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:

poultrysmall lunchsmallpastasmall   snackssmall soupsmalldrinkssmallonepot

Enjoy!

J

cheesy baked boozy basil rigatoni

No time for shenanigans tonight, so it’s a cheesy baked boozy basil rigatoni for you and an early night for me. An early night? Yes. I’m in desperate need of one. I don’t want to be crass but we had a takeaway last night and the twilit hours became an assault on all the senses. Twice I was woken by my own flatulence, then by Paul laughing at his own flatulence, then the cat gagging, then the vet’s ambulance arriving, then stomach pains, then being unable to breath due to the lack of oxygen in the room. I swear if our alarm clark had been faulty and started sparking we would have ended up in a Backdraft style situation. I didn’t get to sleep until way past 4am and Paul hasn’t been to sleep at all. Not going to lie, it made it difficult driving into work on the motorway, not least because everyone was so loud with their beeping as they rudely drove towards me. Tsk.

I will however take a moment to say THANK YOU to everyone who has bought the paperback and proper weighty versions of our books – I didn’t think anyone would want us in hard form but here we find ourselves, looking at the Amazon sales, seeing tonnes of you snapping the buggers up! Perhaps you’re planning on taking us on holiday, perhaps you want your husband to get jealous at the thought of you spending the night with two strapping men, who knows? Either way, thank you. You’ve paid for our next holiday! If anyone else wants to hold us firmly in your hands and demand satisfaction, you can buy all of our books here!

Right, dinner then. Nowt to this, very easy to make but lovely and tasty!

to make cheesy baked boozy basil rigatoni you will need:

  • 350g rigatoni
  • 280g frozen spinach
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (this bad boy will make the job easier)
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 60ml red wine (2 syns) (we use Asda cooking wine to avoid opening the fancy stuff)
  • 1 medium courgette, sliced and then quartered
  • 180g ricotta (2x HeA)
  • 140g reduced fat mozzarella, torn up into small pieces (2x HeA)

to make cheesy baked boozy basil rigatoni you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • cook the rigatoni according to the instructions but still with a little bite to them, then drain
  • heat a little oil in a large frying pan and and add the spinach until it has defrosted and wilted, tip into a sieve and squeeze out as much water as you can and plop back into the pan
  • add the chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, wine and courgette to the pan, mix well and bring to a simmer
  • reduce the heat and then add the ricotta and a quarter of the mozarella, and give a good stir
  • spray a large baking dish (save your pans and ditch the Frylight, get this instead!) with oil and tip in the pasta and then the sauce, giving it a good stir to mix it up
  • top with the remaining mozzarella and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes
  • eat

Hungry for more? click one of the buttons below to get even more tasty recipes!

lunchsmallpastasmallvegetariansmall seafoodsmallbreakfastsmall

J

meatball masala sauce – syn free and tasty!

Meatball masala! Why not? Plus, because we’re all about quick and punchy these days, the recipe is just below! But first…

I’m actually feeling particularly cross after having an argument with an idiot on Facebook about aspartame. We can all take a view on it, that’s fine, but she was adamant that she ‘never ingests any sort of chemical, only pure and natural’. I pointed out that water is a chemical and she got in a right old strop, pointing out that because she gets a headache from aspartame, it clearly means that it’s poison, not just that she’s sensitive to it. I cautiously mentioned that just because I’m allergic to pineapple doesn’t make the Man from Del fucking Monte a bioterrorist.

We agreed to disagree and so here I am, brain leaking from my ears. The problem is people get themselves so wound up in their misguided belief in some shitty product that they can’t possibly see reason or logic or common sense. There’s a post going around with some insoles for shoes that people ‘swear’ drain the fat out of your body as you wear them. How, at the end of a busy day, do they not take off their shoes, realise that these plastic insoles don’t look like buttered toast and then realise it’s a load of bloody twaddle? Where do they think the fat goes – decanted out of their shoelaces like a tiny petrol pump? There’s no helping some people. I genuinely think if I set up a facebook profile selling jars of ‘slimming air’ that has ‘been PROVEN BY SCIENCE’ to ‘help shift those pounds’ I’d get at least five people trying to sell it to me.

Anyway, enough chitter-chatter. Let’s get this meal done. Now this dinner doesn’t look amazing, and trust me when I say you could easily bulk it out with more veg and other nonsense, but it tastes mighty fine and served with decent rice, you’ll be cooking on gas.

to make meatball masala you will need:

  • 400g beef mince
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of chilli powder
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp turmeric

Our hampers have meatballs 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 meatball masala you should: –

  • in a bowl, mix together the beef mince, egg and chilli powder and form into twelve meatballs, then leave in the fridge to firm up
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, spray in a bit of oil (don’t ruin your pans with Frylight, get one of these instead) and add the sliced onions
  • cook the onions for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden
  • add the garlic, cumin, garam masala and turmeric
  • stir well, and cook for about a minute
  • add the carrot, celery and red pepper to the pan along with the tin of tomatoes
  • fill the tin with water, slosh about and pour into the pan
  • bring to the boil, cover, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes
  • meanwhile, heat another pan over a medium-high heat and spray with oil
  • add the meatballs, stir frequently until they are completely cooked through (or, even better, use an Actifry and take out the paddle – it works perfectly)
  • when the masala sauce has finished cooking, use a stick blender (or an upright one if you have one) and blend until smooth
    add the meatballs to the sauce and serve

Easy peasy! Warning, you might get a hot ring! More ideas?

poultrysmallbeefsmallporksmalllambsmall

J

ham, pease pudding, roasties and er…rumbledethumps

Yes, rumbledethumps. It sounds like a coy euphemism for getting nasty but actually, it’s a very pleasant side dish of cabbage and potatoes. If anything, having cabbage tends to exclude any possibility of having nookie-noo later thanks to all the resulting flatus. But give it a go!

Just a very quick recipe tonight thanks to Paul and his big fat arse. No, let me finish. See, for about four months now, our computer chair has been slowly breaking under our combined weight/bouncing/spinning/wanking. One of the arms snapped off a few weeks ago but that’s alright, as long as you hold yourself stiff (and god knows I’ve got plenty of experience keeping myself stiff in front of the Internet) you can still type. But about a fortnight ago the hydraulics started failing and we would end up sinking, ever so slowly, closer to the floor as we typed. That’s fine until you realise you’re typing with your eye-line just over the top of the keyboard and your neck sounds like a cement mixer.

Things came to a head last night when Paul leaned back in the chair to contemplate my offerings of Chinese or Indian when there was a tremendous crack and the entire back of the chair came away, sending him hilariously to the floor, rolling on his back like a stuck turtle. Paul falling over anything always cracks me up and I spent a good five minutes clutching the settee and laughing until my vision went blurry and I had to sit down. I think it’s because he makes a proper comedy fat-person noise when he tumbles – the sort of noise a bouncy castle would make if you drove a car into it. I’m a terrible husband, aren’t I?

So yes, picture me now, sat here, legs bowed under me, no back support, the gentle hiss of air escaping as I’m lowered further and further to the floor, and you’ll understand why I must hasten to the recipe! On we go…

rumbledethumps

To be honest, this meal is just a collection of nice things so although I’ll cover the other three bits, rumbledethumps is what I’ll focus on. It’s a lovely side of potato, cabbage, onion and cheese, and let’s be honest, everything is better when covered in cheese. Nearly everything. No-one like a brie lollipop, just sayin’

ham

Nothing more fancy than Waitrose’s Pulled Ham Hock (I think Paul did that yesterday when he fell out of his chair) pressed into a nice shape with a ring-press (think he did that too) (you can buy a mould here) and topped with a tablespoon of piccalilli. The ham is syn free and piccalilli is half a syn per tablesspoon but I never syn it because I’m a frightful slut.

pease pudding

We buy our pease pudding from a lovely local business called Pete’s Puddin’ – it comes in bog standard flavour, Newcastle Brown Ale flavour, Cheese and Pickle flavour and best of all for someone like me who would happily main-line the stuff straight into my veins, Marmite flavour. I bought the stuff because I was so taken with his puns (and also they were selling it in Sausology, another local business) and never looked back. It’s amazing – you can find buy it yourself here: http://www.petespuddin.com/ 

I know pease pudding isn’t for everyone but we bloody love it and the flavoured versions are almost guaranteed to give you the proper fanny gallops if you try them. I’m not recommending this product because we’re getting a kickback or money or half an hour with a rough-handed lorry driver in a pool of pease pudding, no, I’m recommending because it’s bloody delicious. Plus, it’s good to support a local industry, and you cannot get any more local than buying pease pudding from the market in the centre of Newcastle. Well, unless Denise Welch was stottin’ a stottie offa Cheryl Cuuurl’s heed next to you, haway man pet etc. No, you haven’t tuned into Vera.

Oh, and it’s syn free.

roasties

We often have these tiny roasties – if you’ve got an Actifry, and if not, why not, just cut your potatoes up nice and small, whack on some worcestershire sauce and two oxo cubes and set them away. If you don’t have an actifry, cut the potatoes up, make a thickish liquid with two oxo cubes and a splash of water, tumble the potatoes around in it and cook in the oven until scrummy-yummy. Scrummy-yummy? Yes, I vomited into my mouth on typing it too.

rumbledethumps

Best to use leftovers for this but let’s just say, for the sake of argument, you can’t be arsed and/or you’re too fat to leave leftovers. That’s us. This makes enough for four people as a side, so you know what, I’m going to use butter again! I’m using a few odds leftover from the rosti so hopefully you’ll have everything in. So you will need:

  • 750g of potato, peel them if you’re fancy – or use a mixture of potato and cubed turnip, chop into cubes
  • 500g of cabbage, any old cabbage will do, but we used savoy, sliced super thinly
  • 25g of reduced fat butter (7 syns)
  • two fat onions, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, sliced thinly
  • 120g of strong mature cheddar (4 x HEA)
  • a good handful of chopped chives
  • lots of black pepper and salt

If you’re wanting to make this quick, use a mandolin slicer to cut the onions and cabbage – it’ll be done in less than a minute. The one we use is here! Only a tenner, too!

To make rumbledethumps you should:

  • boil your potato or tatty and turnip mix for about twenty minutes until soft and then mash – don’t mash it too finely, just give it a quick going over – a knee-trembler, if you will
  • meanwhile, melt that delicious butter and gently cook the onions and cabbage, oh so slowly now, until everything is soft and cooked – takes about the same amount of time as the potatoes and don’t be shy of adding a drop of water if things start to stick
  • tip the butter, cabbage and onion into the mash mixture and stir like a bugger, adding two thirds of the cheese and a good few twists of salt and pepper
  • drop the lot into a wee oven dish and top with the rest of the cheese and some chives
  • cook for about fifteen minutes or so and then plop it onto your plates with everything else!

Eeee, what a handy way to use up spare veg. Cabbage and turnip are always in the bargain bins at tesco so help yourself!

Looking for more veg ideas? Meat ideas? Anything at all? Click the buttons!

vegetariansmallpoultrysmallporksmallfakeawayssmall pastasmall

Enjoy!

J

chilli beefy macaroni cheese

Now, before we get to the chilli beefy macaroni cheese, just a couple of opening thoughts before Christmas Day lands. A neighbour, albeit a distant one from the street next to ours, stopped me this morning as I was going to the car to find my wallet (in my “paint” splattered dressing gown, the shame) (at least I wasn’t wearing my Club World slippers that I nicked from BA mind). You know why he stopped me? Because he felt he had to tell me why we weren’t getting a Christmas card from him this year – because we hadn’t given him one last year. I’m glad he let me know, the evenings I’ve spent sighing dramatically into my pillow and turning my back towards the sun through the sheer anguish of not knowing. For fucks sake. I bet he’s been fizzing about it all year. I tried to hide my upset as he broke the news but I’m sure my face crumpling into my chest and my wailing as I shuffled back to the house gave the game away.

Along those lines, another big thank you for the Christmas cards which are still arriving – the fact that so many of you took the time to send a card with a wee note in it has warmed my heart and touched me in a way that hasn’t happened since I was in the school choir. It really has been lovely reading everyone’s stories and well wishes and I promise that we’ll continue on for a bit longer yet!

Finally, I just wanted to say to everyone: have an amazing Christmas. Eat, drink and be merry. You can slim in the New Year. Enjoy the day and remember, it’s the people around the tree rather than the gifts underneath that matter most of all. You’re all the best!

Of course, before we get to the chilli beefy macaroni cheese, we’ve got part three of our trip to Switzerland to discuss!

swissthree

part one | part two

You know what I like best about that banner? I’m already planning the next banner for the next holiday and I’ve just had a do a search for an icon for diarrhoea. Hey, it’s non-stop glamour writing this blog, I don’t know how I don’t come each time the Mac start-up sound chimes.

When you last left us we were sleeping solidly in our warm, Geneva beds, ready for the day ahead. Rather than bore you with by-the-minute details of what we did, I’m just going to pick out the rough highlights and write about them instead. In the ‘missing gaps’ just assume we were either drinking tiny coffees or spending money, for that pretty much covers all bases.

We awoke then and decided to check Tripadvisor for ‘things to do in Geneva’. I’ll save you the effort of doing it yourself – there’s frightfully little. Clearly this was a city for business and not so much for pleasure – the first activity cited is Lake Geneva (the second is a small mountain outside the city), which, whilst undoubtedly beautiful, provides very little diversion on a cold, December morning. We could see the lake from our hotel room, anyway, if we squinted hard and the lady across the lane had taken in her bloomers from the washing line. I like lakes, I do, but we have such a bonny one nearby in the form of Kielder that perhaps I am spoilt. Nevertheless, we decided to walk down to the lake and then to totter about on our own steam, finding what interests us along the way.

There was, as is so often the case with empty days filled with no plans at all, plenty of things of interest. We walked along the lakeside around the many parks that litter the way, smiling cheerily at joggers as they ran past, pulling that odd cum-face that joggers do whilst they run. The parks were full of shuttered shops and stalls and buildings that looked welcoming from afar but firmly fermé when up close. My new walking shoes were busy turning the back of my feet into little more than hanging strips of skin so we found a nearby pharmacy to try and get a box of Compeed blister plasters – you know the ones that swell and then root right into the blister so when you take it off, you’ve got something gross to throw at your husband if he doesn’t make the tea? No? Just me?

Anyway, this box of plasters came with a price tag of over £14 and I was served by the most unsympathetic, rude bumhole I’ve met in a long time. For one, he didn’t look up from his Prendre une Pause (Oh non! C’est horrible! Mon mari serveur a des rapports sexuels avec ma soeur et mon Alsacien!) when we came in, nor when we approached the counter, nor when he scanned the item in. He could have put through a box of Lillets for all he knew. A brief, cursory glance at the till was followed by him spitting out the price and holding out his hand like I was going to high-five the twat. I would deposited my chewing gum in his hand and ran for it if my feet hadn’t resembled used Christmas crackers at this point. Instead, I paid with my contactless card, spun on my heel and left, saying ‘merci beaucoup, how do you say…chatte géante’ under my breath.

We spotted that the United Nations building was nearby and so hustled in that general direction. We were greeted by a couple of armed but very friendly men at the entrance who told us the museum was closed (but of course) and alas, we couldn’t come in even to take pictures of the flags. I tried to explain that, as a Geordie, I merely wanted to extend the pastry-flecked hand of solidarity to our Swiss brothers, but he was having none of it. He encouraged us to turn around and take some pictures of the giant broken chair that stands across the way, designed by the artist Daniel Berset to remind the politicians streaming in and out of the UN that land-mines were a very bad thing indeed (because one of the legs of the chair has been blown off, see? Give me an art degree right now!). I don’t know why they didn’t just put a picture of Princess Diana smiling wanly at them instead.

Paul attempted to pose in front of the chair for a photo but then realised we were selfishly in the way of the 12,000 Chinese tourists who were snapping at the chair from every single one of the 360 degrees available to us all. So much shrieking. The chair was quite something, admittedly, but it is difficult to be sombre and reflective when you’re being jostled and pushed by a high-pitched collection of cameras with limbs attached. We pressed on, electing to take the tram down into the centre of the city.

Oh, that’s something worth mentioning – all tourists to Geneva (and later, Bern) are given a free ticket to travel around on their public transportation system. It’s excellent, reliable and frequent and a perfect way to see the city. We’d paid lip-service to walking around and now it was time to let the train take the strain. Paul told me to sit next to him but I wanted to spread my legs a bit, only to immediately have a child plunked down in front of me who spent the rest of the journey staring at me with a slug of snot hanging out of his crusty nose, which he took great delight in sniffing back up his nose and letting it fall back out. I would have taken great delight in opening the window and flinging him into the Rhône but luckily, our stop came before I snapped. Brr.

At this point we both needed two things: some breakfast and a good poo. We wandered for a bit before finding somewhere with a board outside that promised a coffee and croissant for less than the owner’s mortgage payment. A miracle. However, once we’d sat down, I realised my mistake. Almond milk. Wan-faced, 90% there, slightly ethereal customers, shimmering in the half-light. Everyone talking with that affected, Pecksniffian air of the better-than-you set. We were in a…vegan cafe. We ordered a pastry and coffee and were curtly told to sit down. I wanted to cry out that my leather belt was actually pleather and all of my meat-box pushing on this blog was merely a front for Save The Soya Beans of Sudan or something but I didn’t get a chance. We ate our breakfast hurriedly, trying not to gag as the milk curdled on top of the coffee like the results of a particularly rumbustious sexually transmitted disease, paid up and left. I think I stepped on a beetle on the way out of the shop, leading to a plaintive cry from the owner. Either that or she had realised I’d accidentally spilled the sugar bowl on the floor.

I know, I’m a horror. Vegans, you know I’m joking, please don’t write to me. Save your strength, I don’t want your wrists shattering like a dropped piano from the weight of an HB pencil. We spotted that the Jet d’Eau, Geneva’s colossal landmark water fountain, was a twenty minute away. However, before we got to that, I had to go and relieve a high-pressure blockage of my own, and it was with a euphoric cry that I spotted one of those shiny automatic toilets near the Plainpalais tram stop. Phew! I’m a huge fan of these individual toilets because they’re always spotlessly clean and you can have a shite in the safe knowledge that you’re not going to have a man standing next to you wanking away whilst you strain.

I hurried in, assumed that the stupid thing had locked because there was no button to lock the door and sat down to say goodbye to yesterday, my jeans and boxers round my ankles. Sweet relief. No, sweet relief cut immediately short because no sooner had I opened the release valve than the door swooshed open, revealing me to Paul and the busy street like the worst episode of Blind Date you’ll have ever seen. I bellowed like a stabbed bull, jumped to my feet, tripped over my jeans and fell over hard, creating an impressively loud clang (imagine a church bell falling onto the top of a bus) and drawing even more attention to me. Thankfully my Scottish Widow cloak hid most of my shame but honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever gone from semi-nude to clothed and composed (and slightly pee-soaked) so quickly. I didn’t even get to finish my crap but actually, the shock of the stumble made everything tense and my urgent need to go had disappeared.

I exited that toilet coolly and confidently, meeting the gaze of anyone who had the temerity to look at me. Paul was doubled-over with laughter, the insensitive sod. I walked off, leaving him to breathlessly catch up with me a few minutes later, at which point he just promised that he hadn’t pressed the ‘open button’ on the door ‘to see what happened’. He was definitely lying – I’d have been more convinced if he’d ran up and told me he was turning straight – but I had to forgive him because, away from the staring eyes of the folk in the street, it was bloody hilarious.

We tottered down to the Jet D’Eau. What can I say about this? It is a giant fountain originally built to release the pressure from a hydroelectric plant – thank Christ it wasn’t a sewage processing facility, though I reckon my arse could do a fair impression after two bowls of “delicious” speed soup. Anyway, the Swiss thought this burst of water so delightful that they recreated it by the lakeside and indeed, it does look pretty spurting into the air. We walked up, took a few photos, I pretended like I was douching using the fountain and all of Geneva fell about laughing and slapping their knees. Honestly, how they laughed!

Now, I could go on, but let’s cut it short here and get to the recipe. It’s chilli beefy macaroni cheese – crunchy, spicy, cheesy – just bloody amazing. Yeah it’s a few more syns but fuck it. Spending your syns might scare you but remember – this is ooey-gooeyness that doesn’t skimp on flavour, AND it serves SIX! Plus, it’s Christmas for goodness sake. If that isn’t the time to let your gunt flap over your knees and fill yourself with calories then I don’t know when is.

chilli beefy macaroni cheese

to make chilli beefy macaroni cheese you will need:

  • 500g pasta (we used spirali because we’re decadent bitches)
  • 400g lean beef mince (you know, like the sort of stuff you might find in say, our fabulous Musclefood deal? See? Have a look!)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 240g reduced-fat cheddar cheese (6x HeA)
  • 200ml skimmed milk (4 syns)
  • 1½ tins of chopped tomatoes
  • handful of chopped jalapeños
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp olive oil (4 syns)
  • 1 tbsp flour (3½ syns)
  • 75g panko (10½ syns)

Right: final time this year. Treat yourself to a microplane grater. It’ll do for ginger, it’ll do for garlic, it’ll do for getting those callouses off those trotters of yours. The one we use is lovely and cheap – see?

to make chilli beefy macaroni cheese you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat, add a slosh of oil and add the onions and garlic – cook until the onions have softened a bit
  • add the mince to the pan and cook until no pink meat remains
  • add the tomatoes, jalapeños, chili powder and chili flakes to the pan, stir and cook for another 4 minutes
  • scoop the meat out of the pan and into a bowl and set aside
  • quickly rinse out the pan, fill it with water, add some salt and bring to the boil
  • cook the pasta according to the instructions, reserving half a mug of pasta water for later
  • drain and set aside
  • put the same pan back on the hob, add the oil and flour and mix into a paste using a whisk, and slowly pour in the milk a bit at a time, until the mixture has thickened
  • chuck in the cheese, remove from the heat and stir until melted
  • add the mustard powder, oregano and black pepper and stir
  • mix the drained pasta into the cheese, using the reserved pasta water to loosen it if necessary
  • stir in the mince, mix well and tip into a big baking dish
  • sprinkle over the panko and bake in the oven for 15 minutes
  • serve!

Want more pasta, beef or just bloody amazing food? Here!

poultrysmallbeefsmallporksmalllambsmallfakeawayssmallpastasmallvegetariansmall

Have an amazing Christmas, all!

J

garlic prawns on roast potato with pesto and rocket

Yes! That’s right – garlic prawns. Prawns on twochubbycubs’ blog! I still think they’re vile little things but see we’re trying to introduce some new foods into our diet because man cannot live on semen, reduced price yule logs and slimming world chips forever. Everyone’s laughing until Paul gets rickets. Plus we get asked so many times for seafood recipes and always come up blank save for a few token gestures so here we are: a proper prawn recipe.

Of course, before we get to the garlic prawns, some random thoughts. Firstly, thank you so much to all the kind, lovely folk who have sent us a Christmas card with kind words, rude words or just plain filth on the front cover: we absolutely love it. Honestly, I get so excited when I see our postman now, and not just because he fills out a pair of Royal Mail trousers with such panache. If you want to send us a card please do: our PO Box is: twochubbycubs, PO Box 217, Bedlington, NE63 3FA – I’m not kidding when I say it makes our day – thank you!

Secondly, there will definitely not be a post tomorrow because it’s our office Christmas party. I’m excited, but saying as I was one of the four who organised it, there’s a certain air of ‘phew, we made it’ to the whole affair. Who knew that organising shenanigans for 150 people could be so exhausting? Thankfully I work for a company with some flair and imagination so it’ll be a bit more than a few Tesco quiches and a glass of warm piss – party on!

I’m not exactly a social butterfly when it comes to work parties but I always make the Christmas one. There’s been some absolute corkers. Back in the heady days of a Labour government I used to work for a quango (long since shut down) doing a very important job – literally no-one else could use the photocopier. No, I was a secretary, but my boss was this amazingly posh woman with a filthy sense of humour and the rest of the team were equally as fun. It was a fantastic place to work – you’d turn up whenever you fancied in the morning, fanny about a bit with some papers and then fuck off home at around half past two. We spent more time outside dicking about at the smoking shelter than upstairs working and at one point the entire team hid in a meeting room for a surprise 70s buffet, emerging several hours later pissed on Babycham. In retrospect, it’s not difficult to see why the government shut ua down. Maha.

Anyway, the Christmas parties were immense – starting at 10am with drinks in the office, followed by a rude secret santa, followed by the entire department going out for ‘Christmas team lunch’ and staying out until 3am in the morning. Hilariously, we worked right next door to the HR team who were led by a manager who had never known joy. Her PA used to log what times we’d all rock into the office and send us prim notes which we’d all ignore and go smoke instead.  One especially messy Christmas party saw our Head Boss get so bladdered that we had to bundle her onto the last train back home into rural North Northumberland only for her to promptly fall asleep missing her stop. This then meant her husband had to chase the train to Edinburgh to pick her up, scattered as she was with her knickers around her ankles. That was after the point where I’d received a drunken lap-dance from her, I hasten to add. There were some exceptionally sore heads the next day.

Oh, and we got asked to leave a pub for failing to realise that every time we nipped out the back door for a smoke that we were setting off the fire alarms for the entire pub. Oops. We weren’t to know, surely. Also, at some point, someone set themselves on fire by accident. All every eventful. Oh and one more addendum to this little tale: I accidentally bought said boss a vibrator for the secret santa. In my defence I thought it was a little duck for the bath – turns out it was, but with an especially-shaped beak that vibrated. She loved it though and any embarassment was soon put to bed when the next person along opened a book of sex positions and a half-used jar of Vaseline. Seriously, that jar looked like the one in Kill Bill 2.

Ah, truly halcyon days. I love where I am now, don’t get me wrong, I do, but you never know what you’ve had until it’s taken away thanks to budget cuts!

Conversely, my worst Christmas party was at BT, where our team manager had promised to take us out for dinner and a piss-up if we met our sales targets. We worked our arses off for weeks pushing 1471 onto folks who didn’t need it and ‘accidentally’ putting people on Option 4 broadband (£7 commission!) knowing that they’d always be able to cancel it later. I know, that’s awful behaviour, but to be fair, I was pretty much permanently stoned during that job. You had to be, dealing with so many complaints. Hell, I went outside for a smoke during a quiet time and was approached by someone in another team selling speed to get through ‘the difficult calls’. I politely demurred, given my dicky ticker, but that should give you an insight to why people are often so peppy in a call centre. Smile when you dial…

Anyway, Christmas rocked around and we were told he was putting on a bus (which we had to chip in for) to take us to a country pub. He did, fair enough, but after charging us £10 a time for the bus and then putting no fucking money behind the bar for food and drink, well, that put a bit of a downer on things. We worked out later he’d actually made a profit on the coach, too, the oily-skinned fucker. We made the best of a bad day but most of us just buggered off home after an hour or so of strained conversation about sales targets. The manager clearly knew he’d upset us as we returned to find a selection box each on our desk. Most of the team left them on a point of principle – as did I – but I made sure to nip around and get all the Double Deckers out of them first.

Damn, I could murder a double-decker now, actually. But no joy. Instead let’s get this prawn recipe out of the way. I can’t claim credit for the idea – it’s actually from Hello Fresh (which we’re trialling – not for the blog but because we can’t be arsed to shop). We’ve adapted it for Slimming World though.

You know why I don’t like prawns? They have an unexpected texture. You bite into them and are met with a moment of resistance and then pffft, it almost bursts on the tongue. There’s a hint of seaside about them that I don’t care for, too, and when they are cooked they look like what I’d imagine a sphincter would look like if you took it out of the anus. Same as cockles are clearly belly-button knots. That’s a fact. However, as much as I don’t like prawns, I actually enjoyed this meal! You couldn’t write the script. Even Hoggle, normally so anti-seafood it hurts, agrees!

Somewhat unusually, this makes enough for two people. More of you? Scale up!

garlic prawns

to make garlic prawns on roast potato with pesto and rocket, you’re gonna need:

  • a strong stomach, to look at that god-awful things with their cruel bodies and mean textures
  • 150g of tiger prawns (deshelled, deshitted and beheaded) (why I haven’t been a cookbook deal escapes me)
  • one bag of rocket
  • one garlic clove
  • one medium box of cherry tomatoes
  • one large red onion
  • a few large potatoes
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat green pesto (3 syns)

to make garlic prawns on roast potato with pesto and rocket, you simply must:

  • make some tiny roasties – cut up your tatties, spritz them with some spray oil and hoy them in the oven for about twenty minutes or so until they’re all cooked nice and crisp – if you’ve got an Actifry, chuck them in there (especially as the new model is currently cheap on amazon, see?) – then set aside
  • get a pan, spritz with some oil or give it a slick of olive oil – so daring – and gently soften your onions – that’s not a euphemism for resting your tits on the cooker top mind, just so we’re clear
  • once they’re softened, chop the tomatoes in half and chuck them in together with the garlic which of course you’ll have minced using one of these fabulous graters I so often bang on about – see? Right here?
  • allow everything to soften for a moment or so then chuck in the prawns with a pinch of salt and black pepper, cooking them on medium until they are pink on the outside and opaque in the middle
  • serve by putting a few roasties in the middle of the plate, then some rocket, then the tomato, onions and prawns
  • drizzle over the pesto because why the fuck not, and enjoy!

This feels like such a frou-frou dinner and for that I apologise. I hope you enjoy it. Looking for more seafood ideas? Click the button below, along with the others. I’m going to bust out some of the lesser-posted badges for this!

seafoodsmallsnackssmall dessertsmalltastersmallnaughtyfooddrinkssmall

So pretty, like me. Oh and fair warning: Penny’s just been introduced in our great Lost rewatch. That’ll be the both of us sobbing into our raspberry gins when they have their tearful phonecalls all over again! I’ve got my fist balled in my mouth now watching it on Youtube. Sniff.

J

apple, mushroom and sage risotto

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

apple, mushroom and sage risotto

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

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

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

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

to make apple, mushroom and sage risotto you should:

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

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

 

poultrysmallporksmallpastasmall    onepot

Enjoy!

J

homovember recipe #1: slow cooker beef keema

Slow cooker beef keema, yeah, that’s right, slow cooker beef keema. You want it. We have it. You’ll find the recipe under all the following nonsense. Meanwhile, we’ve dropped Droptober because well, busy. Let’s embrace Homovember.

Hallowe’en has been and gone, and hopefully the only fright you’ve experienced is the site of your own toes as your gunt shrinks ever inwards.

For the first time in ten years since Paul and I got together, we decided to embrace Hallowe’en instead of spending the evening sat behind the sofa with the lights off, watching Coronation Street on the iPad with the brightness and volume turned right down. No, in the spirit (oh h oho) of taking part, we stuck up some perfunctory bits of tat from Poundland (probably getting lead poisoning whilst doing so) and put a pumpkin outside, shockingly not with the word C*NT carved in it. We’re getting better at this being social lark.

We wanted trick-or-treaters to knock on the door and take our chocolate. Perhaps that’s too far – we certainly had chocolate, but Paul had eyes like a kicked dog when I told him they were for any guests. That didn’t stop me eating three Freddos and a Fudge when he went to the bog, though. We didn’t dress up because apparently my suggestion of answering the door as Fred and Rose West was a little too “near-the-knuckle”. I’m not sure what Paul’s problem is, I’ve got a pair of my nan’s Blanche Hunt glasses that would have looked resplendent on him.

Best of all, we ever went to the trouble of setting up a light system for the house – all of our outdoor lighting is controllable by colour and timers so we had the house flickering like a fire with occasional bursts of white light like a lightning bolt. It was all very brilliant and took an hour of tinkering with our router and swearing incoherently at the iPad to get it all set up.

So, what did we get, perched as we are on a lovely corner of a cul-de-sac full of expensive houses all ripe for trick or treaters? Absolutely zip. Bugger all. Sweet fanny adams.

Actually, that’s not entirely true, we did get two teenage girls (very rough – they looked like they were on their third pregnancy of the year but only their first toothbrush) who stuck their hands out and said ‘trick or treat’ – a quick glance revealed that they hadn’t bothered with any sort of costume bar eight inches of poorly-applied foundation. We asked for trick and they kissed their teeth at us and tramped away over our lawn.

There were several children in groups who visited the streets but avoided our house altogether. I admit to being distraught. It was all I could do to choke down every last bit of chocolate and sour jellies that was left in our fruit-bowl.

Of course, like all things, Hallowe’en was a lot different when I was young. Because money was tight, my costume was a bin-liner (because nothing says BOO like ‘NO HOT ASHES’ spread across my arse) and my pumpkin was a turnip. Have you ever tried to carve a turnip? It’s like cutting a diamond with a butter knife. It’s why I associate Hallowe’en with carpal tunnel syndrome. My sister wore a bed-sheet with some red paint on it. Back in modern time, Paul and I couldn’t use our black bedsheets because people would think we’d come dressed as an badly tuned TV channel.

Most of the people in our village were knocking on 90 and thus, no sweets, fucks or hearing were given, but we always hit the jackpot when we visited the only footballer in our village, who gave us all a tub of Quality Street each. It’s tantamount to my obesity that this remains one of the fondest memories I have of growing up in Backwater, Northumberland.

Back in the now, I did find it interesting that after all the gash-crashing and naval-gazing that’s been happening over the ‘terror clowns’ ‘epidemic’ recently that so many parents thought it would be wise to dress their children up as frightening beasts to terrorise the neighbours, mind you. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, after all.

I’d welcome a clown jumping out at me to give me a fright – I just don’t shock that way. They’d get an entirely non-plussed reaction and a shoulder-shrug. No, if you really want to scare me, dress up as my bank manager and tell me Paul’s spending on the First Direct card. You’d need to bring me around with salts. I’d love to have a flasher jump out of the bushes, too, if only so I could ask if he wanted me to blow it or smoke it. Nothing cuts a man down quicker than a jibe at his wee-willy-winky.

The idea of ghosts certainly don’t scare me because I don’t believe in such a thing. I think, once you die, that’s it, though I’ve already told Paul that if the afterlife does exist I’ll be haunting him relentlessly – whooing and booing every time he reaches for some consolation ice-cream or, worse, a new lover. I’ve told him to at least let the sheets cool first, though I don’t doubt he’ll be asking the funeral procession to pull into a layby on the A19 on the way to the crem to take care of a lorry driver.

You know why I don’t think ghosts exist? Simple. If you could bring comfort to the living by letting them know you’re in a better place, why wouldn’t you just do it? Why go through the rigmarole of knocking over vases or hooting in the night? Worse, why would you deliver your message through rancid vile grief-exploiters like Sally Morgan or other psychic mediums? I don’t know about you, but I’d want my comforting messages to be passed directly to the target rather than over the lips of some permatanned Liverpudlian on Living TV. I’d love to think my dear nana is giving us a sign – perhaps that whistling in my ears and high-pitched ringing isn’t tinnitus after all but rather the ghost of her 1980s NHS hearing aid coming over time and space? Doctor Eeee-No. Bless her.

Right, enough of this nonsense, let’s get to the recipe, shall we? It’s a bit of a cheap recipe in that, rather than using a delicate blend of spices measured out individually and carefully toasted, I went for a spice mix that had the name GEETA on it just so I could shout SANJAY across the aisles in Tesco. Plus, it’s 4 syns for the spice mix which split between four is only a syn. Obviously. Actually, we doubled this recipe up because we’ve bought a massive slow cooker to replace our small one and this made enough for eight big servings. The recipe below makes enough for four. The idea for the recipe came from a blog called Jam and Clotted Cream, found right here – I’ve spun it so it is more suitable for us chunkers.

One more thing. You could just chuck everything in the slow cooker at once, but browning the mince and softening the veg in a pan first makes it so much better. Don’t be lazy!

slow cooker beef keema

to make slow cooker beef keema, you’ll need:

  • two large red onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (yes! you know it by now: buy one of these to mince your garlic and ginger with!)
  • 1 tiny flaccid knob of ginger (see note above)
  • one green pepper, one red pepper and hell, why the fuck not, let’s throw in an orange pepper too – CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES COME ON
  • 500g minced beef (make it less than 5% or Mags will be round trick’or’treating) (don’t forget you get two whole kilos of syn free mince in our freezer box)
  • one packet of Geeta’s Tikka Paste (80g) (can buy these in most Tescos, but just swap for a different tikka paste if you want – check the syns though) (4 syns)
  • 400g of chopped tomatoes – now listen here, use whatever you want, but slightly more expensive tomatoes always taste nicer, trust me
  • 1 beef stock cube 
  • 200g of frozen peas (adjust if you want, but I love loads of peas)

to make slow cooker beef keema, you should:

Before we go, let me change your life:

Watch this video and you’ll never look back when it comes to chopping peppers. No more seeds splashed all over the counter, no more fannying about. Admittedly, if you chop your food like a complete div, this might not help you, but for anyone else…

  • finely chop your onions and peppers and sweat those bad-boys down in a pan – which makes sense, as you’d have a hell of a job sweating them down in a washing up bowl
  • once they’ve softened ever so, throw in the mince and cook it hard until there’s no pink, only brown – ‘no pink, only brown’ being the name of our fourth twochubbycubs book, incidentally)
  • add the minced garlic and ginger and stir
  • add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock cube and tikka mix, stir, then slop it all into your slow cooker and cook that for at least six hours on low
  • half an hour before you want to get eating, put all the peas in – you can put them in at the start but they’ll moosh right down
  • serve with rice and sides – we served ours with our onion rice from way back when

Bloody lovely. As someone common would say, ‘that’s right nice, that’. Here, was this not enough for you? Then get those glassy eyes cast over even more recipes by clicking on the big ole buttons below!

beefsmalllambsmallfakeawayssmall    slowcookersmallonepot

Remember to share, folks.

J

droptober recipe #14: one-pot pork and rice

Very quick post tonight, folks – one-pot pork and rice, just another one pot meal that we had left over! James is cooking so unusually, you’ve got the other Cub coming on your screen. Lucky!

I’m dead excited today because they’re putting up the Christmas decorations in our town – I mean, they look shite but it’s a sure sign that Christmas is on it’s way and it’s my favourite time of year! I love it all and there is literally no limit to how much Quality Street I can eat. Seriously, I try to warn people but they don’t listen and then bitch on when it’s just fudge left in the tub.

We’ve promised ourselves this year to put up some lights on the outside of our house (I know, the pinnacle of class) because it’s something I have ALWAYS wanted to do. And, because I know that the super-bright LEDs you can now buy with super-epilepsy mode is sure to piss off Nos. 1-5 on our street. Christmas is always a lovely affair here at The Sticky Patch, we never skimp on our trees and despite our complete lack of design skill we actually do a pretty good job of it. It’s certainly a step-up from what it was like when we were younger, with the cheapest possible tree from the Freemans catalogue sitting in the corner of the room doing a fantastic impression of an impending bonfire with its three sets of lights wired into the same plug. Mother would be eggwashing some frozen sausage rolls in the kitchen with a light dusting of fag ash and my sister and I would be sent away with an Argos catalogue and a strict limit – we had to write down exactly what we wanted, price, page number and catalogue number and a running sub-total. If it weren’t in that catalogue you couldn’t get it. Magical times.

What you can get, however, is this simple recipe for one-pot pork and rice. Serves four optimistically, two realistically. Listen, it looks like shite, I know, but it tastes good, I promise!

one-pot pork and rice

to make one-pot pork and rice you will need:

to make one-pot pork and rice you should:

  • squeeze the meat out the sausage casing so you get about 4 ‘balls’ from each sausage and roll into a perfect ball
  • heat a large casserole dish over a medium-high heat, spray with oil (save your pans and get one of these) and brown the meatballs on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside
  • add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for a further five minutes, until softened
  • add the cumin, coriander and rice to the pan and stir well
  • pour in the vegetable stock and the chopped tomatoes and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan
  • simmer for ten minutes until the rice is done
  • gently stir the meatballs into the rice, and serve

 

if you’re looking for more tasty recipe ideas, just click the buttons below!

porksmallpastasmall sausagessmall   onepot

 

J

droptober recipe #13: spinach and feta stuffed meatloaf

Yeah yeah, spinach and feta stuffed meatloaf will follow, but see, I am FURIOUS. Well, maybe furious is over-selling it, I’m a bit peeved – we were doing so well with the old Droptober business and then oops, technical problems abound, and we missed a day. Ah well. If you’re out there sobbing into your fifth cheesecake of the day and barely able to breathe due to the Rolos stuffed up your nose, you can blame me. Or the good folks at WordPress. I’ll post two recipes tomorrow to make up for it, and, if that doesn’t cut the mustard, I’ll strip off and whip my back with a few Curly-Wurlys melted together. I’m like Jesus Christ but in elasticated Cotton Trader trousers.

I’m going to tell you a quick story about Paul which has been on my mind all day. I can’t recall mentioning it on the blog when it happened but see, he’s switched to a new employer and a new job and thus I feel we can get away with mentioning it without him getting into mischief. See, he used to work in a very serious area of social care and part of that meant attending very important, very serious meetings with doctors, the police, social workers, judges and lawyers all sat around a table. Due to the nature of what they were discussing it was mandatory for the meeting and everything that was said to be video-recorded, and this was done by several small cameras on the desk which would automatically pivot to whoever was talking. All terrifically serious and no jokes allowed.

Naturally, Paul managed to make an absolute tit of himself. See, he dropped his papers. That’s fine, but Paul spends about 96% of his working time tucking his shirt back into his trousers so no-one sees the top of his arse. He’d forgotten to do that, meaning he had to awkwardly crouch down to get his papers rather than mooning all the very ashen-faced folk around the table. And, because he was tense and trying to bend awkwardly, he let loose with a fart that didn’t so much echo around the room as fucking gallop around the table. That in itself wasn’t so bad, but the whole moment of crushing embarrassment was punctuated by the sudden and accusatory whirr of all the cameras immediately spinning and pointing at the cause of the sound. His cheeks weren’t red, they were slightly browned and smelling faintly of last night’s Mongolian beef.

At this point, had everyone collapsed into giggles and chortles (though, more likely spluttering and choking, with people flinging themselves at the glass windows in the hope of sweet escape), the tension would have been relieved, but no. No, everyone shuffled their papers, cleared their throats and cracked on, leaving Paul to burn away merrily with shame and anguish. His boss did ask on the drive back to the office whether ‘anyone had heard an unusual noise’, bless, but everyone knew it was him. I blame myself – the beef was two days out of date.

Luckily, I’ve never had to endure such acute embarrassment, though I’m prone to making a tit of myself, it’s always low-level stuff. For example, I can’t make small-talk with male cashiers without it sounding like I’m leading them on or being plain weird. There’s a young guy in our local Tesco who, bless his heart, could see both ends of a bus coming as it came round the corner. He’s absolutely not my type. It doesn’t stop me feeling I have to be ‘nice’ when he’s helping me in the self-scan – last time I was there I asked who did his tattooes as they ‘looked really nice’, which instantly gave the impression I’ve been leering lasciviously at this bloke. He went pink, I went red and he forgot all about the security check and pushed my trolley through. Perhaps that’s the key to shoplifting – as soon as you approach the Scan ‘n’ Shop bit just wink at the guy standing looking serious, paw at his arse and go ‘OOOOH CUT ME OFF A SLICE OF THAT’. Or, don’t.

I’m forever mis-spelling words in emails (signing off with kind retards, asking accunts to sort out expenses) to the point where I can’t send an email without triple-checking things now, which is unfortunate when someone needs an answer straight away and I have to check to make sure I haven’t slipped bumfucker into my ‘next steps’ paragraph. Oh, there was one time I managed to embarrass myself to the point where the air in my throat chokes me even now as I think about it – way back in high school my lovely form tutor sat us all down at the start of the year and told us she had some important news – her husband had hung himself over the summer holidays. Awful, of course, absolutely awful. But see, I just can’t handle solemn silences, I get so anxious and stressed that it manifests itself into giggles and tics. Of course, I laughed, and I swear to God, I’ve never apologised to anyone more in my life since that moment. I remember masking it as a coughing fit but that just made it worse.

I’m not a complete bastard, please don’t judge me. It’s 100% involuntary and since that moment I’ve gone out of my way to remove myself from situations where people tell me sad news. Hell, I’ve only been to three funerals in my life and even at my nana’s I almost burst out laughing because I imagined her hearing aid still whistling away in the coffin like a distant fax machine. My aunt and uncle died at the same time when I was a teenager and I was probably the only person in that church simultaneously crying and balling my fist into my mouth to stop the laughter – to be fair, they brought out the second coffin and set it down on a trestle table with very wobbly legs, giving me visions of the whole thing giving away and tumbling his corpse down the aisle. What can I say, I love a bit of slapstick.

Anyway, I can barely type because I’m cringing so much I’m getting neck-ache. Let’s deal with dinner, shall we? This makes enough for four and you’ll need a smallish loaf fin!

spinach and feta stuffed meatloaf

to make spinach and feta stuffed meatloaf, you’re going to need:

  • one 500g pack of turkey mince – normally 2% fat, so syn-free
  • 130g of reduced fat feta – two people’s worth of a HEA
  • one HEB breadbun – 60g
  • 25 of Tesco Ingredients sundried tomatoes – these are dried ones rather than done in oil – you simply hydrate them in water beforehand – or use sundried tomato puree, or leave it out, hey, listen, you don’t need me telling you what to do
  • that’s a fib, you totally do, should we agree a safeword?
  • two big red onions
  • four cloves of garlic
  • one or even two large bags of spinach, depends how much spinach you like – I like loads and you’ll note that when you boil down two large bags of spinach, it’ll wilt down to approximately the volume of a postage stamp
  • one large egg
  • one egg white from another large egg
  • pinches of salt, pepper, basil if you have it, oregano if you have it
  • any name-brand passata, let’s not be fussy

to make spinach and feta stuffed meatloaf, you should:

  • chop the onions nice and finely and gently cook them off in a pan with a few sprays of oil
  • remove the onions into a bowl
  • add the spinach into the pan and let it wilt right down
  • once wilted, take the spinach and squeeze every drop of water you can out of it

Here’s a top tip from us: use a potato ricer to squeeze the water of spinach in no time at all. Potato ricers also make amazing mash, but this is a brilliant use for it – you can buy one by clicking here – and they’re nice and cheap! 

  • add it back into the pan, just off the heat, add the minced garlic, crumbled feta, sundried tomato and the egg-white and stir to mix it all up with a load of black pepper
  • put that to one side and let’s start building the meatloaf – stick the oven onto 170 degrees
  • tip the turkey mince into the same bowl as the onions – add the breadcrumbs, egg, pepper, bit of salt, basil, oregano and then really go to town mixing it all up – don’t be shy, pound away at it, get it all mixed up
  • if it is still a bit wet, add more breadcrumbs, but remember to syn them – I didn’t need extra breadcrumbs though
  • pop a few sprays of oil into a loaf tin and then shape the mince along the bottom and up the sides, saving some on the side to make a lid
  • spoon the spinach and cheese mix into the middle and then form a top over the spinach to create a full seal
  • hoy it in the oven – after thirty minutes, add a glaze over the top of some passata, then cook for another forty minutes or so until the meat is cooked
  • turn it out, leave to cool, slice it after ten minutes and serve with your sides
  • done!

Feel free to swap the turkey mince for beef or pork mince! Right, if you want more ideas, click the buttons below and, look, we’ve got lots more meatloaf recipes:

poultrysmallbeefsmallporksmallfakeawayssmallpastasmallvegetariansmall

Cheers!

J