grilled chicken tikka wraps – great for lunch

Yes, grilled chicken tikka wraps – great for lunch indeed, or rather, great for saying you’ll make a few extra for lunch only for you to eat them all over the course of the evening and then spending your time sobbing down a Pringles tube and lamenting your obesity. No? Just me then. Scroll down if you’re just here for the food!

Hey, we’re back. Like that super gonorrhoea going around, we’re back and here to stay. Never before has the prefix super been attached to something less worthy. Super gonorrhoea comes across as the worst comic book hero ever. Spiderman can shoot webs, Batman gets a voice like Madge Bishop gargling gravel, what would Super Gonorrhoea’s ability be? You can’t save the world with a burning pain when urinating and cottage cheese in your knickers.

WHAT AN OPENING PARAGRAPH – please, companies wanting to do sponsored posts, get in touch.

Where have we been, anyway? Well Paul has been busy nurturing his big fat belly and dashing here, there and everywhere with work – well, as much as a morbidly obese man with ankles made from wet sponge cake can dash. No, it’s been me who has been missing in action as, for the first time in about ten years, I’ve had to put my head down for reasons not connection to playing a tune on the pink-skin trumpet. I’ve had to revise. For a proper exam, not just a ‘omg which Spice Girl are you’ quiz in my sister’s More magazine.

Turns out that I really, really struggle to revise. I forced myself, but by god was it difficult. I’m too easily distracted – just look at my writing style on here and you’ll see how my brain works, floating from one abstract nonsense to another. You know those type of people who can spend hours sitting at their desk writing studious wee notes and highlighting everything primly in a smart set of colours? Yeah, that’s not me.

I tried recording myself speaking my notes aloud and asking myself questions, giving time for real-time James to answer back, but it all got super weird. Driving into work having a conversation with yourself like the world’s most boring interview is awful. The last person I want to argue with about licence documentation is myself. Especially when I sound so ridiculously posh on recordings (I’m not posh in the slightest, I just have a nice voice).

Things came to a head anyway when the MP3s of me asking myself questions imported across into Spotify and then appeared in my most recent songs playlist. Nothing concerning there until you’re halfway through a good session of testing out the emergency exit with Paul only to have SONOS to start playing ‘2.3: the benefits of international registration’ at full volume. Paul, with his hearing muffled by being face down in a pillow, probably thought I’d invited Nigel Havers around for a threesome.

I deleted my MP3s after that, it just felt tainted.

No, instead, I spent the last two weeks ignoring the little flashcards I’d typed up and instead holed myself up in one of the conference rooms at work, frantically scribbling on the wall of whiteboards there like I was Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. I took a gamble that the exam would be based on the stuff in the many, many Powerpoints we’d been given rather than the notes we’d been given and so, it was simply a case of memorising every last word of the slides and checking the notes for comprehension. I’ve found that I work best by creating mnemomics and I was especially proud of creating MINGEGAS for a set of legal terms and GRINCHBLOW for another. I had to rewrite the order of a set of countries though: BRA(zil)N(igeria)CH(ina) is fair enough, but writing CH(ina) IN(dia) K(enya) felt far less appropriate.

I spent the night before holed up in a very swanky hotel in London frantically revising and even more frantically trying to scrub clean the white sheets on my bed which I’d managed to slew a bottle of black ink across. I ordered pho via Deliveroo, not least because I wanted to try tofu and it came up as an option, and it was disgusting. I’ve never scraped something into a bin with such venom. The hotel itself was fine save for the fact they’d wedged the toilet inbetween the side of the shower cubicle and the sink, creating the slightly awkward issue of barely being able to fit in the gap to have a plop. And, without being gross, exam anxiety always makes me more regular than normal.

I always get major exam anxiety – not so much about not knowing anything, but rather, I’m always frightened I’m going to make a tit of myself somehow. I remember in my first GCSE English exam chewing the end of my pencil (not a euphemism) and biting off the little metal ferrule that holds the rubber in place, causing an almighty coughing fit, which ended only when one of the invigilators took a break from playing with her testicles and slapped me on the back. The rest of the exam was spent trying to suppress the tickly cough caused by my poor savaged throat. But hey, at Least it didd’unt affect my Engerlish skillz, babes. ROFL.

Since then I spend more time fretting about having a fit (coughing, sneezing or shitting) that I end up lugging around a box of tissues, a Sinex inhaler, two bottles of water and 24 blackcurrant Strepsils to numb my throat in case of emergency. It’s the same bag I take when Paul and I go for our midnight drive around the lorry park, weirdly enough. I spent more time getting my exam accoutrements out of my murse than I do actually writing the answers.

So, on the day of the exam, I turned up to the venue two hours early, panicking as I was that we were warned this was a one-shot only exam and if we were late, that was it, goodnight nurse. I took myself down to the little restaurant downstairs and thankfully realised that I wasn’t the only one who had arrived before the exam papers. I took a seat amongst the sea of ashen faces and got out my file. I had a minor panic when it turned out that everyone else at the table had reams upon reams of notes and I just had my wee Powerpoints to glance through, though. I took the view that if I didn’t know it by now it was too late and drifted back upstairs to wait anxiously at the door of the very fancy hall where the exam was being held. At least I looked keen, that would surely be worth an extra point or two?

As it happens, it all went well. Really well. Unless I’ve totally ballsed up somehow, I reckon it’s a pass, and the relief is so palpable I could shit, assuming I’d fit on the toilet. After the exam I had a few hours before my train home so I took myself to St. James’ Park to sit under the trees and let the stress melt away. Best part? Being able to chuck the giant lever arch file away that has clung to my side like a boil these last few weeks. Honestly, I’ve never scraped something into a bin with such venom since that pho.

And now we’re done, and the recipes will resume once more, and let me tell you know, we’ve got some absolute corkers coming up. Get ready to get moist! Moist like the chicken in these chicken tikka (tell me what’s wrong) wraps! LET’S GET THIS DONE. This makes enough for 4 big wraps, so you get two halves for one syn! CANNY.


to make grilled chicken tikka wraps you will need:

  • 4x BFree Multigrain Wraps (4x HeB)
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips (
  • 2 tbsp Patak’s Tikka Spice paste (4 syns)
  • 5 tbsp fat-free natural yogurt
  • ¼ of a large cucumber (you know what you can do with the rest, you saucy bugger)
  • 2 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 handfuls of rocket (or any salad leaves)
  • 1 pouch Tesco Everyday Value Golden Vegetable Rice (you can use any brand, but this one is free – others will vary up to about 3 syns so check!)
  • 2 large onions, sliced

We were kindly sent a Tefal Optigrill to try out and it worked well for this recipe – no messing about with tinfoil under a grill and it could be chucked in the dishwasher afterwards! We really do love it, and I promise we’re not just saying that because they gave us one for nowt!

All of our hampers have massive amounts of chicken in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of chicken, say (unlike me), hoy some more beef in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make chicken tikka wraps you should:

  • mix together the Tikka paste with 1 tbsp of the natural yogurt, and then stir into the chicken to coat completely – longer you can leave it, the better, but we just marinated for an hour or so
  • whilst the chicken marinades, add the onion to a large frying pan with few squirts oil and a good pinch of salt, and cook over a low heat with the lid on – stir every now and again until well caramelised and when it starts to stick, stir a bit more often – they won’t go golden, but when they’re sticky and gloopy they’re done
  • whilst that’s cooking, make the raita by peeling and dicing the cucumber and stirring into the natural yoghurt and mint sauce – keep in the fridge until you need it
  • make up the rice according to the packet instructions (leave out the oil, even if it says to use it)
  • next, get to business – if you’re using the Tefal Optigrill, simply press the Manual button until the light is orange, and once preheated add the chicken and close the lid until cooked
  • if using the grill, heat to medium-high, place the chicken underneath and cook until done, not forgetting to turn it now and again
  • grab your wraps and spread over as much raita as you like, followed by a sprinkling of rocket leaves, a couple of spoons of rice, caramelised onion and finally the chicken – this doesn’t need to be exact, just stuff them with as much as you want!
  • roll into a wrap shape, cut in half and enjoy

Oh! If you’re struggling with rolling wraps, it’s dead easy.

Nicking that video from Tesco. Don’t even care.

Yeah! How do you like them apples? Wanting more to stuff your gob? Just click one of the buttons below to be magically transported to more tasty recipes!

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grilled harissa chicken summer burgers

Harissa chicken burgers with grilled vegetables you say? Yes, I can understand why you might be moist at the thought. They certainly look delicious. But first, a shock announcement!

  • I’m a closeted heterosexual – Paul is a marriage of convenience and I pick up ladies on the side using the name Jason Dickthrust;
  • I’m becoming a Vida Devina coffee seller – ah wait no, I didn’t fail my BTEC in hairdressing;
  • we’re going to be doing the odd sponsored post.

No I know! You might be crashing your lips at the thought of us selling out and I’m sure I can hear someone crying out that I’ve got the integrity of a milk dildo at the very thought, but here’s the thing. We don’t saturate with adverts, we don’t spam. We’re only ever going to do sponsored adverts on one condition: we can be brutally honest and it doesn’t change the writing style of the blog. So don’t worry, please. We’ll always give an alternative to the product (see recipe below) and if we’re recommending it, it’s because we actually use it, not just because we’ve been given money to say it. The only man who can put his hand up my bottom and make me speak is my doctor when he checks my prostate. Which was weird, because I’d only gone in to see about my ingrown toenail.

Plus, I mean look – I work all night and I work all day to pay the bills I have to pay. Ain’t that sad? And STILL there never seems to be a single penny left for me. I’d go on the game but I hate owing money.

Anyway, in the spirit of twochubbycubs and being open and honest, whenever we do a sponsored post (which I promise will be the rarity rather than the norm) we’re going to post this subtle banner to keep you informed, much like the tiny ‘P’ symbol that appears on Corrie to show you might see Sawfee Webster using a Nationwide cash-machine:

No I know, it’s barely noticeable. It was going to be Paul rolling around on a sea of pound coins like Scrooge McDuck but his fat would suck the coins up and he’d be paying out for weeks after like a faulty fruit machine.

So what are we peddling? The Optigrill. It’s like a George Foreman grill, but more pleasant to look at and far more efficient at even cooking. Our current George Foreman is currently stuck in what we call our Gadget Graveyard – the forgotten cupboard under the breakfast bar that we’re both too fat and lazy to get to. I mean, it involves moving the trolley and meh, too much effort. Currently in there is the George Foreman, the egg cuber (I’m sorry), a billion and one cake-tins, the electric can opener which did more damage to my wrist than any can before it, two Actifrys (not because they’re broken, but just because wanted the newer model, so shallow) and possibly a cat. The George Foreman went in there for two reasons:

  • I absolutely bloody hated cleaning the thing – it would sit there greasy and in the way, fouling the air – and I’ve got Paul to do that, I don’t need anything else; and
  • I was sick of eating meat that was scorching hot and dry on the outside whilst wet and raw in the middle. I like consistency in my dinner, not a Bushtucker Trial.

Luckily, both those problems were solved by the Optigrill, and we’ll get to that.

What does it do?

Put simply, it’s a grill. You put your meat in it and it cooks it. Big deal you might say, I can do that and I’m only sixty pounds an hour, no kissing. But see this is more than a grill. This clever grill measures the thickness of your meat (ah it’s like being a teenager all over again) and adjusts the timings to compensate. The front of the grill is adorned with various settings for burgers, chicken, bacon, sausage, red meat or fish,

Let’s take steak as an example (and you’ll see our steak recipe later down the line). Say you fancy a well done steak – simply take your steak and leave my house for not eating properly. I’m very much of the vein that all you need to do for a good steak is wipe the cow’s arse and throw the steak for a moment or two on the grill. I want my steak to moo.

But no, if you want rare, you simply press the button for red meat, wait for it to preheat, and once it is up to temperature, throw on your meat and pop the lid down. The grill then measures the steak and adjusts the time it takes to get to rare – you’ll hear it sizzling away and once the big LED light is yellow, take out your steak. Want it medium? Wait until the light is orange. Want it well done? Wait for red.

It’s all terrifically simple. It can cook from frozen – simply press the frozen food button and then the meat you want and off you go.

It also cooks vegetables and other stuff – there’s a nice manual mode that is easy enough to use. In short, if you can grill it, this will do it and leave satisfying marks on the food.

Here’s what we’re going to do. For the next few recipes, we’ll be using the Optigrill, and we’ll tell you how it cooks various things, rather than give you a blanket ‘omg it’s proper lush’ tut. But a few other points.

How does it look?

Stylish. If you’re a fan of brushed steel, coloured lights and sexy hinges, you’re going to be thrilled. It doesn’t take up a massive amount of space on the worktop and it doesn’t look like a cosmonaut’s helmet, unlike some other gadgets. It’s got some heft to it – it’s not so heavy that you can’t lift it without a few lines of protein but it doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall apart the second you ask it to grill anything other than a sprig of parsley. That’s reassuring, because the Optigrill is an expensive product and you’re going to want it to last.

Cleaning

It really couldn’t be easier. We left it out on the side and our cleaner cheerfully dealt with it. No I’m kidding, we did it ourselves. Like big boys. Anyway our cleaner is still in intensive care from cleaning our bedroom for the first time and being overcome by the miasma of Slimming World farts that greeted her. All the grease and fat dripped into the sturdy drip-tray under the machine leaving only the plates to clean and – THIS IS A REVELATION – these detach and can be popped in the dishwasher. No more scrubbing away with a sponge and your own tears.

Verdict

Here’s the thing. Do you need an Optigrill? No. If you’ve got a grill, you can make do. It’s fancy, it makes life easier, and it has shiny buttons which appeal to the magpie in me. But if you’re in the mood for a new gadget, this does fit the bill. If you’re thinking about getting a worktop grill and you can afford a bit more, buy it. We’ve used it for a week (and you’ll see the various recipes coming up with the results) and found it useful. £120 useful? Yes, if you have the disposable income, less so if you’re watching the pennies. It absolutely does what it says so fair play to Tefal for that and we be keeping it out on the worktop for a little while yet.

You can have a look for yourself by clicking here, where it’s currently reduced in price.

Right, shall we get to the recipe? It’s a wonder! Grilled harissa chicken summer burgers. Oh yes! Harissa paste can be found in most supermarkets and is a blend of chillis and other fragrant spices – it’s not too hot, but feel free to swap it out for a gentle rub. Said that before. Hell, lemon and garlic marinade would work just as well!

to make harissa chicken burgers you will need:

  • 2 large chicken breasts (the ones from our Musclefood deal are perfect!)
  • 2 tbsp harissa paste (2 syns)
  • handful of rocket leaves
  • 1 large red onion
  • 50g reduced-fat mozarella (4 syns)
  • one large beef tomato
  • 1 tbsp red pepper houmous (see note below)
  • 2 wholemeal rolls (2x HeB)

Things to note: we used a brioche bun for our burger because frankly, we deserved a treat. To make this Slimming World friendly, make sure you use a HEB bun. I don’t want Mags coming round forcing you to grill your fingers as penance.

We also chose to syn the mozzarella rather than HEA it. You can have 70g as a HEA but see, 50g is enough for two, and I couldn’t be arsed to work out percentages of HEA. Have yourself a glass of milk and calm down.

The chicken is from our Musclefood bundles – we like them because the chicken doesn’t look like a prawn once it’s cooked, unlike those supermarket breasts! Plus we’ve always got a good deal on them.

Finally, we didn’t syn the houmous – we used our own recipe  and added roasted peppers into the mix, but if you can’t be bothered with that, 1 tablespoon of red pepper houmous from Tesco is 1.5 syns.

to make harissa chicken burgers you should:

  • cut the chicken into chunks and rub the harissa paste all over – leave to marinade as long as you can
  • slice the tomatoes, mozzarella and onion into thick slices
  • time to sort your onion and tomato: slice both into big, thick slices – about a centimetre thick – and squirt with a bit of oil then:
    • if using an Optigrill, press the manual mode twice to get it to preheat to a medium heat, and then put the thick slices of onion and tomato to grill and cook on both sides for about 7 minutes – you want them softened and charred
    • if you’re using a normal grill – bit of oil, put them on a tray under the grill for a few minutes, but remember to turn them at least once so it’s nice and uniform
  • next, cook the chicken:
    • if using an Optigrill, keep the same setting as the onion and tomato and pop the chicken on, then close the lid and cook for as long as it takes for your chicken to cook through – we cut ours into tiny chunks so we were done in five minutes, but please make sure it’s cooked through – the skitters might be good for weight loss but think of your poor nipsy;
    • if using the grill, same as above – cook for a few minutes, remembering to turn things, and make sure it’s cooked through
  • whilst that’s cooking, assemble the bun by slicing and spreading houmous along the bottom half, then topping with rocket and the mozzarella slice, followed by the tomato and onion (with maybe a pinch of salt)
  • when the chicken is cooked, remove from the plates (or pan or whatever) and spoon on top of the burgers
  • quickly toast off the top half of the buns by putting them straight into the Optigrill or under the grill
  • enjoy!

Big thanks to @TEFALUK and @Foodies100!

Craving more? Of course you are, you dirty girl. Just click on one of the large, throbbing buttons below to get even more ideas to stuff your hole!

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Phwoar, that was a long one! Listen, if you’ve come this far, maybe you’re willing to come a little further – can you let us know what you think about this style of sponsored post? I’m hoping you agree that it isn’t all gushing and cloying and we’ve kept our writing style, but I do want feedback! Enjoy!

J

chicken and mushroom one-pot paella

I’m saying our chicken and mushroom one-pot paella is a paella even though it doesn’t have seafood in because for goodness sake, seafood ruins everything and I don’t care who knows it. Next part of our New York entry for you today, with the finish line in sight…then how about a few new entries that aren’t holiday related? We did receive a snotty comment that someone comes here to read the recipes, not the holidays of two gay men – pfft. People shouldn’t forget – this is a personal blog and the food is a mere afterthought. If you don’t like sodomy and sass with your slimming slop, then bugger off to 💓 💓 Cutezy Mom & Her Moonlight Children 💓 💓 or some other asinine shite and don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out. Eeee what a thing to say. Let’s go travelling! Remember I love feedback on our travel entries!

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four | click here for part five

At SOME point during this holiday we visited the Empire State Building – but can I balls remember what day it was. As a result, I’m just going to squeeze it in right here, on the last day we were there.

We woke with a start at around 6am – it’s true, you know, New York is truly the city that never sleeps. We know this because there was a mad person shouting obscenities down on the streets below. Nothing rouses me from slumber quicker than someone with spittle on his lips shouting about the coming apocalypse and the risen Jesus. It was the last day so we showered glumly, packed our things sadly and exchanged blowjobs with a downturned mouth. It’s difficult to be enthusiastic on the last day. We left our luggage with the charming staff in the lobby and made our way out.

Well, it was certainly bright. Turned out that the city had received a fair dumping of snow overnight and the streets were white and pretty. I fretted momentarily that we would be trapped in New York (oh no, imagine my devastation) but found that this thought was giving me far too much joy for so early in the morning. We could see the Empire State Building way off in the distance so decided to head there, walking the three miles or so slowly to prevent any accidental slips or falls. We were in the most litigious country in the world, after all. We stopped for a quick breakfast in a tiny corner deli – I had a sandwich the size of a church draught excluder, Paul had a slice of cheesecake. Of course!

The Empire State Building was astonishing, though. The lady dishing out the tickets warned us that we would be unable to see anything much due to the heavy cloud but we waved her worries aside – we at least had to tick it off the list. I’m so glad we did. It’s an absolutely gorgeous building, both inside and out, done out as it is in the fabulous art-deco style of the time. We had the tourist part of the building to ourselves, most likely due to the early morning and the winter weather, and we were able to wander about and take our time.

Proof that we enjoyed the tour was the fact we took on board two facts about the Empire State Building: two separate people have attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the observation deck only to be blown back into the building on the way down. I’d certainly feel like I was born again in that situation: imagine expecting to be a thin red jam on the pavement only to find yourself safe and sound with only ruffled hair to account for your troubles. Along similar lines, the world record for the longest survived elevator fall took place here, when rescuers saving poor Betty Lou Oliver from a plane hitting the building managed to miss the fact that the elevator carriage she was riding in had weakened considerably. Just as they reached for her the cables holding the lift snapped and she, and the lift, fell 79 stories.  She survived with serious injuries but fuck me ragged, I had my heart in my mouth on the Tower of Terror ride at Disneyworld, I can’t imagine doing that for 79 floors! Blimey.

The kiosk lady was right, by the way – we couldn’t see very much. But the feeling of standing on the 102nd floor in the middle of a snowstorm was incredible. I felt like I was in a chewing gum advert. However, a minute standing outside had sent my bollocks retreating somewhere behind my lungs so we sharp made our way back in and into the gift shop, where we bought all manner of tat and nonsense.

See, brisk.

Knowing our flight wasn’t until the evening we decided to spend the rest of the day just walking about to see where we ended up. Oddly enough, after much random mincing and stopping for coffee, we found ourselves down on Pier 86 at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, a museum devoted to well, air, sea and space. We had time to kill and ankles like jelly, so why not? They have a decommissioned aircraft carrier to nose about, and well, I haven’t had a chance to visit an old wreck full of seamen since the last time I visited Paul’s mother. Ouch.

As seems to be the way with attractions in New York, there was a bewildering array of entrance tickets to be had – some with simulations included, some with access to the space shuttle, some with a frisky handjob by a passing sailor. We chose the standard admission and were immediately told to decide which simulator we fancied. We elected to have a trip on the exciting G-Force Encounter, half-thinking it might be one of those centrifuge things where they spin you around and you’re left with the arresting sight of your own double chin snaking its merry way up over your eyes.

Well, it certainly wasn’t that. We were ‘boarded’ by an indifferent Kenan and Kel and told to strap ourselves in. Sounds exciting! Well, let me tell you this: I’ve felt more G-Force getting out of my computer chair when the takeaway man knocks on the door. The perils of war-time flight were bought to life via the medium of Windows 95’s very best graphics. The simulator creaked this way and that and there was an awful lot of hissing – we probably broke a hydraulics pipe somewhere – but that was it. Thrill ride? I had more excitement reading the opening hours.

That was the only downside, though. The rest of the exhibition was great. We spent a good hour or so wandering around the aircraft carrier, getting a taste of what it must be like spending all that time locked away with nothing but other men to keep you company. We both signed up for the US Navy as we left.

Not just content with letting us explore the poop deck, the museum also had all manner of aeroplanes and helicopters to look at. I have to confess: this struggled to hold my attention. I mean, they looked great and all, but a plane sitting on the ground is still a plane sitting on the ground, you know? We did spot that they had a Concorde parked down by the water so we bustled over to it. I’ve been in Concorde before, though not for a flight (sadly) and the bloody thing is tiny. You’re fair jammed in with the rich and famous and I imagine it’s like crossing the ocean in a cigar tube. Of course, you get no sense of this lack of space as you’re not allowed to board the Concorde at the Intrepid, which is a pretty poor show.

I do wish they’d bring back Concorde, however. Imagine flying from London to New York in three and a half hours, as opposed to double that with BA’s current fleet. I’d barely have enough time for the blood around my swollen ankles to clot before we landed. Paul’s dad has been on Concorde, and, having met Paul’s mother, I can absolutely understand the need for supersonic flight. That’s two jibes in one article, I am awful.

Next on the list was a trip into a submarine – one which was hilariously named ‘Growler’.

This meant that Paul had to endure about twenty minutes of me saying ‘I’ve never seen a Growler this big’ and ‘do you reckon I’ll be able to fit in the Growler, it looks tight’ and ‘I hope the Growler doesn’t smell of fish and damp from being underwater’. I only stopped when blood started trickling from his ears. We joined an orderly queue of prim, exceptionally thin people who were all shepherded aboard before us. This meant that we were now at the front of the queue with people behind us which immediately gave me the heebie-jeebies. Why? Because what if we didn’t fit through the absolutely tiny doors onboard?

Look at them!

There were warning signs everywhere. All I could imagine is my arse acting like a giant plug and everyone behind being slowly starved of oxygen. As it happens it was an incredibly tight fit but I managed fine – it was actually Paul, with his tiny coffee-table legs, that struggled, given you had to lift your legs really quite high to climb through. At one point I nearly cried ‘abandon ship’ and made for the exit but it all came good in the end. I bet though – in fact, I absolutely guarantee – that our denim-clad arses are on at least eight Japanese iCloud accounts as we speak.

To be fair, my rack has indeed been a welcome sight for many seamen.

We wrapped up our visit with a trip around their space centre, which held the space shuttle Enterprise and lots of bright and interesting information boards. I’ve been to NASA in Orlando so seeing the shuttle wasn’t so amazing, but I’ll say this: when you see it up close you realise exactly how much fun it must be being in space. Honestly, I’d never get tired of shooting various liquids around in zero gravity – after twenty-four hours the live feed to the inside of my space-shuttle would look like a badly tuned TV channel.

I tried to buy a helmet from the gift shop but yet again, my elephantine head defeated me.

See? Look at my sad face.

Seeing that we’d need to get a move on and head back to the hotel, we wandered up the streets, retracing our steps from the morning. We were side-tracked for another hour or so by a stop at a beer bar (The House of Brews, firmly recommended) where we managed to put away several pints of various beers together with a plate of nachos that was positively indecent. I love American nachos – they do it properly, with loads of chilli, cheese, sauces and spice. What do we get? A microwaved packet of Doritos with a Cheesestring melted over the top. Bah. We spotted a dartboard and, perhaps fuelled by that rare beast testosterone, had ourselves a little tournament. Naturally, I won, but then I’ve always been accomplished at finishing myself off with a double-top.

So manly, even if it looks like I’m wanking off a tiny pint of Guinness.

We made it back to our hotel, had a very strong coffee to stop our eyes swimming, and picked up our luggage. With a heavy, cheese-stuffed heart, we were bidding goodbye to New York.

Nah, I’m good thanks…


Did you enjoy that? If not, tough titty, but the end is in sight – one more entry to go and then we’re back on track. Actually that’s a fib, we’ve got Copenhagen coming down the line. And London. Oh god it never ends! But before we get to all of that, let’s do the recipe. This is adapted from Macheeshmo’s website so full credit to him, but we’ve taken out the seafood because that shit is nasty. This made enough for four big portions!

to make chicken and mushroom one-pot paella, you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 150g shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 100g button mushrooms (or whatever type you like), chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (get one of these!)
  • 300g paella rice
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 litre chicken stock (dissolve two chicken stock cubes in a litre of boiling water)
  • pinch of salt and pepper

All of our hampers have massive amounts of chicken in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of chicken, say (unlike me), hoy some more beef in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make chicken and mushroom one-pot paella, you should:

  • prepare the onion, chicken and mushroom and place into bowls – it makes it much easier!
  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • in a large ovenproof casserole pot, add a little oil over a high heat
  • add the chicken in two batches until seared in each side (this will take about five minutes)
  • remove the chicken the pan into a large bowl and set aside
  • add the mushrooms and cook for another few minutes, then add the onions, chopped garlic and some salt and pepper
  • tip the mushrooms and onion in with the chicken
  • add a little more oil to the now-empty pan, and then add the paella rice and spread out well int he bottom of the pan
  • add the chicken stock and give a good stir, and then add the tomatoes, chilli powder and paprika
  • stir in the chicken, mushrooms and onions and give another good stir, then bring the lot to a simmer
  • place the pot in the oven uncovered for about 40 minutes
  • serve!

Canny right?

Hungry for more? You know what to do:

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Enjoy!

J

super quick and easy chicken saag aloo

Chicken saag aloo – we’re talking about a dish that takes about ten minutes to make from beginning to end, as long as you’ve got a hot pan and a filthy mouth. God knows that’s you lot covered. No time for shenanigans so let’s go straight to part five of our New York entry. Buckle up. I’d really welcome feedback on the holiday entries!

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four

We decided to break with looking around the busy city and to take a nice walk along what is known as The High Line – a disused railway line that runs for a mile or so around Manhattan and affords lovely views of the Hudson and various arty-farty establishments to poke about it. We didn’t really have much of an excuse, it was only a ten-minute walk away from the hotel and boy did we need some ‘fresh air’. New York is amazing but you don’t realise how built-up it is until you look at your partner and he’s milk-white from lack of sunlight.

It was charming. I hate to use that word because it’s what pretentious knobheads use to describe tiny coffee places where they serve the coffee in a flat cap but I mean it. We went early enough so that it wasn’t completely awash with hipsters and pretty much had the place to ourselves, save for a few joggers. I was pleased to see that the ‘I’m about to cum’ face that British folk adopt when they run seems to have made it over the pond. Seriously, why pull that face? Running isn’t that exciting. At least, I can’t remember it being so – admittedly the last time I ran was back in 1997.

The High Line is full of little activities and things to do. We happened across a tiny park with stepping stones and tunnels to climb through, which then allowed you to pop your head up through the path to frighten passer-by’s. Great fun, until you realise that the tunnels probably weren’t designed to accommodate some twenty-stone Geordie with a fat arse and cheap jeans trying to turn around in there – it was like trying to turn a sofa around in a lift. I managed to get in alright but every time I moved backwards my coat scrunched up on top of me, stopping progress. It was only after my plaintive cries reached my dear husband – and in turn, once he had stopped laughing and taking pictures of my jammed arse – that he reached into the tunnel and pulled my coat free, allowing me to scuttle back out.

Later, Paul spotted a statue with the instruction ‘kiss to receive water’. Naturally, being Paul, he bent down and mimed performing cunnilingus on it so that I had a classy photo to put in the album. He was tutted at by someone who was more beard than man but hey, we have fun. We stopped at the end for a bagel and coffee and discussed where to go next, before deciding on the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Because we’re fat, we got a taxi. I’ve never heard my own feet say ‘phew’.

We arrived at the 9/11 Memorial Museum and were glad that the snaking queues we had witnessed a day or two before had dissipated and that actually, it wasn’t too busy.

It’s funny. We’ve all seen the footage on the TV or in print but until you’re there, it’s truly impossible to put it into perspective. To imagine the size of the buildings, the sheer amount of people caught up in it, the absolute terror that must have ensued. The museum itself was surprisingly sombre and tasteful – I admit I’d expect a certain amount of ‘America is Great’ bombast, but there was none. Just recollections, pieces of the building, subdued reconstructions and hushed tones.

One beautiful piece is a wall of almost 3,000 pieces of fabric paper painted in different shades of blue – it’s a tremendous sight with a sobering quote in the middle: ‘No Day Shall Erase You From The Memory Of Time’. Very true. Behind the wall is a room full of the unidentified remains of people caught up in the attacks, where they will lie forever until they are positively identified and taken by families, something which made even granite-faced me dab at my eyes. I’d encourage anyone visiting New York to have a look – it makes for a depressing hour but some things should never be forgotten. We moved on, and, because I want to change back to our normal tone of writing, let me draw a line under this.


Fancy! Next on our list was the Grand Central train station. You’ll have seen it before in so many movies – it’s a fabulous, colossal train station full of period detail and busy people. You may remember seeing it in such famous Lindsay Lohan movies such as ‘Just My Luck’, or infamous Lindsay Lohan movies such as ‘Yes, I’ll Let You Eight Guys Ride Me Like A Train for some meth’.

We decided to take a headphones audio tour of the station and do you know, it was one of the best things we did in New York. I know that sounds ridiculous but it was just the right mix of getting in people’s way, hearing interesting facts and having sights that you would never have known to look at pointed out to you. Case in point: the ceiling of the main concourse. Who ever looks up when they enter a train station? You should here – it’s a gorgeous astronomy map with glowing stars. That’s fascinating in and of itself, but see the ceiling was almost hidden from view by years of tobacco smoke and pollution. It took twelve years to clean it and restore it to its natural beauty, with one tiny square left to show the difference.

I made a mental note to contact Paul’s mother on my return to see if she wanted to hire the same cleaners to try and get the fifty-eight years of Samson roll-up smoke peeled from her ceiling (it’d be like using a spatula to clean the grill pan), but then promptly forgot about it when our audio tour guided us to the whispering walls.

Seriously, what fun. Under the main concourse is a dining area and part of that, near the Oyster bar, is the Whispering Wall. Due to the way the tunnel is built, sound whispered in one corner of the giant room travels all along the arch and can be heard a good ten metres away across the room. It’s a bloody weird effect.

Naturally, I stood in one corner and sent Paul to where I thought the whisper could be heard across the tunnel. Well, look, I can only apologise to the little Chinese lady who was very startled to have the ghost of a Geordie whisper the word c*nt in her ear from apparently nowhere. Turns out Paul was standing in the wrong place. In my defence, it was hilarious. We sharp moved on.

By some amazing coincidence our audio tour ended with us being taken into the gift-shop. Fancy! We were taken by all the lovely cartographic items and ended up buying six metal subway signs to sit above the doors of our house. Which, yes, sounds shit, but trust me when I say it looks good. It adds that New York sophistication to stumbling to the shitter to drop the kids off at night, trust me.

Next on the list of things to do was lunch, and, I’m ashamed to say this, we ate in a TGI Fridays. All those wonderful places and we ended up somewhere where a chav takes a hot-date in the hope of getting his fingers dipped. In our defence, it was the one in Times Square and we only went there because at this point, our feet were more blood than shoe, but it was grim. Because they don’t have to try, they absolutely didn’t. The food was bland, the drinks were sickly sweet and the waiter so full of false bonhomie that I could have asked for a blowjob instead of a dessert menu and he’d have sunk to his knees just to see me smile. His name tag was ‘Will!’, which I imagine took immense willpower (pun intended) not to put eight exclamations after.

We did leave a substantial tip though – the place was awash with British families taking a break between smacking their children and complaining to eat something similar to the Iceland muck they have at home. Past experience tells me that they won’t leave a tip because ‘it’s not right, we don’t have to do it, blah blah’ and frankly, that’s just shitty. Our lunch might have been shite but see, that wasn’t the fault of Smilin’ Will.

After lunch we waddled over to the Rockefeller Centre. You’ll know this place, too – it’s where they put the massive Christmas tree and ice-rink every year. We had paid for a day and night pass, which allows you to see the views during the day and then return later to see the same view but in inky blackness.

It was wonderful – there’s only so many times I can write about going up a tall building and making it faintly interesting for you, dear reader, so just let me say that being able to sit on a bench 70 floors in the air in the winter, looking out over New York, was just lovely. We had a romantic moment (which makes it sound like I noshed Paul off, but no, we just had a cuddle) and stayed up there a while.

As we left we were shepherded through a room of interactive lights – if you stood on the floor, certain ceiling lights would come on and your movement would be tracked. I suppose this is modern art. Paul exclaimed that it was ‘just like I’m in a video game’ and my reply of ‘Yes: FATRIS’ was a little louder than I had anticipated, leading to lots of shared guffaws amongst everyone. I do worry that I come across as such an arse to poor, put-upon Paul, but listen, he gives as good as he gets, don’t you worry.

Having satisfied ourselves of the view and done about as much marvelling as one can do before your face caves in through smiling, we made our way back through the building and back out onto the streets. After a little idle wandering we spotted a nearby church, and, never missing the opportunity to sit down and let my chafing thighs cool, we went in. If memory serves me right, it was St Mary the Virgin’s church and it was utterly beautiful.

Unusually, we didn’t burst into flames the second we stepped over the threshold and nor were we cast out for being sodomites. Religion, am I right? The church was gorgeous – beautiful stained glass windows, comfortable pews, perfectly ornate detailing, just lovely. It was heart-warming to know that the donations and money raised was going straight into keeping this prime piece of real-estate looking pretty so that all the homeless folk outside could at least have somewhere charming to rest their heads between starving and freezing to death. Hmm.

We sat in the pews for more time than is entirely decent, trying to discreetly rub our throbbing feet and not shallow-breathe on the necks of the people in front, who were bowed in prayer. I’m not a religious person but even I said a quick prayer for one of those feet-spas that all mums had in the Nineties that bubbled a bit of Radoxy-water around their hairy toes.

The serenity of the moment was shattered somewhat by the sound of a clearly mentally-ill woman bursting through the doors, running down the aisle screaming and then falling on the floor.  She was treated with all the compassion and understanding you might expect from the Church – pinned to the floor by the security guard’s knee, shouted at by some hurly-burly prick clutching a bible and then unceremoniously picked up and thrown back out into the street like a piece of rubbish. It was all very inelegant, though it did cause enough of a distraction for me to break wind, which, with my cheeks firmly pressed against the wood of the pew, sounded like a little helicopter landing. Sweet relief! Air befouled, we moved on.

Unfortunately, my notes for the day end here, which leads me to think we just went and got progressively more drunk during the rest of the day and then stumbled back to the hotel at some indecent hour. I have a faint recollection of being in a late-night pharmacy buying Doritos and spinach dip. Hey, we know how to party! We definitely ticked off the ‘buy a slice of New York pizza’ activity though, and I know this because there’s a photo on my phone of Paul fast asleep with a chunk of crust sticking out of his gob. We’re a classy pair, you know.


Right, let’s do the chicken saag aloo! You can cheerfully leave out the chicken and make this into a veggie dish. Why not? You’re the boss! This makes enough for two big bowls. Why chicken saag aloo? Simple. You may remember dear El Ehma from my work? She’s never cooked a meal that didn’t have freezer burn, but she’s really taken to saag aloo. I promised to make a version that she can follow and well, Joe Wicks has a recipe ready! You remember me mentioning Joe Wicks and the fact that we’ve found a whole load of recipes in his book that are perfect for Slimming World? Well we did, and you can buy it here. You can buy his book here and it is one I genuinely recommend.

chicken saag aloo

to make super quick and easy chicken saag aloo, you’ll need:

  • 700g new potatoes
  • a bunch of spring onions
  • two cloves of garlic
  • a little knob of ginger, haha
  • 2 tbsp of garam masala
  • two large chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 big handfuls of spinach leaves
  • squeeze of lemon juice

For the ginger and garlic, grate them finely using a microplane grater. It’s the one gadget we use all the time – you can use it for parmesan, peppers, garlic, ginger, lemon…all sorts! Click here and save!

All of our hampers have massive amounts of chicken in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of chicken, say (unlike me), hoy some more beef in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make super quick and easy chicken saag aloo, you should:

  • cut the potatoes in half, pop them in a microwave dish and cook them for three minutes – then let them rest – and cook again for three minutes – drain and set aside
  • thinly slice your spring onions and cook them off gently in a few spritzes of olive oil
  • once they’re softened, add the ginger and garlic until golden
  • add the potatoes
  • add the garam masala
  • stir everything then add the thinly sliced chicken breasts with a few splashes of water and cook everything through, with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • cook hard and quickly until the chicken is cooked through then add the spinach and allow to wilt down
  • serve with a squeeze of lemon

Easy!

Want more recipes? Natch. Click the buttons!

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J

chicken saltimbocca skewers with wedges, because we’re fancy

Chicken saltimbocca? Aside from the fact that saltimbocca sounds like something you’d contract from a £5-a-shot prostitute, what on earth is it? I’ll let the recipe speak for itself, save to tell you now that it’s quick, easy and tasty. Like me. Plus, saltimbocca means ‘jump in my mouth’, so it fits even more, doesn’t it? The gags write themselves.

Which is lucky, actually, as we’re still recovering from an AWFUL holiday last week.  I’ve typed out the majority of my notes so I reckon I’ll post it on Friday, but sweet jesus. It was a coach trip, yes, but it was like being in the Jeremy Kyle audience, eye-watering Joop fumes included. I thought the bus would be full of the lovely elderly, like this (I’ve lightly photoshopped it just to bring the colour out):

Sadly, I was wrong. You’ll find out more in due course.

In the meantime, we have a guest writer who not only typed us up a blog entry but also, gasp, has done us a recipe too! I like this, it means I have more time to sit trying to reach my toenails with the clippers and breathing heavily into a sofa cushion. I won’t give his name but he’s giving us an inside look into a dangerous, cruel world…over to the third chubby cub! I’ve given him a subtle pseudonym.


baby it’s cold inside by Barry Big Knob

Chubby Cubs are just like fidget spinners. We’re eeevverrywheeeeere! I’m a chubby cub from Bolton where I live with a cub of my own too, (yes, we too dance at the other end of the proverbial ballroom), so when the cubs asked me if I’d like to share a recipe on their blog, I couldn’t resist. Hirsuite Solidarity and all that.

But first I should mention that I work for the big boys themselves… Iceland! Yeeeees, the very purveyors of Slimming World Sausages and Kerry Katona’s Punched Lasagnes of yesteryear (Prawn ring anyone?). As Iceland exclusively stock the Slimming World range, you can imagine we get the entire spectrum of Slimming World…participants (including the two of us, so I’m allowed to judge!)

The funny thing is that the most popularly sold items in the same shop with people who buy the Slimming World range? Greggs Sausage Rolls. I love going to the Greggs freezer cabinets, or the dessert and pizza cabinets and finding discarded boxes of Slimming World Sweet Potato Curry where people have had their “you know what? Fuck it!” moments and chosen to instead have a threeway with Dr Oetker and Aunt Bessie (whilst Mr Kipling waits for sloppy seconds, the dirty bastard).

But some of these folks that come in? Yes, you get the charming posh types in their twinsets who have come to investigate peasant food whilst looking for cheap prosecco, “I’ve never been to an Ice Land before, I must tell my friends Flossy and Cyprian. Oh golly, I wonder if they’ll think I mean the country! Arf arf arf!”, to the stereotypes you know we all imagine, Wayne and Waynetta Slob, waddling down the aisles like It’s A Knockout costumes. I am telling no lie when I say that I once heard someone shout to their son, “Yer not having sweets, Lambrini!”. The class. It oozes. It gurgles. It sticks to the bottom of your shoes.

But I also love seeing the people who come in with proper weight loss success stories, and if it’s via Slimming World, I can’t help but wax lyrical a bit, but also recommend they check out Two Chubby Cubs for some great recipes and a good laugh. Speaking of which, I was meant to be writing up a recipe here wasn’t I? Here goes then!


Er, oy, calm your tits. We can’t go straight to the recipe, I need to add my summing up paragraph first! Tsk. He’ll learn, we’ll belt it into him. I don’t mind Iceland myself – their ability to stuff absolutely any sort of filling into any sort of crevice leaves me breathless. However, our local Iceland happens to be in the same area as our local riot-ready zone, and taking a trip ranks slightly lower than cartwheeling across an active volcano. Marginally more sulphurous gas, mind. I typed an article out when Slimming World launched their ready meals and everyone lost their mind – I remember someone saying she wished another shopper was dead for having the temerity to buy more than three bags of sausages. It’s all calmed down now, though whenever something new gets launched it causes a bit of frothing at the minnie. God knows why – I love Slimming World but I’m try anything remotely close to palatable from their range. Adding eight tonnes of pepper to one chicken breast does not make a tasty dish.

But SPEAKING OF A TASTY DISH, let’s get back to the saltimboccas!

to make chicken saltimbocca skewers, you’ll need:

  • a wee bit of olive oil (you can use Frylight if you’re not a sinner)
  • four skinless chicken breasts
  • tomato purée (5 tablespoons)
  • worcestershire sauce (2 tablespoons)
  • bacon medallions (12)
  • sage leaves (12… but this is optional)

You’ll also need some metal skewers – something like this? Cheap as chips.

Oh and sorry to do a double advert…but all of our Musclefood hampers have tonnes of chicken and bacon in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of pork, say (unlike me), hoy some more chicken in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make chicken saltimbocca skewers, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees if it’s a fan oven, look it up on google if it isn’t
  • put the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of cling film and pound the living hell out of them with a rolling pin until they are wider and thinner
  • mix the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce and spread 1 tbsp. of the mixture over the top of each chicken breast, reserving the remaining mixture
  • cover each breast with 3 bacon medallions, lay 3 sage leaves on top of each breast (if you’re doing the sage bit) and season with pepper
  • roll up each piece of chicken and using a large knife, cut into bite-sized rolls, and thread the rolls onto 4 skewers
  • place the skewers on a grill pan, brush with the reserved purée mixture and put in the oven for 20 minutes, turning them over after 10, until the skewers are golden and the chicken is cooked through

Et voila! Bit of faffing about but pretty bloody tasty. Serve with some decorative salad and wedges.

to make wedges you should:

Just make some. Seriously, they’re just potato wedges.

They’re totally syn free, and would probably work well on a barbecue too. Serves 4 technically, but 2 if you’re hungry! Also if you’re making them for friends, mistakenly call them Chicken Saltybollocks before comically correcting yourself. They’ll think you’re a regular Frank Carson.

Lovely! Looking for more recipes? Here, what am I, Penny Librarian? Click the buttons!

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Remember, if you want to contribute an article or a recipe, get in touch – leave a comment or message us via our facebook page: www.facebook.com/twochubbycubs 

J

marmalade glazed chicken

Marmalade glazed chicken if you don’t mind! Yes, but first, GUFF. Scroll down quickly if you’re just here for the recipe, but why not indulge me for a moment and have a read of our final Paris entry?

Do you feel like you’re all tuckered out when it comes to our Paris entries? Me too! It feels like I’ve been writing about Paris for longer than we stayed there! Perhaps it is my tendency to waffle on, but hey, here we go. I promise this is the last one.

click here for part one  | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four | click here for part five

When you last slipped away from us we had emerged blinking into the sunlight after wafting the smells of sewers over the patrons of a pitch-black restaurant. God, you get sick of writing that sentence. Now, because we’ll here until year dot if I keep prattling on about every little thing I’m going to pick a few brief highlights did and then wrap this trip up!

Montparnasse Tower

Having neglected to do the Eiffel Tower this time around, we noticed on Tripadvisor that you could do something called the Montparnasse Tower instead – a massive skyscraper in the Montparnasse district of Paris. Who knew? After a leisurely breakfast which I spent blowing pastry crumbs around and drinking coffee as black as pitch, we made our way over.

TOP TIP: don’t bother with the Eiffel Tower. I mean, it’s lovely, of course, but this tower affords you the same excellent views and actually, given you can include the Eiffel Tower in your photographs, I’d say it was even better. Plus, as most people push themselves onto the Eiffel, this tower is pleasingly deserted. I barely had to push anyone out of the way to get to the front. I did kick someone smartly in the shin for stepping on my feet to take a photo, though. What am I like etc.

We took the stairs up to the rooftop to take some better pictures where I noticed, with considerable alarm, that we were in genuine danger of being blown away. The wind was immense – that would bode well for the flight later – and storm clouds were coming. There were glass safety barriers to prevent you plummeting to your death but they looked flimsy, bending as they were in the wind. I told Paul we had to go immediately. He seemed surprised and rightly so, normally I don’t have such an aversion to being sucked off in public, but here we are. We headed back downstairs to spend a merry five minutes looking at tat in the gift shop and spending far too much on coffee in the café, then took the lift back out.

In the two minutes that we were in the lift and lobby the storm clouds broke and sweet jesus, I’d have been drier jumping into a hot-tub. It wasn’t so much raining as drowning us slowly. We waddled as quick as our cankles allow and fell into the first restaurant that I remembered seeing reasonable reviews of on Tripadvisor earlier, Le Relais Gascon.

Le Relais Gascon

What a revelation. It doesn’t look fancy from the outside (nor do we) but it has plenty of nooks and crannies that are ripe for exploring (as do we). We took our table upstairs as we were in no doubt that the ground floor would soon be underwater and, remembering the comments I’d seen on the reviews, ordered a salad.

A salad! I know, but you mustn’t worry, we haven’t gone soft. This salad came with tonnes of bacon lardons, cheese, croutons and dressings, topped off with fried garlic potato slices. Normally a salad only gives me heart pains because I’m crying so hard with tedium as I choke it down, but this was just immense – and so cheap too. Easily our best meal of the holiday. When the waiter came round to ask if everything was OK I had to hold myself back from kissing his hand delicately and offering myself up. We paid the tiny bill, fashioned the tablecloth into a canoe and sailed off down the street in search of somewhere warm to sit.

Boy, did we find somewhere lovely.

Basilique du Sacré Coeur

Readers who have been following our misadventures for a while will know that whenever we need to sit and rest our throbbing feet, we find salvation in Jesus. Not because we’re believers, we’re not, but because a church is about the only place you can sit for a while panting and breathing deeply without someone moving you on. The church is immeasurably beautiful, both inside and out, although the experience was tainted a little by yet more people trying to sell you tat as you go in. Some rough old man in a long dress put a withered hand on my shoulder and tried to sell me a candle as I went in – it’s OK, I got the first punch in and sorted him out.

We spent an hour or so in here, looking at the stained glass windows, putting in a good word for my nana who I’m sure is up there somewhere in whatever world she believed in, thumbing through the bible and waiting for the storms to pass. Eventually it stopped raining and we were able to make an escape before I fell to my knees with boils and burns on my skin. As we left I got into a bit of proper argy-bargy with some oily little ratbag who wouldn’t let me buy my own funicular ticket and was insisting I paid him instead, to the point where he covered the coin slot on the machine with his hands.

Luckily, for once, my size was on my side. I pushed him and he went stumbling away like a leaf on the breeze. I’m not one for physical interaction but he was the size of an ankle sock and looked about as intimidating as a wet tissue. I think the fact that between us Paul and I could have sat on him and reduced him to a diamond probably sealed the deal. I waited for the small crowd of people to slap me on my back or offer me drinks / drugs / sex as a thank you but nothing was forthcoming. Don’t care. Still played Eye of the Tiger as I strutted onto that funicular.

Le Bear’s Den

We don’t tend to stray into gay bars as a rule – not a huge fun of the audible wince that swooshes around the place as we walk in with anything less than a 28″ waist trouser, for one thing. I once got into a fight with a very angry lesbian in one of Newcastle’s finest rainbow bars for turning the jukebox off after the eighth rendition of Left Outside Alone by Anastacia and Paul was told he should die for having the temerity of wearing his nurse’s shirt (as in the shirt he wore when he was a nurse, not a shirt belonging to his nurse – he’s not quite that bad yet) and having his gunt on show. There can be a waspishness that neither of us are particularly keen on and so we usually stay away.

But that said, how could we walk past a bar called The Bear’s Den and not poke our heads through the door? What are we if not trainee bears? In fact, now I’m 32, I think in gay terms I actually am a bear. I’ve certainly got enough chequered Jacamo shirts to dress as one. Haven’t a clue what the fuck I’m on about? In the gay world, an older fat hairy bloke is colloquially known as a bear. A young fat hairy bloke is a cub. A young skinny hairy bloke is an otter. A hairy older bloke with white/grey hair is a polar bear, would you believe. God knows where it originates from but I’ve always found the naming convention dainty so let’s stick with it. I’ll check the Homo Guidebook when I get home to find out what age we are supposed to transition. Anyway, I digress.

We stayed for a good couple of hours, drinking beer (or in my case, one beer and then endless lemonade as I’d later be driving) and being eyed up by the barman. I like to think so anyway, he was very kind and seemed keen to show us downstairs, which, from our vantage point upstairs, looked ill-lit and heavy with sweat and amyl-nitrate. I dilated every time someone came up the stairs and disturbed the fetid air. We demurred and carried on drinking, and yes, it was all very lovely to be amongst those who weren’t looking down their noses at the fact we didn’t look like Skeleton from SuperTed.

(I’m being slightly facetious).

Oh, and it was full of artwork like this, which I loved so much I rashly made to buy an A2 canvas before Paul pointed out I’d struggle to get that into our cabin bag. Boo.

If anyone fancies making me one though, go for it! As we left, we spotted a sex shop just over the road so we had a quick gander to see what was happening. As usual, the sight of rubber cocks the size of fire extinguishers brought out our silly side and we spent a good fifteen minutes shrieking and bellowing our way around the porn DVDs. There was one of those wank-booths at the back which was occupied and I feel so bad for the poor Parisian trying to rub one out whilst some hurly-burly Geordie is shouting ‘WAY YE CUD HAMMER A FUCKIN’ NAIL IN WITH THIS BASTARD’ across the shop. Tsk.

I did, however, spot this.

A friggin’ porn DVD about accountancy! I’m sorry, but who on earth has a sudden rush of blood to the head when thinking about tax? Apparently enough to hire two rent-a-gobs with spray-on beards to make a porno! I did appreciate the pun in the title though. It amazes me the niche things people are into. I asked, but they had nothing on Senior Administrative Nurses and we were asked to leave.

Flight home

We spent altogether too long drinking at Le Bear’s Den that we had to abandon our plans to take the train back to the airport and instead hurl ourselves into an Uber, who, after picking up our luggage from the hotel, drove us straight to the airport with minimal fuss and delay. We had wildly underestimated how long it would take though and we were both absolutely bursting for a slash – the last ten miles or so felt like pure agony as eighteen litres of fizziness threatened to burst from our willies like a dam relief valve.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare on the clock but no time at all on our bladders – we dashed so quickly out of the car that the driver must have only heard ‘thanksmuchbyeeeneedpiss‘ as we hurtled out. In our haste to micturate we went dashing straight into the airport, only for him to come hurtling after us with our suitcase. Oops. I said thank you just as quick as we could and we fair sprinted for the lavatory, thankfully finding one only moments into the terminal. Even now people in Dover talk of the loud ‘aaaaaaah THANK FUCK FOR THAT’ they heard bellowing across the channel as I let go. There’s genuinely no better feeling (bar the obvious) than making it to a loo just as your bladder is about to rip open like a faulty condom.

Now, normally, we’d dick about in the airport before going through security and standing at the gate for hours, but something told us we’d better clear security just as fast as we could, perhaps given the terrible experience coming in. As it happens, we were scanned, sorted and sent on our way in a matter of moments. Great! More time for drinks and shenanigans airside. We rounded a corner only to see a small queue just disappearing around a corner. Being British and thus attracted to queues the same way as a bee is attracted to a golden flower, we joined it. It was moving ever so slowly but hey, it must be good if everyone else was waiting. No, of course not – it was the bloody passport check, and, with all the typical efficiency and customer care I’d come to expect from the French security administration, there was one surly looking arse checking everyone’s passports. I say checking them, he was taking so long with each person that I wondered whether he was drawing a watercolour of each person as a souvenier. There must have been easily 300 people in front of us and another 100 behind and each person was tutting so much it was like being inside a maraca. It was all we could do to wait – and that we did, because we weren’t seen for almost ninety minutes. When he did get to me and he glanced at my face with bile-filled eyes, I had to resist the urge to quip that the wait had aged me terribly. He took even longer with Paul, almost a minute of looking down at the passport and then up at Paul’s face. I can only imagine it was because Paul had a faint smile on his passport photo and this guy was unfamiliar with the concept.

As an aside, if you were the rough, pink-leggings-yellow-teeth (the Fruit Salad look) (imagine looking at a negative photo of Pete Burns), shouting harridan woman who was scolding a poor passing easyJet stewardess about how it ‘WEREN’T FACKIN’ RIGHT MAKING US FACKIN’ WAIT LIKE THIS’ whilst your ruffian children ran screaming around everyone’s legs, I hope you’re ashamed of yourself. You represent the worst of British humanity. Everyone knows that, faced with a long snaking queue, you join it silently and spend however long it takes deep-sighing into the neck of the chap in front of you. Witch.

With no time to spare we were shepherded to our gate where we joined the rest of the sourpusses waiting to join the Edinburgh flight. We had speedy boarding due to being in the exit seats (otherwise, I think it’s a pointless swizz, you’re getting on the plane at some point whether you get on first or the pilot gives you a fireman’s lift up the stairs at the end) and sat in the special bit reserved for those who want to look smugly at everyone else. After a short delay due to the weather we were released and everyone hurtled downstairs onto the bus. Awkwardly, they’d actually roped off a section of the bus for speedy boarders meaning that 9 out of 10 of the passengers were crammed in like sardines whereas Paul and I were sat with our legs spread out. We had enough room to hold a boxing match if we wanted to. I turned to gaze out of the window (mainly to avoid their icy stares) and watched with some consternation as trees were almost bent double and the windsocks were almost tearing away. The bus driver must have thought he was taking us to the plane via Cannes because we sat on that bus driving around for a good half hour. I was surprised he didn’t stop halfway at whatever the French equivalent of BP to let us go for a piss. We made it to our flight – now almost 90 minutes later – boarded and relaxed. Well, everyone else did, I was too busy staring stricken at the window as I envisioned the wind blowing us straight into the Eiffel Tower.

The steward came on the radio, which you’d think would make it slippery to hold, and informed us that the fasten seatbelts sign would stay on for considerably longer than usual as we were expecting a bumpy take-off. He wasn’t wrong. Flying always amazes me but flying in bad weather is just something else – I’ve never felt a plane be buffeted about by the wind so much before. The plane’s back-end was swishing left and right like it was doing a big metallic mince into the sky, perhaps it knew we were on board. After twenty minutes of envisioning my own death in a thousand different ways (an engine tearing through my head, choking on the inflight magazine, the oxygen above my head bursting in flame…) we levelled out and everything calmed down. I told Paul that I ought to have a gin ‘for my nerves’ and he agreed, his face the colour of an aged candle. It was a very quiet, calm trip home. After a quick flounce through security and a stop to buy some altogether non-traditional Haribo for work colleagues we were on our way home, me driving once more because Paul forgot his glasses. This must have been weighing heavy on his mind because he promptly fell asleep for the entire 120 mile journey back, leaving me to do all the driving alone. It’s OK, I managed to get a few minutes shut-eye on a straight bit of the A1.

We arrived home, exhausted, 1am in the morning. Our cats did the usual – glanced at us like we’d killed their mothers and stalked off with their tails in full ‘oh go fuck yourself’ pose. Just once I’d like them to hurtle into my arms like a dog, mewing and clicking and purring, but no. One cat caved an hour later though, demanding to be allowed to sleep between us for warmth. They love us really.

And that was France! I know it’s taken us ages to get to the end of the holiday (I kid you not, we’ve had two more holidays since I started writing this) but here we are. Holiday number one complete!

Fancy following in our footsteps? I wouldn’t, they’re sunk half a metre into the ground because we’re so fat, but if you’re determined:

Flights: Edinburgh to Paris Charles de Gaulle with easyJet – quick, cheap flight but the usual excellent customer service they always deliver
Hotel: ibis Budget (near Edinburgh Airport) – absolutely fine for an overnight stay and super-cheap and Hotel Square in Paris on the Rue du Boulainvilliers – amazing, stylish and warm hotel. Expensive, but excellent location and amenities. The receptionist had the good grace not to raise her eyebrows at our extortionate room service bill.

Fin.


Right, shall we get to the recipe then? It’s a cheek to call this a recipe given it takes no time at all to make, but it’s absolutely worth the couple of syns for a quick and easy dinner.

to make marmalade glazed chicken you will need:

to make marmalade glazed chicken you should:

  • place the chicken breasts on a chopping board and bash gently(ish) with a rolling pin to flatten them out – you want them at about half the thickness they were originally
  • heat a large frying pan to medium-high and add a bit of oil
  • place the chicken breasts in the pan and allow to cook for five minutes – no need to touch them, just let them cook
  • meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl mix together the chilli flakes, dijon mustard and marmalade
  • heat for fifteen seconds in the microwave, stir, and microwave for another 15 seconds. stir again
  • turn the chicken breasts over and spoon over the glaze
  • cook for two minutes
  • make sure your chicken is cooked through and serve with salad

How easy was that? For more chicken ideas, take a look at the buttons below!

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Until we meet again…

J

chicken and ham picnic loaf – a perfect snack

BOO.

I’m only back because I was getting hassled at work about not updating the blog enough and, simply because I don’t want to upset this man in case I miss out on his annual tea-making, here we find ourselves. It helps that I have an amazing recipe for a chicken and ham picnic loaf and some exciting news to report. Naturally, before we get to the recipe, there’s some guff to wade through.

THE GOOD NEWS FIRST! You may recollect that we have two Kindle e-books of our articles on Amazon – they sell well and we get excellent reviews. I know, modest. But we have, until now, been unable to offer you a proper paperback – one that you can rest on your boobs in the bath or flick through by the pool in Majorca. I can only imagine how bereft you’ve been. Well – thanks to the wonders of technology, we’re now able to offer our books in PAPERBACK FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! These do make good presents if you’re looking for a gift for someone with a foul mouth and a rude attitude. If you’ve ever wanted to support the blog, feel free to buy a copy! They actually look decent, too! Click the books below to buy and don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window.

Hope you enjoy! Right, that’s quite enough positivity!

Goodness, two days of hot weather and I’ve already seen enough red and white flesh to last me a lifetime. I’ll never understand the British approach to getting a tan – I appreciate we only get fourteen hours of summer a year but please, hold something back. You’re supposed to bronze, not sear. Ah, I’m only bitter because the next eight months means sweaty backs, feeling far too hot and the sound of children laughing gaily, which goes through me like nails on a blackboard. I’d rather listen to someone planning to set my face on fire. Admit it, you’ve missed my sunny disposition on life, haven’t you?

You know what ruined my sunny weekend most of all though? The ice-cream van turned up during the day for once (he comes down our street every single night, even when it’s cold, and I get the feeling he’s selling a bit more than screwballs and 99s) and, full of joy, I dashed out to buy Paul and I an ice-cream. Normally I’m as tight as a wet knot so don’t bother but clearly I’d taken too much sunlight to my bald head and was having a moment. I handed over over £3 for a 99 for Fatty and a Feast for me.

And what do I get? A bloody Festival! That’s not a Feast, that’s a knock-off barely worth eating! I mean, you get your hopes up for something delicious and then boom, ruined – like being about to get a blowjob only for them to take their entire set of teeth out and set them in a glass of water by the bed. I had to sit and watch Paul make a big show of eating his delicious ice-cream whilst I looked sad. I mean, naturally, I still inhaled mine, but the injustice made it taste sour.

Hey, I did manage to startle the poor chap who came to fit our new kitchen blinds this morning. The old blinds used to hang down over the bay window and the cats used to climb through them like they weren’t there. This meant that they were bent (the blinds that is, we’re not contagious) and covered in cat hair and it just looked so unseemly. The chap came round a few weeks ago, full of sales bluster and promises, and gave us a quote that made me ask whether he was planning on putting in double-glazing at the same time. He immediately dropped the price by 50%, then again by another 10%, then gave me a £25 voucher. I had to stop him before he emptied his own wallet out on my kitchen counter. I appreciate these guys are on commission but I’m just too lazy and fat to do the dance of finance with them. Anyway, he told us he’d be here about quarter to ten so I dutifully arranged to work from home.

9am comes around and I think to myself, now that I’m freshly showered and logged-in, that I really ought to clear our big kitchen windowsill of all the various nonsense we store on there (coffee pot, basil plants, cats).  I stumble into the kitchen, nude save for a tiny Holiday Inn towel that barely covers my urethral opening let alone my flabulous body, and pull the blinds up. Normally this would be fine, save for the fact that our blinds man was on the other side of the window looking in, and there was me unveiling myself like the Star Prize at the end of Bullseye. “Congratulations Kenneth and Joyce, you’ve won yourself a morbidly obese shrieking man”.

And mind, I did shriek. Partly because of shock, partly because of modesty – I tried to duck out of sight but gave that up when I realised I’d look like Alex Mack disappearing fatly into the carpet. He at least waited a minute or so before ringing the doorbell and we both had to bluff our way through as though nothing had happened. There’s always something with me, isn’t there? I caught him pouring dishwasher salt into his eyes later, which I thought was a mite excessive. Anyway, they’re up now, and it looks lovely. Paul can’t reach the middle blind though because his short legs and spherical belly preclude him from getting anywhere near the window, but hey, that’s a small price to pay for better blinds.

Right! The recipe for a chicken and ham picnic loaf then. This looks like it would be a pain in the arse to make but it’s actually ridiculously easy. Barely any cooking, customise it how you want and completely syn free. This is based on a Romanian dish called drob – you would usually use chicken livers but Paul isn’t a fan so we had to swap them out. Finally, we used wild garlic – it is growing everywhere in the wild now and as long as you wash off the dog piss, it’s great to use. Out walking and notice a smell of garlic (and it isn’t blasting out of your hoop at the time)? Pick the leaves! Here’s a guide if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Can’t find it? Fret not. Swap it out for rocket. Or basil. Whatever you like!

chicken and ham picnic loaf

to make a chicken and ham picnic loaf, you’ll need:

  • 500g of chicken breast
  • 500g of cooked ham (I bought a joint with no fat on it from Lidl for two or three quid – nice and easy!)
  • two big bunches of spring onion
  • a couple of big handfuls of either wild garlic leaves or rocket (washed)
  • 1 bunch of dill (use dried if you prefer)
  • 1 bunch of parsley (see above)
  • 8 eggs
  • lots of salt and pepper

Looking for good chicken breasts? You know we love Musclefood and I’d normally pop an advert in for our hampers, but actually, they’ve got something brilliant now – build your OWN hamper, choosing from whatever slimming or lean meats you need. Now there’s no excuses! Click here to have a gander.

Look though, you can customise this how you like. Add different herbs, spices, different meat…you’ll need a bog-standard load tin, lined with greaseproof paper. Give it a few squirts of oil if you’re not convinced it won’t stick. Pop the over onto 180 degrees.

to make a chicken and ham picnic loaf, you should:

  • boil four eggs for twelve minutes or so until hardboiled, then leave to cool
  • cook your chicken breasts – I went down the route of boiling them – worked really well – boil for fifteen minutes then allow to cool (make sure it’s cooked through)
  • assembly time – cut the chicken breasts into small cubes – 1cm or so
  • do the same with the cooked ham
  • chop the spring onions nice and fine (including all the green stalks), chop the parsley, chop the dill and then chop the rocket/garlic
  • you want nice uniform pieces of everything
  • put everything into a bowl, beat four eggs with a load of salt and pepper, then stir everything together – you don’t want too much egg but if you think it is looking a bit dry, beat another egg into it
  • press the mixture into a loaf tin about 1/3 of the way – really press it down, you want it compact
  • lay your four cooked eggs on top and then put the rest of the mixture around and over the top – press it down as compact as you can
  • if everything is ready to go, pop it in the oven for about fifty minutes until the top has browned off a bit, then allow to cool down – overnight in the fridge preferably
  • slice and serve – it might be a bit crumbly but mine stayed together well! Enjoy!

This really is worth getting some wild garlic for if you can be arsed – and if you have any left over, make it into this garlic pesto!

Want more recipes? Click away!

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J

amazing Slimming World chicken satay stir-fry

Here for the best ever Slimming World chicken satay you’ll ever put in your mouth? Of course you are. But you know the drill by now. Grin and bear it. Push out, it’ll be easier.

Only a quick word from us tonight – I won’t lie to you, we’ve got a giant Ritter Sport from the local Lidl to get through and an episode of 24: Legacy to watch. I know, we’re so cosmopolitan. If it makes you feel any better Paul will be massaging and ped-egging my feet whilst we watch TV until it looks as though it’s been snowing on our black settee.

But, we couldn’t let you down, so we’ve GOT A MAN ROUND TO SATISFY YOU. And good God, look at his length! Yes, we’re leaving you in the very capable of hands of Big Dave who we will hand over to to provide tonight’s yak. If you want to contribute and get your blurb up here, send it in to us! I loved this entry, not least because I related so hard I almost had a mind-melt with the author. Also, please: we love feedback on our guest writers – I want to encourage those who want to tell a story to have a chance. Our next entry will be the next part of our France shenanigans, by the way….


a life of losing weight – by Dave

I have been on a diet since I was 5!  It was the School Nurse who started it. Her main duty was as Nit Nurse; “Nitty Norah – The Bug Explorer” they were universally named, and their job was to hunt out headlice. We did not have the BMI in those days and I don’t even remember having a weighing machine. She took one look at me, towering above the rest of Primary 1, dug out the three children hiding behind me and issued me with a letter to take home. It was just a folded piece of paper but I would no more have looked at it than I would have complained had Nitty Norah pulled hairs out by the roots. Which she did. I think she wanted more than one outcome for investigating the fat kid. Oh, wait a minute, we did not have “outcomes” in 1950’s health care so she must have been the sadistic old biddy we thought she was.

Letters were scarce in those days too, especially those scrawled in green crayon on a sheet torn from an exercise book (jotter to my Scottish fans) so my mother took it and clipped me round the ear as a note from school must be about bad behaviour, and proceeded to scrub my head with Derbac, and then crippled any surviving lice by tugging the nit comb through what hair remained. Of course I did not have nits but a note from a nurse warranted the full treatment. She then sat down with a fag and a cup of tea to read the note.

Without a word about the epistle, next day she accompanied me to school to find out the meaning of “David is obese”. Another thing about the 50’s was without the internet and with libraries being designed and run to keep the working classes AWAY from books the use of the term “obese” was surrounded in medical mystery. After having the diagnosis explained she was advised to make me drink a large glass of water before each meal and that would reduce my food intake. No advice about “healthy diet” or “calories” as these were only invented in the 60’s when we had “never had it so good”, in the words of our then Prime Minister, Harold McMillan. That was the era we abandoned vegetables that needed to be boiled for hours to have any prospect of successful mastication. Does anyone remember ‘woody carrots’?  Not a music hall performer but carrots had a core like firewood that did not respond to boiling.  We now had “Mother’s Pride, white sliced bread. Processed to rid it of all those Nasty nutrients. Better access to butter and cheese.  Money to be able to indulge in toasted tea cakes and milky coffee at Ibbotson the Baker and ice cream with red sauce at Meschia’s Ice Cream Shop.

The water trick might have worked for that shrivelled old stick Nitty Norah but not for a growing boy. Add to that mix, mother’s history of seven years in hospital with TB. Tuberculosis was seen as a disease of poverty, neglect and general poor parenting. None of those applied to my mum but the shame of TB was akin to that of AIDS in the 1990’s and as doctors always knew best any protestations were meaningless. So mum was determined her boys were not going to be hungry or dirty. Therefore the growing boy just continued to grow.

Another diagnosis of the time was the infliction that was “a phase”, so friends assured us it was just “puppy fat” that I would shed as I aged. “Phase” was applied to my chronic pain, sexuality, religion and move to Scotland, all of which I am still waiting to grow out of, 65 years on.

My next diet I undertook at 16 and 24 stone when I entered the world of work in a dairy laboratory , became friends with a fat girl and found everyone at work was on the magical Yoghurt Diet. Yoghurt was a new part of “having it so good”, it was also very sour to our tastebuds so it needed three spoons of sugar per pot to get it down. So the Yoghurt Diet failed. As did the next great discovery of the 70’s – the Grapefruit Diet. On that you ate what you wanted but provided you had a grapefruit that gobbled up all the fat. Grapefruit was really sour, four teaspoons of sugar.

It was around this time that calories made their way to the north of England in the form of the 1000 calorie diet. So everyone had a wee book in which one could look up the calories and try to assemble three meals and supper out of your 1000 calorie allowance. This time, with deprivation and starvation I shed 6 stone and the tailor-made lab coat that I wore everywhere to cover my bulk. It was WHITE, we still had not discovered how to hide fat with dark colours, vertical stripes and a coat worn open at the front to fool everyone into thinking you were only the width of the gap between the buttons.

I learned that only a dedicated masochist or catwalk model could keep to this diet. I think that must have been when the “Kleenex and Capstan Full Strength” diet was born so the weight went back on.

Over the ensuing years I followed “The Cabbage Soup diet”, “Canadian Air Force diet”, “Raw Egg and Milk diet”, “Atkins”, “Paleo”, “Caveman”, “GQ”, “Vogue” “Autotrader” etc., etc. ad nauseum. I have applied creams to cellulite, suffered hypnosis and acupuncture, worn electric pads, tight cords, rubber suits (no, hang on, that was fetish, not weight loss) but as it all comes under the heading of sadomasochism I am still counting it. It has all WORKED, I have lost the combined weight of everyone with the KY4 post code. And put it back on again!

Fast forward, or for fellow fatties – proceed at your best pace. Mine is on a pair of exercise pedals so I don’t get far, it is now 2016 and my latest cruise left me feeling hot and uncomfortable when squeezed into my penguin suit. As I am fairly immobile these days it is all to easy to have biscuits and coffee to alleviate boredom which, added to an activity log spanning Holly and Phil, through Judge Rinder, ending in a vigorous watching of the late night Holly City is not a recognised diet. I am well prepared for fluctuations because as a regular cruiser I have penguin suits in various sizes. In fact, my wardrobe goes from French flares to a Mumu. The various sizes allows me to glare with righteous indignation at other men in their DJs who claim they are still wearing the suit they bought for their wedding. They do not appear bothered by the fact that the trousers now fasten at the pubes and the bow tie is draped round an open neck shirt in the belief that they will resemble Hugh Grant while they perspire their way through the late night buffet.

So, time to shed the pounds and try to gain control of my blood sugar as my medication has crept up to 9 tablets a day yet without the required control. My brother had just lost four stone with Slimming World and his daughter also lost three. I was surprised when we enjoyed a cruise together at just how simple it seemed and how much he could eat. I had never been much for groups, particularly slimming clubs as I knew I was a fat frump and did not need to be shamed by the fact. That would DEmotivate me. But in the course of my work I met so many people who enthused about Slimming World. So in desperation, and in secret, I crept into the Kelty group. Having taken the step I did not want anyone to know in case they tried to undermine me, either by running down the idea of a group or of trying to feed me up. I am sure you have all experienced “on a diet? you don’t need to diet!” or “go on, I am sure you can allow yourself a treat!”, “you are on holiday, diet when you get home!”

I was immediately impressed that newbies met in a small group while the “losers” were getting weighed. Alun, our consultant, was a gift. So unassuming, engaging, encouraging (I won’t say much more as he blushes easily). There were four of us joined that night so we had a bond and at least knew a couple of names. I work with “group theory” so was very aware of how difficult it can be for new people to join an established group. No worries, everyone was friendly and encouraging and we had a laugh. Some nights we were almost sick with laughter. One particular group, one of ladies, late 70’s was dismayed the week she did not lose. “But I have been so good, I kept to the plan, I even had my legs waxed!”  Well it went from bad to worse, ribbing about how hairy her legs must have been if she was hoping it would  add to her weight loss, jokes about Brazilians, etc.  That became the pattern for groups, lots of fun, great support and regular activities to keep us connected. Inventive “quizzes ” about speed foods, super foods and syns, food tastings, awards and what SlimmingWorld group would be complete without “stickers”.

Alun has a wee army of half a dozen volunteers, each one just as cheerful, friendly and willing to share experience and give encouragement. They run the shop, do the memberships, records, weigh in and sell tickets for the weekly raffle. The raffle income provides for free tea and coffee and the raffle prize, always a selection of foods and equipment related to a SW recipe for the week. The pop up shop sells SW books, magazines and SW snack bars.

Alun is a frustrated showman. Every group is a performance as group members egg him on and always manage to find new ways embarrass him. It is all in good sport and no one is ever personal or cruel. This week he was trying to convey the message that when a woman is at a certain part of her menstrual cycle she may appear to retain or put on weight but will still lose over time.  This to a group of worldly wise women but with Alun trying to avoid saying period, menstruation, time of the month or cycle. We are all very fond of him and would like to adopt him 😉

So I started my journey ten weeks before Christmas at something over 20 stone. I managed to lose 22lbs in that time and have never eaten so well and so varied. I began to feel great, move better and get my blood sugar under control with only TWO tablets per day. So by the cruise leaving New Year’s Day my clothes were fitting comfortably. Now, cruise officianadoes will tel you that you can expect to put on one pound in weight for each night of the cruise.  So this was a seventeen night cruise – 17lbs on. When I got back I went to Group with a bit of foreboding as I had eaten so well on the cruise but as far as possible had kept to the SlimmingWorld plan. I lost a further 2lbs!  I tried my best to convince Alun that I should be credited with 19lbs the 2 I lost plus the 17 I did not put on. He might be charming but he is tough so I did not get more stickers.

So I have signed on for another 12 weeks. I am not far of my 2 stone and hope to pass 3 by April. So to anyone who is swithering I would totally endorse SW and say when you join, please, if you can, stay to Group. Many people just come to weigh in but Group helps keep you on track and in between meetings we have this Facebook group.


Thanks to Dave for that, even if he did give me a run for my money on the old word-count-a-meter – we don’t often get the male side of things mentioned when it comes to Slimming World. The magazine entries are always the same, full of charming young men who have lost 15 stone and are pictured holding their Farah slacks out in front of them with a ‘I SHIT YOU NOT’ expression on their face. Then invariably we’ll get the paragraph about it being daunting stepping in front of loads of women. Pfft. I walk into every class singing like Cilla at the start of Surprise Surprise. Articles for men usually involve some po-faced guide on checking your balls or sticking a finger up your arse to tickle your prostate and frankly, it’s hard enough to eat a Rocky Road Hifi bar without that streaky image in my mind.

Right, let’s do the recipe, shall we? I’ve seen chicken satay before done with sweetener and powdered peanut butter and I just think, why bother? Use proper ingredients, a few syns, and have a dish that is worth writing home about. You’re on a diet, not doing time for manslaughter. Enjoy your food!

Slimming World chicken satay

to make amazing Slimming World chicken satay stir fry you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, sliced thinly
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (optional)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • handful of sliced spring onions

Time for a bit of promo: you can get so many big, plump, juicy chicken breasts in our various Musclefood deals! Take a look at our summer box – it’s got 24 ruddy breasts, bacon, sausages, mince, beef…all sorts, lovely and cheap!

for the seasoning

  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½tsp turmeric
  • ½tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (any will do – used Tikka)
  • ½tsp salt
  • ½tsp pepper

for the satay sauce

  • 2 tbsp reduced fat peanut butter (8 syns)
  • 2 tsp honey (2 syns)
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1½ tbsp rice vinegar (cider vinegar will do)
  • 1½ tbsp sriracha
  • 150ml light coconut milk (7.5 syns)

to make amazing Slimming World chicken satay stir fry you should:

  • tip the sliced chicken in a bowl and sprinkle over the bicarbonate of soda (it helps to tenderise it – it’s what the takeaways do!) and leave it to do it’s thang for 20 minutes
  • meanwhile, mix together in a bowl all of the ingredients for the seasoning and set aside
  • do the same in a separate bowl for the satay sauce and set aside
  • sprinkle over 2tsp of the seasoning mix over the chicken and mix it all in so the chicken is well coated
  • pour the rest of the seasoning mix in with the satay sauce, add 125ml of water and stir well
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and add the onion and garlic, cook for a few minutes
  • add the chicken and stir fry until cooked
  • reduce the heat to medium and pour in the satay sauce and cook for another few minutes until it thickens
  • serve (rice is nice with it) and sprinkle on the spring onions

Enjoy. I mean, come on now, how easy was that? Want more things to do with your breasts? I understand. Click the buttons below!

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Mwah!

James, Paul and Dave

lemon and garlic chicken

Lemon and garlic chicken if you don’t mind! Sorry that you’ve had two Instant Pot recipes on the bounce, but well, it’s a new gadget and we have to make a fuss about it. Remember though, we’ve included a non-pressure cooker recipe to go with it. I have to say I’m impressed – my memories of a pressure cooker involve my nana making marmalade in something that looked like a Dr Who villain whistling away on the job just itching to explode. I remind you she was tone deaf and this model was made long before such trivialities as a safety valve existed.

I used to be sitting doing a jigsaw with her and you’d know you only had a few minutes before certain death because the table would be shaking and jittering as a result of the build-up in the kitchen. I mean Christ, the whole thing could have gone kaboom and I doubt, save for the eight kilos of seville marmalade splattered around the room, she would have even noticed: might have registered as a light tut on that NHS hearing aid of hers. Bless.

Anyway, before we get to the recipe, can you remember last year when we asked for guest writers to come onboard (it’s OK, I’ll put a towel down) and rattle off some words on whatever topic they wanted? It was a great success – I get sick of reading my own nonsense, trust me – and we’re running it again this year. If you’re interested in writing for the blog, and please, don’t be shy – everyone has a story in their head and this is a good chance to let it out – get in touch. Leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you. Worried you’re not funny? Don’t be. Don’t have to be. Write what you want!

Our first guest writer is Dixie Normous – boom boom – and she would like to talk to you about stupidity. Please: I’m a leathery old fucker who can take abuse and threats against me, but please be nice to our guest writers who may not have the unblinking confidence that I exude from every open pore. Over to Dixie…


Stupidity

When you die you don’t feel anything. The pain is felt by those around you. The same thing applies when you are stupid. Normally I don’t cope well with dumb people. But we all know that one person who isn’t stupid but just comes out with that odd gem that makes everyone stop and look at them before laughing so hard they all snort. Take my sister-in-law (please). She’s a smart kid, but fuck ME she comes out with some dumb shit. One of her particular classics was when she described Bedlam as ‘where Jesus was born’. The wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead.

At work we have a board on the wall that is covered with dumb shit that people in the office come out with. One of mine is up there when, following a proper shit meeting with a customer where I ended up giving them not only the partridge but the bastarding pear tree too, I came out with the immortal “why do I feel like we just got done at both ends?”

The internet also has a board for dumbaases. It’s called Twitter. Anyone who is anyone will have seen JK Rowling making mincemeat out of that slimy knobcheese Piers Morgan, and she’s bloody clever with it. But sadly, most people are not. I wanted to share something which someone tweeted to me yesterday.

I had been at the football. PNE had drawn at Wigan and it was a crap game. After the game I went to check Twitter and some Wigan fan who was giving it the big one at my mate spotted my profile picture (which was me on my horse) and goes “is that horse ok with you on its back you fat fuck?!” I penned a huge, articulate response (well as much as your tweet allowance dictates) about how he was so unoriginal bla bla bla but then the Devil in me came out and I deleted it and simply wrote “No. I ate it.” He didn’t reply.

Just goes to show “stupid is as stupid does”. Bet he had a cock like a flea bite.

Dixie Normous


See? It’s not just me who can make poison come out of the keys like soap through a sponge! Big thanks to Dixie Normous – round of applause please, if your hands don’t look like potted beef from all the fucking clapping at class.

It may not surprise you to know that I get into a lot of online arguments myself. I can spend many a happy hour puncturing the enthusiasm of some Juiceplus Scammer, pointing out that they’re not selling a miracle drug and living the dream of a billionaire, they’re peddling shite multivitamins and eating store-brand Cheerios in their soiled pyjamas like the best of them.

Anyway, I once got into a particularly vitriolic argument way back when in the day when The X-Files was a big thing. His name was Shepherd (now come on) and he looked like the little scrote in the Bomfunk MC’s Freestyler video, only this bellend’s dreadlocks were matted with flies, semen and dirty. He argued with me because I didn’t want Mulder and Scully to get together (Noromo for life, fuckers!) and here’s the freaky part – he called my house phone late at night to argue with me. I was 15! He was a fully grown adult who was thankfully in the US – I imagine if there hadn’t been the Atlantic between us my face would have been made into a tasteful lampshade by now. I had to call BT and have him blocked before my poor mother picked up the phone to hear some loon shouting REYES HAD NOTHING ON SCULLY NOTHING YOU C*NT at her. She’d only think it was my nana on the Aldi sherry again.

So yes: careful who you argue with.

Can’t pretend this is our own recipe, so full credit goes to predominantelypaleo.com – we’ve adjusted the recipe a bit to make it suitable for Slimming World! I know lemon and garlic chicken may not sound right but trust me, it makes a thick, tangy sauce that you’ll love on your breasts. Actually, we used boneless thighs – thought we’d mix it up a bit. Worked like a charm! Makes enough for four. Yeah that’s right.

to make lemon and garlic chicken you will need

  • 500g-1kg chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 185ml chicken stock
  • 1tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • juice from one lemon
  • 4 tsp cornflour (2 syns)

Three things:

to make lemon and garlic chicken you should:

  • switch the instant pot to saute, add a bit of oil and chuck in the onions, cook for about 5-10 minutes or so until they start to brown
  • add everything else to the pot minus the cornflour, and give a good, gentle stir
  • put the lid on, make sure the vent is set to ‘sealing’ and press the ‘poultry’ button – it should cook for fifteen minutes at high pressure
  • when finished, allow it to either release pressure naturally or use the ‘quick release’ (we did the latter because we couldn’t wait)
  • use a mug or a small pot to scoop out a small amount of liquid and stir in the cornflour
  • remove the chicken from the pot (tongs are best for this), stir in the cornflour mix and whisk or stir until thickened
  • serve! We had rice, topped with a couple of chicken thighs and then spooned over some sauce – lovely!

if you don’t have a pressure cooker – you can do this on the hob, just follow the same instructions as above but use 225ml of chicken stock, and cook in the oven at 190 degrees for 2 hours. Two hours you cry? No I know, but better the chicken is cooked, see. Don’t want you having the splatters do we!

Looking for more things to stick your chicken in? I can’t blame you. More recipes below, as ever.

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J

 

easy to make Slimming World scotch eggs

I’m almost loathe to post a recipe for Slimming World scotch eggs in case I get eight hundred comments from people moaning about Porky Lights or whatever shite sausage is the current cause celebre amongst slimmers, but hey, let’s just do it anyway. It’ll be a nice simple recipe to type up and, as we’re currently tied up with a bit of an unhappy family situation at the moment, I’m pushed for time. Listen, though, we know how much you love our nonsense and frippery so I’m going to put a new holiday post up – not from Switzerland or our latest holiday, but instead, I’m tying up the loose ends of our Cornwall trip. You may remember last year our ‘lovely’ holiday to Cornwall, no? Refresh yourself with parts one, two and three, and then read on. Warning: I’m just not a fan.

twochubbycubs go to cornwall: part four

The last three entries of our Cornwall trip didn’t exactly make the heart sing with joy, did they? Fair warning, it doesn’t get much better. I don’t know what it was about Cornwall that disappointed me – it’s beautiful (in places) and I’m sure there’s lots to see and do if you’re not a curmudgeonly fatty whose sole exercise is leaning over to fart – but perhaps I’m spoiled. I live in what I reckon is the most beautiful county in England – Northumberland – and eye-watering beauty is never more than a twenty-minute drive away. Anyway, hush. It’s been so long since we went away that we’ll have to forgo a chronological narrative, so just assume that wherever there is a full-stop, it’s where Paul and I stopped the car to eat a pasty.

The Eden Project

Sitting in our cottage in Perranporth, with the unseasonable grey skies blowing around overhead, we decided to head for the Eden Project, a thirty or so minute drive away via relatively easy roads, according to our sassy in-car Sat-Nav. Nope. You may recall that I was stricken with a poor neck which meant I couldn’t look right and Paul was equally laid-out with a sore back that meant he couldn’t look left, so you can imagine how much fun driving a car was. Every junction was one step closer to divorce. Things became so tense that I actually just started pulling out of junctions blindly in the hope that a clotted cream tanker would crash into the side of the car, putting us both out of our misery. We’d die the way we lived: sitting down and covered in fat.

The sat-nav did indeed take us the most direct route but for some reason, confined us almost exclusively to single-track roads. I reckon if you counted up the miles we did in reverse it would actually work out that we never left the cottage in the first place. Why does every road in Cornwall need to be framed by an impenetrable hedge or crumbling wall? At one point we were stuck between a car coming towards us, eight walkers in rustling (is there any other kind) all-weather-ware, two cyclists and a lorry behind us tooting his horn. It was like playing Screwball Scramble, but in a DS3 littered with crumbs and sheer, blinding rage.

We arrived, filling the valley with swearing and Cher, and parked up in the lime car-park. Cheek, I’m a gay man, put me in the plantain park and I’ll be sure to back up correctly. We did think about waiting for the courtesy bus but we could see the entrance only a moment’s walk away and thought better of it. That’s a fib actually, there was a coach full of old folk gamely walking down the hill and putting us to shame so we couldn’t. Buggers.

Getting into the Eden Project cost us £50 between us. That, right there, tells you everything you need to know about it. Yes, it’s lovely and pleasant and the work they do is great, but £50? Kiss my arse. They temper this by allowing you to visit all year long but given that most of their visitors are tourists, that’s a bit of a pointless endeavour – it’s not like I could turn to Paul on a windy Sunday and ask if he fancied a nose round the gift-shop at Eden, and could he prepare the car for the 800-mile round trip. Pfft. I appreciate these places have to make money because gosh, who else is going to pay for all the wank, but haway.

You could have put what we both knew about the Eden Project before we visited on the back of a seed packet. Paul had a vague recollection that it was used in Die Another Day and I automatically assumed that those giant plastic zits were full of bees like in The X-Files movie, but we were both wrong. No, The Eden Project is a very worthwhile endeavour by lots of horticulturists (my favourite horticulturist? Brian Sewell – boom boom) to get as many tourists as possible in one place.

How we admired the many different ways that people could inconvenience us – one particularly (and quite literally) pushy mother gently nudged me out of the way whilst I was reading an enthralling information board on bamboo. She wanted to take a picture of her child, but I hazarded a guess that had I picked up said child and pitched her into the wilderness that I would have been asked to leave, and damn it, I wanted my £25 worth.

We wandered around the herb garden, we idled around the flower section, we sweated our tits off in the rainforest section. It was all very interesting – we’re not complete philistines, you understand – but the sheer amount of people similarly feigning interest in a sugarbush was hard to take. We climbed various stairs and gantries to get a picture of the waterfall only to find such a task impossible due to the sea of giant lenses and Mumsnetters that filled every conceivable space. Deflated, both from disappointment and the sweat wicking away from our body, we left the biomes and staggered outside, where a fine mist (either rain or aerated sweat) greeted us. That, at least, was pleasant.

Now, look here. We’re just as capable of enjoying a garden centre as the best of them. You’ll often find us at Heighley Gate on a Sunday afternoon fingering the dahlias or cooing over the roses. We’ve had lengthy and earnest conversations about the merits of various composts: I prefer to buy in, Paul’s rustic and would spread his own if I let him shit in the garden. But something about The Eden Project left us both cold. Ho-hum.

We stopped for something to eat, thinking we could at least salvage some of the entrance fee by having something delightful in the onsite restaurants, but even these were overpriced and understaffed. Everywhere was noise: children screaming, old people clacking their teeth, parents sighing and braying. The food was what you’d expect from a place like this plus a 20% tedium surcharge. We went outside where, thanks to the rain, we were relatively alone. We ordered a small pasty and a coke (I say coke, I’m sure at least three varieties of dandelion were pressed into it along with a shock of hipster beard hair) and sat down in the drizzle. The pasty was drier than a popcorn fart and the coke was flat. Ho-hum, again.

We made to make our way back to the lime car-park and spotted that this would involve a walk at a level significantly more than horizontal. Panic set in until we spotted that a little tractor with a trailer on the back was trundling around picking up visitors. We hastened over and climbed aboard with barely enough time to wipe the pastry crumbs away from my shirt (I was worried that they’d burst into flames if they rubbed together given how fucking dry the thing was). We were joined in the carriage by another couple – a cheery man with the strongest Geordie accent I’ve ever heard (and bear in mind my dad’s accent is so strong that Paul didn’t understand a word of it for six months, becoming the only person in existence to form a familial relationship on nothing more than polite nods and ‘ee-I-knows’) and a woman on an oxygen tank.

We had spotted them earlier gamely making their way around the biomes and they spent a good five minutes chatting with us, which was lovely. At one point she took off her oxygen mask and told us they were only getting the tractor because she couldn’t manage hills with her failing lungs and we felt terrible: not just for her, but also because we were clearly only getting the tractor because our fat ankles were bowing under the weight of four days of constant and committed pasty consumption. We bid them goodbye (well, I did, Paul was struggling to understand – to him it probably sounded like me and the other gentlemen were arguing in Icelandic) and made our way back to the car.

Just like Land’s End, I drove out of the car park in an absolute fury. The whole exercise just annoys me, you know. People say to holiday in the UK but every god-damn tourist attraction is out to extract just as much money as they can get away with short of employing urchins to root through your pockets for change whilst you go for a piss. I appreciate that places need money to stay afloat but for goodness sake, calm the fuck down.

We took our time driving back to the cottage and decided to stop at a charming little pub that we’d spotted on the way to Eden. It was in a fantastic location – beer garden looking out over lush green fields with a bit of twinkling sea just off on the horizon. The weather had lightened up and, after some energetic singing and maybe, just maybe, a cheer-up-for-fuck’s-sake-blowjob from Paul, all was well. We fair cantered (Paul more so than me – I had to do that discreet unsticking of James Junior from my leg that all men know) out of the car hoping we’d at least get some ale (just a half for me) and food. What could go wrong?

YET AGAIN: EVERYTHING. You know in comedy sketches they occasionally do a joke where a stranger walks into a bar and the whole place falls silent? That’s exactly what happened to us. It was like someone turned off my hearing as soon as we stepped over the threshold. Admittedly there were only a few chaps in there at 3pm in the afternoon but they all looked at us silently and furiously. If it hadn’t been for the disembodied electronic voice of Noel Edmonds shrieking at me to hold my nudges blaring out of the fruit machine I would have sworn I had gone deaf. Paul pushed me from behind (lucky me, normally takes him a good couple of hours and a nap) and we made our way to the bar.

The bar man had one of those faces that told me he’d last smiled in 1977, perhaps when a barn-fire had killed his more handsome brother. There was no hello, how are you, what would you like – just an impassive stare like I was some unwelcome intruder on this otherwise jumping social vista. It felt like I was trying to order from a grazing cow. I asked for two drinks with equal solemnity, paid for them and moved away, all in the continued silence of the bar. We sat outside and had no sooner taken our first pull from the all-head-no-beer drinks when Mr Chatty came outside and started moving tables around, ostensibly because they were expecting a wedding party. I decided against asking if he was doing the best man’s speech as I didn’t fancy driving home with a pint glass sticking out of my face. I haven’t felt as unwelcome in a drinking establishment since I got caught giving my then-boyfriend a blowjob in a Yates Wine Lodge.

Listen, I know, I’m ashamed of that too. I mean come on, a Yates Wine Lodge? What was I thinking?

We didn’t bother finishing our drinks. We didn’t bother looking at the food menu (I presumed that the food would be served with the same kind of panache as the witty raillery from the barman). No, yet again, we drove furiously out of the car park and went back to the cottage, where actually, we spent a very pleasant night getting drunk and smoking cigars the size of shot-putters’ arms in the garden. I only hope that some of that thick smoke made its way across the valley and right up the nostrils of that miserable arse of a barman. I hope his sinuses throbbed and ached and the wedding ended in disaster.

Pfft: Cornwall. You’re really on a roll…


I wish I could say it gets better, but my mother always told me never to lie and well, she could still take me in a fight so who am I to argue? Never argue with a lass who can grow a better moustache, that’s what I say. So this scotch eggs recipe then. Look: the syns depend mostly on the sausages you use. If you use sausages that come in white bags of 46 and have the word animal in speech marks in the ingredients list, they’ll be high in syns. But if you choose good quality sausages with a high meat content, they ought to be low in syns. To be safe, though, use Porky Lights, Musclefood sausages or any other low-syn variety. Sssh, but here’s a secret, we actually used chicken sausages for these, which in turn created a weird feeling of eating a chicken containing an egg. Oo-er. Let’s pretend I used pork sausages and say no more, eh?

slimming world scotch eggs

to make Slimming World scotch eggs, you’re gonna need:

  • eight sausages of your choice
  • one packet of quail eggs (or use normal eggs and just make bigger scotch eggs, I don’t care)
  • lots of black pepper (low syn sausages usually have the taste profile of asbestos, so this adds flavour)
  • 100g plain cous cous (if you’re feeling like a decadent hussy, use flavoured couscous, but watch the syns)
  • one beef stock cube and lots of worcestershire sauce
  • a non-boiled egg

Generally, each sausage will make one scotch egg, so I’m (because I used Porky Lights) putting these at half a syn each.

to make Slimming World scotch eggs, why y’oughta:

  • boil your eggs – if you’re using quail eggs, you’re looking at a couple of minutes (check the packet) in boiling water, for bigger eggs you’ll need to boil for about ten minutes or so – you don’t want them like ping pong balls, after all
  • meanwhile, squeeze your meat by fingering your sausage – you want it all coming out of the end, see – you’ll get sticky fingers doing this but that’s alright. You don’t need to wear protection just as long as you wipe them on your trousers afterwards – you flirt
  • hoy a load of black pepper in there – you want to get your lips tingling, after all, no?
  • cook your couscous according to the packet – but cook it in the beef stock and add worcestershire sauce to add taste
  • then see, it’s all about assembly – wrap the peeled boiled eggs in sausagemeat, and then roll it in cooked couscous – I like to squeeze the couscous into the sausage meat first, then roll in egg, and do a second coating of the couscous
  • bake in the oven for about 30 minutes on 190 degrees until cooked through – you’ll know it’s cooked when the juices stop dripping – when that happens, pop a towel down and enjoy your dinner!

Want more snack ideas? Then click the buttons. Yeah. Like that.

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Cheers big ears!

J