BBQ pulled chicken, if you please? This is our second competition entrant and my god I just want it so badly I’ve had to push my chair a few inches from my desk to compensate. Now, because there’s actually two recipes at play here, I’m awarding two entries! Just like my ideal Sunday. This is coming from the lovely Lisa-Leela!
Everyone who has submitted an entry, keep your eyes open! They’re starting to appear!
This is a thick, juicy BBQ sauce - if you're super anal, which I love the fact that'll appear on the Cubs' blog, you can syn the brown sugar. But come on.
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed (tip: use a mini grater if you don’t have a garlic press)
1 level tbsp tomato purée
1/2 tsp cumin
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
juice of ½ lemon
1 level tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chilli powder
few drops Tabasco sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground black pepper
Spray a small pan with whatever spray oil you like to use. On a medium heat sauté the onion until soft (about 5 mins) add garlic cook for about another minute
Reduce heat. Add tomato puree and cumin, mix for 1min. Add the canned tomatoes and all the remaining ingredients stir and cook gently until the sauce reduces and thickens to your liking (usually around 35 - 40 minutes for me)
Season to taste with salt and pepper
You can blend to make a smooth sauce or leave it as it is for a chunky bbq sauce. If you want to make a thinner sauce simply add water a spoon at a time when blending until you get the desired texture.
The sauce keeps in the fridge for 2 weeks and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
(Use half this sauce for Pulled Chicken recipe)
If you prefer a sweeter sauce you can add 2 tablespoons brown sugar when cooking but that will increase syns/calories.
Now you have the BBQ sauce, you're going to use it to make an amazing pulled chicken, which you can load into sandwiches, burgers or whatever the hell you want!
900g boneless skinless chicken (you can use a whole chicken, remove thighs, drumsticks and breasts, cut breasts into 2 or 3 pieces or use just chicken thighs, or a mix of thighs and breasts)
1 small onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1tsp smoked paprika (smoked paprika gives a much different taste to sweet and is more suitable for a barbecue flavour)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
175g homemade BBQ sauce
heat the oven to 170°c.
spray the base of a heavy pot (with a lid) with whatever spray oil you use. Place over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until quite soft. Add the smoked paprika and stir. Add the chicken pieces and mix well. Add salt and a couple of generous grinds of black pepper.
set 2 tbsp of the BBQ sauce aside and pour the remaining sauce into the pot. Simmer. Turn off the heat.
cover the pot with a heavy lid and put in the oven for an hour and a half. When ready move the chicken to a large bowl leaving sauce in the pot. Use two forks to finely pull the chicken apart.
while you’re shredding the chicken, put any sauce thats left in the pan onto the stove over high heat and add the 2 tbsp that you saved earlier. Bring to a boil for about 5-10mins to reduce. Pour this thickened sauce over the pulled chicken and stir. Taste and season if needed.
serve with Broghies/buns/thins/slims/coleslaw/salad/homemade oven chips or whatever you fancy. Add extra barbecue sauce on the side if you like.
Quick pad thai – we did a proper pad thai not so long since but damn it, it takes so long. So here’s a quick version. However…before we get to the recipe, I enjoyed writing those little question and answer sessions so much that we’re doing a round three – unapologetically shameless here, you know.
What inspired you to start your page?
I made a shitty comic book style montage of my nana using an iPad. This gave me the idea of doing recipes in a similar vein – we struggled on like that for a few months before people start writing to us suggesting that we actually do novel things like listing the ingredients and methods and not including pictures of my cat’s bumhole. Poor sports. We changed the style to what you see today. One thing we’re particularly proud of is the fact that the blog remains resolutely low-tech, just writing, photos and we’re done. On other blogs – the one which likes to Pinch recipes from other blogs, in particular – it takes a year and a day to actually get to the recipe, after all the shilling for Frylight, facebook groups, video adverts and other tut. You might get some nonsense with our blog about our day to day life, but I think that keeps it unique. I (personally) would rather read a bit about the owners (although not 800 words about picking tomatoes at the local market) than some impersonal SEO-fest. I was also pig sick of making SW recipes that looked like cradle cap swimming in a pool of tomato water and realised that it had to be possible to cook well, follow the guidelines and still lose weight. Whaddya know – it is (and you don’t need Sukrin, Frylight, special meat or other tut to do it!)
How long will you keep going?
You’re talking someone who managed to pop an anecdote about getting blown in a hot-tub into a recipe for baked bean lasagne. As long as there are shenanigans to report and food to make, we’ll keep going. It’s been trickier this past year because something exciting has taken up so much time, but that’s done and now we’re back. Just need some bloody holidays.
Who’s the boss in the relationship?
Paul likes to think he is, but I have the weight and height advantage, plus he’d be hard-pressed to tell you who we bank with. Hell, he’d struggle to tell you his name without checking the inside of his blazer. We have very differing argument styles though – I shout and bawl and kick off, he gets very quiet and sulky. I’m emotional, he’s barely in motion. Something like that. We tend not to argue much as we’re both too fat and lazy to make a show of ourselves, but when we go at it, it usually involves me getting huffy, tripping over my words and spitting like a stuck cat, whilst he purses his lips and drinks his tea and rattles off facts and figures from 10 years ago that entirely disprove whatever point I’m trying to make. The man can’t remember to flush the toilet after he’s had a shit (dis-gust-ting) but that type I made googly-eyes at a passing biker in 2008 is imprinted on the back of his eyelids.
What toys do you like to use in the bedroom, stairs, wherever or is it all just you two?
Now come on, I’m not answering that. This is a family blog. OK, no, a Rubik’s Cube. I like to push it into him and watch him solve it without moving his hands. It might come out smelling of spoiled meat but it’s always a spectacle. I will say this, though, couples out there – don’t be afraid to experiment. The same way you wouldn’t want the same dessert every day for the rest of your life, there’s only so many times you can smile wanly at the same Mini Milk before you fancy a Feast.
Length or girth?
Ah, the age old question. This isn’t me being diplomatic for all the button-men out there, but it really isn’t imperative to have one or the other. You can drive to the same destination in a Smart car that you can with a bus, you know. Not going to lie – girthy feels nicer knocking on the back door, lengthy is good if you want a dip-test for your stomach acid, but if you don’t know how to use it, what’s the point? The worst sex I’ve ever had was with someone whose knob was like two full size coke-cans on top of the other. It was like being mounted by a clumsy dog that was more interested in getting his dinner. So, lads, if you’re reading this, don’t focus on your size, focus on your technique. That said, I barely have a gag-reflex these days, so if there’s anyone out there who wants to come and rub my heart from the inside, please get in touch.
If you could have just one super power what would it be?
Thanos’ power, or a variant thereof – where I could click my fingers and that person would vanish from all of existence. You get to get rid of people without all of the pesky murder charges, though sweeping up the ash would be a knacker. Old ladies stood in a cluster in the supermarket? Click. Someone looking at me funny? Click. Doctor explaining that I had RSI due to all the clicking? Click. There would be hardly anyone left by half three in the afternoon – though I’d like a second click to bring the person back, as I tend to react rashly (see above). Imagine how much grovelling I’d need to do to Paul for sending him to the nether-dimension just because he didn’t hang the bog-roll up right. Failing Thanos’ power, I’d like the ability to change people’s sexuality on a whim. Imagine the fun you could have with that? Old ladies stood in a cluster in the supermarket? Clack – scissoring time. Someone looking at me funny? Clack – they want to pedal my ears and make me pregnant. Doctor explaining that I had RSI due to all the dicking? Clack. Pfft, he’d have his mouth full.
If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life what would they be?
peanut butter Haagen Daaz;
Ibuprofen – a diet consisting strictly of the above two will lead to massive strain on my knees.
Where is the next travel destination? Do you ever think you’ll be bored of traveling? Do you avoid countries that are anti gay?
Three questions, what is this? Next travel destination is Canada. I’m sure we’ll get there some day…as for getting bored of travelling? How can you – the world is waiting and there’s so many places we want to go. Even in the UK alone we could holiday somewhere new every year and not get bored. Do we avoid anti-gay places? Yeah. Mostly. We would love to go to Russia, but it takes the shine off when you run the risk of having your face smashed up just for shagging a bloke. Well, it puts Paul off, I’m all about a gamble. For a good few years we used to holiday quite conservatively but Christ, you don’t want to get to your deathbed thinking you’d wish you had seen the world. We’re not sophisticated travellers – our luggage comes from George, we stay in cheapo hotels and we spend more time than is sensible sleeping when we get to destinations, but we’ve got so many memories now that how could it not be worth doing? 2019 will be the year of 14 holidays – we managed 10 in 2017 (still need to write them up!) – and we like a challenge.
What do you both do for a living?
Have you / would you do drag? What would your drag name be?
Done it once, I looked dreadful. Like Sonia and Sharon from Eastenders scrambled their eggs and shat out a baby that was raised in the forest. I had a cracking set of plastic tits mind, until someone put a cigarette out on my left boob. I’ve never felt less feminine. There’s a chap in a wheelchair who calls herself Sarah Palegic, which tickles me. I would absolutely love to see Paul in full drag just to see whether I’d be game for boffing him or not. He’s already got a smashing rack, he’s halfway there. I love proper drag – I’m not so keen on the ho-ho-Blackpool-drag that always gets wheeled out as a ‘shock’ on Come Dine with Me or Four in a Bed. Honestly, it’s at a point now where you just know that Clint / Gavin / Trent / [insert 70s porn name here, replacing Richard, Michael or Tom] is going to disappear upstairs, put on a Primark slip and come down as Ophelia Balls. The crowd went mild. Remember our trip to see Benidorm’s premier drag-act?
OK, that’ll do it for now. No more! NO MORE. Time for a quick pad thai, if you please.
You’re here for the coronation chicken pasta salad, and who can blame you? Lunch times – when you work – are one of the hardest meals to get right when you’re on Slimming World. There’s only so many times you can crack open a tupperware box of cherry tomatoes and unwrap a Hifi bar before you seriously contemplate pushing your face into your desk-fan and ending it all. No? Just me?
Well the good news is it’s just a quick post tonight as we’ve got boot-camp to go to and these tits aren’t going to heave themselves, are they? But I do have a quick question for all the cat lovers out there: is there a reason why a perfectly standoffish cat would certainly be all over me like bird crap o a just-washed car?
I ask because that’s exactly what has happened with Bowser, our tom cat with the torn ears. He’s gone from spending his life giving me disdainful looks and wiping his arse on the carpet (particularly galling – he’s fully wormed, so he’s doing it out of spite and/or copying Paul) to hanging around me all day, mewing and purring. He seems happy enough – no obvious pain, eating his food, constantly looking cheerful, he’s given up smoking – but I can’t deny it isn’t getting irritating.
Things came to a head today when I woke up with his tiny little anus about the distance of the thickness of a stamp away from my eyes. He had decided, in his infinite, faintly-Whiskers-scented wisdom, that the first thing I needed to see when I cracked my eyes open was an extreme close-up of what looked like a drought-hit reservoir. It took me a moment or two to work it out, and you can only imagine how pleased I was that I hadn’t assumed it was Paul coming in for a kiss.
I forgave him quick enough when he turned on his tractor-purr and started padding about. He means well, and anyway, who hasn’t been so proud of their own jail purse that they want to show their nearest and dearest? It’s why I’m not welcome at weddings.
However, I can forgive many things, but not using my scrotum as a pulling-up point. See, in his haste to get up on my shoulders, he decided to climb up me as I sat nude after the shower – and rather than using his feline athleticism to leap up onto the back of my chair as he has done so many times previously, he jumped up and implanted his claws right into my ball-sack on his way up.
I’m amazed that he didn’t explode Scanners-style, given how high-pitched and immediate my reaction was. He dashed out into the garden whilst I tried to work out how I’d gone from approving posts on facebook to staggering around with a punctured spunk-bunker. Thank god I don’t need to worry about my fertility.
Anyway. All is well. I sat on a bag of peas for a bit (Paul can have them in his dinner, they’ll come with free dental-floss for after) and thankfully, everything still seems to work. At 4pm the cat came back in and, looking as compunctious as a cat can be, spent the next hour rubbing against my legs and purring until I picked him up and placed him back on my shoulder.
Listen, you can chuck anything into a salad like this, but we've kept it simple. If you want to drop the syns, leave out the mango chutney or get rid of the sultanas, but listen: this makes six massive portions, and the syns make it so much better. You'll enjoy this coronation chicken pasta salad more for using proper ingredients, trust me.
You can leave out the chicken if you want to keep costs down!
500g of macaroni pasta
220g of Philadelphia Lightest (this is 2 HEAs - so you're using a third of your HEA...up to you if you just want to sneak it through - gasp!)
1 tablespoon of mild curry powder
4 tbsp of mango chutney (6 syns)
200g of fat-free natural yoghurt
50g sultanas (7 syns)
1/2 cucumber, deseeded and diced
2 celery sticks, diced
juice of half a lemon
two chicken breasts, cooked and diced/shredded (feel free to leave this out)
pinch of salt
So that's thirteen syns between six servings - let's call it two syns each. These are big portions!
well I mean, come on
cook the pasta, drain it and run a load of cold water through it so it doesn't stick
chop the celery, chicken and cucumber (remove the seeds)
mix everything together in a giant bowl
so how easy was that?
this will keep in the fridge for a few days, but good luck not picking away at it - ours didn't last more than two days...
we got the base of this recipe from BBC Good Food, and adapted it a little to add taste
I’m fully aware that we’ve had a bit of a run of lemon and oregano recipes but here me out with this grilled chicken – I’ve still got tonnes of that oregano my mate gave me and well, it’s coming up to Bank Holiday and time to get the BBQ out. So if you don’t like it, please feel free to pucker up and kiss my bum!
Just a very quick post today as lots to do, but I want to make a special plea to you lot following my bee-facts on Tuesday. If you’ve got a moment or two, pot up some nice bright flowers and stick them outside. Nothing fancy: a few flowers in a rusty beans can will do the job, hell, you can stick a lupin in your fundament for all I care, but let’s save the bees. We’re surrounded on our street by pristine laws of immaculate grass and mm-precision borders and it makes me sad: where are the bees to land if not on our dandelions? We’re deliberately letting the garden grow a bit wild, if only because it makes us laugh when some of the neighbours wince as they walk past. Now they know how I feel when I catch sight of their chinos and Daily Mail.
Seriously, it makes an amazing pesto for this recipe: spinach and wild garlic pesto pasta (3 syns). Though I recommend you choose the leafs away from the path, otherwise you’ll be accompanying your dinner with a light drizzle of dog piss.
This recipe for lemon and oregano grilled chicken is fresh from Martha Stewart's website, but that's OK, she probably stole it off someone else anyway. #topical
This recipe couldn't be easier, so even your hamfisted attempts at clarting about in the kitchen can't end in disaster. Make the marinade, leave it to sit and then grill it! BBQ or normal grill, who cares - end result is tasty chicken!
DON'T be tempted to skip the oil, for goodness sake. It adds a bit of succulence and for crying out loud, if you're having a BBQ, better to spend the syns on something tasty than an arseholes-and-eyelashes burger from Aldi? Yes?
as many chicken thighs as you want, though this makes enough marinade for about eight - boneless is better, but if you're alright with the thought of a bone in your mouth, and let's be honest we've all read the graffiti in the bogs which confirms that fact, go with the bone
2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest
120ml of lemon juice (fresh, mind, don't you be cheap about this)
2 tablespoons of olive oil (12 syns, which I've dividing between eight)
two tablespoons of fresh oregano if you have it (finely chopped) or dried if you're a Dismal Deirdre
good pinches of salt and ground pepper
fresh oregano sprigs if you're that way inclined
look, there's two ways of approaching this - make your choice:
I'm a hussy: OK, leave the skin on the chicken, it's tasty, but you should syn it...should...but well, you know...
I'm a nun: take off the skin, throw it in the bin, sob silently into your sleeve at what a monster you've become
whichever way you choose, prick the chicken all over with a fork
the next step is to combine all the ingredients together and give those chicken thighs a good rub, you saucy minx
leave to marinate for as long as you dare
BBQ for however long it takes for the juices to run clear and the internal temperature reaches over 74 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken
you can, of course, grill in the oven - same rules apply!
Serve with salad!
nothing fancy to report here, but if you're sick of chicken thighs don't worry - you can use chicken breasts just as well - we recommend Musclefood's chicken because it doesn't shrink away to an epiglottis-sized piece of nothing when you cook it. We have secured a deal with them which includes a crazy amount of chicken, along with other syn-free meats, and I suggest you take a look right here (oh and full disclosure, we get a tiny bit of commission: but remember our rule, it we don't rate it, we don't sell it)
we've got a Weber BBQ and love it - this one, actually - but honestly, you don't need to spend a lot of money on a BBQ - as long as it gets hot, that's all you need
buy a meat thermometer for your BBQing though - seriously - unless you're a fan of spending all weekend trying to stop your innards falling through your hoop! Amazon do a proper cheap number here!
My question to you is simple: why aren’t you making this? Want more chicken ideas? Then I, being a merciful Lord, will oblige:
Chicken and chorizo jambalaya: because you need an easy chicken recipe, and we need an easy life. So, not only have we found you possibly the easiest chicken recipe we’ve ever done, we’ve even done you a video!
We get a lot of feedback with people mentioning that it’s a faff on having lots of different deals all over the place and that they want just ‘pure’ meat, as opposed to flavourings and rubs and meatballs and sausages. So, with that in mind, we’ve revamped our Musclefood offering so that you can buy different sizes of our popular Freezer Filler deal – all three sizes will save you money on buying it in the supermarket and of course, it’s all syn-free. Up to you how you cook it!
So here it is: the ULTIMATE FREEZER FILLER SELECTION! There’s three packs here for you to choose from so there’s something for every budget. If you haven’t ordered from us before then what are you waiting for?! You’ll save a fortune compared to getting the same amount of stuff at the supermarkets, and not only are you getting a bargain but it all tastes nicer too. The chicken breasts are HUGE and won’t shrivel when you cook them, the beef isn’t like chewing on a dry tampon and the mince isn’t mushy! Seriously, give it a try – we promise you won’t look back! Everything in these packs are syn free!
You’ll save a fortune ordering from us compared to getting the same amount of stuff at the supermarkets and the bigger the pack, the more you save. Fill up your freezer and it’ll last you for ages!
Full disclosure: we get a small commission for the meat we sell – it doesn’t change the price you pay, but helps keep us in the gin, buttplugs and fancy living lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to.
Now for a sneak inside my box – here’s what you get in our deals. We did try and get Musclefood to call the boxes ‘mouse’s ear, wizard’s sleeve and hippo’s yawn‘ but apparently, that’s too off-brand:
This super easy chicken and chorizo jambalaya is a one-pot, quick cooking marvel: it tastes good, it's low in syns and if you're shite in the kitchen, you'll be able to knock this together without breaking a sweat. It's an all round good guy!
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 onion, chopped
200g frozen peas
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tbsp Morrison's No Fuss garlic paste (1 syn) (or mince your own garlic, you fancy sod)
100g chorizo, diced (12 syns)
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
250g long grain rice
400g tin of plum tomatoes
400ml chicken stock
if you haven't already, dice and chop up everything that you need to and set aside
spray a large pan with oil and pop over a medium-high heat
add the chicken and cook until no pink remains
next, add everything else and give a good stir - give the tomatoes a bit of a squash with the edge of the spoon so they break up a little bit and spread out
add the lid to the pan and simmer for 25 minutes
we used garlic paste for this because we ran out of proper garlic - if you're using garlic cloves you can knock a syn off
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.
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.
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.
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
We’ll get to the recipe for chicken and mushroom pie in a moment, but first…
One downside of this bad weather has been the fact that, for the third time in about eight years, I was forced to take a bus to work. A bus! I’m not one of those lazy snobs who call them peasant-wagons or walks around with my nose so high in the air that my snot freezes but you must understand that I can’t bear public transport. It’s not either people (for the most part) but rather the fact I like the Fortress of Solitude that is my crappy little DS3. I like to be able to sing without worrying that the bus driver is going to take such offence that he’ll drive us straight into a river. I like to be able to fart without having to go for the rigmarole of breaking wind and then looking owlishly around at everyone else as if to say ‘is someone burning hair?‘. I like to be able to colourfully swear at other people without the fear of having my teeth introduced to my uvula. And, let’s be honest, there’s no better feeling than a little toot on an impotent horn when someone cuts in front of you, no? MAKES ME FEEL LIKE A BIG MAN.
However, I can’t drive in snow, and frankly, another day cooped up working from home with Paul breathing noisily (indeed, at all) next to me was going to tip me over the edge, and so it was that I traipsed out into the snow and slush at ungodly-o-clock on Friday morning to do something I haven’t done in years: treat another human being with civility before 10am.
I arrived at the bus stop just in time to see a bus-full of sad faces sliding away down the street, a good ten minutes early. That’s fine, it would give me a good opportunity to wonder at my own nipples turning into masonry bits in the Baltic cold. I barely had time to consider throwing myself under a passing car like a modern Emily Davison before I was joined at the bus-stop by another group of people who look equally as pissed off as me that we had to go to work. Everyone had that thin-lipped, furrowed brow thing going on, possibly because they were all sharing my thought that everyone in that bus-stop had better not jump the queue. Naturally, none of us said a word to one another. I was positively itching to turn around, place my palms out in a welcoming gesture and say ‘Now you may be wondering why I’ve called you here today’ in a rich, pleasing baritone, but sadly no. We waited in silence for twenty six years.
Just as my lips were turning black and peeling away, salvation appeared: a bus! A lovely, shiny, green beacon of hope, belching diesel fumes as it slipped its way up the street. Given I was first at the bus stop I appointed myself Chief Bus Wrangler and stood in a nice prominent position to get the bus to stop. It didn’t. Well it did, more than a few yards down the road, and when I climbed on board the driver shouted at me for not sticking my hand out. Our bus-stop is served by one service, on a street with no shops or places of note. What did he think all eighteen of us were standing by the side of the road for? Perhaps he thought it was an impromptu meeting of the Timetable Worshipper Aficionado Tribe, or TWAT for short. Surely he could have taken a quick glance at my brisk office attire (which is the same as my gardening outfit, only I change my shoes) and assumed we would want a lift into town? Pfft.
It wasn’t even a ‘oh silly you’ telling off but a full-on bark at me – it seems unusual for a passenger to be thankful of the spit-guard but I was that morning, because I reckon I would have been spittle-flecked in no time at all. I apologised profusely, told him ‘I don’t usually get the bus’ (don’t worry, I came up with nineteen better retorts in my head later) and then, in my flustered state, managed to lock my phone. That’s bad because I now held him up for another minute or so whilst I tried desperately to get their stupid buggy app to open so he could see that I wasn’t trying to scam the bus company out of a few quid by getting on for free. The temperature behind me must have dropped suddenly because I could hear quite the cacophony of tutting, which I took to be their teeth chattering.
The bus ride itself was uneventful – I mean, it’s a bus journey, what more do you want me to say about it – but it afforded me the opportunity to be simultaneously burnt and frozen at the same time. Due to someone smelling of vegetables and cigarettes sitting beside me, I was pushed up against the side of the bus, meaning my left leg was resting straight on the nuclear reactor that is the bus heater. You’ve never lived until you’ve felt your bone marrow boiling in your leg. The pain was tempered by the fact that someone in front of me thought it was sensible to have the window open because, you know, who needs to worry about their sperm count? To be fair, I don’t: as long as it doesn’t come out like a line of Crest toothpaste I couldn’t care less. The combination of burning and freezing left me feeling like a chicken breast being defrosted in the microwave. Great! Thankfully, someone ignored their Britishness, got up, slammed the window shut. We all thanked him silently.
This only left one other concern. Condensation. I’ve never really considered it before, but when I’m moving my hands around on the window to get rid of the fog that has built up, I’m smearing my hands around in other people’s saliva, amongst other things, aren’t I? Is my science correct? I mean, my bus originates from Blyth – that spit is going to be 80% knock-off Golden Virginia, isn’t it? No wonder I was gasping for a tab when I got off, though I’m probably the first person in the world to develop emphysema from osmosis.
Sigh. At least this whole experience didn’t cost the Earth, eh? Only £18 for two days.
I console myself with eating good food. These one pot chicken and mushroom pie is just the ticket for a warm winter night! Get it made! And look – we’ve even got a video guide for you to cook along to! Let us know what you think – or, just scroll down for the text. We’re not really arsed.
one pot chicken and mushroom pie with proper pastry!
You might be tempted to forgo this recipe if you're trying to save your syns, but remember, you get 15 syns a day: and what better thing to spend them on then something tasty and delicious? This is a chicken and mushroom pie made in a frying pan which then goes in the oven: one-pot dish AND wonderful!
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 leek, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp tarragon
200ml chicken stock
105g Phildelphia Lightest (1x HeA)
2 good handfuls of frozen peas
150g sliced mushrooms
4 potatoes, diced
150g ready rolled light puff pastry (30 syns)
2 eggs, beaten
So, cut into four, this pie is 7.5 syns per serving. But cut into six and served with veg, it's only 5 syns! And it's worth it for that pastry, that sauce, that taste!
add the potatoes to a pan of cold water and bring to the boil
reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the potato is soft, then drain
meanwhile, spray a large oven-safe frying pan with a little oil and add the sliced leek
fry gently over a medium-high heat until soft
add the garlic and cook for another minute or so
add the chicken, mushrooms, tarragon, stock and philadelphia to the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
add the potato and peas to the pan and cook for another five minutes
remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool
next, preheat the oven to 180°c
drape the pastry over the top (cut off any excess) and crimp gently around the edge
brush with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden
remove from the oven and allow it to rest for a couple of minutes
dig in, serving with whatever the hell you want
top tips for making chicken in a frying pan pie
leftover roast potatoes will work like a dream in this too!
if you want to make a smaller pie you can do - just halve the recipe and use a smaller pan
Taster night five spice chicken skewers – there’s a lot of love in Chubby Towers for these – but as it is Valentines Day tomorrow, we’re having a night off! So no blog post, just a wee bit of admin – first of all a message, then the recipe.
That’s right folks: try another new and lovely recipe! You might find it sticks in your throat at first, but just relax, you’ll be fine, and you’ll end up enjoying it! And now, a recipe…
to make tasty five spice chicken skewers you will need:
400g chicken breast or thighs, thinly sliced
250g pineapple, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
1 green pepper, cut into chunks
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 tbsp five spice
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp black pepper
100ml soy sauce
8-10 wooden skewers (soak in water to stop them from burning)
top tips for making tasty five spice chicken skewers:
you can also cook these under the grill instead if you’d prefer, set it to medium-high and cook for ten minutes, turning frequently
yeah, technically you should syn the pineapple if you’re following the plan to the letter, but lets be honest – it’s not a huge amount of pineapple, it’s not getting mashed down or owt, no magical sugars are being created and frankly – life’s too short. We didn’t bother. You can if you like.
A rare beast tonight! With The Governess still unwell and me struggling away at the helm, we’re going to go straight to the recipe without a moment of delay. Enjoy!
This makes enough sticky sesame chicken for four people. This is known as General Tso’s chicken in America, if you’re curious. You can leave off the sesame seeds at the end if you absolutely must but they add a nice crunch!
to make instant pot sticky sesame chicken you will need:
Lemon chicken, if you don’t mind – but I do mind, because it’s my favourite dish and I want it now. James is still laid out with illness and, in between dabbing his fevered brow and attending to his every need *cough*, we still have to get a blog-post out. However, luckily, the other half writes out his holiday entries well in advance so when times are dry for things to write about, we can whack one of these up. To that end, if you’re here for the recipe and the recipe alone, click the button below to be whisked straight there. Or scroll until you see the food. I imagine that’ll pose no difficulties for most of you.
Thank goodness they’ve gone. I bet they own more television remotes than books, you know. Let’s go back to Stockholm!
Look, if we carry on at the rate we’re going, we’ll never leave Stockholm. We’ve got three more days there and frankly, if I keep spending 1000 words describing the type of coffee I enjoyed, we’ll never get anywhere. So let’s try something different: I’m going to write about the highlights of the trip in a loose, fudged-together timeline. If you’re like Rose and are displeased, I invite you to stop being such a surfitta-lit. Best not to google that one, though.
Skyview at the Ericsson Globe
First on the list was a trip on the Skyview – an external lift that goes up and over the Ericsson Globe arena down in the imaginatively named Stockholm Globe City district of Stockholm.
It’s like a Bond film without a budget!
You’ll know the Globe, I bet: it’s hosted the Eurovision Song Contest at least twice (fun fact: for three days after these events they don’t actually need to power the lifts – they rise up on the fug of amyl nitrate of their own accord) (and mysteriously, all the previously stuck doors just ease open to allow easy access) and there’s been all manner of big stadium concerts in there. And Shania Twain. We learned this fact by having to bear witness to the same Shania Twain five-second advert on loop whilst we stood in the queue for ten minutes waiting for tickets to be the first to board. No man should ever have to endure that much Shania Twain – I felt like I was 14 again, listening to my sister play ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’ for the eighty-seventh time. She’s a hard to please witch, isn’t she – Shania, not my sister: frankly, if there’s any rocket scientists out there with a car and fine hair, get in touch. I get impressed by a bloke who can eat his dinner without spilling a third of it on the carpet, much lower standards. We were second in the queue with only a wee Chinese grandma in front of us so we were guaranteed admission to the first pod and then we could be on our way.
Only, no; she bought tickets for 22, and out of the McDonalds over the road came a tour-bus of selfie-sticks, expensive winter wear and Marlboro Reds, pushing us back into the third pod. That meant twenty more minutes of Shania looping. If I close my eyes now I still see her fabulously-conditioned hair and Polo-mint-teeth burnt on my eyelids. Keeping things in perspective, I spent those twenty minutes staring at the suspension cable of their pod in the vain hope so much venom would melt the steel. It was our turn soon enough and I mean, it was good fun and affords you a pleasant enough view of the city, but nothing that the (much cheaper) TV tower earlier hadn’t done the day before. Plus, the clean freak in me wanted to open the pod and run a squeegee along the windows, they were absolutely hacky.
Twenty minutes is a long time to spend looking over the top of a mall and some distant buildings, though we were at least entertained by the three teenage girls who spent the entire twenty minutes posing in front of their phones. I swear, they couldn’t have looked out of the window once. Just how many shots do you need of:
sucking invisible spaghetti;
thousand yard stare;
oh my god spontaneous shot of me I promise but actually, it’s taken twelve minutes;
McDonalds eyebrows; and
GROUP OF GIRLS RIGHT hadehar
for your friggin’ Instagram? You know how I take photos of us? I point the camera somewhere north of our staircase of chins, and click take photo. Done. It’s that simple.
The ABBA museum
Next, the ABBA museum. Well, it had to be, didn’t it? We made our way via Sweden’s excellent underground rail system. First of all, they must have known I was coming because they put up some especially camp warning signs.
No mincing please
Secondly, our journey was greatly enlivened by the fact that a woman, clearly off her tits, stood up, started shouting in Swedish and then pissed herself at great length. Was it my aftershave? I don’t know, but we had to all get off at the next stop – her to clean herself up, me to wring the bottom of my jeans out. Poor lass pissed like a bloody racehorse. Luckily, we were close enough to walk to the Abba museum and it only took us ten minutes of sliding around on the ice to do so. Now, remember me telling you that Sweden is eye-wateringly expensive? I was in full gush when I paid for our tickets here: £44 for two. £44 to enter a museum! That’s not £44 for a sit down meal and a chance to try and talk Agnetha round, no no – just to give you access to the turntable. I mean, I know they’ve got to make their Money Money Money, but come on.
We paid up and went in and boom: something to make it all worthwhile. Who the hell knew that Benny was such a DILF back in the day? I mean now he looks like someone you’d see arguing with trees but back then, fuck me – lucky I hadn’t spotted him yesterday, or else it really would have been The Day Before You Came. I was quite taken – all sorts of shirtless photos and videos plastered the walls – at least I had somewhere to hang my multi-language headset, I suppose.
He’d be Benny, Paul and I would be the Jets
And actually, despite the shafting at the start, the museum was excellent – very thorough, detailed and interactive. Almost too interactive actually: there were booths you could nip into and do karaoke without people being able to hear you. We elected to give Mamma Mia a bash and thought we sounded great until we listened back later on via their website and it sounds like a livestream from a condemned abattoir. You know how you think you can sing in the shower? You can’t. I’m surprised they didn’t ask us to leave.
Make just one swap in this photo and it’ll match the thumbnail of at least two of our xtube videos. Just saying.
It only got worse – we rounded a corner to find the next exhibition was where you could get up on stage and sing along as the 5th member of ABBA whilst they superimposed the other four alongside us. FLABBA, if you prefer. I said we couldn’t, but the museum worker was very persuasive – she literally said you can dance, you can jive. I tried to explain that I dance like my feet are on fire and she replied ‘Dancing Queen’. I retorted by calling her a homophobic blonde bitch.
I jest, on we went – there was no-one about anyway bar her and I’m sure she’s seen two eighteen-stone Geordies pretending to be Abba before. Who hasn’t? I’m sure it was a storyline in an episode of Vera – if it wasn’t then it bloody should have been, because we absolutely murdered the song. Of course, no sooner had we started caterwauling and shuffling around like sad bears in a rubbish zoo than a gaggle of other gay men – all stylish and shrieking – came round the corner and started giving us bitchy appraising looks. Honestly, the collective effect of them pursing their lips at the same time pulled at my eyelashes. The curator had the good grace to at least shut the music off after a minute rather than making us do a full set. We slunk off stage like the fat national embarrassment that we were and we hadn’t even went through the exit doors before André, B’Michael, Brandonael and A’Joseph were belting out Does Your Mother Know.
The rest of the museum was awash with dresses, videos, quizzes and all sorts of memorabilia. Yes: far too expensive, but worth it. I mean, it’s Abba.
Putting at least one syllable into country singer
Eating and drinking
We spent more than a couple of lovely hours in the Ardbeg Embassy tasting all the various beers they had to offer. Listen, when a beard with a man hanging off it offers you a giant glass of ‘Just Don’t Call Me Brett’ or ‘Cellar Troll’, you just don’t say no.
Always wondered what happened to Casualty’s Clive Mantle, and now we know – he’s ordering a pint in Sweden
What started as a ‘quick drink’ became an elongated ‘work our way down the list’ until we were a) smashed and b) poor. Fifteen quid for two pints, remember.
Drunk and beholden to our empty stomachs, we ventured out to find food, only to stumble into the first place with an open door that we found – Sally’s, next door. It was delicious. You know how good food tastes when you’re steaming and hungry? That, but coupled with big doughy flatbreads and good cheese – you need to understand that I haven’t had bread for several months at this point and I’m not kidding when I say my side of the table lifted up a fair few inches when they brought it out. Almost spilled my wine.
I want this again.
Oh and because it was Christmas, I had the reindeer carpaccio for starters. They even stuck a little red tomato on the plate in what I thought was a rather cruel jibe at poor Rudolph. Christmas is cancelled and I’m turning it into poo.
This was better than it looks.
The 3am graffiti
At some point we were tucked up in bed, doing our best to keep the hotel awake with our beer-smothered snoring, when I got up for a gypsy’s kiss and noticed that for the first time in the entire holiday, it was proper snowing. Not that stupid vicar’s dandruff sort of snow we get, but big thick flakes of it, all settling merrily on the ground. You need to understand that we went to Iceland, Switzerland and Copenhagen in winter and saw barely any snow so this was a big deal, so much so that I woke up Paul by throwing water in his face (accidentally, I knocked over his bedside glass in the excitement – I haven’t taken to waterboarding him in his sleep – yet) and got him out of bed. We dressed in all the fabulous winter attire we had brought and thought we wouldn’t need and dashed out to play in the snow like the two big kids we are. The city was asleep, we had to place to ourselves – I managed to sneak in some free advertising:
I was going to try and put other SW blogs on there but I didn’t have time to draw out the eight adverts necessary to go with it.
We made our way down into a small square that was absolutely pristine with snow – a complete blank canvas.
This IS…ART ATTACK!
It took less than a nanosecond before we were both studiously working on writing out the most offensive swearword we could in the biggest letters our legs would allow. Unhappily, I was only a third of the way through the ‘N’ when two police officers came over to see what all the gleeful screaming was about. You’ve never seen someone turn a nine foot capital ‘N’ into a ‘B’ and a tiny ‘S’ quicker than me that night – I was like Michael Flatley on ice. They asked what we were doing and I lied through my teeth to try and explain we were making a giant version of our logo – it was only when I showed them twochubbycubs on my phone that they understood.
Now in a normal situation both Paul and I would have been well-up with being bundled into the back of a van by two tattooed, bearded, uniformed men and roughly manhandled, indeed, we call it a successful night at Washington Services round here, but not that night – it was that cold that my testicles were rolling around in my scrotum like peas at the bottom of the freezer. Any ejaculate would have slid out like a Mini Milk, so even I didn’t bother making the ‘whatever can I do, officer’ fluttering eyes/arse at them.
A mite embarrassed, we returned to our beds.
Paul does have a chin – he has a collection, actually – it’s just the lighting
Seems like a good place to leave it!
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Let’s do the lemon chicken recipe then. This makes enough for four large portions, and if there’s anyone who can handle a large portion, it’s YOU!
to make our best ever lemon chicken fakeaway, you’ll need:
four chicken breasts, big and fat, cut into chunks
3 tbsp of light soy sauce
2 tbsp of rice vinegar
pinch of salt and pepper
175ml chicken stock
75ml lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
2 tbsp of honey (5 syns)
1 tbsp of cornflour (1 syn)
top tips for our best ever lemon chicken fakeaway:
if you’re using fresh lemons – and you should – pierce them a couple of times, stick them in the microwave for fifteen seconds and then juice them – you’ll get so much more juice – we use one of these, but you can just use your hands – not posh!
serve with rice or whatever you like, and we can confirm this freezes well!
to make our best ever lemon chicken fakeaway, you should:
in a bowl, add the chicken chunks to the soy sauce and vinegar and make sure every piece is covered – longer you leave it, the better it will be
when you’re ready to cook, cook the chicken off in a pan until it is cooked through
mix together the chicken stock, lemon juice, honey and cornflour and then tip into the pan with the chicken and cook until it has all thickened up
serve with rice and finely grated lemon rind
Easy peasy! We’ve done loads of fakeaways lately, take a look: