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!

franks-red-hot-sauce

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

stuffed ‘n’ rolled crunchy chicken

Here for the stuffed ‘n’ rolled crunchy chicken and don’t want any of my nonsense ruining it? I know right? Well tough titty. If it’s any consolation, I don’t have a lot to say so I’m not going to keep you long, but I do want to fill you in on something exciting.

We have decided we are going to have a new theme on the blog next year: holidays. We love going away, but saving money means that we’re being sensible and not going away. Which is a shame, but we did have six holidays in ten months so really, restrain yourselves. I don’t want to end up with one of those vagina necks from being in the sun too much anyway. So, despite me being one literal click from booking Las Vegas for a December break just yesterday because I was bored at home, we’re being good.

However, next year, we’re doing ten holidays – to celebrate our ten years together (aw). Now, we’re not Rockafella, so these holidays aren’t going to be super glitzy and glam – the idea is that we have ten two-to-four day breaks away over the year, with a set budget for each one. Any money we don’t spend on one holiday can be rolled onto the next, do you see? I get a lot of comments from folks that our travelogues are hilarious, so hopefully this means even more of those. We’re trying to do different types of holiday too – so expect to see us in (possibly!) a proper roughing it camping style holiday, Amsterdam (good grief), possibly somewhere awful like Benidorm, a city break, a coach tour…we’re still mapping it all out – but it’s going to be fun!

I know what you’re thinking – set up a Paypal account and you lot will pay for us to travel the world. It’s tempting, but I’m just not that mercenary. But do us a favour, buy some bloody meat once and a while, if only to pay for the extra fat-seat that Paul needs on the plane. It’s called the cargo deck.

Speaking of meat…

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Right, let’s get to the chicken!

stuffed 'n' rolled crunchy chicken

to make stuffed ‘n’ rolled crunchy chicken, you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 8 tbsp quark
  • 50g panko (10 syns)
  • 1½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • pinch of basil
  • pinch of oregano

Can’t get panko? No need to shit the bed, just whizz up a wholemeal breadbun into crumbs. THINK OF THE SYNS SAVING.

to make stuffed ‘n’ rolled crunchy chicken, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200ºc and line a baking tray with tinfoil
  • in a bowl, mix together the panko, breadcrumbs, paprika, celery salt, black pepper, garlic salt, garlic owder, onion powder, basil and oregano – mix it well as some of the ingredients have a tendency to settle at the bottom of the bowl
  • cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise (like you’re opening out a book) so you’re left with 8 thin breasts – lay them out flat
  • dollop a tablespoon of quark onto the middle of each breast and roll up from one end – don’t worry if it isn’t neat or it oozes out – it won’t matter – and secure with a toothpick
  • drop each roll into the bowl mixture and sprinkle over the panko mix to get an even coating – it should stick quite easily but if it doesn’t just spray with bit of frylight
  • place each roll onto the baking tray and bake for 25 minutes
  • when done, gently pull out the toothpicks before serving

We served this with salsa – Doritos Hot Salsa is 1/2 syn for two tablespoons and you know what, life is too short to be chopping up a bloody salsa.

If you’re looking for more chicken recipes, click on the button below and drool on the carpet with wonder. From your top lips or otherwise.

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Cheers!

J

slimming world bbq: chimichurri turkey skewers and an amazing loaded potato salad

Here for the next installment of our Slimming World BBQ series? Well don’t worry, we’ll get to it. But first, indulge me a little time to ramble on…

Today has been a day of getting shit done. I know, a profanity right off the bat, but there’s a good reason for that – I’ve noticed another telling off comment on one of my articles. Please understand: this is a coarse blog about the gay-to-gay lifestyle of two fat blokes with no airs nor graces. There will be swearing. There will be frank and numerous references to sex and knobs and bumholes and slutmanship because well, you write about what you know. There’s a reason this blog isn’t called james’n’paul’n’catz and decorated wth frou-frou hearts and whimsical tales of picnics and cricket and buying peppers in a market. It’s just not us. We’re both about as classy as two seagulls fighting over a discarded packet of chips in somewhere like…oooh, Chelmsford, and we’re quite happy with that. Most of the time I’ll let the little digs wash over me with good grace and a little fart but today I thought I’d reply because, as I said, we’re getting shit done:

slimming world bbq

Oh I’m a stinker, aren’t I? To be fair, I don’t actually think I swear that much anyway. I certainly don’t use the C-word on here because it’s not worth the terse phone call from my mother telling me off for using that word on the Internet. I know, it’s warm under the thumb, but hey, you don’t upset the Keeper of the Inheritance. Though for the record, that works both ways, as Keeper of the Care Home Decision…

So what have we managed to get done today? Well, I pressure washed everything we owned that was looking a little bit grubby: outdoor furniture, fence panels, the blood stains on the front of my car, the hair and scalp in the tyre-wells, the paving slabs and the gate. There’s something amazingly satisfying about watching a tiny jet of water blast away years of accumulated dirt and filth. If I didn’t think it would tear straight through his small intestine I’d have a crack at blasting Paul’s out-pipe. It’d be like pressure-washing a hot Malteser. It goes without saying that I blasted several choice swearwords into the path but Paul made me remove them – apparently it doesn’t do for folks who visit to be greeted by an increasingly-vile set of phrases culminating in mingetacular. Pffft.

When I was putting away the pressure washer into the let’s-tell-Paul-I’ll-use-it-all-the-time-but-then-never-use-it-again pile in our shed, I realised that one of our cats had disappeared under the various detritus on the shed floor and was mewing pitifully. After digging through and locating her and putting her outside the shed (to which point she immediately came back in through the cat-flap to get lost again) (I was all, alright love, you’re not on fucking Fun House here, I haven’t just tagged you back in), I realised it was time to clear out the shed. I know, this is truly riveting reading, but please, bear with me. See, I’ve mentioned before that we turned our giant outdoor shed into a Cat Hotel / stockpile room (hence the cat-flap on a shed, see – it gives them somewhere to go when it’s raining and they can sleep on the cat tree in there). Recently the shed has become a depository for remnants of abandoned hobbies (GPS units from geocaching, walking boots, an unused tent, lightshade made of human skin), stuff from the kitchen which we’re keeping in case we need it (Nutribullet box, ice-cream maker, pickled knees) and well, all sort of other shite. It was chaos, but after two hours and several trips to the tip (mainly because Paul insisted on taking his Smart car rather than my car, limiting us to taking two Rizla papers and a discarded screw at a time), we could see the carpet again.

Yeah, carpet, we can’t have the cats getting cold feet.

As an aside, the men at our nearest tip are a delight, and I’m not just saying that because they wear those fancy hi-vis boiler-suits and I want to be roughly groped behind the oil-disposal drums (though it would be fitting). It’s rare to find folks who seem happy in their job and who are keen to help, pointing us in the direction of the appropriate skip and masking their disapproval of the fact we couldn’t be arsed to separate our garden waste from our general waste. I know, we deserve to be bricked up in a tomb somewhere for killing the Earth, but honestly, Paul’s arse does more damage to the environment and I don’t run the risk of pricking my fingers when I handle that. It’s a far cry from the roughly-hewn grunters at our previous Newcastle tip. I honestly thought I was going to have my face slashed with a shard of a broken Pyrex dish for having the temerity to ask which bin to put hedge clippings in. I mean, I apologised for interrupting their blistering chatter about which bird (sorry: boord) they’d fuck out of the Daily Sport. Pfft.

After clearing the shelves and vacuuming about half a tonne of dried rosemary out of the carpet (hang it in the shed he said…we’ll use it all the time he said…) we had a clear shed and a clear mind. This meant only one thing: time to restock. See, Slimming World and life in general can be expensive but if you buy the staples you use in bulk, you’ll save cold hard cash, and that’s good for everyone, not least because it means you can buy a few more raffle tickets in class and keep Queen Mags in Cheeky Vimtos and Cutter’s Choice. We buy food like beans, chopped tomatoes, passata, pasta and rice in massive bags and store it in the shed, meaning if we’re ever stuck we can throw something together in the blink of an eye. Off we went to B&Ms to replenish.

Now listen, I know B&Ms is like Mecca to some folk, but I just can’t bear it. It’s full of people who dawdle and who hold up a jar of Nescafe in one hand and a jar of Blue Mountain in the other, looking dead behind the eyes whilst their spittle pools around their feet. The aisles are littered with ladies who look like they could punch an articulated lorry to death. It’s awash with screaming children and bright lights and too many not-quite products to bear. We filled our trolley with dishwasher tablets, coal tar soap and oops-sorry-Mags a box of Lucky Charms and hurtled through the checkout. The charming lass behind the counter carried on a conversation with her co-worker the entire time and spoke only to spit the price out at us. Never again. I never learn, I always think ‘let’s save some money’ but then I end up stuck in an aisle with mirrors with the Playboy logo on them whilst Paul holds himself up crying next to the locked display of perfumes featuring classics such as I’ve Just Come by Mark Wright or Gonorrhoea by someone who came second in I’m a Celebrity in 2009.

Celebrity scents confuse me at the best of times – I’ve never in my entire life looked at someone famous and thought by Christ I wish I smelled like them – but even more so when it’s a non-entity from a reality show on ITV Be (Thankful You Can Turn It Over, presumably). I imagine that smells like pure shame.

The good news is the shed is all stocked up. The bad news, if you’re a picker at the Tesco in Kingston Park, I’ve just put an order in for 96 bottles of various mixers to fill up our mixer shelves. If you want, crack open a bottle of the diet ginger ale because that belongs to Paul and I know he’ll spare it. Touch my tonic with a hint of cucumber and I’ll turn your delivery truck over. Obviously I’m kidding, but seriously now. Paul did suggest we go and pick up the drinks ourselves but frankly, if we took his car, we’d only have enough for one of those tiny tins of Coke you used to steal buy from Woolworths. The jokes about his Smart car will never, ever end, you realise. Even he’s accepted that, answering me with a chuckle that says ‘oh my’ and eyes that say ‘fuck you’. Ah well.

The other thing I managed to get done today was to finally open and put to use the copy of Adobe Illustrator that I’ve been paying £30 a month for since January, when I downloaded it in order to design a new front cover for our book. Did I mention we have a book? We do! Yes, click here to have a read. If you’ve read it, leave a review and buy ten copies of your friends. The reason for my dip into Illustrator was to design a little advert I could put into these blog entries to sell our Musclefood boxes – it gets difficult trying to shoehorn in reference to meat, especially when the topics are stuff like online bullying or my nana dying. Some might call me tactless but at least I didn’t put a sponsored ad in the funeral readings. So, you might see something like this on a post, but I’ll keep them discreet and not hammer home the advertising:

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By the way, that’s an absolutely stonking deal – it’s what is fuelling our current BBQ week and the meat is delicious. We do also have three other deals and you can view them by clicking on our special, updated Musclefood page – even if you’re not wanting the meat, pass it to a friend by sending them a link. Cheers, big-ears.

I really have ummed and aahed about adding adverts – I bet you’ve hardly noticed our current level of advertising because we only have one on a page as a rule, and they’re tiny. Advertising is what keeps the blog going so we do have to have it, but I’m loathe to become one of those blogs where you get ten ads on a page, a newsletter sign-up shaking away at you every few minutes and constant plugging of various products that you know the owner is only saying because they’re getting paid to do so. Everything we recommend is something that we genuinely use, I promise. We do try and strike a balance of user friendliness vs advertising and I reckon – based on feedback I’ve requested in our group – we’ve got it right. Please do tell us if that isn’t the case! We want you to come here for either:

  • the delicious food;
  • the attempts at funny chatter; or
  • the hope of seeing my genitals in a blurred reflection of a polished curry bowl.

We’ll take whatever we can!

Right, right, goodness me, we have to do the recipes, don’t we? Sometimes when I sit down I can think of nothing to type and other times, nothing will have happened but I’ll still be able to spin 1800 words out of it. If you’re not a fan of my verbosity, you can always scroll straight to the recipes. If you are a fan, do me a favour and recommend us in your slimming groups or to mates. Build us and watch us flower.

Tonight we have three recipes – one for marinated turkey chimichurri skewers, another for a genuinely delicious loaded potato salad that tastes like it would be full of syns and nastiness but is actually low in syns and keeps well for lunches the next day, and oh, a seabreeze. We’re really getting into the cocktails thing. I know, just when you thought we couldn’t get any gayer. Ah well. To the food…

slimming world bbq

to make slimming world bbq: turkey chimichurri skewers, you’ll need:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced finely (hey guess what, I’m not going to recommend…ah fuck it, you know I am: here, use this!)
  • a big handful of parsley and a big handful of coriander

Listen, it’s always better to use fresh herbs. Buy a plant from the supermarket, stick it in water on your windowsill and it’ll grow all summer. But if you’re pushed for time, use dried

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • a pack of diced turkey – and what do you know, our Musclefood deal has the perfect pack in it – click here for that – you could also use a couple of diced up chicken breasts from the same box, we won’t tell
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper

Normally proper chimichurri is made with oil – so if you want to be a decadent bitch, get rid of the water and use four tablespoons of oil (24 syns) – this makes enough for eight skewers so that’s still only 6 syns per serving, assuming you have two skewers. If you use the above recipe, it’ll be 1.5 syns for two skewers.

to make slimming world bbq: turkey chimichurri skewers, you should:

  • dice the turkey or chicken if not already done
  • blend in a food processor all the other ingredients – taste with your fingers – you want to get it to a runny paste with some herbs left intact, not a perfectly blended mush
  • tip the turkey/chicken into a food bag and top with the chimichurri – really moosh it in with your fingers to get it pushed into the meat
  • leave for as long as you see fit, but, just like a lot of things, the longer the better
  • actually, that’s a lie, girth is more important, apologies if you’re a guy with a knob like one of those novelty giant pencils you buy in Scottish gift shops, but it’s true
  • when you’re ready to cook and the BBQ is up to temperature, thread the meat onto soaked wooden skewers or, better, metal skewers, together with whatever vegetables you have lying around in the house and place onto the grill
  • turn these a couple of times and for god’s sake, like everything else, make sure it’s all cooked before you eat it

You can also see in the picture there the hickory BBQ steaks and the drumsticks from our Musclefood deal. Just saying. They were delicious.

OK, now the potato salad. This was genuinely amazing, and well worth making! You can gussy it up however you want. This makes enough for four, though it was all Paul could do to stop me mashing my face into the bowl and eating the lot.

slimming world bbq

to make amazing loaded potato salad, you’ll need:

  • 1kg baby potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt, for the boiling water
  • 350g bacon medallions
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of darlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard (1½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp Morrison’s NuMe Reduced Fat Mayonnaise (2 syns) – or use any alternative reduced fat mayonnaise but check the syn values as they vary
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (obvs)
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach

to make amazing loaded potato salad, you should:

  • boil a big pan of water and throw in the potatoes, whole and with the skins on – cook until they’re done and they fall off when stabbed with a fork (about 15 minutes or so)
  • when done, drain and then rinse the potatoes under cold water to stop them from cooking. drain again and set aside
  • cook the bacon in a frying pan on a medium-high heat until crispy, then remove from the pan and onto a plate to cool
  • in the same pan add the chopped onion and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally
  • then, add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, then remove the pan from the heat
  • in a small bowl whisk together the red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper
  • cut the potatoes into chunks – either halves or quarters, depending how you like them and place into a large bowl
  • crumble the bacon into small pieces and add to the potatoes, along with the onion and garlic
  • then add the sweetcorn, spinach and mustard sauce and mix well to combine
  • serve!

Perfect, right? Now let’s end with a cocktail. We’re keeping it easy with these cocktails, nice and strong with the idea that you’re not going to down it in one. Frankly, if you’re that type of lady, we both know your BBQ is going to end with you with your knickers off face-down in the neighbours’ leylandii, you shameless hussy.

slimming world bbq

to make a slimming world bbq: seabreeze, you’ll need:

  • a chilled glass
  • 35ml of reasonable vodka – we used Absolut Grapevine, but that’s because we’re extravagant  (4 syns)
  • 50ml of cranberry juice (1.5 syns ish)
  • lots of ice
  • 50ml of grapefruit juice (1 syn)
  • slice of lime

to make a slimming world bbq: seabreeze, you should:

  • lots of ice in the glass
  • vodka in the bottom
  • then cranberry juice
  • then grapefruit juice
  • decorate with a lime

Drink lots and be merry, folks.

J

chicken and pea lasagne

Chicken and pea lasagne? Yes! Just scroll down if you don’t want to hear all my prattle.

Before we start: some good news. I’ve had a weird thing happening with my neck for ages where if I look to the right, there’s a click noise and a lot of pain. Very frustrating. But the good news: I was sniffing a flower and the pollen made me sneeze so hard that I’ve fixed whatever what was wrong with my neck. I’ve sneezed myself better! Let’s celebrate by being nice. No…

I’ve discovered a new past-time. Admittedly it’s one that shows off my mean, vexing side, but I don’t care. I <3 looking through and commenting on the Facebook ‘buy and sell’ groups in our local area. Honestly, the tat people try and sell is just beyond me. Plus, you get the bonus of looking at pictures of people’s houses and getting to suck air over my teeth at the state of the wallpaper or the “canvas art” littering every room. If I see another KEEP CALM AND DRINK PROSECCO poster I’m going to find a way to reach through the atoms on my iPad screen and torch their house.

As an aside, Paul used to know someone who drank from a cup that said ‘KEEP CALM AND GO MENTAL’ on the side. I rather think it remains to his credit that he didn’t smash it over her head.

I recently got into a spat with some orange harridan with a face like a rushed omelette who accused me of being a bald fat fuck because I accused her ‘100% NOT FAKE’ Calvin Klein dress as being fake. First of all, you can’t insult me by calling me a bald fat fuck because, if you remove the spaces from that and add slut, that’s my Grindr name, and secondly, I don’t think Calvin’s knocking out dresses under the name Calvan Kline. Calvan Kline sounds like a ski village in Norway, for one thing. Anyway, spluttering ill-conceived and predominately vowel-less insults at me has no effect. It rolls off me like gravy off a fat duck’s back.

Just an aside, I’m not always mean. I’ve bitten my tongue all weekend after seeing a PicCollage (it’s always a fucking PicCollage) recipe for ‘Hawiian BBQ chicken’. Hawiian? That’s how a Geordie mother calls her children in off the street.

Now, a lovely bit of news. You may remember from previous posts that we are part of something called the Reddit Gift Exchange? In short, you pick one of the monthly themes (for example, The Simpsons, or The 90s) and you’re matched with a complete stranger from somewhere else in the UK. You then buy this person a gift pertaining to the theme and send it to them. It’s a giant Secret Santa. You’re guaranteed a present in return from someone else and it’s all very jolly-hockey-sticks and amazing. We love it. In the twelve months we have been doing it we’ve had some genuinely brilliant gifts – homemade cookbooks, a massive box of ‘tourist’ paraphernalia from Scarborough, posters and gaming kit and plenty of others too numerous and marvellous to mention. I do love a Secret Santa, although I did once get my ex-boss a duck for her bath without realising it was a vibrator. That caused much embarrassment, especially when she tried it out in the office no-she-didn’t-don’t-worry. We didn’t have a bath!

So the theme this month was favourite decade and for both Paul and I this was definitely the 90s. It had it all – great TV in the shape of The Crystal Maze, 999 and dinnerladies, superb music (aside from Eiffel 65, fuck those guys) and proper morning-piss yellow Sunny Delight. Though for the record, remember we didn’t have much money and so branded radioactive drinks were out – the best we had was a bottle of Overcast Ennui in our lunchbox. What a time to be alive.

Anyway, our Secret Santa totally knocked it out of the park with their selection of 90s goods – just look at what we received!

bodacious-90s-gifts-1468606962-32659247819

Quite hard to see from Paul’s tiny photo which, in the spirit of the 90s, he seemingly took with a Game Boy camera, but there’s three CDs which I used to own and absolutely fucking love (especially the one on the right), a packet of Nintendo Playing Cards, two Tamagotchis, some Hot-Wheels and a proper little watch. There was also a lovely card. But good lord, what a perfect selection of 90s goodness – I had such a rush of nostalgia that my pubes disappeared and my voice unbroke. I know that’s not a word, squiggly-red-line, but it makes sense in this sentence.

I was always very lucky in that I didn’t go through the whole protracted stage of my voice breaking – I went to bed one night with a voice like Joe Pasquale and a scrotum like a tangerine, woke up the next morning sounding like Isaac Hayes and had a ballsack like a Bassett Hound’s ear. Perhaps it didn’t go quite as deep as Isaac but certainly I avoided all the squeaking and dropping that so many teenage lads seem to experience.

It was the Pogs that really sent us both whooshing back into memory land though. I absolutely loved them. God knows why, it’s just some natty coloured cardboard discs, but something about the simplicity really won me over. Paul and I tried to have a quick game only to send them tumbling all over the kitchen floor so god knows what has happened since, but back in the day, I was the King of Pogs. Well, perhaps the Queen of Pogs. I had the full set, a fluorescent green Pog holder and a slammer which was really just a massive, heavy-duty washer that my dad brought home from work. The Pogs epidemic swept through our school like the norovirus, with fights and scuffles leading to the outright ban of Pog battles in the playground. Didn’t stop us – we used to just play out of the sight of teachers. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe the amount of lads I beat off behind the sheds when no-one was looking. Some things never change, eh.

I reckon Pogs was also the first flirtation with crime for both me and my sister. We had been dragged along to a car-boot sale somewhere inexplicable and indoors and were bored shitless. Parents, don’t take your kids to car boot sales. They’re full of things other people don’t need or want and anything interesting a kid finds is always met with a ‘WE DON’T NEED THAT’ from the parents. Oh, but we do need a VHS of Beverley Callard’s Fitness First and a giant glass ashtray, apparently.

We had spotted a Pog stand full of slammers that looked like something out of Saw and not-quite-Pogs that were possibly printed at home. Didn’t matter. All about volume in those days, see. Anyway, I distracted the lady behind the decorating table by commenting on how fine her moustache was or something whilst my sister proceeded to fill her trousers with Pogs, all held in by virtue of her Adidas Poppers had been tucked into her socks. Genius right? We were like the Krays of South Northumberland.

Don’t judge us too keenly, we were young and bored. Karma got us back anyway because the Pogs were of such bad quality that the ink ran and they were ruined by the heat of a rustling shellsuit. I’m sure my sister probably has a faint imprint of a Tazmanian Devil somewhere on her ankle even now.

Mind, as an aside, Pogs were nothing compared to the thrill of completing a Panini Premiership sticker book. Seeing Alan Shearer’s smug, insufferable face sliding out of the packet on a shiny backing meant being King of All Things, if only for a day. Nevermind the arguments that Pogs caused, I’ve seen fights that looked like when The Bride battles the Crazy 88 in Kill Bill 1 over a four inch by two inch sticker of Tino Asprilla. No amount of trading Paul-Furlong-for-Kevin-Pressman-and-the-Nottingham-Forest-logo is worth having your first adult tooth kicked clean out of your mouth for.

Dangerous times indeed!

Speaking of teeth, you’ll need them to chew the next recipe. I know right, a flawless segue. Now listen, I can’t claim any credit for the idea of this recipe, I found it on another site (Every Nook and Cranny) and thought it looked delicious. Naturally, ours came out looking like someone had driven a car over it before serving, but hell, who cares. It tasted fine and I’ve adapted it for Slimming World. So let’s do this.

chicken and pea lasagne chicken and pea lasagne

to make chicken and pea lasagne you will need:

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (three if you’re using supermarket ones) OR 500g chicken mince

Here’s the thing. Chicken breasts from our big Musclefood deal – you only need two because they’re so large and don’t shrivel away to nowt like the supermarket ones do. Click here to have a look – it’s definitely a good deal!

  • 2 leeks, finely sliced (save your fingers and time by using a mandolin slicer, not least because they’ll be uniform and so skinny it’ll make the other vegetables jealous) (also that’s the cheapest I’ve ever seen this slicer)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (use a mincer – garlic powder is fine, but a mincer makes short work of this and takes no time at all – buy one here and I promise you you’ll never look back)
  • 8 to 12 lasagne sheets (it depends on what size dish you use, see, I’m not just being awkward) (totally am)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 3 tbsp passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 200g peas
  • 250g quark
  • 30g grated parmesan (HeA)
  • 70g reduced fat mozzarella ball (HeA)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (because I’m an ostentatious sod, I’m using ones grown in our greenhouse – next year raise a tomato plant and you’ll be amazed by the difference in flavour – because home-grown tomatoes actually taste of something, see)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • worcestershire sauce

If you can’t get chicken mince and don’t have a food processor to make your own, don’t panic – use turkey mince instead. Perfectly acceptable swap and very easy to buy in supermarkets. Chicken is tastier, though.

to make chicken and pea lasagne you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • if you’re using chicken breasts you will need to mince it – if you don’t have a fancy mincer (who does?!) then you can use a food processor with a grating blade, or use a cheese grater. Either way it’s a clart on so use chicken/turkey mince when you can!

Because we’re super fancy, we have one of these wonderful Magimix mixers. We threw the chicken breasts in there, pulsed them for a few seconds and that was that. If you cook a lot and have some spare moolah, I can genuinely and heartily recommend it. If you’re someone whose refrain to anything is ‘I CAN GET IT CHEAPER IN ALDI’, perhaps don’t even look.

  • heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add some squirty olive oil, but not Frylight. Never Frylight, it scares me.
  • add the leeks, reduce the heat to low and cook until they soften, which will take about ten minutes
  • when the leeks are soft, add the garlic, stir, and then add the chicken
  • raise the heat to medium and stir well and cook until the chicken is no longer pink, because you don’t want to be revisiting the lasagne thirty minutes after eating as it thunders out of your arse
  • add the oregano and sage, stir, and then add the chopped tomatoes, passata and tomato puree with 60ml of water
  • stir the peas into the pan and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the sauce has reduced. If it looks too thick add more water
  • add salt, pepper and worcestershire to season however you like it
  • in a small saucepan add the quark and parmesan and heat over a low heat until it softens, then remove from the heat as soon as the mixture is well combined, adding salt and pepper if you like – I like a really peppery sauce so I always shoot for the moon at this point
  • in a deep dish assemble the lasagne however you like
  • spoon a third of the chicken mixture into the bottom of the dish, followed by a third of the cheese sauce and a layer of lasagne sheets. repeat for two more layers – if you don’t have enough, just do two layers – it’s all going to get turned into poo, it doesn’t matter how well you put it all together
  • top with torn chunks of mozzarella and pop on the cherry tomatoes
  • bake for 35 minutes or until everything looks delicious and the top looks like a burnt knee
  • serve with a side salad of speed food, or, do as I do, give a portion to your other half and then secretly eat all the crusty cheesy topping under the guise of going back to the kitchen for a drink
  • it’s no wonder my thighs smell of bacon, is it

See? Nice and summery and a bit lighter than your traditional hefty lasagne. You can adapt this recipe however you want. I got scolded last time for using two HEAs in my recipe on the basis that one person is only allowed one healthy extra. This is true. But, this also serves four folks easily and six people at a pinch, and frankly, if you’re eating enough lasagne in one sitting to feed six people, you’ve got more to worry about than an extra 30g of cheese.

We’ve made three other lasagne recipes, why not take a look?

If you’re looking for more pasta ideas or chicken recipes, click on the buttons below and be whisked away to a land of recipes and whimsy.

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Cheers!

J