our best ever mixed chow mein recipe

Now, you can have a mixed chow mein, or you can keep it simple with a plain chicken chow mein, but either way, this is possibly my favourite recipe that we have done in a while. Mixed chow mein is easily the one dish I order most from the Chinese takeaway – well, that and trapped wind – and so to make a perfect replica of it, well say no more fam. Or something. Scroll down for the recipe, or…

Indulge me for a moment. I had a right strop the other day about that stupid TUI advert with the silly woman hyperventilating through ‘Ain’t Nobody’ like an anxiety attack given a melody. Well, working from home on a Monday means that I have to run the gamut of daytime advertising – I like to have the TV on as background noise because a) it blocks out my tinnitus and b) daytime TV makes me feel better about my own life choices. For example, on a Jeremy Kyle catch-up this morning, they were arguing about whether someone had shat in a fridge.

Just let that sink in for a moment. I can’t conceive of any situation in my life that might end up with someone shitting in my fridge. Can you? I mean, we have one of those giant American fridges, you could take the shelves out and build a rudimentary portaloo, but even then I don’t know a single soul who, however drunk they got, would think that was a viable option for relieving themselves. So not only do you have a gaggle of inbred mouthbreathers with a shitty fridge, they think the best thing to do to clear it up (use Flash and warm water, surely) is to go on national TV to be soaked in indignant spittle and to show off your Thorntons Fudge Selection teeth to a judgemental nation. I could have a bomb up my arse and Jeremy Kyle could hold the defusing code and I’d still rather die than sit in the back with Graham awaiting my turn to bound on effing and jeffing. The mind boggles.

But anyway, this isn’t about Jeremy Kyle. I want to kvetch on about adverts again. Top of the list is the Nationwide adverts, and I don’t care that I bank with them, they can take all my money away if it means I’m never subjected to Toni Collette’s stand-in and Sharon Watt’s double singing their cutesy-poo wee ditties and playing the keyboard. Why? Some clever sort will doubtless say the advert works because I have remembered it but that’s like saying Anusol is wonderful because I once bought a tube of it back in 2008. It’s a negative memory: I don’t buy it now just for the nostalgia. This advert has done the opposite – it’s made me get off my fat arse and finally get around to switching banks over to First Direct who, although they overdo the ‘bants’ side of things, at least don’t have adverts that make me want to push my face into a thresher.

Next on the list: WHAT’S THAT? YOU HAVEN’T CLAIMED FOR YOUR MIS-SOLD PPI? You know the one, smarmy streak of piss in a shiny suit asking you whether you can afford to miss out on thooousands of pounds. Gladstone Brookes, I believe – you would think with all the money they’re raking in from charging a significant fee for something that people could easily do themselves that perhaps they’d fund a better advert, but no. I hate his incredulous tone and overacting and stupid beady eyes to the point where I’d like to kick a hole in my TV and send them the invoice. With knobhead protection insurance included, of course.

Surely the king of irritation – an almost superhuman level of advertising thrush, if you will – is the friggin’ Shpock advert though. For a start, shpock is a shite name for a company – the fact I had to google it to work out how to spell it says enough. What kind of word is shpock anyway? It sounds like something that would be forming in a drip on the end of a diseased penis – look at that, you’ve left a smear of shpock all over our bedspread, for example. According to their advert, it’s like having a boot sale in your pocket. Well whoopity-doo. The last time we went to a car-boot sale it was dreadful – people selling used ashtrays and dirty clothes and urgh. If you go by their advert the app will be full of fancy bikes, cars, beautiful people and distressed furniture. I loaded it up to try and shift my giant shirts and found it awash with such levels of illiteracy that I thought I’d somehow switched my language settings to Russian. There wasn’t a thing on there I would even entertain having in my house, and that’s just the sellers. It was deleted quicker than the time I accidentally downloaded Snapchat. I mean, I’m not a 14 year old girl.

OK one final gripe. Gambling adverts. Why are these allowed? Have you tried watching ITV2 or Challenge or Sky Sports in the evening? You can’t move for flashy adverts advertising betting or bingo sites and frankly, you’d be absolutely buggered if you had a gambling problem. They don’t allow adverts for cigarettes, so why something as addictive as gambling? And it’s always such a bullshit advert – sexy people playing in glamorous virtual casinos, all sultry stares and coquettish laughter and massive wins. I’d admire any company that portrayed the grim reality of someone sat in yesterday’s clothes, unshaved, unwashed, desperately clicking the spin button over and over and over in the hope of winning back a tenth of what they’ve been encouraged to gamble away if only so they can keep the wolves away from the door for another few days. They say that ‘when the fun stops, stop’, and then they play their adverts over and over and over. How does that work then?

In fact, I’d go as far to say that these are the worst adverts of all. They have the power to absolutely destroy lives, and they’re sandwiched repeatedly between bloody Love Island repeats. As if that shower of shits wasn’t bad enough.


I feel better for that! Right, let’s do this mixed chow mein. Remember, you can use whatever meat you want – we used leftover pieces from all the fakeaway recipes we’ve been cooking lately, and of course you could use prawns but why would you? They’re bloody awful. It’s as simple as that. This makes enough for four massive portions – we portioned it up (for once) and put some in the freezer.

Have no fear though, we took it back out again ten minutes later and ate it. I mean, we’re not called twochubbycubs for nothing, you know. Let’s do this. Don’t be tempted to leave out the oil – between four, it’s 1.5 syns each – think how many syns your normal takeaway would be. It’s worth it for the taste. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it really isn’t!

mixed chow mein

mixed chow mein

to make a mixed chow mein, you’ll need:

  • whatever meat you want – we used scraps of beef, some char sui pork and two chicken breasts, but honestly, there’s no rhyme or reason – if it’s already cooked, you’ll just need to warm it through in the instructions below, but if it is raw, make sure you cook it well
  • two or three nests of dried noodles
  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • one large onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of beansprouts
  • one bunch of spring onions – sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (1 syn)
  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (6 syns)
  • one large red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons of oyster sauce (free – yes, I was surprised too – and it doesn’t taste fishy, don’t worry)
  • 1 teaspoon of cornflour (1 syn)

So in total that makes eight syns: 2 syns each for a giant portion!

top tips for a mixed chow mein:

to make a mixed chow mein, you should:

  • mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of the dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the light soy sauce, 2 tablespoon of the oyster sauce and pour over whatever meat you’re using to marinate for a few hours
  • cook your noodles according to the instructions and then when cooked, run under cold water to stop them sticking
  • heat the oil in your pan and either heat your cooked meat or cook off your raw meat
  • take the meat out and throw in the onion, minced garlic, pepper spring onion, pepper and beansprouts and cook high and hard to soften everything
  • add the meat back in with the remainder of the wet ingredients (and the marinade you have left over, if you’ve kept it) and then add the noodles – stir everything through until the noodles are piping hot, then serve
  • want it saucier? Don’t we all – just add more oyster sauce!

How good does that look, honestly? Want more fakeaway recipes? Hit the links below!

Remember to share!

J

syn-free chicken jalfrezi, and it’s time to talk

Syn-free chicken jalfrezi – our streak of ‘what you pick up after a night out’ (aside from undetectable chlamydia, hussy) meals continues without any sign of stopping! But before we get to it, an important message. Long time readers of the blog will probably have heard this before, but bear with me – it’s Time To Talk day.

What’s Time to Talk Day I hear you mutter, in that alley-cat hiss of yours. It’s really terribly simple: it’s a day put out there to encourage everyone to talk about mental health, to hopefully try and reduce the stigma and suffering of anyone out there with mental health issues. It’s about being open and honest and non-judgemental and it’s a day that shouldn’t be needed, but sadly is.

Some of you may know that I (James) have a mental health problem: I have health anxiety. Whilst in all honesty it hasn’t bothered me significantly for a good couple of years now, it’s only because I have built my own systems for keeping it in check. Health anxiety is when your brain becomes consumed with the idea that there is something fatally wrong with you: a headache is a brain tumour, pins and needles in your arm is the beginning of motor neurone disease. At my worst, I was convinced I was going deaf and blind because my vision was a bit shaky and I was struggling to hear. Even my ovaries ached at one point.

Health anxiety is an especially cruel beast because anxiety forces the body to react in a ‘fight or flight’ mode all the friggin’ time – so your muscles ache from sitting tensed up, your head hurts from your mind going a-mile-a-minute, your eyes are irritable because you’ve been up all night fretting – and then all of those aches and pains feed back into your worries and you become sure that you are actually suffering with an illness and it really can’t be all in your head and anyway, what do the doctors know because fuck it, I’ve found my disease on google. It’s an endless, cruel, feedback loop.

Only it isn’t endless, not at all. At my worst I thought that my life was over – even if I wasn’t actually physically ill, my mind would never rest again – I’d be alright until the next crisis and then back to wobbling and feeling like warmed through shit. You have no idea how exhausting it is dying every single day. However, right now, I barely worry. I barely give twinges and aches and pains the slightest thought, and if I do concentrate on them, it’s because they actually hurt and they’ll go away. Which, touchwood, they always do. I’m actually a very healthy young man who has been supremely lucky in his life not to be beset by something tragic. I concentrate on that now, rather than wishing my life away. Hell, I knew I had overcome the worst of my health anxiety when I went for a shite the other day, noticed it was almost bright red and, rather than sorting out my will and ringing for an ambulance because my bowels were turning into a cancer-soup, simply remembered I’d knocked back a whole jar of pickled beetroot the night before. See: now I’m just a fat fucker, as opposed to a dying one.

So what helped? It’s hard to actually say, because what helped me may not help you. That’s the way things are – no two minds are the same (plus my mind is probably riddled with prions turning it to crumpet thanks to my mother’s predilection for cheap beef in the 80s). But, put succinctly, I trained myself not to care. I took the view that if I had MS or Parkinsons or motor neurone disease or toxic shock syndrome or blood cancer or feline aids or mad cow disease or a club foot or rabies then sitting rocking in my chair in front of Jeremy Kyle and sobbing wasn’t going to fix a damn thing. I had all of those and that’s that. So, before my legs turned to playdoh and my mind became a mist of memories, better to get out and enjoy things again. And that’s what I did: I forced myself out. I forced myself to socialise, I forced myself to ring the doctors ‘tomorrow’, and then made sure that tomorrow never switched from future to present. I’d go a bit further and a bit longer before giving in.

Of course it was hard – at times impossible – but progress was made. If you’re convinced in your mind that you have leg weakness, for example, pick up a football and punt it as far as you can, preferably through a neighbour’s window so you have to leg it afterwards. If you think you can’t remember, pull up the best ever sex you’ve ever had from your wank-bank and visualise it in explicit, squelching detail. I guarantee you’ll remember some small detail, but don’t feel down on yourself, that’s just what God gave you. Test yourself not by thinking about what you can’t do but instead what you can. Positive reinforcement instead of negative. It sounds wank and like I say, may not work for you – but when I got to the end of a week without ringing the doctors I felt ten times better than the ‘relief’ I felt from hearing a doctor telling me for the nineteenth time that I wasn’t leaving the surgery in a body-bag. Try it.

The other factor that helped me was having a decent support network. I’m very lucky: I have a husband who would sit and be patient with my wailing and whingeing – he never rolled his eyes at me or told me I was being stupid. He never shook me like that hysterical woman from Airplane. He may have wanted to – I cringe when I think I used to wake him up in the dead of night because my heart was racing (from anxiety, not the heart disease I then suspected) but he was lovely and kind and patient and exactly the type of rock you need to build a stable future on. Plus he’s fat and squashy, which acted like a stress ball during the worst of it.

I told my mum what was happening at the time and, although more blunt and honest with me, she was also incredibly supportive. She reassured me it would pass, that my worries would ease and my mind would clear, and it did. Mums are always right. Nearly always. I told a few friends but not many – I’m far more private than my 2,000,000 words and counting personal blog suggests – and it was interesting how many of them also suffered with mental health or knew someone that did. It isn’t the ‘just me’ problem you may think it is, you know, and the more that we are honest and open and brave about discussing it, the less power it has. The less shame is felt. More people will talk about it rather than bottling it up thinking it is something to be ashamed about. You wouldn’t feel embarrassed about going out with a broken leg, unless someone wrote that you were a bellend on your cast. Why feel bad about a broken mind?

I’m rambling, which is probably a symptom of my early-onset dementia. But if you take anything from this nonsense, it’s this – if you’re unwell at the minute, open up to someone – a friend, family, a co-worker you can trust. Don’t have those? Look at websites like Time to Change for resources, or www.mind.co.uk, or talk to the doctors. Yes, it’s a bit of a crap-shoot at the moment with the NHS’s approach to mental health, but we know who to blame for that. But something is better than nothing. If you’re on the other side of the coin, feel good – and be prepared to listen. Don’t tut. Don’t roll your eyes. Be honest with the person pouring out their heart to you – you don’t need to patronise or say ‘there there’ (because what the fuck does that even mean?) but feel free to be candid (but not cruel). Never tell someone they’re worrying over nothing and to buck the fuck up, because that isn’t how it works – no-one chooses to be mentally unwell and there isn’t a switch.

But, to end on a ridiculously cheesy note: there’s always hope. It might be hidden under a pile of black, steamy turd, but it’ll be there, and it’ll come through. Recovery might take weeks, months, years or never, but you’ll cope. You always have so far.


CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN SWIM EVERY SEA! And to think you just came for a syn-free chicken jalfrezi. I am sorry, but that was important. Let’s do the recipe, shall we? It’s a piece of piss, no doubt about that. This is a recipe by Simon Rimmer so yes, unfortanately, that means you’ll be getting….RIMMER? I BARELY KNEW ‘ER. Eh? You having that? Hello?!

syn-free chicken jalfrezi

syn-free chicken jalfrezi

to make a syn-free chicken jalfrezi, you’ll need:

  • one onion, peeled and chopped
  • one teaspoon of chilli powder
  • three teaspoons of tasty, tasty turmeric
  • a good pinch of salt
  • four big fat chicken breasts, the kind of dirtypillows yer mother would tell you off for, chopped into chunks
  • one tin of chopped tomatoes
  • one teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (see my comment about your knob down below)
  • two cloves of freshly grated garlic
  • three teaspoons of cumin
  • three teaspoons of coriander
  • one big fat lemon
  • we served ours with chips – remember we have an easy guide to making your own here

top tips for a syn-free chicken jalfrezi:

  • if you’re using ginger, don’t keep buying fresh – buy a big knob and keep it in the freezer until you need it, then just use a microplane (no need to peel) to get what you need without even needing to defrost – we love our microplane, as well you know, and you can buy one here
  • the chicken from musclefood is consistently good – it doesn’t waste away to a watery epididymis unlike supermarket chicken – so buy yourself a massive pack at a decent price by clicking here and taking advantage of our unique deals
  • a good oil mister is perfect for this one – this is what we recommend
  • it might look like a lot of spices but these are all staples you should have in – remember, don’t buy in the spices aisle at Tesco, go find the world foods aisle and you’ll get so much more for the same price

to make a syn-free chicken jalfrezi, you should:

  • spray a good decent heavy pan with some oil and gently sweat the onions and garlic off until the onions are golden
  • mix the chilli, turmeric and salt together in a bowl and then toss the chicken pieces in – make sure they get covered evenly
  • put the spicy chicken in the pan and cook through – a good ten to fifteen minutes
  • stir the tomatoes, ginger, cumin and coriander into the pan and reduce the heat until it’s bubbling nicely
  • cook with the lid on for about twenty minutes until it has reduced down and if it’s looking a bit too thick, add a splash of water
  • now: if you’re feeling decadent, you add butter at the end: 25g is nine syns, so between four that’s just over 2 syns each! Just stir it in before serving, together with the juice of a lemon
  • serve with chips, rice or panache

 

Easy and syn free! I mean, what more could you desire?

Want more curries? I’d be delighted to assist.

J

chicken dopiaza: syn-free, easy to make gorgeous curry

Your chicken dopiaza will follow in a moment. But first, I was listening to a very interesting podcast all about regret this morning on my way into work. It was particularly befitting, as I was regretting my choice to walk in, regretting my choice to wake up in the morning and especially regretting letting someone go in front of me at the gate to the town moor, as it then meant I had twenty minutes half-walking-half-hanging-back otherwise their lycra-clad lumpen arse was filling my field of vision. I don’t have many regrets – what’s the use? I’m not Doctor Who, can’t turn the clock back (trust me, if I could, I’d go back fifteen years and tell myself not to cut off all that fabulous hair I used to have, even if a good third was missing from setting it on fire lighting a cigarette from a gas hob), so why worry? But that said, because I’m in the mood to write tonight, let me tell you about just a few things in life that I do lament.

#1: meeting Paul

Eeee no, of course not, I’m joking. We fit together like the square and the l shaped in Tetris. I very much doubt there is another man with cracking tits out there who would cheerfully put up with my arse-of-death and histrionics every morning.

#2: spending three years of my life looking like the bastard offspring of The Scottish Widow and Bubble from Big Brother 2

Let me explain. I’ve always been an up-and-down-dieter: sometimes I’m fat, sometimes I’m thin, sometimes when we touch the honesty is too much. But, after losing a hefty amount of weight in my teenage years, I couldn’t overcome the acute embarrassment I had about my big fat wobbly body – despite being only 13 stone – and so I dressed for about three years solid in a giant black wool coat that a friend bought me (little did I know) from the ladies section of C&A. I adored that coat – long, swooshing and magnificent – I’d cut about the village I grew up in like the gayest spectre of death you’d ever seen. I was by no means a goth: I was too clumsy for eyeliner, too cheerful for Livejournal poetry. But what people mistook for vivacious fashion sense (dry cough) was actually masking the desire to hide my body away in the biggest cloak I could find. Looking back at photos I’m left mortified – in 99% of them I’m wearing 28″ waist jeans and a coat that you could comfortably cover a Renault Passat with in a cold frost. In short: I look like a twat. You know what compounds the look though? I found a black bucket hat in a hedge one day and loved it that much that I took it home, washed it and never took it off again. I honestly shiver when I see it now.

And yet you know, it’s funny: I couldn’t give a toss what people think of me now. I wear what I want, most of my holiday photographs have some form of nudity in it with either my fat arse or my rack on show, and you know what? I’m all the better for it.

#3: I wish I’d bothered learning to drive sooner

I grew up in a tiny village in the middle of Northumberland with one bus connection and a kitchen outlet store. It wasn’t exactly a den of homosexuality, though I did alright on that front due to the various ‘friends from school’ I had over. But still, whenever I drive home nowadays and see all those lorries parked up, all those fun little country lanes, all those crashes with van drivers where someone gets rear-ended or has their bumper pushed in from the back…well, it’s hard not to feel like I’ve missed a glorious opportunity. But see I moved out at 18 into the centre of Newcastle and the need to drive never really came up – now it’s my most favourite thing in the world. I’d cheerfully be a lorry driver if I thought my back was up to lifting suspect rolls of carpet into ditches, but no, that time has passed. I only learned to drive at the age of 27, though I fear I’ve subtracted eighteen years of my life due to damage to my heart from getting so wound up about other drivers since then. Life’s a balance.

#4: buying cheap batteries

I let Paul convince me that buying 64 AA batteries from IKEA would be a safe bet, simply because we go through them at such a rate of knots that people think we’re road-testers for Ann Summers – which is ridiculous, because all of our sex-toys are wired straight into the fuse-board. They’ll be fine, he said, slipping lurid packets of bright yellow into our trolley. Well they’re bloody well not. I seem to spend a good third of my day sliding the plates off the back of my keyboard, remotes, magic mouse, doorbell, ped-egg and Xbox controllers because the batteries inside couldn’t power a mouse’s kettle. It’s like they’re filled with mist. What makes it worse is that our Nest smoke alarm is battery-powered. It doesn’t just beep – oh no – it shrieks, in that cold robotic voice – THE BATTERIES ARE LOW. PLEASE REPLACE THE BATTERIES, which is just what you need to wrench you from sleep at 4am in the morning. Oh and if you ignore her she ups the ante considerably: she decided to warn us that there was smoke in the hallway the last time we were in Lidl, meaning us screaming back home in the Smart Car only to find it was just her malfunctioning. Internet of Things will change your life they say. Aye, they’re not wrong: I’ve developed generalised anxiety disorder every time I hear an electronic chirp. Twitter is hell.

#5: arguing with sucker-lipped thick idiots on Facebook about manners

I know I’ve mentioned this before but honestly, I can’t help myself. I’m in a group which asks people to say please and thank you when they request help from others. The fact that it even needs to be specified boils my piss as it is, but I’m always first to point out if someone’s being an ill-mannered dick. The amount of folks who think it’s appropriate to hold up some knock-off yoghurt and say SINS without so much as a kiss-my-arse is mind-boggling. I appreciate that we’re not in church but good manners costs fuck all. Put that on a tea-towel and wipe your fadge with it. So as you can expect, I end up in all sorts of arguments with people with faces dusted with Wotsit-powder and lips like a bee-stung arsehole who say stuff like WE ARE NOT KIDS (but you are! You always are! Just because you’ve got two babies and an Elizabeth Duke pay-as-you-go engagement ring doesn’t mean you’re not 17) and THIS IS WURST THAN SCHOOL (how would you know?) and then THE ADMIN R WORSER THAN HITLER. That’s the best one: you’re compared to a man responsible for the gassing of millions of folks simply because you’ve got the cheek to expect a please before helping out. And THAT’S my regret: that I bother arguing. Have you ever tried arguing with a thick/entitled person on the Internet? You’d get a more reasoned discussion by lifting up the cat’s tail and bellowing direct into her pouting vulva. All they do is respond with an attempt at insulting you (it’s hard to take offence when you can’t decipher their spelling) and then so many crappy emoticons that it’s like watching The Emoji Movie in a haunted hall of mirrors. You can’t make someone see sense – you can lead a horse to water, but you have to strongly resist the urge to push their head under until all you’re left with is a bloated cadaver, a neck tattoo of a badly-spelled take on the name of a Love Island contestant and a scum of Paul’s Boutique foundation floating on the water.

So yes: I regret trying to encourage people to use manners.

And you know, that’s about it. It really is. As I said, what’s the use in regret? It gets you nowhere, you can’t change what has happened and most of all, it tethers you to the past when you should be moving forward.

Speaking of moving forward, let’s do this chicken dopiaza recipe – if you’re here for a good curry recipe, a chicken dopiaza is absolutely perfect. Promise you that this is easy to make, tasty and very customisable! It’s quite a mellow dish but you can make it as spicy as your little ring will handle!

chicken dopiaza

chicken dopiaza

to make chicken dopiaza you will need:

  • 500g chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or chilli powder)
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 5 tomatoes, chopped

top tips for chicken dopiaza

to make chicken dopiaza you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray in some oil
  • sprinkle the cumin seeds into the pan and stir until they start to pop – which’ll take about 20-40 seconds
  • stir in the onion and cook until starting to turn brown
  • add all the spices, ginger, tomatoes and garlic and stir well – cook for another couple of minutes
  • use a stick blender to gently blend all the mixture together until smooth
  • put the pan back over the heat and add the chicken
  • bring the whole lot to a simmer and cook for about twenty minutes or so – slosh in some water if it starts to thicken too much
  • if you want, slice another onion and quick fry with a little oil in a pan – optional but tasty!

Are you a spicy bird? We’ve got loads of curry recipes!

J

super sticky mushrooms (or chicken) one-pot

A super quick fakeaway dinner of sticky mushrooms tonight because it’s boot camp in an hour or so and I need to go put on my industrial-strength Lanacane with a paint roller. Honestly, you could fry an egg on my thighs after boot-camp, which to be fair would go remarkably well with the scent of bacon that pervades. Cor, stinks in ‘ere, dunnit!

Anyway I’m terrifically excited. You know how last year was the year of mini holidays? This is the year of the beast, and we’ve finally agreed it with work, booked the flights and figured out how we’re going to look after the cats – we’ve decided to spend the next few months training them how to use the electric tin opener and leave them a slab of Whiskas. We’re going somewhere we’ve always wanted to go but never found the time: OH CANADAAAAAAA! Yes! It’s like Cub Heaven: it’s cool in temperature, hot in bearded-men stakes and full of beauty. If we happen to catch the eye of some bearish mountain daddy who wants to keep us both and take us logging, both literally and euphemistically you understand, then so be it.

You know the best bit? We’re turning left on the plane. That’s right, the pilots have read all my witty comments about having a go at the controls and said, you know what, he’s seen enough episodes of Air Crash Investigation, he knows what the flaps do, let’s give it a whirl. No, I’ve actually just come off the phone with an incredibly helpful agent who managed to get us into first class both ways (proper first class, mind) for pretty much the same price as premium economy. I was breathing that heavily with excitement that he patched me through to 111 thinking I was having chest pains. We’ve flown first before but not for 10 hours and not on the massive A380. I don’t doubt that I’ll make a tit of myself within ten minutes by blowing cheese pasty crumbs across the floor and breaking wind as they hand me my pyjamas but what can you do? I’m just upset that poor Cilla Black carked it because I would have loved to have pushed her out of her seat.

Now we’re not boasting or showing off here – we save up all year for our holiday and forgo all of life’s little pleasures to get there – we don’t smoke, don’t do drugs and only drink alcohol every other hour. We tried prostituting Paul but he just came back with a runny nose and an empty wallet. Anyway listen – it’s going to make for an absolutely blinding set of travel posts, so look forward to it!

Speaking of looking forward, I bet you’re just wishing I’d shut the hell up and get to the sticky mushrooms. Of course! This is a veggie recipe but you could very easily swap in some chicken or beef – but actually, the mushrooms work just fine on their own. Trust me! Plus if you’re in the mood for something quick and tasty, this will really hit the spot because you can make it in less time than it takes to cook the rice. You don’t need to serve it in quite such a froufrou fashion as me, either, but I remind you: I am homosexual.

sticky mushrooms

sticky mushrooms

to make super sticky mushrooms you’ll need:

  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • 400g of mushrooms – now, get a good mix (the oriental selection in Tesco is absolutely perfect) of types and flavours and chop them up to a good uniform size – don’t just get boring plain mushrooms, you need the flavour
  • 4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar (please, don’t use sweetener – you could, but it’ll ruin the taste of the dish) (3 syns) or swap for honey (1 tbsp – 2.5 syns)
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • serve with steamed rice, sliced radishes and chopped spring onions, or whatever veg and rice you want!

top tips:

  • if you want to use chicken, you may need to add about 50ml of stock – the mushrooms release a lot of water which is what creates the sticky sauce
  • keep the chicken chopped nice and small
  • mince your garlic with a little mincer and stop your fingers reeking
  • seriously don’t use sweetener – this’ll taste so much better with proper sugar!
  • this serves two

to make super sticky mushrooms you should:

  • get a good solid pan out of the cupboard and start cooking your rice – this dish only takes about fifteen minutes or so
  • spray with a Gina G of oil (ooh-aah just a little bit)
  • add your minced garlic and gently saute it until it smells laaahverley
  • add all the mushrooms and cook for a minute or two more
  • add everything else into the pan (bar the rice and spring onions and radishes, duh) and then leave to gently burble away on the hob for about ten minutes – add some stock if things start looking dry
  • once it’s dark and delicious, serve with your rice!

Now come on. Tell me that’s not easy – you add everything into one pan and gently heat until deliciousness ensues. Short of me coming around and feeding you, I can’t do anything more than that!

Want more fakeaways? Want more vegetarian recipes? Have no fear, we’ve got stories for years – click the buttons below!

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J – who is off to practice his ‘oh how cute, this is economy, is it?’ expression. I’m kidding. I’ll never change. I’m one shave away from being Rab C Nesbitt.

sesame chicken and broccoli – a perfect fakeaway!

Sesame chicken and broccoli with noodles: it’s like the beef and broccoli fakeaway we did, only with one exciting change. You’ll never guess!

Now, newer readers to this blog might not know this but we’re more than just a recipe site – we like to post up our holiday stories as well – long posts where I get to type out the nonsense that happens to us when we have the cheek to leave our living room. We’ve been all over on this blog: Iceland, New York, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Cornwall (god help us), Paris, Corsica and er, a coach trip. We’re a national embarrassment. Last year we tried to do twelve holidays and we managed eleven – not bad going for two fatties who get out of breath opening their passports, eh? We have a fantastic travel series of posts coming for Stockholm and Oslo, but first, let’s wipe away the winnit that’s been hanging on since April last year and finally finish our Copenhagen entry.

If you’re only here for the chicken and broccoli fakeaway, just scroll down until you reach the pretty colours or click the button below, which will whisk you straight there! I know, I’m a treat!

There, she’s gone. Thank god: I’ve never known anyone put their make-up on with a plastering hawk before.

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four

Right, let me open with a confession: there’s a reason we’ve been putting off finishing the Copenhagen entries. Something I can’t talk about yet – enigmatic – but it’ll become clear soon! Don’t get too excited – we’re not getting a divorce, Paul didn’t meet a handsome Danish fish-botherer and run away to grow a beard and live happily ever after. I mean, that goes without saying: Paul wouldn’t run to a pool of water if his eyes were on fire. Mind I wouldn’t blame him – Copenhagen, like most Scandinavian countries, was absolutely awash with stunning men: beefy, tall, long haired, beard you could crawl up and die in. Honestly, it’s a good job I don’t like over there – I’d permanently have a bumhole like a pan of boiling milk. There, right there: that’s the image of me you’ll have if we ever lock eyes in the supermarket. Anyway, yes: all will become clear soon. To that end, rather than a huge cantata spread over 6,000 words, let’s just hit the best bits and finish this off!

Carlsberg factory

By all accounts, no trip to the historic and cultural Copenhagen is apparently complete without a trip to the Carlsberg factory to suckle on the teat of piss-weak lager. That’s why we ended up mincing furiously across Copenhagen in the absolute pissing rain to try and get the shuttle bus over to the factory early on a Sunday morning. I’ve never seen rain like it – it would have been quicker to get a lilo and float our way past the trams. Naturally, Paul took us to entirely the wrong pick-up point and so it was only after another twenty minutes of hurried running-walking-heavy-breathing that we arrived at the right place. I was silly, I should have just listened out for people loud Mandarin exclamations, given a good half of China’s population was also waiting for the bus. So many selfie-sticks, so little queueing. I can’t cope without an orderly queue: I like to know where I stand, but I persevere. The problem Paul and I have is that he’s incredibly polite and will not forgo his British sensibilities for anything, whereas I’m far more bullish about things and if no-one else is queueing and all surge to the bus-doors in one North Face rustling mass, you better believe I’ll be right there in the thick of it pushing people under the wheels and elbowing folks in the boobs. This invariably means that I get on first because of my bulk and then I’m left furiously watching Paul going ‘no no, after you’ and ‘I’ll get the next one’ and ‘no, he’s not with me’ to every person pushing past him without a thank you.

Now, you mustn’t think I’m a boorish swine: if there’s a queue I’ll join it. I have impeccable manners: I apologise at the point of orgasm, which admittedly makes it tricky when I’m at the doctors. But sometimes you’ve just got to go for it and to hell with the resulting deaths.

Once the driver had managed to squeeze eight hundred people onto his 57 seater coach (I’m sure I saw him tuck a startled old bloke into the ashtray) we were away, floating our way to the Copenhagen museum. Paul, in his slothlike manner, had been unable to sit next to me, meaning I spent the following fifteen minutes staring furiously at the back of his head and having my shins kicked by someone whose idea of observing my personal space was to attempt to get me to father her child, given how hard she was pressing against me. You can imagine how quickly the time passed.

Not going to lie – the Carlsberg factory was a bit…meh. I had visions of going around a super-factory, oohing and aahing at the conveyor bottles of beer being made and feigning interest as someone in a white coat and blue-bag shoes explained how they gum labels onto the bottles. No such luck. You can look around the original bottling machines, but they’re not switched on. You can read about the history of the Carlsberg dynasty but it’s about as exciting as reading the instructions that came with your router. If I wanted to look at a dusty, yeast-covered old relic with a rusting, ancient mechanism that has made thousands of blokes happy over the years, yes, you’ve guessed it, I’d visit Paul’s mother. I’m kidding, she’s lovely really.

[dry cough]

As it happens, we had made an error – we should have done the sampling tour first. This involved a small group of us being led deep underground by a dapper old man – it’s OK, he had a moustache like Josef Fritzl but I was confident I could have taken him in a fight – and into the cellars, although not before we managed to lose Paul. He’d stopped to admire the bunker they used to use in case of war only to find that our entire party had left the room and the guide had locked the door behind him. Perhaps that Fritz analogy was apt, after all. I only realised he had disappeared when I realised I couldn’t hear laboured breathing in my ear. I had to walk back with the guide until we found him, politely knocking on the door and going ‘hello, hello?’ like he was interrupting a church service. See, this is what I mean about restraint – if that had been me I’d have been scratching my name in the wall with my bloody fingernails and yelling FENNER within two minutes flat.

Paul’s prison.

Paul rejoined us and what followed was a very pleasurable half hour or so perched at a little table with a charming French couple (charming because they didn’t speak any English, so we didn’t have to make strained small talk with them) (I bet there’s a post right now on deux oursons potelés saying the same thing about us, only with more smoking and shrugging) sampling lots of big measures of different lagers. There was lots of waffle about hops and flavours and head (my ears perked up at that point) but to be honest, we tuned out and concentrated on drinking. I remind you that we’re British. It’s amazing how things suddenly seem more interesting and captivating when viewed through a haze of alcohol, isn’t it?

Trebles all round!

We wandered back up full of love and spent a merry hour revisiting the attractions we’d previously hurried past. We posed with the giant horses, one of which loved me so much that it started chewing my coat (which was foolish, as I make a mean horse stew, just sayin’). We skipped cheerfully through the gift-shop buying all manner of Carlsberg-branded tat, all of which remains rattling around in our holiday box. We examined the giant bottle collection for a Newcastle Brown but had no joy. Pathetic. I was so angry on behalf of all Geordies that I almost went and punched one of the horses, as is our way. A quick meal upstairs in their restaurant (delicious, expensive) then it was time to go. We looked at the bus-stop, decided we would rather die than experience that ‘fun’ again and instead turned for the two mile or so walk back to the centre of town.

We bumped into the most emo-horse ever though.

I liked Abba before everyone else thought they were cool.

 

Malmö

We actually managed to sneak an extra country into our holiday – Copenhagen is linked to Malmö in Sweden via rail/road bridge/tunnel, meaning you’re in the unique position of setting off from one country, crossing the Øresund Strait and ending up in a different country altogether in the time it takes to spill your coffee across the table, like I did. We’ve always wanted to visit Sweden – big ABBA fans here (shock!) and the lure of a day-trip was too strong. Passports packed, off we toddled. It was all terrifically easy – we set off from Copenhagen Airport and were pulling into Malmö in about twenty minutes. I can’t remember if we had our passports checked – normally I remember a fingering from a burly guard – but take them anyway, just in case.

A Sunday in Malmö was lovely. We sat outside a wee café and waited for the town to wake up. Paul ordered what looked like a bumhole from a bakery whereas I was more restrained and had a full quiche for breakfast. Well, it is a holiday, after all.

You have no idea how many photos I’ve seen like this in my life.

We then wandered around down to Kungsparken, an absolutely gorgeous park right in the centre. Killed a couple of hours here drinking and just enjoying the place – the cherry blossom trees were in full bloom and aaah, it was just marvellous. I appreciate this doesn’t make for an especially interesting blog but the whole day was just walking, relaxing and taking in the views and I don’t think that can be appreciated enough! Anyway, if you don’t slow down sometimes, you can’t remember all the things you said you would do.

Not sure what this is, but it looks pretty!

I felt so pretty walking through this.

Fun fact: they only switched this on because us and our energetic wind had arrived    

We passed a ‘British things’ store whose entire window was full of Radox. Is that an inherently British thing now? Having a bath? We ambled past two dogs having energetic sex right in the centre of one of the many bridges crossing the river, which I like to think added colour to all the photographs people were trying to take of the scenic views. We had a late lunch in Stortorget Square, a lovely town centre area full of charming restaurants and lively bars. It seemed to be the place to go. I ordered the meatballs, Paul had steak. After almost an hour they brought our dinner to the table and it was alright, yes, but I can’t enjoy Swedish meatballs unless I’m eating them furiously after a blistering argument in IKEA with Paul.

Plus, just saying, we have a recipe for them and they’re bloody amazing: see?

The Paper Island

Another highlight from Copenhagen was the last-day visit to The Paper Island – an old factory by the water dedicated to loads of different street food vendors. It was fantastic. Naturally, being fat bastards, we thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I have to confess it’s the first time I’ve ever been satisfied by so many different ethnicities at once. A particular highlight was a hot-dog where they just wouldn’t stop adding toppings – it barely managed to fit in my hands let alone my mouth. Thank Christ years of dedicated homosexuality has allowed my jaw to swing open like a ferry boarding door. Paul had nachos and a cheesecake which seemed to stir up a passion in him that I haven’t seen since we first started going out and he saw my wallet. It caused an argument because he wouldn’t let me have a piece. We adore places like this – not just because of the food, although that helps – but because it brings together such a fun hotchpotch of people and cultures. Everyone was having a good time, it wasn’t fussy, it wasn’t pretentious – it was a bit hipster, yes, but see I can forgive a waxed moustache when the person wearing it is feeding me deliciousness.

Marriage wrecking whore!

Duck you too!

Urgh! I’ll take the khlav kalash please.

Naturally, the whole place has now shut down (as of December 2017). I blame Paul: he went to use their toilet and was gone for fifteen minutes. I can’t imagine they ever managed to fix that.

Summing up

Copenhagen was beautiful – absolutely stunning. Until we went to Stockholm it was probably our most favourite destination of the year. We spent each day and night just wandering about, popping into bars, getting snacks from riverside cafés, coveting all the beautiful houses, making plans to buy and live on a boat, the works. The people are friendly, the streets are clean. It’s expensive, yes, but not prohibitively so.

Found our boat. Ah that’s a fib. If we had a boat we’d called it the Seamen Splattered Poop-Deck. Or the Cock-Tugger. 

There’s plenty of museums to feign an interest in, plenty of bars to embarrass yourself and uphold the shameful national stereotype of the Brit abroad. We were sad to leave, but glad we went – and we’ll be returning in 2018, as I’ve literally just booked the tickets. Hopefully we’ll have a better flight than our flight back to Edinburgh – turbulent the whole way and then a go-around landing. Not sure if you’re familiar with the term but it’s when the pilot aborts the landing and rockets back up into the sky. If, like me, you’re gazing out of the window wondering where on Earth the runway is only for the plane to roar back to life and ‘take off’, it’s certainly an interesting experience. If you’re the person who sat in seat 13F after me, I apologise profusely, but that wasn’t Nutella you had smeared on the back of your legs.

Oh: and a final thought. This was the first flight I’ve ever taken where I needed to ask for a seatbelt extension. An older easyJet plane meant two hours of the most uncomfortable flying I’ve ever experienced, wedged in as I was between Paul and the frame of the aeroplane. To easyJet’s credit, they were absolutely fantastic about the whole thing and very discreet, but it gave me significant food for thought.

Then I ate that food for thought, because I’m a greedy fat bastard.


We flew from Edinburgh to Copenhagen with easyJet, who operate flights almost every day. Great service as ever, and the flights cost around £100.

We stayed for several nights at the AC Hotel Bella Sky Copenhagen – perfect location for us – on the Metro system, lovely large rooms and great views.

Enjoy our holiday entries? Please do give us feedback or share or whatever, it’s what we live for!


chicken and broccoli

chicken and broccoli

to make sesame chicken and broccoli you will need:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1 broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (do it seconds with one of these!)
  • 65ml light soy sauce
  • 1tsp sesame oil (2½ syns)
  • 1 tbsp honey (2½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds – we used a mixture of white and black (1x HeB)

Don’t waste your money on those sad, shrivelled water-filled chicken breasts you get at the supermarket. Treat yourself to nice, juicy plump ones that won’t shrink when you cook them from our fantastic Musclefood bundle! You can build your own pack so you choose only the stuff you really love! Find out more, including the syn values, on our Musclefood page.

We bought those dinosaur chopsticks for my nephew to help him get the hang of it. But then we kept them, because we’re a monster! You can buy them for a fiver here!

to make sesame chicken and broccoli you should:

  • fill a saucepan with water and bring to the boil
  • simmer the broccoli florets for two minutes, then drain and set aside
  • heat a large frying pan (or wok) over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • add the chicken to the pan in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes, until one side is golden
  • stir fry for a few minutes more until the chicken is cooked through, then remove to a plate and set aside
  • add a bit more oil to the same pan and whack the heat up to high
  • add the spring onions and red pepper and stir fry for a few minutes until just starting to get black char-marks
  • reduce the heat back to medium-high and stir in the garlic
  • add the chicken back to the pan along with the soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and sesame seeds
  • simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened
  • stir in the broccoli and serve over noodles or rice

Want more fakeaway goodies in your gob?

Enjoy!

J

christmas clear out: saucy chicken noodles

Saucy chicken noodles if you don’t mind! I’m not convinced calling this little streak of recipes a Christmas clear-out was a good idea, you know. All it makes me think of is the Boxing Day strain – you know what I’m talking about. When you have to perform the equivalent of trying to drive a car made of meat through a hula-hoop. Anyway: straight to the recipe, and remember, we’ll be back in fighting form soon, just as soon as we’re done with the Personal Project!

Oh one thing! Did you know we have a facebook page? We do. You get regular recipe updates and it’s where we post all of our nonsense videos to boot. Make sure to sign up! Click here, it’ll open in a new window: www.facebook.com/twochubbycubs

The recipe, then…makes enough for two! We almost didn’t post this, it doesn’t look good in the photo, but you know, sometimes you just need a plate of noodles to get on with. Might not win any competitions but so. Get it down you!

chicken noodles

to make saucy chicken noodles you will need:

for the chicken:

for everything else:

  • 300g dried noodles
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey (1 syn)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced (save your fingers!)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1 small onion, quartered and then sliced
  • 2 spring onions, julienned
  • 2 chilli peppers, sliced
  • handful of basil leaves
  • 6 baby corn, quartered
  • 2 tsp mirin (1 syn)

Now I know that looks like a load of ingredients but most of it, you’ll have in the house or can pick up cheap in the supermarket. Don’t be alarmed!

to make saucy chicken noodles you should:

  • this doesn’t take long to cook, so it’s best to prepare everything first and keep close by
  • mix together the chicken marinade mix into a thick paste, and using your hands work it into the chicken chunks – set aside for about twenty minutes to marinade
  • cook the noodles according to the instructions, drain, and rinse with cold water. set aside.
  • in a small bowl, mix together the soy, fish and oyster sauce with the honey, 2 tbsp of water and white pepper – set aside
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • add the chicken and stir frequently until cooked – removed from the pan and set aside
  • pour the mirin into the pan to deglaze
  • add the garlic and ginger to the pan and stir for about twenty seconds
  • add the onion, spring onions, chilli peppers, basil and baby corn and cook for about two minutes
  • add the noodles to the pan with the chicken and mix well – cook for another 1-2 minutes
  • serve

This is one of those recipes that looks complicated but do you know, once you have everything chopped and sliced, you can just chuck it in the pan and it makes itself!

Need more inspiration? Click the buttons below!

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J

absolutely perfect creamy chicken korma

Chicken korma. Korma? I barely knew her! Listen, I had to do it, don’t judge me. Now, rather than a blog post today, I’m going to post a video we’ve made explaining exactly how to syn bananas. Enjoy!

Now that’s an intriguing image, is it not? To the recipe then! A perfect creamy chicken korma that tastes like a proper takeaway without putting an extra roll of blubber on your boobs.

Naturally, because this has syns in it, no fucker will make it. But slop made with a coconut Muller yoghurt will be gobbled up like blowjobs on a stag do. Sigh: nevermind. If you’re brave enough to give this a go, trust me when I say you’ll be rewarded with a lovely, saucy dish. Like me. We served ours with rice and a Broghie for dipping.

Broghie

Wondering what on Earth that broghie thing is? Hard to describe! But it’s just the thing for dipping and adding crunch – like a prawn cracker in consistency only without the oil and fat and fishiness that comes with it. We’re using them a lot for satisfying the crunch that we miss from bread – and they’re only a syn each. Available in most large Iceland stores now.

This makes enough for four.

chicken korma

to make a creamy chicken korma, you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, chopped into chunks as big as your thumb, assuming you don’t have wee little hands (get some hefty ones from our Musclefood pack!) 
  • 2 white onions (so racist), sliced nice and thin and uniform
  • 1 tsp caster sugar (1 syn)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 400ml full-fat Greek yogurt (12 syns – but you could use fat-free if you want and remove the syns, but it’s worth it)
  • fresh coriander, just the thing if you want to ruin your meal

For the spice paste

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 15g dessiccated coconut (4.5 syns)
  • 2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée

Can’t be arsed with all that bollocks? Replace the spice paste with Geetas Korma Paste (80g) for 5 syns. Oh, and if you want to save those sweet sausage fingers of yours, use a mandolin to quickly slice your onions. Saves a lot of time and faff and makes them pretty and uniform. Only a tenner on Amazon!

to make a creamy chicken korma, you should:

  • if you’re using your own spice mix, toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garam masala and turmeric in a warm pan until nice and smelly – transfer into a pestle and mortar and grind the living fuck out of it – you want a nice fine powder – add the rest of the spice ingredients along with 50ml of water and combine
  • with a few squirts of oil, add your chicken and onion into the pan and cook for five minutes on high to brown off the onions and cook the chicken through – then add the spice mix / bought paste and cook until everything is coated and smells amazing
  • turn the heat down and add the sugar, pinch of salt and yoghurt, stirring gently for about five minutes so it doesn’t split – if it does split, that’s fine – it won’t look amazing, but you’re just turning it to shite anyway so who cares
  • add the chopped coriander if you feel you want to ruin your meal with the Devil’s Pubes
  • serve with rice and lime

 

Easy! Like I say, don’t be put off by the syns – it’s worth using the proper ingredients for this for a lovely taste experience. If you eat food that tastes good rather than comprimising all the time, this slog won’t feel like a diet at all.

Remember to share!

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J

introducing the low-syn Greggs style festive bake

Oh god, we’ve succumbed. We’re giving in to the tidal wave of barely-literate posts about using Weight Watchers wraps for all sorts of things, from Cornish pasties to incontinence knickers, and making our own recipe for the Greggs festive bake. Well: a Slimming World friendly take on it. If you’re not familiar with what a Greggs festive bake is, let me clarify for you: it’s what mothers who are more earring than human push into their toddler’s mouths instead of a sausage roll at Christmas-time. You’ve got to make an effort for the bairns, after all. If that analogy is a little too mean-spirited for you, swap it out for this one: Greggs is responsible for at least 93% of the crumbs you see stuck in the corner of Northern folks’ mouths. Barely a sentence can be finished in Newcastle without someone opening their mouth and:

  • Greggs opening a new shop in there; or
  • half a stottie falling out.

To put that into perspective, there’s over 29 Greggs stores in Newcastle alone. Hell, there’s even an outlet shop on the West Road that sells their leftover stock off cheaply. I mean, that’s commitment to earning a crust, no?

Anyway, the Festive Bake – a combination of stuffing, chicken, cranberry, pastry, heart disease and I think onion, superheated until it is hotter than the surface of the sun – causes much excitement up here. People talk about the arrival of the festive bake as if it’s the second coming of Jesus – my facebook is awash with people getting a froth on when they go on sale because it heralds the arrival of Christmas. We don’t buy into it – no disrespect to Greggs, but I refuse to go in since they stopped keeping things warm.

Nevertheless, we’re all about giving you what you want, so please, find the recipe below. Before we get to that, though, I wanted to draw your attention to this:

We absolutely nailed it – our revised target was £3,000, and we’ve done it – if we can get it up to £3,200 that means that, with Gift Aid, we’re donating £4,000 to a charity that means the world to us! If you can find a spare quid to donate, please do! As an addendum to that plea, just a word of FUCK YOU to the person who left us a comment bemoaning that we are asking for money. You don’t need to donate, you don’t need to share, you don’t need to do diddly-squat – but we’re not getting a penny of this money, we’re not doing it for us, and anyway, it’s our blog. If you have a problem with the infrequent (and only temporary) Christmas charity requests, you can kiss the most tainted part of my ring! We’re never going to apologise for doing good.

Anyway, hush. No negativity! The recipe makes enough for four.

to make a Greggs style festive bake, you’ll need:

  • two big fat chicken breasts;
  • a nice pack of bacon medallions;
  • one big fat white onion;
  • 330g of Philadelphia lightest (3x HEA) (you might want to use Quark, but please, have some dignity)
  • 4x Weight Watchers white wraps – can’t find them in the shops? No need for tears: just swap out for wraps of near enough the same nutritional content – 1 wrap is a HEB choice
  • 1 tsp dried sage if you’re common, or, if you’re as bent as a butcher’s hook like me and have a herb garden, a few leaves of fresh sage
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp of cranberry sauce (we use the Tesco Finest cranberry because we’re classy, which works out at 4 syns)
  • Paxo stuffing mix – we use 25g of made-up stuffing in this recipe – to be honest, with the added sage, you could cheerfully leave it out, but we’re all about being authentic – 25g is 1.5 syns

So, assuming I haven’t had a mild brain injury, that works out at 5.5 syns. For the sake of argument, we’ll call the bakes 1.5 syns and get on with it.

If you need a good deal on chicken or bacon, our Musclefood deal allows you to create your own hamper – no more packages with stuff you don’t want to eat, like bumholes or lamb. Come, take a look: it’ll open in a new window.

to make a Greggs style festive bake, you should:

  • oven on to 190 degrees, please
  • dice up the chicken, bacon, onion and fingertips – you want everything roughly the same size
  • can’t be arsed with all that knife work – then throw it all in a blender and roughly pulse – you want uniformity, you do not want a puree
  • squirt a few squirts of oil into a hot pan – use Frylight if you must, but honestly, you’re better off using Castrol 4-Stroke than that muck
  • cook everything off, adding the garlic and sage as it heats through, until the chicken is cooked, the onion softened and the bacon a bit crispy
    • if you’re using fresh sage, just chuck the leaves in whole but remember to take them out before you stuff the pasties
  • once all is cooked, stir in the Philadelphia, plenty of salt and pepper, stuffing (if using) and cranberry sauce on a low heat – it’ll soften down and bring everything together – maybe add a touch of chicken stock if you think things are a bit claggy,
  • allow to cool – we actually put ours in the fridge overnight to settle but that’s not necessary
  • stuff your wrap: put the wrap in front of you, place the filling in a rectangle in the middle, then fold in your flaps so the meat doesn’t fall out
  • brush with egg or milk, top with some black pepper and if you’re feeling saucy, a grating of Parmesan, throw them onto a non-stick baking tray then stick in the oven to cook for maybe 25 minutes – keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn
  • serve with an ambulance on stand-by

Delicious! These freeze really well too!

Don’t forget you can share our recipes by clicking on the buttons at the bottom of the page, and, if you need more ideas, you’ll find them right here:

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J

cheesy creamy fajita stuffed chicken

Cheesy creamy fajita stuffed chicken – a doddle to make. We’ll get to the recipe in a wee while, but saying as it has been so long since we shot out a holiday entry, I think we’d better fire one out, no? Skip down to the holiday banner if you want that, and scroll right down to the recipe if you’re only here for the food, like a proper stereotypical chunker. You’ll come back to Copenhagen with us in a matter of minutes, but even before that we have a little update on our Christmas Card donation drive:

We’ve had to increase our target because we absolutely smashed the last one! If you’ve enjoyed our recipes or nonsense and only if you can afford to donate a couple of quid, please do! We have had so many people apologising for just donating a couple of quid – please don’t apologise – every last penny is gratefully received! If we get over our target I might make Paul do a salacious nude calendar with a carefully positioned Bonio biscuit covering his one-eyed spitter. Poor guy! But yes, every little bit makes a difference – and thank you all for donating so far! When you add Gift Aid we’re actually already over £3000! But enough about that, let’s ga terug naar Kopenhagen!

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three

You may remember that the last time you joined us in Copenhagen, Paul had almost fallen in a river and laid an egg with sheer fright. I, being a supportive kind soul, had almost given myself a hernia from laughing so hard at his misfortune. Also, I, being a fat greedy bastard, scooped up that hard-boiled egg and had it for a snack later, delighting the other people in the Metro carriage with the smell of overcooked pocket-fresh egg. I like to make friends with the locals.

Paws for thought.

We walked along the riverside until the sound of Danish laughter was faint and less upsetting. Along the way we met a big shaggy dog tied up outside what looked like a little ramshackle caravan. Now, everyone knows you don’t approach dogs you don’t know unless you enjoy the risk of your throat being pulled through your neck by something cute and adorable. We, naturally, ignored that, and took a good ten minutes making a fuss out of our new friend before realising that the caravan was actually a riverside sauna! How did we know? Because we could see a man gazing adoringly through the window at us, steam billowing about him and a fair sweat on his face. Well, that, and the Danish word for sauna is…sauna. Don’t exactly need to be Raymond Babbitt to work that one out.

Though, I confess my disappointment that it isn’t Sphinctenmoistunen or something equally as delicious.

You may notice from previous blog entries that I barely need any encouragement to get nude in public and so, despite Paul’s groaning and heavy-handed watch checking, in we went. Paul’s not a fan of saunas: it’s not so much that he finds the nudity uncomfortable, it’s more that he’s 35% sweat at the best of time – he needs no encouragement to move it along). There was a tiny changing area where you’d struggle to change your mind let alone have two twenty-stone blokes take their clothes off but we managed it with only two accidental penetrations. In we went.

Almost immediately, out we came. I ought to explain – the chap who looked like a normal bearded chap through the fog of steam and a dirty window was merrily wanking away as we went in. Not even a hello or a few lascivious winks to break the ice, no, just furiously masturbating with everything on show. Perhaps he thought I needed somewhere to hang my coat. You must understand that we’re no prudes – if he’d looked like The Mountain from Games of Thrones we’d have welded the door shut and died a happy death – but we’ll be damned if we’re going to sit in a tiny cabin full of aerosol-jizz. I should have realised something was wrong when it smelled just like my room did when I was 14. We dressed hurriedly and scampered back out, with the folks on the riverbank all judging us for wanking off Santa. Superb!

Traumatised and in desperate need of something to take the taste out of our mouths, we decamped into the nearby Café Langebro for a strong beer and a long hard look at our lives. This was a great little pub, full of people who smiled at you when you walked in as though you were bringing great news as opposed to some of the pubs in Newcastle where they’re eyeing up how best to separate you from your kidneys. I never used to be one for daytime drinking but I feel I could really get a taste for it, not least because the beer softened the image of Wankin‘ St Nick in my head. We wandered out, up and over the bridge, with nowhere to go but a city to explore.

Turns out, quite luckily, that the same street lead directly to a corner of Tivoli Gardens – a theme park in the middle of the city. How marvellous! We totally forgot that we had a discount card and paid full price for immediate entry – we had seen Rick Stein flapping his wattle in here but a few weeks ago and were keen to retrace his footsteps, bounding as they’d doubtless be.

Just some of the fantastic gardens on display

Wheeeeee

Now, we both love rollercoasters – we spent a month in Florida riding them so much that I gave myself heart arrhythmia and almost died on the flight home. I say almost died, I experienced a slight panic attack and tipped my gin and tonic over, but let’s not labour over the details. However, we have aged and spread like a melted candle, and now we have to consider not only whether our creaking bodies can take it, but can we actually fit in the seats? It’s always been a phobia of mine that I’ll get to the front of the queue only for some hairy-lipped streak of acne and malice to look at me, taking in my comprehensive tits and expansive belly, and refuse me entry. It hasn’t happened before, thank the Lord, but it’s been certainly been close, with me having to play Fatris when it came to slotting all my squashy body parts into one small bucket seat.

On top of that I have ear problems which mean I get dizzy from peeling the lid off a pot of yoghurt let alone hurtling through the air at 100mph, Paul has a spine made out of damp crepe paper, there’s a strong chance that I’ll be slapped in the face by Paul’s boobs as we go around a loop and, as I mentioned, I have a dodgy heart. In all, they might as well abbreviate those long health warnings at the front of the ride and just put ‘No, Paul and James, you can sit on the wooden bench outside and eat doughnuts, you horrendous beasts’.

Naturally, we ignored the warnings, and squeezed onto most things. I want to give a special mention to the Rutschebanan, one of the world’s oldest wooden rollercoasters. Nestled at the back of the park, it promises thrills, spills and catastrophic damage to your spine. Ancient, wooden, ridden by hundreds of thousands of men over the years and more than capable of making children scream in terror, Paul’s mother has never ridden this rollercoaster. It even comes with its own brakes-man, who has to manually apply the brakes on certain stretches to make sure the whole thing doesn’t come hurtling off the tracks. Fun!

You’re supposed to sit two abreast in the little carriages but there was absolutely bot-all chance that was going to happen – the coaster shook and rattled that much that there was a serious risk of us joining together like wax in a lava-lamp and me being destined to spend my life with my face joined horrendously close to Paul’s arse. We hopped in, pushing small children out of the way and taking one carriage each, and off we went. I tried taking a video but it’s just a blur of jiggling flesh and me shrieking – just like our wedding – so here’s one for you to get your own idea:

Great fun, but let me tell you – you feel every single bump and creak of that coaster. I’m not entirely sure I didn’t swallow a filling – and I didn’t have any to begin with.

With our bones roughly 10cm away from where they should be in our bodies, we slithered over to the nearby Paafuglen restaurant – handy timing, because I was absolutely fuglen starvin‘. We were seated after about eighteen hours – the place was absolutely rammed with elderly folk taking their sweet time gumming the pickled herring, but eventually they found us a seat right at the back. That’s fine, once I have food put in front of me, I don’t look back up until it’s gone. Years and years of Paul feigning something interesting before stealing my food as I gaze in the opposition direction has taught me to be cautious. The greedy sod.

Our waitress gave us a menu and then clocked off for the day. I’m not kidding – we sat there with hungry little bellies and pleading eyes – but she never appeared again. Perhaps she heard our British accents and assumed there would be no tip, I don’t know. How wrong she was – I always like to touch their arm as I leave and say ‘Jesus saves’. Almost thirty minutes passed (with plenty of reserved Britishness: “they’ll be here soon”, “let’s give it one more minute”, “let’s just chew open a vein whilst we wait”) before another waitress finally noticed that Paul had doused himself in the paraffin from the little lantern on the table and was about to set himself aflame in hungry protest. We ordered.

Well, attempted to. Copenhagen is famous in food circles (honestly, it is: we get drunken memos from Delia all the time. I jest, although technically Paul is a food circle, given he’s perfectly spherical) for Smørrebrød (pronounced: I’m sorry, do you speak English?). Smørrebrød is the concept of open sandwiches served on rye bread and they are genuinely one of my favourite things. I adore sandwiches – you could give me an urgent and terminal medical diagnosis sandwiched between two slices of lavishly-buttered bread and I’d remain cheerful.

It’s not like sandwiches in the UK, either. You get a vast mixture of wonderful toppings and exciting flavours and it’s just brilliant. There are entire shops devoted to it – windows packed full of sandwiches topped with meats and cheeses and salads and, eventually, my saliva, dribbling on the window as I am wont to do. Paul and I could easily move to Copenhagen and open such a shop (calling it Yeast Infection, naturally) and live out our Autumn years never tiring of the combinations on offer. I don’t normally recommend other food blogs because, well, they’re usually boring, but I can’t get enough of the ideas on The Danish Sandwich. Take a look and you’ll see what I mean. http://www.danishsandwich.com/

Anyway, I digress. We had decided that we ought to try a couple of these open sandwiches each – we’re big lads, we can handle such extravagance and remember, they’re open sandwiches so you only get one slice of rye bread to barely digest. However, the waitress disagreed with our approach. We spoke our order slowly and with a game attempt at Danish but each time we reached sandwich number three and four she would cross sandwich number one and two off her pad. Maybe she thought we were fat enough or that such decadence was unbecoming but try as we might, we could not convey the fact we wanted to try a range of smørrebrød to her without causing her to frown and sweat as though under intense interrogation. Had I thought ahead I could have prepared a Powerpoint presentation or a business case. After a good five minutes of harsh glottal stops and stuttering we seemed to finally reach agreement and she toddled off. Naturally, I’d forgotten to ask for more water, but I didn’t dare call her back lest she decided we were simple troublemakers and showed us the door.

Our sandwiches arrived shortly afterwards:

Nom nom nom. Urgh, I’m sorry

You’ll notice there’s only two plates. Our order hasn’t so much been lost in translation as strangled to death with good intentions. Nevermind – being brave, fearless tourists we powered through and thoroughly enjoyed the pork belly (me) and chicken salad (Paul) and they were absolutely delicious. The Danish have a wonderful proclivity for adding pickled vegetables to their dishes and it really makes everything come alive – quite a smart way of getting your ‘speed’ food in too by sousing everything in vinegar. I’d suggest it to Mags but she never returns my calls. We paid our bill and left content, but still faintly hungry. Have no fear: we rounded a corner to find an ice-cream stand and each enjoyed a five-scoop bowl which settled the stomach just enough to ease us gently into hyperglycaemia.

The rest of the day was spent drifting around Tivoli Gardens, eating things that we shouldn’t and getting sticky fingerprints on all the rides. It was great: like being 13 (stone) all over again. With sluggishly-beating hearts we left and decided to walk back to the Metro station, with the intention of taking a nap and then heading back out in the evening. We managed four hundred yards before happening across the nearby Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, a museum dedicated to the largest collection of Ancient Mediterranean art in all of Northern Europe. My excitement knew no bounds. This was me:

Quite

I’ve explained before: I’m a hopeless philistine – I know I should walk around deep in thought and reverie in an art gallery, but the only surprised gasps I let out are when my shin-splints play up. Don’t get me wrong, readers – there were some lovely paintings and cracking pots, but I was more taken by the Blockbusters gargoyles on the wall and this peculiar oil painting which seemed to capture exactly my mood.

Sigh

There was a very pleasant sub-tropical garden dot in the middle of the museum which afforded two things: the chance to rest and the chance to be absolutely horrified by this:

Give me milk!

I mean, no. Babies are creepy enough at the best of times, but crawling on a body like maggots on a corpse? Hell no. You better believe I saw that when I shut my eyes that night in bed. Luckily, I’d have a chance to remonstrate with the Carlsberg family the nvery next day, and that’s where we will leave our tale for now.

Enjoy our holiday entries? Please do give us feedback or share or whatever, it’s what we live for!


stuffed chicken
stuffed chicken

to make cheesy creamy fajita stuffed chicken you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1½ peppers (we used ½ red, ½ orange and ½ green), finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 80g reduced fat cheddar (2x HeA), grated
  • 110g light Philadelphia (1x HeA)
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp cumin (or garam masala)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Honestly, you’ll never do better than the chicken deals we have – you’ll want big ‘uns for this, we have four deals AND there’s a pack for every budget!

Chips: Actifry. Teaspoon of oil. Tablespoon of worcestershire sauce. You’ll never look back – and they’re cheap on Amazon at the moment.

to make cheesy creamy fajita stuffed chicken you should:

  • spray a large frying pan with a little oil over a medium-high heat
  • add the diced peppers and onions to the pan and cook until softened and the edges are just starting to brown, stirring occasionally
  • tip the mixture into a bowl and add the cheddar and Phildelphia, and mix well
  • meanwhile, in a large bowl sprinkle the chili powder, cumin and garlic powder over the chicken breasts and tumble around until well coated
  • cut a hilarious looking gash into the side of each one, getting a big a space as you can but being careful not to slice all the way through
  • using a teaspoon, spoon the cheesy mixture into each chicken breast, stuffing it well but not overdoing it. don’t worry if you have some leftover mixture
  • next, add a little more oil to the frying pan and put back over a medium-high heat
  • carefully lay the chicken breasts in the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes each side – flip it gently so you don’t squash it, and don’t worry if a little mixture dribbles out
  • serve!

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creamy Thai red chicken curry packed with veg

Creamy thai red chicken curry – look, it’s a bit of a ‘cheat’ meal in that it uses curry paste but so what, it’s better than a slap in the face with a wet willy, no? And look – no preamble this time, we’re going to go straight in. Unlubed. Pucker up.

Actually, before we get to the recipe – just a quick reminder (and you’ll see these for the next few weeks!):

If you’ve enjoyed our recipes or nonsense and only if you can afford to donate a couple of quid, please do! The response has been absolutely phenomenal and honestly, nothing but a massive thank you for both me and Paul to all those who have chipped in. Every last penny goes to Bryson’s Animal Shelter. Please do forgive us our advertising – but it’s for a good cause!

Right! Recipe. Let’s do this. This makes enough for four, serve with rice.


to make creamy Thai red chicken curry you will need:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into strips (get some hefty ones from our Musclefood pack!) 
  • 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste (4.5 syns)
  • 2 small courgettes, halved lengthways and then sliced
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced
  • 1 red onion, quartered and then sliced
  • 400g tin light coconut milk (14 syns)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander (optional)

to make creamy Thai red chicken curry you should:

  • heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a medium high heat
  • add the chicken and cook for about three minutes, stirring frequently
  • add the curry paste, courgette, pepper, carrot and onion to the pan and cook for another 3 minutes
  • whisk together the coconut milk and cornflour until dissloved, then add to the pan
  • bring the mix to the boil then reduce to a simmer over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until thickened
  • if using (we didn’t, because it’s rank), stir in the chopped coriander at the end
  • eat!

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