We’re both CHEAP and AVAILABLE

Just a flash blog post – just to let you know that our cookbook is available for only £9.99 from Amazon! If you’ve been sitting on the fence or if you want to sort something for Mother’s Day, birthdays and all that jazz – why not treat yourself?! We’ll promise it’ll be totally worth it! We’ve got over 1,900 5* ratings so you know it’s all the good stuff. Just click the image below to be transported right there!

…and as always, a massive thanks from us to all of you – whether you’re a reader of the blog, bought the book or considering it – we couldn’t do it without you!

P & J

chicken kiev and a trip to Kiev – sparkling originality

Howdo! Told you we’d be back with a bang, and this cheesy chicken kiev is something to behold. Might look a bit like a diseased foof but hey. We’ve been having a chitter-chatter amongst our various holidays about whether or not we should be aiming for low-syn / no-syn dinners in light of the blossoming success of the book and blog and you know what, nope: we are going to continue exactly as we are! Our food has always been about spending a few points / syns / calories and enjoying it – so here we go! A chicken kiev recipe and a load of sass!

First, a bit of admin!

Our cookbook continues to soar and sell and we couldn’t be happier – remember you can pick it up in most major supermarkets and bookshops and there’s always Amazon if you get stuck – if you have been so kind as to buy it, please consider leaving us a review on Amazon – we want to get to 2,000! You don’t need to have bought it on Amazon to review it either!

Next, we’re down in Southampton filming something secret at the end of the month and there’s two book signings lined up – please do come along and get your book signed, we promise to be filthy!

Right – before we get to the recipe, a long holiday entry to endure! If you’re in a rush for the chicken kiev, click the banner and be whisked straight there!

Gosh, it’s been a while since I typed out a holiday entry (and I’m more than aware that I have Hamburg to finish, ssh) but in the spirit of efficiency, I’m going to barrel this one nice and fresh. I’m actually typing a good chunk of this out on the aeroplane home, trying desperately not to incur the wrath of the poor bloke sat between us who has been trying to complete a level on his motorbike game for the last hour or so. Oh Bohuslav, love, if you’re reading this over my shoulder, let me have a stab. Like so many of my men, you’re pulling out a fraction early. Anyway, let’s start with the detail.

See, Paul and I have been together almost thirteen years now, and Valentine’s Day is always a bloody nightmare – it falls six weeks after Christmas and four weeks after Paul’s birthday, and trying to come up with something unique and special is an absolute pain in the arse. Paul, however, has been ‘good’ (for good, read ‘endlessly forgiving of my indiscretions and nonsense’) to me this last year, and I wanted to get him something decent. It was only after finishing Sky Atlantic’s recent Chernobyl docudrama that I remembered he had always wanted to visit Chernobyl and so, after a cursory moment of trying to find a cheap deal, I had us booked onto a package with travelcenter.uk which included flights, hotel and a twelve hour tour for a very reasonable £360 or so. I presented him with the detail and he was over-the-moon – I was seeing his face light up in a way that no amount of low-level radiation could ever do. He explained that Chernobyl had always been on his bucket list and wasn’t I a brilliant husband for arranging it. Naturally, I accepted this high praise with full modesty and grace and elected not to tell him I’d only really booked it because I wanted my back doors smashed in by any of the number of muscly Adidas-clad sentient frowns that appeared on google when doing my research into the Ukraine. He didn’t need to know that bit.

With his Valentines present sorted, I eagerly awaited mine. I got nowt. Not even a card. I smiled through the tears, increasingly used as I am to the disparity of effort.

Now, let’s discuss the elephant in the room, and I don’t (for once) mean my bouncy beloved. We’ve been asked two questions on our social media channels which demand an answer, namely why would we choose to visit a country not exactly known for its gay rights and then, why visit Chernobyl? The first is a tricky one – we don’t normally go places where we aren’t welcome – and the Ukraine political situation is genuinely horrifying to us as gay men – but unlike countries like Jamaica (where we’d love to go, but would never be welcome), there’s only one Chernobyl – and to get there, unfortunately, you do need to go via Kiev. We choose our holidays sensitively but our hand was forced on this one, and I’ll circle back to this point a little later. As to why visit Chernobyl? Far easier. I married a massively polluting, noxious pile of slag – when do you ever get a chance to visit its twin? To the holiday, then.

Normally I spend ages waffling on about our trip to the airport, but this time, I’ll keep it short. As we weren’t flying to Magaluf, Bristol or Ibiza, we couldn’t fly from Newcastle, and so our journey necessitated flights from Manchester and a car journey. I was still ‘tired and emotional’ from a week of excess before so it was up to Paul – in his new black Smart car, no less – to drive us to Manchester. The arse-end of Storm Ciara made it an arresting car ride, with Paul barely needing to touch the accelerator, instead allowing us to be blown all the way there. Wouldn’t be the first time. I was a quiet, considerate passenger, keeping my shrieking and fitful crashing of phantom passenger-side brake pedals to a minimum. I’ll say this, though: Mancurians – you’re lovely, but you absolutely can’t drive. Here’s a clue: when you’re changing lanes, try flicking the indicators on. I appreciate it’ll mean you looking up from your Love Island repeats on ITV Player, but go on, give it a go. Four separate times I came within a whisker of cheating on Paul simply by virtue of having the Smart rammed so far into the back of someone’s car that I could have whispered ‘it only hurts for a bit’ into the driver’s ear. Arses.

We arrived at the fabulously appointed (cough) Holiday Inn Express at around 11pm and Paul immediately set about shaving his head with the clippers he had brought from home. Halfway through I hear the bzz-bzz-bzzz of a set of dying clippers and a plaintive mew from the bathroom. He had cut about a third of his hair before the clippers had run out of juice. That’s fine, get the charger, but wait no – Paul had left the charger at home on account that the clippers ‘looked fully charged’. I silkily enquired as to when he had acquired the impressive ability to ascertain electrical charge of an object just by glancing at it, and what this meant for the Terminator franchise going forward, but was met with a volley of indignant ranting. Faced with the horrific thought of cutting about the Ukraine with someone who’s head looked like a wet egg rolled disinterestedly in pubic hair, I leant him my Mach 3 and gave him a skinhead. To be fair, he looked pretty fit with it, but it then meant I couldn’t sort my own hair out – something that wouldn’t have been so critical if I hadn’t still been sporting a mohawk that my best mate had clumsily cut into my hair in an act of alcohol-soaked mischief. I can make a mohawk work when everything else on my face is neat and tidy, but for the remainder of the holiday I looked like I’d stumbled early out of rehab. Ah well.

We woke bright and wheezy the next morning and made our way to the airport, way ahead of schedule. For once, it was the right decision – the security halls at Manchester Airport were absolutely rammed thanks to couples disappearing off for romantic breaks. You couldn’t move for people making moony faces at their beloved or kissing in that ‘look everyone, we have sex’ way that is for everyone else’s benefit. My boots, coat and suitcase all raised alarms and I was selected for a grope, so can’t complain, though I was hoping (as it was Valentines) he might have given me his number after effectively giving me a handy in the search for illicit substances. As it was, no idea why my boots and suitcase set off the alarms – presumably fashion related – but my coat contained four separate lighters. I tried to style it out by saying I was a one-man-tribute to Cirque du Soleil but he was having none of it.

Flight was with Ryanair and I can’t fault it – Paul had forgotten his headphones and was looking to me to keep him entertained, and I genuinely hope he liked the sight of me face-down in Star Trek: Picard for the journey. He cheered himself up by ordering a coffee and setting away with the task of spilling the tubes of milk all over his legs, and then dozed on my shoulder. Can’t recall any particularly exciting turbulence.

Unusually for Ryanair, they landed us at an airport in the same country as our destination, although things were complicated by the lack of a metro straight to the city centre. I’d read about tourist taxi scams on the flight over and, now officially part of The Real Hustle team, I spent a good ten minutes handwaving and no-no-noing at all the offers of taxis that came over. Normally I’m not so fussy but these cars looked as though they’d been parked outside the reactor when it went kaboom, and I’m sorry, but I do like living. Luckily, Uber has made it to the Ukraine, and a driver was promptly dispatched.

And, oh my word. Fit? This bloke, with his name like an explosion at the Boggle factory, was stunning. Bright blue eyes that had seen, caused and relished in death, black hair I’d be picking from my teeth for weeks after. He spoke no English – and quite right too – and we all squeezed into his Honda Menace in a thick sea of sexual tension. He kept looking in his rear-view mirror, presumably to work out why my mouth was hanging open and spittle was pooling on my moobs, and it was all I could do not to reach over, open Paul’s door and tumble him out, then beg a long life with a man who would never show me intimacy. By the time we arrived at the hotel I’d learned the Ukranian for ‘I’m on PrEP mate, it’s fine’ and started arranging the tablecloths for our wedding, but he simply gave us a curt nod and was on his way, ready to break more hearts. Sigh. I blame Paul.

Our hotel – ‘Tourist Hotel Complex’ – looked fairly swish from the outside and we were checked in with lovely smiles and warm wishes. We had chosen a twin room in a fit of worry and panic and so were given a room on the ninth floor. My god. It was…basic. I’m not one for fancy hotel rooms, given we mainly just spend our time in there sleeping off booze or entertaining the locals, but this looked like a hostel you’d see a messy murder taking part in. No, that’s mean – imagine your nana’s spare room that she keeps for best. Lots of rickety pine, magic-eye wallpaper and fussy bits. The bathroom was tiny with the lavatory tucked neatly into a corner in such a way that to have a tom-tit meant folding your legs up like an accordian. You may remember, I’m 6ft 2″ tall and not that far off wide.

Worse though – the shower. The one thing I really do need is a powerful shower to blast away the snail-trails and harsh living, but this, this was dire. I had enough time between the drops of water hitting me to dry off and cut my toenails. I’ve never had a shower where I’ve had to move to stay wet. To add insult to injury, there was about two minutes of tepid water before it started sputtering and went cold. I was foaming, but mainly because there wasn’t enough water to get rid of the body-wash nestled in my chest hair. Harrumph.

Now, this is getting a trifle long, and for that I apologise. We will revisit this next week! But now, time for a chicken kiev! I know that is an incredibly obvious first choice for a Ukraine recipe but I can’t see that we’ve done one before – so let’s try and make a decent slimming chicken kiev! Let’s go!



chicken kiev chicken kiev

a good old slimming chicken kiev

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 kievs

Look, we're fat, we can't be arsed trying to make it look pretty. It's a baked chicken breast, we're not miracle workers. You can serve it with chips, salad or glitter from your bum. Up to you. The recipe makes enough for two kievs.

Ingredients

  • two large chicken breasts
  • 50g of Philadelphia Garlic and Herb (4 syns)
  • 25g of golden breadcrumbs (4.5 syns)
  • if you like it super garlicky, add a teaspoon of garlic paste (syn free)
  • an egg

Instructions

  • I mean, can you take a guess here, poppet?
  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees and get yourself a good non-stick tray
  • cut a big fancy gash in the side of your chicken and stuff it with half of the Philadelphia (you're making two, remember) and smidge a bit of garlic in there if you're using it
  • fold the gash lips over themselves a bit
  • beat the egg and dip the chicken in
  • roll it around in the breadcrumbs
  • bake in the oven until cooked through

Notes

  • you COULD save syns and calories by using your own breadcrumbs from your healthy extra, but don't, just don't - this is as close to a proper kiev as you can get
  • you COULD also use Quark and garlic but for goodness sake, get a grip

If you want more recipes like this, buy our cookbook! You can order it now and it’ll be with you soon – click here! There’s also a Kindle version for immediate reading!

Courses dinner

Cuisine Ukranian

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving

Calories 415

% Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Enjoy! More chicken recipes? Have a look at our huge chicken index right here!

poultry

J&P

well blow me, it’s finally here – the twochubbycubs cookbook has launched!

Everyone! Our cookbook has finally launched – after what feels like months of writing, planning, photographing and plotting. it’s here! Launched on 2 January 2020 and already a best-seller, to the point where we exhausted Amazon’s stockpile many times over.

I just wanted to write a little bit about what this means to me. I know I speak for Paul too when I say this, but damn it, I’m the writer, these are my words. All of my life I have loved to write: I’ve kept (and keep) diaries, I rattle off short stories when I’m bored, I’ve kept this beast of a blog going for almost six years. I never, ever thought the blog would swell to become what it is today – a clumsily edited, lo-tech, no bells and whistles lumbering collection of nonsense tales and excellent food. There’s just the two of us, both with full time jobs, but we’ve kept this going because the social side of things has been endlessly brilliant. Then, last year, we were approached to make a cookbook and, after much consideration (we looked at Disney holidays, saw the prices and then agreed we must write a cookbook) set about pulling it together. I thought we might sell a thousand copies or so, mainly to my mam (who actually hasn’t bought a copy at all because she wants a free one, the tight mare), but nope. It has soared. The fact that it is published, out and we’re getting so many good reviews and positive comments absolutely melts my heart. I have achieved a genuine, concrete life goal and whatever happens next, I can turn around and say we’re published, best-selling authors – and it means the absolute fucking world to me.

So – seriously now – we might be about the knob jokes, coarse language and cooking – but you have made two very chubby cubs very, very happy indeed. Thank you!

Now – because there was such a colossal spike in sales last week, Amazon are struggling getting so many copies out in one go! We’ve literally depleted their stocks – and so a few of you may be getting an email saying there’s been a delay. WORRY NOT. Our publishers have sent Challenge Anneka down with her lorry and a whole load of new books and these will be hitting in the next few days. As soon as there’s new stock, the delays will be updated and books will be on the way. We had no idea there would be such a surge and this came out of the blue – so please, if this is you and you’ve been told a delay of a few weeks, panic not! Yours will be coming as soon as possible, promise! THANK YOU!

If you’re keen to buy it from Amazon, you can order it now and it’ll be with you soon – click here! There’s also a Kindle version for immediate reading!

If you are struggling with waiting, then please, fret not! You can also order from:

We know Sainsbury’s have them at the moment but they are flying off the shelves so be quick!

Comments from people will follow but we’re hearing good things about the fact they’re family friendly, easy meals and the book looks bloody gorgeous!

So: if you have the book, please do leave us a review, tell people about it, get things made and join in on our social media channels – @twochubbycubs on IG and Twitter and we’re all over Facebook! We really want to hear from you and we REALLY want some reviews!

That’s me for now. But one more time: thank you to each and every single person who reads this, recommends us, kindly leaves us comments and being part of this fucking amazing show in whatever way you have been. You’re amazing!

With love from James (the bearded, handsome, shaved head one with excellent clothes) and Paul (pictured)

Actifry pigs in blankets with a Jack Daniels glaze

Actifry Pigs in Blankets seems like such an obvious recipe that frankly I’m disgusted that Paul hasn’t come through for me and suggested this before. It’s stuff like this that really makes me question whether this marriage has legs. But then I remember that, to his credit, Paul has great legs – presumably because the lack of strain placed on them due to his marvellously sedentary lifestyle. Seriously, we’re one cold winter away from his arse actually bonding to the sofa.

Little heads-up – we are being paid by the good folks at Tefal for this post, but as ever, we will only tell you the truth. If a recipe turned out bobbins, we would say so: our integrity can’t be bought for less than five fingers. Figures. But this Actifry pigs in blankets recipe is possibly the easiest we’ve ever done, so there.

You know, though, if I may backtrack for a bit. Paul does get an awful amount of stick and mean barbs on here, and I just want to clarify for anyone reading who is concerned that the poor bugger is having a hard time of it. The thing is: he deserves everything he gets. Oh lord, I’m kidding, of course he doesn’t. It’s all done with the greatest affection, I promise you, and he gives as good as he gets, though normally only on my birthday these days. Forgive me some mawkish sentimentality: but when I think about the year we’ve just had – creating our cookbook, recording our podcasts (coming soon!), farting about in London in fancy publishers, mincing around Europe – it’s really been quite an adventure. Despite the fact I’ve woken up to his Think F.A.S.T sleeping face approximately 4,200 times since we met, I still look forward to getting into bed with him of a night-time, farting him away with my toxic bum and then wondering how easily I could convince a coroner that it was ‘for the many, not the few‘ if I held a pillow over his face until the light left his eyes.

To make it all the sweeter, we have a phenomenal 2020 planned. Aside from the release of a cookbook, a secret project and all sorts of exciting developments to run along side, we’re also resurrecting the Year of Holidays that we did a few years ago. We love to travel and thanks to the fact I never spaffed too indiscriminately in my early years, we aren’t saddled with baggage above and beyond our knock-off Calvin Klint suitcases. The blog is always at its best when I have something new to write about and so, next year, expect some high tales and frisky nonsense as we clatter about Europe and beyond. Long time readers may remember my honeymoon diaries from when we went to Disney ten years ago: well, it’s time to go back in May. We will still be pumping out recipes that you can enjoy, not endure (you’ll start hearing that a lot going forward, fair warning), but we’re going to mix a lot more adventure into the mix. Adventure eh? Yes! If you didn’t catch the bus – you won’t want to miss the boat!

Anyway. Before all of that, let’s enjoy the slide into Christmas – push out and it’ll hurt less, James.

Let’s get to the sponsored bit. Actifry have asked us to take part in their third spin class of the year, where you spin the wheel, choose a recipe from their (genuinely very good) app and make it for our “adoring” public. We were happy to oblige, and thankfully, the wheel finally landed on a recipe that was easy to adapt for our slimming audience. These Actifry pigs in blankets can be cooked without the glaze and if you swap out streaky bacon for strips of bacon medallions and chose syn free sausages, you could make them syn free. The glaze adds a few syns but listen: it’s Christmas. If you can’t push the boat out here, when can you? You’ve got all of next year to think about losing weight.

I’ll say this though. We’ve been using our Actifry for years, mainly for chips because: obesity, but it’s genuinely our favourite kitchen gadget we own. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, with minimal fuss. It doesn’t leave your kitchen stinking of fat and it’s easy to keep clean, given all but the base can go in the dishwasher. It’s like the antithesis of Paul. There’s plenty of cheaper alternatives out there but – and mind this is rare because we’re usually all about not needing to spend money to eat well – this is worth spending your money on, even if you get a smaller or older model. Buy cheap, buy twice, and plus I’ve seen the clip of some of the models you can get in B&M and it looks like someone’s parked a coke-ravaged R2D2 on your worktop. Nobody wants that, now do they?

Find out more about the Actifry and the Spin Classes by clicking here, and don’t you fret, lover – it’ll open in a new window.

To the recipe then!

Actifry Pigs in blankets Actifry Pigs in blankets Actifry Pigs in blankets

1 vote

Print

Actifry pigs in blankets with a BBQ Jack Daniels glaze

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 20 pigs in blankets

Remember folks, you can make this syn free by swapping out the bacon, using syn free sausages and omitting the glaze. But you could also brush your teeth with the bog-brush and save on toothpaste: doesn't mean you should. Spend the syns and enjoy this!

Don't have an Actifry? Shame on you. But these can be done in the oven too, and we'll cover that for you!

Ingredients

  • twenty wee chipolatas (syn free if you pick the right ones, otherwise, syn accordingly)
  • twenty strips of streaky bacon - use bacon medallions if you absolutely must (syn accordingly if you use streaky bacon - 100g is 9 syns, and we barely used that)

For the glaze:

  • a shot (25ml) of Jack Daniels (we use the one with honey because we're fancy AF) (3 syns)
  • six tablespoons of BBQ sauce - we use Tesco's own brand because we're not fancy at all, despite what we said above, sorry) - (6 syns)

So for twenty pigs in blankets, made with the glaze, you're looking at just under two syns a pop, including the streaky bacon.

Instructions

  • wrap each wee sausage in a rasher of bacon, or half a rasher if you've got big slices
    • if you're using an Actifry Genius like us, no need to remove the paddle
    • if you're using an older Actifry, remove the paddle
  • place them into your Actifry with the 'join' of the bacon face down
    • if you're using an Actifry Genius, set the cooking mode to '2' (breaded products) and the timer for ten minutes - selecting this mode means the paddle won't turn, which will keep your pigs in blankets together
    • for an older model, set yourself a wee timer for ten minutes
  • set everything away cooking, and in that ten minutes, whisk together your sauce and Jack Daniels
  • when the ten minutes is up, tip in your glaze and:
    • for the Genius, select cooking mode 1 and ten minutes, which will make the paddle turn and get everything coated and sticky 
    • for the older models, carefully pop the paddle back in and set it away for ten minutes
  • serve to rapturous applause

These really are bloody lovely. The only reason we suggest not using the paddle straight off is if the sausages go tumbling about, they might lose their blankets!

Can do these in the oven too - on a roasting tray for ten minutes, then glaze the buggers and put them back in.

Notes

  • the Actifry app is absolutely worth downloading if you're stuck on recipes - there are tonnes on there, including our own!
  • take a look at Actifry's on Amazon - there's a model for every requirement these days - this'll open in a new window

Don't forget our cookbook!

All good book shops, including Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smith. Thanks to strong sales Amazon have dropped the price to £10, as have the others, and we heartily encourage you to buy it now!

If you click on that banner, you’ll be taken to the Amazon page where you’ll also be able to download a wee Kindle version with three recipes, to give you an idea of what is coming up.

Courses party food

Cuisine Actifry

How good is that? Want more Actifry ideas? Of course!

Looking for something more to do with your Actifry? Sure!

J

warming curried cauliflower soup: syn-free and tasty!

Curried cauliflower soup – and syn free to boot – perfect as the winter sets in and Christmas approaches. This is a dual purpose recipe: I wanted to find a soup recipe that took no effort at all AND used a vegetable that is cheap and abundant at the moment. Added bonus: it’ll make your arse so toxic that, should you be like me and have a husband who is constantly knocking on your nethers with Ole Blind Bob, you’ll be given a free pass. A free ass, if you will, though no-one’s ever thrown socks at my bottom. Pity. Anyway, the curried cauliflower soup will follow shortly, but first the usual balderdash.

One thing I haven’t mentioned on the blog lately is that I’ve been gallivanting quite a bit – a veritable blizzard of trips away and driving around the country snaffling a hundred service station sandwiches whilst owlishly ignoring my ‘Service Due’ spanner light on my car. One such trip took me to Birmingham to see Chernobyl Edition Paul who took me along to see Frisky & Mannish. Now, when someone recommends something to me, I’ll often nod and smile and die inside whilst I have to pretend to be interested in something awfully unfunny or just not up my street. If you ever meet me, you’ll see the exact ‘but I don’t care‘ face I pull the very second I ask you how you are and you reply with anything other than the most basic acknowledgement of the question. Honestly, it should be a crime to actually give a proper answer. In the North East we have this down to a fine art, which goes like this:

“Alreet mate?’

“Alreet?”

See? Didn’t even answer the question and then it’s off back down t’pit. Learn from that, people.

Anyway, it turned out his recommendation wasn’t duff at all, and after a few Youtube videos which actually made my insides ache we were booked and ready to go. Now, if you’ve never heard of them, they’re a musical comedy duo act who do shows which play on musical themes and mix pop parodies, jokes and some actual amazing singing. That’s a shit way of describing them, so let me simply encourage you to watch this:

It even won over my stone-hearted husband, who last laughed back in 2014, and even that was mainly acid-reflux.

Aside from spilling my beer as I sat down and creating a heart-stopping moment when Frisky came speeding out in massive heels and oh-so-almost slipped over, it was a genuinely fantastic show. You know how these things tend to go: there’s nearly always a ‘down bit’ where they try new material and not everything sticks. Not here: I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a live show, and I’m someone who ends up in paroxysms of laughter watching You’ve Been Framed. My benchmark isn’t high. I left that venue with my ribs aching like someone had spent four minutes slapping me about with a pair of fish slices to the key-change in Scared of the Dark by Steps. That’s a musical joke and you know it.

We were given a chance to meet them after and to their absolute credit, they remained entirely unfazed and positive even in light of being hugged by a giant sentient Sugar Puff and his glazed companion. I’d post the picture but I look like I’ve been awake for eight days and that’s not a treat for anyone. However, they were that bloody good that when I returned home I booked three more tickets to see them in Newcastle with Paul and someone who was sick of hearing me bang on about them. They loved it too, and it was great to see them playing to a much larger venue. Actually! Because I’m a narcissistic sod, I wanted to redo the picture I had taken from the other week and they were only happy to oblige:

I’m the one in the middle, in case you didn’t realise. Did I feel guilty about leaving Patrick and Paul outside in the pouring rain whilst I went full Annie Wilkes in the foyer? I did not. Worth it! They’re taking a break now but honestly, if you ever get a chance to see them, you absolutely must.

We also managed to squeeze in to see Jay Rayner on his Last Supper tour when we were both in Birmingham. I’m going to use that as a jumping off point for a fuller blog entry down the line but I’ll say two things now. Firstly, the man was an utter delight – hilarious, self-effacing and full of anecdotes you actually want to listen to. Which leads me to my next point: if you’re attending a show with a ‘question and answer’ element, don’t be that irritating raclure-de-bidet who thinks everyone in the room has come to hear your thoughts on the act as the show goes on. My word, she was bothersome – talking over everyone’s questions, guffawing in that ‘look at me look at me oh god won’t you look at me’ way at everything he said…the list could go on. I sure hope her heartbeat doesn’t.

Anyway, we’ll come back to Jay Rayner another time, but in the meantime, let’s do this curried cauliflower soup, shall we? I can’t pretend I’ve found a way of making curried cauliflower soup look exciting, but damn it’s syn free and delicious. What more do you want?

curried cauliflower soup curried cauliflower soup

1 vote

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curried cauliflower soup

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 bowlfuls

We're trying to spin our meals around whatever vegetables are currently in season here at Chubby Towers - plus, eating meat for every single meal is getting a bit tiresome on both the entrance and exit doors. What can you do with a cauliflower? Some people - we'll call them mental - pretend you can make steaks with them. You can't. You can no more make a steak with a cauliflower than you can make a lamppost with a giraffe. Get ahad of yerself, lass.

However, the good folks at Olive Magazine posted this recipe last year, and although we've adapted it ever so slightly for twochubbycubs and Slimming World, it didn't lose any flavour in our tinkering. We heartily recommend!

We've also included a tip to really speed things up if you're pushed for time, but honestly, there's very little to do here.

Ingredients

  • one large cauliflower - remove the outer leaves
  • few sprays of olive oil
  • one large white onion (we used the cannonball onions from Morrisons, but only because the name got me all a-frisk)
  • two teaspoons of garlic paste
  • one tablespoon of hot curry powder
  • one litre of vegetable stock (made from bouillon powder if you have it)
  • 100g of fat-free Greek yoghurt
  • Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • chop up your cauliflower into little cauliflowers - don't waste the stem either, chop it finely
  • save a few shapely florets aside
  • slice up your onion
  • in a nice big pan, gently sweat off your onion and cauliflower until nicely golden
  • add the garlic paste and curry powder and give everything a good stir and cook for a couple of minutes more
  • add the stock and allow to simmer gently for around 25 minutes, or until everything has softened up
  • if you like a thicker soup, simmer for a bit longer to take off some of the stock
  • allow to cool, add the yoghurt and then blend together with a stick blender 
  • taste and if it needs salt, add it and reblend

For the top, I sliced the cauliflower florets nice and thickly and then in another small pan, fried them off in Worcestershire sauce - you want them to have a bit of a bite, but the Worcestershire sauce adds a lovely flavour - totally unnecessary though! I also added a bit of chilli oil because I'm not content unless my arse is melting like a summer ice-cream

Notes

  • you don't need a fancy blender for soup - we always recommend this wee stick blender which does the job and is rarely more than a tenner on Amazon
  • want to speed this up - you can buy already chopped cauliflower in Tesco sold as 'cauliflower rice' - combine with a pot of chopped onions and you could have this done in no time at all 
  • want more fabulous recipes of this scale and complexity - of course you do, you're wonderful - click away!

Click here to preorder our new cookbook! Now £10!

Courses soup

Cuisine vegetarian

This freezes well, I should have said – and what better way to say I want a divorce than present your partner with some freezer-burn soaked curried cauliflower soup? I ask you. You want some more ideas for soup? We got you – here’s all our syn free soups:

Tasty!

J

peppercorn sauce – only half a syn!

‘ey up duck! Listen, I’m not going to lie – we’ve had quite the hectic month including a weekend surrounded by about five hundred equally chunky, hairy and mostly nude gay men. You can forgive us for taking our eyes off the ball, though to be fair said ball was normally clattering off my chin alongside its brother. Oh stop.

Tonight’s recipe is for a peppercorn sauce to go with steak – it’s simple, but damn is it tasty. If you want to go straight to the recipe for peppercorn sauce, we understand – just click the big button below and you’ll be whisked right there. You snooty moo. Everyone else, we have part two of our recentish trip to Hamburg. We love feedback on our holiday reports, do send us a message!

click here for part one (it’ll open in a sexy new tab)

You may or may not recall from the last entry that we’re combining two trips to Hamburg in one sexy trip report here – so forgive the back and forth of the highlights. Or don’t, you’ve already clicked the page and given me the ad revenue now, so what can you do?

Kunterbunt and Tom’s Saloon

During both visits, we took ourselves for a few drinks in the night. A lovely night was had by all, with particular reference to the two places above. We couldn’t walk past a place called Kunterbunt and not go in, could we? It was tiny inside and exactly what you’d expect a gay pub in Germany to be like – not especially good beer and colossal screens showing explicit, vanilla porn in 480p. I haven’t seen an arse that pixelated since the heady days of being a teenage boy with a dial-up connection and trying to bust one out to some knockoff X-Files photoshop. One video being screened depicted some long-since-dead twink getting boffed on the bonnet of a moving Land Rover to which I had nothing but admiration – I get distracted to the point of crashing just pushing my glasses up my nose, let alone having to do a three-clench turn on some leather-bound Adonis.

The barman – a charming, hyper-excitable bear – recognised us from the first visit and stationed us at the end of his bar so he could feed us knock-off Jagermeister and scream HOLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH at me every time I came back from the toilet. He was a delicious affront to my senses and even brought Paul out from his shell. We spent many hours in there and I made significant progress on my German oral – it’s always been a language I was keen to get my tongue around.

Tom’s Saloon was better, although I felt they ought to have had a whiparound for some pennies for the ‘leccy box – at some points it was almost pitch black and I didn’t know where to put my face. I’ll give you an insight into my hamfisted (steady) pulling technique here though: I caught the eye of, and received a smile from, an absolutely stunning older bloke who was dressed head to toe in leather. Unless it’s on exactly the right person I’m not usually a fan (there’s lots of blokes – me included – who look like a discarded back-alley sofa in leather) but this man, with his beard white as snow and arms like swollen tree trunks, spoke to me on a primal level.

Buoyed up with the confidence that too much booze and too little lighting can give to a fat bloke, I sauntered over to introduce myself with the classic line ‘I fucking love your outfit, mate’. Outfit, though. I mean, the poor bloke would have struggled with his talc and zips and buttons all evening and here’s me leering at him like he’s come tap-dancing down the stairs like Satine from Moulin Rouge. Which is ironic, actually, given I was the one left breathless. Once I’d apologised for my language faux-pas the ice was broken and we enjoyed an hour of pleasant discourse culminating in him giving me his number and me being invited back to Norway. I’m not suggesting I was keen but I had klm.com loaded before he’d even finished explaining his playroom layout.

You mustn’t worry, by the way, Paul was making his own fun. Which admittedly sounds like he was fapping at the bar, but please, have a bit of decorum – this is a family blog.

Scooters

Tangentially linked to the above, we were left with a difficult decision when 4am rolled around and we realised that no Ubers were going to our hotel. We could walk, of course, but fat and unsteady through unfamiliar streets? What if we got kidnapped and subject to all sorts of nefarious unpleasantness – or worse, what if we didn’t? The solution was right in front of us – take a scooter.

See, Hamburg is one of those up-and-coming fancy tech cities and as a result, is utterly awash with electric scooters that you can unlock with your phone and zip around the cycle paths with. They’re really very handy because you can pop out of any U-Bahn station and glide gently to your next destination. As someone whose ankles swell getting off the toilet, they appeal greatly. But see: when you watch the locals use them, they make it look effortless – swishing past in efficient German clothing balancing all manner of things on their back and ne’ry glancing at where they’re going.

Us, exceptionally drunk, badly-dressed and with all the coordination of a plane evacuation, do not. We gave it a go though, with the memories of both Florida (where a Segway beeped alarmingly at me when I climbed on with scant regard for the weight limit) and Tokyo (where a motability robot actually shut down under my corpulent frame) totally ignored. We were quite something! We didn’t fall over once – perhaps the alcohol relaxed us to the point that we mastered balance and speed with no issue. I don’t doubt we looked like two wardrobes given life, but hey – we made the 4km back to the hotel with only one very quick diversion to avoid the police. Gangster as fuck, us.

How’s this for an obscure quote?

CHOCOVERSUM Chocolate Museum

When this popped up on our Google recommendations you best believe that we were first in line the second it opened. I mean, a tour of a chocolate factory coupled with the promise of free chocolate? Excited? I was dilated like a rejected bagel. I do think it doesn’t do to look too keen in situations like this, but damn, we had a coach party to get in front of and anyway, this was a hurried weekend: no time to lose!

The tour itself was actually – surprisingly – really interesting, with a host who flitted between German, French and English with the consummate professionalism you’d expect from someone who has spent years trying to keep the interest of forty people who really just want free food and a chance to rub themselves off in the molten chocolate room. No? Just me? Regardless, she seemed to take a liking to me – this always happens for I am simply irresistible and/or always volunteer questions and cheesy smiles – and kept inviting me to show off how easy it was to make chocolate. Either that or she was holding me up to the others as a stark warning about the dangers of calorie excess. Meh, I don’t care, I got more samples than anyone else and brought everyone together with effortless jokes and slapstick – they should send me to sort out Brexit.

The best part came in the room where you got to pour and then adorn your own chocolate bar. Having been so terribly burned by our ‘exciting tour’ of Cadbury World a couple of years ago I held no hopes, but no: it was a full size bar and – her words – any topping you could possibly want. Alas, I didn’t have time to google what the German for ‘brutal, relentless and don’t call me afterwards’ was and she brought out a tray of marshmallows instead. My bar was topped with sea salt, crunchy sugar and some other chocolatey detritus they’d swept off the floor, Paul went for something cloying and some heavy breathing. They were whisked away to cool whilst we were shown how cocoa beans were pressed, but I think she knew at that point she had lost us to hankering after our creations because she wrapped things up remarkably quickly.

I wish I could tell you that we kept the bars as gifts for when we returned home but I don’t think we were out of the gift shop before they were pawed clumsily into our Augustus Gloop mouths. Ah well. We tried.

St Pauli and the Reeperbahn

Hamburg has an especially salacious district known for sex and excess, so naturally my feet were twitching from the second we set down. We went for drinks in a bar just outside whilst things started to liven up, then decided to have a wander about once the sun had gone down. Not a euphemism. Well goodness me: all I can say is that I’m sure if you were a young straight lad you’d have a smashing time, however, there wasn’t much for the lightfooted amongst us. I felt more than a pressing concern for all the (admittedly usually stunning) ladies of the night who called to us (and literally everyone else with a cock) as we walked past. I wanted to cry out that it was ‘nothing personal, you’re beautiful, but I could cheerfully undercut your fees for anal’ as we wandered on, but Paul pointed out the many muscly man-thumbs who were patrolling the area with stern expressions on their faces. As if that would put me off, I’d end up slipping notes in their shirt pockets as they choked me out. We carried on through without engaging though – Paul’s hand on his ha’penny and mine on my wallet.

I did find something to scratch an itch though.

Something that definitely didn’t happen

Paul and I rarely argue – especially for a couple who have been together for twelve years – but when we do, it’s always an absolute corker. Holidays, alcohol and my tendency towards out-of-the-country profligacy does tend to bring out the ire, though. I mean, can you imagine an argument spinning so far out of control that one of us ended up storming off in the dead of night, buying a full-price ticket for a plane ride home and getting all the way to the security gate at the airport before they finally backed down? Was such a thing possible? Imagine such a nonsense! Mahaha. It took several bags of Haribo and rounds of nuzzling to right that wrong, I promise you. Although it definitely didn’t happen, eh, Paul? We laugh about it now, even if I’m still pouring broken bits of glass into his coffee when he’s not looking.

Overall

We can’t recommend Hamburg enough: it’s an absolutely gorgeous, perfectly German city. We spent hours wandering out, buying snacks (including a 5am haul of pastries from one of the U-Bahn stations) and just soaking in the city and whilst it isn’t my favourite place in Germany (Berlin, which we are revisiting soon), it’s high up on places I’d cheerfully buy a flat to use as an occasional blowout pad. I’m sure that there’s all manner of historical and beautiful places to experience there that we didn’t touch on – though we did visit the art gallery and fell asleep walking up about ten minutes in – but what little we saw, we adored. As a bonus, flights are dirt cheap and hotels seem reasonable enough, so if you’re fancying a weekend away, do it!

A shout-out to srprs.me (we paid for our own holiday, so not an ad) – we can’t get enough of this. Paying someone else to send you on an entirely random, unscripted holiday is quite the risk but they have absolutely never failed us, always choosing unusual hotels in places we would never have considered. If you’re someone who likes to control-freak every aspect of your holiday then I implore you to roll the dice and give it a go – I bet you’ll be pleasantly srprsed. I’ll see myself out.

Hamburg, done.

Right, lovers! Let’s do the recipe for peppercorn sauce.  Ready?




Slimming World peppercorn sauce



Slimming World peppercorn sauce

peppercorn sauce

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 splashes

Now look, I'm not making a claim that this is exactly like a proper peppercorn sauce, but damn we got it close. We were inspired to make this after buying the Slimming World peppercorn sauce in Iceland. They do some lovely food, apparently, but lord knows this wasn't it. Hopefully you'll enjoy our version! This makes more than enough for four servings - Paul applies his sauce somewhat liberally, as you can see. Mind, that explains why I have the face of a 24 year old.

Ingredients

  • one really large onion
  • tablespoon of lazy garlic (if you like it particularly honking - feel free to dial this back)
  • handful of button mushrooms
  • beef stock cube dissolved in 100ml of boiling water
  • absolutely tonnes of black pepper from a grinder or, if you're a fancy bitch, use your pestle and mortar
  • 100g of Philadelphia Lightest (4 syns)

Instructions

  • firstly, divven't be adding salt to this recipe - the stock cube takes care of that
  • chop your onion and mushroom as finely as you possibly can - this is the fiddly bit, but worth doing right
  • sweat off the onion in a few sprays of oil on a low heat - you want them softened ever so gently
  • add the garlic and the mushrooms and continue to sweat (both the food, and you in general, because if you're anything like me you'll be chewing your gusset wanting yer dinner) a minute or two
  • add as much black pepper as you and your weak pelvic floor muscles dare
  • pour in the stock and whack the heat up, let it bubble away and reduce a smidge, then turn the heat down
  • add the Philadelphia and stir it through and allow to gently thicken
  • slop it over your steak and chips

Notes

  • Philadelphia Lightest is fine for this, but - shock - we used Philadelphia Light as that's all we had. I know, we're sluts, but it still makes a tasty Slimming World peppercorn sauce
  • want more fabulous recipes of this scale and complexity - of course you do, you're wonderful - click away!

Click here to preorder our new cookbook!

Courses sides

Cuisine steak

Canny eh! A peppercorn sauce done just perfectly! Right, you want some more recipes? Don’t we all. Let’s take a selection from the beef section. Here’s 28 beef ideas, all syn free!

  1. saucy beef chop suey (syn free)
  2. deep dish lasagne (syn free)
  3. the DILF burger (syn free)
  4. bacon cheeseburger sloppy cubs (syn free)
  5. steak, feta and veg wraps (syn free)
  6. pizza stuffed meatloaf (syn free)
  7. rainbow beef (syn free)
  8. roast dinner (syn free)
  9. stuffed onions (syn free)
  10. philly cheesesteak sliders (syn free)
  11. crunchy steak bites with smoked cheese (syn free)
  12. sizzling rainbow salad (syn free)
  13. slow cooker lasagne (syn free)
  14. sweet potato and spinach beef bowls (syn free)
  15. easy peasy beef curry (syn free)
  16. sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots (syn free)
  17. mince ‘n’ mash (syn free)
  18. steak au poivre (syn free)
  19. absolutely perfect chilli (syn free)
  20. potato crust meat pies (syn free)
  21. asian garlic beef (syn free)
  22. speedy spring roll bowls (syn free)
  23. steak bake (syn free)
  24. meatball masala (syn free)
  25. taster night tiny tropical towers (syn free)
  26. reuben burger (syn free)
  27. philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers (syn free)
  28. sloppy joe tater tots (syn free)

Enjoy! See you soon!

J

we are coming in your ears

Ooh, matron.

Paul here – just to let you saucepots know that we have had the absolute pleasure to appear on a special bonus episode of ‘The Secret World of Slimming Clubs’ podcast! You can listen to it right now on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.  Click on their mushes below to go straight to their Facebook page, and don’t forget to tell them we sent you! And also while you’re there don’t forget to subscribe – you’ll get a fabulous episode every week full of the trials and tribulations of a weigh-in class and it’s an absolute hoot! Put a towel down first, mind, because you will piss yourself.

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, text

The Secret World of Slimming Clubs

In other news – we’ve been really busy working on our book so ever so sorry that we’ve been quiet. The good news is it’s nearly done and on-track to be coming out for the New Year and we can’t wait for you to see it! If you haven’t got your greasy paws on one yet you can preorder from Amazon, or if you’re feeling particularly fancy you can also preorder a special, limited SIGNED copy from Waterstones! Ooh, get you!

Click here to preorder our new cookbook!

Thanks to all of you for sticking with us and allowing us to cram our shite into your eyeballs every so often, it means a lot to us. We really hope you like our cookbook and it helps you on your way. We’ll be back to posting on here more regularly as soon as we can but also (hopefully) we’ll working on another cookbook for you so if you have any ideas of what you want to see, tell us in the comments below. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, don’t forget we’ve already got 600+ recipes for you ready to go, just click here to go to the index!

Cheers!

P x

Actifry salmon and dill croquettes

Howdo!

Part two of our Hamburg trip coming up on the next post, but first, a new recipe for all of you out there sat with an Actifry and wanting some inspiration. Just to be clear, this is a sponsored post (in that we get paid oodles of delicious money to post a recipe) but as usual, it doesn’t change our recommendations or suggestions. Regular readers will know we’ve been recommending the Actifry for years now, so it’s not as though we’re just doing it for the money. We work hard for the money. So hard for the money.

Quick detour first (because it’s us!) – we’re just back from the most fabulous wedding of a very close friend and some brass he picked up in Wolverhampton. I’m joking, her name is Sarah, she’s gorgeous, and her Band of Gold years have long since passed her by. She works hard for the money, so hard for the money. You may recollect we don’t have good form with weddings – we fell asleep for the entirety of our last-but-one, and the last wedding ended up with us being interrupted in flagrante by a burst of Gina G. The last thing you need when you’re at Billy Mill roundabout is her caterwauling away about wanting a little bit more. Don’t we all love.

It was a fantastic time though. I usually prefer to solemnity and cheer of a good funeral (plus black is terribly slimming on the husky gentleman) but this wedding won me over: anything with a six course meal and a room full of rugby players will tend to do that to me. I kept being mistaken for the groom: not an insult by any stretch given that he’s six foot of muscle, beard, twinkling eyes and has buttocks like the Mitchell Brothers hugging in a storm. That came to a head when I woke up next to his wife and she was pre-emptively piddling on a pregnancy test. Unless that baby comes out high-kicking its legs and wearing a sash, it isn’t mine.

Finally, does anyone know whether it is actually true that if you stand up and say something – even as a joke – during the service, they have to stop and wait for thirty days? I was itching to stand up and explain that the groom and I had been having a long, passionate affair punctuated by moments of brutal tenderness, but I didn’t want to upset the bride / my husband / my readership.

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s get to the sponsored bit. Actifry have asked us to take part in their second spin class, where you spin the wheel, choose a recipe from their (genuinely very good) app and make it for our adoring public. We were happy to oblige, and thankfully, the wheel finally landed on a recipe that was easy to adapt for our slimming audience. These wee salmon and dill croquettes are a doddle to make in the Actifry, but even if you don’t want one, whack them in the oven instead. We won’t tell. We served these with some leftover yoghurt mixed with tartare sauce and a load of capers because we’re fancy (and want the space in the cupboard back). Let’s get to it!

I’ll say this though. We’ve been using our Actifry for years, mainly for chips because: obesity, but it’s genuinely our favourite kitchen gadget we own. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, with minimal fuss. It doesn’t leave your kitchen stinking of fat and it’s easy to keep clean, given all but the base can go in the dishwasher. It’s like the antithesis of Paul. There’s plenty of cheaper alternatives out there but – and mind this is rare because we’re usually all about not needing to spend money to eat well – this is worth spending your money on, even if you get a smaller or older model. Buy cheap, buy twice, and plus I’ve seen the clip of some of the models you can get in B&M and it looks like someone’s parked a coke-ravaged R2D2 on your worktop. Nobody wants that, now do they?

Find out more about the Actifry and the Spin Classes by clicking here, and don’t you fret, lover – it’ll open in a new window.

salmon and dill croquettes

salmon and dill croquettes   salmon and dill croquettes

salmon and dill croquettes

Actifry salmon and dill croquettes

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 16 croquettes

One of the easiest, tastiest recipes we've done with our Actifry in a long, long time! Simply measure out your ingredients, mix, shape, bread and cook! Easy! We're putting this at 2 syns for four fat croquettes but actually, it's probably a lot less than that as you won't use all of the breadcrumbs when you're coating your croquettes.

The original recipe called for making the croquettes entirely with breadcrumbs but to bring them in line with Slimming World, we added leftover mashed potato. Enjoy!

Mix up the amount of ingredients - as long as you end up with a thick, claggy dough, you're fine!

Ingredients

  • 320g chopped salmon
  • 120g leftover mash
  • 60g fat-free yoghurt
  • one egg
  • 50g panko (9 syns)
  • two tablespoons of dill
  • one lemon

Instructions

  • if your Actifry has a setting, preheat it
  • throw everything bar the panko into a mixing bowl and mix mix mix until you get a good thick dough
  • spray the Actifry with a little oil
  • shape the croquettes in your hand and then roll in salt-and-pepper-mixed panko
  • take the paddle out of the Actifry and place the croquettes in
  • cook for about fifteen minutes until they firm up, and then pop the paddle in
  • cook for another ten minutes or so until browned and crunchy
  • serve with whatever you want - we mixed tartare sauce with yoghurt and capers

Courses snacks

Cuisine Actifry

Looking for something more to do with your Actifry? Sure!

J

quick chicken kebab wraps – fakeaway style!

Hiyaaaaaa! Urgh, stop. Before we get to the super-quick chicken kebab wraps, I’ve got a tale to spin to you. It involves Germany, and it’s a holiday post. If you’re here for the recipe, click the heart below and it’ll dash you straight there. Otherwise, settle in – it’s a long one, but you can take it. Meanwhile, cookbook coming along lovely, thank you: we’re now locked in and ready to go! You can pre-order it here.

Goodness, it’s been a while since I rattled out a holiday post – not because we haven’t been gallivanting, mind you, I’m always working on my suntanned wattle – but it’s been an age since I could sit and type something other than recipes. This holiday post takes us all to Hamburg and is unusual in that I’m combining two separate trips into one. The first time we went was back in April courtesy of srprs.me (more on that later) and I booked the second one in one of my atypical ‘go fuck yourself’ huffs. Some people spend days poring over brochures and cooing at hotels.com before they pick their next adventure – with me, you just need to wait until someone cuts me up on a roundabout or I stub my toe on the settee and I’m straight onto easyjet.com filling in my API with rage-a-tremble fingers.

This trip was our fourth with srprs.me – a simple concept where you pay a travel agent a discreet sum of money and they book you a holiday somewhere exciting and wonderful. You don’t find out until you’re at the airport, where you scratch off a scratchcard, enter a code on their website and find out your gate number and destination. It’s all terrifically exciting and indeed, we videoed our last reveal in the hope of sharing it with you all. However, the 4am start and general rattiness of me being at Newcastle Airport betrayed us and when our destination of Malaga was revealed, I announced ‘for fucks sake, fucking MALAGA’ and promptly knocked my coffee over with that touch of the dramatic I know you all love. In my defence, I was confusing it with some super-rough beach resort that I vaguely remembered seeing on those 90s reality shows like Fingerblasts Uncovered where walking flesh-envelopes of fake-tan spilled Blue WKD into their nethers and gurned to camera.

It was actually a superb place, since I mention it. But no, this trip was to Hamburg, and quite honestly, I knew nothing about the place other than it was in Germany and sounded delicious. A quick google reveals some interesting details: it has one of the largest seaports in the world (I shan’t make an awash with seamen joke), the most bridges of any global city and, every three months, hosts the Hamburger Dom.

Coincidentally, on my second trip, so did I.

It was the trip to the airport on the second trip that bears discussion, so we’ll start there and from now on, I’m just going to flit between the two without further clarification. Our flight was 6.45pm from Manchester Airport and, after a fitful morning, we set away at 12 noon, planning on stopping for lunch somewhere fancy en-route. Six hours to travel 180 miles of motorway – even in a Smart car laden with two fat blokes – surely no problem?

So you’d think. But every single citizen of the United Kingdom had clearly decided to go out for a leisurely crash of their cars at precisely 12.01 and what should have been a simple, uncomplicated jaunt became a nailbiting exercise in clock-watching, screaming myself hoarse at the backs of lorries and listening to Paul’s music. It was the last part that almost finished me off – I’d promised not to say one word about his music in exchange for him doing the long drive (I was tired from having my hair cut) and my god, in all honesty, wrenching the steering wheel from him and swerving us under an Iceland articulated lorry has never been so tempting. So much sad guitar chords and female warbling. The only thing that stopped me was the indignity of being cut out of the wreckage of a Smart car whilst chewing my way through a Sara Lee gateaux that had wedged itself up my arse.

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HAMBURG: car journey with my beloved

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The gates closed promptly at 6.15pm and I’ve seen enough sweaty-jowled businessmen being shouted at on Airline to know easyjet are merciless with their deadlines. For years I’ve watched that programme taking sweet satisfaction from families being denied their holidays or some person missing out on a liver transplant because they’d parked too far away to make check-in, but now I was at risk of missing out, I was manic. We threw our keys at the meet and greet parking people, apologising profusely at 200mph for being in a rush, and sprinted through fast-track security and the departures lounge.

I say sprinted. I don’t sprint. I’ve got good long legs that allow me to move with purpose and my general size and my face all-a-tittylip means people will get out of my face with minimal need for cursing under my breath and punching old folks to the ground. Paul, on the other hand, moves with all the urgency of a man selecting a slice of toast for a weekend breakfast, and I grew ever more furious with him as he delicately tip-toed around folks and ‘ever-so-sorry’ allowed people to get in front. Things came crashing to a head as he slipped over on an incline and fell fat on his face with an almighty moo.

I am, I admit, a terrible person. An awful husband, a cruel lover and a heartless soul. I burst out laughing. My weakness, if you ever need to make me laugh, are random jerky movements and people falling over and hurting themselves. Others watch stand-up, I watch You’ve Been Framed with a smirk and a semi. We didn’t have time to spare so he picked himself up, looked at me with a face that made it clear I’d have to spend twenty minutes later making pained expressions of fake remorse, and off we went. We made it to the gate with one whole minute to spare, according to his now heavily-scuffed smart-watch.

Thank god we made it though, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the subsequent twenty-five minutes of standing at the gate peering at our plane and wondering why we couldn’t get on. That was never explained, though it did give me plenty of time to smile coquettishly and have a mutual eye-wank with a lovely German bear a couple of steps down the queue. Ah, German men. There’s something so alluring about an accent that sounds like they’re coughing up gravel even when they’re “whispering sweet nothings” into the back of your neck.

Our flights were uneventful – prompt, comfortable and with minimal fuss – though my trip was made all the more comfortable by the four gins I downed, ignoring the fact that the bill came to more than I’d paid for our flight ticket. We’re on holiday, such extravagance is to be encouraged. Clearly easyJet has its knockers – she served me the drinks – but damn I love them. We landed, breezed through security in that almost effortless manner we currently enjoy thanks to being part of a fantastic union of shared responsibilities and agreed border processes – what absolute melt would begrudge that – and then we managed about four hundred meters before we sat down and had a sandwich.

See, there’s another reason why we love Germany. So. Many. Sandwiches. I know they all come from the same processing plant and have probably sat there so long you could escape from prison using the bread as a file, but I care not: they’re delicious. It’s like living in a sandwich buffet and I’m all for it. My choice was a sandwich with so much smoked cheese and ham in it that I had to call for special assistance just to lift my fat-ass back out of the seat. My apologies, I should really call him by his first name, Paul.

Paul’s sandwich had an entire section of Lidl pressed into it:

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HAMBURG: the first sandwich we ever had.

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The German public transport system is another joy, once you get around the fact the map looks like a Michael Bay action thriller where some sap has to cut just the right wire to defuse a bomb. I’m sure it’s easy to follow and indeed, after forty minutes sweating, crying and deciphering the beast we managed, we were on our way, but jeez does it make you realise how shit our system is. We’ve got two lines on our Metro system in Newcastle and trains that still have George Stephenson in the cab. But mustn’t grumble: you pay £5.20 to be told by a pleasant soothing voice that the trains are delayed and you can expect to arrive three stops short by the summer equinox.

The hotel that srprs.me had chosen was a delight – the Hotel Jufa, down on the docks. Ostensibly a ‘maritime’ hotel, though the lack of filthy-handed sailors was a disappointment, it was full of ships to play on and curious little tchotchkes alluding to the port. That’s all well and good, but I’m not Alex Polizzi (there was a PUUUUBE, DAAAARLING) (hi Adam) and there’s no need to review the hotel here save to tell you the three most important facts:

  • the breakfast buffet was plentiful, varied and everything fabulous about a German breakfast;
  • the room had decent air-conditioning and none of those silly double mattresses which are two normal mattresses zipped together – very important when you’re our combined weight and turning over in your sleep means both beds careering to either end of the room; and
  • it had a homophobic shower. Seriously, hoteliers, sort your shit out so I can sort mine. Mind, I made the most of it…

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HAMBURG: it was like I'd just stepped out of a salon!

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Hotel done, we’ll switch to the various activities we took part in – no chronological order, mind you, this isn’t Sherlock.

The Saw Escape Room by EscapeDiem

You know how much we love escape rooms, yes? It had been a while since Original Flavour Paul and I had done one and well, what extra level of tension could having all the instructions in German add?

Turns out, a lot. But: what a fantastic room. Based on the Saw movies, you start off in the bathroom from the movies – filthy toilet (and yep, you need to put your hand in) and all. Clever tricks abound – heat sensitive paints, heartbeat locks, false rooms…all marvellous. Then the twist halfway through: you had to go inside the walls. There was a tiny vent to crawl through – now I’m not claustrophobic so I was generally fine with that – but then you had to loop back over yourself and climb up. They’d built a multi-level maze in the walls in the almost pitch black.

Scary, but doable, yes? Well think of me for a second – I was lodged in a wall, barely able to move, with Paul – all many, many stone of him – perched right above me with only a thin sheet of plywood holding him up. It wasn’t Jigsaw or being stuck I was scared of but rather being reduced to atom-wide jam by the weight of the clumsiest fucker alive crashing down on me. It actually felt like a Saw movie, especially when I slashed Paul’s throat for getting the combination wrong at the end. Lolz – caught up in the moment wasn’t I! We escaped the room with a couple of minutes to go and our already strained marriage in tatters.

Miniatur Wunderland

A museum devoted to life in miniature: sounds deadly dull, but it was bloody brilliant. Tonnes and tonnes of teensy-tiny recreations of cities with working trains and tiny interactive models: we loved it. Me for the sheer mechanics and level of detail, Paul because he actually felt like a normal sized human for once. I galloped through like Glumdalclitch’s daddy, Paul went tip-toeing through the roses, letting himself into the matchbox-sized houses and taking a breath on a bench made from four cocktail sticks and a pin.

He’s not even that short, you know, but it makes a change from the fat jokes. Poor Paul, I love him really.

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HAMBURG: Paul's spiritual home

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It was fun though: I’m all for an exhibit where there’s buttons to press and this place was awash with them. For example, you pressed a button and a tiny version of a concert started playing, complete with miniature lighting rigs and hundreds of wee humans bobbing to the beat. There was a scale version of Hamburg Airport with planes taking off (disappearing neatly behind a curtain of cloud) (cotton wool) and if you pressed the button and waited, a UFO would touch down. I mean, haway! If that was the UK, each exhibition would have an out of order sign and the only buttons you could press would be on the chip-and-pin machine as you paid your £44 entrance fee.

Actually, the UK was represented with a tiny version of London, replete with lots of top-hat wearing guards and a ding-donging Big Ben. Newcastle wasn’t featured, which was a shame, because I’d have loved to have pressed a button and seen Gemma-Marie, Marie-Marie and Lisa-Marie rolling around pulling each other’s hair in a puddle of their own foamy piss. As I said, the attention to detail was really quite terrific.

Now, honestly, we’re almost at 2000 words. Let’s cut it short there and come back another day.


You came for the quick and easy chicken kebab wraps, didn’t you? Who could blame you? We’ve seen loads of hot-takes on our recipe for chicken doner kebabs, but this is the easiest one yet. Inspiration came from quite genuinely the best fast food we’ve ever had, pushed down into our gullets at 4am on a crisp Hamburg morning. Because I was drunk and a walking horn at this point, it was a case of finding anywhere that was open, dispensed food and was staffed by sultry looking men with a kebab shaver. Wasn’t hard to come across one, though we did have to pretend it was raita when a customer came in. This is something that takes no time to throw together – you could probably make a marinade yourself with lots of ingredients but honestly, pick one of these sauces up for 60p and hoy it in the cupboard for when you just can’t be arsed.

chicken kebab wraps



chicken kebab wraps



chicken kebab wraps

super quick and easy chicken kebab wraps

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 big wraps

We've done wraps so many times over, and make no apology for it. If you're controlled and sensible you can keep a load of wraps in the freezer and defrost as needed - then chuck any old shite in there. The sweet raita is what makes this dish though - don't be afraid to get it made. This makes loads - freeze any leftover meat! Enjoy our chicken kebab wraps!

Ingredients

For the wraps:

  • whatever wraps SW have decreed syn-free as your healthy extra
  • five chicken thighs
  • one packet of Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli & Garlic Stir Fry Sauce (10 syns)
  • one small red onion
  • one small white cabbage
  • half a cucumber (if you're looking for something to do with the other half, pop it up your blurter)

For the sweet raita:

  • 250g fat free greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp mint sauce
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  • dice up your chicken thighs into very small chunks - doesn't need to be uniform, but go nice and small
  • marinate the chopped thighs in the sauce and leave as long as you like
  • when it's time to eat, tip the marinated chicken into a hot pan and cook it quickly - keep stirring so it doesn't stick, but you want the sauce to get nice and sticky
  • whilst that's cooking, shred your cabbage, thinly slice the onion and chop your cucumber
  • make your wraps by adding a slick of raita to the wrap, add your meat, chopped veg and wrap away!

Top tips:

  • speed this up by using shop-bought raita
  • this makes enough for four big wraps with plenty of chicken left over - you can freeze the chicken once cooked
  • we served ours in a folded up naan bread, but we don't count our syns with bread

Notes

Courses fakeaway

Cuisine deliciousness

Looking for something else to stick in your yeast pocket? I bet you are, because you’re filth – but why not try:

With all my love forever more,

J