summer salad with fried feta and a tomato consommé

You wanted summer recipes, so here’s two: summer salad with fried feta and a tomato and nasturtium consommé. But first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The searing hot, radioactive, giant ball of gassy matter that pumps out offensive levels of heat and that could kill us all. That’s right, my husband – he’s currently in bed, so I’m going to discuss the sun. For those in Scotland:

this is the sun – it’s the thing that turns you from that milky white colour to freshly butchered mince in 8 seconds.

I hate it. I’ve discussed at length the many things I hate about the great British summer but, because I’m a) tetchy and b) fat and c) sweaty, I’m going to moan about it again.

Insects

Literally everywhere you turn. Now I’m not daft, I know bees are important and without them we wouldn’t have pollination and food and existence and, perhaps more importantly, this gif of a bee giving a high-five:

but even so. Just once I’d like to spend more than eight minutes outside without something biting me, swarming at me, worrying me or just giving me shitty looks. I took this salad outside yesterday to take a decent photo in the light and I swear I’ve come back without at least one full layer of skin thanks to all the bites. I know I’m irresistible but I’d love to enjoy a meal outside without the both of us swearing and screaming like the table is on fire and we’re eating petrol sandwiches. The situation escalated surprisingly quickly when Paul knocked over a bottle of limoncello syrup – you can imagine how the wasps and bees reacted to that. Hopefully they’ve got smashed off their tits and are comatose in a hedge somewhere, the vespine equivalent of a teenager celebrating getting his fingers wet. I know of a friend who foolishly went camping in summer at Kielder Forest and was sent back to Newcastle by a roaming gang of midges. And we’re Geordies, you understand, we’re geet hard as ‘owt. Pfft.

Cars

Dogs die in hot cars. True, and you always get a satisfying story in the papers of some idiotic clot who dashed into a clinic to get her vag steamed only to leave poor Fido sizzling away on the parcel shelf, who then came out to find some hero has smashed all the windows in the car and called her a c*nt on national TV. I’d be tempted to let the dog out and do a big steaming shit all over her steering wheel, claiming the dog did it out of distress. But that’s not all – getting into my car at the moment is like trying to make yourself comfortable in an active volcano. I climbed in yesterday, peeling layers of skin off my hands as I did so, and found that the car was registering 34 degrees. 34! I turned the engine on expecting the car to blow up and leave me smeared across the street like fat jam. Paul’s car is even worse thanks to his asthmatic air-conditioning – I had to check whether he’d bought a new air-freshener yesterday but the smell of cooking bacon turned out to be the seatbelt clip sinking into my tit like a hot knife through butter.

Increased neighbour interaction

Most – though not all – of my neighbours are decent folks now, especially since they’ve had five years to come around to the fact that two gay men living on their street doesn’t mean we’re going to have all-night orgies and an amyl-nitrate fountain put in the front garden. About half of them actually stop to talk to us now, would you believe. That’s acceptable, but it means we also see the other half a lot more. Take this morning. I was awoken at 8am by the sound of my neighbour yanking and swearing at his shitty Lidl lawnmower to try and get it started. You need to understand that there’s only two reasons I ever want to be woken up on a Sunday before 11am: either I’m sleepshopping naked in ASDA and I’ve got my cock resting in the bananas or Paul has managed to convince the entire first team squad of the Newcastle Falcons that I’m their pre-game warm-up.

He eventually managed to get his £7.99 lawnmower going (and bearing in mind he’s one of these type of folks who’ll spend £35,000 on a car then never take it out of third gear) and I was left trying to dose whilst he whirred and spluttered and farted around his postage-stamp lawn. At 8am. On a Sunday. When he is fully retired and could do this at any time during the week. You can imagine my good humour, can’t you? I did a terribly British thing of getting up and slamming the window shut, but that in turn made the room boiling hot so I had to get up. Paul slept on. You know when they detonate those giant cooling towers and they crumble to the ground in a cloud of dust and excitement? You could stick Paul on a camp-bed right in the epicentre of the blast and he’d still only fart, turn over and start grizzling about his lumpy pillows. The fat bastard.

Go out and enjoy yourself  

Oh fuck off. I can enjoy the oppressive heat when I’m lying baking on a beach in Corsica, somewhere where I can dash into the sea to wipe away my sweaty boob rash and to peel my scrotum away from the sides of my ankle if it gets too much, but what can we do here? As I said, we can’t sit in the garden because we’re like cocaine for insects and we can’t go out in the car because it’s like driving a convection oven down the motorway, so what is left? Standing outside trying to surreptitiously peel clothing out of fat rolls and going ‘ooooh this is nice, bet it won’t last‘ like every other Brit? I don’t want to go outside. I want to stay inside where it is cold and air-conditioned and lovely and yeah I might get rickets but so fucking what, I’ll look bloody hilarious running for a bus. Beer gardens are full of boorish hooray-henries vaping and existing, public parks are awash with children screaming and laughing and even the cold, dark of the cinema is ruined by the kids being ‘on holiday’. Bah.

We need a decent plague and for him upstairs to turn the air-conditioning back on. By him upstairs I mean Paul, and, as we live in a bungalow, even that tortuous analogy doesn’t work. Let’s blame it on the heat.

Recipes then – summer salad with fried feta and a bonus recipe for a tomato consommé. I realised there was no point in sticking the tomato consommé on as an individual recipe because no bugger will make it, but hey, let’s roll the dice.

to make summer salad with fried feta you will need:

  • 250g reduced-fat feta cheese (4x HeA)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour (4 syns)
  • 4 tbsp panko (or any other type of breadcrumb, but panko works best) (4.5 syns)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • any sort of salad stuff you want to throw together
  • spray oil

Notes

You will need a fair few sprays of oil on this one – for each portion I’m going to say 10 sprays of a decent spray oil – so unusually, I’m counting the oil as an extra syn (5 sprays for 0.5 syns). It’s up to you, though. We use a spray oil dispenser from Amazon and top it up with decent quality olive oil – you can see the one we use right here (it’s dirt cheap). You could use Frylight but why would you – it’s shite. Plastic, nasty shite, plus it’ll mess your pans up. God knows why it is constantly recommended.

Those lovely looking pink onions? I’ve posted the recipe for them before right here (it’ll open in a new window) – they’re amazing. Soaked in vinegar, the sharpness melts away and they look amazing in a salad. Any time you have a red onion approaching the end of its life, follow this recipe!

Our salad consisted of a yellow pepper sliced and turned into matchsticks, moonblush tomatoes (made from our recipe here – we’re really using up the old favourites), a few black olives which I don’t syn so shoot me, peeled and sliced cucumber, rocket, sliced red onion and sliced pickled red onion. Make your salads interesting – it’ll serve you so much better – lots of flavour and textures.

to make summer salad with fried feta you should:

  • prepare the salad
  • cut the feta block into four equal pieces
  • dredge each block into the flour, then coat in the egg, and finally roll about in the breadcrumbs so it sticks (roll the feta, not yourself)
  • next, heat a small frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray some oil (save your pans and get yourself one of these)
  • whilst the feta is frying, gently spray a little more oil over the top so they brown when you flip them, which you’ll need to do do after about five minutes
  • when golden, serve on top of the salad so it’s just slightly soft in the middle

Delicious! Now onto the consommé – this is delicious but only if you’re a big tomato fan. I didn’t syn the drop of olive oil I used but up to you whether you include that! This is a clear(ish), pure tomato soup served cold. Very refreshing!

to make tomato and nasturtium consommé, you’ll need:

  • 2kg of tomatoes – red and ripe – soft is fine, we bought a giant box for a couple of quid from our local garden centre
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and 1/2tsp of tabasco
  • either a big handful of nasturtium flowers or, if you can’t get them (and you should bloody grow them because they’re amazing for you AND for the bees – they add pepperiness and you can eat both the flowers and the leaves), a big handful of basil
  • some decent salt flakes
  • a squirt of decent olive oil (optional)
  • a couple of pretty little tomatoes or nasturtiums and chopped chive

Notes:

This will serve four people a bloody big bowl of soup. It’s a faff timewise to make but worth it if you’re a fan of tomatoes and you want to try doing something different.

If you’re a vegetarian, remember to swap out the Worcestershire sauce for a veggie equivalent.

to make tomato and nasturtium consommé, you should:

  • chop the tomatoes into quarters, removing any particularly beefy stalks
  • tip the lot, together with the shallots, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and basil/nasturtium into a food processor and blitz it – you might need to do it in stages – season with salt and then blitz again – you do not want a smooth paste, you want it lumpy
  • now the tricky part – I found it so much easier to do this over the sink – put a large pan into the sink and then you’re going to want to take a large piece of muslin cloth and tip the tomato mixture in – tie the cloth up so the mixture can’t pour out of the sides and then find a way to suspend it over the pan so that the juices can drip through overnight (oh you flirt!) – I just tied my cloth to my tap which hangs over the sink
    • if you don’t have muslin cloth, use a very clean tea-towel – we’re not talking about the Congratulations Charles and Diana tea-towel that you wipe your minnie with when no-one is looking but a good fresh tea-towel – maybe use two – try not to get one that you’ve washed with fabric conditioner though eh, because the smell of Lenor is going to be off-putting
    • you can buy fine muslin cloth from amazon for a couple of quid – so much easier
  • the longer you leave it the better it will be, but DON’T SQUEEZE THE BAG otherwise your consommé will be cloudy (it’s natural for it to be a bit cloudy or yellow, but don’t make it worse)
  • in the morning, add a tiny dash of olive oil (1 tsp – 2 syns, up to you if you syn that tiny amount between 6) and gently simmer the liquid for about quarter of an hour – don’t boil it
  • season to taste with a bit of extra Tabasco sauce or salt if needed, then refrigerate until ready to serve
  • when serving, decorate with a few thin slices of the nice looking tomatoes or a couple of nasturtium flowers and chives and serve as cold as can be

Done! Enjoy! Want more veggie or lunch ideas? But of course you do. You know what to do by now!

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J

chicken and mushroom one-pot paella

I’m saying our chicken and mushroom one-pot paella is a paella even though it doesn’t have seafood in because for goodness sake, seafood ruins everything and I don’t care who knows it. Next part of our New York entry for you today, with the finish line in sight…then how about a few new entries that aren’t holiday related? We did receive a snotty comment that someone comes here to read the recipes, not the holidays of two gay men – pfft. People shouldn’t forget – this is a personal blog and the food is a mere afterthought. If you don’t like sodomy and sass with your slimming slop, then bugger off to 💓 💓 Cutezy Mom & Her Moonlight Children 💓 💓 or some other asinine shite and don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out. Eeee what a thing to say. Let’s go travelling! Remember I love feedback on our travel entries!

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four | click here for part five

At SOME point during this holiday we visited the Empire State Building – but can I balls remember what day it was. As a result, I’m just going to squeeze it in right here, on the last day we were there.

We woke with a start at around 6am – it’s true, you know, New York is truly the city that never sleeps. We know this because there was a mad person shouting obscenities down on the streets below. Nothing rouses me from slumber quicker than someone with spittle on his lips shouting about the coming apocalypse and the risen Jesus. It was the last day so we showered glumly, packed our things sadly and exchanged blowjobs with a downturned mouth. It’s difficult to be enthusiastic on the last day. We left our luggage with the charming staff in the lobby and made our way out.

Well, it was certainly bright. Turned out that the city had received a fair dumping of snow overnight and the streets were white and pretty. I fretted momentarily that we would be trapped in New York (oh no, imagine my devastation) but found that this thought was giving me far too much joy for so early in the morning. We could see the Empire State Building way off in the distance so decided to head there, walking the three miles or so slowly to prevent any accidental slips or falls. We were in the most litigious country in the world, after all. We stopped for a quick breakfast in a tiny corner deli – I had a sandwich the size of a church draught excluder, Paul had a slice of cheesecake. Of course!

The Empire State Building was astonishing, though. The lady dishing out the tickets warned us that we would be unable to see anything much due to the heavy cloud but we waved her worries aside – we at least had to tick it off the list. I’m so glad we did. It’s an absolutely gorgeous building, both inside and out, done out as it is in the fabulous art-deco style of the time. We had the tourist part of the building to ourselves, most likely due to the early morning and the winter weather, and we were able to wander about and take our time.

Proof that we enjoyed the tour was the fact we took on board two facts about the Empire State Building: two separate people have attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the observation deck only to be blown back into the building on the way down. I’d certainly feel like I was born again in that situation: imagine expecting to be a thin red jam on the pavement only to find yourself safe and sound with only ruffled hair to account for your troubles. Along similar lines, the world record for the longest survived elevator fall took place here, when rescuers saving poor Betty Lou Oliver from a plane hitting the building managed to miss the fact that the elevator carriage she was riding in had weakened considerably. Just as they reached for her the cables holding the lift snapped and she, and the lift, fell 79 stories.  She survived with serious injuries but fuck me ragged, I had my heart in my mouth on the Tower of Terror ride at Disneyworld, I can’t imagine doing that for 79 floors! Blimey.

The kiosk lady was right, by the way – we couldn’t see very much. But the feeling of standing on the 102nd floor in the middle of a snowstorm was incredible. I felt like I was in a chewing gum advert. However, a minute standing outside had sent my bollocks retreating somewhere behind my lungs so we sharp made our way back in and into the gift shop, where we bought all manner of tat and nonsense.

See, brisk.

Knowing our flight wasn’t until the evening we decided to spend the rest of the day just walking about to see where we ended up. Oddly enough, after much random mincing and stopping for coffee, we found ourselves down on Pier 86 at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, a museum devoted to well, air, sea and space. We had time to kill and ankles like jelly, so why not? They have a decommissioned aircraft carrier to nose about, and well, I haven’t had a chance to visit an old wreck full of seamen since the last time I visited Paul’s mother. Ouch.

As seems to be the way with attractions in New York, there was a bewildering array of entrance tickets to be had – some with simulations included, some with access to the space shuttle, some with a frisky handjob by a passing sailor. We chose the standard admission and were immediately told to decide which simulator we fancied. We elected to have a trip on the exciting G-Force Encounter, half-thinking it might be one of those centrifuge things where they spin you around and you’re left with the arresting sight of your own double chin snaking its merry way up over your eyes.

Well, it certainly wasn’t that. We were ‘boarded’ by an indifferent Kenan and Kel and told to strap ourselves in. Sounds exciting! Well, let me tell you this: I’ve felt more G-Force getting out of my computer chair when the takeaway man knocks on the door. The perils of war-time flight were bought to life via the medium of Windows 95’s very best graphics. The simulator creaked this way and that and there was an awful lot of hissing – we probably broke a hydraulics pipe somewhere – but that was it. Thrill ride? I had more excitement reading the opening hours.

That was the only downside, though. The rest of the exhibition was great. We spent a good hour or so wandering around the aircraft carrier, getting a taste of what it must be like spending all that time locked away with nothing but other men to keep you company. We both signed up for the US Navy as we left.

Not just content with letting us explore the poop deck, the museum also had all manner of aeroplanes and helicopters to look at. I have to confess: this struggled to hold my attention. I mean, they looked great and all, but a plane sitting on the ground is still a plane sitting on the ground, you know? We did spot that they had a Concorde parked down by the water so we bustled over to it. I’ve been in Concorde before, though not for a flight (sadly) and the bloody thing is tiny. You’re fair jammed in with the rich and famous and I imagine it’s like crossing the ocean in a cigar tube. Of course, you get no sense of this lack of space as you’re not allowed to board the Concorde at the Intrepid, which is a pretty poor show.

I do wish they’d bring back Concorde, however. Imagine flying from London to New York in three and a half hours, as opposed to double that with BA’s current fleet. I’d barely have enough time for the blood around my swollen ankles to clot before we landed. Paul’s dad has been on Concorde, and, having met Paul’s mother, I can absolutely understand the need for supersonic flight. That’s two jibes in one article, I am awful.

Next on the list was a trip into a submarine – one which was hilariously named ‘Growler’.

This meant that Paul had to endure about twenty minutes of me saying ‘I’ve never seen a Growler this big’ and ‘do you reckon I’ll be able to fit in the Growler, it looks tight’ and ‘I hope the Growler doesn’t smell of fish and damp from being underwater’. I only stopped when blood started trickling from his ears. We joined an orderly queue of prim, exceptionally thin people who were all shepherded aboard before us. This meant that we were now at the front of the queue with people behind us which immediately gave me the heebie-jeebies. Why? Because what if we didn’t fit through the absolutely tiny doors onboard?

Look at them!

There were warning signs everywhere. All I could imagine is my arse acting like a giant plug and everyone behind being slowly starved of oxygen. As it happens it was an incredibly tight fit but I managed fine – it was actually Paul, with his tiny coffee-table legs, that struggled, given you had to lift your legs really quite high to climb through. At one point I nearly cried ‘abandon ship’ and made for the exit but it all came good in the end. I bet though – in fact, I absolutely guarantee – that our denim-clad arses are on at least eight Japanese iCloud accounts as we speak.

To be fair, my rack has indeed been a welcome sight for many seamen.

We wrapped up our visit with a trip around their space centre, which held the space shuttle Enterprise and lots of bright and interesting information boards. I’ve been to NASA in Orlando so seeing the shuttle wasn’t so amazing, but I’ll say this: when you see it up close you realise exactly how much fun it must be being in space. Honestly, I’d never get tired of shooting various liquids around in zero gravity – after twenty-four hours the live feed to the inside of my space-shuttle would look like a badly tuned TV channel.

I tried to buy a helmet from the gift shop but yet again, my elephantine head defeated me.

See? Look at my sad face.

Seeing that we’d need to get a move on and head back to the hotel, we wandered up the streets, retracing our steps from the morning. We were side-tracked for another hour or so by a stop at a beer bar (The House of Brews, firmly recommended) where we managed to put away several pints of various beers together with a plate of nachos that was positively indecent. I love American nachos – they do it properly, with loads of chilli, cheese, sauces and spice. What do we get? A microwaved packet of Doritos with a Cheesestring melted over the top. Bah. We spotted a dartboard and, perhaps fuelled by that rare beast testosterone, had ourselves a little tournament. Naturally, I won, but then I’ve always been accomplished at finishing myself off with a double-top.

So manly, even if it looks like I’m wanking off a tiny pint of Guinness.

We made it back to our hotel, had a very strong coffee to stop our eyes swimming, and picked up our luggage. With a heavy, cheese-stuffed heart, we were bidding goodbye to New York.

Nah, I’m good thanks…


Did you enjoy that? If not, tough titty, but the end is in sight – one more entry to go and then we’re back on track. Actually that’s a fib, we’ve got Copenhagen coming down the line. And London. Oh god it never ends! But before we get to all of that, let’s do the recipe. This is adapted from Macheeshmo’s website so full credit to him, but we’ve taken out the seafood because that shit is nasty. This made enough for four big portions!

to make chicken and mushroom one-pot paella, you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 150g shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 100g button mushrooms (or whatever type you like), chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (get one of these!)
  • 300g paella rice
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 litre chicken stock (dissolve two chicken stock cubes in a litre of boiling water)
  • pinch of salt and pepper

All of our hampers have massive amounts of chicken in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of chicken, say (unlike me), hoy some more beef in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make chicken and mushroom one-pot paella, you should:

  • prepare the onion, chicken and mushroom and place into bowls – it makes it much easier!
  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • in a large ovenproof casserole pot, add a little oil over a high heat
  • add the chicken in two batches until seared in each side (this will take about five minutes)
  • remove the chicken the pan into a large bowl and set aside
  • add the mushrooms and cook for another few minutes, then add the onions, chopped garlic and some salt and pepper
  • tip the mushrooms and onion in with the chicken
  • add a little more oil to the now-empty pan, and then add the paella rice and spread out well int he bottom of the pan
  • add the chicken stock and give a good stir, and then add the tomatoes, chilli powder and paprika
  • stir in the chicken, mushrooms and onions and give another good stir, then bring the lot to a simmer
  • place the pot in the oven uncovered for about 40 minutes
  • serve!

Canny right?

Hungry for more? You know what to do:

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Enjoy!

J

super quick and easy chicken saag aloo

Chicken saag aloo – we’re talking about a dish that takes about ten minutes to make from beginning to end, as long as you’ve got a hot pan and a filthy mouth. God knows that’s you lot covered. No time for shenanigans so let’s go straight to part five of our New York entry. Buckle up. I’d really welcome feedback on the holiday entries!

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four

We decided to break with looking around the busy city and to take a nice walk along what is known as The High Line – a disused railway line that runs for a mile or so around Manhattan and affords lovely views of the Hudson and various arty-farty establishments to poke about it. We didn’t really have much of an excuse, it was only a ten-minute walk away from the hotel and boy did we need some ‘fresh air’. New York is amazing but you don’t realise how built-up it is until you look at your partner and he’s milk-white from lack of sunlight.

It was charming. I hate to use that word because it’s what pretentious knobheads use to describe tiny coffee places where they serve the coffee in a flat cap but I mean it. We went early enough so that it wasn’t completely awash with hipsters and pretty much had the place to ourselves, save for a few joggers. I was pleased to see that the ‘I’m about to cum’ face that British folk adopt when they run seems to have made it over the pond. Seriously, why pull that face? Running isn’t that exciting. At least, I can’t remember it being so – admittedly the last time I ran was back in 1997.

The High Line is full of little activities and things to do. We happened across a tiny park with stepping stones and tunnels to climb through, which then allowed you to pop your head up through the path to frighten passer-by’s. Great fun, until you realise that the tunnels probably weren’t designed to accommodate some twenty-stone Geordie with a fat arse and cheap jeans trying to turn around in there – it was like trying to turn a sofa around in a lift. I managed to get in alright but every time I moved backwards my coat scrunched up on top of me, stopping progress. It was only after my plaintive cries reached my dear husband – and in turn, once he had stopped laughing and taking pictures of my jammed arse – that he reached into the tunnel and pulled my coat free, allowing me to scuttle back out.

Later, Paul spotted a statue with the instruction ‘kiss to receive water’. Naturally, being Paul, he bent down and mimed performing cunnilingus on it so that I had a classy photo to put in the album. He was tutted at by someone who was more beard than man but hey, we have fun. We stopped at the end for a bagel and coffee and discussed where to go next, before deciding on the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Because we’re fat, we got a taxi. I’ve never heard my own feet say ‘phew’.

We arrived at the 9/11 Memorial Museum and were glad that the snaking queues we had witnessed a day or two before had dissipated and that actually, it wasn’t too busy.

It’s funny. We’ve all seen the footage on the TV or in print but until you’re there, it’s truly impossible to put it into perspective. To imagine the size of the buildings, the sheer amount of people caught up in it, the absolute terror that must have ensued. The museum itself was surprisingly sombre and tasteful – I admit I’d expect a certain amount of ‘America is Great’ bombast, but there was none. Just recollections, pieces of the building, subdued reconstructions and hushed tones.

One beautiful piece is a wall of almost 3,000 pieces of fabric paper painted in different shades of blue – it’s a tremendous sight with a sobering quote in the middle: ‘No Day Shall Erase You From The Memory Of Time’. Very true. Behind the wall is a room full of the unidentified remains of people caught up in the attacks, where they will lie forever until they are positively identified and taken by families, something which made even granite-faced me dab at my eyes. I’d encourage anyone visiting New York to have a look – it makes for a depressing hour but some things should never be forgotten. We moved on, and, because I want to change back to our normal tone of writing, let me draw a line under this.


Fancy! Next on our list was the Grand Central train station. You’ll have seen it before in so many movies – it’s a fabulous, colossal train station full of period detail and busy people. You may remember seeing it in such famous Lindsay Lohan movies such as ‘Just My Luck’, or infamous Lindsay Lohan movies such as ‘Yes, I’ll Let You Eight Guys Ride Me Like A Train for some meth’.

We decided to take a headphones audio tour of the station and do you know, it was one of the best things we did in New York. I know that sounds ridiculous but it was just the right mix of getting in people’s way, hearing interesting facts and having sights that you would never have known to look at pointed out to you. Case in point: the ceiling of the main concourse. Who ever looks up when they enter a train station? You should here – it’s a gorgeous astronomy map with glowing stars. That’s fascinating in and of itself, but see the ceiling was almost hidden from view by years of tobacco smoke and pollution. It took twelve years to clean it and restore it to its natural beauty, with one tiny square left to show the difference.

I made a mental note to contact Paul’s mother on my return to see if she wanted to hire the same cleaners to try and get the fifty-eight years of Samson roll-up smoke peeled from her ceiling (it’d be like using a spatula to clean the grill pan), but then promptly forgot about it when our audio tour guided us to the whispering walls.

Seriously, what fun. Under the main concourse is a dining area and part of that, near the Oyster bar, is the Whispering Wall. Due to the way the tunnel is built, sound whispered in one corner of the giant room travels all along the arch and can be heard a good ten metres away across the room. It’s a bloody weird effect.

Naturally, I stood in one corner and sent Paul to where I thought the whisper could be heard across the tunnel. Well, look, I can only apologise to the little Chinese lady who was very startled to have the ghost of a Geordie whisper the word c*nt in her ear from apparently nowhere. Turns out Paul was standing in the wrong place. In my defence, it was hilarious. We sharp moved on.

By some amazing coincidence our audio tour ended with us being taken into the gift-shop. Fancy! We were taken by all the lovely cartographic items and ended up buying six metal subway signs to sit above the doors of our house. Which, yes, sounds shit, but trust me when I say it looks good. It adds that New York sophistication to stumbling to the shitter to drop the kids off at night, trust me.

Next on the list of things to do was lunch, and, I’m ashamed to say this, we ate in a TGI Fridays. All those wonderful places and we ended up somewhere where a chav takes a hot-date in the hope of getting his fingers dipped. In our defence, it was the one in Times Square and we only went there because at this point, our feet were more blood than shoe, but it was grim. Because they don’t have to try, they absolutely didn’t. The food was bland, the drinks were sickly sweet and the waiter so full of false bonhomie that I could have asked for a blowjob instead of a dessert menu and he’d have sunk to his knees just to see me smile. His name tag was ‘Will!’, which I imagine took immense willpower (pun intended) not to put eight exclamations after.

We did leave a substantial tip though – the place was awash with British families taking a break between smacking their children and complaining to eat something similar to the Iceland muck they have at home. Past experience tells me that they won’t leave a tip because ‘it’s not right, we don’t have to do it, blah blah’ and frankly, that’s just shitty. Our lunch might have been shite but see, that wasn’t the fault of Smilin’ Will.

After lunch we waddled over to the Rockefeller Centre. You’ll know this place, too – it’s where they put the massive Christmas tree and ice-rink every year. We had paid for a day and night pass, which allows you to see the views during the day and then return later to see the same view but in inky blackness.

It was wonderful – there’s only so many times I can write about going up a tall building and making it faintly interesting for you, dear reader, so just let me say that being able to sit on a bench 70 floors in the air in the winter, looking out over New York, was just lovely. We had a romantic moment (which makes it sound like I noshed Paul off, but no, we just had a cuddle) and stayed up there a while.

As we left we were shepherded through a room of interactive lights – if you stood on the floor, certain ceiling lights would come on and your movement would be tracked. I suppose this is modern art. Paul exclaimed that it was ‘just like I’m in a video game’ and my reply of ‘Yes: FATRIS’ was a little louder than I had anticipated, leading to lots of shared guffaws amongst everyone. I do worry that I come across as such an arse to poor, put-upon Paul, but listen, he gives as good as he gets, don’t you worry.

Having satisfied ourselves of the view and done about as much marvelling as one can do before your face caves in through smiling, we made our way back through the building and back out onto the streets. After a little idle wandering we spotted a nearby church, and, never missing the opportunity to sit down and let my chafing thighs cool, we went in. If memory serves me right, it was St Mary the Virgin’s church and it was utterly beautiful.

Unusually, we didn’t burst into flames the second we stepped over the threshold and nor were we cast out for being sodomites. Religion, am I right? The church was gorgeous – beautiful stained glass windows, comfortable pews, perfectly ornate detailing, just lovely. It was heart-warming to know that the donations and money raised was going straight into keeping this prime piece of real-estate looking pretty so that all the homeless folk outside could at least have somewhere charming to rest their heads between starving and freezing to death. Hmm.

We sat in the pews for more time than is entirely decent, trying to discreetly rub our throbbing feet and not shallow-breathe on the necks of the people in front, who were bowed in prayer. I’m not a religious person but even I said a quick prayer for one of those feet-spas that all mums had in the Nineties that bubbled a bit of Radoxy-water around their hairy toes.

The serenity of the moment was shattered somewhat by the sound of a clearly mentally-ill woman bursting through the doors, running down the aisle screaming and then falling on the floor.  She was treated with all the compassion and understanding you might expect from the Church – pinned to the floor by the security guard’s knee, shouted at by some hurly-burly prick clutching a bible and then unceremoniously picked up and thrown back out into the street like a piece of rubbish. It was all very inelegant, though it did cause enough of a distraction for me to break wind, which, with my cheeks firmly pressed against the wood of the pew, sounded like a little helicopter landing. Sweet relief! Air befouled, we moved on.

Unfortunately, my notes for the day end here, which leads me to think we just went and got progressively more drunk during the rest of the day and then stumbled back to the hotel at some indecent hour. I have a faint recollection of being in a late-night pharmacy buying Doritos and spinach dip. Hey, we know how to party! We definitely ticked off the ‘buy a slice of New York pizza’ activity though, and I know this because there’s a photo on my phone of Paul fast asleep with a chunk of crust sticking out of his gob. We’re a classy pair, you know.


Right, let’s do the chicken saag aloo! You can cheerfully leave out the chicken and make this into a veggie dish. Why not? You’re the boss! This makes enough for two big bowls. Why chicken saag aloo? Simple. You may remember dear El Ehma from my work? She’s never cooked a meal that didn’t have freezer burn, but she’s really taken to saag aloo. I promised to make a version that she can follow and well, Joe Wicks has a recipe ready! You remember me mentioning Joe Wicks and the fact that we’ve found a whole load of recipes in his book that are perfect for Slimming World? Well we did, and you can buy it here. You can buy his book here and it is one I genuinely recommend.

chicken saag aloo

to make super quick and easy chicken saag aloo, you’ll need:

  • 700g new potatoes
  • a bunch of spring onions
  • two cloves of garlic
  • a little knob of ginger, haha
  • 2 tbsp of garam masala
  • two large chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 big handfuls of spinach leaves
  • squeeze of lemon juice

For the ginger and garlic, grate them finely using a microplane grater. It’s the one gadget we use all the time – you can use it for parmesan, peppers, garlic, ginger, lemon…all sorts! Click here and save!

All of our hampers have massive amounts of chicken in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of chicken, say (unlike me), hoy some more beef in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make super quick and easy chicken saag aloo, you should:

  • cut the potatoes in half, pop them in a microwave dish and cook them for three minutes – then let them rest – and cook again for three minutes – drain and set aside
  • thinly slice your spring onions and cook them off gently in a few spritzes of olive oil
  • once they’re softened, add the ginger and garlic until golden
  • add the potatoes
  • add the garam masala
  • stir everything then add the thinly sliced chicken breasts with a few splashes of water and cook everything through, with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • cook hard and quickly until the chicken is cooked through then add the spinach and allow to wilt down
  • serve with a squeeze of lemon

Easy!

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J

chicken saltimbocca skewers with wedges, because we’re fancy

Chicken saltimbocca? Aside from the fact that saltimbocca sounds like something you’d contract from a £5-a-shot prostitute, what on earth is it? I’ll let the recipe speak for itself, save to tell you now that it’s quick, easy and tasty. Like me. Plus, saltimbocca means ‘jump in my mouth’, so it fits even more, doesn’t it? The gags write themselves.

Which is lucky, actually, as we’re still recovering from an AWFUL holiday last week.  I’ve typed out the majority of my notes so I reckon I’ll post it on Friday, but sweet jesus. It was a coach trip, yes, but it was like being in the Jeremy Kyle audience, eye-watering Joop fumes included. I thought the bus would be full of the lovely elderly, like this (I’ve lightly photoshopped it just to bring the colour out):

Sadly, I was wrong. You’ll find out more in due course.

In the meantime, we have a guest writer who not only typed us up a blog entry but also, gasp, has done us a recipe too! I like this, it means I have more time to sit trying to reach my toenails with the clippers and breathing heavily into a sofa cushion. I won’t give his name but he’s giving us an inside look into a dangerous, cruel world…over to the third chubby cub! I’ve given him a subtle pseudonym.


baby it’s cold inside by Barry Big Knob

Chubby Cubs are just like fidget spinners. We’re eeevverrywheeeeere! I’m a chubby cub from Bolton where I live with a cub of my own too, (yes, we too dance at the other end of the proverbial ballroom), so when the cubs asked me if I’d like to share a recipe on their blog, I couldn’t resist. Hirsuite Solidarity and all that.

But first I should mention that I work for the big boys themselves… Iceland! Yeeeees, the very purveyors of Slimming World Sausages and Kerry Katona’s Punched Lasagnes of yesteryear (Prawn ring anyone?). As Iceland exclusively stock the Slimming World range, you can imagine we get the entire spectrum of Slimming World…participants (including the two of us, so I’m allowed to judge!)

The funny thing is that the most popularly sold items in the same shop with people who buy the Slimming World range? Greggs Sausage Rolls. I love going to the Greggs freezer cabinets, or the dessert and pizza cabinets and finding discarded boxes of Slimming World Sweet Potato Curry where people have had their “you know what? Fuck it!” moments and chosen to instead have a threeway with Dr Oetker and Aunt Bessie (whilst Mr Kipling waits for sloppy seconds, the dirty bastard).

But some of these folks that come in? Yes, you get the charming posh types in their twinsets who have come to investigate peasant food whilst looking for cheap prosecco, “I’ve never been to an Ice Land before, I must tell my friends Flossy and Cyprian. Oh golly, I wonder if they’ll think I mean the country! Arf arf arf!”, to the stereotypes you know we all imagine, Wayne and Waynetta Slob, waddling down the aisles like It’s A Knockout costumes. I am telling no lie when I say that I once heard someone shout to their son, “Yer not having sweets, Lambrini!”. The class. It oozes. It gurgles. It sticks to the bottom of your shoes.

But I also love seeing the people who come in with proper weight loss success stories, and if it’s via Slimming World, I can’t help but wax lyrical a bit, but also recommend they check out Two Chubby Cubs for some great recipes and a good laugh. Speaking of which, I was meant to be writing up a recipe here wasn’t I? Here goes then!


Er, oy, calm your tits. We can’t go straight to the recipe, I need to add my summing up paragraph first! Tsk. He’ll learn, we’ll belt it into him. I don’t mind Iceland myself – their ability to stuff absolutely any sort of filling into any sort of crevice leaves me breathless. However, our local Iceland happens to be in the same area as our local riot-ready zone, and taking a trip ranks slightly lower than cartwheeling across an active volcano. Marginally more sulphurous gas, mind. I typed an article out when Slimming World launched their ready meals and everyone lost their mind – I remember someone saying she wished another shopper was dead for having the temerity to buy more than three bags of sausages. It’s all calmed down now, though whenever something new gets launched it causes a bit of frothing at the minnie. God knows why – I love Slimming World but I’m try anything remotely close to palatable from their range. Adding eight tonnes of pepper to one chicken breast does not make a tasty dish.

But SPEAKING OF A TASTY DISH, let’s get back to the saltimboccas!

to make chicken saltimbocca skewers, you’ll need:

  • a wee bit of olive oil (you can use Frylight if you’re not a sinner)
  • four skinless chicken breasts
  • tomato purée (5 tablespoons)
  • worcestershire sauce (2 tablespoons)
  • bacon medallions (12)
  • sage leaves (12… but this is optional)

You’ll also need some metal skewers – something like this? Cheap as chips.

Oh and sorry to do a double advert…but all of our Musclefood hampers have tonnes of chicken and bacon in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of pork, say (unlike me), hoy some more chicken in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make chicken saltimbocca skewers, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees if it’s a fan oven, look it up on google if it isn’t
  • put the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of cling film and pound the living hell out of them with a rolling pin until they are wider and thinner
  • mix the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce and spread 1 tbsp. of the mixture over the top of each chicken breast, reserving the remaining mixture
  • cover each breast with 3 bacon medallions, lay 3 sage leaves on top of each breast (if you’re doing the sage bit) and season with pepper
  • roll up each piece of chicken and using a large knife, cut into bite-sized rolls, and thread the rolls onto 4 skewers
  • place the skewers on a grill pan, brush with the reserved purée mixture and put in the oven for 20 minutes, turning them over after 10, until the skewers are golden and the chicken is cooked through

Et voila! Bit of faffing about but pretty bloody tasty. Serve with some decorative salad and wedges.

to make wedges you should:

Just make some. Seriously, they’re just potato wedges.

They’re totally syn free, and would probably work well on a barbecue too. Serves 4 technically, but 2 if you’re hungry! Also if you’re making them for friends, mistakenly call them Chicken Saltybollocks before comically correcting yourself. They’ll think you’re a regular Frank Carson.

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Remember, if you want to contribute an article or a recipe, get in touch – leave a comment or message us via our facebook page: www.facebook.com/twochubbycubs 

J

roasted grapes and goats cheese stuffed sweet potatoes

Are you silently heaving into your gunt about the thought of these roasted grape and goat cheese stuffed sweet potatoes? Listen, they’re delicious. Sweet, yes, of course, but they make for a lovely side dish. In America they make a weird casserole of sweet potato and marshmallows, and that’s a step too far, but we’re all about something different remember – if you always stick to the same dishes then what is life for? The recipe follows below, but first, through a bit of a haze of self-prescribed pain relief (more on that tomorrow), let us reflect for a moment.

You know who I never talk about on here? My sister. Yes, I do have one, but she’d take my face off if I revealed her to the world. But it’s her birthday and so I’ve been thinking about her today. She could not be more of my opposite, as a thin, pretty, tiny, blonde girl. When we stand together now for family photos it looks like Robbie Coltrane holding hands with Polly Pocket. But, in the rare spells where she wasn’t:

  • rifling through every conceivable hiding place in my room to find anything illicit;
  • stealing money from the massive whisky jar where my mother put her coppers;
  • setting things on fire;
  • throwing a video box-set off my mum’s head;
  • sending fake letters from the school in order to get money to nick off to London to see Madonna in concert;
  • covering each square inch of her carpet in detritus and Culture Club memorabilia;

she was actually quite darling.

Memories? I know that these posts always descend into some weird Catherine Cookson-esque writing where we scrabbled together potatoes from the field and all shared one shirt, but indulge me for a bit. We didn’t have a great lot growing up and the village where we spent our formative years was about as exciting as having a tooth pulled. Remember Horsley? The village of less than 200 where you could buy a kitchen from a kitchen outlet centre but a pint of milk was beyond the wit of man? Where the one time I added a bit of masking tape to our village sign to change it to HORSEEY it was deemed such an outrage that it made page two of the Hexham Courant? And don’t forget when I edited the Wikipedia page for the village, said Tosh Lines from The Bill was living in the woods and shouting at the clouds, only to make the Hexham Courant again and be described as an Internet Vandal? Pfft. Well, we weren’t exactly spoiled for thrills and excitement.

Memories then. I remember making a go-kart with her, but whereas other kids had lovely fancy things, we tied a plank of wood to our skateboard, upon which we sat either side and set away down the steepest bank away from the village, the road to Horsley Cottages. Problem was my sister weighed the same as a mouse’s fart and I was a ten-tonne-tessie, meaning we had to adjust it so there was about half an inch of wood for my sister to sit on and I was six foot away from the skateboard ploughing through the hedgerow, coming out looking like Carrie after a particularly nasty fight with a blackberry bush. By god though we’d pick up some speed, flying down that road in the care-free, danger-be-damned way of children, completely unable to brake. I remember rocketing around a corner only to find a Northumbrian Water lorry coming straight towards us on this single-lane road, requiring me to lean heavily to one side and pitch us into a stone wall. How my mum laughed as she picked gravel out of our face.

What else? We were certainly quite entrepreneurial. We had two businesses. In the summer we’d go around everyone’s gardens picking all of their soft fruit, then wander about selling it back to the neighbours. It was quite the racket – we’d steal gooseberries out of Nancy’s garden only to sell them to Elsie in exchange for the chance to nick her raspberries, then the raspberries would be traded for apples, then the apples would be stotted off the roof of the old lady we used to dislike tremendously because she’d stop us playing in the phone box. We weren’t exactly Jane and Michael Banks, you understand. Our fruit picking landed us enough for a sweet weekend in Largs, playing the bandits whilst my parents worked keenly on their smoking.

We also ran – with staff, mind you, made up of the other urchins and ruffians of the village (we were one step down from The Mandelbaum Gang) –  a proper little ‘odd jobs’ company. We would wash cars, weed gardens, mow the grass, and reap the rewards. I say rewards, all the old biddies were notoriously tight with their money, but hell there wasn’t much to spend the money on so we made do. We did spend two hours washing and waxing some bewhiskered old dolt’s car only for her to press 50p into my hand to share amongst four. Pfft. We returned in the dead of night and covered her car in mud. Yes, I know, we should have been taken in hand, but still. We also stuck a potato in the exhaust of the vicar which launched itself off with an almighty bang, causing a very unsaintly curseword to bellow from his lips. I dobbed him into Jesus next time I was forced to pray.

However, and this is awful, our most lucrative gig came in the form of Mr Tines. We were asked to clean his house – and mind you, we did, despite it being filthy – and keep him company. Not in any especially creepy fashion, I hasten to add, although we did once turn his stairlift off for twenty minutes because we thought he was coming to kerdiddle us. WE WERE KIDS I STRESS. He asked us to try and wallpaper his bathroom. We were thirteen and fourteen respectively. The whole place ended up looking like a tidal wave of Solvite has washed through. My parents had to come down and put it right, oops. But this guy used to give us lots of pound coins as payment and boy, did we think we were well off. Even more so when we discovered he inexplicably had a stack of easily 500 ‘Explorer’ tickets, which allowed you to travel anywhere within the North East. He never left the house and was more than happy to gift them to us, albeit we used to take five for every one offered, and collectively the village children went all over Northumberland – it was fantastic! They didn’t expire, either, meaning we had unlimited travel for a good two years.We’d tell our parents we were playing in the woods when we’d actually be in Carlisle or at Newcastle Airport. Me and my then beau, Big Lee, must have had awkward teenage sex within 200 yards of every station on the Metro line. I saw him the other day from afar, and he’s skeletal to the point where he looks like a haunted hair comb. Clearly I’ve spoiled him for all men. I wanted to rush over, sweep him into my arms and tell him ‘BUT LEE, WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE OUR SUMMER IN SHIREMOOR’ but well, the time has gone.

As an aside, Mr Tines also used to have the most amazing, random nonsense stuffed into his cupboards. Case in point: we found a tiny fitness trampoline in the coal bunker which was immedately deployed into the back yard. My sister jumped on, took one bounce and pitched herself smartly over the wall, into the road, onto her face. Oops.

Summers passed in a blur of bike rides, fighting and Dr Pepper. Can you imagine children who were so delighted by finding Dr Pepper? And secret smoking – I don’t think there was a piece of furniture in our house that didn’t have cigarettes secreted behind them. Our childhood house has long since been sold, but I do wonder what the new owners thought when they eventually got round to dusting the tops of the door-frames and five nine-year-old Lambert and Butlers came tumbling down. Let’s not forget the time she ran away from home in a squall of teenage fury: she, rather cleverly, didn’t run away at all, just hid in the false ceiling of our washhouse like she was Anne Frank. There was plenty of food and drink in there and who would think to look amongst the suitcases? She came down three days later and even my mother couldn’t hide the relief that she hadn’t hitchhiked to London to make a name for herself. She certainly did better than I did when I ran away – I left a carefully annotated map with a set of ‘directions’ on my bedside table and I think my parents picked me up three miles down the road, where I’d stopped because my ankles were swelling.

Happy times. As usual, I’ve painted a bleak picture of some dire childhood filled with impecuniosity and petty crime, which means I’ll get an angry text from my mother later (I get them for two reasons: if I use the Big C on the blog or if I make out like she was Fagin) – but actually, nothing could be further from the truth. My childhood was full of laughter and love, and my sister was responsible for at least a quarter of that.

That is, when she wasn’t turning her eyelids inside out and licking the undergunk to make me vomit.

Ah what a time to link to the recipe!

to make roasted grape and goat cheese stuffed sweet potatoes you will need:

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 200g seedless black grapes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 80g soft goats cheese (2x HeA)

Slimming World tell you you really ought to syn the grapes if you’re cooking them. If you think you should syn a handful of grapes because you’ve introduced them to some heat, then by all means do. 3 syns per 100g. But, if you choose this, you won’t impress our KERRUH:

to make roasted grape and goat cheese stuffed sweet potatoes you should:

  • preheat the oven to 175°c
  • stab the potatoes with a fork and wrap tightly in tin foil
  • bake for between 45 minutes to an hour, until soft when you poke it
  • remove from the oven, cut a gash down the middle and allow to cool for a bit
  • meanwhile, whack the oven up to 230°c
  • spread the grapes out over a non-stick baking sheet and spray with a bit of oil (don’t let Frylight knacker your pans, get this instead!), roll them about a bit to help coat them a bit and them spread them out again
  • roast for about 25 minutes, or until they start to burst
  • remove from the oven and allow to cool
  • scoop out the flesh of the potatoes, taking care to keep the skin intact and place in a bowl
  • mash together the potato flesh, salt, pepper and most of the goats cheese, reserving some to dot on the top
  • spoon back into the potato skins
  • top with the roasted grapes
  • place back in the oven to warm through if needed

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J

asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata

Hey there! After yesterday’s overnight oats recipe, we’re mixing it up a little and going for a lunch idea! A frittattatatatatataaatataatata. Or however it is meant to be spelled. A frittata is an excellent Slimming World lunch idea because a) you can hoy any old shite into it and b) as long as that any old shite doesn’t contain Wispa bars and bottles of Becks, it’ll probably be syn free. Plus it’ll keep in the fridge until time immemorial and depending how fancy you want to be, doesn’t cost that much to make! WINNER.

I have a favour to ask: if you enjoy tonight’s entry, please share it! Or leave some feedback. Make me happy.

So my recipe for asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata will follow, but first, remember how I said I was doing short posts for the week and a long post on the weekend? Well, I’m true to my word. Here’s the long one. Just relax, take it easy – push out a bit, grit your teeth, bite the pillow – it’ll make it so much easier for you. Let me take you to the third and final part of our caravan holiday. Parts one and two are linked below. I’ve even set them to open in a new window for your viewing pleasure…

REMEMBER OUR CAVEAT! Loads of people out there love caravanning. If you’re one of them, don’t get sand in your vag just because it didn’t look like it would be our cup of tea. Everyone has different tastes, remember! 

click here for part one | click here for part two

We were just drifting off to the land of nod when suddenly: sex noises. Worse: unexpected sex noises that were not our own. From a nearby caravan, echoing from their open window into our dreams.

You’ve never lived until you’ve tried to doze off to the sounds of a long-married couple having the most perfunctory sex you’ve ever heard echoing around a tiny caravan bedroom. They must have left their window open (presumably because it was such a hot-bed of sin in there) and so we were treated to him grunting like a stuck pig and her saying ‘yeah’ and ‘oooh’ in the same disinterested manner as someone choosing a wedding toaster from the Argos catalogue. Thankfully the eighteen pints of Stella sloshing in his belly didn’t put him off and he came to a thundering climax in no time at all, complete with loud feverish gasps and cries to a point where I nearly threw on my slacks and rushed out shouting ‘I’M DEFIBRILLATOR TRAINED! SHAVE HIS CHEST!’. Thankfully he was too much of a gentleman to worry about her satisfaction and his snoring, together with what sounded like an electric toothbrush playing a tennis racket, soon wafted into our bedroom. I rolled over, put Brain of Britain on, and we wandered off to sleep.

Only to be rudely awoken with Round 2 forty minutes later. Clearly there has been a buy one get one free on Viagra down at the social cluuuurb because, god save us, he was going for a silver medal. This time the whole experience so much longer, presumably because the pipes had recently been cleaned, and even though we shut the window, we could still hear squelch and creak. It sounded like two people carrying a sofa up a tight flight of stairs. If that’s what straight sex sounds like, I’ll stick with the cock, thank you. You tend to know where you are with a cock. Anyway, this time, when he shot his bolt, we both gave him a cheery round of applause – then hid under our duvet in case he came to our window. Poor lamb must have had jelly legs though because he stayed put. Thankfully that was it for the night and indeed, the weekend.

We awoke fresh-faced the next morning and, faced with eight years on the game just to pay for a box of off-brand cornflakes and a pint of on-the-turn-milk from the on-site shop, we decided to go out for breakfast. A quick neb on Tripadvisor revealed The Riverside Cafe as the place to be so we hopped into town, parked up on the wrong side of the river and waddled our way down. We took barely any photos on this holiday but if I show you this one, it’ll sum up ‘British seaside’ perfectly for you.

Have you ever seen a more depressed seagull? Well…

WAKE ME UP INSIDE SAAAAAAAVE ME

When we arrived at the cafe it was completely full. Paul dissolved into floods of tears and I bravely asked if we could reserve a table. They advised us to nip back in about half an hour, leaving us to stumble around the nearby docks for thirty minutes. That was Paul’s suggestion – I wanted to press my watery-eyed face up against the window, wailing in anguish, until a table was cleared out of sheer discomfort. We returned 10 minutes later than planned because we thought it would look unseemly and too keen to turn up on time – I didn’t want all the customers thinking that we were so fat and greedy that we couldn’t wait. We were then faced with the next dilemma: as two confirmed fatties we were clearly in need of the biggest fry-up option but we didn’t want to drown in tuts so we had to go for the middle breakfast, which was still enough to fell a horse. It was delicious. I love a fry-up but people can get it so wrong – I once received a fry-up with friggin’ spinach on it. Why? Who thinks ‘yes, I want crippling chest pains and iron’ when they order breakfast? Don’t worry, I hurled it off the wall and stomped out. I can heartily recommend The Riverside Cafe though – lovely staff too!

Bellies full, we gasped, wheezed and cardiac-arrested our way back to the car and decided on a jaunt over the causeway to Holy Island to start the day. A quick glance at the tide timetable clarified that we wouldn’t be swept away to Norway and so we were set. You’d be amazed how many cars ignore the fact that THE FUCKING NORTH SEA SWALLOWS THE ROAD UP twice a day. We’re not talking about driving through a puddle that you can drive through like a twat! Yet we see loads of the buggers on the news, always in massive twatmobiles, bobbing around in the water with the good folks of the RNLI rescuing them. I think that’s the wrong approach. If I was in charge, I’d knock down the emergency refuge tower, then whenever some dickhead in an oversized Audi got stuck, I’d send someone out in the boat to put their windows through with a hammer and drown the arseholes for their own stupidity. I’m sorry, but I think that’s a perfectly rational response. I’d play Nearer My God To Thee over the boat’s PA system as they sank beneath the waves blubbing mindlessly about their children.

We, not being mouthbreathing numbskulls, made it over safely and parked up. We are members of the National Trust (you may recall Paul is a Rear Admiral and I am a Doctor when it comes to the National Trust, which makes small-talk super awkward when they comment on it as they check our passes) and so parking was free. Which was great, because the bloody castle was completely closed. Oh and the rain. I’d have been drier if we had got stuck on the bloody causeway. We wandered a bit around the little village but it was just so relentlessly miserable that we didn’t stay. We tried – we paid a few quid for a look around the Lindisfarne museum which was full of helpful staff and dated displays, though we were glad to have a bit of a nana-nap in the tiny cinema. We nipped into the nearby shop to buy some mead but after tasting it and realising I’d sooner drink battery acid, we bought an overpriced bottle of gin and made for the car. On a sunny day Holy Island is tremendous and there’s some beautiful walks and views to be afforded, but today was not that day.

After a quick reconnoitre of our available options in the local area we decided to make for a nearby honey farm, thinking at least we’d be able to get ourselves a scone and make the best of a bad day. We struggled to find the place, taking a brief but arresting diversion into a farmer’s field, but soon the big double-decker that serves as their cafe loomed into view. Hooray, but no, the place was closed for the season, despite showing as being open on Tripadvisor. Ah well. These things happen. We spotted something called Conundrum Farm which had a petting zoo and if there’s one thing I like doing on a caravan holiday, it’s handling a snake until it spits in my eye. The farm was aptly named – we went to the address on the website only to end up in the middle of nowhere, Scotland, gazing at a muddy field. We changed tack (because what fools we were for believing a website) and navigated using Google, who took us to an industrial estate. Truly, we were seeing the best of Berwick. Remembering that I’d seen a sign for a village called Conundrum when driving up to Edinburgh, we doubled down and went back over the border, followed the signs…and it was shut.

No mention of that on their website, either.

You can imagine, can’t you, how thrilled I was by this whole day, spent driving aimlessly through brown countryside in the pissing rain to visit a collection of closed signs because no-one could be arsed updating their websites? There’s so many comments about Conundrum Farm being ‘hard to find’ on Tripadvisor and yet, here we were – why not, oh I don’t know, put up a SIGN? Some directions on the website? Hell I’d settle for chalk arrows on tiles like Sarah had in Labyrinth if it meant not fucking about in a Smart car on the borders. BAH. We cycled through the rest of the options available only to find everything closed for the season, not open on a weekend or condemned. Clearly it was beyond the wit of man for local businesses to sync up with the first week of the season at the caravan park, eh?

I wish I could tell you we managed to fill the rest of the two days with jolly-hockey-stick activities, long rambles by the sea and urgent outdoor sex, but the first two eluded us and we were asked to stop the third because we were putting people off their fish and chips. We spent it for the most part curled up inside the very comfortable caravan watching Come Dine with Me and spilling dip on the carpet. Our evenings were spent watching Vera-like-Pet and drinking overpriced booze in the bar.

The only other notable moment was on the last night we decided to have another crack at the prize bingo. This time I confess to being rather tanked up on Stella and was far more into it than last time. You could have cut the tension with a knife, not least because I reckon about 60% of the blokes were probably carrying them. And 80% of the women – they were picking their tooth with them. Yes, deliberate.

The prize – a little better this time given we were playing for money – was in sight, but some fucker called house with me only needing one more number. My reaction was typical of my subtle, respectful nature – I shouted bastard out loud (the kids weren’t allowed inside). Ooops. Someone who looked about twelve and had less hair on his upper lip than I do on my big toe told me to ‘show some respect’ or he’d have me removed. I’ve never felt so admonished in all of my life. Was Bingo Fever catching and had it truly got a hold on me? Am I going to become one of those folks you see standing outside of Mecca Bingo in the pissing rain, trying to light a car-boot Superkings against the wind and putting far too much bronzer onto my crinkle-cut face? Paul removed me from the building before I had a chance to contemplate getting one of those clown-pendant necklaces and filling out a giro form.

We went back to the caravan and sobered up by having a tiny shower and a tiny poo in the tiny toilet. Living like queens! The night flew by in a blur of my frozen feet, thankfully no sex noises but plenty of moaning and groaning from Paul who was too hot, too cold, too boxed in, too far away, too fast, too furious, blah blah. I put my headphones in and stopped paying attention. We drove back the next morning and that was the caravan holiday done.

You know what? I bloody loved it. Even though literally nothing happened, literally, yeah, literally, it was a fun, relaxing weekend break. Yes, the park was super expensive for everything when you’re there but hey, there was a Tesco only fifteen minutes away, we were just too lazy to bother going. They nickel-and-dime you on everything but then, if you’re only paying £9.50 for a night, can you really complain? The caravan was spotlessly clean and very nicely put together and it destroyed my snobby preconceptions of caravan living, which was everything would smell of foist, other people’s jizz and chip-fat. No, I couldn’t smell any chip fat. Yes, there were plenty of your ‘stereotypical’ Sun readers wandering around and I did at times fear for my life but for the most part, it was lovely. There’s something just so romantic about trying desperately to scrub taramasalata out of a cream carpet on a rainy Sunday evening.

Would I go again? No, not to the same park, because why shit in the same toilet twice? I know, I paint such a pretty picture with my words. But the park itself, from the facilities to every single member of staff I met, was charming. Berwick was about as exciting as listening to the dial tone but hey, it’s a coastal town, not Benidorm. Thank god. Because can you imagine us two in Benidorm? Funny you should say that…

All done!


Let’s get to the asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata, shall we? Now look here. If you don’t like goat cheese, don’t use it. Not a fan of asparagus and the resultant piss that smells like something has died in your bladder? Understandable. Bacon get right on your boobs? Of course. Just swap them out for whatever you want. That’s the joy here – you can use anything! You will, however, need an oven-proof pan if you have one, it’ll just make life easier.

This made enough for 8 large slices. Oh and the ingredients are very fast and loose – feel free to change the quantities.asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata

asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata

to make an asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata, you’ll need:

  • about 500g of small new potatoes, cut into little cubes – not an exact science, you’re not making a Lego set, calm your tits
  • roughly 250g of asparagus – chopped into 1cm chunks – we had fancy black asparagus from Tesco because we’re just so damned fine
  • two large red onions, chopped finely
  • a few rashers of bacon, or chopped ham if you prefer, grilled off and diced up
  • 40g of soft goat cheese (1 x HEA)
  • 40g of lighter mature cheese (1 x HEA)
  • 7 or 8 eggs

Looking for a decent frying pan but not super expensive? A pan like this will serve you well!

to make an asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata, you should:

  • boil your cubes of potato and asparagus for about five minutes, just to take the bite off
  • meanwhile, fry off your onion and cooked bacon in a few sprays of olive oil until softened
  • pop the bacon, onion, asparagus and potato in a bowl with the goat cheese cut up into chunks
  • beat the eggs together with a good pinch of salt and black pepper and about half the grated cheese –
  • mix in with everything else, give it a good stir, then slop it all into the pan, sprinkling the rest of the cheese on top
  • you want to cook it for about 10 minutes or so on a medium heat just so the egg starts to firm up
  • whack it under the grill for about five to ten minutes – keep an eye on it, you want it to firm up, you’re not cremating the bugger
  • allow to cool, slice, and enjoy!

Eee I know, we do spoil you. Want yet more recipes? MORE?

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Enjoy!

J

meatball masala sauce – syn free and tasty!

Meatball masala! Why not? Plus, because we’re all about quick and punchy these days, the recipe is just below! But first…

I’m actually feeling particularly cross after having an argument with an idiot on Facebook about aspartame. We can all take a view on it, that’s fine, but she was adamant that she ‘never ingests any sort of chemical, only pure and natural’. I pointed out that water is a chemical and she got in a right old strop, pointing out that because she gets a headache from aspartame, it clearly means that it’s poison, not just that she’s sensitive to it. I cautiously mentioned that just because I’m allergic to pineapple doesn’t make the Man from Del fucking Monte a bioterrorist.

We agreed to disagree and so here I am, brain leaking from my ears. The problem is people get themselves so wound up in their misguided belief in some shitty product that they can’t possibly see reason or logic or common sense. There’s a post going around with some insoles for shoes that people ‘swear’ drain the fat out of your body as you wear them. How, at the end of a busy day, do they not take off their shoes, realise that these plastic insoles don’t look like buttered toast and then realise it’s a load of bloody twaddle? Where do they think the fat goes – decanted out of their shoelaces like a tiny petrol pump? There’s no helping some people. I genuinely think if I set up a facebook profile selling jars of ‘slimming air’ that has ‘been PROVEN BY SCIENCE’ to ‘help shift those pounds’ I’d get at least five people trying to sell it to me.

Anyway, enough chitter-chatter. Let’s get this meal done. Now this dinner doesn’t look amazing, and trust me when I say you could easily bulk it out with more veg and other nonsense, but it tastes mighty fine and served with decent rice, you’ll be cooking on gas.

to make meatball masala you will need:

  • 400g beef mince
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of chilli powder
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp turmeric

Our hampers have meatballs in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of pork, say (unlike me), hoy some more chicken in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make meatball masala you should: –

  • in a bowl, mix together the beef mince, egg and chilli powder and form into twelve meatballs, then leave in the fridge to firm up
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, spray in a bit of oil (don’t ruin your pans with Frylight, get one of these instead) and add the sliced onions
  • cook the onions for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden
  • add the garlic, cumin, garam masala and turmeric
  • stir well, and cook for about a minute
  • add the carrot, celery and red pepper to the pan along with the tin of tomatoes
  • fill the tin with water, slosh about and pour into the pan
  • bring to the boil, cover, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes
  • meanwhile, heat another pan over a medium-high heat and spray with oil
  • add the meatballs, stir frequently until they are completely cooked through (or, even better, use an Actifry and take out the paddle – it works perfectly)
  • when the masala sauce has finished cooking, use a stick blender (or an upright one if you have one) and blend until smooth
    add the meatballs to the sauce and serve

Easy peasy! Warning, you might get a hot ring! More ideas?

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J

easy wedge salad with a blue cheese dressing

Don’t worry, if blue cheese dressing makes you gag more than a unkempt knob, just swap it out for feta. Feta? I barely knew her!

Readers, dearest readers, we apologise. We’ve been so lax with our recipes lately, I know. But what with all our gallivanting and nonsense I just can’t commit to a 1,000 word essay every day! Did you know I fret if I don’t post? I do. However, the recent system of posting a big entry on a Saturday (and occasionally a long entry during the week if you’re lucky – well, I am married) has been working a treat for me. Quality not quantity, see.

So here’s what we’re going to try and do. Because we’re a diet blog first and foremost, we’re going to commit to posting recipes more often, keeping the silliness that you love about us but keeping the big bastard entries for a weekend, when you’ve got time to enjoy them rather than hurtling through swearing at me for rambling on whilst you try to stop your dinner burning and the cat being killed.

That said, you know me well enough to know that I can’t keep my gob shut, so don’t expect the nonsense to stop during the week. Chances are I’ll stick to it for a few days and then upload a 6,000 word polemic on the people who fight at the Whoops counter at ASDA. Other rules of the blog stay the same – we aren’t going to drown you in adverts for stuff we don’t really use (BUY THIS SWEETENER! BUY THIS XANTHUM GUM! BUY THIS MOULD! BUT DON’T TELL THE TAX-MAN SSSSHHHH), we’re not going to spam you to buggery, we’re not going to load our website with hidden adverts and ‘read more’ buttons and other shite and our recipes are going to be made with proper ingredients, regardless of whether it means spending a syn or two. You’re only on this Earth once – spend it eating decent food or get the fuck out.

So, shall we begin? This is a recipe that I overhead on Modern Family, a show which simultaneously makes me laugh and feel sad – I love Jay, I want to be Jay, but I’m sick of Mitch and Cam’s storyline being ‘fight fight fight’. Show us some love. I’d love a wardrobe of Cam’s shirts, mind you. This uses a more unloved part of the lettuce – the crunchy bit! But teamed with a good dressing, it’s an easy win!

Dressing makes enough to drown your lunch or for a more modest two portions.

to make easy wedge salad with a blue cheese dressing, you’ll need:

  • one big iceberg lettuce
  • a big handful of cherry tomatoes
  • one small red onion
  • a couple of rashers of bacon, fat removed
  • 70g blue cheese (35g is a HEA, this makes enough for two) crumbled up (remember you can swap it out for feta if you prefer)
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1/2tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp of lemon juice
  • dash of skimmed milk
  • 60g of fat-free natural yoghurt

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

to make easy wedge salad with a blue cheese dressing, you should:

  • make the dressing by whisking together 50g of the blue cheese with the worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, milk, salt and pepper and yoghurt – season to taste
  • not going to lie, we didn’t fart about whisking the dressing by hand, we just threw it all in this mini chopper thing that Delia recommended inbetween gin trebles
  • fry off your bacon and then cut it into wee little squares
  • half or quarter your tomatoes
  • finely chop your onion
  • then assemble – cut your lettuce into big wedges, top with the dressing, bacon, tomatoes and onion and the remaining crumbles of blue cheese
  • enjoy – I know, the thought of enjoying a salad may make your boobs wobble with fright, but persevere
  • the dressing will keep in a bottle of a couple of days

Want more lunch ideas? Want more ideas full stop? Click the button below!

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Enjoy!

J

chicken and ham picnic loaf – a perfect snack

BOO.

I’m only back because I was getting hassled at work about not updating the blog enough and, simply because I don’t want to upset this man in case I miss out on his annual tea-making, here we find ourselves. It helps that I have an amazing recipe for a chicken and ham picnic loaf and some exciting news to report. Naturally, before we get to the recipe, there’s some guff to wade through.

THE GOOD NEWS FIRST! You may recollect that we have two Kindle e-books of our articles on Amazon – they sell well and we get excellent reviews. I know, modest. But we have, until now, been unable to offer you a proper paperback – one that you can rest on your boobs in the bath or flick through by the pool in Majorca. I can only imagine how bereft you’ve been. Well – thanks to the wonders of technology, we’re now able to offer our books in PAPERBACK FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! These do make good presents if you’re looking for a gift for someone with a foul mouth and a rude attitude. If you’ve ever wanted to support the blog, feel free to buy a copy! They actually look decent, too! Click the books below to buy and don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window.

Hope you enjoy! Right, that’s quite enough positivity!

Goodness, two days of hot weather and I’ve already seen enough red and white flesh to last me a lifetime. I’ll never understand the British approach to getting a tan – I appreciate we only get fourteen hours of summer a year but please, hold something back. You’re supposed to bronze, not sear. Ah, I’m only bitter because the next eight months means sweaty backs, feeling far too hot and the sound of children laughing gaily, which goes through me like nails on a blackboard. I’d rather listen to someone planning to set my face on fire. Admit it, you’ve missed my sunny disposition on life, haven’t you?

You know what ruined my sunny weekend most of all though? The ice-cream van turned up during the day for once (he comes down our street every single night, even when it’s cold, and I get the feeling he’s selling a bit more than screwballs and 99s) and, full of joy, I dashed out to buy Paul and I an ice-cream. Normally I’m as tight as a wet knot so don’t bother but clearly I’d taken too much sunlight to my bald head and was having a moment. I handed over over £3 for a 99 for Fatty and a Feast for me.

And what do I get? A bloody Festival! That’s not a Feast, that’s a knock-off barely worth eating! I mean, you get your hopes up for something delicious and then boom, ruined – like being about to get a blowjob only for them to take their entire set of teeth out and set them in a glass of water by the bed. I had to sit and watch Paul make a big show of eating his delicious ice-cream whilst I looked sad. I mean, naturally, I still inhaled mine, but the injustice made it taste sour.

Hey, I did manage to startle the poor chap who came to fit our new kitchen blinds this morning. The old blinds used to hang down over the bay window and the cats used to climb through them like they weren’t there. This meant that they were bent (the blinds that is, we’re not contagious) and covered in cat hair and it just looked so unseemly. The chap came round a few weeks ago, full of sales bluster and promises, and gave us a quote that made me ask whether he was planning on putting in double-glazing at the same time. He immediately dropped the price by 50%, then again by another 10%, then gave me a £25 voucher. I had to stop him before he emptied his own wallet out on my kitchen counter. I appreciate these guys are on commission but I’m just too lazy and fat to do the dance of finance with them. Anyway, he told us he’d be here about quarter to ten so I dutifully arranged to work from home.

9am comes around and I think to myself, now that I’m freshly showered and logged-in, that I really ought to clear our big kitchen windowsill of all the various nonsense we store on there (coffee pot, basil plants, cats).  I stumble into the kitchen, nude save for a tiny Holiday Inn towel that barely covers my urethral opening let alone my flabulous body, and pull the blinds up. Normally this would be fine, save for the fact that our blinds man was on the other side of the window looking in, and there was me unveiling myself like the Star Prize at the end of Bullseye. “Congratulations Kenneth and Joyce, you’ve won yourself a morbidly obese shrieking man”.

And mind, I did shriek. Partly because of shock, partly because of modesty – I tried to duck out of sight but gave that up when I realised I’d look like Alex Mack disappearing fatly into the carpet. He at least waited a minute or so before ringing the doorbell and we both had to bluff our way through as though nothing had happened. There’s always something with me, isn’t there? I caught him pouring dishwasher salt into his eyes later, which I thought was a mite excessive. Anyway, they’re up now, and it looks lovely. Paul can’t reach the middle blind though because his short legs and spherical belly preclude him from getting anywhere near the window, but hey, that’s a small price to pay for better blinds.

Right! The recipe for a chicken and ham picnic loaf then. This looks like it would be a pain in the arse to make but it’s actually ridiculously easy. Barely any cooking, customise it how you want and completely syn free. This is based on a Romanian dish called drob – you would usually use chicken livers but Paul isn’t a fan so we had to swap them out. Finally, we used wild garlic – it is growing everywhere in the wild now and as long as you wash off the dog piss, it’s great to use. Out walking and notice a smell of garlic (and it isn’t blasting out of your hoop at the time)? Pick the leaves! Here’s a guide if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. Can’t find it? Fret not. Swap it out for rocket. Or basil. Whatever you like!

chicken and ham picnic loaf

to make a chicken and ham picnic loaf, you’ll need:

  • 500g of chicken breast
  • 500g of cooked ham (I bought a joint with no fat on it from Lidl for two or three quid – nice and easy!)
  • two big bunches of spring onion
  • a couple of big handfuls of either wild garlic leaves or rocket (washed)
  • 1 bunch of dill (use dried if you prefer)
  • 1 bunch of parsley (see above)
  • 8 eggs
  • lots of salt and pepper

Looking for good chicken breasts? You know we love Musclefood and I’d normally pop an advert in for our hampers, but actually, they’ve got something brilliant now – build your OWN hamper, choosing from whatever slimming or lean meats you need. Now there’s no excuses! Click here to have a gander.

Look though, you can customise this how you like. Add different herbs, spices, different meat…you’ll need a bog-standard load tin, lined with greaseproof paper. Give it a few squirts of oil if you’re not convinced it won’t stick. Pop the over onto 180 degrees.

to make a chicken and ham picnic loaf, you should:

  • boil four eggs for twelve minutes or so until hardboiled, then leave to cool
  • cook your chicken breasts – I went down the route of boiling them – worked really well – boil for fifteen minutes then allow to cool (make sure it’s cooked through)
  • assembly time – cut the chicken breasts into small cubes – 1cm or so
  • do the same with the cooked ham
  • chop the spring onions nice and fine (including all the green stalks), chop the parsley, chop the dill and then chop the rocket/garlic
  • you want nice uniform pieces of everything
  • put everything into a bowl, beat four eggs with a load of salt and pepper, then stir everything together – you don’t want too much egg but if you think it is looking a bit dry, beat another egg into it
  • press the mixture into a loaf tin about 1/3 of the way – really press it down, you want it compact
  • lay your four cooked eggs on top and then put the rest of the mixture around and over the top – press it down as compact as you can
  • if everything is ready to go, pop it in the oven for about fifty minutes until the top has browned off a bit, then allow to cool down – overnight in the fridge preferably
  • slice and serve – it might be a bit crumbly but mine stayed together well! Enjoy!

This really is worth getting some wild garlic for if you can be arsed – and if you have any left over, make it into this garlic pesto!

Want more recipes? Click away!

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J

perfect poached egg bombs – a proper Slimming World breakfast

Perfect poached egg bombs will follow but first, howdo! Sorry for the gap in transmission but see, that’s the downside of our Year of Holidays – we’re too busy flying around like Judith Chalmers (only without the vag-neck) that there’s no time for blogging! NO TIME. We were going to just do a simple recipe post tonight for the perfect poached egg bombs but we keep getting weird letters written in what I hope is chocolate in the post from “Alan, I’m Your Number One Fan” demanding we finish our French escapades. So, without a moment of hesitation, not least because I don’t fancy being hobbled, let’s slip back to France, oui?

click here for part one  | click here for part two | click here for part three

When we were last together you left us just as we finished touring the Centre Pompidou, and Paul had to chip away at my eyes with a chisel because they hadn’t so much glazed over with boredom as fully welded together. There are countless arty blogs out there where you can chinstroke yourself to orgasm over an interpretation of some wanky picture, and readers, this isn’t one. We decided to wander about and people watch for a bit before Paul, very cleverly, decided we ought to stop for a cocktail. Full as I was with gay abandon I said sure and told him to pick a spot. Perhaps we’d end up on the banks of the Seine with a boulevardier or sitting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower sipping a Mai Tai whilst accordion music played in the background?

No. Paul, for reasons entirely beyond me, was dead set on drinking in a newsagent with a bar attached, spilling out onto the street between a collection of homeless folk and some bins. I tried to steer him in a new direction but he was having none of it because he was “thirsty” and his “feet hurt” and “how bad can it be”. Well, I’ll let you decide – here’s a picture of two of the recommended cocktails, a Cosmopolitan and a Mojito.

Because you may be the sort whose house is littered with SKOL ashtrays and Sports Direct catalogues, I’ll give you a few clues as to why this is off. Firstly, cocktails aren’t generally served in pint glasses. Second, a Cosmopolitan isn’t usually made by mixing vodka with an off-brand Innocent smoothie. Thirdly, two cocktails shouldn’t cost less than two packets of crisps. Still, being tight-arse Geordies, we choked them down, finished off as many of the free nuts as we could before the taste of piss overcame us, and then staggered out into the streets. At this point I was feeling very light-headed and tipsy (be fair, I’ve never drank a pint of 4-star petrol before) so we decided to go back to the hotel for a nap.

Yeah, I know, we’re getting old. Two hours later we awoke refreshed, with only a nominal amount of the cocktail vomited back up onto the pillow. I fixed my hair, Paul brushed his teeth and we both flossed our nethers, and headed back out into the night. We’d booked a river tour of various Parisian landmarks – mainly the ones by the river, you understand – and it was only a twenty minute fat-shuffle along the banks of the Seine to reach the dock. We joined the queue, immediately adopted the British past-time of tutting at people, and were onboard in no time. We hurtled up the stairs like we were the kids waiting outside of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, determined as we were to get decent seats at the back of the boat, alone under the stars. We needn’t have worried, most sensible folk stayed downstairs where it was warm and dry.

But fuck it, we’re hard as owt, and we stayed upstairs, enjoying the wonderful sights of the lit-up Musée d’Orsay, The Louvre and Notre Dame as we drifted past. We were joined upstairs by a young French couple who were clearly infatuated with one another. I presume she was deeply asthmatic as every time I looked over he was trying to breathe oxygen into her lungs. They went quiet for a bit and I chanced a quick look only to see her seemingly tugging him off. Either that or there was a very localised fire in his nethers and she was trying to pat it out. Well, I was disgusted – that’s not suitable behaviour on a boat, no matter how amorous the Paris night might make you. I told Paul that I was so aghast by their behaviour that I wouldn’t be able to finish off giving him a rusty trombone – so we headed downstairs and left them to it.

We took up position by the exit as the boat came into dock. This was awkward in and of itself: there was a young lady absolutely bawling her eyes out right next to the door, with seemingly no-one there to comfort her. I didn’t know what to do for the best, so I covered her with my coat like you would do with an errant parrot. No of course not, but neither of us speak good enough French to comfort a broken heart (maybe she had planned a trip up the Eiffel Tower of the guy upstairs). I tried to put a sympathetic ‘there there’ face on but Paul broke it to me that I just looked constipated so I stood staring at the ‘what to do in an emergency’ notice for ten minutes whilst the Captain fussed the boat back and forth. On reflection I should have slapped my hand down on her shoulder and said ‘non non non’ but hey, easy to be wise after the event.

As we had docked under the Eiffel Tower and I was suitably sloshy with alcohol, I cried that we really ought to go up the Eiffel Tower despite a) not having tickets and b) I’ve done it three times before. God loves a trier though, eh? We stumbled up the stairs only to see a queue snaking all down the street – and this at 10pm, for goodness sake. We had spotted a giant wheel (The Big Wheel at Place de la Concorde, fact fans) from the boat and thought we ought to give that a go instead. This meant getting somewhere where an Uber could pick us up and in turn, running the gauntlet of all the looky-looky blokes outside the Eiffel Tower. Why is this shit allowed? Who has ever come down from the Tower and thought, well fuck me, that was bonny, and now what I really need to remember the experience is a highly-flammable LED-covered razor-sharp asbestos-soaked model? I mean honestly.

When I was younger – pre-Paul era – I went to Paris with a mate and we ended up getting suckered into having a caricature done by some swarthy ruffian. We paid almost fifty euros for a drawing that gave me a face that looked like John Prescott standing on an upturned plug. I fared better than my friend – he was drawn as having the head the size of a pound coin and a belly the size of a dinner plate. He committed suicide later that year. Ate himself to death.

Sssh, I’m kidding. He’s fine and still fabulous, thanks for asking.

We Ubered over to the giant wheel, not before being told off by some gimp in a suit who told us not to loiter outside their hotel. Pfft. I’d understand if we were lifting up our tops to passing cars and blowing kisses but we were simply waiting for an Uber. What a turd. Plus, it was only a frickin’ Pullman, nowt fancy! They’re probably still smarting over the time we rinsed them out over their in-room breakfast service in Munich.

The wheel was an experience. 70 meters high and by god you feel every single joint creaking. Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly safe I’m sure, but there’s something frightening about riding a ferris wheel that could be put away in a lorry the very next day. It’s all I can do to remember to turn the key to start my car, what if the charming folks responsible for maintenance were similarly shoddy? It didn’t help that thanks to a very strong wind our little ‘car’ was rocking all over the shop, with Paul cheerfully rocking it extra hard for good measure. He stopped when I told him I’d vomit in his coat hood. We went round three times, which seemed unnecessary, it’s not as though the Champs-Elysées changes on the minute. We were eventually let off, and, after a few more drinks somewhere my booze-soaked mind has long forgotten, we went to bed.

Now, that seems like a good place to leave it. I’m trying my very best not to prattle on for too long in a post – I know you struggle – so perhaps I’ll save the next bit for tomorrow. What’s involved? Sewers, blindness and gays. I mean, you’d expect nowt less, wouldn’t you? To the recipe then…

Calling these poached egg bombs might seem a trifle exciting but it’s what Jamie Oliver calls them and damn it, I’m not one to argue with him. I know he rubs some folks up the wrong way but I really like him, even if he does give his kids silly names. This might seem like an especially easy recipe and you know what, you’re right – but the reason I’m putting it up is because I see so many people who can’t poach eggs. It’s easy! Really easy! But this way is foolproof.

to make perfect poached egg bombs, you’ll need:

  • however many fresh eggs you want – fresher the better – you want them hot from the chicken’s anus (and yes, chickens do lay eggs from their bumhole – well, sort of)
  • clingfilm
  • ramekins or little cups
  • oil sprayer

Then customise them however you wish:

  • sliced wafer thin ham
  • smoked salmon
  • chives
  • chilli
  • cheese

to make perfect poached egg bombs, you should:

  • get a big pan of water bubbling
  • cut out a big square of cling film and line your glass or ramekin with it
  • spritz it with a couple of sprays of oil (0.5 syns for seven sprays, I used one)
  • put whatever you want on the inside of the ramekins – slices of ham or salmon, chilli flakes, cheese…anything – I was boring and just went with black pepper because I had proper fresh eggs
  • crack your egg into the ramekin and then tie the cling film up in a knot, squeezing any air out whilst you do – you want a cling-filmed ball of egg see – and tie a big knot in it mind, no tiny little thing
  • lower your egg bombs into the bubbling water and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes, depending on how firm you like your egg white
  • if you are clever you could dangle these off a wooden spoon, but I just chucked them in – rebel
  • once cooked, simply slide them out of their cling film prison and enjoy!

I served ours on a bed of wilted spinach, on our healthy extra toast with a bit of philly on. Lovely!

Of course, if you want to go old-school, get your pan simmering, crack egg into glass, slowly tip egg into bubbling water. No need to swirl. Remove when cooked. Easy!

And of course, if you’re a lazy sod who really can’t do poaching, just get one of these.

Looking for more breakfast ideas? But of course. Here’s some and more!

breakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmallslowcookersmallovernight-oatstastersmall

Enjoy!

J