black pudding bolognese with cheesy mash

Black pudding bolognese: for when you’re not quite satisfied with the amount of killing done in the name of your meal. Well, we needed to counter the vegan recipe from yesterday didn’t we? I’m jesting, of course, but I’m taking the view that if you’re a meat-eater, you probably don’t mind a bit more ghoulishness. Anyway, this is a Thomasina Miers recipe I’ll have you know, and what that lady doesn’t know about cooking you could write on a flapping winnit.

Just the recipe post tonight because, due to a shitstorm of car alarms, alarmed cats and Paul’s fat ham arms hitting me every time he turned over, I had an abysmal night of sleep. When you’re still awake at 4am, desperately listening to Radio 4 trying to sleep, you know it’s going to be a rough day. So forgive my brevity, but know that I do it in the name of making sure you lot have a lovely new recipe to try. This makes enough for four generous bowlfuls. Christ, I hate that term. A generous bowl. Puts me in mind of a bowl that reassures you that no, you’re not fat, you’re pretty, honest, as your tears tumble over your dinner.

black pudding bolognese

black pudding bolognese

to make black pudding bolognese with cheesy mash, you’ll need:

  • 500g of extra lean beef mince
  • two onions
  • one large clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 100g of black pudding (10.5 syns – goodness!)
  • two tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of red wine vinegar
  • 3 sprigs of thyme if you have it, half a teaspoon of dried if you don’t
  • enough potatoes to make as much mash as you want
  • 40g of extra mature lighter cheddar

Looking for mince? It’s quicker than Waiting for Godot. We have four Musclefood deals to suit any budget, including making your own hamper – so you only get what you want!

to make black pudding bolognese with cheesy mash, you should:

  • chop your onions finely and sweat them off with a few sprays of oil until nice and sweaty
  • add your garlic (minced) and cook for a minute more
  • add your mince – rather like I often say to Paul, you want your meat browned
  • once your mince is cooked through, add the cinnamon and paprika and then crumble in the black pudding and stir
  • add the tomatoes, vinegar, thyme and vinegar and allow to simmer and mingle for as long as you like – a good hour on low is perfect
  • once you’re starving and chewing your fingernails to stumps, make your mash – boil the potatoes, put them through a ricer (you can pick up a ricer from Amazon for just over a tenner and it really will change your life), add a whole egg and 40g of extra mature lighter cheddar
  • serve with some parmesan if you’re feeling tasty!

Easy! If like me, you’ve got a little mince leftover, why not make one of these dishes?

Remember to share!

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!

fakeawayssmallbeefsmalllambsmallpastasmall sausagessmall

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 pasta (or rice)
  • 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!

fakeawayssmallpastasmall   snackssmallsoupsmallonepot

I know, we’re wonderful.

J

slow cooker cottage pie

Super quick post tonight of slow cooker cottage pie – Christmas party was last night and we’re both proper rough! Straight to it!

slow cooker cottage pie

to make slow cooker cottage pie you will need:

I’m going to say this is syn free – if you want to syn the 0.25 syn of milk, then do. If you’re looking for a decent slow cooker, the one we use is reduced on Amazon right now, and pretty to look at!

to make slow cooker cottage pie you should:

  • add the onion and mince into a hot pan and brown off
  • add the carrots, tomatoes, garlic, peas, tomato puree, celery, worcestershire sauce, thyme and stock and stir to combine
  • decant into the slow cooker and cook for as long as you like on low – a few hours is best to really meld the flavours
  • four hours before you want to eat, cut the potatoes into large chunks (no need to peel) and cook in a large saucepan until tender.
  • drain, add the milk and quickly crack in the egg – mash furiously so the egg mixes in well and doesn’t scramble (don’t use the egg if you’re pregnant – treat yourself to some butter instead)
  • use a spatula or ladle to flatten the meat mixture in the slow cooker so it’s level
  • gently spoon in the mashed potato and smooth off with a fork
  • cover and cook on low for three hours
  • about half an hour towards the end, sprinkle over the grated cheese
  • cover with a tea towel so that it doesn’t touch the food but is taut across the top – this helps to absorb moisture
  • serve!

Easy!

Want more ideas? Click the buttons below!

beefsmallfakeawayssmall    slowcookersmallonepot

Enjoy!

J

droptober recipe #4: pork, bacon, ale and apple pie

Yes! Pork, bacon, ale and apple pie, I kid you not. You’d expect the mere mention of pies would have Mags’ Trex covered Bakelite phone ringing off its hooks but no – here at twochubbcubs, you CAN eat all the pies.

No post tonight though – it’s been a very long day, livened up by a bit of life-saving. Not sure if that’s over-egging the pudding (HOW MANI SYNS HUN) or not but for the first time in four years I got to use my first aid training for something other than a high-heel blister or a stapled finger. If you’re looking for a fun read, have a look at my recount of my day at St John’s Ambulance learning first aid by clicking here – though the box of faces will haunt you forever more. No, I had to step in to stop a colleague choking on her crisps. It was all very fortutious because I just happened to be downstairs filling up my bottle with sparkling water (gotta add sparkle somehow, eh) when I saw a pizza being hurled across a table and a colleague looking wide-eyed and fearful. I almost shit myself. It’s one thing sitting in a room full of factory workers being told what to do if someone pours industrial bleach up their nostril or sets their arse on fire, it’s another thing knowing you have to step in and do something. I remembered you’re supposed to do five sharp blows between their shoulderblades and so, with a hearty ‘THIS IS GOING TO HURT’ I went into action and thankfully, on the five blow, out popped the crisp. I’m not going to fib: I think I was more relieved that I didn’t have to do the Heimlich – I’d be the only person who’d need to stop after two er…thrusts (good god there’s no other way of saying it) for a sit down and a puff on an oxygen tank. My colleague is fine – I apologised profusely for the fact she’s probably got a huge hand mark on her back now but all was well. I went upstairs shaking like a shitting dog and I can assure you right now my catastrophic thinking went into overdrive: what if it hadn’t worked? What if my first aid skills were no match for a shrapnel of smoky bacon crisp? It was all I could do to have a giant cookie and a cup of tea and then back to drafting documents.

It made me think though: if you don’t know any first-aid, learn some. Seriously. St John’s Ambulance provide training online and there’s all manner of free videos on Youtube. Whilst I doubt what I’ve done could be classed as saving a life, you never know when you might need it. Here’s some resources:

If you need a handy guide to resuscitation, er, don’t use this one (but it made me laugh):

cpr-instructions-o2-check-to-see-if-blame-someone-the-3413574

Mahaha. Let’s get to the pork, bacon, ale and apple pie – this dish serves four when served with sides and has 20 syns, so I’m going to say 5 syns a portion and be done with it. If anyone has a problem with that, I invite you to kiss my teeth. It’s worth spending syns on something delicious and this was fantastic!

pork, bacon, ale and apple pie

pork, bacon, ale and apple pie

to make pork, bacon, ale and apple pie, you’ll need:

  • 100g of Jus-Rol light puff pastry to cover a decent size pastry dish – this is 16 syns so 4 syns per serving
  • one bottle of pale ale – we used Brewdog’s Dead Pony Club (330ml) which by my reckoning is about 3 syns
  • 1 level tablespoon of cornflour (1 syn)
  • 1 pack of bacon medallions (we used the fantastic bacon from any of our meat deals, but in particular the freezer filler – perfect if you want a job-lot of chicken, mince, beef chunks and bacon – click here for a look – it’ll open in a new window)
  • two large leeks
  • 500g of lean pork mince
  • two granny smith apples
  • 375g of chicken stock
  • a pinch of (preferably fresh) sage and thyme
  • three large garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper

to make pork, bacon, ale and apple pie, you should:

  • pick out a suitable dish for your pie
  • chop your bacon up into small pieces and cook in a decent non-stick pan for a few minutes until cooked but not crispy
  • add in the leeks – slice these super-fine using a knife or even better, one of these bad-boys (currently reduced in price and by god it’ll save you some work)
  • once the leeks have softened, add the pork mince and cook until all the pink has gone
  • if it is sticking, don’t worry, just add a drop or two of water
  • mince the garlic using your trusty microplane grater or whatever and add
  • chop up the thyme and sage and add this too
  • once everything has simmered nicely, add a tablespoon of cornflour – gently – and stir, to thicken it up
  • now add your pale ale, chicken stock, pinch of salt and pepper and your apples, which you will have peeled and cut into cubes
  • allow to gently simmer for a good half hour until it’s thickened down and lovely
  • preheat the oven to about 200 degrees or so
  • get your pastry and check that 100g will be enough to cover your pyrex dish – if not, roll it out a bit thinner
  • slop all your pie filling into the dish, top with the pastry, brush the top with a bit of beaten egg and salt and pepper, hoy in the oven until the top is lovely and brown
  • serve!

Easy! If you need any more ideas, click the buttons below, and remember to use those share buttons to give your friends the recipe!

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Cheers all the best.

J

beef and bacon stroganoff – quick and easy comfort food!

Here for the beef and bacon stroganoff? Well of COURSE you are. It’s take take take with you! But, as usual, before we get to the recipe, a preamble…

James is running late, he rang me from inside the multi-storey car park shouting and bawling about the barrier being broken – I could barely hear him over the sound of his car, his rage and my Now That’s What I Call Soviet National Anthems CD. I made out the words ‘…’king sick of this cun…’ and ‘as much fucking use as a sandpaper tampon’ then he cut out. He’ll be home soon, but I thought I’d do a blog entry for once. Poor guy. Poor you lot.

This week I managed to find a major motivator to lose weight in somewhere that I least suspected – clothes. That’s right. Despite being two of the most uninterested people in fashion as well as being the most unfashionable people out there, it was trying to find a nice suit for a job interview that really hit home how much we need to lose weight.

I have more trouble than James on this front – despite him being a good few stone heavier than me he’s also got another half a foot, so his chub is much more easily spread out – he’s like a wardrobe – whereas I’m more like a chest of drawers. Or imagine sputnik balanced on a chubby pair of thighs. It’s a bloody nightmare to find anything that fits properly, if at all. It’s like trying to dress a car accident.

As we’ve previously touched upon, we’ve finally found somewhere that caters to our needs that doesn’t result in 100% polyester or finding them between rows of Pringles – except for a Jacamo run on payday we often finds ourselves strutting around a local garden centre and a franchise of Cotton Traders. I know, I know, we’re not on deaths door or enfeebled but the stuff fits. Well, it fits James – I have to make do with a chequered bit of cotton that sits over my belly but results in the breast pocket being underneath my tit, and the bottom of the shirt floating around near my knees, which if I don’t tuck in ends up billowing about like a curtain in a Celine Dion video.

So it all came to a head when I needed a nice suit for a job interview – there’s a few suits in our wardrobe but they’re all suspiciously high in acrylic (it came to a point a few weeks ago that we had to chuck a few out because every time we swished open the floor to ceiling wardrobe door, there’d be a smell of plastic burning and an alarming amount of smoke). Plus, naturally, they are all far too small (keep hold of them…we’ll fit into them eventually, we say…).

Seeing as though I actually wanted this job we decided to splurge out on a reasonably priced one. So, being fat fucks and the garden centre of no use we went online to Jacamo and ordered a few, in different sizes so I could try one or the other and make a choice but all to no avail. I just cannot look good in a suit. At all. It feels like the shoulder pads are jutting out like I’m the sexiest milkmaid ever and I have to swing my arms around like a wind turbine to stop the sleeves from flapping about. It’s an absolute mare.

And, naturally, because it was something nice, the cats immediately took a dislike and left me looking like Grizabella with just a quick vag-flash and an ankle rub. So that was no good. I did manage, however, to hang on to the waistcoat which didn’t do too much of a bad job. It did make me look as though I was presenting Big Break alongside Professional Shitrat Jim Davison, but hey, you can’t have it all.

Perhaps I do need to lose weight then. I would love to be able to get something without schlepping out to a place where I can also get barbecue tongs and a lavender plant. As convenient as it is.

OOH I hear the door. One moment please. CUT TO ADVERTS.


Remember: our Musclefood deal is running for only three more days! 10% off! Canny deal – even if you don’t want it, share it with a friend!

FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that.


Eee yes! Anyway, flying in the face of all of the above, we’re having chippy tea tonight because we’ve had some good news. GASP. But listen, I’m not going to let you down with thoughts of James pushing a spam fritter around his face like a greasy sponge. So let’s get tonight’s recipe done. You can reduce the syns in this by making a proper white sauce but you know sometimes when you get home from work, you want to sit on the settee with your bollocks out doing fuck all? This is for one of those nights. It cooks itself pretty much. Plus, unless you’re super careful, all the white sauces on Slimming World end up looking like something scraped off the side of the bin at the GUM clinic, so, make this, use your syns and rock on. This makes enough for four, so the syns in the soup aren’t that much per serving!

beef and bacon stroganoff

to make beef and bacon stroganoff, you’ll need:

At 15 syns for the whole dish, I’ll call it 4 syns a serving. I know that’s not quite right but hey.

to make beef and bacon stroganoff, you should:

  • chop up your onions, the green pepper and the mushrooms nice and fine
  • sweat it off in a few squirts of spray oil (not Frylight, haway) with the minced garlic
  • add the mince and the chopped bacon and cook it off with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • add in the frozen peas
  • pour the condensed soup into a jug and add the milk – you want a nice thick sauce – you’re not going to have loads of it, but that’s the point
  • lower the heat, add the soup to the mix and simmer gently just to thicken it up – if you want more sauce, add more milk and then simmer it for longer
  • cook the noodles, drain, add the sauce, serve!

 

Easy! Sounds complicated but it’s really just chop, chop, cook, cook, mix. Even you can do that! Oh and we’ve done a couple of stroganoff recipes before, too:

OK, if you want more pasta recipes or beef recipes, go ahead and click on the buttons below.

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Enjoy!

P

delicious buffalo turkey meatball subs

Are you dripping from both ends at the thought of these delicious buffalo turkey meatball subs? Well, I’ll get to them. I will, honest, but first, something awful happened yesterday.

I say yesterday, but it was a few weeks ago – I just didn’t want to write about it because I felt so bad. I’m not a man who easily shames – I’d need the priest to cancel his summer if I ever went into a confessions box – and I’m very much a ‘meh’ person when it comes to morality and decency, but sometimes even I feel penitent. I need to apologise genuinely to everyone out there who thought I was a decent person. Let me explain, OK?

Naturally, because I’m a gobshite, I’ll need to set the scene. It was a glorious summer day – the type of Sunday afternoon that is just fizzing with possibility – do you spend all day watching Four in a Bed re-runs on More 4 or the Come Dine With Me omnibus on 40D? Due to the weather being so damn warm we were at serious risk of bonding directly with our leather sofa so we decided, after peeling ourselves off the leather with a loud, wet fart, to ‘go for a drive’. My parents used to take me and my sister out to go ‘there and back to see how far it is’, and that’s exactly what we planned to do. An amble out in the car to shout loudly at the back of caravans and the front of BMWs.

As you may or may not know, we live near the Northumbrian coast, and it was a matter of minutes before we were beetling up the coast road, with Paul’s terrible taste in music playing loudly through the speakers of my car. That’s the deal. If we take my (better) car he gets to choose the music, meaning eight hours of Tracy Chapman Sucks The Joy Out Of Every Conceivable Situation. Meh, I like doing the driving so I let it slide. Anyway, we had only been going for about fifteen minutes when he turned the music off and turned to me, mischief writ large on his already burning, doughy moon-face, and suggested we go and look at caravans.

Well, I was shocked, let me tell you – Paul has all of his own teeth and isn’t unemployed, so why suggest a caravan? He explained that he didn’t want to buy a caravan, rather just have a nosey around, and that he had seen a sign for an ‘open day’ at a nearby caravan park but a few moments ago. I can’t say no to Paul – one look at his rheumy, beady eyes and I’ll give him the world.  Caravans have never appealed to me – I don’t see the joy in dashing away on holiday to look at the same four walls you’ve previously looked at for a long wet week. The ones I have been in always start of smelling of foist and sex and end up smelling of farts and shame, which perhaps says more about me. I’m not a snob, I’m sure there are some lovely models out there that don’t come in discharge-beige, but they’re just not my scene.

Nevertheless, I turned the car around under the guise of humouring Paul but really wanting to have a nose myself. I’ve always wanted to see how someone could find sweating in a plastic box so inviting. We pulled in at around 1pm with the idea that we would have a gander around a couple of caravans, maybe swear at some children in the bar and buy some cinder toffee for the drive home.

WE WERE THERE FOUR FUCKING HOURS. FOUR! Why? Well, this is the bit I feel I have to apologise for. We had no sooner walked in when some wonderful, charming, effortlessly polite young man hustled over in a veritable cloud of Lynx Africa and sat us down in a comfy chair. I immediately started mouthing DON’T SAY ANYTHING to Paul but he had his eyes on both ends of an eight-berth caravan with balcony and when asked if we’d like a coffee, said yes please. I could see at this point we’d be there a while NOW MY HUSBAND HAS COMMITTED US. Yep.

The guy was charm himself and I didn’t want to feel like we were wasting his time so when asked whether we were thinking about buying, I issued a vague ‘we’ve come into a bit of money but can’t commit today’ in the hope of appeasing him and getting away sharp. No. No, he couldn’t have had a firmer grip on me if he’d sunk his teeth into my scrotum. He promised us a look around, asked a few questions which Paul, lost in a reverie thanks to his machine-brewed cappucino, left me to deal with. I floundered but still the salesman pressed on. He asked us how often we would be visiting (never), what attracted us to caravans (nothing) (perhaps maybe the swinging), how long we’d been together, who held the purse-strings…


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Speaking of purse strings, feel free to blow the dust off your purse and buy some meat. Look at everything you get in our freezer filler – buy it and live like a meat-filled queen. I do.


Out we went. We were treated to an almost two hour tour of the facilities. As caravan parks go I’m sure it was lovely, but I just can’t relax when a good half of the men walking about look like they’re going to kick your teeth out through your arsehole and their wives have more writing on their knuckles than on the work experience bit of their CVs. We wandered down to the beach which afforded us wonderful views – and that part is true, I’ve never seen an aluminium smelter glint in the sunlight with such beauty – but listen, I know what gets discharged into the North Sea (hell, I’m responsible for the worst of it) and I don’t fancy bobbing out of the water with a turd-cigar in my mouth.

Actually, that point was highlighted a little later with the appearance of a ‘secret beach’, a little sandy cove hidden out of sight by virtue of a bit of marshland and the flats of the dried-up river-bed. Nothing says ‘enjoy a summer picnic with me darling’ like watching two seagulls fighting in the carcass of a bloated cat and a rat trying to free itself from a spent condom.

All through the tour the sense of feeling shit for wasting this guy’s time was growing, but we thought he’d be finished in no time and then we could slip away before most of his afternoon was wasted. But he just kept going with his endless energy. I don’t know who his girlfriend is but I bet she walks around with a huge smile and two pairs of chapped lips.

So much time passed that we couldn’t in all good conscience tell him we had only wanted to look around a caravan and nothing more. He extolled the virtues of the site-wide WiFi (because we would definitely want to be on the same network as some of the guys we’d spotted looking mournfully from their caravan windows, yessir), the on-site entertainment and the swimming pool. Actually, the pool looked great – it’s been ages since I’d had a verruca to pick at. I’m not going to fib though – whether it was the heat of the day, my body expressing shock at moving more than 100 yards under my own steam or just his excellent sales patter, the idea of owning a caravan here was starting to look more tempting. If only so I could lie down and scratch my feet with a match-box.

We finished the afternoon with the most awkward hour of my life – looking someone in the eye who was so keen for a sale that he skipped over my obvious attempts at deflection – we’re gay, Paul’s an arsonist, I have bail conditions banning me from being near old folk – with that deft, assured mannerism that must come from months of getting people off the fence and into caravan ownership. He asked for a number to contact me on and in my haste to get away I gave him the right number – which he then called a day or two later – thus this being the first instance of me giving my number of a guy and him not immediately scribbling it on a toilet wall with the annotation ‘CAN TAKE THREE AT ONCE’. We discussed finance packages, we discussed carpet options, whether I’d bring my own gas from home (I always do, I chortled, and the crowd went mild), park rules (which essentially boiled down to not nicking the copper from the exchange box and not being a grass), whether my parents would be interested and whether we’d need a two double-bed set-up. I exclaimed that we weren’t that fat which finally seemed to kill the mood and, after many promises that we would be in touch, we were able to slink away.

Paul made to put his Tracy Chapman music back on once we were in the car but I slapped his hand away and reminded him that as his cappucino had almost cost us £30,000 in 6540 crippling monthly payments, I’d choose the music. Our salesman called us a few days later and we explained that my parents hadn’t quite died just yet and that we’d be in contact and do you know, he was so nice – said no worries, thanked us for a lovely afternoon and bid us goodbye. I was so stricken with guilt that I immediately called back and asked if I could send a letter in about his wonderful customer service (and it really was – fair enough he chewed my ears off but he was polite, courteous and charming to an absolute fault) but he said we didn’t need to, as long as we kept him in mind if we ever wanted a caravan. I felt like I’d kicked a begging dog to death.

So, my apology then. A big, heartfelt genuine apology to the poor lad who showed us around for an entire afternoon with the impression we were going to buy a caravan. We weren’t. We had gone in just to have a nose about and were too cowardly to say we were just nebbing. In our defence, we did try to make it obvious we couldn’t commit, but you were so impassioned by your job that we didn’t want to break your spirit. There comes a point a couple of hours in when it’s too late to back out and we hit that point around the time of the secret beach. But: you were great, you really were, and if we ever do decide that we want to give up on life and get a caravan, we’ll come to you. I hope we’re forgiven. I still think of you when I get stuck behind a Shitcabin Deluxe-3000 on the A69 and even now the remorse is raw. Goodbye, Mr Caravan Man.


Now, before anyone kicks off, let me reiterate one thing: this blog is written for comic effect. Of course the folk at the caravan park weren’t exceptionally rough and I’m sure it’s a charming place to stay with kids. It’s not our cup of tea, no, but I’m not genuinely taking the piss. If you enjoy them, go, and have a whale of a time. I’ll watch from the car. With the windows up. In the height of summer. I’ll take the risk.

Oh, as an aside, remember my dislike of caravans for a much later post, won’t you? We’re planning something fun in 2017 which might just revisit them…

I love a Subway sandwich, and see we’ve made a marinara sub before which you can find right here. I’ve said 2.5 syns per sub – it’s actually a fraction less – but you have to make sure you’re using a HEB bun! Or Mags herself will come and smack your ankles in with an iron bar. It’s the rules!

buffalo turkey meatball subs

to make buffalo turkey meatball subs you will need:

serves 6

to make buffalo turkey meatball subs you should:

  • in a large bowl, mix together the turkey mince, celery, carrots, garlic, chilli powder, paprika, panko, parmesan and egg, and roll into 18 meatballs
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook the meatballs until cooked through – turn them regularly!
  • when cooked, plop three into each bun and top with one tbsp of natural yoghurt, and 1 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • eat

Admittedly, it’s a sloppy eat and you’re going to end up looking like you’ve been the bullseye at a badly-gone-wrong bukkake party, but hey! Enjoy this fakeaway? Click the buttons below for more ideas on fakeaways, beef or poultry!

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Mwah!

J

mini meat volcanoes – taster night idea

Just a quick post tonight – we’ve got far too much ironing to be fannying on with, and a whole sky box of Jeremy Kyle waiting for us. Don’t fret though, because we’ve got an absolute belter lined up for you which is another notch on the bedpost for a snack, taster night idea AND for a proper meal! I know, I know, we spoil you. Speaking of spoiling, we spent a lovely few hours today out and about at Brysons in Gateshead which is a great local animal shelter – if you’re in the area and looking for a new pet, please do give them a look – they take wonderful care of all their animals and provide a great service. We took the handsome Harvey out for a walk around Eighton Banks and were mesmerised by his wobbling bum. I think any animal becomes a hundred times cuter when they’re a little chubby. We also spent some time getting our hands on some pussy which, believe me, we don’t get to say very often. Our own cats are now in a massive sulk with us and insist on only coming near us to fart. The dirty buggers.

Today’s recipe, then – we got the idea from/ripped it off from one of those videos you see looping and making you shit yourself when the sound starts going off on Facebook – full link here if you want to take a look for yourself. We’ve adapted it slightly to make it more Slimming World friendly. A doddle to make, taste fantastic and a new, interesting way to tart up mince. Oh I know that they’re not especially photogenic, but not everything needs to look like it’s come out of Smug Fucker magazine.

mini meat volcanoes

This makes nine. 1.5 syns for the lot.

to make mini meat volcanoes you will need:

to make mini meat volcanoes you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • carefully cut the slices of ham to make 9 thin slices – they don’t need to be neat, no-one is standing behind you tutting and this isn’t Art Attack
  • in a bowl, mix together the mince, salt, pepper and onion granules
  • divide the mixture into nine and roll into balls
  • loosely wrap the ham around the ball to make a ‘collar’ – making sure the two ends overlap
  • gently push your thumb into the middle and pinch the edges to make a cup shape – do this for all nine
  • place the cups into a large baking tray or yorkshire pudding tin
  • drop a slice of jalapeno into each cup, a small dollop of passata and top with a chunk of mozarella
  • cook in the oven for about twenty minutes

Serve with speed foods, or, if you’re normal, chips. These can also be stuffed in a tupperware box and eaten cold at a taster session. But listen, that’s a lot of meat to be sharing with people who have probably only brought in a rotten banana or made a Mug Shot in the kitchen. Fuck ’em, take a bag of Snack a Jacks instead.

If you’re looking for more beef or taster night ideas, click the buttons below:

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J

best ever spaghetti bolognese

Yes! The best ever spaghetti bolognese! Well no, you can do so much better by adding things like bone marrow or bacon or delicious dates but I don’t want to be responsible for any weigh-in-ladies getting slapped around the chops, so this is the best you can do within a reasonable amount of syns. We have done a syn free version way back when which you can find here.

Anyway, we weren’t going to post today but see we were discussing in bed this morning our old crushes. Everyone has them – that one celebrity that makes you damp and uncomfortable in the minnie-moo area. Because Paul’s common, most of his were characters from Eastenders because seemingly that was all that was on in the smokehouse where he grew up. Mine are a little more cultured. Pffft. Without further delay:

Paul’s old crushes – then and now

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What can we take from this? Well, it certainly explains why he calls me Sonia during sex and makes me do a little turn on the trumpet to kick things off. It also demonstrates that, if you were lucky enough to have teenage Paul rub one out over the thought of you, you are blessed with immortality and NEVER AGE. Seriously, aside from the chap on the bottom who has upgraded his weirdly phallic beard into a decent sculpted affair and Sean from 5ive looking slightly more boss-eyed, no-one has changed!

Bonus mentions for: the fat Di Marco from Eastenders (who I couldn’t put into the pictures because there’s not a recent photo of him – luckily he hasn’t died. Well no, his acting career has. Bitch). Reese from Malcolm in the Middle.

James’ old crushes – then and now

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Mine are a little more obvious, no? I ummed and aahed over that picture of Tyrone there – just to be clear, the actor is two years older than me so I’m SURE he’s over age then. AND I WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE 16, SO GIVE ME A BREAK. Anyway Paul and I both agree he’s aged well and we were both aghast and stiff when that evil walking Afro was setting about his nethers with the hoover extension. Bears and BDSM, what can I say. Viktor Krum was quite possibly more a case of being in love with his red jacket and furry muff than anything to do with those strong, Slavic eyebrows and jaw. He does however seem to have aged into someone you’d see on the front page of a local paper being sentenced for ripping off old ladies for bogus roof repairs. Pity. Oh and Travis Fimmel – now there’s an interesting one. I just can’t think what attracted me about the top left picture as a young’un – I remember I used to pass a giant billboard for Calvin Klein’s Crave on the way to college and there’s just something that caught my eye. That kind of look is the antithesis of the type of man that Paul and I find attractive – which makes it all the more curious that he now looks like someone we’d both let sit on our face and pedal our ears. Eee, isn’t lust fun.

Bonus mentions: Rhino and Shadow from Gladiators. I swear they’re about 60% responsible for my homosexuality. Not because of their looks, as such, but rather their costumes. Good lord. Thank goodness we didn’t have 3D TV’s back in the day – we would have needed to move the settee back a good half a foot. I vaguely remember liking Toadfish from Neighbours but a quick look at google images reveals that this couldn’t have been true given he used to look like a tiny version of Penn from Penn and Teller – or, nineties fans, the Head of the Witches Council from Sabrina. I never had much time for the dreamboats like Harvey from Sabrina or Billy Kennedy from Neighbours. Too pretty. I used to enjoy Janice’s bit on the side in Coronation Street (Dennis?) – he’s a bit of a gay icon! Oh and Krycek from The X-Files. And Mulder! And poor Pendrell! I’d go on, but it’s too difficult to type with the keyboard constantly being nudged away from me. So let’s do the recipe!

I’m putting this recipe up so you have a reason to use up the rest of the wine you might have used for our previous recipe for dirty macaroni. But come on. We both know you drank it, you filthy lush.

best ever spaghetti bolognese

to make the best ever spaghetti bolognese you will need:

to make the best ever spaghetti bolognese you should:

  • bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions – although for fucks sake, it’s spaghetti – boil it, eat it – if you can’t manage that, perhaps it’s time to give Dignitas a call
  • meanwhile, heat a large pan over a high heat and add a little oil

Just jumping in for a second – we get asked a lot about what pans we use that are non-stick enough not to need loads of oil. Now, I know there’s loads out there made from ceramic or teflon or whatever, and they’re probably alright, but we bought some Le Creuset casserole dishes a few years ago and genuinely use the big casserole dish every single day – without anything sticking and (gasp) we clean it in the dishwasher. They are expensive – very expensive – but absolutely and utterly worth it. Buy cheap and buy twice, after all. Amazon currently have a discount – why not treat yourself?

  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • remove the mince from the pan using a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside
  • in the same pan quickly cook the onions for 3-4  minutes
  • add the chopped garlic and cook for another 2 minutes
  • add the chicken stock to the pan to deglaze (i.e. get your wooden spoon and scrape all the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan) and stir the onions often until the stock has reduced by half
  • add the wine to the pan and do the same again
  • add the bay leaves to the pan and the passata, bring to the boil
  • reduce the heat slightly and cook until it has thickened slightly, which will take about 6 minutes or so. add salt and pepper to taste
  • remove the bay leaves, add the mince and the spaghetti to the pan and mix to combine
  • serve with lots of black pepper, parmesan from your HEA and some basil leaves

DELICIOUS.

If you’re looking for more pasta or beef recipes, click on the links below!

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Now I’m off to put my greengrocer’s tabard on for Paul.

J

stuffed onions and a revelation

You want a recipe for stuffed onions – listen, I understand – you can find it just below the next few paragraphs of gibberish. 

Firstly, welcome to all our new subscribers. Not sure what has happened but we seem to have gained over 800 subscribers in the space of a few weeks! Goodness. Just a quick bit of admin before we get started – we’re not Slimming World consultants, so everything we say shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but we have been following the plan for years and are confident our recipes stack up syn-wise. We’re obliged to tell you that we’re definitely not Slimming World Official though. Which is good, as it means I can say fuck. Thank fuck!

Secondly, I know, we’re terrible. We went away on another holiday. Because Berlin, Ireland, Corsica, Iceland and New York just weren’t enough. One of the benefits of homosexuality, see, pink disposable income and no money-draining children to look after. The extent of our responsibility is to make sure that we leave the cats plenty of food to be getting on with and leaving instructions with our lovely neighbours for the alarm code. To be fair, it has been a bit of a topsy-turvy couple of weeks and we needed a break. We decamped to glorious Cornwall for a few days in a lovely cottage with an outdoor bath, and you can be assured that I’ll rattle off a couple of entries of our thoughts on that in due course.

However, we must take a moment to stop with the gurning and sarcasm and be serious for a moment. You’re going to laugh because I’m sure long-term readers will have read sentiments like this several times over on this blog, but we’re recommitted. We had a run of ‘big events’ at the end of March – birthday, a death, a hen party, a work night out, which then followed by a holiday means a big gain. This can’t go on! We can’t keep losing weight for a few weeks and then hoying it all back on in a glut of naughty food and too much alcohol. You know when you see some ashen-faced chunker on This Morning being told that if they don’t lose weight, they’ll die / be unable to have kids / need someone to come in with a block-and-tackle to get them off the sofa before Gino D’Acampo comes on to do his bit on spaghetti? You see the moment of realisation hit them as if they’ve seen the runners putting the buffet table away.

Well, Paul and I have both had that moment of realisation. A simultaneous awakening. I picked up a sack of potatoes in Morrisons (my life isn’t always this cosmopolitan) and realised it weighed five stone. Realistically, I could probably stand to lose one and a half of these sacks. It’s no wonder I ache all the time carrying around all this extra fat – I have arthritis and I should give my joints a rest. I’m tired of getting out of what I thought was an empty bath only for half the bathwater that was dammed behind my back fat suddenly appear with a loud fart noise. I’m sick of worrying whenever I get on an aeroplane that:

  1. the seatbelt won’t fit;
  2. I’ll be sat next to someone who will tut and sigh when he sees me stumbling down the aisle; and
  3. if the plane crashes, I’ll pop the escape slide on the way down, although the resulting blast of air might put out the fire, so perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.

I’m genuinely sad that I have to buy my clothes from online piano-dressers Jacamo or, if I’m lucky, I might find a shirt hidden right at the back of the rail in Tesco that doesn’t make me look like a hot air balloon crash. As I reckon a lot of fat people do, I’m constantly worried that I’m sweaty or that I smell. Which is ridiculous. I wear Tom Ford, for goodness sake. I’m horrendously unfit too – I get out of breath when my mind wanders, let alone a long country walk. More importantly, if I carry on – and if I haven’t already – I’m going to wreck my body and die young. I don’t want to die young, I want to be an old man who shouts at children and releases silent farts on public transport. To be fair, I do both now, but I want to be able to pretend to be deaf to the cries of my fellow passengers.

I know Paul feels the same, and then some. See, whereas I have a decent height to carry off my weight, so at least don’t look like a sphere with a face drawn on it, Paul came up short in the lottery of legs and looks like a wee egg in Build-a-Bear shoes. My dad, always the joker, described Paul as a skip. That’s my dad’s humour (and where I get it from) but Paul will cheerfully agree that he is skip-like – certainly, you can put anything into him without resistance. That’s come in handy during our marriage. I’d love my husband if he became so fat that he collapsed in on himself and turned into a puddle of Crisp ‘n’ Dry and gristle, but as it stands, we’re racing each other to the grave. He’s been told he has a fatty liver – personally, I’d be surprised if his liver didn’t have a butter-top like a breakfast crumpet – and he’s also been recommended to try Orlistat, which immediately and secretly voids any ingested fat out of your anus. We’re refusing on the grounds that we’ve just bought a new car and sofa and the last thing we need is carrot-orange liquid fat seeping out of his underwear. We buy our briefs from Tesco, they’re hardly going to keep the floods back. 

We did have a discussion about continuing with Slimming World, though. Deep down, I do feel that the plan is a little too restrictive and yes, whilst it certainly gets results, there’s a lot of rebounding that goes on with the diet. I’ve seen many, many ‘success stories’ fill out and slip back over the years. I sometimes feel that if we simply followed the calories out being more than calories in rule, we’d probably lose and – whisper it – enjoy it more. I hate the fact that an avocado – a perfectly healthy, good for you snack – has more syns than a Kitkat. I dislike the fact that you’re actively encouraged to almost bathe in Muller Lights, despite them being absolutely loaded with sweetener and sugar – but a drop of honey is dreadful. Plus, it’s all a bit twee. I’m not a fan of the nuclear smiles and the edifying, cloying language used in the magazines and books, either. 

However, it’s what we know, and what we write about, so we’re going to really give it a go. Increase our speed foods. Keep a food diary. Exercise more. Stop being lazy. Stay to group and clap until our hands look like a prostitute’s labia majora. I’m not promising a post a day but hell, we’ve got several lined up, so stay tuned. I’ll even dust off the knobometer at some point, but not until we’re back to the weight we last left it at. 

Oh: we have Fitbit Charge HRs now – these measure our steps, heart-rate and sleep patterns. My Charge HR’s heartbeat monitor was going mad as I took it out of the box but that’ll be the shock of paying for the fucking thing. If you want to add us as friends, look for jaymes@twochubbycubs.com and paul@twochubbycubs.com and go from there. If you’re on the fence about Fitbits, get one. What’s the worst that’ll happen? It does look like the world’s chicest bail tag but hey. I’m just glad it got all the way around my wrist – I would have hated to have to email asking for an extension. You can pick one up from Amazon by clicking here – all the various options are set out clearly. Give it a go! When we figure it out, we’ll set up some twochubbycubs challenges and you can win a branded pinny or something.

Finally, thanks all for entering into the spirit of things and giving our Musclefood competition a go – I’ll be drawing out the lucky name tomorrow and sending an email to the winner in the next couple of days. If you’ve entered, keep your eyes open!

Let’s get to the food then, eh? Stuffed onions! No really. Hear me out.

stuffed onions

Don’t they look pretty? We served ours on a bed of couscous because we’re all frou-frou like that. Do you see what I did there? This makes enough mixture to fill six decent sized onions. We used large white onions from Morrisons – they’re an actual thing, not just a description – proper white onions. But you can do this with any large onion, though obviously if it’s a bog-standard onion it’ll be very oniony. Yes.

to make stuffed onions, you’ll need:

  • one 400g pack of extra-lean beef mince (like the ones you get in our fantastic freezer filling Musclefood deal that we’ve secured exclusively for you – click here for that!)
  • six large white onions
  • 125g of chopped onion, which you can take from the onions you cook with
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced using a fabulous mincer like this one from Amazon
  • pinch of cayenne
  • beef stock cube
  • 1 egg
  • one small wholemeal breadbun (HEB) turned into breadcrumbs
  • optional: chopped peppers, mushrooms, peas

and to make stuffed onions, you should:

  • turn the oven onto 190 degrees
  • to prepare each onion – cut the top and bottom off the onion so that it can sit ‘upright’, with the hole at the top being wide enough to get a tablespoon into – then slowly scoop out the centre of the onion using your spoon. It’s far easier than it sounds, though a messy job. You’ll get a couple of layers out and then you can actually squeeze the rest out, leaving a thick layer on the outside – cover the hole at the bottom with a bit of onion and there you go, onions you can stuff – I stood mine up in a Yorkshire pudding tray so they didn’t tumble over
  • to make the stuffing – fry off the onion and garlic gently until golden, adding the pepper, cayenne and salt as you go – I use a few squirts of Filipo Berio rather than Frylight, boo – up to you if you syn this half syn between four people. If you do, get out now, you’re not for this blog
  • add the mushrooms, peppers or peas if you’re using them
  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • crumble over the beef stock cube
  • whilst everything is hot, crack the egg into the mince and stir vigorously – you don’t want scrambled eggs
  • add the breadcrumbs
  • spoon into the onions, making them nice and packed, and cook for around thirty minutes until golden – keep an eye to make sure they don’t burn!

Enjoy. Serve with speed foods on the side, naturally.

We’re back!

J