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 ūüôĀ 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
  • 1¬Ĺ tsp dried sage
  • 1¬Ĺ 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 ‚Ķhmmm and ‚Ķoh 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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¬†‚Äď but even I was captivated. The lighting, the architecture, the ten million Chinese girls shrieking into their hands and milling around ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď the two fat menaces of Iceland.

As we left, we noticed a lift that we’d missed in our haste to get inside ‚Äď a lift which took you right to the top of the church tower (and that’s high ‚Äď 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.

IMG_2389

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¬†B√¶jarins 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¬†B√©arnaise 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 ‚Äď no breaking things, no wresting lights from the ceiling or sockets from the wall, no oil fires ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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.

IMG_2381

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‚Ķhowever 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‚Äôt 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 AN√ĖOS 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
  • ¬Ĺ 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!

quick carbonara (sort of)

Going to rattle off a quick lunch for you today – it’s carbonara, but without the double cream and lovely cheese and egg – instead, using a bit of Quark and egg yolk to mix it through. Before I get to that, and I’ll need to be quick as I’ve got a Doctor Who appointment in fifteen minutes, I confess myself disappointed. See we’ve been furiously buying new books to populate our massive bookcase and I thought, you know, let’s have a trip down Memory Lane. It can’t all be Nigella Lawson and Bill Bryson books. So I nipped onto Amazon to buy the two books I used to love as a nipper – Martin’s Mice by Dick King Smith and My Best Fiend by Sheila Lavelle. Well, honestly. I appreciate I’m viewing them with the jaundiced eye of an adult, but they’re bobbins. I’d finished both books in the time it took to fill my bath.¬†

And that saddens me. Obviously there are things we experience as a child that we don’t want to feel again as an adult – getting your bottom wiped, or the gentle caress of a whispering vicar, but wouldn’t it have been nice to have at least enjoyed a book that used to bring me so much joy. It also means I’m stuck on new books to buy, because I can’t face having my heart broken again by some insipid story or turgid bit of fiction. Paul’s easy enough – he buys intellectual books full of big words and covers that look like they’d give chartered accountants an erection. To demonstrate, I looked at the last two books we bought from Amazon: I shelled out for a second-hand copy of Delia’s How To Be Frugal, Paul spent his hard-earned money on ‘Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain’, a book that frankly sounds so boring that I drifted off halfway through reading out the title and started thinking about cats. Put another way, we have two magazine subscriptions that get delivered here – one is Viz magazine, the other is Private Eye. Tsk. Snob. I have everything Stephen King has ever published, Paul has a book on tunnels. I suppose they say opposites attract.

Anyway enough of that – tonight’s recipe:

sorta carbonara

to make cheat’s carbonara, you will need:

  • 200g pasta (we used tagliatelle)
  • 6 bacon medallions chopped neatly (you can use up your bacon from our meat box deal with Musclefood – click here for that!)
  • three tablespoons of Quark
  • 30g¬†parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons of fromage frais
  • bit of cheddar
  • two egg yolks

to make cheat’s carbonara, you should:

  • boil the pasta and cook the bacon off
  • mix together everything else
  • then mix EVERYTHING together

I know, simple, but still…!

J

bacon wrapped tenderloin with a balsamic and strawberry dressing

Just a quick post tonight as we’re busy sorting out Cubs Towers¬†ahead of the Summer of Works. Exciting.

We had a glut of strawberries to use up, I wanted a salad, Paul wanted a roast dinner, so this was the happy compromise. You might wrinkle your nose at the thought of using strawberry but it pairs nicely with pork – think plum sauce with duck and you’ve got the right idea. We served it with roast potatoes which were PERFECT. In fact, let’s cover off how we did our roasties.

roast potatoes

you’ll be needing

  • enough potatoes to fill that echoing belly of yours, cut up into decent chunks
  • Frylight or oil – just a drop or two
  • a lamb Oxo cube
  • an Actifry (if you don’t have one, don’t shit the bed, you can do it in the oven and I’ll cover that in a second

then…

  • squirt the chopped potato with a spritz of spray or a drop of oil
  • chuck in the actifry
  • cook for twenty minutes
  • crumble a lamb Oxo cube on there and splash a good tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce on them
  • cook for another twenty minutes or until they look just right
  • serve!

The Actifry is possibly the best thing we’ve bought since joining Slimming World – not least because it does make genuinely proper tasty chips. You can get others like it but they’re not quite as good (the Airfryer, for example). It’s expensive, but we fry off our meatballs, sausages, chips and potatoes in it with little to no oil. If you’re on the fence about one, take it from us that you won’t regret the expense. You can buy it on Amazon by clicking here. Why not treat yourself?

Too tight for an actifry? Don’t worry. Just put them in the oven for 20 minutes, take them out, shake them, splash them and crumble that cube on the top, and cook again. The key is letting them sit for a few minutes before they cook for the second time.

I’ve seen a lot of people gobble on about those Oxo potatoes where you cook them half submerged in stock…well yes, but then you end up getting potatoes that look like athletes foot, all soft and crinkled and mushy. If that works for you, champion, but I’m not quite at the stage in my life where I need to gum my food. Try the above!¬†

Anyway, the main event:

sliced pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon

you’ll be needing this (this serves 4):

  • pork tenderloin – with fat removed, ours was around 1kg
  • eight slices of bacon with fat removed (if only it was that easy!)
  • 300g of strawberries, nicely ripe, sliced
  • 125ml of balsamic vinegar
  • three cloves of garlic
  • bag of rocket

and then, once you’ve finished being all hysterical, do this:

  • wrap the tenderloin in bacon – use cocktail sticks to secure if you want
  • put it into the oven on 200 degrees for 30 minutes, then take it out and turn it over and cook for another thirty minutes
  • meanwhile, finely chop (remember: buy a mini chopper, easier, and no stinkin’ fingers)¬†the garlic and pop in a pan over a medium high heat with a drop of oil or a squirt of Frylight
  • cook for around two minutes until slightly golden
  • add the balsamic vinegar and half of the strawberries
  • bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for ten minutes – your kitchen will smell lovely at this point
  • once the second half of the pork is done, take it out, baste it with a few tablespoons of the balsamic strawberries and whack it under the grill for about two minutes to colour it
  • throw the other half of the sliced strawberries into the balsamic pan just so you get a nice difference in texture¬†
  • remove the pork, cut into thick slices, serve on the rocket with a drizzle of the balsamic and strawberry sauce
  • enjoy, you posh bastard.

Here, I was GOING to call it a reduction, because I suppose it is, but that’s just too wank, even for me!

ENJOY.

J

200 posts – plus turkey and bacon meatballs with homemade bbq sauce

Well christ almighty, we’ve made it to two hundred posts. 200! To put that into perspective, each post on average is around 1500 words, so that 300,000 words, or Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix combined with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. AND, unlike JK Rowling, I can still crack a smile or two! Actually, that’s unfair, she seems like a lovely person – she’s just always looks as though she’s seen her arse and doesn’t care for the colour. I bet the words of a fat diet blogger really stings – she’ll be sobbing into her solid-gold handkerchief and¬†dabbing her tears with ¬£50 notes.

But honestly, it’s just incredible to me that we’ve racked up so many recipes, posts, slang words for willies, nonsense and flimflam in just under eight months, and that’s excluding the various interludes where we¬†stuffed ourselves with pizza fixed up the house or the website. Normally we take up a hobby and give it up fairly quickly, but it’s become a proper routine in Cubs Towers¬†– plan the recipes, buy the ingredients, type the blog.

Occasionally it can feel like a slog typing it all out, but listen – we know what it’s like to be on SW and seeing the same old recipes bandied around. There’s lots of nice foods but people limit themselves to the same watery stews, anaemic veg and nonsense chemical concoctions, and it’s just not sustainable. The best ‘recipe’ I’ve seen recently is a ‘jam doughnut’, which was a bloody brown breadbun injected with a bit of jam and rolled in sweetener. That’s no more a jam doughnut than I am a black lesbian. Why do that to yourself? Why not have a jam doughnut and syn it? Or, make a decent attempt at a low-syn pudding and take the edge off? Eh, I don’t know.

Certainly, our weight loss has been slow – but it’s been steady. I haven’t updated that banner in a few weeks but we’re nearly up to 60lb weight loss between us, and cumulatively, we’ve actually lost more than that – but gained a few pounds back on holiday. Our aim has always been 2lb a week for me and 1lb a week for Paul. I’ve seen grown women throwing tantrums because they’ve “only lost 2lb this week” (although actually, it’s usually “OMG onli lst 2lb dis wk :'(“, like there’s some kind of fucking tax on vowel usage) and I just despair – it’s so much better to lose slowly and not feel like you’re on a diet than it is to starve yourself, eat beans all day and shit your way to weight loss which you’ll immediately put on the second you slip into size-16 knickers. We’ve all been there too, losing a stone and then zipping around Tesco like we’re on the final round of Supermarket Sweep, running our arm along the biscuit aisle and emptying the shelves into our trolley. It’s pointless and doesn’t work.¬†

Look through our recipes and you’ll see many, many different styles of cooking and flavours. We consciously avoid repeating recipes too much, and we’ll normally try and sneak in an unusual flavour or arrangement at least once a week. We’ve learnt so much and, for once, we’re enjoying being on a diet. This blog gives me (James) a mouthpiece for rambling and nonsense but it’s actually kept us on track – having to think up new foods means we’re focused on our diet and the ‘can’t be arsed’ element disappears.

But – and christ, prepare for your teeth to start rotting – the best part about all of this is you. Seriously. Seeing people trying our recipes, sharing links, joining our group (4,000+ members) or facebook page (almost 14,000 likes in two weeks), passing around that FAQ or even stopping us to let us know how much you enjoy it – well it genuinely, whole-heartedly makes our day. I’m actually quite a quiet person at times, and it’s such a lovely feeling to know people are enjoying what I have to say. Please continue to comment, to share, to take part, we love it all, and we promise that in return we’ll keep going. Not least because I want to get to 365 posts…!

Right, you can come back now. I know, feelings much. To celebrate, I’m going to post a recipe that we’ve been keeping back for a special occasion because it was so, so nice. It’s a long one, but you can take it. Just push out and think of England.

turkey meatballs with bacon

How best to do this…let’s go for constituent parts. So…

to make the sauce, you’ll need:

  • one very large white onion, or two smaller ones, I’m not a size queen (that’s a lie, I totally am)
  • 500ml of passata
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp of smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp of honey (5 syns – but this makes – easily – eight servings, so I’m going to say one syn for the dish)
  • 3 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of worcestershire sauce
  • pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
  • some chilli flakes if you want to punish your nipsy

This recipe is wonderfully easy. You’ll need a receptacle for your sauce – this makes enough to fill two medium sized ketchup bottles. Ours are Kilner and like everything else, we bought it from Amazon. You can get six for a tenner here. You’ll use about a bottle’s worth in this recipe, so the other bottle you can keep sealed in the fridge. It really does make a wonderful sauce which would be amazing on pulled pork or burgers.

The other thing I’m going to push here is our Kenwood Mini Chopper. Normally we chop our onions by hand but because the recipe calls for it to be very finely chopped, we used this. It makes very quick work of cutting up onions and various other things and is excellent for making breadcrumbs too.¬†It’s ¬£14 on Amazon. Not essential but I will say this – as people who use a lot of gadgets, this is probably one of our favourites. Right, so…

you’ll need to do this:

  • if you’re using a chopper, finely pulse the onion and garlic until you get a finely chopped paste – don’t make it too mushy mind
  • if you’re using a knife, you want it cut very fine
  • tip into a pan with a drop of oil and the salt and, on a medium heat, allow to soften
  • add everything else into the pan after five minutes or so (make sure the onion doesn’t catch, although, a bit of smokiness is no bad thing)
  • simmer gently for five minutes or so
  • allow to cool, and then blend it – again, we just tipped it into the Mini Chopper, whizzed it up and then poured it into the ketchup bottles – no need for extra dishes or gadgets

Keep those bottles to one side. Don’t put the lids on until they’re nice and cool mind. On we go…

to make the spinach, you’ll need:

  • a big family bag of spinach – not a pissy little few leaves, because it’s a scientific fact that spinach reduces in volume by 10,000% if someone so much as breathes near it
  • two garlic cloves – cut into the finest of slivers
  • a couple of squirts of oil or Frylight

and then you:

  • squirt the bottom of the pan with a drop of oil or frylight
  • add in the garlic
  • apply a gentle heat and allow the garlic to take on a bit of colour and flavour the oil
  • add spinach, lower the heat, cover and allow to wilt right down
  • serve (note: this spinach takes about five minutes, so make it at the end of your meal)

to make the meatballs, you’ll need:

  • 500g of turkey mince – a lot of people ask me where they can find this – Tesco is my answer, and here’s another tip, it’s forever being reduced. If you spot it in the reduced meats bit, check to see whether it has a ¬£3 for ¬£10 sticker on it still – if it has, SCORE. Buy three packs and although it’s reduced in price, it still discounts the lot as though they were full price, which means you end up paying about ¬£4 for three packets of mince. Damn, I shouldn’t give that away…
  • 6 bacon medallions, or normal bacon with the best bit¬†cut off
  • 4 spring onions, chopped fine, white and green bits used please
  • one small breadbun made into breadcrumbs (HEB) – you’ll may not need them all
  • 1 small egg
  • 2 tsp of ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp of dried parsley or even better, fresh parsley, but double up if it’s fresh

you’ll then need to:

  • put the oven up to¬†200¬ļC or 180¬ļC fan – do you know, I really loathe how Mary Berry says ‘fan’, fact-fans
  • cook your bacon – nice and crispy mind, then allow it to cool and cut it up (or use your chopper) into nice small bits
  • put your turkey mince into a bowl, add everything else, and mash it all together. Really take out your frustrations here. Lady in Primark gave you a shitty look? Someone cut you up in a company-lease BMW? Sat behind someone with dickies on the bus? Imagine that’s their face and PUMMEL
  • once you’ve got all that anger out and your tears have dried on your cheeks, you want to set to work dividing up the meatballs – keep them small – perhaps the size of a child’s bouncy ball* – and place onto a baking tray sprayed with one spurt of oil or Frylight
  • at this point, you might find you’ve got too many to eat in one go – that’s fine – set aside any leftover balls on a plate and put into the freezer, and once they’re frozen, take them off the plate and put into a bag (that way they don’t stick together whilst they freeze, genius right?)
  • brown your balls in the oven for 10 or 15 minutes until they’ve firmed up and taken on a bit of colour
  • finish them off in a frying pan – get it fairly hot, drop in your balls and then tip in maybe a quarter or half of your sauce, and cook them through, letting the sauce glaze your balls
  • serve on top of your noodles and spinach with carrots on the side if you want them

* know this. I spent about fifteen minutes, I shit you not, trying to think of something comparable in size to a meatball, and all I could think about was testicles. It’s hard being me.¬†

to make the carrots, you’ll need:

  • six or seven carrots, spiralised
  • 1 tbsp of honey (2.5 syns)
  • a squirt or two of oil
  • caraway seeds

Just a note about the spiraliser – you don’t need one. Look you really don’t. But they’re good fun and a piece of piss to use. We’ve only just got one and if you’re interested, you can buy one for ¬£27 here. They make courgettes into spaghetti and various other things, but you can do the same thing with a knife, so don’t get your bajingo frothing if you can’t find one.¬†

and then you’ll need to do this:

  • spiralise or cut up your carrots
  • put into a bowl and add the oil and honey
  • chuck in the caraway seeds and a pinch of salt
  • mix, mix, mix, mix – get everything nicely coated (it helps to use runny honey)¬†
  • chuck in the oven until they’re soft – or crunchy, if you prefer it, up to you!

We cooked up some syn-free noodles and layered our plate with noodles, spinach and meatballs, with extra BBQ sauce on the top and those carrots on the side. You don’t need the carrots, but they’re a nice addition – we just had a surplus rattling around in the bottom of the fridge, so why not?

 

 

 

 

rainbow bulgur wheat salad with bacon and feta

Very quick post tonight as I’m going to work (hooray) to do overtime (hooray) and we’ve still got all of our boring, humdrum Sunday chores to do – such as watching Judge Rinder, playing Trivial Pursuit and ignoring our ironing. Slight moment of excitement when a police van came tearing into the cul-de-sac before, displaying a flagrant disregard for the neighbourhood SLOW CHILDREN sign, which I’ve always thought was a very apt description of the snotty-faced little life-leeches that occasionally visit. Of course everyone was immediately up out of their armchair peering through their nets to see what the deal was. Tsk. So nosy. I of course had to take that moment to immediately nip into the back garden and¬†try to listen in hang out the washing. I didn’t hear anything and no-one was arrested.

Upon my return, Paul pointed out that I’d dashed into the back garden in such a rate of knots that I was still wearing my Spongebob Squarepants onesie from ASDA, plus it was drizzling so not exactly outside drying weather – hardly the most subtle of moves. Ah well. I’m too fat to be subtle. Here’s today’s recipe – it tasted amazing considering it’s such a simple mix of ingredients. It would package up nicely for an office lunch so why not make double and take a few extra portions in throughout the week? Urgh I sound like Delia Smith or something. Don’t worry, I awkwardly shoehorn in a reference to ejaculate in the recipe, so we’re alright.

You could easily omit the bacon ¬†from this salad recipe and go veggie. But I mean, we’re not animals here.

rainbow salad

you’ll be needing these:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut into small 1cm cubes
  • a couple of drops of olive oil
  • 3 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 250g of bulgur wheat (substitute couscous if you prefer)
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 tin of red kidney beans
  • handful of chopped coriander, but feel free to leave this out if like me you think it tastes of soapy balls
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • a bunch of spring onions – cut up the green part as well as the white
  • 6 bacon medallions
  • 65g of reduced fat feta (cut into tiny cubes)

and you’ll need to do this:

  • preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius
  • in a bowl mix together the potato cubes, 2 tsp paprika, cumin seeds and salt with a drop of olive oil (or Frylight if you prefer) and toss (the potatoes) until the potatoes are evenly coated
  • spread the potato cubes out onto a foil-lined baking tray in one layer and bake for twenty minutes – turning halfway
  • meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over a medium heat
  • add a teaspoon of olive oil (or Frylight, if you prefer) and add the bulgur wheat
  • leave for a few minutes, stirring regularly until it starts to crackle just very slightly
  • add the lime zest and lime juice and 500ml water
  • bring to the boil and add a little salt to your taste
  • reduce the heat and cover the pan so the mixture simmers for about twenty minutes or until it’s cooked through
  • chuck your bacon medallions under the grill to cook, then slice into little strips
  • cut your feta into tiny cubes
  • drain the kidney beans and rinse well under running water, getting rid of all that gunky kidney-bean pre-cum you always get from tinned pulses
  • place the beans in a bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon of paprika – mix until well coated
  • add the cooked sweet potato, sliced spring onions and bulgur wheat to the bowl and mix.
  • To put this all more succinctly: cook everything that needs to be cooked, prepare everything that needs to be chopped, mix in a bloody big bowl and you’re done.
  • We dressed this with a quick dressing made from natural yoghurt, minced garlic and lime juice – but actually, it stands on its own very easily.

J

dirty breakfast baps

I’m absolutely gutted, you know. I had a 3000 word (usual length only 1000, but it’s not the size of the post, it’s how many tears it brings to your eyes) post, I thought I’d clicked save, and nope. Disappeared. All those witticisms (it was the fourth part of our trip to Germany, which I forgot to finish) vanished into the digital ether, scattered to the wind like posts about Big Brother 5 and Connie Clickit. Bah! So, a quick improvised post about shoes.

I’m sure Paul would tell people that if I dropped a pound, it would land on the back of my neck as I bent down to pick it up. That’s unfair. I just hate spending money when I don’t need to, and my shoes illustrate this perfectly. I use the same Chelsea boots for everything – walking across the town moor, gardening, walking dogs, office wear, hammering in nails, scratching my back, smoothing icing – and they’ve finally given up the ghost, with the back heel actually falling off halfway through my trot into Newcastle last week, meaning I had to spend the day listing to one side like a badly loaded ferry. I was gutted – not just because I loved those shoes, but because it meant buying more, and that money could always be better spent on a nice bowl or a videogame. However, thriftiness saved the day, as I just took Paul’s old work shoes that we had wedged under our bed to stop the cats getting into the drawers. Obviously. Comfortable, didn’t smell like death like his shoes usually do – I was set for a good day. Until about 2pm when, obviously inspired by the break for freedom that my boots made, the entire sole of the shoe came away. Brilliant! Two years of Paul’s¬†pitted keratolysis (and for fuck’s sake don’t google that – if you don’t know what it is, you’re better off) had clearly acted like an acid wash and ruined the fuckers, meaning I had to schlep around the office looking like Barry Tramp for the afternoon.

Anyway, if anyone reading this was PERHAPS STUCK FOR SOMETHING TO BUY ME FOR MY BIRTHDAY:

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Men’s Dr Martens’ Congress, Size 11. Cheers. Gosh they’re on ebay and EVERYTHING. And yes, that is the right size!

Anyway, whilst I’ve got you all here, Paul and I have been chatting and we have some news. We’re going to make a couple of small changes to the blog just to give it a bit of structure – we currently struggle to post every day just because of work commitments and other boring nonsense. So we’re committing to five posts a week, all five of which will have a new SW recipe. The aim is for 1 weigh-in post (Tuesday), 1 quick-post (which is usually just where I post a recipe but I always end up gabbing on anyway) and 3 regular posts where you get plenty of sassy writing and anecdotes. To be quite honest, I’ll more than likely end up posting every day anyway, but I might be posting shorter updates occasionally. Both Paul and I work full-time in front of computers, and sometimes the last thing I want to be doing when I come home is typing out my usual flimflam! Plus, it takes time to prepare the photos and type out the recipe. It’s gotten to a point where I feel bad if I have a night off from writing and that’s a trifle silly.

I tell you what isn’t silly, though…these!

LOOK AT MY DIRTY BREAKFAST BAPS!

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Syn-free breakfast! Using the SW syn-free sausages (alright if you hide them in a bun), bacon medallion, mushroom, well fried egg and grilled tomato. Healthy extra the bun, beans on the side, you’re laughing!

bacon cheeseburger pizza

I very nearly became a Slimming World consultant, you know.

I say very nearly, it was as near as most of my other fleeting fancies, but I made the effort to make contact, drop in my details, attempt to find out more. I had plenty of cold hard cash ready to be handed over gladly to Magic Margaret and her Synning Sisters but alas, despite chasing three times, I got one phone call which was rearranged and then totally ignored. Ah well. Part of me remains disappointed because I think I’ve got the sassy people skills to really get a group moving. But most of me thinks that my money (well, our money) is better off in my pocket and that’s that.

I’ve been going to Slimming World classes on and off for over ten years now, and they’ve never changed. Which is clearly a good thing, because the results speak for themselves and I’ve been lucky – I’ve never been to a bad class. Actually, tell a fib, yes I have – I had to sit through twenty minutes where the class gave advice to someone with piles – what best to eat for soft poo. Plus, if you get a boring consultant, the class drags something chronic, although I haven’t had one of those in a long, long time. I did have some great ideas – Paul stepping in as my Debbie McGee in a glittery bikini on the payment counter, a wheel of fortune to win something decent other than a banana that fell off the side of the ark and a Mugshot, interactive recipes…the works. But it wasn’t to be.

The reason I’m bumbling on about classes is because of our recent decision to move to a different class – it’s primarily so that we can stay to class as I feel we get a lot more out of it, not least because I get to blabber on about recipes and make smutty jokes. When we get weighed and go out the door, we almost lose a sense of responsibility – that although we are following the diet, we’re only paying lip service to it. So, we needed to find a class that works for us in terms of times, and although ironically we have managed to miss tonight’s because of a late finish at work, Tuesday evening will be our new weigh-in.

Finally, as an aside, I made a post in a FB SW group about people not being able to say please or thank you. It’s always the same – some blurry, off-brand yoghurt thrust too far to the lens on their phone with a comment like ‘HOW MANI SINS’ and it does my nut in. I’ll personally help anyone if I have the time, but I can’t bear bad manners. Thankfully, and somewhat reassuringly, most people have weighed in with complete agreement, with only the odd little dolt¬†kicking up a stink at someone having the temerity to ask for manners. Well. The day I take criticism who has Inside Soap listed as a ‘favourite book’ on their facebook page is the day I shut my bollocks in a car-door. MANNERS MAKETH THE MAN.

Tell you what else maketh the man? Meat. And pizza. And cheeseburger. Well, look at this for goodness sake. You might as well jog on if you’re one of those people who won’t use syns on their dinner, despite THAT BEING EXACTLY what they are for…!

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so, to make bacon cheeseburger pizza:

This is six syns for a quarter, but it makes a big pizza, and served with chips will fill the hole nicely.¬†Put it this way, if you were to have a big pizza from Dominos, you’d be racking up syns in the sixties and seventies. Treat this as a treat…

ingredients for the crust: 125g of strong white bread flour, a packet of yeast (7g), 75ml of lukewarm water and a pinch of salt

ingredients for the topping: use a HEA for each of you – so 65g of mozzarella is one HEA, and 40g of grated light cheddar is the other. You’ll also need lean mince (5% or under), gherkin slices and a few medallions of bacon. Hoy some chilli flakes on too.

recipe (which I’m going to split into bullet points from now on for this blog – step by step):

  • make the crust – put the flour into a mixing bowl or a stand mixer, add yeast on one side, salt on the other, water in the middle and knead it together using your hands (wash them first, I know where they’ve been) or a dough hook (infinitely easier). When you have a big lump, stop, cover the bowl in cling film and leave it to prove for an hour or so;
  • prepare the toppings – grate your cheese, fry off your mince in a tiny drop of oil and some onion powder, fry off your bacon and cut into strips, cut your gherkins, do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight;
  • stretch your dough, hoy some tomato puree over it, add cheese, add mince, gherkins, tomatoes if you want them, bit more cheese, bacon;
  • cook in the oven for twenty minutes and serve with chips.

Tasty!

cheese and bacon soufflé

Tonight is the only night this week where both Paul and I are in the house together for the evening, so I’m going to dash off this recipe and be on my way. See readers, even when I’m on a promise, I’ll give you something…

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I have to say – it came out the oven like a air-filled cloud, but I spent that long fannying around trying to take a picture that it went ‘foooooooooootpth’ and deflated. Still tasted fine.

to make cheese and bacon souffl√©, you’ll need:

ingredients: drop of olive oil, 100g lean bacon cut into chunks, chopped chilli, eight spring onions diced very finely, six eggs (separated into yolk and white), 6tbsp of chives and dill, 100g parmesan cheese, 1/2tsp mustard powder, lots of salt and pepper – and serve with wedges and salad.

tip: to seperate the eggs, you’ll need to crack them into your hand, let the white fall through your fingers and hope that the two don’t mix. Get one of these little buggers. You crack the egg into a bowl, pop this little rubber man over the yolk, squeeze him and he’ll suck the yolk into himself and drop it wherever you want it. It’s absolutely amazing. No yolk. Haha.

to make cheese and bacon soufflé, you should:

recipe: let’s do this quickly. You’ll need four ramekins. Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Prepare a bain-marie by filling a roasting pan a third full and put it into the oven. Oil the ramekins gently. Fry off the onion, bacon and chilli in a pan until cooked through and dry – and pay it dry. Then hairdryer it. YOU WANT IT DRY. Set aside. Hoy the egg whites into a mixer (or use a hand mixer but you’ll be absolutely buggered) and whisk whisk whisk until they’re stiff. In the other bowl, beat the egg yolks, add the bacon and onion and three quarters of the cheese. Then – tip the whisked egg white into the yolks and fold it gently with a metal spoon – nice and gently, keep the air in, until fully incorporated. Spoon into ramekins almost to the top, add the rest of the cheese and then cook for twenty minutes. Serve with chips and salad.

extra-easy: 3.5 syns a serving. Serve with superfree salad and you’re laughing.

Right, off to prepare. Anyone seen an industrial oil drum of KY jelly lying around?

J