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

2CC zinger tower burger

Tonight’s recipe is a Slimming World friendly version of the Zinger Tower Burger from KFC. The original weighs in at 33 syns. And I’m sorry, look at the clip of it. We ordered one so we knew what to make, and it looks awful. Scroll past all of the chat below if you just need the recipe!

IMG_2212

We were supposed to be going to Hexham to see the fireworks but see it’s been raining like a pissing cow, so we didn’t bother. I can tolerate sliding around in the mud with a group of men waiting for a banger to explode behind me and a large rocket to go off in my face – hell, that’s 3am on a Sunday morning for Paul and I – but the thought of having to drive along the country roads in this weather, invariably stuck behind Arthur and Martha Pissknickers in their 40mph-at-all-costs Astra…well that was just too much to bear. Luckily, if I gaze left out of my window I’m treated to a wonderful audio-visual display anyway, as my neighbour who can barely drive struggles to reverse off her driveway. Honestly, her reverse light flickers off and on so much I’m not entirely convinced that she hasn’t slumped over the controls clutching her heart and she’s morse-coding CALL AN AMBULANCE at me. Ah well, it’s a cold night, she’ll be someone else’s stiff problem in the morning.

I’m kidding I’m kidding. 

It’s actually quite warm.

We didn’t get a chance to lie in this morning, saying as Paul had helpfully booked his little Micra in to have a tyre changed at 9am in the bloody morning. On a Saturday! I was calm and collected when he told me the news and then asked me to take the car – I left him with two working teeth, so all was well. Paul goes through car tyres like most of us go through excuses as to why we’ve put on weight. I swear Paul’s car spends more time up on the ramp than it does on our drive, blocking the neighbour’s view of the road (eee, no wonder she struggles so much). Nevertheless, I forced myself out of bed at 8am, had a half-hearted shower and a twenty minute morning piss, and I was on my way. I said goodbye to Paul the only way I could, by silently creeping into our bedroom, pulling down my trousers and letting out a particularly noxious fart out a millimetre away from his face. Still didn’t wake him mind, though his tongue died.

I drove to Ashington (oh the glamour) in the pissing rain, eyes full of sleep and mind full of cotton-wool. I don’t wake up in the morning until I’ve had at least three cups of coffee and a Double Decker. The trip was as uneventful as driving with about 5% of your brain awake normally is – red lights missed, cyclists to prise off the bonnet, the usual (OK, I really AM joking on that one). At one point I felt a rumble in my nethers and, forgetting my destination, I let rip with a fart that could have parted the sea. Even the car sped up of its own accord. Of course, I hadn’t remembered where I was going – a garage where doubtless some fancy-dan in overalls would want to clamber around in my car – and as it turned out, I was only 600 yards from arriving. This led to me having to do several extra laps of the estate with the windows down and me tilting my bulk to one side each time I went around a corner to try and displace any remaining air-pockets of stink. Paul’s Yankee Candle air-freshener did nothing, though I’d genuinely rather smell what billows out of my arse of a morning than the insipid sickliness of ‘A Child’s Wish’.

Realising that I’d done all I can to dissipate the smell other than calling in an exorcist, I confidently turned into the garage, and ignoring the street-long garage forecourt, promptly drove down someone’s drive just to the left. Realising my mistake and forgetting how shit the gearbox was on the Micra, I spent a minute or so doing a tiny 533-point-turn and turning around, the mechanics in the garage giving me eye as I did so. Having parked, the mistakes continued to pile up – I walked into the back office and announced myself as the Micra driver only to be told to go to the reception and that ‘this was a staff room’ (which is a rather extravagant thing to call somewhere consisting of a settee and copies of the Daily Sport). Signing the car over, I was told to take a seat – I demurred, saying I’d never fit it in the boot* – and went to get myself a coffee from the machine.

Irma Grese behind the reception counter looked at me like I was muck on her shoe and waited until I’d upended all the Splenda and taken a stirrer to tell me that ‘coffee was a pound’. I looked down at the watery brown liquid I had in my hand and had to bite my tongue not to reply ‘how much for this stool sample?’. I explained I didn’t carry cash (I really don’t) and she, after quickly checking with Google as to the legality of having me taken out and shot behind the tyres, ‘let me off’. By god though, did she let me know she’d done me a favour – she spent the next forty minutes sighing and snorting so much that I almost called for oxygen.

Aside from her theatrics, the time passed quickly enough, with me alternating between cursing myself for leaving my phone at home and finally catching up on Jordan’s love life via the various Heat magazines littered around. I do hope her and that varnished walnut who “sang” Mysterious Girl make a go of it. I did half expect to see at least one mechanic being taken away on a stretcher after venturing into the car’s Cloud of Death’, but no, all was well, and the mechanic ushered me over to ‘take a look’. Take a look? At what? Unless he’d accidentally fitted a Domino’s pizza or a ship’s wheel instead of a tyre, what could I say? Nevertheless, because he was manly and I’m not, I pointed at the tyre and made appropriately straight-man remarks, like ‘cracking job’ and ‘ah yes it looks so much better now’, until he pointed out that it was the back tyre on the other side of the car.

For fuck’s sake. If I can find a way to make a tit of myself, I’ll do it, I really will. I paid up, left with a flounce of my coat, and promptly climbed into the passenger side of the car. I wish I could say I’m exaggerating, but I’m genuinely not. When I realised my mistake I tried to make it look like I was just getting something but they knew – you don’t put your foot in when reaching for the glove compartment, do you? And so with all that over I finally managed to get myself into the right seat – and then stalled it, because I’m not used to Paul’s car.

SO, I won’t be going back there.

Tonight’s recipe then is KFC chicken DONE WELL. Our local KFC is a hovel, no fibbing. We went through the drive-through (I’m sorry, but I’m not putting thru, I’m just not) once and had to wait by the intercom whilst the chickenkicker finished her rollie in front of us before lumbering back into the shop (I’m sorry, but I’m not putting restaurant, I’m just not) and phlegming her way through our order.

In the photo below we’ve used a white bread bun instead of a wholemeal bun – but that’s because wholemeal buns look so boring. You must use your HEB to keep it low in syns. We’ve used panko to coat the chicken, panko being a dried breadcrumb you’ll find in most larger supermarkets, but you can just use a whizzed up breadbun if you prefer. The key is – although we’ve synned the full amount, you’ll not use it all to coat your chicken, so it’s actually less than three syns for the whole thing! I’m going to give you the recipe to make hash browns and the chicken, and then you assemble it however you want – ours is breadbun, bit of ketchup (up to you if you syn it, but we use a tiny amount so don’t bother), chicken, slice of cheese (Tesco Edam slice used here as a HEA) (there are others!) (or grate some cheese), hash brown, lettuce, bit of reduced fat mayo (again, syn or not syn, up to you) and top the breadbun. I’m giving the recipe as enough for one, so just double or triple the ingredients if you want more. SO…

IMG_2213 IMG_2214 (1)

to make twochubbycubs’ zinger tower burger, you’ll need:

  • 1 large chicken breast (remember folks, if you like big, pouting breasts, you’ll find an awful lot of them in our £40 box of meat through Musclefood – along with mince, bacon, sausages, steak…click HERE for that deal)
  • 1 wholemeal roll (HEB)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried basil (not essential, but nice)
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/8 tsp sage (again, not essential, but nice – substitute in a pinch of mixed herbs)
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 lamb or beef stock cube, crumbled
  • 12g panko (2.5 syns)
  • 1 medium-size potato
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • bit of tomato ketchup or mayo (I’ve counted half a syn here, because we use so little)
  • we served with chips and beans because we’re so common, but you could have a bit of sweetcorn if you’re feeling fruity)

to make twochubbycubs’ zinger tower burger, you should:

  • an hour or so before you want to eat, make the hash-browns by grating the potato into a bowl and fill with cold water to cover it – this step is necessary to stop them going grey
  • allow to sit for about an hour before draining the water
  • squeeze as much liquid out of the potato as you can – it helps if you tip it into a dry, clean tea towel, bundle it up and squeeze – or, what we do, pile the potato on a chopping board, put another chopping board on top and then press down as hard as you can – the drier the potato the better the hash brown
  • press the potato into round moulds (we use one of these, makes things so much easier – and look, that’s two recipes I’ve used it in lately, this and the bubble and squeak) and cook in a frying pan (don’t use oil if you’ve got a good frying pan, but if you haven’t, a bit of Frylight or similar should be used) over a medium-high heat until golden, turning once
  • in a large, shallow dish mix together all of the breadcrumb ingredients
  • beat the egg in another bowl, dip your breasts in the egg mixture and roll in the breadcrumb mixture until well coated – you might need to press some of it on to make it stick
  • bake in the oven at 190 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until golden
  • assemble your burger!

Easy! 

J

lamb kofta with creamy cucumbers

I’ve never felt older than I did this morning, when, standing at a bus-stop surrounded by screaming kids effing and jeffing, I tutted to myself and thought ‘kids these days’. Well actually, what I thought was ‘kids these days…if I kicked the littlest one under the wheels of a bus would I REALLY be in the wrong?’. Which is a trifle worrying but honestly, they were so loud. All the conversation was happening at twice the speed I’d expect, like someone leaning on the BPM slider on an old record-player. At one point I thought they were speaking Gujarati until I made the words ‘here-man-ye-FUCKING-DONKEY’ explode through all the vocal drawls and tics. Plus half of the little scrotes were smoking, albeit they were doing that affected ‘suck in a tiny bit and exhale like you’re trying to blow out a chip pan fire’ smoking. I mean if you’re GOING to smoke do it properly, I didn’t hear one lung-rattling cough amongst them. Amateurs. I was on half a tin of Peterson Old Dublin at their age.

You may wonder why someone as sociopathic as me was on a bus – well, I had to take my dear little car in for a service. It’s a brand new car so there should be no problems and it could have waited but see, my windscreen wipers were leaving an annoying smear on the window and rather than just clean them myself, I just took the car in for a full service and asked for a new set. We’re terrible with money, what can I say. But we’ve got no debt so we’re doing something right! I had to sit outside the dealership for twenty minutes waiting for someone to open up, and then I was immediately cut up in the queue by someone with a nicotine fringe and Build-a-Bear shoes. It’s OK, I’m British, I’ll queue politely and stare at the back of your greasy head with such unimaginable fury that I’m surprised the word KNOBJOCKEY didn’t burn across your ears.

He was booking in his bellendmobile for a service too and I almost ground my teeth into diamonds at his excruciating exchange with the receptionist. See, she asked him what time he wanted to pick up the car, he replied ‘Whatever time is good for you, I’m easy’. That made me vomit gently against the back of my teeth but I held it back. She then suggested 4pm – nope, no good, he was picking the kids up. 5pm? No, he was taking his mother to hospital. 3pm? He’d be at work. Tomorrow morning? He drives a lorry for a living, he’d be away. I mean HAWAY MAN, it’s not bloody hard to give HER a time instead of trying to be a smooth bastard with your plaitable earhair and chip-fat musk. After what felt like enough time to the rubber on my tyres to perish in the sun, he fucked off, it was my turn, I signed the car over and was away before she could click her pen.

The bus, then. Awful. For so many reasons. Firstly, I like my own personal space. I don’t like sharing that personal space with someone for whom deodorant and mouthwash are part of an “alternative lifestyle”. I immediately tune into their every defect – the way their nostrils whistle when they breathe out, the way they click their teeth over every speedbump, the way they lean against me as the bus turns a corner. I hate it. I’m not perfect by any stretch but see that’s why I contain myself in a car. People don’t respect personal space but I probably take it to the other extreme – I wince like a beaten dog if someone so much as gets in the lift with me.

Plus, the journey cost me £2.20. For a distance no greater than two miles, all downhill. Had I not been worried about my lovely shirt, I could have laid on my back and barrelled down the hill like a roll of carpet. I could even have walked (shock, I know, but even I’m not fat enough to decline a walk downhill) but I would have been late for my dentist and he’s the last guy I want to piss off. That’s extortionate, and it took almost half an hour because the bus stopped quite literally every 100 yards or so to let someone off and on, with all their bloody questions taking another five minutes. The driver had all the charisma of a roadside piss and snatched tickets and cash like he was on the Crystal Maze. I don’t doubt there are exceptions but do they make all bus drivers go to a training camp to thrash all the human decency out of them? Or is it dealing with rotten human beings all day that turn them into such miserable buggers? I saw someone stumble over the word Megarider and I honestly thought the driver was going to punch her on the tit. 

Ah well. The dentist went very well – I’m not even going to write a sarcastic recount of that, because I just can’t fault my dentist. He’s lovely. He takes the time to tell me what he’s going to do and I think he must minimise anything that ‘hurts’ because I rarely feel a thing. Apparently I have animal teeth AND naturally white. Not surprised, what with all the “whitening solution” I’ve had cascaded over them over the years, am I right? If I was richer, I’d have every last tooth torn out and replaced with big fake white teeth. I know it looks unnatural but it’s the one thing about me that I’m genuinely shy about – even though my teeth are pretty decent.  Paul hides his teeth all the time too, despite having a lovely smile – but in the nine years we’ve been together I’ve never been allowed to look at the back of his mouth. The guy is happy enough texting me a picture of his balloon knot with an ‘URGENT: OPEN THIS’ caption, but his teeth? No. Weird.

Anyway, as it happens, the car came back completely free of any worries and they replaced the blades for nowt because they should have lasted longer! RESULT.

Tonight’s recipe, then:

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to make lamb kofta, you’ll need:

ingredients for the kofta: 900g lean lamb mince, 1 large onion, 3cm piece of root ginger (peeled and chopped), 2 cloves of garlic, 1 chilli pepper (deseeded), 1 tsp ground cumin, 2 tsp ground coriander, 2 tsp garam masala, 1tsp salt, 1 egg

to make lamb kofta, you should:

  • throw the onion, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, cumin, coriander, garam masala, salt and egg into a food processor and pulse until it makes a grainy paste
  • mix together the minced lamb and egg, and then combine with the paste mixture
  • leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour
  • divide the mixture into ten portions and roll out into a thick sausage shape – you want it to be about the size of a penis that, when presented, you wouldn’t get very excited about, and skewer
  • in a small bowl mix together a little fat free yoghurt with a drop or two of oil and add a pinch of black pepper
  • using a pastry brush, lightly coat the koftas with the yoghurt mixture
  • grill under a medium heat for around 5 minutes per side

We served this on a HEB WW tortilla bread from Tesco, plus some tomato and a giant lettuce leaf. 

ingredients for the creamy cool cucumbers: 1 cucumber (sliced thinly), 1 onion (sliced), 60g fat free natural yoghurt, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1 tsp sweetener, pinch of salt and pepper, 2 tsp dill

recipe: 

  • mix together the yoghurt, onion, white wine vinegar, sweetener, salt and pepper
  • pour over the cucumbers and toss well to mix
  • sprinkle the dill over the mix just before serving

Listen: I know I go on about this all the time. But if you haven’t got a mandolin slicer, bloody well get one. Fair enough you might circumcise the end of your fingers but it’ll be worth it – you can slice your onion and cucumber for this recipe in less time then it would take you to get a knife out of the block and crack a few jokes about the girth of the cucumber. The one we use is from Amazon and is brilliant – and only £12. Think of all the time you spend crying over your onion and irregular slices. Treat yourself. It’s this or chocolate.

Better to make this just before serving otherwise the cucumber leaks its water and the sauce looks like something you might get treatment at the clap clinic for.

End on a high!

J

spiced lamb mince and potato aloo kheema

Firstly, a massive and genuinely heartfelt thank you to everyone for the lovely comments yesterday in response to my article about my nana. I can’t reply to them all but please know that they were read and enjoyed greatly. She’d have hated (but secretly loved) all the fuss. She was one of those people who would say she didn’t want anything for Christmas and then sit there with a face like a slapped arse until you got her present out. I’ll miss her at Christmas – we used to joke on amongst ourselves that she was like Dr Who – always regenerating at Christmas despite us saying for a good ten years that ‘we’d better not go away this year, it’ll be her last’. Ah well. Your comments were delightful, inspired and so very kind, and it made me feel better that I was able to encapsulate even the smallest bit of what she meant to me. That said, if she wasn’t currently on ice down at the morgue, she’d be tunneling halfway to China now spinning in her grave at what I’m about to show you.

I have literally become the thing I hate most. Just look.

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I’m drinking a mixed drink from a fucking jamjar, like some pretentious rah-yah in one of those bars where they take a perfectly affable building, cover it in veneers and turn off all the lights so you have to read the menu by the cherry of a liquorice-papered, prison-thin American Spirit roll-up. You’ll note however that the jamjar is a proper Kilner licenced jar and I even doubled down and got the awful paper straws to go with it. Paper straws though, really – the liquid equivalent of trying to dry yourself with a cloud. Five minutes in and it’s already collapsed, so I end up sucking like I’m giving the world’s worst blowjob to both parties concerned. Don’t worry, it’ll be back to George pint glasses soon enough and we’ll only wheel out the posh stuff when it’s going on Twitter, like the Christmas china.

That’s the next point – we’re now on Twitter. The observant amongst you will doubtless have spotted the little widget there on the right displaying pictures and other such nonsense. The aim is to get you lot sharing these recipes wherever you can, plus, it gives me an outlet for my bile for when I can’t be bothered sitting at the computer trying to type with a particularly needy cat clawing away at my genitals. Follow us by adding @twochubbycubs and share share share share!

Along similar lines, I’ve just noticed that we’ve sailed clean past 2000 members, which when you think I was only bleating on about having 1000 members back in January (and take a look at that page, I shit you not when I say it’s one of our best recipes), is pretty incredible. Like we always say – Paul loves cooking (he’s learnt to, Little Mo has nothing on him) and I love writing, so this is the perfect outlet for us. The fact that so many of you like hearing our nonsense and swearing only gives us a reason to try harder! With that in mind, know that we are going to be back to full speed pretty soon – recent events have knocked us a little, but we’re still doing a new recipe a day, and you’ll get the benefit of that. We’ve got breakfast ideas, themed weeks and oops – we forgot about Europe. What are we like. So bear with us, and until then, enjoy this:

lamb kheema slimming world

Tasty. And check out the presentation, I felt like I was in a Newcastle Wetherspoons. I mean, I knew I wasn’t because I have a full set of teeth and a career, but still*.

to make the spiced lamb mince you will need:

500g of lean lamb or pork mince (or beef, for that matter – hey listen, I’m not judging you), 500g of potatoes (use new potatoes if you can get them) cut into thumb sized chunks, 1 red onion finely chopped, 2 big juicy red tomatoes (i.e. don’t be buying a pack of cheap tomatoes, God is watching and he despairs of your watery orange balls of nowt), and then the spices:

to make spiced lamb mince you should:

You’ll also need a drop of oil for the onions. If you prefer, use Frylight, but like I always say: don’t.

This recipe only took us about 30 minutes to make and most of that was the pot sitting on the hob. So what’s your excuse, eh?

ingredients for the sides: a pitta bread each (HEB if you use a wholemeal Weight Watchers pitta, which has all the taste and wonder of a side of Artex), an onion, tomato, cucumber and red chilli for the onion salad and fat free natural yoghurt, cucumber and fresh mint (or mint sauce if you’re common) for the raita. 

FULL DISCLOSURE: I don’t know if this is extra-lean lamb mince. See, it was at the back of our freezer and we did buy a load of extra-lean mince from our butcher back in the day. I think it is. If it is, then the dish is syn free. If not, use extra lean beef or pork or even turkey. OH THE EXCITEMENT.

OK, so the recipe:

  • make up your side dishes
    • add yoghurt, mint and grated cucumber together and chill
    • toast pitta bread
    • chop up onion, tomato, cucumber and finely chop chilli – combine and add a pinch of salt
    • set aside
  • get your best pan out of the cupboard – heavy bottomed (that’s the pan, not you, cheeky)
  • add the cinnamon stick, bay leaf and cumin seeds and get it on a medium high heat until they sizzle
  • add the chopped onions, cook until golden, add the ginger and garlic paste
  • add the turmeric, chilli and coriander powder and let it sweat for a moment or two before chucking in the mince and potato
  • allow to brown for a few minutes and then add the chopped tomatoes – two big tomatoes should produce more than enough water once you put the lid on and turn the heat down to a medium
  • cook until the meat is cooked and the potatoes tender – chuck in the garam masala and cook down for a moment or two more
  • serve.

Enjoy!

* I actually like Wetherspoons and don’t have a problem with them. Creative licence, alright?

J

beef chow fun

Let us return back to misty old Ireland for one more post about our holiday. There’s still a few gags I can bust out about the whole debacle.

The day for us leaving came around quicker than you can say ‘hot-tub indiscretion’ and we left the cottage at a bright and breezy 7am, taking a long video of the place to show that we’d done do damage. Ever the tightarse, me. We immediately ran into a problem – we had to take our bag of general rubbish down to a waste disposal centre as the bin lorries don’t operate up to the cottage. At 7am on a bank holiday weekend in rural Ireland, that’s quite hard. We spent thirty minutes driving around, with Paul wedged in the passenger seat with a honking bag of rubbish in between his legs, leaking nasty bin juice in my car. After several attempts at finding somewhere to ditch it (there, of course, being no bins anywhere) we eventually tied a five euro note to one of the handles and left it on someone’s drive. Well honestly, I wasn’t going to take it home as a bloody souvenir. Sorry Ireland.

Of course, thanks to my keen-as-mustard driving (plus the 85mph speed limit – so that’s 95mph in real money) and excellent navigation skills, we arrived at the port a good ninety minutes before we were allowed to board. Ninety minutes isn’t long enough to go anywhere and do anything so we ended up having a morose coffee in a service station served by someone who clearly used the same cloth for cleaning both his armpits and the grill-pan. Every time he leant over our table to pour a coffee I felt the skin on my face tighten like I was looking into a bonfire. There’s no excuse for body odour at all – a bottle of Mum can be picked up for a matter of pennies. Excessive sweating is fair enough – we’re all fat here – and it’s something I used to get so worried about that I’d barely put my arm up at school in case I had a wet-patch under my arms. For three years they thought my mother had been at the thalidomide until they saw my arm at full length reaching for an extra slice of chocolate and orange cornflake-cake at lunch and called off the doctors. We supped our coffee and, noticing that I had a few Euros scratching around in my pockets, I bought a scratchcard for €2. And won €4. So I bought a €4 scratchcard and promptly won €5. I chanced my luck, bought a €5 card and won another fucking €5. So I doubled down and bought a €10 scratchcard, with B.O Bill congratulating my excellent luck. I won fuck all. You may think I’m being melodramatic when I say I left the place in tears but I wasn’t upset, my eyes were just streaming from the vinegary heat-haze rippling from his armpit. I’ve never known the air in a café to shimmer.

The ferry crossing was uneventful – nothing more to report than the hilarity of watching people trying to light a cigarette on the deck when faced with a nice gale and the swell of the sea. By god they were determined, and I know the feeling being an ex-smoker, but it looked bloody hilarious. I swear you could drop a smoker behind the engine of a Boeing 747 going full-pelt and they’d still be tucking their head into their jumper and spinning the wheel on their lighter like a desperate suicide bomber. We tried to gamble but without any pound coins, we couldn’t, so we spent three hours playing Peggle and cramming as many free cans of Diet Coke as we could into my suitcase. If the ship had taken a lurch and I’d slipped over on deck I reckon the resulting explosion of fizz on my back would have sent me clear into the Irish sea like the gayest distress flare Holyhead had ever seen. Upon disembarkation (really) it was like we had cataracts – the fog was so heavy and dense that suddenly a 250 mile drive back to Newcastle at 50mph didn’t seem so alluring. We tried to book back into the Bangor Premier Inn for another night of unrivalled Welsh glamour only to be told that there was no rooms left. Bah. Obviously everyone had the same idea as us – get to a hotel and sleep out the fog which was blanketing the country. A desperate search on a shite mobile reception told us that there was two rooms left at a Premier Inn in Widnes, but due to us stopping to buy some sour strawberry laces and Paul needing his usual eighty nine pisses, we got there just a moment too late as a family checked in just in front of us. No idea if they’d had a room booked for months and were just there as planned, but I was so put out that I did a silent fart on the way out to foul their reception. And trust me, after a week of rich food and Irish treats, it didn’t smell of peaches.

We decided to head for Wakefield. The glitz! The glamour! The incest! I joke. A room was secured and comfort awaited but before we got there, we pulled over for our evening meal at a services. By, was that depressing. At 11pm on a Sunday the only option open to us was a Ginsters pasty, a Kitkat and a bottle of water. Delightful. I did spend a few minutes playing the slots despite knowing it’s a mugs game but actually, we won £20. Tell you what though, we left depressed. See, next to us was a middle-aged woman who was feeding £10 notes into the machine and spinning the slots for £2 a time. She was there when we went in, she was there as we played and she was there when we left – if she hadn’t spent over £200 I’d eat my hat. Whilst we were in WH Smith I was being nosy and keeping an eye on her (well, truth be told, I was waiting until she fucked off so I could empty the machine myself) and in walks her husband, rolling along like a disgruntled potato. He asked when she was coming out, she said ‘I’M ABOUT TO FUCKING WIN’. He had their tiny daughter with him and she looked knackered. Suddenly it wasn’t quite so funny. As we left, the mother was still there pumping the notes into the machine, and the dad and daughter were outside sitting in a car. Nearly midnight on a bank holiday. All I could think was what the money now sitting in the machine could buy the kid and how shit her homelife must be. Paul and I are lucky that we can chuck £20 into a slot, have a gamble and walk away if we lose, but this was the ugly side of things. Those machines are nothing other than pure evil – you can gamble £2 every five seconds or so and whilst yes, personal responsibility should kick in, that’s easy to say if you don’t have a gambling problem.  These machines are so good at getting you to risk a bit extra, to gamble your wins, to chase your losses. There’s a reason there’s always someone playing them. Bastards.

Anyway, onto lighter things. We spent the night in the Premier Inn Wakefield and only woke when poor Svetlanka brayed on the door like we were on the Titanic. We decided on one final naughty meal so nipped over the road to a Brewers Fayre. I’m not a fan of this type of pub – it screams ‘Access Day’ – but nevertheless, we ordered nachos, hunters chicken and something else so delicious that I’ve clean forgotten it. Well fuck me, we were back to English food alright – the nachos were a pack of Doritos with some guacamole shoved on it with all the care and panache that an arsonist applies petrol with, the chicken clearly died from thirst given how dry it was (I had to suck the beermat just to moisten me lips) and Paul didn’t finish his meal. That’s only happened three times in our relationship that I can recall and one of them was when I set the kitchen on fire making cherry samosas. We hurtled back up the A1, said hello to the brassy old tart known as the Angel of the North, and we were home. Cats welcomed us back warmly by showing us their pencil-sharpeners just in case we’d forgotten what they looked like and them immediately meowing to be fed. Don’t know what their problem was, we’d left a tin-opener.

Crap, the time. I’m going to do another post soon summing up Ireland and all the little extra bits, but I bet you’re all a bit tired of my shamrock-scented shenanigans. Tell you what you will not be sick of – this fabulous bloody recipe.

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Yummee! It’s essentially just beef and noodles but it tastes bloody amazing.

to make beef chow fun you’ll need:

ingredients: enough noodles for two people, a drop of sesame oil, 450g of beef frying steak, 1 large onion, 4 large spring onions, a bag of beansprouts, salt. For the marinade, you’ll need three garlic cloves, 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce, 1 tbsp of normal soy sauce (no need to get fussy, three tbsp of dark soy will do the same), 1tbsp of rice vinegar, 2tsp of grated peeled ginger (remember to keep the leftover in the freezer, it’ll keep – or use a tiny bit of dry ginger), 1/2tsp of cornflour (hence the syn), salt.

to make beef chow fun, you should:

  • make the marinade first by whisking together everything I’ve put above and put aside
  • slice the beef into thin strips, the spring onion into decent chunks, the onion into thickish slices and mince the garlic
  • hoy the beef into half of the marinade and chill, preferably overnight but for at least 30 minutes – keep the other half of the marinade aside
  • when you’re ready, cook off your noodles and once cooked, put into icy water to stop them cooking and sticking together
  • heat a good non-stick pan with your drop of oil or frylight, and using a slotted spoon, put your meat in to cook – fry nice and quick and hard, fnar fnar
  • put the beef to one side and throw in the onions – both the large onion and the spring onions and stir fry on hot for a minute or two, then add the beansprouts, the noodles the rest of the marinade and the beef and stir fry for a few moments more until everything is piping hot
  • serve hot and with chopsticks, unless you’re a clumsy oaf like me.

Enjoy!

J