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!

fakeawayssmallbeefsmallpoultrysmall

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!

beefsmall  fakeawayssmall

J

spicy korean pork

Spicy Korean pork, just below all this guff and nonsense. I remember making a mistake when I posted a recipe for Mongolian beef and captioning it with a picture of a lovely little dog I’d been walking. Some simpleton with a face like she’s been flossing her minge with barbed wire sent me a big stroppy email suggesting that I was insinuating that Mongols eat dogs and that I was a horrendous racist on a par with Hitler. Which is silly, because I’d look dreadful with a toothbrush moustache. At least a messy beard hides the stretchmarks, that’s what I say. So just to be clear, this spicy Korean pork is made with pork. You know, like the name suggests. Now, before we go further, the next post contains lewd scenes and blue language. If you’re of the sort who already has angry person letterhead on the desk, just scroll on by. It’s simple!

Anyway, Paul and I are out and about tonight, so I’m going to bring in a guest writer for tonight’s post, who is going to talk to us all about online dating. This isn’t an area I’ve had much experience in – see when I was growing up, it was just a case of logging into gay.com, putting 14/m/newc in and twenty minutes later I was being bundled into a transit van for puppies and sweets. I’m kidding, I was legal age and too fat to bundle anyway. Roll, perhaps. I had an awkward date with someone who bought me a necklace from Argos and then didn’t say a bloody word as we tortured ourselves through a Pizza Hut buffet. Paul had someone give him a £20 Argos gift-card with £4.98 left on it. Still, both of our gentleman suitors received anal in exchange. We don’t fuck about at twochubbycubs! Over to our guest writer, then. As usual, because I’m a big egotistical horror, I’ll be butting in, and also, please remember that these guest writer articles give someone a chance to tell a story – don’t be mean! Lots of feedback please! All those who have submitted articles, we’re aiming for one a week and I’m drawing randomly. If you’ve sent in stuff and haven’t made it online, don’t cut yourself, you’ll be cubbed up soon enough. Anyone else who wants a go leave it in the comments below. I’ll be the only one to see it, don’t worry!

Our guest writer tonight is Helen “Whistling Canyon” G. I asked her what her party trick was and she replied something incoherent about a Premier Inn and a hockey team, so who knows…?


clicking – by Helen “Whistlin’ Canyon” G

I ventured into the world of online dating for six months a few years ago, This was before the days of Tinder mind, so I have no idea about this swiping left or right stuff. I’d only swipe left and right when I was alone in the bath. Like rubbing ink off a hand. Back when I was doing online dating you simply messaged someone and hoped they replied, and then didn’t turn out to be a weirdo / murderer. Sadly, they often do, but ah well, needs must.

My first date was only a couple of days after I joined, and I was surprised. I had thought nobody would message a fatty like me! The guy seemed OK, we had a couple of coffee dates, and a couple of nights out for drinks at country pubs. All seemed OK. Then he asked me did I want to come to his house and he would cook for me – and I could stay over. I figured, yeah go on then – I had only been single a couple of months after a long term relationship and I had no idea what was the decent amount of time these days before someone gets a look at your bits. (James: it’s usually about fifteen seconds, just enough to shake the drips off)

He picked me up and said we would call at the supermarket on the way to his for the ingredients and some wine. Perfect – though it would mean a lot of ‘no no, put it back, I don’t eat chocolate’ and fakery. Plus what if he took me down the lube and condoms aisle and spent ten minutes giving me knowing winks and leers? As long as he didn’t pick up a box of Trim, I didn’t care. Hell, if he picked up a box of Magnum XXL I’d have let him ravish me amongst the frozen peas. Anyway, off we went, with me full of excitement for what treats awaited me…and he proceeded to buy reduced chicken breast – you know the ones with the yellow stickers on that need to go now before they go off in the next few hours? Yep, them. The ones that cause fights amongst the blue-haired, yellow-chinned folk. And then we went to the wine aisle and he told me to choose anything from the three for a tenner deal. Charming. I’m not a snob but surely the first time you cook for someone new you would at least let them feel they are worth full price chicken? Or if you really want to buy a bargain, don’t take them with you? Swap them out into a Waitrose bag and make your date feel like a queen? He also bought two apples for pudding. Hmm. (James: to be fair, I used to buy oranges before a hot date. Keeps them quiet if you jam one in their gob. If you’ve got a fat date, make it a chocolate orange. It’s like poppers for us chunkers)

We got to his house and I soon noticed none of the door frames had doors attached. I mentioned this and he said he didn’t like doors and he liked his cat to have free run of the house. Fine, but this included  the toilet. No door on the toilet – fuck that! I’m all for being open but no-one needs to see me grunting away like Mel Smith solving a wordsearch as I have a crap. Plus, he was always kissing his cat and then trying to kiss me with an inch of cat hair stuck to his stubble. I’m not going to lie, I did envision to start with that he might end up with hairs from a pussy caught in his stubble, but not this way. NOT THIS WAY. No offence to cat owners by the way. I would feel the same if it was dogs, horses, sheep – anything. Needless to say that didn’t really go anywhere.

My next date was with a guy who spent two weeks asking me to go on a date with him, then not being able to make it, so rearranging – when we finally went out we had an alright night but he didn’t look at all like his photos and his craic was shit! Then he told me he was moving to France so wasn’t looking for anything serious but he would very much like to see the inside of my flat. He claimed it wasn’t a euphemism but I’ve seen a barely disguised stiffy before. No thanks pal.

Next up was a fellow divorcee. Nice guy, had a great time both times we went out then the third time let him stay over and then discovered he had thought my first name was something completely different to what it is, and I just thought, if you can’t even be arsed to learn my name, you can do one as well mate!

Then was the guy who smoked a joint on our first (and only) date on a Saturday afternoon in a beer garden. Of a family pub. See ya!

Then the penultimate guy was someone I knew from years ago and used to have a crush on. I was so looking forward to the date, as he was the guy EVERYONE fancied back in the day. Well, I don’t know what happened in the 15 years in between but he was not that guy. He lectured me all the way through our food about being a vegetarian and how bad I was for eating meat. I still ate all my chicken like. He was wasting his breath. He also told me he didn’t have a TV as he believes that aliens can spy on us through the aerials so he only has it hooked up to a PlayStation to watch Blu-Rays on. He was writing a conspiracy play and was hoping to take it to LA and become famous. Honestly was expecting him to whip out a tin foil hat at any moment. There were a few awkward silences which he proceeded to fill by asking me more about what I eat in a typical day and criticising me for having jacket potato several times a week. But he lived on veggie pizzas. So, ya know – he knows all about good nutrition clearly. Bell-end. Incidentally, he text me a month later after complete silence and said “how about that second date?” Hahaha as if! Then THREE YEARS later he text me asking for another chance. I didn’t even know who it was! Who does that?

James edit: I remember! I did have ONE bad date. We went back to his after a movie and I went to the bathroom to prepare myself and managed to completely block his toilet. He didn’t have a brush or anything to swoosh it away with so I had to break it up with the bottom of a bottle of Radox. The smell was unbearable and, with the mood killed (at least for me, he was ‘waiting’) I walked right past his bedroom and out of the door into the night. To be fair, I had a lucky escape, as I heard from another acquaintance that he was very much a one-spurt-Burt.

It’s not all bad though. I was just about to delete my profile forever when a guy I had approached replied to me apologising for the delayed response but he had been working away and hadn’t had access to the Internet. I had messaged him as a long shot as he was a fair bit younger than me and had not expected him to reply. We chatted a bit, exchanged numbers and then after a couple of weeks of texting while he was working away again we eventually managed to squeeze in a last minute date one Sunday afternoon. I was so unprepared, I had been visiting my mam in hospital and it was a boiling hot day and you know hospitals are the hottest places on Earth at the best of times, so I was a right sweaty mess but I went anyway. The rest is history, as they say. We now have a beautiful 2 year old daughter and live together. So, he was kinda worth wading through all that shit for. And he still fancies me even though I am fat. So, yay!


Aaah, I do love a happy ending, and seemingly the fragrant Helen likes dishing them out. Speaking of happy finishes, you’ll feel happy when you finish this dish. Sorry, that was a dreadful segue, but see it’s been a long day. This recipe serves four if you dish it up with rice. You can just as easy use pork chunks for this, but we used a joint from Musclefood. Because, you know, it’s us, and we love Musclefood! Plus it’s £6 per 1kg and had hardly any fat! Click here for that. I’m synning this at 1.5 syns – it’s actually 1.25 syns but I can’t bear any cross words.

spicy korean pork

to make spicy korean pork you will need

for the meat

500g boneless pork shoulder, all visible fat removed

for the marinade: 

  • 1 pear, grated (up to you if you syn it – 2 syns per 100g if cooked apparently, but that’s a load of bollocks)
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger, minced (remember, save yourself so much bother by grating it using one of these and putting the rest of the ginger back in the freezer
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (yep)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp of red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2 syns)
  • 3 tbsp thai massaman curry paste (3 syns) (before you ask: you buy it from Tesco and it’s a paste of shallots, onion, garlic, spices, sugar, lime leaves and various other funny things

for everything else:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced

for the lady who loves: 

  • Cadbury’s Milk Tray

for he’s a:

  • jolly good fellow

fore:

  • skin

OK that’s enough. Grow up, tsk.

to make spicy korean pork you should:

  • cut the pork into slices of about 1.5cm thick – you don’t need to be careful or exact, you’re not performing a circumcision on a moving train, just get it roughly the same
  • in a large bowl, combine and mix together all of the marinade ingredients
  • add the pork and mix well, and leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes or as long as you dare
  • heat a large heavy bottomed pan over a high heat and add a little oil (syn if you want, or use Fillipo Berio spray for 7 sprays at 0.5 syn each), then just chill your own heavy bottom whilst it heats up
  • add the minced garlic and sliced onion and stir fry for a few minutes, until the onion turns translucent
  • add the pork and cook for about 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently until cooked through and caramelised
  • serve, and sprinkle with the spring onions
  • easy – we served ours with rice

This dish takes no time to make, but the longer you leave the meat to marinate the better.

If you want more takeaway style dishes or pork treats, click the buttons below!

porksmall fakeawayssmall

Cheers!

J

perfect syn free egg fried rice

Tonight’s recipe is syn free egg fried rice – I’m working tonight, alas, so it really is just a recipe for you – but what a recipe! Paul can’t cook rice for the life of him. He just can’t. There’s not many things he can’t do, but we can safely add cooking rice to other items such as bending over without tipping over and climbing more than two flights of stairs without his Fitbit melting off his wrist. We have tried many times to perfect this rice dish but each time it’s ended up soggier than a submarine’s number plate. The amount of times we’ve hurled white mush into the bin and brought out good old Uncle Ben, you have no idea. So, research was needed, and after a bit of digging on the internet it turns out you have to use bone-dry and cooled white rice. Who knew? We chucked in a load of veg and we were on our way! Think of us next time you need a side dish, won’t you?

syn free egg fried rice

to make syn free egg fried rice, you’ll need:

  • however much white rice you want, cooked and cooled all the way through
  • a big handful of peas
  • a carrot, julienned – we discovered this wee thing on Amazon which GASP makes tiny strips of carrot – so easy!
  • one large red pepper – cut into tiny chunks about the size of the peas
  • two eggs – beaten
  • one red onion, sliced fine
  • one bog standard cheap-ass onion, chopped
  • any leftover broccoli you might have, also into tiny chunks
  • a tiny knob of ginger about the size of your thumbnail, minced using one of these bad boys 
  • two cloves of garlic – see comment above
  • LOW-SALT soy sauce
  • a couple of rings of pineapple if you really want to push the boat out

Oh and BONUS, you can cook it in one pan.

to make syn free egg fried rice, you should:

  • prepare all your veg as instructed above, taking only a moment to wipe your brow and buy a grater, mincer or julienne peeler
  • get your big pan nice and hot and squirted with a few sprays of Filippo Berio or other spray oil – I add a few drops of soy sauce here too
  • throw in your eggs and scramble them – really go at them with a wooden spoon
  • once they’re nearly cooked, remove them as best you can into a dish, and throw in the onions, garlic and ginger (not finger, as I originally posted, otherwise you’ll get a spicy grot-slot) and allow to gently soften
  • throw in the rest of your veg and pineapple and a good glug of soy sauce and allow to soften
  • add the rice, stir, and warm it through completely
  • once everything is hot and mixed, add the scrambled egg, and stir well!

Serve topped with some cut spring onions. Easy. The key to this recipe is getting everything a nice uniform shape and making sure everything is cooked through.

Of course, if you’re looking for some dishes to serve this with, pick something lovely from our massive list of fakeaway Chinese dishes! Click the icon below.

fakeawayssmall

BYEEEE.

J

twochubbycubs’ chilli stuffed easydillas

You have no idea how much I love a good pun, so chilli stuffed easydillas – as in a really easy version of a quesadilla, really tickled my hoop. If you’re looking for the recipe, just scroll that mouse-wheel or finger your screen and you’ll be there in no time. 

Have you been out and voted yet? If not, why not? It’s one of the most important things you can do. Even if you think there’s no point, do it anyway. You’ll never get rid of thrush unless you apply the cream, after all.

We’ve finally been back to weigh-in and after spending eight years waiting in the queue cursing under our breath, we’ve been weighed, shamed and course-corrected. Nowhere to go now but down…

…and speaking of going down, let’s discuss Cornwall, shall we? I’m going to do it a little differently – a series of different thoughts, rather than one big monologue – I need to give my poor fingers a rest and anyway, unusually, I didn’t keep notes. So bear with me…

twochubbycubs go to…cornwall – part one

Why Cornwall? Well, naturally, we were attracted to the endless walks, the wonderful surfing opportunity and the chance to lay on a beach and sizzle. Pfft, as if. Let’s get this clear – the only surfing I did was via my iPad to find out when the local Tesco planned to shut off our clotted cream supply. No, we always tend to holiday out of England when we stay in the United Kingdom, but we thought to hell with it, let’s try somewhere different.

And boy, was that a bloody struggle. Seriously – I’ve said it before, there is a massive market out there ready for milking for holiday cottages built for young, professional couples who don’t have sticky-fingered kids, moulting dogs or an extended family travelling with them like fleas on a cat. We spent hours looking for places to rent for a week away and probably found about four cottages that matched what we were looking for. Everywhere else looked like the type of place you’d see on TV in a documentary about someone who got eaten by their cats or drowned in newspapers. Who has ever looked at a room and thought ‘yes, this will do, but we must add more beige’? Eh? I want a cottage full of modern features, tasteful decoration, fun touches and unusual things. Not somewhere where I could see myself stumbling out into the garden to die of terminal boredom, face-down in a Chat magazine with taupe carpet fibres on my tea-stained jumper. 

This was the first cottage we considered.

image8963-3

Admittedly, it looks dull as dishwater inside but heavens, look at the view. I could comfortably see Paul and I as masters of the lighthouse – let’s be honest, if there’s one thing we’re both good at it’s guiding seamen into a safe place – but sadly, they were booked up. Naturally. I’m sorry to be sore about it but I hope Jeremiah (venture capitalist, impotent), Lucinda (yahmy-mummy blog writer) and little Tarquinidad and Labia-Bell (conceived via a rough car mechanic called Trent) had an awful holiday with all those steps to climb. Mahaha.

croft103-at-night

Our second option, pictured above, up at the other end of the land, was Croft 103 – take a look and tell me that doesn’t look gorgeous. Sadly, again, all booked up. By this point I was beginning to grind my teeth and make plans for a European break when Paul found Two Bare Feet via Google, a cottage down in sunny Cornwall. We booked via uniquehomestays.com – who were excellent, very efficient and a pleasure to deal with (25% off next booking please) and we were on our way. We’ll address the cottage in the next entry.

Now, Newcastle to Cornwall is a bloody long drive – just shy of 450 miles, fact fans. We could have flown, but it’s Newcastle remember – the only flights available that weren’t a vomit-express to Malaga didn’t leave on the days we needed. Plus, I needed to work on our day of departure, so we decided to drive halfway after work and stop in a Premier Inn somewhere in Bumhole, Birmingham. I might have made that name up.

What a drive though – the glamour of the A1, the majesty of the M6. We elected to take my car rather than Paul’s Smart car as we needed to take more than two lightly-folded t-shirts and a plimsoll, so his boot wouldn’t have worked. Paul, having driven an automatic now for many months, gave me such a start as he lurched out, over-revving and kangarooing and generally being over savage with my clutch, but luckily we escaped certain death once he didn’t have to slow down or be gentle. That’s unfair – I’m just as bad driving his Smart car. But that’s because I’m six foot of man pressed into a Quality Street tin sized car interior. It remains the only car I can simultaneously pop the bonnet with one knee and open the boot with the other. That’ll be me banished from ever driving it again. Imagine my distress.

There is something about long car journeys at night that I love – and it’s not that it usually ends up with me getting holes in the knees of my jeans in a layby somewhere, because that simply isn’t true. No, it reminds me of my childhood, when holidays involved my parents shepherding my sister and I into a battered Ford Escort at 3am in the morning in order to get a good start driving up into Scotland to “beat the traffic”, as though the A69 at Warwick Bridge was the equivalent of the roundabout at the Arc de Triomphe. Invariably it would be too cold to have the windows down so the first few hours of the drive would be spent coughing and spluttering whilst my parents hotboxed us to death via endless Lambert & Butlers. We’d get out for a desultory Olympic breakfast in a Little Chef on an industrial estate outside of Lockerbie with blue lips and a faint golden patina of nicotine. No wonder my sister and I always used to fight in the back of the car – my dad would barely have backed down the drive before punches were being thrown, ankles were being kicked and hair was being pulled – but see that was my sister all over, so I never hit her back.

Gosh, I might do a few blog posts about earlier holidays actually, I love reminiscing of times when I used to be a) skinny b) far less cynical and c) more easily impressed. Let’s get back into the fast-lane though and talk about our current excursion.

I’ve mentioned on previous occasions how much I love stopping at service stations. I find them exciting! Everyone is going somewhere – normally to the cash machine to get £20 out to pay for two coffees and a side of abysmal customer service – and everyone has a tale.  Travelling does something to my sphincter that invariably means I want to stop for a poo at every opportunity, so our short four hour drive took about six hours in the end. Our stops ended up costing us £260 because I was so taken with a Deal or no Deal fruit machine that, when I came home, I ordered one for the games room. I’ve told Paul it’ll help us save money and it will, not least because seeing Noel Edmonds face all lit-up in the corner of our games room will make me so nauseated I’ll not want takeaway. We did have a hairy moment when we turned into Trowell Services at midnight and unpacked our brie and grape baguettes only to have a procession of chavs in their acne-carriages turn up and start doing spins in the car-park. It was Fast & Furious 9: Roaccutane Rush. Listen mate, you’re not impressing anyone by sticking a ‘RIP Paul Walker’ sticker on your nana’s haemorrhage-purple 02-plate Micra. 

We left them to it, driving with a contemptuous sneer of our own which was somewhat diluted by the fact the Archers Omnibus theme-tune was playing through our car speakers as we glided past.  At least it wasn’t Yes Sir (I Can Boogie) which was the song of the holiday. Anyway, our moment of happiness turned into despair when, after a bit more driving, we were informed that the motorway was shut and that we had to find our way to the Premier Inn on our own steam. This was past midnight, remember, and I was tired – I hadn’t managed to finish my baguette either. Paul took control and used a new app on his phone that acts as a sat-nav. Brilliant!

NOT brilliant. No, somehow, those last 25 miles seemed to take an eternity, taking us down all sorts of country roads, private lanes, farm tracks and tiny B-roads. I was cursing the whole time (remember, I don’t trust Sat-Navs) but Paul was adamant we were going the right way. Because I wanted to listen to the end of Brain of Britain, I shut my hole, and carried on. It took us over an hour to reach our destination and it was only then Paul discovered he’d effectively selected the ‘scenic’ route option, avoiding major busy routes. My language was as blue as the bedspread was purple. Our Premier Inn receptionist booked us in, taking a moment to ask Paul ‘who are you?’ before realising that he was the ‘Mrs’ on my booking, and we sank into bed, top layer of skin burning and crisping nicely in the far-too-hot-bedroom. Ah, what a start.

Right, so clearly I can’t just write the odd thought, I do need to monologue. Sorry! I’ll get to Cornwall in the next entry! Let’s do the recipe! Here – this looks complicated and a fart-on to put together, but it really isn’t. So calm your knickers. The picture below shows two portions mind. If you want the lot, you greedy bugger, you’ll need to syn an extra wrap – 4.5 syns. But really, it was almost too much for us, and we’re very confirmed fatties.

chilli stuffed easydillas

to make chilli stuffed easydillas you will need:

for the spice mix:

  • 1½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili flakes

for the sauce:

  • 300ml passata
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp chili flakes

for everything else

  • 4 BFree Foods Multigrain Wrap, Wheat & Gluten Free (1x HeB per person) (don’t worry, they’ve left the taste in)
  • 400g minced beef (you get a fair few portions of 400g mince in our freezer filler deal with Musclefood, so why not take advantage? Eh? What’s your excuse? Click right here to take advantage of that before we change our deals!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tins mixed bean salad, drained
  • zest of half a lime
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 30g grated reduced-fat cheddar (HeA)
  • 25g sliced black olives (2 syns)
  • 4 tsp quark

to make chilli stuffed easydillas you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • in a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the spice mix and set aside
  • in a small saucepan heat the ingredients for the sauce together over a medium heat and stir frequently until thickened (this will be towards the end)  
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray with Frylight
  • cook the onions for a few minutes until soft
  • add the beef and cook until browned
  • add the tomato puree to the pan along with the garlic and the spice mixture and stir well, remove from the pan into a large bowl 
  • using the same pan, add the mixed bean salad and allow to cook for a few minutes until warmed through
  • mash roughly – you can add a tbsp of water if it looks too dry – then remove from pan from the heat and set aside
  • spray another large frying pan with frylight and place over a high heat
  • add one of the tortillas to the pan and cook for 30 seconds – flip over and cook for another 40 seconds, then flip over again and cook for another thirty seconds 
  • place on a wire rack to cook and repeat the process for the rest of the wraps
  • spread half the bean mixture onto one of the wrap and top with half of the meat mixture – leave about a centimetre gap around the edge so it doesn’t seep out – and place another wrap on top. do this again for the other one
  • spoon 2 tbsp of the sauce on top of each wrap and top with the diced red onion, diced tomatoes cheese and olives
  • bake in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted
  • add 2 tsp of quark to the top and serve

 

spicy orange chicken, takeaway style

James here. I have some devastating news to get to before we dish out the recipe for spicy orange chicken that you’re all after. After weeks of ‘it will be so much cheaper to run‘, ‘they go fast, honest’ and ‘well I’m not letting you slide that up there until you get me a Smart car’, I’ve folded like a cheap suit, prised open the wallet and given in. Paul now has a Smart car. I maintain my dislike of them – we’re two large fat men, it’s the equivalent of trying to squeeze a roast chicken into a travel kettle, but nevertheless, Paul deserves a car that doesn’t sound like it’s just finished the Dakar Rally. I’m not a petrolhead and I’m certainly not one of those people who need a massive car to try and compensate for their flea-bite willies, I can assure you – my favourite car so far was a crummy, rusty Citroen C2. As a parallel, there were so, so, so many middle-aged knobheads buying giant cars in the Mercedes showroom – don’t worry, you’ll see them soon in blisteringly high detail, beetroot-faced and gesticulating wildly in your rear-view mirror. But no, the Smart car just isn’t for me. It’s all about Paul. So on that note, let’s hand over to him for a wee bit. Oh! This is why we haven’t weighed in this week, we were at the car place on Thursday. Don’t worry, the Knobometer will be back next week. So yeah, Paul…

Hooray! Lots of excitement and excuses to run over the Londis over here at The Sticky Patch because the new car has arrived! Well, it’s half-arrived – they can’t actually find the car we’ve ordered, only that it is somewhere in Zebrugge. James cracked a gag about whether it had come over on the Herald of Free Enterprise but was met with an icy stare from the lady at the dealership. Oops. Ah well, it’s not that terrible as they have let me have the exact same car but in different colours to use until they manage to track the other one down so it all sorted itself out. Of course, I’m totally gonna milk it so that I get a fancy free gift out of their accessories cabinet. There’s a trolley coin and fancy ice scraper in there with my name written all over it.

Of course, this happy event is tinged with sadness as it also means a (probably long overdue) tearful farewell to Betty the Micra, who I will always have a soft spot for as it was my first car. The wing mirror was hanging off and the boot went through a period of not opening aside from random intervals when the car was travelling over 70mph, giving the driver behind a fright as twelve bags of Tesco shopping would start cascading out. She absolutely reeked of several years of accumulated farts that no amount of Yankee Candle knock-offs from Aldi could put a dint in. But I loved her, warts and all.

The Smart is a fantastically fun car to drive – I still maintain that it doesn’t feel like a teeny tiny car when you’re in it (except over speed bumps when both ends of the car seem to go over it at the same time – I still can’t get used to it) and it’s a doddle to park, even with my glyphy eye. Plus, people really, REALLY hate being behind a Smart car so will aggressively overtake which then gives James a chance to practice his more colourful language. He’s not an aggressive driver, just a descriptive one. It’s pleasant that we now that we have two decent cars instead of one nice and one shit one. The neighbours have been unusually quiet today so I fully expect they’re all out now updating their own cars – they can’t be getting outdone by ‘the poofs’ (and I’m not even joking – they really will be). 

I love driving, I really do. It’s especially fun up where we live because there are plenty of winding, hilly roads to throw yourself about on, and only a handful lead to dogging spots. In fact, I only passed my test two years ago because to be honest I didn’t really need to drive when I was younger – I preferred to spend my minimum wage wages on fags and cider. I’m from a chronically dull place near Peterborough where fun doesn’t exist and where the roads are just long, straight parkways leading to other long, straight parkways, plus the nearest glory hole was only a fifteen minute walk away so I didn’t ever really feel the need to pass my test anyway. Not that I could have afforded it, I’m terminally underpaid. My childhood experiences of cars was never that exciting either – mother’s Megane had the Celine Dion album she owned on a permanent loop despite being so scratched it sounded like she was rapping her way through My Heart Will Go On. Add to that the fact I couldn’t see out the windows for all the fag smoke that filled the car from her coughing lips – even now I can’t recognise Peterborough without applying a blue smoke filter over the top. Getting out of the smoke-filled car was like coming through the doors of Stars in your Eyes, only I was coughing and spluttering rather than singing Marti Pellow. Ah good times. No wonder I like having my own car now.

Anyway, enough reminiscing. It’s back to James for the recipe. This orange chicken isn’t too spicy and a perfect substitute for a takeaway dinner.

spicy orange chicken

to make spicy orange chicken you will need:

This serves four, by the way.

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks (of course, you can use the fabulous chicken breasts that we sell in our fantastic Musclefood deal – in which case, you’ll probably only need two to serve four – click here for those!)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated

for the orange sauce:

  • 325ml chicken stock
  • 250ml Tropicana Trop50 Orange Juice (2.5 syns)
  • 150ml white vinegar
  • 125ml soy sauce
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 2 tbsp sriracha (1 syn)
  • ½ tsp freshly grated ginger
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (2 syns)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

to make spicy orange chicken you should:

  • in a bowl mix together all of the orange sauce ingredients
  • in another bowl, add 150ml of the orange sauce to the diced chicken, cover and allow to marinade for twenty minutes
  • meanwhile, heat the rest of the sauce mixture in a saucepan and bring to the boil
  • keep stirring until it begins to thicken a little, reduce the heat but keep it on medium and keep stirring
  • remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the sauce
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • add the minced ginger and garlic and stir for about 1 minute
  • add the chicken and fry until cooked
  • pour half the sauce mixture over the chicken and stir well to coat
  • serve with rice and pour over the remainder of the sauce

enjoy!

J

spicy beef bowl, and christ, we’re back

BOO. Yes, spicy beef bowl below.

Been wondering where we’ve been? Well, see, I had to keep the fact we were going away a complete secret. We’ve actually been in New York for seven days, doing all sorts of wonderful things and having a gay old time. But I hadn’t told Paul about it – a complete secret as a surprise for his birthday / our anniversary. Good, right? You have literally no idea how much anal that’s going to get me. Also, I was unable to arrange for a housesitter and I didn’t fancy advertising the fact our house was empty for a week. Again. Now you might be thinking how utterly extravagant, given we’ve been to Corsica, Iceland and now America in the last four months and well, it’s true, I am becoming Judith Chalmers, only I don’t have that weird vagina neck that comes from holidaying in the sun too much. Listen: shrouds don’t have pockets, that’s all I’m saying. You can’t take it with you. New York was amazing and I’ll undoubtedly get round to writing up my book of notes from the trip (once I’ve finished Iceland off!), there’s lots of things to say.

This also meant a week off from the diet, because I’ll be buggered if I’m expected to go to New York and eat houmous made from chickpeas. Everything I put in my mouth had cheese on it (what can I say, it gets hot and humid when you’re riding the subway) – I genuinely wouldn’t have been surprised to be given a Cheesestring to stir my coffee with. You’ll see below the results of this time off…

Another twist which I couldn’t really talk about is that I’ve sort-of-got-a-new-job. Whilst I won’t bore you with the details, it’s something that is going to demand some of my attention whilst I get up to speed, so although we’re planning on regular posts again, they might not be so long. But hell how many times have I said that and I’ll end up talking the hind legs off a donkey!

So yes, our weight chart…well, it’s pretty buggered.

the big apple

Gosh! Oh I know I know. It looks bad. But a few good poos (we both have logjams in the river), a week of being on plan and we’ll be cooking on gas. We did get Couple of the Year, though, which led to an awkward moment where someone struggled to get the sash over my man-tits. I felt like an elephant on parade. It’s a lovely gesture but I think the cheery mood blackened when our considerable weight gains were revealed. Oops.

spicy beef bowl

to make spicy beef bowl you will need:

  • 400g beef strips, like the ones you get in our musclefood deal
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 2 good handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 chilli pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp of sambal paste – you can buy this in any Tesco, it’s not essential, but adds a good depth of flavour
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (2 syns)
  • 160ml low sodium soy sauce (seriously, use low sodium, or it’ll be too salty)
  • 60ml white wine vinegar

to make a spicy beef bowl you should:

  • using a food processor (a nutribullet works great for this) pulse the sesame oil, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, garlic, sambal oelek and ginger until smooth
  • place the beef in a freezer bag and add the dressing – tie the bag up and leave to marinate for about 1-2 hours, shaking it regularly
  • heat a large saucepan over a medium high heat and add a little oil or Frylight
  • drain the meat from the marinade and place in the saucepan – keep what’s left of the marinade mix
  • cook the meat for about 1-2 minutes, it’s all it will need!
  • remove from the pan and set aside on a plate – if you don’t like it pink don’t worry – it will keep cooking
  • in the same pan, cook the peppers and spinach until softened with about 75ml of the marinade mix – add more if you think it needs it, it should all be well coated and you’ll have plenty of the stuff left
  • add the beef back into the pan and cook for another minute, making sure everything is mixed well
  • serve immediately, and sprinkle on the spring onions and chilli pepper

Don’t forget, put a loo roll in the fridge to wipe your taint with later, because this’ll make it sting! You can make it less spicy, but what’s the point in living if you can’t feel alive?

J