twochubbycubs’ chilli stuffed easydillas

You have no idea how much I love a good pun, so chilli stuffed easydillas – as in a really easy version of a quesadilla, really tickled my hoop. If you’re looking for the recipe, just scroll that mouse-wheel or finger your screen and you’ll be there in no time. 

Have you been out and voted yet? If not, why not? It’s one of the most important things you can do. Even if you think there’s no point, do it anyway. You’ll never get rid of thrush unless you apply the cream, after all.

We’ve finally been back to weigh-in and after spending eight years waiting in the queue cursing under our breath, we’ve been weighed, shamed and course-corrected. Nowhere to go now but down…

…and speaking of going down, let’s discuss Cornwall, shall we? I’m going to do it a little differently – a series of different thoughts, rather than one big monologue – I need to give my poor fingers a rest and anyway, unusually, I didn’t keep notes. So bear with me…

twochubbycubs go to…cornwall – part one

Why Cornwall? Well, naturally, we were attracted to the endless walks, the wonderful surfing opportunity and the chance to lay on a beach and sizzle. Pfft, as if. Let’s get this clear – the only surfing I did was via my iPad to find out when the local Tesco planned to shut off our clotted cream supply. No, we always tend to holiday out of England when we stay in the United Kingdom, but we thought to hell with it, let’s try somewhere different.

And boy, was that a bloody struggle. Seriously – I’ve said it before, there is a massive market out there ready for milking for holiday cottages built for young, professional couples who don’t have sticky-fingered kids, moulting dogs or an extended family travelling with them like fleas on a cat. We spent hours looking for places to rent for a week away and probably found about four cottages that matched what we were looking for. Everywhere else looked like the type of place you’d see on TV in a documentary about someone who got eaten by their cats or drowned in newspapers. Who has ever looked at a room and thought ‘yes, this will do, but we must add more beige’? Eh? I want a cottage full of modern features, tasteful decoration, fun touches and unusual things. Not somewhere where I could see myself stumbling out into the garden to die of terminal boredom, face-down in a Chat magazine with taupe carpet fibres on my tea-stained jumper. 

This was the first cottage we considered.

image8963-3

Admittedly, it looks dull as dishwater inside but heavens, look at the view. I could comfortably see Paul and I as masters of the lighthouse – let’s be honest, if there’s one thing we’re both good at it’s guiding seamen into a safe place – but sadly, they were booked up. Naturally. I’m sorry to be sore about it but I hope Jeremiah (venture capitalist, impotent), Lucinda (yahmy-mummy blog writer) and little Tarquinidad and Labia-Bell (conceived via a rough car mechanic called Trent) had an awful holiday with all those steps to climb. Mahaha.

croft103-at-night

Our second option, pictured above, up at the other end of the land, was Croft 103 – take a look and tell me that doesn’t look gorgeous. Sadly, again, all booked up. By this point I was beginning to grind my teeth and make plans for a European break when Paul found Two Bare Feet via Google, a cottage down in sunny Cornwall. We booked via uniquehomestays.com – who were excellent, very efficient and a pleasure to deal with (25% off next booking please) and we were on our way. We’ll address the cottage in the next entry.

Now, Newcastle to Cornwall is a bloody long drive – just shy of 450 miles, fact fans. We could have flown, but it’s Newcastle remember – the only flights available that weren’t a vomit-express to Malaga didn’t leave on the days we needed. Plus, I needed to work on our day of departure, so we decided to drive halfway after work and stop in a Premier Inn somewhere in Bumhole, Birmingham. I might have made that name up.

What a drive though – the glamour of the A1, the majesty of the M6. We elected to take my car rather than Paul’s Smart car as we needed to take more than two lightly-folded t-shirts and a plimsoll, so his boot wouldn’t have worked. Paul, having driven an automatic now for many months, gave me such a start as he lurched out, over-revving and kangarooing and generally being over savage with my clutch, but luckily we escaped certain death once he didn’t have to slow down or be gentle. That’s unfair – I’m just as bad driving his Smart car. But that’s because I’m six foot of man pressed into a Quality Street tin sized car interior. It remains the only car I can simultaneously pop the bonnet with one knee and open the boot with the other. That’ll be me banished from ever driving it again. Imagine my distress.

There is something about long car journeys at night that I love – and it’s not that it usually ends up with me getting holes in the knees of my jeans in a layby somewhere, because that simply isn’t true. No, it reminds me of my childhood, when holidays involved my parents shepherding my sister and I into a battered Ford Escort at 3am in the morning in order to get a good start driving up into Scotland to “beat the traffic”, as though the A69 at Warwick Bridge was the equivalent of the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe. Invariably it would be too cold to have the windows down so the first few hours of the drive would be spent coughing and spluttering whilst my parents hotboxed us to death via endless Lambert & Butlers. We’d get out for a desultory Olympic breakfast in a Little Chef on an industrial estate outside of Lockerbie with blue lips and a faint golden patina of nicotine. No wonder my sister and I always used to fight in the back of the car – my dad would barely have backed down the drive before punches were being thrown, ankles were being kicked and hair was being pulled – but see that was my sister all over, so I never hit her back.

Gosh, I might do a few blog posts about earlier holidays actually, I love reminiscing of times when I used to be a) skinny b) far less cynical and c) more easily impressed. Let’s get back into the fast-lane though and talk about our current excursion.

I’ve mentioned on previous occasions how much I love stopping at service stations. I find them exciting! Everyone is going somewhere – normally to the cash machine to get £20 out to pay for two coffees and a side of abysmal customer service – and everyone has a tale.  Travelling does something to my sphincter that invariably means I want to stop for a poo at every opportunity, so our short four hour drive took about six hours in the end. Our stops ended up costing us £260 because I was so taken with a Deal or no Deal fruit machine that, when I came home, I ordered one for the games room. I’ve told Paul it’ll help us save money and it will, not least because seeing Noel Edmonds face all lit-up in the corner of our games room will make me so nauseated I’ll not want takeaway. We did have a hairy moment when we turned into Trowell Services at midnight and unpacked our brie and grape baguettes only to have a procession of chavs in their acne-carriages turn up and start doing spins in the car-park. It was Fast & Furious 9: Roaccutane Rush. Listen mate, you’re not impressing anyone by sticking a ‘RIP Paul Walker’ sticker on your nana’s haemorrhage-purple 02-plate Micra. 

We left them to it, driving with a contemptuous sneer of our own which was somewhat diluted by the fact the Archers Omnibus theme-tune was playing through our car speakers as we glided past.  At least it wasn’t Yes Sir (I Can Boogie) which was the song of the holiday. Anyway, our moment of happiness turned into despair when, after a bit more driving, we were informed that the motorway was shut and that we had to find our way to the Premier Inn on our own steam. This was past midnight, remember, and I was tired – I hadn’t managed to finish my baguette either. Paul took control and used a new app on his phone that acts as a sat-nav. Brilliant!

NOT brilliant. No, somehow, those last 25 miles seemed to take an eternity, taking us down all sorts of country roads, private lanes, farm tracks and tiny B-roads. I was cursing the whole time (remember, I don’t trust Sat-Navs) but Paul was adamant we were going the right way. Because I wanted to listen to the end of Brain of Britain, I shut my hole, and carried on. It took us over an hour to reach our destination and it was only then Paul discovered he’d effectively selected the ‘scenic’ route option, avoiding major busy routes. My language was as blue as the bedspread was purple. Our Premier Inn receptionist booked us in, taking a moment to ask Paul ‘who are you?’ before realising that he was the ‘Mrs’ on my booking, and we sank into bed, top layer of skin burning and crisping nicely in the far-too-hot-bedroom. Ah, what a start.

Right, so clearly I can’t just write the odd thought, I do need to monologue. Sorry! I’ll get to Cornwall in the next entry! Let’s do the recipe! Here – this looks complicated and a fart-on to put together, but it really isn’t. So calm your knickers. The picture below shows two portions mind. If you want the lot, you greedy bugger, you’ll need to syn an extra wrap – 4.5 syns. But really, it was almost too much for us, and we’re very confirmed fatties.

chilli stuffed easydillas

to make chilli stuffed easydillas you will need:

for the spice mix:

  • 1½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili flakes

for the sauce:

  • 300ml passata
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili flakes

for everything else

  • 4 BFree Foods Multigrain Wrap, Wheat & Gluten Free (1x HeB per person) (don’t worry, they’ve left the taste in)
  • 400g minced beef (you get a fair few portions of 400g mince in our freezer filler deal with Musclefood, so why not take advantage? Eh? What’s your excuse? Click right here to take advantage of that before we change our deals!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tins mixed bean salad, drained
  • zest of half a lime
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 30g grated reduced-fat cheddar (HeA)
  • 25g sliced black olives (2 syns)
  • 4 tsp quark

to make chilli stuffed easydillas you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • in a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the spice mix and set aside
  • in a small saucepan heat the ingredients for the sauce together over a medium heat and stir frequently until thickened (this will be towards the end)  
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray with Frylight
  • cook the onions for a few minutes until soft
  • add the beef and cook until browned
  • add the tomato puree to the pan along with the garlic and the spice mixture and stir well, remove from the pan into a large bowl 
  • using the same pan, add the mixed bean salad and allow to cook for a few minutes until warmed through
  • mash roughly – you can add a tbsp of water if it looks too dry – then remove from pan from the heat and set aside
  • spray another large frying pan with frylight and place over a high heat
  • add one of the tortillas to the pan and cook for 30 seconds – flip over and cook for another 40 seconds, then flip over again and cook for another thirty seconds 
  • place on a wire rack to cook and repeat the process for the rest of the wraps
  • spread half the bean mixture onto one of the wrap and top with half of the meat mixture – leave about a centimetre gap around the edge so it doesn’t seep out – and place another wrap on top. do this again for the other one
  • spoon 2 tbsp of the sauce on top of each wrap and top with the diced red onion, diced tomatoes cheese and olives
  • bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted
  • add 2 tsp of quark to the top and serve

 

buffalo chicken loaded potatoes

Looking for buffalo chicken loaded potatoes and don’t want any of my nonsense? Then scroll down to the picture, enjoy the recipe and all the best of luck to you.

Have they gone? GOOD. Didn’t they smell of foist and Muller yoghurts? Booooo! Anyway, with it being Valentines Day, are you expecting a romance filled, warm-hearted gaze at our love-life? Well, you’re shit out of luck! No, although we’ve had a lovely day (where I may have accidentally ruined someone’s marriage proposal – oops) (more on that another time), tonight’s entry is going to be the last post about Iceland, just to tie it off neatly. See, every time we’ve gone on holiday, I always forget to write up the last day for ages and then end up looking screw-eyed at my notes trying to remember what we did. That’s more difficult than you can imagine, because usually I’m in such a sulk about having to come home that my notes consist of ‘EATING BREAKFAST’ ‘MIGHT AS WELL BE DEAD’ and ‘PAUL’S BEING A KNOB’. Bless him, he’s never a knob. Aside from when we’re engaging in gland to gland combat. Let’s get started then!

twochubbycubs go to Iceland: part six

part one | part two | part three | part four | part five

If you’re a fan of our holiday writing, you can find previous entries and so, so much more in our book, available on Amazon now!

OK, confession. At this point, our holiday was lots of little snippets of activities, so I’ll cover them off briefly. I can’t remember the chronology but look, I don’t claim to be a travel writer, so don’t bust your buns getting in a flap about it.

First, the Phallological Museum. We made it on our second visit and it was…interesting. Essentially a few rooms filled with all sorts of knobs, from tiny little mouse knobs to big old American knobs holding giant cameras who think that they are the only ones interested in taking photos. Silly man, you’ll find the c*nt museum is next door. Yes, I’m asterisking that, because I can’t bear the thought of Mags clutching her pearls and choking on her pint of Gordons.

It’s no secret that Paul and I are both committed fans of the penis, but even so, there’s only so many you can see in one place before they all start blending into one. There’s precious little in the way of human willies, although there is a fine metal casting of all of the knobs of the Icelandic ice hockey team, covering everything from the goalie to the puck, who seemingly had enough foreskin for the rest of the team. The whole display would make for a unique present for a lady to hang her necklaces, that’s for sure. We learned that the biggest penis in all of the world belongs to the blue whale, measuring over 16ft long. Gosh! The biggest cock I’ve ever seen was 6ft 3″, but I stopped dating him after a couple of weeks. Boom boom. After twenty minutes of stroking our chins and various wooden willies, we hastened to the gift shop where, out of a mixture of British politeness and a love of tat, we bought an wooden ashtray shaped like a giant willy. We don’t even smoke. It’s currently sat in our games room, where doubtless when our house burns down it’ll be dragged from the rubble and held aloft for the papers as a sign of our deviant lifestyle. 

Second, we went out drinking one night, which was great fun though FUCK ME was it expensive. I’m by no means an expensive date but hell, we ended up emptying my wallet twice over and all we were drinking was their local beer and vodka. We found a bar which gave us flights of beer, essentially four different third-pints and a shot of vodka in order to “try them out”. Well, we were absolutely wankered in no time at all. At some point in the evening we ended up in a sports bar hollering at the TV with all of the locals at some sport of the TV that even now, with a sober mind, I can’t tell you what they were playing. We bumped into another couple of blokes who recognised us from the hotel (presumably we flashed up on their radar as the fat fuckers who kept eating all the bread at breakfast), immediately agreed we’d join in with their pub-crawl, and then almost as immediately Paul and I buggered off around the corner and lost them. We stopped for a crêpe from one of the many food trucks scattered around (because, let’s be honest, adding cream, eggs and chocolate onto a belly full of dark beer and vodka is always a clever idea) and Paul asked to use her toilet. It took almost five minutes of her explaining that there was no toilet in her tiny food-truck before Paul stopped looking at her owlishly and staggered off to find one of the many loos scattered around the streets, a big chocolate smear halfway up his face. I apologised for us, called us typical Brits, and hastened off after him.

After many more drinks we decided to stagger back to the hotel along the seafront (a 50 minute walk when sober) and, on the way, spotted a Dominos pizza. Well, we had to try an Icelandic Dominos, surely, so in we went, ordering two large pizzas with the strict instruction that they couldn’t deliver back to the hotel until after forty minutes had passed, giving us enough time to saunter back cool and collected. Nope. No, realising that the walk was altogether much further than we had anticipated (not least because we were both careering around drunk), we had to really pick up the pace, and that’s how the good folk of Reykjavik were treated to the sight of two large, fat blokes, drunk as all outdoors, staggering, sliding and powermincing along the icy roads. I tumbled into a grass verge at one point and Paul might have been sick in a bin. What can I say, we ooze class. Once we stumbled into the hotel lobby, the pizza guy was waiting with a scowl – clearly the sight of us wheezing and lolling about didn’t amuse him. Poor sport. I slipped some notes into his pocket like he was a ten-quid prossie, apologised profusely in that earnest drunken voice that we all hate, and retrieved Paul from the concierge office, which he’d mistaken for a lift.

Oh, and those two pizzas? Cost us £70 by the time we’d tipped the poor bloke standing in the lobby. But they tasted delicious.

We spent our final day shopping, eating chips, walking around and just soaking in the place. It’s truly remarkable. A slightly bizarre moment in a tiny little coffee shop where I witnessed a young, buxom lady having a coffee with what I presumed to be her father until she stood up, almost straddled him and gave him the wettest, longest, most committed French kiss I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if she had a real thing for the taste of Steradent but it was so unexpected and bizarre that I barely had time to pull my phone out. Good on the old chap for getting some, I suppose, but it sounded like someone had pulled a plug out of a bath filled with wet hair. We made a swift exit and carried on. Paul fell on his arse again into a large puddle and I knocked over a shop’s display of stuffed puffins (accidentally, naturally) but in no time at all it was time to walk back to the hotel to catch our bus to the airport. Naturally, we immediately got lost, and went on possibly the most convoluted trip ever, taking in their central motorway, what I’m sure was a red-light district, a park that looked like something out of Dangerous Minds and a car dealership. It took us almost three hours – with flat phones, no less – to get back to the hotel, twenty minutes before the bus departed. We did ask the one old man who didn’t look like he’d knife us as soon as look at us for directions, but he spoke no English (quite right) and we spoke no Icelandic, though I reckon if I’d started choking on a Strepsil at that very second he might have made sense of it. 

It was with a heavy heart that we boarded our bus back to the airport, after a minor panic after we were told that the front desk staff at the hotel hadn’t actually organised our transfer. They sorted it out after much raising of eyebrows and strangling sounds. Naturally, we both immediately fell asleep on the bus, but well, it’s only got one destination so you can’t go too wrong. Did have a moment of despair when I spotted that there were almost 50 wee Scottish schoolchildren ahead of us in the queue to check-in, but actually, they were very well behaved and a credit to their school. I was disappointed, I had a perfect 140-character passive aggressive tweet all set ready to go to their school when landing in the UK. Bah. There’s fuck all to do in the airport other than lose your passports and buy alcohol, although we did manage to cobble together two year’s worth of annual salary between us which allowed us to buy a burger that, if needed, could have been used as a landing wheel for our approaching plane. Who knew moisture was optional? 

The flight itself was uneventful, save for the captain coming on to say that if we were lucky, we’d see the Northern Lights through the window, which caused the wheezing behemoth in front of me to pitch her seat back pretty much into my lap. Apparently this afforded her a better view of the inky blackness and the engine lights, for she didn’t shift an inch for the rest of the flight. No, honestly, what I really want to look at for the duration of my flight are your split-ends and cheap home hair-dye job, you inconsiderate, flaking sea-cow. 

We landed smoothly, picked up our car and made our way through the night back to Newcastle. It was a lovely drive, punctuated only by a midnight stop at McDonalds for sustenance and a hurried crap about forty minutes later to dispatch aforementioned McDonalds into the murky brown yonder. Now, let us take a quick dirty diversion here. Those of a prudish disposition might want to alight for a couple of paragraphs and join us later.

Toilets, namely public toilets, I don’t understand the sexual appeal. We stopped at some toilets in the middle of Fuck-All, Nowhere and every conceivable surface was covered in the type of graffiti that made even me blush, and hell, I have about as many sexual hang-ups as George Michael. But this toilet wasn’t some plush outbuilding with comfortable ledges and a decent hand-drier for blowing the last drips off, no, this looked like something out of a Saw movie. There was more piss on the floor than there was in the sewer below, most of the lights were burnt out and three out of the four traps contained toilets that looked like someone had drawn an intricate map of the local A and B roads using faeces. Dirty doesn’t begin to describe them! So who is willingly getting down on their knees in a place like that? It doesn’t bear thinking about. For long. Brrr.

However, our practical reason for visiting these toilets couldn’t be avoided and I risked death and urine burns to ‘drop the kids off’, as quickly and as delicately as I could. Whilst hovering above the pan like I was riding an invisible magic carpet, a peculiar bit of graffiti caught my eye – a bold (admittedly in very nice handwriting) statement declaring that a gloryhole could be found in the ladies toilet. Now honestly, it takes a reasonably bold man to stick his knob through a hole in a toilet at the best of times, but to venture into the ladies’ crapstation on the off-chance you’re going to get a) a lady with teeth and b) who is up for a bit of action, instead of screaming loudly at your engorged willy suddenly appearing out of the wall whilst she reaches for a square of loo-roll to wipe her minnie-moo…well, those are pretty slim odds, surely? Brrr again!

Anyway, I once heard of a chap who had his knob sliced with a knife when he put it through a gloryhole, like the world’s most budget circumcision, and another who had a cigarette put out on it. If I ever find myself in a lavatory and a knob that isn’t my own suddenly appears, I’ll be using it to hang the toilet roll on.

OK, prudish folk, come on back.

We made it home for around 3am, made a fuss out of our cats who, of course, totally ignored us and acted like we’d betrayed them in the worst possible way by daring to go away, and went straight to bed. Iceland done. Let’s sum up.

Pros

  • absolutely beautiful – now I know that almost goes without saying, but honestly, it’s so alien and unusual and unlike anywhere we’ve been before that we’d recommend it just for that experience alone;
  • so much to do – and even as two fat blokes, we never struggled with any of the activities, it’s all very accessible
  • tonnes of history, even if their museums are a smidge dry
  • amazing food, especially all of their snack stations and tiny little places to eat
  • the Northern Lights, I mean, come on
  • not rammed full of either trashy British tourists or massive touring groups

Cons

  • incredibly expensive, and it’s not even easy to get around this – snacks and drinks are expensive, meals and nights out even more so – be prepared to spend
  • if you’re not a fan of sitting on buses to get to places, you’ll struggle, but even then the buses are comfortable, WiFi enabled and warm, so it’s a hard one to ‘con’
  • the occasional standoffishness, but hell, you’re going to get that anywhere

Go. We can’t recommend it enough! If you don’t love it, we’ll be amazed!

We travelled with easyJet from Edinburgh to Reykjavik, landing early in the evening. We stayed at the Edinburgh Airport (Newbridge) Premier Inn the night before and then the Grand Hotel in Reykjavik. We organised all of our excursions directly with Grey Line Excursions or Reykjavik Excursions, including our airport transfers. All wonderful to deal with!

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Right. So you lot want a recipe for buffalo chicken loaded potatoes, eh? Then shall we begin? This recipe makes enough for four large potatoes cut in half, with a person having two halves. Easy! Also, these sit well to eat the day after for a lunch and I can’t see any reason why they couldn’t be frozen, so get on that.

buffalo chicken loaded potatoes

to make buffalo chicken loaded potatoes, you’ll need:

Really, this is actually quarter of a syn for each serving of two potato halves, but we added on that extra quarter syn for the tiny bit of reduced fat feta. You can leave it off. Look, either way, you’re not going to be Ten Tonne Tessie from eating these, OK? These could be made syn free if you omitted the sauce, and indeed, if you’re not a fan of having an arsehole like the Japanese flag, why not try leaving it out?

to make buffalo chicken loaded potatoes, you should:

  • cook the potatoes as you would for a jacket potato
  • in a small jug, mix together the Buffalo sauce, white vinegar and tabasco sauce and set aside
  • cook the chicken breasts until done – under the grill, in the oven, in a pan, using the acid breath of a hated relative…however you prefer
  • when cooked, pull the chicken apart using two forks
  • when the potatoes are cooked, cut in half, allow to cool a little and scoop out all of the flesh into a separate bowl
  • add the chicken, cheddar cheese and Buffalo sauce mix to the potato flesh and mash until well combined
  • scoop the potato flesh back into the potato skins
  • cook under a hot grill for a few minutes until nicely browned
  • sprinkle on the feta (if you’re using) and enjoy!

It’s up to you if you want to serve this with some speed food or just beans like we did. I’m not the boss!

J

houmous coated chicken

If you’re here looking for houmous coated chicken then scroll down! This entry is all about our wonderful trip to Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon. Enjoy!

twochubbycubs go to Iceland: part five

Our trip to The Blue Lagoon, then. The Blue Lagoon is possibly one of Iceland’s most recognisable places – a large man-made pool created from the water output from the nearby geothermal powerplant. They take super hot water from the ground, spin a few turbines with it and then let the rest pour into the lagoon, keeping it toasty warm. I admit I was surprised – I thought it was a natural pool thanks to all the tasteful photography and talk of ‘lagoon’, but then I suppose ‘come and have a swim in the run-off water from our power plant’ doesn’t sound quite so grand. I mean, I don’t worry about my fertility at the best of times, but I do like to know my snake tears could still do what they are supposed to do if the situation required it. Luckily, obviously, it’s not radioactive. They also completely replace the water every two days, meaning that even if someone sharts in the far corner of the pool, you’re unlikely to be bothered by it. 

Let me start by saying that this quick tale will be bookended by two bus-woe stories, both equally vexing, but only one where Paul and I redeemed British folk for all the world. 

We booked our trip well in advance and, yet again, were picked up at the hotel by a minibus and then shepherded to an idling coach early in the morning. This is pretty much the start of every single tour you’ll ever do in Iceland by all accounts. If you’re a fan of looking hopefully at the horizon, you’ll be in your element here. The buses are clean, comfortable and have free WiFi, which is handy if the endless beauty of Iceland holds no appeal for you and you’ve got Candy Crush to dribble over.

Like class swots, we took our seats at the front of the coach, only to have the two biggest, boring, most vacuous young ladies sit immediately behind us. They were lawyers from London and by god did you know about it by the time the bus had climbed into third gear. Every word was strained like they were running out of air, every sentence pronounced so loudly that I could have stayed in the hotel and still heard all about her stupid landlord who wouldn’t let Gareth (Guuur-raaaaaath) stay over. Everyone else feigned sleep – it was 8am after all – but no, this pair of braying donkeys kept up their schtick all the way to the Lagoon, a good forty-five minutes away. Paul and I were terribly British about the whole thing – coughing, giving side-eye, sighing like the oxygen on the bus was running out, but there was no stopping them. Never have I thought about crashing off a mountain road into an abyss with such longing.

The bus drops you off seemingly in the middle of nowhere (actually, a lava field in Grindavík – not active lava I needlessly add – there’s nothing especially relaxing about third degree burns), with a tiny visitor centre and a rock exclaiming that you’ve arrived. There’s very little to indicate that you need to walk further on, but, despite being spherical, we bravely continued, not letting the 400m walk to the entrance faze us. Heroes the both of us. We had booked our tickets in advance online and I’d heartily recommend you do the same – the queue, even at that time in the morning – was through the door. We chose the ‘Premium’ ticket online, which allows you to queue jump and gets you a free drink within the Lagoon. It’s worth it for not having to wait, plus you’re given a pair of slippers and a robe. Sadly, the Body Beautiful behind the counter looked at me and handed me an XL robe with a very ‘that won’t fit’ look. It was Paul in the Austrian mine all over again. For the record, the XL robe fitted perfectly, although it did say ‘FOR RENT ONLY’ in big letters on it. That took me back to my college days, I can tell you. You’re also given a wristband (mine said HERALD OF FREE ENTERPRISE on it) (no it didn’t) which acts as both your key for the locker and a card of sorts for any drinks or food you purchase. Handy. On we trotted.

Now, let me cover something off – you absolutely do need to change and shower with other people. In order to keep this facility clean and hygienic you’re expected to give yourself a good soaping. Fair enough, no-one likes to swim drinking in tagnuts, holehair and winnits. If you’re like me and couldn’t give the shiniest shite about what other people think of your body, you can whip everything out, have a blasting hot shower and be done in a few minutes. If you’re shy, though, that’s also accommodated for by way of little changing cubicles which you can hide your modesty behind, though it’s that frosted glass so if you have a particularly hairy growler people can still see it. I’m not a fan, I’m always worried my arse-cheeks will press up against the glass as I take my socks off and someone will think it’s a magic eye puzzle of a hot-air balloon disaster. There’s a handy chart on the wall showing the special areas you must wash – your face, armpits, fanny and arse, though presumably you’re not expecting to use the same cloth. Again, if you’re shy, you’ll face a wait for the privacy cubicles – so there’s another reason to get there nice and early.

Once you’re showered to the point where someone could eat their dinner off your bumhole (and they’d have a handy place to keep their napkin, certainly), you pop your clothes in the locker, use your wristband to secure the door and out you go, carefully dodging all the willies flapping about as others change (though presumably, that doesn’t happen in the ladies’ changing room, not least because everything is so generously tucked away). I pity the poor bastard who is given a locker closest to the ground  because inevitably you’re going to look up from putting your shoes away and find yourself peering into someone’s arse-crack. Anyway. The lagoon is just at the bottom of some stairs and, being so early in the morning, was lit by soft blue lights under the twinkling stars. It was magic. You can wade in like you’re on a Lidl Baywatch, or, perhaps more sensibly, you can swim out into the lagoon from the building itself, getting yourself used to the water.

A few quick observations. It’s hot. Durr, I know, but it really threw me quite how hot it was. You know when you’re in a bath and you’re letting more hot water in with your toe, and you’re about five seconds away from it being too hot? It’s like that, in places, and even hotter still if you swim near to the vents where the hot water bubbles out. You’re not going to burn – they’re ‘rocked’ off – but expect everything to be soft and sagging when you get out. It’s the first and only time in my life where I’ve been able to scratch my balls with my big toe. The rest of the lagoon is around the same temperature as your body, but, being Iceland, you just need to stand up to cool off, given how cold the air is. It’s a wonderful feeling. 

It’s also surprisingly large. Although it’s crowded at the entrance to the pool, you can swim out into the steam and lose yourself. I never felt like I was in anyone’s way, besides Paul, but that’s only because he wanted to cuddle in the water and I was alarmed that we might stick together like a cheese toastie in the heat. It’s not so deep you can’t stand up in it, but it’s deep enough to swim around should you desire. There’s a cave to swim through (where I naughtily found the switch to change the narrator from gentle, soothing English to booming German, much to the consternation of a few bathing Chinese ladies who were probably already confused by the apparent sight of two beluga whales swimming towards them. There’s also a waterfall which cascades lovely hot water all over your body with such force that my fat rolls started playing a disco beat from slapping against each other. I probably looked like an oil slick viewed through a heat haze. Don’t care. You can book a massage where you float on a pad in the water but we never got around to sorting this out. Of course, we both immediately regretted it when we saw the masseuse – a giant muscly mountain man who could have put us both over his shoulder and had his wicked way with us. We’ll put down the wistful tears in Paul’s eyes to a reaction with the sulphur, shall we.

Ah yes, the sulphur. Look, you can’t get away from the fact the place has a certain eggy smell to it. In places, it smells like a freshly cleaved poo. But it’s a natural smell, like when they spread muck on the fields or when the sewers overflow. You get used to it, which is handy, as you’ll be smelling of eggs for a good while afterwards. Dotted around the lagoon are pots of the silica mud that naturally forms on the bottom of the lagoon – it’s apparently an excellent face-mask. It’s also a brilliant white, leading to some frightening experiences when some of the more…aged folks in the pool come swirling out of the mists looking like Heath Ledger as the Joker. Paul and I covered ourselves in it and had a whale of a time. I swam up to the swim-up bar (well, it seemed like the right thing to do) and ordered us some drinks – I had a plastic pint of beer, Paul had a strawberry iced drink. Luckily I have the chest hair to carry off such manliness, even if I did scream when Paul accidentally spilt his slop down my back. Well, wouldn’t be the first time. 

After an hour or so of floating about, we got out, had a sandwich and a sit down (it’s tiring being lazy) and then went back in for another hour or so. You don’t really need a full day here. Oh! One more observation. So many selfie sticks! But worse, so many unprotected phones being carried out in the water. Why?! If you drop that bloody phone in the water, it’s not coming out again working, let me tell you. You might get a final kamikaze shot of someone’s legs uploaded to your iCloud but that’s it. I don’t know how people hold their nerves, I get anxious brushing my teeth with my phone in my hand. 

We got changed and walked back to the bus, stopping only for a couple more photos and a Calippo. Keeping it real. Vexingly, we had missed the hourly bus back by about thirty minutes, but we were happy enough to sit and wait.

Unlike the beast I’m going to call Sandra – for that was her name. Sandra and her very, VERY henpecked husband had missed the bus by only a minute or two, seemingly by the husband not sprinting ahead to stop it. She apparently would have ran herself but ‘what would have been the point, given how slow you were’. Let me tell you, the only time this woman was running anywhere was if a vending machine had been left unlocked. She was absolutely dreadful – she sat and very loudly explained to her husband all of his faults and why she could do better. My heart went out to him – I almost asked Paul if I should nip over and give him a blowjob just to lift his spirits. I rather got the impression she wouldn’t have done that either.

And, typically, with all the inevitability of day following night, when the bus did come, she sat behind us – and the forty five minute bus-ride from hell in the morning was nothing compared to this. She had this incredibly irritating way of trying to sound like she was better than everyone else, both Icelandic and English, and that, in her words:

  • Iceland is shit because you have to get a bus everywhere” (you don’t, you can get a taxi, unless you can’t afford it but you want people to think you can)
  • what’s the fackin’ point of Wifi if it doesn’t FACKIN’ WORK” (who’d have thought it? Wifi on a bus in the middle of nowhere being patchy!)
  • “...place would be so much better if it wasn’t for all the FACKIN’ tourists” (it would certainly be better without one of them)
  • aren’t Icelandic houses shit” (because that two-up-two-down in some piss-pot village is the classier choice)
  • who’d stay in a FACKIN’ shit ‘OTEL like this” (not you, my love, because you’re staying at a cheaper hotel down the road)

and so on and so forth. She was embarrassingly crass and vocal and all her husband could do was ‘yes dear’ and ‘no dear’. She was loud so EVERYONE could hear her. Here’s the fun part though. The bus, dropping everyone off in ‘random order’ (but clearly based on how luxurious the hotels were…i.e. the more expensive hotels got their passengers back first) and ours was second on the list. This pissed her off and on she ranted. 

So, naturally, as we got off, I turned around on the steps of the bus and, loudly, called her a ‘common, classless tart‘ before proper dashing into the foyer in case the rancid old bag or her wispy husband followed suit. They didn’t. That split second I saw of her face avalanching in anger was more than enough for me and I’m not joking when I say that gives me a chuckle even now. Probably shouldn’t have said anything. Don’t care though. 

If you enjoy our stuff, remember we now have a book out. Just sayin’. Click here for that!

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Right, the recipe! This makes enough for four big breasts. So that’s two each. We served with mushrooms, new potatoes and some broccoli. Classy! You can mix this up by using one of our four houmous recipes found right here!

houmous coated chicken

Don’t forget, you get plenty of giant chicken breasts in our big old meat box! You can find the details for that right here!

to make houmous coated chicken you will need: 

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp fat free cottage cheese
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped

to make houmous coated chicken you should:

  • preheat the oven to 220ºc
  • spray a large baking dish with Frylight and place the chicken breasts in a single layer and set aside
  • to make the houmous, add the chickpeas, cottage cheese, cumin and paprika to a food processor and blend until smooth
  • spread the houmous mixture over each chicken breast using a spatula – you need need to ‘slap’ it on instead of spreading it. you’ll want a nice, thick amount on each one.
  • bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is well cooked
  • sprinkle on some chopped basil and serve

Easy! It might not look amazing but it tasted damn fine and it’s syn free. So suck it!

Oh! I should say. As usual, my shite photography let me down. But here’s what it looks like when the photo is taken by someone who has more dexterity and eye for detail than a potato.

50640469

J

lentil shepherd’s pie with cheesy mash

Looking for lentil shepherd’s pie? Scroll right down past all my guff if you don’t like chitter-chattter!


Just a boring bit of admin to get out of the way first before we get started. Apologies, I know some of you will have already seen this message, but just to make sure – we’re not an official Slimming World blog and we’re not consultants. We couldn’t be – I’d spend about five minutes asking people how much they’d lost and then fifty five minutes trying to crack jokes and farting. No, we’re just two members following the Slimming World plan the best we can – we work out the syns via the online calculator on Slimming World’s own website, but if you’re ever unsure, you should check them yourself.

Also, just a bit of clarification (partly because I got a snotty email yesterday from someone saying I didn’t need to write an essay before every recipe) – this is a personal blog, not a food recipe blog. I don’t itch during the day to rush home and type out a bloody roulade recipe, let me tell you. We’re just here as an excuse for me to write and to hopefully provide help for those who want it. Yes, we’re coarse and yes, we’re a bit blue and near-the-knuckle, but if you’re after a frilly fancypants fartyarse blog where someone spends two hours agonisingly describing every last boring step of their wonderful soup recipe, there’s plenty out there. We’re humans, not robots.

Remember, and this rather applies for all the Professionally Offended out there, you don’t need to read. That’s the joy of the internet!

So, that’s the admin out of the way. Being butch doesn’t really suit me, I’d look shit in a chest harness. Actually that’s a fib, I look great in leather. Like the last settee in the DFS sale.


twochubbycubs go to Iceland: part four

I wish I could tell you that we spent the day doing all sorts of thrilling things, but instead, we just mooched around the city, taking our time with food and nonsense. Listen, people who say they go on holiday and proceed to tell you they spent every waking moment doing activities, undertaking the local customs and enjoying the national food is an outright fibber. Sometimes you need to take it slowly, like a fibre-packed jobbie.

Having enjoyed ‘Escaping the Room’ once, we went back and tried the other two scenarios available – curing cancer and escaping a creepy haunted bedroom. I’ve never cured cancer, so of course we failed on that one, but we did manage to escape the bedroom, after somewhat embarrassing ourselves…

We walked from the hotel up to Reykjavik’s main shopping centre, Kringlan, partly because it was within stumbling distance and also because I needed to buy the most vile sweets I could find for the office. Not because I hate the people I work with, you understand, but simply because nothing says ‘GLAD TO BE BACK, LOL’ like salted liquorice balls that look, taste and smell like something you’d shovel out of a hamster cage.

Perhaps I’m spoiled by having the Metrocentre so near by (where retail goes to die), but it really wasn’t worth the trip. Perhaps due to the fact it’s an island, the ‘stock’ of stuff to buy seems to be very similar wherever you go. Once you’ve smiled politely at a stack of neon pigs or a collection of ashtrays, you’ve done your bit. We did find a shop called Minja which tickled us pink, though neither of us really fancied going in. We looked at it hard, but despite the many people entering it, we sloped off.

More interesting was the fact that Florence and Fred from Tesco seems to be rather big, where it is sold as a high-end range in a department store rather than the shameful secret in amongst the crisps and the beetroot faces as is the case over here. They even had shirts in our sizes, which was surprising given we normally have to buy our shirts from garden centres, but the fact they wanted the equivalent of £55 for a shirt I can buy (and hide under my groceries) for a tenner at home was too much to bear #tightarsegeordie (ah my former gaydar name).

After a bite to eat where they gave me a sandwich and took half of my salary as payment, we were on our way back to the hotel and onto grander things – a Northern Lights bus-tour. The sky didn’t look promising – thick cloud and low visibility. I was reminded of the air directly above Paul’s mother’s chair when she starts on her knockoff Rothmans. The bus driver said we should give a try anyway, so on we went to a very comfortable coach accompanied by around fifteen or so other folks.

We had chosen the deluxe tour, meaning we were to receive snacks, hot chocolate, a footrub and a personal apology from Jesus if the Northern Lights didn’t appear.  Sadly, we hit an immediate problem. See, on our tour a couple of days earlier, there had been a somewhat overbearing woman – the double of that wailing banshee from Everything But The Girl – who sat near us with her mother, and every time we stopped anywhere she’d drift over and attempt to make conversation.

Listen, I’ve got time for anyone, I really have, but deep down, I’m incredibly antisocial. My face screams talk to me, my mind is saying please die. Perhaps I exaggerate. Anyway, every single sentence she said was a really poor joke – it was like making polite conversation with a box of crackers – and then she did this really weird, far too familiar ‘lean’ into our personal space, perhaps to check the volume of our forced laughter.

And, of course, here she was again. Luckily, we had had the wherewithal to dump our bags on the seat in front of us, so she sat in front of those – champion, no talking needed. No, but every single quip, gag, remark or gasp that the chap commentating the tour made was met with her turning around and pushing her face inbetween the two seats to see if we were laughing. We started off with the polite smile and a ‘can he say that’ shake of the head, but we weren’t even out of Reykjavik before that had downgraded into a ‘stare straight ahead, don’t even acknowledge her’, the type of stance you might take if you’d stumbled across a man wanking in a phonebox.

Perhaps this comes across as mean, it really wasn’t meant to, but I stopped babysitting in my teens, I didn’t need it on my holiday.  She eventually got the message and stopped turning around, and we were able to concentrate on the fact the coach was busy barreling down a twisty, turny road in the snow and a very dramatic snow-storm. Excellent driving, absolutely, but I’m not going to claim my arse wasn’t busy unstitching the seat fabric through fear.

After an hour, we stopped off at this little restaurant in the middle of nowhere and were told that we’d be the first people to experience their new attraction, a quick movie about the aurora borealis. Bemused, we were shepherded into the arena where they usually put a live-action horse stunt show on and asked to take our seats – all twenty of us, in this little area that probably held 1,000.

The movie started, projected onto the back wall. And just didn’t finish. I love the Northern Lights as much as anyone, honestly, but it’s hard to maintain a rictus throughout half an hour of stolen footage from Youtube accompanied by Icelandic Enya caterwauling away in the background like she’s shitting out a pine-cone. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it was almost twenty minutes too long, and every time the screen went black and we thought it was finished, up it would start again, leading to a few more taxing minutes of footage of a wispy green cloud. It wouldn’t have been too bad if we had been sitting in proper seats instead of on long wooden boards, at least then we would have been comfortable, but no. It’s a bad job when someone has to turn you to prevent pressure sores halfway through.

We eventually stumbled back to the coach and were on our way into the night. The commentator mentioned that there had been a sighting of the lights on the other coastline, so we were to head there. Absolute fair play to the tour company, they weren’t going to give up – and I had free WiFi and a fully charged phone to keep me occupied. Paul had gone to sleep almost the second his seatbelt clicked on. There wasn’t much to see out of the window – a black cloudy sky above a bleak desolate landscape outside, much like driving through Southend during the day.

After another hour or two, the bus slid into a tiny village and attempted to reverse down a very steep, ice-covered gradient to our restaurant. That was soon stopped, and we were told we had to walk / slide down ourselves. We had been promised a meal to fill our bellies so naturally Paul and I were the first ones off the bus, sliding down the hill to certain satisfaction. Sadly, our weird friend was immediately behind us, and of course, naturally, without any doubt, sat at our table with her mother.

What followed was two things – almost an hour of unbearably awkward, strained conversation, and something that was definitely not a filling meal. The waiter came down to take our order, insofar as he drifted down, put some bread on our table and told us we were having soup. No choice. Meh, I don’t mind soup, and well, it was a restaurant, so how wrong could it go?

Very wrong. The vegetable soup looked like something our cat sicked up when we had her fanny butchered by the vet. It had the consistency (and taste) of one instant tomato soup sachet, divided between twenty. I poked around with a spoon to see if I could find anything to tax my teeth with and happened across one tiny cube of swede. Naturally, Bus-Friend piped up to express her jealousy that I’d at least found some vegetables HA-HA-HA and how I’d need ROLLING BACK UP THE HILL I’M THAT FULL HO-HO-HO. Being the gentleman, I resisted the urge to put her and her Connie Clickit haircut into her tomato water, and grimaced on. I expected dessert, a mint, hell, they could have spread some jam on the tablecloth and I would have gobbled it up, but no, that was it.

I will admit to something terrible, though. And this is terrible, mind, so please don’t think any worse of me after reading. Before we all decamped to the bus, we all got a chance to use the restaurant’s facilities. Naturally, there was only one tiny cubicle, and Paul and I were 9th and 10th in the queue respectively. There was an exceptionally posh lady behind me. Everyone went in and did their business and by the time I went in, there was piddle all over the seat and floor, and, putting paid to my plan for a quick poo, no loo roll to be seen.

Again, ever the gentleman, I didn’t want the lady behind me to think I’d pissed on the floor and seat, so I grabbed a little tiny grey towel that was sitting near the sink to mop it all up with. I hadn’t factored in that the water on the floor wasn’t piss but rather, piss mixed with the melted snow from so many shoes, and as soon as I used the cloth, it was covered in brown streaks and yellow stains on one side. Was there a bin? Of COURSE not. 

So, I did the only thing I could do, finished my piss and very gingerly folded the towel back up in such a way to hide the heavily streaked and piss-soaked side. And popped it back on the little radiator. There was literally nowhere else to put it other than down the toilet and well, I’m not a bastard, I didn’t want to block their toilet, not least because they’d have nothing to serve for dinner to the next unfortunate bastards who rocked up on the coach. I pity the poor madam who went to dab her lipstick or wash her face with that towel and got a load of pissy flannel in her face. I’m sorry, I really am. I’m not a monster.

I did cackle a tiny bit, I’m not going to lie.

With our hunger unsatisfied and our tummies rumbling, we headed back to the coach, drove on a bit and stopped in the middle of nowhere in a deserted carpark. Listen, I’ve been here enough times to know what was happening, but before I’d even had a chance to flash the reading light off and on and put my lip-balm on, we were off again, the driver sadly telling us there would be no chance of seeing the lights at this location. No, we needed to get higher.

I was all for that, though it’s been a while since I’ve skinned up anything more exciting than a social cigarette for a co-worker, but no, he meant going higher into the mountains. Bearing in mind it was pitch black, icy and knocking on past 10pm at this point, everyone reacted in quite a subdued manner. Bus-friend let out such a huge sigh that Paul and I deliberately voiced loudly our desire to go on. Hell, you’re only on holiday once. Or four times a year, in our case. On we went.

The next stop, knocking on at around midnight, was another carpark in the middle of nowhere. We got out, braced ourselves against the absolutely bitter and very strong wind, looked hopefully at the sky, but sadly, the clouds never quite parted. I did see a faint green ethereal glow in the distance, but it turned out to be the driver’s e-cigarette. The commentator opened up the side of the bus and, god bless him, pulled out the world’s flimsiest trestle table and a giant urn of hot water, announcing hot drinks were now available.

Crikey, what a comedy of errors. The wind was so strong that whatever he picked up, be it a paper cup, a sachet of whatever the Icelandic for Options is or the sugar, it either blew out of his hands or he spilt it. We watched from a distance before approaching. For giggles, I asked for a grande mocha frappucino with no cream, mint syrup and could he use soya, I’m lacto-tolerant. He looked like he was about to stick me in the tea-urn so I immediately gave him a gracious ‘BRITS ABROAD EH’ face and got back on the bus. Hmm. Paul eventually brought me a coffee and tutted at me.

Once everyone was on board and had been treated for their second-degree burns, it seemed inevitable that they’d call it a night…but no – one more roll of the dice. He knew a church with excellent viewing possibilities…on a clear night. I looked out of the window into the abyss and dozed for an hour, having drained my battery streaming fail videos on Youtube.

This is the bit where I tell you the bus pulled up, we got out and saw the best god-damn Northern Lights we’d ever seen.

Nope.

But we DID see them, for almost five minutes, albeit through the faint wisps of clouds barreling all over. It was like God, noticing our bus parked outside of the church (and er, if he existed), parted the clouds as best he could to make our almost seven hour journey worth it. It was. Not much can be said about the lights that you can’t imagine yourself, other than what will be obvious to you but didn’t occur to me until I saw them myself. They’re huge, and they’re silent. I was expecting a whoosh or a flutter, but nothing, although the wind would have covered anything. You can’t just look at them because they’re all around you, above you, and they’re magical. Worth seven hours on the bus with a cup of watery coffee and some instant soup? Yep. Worth dealing with a socially awkward lady? Yep. Recommended? Wholeheartedly. It’s something to tick off the list, for sure.

Once the clouds covered them up again, I went for a quick piss around the side of the bus. Sadly, thanks to the wind, it was like that moment in Apollo 13 where he vents his piss into outer space in a giant cloud. I’m a classy guy, what can I say.

The bus took us back to the hotel, with both Paul and I succumbing to the sweet caress of sleep on the journey home, which in turn meant no-one else would get a moment of rest thanks to the cacophonous snoring coming from the back. I’m surprised the driver didn’t pull over to see if he had a reindeer stuck under his tyres. We were back at the hotel for around 2.30am and straight to bed.

Listen – this might have come across as an awful experience, but it wasn’t, it was hilarious, and nothing but top marks to the tour company for so much effort in getting us to see the lights. Yes, the food was pap and the movie abysmal, but we’d do it all over again. There’s something genuinely romantic and exciting about chugging through the darkness in the hope of seeing something so wonderful!

Enjoy our travel stories? You don’t know how happy it would make me if you were to purchase our book, which contains our blog entries from Ireland, Corsica and Germany! Click here, it’ll open in a new window!

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That’s enough for tonight. That really was a long one, I’m sorry! If you’re here for the recipe, welcome back! We adapted and made SW friendly a recipe from an old cookbook for this – Rose Elliot. We noticed we don’t have many vegetarian recipes on here, so this is a nice easy one that actually tastes really bloody good. It’s heavy-going to eat, so you don’t need a great lot. The recipe serves four.

lentil shepherd's pie

to make lentil shepherd’s pie you will need: 

  • 1kg potatoes, cut into even sized chunks
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 410g tin of green lentils, drained
  • 50g moon-blush tomatoes (we’ve made them before on a previous recipe, or, just use some dried sundried tomatoes brought back to life in hot water)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 160g mature or smoked reduced fat cheese, grated (that’s four HEAs – these make enough for four, easily, so one HEA each)
  • salt and pepper
  • if you’re after the individual Pyrex dishes, we bought them from Amazon, right here

to make lentil shepherd’s pie you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius
  • cook the potato in a large pan of boiling water until tender, keep aside a mug of the water, drain and set aside
  • heat a large pan over a medium heat and add a little oil
  • add the onions to the pan, stir and cover – cook for fifteen minutes and then remove from the heat
  • add the garlic, tomatoes, lentils, moon-blush tomatoes, tomato puree and salt and pepper to taste and stir well
  • mash the potatoes to your preferred consistency, loosening with a little of the reserved water and add most of the grated cheese, saving enough to scatter on the top
  • pour the lentil mixture into a shallow casserole dish and spread the mashed potato on top 
  • scatter the remaining cheese over the top and bake in the oven for 40 minutes

We served it with kale, Satan’s bumhair.

J

cheesy bacon burger fries

OK, so the recipe for cheesy bacon burger fries is a bit of a hybrid between two favourites – our tater tots recipe and our enchilada steak fries. Both wonderful recipes, but if you combine the two, well, it looks awful on a plate, but tastes delicious. Honest guv, promise. Scroll down if all you’re here for are the recipes. Sob.

Meanwhile, here’s part three of our Iceland trip! You’ll find parts one and two right here and here. Run, don’t walk. Remember, more travel stuff in our new book which can be bought for the tiny sum of £4.99 right here!

twochubbycubs go to iceland: part three

Tired from yesterday’s day of looking into cracks, dealing with spurting geysers and admiring a foamy gush, we decided to spend the day mincing about in Reykjavik, seeing the sights, buying tat. As you do. We filled up on an early breakfast and walked the thirty or so minutes along the seafront into the town centre. It feels so peculiar to be shopping and walking around with everyone at 10am, with the sky still inky black and the very first fingers of sunlight just poking through. We could cheerfully live there – we don’t need the light – already got arthritis, might as well go for rickets and get the fullhouse. We stopped (shamefully) for a coffee in Dunkin’ Donuts. I know, I know, eat local, blah blah, but in our defence they had a gorgeous selection of donuts and we wanted to nick their WiFi. The hotel wifi was crap – almost like being back in 2000 and trying to watch porn on a dial-up modem. That was an awful experience, let me tell you – by the time I’d typed and sent my A/S/L I’d had a birthday and grown pubes. We decided on a rough schedule of the National Museum, the church, shops and then Escape the Room. After finishing our coffee, tutting at children and other tourists, we were on our way.

We walked through the parks and headed up to the National Museum of Iceland, full of vim and joy and wonder from the beautiful snow-filled parks and the frozen lake, pausing only briefly to try and find a toilet. There were signs everywhere but no visible toilet block – presumably because, if Iceland was anything like England, as soon as you enclose three toilets in concrete and asbestos, you’ll have a seedy man with a hand-crank drilling a glory hole and putting his name on the wall. After much looking, we eventually found one of those tiny automatic toilets that look like a TARDIS, with the spinning door and scary buttons. Unlike England, you didn’t need to pay 20p for the privilege of pissing, and Paul was soon merrily enclosed in this tiny metal tube having a wee. He didn’t bank on me hiding around the back and screaming in his face as he emerged, but well, we like to keep things fresh. You’ll see these all over Reykjavik. We were at the museum in no time at all.

Well, let me just say this – for all that we heard that Icelandic folk were friendly, welcoming and pleasant (and, to be fair, they were for the most part), every last member of staff in the museum had a face like they’d seen their arse and didn’t like the colour of it. Clearly smiling and pleasantries were off the menu. I’ve never felt such guilt for asking for a bloody welcome leaflet.

I have a bit of a love/hate thing with museums. See I want to be one of those people in coats that smell of eggs that will stand and …hmmm and …oh I see over every exhibit, but try as I might, I just don’t have the attention span. It was all so very dry and boring for a country forged from fire and ice. I was captivated by the sight of some hipster twatknacker doing warm-up exercises in the ‘Vikings’ section. Why? He was making sure all eyes were on him as his silly little man-bun bobbed up and down. The only time I want to see a man-bun bobbing around if it’s perched atop a man drowning in a turbulent sea.

We did happen across a mildly interesting exhibition on women in the workplace, which afforded us the chance to titter at some exposed breasts and make blue remarks, but that was it. There was an old style Bakelite phone sitting on a plinth – Paul picked it up, looked grave and then shouted ‘NO DEAL’, much to the obvious hatred of the stern looking curator. We make our own fun, at least. We took a moment to look around the gift shop but again, the staff seemed so unwelcoming that we put down the little bottle of pink rock salt that we were going to buy and hastened on our way. You’d think judging by her pinched face and obvious expression of blistering hatred that she’d mined the salt herself using her teeth.

In Reykjavik, your eyes are always drawn to a church high up on the hill called Hallgrímskirkja, and despite misgivings about how steep the hill was vs how fat our English little bodies were, we set out to have an explore and a look. Perhaps it was the promise of an exceptionally large organ that enticed us. Forty minutes and much swearing later, we arrived, took the obligatory photos, marvelled at the fact that this church smelled exactly like an English church (foist, farts and cabbage soup) and had a reverent look around.

It was wonderful, it really was. I’m not a religious person – I’m not going down on my knees unless it’s to pick up change, give a blowjob or a bizarre combination of the two – but even I was captivated. The lighting, the architecture, the ten million Chinese girls shrieking into their hands and milling around – all wonderful. It was prayer time, so everyone was head-bowed and silent, bar for the vicar who somewhat ruined the placidity by bellowing urgently into his phone from high in the eves. He could have been giving a sermon, I suppose, though it rather sounded like he’d been stabbed in the throat and was calling urgently for help.

We waited until most of the tourists had filtered back out before walking up to the altar. I noticed that neither of us had burst into flames for our wicked sodomising ways, leaving me comfortable enough to inch forward to look at the ornate work on the lectern. I’d barely taken in a detail when a tiny mobile phone on a stick crossed my vision, close enough to part my eyebrows. Well, honestly. A tourist with a selfie stick. I find them pointless at the best of times – why would you go on holiday just to take a photo of your face gazing blankly into middle distance whilst blocking out anything pretty? That happens to me every time I look in the mirror to shave. That, and tears of sadness.

Naturally, Paul and I were so aghast that we spent the next fifteen minutes subtly following this poor lady around the church, making sure we were just in the background of all her shots, grimacing and gurning away. She eventually caught on when I tripped over the edge of a pew in my haste to get the top of my head poking into her shot of the font and her face. We made a sharp exit. I like to think we’ll be on a Facebook page far away – the two fat menaces of Iceland.

As we left, we noticed a lift that we’d missed in our haste to get inside – a lift which took you right to the top of the church tower (and that’s high – the church being the sixth tallest structure in Iceland). Perfect! After paying a small charge to keep the church going, we were in the lift and away, with only a momentary and startling stop halfway up, when the lift stopped and the doors opened on a solid brick wall. I’ve seen Bad Girls, I know this is how it ends, but before I’d had chance to scratch ‘FENNER’ into the bricks the lift rattled away and we were at the top.

Stunning. I could post all manner of fancy photos from the top of here but really, they all look very similar. This photo should give you a chance to see how colourful the houses are and how Reykjavik is laid out.

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Taking photos is actually quite difficult, as the little openings which provide the view have bars across them (presumably to stop you hurling yourself out through the shame of ruining someone’s photos), meaning you have to undertake a nail-biting manoeuvre of holding your phone in your hands over a 70m drop. I get the jitters stirring my tea, so seeing Paul waving his phone around had my arse nipping. Mind, not as much as the fact that, completely and utterly oblivious to where I was, I took a moment for quiet reflection and leant against the central column, only to have my eardrums blown through my skull by the giant bell no more than 3ft above my head ringing in 2pm. I said an exceptionally non-church friendly word at the top of my voice, removed my trousers from my sphincter and, somewhat dazed, went to find Paul, who somehow hadn’t managed to either drop his phone or shit himself. Truly, a miracle. Cheers Big G.

The next couple of hours were spent looking around the many, many stores that fill Rekjavic’s main shopping streets, though I’ll say this right now – if I never see another stuffed fucking puffin again I’ll be happy. Or a t-shirt that suggested fat people were great because they can’t outrun polar bears (yeah, but we can eat them, so you overlooked that one). We bought two figurines for the games room and, thanks to Paul leaving my iPad chargers in the old room and the maid being dishonest enough to keep it, a new charger from a knock-off Apple shop where again, we were met with abysmal customer service – waiting almost ten minutes for the bespectacled little spelk to finish his conversation and address the only customers for miles. Listen, don’t take my moaning as evidence that the Icelandic are a frosty (ha-de-ha) bunch, they’re not – aside from the odd knobhead, everyone was charming. 

We partook in a couple of traditional ‘street food’ items which were just bloody amazing – fries at Reykjavik Chips and a hotdog from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. The fries place we happened across just off the main shopping street and it was amazing, even though it was just fries and Béarnaise sauce washed down with beer. You get the fries piping hot in a paper cone with sauce dribbled all over them, and you take a seat at a tiny table with a hole drilled in to hold your cone, all served with beer. Something so simple but done right. The hotdog was a weird one – it really was just a bog-standard hotdog – delicious, but I couldn’t understand the fanfare bar the fact that the stand had apparently been there since time immemorial. Perhaps it was the fact that the guy serving officially had Dreamboat status – not our type, heavens no, but he had one of those faces that moisten knickers just with a glance. Bastard.

Once we were full and our wallets empty, we decided it was either time to Escape the Room or go back to the hotel for a Fat Nap. After a bit of deliberation, we decided our time would be best spent walking along to Reykjavik’s version of ‘Escape the Room’, where you’re locked in a room by a sinister figure and told you will never escape. I believe Josef Fritzl developed the prototype. After a short but arresting diversion via the offices of the Chinese Embassy, we arrived. The woman in charge was wonderful – full of good cheer and welcoming bonhomie. We were given a choice between prison, curing cancer or escaping the clutches of an evil abductress. Naturally, we chose prison. The rules were explained – no breaking things, no wresting lights from the ceiling or sockets from the wall, no oil fires – and then we were led into the room.

At this point, the lady in charge told us to get into character and act like we were in prison. Paul look suitably chagrined whilst I immediately skittered a bar of soap along the floor and bent over with a ‘what AM I like’ leer. What can I say, I’m like Pavlov’s dog. Once I’d straightened myself up, tucked my trouser pocket back in and scrubbed off the ‘WING BITCH’ tattoo from my neck, we were on our way.

I can tell you that we escaped, but it was close, with only a few minutes left on the clock. Paul derailed us immediately by finding a key, deciding it wasn’t relevant and putting it away, not realising it was a crucial part of the first clue. We had been given a phone so we can text our ‘captor’ if we got stuck – we only used it three times, and one of those was Paul accidentally ringing her with his buttocks. To be fair, she probably thought the sound of his cheeks slapping together and the odd, low, rasping fart was just his attempt at speaking Icelandic.

After emerging victorious, we were made to stand for a photo with some ‘AREN’T WE CLEVER’ signs – we didn’t buy them because of course, we look awful. We’re not the worst looking people in the world but we just can’t get a good photo together. Between my chins spilling down my chest like an armadillo’s back and Paul’s barely-tuned in eyes, we’re a mess. If we had children, they’d come out looking like Hoggle from Labyrinth viewed through the bottom of a pint glass. Ah well. She did at least have the good grace when taking the photo not to back away too far to get all of our bulk in.

Tuckered out, we headed back to the hotel, dispensed with all our flimflam and ate a very passable meal in the hotel restuarant. Dangerously, we ordered drinks and put them on our room bill rather than paying for it upfront, which made for quite the unpleasant surprise at the end of the trip. REMEMBER: ICELAND = EXPENSIVE.

We slept like logs that night.

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Anyway, let’s get this bloody recipe out of the way. You came here for cheesy bacon burger fries and who the fuck am I to deny you such pleasures? It serves four, easily, or two fatties. I tweaked the recipe from another blog for this one – link right here. I’ve made it SW friendly though.

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to make cheesy bacon burger fries you will need:

  • 1kg potatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • half a lettuce, chopped
  • 120g bacon medallions (have I told you how wonderful you are? If not, you are. Also, you can buy our big meat package with bacon!), chopped
  • 400g lean beef mince (just saying, but we also do a smaller meat package, see? Click here for that – you only need to use up a third of the bacon from here!)
  • 3 tbsp tomato sauce (where the syns come from)
  • 3 tbsp passata
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 3 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 100g mature reduced fat cheddar (40g being one HEA)
  • 200g quark

to make cheesy bacon burger fries you should:

  • cut the potatoes into chips however you liked them – we cut them into thin fries which worked great. crinkle cut would be even better!
  • cook them however you like – in an actifry (available for £99 for Amazon Prime Members right here), air fryer, halo, oven…however you want!
  • in a small bowl mix together the mustard powder and vinegar and set aside
  • whilst the chips are cooking, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat with a little oil and fry the bacon until just cooked
  • add the mince and continue to stir and fry until cooked
  • add the tomato sauce, passata and mustard mix and some salt and pepper to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes
  • when cooked, remove from the heat and keep warm
  • heat the quark in a small saucepan over a medium heat 
  • add the cheese and stir regularly, making sure it doesn’t split
  • when the chips are cooked transfer them to a large serving dish
  • sprinkle over the the lettuce, mince and onions and cheese sauce- maybe layer them if you like! we meant to but I was a bit gung-ho

J

sausage stroganott

Yes, sausage stroganott. Not stroganoff. Why? Well read on!

I’m trying to get motivated to write about Iceland but I’m distracted by a row on Facebook, where some poor lass has posted a few outfits and invited constructive criticism from the wider group. Now, to me, we’re all adults, and if you’re asking for an opinion, you have to expect negative opinions as well as positive. Seems fair? Apparently not. Someone suggested that that her trousers were tight enough to lip-read with (i.e. the camel had both feet in the river) and gosh almighty, the arguments that it has started has been unbelievable. It’s like a text version of cats fighting in an alley, only with only 46% of the alphabet being used. Personally, I thought she looked pretty in all of the outfits, but then I dress like someone hiding from the police, so what do I know. Anyway, the terminally offended have been moaning on about ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’, and I’m about ready to grind my teeth to diamond. What a sickly, pointless saying – if you pull the logic out of it, you can only say that Hitler had a decent ‘tache and never comment on you know, the atrocities. Can we not take someone constructively saying that our clothes are a bit tight, our hair looks like a burst sofa cushion or we smell like a tramp’s foot? Are we not all adults? Seemingly not. Does my fucking nut in. 

ACTUALLY, whilst I’m having a rant, let me tell you something – I got an email the other day via Facebook Messenger from someone complaining that I ‘don’t post often enough’ – not because she wanted more of my “hilarious” banter but because she expected a daily recipe. Oh! Very good. I ignored her, but the flamin’ cheek. It was all very condescending and patronising, with a bit of ‘if you typed less and kept it succinct, you could post more recipes’ and ‘I signed up expecting a daily recipe’. Well yes, I could type less, but at the same time, if it’s just recipes you want, there’s a whole bloody world of them out there or you know, you could stop being a cheap fucker and buy a recipe book! Quite honestly, it wound me up enough to the point where I stood in the kitchen and moaned about it to Paul for a good ten minutes. Just to clarify, this is a personal blog and we will post when and where we can – but we’re both busy lads with full-time jobs and outside interests and well, four holidays a year. We posted over 200 recipes last year alone, all with narrative. Be thankful for what you get! Thank god 99.99% of you are wonderful people. That’s why I do it!

Oh ONE more thing – can we have a moratorium on people from England using the word haters? You’re not in Mean Girls, flower. 

Anyway, hush. Iceland. Missed part one? The cheek. It’s right here. Love our travel stories? They’re all in our new book, naturally! BUY COPY NOW.

twochubbycubs go to Iceland: part two

We awoke the next day nice and early – not out of any special keenness to make the most of the day…somehow, that never occurs to us, but rather because the breakfast buffet was open and we didn’t want to miss a single bloody crumb. We’re classy Brits, what can I say? I barely had enough time to do something about my Germaine Greer bedhair and have my morning piss before Paul was pushing me into the lift and down into the lobby. We had a very pleasant surprise with the lady who ushered us through to the breakfast area, who, as I detected immediately underneath her posh ‘how do you do’ voice, was a fellow Geordie! You can always tell – the strangulated vowels and elongated syllables, the eight bottles of Dog clinking in her handbag, the fact that as soon as both our façades were dropped we were ‘NAAA NO MAN’-ing and ‘DIVVENT’ing away like the poshest remake of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet ever. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Denise Welch herself had come tumbling down the stairs with her knickers around her ankles, ‘icing sugar’ on her nose shouting on about cheap bathrooms and kitchen deals. Anyway, we stopped and had a pleasant chat about Iceland and then were allowed through.

Well, how lovely. Everything you could possibly want, and more, all steaming hot and plentiful. Good work, Grand Hotel. We immediately developed Buffet Anxiety – what to have, how much to slop onto a plate before people took us to one side for an intervention, where the hell the full fat milk was because god-damn-it I’m on holiday and I’m sick to death of eating my thimble of Puffed fucking Wheat with what looks and tastes exactly like Tesco Everyday Value White Emulsion. There was a wee glass of oil with a label in Icelandic (the Icelandic language is beautiful, but written down, it looks rather like how you’d spell out the noise the bath makes when it’s draining the last of the water). I filled up a tiny portion and took it to Paul as olive oil for his bread and cheeses. It was cod liver oil. He wasn’t happy, not least because he spat it out like it was curdled cum. Mahaha – that would be the second time I’d managed to get him to eat something awful, with my minor victory of getting him to eat a dog chew in the car on the drive up to Edinburgh only a day or so ago. I told him it was beef jerky. He finished it mind, so it can’t have been that bad, and it’s reassuring to know that if times get tight, I can put him on Pedigree Chum and crack on. Poor Paul. Let me say though – normally the things I do put in his mouth don’t taste like cod liver oil or dog food. Well, maybe cod liver. If it’s a warm day.

After breakfast, we nipped back to the room to review our options. We were booked on a bus tour later that day (the glamour!) but the morning was ours. It doesn’t get light until around 11am in December, but that suits us. Darkness flatters our faces. We spotted that the famous Iceland Phallological Museum was only a thirty minute walk from the hotel, so we decided to set out in search of all that knob. The website stated they opened at 10am so we had plenty of time to dawdle. One of our main concerns with Iceland is that we’d fall over on the ice and crack open our heads or split our trousers, so Paul had been dispatched a few days before to buy some suitable boots. I had my Dr Martens, so of course, I was fine – and effortlessly stylish.

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He came back with a pair of boots that looked exactly like something an old lady would wear to bingo so she didn’t tumble over outside when she was having a fag. They were awful. Square, boxy, 110% polyester. But he loved them. They worked, mind, though if you’re worrying about falling over on the ice, don’t be. The footpaths and roads are exceptionally well-gritted and Paul only went arse-over-tit once, right into a puddle. Which was hilarious. 

Central Reykjavík is a doddle to get around on foot, with long straight roads and well-marked streets, and we arrived at the Knob Museum (sorry, my wrists hurt and phallological is just too much) just as it was supposed to open, hanging back for a few minutes because well, it doesn’t do to look too keen for a museum about knobs to open. We waited nearby…waited…waited…no. No, turns out it wasn’t going to open that day because the owner needed a rest, presumably from cramming willies into glass jars and making carriers bags from foreskins (what a great idea though – if you rubbed them just right, they’d turn into bin liners!) We went back to the hotel.

On our way back, I remembered that we had asked for a deluxe room, and that our current room, although perfectly serviceable, didn’t quite marry up with the word deluxe. It was very standard. The view we were afforded was of the service entrance around the back and plus, we were only three floors up. This hotel had many more floors than that! I pitched up to the front desk and enquired whether, because see it’s our honeymoon (cough), we could have a nicer room.  Good old monobrow Aðalsteinunn behind the counter was having none of it and icily told us that we’d ‘already been upgraded’. I resisted the urge to ask whether we were originally going to be bedding down on a soiled mattress under the lifts, and pushed on politely. She crumpled a little and then offered us a room upgrade for a mere £100. Meh, fair enough. At this point I could see Paul’s ashen face and knew that his breakfast was already knocking on the escape hatch, and time was tight. I handed over my card, she disappeared for roughly five days, and came back with a new key for a room on the 10th floor. Marvellous! We rushed up, Paul left a goodbye skidder in the toilet only to find there wasn’t a brush to clean it away with, and off we went to our new room.

Well, let me tell you this – had I not physically pressed the button in the lift for a new floor, I would have bet the house that we were in the same room. Not a thing was different, bar the toilet pan no longer looking like the starting grid at Brand’s Hatch. Yes, they’d moved us up a few floors, but no difference to the room. BAH. We did, however, have a much nicer view, see:

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Nevermind. I didn’t dare go down and ask for another room in case housekeeping had visited our previous room and reported us, so we did what all young, happy couples do on holiday and had a quick nap. Our bus for the Golden Circle tour was due for 12.15, so we had plenty of time. 

The way most tours work in Iceland is simple – you book them in advance either online or through your hotel, and a small shuttle bus will come and pick you up from the hotel and take you to the bus depot, where you will board a waiting coach. It works brilliantly. We used Grey Line for all of our excursions and they were terrific. The Golden Circle tour (well, the small one) encompasses a visit to Thingvellir National Park, the Strokkur geyser and Gulfross waterfall. All very pleasant. We were pushed out of the way whilst boarding the coach by some frankly gargantuan American lady who was inadvisably wearing leggings and showing everyone her business, but aside from that it was all terribly civilised. The tour guide, Lorenzo (a good strong Icelandic name right there), gave an interesting commentary on Iceland between the three places and it was one of the very few occasions where I’ve been on a bus and not immediately started snoring in the ear of the person next to me. You do have to wear your seatbelt, mind – it’s the law, even if, as in my case, it pushes up your coat to give you the appearance of having a colossal rack. There’s not much point in me waxing lyrical about how beautiful Iceland is – you really need to see it for yourself, but know that it is so alien and snow-covered and different that it really will take your breath away.

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Thingvellir National Park

We stopped here for around half an hour to allow everyone to take pictures and gaze at the scenery. Paul and I managed to walk into around ten different family photos so that’s not a bad average – I always try to pull a face in the vain hope I’ll end up going viral on a South Korean You’ve Been Framed but it hasn’t happened yet. The main attraction, other than the view, is the giant crack (story of my life) where the tectonic plates are pulling apart. Paul and I walked down a fair way before realising that we’d need to walk back and endure the shame of gasping and spluttering our way onto the bus. We stopped in the gift shop to buy a ridiculously awful teddybear.

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Hmm!

The bus trundled on to Strokkur geyser, which is one of Iceland’s most visited hotspots. Literally. Essentially a bubbling pool most of the time, it’ll suddenly go off, spurting up to 40m into the air with an almighty splash. It’s great fun, until you remember the water is superheated and, because it contains so much sulphur, smells like death. Seriously, it’s one of the few tourist places I’ve ever been to where I can fart with gay abandon (is there any other kind) and actually improve the smell of the place. We took a video, as you’d expect, but it’s really just two minutes of me going ‘I reckon it’s going to blow, it’s gonna blow, any second now…’ followed by Paul going ‘FUCK ME IT’S AWAY’ at the top of his voice. It’s like our videos on xtube, really, only you don’t need to pay the Amateurs fee.  So, instead, here’s a video from Youtube. Ignore the wank music and the slightly hipster presentation.

OK maybe one photo from us. I’ve shrunk the quality.

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Canny, right? After we’d all have a good gawp and made sure to spend a billion trillion krona on a Kitkat, hot chocolate and surly attitude from the small onsite restuarant, we were back on the bus and heading into the dusk to Gulfross waterfall. Lorenzo kept us informed as to how Iceland grows vegetables (in greenhouses), warm their houses (heat from the ground) and er, how much unemployment benefit you get. It all sounds like a utopia. The roads were very icy in places, with the bus slewing around at the back, but it all felt very safe, albeit the loud look-at-me chuntering from the aforementioned American lady got a little grating. We arrived at Gulfross around an hour later.

CATASTROPHE. The bus parks about 500m away from the viewing platform, but that 500m is down what felt like 499m of rickety, wooden stairs with no room to go side by side. Now as fat blokes, stairs are fine when you’re going down them, although they did creak and bend alarmingly underfoot, but we knew that once we were down there, we’d need to climb back up. Agony. We braved it anyway and it was absolutely bloody beautiful. Again, photos can’t really do it justice – it was just getting dark and this colossal waterfall is cascading busily just in front of you, cutting its way through the Earth. We took some photos but again, they lacked style, so here’s a video. Again, I apologise for the music – it does indeed sound like something you’d hear playing in the lifts of a Dignitas clinic, but here, make do.

We did spot an opportunity for mischief and to get our own back on the brash, burly American lady who had pushed us out of the way at the beginning, however. See, she had come down behind us and we knew she would be just as weary going up the stairs as we were. So, naturally, we waited until she had seen that there was no-one else on the stairs going up and could therefore make her very slow ascent. She began, and we immediately started up behind her, meaning she had to do it all in one without stopping. The fact that her heavy, laboured breathing masked our own was a bonus, and let me tell you, climbing behind this lady and looking up to see her lycra-clad gammon flaps not a moment away from your face sure as hell makes you concentrate on looking down and finding your footing. We all made it, though, and how we chuckled to ourselves as she was taken away on oxygen. 

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The tour finished with everyone dozing lightly on the bus as it made its way back to the capital, and we were back at the hotel for around 7pm. We decided, given our feet looked like slabs of corned beef from all the walking, to have a gin and tonic in the bar downstairs and rest a litte, given it was “Happy Hour”.

I think they need to look carefully at their definition of Happy. The barman was obnoxious and disinterested. We asked him what he’d recommend and he replied by telling us what he drinks when he’s out for ‘real fun’ as opposed to ‘hotel fun’, but in an intensely condescending fashion. I’m always wary of people who have to big themselves up like that – I rather got the impression he’d be home away to bed with a hot Vimto and a cold wank. Nevertheless, we ordered two gin and tonics and my recollection is £36. £36! I hadn’t asked for a bottomless glass! It was nice gin, yes, but I’m fairly sure it was just Bombay Sapphire. Of course I couldn’t lose face so we paid up without comment, but fuck me, never again. For the rest of the holiday our interaction with the dour barman was limited to us trying to figure out who he looked like, until Paul got it in one with ‘Tyrone from Coronation Street after receiving a poor health diagnosis’. Mahah. We planned to go out in the evening but once we were back in the room, we were out like a light and didn’t wake up again until 1am. Thank god for room service!

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Anyway, speaking of meals. Here’s that recipe. WORST SEGUE EVER.

sausage stroganott

to cook sausage stroganott, you’ll need:

  • 6 lean pork sausages (maybe use the sausages from our Musclefood deal – syn free! Or, if you like chewing what tastes like a lemon squashed into a church doormat, try the delicious Slimming World sausages)
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 4 bacon medallions, sliced (maybe use the bacon from our smaller Musclefood deal – syn free! Or, if you prefer cooking with what looks like a tired, anaemic slice of scrotum, buy the wonderful Weight Watchers bacon)
  • 500g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 250ml beef stock
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

You can make this a bit more stroganoffy by adding some Quark, but frankly, it makes the sauce look like something you’d see slurping its merry way along a colonic irrigation hose, so…up to you.

to cook sausage stroganott, you should:

  • cook the sausages – you’ll get the best results in an Actifry, which, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get for £99 by clicking here, just saying
  • slice the sausages into 4 pieces each and set aside
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat with a little oil and fry the onions until soft
  • and the bacon and garlic and continue frying until the bacon is cooked
  • add the mushrooms and continue to cook for another five minutes or so, or until the mushrooms have softened
  • add the stock, tomato puree and paprika, stir, and bring the mixture to simmer
  • add the sausages and continue to simmer for a couple of minutes and the sauce has thickened a little
  • serve!

We served ours with mash and peas – nothing fancy, but a decent warming dinner.

J

speedy breakfast bake

I’ll come to the speedy breakfast bake in a moment, but first…you may recall we went to Iceland? And well look, you know me, I can’t go to the toilet to drown an otter without writing a 2,000 word article about it. So, here’s the first of our Iceland entries. If you’re just here for the recipes and the sound of my voice in your head makes your skin crawl, just skip down to the photo. Philistine.

twochubbycubs go to Iceland: part one

We decided on Iceland for three reasons:

  • Corsica taught us that two fat men in very hot climates equals rashes, sweating and uncomfortable levels of public nudity;
  • it looks fantastically ethereal and unlike anywhere we’ve ever been before; and (perhaps crucially);
  • we envisioned the place being full of hairy, mountain men who could club a polar bear to death with their willies.

We actually almost ended up in Iceland three years ago but we had to cancel the trip to fund the remodelling of our kitchen – it was certainly more important, the place looked like a museum exhibit, all foisty and fussy from the previous old biddy who shuffled around in there. Broke our heart though to cancel for something so mundane, even if I do have a fabulous cerise stand mixer like old cokehead Lawson and a whole load of Le Creuset. Flash forward several years later and, after watching a ten minute video on Youtube, we had the whole holiday booked within ten minutes.

Fast forward to December, you know the drill. We shuttled our way up to Edinburgh and arrived at the hotel.

We ate a perfectly satisfactory (damning with faint praise) meal in the hotel bar, where we were served by an entirely lovely young waitress who baffled us with menu choices but steered us towards the money-saving options with aplomb. Clearly one look at our tattered shoes and my Donald Trump haircut elicited a sense of pity from her. She did respond to our chat about Iceland with a question we’d hear surprisingly often both before and after the holiday:

“Iceland…is it cold there?”

I mean the clue is in the name. I was faultlessly polite, resisting the urge to tell her that they only call it Iceland to lure unsuspecting penguins there to sell them timeshares, and demurred that it was indeed rather nippy. Perhaps she knew that as hard-bitten Geordies we only feel the cold when our heart stops and our fingers turn black.

That’s a faintly true stereotype – take a look out in Newcastle on a Friday night in winter and you’ll see plenty of bubbling and rippling masses wearing less material than I use to wipe my bum. Only when both sets of lips turn blue does the cough Prosecco get put down. Anyway, yes, we were asked many times if Iceland was cold to the point I developed a tic in my eye from inwardly wincing so much.

I wish I could say there was anything eventful to write about from finishing our meal through to getting on the plane, but no – it was the usual perfect Premier Inn service. I should be on bloody commission, I tell everyone about Premier Inn. Just saying, if you’re reading this PI, a free night in a London hotel wouldn’t go amiss. We don’t mind if Lenny Henry is in there, he looks like he’d be a cuddler. We did, however, manage to deviate from our normal practice of turning up at the airport eight days early ‘just in case’ by instead spending the day shopping in the salubrious Livingston Centre. I say shopping, we minced in, fannied about in the Le Creuset shop, bought a salt pig and a honey pot and then walked around looking at all the shops that cater for people of less corpulent frames than us. We decided to have a game of mini-golf in Paradise Island. Paradise Island? More like Hepatitis Inlet. No I’m sorry, I’ve been to America and I’ve seen how they do mini-golf over there – carefully crafted courses, erupting volcanoes, accessibility ramps for the fatwagons. What do we get? A shoddy animatronic of Paul’s mother appearing out of a crate of MDF, a vinyl recording of a door creaking and some torn artificial grass. I felt like I was having a round of golf in an abandoned IKEA. We plodded around with all the enthusiasm of the terminally bored, finished under par and didn’t dare have a pop at the ‘WIN A FREE GAME’ final hole in case we were actually victorious.

Unusually, we did manage to get lost on the way to the airport carpark – we normally have an excellent sense of direction, but somehow we missed the giant planes swarming around over our head. I pulled over to ask someone for directions and I’ve genuinely never stared into such an empty face. I asked for directions to the airport and he gazed at me like I was speaking tongues. My exasperated eyes met his watery eyes for a moment or two, then, realising he was clearly as thick as the shite that killed Elvis, we barrelled away in the car. He was still stooped over ‘looking at the car’ as we turned a corner 100 yards away, somewhat ironically onto the right roundabout for the airport. Ah well. It’ll have given him something to use his brain for other than absorbing the wind.

Having parked the car in a car-park that looked exactly like the type of place you’d see on Watchdog where they tear your cars up and down the country, touching everything with oily hands and merrily hacking up phlegm into the secret camera, we were on our way. I told Paul to ‘remember where we had parked’ and he replied with ‘Berwick upon Tweed’. He does come out with the jokes occasionally you know. Edinburgh Airport remains as charmless as ever, with the only place to eat that didn’t necessitate filling out a loan application being the little Wetherspoons up by the gate. I had four gins and a tonic, Paul had a beer and after only an hour or so, we were boarding the plane. I’ve typed many words about the way people board planes so I won’t bother you with them now, but for goodness sake, the pilot isn’t going to set away early, you don’t need to crowd on like they’re giving out blowjobs and cocaine. Bastards.

The flight was uneventful but packed – the mass wearing of winter clothes meant everyone took up slightly more room than normal and the air was soon steamy with sweat. To squeeze past someone in the aisle involved so much personal intimacy that I automatically lubed myself up. Lovely. I can handle flying but struggle with feeling boxed in, so I just shut my eyes and dozed for the two hours it takes to travel from Edinburgh to Reykjavik. Being the caring sort I also kept hold of the iPad just in case, but it did mean poor Paul had nothing to do other than gaze at the cornflakes of dandruff gently falling off the scalp of the slumbering mass in front. I’m a sod, I know.

Oh, there was a moment of interest when the overhead cabin across from us starting leaking something at quite an alarming rate, necessitating the decampment of the passenger immediately below the leak into the only spare seat available on the plane. Seems sensible? No. The woman (who was somewhat…large) next to the vacant seat kicked up such a stink that the stewardess had kick up a stink in return, and a veritable hiss-off occurred – too much make-up vs too much circumference. How selfish can you be, though, to make someone sit under a dripping leak for two hours? I feel guilty just making Paul sleep in the cuddle puddle after sex. Don’t think us gays have a wet patch? You’re wrong, though ours is mainly lube to be fair. Still, makes getting up for an early-morning piss that much easier when you can just slide to the bathroom like Fred in the Flintstone’s opening credits.

Also, I’m no expert on aircraft, despite all my many hours of sitting slackjawed in front of Air Crash Investigation watching reconstructions of plane crashes brought to vivid life via the graphics card of a Nintendo 64, but is a major leak not worrisome? Surely water sloshing around amongst the electrics is a VERY BAD THING. The stewardess opened the locker, moved around a couple of the many bags crammed in there then decreed the leak to be a mystery. A mystery! That helped my anxiety – I had visions of it being hydraulic fluid or jet fuel and us being mere moments away from landing via someone’s front room on the Shetland Isles. I still don’t like getting up for a piss on the plane because I’m worried I’ll upset the balance. A rational mind I do not have. We landed safely, obviously, and the leak was plugged by about 1000 blue paper towels. Keep it classy, Easyjet.

Let’s be fair, actually – easyJet continue to be fantastic to fly with. I have no problems with a company that will fly me around Europe for less money than I pay for my weekly parking ticket in Newcastle. Everyone from their check-in staff to the onboard team always seem to be smiling, and as a nervous passenger, that really helps. Their planes are comfy, although I noted with alarm that I wasn’t too far off needing a seatbelt extension. Not that there’s any shame in that, but I’d sooner be strapped onto the roof and flown that way than ask across a crowded cabin for a bungee-cord sized seatbelt. I’m shy!

We touched down into Keflavík Airport in the early evening and, yes, it was cold. Bloody cold – minus one or two degrees. The airport is small as it only serves a few flights a day in winter, and we were through security and bag-drop in no time. You know the drill by now – I had to wait ten minutes whilst Paul dashed into a toilet and released his Christmas log. Any airport, any time. I think the air pressure changes associated with flying does something to his bowels – I can genuinely count the seconds from getting our bag off the conveyor to Paul turning to me with an ashen face clutching his stomach and bemoaning that he needs to go for a crap. Some people tie fancy socks to their suitcase or have a favourite towel to take on holiday as tradition – my holiday tradition is looking furiously at the closed door of a gents toilet.

As Keflavík Airport is around thirty miles from the centre of Reykjavic, you’ll need to take a bus or hire a car. I didn’t fancy Princess Diana-ing my way through the icy roads, so we opted for the bus. It’s all terribly simple and you don’t need to book in advance, rather just bustle your way to the ticket office, purchase a ticket and step aboard the idling bus, which then takes you to your hotel. It’s all exceptionally civilised. One of the many good things about Iceland is that it doesn’t seem to attract the SKOL-ashtray-and-red-shoulders brigade, so you’re not stuck on a bus hearing fifty different English accents bellow about lager and tits for an hour. Good. 

We were dropped off at the Grand Hotel first, and as it was pitch-black outside, we decided to stay in the room to drain our swollen feet and order room service. I tried to order something Icelandic but the closest we could see was a SKYR cheesecake. Oh imagine the pains. I did my usual hotel trick of hiding in the bathroom when they bring all the trays of food in so that Paul looks like a giant fatty, though I was fairly restrained this time – I didn’t make my usual ‘straining’ noises from behind the door.

Stuffed full of food and tired from all the sitting down, we were off to sleep in no time, accompanied by the only English channel we could find – Sky News. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t watch Sky News if a nuclear bomb was stuck up my arse and they were telling me how to defuse it, but you know, needs must.

Gosh now look at that. All that writing and we’re not even out in Iceland proper yet. That’ll come in the next entry. Anyway, tonight’s recipe. Those who are lost in mirth and reverie, get yourself together. 

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This speedy breakfast bake is easy enough to make – actually, ridiculously so. Not going to lie, this isn’t our recipe, it’s actually taken from another blog, found here. We were so taken by it that we adapted it slightly for Slimming World. If you’ve got a spiraliser, you’ve FINALLY got a bloody use for it. Mind, if you don’t have a spiraliser (and you can buy a cheap one RIGHT HERE), don’t shit the bed, you can just grate the sweet potato instead. This sits well – take some the next day for work.

speedy breakfast bake

to make speedy breakfast bake, you’ll need:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated finely – use a spiraliser if you have one, it makes it easier – just have it on a fine setting
  • 12 egg whites (see tip below – you don’t need to clart about seperating eggs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 120ml of skimmed milk (take it from your HEA allowance or syn it – 100ml is two syns)
  • 80g of extra mature but reduced fat cheddar cheese (two HEA choices, remember this easily serves four)
  • as much spinach as you like, but aim for two big handfuls at the least
  • a few bacon medallions (I have an idea: use the bacon from our Musclefood deal! It’s good value and cheap as chips)

Right, the eggs – that’s a lot of eggs and you’re going to have a lot of yolk – we bought these instead from Tesco:

download

Much easier! Used about 4/5 of it, and chucked the rest into a pan for an omelette the next day.

and to make speedy breakfast bake, you should:

  • preheat the oven up to 180 degrees and line a decent square tin (or any tin, I’m not going to write a letter to the council about you) with greaseproof paper or a squirt or two of frylight
  • dry fry off the bacon and chop it up
  • mix everything together in a big old bowl, tip into the tin and cook for around an hour (check it doesn’t burn) until it’s completely cooked through
  • leave to stand for ten minutes just to cool off and firm up
  • slice and serve! 

We served ours with a side salad, but the fact that this has spinach in it already makes it a super healthy breakfast or dinner.

Enjoy!

J


Remember, if you’re a fan of our writing, and if you want to read our travel tales from Germany, Corsica and Ireland, you can find them all in our new book!