chernobyl soup: cheap, cheerful and full of flavour

Chernobyl soup: it cooks itself! No, stop it, we won’t have any jokes about Chernobyl in here, this is a tasteful blog. However let me tell you this: the soup looks like something you’d find in a layby nappy, hurriedly thrown from a moving car by some frazzled parents, but it tastes bloody good. If you’re looking for something very quick, cheap and easy, then nip over and I’ll sort you out, and we can have the soup after. It’s a simple enough combination of stock, veg and sausage with paprika. It uses an Instant Pot but fret not – you can make it on the hob just as easy.

Why are we calling it Chernobyl soup anyway? Because it was part of the meal we had at the Chernobyl Power Plant Workers’ Canteen, and so, with the confident ease of someone who has played the up-a-bit-down-a-bit-push game all too often, let’s segue straight to part two of our Ukraine holiday report. Look! A fancy banner approaches – click it to whisk straight to the recipe – and this is a VERY long entry, so I won’t even hold it against you. 

Chernobyl, then. Our holiday package came with a twelve hour tour, which at 5.30am in the morning, pulling on sodden Dr Martens and wishing for death, felt like an awfully long time to stand around looking at dusty, toxic relics from a bygone era – we can do that easily enough by Skypeing Paul’s mother, and she’s only slightly less radioactive. We were up early as we had to be at a random hotel by 7am and we had no idea of the Metro schedule. After spending forty minutes feeling each individual drop of water hit me from the shower, we bustled out, asking the hotel concierge to call us a taxi. He gave us an earnest smile, coughed into his beard and pushed us outside to wait. Perhaps we were cluttering up the lobby or detracting from the entrance to the ‘Gentleman’s Club’, I don’t know. Anyway, we waited for a while until what would turn out to be a recurring theme of this holiday turned up: a car that looked like it was put together by my nephew in a fever dream. Rusted? I could see the petrol flowing through the door. No way were we getting in that, so the next ten minutes were spent stealthily hiding from both the very angry looking taxi driver and the concierge, who seemed bemused that we had disappeared into fat air. We stayed around the corner until the taxi driver drove off in a cloud of toxic blue smoke and the concierge went back to extracting new flavours of phlegm from his lungs. Paul called an Uber Exec in a fit of excitement and thankfully, a car that hadn’t been witness to seventy years of history rolled in, accompanied by yet another beautiful Ukrainian man whose name I’d never learn but whose eyes I’d always remember.

Honestly, long term readers of this blog will know that I have a real thing for taxi drivers – I think it’s simply any lust that allows me to sit down and rest my legs, to be honest – but it’s getting to a point where Paul’s having to pop a meter on and hang a Magic Tree off his knob if he wants to get his leg over.

The driver was cold and efficient and dropped us where we needed to be with a grunt. We gave him a tip of 5, 667,344,667 Ukrainian hryvnia (about £2.10) and sent him on his way. There were several white minibuses all boarding tour groups and of course, the anxiety of having to get on the right bus was overwhelming. Imagine my distress if I’d hopped on the wrong bus only to be taken to a gulag and passed around like life-raft chocolate. After I’d double-checked that this wasn’t happening, and hidden my disappointment from Paul, we climbed aboard. There’s always a worry about shared tour groups that you’re going to get onto a bus and find yourself sandwiched between folks who want to talk to you about Jesus and others who snack with their mouths wide open. Luckily – for the most part, ssh – this was a decent group – and once our tour guide (Cynthia, the doll beloved by Angelica from The Rugrats, electrified, made human and given an action-jackson gilet) jumped on, we were away.

She explained a few things: we were to buy snacks en-route because, obviously, nowhere to buy them in the Exclusion Zone. We had to try for a tom-tit at the petrol station because you really don’t want to be flaring your bumhole in the wild open air (she phrased it better, admittedly) and the toilet facilities were ropey. Don’t pick anything up. Don’t eat the berries. Buy some wet-wipes for your hands and dog treats for all the wild dogs that have set up home. We then had to sign a very official looking document (well sort of – the Ukrainian flag still had ‘shutterstock’ printed across it where they’d lifted it from google images, but top marks for theatre) to say we understood the risks of entering the Exclusion Zone and that we would be subject to punishment if we broke any of the rules. One of those rules? Don’t enter any abandoned structure. Just remember that. After twenty minutes, we pulled into the petrol station. I wish I could tell you the name because it was hilarious but I’d get wrong. So I can’t.

Whilst Paul busied himself trying to work out the coffee machine I took the role of class swot and went for a shite, bought my snacks and wet-wipes and then went outside to stand by the bus. Well no, I wanted to smoke, and as nonchalant as the Ukraine seemed to be about health and safety, I didn’t fancy sparking up in a petrol station. Oh and I know I shouldn’t smoke, but something has to take the bitterness of my words away. Luckily, my COPD-Club of One became three with the addition of two other Northerners, Vicky and Natalie. It took me a while to understand they were from the UK because with their strangled vowels and hissing sibilants I’d just assumed they were local engineers here to fix the bus. We bonded immediately over the sight of a dog and Paul’s ashen face at trying to drink a takeaway coffee consisting entirely of milk foam and cherry syrup, and then we were on our way. It was a good hour drive and I could tell Paul was itching to chat excitedly, so I shut my eyes and listened to my Billie Eilish tapes.

I can’t get enough of her, by the way. Imagine being eighteen and having a Bond theme out? The only thing I was responsible for at eighteen was an especially virulent outbreak for gonorrhoea. Well, it was the noughties after all.

An hour or two passed with very little to look at outside of the window save for the oncoming traffic, which the bus driver seemed to be taking a personal affront against given he was driving on both sides of the road at once. After twenty minutes of wincing, I nodded off, only for Paul to shake me from my slumber when we reached the first control point, where we told not to take pictures under any circumstances. There were a few burly mean-looking blokes hanging around so I’d cracked the emergency exit and slithered off like Tooms before our guide had finished telling everyone to behave. Our passports were checked, some tat was bought (I bought a gas mask, for reasons, not realising it was to fit a child – I look like one of those videos on Youtube where people put elastic bands around a watermelon when I wear it) and we were cleared to go exploring.

I should say at this point: we were given little Geiger counters to clip on, but at no time are you really in any major danger as long as you’re sensible. I did start clicking like the girl from The Grudge at one point but that was deliberate to shit Paul up.

This video, from the recent Chernobyl docudrama, explains what happened – and honestly if you’ve got ten minutes, watch it – amazing acting and you’ll never feel more like you could run a nuclear powerplant. Alternatively, cut to the ten minute mark, absolutely terrifying:

Now, since the reactor went boom, there were two exclusion zones set up – one 10km around the plant and another 30km. Both are safe for a day as long as you’re not snorting lines of dust, but you do have to be careful. You can’t explore yourself and must stay with a tour guide. Our tour started in a little village in the 30km zone, with us all tramping off the bus to walk around. Of course, it is eerie – a whole village lost to the forest – and we took some shots, walked around respectfully and went back to the bus. That was just a taster. Someone on the bus asked whether or not the dogs you see roaming around were the same dogs from thirty years ago and we all had to politely ball our fists in our mouth to stop laughing. Bless her, though I do like the idea of an irradiated Cujo wandering around looking for some glowing Bonio. That was a whistle-stop tour and the bus drove us to the next destination: the plant itself.

Perhaps you might not think it interesting to spend an hour looking at a power-plant, but in all honesty, the tour was captivating – we stood just outside the Containment Chamber which houses the incredibly radioactive remains of Reactor 4 and it’s mind-blowingly huge – an incredible piece of engineering when you consider it’s the largest man-made moveable object in the world. After Paul. Our tour guide showed us pictures of how it used to look and how it looked after the explosion and usually I zone out at stuff like that but she was terrific – and standing in front of something so destructive was genuinely terrifying. Brrr.

We drove on, with the next stop being Pripyat, the town built for the families of the workers of the powerplant. 50,000 people lived here in what looked to be a gorgeous town – then in the two days following the explosion, those who didn’t die were evacuated. This number rose as the Exclusion Zone grew to over 300,000. The bus turned a corner and we were on the Bridge of Death, where residents of the town gathered to watch the fire in the distance, all of them not knowing that they were watching their lives burn out in front of them. Everyone on the bridge died within days, captivated by the electric blue smoke pushed out by the reactor burning. The bus didn’t stop, which was entirely the right decision, and we parked up in the centre.

Our tour guide made a very stern face and told us we weren’t, by law, allowed to explore the buildings – partly out of respect, partly out of the fact they are unsafe structures, partly because they’re radioactive. If we were seen by the police who patrol the area we would be tossed back out with a flea in our ear. So, very clearly, if she saw us exploring inside the buildings, the tour would stop. Lucky, then, that she followed up this strict message by saying she would stay outside and do her paperwork, and if we wandered off…

So we explored five main points: the swimming pool, the school, a block of high rise apartments, the fairground and a nursery. I won’t go into all of them bar to tell you the common theme – imagine if someone pressed pause on an entire city. Everyone had to leave everything behind, soaked in radiation, and despite promises about returning, never could. You’re walking through a ghost city and it’s one of the must vaguely unsettling feelings I’ve ever felt. For example, in the high-rise buildings, you can walk up all twenty floors (and we did, with Paul gasping the entire way) and walk into people’s flats to see snapshots of their lives left to the dust: board games halfway played, pots left on the cooker, beds half-made and photos of loved ones cracked and fallen. It’s safe – so far as walking around buildings that haven’t been maintained for thirty years can be – but it’s absolutely haunting. When I’m uneasy or anxious I get an ache at the bottom of my back like someone is pressing on my spine and that feeling never left me. The faint taste of metal was a distraction though.

There’s so many photos out there of the various places you can visit so I won’t put my own up here, but have a look at our Instagram shots for a selection:

The floor full of children’s gas-masks was what got me though – tears actually welled up in my eyes when I realised that I shouldn’t have paid £20 for one from the gift shop and instead, just lifted one from here. Quick going over with a wet-wipe, job done.

One thing slightly irritated me – in quite a few places, you could tell things had been set up to make it ‘creepy’ – dolls with gas-masks on, faces half-buried in the soil. Chernobyl is dark tourism in its purist form – you don’t need to make a spectacle of it. Says the two lads who paid to tour it. That’s a fine looking high horse, fella.

We spent about two hours touring Pripyat and then it was back to the power-plant where we would join the current workers on site for lunch. We had another radiation check before going in – climb inside a little scanner, press your hands and wait for the beep – and then took a place in the queue (after I managed to fall up the stairs in my haste to get fed – they probably thought the reactor was having another wobbly when they felt the tables shake). We were warned that the ladies serving were miserable and christ, were they right – I’ve never been served lunch with such malice. I wanted to ask if I could swap my rye bread for a brown bun but it wouldn’t have surprised me if the bewhiskered babushka had pulled me over the counter and held me face down in the soup until my legs stopped kicking.

Lunch wasn’t bad mind – a little salad which I left because I’m not vegetarian, a soup which looked like someone had already digested it for me but tasted wonderful (see recipe below), a breaded (I think) piece of pork (I think) served on sticky rice (I think) and a lovely little muffin that I keep under my tongue even now so I can have a few more stabs at chewing it. This sounds like I’m being mean for the sake of it, and I am being facetious, certainly, but it honestly wasn’t bad at all. I made the mistake of scooping some mustard up off and putting it in my soup, not realising that this wasn’t mustard but something that must have been scrapped off the side of the blown reactor. Hot? I didn’t want to lose face, though ironically I did lose face as it burnt through my cheek. We made our way back to the bus, stopping (the group) to pet all the dogs milling around the plant and stopping (me) to smoke with all the workers in the vain hope I’d be squirrelled away as the office entertainment.

Next stop was something I hadn’t expected – a stop at the DUGA radar installation and the accompanying secret Soviet base. I adore stuff like this – incredible feats of engineering built for menace. I tried to take a photo to try and encapsulate the sheer size and freakery of this place and failed – it’s 500ft tall and half a mile long of tarnished metal, long-silent wires and rusting joints. At some points, you can stand under it and look up and it is all you can see. I’ve mentioned my phobia of dams before – part of that phobia is that dams look so unnatural and man-made set in usually beautiful countryside. This was the same with the DUGA station – so unnatural, so weird. That phobia of large structures is called megalophobia and I can’t deny that as excited as I was to see it, that little knot of anxiety was back in my spine. You can hear it creaking in the wind which is unsettling enough, and knowing it needs to come down soon but has to be taken apart by hand due to the radiation…nope. It was used to listen out for ballistic missile launches – I can’t help but think if Comrade Paul Anderson had his hands on it, he’d be using it to check my WhatsApp. Brrr.

The rest of the tour involved lots of little stops at various points – the working town where the current workers live (had to check we hadn’t turned off and ended up in Gateshead for a hot second), the memorial to the fallen, the little robots they attempted to use to shift the burning, highly radioactive graphite off the roof. The radiation was so intense that the robots only worked for moments before cutting out – they had to send humans up onto the roof to do what the robots couldn’t. Think on that for a second: so radioactive it fries a robot, so they sent these ‘bio-robots’ onto the roof instead. One minute to chuck as much rubble over the side as you can, and that’s you done, never to serve again. Fall over onto the graphite and you’re dead. Brush against it, and you’re dying. The thought of having to do something so intense made my spine hurt again: you’re talking to the man who fell up the stairs on his way to get soup, remember.

Though I have a confession: throughout the tour the guide kept telling us we would get a chance to meet the Roberts who helped with the clean-up exercise. I thought it was going to be a meet and greet of two blokes called Robert and spent a while on Wikipedia trying to work out who she could mean. Nope. Robots. I was a trifle disappointed.

Throughout the tour we spoke with the various folks on the bus with us – some were more engaging than others – and we made friends with the previously mentioned Natalie and Vicky, and then later Reiss and Sharlette (which made for an awkward moment when they both said that’s not how you spell my name when I was trying to find them on Facebook), a lovely couple who had come along on the same flight, with the same company, having watched the same documentary as us. I’ll circle back to these lovely four in the next blog entry but haven’t we come a long way since Paul and I pretended to be Armenian so that we didn’t have to make small-talk on a previous tour?

And that’s it – the driver got us all back on board, we cleared the checkpoint and then he cranked up the heating so we all fell asleep. I woke myself up with a fart so noxious (and I pray, silent) you’d be forgiven for thinking I was smuggling rubble back with me. It’s OK, I shut my eyes and went back to sleep with the lullaby of dry-heaving behind me to whoosh me to sleep.

So: would I recommend it? Absolutely. I knew Paul would enjoy it because he’s always been a fan of desolation, but I wasn’t sure what to expect. Your experience will depend entirely on the skill of your tour guide – ours was incredible, the right balance of humour, knowledge and pathos – and we tipped her well. The bus – awash with jokes and jibes about radiation on the way there – was silent coming back. They played a video of what the town was like on the drive back, which was an especially timely touch. It’s fascinating to see an entire town held in a time bubble and utterly incomprehensible to realise what an evacuation on that scale would actually mean. It was almost so much worse, too – had the core hit the water pooled underneath the reactor, almost all of Europe would have been rendered uninhabitable by the subsequent nuclear explosion.

As a footnote: the official Soviet death-count for Chernobyl, as of today: 31. Official studies actually put the numbers up near 90,000.

And there’s me grumbling about my weak shower.


To the Chernobyl soup, then. If you have an Instant Pot this is truly the work of minutes, but if not, fear not: you can make it on the hob just as easy. This makes enough for four servings of Chernobyl soup, which I really ought to call veg and sausage soup, but hell. To the recipe!

chernobyl soup

Yeah I should have cleaned that bowl first. But I was too busy playing with my gas-mask.

chernobyl soup chernobyl soup

Chernobyl soup: veg, sausage and paprika

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 massive bowls

I love recipes like this - get a load of stuff from the supermarket, tip it in and set it away. Done in half an hour, just like your partner.

We apologise to the good folk in the Ukraine for this bastardisation of what is probably a staple recipe, but heck it's good.

You can make this syn free by omitting the smoked sausage but don't - it's worth those couple of syns, trust me.

By the way, do you hear the people sing? 

Ingredients

  • one packet of vegetable soup mix (the fresh chopped swede, potato, onion and carrot, already chopped - or feel free to chop your own) (600g)
  • 100g of Mattessons Reduced Fat smoked sausage, chopped into tiny chunks (8 syns)
  • fat-free bacon, as much as you like, cut into chunks
  • a teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • one litre of good vegetable stock or bouillon
  • one tablespoon of wholegrain mustard (1/2 syn, but you can shove that up your pumper if you think we're counting it)

Calorie wise, based on 100g of fat-free bacon, this kicks in at about 175 calories. And it's dead filling as owt divvent ya knaa.

Instructions

Using an Instant Pot? But of course you are, you're a very sensible sort and you know it's the best pressure cooker out there. So:

  • hit the saute button, add a little oil, tip your bacon and sausage in first followed by the paprika and vegetables, and saute for about five minutes, giving everything a good stir
  • once done, add the stock and mustard, seal it up and set it away on manual for about ten minutes 
  • vent, serve, applause, tears

Don't have an Instant Pot? Shame on you. But the same as above - stick it in a big old pot, saute for a little bit, add stock and cook.

Notes

Courses soup

Cuisine twochubbycubs like how

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving

Calories 175

% Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Canny! Of course, as with all our soups, you can chuck any old shite in, but the core recipe is as above. Enjoy!

Want more ideas for soup and using your Instant Pot? Oh my sweet hairy child, we’ve got you covered in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. Click either button to crack on.

soupsmall 

Ta,

Jasmine and Pauline

mince pie porridge – because Christmas is coming!

Mince pie porridge, because hot-damn if things aren’t getting Christmassy here at Chubby Towers. Cases in point:

  • Paul has yet to tire of me caterwauling my way through ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’ from the John Lewis advert yet, even in spite of me constantly pointing out that thanks to his dry skin and always-fuming temper, he’s my very own Excitable Edgar
  • we’ve swapped out the candles for some frankincense oils – Paul wanted to try another Christmas oil, but I demyrrhed
    • you can fuck right off – that’s the best Christmas joke you’ll see this year, especially on this sham of a cooking blog
  • our Christmas tree is up and, even better, we managed to put it up without arguments, recriminations or divorces AND without me repeating the time I managed to get a pine needle right down my mucktunnel placing a bauble on the top

See? Isn’t it pretty?

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Yep, we have our tree up!

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Those lights are from Amazon, by the way, and called Twinkly. You can set each colour, have them react to music and, more importantly, if you line them up just right (which we never do) you can spell out words. Unbelievably tempted to hang them in the window and autoscroll JC4PM to the neighbours. You can buy them here.

Anyway! We have some lovely Christmas recipes coming up this month, including this mince pie porridge, but more importantly:

OUR RUDDY BOOK IS OUT NEXT MONTH!

I can barely believe it myself. I’m skedaddling down to London this week to pre-sign some copies and I’ve told it looks absolutely glorious in print. But that’s obvious, because there’s a picture of me in it. It’ll keep the kids away from the swearing. And now, even better, I can present our trailer! Yes, we have a trailer. For some inexplicable reason they’ve added banjo music to make it a touch Deliverance but that’s OK, because these days I only squeal when he wipes himself off on my curtains afterwards.

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Watch Paul effortlessly deliver to camera! It's out, it's out! The trailer for our book is out – and as always, we deliver with our wits and charm.⁠ ⁠ If you follow the link, you'll get our FREE taster complete with three mouth-watering recipes. Share with someone who'd love to get their paws on this. Click on the preview video in our link in bio!⁠ ⁠ .⁠ .⁠ .⁠ #slimmingworldfood #slimmingworldfamily #slimming #sw #drivedeterminationdinner⁠ #slimmingworld #slimmingworlder #slimmingworlduk #slimmingworldfood #swuk #swmafia #swinsta #slimmingworldlife #slimmingworldmotivation #slimmingworldinspiration #slimmingworldfollowers #weightloss #foodblogger#slimmingfoodie #weightloss #healthy #healthyrecipes #food #foodie⁠ ⁠

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So in light of the above, I thought I’d take the opportunity to answer a few questions about the book itself, so you know what to expect. If you’re only here for the mince pie porridge, then forgive my waffle!

What’s in the book?

100 recipes that we used to help us lose weight – all the proper flavourful meals that we’ve always done, easily cooked, no stupid ingredients – meals that you’d want to eat even if you weren’t on a diet. They’re not flash, they’re not fancy: just food to be enjoyed, not endured. Yes, that made my teeth itchy too. But seriously, we’ve always been about good food here at twochubbycubs, and we know that this carried across into our book.

We’re damn proud of it!

The recipes are a mix of breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas, together with sides, snacks and drinks. There’s a few dessert ideas thrown in and – our favourite – a few meals for when you can’t be arsed with dieting anymore and want a ‘blowout’ – indulgent meals that’ll not completely ruin your day but absolutely worth spending your calories on. We’re realists here: being on a diet 100% never happens. Better to have something to keep you going!

Where can we buy it and how much is it?

All good book shops, including Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smith. Thanks to strong sales Amazon have dropped the price to £10, as have the others, and we heartily encourage you to buy it now!

If you click on that banner, you’ll be taken to the Amazon page where you’ll also be able to download a wee Kindle version with three recipes, to give you an idea of what is coming up.

Of course, if you want a signed copy (also £10!) you can buy one from Waterstones! I promise not to write anything too rude in there.

If you’ve been reading us for many years, it really would mean a lot for you to buy our book and have us in your kitchen. The fact that we even have a book at all is beyond my comprehension – people actually going out and buying it blows my bloody mind.

Does it have the twochubbycubs’ humour?

There’s meant to be humour on this blog? Christ almighty, that’s where we’ve been going wrong. No, of course it does – each recipe is accompanied by a little tiny bit of blog or new writing which made us laugh as we go along. There’s some mild swearing, of course, but nothing that would require you to get on your knees in front of a holy man. Like you’d need an excuse.

Does it cater for vegetarians?

Yes: the paper in the pages can be chewed up and washed down with a glass of warm water, although that does create the terrifying idea of a photo of me emerging somewhere unpleasant. I jest: the recipes includes more than a few vegetarian ideas, and where meat is used, you can easily swap it out. Mind, you’ll struggle with the beer-bottom chicken, but use your imagination.

What about syns?

There’s no syn information in the book – quite right too, we’re not Slimming World, and syns are their intellectual property. Slimming World have always been excellent to us and we will continue to respect their decisions! That said, you’ll find that all of the recipes, bar a few ‘blow-out’ recipes, will slot nicely into any diet plan.

We have also included calories per serving, if you need it to work out!

Will the recipes make their way onto the blog?

Nope – the new recipes in the book will stay in the book, but we will continue publishing on here too. Like anything is going to shut me up.

Anything else coming up?

Yes, we can announce that French and Saunders will be playing us at the Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival at the start of February, as evidenced by this lovely photo below.

Actually, that’s not a bad picture, though fun fact, I had to stand three hundred meters behind Paul just to make sure the scale was correct and my giant five-head got into shot. Also, listen, I was tired, hence looking like I’d been stung by wasps. WASPS. ALWAYS WITH THE WASPS.

Listen – if you’re in Edinburgh, we would love you to come along and hear us gab and speak about writing a cookbook, keeping a blog going and how to enjoy your food whilst ostensibly dieting. We’ll also give tips on how to satisfy your partner and the best way to raise a cat. I mean I’m assuming we’re giving a talk, they might have just accidentally booked us to come push the hoover around, but who knows? Find out more here!

Oh and we absolutely will sign your rack if you get them out.

As for other stuff? Some excellent things coming up! Watch this space, at least before Paul’s gelatinous frame fills it.

Right, that’s enough nonsense and flimflam. Let’s get to the recipe!

mince pie porridgeSee! That’s a bowl of Christmas right there: mince pie porridge for a cold hearted moo!mince pie porridge

2 votes

Print

mice pie porridge - christmas breakfast awaits!

Cook

Total

Yield 1 bowl

Look, you try making a bowl of porridge look exciting - you can't. But that said, this is warming, low syn and tastes so Christmas you'll be papping out tinsel afterwards. You don't need to add the shortbread on the top if you're feeling really tight with the old syns, but I like it - it adds an extra layer of taste and mouth experience.

Urgh, mouth experience. Even I winced.

Ingredients

  • 50g of porridge oats (HEB)
  • 150ml of skimmed milk (use some of your HEA) (or syn this at 2 syns)
  • 1 level tablespoon of mincemeat (2 syns)
  • half a shortbread finger (2 syns)

Haha, finger.

Instructions

  • I mean, it's porridge, what do you want?
  • but let me help
  • before you add the milk into the pan, toast very gently your oats - gives it a much better flavour
  • add the milk and cook til the porridge is done
  • add the mincemeat and stir through, topping with crumbled shortbread

Notes

Remember!

Amazon have dropped the price of the book to £10, as have the others, and we heartily encourage you to buy it now!

Courses breakfast

Cuisine porridge

Enjoy your mince pie porridge!

You want MORE ideas for breakfast? Sigh. A boy can only do so much, you know…

Enjoy!

J

peppercorn sauce – only half a syn!

‘ey up duck! Listen, I’m not going to lie – we’ve had quite the hectic month including a weekend surrounded by about five hundred equally chunky, hairy and mostly nude gay men. You can forgive us for taking our eyes off the ball, though to be fair said ball was normally clattering off my chin alongside its brother. Oh stop.

Tonight’s recipe is for a peppercorn sauce to go with steak – it’s simple, but damn is it tasty. If you want to go straight to the recipe for peppercorn sauce, we understand – just click the big button below and you’ll be whisked right there. You snooty moo. Everyone else, we have part two of our recentish trip to Hamburg. We love feedback on our holiday reports, do send us a message!

click here for part one (it’ll open in a sexy new tab)

You may or may not recall from the last entry that we’re combining two trips to Hamburg in one sexy trip report here – so forgive the back and forth of the highlights. Or don’t, you’ve already clicked the page and given me the ad revenue now, so what can you do?

Kunterbunt and Tom’s Saloon

During both visits, we took ourselves for a few drinks in the night. A lovely night was had by all, with particular reference to the two places above. We couldn’t walk past a place called Kunterbunt and not go in, could we? It was tiny inside and exactly what you’d expect a gay pub in Germany to be like – not especially good beer and colossal screens showing explicit, vanilla porn in 480p. I haven’t seen an arse that pixelated since the heady days of being a teenage boy with a dial-up connection and trying to bust one out to some knockoff X-Files photoshop. One video being screened depicted some long-since-dead twink getting boffed on the bonnet of a moving Land Rover to which I had nothing but admiration – I get distracted to the point of crashing just pushing my glasses up my nose, let alone having to do a three-clench turn on some leather-bound Adonis.

The barman – a charming, hyper-excitable bear – recognised us from the first visit and stationed us at the end of his bar so he could feed us knock-off Jagermeister and scream HOLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH at me every time I came back from the toilet. He was a delicious affront to my senses and even brought Paul out from his shell. We spent many hours in there and I made significant progress on my German oral – it’s always been a language I was keen to get my tongue around.

Tom’s Saloon was better, although I felt they ought to have had a whiparound for some pennies for the ‘leccy box – at some points it was almost pitch black and I didn’t know where to put my face. I’ll give you an insight into my hamfisted (steady) pulling technique here though: I caught the eye of, and received a smile from, an absolutely stunning older bloke who was dressed head to toe in leather. Unless it’s on exactly the right person I’m not usually a fan (there’s lots of blokes – me included – who look like a discarded back-alley sofa in leather) but this man, with his beard white as snow and arms like swollen tree trunks, spoke to me on a primal level.

Buoyed up with the confidence that too much booze and too little lighting can give to a fat bloke, I sauntered over to introduce myself with the classic line ‘I fucking love your outfit, mate’. Outfit, though. I mean, the poor bloke would have struggled with his talc and zips and buttons all evening and here’s me leering at him like he’s come tap-dancing down the stairs like Satine from Moulin Rouge. Which is ironic, actually, given I was the one left breathless. Once I’d apologised for my language faux-pas the ice was broken and we enjoyed an hour of pleasant discourse culminating in him giving me his number and me being invited back to Norway. I’m not suggesting I was keen but I had klm.com loaded before he’d even finished explaining his playroom layout.

You mustn’t worry, by the way, Paul was making his own fun. Which admittedly sounds like he was fapping at the bar, but please, have a bit of decorum – this is a family blog.

Scooters

Tangentially linked to the above, we were left with a difficult decision when 4am rolled around and we realised that no Ubers were going to our hotel. We could walk, of course, but fat and unsteady through unfamiliar streets? What if we got kidnapped and subject to all sorts of nefarious unpleasantness – or worse, what if we didn’t? The solution was right in front of us – take a scooter.

See, Hamburg is one of those up-and-coming fancy tech cities and as a result, is utterly awash with electric scooters that you can unlock with your phone and zip around the cycle paths with. They’re really very handy because you can pop out of any U-Bahn station and glide gently to your next destination. As someone whose ankles swell getting off the toilet, they appeal greatly. But see: when you watch the locals use them, they make it look effortless – swishing past in efficient German clothing balancing all manner of things on their back and ne’ry glancing at where they’re going.

Us, exceptionally drunk, badly-dressed and with all the coordination of a plane evacuation, do not. We gave it a go though, with the memories of both Florida (where a Segway beeped alarmingly at me when I climbed on with scant regard for the weight limit) and Tokyo (where a motability robot actually shut down under my corpulent frame) totally ignored. We were quite something! We didn’t fall over once – perhaps the alcohol relaxed us to the point that we mastered balance and speed with no issue. I don’t doubt we looked like two wardrobes given life, but hey – we made the 4km back to the hotel with only one very quick diversion to avoid the police. Gangster as fuck, us.

How’s this for an obscure quote?

CHOCOVERSUM Chocolate Museum

When this popped up on our Google recommendations you best believe that we were first in line the second it opened. I mean, a tour of a chocolate factory coupled with the promise of free chocolate? Excited? I was dilated like a rejected bagel. I do think it doesn’t do to look too keen in situations like this, but damn, we had a coach party to get in front of and anyway, this was a hurried weekend: no time to lose!

The tour itself was actually – surprisingly – really interesting, with a host who flitted between German, French and English with the consummate professionalism you’d expect from someone who has spent years trying to keep the interest of forty people who really just want free food and a chance to rub themselves off in the molten chocolate room. No? Just me? Regardless, she seemed to take a liking to me – this always happens for I am simply irresistible and/or always volunteer questions and cheesy smiles – and kept inviting me to show off how easy it was to make chocolate. Either that or she was holding me up to the others as a stark warning about the dangers of calorie excess. Meh, I don’t care, I got more samples than anyone else and brought everyone together with effortless jokes and slapstick – they should send me to sort out Brexit.

The best part came in the room where you got to pour and then adorn your own chocolate bar. Having been so terribly burned by our ‘exciting tour’ of Cadbury World a couple of years ago I held no hopes, but no: it was a full size bar and – her words – any topping you could possibly want. Alas, I didn’t have time to google what the German for ‘brutal, relentless and don’t call me afterwards’ was and she brought out a tray of marshmallows instead. My bar was topped with sea salt, crunchy sugar and some other chocolatey detritus they’d swept off the floor, Paul went for something cloying and some heavy breathing. They were whisked away to cool whilst we were shown how cocoa beans were pressed, but I think she knew at that point she had lost us to hankering after our creations because she wrapped things up remarkably quickly.

I wish I could tell you that we kept the bars as gifts for when we returned home but I don’t think we were out of the gift shop before they were pawed clumsily into our Augustus Gloop mouths. Ah well. We tried.

St Pauli and the Reeperbahn

Hamburg has an especially salacious district known for sex and excess, so naturally my feet were twitching from the second we set down. We went for drinks in a bar just outside whilst things started to liven up, then decided to have a wander about once the sun had gone down. Not a euphemism. Well goodness me: all I can say is that I’m sure if you were a young straight lad you’d have a smashing time, however, there wasn’t much for the lightfooted amongst us. I felt more than a pressing concern for all the (admittedly usually stunning) ladies of the night who called to us (and literally everyone else with a cock) as we walked past. I wanted to cry out that it was ‘nothing personal, you’re beautiful, but I could cheerfully undercut your fees for anal’ as we wandered on, but Paul pointed out the many muscly man-thumbs who were patrolling the area with stern expressions on their faces. As if that would put me off, I’d end up slipping notes in their shirt pockets as they choked me out. We carried on through without engaging though – Paul’s hand on his ha’penny and mine on my wallet.

I did find something to scratch an itch though.

Something that definitely didn’t happen

Paul and I rarely argue – especially for a couple who have been together for twelve years – but when we do, it’s always an absolute corker. Holidays, alcohol and my tendency towards out-of-the-country profligacy does tend to bring out the ire, though. I mean, can you imagine an argument spinning so far out of control that one of us ended up storming off in the dead of night, buying a full-price ticket for a plane ride home and getting all the way to the security gate at the airport before they finally backed down? Was such a thing possible? Imagine such a nonsense! Mahaha. It took several bags of Haribo and rounds of nuzzling to right that wrong, I promise you. Although it definitely didn’t happen, eh, Paul? We laugh about it now, even if I’m still pouring broken bits of glass into his coffee when he’s not looking.

Overall

We can’t recommend Hamburg enough: it’s an absolutely gorgeous, perfectly German city. We spent hours wandering out, buying snacks (including a 5am haul of pastries from one of the U-Bahn stations) and just soaking in the city and whilst it isn’t my favourite place in Germany (Berlin, which we are revisiting soon), it’s high up on places I’d cheerfully buy a flat to use as an occasional blowout pad. I’m sure that there’s all manner of historical and beautiful places to experience there that we didn’t touch on – though we did visit the art gallery and fell asleep walking up about ten minutes in – but what little we saw, we adored. As a bonus, flights are dirt cheap and hotels seem reasonable enough, so if you’re fancying a weekend away, do it!

A shout-out to srprs.me (we paid for our own holiday, so not an ad) – we can’t get enough of this. Paying someone else to send you on an entirely random, unscripted holiday is quite the risk but they have absolutely never failed us, always choosing unusual hotels in places we would never have considered. If you’re someone who likes to control-freak every aspect of your holiday then I implore you to roll the dice and give it a go – I bet you’ll be pleasantly srprsed. I’ll see myself out.

Hamburg, done.

Right, lovers! Let’s do the recipe for peppercorn sauce.  Ready?




Slimming World peppercorn sauce



Slimming World peppercorn sauce

peppercorn sauce

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 splashes

Now look, I'm not making a claim that this is exactly like a proper peppercorn sauce, but damn we got it close. We were inspired to make this after buying the Slimming World peppercorn sauce in Iceland. They do some lovely food, apparently, but lord knows this wasn't it. Hopefully you'll enjoy our version! This makes more than enough for four servings - Paul applies his sauce somewhat liberally, as you can see. Mind, that explains why I have the face of a 24 year old.

Ingredients

  • one really large onion
  • tablespoon of lazy garlic (if you like it particularly honking - feel free to dial this back)
  • handful of button mushrooms
  • beef stock cube dissolved in 100ml of boiling water
  • absolutely tonnes of black pepper from a grinder or, if you're a fancy bitch, use your pestle and mortar
  • 100g of Philadelphia Lightest (4 syns)

Instructions

  • firstly, divven't be adding salt to this recipe - the stock cube takes care of that
  • chop your onion and mushroom as finely as you possibly can - this is the fiddly bit, but worth doing right
  • sweat off the onion in a few sprays of oil on a low heat - you want them softened ever so gently
  • add the garlic and the mushrooms and continue to sweat (both the food, and you in general, because if you're anything like me you'll be chewing your gusset wanting yer dinner) a minute or two
  • add as much black pepper as you and your weak pelvic floor muscles dare
  • pour in the stock and whack the heat up, let it bubble away and reduce a smidge, then turn the heat down
  • add the Philadelphia and stir it through and allow to gently thicken
  • slop it over your steak and chips

Notes

  • Philadelphia Lightest is fine for this, but - shock - we used Philadelphia Light as that's all we had. I know, we're sluts, but it still makes a tasty Slimming World peppercorn sauce
  • want more fabulous recipes of this scale and complexity - of course you do, you're wonderful - click away!

Click here to preorder our new cookbook!

Courses sides

Cuisine steak

Canny eh! A peppercorn sauce done just perfectly! Right, you want some more recipes? Don’t we all. Let’s take a selection from the beef section. Here’s 28 beef ideas, all syn free!

  1. saucy beef chop suey (syn free)
  2. deep dish lasagne (syn free)
  3. the DILF burger (syn free)
  4. bacon cheeseburger sloppy cubs (syn free)
  5. steak, feta and veg wraps (syn free)
  6. pizza stuffed meatloaf (syn free)
  7. rainbow beef (syn free)
  8. roast dinner (syn free)
  9. stuffed onions (syn free)
  10. philly cheesesteak sliders (syn free)
  11. crunchy steak bites with smoked cheese (syn free)
  12. sizzling rainbow salad (syn free)
  13. slow cooker lasagne (syn free)
  14. sweet potato and spinach beef bowls (syn free)
  15. easy peasy beef curry (syn free)
  16. sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots (syn free)
  17. mince ‘n’ mash (syn free)
  18. steak au poivre (syn free)
  19. absolutely perfect chilli (syn free)
  20. potato crust meat pies (syn free)
  21. asian garlic beef (syn free)
  22. speedy spring roll bowls (syn free)
  23. steak bake (syn free)
  24. meatball masala (syn free)
  25. taster night tiny tropical towers (syn free)
  26. reuben burger (syn free)
  27. philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers (syn free)
  28. sloppy joe tater tots (syn free)

Enjoy! See you soon!

J

pumpkin spice overnight oats, for which we apologise

Pumpkin spice overnight oats. Listen, we’re going to level with you, we hate the whole pumpkin spice thing, not least as I always want to type blumpkin instead – and let me tell you, if you have a blumpkin spice, it’ll not be nutmeg you’ll be brushing out of your moustache, love. Fuck me that was a sentence and a half, wasn’t it? Nevertheless, it’s been a bloody age since we rattled out an overnight oats recipe and although Paul would buckle the wheels of the even the strongest carriage, we’re jumping on the bandwagon. Don’t judge. One for the basic bitches out there. Like us.

We had a fabulous day out yesterday, in Nottingham of all places. We had been asked to guest star on The Secret World of Slimming Clubs, a podcast by the ever-so-talented Victoria, Katy and Jo all about slimming. Never missing a chance to talk about myself, we promptly agreed, and so a date was set. Rather than fussing about getting down in the morning we elected to drive down the night before, and (for once) the drive was entirely uneventful. I let Mr Mercedes take the wheel and busied myself with a bag of salted caramel M&Ms, which if you haven’t had them, are absolutely wonderful. Put it this way: they’re the favourite of a friend of mine and the last thing that registered on his 94% asbestos, 6% acid tongue was a packet of Spangles. They’re that good.

Next few paragraphs contain a bit of adult content, mind: if you’re a fusspot, do scroll to just past the bullet-points.

Oh wait! I’m selling the trip short. We stopped at Ferrybridge Services for me to have a wee. Paul didn’t need to go so elected to stand outside, only I didn’t see him when I shook off and came out, and, thinking he’d gone into the shitbox himself, I went for a gamble on the slot machines. Slot machines in service stations are the worst idea you’ll ever have, but I’m a sucker for flashing lights and a chance to cast supercilious glances at the poor sods stuffing £20s in. Stuck a tenner on a Rocky-themed slot and some free spins rolled in, which in turn won me £320. Shock? I nearly shat. I texted Paul to tell him the good news and to come and find me, but no reply.

I had to wait an absolute age for the machine to spit out sixteen twenty pound notes, but still no Paul to share the good news with (babe – no siphoning fuel for you today!), he’d disappeared. Flush with cash and good fortune I fair sashayed back to the car to find Paul sitting there with a face like a slapped arse. Nothing new there, but I noticed he wasn’t eating his back-up McDonalds so something was definitely awry.

Turns out that he had been loitering outside of the toilets (the ones I’d already left, mind you) for so long that a member of staff had asked him what he was doing. Once he had replied ‘waiting for my husband’ (alright, Cinderella, your time will come), they took a pitying stare at him and asked him to please leave the building, clearly suspecting that he was cottaging*. With good reason: there’s a massive gloryhole** in the end trap in the men’s cubicles (right next door to a lorry park, mind you, I’m thinking of asking for a secondment) and Paul does have that waxy-skinned look of someone with troubling sexual predilections. He was furious with me, creating one of those rare arguments in our house where I’m in trouble for not ruining the night by having extra-marital sex. I can’t keep up! I tried to reassure him that I must have walked right past him – I didn’t fucking apparate out of the shitter like a morbidly obese Harry Potter – but he was having none of it. Wasn’t until I stuffed £320 into his heaving busom that he thawed and confessed he’d bought two bags of Haribo for the journey ahead.

  • * cottaging – old slang term for when gentlemen used to meet in public toilets to rut, back before apps and openness made it an altogether more niche activity
  • ** gloryhole – hole cut in the cubicle wall for you to pop your knob through for action, though I suggest trying to ascertain whether the chap on the other side is game, because nobody likes a surprise penis when you’re trying to find the shit-tickets

Saturday’s radio show was just terrific fun – and coincided with our anniversary(ish) for five years of twochubbycubs. The ladies were hilarious, and the hour flew by. I had concerns about being in front of a microphone but who knew that chatting about ourselves would appeal ever so much? We managed a few anecdotes, gabbed on about our new cookbook (pre-order here!) and managed to not make total tits of ourselves. Won’t be the last time we do it, and I can’t wait for you lot to hear it! We will let you know when it comes online. Follow them on Facebook!

We had cocktails and tapas for lunch – Paul successfully ordering more than one tapas (there’s a reference for the long-time readers) for once, and both cocktails being fruity and fabulous. Paul’s cocktail was on fire when they delivered it to the table and he didn’t realise when he took a sip, which meant the smell of frying bacon pervaded our lunch, but it was still charming.

Another highlight from the day? Another escape room, this time at Escapologic. Called The Butcher, it required the two of us to work together to escape the home of a deranged evil monster. Excellent theming and tricky puzzles, though with a twist – a live actor came bursting into the room thirty minutes in which necessitated us hiding. I threw myself into a tunnel under the desks and Paul hid in a closet (no, don’t) whilst this chap clattered about in the darkness. Worse still, the ‘actor’ knew my name from the booking – even if you don’t scare easily like us, there’s something unsettling about hearing your name in strained hisses and coughing sibilants in the dark. Though I maintain it’s hard to make ‘Jamie’ sound anything than festive. We escaped with minutes to go, with me accidentally tearing a foam boob from a dummy that was the double of Paul’s Sainted Mother as we left. Me and my magic fingers!

All in all, it was a great trip out, I can’t deny, and was a nice circle around to our anniversary. Five years we’ve been doing this nonsense, and it’s only in the last two years that we’re really seeing it take off. If you had told James of five years ago that him and his ‘skinnyish’ husband would have 500,000 followers, a cookbook coming out and all sorts of lovely things in the pipeline, I’d have smiled politely whilst backing away. There are doubtless some classic twists and turns coming down the line, but as Starship wailed, nothing’s gonna stop us now.

Right-o, let’s do the pumpkin spice overnight oats, and may God have mercy on all of our souls. It’s actually very tasty to be fair, and uses a couple of new ingredients – if you don’t have them to hand, you mustn’t worry. Substitutes are noted.

pumpkin spice overnight oats pumpkin spice overnight oats

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pumpkin spice overnight oats

Prep

Total

Yield 2 servings

Really, all pumpkin spice is a delicate blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and sometimes mixed spice. Naturally, there's bot-all delicate about us here at twochubbycubs, so we've thrown in what we think tastes good.

Pumpkin puree is easy to find in supermarkets now - you'll find it in the baking aisle - but if you can't, swap it out for a crushed up ginger nut. Don't forget to syn it though, else I'm calling Mags.

Ingredients

To make two:

  • four tablespoons of pumpkin puree on the bottom (syn-free) mixed with a tablespoon of honey (2.5 syns) - if you can use the honey flavoured with cinnamon, all the better
  • 100g of porridge oats (2 x HEB)
  • toffee flavoured yoghurt (make a syn-free or low-syn choice)
  • lighter squirty cream (25g) (look, I just put a good squirt in each, I don’t care) (3 syns)
  • pinch of ginger, cinnamon and ginger

This makes enough for two, so let's call it 2.5 syns each and we'll tell no-one about that extra half syn sneaking in.

Instructions

  • make the bottom layer by mixing your pumpkin puree with honey and spooning it into your glasses
  • mix together your yoghurt and oats with just the smallest pinch of the spices
  • pop it into your glass and, at this point, either chill it straight away or use a chopstick to lightly stir the two layers together
  • when ready to eat, top with squirty cream and a pinch of the spices

When you are eating this, get a bloody spoon in there and mix everything together before you do. It's filling and lovely but works best all mixed in.

Notes

  • ginger nuts make for a decent swap for the pumpkin puree, though watch those syns
  • we use Baking Buddy pumpkin puree from Tesco - syn free
  • remember, we have lots more recipes in our upcoming cookbook - click here to order!

Courses breakfast

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Yum right? Hmm. Anyway! You want more overnight oats perhaps? Let us go down the rabbit-hole!

Enjoy!

J

chicken, chorizo and seafood paella

Chicken, chorizo and seafood paella, if you don’t mind? Firstly, let me kick off proceedings by announcing this is a sponsored post. That is, the good folks at Tefal have sent us another Actifry to test out and have compensated us generously for farting about in Adobe Premiere for an hour or two. Usual rules apply though: if we don’t like the product, or it doesn’t work, or it sets Paul’s training bra on fire, we’ll always tell you. Five years we’ve been doing this dance, you know, and I know all the steps by now. But first, a reminder!

chicken, chorizo and seafood paella

When Tefal approached us to ask us to take part in their Spin Class activities, my first thought was that it meant exercise and frankly, I’d rather set my eyes on fire. Thankfully, once they’d explained and cleared the Zippo fluid from my eyeballs, we realised it was their new promotion to show the new Actifry Genius XL off, with all the fancy features you’d expect from a product called Genius. The Spin Class is a clever pun on the spinning of the actifry paddle, see. It’s all very clever. And the paella…well, I’ll come to that a bit later (and if you don’t have an Actifry, don’t fret, we’ve covered you too!), but first, nonsense.

I’m not saying I’m anti-exercise, I’m really not, but it’s altogether too much effort at the moment. We’re back at Elite, and bloody loving it, but good lord I genuinely thought I was going to die last Wednesday. It was forty five minutes of squats, thrusts, push-ups, jumping jacks and lying on my front with my bumcheeks in the air gasping for breath. And listen, I’ve been there many times before, but usually it’s pitch black – this wasn’t my scene. You’re reading the words of someone whose lips go blue buttoning his shirt up of a morning. Paul, who normally wouldn’t notice if I came into the kitchen with my arse where my face should be, turned to me with concern etched across his face and asked whether I needed an ambulance. He was wrong: I needed a hearse.

I blame my PE teachers at school. For the last two years of high school me and a gaggle of the other fat, camp and lazy kids used to refuse to take part and eventually, the teacher realised we weren’t going to take him seriously and so let us sit on the gym mats spectating. That got knocked on the head a few months in when we made a proper event of it and brought a picnic and a CD player. I wasn’t an especially camp teenager, but it’s hard to look butch when you’re bringing crisps out of a wicker basket whilst Vogue plays. I was good at three sports: basketball (because I was tall and excellent at dribbling – still am!), cross-country running (in that I could run 400m out of sight, and then share all the fags I’d nicked from my mother’s nuclear-war stockpile) and rugby. Rugby was great – being fairly fast yet superbly chubby meant I was hard to knock over and it became possibly the only sport I could have enjoyed playing more. However, I spent too long looking moonily at the other players that it never went anywhere. A couple of my friends play for the Newcastle Ravens and have invited me to take part, but I’m fairly confident that it would make things uncomfortable if I’m used as the table for the half-time oranges. Or worse. Ah well.

I asked Paul what exercise he enjoys and he replied ‘resting his ears from your nonsense’, which seems unnecessarily catty.

The Actifry, then. Tefal will kick off if we don’t tell you a little bit about what it can do. Firstly, it looks a little less like the Daft Punk era models of old, which is lovely. But it’s an absolute beast: 1.7kg capacity, which they tell us is enough for five portions of food, or a snack for Paul. You know how they work, yes? Add a tiny bit of oil, switch it on and the heat and the moving paddle turns and cooks your food with very little fat involved, bar the two chunkers operating it. Unlike the earlier models, this machine allows you to change the temperature (so low and slow for things like a chilli, nice and hot for crispy chips) and set the time it cooks for, which is handy for when, like me, you’re catching up on your stories and really want to see how this Chernobyl story plays out without burning your dinner. There’s also pre-set cooking options which takes the mystery out of pressing buttons AND there’s a handy app which showcases 300+ recipes, of which you may even see a couple of ours lumped in there. I have to confess, not usually a fan of tie-in apps, but this one is actually decent – not too much clucking about and presents the recipes in an attractive, step-by-step fashion. Might nick it.

I’ll say this though. We’ve been using our Actifry for years, mainly for chips because: obesity, but it’s genuinely our favourite kitchen gadget we own. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, with minimal fuss. It doesn’t leave your kitchen stinking of fat and it’s easy to keep clean, given all but the base can go in the dishwasher. It’s like the antithesis of Paul. There’s plenty of cheaper alternatives out there but – and mind this is rare because we’re usually all about not needing to spend money to eat well – this is worth spending your money on, even if you get a smaller or older model. Buy cheap, buy twice, and plus I’ve seen the clip of some of the models you can get in B&M and it looks like someone’s parked a coke-ravaged R2D2 on your worktop. Nobody wants that, now do they?

Find out more about the Actifry and the Spin Classes by clicking here, and don’t you fret, lover – it’ll open in a new window.

Let’s get to the recipe then. We’ve done a handy video recipe for you, though I must advise you put a towel down when you catch a glimpse of the pure sex involved. Let us know what you think!

It’s OK, we know he’s fit too. The Papa Bear to your Chubby Cubs. Imagine my distress and agony at having to clip and trim all that video footage of him working out on my 27″ screen. I had to push my chair back at one point. Now the text recipe – and look, if you don’t have an Actifry, don’t fret, we’ll give you a non-Actifry route to cook too! Because we’re canny.

chicken, chorizo and seafood paella

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 large servings

Paella in an Actifry? That's not chips! I know right - but this is tasty. If you're not a fan of seafood, leave it out, and you've got a tasty chicken and chorizo paella. Don't leave out the chorizo though - it's 3 syns per serving, but the oil from the chorizo makes everything that bit more tasty!

Ingredients

  • 200g of paella rice
  • 800ml of water
  • 500g chicken breast (diced)
  • 200g cooked prawns
  • 200g shelled mussels
  • 100g chorizo (12 syns), sliced
  • two sweet onions, sliced finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large red pepper 
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1/2 tsp each of curry powder, turmeric and smoked paprika
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

Actifry route

  • boil the rice in the water and stock for about five minutes, then set it aside
  • select 40 minutes and 220 degrees on the Actifry
  • tip everything in, shut the lid, go sit and pick your feet for forty minutes whilst it does all the hard work
  • serve!

On the hob route

  • in one pan, boil the rice in the water and stock for about five minutes, then set it aside
  • whilst that's cooking, gently fry off the onion and pepper for about five minutes
  • add the garlic and the spices and keep gently frying until everything is sweated down
  • add the chicken and cook for a further couple of minutes
  • tip the rice, stock and water into the onion pan, add everything else and pop the lid on, cooking and bubbling for forty minutes - make sure the chicken is cooked through, whatever you do!
  • serve

Courses lunch, dinner

Cuisine low syn, Spanish

Yum! Want more Actifry recipes, you saucy minx? Fine!

Mwah!

J

cheese, ham and onion bake in the slow cooker

Here for the cheese, ham and onion bake done in the slow cooker and just the thing for slopping down your nightie whilst the dark nights close in? Of course: it might look like a scabby back, but it tastes absolutely bloody amazing and frankly, I’d have this dish every night if I could, or at least until the good folks at Wansbeck Hospital had me bluelighted in with cheese crust on my mouth.

Speaking of cheese crust, a while ago we published a blog entry from Frederick West detailing his method for making the perfect roast potato. We received record feedback and for those two people, he’s agreed to pen another article. It’s another hot-button topic – not least because his keyboard is eighty per cent cigarette ash – buffet. What makes the perfect buffet? What’s the ideal strategy for winning at buffet? Now, this entry is especially girthy and because I know some of you will be reading this on a Speak ‘n’ Spell powered exclusively by Poundland batteries and tears, I’m going to split it in two.

For those devoid of all joy in your life, click the picture below to be whisked straight to the recipe.

That’s you, that is.

Everyone else buckled in? A slight caveat. Our writer isn’t subtle. Address your complaints to the nearest bin.


Buffet is one of those words that means different things to different people: like fashion, happy or consent. But what is the correct answer? It’s time to get the bottom of this mystery once and for all. I will not rest until we have uncovered the truth or I get hungry. So, join me, Other Paul, twochubbycubs’ roving reporter, a pale imitation of Alison Hammond both literally and euphemistically, on my most important mission to date.

The biggest shitshow that masquerades under the good name buffet has to be the ‘Hot Fork Buffet’. A couple of heat lamp fermented trays of slop, chips and rice and God fucking forbid, a salad do not a buffet make. I made the mistake of having one of these travesties during the evening reception of my wedding.

A tray of curry so bland that you could have had toast and found it spicier, a pan of Scouse (a traditional Liverpudlian stew, not the contents of Cilla’s make up bag) along with completely unseasoned rice and chips. Now my family, they like a drink. They really like a drink. They’d been going since 3pm and they’d just seen their son/grandson/brother/nephew/cousin (in some cases 3 of those, we’re a close family) say ‘I do’ to a bloke that looks like Dawn French shaved her head, came off her mood stabilisers and got woken up by a wasp’s nest in her fanny.

Everyone was far too pissed to touch the food so I’m there hissing to my brand-new husband about it costing a tenner a head and not having room in the freezer for it all. So, I did what any tight arse would do, and shovelled as much of it as possible down my gullet. Sadly, as a result of this greed, about 3 hours later, a tight arse was what I was very much lacking as I pebble-dashed the shitter in the honeymoon suite. If we were a straight couple, it would have been nothing a quick rinse in the bidet wouldn’t fix before the wedding was consummated. You’d be correct in guessing my marriage was not consummated that night. As my shiny new husband so eloquently put it (I’ll use his wedding photo, he won’t mind):

“I’m not putting my dick anywhere near that, it looks like someone punched a Sara Lee gateau through a drainpipe”

Safe to say I did not get a hot forking that night.

If there’s something I hate more than the hot fork fiasco it’s the one’s where fuck all effort has been made. Often found at work events where you can see the lunch spread and you realise that enough food for 20 people has been set out and there are 50 of you there. Pro-tip in these cases – any work event that’s catered, get a seat by the door. The second you break for lunch, you run, I don’t care if you’re 40 stone with ankles that have already buckled under your considerable gunt, you fucking run.

If there are people in the way, take the bastards down: you get one shot at this tubsy, don’t fuck it up. When you’re at the front of the line and ready to fill your plate, move tactically. They put the salads first, followed by the carby items. THIS IS A TRAP. If I have to tell you to give the salad a miss then just delete my number, we can’t be friends. I don’t care if you’ve a cock like the creatures from Tremors, there is no room for salad apologists in my chocolate corridor.

Next come carbs, if it’s chips, build a base layer on your plate, but don’t stack high. This is how they get you. If the only choice is rice, fuck it. It’s going to bland, plain, boiled shit. Once you’re past the carbs, go mental. Fill the plate and stack it as high as possible. You may feel judgmental eyes fall upon you but those are usually the eyes of senior management who skimped on catering and are at the back of the queue. They deserve to starve. You’ll have no chance at seconds here so treat it like a game of Buckaroo, only with a slightly stale sandwich and some Aldi own-brand kettle crisps. Be brave.

The worst case of under-catering I’ve ever experienced was at my mother-in-law’s funeral. Fucking exhausting day: two hours of the people of Oz singing ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ followed by a full Catholic funeral. I’m no amateur with things like this, but after three hours of sucking off the clergy I’m gonna need to refuel. We arrive at the quaint village pub and straight away my ‘Fat Twat’ sense is tingling.

There has to be 60 people in the pub  and exactly 60 quarter sandwiches covered in clingfilm, a bowl of nuts and two bowls of crisps set out. I’m not entirely sure what’s gone wrong but people are going to go hungry and over her cold dead body it wasn’t going to be me. The only upside to the situation was the facr mourners are quite a respectful bunch, so I easily managed to push past the sad fuckers and pile it high. I’d like think the selfish old bitch was looking up at me and smiling whilst her toes burned for all eternity.

So, dear reader, what should a proper buffet consist of? Well first off: enough fucking food for everyone. Now I trust a blog with a readership consisting of people with portion control issues should be able to get their heads around this concept so I’m going to assume you do not need direction in this area. You need a solid foundation, a theme if you will. Also, remember the golden rule of Mother Dewsbury:

I won’t be challenged on this. I am prepared to fight you and I warn you – I’m 6’4 tall, permanently angry and being punched in the face is foreplay to me.

So, we start with our brown food staple. The Sausage Roll. Quantity is key here, everyone loves a sausage roll so the key is to go mini. Rather than putting out 20 full sized logs of pig’s eyelash and arsehole in soggy pastry, go for 80 mini ones. Tower them high, then everyone feels like they’re getting more. Of course, you can get cheese and onion ‘sausage rolls’ for veggies and if you’ve got vegan guests coming, tell them to bring a packed lunch. My Nan likes to make her own sausage rolls and after many years I’ve finally been able to get the recipe from her, primarily by threatening to have her heating turned off this winter. I think you’ll see that the crafty old bitch was right to keep this secret formula close to her heavy breast because it could change the world:

  • buy any old sausage from the shop. Take the meat out of the case;
  • form it into a sausage shape and wrap in shop brought pastry; and
  • egg wash and bung in the oven until the pastry is browned.

Well fuck me Elizabeth, I can see why you didn’t want that getting out to the masses, you could put Greggs out of business!


James here. That’s a good, devastating image to leave on, isn’t it? Imagining Newcastle without Greggs is like trying to imagine Southend with dignity and a hymen between the entire populous – inconceivable. The next entry will be a guide to the perfect buffet and, if you’ve enjoyed the above, you’re going to be laughing, slapping your knees and worrying about how to explain the damp patch in your knickers to your husband all over again when we publish it in a few days. Even better: I have a rebuttal article planned. That’s twochubbycubs for you: we’ll flog a dead horse, and then make a delicious Croatian stew with it.

I’d LOVE to hear your feedback on this one – get leaving comments! What makes a good buffet for you?


Right, let’s eat. All those words, you’re probably proper Hank Marvin. Let’s just say hello to those hoggish sort who couldn’t wait for the recipe. This bake is never going to win prizes for how it looks, but then, nor will I, and I’ve never had trouble getting my Vitamin D injection.

cheese, ham and onion bake

cheese, ham and onion bake

3 votes

Print

cheese, ham and potato bake - done in the slow cooker

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 servings

Listen, potato bakes always look like a load of hot arse, and no amount of skilled photography is going to hide the fact you're eating a plate of saucy potato. But: YOU'RE EATING A PLATE OF SAUCY POTATO. I mean haway, what more do you need? Someone to nip over and chew your food? I will, you know.

Ingredients

  • one tin of cream of mushroom condensed soup (13.5 syns)
    • use Campbells, and use the condensed version, it's so much tastier
    • not a fan of mushroom? then fuck off
    • if you must save your syns, use the low fat version for 7.5 syns, but honestly, spend the syns
  • eight large potatoes - we use King Edwards or something from Sainsbury's
  • as much cooked ham as you like - we just buy one of those little precooked hams and cut it into cubes
  • 240g of lighter extra mature cheddar (6 HEAs - but this serves six, so calm yer boobs)
  • two onions, white or red
  •  150ml skimmed milk (1.5 syns)

15 syns between 6 servings. 2 and a half syns. And best of all? No bloody Quark sitting on your delicious dinner like the Devil's Own Smegma.

Instructions

  • thinly slice your potatoes
  • chop up your onion
  • cube up your ham
  • dance through all your fears (war is over for a bit)
  • grate your cheese
  • mix the soup, cheese and milk together in one bowl
  • mix the onion, potato and ham in the other
  • then slop everything into the slow cooker and turn it on high for about 4 hours with lashings of black pepper and smugness
  • it'll be ready to serve after four hours but because we're catty bitches, we slopped it into a Pyrex dish and finished it off under the grill with a bit more cheese

Notes

Get ready to buy buy buy!

Courses slow cooker

Cuisine hearty-fart

Want more slow cooker recipes? No worries, here’s bloody loads!

Mwah!

J

pina colada cheesecake – syn free too!

Do you like pina colada cheesecake, and walks in the rain? Well shut up. There’s a cracking recipe coming up from the lovely Rebecca – but first…over to another competition entrant with what I believe is one of the best stories you’ll read this year. Originally posted in our Facebook group to rapturous support, it’s one of those stories that will make you smile, with a sweet little twist at the end. Over to Andie…


I shall try and keep this brief, but it’s kinda hard to fit about four decades of being transgender, doing nothing about it and then doing EVERYTHING about it into a few sentences.

So, in a nutshell, I’ve known I was trans since I was six or seven. I’m now 44. I went through my teens, 20s and early 30s thinking I was not quite a transsexual but much more than a crossdresser. I had no plans to transition – I was far too scared.

By my mid-30s, the feelings began to grow and, by the time I was 40, it was clear I wasn’t happy living my life as a “bloke” anymore.

So I began to evolve slowly, wearing more feminine but rather androgynous clothes and shoes, getting my eyebrows waxed, shaping my fingernails. Little things. Every time I took another step, I’d tell myself that was the final step. But, ha ha, then I took another and another, such as laser on my facial hair (now long gone) and treatments to bring back my head hair (I was as bald as a Chubby Cub this time last year!)

JAMES OBJECTION: not bald, just smooth. There’s a difference!

I started using phytoestrogens – plant-based estrogens – to give me a bust. All they gave me was a deep vein thrombosis. I could easily have died. And I joined Slimming World. I was overweight and wanted to lose 5st. I wanted a more female body and figured that, if I was slim, that would be a good start.

I did well, losing 4st 3lb. I caught the Body Magic bug, too. I started cycling, beginning with 30-mile charity bike rides and then going further and further. I’m now doing 300k rides and do my first 400k in September. And, after my DVT, I decided that, if I was going to tweak my hormones, I needed to do it properly. So I asked my GP for a referral to my local gender clinic. That was three years ago. And so began a long process of waiting, counselling and blood tests.

Two years ago, I won my group’s Man of the Year title.

While it was lovely to win an award voted for by the other members, I also felt like a massive fraud because I’ve never truly felt male.

I came out to my group a few weeks ago and, a week later, turned up “en femme” for the first time. The support I received was incredible – both from my consultant and all the other members – even the rugby-playing, pint-swigging blokes. No judgment – just love.

Then I was nominated for Woman of the Year. Just to be nominated meant the world to me. I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d win the title. But, last Thursday, I did win. I was in total shock – I still am!

I put photos of my Man of the Year and Woman of the Year wins on the Two Chubby Cubs Facebook group with a little write-up – and was astounded by the love I received from the members – almost 2,300 “likes”, and hundreds of comments – every single one of them positive. Thank you so much, everyone! A couple of other trans Slimming World members got in touch, too, so I hope reading about my journey can somehow inspire them.

Not only was it great to win an award voted for by members of the group I’ve been attending for over four years but it felt like I was being accepted and validated. And that was an incredible feeling because I’ve had a fair bit of transphobia in my time, from blokes on the streets laughing at me to pure hatred from transphobic rad-fems on Twitter.

It’s not been easy, and it won’t be easy. Being trans meant I lost my long-term girlfriend – and then my fiancée. I’ve lost a couple of friends. I’ve also had the reaction from my family to deal with!

But I don’t regret for a second coming out and starting my transition. It’s still early days – I only started my HRT three months ago – but feel a damned site happier having done so, and I know I won’t get to old age sitting in an armchair as an old bloke, sad, bitter and full of regret.

If you want to know more, see my blog, http://andiepasdedeux.com, or follow me on Twitter, https://twitter.com/andiepasdedeux, or Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/andiepasdedeux


I know what you’re all thinking – I’d be muttering under my breath about the fact she has two stickers too. FOAMING HUN. Isn’t that the best story though? I welled up a little reading it – any story about a positive transformation is a winner in my book. I encourage you to look through the blogs and the twitter and support Andie! Meanwhile, ding ding: competition entrant time!

And now, double-whammy, time for a recipe entry too! I’ve been reassured that this piña colada cheesecake doesn’t taste of eggs, sadness and sweetener. If it does, don’t worry, I have her email address, I’ll sharp sign her up for emails about fisting. Pervert.

pina colada cheesecake

pina colada cheesecake

2 votes

Print

pina colada cheesecake

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 slices

You make the base first, then follow it up with a topping. Sounds like the way most of my Saturday nights turn out. Now listen here, I know you lot can be frightfully judgemental, but the chickpeas thing works well - remember, there's such a thing called chickpea flour!

Yeah, you should probably syn the grilled pineapple if you're a SW rule-follower. And possibly syn the blended chickpeas. But then you should do a lot of things and you don't, do you?

The beauty of this is that you can make it for taster night, then take them a packet of grapes and eat it yourself. Always thinking ahead. Note it requires an overnight chill.

Ingredients

  • tin of drained chickpeas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp truvia
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pot of 0% activia vanilla yogurt
  • 1 large tub of Muller light Greek style coconut and vanilla yogurt
  • 1 small pot of quark
  • 1 package of gelatine crystals/powder
  • 10 drops of coconut flavouring
  • chunks of pineapple with the edges blowtorched to look pretty

Instructions

  • make the base by blending the chickpeas and eggs in a blender and pour into a loose bottomed cake tin and bake at 120 degrees for around an hour, it should be a dark golden brown on top, don't worry if it puffs up a bit like a cake, it'll sink back down when you cool it, a few cracks on top are ok too
  • soak the gelatine in 4 tbsp of cold water for 10 minutes then warm the mixture up to dissolve the gelatine
  • then mix with all the other ingredients until you have a smooth liquid - I find it easier if everything is at room temperature
  • pour over the cooled cheesecake base and let it set overnight in the fridge
  • decorate with chunks of pineapple that you've blowtorched to full effect
  • lovely!

Notes

  • a blowtorch in the kitchen is never a bad thing to have - though we just use my cigar lighter because I'm so butch (this is James writing, to be clear) but look! You can have a lot of fun with this - who needs fingerprints?
  • technically, according to SW, you should syn the pineapple because you've heated it slightly. Because, as you know, adding heat turns it into a pineapple fritter.

Want more desserts? So demanding!

Tasty!

J

quick pad thai – for when you just can’t be bothered

Quick pad thai – we did a proper pad thai not so long since but damn it, it takes so long. So here’s a quick version. However…before we get to the recipe, I enjoyed writing those little question and answer sessions so much that we’re doing a round three – unapologetically shameless here, you know.

What inspired you to start your page?

I made a shitty comic book style montage of my nana using an iPad. This gave me the idea of doing recipes in a similar vein – we struggled on like that for a few months before people start writing to us suggesting that we actually do novel things like listing the ingredients and methods and not including pictures of my cat’s bumhole. Poor sports. We changed the style to what you see today. One thing we’re particularly proud of is the fact that the blog remains resolutely low-tech, just writing, photos and we’re done. On other blogs it takes a year and a day to actually get to the recipe, after all the shilling for Frylight, facebook groups, video adverts and other tut. You might get some nonsense with our blog about our day to day life, but I think that keeps it unique. I (personally) would rather read a bit about the owners (although not 800 words about picking tomatoes at the local market) than some impersonal SEO-fest. I was also pig sick of making SW recipes that looked like cradle cap swimming in a pool of tomato water and realised that it had to be possible to cook well, follow the guidelines and still lose weight. Whaddya know – it is (and you don’t need Sukrin, Frylight, special meat or other tut to do it!)

How long will you keep going?

You’re talking someone who managed to pop an anecdote about getting blown in a hot-tub into a recipe for baked bean lasagne. As long as there are shenanigans to report and food to make, we’ll keep going. It’s been trickier this past year because something exciting has taken up so much time, but that’s done and now we’re back. Just need some bloody holidays.

Who’s the boss in the relationship?

Paul likes to think he is, but I have the weight and height advantage, plus he’d be hard-pressed to tell you who we bank with. Hell, he’d struggle to tell you his name without checking the inside of his blazer. We have very differing argument styles though – I shout and bawl and kick off, he gets very quiet and sulky. I’m emotional, he’s barely in motion. Something like that. We tend not to argue much as we’re both too fat and lazy to make a show of ourselves, but when we go at it, it usually involves me getting huffy, tripping over my words and spitting like a stuck cat, whilst he purses his lips and drinks his tea and rattles off facts and figures from 10 years ago that entirely disprove whatever point I’m trying to make. The man can’t remember to flush the toilet after he’s had a shit (dis-gust-ting) but that type I made googly-eyes at a passing biker in 2008 is imprinted on the back of his eyelids.

What toys do you like to use in the bedroom, stairs, wherever or is it all just you two?

Now come on, I’m not answering that. This is a family blog. OK, no, a Rubik’s Cube. I like to push it into him and watch him solve it without moving his hands. It might come out smelling of spoiled meat but it’s always a spectacle. I will say this, though, couples out there – don’t be afraid to experiment. The same way you wouldn’t want the same dessert every day for the rest of your life, there’s only so many times you can smile wanly at the same Mini Milk before you fancy a Feast.

Length or girth?

Ah, the age old question. This isn’t me being diplomatic for all the button-men out there, but it really isn’t imperative to have one or the other. You can drive to the same destination in a Smart car that you can with a bus, you know. Not going to lie – girthy feels nicer knocking on the back door, lengthy is good if you want a dip-test for your stomach acid, but if you don’t know how to use it, what’s the point? The worst sex I’ve ever had was with someone whose knob was like two full size coke-cans on top of the other. It was like being mounted by a clumsy dog that was more interested in getting his dinner. So, lads, if you’re reading this, don’t focus on your size, focus on your technique. That said, I barely have a gag-reflex these days, so if there’s anyone out there who wants to come and rub my heart from the inside, please get in touch.

If you could have just one super power what would it be?

Thanos’ power, or a variant thereof – where I could click my fingers and that person would vanish from all of existence. You get to get rid of people without all of the pesky murder charges, though sweeping up the ash would be a knacker. Old ladies stood in a cluster in the supermarket? Click. Someone looking at me funny? Click. Doctor explaining that I had RSI due to all the clicking? Click. There would be hardly anyone left by half three in the afternoon – though I’d like a second click to bring the person back, as I tend to react rashly (see above). Imagine how much grovelling I’d need to do to Paul for sending him to the nether-dimension just because he didn’t hang the bog-roll up right. Failing Thanos’ power, I’d like the ability to change people’s sexuality on a whim. Imagine the fun you could have with that? Old ladies stood in a cluster in the supermarket? Clack – scissoring time. Someone looking at me funny? Clack – they want to pedal my ears and make me pregnant. Doctor explaining that I had RSI due to all the dicking? Clack. Pfft, he’d have his mouth full.

If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life what would they be?

  • peanut butter Haagen Daaz;
  • straight, married men; and
  • Ibuprofen – a diet consisting strictly of the above two will lead to massive strain on my knees.

Where is the next travel destination? Do you ever think you’ll be bored of traveling? Do you avoid countries that are anti gay? 

Three questions, what is this? Next travel destination is Canada. I’m sure we’ll get there some day…as for getting bored of travelling? How can you – the world is waiting and there’s so many places we want to go. Even in the UK alone we could holiday somewhere new every year and not get bored. Do we avoid anti-gay places? Yeah. Mostly. We would love to go to Russia, but it takes the shine off when you run the risk of having your face smashed up just for shagging a bloke. Well, it puts Paul off, I’m all about a gamble. For a good few years we used to holiday quite conservatively but Christ, you don’t want to get to your deathbed thinking you’d wish you had seen the world. We’re not sophisticated travellers – our luggage comes from George, we stay in cheapo hotels and we spend more time than is sensible sleeping when we get to destinations, but we’ve got so many memories now that how could it not be worth doing? 2019 will be the year of 14 holidays – we managed 10 in 2017 (still need to write them up!) – and we like a challenge.

What do you both do for a living?

Keep secrets.

Have you / would you do drag? What would your drag name be?

Done it once, I looked dreadful.  I had a cracking set of plastic tits mind, until someone put a cigarette out on my left boob. I’ve never felt less feminine. There’s a chap in a wheelchair who calls herself Sarah Palegic, which tickles me. I would absolutely love to see Paul in full drag just to see whether I’d be game for boffing him or not. He’s already got a smashing rack, he’s halfway there. I love proper drag. Remember our trip to see Benidorm’s premier drag-act?

OK, that’ll do it for now. No more! NO MORE. Time for a quick pad thai, if you please.

quick pad thai

quick pad thai

quick pad thai

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

A pad thai for when you really can't be arsed. Quick, easy and it'll fill your hole more than any plug-in-plug-up appliance. 

Ingredients

  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey (2½ syns)
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 400g pork loin, sliced thinly into strips
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (1 syn) 
  • 2 tsp sesame oil (4 syns)
  • 170g rice noodles 
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • a good handful of beansprouts
  • 25g dry roasted peanuts, roughly dropped (7½ syns) 
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
  • handful of coriander, finely chopped (optional)

Instructions

  • place the noodles in a pan of water and bring to the boil
  • simmer for about five minutes, drain and plop into cold water (trust us)
  • whisk together the sesame oil and corn starch and pour over the sliced pork and toss well
  • in a small bowl or jug, whisk together the fish sauce, lemon juice and honey and set aside
  • preheat a wok or a large frying pan over a high heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the pork and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until cooked through
  • remove the pork from the pan and set aside
  • spray the pan with a bit more oil and add the garlic, chilli flakes and spring onions and cook for about a minute, stirring frequently
  • slowly pour the eggs into the pan, stirring constantly
  • drain the noodles again and chuck them into the pan along with the fish sauce and pork and mix together
  • cook for another minute or two to warm the noodles up
  • serve onto plates and top with the beansprouts, chopped peanuts, lime and coriander (if using)

Notes

Courses dinner

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Want some more fakeaway ideas? Well never mind me putting in a list, here’s a great big button for you to politely ignore as though I’d shat in your handbag.

fakeawayssmall

How lovely!

J

lentil and butternut squash curry

Here for the lentil and butternut squash curry? When is it ever that easy with us?

A few posts ago Paul was given the chance to answer a few random questions from our readers. Because we’re so unspeakably arrogant, let’s roll the dice again! This time, me, James, will be answering. Prefer Paul? You’re wrong – he’s the Lidl James.

That’s not true, he’s better than I could ever dream of being.

What was your first impression of each other?

Great question – our first real time together saw us falling asleep next to each other within twenty minutes of meeting. My conversation will do that. That or my exhaustive anal technique. Anyway, I’d been holding in an almighty fart and I waited until he fell asleep to blurt it out. There was a moment or two of silence then an almighty laugh from Paul, and we never looked back, save for me to check I hadn’t shit myself. I knew then he was a keeper, because anyone who can laugh through the tears caused by my skin-peeling wind is for me. I just asked Paul for his first impression of me and it was simply ‘handsome’. Pfft. I thought Paul would love me more if I turned up looking like a Poundland Triga movie – I turned up in a Newcastle United top, grey trackies and a pair of trainers so clean you could imagine they’d been bleached. Clearly my Chloe Mafia brrrrap-brrrrap swagger won him over.

Do your ‘offline’ friends/family/colleagues know about your online presence/following?

We try and keep offline and online fairly separate. We’ve built up slight caricatures of ourselves for the blog and it can be difficult looking someone in the eye to talk about exciting work stuff when you know they’ve just read a blistering account of the time you accidentally fisted someone on a night out in Hartlepool. I mean, you don’t want anyone knowing you’ve been to Hartlepool, for Christ’s sakes. People are always astonished that the quiet one in the office has over 350,000 followers hanging on his every word. That’s why they call me Jim Jones and stare at me nervously as I’m making squash. We do find ourselves immediately caveating any trip to the website with a warning about the language, content, poor photography and swearing. My parents like to know exactly how much money the blog makes us so when I invariably die early due to a torn rectum, they’ll be able to cash in and bugger off to Alicante for a few months. Ghouls.

What advice would you give your 15 year old self?

Learn to drive as soon as you can. Noshing off lorry drivers for a quick trip up the A69 is never a safe idea. Stop worrying. Jason from Glasgow is going to make you unable to poo without crying for a week, practice first. Don’t grow that fucking awful Enya haircut two years from now. Don’t then dye it blonde so you look like a meth-addled Myra Hindley. Start on the grand plan earlier and you’ll have a house even sooner. Always double-douche. Don’t wank yourself silly over Fred Durst, save some juice for later – he turns into a mega-DILF with age.

If you were prime minister for a day, what would you change?

Mass deportation – straight into the sea, mind – of anyone who starts a sentence with:

  • I’m not being funny but…
  • I’m not a racist but…
  • The thing is, yeah…
  • …I turned around and said…

Coupled with the immediate destruction of anyone who shares ‘97% of people won’t share this’ drivel, anyone who doesn’t immediately acknowledge me letting them in on the motorway and anyone who walks more than two abreast on a path. Oh, and the reintroduction of gloryholes.

If you were only allowed to pick one country for the rest of your holidays where would you go?

Germany. Partly because of happy memories, partly because of shenanigans to come, and mostly because it’s an amazing country full of history and culture. Plus fuck it, I can sneak out on a train to all the countries around it. Want to play properly? Canada. I want to live there – a giant farm by a lake, nothing around me than the corpses of the people I pick up on Grindr. As long as I can still download Dr Who and Paul can still get his subscription boxes, we’ll be fine.

Do you read every post and all replies on your FB page?

Yep! We don’t always reply to them – usually if they’re bad mannered, illogical or lazy. I also make a point of refusing to answer anyone who has bilge in their profile picture. If they look like they’ve ever so much contemplated buying a LIFE LAUGH LOVE wall decal, they can go.

Which female celebrity would be your straight crush?

Not even a straight crush – she remains my number one absolute dream. Gillian Anderson. Sophisticated, beautiful, hilarious, strong and incredibly compassionate. I always wanted to be Scully rather than Mulder, not least because I can run in a set of heels and look great with red hair.

Are you readers as well as writers ? Who is your favourite author and why?

Paul reads fussy books about architecture. They all smell of foist and damp and have words like aggregate and tensile in them. The only way they’d send me to sleep quicker would be if he smashed me in the face with it like Little Mo and her Christmas dinner. (sidenote: I used to have such a crush on Trevor, you know – isn’t that awful?) I like Stephen King. I used to caveat that with an apology because he’s so mainstream but you know what, fuck that – he’s an excellent writer and his books are brilliantly entertaining. He can’t finish to save his life, but nor can I without someone working my balls. His best is The Stand, although I bloody hated Frannie. Stuck up cow. The miniseres is an absolute hoot though – I often do my best Mother Abigail voice to Paul as he approaches climax – makes him last a bit longer to think of me as a nonagenarian corn farmer.

How much weight have you both lost?

One or two pounds.

Image result for winking emoji

Are you still in love with each other?

More than ever. Paul gets such a rough time of it from this blog because I’m the writer for 99% of the articles, but he’s learned to roll with the punches now (quite right, I keep them on his kidneys). Thing is, I can’t imagine my life without him in it – from all the tiny things we do together to the big stuff like holidays and tag-teaming plumbers. He’s been the first person I speak to in the morning for over ten years and the last person I speak to before sleep. He still laughs at my jokes, he still puts up with my nonsense. I woke him up in a crisis the other day because I’d diagnosed a rough patch of skin in my armpit as lymphoma. He pointed out we’d changed the washing powder and it was just a reaction to that, calmed me down and spooned me until my blanket of back hair made him sneeze. He makes my coffee in the morning and my tea in the evening. Even now, four thousand days later, we still think of nonsense to send one another to cheer each other’s days up. I sent him a picture of Enya in a clock the other day and he laughed like a drain. Love comes in many ways, but they all come from him. My life without him in it is as unimaginable to me as the inky blackness of death or a world without bees and I promise you, reader, that not a single day goes by where I don’t remember how much I love him and tell him how special he is to me. The thought that one day all this will end and one will be torn from the other breaks my heart in two but makes me keen to make every day special.

I just wish he wasn’t such a swivel-eyed gypsy-stock bastard, though.

Have either of you ever done that thing where several men are doing each other from behind simultaneously?

No. Definitely haven’t been part of a group of eight either. I say part, I mean the sponge.

That was fun! Might do one last burst on the next blog post. But until then, it’s time for our lentil and butternut squash curry!

lentil and butternut squash curry

lentil and butternut squash curry

lentil butternut squash curry

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 servings

One of our 'dumpbag' specialities which despite it's name isn't part of our behind-the-scenes XTube package. No, just bag these up whenever you like, freeze them and when you're ready to cook them just get them out and tip them in the slow cooker. It really is that easy! This takes no time at all and tastes pretty damn fine. 

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 300g butternut squash, diced
  • 400g red lentils
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 tin light coconut milk (14 syns)

Instructions

  • called a dump bag because you dump all the stuff in a freezer bag and freeze it until you need it, then...
  • dump all of the ingredients into a slow cooker along with 1 litre of water and cook for 6-8 hours on low
  • that's literally it - add a splash of hot sauce too, if you fancy punishing that hole of yours

Notes

  • not really much to say about this one! it's ready in no time at all and tastes gorgeous!
  • after a slow cooker? Amazon have a great selection, and if you order through our link we get a few pennies commission!

Courses slow cooker

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Want more slow cooker wonders? Of course you do!

J

juicy steak with low syn slimming world chimichurri sauce

Slimming World chimichurri! Now admittedly chimichurri sounds like something a posh woman would call her fadge when telling the doctor it’s sealed over, but bear with us – it’s actually a gorgeous herby sauce where, if you use good fresh herbs, it’ll be an absolute delight. You’ll wonder why you haven’t had it before but we all know the answer to that is simple: like you’d ever turn down a cream sauce for your steak. Even so, give this a go.

There’s no time to lose today because we’ve had an actual House Calamity. You will have doubtless noticed that it’s been hotter than the devil’s dick outside until Friday, when the skies broke just in time to make sure that 1,000,000 people who still live at home with their mothers were denied the chance to look at the moon. It tipped it down, and naturally, our house decided to throw a spanner in our plans to save up for Canada and instead, sprung yet another leak. We’ve now got more brown damp patches on our ceiling than we ever manage on our mattress, but that’s what being married for eleven years will do for you.

This means yet more visits from roofers, more awkward small-talk and yet more waiting around for them to appear from ‘just around the corner, mate’, where presumably that corner is somewhere south of Doncaster. I’ve long since given up on people saying they’ll turn up at any given point – I swear we’ve still got someone due round to clean my little C2 (not a euphemism) and that was turned into a cube back in 2012.

So, you can have a recipe, and we’ll get on with fussing about our ceiling. Sigh. Chimichurri sauce for you!

slimming world chimichurri

slimming world chimichurri

juicy steak with Slimming World chimichurri

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Sounds fancy, eh? Chimichurri comes all the way from them Argies and is a tasty sauce for fresh meat! It's as easy as you after a night at the bingo and tastes phenomenal! It's a cool colour too, so the kids will love it.

The beauty with this is that you can have it with whatever you want! We had ours with chips because we're common and it's our default position. We had some left over the next day and slipped it into sandwiches and it was just as good! Sex up your meaty flaps tonight.

Ingredients

  • 4 good steaks
  • 2 big bunches of basil
  • 2 big bunches of parsley
  • 2 big bunches of mint
  • 2 big bunches of chives
  • 4 green chillis
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (6 syns)
  • salt 
  • pepper

Instructions

  • firstly, take the steak out of the fridge and bring it up to room temperature
  • next, finely chop all of the herbs, chillis and capers - if you can't be arsed, do what we did and chuck it all in a food processor
  • zest and juice the limes and add the olive oil, and mix well
  • sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the steaks and cook to your liking
  • as the meat is cooking, dollop the chimichurri sauce onto a chopping board and gently spread out into a large square big enough for the steaks to sit on
  • when the steak is cooked, place on top of the chimichurri and leave to rest for a few minutes
  • slice the steak and use a knife to spread the chimichurri sauce all over it - like it's getting a facial
  • serve

Notes

  • remember: this recipe is for four - if you're only making it for two people just halve everything
  • any steak will do - it doesn't have to be fancy, we used sirloin from Muscle Food
  • fresh herbs are always best if you can get them
  • we used our Tefal Optigrill to cook the steak perfectly - if you've got one, just press the 'steak' button and then wait until the light shows your desired level of 'doneness'!
  • don't be tempted to skimp on the oil in this one - it's worth it, and it's only a few syns!

 

Cuisine argentinian

Lovely! Perhaps you want some more steak ideas? Sure thing, cheesenips!

Always something to enjoy!

J