sun-dried tomato and sausage pasta

Here for the sundried tomato and sausage pasta? Well, you’ll have to wait. Adults are talking.

Actually, I’m not so much talking as effing and jeffing angrily under my breath. I’m fizzing with anger! Remember we traded in the tiny Micra way back in March for an even smaller Smart car (next year we’re trading the Smart car in for a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe and some magic beans)? Well, we did all of the paperwork to switch the ownership of the Micra only to receive a stern letter from the DVLA telling us that we were breaking the law because GASP the Micra was uninsured despite a) us not owning it anymore and b) I’m fairly sure it’s a fucking cube of metal the size of a box of Swan Vestas by now.

I had the joy of speaking to someone so thick she’d struggle to look through a ladder who, after much umming, aahing and dribbling into the microphone so it sounded like she was in a washing machine, told me to send a letter in proving we had indeed sold the car. I did this promptly, without delay, and with only minimum amount of swearing. Hell, I even used my full name on the letter because it sounds lovely and posh. Then I, comfortable in the knowledge that the good folk at the DVLA were sorting it, immediately forgot about it and moved on with my life, which has recently consisted of looking at and ruling out garden furniture for 23 hours a day.

Until today when lo and behold I get a fucking penalty in the post for having an uninsured bloody car! Great! I’d understand if the penalty was for reasons of bad taste because we bought an orange Smart car that looks like we’re driving around in a Fruitella but no! AARGH man. Now I’ve got to send another letter with further proof and I’ve been told, via another wonderful customer service adviser who was also knitting with one needle, that I’ll still need to pay the fine regardless. Honestly, I almost did a proper Jeremy Kyle punch through the wall, though knowing my current luck this would result in a penalty from More Than for unauthorised household alterations.

Why are these things so difficult? We live in a world where, if I wanted to, I could nip onto the Internet and show my button off in glorious 1080p to some pervy old masochist in Canberra, but we seemingly can’t invent a system where we can submit our documents online in a safe and secure fashion. No, I have to leave important financial documentation to the idiosyncrasies of the Royal Bloody Mail, who currently have a 0% success rate with me. Perhaps I had a dyslexic postman who thought I meant VLAD instead of DVLA and is currently hiking his way through deepest Transylvania with a furrowed brow and a garlic necklace. Who knows.

Samsung was another experience – product still in warranty, had to call six times before I got through to someone who dared break the script in front of them and even then, still got absolutely nowhere until I complained via Twitter and got you lovely folks to chip in. In the end we had our hob fixed for free and the chap dealing with it was lovely but why make me jump through so many hoops? I mean COME ON I’m morbidly obese, jumping through hoops makes my ankles splinter. PAH. Nevermind.

Just as an update on the garden furniture situation – because I know you lot will have been gasping awake in the night with fret and worry about whether we’ve got somewhere to bronze our bitch-titties this summer – we found the table we want only to discover we’d need to hire a bloody crane to get it into the garden. Paul and I both agreed that this would be fine only on the basis that the fat builder from the moneysupermarket adverts was the crane operator, and oopsy-daisy-let-me-get-that-wet-hi-vis-off-you-oh-goodness-me-my-cock-fell-out, but they couldn’t guarantee this., the unreasonable swines. So we’re back to square one.  Great!

Now, before I get to the sundried tomato and sausage pasta, a quick favour. Just a tiny one, I promise. It’s two clicks. A friend of mine has entered his dog in a competition. When I say entered his dog, I don’t mean it in perhaps the way you think, you dirty moo. She’s (hopefully) to be the star of all of the vet’s correspondence from ‘Spot needs his anal-glands draining‘ (don’t we all) to ‘Oops we’ve put Rex down LOL #YOLO‘ and she’s currently being beaten. And well, if you don’t help, that means you enjoy seeing animals being beaten and that makes you worse than Hitler. So, for the love of all things chubby, click here (it’ll open in a new window) and vote for Pearl. Let’s make her a star!

OK. Enough chitter chatter. To the recipe…

sundried tomato and sausage pasta

to make sundried tomato and sausage pasta you will need:

  • 250g pasta (we used farfalle) (because we’re just FARFALLE people, boom boom)
  • 4 sausages, fat free or low in fat then syn appropriately (why not use the ones in our Musclefood deal?)
  • 1 tin of cannellini beans, drained
  • 5 sundried tomatoes (use the dried kind, not the one in oil! and steep them in hot water for 30 minutes beforehand to plump them back up and chop finely) (2 syns, apparently)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (come on, you know it’s coming, but haway, buy one of these, it’s genuinely brilliant!
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2 handfuls of rocket
  • little bit of grated parmesan

to make sundried tomato and sausage pasta you should:

  • cook the pasta according to the instructions, drain (reserve 125ml of the water for use later) and set aside
  • meanwhile, heat a large, deep pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil or frylight, listen, be your own person, make your own rules here
  • cook the sausages until brown on all sides and add the tin of beans, tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic and chilli flakes, and cook for about a minute – stirring frequently
  • add the pasta to the pan along with the spinach and rocket and stir well
  • cook for about 30 seconds or so, until the leaves have wilted, and add a little of the reserved pasta water if it starts to look too dry
  • serve and sprinkle over the parmesan

Enjoy. Tell everyone about it. If you’re looking for MORE recipes, you greedy slattern, you’ll find more sausage recipes and more pasta recipes right here by clicking the buttons!

sausagessmall pastasmall

Done. Now I’m off to attach a notice of new ownership to a carrier pigeon and hurl it at Wales.

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

IMG_2890

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

IMG_2889

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!

beefsmall pastasmall

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

J

spinach and wild garlic pesto pasta

Hello! Check out the recipe below for spinach and wild garlic pesto pasta.

Work’s been super busy and I make no apology for the lack of posts. It’s all I can do not to tear my car into the central reservation of an evening. Sometimes I think I’d like to give up working and stay at home wearing the same underwear for four days on the trot (you know the type, male readers – change them when you’ve got to fold them with a karate chop) but I know it would end in ruin, not least because I couldn’t possibly be one of those people who prepare dinner for their husbands and push the hoover around inbetween arguing on Facebook in barely-English and playing Bejewelled. I watched fifteen minutes of Jeremy Kyle the other day and it was eye-opening – at least, eye-opening in the sense that I almost held open my eyes and poured hot metal into them rather than watch the show. I just can’t understand it. Going on TV all cankles-blazing to yell incoherently to your other half whilst some smug envelope-ripper alternates between blowing spittle in your face and cowering behind his security guards, who stand on the stage like they’ve fallen off the back of a lorry in a blizzard of creatine and can’t remember the syllable for ‘HELP’. It’s repellent. If you thought your partner was pounding himself into your sister / mother / crudely-drawn approximation of a vagina sprayed on the side of a bus shelter, why go onto national TV to get ‘the troof’? Is the lure of a night’s stay in a Travelodge with all the Taybarns’ beige food and Bellabrusco you can manage really so strong? It must be!

Oops. Side-tracked. Anyway, some GOOD NEWS for you readers. We finally managed to get around to updating our recipe page. This might not sound terribly exciting until you remember our previous bank of recipes was just a giant list and made for a rubbish read. So we put our thinking caps on, loaded up photoshop to make some snappy graphics, and split all the recipes out via their key ingredients. This means if you’re stuck for inspiration on what to do with your pork (PUT SOMETHING ON THE END OF IT) or your breasts (PUT THEM AWAY, THEY’RE FRIGHTENING), you can see at a glance what to make. Give it a go by clicking here. I have a request – share that link wherever you can. I see so many posts from people saying they need recipe ideas and there’s over 300 in there! Thanks.

Tonight’s recipe is a bit fancy but hey, if I can’t let my early onset male pattern baldness down once and a while, what can I do? It uses wild garlic which is growing abundantly outdoors at the moment. Take a walk into any woodlands and you’ll find, amongst the spent custard-catchers and dog muck, strong scents of garlic wafting up from the ground, also known as ramsons. They have big, smooth flat leaves and right about now, tiny white flowers. They’re distinctive but still, be careful – don’t be picking anything you’re unsure of, I can’t have anyone’s death on my conscious, not least because I don’t want my facebook feed full of wailing and ‘SHARE IF U MISS HER IGKNORR IF YOUR GLAD SHE DEAD’ pictures. Do step away from the well-worn paths so you’re not getting a plant with a lacquer of dog piss too. You can find more information here on the BBC website, which includes the fact it’s also known as Stinkin’ Jenny. Which let’s be honest, would totally be my drag name if I ever went that way.

Now look, if you’re not a fan of stumbling about in the woods looking for plants and risking life and limb in the search of a few leaves, then you can swap it out for spinach and some grated garlic, and we won’t tell. You can even lie and still tell your other half that you’ve been out hunting for pleasure in the woods, although you might want to clarify that this doesn’t mean you want to be back there later in the evening bent over a Vauxhall Astra’s bonnet whilst a barely interested plumber tries to fluff himself to half-mast. Is it just my world that requires these clarifications? Good lord. It really is worth hunting out the wild garlic though – for one, it’s free, which will appeal to all those misers who are tighter than two coats of paint, and secondly, it’s so very tasty! Admittedly, be careful not to do what I did when I was a young’un. Buoyed with the excitement of a walk in the woods, I filled a carrier bag with wild garlic leaves and flowers and took it into school to show my teacher, who, with all the enthusiasm of a teacher one week away from seeing the devil children out of the door for the final time, told me to stick it in my locker and stop showing off.

Showing off? Christ I know we were a poor family but I think even I could have done better than some bloody garlic on Show and Tell. I could have brought in my Kerplunk with the sticks missing, for example. Short game.

Anyway, it stayed in my locker for eight weeks, heating up nicely in the summer holiday, then rotting down into a putrid, gloopy mess which slicked down between the lockers and out onto the carpet. When they re-opened the classroom a couple of days before school came back the smell was so overwhelming that they had to put the classroom AND the adjoining classroom out of use for a week or so to air it out. It’s amazing, even then I had the ability to befoul a room with my odours. Anyway, who’s laughing now? Not the teacher, she smelled like a freshly cut dump for two weeks whilst the residual smell permeated her every pore. WHAT AM I LIKE. So yes: by all means pick the garlic, but don’t bloody store it anywhere you wish to breathe the air of. Oh, and if you’re concerned that a diet of flowers, leaves and garlic is going to leave you skinnier than a vegan’s dog, throw some plain chicken in there. It’s that easy. This makes four servings. It assumes that you’re using 4 x HEA (i.e. one per person/serving).

spinach and wild garlic pesto pasta

to make spinach and wild garlic pesto pasta, you’ll need:

  • 200g of spinach
  • a clutch of wild garlic leaves, washed, and a bunch of the flowers from the top
  • enough pasta for four people
  • 180g of ricotta (90g is one HEA, who knew?)
  • two tablespoons of good olive oil (12 syns)
  • 60g of parmesan (2 x HEA)
  • salt and pepper
  • chive flowers if you have them

to make spinach and wild garlic pesto pasta, you should:

  • cook up your pasta
  • boil your spinach and garlic leaves for a minute or two – you want it softened but not mush
  • blend the spinach and leaves together with the oil, pinch of salt and pepper, together with 50g or so of the parmesan
  • you don’t want it looking like soup – keep a bit of texture
  • add the ricotta and stir it through
  • stir into the pasta
  • decorate with chive flowers and garlic flowers and a bit more parmesan

This keeps really well for a lunch the next day.

You can find all of our vegetarian and pasta recipes by clicking on the icons below!

vegetariansmallpastasmall

Enjoy!

J

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