cheesy pea soup – yes, just like The Fast Show

Cheesy pea soup sounds revolting, and what better way to open a blog entry about food than with that line? I know, we’re awful, we took a month off to concentrate on a few things – most notably for me (it’s always me, James, who writes the blog) was half-heartedly walking away from a career in law, only to be tempted back in with the promise of working from home one day a week and condensing all my hours into one day in the office. Well, as someone who likes to sit at home and pick his bum, how could I refuse? It gives me a bit more time to write the cookbook and ogle at our gardener. Speaking of cookbook…

chicken, chorizo and seafood paella

It’s been a sad day near Chubby Towers with the passing of one of our neighbours. It’s inevitable, yes, when the average resident took their pension before the Boer War, but still, nobody likes to see a private ambulance trundling into the street early in the morning, do they? Especially when they park in my parking spot, but I didn’t think it was the time to cause a fuss. I’ll send a parking fine later with some white lilies. It did cause a slight moment of discomfiture when I realised I knew the name of the lady who had passed, but not her husband. The only time he’s ever talked to me was to ask me to remove my Vote Jeremy Corbyn sign, which to be fair to him I’d only put up to be mischievous given we live in a sea of Tory voters. You have no idea how much I want to put a pole up and hang a BEAR PRIDE flag up, if only so we get a few confused questions from the less enlightened. There’s one neighbour on the street who I hope to tempt over to the dark side and literally nailing my colours to the mast might just do it. Me going out in stretched hot-pants and wearing a permanently surprised look hasn’t done it yet.

Anyway. Not knowing the name only became an issue when it came to sending a Deepest Sympathy card. How do you address such a sensitive card when you don’t know the name of the recipient – it’s not like I can do my usual name-fudge and pop ‘soz she’s popped off, Chief‘ on the envelope, is it? In the end, after much agonising, I put ‘Sorry for your loss’ on the card (which seems incredibly disingenuous, as though the poor chap has mislaid his car keys or dropped a bank card down the drain) and signed it ‘Love James and Paul’, which I also immediately regretted because it looked piss-taking. Least I didn’t stick a xoxo on there. Sympathy and human emotion is just too much hard work. In retrospect, signing the card in glittery silver Sharpie probably wasn’t the most elegant move either, but look, it’s all I had to hand. I live in a very camp house.

I can’t imagine we’ll be invited to the funeral.

Which frankly, is a shame: I look splendid in black and I’m all for a wake buffet. Hell, we accidentally gatecrashed a wake in Oslo and only realised our error when we were shooed out by some hurly-burly bearded Norwegian whilst we filled our pockets from the koldtbord. Honestly, the grieving can be so touchy. Only been to three funerals in my time. My nana’s was a particular highlight: both Paul and I suffer from nervous laughter and even though I was genuinely distraught, the absurd sight of her coffin right in front of me whilst the entire church lurched through the eight-hundredth verse of All Things Bright And Beautiful really tickled me. Half of the congregation was made up of her equally elderly friends who were all on the last double-digit breaths of their life – I’m surprised we didn’t lose any. Plus, despite being 31 years old at the time, I still guffawed when the lavender crowd burst out in raptures about the purple headed mountain. Me too, loves. The vicar kept getting her name wrong too, which added an air of tension between the sobs – she didn’t even look like a Norman. I bit so much of my cheek that I can stay lying on my front when Paul wants a blowie.

It has got me thinking about what I want when I die. No fancy funeral, big coffin, lots of jewels – none of that. Nope, sell off all my chintz and bibelots, stuff me full of fireworks and pop a pipe cleaner somewhere indecent as a fuse and then push me out to sea. I want people to remember me how I lived – damp, colourful and usually on fire. No fake solemnity, no wailing, no dabbing daintily at your eyes whilst you remember times past. It’s an open invite to you all that, should you read in the paper of me dying in some tawdry fashion (it’s more inevitable than you can imagine), you can all come to the service. Just make sure you stop by Iceland first because fuck me, it’s going to have to be a good buffet.

What might not make it onto the buffet is this cheesy pea soup, which is a bloody shame because considering how quick it was to make, the fact it is syn free and actually tastes bloody good, it doesn’t deserve to be betrayed by the fact it looks like something Grotbags would cough into a handkerchief. Please, give it a go, and if you don’t like it I’ll take a personal responsibility for your loss. Hell, I might even send you a With Sympathies card. Written in silver Sharpie, natch. Snatch.

cheesy pea soup cheesy pea soup

cheesy pea soup - syn free, and tasty, I swear

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 big bowls

There's no way I can make that look appetising and for that, I'm sorry. Unless you like sink trap soup. But it's one of those meals that looks appalling but tastes nice, like moussaka, or Paul. Plus it's low in fat, like moussaka, or unlike Paul.

This does take no time at all to make however, uses only a few ingredients and is just the thing for those summer evenings when you have nothing in and the takeaway menu is just a shade out of reach.

Ingredients

  • one big old lettuce from the shops, or garden, if you please
  • 400g of frozen peas (I used petit pois - not for any culinary reason, but just because I couldn't be arsed to find the proper peas at the back of the freezer)
  • two large cucumbers
  • one large bunch of spring onions
  • 1 litre of chicken stock
  • 80g of extra mature cheddar (two x HEA, but this serves four) (and listen, you can totally get away with adding 160g, I'm just being polite)

Instructions

  • slice your spring onions - including all the green stalk - and gently fry off in a little oil
  • cut the lettuce and cucumber up roughly - it's all getting blended so no need for neatness
  • once the spring onions are softened, add the stock, lettuce, peas and cucumber and boil for about 10 minutes until everything has softened but still stays green
  • carefully blend the soup with a hand blender
  • stir in the grated cheese until everything is thick and tasty
  • serve adorned with cress and cheerful wishes (and a lot of black pepper)

Notes

Courses soup

Cuisine syn-free

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

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J

eggy bread cups – a syn free breakfast idea

Syn free eggy bread cups – possibly one of the easiest recipes we’ve ever done, but if you’re looking for a quick, healthy breakfast, fill your boobs. Not a typo.

So, here’s the deal folks. We need to knuckle down and focus on our fabulous cookbook, which is coming out in December.

Coming up with eighty-six jokes about willies per paragraph is taxing on the old fingers, I can promise you. But we can’t leave you without something to read of an evening, and as a result, I’ve decided to publish a chapter from the other book we’re writing, a memoir of our month in Canada last year. Our travel blogs, like your dear writer, always go down well.

Canada has been on my mind a lot lately, so it’s always nice to revisit it. Seems like a lifetime ago, but it’s only been nine months. Anyone got a contact for Bernard’s Watch? Anyway.

If you’re here for the eggy bread cups recipe, scroll right to the bottom and you’ll see it right there!

We landed at Toronto Airport in double-smart time and, after a restorative coffee and a mental note of all the airport shops available to us for the end of the holiday ‘get rid of the Canadian money because I’ll be buggered if it’s getting added to the drawer of mystery money at home’ dash, we made our way to the car rental place to pick up our motor for the brief trip to Niagara. I had asked for an exciting car, something with a bit of zip, something that an NHS dentist wouldn’t drive. They gave me a Nissan Qashqai that, if it were represented by a sound, it would be that little sigh you make when you bite into an apple and it’s soft. I mean, it’ll do, but. Toronto to Niagara is about a two hour drive if you drive like Paul, about an hour if you drive like me. By drive like me I mean furiously, with scant attention to road-signs, other users and the fact I was falling asleep at the wheel because I was so, so tired. Who would have thought that thirty days of travelling would catch up with me so suddenly?

Luckily, Canadian motorways are wide, many-laned and never particularly busy, so I was able to get some shut-eye for a good few miles before Paul’s screaming and wrenching at the steering wheel rudely brought me around. He can be a very selfish passenger. Oh, I should preface this by saying I asked him to drive but he couldn’t because he was tired. But we couldn’t play loud music because he had a headache. He also wouldn’t talk to me to keep me awake because he was sulking because I wouldn’t let him wear my sex-trophy hat. So actually, had we rolled the motor and shuffled into the afterlife, he’d have only had himself to blame.

After our brief sojourn onto the hard shoulder Paul made me stop for a coffee. I immediately poo-pooed this idea because the last thing I need when I’m trying to nod off is caffeine and instead made a swap for a Dairy Queen Dime Bar Blizzard. Listen, if you’re at a computer, look into flights to Toronto right now and get one of these into you. I’d cheerfully push the Scottish rugby team off my bumhole to have another bash at one of these. It’s worth losing a foot over, I promise you. It’s like they blended a whole bag of Dime bar miniatures with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food and rubbed it across my prostate for a solid ten minutes. I’ve never had a dessert give me a full stonk-on.

Back in the car, absolutely smashed off my tits on the sugar, the rest of the drive flew by in a blur of metal and me screeching along to Cher. Paul laughed as his ears bled.

Our hotel was the Sheraton by the Falls. It’s called that because of the amount of old people I pushed over in my haste to get in (there was a much, much better joke there originally, but in this age of hysteria, I pulled it). Gosh no I’m kidding, it’s a wonderful hotel that overlooks the falls – if you’re fancy and pay for an upgrade you can gaze out of your window at the majesty of the falls. Which sounds just lovely and indeed it is, but it comes with a significant downside. Being so near so much thundering water means everything is ever so slightly damp. It’s like a hen-party with an aged male stripper. This in turn creates an overwhelming smell of foist in the room, which admittedly was alleviated a little once Paul and his toxic arse settled in. Something to consider if you’re planning on booking it: great views, deathly smell. twochubbycubs in a nutshell!

We farted about in the room for a bit – the usual, you know, Paul has a dump, I have a browse through the porn channels and lament that yet again, the Hilton have failed to cater for us delicate souls who can’t get off unless there’s stuff on there that would make a jury wince, then made to go out. I got as far as the bathroom before I realised – through a haze of Paul’s effluence – that the bath was one of those fancy doohickies with bubble jets and all sorts of fancy buttons to pulse your sphincter and make your boobs jiggle. I couldn’t let that go, so promptly set the taps away, adding just a drop of Molton Brown for that luxurious black pepper scent. Nipped out to give Paul some ‘we’ve been married twelve years, let’s get it out of the way’ disinterested attention, and came back to the bathroom to wipe the shame off my hands only to find the room absolutely awash with bubbles.

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Bubbles.

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It was fantastic. I climbed into that bath and entirely disappeared into a cloudscape of gently popping bubbles. I’ve never felt gayer. With my head just poking through the bubbles I looked like the campest meringue you’ve ever seen. I must have been cooing and oohing too loudly because Paul came in (maybe he thought I was finishing myself off? Cheers, Mr ‘And I’m Done’, for the concern) and shrieked. Nothing spoils a peaceful moment like one of Paul’s shrieks. He explained that we’d probably be charged for wrecking their plumbing and pointed to a tiny sign on the wall which implored folks not to use bubble bath with the jets turned on. Please. The sign was the size of a postage stamp: you’re talking to someone who needs all his focus to hit the bowl when he has a pap. The bubbles showed no sign of abating – possibly because I still had two of the jets focused on my cock – so I dried off and out we went, deciding to worry about that problem later in the night.

That’s enough for now. Part two coming soon! Let’s do the syn-free eggy bread cups!

eggy bread cups eggy bread cups

syn-free eggy bread cups

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 eggy cups

The cheek of us calling this a recipe, honestly. But sometimes, you just want something quick in the morning so you can spend all your time outside pushing a couple of weeds around so you can surreptitiously gawp at the one hot neighbour pushing his lawnmower around with his shirt off. No? Just me? OK, quick and easy so you can get back to your stories.

Ingredients

I'm making the recipe enough for two egg cups - enough for one person, I think you'll agree. Scale up accordingly.

  • two slices of whatever bread Slimming Would have decided is alright for you that week (your Healthy Extra B choice)
  • two large eggs
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • get a deep muffin tray and spritz it with some spray olive oil
  • cut the crusts off your bread and then cut each slice into two
  • layer the two halves into one of the muffin spaces and crack an egg into the middle
  • give a couple of grinds of salt and pepper
  • repeat as many times as you like and then cook in the oven for fifteen minutes (runny) or twenty (firm)

Notes

  • gussy these up by adding a sprinkling of cheese
  • I threw a load of cherry tomatoes into the muffin tray to let them roast whilst the eggs cooked
  • we're a huge fan of silicone in this house - you can just pop these right out once cooled - Amazon have a good selection but you don't need to spend very much
  • remember we have a cookbook coming!

Courses breakfast

Cuisine dunno, what am I, an atlas

I know, it’s a travesty but damn these eggy bread cups were good!

Want more breakfast ideas? I remain your loyal servant:

J

cajun steak dirty rice, and time to feel proud!

Here for the cajun steak dirty rice? Bless your soul. The recipe is down the bottom, but first, an apology for the time between posts. I’ve been either:

  • on the pop;
  • in a crisis;
  • in a crisis whilst on the pop;
  • on my knees;
  • on my knees, drunk, causing a crisis; or
  • at a Pride event, see above.

But I’m all sorted now. Of course, the other thing gobbling me up is this cookbook of ours. You know, we’ve got a cookbook coming out, with all our new recipes in it, plus a delicious spurt of sassiness. Click the banner to pre-order! And remember if all you’re here for is the cajun steak dirty rice, get scrolling!

Whoops. Posted this the other night, but hit the schedule button rather than publish. So pretend it’s Monday, won’t you?

*hic*

I wasn’t going to post tonight, but I sent Paul into our bedroom an hour ago to pick something up off the floor only to find him fifteen minutes face-down with his arse in the air. Now you might reasonably think, oh, James, your luck is in, but I must remind you of one salient fact: I’ve been married ten years. The only time Paul puts out these days is when he’s angling for a surprise holiday or wants a few minutes lying prostrate so he can finish his book. No, the poor guy is all tuckered out because we’ve been down in Birmingham (at this point, I’m considering getting a second job down there, given I’m like a yoyo between the two cities at present) for Pride and I made him drive all the way down on Saturday and all the way back today. I’d have driven, but it’s a Smart car, and honestly I’d sooner drive a hearse full of ashen-faced mourners to the wrong funeral than that orange little rustbucket. So we can forgive him his sins, for now, and I’ll continue on my high horse, thank you.

Pride came out of nowhere for us this year – we’d been invited down by a good mate and were umming and aahing (not least because I was hungover from Wednesday in Leeds) until we watched a particularly gruesome episode of Chernobyl and decided life’s too short, let’s go. Packed my best rainbow knickers (I really ought to wash them, but I’m waiting for the Daz Doorstep Challenge to make a return just so I can see Danny Baker blanch when I hand over my barely foldable keks), told Paul to book a hotel and tickets and away we went.

Paul doesn’t travel well with me on long journeys when I’m the passenger. It’s like having four personalities in the car:

  • the shrieking me who holds onto the door handles and winces every time we go around a corner like I’m on that rollercoaster from Final Destination 3;
  • the shrieking me who sings along to every last song (I choose the music) – Paul’s recently been told he’s going deaf and actually, I’m not entirely convinced that it isn’t a lifestyle choice he’s made;
  • the shrieking me who litters the bottom of his car with crisp packets, coke bottles, whatever I’ve found in my bag, whatever I’ve found in his glovebox (the man has a surprising amount of baby wipes stashed in his car – I’d be worried, but no-one’s going to approach a Smart car pulled up in a layby, let’s face it);
  • the shrieking me who reaches over and beeps his horn for him (not a euphemism, see earlier comment) because he’s altogether too polite and frankly a car journey for me isn’t complete until I’ve started bringing up lung from screaming at anyone who gets in the way.

So understand, the four hours it took us to get to Birmingham – well, I had a whale of a time, Paul less so. The important thing is I enjoyed myself.

We checked into a Premier Inn in the city centre and, after a moment or four hours to enjoy the glamour and to pack away the towels, we minced out to meet our friend, who you may recall from an earlier post. He was easy enough to spot, given he’s the epitome of our ideal man and well, we were semi-flaring within 100 yards. What followed was a terrific amount of drinking, diversions and some mild peril. It was a great night, though in a great example of him never being off, Paul ended up engaged in political debate with two drunk fellas who wouldn’t leave us alone. That’s what I’m told, I was experiencing an X-Files-esque lost period of time in the gents. We parted ways around 2ish and after a brief interlude (actually lasting forty minutes) where I sat and chatted with a homeless fella who offered to show me his leg ulcer, went to bed. Sunday was better still – back out and on it, this time joined by Andy’s long-suffering but lovely girlfriend, a good friend from Facebook, Paul II and his husband and two of Andy’s friends. Another great night! To share details would be lurid but there were some fabulous twists and turns and fun was had by all. The best kiss of the night wore lipstick.

But that’s not why I’m writing. I’ve touched on the importance of Pride many times over – including this fabulous article – and all those things stand. But what did strike me, as we wandered around, was how happy everyone was. Bar one overweening queen who looked my husband up and down and did the ‘yes, I know who you are’ gambit, there was not a blot of bother. We live in a country that is becoming increasingly fractured, and for the first time in my entire life I’m worried about where the rights for LGBT+ folks are going – you’ve got ministers supporting the banning of tolerance teaching in schools, an American president who sits proudly with the bigoted bastard in charge of Brazil and, more so, the far right given a voice that remains unchallenged. All this for something as immutable as eye colour or the size of your feet. It’s easy to sit on the outside looking in when you have the luxury of not being the one getting looked down on, but we need Pride more than ever. Yes, it’s overly commercial, yeah there’s something arguably cynical about HSBC and Argos changing their logo to a rainbow, but damn, it’s always a pleasure to see so many people having a good time without any second thoughts. Even nicer to see lots of families bringing their children along and showing them a world full of colour, and doubly more important when there’s protests outside from ‘caring parents’ who ‘don’t want their kids to see deviant behaviour’. Pfft. My mother was incredibly supportive of all my fabulousness growing up and I turned out perfect, right? Hello?

As an addendum, given with the miracle of time-travel (i.e. the advantage of forgetting to post for a week), we’ve also just returned from Northumberland Pride, which is like Birmingham Pride but done on a budget befitting a much smaller enterprise. Brum had Faithless, we had Lorraine Crosby (star of 1993’s hit single I Would Do Anything For Love, But I Won’t Do That) (that being trading on past glories) (I’m kidding, she’s great). Brum had a pub full of bears and an attitude full of sin, Northumberland Pride had a cake stand and some hashtags. But it was smashing, actually, partly because I got drunk and didn’t manage to make a fool of myself, partly because we both took full advantage of all the caterers. We even camped overnight, breaking Paul’s camping cherry and also his lower back. He’s such a diva, honestly. If you can’t get comfortable on a single deflating £14.99 airbed from Argos whilst yesterday’s sweat and spittle drips on your face, then you just aren’t trying.

Support your Prides, people. Go out and have an amazing time. If you’re worried about your husband not feeling comfortable with all that rampant homosexuality, don’t fret, I’ll look after him. We can add another S-fluid onto the tent of dreams.

Right, all that schmaltz aside, shall we get to the recipe in hand? Cajun steak dirty rice! Easy to make and will definitely get you some action if you serve it in your best lingerie. Apologies for the photos – we took them outside in the dark, so had to artificially lighten them.

cajun steak dirty rice cajun steak dirty rice cajun steak dirty rice

cajun steak dirty rice

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

An absolute classic, why? Because it's so damn good! Piece of piss too, and everyone loves it. An easy way to sneak some veg into your kids if they're that sort. A little bit of prep is needed but it's all worth it. This works great on its own or even as a side. Have it for breakfast for all I care. 

Ingredients

  • 200g long-grain rice
  • 400g steak
  • 4 bacon medallions, diced
  • ½ red, yellow and green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 6 mushrooms, diced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce (optional)

Instructions

  • cook the rice according to the instructions, and set aside
  • spray a large frying pan with some oil over a medium-high heat and slap in your steak
  • cook the steak to your liking, remove from the pan onto a plate and leave to rest
  • wipe out the pan and add a little more oil and place back over the heat
  • add the bacon and onion and cook until the bacon is done
  • stir in the cajun seasoning along with the worcestershire sauce (if using)
  • dissolve the stock cube in 200ml of boiling water and keep aside
  • chuck the peppers, carrots and mushrooms along with the stock and give a good stir - cook until most of the liquid has evaporated 
  • once most of the liquid has evaporate throw in the rice and stir until well mixed and warmed through
  • dice the steak and stir into the mixture
  • serve and sprinkle over the spring onions

Notes

  • You don't need fancy or expensive steak for this, any will do
  • If you can't be arsed to cook rice just use the microwave pouches, cook in the microwave towards the end and stir into the pan with the vegetables - make sure you check the syns though
  • Stop ruining your pans with Fry Light! All it does is evaporate off and leave a sticky, gungy mess. Use one of these instead
  • No-one has time for dicing a carrot so do we what we did - use a julienne peeler, and then simply slice across to get easy, small diced bits
  • You can find cajun seasoning in most supermarket along with the herbs and spices, but to be honest any spice mix you have gathering dust will do. We've done this with piri-piri and fajita mixes and it comes out just as good! 
  • WE HAVE A BLOODY COOKBOOK COMING OUT REMEMBER! Yessss: click here for sexiness!
  • Any meat will do in this if you haven't got any steak - diced chicken and pork work especially well, or even sausages! Divvn't be shy, pet. 

Cuisine cajun

Want more random ideas? Click any of the buttons below to be whisked away on on adventure through time and eating!

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JX

cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers – oh, and hello Liverpool

Here for the cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers? Who can blame you: it’s like breakfast but someone tickling your molly at the same time – it’s that good. But fair warning: there’s a big entry in front of it.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it, since I really got my juices flowing and spaffed a long article all over your keyboard? Listen, I know you might not be in the mood for a long entry – you’ve turned into such a frigid cow since the days when you used to have me in your bed every night – so if you’re not in the mood to read, simply click the entirely random set of teeth below to be whisked straight to the cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers.

They say, in life, never meet your heroes. Well no, they say it somewhere on Pinterest in between all the inspirational quotes and pictures of satchels. Anyway, last Thursday, I went to Liverpool for a day out to do exactly that.

Imagine my disappointment when I realised Cilla passed away in 2015 after a quick breakdance routine down a flight of stairs. Actually, that’s a fib. My eyes couldn’t have been drier on that day, and you’re talking to someone whose eyes are ruined from squinting owlishly at the most appalling porn on a mobile when Paul’s fallen asleep.

The original plan was to go down on the 4.30am train but, as with all my plans, it all fell apart at the last moment with the appearance of Storm Gareth. Gareth! Who the fuck is in charge of naming storms these days? If you were told Storm Hercules was approaching, you’d batten down the hatches, lock the cats away and get in the Anderson shelter. Well, you would, I’d be outside in the garden with my bum-cheeks spread and ‘DON’T STOP EVEN IF I USE THE SAFE WORD’ carved in my jiggly-joggly bumcheeks. But Storm Gareth? No disrespect to any Gareth folks that are out there but the name suggests a storm that couldn’t blow the froth off a pint of piss-weak bitter. It’s like being menaced by a headache called Susan or shaken down for money by Lil Dwayne. Pfft.

However, two things: I’m prone to catastrophic thinking and I’m a tight-arse Geordie: there was fuck all way I was going to miss the escape rooms and cinema that had all been paid for simply because Storm Gareth had Selby-ed my train. So, after begging mercy from the man upstairs, praying to the good folks at First Direct and sweet-talking the husband to ignoring my demands for a frugal month, I was on a train travelling down the night before.

And what a journey! I’ve never known such opulence as the Transpennine First Class. I wasn’t expecting luxury given I was travelling on a converted bus, but fucking hell. The clues were there: the fact that first class was cheaper than standard class should have given it away. No reserved seating – I had my eye on the one individual seat but this was immediately taken by some bampot with a face like a bee-keeper’s apprentice, forcing me to share a table. Now look: I’m a social guy and I like a conversation but only on my own terms – on a train, unless his cock is nudging against my knees under the table, I’m never going to be keen.

So of course, I was immediately joined by a chap who wanted to talk about business and nonsense and his marriage, and this was all before I’d finished fussing around in my bag and making sure I had easy access to the four bags of Haribo that I’d spent eighty quid on in WH Smith. I feigned polite interest until I managed to detangle my headphones then gave him a ‘long day mate, just gonna relax’ smile to get him to shut the fuck up. He didn’t. He was lovely, don’t get me wrong, but by the time we reached Durham and I’d taken my headphones out for the eighteenth time I was four blinks away from smashing his teeth out with the wee red emergency hammer which was tantalisingly close.

Luckily, the train manager provided him a distraction when she came around with the ‘free food and drinks’, which amounted to a cheese muffin that had survived the Cold War and wine: red or white. I had to pinch myself to remember I wasn’t on the Orient Express, truly I did. I ordered white wine and was pushed into a cup of tea to go with it (the perfect pairing!). Must have made her day because she clearly poured the white wine from the same kettle as the tea. Warm? I could have made a Pot Noodle with it. I had five more glasses because it was free, of course. Chatty Man stopped his nonsense once we were past Darlington (amazing what the sight of an impoverished war-zone can do for a good mood) and I was left in relative silence for the rest of the journey.

Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram decided to have a shitfit at this point meaning there was literally nothing to do, so the three hours just flew by. There was a curious moment when a businesswoman sat next to me, then got up and sat across the aisle ten minutes later and started crying. I tried to catch her eye to reassure her that one day she too could smell as good as me (Maison Margiela, Across Sands eau de parfum, since you were wondering: I’m giving the Tom Ford a rest) but she wouldn’t look at me. I thought about changing my Wifi Hotspot name to ‘sorry love, that’ll be the cheese muffin and hot wine’ but that seemed like altogether too much hassle, so I left her to her wracked sobs.

I want to qualify that last sentence though: I’m not a monster. If I had a chance to do my ‘there there’ voice and ask if she was alright, but there was a very clear ‘everyone leave me be’ vibe. Hmm. Now I’m thinking about it, I hope she’s out there with a smile on her face and not floating in the Mersey. Contact me if you’re reading this: I was the chap in leather who was spilling over into your seat. Perhaps that’s why you moved, maybe it was me shallow-breathing through my nose, perhaps you were upset I never offered you one of my Starmix. Who knows?

The train dropped me off in Liverpool and after a short argument with Google Maps (I don’t trust technology) I found my hotel, had a lovely plate of the very best Iceland microwave bits they could find, read my Point Horror book (it was the best friend all along!) and after checking Paul hadn’t killed himself in my absence, went to bed. I actually didn’t make it that far, I fell asleep fully clothed because I couldn’t be arsed to take my boots off. Which sounds lazy, until you realise I was wearing these:

Once all laced up and tight, it’s actually quicker to saw off my own legs than it is to clit about trying to untie them enough so they can slip over my cankles. I woke up bright and literally breezy the next day with Storm Gareth making the windows rattle and after picking newsprint off my face, went to meet my mate.

Remember a few posts ago there was a foul-mouthed recipe for roast potatoes and a guide to a buffet that would have made your gran blush? Well, that was the chap (Paul II) I was meeting up with – thrashing out negotiations for payment for his blog post Theme Park style (wouldn’t work through, I have tiny hammy hands, he has hands like a water-swollen badger corpse). What better way to immediately test a friendship than to try an escape room together?

Boy, were we good. We’re both massive fans of the escape room format (as previously discussed) but it’s always a risk doing one with an unknown personality – and you never know which personality either of us is likely to have on any given day. However, Team Myra and Ian’s Cassette Mix were a delight, even if the name made the room host wince. The theme was time travel and although I spent the first thirty minutes taking it far too seriously and desperately searching for a button to plummet me back twenty years, we escaped with a good thirteen minutes to spare.

And mind, this room was hard. A tiny central room which opened up four times over to reveal scenes from different times, meaning one minute you were fumbling around trying to work out the moves to Saturday Night Fever (or, as I call it, cock-throat) and next you were working out morse code to discover where the nukes were dropping. It was very well done indeed and the combination of someone being excellent at maths and sweating (Paul II) and the other being great at words and getting in the way meant we absolutely nailed it. Before we went in we were full of bravado and told the Host that she mustn’t give us clues and that we were super-clever. We only caved once, and to be honest I think that was more her stepping in before we ended up wrestling on the floor with him trying to extract my Mind Stone.

A brief tour of Liverpool followed and I’ll say this: I had in my head some dystopian town, full of homelessness, graffiti, no-go areas, low value shops and gruff, barely literate shufflers. I realise my error now, in retrospect: due to the addition of Liverpool Cathedral, it’s actually classed as a city. Silly me! No I jest: what a beautiful place – I was very pleasantly surprised.

Speaking of pleasant surprises, Captain Marvel was next. We were temporarily held up by some pipe-cleaner in a Burtons suit who not only pushed in front of me in the popcorn queue but then who proceeded to hand me his card to tap it on the contactless point. If I’d been less tired and emotional I’d have thrown his Vanquis card straight into the nacho cheese pan and let him suffer the third degree burns needed to it out. It was bad enough paying a trillion pounds for two fizzy worms, let alone repeating the process for him.

There’s always a frisson of excitement going to the cinema with someone new, isn’t there? Are they a talker? Will they want to share your sweets? Will they spend half an hour asking ‘who is that’ and ‘why are they talking’ and ‘why is that cat on fire?’ etc? I was fearful as to whether I’d be able to hear Captain Marvel kicking off over the sound of his nose whistling – it was like being sat next to an idling bus – but all was well, with only minimal dipping into my sweets bag (not a euphemism, readers – or for good measure, Paul I). Captain Marvel was a perfectly pleasing romp with simply the best angry pussy committed to film since Teeth.

We then had a wander around some of the finest shops known to man (dressing like I was on remand and trying to turn my life around had never seemed so possible!) and ended up down on Albert Docks, where I was furious to discover that they had taken away the This Morning weather map. I mean honestly: it served as a handy paedo-holding pen if nothing else. I blame Alison Hammond. For everything that has gone so astonishingly wrong in my life. A quick restorative coffee and a ham and cheese toastie in Costa and it was time for Escape Room 2. Again, we made lots of small talk with the very handsome cub behind the counter (my heart sank when he mentioned his wife) (and then rose again when I remembered how many times I’ve had ‘don’t tell the wife’ muttered emotionlessly into my ear) and asked that we weren’t given many clues. Old pros, you see.

Well fuck me: we were terrible. The room was Viking themed and terribly clever, but some of the clues were a little too abstract for my tastes. We spent the first twenty minutes shrieking and banging cups about before things started to click into place – you always know you’re onto a winner when a bookshelf slides open revealing another two rooms to complete. But boy, did we need help. What started out as ‘only raise your hands if you’re desperate for a clue’ became such a farce that I’m surprised she didn’t dash in to see if I was standing on an exposed electrical wire.

At one point you had to climb into a Viking barge and row in unison to the soundtrack of a man shouting commands. In theory, easy, but see it required me to perch on a tiny seat with Paul II (we need a better name) immediately behind, and well, we’re both husky gentlemen. My back fat hindered his forward stroke (story of his life) and his Honey Boom-Boom frame blocked my backwards movement (story of my life). What should have taken a matter of moments took nearly four minutes of solid rowing, though I imagine that was due to the hostess spending three minutes and forty seconds silently dry-heaving at the sight of us sweating and panting through mild exercise. We’d have looked like two bouncy castles attempting coitus.

However, we did escape, and with plenty of time on the clock. She was very positive about our efforts but there was a glint of second-hand embarrassment in her eye that suggested we’d be on the staff Christmas Party blooper-real. Ah well. We never needed anything spelling out – except how to use the defibrillator – and actually, for two fat blokes still grappling with each other’s idiosyncrasies and personality traits, we did alright.

We finished off the day with a cocktail or two in Revolution. Fun fact: I haven’t been in a Revolution since before Paul I days, and the very last time I was there I gave an old-fashioned to my married manager. Funnily enough, he said don’t tell the wife too, especially pertinent since she worked in another team across the floor. Come again? Yes.

I’m beyond this current trend to put all sorts of tat in with a cocktail. I ordered something sickly sweet – a Cherry Hot Karl or something – and it came with slush and a scattering of rainbow drops. I’m comfortable enough in my sexuality not to be phased about carrying the drink equivalent of twink night in a sauna through a crowded bar but there was a guy sat next to us with arms as thick as my legs – fraction less stretch marks though – and I could feel his judgement. I loved it.

In no time at all it was time to say goodbye / get the fuck back to the train station so he didn’t miss his connections. The walk was no problem for him: he’s six foot four and can cover distance surprisingly quick given his gazelle like pins – but I had to hide my agony as my feet were flayed in my boots. It was unusual being the short one and I now have a newfound appreciation for Paul I’s vista of having to look up all the time. I like an ass in my face, don’t get me wrong, but not when it’s billowing out breakfast-scented death as it galumphs up a flight of stairs.

It had been a great day with a marvellous friend but now it was over, he was on his way back to the land that vowels forgot and I was left with an hour to kill in twilit Liverpool. I decided to spend that hour pooping in John Lewis (he didn’t mind) and spraying myself with industrial levels of expensive aftershave before realising, far too late, I was a good distance from the train station with only minutes to spare. Power-mince? I sashayed so hard I brought the paving slabs up. I made it with moments to spare and enjoyed a lovely trip home, with only an hour to spend in York despondently waiting for a connection that never came.

Still: at least I had the total absence of free snacks and drinks to cheer my soul whilst I waited. Pfft.

And that folks, was my day trip to Liverpool. It’s been a while since I did some proper writing so I apologise for the length, but you bloody loved it. Next time I visit there’ll be more culture, more umming and aahing at galleries, more cooing at national treasures. Aye rights – it’ll be more escape rooms and Infinity War. Yasss!

Suppose we ought to do a recipe, eh? Let’s knock out the cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers – just something super easy for breakfast that is better than your usual pap.

cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers

cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers

cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 people

Aye it's a cheese toastie, but hey, let's call it breakfast soldiers and just get on with it. Fussy knickers. This makes enough for two, or if you're like us, one person with double portions. And yes, they're called cheesy hammy breakfast soldiers, but that's because the thought of having a soldier for breakfast amuses me.

Ingredients

  • four slices of whatever wholemeal bread you can have on your SW diet (2 x HEB)
  • 160g of grated mature cheese (oh I know - you don't need that much really, you could get away with saving half for your other HEA)
  • good quality ham
  • bit of dijon mustard
  • 5 eggs

Instructions

  • boil four of the five eggs to however you like them
  • smear a bit of mustard on half of the bread, add ham, add most of the cheese, add the other slice of bread so you're left with two sandwiches
  • beat the remaining egg and add the rest of the cheese then dip the sandwiches in
  • fry them in a dry non-stick pan until the cheese melts and the crust forms
  • cut into soldiers and serve with your boiled eggs

Notes

Courses breakfast

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Delicious, right? Get it in you, quick! Oh you can make it fancier AND make your wee stink – try the asparagus stuffed ones!

Looking for more breakfast ideas?

Mwah!

J

chicken soup for the soul: instant pot or in a pan

Been away, haven’t we? Anyway shut up, nonsense to follow. If you’re here for the chicken soup for the soul, that’s fine, scroll down until you see Willem Dafoe’s cumface. Everyone else, sit back, push out and prepare yourself, because I’ve got a lot to say!

First, a cat update! We’ve been ringing the vets occasionally over the last two weeks to find out how the stray cat we tirelessly and selflessly passed over to another gay is getting on. Good news: they’ve cleaned up his eyes, wiped his bum and found him a new home where he’ll be fussed over and spoiled rotten. The cat’s also doing fine. I did have to affect a genuinely awful accent when I called the vets because I loosely know the woman on reception and couldn’t deal with a guilt trip about rehoming him. We would have – in a heartbeat – only our two cats would have killed him without blinking. They’re hard cats: I’ve seen Bowser fighting a dog before, and Sola sells passable quality gear from her radiator bed. We were reflecting over this and patting ourselves on the back for a job well done when Paul started up with his nonsense about getting a dog. I shut that right down because, although I bloody love dogs, it’s too much of a commitment. With cats you can go on holiday, say, to Canada for five weeks, and as long as you leave their water fountain on, a tin opener within reach and a slab of Whiskas, they’ll be reet. They don’t care. I could die in my sleep tonight and the only concern Sola would show is that she’d have no-one to show her dewy bumhole to first thing in the morning.

We had a proper together-for-twelve-years day out yesterday. We’re not quite at the stage where that involves going to the garden centre and fingering the heathers whilst wishing for each other’s death, thank heavens – besides Paul won’t let me go to the garden centre because it’s right next door to a notorious gay cruising ground and frankly if you’re going to add getting seagulled into your day, you’re better off setting aside a couple of hours. So no, we went to Durham for no other reason than I wanted to go to the fancy tobacconist there and Paul wanted to ogle a bear we know. His was the better suggestion because he was fine (he had every episode of Juliet Bravo on tape!) and the tobacconist had nothing I needed and an unhelpful attitude. Paul, fan of a creaking apophthegm, told me that we’d come all that way for nothing and I could put that in my pipe and smoke it. How we laughed as I practised filling out a form D8 on his back with a rusty compass. We had a couple of drinks in a pub that gave me 60p change from a tenner for two pints and therefore made an enemy for life, then wobbled our way into a Wetherspoons.

Mentioned where we were to a good friend (introducing Paul II) who immediately sent us drinks via the app: I say drinks – he got me a double chambord (excellent choice, because I love insulin chasers) and Paul a glass of milk and a smoothie (he was driving, and Paul II is nothing if not a keen observer of the laws of the land) with some biscuits and crisps. Paul II tried to have Paul I’s milk delivered in a saucer for catty reasons but sadly, Wetherspoons weren’t playing ball.

Let me tell you: Brewdog Punk IPA combined with chambord and banana smoothie is a struggle to keep down, even for me. That app is cracking for mischief and I very much look forward to throwing it open to a group of 80,000 in due course. My liver has already taken a kicking – it’ll look like a pickled walnut by the end. Wandered back to the car, popping out little Chewit-scented burps and chewed-it-scented farts all the way – happened across an argument between a couple across the road. Spent ten minutes ‘tying my shoelaces’ so we could earwig from afar and it was a gloriously tawdry tale of cheating, shouting, adding ‘man’ onto every other word ‘Darren man for fucks man it meant nowt man’ and crying. We had to stop gawping when she clocked me trying to get a surreptitious recording of her grief: I don’t fancy breathing my last in a mist of Exclamation and spittle.

Went for a late dinner in Newcastle and I made the fatal error of saying to Paul he could pick anywhere he fancied. He fancied Chiquitos. I mean Christ, Newcastle has some proper exciting places to eat and he chose the last-resort restaurant of a regional airport. I had forgettable nachos and a beef burrito that celebrated Christmas in 2017. Paul had some jalapeño poppers and a chicken quesadilla that tasted like sandwich spread folded into one of those trays cheap pizza comes on. I ordered myself a honey and rhubarb margarita which tasted like a Strepsil and Paul’s cuba libre was adorned with a piece of palm and three fruit flies. We aren’t ones for complaining because we’re not devoid of all joy but didn’t fancy the desserts, so paid via the wee app thingy so we didn’t have to tip and made a dash for the escape room we were booked in for.

We’re all about escape rooms at the minute and reckon this was probably our 60th room – we’re still terrible at them, but always escape amidst much yelling and fretting. You know who I feel sorry for? The operators watching us on CCTV – we’re competent enough to crack on ourselves but they’re treated to all manner of sinister sights, including my arse-crack pushed up against the CCTV whilst I clit about trying to find clues. You’ve never lived until you’ve seen a 34″ waist pair of Calvin Klein knickers stretched over a 38″ waist. The name band looks like Japanese. Paul is no better – because he has absolutely no arse at all his trousers spend all their time jostling around his knees, meaning his cock and balls tumbling around in his Tesco boxers appear with frightening regularity. We finished the room with nine whole minutes to go and that’s after spending ten minutes furiously arguing over a combination lock, which, for the record, I was absolutely right about. The argument ended when I used my foot to tip him over as he bent to pick up the lock, leaving him rolling on the floor like the gluttonous turtle he is. We celebrated by having our photo taken and then immediately deleted because we look like two hot-water storage tanks, and then, after a brief stop to add more shit to the bottom of my shoes by visiting a Hungry Horse pub for a Stella, we were off to the cinema.

And how’s this for bliss: a cinema to ourselves. I spend all my time whingeing at Paul to come along to see superhero movies and he always says no, because the spinning fights make him queasy and they’re all the same. Please. Yet, in a rare moment of complaisance he readily agreed to come along and see Aquaman yesterday – I can’t imagine why a JASON MOMOA led movie would catch his interest but he certainly seemed more keen than joining me for Spiderman, for example. Actually, Spiderman 3 remains a sticking point in our Paris-car-crash marriage: our first date* involved us seeing that at some pokey Portsmouth cinema. Paul enjoyed it at the time – though it was probably just because he was sat next to the fragrant beau-ideal that is I – but even since has hurled it back in my face as ‘me suggesting bad movies’ whenever I point out my flawless record for choosing films. That’s how I knew we were a couple for life, you know: he shared all of his Revels with me, and not just the shitty raisin ones. Something I forgot yesterday when I almost snapped his fingers as he tried to reach into my £8.96 bag of pick-and-mix to steal a cola-cube: you can fuck right off, mate, you chose ice cream and picked shit flavours so I wouldn’t want to try any. I’m as wise to his games as he thinks he is to mine.

*I’m going to call that our first date, because me noshing him off behind the Spinnaker seems less romantic (he’s the one night stand that never went away!)

Aquaman was absolutely class though. Proper popcorn movie: brilliant action scenes, Patrick Wilson chewing the scenery like me with a vegan sausage roll and a villain who looks like a giant cock blowing things up. Highlights: Australia’s nana Nicole Kidman in a full-on action scene braying the shit out of water meanies. Jason Momoa ensuring I’ll be seeing those eyes whenever I shut my eyes during a “quiet moment of reflection” (I suppose I fell in love with him – like you do!). Fucking Pitbull sampling Rains of Africa during the bit in the movie when they go to Africa. Willem Dafoe in a good-guy role for once instead of being the last-minute turncoat like he always is (Willem Dafriend?) although I argue he’s never acted better than when he was knocking Sandra Bullock about in Speed 2:

Scary how much he looks like Paul’s mother when she finds an unopened 20-deck of unfiltered Rothmans in her boob creases, there. Anyway, final added bonus of the night? Empty cinema means time for shenanigans and I gave Paul a ‘thanks-for-coming’ handjob during the quiet bit in the middle. He seemed pleased (I was just a shag – I knew that!) and we agreed to meet again for the sequel. Came home, and so to bed.

And that’s that! Suppose we’re a recipe blog and I should bang out this chicken soup recipe, eh? Now look here: you can’t make a chicken soup look attractive in photos, you can’t. So don’t judge.

Oh and if you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t shit the bed: you can make it in a pan too. Pleb.

chicken soup

chicken soup for the soul: instant pot or pan!

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 bowls

Yes that's right, just a bog-standard no frills instant pot chicken soup recipe, or use a pan if you're still mastering the basics. We'll cover both. This might look like a bowl of arse but damn it if it doesn't taste good!

This recipe comes from A Saucy Kitchen, and we've adapted it for SW. Take a look at her site though, there's all sorts of tasty shizz on there!

Ingredients

  • two large stalks of celery
  • three carrots of indecent size, sliced
  • one giant onion, sliced and diced
  • two big handfuls of mushrooms, sliced
  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of rosemary
  • 1 cup of wild rice (we buy ours in Tesco) (but feel free to use white rice)
  • 3 big chicken breasts
  • 1200ml of good quality chicken stock (low sodium is better so you're not clutching your arm in fright later)
  • Now honestly, you can add anything into this soup veg wise - don't be frightened

Instructions

Instant Pot

  • press the sauté button, wait for it to heat up and then add a few sprays of olive oil - or if you're sensible, like us, a good glug, and don't count the syns because oil is good for you - add the onion, celery, carrots and mushrooms and cook for three minutes until they're softened
  • add the garlic and rosemary and cook for another minute
  • add the chicken breasts (whole), stock and rice
  • seal the Instant Pot, cook on high pressure for five minutes (select Manual and then five minutes) and go pick your bum whilst it does its thing
  • let it depressurise unless you fancy putting a new parting in your hair with the roof tiles from your house
  • lift out the chicken and shred it on a chopping board and tip it all back in
  • let it sit for a few minutes to thicken nicely and then eat!

In a pan:

  • saute the veg
  • add the stock, rice, chicken and everything
  • cook until the chicken is cooked through
  • shred

I mean haway.

Courses soup

Cuisine dunno, something fancy

Want more Instant Pot recipes? No bother cock – fill yer boots:

Enjoy!

JX

cheddar cheese risotto – don’t mind the chest pains

Cheddar cheese risotto. Listen, if that doesn’t put a teardrop in your knickers then you’re dead inside and no amount of me luridly describing Jason Momoa spitting in your mouth during rough sex is going to get you in the mood, is it? What an opening sentence! It’s Saturday, so that means new post day, and here I am, up at the crack of dawn feeling sorry for myself because Yodel are delivering a parcel and that means having to set aside fourteen years to anxiously pluck at the blinds in my living room and wait for the delivery man to come sauntering up the street to the house next door to put a ‘sorry we missed you’ card through their door. They’re not sorry.

I’ve been suffering with a particularly severe form of tinnitus the last few weeks and I can’t deny it’s been getting me down. I’m alright at work, surrounded by noise, but first thing in the morning, or when I’m sitting on the toilet, or just drifting off to slumber, I hear it – this slightly camp, Liverpudlian/Oxford/Welsh accent (imagine if Inspector Morse fucked Cilla Black, and then sent the offspring to a detention centre in Llandudno (and a consonant please, Rachel) and you’ve got the idea) mewing away saying ‘when are you posting part two of my article, you fat, unloved bastard’. It’s been especially distressing the last couple of weeks when it’s become an endless barrage of lisped letters and threats so thinly-veiled you could use them as petrol station shit-tickets. So, without further delay, and possibly because there’s a real threat of my eyes being set on fire if I don’t comply, here’s part two of Shigella’s guide to the perfect buffet. Please do leave him feedback: he’s a budding writer (in that he’s just learned how to use a pen at 38 years old) and craves attention.

STRONG WORDS OF WARNING: he, like me, has an especially blunt sense of humour. If you are easily offended, boo-hoo, have a box of biscuits and shush. It is, however, a long article, so scroll until you see a plate of pure sex in the form of cheddar cheese risotto if you’re just here for the recipe. But trust me, you’ll be missing out. 

cheddar cheese risotto

click here to read part one – it’ll open in a new window, because we’re super fancy and don’t want to risk losing all that juicy ad revenue

With sausage rolls done, you’ve now got the beige foundation in place. A scotch egg, whilst delicious, is too big to be a buffet food, so go for the mini eggs you can get in every supermarket. You want the ones that contain the egg mayonnaise type mixture inside, don’t do what I did recently and get caught out by one of the fucking awful imposters that have flooded the market. I fell for this trend for fuckery from Marks and Spencer’s of all places (a yellow stickered reduction, obviously, I was only in there to shoplift pants). I got home, tore feverishly into the packaging and lobbed a whole mini egg into my gob (I’ve had the entire patronage of a German Gentlemen’s club in there before, one egg is nothing). I bit down expecting a meaty, eggy explosion only for my mouth to be filled with…ketchup. Now I realise those fancy folk at M&S are my social betters and must know more than me about these things. I’ve tried to be M&S standard but I’m too fat to go fox hunting (have you ever seen a large family car on top of a horse – if not, imagine that, and you’ll see my distress) and my uncle prefers my brother over me so I’ve given up trying to understand their ways. But who in their right mind thinks ‘well Kenneth, if they like smooshed up egg and mayo, they’re going to fucking love vinegary tomato water as well’?

It’s all a bit ‘Heston’ for my liking. All that shit he knocks out for Christmas. Christmas Pudding with a whole plum in, mince pies with half a satsuma, turkey stuffed with a goose, stuffed with chicken stuffed with a divan drawer containing a missing girl from Dewsbury. Like Pandora’s Box or James’ legs, once they’re opened they won’t close. A line needs to be drawn. Stop buying this shit and they’ll stop making it.

Next to your mini eggs, eggs being the keyword here, not Asda own brand red sauce, you need something a bit more robust. You can’t go wrong with pork pie. Whilst I admit I may sound slightly hypocritical by saying I enjoy pork pie topped with and onion chutney or a pickle, these are too fancy for a buffet. Like any good gay I keep the satisfying toppings to the privacy of my own bedroom, kitchen, living room, the woods, the back of a car, the bonnet of a car, next to Boy George’s radiator, public toilets… I’M A PRIVATE KIND OF GUY AND I WISH YOU’D RESPECT THAT. Slice your pork pies into quarters so your guests can decide whether they want a bit with more delicious boiled pig jelly or if they’d prefer to go in dry.

Now you need some crisps. Unless you’re serving them from the bag (you fucking tramp) no one is going to see what kind you’re serving so there’s no need to go posh. Pringles from the tube, whilst convenient, are a fucking nightmare to get out unless you’ve got a Jeremy Beadle style claw-machine hand, so it’s a no to them. I remember a birthday part I went to as a kid where the bowl of crisps was loads of different flavours mixed together. My tiny little mind was blown. Every bite a different flavour? Fucking witchcraft. Things to avoid: Wotsits: you don’t need people wondering round your house smearing orange gunk all over your soft furnishing. Plus, there’s always the risk of getting found out that one of your guests wanked you off to thank you for your hospitality when your husband sees your knob glowing bright orange like you’ve had a tit wank off Katie Price on fake-tan top-up day. Also, I’d pass on the Scampi-n-Lemon Nik-Naks. For obvious, unfortunately-censored reasons. [James edit: aye, I like it near the knuckle, but so do they]

Fancy up your crisps up with a dip selection if you’re so inclined. There is nothing wrong at all with one of those four in one dip packs you get at supermarkets. When serving one of these it is important to throw away the lid before it reaches the table so no one knows what they’re eating. That way people will eat all the dips because they’ll forget which one tastes like the underside of a rent boy’s foreskin after the weekend of the Tory Party conference. If you’re having dips you may as well get breadsticks. When I went to America a few years back my mind was blown to discover a breadstick could actually be a delicious, warm stick of actual bread and not those brittle sticks of dust that could be used as an effective weapon in a prison brawl. Regardless, someone eats them so pop them out and they can be used to mop up residual dip.

A good buffet needs sandwiches. This is the most time-consuming part of the preparation but I’m afraid they’re essential. However, the best part of buffet sandwiches are they fact they’re so arse-numbingly boring that you don’t need to spend ages on the fillings.  You only need to do 3 types of sandwiches, all on bread so white and cheap it would vote leave, get hard over a blue passport and complain their Spanish holiday they got for a tenner from tokens in the Mail on Sunday is ruined by being full of foreigners. Smear liberally with your favourite ‘I can’t believe it’s not dripping’ butter substitute then apply one of the following three fillings:

  • grated mild, flavourless, cheddar from a bag.
  • ham – the kind you get 20 slices for a quid and have to blot with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. One single slice per sandwich.
  • egg mayo – from one of those giant tubs that when you open the house fills with a smell best described as Rolf’s arsehole after his first week in prison.

That’s it. No pickle, no mustard nor any cress. A true buffet sandwich is as basic as a pumpkin spiced latte drank whilst wearing Ugg boots and listening to Ed Sheeran. Cut into wonky quarters and cover badly with cling film so the edges stale slightly until ready to serve.

A buffet staple that is becoming increasingly overlooked these days is food on sticks. I’m not talking the frozen stuff you get from Iceland (I’ll get to them) but the homemade stuff. That’s right people: cheese and pineapple. This is the stuff that childhood dreams and adult wank fantasies are made of. Hacking away at a block of Smart Price cheddar the size of a house brick and spearing it aside a pineapple chunk you’ve fished out of a tin then having it displayed proudly from a foil wrapped baked potato is what this country was built on. Well that or racism, but as one of my friends is black I’d like think it’s this. If I don’t see one of these bad boys on your buffet table you better believe I’m going to fuck your husband and wipe my knob off on your nets after. Britain is already broken, why make it worse?

Now, here’s a controversial one for you but hear me out. You trust me, right? We’re all friends here. I promise it won’t hurt for long, shhhhh don’t cry, just push out as I push in…cocktail sausage and mini pickled onion on a stick. Now unclutch those pearls and let me explain my logic to you. Cocktail sausages are more of a texture than a flavour, they need a fuck load of salt or ketchup to really get them tasting of anything. The sharpness and crunch of a cocktail onion really bloody works with it. Next time you’re setting up a buffet, try it for yourself! Worst case scenario and I’m wrong (but if I managed to convince that jury I fell and landed on every single penis in that football team, then legally I can’t be wrong) then you can serve the sausages and onions separately. But we can’t be friends.  Lovers, but not friends.

These are your buffet staples and you can make large enough quantities to feed everyone without extra fuckery. But if you want to pad it out, supermarket party food is the way to go.  Especially now it’s always on multibuy offers so you can fill your freezer until you need them. Unless like me, it’s 3am on a Wednesday and the fit ginger lad from Greggs as just been around to feed me his YumYum and I feel the need to follow it up with 24 assorted vol-au-vents. If you’re using pre-packed party food the biggest piece of advice I can give you is FOR THE LOVE OF CHER MAKE SURE THERE IS ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE. Got 20 people coming? 40 chicken skewers minimum. Don’t be that fucker that puts out 10. If you are that person, look in the mirror. Take a long hard look at yourself. Who hurt you Brenda? Why are you like this? Most supermarkets have got clever so the party food all cooks at the same temperature so you can do it in advance. Except mini kievs. Do these fresh, no one likes a cold kiev. If there’s no risk of a garlic butter spray that leaves you with third-degree burns then, frankly, it’s a waste of chicken gristle and panko.

What even is panko, anyway?

[James edit: fuck off]

I don’t serve pudding at a buffet, I’m a savoury kind of guy, but if I’m feeling festive I’ll empty a few tubs of celebrations into bowls and scatter them around the table and that usually will do it. I will put on a cheeseboard but my love of cheese is a whole other ten-thousand-word essay.

So, to surmise:

  • hot fork buffet are for wankers who put their Lidl shopping in Waitrose bags before they get out of the car
  • make enough fucking food for everyone
  • beige is best

Thank you for reading. If you’d like to hear more from me, let the cubs know. They’re keeping me in their attic at the moment and I’m having to survive on what I can wring out of their ‘magic’ socks and rainwater. Please send help/cash/nudes.


I know, right?

You’re back with James now, don’t worry. The gay sex jokes are just as laboured but at least you won’t be starving. Please. You’re always hungry. Neither of us got to the point of scrolling right to the end of the available sizes on H&M and crying from being moderate with our food intake.

Food time. This is another recipe we’ve ‘appropriated’ from Nigella, but she’s cool, she’ll appreciate the thought of two fat blokes shrieking in the kitchen as they tip an entire worktop’s worth of grated cheddar into the risotto pan. You, with those raw thighs, ought to stick to the SW recommended amount of cheese.

cheddar cheese risotto

1 vote

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cheddar cheese risotto: with ham and leeks and everything

Prep

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Total

Yield 4 servings

Right, look - risottos take a bit of time, and I actually made this the proper way by adding ladles of stock one at a time, stirring until absorbed and gazing icily into the sitting room where Paul was watching telly whilst my ankles ached. But you can do it the twochubbycubs way too: just throw all the stock in, bang the lid on and walk away for twenty minutes or so. I don't care, I'm not your mother: if we were, you'd never go out wearing that, young lady.

I use butter in this recipe because it's nicer, but if you wanted to make it syn free, just use Frylight. Pfft.

Ingredients

This makes enough for four, but only uses four Healthy Extra A choices. Because that matters. So don't worry, if you're being a fatty fatty bum bum, you can have an extra Healthy Extra A later. But I don't care.

  • 25g butter (7 syns, if you use reduced fat butter, or if you're like me, make out like you did but actually used proper full fat butter because it's sexier)
  • 5 finely sliced baby leeks
  • as much shredded/cut-up ham that you have
  • 300 grams risotto rice
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard (which I'm not synning, and you can fuck right off if you're worried about a tenth of a syn)
  • 1.2 litre hot vegetable stock
  • 120 grams grated extra mature cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Instructions

  • melt the butter on a low heat and add your leeks - allow to soften and burble away nicely
  • add the mustard and the rice and stir everything through, coating all the rice in that delicious, filthy butter
  • now, it's up to you:
    • add all the stock at once, throw the lid on and allow to simmer for about twenty minutes until cooked; or
    • add the stock one ladle at a time, waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more - this makes a creamier risotto and is generally worth the effort but, I know, that Chat magazine isn't going to read itself
  • once the rice is cooked, add the cheese and ham and stir, saving a bit of ham for the top if you're fancy
  • sprinkle with chives or, if you're like me, leave them in the fridge

Enjoy!

Notes

  • for a risotto - and especially if you're going to do the old throw-it-all-in-and-walk-away technique - you want a good heavy pan that doesn't stick - we use Le Creuset because we're posh and Amazon currently have a good range
  • can't afford to spunk £150 on a pan or just plain old tight? No worries - Marks and Spencers currently do a knock-off Le Creuset range which is really decent for the price
  • this recipe is adapted from Nigella Express, one of my favourites
  • add peas, garlic, peppers, bacon, any old shite

Courses evening meal

Cuisine stodge

Yum! What more could you possibly want from us?

We have an absolute bucketload of risotto recipes, why not try them?

Enjoy!

Also: 5 February 2019. Sssssh.

easy egg and cheese tortilla pie: breakfast time!

Tortilla pie awaits you at the bottom, under all this guff. Do be a love and take a look.

Yes, we’re back.

It seems fitting that not long after Cher announces her comeback, we make a triumphant return. Listen, I’m robotic, tuneless, ageless and popular with those light in the loafers, but you don’t need to pay £600 to hear me blasting out Believe. I’ll do it for a pack of Frazzles and a quick punch of my backdoor by your husband.

You know they say the road to hell is full of good intentions? Ours certainly is: we fully intended to come back with new recipes after Canada…and we did, briefly, but then we buggered off to Tokyo. Then Christmas necessitated full concentration as we worked on turning ourselves spherical. Our road isn’t full of good intentions so much as it has many lay-bys and each one of them has a Hungarian lorry driver in it who is missing his wife. You know what it’s like – you get your head down, close your eyes and poof – three months have gone by.

How are we? Let’s touch on a few of the regular beats of this blog and I’ll update accordingly. Paul and I are fine: both still fattened by Christmas, not sleeping enough and spending far too much money on trinkets and holidays. We continue on our merry-go-round-and-round of ‘fresh starts’ and ‘let’s get healthy’ but it always dissolves the very second trade comes over who smells faintly of takeaway. I’m a sucker for a fat kebab, after all. We’ve had adventures: thrown ourselves off the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, broke a robot in Tokyo, powerminced around the CN Tower in Canada, Paul’s pregnancy scare – but here we are at the start of 2019 in the unusual position of having nothing planned for the year ahead. I say that, we’ve got bootcamp starting next week so at least I can look forward to a trip in an ambulance and six months of hearing my mother desperately trying to convince the doctors to turn off my life-support. Cheers Christine, but it’s only a sprained ankle.

Tell you one thing though: I still feel old. I’ve never been one for navel-gazing – not least because my navel is currently hidden by my festive tits – but boy oh boy. I’ll be 34 this year, and that means it’s the last year where I can stay in the 25-34 field when signing Paul’s life insurance documents. This is terrifying to me. Assuming my lifestyle of sitting down at any given opportunity and counting crisps as a five-a-day because potatoes grow in the ground catches up with me, I can probably realistically expect to live to just 68. I’m halfway through my life and all I have to show for it is a nice house, many holidays a year and a fabulous beard (his name is Paul). Truly I am cursed. A friend of mine uses the question ‘how many partners have you had in the last three months’ during his visit to the clap-clinic as a measure of his success in life, I use how many months closer to the grave I am. However, I’m not letting this continuing existential crisis bother me, I promise – just a quick quiet sob in the lift at work when I realise my beard is streaked not with manschpackle but the salt-‘n’-pepper that comes to all men.

I asked Paul how he’s feeling and he said he’s alright. That’s the problem with Paul – he paints with words and it’s sometimes so difficult to pin down exactly what he means.

It’s a new year and whilst I’m not given over to making resolutions, I’ve made 4.

Family is fine – parents are working feverishly to make sure I don’t have any inheritance left and, out of the shrapnel that might fall out of my mother’s jackboots (who knew that the Wehrmacht catered for a size 2 shoe?), most of it will be going to my nephew. Tsssk. I know adopting a child out of sheer avariciousness is wrong but if it helps me get my hands on the family silver (the foil in my mother’s Lambest and Bitler) then maybe it’s an option. Gives me something to entertain myself with in between Switch releases.

Work continues ever onwards.

Neighbours – we’re still disliked as though we’ve personally been in each house and walked dog-shit into the carpet. We’ve been here five years and whilst there’s a few lovely ones, we still get all manner of shitty looks whenever we go outside. We get told (and we promptly ignore) where to park our cars, how to cut our garden and what flowers to plant. It’s all so presumptuous – I don’t knock on their doors to give them a guide to douching, although given how full of crap they are it might not be such a bad thing.

And finally, the blog itself. What started as a vanity project for my recipes has become a behemoth and a millstone, but in a mostly good way. We’ve got a few surprises coming down the line which I’M STILL NOT BLOODY ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT, and lots to say!

Going forward, the plan is a weekly article and recipe, with the odd recipe sprinkled in when we can find the time. This way, you get regular updates but I don’t get myself a nervous breakdown trying to come up with my eightieth euphemism for vagina that night. Kid-shitter. Front-bum. Pink demon. This should also cut down on the sheer amount of idiots who message us whingeing about recipes or asking us to explain the plan in minute detail. I’d sooner rather listen to Ed Sheeran breathing heavily in my eye whilst his ginger beard dances across the back of my neck than have to spend ten more minutes trying to decipher what Shirley ‘School of Hard Knocks’ from Runcorn means by ‘cnt av pastargh hussband on fire owminty syns in tuffpast‘. You don’t know the toll it takes on a man to have 128 notifications of a morning and only three of them from bears with the rest of the notifications being from dinner ladies who should know better. I swear 40% of you only joined Slimming World because they spell sins as ‘syns’ and you thought you’d found a kindred spirit in The Fearless Leader Bramwell.

Kidding. Love you really. Let’s do the recipe then, shall we? Tortilla pie. Dead easy.

tortilla pie

tortilla pie

3 votes

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syn-free cheese, ham and egg tortilla pie

Prep

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Total

Yield 2 servings

You have no idea how much I love Nigella Lawson. There's something about her tremendous hair, elegant way of chatting and her ability to eat absolutely everything with style that warms me to her. This is from her At My Table book, which I heartily recommend if you want to sit with your tongue hanging out. This takes less than five minutes to make and 15 minutes to cook - one of the easiest breakfasts we've ever made. Thank you Nigella!

Ingredients

This makes enough for two people. Cook it, cut it in half.

  • two wraps - make sure they're the HEB allowance, which changes every single time Margaret runs out of ultra-clutch Elnett - currently the Weight Watchers white wraps are free - racist
  • 80g of extra mature cheese (40g being a HEA for one person, but in BOLD NEWS, you're allowed two healthy extras now - so feel free to double up the cheese again!)
  • as much cooked ham as you like
  • four eggs
  • pinch of sea salt
  • optional: add a splash of hot sauce, some slices of tomato, spring onions...anything you like
  • ooooh, fuck that, add bacon - all the bacon

Instructions

  • get yourself a wee sandwich tin and either Frylight it or use a drop or two of oil
  • squeeze one of the wraps into it, making a small bowl
  • drop in the ham, crack in the eggs (don't break the eggs up, you want what looks like a fried egg) and add a pinch of salt onto the eggs
  • add any extras and add a third of the cheese
  • frylight or use a drop of oil to brush over the second tortilla and place it oil side up on top - pinch it down around the sides
  • add all the cheese in the world and a good squirt of hot sauce on the top if you want it
  • bake it in the oven until the cheese is cooked and the wrap has brown and risen up on the side
  • serve with beans

Notes

Courses breakfast

Cuisine breakfast

Delicious. Get it in you.

More wrap ideas? Why don’t you give these a go?

There. All done.

J

baked eggs in cheesy toast: syn-free and quick!

You’re doubtless here for the baked eggs in cheesy toast – it’s easily one of our quickest, easiest recipes – and it’s delightful. You could scroll straight to the recipe – look for the picture – but first, I have an important message. Perhaps you could humour me.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, you know. No, I know, it feels like it’s always some sort of week at the moment – I’m still eagerly awaiting the celebrations of ‘Comfortably Upholstered Northern Tubsters’ week, but until the day comes when I’m presented with a perspex sausage roll trophy by, oh I dunno, Gail Platt from Corrie, I’ll need to keep dreaming. But this is an important issue so I don’t begrudge writing about it.

Actually, speaking of Coronation Street, Aidan Connor’s suicide storyline really made me upset – it’s unbearable to think that people keep things bottled up to the point where they feel they can’t cope anymore – so, in the spirit of being open about our feelings, I turned to Paul and admitted that I would have given anything, simply anything, to fall asleep nestled comfortably between the wibbly-wobbly cheeks of Shayne Ward’s bottom. I’ve genuinely never known a man make a Zara funnel overcoat look so damn good. I was reading a news story about the actor where he expressed upset over the fact he’s been called fatty-boom-boom on Twitter and accused of having a dad body. How utterly ridiculous: a bit of a podge belly is perfectly natural as you get older, and I certainly wouldn’t hold his belly against him – I’d just balance it on top of my head in the usual fashion.

The storyline has done some amazing work highlighting that not everyone suffering with mental health problems is a shrieker and a wailer and your (lazy) stereotypical loon throwing their faeces around and punching at the clouds. It shows, rightly, that it can affect anyone, with no barriers, and that’s why it’s important to actually talk about it, get it out in the open, have an honest discussion about it.

I’ve gone on previously about my own mental health issue – health anxiety – and I won’t bore you with the details of it. I will say this, though: another year has passed and this year I’ve managed to beat a brain tumour (because of my tinnitus), mad cow disease (because my mother insisted on buying cheap mince for most of the eighties), Alzheimer’s disease (because I forgot where I parked, once, and that’s because I was driving Paul’s ‘car’ as opposed to my own), sepsis (cut myself handling compost) and breast cancer (another harmless lump in my boobs, most likely a Trebor Soft Mint). It’s exhausting being so healthy, I can assure you. Though that exhaustion is probably chronic fatigue syndrome. Bugger.

If you’re out there, and you’re suffering, there’s only two bits of advice I can offer you – and you’ll have heard them before, but I don’t care: maybe my words will be the ones that hit home, like a determined sperm: talk to someone and don’t give up. Now, choose wisely with the first bit of advice, I’m not suggesting you ring your taxi-rank and advise them that you’re seeing only blackness ahead – if they’re anything like my local taxi service, you’ll get twenty seconds of phlegm-soaked coughing and some racist dialogue in the background. No, choose a family friend, someone from work, a loved one, the cat or even a cushion. Vocalising your issues is cathartic, even if you’re talking to yourself. I’m forever talking to myself and find it reassuring – often those negative thoughts in your head are exposed for the nonsense they are once they float out of your gob. If you’re entertaining the ‘what if’ question (especially with your health), rephrase it as ‘what if it isn’t’ – do you really want to be wasting your life worrying about something that isn’t going to happen or, if it is, you can do bot-all about? For every spoken question you give yourself, provide two answers – the rational and irrational. Give yourself a fuller picture. And mind, if you choose to talk to someone rather than yourself, make sure you choose wisely. They’re few and far between, but there’s some folk out there who will gladly lend you an ear just so you don’t notice the knife they’re sticking in your back.

The don’t give up part, then. It’s such a trite thing to say, but you never know what’s coming around the corner. Well, Paul does, but that’s because he’s got boggle-eyes (I’m not saying he’s cross-eyed, but he does have to sit sideways to watch the television). Even if you aim for one day at a time, a day that doesn’t end with a trip in a black ambulance with me driving behind you trying to decide whether it’s appropriate to overtake is a good one.  At my lowest I thought I’d be doolally forever – and actually, perhaps I am because mental illness never leaves you – but you learn to cope, then you learn to stop caring, then you forget why you were ever stressed. Until you wake in the night convinced that you’re dying because although it COULD be trapped wind, that pain in your belly is almost certainly bowel cancer and this is it, I’m off to reunite with my nana after three months of shitting blood. Difference is, each time that anxiety-blip happens, you learn a bit more how to cope with your worries, and the time it takes to get over your anxiety decreases. In short, it gets easier. It does.

Chins up, folks. Remember, there’s fuck all to be ashamed about if you’re out there and you’re struggling: you’re a human being. Yes, even you, with that moustache. You wouldn’t feel embarrassed if you broke your toe, why should your emotions be any different? I read here that 1 in 6 folks experienced a symptom of a mental health condition last week. Perhaps you’re not so unusual, after all.

Oh and as an aside, if you’re one of those arseholes who pretend you’ve got OCD because you have to check the oven is switched off once in a blue moon, please, stop. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a genuinely devastating illness that manifests itself in much stronger ways than the occasional ‘but did I’ moment on the drive to work. It doesn’t make you sound interesting or kooky, it makes you sound like a proper Comfortably Upholstered Northern Tubster.

OK we’re done. No more lectures. But please, do talk. To the recipe, then!

baked eggs in cheesy toast

baked eggs in cheesy toast

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baked eggs in cheesy toast

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Yield two slices

This super quick breakfast looks impressive but is actually a doddle to make on Slimming World - you can have two 'toasts' and it'll be syn free! Don't want to use your HEA as well as your HEB? We've got you - use slightly less cheese - 10g is only two syns. This recipe makes enough for one person to have two slices - just scale it up as you wish.

Remember my warning from the last time we used a Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll? Let me remind you...

But here's the thing. Gluten free food is expensive and it can be a proper pain in the arse to find if you are following a gluten-free diet. That's annoying when you want to cook with it, but what if gluten free was the only bread you could have and you had to do without because some div on Slimming World was too frightened about just having a breadbun? Before you pick it off the shelf, have a think.

Ingredients

  • one Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll (HEB)
  • two eggs
  • 30g of red leicester cheese (HEA) (or use less, and syn it at 10g for 2 syns)
  • chives, black pepper
  • optional: chilli sauce - yum! We use Flying Goose and syn it at 1 syn, but that's optional

Instructions

  • preheat the grill
  • cut your roll in half and drop it into a hot, dry frying pan, toasting off the bottom of each slice
  • remove your bread and, using the bottom of a glass, press a well into the bread and crack an egg in, like so

  • sprinkle your cheese and chives on top, then grill for a few minutes, keeping an eye on it so it doesn't burn - your egg should be solid, but the yolk nice and runny
  • serve - slather it with chilli sauce if you like your arse battered like us
  • enjoy!

Notes

  • not got chives? Don't panic - just use black pepper
  • if you were feeling decadent, you could always add chopped ham into your well
  • feel free to use a different bun - however, a ciabatta is good as it doesn't burn so quickly

Courses breakfast

Cuisine easy

There now! Looking for more breakfast ideas, you fabulous witch?

Enjoy!

J

sarah’s slaggy speed syn-free sauce – guest blog!

Sarah’s slaggy speed syn-free sauce! I mean, honestly. Do you know how many times we set off our own work filters because our website is classed as pornography and now we’re adding slaggy into our opening sentence? Eee, you accidentally put a picture of yourself felching a plumber up instead of a Yorkshire pudding recipe and suddenly everyone’s a prude. Nevertheless, Sarah, our guest writer for tonight, is a big fan of alliteration, and I’m a bloke who just can’t say no. Now, the reason I’m handing over to her tonight is because she has just started her own blog and I’m all for promoting new writers, especially ones who swear like all the old ladies when someone shouts house at bingo. We were recently awarded blog of the month at foodies100.co.uk and one of the questions they asked us during our questionnaire was whether more diversity in blogging is a good thing. I said no, frankly, it should be limited purely to men with willies like a wrestler’s leg, but when they asked me to revise that answer I said that new voices were good as long as they had something interesting to say.

Thankfully, Sarah does. Which is lucky, as I would have been far too British and embarrassed to retract my offer had she been shite. I urge you to have a look at https://tryingtodoitall.com/ for a good, frank and coarse look at life with a family, beautiful cats and M.E. I’m sure you’ll all join me in bemoaning the fact her blog isn’t called itsallaboutmememe but hey, it takes years to be this deft with wordplay. Minge. Without a moment more of hesitation…

So the boys were right nice and said not only could I go on their Facebook page and promote my blog but do a guest blogger bit on theirs too. I was chuffed to the back teeth. I mean, I had no bastard idea what they meant but I felt a bit like I’d been handed the royal hand to kiss and I was not about do anything bar polish their rings (I’ll do ‘owt for attention) and get on with it. So I’m here and I can’t quite believe it but I’m going to style it out in the way only an amateur amongst professionals can – with arrogance and determination.

Those of you who know me, or have read my blog will know that I don’t like making life difficult for myself, there’s no point. I’ve not got the energy or the patience for complicated recipes and even if I did I’d only make it look like roadkill when I went to serve it. The pinch of unicorn pubes and dusting of fairy jizz would lose its magic in amongst the carnage on the plate, and I’d be left with a skip full of washing up and a bad attitude.

So it needs to be easy, pain free and also I NEED my food to work hard for me – I have M.E. see and I refuse to spend what little energy I have on cooking from scratch a million times a week. I know lots of you do but this recipe is one for the lazy bastards in town. Move over proactive bouncy crew with your lycra and Zumba moves, the sloth gang is in charge for a bit.

Sometimes I just want to bang something quick and easy together, or want something I can take out the freezer because I’m shit and haven’t planned my meals, basically I need something to shut out the packet of bourbons giving me the “hello sailor” eyes from the now bereft and sad looking snack cupboard. So the recipe, such as it is…

speed syn-free sauce

speed syn-free sauce

2 votes

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sarah's slaggy speed syn-free sauce

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Yield lots and lots

Now, I know what you’re thinking. All that foreplay and you’re giving me a fucking pasta sauce? Yes I am and actually you’ll pipe down because it’s not ONLY a pasta sauce, it’s a meatball sauce, a ketchup replacement, a sauce to bake your chicken in, it’s a pulled pork sauce and it makes you shit for mercy because it’s made entirely of speed veg. Oh and it tastes epic, not diet epic, but life is good and I have a yacht epic… basically it’s YOUR SAVIOUR. Slaggy speed syn-free sauce goes with ANYTHING.

Now to get the most amount of value from this sauce you’ll want to make loads of it. That way you’re going to the effort of cooking once and it’s paying dividends for ages – freeze what you don’t use in individual portions. You’ll thank me later. 

Ingredients

  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 yellow peppers
  • 2 orange peppers
  • 1 white onion
  • 6 peppadew hot peppers (the jarred ones)
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons of smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne (more if you like it hot, less if you have a toddler like mine…you could leave it out altogether to be fair)
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (1 syn but negligible by the time you divvy it up)
  • a few sprays of oil

At this point Sarah recommends using Frylight, and for that, we'll actually apply to get her pain relief medication cancelled. Always use Frylight, people, there is really no excuse!

Instructions

  1. get yourself ready
  2. chop all that veg up - or buy pre-chopped if you're fancy
  3. coat your pan in a few sprays of oil
  4. chuck in your red, yellow, orange peppers and onions
  5. fry on a low heat until the onions start looking yellowy (think liver failure) and the peppers are a bit smooshie (if you find the pan is drying out add more oil or try a splash of water)
  6. add your chopped tomatoes, peppedaw peppers, garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne and sugar; stir like you’ve just told your ex his girlfriend is a prize slapper and put a lid on it, smug style
  7. if you've lost your saucepan lids or don't want to bend down because you're mindful you won't be able to get up again without someone having to call for the fire brigade, just use a chopping board
  8. let it simmer away for about 25 mins, you need to be careful mind, if you’ve got an aggressive gas stove like mine it could burn if you don’t keep an eye on it, so don’t get distracted by a shiny thing and forget about it - keep stirring - like a good night alone, it's up to you to keep it wet
  9. when it looks like the pic (i.e. reduced, thick and chunky) get your blender or food processor geared up and show that chunky sauce who is boss - you want it to be a smooth as Grant Mitchell's giant heed.

Notes

You'll need two things for this:

  • a good quality saucepan - if you've got money pouring out of your arse, we recommend this set, but anything will do
  • a blender - nothing expensive needed, this wee £10 model will do the job just as well

Courses side

Cuisine Italian

Cubs here: if the recipe doesn’t taste good, don’t worry. Message Sarah to complain via her blog. Let’s face it, she’ll probably tire herself out switching her monitor on so you’ll be unlikely to get a reply. Oh I’m kidding, she probably has a special iPad. Have a look at her blog right here and she has a facebook page too, see?

www.facebook.com/tryingtodoitall.co.uk

Do you have something you want to say? If you can rattle off a few words, make it funny and give us a recipe, get in touch! Just leave a comment below and we’ll send you an email with details. Perhaps you feel as though you won’t be hilarious or interesting – don’t panic. I’ll just type in some gags and put a better photo. I’m like the gayest copy of Photoshop you’ll ever own.

Want more sauce recipes? That’s fine. We’ve got loads:

Get licking those fingers!

James and Sarah and Paul too

chicken, leek and bacon quiche – syn-free and delicious!

‘ey up!

I think, if someone held a gun to my head and demanded I pick one meal to eat for the rest of my life, I’d go for quiche. You have no idea how much I love it – I grew up on my nana’s cooking and her idea of quiche was two eggs, bacon that was still oinking and more salt than the Dead Sea. It was delicious, not least because it took away the taste of her apple pie. I’m not sure if it was a result of growing up in the war (she fought a pivotal role in the Transvaal Rebellion) but she was never lavish with her ingredients – she remains the only woman I ever met who could turn a postage stamp sized bit of pastry into eight full fruit pies and a batch of sausage rolls. The apple pie didn’t so much have a filling of apple as a light dusting. I would love to be able to bake like that – absolutely no measurements, timings or fuss: just 100% pure instinct.

That leads me to my simple point that I want to make before getting straight to the recipe: don’t fall into the trap of following recipes slavishly – everything we post is merely a guideline. Don’t like an ingredient? Leave it out (though use common sense, you’ll struggle to make tomato ketchup if you use Weetabix and tears, for example) and put in something you actually want to eat. Recipe not looking quite right? Cook it for a bit longer. Use cheaper meat if you’re short on cash. Don’t stress about the little things – and never more so then in this chicken, leek and bacon quiche recipe, because you can chuck any old shite into a quiche and as long as you season it well, you’ll be laughing.

chicken, leek and bacon quiche

chicken, leek and bacon quiche

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chicken, leek and bacon quiche

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Yield 8 large wedges

This chicken, leek and bacon quiche is perfect for either using up all manner of leftovers from the fridge or specifically for a tasty, lovely lunch. You can add anything you like - add more cheese, some mushrooms, pepper, red onion...anything you like! Easy to make too.

Ingredients

  • two chicken breasts - grilled, poached or baked - cut into cubes or shredded
  • a few rashers of bacon
  • one large yellow pepper
  • one chilli pepper
  • one leek - get a big one, mind, you want it to leave you wincing every time you pick it up
  • lots of salt and pepper
  • 180g of ricotta (2 x HEA)
  • 40g of extra mature lighter cheddar (1 x HEA)
  • eight or so eggs (if you're using whole eggs) or 12 egg yolks (so much nicer!)
  • 30g of parmesan (1 x HEA)

NOTE: so this makes enough for eight wedges, but let's assume you'll eat two wedges. That's one HEA.

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees fan
  • cut your bacon into raggedy chunks
  • thinly slice your leeks - we used a mandolin slicer because it'll do it in no time at all
  • thinly slice your pepper and chilli
  • cook off the leeks, pepper, bacon and chilli together in a pan until the bacon is cooked and the leeks have softened
  • add the chicken
  • mix together the ricotta, cheddar and the eggs - now this is where you need to use your judgement - you may not need as many eggs if you have big eggs or less mixture - you want a good thick 'sauce' when it is all beaten together
    • I prefer to use egg yolks only because it makes a lovely rich quiche, but can work out pricey for eggs - if you go down this route, don't waste the egg yolk - make these peppermint meringues!
  • mix everything together in one bowl and add a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • slop it all into a good non-stick dish - I like to grate half the parmesan into the bottom of the dish before putting the mix in, then top the quiche with the rest of the cheese
  • cook in the oven for about 35 minutes, or longer if it is still wobbly
  • allow to cool and serve with salad!

Notes

  • we use a smart silicone dish for this chicken, leek and bacon quiche - this has never failed us once!
  • this freezes perfectly - cut it up, wrap the pieces in foil and take one out the night before for lunch
  • feel free to tip the mixture into several smaller tins to make individual quiches
  • you'll note that there's no wrap involved in this mixture - that's because we're not insane, see?

Courses snacks, evening meal

Cuisine British

You can’t beat a good quiche! Want some more quiche ideas? Of course!

Plus, we’ve updated our recipes page again, we’re now nearly at 600! Enjoy!

J