beef in a black bean sauce

I bet you’re here for the beef in a black bean sauce, aren’t you? Well, before we get to the main event, let me tease you with some words. Thoughtplay, if you prefer. Nah, it’s not that posh. The bits in my blog before the recipes are the equivalent of a chav spitting on his fingers beforehand. Before I do, though…


Our Musclefood deal runs for another couple of days only – 10% off our already amazing value freezer box! It’s a delivered chilled box of wonder – with 24/26 big fat chicken breasts, 800g of extra lean beef chunks, 2kg of extra lean beef mince and lots and lots of bacon. It’s usually £50 – which is cheap when compared to what you’d pay in the shop – but we’ve knocked off 10% for ONE WEEK ONLY. This brings it down to £45 – the cheapest it has ever been. Remember you can choose the date of delivery and payment doesn’t come out until your chosen date, so you can order in advance. To order, just click this link, add to basket, add the code TCCFREEZER and choose standard delivery – £45! Easy! But this is for ONE WEEK ONLY.


Sorry, we’re not normally so heavy with the advert, but well, it only runs for a little bit longer, and you’ll be twisting your gob if you try and buy it and it’s full-price, so buy it now. Hell, you can use the beef chunks to make the recipe below!

We’ve been swimming. Good god I know. Normally we confine getting our tits out to times when we’re at least two large water masses away from the UK, but balls to that – literally buoyed up with goodwill from the gym, we thought we’d dip our toe in the water, not least before all the swimming pools in the United Kingdom get filled up with cement and turned into posh hat shops. Anyway, look at the state of us – at least you know we’re going to float with all the blubber.

I love the thought of swimming – I enjoy thinking about getting up early, getting myself a nice fresh towel, driving myself to the baths and doing a few luxurious lengths of the pool before laughing gaily in the changing rooms and talking of times past with some accountant with a verruca. It never happens though. It’s probably the early morning – we have four alarms in the morning and it’s only the fourth, an exceptionally loud chorus of Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl playing through every speaker in the house, that gets us up. There’s a lot to be said for having a fancy connected house sound-system but having that tangerine-faced little shit-tickler caterwauling throughout until you get to the iPad and turn him off isn’t one of them.

I did used to swim with my old flatmate, Mary, but she stopped going when she thought the chlorinated water was giving her cystitis. Not the regular parade of blokes you understand, but the mild waters of Hexham baths. She’d put on a coach over the weekend. I’ve always fancied having a pop at wild swimming, which, from what I understand from the Guardian, is where lots of people whose first name ends in a -reh or a -rah sound get together, show off their varicose veins, swim in a river and then stop for an elderflower press on the way home. That’s fine but my closest river is the Wansbeck and I don’t fancy swimming using someone else’s recently passed stool as earplugs. Plus, remember, I’m scared of dams and sluices and grates and weirs. I’d wind up having a panic attack in the water near a sewage pipe and end up with Michael Buerk narrating my dramatic rescue, with candid overhead shots of me being winched into the helicopter on a slab of tarpauline like the time that poor whale got stuck in the Thames. Fuck that.

Now, the last time we did venture into a swimming pool that we hadn’t rented all to ourselves was at David Lloyd, where the pool comes with a steam room that makes you smell like oranges. Which is great, given a lot of the ladies (and indeed most of the men) had the skin colour of a bottle of Tropicana as it was. We didn’t enjoy it because there were so many beady eyes watching us attempt to swim, so we sat in the jacuzzi farting just as hard as we could. If you’re going to be snooty with me, Madam, you can enjoy the smell of pizza stuffed meatloaf dispersed through so many jets of bubbles.

So anyway, it was at 8am on Saturday morning that found us pouring into Paul’s Smart car, destined for the salubrious wonderland that is Morpeth Riverside Leisure Centre. See, Morpeth is canny posh and we thought most of the residents would be too busy making soufflé or beating their help to be bearing witness to our attempts. The morning hadn’t started well – the swimming shorts that I had previously worn in Corsica had somehow shrunk in the wash (yes, that was it) meaning the netting inside pressed right up against my clockweights, giving them the impression of an overstuffed tangerine bag. Paul was fine, his elephant’s elbow were tucked away neatly. I cut out the netting, thinking at least I’d be able to use him like a rudder if the water was warm.

It wasn’t, by the way.

But I will say this – it was very enjoyable! Yes, you’ve got to get changed in front of everyone else, and yes, there’s always one man see-sawing a towel in his arse-crack like he’s rubbing out an error in an exam, and yes, everything jiggles, but once you’re in the water and swimming, it’s actually very pleasant. Burns about 500 calories an hour if you swim slowly, though let’s be realistic. Unless you’re committed, you’ll do one length and then fart about in the shallow end for an hour before it’s a reasonable time to get out and get a Mars bar from the vending machine. Paul likes me to go underwater and swim between his legs, but I’ve stopped doing that since he left a racing stripe on my freshly-shaved head. We will definitely be talking about going back.

In the meantime, if you fancy giving wild swimming a go, have a look here!

By the way, not going to make a fuss, but we lost 10lb between us this week 🙂

beef in a black bean sauce

This makes 4 VERY generous portions!

to make beef in a black bean sauce you will need:

  • 800g beef strips (two packs from our Musclefood deal!)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1″ knob of fresh ginger, minced (for the garlic and ginger, use a mincer, you’ll have it done in a doddle – click here for ours!)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 3 tbsp black beans, mashed up a little bit (this is optional – they’re a bugger to find!) (though we found ours in our local Chinese supermarket, fermented – tasty!)
  • 2 red chilli peppers, sliced thinly
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

for the marinade:

  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2 syns)
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

for the sauce

  • 160ml beef stock
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce

Don’t worry if you don’t have dark and light soy sauce just make do with one of the other!

to make beef in a black bean sauce you should:

  • firstly, mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl
  • place the diced beef into a freezer bag or bowl, drizzle over the marinade, shake it up and marinade for at least 20 minutes but ideally overnight, though I know, you’ll be cooking it the very second the minute hand sweeps past thirty
  • when ready to cook, mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside
  • heat a large pan over a high heat and add a little oil or a few squirts of Frylight
  • lob in the beef and cook until browned
  • remove the beef from the pan, add a little bit more oil/Frylight and throw in the onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry for a few minutes
  • chuck in the red peppers and black beans (if using) and cook for a bit longer until the peppers have softened
  • next, add in the red chilli, rice vinegar and spring onions and return the beef to the pan
  • stir for a minute, add the sauce, cook for another thirty seconds and serve with rice!

You can actually cheerfully leave out the black beans, though they do add something to the dish. Try and use low salt soy sauce if you can. Enjoy!

For more fakeaway recipe ideas or beef ideas, click the icons below!

beefsmall  fakeawayssmall

J

best ever spaghetti bolognese

Yes! The best ever spaghetti bolognese! Well no, you can do so much better by adding things like bone marrow or bacon or delicious dates but I don’t want to be responsible for any weigh-in-ladies getting slapped around the chops, so this is the best you can do within a reasonable amount of syns. We have done a syn free version way back when which you can find here.

Anyway, we weren’t going to post today but see we were discussing in bed this morning our old crushes. Everyone has them – that one celebrity that makes you damp and uncomfortable in the minnie-moo area. Because Paul’s common, most of his were characters from Eastenders because seemingly that was all that was on in the smokehouse where he grew up. Mine are a little more cultured. Pffft. Without further delay:

Paul’s old crushes – then and now

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What can we take from this? Well, it certainly explains why he calls me Sonia during sex and makes me do a little turn on the trumpet to kick things off. It also demonstrates that, if you were lucky enough to have teenage Paul rub one out over the thought of you, you are blessed with immortality and NEVER AGE. Seriously, aside from the chap on the bottom who has upgraded his weirdly phallic beard into a decent sculpted affair and Sean from 5ive looking slightly more boss-eyed, no-one has changed!

Bonus mentions for: the fat Di Marco from Eastenders (who I couldn’t put into the pictures because there’s not a recent photo of him – luckily he hasn’t died. Well no, his acting career has. Bitch). Reese from Malcolm in the Middle.

James’ old crushes – then and now

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Mine are a little more obvious, no? I ummed and aahed over that picture of Tyrone there – just to be clear, the actor is two years older than me so I’m SURE he’s over age then. AND I WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE 16, SO GIVE ME A BREAK. Anyway Paul and I both agree he’s aged well and we were both aghast and stiff when that evil walking Afro was setting about his nethers with the hoover extension. Bears and BDSM, what can I say. Viktor Krum was quite possibly more a case of being in love with his red jacket and furry muff than anything to do with those strong, Slavic eyebrows and jaw. He does however seem to have aged into someone you’d see on the front page of a local paper being sentenced for ripping off old ladies for bogus roof repairs. Pity. Oh and Travis Fimmel – now there’s an interesting one. I just can’t think what attracted me about the top left picture as a young’un – I remember I used to pass a giant billboard for Calvin Klein’s Crave on the way to college and there’s just something that caught my eye. That kind of look is the antithesis of the type of man that Paul and I find attractive – which makes it all the more curious that he now looks like someone we’d both let sit on our face and pedal our ears. Eee, isn’t lust fun.

Bonus mentions: Rhino and Shadow from Gladiators. I swear they’re about 60% responsible for my homosexuality. Not because of their looks, as such, but rather their costumes. Good lord. Thank goodness we didn’t have 3D TV’s back in the day – we would have needed to move the settee back a good half a foot. I vaguely remember liking Toadfish from Neighbours but a quick look at google images reveals that this couldn’t have been true given he used to look like a tiny version of Penn from Penn and Teller – or, nineties fans, the Head of the Witches Council from Sabrina. I never had much time for the dreamboats like Harvey from Sabrina or Billy Kennedy from Neighbours. Too pretty. I used to enjoy Janice’s bit on the side in Coronation Street (Dennis?) – he’s a bit of a gay icon! Oh and Krycek from The X-Files. And Mulder! And poor Pendrell! I’d go on, but it’s too difficult to type with the keyboard constantly being nudged away from me. So let’s do the recipe!

I’m putting this recipe up so you have a reason to use up the rest of the wine you might have used for our previous recipe for dirty macaroni. But come on. We both know you drank it, you filthy lush.

best ever spaghetti bolognese

to make the best ever spaghetti bolognese you will need:

to make the best ever spaghetti bolognese you should:

  • bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions – although for fucks sake, it’s spaghetti – boil it, eat it – if you can’t manage that, perhaps it’s time to give Dignitas a call
  • meanwhile, heat a large pan over a high heat and add a little oil

Just jumping in for a second – we get asked a lot about what pans we use that are non-stick enough not to need loads of oil. Now, I know there’s loads out there made from ceramic or teflon or whatever, and they’re probably alright, but we bought some Le Creuset casserole dishes a few years ago and genuinely use the big casserole dish every single day – without anything sticking and (gasp) we clean it in the dishwasher. They are expensive – very expensive – but absolutely and utterly worth it. Buy cheap and buy twice, after all. Amazon currently have a discount – why not treat yourself?

  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • remove the mince from the pan using a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside
  • in the same pan quickly cook the onions for 3-4  minutes
  • add the chopped garlic and cook for another 2 minutes
  • add the chicken stock to the pan to deglaze (i.e. get your wooden spoon and scrape all the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan) and stir the onions often until the stock has reduced by half
  • add the wine to the pan and do the same again
  • add the bay leaves to the pan and the passata, bring to the boil
  • reduce the heat slightly and cook until it has thickened slightly, which will take about 6 minutes or so. add salt and pepper to taste
  • remove the bay leaves, add the mince and the spaghetti to the pan and mix to combine
  • serve with lots of black pepper, parmesan from your HEA and some basil leaves

DELICIOUS.

If you’re looking for more pasta or beef recipes, click on the links below!

beefsmall pastasmall

Now I’m off to put my greengrocer’s tabard on for Paul.

J

stuffed onions and a revelation

You want a recipe for stuffed onions – listen, I understand – you can find it just below the next few paragraphs of gibberish. 

Firstly, welcome to all our new subscribers. Not sure what has happened but we seem to have gained over 800 subscribers in the space of a few weeks! Goodness. Just a quick bit of admin before we get started – we’re not Slimming World consultants, so everything we say shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but we have been following the plan for years and are confident our recipes stack up syn-wise. We’re obliged to tell you that we’re definitely not Slimming World Official though. Which is good, as it means I can say fuck. Thank fuck!

Secondly, I know, we’re terrible. We went away on another holiday. Because Berlin, Ireland, Corsica, Iceland and New York just weren’t enough. One of the benefits of homosexuality, see, pink disposable income and no money-draining children to look after. The extent of our responsibility is to make sure that we leave the cats plenty of food to be getting on with and leaving instructions with our lovely neighbours for the alarm code. To be fair, it has been a bit of a topsy-turvy couple of weeks and we needed a break. We decamped to glorious Cornwall for a few days in a lovely cottage with an outdoor bath, and you can be assured that I’ll rattle off a couple of entries of our thoughts on that in due course.

However, we must take a moment to stop with the gurning and sarcasm and be serious for a moment. You’re going to laugh because I’m sure long-term readers will have read sentiments like this several times over on this blog, but we’re recommitted. We had a run of ‘big events’ at the end of March – birthday, a death, a hen party, a work night out, which then followed by a holiday means a big gain. This can’t go on! We can’t keep losing weight for a few weeks and then hoying it all back on in a glut of naughty food and too much alcohol. You know when you see some ashen-faced chunker on This Morning being told that if they don’t lose weight, they’ll die / be unable to have kids / need someone to come in with a block-and-tackle to get them off the sofa before Gino D’Acampo comes on to do his bit on spaghetti? You see the moment of realisation hit them as if they’ve seen the runners putting the buffet table away.

Well, Paul and I have both had that moment of realisation. A simultaneous awakening. I picked up a sack of potatoes in Morrisons (my life isn’t always this cosmopolitan) and realised it weighed five stone. Realistically, I could probably stand to lose one and a half of these sacks. It’s no wonder I ache all the time carrying around all this extra fat – I have arthritis and I should give my joints a rest. I’m tired of getting out of what I thought was an empty bath only for half the bathwater that was dammed behind my back fat suddenly appear with a loud fart noise. I’m sick of worrying whenever I get on an aeroplane that:

  1. the seatbelt won’t fit;
  2. I’ll be sat next to someone who will tut and sigh when he sees me stumbling down the aisle; and
  3. if the plane crashes, I’ll pop the escape slide on the way down, although the resulting blast of air might put out the fire, so perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.

I’m genuinely sad that I have to buy my clothes from online piano-dressers Jacamo or, if I’m lucky, I might find a shirt hidden right at the back of the rail in Tesco that doesn’t make me look like a hot air balloon crash. As I reckon a lot of fat people do, I’m constantly worried that I’m sweaty or that I smell. Which is ridiculous. I wear Tom Ford, for goodness sake. I’m horrendously unfit too – I get out of breath when my mind wanders, let alone a long country walk. More importantly, if I carry on – and if I haven’t already – I’m going to wreck my body and die young. I don’t want to die young, I want to be an old man who shouts at children and releases silent farts on public transport. To be fair, I do both now, but I want to be able to pretend to be deaf to the cries of my fellow passengers.

I know Paul feels the same, and then some. See, whereas I have a decent height to carry off my weight, so at least don’t look like a sphere with a face drawn on it, Paul came up short in the lottery of legs and looks like a wee egg in Build-a-Bear shoes. My dad, always the joker, described Paul as a skip. That’s my dad’s humour (and where I get it from) but Paul will cheerfully agree that he is skip-like – certainly, you can put anything into him without resistance. That’s come in handy during our marriage. I’d love my husband if he became so fat that he collapsed in on himself and turned into a puddle of Crisp ‘n’ Dry and gristle, but as it stands, we’re racing each other to the grave. He’s been told he has a fatty liver – personally, I’d be surprised if his liver didn’t have a butter-top like a breakfast crumpet – and he’s also been recommended to try Orlistat, which immediately and secretly voids any ingested fat out of your anus. We’re refusing on the grounds that we’ve just bought a new car and sofa and the last thing we need is carrot-orange liquid fat seeping out of his underwear. We buy our briefs from Tesco, they’re hardly going to keep the floods back. 

We did have a discussion about continuing with Slimming World, though. Deep down, I do feel that the plan is a little too restrictive and yes, whilst it certainly gets results, there’s a lot of rebounding that goes on with the diet. I’ve seen many, many ‘success stories’ fill out and slip back over the years. I sometimes feel that if we simply followed the calories out being more than calories in rule, we’d probably lose and – whisper it – enjoy it more. I hate the fact that an avocado – a perfectly healthy, good for you snack – has more syns than a Kitkat. I dislike the fact that you’re actively encouraged to almost bathe in Muller Lights, despite them being absolutely loaded with sweetener and sugar – but a drop of honey is dreadful. Plus, it’s all a bit twee. I’m not a fan of the nuclear smiles and the edifying, cloying language used in the magazines and books, either. 

However, it’s what we know, and what we write about, so we’re going to really give it a go. Increase our speed foods. Keep a food diary. Exercise more. Stop being lazy. Stay to group and clap until our hands look like a prostitute’s labia majora. I’m not promising a post a day but hell, we’ve got several lined up, so stay tuned. I’ll even dust off the knobometer at some point, but not until we’re back to the weight we last left it at. 

Oh: we have Fitbit Charge HRs now – these measure our steps, heart-rate and sleep patterns. My Charge HR’s heartbeat monitor was going mad as I took it out of the box but that’ll be the shock of paying for the fucking thing. If you want to add us as friends, look for jaymes@twochubbycubs.com and paul@twochubbycubs.com and go from there. If you’re on the fence about Fitbits, get one. What’s the worst that’ll happen? It does look like the world’s chicest bail tag but hey. I’m just glad it got all the way around my wrist – I would have hated to have to email asking for an extension. You can pick one up from Amazon by clicking here – all the various options are set out clearly. Give it a go! When we figure it out, we’ll set up some twochubbycubs challenges and you can win a branded pinny or something.

Finally, thanks all for entering into the spirit of things and giving our Musclefood competition a go – I’ll be drawing out the lucky name tomorrow and sending an email to the winner in the next couple of days. If you’ve entered, keep your eyes open!

Let’s get to the food then, eh? Stuffed onions! No really. Hear me out.

stuffed onions

Don’t they look pretty? We served ours on a bed of couscous because we’re all frou-frou like that. Do you see what I did there? This makes enough mixture to fill six decent sized onions. We used large white onions from Morrisons – they’re an actual thing, not just a description – proper white onions. But you can do this with any large onion, though obviously if it’s a bog-standard onion it’ll be very oniony. Yes.

to make stuffed onions, you’ll need:

  • one 400g pack of extra-lean beef mince (like the ones you get in our fantastic freezer filling Musclefood deal that we’ve secured exclusively for you – click here for that!)
  • six large white onions
  • 125g of chopped onion, which you can take from the onions you cook with
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced using a fabulous mincer like this one from Amazon
  • pinch of cayenne
  • beef stock cube
  • 1 egg
  • one small wholemeal breadbun (HEB) turned into breadcrumbs
  • optional: chopped peppers, mushrooms, peas

and to make stuffed onions, you should:

  • turn the oven onto 190 degrees
  • to prepare each onion – cut the top and bottom off the onion so that it can sit ‘upright’, with the hole at the top being wide enough to get a tablespoon into – then slowly scoop out the centre of the onion using your spoon. It’s far easier than it sounds, though a messy job. You’ll get a couple of layers out and then you can actually squeeze the rest out, leaving a thick layer on the outside – cover the hole at the bottom with a bit of onion and there you go, onions you can stuff – I stood mine up in a Yorkshire pudding tray so they didn’t tumble over
  • to make the stuffing – fry off the onion and garlic gently until golden, adding the pepper, cayenne and salt as you go – I use a few squirts of Filipo Berio rather than Frylight, boo – up to you if you syn this half syn between four people. If you do, get out now, you’re not for this blog
  • add the mushrooms, peppers or peas if you’re using them
  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • crumble over the beef stock cube
  • whilst everything is hot, crack the egg into the mince and stir vigorously – you don’t want scrambled eggs
  • add the breadcrumbs
  • spoon into the onions, making them nice and packed, and cook for around thirty minutes until golden – keep an eye to make sure they don’t burn!

Enjoy. Serve with speed foods on the side, naturally.

We’re back!

J

beef satay with peanut dipping sauce

Beef satay with peanut dipping sauce? On Slimming World? Surely not! But YES. Let me tell you, it actually tasted like something you’d get in a Chinese restaurant too, as opposed to the usual Slimming World slop-swap, where the end result isn’t so much divorced from the original as moved to a new city and never seeing the children. You know when people theatrically slap their hand to their open mouth in shock? Well, I didn’t have time to do that as I was too busy making sure Paul didn’t eat my share. Recipe below.

Can I just take a moment to say I thoroughly enjoyed Batman v Superman? I just like to think that Ben Affleck is probably reading this blog, dying to know how to turn ASDA beef chunks into something palatable, and after all of the criticism he’s faced over his boring film, this might cheer him up. Plus, Paul and I both agree that you have quite an impressive knob in Gone Girl, and I’m not talking about Rosamund Pike. I went to see Batman vs Superman with an old friend (literally, she’s well old) and it was all very enjoyable, even in blurry 3D-vision. I’m a fan of 3D if done well (Saw 3D, of all things, was fun) but not if it’s just to make the odd leaf or snowflake look like it’s coming towards you. No amount of blistering 3D detail is going to make me think I’m right there in Gothametroplis (right?) – my arse-cheeks turning to concrete on the rock-hard cinema seats keep me grounded.

Oh, that and the little shits along the row who, along with their father, spent every other minute looking at their phones and being unnecessarily rambunctious. Naturally, as a Brit, I tutted and sighed for two hours until I was on the verge of hyperventilating and had to blow into my pic-and-mix bag for comfort. The father took a bloody phone call at one point! Unless it’s a doctor ringing up to tell you that “yes, Mr Smith, we’ve found you a brain, you’ll need to come in for fitting immediately” you don’t take a bloody phone call in the cinema. If I had my way, everyone would have their hands stapled to the arm-rest and if your phone rang or you needed a poo, well tough titty. The cherry on the cake was towards the end I went to get the last sour apple snake from my bag (not a euphemism) (also, yes, hypocritical) when one of the children sighed like he was blowing out the candles on a birthday cake and said ‘I CAN’T WATCH THE FILM IF PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO RUIN IT‘. I’ve never felt so chagrined. 

Anyway, today we’ve said at least two things that hammer home how old we’re getting – first, Paul suggested we go out “for a drive in the car“. I don’t know why we do it, we invariably get stuck behind someone for whom the fourth gear is uncharted territory and I end up going apocalyptic behind them trying to overtake. I have to come home and punch a brick wall to calm down. The second line that tumbled from my ageing lips was the clincher though – when Paul mentioned that our home town could do with some decent flowers being planted (in itself a very Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells thing to say), I replied by saying ‘yes, but the young’uns would just pull them up and cause a mess‘.

May I remind you I’m 31.

Goodness me. I almost stopped at the Lloyds Pharmacy on my left there and then for a hearing test and a fitting for Tena for Men but well, it would take a while to get parked and with my aching hips, getting out of the car is too much of a chore. So instead we drove to the beach and ate sandwiches in the car whilst listening to Gardeners’ Question Time and nodding at nothing in particular.

Ah well, to the satay! It’s something I always order whenever we get a takeaway, though sadly our favourite local takeaway seems to have closed down. I like to think they couldn’t keep up with our demands. I’ve definitely had more than eight ‘it’s my birthday, can we have a free giant spring rolls please thanks‘ events this year. I certainly hope it hasn’t been closed down by the council because that would bring our total of ‘favourite then condemned’ eateries to three. We used to have a Chinese takeaway literally across the street from us when we lived in Gosforth (more Kenton actually, but Gosforth sounds posher and well, we didn’t have a trampoline or discarded mattress in our front garden, so we didn’t belong in Kenton*) which was fantastic.

Paul was confused when he first went to order because the tiny, very Chinese looking lady behind the counter spoke with a Geordie accent that sounded like she was possessed by Tim Healy. And he’s not even dead. It really didn’t gel with her beautiful cheongsam dress and I-kid-you-not chopsticks in her hair bun.

Still, the food was delicious and tasty up until the point the ‘Scores on the Doors’ folk came around and rated them zero out of five for cleanliness, food safety and hygiene. Nothing says did you enjoy your chow-mein like seeing it again two minutes after eating from one end or twenty minutes from the other. I must have a stomach of asbestos though as so few things ever upset my natural balance.

We now get our Chinese food from a car-park in Morpeth. So far, so good – they certainly don’t seem to be using the same microfibre cloth to wipe their work-surfaces and their bumholes, so they’re already up on the Gosforth Chinese.

* Kenton is lovely really. Please don’t firebomb my house or spray me with Greggs crumbs as you refute my jokey aspersions.

beef satay with peanut dipping sauce

to make beef satay with peanut dipping sauce you will need:

  • 700g beef, cubed (why not use the beef you’ve got from our wonderful Musclefood Freezer Filler? You get a couple of packs with your mince, chicken and bacon, and it has the added benefit of not feeling like you’re chewing on a bike tyre like so much of the beef in your average cheap supermarket beef does – click here to order. Oh, and we’re running a competition to win one of our £50 hampers – click here and enter!)
  • 8 shallots or two large white onions (shallots are far nicer though, much sweeter)
  • a little knob of ginger, peeled
  • haha, I said little knob
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, sliced (can’t get lemongrass? Use a teaspoon of lemon rind)
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fennel (or crushed fennel seeds)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a few squirts of olive oil spray

for the peanut sauce:

  • 4 tbsp reduced-fat peanut butter (18 syns) (be sensible here, a tablespoon is a tablespoon, but don’t go scooping it out like it’s mortar and you’re building a brick wall at gunpoint)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sweetener
  • 2 drops of sriracha (or any hot sauce)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

to make beef satay with peanut dipping sauce you should:

  • place all of the ingredients together (except the beef) in a food processor (aside from the stuff for the peanut sauce, obviously) and blitz until you get a thick paste – loosen it off with water if it’s too thick but you do want a paste, not a slop
  • in a large bowl mix together the beef and the marinade until it’s well coated, and leave for at least six hours (or overnight)
  • push the cubes of beef onto skewers and grill under a high heat for about 15 minutes, turning regularly

Feel free to ramp up the speed factor by adding peppers and mushrooms onto your skewers. Also, if you’ve got wooden skewers, remember to soak them for as long as you can – basically, if you’ve got wood, get it wet. Lesson to live your life by.

To make the dipping sauce, mix together all of the ingredients with 4 tbsp of water – to make a really thick paste. keep mixing in 1 tbsp water at a time to the required consistency.

Enjoy!

 

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

sizzling rainbow salad, roasted garlic chickpeas and weigh in

Yes yes, the sizzling rainbow salad will follow.

Long title for what will be a very quick post because damnit, my tea is ready, I have two recipes to post and a weigh-in to report. So let’s wheel out the old knob and see how we’ve done this week…

twochubbycubs

Oh how cosmopolitan! Classy Paul sent me a text to say ‘Only lost half a pound, but got three pounds of last night’s tea pulling out of the depot as we speak’. It’s always a joy living in this house. We weighed in separately tonight as Paul had to dash home (as much as someone the approximate shape of Saturn can dash) and let the electrician in to fit an outside light in our back garden. See (barely), our local council has taken it upon themselves to tear down the old orange streetlights in our street and replace them with these AWFUL little white LED lamps, which, given how faint and pointless they are, must all be running off the same watch battery. It’s so dark I can look out of the window and see when next door’s TV goes off standby. Actually, that’s a fib, we don’t have immediate neighbours…

…which is lucky, because fuck me is the new light bright. He flicked it on and I half expected Paul to be standing at the fence shaking and bursting into flame like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Even the cat put a layer of Piz-Buin on before nipping out to shit in the flowerbed – that wasn’t steam coming off her turd, it was smoke. He advised me that we could adjust it if we wanted to but nah, I like to know that if I stumbled home in the dark and lost a contact lens amongst my tomatoes, I could find it in quite literally the blink of an eye. We’ve also had a couple of outdoor sockets fitted, which will just the thing for us to look at occasionally and think about pressure washing the paving stones. 

Anyway, the recipes. Let’s start with sizzling rainbow salad, which is really just a colourful salad but with all the goodness and virtue of eating greens taken out and replaced with juicy, delicious cow. If you want to keep it vegetarian that’s fine, but please ask someone to chop for you least your cockle-esque muscles give out. I’m kidding I’m kidding. Please don’t write to me, I won’t read it. I’ll be too busy wiping the cow juice off my chin and cackling wildly. Until I get CJD and Paul has to take me around the back of the house, my legs disco-dancing independently of each other, and push me into a burning pit with a tractor.

IMG_2579

to make sizzling rainbow salad, you’ll need:

  • any steak you like – fillet steak, frying steak, rib-eye steak, miss-steak, Mis-Teeq or Stakeford, I don’t care, as long as it mooed and had children (ouch)
  • any syn-free noodles
  • a cucumber, one that if it was a penis, you’d perhaps reach for a dab more Durex Play than you’re used to
  • a carrot, see above
  • a few radishes
  • if you can get them, a candy beetroot and a golden beetroot, if not, regular beetroot
  • two red chilli peppers
  • a lime
  • spring onions
  • crunchy lettuce of any sort you like
  • chickpeas from the below recipe

to make sizzling rainbow salad, you should:

  • cook your noodles
  • peel and slice the cucumber and carrots into thin ribbons using a potato peeler
  • very thinly slice the beetroot – I eat it raw, I like the crunch – and I use one of these mandolins for perfect uniform slices (plus it protects your fingers, you don’t want your piano career ruined by circumcised fingers)
  • do the same with the radishes
  • chop the spring onion and chillis
  • cook your steak however you like and slice it into thin strips – we just used bog-standard steak like this – remember you can add stuff like this on if you buy our freezer-filler-wonder-offer from Musclefood, just add whatever you want as extras into the basket – we cook our steak by getting a pan roaring hot, using worcestershire sauce and pepper instead of oil, quickly cooking it off and serving
  • assemble in a bowl – noodles, crunchy lettuce, sliced veg, steak, squirt a bit of lime juice over for taste
  • if you’re making the chickpeas below, scatter them on too for extra crunch
  • very healthy, I’m sure you will agree

OK, onwards. BEFORE WE START.

TWEAK

We explain what tweaking is right here. Our policy is that it’s better to eat something like this than it is to eat a tube of Pringles. Well no, it’s not better, but it’ll keep the scales happy. Hopefully. Up to you to decide what you want to do. To me, chickpeas are syn free, garlic is syn free, you don’t use enough sprays of the oil to be worth synning it, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to be told off for it. GO.

to make roasted garlic chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • a bulb of garlic
  • two big tins of chickpeas
  • a few squirts of olive oil (which might add up to a syn if you’re lucky, plus I’d hope you’re not going to eat them all)

 chickpeas 

to make roasted garlic chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • cut the garlic bulb right through the middle (horizontally left to right rather than straight down the middle) – don’t worry about peeling
  • sprinkle with a touch of salt
  • put in a low temperature oven for around half an hour, just to soften the garlic flesh, then scoop out (I just scrunch up the bulb with my hand)
  • rinse your chickpeas
  • put them into a bowl with a few squirts of oil, salt, pepper and the softened sticky flesh of the garlic
  • roll those chickpeas around each other – gently, you’re not panning for bloody gold – but enough to get them coated in some garlic, seasoning and oil
  • tip out onto a baking tray and bake in a medium oven for around 30-45 minutes, but do keep checking, they can catch quite quickly
  • eat as a snack or tumbled into salad. Tumbled?! Oh behave James.

Enjoy!

J

sweet potato and spinach beef bowl

The recipe for sweet potato and spinach beef bowl is just beneath the next few paragraphs of waffle about the cats. Why the cats? Well – we’re getting a lot of charming comments about our cats now that the blog is growing and I thought I’d mention them, not least because Sola has turned into a filthy slut. Let me explain. 

sola

This is Sola.

She’s very much a ‘get the fuck out of my face, feed me when I ask and if I want to shit on your pillow, by god I’ll do it’ sort of gentle, lovely cat. She’s not a fighter either – we never see her scrapping with other cats, though I suspect if she could work a Zippo with her paws she’d be the type to burn their house down instead. In short, she’s unpleasant and we’d barely see each other. We might pass a glance to one another when she’s not busy showing me her bumhole when I wake up but that’s about the limit of our interaction. Just lately though things have changed – she’s been all over us, meowing and purring and rubbing against our legs – fair enough, have a stroke, yes yes. Then she started ‘presenting’ – lying down with her back legs up showing off her pink-panther. It’s incredibly creepy. We had a vet check her over just in case she’s managed to grow herself a uterus in the last ten years and is dying for some cat-cock, but no, she’s very well and content. 

So, onto Google – and we found what we think is the answer. Some cats like to be spanked. Not in a sexual way, I can’t imagine she’s going to turn her cat house into a red room and install tiny feline whips and a Whiskas-logoed crucifix, but because there’s a lot of nerves along their back they like the feel of a smacked side. See?

Now before anyone calls the RSPCA on us, we don’t pat away at her like we’re trying to put out the flames on a Christmas pudding. Plus, you know, these cats have their own shed to go into if it’s too cold. We certainly don’t utilise utensils like the above chap. But the cat goes absolutely mental for it – purring, running around, meowing like mad if you dare stop. Once she walks off, that’s game over, but honestly, we’ve never seen her so content. Christ, is our house really so perverse and unholy that even the cats are kinky buggers?

Well, Bowser sure as hell isn’t.

12516801_1045720192168250_1068373755_o

This is Bowser, before he had a good chunk of his right ear torn off by another cat.

As an experiment, we tried a gentle tap on him, and he promptly attempted to deglove Paul’s hand, which is unusual given how bloody soft he normally is. I can’t say he’s a lover not a fighter because all he does when he goes outside is fight with other cats. I’m tempted to modify his cat-flap so that when he exits ‘Eye of the Tiger’ plays and sets him up for a scrap. I reckon he’s got one full ear left and every time you stroke him you find another scab or cut. He feels like a hair-covered Weetabix. At night though he’ll mew outside our bedroom door until we let him come in, at which point he normally gets up on the pillows, crawl under the duvet and falls asleep curled up next to Paul’s quivering arse. That to me seems counterproductive – it must be like trying to sleep behind the fan on an out-of-control hovercraft, only with the smell of eggs and death blasting up your nostrils instead of sea-air. Still, he seems content enough, even if he comes out in the morning with brown foam on his lips.

Ah, aren’t they just a treat. Anyway, come on, let’s get to tonight’s meal – sweet potato and spinach beef bowl. It’s genuinely easy to make, uses only a handful of ingredients and is full of taste. Makes technically enough for four, but we ate it all between the two of us. Fat fuckers!

sweet potato and spinach beef bowl

to make sweet potato and spinach beef bowl, you’ll need:

to make sweet potato and spinach beef bowl, you should:

  • cook your sweet potatoes for an hour or so, until they’ve softened but haven’t turned to mush – leave to cool then then peel and cut into large chunks about the size of a thumb, though please, don’t put your thumb in the dinner, I know where you’ve been sticking it
  • chop up your onion, of course, and mince your garlic, and sweat them gently in a pan with a drop of oil or a few squirts of Frylight – if you want to add chopped peppers or peas, chuck them in here
  • throw in a tablespoon of fish sauce, a good twist of black pepper and salt, put in your mince once the onion has gone golden and cook that mince on high until it is brown and cooked through – I crumble an Oxo cube on for extra flavour but do that towards the end of cooking otherwise it makes it difficult to see how well the mince is cooked, and I don’t want the blame if you’re stuck in the shitter firing the chocolate laser all night
  • take it off the heat, empty your bag of spinach into the pot and put a lid on for a few minutes – the steam will wilt the spinach making it easier to stir, though you might need to shift the pan back onto a low heat and stir the spinach through when you can. Or do it in batches. Come on, it’s not rocket science this
  • chuck the sweet potato cubes in and stir the lot to get everything mixed together
  • serve with more pepper or a few drops of Tabasco sauce as above

That’s it! You could add more speed veg if you wanted to, but I see this as a very healthy meal and very easy to make – one pot to clean and quick to prepare, save for the time spent waiting for the sweet potatoes to cook. Use that time wisely – clean the kitchen, spank the cat or just play with your boobs. It’s your life, live it.

J

syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots

Christ, what a bloody awful last couple of days with this website! We’ve had a right fart-on with moving it from a different server to a fancy new one, but finally, it should mean no more errors and subsquently, no more tearful messages from ladies wanting my beef recipe. SO: here’s the recipe I was going to post two nights ago before it all went to cock.


Not a post tonight, really, but I wanted to chuck this recipe on as quick as we can. By far and away our most popular and visited recipe is the one for our amazing syn-free tater tots. Only problem with that recipe is that, although it tastes bloody amazing, it’s a bit of a fart-on to cut up all the potatoes into cubes. If you have the time, do it, it’s amazing, but if not (or if you’ve spent too long watching “videos” on the Internet despite promising your other half you’d make tea), here’s a much quicker option. This serves four and uses four HEA’s worth of cheese.

syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots

to make syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots you’ll need:

  • one small carton of passata
  • one tablespoon of tomato puree
  • two tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
  • pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
  • 500g of beef mince, remember to keep it on or below 5%, like the EXCELLENT MINCE FROM OUR MUSCLEFOOD DEAL JUST SAYIN’ JEEZ
  • two garlic cloves, minced, perhaps using one of these fine mincers
  • one strong white onion, chopped
  • one green pepper, chopped finely
  • one beef oxo cube
  • spring onions
  • 500g of soup pasta – this is tiny, tiny pasta shells you can buy from most supermarkets – in Tesco it’s called marghartine, but essentially any tiny pasta will do (and it’s dirt cheap)
  • 120g of grated reduced fat red leicester cheese (3 x HEA)
  • 75g of reduced fat Philadelphia (1 x HEA)
  • Sriracha (or any hot sauce) – Sriracha is half a syn per tablespoon and that’s all we used for the whole dish, so if you want to be anal-Marie, syn the dish at 0.12 syns a bloody serving, but if you’re that way inclined, just get out

to make syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots you should:

  • it’s really a bolognese bake, but with a few extra nice ingredients, so…
  • chop your onion and pepper finely and soften it in a medium-heated pan with dab of oil or bloody Frylight booooooo
  • add the minced garlic as the onion starts to go golden and cook for a minute or so
  • tip in the mince and brown it off
  • add the beef stock cube, worcestershire sauce (reduce this if you’re not a huge fan), salt and pepper, passata and puree
  • give it a reet good stir and allow to simmer away so the sauce thickens and you’ve got a nice mince, like so many men tell me I have
  • whilst that’s bubbling, cook your tiny pasta – watch it doesn’t go too overcooked, it only needs a minute or so in bubbling water – just try it and if it’s cooked, get it drained and shake as much water out as possible – really go for it
  • measure out your philadelphia and stir it through the warm pasta with a pinch of black pepper and salt – you’re not aiming for saturation here, just a nice taste throughout
  • mix everything together in one big over-proof pan, top with the grated cheese and grill for around 5 or 7 minutes, until it looks delicious
  • sprinkle with chopped spring onions and a few dabs of hot sauce, and serve!

Of course you can tailor this, add more veg, do what you like, but this is syn-free as long as you use your HEAs. It makes a ginormous serving for each person too! In short, we’re replacing the cubed potatoes with tiny pasta, and it becomes more like a super cheesy pasta bake, but by god it’s wonderful! ENJOY.

Remember to share this recipe wherever you can, it really helps us!

J

teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

Here for the teeny tiny teriyaki tasters which are perfect for those awful taster nights where everyone brings in food? You’ll find them just below the picture. But naturally, because it’s us, there’s going to be a bit of guff before we get to that point.

Firstly, this is important: you know how we have our fabulous deal with Musclefood, where you can choose from our meat-filled big box or a smaller, still meaty, freezer filler? This one? They’re currently out of stock at the moment though. Booo! Well, they’re also running a deal right now where you get 5kg of their marvellous chicken breasts for £18 instead of £32.85. You’ll need to click here, add it to your basket and use the code GREATCHICK in the promo codes bit in your basket. The chicken breasts are colossal – we usually use one where two supermarket chicken breasts would do. Tasty too.

Usual guff applies, the minimum order is £25 and delivery is £3.95, but if you fill out your order with the usual staples of extra lean beef mince you’ll be fine. Enjoy!

Right, secondly, couple of boring admin things – we get asked a lot how many servings our meals will do – unless we say otherwise, assume four. We’re very big eaters, always have been, and our meals could comfortably serve four unless we go out of our way to say it’ll be six or two or whatever. I’ve got no time for tiny portions whether during mealtimes or sex. Also, we’ve got so many lovely, warm comments in our comment queue, we’re going to try and get through them today. Please don’t be disenheartened that it takes such an age to clear them – we read each one as it comes in and it touches us right in our special no-no places. To give you an idea how much admin that is, there’s 156 comments waiting for us to approve and comment on, and I only cleared the queue before we went to New York! Goodness me!

So yes, today’s recipe is designed for all those people who spill their vowels down their front and ask us ‘WOT CAN I TAKE TO TASTA NITE‘. I’ll include some more links at the bottom for other snack suggestions, but seriously, if you take these bad boys to class, I’d be surprised if your consultant doesn’t give you Slimmer of the Year right there and fill your book with so many stickers it looks like a Panini 1998 World Cup album, only with Mags playing centre forward instead of Les Ferdinand. God I’d pay good money for that.
Buffets as a rule leave me cold, but these have put me in mind of a recent visit to a carvery. See, before we set off anew on this diet a few weeks ago, we had a little list of things to cram down our necks before we had to be strict again and exist on kale and misery (recipe for kale and misery stew will be online shortly, prep your tears now). They included something delicious from McDonalds (an abstract thought if ever there was one), all manner of beige nonsense from Iceland and a visit to a carvery – perhaps more precisely, a Toby Carvery. I’ve never been, but I feel I’ve been vicariously through all the frothy-mouthed praising I’ve seen people on the internet do. Apparently they’re delicious, the sort of place you would go for a final meal, a Sunday dinner done right at any time of the week – having seen the fervent delirium that swims over the eyes of their fans I was half expecting to be fellated under the table as I worked my way through my roast.
 
Well, that didn’t happen. We stumbled into the Kingston Park Toby Carvery and although the staff were pleasant, the food was awful and most of the customers were clearly determined to get the value out of their £5.99 and to hell with decency. Listen, I’m a fat bloke, but show a bit of restraint man – people were coming back to the table with plates piled so high with heat-lamp warm veg that their glazed-over eyes were barely visible over the top of them. I think it’s a very British thing, confusing quantity with quality, but it made me feel a bit queasy. Just because you can eat as much as you like, doesn’t mean you should. It’s not a challenge, you’re not on the Krypton Factor or up against a timer – they’ll still let you out if you’re capable of breathing under your own steam.
 
The food wasn’t all that, considering the rapturous praise it seems to elicit from various people online. The meat was so leathery and tough that I could have reheeled my shoes with it. The mash and roast potatoes were so dry that I almost asked for a bowl of those little silica gel balls for dessert just to grab a bit of moisture. Because the food is kept under heatlamps and customers are allowed to ‘help themselves’, everything ends up slightly mixed together so you get cauliflower cheese mixed in with the peas and queasy droplets of horseradish blobbing on the top of the gravy. Finally, their famous Yorkshire puddings? I could have sanded a brick wall with the buggers. Bah! The staff were lovely, mind.
 
I see the same thing when I walk down Stowell Street in Newcastle to my car, which is awash with all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurants with the same folk piling their plates high with all sorts of salty nonsense. I can put it away myself, don’t you worry, but I’ve never felt it necessary to combine starter, main and dessert on one plate, especially when you can go back up if you want more. It always ends up tasting the same and I can’t bear seeing people eat without actually tasting the food they’re pouring into their maw. They look like cows in a field chewing the cud, quite possibly with the same levels of methane barrelling out of their arses.
 
Admittedly, I’m being slightly hypocritical. I don’t mean to be. I’d love to make a pig of myself at a buffet but I suffer from buffet-anxiety, or premature mastication if you prefer. I’ll go up, fill my plate with about two thirds of the amount I actually want, and then cry inside at the sight of everyone else’s plate, which is normally full of the things I wanted but didn’t dare pick up in case some snotty cow yelled ‘SPOON OF MINIATURE TRIFLE EH? WITH YOUR TITS?’ or similar. We’ve all been there.
Moral of the story? Calm the fuck down at buffets.
Right, recipe!
teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

This makes enough for 36 sticky teeny tiny teriyaki tasters (fnar fnar), if you make them bigger, adjust the syns per ball. There’s 12 syns in the overall recipe.

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you’ll need:

  • 500g lean pork mince
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 60ml light soy sauce
  • 60ml white wine (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp sherry (1.5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp honey (2.5 syns)
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 15g of a mix of black and white sesame seeds (6 syns, as 25g is 8 syns – and to be honest, you’ll not use all of these because a lot will end up on the chopping board, but let’s err on the side of caution)

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you should:

  • in a large bowl mix together the pork and the beef mince with the egg yolk
  • using a tablespoon, scoop out a spoon-size ball and roll into meatballs – do this for all of the mixture (you’ll need about 36 – if you want, you could weigh out each ball at around 27g each…but life’s too short)
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat and add a couple of squirts of spray oil or, urgh, Frylight, bleurgh
  • cook the meatballs until browned all over and cooked right through – you WILL need to do them in batches
  • place cooked meatballs onto a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm whilst you cook the rest
  • when done, mix together the soy sauce, white wine, sherry, honey and ginger in a small jug and pour into the same pan you used to cook the meatballs and reduce the heat to medium
  • cook for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened
  • add the meatballs back into the pan and stir carefully to coat – I find it easier to tumble the meatballs in and then pick up the pan and gently slosh them around rather than trying to stir with a spoon
  • serve on cocktail sticks and sprinkle over the seeds – don’t sweat it if you can’t find these, you could easily leave them off and that brings the syn count to 1 syn for six – even better – but they look so pretty with the seeds on

Get used to people going OOOOOH and slapping you on the back. Hell, you’ve earned it.

Enjoyed our tale? Remember: we have a book with all of our stories in one place, and you’ll be keeping us in gin if you buy it!

J

potato crust meat pies

Just a quick post tonight because I want to get this recipe for potato crust meat pies up – can’t pretend it’s my own, it’s one of the current facebook fads doing the rounds, though we’ve pimped it up a bit with slow-cooked beef and onions. The recipe is after the photo, if you’re wondering where to go.

Before I get to that though, something has been sitting a little heavy on my mind. There was a heated discussion in our facebook group about whether or not it was right for the NHS to fund access to places like Slimming World or Weight Watchers, or whether people should be expected to pay for themselves. For the most part people agreed that it was a marvellous idea and that a little bit paid out now might stop a lifetime of the NHS having to pay out for obesity related diseases. Seems sensible. Of course, if you’re in a position to pay yourself, then you should, but if you’re unfortunate enough to struggle to find the money for Slimming World (and let’s be quite frank, although it might only “be a fiver”, it’s always a bit more – costs of getting there, bit of fruit for Slimmer of the Week, raffle prizes, magazines, books. Yeah, you don’t need to buy into any of that, but let’s be honest, there’s plenty of ways to lose money so although it might only be a fiver, it’s often a quite a bit more. Do we stop people going if they can’t afford it? Say no, sorry, go home and cry into your Smart Price bread and Extra Value glass of rainwater? Of course we fucking don’t, and it boils my piss that it was even suggested.

ANYWAY. The reason I bring this up is because Paul, quite rightly, vehemently defended the NHS (for they are marvellous) and pointed out quite saliently that we all claim from the NHS in some way, whether right now or in the future. It’s there for all to use, and rightly so. As part of his argument, he mentioned the fact he went to Cambridge University and, being from a poor working class background, was often made to feel inadequate by some of the folks there. Which is daft, because Paul is undeniably wonderful in every which way. He’s even got a big knob for someone of his height, so you know, work with it. His argument was comprehensive and fair and surprisingly free of swearing and innuendo – I thought someone had swapped him out for someone else. One of the posters disagreeing with him kept having a pop, so he ignored her, only to wake up this morning to a private message (it’s interesting, these folk never say what they want to say in front of others, only hidden away behind the shadows) from this woman who told him she couldn’t “believe he went to Cambridge” because he was so “classless and uncouth”. She “thanked God” that she never bumped into “someone like you”. All this because Paul’s an advocate for folk getting help when they need it as opposed to when they can afford it.

Naturally, he blocked her, despite me wanting to point out to her that clearly the Cambridge education of her son hadn’t rubbed off on her based on her many spelling errors and nonsensical grammar. Disappointing. But honestly, how pathetic. I can’t bear actual proper snobbery, especially when it’s coming from someone who clearly has all the class of a fingerbang in a taxi-rank. There’s something so undignified about someone in their late sixties scrabbling around on facebook trying to put others down based on class. It’s like Jeremy Kyle but with Sanotagen. So your son went to Cambridge and you never saw anyone uncouth there? Pfft. I once ‘went back’ with a lad from Cambridge and he asked me to pee in his bum, the logistics of which I couldn’t fathom, so stick that in your cigarette-holder and smoke it. I shan’t name the lady and I don’t want people to comment below adding their twopenneth, because sometimes it’s easier just to let people’s ignorance stand clear and undiluted.

The point to mentioning this? Well, just to lead to a reminder of what we are all about at twochubbycubs. We don’t discriminate – we’re awful about everyone, but in a teasing, gentle way. If you actually want help, join our page or our group and get asking and I’m fairly sure someone will be along to help, though don’t ask for syn values otherwise you’ll get a boot up your arse. We’re all here for the same reason – we’re fat and the smell of bacon follows us wherever we go. Our recipes are free (and I do think we could make a lot more money if we actually charged for them, but we don’t) and hopefully there’s something for everyone. Well, no, not everyone. If you’re a needlessly haughty sort with hair like someone has run their finger around the inside of a plughole in the shower room of a men’s prison, perhaps you should skip on by.

Bah.

Let us go somewhere nicer for a moment. I spent the afternoon volunteering at our local cat and dog shelter (Brysons) and had the pleasure of spending an hour with this little furball, Spitfire.

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He is a kitten and was absolutely terrified after spending many weeks by himself in the cold, he had a bloody nose from fighting, but now he’s in the right place and will be loved and nursed. He was found after scratching at an office window to be let in from the cold. Oh, and when the RSPCA were called to pick up this stray cat, they told the caller to leave him outside and that there was nothing they could do. For a cat no bigger than my fist, stick-thin and shivering, with blood all over his face. Great work, “caring” animal charity. Brysons went to pick him up and are looking after him now, so all is well!

Right, let’s get to this smash crust pie. Before I type the recipe up, fair warning – this could be considered a tweak. Gives me an excuse to pop this on though.

TWEAK

My views on tweaking can be found here. It’s hopefully a marvellous read.

You’re using Smash to make the ‘crust’ of the pie, but frankly, I don’t think it uses any more Smash than you would if you were having it on the side. So I personally say don’t sweat it. You could negate all of this by making your own mashed potato from scratch, but this is just convenient. If you’re making your own mash, keep it as ‘dry’ as possible. Don’t be adding lots of milk and egg otherwise a) your consultant will implode and b) it’ll be hard to ‘mould’. This made enough filling and mash to make two big pies (see photo), just tweak the recipe for more folks.

potato crust meat pie

to make potato crust meat pies, you’ll need:

  • a decent quantity of made-up mash, whether through the Smash route, cooled and set aside (we used a normal sized bag of ordinary Smash – 176g pack – and added our own onion granules)
  • a cheap joint of beef, with no fat, or chunks of beef, or even mince
  • a tin of peas, a tin of carrots, a tin of butter-beans
  • two large onions
  • a dollop of Marmite (leave this out if you’re not a fan)
  • 100ml of stock
  • one clove of minced garlic (use a mincer like this one, so much easier!)

to make potato crust meat pies, you should:

  • slice your onions and cook them gently in a pan with worcestershire sauce instead of oil
  • once they’re softened, whack the heat up, put in your beef joint and ‘seal’ on all sides (press it against the bottom of the hot pan, you’re not trying to cook it but just seal it off) – or if using chunks or mince, cook them through
  • tip the meat into a slow cooker and add the stock
  • before you take the onions from the pan, keep the heat high and add a few more drops of worcestershire sauce and scrape at the bottom to get all the lovely meat juices mixed with the onions, then drop into the slow cooker with the carrots, peas, garlic, Marmite and butter-beans
  • cook for as long as you like – we went for a few hours, but get the meat softened and the sauce thick
  • when it’s time to prepare your pies, get two glass bowls (Pyrex) or a decent sized dish, squirt them with a tiny dab of oil (and rub this in), then mould your mashed potato to create a thin ‘crust’ around the sides, saving some mash for the lids
  • fill the pies with your meat, right up to the top
  • create a lid with the remainder of the mash and press it down to seal
  • bake in the oven on 170 for around thirty minutes, adding your healthy extra cheese if you desire a crusty lid
  • listen, a crusty lid is never a good thing on a bloke, just saying
  • you can either eat it out of the dish like we did or have a go at tipping them out – good luck!
  • serve with your speed food.

In our picture you can see gravy in our fancy container – to make our gravy, we just sweat off a tonne of onions, add some stock and then blend in our Nutribullet. Easy. We served with some frozen mixed veg because we’re lazy. This is pretty much a shepherds pie, I guess, but the heart likes what the eyes see, so if you’re wanting a big ole pie, this will help the cravings! Not our original idea, no, but we’ve added a bit of razzmatazz. It’s what us common, uncouth fuckers do, see.

Enjoy!

J