brussels sprout and bacon risnotto

Ah yes, good old brussels sprout and bacon risnotto – it’s our way of making risotto without having to stand over your pan stirring furiously and blinking back hot tears of lament over what your life has become. For me, life is just too short to stir stock. Who else is going to sit aimlessly in front of the TV silently judging the teeth on Jeremy Kyle or simmering with rage at another advert with a twee vocal cover version of a song? Bloody Battersea Dogs’ Home and their I Only Want To Be With You shite. Bah!

No time for length tonight as it’s been a long day sorting out presents for Old Mother Hubbard. 

Actually, my poor mother gets a lot of stick on here, but she’s really quite wonderful. Helpful, pleasant, decent haircut – all words that she’s used to describe me at times. We’re not one of those families that sit around over dinner every Sunday laughing gaily and talking about the neighbours, but we’re close and I couldn’t do without either of them. So: mother, I’ll put this on here because you’re too tight to buy your son’s book – happy mother’s day. Enjoy it, and remember to smile, for it is I who chooses the care-home.

Tonight’s meal uses a much-maligned vegetable – the sprout. It’s a shame these little balls of farts don’t get more love – they’re great for you, cheap to buy and very versatile. Yes, they smell like a church cushion when they’re cooked and admittedly, they look like the Jolly Green Giant’s haemorrhoids, but still, make do. If you’re not a fan still give this dish a go – it doesn’t taste like sprouts, but their nutty flavour seeps into the dish. 

This recipe very easily serves four. You’ll need a decent pot to cook it in though, or at least a good non-stick pan. I’m telling you, buy a Le Creuset casserole pot. Yes, they’re expensive but we use ours every single day and it remains entirely non-stick and wonderful to cook with. Plus, lifetime guarantee AND you get to be a Barry Big Bollocks when anyone comes around. What price can you put on that? Actually, £110, reduced from £170, right here at the time of writing. It’s quite honestly the best thing in our kitchen.

brussels sprout and bacon risnotto

to make brussels sprout and bacon risnotto, you’ll need:

  • 250g of peeled brussels sprouts (we just buy them ready done from Tesco, oh the extravagance!)
  • eight medallions of bacon (did you know you get fabulous, lovely bacon in our Musclefood deal? Why not have a look? No seriously, come on, look!)
  • one large white onion
  • one minced garlic clove
  • as many peas as you dare
  • 350g of risotto/arborio rice
  • 900ml of chicken or vegetable stock
  • pepper and parmesan (taken from your healthy extra at the end)

to make brussels sprout and bacon risnotto, you should:

  • prepare the sprouts by slicing them thinly, whether you use a knife, mandolin slicer or a food processor
  • slice the onion and bacon into small chunks
  • tip the onion, bacon, sprouts and garlic into a good, solid non-stick pan and put on a medium heat, allowing everything to cook and sweat nicely
  • once your onions are golden and the bacon is cooked, tip in the peas and the rice
  • stir the rice through the juice of the onions and bacon, but don’t over-stir, you’re mixing delicate flavours and good wishes, not cement
  • pour in the stock and immediately cover the pan – cook for twenty minutes on a medium heat (8 on our induction hob, which goes to 15) – don’t lift the lid to peek, don’t cheat
  • after twenty minutes take a look – if you feel it needs a bit longer, go for it, but remember it’ll cook away for a bit without any heat
  • serve with pepper and parmesan
  • if we’re feeling particularly filthy, we’ll stir in our HEA allowance of soft cheese or a good dollop of mustard

Have a good evening, all,

J

syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots

Christ, what a bloody awful last couple of days with this website! We’ve had a right fart-on with moving it from a different server to a fancy new one, but finally, it should mean no more errors and subsquently, no more tearful messages from ladies wanting my beef recipe. SO: here’s the recipe I was going to post two nights ago before it all went to cock.


Not a post tonight, really, but I wanted to chuck this recipe on as quick as we can. By far and away our most popular and visited recipe is the one for our amazing syn-free tater tots. Only problem with that recipe is that, although it tastes bloody amazing, it’s a bit of a fart-on to cut up all the potatoes into cubes. If you have the time, do it, it’s amazing, but if not (or if you’ve spent too long watching “videos” on the Internet despite promising your other half you’d make tea), here’s a much quicker option. This serves four and uses four HEA’s worth of cheese.

syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots

to make syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots you’ll need:

  • one small carton of passata
  • one tablespoon of tomato puree
  • two tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
  • pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
  • 500g of beef mince, remember to keep it on or below 5%, like the EXCELLENT MINCE FROM OUR MUSCLEFOOD DEAL JUST SAYIN’ JEEZ
  • two garlic cloves, minced, perhaps using one of these fine mincers
  • one strong white onion, chopped
  • one green pepper, chopped finely
  • one beef oxo cube
  • spring onions
  • 500g of soup pasta – this is tiny, tiny pasta shells you can buy from most supermarkets – in Tesco it’s called marghartine, but essentially any tiny pasta will do (and it’s dirt cheap)
  • 120g of grated reduced fat red leicester cheese (3 x HEA)
  • 75g of reduced fat Philadelphia (1 x HEA)
  • Sriracha (or any hot sauce) – Sriracha is half a syn per tablespoon and that’s all we used for the whole dish, so if you want to be anal-Marie, syn the dish at 0.12 syns a bloody serving, but if you’re that way inclined, just get out

to make syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots you should:

  • it’s really a bolognese bake, but with a few extra nice ingredients, so…
  • chop your onion and pepper finely and soften it in a medium-heated pan with dab of oil or bloody Frylight booooooo
  • add the minced garlic as the onion starts to go golden and cook for a minute or so
  • tip in the mince and brown it off
  • add the beef stock cube, worcestershire sauce (reduce this if you’re not a huge fan), salt and pepper, passata and puree
  • give it a reet good stir and allow to simmer away so the sauce thickens and you’ve got a nice mince, like so many men tell me I have
  • whilst that’s bubbling, cook your tiny pasta – watch it doesn’t go too overcooked, it only needs a minute or so in bubbling water – just try it and if it’s cooked, get it drained and shake as much water out as possible – really go for it
  • measure out your philadelphia and stir it through the warm pasta with a pinch of black pepper and salt – you’re not aiming for saturation here, just a nice taste throughout
  • mix everything together in one big over-proof pan, top with the grated cheese and grill for around 5 or 7 minutes, until it looks delicious
  • sprinkle with chopped spring onions and a few dabs of hot sauce, and serve!

Of course you can tailor this, add more veg, do what you like, but this is syn-free as long as you use your HEAs. It makes a ginormous serving for each person too! In short, we’re replacing the cubed potatoes with tiny pasta, and it becomes more like a super cheesy pasta bake, but by god it’s wonderful! ENJOY.

Remember to share this recipe wherever you can, it really helps us!

J

rosemary and goat cheese macaroni cheese

That awkward moment when you’re about to start a blog post, you open your blinds for inspiration and just over the road is the sight of a neighbour getting changed with his curtains open, his saggy back and ‘Yes, I read the Daily Express’ underwear on show for all to see. I hope he doesn’t think I was peeking – I’d get more sexual gratification from reading the ingredients list on a Rustlers burger. It’s only fair, they’ve seen Paul and I in the altogether enough time to draw a timelapse of our bodies from memory, like a particularly gruesome version of the Take on Me video. They’d certainly need a big pencil. Fnar fnar.

I’m somewhat tetchy as sleep hasn’t been especially forthcoming lately. No dramatic reason – Monday night I was awoken by Paul farting so loudly I thought someone had been shot. I couldn’t decide whether my heart was beating so quickly due to the shock or because my body was trying desperately to dilate my nostrils as quick as possible in the hope of getting some fresh air. I appreciate that’s crass but honestly, I couldn’t drift off for another four hours. I had to get up and wash the dishes.

Last night was the worst, though. Went to bed full of good intentions and Chinese food at an entirely appropriate midnight. The blinds were drawn, our ceiling awash with stars from the little projector we have. All very serene. I was asleep before you could say ‘Oh I wouldn’t love, it’s like a ploughed field back there’.

Woke up at 1am by the heating. Yes, the heating. Our house is now controlled by a tiny Nest thermostat which is apparently learning when we’d like the house to be warm and when we want it colder than a mother in law’s kiss. For whatever reason, it decided that at 1am on a Wednesday morning I’d like to be cremated, because, not kidding, I woke up so hot I almost set off the smoke alarm. If Paul had hurled a pan of boiling sugar in my face I’d have been refreshed. I didn’t even know our house could get to that temperature but somehow it managed it. I went to shake Paul awake because well, I wasn’t going to get up, but touching him was like trying to catch a fish in a barrel full of lube, he was so slick with sweat. He’s lucky, he could sleep through a plane crash. I wandered into the hallway to be bathed in light from our ‘reassuring’ smoke alarm (seriously, it lights up the hallway when you go for a piss so you don’t stub your toe, how thoughtful), clocked the cat having a Solero to cool down, and adjusted the heating from ‘Magma’. Perhaps it’s trying to kill us.

I retired back to bed, after bailing all of Paul’s sweat out of the bed and onto the floor, and drifted back off, comforted by the sound of my skin blistering as I slept.

At 1.45am, the cat, clearly refreshed, thought it was altogether too unfair that I had briefly teased him an hour ago, and proceeded to climb onto my pillow and start doing that ‘knead-knead-purr’ thing that cats do when they want your attention / want feeding. He was immediately (delicately) shot-putted out of the window (we live in a bungalow, it’s fine, he bounces) and I tried to return to the Land of Nod.

Nope.

At around 2.30am, the cat came back through the cat-flap with such ferocity that he must have nudged the sensor on the back door just enough to set the house alarm caterwauling. Paul slept on, I stumbled out of bed calling the world a c*nt, turned the alarm off and then furiously made myself a cup of tea. It’s amazing how much rage you can funnel into boiling a kettle, honestly. At this point, after my tea, there was little chance of sleeping, not least because I wasn’t entirely unconvinced I wasn’t being pranked by the Big Man Upstairs (God, not some gimp we keep in the attic – though I don’t believe in either). I had the impression that had I gone to sleep, the bed would have burst ‘hilariously’ into flames or someone would have driven a car through the window. I lay in bed, reached for my iPad, clicked it on and was immediately castigated by Paul who claimed the tiny ‘tick’ noise had woken him up ‘AND IT’S NO BLOODY WONDER YOU DON’T SLEEP WITH THAT THING BLARING AWAY’. Blaring away! This from a man who would cheerfully sleep through someone cutting off his leg with a fucking butter knife. So naturally I stabbed him to death and buried him in the garden. 

I lay in bed some more, contemplating death and/or sleep. Neither came. I read somewhere that masturbation is nature’s sedative but given Paul was on HIGH ALERT from the sound of one finger hitting a glass screen, ten minutes of my wrist fwapping away wouldn’t have helped. It might have been worth it just to get revenge of Paul and give him a face mask for the morning, but no.  I got my headphones, put on a podcast about funfairs in the vain hope that the polite chatter would lull me away, but no, ten minutes in and I was awaken by the sound of screaming kids on a rollercoaster channeled directly into my ear. At this point, I gave up entirely, had a bath for two hours, stared at Paul in the darkness and watched Jeremy Kyle with the subtitles on and someone gurning away in the corner. A signer, not Graham. I’ve never been so sick of my life as I was this morning, with dawn creeping in.

Still, other people have it worse, don’t they?

Tonight’s recipe is simple enough to make – it’s macaroni cheese, but poshed up a bit with the addition of roasted garlic and a sauce made from goat cheese and Quark. Oh and there’s rosemary, for that ostentatious-bastard look.

IMG_2277

Look, it’s really hard to make a white dish on a white plate look attractive. It did taste good though! This serves four. There’s a lot of garlic in there but it adds so much flavour, and garlic cooked slowly loses a lot of potency, You could leave it out if you don’t want to be Stinky McGee though.

so to make rosemary and goat cheese macaroni cheese, you’ll need:

  • 400g pasta
  • 100g soft goats cheese (14 syns between four)
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
  • 115g quark
  • 3 tbs dried rosemary
  • a head of garlic

so to make rosemary and goat cheese macaroni cheese, you should:

  • cut a head of garlic in half horizontally, rub on a bit of oil, put on a tray and put in the oven on a low heat for an hour or so, then scoop out all the sugary, sticky garlic and put to one side
  • heat a large pan of boiling water and cook the pasta according to instructions – reserving about 200ml of the pasta water, and drain and set aside
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the chicken, cooking until golden
  • reduce the heat to low and add the cheese, quark and rosemary and stir well to combine, adding in the soft sticky garlic flesh from earlier
  • add the mixture to the drained pasta, adding a little pasta water as necessary to loosen the sauce and serve

 

competition: get your box crammed full of syn-free meat!

Well, I did promise you a competition, didn’t I? Admittedly, you’re not going to drive away with a brand new car whose axles you could grind to dust, or a supermarket dash around Aldi (where after five minutes, you could easily pull together £12.75 worth of produce) – instead I’m giving you a chance  to fill your freezer with syn-free meat. Well, maybe not fill, but it certainly touch the sides. I can’t be held responsible if you’re a bit gappy. A smidge welly-top, if you will.

MEATCOMPETITION

So, how does this work? Easy! First, click the image above. You’ll be taken to our facebook page, where all you need to do is like the image (like the page first if you’re not already a fan, and if that’s the case, shame on you!), share it with friends or via a group, and leave a comment with your favourite twochubbycubs recipe – simple as that! In two weeks time we’ll pick a random name and make contact, and we’ll get a lovely box of meat delivered to you just as quick as you like. You remember our deal? All the meat above for £40, a perfect bargain! You can find recipes to use with every bit of meat by clicking here and you can order a box yourself by clicking here! EASY.

Right, that’s quite enough of that.

Today has been a weirdly emotional day with various odds and sods. Not emotional for me because I have all the depth and emotional range of a postbox, but certainly dealing with others. I’m no good at dealing with people who are upset, especially when they’re people I actually like, so I’ve most of the day with a face like I’m shitting out pinecones and avoiding making conversation. I watch other people who seem to know exactly the right thing to say to console people, and I do try my best, but I always end up putting my foot in it, saying something awful or making it worse. It’s like when someone brings in a baby and everyone descends to coo and go ‘oooh, isn’t he/she lovely’. I don’t like babies and because I’ve got the empathy of an introverted rock, I just go and hide in the toilets. So not only do people think I’m coldhearted but that I’ve also got the skitters. At least they stay away.

Today was actually my first full day back, too. I’m lucky in that I enjoy my job, I really do, and the people are for the most part charming and lovely, but I’d still (like everyone else, I imagine) sooner be sunning my back-hair on a nice beach somewhere. You always imagine that a holiday will result in you coming back to the office refreshed and full of vim, whereas I actually find myself sulking for a good two weeks about ‘what could have been’.

sundried tomato and cheesy spinach pasta

Tonight’s recipe is unusual in that we didn’t manage to take a photo because we tucked in too quick, story of our lives. You’ll have to imagine what it looks like – a tomatoey, creamy pasta with all the taste and wonder you come to expect from our recipes. It serves four and works out at half a syn per portion, thanks to the dried sundried tomatoes. Dried tomatoes are cracking – just bring them back to life by chucking them in some boiling water for ten minutes or so. Because there’s no picture, I’ll just park this picture here instead. I’ve just got no idea what it is. Yep.

xehwgLr

you’re going to be needing this:

  • 250g dried tagliatelle
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 28g sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 120g 0% fat natural yoghurt
  • 50g fromage frais
  • 50g baby spinach
  • dried chilli flakes

got that? fabulous – you should then do this:

  • bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the tagliatelle and cook that motherfucker until it’s superbly al-dente (don’t cook it until it’s Al Murray mind), then drain and keep aside 250ml of the pasta water
  • in a bowl mix together the yoghurt and fromage frais and set aside
  • in a small pan heat a little oil or pffffrylight and add the garlic and sundried tomatoes (up to you if you want to bring them back to life in some boiling water beforehand) and cook for about two minutes
  • reduce the heat to low and add the chopped tomatoes and puree and mix well
  • remove from the heat, leave to cool for a few minutes and add the yoghurt and fromage frais in small amounts until well mixed. If you add the yoghurt in whilst it is still really warm, it’ll split. It will taste fine, yes, but it will look like the contents of a pair of knickers wedged behind the toilet in a Yates Wine Lodge
  • cook the tomato mixture over a low heat for a few minutes until warmed through
  • add salt and pepper to taste and the spinach and gently cook until wilted
  • add the mixture to the cooked pasta, add the reserved water slowly to your own preference and mix well
  • serve and top with the red chilli flakes

This is pretty much just cook the pasta, cook everything else, and mix together. It’s not a flash harry dinner, but you know, it tastes good and it hits the spot, so what more do you want from me? BLOOD? Screw you!

J

budget week: dressed spaghetti with eggs

Only a quick post tonight as we’re out shopping, so I’m reposting a particularly relevant part of the blog that I typed out a while back – seems perfect for budget week! Enjoy. The recipe could not be simpler, it’s just dressed spaghetti with fried eggs. Sounds dull, but really, the combinations of flavours combined with a runny yolk makes it almost like a meatless carbonara, and it’s worth giving it a go. Without further delay then…

Bulk buy the staples

Long time readers may remember The Cat Hotel – we cleared out our shed, fitted shelving and use it to store bulk purchases of anything that is either on a considerable discount or cheaper to buy in bulk. So to this end we always have masses and masses of Slimming World staples – chopped tomatoes, beans, pasta, spaghetti, chickpeas, tinned veg, stock cubes, salt, vinegar, sauces, rice. We generally buy these in bulk from Costco – to give you an example of savings here, you can pick up 24 tins of excellent quality chopped tomatoes for around £7, or 28p a tin. Yes, you can buy them cheaper in Tesco if you go down to the ‘Aren’t I a cheapskate’ range, but you’re getting red piss in a tin with a tomato crust. There would be more tomato flavour if you sucked the tomato on the tin wrapper. Bulk buying nearly always pays for itself in the end plus you’ve always got something in – many a time Paul and I will just have a tin of beans for dinner because we’re too busy illegally downloading TV shows and living the life of Riley. By the way, our cats don’t bother with it, and why would they? Yes it’s warm, safe and dry, but they’d much rather crap in my flowerbeds and track their muddy paws across our white tiles.

Cook twice, freeze once!

Most of our recipes can easily be doubled or halved – but if I say it serves four, then cook for four and freeze two portions – or serve three portions and take one for lunch the next day as we normally do. You’re cooking the meal anyway so it’s no hardship at all to freeze a bit up.

ALDI/LIDL

You can save money in these shops, but I don’t like them. I have tried, I swear I have. We went to an Aldi once and it was just too stressful – I don’t like a shop that puts garden shears next to petit pois tins and tumble drier balls next to the Daily Malk chocolate. I find it too confusing, with all the off-brand rip-offs and impossible layout – it’s like an Escher puzzle of abject poverty. Plus when you go to pay for your items the cashier throws them through the checkout like she’s going for gold for Great Britain’s curling team. I like small talk and chit-chat, not fucking carpet burns from a pack of floor wipes swishing past my hand at the speed of light. If you can deal with the above, all the very best to you, you’ll definitely save – but if not…

Don’t be afraid to scrabble in the bargain bin

Listen, I used to avoid the bargain bin like the best of them, but since I discovered that my local Tesco actually do decent meat reductions, I’ll happily get in there and elbow an old biddy in the face for £2 off a pork shoulder. You’ve got to be savvy though – get what you need, rather than what you think is a decent deal. If you weren’t going to buy that six pack of yoghurt reduced to 8p because the fork-lift ran over it and a fox shagged the strawberry crunch, it’s not a bargain. But the flipside of this is – don’t be one of those fucking awful people who grab items as soon as the poor supermarket worker has stuck the reduced sticker on it. Have a touch of class. Yes, you might have a trolley so full of reduced bread that you could use it to stop a raging river, but what price dignity? I’ve mentioned before that I’ve seen people actually fighting and nothing is worth that.

Get yourself a countdown

Clearly not a countdown as in the game-show for the piss-flow challenged, but rather where you bulk buy Slimming World entry costs and get 12 weeks for the cost of ten, plus if you time it right you’ll normally get given a free book that you can immediately sell on ebay for further profit read and enjoy. Mind, this is good for two reasons – yes, you’ll save money, but if you’re as tight as a tick’s bumhole like I am, the idea of wasting already spent money will make you go to class! WIN WIN.

eggs and spaghetti

 

for dressed spaghetti with eggs, you’ll need (serves 6)…

  • 500g of spaghetti – 500g is only 20p at Tesco, so go mad – you don’t need expensive spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil – 6 syns – £1.20 for 200ml so let’s say 6p for a tbsp
  • 8 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced, not hard for a mincer like me – 30p at Tesco
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes – £1.99 in Tesco but they’ll last you an age, so I’m going to say 6p here
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, more for garnish if desired (£1.25 for a plant in Tesco, you use 10p worth, see my note below)
  • juice of half a lemon (30p, 15p used)
  • optional – use parmesan on the top (30g HEA for one person) (block I use is £4 a pop, but you don’t need to use it – I reckon around 40p used here)
  • 4 tablespoons of the pasta water
  • fried eggs dry-fried (2 eggs each, 12 eggs in total – £1.75)
  • salt, naturally

to make dressed spaghetti with eggs, you should…

  • cook the spaghetti in boiling water until cooked, then drain – keeping aside a small cup of the pasta water
  • finely mince your garlic and sweat it down in the oil on a nice hot pan (save about a sixth to add later)
  • cooked slowly, the garlic will golden nicely
  • once the garlic is golden, add the chopped parsley, chilli flakes, pasta water and the lemon juice together with a pinch of salt and allow to mingle together like awkward teens at a disco
  • mix it through the cooked spaghetti, adding a little extra water to loosen it
  • whilst this is happening, cook your eggs – don’t let the yolk set, as you want to pop the yolk when the eggs are on top of your pasta!
  • serve the pasta with eggs on top and parmesan if you fancy

Look, I know this looks bland, but the pasta is delicious and the eggs add a nice creaminess. Plus, it takes about fifteen minutes from looking at the freezer crying to getting it on the plate.

a note about herbs

Fresh herbs always, always taste better. You’re better off buying a couple of those living plants from the supermarket and looking after them – we’ve got a basil and a parsley plant in the kitchen on the windowsill that’s been going strong since May, despite Paul’s attempts to kill them with his toxic farts. We simply popped the plant, still inside its plantpot, inside an old loaf tin, which we top up with water every now and then. Easy! It takes the water it needs and keep you going for ages!

to gussy it up

  • add bacon strips
  • more cheese!

to cheapen the deal

  • switch to Frylight (you’ll save syns too)
  • one egg each rather than two

Easy!

J

baked spaghetti bolognese pie

Christ almighty. We’ve had the plasterers in (it’s like having the painters in, only I’m not getting all hysterical and crying into a box of Milk Tray) (I’m kidding, jeez) and the house is an absolute and utter bomb-site. He’s expertly taken all of the Artex off the ceiling and made it smoother than a silk worm’s diarrheah. Which is apt, given it’s an awful brown colour. However, the dust. Good LORD the dust. It’s literally everywhere imaginable. We’ve had the Dyson out all day – which is a feat in itself, given it’s one of those fancy digital cordless ones that powers down after twenty minutes – but I’m still finding pockets of orange dust everywhere. I swear I farted on the sofa earlier and it looked like a little firework going off behind me. Awful.

Just awful. Speaking of farts (as you know it’s one of our favourite topics), I need to confess something dreadful. See we had those chicken gyros on Friday night and all day yesterday, our farts smelt like a tramp’s sock boiled in death itself. They were dreadful – intensely potent and incredibly wide-ranging. Of course, being us, this was just hilarious, and we were farting and pooting and trumpeting all the way around Tesco, beside ourselves with laughter and merriment.

But then, when we got to IKEA, I topped them all. We were there to look at possible storage solutions for our fitted wardrobe (oh the decadence) when I had a faint rumbling in my nethers. I say a faint rumbling, it was like someone testing a speedboat engine. So, sensing an opportunity for mischief, I ducked around a corner, opened one of the doors on the showroom wardrobe, and let out a guff. It was tiny, like I’d startled a duck, but I knew it would be concentrated. I hastily shut the door and called Paul over, on the pretence that I wanted him to check what type of hinge it was on the bottom of the door. He came lumbering over in his own special way, knelt down and opened the door, only to be hit full in the face with the contained fart. I almost saw the skin on his nose blacken. Honestly, you could see the fugitive zephyr as it bounced around the interior. He immediately turned around and called me a filthy see-you-next-Tuesday and I almost broke my back bent over laughing.

Mind, at least we have fun. We might not have the most exciting lives but we’re always laughing. We came away from IKEA the same way we normally do, with absolutely nothing in our trolley but our pockets bulging with a quarter-tonne of IKEA pencils, ready to be shoved into the same kitchen drawer as the other 323,537 IKEA pencils we’ve stolen. Perhaps we should get a log burner after all, we could keep it going for a good few months on nicked stationery alone!

Because the plasterer was going to be in our house all day, we had to fill up the time ‘out of the house’, so we thought we’d spend a gay few hours tripping around the Metrocentre, which, if you’ve never heard of it, is the North’s answer to an American shopping mall from the nineties. It has everything! Closed clothes shops, closed food quarters, closed gadget shops, a plethora of e-cigarette and mobile phone cover stands AND any amount of imbecilic fuckknuckles walking around getting IN MY BLOODY WAY. I remember when the Metrocentre was worth going to – namely when it had Metroland, where the thrill of going on an indoor rollercoaster totally made-up for the risk of getting inappropriately touched-up behind the ferris wheel. It was a haven for nonces, apparently, though I never experienced that. Must have been my ungainly weight and C&A haircut that put them off.

We did spend half an hour in the Namco Games bit, which is full of those totally rigged but faintly fun arcade machines where you win tickets that you can redeem for lead-covered tat later on. We played a giant version of Monopoly, we did some virtual fishing and, I shit you not, I managed to win a proper licenced Flappy Bird toy from one of those claw machines that usually have all the grip of Jeremy Beadle. I couldn’t quite believe it. We did nip next door to the ‘adults only’ bit where the proper slot machines were but fucking hell, it’s just too depressing watching adults feed money into the slots at 10am in the morning. Nobody wins.

Anyway. This recipe is for a baked spaghetti bolognese pie, but it’s pretty much spaghetti Bolognese served in a different way – we couldn’t get a good picture of the meal when it was on the plate but understand that the cheesy spaghetti acts as a ‘crust’ to hold the meat in. Haha, meat.

baked spaghetti pie

to make baked spaghetti bolognese pie, you’ll need:

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • one onion, chopped
  • 8 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil, chopped
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 170g spaghetti
  • 2 eggs
  • 25g grated parmesan (HexA)
  • 340g fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 reduced-fat mozzarella ball, torn into pieces (HexA)

and once you’ve got all that, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°C
  • cook the spaghetti according to the instructions, drain and set aside
  • stop your cat from eating any cooled spaghetti
  • on a large frying pan gently sweat the onion in a little oil (or Frylight) until softened
  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, basil, salt  and pepper and mix well
  • simmer over a low heat for about 10 minutes
  • meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together cooked spaghetti, egg and parmesan
  • press the spaghetti mixture into a non-stick, deep 9″ tin
  • in another bowl whisk together the other egg, cottage cheese and parsley
  • add the cheese mixture to the tin, spreading evenly
  • next, add the meat mixture on top of the cheese; shake the tin gently to even the top out if necessary
  • place in the oven and cook for about twenty minutes
  • scatter the mozzarella onto the top and place under a medium-high grill for a few minutes until bubbling – the sauce that is, not yourself

Easy, right?

J

 

pimped macaroni cheese

Boo! I had to work late and do overtime tonight so it’s a very quick post from me – just to put today’s American entry where we went to Discovery Cove and we swam with dolphins. Poor bastards. There’s also a wonderful recipe for seriously loaded mac and cheese – nice and American! Of course we had to jazz it up by adding chives, sausages and bacon. Just scroll down.

Hilariously, my book has climbed to #1 in the Amazon’s Gay & Lesbian Travel section. I can’t imagine the competition is especially stiff but still! I KNEW I should have called it ‘Cruising with Gays’. If you haven’t bought it yet, give it a go, it’s a couple of quid and it pays for Paul and I to buy ridiculous nonsense like Thwomp cushions and giant spoons. If you want it, you can buy it here. If not, scroll to get the recipe!

 


day ten – Discovery Cove and swimming with dolphins

Ah, Discovery Cove day. Booked a long time ago, was I looking forward to it? Not really. I know this is almost blasphemy, but dolphins leave me cold. I think it’s because my sister went through a dolphin phase during the 90s, like most girls, and everything was covered in dolphins. I continued the theme in my teenage bedroom, where everything was covered in seamen. Kaboomtish. That, coupled with having to get my baps out, meant I was a little apprehensive. Nevertheless, we got a taxi and were there in good time, turning up a good half hour early. We had read online that it was worth getting there early to get a good dolphin swim slot in the morning, meaning you could relax for the rest of the day. This done, we were booked for the swim at 10.45.

Breakfast first, then. A good choice, but my buffet-shyness prevented me from getting the full amount I wanted. There’s a cooked breakfast option available but the lady behind the counter looked pretty stern, so I didn’t dare ask for me. There’s also the requisite pastries and cereal if you prefer. We took our time before heading over to the lockers. You are given a little net bag which includes a snorkel, good goggles and suncream – as you’re not allowed to use your own suncream lest it pollutes the water. Then, the tough bit. The wetsuit. Men can either choose from a full wet-suit or a lycra ‘top’, which clings to everything. We did try on the top but it pushed my moobs up in such a fashion that I could no longer see my feet. Ditto Paul. We decided to change into a wetsuit. Jesus. Have you ever tried getting into one of these things, particularly if you’re somewhat rubenesque like Paul and I? It’s like to push water through a cheese-grater. However, ten minutes later, once they had greased us up, we were fine, and dare I say it, the wetsuit was actually the far better choice as it compresses everything in. Clearly the fat was being squeezed somewhere else but I didn’t have any especially big lumps appearing, so it was all good!

Now – time for a serious thought. I read a lot of posts on here about people feeling shy about being fat and not wanting to plod about with it all on show. I’m the same, despite my cool and sexy exterior – quite shy about my jiggly bits. But if you take anything from my trip reports aside from a slight queasiness, know this – you don’t need to worry. I have seen some proper gargantuan heifers over here and no-one ever comments. People might think things in their head but let’s be honest, we all do it. Just remember that you’re never going to see these people again and let it all swing out. Life, and your holiday, is too short to worry about what you look like. But – that said – don’t be setting up a chip pan on the beach, that’s just common.

We spent an hour just drifting around in the lazy river, using our snorkels. The river itself gets to about 8ft in places, but as long as you make sure you can snorkel, you’ll be fine even if you’re a weak swimmer. Paul got the hang of it fairly quickly, but I can’t say I helped him out by sticking my finger in his snorkel-hole. Well, it is a honeymoon. The worst part about being able to breathe and see underwater? Well, you know in programmes like Fat Families or other diet shows, they always show the fat person swimming and all their fat is rippling underwater like an epileptic lava-lamp? That was Paul and I. People didn’t need to throw fish at us whilst we basked, mind.

The river is lovely, full of…stones. Yep, I do think they could gee it up a bit by sticking some little nooks and crannies and things to look at under the water, but it was still a wonderful way to relax. Then – it was time for the dolphin swim. You’re taken into a little tent with your other swimmers, made to sign a disclaimer form to say that any damage or penetration is not Discovery Cove’s problem and then, oh my, the cheesiest video about dolphins ever. It was in this tent that we realised that we were getting proper stink-eye from a woman. She would not let up. I can only assume one of two things:

  • she was jealous because her short, bald husband was not nearly as attractive as mine; or
  • she had finally realised that she was the absolute double of the lampshade-haired cow from those insufferably smug BT adverts – and I really hate those adverts.

Naturally, as Paul and I can’t get through a day without making an enemy, she became ours, and we spent the rest of the day pulling faces at her whenever she passed. Cow. We were led to our dolphin – Calypso – and our trainer. We stroked the dolphin’s belly, avoided her bajingo which was clearly on show, had flapped at and learnt all about the dolphin. It was a fun half-hour, but as we were alongside a family, most of the attention was spent on the little girls getting to stroke the dolphin and what have you. Which is fair enough, I guess. It didn’t help that their father was a proper knob though, he kept asking really smart-arse questions of the trainer and then correcting her! I can’t bear that kind of attitude, there’s no need for it. Thankfully, our British reserve won through, and we were exceptionally polite. My only lament – I didn’t get to throw a fish in its mouth. But to be honest, I get enough of that at home throwing Skittles at Paul to get him to move. After 20 minutes of tricks and chat, it was time for Calypso to pull us back to shore. You swim out about 50ft into deep water, and the dolphin pulls you back in. It was good fun, and Calypso managed valiantly with both Paul and I, though she did have to be put on oxygen afterwards.

After the swim, you’re ushered into another tent to view photos of the happy day. It’s not hard sell as such, but I do feel it could have been done more subtly, especially given the price of the photos. If you have kids, perhaps it would be best to leave them outside at this point so you don’t feel pressured – as I was with Paul, I had no such luck, and we ended up buying four photos. They’re really good as it happens, so it’s fair enough. After our swim, an early lunch. The food is terrific mind, very healthy and fresh. I had a Cobb salad, purely so I could say to Paul that I had a cob on, little realising the size and scale of the salad. In England, I remember when a salad was thick sliced tomato, cucumber, iceberg lettuce and loads of vinegar. Over here, you need to set aside forty minutes just to plow your way through. Delicious mind.

The other two draws for Discovery Cove are the snorkelling bay, where you can swim around with loads of tropical fish and spotted rays underneath you, and the ray pool, where rays swim around your feet. They’re both excellent, save for the fact that Paul got slapped across the arm by an angry ray, which apparently really hurt. Whilst I was laughing, the ray got me too – and it DOES hurt! We got out of there because we could see it was kicking off. There’s plenty of photos we took with an underwater camera, but I can’t stick them online. They’re all very blurry and blue anyway. I did notice some show-offs with fancy underwater cameras. I admit to being jealous of their superior technology, so next time I’m going to navigate the fish pool in an underwater sub. Might mince a few fish whilst I’m doing it, but ah well.

That is how the remainder of the day passed – swimming, sunbathing, getting lots of free ice-cream and beer, and snorkelling about. There isn’t too much to write about because it was just all relaxing, no being dramas or the like. The only notable event was at the end of the day, when we were getting changed – when I pulled the wetsuit from my body it made a massive, loud, wet fart sound, to which Paul – to his credit, stealing a Phoenix Nights joke, shouted ‘And I’ll name that tune in one’ from the shower cubicle next door. Good lad. Shuttle to Seaworld and then onto the I-Ride trolley back to the Four Points, where the night was spent watching Unstoppable on the PPV TV. Good film that. Day over! 

Over and out.


 

pimped macaroni cheese

serves 4 (generously)

to make pimped macaroni cheese, you’ll need:

  • 250g macaroni (or any type of pasta – we used spirali)
  • 1 brown onion
  • 6 Slimming World sausages, defrosted, skins removed
  • 5 rashers of back bacon, fat removed and chopped into small chunks
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 400ml skimmed milk (6 syns)
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 160g reduced fat cheddar cheese, grated (4x HexA)
  • 125g quark
  • 1 wholemeal brown roll, blitzed into breadcrumbs
  • bunch of chives
  • salt and pepper

and when you’ve got all that, you’d better

  • cook the pasta according to instructions, drain and set aside
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat and cook the onion until softened
  • add the bacon and sausage meat, stirring frequently to stop the sausage meat from clumping – I used a potato masher to keep the mixture loose
  • add the oregano, paprika and garlic, stir well and remove from the heat
  • in a separate pan add the milk, stock cheese and quark and cook over a medium-low heat, whisking continuously until the mixture is smooth – don’t be tempted to increase the heat – it needs to be quite low
  • add salt and pepper to taste
  • combine all of the ingredients together, mix well and pour into a large baking dish
  • sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and chopped chives
  • cook at 190 degrees for about 20-30 minutes

Serve! 

If you want to save syns, we made a macaroni cheese where the creamy sauce came from butternut squash which was equally as delicious – you can find it here!

J

cajun steak and cheese pasta

Our cat has betrayed me – normally he sleeps between the two of us if it’s a cold night but he’d gotten up early doors and gone out chasing mice. How the hell he manages to spend a night between the two of us I have no idea – we’re very much a ‘spooning’ couple, constantly intertwining our legs and arms and murmuring nonsense at each other. I actually woke up once with Paul having rolled on top of me, not in a ‘but it’s my birthday’ way but rather out of comfort, like I was an especially squashy lilo. Nevertheless, around 1am Bowser will be padding around our pillow and then crawls between us like a tiny potholer. How he survives I have no idea – the squashing I mentioned above must be bad enough, but the flatulence produced between the two of us vents out right where he sleeps. It must be like trying to sleep with your head stuck in one of those Dyson Airdryers you get in toilets, only one that blows out air that smells of turned corned-beef and death. I swear after a night of our easy chicken curry he’ll disappear under the duvet as a black and white tom and comes back a tortoiseshell who suffers night terrors.

 

Tonight’s recipe has the unfortunate problem of looking exactly like another recipe we did earlier in the week, but what can I say, we’ve missed carbs and we had some steak to use up. Isn’t that a first world problem right there?

11251211_881767398563531_606869171281032687_n

to make cajun steak and cheese pasta you will need:

500g penne pasta, 120g steak (sliced into bite size pieces) 1 onion (chopped), 1 green pepper (chopped), 1 clove of garlic, 300ml skimmed milk, 250g quark, 2 tsp Cajun seasoning, 120g extra mature cheddar (grated), 20g parmesan (grated), 50g chorizo (sliced), breadcrumbs (from half a wholemeal roll)

if you use the wholemeal roll and the cheese as your healthy extras (remember, this serves 4) this will be 3 syns per serving, 1.5 from the chorizo, and 1.5 from the milk.

to make cajun steak and cheese pasta you should: 

  • cook the pasta until al dente (like Al Murray, but less of a cock), drain and set aside
  • in a large frying pan or saucepan soften the onion and green pepper in a little oil over a medium heat for about ten minutes
  • add the Cajun seasoning and stir well
  • slowly pour in the milk and stir continuously
  • add the quark in small amounts and mix until smooth and creamy
  • in a separate frying pan quickly cook the steak and chorizo over a high heat for one minute
  • add the steak and chorizo into the cheese mixture
  • add the cheddar and parmesan to the mixture, remove from the heat and stir continuously until all the cheese has melted
  • add the pasta to the mixture and mix well
  • pour the mixture into a large casserole dish, top with the breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for ten minutes just to make it sticky.

Now this is proper stick-to-your-ribs cooking and we loved it, but for goodness sake, it serves four. Keep some for your lunch the next day. This with the rice bake from the other day is more than making up our carb deficit and it tasted delicious!

Oh, if you need a casserole dish, get a bloody Le Creuset one. We’ve had ours over two years now and yes, it is very expensive, but we use it daily – as a frying pan, to cook in, to roast in, and it’s never stuck or failed us. They’re £160 on Amazon at the moment. Click here and treat yourself! Do you need something so pricey? No. But you kinda want one…

Cheers!

J

chicken, orzo and tomato risnotto

Not a typo. The dish is a bit like a risotto but tastes a bit more substantial – tasty though and only uses one pot. Hooray.

But weigh-in tonight, and it’s VERY good news. You may remember that in between getting caught noshing in the hot-tub by a farmer and running caravans off the road, we managed to put on a total of 13lb between us last week? Well, we knuckled down a bit but as you can see from the recipes, still ate like pigs…and we’ve lost:

james – 7.5lb

paul – 5.5lb

Haha! A total weight of 13lb – or, for those who might be a bit touched in the head, we’ve managed to lose exactly what we put on (Paul losing .5lb more than what he put on and me losing .5lb less)! Brilliant, not least because I can’t be bothered to change the ‘total’ image on the right of the blog.

Hey I tell you what though – and this is in no way a disparaging comment against other classes I’ve visited, but what a difference a consultant makes. We’ve worked our way back to our very first consultant and she’s a genuine laugh – we were in that church hall digging those bloody awful church chairs out of our back-fat for a good two hours but it flew by. Reason? It wasn’t just ‘weight loss – well done – weight loss – well done – weight loss – well done’ which holds no allure for us. It felt like a proper class! If you get the right class, you stay, and if you stay, you learn. SIMPLE AS.

Now listen, weigh-in nights are normally a chance for us not to post a recipe but instead spend the evening ped-egging each others feet and tormenting the cat.

Well, we’ve been doing that, see?

11150259_864883783585226_5150423998109370322_n (1)

But lo, in the spirit of giving, here’s a recipe! Gosh!

chicken orzo moonblush tomatoes risotto

Firstly, the recipe uses sundried tomatoes normally, and feel free to substitute them for the moonblush tomatoes I’ve used in the recipe (sundried tomatoes are around 2 syns for 25g), but moonblush tomatoes are very easy to make and syn free. Perhaps half a syn at most per serving, anyway. I nicked the idea from Nigella Lawson and what that woman doesn’t know about cooking you could write on the side of a rolled-up twenty quid note. To make moonblush tomatoes, first whack your oven up to its highest possible temperature. You want it glowing like an Englishman’s shoulders in Benidorm. Next, cut a load of cherry tomatoes in half and chuck them in a bowl. Add a tiny drop or two of olive oil, a good glug of balsamic vinegar, salt, dried oregano, bit of thyme, pepper. Mix gently so the tomatoes are covered but try not to squash the tomatoes. Next, tip them onto a baking tray with the cut side facing up – pack them in tightly. Once the oven is at the highest temperature and you could light a fag off the vapours, turn it off, open the door, quickly throw the tray in and leave it overnight. The hot air will dry your tomatoes out – not completely, but that’s fine – you want them a bit squishy. Syn-free and full of taste! Make it even more interesting by using a range of tomatoes of all shapes and colours. If you DO insist on using sundried tomatoes in oil like a filthy slattern, hoy them in a sieve and pour boiling water on them – gets rid of the oil, see.

OK, so you’ve got tomatoes – either moonblush (overnight) or sundried (jarred – philistine). So…

to make chicken, orzo and tomato risnotto, you’ll need:

two chicken breasts cut into chunks, 200g tomatoes, tiny drop of oil, 1 large onion sliced finely, three garlic gloves, 400g of orzo pasta, 3 dollops of tomato puree, 900ml of chicken stock, 1/2tsp of oregano, 1/4tsp of thyme, 1/4tsp of lemon zest and 1/2tsp of balsamic vinegar. Basil leaves, black pepper and parmesan to serve.

to make chicken, orzo and tomato risnotto, you should:

  • fry the chicken off in a tiny bit of oil or a squirt of frylight (bleurgh!) – chuck in a bit of salt and pepper to swoosh it along – once cooked through, set aside
  • chuck the onions into the pan now and saute gently until they go transparent and sticky – add the garlic for a moment or two
  • add the rice and fry along with the onion for a minute or two
  • add the tomato puree, tomatoes (chopped if particularly big, otherwise just tip in), all the herbs and the balsamic vinegar, plus the chicken
  • now cook gently, on a medium heat, adding stock one ladle at a time and stirring – don’t leave it to stick, and eventually, it’ll go nice and gloopy and thick – tasty!
  • serve in a big bowl with a smashing cheesy grin on your face.

Just a note – buying a whole lemon just for the zest is a bit silly. So use whatever you need to, then pop the lemon in the freezer – you can use it next time you need zest! Failing that, cut it in half, put it in a tiny bowl of water and microwave for thirty seconds or so, then use it like a sponge to clean your microwave. Gosh we really ARE the gift that keeps on giving tonight.

Cheers all!

J

baked bean lasagna

Usual drill – recipe at the bottom of this post. This week’s Slimming World Classic is baked bean lasagne, just in case there wasn’t a strong enough stench of death blowing out your arse of an evening. It’s actually pretty tasty, though we’ve added mince because we’re such incorrigible rogues…by the way, I’m never 100% sure whether to use lasagna or lasagne, so pick one and roll with it.

11110994_863977163675888_7433863162512722664_o

You may remember that I said I wasn’t going to talk in a chronological fashion about our trip to Ireland? Well there’s a reason – me saying that we went out driving each day doesn’t sound alluring, so, here’s some more random scattershot thoughts about our holiday, in no particular order.

The first town that we visited was a tiny little village called Waterville, which was actually quite charming. However, it didn’t bode especially well given everything was shut bar one fish shop (I don’t do fish) and a ‘crafts’ shop. I can’t stand ‘crafts’. I just can’t. Everything about craft shops wind me up, from the nonsense tat on offer to the twiddley-dee music playing to the judgemental looks that your leather shoes get from Astrid Moonglow behind the counter. But who buys this shit anyway? Who has ever walked into a craft shop and said ‘Now that’s just what I’ve been looking for – the entire works of B*Witched played on a pan-pipe and fiddle’ or, to that end, what sums up a holiday more than an shamrock-shaped ashtray with ‘I ❤ Ireland’ emblazoned on it in flaking gold Mistral? I’ve never felt the need to fragrance my home with incense sticks which smell like lavender and burning hair and nor do I feel the need to dry my dishes with a teatowel with Daniel O’Donnell’s slightly warped face on it. Frankly, I wouldn’t dry my arse with a picture of Daniel O’Donnell but that’s entirely beside the point. We did the very ‘us’ thing of tutting at the window as we walked past and spent a good five minutes wondering how the hell a craft shop in the arse-end of Ireland stays profitable enough to remain open on a grey, dismal day when suddenly our questions were answered by the sight of an David Urquhart coach straining over the horizon and about 300 Chinese tourists bustling out to take pictures of an inexplicable Charlie Chaplin statue.

As an aside, I had to google David Urquhart there to check the spelling and amongst reviews of his coach company, I found reviews for a Pontins resort which were titled ‘NOT AS BAD AS IT COULD HAV BEEN’ (spelling hers, not mine). Is there ever a sentence that sums up a shit holiday more than that? And the reviews and photos are ghastly – it looks like a prison camp. That said, Paul and I are definitely going to one of these places, if only so I can practice my ‘well isn’t that just LOVELY’ face for a week’.

We also visited Sneem, which to me sounds like an especially complicated part of the penis – you know, like ‘Hannah found Geoffrey would agree to anything, especially when she flicked his sneem and prodded his barse’. It was lovely, although I caused immediate and swift embarrassment to poor Paul when he got out of the car to avail of the public lavatory, as I whirred the window down, shouted ‘I HOPE THERE’S NO BLOOD IN YOUR SHIT THIS TIME HUN’ and drove off down the street, much to the disgusted and aghasted looks of the nearby tourists. He only started talking to me once I’d bought him a Nutella ice-cream. Paul’s easy to win around in an argument (tickle his sneem) – basically, the naughtier I’ve been, the more saturated fats have got to be pumped into him – like a blood transfusion but with a bag of Starmix hanging on the drip stand. In fact, Sneem had rather a lot of lovely places to eat – we tried The Village Kitchen (twice) and it was amazing – they serve black pudding on the pizza, and what’s not to like about that? Mmm. Irontacular.

Fun fact – Sneem’s own website actually describes the village as ‘The Knot in the Ring of Kerry’. Now come on, someone’s having a laugh there, surely? You might as well twin the place with Twatt up in the Shetlands and be done. I’m not even kidding – look for yourself at www.sneem.com. I warn you, the website seems to have been designed on a Game Boy Colour by Stevie Wonder.

We had to leave Sneem as we were told, in hushed, dramatic tones like someone imparting a nuclear code or warning of an oncoming plague, that there was a tractor rally happening and the roads would be chaos. Good heavens – why there wasn’t a full BBC News crew there I still don’t know. I tease I tease, I know you need to find excitement where you can in a place like that – trust me, I grew up in a tiny village where the only excitement was the fortnightly library and wanking, though not at the same time, and certainly not with the librarian as she had a bigger beard than I did.

Whilst I’m here, driving around Ireland – and in particular, the Ring of Kerry, was an unending joy. The rain (which we love, so didn’t bother us) kept most of the other tourists at bay and it felt like we had the place to ourselves. They could do with levelling out some of the roads though because good lord it was bumpy (not helped by the fact that as usual I was driving like I’d stolen the car from the Garda). I was always told to drive like I had a pint of milk on the dashboard and I didn’t want to spill it – by the time I’d finished it would have been butter. I did show a little restraint after a particularly pronounced bump in the road where I almost turned the car into a convertible using nought but my own head.

I did manage to get stuck behind a caravan – almost inevitably – and immediately started turning the air blue due to the fact I couldn’t get past. I’m not against caravans – it’s nice that the happily celibate and doubly incontinent have a place to rest their heads – but I could have parked my car, lay down in the road and farted my way home and it would have been quicker. Every turn in the road required shifting down to first and piloting his Shitbox 3000 round the corner like it was made out of tissue and the branches on the tree were broken glass. I managed to overtake with Paul holding my left hand down so I couldn’t stick my fingers up at him as I went past. There’s no need to drive so bloody slowly!

That burst of anger seems like a good place to leave it, actually.

Tonight’s classic is baked bean lasagne. Confession time: we’ve made this before, but, as per usual with slimming world recipes, it didn’t taste that good. I’m a firm believer in taking proper recipes and slimming them down, remember? So we’ve jazzed it up a bit by adding mince, but you could just as easily leave that out. I’m not your keeper, for goodness sake.

11036988_863977300342541_2208409189572953591_o

to make baked bean lasagna, you’ll need:

one onion, 250 of lean mince, 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, nice yellow pepper, any mushrooms that haven’t grown legs yet, 2 tins of baked beans, garlic (powder or cloves, but grate finely if you’re using cloves) salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, dried lasagne sheets (pre-soaked if the packet says to do so, but for fucks sake don’t use fresh lasagne sheets or your consultant will be sticking pins in their voodoo doll of you, tub of quark, 30g of parmesan, 30g of extra strong cheddar (both cheeses being 1 healthy extra each) and an egg. Basil leaves and tomato for the top if you’re a pretentious sort.

to make baked bean lasagna, you should:

  • finely chop the pepper, onion, garlic and mushrooms and hoy in a pan and lightly cook them off for a few minutes in a drop of oil, with the soy sauce and worcestershire sauce added for good measure (a tsp each)
  • add the mince with all the rakish carelessness of a lorry driver dumping a jazz mag in a hedge and brown it off
  • tip the beans and tomatoes into the pot and allow to simmer until the sauce is nice and thick
  • meanwhile, prepare the cheese sauce by whisking violently together the quark, egg and 30g of parmesan, with a good twist or two of salt and pepper
    • if you really want to splash out, buy a cheese sauce mix – this lasagna easily serves four so a 7.5 syn cheese mix (which is what the Schwartz cheese mix is works out at a fraction under 2 syns a serving, and that’s nowt!)
  • layer it in a pyrex dish – mince first (use a slotted spoon to take the mince from the pan to the dish, and that way your lasagne won’t be all sauce…), then the lasagna sheets, then the sauce, then the mince, then the sheets, then the sauce, and then wrap it all in foil and throw it in the oven for 40 minutes on 190 degrees – check on it after 30 minutes to make sure it hasn’t turned to ash
  • take it out, remove the foil, add the grated cheddar and any poncy decoration you like and pop it back in the oven for ten minutes or so until the cheese is golden and crunchy.

You really ought to serve this with a bit of salad but there’s a lot of superfree in there. So up to you.

I’m off now – Transco are sending an engineer around to fit a tap to my arse to relieve the pressure. Enjoy!

J