deck the halls with a twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap

AH YES: the twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap! We know it’s not technically a wrap – it just sounds sexier. Remember when the Spice Girls released that god-awful version of that god-awful ‘Christmas favourite’ song, Christmas Wrapping? Wasn’t it just awful? We’d be shit Spice Girls, though I’ve got the bust to carry off a Union Jack leotard. I could be Grindr Spice – guaranteed to blow your mind and your cock. Paul would be Spherical Spice, or Mmmmace for short. Anyway, that’s quite the digression for an opening paragraph, isn’t it?

Before we get started remember: we’d LOVE a Christmas card from you! It’s all we want for Christmas – if you enjoy our recipes or we’ve made you laugh until you’ve moistened your nipsy then please let us know. Send us a card to twochubbycubs, PO Box 217, Bedlington, NE63 3FA and we’ll love you forever. Honestly, I’ve never been this excited to see a man empty his sack for years!

We have our tree! It’s beautiful. 7ft of glorious Nordmann fir, equal branches, lovely deep green, smells like a taxi-cab office. We flirted with the idea of buying a really good fake tree but do you know, it just wouldn’t be Christmas unless a good couple of hours was spent with us furiously trying to squeeze a 7ft tree into a 7ft car. Paul suggested taking the Smart car and simply strapping the tree on the top but come on. It would be like using a Little Tikes Cosy Coupe to tow a friggin’ plane down an icy runway. One of Paul’s friends has a fake tree which she last decorated back in 2008 and all she does after Christmas is wrap the whole tree in cling film – lights, baubles and tinsel still in situ – and then bungs it up in her loft.

I like her style, but such shenanigans wouldn’t work for us, not least because we have a new theme every year. We’re not one of those sentimental (for sentimental, read classy) couples who buy a tasteful decoration every time we go somewhere fancy and then spend hours at Christmas reminiscing and smiling at each other over memories past. No, every single Christmas since we’ve been together Paul has decided that the last decorations were old-hat and that we needed to buy new ones because what previously looked amazing now looks drab and tired. We’ve had a snow theme. We’ve had a rainbow theme. We’ve had a chuck-everything-on-there-at-once-theme. I suggested a budget theme where we don’t dress the fucker at all but that was shot down for being grinch like. My second suggestion of a retro-theme where, god forbid, we actually use the same decorations as before, was met with a look like I’d just shat in his coffee.

However, Paul doesn’t cause me too much fuss, so I tend to just retire to the Xbox and let him crack on with decorating it. He does a grand job, to be fair, even if there is an unusual amount of swearing during the decorating process and far too much Mariah Carey for my liking. I get to come and appraise his efforts, drink Baileys and turn on the lights, which every year fills me with so much angst because I’ve seen 999 and I know my Christmas tree is just itching to burst into flames.

Anyway, perhaps we should have exercised a modicum of common sense when it came to picking the tree because getting it home was an adventure in itself – whilst we did indeed manage to squeeze it into the car, it meant driving the fifteen miles or so home without any visibility behind me, the ability to see any of my mirrors and great difficulty in changing the gears because the car at this point was 85% fir needles. I had to rely on Paul to check his side when we were pulling out of junctions and this is a man who gets distracted wiping his own arse. I’ve never feared for my life more behind the wheel. Imagine having a crash and the ambulance men not being able to get at your prone body because you have a £70 tree through your face. Goodness.

We made it home – obviously – and the next part of the struggle took place: trying to get it back out of the car. It was wedged in so tight that it had almost become a feature of the car itself and it was only after twenty minutes of jimmying it every which way that we were able to get it free, stumble across the lawn and into our house. Paul took great care to make sure every possible wall received a scratch or a bit of mud which resulted in me getting one of the eighteen tester pots of paint out to gussy the place back up. Final insult? The bloody thing wouldn’t go into the tree-stand from last year because the trunk is too thick. Pfft. Listen, if being a gay man has taught me anything, is that you’d be surprised at what you can slide into a very small hole if you just take your time and apply enough gentle force. Fifteen minutes of wrestling back and forth was rewarded with the trunk sliding in with a satisfying pop. I’d have offered the tree a cigarette afterwards but see above re: fire risk.

And there it stays. Paul will decorate it tomorrow once it has dried out, leaving a 24 hour window for the cats to climb all over it and scratch away at the trunk. Hell, I’d hate to feel like they were left out. Sola might have enjoyed the Christmas experience so much yesterday having wrapping tape stuck to her bajingo that she’s become a full Christmas convert. However, because you enjoyed the tale so much yesterday, she’s actually deigned to do a posed photo for you all.

twochubbycubs' christmas wrap

You might be thinking she looks adorable but let me tell you, she’d sooner cut your face clean open than return any love. So be warned.

Shall we crack on with the twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap then? This makes enough for four people – if you’re making more or fewer, just amend the recipe as needed. Feel free to change it up, leave out the cheese, add more stuffing, eat all four and spend the night crying into an endless glass of gin. Up to you. Apologies for the poopy photo, though, I tried my best!

twochubbycubs' christmas wrap

to make a twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap you will need:

  • 4 pitta breads (from your HeB allowance)
  • 2 chicken or turkey breasts, cooked and sliced into four
  • 4 bacon medallions

You get chicken and bacon in our excellent meaty mix-up deal with Musclefood – only £40 delivered for all sorts of syn-free deliciousness! Stock up for winter!

  • 100g Paxo sage and onion stuffing mix (6 syns)
  • 4 tbsp cranberry sauce (8 syns)
  • 4 slices of cheese (from your HeA allowance)
  • 4 lettuce leaves

Comes in at 3.5 syns for a full pitta. Pitta? I barely knew her! RECTUM? Damn near killed him!

to make a twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap you should:

  • if you aren’t using leftover chicken or turkey, cook the raw breasts in the oven on 200 degrees for ten minutes, then turn and cook for another fifteen minutes
  • cook the bacon too if you haven’t already – yeah go on, do what you’re told
  • make up the stuffing mix according to the instructions, roll into balls (to be clear, if you’re a bloke, we mean roll them into sphere shapes, not spread them onto your scrotum) (chipolata anyone?) and bake
  • next, toast the pitta breads in the toaster for a few minutes
  • cut into two halves and open up the middle
  • fill the pitta breads with a slice of chicken/turkey, a bacon medallion, stuffing ball (cut them in half to spread the love about), a slice of cheese, bit of lettuce and finish off with a tablespoon of cranberry sauce
  • shove into your gob

Lovely right? You want more delicious things? Then click the buttons my squashy friends!

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Eee, there’s more buttons there than any pearly queen! Please remember to share!

J

apple, mushroom and sage risotto

Paul’s had a difficult day dealing with 185 million emails and I’ve shouted myself hoarse at some twat in a BMW who seemed to think the 70mph limit was 40mph too fast and thus trundled along in front of me reading his phone, so it’s straight to the recipe (as promised). We love risottos here at Cubs Towers, and this unusual flavour combination couldn’t be more autumnal. Why the fuck have I started sounding like Mary Berry when describing my recipes? Good grief. RECIPE NOW. This makes enough for two big bowl fulls, and later, two big bowel fulls.

apple, mushroom and sage risotto

to make apple, mushroom and sage risotto you will need:

  • 4 bacon medallions
  • 2 shallot, sliced
  • 100g shittake mushrooms, chopped
  • 200g arborio rice
  • 125ml apple juice (about 3 syns)
  • 1 litre chicken stock (make by dissolving three chicken stock cubes in a litre of boiling water
  • ½ cooking apple (peeled, cored and chopped)
  • ⅛ tsp sage
  • cooked chicken breast (optional)

Here’s the thing. Technically, if you’re following Slimming World to the letter, you should syn your quarter of a cooking apple. However, that, to me, is nonsense. If I was saying you should put a pack of butter in and not syn it, that would be wrong, but a nice healthy apple – and a tiny bit of it at that? Nope! Always your decision to make though!

You could easily use the chicken and bacon from our new Musclefood box, which has lots of those, and others, inside – click here for that.

to make apple, mushroom and sage risotto you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add the bacon, cook until crispy and put aside on a plate. when cooled, chop it up into crispy bits
  • wipe out the pan and add a little oil, reduce the heat to medium-high
  • fry the shallot and mushroom for about 4 minutes, until softened and add the rice
  • stir well until the rice is coated
  • add the apple juice to the pan and cook until it’s mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes or so
  • add 1 ladle of chicken stock and stir frequently until it’s mostly absorbed
  • add the next ladle and stir again until absorbed
  • add the chopped apple to the pan along with another ladle of chicken stock until absorbed, and keep adding stock by the ladleful until it’s all absorbed
  • remove from the heat and stir in the sage
  • serve into bowls, top with the chicken, bacon and apple slices

Need more inspiration? Just click one of the buttons below!

 

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Enjoy!

J

droptober recipe #3: cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake

Here for the cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake? It’s a few paragraphs below, but I beg your attention for a couple of minutes whilst I witter on. Let’s get the exciting news out of the way…

christmas tree week 3

Canny! I’m more surprised than anyone, trust me. We’re going slow and steady but after the week of naughtiness I had last week, I thought I’d put on for sure. Just shows: you should still go to class even when you can barely catch a breath because your mouth is so full of pie crust. If you want to take part in this challenge, there’s 100 syn free recipes and some colouring charts available all in one place right here! Remember to share.

Yes, last week then. See, I was sent up to Glasgow on a sort-of business trip to learn some new skills and socialise – both of which I’m terrible at. Had I been single I would have been up there so fast my shadow would have only appeared an hour later – Paul and I both love a Scotsman and between you and me (because who reads this, honestly) the biggest willy I’ve ever seen belonged to a Glaswegian. I didn’t know what to do with it – I’m surprised he didn’t pass out from lack of blood on the brain when he got an erection. It looked like a sausage casing stuffed with two cans of Carling Black Label. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or smash a bottle of champagne off the side of it. But those days are behind me (though I still whistle like a keyhole in a haunted castle) and so I didn’t have that to look forward to.

It also meant a whole week without Paul – I know. Before you’re all sick in your mouth (although, think of the weight-loss) please understand that we haven’t been apart for more than a week in the totality of our almost ten year relationship. I was fretting at the thought of being unable to sleep without the smell of death being blown across my nostrils at five-minute intervals. I shivered at the thought of being able to occupy more than 10% of the bed without Paul’s wandering hands, feet and knob poking and prodding me. There are nights I feel like a stress-ball. But hey, it had to be done, and it was with an aching heart and a threatening arsehole (we’d had easy peasy beef curry the night before, and whilst delicious, it was making a dramatic reappearance throughout the morning) that we schlepped off to pick up my hire car on Sunday.

I could see I was in for an easy time when I got to the desk and was assigned a car-rental-spokesperson who I wasn’t entirely convinced wasn’t dead. I’ve made more responsive omelettes. He didn’t look up from his keyboard once – perhaps he was trying to find the ‘wake the fuck up’ key but if so, he failed miserably. He didn’t check my insurance details, didn’t check my payment details, didn’t check my lyrics, nothing. I’d have had a more fruitful chat if I’d turned and had a discussion with the leaflet stand. I was going to ask him about fuel but I rather thought I’d need to fetch a defibrillator to just bring him back into some form of sentience, and well, my ankles were already hurting from having to concertina myself into Paul’s tiny Smart car. He did perk up when he remembered he could sell me an upgrade, and, remembering the Ford Boredom we’d been given last time, I asked him what he could offer me. First a Skoda – no. Then a Fiat 500 – no. Then his trump card (honestly, his eyes nearly opened with the shock) – he had an Audi. Did I want an Audi? I leaned over the desk and tried to explain that I’d be unable to take an Audi because a) I know how to use indicators and b) I’m not a middle-aged, impotent, prematurely-balding twat, but he’d pretty much already signed the card for me and was back to looking like he was trying to remember to breathe in and out. Resigned (and a fair few pounds lighter) I went to pick up my car.

Well, I’m not going to lie. It was lovely. I wanted to hate it, really I did, but it drove well and was comfortable for a long drive. I still wouldn’t buy one on sheer principle and I still think every single Audi driver – bar you and any of your charming family and friends, I’m sure – is a minge, but I can definitely see the appeal. I thought I’d do my best to be a decent Audi driver so I spent the first sixty miles or so driving gently and letting people out at junctions before a transformation took place and I was flooring it. You know how the Incredible Hulk turns green when he gets angry? I turned violet. In my defence I was stuck behind a little old dear doing 40mph on a single carriageway designed for 70mph and because I’m a nice guy deep down, I couldn’t flash my lights, but by god was I raging. I had to stop at the next services just to have a McFlurry and calm myself down.

I drove on, loving every second of having the car to myself for a long drive. I could sing along to my music without any protestation from Paul and there was no Alanis Fucking Morrisette to contend with, which was lucky as I don’t think my Budget Special Povvo Insurance would cover deliberately driving into the back of a petrol tanker. As I drove past Lockerbie the tyre pressure warning light came on. Horror! I pulled over, walked around the car kicking the tyres because I’d seen someone do it on the TV, then spent twenty minutes reading up on how to change a tyre. I have no clue. I know that I should have acquired this skill by now but really, I’m very much a pay-someone-else-to-do-it sort of guy (i.e. lazy). I didn’t want some oily-handed mechanic to come and tut at me on the hard shoulder whilst I tried to make crass jokes about helping him with his tight nuts or jacking up. I waited a bit and kicked the tyres again and they seemed hard enough, so on I went.

You may recall I’m somewhat of a catastrophic thinker – well, this meant that I couldn’t relax for the rest of the journey. That tiny light with the deflated tyre haunted me like the Telltale Heart, burning away at my retinas as I tried to think about anything else than my tyre exploding and sending me ricocheting into oncoming traffic. Imagine that – being found buckled into a shoebox cube of metal with the Audi rings imprinted on my forehead, with some coroner declaring me dead due to my lack of manliness. The last sixty or so miles into Glasgow were tenser than the last round of The Cube – I reckon there’s still a fingernail wedged into the steering wheel. However, after navigating my way down to the Clyde (via the road system, as opposed to plummeting off the A74 in a fading shriek of ABBA Gold) I arrived at the hotel, the not-especially-salubrious Garden Inn Hilton.

Alas, Paul just minced in from the kitchen to inform me dinner will be ready in ten minutes, so I’m going to plough straight on with tonight’s recipe and finish this story another time! This makes enough for four massive portions, so we’re going for comfort food here folks, not grace…

cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake

cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake

to make cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake you will need:

  • 6 bacon medallions, chopped

We use some of the bacon from our fantastic freezer filler deal – 24/26 chicken breasts, a load of bacon medallions, 5 big portions of extra lean beef mince and two portions of beef chunks – get yourself stocked up for Autumn by clicking here – it’ll open in a new window!

to make cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a splash of oil
  • slice the onions into 0.5cm slices and add to the pan, coating well
  • leave to cook in the pan for half an hour, stirring only when the edges start to brown, scraping up any bits sticking to the pan
  • when the onions are nicely browned (after about 15-20 minutes) add the balsamic vinegar, stir well to coat and continue to cook until it has evaporated off
  • meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°c
  • fry the bacon in another frying pan over a medium-high heat until crispy
  • bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions, minus a minute or two so it’s still firm to bite into
  • in a large bowl, mix together the quark, creme fraiche, garlic powder and a little salt and pepper to taste
  • stir in the cooked bacon, chopped red pepper and half the grated cheese
  • stir in the drained pasta and caramelised onions and mix well to combine
  • slop out into a large baking dish and top with the remaining cheese – yes that’s right, we use words like slop out in our recipes – some might say gently transfer, but we’re not that kind of blog, fuck no
  • bake in the oven for 20 minutes, and finish off under the grill for 2 minutes until golden and the cheese is bubbling – we were terrible and crunched a stray packet of BBQ kettle chips that we had lying around over the top (six syns, so that’s 1.5 syns extra per person – you don’t need to do it but man, was it good)
  • serve!

Easy! Looking for more pasta recipes? One-pot? All sorts? Have some buttons and you know what to do!

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J

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

We’re all itching for the proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, but honestly, like I’m going to let that happen without some flimflam first.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I might have changed his wording a little, but damn it, this is my blog not his. He’s absolutely right, though. I’ll give you an example – I have many, many cake and cooking tins from the halcyon days way back when when I used to bake all the time and delight my friends and co-workers with biscuits, cakes and goodies. Now all they get is barely disguised contempt and secretive farts into my office chair. One of these tins is a fancy Lakeland square tin with one of those bottoms that you push up (same as Paul) to release the cake. Great idea. Has it ever worked? Has it balls.

Does that stop me trying it? Of course not. No, every time a recipe requires something square, out it comes. I spend a few minutes looking owlishly at it, demanding that it doesn’t leak, then proceed with the recipe. This time it was for a fancy quiche – lots of cheese, egg whites, decent ham. I spent an age cutting up the onion, sweating them down, making everything just right. Popped the mixture into this non-leak square tin, placed the tin in the oven, turned my back for one moment to set Just a Minute away on the iPad and turned around to see all the beaten egg dripping out of the oven. My kitchen floor looked like the gusset of a £5 prostitute’s knickers. It would have been more effective had I left the removable bottom off.

Well I was furious. I’d given this fucking tin enough chances. Yes, I could line it, but it was sold to me on the basis I didn’t need to line the fucker and I’m not going to be dictated to by Lakeland. I salvaged the contents of the quiche into a Pyrex dish, covered it with egg-white and took the scalding hot square tin outside, where I set about it with a sledgehammer. Do I feel better? Yes, I do, and I’m all set if I ever want to make a rhombus-shaped christmas cake.

Anyway, that’s the only wrinkle in an otherwise lovely, quiet weekend. You know we aren’t ones for doing anything that requires more movement than entirely necessary, and that was certainly the case on Saturday, when we literally moved from the bed to the settee and back to the bed. We make no apologies, we have busy working weeks. But last night Paul turned to me and said, through a fine mist of pastry crumbs and spittle, that I was to wake him up early in the morning and not let him sleep in late. Pffft. Let me explain how weekend mornings work in our house.

I wake up about 8.30am, always have. I’m not one for sleeping all day – once my eyes open, I’m awake and that’s the end of it, thank you. Knowing he is tired, I’ll generally stay in bed until half nine so Paul has something to lie against and act as ballast to stop him tipping onto his front and drowning in his chin-fat. I’m like one of those tyres you see strapped onto the side of piers for the ferry to rub against. He’ll murmur incoherent nonsense in my ear, put a clammy hand around my belly and fart those indescribably foul morning farts in my general direction all the while. I don’t know what his body does to food overnight but I swear you could power a small city on the strength of his morning flatus. He chuckles away to himself whilst he lets them out, which I do find endearing as I’m clawing at my throat trying to find oxygen.

At around half nine, I get bored with looking at Reddit, not masturbating and spending our money and decide to wake Paul up. This is a complicated process. First I’ll start by cuddling in so he gets far too hot, but then he just moves away or lets out a warning fart, making me retreat. The next step is to start shaking the bed by jiggling on the spot, but that does nothing other than occasionally illicit a cry from him to ‘STOP WANKING’. Plus, our bed is so ridiculously oversized that by the time the tremors eventually hit him, it’s usually nighttime again.

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With the shaking of the bed bearing no fruit, I turn to shaking him directly, starting off with the buttocks, moving up to the stomach and then, if that doesn’t work, his shoulders. This normally does the trick and after he’s wiped the sleep from his eyes and tried his luck with Little Paul (not happening, matey, not without a shower and caustic acid) he reassures me that he’s going to get out of bed as soon as he’s ‘done his stretches’ and could I make him a coffee? I’m happy with this – I’ll mince, invariably stark-bollock-naked, into the kitchen, make him a coffee and return only to find him fast asleep and pulling that face that reminds me awfully of what I imagine his mother looks like when she hasn’t had the formaldehyde in her tank topped up. At this point I generally take a huff and set about cleaning the kitchen instead, which really only punishes me instead of him. At 11 I’ll go in, flap the duvet, wake him up and tell him to get up. At 11.30 I normally go in and take the duvet away altogether, which only results in him sleep-farting more in an effort to heat the room.

Noon means the nuclear option. I’ve touched on this before, but we’ve got speakers in each room of the house that can be controlled centrally via the iPad. These ones, if you please. They’re useful for cleaning – a bit of Dolly in the bathroom, some Radio 4 in the kitchen. Great stuff. At noon, I choose the worst song I can possibly find, turn the volume up to 100 so the bass shakes your fillings out, sneak in and muffle it a little with a towel so I don’t deafen the fucker, then on goes something genuinely frightening: We Want The Same Thing by Belinda Carlisle has a very loud intro, for example. There’s been Minnie Riperton singing Loving You, too, but that starts out slowly. This morning was Magic Dance from Labyrinth, which worked, but only because he was laughing so much.

I called him Hoggle, he called me DCI Vera Stanhope. Paul was awake and all was right with the world again.

Seriously though, what does fuck me off just a smidge (if you’re reading this, my little clartyarse) is that he’ll invariably turn to me fifteen minutes after getting up and say ‘you really need to start waking me up earlier’. How we both laugh as I imagine waking him up with petrol and matches.

Anyway, come, let’s get to the quiche. I really miss quiche when I’m dieting, not least because the Slimming World equivalents are usually full of cottage cheese and empty in taste. It’s the food equivalent of eating a bath sponge, only at least with a sponge you get the excitement of wondering whether you’ll choke to death to alleviate the crashing boredom. I’ve seen quiches made with Pasta and Sauces and I think, all the very best to you, but that’s not really for me. No, I need cheese, eggs, chest pains and flavour. So, here we are.

One compromise I’ve had to make is the pastry. There’s no way that you can bring pastry in under Slimming World’s radar, I’m sorry. Decent pastry is butter and flour combined, there’s not much that can be done without your consultant (hey consultants, big fan!) having a conniption fit and sobbing into her fan of stickers. However, salvation lies in the form of sweet potatoes. Yes, that’s right.

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

Seriously, look at the top of that. This makes enough for six large portions served with salad.

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

to make a proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, you’ll need:

  • one large sweet potato
  • a decent, non-stick pyrex dish that’ll not spill your dinner everywhere
  • three thick slices of ham – we got ours chopped at the deli counter, you want it about a cm thick (or use bog standard stuff if you want)
  • two large red onions
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125ml of 1% milk (from a HEA allowance, although 100ml is only two syns, so if you want, divide by six for less than half a syn per portion)
  • the whites from four more eggs
  • whatever cheese you want – I used 140g of Danish blue cheese – 35g is a HEA
  • pinch of mustard
  • bit of salt
  • lots of black pepper

to make a proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, you should:

  • slice your sweet potato – you want thickish slices and to save time and make this easier, use a mandolin – the one we use is currently reduced on Amazon, so it is
  • take your pyrex dish, give it a few squirts of spray oil and then layer the sweet potato on top of each other, covering the bottom and a little of the sides – don’t worry about the fact it doesn’t look uniform, that’s fine
  • put that into a preheated oven at 190 degrees for 25 minutes or so
  • whilst that’s cooking, cut up your onion nice and fine and sweat it off in a pan – I added a pinch of fresh thyme because I am one classy fucker
  • cut up the ham into nice cubes and crumble your cheese up
  • in a jug mix the egg whites, two large eggs, 125ml of 1% milk, pinch of mustard powder, salt and pepper
  • once your sweet potatoes are done, take them out of the oven, push them around a bit to make sure there are no major holes in the bottom of the dish
  • layer on the onion, the cubed ham, the cheese and then the egg mixture
  • cook in the oven for around 30 minutes on 200 degrees – make sure it doesn’t burn, but also, it’ll be a wee bit wobbly when it comes out, leave to cool and it’ll firm up nicely
  • I mean, do use your common sense though – if it looks like you could pour it on your cereal, cook it a bit longer
  • how easy was that?

You can swap out the cheese but don’t be adding mushrooms or tomatoes, they add liquid. I think this should be freezable, but not sure. Portion it up for lunches or, more realistically, eat the whole lot and spend the rest of the night on the toilet clutching your poor eggbound belly.

Looking for more ideas with pork or even taster nights (which you could take this quiche too, if you were feeling generous?) – click the buttons below! You could make this veggie too, so I’m including that link.

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Over and out!

J

chicken piglets: stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon

Here for the cutely named chicken piglets? Scroll down to the picture, the recipe is there. But wait, there’s more…

Can I just start by saying that I’m glad that I didn’t have a piss in my car the other day as I previously mentioned, as we now have a strapping young man giving both of our cars a deep clean.I’m just glad he turned up – his message to me was that he’d be here for dinner time. Now to me as a Geordie dinner means 12-2pm and tea is 6-8pm. However, I was fretting that he might be like Paul (i.e. a big Southern shandy-drinking nancy) and believe that dinner is an evening meal and he’ll rock up at 6pm after I’ve spent six hours looking mournfully out of the window like James Stewart in Rear Window. I do feel sorry for him – Paul’s been farting so much in his tiny little Smart car that when you open the door it hisses like the door on The Crystal Dome. I might go and check he’s not face-down on his industrial pressure washer after I’ve typed this. 

Nah, he’s fine. My angst at having people I don’t know touching my things or being in my house has been well-documented, but I’m just about managing to cope without blurting at him whether he’d like a tup of key or a handjob instead of hand-gel. I did notice that my car seat has an unfortunate white stain right where my crotch is and I don’t feel I know him well enough for him to believe me when I tell him it was a dollop of McFlurry and not jism. One look at me and you’d know I’d never miss a mouthful of McFlurry. Then again, one look at me and you’d know I’d never miss a mouthful of…and we’ll stop right there, thank you. 

Anyway, today is to be spent out in the garden, walking around, occasionally picking up a spade, putting it down again and ringing the gardener. This probably sounds like the height of laziness but listen, I feel like life is too short to be clarting about hoeing and weeding and strimming. We’ve got all the tools – we inherited a fantastic shed full of manly things (which we naturally turned into a cat-house and a place to store our many, many tins of beans) when we were given our house – but I can’t find the inclination. That said, I do like growing vegetables and this year’s theme is weird and wonderful – unusual colours and types of vegetables, including black tomatoes and rainbow carrots. Our neighbour (one of the decent ones) came over this morning to give me five tomato plants so I’m sure that’ll keep me busy. See, if I buy them myself and forget about them, I’ve let no-one down, but because he’s given the plants to me I feel duty-bound to be out at all hours watering and tending to their every whim. It is worth it, everything tastes nicer when you grow and nurture it yourself  (except, say, vaginal thrush), but I find it all very stressful making sure everything is watered and happy. I only need to spend fifteen minutes extra in bed on a Saturday for everything to turn yellow and die off in a huff. 

We did go and get weighed on Thursday and although we both put on (2lb each!) that’s more than fair enough – we’ve had my birthday, Easter, two meals out, drinks and the Bank Holiday to contend with. I admit that we’re struggling to fit Slimming World into our life at the moment – we’re eating healthily when we can but I can’t go out to a restaurant and be that guy who orders a salad with a pot of dressing on the side and eight hankies to wipe my tears away with, plus, let’s be honest, a night out isn’t the same unless you’re on the hard stuff and finishing off with something slopped from a takeaway van that practically walks on its own steam. I’ve got our end of year party at work next week followed by a Fizzy Friday after that, Paul’s going down to Peterborough to see friends and to wash the sheen of nicotine off his mother and then we’ve got a holiday booked for the last week in April! How am I supposed to diet around that lot? I bought Slimming World’s magazine for tips and inspiration but it made all my teeth rot away with the sugariness of it all. Actually, I suppose that does help. I did enjoy how one of the few pages dedicated to men was about looking after your prostate. Very important indeed, but the guide made it sound like it was a Tamagotchi from the nineties and well, just like the plants, I killed all of my Tamagotchis through sheer idleness. You’ve never known terror until someone has told you to look after their tamagotchi whilst they’re away and you check and find two piles of poo and a skull icon. Oops!

So, aside from that, just a lazy weekend ahead. That’s the joy of having no children or commitments see, it’s perfectly acceptable to stay in your dressing gown watching Netflix, only moving to put some coffee on or to open a window. I often ask what people are doing at the weekend and it’s invariably full of a list of wholesome children activities that make my eyes glaze over – taking them swimming, taking them to parties, taking them to soft-play, driving them to a friend’s house. That’s why I couldn’t have children, far too much of a constraint on my time. If only they came with batteries that you could remove and bundle them into a cupboard so you could do all of the exciting things like take them to Disneyworld or have an amazing Christmas without dealing with all the poos and strops and tantrums, I’d have several, possibly in a range of different shapes and sizes. But until that day, it’s just me, Paul and the cats, and even they are playing up lately, with the cat who likes being spanked getting way out of hand. I half expect to see her pressing her nipsy up against a hot radiator and meowing ‘OOOH I’M A FILTHY SLAG’ in cat-speak. She won’t stop mewing and showing off her minnie-moo, she even did it when the car-wash man came to the door earlier. She’s lucky he didn’t use her to hold his chamois.

chicken piglets

This makes enough for four – one each!

to make chicken piglets, you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 120g of lighter mature cheddar (this amounts of 3 x HEA choices, or 1 per breast, so the fourth person doesn’t even need to use their HEA, oh good!)
  • 6 tbsp of chopped jalapenos
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp quark
  • 12 rashers of back bacon (12 syns) (see note below)
  • herb/rub combination of your choice – we just use some dried chilli as we like the heat

Can we quickly chat about chicken breasts? Because we forgot to get our Musclefood chicken out of the freezer, we went and bought four breasts from Aldi. They looked decent but when cooked, shrivelled right down. This is why I’m not a fan of supermarket chicken, it’s neither here nor there in the taste department and full of water. We do get commission from Musclefood but even if we didn’t, I’d genuinely recommend it. The breasts are big, firm and bouncy, just like my own, and they cook well and taste decent. You get 5kg of chicken breasts in our £50 delivered Musclefood deal and there’s mince, bacon and beef in there too – it’s really a very good deal! Click here for that. Oh, and we’re running a competition to win one of our £50 hampers – click here and enter!

You can use bacon medallions for this and make it syn-free, but here’s the thing – 1 rasher of back bacon is normally about a syn according to Slimming World’s online syn checker. For this recipe, I’d suggest using the back bacon because it’s easier to wrap it around the chicken and the fat keeps everything moist. Urgh, moist, I know. Once everything is cooked you don’t actually need to eat the rind (although I’d call you a fool, as it’s the best bit) so the syns drop again. Up to you though, that’s the beauty of this diet! You can also leave out the jalapenos if you don’t like the eat – replace it with a few chopped sundried tomatoes for example, but make sure you count the syns. Finally, you could use ham – wafer thin or parma, but again, check the syns. You don’t want your consultant cussing you out unnecessarily.

to make chicken piglets, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  • cut the chicken breasts through the middle, opening them up like a book (don’t cut all the way through)
  • in a bowl mix together the jalapenos, garlic and quark and spread into the middle of the chicken breasts
  • top with slices of cheese
  • close together carefully and wrap three rashers of bacon around each breasts to secure them, overlapping slightly – gently rub your herbs on the top if you want to use them
  • place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes

Easy as that! We served ours with Actifried chips and, genuinely, a big green salad full of speed foods. Easy!

Before I sign off I’m going to point something out though. I’m going to hide it in white text so you’ll need to highlight it to see – I don’t want to put anyone off! So…

Yes, the chicken piglet looks nice, but don’t you think that those two bacon rashers in the picture really look like a very pink shaved scrotum? Is it just me? Mahaha, well, I’ve had worse things in my gob.

Right?

J

savoury porridge with asparagus, sprouts and bacon

Oh I know, haven’t I gone all posh with the savoury porridge with asparagus, sprouts and bacon? We even chuck an egg on there. That’s a wee bit below.

Apologies that I forgot to post the last couple of days but well, I’ve been busy with work. For the first time in so long I’m actually learning something new and it’s great fun. If you knew what it was I was learning you’d probably think it was deathly dull but honestly, it’s nice to use my mind for something other than fart-gags and thinking about Paul’s willy what to cook for dinner (not Paul’s willy).

I’ve never been the best learner mind. I did very well at school despite my very best efforts not to and although I didn’t go to university (a decision I don’t regret), my grades have steered me where I want to go. I always wanted to be one of those people who could make snappy little flash cards and a schedule for revisions but my exam preparation happened to coincide with the arrival of broadband in our sleepy village, and let’s just say it wasn’t the books I was bashing. It’s lucky I only use my left hand for writing otherwise I’d have really been fucked in my English literature exam.

I’ve just asked Paul what his favourite lesson was and he replied ‘science’, which seems like a bit of a catch-all. Personally, I never had much truck with science – my physics teacher had a voice like a dying bee and made everything sound dull and our biology teacher made us watch a video of a baby being born which I think may have at least strengthened, if not concreted, my homosexuality. Chemistry was fun only because we had a teacher who looked like Professor Weetos and who you could genuinely imagine blowing a crater into the Earth. He once set the ceiling on fire during an experiment and given it was a) a bit of a run-down school and b) just before health and safety kicked in, the resulting toxic plastic smoke was rather spectacular. If I cough hard enough now I still get polystyrene flecks.

No, my favourite lesson was English (hence all the writing I do now, I suppose) but that’s mainly due to the succession of genuinely excellent teachers I had. My AS level teacher was also a friend of Dorothy and I used to try and shoehorn in as many references to me being gay in an unproductive attempt to be ‘asked to stay behind’. He was ever the professional. All those hormones. He could have split my complex sentence at any time. 

I’ve already talked about the time I ran out of the PE changing rooms shouting ‘I’VE GOT DIARRHOEA’ thinking it would get me out of cross-country only for the sadist midget (and mind, he was both) to order me back and tell me ‘IT’LL MAKE YOU RUN FASTER’. He wasn’t wrong. Nothing gets you around the back of Newcastle Airport like the threat of filling your Diadora Borgs with yesterday’s school dinner. He once threw a blackboard eraser at someone so hard that it cracked a chunk of plaster (probably asbestos, actually) out of the wall behind. How he kept his job I do not know, although I’m sure the same school’s headteacher got fired for putting the naughty children UNDER THE STAGE when Ofsted came around, so I’m sure there’s a reason there.

I, rather disappointedly, only remember getting four detentions. One was for carrying a knife around school, which of course makes me sound all hard and dangerous until you realise it wasn’t a knife, it was a tiny gouging tool used to make a pattern in cork tiles during art class, and I only had that with me because I snapped the blade and didn’t want to get wrong off the teacher because he used to whistle through his teeth when he talked and it made it difficult not to laugh in his face. Well fuck me, you’d think I was walking round the school like the Zodiac Killer the way I was yelled at and threatened with permanent expulsion. It’s a bit hard to shank someone with a tool you could barely use to clean behind your nails with. 

Another detention – very unjust – was for suggesting a condom was a sensible thing to take on a survival course. My reasoning (which I learned from my little SAS Survival Book) was that it can carry up to two litres of water. Why, incidentally? Unless you’re rolling it onto a bull, why does it need to hold that much? Anyway, the home economics teacher (who I might add was the wife of the PE teacher, and clearly used the same razor he did to shave her top lip) threw me out for being vulgar. It wasn’t like I offered to put one on to demonstrate.

Detention number three was another injustice – I dropped a three-tier, full size wooden xylophone down two flights of stairs in a genuine accident. Of course Mrs Jinks didn’t believe me, put me in detention and didn’t even get me a credit for the fabulous melody it made as it clattered down the stairs and turned to matchsticks. Of course nowaways I’d be given a badge for displaying artistic integrity, which is certainly more than the xylophone did.

Finally, detention number four was a doozy – we used to have big jugs of fresh water on the table during lunch see, to help take away the taste of the horse arseholes they put in the stew. Anyway, someone stole my Pogs and put them in the water jug. My measured reaction was to turn around and punch him on the jaw, shaking a tooth loose. I wouldn’t care, but they were my duplicate Pogs and a shit slammer to boot, so really I suppose that detention was fair enough. Still, never disturb a fat man when he’s eating, it’s like poking a sleeping dog. Funny what writing this blog does – for years I’ve been confidently saying I’ve only ever been in one fight (and even that was over nothing – someone stood deliberately on my ankle during rugby, so I stood deliberately on his head) but now I can add this one to the mix. What larks.

Here, how the hell did we get to 1000 words just writing about school? I can’t even remember how I got onto the subject. Shall we get to the recipe?

IMG_2609

to make savoury porridge with asparagus, sprouts and bacon, you’ll need:

to make savoury porridge with asparagus, sprouts and bacon, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 220 degrees
  • spray a large pan with a few squirts of spray olive oil, add the onions and cook until softened
  • add the porridge oats and stir
  • add the stock and bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about twenty minutes, adding salt and pepper to however you like it
  • while the porridge is cooking, spray another pan with a few squirts of oil and add the sliced brussels sprouts and cook for about five minutes over a medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until softened and slightly browned
  • add the garlic and stir through, then keep warm and set aside
  • in another pan, fry the bacon pieces over a high heat until crispy and yes, set aside
  • in a large, shallow bowl beat TWO of the eggs
  • dip the asparagus spears into the egg mixture and then roll in the panko – they just need a little bit – don’t go mad, you’re not covering up a murder
  • place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes
  • towards the end, cook an egg for each plate however you like it – we dry fry ours, but then we do have good pans
  • once everything is complete, serve and enjoy.

Of course, you can make this vegetarian friendly by omitting the bacon and replacing it with a giant mushroom and a faint smell of foist.

EASY. 

J

loaded wedges and philly cheese steak sliders

Yep, you’re getting two recipes for the price of one with this post for loaded bacon and cheese wedges  and philly cheese steak sliders. We’re really spoiling you lately. Least you could do is show willing and buy my ruddy book or a meat-box! Haha.

I’m in a bit of a huff tonight, if I’m honest. Came home to find a big bill waiting for me on the doormat. Normally I never say no to bending down for a Big Bill but this one was our council tax and it’s fucking £1700! What the hell for? They’ve turned off our street lights, driving on the roads feels like I’m playing Moon Patrol and they only pick up the bins when there is a full solar eclipse. There’s more chance of me getting pregnant than getting a book that doesn’t have Katie Price on the front cover out of our local library and if you fancy a stroll in the park, best get used to the dogshit and litter billowing around your feet like the shittiest version of the Crystal Dome. I don’t know why they don’t push all the dog-sausages into the fucking potholes in the road, at least that way I wouldn’t get out of the car with my neck canted a forty-five degree angle from being clattered off the roof of my car.

MOAN MOAN MOAN. But seriously, it would be a bloody welcome change if they said oh James, you work hard, here, enjoy your wage to do whatever you want with it, instead of grasping it out of my cold, cruel hands. I’m paying into a pension and being sensible by saving, but what’s the use? So when I get to seventy the Government can take away my house and stick me in a care home? Fuck that. We’ve already decided that when we get to seventy, if we’re both alive and capable of getting lob-ons, the house is getting sold and we’re getting two lithe twenty year olds to rub our bunions and change our oxygen tanks. BAH.

I might start a go-fund-me accompanied by a picture of Paul looking sadly into middle-distance and footage of me looking through photo albums. Maybe.

Can I just take a second to remind you of something? We have a list of every recipe we’ve EVER done right here. I worry that some people don’t know where it is. Use it, it’ll serve you well!

Anyway look, let’s get to the real reason you’re here. These recipes make enough for four. Each recipe is syn free if you use the appropriate HEAs and HEBs. If you have both of them at the same time, syn the cheese on the wedges – 40g is one HEA or 6 syns, so at most it’ll be 1.5 syns per portion. It’s syn free if you don’t combine the burgers and wedges. I’m just being a slut.

 loaded bacon and cheese wedges

to make loaded bacon and cheese wedges, you’re going to need:

  • ‘wet’ potatoes, like Maris Piper, as many as you dare
  • a few squirts of olive oil spray (0.5 syn for 7 squirts)
  • one beef oxo cube
  • packet of bacon medallions (we used half a pack from our Musclefood freezer filler, because it doesn’t disappear to nowt – proper tasty bacon)
  • spring onions
  • lighter mature cheese (40g or one HEA)
  • optional: hot sauce if you want it

to make loaded bacon and cheese wedges, you should:

  • cut each potato in half, then cut into each half in a ‘v’ shape, so you’re dividing each half into three triangular wedges – or you know, don’t fuck about and just cut them how you like
  • tip them into a bowl, sprinkle over the oxo cube and oil, and shake the buggers so they’re coated in a bit of stock cube and oil
  • put them into an oven for 30 minutes or so to colour and soften
  • meanwhile, fry off the bacon in small chunks, slice the spring onion and grate the cheese (remember, one of these makes that cheese allowance stretch further)
  • check your wedges – if they’re nearly done, take them out, scatter the bacon and cheese and spring onion over the top, and put back into the oven until the wedges are done and the cheese is crispy and delicious
  • serve
  • best get a defibrillator ready, just saying

If you’re looking for something to serve it with, these tiny sliders (fancy word for little ‘burgers’) will do the trick. There’s no speed food on your plate, but fuck it. If you don’t tell Mags, nor will I. This was our treat night after all. Jeez.

philly cheese steak sliders

to make philly cheese steak sliders, you’ll need:

  • a big white onion
  • a big green pepper
  • one slice of Swiss Gruyere (we buy ours from Waitrose) – 5 syns for a 25g slice, or a HEA
  • a suitable breadbun for your healthy extra allowance
  • 120ml of beef stock
  • packet of beef strips (I promise I’m not deliberately over-advertising but we genuinely used our beef strips from our Musclefood freezer filler, and they were tasty as all outdoors)
  • lots of black pepper

to make philly cheese steak sliders, you should:

  • cut your onion into decent slices, same with the pepper
  • soften them in a dot of oil, a few sprays of olive oil or even better, a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, or if you’re an imbecile, use Frylight and wreck your pans
  • once they’re softened, set them aside and throw in the beef, cooking it off and giving it a bit of colour – I use Worcestershire sauce instead of oil because it adds taste
  • once the meat is browned off, put the stock in plus lots of pepper and whack the heat up, stirring until the stock has cooked off and thickened – give the bottom of the pan a good scrub with your spoon to get all those juices up
  • assemble your slider – breadbun cut in half, cheese slice, beef strips, peppers and onions
  • easy!

It doesn’t look terribly exciting but my word these were fantastic.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to perform oral sex in exchange for money. By the time I’ve paid off the council tax I’ll be permanently yawning. 🙁

J

butternut squash spaghetti sauce, plus weigh-in time!

Super quick post tonight because well, you’ve had plenty this week! I’M JUST ONE MAN 🙁 and Paul! Oops. First, let me get my cock out:

twochubbycubs

Ah, that’s better. We’ve lost 6.5lb of the 9lb we put on in New York, and the rest will be off next week. Our ankles thank us.

I also have a favour – a lot of you have bought our book, bless you. Could I trouble you for a moment more to leave a review for us? It’ll only help us and we ask for so little! You can find a link to the book right here – and for those who haven’t bought it yet, look at my sad face.

dawson-cryings

Pfft, I wish I had hair like that. I’ve currently got a haircut that looks like Myra Hindley fucked Donald Trump on the deck of a runaway hovercraft.

Anyway, tonight’s recipe, yeah? Dead simple. Makes enough for four greedy chunkers!

butternut squash spaghetti sauce

to make butternut squash spaghetti sauce you will need:

  • 600g of butternut squash, cut into 2cm cubes
  • 6 bacon medallions, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 1½ tsp dried sage
  • 1½ tsp dried thyme
  • 200ml skimmed milk (use some of your HEA allowance, but remember this makes enough for four)
  • 500g spaghetti

to make butternut squash spaghetti sauce you should:

  • heat a little bit of oil in large saucepan over a medium-high heat
  • add the onion and cook for about 1-2 minutes
  • add the garlic and stir for about thirty seconds, then add the butternut squash, stock, sage and them
  • stir well and cover, and leave to cook for about 15 minutes 
  • meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti 
  • when the squash is softened (you should be able to poke a fork into it – oh you flirt – with a little resistance), pour the lot into a food processor, add the milk and 50ml of water and add a bit of salt or pepper and pulse until smooth
  • heat a small saucepan over a medium-high heat and add the chopped bacon – stir frequently until crispy
  • drain the pasta and pop it back into the large saucepan, add the butternut squash sauce and mix together
  • serve and top with the crispy bacon pieces

It’s plain and simple but bloody tasty and easy to customise – add in mushrooms, peppers or deep-fried Creme Eggs. You could leave out the bacon if you’re feeling all wan and disappointed with life.

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.

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

garlic, bacon and chicken pasta

We’re both feeling quite melancholy as we witnessed something pretty awful today – a bloke having a massive seizure in the middle of IKEA and then screaming and thrashing as he came around. We’re both first-aid trained but when we got there, the staff were doing everything right and were bloody marvellous. What annoyed us more than anything, though, was the table full of old people practically snapping their necks to get a good look at the poor prone man on the floor. Not affording him any dignity or discretion, it was like they were waiting for the last number on their bingo cards. Vultures the bloody lot of them. Hopefully they were found face-down amongst the ANÖOS toys later on. Why are people so shitty?

So it brings me to two things, two pleas, really. And yes, it’s not the usual fun and games and piss-take that we normally bust out, but it’s so important. First – learn basic first aid. Take an hour to watch a few Youtube videos – you’ll find a whole raft of videos by the marvellous St John’s Ambulance right here. No-one is expecting you to give someone a tracheotomy or put in a catheter, but basic first aid makes all the difference. Would you genuinely know what to do if that bloke had been in a room with you and you alone and he had started having a seizure? What if a baby started choking or a kid came to you with a broken arm? We’re lucky – we’ve both been trained because of our jobs – but it’s such a frightening position to be in that I’d hate to have to do it without the facts. If you’re in employment, why not ask your HR if they’ll get you on a training course? You just don’t know when you’ll need it. As a moment of sweet relief, here’s a post about the last time James went for first aid training.

Second short plea? Get yourself on the organ donation register. If you’ve got strong, sensible views against it then all the best to you and we’ll say no more – it’s personal choice. But if you’re not on it as an oversight or because you haven’t got round to doing it, here, sign up now. It’s odd – the issue has come to our attention via the same disease – cystic fibrosis, with a friend of mine losing a good friend to it and one of our lovely lasses in our group posting on behalf of her friend who is slowly losing her lungs. I’d love to think that when I die, they take whatever they need from me. My eyes are fucked, so there’s no point there. Heart is probably shot and doesn’t beat so well, and lungs have been blackened by years of parents who thought nicotine was a suitable replacement for fresh air (I kid. Sometimes they used to wind the window down in the car). My skin is good, though, so graft away, and my brain – assuming it’s not being turned to sponge by some dastardly CJD prions (I ate a lot of cheap beef back in the day), is fairly sharp. They could take my balls if they wanted, they’re in decent shape, and hell if you want my willy, it’s there, though years of growing up alone in the country with nothing to do means it’s like a well-worn tyre now. I jest I jest. Trying to inject some levity. Go on. Sign up on the register. I promise you that if I die before you, and given my calorie intake and sloth levels of exercise, it’ll probably happen, you can take what you want.

OK. So let’s do the recipe.

chicken and bacon pasta

 

to make the garlic, bacon and chicken pasta, you’ll need:

  • 400g pasta of your choice
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 bacon medallions
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 50oml passata
  • ½ tsp paprika

 

to make the garlic, bacon and chicken pasta, you should:

  • cook the pasta according to the instructions – drain and rinse with cold water and set aside (this is a trick I learnt recently – works a treat!)
  • in a large frying pan heat some oil over a medium-high heat, add the onions and cook until softened, stirring frequently
  • meanwhile, chop the bacon and chicken into small pieces and add to the pan, reduce the heat slightly and cook until they meat is browned all over
  • add the paprika and garlic to the pan and cook for about thirty seconds, stirring constantly
  • add the passata to the pan, stir and cook for about fifteen minutes until the mixture has thickened
  • add the pasta back to the pan, stir through and heat for about three minutes
  • serve!