sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks

You’re here for the sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, aren’t you? Who could blame you – they’re quite something, though I feel bad luring you in for such a simple recipe.

But first (isn’t there an always a but first with us…actually, not always, sometimes I’ll start by working the balls) I wanted to follow up my last blog post, which dealt with the nasty side of the Internet and the disadvantages of giving chavs a keyboard that isn’t connected to a Speak ‘n’ Spell. No sooner had I put up a 1,500 word moan about the idiots kicking off at Tesco then something lovely happened. Allow me to explain, first with a wee picture…

I know, right? I ought to work for Saatchi and Saatchi, not least because think of all that delicious food Nigella would have cooked me over the years. I’m gayer than cum on a moustache but you better believe I’d happily spend my life with Ms Lawson. Any women who will cheerfully fry a sandwich in butter in her best dressing gown is a keeper, surely?

Can you remember last year when we asked you all to send us a Christmas card? Boy, did you come through for us – we received cards from all around the world and for once, the postman wasn’t being euphemistic when he came to our slot and emptied his bulging sack. Oh stop it: I know, it’s like Julian Clary is guest-writing the blog tonight. I think the grand total was over 1,500 and we read each and every one, not least because we thought you may have squirrelled away a fiver or two in there. It was great fun and we planned to do it again but, in a rare moment of genius, Paul suggested we raise money for our local cat and dog shelter, Bryson’s.

How could I resist? So we stuck our donation request online and within 36 hours, we’d managed to raise £1,300 – it now stands at £1,500! Pretty incredible and we couldn’t be more chuffed. Bryson’s are an amazing little shelter up in Gateshead who take in all manner of waifs and strays and never put a well animal to sleep – if they can’t find a home for them, it doesn’t matter, they’ll stay at Bryson’s until the end. Their staff was dedicated, kind volunteers and look, we can’t say enough about them: anyone who lets us two come in and cuddle their cats can’t be anything but amazing. You can read up on what they do here

Now – if you can, we would love it forever if you could help us. If things are tight then of course don’t worry, but if you’ve enjoyed our recipe, nonsense, videos, posters and other flimflam throughout the year, could we beg the tiniest favour and ask for a donation? We’ve stuck £100 in from the two of us – we’d absolutely love to get it up to £2,000 – and maybe more! We just think this will make a difference more than Christmas cards ever could. If you don’t want to donate, no problem – please don’t think less of us for asking – but if you do, here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window!):

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

How lovely! Remember, we’re not asking you to donate loads – just what you can, the cost of a Christmas card!

Now, to sweeten the deal a bit, we’ve done a rare video for you. It’s a recipe for syn-free brownies – you won’t believe how easy they are to make with just a few small substitutions and swaps. Naturally, we’ve put our spin on things. Enjoy!

Ha! Now, finally, let’s do the recipe, such as it is…this makes enough for two ‘stacks’.

cheesy hash brown

cheesy hash brown

to make sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, you’ll need:

  • Kingsmill wholemeal bread thins (1 x HEB per thin)
  • two good eggs
  • a potato
  • Quorn sausage patties (0.5 syn each)
  • 60g of mature cheese (2 x HEA)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (we used chilli oil because we like it hot!) (makes about five, so let’s call it a syn each)

I know there’ll be folks out there now not bothering with the recipe because it uses six syns of oil (1 tablespoon) – reconsider. The oil binds the potato and makes it like a proper hash brown. You could make your own vibrator from filling a cigar tube with bees, doesn’t mean you should. Spend the syns!

to make sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, you should:

  • hashbrowns are a doodle – grate your potato and then squeeze the living hell out of it – you want the shredded potato to be as dry as an old bajingo – then mix in the tablespoon of oil and the grated cheese, add a tonne of black pepper and a bit of salt, then press into yorkshire pudding or muffin trays – really pack it in mind you – then bung them in the oven for about 30 minutes to crisp up and brown – this actually ended up making about 5 hash-browns so keep any spare for eating later
  • it’s OK – I laughed at the concept of spare food too
  • then…well, really not sure what there is to say for the rest – grill your sausage patties and fry the eggs
  • we use a chef’s ring (he doesn’t mind, we buy him a drink after) to keep the eggs nice and round but really, you don’t need to do so
  • we use the same ring to cut a circle out of the thins but you know, why waste the extra bread? Just whack it in
  • serve with a disc on the bottom, hash brown, sausage and egg, then disc on top

If you’re one of these people who can’t fry an egg, worry not – it’s easy. Hot pan, few sprays of olive oil, crack the egg in and shape it a bit with a spatula – pop the lid on the pan once everything has started to firm up and it’ll cook nicely in the steam. Fresh eggs help. We get our eggs from my mother – you’d think she would have stopped laying them now she’s approaching 94 but hey.

Want more breakfast ideas? But of course you do. Click the buttons below.

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Enjoy! And please, give what you can – we really will love you forever.

J

creamy chicken chipotle pasta with fancy veg

I’m so sick of seeing cajun bloody chicken that we’ve made a newish version: creamy chicken chipotle pasta. You might be thinking, oh, oh you fancy decadent bitches, but please: come for the recipes, stay for the flavour.


Fair warning: the next few paragraphs are proper ranty and if you’re delicate and/or pig ignorant, you’re best scrolling straight to the pictures.


Wondering where we’ve been? Taking a break from the Internet. Does anyone else need to do this every now and then? Do you get tired of wincing at the screen at the eighty-fifth permutation of the word ‘recipe’ you’ve seen that day? I know I do. I’m not one for picking people up on their spelling but I think there’s a Freudian element to the fact that so many of us fat fuckers seem to think the word recipe has a pie in it. When someone tells you to eat your words, it’s a turn of phrase, not a fucking serving suggestion.

Anyway, our tipping point came with the release of the Tesco Christmas advert. Have you seen it? It depicts all manner of family and friends coming together and enjoying a Christmas dinner. It’s about as offensive as a cup of weak tea left out in the sun, but by god, by the reaction it received you’d think it depicted Dr Who shitting in baby Jesus’ manger whilst Dawn French spits a Stormzy song over the top. But why? Because it featured a Muslim family. And see: that just won’t do.

Have a look now on Tesco’s Facebook page and you’ll see what I mean. In between all the Yummy Mummy bloggers with their so achingly obvious attempts at going viral with twee complaints about little Francesca you’ll spot the idiots. The beetroot-faced, barely literate bumholes, crashing their faces over the fact that CHRISMUS HAS NUFFIN TO DO WITH MOSLIMS and LERN HOUR KULTURES AND LANGWISHES and old faithful POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD. I’ll have to stop trying to spell like someone’s rearranged all the letters on my keyboard for a cruel bet, it makes my nose bleed.

These are the same shithead mouth-breathing sofa-cows that spend their entire life telling everyone else to integrate into our culture or fuck off home, as though home is some distant sand-blown wasteland as opposed to five streets away in a mortgaged semi, then they’re getting all indignant when they do join in. What do these people think Muslim folk do on 25 December, sit at home shaking their fists at the telly and frothing at the decadence of it all? Whenever I’ve had this conversation with Muslim friends they say the same thing – they get together, give presents and eat far too much food. Apparently that’s not right with SHEILA MAMOVFOUR TURNER from ‘ull (education: SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS, UNIVERSITY OF LIFE STILL LERNIN’) however, and they really ought to be banished. It’s pathetic reasoning, the equivalent of me turning all the lights off during Diwali and sitting in the cupboard pouting. I know Diwali is a Hindu festival, so shut up.

The worst part is the fact you can’t even tell the family in the advert are Muslim – you can make a guess that because they’re wearing headscarves they might be, but see, my nana wore a headscarf too, if only to keep her hearing aid from blowing down the street. She certainly didn’t pledge allegiance to Allah (it took her five minutes to lift herself off the settee, so getting on her knees five times a day was definitely off the cards). Plus she wasn’t one for exotic spices: her spice cupboard consisted of baking powder, pre-war Saxo and some whole cloves for sucking when her teeth hurt. But nevertheless, the viewers have made the assumption and got all up in arms, totally ignoring the Sikh family in turbans just a few frames later (presumably because when they typed ‘SEEK’ into google to start voicing their disgust, they just get adverts for private investigators).

That’s because this whole argument has bot-all to do with faith (amazingly how devout of a Christian people become in situations like this, ignoring the fact that the last time they were in a church it was to steal the lead off the windows) and it has nothing to do with political correctness but rather it’s just an excuse for people to be the vile, pathetic racists that they are. Even when they claim they’re not, a quick glance at their Facebook profile shows a endless piss-stream of shit memes, Britain First posts (why? Their leader looks like a potato straining to pass a bladder stone) and ‘proud of my country’. Yeah, you’re so fucking proud of your country that you’ve put the Union Jack upside down on your profile and the only time you fly the England flag is when we’re getting beaten at football and even then it’s a cheap Sports Direct affair with ENGERLAND emblazoned on it.

Try to take these folks on in reasoned discussion and you get three responses:

  • you don’t understand the bigger picture – as though they’re the enlightened ones because they’ve read a leaflet in a flat-roof pub telling them SHANIA LAW IS COMING BE REDDY;
  • you’re part of the problem – that one is a compliment – much rather be ‘part of a problem’ given I’m fairly sure a good chunk of these bellends would cheerfully be part of a Final Solution; or
  • TYPICAL LEFTIE SNOWFLAKE DO-GOODER

That’s the best, isn’t it? Leftie used as an insult as though Hitler, Mussolini and Pinochet were as inoffensive as the first three people to go out on Bake-Off. Snowflake I don’t understand: apparently if you’re against intolerance and pro everyone just getting along, you’re a delicate wee snowflake. I like snowflakes: they’re pretty, cold and capable of being blown all over town, which sounds like me to a tee. Why use the snowflake? Why not use that muddy slush that accumulates behind your tyres after a wintry drive, flecked as it is with dog-shit and broken glass. That’s what those complaining are: shit snow. Shnow, if you prefer. Then finally, do-gooder – I mean, the clue is in the word pairing, yes? Damn your hide, going out and doing good. How dare you! Why would you want to make a positive difference to the world rather than sitting on Facebook spitting bile at folks you don’t know about an issue you barely understand in words you can hardly type.

But what annoys me most of all is the fact that Tesco can’t just turn around to these two-bit racist jizz-streaks and tell them to FUCK RIGHT OFF. Nevermind buying groceries, I’d give the entire board of directors unhurried anilingus if they were direct and brave enough to tell these feeble-minded bigots to stay away from the store and to buy their giant Black Friday Polaroid TVs and crates of shit watery lager from elsewhere. But they’re too afraid to do it, because imagine the backlash?

I’m not afraid, though, albeit I pale in comparison I’m sure. If you’re reading this blog, be aware you’re cooking the recipes and reading the words of a young gay man in a happy modern marriage with another bloke, who counts all sorts of nationalities and faiths as his friends, and who, gasp, has the cheek to give money to people in the street even if they are ‘just going to spend it on drugs’. I have at least two different types of lentils in the cupboard. I worked for Shelter where I helped lots of decent folks into houses rather than having them dying on the street. Meh, maybe I am a do-gooder leftie tit, but see, I’d sooner be a tit than an arsehole.

Sorry folks, but I needed to get that off my chest!

Anyway, yes, that’s why we’ve been quiet. You sicken yourself of vileness and had I not stepped away, I’m sure I’d have an ulcer by now. If you’re planning on sending me a snotty message, don’t bother! Everyone else, enjoy being happy with everyone else. Life’s too short for shite.

to make creamy chicken chipotle pasta you will need:

Haven’t got chipotle sauce? Can’t even say it without spraying spittle everywhere? Don’t worry yer tits, just use a hot sauce.

to make spicy chicken chipotle pasta you should:

  • bring a big pan of water to the boil
  • add the asparagus and boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water (use a colander)
  • add the pasta to the pan and cook until just al dente, then drain into the same bowl as the asparagus (but don’t rinse it!)
  • in a bowl, mix the chicken chunks with lemon juice, salt and pepper and keep aside
  • add a little oil to a large frying pan over a medium-high heat
  • add the peppers and onions and cook until it starts to go a bit translucent
  • add the garlic and cook for another minute
  • remove the vegetables from the pan and put into a bowl
  • add a bit more oil to the pan and add the chicken and knock the heat up a little bit
  • cook the chicken until it’s brown on all side
  • add the honey, stir and cook for another 5 seconds
  • add the peppers back to the pan, stir then turn off the heat
  • wait a few minutes for it to cool, then add the chipotle sauce, philadelphia and quark and stir well
  • add the pasta and asparagus to the pan, along with the frozen peas
  • give a good stir until it’s well mixed
  • eat!

Hungry for more? Click the buttons below to help us fill your gob!

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Enjoy!

J

slow cooker honey buffalo meatballs

You might be thinking what the fuck is a buffalo meatball, and am I going to get kicked in the head when I try and retrieve them, but just calm your tits: it’s just a name for the sauce. We will get to the recipe in no time at all, but first, an announcement and a trio of unfortunate events. Forgive an advert right off the bat, but it’s only for 24 hours so have to mention it! Feel free to skip the next paragraph if you’re not interested! Look, I’ll even put a wee line in!


ANNOUNCEMENT: flash sale time on the Musclefood Freezer Filler we do: an extra 15% off our package which contains 5kg of chicken breast that doesn’t shrink like a cold willy, 2kg of syn-free extra lean mince, 700g of fat-free bacon and 800g of diced beef – perfect for making all of our recipes with. You get it for £42.50 delivered! We use Musclefood for all of our meat and can’t fault them – if you’re already a fan, you’ll know how good they are. You’ll need to use code TCCFLASH50 instead of TCCFREEZER and it’s only for 24 hours. You can order now for future delivery and you’ll only pay the discounted rate, so even if your freezer is full, stick in an order whilst it’s dirt-cheap. Click here to place your order – it’ll open in a new window.


Firstly: I’d like to apologise to the owner of the luridly yellow Audi that sometimes parks in a location I can’t disclose somewhere on my walk into work. See, here’s the thing. The way I walk in takes me down some lovely tree-lined streets, all of which are bursting with autumn colours right now and all of which are shedding their leaves quicker than a chav sheds their knickers when offered a bag of chips. It’s glorious: Autumn is my favourite time of year: cold enough to make your nipples hard but not so cold they turn black and fall off. Plus bonfires and all that crap.

Anyway, as I walk along, full with the joy of a full day of work ahead of me, I like to revert back to childhood and kick all the leaves about that have thoughtfully amassed themselves into piles by the road. I appreciate I must look like I’ve wandered away from a guide where each person has two people looking after them, but I don’t care. It brings me happiness. Not today, though, no – I was merrily kicking along like an out-of-shape can-can dancer when my boot made contact with a freshly-crimped dog-shit that had clearly just been hidden under the leaves by the dog’s owner. I don’t know what the fuck they had been feeding this dog but honestly, that dog must have been bloody relieved to get this out of him. I’m surprised my steel-capped boot didn’t have a dent in it, nevermind the smear of faeces that now adorned it.

That said, I didn’t fare as badly as the owner of the aforementioned yellow car because not only had I discovered this hidden poo but also managed to send it soaring in a graceful arc right over the street, where it splattered messily all over the rear passenger door of the Audi.

I felt terrible. Admittedly, my guilt was somewhat assuaged by the fact it was an Audi, but still. No-one needs that first thing in the morning. It was a genuine accident, of course, and it’s not like I could nip over and start trying to wipe it off with a credit card and a bottle of Evian, so I had to powermince the fuck out of there. I’m sorry, Mr or Mrs Audi driver, for the bewildering and Chum-scented start to your day.

Secondly: I was made to feel like an absolute leper the other day, and I want to get it off my chest. Newcastle has a very famous department store which is full of all sorts of fancy things and occasionally, they’ll have a sale event on. Smashing. I’ve long since accepted that I’ll never fit into any of their lovely clothes but I’m literally a big boy, I can deal with that. No, to make up for that, I buy a lot of expensive aftershave. I dress like a collapsed mine but I smell absolutely amazing, assuming you’re not too close to my taint, which smells like a carrion flower. The most expensive disaster that could befall our house is the bathroom shelf collapsing.

So, full of excitement that I could save £40 on a £200 bottle of aftershave, in I went to enquire whether they’d be taking part in the shop-wide promotion (they’re a private store within the store, hence my confusion). I lurched over and asked the question and I swear to God, her response couldn’t have been more devastating – she looked me up and down in much the same way I imagine that Audi driver was looking at their car door – and practically spat out that their products never go in a sale and anyway, they’re terribly expensive. The implication that me standing there with my non-designer stubble, cheap shoes and fag-bag that I’ve had since college would never be able to afford such luxury. I was really taken aback and muttered a thank you, slinking away in the safe and certain knowledge that I’d never return to that concession stand and that she could stick her aftershave right up her arse.

Had I been a bit quicker I should have reached over, run my finger through the two inches of her make-up and told her it was probably the commission from my purchases that had enabled her to pay for and paint-roller the entire Boots No 7 range onto her face at once. Still, it’s easy to be wise after the event.

Finally, in this trilogy of woe, we’ve done a video. See, we love writing the blog, and we receive so many lovely comments about the food, our style, the writing, it makes it all worthwhile. But recently we’ve been enduring a glut of messages from some random loon who complains about the fact we occasionally use gay euphemisms and bad language on here. I’ve said it before so many times: this is a personal blog, not a slimming recipe blog – the recipes are a bonus extra at this point. I write because I enjoy it, but I thought this required a personal apology. Have a look:

Great, out of all the thumbnails to use, it chooses a frame where it looks like I’m shooting my load. Ha! I posted this on Facebook and we received so many messages of support, it was terrific. We do love you all, you know. Quite a few people said I sound a lot posher than expected, which was surprising, and others said I sound like a gay Jimmy Nail. How does that work? Bitch, those crocodile shoes are faaaaabulous? 

Anyway, I’d welcome your thoughts. Until then, let’s do the recipe, shall we? Yes, it has syns, but you know what? It also has flavour. Can you say the same about whatever syn-free slop you’re troughing down tonight? Makes enough for four.

to make slow cooker honey buffalo meatballs you will need:

for the meatballs

Don’t have all those spices? Don’t sweat it. Make do with what you’ve got.

for the honey buffalo sauce

  • 2 tbsp Frank’s Red Hot Original sauce (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
  • 2 tbsp no added sugar apricot jam (2 syns)
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tsp cornflour (2 syns)

Can’t be arsed clitting about trying to find Frank’s sauce? I understand. Any ‘hot’ sauce will do.

to make slow cooker honey buffalo meatballs you should:

  • preheat the oven to 230°c and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper
  • mix together all of the meatball ingredients until well combined
  • roll the meatballs into about 15-18 little meatballs
  • place the balls onto the baking sheet and back in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until lightly browned
  • meanwhile, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients
  • tip the meatballs into the slow cooker until the bottom is covered – if you have more left over don’t worry – just layer them after the next step
  • drizzle over the sauce mixture, layer with extra meatballs (if necessary) and then the remaining sauce
  • cook on a low heat for 2 hours, stirring gently halfway through
  • serve with whatever you like!

You could totally make this in a normal pan, or an Instant Pot, or an old oil-drum tipped on its side. It’s versatile. Want a recommendation for a slow cooker? Naturally. You don’t need to spend a lot of money for a decent one – Aldi and Asda were selling them cheap recently, and they’re much of a muchness. That said, Amazon currently has a cracking deal on a Morphy Richards number which allows you to sear your meat like the filthy slattern that you are!

Still got a hole that hasn’t been filled? Click below to get more recipes!

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Gosh, that’s a lot of choice!

J

raspberry and Lindt chocolate baked oats

I can’t believe in the three years we’ve been running this blog that we’ve never done a baked oats recipe. What gives? I’ll tell you what – I’ve always thought they look faintly off-putting, like a callous on a foot. There’s something distinctly grim about mixing egg, oats and sweetener together – it feels so…Slimming World, that we’ve actively avoided it. However, I wanted some chocolate and needed an excuse to buy some without Paul giving me a lecture about it, so I came up with this fancy recipe. I say fancy, it’s about as fancy as wiping your clout with a KFC wetwipe. But first, a quick diversion.

We’ve had CCTV installed. We had to do it, really, a family up the street turned up with a caravan and I mean, honestly, there goes the neighbourhood. Bet they’re the type who leave their bins out all week long, trekking out to the end of the drive in their boxers every time they want to throw away a bit of rubbish. Actually, that’s us: my neighbours have seen my helmet more than Paul has. Now, being us, we couldn’t just get a bog standard CCTV camera, oh no. Couldn’t miss a second of the action that takes place on this street, at both ends of the house. Our CCTV guy was a treasure, one of those rare people we like who come into the house, barely say a word, don’t try to talk to us about football or tits, leaves plenty of their arse hanging out of their trousers for illicit gawping AND he knew what he was doing with his tools. I only mention that because we’ve had an electrician come back twice recently to fix a light fitting only to spend both times looking mystified at it as though it was an alien invention. As it happens, the CCTV man fixed that too. We can log in from anywhere and view what is taking place on the street, the cameras record audio, we can pan and tilt them, all great stuff.

However, who knew that it would tap into hitherto undiscovered voyeuristic streaks in the both of us? There’s something hypnotic about watching the street from the comfort of your own sofa. I’m aware that this means we’re becoming just like all the other curtain-twitchers we moan about, but that was inevitable – it’s like picking up an accent of those local to you, only with more hormone-replacement therapy. I wish I could tell you we’ve seen something interesting, but aside from one of the neighbours letting his dog crap on our garden (it’s OK, I’ll send Paul out at 2am to return the favour) and about a billion old people all looking into our garden as they walk past, there’s nothing. It has paid for itself already though – we’ve been able to sack our cleaner because they only stayed for 1 hour 55 minutes instead of the two hours we pay them for. We deducted that five minutes from her last pay for good measure and sent her shrieking into the cold night.

I’m joking, of course we didn’t. We sacked her for always leaving the TV tuned into TVP Polonia and rifling through our knicker drawer.

Anyway, enough about us. Let’s get this recipe out of the way, shall we?

Yep, it is. Hey, this makes enough for one. Double up as you wish.

to make raspberry and Lindt chocolate baked oats, you’ll need:

  • 75g raspberries – cor, I bet that was a shock to the system
  • Lindt chocolate balls – or any chocolate really, I only use these because the dark chocolate balls are so good – but if you have shite self-control and can’t stop yourself eating them all, keep them in the freezer – they’ll soften in your mouth as you suck on them, which to be fair is the exact opposite of what I normally say to folks
  • one small egg (from a hen, not the Cadbury’s factory, you chubby wee delight)
  • 40g of oats – bog-standard, nothing fancy (this is your healthy extra B, mind you)
  • half a ‘syn-free’ yoghurt – we used Muller, but only because we had one rattling around in the fridge. Use what you like!

Some people add vanilla essence or sweetener into this. We don’t, because it’ll be sweet enough and the clash of flavours between the raspberries and the chocolate is what makes this dish. Christ, that sounds wank. You’ll also need an ovenproof dish – we used these little heart-shaped Le Creuset ramekins from Amazon because we’re frightfully middle-class, but honestly, any old tat will do – don’t buy these especially for these recipe. Or do, because we’ll get 0.00004p commission.

Should we…should we do it? Hell yes, let’s bust out an old face from so long ago…

Although we have (unusually) counted the syns for the cooked raspberries into the recipe above (1 syn – 250g is 3 syns – and yeah I know the maths is a bit off but I don’t have the tits to carry off being Rachel Riley), we wouldn’t usually bother. Raspberries are syn free in their normal form – mushing them a bit isn’t going to up the amount of calories and sugar and whatnot in them. Your choice. Look at it this way, you could ‘forget’ to syn the raspberries and then add another half Lindt-ball in there to make it a round 4 syns…just saying. Your choice though – the official Slimming World decretum is that COOKED FRUIT MUST BE SYNNED.

Pfft.

to make raspberry and Lindt chocolate baked oats, you should:

  • have you got something to mop your brow with – you’ll need it, because boy is this recipe complex
  • heat the oven to 200 degrees
  • press your raspberries into the bottom of the ramekin
  • mix together your oats, yoghurt and egg and pop on top
  • cut a Lindt ball in half (or stop pretending and put two whole ones in there, syns be damned) and pop it in the middle, then cover it up with the oats mixture like a cat burying a poo in the garden
  • stick in the oven for about thirty minutes and then pull it out to the adoring gasps of your friends and family
  • tip it out on a plate, add a bit of yoghurt for decoration, enjoy

Come on, how easy was that? Anyway, want more recipes? Click the buttons.

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Bye for now.

J

PS: I’m kidding about our cleaner. We pay her handsomely and spend two hours the night before cleaning our entire house so she doesn’t think poorly of us.

creamy chicken and vegetable soup

Creamy chicken and vegetable soup – well, actually, it’s thick enough to almost class as a stew, but you know sometimes you just want a bowl of chicken soup to put hairs on your chest and make yourself feel better? This is that dish. Easy to make, actually tastes decent and rammed full of vegetables to boot. What more could you want? But first, the final part in our Benidorm story – and thank goodness, because boy has this horse been flogged. I’d apologise, but we get plenty of lovely messages from folk who seem to adore our holiday stories, so…if you’re not one of them, click on the shortcut button of the (deep breath) ELDERLY BEWHISKERED CRONE DRESSED IN PEASANT’S CLOTHING WITH A SAGGY OLD ASS to go straight to the recipe. We’ll stay here and not gossip about you, promise.

Pfft. Right one wasn’t she, bet she buys her shoes from the market. Tsk. Right, back to the sun for one final trip…

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four | click here for part five | click here for part six | click here for part seven

Part 8! We didn’t think it would take this long to reach climax, but well, it’s been a long week, and there’s worry at work, and sometimes he’s just not that into you. But hey, here we are. Now, rather than bore you with every tiny detail, I’ll sum up the end of the holiday in three key stages. Enjoy! But before we get started, just a quick video to get you slick in the nethers…

Final night

The final night was a long, drawn-out evening of gentle drinking and gambolling about. Nothing much of note save for the fact that Paul decided he had heartburn – we spent around an hour trying to find somewhere that sold El Gaviscon but it wasn’t to be. Don’t worry readers, he spotted a frozen yoghurt shop and decided that this was essentially the same thing as a glass of cool milk. I wasn’t so sure, but let me tell you how amazingly brave he was, choking back his 500ml of frozen yoghurt covered in brownie bites, caramel, Haribo sweets, marshmallow, flake bits, Rolos and chocolate sauce. It’s funny, his heartburn seemed to just melt away with this concoction. Isn’t he a trooper? Because I’m trying to be good I settled for some passion-fruit flavoured yoghurt that was as lurid as a hangover piss, but surprisingly tasty. Paul, still a bit sore from our bickering earlier in the day, wouldn’t share. I’m sure you can agree he’s a poor sport.

Our final meal was in the Italian Garden (we had given up trying to find a decent ‘local’ restaurant at this point, and our cankles were protesting at the thought of mincing over to the Old Town). Paul chose the place because he wanted some stodgy pasta to weigh down the sugar-bomb in his stomach. I agreed with his choice because the waiter was the spit of Gianno d’Marco from nineties Eastenders, who had been the cause of many a teenage erection back in my formative years. I can’t write anything exciting about the food other to say that the chef must have had an almighty tremor – I ordered an exotic mushroom salad and it was positively floating on balsamic vinegar to the point where it was like looking at a mirage of Paul through the vinegar fumes. Paul had pasta. Paul always has pasta and then complains he’s too full and can’t walk. Ten years together and he’s never left a meal without clutching at his belly and/or chest and graphically telling me how quickly he expects to see his dinner again. You can’t buy that sort of class, can you? We paid up, me personally thanking the waiter – he thought I’d left a massive tip but I had to explain that my phone number. He’s never called. Bastard.

Lockdown

Anyway, poor Paul did have to waddle because we were straight over to Lockdown, Benidorm’s Premier Escape Room. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely sure there’s hundred of rooms in Benidorm where desperate young men and women fight to escape before the hour is up, but that’s the consequences of cheap drinks and easy living. We turned up fashionably early which led to us having to wait in the lobby. That would have been fine but we thought we had it to ourselves and were merrily shrieking and clarting about when some poor chap popped his head up from behind the counter where he’d been fiddling with the computer. Ah well. He introduced us into the room – it took us both a while to tear ourselves away from his delicate facial hair and big kind eyes – and left us to it.

The room was Cold War themed, with the curious task of defusing a nuclear bomb thrown in for good measure. It was brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! No point in giving you any spoilers but it was possibly the most interactive one we’ve done so far – tonnes of hidden secrets, attention to detail and hell, even a chance to dress up. What more could a lad want? Whenever we were stuck the phone would ring – we were supposed to reply with a codeword when he spoke but I was lost in a moment and asked ‘what was he wearing’. Paul took the phone and steered us to victory!

I say this each and every time – if you have never done an escape room, get one booked! They’re a great way to spend an hour and as they get more and more popular, the standards keep climbing. Do it!

With that done, we walked back to the hotel, took a drink up to the room and watched the streets hustle and bustle below. It was a great end to the holiday that we thought we’d never want to begin.

Return

Our flight back to Newcastle was at the altogether unseemly hour of 8.30am, which meant having to get up at around 4am to allow enough time to shave, shit, shower, get to the airport, learn how to fly and stand in for the pilot. I can’t deal with 4am: I look like I died four days previously and someone’s just pulled me out of the morgue. I may have told the receptionist who rang me at 3.50am with a wake-up call to fuck right off in my sleep-addled state. I later apologised. I can’t rely on Paul to get us up – he’s constantly saying ‘ten more minutes’ and going straight back to sleep. Our house could be a raging inferno and he’d still be lying in bed telling the firemen he can’t get up until he’d done his ‘stretches’. Pfft. The only thing belonging to Paul that stretches in the morning is his arsehole, and that’s only to release eight hours of shitgas that’s been building up through the night. I’m thinking about seeing if he can have a pilot light fitted on his taint – I can’t remember the last time I woke up not dry-heaving into my pillow.

Regardless, we were out of the hotel in enough time to sit and wait for our ‘private transfer’ back to the airport, which turned up late and in the sort of car you see rotting in fields near illegal caravan parks. We climbed in – gingerly, we didn’t want to disturb his rust collection – and he shot off like we were slingshotting round the moon. Three minutes later we stopped to let in a lovely couple from a less salubrious hotel and I’m going to tell you something now – if you’re a smoker and you’re one of those people who save half your cigarette in your packet for later – you need to know that you absolutely honk. There’s no two ways about it – I can smile politely through most things, but that smell, no way. Especially when you’re hacking away spreading it all around the taxi like a cloud of rancidness.

That was the least of my concerns, anyway – the driver, clearly just passed his test with the Henri Paul School of Motoring, drove us to that airport as though his life depending on us getting there before the sun came up. Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate a fast driver and clearly he wanted to get us to the airport, but at the same time, I’d prefer not to fly home scraped into a strawberry jam pot. Twice I genuinely thought we were about to crash – first he overtook another speeding taxi with about four inches to spare, then he wandered across two lanes of traffic and the hard shoulder whilst he fiddled about with his phone, presumably trying to work out the necessary mph for take-off. I snuck a glance at Paul who was absolutely ashen-faced and then resumed the task of clinging onto the back-seat using the full suction of my own sphincter. I saw death that warm Spanish dawn, and he wears a soiled Benidorm or Bust t-shirt. We gave him a tip (“slow the fuck down!” – hello?) and cleared the area before our taxi companion had a chance to light up the remnant of her stinking tab.

What is there left to say? Our flight back was entirely uneventful – clearly the Spanish sun had calmed the lungs of most of the passengers as, unlike the flight in, it was relatively free of phlegmy coughing. One thing: do Ryanair switch the seatbelt sign on more often than other flights? I was bursting for a piss but every time I stood up for the bog, on came the light – felt like I was doing the hokey-cokey with my bladder. Either they were desperate to clear the aisle to make sure they could peddle their chotchkies and scratchcards or the pilot was a bastard, because that flight was as smooth as a vaselined otter. We landed in a sea of grey clouds and disembarked to a mist of blue smoke as the brethren of the blackened lung lit up, completely ignoring the no-smoking rules. Cases retrieved we made our way home and that’s it, readers – Benidorm done. Are you relieved? Have we left you satisfied and smiling? We always do.

Thoughts

I’m holding my hands up. As I touched upon in part one, we could not have been more wrong about Benidorm. We thought we’d absolutely hate it – that it would be full of rough people shouting incoherently and rustling in their shellsuits. Don’t get me wrong: it was, but by god it was a fun holiday. Doesn’t matter how late we were out or how spit-and-sawdust the pubs we were in, everyone has having a good time, there was no bother, no trouble. The only continuous loud noise I can remember was one of laughter. You don’t go to Benidorm to stroke your chinny-chin-chin at the museums and have yourself an egg-white omelette as you jill yourself off over the Observer, you go for a drink and the company. You’re not going to get Michelin food – hell, you’re hard pushed to find anything you wouldn’t find in the reduced bin at Farmfoods for the most part – but sometimes you need a bit of junk stodge food to fill your hole. There’s lovely parts that we left unexplored – we can always go back, and if we don’t, I’m sure there’ll be a Channel 5 shockumentary on it soon enough. Our trip to Guadalest provided a bit of proper Spain and with the addition of a hire car, we could have seen so much more. Don’t let this blog put you off going – we deliberately did the ‘Benidorm’ experience!

Would I recommend it as a holiday? If you’ve got no airs and graces – definitely. If you’re as common as muck but you consider yourself fancy because you buy name-brand baked beans and aren’t paying off your TV in weekly instalments, then also recommend. If you’re a genuine snob then nah, probably not. It is, after all, a resort where someone has made a career popping things out of her muff.

Still, if that’s good enough for Kate Middleton…


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Let’s do this thick chicken and vegetable soup, then. You can leave out the pasta if you like, it makes it super-thick, but really boosts the meal. The recipe we based this on is here! Please don’t be put off by the look of this, it tastes grand!


chicken and vegetable soup

to make creamy chicken and vegetable soup, you’ll need:

  • four big handfuls of shredded/chopped chicken – use leftovers from a roast, or follow our recipe here to slow cook / Instant pot it
  • two cloves of garlic, minced (save your fingers with one of these)
  • two large chopped onions
  • one large green pepper
  • one large red pepper
  • 1 stick of celery
  • one large leek
  • two large carrots cut into thin matchsticks, or sliced thinly
  • 1.25l of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp of hot sauce (google it, you can buy it in any supermarket, or leave it out)
  • half a teaspoon of dark soy sauce
  • one big bag of spinach
  • a couple of ‘nests’ of dried egg noodles
  • 220g of Philadelphia Lightest (2xHEA)

Damn, this is simple – add whatever veg you want, change it out, do what you like! Also, if you’re planning on stocking up on chicken, don’t forget you can build your own hampers with Musclefood now – so many chicken deals, just look!

to make creamy chicken and vegetable soup, you should:

  • super easy – prepare all of your vegetables (bar the spinach) by chopping them nice and small and chuck them in a big pan with some spray olive oil and sweat everything down until softened with the garlic
  • chuck in the soy sauce, hot sauce and stock and simmer for a good forty minutes until the vegetables are soft, I went for thirty minutes
  • add the spinach and pop the lid back on until everything has wilted down – then add the chicken and noodles (break them up a bit) and heat through until the noodles are softened
  • before serving, stir the Philadelphia in – make sure you stir it until it has completely absorbed into the sauce, then serve!

How easy. JUST LIKE YOU! Want more recipes?

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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

curried pumpkin soup with toasted seeds

Curried pumpkin soup with toasted seeds – just in time for Hallowe’en. I wasn’t going to do a blog entry tonight, but see, Paul turned to me yesterday, in the seventh hour of our Stranger Things 2 binge (it’s brilliant, have no fear), and confessed that he’d never had a proper pumpkin. It then hit me – nor have I! My mother used to send us out the door in the most highly-flammable sheet she could find, carrying a sooty turnip in one hand and a Netto carrier bag in the other for trick or treating. We were told to hand back any Skittles or chocolate we were given and to ask for a twenty-deck of Lambert and Butler and a crate of Red Stripe. Good times.

Anyway, being a kind and merciful sort, I agreed that we ought to get a pumpkin and carve it – and here’s the final result. You’ll note that I’ve added a sensitivity filter for the easily offended:

Great, isn’t it? I love Scunthorpe so much I made a pumpkin in tribute. Cheers Will. And look guys, you mustn’t worry, we’re not going to put this on display when kids come to the door to terrorise us. We’ll be doing the very British thing of turning up Coronation Street and telling them to bugger off. I wouldn’t mind if they made an effort with the costumes, but when you’ve got someone turning up who looks as though he’s just finished a three year BTEC in bricklaying demanding chocolate, well, that crosses the line. Actually, who am I kidding, if that sort turned up, he’d definitely be allowed to put the willies up us.

Speaking of cheap thrills, we also went to see Jigsaw on Friday night. How was it? As good as you’d expect the eighth film in a gore franchise to be, and then a wee bit better. Perfect popcorn fodder. But you know what was the best bit? We had the entire cinema to ourselves – not another soul came in to watch people being eviscerated on a 60ft screen. Pussies. There’s lots of benefits to having the cinema to yourselves – no people using their phones on nuclear holocaust levels of brightness, no people rustling around in bags for the loudest possible sweets they can find, no having to theatrically sigh and huff when the people in front of you so much as move. When we’re millionaires we shall buy a cinema, install two seats and employ only two people: one to bring us drinks and another to wake Paul when he inevitably falls asleep. I’m sure if we were younger men we would have used the solitude for a bit of illicit hanky-panky but I mean, we’ve been together ten years now – our idea of adventure is cracking open the After Eight mints at half seven.

Being the only ones in the cinema does rather shed a spotlight on your companion’s foibles, mind. Paul was breathing so loudly through his noise that it was only the popcorn bucket staying still on his lap that assured me he wasn’t wanking. Plus, every scene was punctuated with him scratting about in the popcorn in the vain hope of finding anything edible, as opposed to the shavings of fire-retardant foam that they’d put in there. Seriously, I think they’d kept the popcorn aside from the first Saw movie. I’m sure if we flipped this he’d complain about me constantly farting (how often can you fart in a cinema without having to wait for a loud action part to mask the sound?) and nudging him to say ‘he’s the killer, it’s him, definitely him, no it’s her, no it’s him, no look it’s all taking place in the past, no look, it’s her again‘. Going to the cinema with me is like when you accidentally flip the Audio Description settings on when watching TV, only with more ‘Where do we know him from? Is it 24? Paul? Was he in 24? Remember?’. I imagine by the end of it we were both silently wondering whether we could get away with putting the other into a Saw style trap. I wouldn’t need to make much effort – Paul’s idea of torture is to be sat on the settee with the TV remote just out of reach. You’ve never seen such pained eyes, trust me. But shush, this was meant to be a quick entry, so let’s get back to the food.

So, once one has gutted a pumpkin, what do you do with the flesh? It’s very easy, you call Paul in to cut it up and make it into soup whilst you fart about on Mario Odyssey. I’m glad, I can’t bear wasting food – I get anxious when Paul throws out his toenails – and all that lovely pumpkin should be turned into something half decent. So here you have it, a bonus pumpkin soup recipe!

to make curried pumpkin soup you will need:

  • 1 pumpkin, as big as you dare (cut in half and scoop out the seeds and the flesh – keep the seeds to toast (see below))
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (save your fingers with one of these! It’ll work with the ginger too!)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • ¾ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp clove powder
  • 800ml vegetable stock
  • 125ml light coconut milk (5½ syns)
  • dollop of fat-free greek yoghurt

to make toasted pumpkin seeds you should:

  • preheat the oven to 150°c
  • separate the seeds from the fleshy bits and give a good rinse in a colander, then shake dry
  • spray the seeds with a little oil and a load ofand spread out onto a baking sheet
  • cook in the oven for about 45 minutes

All in, less than 1.5 syns. You’re allowed 20g of seeds for a healthy extra but hey, a few won’t harm…or will it?

to make curried pumpkin soup you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • spray the fleshy bits with a little oil and give it a good rub (an oil sprayer is perfect for this recipe – get the one we recommend most!)
  • place each half onto a baking sheet, fleshy side down and roast for 45 minutes
  • leave to cool for a few minutes, and then scoop out the flesh and set aside
  • next, heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add a little oil
  • add the onion to the pan and give a good stir, cook for a few minutes until it starts to go slightly brown
  • next, add the ginger and garlic to the pan and stir
  • cook for 1-2 minutes
  • add the curry powder, coriander, cumin and clove powder to the pan and give another good stir
  • add the stock and the coconut milk and bring to the boil
  • remove the pan from the heat and add the pumpkin flesh to the pan
  • use a stick blender (or a proper blender if you’re fancy) until the mixture is nice and smooth
  • put back over a medium-high heat and bring to a simmer to warm through
  • serve in bowls with a dollop of greek yoghurt, and sprinkle over some toasted pumpkin seeds

Leftover coconut milk? Make carrot and coconut soup, or pea and coconut soup. It’s that easy!

Got you going yet? Don’t worry – we’ve got plenty more! Just click one of the buttons below!

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J

creamy tequila chicken tagliatelle

Creamy tequila chicken tagliatelle! Right – no farting about because it’s a long entry tonight! So, if you can’t be arsed to read, just click here and it’ll whizz you straight to the recipe. No sarky comments this time!

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

I can’t quite believe we’re on part seven – I’m sorry if you’re not a fan of the holiday entries. When Paul first suggested Benidorm I thought the only thing I’d get from it was a urine infection and fleas, but clearly I had a much better holiday than I first expected! When you last left us we had deliberately gassed an old lady, I’d set my face on fire and we’d seen a Meat Loaf tribute act more Martin Mull than Marvin Lee. Think about it, that works. In this, our penultimate entry, we take a trip out.

Guadalest

After so many hours of being around braying English folk and all that that entails we decided we absolutely must try and get out of the town and go somewhere more…Spanish. A quick nose on Tripadvisor for places reachable by bus (we couldn’t hire a car because guess who had left the documents at home?) turned up Guadalest, a pretty village about forty minutes away. There was one bus there and one bus back – and this story isn’t going to go the way you might be expecting. We turned up at the bus stop nice and promptly in the morning, awaiting our carriage through the mountains. The bus turned up late, with an exasperated looking driver sat in front of what looked like 200 old folk squeezed behind him. If he had braked hard enough I reckon they would have all melded into one another, like that bit in Terminator 2 when the evil Terminator gets obliterated into pools of mercury, only to reform. Yeah, imagine that, only with the addition of 800 barely-sucked Murray Mints scattered about. We had more chance of getting on the Mayflower than we did this bus. Perhaps that’s for the best: long-time readers may recall the last time we went on a coach-trip, it didn’t go well. So we elected for a taxi which didn’t so much as drive us to the village as warp space and time to get us there before I’d even had a chance to say ‘how much, guv’nor’ in broken Spanish. We were going that fast it was like looking at a watercolour through the windscreen. However, once we stopped…

Not a SKOL ashtray in sight.

Just out of shot is a big old dam. You may remember I’m scared of dams. I know, I’m awfully brave.

Anyway, what treasures did Guadalest have clutched to her busom? Quite a lot, actually, although you wouldn’t spend the summer there. I reckon you’d die of boredom within two days. But for a day out, there was plenty. We ambled around the streets, buying trinkets from little shops, cooing at the pretty houses and desperately pleased that we had arrived before the Saga-louts, who were but a distant mumbling on the horizon. First on the tour was Museo de Microminiaturas, a charming wee museum which gave you the opportunity to gaze in wonder down a microscope lens at some stunning vista depicted on a grain of rice. The Spanish lady behind the counter laughed politely when I said I was experienced in finding tiny pleasures in the dark, but I could tell we’d never speak again. We walked around earnestly at first, oohing and aahing at a village carved into a flea, or a woman with her fanny out balanced on the head of a match, but I’m not going to lie, it’s difficult to remain enthralled by the eighth time you’ve rounded a corner only to see another row of magnifying glasses in front of you. The artist, Manuel Ussà, must have been a saucy bugger mind – I’ve never seen so many spread-eagled forms, even in miniature format. We didn’t want to look boorish by nicking out after five minutes so we stretched out our admiration for a good twenty minutes, before the deafening sound of dentures being sucked landed upon us and the elderly had arrived to serve as a distraction. We slipped out.

See?

Something familiar about this…

After a few minutes more climbing the stairs of the town and gasping theatrically into our sleeves we happened across another museum, the Museo Micro-Gigante. This sounds more like my cup of tea, the big wind-socked size queen that I am. We hastened indoors, paid for our tickets and were ushered past the entrance curtain…into a room full of magnifying glasses. It was another museum of miniatures.

Why? What town needs two museums dedicated to the world of the microscopic? Are they rivals? Do they hate each other? Do you reckon it might boil over one day and one of the owners will nip into the other museum and throw a cup of boiling water over their exhibits, cooking the rice and bankrupting them? Who knows. We again feigned interest in teensy-tiny things, me drawing on my year long experience of dating someone with a penis like a cat’s nipple*, and wandered about. Once we were sure we weren’t being watched, we ran upstairs, took a picture with the giant horse (hence the Gigante part of the name) and ran straight back out.

Oh I say!

 

*You might think I’m harsh drawing attention to my ex’s tiny willy, but he was an absolute bellend. A horrid, mean bellend. You don’t need a big knob to make someone happy, but it sure helps act as a distraction when you’ve got a personality like a blown-out arsehole.

By this time Paul was hungry – it had been at least two hours since he’d doubled his weight – and so we set about finding somewhere for a bit of lunch. Guadalest isn’t quite awash with beautiful places to eat but we did manage to find a lovely little café in the main square – even if it did have plastic chairs that creaked ominously underarse. Paul ordered some peri-peri chicken and I went for the healthy choice of a chef’s salad. His looked delicious – good quality chicken, well spiced and grilled to perfection. Mine looked like the little polystyrene tub of salad you get with your Chinese takeaway that sits and sweats under your chow mein. I’d have gained more nutrition from eating the napkin. It really annoys me that people can’t make a decent salad – iceberg lettuce belongs in nothing at all, the tuna was tinned and sweaty and the tomatoes, well, if you can’t grow a decent tomato in sunny Spain then frankly, you don’t deserve to serve lunch to the public. What makes this all the more offensive to me were the two asparagus stalks that had been slapped on the top – grey, thin and slimy. It was like having Voldemort’s cock pressed on my salad.

Naturally when the owner came around we were full of compliments and good cheer and ‘oh we’ve never had better!’, despite the fact I’d tipped most of my salad into the carrier bag we were carrying our trinkets in. Even now my Guadalest fridge magnet smells of onions and disappointment. We left a tip regardless because we’re nice like that.

Squint.

Tasteful!

A trip around the castle followed, then more bric-a-brac shopping (shown above) (I’m sorry, I really am, but if you’re wondering which lout rearranged the lovely letter-tiles you use to make up your house name into ‘El Homo’, it was I) and then onto the final museum – the Museo de Saleros y Pimenteros. That’s the museum of salt and pepper shakers, for the uncultured amongst you. I mean, really. A museum dedicated to some poor sap who decided to start collecting salt and pepper shakers and wasn’t able to tell her friends to stop bloody giving them to her for Christmas. I’m underselling it – this pepper collection was not to be sneezed at.

Ah bugger off.

We went inside and spoke to a charming woman who seemed positively delighted to see us. I can’t imagine there’s many visitors, to be honest, but that’s a great shame because it was actually very, very interesting! Here me out, won’t you – there’s well over 20,000 pairs of shakers in here, in every conceivable forms. They’re separated out first into theme and then into colour and the whole effect is just great – a real treat for the eyes. There’s not much to read (how many words can be said about condiment containers?) but your eyes are drawn to all sorts of oddities – shakers shaped like Diana and Charles, two little penis-shaped shakers (you have to shake the salt for a good five minutes but then poof, you get a proper spurt of salt for your efforts) and my favourite, two big bears cuddling in the corner. There’s something heart-warming about collections like this – your first thought is why bother, but then the real question is – why not? Better than collecting bodies in a cellar.

My favourite picture of the holiday.

Closer.

Closer still.

As we had the place to ourselves (I imagine we had just missed the morning rush which must surely have been like Black Friday at Brighthouse) we were able to devise a game where one of us would nip around the corner, take a picture of a random shaker and then task the other with finding it. It was all very Famous 5 until Paul bent down to snap a photo and broke wind with possibly the loudest fart I’ve ever heard him do. I’m surprised the curator didn’t rush in sure that the shelves had collapsed. Mortified – as they would have doubtless heard this in Catalonia never mind the entrance lobby – we made a dash for the exit, only to be stopped by the sweet-faced old lady owner who wanted to know what we thought. We didn’t want to give her short shrift but I was also conscious of the fact that there was a cloud of effluence billowing out from under the exit door and had she smelled it, it could have finished her off. So, I feigned being deaf. I know that’s dreadful but it works – I pointed out my ears and made some complicated hand gestures which I hoped at least looked like we had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It worked, mind – she gave us a beatific smile as we left.

We ducked into a church to rest our ankles and have a look around. The statues were a little…unique.

Poutin’ for Jesus – we also put out a prayer that whatever cruel curse that gave Paul a tiny desktop fan of a right ear would soon be lifted.

Let’s hear it for Mary – she’s got one eye on your sins, the other eye on the other side of the room.

Ah yes, The Slutty Shepherd and his Doughnut Carrying Dog     

We slipped out when the nuns came in to strike us down.

It was almost time for the return bus back to Benidorm and, aware of the fact we could easily skittle a few old biddies out of the way to ensure a seat on the bus, we wandered over to the bus-stop. However: no such luck. All those dear folk on the outbound bus were dutifully waiting in one bluey-grey mass, waiting to board. I suppose what comes up a mountain must come down. We were stuck: no obvious place to call for a taxi, no payphones, even Google couldn’t assist. Bugger. We walked around bickering in that passive-aggressive ‘well I knew we should have gone to Portugal’ way of ours until Paul spotted two stations of relief – a public toilet (I was bursting) and a tourist information centre, which, against all odds, was open. We asked for a taxi and he sat us outside in the sun to wait.

Aware that the taxi was coming all the way from Benidorm and thus we were in for a long wait, I diverted myself to the public toilet to while away the time dropping off my dinner. I was met outside by the type of bloke you see in local newspapers pointing furiously at leaves in his garden whilst his wife considers her life-choices in the background. A tedious, boring fart. He saw me heading over and I swear his eyes lit up with eagerness at the sight of someone fresh to talk to. His opening line was: “I’VE just been in there and it ABSOLUTELY stinks”. I applauded him on a job well done and told him to try the Salt and Pepper Museum if he fancies the smell of a lingering shit. I went inside and crashed the lock across, making sure to keep my foot pressed against the door for good measure. It did smell, but hey, it’s a toilet, not the Tom Ford counter, and I’m not dabbing the toilet water behind my ears so let’s crack on. Ten minutes later I emerged (it was a slow mover up the charts) only to find he had waited for me outside. He picked up the conversation as though I’d merely blinked out of existence for a moment, rather than disappeared  a dump. “APPARENTLY IT’S THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM” he bellowed at me, as though I’d spent the last ten minutes in the lavatory staring mystified at the u-bend. I had no idea how to react, so I nodded politely and made to cross the car-park to the relative safety of Paul, who I could see chuckling away to himself.

Thankfully, the guy didn’t follow me, but did leave a final exclamation ringing around my ears that “IT’S BECAUSE we’re SO HIGH UP, SEE”. I waved him away. It begs a bigger question, however – he was still hanging around outside the toilet twenty minutes later when our taxi arrived. Either his wife had an awful lot of meat and was struggling in the ladies or he was absolutely mental. There was no suggestion that he was cottaging or being inappropriate, but what other explanation could there be? Even as our taxi pulled away he was staring at the toilet door with a concerned look. I like to think he’s there even now, yelling about poo and the standards of the toilet paper.

That was Guadalest. Now, onto the food.

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Double dip time!





to make creamy tequila chicken tagliatelle you will need:

Remember, you can leave out the booze if you like, but it adds a certain tang! Oh and this serves 2 – two very big-fatty portions!

to make creamy tequila chicken tagliatelle you should:

  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat
  • add the garlic and jalapeños and cook for a few minutes
  • add the chicken stock, tequila and lime juice, whack the heat up a little and cook until it’s reduced a bit glaze-like
  • remove from the pan and leave to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the philadelphia, quark and soy sauce – then keep aside
  • now is a good time to bring a big pan of water to the boil and cook the tagliatelle
  • in another pan (or under the grill if you prefer) add a little oil and add the chicken breasts
  • sprinkle over the salt and pepper and cook over a medium-high heat for about 4 minutes each side or until cooked through
  • put the chicken on a plate and add the peppers and onion to the empty pan and cook for a few minutes, stirring every now and again
  • chop the chicken into 1″ cubes and add back into the pan with the onions and peppers
  • give a good stir, cook for a minute or two and then add the cheese sauce
  • mix well and add the drained pasta, and mix again
  • eat

Still not satisfied? Don’t worry – we’ve got tonnes of other recipes you can try. Just click one of the buttons below to find more!

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J

double-dip special: baba ganoush and minty beetroot raita

Raita? I barely knew ‘er! Oh I know, but listen, it’s been so long. Forgive a fat man his nonsense. Here for the two dips? Quite rightly, they’re stunning. A big complaint of Slimming World is that it’s hard to find a decent dip or snack – now that we’ve discovered Broghies we’re snacking for England. The recipes are right down below the holiday entry but, as I’m feeling generous, if you want the food with none of my nonsense, just click the shortcut button below. Yes: just click on the SCALY OLD TROUT and you’re good to go.

Thank god they’ve left. All fur coat and no knickers, that one. For the rest of you, take my sweaty hand and we’ll skip back to Benidorm…

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

Not doing well with this ‘just the important bits’, am I? Ah well. We walked along the seafront and despaired at the sight of so many bright blue sun-loungers with bright pink English folk perched on them, merrily burning away. You couldn’t have set down a handkerchief amongst the people, let alone a beach towel, and oh god, the noise. It’s a bad job when you can’t hear the crashing sea over the sound of 5,000 disparate accents all bellowing at their triple-named snaggletoothed crotch-fruit to GET OUTTA FAAAACKIN’ SUN. It would be more relaxing trying to sunbathe on the wing of a crashing jumbo jet. We moved on.

I felt like James Cook gazing upon the unspoilt sands of Australia.

Eventually we reached what I think was the Old Town – lots of quaint streets to tumble about in, some interesting shops, some reasonable places to eat. We did spend a pleasant couple of hours here, not quite managing to fall in love enough to spend any money, when we decided to go for tapas. We’d have a couple of places recommended so off we trotted.

The first place we chose was charming on the outside. We were promptly seated by a pleasant looking waiter who was the double of Super Mario and had the water poured and the bread basket on the table before I’d even had a chance to look at the menu, tuck the tablecloth into my trousers and scatter the salt around. When the menu did arrive we were aghast. Now, before you all think we’re uncultured swines who don’t try local food or unusual tastes, just google what a rimjob is and come back to me. However, this menu was full of all sorts of horrendous sounding dishes, all of which sounded like the outcome of blending the Saw franchise with Watership Down. So many severed bits of animal served up like the top prize on Bullseye. Paul actually turned green, which at least made for a pleasant contrast against his reddened neck. We had to think fast (well, one of us certainly did – I’m not saying Paul’s slow but in his mind he was still coming through passport control back at the airport) so I told Paul to start fanning his face theatrically as if to feign feeling faint.

Of course, he goes full ham, giving it his all, rolling his eyes in his head, slack jaw opened, wafting his face with the menu, looking all the while like a Victorian maid who has stumbled across a passionate bout of illicit sex. If we’d had a few minutes more I’m sure he’d have slumped to the floor with a collapsed lung and started frothing at the mouth. I kicked him under the table to calm himself down when the waiter came back for our order. Me, in a language closer to Gujarati than A-level Spanish, explained that my partner was feeling unwell and we’d need to move on. The waiter, to his credit and my shame, couldn’t have been lovelier, his big brown eyes full of concern. I slipped him a ten euro note to pay for the water and we sloped off, Paul inexplicably limping. I told him round the corner that I was aiming for dicky-belly as opposed to a full debilitating haemorrhagic stroke.

Now, what to do? We were still hungry – this wouldn’t normally have been a problem but the second place on our list was nearby – literally over the other side of the wee square the first restaurant was one. We’d been told by all and sundry that this was the place to get heavenly tapas, couldn’t miss it, best in the country, blah blah blah. Being easily led, we had to go there, which immediately set us off on a game of having to sneak into another restaurant without the kind-eyed waiter from the previous debacle seeing us and knowing Paul’s illness was a sham. I couldn’t bear to see the hurt crack across his face when he realised our cruel deception.

This second place seemed a lot more informal and was clearly very popular, meaning we were forced to sit outside. I positioned Paul in the shadows in such a way that had the waiter from over the square glanced over, he might have reasonably assumed I was eating lunch with the ghost of Israel Kamakawiwoʻole. To make up for his shite acting I sent him in to order for us. He came back with two diet cokes and a beaming smile – he’d managed to order us tapas without any problems at all. Attaboy.

No sooner had he sat down with a ‘fat man sigh’ than the waiter came out – yet another bronzed god whose eyes screamed sex but his face screamed ‘ripped off for a Visa story in Take a Break’. Hmm.  There must be a factory where these Spanish studmuffins are pumped out on a conveyor belt – if anyone has the address, please let me know so I can volunteer myself as a loading dock. Anyway, he popped a wee plate in front of us with two tiny discs of bread and a bit of grey meat on it. An excellent, if unidentifiable start. Down the hatch it went – couldn’t tell you what meat it was but it was juicy enough. Paul enjoyed his morsel very much and we were looking forward to a tasty range of tapas brought to us one by one to sample. You know where this is going, don’t you?

Yes, we sat there for a full thirty minutes, sipping our flat coke and staring sadly into the kitchen, where no-one met our gaze. Turns out Paul hadn’t actually ordered us tapas, as such, but rather, just one. A tapa, if you will. When we eventually gave up I asked him if he’d paid and he confirmed that he had indeed done so and how remarkably cheap it had been – less than five euros, including drinks! You know when you look at someone with such incredulity that your furrowed brows almost come off your head? That was me. In an hour we’d managed a disc of bread, a gulp of water and one cube of mystery meat. We gave up, trundled off back down the streets, but not before the first waiter gave us a proper look of ‘told you so, you limey bastards’.

We moved on. I can’t remember where we did end up eating – apologies – but it was very good and we had more than enough to fill us, leaving plates and boards and crumbs strewn extravagantly over our table. The rest of the afternoon was spent mooching about – we headed towards where the gay bear bar was, but they’d shut up shop. Probably seen how much food we’d put away and pulled the shutters down lest we came in and snapped their sling.  Bastards. By god there were some rough hotels around this area, mind – I especially liked this hotel with a pair of shitty drawers strewn over their welcome sign…

Classy!

Now listen, it wouldn’t be terrifically exciting to describe the fact we wandered around shopping, then went back to the hotel to splash about in the pool and watch Tipping Point. I know what you’re thinking: the glamour – it never ends! You’re quite right.

The plan for the evening was to head out to try and locate Sticky Vicky – well, we had to, didn’t we? For those unfamiliar, you lucky bastards. You know that scene in Mary Poppins pulls the lips of her bag apart and pulls out all manner of odd things – a birdcage, an umbrella, a lamp? It’s pretty much that act, but rather than a carpet bag she uses her fanny. Sorry, how crass: her grot-slot. She uses her blart like one might use an overnight bag or a drawer in a utility room. A quick glance (through my fingers) at videos online showing her pulling batteries, light-bulbs, razor blades and fruit from her snatch. Even the man from Del Monte would say no to that. Her wiki entry (not a euphemism) describes her as a ‘vaginal magic show’. A vaginal magic show? Please. David Blaine’s a vaginal magic show, and that’s because he’s a c*nt.

Mother, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry.

Anyway, bless, it’s not the original Sticky Vicky as she has sadly contracted uterine cancer – but she handed over the act to her daughter. What are the odds that both mother and daughter would have a liver-sock like a closing-down sale at Wickes? She was quite the legal eagle too, you know – she successfully sued someone for stealing her act and trademarked the name Sticky Vicky. I can’t imagine that a moron in a hurry would confuse her pulling half a rack of lamb and an aga out of her gammon-flaps for anything else, but hey. We researched online to see where she would be only to be met with the disappointing/thank God news – they’d both stepped down. There’s a rash (that’s what’ll happen when you’re yanking breeze blocks out of your chomper) of people doing similar acts now, so although we couldn’t see the original, we decided that if we headed out we’d most likely bump into someone pulling something out of/putting something in their blurter – even if it was just replacing their fannynanny in the street. I mean, it is Benidorm.

So, again, out we tottered, drinking at various establishments along the way – I’d be more specific, but god knows the plastic chairs and burnt skin tends to run into one another, especially as you consume far too much alcohol. We had somewhere in our minds that we ought to go watch the Meat Loaf tribute act down at Jokers bar. I was reluctant at first: I was furious with the act for missing his golden opportunity at the best possible pun name he could have had. Seriously, if you’re an overweight Meat Loaf tribute act performing in Spain, why the fuck would you not call yourself:

‘Fat out of El’

I mean honestly. Nevertheless, the thought of someone belting out some classic Meat Loaf was inviting enough to win me round. First some food – the usual problem of trying to find somewhere to eat that looked faintly decent. We looked everywhere but nothing came up and after a good hour of walking around, we settled for a classic Spanish spread in the er…Clay Oven Indian restaurant. Of course! Listen, we tried, we really did, but the only other place that looked remotely inviting was packed to the rafters with a sea of lightly wobbling elderly folks. It looked as though there was a tiny earthquake taking place. Anyway, the Clay Oven wasn’t bad at all, save for the fact it took us two hours to complete our meal, 40 minutes of which was waiting for the waiter to bring us the bill. He disappeared with the promise of getting the card machine and never came back. I presume he’d left the machine back in their sister restaurant in Bangalore. The food was delicious mind – for reasons we can’t go into it’s been a long while since we’ve had a good rich calorie-laden meal and this really scratched the itch, although the onions, spices and sauces were almost immediately playing havoc with my belly. We paid up and moved on, finally seeing Jokers looming large on the horizon. In we went.

It was rammed. Absolutely rammed. Clearly a lot of people want to see a bit of Meat Loaf, and who could blame them? The bar was shaped like a horseshoe with the stage in the middle and it was standing room only, even right at the back. We bought drinks and found a space where we might glance the top of his head. That’s fine – live acts are like casual sex – doesn’t really matter what they look like, you’re more concerned with the noises they’re making.

This was the only way I could get a shot of him!

But, oh no. We had trouble.

Trouble in the shape of a miserable, moaning, sour-faced old bag who was sat RIGHT AT THE BACK of the venue and was complaining that because we’d stood in front of her, she couldn’t see. You need to understand that immediately in front of us was a stag party, also stood up, so the very best she could see before us was a row of arses clad in George at Asda jeans. I could hear her mumbling away, getting louder and louder, saying to her husband that she’d been sat there three hours (WELL SIT AT THE FUCKING FRONT THEN, YOU SAGGY, DEATH-DODGING HUSK) and now the night was ruined because of ‘those fat men’. Fat! I mean, she’s right – when Paul and I stand next to each other it’s the equivalent of someone parking a small lorry in the bar – but still!

You better believe then that we spent almost an hour of Meat Loaf’s tribute act on our tip-toes, waving our arms around, shrieking and wolf-whistling. Anything to block her view just that bit further. She was muttering away like a stuck budgie but I cared not. Had she asked us to move – despite it making no difference to what she could see – we would have gladly done so because we’re not arseholes. But because she was rude she was granted no mercy at all. Oh, and we had one final trick up our sleeve – or rather, up my arse. Remember all that rich, spicy Indian food I’d put away a couple of hours earlier and washed it down with lots of beer? It was making a dramatic gassy re-appearance round the back, meaning she got the full force of a good spicy after-dinner-hint in her general direction every 30 seconds or so. I know, I’m rotten. By the time we decided to leave she had a big brown streak in her grey hair, though at least it went swimmingly with her nicotine fringe.

Have to admit, it was difficult to get out of the venue, what with the team of paramedics trying to bring her round.

Anyway – the rest of the night descended into more drinking, more stumbling about and, somewhat embarrassingly, I set my moustache on fire with a flaming shot from some knockabout bar. I was gutted: I’ve been trying to grow a neat beard for so long, and poof, gone – a big chunk missing from the top of my lip. With the smell of burning in my nostrils, the sound of Paul retching in my ears and nearly all the money we went out with still in my wallet (seriously, it’s so hard to spend money in Benidorm – everything is so cheap), we went to bed. Oh and for those who think I’m mean to poor Paul, let me tell you this – I actually got up in the night to put a load of furniture in front of the balcony doors as I was so terrified that Paul would get an idea to jump out of the balcony in his heavily drunken state. What can I say: I’m a love. Actually, it’s more because I didn’t want breakfast to be cancelled the next morning as they scraped Paul-jam off every conceivable surface. Trust me, I know what that’s like…

Anyway. Until we meet again.

REMEMBER, leave us some feedback on the holiday entries!


Double dip time! Both are delicious and here’s the thing – I don’t like aubergine and I don’t like beetroot. But I like both of these…you couldn’t write the script! Or something. Either way, these dips are perfect with chunks of Broghies. Remember us twattling on about these the other day? They’re one syn each, big enough to break into six good chunks and are great for dips. They’re not bursting with flavour so it’s important you have a good dip for them – but they are satisfying our crisp itch like nothing before. You can find them in Iceland or, even better, contact them via here (it’ll open in a new window!) and let them know you want them! Both are dead easy to make.

baba ganoush



baba ganoush

to make baba ganoush, you’ll need:

  • four big aubergines – get big buggers mind, you want ones that demand you buy a copy of Razzle just to hide them under in case the neighbours see
  • one tablespoon of good olive oil (6 syns)
  • salt and pepper
  • one lemon
  • three garlic cloves
  • one tablespoon of tahini (5 syns)
  • chopped parsley

to make baba ganoush, you should:

  • if you have gas and a lot of time, have yourself a good fart and then get ready – you want to cook the aubergines nice and hot so the skin blisters, so yes, if you have gas, you can prick them with a fork and then hold them over the naked flame of your hob until they’re cooked through and blackened
  • but who the fuck has time for that, honestly – do what I do, prick them all over and stick them under the grill for twenty minutes, turning halfway through
  • mash up your olive oil, tahini, lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper in a pestle and mortar (or just mush it with your hands)
  • cut the aubergines in half, get the flesh into a bowl, mix it with your oil mixture from above, and scatter with chopped parsley
  • enjoy!

We can thank Paul Hollywood for this. Aubergines have plenty of moisture in them but if you want, add another tablespoon of tahini for 5 more syns. I won’t tell Margaret. Can’t find tahini? You’re not looking hard enough – most supermarkets sell it and it’s not expensive to buy. Worth tracking it down! Don’t want to spend syns? Fine, make this beetroot raita instead! I found this in Meera Sodha’s vegetarian Indian recipe book, which I love more than I can possibly tell you. There’s not a thing in there I don’t adore. Have a look – it’ll open in a new window. I’ve tinkered with the recipe to make it even easier.

minty beetroot raita

minty beetroot raita

to make minty beetroot raita, you’ll need:

  • a pack of cooked beetroot globes – we bought ours in Tesco, the ones that are vacuum-packed – tasty
  • two garlic cloves
  • a nice big lemon
  • 1 tbsp mint sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • fat-free natural yoghurt (if you want it syn-free) or a decent natural/Greek yoghurt if you’re only concerned about taste!
  • optional: Broghies, raw veg or whatever you want for dipping!

to make minty beetroot raita, you should:

  • grate your beetroot – I think you can buy grated beetroot actually, but if not, whizz it through a food processor with the grater blade on – it’ll make sharp work of it – we’ve got the Magimix and there’s nothing more satisfying than watching it destroy stuff
  • mince your garlic (use one of these bad boys – you’ll save your fingers and you don’t need to fart about peeling the garlic)
  • squeeze yer lemon and save the juice
  • take your grated beetroot, minced garlic, mint sauce and lemon juice and pop it into a frying pan – you want to cook the beetroot a little just to ‘dry’ it out a bit, using lemon juice to stop it sticking
  • add a good pinch of salt and lots of black pepper
  • allow it to cool and then mix with the natural yoghurt until it’s the consistency you want – don’t do it when the beetroot is hot though otherwise the yoghurt will split!
  • serve with raw veg or a delicious Broghie!

Want some more recipe ideas? Just click the buttons below! You’ll love it, I promise.

vegetariansmall   snackssmall slowcookersmallovernight-oatstastersmall

Enjoy!

J

velvety leek, potato and cheddar soup – instant pot or hob

Velvety leek, potato and cheddar soup – because frankly, it’s Autumn, and clitting about with consommés and gazpachos can fuck right off. You want a soup that’ll put hairs on that big old chest of yours and get stuck when you strain it through your Kevin Webster moustache. So here we are. Sorry for the lack of posts but well, you can probably guess that we’ve been away. Anyway, before we get to the fabulous leek, potato and cheddar soup, you’ve got the next part of our trip to Benidorm to smile politely through. If you can’t be arsed with reading all them big words, don’t fret, just click on the handy shortcut button below to be whisked straight to the pictures. Yes: just click on the mirror below.

Phew. We’d all had enough of her cockadoodie attitude, am I right? Let’s go back to a sunnier time…

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

You know, rather than prattle on about the last two days of the holiday, and bore you to tears with a 300 word monologue about the different types of toast we have, I’m going to do what we did with the Cornwall entries (good God the horror) and recount the memorable bits rather than go at it chronologically. I know what you’re thinking: James, you’re fabulous. Assume that the bits in between were taken up with us swimming in the pool, crisping in the sun or dozing.

Whenever we mentioned online that we were going to Facebook we were met with two things: aghast responses and ‘GO TO THE OLD TOWN’. I harboured a strong hope that the Old Town was actually Barcelona but no, apparently it’s the ‘nice part’ of Benidorm, in much the same way that the Isle of Arran is the nice part of Glasgow. Ah I jest, Glasgow, we love you and would move there in a barely-detectable heartbeat. So, hunger thoroughly satiated by way of the breakfast buffet (room 2002, two-thousand-and-two, dos-mil-y-dos, aaaah for fucks sake) and our hackles risen by the sight of our doubles mincing about the yoghurt station, we set off with the faint aim of walking to the Old Town, taking in what we could during the day.

Oh! Before I get there, can I quickly discuss this?

A lift that judges you.

The lift had a bastard ‘FAT PERSON’ monitor on it. When the two of us got in it went straight to cock-level, which sounds about right for us, until you realise the lift was built for ten people. I mean, we’re fat, but not quite that bad. I think if we had risked it after a particularly bountiful breakfast it may have started shrieking “¡ayudameMis cables!” in hysterical robotic tones. Anyway, the day was young.

It began with a crushing disappointment. We had seen no end of elderly couples whizzing around on double-seater mobility scooters, looking to all the world like particularly gelatinous takes on the future humans from Wall-E (only with far more fag-scorched winceyette). We wanted in on the action, if only because it would have made for an hilarious video of the two of us careering through the streets like the tank chase from Goldeneye. Completely unashamed we wandered into the first mobility scooter hire place and started trying out the various models. All good fun until some harried little Spanish lady came hurtling from out the back and started shouting at us in Spanish. I tried to placate her that, even though I’m hilariously obese, I’m not the easily forty stone or more that I’d seen the mobility scooters having to shuttle around outside. She has having none of it – apparently you need to be registered disabled (fair enough) or old (see previous comment) to hire a scooter. I caught a glance of Paul’s haggard face in the rear-view mirror of the Leviathan-shuttle nearest to me and wondered whether we could pass him off as over 55. Gloria Estefan wouldn’t have accepted it though, so we slunk away.

We carried on walking, dropping into the odd shop on the way. One thing I can’t understand is how all of the tatty shops selling cheap towels, tatty ornaments and fridge magnets and t-shirts with ‘I LOVE COK’ and ‘YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE CRAZY TO ENJOY BENIDORM BUT IT HELPS’ and other shite manage to keep going. There are hundreds of the buggers – probably one for each family that landed. Surely there can’t be a demand for it? I’d like to live in a world where there wasn’t demand for one of these shops, let alone a whole neighbourhood of them. But nevermind. We nipped into the cheap cigarettes store just to see how much baccy costs now – nothing confirms your decision not to smoke like seeing the fact that you’re spending more on tobacco than you do for a good dinner. Plus catching the yellowing eyes of the walking dead shuffling around buying their Lambert and Butlers, coughing out lung mist all the while. This was clearly ground zero for the coughing plague that would accompany us on the plane home. We did have a titter at the fact that the 200 Lambert and Butlers came with a free bottle of Jägermeister sellotaped to the front. Hey, know your market. Listen, we’re not being snobby about smoking – we once had a drawer in the kitchen that was full of tobacco and Rizlas, that’s how dedicated we were – but if you’re going to smoke, try something with a bit of taste. You never know, the Marlboro Reds probably came with a well-aged Châteauneuf-du-Pape attached. I tried taking a picture of the fags but got roundly reprimanded (again!) by the lady behind the till, who shouted ‘NO PHOTOS’ with such ferocity you’d think she was guarding the nuclear codes as opposed to a cancer factory. Pfft. We left empty-handed, but at least able to move more than twenty yards without our lips turning blue.

Fags.

Just round the corner from the cheap fag shops was a cheery little minigolf course. Five euros for eighteen holes – you can’t get vexed at those prices, can you? I confess we only went in because it looked as though there was a gay bears convention behind us in the queue, and hell, if there’s one thing we both enjoy it’s having several bearded men lining up behind us all desperate to sink their balls into an easy hole.

Oh I know, we’re so nasty. But seriously, they looked like they’d all just finished lumberjacking and fighting oil-rig fires. I could barely bend to pick up my ball without poking out my own eye.

As usual, things between Paul and I became immediately competitive – whereas I’ll always beat him at pool, Monopoly and growing a beard (he doesn’t so much grow a beard as frighten it away), he nearly always wins at minigolf. I just don’t have the patience, I hate golf. It’s so tedious and arbitrary and pointless. At least with rugby you run the risk of being accidentally penetrated in an especially violent scrum. With golf what’s the most exciting thing that can happen? Someone with pipe-cleaner legs, clad in whatever shite was heavily discounted at the garden centre, comes and primly tells you off for not wearing the right shoes? Pfft. I’m yet to meet anyone who has been seriously into golf who I haven’t suspected of being on some sort of register. Maybe I’m jaundiced because we have a golf course at the end of our street and I’m forever having to dodge Audis and BMWs piloted by triple-chinned moonface fuckheads not concentrating on their driving because they’re too busy thinking about their stroke / hypnotised by the rancid pattern on their trousers.

Action shot! I can’t recall the balls being quite so ovoid, though.

Anyway, I digress (if I ever become rich and famous and in need of an autobiography, that’ll be the title – and the book will open with me being born and then 1000 pages of bitchy comments about the hospital canteen and Paul’s mother). The mini-golf course was actually good fun – very much a file under ‘god bless, they tried’ sort of affair, but good fun none the less. Paul struggled with a tricky shot through a windmill which almost gave me a victory but I was distracted on the eighteenth hole by the sight of one of the bearded gentlemen bent over to tie his shoes and that was it for the day. Paul cruised to an easy victory and made sure I knew it. Personally, I thought it was a little churlish of him to gloat – it’s hard to concentrate on your stroke when you’re desperately trying to engineer a situation where you could feasibly fall over and expose your rear like a cat on heat. As we left Paul noticed a mechanical bull and asked if we should have a go. Fearful of the hydraulics wheezing asthmatically and then enveloping us in thick blue smoke, I declined. I bought us both a knock-off Spanish Magnum instead and we moved on.

Someone has to do it, I suppose.

We stopped briefly at an Ale-Hop shop (very much like a Tiger, if not a Tiger under a different name) where I desperately tried to find a hat to find my giant head. It’s my eternal struggle and one I’m yet to beat. I’m a reasonable looking bloke, I think, but I have a head like the Bloaty Head patients from Theme Hospital. Every hat I try on is always about four inches too small, sitting on top my balding expanse like a fey little affectation rather than the sun protection I so desperately need. When I was much younger I found a natty little Kangol bucket hat in a hedge that fitted perfectly – no idea where it came from (although it did have J. Merrick scrawled on the inside) but by god it saw me through so many summers, until one fateful day when it blew off my head into the English Channel. I like to think it served its purpose and moved on to rescue some other elephantine-bonced poor bastard. Mind you, for as much as I struggled to find a hat…

…Paul was suffering more trying to find a bra to protect his poor heaving busoms.

Poor guy. He’s a busty double-D, if anyone has one spare they can pass to him.

Right, here’s the thing. As usual, I started out with good intentions about keeping it succinct but I’ve actually managed to hit the 3000 word mark. I’ve cut that out for the next two posts but hey, let’s get to the recipe. I appreciate I can’t keep your attention for too long, what with all the shiny things in the world to look at. Until next time…

REMEMBER, leave us some feedback on the holiday entries!


This soup, then. You don’t need an Instant Pot to make it, you absolutely don’t, but it’ll make it so much quicker if you have one. Before you ask, yes, you probably could do it in a soupmaker too, though I’d have reservations about adding cheddar in case it sticks to the bottom. Your choice. The Instant Pot is currently pretty cheap on Amazon, mind you. This makes easily enough for six people.



to make leek, potato and cheddar soup you will need:

  • 3 leeks
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1½ tsp dried thyme (or two sprigs of fresh if you’re fancy)
  • 1½ tsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 125ml light white wine (4½ syns)
  • 3 vegetable stock cubes
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes, diced into 2″ chunks
  • 110g Philadelphia Lightest (1x HeA)
  • 40g reduced-fat cheddar cheese (1x HeA)
  • 2 bacon medallions (optional, just if you’re feeling SUPER fancy)

Look, if you can’t find light white wine, just use any old slop you have kicking about. Use mouthwash for all I care. I’m not your boss!

Broghie

Wondering what on Earth that broghie thing is? Hard to describe! But it’s just the thing for dipping and adding crunch – like a prawn cracker in consistency only without the oil and fat and fishiness that comes with it. We’re using them a lot for satisfying the crunch that we miss from bread – and they’re only a syn each. You’ll see them in a few of our recipes because we’re well stocked up – bigger Iceland stores sell them, and they’re popular in Ireland – just like I wish we were! We’re not getting paid to promote them, just something that I saw on Facebook and wanted!

to make leek, potato and cheddar soup you should:

  • wash and finely slice the leeks – if you’re not too clumsy, get one of these and do it in seconds!
  • press the ‘saute’ button on the instant pot and add a bit of oil
  • add the leeks to the pan and stir regularly until softened
  • add the garlic, stir and cook for another 30 seconds
  • turn off the instant pot and add the thyme, oregano, bay, wine and potatoes to the pan
  • dissolve the stock cubes in 1.25l of boiling water and add to the pan
  • give a really good stir, then cook on high pressure for 10 minutes
  • meanwhile, cook the bacon until it’s super crispy and chop up into little bits
  • when it’s finished, use quick release and stir in the philadelphia and cheese
  • use a stick blender to blend the mix until it’s smooth
  • serve in bowls and sprinkle over some of the bacon bits

If you haven’t got an instant pot don’t fret – you can do this on the hob just as easily. Chuck the leeks into a giant pan until soft, add everything else (except the cheese), bring to the boil and them simmer until tender, add the cheese then blend with a stick blender. Simple!

Enjoy that? Of course you did, you saucy bugger. Want more? Click.

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Goodnight for now! Remember to hit the share buttons below if you’ve enjoyed the recipe!

J