budget week: loaded turkey chilli jacket potatoes

Today, we ended up in a sex shop, thanks in no small part to my dear mother. If you’re prudish, scroll down to the recipe.


See, you may recall me whingeing that our ongoing hunt for garden furniture was bearing no fruit? The situation remains the same, so my mum helpfully pointed out a place she’d found in an industrial estate by the banks of the Tyne which ‘might have’ sold charming garden furniture. Paul and I duly set off after a quick stop to IKEA to have an argument and walk around in a HÜFF like 95% of the other couples there. Hell, we didn’t even stop to buy a hotdog, that’s how severe the argument was. All was forgotten by the time we got back to the car, of course. I reckon they pump testosterone through the vents at IKEA to cause all the discord. So off we went to find the garden furniture place.

Well honestly. We ended up on a bleak, wind-swept, pretty much derelict industrial estate – the very type of place where someone is taken on TV to get shot in the back of the head by a bent copper. I didn’t dare stop the car in case a load of chavs came dashing out of the river to steal my tyres. We drove around and around until we eventually found the place but given a) it was closed and b) there were three balding, shirtless old men smacking an old fridge with a wrench in the courtyard, we sharp left. It was only after four or so miles of air-conditioning and Radio 4 that I stopped talking like I was an extra from Kes.

But listen, we at twochubbycubs don’t like to miss an opportunity for shenanigans, and we soon spotted a way to liven up our afternoon – a visit to a sex-shop. Yes, this dystopian wilderness offered up the opportunity to peruse all sorts of erotica and, following the tasteful roadsign signs promising cocktails and sex-toys, we were in. Previous visits to sex shops have always been awful – Paul was once served (not serviced) by someone who had his cock slapped on the counter like a discarded buffet sausage roll the whole time, and I got stuck behind someone roughly the size and shape of a reversing coach loudly bellowing about her desire for a ‘clit ring’. I almost blurted out ‘have you tried a hula-hoop, you brash beast’ but instead chewed my lips in restraint. 

Now, neither of us are prudish about sex. I think it’s absolutely smashing and can heartily recommend it. But some of the things on show in there made my eyes water (and only the top two, mind). A 20″ latex fist to pop up your bottom? 20″! What are you hoping to do, scratch the back of your teeth with the fucker? What if you’re too rough and a giant black rubber cock comes bursting out of your stomach like that scene with John Hurt in Alien? There was also the terrifying named ‘arse-lock’ which was essentially something that looked like a trainspotter’s flask made out of rubber combined with a stretchy rubber hoop, the idea being that it keeps ‘everything locked down from bumhole to ballsack. SOME MIGHT CALL THAT MARRIAGE, AM I RIGHT? I spent a couple of minutes trying to figure it out until I realised how pervy it looked and quickly backed away to look at mouth-gags. 

The whole experience wasn’t helped by being stared at the whole time by two middle-aged ladies who I thought I faintly recognised from my school-dinner days. What did they think I was going to steal? It’s not like you can make a quick getaway with a dildo the size of a roll of carpet hidden in/on your person, is it? I did try cracking a joke – pointing to a fire extinguisher on the wall and asking how much it would be for that model – but their stony faces sharp put paid to my ribald humour.

Tell you what hasn’t changed a bit though – pornography, though I was somewhat startled to see so many erect cocks winking at me from the shelves – I felt like I was operating a gloryhole in a hall of mirrors. It’s all so hilariously naff, especially the attempts at gay porn where the ‘lads’ are supposed to be straight / butch. I’ve certainly never known many ‘scallies fresh out of borstal’ who wear lipliner and purse their mouths whilst they’re getting bummed. And I’ve known a fair few.

However, the award for most awkward went to the DVD of porn that catered for those with a wheelchair fetish. Let me make something clear – I’m not ripping the piss out of the fact that disabled folk have sex, not one bit – it’s the fact that this DVD was so, so, so, so distasteful. The DVD had a big ‘blue badge’ on it like the one that gives you free parking and plastered on the middle was a randy old bugger who was the absolute double of the caretaker from the Harry Potter movies, with a full bonk-on and his hand on some passing girl’s clapper. It gets better – they’d mapped flames on the wheels of his wheelchair. But even that’s not it – it was the fact it was called The Handi Man. I love a bit of wordplay but I’m not convinced I’ll be sending that in to I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue. Good lord.

We didn’t buy anything, by the way. Again, not because we’re prudish, but rather sensible folk buy their toys and kit from places like lovehoney.com. Honestly, the things that have come through our letterbox…

 

Now, back to the blog. I know budget week has been a bit hit and miss, but that’s really because of the bad timing – we’ve just got too much going on to really focus on costing up our recipes, so we’re going to re-run the budget week with a bit more vim later in the year. For now, we’re going back to basics, with good, decent diet food all synned up and lovely. That said, if we spot that one of our recipes can be done on the cheap (and, be fair, it’s not like we’re using caviar and steak in every meal), we’ll point it out. We’ve got three or four more ‘budget’ recipes to post first though, so you’re still getting plenty. Jesus.

Tonight’s recipe is a turkey chilli. The joy with chilli is simple – you can chuck anything into it veg wise that you have sitting in the fridge. You can bulk it out with more beans, lentils, butter beans, rice…so one small portion of meat can easily serve eight if you’re savvy.

This recipe made four big portions and we served them with jacket potatoes.

turkey chilli

Apologies for the quality of the photo but the iPad was flat so we had to take it with Paul’s Game Boy Colour.

to make turkey chilli you’ll need:

  • 250g of turkey mince (you can buy it at Tesco and it’s cheap)
  • one can of mixed beans
  • one can of baked beans
  • one can of red kidney beans
  • two onions
  • one stalk of celery
  • one grated carrot
  • couple of mushrooms
  • one carton of passata
  • one tin of chopped tomatoes
  • pinch of salt
  • good pinch of hot chilli powder
  • one beef stock cube

Like I said, add in any old shite.

to make turkey chilli you should:

  • chop up and sweat off the onion, celery and mushrooms
  • add the turkey mince and brown it off
  • add absolutely everything else and allow to simmer gently for a couple of hours – in fact, the longer you leave it to simmer the better. If you can make it the night before you want it, even better
  • serve with potatoes and your healthy extra of cheese

This isn’t the most exciting recipe, no, but it’s quick to make, cheap and very filling – exactly what you need on Slimming World! Get it down you.

Now if you don’t mind, we’re off to try out our new toys.

budget week: yellow ginger pickled eggs

Our carpet is down!

I can’t begin to tell you the satisfaction saying that brings me, not least because the house no longer looks like a knockoff Dignitas clinic. I’ve never known someone match their carpet to the interior of a used commode before. The carpet was fitted by a pair of carpet fitters who had clearly just finished a shift as runway models for Abercrombie and Fitch – one was so good-looking I almost told him to go outside as he was smoking inside the house. Boom. Not our type – Paul and I prefer a more rugged/lazy look, but Christ it must be nice to be blessed with natural good looks. That’s definitely not me, I’ve got a face that would make an onion cry, but eh, I get along in life.

Part of preparing the house ready for the carpet involved moving all of our furniture into the bathroom, like a game of Hoarders: Tetris Addition. I took the opportunity to get rid of the giant media unit we have which holds the TV and Sky box and all the usual technological accoutrements that litter a living room. Bear in mind that wasn’t some fag-burned bit of Formica, it was a decent, solid piece of furniture in excellent condition – well, one of the little knobs was a bit loose, but what more would you expect in our house? Overcome with a pique of philanthropy (and partly because there was no way we were going to get it into the DS3), I rang a local ‘community charity’ company who collect secondhand furniture to furnish the houses of the disadvantaged – people who’ve been smacked about or smacked up. Great cause.

They promptly turned up, ran their fingers over the wood and told me ‘it wasn’t appropriate for their clientele’. Seriously now, I’d understand if it had a giant plastic cock stuck on the side or spent condoms plastered on the underside like smutty papier-mâché, but no!

I asked him why and he wheezed out that ‘it would just sit in the shop collecting dust’. Well heaven forbid! I feel it had more to do with the fact he couldn’t be arsed to lift it. I sent him away with a flea in his ear, and, in a proper huff, took it outside and smashed it into matchsticks with a sledgehammer. I know I could have stuck it on freecycle but I find that whole business very stressful – I once put an advert in there for a Nintendo 64 to take away and I got so many illiterate emails in barely-legible English that I thought I’d been hacked by a Russian Johnny 5. The art of please and thank you are seemingly lost on those who are desperate for stuff to fill up their car-boot sale table for furniture. I did, somewhat meanly, follow that up with an advert for a spare Xbox 360 and then replied to each email who didn’t say thank you or please with a ‘you were the first to reply, but your lack of manners have cost you dear’. Oooh, what a sanctimonious arse. But I do so hate bad manners.

We once used freecycle to pick up a landline phone a few years ago – we went (on the bus, those were the days) to pick up a little answerphone machine only to find that when we got there that a) the tattooed wardrobe (who had clearly never used the phone to book a dentist appointment) who answered the door wanted twenty quid for it and b) it was so lacquered with years and years of nicotine that I didn’t dare dial a number longer than the speaking clock for fear of contracting emphysema.

Anyway, back to the carpet. It’s marvellous – the last big bit of DIY that we needed to do before we buy lots of nice things to fill the house up with. However, it’s not without problems. See, a new carpet needs a bloody good vacuum (yes it does, it’s an old myth that you don’t hoover a carpet) to get all the fluff off it. Grand, no problem, we’ve got a fancy Dyson Digital. Problem is, the Dyson Digital only lasts about six minutes on full suck (just like Paul) and needs emptying out after two minutes of vigorous vacuuming. I’d no sooner hoover one third of a room when it would turn off, needs emptying, switched back on and then beep – out of battery. You’ve never seen anyone hoover so fucking quickly – all I needed was Philip Schofield bellowing at me from behind a sheet of plexiglass and it would have felt like I was on The Cube.

But the carpet still looks lovely so it was worth it, right?

Now, because we’re pushed for time, I’m going to post a recipe for a budget snack idea – you might boke at the idea of a pickled egg, but trust me, when combined with a raft of fancy spices, you’ll be laughing. BUT THAT’S NOT BUDGET. Perhaps. But since joining Slimming World, we’ve got more jars of spices than we do individual atoms in our bodies, and I’m going to hazard a guess that you’re the same. I found this recipe ages ago and put it down in my notes, but not the actual source – so in the interest of full disclosure, this is someone else’s recipe and I thank him/her for it, but hell, it’s a pickled egg.

Three things first:

  • buy your spices at Asian supermarkets – so, so much cheaper. Even if you can’t find an Asian supermarket near you, the ‘world foods’ aisle in Tesco generally has the spices there as well as the usual spice place, so look in that aisle and SAVE’;
  • you don’t NEED a fancy ferris wheel spice rack…but if you want one like mine, you can find it on Amazon…I’ve helpfully made this sexy picture a link if you want to go find one… 51cjvcZkfpL._SX425_
  • this is an excellent way of using up eggs that are about to go on the turn; and
  • no lies – these taste and look amazing, but they’ll give you farts that could skin an elephant from half a mile away. I’ve never had a fart physically climb out of my bum before, but these were that powerful. Enjoy!

IMG_1872

This is going to sound so pretentious but fuck it. I served the eggs with shredded chicken, homegrown tomatoes and rocket and podded peas. All from the garden! I had the gardener pick only the best.

to make yellow ginger pickled eggs, you’ll need:

  • 175ml of white wine vinegar (80p in Tesco and you use half a bottle – 40p)
  • 150ml of water
  • five thin slices of ginger (remember: you should be freezing your knob of ginger, or if you will, a ‘Sheeran’ of ginger – do this and it’ll last bloody ages) – 4p
  • a tsp of sugar (any, but brown will do) (don’t use sweetener – better doing without)
  • 1 tsp of turmeric (85p in Tesco, use 5p worth)
  • 1 tsp of mustard seeds (85p in Tesco, use 5p worth)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (85p in Tesco, use 5p worth, just smash them with a rolling pin or your husband’s face if you can’t find ground)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • you’ll also need a jar (sterilise it)
  • however many spare eggs you have (I’m not counting these, but you can buy 12 for £1.75, so go mad)

To sterilise jars, the BBC say:

Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Place the jars on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to dry completely. If using Kilner jars, boil the rubber seals, as dry heat damages them.

then to make yellow ginger pickled eggs, you should:

  • set your eggs away boiling – ten minutes or so normally does it, and when cooked, plunge into cold water (the eggs) and when cold, shell the buggers
  • tip all of the above into a pan and bring to the boil
  • reduce, and allow to simmer for around six minutes
  • place a couple of eggs into your jar, add a bit of the liquid, and carry on until the jar is filled up
  • you’ll need around five days for the colour and the flavour to really sink in, but these are delicious and plus, they’re eggs – they’ll fill you right up!

to gussy it up:

  • use quail eggs
  • have jeeves boil the eggs for you
  • add chilli 

to cheapen the deal:

  • you can buy a jar of pickling spices from most shops – cheaper than buying the individual spices, but you’ll get the use out of most of the above so it’s a worthwhile investment

Enjoy!

J

black bean and quinoa burgers

I managed to make a tit of myself today in a garden centre, and not just because I’m a 30 year old lad who’ll actively choose to go to a garden centre on a Sunday afternoon. What can I say, I like the variety – where else can you go and buy a new connector for a hosepipe, a double DVD box set of Das Boot and Last of the Summer Wine and a white chocolate florentine? Years ago I would have rather ran a power-sander over the tip of my cock than schlep around sniffing flowers and Yankee Candles, but I’m getting old now.

Can we take a moment to discuss Yankee Candles? Now, and this will come as no surprise to anyone, I don’t mind a scented candle, but can someone explain to me how they come up with the names for their ‘scents’? Red Raspberry I can understand, but who decides what a ‘Wedding Day’ smells like (disappointing sausage rolls and regretful sex?) or indeed, what the hell ‘New Born’ is? To me a ‘New Born’ candle should smell like placenta, chyme and the crushing realisation you’ll never have your life to yourself again, but the good folk at Yankee  Candle seem to think it smells like a urinal cake. Ah well.

We were there trying to find some suitable garden furniture for the new patio we’ve had built in the back garden. This is proving tricky in itself. All we want is a decent hardwood table and chairs. There’s no point in getting anything that needs to be brought in over the winter because we’re simply far too lazy and it’ll just to be left to rot. We had three pairs of boxer shorts hanging on our rotary drier all though Christmas last year because we kept meaning to bring them in. It was only when a particularly strong January wind blew one pair  onto next door’s greenhouse roof that we took action.

There’s no point in getting anything plastic either, because it looks absolutely awful, and you just know the very second our arse touches the seat it’ll splinter into individual atoms with a loud enough crack to blow the windows in over the road and rattan isn’t going to work either because it’ll give too much under our weight and end up looking like a knackered shopping bag after three or four lazy Sundays.

So yes: hardwood, oak preferably. The garden centre didn’t cater for such a ridiculous notion as decent garden furniture but it did have a very comfortable little fabric sun-lounger on show. Of course, me being me, I had to have a go, and I poured myself in like one might tip a jelly out of a mould. It was grand, save for the fact that, thanks to my weight, the fabric pretty much ensconced me like a venus-fly-trap and it soon became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to get back out unassisted. Bearing in mind it was fairly busy and Paul was busy in the candles bit trying to figure out what the fuck ‘A Child’s Wish’ smells like, I had to free myself using only my own steam, especially as I couldn’t swing my legs out as the crotch on the jeans I was wearing had split a few weeks ago and I wasn’t entirely confident I was wearing underwear that wouldn’t have shown my balls to the world.

So – turns out the easiest way is simply to swing to one side and tip the whole lounger over until I was wearing it on my back like a turtle and then throw it off. The whole process was over in less than ten seconds but my face was burning so brightly that I’m surprised Paul’s ‘Felching Remains’ Yankle Candle didn’t set itself away and take out his nosehair. We left immediately, hurtling out of the entrance hiding our faces like a disgraced politician entering court. So that was that.

I’ll need to crack on with the recipe now as the rest of the evening is going to be spent pulling up the god-awful carpet that haunts this house in anticipation of our fabulous new carpet that arrives tomorrow. I genuinely can’t wait. Words cannot describe how god-awful the current one is, it’s no wonder the previous occupant chose to die on the toilet in the bathroom rather than face-down in this shag, you’d never find a body.

So, black bean and quinoa burgers then…

black bean and quinoa burgers

to make the black bean and quinoa burgers you need (makes six burgers):

  • 1 tin of black eyed beans (drained) (Tesco, 55p)
  • 65g quinoa (£2.35 for 300g in Tesco, so I’m calling 50p)
  • ½ red onion (7p)
  • ½ wholemeal roll, made into breadcrumbs (use one from a pack of six and the remainder of the six to put your burgers (65p)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (10p from the bulb you’ve been using for the rest of the recipes)
  • 50ml of lime juice (you can buy a 250ml bottle for 85 – 17p used)
  • ½ tsp cumin (if you’ve got it)
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes (if you’ve got it)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper (if you’ve got it)

34p a burger!

to make the black bean and quinoa burgers , you should:

  • add the quinoa and 250ml water to a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat for about fifteen minutes (or until nearly all the water is absorbed)
  •  meanwhile, add a tsp of oil to a frying pan over a medium heat and gently sweat the chopped onion until softened
  • in a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, onion and black beans, eggs, breadcrumbs, garlic, lime juice and seasonings
  • mix by hand, gently mashing the beans with your hands slightly
  • when mixed, divide the portion into six and shape into burgers – if it feels a little wet you can add more breadcrumbs (though watch the syns!)
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and add one tbsp of olive oil or squirt your frylight like a boss
  • cook the burgers for about 4 minutes each side
  • assemble!

Syn-free as long as you HEB the breadbun. Up to you if you think half a bun between six for the breadcrumbs is worth synning but we’re talking half a syn at most.

to gussy it up:

  • de-vegetarian the meal – make it with chicken, bacon and dashed hopes
  • add rocket
  • add a range of tomatoes

to cheapen it further:

  • the spices add flavour, but you can make do with a bit of salt and pepper
  • hmmm…

Enjoy!

J

budget week: sweet potato, turkey and leek bake

I’m in an awful mood because it took me ninety minutes to get home instead of the usual twenty-five, thanks to all the braying hoo-rays spilling out of Newcastle Racecourse and blocking the road with their shitty Audis. So, instead of my usual pleasantries, I’m going to rattle off a list of random things that piss me off. WARNING: COARSE LANGUAGE. Of course!

sour sweets – they’re never quite sour enough for me. Seriously – if I buy a packet of sour sweets, I want my mouth to resemble the arsehole of someone who’s trying to hold back a fart at a funeral. I want to wince and tremble every time I put one on my tongue, not crash my car because my eyes have rolled to the back of my head with disappointment. Take a note Haribo, you lying bastards;

hun – I know it’s an obvious one but it drives me up the fucking wall quicker than Princess Di’s driver. Out of all the facebook platitudes, this has to be the most vapid and inane – there’s simply no excuse;

hairflickers – I went four years with hair past my shoulderblades and at no point did I feel the need to swoosh my hair like a horse being bothered by a fly – it’s an affected, fey little move and I don’t think I’m especially irrational for hoping it snaps your spinal cord;

bingo websites – since I signed up to a few bingo sites a while back (read here for my guide to making some easy money from them), we have been inundated with shitty little pieces of junk-mail through our letterbox, and they’re all the same – horrible balloon font (the type of font you’d use for warning signs in a special school), some actress who was last seen in Crossroads with badly whitened teeth, a few rainbows and a shit name – rehabbingo.com, spunkgarglerbingo.com, punchmyclitbingo.com and so on;

mincers – that stupid affected little mince that certain ladies do on the way to the car at the supermarket, with their knock-off handbag in the crook of an elbow and a bunch of keys to the other. We get it, you can drive, but I’d bet my house you’ve got ‘SPEED BITCH’ on your bumper and think your indicators are for resting your ankles on during coitus;

scratchers – people who buy scratchcards and can’t even wait until they’re out of the shop before losing all dignity and going at them – there’s someone in our local newsagent who is a bugger for this – he’s got a permanently silver fingertip. Use a coin, you sweaty-faced titrash;

straight men – well, not all straight men, only those who think that because I love a bit of cock that I must want theirs. I don’t. And just as an aside, if you’re a straight man who enjoys a bit of lavender action behind your wife’s back, then YOU’RE NOT FUCKING 100% STRAIGHT. The whole thing about it ‘not being gay if you don’t push back’ definitely, absolutely does not apply. There’s a simple enough test for blokes: if you have a cock between your legs, that’s reasonable. But if you have one pistoning away between your bumcheeks, then you’re not straight – and that’s cool, everyone has different degrees of sexuality, but stop with the 100% bollocks;

readers – people who read communal newspapers and don’t put them back in any sensible order, instead leaving all the pages out of sync and the entire paper looking like it’s blown down the street by a force 9 gale;

Paul – that I can’t find a good word to describe Paul – I don’t like husband because it sounds like I’m trying to make a political point, I don’t like partner because it makes it sound like we’ve only been together for a few months and are just testing the water, I don’t like ‘boyfriend’ because I actually have hair on my arse and my voice is broken so it’s not relevant, I don’t like life partner because just fuck off, I don’t like other half because that’s how thick chancers on game shows refer to their wives and apparently referring to him as Fatty or Shitty McGee is insulting;

‘s – it’s Tesco, not Tescos. It’s ASDA, not ASDAs. It’s especially NOT Marks and fucking Spencers;

drawn on eyebrows – why lighten your hair and then shave off your eyebrows and then draw them on with a Midnight Black Crayola? It’s even worse when they use a tin of Impulse as a drawing guide and put those half-moon shapes on above their eyes, giving them the look of someone who’s just been shot right on the sphincter with a pellet gun;

my face – I don’t like being told to cheer up. Look, I’m a genuinely cheerful guy most of the time, it just so happens that years of being cripplingly obese has left my face looking like an elderly pug being given bad news. I appreciate the concern, but equally, fuck off; and

phantom shitters – I’m not coy about dropping the kids off as and when I need to, so public toilets hold no fear for me. That said, it absolutely boils my piss when I nip into the gents only to find someone has sand-blasted the bowl or left something that could resink the Titanic floating around for everyone to look at. It’s not that bloody hard to flush a toilet and, if you’ve left the pan looking like someone wearing heavy boots has stepped on a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, fucking clean it up! The brush next to the toilet isn’t a bloody ornament.

CHRIST.

So yeah, the recipe! Look it looks like a proper school dinner. It’s not fancy-dan, but it’s stodge, syn-free and cheap to make (and you can make it even cheaper if you try). Give it a go! Syn-free if you use a spray olive oil and HEA the cheese easily between six.

sweet potato bake

to make the sweet potato, turkey and leek bake, you need:

  • 1 large turkey fillet  (£3 from Tesco)
  • 200g mushrooms, chopped (Tesco Value – 45p)
  • 2 leeks, sliced (40p)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (69p, used 40p)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (use up some of the cloves from previous meals)
  • sprig of thyme (grown in the garden, or nick a sprig from the shop!)
  • 300g fat free cottage cheese (Tesco Value, syn free – 64p)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (63p, Tesco)
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, shredded (47p – Tesco Everyday Value mozzarella)

This serves six, so by my estimation, this costs around £1 a serving – if you’re on a budget, just use the rest of the pack of mushrooms you buy instead of turkey and sweat it down a bit longer – that reduces the cost per serving by 50p and makes it veggie friendly. That’ll put a smile on your grey, ashen, meat-deprived face. Just kidding, before you write your complaints…

to make the sweet potato, turkey and leek bake, you should:

  • place the sweet potato in a large pan of boiling water and cook until soft, mash and set aside
  • flatten the turkey (if needed) using a rolling pin so that it is about 2cm thick, just imagine it’s someone you hate and you’re trying to kill them;
  • using a pan with a lid, heat one teaspoon of oil over a medium heat and add the turkey (syn the oil if you’re feeling anal, but haway);
  • allow the turkey to cook for ten minutes with the lid on;
  • after ten minutes, turn off the heat – keep the lid on and allow it to continue cooking in the leftover heat;
  • remove the lid from the pan and leave for another 5-10 minutes just to cool down;
  • check the turkey is cooked throughout and there is no pink meat remaining – if there is, cook for another five minutes over a medium heat until you’ve really beaten your pink meat;
  • when the turkey is cooked, shred it using two forks to pull the meat apart and set aside;
  • heat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add another teaspoon of oil (or Frylight);
  • add the garlic and cook until it’s sizzling and lovely, stirring occasionally;
  • add the mushrooms, leek and celery and stir until softened and the creepy mushroom juice has reduced;
  • remove from the heat, add the cottage cheese and turkey, and mix well;
  • spoon the turkey mixture into a casserole dish, or individual dishes;
  • top with the sweet potato and shredded mozarella and bake in the oven at 190 until the cheese is browned
  • serve with a flourish, you big fairy.

to gussy it up:

  • use chicken (we did, but turkey is cheaper)
  • add bacon (fat off, mind)
  • pipe your sweet potato on so it looks prettier – Paul flung the mash on ours with all the grace of a distressed chimp in a zoo flinging his faeces around

to reduce the cost:

  • take out the meat and replace with mushrooms
  • take out the leeks and use bog standard onion
  • go to ALDI or t’market
  • seriously, if you need thyme, you could just break off a bit as you schlep around the supermarket. Naughty…or, leave it out, it adds a nice flavour but it could sit without it just as well.

One thing: Tesco Everyday Value low-fat cottage cheese is syn-free and a lot cheaper than their healthy living cottage cheese. So there’s that.

Eee, I’m sorry for the rant before…it’s just not like me!

J

budget week: tuna frittata with a boob of couscous

Who doesn’t love a boob of couscous? Eh? I’ve normally got some degree of couscous caught up in my chest hair since we’ve taken to buying the industrial-sized catering tubs from Costco and eating couscous for every meal where we can’t be arsed to cook. Seriously, it’s hard work being so hairy.

Mild hysteria yesterday when, after both getting in from work and GASP, discovering the TV was covered in a dust blanket (which would have needed oooh…around 3 seconds to remove, but we were tired), we went straight to bed for a lie-down. As you do. I was winding Paul up by putting my finger in his belly button whilst he dozed only to pull out a finger covered in soft, brown, lumpy matter. I genuinely fell off the bed in horror thinking it was faeces. How and why didn’t cross my mind. Paul woke up with a start (he tends to when I start shrieking, I’m like the campest alarm clock you could think of), saw the mess and looked equally confused.

Turns out it was a big old chunk of chocolate muffin that had spilled down his shirt whilst he wolfed it down in the car on the way home so I wouldn’t know he’d cheated on his diet. See? Some people find out their husband is having an affair through errant text messages or boxer shorts that look like a painter’s radio – I find out Paul has been cheating on his diet because his belly-button filled with chocolate. The poor bastard never gets a break, does he?

I managed to mortify him in Homebase yesterday when I told the woman behind the counter that the scented candle she proffered me ‘smelled like my nana’s house, and she’s been dead for four months’, then wandered off chuckling whilst Paul fished about for the Nectar card. I do that a lot, make comments and roll out of shot – we were once in ASDA behind someone describing (I think) a car crash by saying ‘first he thrashed it over to the left, then the right, then it span out of control and four people got hurt’, when I jokingly said ‘Sounds like one hell of a smear test that’ and disappeared into the magazine aisle. Paul’s still got the burns from the glare he got off the poor lady. Ah well. It’s all fun until someone gets punched on the tit.

Our house is still an absolute bombsite but at least, thanks to our excellent painter, all the painting is finally done. Excellent. Our cats decided to celebrate by dragging a bird through our cat-flap and splattering blood all over our hallway wall (Dulux Urban Obsession, since you ask). They’re kind like that. How I chuckled and clutched at my sides as I pushed them back out the cat-flap with the toe of my Dr Martens and put the lock on. I think they knew they had upset me, they spent the next thirty minutes silently meowing at the living room window before giving up and resuming licking their arses with their back legs stuck up like a big fuck-you-finger to common decency.

The other bit of good news is that my absolute legend of a dad has finished building us our lovely patio outside in the back garden. Whilst that’s smashing news for us as it means we can lounge about on our fabulous oak outdoor furniture, it’s bad news for anyone walking down the street as it means we can lounge about on our fabulous oak outdoor furniture, and they’ll be sick with jealousy. Well, perhaps not jealousy, perhaps nausea. What kind of noise does a sweaty back peeling away from wood make? Like pulling the last rasher of bacon out of the packet I imagine. They’ve got that to look forward to.

Anyway, that’s quite enough nonsense, I’m getting a pain from my back from typing this on the computer whilst sitting on a set of decorating ladders. The things I do for you lot. Tonight’s recipe comes with a warning: it looks absolutely bloody revolting going into the oven. I thought Paul had taken up regurgitating my food for me and good lord, the smell. But persevere, because it actually made a tasty little dish with plenty left over for the morning! So, tuna frittata – this serves six easily!

tuna frittata

to make tuna frittata, you’ll need:

  • 1 tin of tuna in water (62p from Tesco) (added benefit of being pole and line caught)
  • 2 shredded large carrots (Tesco Everyday Value bagged carrots – 53p – worked out about 10p)
  • 1 chopped onion (9p from Tesco)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves (30p for a whole bulb from Tesco, two cloves, let’s say 4p)
  • 100ml of 1% milk (5p – 2l from Tesco being a quid)
  • two wholemeal breadbuns (12 for £1 in Tesco, so 16p)
  • 8 eggs (12 free-range eggs are £1.75, so £1.15)
  • 1 chicken stock cube (everyone has stock cubes)
  • salt and pepper to taste (ditto)
  • parmesan cheese – now, here’s something you don’t necessarily need but let me tell you something – you’re better off buying a block of it and using it sparingly rather than chucking it on with gay abandon – so we’re going to call it 50p, given the block I buy is normally around £4 and lasts forever
  • optional extras: served with two packets of Ainsley Harriott’s couscous (nearly always £1 for two) and a big bag of rocket (£1.50) (add an extra 45p for the sides or come up with something else)

This dish uses the HEB of two people for the bun and a portion of someone’s HEA for the milk and a HEA for the cheese, but really, split between six, it’s nothing. Up to you if you count it. No syns though!

and so…

  • stick the oven onto 190 degrees
  • sweat the onion like a bad-ass, then chop the garlic up and add into the onions
  • in a bowl, tear apart the breadbuns and soak them in the milk
  • after five minutes, add the onion, salt, pepper, chicken stock cube and eggs into the bowl and whisk everything together using a hand-whisk or just good old elbow grease
  • throw in the tuna and grated carrot and mix mix mix
  • grease a pyrex dish of your choosing and slop your dinner into it, then grate 30g of Parmesan on the top
  • try to see through your tears at the smell and look and put it in the oven to cook for around 50 minutes – keep an eye on it mind 
  • take it out to cool and make up your sides – I cook the couscous simply by pouring boiling water on, no butter, putting it into a bowl and tipping it out – hence the boob!
  • enjoy

to gussy it up:

  • add frozen peas
  • more cheese
  • top the top with tomatoes
  • buy better tuna, though actually, the cheap tuna from Tesco is decent and fairly caught

to save even more:

  • spend a bit of money and buy a friggin’ microplane grater – it’ll make your garlic and parmesan go so much further, trust me. Get one here!
  • buy cheaper eggs – no guilt from me for suggesting this one – free range eggs are better, absolutely, but if you’re on the bones of your arse, meh. Free range doesn’t mean much these days, sadly;
  • more carrots to bulk it out!

 

budget week: apple pie overnight oats

Before we get started – I heard an expression yesterday which had me clutching my sides with laughter, and I’ve tried and tried to work it naturally into my normal dialogue but haven’t been able to, so I’m just going to chuck it here at the start of the blog and let it set the tone:

…”she had a fanny like a butcher shop with blown-in windows”…

Seriously, how can I get that into normal conversation? I can’t exactly chuck it across to the man who has been round to size up my blinds, can I?


Yes yes, I know, I said I’d update, but then I also said it would just be chaotic with all the decorating and people being in the house, so we took some time off instead. Listen I thought this blog would fizzle out like a disappointing fart after a week or two when we started, so the fact we’re here almost a year later is good enough! So shut yer hole. Even getting to the computer to type up this blog has been like a thrown-out round of Gladiators, climbing over paint-pots and sanders and forty inches of dust just to get to the keyboard. Christ knows what my name would be if I had been a Gladiator…’GELATINE’ perhaps, or ‘SWEAT RASH’. You would have had to slightly de-tune the TV to soften the image of me in a lycra unitard too, with my tits jiggling about like duelling jellyfish and my cock-and-balls smeared across my front like a run-over weasel.

Of course we’ve had the natural gaggle of people in the house, quoting for work, looking disdainfully at our paint colours and over-egging their quotes and then backtracking so fast their shoes smoke when I start haggling. Case in point – we had a local company come out to quote for installing an alarm system a couple of days ago. He turns up, starts rattling our windows and doors and telling us that ‘given the fucking area youse (wince) live in, you really need to improve your security’. The area we live in! The cheeky little muckspout. 

We’ve had a painter in the house all week and he’s been brilliant – meticulously clean, efficient, turning up on time and doing a cracking job. But CHRIST has it been stressful – each morning before work I’m having to run around the house removing anything indecent and/or smutty. The normal products that help a happy homo-marriage, but not something I want my painter to have to move with a gloved hand. We’ll be finding bottles of lube, douching bulbs and fetishwear stuffed down the cracks in the settee and behind the towels until at least 2018.

Hell we had to stop the TV from syncing with the computer and displaying the contents of our photo slideshow just in case he was busy glossing the skirting boards, flicked on the telly for a bit of Jeremy Kyle and was confronted by a 55″ LED display of a hardcore bukkake session. Nothing matt about that, mate. He probably already thinks the house is haunted by the gayest ghost imaginable given I’d forgotten that when I show people at work how our fancy lights work where you can control the colour and brightness from the iPad, it’ll be changing them at home as it’s all connected via WiFi – imagine trying to paint when the lights keep flashing and changing from Hussy Red to Septic Green.

It doesn’t help matters that Paul seems to think it’s entirely appropriate to ‘drop the kids off’ first thing in the morning before his steamy shower, meaning the bathroom smells like an animal rendering plant for at least three hours. I wouldn’t care so much but the painter was recommended by someone whose opinion I actually welcome and I don’t want him going back and telling them that our house smells like a sewage outlet. 

My haggling has also been coming along wonderfully – after making a new enemy at the sofa shop by taking £700 off her commission, I managed to haggle 50% of the cost of our blinds. I say I haggled, but really, he told me it would cost £900, I said no and that I’d pay £450 and not a penny more. He immediately said that was fine. I’m fairly sure it wasn’t because he was swooning at the sight of me stood in front of him in my vest looking to the world like a hot-water tank spoiling for a fight, so it just shows how much these companies try and screw out of you.

Now before some clever-dick points out that we could buy them online and fit them ourselves and save so much more money, well yes, that’s true, but you don’t know us. We’d install the blinds upside-down and on fire. It’s like the motto that I really should have tattooed on the lower of my back – ‘I prefer to get a man in’.

Speaking of haggling, our budget week starts today. Now, cards on the table time, we’re abysmal at budgeting when it comes to money. We bought a second Actifry because the first one we ordered was grey and we fancied black and rather than returning it to Amazon, we’ve put it in the shed where it’s currently propping up the Christmas tree stand. We’ve paid a locksmith £50 for two new handles for the door but we’re putting him off visiting because we don’t like having to make small-talk while he fits them. It’s not because we’re rolling in money, because let me assure you we’re not, but we also don’t have kids sucking our money out of our wallet like a mucky-faced perma-yelling hoover.  Plus we’re gay, so pink-pound rules, yes? 

What we’re going to do is to price up our recipe this week, so you’ll be able to see at a glance how much it costs per serving – and – our recipes this week (unless clearly stated) will serve 6 – not so that you get double the pleasure at dinner time, but rather so you can parcel some up and have it for lunch the next day. We’re not going to be providing a recipe for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day as it’s still a bit too chaotic to commit to such shenanigans, but I am going to try and post as much as we can and just like American week, you might get a few more days out of us if we come up with good ideas.

We’re assuming a basic level of spices and stock and flavouring, but we’re going to keep out our more outlandish ingredients this week. However, you’ll spot two news things: ways to ‘gussy’ up the meal, i.e., if you’re not on the bones of your arse, I’ll include ways you can spend a little more to add even more flavour, and also, a way to strip down each recipe even further. Well, where I can. One of the recipes coming up uses three ingredients for heaven’s sake. 

Actually, that’s an idea – I might take a picture of a glass of water, do it all up twochubbycubs style, and post it in the facebook groups with a recipe guide. That’ll cause an argument – not that such a thing is difficult – I saw someone ask for a syn value yesterday only to be called a ‘fucking snooty bitch’ (well, it was actually fkn sntty btch (there’s that vowel tax again), but I don’t think she was calling her a frolickin’ snotty birch, so let me have it). Honestly, dieting folks could start an argument in an empty house. Just have a square of chocolate and calm your titties.

SO, first recipe isn’t the most exciting, but look, it’s a good start and a decent cheap way to get your breakfast. Plus, I wanted one more overnight oats recipe on the blog so I have a full week of them to post around like the profligate slut that I am.

apple pie overnight oats

to make apple pie overnight oats, you’ll need:

  • 35g of oats
  • 1 apple
  • 10g of sultanas
  • cinnamon
  • fat free natural yoghurt
  • if your yoghurt is a bit Katie Price (a little tart), chuck in a dusting of sweetener, but just a dusting, you don’t need to use a bloody snow shovel

then you should:

  • get yourself a fancy jar like mine from Amazon or if you are trying to save money, ask a passing child to hold their hands in a bowl shape, mix it all in there, have them stand overnight and then send them back up the chimney after breakfast in the morning;
  • put your 35g of oats and dash of sweetener in the bottom
  • add your 10g of sultanas on top (1.5 syns at a push – 25g of basic sultanas is 2.5g)
  • grate your apple coarsely (I mean use the coarse setting on the grater, not that you should eff-and-jeff all throughout the process) and pop that on top
  • add a sprinkling of cinnamon
  • add the natural yoghurt
  • MIX it together – a few people have commented that the oats were a bit dry but then they hadn’t mixed it all together – it won’t look as pretty as my photo, but if you don’t mix, you’re going to have a very dry breakfast…

the cost:

  • Tesco fat-free Everyday Value natural yoghurt – 45p for 500g – you use around 50g, so 5p
  • Tesco Everyday Value oats – 1kg for 75p  – you use 35g, so let’s say 3p
  • Tesco Everyday Value apples – 89p for 6, so let’s say 15p for one 
  • Tesco Everyday Value sultanas – 500g for 84p – of which you use 10g – so 2p

I’m assuming you have cinnamon and sweetener – if not, get your cinnamon and ANY spices from an Asian foods store, you’ll save a fortune. Sweetener – it’s part of the deal on Slimming World that you’ll have a pile of sweetener like those salt-bins you see on the roads. If not, it’s dirt cheap, lasts ages. Or, you know, use a dash of sugar.

to save more:

  • buy your apples loose or on the market

to gussy it up:

  • use a Toffee Mullerlight for a toffee-apple flavour 
  • add dried cranberries (synned)
  • add blackberries

Oooh, what will you choose?

More overnight oats recipes:

WE’RE BACK, BABY.

J

saving money on slimming world

Bobby Beale, you little tinker. Cost me £10 at the bookies, that did, plus my dignity for sitting and watching it (and enjoying it!). I’m alone in the house tonight as Paul’s down South. I’m not too good at being in the house by myself, and it doesn’t help that I’ve got the score from Scream 2 playing as I type. If my ex and Paul’s mother burst through the door waving a knife at me then at least I can say I died doing what I love, typing with one hand and scratching my balls with the other. Though I do hate the thought of being discovered in my ‘lay around the house’ boxer shorts with the hole burnt in the behind – from an errant cigarette back when I used to smoke, not from any particularly violent flatus.

No recipe tonight, but instead, a response to the many posts I’ve seen dotted around saying how expensive SW is, especially for new joiners. So, I thought I’d rattle off a few ways around saving money on slimming world – our shopping bill normally comes in at around £50 a week, and we generally shop at a combination of Waitrose, Tesco and Morrisons. I’m just going to scattershot type the article mind, so don’t expect structure and hilarity – I’m sitting here freezing my bollocks off but if I don’t type it before my bath I’ll never bother! I also plan to turn this into a pinned page at the top and keep adding to it. Oooh I’m the gift that keeps on giving!

Bulk buy the staples

Long time readers may remember The Cat Hotel – we cleared out our shed, fitted shelving and use it to store bulk purchases of anything that is either on a considerable discount or cheaper to buy in bulk. So to this end we always have masses and masses of Slimming World staples – chopped tomatoes, beans, pasta, spaghetti, chickpeas, tinned veg, stock cubes, salt, vinegar, sauces, rice. We generally buy these in bulk from Costco – to give you an example of savings here, you can pick up 24 tins of excellent quality chopped tomatoes for around £7, or 28p a tin. Yes, you can buy them cheaper in Tesco if you go down to the ‘Aren’t I a cheapskate’ range, but you’re getting red piss in a tin with a tomato crust. There would be more tomato flavour if you sucked the tomato on the tin wrapper. Bulk buying nearly always pays for itself in the end plus you’ve always got something in – many a time Paul and I will just have a tin of beans for dinner because we’re too busy illegally downloading TV shows and living the life of Riley. By the way, our cats don’t bother with it, and why would they? Yes it’s warm, safe and dry, but they’d much rather crap in my flowerbeds and track their muddy paws across our white tiles.

Cook twice, freeze once!

Most of our recipes can easily be doubled or halved – but if I say it serves four, then cook for four and freeze two portions – or serve three portions and take one for lunch the next day as we normally do. You’re cooking the meal anyway so it’s no hardship at all to freeze a bit up.

ALDI/LIDL

You can save money in these shops, but I don’t like them. I have tried, I swear I have. We went to an Aldi once and it was just too stressful – I don’t like a shop that puts garden shears next to petit pois tins and tumble drier balls next to the Daily Malk chocolate. I find it too confusing, with all the off-brand rip-offs and impossible layout – it’s like an Escher puzzle of abject poverty. Plus when you go to pay for your items the cashier throws them through the checkout like she’s going for gold for Great Britain’s curling team. I like small talk and chit-chat, not fucking carpet burns from a pack of floor wipes swishing past my hand at the speed of light. If you can deal with the above, all the very best to you, you’ll definitely save – but if not…

Don’t be afraid to scrabble in the bargain bin

Listen, I used to avoid the bargain bin like the best of them, but since I discovered that my local Tesco actually do decent meat reductions, I’ll happily get in there and elbow an old biddy in the face for £2 off a pork shoulder. You’ve got to be savvy though – get what you need, rather than what you think is a decent deal. If you weren’t going to buy that six pack of yoghurt reduced to 8p because the fork-lift ran over it and a fox shagged the strawberry crunch, it’s not a bargain. But the flipside of this is – don’t be one of those fucking awful people who grab items as soon as the poor supermarket worker has stuck the reduced sticker on it. Have a touch of class. Yes, you might have a trolley so full of reduced bread that you could use it to stop a raging river, but what price dignity? I’ve mentioned before that I’ve seen people actually fighting and nothing is worth that.

Get yourself a countdown

Clearly not a countdown as in the game-show for the piss-flow challenged, but rather where you bulk buy Slimming World entry costs and get 12 weeks for the cost of ten, plus if you time it right you’ll normally get given a free book that you can immediately sell on ebay for further profit read and enjoy. Mind, this is good for two reasons – yes, you’ll save money, but if you’re as tight as a tick’s bumhole like I am, the idea of wasting already spent money will make you go to class! WIN WIN.

Right – bath now, more tomorrow!