a proper tasty BBQ-friendly veggie burger

Looking for a proper tasty BBQ-friendly veggie burger? Of course. And we’re happy to oblige, mind you, but you’ll need to scroll down to the pictures as I’ve got a very happy post to do first!

We did something we never normally do yesterday: we were social! YES. Despite it being an unwritten rule in Chubby Towers that if the sun is in the sky on a Saturday we will still be in bed, we were roused at 8.30am (gasp), put on a minibus with a few lovely colleagues from Paul’s work and dispatched to Northumberland Pride, the very first pride event in our local area. It’s a pride event to celebrate being yourself and inclusivity, not marvelling at dry-stone walls and rolling hills, as the name may suggest if you’re a little bit touched in the head.

One minibus trip later – an unusual experience that, because who knew you could travel thirty miles on a motorway without a forty minute sojourn in a secluded layby – and we were pulling onto the rugby club. We put together a load of goodie bags, congratulated ourselves on having the best stall and then made our way down into Alnwick to get ready to join the march. I’ve never seen more rainbows in my life – it was like (what I imagine) the gayest acid trip ever. We took up position behind a group of drummers and a lady up on stilts because of course.

One thing that struck me, aside from the back of the huge pride banner I was wearing that felt like it had been stitched right into my spine, was the mix of people there. I’d always (through ignorance I suppose) assumed it would be a load of young and beautiful people having a powermince and banging the drum, but no: every age, every gender, every shape. It was genuinely lovely to see so many people in one place just there to have a good time.

Whilst we were waiting for the march to start we were approached by an elderly couple who looked the spit of a couple from our street – the ones who don’t talk to us and walk around with a face like someone’s pissed on their chips. The type of folks who last laughed when Thatcher took milk from the poor kids. I was expecting a stern lecture on the perils of sodomy (tell me about it love, no-one likes a racing stripe) and how we’ll burn in hell, but no: they wanted a sticker for their car as their grandson had just come out and wanted support. D’awww. We primly advised them that this wasn’t a commercial event and sent them on their way but OF COURSE we didn’t, we gave them a sticker.

The march began and people of all shapes, sizes, genders and colours slowly snaked their way through a town that would never have been my first guess for an epicentre of equal rights – how wrong I was. We were cheered and clapped and welcomed by folks young and old and the band literally played on, drumming the way to the rugby club. There, the afternoon was full of people smiling at each other, grabbing as many freebies as they could and just having a bloody good time. Not an ounce of bother. I drank a bit too much lager, we both flirted wildly with everyone within spitting distance and we came away with some mint-flavoured condoms. I might put them in the Slimmer of the Week basket.

All in all, an amazingly positive experience.

Naturally, a quick glance on facebook and the negative nellies were exposed. The local police force round here have changed the battenburg markings on one police car so that they’re pride colours. One car. We’re not talking about the whole fleet, they haven’t stuck a fucking unicorn horn on the police helicopter or changed the sirens for the opening notes of Your Disco Needs You. But this was enough to get the usual suspects in a tizz: ‘WAIST OV POLISS RESAUCES’ and ‘SHUD NOT BE POLITIKAL’ and other ohfuckoffery. It’s not as though Vera Baird is sitting letting out prisoners because the jail budget has been frittered away in Claire’s Accessories. Morons. It’s a wonderful, positive message to push out – that people who have been subject to hate crimes should feel no fear about speaking to the police because they will be treated with the respect and care that everyone deserves. It’s our police force too, you know.

Perhaps I’m a smidge biased because some especially handsome policeman allowed us to try his helmet on for size. In fact, we were even allowed in the back of the van, an experience we treated with the absolute solemnity and respect you expect from us. So much shrieking about being too pretty for prison.

Who knew cottaging was still a crime? #bangedup #northumberlandpride

A post shared by twochubbycubs (@twochubbycubs) on

Paul’s teeth look a bit like he could chew an apple through a letterbox in this photo, I’m not sure why – they’re as straight as I am bent. But it’s a great photo that was representative of a lovely day.

Oh and I say the same things every year, but here’s the counters to the most common arguments:

  • you’re just doing it to rub your sexuality in our faces” – pfft, you wish, and no, perhaps we’re holding hands or being close to each other because, you know, love; or
  • it isn’t needed anymore” – the goals have changed absolutely, but the core message of accepting yourself and others for something they can’t change or help remains the same; or
  • why can’t we have a straight parade” – you do, it’s called life, but if you want to walk down the street in your tan chinos and beige jumpers and hold hands with the harridan you regret marrying and celebrate your life, then please do so. I’d sooner be held up waiting for a pride march to pass than a protest.

Another thing that was fun was having people who knew of us through the website / facebook group / Crimewatch repeats come up and say hello. It’s super awkward because we’ve got all the social finesse of a bout of hot diarrhoea at a wake but we try our best not to offend and at least get off one witty bon-mot before their eyes glaze over and they start with the ‘really must get on, things to do’ comments. Actually, everyone we met yesterday was an absolute delight and it really does make our hearts and ankles swell when people tell us how much they enjoy our food, support groups and ability to shoehorn a reference to wolfbagging (don’t, just don’t) into a recipe for houmous. Mmm, bacon. But please, remember the rules. The deal is that you must tell everyone afterwards that we were 6ft 3″, could pass for Jason Mamoa in a dark room and that I had trouble walking as it looked as though I was smuggling a foot-long hot-dog in my jeans pockets. Be reasonable.

We’re booked up to help with Newcastle Pride in July. Apparently it’s a bit more seedy and sexy, which you can only imagine how devastated I am to hear. One side of me wants to help dish out the condoms and positive health messages, the other side of me wants to try and find some strapping, leather-clad cigar-smoking brute of a man to adopt us two Cubs and make us his own. We’ll see which side wins out.

Right, shall we do the recipe then?

veggie burger

proper tasty BBQ veggie burger

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 burgers

We were going to call these millennial burgers because ho-ho avocado but then we realised we weren't that insufferably tedious, so these are veggie burgers you can do on the BBQ or under the grill. We're not fussed! They look a little dry and to be fair, they are - that's why you use avocado, to grease the wheels and add a different layer of taste! So don't skimp on it - the syns are there to be used AND think of this way, nothing with eyelashes has died to make your burger. You swine!

Ingredients

  • 400g button mushrooms, chopped small
  • 2 tins of butterbeans, drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 wholemeal rolls (4x HeB)
  • few handfuls of rocket or lettuce
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, mashed (14 syns)
  • few drops of lime
  • few tbsp of our proper tasty coleslaw

Instructions

  • spray a large saucepan with a little oil and cook the chopped mushrooms until soft and all of the liquid has evaporated
  • add the butterbeans to the pan and cook for an extra minute or two, stirring frequently
  • remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until well mixed
  • add the garlic and give another mash
  • divide the mixture into four, roll into balls and then flatten into burger shapes
  • carefully slide the burgers onto the barbecue and cook for 3-4 minutes each side - avoid turning them more than once as they're quite fragile

  • if cooking on the hob, do the same but on a large frying pan over a high heat
  • assemble the burger by layering cherry tomatoes, salad leaves and coleslaw, then the burger, and then topping with the mashed avocado - add a pinch of salt and some lime juice onto that avocado and then shove it in your big, gaping gob!

Notes

  • Fry Light is gonna knacker your pans - get one of these instead!
  • don't shit yourself at the syn value for the avocado - they're really tasty and really good for you!
  • looking for coleslaw recipe - but natch - click here
  • chuck whatever else you like in the burger - cheese, fried onions, etc - whatever you want!
  • mince the garlic in seconds with one of these excellent Microplane graters - no fiddly bits, easy to wash and you can use it for all sorts!

Courses BBQ

Cuisine vegetarian

Yum, right? I know, we’re fabulous.

If you’re a vegetarian seeking more recipes from us, then by god can we help – just look at some of the suggested beauties below:

Country roads, take me home.

J

Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous

Caramelised red onion houmous! Just a quickie today (ooh I say) but y’see, we’ve got shit to do. We’ve got a tasty recipe for an Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous!  below which’ll tickle your tastebuds and maybe a bit more if you’re lucky. We’ve been busy little bees today cooking all sorts of recipes which will start to filter through over the next couple of days – and they’re all absolute corkers. Seriously, clear your diary and your fridge, send your husband away, pack the kids off somewhere – you won’t want to share them.

Isn’t it a pain though doing anything on a Sunday? All I wanted to do today was sleep until lunchtime and then pray that How Clean Is Your House was recommissioned during the night and their first task was my house. But of course it wasn’t to be so from 10am I just had James poking his head around the bedroom door every 9 minutes, whinging at me to get out of bed like some sort of mincing, squealing snooze button.

So once all the necessaries were done it was on to cooking. We’d already written a list of everything we needed and were sure we’d got them all but of course there’s always one pissing things that missing, meaning you’ve gotta swoosh out the door to go on the hunt for some obscure spice before everything closes. And then you’ve gotta deal with Sunday drivers clogging up every dual carriageway going at 30 miles an hour. It’s like the Gauntlet from Gladiators but instead of hunks in lycra you’ve got piss-stained Daewoo Matiz’s.

And there’s fuck all on telly.

But anyway, that feels better. Here’s a nice snack to help cool you down.

caramelised red onion houmous


caramelised red onion houmous

to make Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous you will need:

  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (you can use the liquid to make our Peppermint Meringues!)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or ½ tsp ground)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds (or ¾ tsp ground coriander)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2½ syns)

top tips to make Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous:

  • you can use ground cumin and coriander instead of seeds if you like, but you’ll get more flavour out of the seeds
  • we used a mandoline slicer to slice our onions and it does the job in seconds. Use the guard!
  • a NutriBullet does the job perfectly for nice, smooth houmous! Get yours here!

to make Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous, you should:

  • spray a large frying pan with a bit of oil and plonk over a medium-high heat
  • add the sliced onion and cook until lightly browned – keep some aside to put on top later to make it look fancy
  • remove from the heat and set aside
  • add the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds into another pan and toast for a couple of minutes over a low heat, then grind into a powder using a pestle and mortar (if you’re using ground stuff you can leave this step)
  • then, chuck all the ingredients together into a food processor and blitz until smooth

Love houmous? So do we! Check out some of our other recipes below:

Enjoy!

P

christmas clear out: fancy greek salad

Christmas clear-out continues with this fancy Greek salad! I have no idea why Paul has such a stiffy on for Greek food at the moment, but I’m not complaining as long as he tends to my every whim and fills my world with dolmades. I’d love to find a low-syn version of those but it’s tricky given they need to be soaked in oil.

Remember: our Christmas Clear Out is our wee break away, taking care of something personal and exciting. We’ll be back soon, but in the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying these recipes that we’re passing over. A lot of people ask us to put the recipes first on the blog and then follow it up with the nonsense afterwards. We’re thinking about it – what would you prefer?

Right: to the recipe. Dead simple this one and it makes for such a good lunch you’ll give yourself a wide-on just thinking about it. Serves two.

to make this fancy greek salad you will need:

  • 80g quinoa, rinsed
  • 90g reduced fat halloumi, thinly sliced (2 x HEA)
  • a few modest inches of cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 16 black olives, sliced (3 syns)
  • 8 tbsp couscous
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful fresh mint, chopped
  • two good handfuls of rocket
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt
  • ground black pepper

to make this fancy greek salad you should:

  • well, really: cook the quinoa and couscous as instructed using the hot vegetable stock
  • chop up your tomatoes and toss them with the lemon juice, olives and the rocket and a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • dry fry your halloumi in a pan – use a griddle pan if you’re going for the fancy griddle mark look
  • we added bacon after the photo was taken – we didn’t like the idea of having a meal that didn’t leave us looking anxiously at each other whilst clutching our left arms

This keeps very well for a lunch the next day, though I’d maybe hold back from tossing your rocket until you’re actually about to it. Trust me, if there’s one thing I’m an expert on, it’s tossing my rocket – been doing it since I was 12.

Oh we get asked a lot about what lunchboxes we use. Listen, we’re not fancy: get yourself a few Sistema boxes and crack yerself on. They’re dirty cheap on Amazon RIGHT NOW. 

More recipes please? Certainly. Open wide…

lunchsmallpastasmallvegetariansmall sausagessmall  seafoodsmall

J

syn free chilli: warm your soul AND your hole

Syn free chilli, then. I’m so sorry, but I can’t resist a rhyming couplet. Even if it’s crass and leaves a sour taste in my mouth. There’s been much worse in there, trust me. We originally made this recipe way back on bonfire night but, as is our way, we got distracted driving back (so many lay-bys!) that there was no time to post it. Now, six weeks later, here we are.

Actually, coming home to a bowl full of chilli was just what I needed, given I spend fireworks displays permanently on edge that either a) I’ll develop (worse) tinnitus from all the bangs and crackles or b) I’ll end up a banger veering off course and exploding in my eye. I’m a catastrophic thinker with a lot of irrational fears, see. Put me in any situation and I’ll pass the time imagining the various ways I’m about to die.

For example, you might get in a lift and fret about getting stuck in there, having to make small chat with and/or suck off the stranger you’re entombed with whilst the firemen diddle about getting you out. That’s fine – but I worry about pressing the button only for my finger to sink through and jam into the circuit breakers. I worry about the machinery at the top of the lift shaft plummeting down, smashing through the ceiling of the lift and turning me into a Heinz Toast Topper on the floor. I imagine the lights overheating and turning my trip to the sixth floor to something like the end trap from a Saw movie. It’s not like I can take the stairs, either – someone will have spilled some coffee, I’ll slip over in my cheap good-idea-at-the-time shoes, then crash-bang-wallop down I go, neck splintering like an old bit of bamboo.

Worst part: I know I’d void myself on the way out. I’m bad enough at the best of times, let alone when I’m dying.

It’s exhausting, dying every day, and that’s before you add in my health anxiety where every eye-twitch or brittle fingernail is a sure and certain symptom of mad-cow disease or a collapsed uterus. It doesn’t stop me doing anything but by god, there’s always a low-level edge. I asked Paul if he had similar concerns and as usual, he looked at me as though I’d just burst into flames and told me to stop being a tit. I pressed him a bit further and he admitted to having one irrational fear – he doesn’t like people handing him anything dairy, because he frets something chronic that the heat from their hands will curdle the milk.

This coming from a man who didn’t know what a cup of tea tasted like without a scum of cigarette ash on it tasted like until he met me. Oh: he’s also scared of breathing loudly, something I’ve noticed – he’ll have his headphones on and all of a sudden he’ll gasp as though he’s shat out a pinecone. He holds his breath so he isn’t ‘noisy’ and then gets all light-headed and panicky. It’s like sitting next to a faulty sleep apnea mask.

Anyway, hush. Let’s back to the task in hand, shall we? The syn-free chilli. I found the recipe on BBC Good Food so can’t claim any credit, though I did adapt it for Slimming World. It’s all made in one-pot so less farting about for you lot! This serves about a billion people. Seriously, it made loads, but it freezes well. Canny on a jacket potato too!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/twochubbycubs

Oh one final thing: just an update on our charity pledge! We’re well over £3,000 now – we’ve moved the target up again. Remember, folks, if you can, please do donate a couple of quid this Christmas – all the money goes to our amazing local cat and dog shelter where they do the most fantastic, selfless work! Thank you to every single soul who has donated – you’ve warmed our hearts! Click the banner to donate, it’ll open in a new window!

Right, let’s get on! Looks like a big list of ingredients but it really isn’t too bad. Have a look at the tips section first!

to make syn free chilli, you’ll need:

  • three big fat onions, thinly sliced
  • 800g of lean 5% beef mince (or lamb, but good luck finding that unless you’ve got a local butcher like us)
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds
  • a little knob of fresh ginger
  • four garlic cloves
  • 2 big tins of chopped tomato
  • 1 tbsp of smoked or normal paprika
  • 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp of ground corinader
  • 3 tbsp of harissa
  • 3 red peppers, cut into chunks
  • 2 x 400g tins of chickpeas
  • coriander, if you’re a filthy sick pervert – you’ll need about 20g of fresh coriander
  • 500ml of good beef stock, make it with two cubes to really excite your nethers

TIPS:

to make syn free chilli, you should:

  • get your good, heavy casserole pot out
  • few sprays of oil in the bottom please and heat to medium
  • toast your cumin seeds if using – as soon as you smell them, remove them from the heat and tip in your sliced onion
  • cook these until they colour, then add the mince, grated ginger, garlic – then cook until the meat is no longer pink
  • why not take a moment to remove any excess fat from the pan if there is any
  • add the tomatoes, peppers. toasted cumin, all the spices, harissa, the chickpeas, most of the chopped coriander if you’re using and the stock, then cover with a lid and simmer for an hour or so – but actually, the longer you cook it, the better it’ll be – don’t be afraid to cook it for a good three hours on a very low heat!
  • serve with whatever you like

Easy! Freeze by tipping into sandwich bags, sealing them, pressing them flat then storing in the freezer. Duh. Want more ideas? Click the buttons below. Finally, if you love us dearly, hit the share buttons at the bottom too!

poultrysmallbeefsmallporksmalllambsmallfakeawayssmall

Cheers!

J

six slimming world sandwich fillings

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

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

egg and cress – syn free

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

chinese chicken – 1.5 syns for the lot

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

ham and pease pudding – syn free

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

cheese savoury – syn free

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

beef with red onion and mustard – barely a syn

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

houmous and crunchy veg – syn free

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

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

J

roasted rainbow aloo gobi – syn free and amazing

Roasted rainbow aloo gobi if you please, and syn free to boot! You know sometimes you make a vegetarian dish and it’s OK but you’re left craving meat like a sex-starved nun? This wasn’t the case with this – in fact, it was so tasty and colourful we ended up making it again the next day. Then had the leftovers the day after. By that point the neighbours were banging on the window sure, so fetid and thick was the fart-air billowing from under our door, that someone had died. So, make it, but be warned: your leather cheerio will turn black and die.

You know, it’s a wonder I don’t get asked to write the recipes for Woman’s Weekly. Anyway, before we get to the pure sex that is the aloo gobi, you’re going to have to endure a night out with us, as it’s part four of our Benidorm trip. We’ve even got videos for you! Don’t want to read all our shite? That’s fine. I’ve put in a shortcut button. yes, for this one, you just need to click on the OLD MONA WHO’LL LET ANYONE CHUCK THEIR PAINT ON HER FACE below:

Possibly the classiest photo we’ve ever had on here and I’ve used it to make a spunk joke. Eee, what am I like. Shall we continue?

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

When you last left us we had endured a breakfast buffet, met our doubles and sizzled by the pool for far longer than could be considered reasonable for a travel blog. Remember that time, we had hope in our eyes.

We used the day to plan for the night ahead, with an eye to having a bit of dinner somewhere local to the hotel and then heading out to a place we’d heard excellent reviews about – the Showboat, just up the road. Dinner was so awful that I can’t remember where we went, only that it was exactly like the slop you get in lay-bys from people who’ve used their food hygiene certificate to wipe their arse with. I’ve been told you can eat well in Benidorm and it’s undoubtedly true, but every single place we looked at within about half a mile’s mince from the hotel were full to the brim with people pointing at pictures of egg and chips on the laminated menu. If my memory serves me correctly, Paul had a hot-dog and I had a club sandwich. Presumably the Club the sandwich referred to was the Cavern Club because this sandwich tasted like it was made back in the sixties – I’ve never had to dip a sandwich in my pint before to moisten it.

Showboat, then. I’m not too sure how to couch my experience of the place, really – not least because we drank 11 pints each over the course of the entire evening. People in our facebook group were treated to some wonderfully awful videos, I can assure you. Let me say that the staff were lovely, the venue was clean and the toilet, far from the Trainspotting homage I expected, was spotless. We’d shuffled in at 8pm and had the place to ourselves – the entertainment such as it was started at 9pm so we decided on a game of pool. There was one pool cue and well, the lines on the table weren’t especially clear.

Like playing at The Crucible!

I won, because I always do when it comes to pool – Paul’s flipper-arms make holding the cue difficult – and then it was time to get a round in and enjoy the first act: a Tina Turner impersonation. Here’s the thing: when your opening gambit is a declaration that despite appearances, you’re not actually a man in drag, then it rather sets the tone. She (and she was a she, I could see no Nutbush City Limits under her straining skirt) was really good! She belted out a few of the classics, though I did feel sorry for her when she tried to get the audience up on stage – the front two rows looked like they couldn’t manage to breathe unassisted let alone jive through Proud Mary. She gamely pressed on.

We don’t need another hero. We just need someone to call a nurse.

Things reached a pinnacle when it came to River Deep Mountain High – one of my favourite songs. You know it – it has a great lead-in and then straight into Tina singing. I was all ready to stand up and clap and throw my knickers on the stage (the size of the fuckers meant they’d probably come back down in someone’s tapas in Valencia) but there was a problem – she uttered the first line and then stopped. Completely forgotten the words. I was devastated: I was itching to see her strut/stumble through my favourite, and it wasn’t to be. I yelled out that she must leave Ike before he did any more serious damage and, taking this on board, she carried on and saw it through to the end. Towards the closing notes I saw our doppelgängers arrive and take seats near the front. We exchanged glances. Tina shuffled off. More drinks for everyone.

Then came Stella Artois. A drag act. I’m going to hold my hands up here and say outright, I’m not a huge fan of drag unless it’s done superbly well. This guy wasn’t. Actually no, let’s rewrite that a bit: I don’t mind drag acts, but I don’t like the fact that some people seem to think it gives them a licence to be an abrasive, nasty arsehole. Stella was absolutely in this second category. They opened with a few gags which actually did make me laugh (and listen, I’m not a hard person to please, I’m probably the only person in Britain who’ll happily sit through You’ve Been Framed) and then boy oh boy did that show degenerate quickly. It’s pretty bad when you’re hearing material stolen from Peter Kay’s early work, it’s even worse when it’s from Bob bloody Monkhouse. I think if the crowd hadn’t been (barely) lapping it up he’d have started a Vera Lynn singalong.

That’s when things just got worse and worse. I’m all for a coarse gag – as evidenced in nearly every single post on here – but make it funny. I thought we’d reached a low point when he was talking about his arsehole but then the racist stuff followed. We’re not just talking like the naff racist gags you expect in a flat-roof social club but just vile shit about blowing up mosques and *clutch my sides* not seeing a white face in Birmingham. Jim and Saul were slapping their knees and sloshing their campari all over their shoes at the ‘humour’ whereas I was hoping to find blood in my urine just to cheer myself up. The show lasted an hour during which we anaesthetised ourselves with a lot more booze and making videos for the group. Not going to lie, we were thankful when they tottered off the stage, though I admit I was fretful about whether or not she would get back to Peterborough in time to put tea on for Paul’s brother.

I’m kidding, he looked nowt like Paul’s mother. She’s got a much more pronounced beard.

Anyway, Stella fucked off, and I thought the entertainment was over the night but then, WHAM! On came a George Michael tribute act. He was so much better! He looked more like George Osborne than George Michael but he could belt out a tune and that’s all that matters. He did all the classics: Fast Love, Careless Whisper, Faith, shot his load up the cubicle door in the gents, the lot. It was great fun. At one point he asked the crowd for their favourites – I, buoyed by more alcohol units than is sensible for a man of my obesity, shouted LAST CHRISTMAS. He immediately sniped back that that was a stupid suggestion because it was September, to which I shouted back that he was supposed to be dead, so all bets were off. He sang Freedom with a proper sulk on.

We left, though I took a moment to step on my double’s foot as I walked past. I like to think my weight on his foot dislodged a fragment of his doubtless infected toenail which shot straight to his heart, leading to a full cardiac arrest later in the holiday. Fucker shouldn’t have stolen my beans and/or looked like me. After a long stumble down the street, we were in bed, snoring and farting the rest of the night away.

Anyway, we made a supercut of the night for your viewing pleasure. You have no idea how long it took to make this faintly appropriate for the blog – the amount of bits we had to cut out just so we didn’t get shut down / put on the front pages of the tabloids, well, you’ll never know.

Oh and if you’re wondering how we were feeling the next morning…

I know, imagine waking up next to that breathing at you from across the pillows. To be honest, you’ve got the far better view out of the two available to you at that point.

Part five will surely come, but first, we really ought to crack on with the aloo gobi, yes? Before I go – all of that above and the sentence I’m most pleased with is the WHAM remark. I chuckled away to myself with that one.

REMEMBER, leave us some feedback on the holiday entries!


This makes enough for easily four people, whether as a side or a full main. You could chuck some red peppers in to increase the colour still further. I got the basic idea from my absolute favourite Indian cookery book, Made in India by Meera Sodha. There’s not a recipe I’ve made yet that hasn’t been absolutely gorgeous, so hats off to her. You can buy the book dirt cheap on Amazon! She recommends making this as a light salad and serving in a poppadom with crushed peanuts, but as I can almost hear Mags clutching her Facebook-raffle-prize pearls from here, I’ve slimmed it down a little.

rainbow aloo gobi

rainbow aloo gobi

to make roasted rainbow aloo gobi, you’ll need:

  • 500g of new potatoes – if you get Jersey potatoes or similar, they’ll be nice and yellow
  • 600g of cauliflower – to make it rainbow, buy rainbow cauliflowers – Marks and Spencers sell them – they come in yellow, white and purple
  • two large red onions
  • one big bastard bag of spinach
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • three cloves of garlic, minced (use one of these bad boys – you’ll save your fingers and you don’t need to fart about peeling the garlic)
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds or half a teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • salt and black pepper
  • spray oil, but not Frylight, because you’re so much better than that muck
  • red pepper optional

Let’s quickly talk about oil, for those that haven’t been with us since the beginning. Here’s the thing: we don’t like Frylight. It’s pushed too hard in a lot of recipes and it tastes like poo. We prefer to use a good olive oil (and if we’re absolutely honest, we don’t syn it – never have) but for the sake of you lot, we always factor the syns in. Most of the time for blog recipes we recommend using a spray oil – you’ll get enough from 10 sprays and that’s 1 syn according to the calculator. Divided between four, up to you if you syn such a negligible amount. We use one of these filled up with olive oil but listen, you can buy spray oil in the shops. Just look for the Frylight, knock them over, choose something decent. It’s your body – why eat plastic crap if you don’t have to do so?

to make roasted rainbow aloo gobi, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • chop your new potatoes into similar sized chunks
  • pick the cauliflower apart into chunky little florets
  • arrange them both on a baking tray, spritz them with a few sprays of oil, scatter over the garlic, chilli, cumin/cumin seeds and then season with a lot of salt and black pepper
  • into the oven they go for thirty minutes or so, turning them every now and then
  • meanwhile, thinly slice your onion and pepper if using, then gently sweat them in a few sprays of oil – cook them slowly mind, let them sweat and golden and caramelise
  • add the chickpeas (drained, obviously) then the spinach so it wilts down
  • mix in the potatoes and cauliflower and serve!

Super tasty and easy to make.

Want more ideas? You greedy bugger!

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Enjoy!

J

golden turmeric chicken with beetroot and mint houmous

Tonight’s post of golden turmeric chicken with beetroot houmous will be a test to see whether I can stick to a simple, clean recipe without any chit-chat. Remember, we’re on a break! But you lot still need to be fed, after all…

OK a super quick diversion. Anyone else as sick as I am with hearing mouthbreathers chuntering on about the bloody Aldi slimming meals and how SW will doubtless ramp up the syns value of them in order to ‘protect their sales’? Way haway, they need to give their heads a wobble, stop trying to play Vera and shut the hell up. Here’s why the logic doesn’t stack up:

  • you can work out syn values on the calculator;
  • if they were that vindictive, they would do the same with Marks and Spencer’s half-syn sausages, wouldn’t they;
  • they wouldn’t allow Weight Watchers, their biggest rival both commercially and most likely physically, to have a wrap that qualifies as a healthy extra (and thank god right, because I wouldn’t get to see forty billion photos of wraps filled with dog food and passed off as a pasty, now would I);
  • they’re in the business of weight-loss, not managing massive conspiracies. Well no, that’s a fib, I’m not convinced our Fearless Leader didn’t stumble out of the Roswell wreckage with world domination in one hand and whatever the alien equivalent of car-boot Rothmans are.

Honestly, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and in this case that cigar tastes like disappointment and horse arseholes. Let’s just calm our tits.

And what better way to calm your tits than with a gorgeous turmeric chicken breast served with beetroot and mint houmous, minty couscous, garlic spinach and a roasted red pepper? Piece of piss to make, I assure you. This makes enough for two large plates.

turmeric chicken

turmeric chicken

to make golden turmeric chicken with beetroot houmous, you’ll need:

  • two chicken breasts – decent ones mind, not breasts that shrivel up to the size of a beansprout – we can help with that, because you get so many breasts in our Musclefood hamper that you’ll be as stiff as Hugh Hefner! Come take a look – it’ll open in a new window, so shush
  • tablespoon of olive oil (6 syns)
  • tsp of oregano
  • tsp of turmeric
  • one or two tablespoons of hot sauce (it’s just a spicy sauce, you can buy it from the supermarket, syns will be negligible)
  • 200g of plain couscous
  • a big bag of spinach
  • one garlic clove
  • a good handful of mint
  • a portion of our syn-free houmous, but blitz a pickled beetroot into it with a handful of mint
  • a roasted red pepper from a jar – you could do it yourself, but what’s the point?

to make golden turmeric chicken with beetroot houmous, you’ll need:

  • stick the chicken breasts in a bag with the olive oil, oregano, turmeric, salt and a bit of pepper – knock it about a bit and make sure everything is rubbed in – longer you leave it to marinade the better it’ll be
  • when you’re ready to eat, make up the houmous and set aside
  • to make the couscous, cook as instructed on the packet and then stir through chopped mint
  • to cook the spinach, throw it into a dry pan with just a splash of water on a medium heat and wilt it down, adding thinly sliced garlic it wilts down
  • to cook your chicken:
    • if using an Optigrill, keep the same setting as the onion and tomato and pop the chicken on, then close the lid and cook for as long as it takes for your chicken to cook through – but please make sure it’s cooked through – the skitters might be good for weight loss but think of your poor nipsy;
    • if using the grill, same as above – cook for a few minutes, remembering to turn, and make sure it’s cooked through
  • assemble on the plate!

Dead easy, and it looks proper posh so you might just get yer end away if you serve it up!

Want more ideas on what to do with your breasts other than press them up against glass windows? Click the buttons!

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J

chickpea and chorizo tapas – a super speedy dish

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

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

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

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

Oh and a black Rod Stewart. Of course!

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

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

chickpea and chorizo tapas


chickpea and chorizo tapas

to make chickpea and chorizo tapas you will need:

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

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

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

to make chickpea and chorizo tapas you should:

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

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

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Enjoy!

J

roast pork in a chard and chickpea stew

Roast pork you say? In a chard and chickpea stew? That’s either going to make your nipples tingle or leave you deflated, sad and having to finish yourself off with a plate of chips. We’re taking just the most wee of breaks from writing for the next few days, but because we have all sorts of recipes lined up, you’ll still get some recipes shoved in your box each day! You bloody love it. Don’t worry, you won’t need to wait along!

roast pork

roast pork

to make roast pork in a chard and chickpea stew you will need:

  • 400g pork fillet
  • 1 tbsp marmite (optional)
  • 1x 480g jar of roasted red peppers
  • 300g rainbow chard
  • 2 tins of chickpeas
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

to make roast pork in a chard and chickpea stew you should:

  • mix together 1 tbsp marmite with 1 tsp hot water and stir til it’s loosened a bit
  • heat a large, shallow pan on over a high heat and add a little oil
  • add the pork to the pan and brush over the marmite, cook for above 5-6 minutes, turning over halfway
  • meanwhile, drain the peppers and roughly chop into 1cm chunks
  • gather up the chard and slice thinly, not forgetting the stalks
  • next, remove the pork from the pan and put on a plate
  • add the fennel seeds, peppers and chard to the pan and stir fry for about 2 minutes
  • add the chickpeas to the pan along with the pre-cummy water, stir and bring to the boil
  • make a channel in the middle and add the pork back to the pan, making sure it’s touching the bottom
  • cover with a lid and simmer for about 12 minutes, turning the pork occasionally
  • remove from the heat and rest for about two minutes
  • slice the pork and serve

Before anyone has a shit-fit, yes, it’s another Jamie recipe, but does that not tell you how good his book his? We can find something in there every day! You can buy from Amazon here.

How easy is that? We’ve got even more stuff to fill yer belly so just click one of the buttons below to find more recipes!

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tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas

Tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas! After yesterday’s long entry, let’s get straight to the recipe without a moment of delay! This is what we’re trying to do at the moment, have you noticed? Long entry followed by a short entry (it’s like a shit threesome), but lots more recipes! Enjoy!

This makes enough for a good lunch for four people. I think – and mind I’m not sure – this is a recipe from Anna Jones? Forgive me if I have synned. We’ve made it Slimming World friendly by removing the eight litres of olive oil. Now, some people will probably shit a brick telling you that this is a tweak – roasting the chickpeas – but shut yer hole because it absolutely isn’t. The chickpeas are part of the meal!

tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas

tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas

to make a tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • a kilogram of mixed tomatoes – use lots of different colours and cut them in different ways
  • good salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • one garlic clove (save your fingertips and use this) and a little red chilli (you can leave this out if you’ve got a sensitive hole)
  • one tin of drained chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • pinch of cumin
  • one shallot
  • pinch of sumac (don’t fret if you can’t find this, but it does make it tastier!)

to make a tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas, you should:

  • for the tomatoes, cut them up any old how, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then tumble them around in a bowl to get the salt liquor everywhere – tip into a colander and allow to sit for fifteen minutes
  • don’t be shy with the salt by the way – the tomatoes don’t pick the salt up, but it draws all the moisture out
  • transfer into a large bowl, add the garlic, sliced chilli and balsamic vinegar, toss and set aside
  • meanwhile, tip the chickpeas out into a bowl and add the oil and spices – and bloody tumble them about to make sure every last one is coated
  • roast them in the oven with the thinly sliced shallots
  • once crispy, out they come, mix with the tomatoes and eat right away! We topped ours with basil because we just don’t care!

That was easy. We’re making a real effort to ramp up our vegetarian recipes so please do share and like using the buttons at the bottom of the post! Want more ideas? Click the buttons below to be whisked to a world of flavours!

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Enjoy!

J