Because putting a bit of mince in a wrap does not equal sausage rolls. Honestly, we weren’t going to bother with a sausage rolls recipe but having seen people passing off wraps stuffed with mince as sausage rolls, we felt we had to. Remember, Slimming World is about eating proper food, not pretend food, using your syns to eat something someone on a diet would eat, as opposed to pretend fake-food. The proof, as they say, is almost certainly in the pudding.
Although that pudding will probably be a smear of cinnamon and a photocopy of a chocolate bar wrapped in a Weight Watchers wrap and called a cinnamon swirl. Maybe on other sites.
Anyway, a quick word before we get to that recipe. Keen observers may have noticed that our recipe / blog output has slowed down a bit the last few weeks. There’s a reason for that but alas, I can’t go into it! We are trying to balance it back out, but at the moment we’re working during the day, coming home and going out to work on something else. But the end is in sight, and we have some cracking recipes coming up. So do bear with us, please! Remember, if you need inspiration, we have:
The recipe for the sausage rolls isn't much of a recipe at all, so we thought we'd bulk it out by including a veggie alternative that isn't just using vegetarian sausages, although you can do so. The veggie version is called pea pastizzi and comes from Sabrina Ghayour's FEASTS book that we keep banging on about!
to make the meaty sausage rolls (makes ten)
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
whatever six sausages you like - we use syn-free sausages from Musclefood, but you can use anything here
one red onion chopped
a pinch of garlic
to make the veggie pea alternatives (makes ten):
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
two large fat garlic cloves
one large onion, chopped fine
300g tin of marrowfat peas
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 large egg
pinch of salt
for the meaty sausage rolls:
preheat the oven to 200°c
squeeze the sausagemeat from the sausages and fry in the pan with the finely chopped onion and garlic - the little bit of fat will soften the onions, so no need to add oil
add a good twist of pepper
take your puff pastry, roll it out - I prefer to actually roll it out a little thinner than it usually is, but you know, up to you
cut into ten squares
spoon the cooked sausage meat into each square and fold over the sides into a nice roll shape
wash with beaten egg and into the oven they go for 20 minutes or so to cook nicely
if you want, cut them in half again when cooked for 1-syn taster night sausage rolls
Easy! Do you see what I mean though - it's an easy recipe! Cook off the sausagemeat, add into puff pastry and cook.
for the veggie pea alternatives:
soften the onions by cooking them off in a little oil, adding the garlic as they get nice and golden
add the peas, curry powder, pinch of pepper and a good dash of dalt
allow everything to cook for about five minutes and soften and mash gently
do as you did above - roll out your pastry, spoon in your mixture, fashion into rolls, egg-wash the top and whack them in the oven for twenty minutes or so
as you have no doubt noticed, FEASTS is my favourite book at the moment - every last thing we've cooked from there has been a delight - you can pick it up cheap on Amazon
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!
Here for the boozy bangers and mash with a gravy that’ll blow all other Slimming World gravy out of the water? Fine. But first…
I am pleased to announce that, after nine months of worry, tension and angst, we have finally chosen our new car. Well, my new car. Paul’s still ‘driving’ around in that ‘Smart’ ‘car’ of his, looking to all the world like a sunburnt wine-gum squashed into a lego car. After months of putting it off, I bit the bullet and went to the car dealership to see what the crack is. First thoughts? So much hair gel. Second thoughts: I’d rather spend my Saturday chewing toenails than have to go through the ignominy of pretending I give a toss about cars. We were greeted by an exceptionally exuberant man who bustled over to greet us before I’d even had a chance to park up.
Before we could start the dance of finance, he had a look around my car to make sure it was in a good working order for a part-exchange. Well, no, he had a glance and took me at my word that all was well. That really made the £400 that I’d just paid for the ‘obligatory’ service seem like good value, I can tell you. He commented that I keep a pristine car – I thanked him, neglected to tell him it’s because we’re always ‘wiping it down’ and prayed to myself that he didn’t sit on the back seat. The cushions in the back are like a Twinkie. Don’t get the reference? Click here and feel ashamed.
He took us inside and offered us a drink, having the good grace to laugh when I asked for a whisky to take the edge off getting fucked. He brought us some grey coffee instead which I tipped into a plant-pot on his desk when he wasn’t looking, only for it to start dripping out of the bottom and onto the floor. He didn’t notice, thankfully – he was probably lost in my eyes.
I knew we were on shaky ground when the portly chap (I’m going to call him George, not because that was his name, but because he looked like a George) grasped my hand, called me by entirely the wrong name and then asked what type of car I want. You need to understand, readers, that I know nothing about cars. I know how to drive one, of course, but what is horsepower? Why is a petrol better than a diesel? Why is there always so much blood and matted hair on my front bumper? It’s useless knowledge to me, like where to buy skinny jeans or how to stimulate a clitoris. Irrelevant data. To me, clitoris sounds like the name IKEA would give a coat-hook.
Anyway, dear George, to his credit, didn’t laugh when I said ‘something colourful’ and ‘a bit fast’. Those were my sole requirements. My previous research, so far as I’d glanced at Auto Trader, turned this up:
Fancy, but Paul had pointed out that I wasn’t Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, didn’t need a car with an automatic amyl-nitrate dispenser and anyway, it was over £500 a month. I appreciate I’m a tightarse Geordie but there’s fuck all way I’m spending that sort of money per month on a Citroen, unless it comes with a feature that automatically changes my number plate and flashes the interior lights whenever Paul and I pull into a layby of an evening. I asked if there was anything similar with an onus on lots of tech in the car and he hastened us over to look at the C4 Cactus.
Why? God knows. I’d rather get the bus, especially as this car was the colour of a dying man’s lips. Sensing I wasn’t swooning and completely ignoring the fact it’ll only be Paul and I so we don’t need a family car, he plopped me into the driving seat and leaned across to show me the ‘latest tech’. I mean, come on – you know someone’s clutching at straws when he’s feigning astonishment at the radio as though he was Marconi himself. I resisted the urge to be sarcastic and clutch my pearls when he mentioned the air-conditioning, and, knowing he was onto a loss, he got us back out and showed us an altogether more sensible solution, the new C3.
Imagine that but black. Tsk, racist.
Now this was more like it – it pretty much looks like a DS3 but designed by Fisher Price, but that’s fine – I’m a fan of bright colours and spend more time angsting about people banging their car doors into mine than I do blinking, the air-bumps on the side were a big ‘yes’. Even if they do look like someone’s stuck a particularly hi-tech jamrag on the side of the car. I selected the black and red version and so the negotiations began.
I like to think I’m pretty good at negotiating, but only for about 15 minutes. I simply can’t be arsed to haggle. I see Martin Lewis chirruping away on the telly about arguing for a better deal but sometimes, what price dignity? I did knock about £80 off the monthly amount but once George had gone an especially lurid shade of crimson and was looking at his own wallet with watery eyes, mumbling about having to feed the kids, I collapsed like a wet cake. I don’t doubt for a second that I could have maybe squeezed an extra ten quid or something off a month but it was hot, I was tired, I hate having to do the dance and that was that. I signed there and then and was told my car would be here in two weeks, thanks very much.
It actually turned up four days later – hooray – and with Paul away throwing himself at Jeremy Corbyn at the Durham Miners’ Gala, I picked it up myself and decided to go for a drive up to Coldstream. I’d never been before but I knew it is a good seventy miles of twisty-turny country road away from my house. It was a great drive – the car was responsive and zippy, my driving was top-notch and there was a minimal amount of people in my way all the way to Coldstream. I had, quite literally, just driven past the ‘Welcome to Coldstream’ sign when the in-car phone rang, almost forcing me to crash into a coach full of elderly folk in sheer shock – it was so bloody loud.
It was Paul asking where I was. He was home, see, but hadn’t thought to take a key with him. To make matters worse, he was “hot” and “tired” and “had been in the sun all day and was feeling faint”. The one set of neighbours we trust with a set of keys (i.e. the only ones who wouldn’t let themselves in to have a bloody good gawp) were out, of course. Thinking the poor bugger had sunstroke I performed an entirely illegal u-turn in the middle of the road and set straight back off for home, at an altogether terrifying speed.
All legal, I must say.
But certainly far faster than I should have been driving, and all in the name of love, with the thought of Paul’s scalp crisping up like a salad crouton rattling in my head. Naturally, he turned his phone off, so I couldn’t get hold of him, which led to even more panic as I thought he was slumped on the doorstep shallow-breathing. As opposed to his usual stance, slumped on the settee shallow-breathing. I overtook lots – and lots – of old dears, all perched as usual right up against the steering wheel, all doing a committed 40mph no matter what the occasion. There may have been swearing. I may have bellowed myself hoarse. I was definitely putting the c*nt in country road. But by god, I got back within the hour, just in time to see Paul relaxing with a cold drink and flicking through his facebook notifications.
Turns out the neighbours had come home about five minutes after his call to me and he’d put his phone onto charge, completely neglecting to tell me.
You can imagine the laughs we had about the whole misunderstanding, can’t you? How I chuckled as I ironed his face.
So yes, that’s my new car. It’s very nice, it goes like the clappers in comparison to my old one and I’ll never miss it in a car-park. All good.
Now, tonight’s recipe. Boozy Bangers and mash. I know that’s a wank title, I know. It’s sausages and mash but more importantly, it has an AMAZING gravy. Can we talk about gravy for a second? I made this for our facebook page:
I genuinely can’t stand it when you see a delicious looking roast and then someone pops up with ‘omg make sun-free gravy by blitzing (always fucking blitzing, how exactly are you blitzing your peas you spittle-flecked moron, dropping a bloody bomb on it?) a tin of mushy peas, or eight roasted onions, or some other AWFUL slop. That’s not gravy, that’s a grave injustice. A war crime.
Gravy is low in syns and given that so many people have more gravy on their plate than carbon atoms, you might as well get the good stuff. Make your own or use instant at a pinch. It’s a syn per teaspoon of powder. Unless you’re having a bath of gravy, how much do you bloody need? Drives me up the wall, which is fine because I’ve got that fancy new car, but still. So here’s a recipe with PROPER DELICIOUS GRAVY. We are going to be steering away from ‘pretend’ food (to be fair, we don’t do it much to begin with) as a blog and I’m sure you’ll come with us!
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.
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
It’s the return of the vag-pasta! Our caprese causage stuffed pasta makes good use of that weird shaped giant pasta!
Yeah that’s right, it’s a while since we used it and before I get anyone sending me frothy messages saying it’s not like a vagina, well, of course it’s not, but how many do you think I’ve seen in my life? Been there, done that, dry-heaved into my t-shirt. But see it’s what Paul calls this pasta so let’s just crack on with sausage caprese stuffed shells.
My goodness me. I opened the last post with a comment on the shitstorm surrounding this Porky Lights fiasco and here I see it has escalated into people appearing in the papers claiming they are devastated and had their diets ruined because the seven sausages they were eating for dinner might have had a slightly higher fat content than they expected. Listen, if you’re eating seven sausages in one sitting, you’ve got bigger fucking problems than a smidge more grease smacking on your lips. I work from home on a Friday so I was treated to even more hullabaloo from crinkle-faced mouthbreathers whingeing on. I think I’d rather be in the papers because I’ve been discovered wanking through a letterbox than holding up an over-done sausage the same shape as my downturned mouth and claiming my life was over. What happened to perspective?
OH and another bloody rant, if you don’t mind. If you drive and fiddle with your phone whilst you do so, then you’re an absolute and utter shit. A moron. A self-important, overly-entitled, preening cock. You’re a boil on society’s arsehole and everyone you come into contact with merely tolerates your presence. You’re about as liked as finding a hot streak of blood when you wipe your arse. If I saw you in the street I wouldn’t slap you, but it’s only because shit splatters.
The reason for my ire? Someone went into the back of me yesterday at a set of traffic lights (and I mean I’m used to having my crumple-zone pushed in from the rear, but at least buy a bloody drink first to grease the wheels) because he was BUSY PLAYING WITH HIS PHONE. I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry – the good thing about being tall and fat with a shaved head is that when you come hurtling out of a car with a face full of piss and vinegar the other person tends to back down pretty sharp, and I’m bloody mortified now that I reacted so aggressively. I didn’t hit him, but a proper red mist descended (probably an aneurysm brought on by the shunt) and I called him all sorts of very naughty words in an unexpectedly manly Geordie accent.
To the bloke’s credit he admitted straight away he was on his phone and apologised profusely and our insurance people are sorting everything out but FOR CRYING OUT LOUD just pull over. No-one is important enough to think they should be allowed to break the bloody rules and I genuinely hope that if someone is sitting out there reading this and thinking there’s no harm in using your phone that the next stop you make in your car is a dead-stop into a wall. It takes a bloody moment or two to pull over and deal with whatever you need to do and that way you don’t become a MASSIVE PULSATING DISEASED TWAT.
AAAAAARGH. Get me back to bloody France man! Speaking of which…
Smooth segue, eh! I’m the Astroglide of blogging. You left us at the airport after we’d just passed through security. We found our bags and made for the train station. Paul asked me why I was walking slowly and I explained that I was just bracing myself for his inevitable ‘landed in a strange place, must have a crap’ moment. He astounded me by informing me, with all the subtle discretion of a football manager shouting instructions to his team from across a pitch, that he’d been for a ‘tom tit on the plane’. He’s learning, folks. I’d anticipated having to spend at least fifteen minutes loitering outside the gents whilst he strained and grunted but nope – we were straight onto the train, then the Metro, then a short mince to our hotel.
Now, wasn’t this grand? The Hotel Square in Paris – 22 rooms and featured in the Luxury Small Hotels guide to boot. I’m not sure how easy it is to get in that book – maybe it’s one of those scams where anyone can pay to look prestigious – but the hotel was gorgeous. Very clean, very modern. Big room with a bed big enough to roll around in and eat croissants. The only thing I wasn’t so keen on was the bathroom, given it was a very grand marble affair with mirrors surrounding the shower area. I’m not shy with my body but even I pale at the sight of reflections of my hairy arse coming at me from all sides of infinity. Paul came in to pick up a toothbrush whilst I was freshening up and it was like eight hundred of him had walked in going “how long you going to be, turns out there’s another train waiting at the station ready for dispatch“.
Here’s a photo so you can see what I mean. How embarrassing though I managed to get my face into the shot! Eeee I can’t get over it!
We had planned a very quiet first day and so it was that the only thing on the agenda was an Escape The Room. You know we love these: you’re locked in some weird room with a scary backstory and given sixty minutes to get out before disaster strikes. In London you’re locked into an abandoned cinema. In Iceland you’re put away in a jail cell on death row. They’ve opened one in Dewsbury where they take away your swimming costume and push you into the base of a divan bed with only a box of Tramadol for company. It’s all terrifically exciting. This one, however, was by far and away the best. We Ubered (I don’t know if that’s a verb or not, and I don’t care – it’s easier than saying ‘took an Uber’) over to the venue and after much confusion, found our way in.
We were met by the lovely Lucas who told us, in broken English far better than my pidgin French, what the situation was. We were to be stuck inside an out-of-control Paris Metro and we had to stop it before it crashed. Exciting! What really did make this fun was that the room was an actual Metro carriage and, whilst it clearly wasn’t going all end-of-Speed on us, it did rock side to side and brake and move. It was amazing! I like to think Paul and I have these things nailed now and we know what to look for but we were defeated at the very last step by the fact we were both recovering from head-colds – part of the clue revolves around sniffing bottles to identify smells to work out an exit code. We were supposed to smell cherries – all I could smell was Parisian soot and Vicks Sinex. Lucas had the good grace not to mention the fact that every time I had bent down to pick up a clue a good thirty percent of my arse was on show thanks to my inability to pack a belt, though doubtless we’ll be on some French version of You’ve Been Framed somewhere accompanied by bouncy accordion music.
Ashamed of the fact we had failed in our duties (but buoyed by the fact it was bloody good fun) we wandered the streets until we realised we were both hungry and that we really ought to eat. Well, you know Paris – you can’t move without happening across somewhere delightful full of lovely things to eat (I don’t think there was a single point in the holiday where I wasn’t either stuffing my face with pastry or brushing the crumbs off my coat) and it took no time at all to spot a little cafe down by the Seine which looked busy and promising. We bustled in, Paul ensuring that his coat dragged across as many tables as possible and me knocking into chairs and tables and ankles like a lost bull. One day, just once, we’ll enter a restaurant without it looking like we’re there to fake an insurance claim.
Our waiter (curt tones, face like a hundred miles of rough road, eyes that had never known joy) came over and barked at us to order. Our French is poor but we do try, but by god he gave us no leeway for error. Every fumble was tutted at – not necessarily in a rude way, just it was clear that he didn’t have time for our stumblings because he had to go back to watching emo arthouse movies and smoking. We ordered a starter consisting of various Corsican meats and cheeses – we had loved Corsica so and, given it cost a billion pounds to go there last time making it unlikely we’ll revisit, this was an easy way of reliving some memories.
The waiter had no sooner seemed to disappear through the doors into the kitchen when he immediately re-appeared holding aloft a platters of meats and breads. He set them down, adjusted them just so, took a moment to think what was missing and then blurted ‘le fromage’ and disappeared anew. A minute or two later he returned with the cheese board and goodness me, It was a challenge and a half. I like a strong cheese but even I was defeated by two of the monstrosities on this plate. I’m not exaggerating even for a moment when I tell you that I was entirely convinced one of these cheeses was actually alive. I had to leave it. Our waiter, his face full of French woe, asked if anything was wrong, to which I gave a British ho-ho and explained that I hadn’t realised I’d ordered the pickled smegma fresh off the chef’s helmet. Spread it on my bread? It was all I could do not to hurl it into the traffic outside. The only thing that stopped me was knowing Paris is on a critical terror alert and I’d end up banged up in Guantanamo Bay with bamboo being slid up my urethra.
Paul, having experimented with a somewhat French dish as a starter, decided that was quite enough of that nonsense and ordered an Italian burger. I was mortified. At least I made an effort, I had a croque Madame so French it was smoking a Gauloise when it was dropped in my lap. I’m not shy of trying new things – snails I have no problem with (who would have thought, me, a pro at swallowing unpleasant mouthfuls) and I wasn’t going to bother with frogs’ legs. I’ve had them before and it was like eating the meat from the used toothpicks at the end of a group dinner.
I made the right choice, lunch was lovely, and we lingered over coffee whilst we people watched the good folk of Paris and (quelle surprise) half of China flit about in that hurried way I’ll never understand. I find it incredible that all of these people have places to live and sleep and shag and eat and work and play and yet everything works like a well-oiled machine. I adore cities, I find them endlessly fascinating, and I could merrily sit and watch all day long. However, the waiter, possibly tired of watching us make a Gin Fizz last half a day, brought us l’addition with a cheery ‘you pay now’. I didn’t dare refuse, the sight of his ashen-face crumpling in on itself would haunt me forever more.
We decided to rough it and take the Parisian underground back to the hotel, only we had no sooner made it down the stairs when a large chap (imagine Shadow from Gladiator only with milk for eyes and a diseased foot) hurtled towards us asking us to donate. Donate to what? The Burns Unit that would need to tend to my eyes as the sight of his crispy foot sizzled against my retinas? We bid a hasty (as hasty as two fat blokes can) retreat back up the stairs and sent for an Uber.
As ever, our driver was lovely, he handed us a bottle of water, pointed out as we dashed through that we were in the tunnel where the Queen Fiat-Unoed poor Diana out of existence and offered us some sweets. He also had the kindest, more soulful eyes I’ve ever seen and he had the good grace not to notice me winking salaciously at him in his rear-view mirror. I begged Paul to let me put ‘Drove like a pro and melted my heart’ on the Uber review but alas, that was dashed. Muhammad, if you ever want to take either of us, or both of us, or a bit of one and some of the other, up a one-way street, do get in touch.
As we were knackered, we decided to have an early night and a few drinks in the room. I say a few drinks, it was rather impromptu – I went for an after sex decontamination shower only to hear the sound of Paul opening the minibar. Uh-oh. Worse, I barely had time to wash the Molton Brown out of my bumcrack before I heard the hiss of a bottle of fancy water being uncapped. I vaulted out of that shower like I was the winning horse at the Grand National and hurtled into the bedroom shouting EUROS ITS BLOODY FIFTEEN EUROS PAUL FIFTEEEEEEN like a man possessed. Paul explained he was thirsty but pfft, I’m Geordie. I didn’t speak to him for the rest of the holiday.
No, I jest. Once we had broken the seal of that minibar, the whole lot came out. We had a great night indeed, mini bottles of alcohol scattered everywhere, peanut crumbs in the bed, eye masks on, condoms blown up like water bombs in the bath. We sent down for another cheese board at 11pm to cap the night off and then away to bed with us.
When we woke the next morning, we were horrified. We tidied up until that room was sparkling like a new pin and stumbled out into the light. I wanted to throw myself over the desk of the charming lady on reception and wail je suis désolé! pardonne-moi je t’en supplie! in the hope she might take a dent off the minibar tab but all I could manage in reality was a gruff, Phil Mitchell-esque good morning and a couple of black peppercorn scented farts in the lift.
I’ll leave you to digest that image and get straight to the next recipe, eh?
to make caprese sausage stuffed pasta you will need:
6 sausages (we used the ones from our Musclefood deal – they’re just half a syn each AND they come with the added bonus of not being stockpiled by jibbering morons!)
½tsp fennel seeds
500g conchiglioni (you know the ones – the GIANT pasta shells)
balsamic glaze (just reduce some balsamic vinegar in a pan, easy peasy)
If you’re using different sausages, remember to syn them however they are. Technically this dish comes in at just less than a syn each, actually, so hoy a bit extra cheese on. I’ll not tell Mags, though she’ll be too busy hammering nails into the Porky Light farmer’s tractors to give a toss.
to make caprese sausage stuffed pasta you should:
preheat the oven to 190ºc
spread half of one tin of chopped tomatoes across the bottom of a 9×13″ pyrex dish, or any, I don’t care
cook the giant shells according to the instructions, and then drain and set aside
meanwhile, slice the sausages as best you can (it doesn’t have to be neat) and then cut each slice into quarters
add some oil to a large frying pan and stick over a medium high heat
add the sausages and stir to cook until no pink meat remains – give them a chop up with the spatula to break it up, or gently press a masher over the top
add the rest of the chopped tomatoes, the spinach and half of the chopped basil and cook for about five minutes
remove the pan from the heat, and spoon in 1 tbsp the mixture into each of the shells and pop them into the pyrex dish
top with the mozzarella and sliced tomatoes and bake for twenty minutes
remove from the oven, top with the remaining basil and drizzle over the balsamic glaze
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I’m almost loathe to post a recipe for Slimming World scotch eggs in case I get eight hundred comments from people moaning about Porky Lights or whatever shite sausage is the current cause celebre amongst slimmers, but hey, let’s just do it anyway. It’ll be a nice simple recipe to type up and, as we’re currently tied up with a bit of an unhappy family situation at the moment, I’m pushed for time. Listen, though, we know how much you love our nonsense and frippery so I’m going to put a new holiday post up – not from Switzerland or our latest holiday, but instead, I’m tying up the loose ends of our Cornwall trip. You may remember last year our ‘lovely’ holiday to Cornwall, no? Refresh yourself with parts one, two and three, and then read on. Warning: I’m just not a fan.
twochubbycubs go to cornwall: part four
The last three entries of our Cornwall trip didn’t exactly make the heart sing with joy, did they? Fair warning, it doesn’t get much better. I don’t know what it was about Cornwall that disappointed me – it’s beautiful (in places) and I’m sure there’s lots to see and do if you’re not a curmudgeonly fatty whose sole exercise is leaning over to fart – but perhaps I’m spoiled. I live in what I reckon is the most beautiful county in England – Northumberland – and eye-watering beauty is never more than a twenty-minute drive away. Anyway, hush. It’s been so long since we went away that we’ll have to forgo a chronological narrative, so just assume that wherever there is a full-stop, it’s where Paul and I stopped the car to eat a pasty.
The Eden Project
Sitting in our cottage in Perranporth, with the unseasonable grey skies blowing around overhead, we decided to head for the Eden Project, a thirty or so minute drive away via relatively easy roads, according to our sassy in-car Sat-Nav. Nope. You may recall that I was stricken with a poor neck which meant I couldn’t look right and Paul was equally laid-out with a sore back that meant he couldn’t look left, so you can imagine how much fun driving a car was. Every junction was one step closer to divorce. Things became so tense that I actually just started pulling out of junctions blindly in the hope that a clotted cream tanker would crash into the side of the car, putting us both out of our misery. We’d die the way we lived: sitting down and covered in fat.
The sat-nav did indeed take us the most direct route but for some reason, confined us almost exclusively to single-track roads. I reckon if you counted up the miles we did in reverse it would actually work out that we never left the cottage in the first place. Why does every road in Cornwall need to be framed by an impenetrable hedge or crumbling wall? At one point we were stuck between a car coming towards us, eight walkers in rustling (is there any other kind) all-weather-ware, two cyclists and a lorry behind us tooting his horn. It was like playing Screwball Scramble, but in a DS3 littered with crumbs and sheer, blinding rage.
We arrived, filling the valley with swearing and Cher, and parked up in the lime car-park. Cheek, I’m a gay man, put me in the plantain park and I’ll be sure to back up correctly. We did think about waiting for the courtesy bus but we could see the entrance only a moment’s walk away and thought better of it. That’s a fib actually, there was a coach full of old folk gamely walking down the hill and putting us to shame so we couldn’t. Buggers.
Getting into the Eden Project cost us £50 between us. That, right there, tells you everything you need to know about it. Yes, it’s lovely and pleasant and the work they do is great, but £50? Kiss my arse. They temper this by allowing you to visit all year long but given that most of their visitors are tourists, that’s a bit of a pointless endeavour – it’s not like I could turn to Paul on a windy Sunday and ask if he fancied a nose round the gift-shop at Eden, and could he prepare the car for the 800-mile round trip. Pfft. I appreciate these places have to make money because gosh, who else is going to pay for all the wank, but haway.
You could have put what we both knew about the Eden Project before we visited on the back of a seed packet. Paul had a vague recollection that it was used in Die Another Day and I automatically assumed that those giant plastic zits were full of bees like in The X-Files movie, but we were both wrong. No, The Eden Project is a very worthwhile endeavour by lots of horticulturists (my favourite horticulturist? Brian Sewell – boom boom) to get as many tourists as possible in one place.
How we admired the many different ways that people could inconvenience us – one particularly (and quite literally) pushy mother gently nudged me out of the way whilst I was reading an enthralling information board on bamboo. She wanted to take a picture of her child, but I hazarded a guess that had I picked up said child and pitched her into the wilderness that I would have been asked to leave, and damn it, I wanted my £25 worth.
We wandered around the herb garden, we idled around the flower section, we sweated our tits off in the rainforest section. It was all very interesting – we’re not complete philistines, you understand – but the sheer amount of people similarly feigning interest in a sugarbush was hard to take. We climbed various stairs and gantries to get a picture of the waterfall only to find such a task impossible due to the sea of giant lenses and Mumsnetters that filled every conceivable space. Deflated, both from disappointment and the sweat wicking away from our body, we left the biomes and staggered outside, where a fine mist (either rain or aerated sweat) greeted us. That, at least, was pleasant.
Now, look here. We’re just as capable of enjoying a garden centre as the best of them. You’ll often find us at Heighley Gate on a Sunday afternoon fingering the dahlias or cooing over the roses. We’ve had lengthy and earnest conversations about the merits of various composts: I prefer to buy in, Paul’s rustic and would spread his own if I let him shit in the garden. But something about The Eden Project left us both cold. Ho-hum.
We stopped for something to eat, thinking we could at least salvage some of the entrance fee by having something delightful in the onsite restaurants, but even these were overpriced and understaffed. Everywhere was noise: children screaming, old people clacking their teeth, parents sighing and braying. The food was what you’d expect from a place like this plus a 20% tedium surcharge. We went outside where, thanks to the rain, we were relatively alone. We ordered a small pasty and a coke (I say coke, I’m sure at least three varieties of dandelion were pressed into it along with a shock of hipster beard hair) and sat down in the drizzle. The pasty was drier than a popcorn fart and the coke was flat. Ho-hum, again.
We made to make our way back to the lime car-park and spotted that this would involve a walk at a level significantly more than horizontal. Panic set in until we spotted that a little tractor with a trailer on the back was trundling around picking up visitors. We hastened over and climbed aboard with barely enough time to wipe the pastry crumbs away from my shirt (I was worried that they’d burst into flames if they rubbed together given how fucking dry the thing was). We were joined in the carriage by another couple – a cheery man with the strongest Geordie accent I’ve ever heard (and bear in mind my dad’s accent is so strong that Paul didn’t understand a word of it for six months, becoming the only person in existence to form a familial relationship on nothing more than polite nods and ‘ee-I-knows’) and a woman on an oxygen tank.
We had spotted them earlier gamely making their way around the biomes and they spent a good five minutes chatting with us, which was lovely. At one point she took off her oxygen mask and told us they were only getting the tractor because she couldn’t manage hills with her failing lungs and we felt terrible: not just for her, but also because we were clearly only getting the tractor because our fat ankles were bowing under the weight of four days of constant and committed pasty consumption. We bid them goodbye (well, I did, Paul was struggling to understand – to him it probably sounded like me and the other gentlemen were arguing in Icelandic) and made our way back to the car.
Just like Land’s End, I drove out of the car park in an absolute fury. The whole exercise just annoys me, you know. People say to holiday in the UK but every god-damn tourist attraction is out to extract just as much money as they can get away with short of employing urchins to root through your pockets for change whilst you go for a piss. I appreciate that places need money to stay afloat but for goodness sake, calm the fuck down.
We took our time driving back to the cottage and decided to stop at a charming little pub that we’d spotted on the way to Eden. It was in a fantastic location – beer garden looking out over lush green fields with a bit of twinkling sea just off on the horizon. The weather had lightened up and, after some energetic singing and maybe, just maybe, a cheer-up-for-fuck’s-sake-blowjob from Paul, all was well. We fair cantered (Paul more so than me – I had to do that discreet unsticking of James Junior from my leg that all men know) out of the car hoping we’d at least get some ale (just a half for me) and food. What could go wrong?
YET AGAIN: EVERYTHING. You know in comedy sketches they occasionally do a joke where a stranger walks into a bar and the whole place falls silent? That’s exactly what happened to us. It was like someone turned off my hearing as soon as we stepped over the threshold. Admittedly there were only a few chaps in there at 3pm in the afternoon but they all looked at us silently and furiously. If it hadn’t been for the disembodied electronic voice of Noel Edmonds shrieking at me to hold my nudges blaring out of the fruit machine I would have sworn I had gone deaf. Paul pushed me from behind (lucky me, normally takes him a good couple of hours and a nap) and we made our way to the bar.
The bar man had one of those faces that told me he’d last smiled in 1977, perhaps when a barn-fire had killed his more handsome brother. There was no hello, how are you, what would you like – just an impassive stare like I was some unwelcome intruder on this otherwise jumping social vista. It felt like I was trying to order from a grazing cow. I asked for two drinks with equal solemnity, paid for them and moved away, all in the continued silence of the bar. We sat outside and had no sooner taken our first pull from the all-head-no-beer drinks when Mr Chatty came outside and started moving tables around, ostensibly because they were expecting a wedding party. I decided against asking if he was doing the best man’s speech as I didn’t fancy driving home with a pint glass sticking out of my face. I haven’t felt as unwelcome in a drinking establishment since I got caught giving my then-boyfriend a blowjob in a Yates Wine Lodge.
Listen, I know, I’m ashamed of that too. I mean come on, a Yates Wine Lodge? What was I thinking?
We didn’t bother finishing our drinks. We didn’t bother looking at the food menu (I presumed that the food would be served with the same kind of panache as the witty raillery from the barman). No, yet again, we drove furiously out of the car park and went back to the cottage, where actually, we spent a very pleasant night getting drunk and smoking cigars the size of shot-putters’ arms in the garden. I only hope that some of that thick smoke made its way across the valley and right up the nostrils of that miserable arse of a barman. I hope his sinuses throbbed and ached and the wedding ended in disaster.
Pfft: Cornwall. You’re really on a roll…
I wish I could say it gets better, but my mother always told me never to lie and well, she could still take me in a fight so who am I to argue? Never argue with a lass who can grow a better moustache, that’s what I say. So this scotch eggs recipe then. Look: the syns depend mostly on the sausages you use. If you use sausages that come in white bags of 46 and have the word animal in speech marks in the ingredients list, they’ll be high in syns. But if you choose good quality sausages with a high meat content, they ought to be low in syns. To be safe, though, use Porky Lights, Musclefood sausages or any other low-syn variety. Sssh, but here’s a secret, we actually used chicken sausages for these, which in turn created a weird feeling of eating a chicken containing an egg. Oo-er. Let’s pretend I used pork sausages and say no more, eh?
to make Slimming World scotch eggs, you’re gonna need:
eight sausages of your choice
one packet of quail eggs (or use normal eggs and just make bigger scotch eggs, I don’t care)
lots of black pepper (low syn sausages usually have the taste profile of asbestos, so this adds flavour)
100g plain cous cous (if you’re feeling like a decadent hussy, use flavoured couscous, but watch the syns)
one beef stock cube and lots of worcestershire sauce
a non-boiled egg
Generally, each sausage will make one scotch egg, so I’m (because I used Porky Lights) putting these at half a syn each.
to make Slimming World scotch eggs, why y’oughta:
boil your eggs – if you’re using quail eggs, you’re looking at a couple of minutes (check the packet) in boiling water, for bigger eggs you’ll need to boil for about ten minutes or so – you don’t want them like ping pong balls, after all
meanwhile, squeeze your meat by fingering your sausage – you want it all coming out of the end, see – you’ll get sticky fingers doing this but that’s alright. You don’t need to wear protection just as long as you wipe them on your trousers afterwards – you flirt
hoy a load of black pepper in there – you want to get your lips tingling, after all, no?
cook your couscous according to the packet – but cook it in the beef stock and add worcestershire sauce to add taste
then see, it’s all about assembly – wrap the peeled boiled eggs in sausagemeat, and then roll it in cooked couscous – I like to squeeze the couscous into the sausage meat first, then roll in egg, and do a second coating of the couscous
bake in the oven for about 30 minutes on 190 degrees until cooked through – you’ll know it’s cooked when the juices stop dripping – when that happens, pop a towel down and enjoy your dinner!
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Just a recipe post for oompa poompa one-pot tonight folks because your poor writer has hurt his arm – I say I, no, Paul decided that what I needed was for him to lie on my arm all night long. Paul’s a big guy and whilst I’ve got strong arms, it really bloody hurts. Don’t worry, I took the liberty of pulling out a couple of individual bum hairs of his to make up for the pain. Oh I’m a stinker. Plus, Bake-Off. I’ve got a nice article queued up for tomorrow so no need to shit the bed just yet.
I’m calling this oompa-poompa-one-pot because Christ almighty, you’ll be oompa-poomparing all night long. It involves sauerkraut, a sort of pickled cabbage, and although that might sound disgusting and you might shriek into your hands at the very thought, it actually adds a lovely note of flavour. Leave it out if you want – you’ll still be shouting ‘…HOLD ON MR BROWN, WE’RE SENDING HELP’ long into the night. This makes two big bowls of loveliness.
heat a large casserole dish over a medium-high heat, spray in some oil (use this – it’s cheaper and better than Frylight!) and cook the sausages until done – then remove from the pan, leave to cool a bit and slice into discs)
in the same pan, add a little more oil and then the onion, garlic and carrot and cook until softened
add the salt, pepper and oregano to the pan and give it a stir
next, add the stock, rice and chopped tomato to the pan and give another stir
cover and cook over a low heat until the liquid has evaporated and the rice is cooked – about 10-12 minutes or so
remove from the heat and stir in the sauerkraut, allowing it to heat through and bubble off some of the vinegar in it
serve and enjoy immediately!
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Do you ever cook something, expect it to be awful and then are blown away by how good it tastes? That’s this recipe for sausages and boston beans, and better yet, it genuinely is one the easiest dishes we’ve ever done on here. Of course, because this is a twochubbycubs recipe and I love the sound of the fat on my fingers slapping against the slightly tacky keys on my keyboard, you’re going to get a bit of nonsense first.
Tonight’s post the first of a two-parter about our long weekend to Peterborough. I love writing ‘travel’ entries because they’re usually full of fun places, wonderful food and trills of laughter. I’d like to caveat this entry by stressing: we went to Peterborough. Look, I even knocked together a wee graphic.
Normally at this point I’d apologise for being cruel in anticipation of the angry emails and comments I’ll get about slagging off a town, but I’m not actually convinced Peterborough has electricity, nevermind the internet, so I shan’t bother.
It’s all Paul’s fault. His family are all from down South whereas my family are from The North. Thus, he sees a lot of my family and only rarely does he venture down South to see his. He hasn’t fallen out with them, you understand, but we’re talking about a man for whom turning over in the bath to wash himself is an effort – the thought of driving however many miles and spending a weekend nodding at nonsense is beyond him. It’s certainly beyond me and that’s why whenever Paul has previously slopped family-bound down the A1, I’ve stayed at home eating delicious food and idly masturbating. It’s what every single guy does when his partner leaves and if you’re sitting there thinking that your partner doesn’t, then you’re in for a very rude awakening when you find all the crusty hand smears down the side of the mattress.
Oops, I got diverted. It began a couple of weeks ago when Paul turned to me, ashen-faced, and told me it was time we both went to see his family. I’d have been less frightened, alarmed and upset if he had wrote me a letter explaining he was Patient Zero of that antibiotic-resistant gonorrhoea and I could expect a cock like a dripping nose within a week. However, because I’m a gentleman, I acquiesced – not least because Paul’s had ten years of trying to decipher my Dad’s Geordie accent and eight years of my nana force-feeding him butter sandwiches like he was a foie-gras duck, so me visiting his relatives seemed fair enough.
Just so you’re aware, I have visited Peterborough once before – we stayed at Orton Hall and visited the cathedral. It was mildly diverting in the same way a repeat episode of your third favourite TV show may hold your attention. We got drunk with a friend of his and ended up sat in a Vauxhall Nova in a McDonalds car park eating chips. I’ve literally never felt more street in my life. So we weren’t in a rush to repeat that and decided to book a nice hotel on the outskirts. Finding a decent hotel that wasn’t massively overpriced turned into such an insurmountable challenge that I threw a sulk once we reached Nottingham on the map and demanded that we just check into the first Premier Inn that came up on the map. We later found out that the Burghley Horse Trials were on and that explained – apparently – why all the hotels were booked up. Personally, I hope all the horses were found guilty.
We agreed that we’d drive down to Peterborough on the Saturday morning in our rented Ford Tedium and despite willing my liver to rupture, I was unable to get out of it. Actually, nevermind getting out of it, I could barely get into our rented car. Perhaps you’ve been in a Ford Fiesta – do you find the doors ridiculously small and low down? I had to fold myself like an accordion of chafed skin just to get inside. I haven’t quite reached the stage where I can’t physically fit into a car (probably a few pounds away) but this was a nightmare. I actually think I cracked a rib jumping in after I’d filled the bugger up.
To make my joy complete, Paul decided that he would be the one to drive most of the journey, leaving me to sit in the passenger sit twisting my face and eating crisps. I did spot that, being a fancy new model, I could text the car and it would read out a message for Paul. You may have seen the advert on TV where some spurned husband has the car read out a heartwarming apology and they laugh gaily at one another and ruefully shake their heads? Yeah, well, this was my attempt – warning, there’s a naughty word.
I blurred out my name because well, privacy.
The drive down was spectacularly uneventful – the usual parade of stopping to have a piss in amongst the poo-cloud of eight hundred harried dads and children, paying way over the odds for a cup of tea and moaning about it for ten minutes in the car, spending too much money on the fruit machines in the vain hope I’d win the jackpot and I could whisk Paul away somewhere exotic and full of promise, like Norwich. Nope. We arrived at his mother’s house at 11am.
I had a cup of tea. It was nice.
Twenty minutes later we agreed to take his brother out for lunch. I love Paul’s brother – he’s a proper gentle giant and really knows his stuff. He has severe autism which leads to moments of slight awkwardness when he blurts out to a waitress that she’s gorgeous and can share his milkshake. Or, memorably, when he whistled at a poor woman in Seahouses literally three inches from her face as he walked past. He just says what we’re all thinking. Anyway, a quick look at decent places to eat nearby turned up absolutely nothing and anyway, he wanted to go to a Bella Italia, so off we went to an industrial estate to have a meal that was about as Italian as I am a Calvin Klein model with a cock like a roll of wallpaper.
I’m not going to review the place in depth because well, it was a Bella Italia for goodness sake, but understand that it was a dismal meal in dismal surroundings for £90. Until that day I would never have thought a pizza could actually look bored but there we have it. We asked for a quiet table away from any noise and the prissy little manager who seated us looked like I’d personally walked into the kitchen and shat in the carbonara. When I first typed that I typoed walked as wanked – that also works, so pick one. He sat us next to the bar with a fetching giant cylinder of blue-roll to sit with. Perhaps he thought we could snack on that in the vain hunt for flavour.
Our starter was described on the menu as a ‘real taste of Italy’. Who knew that Italy tasted like a third of those continental sliced meat platters you get in ASDA sweated behind the radiator for an hour or so? It did come with shaved fennel and orange segments but there’s only so much excitement you can wring from such a lacklustre repast. Between the three of us we had it finished before the bubbles on my diet coke had come to the surface. Naturally, it cost £15.
We had a pizza each (at £15 a pop) which tasted like a carpet tile smeared with passata and shunned by society. At one point I nearly gave up and smeared the blue roll with tomato sauce to get my money’s worth. The sides consisted of six onion rings for £4. 66p an onion ring. I did want to enquire whether or not Gino d’Campo was slicing them personally with a diamond but Paul shook his head at me and said no. Oh and the drinks! The diet coke came in a glass that Thumbelina herself would have considered meagre and, as usual, was more ice than drink. They were £2.60 a time, non-refillable. From my vantage point I was afforded the sight of the barman preparing a ‘fresh apple juice’ by opening a carton of Tesco Value apple juice and pouring it into a tiny milk bottle. That cost £2.50, by the way.
Desserts were a little better. Paul’s brother wanted ice-cream but also wanted to pick the flavours – his treat, so why not. The waitress had the good grace not to vomit into her mouth when he ordered a mixture of rum and raisin, chocolate and bubblegum ice-cream all topped with limoncello sauce and crushed almond biscuits. Paul and I ordered a Mean Joe between us which is apparently:
“Nutty fudge brownies, vanilla and chocolate gelato, chocolate sauce, fresh cream, popping candy, dark chocolate tagliatelle and a wafer curl. He’s got it sorted!”
What we got was four scoops of chocolate ice-cream, a brownie that could have been used to chock the tyres of a runaway bus and a shitty look. I’ve had more delightful desserts free from the Chinese takeaway. Paul’s brother gamely ate all of his ice-cream and we settled the bill. You know what stung the most? Our waitress was lovely and I couldn’t not tip her, so the meal actually ended up costing £100 in total. Imagine my delight. We bundled Paul’s brother back into the car and made our way back to his mother’s house to drop him off before the sugar kicked in.
I stroked a dog. It was nice. Paul had threatened in the car to make me laugh by pulling faces at me whilst his mother made conversation with me but that never happened.
We made our way to the Premier Inn, at least comforted by the fact we’d get a good night’s sleep, guaranteed. Things got off to a shaky start when Paul realised that the guy checking us in was his mortal enemy from school who had told everyone he was better than everyone else and was off to New York to pursue a music career. Seemingly the bus to the airport terminates at Junction 16 of the A1. Who knew? I had noticed that our welcome was a tad more frosty than normal but it was only when Paul explained in the corridor – and I had ascertained that he hadn’t actually sucked him off at some point (which, to be fair to me, seemingly applies to anything with testosterone within a 60 mile blast radius of Peterborough) that it all became clear.
The Premier Inn itself wasn’t bad, but meh. We were put into a weird extension bit which required trundling down an endless corridor of foist and extra-marital-sex-stink and our room eschewed curtains, instead sealing out the light with a huge set of sliding wooden doors. This mean the room was hot and tiny, the two worst things for two fat blokes. We freshened up (i.e. Paul immediately had a introductory thundering crap in the toilet like he does in EVERY SINGLE HOTEL ROOM WE EVER, EVER BOOK) and set out for his dad’s place, a little bit further down the A1.
Well, this was actually lovely. His dad and his partner are lovely, funny folk with witty conversation and big warm hearts. I’m not even being sarcastic (I know!) – we stayed for two hours and it felt like minutes. I’m actually quite a shy person and find making conversation tricky with people I don’t know but it was wonderfully easy and I was sad to leave. We did manage to subscribe them to the blog so, if you’re reading this Mrs A, take comfort in the fact that you both were a bright spot in an otherwise relentlessly grim weekend!
After leaving we did a cursory glance on Tripadvisor for a delicious place to eat, realised we’d have more marginally more success finding someone with a complete set of teeth and instead decamped to Tesco, where our Saturday night was made complete with a few packets of Cup-a-Soups and some crisps. We both fell asleep in front of the X-Factor, wishing for death.
Let’s leave this entry there, shall we? Bake Off starts soon and I want to watch Mary Berry gum and gurn her way through bread week. Tonight’s one-pot dinner genuinely couldn’t be easier. It’s probably a bit of cheek calling it boston beans but hey, if I put sausage and beans on the recipe, you might get misled. This makes enough for two.
to make one pot sausages and boston beans, you’ll need:
two tins of kidney beans in chilli sauce
two large white onions
one packet of sausages (your syns will vary depending on what you use – we use our Musclefood sausages from our giant mixed summer pack because they actually taste of meat and which come in at half a syn each – click here for that – enjoy)
one beef oxo cube
one garlic clove
splash of worcestershire sauce
two large jacket potatoes
to make one pot sausages and boston beans, you should:
stick your jacket potato in the oven
cook your sausages off until nice and brown and then take them out
slice your onions nice and thin and add them into the pan
add the minced garlic and cook off for a few moments
open the tins of kidney beans and put all the contents, including the gloopy water, into the pan
fill one of the tins halfway full with water and add that along with the worcestershire sauce, oxo cube and plenty of pepper
add the sausages and allow everything to simmer gently until the sauce is thick
serve with the potatoes – delicious!
We get asked a lot for recommendations for a decent one-pot pan. I can’t recommend Le Creuset enough. They’re expensive, oh yes, but we use ours daily. Invest in one right here and never look back. Cheaper alternatives are absolutely fine mind!
If you want more sausage recipes, plus some delicious beef, chicken, pork or fakeaway recipes, click on the buttons below!
The next part of our series on what to put on a Slimming World BBQ is right here. For once, you’re not going to have to wade through all of my guff to get to it because well, time’s a factor. Paul and I have decided to have a day off together, partly because we had the idea that our garden furniture was going to arrive today. That didn’t happen, but ah well, could be worse, could be dead. We hopped into the car and shot off to see Ghostbusters and you know, it was great! Well-acted, fun, colourful – hit of all my buttons!
It’s a shame that Leslie Jones has been getting shit thrown at her on Twitter as a result of being in the movie. She’s been called all sorts of vile things for simply putting herself forward and making people laugh. It’s depressing, and it’s not as though the world isn’t depressing enough as it is. It’s getting to the point where I could open my curtains in the morning and notice a mushroom cloud billowing towards me and I’d shrug and meh and go back to watching whatever atrocity is blazing across the TV.
That’s the problem with the Internet, it gives a voice to all those gimps with no self-confidence and no tact. I should know, I’ve made a healthy sideline from it. You see the most vile of comments left on the most innocuous of posts and articles – I’ve seen someone wish another woman a miscarriage because they disagreed over how much sweetener to put in a recipe, for goodness sake – and the answer to that one, by the way, is none at all. You have people who wouldn’t say boo to a goose blurting out vile rhetoric and for what? No other reason than to wound and upset. I genuinely don’t understand the mentality, and I love a sly dig every now and then – but I couldn’t take pleasure in actually breaking someone’s spirit.
We have a local paper up here called the Evening Chronicle, and it really is the go-to paper if you want to know who someone from Geordie Shore had up her snatch the previous day or perhaps a picture of a local councillor pointing furiously at some potholes with a face like he’s trying desperately not to shit himself on camera It’s entirely pointless but generally harmless, although they’re not averse to strumming up a bit of racial tension to get their comments counter overflowing. Anyway, they posted a story about some poor bugger who had climbed up an electricity pylon and was threatening to hurl himself onto the live wires. He was suicidal and as a result, the power folks had to turn off the juice. The story was full of comments like ‘shocking behaviour’ and ‘I hope he was charged’, which, whilst crass and insensitive, is harmless enough. We’re all guilty of a bit of black humour. However, topping off the comments was ‘So glad it didn’t hit my area i’f be raging if I’d missed the soaps!!’. For fucks sake. We’re not talking about someone nicking a bit of copper wire, we’re talking about someone being so fucked in the head that they think the best option is the pain of burning alive, and this claybrained footlicker is more concerned about missing Eastenders.
I despair. Not in a sanctimonious oh-aren’t-I-wonderful way but just as a human, how can you lack the compassion? Also, as an adult, how the fuck do you not know that it is I’d not i’f – and that’s after editing her comments. Urgh. Listen, I’m depressing myself now, so let’s just jump to the recipes. Bit of a hard segue to make though…so let’s chuck in a bit about our Musclefood deal first – so tasteful!
Before we get to the recipe, it would be churlish of me not to mention our LIMITED EDITION Musclefood deal – we’ve upgraded our freezer filler to add in some BBQ friendly products. Same price as before – £50 – but this comes with free delivery, 24 chicken breasts, 6 half a syn sausages, 2 fat steak burgers (1 syn), 2 fat rump steaks, 2 hickory bbq chicken steaks (syn free), 400g of spicy chicken drumsticks (syn free when skin removed), 400g of diced turkey, huge pack of bacon medallions, 12 giant meatballs (half a syn each) and 1 pack of seasoning (2 syns). It’s only for a couple of weeks whilst the weather is hot and I thought it would be a good change to add in some BBQ foods! Click here to order and use the code TCCSUMMER to get the deal!
We used the sausages in the above pack to make the hotdogs – you can buy syn-free sausages but they taste like someone stuffed an old sock full of shredded carpet and whatever’s been swept up off the floor at the Schwartz factory. I’ve tasted other people’s burps that I’ve enjoyed more than the Slimming World sausages, plus these Musclefood sausages don’t look like pickled willies when they’re cooked, so there’s that. Slimming World do a lot of tasty food don’t get me wrong, but I prefer a sausage I can eat rather than one I can shave with. Whack them in your healthy extra bun allowance and they are only half a syn. We haven’t used healthy extra buns in the picture but hell, it’s the summer and a hotdog isn’t the same in a wholemeal bun. The buns in the pictures are six syns each – Tesco finger buns – and well, I’ve always preferred a couple of fingers over a nice pair of baps. Boom boom.
No, the recipe is for onion jam and perfect coleslaw, two little additions for the side of the BBQ that will make everything taste that much better…
to make slimming world BBQ: onion jam and perfect rainbow coleslaw, you’ll need:
for the onion jam:
250g of red onions
50ml of balsamic vinegar
75ml of apple / cider vinegar
a clove of garlic
salt and pepper
1 tsp of sweetener if you want it syn free, but I use a teaspoon of honey which is technically a syn but meh…
for the coleslaw
a butternut squash
one large carrot
a bunch of spring onions
small white cabbage and a small purple cabbage
200g (1 syn) of greek yoghurt, fat free
lots of black pepper
pinch of salt
to make slimming world BBQ: onion jam and perfect rainbow coleslaw, you should:
for the onion jam:
cut up your onions nice and small and uniform
finely mince your garlic using one of these so you’re not known as Stinky Fingers McGee (again)
throw everything into a pan on a low heat
cover and allow to simmer for ages – you want it to reduce slowly into a nice sticky sauce
mix it all together with the yoghurt, pinch of salt and lots of pepper
the key is to make the different vegetables roughly the same size (bar the onion) so you get plenty of crunch and taste – it makes everything go a bit further
we were actually cheeky and grated one HEA of Parmesan into ours – gives it a bit extra kick but fine to leave out
That makes enough for four, so it’s 0.25 syns. If you want to syn that, shoot for the moon.
Now, the accompanying cocktail in our series on drinks that may use a few syns but last bloody ages and get you pissed is a frozen margarita. You’ll need a blender but this is amazing on a hot day, trust me. This makes enough for two BIG glasses – not going to lie and say we didn’t double the shots for our own version, but we like them strong. It puts hairs on your arse, this.
to make a tasty frozen margarita:
chuck a load of ice, 60ml of freshly squeezed lime juice, 50ml of tequila (6 syns) and 25ml of triple sec (4 syns) into a blender. Blend like your life is on the line. Tip into chilled martini glasses and serve – it’s strong, but it’ll last for ages and tastes gorgeous – don’t be frightened to spend the syns!
Easy! Enjoy. If you want more recipes for sausages or snacks, hit the buttons below!
Yes, sausage stroganott. Not stroganoff. Why? Well read on!
I’m trying to get motivated to write about Iceland but I’m distracted by a row on Facebook, where some poor lass has posted a few outfits and invited constructive criticism from the wider group. Now, to me, we’re all adults, and if you’re asking for an opinion, you have to expect negative opinions as well as positive. Seems fair? Apparently not. Someone suggested that that her trousers were tight enough to lip-read with (i.e. the camel had both feet in the river) and gosh almighty, the arguments that it has started has been unbelievable. It’s like a text version of cats fighting in an alley, only with only 46% of the alphabet being used. Personally, I thought she looked pretty in all of the outfits, but then I dress like someone hiding from the police, so what do I know. Anyway, the terminally offended have been moaning on about ‘if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’, and I’m about ready to grind my teeth to diamond. What a sickly, pointless saying – if you pull the logic out of it, you can only say that Hitler had a decent ‘tache and never comment on you know, the atrocities. Can we not take someone constructively saying that our clothes are a bit tight, our hair looks like a burst sofa cushion or we smell like a tramp’s foot? Are we not all adults? Seemingly not. Does my fucking nut in.
ACTUALLY, whilst I’m having a rant, let me tell you something – I got an email the other day via Facebook Messenger from someone complaining that I ‘don’t post often enough’ – not because she wanted more of my “hilarious” banter but because she expected a daily recipe. Oh! Very good. I ignored her, but the flamin’ cheek. It was all very condescending and patronising, with a bit of ‘if you typed less and kept it succinct, you could post more recipes’ and ‘I signed up expecting a daily recipe’. Well yes, I could type less, but at the same time, if it’s just recipes you want, there’s a whole bloody world of them out there or you know, you could stop being a cheap fucker and buy a recipe book! Quite honestly, it wound me up enough to the point where I stood in the kitchen and moaned about it to Paul for a good ten minutes. Just to clarify, this is a personal blog and we will post when and where we can – but we’re both busy lads with full-time jobs and outside interests and well, four holidays a year. We posted over 200 recipes last year alone, all with narrative. Be thankful for what you get! Thank god 99.99% of you are wonderful people. That’s why I do it!
Oh ONE more thing – can we have a moratorium on people from England using the word haters? You’re not in Mean Girls, flower.
We awoke the next day nice and early – not out of any special keenness to make the most of the day…somehow, that never occurs to us, but rather because the breakfast buffet was open and we didn’t want to miss a single bloody crumb. We’re classy Brits, what can I say? I barely had enough time to do something about my Germaine Greer bedhair and have my morning piss before Paul was pushing me into the lift and down into the lobby. We had a very pleasant surprise with the lady who ushered us through to the breakfast area, who, as I detected immediately underneath her posh ‘how do you do’ voice, was a fellow Geordie! You can always tell – the strangulated vowels and elongated syllables, the eight bottles of Dog clinking in her handbag, the fact that as soon as both our façades were dropped we were ‘NAAA NO MAN’-ing and ‘DIVVENT’ing away like the poshest remake of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet ever. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Denise Welch herself had come tumbling down the stairs with her knickers around her ankles, ‘icing sugar’ on her nose shouting on about cheap bathrooms and kitchen deals. Anyway, we stopped and had a pleasant chat about Iceland and then were allowed through.
Well, how lovely. Everything you could possibly want, and more, all steaming hot and plentiful. Good work, Grand Hotel. We immediately developed Buffet Anxiety – what to have, how much to slop onto a plate before people took us to one side for an intervention, where the hell the full fat milk was because god-damn-it I’m on holiday and I’m sick to death of eating my thimble of Puffed fucking Wheat with what looks and tastes exactly like Tesco Everyday Value White Emulsion. There was a wee glass of oil with a label in Icelandic (the Icelandic language is beautiful, but written down, it looks rather like how you’d spell out the noise the bath makes when it’s draining the last of the water). I filled up a tiny portion and took it to Paul as olive oil for his bread and cheeses. It was cod liver oil. He wasn’t happy, not least because he spat it out like it was curdled cum. Mahaha – that would be the second time I’d managed to get him to eat something awful, with my minor victory of getting him to eat a dog chew in the car on the drive up to Edinburgh only a day or so ago. I told him it was beef jerky. He finished it mind, so it can’t have been that bad, and it’s reassuring to know that if times get tight, I can put him on Pedigree Chum and crack on. Poor Paul. Let me say though – normally the things I do put in his mouth don’t taste like cod liver oil or dog food. Well, maybe cod liver. If it’s a warm day.
After breakfast, we nipped back to the room to review our options. We were booked on a bus tour later that day (the glamour!) but the morning was ours. It doesn’t get light until around 11am in December, but that suits us. Darkness flatters our faces. We spotted that the famous Iceland Phallological Museum was only a thirty minute walk from the hotel, so we decided to set out in search of all that knob. The website stated they opened at 10am so we had plenty of time to dawdle. One of our main concerns with Iceland is that we’d fall over on the ice and crack open our heads or split our trousers, so Paul had been dispatched a few days before to buy some suitable boots. I had my Dr Martens, so of course, I was fine – and effortlessly stylish.
He came back with a pair of boots that looked exactly like something an old lady would wear to bingo so she didn’t tumble over outside when she was having a fag. They were awful. Square, boxy, 110% polyester. But he loved them. They worked, mind, though if you’re worrying about falling over on the ice, don’t be. The footpaths and roads are exceptionally well-gritted and Paul only went arse-over-tit once, right into a puddle. Which was hilarious.
Central Reykjavík is a doddle to get around on foot, with long straight roads and well-marked streets, and we arrived at the Knob Museum (sorry, my wrists hurt and phallological is just too much) just as it was supposed to open, hanging back for a few minutes because well, it doesn’t do to look too keen for a museum about knobs to open. We waited nearby…waited…waited…no. No, turns out it wasn’t going to open that day because the owner needed a rest, presumably from cramming willies into glass jars and making carriers bags from foreskins (what a great idea though – if you rubbed them just right, they’d turn into bin liners!) We went back to the hotel.
On our way back, I remembered that we had asked for a deluxe room, and that our current room, although perfectly serviceable, didn’t quite marry up with the word deluxe. It was very standard. The view we were afforded was of the service entrance around the back and plus, we were only three floors up. This hotel had many more floors than that! I pitched up to the front desk and enquired whether, because see it’s our honeymoon (cough), we could have a nicer room. Good old monobrow Aðalsteinunn behind the counter was having none of it and icily told us that we’d ‘already been upgraded’. I resisted the urge to ask whether we were originally going to be bedding down on a soiled mattress under the lifts, and pushed on politely. She crumpled a little and then offered us a room upgrade for a mere £100. Meh, fair enough. At this point I could see Paul’s ashen face and knew that his breakfast was already knocking on the escape hatch, and time was tight. I handed over my card, she disappeared for roughly five days, and came back with a new key for a room on the 10th floor. Marvellous! We rushed up, Paul left a goodbye skidder in the toilet only to find there wasn’t a brush to clean it away with, and off we went to our new room.
Well, let me tell you this – had I not physically pressed the button in the lift for a new floor, I would have bet the house that we were in the same room. Not a thing was different, bar the toilet pan no longer looking like the starting grid at Brand’s Hatch. Yes, they’d moved us up a few floors, but no difference to the room. BAH. We did, however, have a much nicer view, see:
Nevermind. I didn’t dare go down and ask for another room in case housekeeping had visited our previous room and reported us, so we did what all young, happy couples do on holiday and had a quick nap. Our bus for the Golden Circle tour was due for 12.15, so we had plenty of time.
The way most tours work in Iceland is simple – you book them in advance either online or through your hotel, and a small shuttle bus will come and pick you up from the hotel and take you to the bus depot, where you will board a waiting coach. It works brilliantly. We used Grey Line for all of our excursions and they were terrific. The Golden Circle tour (well, the small one) encompasses a visit to Thingvellir National Park, the Strokkur geyser and Gulfross waterfall. All very pleasant. We were pushed out of the way whilst boarding the coach by some frankly gargantuan American lady who was inadvisably wearing leggings and showing everyone her business, but aside from that it was all terribly civilised. The tour guide, Lorenzo (a good strong Icelandic name right there), gave an interesting commentary on Iceland between the three places and it was one of the very few occasions where I’ve been on a bus and not immediately started snoring in the ear of the person next to me. You do have to wear your seatbelt, mind – it’s the law, even if, as in my case, it pushes up your coat to give you the appearance of having a colossal rack. There’s not much point in me waxing lyrical about how beautiful Iceland is – you really need to see it for yourself, but know that it is so alien and snow-covered and different that it really will take your breath away.
Thingvellir National Park
We stopped here for around half an hour to allow everyone to take pictures and gaze at the scenery. Paul and I managed to walk into around ten different family photos so that’s not a bad average – I always try to pull a face in the vain hope I’ll end up going viral on a South Korean You’ve Been Framed but it hasn’t happened yet. The main attraction, other than the view, is the giant crack (story of my life) where the tectonic plates are pulling apart. Paul and I walked down a fair way before realising that we’d need to walk back and endure the shame of gasping and spluttering our way onto the bus. We stopped in the gift shop to buy a ridiculously awful teddybear.
The bus trundled on to Strokkur geyser, which is one of Iceland’s most visited hotspots. Literally. Essentially a bubbling pool most of the time, it’ll suddenly go off, spurting up to 40m into the air with an almighty splash. It’s great fun, until you remember the water is superheated and, because it contains so much sulphur, smells like death. Seriously, it’s one of the few tourist places I’ve ever been to where I can fart with gay abandon (is there any other kind) and actually improve the smell of the place. We took a video, as you’d expect, but it’s really just two minutes of me going ‘I reckon it’s going to blow, it’s gonna blow, any second now…’ followed by Paul going ‘FUCK ME IT’S AWAY’ at the top of his voice. It’s like our videos on xtube, really, only you don’t need to pay the Amateurs fee. So, instead, here’s a video from Youtube. Ignore the wank music and the slightly hipster presentation.
OK maybe one photo from us. I’ve shrunk the quality.
Canny, right? After we’d all have a good gawp and made sure to spend a billion trillion krona on a Kitkat, hot chocolate and surly attitude from the small onsite restuarant, we were back on the bus and heading into the dusk to Gulfross waterfall. Lorenzo kept us informed as to how Iceland grows vegetables (in greenhouses), warm their houses (heat from the ground) and er, how much unemployment benefit you get. It all sounds like a utopia. The roads were very icy in places, with the bus slewing around at the back, but it all felt very safe, albeit the loud look-at-me chuntering from the aforementioned American lady got a little grating. We arrived at Gulfross around an hour later.
CATASTROPHE. The bus parks about 500m away from the viewing platform, but that 500m is down what felt like 499m of rickety, wooden stairs with no room to go side by side. Now as fat blokes, stairs are fine when you’re going down them, although they did creak and bend alarmingly underfoot, but we knew that once we were down there, we’d need to climb back up. Agony. We braved it anyway and it was absolutely bloody beautiful. Again, photos can’t really do it justice – it was just getting dark and this colossal waterfall is cascading busily just in front of you, cutting its way through the Earth. We took some photos but again, they lacked style, so here’s a video. Again, I apologise for the music – it does indeed sound like something you’d hear playing in the lifts of a Dignitas clinic, but here, make do.
We did spot an opportunity for mischief and to get our own back on the brash, burly American lady who had pushed us out of the way at the beginning, however. See, she had come down behind us and we knew she would be just as weary going up the stairs as we were. So, naturally, we waited until she had seen that there was no-one else on the stairs going up and could therefore make her very slow ascent. She began, and we immediately started up behind her, meaning she had to do it all in one without stopping. The fact that her heavy, laboured breathing masked our own was a bonus, and let me tell you, climbing behind this lady and looking up to see her lycra-clad gammon flaps not a moment away from your face sure as hell makes you concentrate on looking down and finding your footing. We all made it, though, and how we chuckled to ourselves as she was taken away on oxygen.
The tour finished with everyone dozing lightly on the bus as it made its way back to the capital, and we were back at the hotel for around 7pm. We decided, given our feet looked like slabs of corned beef from all the walking, to have a gin and tonic in the bar downstairs and rest a litte, given it was “Happy Hour”.
I think they need to look carefully at their definition of Happy. The barman was obnoxious and disinterested. We asked him what he’d recommend and he replied by telling us what he drinks when he’s out for ‘real fun’ as opposed to ‘hotel fun’, but in an intensely condescending fashion. I’m always wary of people who have to big themselves up like that – I rather got the impression he’d be home away to bed with a hot Vimto and a cold wank. Nevertheless, we ordered two gin and tonics and my recollection is £36. £36! I hadn’t asked for a bottomless glass! It was nice gin, yes, but I’m fairly sure it was just Bombay Sapphire. Of course I couldn’t lose face so we paid up without comment, but fuck me, never again. For the rest of the holiday our interaction with the dour barman was limited to us trying to figure out who he looked like, until Paul got it in one with ‘Tyrone from Coronation Street after receiving a poor health diagnosis’. Mahah. We planned to go out in the evening but once we were back in the room, we were out like a light and didn’t wake up again until 1am. Thank god for room service!
Anyway, speaking of meals. Here’s that recipe. WORST SEGUE EVER.
to cook sausage stroganott, you’ll need:
6 lean pork sausages (maybe use the sausages from our Musclefood deal– syn free! Or, if you like chewing what tastes like a lemon squashed into a church doormat, try the delicious Slimming World sausages)
1 onion, chopped finely
4 bacon medallions, sliced (maybe use the bacon from our smaller Musclefood deal – syn free! Or, if you prefer cooking with what looks like a tired, anaemic slice of scrotum, buy the wonderful Weight Watchers bacon)
500g mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
250ml beef stock
4 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp smoked paprika
You can make this a bit more stroganoffy by adding some Quark, but frankly, it makes the sauce look like something you’d see slurping its merry way along a colonic irrigation hose, so…up to you.