ham, cheese and egg pancakes: breakfast of champions

Ham, cheese and egg pancakes – well, it’s better than yet another overnight oats recipe, no? Bit of a preamble on this one so do just click here to go straight to the recipe!

Do you know who I can’t bear? Gavroche from Les Misérables. I jubilantly throw my box of Poppets in the air whenever that tatterdemalion shithead gets blasted in the stomach. Perhaps that makes me slightly psychopathic, celebrating the untimely end of a wee (albeit fictional) child, but there we have it. I’ve always been a Javert man, anyway.

I mention Gavroche as there was a kid in front of us at the swimming baths yesterday who was giving it such great funs with his loud, obnoxious shrieking that we elected to go for a spa day instead of a calorie burning frontcrawl. It’s half term: the children are off the roads but by God, they’re everywhere else, like lice on a dog.

It may surprise you that neither of us are born ‘spa boys’. The idea of people fussing about me with unctures and rubs holds zero appeal. However, we’re fortunate enough to live near a reasonable spa and, thanks to Groupon, entry was reasonably cheap. We did feel a bit out of place parking our muddy car in the sea of spotlessly white Range Rover Evoques (so-called, as they evoke feelings of ‘oh, what a smug looking c*nt’ whenever they swoosh past), and even more so traipsing in with our swim kit in an ASDA carrier bag. The lady on reception did blanch a little as we sashayed in. Pfft. I’m taking no judgement from someone who wouldn’t be able to register a look of surprise even if she dropped a pan of hot oil on her feet.

We’re realists – we weren’t going to inflict our naked, hairy bodies on someone whose on work experience certainly didn’t call for massaging our fat around like spreading butter on hot toast. Plus, I’m not one for being touched. I can take someone gripping my ears for stability and that’s about it. Although actually, I’ve heard masseuses prefer fat bodies as there’s more to work with, otherwise let’s face it, it’s like rubbing wax into a xylophone. I was having mild intestinal issues however, and didn’t fancy taking the risk of someone creating a biohazard by squeezing me like a tube of budget toothpaste. So, massages were off, and we decided to make use of the other facilities, which all involved some degree of sitting down and sweating. Couldn’t help but feel a bit ripped off, not least because I sit down and sweat just writing the blog.

Before that, a quick change. Luckily the place was quiet – not that I mind getting my knob out in front of folks, you understand, as a reasonably quick search on xtube will verify – and we were able to get changed in peace. Well – up until the point where it came to putting our stuff in the electronic lockers. We were just closing the door when a boiled beetroot in Jacamo shorts came barrelling over to shout at us / instruct us how to use the locker. It was a four digit pin, not the fucking Enigma machine, and I assured him we had it under control. He didn’t bugger off though, ‘supervising’ us as we locked our locker, leading to a slightly awkward moment where I had to shield the pin as though he was a street beggar after my money. Can’t be too careful. Satisfied that we had managed to satisfy Fermat’s last theorem / input four numbers into a locker, he lumbered off. We’d meet again.

Paul, keen to lose some weight through simple sweating, pushed us into the sauna. I hate saunas. I don’t see the appeal – I feel like a chicken breast in a sous vide machine, sweating and struggling to breathe through a dry heat of other people’s sweat and stink. Thankfully, unlike the other times I’ve used a sauna, there was no-one else in there – that’s great, because previous occasions have invariably had me sat oppostite an old dude sitting with his balls out. Have you ever seen what happens to a scrotum in extreme heat? Mine becomes so elastic that I can throw them over my shoulder and have them banging about like one of those old clackers toys from the eighties.

What’s good about a sauna, anyway? This particular one was turned up to over 90 degrees. To me, that’s approaching boiling point. I get uncomfortably hot when someone lights a church candle the next village over. I tried lying down but that made my back-hair sizzle. I tried sitting but was worried I’d cauterise my bumhole shut. Standing was no better – I just felt faint and knew that if I passed out, there’d be no way Paul could lift me out and I’d end up in there forever, cooking and desiccating until I ended up looking like Madge, Dame Edna’s assistant. I stayed in as long as I could but then had to dash out.

As I left the sauna our friendly neighbourhood beetroot appeared out of fat air and admonished me for not shutting the door quick enough, as though four seconds of the door being slightly ajar would reduce a room that was previously hotter than the surface of the sun down to the temperature of an Icelandic crevasse. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or just hot, though his skin had moved from rose to ruby coloured. For someone who had self-appointed himself as the King of the Spa, he certainly needed to fucking relax. I shut the door as quick as I could, leaving only four layers of skin crisping like bacon on the door handle. I thanked him. We’d meet again.

Paul slunk out of the sauna immediately after Al Murray had left, and we enjoyed a quick brisk shower before going for a sit in the aromatherapy room. I’m not going to lie: it was a novel experience to have the both of us in a heated room and for it not to smell like something has died behind a radiator, but there’s only so much pine scent you can inhale before you start getting light-headed and conscious of the fact you’re going to smell like an Air Wick for the next ten weeks. What is the aromatherapy room meant to do? I’m already Polo-shaped (I’m certainly mint with a hole), I don’t need to smell like one too. We left after about five minutes.

The last room was a steam room. To me, that’s just another sauna, but this time with steam. Woohoo! In we went, and there was Barry Big Bollocks spread-eagled, thankfully with his shorts on, steaming lightly. Now I could have cheerfully stayed in here save for the fact that the steam was clearly helping with his COPD, because no sooner had we sat down then he started coughing and hacking and clearing his throat as though he was drowning in phlegm. Nothing soothes the soul like steam and a fine miasma of the net result of forty straight years of chaining Lambert & Butlers. Every time our conversation halted he’d kick off again, clearly really getting in amongst his air-sacs for the full effect. He wasn’t so much clearing his throat as resurfacing the fucker. We left after about five minutes, speckled with blood and tar.

Only one thing left to do. The jacuzzi. I’m not a huge fan – let’s be frank, they’re nothing more than less portable hot-tubs – but hey, when you’ve spent twenty quid to get in, you have to get the use out of it. In we went. Now, yes, it was very pleasant, although they had positioned several jets in such a way that it was blowing my balls around rather a bit too dramatically in my swimming shorts. I had to move before my entire ball-sack floated to the surface and acted like a pool cover.

But even here I couldn’t relax. With my belly being pummelled from all directions, my fear of accidentally sharting and ruining the whole experience for everyone else was too much. Can you imagine how mortifying that would actually be? The more brazen amongst you might have been able to bluff it out by pretending you’d spilled a can of oxtail soup in the water but come on. I had to get out.

In all, we spent about 30 minutes at the spa and came out slightly pink and far less relaxed than when we went in. Best part for me was having Paul use the hairdryer in the changing rooms to dry my bum hair – such luxury! The receptionist asked if we had a nice time given it seemed as though we had hardly stayed. Naturally, we lied and said it was wonderful and we’d cheerfully come again, before spending the entire home bitching about everything. This is why we can’t have nice things, see. She did offer to see if someone was free to give us a pedicure but when I asked her if said person would be proficient in using a belt sander, she didn’t get the joke. We all mutually agreed that we ought to move on.

Sigh. Speaking of moving on, let’s do the recipe for ham, cheese and egg pancakes, eh?

I was going to call this recipe croque madame crêpes but Christ, I’ve seen how some of you lot spell two chubby cubs, I’m not going to start adding circumflexes into the mix. Without a moment of delay, let’s get to the recipe!

ham, cheese and egg pancakes

ham, cheese and egg pancakes

ham, cheese and egg pancakes

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 stuffed pancakes and two leftover!

Something new and tasty for breakfast for those days when you can't face spooning yet another load of dry as old nick overnight oats into your aching gob.

For the basic pancake batter, we're using the pancake advice from February, namely:

My recipe makes enough for six pancakes - four which will be filled with ham and cheese, and then two extra for gobbling. It's either that or having to mess about with smaller ingredients. Don't be tempted to fart about blending oats or any of that nonsense, there's simply no need. You're so much better have a couple of real pancakes and cracking on. Oh and if you find yourself reaching for a wrap instead of making a pancake, please, throw yourself into the sea.

Ingredients

TO MAKE THE PANCAKES

  • 50g plain flour (8 syns)
  • 150ml of skimmed milk (2 and a quarter syns, but really, 2 syns)
  • one egg

So that's ten syns for six pancakes. But I'll syn them at 1.5 syns because you can bugger off if you think I'm putting 1.66666666666666 syns per pancake.

FOR THE FILLING

  • four eggs
  • whatever ham you fancy
  • 60g extra grated mature cheese (2 x HEA)
  • chopped chives

So to be clear, you're having two filled pancakes each, and you'll have enough batter leftover for a third if you want to scoff that too!

Instructions

  • blend all the pancake ingredients together - add a pinch of...a pinch of...bleurgh...a good grinding of pepper, please
  • now, depending on your skill in the kitchen, you could fry the eggs in one pan and prepare the pancakes in another, but let's assume you've got the cooking skills of a turnip, and go step by step
  • fry your eggs off - don't cook them into full submission, you still want a bit of give on the yolk so it pops
  • pop your fried eggs on a plate on the side and start making your pancakes - a couple of sprays of olive oil, nice hot pan, tip a sixth of the batter in and quickly spread it around the pan
  • once the pancake has 'dried out' and coming away from the pan, flip it over - don't be frightened, you've got spare batter
  • once it is flipped, layer 15g of cheese in the middle, top with the ham and the fried egg
  • fold the sides of the pancake over like in the photo and cook for about thirty seconds to melt the cheese a bit
  • top with chives and eat!

Honestly, it sounds like a faff, but all this recipe is is a pancake stuffed with cheese and ham and egg - if you balls it up, it might not look great, but it'll taste absolutely fine.  Remember, aim for taste, not perfection!

Notes

  • we whisk up our batter in our Nutribullet - gets rid of any lumps, but honestly, a bowl and a fork will do the same job and get you some Body Magic. Don't buy one just for this - though they are very good!

Courses breakfast

Now come on, that was easy! But if you fancy something different for breakfast, why not try something new from our list?

Yum!

J

chocolate and cherry porridge – breakfast done right

It’s Britney, bitch.

We’re back, and with chocolate and cherry porridge! Have you ever heard the likes? We needed a break, you know. It wasn’t you, it was us: we were a bit burned down – we wanted to see if we could do a streak of 50 recipes in 50 days, and boy, did we manage it. But when you’re trying to type with blood-soaked fingers worn down to a nub, you know it’s time to stop.

Bit brisk, isn’t it? I’m a Geordie so this minus ten weather and eight foot of snow is nothing – I might elect to put on an extra t-shirt later, but that’s about it. The country is going to shit though: you’d think it was anthrax falling from the sky, not bits of frozen water. I say that entirely shamelessly from the warm comfort of my own home – work have let me stay at home for the last two days as I can do everything I’d normally do in the office from home and they don’t have to listen to me shallow-breathing to boot. I can’t drive in snow, it frightens me – not that Paul cares. Let me set you a scene.

Tuesday night and the roads are awash with snow. We live out in the country and as a result, the approach to gritting the roads extends to one of our elderly neighbours nipping out with a tub of Saxo and scattering it about with trembling hands. I wouldn’t mind but she hasn’t even bothered with that this year – in fact, she hasn’t even thought to bring her milk in, there’s over 10 bottles on her doorstep. It’s just lazy.

Anyway, with the snow pelting down and a genuine blizzard swirling, Paul decides that no, we really ought to go to the gym and that the weather wouldn’t be that bad, oh no. The roads would be absolutely fine once we were on them, for sure. Just our estate that is bad, despite the view from the window looking as though they had been smeared with Trex. We couldn’t take my car – more powerful, bigger, doesn’t run on AAA batteries – no, we had to take his Smart car because it was already defrosted and deiced and delightful.

He took my moans of protest as little more than excuses for not going to the gym and fair shepherded me into my gym kit and out into the car. We managed to drive – slowly, sliding everywhere – about a mile before he agreed that yes, it was rather troubling out on the roads and that, like Jack and Kate, we had to go back. This wouldn’t have been such a problem if he had decided this before we had slid to the bottom of one of the many banks that surround us, but I knew there was absolutely no way this tiny, rubbish car was getting back up the hill.

Well, Paul is nothing if not stubborn, so he turned the car around (surprisingly easy to do in a Smart car – you can turn a full 180 degrees on a circle the size of a Lego steering wheel) and off we set up the hill. We crawled about two meters before the car couldn’t get a grip and we were skidding on the ice, unable to go forwards or backwards. On a dual carriageway, mind you, with traffic coming. The air was as blue as my lips – bearing in mind the windchill was easily -6 degrees or so – but I was dispatched to push.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried pushing a car with a big fat bastard in it on an ice-covered gradient whilst wearing Sports Direct trainers with about as much grip as Jeremy Beadle’s right hand, but it’s a frigging chore, I can assure you. We weren’t moving. No bastard would stop to help. Thankfully, after ten minutes, a gritter truck appeared on the horizon and, God love them, moved in front of the car and barrelled a load of salt down in front of the car, finally enabling Paul to get some traction and to pull away. Of course, with me standing behind the car pushing, my face, arms and bare legs were treated to shards of salt being blasted against them. The joy!

Sidepoint: it’s certainly not the first time that a rough lad in a hi-vis has sprayed salty muck across my face, causing Paul to quickly pull himself off with great relief, but that’s by the by.

I wish I could tell you the story ends there, dear readers, but no. Paul, so buoyed with the excitement of finally being able to move again, pulled away – and didn’t stop. There was a brief moment or two when I tried to run after the car on the ice which ended abruptly when I fell over and skinned my already frozen knees. In the salt. Apparently, if you nip down any alleyway within a radius of five miles where I fell, you can still hear my loud expletive bouncing around off the walls…uuuunt-uuuunt-uuunt-uuunt

I walked home that night with ice on my flesh and frost in my heart, I promise you. A mile in gym kit in what was the coldest night of recent memory, all the while Paul had made it home and poured himself a lovely cup of tea. I asked our Facebook group what I could rightly expect as recompense and most people suggested full anal (by the way, what’s partial anal – when you have the discussion about doucheing but then just go to sleep?) but unless said anal was with the entire Newcastle Falcons team entirely at my leisure, that wouldn’t be enough.

I did leave him a clue about how angry I was via our front door CCTV mind. Click on the cute kittens below to be shown what I did, and fair warning, it’s very, very, very adult. Don’t you complain!

If you’re wondering who CLINT is. I suggest you get your eyes checked.

It took a good few hours of rubbing my feet, making pained faces of apology at me and bringing me enough cups of tea to my make my stomach sloosh before he was forgiven. In fact, my knees have not pained me for almost nineteen hours.

All is well.

Shall we do the chocolate and cherry porridge then, such as it is? It’s not much of a recipe, but you know sometimes you want something other than eggs or two Rice Krispies and a thimble of milk for your breakfast? Well, this will scratch that itch. The other itch you might want to get a doctor to look at. Also, we’re starting to redesign the site over the next few weeks – bear with us!

chocolate and cherry porridge

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 big bowls

Something warm, sticky and sweet to fill your hole: our chocolate and cherry porridge isn't exactly high-cuisine but it'll please you for only a few syns!

Ingredients

  • 80g of porridge oats (any will do) - 40g is one healthy extra choice (B)
  • 400ml of Arlo lactofree chocolate milk - 200ml is a healthy extra choice (A)
  • 100g of black cherries in light juice (3.5 syns)
  • 25g of chocolate chips (6 syns for Dr Oetker - and mind, you could leave these out, it's sweet enough!)

Instructions

  • well now come on
  • heat your milk up and add the oats, with a pinch of salt
  • on a medium heat, keep stirring and stirring - the porridge will thicken after about ten minutes
  • top with the cherries and chocolate chips
  • enjoy

Notes

top tips:

  • swirl some of that sweet cherry juice through as the porridge thickens for a taste explosion
  • knock the syns down by using fresh cherries or skipping the chocolate
  • I can't find of a single thing to link to on Amazon that might be relevant to what you need, so instead, why not treat yourself to a Halo - they're currently cheap as chips!

Courses breakfast

I mean, you just would, wouldn’t you? And what’s this, you want MORE ideas for breakfast? Sigh. A boy can only do so much, you know…

Pure filth!

J

sausage and ham super scrambled eggs

Sausage and ham super scrambled eggs: because you’re worth it.

Guys, if you want the recipe and aren’t in the mood for a politically-correct, bang-on, leftie snowflake moan, just scroll down until you see the pretty pictures of the dinner. Because boy, am I going to moan.

You may recall a while back I did a post complaining that the ignorant fuckers banging on about Tesco pandering to Muslims because they had the temerity to include an Asian family in their Christmas advert. I know: shock horror! If not, you can find it here. You would have hoped that the passage of time might have quelled the ignorant, or perhaps they might have found something shiny on the floor to distract them, but no – that sound you hear, like someone standing barefoot on wet rice krispies, is the spittle collecting in the corner of their downturned mouths once more. Why? Because Cadbury’s are BANNING THE WORD EASTER FROM THEIR EASTER EGGS TO APPEASE MUSLIMS. 

Except, much like Tesco, they’re not. This one is even easier to discount: whilst you can argue that maybe Tesco weren’t being honest in their right-on PC approach to inclusivity (which is bollocks, plenty of Muslim families take part in Christmas), you can’t argue that Cadbury’s are banning the word Easter when you can walk into any shop, pick up any number of Cadbury’s eggs and see the word Easter emblazoned on the box, or on the chocolate egg, or sat amongst all of the other Easter eggs in the friggin’ Easter egg section of the supermarket. It’s quite literally there in brown and white. It’s like getting in a tizz about the sky not existing or grass not being green – it’s an unequivocal, incontrovertible fact. They say the word is banned, people post photos of their eggs showing otherwise. That would surely be enough to calm their tits, no?

No.

No, despite absolute evidence to the contrary, they still believe in a great conspiracy to ‘devalue the importance of Easter’ and that Cadbury’s are head of the coterie working hard to bring this country to its knees. They ignore the fact that most eggs have Easter on them in order to point out the few that don’t (carefully side-stepping the fact that the Help for Heroes egg doesn’t mention Easter) as justification of their anger. Some learned sort posted pictures of eggs from the 1970s, also Easter-less, as proof that sometimes an egg is just allowed to be an egg, but this too was ignored. At this point anyone pointing out the fallacies in their arguments is usually made out as a JEREMI CORBIN LOVER or typical leftie libtard or some other such nonsense, as though having a rational mind and decent principles is something to be ashamed of.

What vexes me is that most of these people couldn’t give the shiniest of shites about Christianity and indeed, the last time they were on their knees in a church it was probably to either suck off the vicar or wrench the lead from the stained glass windows. They’re about as Christian and as God-bothering as I am a sofa cushion. Do you think these people are good Christian soldiers? No: it’s just another excuse to bash the Muslims and to try and justify their thick, idiotic behaviour. They wheel out the ‘importance of the true Easter message’ as though they’ll be doing anything at Easter other than ransacking the shelves of B&M and watching Jeremy Kyle, who might tip his hat to Easter by adding bunny noises over the punch-ups and tying a bonnet on Steve the bouncer. Pfft. The only thing I want to tie behind Steve the Bouncer’s ears are my thighs. You ask most of them which muscle-bound adonis was well-hung at Easter and they’ll probably name some stripper they saw at the last lock-in at whatever flat-roofed barred-window shithole they had their Shenice’s 5th birthday in, for a beige buffet all round.

The final argument is the finisher though: good people are told that ‘they just don’t see the bigger picture’ or ‘you’re too scared to admit the truth’. It’s as though the truth that they have rattling in their brains like a grain of rice in a tumble drier is the gospel and that they, not you, are the enlightened one because they’re one vein-pop away from crouching down in a barnyard yelling at the hens because they don’t imprint ‘I LOVE JESUS’ on each egg they fire out. If that’s the truth, then slap my arse, call me a salty bitch and make me a liar, because I want nothing of it.

Paul pointed out that I have to stop arguing on facebook, and he’s right. What does it ever get you? No-one, no matter what side of the fence you come down on, is ever going to change their mind on a hot-button issue because Sandra from Stanley weighed in on her Radio Rentals Amstrad to tell us why Brexit is a good idea, why gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry or who really did wear it best between Holly Willoughby and a toilet-roll cover. And yet, everyone feels the need to voice, to speak, to get their opinion across: I’m doing it as we speak, but don’t worry, I’m safely strapped in on my high horse. It’s very comfortable. But it’s all so…pointless. I’ve decided then to give facebook a rest, at least outside of my social circle.

I’ve unliked all the local news stories, where an article about a new bus-stop can turn into a smear against the mayor, an argument about Poles coming over here stealing our daffodils and why Theresa May is good/bad/incapable of smiling without looking like she’s pissing blood-soaked nails. I’ve stopped following anything faintly contentious or interesting. American articles are an absolute cesspit of who can call Trump the worst thing, which is pointless because everyone knows the correct answer to that is that he’s like a pube-covered Wotsit that a deranged person carved a face onto. TV shows fanpages are a no-go because they’re full of people who have never left their mother’s busom and who take everything so seriously. Comment sections on newspaper sites are like the table in the pub you avoid at all costs. And now, even the sanctuary that was a chocolate facebook page has been sullied by the thick and the ignorant.

What’s the cure? If I was ever Prime Minister, I’d have all of these people who graduated from the School of Hard Knocks and who have a degree from the University of Life rounded up, popped into a lorry and driven into the sea. Don’t worry, they’d be long dead before they entered the water, drowned in a yellowish froth of their collective bile, disgust and self-righteousness, arguing and spitting to the very end. You know how I’d celebrate? With a large, generous slice of politically correct cocoa-ovoid.

Sigh.

Anyway, let’s do the recipe. It’s super scrambled eggs but done all fancy and meaty! Now, if you buy a pack of bacon and sausages, keep half of them for the recipe that’s coming tomorrow – we’re calling this a rollover recipe! Let’s do this.

super scrambled eggs

super scrambled eggs

to make super scrambled eggs you will need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 6 bacon medallions OR 100g of cooked ham, cooked and chopped
  • 4 low fat sausages (see top tips below), cooked and sliced
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 100ml skimmed milk (1½ syns)
  • 30g cheddar, grated (3 syns)

top tips for super scrambled eggs:

  • the milk and cheese is optional but totally worth it
  • we used the sausages from our incredible Musclefood deals which are free! If you use a different type be sure to syn them
  • Fry Light will ruin your pans – get one of these misters instead!
  • you can cook the sausages and bacon however you like, we used our Tefal Optigrill but you can cook yours in a frying pan, under the grill or in a George Foreman – it’s up to you!

how to make super scrambled eggs:

  • whisk the eggs together with the milk
  • spray a saucepan with a little oil and add the sausages, bacon (or ham) and tomatoes
  • cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently
  • add the eggs to the pan and stir constantly until they’re scrambled to your liking
  • serve and sprinkle over the grated cheese
  • eat served on whatever you like

Looking for more breakfast ideas? You greedy bugger!

J

 

bacon and egg fried rice – perfect for breakfast!

Bacon and egg fried rice – for breakfast, to boot! This is the perfect recipe to keep in mind when you cook some of our recipes and have leftover rice, but for the love of good, make sure you heat leftover rice to within an inch of its life otherwise your weight loss will be from shitting out your intestines. I’m not kidding!

We’re away tonight so no nonsense – straight into the recipe! This kicks off our next theme of Chinese inspired meals, we hope you enjoy!

This makes enough bacon and egg fried rice for four people – if there’s just you, you know what to do.

bacon and egg fried rice

bacon and egg fried rice

to make bacon and egg fried rice you will need:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 6 bacon medallions, diced
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 500g cooked rice (doesn’t need to be exact)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • pepper

top tips for bacon and egg fried rice:

to make bacon and egg fried rice you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and spray with a little oil
  • pour in the beaten eggs and stir quickly to scramble, then remove and set aside
  • put the bacon in the pan and stir fry until nice and crispy
  • add the frozen peas to the pan and stir fry for just under a minute
  • add the rice and give a good stir
  • add the scrambled eggs back to the pan and give a good stir
  • add the soy sauce and a pinch of pepper, then serve straight away!

Good stuff right?

We’ve done a tonne of rice dishes – have a look!

J

breakfast sausage and egg hash browns

Nice simple recipe for breakfast hash browns coming up – and coming up quickly, mind you – but first, I want to share three little irritations. I need to get them off my chest otherwise they’ll bubble and boil and I’ll end up taking it out on the cat, perhaps by forgetting to turn on their chilled water or giving them Whiskas instead of their fancy organic shite. That’s a waste of money, anyway: yes, it might be organic, but I’ve seen my cat vomit up a bird and have another bash at eating it immediately after. They’re not picky.

Firstly, I’ve been gravely wounded. I’ve been cut up. Shanked. Given a ‘Welcome to Byker’. I jest, though I passed through Byker once in the car. They didn’t film Byker Grove there, by the way – it’s just one devastating lie after another. No see, I’ve started giving a toss what my hair looks like. Normally I like to let it grow cheerily for seven or eight weeks, spreading out however it wished like Molton Brown-scented mould. But now my face is slightly less egg-like I’ve taken to getting it cut with a straight-edge razor at a Turkish barbers that I’ve discovered in Newcastle. I only called in to try and get taken around the back to have my comb dipped, but alas, no dice. Anyway they’re usually very good and, for the most part, don’t chat, which I like. I can’t stand making small-talk especially when I’m gazing at my own reflection in the mirror – it feels like the most schizophrenic interview ever. The thing with having your head shaved with a proper razor is that you can’t move – you can’t nod or jolt or disco dance because otherwise you’ll end up looking like Carrie White.

I’m good at sitting still – being fat does tend to gift that skill to a person – but even I was on edge. We were almost done when he must have jolted and, in the process of doing so, gave me a lovely long cut right on the back of my shiny bald bonce. Worst part is, I didn’t even feel it happen – the blade is that sharp, I only noticed when he apologised and stuck a square of kitchen roll on the back of my head. Apology accepted, he then set about doing my beard, and you have to understand that there’s no tension quite like what you feel when you’ve got a man capable of random spasms holding a razor-blade right in front of your throat. Brrr! He did a fabulous job though, and gave me a free haircut. Someone said the scar would add character and make me look like a hard man: aye right fella – I’m more Ann Mitchell than Grant Mitchell.

I couldn’t find the right place to drop this in, so please, accept this bon mot floating out of place: “It’s certainly the closest a wet gash has ever been to my face“.

Second, let’s talk needless offence. This always happens when we have a swell of new people in our facebook group – the professionally offended itching for their chance to climb on their high horses and look down at those chuckling at good humour. Let me give you an example: someone shared a post of a photography business who had posted a load of ‘new parent’ pictures, only instead of a baby they used a cat. Said photos included them cuddling their swaddled cat, the ‘father’ crying with emotion and the mother whipping her breast out as if to feed. The cat wasn’t latched on. It wasn’t pushed out of her fadge. It was happy enough in a blanket being cooed over. But Christ, you’d think we’d uploaded footage of a cat being tied to the space shuttle for shits and giggles. Cries of ‘omg this is sik’ and ‘shud be band ADMIN’ rang out like bells at Christmas. There was a common theme amongst the complainants was that it only took 30 seconds to review each Facebook profile and find a ‘97% OF PEOPLE WON’T SHARE THIS PICTURE OF A BACON SANDWICH DO IT BEFORE FACEBOOK BAN IT’ meme. I wish we could take the Internet away from these folks. They’re the same cavalcade of clits that complain about men kissing in soup adverts or the fact Tesco use Muslims in their Christmas adverts. Arseholes, in short.

Lastly, elderly drivers. No look I’m sorry, I know it’s a blanket, sweeping statement, but I’ve had years of hearing how bad boy racers are at driving their little acne-carriages, let’s have a pop at the elderly. Before I do: I know there’s loads of good old drivers out there, but they’re seemingly all down South – they’re certainly not in bloody Newcastle. You know what I mean: going 40mph whether on the motorway, outside a school or ploughing into pedestrians. Incapable of seeing over the steering wheel. Rictus frown on their face. My latest encounter was outside of Lidl only today, and actually, I was on foot and yet they still managed to aggravate me. I was just stepping onto a zebra crossing to cross the car-park when a Nissan Family-Circle-Tin ran over the front of my left shoe, having elected not to bother stopping. Normally I’d just give him some Newcastle sign-language but because he’d actually kept going, I banged on his roof. Well, he almost shit himself (and there’s a certain inevitability about that). He wound down his window and muttered that he hadn’t seen me. How can you not see me? I’m the size of a vending machine and I know for a fact that my outlet-bargain Jacamo jacket doesn’t have a double-function as a fucking invisibility cloak. I waited for an apology that wasn’t coming, gave him a shitty look and hobbled off. Tell you what: I reckon a good 80% of the folks who cut me up, slam their brakes on or drive like bellends are octogenerian or plus. But of course, it’s not their fault. No-no. Argh.

Actually, fuck it, let’s add a fourth irritation: the ad-bumpers on The Chase, featuring the most excruciating raillery even committed to film. I love The Chase but I have to turn it over before it cuts to the drama students guffawing into their hands. It’s either that or I put my foot through the telly. Who approves this nonsense? The same degenerate who allowed the TUI adverts to go ahead. You know the one: some canyon-toothed dolly-dippit singing an appalling cover of Ain’t Nobody in that awful drab register so common these days whilst men who ought to be ashamed of their life tap-dance in the background. I’d sooner book a flight on a crashing plane than TUI. Dot the Ts and cross the Is? They don’t even do that! Bastards!

Eee I feel better for that – it’s like lancing a boil. And, on that attractive note, let’s do these sausage and egg hash browns, shall we? This made six, but it really depends on the size of your Yorkshire pudding tin.

hash browns

hash browns

to make breakfast sausage and egg hash browns, you’ll need:

  • about 800g of potatoes
  • one red onion
  • 80g of lighter extra mature cheddar
  • six eggs
  • a few sausages of your choice – we don’t go for anything fancy, just the 0.5 syn sausages from our Musclefood offers – grilled – and then cut into chunks. If you want to syn two pieces of 0.5 syn sausage, you crack on. I’m not stressing about quarter of a syn.
  • lots of black pepper and salt
  • a good clean teatowel
  • a Yorkshire pudding tin
  • squirty oil spray

to make breakfast sausage and egg hash browns, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  • grate your potatoes (skin on) and onion – use a box grater or, if you’ve got a fancy Kenwood like us, the grater blade – it’ll take no time at all
  • using the clean tea-towel to wrap the grated potato and onion in, squeeze as much liquid as you can out of it – then do it again – you need it as dry as possible
  • add lots of salt and pepper and mix the cheese in too
  • spray your pudding tin with some spray oil (0.5 syns for 5 sprays, you only need ten at most, and this makes six hash browns, so it’s up to you if you syn them
  • press equal amounts of mixture into the tin – really press the bottom down mind and then up the side
  • add diced sausage and crack an egg on the top
  • pop in the oven for a good twenty five minutes or so
  • done!

Make life easy for yourself: don’t make the ‘walls’ of the hash-browns too thick, or they’ll not crisp up. Also, rather than squeezing with a tea-towel, use a potato ricer. Yep – the thing we always recommend for perfect mash can also be put to use here by squeezing every last drop from your potatoes in no time at all! These freeze really well, too! I’ve included the cooking picture so you can see how I made them.

Want more breakfast ideas? Please take a look:

J

sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks

You’re here for the sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, aren’t you? Who could blame you – they’re quite something, though I feel bad luring you in for such a simple recipe.

But first (isn’t there an always a but first with us…actually, not always, sometimes I’ll start by working the balls) I wanted to follow up my last blog post, which dealt with the nasty side of the Internet and the disadvantages of giving chavs a keyboard that isn’t connected to a Speak ‘n’ Spell. No sooner had I put up a 1,500 word moan about the idiots kicking off at Tesco then something lovely happened. Allow me to explain, first with a wee picture…

I know, right? I ought to work for Saatchi and Saatchi, not least because think of all that delicious food Nigella would have cooked me over the years. I’m gayer than cum on a moustache but you better believe I’d happily spend my life with Ms Lawson. Any women who will cheerfully fry a sandwich in butter in her best dressing gown is a keeper, surely?

Can you remember last year when we asked you all to send us a Christmas card? Boy, did you come through for us – we received cards from all around the world and for once, the postman wasn’t being euphemistic when he came to our slot and emptied his bulging sack. Oh stop it: I know, it’s like Julian Clary is guest-writing the blog tonight. I think the grand total was over 1,500 and we read each and every one, not least because we thought you may have squirrelled away a fiver or two in there. It was great fun and we planned to do it again but, in a rare moment of genius, Paul suggested we raise money for our local cat and dog shelter, Bryson’s.

How could I resist? So we stuck our donation request online and within 36 hours, we’d managed to raise £1,300 – it now stands at £1,500! Pretty incredible and we couldn’t be more chuffed. Bryson’s are an amazing little shelter up in Gateshead who take in all manner of waifs and strays and never put a well animal to sleep – if they can’t find a home for them, it doesn’t matter, they’ll stay at Bryson’s until the end. Their staff was dedicated, kind volunteers and look, we can’t say enough about them: anyone who lets us two come in and cuddle their cats can’t be anything but amazing. You can read up on what they do here

Now – if you can, we would love it forever if you could help us. If things are tight then of course don’t worry, but if you’ve enjoyed our recipe, nonsense, videos, posters and other flimflam throughout the year, could we beg the tiniest favour and ask for a donation? We’ve stuck £100 in from the two of us – we’d absolutely love to get it up to £2,000 – and maybe more! We just think this will make a difference more than Christmas cards ever could. If you don’t want to donate, no problem – please don’t think less of us for asking – but if you do, here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window!):

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/twochubbycubs

How lovely! Remember, we’re not asking you to donate loads – just what you can, the cost of a Christmas card!

Now, to sweeten the deal a bit, we’ve done a rare video for you. It’s a recipe for syn-free brownies – you won’t believe how easy they are to make with just a few small substitutions and swaps. Naturally, we’ve put our spin on things. Enjoy!

Ha! Now, finally, let’s do the recipe, such as it is…this makes enough for two ‘stacks’.

cheesy hash brown

cheesy hash brown

to make sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, you’ll need:

  • Kingsmill wholemeal bread thins (1 x HEB per thin)
  • two good eggs
  • a potato
  • Quorn sausage patties (0.5 syn each), or cook some pork sausages and slice in half lengthways
  • 60g of mature cheese (2 x HEA)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (we used chilli oil because we like it hot!) (makes about five, so let’s call it a syn each)

I know there’ll be folks out there now not bothering with the recipe because it uses six syns of oil (1 tablespoon) – reconsider. The oil binds the potato and makes it like a proper hash brown. You could make your own vibrator from filling a cigar tube with bees, doesn’t mean you should. Spend the syns!

to make sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, you should:

  • hashbrowns are a doodle – grate your potato and then squeeze the living hell out of it – you want the shredded potato to be as dry as an old bajingo – then mix in the tablespoon of oil and the grated cheese, add a tonne of black pepper and a bit of salt, then press into yorkshire pudding or muffin trays – really pack it in mind you – then bung them in the oven for about 30 minutes to crisp up and brown – this actually ended up making about 5 hash-browns so keep any spare for eating later
  • it’s OK – I laughed at the concept of spare food too
  • then…well, really not sure what there is to say for the rest – grill your sausage patties and fry the eggs
  • we use a chef’s ring (he doesn’t mind, we buy him a drink after) to keep the eggs nice and round but really, you don’t need to do so
  • we use the same ring to cut a circle out of the thins but you know, why waste the extra bread? Just whack it in
  • serve with a disc on the bottom, hash brown, sausage and egg, then disc on top

If you’re one of these people who can’t fry an egg, worry not – it’s easy. Hot pan, few sprays of olive oil, crack the egg in and shape it a bit with a spatula – pop the lid on the pan once everything has started to firm up and it’ll cook nicely in the steam. Fresh eggs help. We get our eggs from my mother – you’d think she would have stopped laying them now she’s approaching 94 but hey.

Want more breakfast ideas? But of course you do. Click the buttons below.

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Enjoy! And please, give what you can – we really will love you forever.

J

raspberry and Lindt chocolate baked oats

I can’t believe in the three years we’ve been running this blog that we’ve never done a baked oats recipe. What gives? I’ll tell you what – I’ve always thought they look faintly off-putting, like a callous on a foot. There’s something distinctly grim about mixing egg, oats and sweetener together – it feels so…Slimming World, that we’ve actively avoided it. However, I wanted some chocolate and needed an excuse to buy some without Paul giving me a lecture about it, so I came up with this fancy recipe. I say fancy, it’s about as fancy as wiping your clout with a KFC wetwipe. But first, a quick diversion.

We’ve had CCTV installed. We had to do it, really, a family up the street turned up with a caravan and I mean, honestly, there goes the neighbourhood. Bet they’re the type who leave their bins out all week long, trekking out to the end of the drive in their boxers every time they want to throw away a bit of rubbish. Actually, that’s us: my neighbours have seen my helmet more than Paul has. Now, being us, we couldn’t just get a bog standard CCTV camera, oh no. Couldn’t miss a second of the action that takes place on this street, at both ends of the house. Our CCTV guy was a treasure, one of those rare people we like who come into the house, barely say a word, don’t try to talk to us about football or tits, leaves plenty of their arse hanging out of their trousers for illicit gawping AND he knew what he was doing with his tools. I only mention that because we’ve had an electrician come back twice recently to fix a light fitting only to spend both times looking mystified at it as though it was an alien invention. As it happens, the CCTV man fixed that too. We can log in from anywhere and view what is taking place on the street, the cameras record audio, we can pan and tilt them, all great stuff.

However, who knew that it would tap into hitherto undiscovered voyeuristic streaks in the both of us? There’s something hypnotic about watching the street from the comfort of your own sofa. I’m aware that this means we’re becoming just like all the other curtain-twitchers we moan about, but that was inevitable – it’s like picking up an accent of those local to you, only with more hormone-replacement therapy. I wish I could tell you we’ve seen something interesting, but aside from one of the neighbours letting his dog crap on our garden (it’s OK, I’ll send Paul out at 2am to return the favour) and about a billion old people all looking into our garden as they walk past, there’s nothing. It has paid for itself already though – we’ve been able to sack our cleaner because they only stayed for 1 hour 55 minutes instead of the two hours we pay them for. We deducted that five minutes from her last pay for good measure and sent her shrieking into the cold night.

I’m joking, of course we didn’t. We sacked her for always leaving the TV tuned into TVP Polonia and rifling through our knicker drawer.

Anyway, enough about us. Let’s get this recipe out of the way, shall we?

Yep, it is. Hey, this makes enough for one. Double up as you wish.

to make raspberry and Lindt chocolate baked oats, you’ll need:

  • 75g raspberries – cor, I bet that was a shock to the system
  • Lindt chocolate balls – or any chocolate really, I only use these because the dark chocolate balls are so good – but if you have shite self-control and can’t stop yourself eating them all, keep them in the freezer – they’ll soften in your mouth as you suck on them, which to be fair is the exact opposite of what I normally say to folks
  • one small egg (from a hen, not the Cadbury’s factory, you chubby wee delight)
  • 40g of oats – bog-standard, nothing fancy (this is your healthy extra B, mind you)
  • half a ‘syn-free’ yoghurt – we used Muller, but only because we had one rattling around in the fridge. Use what you like!

Some people add vanilla essence or sweetener into this. We don’t, because it’ll be sweet enough and the clash of flavours between the raspberries and the chocolate is what makes this dish. Christ, that sounds wank. You’ll also need an ovenproof dish – we used these little heart-shaped Le Creuset ramekins from Amazon because we’re frightfully middle-class, but honestly, any old tat will do – don’t buy these especially for these recipe. Or do, because we’ll get 0.00004p commission.

Should we…should we do it? Hell yes, let’s bust out an old face from so long ago…

Although we have (unusually) counted the syns for the cooked raspberries into the recipe above (1 syn – 250g is 3 syns – and yeah I know the maths is a bit off but I don’t have the tits to carry off being Rachel Riley), we wouldn’t usually bother. Raspberries are syn free in their normal form – mushing them a bit isn’t going to up the amount of calories and sugar and whatnot in them. Your choice. Look at it this way, you could ‘forget’ to syn the raspberries and then add another half Lindt-ball in there to make it a round 4 syns…just saying. Your choice though – the official Slimming World decretum is that COOKED FRUIT MUST BE SYNNED.

Pfft.

to make raspberry and Lindt chocolate baked oats, you should:

  • have you got something to mop your brow with – you’ll need it, because boy is this recipe complex
  • heat the oven to 200 degrees
  • press your raspberries into the bottom of the ramekin
  • mix together your oats, yoghurt and egg and pop on top
  • cut a Lindt ball in half (or stop pretending and put two whole ones in there, syns be damned) and pop it in the middle, then cover it up with the oats mixture like a cat burying a poo in the garden
  • stick in the oven for about thirty minutes and then pull it out to the adoring gasps of your friends and family
  • tip it out on a plate, add a bit of yoghurt for decoration, enjoy

Come on, how easy was that? Anyway, want more recipes? Click the buttons.

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Bye for now.

J

PS: I’m kidding about our cleaner. We pay her handsomely and spend two hours the night before cleaning our entire house so she doesn’t think poorly of us.

yoghurt bark

Yoghurt bark. Sounds almost like a shitty porno version of Jurassic Park, no? If it was a porno title it would have a long way to beat-off Village of the Rammed, just saying. Or Inrearendence Day. Or my personal favourite: Drill Bill. Remember, we’re taking just a small break from writing this week, so it’s recipes and recipes alone for you!

Please read my disclaimer before attempting the recipe.

yoghurt bark

yoghurt bark

Look, I’m not going to lie. This wasn’t what you’d call a taste explosion. If you’re expecting a little damp patch in your gusset, well, the only way that’s going to happen is if you let it melt as you eat it. I’d seen the idea on Pinterest many moons ago and I’m only really including it now because I love how pretty the picture is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still perfectly tasty, but it’s just frozen yoghurt with berries. You can customise it to however you fancy though – add chocolate, marshmallows, a rainbow of fruit, or simply scrape the lot into a bin and replace with Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food. Listen it’s OK, I won’t tell Margaret if you don’t.

to make yoghurt bark you will need:

  • 500g fat free natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (2 syns)
  • 40g of less than 5% sugar oat cheerios (1x HeB)
  • sliced strawberries
  • blueberries

To make the pretty swirls – well actually, the shitty spirograph effect, I swirled some flavoured colouring around in the yoghurt with all the artistic finesse you’d expect from a twenty stone beast like me. It all went a bit My Left Foot, didn’t it?

to make yoghurt bark you should:

  • mix together the yoghurt and maple syrup and pour out over a little baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
  • sprinkle over the cheerios, strawberries and blueberries and place in the freezer until firm

Want more ideas? You know what to do!

breakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmallovernight-oatstastersmall

J

baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes

Baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes you say? Yes. Indeed. And lo, because it’s a quick post tonight after yesterday’s trip to Copenhagen, you’re going to get the recipe almost right away! But listen, we can’t claim any sort of authorship for this recipe, it’s just a simple take on huevos rancheros or shakshouka, which is fun to say. However, it’s syn-free, full of veg and very good for you and frankly, if you’ve got a few peppers and tomatoes turning into old-man-ballsacks in the fridge, this is just the dish to use them up. I had an absolute glut of homegrown tomatoes to use up so here we are!

Sorry, wouldn’t normally put a third photo in, but I love the colours!

to make baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes, you’ll need:

  • a big handful of fat tomatoes
  • one red pepper
  • one red chilli
  • one garlic clove
  • one fresh egg
  • one red onion
  • one vegetable oxo cube

Wondering where we get our fancy dishes? Just here!

to make baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes, you should:

  • thinly slice your pepper and onion and sweat in a few sprays of oil
  • mince your garlic (got one of these yet? no? treat yourself – you’ll wonder how you got by without it!) and add it in along with the thinly sliced red chilli
  • roughly chop your tomatoes into small chunks and chuck that in
  • simmer gently with a good pinch of salt
  • I like to add the oxo cube crumbled in just to add a bit of taste, plus a tiny spoon of Marmite if you like, then allow everything to thicken nicely
  • tip it into a shallow individual serving dish, crack an egg into the middle, cook in the oven for fifteen minutes or so until the egg is set
  • enjoy with lots of black pepper

Done!

Want more breakfast or other ideas? Click the buttons and go!

breakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmallslowcookersmallovernight-oatstastersmall

J

ready steady go overnight oats – a fruity breakfast treat

Ready steady go overnight oats! For the sake of easy searching I probably should have called it ‘fruity tooty’ overnight oats or some other nonsense but hey, I’m a sucker for a catchy title. But first, before we get to the recipe, we’re going back on holiday. If you’re not a fan of our holiday waffle (oh please, you’d eat our holiday waffle without so much as stopping to wipe the syrup off your under-lips), that’s fine, just click on this RUSTY, SEAMEN-FILLED OLD WRECK.

Thank god she’s gone, right? Did you smell her? Smelt like a fire in a rendering plant.

Goodness me, we wrap up one holiday and we’re right bang into the next one. Apologies for the Geordie sidetrack but I wanted to get it out whilst it was still fresh, which weirdly enough was also the same line I used to get Paul into bed when we first met. Ah that’s a fib – it was actually the promise of a McDonalds and a loan of my Family Guy DVD boxset that got him to drop his knickers. Is that a record? We’re two sentences in and I’ve already deviated from the holiday to a time ten years ago? I’ll do my best to stay on track.

click here for part one | click here for part two

Enjoy our holiday entries? Please do give us feedback or share or whatever, it’s what we live for!

When you last left us in Copenhagen we had arrived at the hotel, admired the plug sockets and gazed in abject despair that yet again we’d ended up in a hotel whose only British TV channels were Fox News and CNN. I’d sooner take my political and global news from a skidmark on the toilet than Fox News, so we were left with the shrieking of CNN to lull us to sleep of an evening. Don’t judge me, I don’t usually fret about these things, but I can’t go to sleep in a quiet room, lest I hear Pennywise scratching from under the bed. Somewhat shamefully, we spent the evening ordering room service…

Syn free because I used HEB.

 …and then falling asleep, making sure we would be bright and breezy for the next morning.

The next morning rolled around, as you’d expect, and we awoke, as far from bright and breezy as you can imagine. The hotel was faultless save for the fact that the bed was quite small and the air-conditioning somewhat lacking. By somewhat lacking I mean the heat generated from running this clunking beast cancelled out any wheezing chilling efforts it may have made. I had to peel myself away from Paul in the night – like pulling apart two slices of cheap ham – and go snort a line of toothpaste in the bathroom just to cool myself down. We aren’t attractive people at the best of times but take sleep away from us and we emerge from the hotel room looking like we’ve been locked in a cellar for eight months. However, buffet breakfast awaited.

We’ve discussed before how much we love a buffet breakfast – there’s something so appealing about being able to combine a continental, full English, pure greed and Danish delicacies into one wobbling tower of food, isn’t there? In the 80 minutes I had spare whilst Paul was doing his morning poo I’d researched Danish breakfasts and came across (not literally, though it was close) pålægschokolade (gesundheit!) – thin slices of chocolate that are used to top bread at breakfast. My watery eyes scanned that buffet table several times for such a wonder but sadly, no – though there were plenty of hot boiled eggs to slip into our pockets for later. We have no shame: if we learned anything from our trip to Iceland it was that free food is worth keeping as the stuff in the shops is invariably expensive and sounds like a hacking cough when you try and order it. A charming chap in a waistcoat and the full flush of puberty came to our table and offered us what looked like an excised cyst in a little glass tumbler. I asked what it was only to be met with a blank stare and a polite smile. Clearly his English was fluent as my Danish. I passed it to Paul to try just in case it was a rohypnol colada (that way, I’d still get my end away) and he swallowed it like the old pro that he is, declared it delicious, but was completely unable to tell me what it was. To this day I’m not entirely convinced that Paul didn’t just neck back a shot glass of tomato ketchup that the waiter had brought over for our bacon and sausages. Ah well, he’s still here.

I was just finishing my yoghurt and trying to work out whether this place was too posh for me to lick the foil lid (it was, sadly) when an ashen-look swept across Paul’s baggy-eyed face. “We’ve come on a bank holiday!” he cried, to which I pointed out that we’d done the same on his birthday and one weekend back in March, so what was the problem? Delving deeper into his angst, he pointed out that everywhere will doubtless be closed – he’d read about it online and everything. Catastrophe! Of course, he’d neglected to tell us this when we were booking the holiday, but never mind. We decided to just go for a wander, see what was about and do whatever we fancied. Personally, I think those are the best holiday days anyway – I hate being beholden to a schedule of booked trips and ‘things you must do’. I like to walk until my cankles ache and my belly blows out from too much pastry.

So, with nothing but blank hours in front of us, we caught the Metro system to Islands Brygge, a few stops away, and somewhere approximately in the centre of the city. I marvelled once more at their Metro system – quick, reliable and cheap, and not once was I offered drugs, a handjob or the exciting chance to see the inside of my belly on the outside of my shirt. It’s a step-up from Newcastle, for sure. Did I mention it was driverless? Not since our heady trip around the fully automatic Heathrow Pod system has Paul had such a turgid hard-on for mass transportation systems. We alighted and wandered, indeed seeing that most shops seemed to be shut and the streets relatively quiet. Hmm. We decided to walk down to the waterfront – I’m not sure what you’d call it, as it technically isn’t a river but rather the sea cutting through, but I’m sure someone will come along and tell me in an entirely non-patronising way.

After a leisurely mince and a stop for coffee at a peculiar café which saw the ground floor dedicated to the tables for eating and then, upon taking a lift to the basement to use the lavatory, a whole floor full of screaming children and flustered parents. It was really quite unsettling, like I’d stumbled into something terrifically sinister. I’m sure it said nursery on the eighty-nine letter spelling out the café name but who knows. A further wander and we happened across our first activity of the day: solar-powered picnic boats.

What is a picnic boat? Well come on, it’s clearly a boat with a picnic table on it so that you can float about the sea whilst having ginger ale and cucumber sandwiches. We were sold but before I get to it, let me tell you our reservations. I have a slight inner-ear problem which means I’m always nervous of floating about on the water lest I become one of those poor souls who always feel like they’re out on the sea despite being sat at home watching Jeremy Kyle. I know, I’m a fanny. I’m also really quite wary of canals and sluices and weirs and all sorts of man-made water contraptions. I know, as I said, I’m a fanny. On top of that, imagine trying to balance a ball-bearing on the edge of a 50p whilst all the while someone is slapping your boobs around and setting your legs on fire – that’s Paul’s level of personal coordination. Between his boss-eyes and inability to concentrate, he’s not one for climbing elegantly into a boat and then piloting us around Copenhagen’s waterways with any sense of panache. To add another layer of ‘no, this is a bad idea’, it was a particularly windy and overcast day, which is just the ticket when you’re piloting a solar-powered boat without any sails, no?

Well, have no fear – I manned the fuck up, paid the very reasonable £90 for two hours, and after a stern lecture from the bearded chap behind the counter and a frantic search for two lifejackets that would fit us (I offered to stitch together three medium life-jackets but a needle and thread couldn’t be found in time), we were aboard. Naturally, I immediately delegated all piloting (and it is piloting, I’ve checked, you only sail a boat with sails, so fuck you) duties to Paul, made myself comfortable at the back of the boat and immediately started shitting myself as the boat rocked this way and that in the wind. Paul had an eye on our destination which was reassuring – it was the fact his other eye was somewhere down the shoreline that concerned me.

However, what followed was an absolutely brilliant two hours. You can get the measure of a city from walking its streets but seeing it from the water is another thing entirely. There’s a loose route to follow around the canals and you’re encouraged to drift along at your own leisure, taking in the sights. I mean, look at the photo they use to advertise it on their website to get an idea of how relaxing it is:

I mean, you can almost hear the yah-yah-ing and the fizz-plink of an elderflower pressé being opened, can’t you?

Still not as good as our take on it:

That is a spectacularly bad photo of Paul (and me, to be fair) – he doesn’t normally look like Hoggle drawn on a melted candle, so forgive us.

The wind had returned our map to the sea within 5 minutes of our boat setting off (I blame Paul) so we were going in blind, but we spent a good two hours taking in views of the Amalienborg Slot (I’m sure I’ve met her), the lovely opera building, the ramshackle houses and boats of Christiana and the many, many moored up boats that line the canals.

Those people on the left waved at us. I like to think it’s because they had never seen such style and elegance on the water but actually, I think they were warning us of the giant boat coming through the tunnel straight towards us. Pfft.

Copenhagen is awash with beautiful painted houses like this – it’s possibly the most colourful place I’ve ever been. Have a look on google maps at Copenhagen from the air, it’s just amazing.

Of course, it was not without peril, oh no. Thanks to our inability to navigate, Paul’s poor vision and my shrieking and screaming, we ended up with more clumsy scrapes than an alcoholic gynaecologist. That’s fine – they know you’ll probably put a few dings in the side of the boat, it’s expected. We returned our boat looking like Herbie does at the end of The Love Bug and they barely raised a Danish eyebrow.

One thing you must be mindful of is the knowledge that the massive yellow taxi-boats, carrying 200 or so folks around the waterways, have absolute right of way. You stay away. You slow down. You absolutely do not do what Paul did and gun your boat, with its top speed of 6.4km (and that’s when it isn’t laden down with two fat Geordie bastards), in the hope of getting passed. Eee, it was like Speed 2, only with better acting and special effects. We did actually make it past, though I still need to look up whatever ‘klodset kusse’ means in English. I’m sure it means ‘after you, kind Sirs’.

Here’s some more pictures to get you moist.

What you can’t see here is how close we are to hitting a bridge pillar on the right. The air was blue!

The Copenhagen Opera House, as seen from the viewpoint of someone lying down.

I absolutely love this photo – a rare bit of good photography from me. It’s The Marble Church, not Photoshopped.

Bloody caravans, even manage to ruin waterways!

Beautiful, right? The two hours were soon up and so we had to race our way back to the little harbour area to return our boat. As we neared the jetty one of the cheery bearded men came out to wave us in. How canny. I sensed danger. We drew up alongside this tiny wee floating jetty and the man hopped aboard to tie the boat up, telling us to wait until we were tied up before climbing out of the boat. I duly followed orders and sat back down.

However, Paul didn’t get the message, oh no. Whether he was touching cloth, desperate to get on land or just showing a rare bit of athleticism, he made to step out, only for one leg to land on the jetty and the other leg to push the boat away. You know on You’ve Been Framed when you see someone do this and their legs spread apart and they fall in? Yep. Well, not quite actually – in quite literally the deftest move I’ve ever seen him make, he flung himself towards that jetty like he was scoring the winning try for the English rugby team. He was a positive blur of obesity and elasticated polyester. I was absolutely sure he was going in the water but no, he hurled himself down on his belly onto this tiny jetty, arms wrapped tightly around either side, and let out the loudest ‘OH FUCK’ you can imagine.

Well I couldn’t do a bloody thing for laughing, could I? I feel bad retrospectively because I, of course, should have dashed to his side and helped him up, but no. I was bent double with unending paroxysms of laughter, to the point where I almost fell out too when the guy in charge brought the boat back. But you know what was the funniest part? It wasn’t Paul’s face as he realised what was happening, it wasn’t even the loud crack that so much fat makes as it slaps against wet wood, no…

…it was the fact that a little hard-boiled egg came rolling out of his back pocket and came to rest neatly on the jetty beside him, looking to all the world like he’d hatched an egg in sheer fright.

Even now, quite genuinely, if I bring that image to mind, it makes me crack up. Paul took the embarrassment in good humour, he always does, and we both had to sit on a nearby bench to get our breath back, albeit for two entirely different reasons. He’s a good sport, isn’t he?

I’ll leave this entry there for now. It seems like a terrific place to stop. Before I go though, can I just point out that I managed to make a nautical blog entry without resorting to these obvious three jokes that I had lined up in the chamber ready to fire:

  • if there’s one thing we’re comfortable around, it’s a poop deck;
  • the place was awash with seamen, and I bloody love it;
  • tiller? I barely knew ‘er

We’re getting better. Until we meet again…

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Right, let’s do these ready steady go overnight oats, shall we? They’re ready steady go because of the colours, in case you haven’t quite worked it out. Although frankly, if you haven’t worked that out, you ought to be ashamed.

ready steady go overnight oats

ready steady go overnight oats

to make ready steady go overnight oats, you’ll need:

  • 40g of Quaker oats (or store-brand, but we use Quaker) mixed with whatever syn-free yoghurt you like – we’re a big fan of Skyr because you don’t get all the added shite you get with Mullerlight, but all is good
  • one kiwi fruit
  • one mango
  • a good handful of strawberries

to make ready steady go overnight oats, you should:

  • it’s really terrifically simple – mix your oats and yoghurt together
  • chop your kiwi fruit into small bits and press it down into the bottom of your jar or glass
  • add yoghurt and oats on top
  • chop your mango* and layer it on
  • add yoghurt and oats
  • chop your strawberries and top the whole thing off!

Couple of top tips for you. If you chop your fruit unevenly and then just break it up with a fork, you’ll get a bit more juice and it’ll look prettier. Also, you’ll probably have half a mango over – just keep it for the next day or chop it up and make coronation chicken!

You’ll note that we didn’t serve ours in a jar. I know, herecy! But that’s the thing with overnight oats, you can serve them any way you want. A jar, a glass, a sink, serve it alongside the Aurora Borealis…yes, at this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localised entirely within your kitchen!

That said, there’s a nice set on Amazon if you need them!

Want more overnight oats recipe? Of course you do. Take your pick!

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Enjoy!

J