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!

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Enjoy!

J

instant pot pork and sweet potato chilli con carne

Here for the pork and sweet potato chilli? Then read on!

We have a new gadget! We have bought ourselves an Instant Pot, which is simply a fancy pressure cooker that also does slow cooking, rice and yoghurt, amongst other things. Pressure cooking allows you to cook things a lot quicker whilst retaining the moisture and is perfect for chillis. Currently, if you were looking at one, they’re reduced to £95 on Amazon.

Good news: just because we’ve bought one (and highly recommend) doesn’t mean you’ll need to buy one. We’ll always give you a non pressure-cooker method too. I can’t stand it when blogs start doing recipes just to shill products and frankly, we ain’t that type of blog. We don’t accept bungs for bollocks, unless they’re the sort slapping off our chin.

We are, however, a travel and food blog, and because we’re gearing up for our many holidays this year, I’m taking the opportunity to tie off a few loose ends from last year – posting the bits we forgot to post and so on. Newcomers to the blog – we often post these massive entries detailing where we’ve been and we’re told that they are hilarious. So blog entries aren’t normally quite this long…to that end, here’s part five of our trip to Cornwall last year.

twochubbycubs go to Cornwall – part five

part one | part two | part three: Land’s End | part four

I wish I could pretend things improved with Cornwall, but they didn’t. Disappointment, rudeness and expense lurked around every corner. Don’t get me wrong, there were some charming people and pleasant vistas, absolutely, but it didn’t compensate for my growing sense of rage. This is evidenced by the fact that my notebook, where I usually write down my thoughts of the day and which in turn gets turned into these blog entries, consists of page after page of angry faces and lots of instances of the word ‘bah’. Because of this, I’m going to break with tradition and just do a summary post of all the other scraps of our Cornwall trip that I can’t bring myself to put into flowing narrative.

Padstow

We love Rick Stein – he’s a cheeky-faced cooking wonder and we watch everything he’s in whenever he’s on the telly. I could listen to him describing Russian phone-box repair and still feel a quiver of excitement. It’s not some weird daddy-fetish, he’s just wonderful. With that in mind, Padstow seemed like an obvious place to spend a fresh Spring morning.

Nope. First of all, I’ve never seen so many Audis, BMWs and Mercedes cars in one place. Secondly, same sentence again but replace cars with braying Jigsaw-wearing idiots. We parked up – eventually – took a stroll around the quaint ten-a-penny tea-shops, the lovely seen-it-all-before craft shops and the ‘oh I get it, it’s Seahouses but for people with a buy-to-let portfolio’ restaurants. It left me cold. I don’t think I have an inferiority complex – I’m not worthy of one – but the sense of snootiness and unbridled tra-la-laing wasn’t for me.

We decided that, as we didn’t stand a chance of a walk-in appointment at any of his fabulous restaurants, we’d treat ourselves to fish and chips from Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop. Naturally, it was all very to-do, but fair play, it was delicious. We ate them on the harbour and it was only their deliciousness that saved me from pitching forward into the sea to end my misery. Though, just saying, I can get a pizza, kebab wrap, large chips, can of pop (oh how I hate that), salad, curry sauce AND pot of pink up here for the same price I paid for one fish and chips down there. That said, Rick’s chips didn’t come with a side hockle of phlegm like the ones round here do.

We left, disappointed.

Newquay

…and I thought Padstow has bad. Sweet Jesus. I’m sure Newquay is fabulous in the summer when you can get a tan to go with your stab wounds but in the pissing rain on a cold afternoon, good heavens no. I’ve seen grim working towns – I went through Sunderland once on the train – but this takes the biscuit. If you’re from Newquay and someone is reading this to you please don’t get yourself in a fuss (think of your invariably high blood pressure); I’m sure the bit where you live is lovely and I’m just being a horrendous snob.

We should have known not to trouble ourselves with Newquay at all when we parked up only to have someone offer to look after our car ‘for a reasonable fee’. I was tempted to enquire what this service would get me and what the possible repercussions of failing to take it up where but his yellow tooth frightened me and so we moved on. We found another car park a little further down and set out for adventure.

We found none. We walked to the beach only to be met with sea fret and the smell of fish. I can absolutely see why it would be just so in the summer, however, so please don’t think it’s all bad. We climbed to what I assumed was the main street only to be met with what is increasingly becoming a sad, common sight in the United Kingdom – a row of bookmakers, discount stores and charity shops. I would have been made up if I had wanted to bet on a horse and buy myself a cardigan someone had died in back in 1977. There was a shop nestled at the end called Fat Willy’s which did tickle me (they often do), but it sold surf supplies and there isn’t enough lycra in the world to make me look good on a surfboard.

We decided to try our luck in the bright lights and glitz of the amusement arcade next door. I’ve looked it up on Google Street View and it doesn’t seem to have a name. I presume that’s because they don’t want people on the internet revealing what a massive bloody swizz it is. My nana had more grip in her arthritic fingers than the bloody claw machines in here. I spent four pounds trying to win a Luigi plushie only to give up when I realised I’d have more chance winning the fucking thing if the machine wasn’t switched on. I’m all for a competitive edge but Christ, give us the faintest glimmer of hope, eh?

Things turned nastier still when two girls, both seemingly sharing the same set of teeth, started following us around making eyes at our pocketful of jingling change. You know when you get that feeling that something isn’t right and you’re either about to end up on The Real Hustle or Silent Witness? That was one of those moments. Paul nudged in a set of cherries and I could see sheer avariciousness in their eyes. I clutched my murse theatrically to my side and we made a quick escape.

I know it’s a weird thing to get vexed about but these places are for children, surely? Why not let them have some fun and win a toy without prising £20 out of their parents’ wallet? Why must every other coin be glued down on the coin-pusher or fruit machine rigged to pay out on the twelfth of never? Another tiny example of grasping UK. Pfft.

We spent another forty minutes looking around the shops before both deciding that we’d given it a chance and were justified in going home, despite paying for four hours of parking. Oh, and as a final point, if you were the woman serving us in the little pasty shop on the corner, a bloody smile goes a long way. I felt as though I’d made a mortal enemy for having the check to order two lamb and mint pasties. You know when someone gives you a look of hatred that chills you to the core? That’s what we got as thanks for our custom (and before anyone says it, I’m always unfailingly polite when I order, no matter how poor my afternoon is going). Brilliant. I wouldn’t have minded so much but even the bloody pasties were awful – I’ve had morning farts with more taste to them.

We left, disappointed.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

We kept seeing signs for this place as we beetled about and knew nothing about it. We didn’t bother to research and when, on the fourth day, I loudly exclaimed that we should go to Heligan, Paul simply replied ‘What, Newquay?’ – kaboomtish.

Once we’ve stitched up our sides and located the Lost Gardens of Heligan in the Sat-Nav (so they’re not that lost, just saying) we were on our way, and it felt like no time at all until we were pulling up aside a Saga coach tour. It was fortunate that these elderly day-trippers were so slight as it made pushing them out of the way of the entrance all the more easier.

Oh I’m kidding, before anyone rings Age UK. They were still stumbling off the bus by the time Paul and I had completed a full lap of the grounds and got back in the car.

The Lost Gardens of Heligan are, according to the sweaty nerds at Wikipedia, one of the most popular botanical gardens in the UK. They were bought by a fancy sort back in the 16th century and immediately divided into lots of lovely sections, such as a ‘jungle’ and a rhododendron garden. The moment I spotted that on a sign I burst into ‘I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden’ until Paul saw fit to stick twigs in his ears to stop me. Poor sport. Anyway, the gardens fell into disrepair until they were restored in the early twentieth centuries, and now, here in modern times, they’re only a reasonable entrance charge away.

Now let me tell you this: I have been miserable throughout these Cornish entries. Nothing has managed to make my heart soar or my eyes sparkle. There’s barely been a moment where I haven’t been thinking longingly about the five holiday days I’d used up at work to take this trip. But these gardens were amazing.

I’m not exactly sure what pleased me so much – it was just a garden, after all, albeit a massive one split over many acres – but it was terrific. For a start, it didn’t cost the Earth. I’d become so accustomed to handing over wads of notes that it was a pleasant surprise to be told it was a very reasonable £13.50. Then there was so much to see and do – everything clearly laid out and mapped in the little handbook they give you. We spent hours just drifting from scene to scene – we had literally stopped to smell the roses and it worked a treat with cheering us up.

It helped that we had the place mostly to ourselves, save for the odd walking group and gaggle of tourists trampling in the flowers. This meant we had time to read the excellent information boards and talk to the staff, who I’m sure would have rather we left them be so they could crack on with the gardening. I can prove that we at least absorbed one fact: Heligan remains the only place in the UK that grows pineapples – albeit very small ones – in horse poo. Fascinating stuff! Along similar lines, Lands’ End in Cornwall is the only place in the UK where you can spend over £20 and get absolutely fuck all back for your money. What a time to be alive!

We took ourselves down to the animal area and sat for a good half hour watching birds from the little lookout they’ve installed then wandered gingerly down the very steep slope to the ponds. We spotted that somewhere amidst all the flowers and trees there was a rope bridge and so we spent a good twenty minutes hunting that out, managing to miss it twice despite it being signposted.

Well, goodness me. Didn’t we look a sight. I’m sure folks far more light-footed than me could trip over this bridge with dainty steps but when we both lumbered on the metal shrieked and the rope audibly stretched. I couldn’t relax, waiting as I was for a loud TWAAAANG sending us plummeting to the pond below. I say plummeting, we were six foot in the air, but come on, dramatic licence. As the bridge had sagged quite considerably under us it became quite a chore to pull ourselves up to the other side, a situation not helped by some red-faced little urchin crying out that he wanted a go. This was tough. Luckily, Cornwall Fire and Rescue came to our aid only forty minutes later.

Nah I’m kidding, we made it across, but we were bloody knackered. Of course, we’d also forgotten that the steep slopes coming down which once seemed to fun and hilarious to slide down would become an awful slog going back up. We took our time but it was with a shameful amount of huffing and puffing that we had to stop twice on the way up. To cap off our embarrassment, we were overtaken by a woman pushing herself along in an off-road wheelchair up the hill. I felt so ashamed.

We finished our afternoon by having a mince around the forest, where lots of giant curiosities were hidden. I came across a large hand deep in the undergrowth, which wouldn’t be the first time. Paul was taken by surprise by an erection poking out of the bush, which wouldn’t be the first time either. It really was wonderful and it was with a big genuine smile that I declined the offer of annual membership as we left. Perhaps if you dug it up and put it somewhere south of Hexham, I’d consider it.

We did stop by the farm shop with an eye to buying a range of meats and cheeses but the prices of everything in there sharp put paid to that idea. Listen, I’m not averse to slapping down the cash for good food, but these prices were little more than a tourist trap. I asked for the price of a small wedge of Little Stinky only to be told it was more than a tenner. I leant over and whispered confidentially that ‘I only want to buy the cheese, not rent the cow’ but her stern, weathered face was having none of my japery.

We left, disappointed.

But only at the farm shop – the actual gardens themselves were an absolute treat and I can wholeheartedly and without reservation recommend a trip.

Honourable mentions:

Mevagissey Model Railway – we loved this. It was like falling into Roy Cropper’s wet dream. There was more than a hint of foist about the place but the owner was knowledgeable and welcoming and it was very much a ‘British’ piece of entertainment. Well worth a visit, although I wouldn’t pencil out a whole afternoon for it.

Lappa Valley Railway – we turned up, decreed it far too expensive (although looking right now on the website it seems a lot cheaper, so best not write it off in case I was just having a mild aneurysm or something) and cleared off. I do still get a tickle from the fact they have an event called a ‘Steam and Cream’ for the over sixties. I thought most trainspotters just jizzed straight into the same quilt they’ve had since they were 14?

The Chapel Porth Hedgehog – I can forgive the National Trust for charging me to visit a beach when I’m presented with an ice-cream like the Chapel Forth Hedgehog. For those wot div not knaa this is Cornish ice-cream which is then smothered in clotted cream and them dipped in honey-roasted hazelnuts. It’s served with a warm smile and fifteen minutes of CPR. Bloody amazing. Beach was nice too.

Overall

If you’re reading this entry and feeling apocalyptic that I’ve dismissed Cornwall as an awful place full of chintz and nonsense and bloody rude people, please, take a moment. There’s no need to be so quick to anger. Holidays are unique to everyone and I just didn’t ‘feel’ Cornwall. I can see its many merits mind – I like the fact that the air feels crisp, for one. The views are wonderful but as I’ve previously touched upon, I live in what I believe to be the most beautiful county in all of the United Kingdom – Northumberland. I have beauty on my doorstep.

Remember, opinions are like arseholes – everyone has one. It’s just unfortunate that I’ve made a hobby out of talking out of mine.


Gosh – that was a long one, wasn’t it? Did you enjoy it? Please do give me feedback on these holiday entries – I know they’re lengthy but it’s the thing I enjoy writing the most! Let’s get to the pork and sweet potato chilli though without another moment of hesitation.

to make pork and sweet potato chilli you will need:

  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 400g pinto beans
  • 300g sweet potato, cut into small chunks

to make pork and sweet potato chilli you should:

Instant Pot method

  • press the ‘saute’ button, add a bit of oil and then add the onion and red pepper
  • cook for about three minutes until softened
  • next, add the pork mince and stir to break it up and ensure it cooks evenly
  • after a minute add the chilii powder, cumin, oregano and garlic and stir
  • add the tomatoes, pinto beans (with water) and the sweet potato and stir until well combined
  • ensure the vent is set to ‘sealing’ and cook on high pressure for ten minutes

Bog standard in the oven job method:

  • saute off the onion and pepper in a deep heavy pan until soft and lovely
  • add the pork mince and stir to make sure it is broken up and cooked evenly
  • after a minute add the chilii powder, cumin, oregano and garlic and stir
  • add the tomatoes, pinto beans (with water) and the sweet potato and stir until well combined
  • cook in the oven for a good hour or two – low and slow – or bubble away on the hob for 40 minutes, making sure it doesn’t catch

Serve with rice! Simple, honest dinner! Can’t get vexed.

Looking for more recipe ideas? But of course!

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Enjoy!

J

taster night tiny tropical towers – twochubbycubs

Taster night looming? Can’t face another quiche that tastes like a discarded shoe? Then this post of taster night tiny tropical towers is for you! But first…

In what world, in what grey, dystopian, horrendously bleak outlook, does a fucking breadbun rolled in sweetener and stuffed with a hotel breakfast portion of jam become a doughnut? Well? It’s no more a bloody doughnut than I am a red-blooded heterosexual who could confidently annotate a diagram of the vagina. It’s a friggin’ jam sandwich at best only with the added advantage of making your teeth retract so far into your body through the sweetness that you’ll be eating out of your own arsehole.

Gah! Christ, if there is one thing that really boils up my piss about this diet, it’s stuff like this. That isn’t healthy. It isn’t going to be a ‘sweet treat’, it isn’t going to ‘taste just like a doughnut’ and you really WILL be able to ‘taste the difference’. A proper doughnut tastes so good because it’s a) full of butter b) full of sugar c) full of flour d) fried in enough oil to make a Deepwater Horizon sequel and e) because you can actually feel your heart strain and protest as you eat it. A bloody breadbun with a period of seedless Hartleys isn’t going to do the same thing! I understand people are desperate to find recipes that allow them to eat how they used to eat but you’re already on one – Slimming World! Just use your syns, have a proper bit of what you fancy and jog the fuck on.

I should totally write the opening guff for Slimming World magazine, shouldn’t I? I’d be the first person in history whose asterisk key on his keyboard crumbled to dust through overuse.

Anyway, what a diversion. I wasn’t even going to post a recipe tonight because Paul’s had an awful day but to hell with him, I’ve put him to bed already and now I have an hour to myself. Don’t worry, I’l wake him up later with a Dominos delivery, so he’s really not doing too bad. To be fair, I’ve actually had the whole day to myself because I now work from home on a Friday – the excitement! No but it is exciting for me, not least because it is one less day that I have to spend screaming myself hoarse at some shovel-faced cacafuego in an Audi who inevitably cuts me up because he’s such a big deal. I love my job but the seventy minute commute (which takes twenty minutes during half-term) does my nut in. I’ve had to fit a roof-rack just to hold my fucking blood pressure, it’s that high.

I did have anxiety about whether I’d be able to focus on work, being by myself, but what a joy it’s been. Again, I love my job and I like the cut and thrust of working in a modern office, but there’s something to be said about doing the same work in your worst underwear whilst Jeremy Kyle plays quietly in the background. My writing desk looks out onto the street and I’ve been able to watch the comings and goings of various folk. Weirdly, for a cul-de-sac holding twenty or so houses, we’ve had two ambulance visits. We nearly had another visit when I strained my neck from being too nosy but I put one of those heat cushions on and we’re tickety-boo.

Another positive about working from home is that I was able to have visitors – today, a sparkie and a delivery man. Not in an Irina Palm way, you understand, but simple honest reasons – we need a quote for moving a light switch six inches along the wall and some new lighting for the food photos. Our previous electrician seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth – there’s literally no record of him or his business anywhere on the Internet now and I’m beginning to think we had all of our lights installed by a particularly industrious ghost. Actually, I remember the last time he was here he did such a rotten fart climbing up the loft ladder that there’s no way he could have been fiction – we still get a whiff of burnt eggs every time I flick that loft light on. Anyway, the new chap came highly recommended, turned up on time and didn’t so much as flinch when he saw the awful Venture Photography special photo of me and Paul perched on the bookcase. It’s awful – a nasty studio photo with the cheesiest pose you can imagine because they made us tickle each other in front of the camera so we had natural smiles. Pfft. It doesn’t help that I’m dressed like an office worker from a 1980’s fire safety video and Paul’s sweating like a whore on Sunday under the studio lamps.

We only bought it out of courtesy for the poor lass who had tried to touch the photo up the best she could. We use it now to keep our nephew away from our drawer of sin.

The other chap was delivering a new kitchen gadget from Amazon – a pressure cooker. This is how easily I’m persuaded by advertising – I had seen a link to some pressure cooker recipes on Facebook and without even opening the page I’d ordered one from Amazon. I’m the worst. It’s the size of Sputnik II and has more buttons on it than a 7XL shirt. Of course, having a delivery means you have to be on high alert all day because you don’t want to miss it and have to fart about with redelivery, which in turn meant I was scared to leave my computer. Naturally, he didn’t turn up to 4.45pm, at which point I’d given up and gone for a shower. No sooner had I squirted a blob of Molton Brown on my boobs when I hear a knock at the door. He was lucky, I hadn’t started singing yet. I hurtle out, throw a dressing gown on and then promptly manage to wrest one of our internal doors clean off its hinges by virtue of my dressing gown cord snagging on the door handle, resulting in me bellowing ‘OH YOU FUCKING C*NT’ at the stricken door, which I’m sure the poor delivery bloke heard. As if the sight of me answering the door, beetroot-faced, barely holding my dressing gown together whilst dragging a door behind me wasn’t entertaining enough.

Still, pressure cooker, eh – recipes coming soon for that, I’m sure. But first, a new taster night idea, if you’re feeling generous and kind. If not, make them for yourself like we did and you get the added bonus of not being shouldered in the tit by someone desperate to scoop every last ‘JAM DOUGHNUT’ into their gob.

taster night tiny tropical towers

taster night tiny tropical towers

to make taster night tiny tropical towers you will need:

  • 8 small wholemeal buns (Sainsbury’s sell them – they’re really tiny!)
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 4 bacon medallions (or 4 rashers of bacon, all fat removed)
  • 2 fresh pineapple rings (watch the syns if using tinned)
  • 8 tsp of any sauce that tickles your fancy (we used our own syn-free tomato ketchup, recipe here, or you could syn the tiniest wee blob if you want)
  • 1 mini-gem lettuce, chopped
  • 160g reduced fat cheddar, cut into small squares
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

This makes 16 wee little towers – the bread on each is roughly 20g or so and 10g of cheese – a tiny portion of your HEA and HEB. You could have three for no syns!

Looking for good, decent, less than 5% mince? Then let Musclefood help you. We’ve got a banging deal – you’ll wonder if you can take all the meat but if you just relax, you’ll be fine. Have a look at our deals, don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window.

to make taster night tiny tropical towers, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 240 degrees celsius
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray in a little oil
  • pat dry the pineapple slices and place in the pan, and leave to caramelise for about 5-6 minutes
  • flip over and do again for the other side
  • when the pineapple is cooked, remove from the pan then cut into eighths
  • in the same pan, add the bacon and cook until crispy, and then remove and cut into quarters
  • meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the minced beef, salt and pepper
  • divide the mince mixture into 16 and roll into small balls, and flatten into a mini burger shape
  • plop all of the burgers onto a wire rack over a baking tray and pop in the oven to cook for 3-4 minutes
  • turn over and cook for another 3 minutes
  • top the burgers with the cheese squares and cook for another minute until melted
  • remove from the oven
  • spread a little sauce over each of the bun halves, add a bit of lettuce, then top with a mini-burger, slice of bacon and a pineapple wedge
  • if you’re after our fancy moustache spikes, they’re from Tiger but also available on Amazon, see here

These are lovely cold so fine to take to class!

After more fakeaway recipes or taster night ideas? Then look no further, my friends. Look no further. Buttons will lead the way.

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snackssmall

J

zingy basil chicken – a perfect Slimming World fakeaway dish!

Here for the zingy basil chicken? Hold please.

Do you ever have that moment of horror that you absolutely shouldn’t have done something the very second that you’ve just done it? I’m experiencing that now. We had Chinese takeaway for tea last night and there was some leftover egg foo yung. We like to kid ourselves that we’re being healthy by ordering what is essentially an omelette, as if that cancels out the shredded beef and duck pancakes and chicken balls that we gorge on. Anyway, I only realised there was leftover egg foo yung when I was clearing the kitchen down from last night (I know, that’s terrible, leaving a mess all day, but we were tired) and spotted we hadn’t opened one of the containers – the one that had the egg foo yung in. So I’ve been nibbling away at that this evening whilst I fart about clearing up and just as I took the final swallow, I realised that I was eating an omelette that has been sat on the side of our warm kitchen all day after its perilous journey in an overheated car last night from a takeaway who I genuinely can’t bear to check their hygiene star rating because they’re so cheap and quick. On top of that, I can’t be entirely sure that the cats won’t have had a good lick at it too.

In short, I’m fucked, aren’t I? My belly is already doing a cancan of revolt and I have waves of nausea rolling over me like a sulphuric tsunami. I don’t know who is in for a rougher night: my nipsy, Paul’s nose or our toilet. Wish me/him/the good folk at Armitage Shanks good luck.

To be fair, I didn’t have a very good start to the week either, given I spent most of it filing my tax return. Who would have thought that the Little Blog That Could would require me to declare my income? I did ask an accounting friend if I could write off gin as an expense for anaesthetising me to deal with all the nonsense but apparently not. Still, it felt good submitting my taxes like a Good Citizen and knowing that I’m keeping Theresa May in leather. Brrr. I’ll say this though: the entire process, once I’d got my unique number, my special log-in, my paper treasure map, stool sample of eight wise men and temporary membership of the Freemasons, it was all very simple and easy to follow. If any blogs out there need some advice on submitting their tax returns, I’m happy to answer questions…

We’ve solved another mystery, by the way. For a good two weeks our cat has been steadfastly refusing to use his cat-flap. We thought he was just being stubborn – he’d sit by the front door looking strained and fractious and keen to be outside but completely blanked the cat-flap. Paul, soft as shite as he is, would always hasten to the door to let him out. I, however, refused to be a bloody bellboy to my own cat. It’s bad enough that Paul made me drive thirty miles back home the other week because he had forgotten to put the cat’s water fountain on, I’ll be damned if I’m going to be a bouncer too. Anyway, no amount of cajoling or puss-pussing or gentle toeing of his rump with my boot (I’m kidding) could get him near that cat-flap and tonight, finally, we know why. I was busy reading the post in the kitchen and waiting for The Archers to come like the old-before-my-time-fart that I am when suddenly there was an explosion of hissing, clattering and yelping. I didn’t immediately react – I’m used to such noises from Paul if I eat the strawberry creams from the Quality Street tin – but then my attention was demanded by Cat 2 who, startled as she was, had leapt claws-out up my leg. It was a proper farce. Turns out Cat 1 was engaged in a fierce and swift battle with a random cat who had poked his head through the cat-flap, presumably to try and sneak food, only to be met with Bowser Balboa going at his face like Sweeney Todd. You’ve never seen a more clumsy fight than two cats fighting through a cat-flap – one face would disappear only to be followed by a unsheathed paw, then half a cat would appear again only to get smacked, all the while Cat 2 is trying to get at the bone marrow in my leg through sheer fright.

The whole debacle only lasted moments but my ears are still ringing and I have no feeling below the knee on my right leg. It came to a halt when I, in that very manly way you’d expect from me, threw a leaflet for Sky television at Cat 1 with a shriek. What do I do here? I can’t shoo the other cat away, it might be starving, but I can’t have a cat who refuses to go outside. Thoughts on a postcard, please. Also, if anyone has an industrial sized drum of Savlon and enough plasters to wrap an Egyptian king up, I’d be most grateful.

Finally, before we get to the recipe, drum-roll please (don’t worry: you can just slap your gunt against your lap, though I imagine that’ll be more of a squelch than a rat-a-tat-tat sound)…

Artboard 1

How pretty, right? That took me four months in Illustrator. Well, no, it felt like it. I wish I was one of those stylish people who can fart about designing on a Mac for a living like those achingly hipster bellends you always see looking bored on The Apprentice whilst five suited arseholes bellow at each other about Pantone colours. But I’m not. I can write but design is beyond me. Anyway, the plan is to squeeze in twelve holidays in one year – short breaks doing different things, all in the name of funny blog stories and seeing a bit more of the world. People seem to enjoy our travels and you know what, why the hell shouldn’t we? Life’s too short. We have no vices so we need to spend our money on something. It’s worth noting that we’ve set a budget for each of the twelve trips and anything we don’t spend will be going onto the next holiday! Mind, it won’t trouble the normal running of the blog, we’re still going to be posting our nonsense and recipes as we go along – just with a bit more travel stuff before the recipes as and when we remember! Once I can be arsed, I’ll create a proper travel section of the blog where our recent trips to Cornwall, New York, Corsica, Switzerland, Peterborough, Berlin, Glasgow and Scotland will be in one handy place! Eee I know, we spoil you. We’ve set some targets and rules too:

  • find a geocache at each venue, preferably in an unusual place
  • try the regional dish of the place we’re staying
  • make a Slimming World friendly version of that dish for the blog
  • diet like hell between the holidays but eat and drink what we like when we’re away
  • buy a tacky bit of nonsense for our Room of Tat
  • buy a second tacky bit of nonsense for our Box of Tat which we’ll give away at the end
  • aim for places we haven’t done before and types of holiday that don’t automatically appeal
  • save as many Avios points as we can to pay for the flights of the 12th holiday – we will go as far as our Avios can take us (in business class, we’re too fat for long-haul cattle unless they strap us to the underbelly of the plane)

It isn’t going to all be abroad either – if you can think of somewhere unusual or lovely in the UK, or indeed, if you think of anywhere or any type of holiday that could be fun, let us know!

I do want to stress, because I know there’s going to be a lot of you picking fretfully at your pinnies and thinking we’re giving up the blog to do this – we aren’t! It’ll just give us more excuses to write! Let’s get to the recipe then, eh?

zingy basil chicken

It’s worth noting that we served ours with boring old white rice – you could flesh it out a bit by adding some speed veg or having it with noodles, but for a very quick, easy dinner, this can’t be beaten.

to make zingy basil chicken you will need

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (use a microplane grater, save your fingers and don’t bother taking the skin off – here’s a cheap one!)
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1¼ tsp sriracha
  • ½ tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp cornflour (½ syn)
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • handful of basil leaves, chopped

Now, it’s been a while since we mentioned it, but you may know that we have a fabulous range of deals with Musclefood, including a couple where you get twenty four (or so) big breasts as part of the deal. That’s a lot of chicken! We genuinely love Musclefood chicken – it’s big, it doesn’t leak water like a sieve and it actually tastes of chicken as opposed to ennui and regret. You can view all of our Musclefood deals here, and don’t worry, it’ll open in a new page.

Don’t worry, the fish sauce doesn’t taste fishy. It doesn’t even smell like a tramp’s foot, which is what I had always assumed. It just adds a nice note to the dinner, if you’ll forgive me such a froufrou term.

Oh and I know there’s half a syn in the entire dish. But that’s an eighth of a syn per serving – it serves four. If you want to syn it, have a good hard look at your life and ask yourself if you’re living it to the full.

to make zingy basil chicken you should:

  • in a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, sriracha, fish sauce, cornflour and chilli flakes along with 1tsp water
  • heat a large pan over medium-high heat, add a couple of squirts of spray oil and cook the diced shallot and garlic for about thirty seconds
  • add the chicken and keep stirring frequently until cooked
  • when the chicken is cooked, add the sauce to the pan and cook for a further minute, making sure the chicken is well coated
  • remove from the heat and stir in the basil
  • serve

Eee, now how easy was that? More recipes you say? Fuck me, you’re keen:

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Cheers!

J

taster night fruit skewers

Taster night – yes, we hate them too. We do have loads of taster night ideas though right here, but here’s a new one – taster night fruit skewers! Doesn’t really need a recipe but even so, I’ve done one at the bottom. But first…

…here’s a minty-fresh Switzerland entry! Part five if you don’t mind.

swissfive

part one | part two | part three | part four

Now, the last time you nestled into my busom and let me tell you a Swiss story we were just disembarking from the train in Bern. I was giddy with superlatives and the clean mountain air. We enjoyed an evening out and explored the town and I’ll touch on that later but first, despite having just arrived, we were already planning to leave. GASP. If that doesn’t get you sticking to your chair, what will?

So, yes, the night before, somewhat shitfaced on gin and schnapps, we had rashly decided to hire a car and go see some nearby Swiss features. A company called Sixt took our money and booking only to then call us at 11pm to say that actually they couldn’t hire us a car after all. My reply was probably something like wellfuguthendon’twanyercaranywaaay, as I remind you I was drunk, and we managed to sort something out with Enterprise. Hence, a few hours later, after a quick tram ride into the ghettos (as if Swiss cities have bloody ghettos – even the graffiti says ‘FUCK THE COPS, PLEASE’) we were outside the Enterprise offices waiting for the effortlessly efficient Celine to finish putting her hair in plaits and open the door. We made the class awkward small-talk and were shown to our car – a very boring Peugeot 208. I almost asked if they had anything more exciting but realised that would encompass every single mode of transport ever invented. It’s not that it was a bad car, no, it was just…so…plain. It was the motoring equivalent of having a disinterested vicar read you the warranty conditions of your new kettle.

We set off, very gingerly. Actually, that’s a fib, it took us about ten minutes to figure out how to disengage the handbrake. Every button I pressed seem to do something I didn’t want (and I’d later discover I’d accidentally set the seat-warmers to maximum – I only realised when I pulled over absolutely sure I’d shit myself). Paul fiddled with the Sat-Nav. You may recollect from previous entries that I have an inherent distrust of Sat-Navs whereas Paul clings to every word like a drowning man would clutch a lifebelt. The Sat-Nav is never wrong. It could instruct him to plunge a knife into my chest then take the third exit and he’d have the cutlery drawer open before you could say Skynet.

I’d checked online previously and the motorway that we needed was a mere half mile and two junctions away – I thought that once I was on that we’d be grand – driving on a motorway is an easy way to get used to a car, unless you’re Henri Paul. Paul plugged the address for the cheese factory in and we were away, guided by the disembodied voice of Teresa May. I’m not even exaggerating – it was as though the liver-lipped old trout was in the car with us, barking orders and shrieking instructions. It was terrifying: take the second Brexit, indeed.

Anyway, I immediately noticed something was wrong when we ended up following a tram down the tram lines. That’s generally a bad sign. Nevertheless, buoyed by Paul’s strict instruction that the Sat-Nav is always right and ‘you always panic driving in cities‘, we ploughed on.

For an arresting moment we found ourselves trundling through a Christmas market in the car – I could have reached out and grabbed myself a hot chocolate as we drove past to calm my nerves – before the Sat-Nav sent us down a tiny cobbled street. Clearly, something was amiss, but Paul was having none of it. We pootled on for another half an hour on possibly the most scenic city centre tour you’ve ever seen outside of one of those lurid double-decker scenic busses before I finally pulled us over in someone’s garden and told Paul to check the settings on the Sat-Nav. Yep: he had it set to ‘avoid major roads’, which, as you can imagine, adds an extra layer of fun and frolics onto driving an unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar city, on the wrong side of the road, on the wrong side of the car, in ice and heavy fog. Oh how I laughed as I spun the car wheels on the icy grass before we made our way back to the motorway. You could see the car-rental place from the sliproad of the motorway as we joined.

Ah well. You live and learn. Once we were on the open road we were straight up to 75mph (their speed limit) despite the freezing fog. Why? Because everything just works perfectly. There wasn’t a flake of ice on the road, there wasn’t a ten mile tailback of beeping cars and lorries, no, everyone just sped along in uniform civility. It was lovely. It puts us to shame, it truly does. I know we’re not an alpine country and thus people aren’t used to driving in wintry conditions but for goodness sake, they shut the A1 in both directions if I leave my freezer door open too long. Pah.

One thing we learnt about the Swiss as we drove along their motorways: they fucking love getting their cocks out in the motorway toilets, and I don’t mean for a piss. I don’t like to be crass but for goodness sake, let me have a piss in peace without helicoptering your penis at me or wanking away like you’re beating out a carpet fire. I half-expected to be arrested for suspicious behaviour because I wasn’t cottaging. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude, and if the smell of twenty years of splashed urine and 10,000 lorry driver farts gets the blood pumping for you then all the very best, but please, try and be a bit more discreet.

Anyway, we left after five hours – just enough time for the ammonia on the floor to burn through my jeans at the knees.

As we drove towards Gruyère the fog seemed to melt away and Switzerland opened up for us – it was magical. Everything was frozen but, especially when bathed in the brilliant light of the winter sun, it shone. I wanted to walk in every forest, ratch down every street – and that’s really saying something when you consider what a fat fucker I am. You’d barely get a chance to admire the views of an ice-covered river when a hill would rear up and you’d get a load of chocolate-box cottages all glistening in the cold. I felt like I was in a chewing gum advert. Paul developed RSI from having to snap his neck this way and that as I exclaimed ‘oooh look at that‘ and ‘cor have you seen that mountain?‘ – luckily, we weren’t short of ice to put on it. To give you an idea of the beauty:

taster night fruit skewers taster night fruit skewers

We made it to our first destination, La Maison du Gruyère, in good time indeed. Now, as you might have guessed from the name, this was a factory manufacturing ball bearings. Well obviously not – it was a cheese factory. I love cheese, and I love GruyèreI will cheerfully admit to having a semi as I climbed out of the car. I know visiting a Swiss cheese factory whilst in Switzerland is as obvious as visiting the Eiffel Tower whilst in Paris or being happy-slapped for your mobile in Hull, but I don’t care. We paid the very modest entry fee and were given quite the phallic-looking handset that would translate the entire thing for us so it sounded like Paul’s sister patronising us the whole way around. It was quite distressing. However, what made up for that was the fact you’re given a packet of cheese as you enter. My kind of museum!

The displays were informative – the right mix of cutesy-poo (meet Cherry The Cow!) and blistering factory facts to keep you going. Don’t get me wrong, don’t plan a holiday around it as we were done in half an hour, but as cheese factories go, it was great. I say this from the perspective of someone who has a cheese factory you can tour a mere ten miles from my house. I know, truly my life is decadent. There’s a comedy picture of me biting into a cheese wheel that’s only just wider than Paul’s waist but as my chins are cascading down my coat like a melted church candle, I shan’t be posting it. We stopped into the well-appointed gift shop in the hope of buying me a hat but were thwarted yet again by my giant elephantine head. I don’t understand it, you know – I look in the mirror and see a normal sized head but I can’t get a single hat to fit me without being skintight and giving me a permanently startled look. I’d kill to be able to wear a tricorn hat with panache, like Inspector Javert. More like Fatbear, am I right? Sigh.

We did toy with having a tour around Gruyère but we had a lot to do and we had to return the car at 6pm, so culture was pushed to one side.

Next stop on our Car Trip of Cardiovascular Strain was a trip to a chocolate factory, which frankly, is like following up a large scratchcard win with a fantastic blowjob. I mean, it doesn’t get better than the words ‘unlimited samples of Swiss chocolate’, does it? At this point I had to push my car seat back a good few inches, and it wasn’t just my belly that was swelling. Cor! Turns out that the Maison Cailler was about a twenty minute drive down the road so off we went. Roadworks diverted us into an aerodrome which made for a startling moment or two as tiny planes beetled about around us but we were soon back on our way and, after navigating a proper hairpin bend on a very steep hill (what fun!) we were parked up and joined the queue for entry.

Well, whilst I hate to repeat myself, this was smashing too. Entry costs were minimal but the whole experience was well thought-out, interesting and interactive. We joined a group of six very obviously gay men (no need to peacock though, there were lots of knowing looks and laughter) (and actually, that would explain our eight blank faces when we got to the Frigor bit) (Frigor? Why I barely know her!) and were shown to the entrance. What followed was a good thirty minute walk around showing the history of chocolate, how it is made, the health benefits…I tried to look as interested as possible but what we all wanted to know was when were the free samples coming and would I be told off for bringing a suitcase? We rounded a corner and there it was – all sorts of different chocolates just out for the tasting.

Naturally, being British, we showed remarkable restraint, nibbling and coyly picking up just-one-more in case they decided we were obscene and shut the door. Hilariously though, there was this big gym-bunny of a man there with his girlfriend. Now, he was not that nice, toned gym-boy that you see around but rather he looked like a bin-liner stuffed with rugby balls. His Littlewoods crop-top positively strained over Wotsit coloured muscles and I’m sorry but he had the haunted look of someone who knows that he’ll be injecting steroids into his cock later that day. ANYWAY. When he saw eight burly men come mincing barrelling around the corner he immediately started puffing out his chest and strutting around like Barry Big Bollocks. You know what I mean?? That thing blokes do when they try and make themselves look hard and important? Pffft. Top tip mate: no-one was impressed, you were trying to intimidate eight gay blokes who each had a better spread of facial hair than you and it’s impossible to look macho when you’re standing in a chocolate factory shovelling dainty wee raspberry truffles into your gob with your giant shovel hands, you absolute fucking melt.

His girlfriend had the good grace to look embarrassed.

We all tittered and laughed at the little machine that pooed out the chocolates (no other word for it) and then Paul and I added our own bit of humour onto their massive interactive computer board which asked the question ‘When should you enjoy chocolate?’

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That’ll be us off the magazine list, again. Ah well. At least our effort was better than Baba Babayev’s on the right there though – what a kiss-arse. Bet that wasn’t just cocoa on her lips.

Next stop on our whistlestop tour of Things That Sounded Good When Pissed was the town of Montreux, a mere forty minutes or so away. Now we absolutely didn’t have time to tour the town and do it justice so we decided to visit the absolutely stunning Château de Chillon, down on the shoreline of Lake Geneva instead.

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The castle was the inspiration for the castle in The Little Mermaid, which is a handy link as Paul models himself on The Little Mermaid’s villain, Ursula. We were so lucky – perhaps because it was Christmas or because it was overcast I don’t know, but we almost had the place to ourselves.

This was very fortuitous indeed. Why? Because the castle – whilst breathtakingly pretty and wonderfully kept – is a series of staircases, ladders and steep climbs to get right to the very top. With both of us busy turning eight kilos of chocolate and cheese into poo and heart disease, this was perhaps not a good idea. The fact we were by ourselves was most welcome as it meant we weren’t pressured into climbing at anyone else’s pace and we were able to stop and catch our breath, shock our hearts and discreetly vomit into nearby suits of armour. Any passing staff must have thought we found the info-boards particularly absorbing (and, to be fair, they were) but actually, it was just us bent double trying to resaturate our blood with oxygen.

taster night fruit skewers

You know what made the place great, though? It took us a while to twig and then we realised – there wasn’t masses of taped-off areas and warning signs to mind your head and stop smoking and don’t run and don’t use flash photography. We weren’t being told off at every opportunity and it was most refreshing, even if I did curse loudly when the top of my head scrapped along the ceiling. Oh and I did fall down a pretty much vertical flight of stairs when I started can-can-ing my legs as I came down, which in turn made Paul exclaim that I ‘looked like the Phantom of the Opera, only more a fat c*nt’ (we had the place to ourselves, I remind you), which then made me laugh and lose my footing. I landed on my giant gelatinous arse and was fine, don’t worry. Silly Swiss: I might recommend a warning sign for ‘acts of theatricality’. We made sure to take plenty of photos to add onto our iCloud to never be seen again and then made our way out.

There was a photo opportunity as we left with a little pier that strutted right out into the lake and we made for it only to be rudely pushed out of the way by what I think were the same horde of tourists that had prevented us getting a decent picture at the Broken Chair a few entries back.  First they would each take a picture of one of them standing on the pier, then they’d swap, then they’d change the lens, then they’d shriek hysterically and change the lens again. We waited patiently for a good fifteen minutes before (conscious of the fact I’d parked the hire car in a place I wasn’t entirely unconvinced wasn’t a coach park) I invaded their photographs and walked right along that pier. It made for a good set of photos – me posing merrily with my little Swiss flag, eighteen disgruntled and sullen faces just moving out of shot. Pfft. I’d post the picture but the rage-blood seeping from my eyes somewhat ruins it.

We bought some chocolate from the gift-shop and made our way back to the car. At this point I was very tired so Paul was under strict instruction to keep talking to me and not to let me fall asleep. Naturally, he was asleep before I turned the indicators off to get out of the car park. It was a long drive home – I had to keep stopping at the rest areas to have a man-made protein shake rest. We were less than half a mile away from the car drop-off area, all ready to head back to the hotel, when the stupid Sat-Nav suddenly thought we were in entirely the wrong place and set us down a slip road onto a different motorway, adding an extra 30 miles onto our trip. I hate them. I really bloody hate them. My loud swearing woke Paul up whose first words were ‘you should have woke me up’ which, as you can imagine, really made me chuckle. I could have undid his seatbelt, opened his car door and sent him tumbling out onto the motorway at 75mph and he’d still be fast asleep, doing tiny little cheesy farts all the night long. BAH.

By the time we did make it back to our room it was all we could do to remove the tiny Toblerone they placed on our pillows before falling fast asleep. All that mountain air, see. I promise to talk to you about Bern on the next entry, it really was a terrific place, but look, we’re almost at 3,000 words and I’m just sure that means most of you will have buggered off by now. If so, shame on you, least not because you’ve missed out on the recipe for these taster night fruit skewers!

taster night fruit skewers

to make taster night fruit skewers, you’ll need – well, duh:

  • a couple of tangerines
  • a box of raspberries
  • a few kiwi fruits
  • a fresh pineapple
  • black grapes, black as your soul
  • cocktail sticks – ours aren’t anything fancy, we bought them for the burgers we do, you get 100 on Amazon for about a fiver, or you could use any old shite you have sitting around the house, no need to fret!

to make taster night fruit skewers, you should:

  • now come on, really
  • no, really?
  • OK, well, assemble as above
  • I cored the pineapple, cut it into rings and then into chunks, but you can buy chunks in juice, remember to syn it though
  • I made the kiwi stars by cutting thick slices of kiwi and then, wait for it, using a star shaped pastry cutter – I know, someone call Alfred Nobel, because we’ve got a bloody genius here
  • that’s it

Two things to remember:

  • Captain Gunt suggests that you could serve this with a melted Freddo bar or something to dip in – but seriously, come on, just eat your Freddo; and
  • not a fan of the fruits above? Well, you’re homophobic and I’ll thank you not to read this blog. Oh THOSE fruits, right right – no, just swap them out for anything you like, I don’t mind, I just like the pretty colours!

Want more taster night ideas? Love picking other people’s cat hair out of your teeth whilst you choke down a sliver of cottage cheese quiche? Then click the buttons below and be inspired!

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Goodnight all!

J

two chubby club sandwiches

The recipe for two chubby club sandwiches is coming, but first, oh god…

I swear, on my nana’s little blue dolphin ornament, if I read one more bloody word about these ASDA Slimzone meals, I’m going to burst into flame. And I’m severely obese, I’ll go up like a fucking chip pan fire hurled into a swimming pool. What a ruddy hoo-hah! You’d think ASDA were adding lard to the country’s water supply the way people are foaming and revolting. I’ve seen so many armchair lawyers stating that SW will sue (for what?) and it’s false advertising (it isn’t) and ‘ASDA should be ashamed’ – pfft! If ASDA launched a new ice-cream tomorrow that had zero syns all these naysayers would be thundering down the aisles before you could say ‘but please, a bit of restraint’. I said the same when Slimming World launched their ready-meals in Iceland: they are there if you need them. Frankly, having tried each one, I wouldn’t feed them to a rabid dog to distract him from chewing on my throat, but that’s just me. Wait and see what SW syn them at and then plan them into your diet accordingly. It’s that simple. It isn’t the End of Days. Competition is good. We know the SW diet works and this just gives us more choice. Things could have been handled better on all sides but it is what it is and I encourage each and all to stop crashing their gashes over it.

Fuck me, we need a palate cleanser now, don’t we? Well, the good news is: it’s Paul’s birthday. Yes, the French to my Saunders, the Canestan to my cystitis, the Myra to my Ian, has turned 31. Years, not stone, just to be clear. He still looks young and fresh-faced to me, though: those crinkling wrinkles around his eyes are the result for laughing so hard at all my many jokes and witty observations, I’m sure, either that or I’m not putting enough lube on when I’m round the back doing delivering the milk. To celebrate, I’m posting a rare picture of him in his true form.

I LEFT MY IRON AWN

I LEFT MY IRON AWN

Just stunning!

Before I get to the meat of the story, I want to tell you what I bought him: a box of silliness. Paul is impossible to buy for because a) we buy what we want during the year and b) the rules this year were no food, clothes, smelly stuff, books, DVDs, days out or anything flash. I was tempted to fart in a box and wrap that up but I didn’t want to be mean. So instead I bought a lovely box from John Lewis and filled it with nonsense like a large horn, a tiny suitcase, sweets and other flim-flam. He loved it. To get to his present though he had to solve the giant treasure hunt that I’d set up for him because I’m a vexing sod. At least I kept this one to the house, unlike the first hunt I ever did.

That was a bloody corker. We used to live in the centre of Newcastle so I made the clues start around our flat and then fan out across the city. Want some ideas that I used? I wrote a clue in giant letters over the walls of our airing cupboard in UV paint, meaning he had to shut himself into the cupboard so it was pitch black and then use the little UV light on his keyring to find the clue. I froze a tiny clue the size of a match in a giant block of ice in the freezer. I wrote a clue on the bottom of a tin of peaches and put it back on the shelves in the co-op. My favourite though? I sealed a clue in a test-tube, corked it off, tied a ridiculously long length of fishing wire to the test-tube, tied that to the pillars on the quayside and then threw the tube in the water. His clue? ‘Go fishing’. Mahaha! Similarly, I stuck a clue to a helium balloon and then tied it with a 30m piece of fishing line to the railing on our balcony with the clue “Up”.

It took him three weeks to finish but we got there in the end. Anyway, back to now.

We celebrated the way we always do – spent the morning in bed farting and snoring then went out for the day. I told Paul that we could do anything he wanted to do for his birthday – he chose to go to a coal museum. Not quite the going down a shaft that I had in mind for the day, but hey, lady’s choice.

It actually wasn’t bad at all. See, Northumberland is very much a mining county, though far less so now. The earth underfoot was more pockmarked and scarred than a teenage boy’s face. The place where I live was a mining village until Margaret Thatcher came in and started being a slut. There’s more to it than that I’m sure but this isn’t the right place for political discussion. Anyway, we have a museum dedicated to coal mining not a kick off the arse from us, so away we went. Here’s an unusual thing: we weren’t robbed blind for entry and it was interesting, thoughtfully put together and maintained well. Good work Woodhorn!

We had the place to ourselves save for a braying foursome of hoorayers in Hunters Wellies who were loudly rah-rah-ing their way around the place. I inadvertently upset one of them when I told Paul to ‘hold back from the next exhibition as those toothy dickheads are still in there’, only for one of them to immediately appear in the doorway in front of me. I brazened it out and nothing was said. Listen, we were in a memorial to young lads who died in a pit explosion and they were carrying on like Jigsaw had just announced an Everything Must Go sale. Pfft.

We spent twenty minutes listening to two local old men describing their old mining roles, with me translating for Paul what they were saying as by God the Geordie accent was strong. I felt like the wee woman signing away in the corner of the telly during the night only I was mouthing ‘ROAD’ (ruuuurd) and ‘JOB’ (juuurb) and ‘BIT OF A POOR SPORT’ (haway y’fuckin’ radgie fucka) and ‘PRIME MINISTER MARAGARET THATCHER’ (eeee worra fuckin’ wuuurky ticket). He still looked bemused. I got my money’s worth out of the facilities by spending fifteen minutes sobbing and clutching my belly in the lavatories (we’d ordered Indian takeaway the night before, and by god was I seeing it again today) and then we made our way back to the car to head home.

Well, not quite. We spotted a little ramshackle narrow-guage railway just by the car park and, as luck would have it, a little train was just chugging its way into the station. There was no throng of people waiting to board so we thought why not and, after buying a ticket for a return (£2: can’t get vexed) journey, we climbed aboard. I saw the driver look at us and wince and well, they didn’t need to make such a big show of coupling another engine to the back of the train, you know? I jest.

Well – if I was reviewing this on TripAdvisor – I’d file it under ‘God bless them, they tried’. I’m sure it was meant for children, not two twenty-stone blokes with hairy arses and bad attitudes, but there’s only so much fun to be had from spluttering your way half a mile around a lake in the rain.

Oh, look, I’m being mean. It was exactly what you’d expect a £2 train ride to be, and I’m being churlish to moan about it. Good on them for a) not making it all tatty and themed and b) not ripping people off. Give it a go! The driver enjoyed it so much he had to tell all of his friends, which explained why he was looking at his phone the whole way. We crested a hill and saw that our destination was the other side of the lake where a Brewer’s Fayre pub awaited. Brewer’s Fayre is bad enough but on a Sunday? I’d have enjoyed it more if the train had derailed into the lake. We stayed on-board and made our way back through the forest, this time waving gaily at all the little children who the train was clearly designed for. We tried to Facebook Live the whole experience but Paul forgot to press record, so that’s that.

As we approached the car park for the second time I asked Paul what he fancied next and he said a club sandwich. He knows how to party, our kid. Anyway, knowing that ice-queen Margaret Brambles wouldn’t give a shiny shite whether it was his birthday or not, I set about trying to make a decent syn-free version, and here we are. As I’m a huge fan of word-play, I’ve called it two chubby clubs because it makes TWO FAT CLUB SANDWICHES! I know, right? I should be on the telly! Let’s do this. The recipe below is for one big sandwich, scale up as appropriate.

two chubby club sandwiches

two chubby club sandwiches

to make two chubby club sandwiches, you’ll need:

  • bread of your choice – we used seeded bread because it’s Paul’s birthday and we don’t care, but to keep it SW friendly you’ll need to use three slices of Kingsmill Wholemeal Crusts Away bread as your HEB
  • one big fat juicy tomato
  • three bacon medallions with the fat cut off
  • nice green lettuce
  • one bouncy and juicy chicken breast
  • one large egg
  • greek yoghurt (get the 0% fat version, keep it syn free)
  • any kind of hot sauce – optional – we used sriracha which is half a syn per tablespoon – we actually should have synned that I suppose, but it makes enough ‘sauce’ for two sandwiches, so quarter of a syn? Up to you!

You can get bacon and chicken from our massive Musclefood deal, just saying. Click here and relax, it’ll open in a new window. Plus the chicken isn’t full of water and nonsense and the bacon medallions cook well! Come on, let the Cubs fill your box once and for all!

to make two chubby club sandwiches, you should:

  • way really, it’s just a case of assembling your sandwich – I included a picture above so you can see what I mean, but here’s what is on each slice – read the recipe through first and then get everything on the go at once
  • make up some sauce by combining greek yoghurt with the hot sauce – or you know, syn some mayonnaise like a normal folk
  • toast your bread and keep it to one side
  • spread some sauce on one slice and top with freshly cut tomatoes
  • grill your bacon and put it on top of the lettuce and a bit of sauce on the second slice
  • you’re BACON me crazy, right?
  • boil up your egg and mush it up in a bowl with a tiny bit of greek yoghurt and lots of black pepper
  • for the chicken, I butterfly the breast (cut through horizontally most of the way through but don’t go all the way, baby – then fry it off in a good non-stick pan but instead of using oil, use lemon juice – make sure it doesn’t stick though. If you’re feeling all classy then you could use a griddle pan, hark at you
  • assemble

We served ours with chips because we’re fat and can handle all the carbs. You can leave stuff out if you don’t like it, add stuff in – it’s a veritable hokey-cokey of sandwiches.

Looking for more snacks? Sandwiches? Drink? Food? Click on the buttons and gorge yourself silly on our words!

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I’m sure you’ll all join in wishing Fattychops a happy birthday!

J

golden lentil and barley soup – look, I tried, OK?

I don’t think I’ve ever put a less appetising picture up on this blog (actually, that’s a fib, remember the time we accidentally uploaded a giant pulsing sphincter? No? Click here for that, it’ll open in a new window) than this golden lentil and barley soup. It looks like someone has already taken a stab and eating it and then chucked it back up for someone else to have a go with. But see, we do like to support our vegan members, with their milk-white skin and gunshot eyes, and this looked so appetising on the blog where I took the recipe from. Usually I take a recipe and adopt it for Slimming World myself but this required no changes so full credit and awe go to yupitsvegan. I’m sorry that I turned your delicious looking golden lentil and barley soup into a pile of tramp’s truffles.

Anyway, just a short entry tonight because it’s our anniversary. We’ve now been married six years. We both thought it was five as it happens and were shocked when Facebook’s lookback feature showed us both relaxing in the double bath six years ago. I mean, where does the time go? In May it’ll be our proper anniversary from when we started, how can I put this delicately…fucking, and that’ll be ten years. Ten years and we’re still dead romantic – only the other morning Paul murmured lightly, as I cuddled him, that I was ‘like a George Foreman grill’ – I keep him lovely and warm. D’aww. I recounted this whimsical tale of love into our facebook group only for someone to say ‘Is it not because you drip when he puts his meat in?’. Brrrr. Although it made me laugh, it does show a lack of understanding of the general mechanics of our shenanigans. Mind the romance doesn’t just flow one way, you know, look at the heartwarming notes I leave in his lunchbox (and I apologise for the naughty word, it’s rarely used on here):

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If that offends you, it shouldn’t, it definitely says fat aunt. Promise. *cough*

Now, rather than leave you unsatisfied and wanting more, I’m going to put the very first entry from our honeymoon book on here – it deals with our wedding day! The glitz. My writing style has changed somewhat since then but hopefully you’ll still get a taste of us…


Way back in 2009, also at Disney, I proposed to my stout little barrel of a man and he gleefully accepted. I think it was the fact we were in the middle of a lake and I’d be watching an awful lot of Dead Calm recently that hastened his positive reply. We got honked at by a passing Disney ferry whose inhabitants thought I was down on my knees doing something other than proposing. The nerve. I mean, it wasn’t Christmas! Zip forward to 3 January 2011 and the day before our wedding. Well, the glamour started right from the off with one of the cats deciding to do a dirty protest in the car whilst we ferried him over to my sister to look after. You’ve never seen someone wind a window down quicker than us that day, and because the cat is fearless and would have jumped, he stayed in his messy box all the way to my sisters. It was with tears in our eyes (and Vicks under our nose) to see our pooey little furball depart, but there you have it.

We spent the evening before the wedding in our first treat, a room at the Hotel du Vin in Newcastle. You may think Newcastle is purely the land of bust noses, bare flesh and broken hymens, but we’re more than capable of bringing the class, and this is one of the nicest hotels in the area. I mean, it has a cigar bar attached, for heaven’s sake. Our very first surprise of the honeymoon? We were upgraded to the best suite in the hotel, the Dom Pérignon suite. It was bloody beautiful. It’s the honeymoon suite and I was overjoyed, especially as I had only paid £68 for the room through my shrewd discount plans. A massive thank you to the staff of the beautiful Hotel du Vin, that’s for sure. The room had two bathtubs in the living room, and I think we were in the room for a grand total of two minutes before they were full of bubbles and we were laid in them watching Deal or no Deal on the giant TV and feeling like kings. The bed was wonderful too – it felt like it was 9ft wide – I could lie in it, stretch myself out and STILL not touch the sides. Sometimes I wonder why Paul married me.

There was NO late-night prodding awake with a bed this big.

After a meal on the Quayside and a romantic stroll back to our room, we settled down to sleep – our last night as bachelors! Here’s a sweet fact for you – in all the time we’ve been together, we’ve never had a night apart. A good start to the marriage methinks! And so…to the wedding!

We had decided a couple of months previously not to have a big do at all, and just a small registry office affair followed by a good dinner. I wish I could say it was for any other reason than the fact we’re both terribly selfish and Northern and thus the idea of spending money to facilitate other people having a good time appals us. Plus, I wanted to avoid the horrid old clichés of a civil partnership. Bah! I’m not casting aspersions on anyone else’s wedding but it suited us to have a small, tidy, manly do. So we did. Well, we did toy with the idea of dressing up like the sisters from Shakespear’s Sister’ Stay video but we were talked out of it. We became Husband and Husband in Newcastle Registry Office, presided over by an official who was the spit of Annie Lennox, and watched over by our immediate family and good friends.

The deed is done! Don’t you think the Argos CD player really sets off the room? 

As an aside, my gran was there, and she’s brilliant – despite being 87, she’s thoroughly accepting of our relationship and is always asking after Paul when I call up. I mean, there are limits to her acceptance – I didn’t dare explain what fisting was when she asked me one day after seeing the word on my phone (I might add, someone had texted it in a joke to me, I’m not that FILTHY). It still felt a little bit too formal for me, as I’m not used to someone addressing a suit-clad Paul without adding ‘the defendant’ afterwards. We decamped to SIX, the faffy little restaurant on top of the Baltic. It’s very posh. NOW, we’re not a posh lot, and class McCains as a ‘fancy potato style’ but you have to let your hair down once and a while, even if (as is the case in all the males at the table) you don’t have any.

So, a suitably lovely meal was had, only enhanced by the snotty waiter looking down his nose at us and rolling his eyes when I ordered a couple of bottles of reasonably-priced champagne. Well, reasonably priced for them – paying £65 for a bottle of fizzy cat pee gave me such a cold sweat that I had to excuse myself to the bathroom to calm my shakes. My nana, bless her, didn’t really fancy anything on the menu (I can’t blame her, I’ve never heard two bits of chard, a sliced tomato and a bloody drizzle of balsamic vinegar described as a French Salad before) but they were very good and cooked her up her own individual meal. I stopped short of asking them to put a glass of Banana Complan on ice, though.

After the meal, we went to the pub for an hour, then everyone dearly departed, and our honeymoon officially started. Yes! Back to the flat to really put the bed through its paces by er…putting the suitcases on it and tipping our wardrobe into them. I have to say, it wasn’t the first type of packing that I had planned for the wedding night. We slept, butterflies in our stomach (SIX would call them an amuse bouché) and in no time at all, we were in a taxi being bellowed at by a rather brusque taxi driver who wanted to know the far end of a fart and when it came from. Honestly. I spent the entire trip to the train station trying surreptiously to take a photo of his face on my phone so I would be able to identify who had burgled our house when we were away. Thankfully, that didn’t arise.

Straight onto the train, into the first class carriage (where you too can travel in style with an extra doily and a few crappy biscuits) and we were disappearing over the Queen Elizabeth bridge, saying goodbye to Newcastle from the bridge. Now here’s a tip for you. If you’re coming into Newcastle (or indeed leaving) from the South on the train, don’t look slackjawed to the right and admire all the bridges, but instead, look on the other side of the river, up the Tyne. As you cross the bridge, there’s a little wasteground, and it’s always full of men out ‘badger-hunting’. Yep – whereas most people are taken by the beauty of the moment, Paul and I spent the first minute of our honeymoon journey playing ‘Count the Cruiser’. What larks!

In no time at all, we were in London, our seedy capital. Kings Cross is lovely, yes, but in no time at all we had tubed our way to Victoria and onto the Gatwick Express, heading for the giddy heights of the Gatwick Hilton. What a place! After spending seven years navigating to the hotel from the train station (seriously, we spent so much time walking there that I almost gave up and set up base for the night), we were checked in by a clearly-couldn’t-care-less-customer-divvy and in our room. Grim. I’m not a hotel snob but after spending the night in the Hotel du Vin only two nights ago, the Hilton’s tired brown sheets and tiny bathroom didn’t exactly enamour the soul. After spending only a moment admiring the view (car-parks are just SO fantastic to gaze at), we trekked back to the airport and checked in super-early (is it still Twilight Check-in if it is during the day?) with Virgin Atlantic. We had pre-booked our seats in the bubble but no sooner had we dumped our bags than the lady behind the counter told us we had been moved. Argh! I was too busy trying to work out the best way to hide her body to take in what she was saying, but – hooray for thedibb – when I was back at the hotel I checked online and we were RIGHT at the front of the bubble. Get in! Not only do I get to look down at the cattle-class, but I was going to be on first-name terms with the pilot. OK, maybe not THAT close. And we don’t look down our noses at anyone…well…not much.

We spent the evening in the hotel, watching a home movie entitled ‘Britain’s Fattest Man’ starring Timothy Spall. It was very good, even if we didn’t feel a shred of shame stuffing a pork-pie into our gob the very moment he had his fat chopped off. A good nights sleep was had, and we were ready for day 1.


God, I’m absolutely itching to rewrite that, you know. Not least because it refers to my nana in the present tense instead of the past and I’m fairly sure she’s still Voldermort-ed. However, if you’re a glutton for punishment and you like sentences that never end and punctuation used like confetti, you can buy the rest of the honeymoon book right here.

Right, let’s deal with this delicious looking dinner, shall we? Mmmm! Get ready to gag! No I’m kidding, it looks like slop, but honestly, it tastes bloody lovely! Please don’t be put off!

golden lentil and barley soup

Look, to make up for that picture, here’s some similarly coloured cats:

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Why can’t we have a cat like that one in the middle? Why must we have one that licks his knob all day and another who scrapes her minnie-moo on the floor? For fucks sake.

to make golden lentil and barley soup, you’ll need:

  • a few sprays of olive oil – frylight if you must, but just don’t do it to yourself
  • one large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic or a reet good sprinkling of the powdered stuff
  • a fiddler’s thumb of fresh ginger (about an inch) (or powdered, about half a teaspoonful)
  • as above, but with fresh turmeric – can’t get fresh turmeric? Don’t shit the bed – just use about 1/2 teaspoon of the powdered stuff, I’ll never tell)
  • one large carrot – thinly sliced
  • pinch of cumin and the same again of coriander – don’t like your meals with cumin? Then don’t get so excited! Hello? Is this thing on? Hello? Nah, leave it out if you’re not a fan
  • 1200ml of decent vegetable stock / bouillon
  • 150g of red lentils
  • 100g or so of dry pearl barley
  • two tablespoons of tomato puree
  • salt and pepper to taste

You know what’s coming don’t you? You just know it! Buy a mincer to take care of your garlic, ginger and turmeric in no time at all. Also, chop your carrots quickly and uniform with a mandolin slicer, but for crying out loud, be careful. I’ve got fingers like snapped Matchmakers thanks to mine.

to make golden lentil and barley soup, you should:

  • chop up your onion nice and fine and then cook off in a bit of oil in a heavy-bottomed pan
  • once the onions have softened, add the minced garlic, turmeric and ginger and stir on a medium heat until everything smells lovely
  • add the coriander and cumin together with the chopped carrot and continue to cook gently until everything has softened a bit
  • add the pearl barley, lentils and stock – bring to the boil then drop it to a simmer

A quick note: take the time to wash the pearl barley more than a few times. Stick it in a sieve, get the hot water running, and rinse rinse rinse. Stops it going gloopy. Right, where were we…

  • cook uncovered for about 25 minutes until the lentils and pearl barley are cooked through – longer is fine, but you might need to top the liquid off with more stock
  • add the tomato paste and salt and pepper to taste, stir through and cook for another minute or two
  • serve – oh we added a drop of chilli sauce on the top but that’s up to you, see

If anyone asks, just reassure them that it’s hearty and delicious and syn free!

Looking for more soups? Try these!

Looking for more recipes overall? Click some buttons!

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Enjoy!

J

introducing the girthburger and a happy new year!

Well hello there! The girthburger awaits! We always get such a flood of new people joining in the New Year, and we can both absolutely sympathise. You’ve had an amazing Christmas but you’re getting out of breath wiping your bum and you have realised that things need to change. A bidet wouldn’t go with your bathroom so it’s time to lose weight. Bridget Jones once said that New Year’s Day is the worst time to make your resolutions and start your new life because everyone is still buzzing on nicotine, drugs, stranger’s semen (just us?), alcohol and good food, and I’m inclined to agree with her. It is pointless. So we’re starting tomorrow, even if new recipes are kicking off today.

Because there’s lots of new people, just a boring bit of housekeeping – I’ll keep it to bullet points though so it’s nice and short. If you’ve got the attention span of a gnat, click on this carrot to jump straight to the recipe.

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Where were we? Ah yes:

  • we’re 100% not Slimming World consultants – we’ve been members for nearly nine years and have spent so much money buying Slimming World books and magazines that we ought to be listed as shareholders on Companies House – we always check the syns online but if you’re ever unsure, check them yourself and if you have any further SW questions, speak to one of their excellent consultants;
  • along similar lines, we’re definitely not your average slimming / diet blog – I can’t bear 99% of food blogs out there. I hate all the cutesy-poo flowery language, I hate all the patronising U CAN DO IT!!!11 guff and I hate the fact that so many blogs out there advertise syn-free crap but only if you buy sweeteners from XYZ company and agar agar from ABC online. We’re not like that. We don’t soak our blog in adverts, we don’t spam people, we don’t bullshit and we don’t sugarcoat, not least because if we did sugarcoat our words, you greedy fuckers would only eat them;
  • that said, we do recommend Musclefood meat and get paid for doing so – but let me tell you this – the second they start going shite. we won’t use them. We recommend their products because we actually eat them. The same goes with the Amazon product we sometimes recommend in our recipes – if you buy them, we get a small bit of cashback, and that’s what keeps the blog going. If we don’t own the item we don’t recommend it, it’s as simple as that. We’re 100% open and honest here at 2CC – we’re not going to push a recipe just to get money;
  • our food is made with proper ingredients and we’re not afraid to use a few syns for a meal – that’s what they’re there for. It’s rare that we go above four syns though, so we’re hardly talking gutbusters; and
  • most recipes have a bit of waffle beforehand if something funny has happened or if I just fancy being gobby – just scroll down to the recipe if blue language and coarse humour offends you. Sending me a message telling me not to swear is never going to end well!

I think that covers everything! If you’re looking for all of our recipes, you can find them here. A humourous guide to Slimming World can be found here. All of our Musclefood deals are on one handy page right here. There’s a bit about the two fat blokes who run the blog right here. We’re on Twitter, we have a facebook page with 130,000 folks following and a facebook group (which is sadly full at the moment!). Ah and we have three books out – not recipe books, Mags would sulk, but rather two books of all our blog entries and another about our honeymoon in Florida. Click here for those – it’s worth it just to see what filth we get included with! All done! Here’s to a good year.

The burger then. Well christ, look at the bloody clip of it. It’s our response to all those towering monstrosities that you get in fancy burger joints these days. About eight hundred thousand of these places opened in Newcastle last year alone – I want to go (there’s just something appealing to me about cramming so much meat between two buttered buns) but I’m always worried that I’m going to have a heart attack mid-meal. At least at home I have Paul who knows his way around mouth to mouth.

The burger is syn free until you slather it in mustard and ketchup which weigh in at 1 syn per tablespoon. As the amount you put on is up to you, you’ll need to syn accordingly.

The recipe below is for one person (i.e it makes one burger with two patties inside) – just scale up as needed.

the girthburger

to make the girthburger you will need:

to make the girthburger you should:

  • add the diced onion to a small saucepan, add a splash of oil and a pinch of salt
  • stir, cover and cook over a medium-low heat and cook for about 40 minutes, until caramelised (stir every 15-20 minutes or so)
  • meanwhile, roll the mince into two balls and slap out onto a square of greaseproof paper
  • gently push down on top of the balls with one hand whilst cupping the edge, to make a burger shape
  • keep shaping and squashing until you end up with two burgers that are about ½cm thick – they might look massive, but that’s what you want!
  • in a small frying pan, dry-fry the bacon medallions over a high heat until crispy, slice in half lengthwise then set aside
  • toast each side of the wholemeal bun under the grill and then top with the sliced gherkins
  • add the tomato sauce and mustard
  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add a little oil, switch the grill on too (on high) at this point for later on
  • add the burgers to the pan (don’t overcrowd the pan – do it in batches if you need to) and sprinkle on the salt and pepper
  • cook each burger for one minute, then flip and cook for another minute, then flip again
  • spread over some of the caramelised onion and cook for another minute (the burgers should cook for three minutes in total)
  • remove the burgers from the pan and transfer to the grill pan
  • top with a slice of cheese and the strips of bacon and put under the grill on the highest shelf and grill just until the cheese has melted
  • stack the burgers on top of each other on the bap, add some sliced onion and enjoy!

if you love burgers as much as we do, give these other recipes a try!

Don’t forget, we’ve got over 400 other recipes just waiting for you! click one of the buttons below to find something else that might tickle your fancy…

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Happy new year, all!

J

actifry or one-pot lamb tagine

Here for the lamb tagine? Yes, that’s well and good, and perhaps you can’t wait, but if you have five minutes, why not take a moment to read part two of our trip to Switzerland?

I apologise for the length of the last entry – I’ll try and keep it a bit more sensible this time around. This actifry lamb tagine can very easily be made in a normal pot, by the way, just simmer for the same amount of time. Can’t go wrong. I’m typing this up when I actually should be knuckling down for some last-minute Christmas shopping as I have exactly nil Christmas presents bought. Oops. Ah well, lumps of coal and stern looks for all. I might send Black Santa from the previous post.

But anyway, enough grousing. Let us step back a week or so ago to a point where two fresh-faced, handsome men, stylishly dressed for the city and with hope in their hearts, stepped off the Geneva-bound easyJet flight from Newcastle. You’ll see us right behind them, sweating our tits off, pulling our balls free from the inside of our thunderthighs and exclaiming ‘IT’S RIGHT COLD’ as we stumble down the steps like a cow with advanced BSE.

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looking for part one? click here

Do you know, I think that’s the best banner yet.

The first thing we did in Geneva was have a stare-off with some Aldi version of Annie Lennox who was quite insistent that she should cut in front of us in the queue at security, for reasons I couldn’t ascertain from her scowling face and bleached grey hair. You could say she was a Thorn in my Side, but actually, I’d just call her a rude bitch. I don’t mind an elbow in my back-fat if it belongs to Paul but not someone who is jump the queue. Tsk. Paul and I made sure to stand beside each other, pressed firmly together, like Trump’s Wall but made from Tesco jeans and fat. My, she couldn’t half tut though. Imagine my concern.

Security waved us through – yet again, no stamp – why? I want stamps in my passport. I appreciate that means that I’ll probably need to travel somewhat further afield than what Newcastle Airport can offer me but still. Rumour tells me that I’ll get a stamp if I travel to Benidorm, but alas, the stamp will be on my nose by an orange chav with Naf-Naf shoes. Pfft. We made our way out of the airport and decided to have a sandwich and a coffee in one of the many pleasant eateries dotted about the concourse. Well, honestly – in what will doubtless be a running theme throughout these entries – it was so bloody expensive. We had been warned but we waved off the concerns and cautions with the haphazard air of the seasoned traveller. A sandwich and a small coffee? £13. I wanted to lean over the counter and ask if the sandwich came with someone to sit with me whilst I ate and regale me with Swiss fairy-tales but alas, my French doesn’t extend to lusty sass.

That’s another thing about Switzerland – you’re never quite sure whether you should be speaking in French, German, Italian or some bizarre hybrid of the lot. We both give speaking in the native language the old college try but it’s bad enough when you’re trying to summon the French for cheese and ham baguette from the distant memory vault of Year 9 French, it’s even worse when you have to try and build in a Germanic back-up plan. Shamefully, we both did rather more pointing and apologising in English this holiday then we’ve ever done before. We managed to receive disdain from so many races that I felt like Nigel Farage.

Having finished our sandwiches and drib of coffee, neither especially amazing, we made our way to get the train from the airport into the centre of town. I’d looked it up online and spotted that it was a mere 5 minute ride and, even with the Swiss propensity to take the normal price of goods and services and then square it, it was never going to cost that much. However, Paul had spotted somewhere on the Internet that tourists to Geneva were given a free ticket to travel in, saving us, oooh…£4 at best. He wouldn’t be shaken from the idea that we simply had to have this ticket and so it was that we spent a good thirty minutes scouring the airport for this mythical free ticket machine. I was thrilled, as you can imagine, given I was full of warm cheese and bitter coffee, and anyway, this is a man whose primary motive for buying a new car was because his old car was dirty and needed new tyres. He’s not exactly Martin Lewis, you know?

We eventually found the fabled free ticket machine, however, of course, it was located back in the arrivals bit and we’d already  gone through the customs channel, meaning we couldn’t nip back through. Conversation somewhat strained, we made our way back to the train station, I bought us two first class tickets and we were on a train in no time at all. My simmering rage was tempered when the train turned up – it was a double-decker train! I know that’ll be of no excitement to anyone with an active sex-life but to me, it was thrilling. There’s something captivating about climbing up stairs on a train to me – it gives me an opportunity to make grand staircase exits as I leave the train, for one.

As you’d expect, the train was comfortable, luxurious and clean, putting everything that barely trundles around our rail network to shame. There’s something pleasing about sitting in a train where you’re not greeted with a rolling wall of shit-vapour everytime those automatic toilet doors open, for one. We were perturbed by the scenes outside the train window though – I was expecting fastidiously clean streets and charming buildings but instead we were treated to a heavily graffitied jet-fuel depot and lots of suspicious looking men in stonewash denim. Happily, the train pulled smartly into a tunnel and all that was soon forgotten, deposited as we were into Genève-Cornavin station.

This was more like it. Our first true glimpse of Switzerland. First impressions? Very few fat people. I’m not sure why but it was noticeable – no-one clutching handrails on stairs and gasping, no-one shuffling with pained feet – everyone walking briskly and stylishly. I immediately felt bad and made to cover my man-boobs and sweat patches in my Scottish Widow coat. I don’t normally care, but who wants to be the cow pat a field of flowers?

We consulted our phones – thank the lord for google maps – and realised that it was an easy fifteen minute walk to our hotel, the Hotel N’vy, which you can gaze adoringly at by clicking here. Don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window. As we trundled along we were both struck by how clean it all was – yes, perhaps some of the buildings needed a gentle Karchering, but there wasn’t a pick of litter to be seen, nor the other unfortunate city sights that trouble Britain, such as smashed up phoneboxes or the homeless. I assume that’s because Switzerland treat their homeless like humans rather than inconveniences and shysters like we do in the UK.

Seriously, the amount of comments I read on our local rag’s facebook page about Newcastle’s homeless appalls me. Stuff like ‘they spend all their money on drugs so I don’t give them anything’ or ‘they’re all scammers’. You know, if you don’t want to donate or help, that’s fine, we’ve all got our reasons, but please don’t wear your arseholery like a badge. No-one is impressed. Frankly, if someone wants to put the quid or two that I’ll drop in their pot on some smack to get them through a winter’s night, so be it, good for them. I’d do the same thing if I was on the streets – not as if I’d get much for selling my body, for sure, though perhaps someone could cut me open and sleep in my belly like Leonardo di Caprio does in The Revenant with that antelope. If I’m being conned, at least I took a gamble.

Anyway, sidetracked, sorry. We made it to our hotel without getting lost once which is a bloody miracle given neither of us can find our arses with our elbows. Honestly, our sex life is just a long series of pointed directions – up a bit, down a bit, left a bit, no no, come down a bit, to me, to you – our neighbours must think we’re moving a large sofa around a tiny room with assistance from the Chuckle Brothers. Someone once suggested that we use the ‘scratch and sniff’ approach to lovemaking in the dark: pfft, that would work, save for the fact Paul’s arse smells like a stable fire where the horses didn’t make it to safety.

The receptionist was an absolute delight – couldn’t speak a lick of English, unusually, but we managed to laugh our way through the reservation and she took my American Express with skilled panache. Funny how the language barrier never stands in the way of payment, eh?

We were lucky, too – despite us arriving at around 11ish in the morning, they’d already prepared the room (the usual: reinforce the toilet, plastic sheeting on the bed, make sure the telly can receive Tipping Point and The Chase) and we were ushered upstairs with our luggage by some friendly chap in a lovely hat. He didn’t hold his hand out for a tip which was fortuitous as I only had notes of 100 Swiss Francs (about £80) and in Switzerland that would have only just been enough to get him to hold the door open. He left us to our room where, you guessed it, Paul’s holiday traditions took place – a look in the minibar, the stealing of anything small and portable into our freshly emptied suitcase, and yes, an eye-watering poo. I’d barely got the cap of my complimentary bottle of sparkling water before I heard rapturous groans and heavy splashing from the lavatory, followed by “JUST MAKING ROOM FOR THE FONDUE MY LOVE”. Isn’t he a treat? I don’t think I’ve ever been in a hotel room with Paul for longer than fifteen minutes before it smells like a rendering plant and I can barely read the minibar list through my streaming eyes.

I’d like to tell you that we bustled straight out of the door to enjoy the city but actually, once Paul had finished his poo and had a shower, the early start caught up with us and we decided to spend the day ordering room service and sleeping. We like to spend a full day exploring the city but we needed to be fresh and ready for that, and frankly, we’ve both been working super hard lately. We needed the rest. At some point, in between the drunken sleeping (we raided the minibar, and by god we’d truly pay for that later) and ordering of burgers and chips and sandwiches, Jingle All The Way came on the TV. Aaaah, it doesn’t get any more Christmassy than that, does it?

Let’s pick up the rest of this in our next entry. I apologise that I don’t move on very quickly when I’m typing up holiday entries, but I just love writing about them! I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts. To the recipe, then.

We’ve taken this from the MyTefal app, but modified it slightly and gave it a sexier name. We know it’s not a real lamb tagine. Deal with it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t normally need a lot of encouragement to get my hands on a dishy Moroccan, but here we go. I don’t know how they can get away with calling it a lamb tagine, either, given it’s a very ‘dry’ dish. This makes enough for four or so chunkers.

lamb tagine

to make actifry lamb tagine you will need:

  • 900g diced lamb
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 5 tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded chopped into large chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Actifry’s are back under £90 on Amazon – I don’t expect they’ll stay that way so if you’re sitting on the fence, get one now by clicking here! It’s bloody Christmas, treat yourself.

to make actifry lamb tagine you should:

  • place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well, leave to marinade for 30 minutes
  • cook in the actifry for 27 minutes
  • that’s it

Doing this in a pot? You’ll need to do it a little differently – brown off the lamb first by cooking in a bit of oil. Add about 100ml of lamb stock to the pan and allow to gently bubble along with everything else until thickened and lovely. Serve with rice. Or hoy it all in a slow cooker. Hey, each to their own, am I right?

Looking for more ideas on what to do with lamb? Click the buttons below!

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Enjoy!

J