cranberry and cheese stuffed chicken – twochubbycubs

Looking for the recipe for cranberry and cheese stuffed chicken? Well who wouldn’t be, it’s bloody marvellous, but in the meantime we’ve got some housekeeping and some more Swiss nonsense to chat about! Housekeeping is simple: we’ve updated our recipe page to include every single recipe we’ve ever done (we hadn’t updated since September, oops) so if you’re planning for a new you in the new year, what better place to start? You can find them all by clicking here (don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window). Now…

swissfour

part one | part two | part three

Christ, we’re never going to get to the end of our Switzerland nonsense if I don’t speed it up a bit – so here on out, I’m just going to recount events rather than a chronological timeline. Of course, I said that on the last entry, so…let’s at least try to get to Bern in this entry, shall we?

The first thing we did on the second morning was one of those Live Escape rooms that we love so much. You may have heard of them? You get sealed into a room and you have an hour to escape, solving clues and puzzles in order to find your way out. This particular room received excellent reviews on TripAdvisor and even better, it was literally next door to the hotel, thus meaning minimum locomotion on our behalf. We were greeted by Lisa Stansfield herself, fresh from going around the world to try and find her baby, who led us down to the ‘serial killer’ room. Conscious that Switzerland isn’t too far from Austria I kept my eyes open for Josef Fritzl (well we were being sealed in an underground room, we’d have been daft not to be cautious) but all was well. Lisa Stansfield switched characters from welcoming host to scary police-chief in a matter of seconds, bellowing at Paul for ‘not reading the evidence file’ and shouting that we ‘have to catch the killer NOW’. She was terrifying – an excellent actress – and Paul told me afterwards that he’d only soiled his trousers to add to the atmosphere.

The room itself was fantastic. Really good fun, not least because the room opened up to reveal another four rooms, involving traps with magnets, hidden buttons, a fishing game, guns and one of those dentist chairs where you get strapped down. We managed to ‘solve the case’ with two minutes to go – wahey – and the killer was apprehended. Lisa Stansfield was astonished we’d finished so quickly (I’m still young) and I tried to explain to her in broken French that I’m from the part of the world where legendary policewoman Vera Stanhope does her rounds, pet. Flower. I’m going to write to Northumbria Police now and offer them my services. Get me a battered Land Rover and a shite Geordie accent, I can be Vera’s son! Lisa took a picture of us to put on facebook, and I’m sure if anyone was so inclined they could easily find it. I’ll give you a clue – most of the photos are of groups of stylish, Swiss people. The photo of Paul and I look like a band reunion no-one wants to see happen. (We ate the) Pet Shop Boys.

Buoyed with the success of making Lisa Stansfield’s day, we decided to tackle something that we’d been putting off thinking it would be an awful chore – sorting out our train tickets for travelling to Bern. We caught a tram back down to the Genève-Cornavin station and found our way into their well-appointed help centre. You know how our railway help centres seem to consist of ladies with a five-o-clock shadow and a face that could stop a clock? Couldn’t have been more different in Geneva. Firstly, there were sixteen helpful, cheery folk peering out from their desks, all of whom looked keen to assist in any possible way. We took a ticket, Argos-style, and sat down next to someone who had clearly shit himself. We sat down somewhere else instead and awaited our turn. I caught the eye of a handsome young thing who had clearly been trying to grow a moustache for seven years and failed miserably. It looked like an eyebrow on his top lip. I knew then that we couldn’t possibly get him to deal with us as it was all I’d be able to focus on, but of course, number 714 led us straight to his desk.

Now, listen, I don’t know if it was my fabulous beard or startling good looks, but he simply couldn’t have been better. He answered all my inane questions about transfers and classes and timetables in perfect, crisp English, and did so with a smile. Paul was so swept up in the moment that he leaned on the little ‘how am I doing’ board with those smiling/frowning faces you press to register your feedback. Luckily, his elbow was planted on the ‘very happy’ face and it wasn’t until it started beeping furiously that we realised what had happened. The poor lad probably thought we were coming onto him in some haphazard, clumsy style. Anyway, he booked all of our tickets, assuaged all of our fears about connections and then, once he had taken £500 off my American Express card, gave us our first class tickets AND a Toblerone each. Not a shitty British Toblerone mind you (where it now looks like a broken fence) but a good honest Swiss one. I had to pull Paul away – he was on the cusp of vaulting the desk and fellating the poor bloke. I adore good customer service, I truly do.

Toblerone in hand, we wandered over the road to the nearby Notre Dame Basilica, a smart little church just over the road. Crossing the road is always a treat in Geneva given everyone seems hellbent in crashing everything they have into your legs. You think you’re safe and then eight trams come whistling around the corner just waiting to spread you across the road. I felt like Rita Sullivan in Blackpool just trying to get to the church. We sat on the steps for a bit before remembering all churches are open, so we let ourselves inside.

Boy, was it beautiful. I’m not a huge fan of churches – I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously that I only went to our village church at Easter and Christmas for the free sweets (it was worth getting fingered just for the Smarties Easter Egg with free cup alone) but a tiny part of me is always hopeful that I’ll walk into church and be flooded with the love of the lord. I’ve had something similar happen in my adult life but that’s not one for the blog, save to say that was one man of the cloth who hadn’t taken a vow of celibacy. It wasn’t just Jesus getting nailed that Easter, I can assure you.

God forgive me.

Anyway, there were no sudden revelations and nor did I fall to my knees screaming as the sin of sodomy left me. It was, however, stunning. They had the most intricate, detailed stained glass windows I’d ever seen, and whether it was the winter light or the late morning sun I don’t know, but they seemed to absolutely glow. So many colours. I felt like a toffee penny in a Quality Street tin. We sat in the pews, doing our best to look sombre and respectful whilst quietly trying to unwrap our Toblerone (have you ever heard the noise a large Toblerone makes when you snap it in an echoey church? It sounded like the vicar was self-flagellating round the back). I lit a candle for my nana (it’s what she would have wanted, though I could have set fire to the entire church and she’d still have complained she was too cold) and did a wee curtsy in front of Jesus. There was a lady wailing on the floor in front of him who I took to be quite demented. This is a church my love, not a One Direction concert. I popped a triangle of Toblerone down next to her and moved on. Oh of course I didn’t, like I’d spare the chocolate.

We drifted around the shops for a bit, looking at very expensive things being bought by very expensive people. It must be nice to shop without having to think, but then, do you ever truly appreciate it? Pfft, if anyone wants to hand me a few million to try it out, they can. We saw a sign for lunch in a rooftop restaurant and although it was atop the equivalent of our John Lewis, it was great – we sat outside and gazed down at all the people bustling past with presents and christmas stuff. I had a slice of quiche bigger than an aeroplane chock and Paul had something fishy followed by something chocolatey. Eee, it’s like reading Jay Rayner himself, isn’t it? Sorry, but writing about food bores me, not least because it automatically makes me hungry too.

We attempted to do some shopping but thanks to our rash decision to only bring hand luggage, we were a bit stuck. I spotted a giant glass pair of cherries which I immediately fell in love with, but Paul held me back, explaining that we couldn’t justify spending 400 Swiss Francs on a massive inconvenience. Poor sport. I had my revenge by forbidding him from buying a Swiss Christmas card. I think that’s fair. There were shops full of luxurious, high-end watches which begged to be bought. There were cigar shops every other street which I could lose myself in. A spirits shop that I’d have cheerfully died in. Sigh. The sum total of our shopping was a small bottle of kirsch and, inexplicably, a Professor Layton plushie. Of course!

We decided that as we were so close, it would be remiss of us not to visit CERN. so that’s exactly what we did. We had hoped to visit the Large Hadron Collider (I had a load of file notes from work that I wanted to throw in) but sadly, they were closed. CERN was interesting, though I’m sure it’ll be more interest to someone who, unlike me, hadn’t spent physics lessons looking moonily at their bearded and very fit teacher. Damn it. I still can’t hear someone explaining the theory of heliocentrism without getting a stiffy. CERN consisted of a large auditorium filled with facts about antimatter and particles and there were plenty of comfortable pod-chairs to sit in. However, I no sooner fell into one of these chairs before Paul stood right in front of me and farted, leaving me spluttering and dry-heaving well into the flashy presentation. The fucker. We wandered around all of the other presentations, joining all the other tourists who were pretending to understand what it was all about, and then made for the exit. It was all very well done, if not a little dry.

We finished our day by wandering back through Geneva, heading down to the lake and climbing on board the passenger boat that skims you across the water back to the other side of the lake. It was just us in the boat so we sat at the back, cuddling and cooing as all the christmas lights came on across the bay. With our combined weight the boat was canted at a 60 degree angle but hey, romance. We spent the evening drinking gin in the fancy hotel bar – eight gins costing us nearly £170, I might add – then went to bed to prepare for our switch to Bern the next morning.

We awoke the next day a little rough from all that gin and hastily packed everything away, dashing to the train station for our 7am train with only a few minutes to spare. I was all for calling it a day and just staying in Geneva but Paul cajoled me along. Good man. The first train to Montreux was a commuter train full of chattering businessmen in steaming coats and we both dozed for the hour or so it took to get us to Montreux. Here, we were to join the Golden Pass Panoramic Tour Train which would take us up into the mountains and onto Interlaken, a lovely two hours or so. The first class carriage was made up of massive glass windows affording us the most beautiful views of first the mountains then the lakes and the fields of Switzerland. It truly was something else and I’d recommend in a heartbeat to anyone who fancied it.

cranberry and cheese stuffed chicken

cranberry and cheese stuffed chicken

The best part? We were almost alone in the carriage save for a little old lady who spent all of her time chin down in a crossword book. I wanted to dash it out of her hands and tell her to admire the view then I realised this was ‘normal’ to her – wow! Our conductor, Javert from Les Mis, stamped our tickets, brought us a coffee and let us crack on the journey. I know it’s an easy thing to moan about but if the Swiss can have a train climb a mountain in the ice and snow, and still run exactly to timetable, why can’t we cope with a cold snap? It’s truly embarrassing. At some point we had to swap onto a smaller train where we had our own little compartment with a lockable door. No sooner had I hung my coat up and started admiring the lake as we pulled away then Paul had his knob out with the romantic ‘do you want to nosh me off, we never get a chance on a train’. After ten years the formalities are gone. Who says romance is dead?

At Interlaken we switched trains for another that would take us to Lucern, with this journey winding around so many Swiss villages and chocolate-box scenes that we were captivated the whole way. Now on this train there was the facility to order food from your table using a mobile app and so it was that we ordered a cheese and meat platter (we hadn’t eaten all day, don’t judge us). Twenty minutes later the most furious man to ever wear a pinny came storming up to the front of the train with our tray and crashed it down on the table. I’m not sure what we had done wrong – perhaps he was cross that he had to walk all the way along the train – but that’s hardly our fault. He was acting as though I’d shit in his hat. The only negative point to the whole journey, and that was sharp forgotten when we were both lost in the reverie of buttering the bread and dividing up the cheese.

At Lucern we switched to the express train to Bern, joined again by a bustling group of businessmen, and within an hour we were speeding towards Bern. There was an exciting moment in one of the many tunnels when the train came to a very sudden and abrupt stop, as though someone had pulled the emergency brake cord. The stench of burning brakes filled the train and it was all I could do to carry on eating my Opal Fruits with a face full of concern. A conductor came running through with a first aid box and then we were back on our way. It kills me, simply kills me, that I don’t know what happened. I think it should be mandatory for the driver to come over the intercom and say something like ‘for the benefit of the nosy bastard in first class, I spilled my hot chocolate on the controls and hence the stop’. It’s just the decent thing to do.

We had arrived in Bern, and good god, let’s stop this entry right here. Two more to go! No wonder people’s eyes glaze over when I tell them a story, it takes me forever to get there and we end us taking eight diversions and a sex-story along the way. Apologies! This recipe for cranberry and cheese stuffed chicken is a piece of piss to make but it looks fancy, just like Paul does in his training bra. WE had this with some broccoli and roast potatoes, hence the gravy. If you’re having something completely different, feel free to leave off the gravy.

cranberry and cheese stuffed chicken

to make cranberry and cheese stuffed chicken you will need:

for the gravy:

  • 2 oxo chicken stock pots
  • 25g flour (4 syns)
  • 600ml water (if you’re having veg, use the water from that!)

Hey, added bonus with this dinner: cranberries are good if your minnie-moo is aflame with something other than desire! Beats spreading a Muller yoghurt on it, anyway.

to make cranberry and cheese stuffed chicken you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • slice all four chicken breasts from the side, but don’t cut all the way through – you want to be able to open it up like a book later on
  • place all four opened-up chicken breasts on a chopping board and cover with clingfilm
  • bash with the bottom of a saucepan (or a rolling pin) until they’re about ½cm thick
  • mix together the philadelphia and cranberries in a bowl and spread a quarter of the mixture onto one-half of each chicken breast
  • roll the chicken up from the long-end and roll – it doesn’t need to be dead neat (all comes out the same way, eh)
  • head a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a splash of oil
  • once hot, place each rolled-up breast in the pan, seal-side down and cook four about a minute, then turn over and cook for another minute
  • remove from the pan and onto a baking tray – keep any juices or cheese that might’ve dribbled out!
  • place the chicken int eh oven and bake for 25 minutes
  • when the chicken is nearly done, add the flour to the frying pan and stir until it’s mixed into a thick paste – add a bit of water if you need to
  • heat the pan to medium-high, add the chicken stock pots and then gradually stir in 600ml of hot water, stirring until thick and smooth, simmer for a few more minutes if it’s too thick

that’s it! easy eh? if you’re after some more inspiration, just click one of the buttons below to find all the recipes you need!

poultrysmallfakeawayssmall    tastersmallnaughtyfood

Cheers!

J

the best chicken stir-fry and noodles that we’ve ever done

Before we begin, I warn you that this is going to be a long entry. But I say that to all the boys. The recipe for our best ever chicken stir-fry and noodles is right at the bottom but, you know, do have a read, it’s worth it.

Firstly: a huge, colossal, massive thank you to everyone who has sent us cards, gifts, notes (we do read each one, Norah!), kind words, homemade cards, pure filth and even cat treats and butter. We expected a few cards and were grateful to receive them – but we’ve come back from a week away to over 150 new cards, each one with a thank you and a charming story about how we’ve made you laugh or helped you with your weight loss. Neither of us anticipated such a response and I genuinely can’t thank you all enough – you truly have made us happy. It seems insufficient and galling not to thank you personally and it is only the volume that is stopping us doing that, but please, if you have sent us a card, know that we have read it, loved it, laughed at it and are immensely pleased by it. Even our cats got several mentions and treats – they’d thank you but you know how cats are, they’d still hate you even if you put them out whilst they were on fire.

Yikes, that all got a bit saccharine didn’t it? I expect I’ll get told by some frothing-at-the-mouth shirtfiller that I need to syn my own opening paragraph now. But yes: thank you! If you want to send us a card and haven’t managed to get around to it yet, don’t be alarmed, there’s still time (and we have just a tiny space left on our living room wall) – send a card to twochubbycubs, PO Box 217, Bedlington, NE63 3FA. Come on, how often is it you get to satisfy two men at once? EH?

Let’s crack on before my teeth turn black and Jeremy Kyle calls me up for a DNA test.

Oh my. We told you a lie. Well, not really a lie, more an omission – see, we’ve been away on holiday, but we didn’t want to announce it on here before we go because I’ve read enough tragic stories in Take a Break in which Wotsit-coloured thugs come back from glassing people in Benidorm only to find their house broken into. How did the burglars know they were away? Because the vacationers been posting ‘~*~*~ OMGUD 1799 DAIS UNTIL HOLIBOBS U FUKIN JELUS COW ~*~*~’ on Faceache since the moment their gunt crossed the threshold at Thomas Cook. I didn’t fancy returning home to an upturned Christmas tree (I’d just jab myself in the cock putting it right) and a freshly cleaved dump on my living room rug (we have enough of those concertinaing from our angry cat’s bumhole, thank you), so we didn’t mention it.

So where have we been? Switzerland! I had a nice fancy banner all designed ready to go but then I forgot to save it amidst all the excitement of packing, so you’ll need to make do with this shit joke instead:

What’s an advantage to living in Switzerland?

The flag’s a big plus!

Boom! Do let me know if you need me and my first aid box of out-of-date plasters to stitch up those split sides, you filthy bitches.

EDIT EDIT EDIT! I do have a banner after all! Here we go.

swissone

Why Switzerland though? If I’m honest, I have no idea. A few weeks ago Paul and I decided to have a cheap holiday away at Christmas after Iceland and Germany previously. We did a cursory glance on skyscanner and found that easyJet not only fly there but do so from our local airport AND relatively inexpensively. We booked there and then thinking it would be a cheap holiday only to realise that it’s actually the most expensive place to visit in not just Europe but the whole fucking world. That’s not typical Geordie hyperbole (pronounced: HY-PURR-BURR-LEE in my native tongue) but an actual fact: see? Worth noting that the second most expensive country in the world to visit is the United Kingdom, but see that’s because it costs £87,455 to park the car at Lands End for two hours. Near the top of that list is Iceland (been), Denmark (booked) and Norway (also booked).

I’m going to have to put Paul on the game at this rate. If any of you ladies fancies paying him £10 to get him to ring the Devil’s Doorbell for five minutes or so, let me know. He’ll be brilliant at it, he’s got a slight tremor now from eating too much Swiss chocolate.

Our research into Switzerland, once Paul had brought me round with a sniff of poppers and a jumpstart of my heart, was scant indeed. We decided to take a full week, taking a couple of days in Geneva then taking a scenic train over to Bern. Our hotels were markedly different in what they offered but I’ll get to that. Even after a bit of reading, we knew very little about Switzerland save for two interesting, related facts. In the event of war being declared all the residents of Switzerland can easily fit into the various fallout shelters dotted around the country – in their mountains, under their barns. I could almost hear the sound of twenty thousand metre-thick steel doors being slammed shut forever as Paul and I lumbered our fat arses up the steps of our Geneva-bound easyJet plane. Even their underground car-parks, so clean and pristine and icily efficient, can be sealed off at a moment’s notice to provide shelter for the quivering populace.

Second – perhaps a shade more sinister – if that aforementioned war was ever declared then the bridges, tunnels, railway lines and main motorways into the country can be destroyed by way of explosives that are already wired into the infrastructure, sealing the country off from possible invaders (or at least making it far more difficult). I find that terrifying – I can barely be relied upon to operate a hole-punch without a trip to A&E and a full page in the accident book – imagine having the button to blow up a motorway bridge just sitting on your desk. It would be less than two weeks before I’d knocked over my cup of tea with a stray moob and short-circuited the detonation board for the eastern railways. Brr.

The day before we were due to fly I suddenly remembered that we needed to sort out health insurance. You can imagine how complex that is given my health anxiety – I have to declare everything I’ve ever fretted about with the doctor. There’s a team of crack actuaries working at American Express insurance working full-time on calculating my risk. I let Paul take care of that – and remember that for later. I also, with the hilarious optimism of the unprepared, exchanged £200 into Swiss francs at our local Bureau de Change, served cheerily as I was by a handsome grandad who all but reached over the counter and gave me a reacharound whilst he deposited Switzerland’s exceptionally colourful money into my hands. I have this animal magnetism – it scares me sometimes. We dug out our passports (still in our suitcases from last time, what-are-we-like) and set about packing our new tiny cabin-friendly luggage.

Here’s what normally happens on our holiday: we pack six pairs of jeans and wear one. Eight shirts and only two get worn (though we wash them). We take enough underwear to cover ourselves four times over and more shoes than is entirely decent. No more! In our drive to save money we weren’t going to take luggage that needed to be put in the hold and therefore it was tiny suitcases from Amazon for us. Well, readers, we managed it – I’m not sure if it has been our many, many years of being committed gayboys but we’ve got skills when it comes to cramming lots into a very small space. You get to a point where you think you can’t get any more in, but then if you get a stocky bloke to come and sit on it, you can always get a bit more in. Try it, you might like it.

Normally at this point in our holiday stories we’d have a couple of paragraphs about the two of us driving up to Edinburgh or taking the train to Heathrow and staying in some awful airport hotel but no! This time I can say this: we popped out of bed at 4.45am, had a shower, a dump and a shave, then made our way smartly to Paul’s demi-car for a quick drive to the airport. This is true, save for the fact that I made him turn the car around so we could unplug the Christmas tree lights (on a timer) and then again because I’d forgotten to set the alarm the second time around. Oops. Listen, I know my Christmas tree is just waiting to burst into flames, I don’t want to give it any encouragement.

We paid for a week’s worth of parking at Newcastle Airport and the cost of putting Paul’s car on a scabby bit of tarmac to be scratched, shat on and probably driven around by someone more acne than man was actually more than the cost of safely flying one of us 1,800 miles to Geneva and back in a metal cylinder full of fuel. There’s something wrong with that, isn’t there, especially as you could actually park Paul’s car in the glove box of a normal car. Surely we ought to get half-rates at least. Nevermind.

We didn’t need to check in as being the techno-savvy couple that we are we’d already done so and had mobile boarding passes, meaning our phones were a lurid easyJet orange for a good couple of hours. With no bags to drop off we minced over and through security into the departures lounge. It’s worth noting that the lass who was watching the x-rays of our bags had the haunted look of someone who had absolutely given up on her job. I got the impression I could have smuggled seventy thousand Regal King Size (known in our family as ‘Mother’s December’) and a pair of nail clippers through and she wouldn’t have batted an eye.

Paul did get stopped, actually – I only noticed when I turned around to ask him if he’d ever seen so many bottles of Cheryl Cole’s perfume in one place only to find he wasn’t there and was in fact getting patted down. Apparently his bag sets off the ‘explosive’ check. Knowing Paul he’s probably stitched a load of those bang-strips from cheap Christmas crackers into his rucksack just in the hope of getting roughly touched up by someone with a beard and a hangover. The slut.

meaty-mix-up-01

Newcastle Airport is awful. There, I’ve said it. The staff are lovely – each and all – but the actual airport is a shitpit. You know how Heathrow has Gucci, Harrods and a champagne bar? Newcastle Airport has a branch of JD fucking Sports. Why? Who feels the need to dress like they’re stumbling out of a magistrates court just before they get on a flight? There’s also a Greggs in the departures lounge just in case you don’t feel like your holiday is complete without grease on your fingers and pastry crumbs billowing out from under your chins. It’s awful. You’re shepherded through the giant duty free shop with no chance of escape or quiet solitude and everywhere was full of tomato-faced bawling children getting ready to be flown to Lapland, sadly on return flights. Well, it is Christmas, I suppose.

We schlepped into the only bar that looked faintly promising and ordered a strong coffee. We were given a cup of what looked like watered down dishwater and pointed to a jug of milk that was gently heating on the end of the bar. For this we were charged almost £8. I checked fitfully out of the window to see whether we’d already landed in Switzerland at this point and thus the rip-off prices made sense but no, I could see the luminescent giant ‘M’ of Newcastle’s Metro station and realised that it was just another example of shitty-price Britain. No wonder we’re number two! Along those lines we had to pay £1 to get a sandwich bag to put our toiletries in prior to security. I know we fly enough to know better but a bloody quid! I buy a roll of the fuckers from Costco for £2. They must be bloody raking it in.

After enjoying our coffee (enjoying pouring it away, that is) and having a quick crap because well, you’ve got to do something to fill the time, we were called to our gate. It was full, of course, and when the young lass at the front announced boarding was starting, everyone rushed forward as if they thought the plane was going to fuck off without them. Why? Every single flight: why? The captain’s not going to have a fit of the vapours and decide to power up and away early just for shits and giggles. This isn’t a Black Friday sale, you’ve got a seat, calm the fuck down. We let everyone else puff and bluster their way to the front and then boarded behind them, casual in the knowledge that we had no-one sitting next to us and indeed, the plane was only half-full.

The captain came on after we’d all settled and informed us that, due to freezing fog in Geneva, we’d be delayed in taking off in Newcastle. I did think that was some fog indeed but I suppose we couldn’t circle Geneva indefinitely like we’re in The Langoliers. Paul immediately fell asleep leaving me to entertain myself by picking at his ears and looking mournfully out of the window like Sandra Bullock in Gravity. The captain then came back on the tannoy to let us know we would be free to move around and sit in the empty seats if we so desired but we weren’t to do it until we were in the air lest it upset the take-off balance. I noticed that the stewardess gave me a somewhat pointed look at this point, as if the sheer act of me leaning forward to open my bottle of water would send us helplessly into a nosedive. Mean. Paul snored on.

Eventually, after much polite tutting and shared looks of well-I-never we set off, thundering down the runway at a rate of knots. As you know, I’m fine with flying save for that thirty seconds or so when you lift off. I like it, don’t get me wrong, but I also like a margin of error, and if anything was to go wrong with the plane I’d like it to happen so the pilot has enough time to zip himself back up and wrest control back from the autopilot. I distracted myself by seeing if I could spot our house – probably ablaze like a bonfire thanks to the B&M Christmas lights, but couldn’t. We were soon into the clouds and Geneva-bound, and Paul slept on.

The flight itself was wonderfully uneventful. I watched a bit of Rick Stein, drank my water and looked out of the window. As you may expect at this point, Paul dozed all the way, only opening his eyes when he heard me trying desperately to eat a Crunchie without him waking up and thus having to share. They weren’t kidding about the fog mind – we went around and around in the holding pattern. I waited as long as I could but then I had to dash to the toilet for a quick wee – only no sooner as I had started my flow that I found myself canted at a severe angle, causing me to piddle on the floor and then have to scrabble around with the tissues trying to soak it all up. Where does all this piss on the toilet floor come from? Do the cleaners slosh some on the floor before take-off? Goodness me. I emerged from that toilet flustered and damp, so invariably everyone on the plane probably thought I was joining the Mile High Club: Solo Aviator Division. Brilliant.

Finally the plane descended through the clouds. The fog never seemed to stop and I kid you not, it was about two seconds from the moment we emerged from the fog to when we were on the ground. Flying never ceases to amaze me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m never going to be idiotic enough to clap hysterically when we land, but I always genuinely thank the pilot and humbly apologise to the stewardess for making such a frightful mess of my seat-pocket as I disembark.

That seems like a good place to leave it for now, given that, as per usual, I’ve managed to get to almost 3000 words and we’ve only just stepped off the plane. Sorry, folks.

I do just want to say one more thing, actually. As I’m typing this the news is coming in that there’s been another terrorist attack, this time in a Christmas market in Berlin. People are dead, it’s fucking terrible. But you mustn’t let fear stop you from holidaying and visiting these wonderful places. I’ve never felt at risk anywhere and the way I look at it, if someone wants to be a c*nt and stop my clock to prove a shitty, misguided and utterly wrong point, at least I’d be going out somewhere beautiful without any regrets. Berlin is a beautiful, electric city and so worth a visit. so is Paris. So is Nice. So is Zurich. So is Brussels. That last one isn’t strictly true, I almost actually died in Brussels from terminal boredom, but you get my drift. Don’t let terrorism win. Just tell it to fuck right off and live your life.

I’d love your feedback on tonight’s post, by the way!

Let’s get to the best chicken stir-fry and noodles that we’ve ever done, then, shall we? It’s sort of Rick Stein’s recipe only he uses pork belly. Naturally, we can’t do that without some SW official kicking down our door and torching our computer desk, so we’re using chicken. We got the idea from Hello Fresh and adapted it slightly for SW. Because why not? This makes enough for two.

chicken stir-fry

to make the best chicken stir-fry we’ve ever done, you’re going to need:

As usual with our stuff, feel free to swap stuff out, mix up ingredients, add your own twist. We won’t tell. For your garlic and ginger, get them minced using one of these fancy things. You know we recommend them all the time but that’s because they bloody well work.

to make the best chicken stir-fry we’ve ever done, you should:

  • get a pan of hot water bubbling away
  • chop your chicken breast up into thumb sized chunks and put them into a bowl with the chinese five spice, rubbing it into the meat as best as you can, then put to one side
  • slice your red pepper and red onion and then chop the spring onion nice and fine
  • mince your garlic and ginger
  • drop the egg noodles into the water and cook for as long as they recommend – once that’s done though, drain away the water and run them under cold water so they stop cooking
  • whilst they’re cooking away you can get your wok or large frying pan ready with a few spritzes of decent olive oil or, god forbid, bleurgh, frylight – but why do that to yourself?
  • cook off the chicken strips until nice and well, cooked, then remove them and throw the pepper and onion into the pan and let them cook for a few minutes until softened
  • add the chicken back in, together with the ginger and garlic, and cook for a minute or two – then add the noodles, soy sauce and hoisin sauce and cook everything through until it’s lovely and hot
  • serve on a plate with chopped coriander and spring onions on the top.

Done! I want this right now. Want more chicken recipes? But of course you do. Click the buttons below for even more inspiration.

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Enjoy!

J

kung pao chicken meatballs with dressed spaghetti

Hello! Here for the kung pao chicken meatballs? Well you’re in luck – there’s no time for a long ramble today as lots to do but you know, I think you deserve a treat. So we have the kung pao chicken meatballs recipe coming up in a moment but first, look at our tree!

tree

Isn’t that a beauty? But let me tell you: blood was almost shed. Let me paint you a picture. There’s me, in the bath, luxuriating / basking in a sea of Molton Brown bubbles and The Archers omnibus playing in the background. Paul was in the living room fussing about the tree like a make-up artist at a wedding. I could hear the occasional shout and strop but hey, the bath was lovely. After an hour or so a plaintive cry came from the living room for me to come and help – his tiny Nick-Nack legs didn’t quite afford him the height needed to pop our furry star on top of the tree. Fair enough – the tree is 7ft and Paul drives a Smart-car.

I clamber out, the bubbles caressing my every curve. It was exactly like the bit in Casino Royale when Daniel Craig emerges from the sea in his little blue knickers, only with far more heart disease and loud straining. I mince into the living room and exclaim at how pretty the tree is before immediately fretting as to whether our Dyson Digital can cope with the quarter-tonne of pine needles that already litter the floor. Completely nude, I lean into the tree to make the final adjustment, to adorn it with the shiny star of Christmas, and how was I rewarded?

With a fucking pine needle right down my hog’s eye. My beef bullet was speared by the cold fingers of Christmas present. I know that a lot of you ladies out there will have been through child birth but honestly, that would have been like ripping off a wet plaster compared to this. I don’t like to exaggerate but it was literally the worst pain in the world. There’s places that nothing should ever venture and a gentleman’s scrotum-totem is one of these. I since looked it up on the internet only to find it’s an actual fetish, with people putting all sorts of things down there. Internet: what is wrong with you?

Anyway, you’ll be relieved to know that he’s fine and still in working order. Phew, right? Let’s get straight to the meatballs, apropos of nothing. This makes enough for four and yeah, it looks like a bit of a ballache to make, but it’s worth it – something different to that boring old SW meatballs in the freezer! Plus you could make the balls and freeze for later.

kung pao chicken meatballs

to make kung pao chicken meatballs you will need:

for the spaghetti

  • 500g spaghetti (or noodles!)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 160ml soy sauce
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 75ml shoaxing rice wine (4 syns)
  • 2 tbsp red chilli paste
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (2 syns)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (6 syns)

for the meatballs

  • 500g minced chicken (or turkey)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 egg
  • 35g porridge oats (1x HeB)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (1/2 syn)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

You know when we say mince ginger or garlic? Use a microplane grater. It’ll stop your fingers smelling, as long as you stop picking your bum. But seriously, don’t fart about peeling ginger or garlic, just grate it as it is – it’ll be perfect. Click here for our recommended mincer! 

for the sauce

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (1/2 syn)
  • 1 tbsp red chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp honey (3 syns)

to make kung pao chicken meatballs you should:

bit of a fuck on this, but I promise it’s worth it.

  • firstly, preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • then, make the meatballs – spray a non-stick baking sheet with a little oil
  • mix together all of the meatball ingredients, roll into about twenty meatballs, plop onto the baking sheet and cook for twenty five minutes, and whilst that’s going on, do the other bits
  • next, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the spaghetti (or noodles) according to the instructions – try and time this so that the spaghetti will be finished at the same time as the meatballs
  • meanwhile, in a bowl whisk together all the other ingredients for the spaghetti, except for the garlic, and keep to one side
  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat
  • add the minced garlic and cook for about thirty seconds
  • pour in the reserved sauce, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for a few minutes, until slightly thickened
  • add the cooked and drained spaghetti (or noodles), toss well until nicely coated with the sauce
  • in another bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients
  • when the meatballs are cooked, toss them gently in the sauce
  • serve the spaghetti onto plates, and top with the meatballs
  • sprinkle over the spring onions
  • we added a few chopped peanuts as well for a bit of crunch (if you’re doing the same, remember to syn them)

Serve! The oats really bulk the balls out. Mahaha!

Want more fakeaway or chicken recipes? Just click the buttons below!

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Enjoy!

J

deck the halls with a twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

twochubbycubs' christmas wrap

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

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

twochubbycubs' christmas wrap

to make a twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap you will need:

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

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

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

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

to make a twochubbycubs’ christmas wrap you should:

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

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

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

J

apple, mushroom and sage risotto

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

apple, mushroom and sage risotto

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

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

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

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

to make apple, mushroom and sage risotto you should:

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

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

 

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Enjoy!

J

droptober recipe #9: chicken cakes

Chicken cakes? I know, it sounds as appetising as sleeping face-down in the cuddle-puddle after a hot session with orange shitbag Donald Trump, but please, bear with me. You can have fishcakes, yes? Well these little buggers are gorgeous, trust me. Like a chicken nugget only you’re not spending ten minutes afterwards thinking about whether you’ve just eaten a bumhole, eyelid, or combination of both.

Only a recipe tonight, mind, as we’re busy working on something exciting. Well, I am, Paul’s busy ironing. WHAT AN EXCITING LIFE EH. This recipe makes about eight or so cakes, and I’m synning them at half a syn each rather than the 0.75 syns that it should be. Don’t tell Mags, eh?

OH one thing. We’ve had word that there’s a Slimming World group in Cornwall somewhere where one of the members is printing off the recipes and selling them as a booklet. Please, don’t do this. We do this for free and we want it to stay that way. If you want to profit from our hard work, at least ask. Don’t be a fucknugget about it.

chicken cakes

to make chicken cakes you will need

  • 500g chicken (or turkey) mince
  • half a red, yellow or orange pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch chilli flakes
  • half a chicken stock cube
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (2 syns)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ black pepper
  • 2 shakes Tabasco sauce
  • 25g panko (4½ syns)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard (1 syn)

to make chicken cakes you should:

  • in a large pan, spray in some oil over a medium-high heat and add the onions, pepper, chilli flakes and crumble in half the chicken stock cube, and cook together for about 3 minutes
  • add the garlic and cook for another minute
  • add HALF of the raw chicken mince (you read that right – trust me) to the pan, and cook until cooked though – it’ll take about 3 minutes
  • remove from the heat and set aside to cool
  • in a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, salt, pepper, tabasco, panko, egg and dijon mustard
  • add the cooked chicken (wait until it’s cool enough to hold) and the remaining raw chicken (it’ll be fine! honestly!) and mix really well together
  • divide the mixture into 8 balls and flatten each one into a burger shape (this burger press is only £3.50 and will do the job nicely)
  • plonk onto some greaseproof paper so they don’t stick and pop in the fridge for about half an hour to let them firm up – pour yourself a gin
  • spray a large frying pan with oil and whack on to a medium-high heat
  • using a spatula, add the chicken cakes to the pan (you might need to do it in batches) and cook for about 4 minutes per side until cooked through
  • serve and enjoy!

We served with chips and some extra-light mayonnaise because we’re classy bitches. Want more recipes? Click the buttons below!

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Enjoy!

J

droptober recipe #7: italian sausage and chicken risotto

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love our risottos, especially this Italian sausage and chicken risotto because it is simplicity itself! Italian sausage is usually sausage with fennel, so we’ve cheated a bit and used plain, syn free sausages and added fennel seeds. Yes, it’s that type of sassy thinking and cunning that got us where we are today. Bit of a long entry tonight but first, for the last time (well maybe tomorrow) an advert BEFORE IT RUNS OUT.


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LAST CHANCE. Before we get to the recipe, just a heads-up that – for two days only – we’ve reduced the prize of our freezer filler meatbox down to £40 instead of the already cheap-as-chips £50. That’s £40 for about 24 big chicken breasts, 5 x 400g servings of syn-free beef mince, 700g of bacon medallions (and it’s good bacon, mind, not the shite that withers away to bugger all) and 800g of beef chunks – and even better, the forty quid includes delivery. I posted this on Facebook this afternoon and people have been ordering it left-right-and-centre, so don’t delay – it’ll never be cheaper than this. Click here or on the image above (it’ll open in a new window) and make sure you use the code TCCFREEZER to bring it down to £40 with standard delivery. This is the meat we use in our recipes and it has never let us down!


Don’t worry, I think the code expires tomorrow so the big advert won’t be on the next lot of posts!

Paul and I have been thinking about switching slimming world classes. Not because our current class has anything wrong with it, it’s absolutely the best one in the area, but we’ve been going off and on for almost seven years. It’s easy to fall into a rut and we’re not staying to class anymore, so perhaps a new face and a new bank of folks to look at with my eye glaze over whilst they chunter on about 1/2lb here and there is exactly what we need. As I was mulling over this decision in the car on the way home, I started thinking about my perfect Slimming World class and what I’d do if I was a consultant.

Incidentally, we get so, so many people telling us they’d come to our class if we became consultants, but we offered our services to Slimming World way back when we were just starting out and didn’t get a phone call in return. Which, frankly, was foolish – we’ve got plenty of disposable income and a very carefree approach to spending it. My house could have been more Hi-Fi bar than brick. But anyway. So here’s how my dream class would go if I was a consultant. If you’re a consultant, feel free to nick my ideas, but be sure to have a framed photo of us with a candle burning in front of it, like people do when someone’s died in a car-crash.

For a start, let’s not be tight with the venue. I’m sick of sitting on rock hard chairs in draughty church halls, getting piles and backache. Let’s have the class in the back of the local pub, so people can pay lip service to losing weight and then get straight on the beers, wine and crackling, like EVERYONE WHO GOES TO FAT-CLASS does. The heating would be on but sensible – I’ve noticed classes are either so hot that you lose two pounds in sweat just sitting in your chair shallow-breathing or so fucking cold that you can open your third box of Hi-Fi bars with your diamond-level nipple.

I’d serve proper coffee and proper tea. There’s no excuse for people to people to fork over £5 and then get hit with coffee so weak you can see the bottom of the cup through it, or tea that tastes like it was brewed up in 1957 and left to stand. Yes, it’s a bit more pricey, but let’s class the joint up. I’d ban sweetener though because I’d get tired of people mooing at me about SINZ PLZ.

It would be mandatory for everyone to have the right change or a countdown when it came to paying. Let’s be honest: we’ve all been in the queue, inwardly seething and wishing death on the poor bugger at the front of the queue fumbling around in the depths of their Michelle Cors handbag for 10p. Think of it like a bus: turn up, pay, bugger off to the seats. Weighing would be the same – it would be mandatory, punishable by death, to be ready to get on the scales. No holding up the queue whilst you take off your support knickers, bra, false-teeth, clit-ring, fanny-chandelier, built-up shoes and pleatherette belt. Get on, get weighed, ten seconds only of your fake surprise act or blustered explanations, then on your way to the naughty seats ready for class.

Now the most important bit: the chat. I have quite a booming voice when I want to so being heard wouldn’t be a problem. I’d want the class to be full of laughter, fun and chatter, but if you’re the rude arsehole who insists on chatting to your mate all the way through whilst people are shitting themselves from straining so hard to hear who is talking, Paul will nip outside and put your tyres down. We’d open with weight losses – but not the 56 minute long affair of ‘and Mary has lost ‘arf a pound how have you done that Mary’ (repeating the name a lot so it looks like you are invested in your members but haway, it’s on your little screen).

Here’s the cruel truth – this bit adds absolutely nowt unless it sparks a discussion about weight loss. The fact that Bob from Greggs has lost two pounds, his foot has turned less black and he’s lost eight pounds overall in eighteen years means very little to most people unless you know them. No, we’d beetle about the room, giving out the stickers because let’s be fair, everyone likes a sticker, congratulating people in groups (so all the 2lb losses would get named, then the 1lb losses, then the stayed the same) – much quicker and easier. Plus, you don’t have to wrap your hands in gauze afterwards to stop the bleeding from clapping so fucking much. We’re adults, not seals desperate for people to throw us a fish.

Then, 45 minutes or so of chat, decent recipe swapping and funny stories. Make it an hour where you’d actually want to contribute and make it more like conversation between friends, instead of 60 disparate chubbies all fretting and cringeing until the moment their name is called.  I’d want to hear people laughing more than hearing people sigh and yawn into their hands. More focus on eating – that’s one thing I find so confusing about the groups – there’s surprisingly little focus on good things to eat and ideas. I’d bring technology into it – have a decent sized TV in the background with recipes on it, changing every now and then. Naturally, being us, we’d slip the odd slide in of a giant bouncy cock for half a second, just long enough to think you’ve seen it before onto a risotto recipe. There’d be jokes and genuine admiration. Aaah.

Slimmer of the Week wouldn’t win a basket of fruit that’s pretty much already turned into wine, no, the winner would get to take part in my game. I’d get my dad to build a massive wheel-of-fortune stand-up wheel with different segments and prizes – a free week, a box of Hi Fi bars, a tiny sliver for a free countdown, another for a big cuddle from the fattest person in the room, even the odd penalty to add a bit of risk – they have to put the chairs back at the end of the class, or come back to mine and cook us a delicious tea. Paul could mince on in a glittery dress like Debbie McGee’s morbidly obese twin, we could make a proper spectacle of it. Much better than ‘here’s a bunch of black bananas, a sweet ‘n’ sour mugshot and some unidentified fruit with half a WHOOPS sticker on it.

Raffle would be for useful things that people can use to cook with – a decent pan, a set of scales, spoons. Every now and then we’d think fuck it and put a box of chocolates on there. Guarantee we’d have far more raffle tickets being bought then! As for contact during the week, none of the mushy stuff – texts saying ‘Yeah, the chocolate might taste nice, but do you not fancy seeing your fadge again’ or ‘Try the mushy pea curry: you’ll be shitting for England but you’re sure to get that shiny star’ or even just the plain old threatening ‘Elnetta-MB has your details now. She knows where you live. DON’T EAT A PIE’. My facebook group would be full of rude jokes and recipe challenges and yeah, you’d still get stickers and certificates, but you’d also get arbitrary stickers like ‘Can open a Mars bar without getting breathless’ and ‘managed to see the end of her toes’. Make it fun, make it entirely non-serious, make it good.

Aaaah a boy can dream, eh? I know the practicalities of money, time and corporate branding would put the kibosh on all of the above, but hell, we could give it a bloody good go before SW cracked the whip.

Right, let’s get to the recipe, shall we? This makes two big bowls of delicious tasty stodge.

italian sausage and chicken risotto

to make italian sausage and chicken risotto you will need:

to make italian sausage and chicken risotto you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a splash of oil
  • add the sausages to the pan and cook for five minutes until browned but not fully cooked
  • remove from the pan, leave to cool for a bit and then slice and keep to one side
  • add the fennel seeds to the pan and stir around the pan for about a minute
  • add the leeks to the pan and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until starting to brown
  • mix the tomato puree with 1 tbsp water and add to the pan, along with the apple juice, garlic and spice mix
  • cook for a few minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes or so
  • add the rice and stir until well mixed and coated
  • add the chicken to the pan, lob in the sausages and stir again
  • add as much stock as you can to the pan – if you can’t get it all in just add what you can and keep topping it up
  • stir the mix every couple of minutes or so until the liquid has been absorbed, which’ll take about 20 minutes
  • serve!

There you have it – if you’ve ever fancied having an Italian stallion sit heavy in your stomach, you’ve just found one!

If you fancy other equally delicious dinners, just click on the buttons below to find more of our tasty ideas!

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J

droptober recipe #6: firecracker glazed chicken

Here for the firecracker glazed chicken? Good news: no messing about tonight because this is just a short, tiny post with some news! It’s Apprentice night and my turn to cook so no time to waffle on, though I have a cracking post lined up to come online in the next few days…a wee advert follows but only because it’s a bloody good meat deal – our best yet – but if you don’t want to hear about it, just click here to jump straight to the recipe! Everyone’s a winner.


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Before we get to the recipe, just a heads-up that – for two days only – we’ve reduced the prize of our freezer filler meatbox down to £40 instead of the already cheap-as-chips £50. That’s £40 for about 24 big chicken breasts, 5 x 400g servings of syn-free beef mince, 700g of bacon medallions (and it’s good bacon, mind, not the shite that withers away to bugger all) and 800g of beef chunks – and even better, the forty quid includes delivery. I posted this on Facebook this afternoon and people have been ordering it left-right-and-centre, so don’t delay – it’ll never be cheaper than this. Click here or on the image above (it’ll open in a new window) and make sure you use the code TCCFREEZER to bring it down to £40 with standard delivery. This is the meat we use in our recipes and it has never let us down!


Sorry, we’re not normally overt with the advertising but as it’s a one-off for Droptober, we thought why not? RIGHT. Firecracker chicken. This is a very simple chicken recipe and because we’re common slobs, we served it with chips. I know, we’ll be eating it off one of those awful felt-tipped portion plates soon. This makes four chicken breasts – up to you if you want to have two each. We both know the answer to that though, don’t we? That’s why we love you. This makes a lovely sticky chicken dinner!

firecracker glazed chicken

to make firecracker glazed chicken, you’ll need:

  • 120ml of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo sauce (you can buy this in most big supermarkets, trust me – it’ll be where the ketchup is) (2 syns)
  • four chicken breasts – we used four from the deal above
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (5 syns)
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or use balsamic, hey, it’s cooking, you’re not developing a cure for polio)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, but we like our food hot enough to tatter our ring on the way out)

This is what the bottle looks like – you can substitute out for other buffalo sauce, but check the syns!

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to make firecracker glazed chicken, you should:

  • get that oven going at about 200 degrees
  • tumble the chicken breasts in a pinch of salt and pepper and a splash of Worcestershire sauce in a bowl
  • in a tiny pan, heat the buffalo sauce, honey, garlic and vinegar just gently to the boiling, then allow to simmer oh-so-carefree-like until it thickens up a bit
  • get your chicken breasts on a greaseproof tray and brush them all over with the sauce – get in every nook and cranny
  • cook for about 15 minutes or so – then take them out, baste them again, then put them back in the oven and cook for thirty minutes or so
  • make sure the chicken is cooked and, if you want to, grill it for a couple of minutes to get it sticky and serve with your sides
  • easy!

If you’re wanting even more chicken recipes, then treat yourself by clicking the buttons below! This would be nicer with some broccoli and rice but hey, sometimes you just need stodge, am I right?

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Cheers! Gosh, that’s a lot of buttons, isn’t it?

J

mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps

Have you stumbled onto this blog, face agog with the idea of a mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps, but Slimming World friendly? Well, you’ve come to the right place. But first, some nonsense. There’s always nonsense!

I had a half day off work today. Now, that might not sound very exciting – a Tuesday afternoon all to myself – but it was glorious. I love Paul to bits (even if he cuddled into me the other night, whispered ‘who has a sexy arse…’ and then followed it up with ‘not yours, your arse smells like death‘) but see a day where I can do my own thing and trot about is never a bad time. I decided, possibly against my better judgement, to go for a walk in the woods again – this time to a place called Plankey Mill. The weather decided to play ball, my morning’s work wasn’t too strenuous and, with all of the impulsiveness of someone who says he is trying to save money but finds the whole affair rather boring, I bought two annual passes for me and Chubs McGee for the National Trust so that I wouldn’t have to pay £2 for parking. Makes sense, right?

I did, somewhat mischievously, put myself down as a doctor (I have health anxiety, I spend all day diagnosing myself with various illnesses, so it sort of works) and Paul does as a ‘Rear Admiral’. Well, he’s certainly swabbed more than his fair share of poop decks, the filthy swine.

Plankey Mill is a charming walk along the River Allen and we used to go there a lot as children, possibly because it was free, possibly because my parents were hoping we’d fall in and be swept away to pastures new so they could jet off to Ayia Napa and open an English Breakfasts bar called Sticky Fingers. I remember it fondly through nicotine-tinted glasses and thought it would be the perfect place to spend an afternoon. I remember reading that most of the path had been swept away in 2014 but thought that the National Trust must have sorted it by now, given they had Rear Admirals in their ranks.

I was right, but only sort of. I turned off the A69 just outside of Hexham after spending a good ten minutes shouting animatedly at the back of a caravan, who I can assure you was in absolutely no rush at all, thank you very much. When I eventually managed to overtake I snuck a glance at the driver and yep, easily 125 years old, driving with that eyes-on-the-road-fixed-lips-no-nonsense expression that they always have. I like to think he pulled over later and felt guilty about holding up the traffic, or, even better, drove into a tree in an explosion of MDF and travel kettle shrapnels. Either or.

The first problem arose when, after lulling me into a false sense of security with one bold road sign, the directions to Plankey Mill suddenly stopped, and I found myself hurtling along single-file tracks with only sheep nodding at me as company. After farting about for a good twenty minutes I decided, somewhat reasonably I might add, that it was unlikely that a river walk would take place at the very top of a hill, and so spun the car around and down an unmarked path. After half a mile or so of uncertainty, a tiny sign that I assume Emperor Hadrian put up as a side-project appeared and I knew I was on the right path. Sadly, there was someone else on my path, an Audi coming in my direction. Single file, remember.

Now, because this is going to make me sound like an arsehole, let me preface the next bit with a simple fact: she drove past TWO passing places and then up the hill AFTER she saw me. I had nowhere to pull over. Look, I’m no good with words, so I built you a CGI representation using only the top-end computer software. It took me hours:

explain

So there she was, in her spotless white Audi, nasty cheap sunglasses making her look like a bee, all but demanding I reverse my car back up the twisty turny hill. Well, no, that’s not happening. I stood my ground. So did she. Mexican stand-off style. Eventually she folded like a cheap suit and began the labourious process of reversing down the twists and turns, only she did such a piss-poor job of it she ended up in the muddy verge twice AND she had to go back to the first passing point she passed as in the time it had taken her to realise that an Audi doesn’t mean she’s Queen of the Road (my title), another car had pulled in behind her.

I make no apologies for it, I really don’t. I gave her a sickly little wave and a tinkly  ‘thanks EVER so much’ as I drove past her and she looked absolutely furious. You can imagine just how much distress that gave me. I carried down the track and eventually ended up where I remember we used to park way back when, in a little field by the river.

Only now – of course – the farmer had decided that he really ought to squeeze a few pennies from everyone and had put a gate on the road, only accessible by the payment of £2 into the honesty box. I know, it’s £2, but come on. This is what I hate about Britain – if there’s a chance to shake some money out of your pockets, by god people will find it. Already grumbling, I parked up amongst discarded disposable BBQs, empty bottles and other such nonsense. It was a mess and a bloody shame. Nevertheless, I decided to crack on and make the best of it, knowing that the beauty of the countryside would soon envelop me. I fair pranced over the wee bridge crossing the river (though I was surprised not to find the farmer at the other end asking me for £3 towards the wear and tear I’d placed on the steel cabling) and happened across another sign. Perhaps it would warn me of poisonous plants or a diversion or something else equally as arresting.

No, the bloody path was closed. The 2014 landslide had taken away a good chunk of the path and it just wasn’t safe. I did ponder as to whether they were planning on waiting for another flood to see if a replacement bridge would be washed down the river but the thought provided little comfort. The sign did helpfully point out that there was another path back over the river that would take me to roughly where I wanted to be – all I had to do was to follow the path marked in brown. Listen, I’ve been following ‘the brown path’ all my life, mate, and even the thought of an extra mile didn’t deter me.

The fucking cliffs did, though. Brown path my arse! I crossed the river, searched high and low for the start of the brown path (clearly marked it said – with what, a sheer rock face?) and could I buggery find it? There was no path. Of course not. Perhaps if I’d thought ahead to bring my crampons (in fact, I would need to have thought even further ahead than that, as I’d need to learn what a fucking crampon is first) I could have deftly made my way along like a morbidly obese Spiderman, but no. Hmm.

On the verge of giving up, I spotted one more public footpath heading in the opposite direction and made for it, only to find the very first field was full of cows. I hate cows. They trouble me. Yeah, they’re happy enough eating all day and shitting everywhere, but so is Paul, and I don’t have the risk of being turned into a lumpy paste on the floor by him. You can’t trust a cow, especially when they’re hot and skittish. Speaking of hot meat…


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I threw up my hands in a camp display of annoyance, stomped back to the car and sulked for five minutes. All I wanted to do was to walk: how rare to hear someone of my bulk say that. But no! Plus I’d wasted two fucking pound to park my car, read a sign and be disappointed from quite literally every direction. I spun the car round, made for the gate, waited for someone with a face like a charity shop handbag to fumble the catch and open the gate for me, and sped off.

Luckily, my day was saved a mere mile or two later, when I spotted the actual car park I should have parked in, Staward Gorge. Oops. Clearly I was too busy singing along to something shite on the radio as I had managed to drive past it twice on my way in. Bah! It was quiet, though, and after sticking my temporary Rear Admiral badge in the window, I left the car and headed up into the forest, and it was wonderful. Very hilly in places, yes, and my ankles were protesting almost as soon as I got out of the car, but I walked for an hour or so in one direction before returning to the car, only passing a couple of old folk and a committed hiker on the way.

Can I quickly mention those hikers who go out for a quick walk in the country and yet dress up like they’re trekking the Hindu Kush? I can understand a trekking pole if you’re a little unsteady, but I passed one guy who looked, from a distance, like he was being fucked from behind by a wardrobe clad in rustling, luminous polyester. That can’t be comfortable. I’d understand if he was walking Hadrian’s Wall or similar, but it’s a 5 mile loop and frankly, if I can shift my colossal bulk around it without too much bother in my work shoes and Tesco Finest work trousers, so can he. I was tempted to ask if he was selling pegs when he walked past but frankly, he had a crazy look in his eye and I didn’t want to be found two months on face-down in the bushes with a telescopic peg hammer wedged in my arse.

I do recommend the walk, though – I can’t tell you how much I love living in Northumberland. The place is awash with beautiful, hidden idylls like this. Yes, you’ll break a sweat, but the feeling of reaching the top, being brought back to life with a National Trust defibrillator and then taking in the views of the rolling fields, shaded forest and little swirling river below, well, nothing beats it. I made my way back, cheer restored. One thing to note: I decided to go for a piss before the drive back only to find a big warning sign on the door from the National Trust telling me ‘HONEY BEES ARE NESTING IN THE ROOF – PLEASE USE CAUTION’. Caution? Nevermind fucking caution, use fucking napalm!

I jest, I’m all for bees, my garden is full of bee-friendly flowers, but christ almighty, there’s a time and a place and it’s not when I’ve got my cock out, I can assure you. I did think about chancing it, reasoning that if the danger was that high they’d shut the loo – but when I creaked open the door and heard the very loud, very threatening buzzing, I minced right back to the car, the need to urinate completely gone. All down my leg. No, not quite, but goodness me – who needs that type of threat when they’re having a piss? They might as well have put ‘Shit carefully, folks, as we’ve rigged one of the toilet seats with plastic explosives and a depth charge’. I haven’t heard such terrifying buzzing since I lived with Mary and I accidentally turned on what I thought was her thermos flask but turned out to be her robocock. I’m surprised she didn’t chip her teeth, the dirty bitch.

I decided to cap the day off with a visit to Brockbrushes (our local pick your own fruit affair), but after parking up and negotiating – in turn – the sausage shop, the ice-cream parlour, the garden furniture stand, the farm shop, the coffee shop, the herb garden, the bouncy castle, the second bouncy castle, the cheese stand and then finally, FINALLY, the bloody place where you get the baskets to go pick your own, I was told that they had no fruit. No raspberries to pick, no blackcurrants, no redcurrants, no nothing. Strawberries were ‘very limited’, apparently. I did ask the guy behind the counter if there was anything I could pick in the hope he’d at least have a sense of humour and suggest ‘your arse’ (like I would have) but he just shook his head grimly. This annoys me – picking your own fruit is literally the point of a pick-your-own-fruit farm. If they have no fruit, fair enough, but then put a bloody sign up on your fancy smiling strawberry sign by the side of the A1. Don’t waste my time. I took a huff and walked back to the car, stopping only to admire some farm-made cheese before realising I only have £270 in my wallet and thus, couldn’t afford it. I came home.

Now, that probably all sounds like I had a rotten day, but listen, I thrive on any excuse to have a moan and a whinge. I’m never happier then I am when I have something to kvetch silently to myself about. It’s just a shame for you guys that this is my outlet for it and you’re treated to 2000 words on what amounts to me driving to a river, walking a couple of miles and not buying strawberries. But you love it, you know you do.

What you’re going to definitely love, though, is this recipe. See, McDonalds isn’t great food, but it fills a hole and we bloody love their chicken wraps. But oh no: they’re between 17 to 25 syns or so each. Not worth that much. So we decided to make our own. Here follows the recipe! This makes enough for four wraps.

mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps

to make mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps, you’ll need:

  • 2 chicken breasts (which easily makes enough for four wraps, so if there’s only two of you, you only need one) (especially if you’re using a chicken breast from our Musclefood deal – click here – because you could beat someone to death with one of these)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 30g panko (6 syns) mixed with black pepper
  • 125g fat – free natural yoghurt (fat-free, watch your syns)
  • lettuce
  • cucumber
  • four wraps – one BFree wrap is currently a HEB, but do check

Panko is a dried breadcrumb which is super crunchy and tasty. Buy it in big supermarkets or on Amazon by clicking here. If you can’t find it, whiz up a breadbun, but remember to syn it – though even then it’ll only be 1.5 syn per person if you use one breadbun for all the chicken.

to make mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps, you should:

  • cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make four thin breasts
  • dip each chicken breast into the beaten egg, shake off the excess and then dip in the panko
  • spray with a little spray oil and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes – you’ll get nice crunchy chicken
  • cut each chicken breast into three strips
  • heat the wrap for a moment or two in a dry frying pan
  • assemble the wrap by laying out the lettuce and cucumber, and then place the three strips of chicken on top
  • add a good dollop of whichever sauce from below tickles your fancy
  • fold the wrap up from the bottom, and then tuck in from the sides

Now, here are the four variants to help sex up your mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps:

  • to make a garlic mayo wrap: mix together 1 tsp garlic powder and 2 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise (Morrisons NuMe mayonnaise is just 1 syn per tablespoon!)
  • to make a sweet chilli wrap: making your own sweet chilli sauce is a clart on – pick up a supermarket one, which is roughly 1½ syns per tablespoon)
  • to make a BBQ bacon and chicken wrap: grill two bacon medallions (they’re in our MF box!) and make up the sauce from this recipe or use supermarket BBQ sauce for about a syn per tablespoon
  • to make the hot peri peri chicken one: mix together 125g fat free natural yoghurt, 1 tsp dried garlic, 1 tbsp sriracha (½ syn per tablespoon) and ½ tsp salt

We nicked the sleeves from the chicken wraps we had to buy from McDonalds to do the comparison with. I know, it’s a hard life. If you’re struggling to fold your flaps in, and I understand that’s a problem that comes with age, buy one of these wee things – it’ll hold your wrap!

Eee yes, we do spoil you. If you enjoyed our ‘taking a naughty meal and making a low syn version’ why not have a look at our KFC chicken zinger tower burger? If that doesn’t give you a wide-on, nothing will!

Looking for more fakeaway or chicken ideas? Click the buttons below…

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Mwah!

J

blackened chicken caesar salad

Blackened chicken caesar salad? Yes, that’s right. And, for once, when I say it’s going to be a quickpost, it really is – no guff, no messing about! Your dear writer is unwell! Bah.

This makes enough for four, especially if you add some extras like tomatoes and cucumber. Just customise it however you want, I’m not arsed.

blackened chicken caesar salad

to make blackened chicken caesar salad you will need:

for the rub

  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp salt

for the dressing

  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp Morrison’s NuMe Reduced Fat mayonnaise (3 syns) (feel free to use other mayo, but check the syns)
  • 2 anchovy fillets, mashed (leave out if you’re not a fan, but, take it as someone who doesn’t like fish, it doesn’t taste fishy!)
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (½ syn)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan (2½ syns)

to make blackened chicken caesar salad you should:

  • cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise (butterfly) so you’re left with a total of 4 halves and put into a sandwich bag
  • pour in the fat free vinaigrette and leave to marinade whilst you make the rest
  • if you’ve got an actifry, throw in the bread cubes with a little bit of oil and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, or until they resemble croutons. If you haven’t got an actifry, spray the bread with oil and bake in the oven at 190°c for about 12 minutes
  • in a shallow bowl, mix together all of the rub ingredients and set aside
  • in another bowl, add together the dressing ingredients and whisk until creamy. put in the fridge until you need it
  • pat the chicken breasts dry with some kitchen roll and coat with the rub mix – don’t be shy, get it right in there
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and brush with oil
  • add the chicken breasts and cook each side for about 5 minutes each side, or until cooked through
  • serve with the lettuce, croutons and dressing

Done! Now, if you’re after some more chicken recipes, you’d do well to click the button below!

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J