pea and coconut soup: a perfect Slimming World lunch

Here for the pea and coconut soup? At least you’re not going to have to battle through paragraphs of my tut tonight, because it’s a quick post! Well, fairly quick. If the thought of pea and coconut soup makes you feel a bit unsettled, don’t worry: I felt the same, but this was one of the best soups I’ve ever tasted. But first…

Funny how a smell can take you back, isn’t it?

I only mention it because Paul bought some Citrus Fresh Head and Shoulders at Costco (so we’ve got enough shampoo now to see us through three nuclear winters – and I remind you, neither of us have hair) and the smell alone transported me back to a summer fifteen years ago. I was holidaying in Montreuil-sur-Mer with a good friend. It was boiling hot and I was having to shower in a shower block that looked like the origin site for whatever plague happened in The Walking Dead. You had to chew your way through the flies to get to the showers. Anyway, I happened across a shampoo in a Carrefour somewhere and never looked back.

You need to remember this was in the days when I had long, flowing black hair all the way down to the small of my back – it used to smell of farts, no-one understanding me and shit weed, though I always kept it in remarkable condition. This stuff was a bloody revelation – I came waltzing out of that shower block a new man. You know in the Herbal Essences advert when some liver-lipped strumpet fair creams her knickers when she washes her locks? Imagine that, but with Meat Loaf’s stunt double instead.

Anyway, having just washed my beard with it, it’s like I’d been transported back fifteen years back to that shower block. I could feel the verrucas forming on my feet like barnacles, my bowels rumbling with mild gastroenteritis. Ah, to be young again. I have the same smell-trip experience with Calvin Klein’s Crave, which reminds me of time spent in London with an ex, trying not to bring my Iceland ready meal up as his unwashed mother talked dirty down the phone to a punter. She was a sex-chat operator: thank God they were phoning, because if they’d seen her sitting there with a litre of Iceland Choc-Chip wedged in between her boobs clipping her toenails and talking about her fanny being ‘hot’, they’d sharp have lost their lob-on.

Ah, memories. Aside from that, it’s been a terribly uneventful weekend: we’ve had a joiner around building things, we’ve had the gardener around to trim the bushes and we’ve had an electrician in to fit another kitchen light. It’s been exhausting watching people work.

That said, I did manage to embarrass myself at Costco. See, we’re a big fan of Avex water bottles – they’re the only ones we’ve had that don’t leak – but we’ve managed to lose six of them. So, of course, we went to Costco to bulk-buy a new set. However: disaster!

When we got there we discovered that they’ve changed the design to include a weird rubber nipple to drink from. Awful. How did I embarrass myself? Because I loudly told Paul that ‘I didn’t want those ones, they’ve got a nip on’ just as the two Asian ladies who were handling and admiring them turned to look at me with complete disgust. I tried to explain what I meant but in the absence of the original bottles to show as comparison, what could I do? I dug myself a hole trying to apologise despite there being absolutely no racist intent behind my comment before Paul dragged me away and into the freezer section to cool down. Good lord.

Oh, as a final note, we managed to spend £270 in Costco. We went to buy water bottles. As a tight-arse Geordie this upsets me to no end, although we do now have 192 tins of Branston Beans, enough dishwasher tablets to dissolve a body on eco-boost mood, more tea than the SS Agamemnon and, inexplicably, an entire collection of Thomas the Tank Engine books. We can’t help it, it’s Costco, they have a way of making you think that actually you DO need to buy 96 toilet rolls at once, and it gets us every time.

Anyway, this was only supposed to be a quick post because I wanted to get this recipe up here – it’s absolutely bloody amazing. Considering it takes no time at all to make, it tastes divine and is very good for you. We got the recipe from Anna Jones’ new book, A Modern Way To Cook, which has been a bit of a revelation – veggie recipes you’d actually want to eat. Paul almost made me put it on the bonfire outside when he saw how insufferably smug a lot of the writing is, but the recipes themselves? Tip-top. I’d recommend: buy it here. This soup really does take no time at all. Let’s do this. This makes enough for four big bowls of soup. Oh: and it freezes, so perfect for portioning up.

to make pea and coconut soup, you’ll need:

  • a bunch of spring onions
  • 1kg of frozen peas
  • one decent veggie stock cube, or if you’re fancy like us, you’ll use bouillon powder – made into 850ml of stock
  • a good bunch of basil, coriander or both – and we used dry because we didn’t have fresh basil in – 1tsp of each
  • a lemon
  • 200ml of Blue Dragon coconut milk (7 syns)

to make pea and coconut soup, you should:

  • get a good heavy-bottomed pan (heavy-bottomed pans will spread the heat better but won’t allow things to catch) (and fat bottomed girls you make the rocking world go round!)
  • slice up your spring onions nice and fine
  • put the coconut (every fucking time I type coconut I type cocknut – god, that would be interesting as a soup ingredient, no?) milk into the pan on a medium heat and then tip the spring onion in
  • cook for a couple of minutes until the onion has softened a bit
  • tip in the 1kg of peas, add the stock and bring to the boil – then allow it to simmer for three minutes or so then remove from the heat
  • chuck in all your herbs and the juice of your lemon and then blend the bugger with a stick blender
  • serve up, adding a few fresh leaves on top, some black pepper and if you’re super fancy like us, a drop or two of basil oil, but that’s just being decadent

Enjoy! This falls between 1.5 syns and 2 syns – it’s seven syns overall and I’m not going to count that extra quarter syn per serving. If you want to, do it, but haway. Also, if you haven’t got a stick blender, don’t worry – get one, but don’t spend a lot of money on it. We’ve got a cheapy stick blender and it does the job perfectly. Only a tenner on Amazon, see?

I hope someone makes this and enjoys it – it’s a bloody revelation in our house! Paul made a joke about The Exorcist as I brought it in (it’s famously barfed up by little Linda Blair as she’s possessed by the Devil) and I think it’s worth mentioning, we can’t be held responsible if you summon the Devil in and/or start playing ‘Hide the Crucifix’. Fair warning.

More recipes? Of course. Click the buttons below!

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J

zingy basil chicken – a perfect Slimming World fakeaway dish!

Here for the zingy basil chicken? Hold please.

Do you ever have that moment of horror that you absolutely shouldn’t have done something the very second that you’ve just done it? I’m experiencing that now. We had Chinese takeaway for tea last night and there was some leftover egg foo yung. We like to kid ourselves that we’re being healthy by ordering what is essentially an omelette, as if that cancels out the shredded beef and duck pancakes and chicken balls that we gorge on. Anyway, I only realised there was leftover egg foo yung when I was clearing the kitchen down from last night (I know, that’s terrible, leaving a mess all day, but we were tired) and spotted we hadn’t opened one of the containers – the one that had the egg foo yung in. So I’ve been nibbling away at that this evening whilst I fart about clearing up and just as I took the final swallow, I realised that I was eating an omelette that has been sat on the side of our warm kitchen all day after its perilous journey in an overheated car last night from a takeaway who I genuinely can’t bear to check their hygiene star rating because they’re so cheap and quick. On top of that, I can’t be entirely sure that the cats won’t have had a good lick at it too.

In short, I’m fucked, aren’t I? My belly is already doing a cancan of revolt and I have waves of nausea rolling over me like a sulphuric tsunami. I don’t know who is in for a rougher night: my nipsy, Paul’s nose or our toilet. Wish me/him/the good folk at Armitage Shanks good luck.

To be fair, I didn’t have a very good start to the week either, given I spent most of it filing my tax return. Who would have thought that the Little Blog That Could would require me to declare my income? I did ask an accounting friend if I could write off gin as an expense for anaesthetising me to deal with all the nonsense but apparently not. Still, it felt good submitting my taxes like a Good Citizen and knowing that I’m keeping Theresa May in leather. Brrr. I’ll say this though: the entire process, once I’d got my unique number, my special log-in, my paper treasure map, stool sample of eight wise men and temporary membership of the Freemasons, it was all very simple and easy to follow. If any blogs out there need some advice on submitting their tax returns, I’m happy to answer questions…

We’ve solved another mystery, by the way. For a good two weeks our cat has been steadfastly refusing to use his cat-flap. We thought he was just being stubborn – he’d sit by the front door looking strained and fractious and keen to be outside but completely blanked the cat-flap. Paul, soft as shite as he is, would always hasten to the door to let him out. I, however, refused to be a bloody bellboy to my own cat. It’s bad enough that Paul made me drive thirty miles back home the other week because he had forgotten to put the cat’s water fountain on, I’ll be damned if I’m going to be a bouncer too. Anyway, no amount of cajoling or puss-pussing or gentle toeing of his rump with my boot (I’m kidding) could get him near that cat-flap and tonight, finally, we know why. I was busy reading the post in the kitchen and waiting for The Archers to come like the old-before-my-time-fart that I am when suddenly there was an explosion of hissing, clattering and yelping. I didn’t immediately react – I’m used to such noises from Paul if I eat the strawberry creams from the Quality Street tin – but then my attention was demanded by Cat 2 who, startled as she was, had leapt claws-out up my leg. It was a proper farce. Turns out Cat 1 was engaged in a fierce and swift battle with a random cat who had poked his head through the cat-flap, presumably to try and sneak food, only to be met with Bowser Balboa going at his face like Sweeney Todd. You’ve never seen a more clumsy fight than two cats fighting through a cat-flap – one face would disappear only to be followed by a unsheathed paw, then half a cat would appear again only to get smacked, all the while Cat 2 is trying to get at the bone marrow in my leg through sheer fright.

The whole debacle only lasted moments but my ears are still ringing and I have no feeling below the knee on my right leg. It came to a halt when I, in that very manly way you’d expect from me, threw a leaflet for Sky television at Cat 1 with a shriek. What do I do here? I can’t shoo the other cat away, it might be starving, but I can’t have a cat who refuses to go outside. Thoughts on a postcard, please. Also, if anyone has an industrial sized drum of Savlon and enough plasters to wrap an Egyptian king up, I’d be most grateful.

Finally, before we get to the recipe, drum-roll please (don’t worry: you can just slap your gunt against your lap, though I imagine that’ll be more of a squelch than a rat-a-tat-tat sound)…

Artboard 1

How pretty, right? That took me four months in Illustrator. Well, no, it felt like it. I wish I was one of those stylish people who can fart about designing on a Mac for a living like those achingly hipster bellends you always see looking bored on The Apprentice whilst five suited arseholes bellow at each other about Pantone colours. But I’m not. I can write but design is beyond me. Anyway, the plan is to squeeze in twelve holidays in one year – short breaks doing different things, all in the name of funny blog stories and seeing a bit more of the world. People seem to enjoy our travels and you know what, why the hell shouldn’t we? Life’s too short. We have no vices so we need to spend our money on something. It’s worth noting that we’ve set a budget for each of the twelve trips and anything we don’t spend will be going onto the next holiday! Mind, it won’t trouble the normal running of the blog, we’re still going to be posting our nonsense and recipes as we go along – just with a bit more travel stuff before the recipes as and when we remember! Once I can be arsed, I’ll create a proper travel section of the blog where our recent trips to Cornwall, New York, Corsica, Switzerland, Peterborough, Berlin, Glasgow and Scotland will be in one handy place! Eee I know, we spoil you. We’ve set some targets and rules too:

  • find a geocache at each venue, preferably in an unusual place
  • try the regional dish of the place we’re staying
  • make a Slimming World friendly version of that dish for the blog
  • diet like hell between the holidays but eat and drink what we like when we’re away
  • buy a tacky bit of nonsense for our Room of Tat
  • buy a second tacky bit of nonsense for our Box of Tat which we’ll give away at the end
  • aim for places we haven’t done before and types of holiday that don’t automatically appeal
  • save as many Avios points as we can to pay for the flights of the 12th holiday – we will go as far as our Avios can take us (in business class, we’re too fat for long-haul cattle unless they strap us to the underbelly of the plane)

It isn’t going to all be abroad either – if you can think of somewhere unusual or lovely in the UK, or indeed, if you think of anywhere or any type of holiday that could be fun, let us know!

I do want to stress, because I know there’s going to be a lot of you picking fretfully at your pinnies and thinking we’re giving up the blog to do this – we aren’t! It’ll just give us more excuses to write! Let’s get to the recipe then, eh?

zingy basil chicken

It’s worth noting that we served ours with boring old white rice – you could flesh it out a bit by adding some speed veg or having it with noodles, but for a very quick, easy dinner, this can’t be beaten.

to make zingy basil chicken you will need

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (use a microplane grater, save your fingers and don’t bother taking the skin off – here’s a cheap one!)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1¼ tsp sriracha
  • ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp cornflour (½ syn)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • handful of basil leaves, chopped

Now, it’s been a while since we mentioned it, but you may know that we have a fabulous range of deals with Musclefood, including a couple where you get twenty four (or so) big breasts as part of the deal. That’s a lot of chicken! We genuinely love Musclefood chicken – it’s big, it doesn’t leak water like a sieve and it actually tastes of chicken as opposed to ennui and regret. You can view all of our Musclefood deals here, and don’t worry, it’ll open in a new page.

Don’t worry, the fish sauce doesn’t taste fishy. It doesn’t even smell like a tramp’s foot, which is what I had always assumed. It just adds a nice note to the dinner, if you’ll forgive me such a froufrou term.

Oh and I know there’s half a syn in the entire dish. But that’s an eighth of a syn per serving – it serves four. If you want to syn it, have a good hard look at your life and ask yourself if you’re living it to the full.

to make zingy basil chicken you should:

  • in a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, sriracha, fish sauce, cornflour and chilli flakes along with 1tsp water
  • heat a large pan over medium-high heat, add a couple of squirts of spray oil and cook the diced shallot and garlic for about thirty seconds
  • add the chicken and keep stirring frequently until cooked
  • when the chicken is cooked, add the sauce to the pan and cook for a further minute, making sure the chicken is well coated
  • remove from the heat and stir in the basil
  • serve

Eee, now how easy was that? More recipes you say? Fuck me, you’re keen:

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Cheers!

J

ham, pease pudding, roasties and er…rumbledethumps

Yes, rumbledethumps. It sounds like a coy euphemism for getting nasty but actually, it’s a very pleasant side dish of cabbage and potatoes. If anything, having cabbage tends to exclude any possibility of having nookie-noo later thanks to all the resulting flatus. But give it a go!

Just a very quick recipe tonight thanks to Paul and his big fat arse. No, let me finish. See, for about four months now, our computer chair has been slowly breaking under our combined weight/bouncing/spinning/wanking. One of the arms snapped off a few weeks ago but that’s alright, as long as you hold yourself stiff (and god knows I’ve got plenty of experience keeping myself stiff in front of the Internet) you can still type. But about a fortnight ago the hydraulics started failing and we would end up sinking, ever so slowly, closer to the floor as we typed. That’s fine until you realise you’re typing with your eye-line just over the top of the keyboard and your neck sounds like a cement mixer.

Things came to a head last night when Paul leaned back in the chair to contemplate my offerings of Chinese or Indian when there was a tremendous crack and the entire back of the chair came away, sending him hilariously to the floor, rolling on his back like a stuck turtle. Paul falling over anything always cracks me up and I spent a good five minutes clutching the settee and laughing until my vision went blurry and I had to sit down. I think it’s because he makes a proper comedy fat-person noise when he tumbles – the sort of noise a bouncy castle would make if you drove a car into it. I’m a terrible husband, aren’t I?

So yes, picture me now, sat here, legs bowed under me, no back support, the gentle hiss of air escaping as I’m lowered further and further to the floor, and you’ll understand why I must hasten to the recipe! On we go…

rumbledethumps

To be honest, this meal is just a collection of nice things so although I’ll cover the other three bits, rumbledethumps is what I’ll focus on. It’s a lovely side of potato, cabbage, onion and cheese, and let’s be honest, everything is better when covered in cheese. Nearly everything. No-one like a brie lollipop, just sayin’

ham

Nothing more fancy than Waitrose’s Pulled Ham Hock (I think Paul did that yesterday when he fell out of his chair) pressed into a nice shape with a ring-press (think he did that too) (you can buy a mould here) and topped with a tablespoon of piccalilli. The ham is syn free and piccalilli is half a syn per tablesspoon but I never syn it because I’m a frightful slut.

pease pudding

We buy our pease pudding from a lovely local business called Pete’s Puddin’ – it comes in bog standard flavour, Newcastle Brown Ale flavour, Cheese and Pickle flavour and best of all for someone like me who would happily main-line the stuff straight into my veins, Marmite flavour. I bought the stuff because I was so taken with his puns (and also they were selling it in Sausology, another local business) and never looked back. It’s amazing – you can find buy it yourself here: http://www.petespuddin.com/ 

I know pease pudding isn’t for everyone but we bloody love it and the flavoured versions are almost guaranteed to give you the proper fanny gallops if you try them. I’m not recommending this product because we’re getting a kickback or money or half an hour with a rough-handed lorry driver in a pool of pease pudding, no, I’m recommending because it’s bloody delicious. Plus, it’s good to support a local industry, and you cannot get any more local than buying pease pudding from the market in the centre of Newcastle. Well, unless Denise Welch was stottin’ a stottie offa Cheryl Cuuurl’s heed next to you, haway man pet etc. No, you haven’t tuned into Vera.

Oh, and it’s syn free.

roasties

We often have these tiny roasties – if you’ve got an Actifry, and if not, why not, just cut your potatoes up nice and small, whack on some worcestershire sauce and two oxo cubes and set them away. If you don’t have an actifry, cut the potatoes up, make a thickish liquid with two oxo cubes and a splash of water, tumble the potatoes around in it and cook in the oven until scrummy-yummy. Scrummy-yummy? Yes, I vomited into my mouth on typing it too.

rumbledethumps

Best to use leftovers for this but let’s just say, for the sake of argument, you can’t be arsed and/or you’re too fat to leave leftovers. That’s us. This makes enough for four people as a side, so you know what, I’m going to use butter again! I’m using a few odds leftover from the rosti so hopefully you’ll have everything in. So you will need:

  • 750g of potato, peel them if you’re fancy – or use a mixture of potato and cubed turnip, chop into cubes
  • 500g of cabbage, any old cabbage will do, but we used savoy, sliced super thinly
  • 25g of reduced fat butter (7 syns)
  • two fat onions, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, sliced thinly
  • 120g of strong mature cheddar (4 x HEA)
  • a good handful of chopped chives
  • lots of black pepper and salt

If you’re wanting to make this quick, use a mandolin slicer to cut the onions and cabbage – it’ll be done in less than a minute. The one we use is here! Only a tenner, too!

To make rumbledethumps you should:

  • boil your potato or tatty and turnip mix for about twenty minutes until soft and then mash – don’t mash it too finely, just give it a quick going over – a knee-trembler, if you will
  • meanwhile, melt that delicious butter and gently cook the onions and cabbage, oh so slowly now, until everything is soft and cooked – takes about the same amount of time as the potatoes and don’t be shy of adding a drop of water if things start to stick
  • tip the butter, cabbage and onion into the mash mixture and stir like a bugger, adding two thirds of the cheese and a good few twists of salt and pepper
  • drop the lot into a wee oven dish and top with the rest of the cheese and some chives
  • cook for about fifteen minutes or so and then plop it onto your plates with everything else!

Eeee, what a handy way to use up spare veg. Cabbage and turnip are always in the bargain bins at tesco so help yourself!

Looking for more veg ideas? Meat ideas? Anything at all? Click the buttons!

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Enjoy!

J

swiss potato and gooey cheese rosti

This swiss potato and gooey cheese rosti is the mutts-bloody-nuts, I don’t mind telling you. Someone might need to slide you along the kitchen floor like a snail after your dinner – it’s that tasty. Easy to make. But, like the big pricktease that I am, I’m going to make you wait for a moment whilst I waffle on about my usual flim-flam.

See, I was going to talk about the whole pushchair v wheelchair legal case last week when it was y’know, relevant. Have you heard of it? Let me summarise. A chap took FirstGroup to the Supreme Court on the grounds of discrimination after he was unable to board a bus due to the disabled space being occupied by a pushchair. Frankly, I’d like to take bus companies to court based on the fact that I’ve never alighted from a bus without the smell of foist, BO and stale fags soaked into every fibre of my clothing, but that’s by the by. The ruling means that drivers have to do more to help accommodate disabled folk. Good.

Why am I mentioning it? Because I’m astounded that it even had to go to court. Surely good, common decency tells you that you move your pushchair and baby out of the way so that someone who has fuck-all choice as to where they sit can actually travel? Is that not blindingly bloody obvious? And yet when I read online discussion forums about the story they were awash with people saying ‘you can’t wake a sleeping baby’ and ‘it’s not fair expecting a parent to move, they might be tired’! What the hell is all that about, is the baby made from aged nitroglycerine? I know that every baby is special to their parents but the Earth span before the baby and it’ll sure as hell continue afterwards. Perhaps if the pushchair wasn’t the size and build of a Russian Army tank you’d have less of an issue. Buy a smaller pushchair. Put the baby in a sling. Carry it in a papoose. Stuff him safely overhead in the overhead locker bins but be careful as contents may have shifted during transit. If you choose to wheel around a pushchair bigger than Paul’s smart car then be prepared to fold it away if you need to.

Before I get people complaining, just to be clear, if the child has difficulties or it’s a special needs wheelchair then of-bloody-course they should stay on.

There were cries of ‘if disabled people want to be treated equally, why should we make exceptions for them’, which makes me steam at the ears. We’re not talking about laying on a special bus full of blowjobs and cocaine, we’re talking about letting someone ride public transport exactly like everyone else. That’s not an ‘exception’, that’s bloody right! I’d hazard a strong guess that the absolute majority of wheelchair users use their wheelchairs because they have to, not because they fancied being eye-level with everyone’s arses for the day. It’s not like it’s a fairground ride, for goodness sake.

You see it with mother and baby parking spaces too. I can see the merit in them – I absolutely can – but I’ve seen several times over people trying to justify parking in disabled spots because the mother and baby spots were full. Why? If your child is disabled, absolutely fair enough, but if not, park in a normal bay away from other cars and crack on. People managed to get out of cars before without much difficulty. My mother used to haul me and my sister out of our battered old Ford Escort with one hand, the other hand being preoccupied with lighting a Lambert and Butler or smacking our arses for fighting / shouting / breathing noisily. Didn’t do me any harm, and she managed to do it without leaving the car next to her looking like it had been used for a drag race. My arse cheeks did, but that’s beside the point.

I understand the point about ‘not wanting to walk with children across a car park’ but haway, it’s a two minute trundle across Tesco car park – you’re not walking the Hindu Kush. Keep your children smartly to your side and you’ll find it a breeze.

Ah, what do I know, I don’t have children. If I did they’d be raised like Jane and Michael Banks from Mary Poppins and they’d say spit-spot all the time and smoke pipes. And, let me tell you this – if I had them in a pushchair and someone in a wheelchair came aboard the bus, I’d cheerfully strap my children in their pram to the back of the bus and let them ride like the Beverley Hillbillies. It’s just time people stopped being so precious.

Bah. Right, if you feel the need to send me angry words, don’t worry, you needn’t rush to do so.

Oh and as an aside, hasn’t The Archers been delicious recently? Hearing Rob fall apart has been wonderful! Let’s get to the recipe though, eh? I was inspired to make this from something gorgeous that I put in my mouth in Switzerland. He was a potato farmer called Luca and he smelled of Gruyere. Boom boom. This makes one giant rosti which will serve four – I put a quarter on a plate with some sausages and sauerkraut. You know what the best part about this rosti is? It uses butter! Proper butter. Yeah, it adds syns, but not much at all! Plus it’s so easy. Even you could do it! You will need to plan ahead though because step one of this recipe involves doing something the night before!

swiss potato and gooey cheese rosti

to make a swiss potato and gooey cheese rosti you will need:

  • 900g of good floury potatoes, like Maris Piper
  • salt and pepper
  • 25g of reduced fat butter (7 syns)
  • 120g of Gruyere cheese (or cheddar or whatever you like) (4 x HEA) (this serves four, see)
  • a bunch of chives, chopped finely
  • two teaspoons of olive oil (4 syns)

You’ll also need a good pan, about nine inches. If you find nine inches a bit of a struggle, you can use a slightly smaller pan, and just tell people it’s nine inches. It will need to be ovenproof, mind.

to make a swiss potato and gooey cheese rosti you should:

  • this is the key bit – boil your unpeeled whole potatoes for ten minutes in boiling water and then leave to cool overnight until they’re absolutely cold and dry
  • coarsely grate your potatoes – peel them first if you like, but I didn’t bother – I just grated them with the peel on. Now, grating potato is a ballache but we used our Magimix and were done in less than a minute – and look, it’s so pretty!
  • mix the grated potato with a good few crunches of salt and pepper – I really went overboard with the pepper as I don’t think you can have too much, and add the chopped chives for good measure
  • heat your pan on a medium heat with one teaspoon of oil – I use a little wee pastry brush to make sure the whole pan is coated in the oil
  • add half the potatoes and press them down with a spatula, making sure it’s pressed down tight and right to the edges
  • take half of the butter and cut it into tiny slivers, poking these slivers down the sides of the rosti around the pan – leave the rosti to cook for about 5 minutes or so until nice and golden underneath
  • spread the cheese over the top of the rosti, keeping about an inch away from the edges, then cover with the rest of the potato – think of it like making a cheese sandwich – press everything down
  • now the tricky part – how to turn the rosti. You might want to get someone to help you if you’re a clumsy fucker like me but it’s actually not too hard
  • get a flat plate and place it over the top of the frying pan and then quickly flip the pan and plate over, so you’re left with the rosti now the cooked-side up on the plate
  • add the rest of the oil into the pan and gently, oh god so gently, slide the rosti back into the heated pan
  • repeat the butter trick with the rest of the butter and cook for five minutes or so until golden whilst you preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  • transfer the pan into the oven and cook for about fifteen minutes just to finish off the colour then, once it has cooked, take it out and cut into quarters
  • serve with whatever you like – buttery, cheesy rosti goodness awaits!

Now see, I know I’ll get people not trying this because it uses syns, but it’s not many and it’s bloody worth it. You could use frylight, but then you could just eat the foam out of your cushions too. Get it made!

Looking for more inspiration? Click the buttons and get buttering your muffin!

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J

cranachan – a perfect Slimming World dessert that totally isn’t overnight oats

Cranachan? Yes, that’s right, it sounds like something you’d rub on an irritated cha-cha but it’s not! It’s lovely. But first: nonsense.

In what I’m sure is karma for eating naughty synned things, I’ve just knocked an entire Sherbet Fountain across my glass desk, into my keyboard, into my mouse, onto my monitor – great! Everything is going to be sticky and covered in white streaks for months now – or well, until the cleaner comes. She’s going to think I’ve got one hell of a coke problem although Christ, she ought to know better – she’s ironed enough of my X²L shirts to know my body isn’t being ravaged by drugs. I expect the cat will be along later to sample the spillage and I’ll find her off her tits rolling around showing her minnie off to the neighbours. What fun we have.

Anyway, that’s a completely unrelated opening to what I’m going to talk about today, which is Scotland. Why? Because tonight’s dish is a bastardisation of a Scottish dessert which no doubt I’ll have some incoherent feisty Scot bellowing at me about and, more simply, I bloody love Scotland. If Paul and I could live anywhere in the world we’ve both agreed it would be Glasgow – Edinburgh is lovely, but I like a shade more menace when I’m ordering a crème de menthe in a social club. The accent is amazing – and that’s coming from a Geordie – everything sounds slightly angry and inquisitive but every single insult is hilarious. Even as simple as calling something mince – we have shite, but mince is perfect.

The landscape is beautiful – I love the fact you can trot anywhere in any direction and within an hour be somewhere completely different, not only in location but also feel, sound and sight. I’ve never had a disappointing trip up North and when we drive past the sign welcoming us to Scotland I’m always cheered, not least because I’m usually busting for a piss at this point and I know there’s a shitter in Jedburgh. Most of our holidays were in Scotland as a child, wild camping around the coast and enjoying many a summer having the first two layers of my skin chewed off by midges. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got midges down here and they’re a mild annoyance, but in Scotland they’re armed with knives. I remember my parents optimistically scanning their camping guidebook and selecting what sounded like a charming place somewhere near Glencoe. When we turned up, announced in advance as always by the spluttering engine of our car and the blue smoke pouring from both the exhaust and my parents nostrils, the place was an absolute dump. Literally, a dump: there were abandoned cars, old fridges, massive mud piles, the works. It was exactly the place where you just knew the car of the family who had arrived before you would be ablaze in a woods nearby with their skins hanging up in the owner’s living room. You could have crashed a plane into this campsite and improved it. Naturally, my dad dickered about the price for a bit and was all ready to set the tent up when my mum put her foot down and demanded we leave.

You know the worst thing? I’m fairly sure the place was called Red Squirrel and when I look at it now online, it looks bloody idyllic. Harumph. But anyway, enough reminiscing, I promised Paul this would be a super-quick post as he wants me to ped-egg his feet. We bought one of those fancy motorised versions so I’m fully expected to be diagnosed with popcorn lung from inhaling the microdust of his shaved feet for an hour.

Oh: as a final thought – we’ve never met a Scottish gay who hasn’t been hung like God was trying to give him a third leg and ran out of time before he put the foot on. I’m just saying. Is it something in the water? Goodness me!

So yes: cranachan. This Scottish dessert is usually made with double cream whipped thick, but alas, I reckon if I put that into a recipe it’ll be the very thing that tipped poor Mags back onto three bottles of Taboo a day. So – forgive me Scotland, I know not what I do – I’ve replaced it with Greek yoghurt. The rest of the ingredients remain though – whisky, honey, oats and raspberries. It’s like a fancy overnight oats recipe – one you might whirl out if you were trying to persuade your husband to give you a bit of the other. You could leave the whisky out, but it really is a key part of this, and it doesn’t overpower the dish so it’s absolutely worth doing. Up to you how you want to portion this out – up the oats, reduce the greek yoghurt, add more raspberries, or throw it all in the bin and have yet another Vienetta. I don’t mind! I saw cranachan on Come Dine With Me a while back and made a note to find a recipe – it’s thank to Caroline at Caroline’s Cooking for the inspiration. Let’s do this then – this makes enough for one big glass as shown below – scale up or down if you are making more or eating your dinner from a dustbin lid.

cranachan

to make cranachan, you’ll need:

  • 40g of oats – the better quality the better but you can just use normal porridge oats if you like
  • a big handful of fresh raspberries
  • 100ml of thick Greek yoghurt – but make sure it is 0% fat and syn free (or as low as possible)
  • a teaspoon of honey (1 syn)
  • 25ml of whisky (3 syns)

We’re not massive whisky drinkers here at Cubs Towers so we just bought a tiny bottle of Haig Club, which I now know is David Beckham’s brand. I mean, how embarrassing. Now, there’s no easy way for me to link to Amazon in tonight’s post, so why don’t you just buy my new book instead? I promise it’ll make you laugh at least once. Promise.

to make cranachan, you should:

  • toast off your oats in a pan – they don’t brown, but you want them heated through so they smell nutty
  • crush your raspberries lightly with a fork – don’t mash them, whatever you do, god no – so that the juice runs a little
  • combine your yoghurt, oats, honey, whisky, raspberries and honey in a glass and stir, or if you prefer, layer it all in all fancy like
  • serve with a couple of raspberries on the top and some of the oats
  • lovely!

This was a lovely, filling, unusual dessert that is easily customisable to your tastes. It’s overnight oats but a bit more grown up and we loved it!

Looking for more dessert, drinks or snacks ideas? Click the buttons!

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J

low syn goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast

Goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast? Yes, I know. Fancy! But look, I’m sick of looking at overnight oats and oats recipes and overnight baked wonder-oats and bloody Fibre One bars.

Remember when Paul managed to cause us much embarrassment when he accidentally posted a pulsing sphincter onto our facebook page which resulted in us getting banned from facebook for a week? Well, that was mortifying, but he’s managed to shame us yet again. See, I was driving us to the supermarket when I stopped to let a dad and his young boy cross the road in front of us. The lad was clearly learning to ride a bike and he had an adorable Union Jack helmet on and I was feeling generous, plus I wanted a chance to put the windows down because Paul’s car reeks of those bloody awful Yankee Candle air-fresheners – he has about eight dangling from his wing mirror, which given he drives a Smart car, reduces the interior by 45%.

Anyway, Paul hadn’t noticed why I’d stopped until I explained that I was stopping to let ‘that little boy with his lovely little helmet’ cross the road. Paul’s reaction? Why, it was to shout ‘UUUUUURGH YOU DOOOORTY PEEEEE-DO‘ to me at the top of his voice for a ‘joke’. The dad looked furiously at me but hey, it’s not as though we were driving an easily-identified, tangerine-coloured car in a town full of beige Range Rovers. The kid hadn’t heard, just to be clear, he was cycling away merrily into oncoming traffic (I’m kidding, he was on the path). I fully expect to have my windows put through later this evening and have Dark Justice ambushing me as I leave work. Good work Paul, what a love!

Can I ask a question which I may have touched on before – is there anyone else out there who loves nothing more than a lazy Sunday? I always feel like we should be out doing something but see, once we’ve dragged ourselves out of bed at 11am and had our 2pm nap, there’s really not enough time to go out. I know I’m super lazy but meh, I’m happy. When you watch the TV and see all those adverts with zippy young people flying about and being exciting it makes me feel momentarily bad, but I find that feeling goes away if I just shut my eyes or concentrate on opening the Ben & Jerry’s. I did manage to resubmit my application to go on The Chase though which I’ve been meaning to do for a couple of months – I don’t know why, I’ll be uniformly terrible because I can’t cope with pressure – put me up against the clock and someone could ask me what my name was and I’d still blurt out pass and then fall over. Ah well.

Been doing a lot of boring admin on the blog today – updating the recipe list, removing some Christmas stuff and upgrading our servers behind the scenes – you should notice it is loading nice and quickly. Phew, right? We were mulling over adding more adverts but have decided to leave it for another year. To me, there’s nothing worse than loading a food blog only to have 47 adverts load up, then a read more button, then a subscribe button, then a load of tracking adverts running in the background. You’re here for recipes and hopefully a laugh, not to have us fingering through your pockets clamouring for every spare penny. Do let us know if we haven’t got the balance right, though – we’re here for you!

We’ve added a new category into our recipe page for lunches, too.

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See? Most of our meals can be made in bulk and taken to work the next day, but hopefully this list will identify the stuff you can easily make the night before and portion up. Hope this helps! If we make a recipe going forward that is easily portable, you’ll see this button.

Oh! Another new thing, before we get to the recipe. We thought, for nothing more than shits and giggles, to do a short video review of the new Mullerlight blackurrant and liquorice yoghurt. Give it a whirl, at least you’ll get to hear what one of us sounds like.

I know, it’s like Brendan from Coach Trip had an illicit pump-and-dump with Denise Welch and I was the resulting lovechild. Ah well.

Anyway, let’s get to the recipe, but first…

warning

It’s not even science, to be fair, but the old tweak warning banner didn’t go with the rest of the site! Here’s the thing. This recipe, which makes enough for one (but you know, scale up if there’s more than one of you), uses 100g of blackberries, but, gasp, I heat them up first in a pan. Following Slimming World’s rules to their strictest form, you ought to syn these blackberries at 1 syn. In my eyes, there’s absolutely bot-all difference between 100g of uncoooked blackberries and 100g of cooked blackberries, but I’m not here to question Slimming World’s logic – it’s up to you to make a choice here. I’ll probably get a load of people trying to explain ‘why’ this should be synned – some blah about if you chew it with your mouth you use up more energy but haway, we’re talking about blackberries here, not bloody allen keys – it’s not like you’ve got to writhe on with your mouth to burst it through. Plus, you know, we’re not making jam here.

So yes: depending on how you view the hot-button topic of tweaking (and you can read more about our views here), the blackberries ought to be synned at zero or one.

goat cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast

to make goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast, you’ll need:

  • your healthy extra B of bread – I don’t mind what you use – use three slices if you wish or trip the light fantastic and have a bagel or something, just syn it
  • 100g of blackberries
  • 40g of soft goat cheese (a HEA – now, if you prefer, you can use maybe 10g of goats cheese and save the rest of your HEA for something else, but that’s too complicated for us)
  • quark (now I know, it tastes of fuck-all and then nothing, but we are using it with the goats cheese to bulk it out – you may not need this if you want a full on goat cheese experience
  • 1 tsp of honey (1 syn)
  • a drop or two of vanilla extract
  • chopped mint

to make goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast, you should:

  • toast your bread, whether under the grill, in a toaster or placed behind a farting arse – whatever gets the job done. Is this a good chance to show off our fabulous toaster? I’m going to. No shame. It’s so pretty. I mean, look at it! Plus, just like Paul, it has an extra wide slot – though, unlike Paul, you can change how brown your slice is when you pull it out – boom boom
  • I am so sorry for the above, I ought to be ashamed
  • to make the blackberries all lovely, put them in a small pan on medium heat with about two tablespoons of water, the teaspoon of honey and the vanilla – cook for about five minutes, keeping an eye to make sure they don’t catch, and crushing them ever so delicately with a fork to let the juice out – you want the berries warmed through and nice and soft, with a little bit of berry liquor left over
  • liquor? Why officer, I barely knew her!
  • mix the goats cheese with however much quark you want – none at all if you prefer a nice strong taste – then spread on your toast
  • top with the warm blackberries and mint and enjoy!

See, how simple was that? To get all wank for a moment, it is a lovely breakfast because there’s so many flavours and textures going on. Absolutely worth a try. You could make it syn free by using sweetener instead of honey but for goodness sake, why do that to yourself? Enjoy flavour rather than a sight of a zero on your syns count, that’s what I say!

Not a fan of goat’s cheese? Use ricotta. You can have 90g of it as a HEA, you know.

Want more breakfast ideas? This one not buttering your muffin? Click the buttons and live like a Queen!

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Hope you all had a lovely weekend, gallivanting and adventuring around like you’re in an 1980s tampon advert!

J

big mac tater tots

I did something this morning that I’m ashamed of. Normally guilt and having a conscience are two conjectural instincts that I absolutely lack – I’ll cheerfully take the last Rolo from the tube even if you don’t love me, I’ll gaily laugh as I push children out of the way so I can play in the ballpark at IKEA and I’d have no compunction at all about aggressively smothering to death the masses of elderly folk who get between me and my Marks and Spencer’s beetroot wrap of a lunchtime. I’m kidding I’m kidding – I’d tumble them into the deep freezers instead, much more humane. But, nevertheless, I’m ashamed.

See, I had to get a bus. I know, I’m not proud. What have I become? It’s not like my last attempt at taking the bus was anything to write home about (so I wrote a big old blog entry instead, see?) so what possessed me to try again?

The bloody weather. Or, perhaps more precisely, all the bloody reports about the ‘thundersnow’ and ‘Arctic blasts’ and ‘dangerous weather’. It all sounded terribly exciting and cataclysmic and it was with baited breath that I threw back the curtains this morning only to be greeted with a lovely winter scene of snow and frost. Remembering last year’s morning of tramping into Newcastle on foot because I was stuck behind an entire city of dickheads unable to grasp that if you try to pull away in first gear on a slope on your summer tyres you’ll get nowhere fast, I chose to get the bus in.

Well fuck me, it hasn’t improved a jot. I boarded at 7.20am, expecting the bus to be quiet and full of slumbering worker-bees like me who would spend the short twenty minute journey bobbing their heads in half-sleep and drooling extravagantly on my shoulder. That would have been welcome; cosy almost. What actually happened was that the entire journey took exactly two hours and I was stuck between two very Greggnant folks – presumably man and wife – who talked across and over me for having the temerity to sit between them. Mind, at least I was warm – I felt like a strawberry in a giant trifle, only this trifle smelled of fags and foist. I made to open a window but was met with such a harsh, unforgiving stare from that I went back to staring right ahead with furious, twitching eyes. The two hours was punctuated by the boom-tissh-boom-tissh of shit music played through shit headphones into a shit man’s ears, what joy. The only melody that gets played in my car is when the indicators match-up with the the little ‘ding ding’ I get when the diesel is low. That and Radio 4, and I’m even going to knock that on the head if Helen Archer doesn’t stop giving into Rob. Tsk.

I can’t blame the bus driver – he did his best, but, despite the roads being clear of snow and ice, every person and his dog had decided to come for a drive early ‘just in case’. This meant absolute bumper-to-bumper gridlock. Of course, everyone starts beeping, as though everyone ahead of them is only sitting there because they’ve dozed off and will subsequently be able to miraculously drive through the traffic now they’ve been awoken by your beep signal like the fucking Manchurian Candidate. You see cars on the news pitched into ditches and crashed through living room walls as though we’re crossing the Arctic as opposed to doing 10mph pulling out of a cul-de-sac and I just DON’T BLOODY UNDERSTAND IT. It’s snow! Half an inch of frigging snow! Why can’t people cope? Why must we fall to our knees and cry and wail because the paths are a bit slippy for all of ten minutes and the gritter hasn’t been round? For fucks sake.

I don’t want to bring it back to other countries but take Iceland – when we visited it was -1,000,000 degrees (near enough) and yet everything ran like clockwork. Our coach hurtled along roads that were literally ice with all the gay abandon of a man who only sees four hours of daylight a day. Public transport turned up, people walked along well-gritted paths and everything looked lovely. Switzerland was exactly the same – cold enough to not only take your breath away but also to make a Mr Slushy with, but ne’ry a problem at all. And us? If we do eventually get to work we spend all day starting every conversation with ‘it isn’t going to lie’ or ‘it’ll be gone by lunchtime’.

Oh, and how true that is – I swear a friend of mine lit a cigarette at lunch and the flame from her lighter cleared the snow right across Newcastle, it was that much of a bloody non-event.

I do sympathise with the folks experiencing proper disastrous weather elsewhere in the UK, though. Best of luck to you all.

There was some good news today, though – The Crystal Maze is returning! Properly, mind, with a full set (so we don’t have to watch people pretending that the smoke detectors and building alarm panels are part of the Aztec zone) and with non-celebrities playing. I know it’s the dram of many to watch Bianca Gascoigne mouth-breathe her way around solving a basic word riddle in three minutes but that’s just not happening. Hooray! However: the new presenter is Richard Ayoade. I can’t put into words how desperately unfunny I find him. I can see why people like him, and I’m sure he’s a charming bloke in real-life, but I think I’d genuinely prefer to watch the zip of a body-bag being pulled across my face than witness his shenanigans. Bah.

However look, there’s a cracking recipe to be had underneath – big mac tater tots. It combines the various bits and bobs from SW favourite Big Mac in a Bowl (which, if you give it a couple of hours, becomes Big Mass in a Bowel) and mixes it with our most favourite recipe, the tater tots! Give it a go. It’s easy to make.

big mac tater tots big mac tater tots

to make big mac tater tots you will need:

for the special sauce:

  • 3 level tbsp extra-light mayo (3 syns)
  • 5 tbsp fat free fromage frais
  • 1 level tbsp of American style mustard (1½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2tsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp of garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp onion granules
  • pinch of smoked paprika

It’s worth noting that you can douse the entire recipe in hot sauce, although you should syn this. We get asked a lot what hot sauce is and which we use. It’s just a spicy red sauce you can buy in most big supermarkets, and it adds a lovely heat. To help, this is the sauce we use.

big mac tater tots

¡Válgame Dios!

to make big mac tater tots you should:

  • if you have an actifry this is great – chuck the potato in, add a bit of oil and cook until golden
  • if you don’t have an actifry, spread the potato cubes out onto a baking sheet and bake at 190°c until golden – turn them regularly!
  • preheat the oven to 230°c
  • meanwhile, over a medium-high heat sling the mince into the pan and cook until done, then remove from the heat
  • in a large bowl mix together the tater tots and the mince together and tip back into an oven-proof dish or pan
  • sprinkle over the grated cheese and pop in the oven for about five minutes, or until the cheese has melted
  • next, mix together the special sauce ingredients along with 5tbsp of water (add more if you need to)
  • when the cheese has melted, remove from the oven and sprinkle over the lettuce, onion, then tomatoes and then add the gherkins
  • splodge over the sauce
  • destroy it – turn it into poo!

Our Tater Tots recipes are by far our most popular! If you want to find out why, give them a go!

or if you want more fakeaway ideas, just click the button below! And while you’re at it why not explore our other recipes! they’re all waiting for you!

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Eee, canny.

J

low syn cheesy nacho mince and rice

Right look, no bullshit. This cheesy nacho mince and rice is one of the best recipes we’ve made – not sure why, the ingredients aren’t anything flash and there’s no magic ingredient (THIS RECIPE CONTAINS 4 SURPRISES – NUMBER 3 WILL SHOCK YOU! – no, it won’t). It’s simple to make, full of flavour and cooks well. I’m starting to sound like one of those awful food blogs where everything is amazing and wonderful and guaranteed to give you a wide-on. But it really is worth giving a go.

Tonight’s entry was going to be another part of our Swiss trip but I spent forty minutes writing about toilets and my fingers are aching. So, by the miracle of copy and paste, I’m going to share with you a tale from our newest book instead. Paul and I attended a wedding last year that never made it onto the blog, but hey, weddings are always fun. Especially our take on them. If you’re just here for the recipe and you’re not in the mood for any of my nonsense, you go ahead and click this lovely button below.

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Oh I know, I’m a sod.


twochubbycubs on: a nice day for a white wedding

Long-time readers may recollect a particularly disastrous trip to a wedding in the last book where, in no particular order, I forgot my tie, our suit hiring folks forgot to remove the massive security tag on my suit jacket and, after a particularly bouncy bit of drunken sex, Paul and I fell asleep and missed the entire reception.

Since then, we have managed to avoid weddings, which is probably for the best given our ability to embarrass ourselves at any given notice, but we were invited to a New Year’s Eve wedding at the start of the year before and given it was someone who I a) like and b) strongly suspect would cut my face if I had turned her down (I mean, she’s from Worksop, they use a headbutt like one might use a comma), we had no choice but to go.

A bit about the bride: I’ve been her PA at various points in my life. I follow her around like a persistent dose of thrush. I joined her team as a fresh-faced young man full of innocence – she then systemically ruined me over the course of the next few years. I’d seen her blossom from a cantankerous, foul-mouthed, cock-hungry hussy to a slightly older cantankerous, foul-mouthed, cock-hungry hussy. It was with a great sense of pride that I was to see her down the aisle, her flaming Rebekah Brooks hair trailing behind her.

A bit about the groom: Paul and I both would.

Paul hates weddings so it was a case of promising him that it was going to be a fun event, there would be delicious food AND it was to be held up in Otterburn so there was a slim-to-maybe chance the night could end with one or both of us being tumbled around a field by a gang of rough-handed, drunken squaddies. It’s exactly the same way I get him to go to family BBQs.

Usual pre-wedding promises were made: lose plenty of weight, get a decent suit, pick a decent present. Usual pre-wedding promises were then completely ignored: we put more weight over Christmas, our suits came from Marks and Spencer’s ‘GOOD GOD MAN YOU’RE OBSCENE’ range and the bride wanted cold hard cash, which was something I could immediately get behind. The cash that is, not the bride. I feel that may have been a tad inappropriate during the service and anyway, the groom looked like he could take us both in a fight.

Paul drove us the 50 miles there. You all know how I feel about his driving – there’s still three fingernails lodged in the passenger side door from my grip.

We’d booked ourselves a fancy suite in a gorgeous old country hotel – just the thing to pick our arses in, clip our toenails into the carpet and watch The Chase in. We know our place. The receptionist was a delight – he looked exactly like a tiny version of Paul, and well, Paul’s pretty miniature anyway. I wanted to reach over and pick him up, half expecting there to be an even smaller version of Paul inside, played by Hervé Villechaize in a fat-suit. The receptionist was definitely one of us and there was more than a hint of ‘anything else you need; you just ask’. I told him that we were good for now but if I woke up at 3am fancying a Mexican Pancake, I’d ring down.

I had a quick bath, mainly to rid myself of the fear-sweat that soaked me through following Paul’s ‘driving’, then, after a change into our court outfits, we were ready.

The wedding was a mile or so away at an absolutely beautiful hall (Woodhill Hall, if you please) and so we piled into a people’s carriers lest I got my shoes muddy. There was just time enough for a quick drink and a look at everyone’s pretty clothes and Sunday best shoes before we were directed to take a seat in the sunroom. The service was terrific – not all fussy and old-fashioned but some custom lyrics and a fair bit of crying. I begged Paul to let me hurtle down the aisle screaming “It Should Have Been Me” like that bit in Vicar of Dibley but he told me to behave myself. Boo. You have no idea how difficult it is for me not to cause a scene.

Rings fingered and kisses given, we were all put in another room to enjoy a gorgeous meal of local delicacies and whatnots before listening to the speeches which, for once, were actually funny. There’s nowt worse than people thinking they’re funny (although to be fair I’ve created quite a sideline from it) but these got more than a few titters from me.

Bellies full and hearts singing / straining, we nipped back to the hotel room to get changed into slightly less strained shirts – there’s only so long I can sit fretting that my collar is about to burst open and blind someone with a stray button – and the excellent news is that we managed not to fall asleep like we did at the last wedding. I’d hate to get a reputation as someone who just turned up at weddings for the sandwiches and free drinks and then buggered off away to bed before my wallet came out. I mean, that IS exactly who I am, but I’d hate to have a reputation.

Anyway, back at the hotel we bumped into El Ehma (who the book is dedicated to) and, after dressing, we headed down to the bar for a quick drink before nipping back to the venue. Emma’s idea of a ‘quick drink’ turned out to be a triple Tanqueray and tonic, which seemed to cause the barman great consternation. She had to explain several times over that a triple was three shots, and it was with a very shaky hand that he set about the optics for the third time. I didn’t care, I was already fairly tipsy at this point. After more gin we set off back to the wedding venue, with El Ehma promising hand-on-heart that we’d meet again at 1am to get the car back to the hotel, with the offer of a ‘chocolate Baileys’ as a nightcap.

I write as a hobby and like to think I have a good handle on most euphemisms but even I wasn’t sure what a chocolate Baileys entailed. Would I ever find out?

The rest of the evening’s festivities were held in a giant tent in the gardens of the hall. There was a roaring fire in the middle and thankfully, I was too drunk to entertain my catastrophic thinking that the whole place would go up like the school in Carrie. At some point in the evening the DJ started playing the songs that each guest had requested months prior to the wedding – because this was a more alternative wedding there was a lot of rock music and loud noise, but the atmosphere was great. I had completely forgotten what I had put down on my reply.

Anyway, seeking some “fresh air” and “time to ourselves” (seriously though, there’s something about weddings that gets us both hilariously frisky – I’ve only got to hear the first few seconds of the Wedding March and the old cock-clock jumps straight to midnight), we ventured outside behind the venue, eventually finding a little shed that we could “rest our feet” without fear of interruption.

Let me tell you this – naughty outdoors wedding sex is great fun, it really is, especially when the air is crisp and cold and there’s the distant sound of people having an amazing night, but it doesn’t have put you off your stroke when you’re near the point of climax and you hear the DJ shout your name over the crowd followed by the words “…specially requested this all-time classic – OOOH AAAH (Just A Little Bit) by Giiiiiiiiiiina G”.

Listen, I’ve had sex under pressure, I’ve had sex in dangerous places, but there was no possible way I was going to be able to paint the town white under these circumstances. Having a barely successful Eurovision singer annotating your thrusts is a recipe for disaster. We zipped up and headed back inside, putting our flushed faces down to musical embarrassment. Sort of true, I suppose.

The rest of the evening passed in a blur of food, liqueur, dubious dancing and actually, everyone just having a bloody lovely time. I’ve never been to a wedding before where everyone who mattered was smiling and laughing and do you know, it was grand. When people are there not out of obligation but out of friendship, well, you know you’re on the right track. The evening finished with a midnight fireworks display set to Pour Some Sugar On Me (some Canestan might have beenb better) and sparklers and then everyone slowly made their way to bed.

Not us, though. No, despite El Ehma’s promises of keeping the car ready for us, piloted by her lovely sober husband, and us turning up at dot on the time we said, she was away, leaving us stranded. Bah! We could see her brake lights snaking away down the road. Clearly she was in a rush for that chocolate Baileys / anal.

There was no chance of us walking back because by this point I was seeing six legs when I looked down, so we threw ourselves on the mercy of the lovely lady behind the bar. She was probably struck with the frightening idea of seeing our swimmy eyes and moon faces leering at her gin collection all through the night and so it was that we found ourselves packed into the back of her Fiat Uno, being driven all the way back to our hotel. I could have kissed her. Hell, I was that pleased (and blue-balled from earlier) that I would have fathered her children had she given me a bit of keen-eye.

We tumbled into bed (just Paul and I) and were straight off to sleep. Things came to a lively head at about 4am when Paul tumbled drunkenly out of bed, setting the very posh and old bedside table crashing over, which in turn knocked a chest of drawers asunder, which then set a lamp crashing to the floor. It was like Total Wipeout, only with more gin fumes and Paul trapped in sheets on the floor. We inspected the antiques with all the care and concentration you’d expect from two burly men who at that point were more gin than human, and hastened back to bed.

The cold light of day revealed that, somewhat surprisingly, there had been no damage done, save for a mobile-phone shaped bruise on Paul’s arse where he had landed on his phone. If only he’d been charging his electric toothbrush then at least one of us would have seen some action round the back. We quite literally staggered to the breakfast room where we were met with El Ehma’s fresh face (“eee we waited! We did! We did!”) and a fry-up that came on two plates. Across the way from us were a couple visiting from down South and who had ordered a tiny bowl of muesli and a cup of smugness and by God were they repulsed by my alcohol fumes and unshaven face. I’m just glad I don’t smoke anymore – if I had lit a match at that point I would have gone up like a dry forest fire.

We couldn’t leave at this point because we were still tipsy so we had to walk around Otterburn until we were safe to drive. You know when people say the best thing to do for a hangover is to get some fresh air? Balls to them. I’ve never felt rougher than I did when I had my face lashed by the cold Northumberland air and soaked by the type of rain that gets in every single gap in flesh, clothing and soul. When we could eventually drive home, we did so silently, green-faced and gingerly. What a truly amazing wedding, though.


Enjoy that? There’s all that in more in our fantastic new book The Second Coming, which at the moment is rising up the Kindle charts like a foul burp – JK Rowling must be absolutely shitting herself. Click here for that – don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window. Right, to the recipe then…

cheesy nacho mince and rice cheesy nacho mince and rice

to make cheesy nacho mince and rice you will need:

  • 400g lean minced beef (stop wasting money on ghastly gristly supermarket mince – try one of our fabulous Musclefood deals instead!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (you know it: this’ll help!)
  • 1 red pepper, diced finely
  • 400g orzo
  • 400ml passata
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (0.5 syns) (sriracha is hot sauce – any spicy sauce will do, or, if you don’t like your arse all a-tingle, leave it out!)
  • 160g reduced fat cheddar (4x HeA)
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • pinch of paprika
  • pinch of onion granules
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 olives, halved (1.5 syns)
  • 30g bag Doritos (7.5 syns)
  • bunch of chives or spring onions

Ah I want to clarify something, by the way. We’ve had a couple of Clever Dicks (who aren’t that clever) sending us snide messages about ‘wen u uze oyul u hv 2 sin it‘. Well, yes, indeed. When we say a bit of oil we mean a few sprays of Filippo Berio spray oil, or indeed, any oil decanted into one of these. That’s half a syn. Between four. If you want to get your titties in a tangle over 1/8 of a syn, be my guest. I’m not proposing people pour a gallon drum of Castrol into their frying pan, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to suckle the Frylight teat – it’s a nonsense, plastic product and why use it when you can use decent stuff and – if you feel you must – syn accordingly? BAH!

to make cheesy nacho mince and rice you should:

  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and put on a medium-high heat
  • add the mince and onions and cook until the mince has browned
  • add the garlic and pepper and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes
  • reduce the heat to medium-low and add the orzo to the pan, along with the passata, chicken stock, sriracha, chilli flakes, paprika and onion granules and stir well
  • cook for about 12-15 minutes until the orzo has absorbed the liquid, stirring occasionally
  • remove from the heat – take three quarters of the cheese and stir it through the dinner, and then sprinkle over the top the remainder of the cheese, chopped tomatoes, olives, chopped chives/spring onions and crushed doritos (and anything else you’re using)
  • heat the grill to high and pop the frying pan underneath – you want it under for just a few minutes to melt the cheese (keep an eye on if it has a plastic handle)
  • serve!

if you too can’t be arsed to wash up, why not try some of these recipes?

or if something else tickles your fancy, have a look through some of our other recipes by clicking the buttons below – we’ve got over 400!

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I know, we’re wonderful.

J

marinated duck salad and james’ new year’s resolutions

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

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

To be more sociable

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

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

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

To be less fat

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

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

To take up a bad habit

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

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

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

marinated duck salad

to make marinated duck salad you will need:

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

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

to make marinated duck salad you should:

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

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

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

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

J

introducing the girthburger and a happy new year!

Well hello there! The girthburger awaits! We always get such a flood of new people joining in the New Year, and we can both absolutely sympathise. You’ve had an amazing Christmas but you’re getting out of breath wiping your bum and you have realised that things need to change. A bidet wouldn’t go with your bathroom so it’s time to lose weight. Bridget Jones once said that New Year’s Day is the worst time to make your resolutions and start your new life because everyone is still buzzing on nicotine, drugs, stranger’s semen (just us?), alcohol and good food, and I’m inclined to agree with her. It is pointless. So we’re starting tomorrow, even if new recipes are kicking off today.

Because there’s lots of new people, just a boring bit of housekeeping – I’ll keep it to bullet points though so it’s nice and short. If you’ve got the attention span of a gnat, click on this carrot to jump straight to the recipe.

539ff49810c21_-_cos-01-penis-carrot-xl

Where were we? Ah yes:

  • we’re 100% not Slimming World consultants – we’ve been members for nearly nine years and have spent so much money buying Slimming World books and magazines that we ought to be listed as shareholders on Companies House – we always check the syns online but if you’re ever unsure, check them yourself and if you have any further SW questions, speak to one of their excellent consultants;
  • along similar lines, we’re definitely not your average slimming / diet blog – I can’t bear 99% of food blogs out there. I hate all the cutesy-poo flowery language, I hate all the patronising U CAN DO IT!!!11 guff and I hate the fact that so many blogs out there advertise syn-free crap but only if you buy sweeteners from XYZ company and agar agar from ABC online. We’re not like that. We don’t soak our blog in adverts, we don’t spam people, we don’t bullshit and we don’t sugarcoat, not least because if we did sugarcoat our words, you greedy fuckers would only eat them;
  • that said, we do recommend Musclefood meat and get paid for doing so – but let me tell you this – the second they start going shite. we won’t use them. We recommend their products because we actually eat them. The same goes with the Amazon product we sometimes recommend in our recipes – if you buy them, we get a small bit of cashback, and that’s what keeps the blog going. If we don’t own the item we don’t recommend it, it’s as simple as that. We’re 100% open and honest here at 2CC – we’re not going to push a recipe just to get money;
  • our food is made with proper ingredients and we’re not afraid to use a few syns for a meal – that’s what they’re there for. It’s rare that we go above four syns though, so we’re hardly talking gutbusters; and
  • most recipes have a bit of waffle beforehand if something funny has happened or if I just fancy being gobby – just scroll down to the recipe if blue language and coarse humour offends you. Sending me a message telling me not to swear is never going to end well!

I think that covers everything! If you’re looking for all of our recipes, you can find them here. A humourous guide to Slimming World can be found here. All of our Musclefood deals are on one handy page right here. There’s a bit about the two fat blokes who run the blog right here. We’re on Twitter, we have a facebook page with 130,000 folks following and a facebook group (which is sadly full at the moment!). Ah and we have three books out – not recipe books, Mags would sulk, but rather two books of all our blog entries and another about our honeymoon in Florida. Click here for those – it’s worth it just to see what filth we get included with! All done! Here’s to a good year.

The burger then. Well christ, look at the bloody clip of it. It’s our response to all those towering monstrosities that you get in fancy burger joints these days. About eight hundred thousand of these places opened in Newcastle last year alone – I want to go (there’s just something appealing to me about cramming so much meat between two buttered buns) but I’m always worried that I’m going to have a heart attack mid-meal. At least at home I have Paul who knows his way around mouth to mouth.

The burger is syn free until you slather it in mustard and ketchup which weigh in at 1 syn per tablespoon. As the amount you put on is up to you, you’ll need to syn accordingly.

The recipe below is for one person (i.e it makes one burger with two patties inside) – just scale up as needed.

the girthburger

to make the girthburger you will need:

to make the girthburger you should:

  • add the diced onion to a small saucepan, add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt
  • stir, cover and cook over a medium-low heat and cook for about 40 minutes, until caramelised (stir every 15-20 minutes or so)
  • meanwhile, roll the mince into two balls and slap out onto a square of greaseproof paper
  • gently push down on top of the balls with one hand whilst cupping the edge, to make a burger shape
  • keep shaping and squashing until you end up with two burgers that are about ½cm thick – they might look massive, but that’s what you want!
  • in a small frying pan, dry-fry the bacon medallions over a high heat until crispy, slice in half lengthwise then set aside
  • toast each side of the wholemeal bun under the grill and then top with the sliced gherkins
  • add the tomato sauce and mustard
  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add a little oil, switch the grill on too (on high) at this point for later on
  • add the burgers to the pan (don’t overcrowd the pan – do it in batches if you need to) and sprinkle on the salt and pepper
  • cook each burger for one minute, then flip and cook for another minute, then flip again
  • spread over some of the caramelised onion and cook for another minute (the burgers should cook for three minutes in total)
  • remove the burgers from the pan and transfer to the grill pan
  • top with a slice of cheese and the strips of bacon and put under the grill on the highest shelf and grill just until the cheese has melted
  • stack the burgers on top of each other on the bap, add some sliced onion and enjoy!

if you love burgers as much as we do, give these other recipes a try!

Don’t forget, we’ve got over 400 other recipes just waiting for you! click one of the buttons below to find something else that might tickle your fancy…

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Happy new year, all!

J