roast pork in a chard and chickpea stew

Roast pork you say? In a chard and chickpea stew? That’s either going to make your nipples tingle or leave you deflated, sad and having to finish yourself off with a plate of chips. We’re taking just the most wee of breaks from writing for the next few days, but because we have all sorts of recipes lined up, you’ll still get some recipes shoved in your box each day! You bloody love it. Don’t worry, you won’t need to wait along!

roast pork

roast pork

to make roast pork in a chard and chickpea stew you will need:

  • 400g pork fillet
  • 1 tbsp marmite (optional)
  • 1x 480g jar of roasted red peppers
  • 300g rainbow chard
  • 2 tins of chickpeas
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds

to make roast pork in a chard and chickpea stew you should:

  • mix together 1 tbsp marmite with 1 tsp hot water and stir til it’s loosened a bit
  • heat a large, shallow pan on over a high heat and add a little oil
  • add the pork to the pan and brush over the marmite, cook for above 5-6 minutes, turning over halfway
  • meanwhile, drain the peppers and roughly chop into 1cm chunks
  • gather up the chard and slice thinly, not forgetting the stalks
  • next, remove the pan from the pan and put on a plate
  • add the fennel seeds, peppers and chard to the pan and stir fry for about 2 minutes
  • add the chickpeas to the pan along with the pre-cummy water, stir and bring to the boil
  • make a channel in the middle and add the pork back to the pan, making sure it’s touching the bottom
  • cover with a lid and simmer for about 12 minutes, turning the pork occasionally
  • remove from the heat and rest for about two minutes
  • slice the pork and serve

Before anyone has a shit-fit, yes, it’s another Jamie recipe, but does that not tell you how good his book his? We can find something in there every day! You can buy from Amazon here.

How easy is that? We’ve got even more stuff to fill yer belly so just click one of the buttons below to find more recipes!

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sausage and apple bake

 

Sausage and apple bake, if you don’t mind. I was going to post part four of Copenhagen but I’ve had three hours sleep, my brain is made of cheese and my right eye is gunky. Clearly I’m two hours away from death so I’ll make this quick.

What doesn’t help my tiredness is that our house is currently the approximate temperature of a raging crematorium. I thought I could hear the Langoliers coming but it was actually the hair in my ears crisping. You see, because Paul’s been in all day and because it’s a ‘bit chilly’, the Nest gets pumped up to 30 degrees, the radiators are all blaring and he’s sitting there in his worst boxer shorts, ballsack hanging out like a crushed satsuma, sweating everywhere and making everything sticky.

It drives me up the bloody sweat-soaked wall – he’ll complain that he’s cold but he’ll be sitting there in less clothes than he clattered out of his mum’s fanny with. That analogy works as he’s from a rough part of Peterborough and probably came mincing out wearing knock-off Donnay jogging bottoms. I’ll kvetch on at him to turn the bloody heating off but it’s too late: I know this means the start of the ‘heating arguments’ season, where not one hour goes by where one of us isn’t tinkering with the thermostat or turning off the radiators. I hate having a ‘smart’ home – he can set the whole house to ‘inferno’ from the comfort of the shitter, and it just isn’t fair.

We don’t tend to argue much, mind, for a couple that’s been together for ten years and spend most evenings passively aggressively cutting our toenails into each other’s cup of tea. There’s no point – I like to think most couples reach the stage where they just accept the idiosyncrasies and foibles of the other without stopping to question it, preferring instead to release the tension by crying in the shower or bundling carpet-wrapped hitchhikers into ditches by the side of the road.

For example, there’s no point in asking Paul what he wants to dinner, because he never knows what he wants. He does however know exactly what he doesn’t want and that’s whatever meal you suggest. You wouldn’t believe the look of ennui that ripples over his face when I suggest ‘lasagne’ – he’ll normally reply with ‘I don’t know if I’m in the mood for that‘, taking care to really spit the last word out, as though I’ve suggested giving him a Cleveland Steamer.

We can’t play Scrabble, though. You’d think such a simple board game, with the clear rules of play and calming pastel colours on the double and triple score squares, would have a pleasingly somnifacient effect on us. Not so. I won’t embarrass PAUL by naming who it was but one of us became so angry with the other playing smart with two letter words that they threw the board, titles and racks over the balcony of our riverside flat many moons ago. Again, I won’t say who IT WAS, PAUL will not want it known.

For balance, I’ve asked him what silly things he thinks we argue about and do you know, he can only name two: my inability to close the living room windows before we go to bed and the fact that there is always a coat hanger on his side of the bed under the duvet when he gets in. See, I’m last out in the morning and invariably leave the coat hanger my shirt was hanging on somewhere on his half of the bed. I mean, as things that tick you off go, I’m not exactly leaving skidders on the bedsheets or have a whole secret family of little James out there, am I? Pfft.

Before I go, whilst I’m thinking about arguments, you may recall that I used to live with a charming lady called Mary way back before Paul entered my life/hole. She had her peculiar ways, such as leaving her thrush cream in the fridge and her soiled clotstoppers wedged down the back of the radiator in her bedroom, but one day I came home to find her boiling a cauldron full of tea-towers on the hob.

What followed was a blistering thirty minute shouting match where she screamed at me for not understanding why simply putting tea-towels in the washing machine like a normal human being wasn’t enough to ‘kill the germs’. I pointed out that it was more than sufficient and had the added advantage of not making our house smell like we were embalming roadkill and anyway, I paid the rent, so she should shut the hell up. The argument proceeded to rise in both pitch and fury before she picked up the pan of boiling water, complete with my nana’s best collection of ‘I’ve been to Runcorn’ tea-towels, and hurled it straight through our kitchen window. As a full stop, that works especially well.

She went to live with her mother after that and for three glorious months I had the house to myself. No arguments, no manic moments and all the space in the world to set out my coat-hangers of a morning. Bliss.

Right, shall we do the recipe for the sausage and apple bake? We’d be foolish not to, wouldn’t we, when we’ve come all this way?

I’m saying this sausage and apple bake serves two – big portions mind!

to make sausage and apple bake you will need:

This is another recipe we’ve adapted from Jamie Oliver’s new book ‘5 Ingredients’, which you can buy from Amazon here. We love it and aren’t ashamed!

to make sausage and apple bake you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • heat a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium high heat and add a little bit of oil
  • Peel and quarter the onions, and pull the petals apart into a large frying pan
  • next, core and quarter the apples and chuck them in the pan too, give a good stir
  • use a speed-peeler (want a decent one? get this!) to first peel the parsnips, and then to slice thin ribbons from them. it helps to turn the parsnip after each slice to get more out of it
  • stir in 1 tbsp red wine vinegar to the pan and then pile the parsnip slices on top
  • lay the sausages on top and spray with a little oil, as well as a bit of salt and pepper
  • bake in the oven for 30 minutes
  • remove from the oven, drizzle over the honey and then pop back in the oven for five minutes until golden

Full up yet? No? Just click one of the buttons below to get even more recipes!

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Enjoy!

J

pork fillet and cheesy mash gratin

Here for the pork fillet and cheesy mash gratin? Good choice, it’s a bloody marvel. But here’s the thing – I can’t buy a pork tenderloin without blushing like I’ve had my first kiss. There’s something attractive about a long length of pink meat, just saying. But I do wish Paul would exercise the same level of shame and control when it comes to shopping because god help him, our house is absolutely awash with things we don’t need. Yesterday’s purchase was a cracker. Not literally, I’d have swallowed that before Mags could shine the Fat-Symbol into the skies to summon the consultants. Let me explain. But first, if you’re getting yourself clammy because I’m not getting to the recipe, then please, don’t fret: I’ve added a twochubbycubs shortcut. Just click on dried up slag and you’ll be taken straight there!

Last night I thought I was going mad. We’d come home from our various activities, had our tea (posted below) and then Paul had to go into work and drop off some papers. Listen, it’s fine, I know that sounds like the classic ‘he’s having an affair’ line but it’s Paul, the laziest man alive – it takes all of his energy and willpower just to open his bumhole to fart. So imagine me sitting at our computer typing up a recipe, looking to all the world like Angela Lansbury with a shaved head and bigger tits, when I become aware of this very faint crackle. It sounded like when you put an electrical cable into a socket but it’s not quite in there. I turned down my Archers omnibus and set about trying to identify the mystery sound, thinking we were minutes away from the dishwasher bursting into flame or the walls of the house crashing down. To give you more of an idea, imagine a tiny Geiger counter clicking in a corridor, or a family of mice putting up shelves in the skirting board.

Well, I was bloody demented. I went from room to room, barely able to hear it but it being just loud enough to get right on my tits. Actually, speaking of tits, I did think it might be my sunburnt chest peeling and cracking like a dry ploughed field, but no, the rack was all in order, though perhaps a little red. I unplugged the TV, the computer, the router, the Nest, the fridge, the lot. You may remember that I have health anxiety? Well in that long drawn out HOUR I’d diagnosed myself with an inner ear infection, schizophrenia, vertigo and obviously, something had crawled in my ear and was making itself a nice home on my brain-stem – and listen, I grew up on cheap burgers and mystery mince, I know I’m long overdue CJD. You’ll doubtless see me stumbling around a sluice grate with a shitty arse in a decade’s time.

Anyway, in walks Paul, full of fat and good cheer, and when I inform him of my lapse into insanity, he leads me into the corner of the living room and points out his latest purchase – a bloody Woodwick candle which ‘crackles like a real fire’. Does it shite! It sounds like someone furiously tapping out a reply to an argument on a Blackberry in a locked toilet. I mean, of all the things you’d think to check for odd noises, a bloody candle is never going to be high on the list, is it? To top it off, he’d replaced the lovely Seychelles White Company candle with this abomination that smells of – wait for it now – Rhubarb and Radish. Why the fuck would anyone want a room that smells like Rhubarb and Radish? Who am I, Tatty Bogle? Haway man. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it was a lovely, subtle flavour – when I get frustrated, or irritated or… angry, I come up here and I just smell all my candles and it just…goes away – but it smells like the air-freshener in an unlicensed taxi.

Then, for good measure, it bloody crackles! Why? At what development meeting did they decide they needed to add volume to a candle? It’s like putting a handle on a cat or wallpaper that loudly announces when a bus goes past. It hisses and splutters and futters and spits but by god, it doesn’t crackle. As the cherry on the radish and rhubarb cake, to make it work, the wick is wooden and in the shape of a cross and as a result, it creates a ridiculously bouncy, jittery flame – so not only do you go slowly insane because of the noise but you’re also risking a bloody seizure having it lit. You’ll be glad to know that this £22 candle has been banished into the cupboard, only to be taken out if the world ends and we need illumination.

Maybe I’m just sensitive to noise – misophonic, don’t you know – or perhaps my ears are just on high alert from going to the cinema on Friday and it feeling like they’d decided to put a live showing of the movie on my fucking eardrum. More on that later. The noise I especially hate is when common people scrape their knives and forks across the plate whilst they scrabble to get the last crumb. Just stop it. It cuts through me like a chilli-covered cock.

Honestly though, I can tolerate listening to my cat tonguing two layers of skin of its own arsehole in the night as I lay awake, I can listen to Joe Pasquale on the radio, hell, I can sit through two hours of people explaining they’ve put on weight because they’re either bunged up with faeces or sloughing. I’m tough. But there’s one sound I can’t stand, and, I’m sorry, but I’m now going to leave you with something that will change your life forever. It’s a sound that, once heard, you’ll hear over and over, in adverts, unimaginative TV, news reports, video games and soon, your nightmares. You’ll wake sweating at the birth of a new day with this ringing in your ears and murder on your mind. It is, I think, the most singularly annoying sound you can imagine:

Tell me I’m wrong, I dare you. I mean christ, even the video thumbnail looks like Pennywise the dancing clown. Now it’s all you’ll hear. Listen out for it on the TV and remember, it was the twochubbycubs who wrecked your ears for other men.

Now, one final bit of admin before we get to the pork fillet recipe – we’ve added sharing buttons back onto each recipe and page! You’ll see them – they look like this:

You can now pin, facebook like, share, message, all sorts of tut – just click the buttons! It helps us to spread, like a dose of the clap.



to make pork fillet and cheesy mash gratin you will need:

  • 800g potatoes
  • 400g pork fillet (all visible fat removed)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh sage (it’s worth it, trust me)
  • 40g reduced-at cheddar cheese, grated (1x HeA)
  • 4 slices of prosciutto (2 syns)
  • 1 egg

Couple of gadgets to make your life easier here:

Also: don’t forget we’re running a competition to win a soupmaker this week! Click here to enter – it’ll open in a new window.

to make pork fillet and cheesy mash gratin you should:

  • preheat the grill to high
  • chop the potatoes into 3cm chunks (you don’t need to peel them) and chuck into a pan of boiling water, cook with the lid on for about 12 minutes or until they’re tender
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add a little oil
  • sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the pork and add to the hot pan
  • sear on each side for a total of about 4 minutes, but turn it regularly
  • remove the pork from the pan and set aside
  • add the sage to the same pan and stir about for no more than ten seconds, then remove from the pan
  • drain the potatoes and mash well – a potato ricer does all the hard work for you and will leave your mash super-smooth!
  • add half of the cheese to the mash and crack in the egg and stir quickly until it’s mixed in
  • next, tip the mash into a large frying pan (or grill-safe dish) and push all the way to the edges
  • sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and plop the pork on top
  • cook under the grill for 15-20 minutes
  • remove from the heat and drop the prosciutto slices around the pork, it doesn’t need to look fancy, and then sprinkle over the sage leaves
  • pop under the grill for another two minutes or until the pork is fully cooked
  • eat!

How nice does that look?! We’ve got plenty more just waiting for you to try, all you have to do is click one of the buttons below to go straight to ’em!

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J

perfect pork on a bed of caramelised asparagus, onion and lentils

Oh how fancy! Just a quick recipe-only post tonight because frankly, my feet hurt, my bum hurts and my finger hurts from typing so much. However, I couldn’t resist posting this stunning little recipe because I think it looks so pretty in the picture. It’s good timing to post a ‘posh’ meal because I (somewhat gently) got called a snob yesterday for badmouthing Benidorm and it made me think – I’m the least snobbish person I know, but then I only move in certain circles. When you’re as fat as me, those circles are called orbits, by the way. I don’t care how much someone earns or owns and I find the more they brag about those things, the less interesting they are as a person.

Anyway, the reason for me mentioning this is because I’m reminded of a story I heard somewhere and it tickles me every single time I think about it. He recounts a quiet Sunday at home with his family having Sunday lunch when they all become aware of quite the commotion happening across the street. A fire engine comes tearing into the street and firemen pile out and dash into a house. His dad, being nosy, wanders outside to have a look, where he’s met by the next door neighbour who was the type who would make the Queen look like a dole-scrounger.

“I wonder what’s going on”, says the neighbour, to which his dad replied “I don’t know – perhaps it’s a chip pan fire”.

The lady turned to him and looked straight down her nose:

“Chips?”, she spat, aghast.

“On a Sunday?”

Aaaah I love that so much. I grew up in a village with more than its fair share of people like that – people who thought because they had a barely-affordable mortgage and a car the size of a cargo train they were better than anyone else. Pfft!

Anyway this isn’t going to be a quick-post if I don’t get to the recipe so without a moment more of hesitation, let’s rattle off the perfect pork with caramelised onion…this recipe makes enough for two large portions. Which you love, because you’re a filthy bugger.

to make perfect pork on a bed of caramelised asparagus, onion and lentils, you’ll need:

  • two excellent pork loin chops, no fat – we bought ours from Tesco for £3.50 – we’re not fancy
  • 250g of asparagus
  • two large white onions
  • 250g of cooked puy lentils (we buy Merchant Gourmet ones from the shop – 2 syns for 250g)
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar (3 syns)

We used an Optigrill for our chops – only because it’s such a doddle to chuck the chop in and let it cook itself, but you absolutely don’t need to buy one for this recipe – a pan will do. You’ll even get those pretty sear marks if you move it to and fro a bit. If you do want an Optigrill, you can buy them on Amazon and read our review here.

to make perfect pork on a bed of caramelised asparagus, onion and lentils, you should:

  • read this whole recipe before you start, as you’ll have a couple of pans on the go at once
  • peel and finely slice the onion – put in a good non-stick pan with a splosh of oil or a few sprays of olive oil, sprinkle over the caster sugar and a pinch of salt, pop the lid on and shake that pan for all your worth – this gets a bit of oil on all of the onion
  • cook on a low to medium heat with the lid on until the onions are slightly golden and soft – it does take a while, but don’t rush it
  • meanwhile, peel your asparagus to remove the stringy skin and then snap it in two – if you bend it gently, it’ll snap at just the right place
  • just as your onions take on a bit of colour, time to cook your pork:
    • we cooked ours in the Optigrill: turned it on, chose the pork chop setting, waited until it was ready to cook, chucked the pork in with a brushing of worcestershire sauce, cooked it until the machine told us to stop, done!
    • haven’t got an Optigrill – don’t worry a jot, you can use a normal griddle pan, frying pan or cook it on a sunburned shoulder for all I care – whatever you do, apply heat until the meat is cooked – I mean, it’s that easy
  • about ten minutes before the pork is done, chuck the asparagus in with the onion – if things are a bit sticky, loosen it up with a wee bit of water
  • just before you’re about to serve, heat your lentils through and plate up

Done! Want more inspiration? Sure thing, cheesenips. You know what to do.

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J

caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice

I bet you’ve stumbled here expecting caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice? Makes sense, given the title, and look, you’ve only have to scroll through a few paragraphs to get there. Can I share something that I’ve learned over the weekend? There’s nothing quite as stressful as trying to give a cat medicine that he doesn’t want to take. I’d sooner run into a burning building and have a boxing match with a drunk Hartlepudlian woman than go through this again. He needs to take it because he’s had an allergic reaction to something and is pulling out his fur, the poor bugger. Naturally, because we’re caring sorts, we rushed him to the vets, handed over a billion pounds to the absolutely dishy trainee vet behind the counter (oh! to be a cow in difficult labour!) and were given a course of tiny pills to give to the cat, who would ‘eat them with no fuss, all cats do’.

Like hell they do. I’d have more luck getting Bowser to learn to tap-dance. This is a cat who shat in his own cat-box to stop us taking him to the vets to stop his own sickness. He was foolish, we just bundled him in with his sister and they spent twenty minutes tumbling around in the back of the Smart car until we arrived at the vets and had to pull them apart like old Velcro. Sola is fine, she just spends her day showing off her fanny in the window or sleeping anywhere where we’ve put down clean clothes. I don’t know what it is to own a shirt that doesn’t look 80% mohair.

First we tried the obvious route – slid out a packet of finest Whiskas Bumholes-‘n’Ash and hid the tiny pill inside. He ate every last bit, bar the atom-sized piece of cat-food with this pill on it. There was a haughty arrogance to his walk as he strutted off, dropping hair everywhere he went. Next we tried luring him in with good ham – Sainsbury’s Extra Special Ham, no less – and despite him usually wolfing this down so fast he manages to take your fingernails with him at the same time, he completely ignored it. I gave it to Paul instead, telling him to man-up and spit out the cat-hair afterwards.

Next came the nuclear option – Dreamies. Have you ever seen a cat around Dreamies? I can only assume they contain whatever the cat equivalent is of crack-cocaine because I swear, my cats would be out turning tricks in the street if they knew there was a packet of Dreamies to be had. They’ve been known to get inside our kitchen cupboards just to push the little pot onto the floor before. This time we used our brains, secured the tablet to a Dreamie with a bit of spit, and hid it in amongst a pile of other Dreamies.

Yep, he ate all but one, then went back to furiously licking his willy. He did the same with tuna fish, he did the same with cream and he’ll do the same with whatever suggestion you lot have for me. In the end we had to find a video on Youtube on how to pill your cat and I swear, our relationship will never be the same. He looks absolutely fucking furious – and this is what he usually looks like:

Paul had to hold him and I had the unfortunate job of prising his mouth open to drop the pill in – then he spat it out – so rinse and repeat. Ah well. Only thirteen more to go. I would have genuinely preferred the vet had given us suppositories at this point.

So, aside from pushing pills on the cat all weekend, what else have we done? Finally organised our bloody spice cupboard, that’s what! Anyone else on Slimming World knows the pain of their spice cupboard – a mysterious Null full of eight jars of ground ginger and dried sage that was last wheeled out for the ‘GOODBYE DIANA 4EVA IN OUR HARTS’ vol-au-vents. The amount of times we’ve bought stuff in Tesco only to find we actually had several bottles of it already cluttering up our kitchen, man, it beggars belief. So we emptied it out, like so:

Then, with a quick trip to IKEA and the purchase of all these pretty magnetic jars for the side of the fridge, we now have this:

Pretty right? They’re nice and sturdy so they’ll stay on there until the cleaner knocks the turmeric to the floor with her Henry Hoover and ruins our carpet. But that’s OK, we’ll cross that P45 when we get to it. I posted this online last night and people went wet with delight, which I wasn’t expecting given it’s just jars, but if you’re wondering:

You have no idea how long it takes to scrutinise our highly-reflective gloss surfaces for stray knob-shots, you know. Let’s get to the food, eh?

caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice

caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice

to make caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice you will need:

  • 500g minced pork
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsp grated ginger (save your fingers and invest in one of these – great for garlic too!)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bird eye chili, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (4 syns)
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • rice or noodles (whichever you prefer)

to make caramelised Vietnamese pork and rice you should:

  • cook the rice or noodles to however you like it – the main bit doesn’t take long so you can probably cook both at the same time
  • meanwhile, heat a little oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat
  • add the onion, garlic, ginger and chili to the pan and cook for 2 minutes
  • add the mince and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until it’s cooked through
  • add the maple syrup and the fish sauce and stir it in only once
  • leave it to cook, untouched, for about 2 minutes – this helps it to caramelise
  • stir, then cook again for another thirty seconds – and then do two more times
  • remove form the pan and serve over the rice or noodles
  • sprinkle over the spring onions and eat

Want some more ideas? Just click one of the buttons below!

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J

buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches

Buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches. If sandwiches were gay, this one would be a powertop with a vein-cane like a draught excluder. And we’re off! BUT FIRST.

If I see one more gay pride rainbow or business logo turning rainbow-coloured, I’m going to scream. Or theatrically flounce, at the very least.

Hear me out before you start lighting the pitchforks and assembling the L.G.B.T.Q.A.I.S.P.T.S.D.R.O.F.L.B.B.C.R.A.D.I.O.O.N.E unicorns to put my windows through. I have no problem with gay pride, hell, I’ve done my bit for the gay community simply by being born and fabulous. No, it’s the fucking comments that get left by other people that do my nut in.

OMG WHEN CAN WE HAVE A STRAIGHT PRIDE PARADE‘ being the main one, although there’s normally a few more spelling mistakes and flecks of spittle involved. They are, almost to a point, middle-aged men or women who think they’re being original and edgy asking the same question that gets asked every single time there’s any reference to Gay Pride.

It’s such a pointless, doltish comment to make, and it’s nearly always followed up by someone you know pronounces England with three syllables saying ‘it is PC gone mad‘ or ‘BECAUSE THE WHIRLED IS HETROPHOBIC‘. It isn’t heterophobic at all – anyone can come along and support, wave a flag, have a good time. But see there’s a key difference – everyone is welcome whereas us gays, and all the various iterations that involves these days, are still excluded or prejudiced against in certain ways, both big and small.

For example, we have to really think about where we go on holiday. I’d love to go to Russia, but when you see videos of young lads being kicked, beaten and punched for being gay uploaded onto Youtube and the swill of comments underneath in support, it puts you off. Brazil sounds like a fun place to visit, but less so if you’re a transperson – then you’re running the risk of being beaten to death in the fucking street surrounded by people who won’t help you simply because you’re not some shitty version of normal. Least you’re safe in our progressive country where Pride isn’t needed – well, unless you’re getting an Uber (thrown out for being gay), or perhaps you fancy a stay in a B&B but oh wait you can’t because you’re bummers and the owners are good tolerant Christians. Need a drink to settle your nerves? Fine – but don’t go out with your lesbian friends otherwise you’ll be jumped by a gang of fifteen men who’ll knock your teeth out. That was three months ago, by the way.

Hell, I’ve told you before about my ex, haven’t I? He spent two months building up the courage to come out to his parents because he was so imbued with happiness at being in his first gay relationship and wanted to be open about it. They responded by ramming a screwdriver against his throat, telling him he was ‘wrong’ and then locking him away in his house. Imagine how fucked up that would make you feel – all because you love someone of the same gender. I know of at least two other similar stories in my circle, and I’d hazard a guess that if you asked most queer folk they’d have a similar ‘cheery’ story. Do you think there are many young teenage straight lads out there who agonise for months – years even – about telling their dad they love a girl? Do you reckon the streets are awash with straight people holding hands and being told by perfect strangers that they’re sick, immoral, nasty or perverted? Nope.

That’s why Pride is needed: the more something is celebrated, the more something is held up as a perfectly acceptable way of living life, the less of an issue it becomes. Your ‘straight pride’ is every fucking day that you go through without some judgement being cast on how you live your life.

I’m amazingly lucky – I have fantastic parents who have been nothing but supportive right from the get-go and as a result, I’ve always felt comfortable talking to them about anything. You don’t understand what a difference that makes – imagine being unable to talk to your parents about who you love or what you’re confused about. Imagine what it must feel like to know they think of you as a disappointment or less of a person just because of a biological setting no more able to change than your eye-colour or your skin tone. Paul has the same, sort-of – his dad was marvellous about it and his mum made retching noises and ignored him for a few weeks, but she’s alright now, even if I might as well not exist for all the interest she shows in our life. I remember a few weeks after I came out to my mother (she may have been drunk, it was just after I got in from school) telling me that if I needed lubricant or condoms I ought to tell her and she’d buy some and leave it outside my bedroom, like I was ordering the express breakfast in a Travelodge. I didn’t have the heart to tell her at that point that me and my ‘good friend’ who would stay over for weeks at a time were already merrily boffing away and we would go through condoms like an Amsterdam hooker.

Anyway, it’s not all bad. Paul and I were discussing only the other day how far things have come for us (usually the wall behind the bed, thank God for wipe-clean Dulux Endurance paint, that’s all I can say) and how easier it is for us to be gay. Not many people bat an eyelid when I introduce him as my husband, although there’s always a few startled gasps that so much beauty shouldn’t be in one room together lest we collapse in on ourselves like a rainbow-black-hole. There’s the option to tick civil partnered on every form and most places will refer to him as my husband rather than ‘my friend’. Even my nana, back when she wasn’t ash, embraced us as a couple, only stopping occasionally to ask who was the woman. The answer of course being Paul, because he does the dishes, makes the dinner and iron the clothes, if he doesn’t want two black eyes and his pin money taken away.

Enjoy Pride, folks. But more importantly, enjoy your life, however you choose to live it, and don’t stop to give a second thought to a single person who thinks any less of you based on who you love. They’re the ones who’ll end up alone. Frightened, alone and looking back at a life filled with hatred and bile and realising they’ve wasted it, and the only thing waiting for them is blackness and fear.

I saw on a t-shirt the very thing I’m trying to say but encapsulated in only two sentences, rather than the usual 1,000 word burble you get from me.

Gay Pride was not born of a need to celebrate being gay, but our right to exist without persecution. So instead of wondering why there isn’t a straight pride movement, be thankful you don’t need one.

Oooh, get her.

Right, now, I was going to do a rainbow recipe, but I can’t be arsed. You’ve had a ranty polemic instead, be happy. No, instead, I’m going to introduce you to one hell of a dirty treat – amazing buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches – yes, you’ll need a syn, but then what do you expect from two sinful gays?

buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches

This makes four sandwiches! FOUR! Scale back if you need to. We used our Optigrill for this recipe and it worked a charm, but it can be done just as easy under the grill or on a George Foreman. No expensive kit needed. Though, it makes it easier. If you’ve bought an Optigrill on our recommendation, have a look at our other recipes:

to make buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches you will need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 8 slices bacon medallions
  • 8 slices wholemeal bread (this’ll be your Healthy Extra B choice)
  • 135ml Frank’s Hot Buffalo Sauce (1.5 syns)
  • 50g Philadelphia Lightest (2 syns)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 80g reduced-fat red Leicester cheese, grated (2x HeA choices, so half an A choice each)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • salt
  • pepper

If you’re looking for a decent place to buy chicken and bacon, you can build them into your own slimming hamper at Musclefood! Come take a look at our hampers or build your own. No longer do you need to suffer with breasts that turn into prawns once all the water has leaked out and bacon with less meat than a sparrow’s knee!

to make buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches you should:

  • we used the Optigrill for this recipe and it was champion but you can use just a normal grill or a George Foreman and it’ll still be as good. first, cook the chicken:
    • on the Optigrill, press the Chicken button, wait for it to heat up, slap the chicken on and wait til it’s done, then set aside
    • otherwise, heat the grill to medium-high and cook the chicken until done, then set aside
  • next, cook the bacon – same deal as before:
    • on the Optigrill, press the Bacon button, wait for it to heat up and chuck on the rashers – it’s that easy. You want them to be quite crispy
    • otherwise, put the bacon under the grill and cook until crispy
  • pour the Frank’s into a large bowl and microwave for thirty seconds
  • stir in the grated cheese and philly, it should melt a bit but if not don’t worry about it
  • next, shred the chicken breasts by pulling apart with two forks, it doesn’t need to be perfect, just get it ripped up
  • add the chicken, sliced spring onions, salt and pepper to the bowl and mix in well
  • dip the slices of bread into the egg and ensure it’s well coated and gloopy
  • top four slices of the eggy bread with the cheesy-chicken mixture, topping with two slices of bacon and then the other slices
  • next, finish off the sandwiches:
    • press the Manual button on the Optigrill and select Red, when it’s heated add the sandwiches to the plates and close the lid until nicely cooked and the cheese is melting out the sides – about 2-3 minutes
    • otherwise, heat a large frying pan over a high heat and cook the sandwiches one-by-one for about three minutes per side, flipping halfway through
  • inhale it

Come on, get this made. Get it made and enjoy it like life! Want more ideas? Click the buttons below!

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J

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce

Meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam? Topped with tomato sauce sweetened with honey as opposed to some watery old passata and the tears of the terminally disappointed? Yes! Not going to lie, this is an amazing recipe. I had to stand a good eight inches back from the cooker as I made it, if you get my drift. However, sound the klaxon, boop-boop:

We’ve been asked to do a recipe featuring Hellmann’s Tomato Ketchup Sweetened with Honey, so here it is. Easy enough to do because everyone likes meatloaf and tomato sauce is always a winner, but see we’ve done meatloaf before so how to make it different…stuff it with bacon jam. Oh my!

But first, the usual flim-flam. I couldn’t think of a natural link between tomato ketchup and our usual blog content – there’s not many hilarious stories about tomato ketchup that’ll have people slapping their knees and wheezing into a paper bag, after all. Then it struck me: let’s revisit the ‘trivial things that annoy me’ post – we did it in 2015, I’m sure we did it in 2016 but I can’t be arsed to check, so here’s the 2017 list!

Paul buys far too many bottles of ketchup

See! I bloody well managed to link the recipe and the blog content after all! Just call me Mark Zuckerburg. We’re not a couple who feel the need to drown our dinner in condiments, not least because we season our food properly in the first place, but see it’s always nice to have something to dip your sausage into. It’s why I married Paul. However, he takes it too far: our little spinning cupboard in the kitchen is actually canted to one side because of the weight of the 87 bottles of sauce currently wedged in there – he buys a new bottle every single time he goes to the supermarket “just in case” – in case of what? Nuclear war? I’ll be far too preoccupied with shitting my lungs out than having a seasoned bloody chip. Shopping with him has become a passive-aggressive two hours of him putting a bottle in the trolley and me taking it back out again. I’d rather he came home and told me he was having an affair with my mother rather than see him surreptiously pulling another bottle out of the bag for life.

Oh and mother, don’t you dare.

Black car badges

These:

I may have adjusted the picture slightly. Anyway, you’ll see them everywhere now, I can guarantee it. A black fadge-badge like the one pictured isn’t too bad on a black car, but I’m seeing it on all sorts of acne-carriages that barrel around on the road with their rubbish mods. What looks (arguably) passable on a decent motor looks like an embarrassment on a car that sounds there’s a bee stuck in the engine. We all know that certain cars attract certain types of driver – I feel like this little embellishment is just another way of reassuring you that yes, indeed, the person behind the wheel is a pulsing sphincter.

Vaping

I know, I know it is healthier than smoking. I know it’s a great thing to do if you’re trying to give up the fags. But do people need to be so…theatrical about it? Walking past a bus-stop these days is like being stuck in the middle of a chewing-gum flavoured hurricane, with blasts of vapour from all around. I’m tempted to chuck a load of gold and silver tokens in the air and pretend I’m in the crystal dome. You see people billowing out clouds like they’re a Chernobyl cooling tower and it just looks ridiculous. Yes, less ridiculous than coughing out your last in a hospital bed, but ridiculous none the less. I saw a wonderful little meme on Facebook that simply said how hilarious it was to walk past all the hard meatheads standing outside of pubs vaping away and stinking of strawberry shortcake. Now, before you think I need to be told how much better it is that people vape, please don’t, because…

I also hate people who smoke in cars

It’s fine if you are by yourself, though I do worry that if you were to drop your tab into the crack of your boobs, you’re not going to be looking where you’re going as you try and fish it out. No, it’s only a problem for me if you’ve got kids in the back. It’s the height of selfishness.  Both of our parents smoked like chimneys on every car journey when we were growing up – it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve realised Northumberland doesn’t have a faintly yellow patina to every vista.

Ridiculous packaging

Yes, it’s an obvious thing to moan about, but let me give you an example. We were told to bring a calculator to my last exam as we’d need to add up international fees, all very basic, but I can’t add up under pressure. Hell, I can barely remember to breathe in and out. Naturally, I forgot to pick one up from the cupboard at work, meaning a last-minute dash to Argos to buy a calculator. £15! They had none of the basic models in stock (of course) and so I had to buy a calculator that I’m fairly sure I could hack Sellafield with. Anyway, on my Tube ride over to the exam hall I set about trying to extricate the calculator from its sealed plastic packaging. Could I hell. I wrenched at it with my fists, I tried to chew my way in, I tore a nail trying to open the bloody thing up. I went four stops before I had to give up, not least because the sight of me sweating and fumbling in my rucksack was understandably making people anxious.

No, I had to go out of my way to go and buy a pair of bloody scissors in order to open the calculator with. Scissors are a surprisingly difficult thing to track down at the last second and even those came with a stupid cable tie attaching them all together. The sales assistant clearly sensed my anguish because she at least offered me a bag, though I turned it down thinking it would probably involve me doing a full turn on the Krypton Factor assault course and naming the top forty capital cities in the world.

Oh, and it turns out I didn’t need the calculator after all. Imagine my cheeriness!

Now, the other thing that annoys me is food blogs that don’t get to the damn point, so, after that 1,000 mince around the gardens, let’s get to the moment you’re all waiting for: american meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce!

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

to make american meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce (phew), you’ll need:

to make the meatloaf:

  • 500g of lean beef mince
  • 500g of lean pork mince
  • one large red onion
  • 1 tbsp of dried mustard powder
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic – fresh or powder
  • a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • a good mix of cherry tomatoes
  • 8 tbsp of Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened With Honey (4 syns)

to make the bacon jam for the middle:

  • four large red onions
  • 700g of unsmoked bacon, no fat
  • pinch of salt
  • 125ml of water
  • 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp of Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened With Honey (2 syns)
  • pinch of pepper

Now, of course, you can use any ketchup for this recipe – but the reason Hellmann’s Ketchup Sweetened With Honey works here is that it replaces the sugar you’d usually use to make the ‘jam’ and is half the syns of regular ketchup. Plus, sweetened with honey rather than extra sugar means it contains 30% less sugar than the ‘market leader’. We all know who that is, don’t be coy. Oh and it actually tastes decent, so fair play to them for that. You can buy it in Tesco for £1.89 but it’ll roll out all over the place as we speak.

This meatloaf recipe might look difficult to make but it really isn’t, but start with the jam first, eh? This makes EASILY enough for four and could stretch to six, and we served ours with green beans and skin-on mash, as is tradition.

to make american meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam and honey tomato sauce (phew), you should:

to make the jam:

  • do you have a chopper? One of these mini chopper things I always bang on about – if so, get it out, save your poor wrists, but if not, that’s fine
  • peel and chop your onions nice and fine – we’re talking really diced, but it isn’t going into an art gallery, make it as messy as you like
  • grill all the bacon until nice and crispy whilst you’re doing that
  • once you’ve got the bacon crispy and it isn’t so hot it sears your flesh, cut it up so it’s about the same chopped size as the onion
  • get a good, solid-bottom pan and spray some oil in – or use olive oil, I’ll never tell – add the onion, bacon, water, vinegar, ketchup, salt and pepper
  • cook slowly and gently for a good forty minutes – keep checking on it, add a dash more vinegar or water if it needs it, or some ketchup, until you have a nicely reduced jam
  • this isn’t going to be the smooth jam you see on a scone, no, but this is sticky, delicious bacon-goodness
  • keep to one side

to make the meatloaf:

  • get the oven on to 180 degrees and line a loaf tin (or just spray it with oil if you’ve got a decent one)
  • slap everything from the meatloaf list (save for the ketchup and tomatoes) (dice the red onion nice and fine first mind) into a big bowl
  • you can cheat and use chopped chives rather than onion if the thought of chopping more onion drives you to drink
  • mix – mix by hand and my goodness, don’t you stop for one moment – it’s very theraputic, get all that frustration and anger out by making sure you have the perfect mixture
  • if the meat is dry, add an egg – if it’s too wet, add breadcrumbs – but you’ll be able to ‘tell’ when it’s firm and ready
  • slap a good half of it into the loaf tin and press it down
  • make a channel for your bacon jam – I pressed the side of a glass into the meat to give a nice uniform look but honestly, no-one is going to care how it looks
  • spoon and press down as much jam as you can, being careful not to go right to the sides

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

  • press the rest of the mince on top of the jam – think of it like trying to create a core in the middle – make sure you press everything down nice and firm mind
  • spread your tomato ketchup over the top of the loaf, then slice the cherry tomatoes and arrange them in a sexy, pleasing manner
  • cook for a good hour or so – cover it with tin foil if the tomatoes start to burn – the internal temperature should be over 70 degrees if you have a meat thermometer to hand
  • remove from the oven, allow to cool for a good ten minutes or so, then serve!

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

It really is easy to make – you’re just slapping together a load of ingredients and baking it – it just looks like a long recipe typed out!

Looking for nutritional info? Based on the average lass’s intake of 2000 calories…

meatloaf stuffed with bacon jam

Not bad eh! If you want to find out a little more about the ketchup, you can speak to Hellmanns on Twitter  or via their Facebook page. If you want more recipes, click on the buttons!

 

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See? I can do a sponsored food post without it being boring and buy buy buy! Let me know if you have concerns! But this meatloaf man, amazing…

J

all day breakfast poutine – an amazing breakfast idea

All day breakfast poutine you say? What is poutine? A Liverpudlian telling you who is running Russia? No. It’s fast food from Canada, usually consisting of sausage, chips and cheese smothered in gravy. We’ve given it a lighter spin because we’re just so good like that. But first…

I alluded yesterday to being in pain. I still am. Let me set the scene – I’m late for work and fresh out of the shower, nude, dripping (as I can only imagine you are too, dear reader, at the very thought). I hurtled into the kitchen to try and make a cup of coffee that wouldn’t take two layers of skin off my lips. I stepped over a cat to reach for the milk jug (the niceties must be observed, even at times of great urgency) and OOOH – a big shard of glass went right through the bottom of my foot. I screamed incredibly theatrically (who knew?!) and then launched into a fit of angry swearing whilst my foot dripped blood onto our freshly-cleaned floor. I don’t know what annoyed me more – the fact that SOMEONE (IT WAS PAUL) had clearly broken something and then not cleaned up properly OR the fact I’d just paid the cleaner to completely bleach our floor and now it looked like Carrie White’s gym knickers.

The cat, by the way, sat staring at me impassively, my cries of pain clearly nothing to him. I got my revenge later by giving him a pouch of Conshita cat-food from Lidl – which he also ignored.

I wish I could tell you that I made like Bear Grylls and pulled it straight out but it had slid into the pad of my foot and disappeared, probably on a fantastic journey straight to my heart. I sat on the sofa and picked away at the hole, trying not to cry, but no joy. I couldn’t stand on it because every time I put my foot down, it sank in a little more just to drive the point home. Luckily, my work are used to my Calamity James hijinks and took my blubbering and woe with good humour. I rang my doctors to see if they could maybe extract it and they coldly told me to go to a walk-in centre. We did both chuckle lightly at the irony of attending a walk-in centre whilst I was all but hobbled. Off to Wansbeck Hospital I went. I confess myself disappointed that they didn’t send the air ambulance to pick me up from my front garden, whilst I rolled around clutching my leg like I was on 999.

Upon arriving at the hospital I was somewhat distressed to see that they have decided that car-parking is a folly and that really the huge expanse of tarmac previously used for cars would be the ideal place to build some more identikit houses instead. I took a small diversion via Ullswater and ended up in their satellite car park, where I was pleasantly surprised that parking was a mere £4 for the day. I have a faint recollection of previously having to feed notes into the car park meter like a junkie at a fruit machine, so £4 wasn’t too bad. The trek to the walk-in centre was no problem at all once I’d lost all feeling in my foot and my shoe had filled with blood, and I took the small obstacle of visiting entirely the wrong department at entirely the wrong end of the giant hospital in my stride. My blood-soaked, glass-stabby stride.

From there everything happened ridiculously quickly. I was shown to a chair in the waiting room, asked to wait mere moments before being seen by a triage nurse, and then sent to x-ray. I was actually quite disappointed as I was really getting into Homes under the Hammer and wasn’t in a great mood to shift. However, my foot needed to be irradiated to make sure that I hadn’t splintered whatever was in there in my ham-fisted attempts at self-surgery. The very charming x-ray man asked me to lie on my side, which immediately exposed the top of my arse to him due to my badly-fitting trousers, and zap zap zap, my foot was x-rayed. Then x-rayed again because I had moved. Then once more for luck, and once again because we both agreed that ending the x-ray on an uneven number would be bad luck. I bet my foot glows now. I might have a midnight walk tonight dressed all-in-black so all people can see approaching them in the dark is a green disembodied foot mincing towards them, like Michael Flatley has joined The Blue Man Group. I digress.

I did have to wait for a bit whilst they tried to work out what was stuck in my foot and how it managed to penetrate my leathery soles. I was surprised myself, I’ve stepped onto a fire before and not realised for a good ten seconds. The x-rays were inconclusive – I could tell they were being polite and that actually they couldn’t see because it was like trying to find a diamond in a sea of hairy margarine – so they sent a very lovely man in to squeeze my foot.

His opening gambit? ‘This won’t hurt a bit’. Pffft. For a start, I’ve heard that line before as I’ve been climbing into bed and I’ve been left unable to shit properly for two weeks. Also: LIES. IT REALLY HURT. He was an absolute gentleman and very funny, but let’s be honest, anyone sticking a needle into an open wound on your foot is never going to rocket up your best friends list. Although, he was dishy, so…hmm. Anyway, after a good ten minutes gouging and squeezing and pressing, out popped the shard and believe me when I tell you it was relief all round. Relief for me because the pain subsidised. Relief for him as he didn’t have to look at the wound anymore. Relief for the security who were on the verge of evacuating the wards and sending my stinking trainers to the high level isolation unit.

You’ll be pleased to know that I’m alright now. It hurts a bit but I’m a big boy and I was super brave. I know I say this every single time I post anything hospital related but the NHS is just terrific. I was seen, x-rayed, talked to, treated and dispatched all within the morning. Every single member of staff, from the receptionist to the cleaners to the nurses to the x-ray man to the guy squeezing my foot, were all polite, cheery and full of happiness. I tried to make a point of saying how grateful I was but it never seems enough! I hobbled back to my car thinking about how shit it would be to have to pay for our medical treatments like they do in America. One x-ray of my foot would be $70, for goodness sake. Given I seemingly had five, I’d have expected a blowjob and a bumtickle included before I handed over $350. Still, not as though the people running the country are likely to force privatisation on us, is it? Ah fuck.

The recipe, then. All day breakfast poutine! I apologise to our good friends in Canada for what will be a total bastardisation of a national favourite – we know you’re suppose to use french fries but this was easier. So suck it, ay. I’M SORRY I’M KIDDING PLEASE LET US LIVE WITH YOOOOOU. This makes enough for four big bowls of fun, but you’ll need to add a couple of extra fried eggs.

to make all day breakfast poutine you will need:

  • 1kg potatoes
  • 6 low fat sausages (our Musclefood sausages are perfect!)
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g fat free cottage cheese
  • 300ml chicken gravy (4 syns, we usedBisto Chefs Specials Chicken Gravy with Sage & Onion)
  • pinch of salt

Listen, I know I say to dice things below, but don’t shit the bed over accuracy. It is what it is. Breakfast. You’re just going to turn it to poo anyway, doesn’t need to look beautiful. Also, watch your sausages. Make sure you pick low fat sausages and check the syns, or Mags herself will be coming round to scrawl FAT BASTID on your front door.

to make all day breakfast poutine you should:

  • cook the sausages however you like them (we cook ours in the actifry with the paddle removed), then set aside to cool
  • meanwhile, dice the potatoes into 1cm cubes, spray with a little oil (this will make the job easy) and sprinkle over a little salt
  • cook the potatoes by either dumping into the actifry for thirty minutes, or spread out evenly onto a baking sheet and bake at 190ºc until browned, turning frequently
  • whilst the potatoes cook, slice each sausage lengthways into three, and then slice across the width so you’re left with tasty sausage chunks
  • next, prepare the ‘curds’ by plopping the cottage cheese into a sieve and give a quick rinse so you’re left with the pearls – leave to drain until you need them
  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and spray with a little oil, and fry the eggs to your liking
  • make up the gravy and set aside
  • when the potatoes are cooked, tip into a big bowl and mix in the sausage pieces and three quarters of the cottage cheese
  • divide onto four plates, top with a fried egg and the remaining cottage cheese, gravy and a little bit else of what you fancy (we used chives!)

Tastebuds aching for more? Just click one of the buttons below to find more tasty recipes!

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J

rich and tasty guinness BBQ meatballs

Guinness BBQ meatballs – yes, Guinness. This is a nice, hearty, manly meal which is sure to put hairs on your chest, which at least will be a pleasant distraction from whatever sauce you’ve managed to slop down there. I love a Guinness, although ordering one in a pub round here normally means deafening tuts and COPD-esque sighs as people are delayed getting to their fizzy piss pint.

As an aside, before we get to the recipe, I want to hear from anyone out there who works for canal boat holiday sorts – we’re looking to get something booked in but goodness me, is it expensive. Some help appreciated!

Right, the recipe…

to make guinness bbq meatballs you will need:

for the meatballs

Now, this is where I’d traditionally link to our Musclefood deal which has lots of mince in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of pork, say (unlike me), hoy some more chicken in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

for the sauce

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tsp sriracha (or any hot chilli sauce will do)
  • 250ml guinness (4.5 syns)
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (1 syn)
  • 80g tomato puree

to make guinness bbq meatballs you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • mix together all of the meatball ingredients until well combined
  • roll out the mixture into about 20 meatballs and place on the greaseproof paper
  • bake in the oven for about thirty minutes
  • meanwhile, mix together the cornflour with 2 tbsp water until dissolved and set aside
  • place a saucepan over a medium high heat and add a little oil
  • add the garlic cloves and stir for about thirty seconds
  • add the rest of the ingredients and the cornflour mixture into the pan and whisk to mix
  • bring to the boil, and keep whisking, then reduce the heat to a simmer
  • cook for another fifteen minutes, whisking regularly until the mixture has thickened and reduced
  • when the meatballs are cooked, remove from the paper and stir gently into the sauce to coat
  • serve

We’re here to make your life easier! Want some more ideas? Just click the buttons below!

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J

the best bbq pork sandwiches ever, I kid you not

Look at the sandwich. I mean, look at it. It’s amazing. Beautiful. I’d say epic but then I’d need to punch my own teeth down my throat because the word epic is shorthand for dickhead. But considering how easy it is to make and how tasty it is, you have no excuse NOT to make the best BBQ pork sandwiches ever. This is ‘junk food’ but done absolutely right.

But first, the always fragrant Chriss took up our challenge to write for the blog, and I include her entry below, not least because my wrists hurt from typing so much about France. Remember folks, if you want to write something for us, do get in touch – it’ll be your time to shine! Oh, for those in the South, a ‘mam’ is a mother.


times past by Chriss

I love reading the stories James tells about his childhood, mainly because they’re very similar to my memories of growing up in a little Northern town.

Some of my happiest memories are of time spent with family doing everyday stuff that I probably didn’t rate it at the time. Like walking down to the allotment my dad shared with my grandad and my uncles to ‘help’ with the weeding and play hide and seek with my cousins. My dad is one of 10 kids, so I had loads of cousins since each of dad’s siblings had 2,3 or 4 kids. Here’s an interesting fact for you; my mam met my dad when her sister married my dad’s brother!

My grandad was never short of ‘willing volunteers’ in the allotment on a Saturday afternoon. We would walk down there with my dad and if he had his homemade wheelbarrow (made from an old wooden pallet and some pram wheels) my 2 sisters would hitch a lift while me and my brother walked either side. When we got there we would sneak off and steal gooseberries or strawberries, or a nice stick of raw rhubarb while the ‘menfolk’ did all the hard work. I spent most of my time looking for ripe tomatoes in the greenhouse. My nanna and grandad were lovely. Grandad Pipe (my other grandad was Grandad Dredger) used to play trombone in a colliery band and was rode his pushbike to the allotment every day until he broke his ankle aged 82 and was told he had to give up his bike. He wasn’t happy about that. He had a really dry sense of humour, had time for everyone and never forgot our names even though there were dozens of us.

Nanna made the most amazing rhubarb and ginger jam. She always did a huge spread on Boxing Day for all the family which must have taken at least a week to prepare! On Saturday afternoons when we all descended on her house, she would send us down to the chippy at the bottom of the street for 4 bags of chips with scraps that she managed to share between us all, along with an endless supply of bread and butter for butties. It’s sad how families grow apart when they lose their central meeting point. I know we have to grow up and most of us are in contact through Facebook, but it’s not the same as the halcyon days at Nanna and Grandad’s house.


I enjoyed that trip down memory lane, not least because it’s unusual for me to have any sort of trip down any sort of lane without it ending with me bent over the bonnet of a Punto whilst a disinterested plumber tries to fluff himself to full-mast.

Thanks to Chriss for her contribution!

An unusually prescient entry too – I spent yesterday back in my old village where I grew up, wandering about and reminiscing myself. My mum always tells me off when I write about my childhood because I make it sound as though I grew up in a Dickensian workhouse, eating carpet lint and weeds to get by. WE WEREN’T THAT POOR, she cries, spluttering her words through the asbestosis she picked up working down t’pit.

If family are the ties that bind then surely the home is the anchor, keeping everyone together however far they drift away. Ties, whether familial, blood or friendly, link us to a past and give us a reason to return there, to indulge ourselves in some nostalgia and relive memories long since faded. Now, with my uncle dead as a doorpost, my very last link to the village disappears and I’m left with no other reason to go and visit a place I spent 17 years of my life.

Well, aside from needing a bit of fresh air.

So, with Paul at the gym and me not wanting to risk my see-sawing neckbones, I tramped around Horsley, the village where I grew up, for a good three hours. I started off following the path where I used to walk our useless dog – he’d run off if he heard a loud noise, and his idea of a loud noise was a gate crashing or a sheep baaing. See I must have walked that path about 700 times but I’d forgotten so much – the lovely view of the Tyne Valley, the fact you can’t put a foot down without stepping in some animal shit, the distressing reality that there were no less than three gates to climb over. Where I previously used to vault them with reasonable ease, now, with my considerable bulk and ageing joints, it was like someone trying to push a settee out of a second floor window. Elegant and graceful it was not. I pushed myself over and made to cross the A69.

Wandering down the lane back to the village brought memories anew – the time my sister and I, together with a friend who we cruelly nicknamed Beaky because of her overbite, got stuck in a treehouse because we were convinced there was a bull in the field below. We had another friend who we called Heinz and the fact I can’t explain the meaning on here should give you a slight indication as to how cruel the intent behind it was. Anyway, it wasn’t a bull and it wasn’t a treehouse – it was an old tent that we’d wrapped around a few branches so we could sit awkwardly for hours – and we were rescued by a farmer several hours later.

I know everything changes, but there’s comfort in familiarity, and seeing the two pubs standing relatively unchanged was pleasing. Until, at least, I realised that the top pub had been closed and was in the process of being turned into flats for busy-bee couples who would never know the thrill of asking what wine they had behind the bar and being met with a gruff reply of ‘WHITE OR RED’. My faint memory of the top pub involves cooking fresh and on-point back in 1957 and a carpet that looked like a magic-eye puzzle. The other pub offers fancy food, long drinks and, according to Tripadvisor at least, short shrift. Not my scene.

I took a moment to doubleback on myself and walked to the house where I grew up, but it didn’t look right. Different flowers in the garden, new paint on the walls. Where was the pond with the whirring pump that never worked properly, just occasionally spitting out water and/or going on fire? The log pile full of fuel for the coal fire that we had to light even in the height of summer if we wanted hot water (we had an immersion heater, but you’d think it ran on solid gold the way my parents reacted when they heard you flick it on) had gone too – replaced doubtless by fancy central heating. Yeah, instant heat is fine, but you can’t beat a proper coal fire – even if it does set the cat on fire when it sparks. I left when I spotted someone watching me with uncertainty from the top window. She had a cheek, that was MY bedroom, and I bet at least 80% of all available surface in that room still has my DNA splattered across it. Seriously, if she stood there ovulating for long enough, I’d become a father. I left, taking a moment to check if my buried treasure was still there.

Back in the car, with swollen ankles and heart pain that wasn’t completely related to exercise, I bootled off home. To my home, far away, with the certain knowledge that I’ll probably never step back into the village again. We quoted this when we talked about Peterborough and it remains a favourite of mine: “it is impossible to step into the same river twice”. How true.

Fuck me, that ended in an oddly melancholy way, didn’t it? LET’S TALK ABOUT PORK. Pork with sauce slathered on it and turned into the best bbq pork sandwiches you’ll ever bloody eat. Plus, the whole thing is a piece of piss to make.

We found this recipe at krumpli.co.uk and adapted it ever so slightly for our own tastes so all credit goes to them. They have some great recipes so go check them out!

best bbq pork sandwiches

to make the best bbq pork sandwiches ever you will need:

  • 1kg pork joint (all visible fat removed)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • a jar of sauerkraut
  • cocktail pickled onions
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 wholemeal rolls (4x HeXB)

Now, confession, we used the mixed seed rolls from Lidl because frankly, they’re nicer in a picture and taste better. If you’re wanting to stick to SW, make sure you serve these sandwiches in whatever bun you can have as a HEB. The bread isn’t the star of the meal anyway!

There, I’m sure that’ll stop the smart-arses going OMG U UZED RONG BUNN U FATT FUKIN KENT.


for the meat rub

  • ½tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • ½tbsp black pepper

Don’t fret if you don’t have everything here, it’s all about balance anyway.

for the sauce

  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 100ml passata
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp black treacle (8 syns)
  • 1 tbsp mustard (1½ syns)
  • ¼tsp tabasco sauce

I’m synning this at two syns per sandwich, given you don’t eat all the sauce AND it makes enough for four massive sandwiches with plenty left over.

to make the best bbq pork sandwiches ever you should:

  • mix together all of the meat rub ingredients and rub into the meat – get right in there
  • wrap up or cover and leave in the fridge for four hours
  • heat a saucepan over a medium heat and add a few squirts of oil
  • add the onions to the pan and cook for about ten minutes, until slightly brown
  • add the garlic and cook for another minute
  • add in the rest of the sauce ingredients and cook until reduced by about a third
  • remove from the heat and allow to cool
  • pour the sauce mix over the pork joint and allow to sit for another hour but NOT in the fridge (you might want to cover it)
  • when ready, lift the pork out of the sauce and set aside on a plate

Pick a route – Instantpot (pressure cooker) or slow cooker. I know it goes without saying but we can’t recommend our Instant Pot enough – this is the fifth time we’ve used it and we bloody love it. It’s currently cheap on Amazon. But if you’re wanting a more slow roast of your meat and want a slow cooker, there’s also a cracking deal on those. Have a look!

For the Instant Pot:

  • add 100ml water to the sauce, stir and pour into the InstantPot
  • sit the trivet in the pan and place the pork on top
  • cook for about 27 minutes at high pressure, with a 10 minute natural pressure release
  • meanwhile, preheat the oven to 230°c
  • when the InstantPot has finished cooking and the pressure has been released, lift the pork off the trivet, place in a dish and cook in the oven for about ten minutes to help brown off the sauce
  • meanwhile, set the InstantPot to saute and cook the sauce so it’s reduced by half and thickened

For a slow cooker:

  • cook the pork in the sauce for a good four hours or so on high – you want it cooked through but not pulled pork level – easy to slice is what you’re after

Then, either way:

  • spread sauerkraut on the bottom half of each roll
  • when the pork is cooked, slice into thick slices and dip into the sauce, shaking off any excess
  • make up the sandwich by layering the pork with sliced red onion, picked onions and cucumber

Enjoy! I can’t tell you how bloody amazing this was. I know it’s a daft thing to say but if you don’t like cucumber or onion or whatever, just leave it out. Also, this makes enough for four MASSIVE sandwiches – you could easily make six or even eight normal sized ones! But none of us got to where we are by using half measures, eh…

Looking for more ideas of what to do with your pork? Oh you filthy mare. Click the buttons!

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J