baked salmon with a garlic, lime and jalapeño crust

Baked salmon? On our blog? I know, me neither but if it swims, it slims! Quick post tonight because our boot camp looms.

I do wish I could get away with fish – I’ve tried so many times to get into it, to develop a taste for it, but I just can’t – until this! Conversations always follow the same path:

“Do you not like fish? It’s so good for you”

“No, I don’t like the taste of the sea, see.”

“Have you tried cod? Halibut? Salmon? Swordfish?”

“Nah, I don’t like the taste of fish”

“Have you tried oysters? Have you tried trout? Have you tried going down on a lady of easy virtue and awful hygiene behind the bins of a flat-roof pub?”

“No, I don’t like the taste of fish.”

It goes on and on and on. Listen, I’m an adventurous lad, I’ll put most things in my mouth at least once, so don’t presume that I haven’t given it the old college try, but saying you don’t like fish seems to bring out the most fervent fish-lovers who start blurting out types of fish like some sort of sentient wordsearch. It’s very frustrating: I don’t go up to people who don’t like smoking, tug their arms and ask if they’ve tried the cool, crisp flavour of a Regal King Size. Pfft.

However, all that said, shut my big fat mouth because actually, this baked salmon was bloody lovely! But I reckon it’s got a lot more to do with the taste of the crust rather than the fish itself, although Paul declared it delicious. He’s a greedy fat pig though, so let’s not listen to him. I could stuff a sock with cat-hair, call it a haggis and he’d still declare it the best damn meal he’s ever had. To the recipe then! It’s the easiest bloody thing you’ll ever make – and you can leave out the jalapeños if you don’t like your ring burning. Makes enough for two and we served ours simply with sweet potato and broccoli.

baked salmon

baked salmon

to make baked salmon with a garlic, lime and jalapeño crust, you’ll need:

  • two salmon fillets – nothing fancy, we bought ours from Tesco
  • the zest and juice of one big lime
  • two fat cloves of garlic
  • a teaspoon of jalapeños (you can buy them jarred nice and cheap)
  • a good pinch of salt and pepper

Remember how I bang on about getting yourself a microplane grater? This is exactly the recipe for one – you use it to zest the lime and mince the garlic. Bog-standard mincer will do the job just fine but the microplane makes a nice paste, which is what you’re after here!

to make baked salmon with a garlic, lime and jalapeño crust, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • mince the garlic and then add the zest of the lime, along with the juice, salt, pepper and the jalapeños and blend it with the back of a spoon into a mash
  • smear it over the top of the salmon and bake in the oven for as long as the instructions on the salmon say
  • serve!

Paul reliabily informs me that it keeps very well for lunch the next day. Who knew?

Want more fishy recipes? Of course!



french style cod stew with black olives

French style cod stew, apparently. Who knew? Joe Wicks apparently – and here’s me always thinking he was the one off Eastenders with the gaunt face who smashed Saskia’s face in with an ashtray.

Now: before we get to the recipe, we have some frippery to get through, but this comes with a stern warning! The following blog entry is very personal indeed and contains all sorts of references to willies (or if you prefer their medical term: mayo-cannons) and mishaps. I’m putting a special button under this paragraph that will whisk you straight to the recipe without a moment’s hesitation – but if you read the post and then complain, you can kiss my ring. Readers of my book – The Second Coming (available now in Kindle AND paperback, just saying – click here, it’ll open in a new window) will recognise this story from the start of the book. So, to go straight to the recipe before I get my cock out, click the exit button!

Ha, you’re still here aren’t you? You filthy swine. We need to go back a couple of years. Imagine I’m making the swoosh-swoosh sound of time bursting as I type this row of dots to indicate travel to a simpler point in time…


There’s definitely a few sentences a man doesn’t want to hear, but a doctor telling me ‘well, it’s going to have to come off’ whilst he holds my cock in his hands with all the nonchalance of a clock-watching prostitute is definitely high up there.

A few weeks prior to this incident I’d had the most unfortunate accident. See, I had been out at a Christmas party and was having a piss in Possibly The Worst Pub Toilet In Existence. I was rushing it along before I passed out from the stale urine fumes, fell face-first into the trough and was found later by friends with a urinal cake up my nose and third-degree burns on my face. In my haste to leave quickly, I shook off the drips, tucked him away and pulled my zip up, like I’ve done so many times before in the 31 years I’ve been on this Earth.

Only, things are never that simple, are they? No, this time around, in either my haste or my drunken state, I managed to not tuck him away entirely and as a result, got a good chunk of my foreskin entangled up in the closed zip. You know when you’re on a train and someone makes a dash for the closing doors only to get halfway through them and squeezed tight as a result? Yeah, that. There was so much blood, I nearly hobbled into the ladies next door for a Tampax and a cuddle.

Anyway, zip forward (ouch) a week or so later and I’m stood in my doctor’s surgery with my on-the-flop cock out whilst he turns it this way and that like he’s trying to get Radio 4 to come out of my bumhole (a mistake in itself, as the only thing that broadcasts is sure and certain death). It was healing, yes, but because scar tissue is thick, it also meant that ‘movement was restricted’. To give you yet another analogy, imagine putting your arm into the sleeve into an old woollen jumper only to find it has shrunk considerably in the wash. He tutted and murmured and was down there for a good couple of minutes before announcing that, indeed, it would have to come off.

I have to say, I thought it was drastic – I like my cock very much, it’s served me well through the many years that I’ve paid interest in it – and a life without him would be grey indeed. He must have seen the shock sweep across my face because he immediately followed it up with a little chuckle and said ‘no no, just the foreskin’, as though I was meant to laugh and slap him on the back with relief. It would still involve someone setting about my genitals with a sharper blade than I’d ever want down there.

This meant a quick visit to a urologist who confirmed the news. I sat in the urology department, never desiring more a t-shirt that said ‘I DON’T HAVE THE CLAP’, until I was called in and, but of course, the man who wanted to look at my knob was incredibly attractive. Of course! In any other circumstance I would have been lubed and prepped before he’d had a chance to put his gloves on, but it was hard to get frisky when you know that he’s deciding the fate of your manhood that very day. I mean, I was quite literally an NHS cutback.

This decision didn’t take too long at all – he, like the other doctor, had a bit of a roll around with it, had a quick taste (I’m kidding, I didn’t go private) and then sat me down to discuss options. Options! With a circumcision! Apparently you can have a tight cut that makes everything prim and proper or you can have a loose cut which makes the whole thing look like an ice-cream cone that’s been left out in the rain. I asked if he could perhaps use pinking shears for a festive, fun twist but apparently not. Bah. The operation was scheduled for a few days away (it would not be the first time in my life someone’s tried to fit my penis into a tight spot) and, it gets better, it was on Paul’s birthday! Poor bugger.

That day soon rolled around, unlike my foreskin, and once I’d given Paul his birthday presents and he’d kissed my poor penis goodbye, we were off to the hospital. I had to change into one of those awful gowns that show your arse to every passing patient but hey, no time to be fashion conscious. I did plan on asking if Paul and I could have a couple to take away for our ‘trips to the lorry park to make sure the lorry drivers are happy’ but the anaesthetic put paid to that. The nurse asked if I’d had anything to eat or drink and I mentioned I had had a coffee in 1996, which meant I had to wait another few hours for that to leave my system. Bah! Time moves very slowly indeed when you know you’re going to be put under!

I admit I was nervous: I’m a big guy and the thought of going under anaesthetic troubled me. I have a weak heart and I’m a light sleeper. I didn’t want to a) die or b) come around halfway through the operation only to see them helicoptering my cock about or taking pictures for the staff newsletter. When it was time for the operation I relayed my concerns to the nurse prepping me for theatre who explained something which I can’t remember because I was out like a bloody light. It was as if someone had just switched me off.

Anyway, speaking of fishy dishes, let’s leave that there and crack on with the recipe, no? Aaaah I know, I’m awful.


Please note: this is actually 0.75 syns a serving, but I didn’t keep the photo after I’d made the recipe photo above, so I can’t edit it! Boo!

to make french style cod with black olives you will need:

  • 2 bacon medallions
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (save your fingertips and get one of these!)
  • 250g cod fillet, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 8 pitted black olives (1½ syns)
  • 70g light mozzarella, torn into chunks (1x HeA)
  • basil leaves (for fanciness)

This one is shamelessly stolen from Joe Wick’s excellent book – Lean in 15. If you don’t already have it – GET IT – it’s genuinely the cookbook we use most often. Remember that this serves one – perfect for a quick dinner! We’ve adapted it ever-so-slightly to make it more SW friendly.

to make french style cod with black olives you should:

  • spray a large frying pan with oil (Frylight is shite – use one of these instead) and heat over a medium-high heat
  • add the bacon and onion and fry for 2 minutes until the onion has softened and the bacon has cooked
  • add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds
  • add the cod chunks and fry, turning occasionally, for a total of 2 minutes
  • add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil
  • reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • add the olives and mozzarella, then remove the pan from the heat – let the mozzarella melt a bit in the pan
  • serve!

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oh so fancy Slimming World prawn cocktail wraps

Expecting fancy Slimming World prawn cocktail wraps? But of course you are – who wouldn’t? It’s a rare recipe of ours that uses seafood AND gasp, barricade your front door, we’re also using avocado. You’ll get people who refuse to syn avocado – we’re two of them, actually – but I’ve counted the syns on here for ease.

Now, because we’re trying to make it easier for folks who just want to go straight to the recipe and avoid all the (hopefully) funny bits, we’re including a button on the longer entries to make it easier for you. If you just want the recipe, go ahead and click on the OLD BAG and you’ll be taken straight there.

Pfft, what a poor sport! Right, let’s crack on with our holiday at home in Newcastle! Last time you we were us we were full of food and ale from The Tyne Pub. The day continues…


part one | part two | part three | part four

Full as a bull’s bum and more than a little tipsy, we careered gently into the road and along the quayside to the Baltic, a world-class art gallery built inside an old flour factory.

You may recall that neither of us put much stock in art galleries – we’re about as cultured as the fluff in your belly button – but by god we try in the hope that one day we’ll have an epiphany. A chin-stroking, soiled-corduroy wearing epiphany. It didn’t happen. There was an exhibition…in fact, fuck it, have a look for yourself:

I mean, come on – I know I’m a complete philistine but that’s just shite, isn’t it? It looks like the far reaches of a factory explosion. We wandered around, reading the placards earnestly and hmming a lot, but it was tosh. This will be the final time I ever talk about visiting a modern art gallery on here because it infuriates me. Possibly because I don’t understand, possibly because I tire of trying to wrap my head around stuff that I’m 90% sure someone has just thrown together for a bet, I don’t know. There was a room with a rock hanging from the ceiling over a balloon, supposedly to represent how frail people can bear huge burdens. Pfft. I didn’t dare stand still for too long in case people thought my frail, fat ankles, bearing a huge burden as they do, were part of the exhibition and start drawing me in watercolours. Paul blundered about grunting for a good half hour, equally as disdained as I was.

Nice views though.


Next on the tour of the toon was Lane 7, which is a super fancy bowling alley ever-so-beloved of every ‘inspired’ work do from Darlington to Berwick. Seriously, there was a time when if you wanted to bowl, the only chance of getting an opportunity was to train as an estate agent / lawyer / accountant / professional bumfluff moustache grower and hope to be invited to a networking event. I can’t tell you how pleased I am that I don’t need to network in my job – it’s all I can do to acknowledge my own reflection when I wash my hands after a piss. However, a new gin bar opened a year or so ago and that seems to have soaked up the ‘corporate do’ crowd, so it wasn’t too busy when we arrived.

I say not too busy, there were two hen parties in there shrieking like their dresses were on fire – and boy does that noise ricochet in a bowling alley. Bowling seemed like an unusual activity for lasses on a hen party to enjoy, not least because it’s usually later on in Newcastle when their pins get split and someone goes at them balls-deep in an alley. Anyway, they were lost in a mist of Impulse and Blue WKD and we were straight on to bowl. It’s a very sleek, very modern alley – not the usual verruca-soaked shoes and sticky floors, but rather lots of wood and lights and fanciness.

I won, as you’d expect, and to celebrate I sent Paul to the bar to get us some mystery drinks. He came back with two bottles of Hooch. Hooch! A bloody alcopop. I had to remind him that we weren’t at a school disco but actually, isn’t it weird how just one taste of something sends you back to being 13 and full of burgeoning puberty-fuelled hormones? It’s why I can’t bear the taste of communion wafer.

Anyway, all the sugar from the Hooch made Paul come back from behind (story of his life) and he took the second round. We were being tight so had only sprung for a couple of games so we had to settle it once and for all with a round of mini-golf. Happily Lane7 had not only thought of a very clever name (try writing it out and turning it upside down – won’t work if you haven’t progressed beyond bubble writing) but had also had the foresight to build a mini golf course in the basement.

We were straight down the stairs but again, I was left disappointed. Don’t get me wrong – it’s cool to have a mini-golf course to play on, but it was small and had no obstacles. Do you not understand how much I yearn to shoot in a clown’s mouth, or knock my balls around a tricky tunnel? For the thousandth time in our marriage I managed to put Paul off his stroke by fluffing an easy finish, and yet he finished victorious. I hate it when Paul wins anything, he has perfected just the right level of smugness in his ‘oh it was nothing’ face that really ires me. He knows it too, that’s what makes it worse. I choked back ten years of resentment and hatred as black as pitch and we requested an Uber back to the hotel.

I say we requested – we did, and it took the chap twenty minutes to navigate no more than 600m of road – we watched him drive up and down without stopping, turning at the top and coming back. We tried waving him down but no success. To this day we have no idea what his game was – perhaps it was like when a plane has to land with failed landing gear, he was burning off fuel to compensate for our fatness sliding in – but when he eventually turned up he didn’t have the good grace to apologise. Actually, perhaps he did apologise, I confess my Afrikaans to be somewhat lacking. It took us another twenty minutes to get to the hotel as he had no idea of the roads and seemed intent on ignoring both the sat-nav in the front and the fat-navs in the back, all of us giving gentle, strained instruction to his sweet, unopened ears. It was like being on one of those Hop-on-Hop-off buses, only with the scent of a Yankee Candle vent air-freshener burning our nostrils.

I wanted to try the Cigar Shack but Paul didn’t fancy listening to me gasping and wheezing through the night so he stamped on that idea. Doesn’t seem to mind when it’s me having to listen to him choke on his own fat-collar. Pfft. So, we napped, rutted and changed our clothes (well, you have to make an effort on holiday, no?) and set off for our final venue of the evening – The Stand Comedy Club. I’ve been before as part of a works night out and it was brilliant fun, but this was Paul’s first time. Not his first time laughing – he’s seen me naked bending down to pick up a coin off our tiled bathroom floor – but certainly his first comedy club.

The plan had always been to eat upstairs but actually, by the time I had roused Paul from the land of nod, there was no time to eat properly, so instead we got a burger that dripped all over our faces and chips to dip in our cider. We had great seats, near enough the front to see the strained smiles, far enough at the back for the comedians not to pick on us and make mean-spirited jokes about my effete mannerisms and Paul’s tits.

And oh, what a night! Perhaps we were lucky but there wasn’t a bad act out of the four that trooped on, whose name I can’t remember but whose jokes I’d steal if I thought I could get away with it. I have so much respect for anyone who can stand in front of a crowd of unfamiliar folk and make them laugh and all of the acts managed it. The guy introducing the acts has probably the hardest job of the lot given he’s got a cold audience but the whole room was awash with proper hearty laughing. The only duff note came from a young lass whose whole act consisted of trying to be kooky – there’s an awful feeling of awkwardness when jokes don’t land – but hey, she had bigger balls than me for getting up there in the first place.

Best comedian of the night was a local lad called Mike Milligan – he writes for our local Chronicle newspaper (he’s about the only one on their staff who does) and was full of local reflections delivered in a proper Geordie language. Everything sounds hilarious when it’s spoken by a Geordie – I’m surprised they haven’t thought to add a laugh-track onto episodes of Vera. Paul finds the language especially comical, presumably because he’s from Peterborough where they haven’t progressed away from grunting and crude hand gestures. If I ever need to break up with him I’ll just tell him ‘way ah’m filin’ fer a divorss ye bastard‘ in my very best ripped-off-her-tits Denise Welch voice and he’ll be slapping his knees whilst Pickfords load the telly into the lorry.

We drank loads from the cheap bar, laughed until I genuinely had chest pains, and had a great night out. If you’re looking for something different to do in Newcastle, or indeed your own city, dig out a comedy club. Everyone likes to laugh. ACTUALLY, that’s not strictly true. I invited someone I used to work with to a comedy club for a night only to be told ‘I don’t like comedy’. Ah yes, that old chestnut. Isn’t that like saying you don’t like wanking or eating? Pfft.

With aching sides and straining bladders we requested another Uber who, thankfully, knew what and where he was going – he drove that taxi like he had a bomb under the passenger seat but by god we were in the hotel and in bed in no time at all. Paul and I that is, not the Uber driver, though he did look the sort to be a rough lover and a kind cuddler. Ah well, maybe next time. Goodnight!

Right, shall we get to the wraps, eh? This makes enough for four.

fancy Slimming World prawn cocktail wraps

fancy Slimming World prawn cocktail wraps

to make fancy Slimming World prawn cocktail wraps you will need:

  • 4x Weight Watchers white wraps – or you know, use some common sense and get a similar wrap in terms of calories and fibre and you’ll be fine
  • 150g cooked prawns
  • 1 ripe avocado (14 syns)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 little gem lettuce
  • 1 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (1 syn)
  • 1 tbsp Hellman’s Tomato Sauce sweetened with Honey (½ syn, normal tomato sauce is fine – just add on an extra ½ syn)
  • half a cucumber

At the time of writing there’s a big fuss on about those wraps because by spooning corned beef and potato into them, you’ve inexplicably made a cornish pastie. If you’re struggling to find them because some biffer has put 100 packets into her trolley, just use something similar. For ease, I’m synning these at 3.5 syns a wrap, but actually about 3.75. If you’re that anal, though, re-examine your bloody life!

to make fancy Slimming World prawn cocktail wraps you should:

  • slice the avocado and scoop out all the lovely flesh, mash in a bowl and mix in the lemon juice so it doesn’t go manky
  • next, mix together the prawns, mayonnaise and tomato sauce and set aside
  • pull off the leaves from the lettuce and give a quick wash
  • slice the cucumber into ribbons using a peeler
  • assemble the wrap by spreading over a quarter of the avocado mix, topped with the prawns, and then the leaves and the cucumber

We know avocado is a controversial choice – if you want to make this skinnier, just slap on some light Philadelphia instead

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fancy but quick fresh tuna niçoise salad

Summer is looming and your consultants will be frothing away with stuff like ‘if it swims, it slims’ (and yet they still refuse to put semen into the syns directory, I could be ingesting at least 20 syns a day!) – so in honour of that, here’s a nice fresh tuna niçoise salad. Nice and easy to make and you can take the extra in for lunch the next day. But first.

We’re in the slightest of pickles.

I’ve mentioned before that we have some excellent neighbours and a couple of well…how to say it, less pleasant ones. Nothing too offensive you understand, no-one’s smearing dog shit under my door handles or playing Now That’s What I Call Profound Hearing Loss at all hours of the day, thank God, although we do have one distant neighbour who seems to have been building a tiny brick wall for at least a year. A year! I’m so shite with DIY that I call our handyman over to change the lightbulbs in our bathroom but I reckon even I could get the hang of bricklaying if I had a bloody year to go at it.

Anyway, aside from one odd soul bellowing at us because we had the temerity of allowing dandelions to grow on our pristine lawn, they’ve all been very quiet recently, which is lovely. Until the sign arrived. Yes see, Paul thought it would be a gas to have a giant ‘VOTE LABOUR’ sign delivered for the front garden – a proper yellow and red affair, nice and prominent – in the vain hope that anyone driving onto our street at 2mph might be suddenly swayed by this spontaneous piece of politicking. It’s about as subtle as a kick in the fanny with a steel-capped shoe.

I agree with the sentiment – I’m Labour through and through – and so it was hastily erected. Well. We’ve had looks. We’ve had shaking heads. We’ve had so much tutting that I thought the cat was eating chewing gum. Nets have been twitching as we walk past and there’s been so many pained expressions it’s like living on Hernia Avenue. However, it stays – it’s important to make a stand on these things before it is too late, after all.

Things came to a head the other day, though. I spotted two of our neighbours standing in our garden peering over the fence. Confused as to what they might be doing in our garden (picking dandelions) I trotted out and enquired as to how I could help. Turns out they were speaking to our neighbours on the left and didn’t need my intervention. I resisted the urge to point out it was slightly presumptuous to let yourselves into someone’s garden to have a chat – clearly they thought I was at work. I was so frustrated I let myself into their house and helped myself to their pension books.

I was letting myself back into the house when the old chap caught up with me and plucked fitfully at my sleeve – you could tell he wanted to get something off his chest. I gave him a beatific smile and asked how I could help. He wants me to take down the sign. It blocks his view. Now, the ‘view’ that he is talking of is the side of my house, but nevertheless, I’m always one to show willing. He explained that he could see it every time he looked out of the window and it was causing him distress. I, politely as I could, suggested it ought to stay because it was our garden and really, from his angle, all he’d see is the edge of the sign 50m away from him – I haven’t exactly put a wind-farm up. We did the dance of being super polite with each other but then he played his trump card – he was having heart issues and could barely walk.

I resisted the urge to reassure him that Jeremy Corbyn would make sure that the NHS was well-funded and send him on his way, and instead, being a kind neighbour, I’ve relocated the sign into our back garden where at least he can’t see it. I feel like I’ve been played, though. I keep switching between being a good neighbour and leaving it where it is and being a bad neighbour and having something like this installed in the garden:

I don’t know why they don’t ask me to design the manifesto cover.

Anyway, I’ll let you know of any further developments. Let’s do the tuna niçoise salad, shall we? Before we do I should point out that this is a recipe straight from Joe Wicks’ Lean In 15. We’re not following his diet, but his book is absolutely full of easily adapted slimming recipes and we’re adapting a few for the blog. To think I only bought the book because I was so taken by the sight of him on TV. I’m not saying he’s good-looking, but I’d crawl on my belly through a mile of broken glass just to listen to him fart through a walkie-talkie. You can buy his book here and it is one I genuinely recommend.

This makes enough for two big bowls – scale up or down as appropriate.

fresh tuna niçoise salad

to make a fresh tuna niçoise salad, you’ll need:

  • two eggs
  • 150g of trimmed green beans
  • 2 x 300g tuna fillet steaks (or, if you want to save money, a tin of tuna each)
  • 60g of cooked puy lentils (we buy Merchant Gourmet ones from the shop – 2 syns for 250g) (half a syn – and then it’s between two, so really quarter of a syn per serving)
  • two big handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 25g of sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped up (1.5 syns, then divided up by two)
  • a little balsamic vinegar

By my reckoning, it’s a syn per serving. Easy. You may spot that rather than using balsamic vinegar in its usual form we’ve used balsamic vinegar pearls. Exactly the same only they burst on your tongue and are delicious. Naturally, Slimming World’s syns database doesn’t have them. They’ve on Amazon though, not too bad, and they add a nice dimension to dinner!

to make a fresh tuna niçoise salad, you should:

  • boil your eggs for about eight minutes then drop the green beans in with them and boil for another minute or so – you want the beans to have a bit of crunch and the eggs to be slightly softer boiled than pictured (I was distracted making this by our fit postman)
  • to cook the tuna, squirt a good non-stick frying pan or griddle with a few sprays of oil (coconut oil if you have it) and get it nice and hot and carefully place the tuna steaks to cook
  • if you like your tuna raw in the middle like I do (but again, I was distracted) then cook only for a minute each side – or cook it through for a couple of minutes if you prefer
  • take the tuna out, season with black pepper and a bit of salt
  • assemble your salad by mixing the green beans, tomatoes, spinach and balsamic in a bowl, stirring it all together, then plate up with the tuna – sliced thinly if you like – and the egg cut in half
  • enjoy!

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Have a great bank holiday all!


garlic prawns on roast potato with pesto and rocket

Yes! That’s right – garlic prawns. Prawns on twochubbycubs’ blog! I still think they’re vile little things but see we’re trying to introduce some new foods into our diet because man cannot live on semen, reduced price yule logs and slimming world chips forever. Everyone’s laughing until Paul gets rickets. Plus we get asked so many times for seafood recipes and always come up blank save for a few token gestures so here we are: a proper prawn recipe.

Of course, before we get to the garlic prawns, some random thoughts. Firstly, thank you so much to all the kind, lovely folk who have sent us a Christmas card with kind words, rude words or just plain filth on the front cover: we absolutely love it. Honestly, I get so excited when I see our postman now, and not just because he fills out a pair of Royal Mail trousers with such panache. If you want to send us a card please do: our PO Box is: twochubbycubs, PO Box 217, Bedlington, NE63 3FA – I’m not kidding when I say it makes our day – thank you!

Secondly, there will definitely not be a post tomorrow because it’s our office Christmas party. I’m excited, but saying as I was one of the four who organised it, there’s a certain air of ‘phew, we made it’ to the whole affair. Who knew that organising shenanigans for 150 people could be so exhausting? Thankfully I work for a company with some flair and imagination so it’ll be a bit more than a few Tesco quiches and a glass of warm piss – party on!

I’m not exactly a social butterfly when it comes to work parties but I always make the Christmas one. There’s been some absolute corkers. Back in the heady days of a Labour government I used to work for a quango (long since shut down) doing a very important job – literally no-one else could use the photocopier. No, I was a secretary, but my boss was this amazingly posh woman with a filthy sense of humour and the rest of the team were equally as fun. It was a fantastic place to work – you’d turn up whenever you fancied in the morning, fanny about a bit with some papers and then fuck off home at around half past two. We spent more time outside dicking about at the smoking shelter than upstairs working and at one point the entire team hid in a meeting room for a surprise 70s buffet, emerging several hours later pissed on Babycham. In retrospect, it’s not difficult to see why the government shut ua down. Maha.

Anyway, the Christmas parties were immense – starting at 10am with drinks in the office, followed by a rude secret santa, followed by the entire department going out for ‘Christmas team lunch’ and staying out until 3am in the morning. Hilariously, we worked right next door to the HR team who were led by a manager who had never known joy. Her PA used to log what times we’d all rock into the office and send us prim notes which we’d all ignore and go smoke instead.  One especially messy Christmas party saw our Head Boss get so bladdered that we had to bundle her onto the last train back home into rural North Northumberland only for her to promptly fall asleep missing her stop. This then meant her husband had to chase the train to Edinburgh to pick her up, scattered as she was with her knickers around her ankles. That was after the point where I’d received a drunken lap-dance from her, I hasten to add. There were some exceptionally sore heads the next day.

Oh, and we got asked to leave a pub for failing to realise that every time we nipped out the back door for a smoke that we were setting off the fire alarms for the entire pub. Oops. We weren’t to know, surely. Also, at some point, someone set themselves on fire by accident. All every eventful. Oh and one more addendum to this little tale: I accidentally bought said boss a vibrator for the secret santa. In my defence I thought it was a little duck for the bath – turns out it was, but with an especially-shaped beak that vibrated. She loved it though and any embarassment was soon put to bed when the next person along opened a book of sex positions and a half-used jar of Vaseline. Seriously, that jar looked like the one in Kill Bill 2.

Ah, truly halcyon days. I love where I am now, don’t get me wrong, I do, but you never know what you’ve had until it’s taken away thanks to budget cuts!

Conversely, my worst Christmas party was at BT, where our team manager had promised to take us out for dinner and a piss-up if we met our sales targets. We worked our arses off for weeks pushing 1471 onto folks who didn’t need it and ‘accidentally’ putting people on Option 4 broadband (£7 commission!) knowing that they’d always be able to cancel it later. I know, that’s awful behaviour, but to be fair, I was pretty much permanently stoned during that job. You had to be, dealing with so many complaints. Hell, I went outside for a smoke during a quiet time and was approached by someone in another team selling speed to get through ‘the difficult calls’. I politely demurred, given my dicky ticker, but that should give you an insight to why people are often so peppy in a call centre. Smile when you dial…

Anyway, Christmas rocked around and we were told he was putting on a bus (which we had to chip in for) to take us to a country pub. He did, fair enough, but after charging us £10 a time for the bus and then putting no fucking money behind the bar for food and drink, well, that put a bit of a downer on things. We worked out later he’d actually made a profit on the coach, too, the oily-skinned fucker. We made the best of a bad day but most of us just buggered off home after an hour or so of strained conversation about sales targets. The manager clearly knew he’d upset us as we returned to find a selection box each on our desk. Most of the team left them on a point of principle – as did I – but I made sure to nip around and get all the Double Deckers out of them first.

Damn, I could murder a double-decker now, actually. But no joy. Instead let’s get this prawn recipe out of the way. I can’t claim credit for the idea – it’s actually from Hello Fresh (which we’re trialling – not for the blog but because we can’t be arsed to shop). We’ve adapted it for Slimming World though.

You know why I don’t like prawns? They have an unexpected texture. You bite into them and are met with a moment of resistance and then pffft, it almost bursts on the tongue. There’s a hint of seaside about them that I don’t care for, too, and when they are cooked they look like what I’d imagine a sphincter would look like if you took it out of the anus. Same as cockles are clearly belly-button knots. That’s a fact. However, as much as I don’t like prawns, I actually enjoyed this meal! You couldn’t write the script. Even Hoggle, normally so anti-seafood it hurts, agrees!

Somewhat unusually, this makes enough for two people. More of you? Scale up!

garlic prawns

to make garlic prawns on roast potato with pesto and rocket, you’re gonna need:

  • a strong stomach, to look at that god-awful things with their cruel bodies and mean textures
  • 150g of tiger prawns (deshelled, deshitted and beheaded) (why I haven’t been a cookbook deal escapes me)
  • one bag of rocket
  • one garlic clove
  • one medium box of cherry tomatoes
  • one large red onion
  • a few large potatoes
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat green pesto (3 syns)

to make garlic prawns on roast potato with pesto and rocket, you simply must:

  • make some tiny roasties – cut up your tatties, spritz them with some spray oil and hoy them in the oven for about twenty minutes or so until they’re all cooked nice and crisp – if you’ve got an Actifry, chuck them in there (especially as the new model is currently cheap on amazon, see?) – then set aside
  • get a pan, spritz with some oil or give it a slick of olive oil – so daring – and gently soften your onions – that’s not a euphemism for resting your tits on the cooker top mind, just so we’re clear
  • once they’re softened, chop the tomatoes in half and chuck them in together with the garlic which of course you’ll have minced using one of these fabulous graters I so often bang on about – see? Right here?
  • allow everything to soften for a moment or so then chuck in the prawns with a pinch of salt and black pepper, cooking them on medium until they are pink on the outside and opaque in the middle
  • serve by putting a few roasties in the middle of the plate, then some rocket, then the tomato, onions and prawns
  • drizzle over the pesto because why the fuck not, and enjoy!

This feels like such a frou-frou dinner and for that I apologise. I hope you enjoy it. Looking for more seafood ideas? Click the button below, along with the others. I’m going to bust out some of the lesser-posted badges for this!

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So pretty, like me. Oh and fair warning: Penny’s just been introduced in our great Lost rewatch. That’ll be the both of us sobbing into our raspberry gins when they have their tearful phonecalls all over again! I’ve got my fist balled in my mouth now watching it on Youtube. Sniff.


droptober recipe #15: fish cakes, chips and peas

Fish cakes, chips and peas WITH lemon and caper mayonnaise on the side, might I add? I know right – what decadent bitches! Don’t worry, we still ate our dinner from our laps whilst watching television like the slatterns that we really are. I can barely press the buttons on our old Sky remote because there’s so much gravy smeared across the buttons. In a way, I’ve got entirely the same problem with my Mac keyboard, although that’s an entirely different sort of gravy, if you know what I mean. Jism.

Remember ages and ages ago I mentioned that I have an enemy in the form of a shrewish looking harridan who effs and jeffs at me every time I park my car in ‘her’ spot in the muti-storey car park? If not, I’ll summarise briefly – she always parks in the exact same spot every day, unless I get there first and make a point of parking there. It’s a good spot see, no chance of anyone bumping the car on either side, and anyway, there’s loads of spaces free for her to park her motor in. Anyway, if she spots me parked up, she revs her engine as she drives past, makes a massive show of slamming the car door and stomps to the lift like the heels of her shoes are on fire. Naturally, I sit in the car smirking at her to wind her up and occasionally playing the Friends theme tune if I’m feeling particularly cruel.

WELL, today, awkwardness ensued – I was running five minutes late so no time for shenanigans and as I parked up and hurtled to the lift, so did she. Our first time face to face. Naturally, we were both incredibly British about the whole thing and I let her into the lift first (when really, in keeping with tradition, I should have nipped past her, tumbled her down the stairs and took the lift cackling and jeering). Never has nine floors felt so long but let me tell you something that will justify, forever, my hijinks and mischief: she sneezed and DIDN’T cover her fucking mouth. I was so aghast (and cowardly) that I didn’t say anything and she fair skipped out of the lift when we got to the ground floor. Skipping as much as her cankles allowed, anyway.

What sort of ill-mannered beldam doesn’t stop the spray from her sneeze? We were in a lift, not a fucking wind-tunnel, there was literally no place for her spittle and disease to go, and I swear I was still wiping a froth of slaver and Charlie Red off my glasses at lunchtime. I knew we were at war, but I thought it was always agreed that biological weapons are a no-no. I tell you now, if she ever leaves her window down, even just a crack, I’m going to make sure I push my sphincter through like a grandma’s kiss and fill her shitmobile with the foulest smelling flatus I can muster. And boy, can I muster it: I’m on Slimming World, remember.

Ah well. Revenge will come and it won’t be disappointing. Speaking of disappointment, did anyone catch the one-off special of The Crystal Maze last night? You have no idea how long I’ve hoped for a TV comeback for this show – it was truly my favourite viewing experience back when I was young. Well, that and trying to pause the telly on the brief flashes of cock featured on Eurotrash, something which Paul just confirmed he used to do as well. Ha. I once fell asleep with Eurotrash paused on my little portable CRT telly which created an unfortunate screen-burn when I remembered and unpaused it in the morning. It’s hard to concentrate on Fun House when there’s a few pixels of a Frenchman’s withered cock dangling under Martina’s chin, I can tell you.

Anyway, it was always my dream to go on The Crystal Maze, but they never answered my letters when I applied for the children’s special and then cancelled it before I became an adult, which is something I’m still furious about to this day. I would have even had a crack at it when that Ed Tudor-Pole guy was presenting, I’m not fussy.  I know that there’s a Crystal Maze experience opening in Manchester (London is just too far) but I don’t think it’ll be the same as a 31 year old man, unless they’ve replaced the Aztec zone with the Sofa Zone and one of the games is a three-minute sit down to catch my breath and ease my stitch.

That said, the remake on TV wasn’t too bad, as it happens. Stephen Merchant, a man I’ve always disliked simply because of his proximity to Ricky Gervais, made a decent fist of presenting and we both actually laughed out loud a few times at his quips. However, it suffered from what most decent shows on TV suffer with these days – celebrity. What value do producers think it adds to have Rio Ferdinand fumbling about trying to wire up a battery for three minutes? A man so seemingly thick that if he forgets just one more fact they’ll need to start watering him three times a week.

Part of the charm of the old show was watching Sue, a Clinton’s Cards sorter from Colchester, try to arrange coloured dominos in an arbitrary fashion or obtaining a grade two concussion from stotting her head off a balance beam. Michelle Keegan hanging up pub signs or Sara Cox dodging lasers holds far less appeal. The best thing they could do with The Crystal Maze is to inject genuine peril into it – make those lasers into 2000mW jobbies that slice your foot off whilst you cartwheel your way to the crystal, or make someone solve a Rubik’s cube whilst a crowd of their family hurl drawing pins at their eyes. Film it all with those awful GoPro cameras and have Adele fart out the theme tune and it would be an instant, guaranteed success. NOW Channel 4 will answer my letters, I’m sure.

Speaking of instant successes, let’s take a look at tonight’s recipe – fish cakes, chips and peas. I’m not going to provide a recipe for our chips because it’s as simple as cutting potatoes and putting them in an Actifry with a teaspoon of oil (2 syns) and a teaspoon of worcestershire sauce. Perfect every time. Amazon (at the time of writing) have the new model for only £99, so why not treat yourself? The peas are from the Tesco Value vintage and are artfully cooked in an old jug in the microwave. I know, where’s that Michelin star when you deserve it? Let’s get to the fish cakes, shall we? Fish cakes aren’t usually something I’d go for at the chippy – I like a haggis and a large chips with curry sauce, thanks. I like to know at least something has died in order to feed me.

fish cakes, chips and peas

to make fish cakes, chips and peas you will need

  • 250g cod or haddock (frozen is fine – it’s what we used, just make sure it’s defrosted)
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 50g panko (9 syns)
  • 1x 60g wholemeal roll, blitzed (1x HeB)

This makes four big fishcakes, feel free to make eight instead and syn them down accordingly.

optional: for the lemon and caper mayonnaise

  • 6 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (Morrison’s NuMe range is only 1 syn per tbsp)
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp capers

By the way, you don’t need to serve it on a board like a pretentious twat like we did, just use a plate and be done.

to make fish cakes, chips and peas you should:

  • peel and quarter the potatoes and bring a pan of water to the boil
  • simmer for about 15 minutes, until tender, and then drain and mash
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, and a bit of oil and cook the fish fillets for about 4 minutes each side
  • remove the fish from the heat, flake with a fork and add to the mash
  • add the beaten egg, spring onions and mustard to the fish and potato mix and stir well
  • divide the mixture into four and press into four burger shapes
  • in a shallow dish, mix together the panko and bread roll crumbs
  • gently dab the fish cakes into the panko, making sure each one is well coated
  • clean out the frying pan and add a few more sprays of oil over a medium high heat
  • gently add each cake to the pan and cook on each side until golden brown
  • to make the lemon and caper mayonnaise, just mix all the ingredients together
  • serve on a plate, put it into your mouth, chew, swallow and start turning into poo – it’s really this simple

Enjoy! I know that you can make fish cakes syn free if you try but look, this is crunchy, tasty and filling – use your syns for a decent meal. It can’t all go on Bellabrusco, you know.

For more seafood, fakeaway or, I dunno, other recipes, click the buttons below.

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slimming world bbq: zesty salmon burgers and a radish and pea salad

Goodness me, we’re still flogging this dead horse of Slimming World BBQ, are we? You have no idea how many times I’ve trundled the Weber out of the shed only for the skies to immediately blacken, the thunder start-up and the rain to come down so hard that I have to front-crawl past the recycling bins just to get back to the kitchen. Listen, when even God himself doesn’t want you to tearfully chew your way through the taste-explosion that is a Slimming World burger, you know it’s not a good idea.

Now, long time readers may remember I did an article way back in February of last year called james vs paul and it consisted of five things that annoyed him about me and five things that annoyed me about him. If you haven’t committed our various faults to memory – and if not, why not – you can find it here, together with a delicious recipe for chicken chow mein. Yeah, that’s right. Anyway, it’s due a sequel. You’ll be glad to know that we both still do every single thing that previously annoyed the other, but hey, fuck it, that’s marriage. Here’s five more – and, just like before, I’ve got right to reply on Paul’s critiques of me. Why? Because I have no gag reflex, and frankly if he wants to take advantage of that going forward, he has to let me reply…mahaha! Plus, I get the right to expand on my annoyances too. What a cad!

Paul’s five things that rile him about me:

  • there’s always coat hangers in our bed
    • aye, it’s a fair cop this one. See, I get ready for work about ten minutes after Paul, because bless, he has to get up and put the coffee on and turn the shower on for me. My reward for his wonderful kindness is to litter his side of the bed with coat-hangers from where I’m trying to decide what shirt to wear in the morning – the shirts then get put over the top of the door rather than hung up. I think Paul’s getting a complex that I’m trying to do him a mischief when every time he climbs into bed he gets prodded with the coat-hanger, but in my defence, they’re velvet
  • james never put liners in the tiny kitchen bin
    • meh. I can see Paul’s point, no-one wants smears of cat-food and whatnot on the inside of the bin. Fair enough. But Paul insists on buying a) tiny bins and b) massive bin liners. I wanted a lovely massive Brabantia bin but Paul knocked that idea on the head saying that we’d never empty it and we’d have what amounted to a vertical skip in the kitchen. Hmm. But then see he buys bin liners that you could drive a car through, meaning I’ve got to spend ten minutes flapping them out and trying to get them to sit in the tiny bin without just filling up the bloody container in the first place. It’s an ongoing, very middle-class problem, and it threatens to tear us apart at times
  • everything electrical is going to burst into flames unless it’s unplugged when not in use
    • again, I think this is unfair! I grew up on a diet of 999 and with parents who had a very casual attitude to fire safety and thus I think my fears are entirely reasonable. I’m a catastrophic thinker – if I leave a box of matches on the side, I’ll spend the day envisioning various ways that the cats will knock them to the floor, followed by them knocking on the gas-oven in fear, followed by spiders skittering around on the sulphur of the scattered matches, igniting and destroying my home. That sounds fair enough until you realise we don’t have a gas oven
  • socks, socks everywhere, as far as the eye can see
    • not fair: they’re not just my socks. For two tidy, professional men, we don’t half have a habit of leaving our socks scattered about in unusual places, and not just because they’re the wanksocks, we’re not 14 anymore. I don’t think I owned a pair of socks that didn’t crunch and crackle between the age of 12 and 19. But see in my haste to have my feet rubbed and squeezed (despite Paul’s entirely baseless remonstrations that it makes his hands smell like Roquefort), my socks will often just get discarded and forgotten until either Paul or the cleaner finds them
  • james’ genuine concern and worry whenever I hurt myself in a clumsy, hilarious manner
    • I may have reworded that a little. Paul is taking umbrage at the fact that when he hurts himself by a) tumbling over in that way only fat men can, b) burning his mouth because he’s so keen to eat he doesn’t let his food cool down or c) cuts himself on his edgy political analysis, I immediately respond by fussing over him and saying ‘what’s the matter’ eighteen times a second. Hmph. I think that shows only love and concern for my precious, gorgeous husband, frankly.

Hmm. Seems fair. Now it’s my turn. Because I’m the writer, I get to say what annoys me about Paul AND expand on it too. What annoys me about Paul?


  • he can’t hoover to save his life
    • let me explain, as that seems a trifle extreme – we’ve got one of those fancy-dan digital Dyson vacuums that sit on the wall charging up until it’s needed, then you have exactly six minutes to flounce around the house shrieking whilst it vacuums at full power. That in itself is a mere inconvenience. No, it only becomes a problem because Paul vacuums up every single fucking thing on the floor rather than picking up the bigger bits – whole pasta twists, cable ties, shoes, you name it Paul’s tried to suck it up into the tiny drum and then spent 5 minutes gawping and swearing at the vacuum whilst it chugs and splutters because the tube is blocked. I swear, I spend more time poking around in the drum with a chopstick trying to dislodge errant nonsense than I do breathing in and out. I half expect to walk into our utility room to find our full-sized tom cat squeezed into the tiny plastic drum of the vacuum, mewing pitifully through a mouthful of dust and ped-egged-foot-skin
  • he always wants his back scratched
    • doesn’t matter where we are, I can blink and when I open my eyes, his shirt will be hoisted up over his tits and his back will be looming towards me with his plaintive cries of ‘up a bit down a bit go mad NO NOT THAT HARD’ filling the air – if I had the money, I’d get a HappyCow machine installed

Actually, balls to the list, let me just show you a HappyCow machine and tell me it doesn’t fill your heart with joy!

Look at that happy cow! It’s a video, so click play to see those eyes light up with life and joy.

That reminds me, don’t forget we’ve got a meat sale on:

What can I say, I’m an opportunistic bugger.

  • he can’t handle Sky Digital
    • we’ve been together nine years and still whenever we’re recording and watching Jeremy Kyle The Today Show and recording The Man With The 10 Stone Testicles Panorama, he’ll attempt to turn the telly over onto a third channel and then act perplexed when the TV says no. He also can’t fast-forward through breaks – it’s like he has a tremor when he presses the button during Hotel Inspector and suddenly everything is 30x the speed and unpaused just as Alex Polizzi’s giant smile is filling the screen and she’s climbing back into her Audi
  • he maintains that his Smart car is a sensible choice despite massive evidence to the contrary
    • I go to this well a lot and I don’t care. Going to buy anything bigger than a Rubik’s cube? Paul will spend ten minutes assuring me it’ll fit despite me advising him that the rules of physics still apply even if his car is the colour of a baked bean. Of course, once we’ve bought the BBQ / new SONOS soundbar / sack of potatoes and made our way back to the car park, he’ll realise that, whilst it does fit – just – there’s no space for me, leaving me standing in the car park cursing his name whilst he races home in the car at its top speed of 32mph before returning to pick me up not even a little bit contrite. We’ve had many a terse conversation whilst making our way slowly and uncomfortably back home, I can assure you
  • he wakes me up by farting, but not in the way you might expect
    • we both find farting absolutely hilarious – there’s few things funnier to our juvenile minds than a good taint-stainer, plea for help from Sir Knobbly-Brown, misguided burp, creeping hisser, floorboard troubler or an extended moment of steam-pressing your knickers, so that doesn’t trouble me in the slightest. No, if I’m woken up by a loud fart, I’ll spend the day chuckling. It only becomes a problem because we tend to spoon when we’re asleep in the morning and Paul manages to turn whatever food he’s had the night before – no matter how fine the ingredients, no matter how dainty the amounts – into concentrated pure death. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been woken up in the morning by what smells like concentrated hate not so much filling my nostrils as filing them, peeling off skin and various bits of my olfactory system. It’s a bad job when you wake up gagging and reminiscing with longing for the smell of burning cows from the Foot and Mouth days. I grew up right next door to the farm that started it all and they said it could never happen again. Well it is – in Paul’s arse at 5.45am.

That reminds me, don’t forget we’ve got a meat sale on:

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Mahaha. Hey, listen, those are his faults. But for all of those minor things, he’s still the man who I’ve only spent 6 nights away from and who makes me laugh right from the get-go as soon as I come through the door. There’s no regrets here and there’s not many couples who can say that!

Right, let’s get to the BBQ recipes before I well up like the big old pansy that I am.

Salmon burgers, eh? You know people say if it swims, it slims? Well pffft. Load of crap. I’ve been swallowing swimmers for years and I still chaff when I run. But we do need more fish recipes, so…

We found the recipe for the below from this blog and we’ve made it Slimming World friendly. I know, we’re heroes.

slimming world bbq

to make zesty salmon burgers you will need:

this is enough to make one – if you want more, just multiply the recipe

  • 1 wholemeal roll (HeB)
  • 15g panko (or use breadcrumbs, but panko is nicer) (4.5 syns for 25g, so we’ll say about 2.5 syns for 15g, just before I get angry letters and panko covered turds pushed through my letterbox from the more fervent of you)
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 140g salmon fillet (skinless and boneless)
  • 4 slices picked gherkins

to make the sriracha mayonnaise:

  • 1 tbsp Morrisons NuMe mayonnaise (or use any low-fat mayo – just check the syns) (1 syn)
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce (½ syn)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sriracha (if you can’t find sriracha, any ‘hot sauce’ will do – Cholula is a good alternative!)

to make zesty salmon burgers you should:

  • add all of the sriracha mayonnaise ingredients into a bowl and mix well – plonk in the fridge whilst you do the rest
  • next, add all of the burger ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth, except for the bun and gherkins – if you haven’t got a food processor, chop everything up and mix by hand – extra body magic!
  • shape into a burger shape – it only needs to be about 1½cm thick to cook evenly
  • add onto the hot grill of the BBQ and cook for about four minutes a side, or until it’s how you like it
  • spread half of the mayonnaise mixture onto each half of the bun and lay on the pickled gherkins
  • add the burger on top, and enjoy!

Before you start up – remember:


This is panko. Dried, crunchy breadcrumbs.


This is not panko. This is pan k.o.


Right, here’s a side suggestion. Because we’re super jolly hockey-sticks and what-ho, we’ve grown so many wonderful things in our garden this year, including a tonne of radishes and peas. If you’re not keeping up with the Jones, feel free to buy these items in a shop. I present our radish and pea salad! It’s really basic, but full of crunch and taste and hell, that’s probably a lot of speed food. This makes enough for four.

slimming world bbq

to make radish and pea salad, you’ll need:

  • a big handful of radishes – there’s no need to be precise, use as many or as much as you need
  • a big handful of fresh peas in their pods – you don’t want giant peas but rather baby peas
  • 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar – or apple vinegar, or raspberry vinegar, or vinegar-tits
  • four or five spring onions
  • a tablespoon of rapeseed or olive oil (6 syns)
  • a nice sprig of fresh mint, chopped finely
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper

to make radish and pea salad, you should:

  • get a pan of boiling water, throw your peas (in their pods) into the water for a minute, then take them out and put them in iced water to stop them cooking through
  • the boring bit, sorry – julienne your radishes and pea pods – basically, cut the radishes into slices, and then the slices into matchsticks – this isn’t an exact science, so don’t sweat it – if there are big peas, pop them out into the serving bowl as you chop
  • you can use a mandoline slicer for your radishes, it’ll speed things up – and the one we use is only £7.99 – but BE CAREFUL, they’re dangerous bloody things if you don’t use the guard
  • very finely chop your mint and spring onions, including the green stalk
  • mix the oil and vinegar, pepper, salt and mint together – add maybe a pinch of sugar if you really want (neglible syns given this serves four)
  • put everything into a dish, mix with the ‘sauce’ and serve immediately

It’s a really easy salad but worth the time spent making it, trust me.

Finally, let’s go for a cocktail in the form of a Blue Hawaiian. I had a blue Hawaiian. This one is from Jamie Oliver, a man I rather enjoy despite his best efforts.

slimming world bbq

to make a blue hawaiian, you’ll need:

  • 35ml of decent white rum (3.5 syns)
  • 35ml blue curaçao (5.5 syns)
  • a couple of drops of coconut essence
  • 100ml pineapple juice (2.5 syns – Del Monte)

to make a blue hawaiian, you should:

  • get a cocktail shaker, throw everything in with a load of ice and shake it, shake it good
  • serve up on a load of crushed ice
  • serve it in a hollowed-out pineapple for that true access-day-visit-to-TGI-Fridays feel

Enjoy! I know it’s a lot of syns, but hey, it’s summer. If you can’t let your hair down and your boobs cool in this heat, when can you?

If you’re looking for more recipes for fish then you’re shit out of luck. There’s no many. But look, as a compromise, here’s a link to all of our beef and chicken recipes too.




orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad

Oh I know, I’m a fancy bastard sometimes. After yesterday’s encounter with Countess Canestan-Extra and her silly dismissal of Paul as classless and uncouth, I thought I’d make a geet proper posh tea of orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad. Then I shelved that idea and hoyed a bit of fish and some butterbeans on a chopping board. I did act ‘all posh’ by not farting my way through dinner at least.

So, just a recipe to post tonight because you don’t normally get a recipe a day, but hey, today’s been a good day so why not. Yes, you’ll need to use your syns for this dinner so that probably means the majority of you lot won’t bother, but remember, syns are there to be used! Also, save for a couple of dishes way back when, this is a very rare dish indeed because it contains fish. I don’t like fish. I’m sorry, I don’t, and whilst that normally garners the same response from everyone I mention it to where they list every fish they can think of as if I’m telling a fib and I secretely crave and desire fish, let me assure you I’m not kidding. I might stomach a tin of tuna and I always swallow, but that’s about the only ingesting of anything that swims that I manage.

Paul likes it though, so this is for you babezzz 4EVA IN MI HARTS 

You might not want to bother with the butterbean salad or you might want to skip the fish. Just adjust the dish accordingly and I’ll see you in the morning. Let’s go! This makes a hearty meal for two. I’ve adapted the salad idea from an old Rose Elliott recipe. I’ve tried to marry them so that both recipes use similar ingredients. BECAUSE I’M NICE.

orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad

to make the orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad, you’ll need:

  • for the salmon
    • two tablespoons of honey (5 syns)
    • three tablespoons of soy sauce, but for goodness sake go low sodium, think of that ticker, let’s be frank you’re already working it hard
    • one tablespoon of rice vinegar 
    • two tablespoons of pure orange juice (we use the Trop50 Tropicano orange juice which is 1 syn for 100ml, but you’re using nowhere near that, so don’t bother synning it)
    • one tsp of sesame oil (2 syns)
    • a couple of cloves of garlic, minced finely, and yeah you know where I’m going with this, buy a bloody mincer – I know, I’m the only cheap mincer you need, but seriously, get one, it’ll make your life better
    • a little knob of ginger no bigger than your thumb or what hangs between the legs of those nobheads on the motorway who drive up your arse like they want to park on your teeth, minced finely, you know, using your mincer
    • few drops of hot tabasco sauce if you like to feel your dinner both going into your body and tumbling out later
    • a couple of good sized salmon fillets
    • some foil

So that’s 7 syns in total, but between two, only 3.5 syns.

  • for the salad
    • two tins of butterbeans – you’re better off getting a slightly better brand so they’re not too mushy and falling apart, drained and washed
    • a good grind of dried red chilli peppers
    • two tablespoons of maple syrup (4 syns) or use honey (5 syns)
    • two tablespoons of rice vinegar
    • one tsp of sesame oil (2 syns)
    • one tsp of reduced salt soy sauce
    • two spring onions cut as finely as you possibly can
    • a good handful of rocket, cut up, but not too fine
    • 10g of Tesco salted peanuts, smashed up with a rolling pin (3 syns) (optional)

That’s 9 syns in total, and you can drop it down to 6 if you leave out the peanuts, but they add crunch. Between two is only 4.5 syns maximum.

to make the orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad, you should:

  • for the salmon
    • slap your fish down onto a foiled baking tray skin-side down and put the oven onto 200 degrees
    • make sure there is enough foil to wrap around the fish to form a parcel
    • mix together all the other ingredients and brush gently onto the salmon flesh
    • wrap the foil up around the fish so it’s fully enclosed 
    • cook in the oven for around twenty minutes
    • making sure it’s almost cooked, take it out, scoop the sauce up (use a spoon, not your fingers, unless you never want to play the piano again) and glaze the fish with it once more
    • chuck it under a grill for three or four minutes to colour off the top
    • I chucked on a few sesame seeds I had kicking about, you don’t need to, but a tiny pinch is less than a syn so…
    • serve with the salad, which follows below…
  • for the salad
    • see, I told you it was coming, and I don’t normally, I like the element of surprise see
    • OK, if you’ve rinsed off your butter beans, pop them into a bowl, and whisk together all the other ingredients bar the rocket, peanuts and spring onion
    • drizzle the dressing over the beans and mix it gently, you’re not trying to clap out an oil fire
    • about five minutes before your fish is ready, add the cut up rocket and sliced spring onion, and mix again, like you did last summer
    • when serving, scatter on the smashed up peanuts to add a bit of crunch.

Sorted! Fancy dinner or what. You don’t need to serve it on an ostentatious chopping board like me, but sometimes it’s good to let your hair down. 



This Slimming World friendly dish of orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad uses a few syns but makes for a delicious dinner that looks good but is very easy to prepare!

homemade fish fingers

There was a TV programme smeared on BBC One on Wednesday night, immediately following Bake Off, called Britain’s Spending Secrets? Did anyone catch it? It was presented by Anne Robinson, who, despite being only one facelift from having a second pair of lips to talk through, I rather like. She’s disarming yet dangerous – I always feel that if I was to talk to her I’d start off joking about boobs and end up confessing to being making super speed soup out of Shergar. I love how that sounds as a sentence. All those S’s. Ssss.

Anyway the reason I bring up Wednesday’s TV like it’s even slightly relevant is because of how angry it made me. The show itself was the usual bit of evening fluff where some people talk about having money, some talk about not having money, the presenter (attempts to) smiles her way through having to sit on someone’s Perfect Home settee and disguise the fact she wants to go home and boil wash her Etro blazer. And of course, being the BBC, it’s all done without the malice that would have accompanied it if the show had been on Channel 5, which seems to have morphed into the ‘Benefits’ channel, where even the most mundane activity has been turned into an excuse to film fat people struggling off the sofa whilst that fucking annoying pizzicato violin music plays. 

Fact for you: it’s called Dance of the Woodland Pixies. Play the below and you’ll feel like Alex Polizzi, checking hotel toilets for pubes and looking disdainful.

Part of the show involved swapping two mothers over – one from a ‘buy buy buy’ family, the other from a ‘save save save’ lot. Predictable snipping. You can expect that. No, what made my blood turn to piss was the sight of the ‘rich’ family sneering at the ‘poor family’. The mother of the rich family made a big point about how she bought her daughters anything they wanted, that it is better to live for today and enjoy your money rather than worry what is coming (not completely untrue) and that labels made her happy. That’s fine, save for the fact she was instilling the same virtue in her daughter, who stood laughing at the ‘poor’ mother because she had the temerity to buy her stuff from a car boot sale. If I had been so openly disrespectful when I was little the skin on my arse would have looked like a slab of beef.

I could vaguely understand her reasoning if she had a gorgeous house and enough money in the bank to wipe her arse with £50 notes, but she actually had quite a run-down looking home, an average salary and a husband who walked behind her at all times. There was such an air of undeserved condescension about her that I almost bit clean through my cocoa cup. I can’t work my head around those who live their lives through what the label on their handbag says or what the tags on the back of their coats read. The only label I ever take notice of on a person is if they have ‘CAUTION: BITES’ pinned to their shirt. There’s no shame in having nice things but to use your shitty labels to pour scorn on others? Harumph.

Of course, if we’re going to be mean about the whole thing, she was prattling on in Debenhams (where all the well-to-do folk shop, naturally) about how she doesn’t blink twice about paying for a label because it’s the first thing people notice about her…well it wasn’t for Paul and me. We noticed her bad hair-dye job (sweetcorn yellow) and the fact that she thought a Radley handbag was the height of sophistication far quicker than we did notice her fanciness. Inner ugliness always shows, no matter how much ‘expensive’ make-up you trowel on.

Rest assured, if Paul and I had money, we wouldn’t be spending it on expensive clothes. I don’t see the point. Frankly, as long as my cock isn’t hanging out (which thanks to most of my jeans having a split in them, it normally is) and my tits aren’t on show, I’m fine and dandy in cheap clothes. Let’s all go to Tesco, where Jaymes buys his best clothes, la-la-la-la.

No, if we won the lottery, especially if we won one of those ridiculous figures where your brain really has to think to work out exactly what the zeroes mean, we’d spend it having a bloody great whale of a time. I don’t think I’d ever move again, for one thing. We’d have a chef, a driver, a decent PA, someone to come in and wash my belly-shelf. I’d like to think I’d be generous but I reckon we’d turn into evil rich people within approximately 30 minutes – paying Disney for the sole use of their parks and then sitting at the gates turning kids away, that kind of thing. I’d go round to all my exes with a car made of gold coins and jeer at them from the window. There’d be so many holidays that coming home would be having a rest.

Would I work? Would I fuckity. I must write my resignation letter in my head at least twice a week, and I actually enjoy my job, so if I had money behind me, I’d never work again. I can’t bear that, you know, when some yellow-eyed binman wins a few million and promises to carry on working. No! You don’t get to keep working, give your job to someone else and get yourself a new liver, you joyless bugger.

Ah, a boy can dream. Maybe this is why budget week didn’t quite work for us. But here, there’s a recipe we didn’t post which can be done on the cheap. This makes enough fish fingers to serve two with mushy peas and chips. I’m not a big fan of fishy fingers (seems apt), but these were lovely and a cheap recipe to make!

homemade fish fingers

to make your fish fingers, you’ll need:

  • 400g fish of your choice, defrosted (we used frozen cod)
  • 17g corn flakes (3 syns)
  • 2 slices of wholemeal bread (HEB)
  • one egg (beaten)
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • mushy peas if you want them
  • chips if you want them 

and then to make fish fingers, you should:

  • grate the zest from the lemon and then juice the fucker into submission (remember, if you’re pissing about grating on a box grater like a div, get a microplane grater, best gadget I own! Buy one here cheap cheap)
  • cut the fish into fingers and place in a shallow baking dish and cover with the lemon juice
  • meanwhile add the corn flakes, zest, bread, parsley and pepper to a food processor and blitz into a fairly fine powder, or if you’re lo-tech, hoy it all in a bag and bash it with a rolling pin
  • dip the fish fingers into the egg and roll gently in the breadcrumb mixture
  • heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a little oil – or frylight – but make sure you use the best non-stick pan you’ve got
  • cook the fish fingers in a single layer for about 4-5 minutes each side until golden
  • serve with chips and peas!

Musclefood burgers tomorrow! And in time…an offer…


budget week: tuna frittata with a boob of couscous

Who doesn’t love a boob of couscous? Eh? I’ve normally got some degree of couscous caught up in my chest hair since we’ve taken to buying the industrial-sized catering tubs from Costco and eating couscous for every meal where we can’t be arsed to cook. Seriously, it’s hard work being so hairy.

Mild hysteria yesterday when, after both getting in from work and GASP, discovering the TV was covered in a dust blanket (which would have needed oooh…around 3 seconds to remove, but we were tired), we went straight to bed for a lie-down. As you do. I was winding Paul up by putting my finger in his belly button whilst he dozed only to pull out a finger covered in soft, brown, lumpy matter. I genuinely fell off the bed in horror thinking it was faeces. How and why didn’t cross my mind. Paul woke up with a start (he tends to when I start shrieking, I’m like the campest alarm clock you could think of), saw the mess and looked equally confused.

Turns out it was a big old chunk of chocolate muffin that had spilled down his shirt whilst he wolfed it down in the car on the way home so I wouldn’t know he’d cheated on his diet. See? Some people find out their husband is having an affair through errant text messages or boxer shorts that look like a painter’s radio – I find out Paul has been cheating on his diet because his belly-button filled with chocolate. The poor bastard never gets a break, does he?

I managed to mortify him in Homebase yesterday when I told the woman behind the counter that the scented candle she proffered me ‘smelled like my nana’s house, and she’s been dead for four months’, then wandered off chuckling whilst Paul fished about for the Nectar card. I do that a lot, make comments and roll out of shot – we were once in ASDA behind someone describing (I think) a car crash by saying ‘first he thrashed it over to the left, then the right, then it span out of control and four people got hurt’, when I jokingly said ‘Sounds like one hell of a smear test that’ and disappeared into the magazine aisle. Paul’s still got the burns from the glare he got off the poor lady. Ah well. It’s all fun until someone gets punched on the tit.

Our house is still an absolute bombsite but at least, thanks to our excellent painter, all the painting is finally done. Excellent. Our cats decided to celebrate by dragging a bird through our cat-flap and splattering blood all over our hallway wall (Dulux Urban Obsession, since you ask). They’re kind like that. How I chuckled and clutched at my sides as I pushed them back out the cat-flap with the toe of my Dr Martens and put the lock on. I think they knew they had upset me, they spent the next thirty minutes silently meowing at the living room window before giving up and resuming licking their arses with their back legs stuck up like a big fuck-you-finger to common decency.

The other bit of good news is that my absolute legend of a dad has finished building us our lovely patio outside in the back garden. Whilst that’s smashing news for us as it means we can lounge about on our fabulous oak outdoor furniture, it’s bad news for anyone walking down the street as it means we can lounge about on our fabulous oak outdoor furniture, and they’ll be sick with jealousy. Well, perhaps not jealousy, perhaps nausea. What kind of noise does a sweaty back peeling away from wood make? Like pulling the last rasher of bacon out of the packet I imagine. They’ve got that to look forward to.

Anyway, that’s quite enough nonsense, I’m getting a pain from my back from typing this on the computer whilst sitting on a set of decorating ladders. The things I do for you lot. Tonight’s recipe comes with a warning: it looks absolutely bloody revolting going into the oven. I thought Paul had taken up regurgitating my food for me and good lord, the smell. But persevere, because it actually made a tasty little dish with plenty left over for the morning! So, tuna frittata – this serves six easily!

tuna frittata

to make tuna frittata, you’ll need:

  • 1 tin of tuna in water (62p from Tesco) (added benefit of being pole and line caught)
  • 2 shredded large carrots (Tesco Everyday Value bagged carrots – 53p – worked out about 10p)
  • 1 chopped onion (9p from Tesco)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves (30p for a whole bulb from Tesco, two cloves, let’s say 4p)
  • 100ml of 1% milk (5p – 2l from Tesco being a quid)
  • two wholemeal breadbuns (12 for £1 in Tesco, so 16p)
  • 8 eggs (12 free-range eggs are £1.75, so £1.15)
  • 1 chicken stock cube (everyone has stock cubes)
  • salt and pepper to taste (ditto)
  • parmesan cheese – now, here’s something you don’t necessarily need but let me tell you something – you’re better off buying a block of it and using it sparingly rather than chucking it on with gay abandon – so we’re going to call it 50p, given the block I buy is normally around £4 and lasts forever
  • optional extras: served with two packets of Ainsley Harriott’s couscous (nearly always £1 for two) and a big bag of rocket (£1.50) (add an extra 45p for the sides or come up with something else)

This dish uses the HEB of two people for the bun and a portion of someone’s HEA for the milk and a HEA for the cheese, but really, split between six, it’s nothing. Up to you if you count it. No syns though!

and so…

  • stick the oven onto 190 degrees
  • sweat the onion like a bad-ass, then chop the garlic up and add into the onions
  • in a bowl, tear apart the breadbuns and soak them in the milk
  • after five minutes, add the onion, salt, pepper, chicken stock cube and eggs into the bowl and whisk everything together using a hand-whisk or just good old elbow grease
  • throw in the tuna and grated carrot and mix mix mix
  • grease a pyrex dish of your choosing and slop your dinner into it, then grate 30g of Parmesan on the top
  • try to see through your tears at the smell and look and put it in the oven to cook for around 50 minutes – keep an eye on it mind 
  • take it out to cool and make up your sides – I cook the couscous simply by pouring boiling water on, no butter, putting it into a bowl and tipping it out – hence the boob!
  • enjoy

to gussy it up:

  • add frozen peas
  • more cheese
  • top the top with tomatoes
  • buy better tuna, though actually, the cheap tuna from Tesco is decent and fairly caught

to save even more:

  • spend a bit of money and buy a friggin’ microplane grater – it’ll make your garlic and parmesan go so much further, trust me. Get one here!
  • buy cheaper eggs – no guilt from me for suggesting this one – free range eggs are better, absolutely, but if you’re on the bones of your arse, meh. Free range doesn’t mean much these days, sadly;
  • more carrots to bulk it out!