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.

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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:

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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

syn-free broccoli and cheese breakfast wraps

Can I make a plea? Please don’t write this recipe for broccoli and cheese breakfast wraps off without trying it because the idea of broccoli at breakfast makes you queasy. It’s absolutely worth a try! They freeze too so if you like them, make a batch and then that’s breakfast sorted!


Second plea: turns out Paul set up a PO Box for us! We often get asked if people can send us gifts or other such things at Christmas: honestly, there’s absolutely no need. We’ve got everything we need because we’ve got each other and easy access to a local takeaway. But we would love – absolutely love – to get a Christmas card from you! We’ve already had some absolute corkers and I’d love to fill a shelf with lovely messages! If you can spare a moment and a stamp, please send a card to:

twochubbycubs
PO Box 217
Bedlington
NE63 3FA


If you’ve found our recipes useful or had a laugh at our antics, this is the chance to let us know! We would both be absolutely touched 🙂 – thank you all!

Before I even start, I need to regale you with a bit of hilarity. We’ve been wrapping presents in the utility room this afternoon and we’re just sitting down with a totally syn-free Baileys Hot Chocolate when our cat came steaming into the living room. Nothing unusual in that, you might think, only she was scooting across the living room carpet at a rate of knots on her arsehole, pulling herself forward with her feet. She looked like a determined, furry Roomba, only leaving a faint hiss of digested Whiskas for good measure on our fancy black carpet. Naturally we were full of concern and once we’d stopped laughing (laughing to the point Paul actually fell off the sofa) we managed to catch her and check her over. Turns out she’d got a piece of double-sized tape stuck just above her minnie-moo and was pulling herself along to try and get rid of it. I spent a minute very carefully pulling it away, being treated to a far more detailed view of my cat’s vagina than I could have ever hoped to see on a Saturday evening, and she was back on her way, ignoring us evermore. I’m sure she will take her revenge tomorrow once we put the tree up. We once came home to find the entire tree tipped over which, when you consider it was standing in one of those tree-gripper

Speaking of my cat’s vagina (because why not?) I remember when we first got Sola, our queen. We saw an ad online from some rough trollop in nearby Blyth who was giving cats away because she didn’t want them anymore. So aghast was I by the state of the living room in the photos of the cats that I told Paul we had to rescue the littlest one at the very least and so it was that we ended up in a derelict car park at 10pm at night picking up a cat. It was like Breaking Bad, only with more mincing.  She was the tiniest little thing and we spoilt her rotten until one day she broke. Yes, broke.

We awoke to the most horrifying sound imaginable – like she was meowing into a hoover tube, all distressed and unhappy. We hastened out of bed and found her lying in the hallway, at which point she immediately stopped meowing and started purring all content as could be. As soon as we stepped away the awful meowing would start up again. Surely she hadn’t fallen in love with us so hard that our absence from her field of vision caused her such suffering? We were perplexed and it was only after 20 minutes of googling and ringing my mother that we found out what was wrong – she was horny.

Which, to be fair, explained why every time we looked in her direction she was lying on her front with her fadge raised up into the air.

It was awful. We couldn’t take her to get spayed because most vets won’t do it when the cat has come on, so we had to wait for her kitten-bajingo to cool off and calm the fuck down, meaning we were subjected to almost a week of her caterwauling, licking away at her privates and backing herself up against the front door for every passing tom. She was like Paul when the binmen turn up to take our bins away. At one point I came through the front door just as she was pressing herself against it and I swear she ended up like those stick-on-Garfield’s you used to get on car windows. We had her spayed the very second we were able to (presumably when the vet’s scalpel wouldn’t come out looking like someone had sneezed on it) and all was well again. We were given strict instructions not to let her jump up anywhere in case her stitches burst open and her innards came tumbling out, so we took turns sleeping with her in the spare bedroom. That week, post operation, was the nicest she’s ever been to us – all nuzzling and warm and friendly. Since then, she’ll give us the occasional moment of civility in amongst all the hissing, scratching and ignoring she manages to throw at us, but that’s alright, I’m a big lad, I can take it.

There’s no secret that we love Christmas – it’s the best time of year for both of us, even if last Christmas we ended up so ill we spent three days on the sofa snoring and sniffing and farting and only moving to nip to ASDA for tonic water and more gin. I don’t think one single hour passed that Christmas that wasn’t punctuated with the sound of Paul slicing a lime or the hiss of a tonic. This year we plan to push the boat out a little and have lots of decorations, including getting our Christmas tree nice and early as opposed to waiting until December 24th to buy a tree with as much foliage as a 12 year old boy’s top lip.

One new thing this year that we’ve just finished doing is putting up lights outside. Every year we fill our windows with twinkling beauties but this year, thanks to us having the foresight to arrange for some thick-fingered electrician to come around and fit us an outdoor sockets, we can finally light up Chubby Towers the way it was meant to be. We nipped onto ebay, researched the brightest possible LED Christmas lights available and naturally, bought two sets. It looks tremendous. Best part? It’ll wind up the one neighbour who hates us. Everyone else in the street is lovely bar the arse who thought the gays would bring the house-prices down. You can imagine how distressed I am at the thought of him being inconvenienced by our lights. I hope a plane attempts to land in his front garden – it’ll give him a distraction from our cat pooing in there.

In the meantime, let’s not keep you a moment longer than is necessary – here’s a genuinely fantastic recipe for a breakfast wrap that you can make, freeze and reheat at your leisure. I made six and two went in the freezer, which tells you everything you need to know. You might be put off by the thought of broccoli for breakfast but come on, when have I ever steered you wrong?

to make broccoli and cheese breakfast wraps you will need:

  • 1 broccoli (cut off the main stalk but leave the rest)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • few slices of ham
  • 160g reduced fat red leicestershire cheese, grated (4x HeA)
  • 4 bFree gluten free tortillas (4x HeB) (take a moment to double check your tortillas – the HEB allowance changes often!)

to make broccoli and cheese breakfast wraps you should:

  • put the broccoli and red pepper into a food processor and blitz until chopped – it’s fine to have lumps though, it doesn’t need to be fine dust
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a little oil or a few sprays of whatever you use
  • add the onion and chopped ham and cook for about five minutes
  • add the broccoli and pepper mixture to the pan and cook for another five minutes
  • meanwhile, beat the eggs with a bit of salt and pepper
  • add to the pan with the broccoli and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until the eggs are cooked
  • remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool slightly
  • heat another frying pan, big enough for a tortilla, over a medium-high heat
  • add the tortilla to the pan and in the middle spoon in some of the broccoli mixture and top with the grated cheese
  • fold along the bottom and across the sides, and turn over so the seam is against the bottom of the pan – sear for about 20 seconds to form a seal
  • serve – the cheese will be gooey and I promise this will be lovely!

Enjoy. More breakfast ideas you say?

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I’m adding the vegetarian button because you could easily leave out the ham!

J

pork and apple burgers with blue cheese

Did you miss us? I know, we’re just awful people. You’ve probably been logging on every day, typing through your tears, crying into your pillows, wailing and sobbing and bawling about our lack of posts. For that I apologise. But see, we just needed a proper break from the blog just to freshen up and do some back-end stuff, which isn’t a euphemism for anal sex, unusually. Most of it is done, second book is almost finished, all is well in the world.

One mistake we’ve made though is declaring that we really ought to watch Lost again. See, we have a big fancy TV and that Sky Q service that gives you everything you need and more for a vastly overpriced sum every month, yet all we watch is Police Interceptors (and that’s more because it’s the only way for either of us to see how our nieces and nephews are growing – aaah, they look so grown-up in their ASBA ankle-bracelets and Madidas tracksuits). Lost took over our lives a few summers ago to the point where both of us feigned having swine flu just to stay at home and see what happened next. That was back in the day when I used to work for an organisation which class a full day’s work as turning up before 11 and nicking off at 3pm. No wonder they shut the place down…

…anyway, as a result of our foray back into Lost, we’re losing time all over the place. Every night becomes ‘one more, just one more’ and I’ve taken to calling Paul ‘Hurley’ on account of his big fat tits. Poor guy.

We’re still fat, by the way. We did toy with the idea of relaunching the blog as a Weight Watchers blog for shits and giggles but I didn’t want to be responsible for eight hundred heart attacks at once – I’ve seen how angry some of you get over Iceland running out of curry sauce, let alone us taking the recipes away. I swear to God I’ve seen a poor Iceland worker covered in so much spittle by a venting Slimming Worlder that I nearly wiped his face down myself with my sleeve. We’ve accepted that this year is a bit of a write-off and that we will shallow breathe our way to New Year, but we have something nice planned for 2017 which really will provide some focus…

My health anxiety made a brief but unwelcome reappearance when I went to the loo only to notice a load of blood in the water. Frightening. Naturally, I had diagnosed myself with advanced and terminal bowel cancer by the time I had wiped my nipsy and it was only after eight hours of hyperventilating and worried emailing that Paul remembered we’d had about four bowls full of red pepper soup the night before and his er…droppings, were equally as scarlet. So at least I can add that to the list of diseases I’ve beat this year.

We took the recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I had to persuade Paul that he liked blue cheese after all when he did one of his usual 180 degree spins on food – he’s as bad as our cats. We bought 84 pouches of Whiskas a few weeks ago as the cats seem to love it only to find that the very first pouch was completely ignored, meaning we have 83 pouches to take along to the cat and dog shelter to give to cats who don’t have a rod stuck up their arse. Anyway, Paul was simply adamant that he didn’t like blue cheese because ‘it smells like off-cock’ (to be fair, he’s right on that point) until I reminded him that he’d managed to put away half a wheel of cheese at my mum’s Christmas buffet last year to the point he constipated himself over the New Year. Suddenly, when faced with that enticing detail, he remembered he DID like cheese after all. It’s the little things.

Right, to the recipe then…this really is an easy dinner to make – serve with a side salad or, more realistically, a load of chips, and you’ll be in Fatty Heaven.

pork and apple burger with blue cheese

to make a pork and apple burger with blue cheese you will need:

Can I make a recommendation? If you make a load of homemade burgers, get yourself a little burger press. This is the one we have – there’s plenty of cheaper models out there too but this has the advantage of not looking like your kitchen has been fitted out by Fisher Price. Plus, it’s only a couple of quid more. You get nice uniform compressed burgers that don’t fall apart in the pan.

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to make a pork and apple burger with blue cheese you should:

  • mix together the pork, diced apple and paprika
  • leave to chill for twenty minutes to firm up
  • divide the mixture into four and shape into burgers
  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and put over a medium-high heat
  • add the burgers and cook for about 6 minutes each side
  • when cooked, lob into a bun with a bit of lettuce and crumble over the blue cheese

Done! It’s as easy as that. You could make a few extra burgers and freeze them if you please. Looking for more meal ideas? But of course. Click the buttons below!

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Enjoy! Ah, I’ve missed you guys.

J

droptober recipe #14: one-pot pork and rice

Very quick post tonight, folks – one-pot pork and rice, just another one pot meal that we had left over! James is cooking so unusually, you’ve got the other Cub coming on your screen. Lucky!

I’m dead excited today because they’re putting up the Christmas decorations in our town – I mean, they look shite but it’s a sure sign that Christmas is on it’s way and it’s my favourite time of year! I love it all and there is literally no limit to how much Quality Street I can eat. Seriously, I try to warn people but they don’t listen and then bitch on when it’s just fudge left in the tub.

We’ve promised ourselves this year to put up some lights on the outside of our house (I know, the pinnacle of class) because it’s something I have ALWAYS wanted to do. And, because I know that the super-bright LEDs you can now buy with super-epilepsy mode is sure to piss off Nos. 1-5 on our street. Christmas is always a lovely affair here at The Sticky Patch, we never skimp on our trees and despite our complete lack of design skill we actually do a pretty good job of it. It’s certainly a step-up from what it was like when we were younger, with the cheapest possible tree from the Freemans catalogue sitting in the corner of the room doing a fantastic impression of an impending bonfire with its three sets of lights wired into the same plug. Mother would be eggwashing some frozen sausage rolls in the kitchen with a light dusting of fag ash and my sister and I would be sent away with an Argos catalogue and a strict limit – we had to write down exactly what we wanted, price, page number and catalogue number and a running sub-total. If it weren’t in that catalogue you couldn’t get it. Magical times.

What you can get, however, is this simple recipe for one-pot pork and rice. Serves four optimistically, two realistically. Listen, it looks like shite, I know, but it tastes good, I promise!

one-pot pork and rice

to make one-pot pork and rice you will need:

to make one-pot pork and rice you should:

  • squeeze the meat out the sausage casing so you get about 4 ‘balls’ from each sausage and roll into a perfect ball
  • heat a large casserole dish over a medium-high heat, spray with oil (save your pans and get one of these) and brown the meatballs on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside
  • add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for a further five minutes, until softened
  • add the cumin, coriander and rice to the pan and stir well
  • pour in the vegetable stock and the chopped tomatoes and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan
  • simmer for ten minutes until the rice is done
  • gently stir the meatballs into the rice, and serve

 

if you’re looking for more tasty recipe ideas, just click the buttons below!

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J

droptober recipe #10: rainbow superfood salad with yoghurt dressing

I bet you’re all clammy with the thought of a rainbow superfood salad, aren’t you? Who could blame you? Let’s be honest, none of us got to where we are by eating edamame beans and rare grains, did we? Not unless they were deep-fried and served as a garnish on a kebab. If that’s the case, what type of bloody kebab shop are you going to, you fancy fucker? Our local is Kebabylon and a meal isn’t complete unless you’ve pulled enough of the cook’s back-hair out of your dinner to make a tiny brillo pad to scrub the grease off your chins. But er, yes, the recipe will follow, but first some unimaginable nonsense.

Today has me sat in the house waiting for our Sky engineer to come and fit us a new Sky Q box. Why this requires a) an engineer visit and b) me to take a day off work is an absolute mystery. I do have someone coming to finger my guttering at some point in the afternoon but really, when don’t I? I semi-dilate when anyone with rough hands and a beard drives past the house. Paul sent me a text message ten minutes after leaving the house this morning to say “no need to suck the engineer off, we’ve already arranged a sizeable discount on the Ultra HD package”, which I think is a bit below the belt. I mean, he’s got a point – I’m a cheap bastard and I’d do full unprotected anal if it meant free fibre broadband for a year, but still. Give me some credit. Oh and speaking of Sky, it’s lucky I checked the ‘before we visit’ letter which mentions the need to know our Wifi password. Our Wifi password, as it turns out, was WELOVEBIGCOCKS8669! – I’ve just changed it to something entirely innocent – fancyafelchyouhunkybucketofspunk apparently didn’t meet the security requirements. Who knew? I did toy with leaving it unchanged for a laugh but felt that it would look like a clumsy attempt at a come-on – long-time readers must recall that this is one of my fears with having workmen in the house, that every sentence sounds like I’m trying to set away some cheesy porn-style scenario. I’m such a clutz, I can barely pass over a cup of tea without putting my cock in it. Aaaah well. We’ll see what time he turns up.

It’s also a very sad day in our house. For years we’ve been saying we need to buy a Roomba to replace the old Roomba that broke and went beetling into our garage, never to return, when we moved house. But they start at £400, we’ve got a fancy Dyson Digital vacuum anyway AND we have a cleaner, so we couldn’t really justify it. Until last Thursday night when we were pissed out of our nut on Waldhimbeergeist and lemonade (I don’t know either: it was a random bottle of something from Lild – could have been industrial bleach for all we knew, but it tasted nice and had a raspberry on the front so we rolled the dice and got smashed). It’s amazing how alcohol changes your justification for spending money and as a result, we had a Roomba delivered by the good folks from Amazon on Saturday morning. How we gazed admiringly at it, knowing it would scoot about during the day time terrorising the cats and pulling the odd bit of hair and crushed cat treat from our carpet. We could finally relax with the gentle hum of the robotic whirring to sing us to sleep.

Nope.

Turns out Roombas can’t function on black carpet. Our house, bar the kitchen, is either black carpet or black tile (don’t worry, it goes tastefully with the Misty Mountain grey on the walls: may I remind you we are homosexual) and as a result, the Roomba senses these black patches as ‘cliffs’, throws a bit of a strop, spins a bit and then beeps forlornly. Putting him down on the living room carpet must feel like, to him, being hurled into a black hole of no escape. We placed him into the kitchen for a laugh (our kitchen floor being black and white square tiles – our kitchen has an American diner theme, it’s very fancy) and it was hilarious – I’ve never seen a robot actually have a fit but the poor fucker was jitterbugging and stuttering all over the place. I had to put a small pile of ground Diazepam down on the white tile just to calm him the fuck down. Anyway, back into the box and returned to Amazon with a naturally furious email about there being no mention of the Roomba’s sense of existential dread.

Perhaps it’s a good thing. Our house is too connected. One of my colleagues expressed some reservations about our ‘House of Connected Things’, citing concern about security and the ability for folks to hack our home. Really, I know it’s more a pressing worry that I’m not going to turn up at work of a morning because I’ve been killed in my sleep by Amazon Alexa instructing a rogue Roomba to come and hoover all of the oxygen out of my lungs whilst I sleep. We buy our gadgets and nonsense because we don’t have children to spoil and they’re great, but I did think to myself as I walked into the house, said clearly “Alexa, please turn on the lights” only for her to turn one light on and start playing Bill Bryson, how much time are we actually saving here? It’s a novelty being able to turn our heating on from the sofa by telling Nest to ‘turn the hallway down to 9 degrees’ but again, it’s no hardship at all to get up and turn the thermostat down. Actually, that bit is a lie – we get these things because we’re bone-bloody-idle, so anything that minimises our movements is no bad thing.

I have discovered one excellent thing about Amazon Echo though – I can say “Alexa, play The Archers” whilst I’m having a crap and it’ll start playing the latest episode through the house speakers. An episode of The Archers is just the right length to enjoy when you have a shaggy brown dog scratching at the back door. However, as we don’t have a speaker in the bathroom, I have to “Alexa: turn it up” about eight times until it gets loud enough for me to satisfactorily hear it from the bathroom. The downside to this is that the Alexa gets so loud that once I’ve finished my business and moved back to the living room it is playing too loud to hear me shouting “Alexa: shut the fuck up” at it, meaning I get locked in an increasingly loud, shrill and vicious circle trying to make myself heard over the sound of POOR OLD HELEN ARCHER fussing about her joint bank account. I can’t imagine, in the entire history of The Archers being on air, anyone ever seeming to react so violently to Rob being slow-clapped off the cricket team. My poor neighbours must think I have the most exciting time paying my sewer-tax with all the yelling and middle-class braying that goes on.

Ah well. On that classy note, let’s sign off for the day. I’ve just discovered that you can play the original Rollercoaster Tycoon on the Mac so I thoroughly expect to be hearing this for the next eight hours. Does this take anyone else back?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT45kiI5FYw

Now let’s take a look at today’s recipe, shall we? Rainbow superfood salad. It’s a salad idea for lunch. These usually go down like a shit in a lift but please, give it a go – it’s easy enough to make and, for a salad, tastes bloody good. The dressing is syn free, as you’d expect, and the whole bowl is full of crunch and goodness. As with all of our recipes, do mix it up – if there’s stuff in here you don’t like, just swap it for something else. Can’t be arsed finding farro? Don’t blame you (though it’ll be wherever the quinoa or couscous is in your supermarket), swap it for another grain or leave it out entirely. Not a fan of feta? Then you’re a sick bastard and you should be ashamed: feta is lovely! Pfft. This recipe is a hybrid of one that I found here and a Marks and Spencers superfood salad which I had to stop buying because each visit to the supermarket at lunchtime was becoming more dangerous: I was one shuffling old biddy fumbling about the meal-deals away from mass genocide. Enjoy!

rainbow superfood salad

to make a rainbow superfood salad, you’ll need:

  • 100g of farro (before you all send me messages saying what’s farro: it’s like quinoa’s fatter cousin and can be found in the same place in the supermarket – feel free to swap for couscous)
  • one small red onion
  • one red pepper and one yellow pepper
  • half a box of edamame beans (you can buy these in Tesco’s fruit and veg bit – or swap them out for chickpeas)
  • half a small red cabbage chopped up nice and fine
  • pomegranate seeds (either from a fresh pomegranate – which I really struggle with as I’m mildly trypophobic, or buy them from the supermarket in a little pot)
  • 45g of feta (which is one HEA)
  • for the dressing, just mix some mint sauce into natural fat free yoghurt – I know, we’re not fancy here

to make a rainbow superfood salad, you should:

  • cook the farro according to the instructions on the packet – but you don’t want to cook it to mush and you definitely want to make sure you’ve washed it well afterwards so it doesn’t go all starchy
  • I cook my farro in chicken stock because I’m a cruel, murdering meat-eating bastard, but feel free to use veggie stock – it just adds another note of flavour
  • chop everything up into small chunks and then scatter through the cooked farro
  • season with salt and pepper if you so desire
  • see above for the dressing
  • this will keep cheerfully in the fridge for up to three days, but only as long as you don’t dress it – once it has been dressed, get it eaten

Done! I’d love to think this rainbow superfood salad wasn’t dismissed out of hand because it’s a bloody gorgeous lunch – don’t be put off by the ingredients, just swap them out for stuff you don’t like, but if you’ve never tried edamame, pomegranate, cabbage or farro in a salad, give it a whirl! For more ideas on what to put in your mouth, click the buttons below!

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J

droptober recipe #8: syn-free tomato ketchup

Just a recipe for syn-free tomato ketchup today – no time for chit-chat because we’re getting shit done. I say getting shit done, we’re actually trying our best to work through 87 episodes of Police Interceptors and Jeremy Kyle before the Sky man gives us a new box on Monday. I’m not having him judging me based on the fact that most of our TV recordings have the word ‘Benefits’ in the title somewhere and have all been recorded from Channel 5 HD. What can I say? I’m a sucker for seeing bumblebee-teeth (yellow, black, venomous) in blistering high-definition.

So, syn-free tomato ketchup. I did have a look around for a syn-free version and indeed, Slimming World have their own take on the tomato ketchup, but naturally, they add artificial sweetener. So it’s syn-free but tastes like shite (in my humble opinion). Other recipes use passata which is fine, but if you can get your hands on proper tomatoes from the market or grown yourself, all the better. This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver, a man who thoroughly divides our house. Paul hates him with a passion, whereas I think he’s a sweet-natured fella with his heart in the right place, even if his tongue isn’t.

To the recipe then. To be clear, this recipe does contain 50g of brown sugar which should be synned at 10 syns. But it also makes about six bottles worth of the size you can see in my picture. Given there’s probably about 10 servings per bottle, it works out at less than a tenth of a syn per dash. If you’re the type of person who puts ketchup on like you’re trying to hide the food you’re eating underneath, perhaps you ought to syn it. Your choice. You’re an adult, after all, though even if you used every last bit of sauce in one meal, it would still only be 10 syns. So…?

It does use a lot of ingredients but you ought to have most of them kicking around in the cupboard and yes, it is one of those recipes that you could just use a bit of Heinz and syn it – but damn if it doesn’t taste good! We made a batch with red tomatoes and another with orange, hence the colour difference. We added a bit more vinegar to the orange sauce and reduced the sugar – made for a more ‘sweet and sour’ taste. Listen, I know, we’re amazing.

syn-free tomato ketchup

to make syn-free tomato ketchup, you’ll need:

  • 1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ bulb fennel, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • some spray olive oil
  • a little knob of ginger, about the size of your thumb, minced using one of these to save time
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, also using the tool above
  • ½ fresh red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped (feel free to leave out if you’re not a fan of ringsting)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped (if you buy a plant, stick it in water afterwards and it’ll cheerfully grow again)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • good pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 kg yellow, orange or green tomatoes , chopped, or 500g cherry or plum tomatoes, halved plus 500g tinned plum tomatoes
  • 200ml red wine vinegar
  • 50g soft brown sugar

to make syn-free tomato ketchup, you should:

  • make sure you’ve got a heavy duty pot for this – non-stick and decent size
  • give the pan a few squirts of oil then add everything solid bar the tomatoes – the onion, fennel, celery, ginger, garlic, basil stalks, pepper, salt, cloves and coriander seeds
  • cook gently for about fifteen minutes until everything is softened slightly, then add the tomatoes and 350ml water and allow to gently simmer, like a loved one taking a huff because you recorded over her soap operas
  • allow to simmer until it has reduced by half – can take a while, but there’s no rush here
  • once reduced, throw in the basil leaves and whoosh the sauce with a stick blender – or allow to cool and do it in the food processor, whatever is easiest
  • Jim recommends sieving the sauce twice and I agree – it’s a fart on but it makes for a much smoother ketchup
  • return to the heat and add the vinegar and sugar – stir well and again, allow to simmer for ages until it’s really reduced down and gone nice and thick and gloopy – this took a couple of hours for me, stirring every now and then – no need to rush these things
  • once you’re happy, and you know it, and you really want to fucking show it, decant the ketchup into your sterilised bottles
  • to sterilise bottles, according to the BBC:

Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Place the jars on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to dry completely.

  • keep in the fridge until you need a bit of ketchup in your life – it’s that easy!

Our bottles are cute, but you can use anything glass as long as you sterilise it first. We have fancy Kilner ones because of course we do, and you can buy a set on Amazon for a reasonable enough price by clicking here. They have the added bonus of allowing you to look like a right hipster sod by drinking your smoothies from them too! LOVE YOU.

RIGHT. Must get back to the TV, Paul’s eyes have become unfocussed from so much flashing lights. If you want more recipes, click some of the wonderful buttons below, and have a smashing weekend.

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J