one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne

Lasagne in one pot? But of course. To be fair, this one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne is not strictly a lasagne, rather more bolognese and soft pasta, but hey, it’s still easy to make and it all comes out the same colour in the end, right? Naturally, before we get to the recipe, I’m going to say words at you until your eyes glaze over and you stop nodding politely. It’s part two of our fabulous whirlwind tour of Peterborough, so let me bust out the banner once more…

peterborough

You can find part one by clicking here, but honestly, don’t bother. Actually do bother, I’ll get 0.0001p for each page-load, and if I earn enough money, I can pay someone to raze Peterborough to the ground so it never haunts my life again. Where were we…

Ah yes. The charming Norman Cross Premier Inn. After a night spent sweating, tossing and peeling our back fat away from each other with loud slurps, we woke bright and breezy. We decided that we’d take care of our ablutions and then see about getting some breakfast. Can I let you in on a mortifying secret? We chose not to get the Premier Inn breakfast that we normally do because it wasn’t an unlimited buffet. How greedy, I know. Technically it was unlimited in the sense that I could ask the waiter to bring me more bacon, more eggs, more sausages and a portable ECG monitor, but I’m always too shy.

We like our breakfast to spread far beyond what the eyes can see and frankly, if I’m not clutching my chest, hoisting my fat-arse out of my chair and walking to a tureen of beans with the barely-disguised disgusted whispers of the other occupants of the hotel, I’m not interested. We made do with a Twirl from the vending machines and that was that.

We stopped by reception to ask if we could change rooms. I explained that the room was too hot and that Paul’s genitals now looked like a trio of celebration balloons left tied to a fence for a week, and the receptionist promised that she would arrange a new room for us once we returned from our day out. The charmer from the day before was obviously off meeting with Big Men in New York. We decamped back to our sweatbox so Paul could slide the chocolate bolt across, giving me time to plan our day.

I logged onto tripadvisor to find something to do. When the third or fourth suggestion is a chain cinema, you know you’re in trouble. I searched High Wycombe and Lowestoft (sorry, I’m so proud of that laboured joke that it’s staying in) and there was absolutely bot-all to do that didn’t require an outrageous drive and the threat of growing old prematurely by osmosis due to close proximity of coach tours.

Eventually Paul’s voice piped up from the thunderbox to tell me Bletchley Park (home of the codebreakers during WW2) was about an hour away. Shamefully, my reaction was meh, but faced with the prospect of X-Factor repeats and turning into a prune in the hotel room, we agreed that Milton Keynes our best chance of happiness – something which I’m fairly sure has never, ever been said about Milton Keynes before. Before we yawned our way down the A1 we needed fuel, and thanks to the good folk at the Mace garage in Yaxley, even that turned into a right song and dance.

See, Paul got out, put the nozzle in and clicked the handle. The pump dispensed about 4p worth of fuel then shut off. The lady behind the counter looked grimly at him through the window and ignored his plight – he kept clicking, the fuel would dribble out enough fuel to get us approximately 4ft off the forecourt and then shut off. I’m sitting in the car effing and jeffing because I’d spotted an Esso literally over the road and Paul’s clicking away like he’s a farmer counting his sheep.

Eventually, the Queen of the Pumps spots something is awry and comes out. What followed was an excruciating exchange where she just didn’t accept it was her fuel pump that was broken. No, Paul hadn’t ‘put it in right’ (I find that easy to believe, given the years and years of ‘up a bit, down a bit, up a bit more, push forward – honestly, sometimes gay sex is like I’m guiding someone in Knightmare – SIDESTEP LEFT), then he ‘wasn’t clicking hard enough’. In a gesture that speaks volumes about his character, he decided against going all No Country For Old Men on her and smiled politely throughout. IT TOOK TEN MINUTES. I mean, God loves a trier, but we know how to use a bloody petrol pump for goodness sake, we’re not on the fucking Krypton Factor.

She went in and reset the pumps about a dozen times before asking whether we’d like to switch to another problem. Guessing that the second pump would probably require us to solve a cryptic crossword and a complex Sudoko we politely declined and went on our way over the road, where only a packet of Cadbury’s Snacks could calm our ire. I wouldn’t have minded so much but Paul actually went in and paid the £2.10 of fuel we eventually got. Bah.

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Driving in Milton Keynes is an adventure, isn’t it? Bill Bryson absolutely hated the place and whilst I thought it looked alright from the car, I had no desire to step out and trip the light fantastic myself. Things became tense when we realised the Sat-Nav, built into the car with no obvious way to turn her down, was having a complete shitfit over the amount of roundabouts. If the British government ever need to break a terrorist they need only to strap them into a Ford Fiesta and let them endure 20 minutes of ‘AT THE NEXT ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE SECOND LEFT AT THE NEXT ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE THIRD EXIT AT THE NEXT ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE THIRD ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE JUNCTION TAKE TAKE TAKE ROUNDABOUT ROUNDABOUT ROUNDABOUT’. I felt like I was being driven by Johnny 5 in the throes of a nervous breakdown.

We arrived at Bletchley Park with only mild tinnitus and discovered a small computer museum at the arse-end of the car-park. Being giant geeks we were very excited, and, being giant geeks, we waddled breathlessly to the entrance just as the volunteer flipped the open sign over and opened the door. Hooray! We immediately got stuck behind a visitor who thought he was God’s Gift to comedy, every line to the cashier was a ‘joke’ and bit of patter. It was just awful. I had a thought that it must be what it is like to be stuck behind me in Tesco but I quickly tucked that thought away into the same mind-folder where the ‘I bet that ingrown toenail goes septic and you lose your foot’ and ‘is your heart supposed to go boom-badum-boom-badum-BOOM-whoo when you climb stairs’.

The computer museum was a treat. It was a pleasure to be somewhere which wasn’t full of screaming children getting their arses smacked and stupid interactive displays that don’t work. No, this museum was decidedly (and fittingly) old school – full of amazing old computers and genuine pieces of history like the Tunny machines and Colossus, which were both instrumental in helping decipher secret messages during World War Two. We revelled at the old computers from times way past and then were horrified to find that computers we remembered from our youth were classed as ‘retro’. I’ve never felt so old. A lot of the old machines were switched on and I couldn’t resist typing

HELLO SORRI HUNS MI APP IS DOWN HOW MANI SUNS IN ALDI YOGURTS PLEASE XOXOXO

into an old ICL DRS6000. I know, I’m a stinker. We did want to sit and play on the old BBC computers (I’ve never finished Granny’s Garden and god-damnit, I still remember where the magic tree is) but there was a group of three lads in the room spraying spittle through their braces and chuckling loudly about frame-rates. Is there a word for intimidation mixed with pity? I bet there’s a German word. Regardless, we moved on and after a quick fanny about with a few knobs in the classroom (oh that takes me back) we were done. We left a lovely positive Tripadvisor report and made our way down to the actual Bletchley Park estate.

Now, something to annoy you, due to ongoing issues with the managements of both attractions, you pay twice – once to visit the Computing Museum (block H of the estate) and once more to visit the rest of the estate. Hmm. Naturally, because the estate had a few interactive boards and a video tour, the price for entry is £34.50 for the two of us. Bah. However, this too was a lovely few hours – we wandered around at our own pace, taking in the interesting stories and displays, and credit where it’s due, the attraction does an excellent job of celebrating the amazing work that folks like Alan Turing did. I confess to a little bit of museum-fatigue: there’s only so many times you can walk into a hut, look at a map on a table and nod appreciatively. It also gave us both pause to think that only 64 years ago being gay was cause enough to lock someone up for gross indecency. How far we’ve come, eh.

Tell you what – let’s pick the rest of our tale up tomorrow – we’re already at 1,500 words and I know how you all get when you’re hungry. Tonight’s one-pot recipe then is one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne and whilst it doesn’t look like much in the photo, it’s a very tasty wee dish to make during the week and take to lunch the next day. On we go…

to make one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne, you’ll need:

to make one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne, you should:

  • add a little oil to a large casserole pot and heat over a medium-high heat
  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • add the garlic and onions, stir and cook for another three minutes
  • add the passata, chopped tomatoes, stock, spinach, herbs and pasta and mix well
  • bring to the boil the reduce to a simmer and cover with the lid
  • cook for about 15 minutes until the pasta is al dente
  • add the mozzarella to the pan (tear into chunks if you’re using a ball) and stir through the mixture until melted
  • serve

Nice, right?

If you’re looking for more recipes with beef, pasta or seafood (why not), click the buttons below!

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Goodnight all.

J

one pot sausages and boston beans

Do you ever cook something, expect it to be awful and then are blown away by how good it tastes? That’s this recipe for sausages and boston beans, and better yet, it genuinely is one the easiest dishes we’ve ever done on here. Of course, because this is a twochubbycubs recipe and I love the sound of the fat on my fingers slapping against the slightly tacky keys on my keyboard, you’re going to get a bit of nonsense first.

Tonight’s post the first of a two-parter about our long weekend to Peterborough. I love writing ‘travel’ entries because they’re usually full of fun places, wonderful food and trills of laughter. I’d like to caveat this entry by stressing: we went to Peterborough. Look, I even knocked together a wee graphic.

peterborough

Normally at this point I’d apologise for being cruel in anticipation of the angry emails and comments I’ll get about slagging off a town, but I’m not actually convinced Peterborough has electricity, nevermind the internet, so I shan’t bother.

It’s all Paul’s fault. His family are all from down South whereas my family are from The North. Thus, he sees a lot of my family and only rarely does he venture down South to see his. He hasn’t fallen out with them, you understand, but we’re talking about a man for whom turning over in the bath to wash himself is an effort – the thought of driving however many miles and spending a weekend nodding at nonsense is beyond him. It’s certainly beyond me and that’s why whenever Paul has previously slopped family-bound down the A1, I’ve stayed at home eating delicious food and idly masturbating. It’s what every single guy does when his partner leaves and if you’re sitting there thinking that your partner doesn’t, then you’re in for a very rude awakening when you find all the crusty hand smears down the side of the mattress.

Oops, I got diverted. It began a couple of weeks ago when Paul turned to me, ashen-faced, and told me it was time we both went to see his family. I’d have been less frightened, alarmed and upset if he had wrote me a letter explaining he was Patient Zero of that antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea and I could expect a cock like a dripping nose within a week. However, because I’m a gentleman, I acquiesced – not least because Paul’s had ten years of trying to decipher my Dad’s Geordie accent and eight years of my nana force-feeding him butter sandwiches like he was a foie-gras duck, so me visiting his relatives seemed fair enough.

Just so you’re aware, I have visited Peterborough once before – we stayed at Orton Hall and visited the cathedral. It was mildly diverting in the same way a repeat episode of your third favourite TV show may hold your attention. We got drunk with a friend of his and ended up sat in a Vauxhall Nova in a McDonalds car park eating chips. I’ve literally never felt more street in my life. So we weren’t in a rush to repeat that and decided to book a nice hotel on the outskirts. Finding a decent hotel that wasn’t massively overpriced turned into such an insurmountable challenge that I threw a sulk once we reached Nottingham on the map and demanded that we just check into the first Premier Inn that came up on the map. We later found out that the Burghley Horse Trials were on and that explained – apparently – why all the hotels were booked up. Personally, I hope all the horses were found guilty.

We agreed that we’d drive down to Peterborough on the Saturday morning in our rented Ford Tedium and despite willing my liver to rupture, I was unable to get out of it. Actually, nevermind getting out of it, I could barely get into our rented car. Perhaps you’ve been in a Ford Fiesta – do you find the doors ridiculously small and low down? I had to fold myself like an accordion of chafed skin just to get inside. I haven’t quite reached the stage where I can’t physically fit into a car (probably a few pounds away) but this was a nightmare. I actually think I cracked a rib jumping in after I’d filled the bugger up.

To make my joy complete, Paul decided that he would be the one to drive most of the journey, leaving me to sit in the passenger sit twisting my face and eating crisps. I did spot that, being a fancy new model, I could text the car and it would read out a message for Paul. You may have seen the advert on TV where some spurned husband has the car read out a heartwarming apology and they laugh gaily at one another and ruefully shake their heads? Yeah, well, this was my attempt – warning, there’s a naughty word.

I blurred out my name because well, privacy.

The drive down was spectacularly uneventful – the usual parade of stopping to have a piss in amongst the poo-cloud of eight hundred harried dads and children, paying way over the odds for a cup of tea and moaning about it for ten minutes in the car, spending too much money on the fruit machines in the vain hope I’d win the jackpot and I could whisk Paul away somewhere exotic and full of promise, like Norwich. Nope. We arrived at his mother’s house at 11am.

I had a cup of tea. It was nice.

Twenty minutes later we agreed to take his brother out for lunch. I love Paul’s brother – he’s a proper gentle giant and really knows his stuff. He has severe autism which leads to moments of slight awkwardness when he blurts out to a waitress that she’s gorgeous and can share his milkshake. Or, memorably, when he whistled at a poor woman in Seahouses literally three inches from her face as he walked past. He just says what we’re all thinking. Anyway, a quick look at decent places to eat nearby turned up absolutely nothing and anyway, he wanted to go to a Bella Italia, so off we went to an industrial estate to have a meal that was about as Italian as I am a Calvin Klein model with a cock like a roll of wallpaper.

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I’m not going to review the place in depth because well, it was a Bella Italia for goodness sake, but understand that it was a dismal meal in dismal surroundings for £90. Until that day I would never have thought a pizza could actually look bored but there we have it. We asked for a quiet table away from any noise and the prissy little manager who seated us looked like I’d personally walked into the kitchen and shat in the carbonara. When I first typed that I typoed walked as wanked – that also works, so pick one. He sat us next to the bar with a fetching giant cylinder of blue-roll to sit with. Perhaps he thought we could snack on that in the vain hunt for flavour.

Our starter was described on the menu as a ‘real taste of Italy’. Who knew that Italy tasted like a third of those continental sliced meat platters you get in ASDA sweated behind the radiator for an hour or so? It did come with shaved fennel and orange segments but there’s only so much excitement you can wring from such a lacklustre repast. Between the three of us we had it finished before the bubbles on my diet coke had come to the surface. Naturally, it cost £15.

We had a pizza each (at £15 a pop) which tasted like a carpet tile smeared with passata and shunned by society. At one point I nearly gave up and smeared the blue roll with tomato sauce to get my money’s worth. The sides consisted of six onion rings for £4. 66p an onion ring. I did want to enquire whether or not Gino d’Campo was slicing them personally with a diamond but Paul shook his head at me and said no. Oh and the drinks! The diet coke came in a glass that Thumbelina herself would have considered meagre and, as usual, was more ice than drink. They were £2.60 a time, non-refillable. From my vantage point I was afforded the sight of the barman preparing a ‘fresh apple juice’ by opening a carton of Tesco Value apple juice and pouring it into a tiny milk bottle. That cost £2.50, by the way.

Desserts were a little better. Paul’s brother wanted ice-cream but also wanted to pick the flavours – his treat, so why not. The waitress had the good grace not to vomit into her mouth when he ordered a mixture of rum and raisin, chocolate and bubblegum ice-cream all topped with limoncello sauce and crushed almond biscuits. Paul and I ordered a Mean Joe between us which is apparently:

“Nutty fudge brownies, vanilla and chocolate gelato, chocolate sauce, fresh cream, popping candy, dark chocolate tagliatelle and a wafer curl. He’s got it sorted!”

What we got was four scoops of chocolate ice-cream, a brownie that could have been used to chock the tyres of a runaway bus and a shitty look. I’ve had more delightful desserts free from the Chinese takeaway. Paul’s brother gamely ate all of his ice-cream and we settled the bill. You know what stung the most? Our waitress was lovely and I couldn’t not tip her, so the meal actually ended up costing £100 in total. Imagine my delight. We bundled Paul’s brother back into the car and made our way back to his mother’s house to drop him off before the sugar kicked in.

I stroked a dog. It was nice. Paul had threatened in the car to make me laugh by pulling faces at me whilst his mother made conversation with me but that never happened.

We made our way to the Premier Inn, at least comforted by the fact we’d get a good night’s sleep, guaranteed. Things got off to a shaky start when Paul realised that the guy checking us in was his mortal enemy from school who had told everyone he was better than everyone else and was off to New York to pursue a music career. Seemingly the bus to the airport terminates at Junction 16 of the A1. Who knew? I had noticed that our welcome was a tad more frosty than normal but it was only when Paul explained in the corridor – and I had ascertained that he hadn’t actually sucked him off at some point (which, to be fair to me, seemingly applies to anything with testosterone within a 60 mile blast radius of Peterborough) that it all became clear.

The Premier Inn itself wasn’t bad, but meh. We were put into a weird extension bit which required trundling down an endless corridor of foist and extra-marital-sex-stink and our room eschewed curtains, instead sealing out the light with a huge set of sliding wooden doors. This mean the room was hot and tiny, the two worst things for two fat blokes. We freshened up (i.e. Paul immediately had a introductory thundering crap in the toilet like he does in EVERY SINGLE HOTEL ROOM WE EVER, EVER BOOK) and set out for his dad’s place, a little bit further down the A1.

Well, this was actually lovely. His dad and his partner are lovely, funny folk with witty conversation and big warm hearts. I’m not even being sarcastic (I know!) – we stayed for two hours and it felt like minutes. I’m actually quite a shy person and find making conversation tricky with people I don’t know but it was wonderfully easy and I was sad to leave. We did manage to subscribe them to the blog so, if you’re reading this Mrs A, take comfort in the fact that you both were a bright spot in an otherwise relentlessly grim weekend!

After leaving we did a cursory glance on Tripadvisor for a delicious place to eat, realised we’d have more marginally more success finding someone with a complete set of teeth and instead decamped to Tesco, where our Saturday night was made complete with a few packets of Cup-a-Soups and some crisps. We both fell asleep in front of the X-Factor, wishing for death.

Let’s leave this entry there, shall we? Bake Off starts soon and I want to watch Mary Berry gum and gurn her way through bread week. Tonight’s one-pot dinner genuinely couldn’t be easier. It’s probably a bit of cheek calling it boston beans but hey, if I put sausage and beans on the recipe, you might get misled. This makes enough for two.

sausages and boston beans

to make one pot sausages and boston beans, you’ll need:

  • two tins of kidney beans in chilli sauce
  • two large white onions
  • one packet of sausages (your syns will vary depending on what you use – we use our Musclefood sausages from our giant mixed summer pack because they actually taste of meat and which come in at half a syn each – click here for that – enjoy)
  • one beef oxo cube
  • one garlic clove
  • splash of worcestershire sauce
  • two large jacket potatoes
  • pepper

to make one pot sausages and boston beans, you should:

  • stick your jacket potato in the oven
  • cook your sausages off until nice and brown and then take them out
  • slice your onions nice and thin and add them into the pan
  • add the minced garlic and cook off for a few moments
  • open the tins of kidney beans and put all the contents, including the gloopy water, into the pan
  • fill one of the tins halfway full with water and add that along with the worcestershire sauce, oxo cube and plenty of pepper
  • add the sausages and allow everything to simmer gently until the sauce is thick
  • serve with the potatoes – delicious!

We get asked a lot for recommendations for a decent one-pot pan. I can’t recommend Le Creuset enough. They’re expensive, oh yes, but we use ours daily. Invest in one right here and never look back. Cheaper alternatives are absolutely fine mind!

If you want more sausage recipes, plus some delicious beef, chicken, pork or fakeaway recipes, click on the buttons below!

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Hope you enjoy!

J

chicken and cabbage stir fry

Chicken and cabbage stir fry? Just scroll on down. Or have a read of my nonsense…

Now, the last blog entry was bloody miserable, wasn’t it? It all went a bit hello darkness, my old friend, did it not? Well come on, settle back in your chair and let me tell you some good things about Cornwall. It wasn’t all bad, I promise. Look, we had a nice cottage. In fact, I even made a wee video of how it looks. Forgive the crap film style, but see this was originally just intended as a Whatsapp to a mate. Don’t be mean.

It was charming – a small, hidden away little building nestled on a back lane in a small, charming village. It was decorated in that style that normally makes my eyes roll back into my brain but when I’m on holiday, I can overlook and admire. Lots of Orla Kiely, whose name still looks and sounds to me like a Countdown Conundrum, including a few feature walls clad in that distinctive colourful wallpaper which has the unique double effect of making me ooh and wince at the same time. A whoo, perhaps, only not so exuberant. The kitchen was well-appointed, which makes a bloody change, with lots of secret little gadgets that we enjoyed like a hidden plug socket that rose from the unit like a robot’s knob and an extractor fan in the ceiling that opened up like a robot’s arsehole. It really did! Don’t get me wrong, I mean I’ve seen a bloody extractor fan before, but not a sphincter-edition that opens and shuts on command. Terribly exciting. The house was absolutely littered with the kind of living magazines you’ll often find in private hospitals – look at this table made from walnut and disdain, yours for only £16,000. I would love to be in a financial position where I could open one of those magazines and not pass out from sucking too much air in over my teeth. Actually, that’s a fib, I could a billionaire and I’d still shop at IKEA, because all my shopping experiences should end in the consumption of a hot-dog.

Everything you needed was there, including a decent TV, a wine cooler, smart outdoor furnishings, fresh flowers, a little hamper welcoming us as guests, dressing gowns…ah yes, the dressing gowns. Obviously meant for people who eat wheatgrass for breakfast and think nothing of a twenty mile run before work, these barely managed to get around us. It was like trying to hide a sofa behind a tea-towel.We persevered though, and naturally this lead to embarrassment. See, we had received a text from either the owners or the people looking after the cottage to say they’d pop around in the morning. We forgot, of course, and set about on the first morning making a nice breakfast and a mess when someone knocked on the door. Paul, barely clad in his gown, answered the door, taking a moment to ensure the dressing gown met in the middle and covered him up. 

It did – but, unbeknown to him, bless, he was so busy trying to cover his belly up and make small talk about fishing towns with the person at the door that he completely neglected to cover up his nether regions, meaning Little Paul was experiencing some Cornish air of his own. I was just out of sight frantically trying to mime ‘COVER UP’ to him but whenever he looked at me he assumed I mean cover up his belly, and he tightened his gown further at the top which meant the bottom opened up more. Paul, of course, has previous when it comes to flashing his willy – sometimes with my involvement as in Ireland, and sometimes completely on his own steam as in Corsica with the holiday rep. I’m beginning to feel he may have a problem – I reckon we shouldn’t go back to New York, for instance, because he’ll probably end up tripping over one of the live cameras and having a blisteringly highly-detailed, 80ft representation of his spam dagger projected across Times Square. Whoever was at the door had the good grace not to mention his accidental nudity and to their credit, we didn’t hear them start retching until they had climbed back into their own car. Anyway, the police only kept him in for a few hours and then let him go. Kidding. Though they could have done me for handling swollen goods afterwards, kaboom-tish.

Speaking of nudity, the cottage also came with a very odd quirk – an outside bath in the yard. The yard itself wasn’t overlooked and there was a large, wooden fence bordering you from the place next door, so there was no chance of anyone glancing over at me getting undressed and calling the police to report a runaway cow frolicking in the garden. I imagine that (and indeed, the write-up hints at it) when they designed the place they imagined lithe, hunky young couples sliding into the bath together under the stars and laughing tinkly at times past. No chance for Paul and I. If we had somehow managed to both get into the bath there wouldn’t have been any room for so much as a cup of hot water and hell, no amount of Radox Muscle Relaxant would have got us out of there. Imagine two pickled eggs squashed together at the bottom of a jar and you have a faint idea. Paul’s a complete jessie anyway when it comes to being cold so there was no chance of him joining me, though he did come to my aid when my tasteful piles of Love It, Take A Break, Hiya and Fuck Me No Way spilled out of reach across the decking. I don’t know what it is about holidays that make me reach for these magazines, full as they are with medical woes, true crime and children’s names that look like someone has had a half-hearted stab at spelling a normal name and added a hyphen and a ‘Mae’ onto it. I can’t get enough. We took two books each to read – mine being a story about a man who travelled around Britain on a bus (I know how to live) and Paul brought along The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Again. That book has travelled the world with us to the point where I’m beginning to think I need to put Frank Owen on my bloody passport. I wouldn’t care but it’s quite a weighty book and takes up a lot of space in our suitcase, especially as it remains exactly there until it’s time for the flight home again. 

There is something a smidge unnerving about bathing outside, not least because whenever a light aircraft passed overhead it must have looked like the Hindenburg crash site. Worse was climbing out because, paranoia or no, there was a crunch of gravel on the other side of the fence. I can’t imagine anyone was enjoying the sight of my hairy arse clad in Radox bubbles but hey, whatever floats your boat. Admittedly the gravel crunching was more likely to be subsistence or the ground shaking from me pouring out onto the decking, but I digress. There was also a log-burner which I can say, rather proudly, that I managed to light on the first go. Paul was giving it the whole ‘put some more fuel on it’ and ‘throw more logs on it’ like his knowledge of fire extends to anything other than clicking on his mother’s gas fire. Pfft. I grew up with coal, damn it – if it has, at some point, stood upon this Earth, I can make it burn. 

It did have an indoor bathroom, of course, we weren’t having to shit in the yard, and this included a fancy double shower with a rainfall shower and one of those tiny little showers which people say is for washing your hair but I know that secretly it’s for washing your minnie-Moo. Listen ladies, I know what goes on. The dials for the shower had no clue on them as to what made it go hot and what made it go cold, nor what shower they operated, so the half-awake morning shower became more like a scene from Saw as you dodged scalding jets on the back of your leg and an icy cascade from above. I half-expected a little doll on a tricycle to wheel around the corner, although if he was bringing me a fresh bar of coal-tar soap I’d be happy.

If we had only one complaint, it would be the bed. See, we’re spoilt up here because we have an absolutely giant bed that we can tumble around in and lose each other in the heat of night, but this bed was your bog-standard, plain Jane affair. Comfortable yes, but Paul’s both a snorer and a feeler (in that, if I’m not lying next to him, he’ll be reaching out with whatever he can extend until he finds me) and, without space to escape, it made for a long, noisy, sleepless few nights. The pillows weren’t the rock-hard type that we like (honestly, I reckon Paul would be more content if I had someone come and concrete a step onto the bed instead of pillows) and so we both managed to crick our necks. Me especially so, given I’m already carrying a weird neck injury at the moment. The upshot of this was that I couldn’t turn my head right and Paul couldn’t turn his head left, which made driving in Cornwall, with its labyrinthine roads and many, many junctions, a very fractious event. Many moments of calm and tranquility in the Cornish countryside were ruined by the over-revving of my engine, me shouting at Paul to check my way rather than his way and him shouting at me saying he couldn’t and then us both shouting at each other for confirmation and then finally shouting at some poor fart in the car in front for not pulling away sharp enough and thus forcing us to repeat the whole dance again. BAH.

That is the only complaint though. We had a remarkable stay and it’s a place that, despite my crass and crude review, I can’t recommend strongly enough. It was tastefully decorated, ideally situated, had everything you could need and, for once, it was made for couples rather than smelly children. We booked with www.uniquehomestays.com and the cottage was called Two Bare Feet. We’d go back in a heartbeat. Well, no, maybe if they moved it onto the Northumberland coast…

…right, let’s get to the recipe, shall we? This recipe serves 4.

chicken and cabbage stir fry

to make chicken and cabbage stir fry you will need:

  • 300g dried noodles
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into chunks (you don’t need to use four breasts here, despite this being for four people – two big Musclefood chicken breasts will do. I know I bang on about them a lot but two of these breasts is more than enough meat, especially compared to the tiny ones you get from the supermarket – just have a look at our deal and you’ll never look back!)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp root ginger, grated
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 peppers, cut into strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cabbage, chopped
  • 300g frozen peas, thawed
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds (optional – roughly 2 syns)

Don’t forget, use your mincer for the ginger and then just put your ginger knob right in the freezer. It’ll be fine! A microplane mincer is one of the best things you can buy for the kitchen and it’s so cheap!

to make chicken and cabbage stir fry you should:

  • cook the noodles according to the instructions, drain and rinse with cold water, and then set aside
  • in a large bowl whisk together the chicken stock, soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger and cornflour – make sure there are no lumps
  • allow the stock mixture to cool slightly if it is hot (such as if you’ve made it using a stock cube and boiling water) and then add the chicken, and leave to marinade for about 20 minutes
  • using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the bowl and shake off the excess, but keep the marinade – you’ll need that later
  • heat a large pan or a wok over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • cook the chicken, stirring frequently so it doesn’t catch
  • remove the chicken from the pan and set aside
  • in the same pan, add a little more oil and fry the onions until softened
  • add the peppers and carrots to the pan and continue to stir fry
  • add the cabbage and keep stirring, for about 6 minutes until the cabbage starts to wilt
  • add the peas to the pan along with the rest of the marinade and the chicken, and stir until the sauce has thickened
  • add the noodles to the pan and stir until warmed through
  • serve the mixture and add the spring onions to garnish

It’s as easy as that, see?

J

honey and rosemary chicken

Here for the honey and rosemary chicken? Then scroll down. I need to get something off my chest (aside from the eight stone of suffocating fat) and that’s a recount of our trip to Land’s End. I did say I’m going to do our tale of Cornwall a little differently and well, this day out needs a post all of its own. So here we go…

twochubbycubs go to Cornwall: Land’s End

You can’t go to Cornwall and not visit Land’s End – it’s like going to London and not seeing the Queen, or going to Southend and not getting roughly fingered under the pier by someone more hair gel than teeth. Oh I know, Southend is lovely and charming and really, what’s a severe physical assault when you’ve got the glitz of the Rendezvous casino and the chance to spot a Subaru doing doughnuts in a McDonalds car park? I digress. I imagined Lands End to be some quaint little village right on the tip of southern England, full of darling tea-shops and people laughing gaily.

Well, it fucking wasn’t.

Excuse my swearing, but I’ve genuinely never been more disappointed with a place in my life. And I’ve been to Hartlepool. On a bus. What should have been a fairly tasteful and certainly interesting place to visit was nothing more than a tacky, ill-designed, grasping tourist trap, comprising of poorly thought out exhibitions and miserable staff. We had chortled our way down the A30 on a brisk, drizzly English day – all roads in Cornwall seem to go via the A30, I reckon I could drive it blindfolded now – and our hearts were lifted as the Sat Nav, inexplicably tuned to the voice of Colonel Sanders, told us that the exhibition centre was only half a mile away. I should have clocked there and then – an exhibition centre? Why? Let us look at the cliffs, the signpost and perhaps have a cup of tea and a moan about our knees. Exhibitions aren’t needed – the beauty is exhibition itself. Nevermind. We indicated off into the almost empty car-park only to be waved down by someone who, a touch ironically, had a face like a wet weekend. He informed us that it was £5 for the privilege of parking our car into what looked like a plane crash site, all jagged and cratered. I try to crack a joke that ‘I’m not bringing a coach in’ but he wasn’t having any of that, so we paid up and did the very British thing of sitting in the car bitching on about it.

£5 though. Yes, it’s not a great amount of money in the grand scheme of things, but it’s grasping. Why a fiver? Am I going to tear up five pounds worth of tarmac primly parking my DS3? Was he going to bring it around for me when we left? There’s simply no need for it, especially out of season. Still twisting our faces, we stole a glance at the leaflet, which promised ‘something to do for every member of the family’. Hmph.

I just want you to know that at this point I had an absolutely killer joke lined up but the other half censored it because he said ‘think of the complaints’ – spoilsport. But see we do have limits.

Our first stop was to the giant tat shop, which was full of all the lovely things only people in their nineties buy for other people in their nineties that they don’t like – fudge that predates decimalisation, clothes you wouldn’t wear for a bet and all sorts of lead-based paperweights, pencils and cough sweets. I can’t imagine a single soul in their life has desired an ashtray showing people they once went to the absolute arse-end of the country they’re smoking in, but hell, here they were, and cheap at only half your dignity. We sniffed the scented candles with all their wank names: “Cornwall Wash”, “Grasping Bastards” and “Fuck Me, A Fiver?!” all leaving a sour taste in our mouths. The one item I quite fancied, a small slab of designer (!?) chocolate, caught my eye, until I realised it would be cheaper to buy Hotel Chocolat in Newcastle and have someone walk it down to the Cornwall cottage. We did end up parting with coins though – everywhere we go we always get some item of pure unadulterated tat for the games room – and so a lovingly, hand-painted snowglobe was bought, depicting what looks like Dachau in the midst of a wailing snowstorm, but is ostensibly a tiny representation of the visitor centre. Incidentally, Cornwall is the least likely place to get snow in the entire United Kingdom, so it only seemed appropriate that they’d have a huge display of snowglobes. Perhaps it was tiny fivers billowing about under the glass. Again, and there’s going to be a theme here, sorry, but we were served by someone who had all the personality and warmth of an unapologetic fart. She served us like we were inconveniencing her terribly, despite us and a gaggle of equally depressed looking Chinese tourists being the only people in her shop, and she slapped down our produce and money like they were on fire. I’ve never heard have a good day said with such venom. We pressed on.

They describe the opportunity to ‘feel like a giant by visiting our miniature village’. I love stuff like this, it’s such a British thing to do, but once we’d lumbered over there, it was shut for repairs. I looked carefully and didn’t see any 1/16th sized cement mixers going about their business or Subbuteo-sized men in hi-viz jackets standing around scratching their arse. Ah well, there’s other stuff to do, something for everyone remember? We looked at the leaflet and saw we could choose between an ‘Aardman exhibition’ (I’m sure I went to something along those lines in Berlin) or ‘Arthur’s Quest’. Well, nothing says welcome to Cornwall like nosing around claymation and oohing over a bloody animation studio based in er, Bristol. Right. We thought we’d give it a go, not least because it was indoors and it was getting a mite cold so close to the sea, but er, it was shut. Wahey – that fiver’s worth of parking seemed even more reasonable at this point. Being plucky, cheerful Geordies, we sucked up our disappointment and decided to try Arthur’s Quest, which was an interactive maze narrated by Brian Blessed. Even if it was appalling, the fact that Brian was going to be shouting orders at you would make it hilarious. The man has a gift – he could sit me down and tell me my spine was turning to dust and my penis was about to fall off and I’d still walk out of the surgery slapping my knees and guffawing. 

But, it was closed. Three for three of pure disappointment. That left buying a Cornish pasty at the little café but frankly, Paul was beginning to have chest pains through too much pastry so we sacked that off and decided to walk, slowly, to get a picture of the famous sign which points to various destinations around the world – New York 3147 miles, John O’Groats 874 miles, decent tourist attractions anywhere but here. Here’s another cherry on top of this bun of disappointment. You’re expected to pay £9.95 to get your photo taken by the sign and it’s actually chained off so  anyone with the temerity to think this is a bloody ripoff can’t just hop over and take a photo. There’s a passive-aggressive sign saying it’s someone’s family business and to respect that. The man in the little booth glared at us as we took a picture regardless. I would have cheerfully have paid a couple of quid or stuck a smaller note into a charity box but a tenner? For a photo? Haway. It’s possibly the most famous sign in Britain, let people take a photo with it and then they’ll go spend the rest of their money in the eateries and shops around (assuming they’re bloody open) and everyone is a winner! This outrageous nickle-and-diming, prevalent all throughout Cornwall, did my absolute nut in. It’s free to have a photo taken at the other end up at John O’Groats, and I can’t imagine you need to pay to park either. Anyway, I reassured Paul I’d photoshop the two of us seamlessly into the picture and I reckon I’ve done a cracking job:

nailedit

Seriously I should work for Vogue touching up their photos, you can barely tell.

You know when you think a place couldn’t get any worse? It managed it – the telescopes to look out to sea were more expense and only sought to bring the fog and mist closer to us. There was a wee lighthouse to look at but I could have had the same magnification effect by moving my glasses an inch down my nose. Paul was inexplicably wearing his sunglasses despite me referring to him as Homocop all day. There was a little bird hide to sit for a bit to see the kittiwakes, but naturally, that was closed too. That especially disappointed me because I was at least hoping for a magnificent shag at this point, given there was no-one around. Bah! We mooched on for a bit more and decided to try and salvage the hour by having a cup of tea in the First & Last House a bit up the hill. I presume that’s been renamed from ‘The Last Place in England’ because they were sick of hearing people saying they’d never drink there again if it were the last place in England. We asked for two cups of tea and were handed two paper cups of hot water with a teabag hanging in it. For not a kick-off-the-arse-of £4. Something which I reckon would cost at maximum 5p to make. Even the milk was in those awful little sealed cups you get on aeroplanes, that jettison their contents all over your trousers if you so much as blink at them. And, yes, the woman serving us was hostile and unpleasant and had a face like a grieving cod.

At this point we’d spent £16.70 for the opportunity to make our own tea, park in a crater and look at some ‘closed’ signs. I was spitting. I’m not a tight-arse when it comes to money, far from it, but there’s got to be a line. I’ll happily put money into a charity pot or buy a magazine or wince my way through an overpriced ice-cream but charging people to park up and then not telling them most of the exhibitions are closed, or to take a photo of a landmark? Ridiculous, and honestly, it’s very much a southern thing. That isn’t some parochial Geordie tubthumping either, but take for example our Angel of the North – you turn up to this massive piece of artwork, park for nowt, can walk all over it, climb on the bugger, hell someone even put a giant Newcastle shirt on it once, and it costs not a penny. There’s occasionally an ice-cream man there peddling 99s but that’s about it. If Anthony Gormley had had a fit of the vapours and plopped his pin in Newquay instead of Newcastle, you’d have the Angel boxed off from sight unless you paid a tenner, someone selling pasties the size and price of a small family car between her legs and an inexplicable (and inevitably closed) exhibition all about something local and relevant like ooh…geisha girls, for an extra forty quid. Bah.

I’ll say one good thing: the cliffs were pretty. But then so are the cliffs at the Ring of Kerry and I didn’t have my pockets patted down there either.

I’ve never driven away from a place so quickly and angrily as I did that afternoon. The sound of gravel and soil churning under my tyres was almost drowned out by the sound of my teeth gnashing. If I can take one comfort from all of this is that I managed to at least use £5 worth of toilet paper dropping off a tod of barely digested pasty in the netty before I went. Take that, you grasping bastards!

low syn honey and rosemary garlic with roasted vegetables

to make honey and rosemary chicken you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts (look at the size of the chicken breast in that picture – it’s a Musclefood chicken breasts and they’re tasty and plump and pert, like a good breast should be. I’m told. You’ll get loads of them in our fantastic freezer filler box – take a look and see!)
  • 1 tbsp honey (2½ syns)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • ½ tsp garlic, chopped finely
  • any vegetables of your choice (we used 1 courgette, 2 peppers, 1 red onion, handful of asparagus spears, handful of black olives, basically any old shite you have tumbling around amongst the chocolate and the crisps)

to make honey and rosemary chicken you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees and chop your vegetables into large chunks or slices
  • spray with a little frylight (or some Fillipo Berio olive oil – that’s what we do, 7 sprays for half a syn) and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes. you won’t need to turn it – we sometimes add a sprinkle of salt or balsamic vinegar, especially when we’re using tomatoes)
  • meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the honey, lemon juice, rosemary and chopped garlic
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the chicken breasts 
  • cook for about 10 minutes, and flip over
  • after five minutes, pour the the honey mixture over the chicken and into the pan and cook for another five minutes
  • serve the chicken on top of the roasted vegetables

Easy! And yes, it might be a fraction more than 0.5 syns – perhaps a quarter of a syn more – but buggered if I’m going to shit the bed over a quarter of a syn.

J

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.

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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