recipe: sticky teriyaki mince

Here for the sticky teriyaki mince? Naturally: it’s quick, it’s sweet and it it is terribly good for you. I mean, what more could you want? Of course, as it’s us, we’re going to bore you with waffle and flimflam first as is our way. So, if you are wanting the sticky teriyaki mince, just scroll down past the pictures to be taken straight there. Fair warning, it IS a long way down because boy howdy, do I have a lot to say. The sticky teriyaki mince is worth it though!

First, a reminder that our fabulous new cookbook is coming and is available to pre-order now! Even better: it is released on 31 December 2020 so this time round, we’ll be there right with you from day one of 2021! You can pre-order from Amazon right now by clicking here (it’ll open in a new window) and of course, Amazon comes with a price guarantee – you don’t pay until the day of release, and if the price goes down (which it absolutely will) you’ll pay the lower amount! It’s a beautiful, beautiful book and we can’t wait for you to see it.

Secondly, in the antepenultimate blog entry to this one, I was chuntering on about a weekend away with my better half, Paul. You may recall him from such memories past as The Time He Was Bitten On The Head By A Horse and James, We Need To Talk 89. In my usual rash approach to using eight hundred words per sentence I’d tipped the blog entry into a 2,000 word behemoth and we’d barely climbed out of the car. So: we’re going to be succinct this time, I swear.

The morning was sent doing two further escape rooms – a Hotel Heist and a World War II themed room. They were both terrific but honestly, if I write about escape rooms anymore I think my eyes will permanently glaze over. That is, I adore doing them, but they’re bloody hard to write about without giving away spoilers. The World War II room had a worrying moment where we had a few minutes left to assemble a four piece object. Sounds easy, but you’re talking to someone who fumbles getting his knob out for an urgent piss and ends up with wet legs. I can’t cope under pressure! Luckily Paul, with a manual dexterity that betrays the fact his eyes can see into both his immediate future and distant past at once, managed to throw it together and out we sauntered.

We decided to celebrate saving the world by having lunch in a vegan place. I can’t all in all honesty say it would have been my first pick, but it was delicious. I had smashed avocado served on toast that attended a poetry circle on a weekend, washed down with tea. I’m always thrown off by the bewildering array of not-milks offered and start to panic. Oat? Rice? Almond? Soya? Hemp? Coconut? Watered down brilliant white gloss from Wickes? Pea milk? How the fuck do you milk a pea? I knew I had to decide quickly because the lady serving looked as though the effort of clicking her waitress’ pen might necessitate a lie down to regain her strength, so chose a black tea and regretted my choice immediately. I have tried with non-dairy milk, I swear I have, but it’s the look and the consistency that put me off: they all, to a fault, look like samples being sent away from a GUM clinic. Food was terrific though!

Buzzing our tits off with the introduction of fresh vitamins into our otherwise grey diet, we decided to drive onto our next stop, The Bear’s Paw hotel. How could we not? Paul hand-waved my offer of helping with putting it into the Sat Nav and off we set, with Captain Death at the wheel driving the car like the police were chasing him. We pulled up an hour or so later, Paul just glad to be getting away from me gently singing my way through every song that came up on Spotify (does he know how lucky he is to have a husband who can switch from Lady Gaga to Madonna to John Denver in a blink of an eye – sometimes I wonder) and went to check into our room.

Except, we couldn’t. We were told by the charming madam behind the bar that “we don’t do rooms, and we never have“. The never have was said with a touch too much malice for my liking, as though Paul’s Smart car was capable of time-travel and we were gonna sneak back two weeks previous and catch her out on her lies. I thanked her for her effusive, warm welcome and went back to the car. Now, as a humble, caring husband I acknowledge that people make mistakes and so resisted the urge to smile smugly at Paul and tell him how silly he had been, but by the time I had closed the passenger door that had worn off and terse words were exchanged.

The drive to the actual hotel was done in fair silence, though as this afforded me a chance to doze and only wake to clutch dramatically at the door handle as Paul careered around sharp corners on what felt like two wheels, I was happy enough. We checked to the proper Bears Paw Inn in Sandbach and it was truly lovely. My standards are low when it comes to hotels – as long as the bed is comfortable and there’s a decent number of men tramping through the corridors who look as though they could put their fist through my jaw, I sleep well. I can’t be one of those absolute knobbers on programmes like Four In A Bed who will go into a hotel room with their prissy white gloves on, start dismantling the sinktrap and then feign utter disgust that there’s a smear of toothpaste in there. In fact, I’m like the reverse of The Hotel Inspector, in that I’ll walk into a spotless room and immediately start shedding pubes all over the floor.

Faced with the prospect of having to talk to each other, we decided to drive yet further into Chester and do another two escape rooms: Legacy and Roman at Escapism. They were brilliant, especially the Legacy room which featured a load of different locks and puzzles. Unfortunately, I was up against a friend’s time and lost by minutes, but it balances out nicely because we beat his time in a room in Las Vegas. Plus, Paul and I smell significantly better. In the Roman room you are split up as you go in and have to rely on shouting at each other to relay the clues you have in your individual rooms. Not going to lie, it did give me a moment of pause when Paul yelled through the bars that he was checking his helmet for clues. I’n not saying muscle memory kicked in but I’d already got my hand-drill out and was putting a hole in the partition before I realised. Excellent room though, and the staff were just the very best.

Now, we’re tipping into long blog post territory again so I’m going to jump forward to the next day when, in a fit of whimsy, we decided to go to Liverpool because there were two things there Paul had always wanted to do: a nuclear bunker and a safari park. Me, as an obliging and kind husband and also a fan of irradiated wastelands, agreed to go to Liverpool to honour those requests.

Hack Green Bunker, then: you may know it from all the signage on the motorway advertising ‘SECRET NUCLEAR BUNKER‘, which seems like a bit of a misnomer to me, but hey, I’m not in charge. Thank fuck: I’m just clumsy and spiteful enough to set off a nuclear bomb accidentally by falling on it or lighting a cigarette off the fuse-wire. Speaking of highly explosive fat-boys with a short fuse, Paul was in his element. He adores stuff like this and can cheerfully spend an age looking at old bits of communication whilst I smile wanly and wish for death. Don’t get me wrong, I love a museum, but only if it has buttons to push and children to knock down the stairs in my haste to get to the gift-shop to buy a giant pencil. I’m doing the place a disservice in the name of a funnier blog entry, it actually was pretty decent.

One ‘interactive’ part involved going into a ‘fallout shelter’ to experience what it was like to be hiding from the bombs as they fell. Lots of flashing lights and scary noises and terrifying smells. The sign on the door explained that the simulation would loop every ten minutes and as we took a seat in the pitch black room, we realised we must have just missed it so had to sit and wait for it to start again.

And wait, we did. Twenty five minutes we sat in that inky blackness before someone must have spotted us on the infrared camera and came in to explain the exhibit was closed because they couldn’t have people sitting in close proximity to one another. Made sense, but I was furious that she had interrupted my nap. I begged Paul to go on ahead and leave me in there but he was having none of it, the poor sport. We made sure to take lots of photos that we would naturally never look at again and came to a small theatre where The War Game was playing. Fuck me: it’s hard to have an upbeat day when you’re watching someone’s skin melt off in black and white. Fallout? We almost did when Paul wanted to watch it over again. I explained that my tolerance for death and destruction had reached its peak and I think he saw from the glow in my eyes that I meant business. We went to the giftshop, bought a terrific amount of tat (no giant pencil, but a snowglobe with a burnt-out city on the bottom and the snow flying around representing fall-out – we’re saving that cheery little number for a Christmas decoration) and went on our way to Knowesley Safari Park.

Now, of course, Paul had decided that we would spend eight hours at Hack Green and therefore had booked our tickets for the safari park for 4pm, which meant spending an hour in some awful business park trying not to swear at one another and browsing the tat in B&Ms. Side question: why is everything grey and crushed diamonds all of a sudden? What’s that about: why would you want your living room to look like a side-of-the-motorway-stripper show? I ask you.

4pm rolled around, and after we had driven up to the entrance and then driven all the way back to the business park so Paul could have an emergency poop, we were in. I’ll say this: I’m not a fan of zoos and wouldn’t normally go, but if we have to have them then a safari park is probably the kindest option. Can’t say I felt especially safe though – not because the safety protocols weren’t up to scratch because they absolutely were – but because we were sat in a Smart car going through a rhino enclosure. Again, a Smart car: a car that is at genuine risk of tipping over if I get out of the passenger seat before Paul gets out. I’d have felt safer mincing through in a bikini made of Bacofoil with a side of bacon hanging out my cheeks. Nevertheless, it was all very interesting and we took some great photos which I shan’t bore you with.

Highlight of the trip was the baboon enclosure which was preceded for about half a mile by signs warning you that if you choose to drive through, they will possibly damage your car. That gets upgraded to ‘YOUR CAR WILL BE DAMAGED’ as you get closer, and then as you enter there’s a rough Scouse bird shouting ‘ROWLL YER FUCKIN’ WINDIZZ UP LAAAAA‘ as you drive over the cattle grid. Paul, naturally, ignored all of these warnings and turned to me, with that infuriating sage face he pulls when I’m just being silly, and explained that baboons aren’t likely to go for a Smart car, as though they’re sitting there perusing What Car waiting for a flash BMW to shit all over.

We were no sooner in the enclosure before the Chief Baboon came bounding over, sat on the bonnet and gave us a look that guaranteed mischief. Firstly, have you ever seen a baboon’s arse up close? I had to check Paul hadn’t got out to change the windscreen wiper fluid but no, he was right next to me shrieking. Very conscious of the fact we had a 200 mile drive home in the rain, we could ill afford any damage to the car. The baboon fixed us with a stare and immediately started wrenching away at the windscreen wipers. Of course I went full Chris Hargensen in Carrie and demanded Paul put his foot down and floor it, but Paul’s altogether more compassionate and instead threw the car speakers on. Turns out that (You Drive Me) Crazy by Britney has no effect on a hungry baboon, though he did move away from taking off the wipers and instead bent down, grabbed the washer jets and pulled them both out with his teeth. The little fucker even had the cheek to roll them around his mouth like they were Mint Imperials before spitting them into the grass. Luckily, a smug looking family in a flash BMW came in and the baboon fucked off – Paul was right!

We decided there and then that this was altogether too much drama for one day, and plus, knowing we had to get back to Newcastle without the ability to wash our bloody car windows, we had to act fast. Luckily, it was a British summer, so we had rain from leaving Liverpool to arriving back in Newcastle. Paul paid £50 to get the jets fixed and I promise I didn’t rag on him too much for his many errors.

And that, readers, was our little weekend away. I’ll say this, too: it was fantastic to get away with him and not have to worry about all the crap currently going on. We felt safe in every place we went to, everyone seemed chipper and I’ll simply never tire of paying over-the-odds for any British experience. I’d forgotten, almost, what a brilliant travel companion he is: always willing to entertain my nonsense, never complains when I litter the bottom of his car with eight hundred empty packets of crisps or when I pick fitfully at his sleeve when there’s a chance I might have to get my wallet out. The best part of this twochubbycubs show is that we’ve been able to travel to all sorts of places and have mischief, and although COVID has temporarily put a stopper on international travel, it’s reassuring to know we can still enjoy ourselves here. Even if he was wrong about:

  • driving in the rain
  • the hotel we stopped at
  • driving through a baboon enclosure
  • most of the clues in all of the escape rooms
  • his inability to pack for more than one weather condition

but I don’t like to cause a scene.

Right! Shall we do the sticky teriyaki mince? Of course we should. Without any more pause…

sticky teriyaki mince

Well hello there Sticky teriyaki mince! How you doing?

sticky teriyaki mince

For a proper quick dinner, the sticky teriyaki mince does the job!

sticky teriyaki mince

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This makes enough for two huge portions - and certainly enough mince for four.

This is another recipe inspired by one we've had from Hello Fresh recently. They aren't sponsoring us or owt, we're just normal customers, but their stuff is good! If you want to give it a try, use this link and get £20 off your first box. We'll also get £20 so you'll be sharing the love! We've adapted this one to make it more slimming and more twochubbycubs friendly. Trust us, this will become a new favourite in your house. It's sweet, it's saucy, it's tasty, it's sticky. And we know you love all of that. Give it a try!

Ingredients

  • 500g beef mince
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2" piece of ginger
  • 2 spring onions
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 300g jasmine rice (see notes)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (2 syns)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce (see notes)
  • 1 tsp sugar (see notes) (2 syns)

Instructions

  • bring a pan of 600ml water to the boil with a pinch of salt, and stir in the rice
  • reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid, then leave to cook for ten minutes
  • after ten minutes, remove from the heat (still covered) and leave for another ten minutes to finish cooking. DON'T TAKE OFF THE LID!
  • meanwhile, peel and mince the garlic and the ginger, then thinly slice the spring onions
  • heat a small saucepan over a medium high heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute, then add the soy sauce
  • bring to a simmer, then stir in the sugar, and cook for 1 more minute, stirring continuously
  • remove from the heat and set aside, stirring occasionally
  • next, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat (no oil!) and add the sesame seeds. Gently toss for 3-4 minutes until they start to turn golden. Pour the seeds into a small bowl and place the pan back over the heat, and spray with a little oil
  • add the mince and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned
  • pour in the soy sauce mixture along with half of the spring onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, adding a splash of water if needed
  • fluff the rice and stir in the lime zest
  • divide between bowls and top with the mince
  • sprinkle over the remaining spring onion and sesame seeds
  • eat

Notes

The dish

  • we're getting right into jasmine rice and we think you should too. It's like normal rice but stickier. It's lovely, try it. If you don't have any, normal rice will work just as well, including the microwave stuff.
  • any soy sauce will work fine here, but if you can, use the dark stuff. It's thicker and sweeter and not as salty, but the light stuff will be fine too!
  • don't you dare miss out that sugar, now. I mean it. It's worth it. 

The books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK can be pre-ordered from Amazon right now! It's rammed with recipes which are both FAST and FILLING. We called it FAST AND FILLING. I know, we're geniuses. But it's really banging. It'll be coming out just in time for the new year! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!

Tools

Courses dinner

Cuisine japanese

Want more fakeaway goodies in your gob?

Enjoy

J&P

sticky bacon meatballs with redcurrant and onion gravy

Afternoon all! Here for the sticky bacon meatballs? That’s fine, I can see from the spittle around your mouth that you’re ready for your dinner, but I must apologise: today’s blog entry is a long travel story and you might be here a while. Now, back in the day of the longer entries – when we were able to travel to new and exciting places – we used to provide you the courtesy of a button that would take you straight to the recipe so you could skip all those tricksy things like words. But I’m lazy and we have a lot of writing to get through before we get to the sticky bacon meatballs in their fancy redcurrant and onion gravy, so for this occasion, just scroll until you see the food. So, before we do the sticky bacon meatballs, here’s some words and all that.

OH! Actually: before I do that. If you’re not following us on Instagram or Facebook, make sure you dig us out – search for @twochubbycubs on Instagram or Facebook. We have some big news coming next week!

So: Paul and I haven’t had a break in months, and we were forever jetting away on budget airlines such as easyJet and NevaCrash and Ryanair, and it’s been awful not being able to do so. I’ve become so accustomed to ratching about Europe that I’ve started counting at least two of the airport security staff as fuckbuddies, given they’ve pawed at my genitals with their shovel-hands so often. They’re after my very own sticky bacon meatballs. However, coronavirus has put paid to random travelling and as much as I do live for danger sometimes, I don’t fancy heaving my lungs up through my mouth because of a short flight to Krakow. So, for now, Europe is out. We’re told by that walking blonde wheelie-bin in charge to holiday in the UK and to make the most of summer and that’s all well and good as long as you’re happy paying £18,050 for a weekend in Rhyl (rising to £20,000 if you stop for a service station sandwich on the way), but we’re not. What to do? In the end, my hands were tied by Paul coming home early and casually mentioning that he had the rest of the week off. With the terrifying thought of having to look at his haunted face staring at Judge Judy re-runs for a solid three days, I nipped onto Google, booked a couple of things, threw eighteen changes of clothes for me and the same selection of bus-driver shirts he always wears into a suitcase, and we were away.

First stop: a drive to Kanyu Escape rooms in York. Regular readers will know that I am not a gracious passenger and would therefore normally hire a car or take mine rather than let Captain Death and his Fisher Price car drive us anywhere, but my driving licence is with The Powers That Be because I was caught speeding. I know, I’m a horror. In my defence, I was too busy texting mates and trying not to drop my can of Monster to notice the speedometer shrieking. In my further defence, that’s a joke – I was just over the limit and hold my hands up about it: eight years I’ve been driving and that was my first genuine error. So it was that we had to take Paul’s Smart car and I could do no driving on this little break. I’ll say it now: it nearly killed me.

To give you an example of how fractious things get when Paul drives and I drive from the passenger seat – about a week or so before he was driving us to ASDA and I ever so politely asked him to slow it down a shade as light was beginning to warp around the bonnet. He took such umbrage that he did a full emergency stop (in a Smart car, that’s just opening the petrol cap and sticking your hand out of the window) and told me in no uncertain terms that if I criticised his driving ability one more time I’d be walking home. Me, full of spite and knowing there was a cruising ground about half a mile down the road, got out and started walking.

I was out for an hour before I had to text him to pick me up because I was cold – and he was equally as contrite because turns out I had his wallet and he didn’t have enough fuel to get home or money to pay for more. Don’t worry, we laugh about it now as it enters the ‘endlessly mentioned in heated arguments’ rota.

So yes: I’m not a good passenger. Paul isn’t a good driver, given he tends to drive like he’s stolen the car and will come out with reassuring little things like ‘I wish my eyes pointed in the same direction’ and ‘I should probably wear my glasses’ and ‘I don’t need to indicate on this roundabout’, and as such it’s always a heated combination. But I’ll say this: despite the weather being absolutely horrendous, he got us there with minutes to spare and only three of my fingernails embedded in the passenger door handle. A quick primer on escape rooms for those that don’t know: you’re locked in a sealed room and through the process of solving puzzles and riddles, have to escape. We’re huge fans and have been doing them for years, though it’s been a while (thanks COVID) since I did one with my husband. Kanyu Escape is in a curious location on the centre of a roundabout and I was alarmed/excited to see an ambulance on standby outside. I’m always ready for some gas, air and scenes of mild peril, after all.

The chap who met us was brilliant: slightly eccentric and very accommodating and we were in the room in no time. If you have concerns about doing escape rooms in this time of peril, don’t: the good rooms take your temperature on arrival, disinfect the room fully after you leave and make sure there’s sanitiser everywhere. I’m a slight hypochondriac and I felt absolutely safe at all the venues we ended up. The room was based on discovering a new source of electricity and was themed around an old secret laboratory and we absolutely loved it. Some escape rooms are franchises and can feel rather rote in what they offer: you can start undoing a lot of the familiar puzzles straight away. Not this one, he’d designed it himself and though it looked a tad rough and ready, it was terrific. All too often these rooms give you too much help or make the puzzles simple enough for everyone to do, but this one was taxing and we felt like we’d actually accomplished something at the end.

That said, those bank-vault locks where you have to spin the correct number, then spin another number, and then another, all the while making sure you turn the right amount and in the right direction? They can fuck right off. I have enough trouble trying to get my eyes to blink in unison, nevermind something as complicated as that. We lost a bit of time, but still escaped with moments to spare. We’ll be going back to do his other rooms, one of which is an outdoors escape room which I love the sound of. Though I confess, it will be a novelty to be tramping around in the woods and for me not to be pulling my knickers off. I do hope muscle memory doesn’t kick in.

Paul drove us down into Leeds entirely without incident and we stayed over at a Premier Inn next to a TGI Fridays, which as salubrious locations go is up there with having your dinner next to a GUM clinic. I don’t like TGI Fridays: we had a good meal there once and have forever been chasing that high since. I don’t get the appeal: it’s like someone did a trolley dash around Iceland, microwaved everything for one minute less than the instructions suggest and then serve it to you with a forced smile that suggests they’ve got a gun held to the back of their heads. That gun may be smothered in BBQ sauce though, because everything is at TGIs. Anyway, we weren’t going to eat there so it’s all irrelevant, I just wanted a dig. We checked in, with Paul reminded once again of my ability to talk to literally everyone I meet: I spent ten minutes chatting to the chap behind the counter whilst Paul danced in the doorway out of sight trying to communicate to me that he needed to get to the room immediately for a gentleman’s sit-down adventure. Classic. I spotted his anguished movements and wrapped up my conversation over a leisurely few more minutes, and Paul made it with moments to spare.

The room was comfortable as ever, though I was reminded of one thing: when you sleep with Paul you wake in a room entirely disorientated and unsure of where you are for a good few minutes until you realise he’s taken the duvet out out of the cover, polluted the air to such a degree that it’s almost edible and has star-fished his way across the bed. At home I’m used to such chicanery but throw in unfamiliar surroundings and it really can take a while before the fog clears.

Waking the next day refreshed and full of pep, we chose not to bother with the Premier Inn breakfast and instead wander into Leeds to pick breakfast up before our next escape room. A quick bagel with salad and a frank discussion on where things had all gone wrong in our breakfast choices and we were off to the next escape room – but first, spotted! It doesn’t happen an awful lot but you can always tell when someone recognises us because they look, try and work out whether we are the cubs off the Internet and whether they should say hello. Normally by the time they’ve decided to go for it, I’ve got my phone to my ear to pretend I’m on a call or I’ve pushed Paul in front of a bus to cause a distraction but I wasn’t quick enough this time. Mind, she was lovely, although because I’m mean I answered ‘are you the guys with the food blog‘ with ‘absolutely not‘ and pretended to walk on, before apologising profusely. I can’t resist it. We’d have people spotting us twice more that day and please, if you see us, do come say hello. You can delight in how incredibly socially awkward we are.

Now, look at the time. I’ve waffled on as is my way, and here we find ourselves 2000 words in and barely out of the door. So on that note, I’ll revisit this in the next entry. To the sticky bacon meatballs!

sticky bacon meatballs

Sticky bacon meatballs served with cheesy mash and broccoli.

sticky bacon meatballs

I mean, as sticky bacon meatballs go, they’re lovely!

sticky bacon meatballs with onion gravy

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Syn wise, these sticky bacon meatballs clock in at a shade over 2 syns per portion, but I can't be buggered with the quarter syns. The gravy is delicious and worth digging out the redcurrant jelly, but don't shit the bed if you can't find it.

Just a note on this recipe: whilst Chubby Towers is out of action and our kitchen is a no-no, we are using Hello Fresh for our meals and have been doing so for the last six weeks or so. We are not paid to promote them or anything like that, and we have taken this recipe and adjusted it slightly for Slimming World.

That said, honest review time (again, we aren't being paid to promote): we bloody love Hello Fresh. We haven't had a bad meal yet and the lack of food waste is brilliant for us. We only have a tiny kitchen to cook in at the moment and absolutely make do. They're not the cheapest, but we're fans. They do a 'Low Calorie' plan which is spot on if you're counting and we've found it works well with SW. But anyway, no matter what you're after we're sure you'll love it. If you use our referral link you'll get £20 off too! 

Ingredients

  • 900g potatoes
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 30g panko (5 syns) (optional but worth it)
  • 250g lean pork mince
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 1 red onion
  • 60g reduced-fat cheddar, grated (use your healthy extra)
  • 120g bacon medallions
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 400g broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly (see notes) (4 syns)

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over a high heat, and add 1 tsp salt
  • dice the potatoes into 2cm chunks, and plop into the water. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes
  • halve any large broccoli florets and spread out onto a baking sheet, spraying with a little oil
  • roast the broccoli in the oven for 15-20 minutes
  • put the mixed herbs, panko and 2 tbsp of water into a mixing bowl and mix with a spoon
  • add the beef and the pork mince to the bowl and mix well 
  • divide and roll the mixture into twenty balls and set aside
  • place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the meatballs to the pan and cook until browned all over, about 6-7 minutes, turning occasionally
  • meanwhile, halve and thinly slice the red onion, and dice the medallions into small pieces
  • gently remove the meatballs from the pan to a plate and set aside
  • add the onion and bacon to the same pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently
  • add the meatballs back onto the pan and pour over the vegetable stock
  • reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 7-8 minutes
  • meanwhile, drain the potatoes and mash with the grated cheese, and season with salt and pepper
  • once the meatballs have finished cooking, remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high again
  • gently stir in the jelly until the mixture is thickened and glossy
  • serve the broccoli and mash, and spoon over the meatballs and gravy

Notes

The dish

  • can't find/can't be arsed to find redcurrant jelly? We've used cranberry sauce instead and couldn't tell the difference, just use that! If you're really stuck just leave it out
  • consider the panko optional but it's definitely worth it. Lean mince can sometimes make meatballs dry. Panko helps to retain some moisture, but also add a 'crunchy' texture. You'll find panko in the 'world food' aisles of most supermarkets

The books

  • our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!

Tools

Courses dinner

Cuisine meatballs

And that’s that! Sticky bacon meatballs done. Want more recipes? Well now.

Enjoy!

J

recipe: crunchy munchy wraps

Crunchy munchy wraps. Listen, cut me some slack, I can’t think of a better name (and if I’m entirely honest, I’m sure I’ve used that name before somewhere and it’s bugging me enough to make my forehead furrows appear but not enough for me to get off my fat arse and check) and avocado smash wraps makes us sound like dicks. Regular readers will know that we’re fans of the avocado here – despite Slimming World’s nonsense approach – but even I’m sick of seeing it on menus now). Mind, it’s not as bad as people pretending a portobello mushroom is a sound swap for a burger bun or, worse, sliced cauliflower is a substitute for a steak. In what world is that acceptable? I’d sooner eat the stuffing out of my writing chair, and I know how toxic my south-mouth can be.

Perhaps I’m just feeling a bit curmudgeonly because of the heat, though. Perhaps I ought to do some deep breathing and calm down. But see, summer means that when I breathe deeply, I’m rewarded with lungfuls of flower ejaculate that immediately sets about clagging up my nostrils and making my eyes itchy. I also burn ridiculously easily so, although I do currently have a nice golden tan (almost like I’ve been standing next to a wood fire), I know that if I misjudge it my skin will rebel, turn shiny pink and send me scuttling inside to hide in the shadows again. At least with wind and rain you know where you are – pop a coat on if it’s wet, extra layer if it’s cold: not like I can just take my tits off to go outside when it’s sweltering. I genuinely hate summer. Remember in the Teletubbies when they’d wake up and the sun would come out to play, with a creepy baby in the middle gurgling away? That’s my life, only the sun is a drunken Nicki French shouting obscenities at me and calling me fat. Raging, hun.

And I think, if I may, that because I always have the low level irritant of being:

  • too hot to function without a shiny patina forming on my forehead; and
  • achingly conscious of the fact that now I’m always in a t-shirt, every time I sit down it’ll ride up and show my arse-crack to the world

that every other little annoyance that may have once glanced over me really hits home.

Even polite gestures are vexing me. We’re still in Chubby Towers Adjacent and there honestly hasn’t been another guest in this hotel who hasn’t been a delight to talk to. One thing I’ve come to realise is that people who smoke are far more interesting than their counterparts (aye, but you non-smokers always have the edge when it comes to blowing up party balloons) given some of the wonderful conversations I’ve been having outside with all and sundry whilst we work on our COPD. Everyone has a story to tell and I’m proper enjoying listening. Didn’t know I could! But what this does mean is that there’s many a time when they’ll do something lovely like holding the lift door open, meaning I have to then waddle-jog over and politely refuse because of the one-household-rule. This then creates that awkward ten seconds where you’re waiting for the lift door to shut so they disappear and you can press the button, and doesn’t that ten seconds feel like a lifetime, having to alternately stare at your shoes, smile wanly at them and going ‘oh ho ho, I’ll get the next one’. Yes, here at this hotel, I cosplay as Santa.

Linked to my mention of hayfever earlier, whilst we’re here, can we have a permanent abeyance on people saying ‘bless you’ after each sneeze? Once is fine – I mean, I can do without it full-stop because I’m fairly confident my sniffles is pollen related and not the fucking plague – but you do you. This wouldn’t ordinarily be so bad save for the fact that when I get going, I’ll sneeze a good six or seven times, which then leads to the person invariably clicking on that they’re going to be there a while and thus ought to go full ham. Bless you! BLESS YOU! BLESS YOU HAHA. BLESS YOU. OOOH DO YOU RECKON YOU COULD DO A FEW MORE BLESS YOU. BLESS YOU. OOOH ONE MORE AND YOU’LL ORGASM BLESS YOOOU.

I know you mean well but I’ve had that schtick all my life. Next time it happens I’m going to pull an almighty cum-face and pop a mayonnaise sachet in my pocket. Just one bless you and be gone, thot.

Anyway, that’s quite enough misery. We’ve got something wonderful in the form of these wraps – they’re just something we threw together a few weeks ago for tea to use up all the shite in our cupboard. As ever with our recipes and doubly so with these wraps – fill them with whatever you like. And that’s that. To the crunchy munchy wraps.

crunchy munchy wraps

Stuff the crunchy munchy wraps how you like. Stuff them with lettuce, herbs, onion, or stuff them up your arse. Either or.

crunchy munchy wraps

Tell you what though: I wrap a bloody good wrap.

crunchy munchy wraps

Prep

Total

Yield 4 wraps

This makes enough for four wraps, or eight halves. Obviously. Lovely and summery these.

Up to you if you syn avocado - Slimming World syn it as something ridiculous and if you're following the plan, you ought to do the same. However, if you're like us, you won't syn it at all and then these are syn free...

Ingredients

  • one large avocado (14 syns) (hmmm)
  • a big packet of wafer thin turkey
  • a selection of small peppers chopped into strips
  • one small can of chickpeas, drained
  • pinch of curry powder
  • juice of one lime
  • a tablespoon or two of yoghurt
  • whatever wraps you're allowed

Instructions

  • mash the avocado with a good pinch of salt and the lime juice
  • mash your chickpeas with the yoghurt and curry powder
  • layer your wrap - chickpeas on the bottom, peppers, wafer thin turkey and then avocado
  • wrap up and eat

Notes

The dish

  • swap out the turkey for ham and add cheese
  • we tend not to toast our wraps because we're too fat to wait to eat, but these done in a griddle pan would be superb
  • roll these up and wrap in tin foil - they're good for lunch if made in the morning

The books

  • our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 2400 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!

Tools

Courses wraps

Cuisine who can say

There you go – shove that in yer mush! Want more wrap ideas? Here you go:

J

chorizo and bacon carbonara: carbonara? I…ah bugger it

Boy, am I sick of that joke. Yes, though, chorizo and bacon carbonara is coming up – we posted it on our Instagram a few weeks ago as just a lunch idea but we had enough people asking for the recipe that we thought we would throw it on here. I mean, the chorizo and bacon carbonara is just our bog standard carbonara but damned if I ain’t seeing people making carbonara with vanilla yoghurt yet again: and I wish that was a joke, truly I do.

How are we? Still holed up at Chubby Towers Adjacent, still fat and still mean-spirited. We are having work done to the original Chubby Towers. This means a steady stream of builders, electricians and mean-looking gas men which leaves me with such a hot flush that you could fry an egg on my head. To be fair, you could run a motorway layby food-van on there given the size of my fivehead but that, Madam, is entirely besides the point. Our temporary residence in a local hotel does, however, come with some perks.

Firstly, we have been in the same hotel where Network Rail temporarily house all of their engineers when they’re in Newcastle, and to say it has been a treat for the eyes is a massive understatement. Every single day, around 8am, the reception is full of hurly-burly bearded men all coming back from a difficult shift mending the railways. Around 9pm, they all depart for the night. I know this because I’m usually outside smoking with my face full of lust and my brain full of ways I could reasonably make Paul disappear and thus be free to live a life as a worker’s wife. They’re stunning. I’m not saying I’m obsessed but I’m fairly sure they could helicopter me in as their shift organiser, given I seem to know their schedules down pat. The hotel had to ask me to come down later for breakfast because frankly, the whistle of my dilated bumhole was getting mistaken for a faulty kettle. But that’s quite enough of that, although know that if I do disappear and the blog is never updated again, I’m rolled up in a carpet down a railway embankment with the biggest smile on my face.

Secondly, breakfast: they’re kind enough to put a free continental breakfast bag out in the morning, which delights my obesity. When we first ‘moved in’ these bags consisted of a little croissant and an orange because it was the height of lockdown and everyone was about to die. Thankfully, they have upgraded these to include a cereal bar, some toast and two little Costco muffins. Paul, who takes great pains to assure me that he isn’t snacking as he’s trying to lose weight, was rumbled by me getting into his car and finding about thirty of the muffin-cases stuffed guiltily under the passenger seat. To be fair, he’d find far worse under mine. A recent development is free hot bacon sandwiches which are a treat because they use proper stotties and bacon that they set away cooking when they put the Christmas sprouts on. I’m not mocking: it’s nice to have a sandwich that you’re still feeling the benefit of a couple of days later when the bacon works its way back under from your teeth.

Thirdly, temporarily living in a hotel has given me many occasions to totally make a tit of myself, which honestly takes no effort at all for me given my life seems to be a series of slapstick and pratfalls. By way of example, we’re on the sixth floor, and on three entirely separate occasions I’ve been returning to the room a touch tiddlysquiff, entirely engrossed on my phone and failing to notice the lift stopped on the fifth floor when I got out. I go careering down the corridor and start braying on the door of what I think is our room, shouting jokey obscenities and yelling that Paul had better not have anyone in there, only for the door to be answered by some very startled looking guest who wasn’t Paul at all. Or if it was Paul, he’s really been cracking along with his keto – and has grown a better set of boobs than what he currently has – given it’s always been a lady who answered the door. She looked less forgiving the second time I accidentally woke her, I can tell you.

At least I’m on good terms with the reception staff and have totally embraced my role as Filthy Alan Partridge (Anal Partridge?). Upon learning that the seal under our bath had been leaking water into the bedroom below (that poor lass really does have it difficult), a man was dispatched to fix the bath. Upon returning to the hotel later that evening I was told that the flood had been caused by ‘my ring perishing’. I heartily guffawed that it wouldn’t be the first time altogether too loudly, much to the consternation of all the lovely tradies drinking their beer. All that was needed was for Paul to bend over and his bra to come pinging off and Carry On Chubby would have been completed.

Anyway, I digress. But I wanted to say, all is well, we are well and I hope you are too. Now before we get to the chorizo and bacon carbonara, just the small matter of our planner. As you may or may not know, it’s been out for a couple of weeks and the reviews are lovely! Going forward, we will be doing a planner post every week (next one tomorrow, then it’ll shift to Monday). Keep an eye out!

bacon and chorizo carbonara

How good does that chorizo and bacon carbonara look? EH?

To the chorizo and bacon carbonara then, and not a moment too soon.

chorizo and bacon carbonara

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 servings

Right, perfect for Slimming World and all other diets, this chorizo and bacon carbonara is a fucking delight. There, I've said it. Hoy some parmesan on at the end if you're feeling decadent but otherwise, it takes ten minutes to make and will really satisfy you in a way that no battery powered dongle ever could.

This makes enough for two. 

Ingredients

  • 200g of linguine (I use that instead of spaghetti, but it really makes no odds)
  • 50g of chopped chorizo (6 syns)
  • four or five bacon medallions with all the fat cut off
  • a bunch of spring onions
  • three egg yolks - you can use the whites to make an egg-white omelette, or you can stop bumping your lips and throw the whites down the sink so you can watch them sploosh down the plughole like everyone else, you contrary tinker
  • black pepper

Note: do not salt the water when you boil your spaghetti: chorizo and bacon add a lot of saltiness, so don't be adding more for Christ's sakes

Instructions

  • get a big old pan, fill it with cold water and get it boiling away
  • pop your linguine in to cook
  • meanwhile, if you don't mind, chop your chorizo and bacon off as finely as you can - we like to cook it almost so it goes like crumbs, but it's up to you
  • finely slice the green of the spring onions whilst you're waiting
  • when the linguine is cooked through, get ready to act quickly
  • drain the water from the linguine, keeping aside a small cup full
  • add the egg yolks, bacon and chorizo in with the hot linguine and stir to absolute fuckery - you want the heat to cook the egg but you don't want it to scramble (though if it does, no big loss, it just doesn't look as good)
  • if it goes a bit claggy, and it shouldn't if you're quick, add a tablespoon or two of the hot pasta water
  • once mixed, plate up and top with the greens of the spring onions
  • add grated parmesan and so much black pepper if you so desire

We serve ours with the bacon and chorizo on top - see the picture - but there's no right or wrong way.

Notes

Food

  • you can absolutely leave the chorizo out to save on syns, but only if you're devoid of all fun and taste in your life
  • crumbled up sausage meat is also lovely in this - fry it as you would fry the chorizo
  • don't be adding oil when you do the bacon and chorizo because the chorizo oil is all you need

Tools

Books

  • our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now - full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 2400 5* reviews - even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant - you can order it here - thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!

Courses dinner

Cuisine Italian

Chorizo and bacon carbonara done, perhaps you need some more pasta recipes? Sure thing!

Enjoy!

J

bacon and butternut squash dahl

Here for the bacon and butternut squash dahl? Of course: because the bacon and butternut squash dahl is amazing. You’ll find the recipe for bacon and butternut squash dahl down below, but before we get to the bacon and butternut squash dahl, you’ll have to endure a few words from your fearless leader. And Lisa, you may be saying bacon and butternut squash dahl an awful lot, but that’s because I can’t be arsed to scatter the references to bacon and butternut squash dahl throughout the article properly to hit the SEO target. What am I like!

Morning all! Having been woken up at 8am by my other half grabbing my morning thickness in his sleep and loudly going ‘Oooooh MY‘ like an especially somnambulant Kenneth Williams – and then having the poor grace to turn over and ignore it – I’ve decided to wake early. And not just so I could ‘realise my full potential’ all over his pillow out of frustrated spite. Good luck prying your face off that when you wake up, you jolly little butterball, it’ll be like pulling a cheese toastie out of a car-boot Breville.

There’s the classy writing you’ve all been missing during these times of uncertainty and woe. And what truly preternatural times these are – normally the biggest decision I have at the corner shop is whether I can eat four Kinder Buenos on the short drive home so I don’t have to share with Paul (readers: I can, and a pack of knock-off Wine Gums), now I have to worry about picking up a deadly virus with my bits and bobs. Fun!

In my last blog post I spoke of being hopeful and being kind, and all that applies ever more so now, but I won’t lie and say everything has been just peachy for me. I’ve always been entirely open and honest about my mental health – for there is no shame in it – but long days without the usual focuses of work or the familiar anchors have meant that there’s been times when I’ve been inside my own head too much. And listen: I have a giant fucking head, there’s room for us all in there as long as you like endless Doctor Who music and creaking Simpsons jokes. Curiously, I’ve managed to keep a lid on my health anxiety, taking the somewhat fatalistic view that I’ll probably get it and might die, but that does take some effort.

Anyway. I’m feeling much better now. Why worry about what you can’t change during a pandemic – going out, getting the bits you need, Paul – and concentrate on the good things. Little victories, my Good Friend Paul calls them, and so it is I will share with you my tips for getting through when you’ve got a face like a slapped arse and a head full of apathy.

Get a hammock or go outside

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love our hammock. Now I appreciate this will alienate those without a garden so I’m caveating it by saying, go outside. But, having finally assembled the bastard with Paul ‘helping’, I can’t recommend it enough. I lie outside and get a full dose of Vitamin D (sadly not euphemistically, and boy, am I missing that) and feel like a new man. I do feel for the neighbours though: I’m not shy about my body and so I tip myself into that hammock in just my boxer shorts and it must look to all the world like someone left two tonnes of bread mix out to prove in the sun.

There’s also the small matter of getting into it. Again, I am a man of heft and very little grace, and I essentially have to tip myself in. This is quite the acrobatic feat for someone for whom getting into a sex-sling requires two strong men to hold the frame and an army instructor bellowing encouragement. It would be easier to air-lift me in but I feel inappropriate ringing the air ambulance. More than twice I have thrown myself in and rolled straight back out the other side onto hard concrete, but I still persevere.

And honestly, I feel so much better for it, despite the sun bleaching my eyebrows blonde to the point where they disappear and remove my ability to look surprised.

Oh: added bonus. Being secreted into my hammock gives me the opportunity to eavesdrop on some of the conversations my neighbours have. So far, I’ve heard them slag off Paul, his car (fair game), our broken fence (broken by their tree) and us in general. Mind, I’ve also heard one of them describe the virus as ‘nothing more than a common cold, so this is all over the top’. She’s in her seventies, exactly the type who people are staying in to protect, and that’s her attitude. I’m not saying I get excited when I see an ambulance pull into the street but…

Stop reading the news

I mean, within reason – still keep the occasional eye for the bigger headlines: is Trump dead yet, when can we get back to shenanigans and firkytoodling, when can I get 5G in my local area and has the price gone up due to lockdown? But otherwise, what is there to say? At the start of this I was feverishly (poor choice of words, granted) reading the news for updates and all you see is woe and misery, plus Priti Patel, a sneer given sentience and an expenses account at Jigsaw. Nobody needs that negativity in their life. Stop reading it, and this just becomes a fancy stay-at-home holiday. You can’t complain about getting wet if you keep going out in the rain, after all.

Do something you’ve been unable to do before

With most of us having the obligation of going into work not looking like Worzel Gummidge halfway through the 12-step programme, we’re now afforded an amazing opportunity to experiment with our looks without judgement from those we shouldn’t care about. For example, a good friend of mine is letting her roots come in so she can turn her hair grey, something I’ve been badgering her about for ages. For my part, I’m growing out my beard, and have successfully navigated the difficult period of looking like someone you’d throw pennies at to keep me away, into the luxurious Saul from Homeland beard that I’ve been craving.

I’ve even got quite a bit of grey in there, which makes me look terribly distinguished, albeit it’s probably only spilt Activia. I’m longing for the days when art galleries reopen and I can walk around stroking my beard and saying hmm, quite, but what of the human nature?

Write a list of all the shite you’ve been putting off

Not saying you should actually do anything on there, but there’s a grim satisfaction of seeing all the chores and tut you’ve been putting off. However, if you’re feeling as keen as mustard, break each chore down even further into smaller targets, and work on them. For example, I’ve been wanting to learn a new language for years. Years! So I’ve paid for a course of lessons. Don’t get me wrong, that’s as far as I’ve got (and indeed, am going to get) but it did make me feel better just ticking off a tiny bit of progress.

Speaking of progress…

Meet your new diet assistants – order a new twochubbycubs planner!

The time to ourselves has given us plenty of time to finalise our diet planner – which is available to order now! The planner has 26 slimming recipes, all of our nonsense, inspirational quotes (written by me, so you can really guess how they go), weekly challenges, 10 pages per week to complete AND, best of all, colouring in pages to keep you distracted featuring us! And look how bloody adorable they are. Even I went ‘aww’ and my heart is made of granite.

You can order it here (it’ll open in a new window), and I heartily promise you’ll love it!

OK, there’s probably more I can write, but frankly, I need the loo so let’s barrel out this bacon and butternut squash dahl and be done.

bacon and butternut squash dahl

The ingredients for bacon and butternut squash dahl, with Paul guest-starring.

bacon and butternut squash dahl

Serve your bacon and butternut squash dahl with warmed pittas

bacon and butternut squash dahl

Finally, an easy dish of bacon and butternut squash dahl you can get down pat!

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bacon and butternut squash dahl

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 servings

This bacon and butternut squash dahl is a dirt-cheap meal to make - we use our Instant Pot Duo because honestly, it's easy just to chuck everything in and let it do the hard work, but a dahl is equally as happy burbling away on the hob on the lowest possible heat. You can swap the coconut milk for stock if you like, but this serves eight so I wouldn't worry about the syns.

For the base recipe, we adapted a red lentil dahl from A Virtual Vegan, and you can find her excellent recipe right here

If you don't want to fart about with all the spices, just use a tablespoon of curry powder. I won't tell yer ma.

Between eight, this is around 141 calories a portion. And that's including the coconut milk! Shut the front door.

Ingredients

  • one large leek or one large onion, chopped finely
  • six rashers of bacon, chopped finely
    • if you're omitting the bacon, add a pinch more salt
  • one butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1cm chunks
  • 400g red lentils
  • 400ml of light Blue Dragon coconut milk (14 syns, but worth it)
  • two tablespoons of freshly chopped garlic
  • two tablespoons of freshly chopped ginger
  • two teaspoons of garam masala
  • half a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • one tablespoon of turmeric
  • one tin of chopped tomatoes
  • a tablespoon of chilli flakes (I like it spicy)
  • good pinch of salt and a lot of pinches of black pepper
  • 750ml of water

Instructions

Instant Pot method

  • press saute, add a bit of oil (not too much, as the bacon will provide plenty) and gently saute the onion and bacon until the bacon is just cooked through
  • add the garlic and ginger and cook for another couple of minutes
  • add the chunks of butternut squash and all of the spices / chilli flakes and cook for a couple of minutes - add a splash of water if it's catching
  • add all the water and have a bloody good root around with a wooden spoon - you want to make sure there's nothing stuck on the bottom of the pan here
  • add the coconut milk, lentils, tomatoes, stir once and pop the lid on
  • seal the vent, select PRESSURE COOK and then programme it to cook for 10 minutes on high pressure
  • once it's done, allow it to vent, give it a stir and allow it to cool

On the hob

  • I mean, you can work it out - saute the bacon and leeks/onion, add the ingredients as above, leave to burble

Notes

Courses cheap dinners

Cuisine instant pot

Yum! Honestly, what a simple recipe. Want more Instant Pot ideas? Sure thing sugar-tits:

Keep going, folks!

J

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

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Chernobyl soup: veg, sausage and paprika

Prep

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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

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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