There was a shop nestled at the end called Fat Willy’s which did tickle me (they often do), but it sold surf supplies and there isn’t enough lycra in the world to make me look good on a surfboard.

We decided to try our luck in the bright lights and glitz of the amusement arcade next door. I’ve looked it up on Google Street View and it doesn’t seem to have a name. I presume that’s because they don’t want people on the internet revealing what a massive bloody swizz it is. My nana had more grip in her arthritic fingers than the bloody claw machines in here. I spent four pounds trying to win a Luigi plushie only to give up when I realised I’d have more chance winning the fucking thing if the machine wasn’t switched on. I’m all for a competitive edge but Christ, give us the faintest glimmer of hope, eh?

Things turned nastier still when two girls, both seemingly sharing the same set of teeth, started following us around making eyes at our pocketful of jingling change. You know when you get that feeling that something isn’t right and you’re either about to end up on The Real Hustle or Silent Witness? That was one of those moments. Paul nudged in a set of cherries and I could see sheer avariciousness in their eyes. I clutched my murse theatrically to my side and we made a quick escape.

I know it’s a weird thing to get vexed about but these places are for children, surely? Why not let them have some fun and win a toy without prising £20 out of their parents’ wallet? Why must every other coin be glued down on the coin-pusher or fruit machine rigged to pay out on the twelfth of never? Another tiny example of grasping UK. Pfft.

We spent another forty minutes looking around the shops before both deciding that we’d given it a chance and were justified in going home, despite paying for four hours of parking. Oh, and as a final point, if you were the woman serving us in the little pasty shop on the corner, a bloody smile goes a long way. I felt as though I’d made a mortal enemy for having the check to order two lamb and mint pasties. You know when someone gives you a look of hatred that chills you to the core? That’s what we got as thanks for our custom (and before anyone says it, I’m always unfailingly polite when I order, no matter how poor my afternoon is going). Brilliant. I wouldn’t have minded so much but even the bloody pasties were awful – I’ve had morning farts with more taste to them.

We left, disappointed.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

We kept seeing signs for this place as we beetled about and knew nothing about it. We didn’t bother to research and when, on the fourth day, I loudly exclaimed that we should go to Heligan, Paul simply replied ‘What, Newquay?’ – kaboomtish.

Once we’ve stitched up our sides and located the Lost Gardens of Heligan in the Sat-Nav (so they’re not that lost, just saying) we were on our way, and it felt like no time at all until we were pulling up aside a Saga coach tour. It was fortunate that these elderly day-trippers were so slight as it made pushing them out of the way of the entrance all the more easier.

Oh I’m kidding, before anyone rings Age UK. They were still stumbling off the bus by the time Paul and I had completed a full lap of the grounds and got back in the car.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are, according to the sweaty nerds at Wikipedia, one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. They were bought by a fancy sort back in the 16th century and immediately divided into lots of lovely sections, such as a ‘jungle’ and a rhododendron garden. The moment I spotted that on a sign I burst into ‘I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden’ until Paul saw fit to stick twigs in his ears to stop me. Poor sport. Anyway, the gardens fell into disrepair until they were restored in the early twentieth centuries, and now, here in modern times, they’re only a reasonable entrance charge away.

Now let me tell you this: I have been miserable throughout these Cornish entries. Nothing has managed to make my heart soar or my eyes sparkle. There’s barely been a moment where I haven’t been thinking longingly about the five holiday days I’d used up at work to take this trip. But these gardens were amazing.

I’m not exactly sure what pleased me so much – it was just a garden, after all, albeit a massive one split over many acres – but it was terrific. For a start, it didn’t cost the Earth. I’d become so accustomed to handing over wads of notes that it was a pleasant surprise to be told it was a very reasonable £13.50. Then there was so much to see and do – everything clearly laid out and mapped in the little handbook they give you. We spent hours just drifting from scene to scene – we had literally stopped to smell the roses and it worked a treat with cheering us up.

It helped that we had the place mostly to ourselves, save for the odd walking group and gaggle of tourists trampling in the flowers. This meant we had time to read the excellent information boards and talk to the staff, who I’m sure would have rather we left them be so they could crack on with the gardening. I can prove that we at least absorbed one fact: Heligan remains the only place in the UK that grows pineapples – albeit very small ones – in horse poo. Fascinating stuff! Along similar lines, Lands’ End in Cornwall is the only place in the UK where you can spend over £20 and get absolutely fuck all back for your money. What a time to be alive!

We took ourselves down to the animal area and sat for a good half hour watching birds from the little lookout they’ve installed then wandered gingerly down the very steep slope to the ponds. We spotted that somewhere amidst all the flowers and trees there was a rope bridge and so we spent a good twenty minutes hunting that out, managing to miss it twice despite it being signposted.

Well, goodness me. Didn’t we look a sight. I’m sure folks far more light-footed than me could trip over this bridge with dainty steps but when we both lumbered on the metal shrieked and the rope audibly stretched. I couldn’t relax, waiting as I was for a loud TWAAAANG sending us plummeting to the pond below. I say plummeting, we were six foot in the air, but come on, dramatic licence. As the bridge had sagged quite considerably under us it became quite a chore to pull ourselves up to the other side, a situation not helped by some red-faced little urchin crying out that he wanted a go. This was tough. Luckily, Cornwall Fire and Rescue came to our aid only forty minutes later.

Nah I’m kidding, we made it across, but we were bloody knackered. Of course, we’d also forgotten that the steep slopes coming down which once seemed to fun and hilarious to slide down would become an awful slog going back up. We took our time but it was with a shameful amount of huffing and puffing that we had to stop twice on the way up. To cap off our embarrassment, we were overtaken by a woman pushing herself along in an off-road wheelchair up the hill. I felt so ashamed.

We finished our afternoon by having a mince around the forest, where lots of giant curiosities were hidden. I came across a large hand deep in the undergrowth, which wouldn’t be the first time. Paul was taken by surprise by an erection poking out of the bush, which wouldn’t be the first time either. It really was wonderful and it was with a big genuine smile that I declined the offer of annual membership as we left. Perhaps if you dug it up and put it somewhere south of Hexham, I’d consider it.

We did stop by the farm shop with an eye to buying a range of meats and cheeses but the prices of everything in there sharp put paid to that idea. Listen, I’m not averse to slapping down the cash for good food, but these prices were little more than a tourist trap. I asked for the price of a small wedge of Little Stinky only to be told it was more than a tenner. I leant over and whispered confidentially that ‘I only want to buy the cheese, not rent the cow’ but her stern, weathered face was having none of my japery.

We left, disappointed.

But only at the farm shop – the actual gardens themselves were an absolute treat and I can wholeheartedly and without reservation recommend a trip.

Honourable mentions:

Mevagissey Model Railway – we loved this. It was like falling into Roy Cropper’s wet dream. There was more than a hint of foist about the place but the owner was knowledgeable and welcoming and it was very much a ‘British’ piece of entertainment. Well worth a visit, although I wouldn’t pencil out a whole afternoon for it.

Lappa Valley Railway – we turned up, decreed it far too expensive (although looking right now on the website it seems a lot cheaper, so best not write it off in case I was just having a mild aneurysm or something) and cleared off. I do still get a tickle from the fact they have an event called a ‘Steam and Cream’ for the over sixties. I thought most trainspotters just jizzed straight into the same quilt they’ve had since they were 14?

The Chapel Porth Hedgehog – I can forgive the National Trust for charging me to visit a beach when I’m presented with an ice-cream like the Chapel Forth Hedgehog. For those wot div not knaa this is Cornish ice-cream which is then smothered in clotted cream and them dipped in honey-roasted hazelnuts. It’s served with a warm smile and fifteen minutes of CPR. Bloody amazing. Beach was nice too.


If you’re reading this entry and feeling apocalyptic that I’ve dismissed Cornwall as an awful place full of chintz and nonsense and bloody rude people, please, take a moment. There’s no need to be so quick to anger. Holidays are unique to everyone and I just didn’t ‘feel’ Cornwall. I can see its many merits mind – I like the fact that the air feels crisp, for one. The views are wonderful but as I’ve previously touched upon, I live in what I believe to be the most beautiful county in all of the United Kingdom – Northumberland. I have beauty on my doorstep.

Remember, opinions are like arseholes – everyone has one. It’s just unfortunate that I’ve made a hobby out of talking out of mine.

Gosh – that was a long one, wasn’t it? Did you enjoy it? Please do give me feedback on these holiday entries – I know they’re lengthy but it’s the thing I enjoy writing the most! Let’s get to the pork and sweet potato chilli though without another moment of hesitation.

to make pork and sweet potato chilli you will need:

  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 400g pinto beans
  • 300g sweet potato, cut into small chunks

to make pork and sweet potato chilli you should:

Instant Pot method

  • press the ‘saute’ button, add a bit of oil and then add the onion and red pepper
  • cook for about three minutes until softened
  • next, add the pork mince and stir to break it up and ensure it cooks evenly
  • after a minute add the chilii powder, cumin, oregano and garlic and stir
  • add the tomatoes, pinto beans (with water) and the sweet potato and stir until well combined
  • ensure the vent is set to ‘sealing’ and cook on high pressure for ten minutes

Bog standard in the oven job method:

  • saute off the onion and pepper in a deep heavy pan until soft and lovely
  • add the pork mince and stir to make sure it is broken up and cooked evenly
  • after a minute add the chilii powder, cumin, oregano and garlic and stir
  • add the tomatoes, pinto beans (with water) and the sweet potato and stir until well combined
  • cook in the oven for a good hour or two – low and slow – or bubble away on the hob for 40 minutes, making sure it doesn’t catch

Serve with rice! Simple, honest dinner! Can’t get vexed.

Looking for more recipe ideas? But of course!

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pork and apple burgers with blue cheese

Did you miss us? I know, we’re just awful people. You’ve probably been logging on every day, typing through your tears, crying into your pillows, wailing and sobbing and bawling about our lack of posts. For that I apologise. But see, we just needed a proper break from the blog just to freshen up and do some back-end stuff, which isn’t a euphemism for anal sex, unusually. Most of it is done, second book is almost finished, all is well in the world.

One mistake we’ve made though is declaring that we really ought to watch Lost again. See, we have a big fancy TV and that Sky Q service that gives you everything you need and more for a vastly overpriced sum every month, yet all we watch is Police Interceptors (and that’s more because it’s the only way for either of us to see how our nieces and nephews are growing – aaah, they look so grown-up in their ASBA ankle-bracelets and Madidas tracksuits). Lost took over our lives a few summers ago to the point where both of us feigned having swine flu just to stay at home and see what happened next. That was back in the day when I used to work for an organisation which class a full day’s work as turning up before 11 and nicking off at 3pm. No wonder they shut the place down…

…anyway, as a result of our foray back into Lost, we’re losing time all over the place. Every night becomes ‘one more, just one more’ and I’ve taken to calling Paul ‘Hurley’ on account of his big fat tits. Poor guy.

We’re still fat, by the way. We did toy with the idea of relaunching the blog as a Weight Watchers blog for shits and giggles but I didn’t want to be responsible for eight hundred heart attacks at once – I’ve seen how angry some of you get over Iceland running out of curry sauce, let alone us taking the recipes away. I swear to God I’ve seen a poor Iceland worker covered in so much spittle by a venting Slimming Worlder that I nearly wiped his face down myself with my sleeve. We’ve accepted that this year is a bit of a write-off and that we will shallow breathe our way to New Year, but we have something nice planned for 2017 which really will provide some focus…

My health anxiety made a brief but unwelcome reappearance when I went to the loo only to notice a load of blood in the water. Frightening. Naturally, I had diagnosed myself with advanced and terminal bowel cancer by the time I had wiped my nipsy and it was only after eight hours of hyperventilating and worried emailing that Paul remembered we’d had about four bowls full of red pepper soup the night before and his er…droppings, were equally as scarlet. So at least I can add that to the list of diseases I’ve beat this year.

We took the recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I had to persuade Paul that he liked blue cheese after all when he did one of his usual 180 degree spins on food – he’s as bad as our cats. We bought 84 pouches of Whiskas a few weeks ago as the cats seem to love it only to find that the very first pouch was completely ignored, meaning we have 83 pouches to take along to the cat and dog shelter to give to cats who don’t have a rod stuck up their arse. Anyway, Paul was simply adamant that he didn’t like blue cheese because ‘it smells like off-cock’ (to be fair, he’s right on that point) until I reminded him that he’d managed to put away half a wheel of cheese at my mum’s Christmas buffet last year to the point he constipated himself over the New Year. Suddenly, when faced with that enticing detail, he remembered he DID like cheese after all. It’s the little things.

Right, to the recipe then…this really is an easy dinner to make – serve with a side salad or, more realistically, a load of chips, and you’ll be in Fatty Heaven.

pork and apple burger with blue cheese

to make a pork and apple burger with blue cheese you will need:

Can I make a recommendation? If you make a load of homemade burgers, get yourself a little burger press. This is the one we have – there’s plenty of cheaper models out there too but this has the advantage of not looking like your kitchen has been fitted out by Fisher Price. Plus, it’s only a couple of quid more. You get nice uniform compressed burgers that don’t fall apart in the pan.


to make a pork and apple burger with blue cheese you should:

  • mix together the pork, diced apple and paprika
  • leave to chill for twenty minutes to firm up
  • divide the mixture into four and shape into burgers
  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and put over a medium-high heat
  • add the burgers and cook for about 6 minutes each side
  • when cooked, lob into a bun with a bit of lettuce and crumble over the blue cheese

Done! It’s as easy as that. You could make a few extra burgers and freeze them if you please. Looking for more meal ideas? But of course. Click the buttons below!


Enjoy! Ah, I’ve missed you guys.


droptober recipe #4: pork, bacon, ale and apple pie

Yes! Pork, bacon, ale and apple pie, I kid you not. You’d expect the mere mention of pies would have Mags’ Trex covered Bakelite phone ringing off its hooks but no – here at twochubbcubs, you CAN eat all the pies.

No post tonight though – it’s been a very long day, livened up by a bit of life-saving. Not sure if that’s over-egging the pudding (HOW MANI SYNS HUN) or not but for the first time in four years I got to use my first aid training for something other than a high-heel blister or a stapled finger. If you’re looking for a fun read, have a look at my recount of my day at St John’s Ambulance learning first aid by clicking here – though the box of faces will haunt you forever more. No, I had to step in to stop a colleague choking on her crisps. It was all very fortutious because I just happened to be downstairs filling up my bottle with sparkling water (gotta add sparkle somehow, eh) when I saw a pizza being hurled across a table and a colleague looking wide-eyed and fearful. I almost shit myself. It’s one thing sitting in a room full of factory workers being told what to do if someone pours industrial bleach up their nostril or sets their arse on fire, it’s another thing knowing you have to step in and do something. I remembered you’re supposed to do five sharp blows between their shoulderblades and so, with a hearty ‘THIS IS GOING TO HURT’ I went into action and thankfully, on the five blow, out popped the crisp. I’m not going to fib: I think I was more relieved that I didn’t have to do the Heimlich – I’d be the only person who’d need to stop after two er…thrusts (good god there’s no other way of saying it) for a sit down and a puff on an oxygen tank. My colleague is fine – I apologised profusely for the fact she’s probably got a huge hand mark on her back now but all was well. I went upstairs shaking like a shitting dog and I can assure you right now my catastrophic thinking went into overdrive: what if it hadn’t worked? What if my first aid skills were no match for a shrapnel of smoky bacon crisp? It was all I could do to have a giant cookie and a cup of tea and then back to drafting documents.

It made me think though: if you don’t know any first-aid, learn some. Seriously. St John’s Ambulance provide training online and there’s all manner of free videos on Youtube. Whilst I doubt what I’ve done could be classed as saving a life, you never know when you might need it. Here’s some resources:

If you need a handy guide to resuscitation, er, don’t use this one (but it made me laugh):


Mahaha. Let’s get to the pork, bacon, ale and apple pie – this dish serves four when served with sides and has 20 syns, so I’m going to say 5 syns a portion and be done with it. If anyone has a problem with that, I invite you to kiss my teeth. It’s worth spending syns on something delicious and this was fantastic!

pork, bacon, ale and apple pie

pork, bacon, ale and apple pie

to make pork, bacon, ale and apple pie, you’ll need:

  • 100g of Jus-Rol light puff pastry to cover a decent size pastry dish – this is 16 syns so 4 syns per serving
  • one bottle of pale ale – we used Brewdog’s Dead Pony Club (330ml) which by my reckoning is about 3 syns
  • 1 level tablespoon of cornflour (1 syn)
  • 1 pack of bacon medallions (we used the fantastic bacon from any of our meat deals, but in particular the freezer filler – perfect if you want a job-lot of chicken, mince, beef chunks and bacon – click here for a look – it’ll open in a new window)
  • two large leeks
  • 500g of lean pork mince
  • two granny smith apples
  • 375g of chicken stock
  • a pinch of (preferably fresh) sage and thyme
  • three large garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper

to make pork, bacon, ale and apple pie, you should:

  • pick out a suitable dish for your pie
  • chop your bacon up into small pieces and cook in a decent non-stick pan for a few minutes until cooked but not crispy
  • add in the leeks – slice these super-fine using a knife or even better, one of these bad-boys (currently reduced in price and by god it’ll save you some work)
  • once the leeks have softened, add the pork mince and cook until all the pink has gone
  • if it is sticking, don’t worry, just add a drop or two of water
  • mince the garlic using your trusty microplane grater or whatever and add
  • chop up the thyme and sage and add this too
  • once everything has simmered nicely, add a tablespoon of cornflour – gently – and stir, to thicken it up
  • now add your pale ale, chicken stock, pinch of salt and pepper and your apples, which you will have peeled and cut into cubes
  • allow to gently simmer for a good half hour until it’s thickened down and lovely
  • preheat the oven to about 200 degrees or so
  • get your pastry and check that 100g will be enough to cover your pyrex dish – if not, roll it out a bit thinner
  • slop all your pie filling into the dish, top with the pastry, brush the top with a bit of beaten egg and salt and pepper, hoy in the oven until the top is lovely and brown
  • serve!

Easy! If you need any more ideas, click the buttons below, and remember to use those share buttons to give your friends the recipe!


Cheers all the best.


sticky soy glazed ginger meatballs with dark fried rice

Look, we’ll get to the sticky soy glazed ginger meatballs with dark fried rice, but wait just a second.

Who has been buying my book?! It normally sells a few copies a day, but yesterday I sold 86 copies – have I been mentioned somewhere? Probably in a police report. Anyway, if you want to join the others, I won’t complain – you can find it right here.

As I type, there are four people who, given they look as though they’ve been carved out of milk we can safely assume have never been outside before, fussing around at the bottom of our garden with their phones. I think we can safely rule out them being paparazzi, though if a slot-shot appears on the Daily Mail side-bar of my hairy arse-crack taken as I put the bins out in my Luigi dressing gown, I’ll take the credit. No, I think they’re playing Pokemon Go, and good luck to them – anything that gets young’uns out into the fresh air and away from the TV can’t be a bad thing. It’s not for me, though. That’s not to say that the idea of coming across a Jigglypuff in the woods doesn’t appeal to me – hell, that was my Facebook status for a good two years – but the whole thing is just too active and sociable. I’d be terrified of having to make small talk with someone.

Plus, on an entirely shallow note, I went along to a ‘gamers’ meet-up many moons ago (I’m big into video games, thought it would be good to meet up with some fellow players) and I’m barely exaggerating when I say you could have chewed the BO that hung in the air. Perhaps it’s a lazy stereotype but good lord, waft a stick of Mum under your pits and fuck the fuck off. Oh and brush your bloody teeth – there’s no excuse for teeth that look as though they’ve been whittled from margarine. I didn’t so much beat a retreat as swim away through the waves of stink.

Maybe I’m just being miserable. Remember my elation at the fact we’ve managed to source a wonderful garden table after two years of trying to find one we liked that a) wasn’t made of plastic and b) could withstand a couple of years of our giant arses pressing down on it? Well, whoop-de-whoo, too good to be true. First it was delayed, then delayed again, then delivered with a chunk missing, then the replacement bits didn’t turn up on time. As melodramatic as it might seem, I’m so pissed off with it that I’m returning the lot and it’s back to the drawing board. It’s only because their customer service people were so pleasant to deal with that I’m not naming the company, but it’s such a bloody shame! Our neighbours are doubtless thankful that their summer isn’t going to be full of images of Paul and I reclining in the sun like butter on a crumpet, but hey.

Anyway, that’s quite enough negativity. Let’s have some positivity!

You may remember a while ago we visited Mog on the Tyne and had a lovely time, surrounded by cats whilst we had our lunch? Well, I recently discovered that there’s another café down on the Quayside, and a good friend suggested we go for lunch. Actually, that’s a fib, she made some terrible joke about eating out and pussy, and when she’d brought me around with the smelling salts, we both agreed to would be an excellent way to spend a lunch hour. Certainly better than trying to wrest a meal-deal sandwich from the hands of other office-workers in our local Sainsbury’s. I’d kick someone to death for taking the last brie and grape sandwich, just saying.

Well, it was wonderful. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a cat café, they’re small rooms filled with cat furniture, cat scratching posts and lots of dogs. Obviously not. No, cats. No good if you’ve got allergies but if that’s the case, have a Piriton and suck it up. Whilst the cats at Mog on the Tyne are all sorts of rescue cats and gorgeous kitties, Catpawcino has rare breeds and unusual looking delights. The food is typical little café fare but done well – paninis, sandwiches, cupcakes, that sort of thing. Let’s be honest though, no-one goes to these places to critique the sandwiches. It was all about the cats, and just look at the photos:



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I mean, come on. If they don’t get you excited, then you’re clearly made of stone and/or pure evil.

One slight annoyance though, and something that is entirely not the fault of the café – parents with loud kids. Yes, I understand that your children are on holiday and it’s good to let them run around, but honestly, not everyone thinks they’re just darling. Our visit yesterday was marred a little by kids running around after the cats and the mothers sitting there with a smug look on their face. What can you say to that? It’s seemingly OK for little Crescendo and Wain-Bow to hurtle around getting in everyone’s way – I wanted to take a picture of a cat on a windowsill but some ‘adorable’ little charmer wouldn’t shift – apparently I’d be in the wrong if I picked her up and popped her in the litter tray, which I feel is a mite unfair

Anyway, that annoyance aside, it really was a lovely hour, and I’d definitely recommend both Catpawcino and Mog on the Tyne for a different lunchtime experience in the centre of Newcastle. Unless you don’t like cats. If that’s the case, stick to eating the souls of the undead, you cold-hearted monster.

OR, have a bash at our sticky soy glazed ginger meatballs instead, served on dark fried rice.

That reminds me, don’t forget we’ve got a meat sale on. You could use the meatballs from the below package in this recipe and still thoroughly enjoy yourself!

advert - summer-01

Mahaha. No I know, but look, it’s an excellent deal and clearly it’s doing well as we’ve had more sales than ever. So don’t miss out. Think of the children! This makes enough for twenty small meatballs, so I’m assuming split between four, that’s 6.5 syns or 1.5 syns each. I know technically it’s a fraction more but come on.

soy glazed ginger meatballs

to make sticky soy glazed ginger meatballs with dark fried rice you will need:

  • 200g rice, any old shite will do
  • 500g minced pork
  • 1″ piece of ginger
  • 120g mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 courgette
  • 170g sugar snap peas
  • 2 separate tsps of sesame oil (4 syns)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (low salt)
  • 90ml soy sauce (low salt)
  • 1 tbsp honey (2.5 syns)
  • salt
  • pepper

to make sticky soy glazed ginger meatballs with dark fried rice you should:

  • cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet
  • meanwhile, prepare all the ingredients – it makes it easier! have lots of little bowls nearby and pretend you’re Nigella
  • first: peel and grate the ginger (this is perfect for the job!)
  • slice the spring onions thinly
  • slice the courgette along it’s length, and then cut each section again so it’s quartered, then slice
  • chop of the ends of the sugar snap peas and peel off the stringy bit that runs along the seam, then chop thinly lengthwise
  • mix together the 90ml soy sauce with the honey and set aside
  • in a large bowl, mix together the minced pork, ginger, and half of the sesame oil with a pinch of salt and pepper and roll into about 20 meatballs
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat with whatever spray oil / frylight you use and add the meatballs, turn regularly until they are browned and cook through
  • remove from the pan and onto a plate
  • in the same pan, add the chopped mushrooms and cook for about 4-5 minutes, scraping up any bits in the pan
  • add half of the spring onions and the rest of the sesame oil and cook for another 1 minute
  • add the cooked rice, sugarsnap peas and courgette to the pan and stir, until the rice is browned and the courgette tender – this will take about 5 minutes
  • add 2 tbsp soy sauce and mix until well combined, then plate up
  • add the meatballs back to the pan and pour over the soy sauce and honey mixture – spoon the mixture over the meatballs regularly until the mix and reduced by half
  • serve the meatballs on top of the rice and spoon over any remaining glaze
  • sprinkle on the rest of the spring onions and eat!

Looking for more ideas for what to do with pork or other fakeaway takeaway suggestions? Well click that blasted buttons!

porksmall fakeawayssmall

Enjoy! We’re off to watch Preacher. And Stranger Things. And Mr Robot. OR ARE WE?