crunchy tomato feta dip

Crunchy tomato feta dip you say? I do, because frankly, it’s delicious. You may remember from yesterday that we’re having a break from the writing bit for a few days but this is another recipe for you to get your lips around. We made this tomato feta dip to try out a recipe we’ve found and actually ended up having it for our main meal. Worth every last syn, I can assure you.

That said, if you were stuck for something unique to take along to taster night, and for goodness sake why would you be when we have so many excellent taster night recipes, and it doesn’t cost an awful lot of time or money to make. I can’t bear taster nights because people seem to lose all dignity – I’ve seen someone actually pushed over by some leviathan in a Paul’s Boutique hoodie, so keen that she was to get her soiled sticky hands on a Ferrero Not-cher. Plus, frankly, I can’t bear not knowing what people’s kitchens look like. I’m happy to eat most things but not if it’s been prepared in something that looks like a trap from Saw. Brr.

To the recipe!

to make crunchy tomato feta dip you will need:

  • 260g reduced-fat feta, cut into rough cubes (4x HeA)
  • 5 big tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 big tbsp of jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp oregano
  • 80g reduced-fat cheddar, grated (12 syns)
  • 4 wholemeal pitta breads (4x HeB)

to make crunchy tomato feta dip you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • mix together everything except for the cheddar and the pita breads
  • spray a small casserole dish with oil and tip in the tomato and feta mixture
  • top with the grated cheddar and bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden
  • leave to cool for five minutes, then serve with the pitta breads

Get that down yer. And when you’re done, why not check out some more of our recipes? Just click below!

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J

chicken and mango salad – fresh and fancy

Chicken and mango salad? I know, I’m a basic bitch, but just you listen here – you can use the leftover mango in two recipes and this stays fresh for a good couple of days for lunches. So stop bumping your lips. But of course, before we get to the recipe, we have the small matter of a previous post to expand upon…

Let’s get back to the story in hand – you may remember part one of my surgery story was posted a couple of days ago. Let’s follow it up! Remember, this is a very adult post and if you’re sensitive to smutty words and naughty ideas, click the button below to go straight to the recipe. It’s that easy! Readers of my book – The Second Coming (available now in Kindle AND paperback, just saying – click here, it’ll open in a new window) will recognise this story from the start of the book. So, to go straight to the recipe before I get my cock out, click the exit button!

The last time you were with me I was getting put under. I think, I can’t actually remember. So here we go…

The next time I woke up I was in an entirely different ward with what looked like an entire roll of dressing around my knob and an uncomfortable amount of dried blood. My gasp of shock must have roused the nurses because they came over with a cheery hello and, after asking if I was OK, they wheeled me back to Paul. We embraced and he had a look for himself. I’ve never seen a face go grey so quickly. It’s a bad job when I’m the one who has had the operation and Paul’s the guy who ends up on oxygen. Pfft.

They told me to rest for a bit but that I’d be out of hospital that evening, once I’d had some toast and a piss. The glamour! The very last thing I wanted to do was urinate but I never say no to toast. I had hoped it might be like when you have your tonsils out and you get ice-cream, but no. Eventually, the moment came when I did need a slash and so it was, with steps more ginger than my first as a child, I hobbled to the loo.

I can’t begin to tell you how uncomfortable it was getting there, every brush of my gown tickling the end and setting my nerves on fire. Having eventually managed to get myself to the bathroom, I, so very delicately, flopped him out, bandages and dressing included, and started to urinate.

Well fuck me. You know if you squeeze the end of a hose-pipe the jet of water goes much further? That was me in this tiny hospital bathroom. The swelling at the end was acting like a firm grip and good lord – I aimed for the toilet but hit the wall behind it with so much force I’m surprised I didn’t bust straight through into the ladies and piss in some poor woman’s handbag. I couldn’t stop because it would hurt too much so I stumbled back, eventually managing to hit the toilet only when I was stood right at the other end of the room, pissing a good 10ft or so into the toilet. All I could think is what would happen if I had a wank – probably would have blinded myself.

The nurses, content that I wasn’t pissing blood, let me go. I did ask if I could take my foreskin home with me but they said no. That’s a shame. I could have fashioned a wallet with it, with the added benefit being if you rubbed it just right it would swell to fit your chequebook in.

We stumbled slowly, oh so slowly, to the car, and it was then I knew bringing the Micra – with its absolute lack of suspension or finesse – was a mistake. It was enough having my knob drag on my trousers but every speed bump felt like someone was kicking me in the balls. Paul did his best, bless him, but Christ did I not feel every square inch of that drive home.

After that, it took a good couple of weeks to heal. Some comical asides – for a good week or so I had to stand in the doorway to our bathroom and piss right across the room because the pressure didn’t calm down for so long. We had to sleep apart, as Paul has a tendency to get frisky in his sleep and the last thing I needed was a stitch catching on his teeth, and to top off the indignity, I had to sleep with a bloody salad bowl over my crotch to stop the duvet dragging on my knob until everything has healed.

Even now when I make a salad I wince.

But you know what the worst part was? Being told to try my best not to get an erection because doing so could pull the stitches out. Men get erections so easily – sometimes for no good reason at all. I could be washing the dishes and suddenly have to stand back with my back arched until it goes back on the flop. There’s no rhyme or reason to the whole business.  Luckily, the fact that my cock looked like it had been run over for a good week or so meant it generally behaved, but I was flicking through the TV one day, salad bowl placed over the area, when I absent-mindedly starting watching the rugby.

Big mistake (oh I’m a boaster!) – the pain! Christ almighty – and the bloody thing was being resilient, too, working right through that pain barrier. The things I had to think about in order for it to beat a retreat doesn’t bear thinking about now. Bleurgh.

Thankfully, it all healed very nicely. It looks great, even if I do say so myself – I’ve avoided that Neapolitan ice-cream look that sometimes happen with a late circumcision. It works well too, but you don’t need to know that, I’m sure. I’ll also add in a footnote – if there is anyone out there with a partner who needs the chop, tell him to go for it – despite my hyperbole above, it really wasn’t that bad. Uncomfortable yes, but I’ve had more painful craps. If he’s unsure about whether he needs it, just send him down to Cubs Towers and we’ll be more than pleased to take a good, hard look at it for him.

Gosh, I really feel like we know each other well now, don’t you?

Shall we do the chicken and mango salad then? This makes enough for two.

chicken and mango salad

to make a chicken and mango salad, you’ll need:

  • two big fat dirty chicken breasts, yeah you love it
  • 1 Nandos rub – you can get them in Tesco in 25g packets – we used the garlic one (3.5 syns) but you can season your chicken however you want
  • one romaine lettuce
  • one punnet of cress
  • one fresh mango
  • 4 tbsp hoisin dipping sauce (6 syns)
  • one spring onion

to make a chicken and mango salad, you should:

  • rub your breasts until every last inch is covered in tasty flavours
  • grill your chicken:
    • if you’re using the Tefal Optigrill, simply press the Manual button until the light is orange, and once preheated add the chicken and close the lid until cooked
    • if using a grill, heat to medium-high, place the chicken underneath and cook until done, not forgetting to turn it now and again
    • allow to cool and slice
  • meanwhile, assemble your plate as above, cubing your mango, picking your cress and washing your lettuce
  • to make the dipping sauce, thin the hoisin sauce with some mango juice and tiny chunks of mango
  • serve!

I think this is the last of our Jamie Oliver recipes from his new book ‘5 Ingredients’, which you can buy from Amazon here.

If you have leftover mango, you could use it for our ready steady go overnight oats or the coronation chicken jacket potato filler!

Want more inspiration? Click the buttons!

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J

pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad

Here for the pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad? You fancy bastard! It’s the short post tonight – but can I least offer up a few words of encouragement? Every now and then a meal is worth spending a few syns on. See in the picture below? There’s cheese and there’s fat on the ham but do you know, it’ll do you no harm. Have it, syn it and enjoy it. Life’s too short: remember our views on making gravy from mushy peas? Apply the same logic here! Of course, if you’re not a fan of cheese that smells like a bellend, pears that make your teeth itch or capers which serve no purpose, leave them out! To the recipe, then.

pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad

pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad

to make pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad you will need:

  • 200g mixed salad leaves
  • 200g rocket
  • 2 pears, peeled cored and sliced (or 6 quartered figs, or 2 white peaches, sliced)
  • 8 slices parma ham (4 syns)
  • 60g parmesan shavings (2x HeA)
  • 100g gorgonzola, cut into chunks (16 syns)
  • 500g tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • handful of basil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

to make pear prosciutto and gorgonzola rocket salad you should:

  • mix it all together
  • no really, that’s all there is to it

We’ve had a glut of good salads recently – partly because we’re trying to eat lighter meals but also because I’m sick of eating boring lunches. Make a little box of this up the day before and you’ll be looking forward to it all day. You could even team it with the tomato salad we posted the other day and have a right posh night of it!

Classy, eh? Fancy slumming it for a bit? Click one of the buttons below to go straight to some of our other recipes!

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Classy, eh? Fancy slumming it for a bit? Click one of the buttons below to go straight to some of our other recipes!

J

a big bowl full of caprese blt salad

Straight to the recipe tonight for caprese blt salad because yesterday, as usual, I waffled on with nonsense. But first, I do have one urgent question to ask…

Tea. My parents are having a right old dingdong about who is right when it comes to making a bog-standard cup of tea. Do you put the milk in first like my father or last like my mother? Please: leave a comment or a Facebook comment below and let me know. In the interests of balance, I’ve managed to quickly screenshot the various Facebook messages showing both sides of the argument. I may have touched the colour balance up on the photos but that’s the only change I’ve made, I swear.

Mother:

Father:

And for some reason Paul’s mother got in on the act:

So who is right? Milk in first or milk in last? Don’t be all cosmopolitan about it – we’re talking just normal tea, nothing fancy, served in a cup from a Smarties Easter Egg back from 1993. Comments please!

caprese blt salad

caprese blt salad

to make a big bowl full of caprese blt salad you will need:

  • 160g cous cous (or 400g cooked cous cous)
  • 40g rocket leaves
  • 150g lettuce
  • 2 reduced-fat mozzarella balls (roughly half a ball each will be 1 HeA)
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 balls of steamed beetroot (or whatever you have)
  • 8 bacon medallions (you’ll get loads of syn free ones in our Musclefood deal!)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of oregano

Fair warning: we love to roast the hell out of our tomatoes and beetroot, hence the blackened look above, but you don’t need to be quite so keen!

to make a a big bowl full of caprese blt salad you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • slice the tomatoes and place on a baking sheet, cut side up
  • dice the beetroot and place alongside the tomatoes, and spray the lot with a little oil
  • grind over some salt and sprinkle with some oregano and roast for about 30 minutes (keep an eye on them though)
  • cook the bacon under a grill until nice and crisp
  • cook the cous cous according to the packet instructions
  • when everything is cooked, throw it all together in a big bowl!

How’s that for fresh? We like to cook this on a Sunday, triple the amounts and make six packed lunches with it to see us through to Wednesday. I know, we’re good like that.

We’ve got plenty more to keep you going, just click on one of the buttons below to find even more of our recipes:

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J

roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad

Don’t worry yer boobs: the roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad will follow shortly, so try and keep your girdle on. But first, it’s part two of our trip to Copenhagen, land of swearing children and amazing sandwiches. But even before we get to that know that this might all be cut short again by my new office chair collapsing under me – we finally caved and bought a new one after almost a year of crippling back-ache and slowly sinking into the carpet as we typed/wanked/twanked. However, in our haste to get out of Costco before spending our annual wage on bulk-buying baked beans and Pepsi Max Cherry, we bought a cheap office chair without looking at the instructions. How foolish: there’s a weight limit of 15 stone. I’m closer to being a straight black lady than I am under 15 stone. The whole thing is creaking ominously under my arse. It’s like the time we went to Disney and took a Segway – the weight limit was a good four stone under my weight. Did it anyway. You’ve never felt guilt until you’ve made an autonomous self-balancing scooter shriek with pain.

click here for part one

When you last left us I was barrelling down the plane stairs on my arse like a low-budget Indiana Jones skit and Paul was looking disdainfully at me. No concern, ever. I could have been sucked straight into the engine and he would have merely tutted and wiped the resulting James-jam off his face.

Let me tell you, that certainly wouldn’t have been the first time.

Oh, and I forgot to post our typical photo from the aeroplane, so here we are. I know it’s a pretty pat photo but hey.

After our recent experience of waiting approximately four years to clear security at Charles de Gaulle airport, we were naturally concerned about clearing security, not least because my bladder was at full ‘strain’. I couldn’t go on the plane – it was an old easyJet plane with the packed in seats and once I’m sat down, that’s me for the entire flight come hell or controlled descent into high water. However, thankfully, the wait was minimal indeed and, rather unlike our visit to France, the customs people were cheerful and didn’t look at us visitors to their fine country as though we’d swam up through the sewer. Oh and the best bit about Copenhagen Airport? You have to walk past all the people waiting to board the flight back home after their holiday. Don’t you lie to me, you love it as well: getting to grin and wink and do the ‘WAHEY I’M ON HOLIDAY’ walk whilst they stand there looking as though they’ve been told they’ll be sat in the cargo hold for their flight. It doesn’t work the other way – when I’m stuck in the queue for my flight back home I’m silently wishing everyone traipsing in with their bright sunglasses and cheap suitcase an awful holiday. I know, I’m a sod.

That said, Copenhagen Airport does have a down-side (at the moment, at least) – they seem to land the plane in Belarus, given how long the bloody trek was to get our suitcases. I swear halfway to the luggage hall I had my passport stamped and my pockets searched. I’d made the fatal error of not wearing a belt ‘for comfort’ meaning I had to do the hike in that awkward ‘trying not to let my trousers fall down’ gait that all of us men know. I desperately tried to get an erection just to hold my trousers up but all the blood was rushing to keep my heart pumping, for shame. I had to beg Paul to go on ahead without me whilst I decamped to the toilet to dispense of what felt like Kielder Water from my bladder. I’ve never felt relief like it, I swear – the entire English rugby team could have rushed into that cubicle and tugged me off and it would have still paled in euphoria to that piss, I can tell you.

Seven stone lighter and considerably less sloshy, I resumed the hike through Lithuania, caught a ferry and undertook a seven hour taxi ride to arrive at the luggage hall where OF COURSE, Paul was nowhere to be found. He’s a hard man to miss, given he looks like a pillbox in Jacamo slacks. I searched high (in that I looked up) and I searched low (in that I sat down) and waited fifteen minutes. I had his phone in my fag-bag so I couldn’t call him, so waiting it was. He appeared twenty minutes later, flustered and beetroot red, to tell me he’d gone back to look for me, like I was a cat in a house fire. How the hell we missed each other I don’t know, but I can only presume that the gravitational effect of two large, planet-esque bodies approaching each other at equal speed on opposing travelators caused a fat-rift in space and time. I pushed him a little further and it turned out that whilst he had been looking for me, he’d also decided to get himself a hot-dog on the way. Did he get me one? Did he balls. It’s OK, we’re starting divorce proceedings soon.

Having located our luggage we made for the exit, jumped on the local train to Ørestad station and then switched to their wonderful, driverless Metro system to take us a few stops to Bella Center St station, where our hotel loomed large in the distance. Their metro system is amazing – driverless, reliable and cheap. We bought a three day Copenhagen Card allowing us unlimited use of their transport systems for about £80 each – seems expensive until you realise that it includes entry to all sorts of tourist places around the city, including Tivoli Gardens, which would normally cost £15. I’m telling you this because we completely bloody forgot about the pass and paid full price everywhere. I had to put Paul on the game for a night just to fund our shenanigans, but he came back in desperate need of lip-balm and owing £240.

It amazes me that other cities get transport so perfectly right. The metros (and trains) were spotless, they turned up exactly when they were supposed to and you didn’t need to sell a kidney just to get into town. Compare that to Newcastle’s Metro System – it costs a bomb, the trains always smell like a cheesy cock and the only perk you get is that you might not be punched in the teeth by some smackrat off his tits on spice. Oh, and that’s only when the bloody system is working. I follow our local paper on Facebook and I swear I read at least two stories a week where the rail infrastructure has failed because it’s too hot, too cold, too windy, too icy, too busy, too quiet, 2Unlimited or Tupac Shakur. I’d no sooner rely on that to get me to work than I would a bicycle made of steam.

Anyway, I digress. As ever.

Paul had picked the hotel and, as usual, I had no say in the matter. It’s the only way these things work – he has to pick the hotel otherwise I spend so long dithering and umming and aahing that we’re desperately trying to secure a booking somewhere as the plane taxies down the runway. I worry about picking the wrong place, see – it only takes one bad review on Tripadvisor and I’m comparing the place to Beirut and stroppily demanding somewhere else. Which, on reflection, is daft: I couldn’t care less where I eventually end up, but see, there’s always some new hotel, some better hotel,  just waiting around the corner. That’s why I keep checking out…forty points if you get the reference. The only input I have now is for Paul to call out the price, the star rating and then, once he has the nod from me, he books it. No fussing about! It works for both of us.

For our few days in Copenhagen Paul had picked the  AC Hotel Bella Sky and I swear he’d only picked it because, well, look at it (apologies for the quality, Paul took it on his Nokia 3310):

It looks like two cornflake boxes squaring up to one another for a scrap, doesn’t it? Even more confusing is, as you walk towards it, the perspective shifts and the walkway that joins the building at the top looks as though it’s at a forty-five degree angle. It hurt my eyes looking at it, although the bountiful clouds of weed smoke drifting over from a nearby bus-shelter took the edge off somewhat. Fair play to Paul – once we were inside the hotel it was gorgeous – very modern and stylish, which is exactly what I like from a hotel. I don’t want ‘home comforts’, I want to spend twenty minutes trying to figure out how to turn the light on and what all the little switches next to the bed do. I was especially taken with the plug socket, who seemed positively delighted to see us:

The chap who had checked us in – Lego haircut, charming smile, come-to-bed-and-destroy-my-hole eyes – had followed up our request for a high floor and gave us a room on what used to be the ladies-only floor. Tsk, honestly, you offer one blowjob in exchange for a better room and you’re pegged for life. There was an awful amount of pastel pink in the corridors but the room was swish and fancy and just look at the view:

I know, right? I’ve never seen such an extensive cruising ground. As ever, Paul tested out the facilities, I grimaced for a good twenty minutes and then we had a wee sleep, tuckered out from our luggage-hall shenanigans. We’ll pick this up next week – I apologise that once more I’ve eked out 1500 words and we’ve only just arrived at the hotel. What are we like? The next holiday entry will be a bit of a change of pace – instead of detailing our adventures chronologically, I’m going to write about key places we visited. Hopefully that’ll plug my verbal diarrhoea, but who knows? Until then, I welcome feedback always.

Finally, did you know we have three books out, all of which contain our travel stories from times gone by? Why yes! In proper paper form and Kindle, no less. Have a look and take us on holiday – we’ve got over 170 5* reviews between them!


Shall we do the roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad, then? You know we should. Here’s the thing: if your idea of a salad is a bit of lettuce, half a tomato and a cucumber with a splash of vinegar, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Dinners like that leave me wanting. But if you make a proper fuss from your salad and use interesting ingredients, then they’ll become a proper meal. This, would you believe, is a Heston Blumenthal recipe. I’m not his biggest fan – he looks like a thumb with glasses on – but this turned out tip-top. We’ve tinkered with it to make it SW friendly. This makes enough for one, but double, triple or quadruple it accordingly. Fatty.

roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad

to make roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad, you’ll need:

  • a decent handful of rocket
  • 30g of good Gruyère cheese (HEA)
  • 3 slices of decent parma ham (1.5 syns)
  • 25g of balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • one large peach
  • one tablespoon of Tesco Honey and Mustard Light dressing (1 syn)

to make roast peach, parma ham and Gruyère salad, you should:

  • pop your parma ham in the freezer whilst you do the initial bits of this recipe – it’ll be easier to slice when you get to it
  • dress your rocket leaves in that dressing – obviously – don’t go mad though, it’s meant to be very light
  • just lightly boil your vinegar (said that before) until it goes thick and fairly stiff (said that before) – you don’t need to do this if you want
  • take your peach and slice it in half, removing the stone, and spray it once or twice on the flesh side with good olive oil
  • get a decent non-stick pan and get it up to medium heat, placing the peaches flesh-down so they lightly caramelise, then remove; OR
  • use the grill on your Optigrill to grill them – press temp control until it is red – but don’t close the lid – just ‘sear’ the bottom of the peaches
  • either way, once they’re cooked, slice the peach thinly
  • thinly slice your Gruyère – I recommend using a potato peeler for this, saves the faff
  • slice up your parma ham
  • assemble on the plate as shown above
  • drizzle with your balsamic glaze if you want

If you have leftover Gruyère, you could always make our bloody amazing cheesy rosti!

That’s it! A gorgeous salad with lots of different textures and tastes. Some SW hardnuts will probably tell you, between blowing flakes of eggy brownie at you, that you should syn the peach because you’ve heated it up. Up to you – personally, I think it’s bollocks. If it makes you feel better, put it in the fridge to cool down and that’ll cancel out any hot syns, making it fine. See how silly it gets? 300g of cooked peach is 5 syns, and you use nothing close to that here, plus it isn’t cooked through. Frankly, I wouldn’t syn it for all the tea in China.

Happy? Want more ideas? Something fancy? Click the random buttons below!

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Cheers all. Remember to please leave me feedback if possible on the holiday stuff! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

J

syn-free carbonara quiche – yes, it’s amazing

Evening all! Carbonara quiche if you don’t mind – I was looking at the proper ham and egg quiche we did a long while ago and wondering how we could make it better without adding to the syns. And boy, have we managed it. You’ll find the recipe below. Now, because we have guests coming over tonight, we’re going to hand you over to a guest writer! It’s been a while but I love getting new writers in, not least because it means I get to rest my wanking wrist for a bit. I implore you – please, as fans of my blog – to leave feedback. There’s something fun about reading comments from an audience who appreciate you, and I love to share. If you want to write for us, leave a comment below or contact us via our Facebook page here.

This one’s all about pregnancy – you can understand, can’t you, why we’ve never covered this on our totally gay blog? I can’t remember much about my own labour other than it was a fairly easy one. Well, no, I finished typing that sentence and called my own mother to ask her whether it was true. Her response? “It was like trying to shit a melon”.

See, it’s that type of chat that meant we were never on the front cover of Prima or Your Baby. Sounds like I was a big bugger though – 9lb! First and only time in my life I’ve wrecked a woman’s vagina. Paul was even worse – he didn’t exactly come swinging out like Tarzan like you might expect from his mother, but rather, in typical Paul fashion, he finished eating his tea (his twin sister, who he absorbed in the womb, the fat bastard) and slopped out at a mere 4lb.

Plot twist: he was so weak when he was born that the vicar gave him the last rites. To be fair, the poor bugger was probably gasping for a cigarette. The only baby I know who has yellow fingertips in the photographs. Eee, on that note…


baby, baby, baby nooo – by Julie Wansboro

So it’s bad enough that you end up the size of a small cottage when you fall pregnant without then having to meet all those ‘Mothers of Year’ in waiting rooms. It starts in the doctors surgery when you come out with a little cheesy grin and you see people smiling at you knowingly. Of course they don’t know but you think your smile has given it away instantly.

They’re like velociraptors, seeking out a new mum and ripping her ideas to shreds.  Why, oh why do they feel the need to tell you about their horrendous child birthing experiences?  It could reduce you to tears or hurling depending on your strength of stomach. They talk of tears, stitches, forceps and ripping, the burn, the stretching.  They’re not content with that, they go to discuss the whole labour experience from the first ‘braxton hicks’ and the hilarious mad dashes to the hospital thinking they’re in labour followed by laughter.  All the while you’re trapped in this waiting room praying they call you in next.

Dignity leaves the room the day you fall pregnant, no end of clinicians will view parts of your body that you’ve never seen in your life and nor did you want to (well you might want and if you’re a contortionist might well have).  During one of my four birthing experiences I was asked if I’d like a mirror to be held at the business end so I could see the head crowning?! What kind of sadistic bastards are you?  No, no I don’t want to see that, if I’d wanted to see that I’d be a midwife.  Are they trying to scar me for life?  Beautiful my arse!  Whilst I agree the whole falling pregnant, having a healthy baby is indeed a minor miracle at the same time millions of women manage to give birth every day without having to watch.

J Edit: I’m sorry but this is hilarious – why a mirror? I’d rather there was an amateur dramatics group just to the side recreating it by trying to roll a bowling ball through a rasher of bacon

Being awkward I’m O-neg, so joy of joys I marry an O-pos! This means absolutely nothing to anyone until you fall pregnant then it’s like arrrggghhh what have you done!!They decide you are a pin cushion and you must have blood tests on every possible trip to the hospital for check-ups.  Woe betide you if they then discover you’re anaemic, the joy of iron tablets, black poo and constipation to accompany the ever-growing circumference of your middle.  It gets to the point where you forget what your knees look like or know if you’re wearing matching shoes.

Then you get the talk about breast feeding, cracked nipples stories, swollen breasts and leaking…….stop please, I really don’t need to know.  Where are the mums who tell you the great stories, the love at first sight of their babies stories that make you forget the journey there?  Oh hang on, they’re the same mums telling you the horror stories!!!!  Four children later the stone I gained with each of them has managed to rigidly stick to my ribs, Zara my SW saviour has helped shift two of those stones and I reckon by the end of the year I’ll have shifted another one.  Wish me luck!


Well, frankly, it all sounds horrendous. Paul and I are never going to be one of those gay couples who both jizz in a tea-cup and slosh it inside a willing lady using the ‘blow’ function on a Henry hoover. That is how it works, isn’t it? For one, I can’t bear waste, and two, no. There’s no stage of childhood that I think is worth the upheaval. Babies are red-faced poo machines, toddlers are angry red-faced poo machines, children are vexing time-sponges and teenagers are rude pockets of acne and emotion.

I’ve mentioned before that I hate it when people bring their baby over to me and expect me to be all emotional and coo over it. I can’t. I have zero paternal instinct. I see a bundle of beetroot cells swaddled in something far too expensive from Mothercare and I just shudder. I’ve found that people have stopped doing it now that I pick the baby up and put it in the filing cabinet as protest.

Oh and let’s be honest, any combination of Paul and I is going to look awful. It’ll come out with my bent nose, Paul’s boss-eyes, my ‘yes, I’m British working class’ teeth and Paul’s inability to grow a decent beard. What hope would it have?

Anyway, let’s do this carbonara quiche recipe, shall we? I’ve mixed things up a bit from the previous quiche – our all time most-visited recipe, you know – so pay attention. This makes enough for eight good thick wedges – plus it freezes well!

to make carbonara quiche, you’ll need:

  • two large red onions (or white onions, tsk, racist)
  • 8 large eggs (and look, the best you can get, please – it’s the main part of the recipe and well, treat yourself)
  • about 500g of gammon or bacon – I bought a 1kg uncooked joint from Lidl for £3, cut it into cm cubes and froze half of it for another time – either way, you’ll want to dice it into cubes
  • a pack of cherry tomatoes
  • 100ml of 1% milk (2 syns, or 1/3 of a HEA) (to be honest, I didn’t syn this – it’s between 8 servings, so it’s a quarter of a ruddy syn)
  • 100g of spaghetti or however much you have left over at the end of a meal
  • 120g of lighter mature cheddar (3 x HEA, but you can cut that back if you like)
  • one clove of garlic or one tsp of that lazy garlic you can buy

You’ll also need a decent cake-tin. I use a silicone baking tin and absolutely nothing sticks to it – click here to order one. One of the best we’ve ever used! I give it a couple of sprays with olive oil – not Frylight – and the dispenser we use can be found here. We fill it with olive oil and if we’re bothering to syn, we syn it the same as the Tesco sprayer at 7 squirts for 0.5 syns. We hate Frylight.

to make carbonara quiche, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 170 degrees and get a pan of water boiling for your spaghetti
  • once the water is boiling, throw in your spaghetti – has anyone taught you the spaghetti trick? Grasp all your spaghetti together in your wrist like…er, well, honestly, like you’re gripping a cock, lower the ends of the spaghetti in the water and let go – it’ll fan out into the water rather than going in as one big lump
  • chop up your onion and in a frying pan, sweat it off with your garlic and bacon / gammon chunks until the onion and garlic is soft and the bacon is cooked
  • whilst that’s sweating, prepare your cherry tomatoes – you don’t want the seeds in the quiche otherwise you’ll make it too watery so, pop those tomatoes! You don’t need to be fancy, literally burst them in a bowl, tear them in half and put the flesh in a bowl on the side
  • drain your spaghetti and run it under cold water to cool it down and stop it sticking together
  • in a jug, beat your eight eggs and milk with a load of black pepper – no salt though, the bacon/gammon will be salty enough
  • grate your cheese – this is where the microplane grater we always bang on about comes in handy, it does it so finely that it spreads out easily!
  • mix everything together (hold back a handful of cheese for the top) in a big mixing bowl – get your hands right in there – you want everything mixed well – and once combined, slop it into your cake tin
  • press down any errant strands of spaghetti and top with the remaining cheese
  • cook in the oven for a good forty minutes – test it by sticking a knife into the centre – it should come back clean – if it doesn’t, keep cooking it until everything is set – cover the top with foil if you think it is starting to catch
  • cool and serve

Two pointers: this is AMAZING the day after, once it’s sat in the fridge – and it is perfect for freezing and lunches. Also, if after you’ve mixed everything together, if it looks as though you need another egg, crack another one in. You don’t want it too ‘sloppy’ but there needs to be a decent liquid to contents ratio. Oh, I’m so flirty!

Please tell everyone you can about this recipe, it’s a corker and we love it so!

Want more recipes? But of course you do? Click the random selection of buttons below!

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Stay safe.

J

marmalade glazed chicken

Marmalade glazed chicken if you don’t mind! Yes, but first, GUFF. Scroll down quickly if you’re just here for the recipe, but why not indulge me for a moment and have a read of our final Paris entry?

Do you feel like you’re all tuckered out when it comes to our Paris entries? Me too! It feels like I’ve been writing about Paris for longer than we stayed there! Perhaps it is my tendency to waffle on, but hey, here we go. I promise this is the last one.

click here for part one  | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four | click here for part five

When you last slipped away from us we had emerged blinking into the sunlight after wafting the smells of sewers over the patrons of a pitch-black restaurant. God, you get sick of writing that sentence. Now, because we’ll here until year dot if I keep prattling on about every little thing I’m going to pick a few brief highlights did and then wrap this trip up!

Montparnasse Tower

Having neglected to do the Eiffel Tower this time around, we noticed on Tripadvisor that you could do something called the Montparnasse Tower instead – a massive skyscraper in the Montparnasse district of Paris. Who knew? After a leisurely breakfast which I spent blowing pastry crumbs around and drinking coffee as black as pitch, we made our way over.

TOP TIP: don’t bother with the Eiffel Tower. I mean, it’s lovely, of course, but this tower affords you the same excellent views and actually, given you can include the Eiffel Tower in your photographs, I’d say it was even better. Plus, as most people push themselves onto the Eiffel, this tower is pleasingly deserted. I barely had to push anyone out of the way to get to the front. I did kick someone smartly in the shin for stepping on my feet to take a photo, though. What am I like etc.

We took the stairs up to the rooftop to take some better pictures where I noticed, with considerable alarm, that we were in genuine danger of being blown away. The wind was immense – that would bode well for the flight later – and storm clouds were coming. There were glass safety barriers to prevent you plummeting to your death but they looked flimsy, bending as they were in the wind. I told Paul we had to go immediately. He seemed surprised and rightly so, normally I don’t have such an aversion to being sucked off in public, but here we are. We headed back downstairs to spend a merry five minutes looking at tat in the gift shop and spending far too much on coffee in the café, then took the lift back out.

In the two minutes that we were in the lift and lobby the storm clouds broke and sweet jesus, I’d have been drier jumping into a hot-tub. It wasn’t so much raining as drowning us slowly. We waddled as quick as our cankles allow and fell into the first restaurant that I remembered seeing reasonable reviews of on Tripadvisor earlier, Le Relais Gascon.

Le Relais Gascon

What a revelation. It doesn’t look fancy from the outside (nor do we) but it has plenty of nooks and crannies that are ripe for exploring (as do we). We took our table upstairs as we were in no doubt that the ground floor would soon be underwater and, remembering the comments I’d seen on the reviews, ordered a salad.

A salad! I know, but you mustn’t worry, we haven’t gone soft. This salad came with tonnes of bacon lardons, cheese, croutons and dressings, topped off with fried garlic potato slices. Normally a salad only gives me heart pains because I’m crying so hard with tedium as I choke it down, but this was just immense – and so cheap too. Easily our best meal of the holiday. When the waiter came round to ask if everything was OK I had to hold myself back from kissing his hand delicately and offering myself up. We paid the tiny bill, fashioned the tablecloth into a canoe and sailed off down the street in search of somewhere warm to sit.

Boy, did we find somewhere lovely.

Basilique du Sacré Coeur

Readers who have been following our misadventures for a while will know that whenever we need to sit and rest our throbbing feet, we find salvation in Jesus. Not because we’re believers, we’re not, but because a church is about the only place you can sit for a while panting and breathing deeply without someone moving you on. The church is immeasurably beautiful, both inside and out, although the experience was tainted a little by yet more people trying to sell you tat as you go in. Some rough old man in a long dress put a withered hand on my shoulder and tried to sell me a candle as I went in – it’s OK, I got the first punch in and sorted him out.

We spent an hour or so in here, looking at the stained glass windows, putting in a good word for my nana who I’m sure is up there somewhere in whatever world she believed in, thumbing through the bible and waiting for the storms to pass. Eventually it stopped raining and we were able to make an escape before I fell to my knees with boils and burns on my skin. As we left I got into a bit of proper argy-bargy with some oily little ratbag who wouldn’t let me buy my own funicular ticket and was insisting I paid him instead, to the point where he covered the coin slot on the machine with his hands.

Luckily, for once, my size was on my side. I pushed him and he went stumbling away like a leaf on the breeze. I’m not one for physical interaction but he was the size of an ankle sock and looked about as intimidating as a wet tissue. I think the fact that between us Paul and I could have sat on him and reduced him to a diamond probably sealed the deal. I waited for the small crowd of people to slap me on my back or offer me drinks / drugs / sex as a thank you but nothing was forthcoming. Don’t care. Still played Eye of the Tiger as I strutted onto that funicular.

Le Bear’s Den

We don’t tend to stray into gay bars as a rule – not a huge fun of the audible wince that swooshes around the place as we walk in with anything less than a 28″ waist trouser, for one thing. I once got into a fight with a very angry lesbian in one of Newcastle’s finest rainbow bars for turning the jukebox off after the eighth rendition of Left Outside Alone by Anastacia and Paul was told he should die for having the temerity of wearing his nurse’s shirt (as in the shirt he wore when he was a nurse, not a shirt belonging to his nurse – he’s not quite that bad yet) and having his gunt on show. There can be a waspishness that neither of us are particularly keen on and so we usually stay away.

But that said, how could we walk past a bar called The Bear’s Den and not poke our heads through the door? What are we if not trainee bears? In fact, now I’m 32, I think in gay terms I actually am a bear. I’ve certainly got enough chequered Jacamo shirts to dress as one. Haven’t a clue what the fuck I’m on about? In the gay world, an older fat hairy bloke is colloquially known as a bear. A young fat hairy bloke is a cub. A young skinny hairy bloke is an otter. A hairy older bloke with white/grey hair is a polar bear, would you believe. God knows where it originates from but I’ve always found the naming convention dainty so let’s stick with it. I’ll check the Homo Guidebook when I get home to find out what age we are supposed to transition. Anyway, I digress.

We stayed for a good couple of hours, drinking beer (or in my case, one beer and then endless lemonade as I’d later be driving) and being eyed up by the barman. I like to think so anyway, he was very kind and seemed keen to show us downstairs, which, from our vantage point upstairs, looked ill-lit and heavy with sweat and amyl-nitrate. I dilated every time someone came up the stairs and disturbed the fetid air. We demurred and carried on drinking, and yes, it was all very lovely to be amongst those who weren’t looking down their noses at the fact we didn’t look like Skeleton from SuperTed.

(I’m being slightly facetious).

Oh, and it was full of artwork like this, which I loved so much I rashly made to buy an A2 canvas before Paul pointed out I’d struggle to get that into our cabin bag. Boo.

If anyone fancies making me one though, go for it! As we left, we spotted a sex shop just over the road so we had a quick gander to see what was happening. As usual, the sight of rubber cocks the size of fire extinguishers brought out our silly side and we spent a good fifteen minutes shrieking and bellowing our way around the porn DVDs. There was one of those wank-booths at the back which was occupied and I feel so bad for the poor Parisian trying to rub one out whilst some hurly-burly Geordie is shouting ‘WAY YE CUD HAMMER A FUCKIN’ NAIL IN WITH THIS BASTARD’ across the shop. Tsk.

I did, however, spot this.

A friggin’ porn DVD about accountancy! I’m sorry, but who on earth has a sudden rush of blood to the head when thinking about tax? Apparently enough to hire two rent-a-gobs with spray-on beards to make a porno! I did appreciate the pun in the title though. It amazes me the niche things people are into. I asked, but they had nothing on Senior Administrative Nurses and we were asked to leave.

Flight home

We spent altogether too long drinking at Le Bear’s Den that we had to abandon our plans to take the train back to the airport and instead hurl ourselves into an Uber, who, after picking up our luggage from the hotel, drove us straight to the airport with minimal fuss and delay. We had wildly underestimated how long it would take though and we were both absolutely bursting for a slash – the last ten miles or so felt like pure agony as eighteen litres of fizziness threatened to burst from our willies like a dam relief valve.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare on the clock but no time at all on our bladders – we dashed so quickly out of the car that the driver must have only heard ‘thanksmuchbyeeeneedpiss‘ as we hurtled out. In our haste to micturate we went dashing straight into the airport, only for him to come hurtling after us with our suitcase. Oops. I said thank you just as quick as we could and we fair sprinted for the lavatory, thankfully finding one only moments into the terminal. Even now people in Dover talk of the loud ‘aaaaaaah THANK FUCK FOR THAT’ they heard bellowing across the channel as I let go. There’s genuinely no better feeling (bar the obvious) than making it to a loo just as your bladder is about to rip open like a faulty condom.

Now, normally, we’d dick about in the airport before going through security and standing at the gate for hours, but something told us we’d better clear security just as fast as we could, perhaps given the terrible experience coming in. As it happens, we were scanned, sorted and sent on our way in a matter of moments. Great! More time for drinks and shenanigans airside. We rounded a corner only to see a small queue just disappearing around a corner. Being British and thus attracted to queues the same way as a bee is attracted to a golden flower, we joined it. It was moving ever so slowly but hey, it must be good if everyone else was waiting. No, of course not – it was the bloody passport check, and, with all the typical efficiency and customer care I’d come to expect from the French security administration, there was one surly looking arse checking everyone’s passports. I say checking them, he was taking so long with each person that I wondered whether he was drawing a watercolour of each person as a souvenier. There must have been easily 300 people in front of us and another 100 behind and each person was tutting so much it was like being inside a maraca. It was all we could do to wait – and that we did, because we weren’t seen for almost ninety minutes. When he did get to me and he glanced at my face with bile-filled eyes, I had to resist the urge to quip that the wait had aged me terribly. He took even longer with Paul, almost a minute of looking down at the passport and then up at Paul’s face. I can only imagine it was because Paul had a faint smile on his passport photo and this guy was unfamiliar with the concept.

As an aside, if you were the rough, pink-leggings-yellow-teeth (the Fruit Salad look) (imagine looking at a negative photo of Pete Burns), shouting harridan woman who was scolding a poor passing easyJet stewardess about how it ‘WEREN’T FACKIN’ RIGHT MAKING US FACKIN’ WAIT LIKE THIS’ whilst your ruffian children ran screaming around everyone’s legs, I hope you’re ashamed of yourself. You represent the worst of British humanity. Everyone knows that, faced with a long snaking queue, you join it silently and spend however long it takes deep-sighing into the neck of the chap in front of you. Witch.

With no time to spare we were shepherded to our gate where we joined the rest of the sourpusses waiting to join the Edinburgh flight. We had speedy boarding due to being in the exit seats (otherwise, I think it’s a pointless swizz, you’re getting on the plane at some point whether you get on first or the pilot gives you a fireman’s lift up the stairs at the end) and sat in the special bit reserved for those who want to look smugly at everyone else. After a short delay due to the weather we were released and everyone hurtled downstairs onto the bus. Awkwardly, they’d actually roped off a section of the bus for speedy boarders meaning that 9 out of 10 of the passengers were crammed in like sardines whereas Paul and I were sat with our legs spread out. We had enough room to hold a boxing match if we wanted to. I turned to gaze out of the window (mainly to avoid their icy stares) and watched with some consternation as trees were almost bent double and the windsocks were almost tearing away. The bus driver must have thought he was taking us to the plane via Cannes because we sat on that bus driving around for a good half hour. I was surprised he didn’t stop halfway at whatever the French equivalent of BP to let us go for a piss. We made it to our flight – now almost 90 minutes later – boarded and relaxed. Well, everyone else did, I was too busy staring stricken at the window as I envisioned the wind blowing us straight into the Eiffel Tower.

The steward came on the radio, which you’d think would make it slippery to hold, and informed us that the fasten seatbelts sign would stay on for considerably longer than usual as we were expecting a bumpy take-off. He wasn’t wrong. Flying always amazes me but flying in bad weather is just something else – I’ve never felt a plane be buffeted about by the wind so much before. The plane’s back-end was swishing left and right like it was doing a big metallic mince into the sky, perhaps it knew we were on board. After twenty minutes of envisioning my own death in a thousand different ways (an engine tearing through my head, choking on the inflight magazine, the oxygen above my head bursting in flame…) we levelled out and everything calmed down. I told Paul that I ought to have a gin ‘for my nerves’ and he agreed, his face the colour of an aged candle. It was a very quiet, calm trip home. After a quick flounce through security and a stop to buy some altogether non-traditional Haribo for work colleagues we were on our way home, me driving once more because Paul forgot his glasses. This must have been weighing heavy on his mind because he promptly fell asleep for the entire 120 mile journey back, leaving me to do all the driving alone. It’s OK, I managed to get a few minutes shut-eye on a straight bit of the A1.

We arrived home, exhausted, 1am in the morning. Our cats did the usual – glanced at us like we’d killed their mothers and stalked off with their tails in full ‘oh go fuck yourself’ pose. Just once I’d like them to hurtle into my arms like a dog, mewing and clicking and purring, but no. One cat caved an hour later though, demanding to be allowed to sleep between us for warmth. They love us really.

And that was France! I know it’s taken us ages to get to the end of the holiday (I kid you not, we’ve had two more holidays since I started writing this) but here we are. Holiday number one complete!

Fancy following in our footsteps? I wouldn’t, they’re sunk half a metre into the ground because we’re so fat, but if you’re determined:

Flights: Edinburgh to Paris Charles de Gaulle with easyJet – quick, cheap flight but the usual excellent customer service they always deliver
Hotel: ibis Budget (near Edinburgh Airport) – absolutely fine for an overnight stay and super-cheap and Hotel Square in Paris on the Rue du Boulainvilliers – amazing, stylish and warm hotel. Expensive, but excellent location and amenities. The receptionist had the good grace not to raise her eyebrows at our extortionate room service bill.

Fin.


Right, shall we get to the recipe then? It’s a cheek to call this a recipe given it takes no time at all to make, but it’s absolutely worth the couple of syns for a quick and easy dinner.

to make marmalade glazed chicken you will need:

to make marmalade glazed chicken you should:

  • place the chicken breasts on a chopping board and bash gently(ish) with a rolling pin to flatten them out – you want them at about half the thickness they were originally
  • heat a large frying pan to medium-high and add a bit of oil
  • place the chicken breasts in the pan and allow to cook for five minutes – no need to touch them, just let them cook
  • meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl mix together the chilli flakes, dijon mustard and marmalade
  • heat for fifteen seconds in the microwave, stir, and microwave for another 15 seconds. stir again
  • turn the chicken breasts over and spoon over the glaze
  • cook for two minutes
  • make sure your chicken is cooked through and serve with salad

How easy was that? For more chicken ideas, take a look at the buttons below!

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Until we meet again…

J

droptober recipe #2: pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms

Looking for the pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms recipe? Well who can blame you? It’s below. But first…

It’s been a long day. Not content with filling our house with buttons that automatically buy our shopping, we’ve invested in an Amazon Echo – essentially an always-listening little personal assistant (like Siri) who can automatically turn our heating up, turn our lights off, play music, that sort of forward-thinking thing. However, because it’s voice-activated, my day has been spent listening to Paul bellow incoherently at the Echo: ‘ALEXA: TELL ME A JOKE’ was good, ‘ALEXA: WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE’ was even better, but ‘ALEXA: Siri thinks you’re a snotty slaaaaaag’ yielded little worthwhile result and when I shouted ‘ALEXA’ and farted into the speaker, it just shut itself off.

I do like to imagine that somewhere deep underground there’s a team of Evil Amazon Folk listening to our every move, because frankly, unless they like lots of shrieking over Forza Horizon, copious amounts of farting, ancient Janice Battersby impressions and arguments about who was the best Doctor Who, they’re in for a disappointing time.

We received lots of helpful suggestions for our October idea – i.e. where we post one recipe a day all through October – but Droptober was the one that won out above all others. Whether you’re looking to drop some weight, drop some baggage or just drop a load of steamy piss through your knickers due to laughing and age, we’ve got you covered. Now remember, some of these will be lovely short posts like this, so no leaving moaning comments for the lack of text!

This works very well as a lunch – make it the night before and it’ll keep until the morning. Normally whenever I do a veggie post people treat it as if I had admitted I’d murdered a child and completely blank me, but please, do actually give this a go – it’s very tasty! This made enough for two lunches once served with some cooked bulgur wheat.

pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms

to make pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms, you’ll need:

  • a packet of any mushrooms you like – I used chestnut mushrooms but only because they were the first ones my languid, tired body fell upon in Tesco
  • either a jar of those roasted peppers in brine or two large sweet peppers
  • a massive handful of mint
  • a lemon
  • 130g of reduced fat feta (which is 2 x HEA, but this serves two remember, so calm yer tits)
  • salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce (which I know isn’t technically veggie, but I’ve been told (by some pallid, shaking, wincing from the sunlight vegetarian that you can buy a veggie-friendly equivalent) (I’m kidding I’m kidding, she had to write it down and even then her fingers snapped like breadsticks when she tried to grip a pencil)
  • bulgur wheat, quinoa or couscous cooked however you fancy it

to make pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms, you should:

  • cut your mushrooms into quarters and tumble them about in a couple of spoonfuls of worcestershire sauce, with a pinch of pepper and salt
  • stick them in the oven for about twenty minutes on say 190 degrees until they’re nice and roasted and all of the mushroom juices (urgh) have leaked out
  • whilst the mushrooms are cooking, chop up your mint – get all of the leaves together and wrap them into a cigar shape – then finely slice – much easier
  • if you’re roasting your peppers, cut them in half, stick them under the grill and cook until blackened – or – be a good dear and buy the jar from Tesco – cut into chunks
  • crumble your feta any old how – you’re making a salad here, not a work of art
  • toss the peppers, mint and feta in with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice from your lemon and a pinch of salt and allow to marinate whilst the mushrooms roast
  • once the mushrooms are done, it’s a quick assembly job – cooked quinoa or what on the bottom, peppers and cheese next, hot roasted mushrooms on the top

Done! If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, swap them out for a plain chicken breast. You monster.

OH ONE FINAL THING: we’ve added Pinterest and other share buttons to the end of these posts – if you need them, you’ve got them!

Looking for more veggie ideas, or do you want to make sure at least something’s been killed for your dinner? Click the buttons below. Let’s go crazy and put all sorts button on here!

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Cheers guys!

J

sweet and sour cucumber salad

Coming for the sweet and sour cucumber salad? Well, it’s not exciting, so calm down.

Now see, I wasn’t going to post tonight because I’ve come home to an empty house (Paul is out at a rally or on a Raleigh or is just rally, rally tired or something), the cat has left another half-rat on the kitchen floor and I want to do some baking. But, this is a recipe blog, is it not, and who am I to deny you such simple pleasures? We both always struggle with lunches and I see a lot of people asking for ideas, so here is a cheap and easy idea. I’m writing the New York entries up, by the way, and they’ll be online fairly soon, which has to be good news if you’re a fan of our holiday reports. Someone certainly is, we’ve sold an insane amount of our book lately – just saying, but feel free to join them by clicking here!

I’m not sure we’re going to have any more holidays this year because we’re saving up for a six week jaunt to America in 2017, travelling around in a decent car like the aching hipsters that we are. I know I know. We did watch a TV show about how to do Benidorm on the cheap the other night, which included such gems like get your water from a mountain spring and spend your day at a timeshare sales pitch in order to get a few packets of crisps, a cold meat platter and presumably, devastating dysentery. Benidorm, though. Listen, I’m not a snob, sometimes I’ll shop at Aldi and not take my Waitrose bags with me after all, but I just can’t imagine enjoying myself in Benidorm, and I’m of the mindset that you don’t get many holidays a year, you’re better off spending them somewhere where you’re not going to be looking at ‘ENGLUND 4EVUR’ tattooed in the crinkles of a fat chav’s neck.

Before you all start, I know there are decent places in Benidorm and of course there is, but in order to persuade me to go someone suggested looking up an act called Sticky Vicky. Let me state that, as a practicing homosexual (fuck that, actually, I’ve mastered in cockology), there couldn’t have been a less inviting prospect.  Sticky Vicky’s whole act seems to be that she puts things up her twaddle-dandy that REALLY shouldn’t be in there. You name it, she’s coated it in a dull patina and pulled it from her box – lightbulbs, streamers, razor blades. BLOODY RAZOR BLADES. Well not bloody in the sense that they’ve cut her, she’s clearly very talented, but for goodness sake. I’m quite possibly the polar opposite of a prude, but even I draw the line at watching a sexagenerian slopping the contents of a First Aid box out of her minnie whilst I sip warm Stella Artois and smile wanly. And hey, before you all start writing hate mail, I went to Ayia Napa once – even the flight there was so rough the oxygen masks came down.

Plus, by all accounts, the main ‘place to go’ is awash with ENGLAND bars and ENGLAND places to eat so well, what’s the point? Might as well nip to Blackpool so I can sit on a beach that is 37% cigarette ash. OOOH I got sidetracked. Let’s get back to the sweet and sour cucumber salad so I don’t lose track of time.

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Now, you can use a spiraliser like we did to get the pretty ribbons, or you can use a grater. Hell, you can go at your cucumber with a samurai sword for all the shits I give. It’s your life. If you want a spiraliser, I can recommend the one we use. At the time of writing, that’s £30 instead of £70. Is it worth it? Depends how cylindrical you like your dinners. This will make enough for four normal folk or two big bertha lunches.

to make sweet and sour cucumber salad, you’ll need:

  • for the salad:
  • one cucumber so big that when you scan it through the self-service checkout even the computer calls you a slut
  • or you know, two normal sized ones
  • or three tiny ones, but yeah, size doesn’t matter (cough: it does)
  • one chunky carrot
  • a few thinly sliced spring onions

 

  • for the dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (6 syns)
  • half a teaspoon of dill – dried is fine
  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, or any fancy vinegar you have
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (2.5 syns, or put a bit of sweetener in and save the syns, but let’s be honest, a bit of honey is so much nicer than the scrapings off a scientist’s shoe)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced finely, and yes, I know a bloody good mincer right here
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • a good grind of salt and a good grind of pepper

and to make sweet and sour cucumber salad, you should:

  • run the carrot and the cucumber(s) through the spiraliser, grater or Ken Dodd’s teeth 
  • put in a bowl with the finely chopped onion
  • put the dressing contents in a bowl, whisk like mad, pour over the top, and give everything a nice coating
  • serve

Although I’ve pitched this at 2 syns, it’ll actually work out less if you’re dividing between four because a lot of the sauce sits at the bottom of the bowl once the cucumber noodles are dressed. Recipe adapted from a somewhat more sugary Simply So Healthy recipe. SEE, ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR YOU.

J

garlic, bacon and chicken pasta

We’re both feeling quite melancholy as we witnessed something pretty awful today – a bloke having a massive seizure in the middle of IKEA and then screaming and thrashing as he came around. We’re both first-aid trained but when we got there, the staff were doing everything right and were bloody marvellous. What annoyed us more than anything, though, was the table full of old people practically snapping their necks to get a good look at the poor prone man on the floor. Not affording him any dignity or discretion, it was like they were waiting for the last number on their bingo cards. Vultures the bloody lot of them. Hopefully they were found face-down amongst the ANÖOS toys later on. Why are people so shitty?

So it brings me to two things, two pleas, really. And yes, it’s not the usual fun and games and piss-take that we normally bust out, but it’s so important. First – learn basic first aid. Take an hour to watch a few Youtube videos – you’ll find a whole raft of videos by the marvellous St John’s Ambulance right here. No-one is expecting you to give someone a tracheotomy or put in a catheter, but basic first aid makes all the difference. Would you genuinely know what to do if that bloke had been in a room with you and you alone and he had started having a seizure? What if a baby started choking or a kid came to you with a broken arm? We’re lucky – we’ve both been trained because of our jobs – but it’s such a frightening position to be in that I’d hate to have to do it without the facts. If you’re in employment, why not ask your HR if they’ll get you on a training course? You just don’t know when you’ll need it. As a moment of sweet relief, here’s a post about the last time James went for first aid training.

Second short plea? Get yourself on the organ donation register. If you’ve got strong, sensible views against it then all the best to you and we’ll say no more – it’s personal choice. But if you’re not on it as an oversight or because you haven’t got round to doing it, here, sign up now. It’s odd – the issue has come to our attention via the same disease – cystic fibrosis, with a friend of mine losing a good friend to it and one of our lovely lasses in our group posting on behalf of her friend who is slowly losing her lungs. I’d love to think that when I die, they take whatever they need from me. My eyes are fucked, so there’s no point there. Heart is probably shot and doesn’t beat so well, and lungs have been blackened by years of parents who thought nicotine was a suitable replacement for fresh air (I kid. Sometimes they used to wind the window down in the car). My skin is good, though, so graft away, and my brain – assuming it’s not being turned to sponge by some dastardly CJD prions (I ate a lot of cheap beef back in the day), is fairly sharp. They could take my balls if they wanted, they’re in decent shape, and hell if you want my willy, it’s there, though years of growing up alone in the country with nothing to do means it’s like a well-worn tyre now. I jest I jest. Trying to inject some levity. Go on. Sign up on the register. I promise you that if I die before you, and given my calorie intake and sloth levels of exercise, it’ll probably happen, you can take what you want.

OK. So let’s do the recipe.

chicken and bacon pasta

 

to make the garlic, bacon and chicken pasta, you’ll need:

  • 400g pasta of your choice
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 bacon medallions
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 50oml passata
  • ½ tsp paprika

 

to make the garlic, bacon and chicken pasta, you should:

  • cook the pasta according to the instructions – drain and rinse with cold water and set aside (this is a trick I learnt recently – works a treat!)
  • in a large frying pan heat some oil over a medium-high heat, add the onions and cook until softened, stirring frequently
  • meanwhile, chop the bacon and chicken into small pieces and add to the pan, reduce the heat slightly and cook until they meat is browned all over
  • add the paprika and garlic to the pan and cook for about thirty seconds, stirring constantly
  • add the passata to the pan, stir and cook for about fifteen minutes until the mixture has thickened
  • add the pasta back to the pan, stir through and heat for about three minutes
  • serve!