yoghurt bark

Yoghurt bark. Sounds almost like a shitty porno version of Jurassic Park, no? If it was a porno title it would have a long way to beat-off Village of the Rammed, just saying. Or Inrearendence Day. Or my personal favourite: Drill Bill. Remember, we’re taking just a small break from writing this week, so it’s recipes and recipes alone for you!

Please read my disclaimer before attempting the recipe.

yoghurt bark

yoghurt bark

Look, I’m not going to lie. This wasn’t what you’d call a taste explosion. If you’re expecting a little damp patch in your gusset, well, the only way that’s going to happen is if you let it melt as you eat it. I’d seen the idea on Pinterest many moons ago and I’m only really including it now because I love how pretty the picture is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still perfectly tasty, but it’s just frozen yoghurt with berries. You can customise it to however you fancy though – add chocolate, marshmallows, a rainbow of fruit, or simply scrape the lot into a bin and replace with Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food. Listen it’s OK, I won’t tell Margaret if you don’t.

to make yoghurt bark you will need:

  • 500g fat free natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (2 syns)
  • 40g of less than 5% sugar oat cheerios (1x HeB)
  • sliced strawberries
  • blueberries

To make the pretty swirls – well actually, the shitty spirograph effect, I swirled some flavoured colouring around in the yoghurt with all the artistic finesse you’d expect from a twenty stone beast like me. It all went a bit My Left Foot, didn’t it?

to make yoghurt bark you should:

  • mix together the yoghurt and maple syrup and pour out over a little baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
  • sprinkle over the cheerios, strawberries and blueberries and place in the freezer until firm

Want more ideas? You know what to do!

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J

crunchy tomato feta dip

Crunchy tomato feta dip you say? I do, because frankly, it’s delicious. You may remember from yesterday that we’re having a break from the writing bit for a few days but this is another recipe for you to get your lips around. We made this tomato feta dip to try out a recipe we’ve found and actually ended up having it for our main meal. Worth every last syn, I can assure you.

That said, if you were stuck for something unique to take along to taster night, and for goodness sake why would you be when we have so many excellent taster night recipes, and it doesn’t cost an awful lot of time or money to make. I can’t bear taster nights because people seem to lose all dignity – I’ve seen someone actually pushed over by some leviathan in a Paul’s Boutique hoodie, so keen that she was to get her soiled sticky hands on a Ferrero Not-cher. Plus, frankly, I can’t bear not knowing what people’s kitchens look like. I’m happy to eat most things but not if it’s been prepared in something that looks like a trap from Saw. Brr.

To the recipe!

to make crunchy tomato feta dip you will need:

  • 260g reduced-fat feta, cut into rough cubes (4x HeA)
  • 5 big tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 big tbsp of jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp oregano
  • 80g reduced-fat cheddar, grated (12 syns)
  • 4 wholemeal pitta breads (4x HeB)

to make crunchy tomato feta dip you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • mix together everything except for the cheddar and the pita breads
  • spray a small casserole dish with oil and tip in the tomato and feta mixture
  • top with the grated cheddar and bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden
  • leave to cool for five minutes, then serve with the pitta breads

Get that down yer. And when you’re done, why not check out some more of our recipes? Just click below!

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J

buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oooh, get her.

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

buffalo chicken and bacon toasted cheese sandwiches

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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J

crunchy cheesy steak bites and perfect onion rings

Steak bites and onion rings? Good heavens I know. Because this is going to be a super quick entry I’m giving you two recipes at once. You can manage it. Just bite down and push out.

GOOD NEWS: Samsung have been and fixed the hob, hooray, meaning we can bring back proper food to the blog as opposed to food you have to eat with your fingers. Tonight’s recipe was going to be a delicious pork and potato hash but when I went to photograph it, it looked like the top of a burnt knee. I’ll figure out a way to make it work and stick it on next week.

BAD NEWS: there’s only one more day left on our Musclefood sale – 10% off. If you’re sitting on the fence, please don’t. You’re running out of time, you’ll give yourself piles and let’s be honest, a wooden fence can only take so much stress. We’ve never seen so many orders come from one deal so don’t miss out 10% off our already amazing value freezer box! It’s a delivered chilled box of wonder – with 24/26 big fat chicken breasts, 800g of extra lean beef chunks, 2kg of extra lean beef mince and lots and lots of bacon. It’s usually £50 – which is cheap when compared to what you’d pay in the shop – but we’ve knocked off 10% for ONE WEEK ONLY. This brings it down to £45 – the cheapest it has ever been. Remember you can choose the date of delivery and payment doesn’t come out until your chosen date, so you can order in advance. To order, just click this link, add to basket, add the code TCCFREEZER and choose standard delivery – £45! Easy! But this is for ONE WEEK ONLY.

GOOD NEWS: We haven’t given up on the gym just yet. You know what’s sad though? We tend to go at around 11pm and the gym is full of the type of folk who are too shy to exercise with the skinny-minnies and the ultra-fit. I don’t see why and it makes me feel a bit sad. Admittedly, the music volume has to be doubled to counter the sound of the treadmills being splintered under hefty foot. Come on fatties, don’t be shy. You’re still doing better than anyone else just by being there. 

BAD NEWS: I’ve picked up the most annoying verbal tic, and I blame it all on a work colleague, who uses the ‘eh’ sound like one might reasonably use a full-stop. She makes me laugh all day long so I can quite forgive her but after doing it back as a joke, it’s now fallen into my daily rotation and I find myself saying EH really loudly mid-sentence. My dad is an absolute bugger for this – Paul swears my dad once interrupted himself mid-sentence by asking himself eh – and it seems I’m destined to follow in his footsteps.

Emma and I are engaged in a fierce game of pranks – I poured a load of red glitter into the seat of her office chair, meaning every time she sat down she coated her arse in red shiny glitter. She responded by leaving me a telephone message that a Mr Kipling called with an urgent message and to call a number which turned out to be the Mr Kipling cake factory. No wonder the receptionist seemed a little cross when I insisted I had an urgent message from the boss. As revenge for that, I stole the ‘e’ from her keyboard, so she filled my man-bag (murse?) with almonds. I retaliated by filling all of her coat pockets with the tiny bits of paper from inside a hole-punch, so she stuck watermelon post-it notes all over my desk when I was away logging off.  I’m not sure what happens next but I’m a bit worried this is going to escalate into her torching my house for a laugh and me holding her children hostage. Still, makes the wheel of the working day spin that little bit faster, and like I said, she’s an absolute love.

Anyway, the recipe please, gentlemen.

onion rings and steak bites

to make crunchy cheesy steak bites you will need:

to make crunchy cheesy steak bites you should:

  • bring the steak to room temperature
  • meanwhile, turn up the oven to 180 degrees
  • spread the pumpkin seeds out onto a baking sheet or ovenproof dish, spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle over a pinch of paprika
  • bake in the oven for ten minutes and allow to cool, and then grind in a pestle and mortar or chop them up with a big knife
  • mix together the salt and pepper and spread out onto a chopping board
  • gently dab each side of the steak cubes into the spice mixture and set aside
  • heat a large pan over a high heat and chuck in some sprays of oil
  • throw in the steak cubes and cook on each side for no more than 30 seconds – if they don’t sizzle, yer pan isn’t hot enough
  • take out of the pan and onto a chopping board and gently balance a mozzarella cube on top
  • quickly grill under a high heat until the cheese has melted
  • sprinkle on the pumpkin dust and serve

Not a fan of pumpkin seeds? Don’t need to add them. We won’t tell. We found a really nice smoked mozzarella in Tesco which we used and oh god, I’ve bored myself to death.

You can use panko for the next recipe. You’ll find panko, a type of dried breadcrumb, in most Asian supermarkets or in that ‘funny bit’ of the supermarket you don’t go into. You should. It’s a world of wonder and taste, although I did feel a bit Gary Glitter as I pushed my bottle of ‘Healthy Boy Sauce’ through the self-checkout. Don’t have panko? Just use an ordinary bun whizzed up, you common harlot.

to make onion rings you will need:

  • one big fuck-off onion sliced into rings
  • lots of black pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 60ml skimmed milk
  • 25g panko (5 syns)
  • 25g breadcrumbs (use half a HeB bread roll)

 

to make onion rings you should:

  • preheat the oven to 230 degrees and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper
  • you’ll need two shallow dishes for this bit – the first one should have your egg and milk and pepper mixed together, and in the second mix together the panko and breadcrumbs (you could use all breadcrumbs if you wanted, but panko is much tastier, and if you use all panko all the better)
  • dip each onion ring into the egg and then into the panko – drag it around a bit so it gets nicely coated
  • place on the baking tray and spray with olive oil spray
  • bake in the oven for twenty minutes but keep an eye on them – you’ll know when they’re ready!

If you want even more taster ideas or snack suggestions, click the link before!

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Cheers now. All the best.

J

Enjoy!

slow cooked pulled pork chilli boats

To be honest, I know the slow cooked pulled pork chilli boats look crap, but do you know what? I don’t care! We saw them on Pinterest (I know, it’s a miracle I saw anything between all the JuicePlus ads and knock-off Etsy bumph, but hey) and thought we’d give them a go. Lesson learned? Don’t try and copy anything from Pinterest. It never works for us. What looks cute, unusual and fluffy on Pinterest usually ends up looking like the end result of a family car backing over a cat. 🙁

It’s the same with this blog, to be fair. We do try and make our food look presentable but you have to remember, we spend a lot of time fannying about with the dishes this way and that way to try and get them to look half decent. That’s because we want to promote our food. You, on the other hand, shouldn’t fuss about – get down to the business of turning your hard work into poo, instead. It’s what you want.

Anyway, I wanted to give a quick guide to how we blog. This isn’t a funny post but it’s something that we get asked a lot about. I’ve seen a lot of people over the last couple of years start up food blogs and most of them stop after a while, and there’s a bloody good reason – it takes a lot of time! If you want to share your recipes then go for it. You can host on WordPress for free and it’s an excellent platform for your own blog – very easy to use! We take all of our photos with our iPad and touch them up slightly in Photoshop (normally to balance the colours – we have a very, very red kitchen). It’s worth taking the time to write properly but don’t stress too much about telling a story – there’s far, far too many blogs out there (possibly including my own) that, for example, when writing about a chilli will tell you about the time they went to the market to buy chillis, and how amazing chillis are, and how much they love chillis…if you’ve got a story, tell it, but if you’re just filling out the word count, don’t!

We do spend a lot of our time doing this – finding recipes to adapt to make them Slimming World friendly, writing out the posts, taking the pictures, researching the syn count, publicising the posts – each post takes about two hours to do, I reckon. If you’re committed, it’s a fun, worthwhile hobby, but jeez, when I think about all them hours…

If you’re looking to make money from a blog, unless you really, REALLY build up the readership, you’ll struggle. There’s plenty of ways to do it, but you’ll not make much to begin with unless you have a blog full of adverts and trick people into going there. That’s not good. Readership takes a while to build – we get on average about 25,000 views a day but for the first year we were hitting 500 and being glad of it. I remember how excited I was when we got up to 50 subscribers – now we’re not a kick of the arse off 10,000! That’s just insane to me.

If I could give only one bit of advice – do it with love. Now I know that’s going to make everyone’s teeth turn black from all the sugar but honestly, Paul loves cooking and I love writing so a food blog is the perfect outlet for that. If you’re the same, give it a go! If you don’t fancy writing full-time, don’t forget you can guest write for our blog if you want to see your name up in lights. Just drop us a line in the comments and we’ll contact you.

OK, with that out of the way, let’s get to the bloody pulled pork chilli boats.

slow cooked pulled pork chilli boats

to make slow cooked pulled pork chilli boats, you’ll need:

  • a good joint of pork, we used shoulder from Musclefood – it came with very little fat on (and we just cut it off) and an excellent price at £6.00 per kg – click here for that!
  • tin of tomatoes
  • tin of beans
  • tin of black eyed beans
  • an onion
  • a small carton of passata
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • a slow cooker
  • Old El Paso Stand and Stuff tacos (4.5 syns each)
  • one slice of Edam (the sliced Edam from Tesco – one slice is a HEA, or just use your syns for about 4 syns)
  • potato wedges for the side
  • chopped lettuce

to make slow cooked pulled pork chilli boats, you should:

  • put everything bar the taco, cheese and lettuce into the slow cooker and cook overnight on low – then shred the pork with two forks
  • stuff into a taco
  • make a cheese sail
  • put it on a bed of lettuce
  • serve with potato wedges and a feeling of what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life

Meh! It made Paul laugh. The leftovers can be served with rice the next day and put into a sandwich. Hell, you could even put it on a pizza like this old recipe of ours. This chilli really is the bare bones – add as many vegetables like peppers or mushrooms as you want. Really, it was just an excuse to muck about with our food. Enjoy!

For other pork recipes, click the icon below!

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Goodbye!

fresh spring rolls and dipping sauce

Was it my fresh spring rolls and dipping sauce that caught your eye? Well scroll on down, you filthy buggers. Fair warning, tonight’s entry is a little saucy.

Before we get to the recipe, I’m going to do something unusual. See, in the facebook group that accompanies this blog are a load of funny buggers, each more crass and hilarious than the last. I can rattle off a blue joke and a knob gag no worries, but well, I struggle to get women’s problems correct. It’s all so complicated, and well, if you get it wrong, you’re liable to end up with a clit around the ear and a flap in the face. Wah-wah.

Anyway, I decided it would be a gas to ask people if they wanted to write an ‘article’ for the blog – no catches, write what you want, and if I have a recipe but can’t be buggered to type up one of my usual why-use-one-word-when-forty-paragraphs will do, I can post one up! If you’re interested in having a go, let me know in the comments. Readers, please remember that these articles are people wanting to try their hand at writing a blog post but don’t have the confidence to set up a full blog. Be kind. If you’re thinking negative comments, keep them ssh. If you enjoy the article, let’s hear from you!

Tonight’s entry is by the charming Clarabell, who lists the ability to say the alphabet backwards and having a creepy double-jointed hand as her party trick. Don’t believe me? Take a look!

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Goodness. Least she never struggles to get the last Pringle out of the tube, eh? I’d better make sure that isn’t the image that shows up when you post this to facebook. Over to Clarabell…


sweatbox: a tale by Clarabell

Now, we’re all used to the candid craic from James and Paul about douche bulbs, all things in the downstairs department, and of course the post that mentioned bukkake…which I had to google. On a work laptop. Upon which I forgot to delete the history. Cheers guys! So I figured that with a gaggle of MAINLY female readers that my post would have to be about some nether region tale of the female variety. Something we’ve probably all experienced at one point. Perhaps not James and Paul. (James edit: NOT TRUE! I’ve been there and it was all very charming, but not for me. That’s what keeps the world interesting, different opinions, apropos of nothing I don’t like potted ox tongue either).

I’ve been fed up lately, I’ve been getting bouts of cystitis, antibiotics, thrush, cystitis….repeat. I’ve had a scan and there’s nothing wrong with me other than I don’t drink enough water, and have self-created this cycle of misery.

Resigned to buying the thrush cream, after the standard tactic of ‘ignore it and it might not be there’ stopped working, off I went to the local shopping centre, my purse hovering on the thick air in front of me. I’m in Asda but I can’t see what I want on the shelves, and I’m quickly narked that the chemist is the other side of the centre, only because when your regions are on fire, that’s a long walk to do, simultaneously avoiding the urge for a scratch, and walking like there’s stones in your shoes. But! In a flash of delight, I remember that they took out half of the checkouts, to make an optician that no-one goes in, and…. a PHARMACY! Whoop! There’s nothing like the delight of knowing you can get minge cream at the same time as your linguine.

I approach the counter, there’s a pharmacist (identifiable by not being in day-glo Asda attire) fannying on with those little plastic mesh baskets that the prescriptions are homed in before dispensing, and very engrossed in it HE is too. Yes, he’s a he. Urgh. Oh well, in the spirit of “he’s heard it ALL before”, I man up and he eventually stops fussing and walks over, asking the age old idiot question “are you being seen to?”…am I being seen to?! By who?! Unless you’ve started employing invisible colleagues, then no…there’s only you there, and only me this side of the counter, and so no, I am not being seen to! Shop assistants, bartenders and pharmacists really need to drop the “are you being seen to?” line. What we all know is that you are trying to feign perplexion at my presence, as some sort for cover for the fact that you effectively ignored me for a good few minutes whilst procrastinating at your work – in this case the vital work of rearranging plastic baskets.

I’d like some Canesten Oral Duo” I say bravely– pointing to the bottom shelf. Worryingly, he looks like he doesn’t have a clue what I’m asking for. He follows my finger to the bottom shelf, and picks up some Sea Legs, examines box, puts it back and repeats – he does this a few times with a box of Rennie, and some headlice solution, and eventually comes across the thrush ‘range’ glowing on the shelf like a barber’s pole in full red and white glory. I’m wondering at this point if he is the pharmacist, or whether he’s mugged the rightful medicine man of his Asda badge and strolled behind the desk in the manner of an imposter, hoping to get first nab of the nearby ‘Whoops’ range, but he comes across the requested item at last. Not literally, you’d really struggle to pick the box up if he did that.

“Is it for you?” he asks. Christ on a bike…look mate, it’s fifteen flaming quid…I am not about to raffle it off in the Slimmer of the Week basket I don’t say this, instead I go with “yes” and 100% resting bitch face. Oh but he isn’t finished, “have you used it before?”…panic! What’s the correct answer to this? ‘Yes’ and appear like some serial offender, someone who can’t control their rancid ways and lifting minnie?! Or ‘no’ and risk a declined purchase, or worse, some sort of lecture on best application practice and/or side effects?! I go with “yes” quickly followed up with “a while ago…” He gives a small nod. He knows I’m baking bread. Phew, home and dry, which is good because another customer has joined me and she has the smug privacy of a prescription, which is her ticket to a no question transaction.  What is it with these useless questions?

However, there can be none more useless than the question I once got asked buying antihistamines for hayfever, “drowsy or non-drowsy” I was asked! Really?! Erm..let me check my diary…nope, nothing on the afternoon, drowsy for me please, I’m fine to lounge around spaced out and sleepy, I was not planning on driving and the only ‘machinery’ I’ll be operating will be the telly, so yup, drowsy will do just do fine…ah wait, no consuming alcohol? Poop.

Anyway, Ahmed walks to the till, and promptly stops and stands above it doing jazz hands, and of course he just remembered he doesn’t know how to use it. Suddenly, “Doreen!” he shouts WAVING THE CANESTEN BOX IN THE AIR! “Doreen, can you ring this in for me please”! I swear the smug-prescription-holder does the smirking shimmy, that tiny little wobble that comes only with an inner titter.  I throw her some side-ways shade, which is code for ‘look lady, we’ve all been there, and you will one day (maybe soon after that prescription for antibiotics teehee!) also have to stand here and deal with this lovely bloke, showing the world his arm pit sweat patch whilst at the same time holding aloft the solution to your itchy snatch’.


Goodness me! I once had a flatmate who had perpetual thrush, brought on by the fact her extra-endowed boyfriend  seemed hellbent on hammering her cervix over her back-teeth. Not even kidding there, she showed me a photo he’d sent and what I thought was his arm holding the camera definitely wasn’t. At one point our fridge was more cranberry juice than anything else. I still can’t have a cranberry sour without thinking of her undercarriage. I remember we once had a full stand-up row over the fact I refused to boil tea-towels in a saucepan on the hob to sterilise them. Awfully judgemental for someone with a little too much glue on their envelope.

Now listen, before anyone starts writing their ‘ANGRY OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS’ letters and getting themselves in a tizz, don’t. I know it’s perfectly natural and I know people get all sorts of things but do you know, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, what can we do? Let’s not live in a joyless vacuum.

Right, to the food!

 fresh spring rolls

These are one of those tasty little dishes that look complicated to make, but they’re really not. We used Blue Dragon Rice Pancakes for these which SW say are one syn each (ridiculous) – you can buy rice pancakes from any Asian supermarket too. The joy with these is that you can ram them absolutely chock-full of speed vegetables and lovely free things. 

to make fresh spring rolls, you’ll need:

to make fresh spring rolls, you should:

  • get a plate and fill it with warm water, you’ll obviously not need a lot
  • chop all your veg up – this is where a mandolin will save you so much time and make everything neat and wonderful – click here to buy one of those
  • get everything ready to hand
  • take one pancake, push it into the water, allow to rehydrate a little
  • take out, shake off the water and lay it on a tea-towel or better, a nice clean worktop
  • if you imagine it in thirds, you want to place a big amount of filling at the top of the bottom third – or really, just below the middle of the pancake
  • fold in the sides
  • fold in the bottom
  • roll – keep it nice and tight with your hands (fnar fnar)
  • place on a chopping board and cut with a very sharp knife

You’re done! We served ours with a dipping sauce where we took low sodium soy sauce (6 tbsp), a couple of tablespoons of hoisin (4 syns), a few chilli flakes, a drop of honey (1 syn) and some passata. Stir and serve!

Although these are a syn each, these fresh spring rolls are very, very filling and a brilliant way of getting fresh veg into you. I’m a big fat pig and only managed four! If you wanted to keep it vegetarian, swap out the meat for cooked egg or mushrooms.

Enjoy.

J

syn-free crisps and dip

Here for the crisps and dip? They’re a wee bit lower down, but you won’t have so much to read through tonight to get to the recipe because, to use a Geordieism, I’m STOTTIN’ MAD. It took me two hours to exit the multistorey car-park this evening – not because I fell down the stairs or I got lost trying to find my car, no, because some bumhole thought it would be a smashing idea to block the one-way road off with roadworks and then not put any provisions for people wanting to leave in place, leading to about 300 office workers all trying to leave at once from eight different directions down a one way street. All it would have taken is some preferably-fit bloke in a hi-vis to guide the traffic out or indeed, a set of traffic lights, but no.

To make things worse, I got into my car at 5.05pm and needed a piss by 5.07pm. Of course, I was in a completely static line of traffic so I probably had enough time to get out, go home, have a piss, send that away for testing, discuss why it sometimes smells of coconut with a doctor and then begin a course of antibiotics, but I couldn’t take the risk that as soon as I stepped away and nipped to the gents that the line of traffic wouldn’t start up and I’d end up with a ticket for abandoning my car. 

Have you ever had to look around your car and gauge what you could realistically piss in? I have, and let me tell you, in a reasonably clean DS3, there’s not many options. There’s an ashtray and an oversized glove box, and neither of them are waterproof. A Doritos bag seemed like the only option but even then, I’d need both hands to turn the tight corners and I didn’t want a crisp packet of urine balanced on my dash. I knew there was an empty Orangina bottle in the boot but I couldn’t remember if it was glass or plastic, and well, I’ve spent my life avoiding getting a gash on my helmet, let’s not start tonight.

Nevermind, I managed to hold it in, and after an extended period of muttering away to myself in a very British fashion and embarrassing my friend on the radio, I managed to get away, although not after losing my temper with some doddery old bugger who pretty much reversed into my car in his haste to try and cut in front of me. It’s surprisingly awkward when you shout at someone and then have to sit in front of them for another forty minutes, trying desperately not to meet the eye of the old bugger you yelled at in haste. 

Anyway, I’m home now. I did win £400 on a slot machine so that takes the edge off. You may or may not remember that I practice safe gambling through Quidco. More on that here, but I remind you that if you’ve got an addictive personality, it’s not a good route to go down. I’m a tightarse Geordie so no chance of me getting a gambling addition!

Remember too, we’re running a competition to win £50 of Musclefood meat! Go take a look.

Right, let’s crack on. 

crisps and dip

I’ll pop this here, see the bit about tweaking below, but remember, this is how we feel about tweaking.

TWEAK

to make crisps and dip, you’ll need:

  • a few big potatoes
  • whatever flavouring you like – I used Worcestershire sauce but you can use salt and vinegar
  • 250g tub of fat-free cottage cheese
  • a few big dollops of quark
  • parmesan – use your HEA allowance
  • chopped chives
  • salt and pepper

Honestly, slicing potatoes evenly is a fart-on. Buy a mandolin slicer, it’s one of the things we use most in the kitchen for slicing up veg and it’ll save you a tonne of time. They’re here and cheap. Tight-arse.

to make crisps and dip, you should:

  • slice your potato nice and thin and even, like Good King Wenceslas did (and I bet he didn’t have a load of people having a shitfit at him over whether it’s a bloody tweak!)
  • season them – few sprays of olive oil, worcestershire sauce, salt
  • place in the oven but keep an eye on them – rather than lying them flat, place them standing up between the ‘rungs’ of a cooling tray, that way you don’t need to clart about turning the buggers
  • once they’re nearly done, take them out, leave to cool and then put them in the microwave in a couple of batches – keep an eye on them though, they can burn quite quickly, you’re just trying to dry them out
  • blend the cottage cheese, parmesan and quark together – I use my Nutribullet for this, but you can just use a hand blender, you don’t need owt fancy (though I use my Nutribullet a surprising amount)
  • top the dip with chopped chives
  • serve

Are these a taste explosion? No, not at all. Whilst they were decent enough, I’d prefer to syn crisps. Should you class these as a tweak? Depends. If you’re chopping one potato up, then I wouldn’t bother. If you’re slicing up a sack of potatoes bigger than a taxi, then yes, it’s a tweak, and yes you should syn. Slimming World will tell you to syn this – it’s up to you how you want to play it.

I’m not your boss!

J

sizzling rainbow salad, roasted garlic chickpeas and weigh in

Yes yes, the sizzling rainbow salad will follow.

Long title for what will be a very quick post because damnit, my tea is ready, I have two recipes to post and a weigh-in to report. So let’s wheel out the old knob and see how we’ve done this week…

twochubbycubs

Oh how cosmopolitan! Classy Paul sent me a text to say ‘Only lost half a pound, but got three pounds of last night’s tea pulling out of the depot as we speak’. It’s always a joy living in this house. We weighed in separately tonight as Paul had to dash home (as much as someone the approximate shape of Saturn can dash) and let the electrician in to fit an outside light in our back garden. See (barely), our local council has taken it upon themselves to tear down the old orange streetlights in our street and replace them with these AWFUL little white LED lamps, which, given how faint and pointless they are, must all be running off the same watch battery. It’s so dark I can look out of the window and see when next door’s TV goes off standby. Actually, that’s a fib, we don’t have immediate neighbours…

…which is lucky, because fuck me is the new light bright. He flicked it on and I half expected Paul to be standing at the fence shaking and bursting into flame like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Even the cat put a layer of Piz-Buin on before nipping out to shit in the flowerbed – that wasn’t steam coming off her turd, it was smoke. He advised me that we could adjust it if we wanted to but nah, I like to know that if I stumbled home in the dark and lost a contact lens amongst my tomatoes, I could find it in quite literally the blink of an eye. We’ve also had a couple of outdoor sockets fitted, which will just the thing for us to look at occasionally and think about pressure washing the paving stones. 

Anyway, the recipes. Let’s start with sizzling rainbow salad, which is really just a colourful salad but with all the goodness and virtue of eating greens taken out and replaced with juicy, delicious cow. If you want to keep it vegetarian that’s fine, but please ask someone to chop for you least your cockle-esque muscles give out. I’m kidding I’m kidding. Please don’t write to me, I won’t read it. I’ll be too busy wiping the cow juice off my chin and cackling wildly. Until I get CJD and Paul has to take me around the back of the house, my legs disco-dancing independently of each other, and push me into a burning pit with a tractor.

IMG_2579

to make sizzling rainbow salad, you’ll need:

  • any steak you like – fillet steak, frying steak, rib-eye steak, miss-steak, Mis-Teeq or Stakeford, I don’t care, as long as it mooed and had children (ouch)
  • any syn-free noodles
  • a cucumber, one that if it was a penis, you’d perhaps reach for a dab more Durex Play than you’re used to
  • a carrot, see above
  • a few radishes
  • if you can get them, a candy beetroot and a golden beetroot, if not, regular beetroot
  • two red chilli peppers
  • a lime
  • spring onions
  • crunchy lettuce of any sort you like
  • chickpeas from the below recipe

to make sizzling rainbow salad, you should:

  • cook your noodles
  • peel and slice the cucumber and carrots into thin ribbons using a potato peeler
  • very thinly slice the beetroot – I eat it raw, I like the crunch – and I use one of these mandolins for perfect uniform slices (plus it protects your fingers, you don’t want your piano career ruined by circumcised fingers)
  • do the same with the radishes
  • chop the spring onion and chillis
  • cook your steak however you like and slice it into thin strips – we just used bog-standard steak like this – remember you can add stuff like this on if you buy our freezer-filler-wonder-offer from Musclefood, just add whatever you want as extras into the basket – we cook our steak by getting a pan roaring hot, using worcestershire sauce and pepper instead of oil, quickly cooking it off and serving
  • assemble in a bowl – noodles, crunchy lettuce, sliced veg, steak, squirt a bit of lime juice over for taste
  • if you’re making the chickpeas below, scatter them on too for extra crunch
  • very healthy, I’m sure you will agree

OK, onwards. BEFORE WE START.

TWEAK

We explain what tweaking is right here. Our policy is that it’s better to eat something like this than it is to eat a tube of Pringles. Well no, it’s not better, but it’ll keep the scales happy. Hopefully. Up to you to decide what you want to do. To me, chickpeas are syn free, garlic is syn free, you don’t use enough sprays of the oil to be worth synning it, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to be told off for it. GO.

to make roasted garlic chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • a bulb of garlic
  • two big tins of chickpeas
  • a few squirts of olive oil (which might add up to a syn if you’re lucky, plus I’d hope you’re not going to eat them all)

 chickpeas 

to make roasted garlic chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • cut the garlic bulb right through the middle (horizontally left to right rather than straight down the middle) – don’t worry about peeling
  • sprinkle with a touch of salt
  • put in a low temperature oven for around half an hour, just to soften the garlic flesh, then scoop out (I just scrunch up the bulb with my hand)
  • rinse your chickpeas
  • put them into a bowl with a few squirts of oil, salt, pepper and the softened sticky flesh of the garlic
  • roll those chickpeas around each other – gently, you’re not panning for bloody gold – but enough to get them coated in some garlic, seasoning and oil
  • tip out onto a baking tray and bake in a medium oven for around 30-45 minutes, but do keep checking, they can catch quite quickly
  • eat as a snack or tumbled into salad. Tumbled?! Oh behave James.

Enjoy!

J

avocado devilled eggs – an excellent snack idea

NEW SNACK IDEA: avocado devilled eggs. In a rush today so only a little post, but after the success of those teeny tiny teriyaki tasters that we suggested for taster nights a few days ago, I’ve decided to make a new snack idea recipe. Gotta be worth a go! It vexes me that avocado is so ridiculously high in syns – I appreciate it is ‘fats’ but haway, it’s so much better for you than ten Muller Lights. That’s another Slimming World mystery I suppose. There’s quite a few of those around. My favourite is the speed food conundrum. People get themselves in such a froth in the race to tell people THEY MUST HAVE SPEED FOOD on their plate, and I can’t really understand why. It’s there as a suggestion, not a rule. We’ll always try and have speed food on the side but it isn’t because Mags is holding a gun to our heads, but rather, eating more vegetables can’t be a bad thing. I do wonder though why speed foods became such a necessity – I remember back in the hazy days of red and green days and speed food was never suggested. Suppose that’s because the diet was different, but hmm. Nevermind. I’m still sore about losing out on Man of the Year 2004 to some bugger with a black foot and a lot of wheezing.

For our recipes, we’ll more often than not incorporate speed food into the ‘main dish’ so although it may not look like we’ve hit our speed quota, we normally have. We’ll never lecture you on whether or not you need it. If you have any concerns, feel free to hoy some broccoli or a tin of carrots on the side. 

Anyway, the recipe:

avocado devilled eggs

to make avocado devilled eggs, you’ll need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 avocado – now, 100g of avocado flesh is a ridiculous 9.5 syns, and I used a 100g avocado, but minus the weight of the skin and the stone, I reckoned about 80g of flesh, so 8 syns
  • 4 rashers of bacon with the fat cut off, or some of our fabulous bacon from the twochubbycubs musclefood deal, cooked and cut into tiny chunks
  • rocket
  • one tomato, chopped finely
  • black pepper and a pinch of salt

to make avocado devilled eggs, you should:

  • boil your eggs – I always go for around fourteen minutes because you want everything to be nice and solid
  • plunge them straight into icy cold water and then peel the buggers, but don’t go all hamfisted with it, nice and gentle
  • cut your avocado open, get rid of the stone, and scoop that juicy flesh into a bowl
  • mix in the chopped bacon and chopped tomatoes, saving a little of each for the top
  • add a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
  • cut your eggs in half, drop the yolks into the avocado bow, and then mix the whole lot like buggery
  • using a teaspoon, put the mixture into the empty eggs where their yolks used to be
  • decorate with the leftover bacon and tomato and another twist of pepper

Enjoy! Note, if you’re making these for a taster session, the avocado will discolour a little if you leave it for too long. For the best taste, make them nice and fresh or add a bit of lemon juice into the mix!

J

teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

Here for the teeny tiny teriyaki tasters which are perfect for those awful taster nights where everyone brings in food? You’ll find them just below the picture. But naturally, because it’s us, there’s going to be a bit of guff before we get to that point.

Firstly, this is important: you know how we have our fabulous deal with Musclefood, where you can choose from our meat-filled big box or a smaller, still meaty, freezer filler? This one? They’re currently out of stock at the moment though. Booo! Well, they’re also running a deal right now where you get 5kg of their marvellous chicken breasts for £18 instead of £32.85. You’ll need to click here, add it to your basket and use the code GREATCHICK in the promo codes bit in your basket. The chicken breasts are colossal – we usually use one where two supermarket chicken breasts would do. Tasty too.

Usual guff applies, the minimum order is £25 and delivery is £3.95, but if you fill out your order with the usual staples of extra lean beef mince you’ll be fine. Enjoy!

Right, secondly, couple of boring admin things – we get asked a lot how many servings our meals will do – unless we say otherwise, assume four. We’re very big eaters, always have been, and our meals could comfortably serve four unless we go out of our way to say it’ll be six or two or whatever. I’ve got no time for tiny portions whether during mealtimes or sex. Also, we’ve got so many lovely, warm comments in our comment queue, we’re going to try and get through them today. Please don’t be disenheartened that it takes such an age to clear them – we read each one as it comes in and it touches us right in our special no-no places. To give you an idea how much admin that is, there’s 156 comments waiting for us to approve and comment on, and I only cleared the queue before we went to New York! Goodness me!

So yes, today’s recipe is designed for all those people who spill their vowels down their front and ask us ‘WOT CAN I TAKE TO TASTA NITE‘. I’ll include some more links at the bottom for other snack suggestions, but seriously, if you take these bad boys to class, I’d be surprised if your consultant doesn’t give you Slimmer of the Year right there and fill your book with so many stickers it looks like a Panini 1998 World Cup album, only with Mags playing centre forward instead of Les Ferdinand. God I’d pay good money for that.
Buffets as a rule leave me cold, but these have put me in mind of a recent visit to a carvery. See, before we set off anew on this diet a few weeks ago, we had a little list of things to cram down our necks before we had to be strict again and exist on kale and misery (recipe for kale and misery stew will be online shortly, prep your tears now). They included something delicious from McDonalds (an abstract thought if ever there was one), all manner of beige nonsense from Iceland and a visit to a carvery – perhaps more precisely, a Toby Carvery. I’ve never been, but I feel I’ve been vicariously through all the frothy-mouthed praising I’ve seen people on the internet do. Apparently they’re delicious, the sort of place you would go for a final meal, a Sunday dinner done right at any time of the week – having seen the fervent delirium that swims over the eyes of their fans I was half expecting to be fellated under the table as I worked my way through my roast.
 
Well, that didn’t happen. We stumbled into the Kingston Park Toby Carvery and although the staff were pleasant, the food was awful and most of the customers were clearly determined to get the value out of their £5.99 and to hell with decency. Listen, I’m a fat bloke, but show a bit of restraint man – people were coming back to the table with plates piled so high with heat-lamp warm veg that their glazed-over eyes were barely visible over the top of them. I think it’s a very British thing, confusing quantity with quality, but it made me feel a bit queasy. Just because you can eat as much as you like, doesn’t mean you should. It’s not a challenge, you’re not on the Krypton Factor or up against a timer – they’ll still let you out if you’re capable of breathing under your own steam.
 
The food wasn’t all that, considering the rapturous praise it seems to elicit from various people online. The meat was so leathery and tough that I could have reheeled my shoes with it. The mash and roast potatoes were so dry that I almost asked for a bowl of those little silica gel balls for dessert just to grab a bit of moisture. Because the food is kept under heatlamps and customers are allowed to ‘help themselves’, everything ends up slightly mixed together so you get cauliflower cheese mixed in with the peas and queasy droplets of horseradish blobbing on the top of the gravy. Finally, their famous Yorkshire puddings? I could have sanded a brick wall with the buggers. Bah! The staff were lovely, mind.
 
I see the same thing when I walk down Stowell Street in Newcastle to my car, which is awash with all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurants with the same folk piling their plates high with all sorts of salty nonsense. I can put it away myself, don’t you worry, but I’ve never felt it necessary to combine starter, main and dessert on one plate, especially when you can go back up if you want more. It always ends up tasting the same and I can’t bear seeing people eat without actually tasting the food they’re pouring into their maw. They look like cows in a field chewing the cud, quite possibly with the same levels of methane barrelling out of their arses.
 
Admittedly, I’m being slightly hypocritical. I don’t mean to be. I’d love to make a pig of myself at a buffet but I suffer from buffet-anxiety, or premature mastication if you prefer. I’ll go up, fill my plate with about two thirds of the amount I actually want, and then cry inside at the sight of everyone else’s plate, which is normally full of the things I wanted but didn’t dare pick up in case some snotty cow yelled ‘SPOON OF MINIATURE TRIFLE EH? WITH YOUR TITS?’ or similar. We’ve all been there.
Moral of the story? Calm the fuck down at buffets.
Right, recipe!
teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

This makes enough for 36 sticky teeny tiny teriyaki tasters (fnar fnar), if you make them bigger, adjust the syns per ball. There’s 12 syns in the overall recipe.

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you’ll need:

  • 500g lean pork mince
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 60ml light soy sauce
  • 60ml white wine (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp sherry (1.5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp honey (2.5 syns)
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 15g of a mix of black and white sesame seeds (6 syns, as 25g is 8 syns – and to be honest, you’ll not use all of these because a lot will end up on the chopping board, but let’s err on the side of caution)

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you should:

  • in a large bowl mix together the pork and the beef mince with the egg yolk
  • using a tablespoon, scoop out a spoon-size ball and roll into meatballs – do this for all of the mixture (you’ll need about 36 – if you want, you could weigh out each ball at around 27g each…but life’s too short)
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat and add a couple of squirts of spray oil or, urgh, Frylight, bleurgh
  • cook the meatballs until browned all over and cooked right through – you WILL need to do them in batches
  • place cooked meatballs onto a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm whilst you cook the rest
  • when done, mix together the soy sauce, white wine, sherry, honey and ginger in a small jug and pour into the same pan you used to cook the meatballs and reduce the heat to medium
  • cook for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened
  • add the meatballs back into the pan and stir carefully to coat – I find it easier to tumble the meatballs in and then pick up the pan and gently slosh them around rather than trying to stir with a spoon
  • serve on cocktail sticks and sprinkle over the seeds – don’t sweat it if you can’t find these, you could easily leave them off and that brings the syn count to 1 syn for six – even better – but they look so pretty with the seeds on

Get used to people going OOOOOH and slapping you on the back. Hell, you’ve earned it.

Enjoyed our tale? Remember: we have a book with all of our stories in one place, and you’ll be keeping us in gin if you buy it!

J