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

half a syn black pepper steak stir fry

Here for the black pepper steak stir fry? Well hold your water.

Porky Light anyone? Mahaha. My facebook is awash – nay, alight – with posts about the fact that it looks like those delicious Slimming World half syn sausages called Porky Lights might be 4.5 syns as opposed to 0.5 syns. You know what? GOOD. It’ll serve all those folks right who went out to ASDA and bought pallets of the bloody things as though each sausage came with £100 and half an hour of cunnilingus from a man with three tongues. That isn’t forward planning, that isn’t taking advantage, it’s sheer bloody greed, and the way they paraded their hauls like it was something to be proud of just made my teeth itch. Of course there’s the odd reason to legitimately bulk-buy (perhaps you live far from a supermarket) but doing it just because you saw some other immoderate slattern stockpiling makes you an absolute arse. So yeah: boo bloody hoo. I just hope the next revelation is that Fibre One bars give folks a Tom Selleck moustache and tits like two fighting ferrets. I can’t stand bloody greed.

Anyway, hiiiiiiiiii. How the hell are you? You’ve literally never looked better. Have you been away? No? Well, given we have more holidays per Thomas Cook, we have been away on our second holiday of the year. Remember this?

Our first holiday was a few weeks ago but I didn’t take my iPad with me, so I’ve got long handwritten notes to type up. I know, I’m so old school. I feel like Angela Lansbury tip-tapping my way at the keyboard! So let’s pretend this holiday is the first one and the first holiday will be the second holiday, and so on. I know, I don’t understand it either. So: take a seat and enjoy the first entry of our holiday in gay Paris.

Well, it certainly fucking was when we minced off the plane, anyway…

Paris, then. Why Paris? Because, like Billie Piper, we want to. Actually, that’s a lie right from the off – when I first suggested a lovely romantic weekend in Paris Paul shot me down with protestations of how rude everyone is and how we’re simply not cultured enough to get by, as though my idea of sophistication is being fingered in a bus-shelter by the sea. Which is a cheek, because I know some lovely shelters with some beautiful views. Tsk. I talked him round by reminding him that there’s delicious pastry everywhere and good food is the law.

I’ve been to Paris several times over with mates and have done the usual suspects – Arc de Triumphe, Eiffel Tower, four million art galleries, being tutted at by all and sundry, and so we were keen to avoid going over old ground, though we’d revisit a couple of the classics because why not.

We drove up to Edinburgh Airport, stayed overnight in the Ibis Budget Hotel by the airport and took the early morning easyJet (7.00am) flight down to Charles de Gaulle. We stayed for three nights in a deluxe room at the 5* rated Hotel Square, a ten minute theatrical flounce from the Eiffel Tower and pretty much almost in the Seine.

The days before our trip were filled with weather angst, as the news became increasingly full of grim warnings of massive storms and the ridiculously hyperbolic weatherbomb. Weatherbomb for goodness sake. That sounds like a crap movie you’d get on the SyFy channel. The Daily Mail took a break from demonising the poor, gays, ethnic minorities and Jeremy Corbyn to froth at the gash about travel disruption, impassable roads and widespread mayhem.

Naturally I managed to work myself in such a tizzy that I was allowed to leave work early (they were probably sick of me standing looking mournfully out of the window like a sailor’s widow gazing at the sea) in the hope of being able to leave Newcastle before dark, imagining some frozen tundra we’d need to navigate like Nanook of the fucking North just to get to Edinburgh Airport, where we’d doubtless find planes dropping from the skies like snow.

Well. Does it surprise you to know that the most eventful incident to hit our travels was Paul spilling an entire bag of Poppets over the floor of my car? The roads were clear, the wind mild, snow nowhere to be seen. Dolly was literally a storm in a teacup and I was furious to be swept up in the hysteria.

We arrived at the Ibis Budget Hotel in good time after a brief but exhilariting accidental turn onto the Edinburgh Tramline – Paul had to wrest controls from my hand as I was too busy doing Alan Bradley jokes to realise what had happened. In my defence they really ought to make the big red light a bit bigger. I mean, honestly. We were checked in by a scarily efficient and pleasant chap who pressed the room card into my hand with slightly more touching that I’d expect and then we were off to the room, a vending machine Toblerone clutched in our sweaty hands.

It turned out that Paul, for reasons entirely unbeknownst to either of us, had booked us into a hotel room with a tiny main bed and a bunkbed over the top. I was terrified, not least because he hurled his not insignificant frame into it like one would leap from a burning building. I’ve made the joke about metal screaming before but honestly, it sounded like when the Titanic snapped.

The glamour!

Once we’d had holiday shenanigans (normal anal but you use Piz Buin rather than lube) Paul retired to the bed above. Well. That was it. No chance of a good  sleep when I have the sure and certain knowledge that at any second Paul’s ample gut would prove too much for the fixtures sending him, and the metal bed, cascading down onto my head.

As it happens, we did survive the night (obviously: imagine if this was part of my last will and testament), though by the time Paul climbed back down the screws of the bed had been pressed into diamonds. We tidied up, took as many small towels as we could fit under my coat and stole away into the clear, crisp morning. Storm Dolly my big, windswept arse.

For once we were experimenting with not turning up at the airport eight years before we were due to fly, and what a difference. There was no sitting around in a Wetherspoons smiling wanly at stag do knobheads, nor did we need eight toilet visits just to pass the time. I did get stopped at security for a pat-down by a big, burly, bearded Scottish brute. He rubbed my legs, my thighs, my arms and my shoulders. Once he was satisfied I wasn’t smuggling anything but a throbbing erection, he let me go. I promised to call but you know how holiday romances are. Paul, meanwhile, was struggling with our carry-on, the passports, my iPad, his belt and shoes and my giant coat. He’s a dear.

Due to Doris causing havoc the day before, our flight was full and we were encouraged to check our carry-on into the hood in exchange for speedy boarding, which we duly did. I like to think we have a nice gold star for being “helpful, polite” on our easyjet profile. It’ll be next to the cholesterol soaked heart for “fat bastards, ensure sitting next to skinny woman”. Speedy boarding was smashing though, I couldn’t believe the speed and efficiency that we descended fifteen steps and then stood packed into the boarding stairs for twenty minutes.

Nothing to say about our easyjet flight, you know how much we love them and this flight was no different. I’ve never met a member of easyjet staff who haven’t been wonderfully polite and helpful. As a bonus, I went for a wee mid flight only to stand next to the pilot – outside the loo I mean, he wasn’t letting me shake his drips off for him (this isn’t Emirates, you know). The guy looked about sixteen, I almost went over the tannoy to ask if someone had lost a child. I’ve never felt so old. He must have been a boy racer though because we landed in Paris twenty minutes ahead of schedule with a landing as smooth as the pilot’s face.

Our good spirits at successfully surviving another plane journey were soon dashed by the snaking queue at immigration. Almost four hundred people waiting to dash into France and put sticky fingers all over their shiny art and culture and what do they have? One very bored, very angry young man checking each passport individually. One person. One. A queue to enter a house fire would have moved quicker. After eighteen years we finally reached the front and the cheerless arse made a big point of looking at my passport photo, then at me, then back to my passport, then to my face again, then to a watercolour approximation that was being painted of me whilst I stood there, then back at my face. I tried to explain that since joining the queue I’d celebrated two birthdays and grown a ZZ-Top beard but that was hardly my fault, but my French failed me. Paul had a similar experience – I wanted to apologise for bringing such beauty to his world but the security guard had a gun and I like my lungs unperforated.


Now, that seems like a good enough place as any to leave it, I think. I’m prone to waffle for too long on our holiday entries so I’m trying to be a bit more concise. You’ll notice, of course, that I’ve spent 1,600 words and we’re not even through security yet. Ah well. Do you have somewhere you need to be? This black pepper steak stir fry makes enough for four, served with rice! Yum.

to make black pepper steak stir fry you will need:

  • 400g beef strips (beef chunks will do – just slice in half)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced

for the marinade

  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (cider vinegar will do!)
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce

for the sauce

  • 4 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey (1 syn)
  • 2 tsp cornflour (1 syn)
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt

for the stir fry

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Don’t like your fingers smelling like a shoe? Then mince your ginger and garlic using a fine microplane grater and live like a queen – remember you don’t need to peel your garlic or ginger when you’ve got one of these, and it’s so cheap too!

to make black pepper beef stir fry you should:

  • mix together the marinade ingredients, pour over the beef, mix and marinade in the fridge for fifteen minutes
  • meanwhile, mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl
  • in another bowl, mix together the onion, yellow and green peppers
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium high heat and add a few sprays of oil
  • add the beef and let it sear for 1 minute, then start to stir until both sides are browned but it’s still pink in the middle
  • reduce the heat to medium and transfer the beef to a plate – set aside
  • add a bit more oil to the pan and chuck in the onions and peppers and stir, cook for a couple of minutes
  • tip the vegetables onto a plate and set aside
  • add a bit more oil to the pan and add the ginger and garlic, give a quick stir and then add the sauce mixture and stir continuously, allow it to come to the boil and keep stirring to make sure there aren’t any lumps
  • add the beef and vegetables and give a good stir
  • serve – rice is good, noodles would work well too
  • sprinkle over the spring onions

Done! How easy was that eh? Remember you get beef strips in our Musclefood deal which you can use here – have a look, it’s a great set of deals and you get chicken and beef and sausages and oh my to go with it.

Looking for even more recipe ideas? Click the buttons – especially the Fakeaways button – below!

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Enjoy!

J

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

 

marinated duck salad and james’ new year’s resolutions

Marinated duck salad, if you don’t mind! I know, in these times of tight purse-strings and even tighter gusset-elastic, duck may seem like an extravagant choice. And it is. If you want to swap it out for chicken, I’ll never tell. If you want to swap it out for that chicken they sell in Iceland that looks like those polystyrene packing noodles that your parcels from Amazon get shipped in, you go right ahead. What price dignity? Anyway, we’re only having duck because our friend thoughtfully gave us a load of freshly killed meat from when he’s been out hunting. Listen, I’m not a hunter myself, but I don’t want to upset anyone who turns up on my doorstep covered in blood shouting about THE BOOORDS. He asked if I liked duck – I replied that actually, I prefer a cockatoo – and I bet he’s still chuckling now at my lightning wit and horrendously dated jokes. Either that or he’s shot himself in the face.

Now I touched yesterday on New Year’s Resolutions, didn’t I? Here’s an odd thing – I could have sworn I typed up our resolutions last year and I was going to update you on how they went, but look, if it is easier, I’ll just print out our Jacamo order history – another X has managed to sneak onto our clothes labels. Our order forms look like a Spot the Ball competition in a busy bookies. Pretty soon we’ll need to buy two 2XL shirts and just stitch them together round the back. Still, we haven’t taken up smoking or hard drugs, so at least we’ve got that going for us, eh? Without a moment more of hesitation, here’s my resolutions:

To be more sociable

This is such a hard one for me. I’m not agorophobic or enochlophobic (I’m trypophobic and hydrostructuraphobic at best) but see I just hate everyone. Perhaps that’s a smidge too far. Hate is a strong word. Dislike, maybe. Yes, everyone starts out being disliked by me but once they reveal themselves as warm, lovely humans, I’m alright with them. As a result, I struggle with being social. I like staying at home with Paul, sitting in my comfiest underwear, cock and balls sticking to the leather on the settee, eating crisps and watching TV. I’m happy in my own company. Whenever I do force myself out I always have a great time but it’s just getting there. My saying no is as much of a reflex action as my knee kicking out when tapped with a hammer or me ignoring the pains in my left arm as I shovel more food into my gob. But yes: will try harder.

Who knows? Maybe a twochubbycubs meet-up could be on the cards?!

It isn’t, by the way. You’d all be so disappointed. You’d spend all night wondering who had let two cows into the pub only to realise it was us, waspishly drinking our ale and looking furious. We were once stopped in ASDA (the glamour!) by someone asking if we were the chubby cubs (probably assumed we were by the giant marrow and bottle of Astroglide in our shopping basket) to which we stuttered, went red and just said ‘yes but we’re just here for some hummus’ – eee, they’ll be talking about that for years to come I’m sure.

To be less fat

Goes without saying, doesn’t it? I’m tired of all my clothes only-just fitting. I’m tired of the cats looking at me with ‘don’t you think you’ve had enough’ eyes every time we crack open a new tub of Ben and Jerry’s. They’re a fine pair to judge my eating habits, given they both spend a good half-hour licking away at their bumholes of a morning. I don’t know what’s in Whiskas Bite and Chew but they should make a bloody lip-gloss out of it. I know we’ve said so many times before that we need to lose weight but hell, we both feel so old and immobile – and we’re only in our early thirties for goodness sake. I’m not kidding when I say Paul has taken to having a nap before he goes to bed.

How to do it? I do think if we stuck at Slimming World 100% we’d get there, because the diet works. But see, I have strong reservations (which I’ve often voiced) about stuff like avocados being synned, and as a result, I’m going to have to tweak my own take on the diet to get by. Don’t worry though: our recipes will still be 100% Slimming World friendly, nothing is changing on that side. The main thing for us is to get moving: there are days when I get up, drive to work, sit at my desk, drive home and sit on the settee and don’t move a bloody muscle. That’s not good! I can’t pretend we’re going to end up at the gym every night or lifting weights (unless 1kg of chocolate counts) but I’m at least going to try and get my step count into four-figures.

To take up a bad habit

You know that bit in Grease when Rizzo does that impression of Sandy, saying how she doesn’t drink, or swear, or rat her hair, and that she gets ill from one cigarette (cough cough cough)? God, that’s me at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to undergo a transformation like Sandy does at the end – not least because if I clad my body in skin-tight leather I’d look like part of the DFS sale – but I need a bad habit. I don’t class drinking as a bad habit, more a necessary evil. Drugs fuck with my dicky-ticker and I gave up smoking (for the most part) many years ago thanks to Allen Carr and the shocking site of a year’s worth of cigarette ends billowing up from the drains outside. Oops. Paul bought me membership to a cigar lounge in Newcastle so perhaps that can be it – I think I’ve tipped into the age-appropriate level to carry off the look.

Now, in the interests of keeping the blog entries slightly more manageable and a bit shorter for folks, we’ll cut it there – we can talk about Paul’s resolutions tomorrow, once he has had them cleared and approved by me. HA. Let’s get to the marinated duck salad!

Final thought: don’t forget we have a new book out. It’s huge, it’s meaty, and it’ll leave you satisfied and smiling. There’s quite a bit of unblogged writing in there too – full travel tales for New York and Cornwall, a white wedding (including a mixture of Eurovision and sex) and a whole chapter about my penis. I mean, come on. If that doesn’t lure you in, perhaps the fact that it’s only £4.99 for over 110,000 nicely-chaptered words might tempt you. £4.99! JK Rowling must be shitting the bed with fear. Anyway, if you want a piece of us in your bed at night, click here and fall in love all over again!

marinated duck salad

to make marinated duck salad you will need:

  • 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey (1 syn)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 duck breasts (skin removed)
  • 400g noodles (we used somen but any will do)
  • 5 spring onions, sliced lengthways
  • 1 cucumber, deseeded and julienned
  • 2 carrots, peeled julienned
  • 3 tbsp hoisin sauce (3 syns)
  • pinch of sesame seeds (optional – 25g is 8 syns, but we used such a tiny amount we counted it as only 1 syn) (what are we like?)

Can’t be arsed clitting about julienning the carrots and cucumber? Do you think life is too short to be standing over a carrot making it into tiny matchsticks with a knife? With YOUR reputation? Please. Get yourself a £5 julienne peeler and be done with it. It makes your food look pretty!

to make marinated duck salad you should:

  • in a small saucepan, mix together the cider vinegar, honey and soy sauce and add 100ml of cold water
  • bring to the boil, stirring continuously, and then remove from the heat
  • allow the marinade to cool
  • meanwhile, slice the duck breasts diagonally and pour over the marinade, and leave for at least an hour (but overnight is best)
  • prepare the cucumber, carrots and spring onions and set aside in a large bowl
  • cook the noodles according to the instructions, refresh under cold water and set aside
  • heat a little oil over a high heat in a large frying pan, take the duck out of marinade (use a slotted spoon) and pour away the marinade that’s left over
  • cook the duck for about five minutes in the pan, stirring frequently
  • mix together the noodles and vegetables along with the hoisin sauce and serve, topping with the duck slices
  • sprinkle over a few sesame seeds (if using them) and enjoy!

If you love anything stir-fry, give some of these a go!

and don’t forget, there’s over 400 recipes on here for you to choose from! Click one of the buttons below to find another! Remember, if life gives you duck, make a marinated duck salad!

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Cheers thanks babe. Eee, hopefully this will silence our one critic who scolded us yesterday for having the cheek and temerity to post a burger on New Year’s Day because ‘people are struggling’. Pfft. Struggling not to put the whole thing in their gob at once. If anyone else would like to provide feedback, my arse is just waiting to be kissed. Mwah!

J

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s an advantage to living in Switzerland?

The flag’s a big plus!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

chicken stir-fry

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

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

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

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

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

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Enjoy!

J

droptober recipe #15: fish cakes, chips and peas

Fish cakes, chips and peas WITH lemon and caper mayonnaise on the side, might I add? I know right – what decadent bitches! Don’t worry, we still ate our dinner from our laps whilst watching television like the slatterns that we really are. I can barely press the buttons on our old Sky remote because there’s so much gravy smeared across the buttons. In a way, I’ve got entirely the same problem with my Mac keyboard, although that’s an entirely different sort of gravy, if you know what I mean. Jism.

Remember ages and ages ago I mentioned that I have an enemy in the form of a shrewish looking harridan who effs and jeffs at me every time I park my car in ‘her’ spot in the muti-storey car park? If not, I’ll summarise briefly – she always parks in the exact same spot every day, unless I get there first and make a point of parking there. It’s a good spot see, no chance of anyone bumping the car on either side, and anyway, there’s loads of spaces free for her to park her motor in. Anyway, if she spots me parked up, she revs her engine as she drives past, makes a massive show of slamming the car door and stomps to the lift like the heels of her shoes are on fire. Naturally, I sit in the car smirking at her to wind her up and occasionally playing the Friends theme tune if I’m feeling particularly cruel.

WELL, today, awkwardness ensued – I was running five minutes late so no time for shenanigans and as I parked up and hurtled to the lift, so did she. Our first time face to face. Naturally, we were both incredibly British about the whole thing and I let her into the lift first (when really, in keeping with tradition, I should have nipped past her, tumbled her down the stairs and took the lift cackling and jeering). Never has nine floors felt so long but let me tell you something that will justify, forever, my hijinks and mischief: she sneezed and DIDN’T cover her fucking mouth. I was so aghast (and cowardly) that I didn’t say anything and she fair skipped out of the lift when we got to the ground floor. Skipping as much as her cankles allowed, anyway.

What sort of ill-mannered beldam doesn’t stop the spray from her sneeze? We were in a lift, not a fucking wind-tunnel, there was literally no place for her spittle and disease to go, and I swear I was still wiping a froth of slaver and Charlie Red off my glasses at lunchtime. I knew we were at war, but I thought it was always agreed that biological weapons are a no-no. I tell you now, if she ever leaves her window down, even just a crack, I’m going to make sure I push my sphincter through like a grandma’s kiss and fill her shitmobile with the foulest smelling flatus I can muster. And boy, can I muster it: I’m on Slimming World, remember.

Ah well. Revenge will come and it won’t be disappointing. Speaking of disappointment, did anyone catch the one-off special of The Crystal Maze last night? You have no idea how long I’ve hoped for a TV comeback for this show – it was truly my favourite viewing experience back when I was young. Well, that and trying to pause the telly on the brief flashes of cock featured on Eurotrash, something which Paul just confirmed he used to do as well. Ha. I once fell asleep with Eurotrash paused on my little portable CRT telly which created an unfortunate screen-burn when I remembered and unpaused it in the morning. It’s hard to concentrate on Fun House when there’s a few pixels of a Frenchman’s withered cock dangling under Martina’s chin, I can tell you.

Anyway, it was always my dream to go on The Crystal Maze, but they never answered my letters when I applied for the children’s special and then cancelled it before I became an adult, which is something I’m still furious about to this day. I would have even had a crack at it when that Ed Tudor-Pole guy was presenting, I’m not fussy.  I know that there’s a Crystal Maze experience opening in Manchester (London is just too far) but I don’t think it’ll be the same as a 31 year old man, unless they’ve replaced the Aztec zone with the Sofa Zone and one of the games is a three-minute sit down to catch my breath and ease my stitch.

That said, the remake on TV wasn’t too bad, as it happens. Stephen Merchant, a man I’ve always disliked simply because of his proximity to Ricky Gervais, made a decent fist of presenting and we both actually laughed out loud a few times at his quips. However, it suffered from what most decent shows on TV suffer with these days – celebrity. What value do producers think it adds to have Rio Ferdinand fumbling about trying to wire up a battery for three minutes? A man so seemingly thick that if he forgets just one more fact they’ll need to start watering him three times a week.

Part of the charm of the old show was watching Sue, a Clinton’s Cards sorter from Colchester, try to arrange coloured dominos in an arbitrary fashion or obtaining a grade two concussion from stotting her head off a balance beam. Michelle Keegan hanging up pub signs or Sara Cox dodging lasers holds far less appeal. The best thing they could do with The Crystal Maze is to inject genuine peril into it – make those lasers into 2000mW jobbies that slice your foot off whilst you cartwheel your way to the crystal, or make someone solve a Rubik’s cube whilst a crowd of their family hurl drawing pins at their eyes. Film it all with those awful GoPro cameras and have Adele fart out the theme tune and it would be an instant, guaranteed success. NOW Channel 4 will answer my letters, I’m sure.

Speaking of instant successes, let’s take a look at tonight’s recipe – fish cakes, chips and peas. I’m not going to provide a recipe for our chips because it’s as simple as cutting potatoes and putting them in an Actifry with a teaspoon of oil (2 syns) and a teaspoon of worcestershire sauce. Perfect every time. Amazon (at the time of writing) have the new model for only £99, so why not treat yourself? The peas are from the Tesco Value vintage and are artfully cooked in an old jug in the microwave. I know, where’s that Michelin star when you deserve it? Let’s get to the fish cakes, shall we? Fish cakes aren’t usually something I’d go for at the chippy – I like a haggis and a large chips with curry sauce, thanks. I like to know at least something has died in order to feed me.

fish cakes, chips and peas

to make fish cakes, chips and peas you will need

  • 250g cod or haddock (frozen is fine – it’s what we used, just make sure it’s defrosted)
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 50g panko (9 syns)
  • 1x 60g wholemeal roll, blitzed (1x HeB)

This makes four big fishcakes, feel free to make eight instead and syn them down accordingly.

optional: for the lemon and caper mayonnaise

  • 6 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (Morrison’s NuMe range is only 1 syn per tbsp)
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp capers

By the way, you don’t need to serve it on a board like a pretentious twat like we did, just use a plate and be done.

to make fish cakes, chips and peas you should:

  • peel and quarter the potatoes and bring a pan of water to the boil
  • simmer for about 15 minutes, until tender, and then drain and mash
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, and a bit of oil and cook the fish fillets for about 4 minutes each side
  • remove the fish from the heat, flake with a fork and add to the mash
  • add the beaten egg, spring onions and mustard to the fish and potato mix and stir well
  • divide the mixture into four and press into four burger shapes
  • in a shallow dish, mix together the panko and bread roll crumbs
  • gently dab the fish cakes into the panko, making sure each one is well coated
  • clean out the frying pan and add a few more sprays of oil over a medium high heat
  • gently add each cake to the pan and cook on each side until golden brown
  • to make the lemon and caper mayonnaise, just mix all the ingredients together
  • serve on a plate, put it into your mouth, chew, swallow and start turning into poo – it’s really this simple

Enjoy! I know that you can make fish cakes syn free if you try but look, this is crunchy, tasty and filling – use your syns for a decent meal. It can’t all go on Bellabrusco, you know.

For more seafood, fakeaway or, I dunno, other recipes, click the buttons below.

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Cheers!

J

quick sticky beef with kale

Quick sticky beef with kale is just below the guff. It’s on the gunt of this page, if you will.

A productive day today.

Firstly, thank you to all and everyone for the reassuring words in response to my last post about health anxiety. I’m just having a wobble, all will be well. Always darkest before the dawn and all that shite. I did see the doctor today who mentioned carpal tunnel syndrome and gave me a few exercises to try with my wrist. Now that sounds filthy, but I can assure you it’s all non-erotic and safe. I don’t pay for private healthcare, after all. He did ask what I thought may have caused it and I tried to explain that there is quite the collection of Audi drivers around where I work, and frankly, given the amount of wanker-signs I do in my mirror it’s not surprising my wrists sound like a cement mixer.

He told me not to worry about my fogginess and had a bit of a feel of my stomach. He had the good grace not to ask for the block and tackle be brought in. I hate taking my shirt off at the doctors (almost as much as I used to hate taking my underwear off in church) because, although my doctor is wonderful, kind and non-judgemental, I’m embarrassed that he has to see how much I’ve ruined my beautiful body by filling it with gravy and chips for a solid ten years. At least I get a brownie point when he asks if I smoke and I get to say only after sex, because then he remembers I’m married and therefore that means two cigarettes a year. I certainly can’t claim I’m tee-total anymore, given we’ve now got a giant bookshelf full of hard liquor.

Liquor? I barely knew her!

Paul dealt with the man who came to test our boiler. This is possibly the most terrifying thing for me – we’ve touched upon my hatred of having anyone in my house who isn’t delivering food and boiler men are no exception. See, to get into our loft (we’re a bungalow) you climb through a hatch in the ceiling via a strong metal ladder that comes down automatically. Yes, that is the most pointless sentence I’ve ever managed to write – you’re hardly going to trampoline into the fucker, are you? When Paul steps on this ladder, it doesn’t so much strain as shriek.

I’ve watched enough Air Crash Investigation to know what metal fatigue is and this ladder is absolutely fucking knackered. I try to ask Paul to make sure the ladder is locked before we have anyone climb up so it doesn’t snap down but he ignores me on the basis I’m being irrational. Of course I’m irrational – you’re talking to someone who diagnosed himself with a brain tumour because his ears were warm, for goodness sake. I have visions of some gruff type climbing the ladder only for it to plunge down on his hands and cleave his fingers right off. Paul always looks at me non-plussed as I try to demonstrate why this is a bad thing by thumping my palm on a piano or clumsily trying to pick up a pen with a balled fist. Jeez. As it happens, the guy went up the ladder like a rat up a drainpipe, banged around a bit, confirmed that our boiler wasn’t killing us and beat a hasty retreat.

He’s probably been warned by either the last guy who went up into the loft only to be confronted with a big old box of free condoms that well, we don’t have much use for, or the alarm guy who couldn’t help but notice the douching bulb that was unfortunately sat on top of the alarm box. Meh. I hope we’re not getting a reputation – although actually, I did put ‘If you’re quick, I might nosh you off 😉 Paul xxx’ on our Just-Eat order last night knowing that Paul would have to get the door when the delivery man came. That was my revenge for Paul writing ‘I <3 COCK’ on the back of my car and letting me drive it around for a week. Do you know, I wasn’t so angry with that as the fact I didn’t get one beep’n’leer from passing lorry drivers.

We also arranged for new cleaners, too. Which I know sounds terribly frou-frou but hey, got to spend the huge advertising spoils somehow. Our last cleaner was great at cleaning but ridiculously expensive (only because she came from Sunderland, so we had to pay danger money) and used to leave the TV tuned to MTV Clubland at full volume, which was a fright when we came home from a hard day’s graft. Nothing says …aaaand relax like some harpie more herpes than woman screaming ‘BUY CLUBLAAAAAND EIIIIIGHTY-SIIIIIX NAAAAAAAW’ over some sped-up Faithless.

We did manage to cause instant intrigue by telling them they must never enter our bedroom. I know, suspicious, but I don’t want anyone seeing our black sheets and thinking they’re a Jackson Pollock homage. I know they’ll have seen it all before but still. They start on Friday and seem like lovely people, so fingers crossed.

Finally, we fixed our cat. He’s been licking away at his knob all summer. I know what you’re thinking, we’d all do it if we were able, but I reckon he’d probably scratch your face if you tried. We had him checked to make sure he could urinate properly (he can, and evidenced the fact by having a long, luxurious piss on the vet’s table when she squeezed him) and all was fine. But still he persists. It seems I can’t go outside without seeing him sitting on the path in front of the neighbours licking away at himself with his bumhole on show. They must think our lifestyle is catching. One of our more distant neighbours on another street absolutely hates our cats – he’s taken to staring furiously at the cats whilst they pad about in our garden. I’m not sure who he thinks he is scaring, but honestly, even a cat wouldn’t be intimidated by a man who looks like he bought all of the clothes he’ll ever need in one trip to Woolworths in the seventies. He’s the same man who once came pounding on our door inviting us to look at the shit one of our cats had apparently done in his flower-bed – notably how large it was. I wasn’t sure if he was expecting us to stick a 1st prize rosette on it or something. We just let him go red in the face.

Anyway, turns out our cat is allergic to fleas. He doesn’t have fleas, which is lucky, but every time he fights with another cat who has been in contact with fleas it makes his skin itchy then he bites away at it, hence the sore bit around his knob. Our vet, a very jolly woman who looked like a farmer’s wife from a James Herriott novel, and had bigger hands than I did, manhandled poor Bowser this way and that and then gave him an injection. He already seems much happier. I was less happy when I was presented with the bill – £49! For one injection. I mean, he’s worth it, don’t get me wrong, but what the hell did she inject him with? Saffron via a diamond syringe? He’s fully insured but that’s too little to claim, meaning we’ll just need to soak it up. Things between us and the cat were tense on the car-ride home, with Paul barely slowing the Smart car down as we passed over the speed-bump into the street and the cat sulking all the way home.

It’s a relief to know that I might not be woken up by looking directly into Bowser’s balloon-knot tomorrow morning, though.

Right, let’s get this wrapped up. Great British Bake-Off is on soon and I need to prepare myself for an hour of looking furiously at things I’ll never have and idly wondering whether Mary Berry ever climbed our loft ladder.

Now, when Paul suggested beef with cumin, I got entirely the wrong end of the stick and that he’d finally lost his mind, Dahmer-style, but no, apparently I’m just being silly. Of course! However, the other name for this recipe is hunan beef, and that looks just a little bit too close to human beef. So either way we’re fucked. All you need to know is this is a simple, quick dish with lots of flavour and a decent way of getting kale into the diet. Of course, the best way to enjoy kale is to hurl it maniacally into a bin and then seal the bin in concrete lest any of that earthy, crinkly shite escapes, but in the meantime, here we are…

quick sticky beef with kale

to make quick sticky beef with kale you will need:

  • 400g stir-fry beef strips (or use diced beef and cut each cube in half) – you get beef strips (much tastier than queef strips) in our Musclefood deals, yes you do, which are just perfect – and plus you get tonnes of mince and chicken too – what’s not to enjoy about that – click here for that
  • 1 tbsp sherry (about 1 syn)
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (1 syn)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 6 big handfuls of kale
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2 syns)

Now I post this periodically, but just a reminder: if you buy ginger, buy a big knob and keep it in the freezer, grating it when you need it. It’ll keep quite happily in there and saves a lot of money on wasted knobs. And yes, I know, I know, but get one of these mincers for your garlic and ginger. Much easier. MUCH EASIER. And so cheap. You could make this serve 4 but listen, we didn’t get where we are eating little portions, so pull out your trough and make it serve two.

to make quick sticky beef with kale you should:

  • mix together the sherry, dark and light soy sauce, cornflour and 1 tbsp of warm water and pour over the beef – leave to marinade for about 20 minutes
  • in a large pan, heat some oil from your favourite spray dispenser over a high heat and add the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes and cook for about a minute
  • add the beef and cook for another three minutes or so
  • add the kale and cook for another few minutes, until it has all wilted – keep stirring!
  • add the cumin and stir well – cook for another minutes or two
  • turn off the heat, add the spring onions and sesame oil, stir and serve with rice

Easy. As. That.

Right, if you’re looking for more fakeaway recipes, beef recipes or, shit, why not, soup recipes, why don’t you just click on these buttons like a big man?

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Yeah that’s right.

J

mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

explain

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mwah!

J

delicious buffalo turkey meatball subs

Are you dripping from both ends at the thought of these delicious buffalo turkey meatball subs? Well, I’ll get to them. I will, honest, but first, something awful happened yesterday.

I say yesterday, but it was a few weeks ago – I just didn’t want to write about it because I felt so bad. I’m not a man who easily shames – I’d need the priest to cancel his summer if I ever went into a confessions box – and I’m very much a ‘meh’ person when it comes to morality and decency, but sometimes even I feel penitent. I need to apologise genuinely to everyone out there who thought I was a decent person. Let me explain, OK?

Naturally, because I’m a gobshite, I’ll need to set the scene. It was a glorious summer day – the type of Sunday afternoon that is just fizzing with possibility – do you spend all day watching Four in a Bed re-runs on More 4 or the Come Dine With Me omnibus on 40D? Due to the weather being so damn warm we were at serious risk of bonding directly with our leather sofa so we decided, after peeling ourselves off the leather with a loud, wet fart, to ‘go for a drive’. My parents used to take me and my sister out to go ‘there and back to see how far it is’, and that’s exactly what we planned to do. An amble out in the car to shout loudly at the back of caravans and the front of BMWs.

As you may or may not know, we live near the Northumbrian coast, and it was a matter of minutes before we were beetling up the coast road, with Paul’s terrible taste in music playing loudly through the speakers of my car. That’s the deal. If we take my (better) car he gets to choose the music, meaning eight hours of Tracy Chapman Sucks The Joy Out Of Every Conceivable Situation. Meh, I like doing the driving so I let it slide. Anyway, we had only been going for about fifteen minutes when he turned the music off and turned to me, mischief writ large on his already burning, doughy moon-face, and suggested we go and look at caravans.

Well, I was shocked, let me tell you – Paul has all of his own teeth and isn’t unemployed, so why suggest a caravan? He explained that he didn’t want to buy a caravan, rather just have a nosey around, and that he had seen a sign for an ‘open day’ at a nearby caravan park but a few moments ago. I can’t say no to Paul – one look at his rheumy, beady eyes and I’ll give him the world.  Caravans have never appealed to me – I don’t see the joy in dashing away on holiday to look at the same four walls you’ve previously looked at for a long wet week. The ones I have been in always start of smelling of foist and sex and end up smelling of farts and shame, which perhaps says more about me. I’m not a snob, I’m sure there are some lovely models out there that don’t come in discharge-beige, but they’re just not my scene.

Nevertheless, I turned the car around under the guise of humouring Paul but really wanting to have a nose myself. I’ve always wanted to see how someone could find sweating in a plastic box so inviting. We pulled in at around 1pm with the idea that we would have a gander around a couple of caravans, maybe swear at some children in the bar and buy some cinder toffee for the drive home.

WE WERE THERE FOUR FUCKING HOURS. FOUR! Why? Well, this is the bit I feel I have to apologise for. We had no sooner walked in when some wonderful, charming, effortlessly polite young man hustled over in a veritable cloud of Lynx Africa and sat us down in a comfy chair. I immediately started mouthing DON’T SAY ANYTHING to Paul but he had his eyes on both ends of an eight-berth caravan with balcony and when asked if we’d like a coffee, said yes please. I could see at this point we’d be there a while NOW MY HUSBAND HAS COMMITTED US. Yep.

The guy was charm himself and I didn’t want to feel like we were wasting his time so when asked whether we were thinking about buying, I issued a vague ‘we’ve come into a bit of money but can’t commit today’ in the hope of appeasing him and getting away sharp. No. No, he couldn’t have had a firmer grip on me if he’d sunk his teeth into my scrotum. He promised us a look around, asked a few questions which Paul, lost in a reverie thanks to his machine-brewed cappucino, left me to deal with. I floundered but still the salesman pressed on. He asked us how often we would be visiting (never), what attracted us to caravans (nothing) (perhaps maybe the swinging), how long we’d been together, who held the purse-strings…


advert - freezer-01

Speaking of purse strings, feel free to blow the dust off your purse and buy some meat. Look at everything you get in our freezer filler – buy it and live like a meat-filled queen. I do.


Out we went. We were treated to an almost two hour tour of the facilities. As caravan parks go I’m sure it was lovely, but I just can’t relax when a good half of the men walking about look like they’re going to kick your teeth out through your arsehole and their wives have more writing on their knuckles than on the work experience bit of their CVs. We wandered down to the beach which afforded us wonderful views – and that part is true, I’ve never seen an aluminium smelter glint in the sunlight with such beauty – but listen, I know what gets discharged into the North Sea (hell, I’m responsible for the worst of it) and I don’t fancy bobbing out of the water with a turd-cigar in my mouth.

Actually, that point was highlighted a little later with the appearance of a ‘secret beach’, a little sandy cove hidden out of sight by virtue of a bit of marshland and the flats of the dried-up river-bed. Nothing says ‘enjoy a summer picnic with me darling’ like watching two seagulls fighting in the carcass of a bloated cat and a rat trying to free itself from a spent condom.

All through the tour the sense of feeling shit for wasting this guy’s time was growing, but we thought he’d be finished in no time and then we could slip away before most of his afternoon was wasted. But he just kept going with his endless energy. I don’t know who his girlfriend is but I bet she walks around with a huge smile and two pairs of chapped lips.

So much time passed that we couldn’t in all good conscience tell him we had only wanted to look around a caravan and nothing more. He extolled the virtues of the site-wide WiFi (because we would definitely want to be on the same network as some of the guys we’d spotted looking mournfully from their caravan windows, yessir), the on-site entertainment and the swimming pool. Actually, the pool looked great – it’s been ages since I’d had a verruca to pick at. I’m not going to fib though – whether it was the heat of the day, my body expressing shock at moving more than 100 yards under my own steam or just his excellent sales patter, the idea of owning a caravan here was starting to look more tempting. If only so I could lie down and scratch my feet with a match-box.

We finished the afternoon with the most awkward hour of my life – looking someone in the eye who was so keen for a sale that he skipped over my obvious attempts at deflection – we’re gay, Paul’s an arsonist, I have bail conditions banning me from being near old folk – with that deft, assured mannerism that must come from months of getting people off the fence and into caravan ownership. He asked for a number to contact me on and in my haste to get away I gave him the right number – which he then called a day or two later – thus this being the first instance of me giving my number of a guy and him not immediately scribbling it on a toilet wall with the annotation ‘CAN TAKE THREE AT ONCE’. We discussed finance packages, we discussed carpet options, whether I’d bring my own gas from home (I always do, I chortled, and the crowd went mild), park rules (which essentially boiled down to not nicking the copper from the exchange box and not being a grass), whether my parents would be interested and whether we’d need a two double-bed set-up. I exclaimed that we weren’t that fat which finally seemed to kill the mood and, after many promises that we would be in touch, we were able to slink away.

Paul made to put his Tracy Chapman music back on once we were in the car but I slapped his hand away and reminded him that as his cappucino had almost cost us £30,000 in 6540 crippling monthly payments, I’d choose the music. Our salesman called us a few days later and we explained that my parents hadn’t quite died just yet and that we’d be in contact and do you know, he was so nice – said no worries, thanked us for a lovely afternoon and bid us goodbye. I was so stricken with guilt that I immediately called back and asked if I could send a letter in about his wonderful customer service (and it really was – fair enough he chewed my ears off but he was polite, courteous and charming to an absolute fault) but he said we didn’t need to, as long as we kept him in mind if we ever wanted a caravan. I felt like I’d kicked a begging dog to death.

So, my apology then. A big, heartfelt genuine apology to the poor lad who showed us around for an entire afternoon with the impression we were going to buy a caravan. We weren’t. We had gone in just to have a nose about and were too cowardly to say we were just nebbing. In our defence, we did try to make it obvious we couldn’t commit, but you were so impassioned by your job that we didn’t want to break your spirit. There comes a point a couple of hours in when it’s too late to back out and we hit that point around the time of the secret beach. But: you were great, you really were, and if we ever do decide that we want to give up on life and get a caravan, we’ll come to you. I hope we’re forgiven. I still think of you when I get stuck behind a Shitcabin Deluxe-3000 on the A69 and even now the remorse is raw. Goodbye, Mr Caravan Man.


Now, before anyone kicks off, let me reiterate one thing: this blog is written for comic effect. Of course the folk at the caravan park weren’t exceptionally rough and I’m sure it’s a charming place to stay with kids. It’s not our cup of tea, no, but I’m not genuinely taking the piss. If you enjoy them, go, and have a whale of a time. I’ll watch from the car. With the windows up. In the height of summer. I’ll take the risk.

Oh, as an aside, remember my dislike of caravans for a much later post, won’t you? We’re planning something fun in 2017 which might just revisit them…

I love a Subway sandwich, and see we’ve made a marinara sub before which you can find right here. I’ve said 2.5 syns per sub – it’s actually a fraction less – but you have to make sure you’re using a HEB bun! Or Mags herself will come and smack your ankles in with an iron bar. It’s the rules!

buffalo turkey meatball subs

to make buffalo turkey meatball subs you will need:

serves 6

to make buffalo turkey meatball subs you should:

  • in a large bowl, mix together the turkey mince, celery, carrots, garlic, chilli powder, paprika, panko, parmesan and egg, and roll into 18 meatballs
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the meatballs until cooked through – turn them regularly!
  • when cooked, plop three into each bun and top with one tbsp of natural yoghurt, and 1 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • eat

Admittedly, it’s a sloppy eat and you’re going to end up looking like you’ve been the bullseye at a badly-gone-wrong bukkake party, but hey! Enjoy this fakeaway? Click the buttons below for more ideas on fakeaways, beef or poultry!

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Mwah!

J

beef in a black bean sauce

I bet you’re here for the beef in a black bean sauce, aren’t you? Well, before we get to the main event, let me tease you with some words. Thoughtplay, if you prefer. Nah, it’s not that posh. The bits in my blog before the recipes are the equivalent of a chav spitting on his fingers beforehand. Before I do, though…


Our Musclefood deal runs for another couple of days only – 10% off our already amazing value freezer box! It’s a delivered chilled box of wonder – with 24/26 big fat chicken breasts, 800g of extra lean beef chunks, 2kg of extra lean beef mince and lots and lots of bacon. It’s usually £50 – which is cheap when compared to what you’d pay in the shop – but we’ve knocked off 10% for ONE WEEK ONLY. This brings it down to £45 – the cheapest it has ever been. Remember you can choose the date of delivery and payment doesn’t come out until your chosen date, so you can order in advance. To order, just click this link, add to basket, add the code TCCFREEZER and choose standard delivery – £45! Easy! But this is for ONE WEEK ONLY.


Sorry, we’re not normally so heavy with the advert, but well, it only runs for a little bit longer, and you’ll be twisting your gob if you try and buy it and it’s full-price, so buy it now. Hell, you can use the beef chunks to make the recipe below!

We’ve been swimming. Good god I know. Normally we confine getting our tits out to times when we’re at least two large water masses away from the UK, but balls to that – literally buoyed up with goodwill from the gym, we thought we’d dip our toe in the water, not least before all the swimming pools in the United Kingdom get filled up with cement and turned into posh hat shops. Anyway, look at the state of us – at least you know we’re going to float with all the blubber.

I love the thought of swimming – I enjoy thinking about getting up early, getting myself a nice fresh towel, driving myself to the baths and doing a few luxurious lengths of the pool before laughing gaily in the changing rooms and talking of times past with some accountant with a verruca. It never happens though. It’s probably the early morning – we have four alarms in the morning and it’s only the fourth, an exceptionally loud chorus of Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl playing through every speaker in the house, that gets us up. There’s a lot to be said for having a fancy connected house sound-system but having that tangerine-faced little shit-tickler caterwauling throughout until you get to the iPad and turn him off isn’t one of them.

I did used to swim with my old flatmate, Mary, but she stopped going when she thought the chlorinated water was giving her cystitis. Not the regular parade of blokes you understand, but the mild waters of Hexham baths. She’d put on a coach over the weekend. I’ve always fancied having a pop at wild swimming, which, from what I understand from the Guardian, is where lots of people whose first name ends in a -reh or a -rah sound get together, show off their varicose veins, swim in a river and then stop for an elderflower press on the way home. That’s fine but my closest river is the Wansbeck and I don’t fancy swimming using someone else’s recently passed stool as earplugs. Plus, remember, I’m scared of dams and sluices and grates and weirs. I’d wind up having a panic attack in the water near a sewage pipe and end up with Michael Buerk narrating my dramatic rescue, with candid overhead shots of me being winched into the helicopter on a slab of tarpauline like the time that poor whale got stuck in the Thames. Fuck that.

Now, the last time we did venture into a swimming pool that we hadn’t rented all to ourselves was at David Lloyd, where the pool comes with a steam room that makes you smell like oranges. Which is great, given a lot of the ladies (and indeed most of the men) had the skin colour of a bottle of Tropicana as it was. We didn’t enjoy it because there were so many beady eyes watching us attempt to swim, so we sat in the jacuzzi farting just as hard as we could. If you’re going to be snooty with me, Madam, you can enjoy the smell of pizza stuffed meatloaf dispersed through so many jets of bubbles.

So anyway, it was at 8am on Saturday morning that found us pouring into Paul’s Smart car, destined for the salubrious wonderland that is Morpeth Riverside Leisure Centre. See, Morpeth is canny posh and we thought most of the residents would be too busy making soufflé or beating their help to be bearing witness to our attempts. The morning hadn’t started well – the swimming shorts that I had previously worn in Corsica had somehow shrunk in the wash (yes, that was it) meaning the netting inside pressed right up against my clockweights, giving them the impression of an overstuffed tangerine bag. Paul was fine, his elephant’s elbow were tucked away neatly. I cut out the netting, thinking at least I’d be able to use him like a rudder if the water was warm.

It wasn’t, by the way.

But I will say this – it was very enjoyable! Yes, you’ve got to get changed in front of everyone else, and yes, there’s always one man see-sawing a towel in his arse-crack like he’s rubbing out an error in an exam, and yes, everything jiggles, but once you’re in the water and swimming, it’s actually very pleasant. Burns about 500 calories an hour if you swim slowly, though let’s be realistic. Unless you’re committed, you’ll do one length and then fart about in the shallow end for an hour before it’s a reasonable time to get out and get a Mars bar from the vending machine. Paul likes me to go underwater and swim between his legs, but I’ve stopped doing that since he left a racing stripe on my freshly-shaved head. We will definitely be talking about going back.

In the meantime, if you fancy giving wild swimming a go, have a look here!

By the way, not going to make a fuss, but we lost 10lb between us this week 🙂

beef in a black bean sauce

This makes 4 VERY generous portions!

to make beef in a black bean sauce you will need:

  • 800g beef strips (two packs from our Musclefood deal!)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1″ knob of fresh ginger, minced (for the garlic and ginger, use a mincer, you’ll have it done in a doddle – click here for ours!)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 3 tbsp black beans, mashed up a little bit (this is optional – they’re a bugger to find!) (though we found ours in our local Chinese supermarket, fermented – tasty!)
  • 2 red chilli peppers, sliced thinly
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

for the marinade:

  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2 syns)
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

for the sauce

  • 160ml beef stock
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce

Don’t worry if you don’t have dark and light soy sauce just make do with one of the other!

to make beef in a black bean sauce you should:

  • firstly, mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl
  • place the diced beef into a freezer bag or bowl, drizzle over the marinade, shake it up and marinade for at least 20 minutes but ideally overnight, though I know, you’ll be cooking it the very second the minute hand sweeps past thirty
  • when ready to cook, mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside
  • heat a large pan over a high heat and add a little oil or a few squirts of Frylight
  • lob in the beef and cook until browned
  • remove the beef from the pan, add a little bit more oil/Frylight and throw in the onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry for a few minutes
  • chuck in the red peppers and black beans (if using) and cook for a bit longer until the peppers have softened
  • next, add in the red chilli, rice vinegar and spring onions and return the beef to the pan
  • stir for a minute, add the sauce, cook for another thirty seconds and serve with rice!

You can actually cheerfully leave out the black beans, though they do add something to the dish. Try and use low salt soy sauce if you can. Enjoy!

For more fakeaway recipe ideas or beef ideas, click the icons below!

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J