spiderweb eggs and Paul’s random stream of nonsense

So, we finally managed to track down an Iceland in the local area today that still had some ready meals in stock. I went to the one in Gateshead which fortunately was stocked all the way to the top, even though someone who looked like a post-menstrual imagining of Pauline Quirke was circling nearby like a stinking,shuffling Belgrano. Not a bad selection either, so I got plenty of sausages and meatballs and a few tikka masalas. In a strange coincidence, James did exactly the same thing and flounced into the Cramlington one on his way home, so now our freezer is dangerously overstocked and I daren’t open the door because it feels like I’m stuck in a hall of mirrors with Wor Margaret.

But anyway, I digress. Tonight – Tikka Masala and Rice. I’m rather looking forward to it, I don’t mind a good curry and the spicier the better. I was going to make a ‘Grecian Pizza’ – I called it Grecian because it had Feta and Olives on it and that’s all I know about Greek cuisine. It was going to be the ‘ring’ pizza you see in the Fakeaways book with a fancy salad in the middle, but could I hell get it to roll right. I tried everything but it was just wasn’t going to happen. A shame, really, because I was an absolute natural when I worked at Domino’s Pizza in my teen years (best job in the world. No, really) and could whip up a thick, thirteen incher in seconds (still can on a good day and with a good breeze behind me). But because I was in a huff I just rolled out a misshapen slab and flung it into the bin when I couldn’t get the shape right.

I absolutely love Greek cuisine, and anything Mediterranean. I’m trying hard to convince James that we need a holiday around there, just so I can vacuum up my own bodyweight in Feta. Travelling is one thing that we absolutely love doing. It’s only really been in the last few years that we’ve gone anywhere that exciting, mostly due to a lack of money or something coming along that is more important (we had to cancel a trip to Iceland to buy a new kitchen instead. Booo!) so a holiday in the sun is well overdue. I still get like a giddy schoolboy at holiday time. I’m sure James slipped me a wobbly egg or two (a la Shannon Matthews) when we went to Germany because I just couldn’t stop flapping my hands like a kid with ADHD. I always had crap holidays as a kid. We once went to Benidorm in the early 90’s which was absolutely fantastic but since then they were just dreadful. You know it’s bad when a few wet weekends at Butlin’s Skegness is a highlight.

The worse one though was to Ireland. No rolling hills, leprechauns or culture for us. Oh no. We went to stay with my then stepfather’s family in a run-down part of Downpatrick where the spirit of The Troubles was still well and truly alive. There were no fewer than eight of us crammed into a tiny two bedroomed house, and the kids were all bundled two-a-piece into three-storey bunkbeds made from pallets and chickenwire. You think I’m joking – I’m really not. The house was wall-to-wall Virgin Mary and that bloody awful picture of Jesus doing a Goatse to his chest. You know the one I mean. I was handed a rosary by an elderly woman and had no idea what to do with it, so I wore it round my neck for the whole weekend. I thought I looked fabulous, personally and never resisted an opportunity to strut around with it.

In the evenings we had to secure the house against the IRA (or was it the Police? I can’t remember what side they were on). It meant some elaborate traps had to be set by the front door in case it was kicked in. It looked like a fancy laser matrix but out of skipping rope. I got a smack across the head from someone who earlier had pissed against the bedroom wall because when I went to get some squash during the night I set off some trap that meant a radio fell into the hallway and set some picture frames cascading down the stairs like a paramilitarian game of Mouse Trap. It was all so surreal! Fortunately we never went back. I think if it had been suggested I would have seriously considered putting myself into care.

The worst part of the whole time we were there was the food – not that it was that bad, but because we were only fed once a day. ONCE. And it was at some weird time like 3pm. Not quite lunch, not quite dinner, but far too far away from what would be breakfast. A nightmare for a fatty like me. Give me waterboarding any day over that absolute horror.

And, for some reason, I came away with ABBA Gold on tape.

I’m glad to say that was a definite low point and they only ever got better since then. To be honest I don’t think I could have tolerated anything worse without doing some sort of spazz-out on the whole lot of them and that most certainly wouldn’t be pretty.

One place I’d really love to go though is the Far East. I’d love it! I love the whole culture and Western mysticism about it all. China, Japan, Singapore – I’d do all of it, and chow down every last crumb of chow mein I could find. I’d probably whinge that it wasn’t like a ‘proper Chinese’ you get from some foul-smelling grotty shop in Blyth like I’m used to. Top of the list is North Korea but the food there is shit so I might not bother unless I can get away with smuggling in a Matheson’s sausage.

TONIGHT’S RECIPE – Chinese tea eggs. No I don’t know either, but James thought they looked cool and who I am to deny my baby his pleasures? I half wondered whether I’d heard him wrong and he was going to fire them out of his bottom like a Taiwanese hooker, but no. They are pretty. He’s called them spiderweb eggs because he’s feeling deliciously random.

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to make spiderweb eggs, you should:

recipe – nice easy one this! These eggs are lovely for a snack or putting into a salad – they take on the taste of the sauce around them and so easy to do. Fill a pan with enough water to boil six eggs and a tsp of salt and boil for two minutes. Keeping the hot water to one side, plunge them into cold water for three minutes and then, when they are cold, crack them all over with a teaspoon. Don’t hit them with the spoon like a nun hitting an erect willy – you want them to crack but not shatter. Doesn’t matter if a bit of shell comes off.

Add into the hot water two black tea bags, four star anise, black pepper, salt, a cinnamon stick (or powder) and a big old glug of dark soy sauce. Pop the eggs back in once they’ve been cracked, and simmer very gently for three hours. After this, all you need to do is put the eggs, still in the sauce, in the fridge for 24 hours. Then shell and eat!

I know it sounds like a clart on but this can all be done in one pan and the effect is lovely – perfect for something different! Just like us, right?

P

mini lasagne cups

Just a quick post tonight as I’ve been out for the evening to see Ex Machina – the latest film from Danny Boyle. Decent film, very sci-fi, but with an unexpected amount of muff on show. And I’m sorry, but there’s nothing more surprising than an unexpected muff. A muff you can plan for, fine, but no-one wants to be presented with a muff when you’ve got your guard down. To be honest, I just like typing that word. Muff. Ah.

I was going to be good and be one of those bores who go out for dinner and just order lettuce leaves dressed in the tears of a fat man, with a side order of smugness, but instead we went to Nandos. Now see I don’t see the fascination with Nandos – to me, it’s KFC but with wooden furniture and hipster beards. They do pleasant enough food and all, but raving over it? No! I did make a mistake of choosing a table right near the toilets mind – I’m such a classy guy. They have those awful open back chairs too – I (and I imagine a lot of other larger framed folks share this fear) spend an inordinate amount of time worrying that my shirt had ridden up, my trousers have sank down and that the crack of my arse was busy winking at the rest of the diners in the restaurant. The last thing I want is for someone to post a business card in there thinking they’d win a half chicken and chips. BAH. Anyway, I had the caesar salad followed by an oil-drum of popcorn in the cinema later, and I don’t care – syns are there to be used, after all. Remember, I’m all about maintaining this week. So, tonight’s recipe….

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Now, some people will probably consider the above to be a ‘tweak’ – tweaking is when you use something not for its ‘original use’ – i.e. grinding up couscous into flour to make a cake. The science being that you’ll stuff your face with a whole cake which might contain 500g of couscous, whereas if you tried to sit and eat that much couscous in one go you’d go pop. Well, balls to that. In the example below, I’m using lasagne sheets or ham to create a cup, but you’d eat the same amount if you were to have lasagne. So shut your hole.

This is a ‘use up your leftovers’ recipe – this time, you’re using up any old bolognese (and you can find our recipe for bolognese with sluts spaghetti here) or chilli. Serve with a side salad or some sweet potato wedges for an easy win.

to make mini lasagne cups, you’ll need:

ingredients: your old bolognese, a few cherry tomatoes, either 12 lasagne sheets or some wafer thin ham and some light philadelphia (75g HEA) and some rocket

to make mini lasagne cups, you should:

recipe: easy! cook your lasagne sheets, cut them into squares and place one into the cup in a muffin tray, with another one rotated 45 degrees so you have a nice star. Stuff the bottom with rocket, spoon the bolognese into the middle, top with philadelphia and a tomato, and pop in the oven for 20 minutes! If you can’t be arsed fannying about with lasagne sheets, you can use ham – see the picture. Don’t cook it for so long though, ten minutes at most, or you’ll end up with a burnt rim – and no-one wants that!

extra-easy: of course – syn-free. Better if your bolognese is stuffed with superfree nonsense, but if not, have a wee salad on the side. Easy peasy.

Cheers!

J

square egg, snacks and injuries

Previous readers may recall that a few months ago, I had to go for an MRI scan on my heart. Exciting. I described it at the time like being sucked into a Polo-coloured sphincter. Well, after weeks and weeks of fitfully looking at the letterbox waiting for news, I finally got a letter from my doctor yesterday which said everything was OK, heart was beating as it should be and I had nothing to worry about, bar being too handsome for most people to deal with. Typical NHS restraint. I’ve actually (touching wood) been remarkably lucky with my health so far – found a lump in my boob a year or so ago but it turned out to be nothing exciting (I’m surprised it wasn’t an M&M, to be honest) and a couple of bouts of anxiety throughout the last few years. I don’t want to dwell on anxiety, but it’s a very funny thing – people who wouldn’t take the piss out of you if you had a broken leg or lost the sight on one eye feel quite chipper making snide comments about anxiety behind your back. I don’t see a mental illness as less important than a physical one, but the world has a long way to go before that status is reconciled.

Ah well.

The only injuries I’ve ever had of note both have typically me causes – I’ve got a scar on my forehead from a killing curse launched at me by the greatest Dark Wizard who ever lived cartwheeling into the side of a door. I remember going downstairs (the cartwheel having been done in my bedroom, which was surprising because it remains the only bedroom I’ve ever been in where I had to back out onto the landing to turn around) with a cartoon egg-shaped lump on my head only for my mum to hoy a big bag of peas on it and sat me down in front of Countdown until I stopped trying to make an 18 letter conundrum. The second time I tore my lip open and bent (but didn’t break) (I don’t think) my nose to the left by using my face as an impromptu braking device on my bike – forgot that my brakes didn’t work as I thundered down a hill the only way a fat lad on an old bike can, hit the front brakes, bike stopped immediately and I sailed through the air like a clay pigeon. Only I landed on my face. This time, I think I was knocked out, as my only memory is my sister running home to get my mother who took me home, wrapped a tea-towel from the side in the kitchen around my face (I can still taste I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and strawberry jam if I lick the scar) and left it to sort itself out. I’ve got a big scar on my bottom lip which I can see if I push my lips flat against my teeth, but other than that I’m fine. Actually, reading all this back, it makes it sounds as though I grew up in Mr Bumble’s workhouse, but that’s far from the truth. My mum just didn’t want the nurses to question all the other bruises and marks on my body.

And that’s a joke too, before anyone tries to respectively put us on the register. I always received medical aid where necessary and my parents were – and are – very loving!

Speaking of very loving, how about this for an evening meal? Up here in Geordieland, we call an evening meal made up of lots of different little things (normally sandwiches, cakes, pork pies etc) a tea-tea, but I know there’s lots of others. Paul informs me he used to call it a picnic tea but I find that hard to believe because it conjures up a charming spread served on gingham tableclothes and bone china, whereas I know from his many tales that he never tasted food that didn’t have 4% Lambert and Butler ash in it until he moved up here.

snacks on slimming world

Like yesterday, with this being more of an ensemble dish, there’s little point in doing a recipe, so instead let me break down the various bits:

pickled onions – you can have most pickles for nothing on SW, so fill up – and try sauerkraut, it’s bloody delicious, although too much pickled cabbage will leave you with veritable knicker-stainers later. Open a window.

tomatoes – buy a variety to add colour and keep them out of the fridge – they’ll taste so much nicer.

pitta chips – you’re allowed one wholemeal pitta as a healthy extra – toast one, cut it up and serve with…

…sweet potato houmous – blend one large cooked sweet potato with four tablespoons of fat free yoghurt, one garlic clove, two tablespoons of lemon juice, salt and a 200g tin of chickpeas. Don’t blend it too smooth, it’s better with a few chunks. Just like the best of us.

roast potatoes – cut up some new potatoes, put them in the Actifry with an Oxo cube to cover them. Delicious.

pastrami wraps – make a sauce of four finely chopped gherkins, four tablespoons of fat free fromage frais and half a teaspoon of mustard powder. Smear onto a slice of pastrami, stuff it full of rocket and roll it up.

chicken wraps – nowt more fancy than a gherkin wrapped up in a slice of chicken!

square egg – they taste so much better than a normal egg but I’ve heard it makes the chicken walk funny. WELCOME TO MY WORLD, COCK.

A perfect picky dinner. Now off to watch Before I Go To Sleep with Fattychops. 100th post coming soon!

I used this little gadget to make my egg cube, by the way!

J

spicy couscous balls with tzatziki

I feel better! Thankfully. My ears are still full but don’t feel sloshy anymore, which is a good sign. Shitting bricks about an upcoming flight though, worried my head will explode Scanners-style as soon as the change in pressure hits. Well don’t worry – I’ve got a month’s worth of archived posts to activate in my absence. Paul often jokes about death (me less so, as I used to suffer from health anxiety and all it takes is a gentle nudge sometimes and I’m away worrying), and says that when I die he’ll keep me on ice until he shuffles off, and then have us entombed together, with his leg over the top of mine, forever making me too hot in the sweet embrace of death.

Speaking of death, I finished Stephen King’s newest book, Revival. Blimey. Worth a read but what an ending. I do think there’s an odd stigma about Stephen King – people perceive his books as a bit trashy or low-brow, but he’s a genuinely skilled writer with a fantastic imagination. Well, except for The Tommyknockers, that was bobbins.

Here’s a snack idea. I made it last Saturday and was going to stick it online, but then Sudafed took me away.

couscousballs

to make spicy couscous balls with tzatziki:

Not worth making a full recipe breakdown for this, because it’s so, so easy. I use two packets of Ainsley Harriott’s spicy sensations couscous, which come in at 1.5 syns per pack made up with water (so don’t be adding butter, you cheeky buggers). Add the appropriate level of water (whatever it says on the pack) and leave to absorb. Fluff with a fork. Beat an egg and mix it into the couscous, then squeeze as many balls as you can out of the mixture. Pop onto a tray and stick it in the oven on 150 degrees for an hour or so – you want to ‘dry’ them out. Cooked low and slow, you’ll be laughing. For a dip, make tzatziki – greek yoghurt (I use Tesco Finest 0% fat – no syns) mixed with cucumber cut into tiny cubes and mint. Stir, chill, eat.

These are perfect little snacks – they’re very filling and by using the flavoured couscous, they actually taste good. And so easy to make! You could easily double up the ingredients, make a giant batch and take some to work – or even serve with a side salad for a light lunch.

Hey, you know, I spend a fair bit of time trying to make the food look presentable and putting it into the twochubbycubs’ style before it comes online. Well, there was no saving this. It’s the Slimming World pork pie. I found the recipe – basically, take a tin of Pek Gold, wrap it in bread (healthy extra), brush with egg, put it in the oven. Voila. That’s a pork pie. Well no, it isn’t, it’s an eggy ham sandwich, but by god I wanted it.

I got this far:

porkpie

Eee, haway. At this point, I was so taken by the ridiculousness of it that I stopped taking pictures, but when it came out of the oven, it all fell apart and tasted exactly like hot pek with a bit of mustard on it. Even the cat turned his nose up, and he spends hours of the day licking his arsehole like he’s trying to put out a fire.

Someone more skilled made this – it doesn’t look too bad.

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Ah well, can’t win them all!

J

ham and superfree veg muffins

Firstly, I apologise for not updating the blog last night but we were both stuck at work! Off to Fatfighters soon so only a very quick post but here is a recipe card for a good snack idea. I know I’ll be putting weight on because I have had too much crap this week thanks to being constantly at work. Sad times.

Paul is my superfree muffin! Enjoy, and I’ll check in later to confirm what damage I’ve done…muffins ahoy!

J