recipe: syn free leek and blue cheese soup

Syn free leek and blue cheese soup: if you can get past the gipping and the heaving as you open the packet of cheese and you smell that uniquely manky honk, then a delicious soup awaits you.

You know, if I may, do try and persevere with blue cheese, and indeed any food that leaves you cold. Tastes change as you mature. and you only have to look at me as proof of that maxim: I used to believe that the best look I ever had was my shoulder-length black and blue hair, whereas truthfully I looked like something an insane person would draw crawling from a well in their nightmares. Samara? I barely trapped her!

Anyway, today’s recipe for leek and blue cheese soup is a quickie, and so I won’t keep you for too long with the blog post only to tell you my idea for a movie. We’ve all seen Speed and decreed it amazing, and Speed 2 is an enjoyable bit of popcorn fluff, even if Jason Patric has all the acting range of a greased doorknob. In fact, this idea only came about because I was listening to the excellent Speed 2 score on a drive home lately, which always adds a frisson of excitement to navigating the central motorway.

So: Speed 3. Obviously they’ve done a bus, a subway train, a boat and Willem Dafoe, a man whose face would frighten toothpaste back into its tube. You’d think the possibilities are exhausted, but no. Aeroplane. It seems so obvious when you think of it but the fact it hasn’t been done already leads me to think I’m Alfred Hitchcock reincarnated, and not just because I’m fat and look good with a cigar. Where were we?

It’s a ‘smart plane’ with lots of fancy technology but oh no – the pilots are no longer needed to fly them, they’re that safe. But what do you know? A disgruntled ex-pilot sabotages the first passenger-carrying flight because he’s got a tittylip about being put out of a job. The plane climbs to 33,000ft and then suddenly boom – the inflight entertainment displays a message to everyone saying that if the plane descends below 15, 000ft, it’ll blow up. It’s an altitude bomb. Heavens! Lots of panicking and shrieking and heavens-to-betsy but what do you know? Sandra Bullock has retrained as a flight stewardess. That’s right: she had so much fun driving that bus that she swapped it for a trolley full of perfume and cigarettes.

Now I can’t work out for the life of me why Sandra Bullock would end up trying to control the plane but that’s what scriptwriters are for. I’m also not a certified pilot, or indeed any pilot at all, so I’m not 100% it would work, but a couple of the set-pieces would be a fire which necessitated one of the doors being blown off in order to suck the oxygen out and starve the fire. But then that creates a new problem because there’s only limited oxygen in those wee tanks everyone gets. WHAT A CALAMITY. There’d be a scene where they’re all trying to fight the plane but it’s throwing them around and all it’s all terrifically exciting.

Anyway the end would involve the plane flying upside down to trick the altitude bomb and Sandra Bullock parachuting out the back. No, I don’t know where she got a parachute but haway, it’s Sandra Bullock, she flew through space with a fire extinguisher and an anguished grimace, she can do this. Oh and the passengers? Dunno. SHIT NO yes I do: they climbed inside the terrorist-proof cargo hold with a tonne of pillows and when the plane went kaboom at the end they were fine.

Best part? It’s called Speed 3: Bad Altitude and the tagline for every poster would be ‘Fear Takes Off’. Admit it, you’d watch the shit out of that. Hollywood? Call me!

That’s enough of that nonsense anyway, young lady. Let’s do this SYN FREE leek and blue cheese soup, shall we? SHALL WE?

leek and blue cheese

You try making a leek and blue cheese soup look good. Go on, I dare you. Mind it does look a bit like the opening of Heroes but in soup form.

`leek and blue cheese

syn free leek and blue cheese soup

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 bowls

Leek and blue cheese soup. It's quick, it's syn free, it's tasty, it smells like death. Try it, you may just like it!

Ingredients

  • half a white onion, chopped
  • two large leeks, chopped - you want the greens 
  • one large potato, cubed and peeled 
  • 500ml of beef stock
  • 80g of roquefort
  • black pepper

Instructions

  • everything into a pan, saving a wee bit of the roquefort to go on the top
  • after the potato is softened, blend it
  • smatter with black pepper
  • yeah that's all there is to it
  • what of it
  • got a problem

Notes

Books

  • Our FAST AND FILLING COOKBOOK is coming out this year - 100 more recipes designed to tickle your pickle and help you lose weight - Preorder yours here! 
  • AND our first cookbook with over 3500+ 5* reviews of its 100+ slimming recipes is still available to buy! You can click here to order
  • looking to track your weight loss - try our diet planner - you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!

Tools

Courses soup

Cuisine soup

I love blue cheese, and it works for this leek and blue cheese soup, but you can’t look at that and not feel revulsion.

There you go! More soup recipes needed? Nee bother!

JX

recipe: rigatoni caprese pasta

Howdo! This rigatoni caprese pasta is a treasure, not least because it’s perfect for when you can’t be arsed to fuss about in the kitchen for very long because your ankles hurt and you’ve got a touch of sweaty boob rash and your husband is an unhelpful clot. Just me? The recipe can be found if you just scroll straight on down to the photos, as ever, but also, as ever, we have all our self-indulgent ramblings to get through. Only a quick one though! Before I do, one note on the rigatoni caprese pasta – you can reduce the syns entirely by leaving out the pine nuts, honey and olives, but honestly, they add so much.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, Paul did indeed come down with the ‘rona and had to be put away in another room, like one might do with best china when you have rough relatives around. Only in this case, Paul is the rough relative. After a long period of wondering whether he was going to get worse (he didn’t) or I was going to catch it (I didn’t) we are reunited and it feels so good. Well, it feels as good as it can do, we’ve been together fourteen years. Reuniting was like pulling an old jumper from the wardrobe before winter comes.

He’s still not 100% – getting breathless very easily being his main bugbear – but given he gets out of breath sucking a Polo mint at the best of times, it’s hard to know what is what. He’s also entirely lost his sense of taste which I’m sure in no way goes towards explaining why he’s started cutting about town in a little yellow woollen hat. Actually to be fair, he does look cute in it so we can let him off. His sense of smell is returning which I’m absolutely raging about because I was in the middle of arranging for the gas taps at home to be uncapped so he could have a terrible accident.

But let’s be honest: Paul got lucky here. He’s a lad of heft, after all, and I confess that as soon as he told me he was positive I was eyeing up my black shirts and wondering whether I had the legs to carry off a set of widow’s weeds. Other people haven’t been so lucky and whilst a vaccine may be incoming, it’s going to be a rough winter.

It’s not my place to hold forth on the legitimacy of the virus or whether it’s all a big conspiracy, although, clue, it isn’t.  But I do just want to make one plea: be considerate. Having Paul go under with it made it all very real for me, and I honestly think that’s what it’ll take for all those people not bothering with masks or washing their hands. The mask thing I genuinely don’t understand: absolutely fair enough if you can’t wear one for medical reasons, but those people who make a big show of not wearing them because it’s ‘state control’ or ‘following the sheep’ – nonsense.

It’s just decent behaviour. Even if you don’t think it’ll make much difference, where’s the harm in popping one on when you speak to people in retail, for example? By not doing so, you’re forcing them in a difficult position where they have to be civil despite you not giving a jot what they think. But if you wear one, no-one loses out!

Anyway, shan’t keep you. Let’s do the rigatoni caprese pasta and then you can get back to being filthy.

rigatoni caprese pasta

This rigatoni caprese pasta is perfect for a quick lunch, and remember you can knock out a few syns by leaving out the pine nuts. But you mustn’t!

rigatoni caprese pasta

You can add chilli to this rigatoni caprese pasta if you want it a bit spicier.

rigatoni caprese pasta

It keeps well in the freezer too, though the tomatoes may burst.

rigatoni caprese pasta

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 servings

This recipe for rigatoni caprese pasta makes enough for two big servings.

You'll know this by now - we're huge fans of Hello Fresh. We took out a subscription while we had to lockdown in a hotel after a Pasta 'n' Sauce went rogue and made Cub Towers uninhabitable for a bit. We've only got a tiny kitchen here and it just made sense, and plus I couldn't be chewed on with queueing outside of the Morrison's. We've stuck with it while we're still here and we're hoping if we big them up enough they'll not get a cob on about us pinching their recipes. If you want a taste of the action, just click here to get £20 off your first box, and also send a pretty £20 note our way too. Thanking you! Now, if you'll excuse me I'm gonna ride this big rigatoni into the sky. 

Ingredients

  • 2 shallots
  • 400g rigatoni
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 black olives (3 syns)
  • 250g baby plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts (2x HeB, or 6 syns)
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 bunch of chives
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 80g reduced fat mozzarella (2x HEA)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey (2½ syns)

Instructions

  • bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil
  • meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the shallot and roughly chop the olives
  • halve the baby plum tomatoes and roughly chop the parsley
  • place the baby plum tomatoes and parsley in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt
  • when the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the instructions, then drain
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the pine nuts, and toast until golden (this will take about 2-3 minutes, be sure to stir them frequently), then tip into a bowl
  • place the frying pan back over the heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the shallots to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the garlic and tomato puree and give a good stir
  • add the chopped tomatoes and olives and crumble in the stock cube and stir again
  • bring to a simmer and cook for about ten minutes (until reduced by about half)
  • meanwhile, finely chop the chives and drain the mozzarella
  • tear the mozzarella into small pieces
  • gently stir the balsamic vinegar and honey into the baby plum tomatoes
  • when the sauce is cooked, add the drained pasta to the frying pan and stir until well coated
  • add half the chives and half of the mozzarella and stir again, and serve onto plates or bowls
  • top with the baby plum tomatoes, remaining chives and mozzarella, and pine nuts

Notes

Recipe

  • any pasta you have will do!
  • the pine nuts are absolutely optional, if you can't be arsed to find them then you can leave them out. Roasted chickpeas work really well in this too!
  • if you want to add a bit of zing, feta works really well instead of mozzarella 

Books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK IS COMING OUT SOON! Loved the first one? You'll love this one even more, we promise. It's bloody amazing. Get it in time for your New Years Resolution! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks

Tools

Courses twochubbycubs

Cuisine pasta

Love having your hole stretched?  The rigatoni caprese will do that, and you can find more pasta ideas from your tasty cubs below!

recipe: pumpkin and bacon soup

Remember last week when I gave you a quick recipe for soup? Well! Here we go again – this time it’s for pumpkin and bacon soup. Big fan of soup here at Chubby Towers Adjacent and this series of soups is all about recipes where you can buy the stuff pre-chopped and hoy it all in a pan or soup-maker and crack on!

Now had we been one of those super organised blogs we would have had this soup up around the hallowe’en time so that people had spare pumpkin around, but we’re not. We’ve only just got round to updating Realplayer and we can’t wait to bring you some video recipes soon.

Mind, I used to love hallowe’en, even if trick or treating in my family meant putting on a barely cleaned bag that had blown in from the farm next door, hollowing out a turnip, sticking a candle in it and schlepping around the village knocking on locked doors. No wonder they didn’t answer: nothing says ‘trick or treat’ than a ‘ghost’ emblazoned with ICI Chemicals mincing down your path smelling like a carvery.

They didn’t bother dressing Paul up to go trick-or-treating either, though I presume when he rocked up on a doorstep with his fragrant mother by his side, they assumed it was just Fester and Grandmama from the Addams Family.  The realism!

Anyway, I said this would be a quick recipe, didn’t I? So we must crack on! To the pumpkin and bacon soup!

pumpkin and bacon soup

This spicy pumpkin and bacon soup is gorgeous, but if you have a sensitive nipsy, leave the spice out!

pumpkin and bacon soup

If you can’t find pumpkin, then swap it out for butternut squash! Right, let’s get this pumpkin and bacon soup on the go!

spicy pumpkin and bacon soup

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 bowls

Now then, this spicy pumpkin and bacon soup doesn't need to be spicy, you can always leave that bit out at the end if you so desire. As before, we made ours in a Tefal Easy Soup but you can just chuck it all in a pan and blend it after half an hour. You don't need anything fancy here! But they are good, mind.

Ingredients

  • 500g of finely chopped pumpkin
  • 100g of chopped white onion
  • 75g of chopped cooked bacon
  • 1tsp each of garlic and ginger paste
  • 500ml of chicken stock
  • 1 tsp of chilli flakes

Instructions

  • if using a pan, chuck everything in (save for some of the bacon) and simmer for about twenty minutes or until the pumpkin is soft
  • blend and top with chilli sauce and bacon bits

Of course, if you're using the Tefal Easy Soup - chuck it in, press the soup button, it'll blend when it's ready!

Notes

Recipe

  • as I mentioned, you can swap pumpkin for butternut squash, and I dare say it will be easier to peel
  • you can buy pre-chopped pumpkin and butternut squash in most supermarkets, you lazy cow

Books

  • LOVE THIS RECIPE? You should see some of the amazing recipes in our new cookbook - out December 31! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks

Tools

Courses soup

Cuisine twochubbycubs

There you go! More soup recipes needed? Nee bother!

J

recipe: warming beef and chickpea loaded naans

Oh yoohoo! Come for the beef and chickpea loaded naans, stay for the writing and adverts! No, I jest, but listen, I’ve been through the archives and my drafts folder tidying up and I’ve come across a blog-post that I didn’t publish – and it just commands attention!

So, without a moment of pause and certainly before we get to the beef and chickpea loaded naans, let me take you back to February this year, when circumstance saw me in terrible pain. I know, hankies at the ready.


If this was a Youtube video, I’d be opening it with a dramatic sigh and dabbing fake tears from my eyes as some mournful music – let’s say a trap remix of Radiohead’s Creep – played in the background. I’d pick up the cat and blow my nose on its fur. Paul would come into shot, put his spammy hands on my shoulders and say ‘there there’ in that meaningless way people use to provide comfort, as though I was a horse startled by a van.

See, I’m poorly. Now I’m not one for exaggeration so I shan’t tell you that I’ve been at death’s door and really you ought to buy as many cookbooks as you possibly can to pay for my fancy funeral (unlikely to happen: I expect DEFRA will turn up at my corpse in bleach-soaked-shoes, set me on fire and set up a three mile hot-zone) but I can’t deny it isn’t tempting. See, more than a few days ago, I was driving home from a Marquis de Sade homage when I noticed what felt like a tiny mouth ulcer on my jawline. Naturally I spent the next hundred miles or so poking it enthusiastically with my tongue as though I was trying to rim a Rubik’s Cube to orgasm. By the time I got to Ferrybridge services, it was knacking to the point where I couldn’t have my customary Haribo, Burger King and Ukrainian lorry-driver combo. Gutted? I was foaming: as my cheek had swollen up so much I couldn’t spit properly.

I checked into a hotel to feel sorry for myself and the next day, drove home with a face quite literally like a smacked arse. I tried to brazen it out until the point where the swelling was so bad it was pushing on all my teeth and gums and making me look like Rocky Dennis chewing a toffee penny.  To put this in perspective – I do have a high pain threshold, tested regularly and thoroughly at what I’m convinced isn’t a BUPA hospital at all – but I was actually crying because it hurt that much. Paul insisted I call 111, though I think that was predominately to hear me trying to speak to the operator through a mush of cheek and spittle. The charming chappy at the end of the phone demurred at my insistence they send the air ambulance and instead sent me to the walk-in centre. We stumbled in at ten to midnight and I was seen within fifteen minutes by the friendliest, most Geordie nurse I’ve ever met. I had to resist the urge to ask her to adopt me, though admittedly that may have been my eyes falling upon the strong painkillers that was colouring my view.

She declared a salivary blockage – mmm – and told me to take antibiotics and suck lemon sherbets. Even through my significant dolor I tried to crack a joke and asked if I could have one of the Fruit Pastilles that I could see poking out of her handbag. She pushed said bag under the desk with thin lips indeed and we departed awkwardly. Paul drove me home – me pressing my cheek against the window of his Smart car and wailing all the while – and then tucked me up in bed and fussed the living hell out of me. What has then followed has been over a week of me eating soup, gazpacho and the softest of scrambled eggs, washing them down with as many sour sweets as possible and me watching Vera furiously as I pressed my face so hard against a hot water bottle that I’ve got ‘COMFORT RUBBER’ imprinted on my face. I mean, it kinda works. For the first few days I could barely talk or open my jaw – Paul offered to make me a curry until I snapped at him that he’d need to freeze it into a paper-thin slab and post it through my jaw like a court summons. To make things worse, no-one knows what it is. The doctor says go to the dentist, the dentist says go to the doctor. I’m tempted to go the vets as a wildcard and see what happens, though they’ll probably just melt me down for glue.

ANYWAY. The swelling has gone down leaving a lovely hard lump in my cheek which shows no signs of going away. The urge to poke at it with a pin is my main focus right now, and honestly, if I didn’t think I’d end up with some awful blood related side-effect that’s precisely what I’d be doing. It doesn’t hurt unless I really stretch my jaw open (so you can imagine how this is upsetting other key parts of my life) but it is bloody annoying. If anyone is reading this and has any hot ideas, do get in touch. Meanwhile, I’ll stumble ever onwards, only reminded of its presence by the occasional mishap – my barber put his full weight on my jaw before to trim my beard and I almost passed out. To be fair, he’s used to that, as soon as he gets close with his rough hands and a blade at my neck, all the blood rushes to one point. Ah Farzad, my love, I would be yours at the drop of a hat. Wish me luck, everyone.


You’re back with me in present time now. The lump went away but it took two weeks and I was sick of my life by the end of it. Also, seems like so long ago that you could go into a services and nosh off a lorry driver without having to worry about catching something that couldn’t be cured with a simple course of antibiotics and another stamp on your GUM clinic loyalty card. It’s the little things in life I miss most, I tell you.

beef and chickpea loaded naans

Look at those beef and chickpea loaded naans man!

beef and chickpea loaded naans

You don’t just need the topping for beef and chickpea loaded naans – stick it on a jacket tattie if you prefer!

beef and chickpea loaded naans

We sprinkle a bit of zahtar powder on our beef and chickpea loaded naans because we’re fancy. Black pepper will do the same.

curry beef and chickpea loaded naans

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 naans

I love the idea of a loaded naan, not least because my own nan shuffled off in her Aldi slippers far from loaded, much to my chagrin. We got very little in the way of inheritance but that's fine: I'd still swap everything I have for another chance to listen to her four same stories and her loud remonstrations whenever I used to mouth 'vacuum' at Paul from across the room. Ah, sweet times.

This recipe really is ridiculously easy - note that we haven't counted the syns for the naan breads though because it changes all the time. Check with your SW consultant for the best naan breads to have as your healthy extra!

As our exciting life in a hotel continues, we're still using Hello Fresh - not getting paid to promote them, mind, and making changes to their recipes to bring them in line with the blog. That said, because we've been asked, we tend to go for the low-calorie options or the rapid options if you were thinking about having a go. It works for us because we don't have a big kitchen to store ingredients and we're actually saving money because no food waste. If you do want to try it, you can use this link to get £20 off your first box, and we'll get £20 too.

Ingredients

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • one tin of chickpeas
  • one beef stock cube
  • two tsp of curry powder
  • salt and pepper
  • two tbsp of tomato puree
  • one clove of garlic minced
  • four mini naans
  • one iceberg lettuce
  • natural yoghurt to drizzle all over the top

Instructions

  • drain and rinse your chickpeas, keeping half in a bowl and mashing the rest with a fork
  • in a frying pan, fry off your beef mince until cooked through
  • add a pinch of salt and pepper as it cooks
  • reduce to a medium heat and then add the curry powder, tomato puree and garlic, stirring through for a moment or two
  • add 100ml of water along with the chickpeas - mashed and whole - and the stock cube
  • allow to burble away for a few minutes to thicken up
  • whilst that's happening, toast your naan breads and chop up your lettuce
  • when you're ready to serve, top the naan with lettuce, then the beef mix, then a drizzle of yoghurt on the top if you can be arsed

Notes

Recipe

  • if you don't want to use your healthy extra on naan breads, this mixture does very well indeed on a jacket potato
  • add peppers and onion to bulk it out, but honestly, the recipe sings with its simplicity

Books

  • you know what has over 100 recipes designed to help you lose weight - our new cookbook! More curries, burgers, exciting dinners and all that excitement - Preorder yours here! 
  • of course, our first cookbook was a treat too - click here to order
  • we even have a fabulous diet planner - you can order it here 

Tools

  • I was going to recommend a potato masher for the chickpeas but honestly, use the underside of a cup if you can't do it with a fork - save your money
  • give the pan a good coating of oil with a mister – this is what we use

Courses dinner

Cuisine who can say

How’s that for a perfect quick dinner? You want some more beef mince ideas? Naturally – try these:

JX

recipe: spicy tomato and beetroot soup

Just the quickest of posts tonight for this spicy tomato and beetroot soup, which has already featured on our Instagram but needs an airing on here. As the cold nights draw nearer we all need something warm slipped inside us, and frankly, this soup does the job perfectly.

I shan’t keep you with my usual 1000 words of hooey, but I will slip in a note of caution for you (and if you’re sensitive, do skip forward to the recipe pictures, I beg you) – please remember that you’ve had beetroot the day after you demolish this soup. I tell you this only as someone with a tendency towards the dramatic. Paul doesn’t like beetroot, it reminds him of kissing his mother, so I consumed four bowls of this soup in one day a couple of weeks ago.

That wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem – I’m a big lad and can wear the extra calories like one might wear a winter muff – however I clean forgot about my intake of beetroot the day after when I’d dashed home especially to see a friend off to the coast. That dealt with, I took a quick look (and bugger off, everyone does this) (your own I mean, I don’t fancy a bus trip being put on to come look at mine) and was left aghast by the fact I was clearly shedding blood at an alarming rate.

Naturally, I was beside myself, and that’s coming from someone who is only ever two brief shocks away from hysteria.

I called Paul at work to explain that I would probably be dead on the floor by the time he got back and that he wasn’t to take another lover for at least five years after my death. He calmed me down in that patient, complaisant manner of his and then downgraded my self-diagnosed terminal illness to simply overindulgence of beetroot. It was a rollercoaster few moments, I can tell you, and I’ll ask that you exercise appropriate caution with this tomato and beetroot soup.

tomato and beetroot soup

It’s hard to make tomato and beetroot soup look sexy, but honestly, this is gorgeous!

tomato and beetroot soup

We served this with a lump of beetroot bread from Morrisons. Yes, it does rather look like a diseased knuckle. But…

spicy tomato and beetroot soup

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 bowls

If you're not a fan of beetroot, I still recommend giving this a go: it doesn't taste very...beetrooty! Also, if you are really fussed about spending syns you could swap out the Philadelphia for a bit of horseradish - but only a teaspoon otherwise you really will be in trouble on the thunderbox.

We used a Tefal Easy Soup for this - but you can use a pan just as easily! We love it because you chuck everything in and press a button and away it goes.

Ingredients

  • 400g chopped cooked beetroot
  • 60g of chopped white onion
  • 400ml of chilli and tomato passata
  • one garlic clove, minced
  • 450ml of beef stock
  • 50g of Philadelphia Lightest

Instructions

  • chuck everything in a pan bar the Philadelphia and cook for about twenty minutes
  • blend and serve with lovely bread

I mean it's that easy.

Notes

Recipe

  • swap Philadelphia for horseradish if you want a more 'sour' soup
  • cooked beetroot is different from pickled beetroot mind you - you'll find cooked beetroot in the fresh vegetables part of the supermarket, but vacuum packed
  • you could use the leftover beetroot juice to make beetroot pickled eggs

Books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK IS COMING OUT SOON! You thought the last one was good? It was, but this sequel is even better - it'll be coming out just in time for the new year! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks

Tools

Courses soup

Cuisine soup man

There you go! Enjoy! Want some more soup ideas?

J

recipe: ginger beef noodles – and Paul’s got the ‘rona

Well, hello there: ginger beef noodles may sound like the nickname you may give an ex-lover but no, fear not, it’s just another delicious dish from us, the two fat blokes who occasionally trouble your inbox. If you want the recipe then scroll straight to the pictures, because as ever, we have a bit of admin and an update for you.

Firstly, have you pre-ordered our new cookbook yet? Because if you have, then we must insist you take part in our competition for a chance to win £250 towards your food shop this Christmas. Just send an email with a copy of your pre-order or what have you to fastandfilling@hodder.co.uk to be in with a chance of winning. Not ordered your copy yet? Preorder yours here! I know it’s an obvious thing to say but honestly, we’re even prouder of this book than our last! 100 more slimming recipes and our usual nonsense. Go!

So, how are we? Well. You know when people say it never rains but it pours? Turns out that it doesn’t just apply to your liberal touch with the gravy boat, young lady.

No, 2020 wasn’t quite done with us just yet. After being forced to spend three weeks apart due to various self-isolation dramas, we finally got back together. Hooray: back to catty asides and me staring disdainfully at Paul as he struggles to put his shoes on of a morning. We had decided to try for a weekend away because what greater joy is there than exploring a desolated high street in a different city before enjoying a meal surrounded by plexiglass? I ask you.

Only, of course, that didn’t happen. Paul got a notification to say he had been around someone who had tested positive for COVID and so off we went for tests. Paul’s came back positive. Mine came back negative. We’re living in a hotel at the moment and so the staff – who have been absolutely wonderful – squirreled me into a different hotel room right next door. That was eight days ago, and two waiting games begun:

  • Paul to see how bad his infection would be and to ride it out (10 days); and
  • me to see if I became symptomatic (14 days)

So, by way of update: Paul has been incredibly lethargic, a terrible sense of taste and gets out of breath easily, and then to contract COVID on top of that has been a shock. Jokes aside, he’s done absolutely fine – each day seems to have brought a new symptom, but he’s just getting on with it. Which doesn’t surprise me, he’s an incredibly stoic person when it comes to stuff like this. He’s not just my rock because he weighs a tonne and smells of sulphur, you know. Hopefully he’ll be on the mend soon, although it’s going to be a while before I go back into our shared room without fretting he’s accidentally left a thin sheen of spittle on everything. I’ve seen him eating: it’s inevitable.

For me, well: I have health anxiety and have been trying really hard to minimise my COVID risk, so I thought I’d spiral and go completely doolally, but actually, save for a minor wobble at the start, I’ve been fine! Worst part has been the self-isolation and not being able to go outside: I find myself pressing up against the hotel window and gazing longingly at the folks outside – which given I haven’t worn clothes for a good seven days now must look like an especially obese starfish pressed up against the walls of its tank.

I still don’t understand how I didn’t catch it from Wobbles McGee given I shared a bed with him for a full week and had many a car trip with him coughing and spluttering away, but I suppose there’s still time yet. Part of me thinks I may have already had it back in February, but who can say? Anyway: wish us both luck!

Now, let’s not keep you for a moment more: our next recipe is here – ginger beef noodles!

ginger beef noodles

It’s ginger beef noodles, but honestly, this works well with pork and lamb too.

ginger beef noodles

Only 1.5 syns for a massive portion of ginger beef noodles.

ginger beef noodles

Now that’s proper scran and make no mistake. Ginger beef noodles on the plate in twenty minutes!

2 votes

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ginger beef noodles

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This makes enough for two large servings, but it's an easy enough recipe to double up if you need to. Or stretch the ginger beef noodles out by adding more vegetables. You do you!

Hey guess what, yes, it's another Hello Fresh recipe. Don't worry, we aren't being sponsored or owt like that, we're just very satisfied customers using 'em during a difficult period, and hoping that if we praise them enough they won't bollock us for sharing their recipes. We've modified this slightly to make it lower in calories and a few of the ingredients to ones you're more likely to find in your local supermarket, but it tastes just as good. If you want in on the action, you can use this link to get £20 off your first box, and you slip £20 our way n'all. Win win, eh?

 

 

Ingredients

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 160g green beans
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp of ginger paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (3 syns)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 250g dried egg noodles
  • 1 bunch of coriander (optional)

Instructions

  • trim the green beans and chop into thirds (or rinse under lukewarm water to defrost if you're using frozen), then set aside
  • halve the peppers and discard the seeds and core, and slice into thin strips
  • zest and quarter the lime
  • roughly chop the coriander (if using)
  • fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil
  • meanwhile, spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
  • add the mince and cook until browned (about 6-8 minutes), then scoop out the pan into a large bowl and stir in the hoisin and oyster sauce and half of the soy sauce and set aside
  • when the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 4 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water
  • return the frying pan to the heat and spray with a bit more oil
  • add the sliced peppers and runner beans to the pan and stir fry for a few minutes
  • add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for another minute
  • add the remaining soy sauce to the pan and stir
  • add the mince back to the pan along with the noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously
  • remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime zest, juice of half the lime and half of the chopped coriander
  • serve into bowls and sprinkle over the remaining coriander and remaining wedges of lime

Notes

Recipe

  • frozen or tinned runner beans are absolutely fine in this, no need to get fancy
  • any colour peppers will do, it doesn't really matter
  • don't be put off by oyster sauce - it doesn't taste like you think it would, and gives a lovely, rich taste. Try it!
  • either light or dark soy sauce is fine in this, use whatever you have

Books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK IS COMING OUT SOON! You thought the last one was good? It was, but this sequel is even better - it'll be coming out just in time for the new year! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks

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Courses noodles

Cuisine dunno, whatever, who even reads this bit?

Still absolutely Hank Marvin? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Here’s more!

Enjoy!

J

recipe: cheesy bubble and squeak fritters

Come for the cheesy bubble and squeak fritters, stay for the lengthy polemic about free school dinners. Now, some of you on our Facebook might have seen the condensed version of this already, and some of you might have no time for some fat bloke pontificating about the hungry when all you want to do is read a few knob jokes and see what to do with leftover mash, and that’s fine. You just scroll down to the pictures and crack on. Everyone else though: a subject that is close to my heart (because it involves food) and one I, James, wanted to write a little more fully on.


Last week saw our wonderful Government vote against the proposal for kids to receive free meals. These MPs, who have more than likely never missed a meal in their lives and certainly don’t go without these days, directly voted against supporting hungry kids during a time when so many families don’t know where their next meal is coming from. When you read the reports online, the comments are littered with folks in agreement, including such cheering philosophies as ‘don’t breed them if you can’t feed them’. Fuck off.

I’ve previously mentioned that I used to work for a homeless charity, and if I’m speaking honestly, I started out with so many misconceptions about the homeless and the struggling – misconceptions I still see bandied about by others now – that people who were struggling just weren’t trying hard enough, that benefits were spunked up the wall on fripperies and fancies, all that tired rhetoric. But the longer I spent there, the more my eyes were opened to the reality of what is actually happening out there. And mind, this was before the massive austerity cuts and COVID, so it won’t have got any better.

I remember one father who came in – dressed like he was going for an interview with a bank, well-spoken and clean shaven – and because I was a shameless slut back in the day I took him in for an interview. He explained that his wife had been diagnosed with MS and had to give up work. They’d struggled and then he lost his job too, and suddenly they were faced with bills and a mortgage they couldn’t pay. Children don’t stop needing food and uniform and days out and entertainment and medicine just because you’ve received a P45 after all. Imagine that these days with unemployment absolutely rocketing and costs of living giving chase and then ask yourself what a family like that is supposed to do? If anyone out there has an answer that doesn’t extend to applying for Universal Credit – which takes weeks to process and offers scant difference when put up against cost of living increases – then do let me know. These people didn’t plan to be faced with stark choices between heating and eating, they didn’t have children with the expectation someone else would pay for them. Circumstances forced their hand and the truth is, nobody knows what is coming down the line and never more so than during these COVID times. Of course there are chancers who abuse the system, but they’re few and far between. Why not vent your ire at the MPs who pocket £300 a day to sit and kip in the Houses of Parliament rather than someone getting an extra £20 to feed their kids? What’s the alternative? Let them starve in the name of teaching them a lesson about having fiscal responsibility in a system where all the cards are stacked against them?

It’s easy to kvetch about ‘wasting taxpayer money’ as though we’re talking about delays on building a bypass or cobbling together a fancy garden bridge, but we’re talking about starving children and broken families. To dismiss that as ‘hyperbole’ or ‘emotional manipulation’ does nothing but show the person thinking that as the selfish, myopic prick that they are. If they can piss away £156,000,000 on contracts for PPE that doesn’t work, £87,000,000 on contracts for ferry companies with no fucking ferries, why can’t they help families out during these unprecedented times? It’s an absolute disgrace and make no mistake, none of the MPs who voted against the bill will face the consequences of their actions. They’ll never fret about sending their kids to school with empty bellies, after all.

Some of the MPs who voted against have come out since to wring their hands and say that it’s better to cure the need for this sort of ‘charity’ rather than putting a sticking-plaster over it. Think that through. If you tear your leg open on a nail sticking out of a fence, of course you’ll want the fence fixed so it doesn’t happen again, but you wouldn’t expect to go to the doctors and have them say they won’t bother dressing your wound because it’s better they fix the fence. It’s a short-sighted, piss-weak argument and one made even worse by the fact they’ve caused the bloody need for the plaster in the first place. Much fuss has been made about the fact that the Government has given extra to local councils to meet the shortfall, but councils have been cut to the quick by funding cuts after funding cuts and what has been given back – a veritable crumb off the banqueting table – doesn’t touch the sides. And why do they do this? So the Government can turn around and put the blame at the door of local councils when things go tits-up. Kids going hungry in your constituency? It’s the council’s fault now. They did it with social services – stripped the support bare and then stand looking anguished at the fact that families are falling apart – and now they’re doing it with feeding hungry kids.

You know what fucks me off most of all? There is ZERO accountability. One of our local MPs has been asked repeatedly over and over why she voted no – on Twitter, on Facebook, via letters – and she hasn’t deigned to reply to a single one that I can see. She’s retweeted the odd tweet blowing smoke up her arse, because of course she has, but people with genuine questions asked politely about a situation that any decent person would deal with? Nah. Happy to claim almost £60,000 in expenses though, and I very much look forward to seeing her face adorning the sides of the A1 when it comes to election time, because lord knows I need another reason to wonder what would happen if I put the handbrake on at 70mph. Doesn’t matter though: she’ll be a shoo-in for re-election because people round here have short memories or deep pockets.

And honestly, I think it takes a special type of cold-hearted shit to endorse a government that can hand-wave feeding children away as ‘not our responsibility’. It bloody well is. Homelessness is rocketing, food bank use is off the scale, and if anyone honestly thinks things are going to get any easier for the poor and the disadvantaged and the struggling over the next few months, you should hang your head.

Paul and I both came from families where if someone dropped a pound it would land on the back of their heads – never had a lot (though never went without) and in Paul’s case certainly, often went to bed hungry. He’s certainly made up for this struggle since, preferring to go to bed only when there’s a real and distinct chance his belly-button is going to blow out like a party popper, but neither of us would want what we went through for anyone else. And that’s what I don’t understand. You see people on Facebook – nearly all of a certain age mind you, and nearly always looking as though the last time they went hungry was back when Thatcher was mulling over the Falklands – saying stuff like ‘well when I was young I used to eat gravel and my mother would go out and work 25 hours a day just to get enough moisture in her mouth to fill the tin-bath with spit so I don’t see why parents these days can’t do the same‘.

What sort of argument is that? Why wouldn’t you want kids to avoid that? It’s not a character-building exercise, living in squalor and poverty, but these people seem to think it should be endured because ‘they had to do it’. Mind, I got into an argument with someone along those lines on Facebook which quickly turned into her telling me how COVID was just a ‘plandemic’ (and if ever there was a portmanteau which made my shit itch, it’s that) and how she had survived many a pandemic in her seventy years. When I enquired which ones she replied ‘scarlet fever’ and then went absolutely spare when I pointed out the last scarlet fever pandemic was in the nineteenth century. She did look good for a foaming gas-bag knocking over 200 years old, though. Same as those people who’ll suggest that parents should get their ‘priorities straight’ and sell their TVs and mobile phones. You need a mobile phone and internet access to apply for jobs now – selling your phone might get you £100, but it’ll mean you can fuck right off when it comes to trying to get a job. But that doesn’t matter, because it’s just another stick to beat the poor with. Maybe there’s no reasoning with these people, content as they are to live in their bubbles of superiority shouting at the clouds to do better. Fuck ’em.

We’re all in this together, after all. Except when, you know, we’re not. But just remember all of this next time. Remember how your MP voted. Remember the absolute contempt they have for the poor and those who elected them on the misguided belief those MPs gave a shiny-shite about anyone other than themselves and their pals with their hands in the till. In the meantime, try and do something to help, whether it’s donating to a food bank or raising awareness.

And, if you need support, if you’re struggling, there’s help out there from decent folk and you should feel fuck-all shame in asking for help in whatever form you need it. Don’t let the media, and the parasitic arseholes who comment on it, tell you otherwise. The country is full of decent, kind folk who will give you whatever they can, and you’ve only got to look at the businesses currently rallying around to try and give away meals in order to prove that. They are the people to focus on and celebrate, not the vainglorious, self-serving shitheads in Parliament who wouldn’t give you the steam off their piss unless they could claim it back afterwards.

You know what worries me though? The very same MPs will look at the help that has been offered and claim the whole thing as a success as it proves extra money wasn’t needed.

The full list of MPs who voted against – remember their names and DO something about it when you can – call out your MP, make your voice heard

https://www.thelondoneconomic.com/news/daily-mirror-names-and-shames-every-mp-who-voted-against-free-meals-for-hungry-kids-on-its-front-page/22/10/

Find a food bank near you:

https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/

Find a company near you giving away free meals:

https://www.freemeals.uk/  

And that’s me done. If this post is anything like the Black Lives Matter post I did a while ago, it’ll attract some good discussion and comments and, more than likely, more than a few comments telling me I’m a leftie do-gooder. You know what though? If do-gooder is the worst someone can call me, then that’s a hill I’m willing to die on. Far better to be known for doing good than doing nothing.


Right: cheesy bubble and squeak fritters then!

cheesy bubble and squeak fritters

See? These cheesy bubble and squeak fritters are the bollocks with the sauce added!

cheesy bubble and squeak fritters

You could eschew the sauce if you want to save a couple of syns, but let’s be honest, you’re not going to – and rightfully so!

3 votes

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cheesy bubble and squeak fritters

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 10 fritters

These are an absolute piece of piss to make - if you have leftover cabbage or spring greens to go with your leftover mash, then even better, but even if you have to buy the ingredients in fresh it is a worthwhile cook. They freeze well, and I'm serving them with a cheesy sauce to dip in. Because I'm a whore.

We've worked out the syns - with sauce - as 3.5 for four large hot fritters each. Treat yourself!

This is another recipe inspired from Hello Fresh - we've tinkered with it a little to make it lower in syns for you. We aren't getting paid to promote Hello Fresh, we're just using it whilst our house is rebuilt. We love it, and you probably will too! Click here if you want to give them a go, you'll get £20 off your first box. We also get £20, because damn it someone needs to pay for Paul's extra-wide shoes.

Ingredients

  • 400g of mash (or 400g of tatties cooked through and mashed)
  • six or eight or even ninety bacon medallions
  • bunch of chives
  • 160g of spring greens
  • 30g of panko (5 syns)
  • 50g of Philadelphia Lightest (swap for Quark if saving syns) (but also have a bloody word with yourself, you loon (2 syns)
  • 40g of extra mature lighter cheddar
  • lighter cheddar? I did yes, but she blew it out after and we've since made up
  • enough black pepper and salt to suggest you need to talk to Frank

Instructions

  • chop up your bacon medallions and fry them in a little oil, along with your spring greens, until the greens have softened and the bacon is crispy and you feel really proud of yourself
  • in a big bowl mix the mash with the panko breadcrumbs, grated cheddar cheese, spring greens, crispy bacon and all the vim and vigour you can muster
  • season to taste by eating about half of it 
    • tell your husband there wasn't as much mash as you thought there was
    • offer to make him a sandwich as a conciliatory gesture only for him to turn it down because he's got a tittylip on because you apparently can read minds and should have guessed that he had forgotten to take his lunch to work and was starving
    • have a blazing row where fourteen years of angst and indiscretions come tumbling out so he leaves in a huff and you get to eat the rest which you cook by...
  • heating a flat frying pan to a medium heat and spraying with just a little squizzle of oil
  • form the mash mix into burger shapes and pop them in to almost dry fry
  • serve when they are a bit crunchy on the outside and drizzle with the sauce

The sauce, such as it is, is Philadelphia heated ever so slightly with some chopped chives and black pepper mixed in. Drizzle over rather than drown your fritters.

Notes

Recipe

  • the panko is worth it because the dryness of the crumb help soak up some of the 'moistness' - you could just blitz a breadbun but honestly, it's worth getting some panko – most major supermarkets stock it and you can stick them in an airtight jar and use them wherever - see the recipe list below for more ideas
  • the stronger the cheese, the better these are
  • these make a great little snack for taking to taster nights - stack them on top of each other with a slip of greaseproof paper betwixt them

Books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK IS COMING OUT SOON! You thought the last one was good? It was, but this sequel is even better - it'll be coming out just in time for the new year! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks

Tools

Courses snacks or sides

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Lovely, yes? Want some more ideas on where to use panko? Sure Jan, here you go:

That’s it from me. Stay safe.

JX

competition: win an Instant Pot Vortex!

Just a quick email to you all to draw your attention to our latest competition – this time to win an Instant Pot Vortex! If you’re on Instagram, simply click on the post below, follow the rules and be in with a chance to win.

It’s £99 worth of kit and it goes without saying but we bloody love Instant Pot – they’re perfect for if you’re trying to lose weight and/or save money, because the things they can do with a slab of cheap meat would make even you blush. The Vortex is their take on an air-fryer so you can do your chips and roasties in there, and of course there’s a whole load of recipes available online. You can take a look at their website right here!

View this post on Instagram

🌟🌟🌟 COMPETITION! COMPETITION! Win a BRAND NEW INSTANT POT VORTEX: a £99.99 air-fryer which bakes, roasts and air-fries AND looks snazzy! Scroll through to see! To win:⁠ ⁠ 1: make sure to like this post⁠ 2: make sure you follow @instantpotuk on Instagram⁠ 3: COMMENT BELOW with your best effort at turning a song title into a food pun! Two examples in the photos on here!⁠ ⁠ Optional: comment with a friend who deserves a chance to win and encourage them to do the same. You can always nick it from their kitchen if they win.⁠ ⁠ We will draw a random winner next week on Tuesday and contact by DM! UK entrants only please, we're not made of money!⁠ ⁠ #slimmingworldfood #spon #instantpotuk #vortex #competition #InstantPot #instantvortex #instantpotairfryer #airfryer #slimmingworldfamily #slimming #sw #drivedeterminationdinner⁠ #slimmingworld #slimmingworlder #slimmingworlduk #slimmingworldfood #swuk #swmafia #swinsta #slimmingworldlife #slimmingworldmotivation #slimmingworldinspiration #slimmingworldfollowers #weightloss #foodblogger⁠

A post shared by twochubbycubs (@twochubbycubs) on

We are trying to organise as many competitions as we can at the moment to try and give back a little – plus we can’t very well have an Instant Pot in our tiny little hotel room, we’ve barely got enough room to wrestle as it is. They already think we’re quarrelling as I have the beginnings of a black eye and naturally when asked about it I’ve taken to saying that Paul and I are fighting as I’ve taken another lover into the marital bed. In reality, I’ve got a sore eyelid, but that’s not quite as salacious now is it?

Good luck everyone!

Want some Instant Pot recipes? No bother cock – fill yer boots:

J

recipe: quick lamb pilaf and a tale of love

LAMB PILAF? On a bloody Slimming World blog? Yes, and it’s quick lamb pilaf too, and it tastes good, so calm your boobs Susan and read on. As ever with our blog, the recipe is right at the bottom – if you’re in a rush, just scroll right down to the photos and the quick lamb pilaf will be waiting for you. However, fans of the writing, there’s a cracking post to follow, so pop your cankles up, lock the kids/dogs in the cupboard under the stairs and I’ll be right with you.

Oh! Though. Two bits of very quick news:

  • our new cookbook – Two Chubby Cubs: Fast and Filling – is now due for delivery on December 31 2020 – meaning you can start the New Year with all good intentions! Preorder it now and you’ll get the Amazon price guarantee, so you’ll always pay the lowest price. If you loved our last cookbook then I promise this keeps up the pace and there are some genuinely bloody amazing recipes in this one. You think the last book was colourful? This improves on it in every single way; and
  • we had a minor blip with our Facebook group – but it’s back online now – feel free to join!

Well, hasn’t this been a long three weeks? Maybe not for you – maybe you’ve spent your weeks with your ankles up by your ears picking the fluff out of your toenails, or perhaps you’ve been toiling so hard that you’ve barely had time to swipe the shine off your foof. But all of that must pale in comparison when you realise that I’ve had three weeks without Paul, and as a direct result I’ve had to make my own coffee and meals several times over. I know: we all have a cross to bear, but even so.

You know when circumstances just conspire against you in fun and unexpected ways? That’s me. I set off to Liverpool in the back of September to stay for a couple of days with mates (support bubble mates, before anyone writes a letter). Readers with a long memory may remember passing references to Paul 2 or Limited Edition Paul, but for this article, he shall be known as Tall Paul (as he is 6ft 4″, whereas my homunculus husband is a trifling 5ft 7″). I had planned to stay for four or five days to play cribbage and agonise over what should be done with the way of the world and then return home, triumphant and whistling from the rear, to the arms of my beloved.

However, just as I was packing away my forty seven t-shirts, various tchotchkes and as many lighters as I dared lift from every conceivable surface, catastrophe struck: my Paul received a warning that he had to self-isolate as he’d been near someone who had tested positive for COVID. I was as surprised as you are: Paul isn’t exactly known for his gadabouting and his idea of being social is opening the curtains on his day off, so how could this be? We’re still living in a hotel so chances are it was someone just passing through, but doesn’t matter: he had to bunker down for ten days.

Now, perhaps you’re thinking, surely I must have dashed to my car and drove back to mop his brow and tend to his every whim? Well you’d be wrong, I was in the middle of watching an Agatha Christie and although watching any programme at my friends’ house is an exercise in trying to make out anything remotely distinctive through the fog of smoke and cacophony of shrieking and lament, I was eager to find out who did it. Turns out the murderer was in us all along.

No, it’s because we’re living in a one-bedroom hotel room that we both – jointly – decided I must stay away for the sake of our marriage. Paul and I rarely argue but that’s because in between his working and my flights of fancy, we are together approximately eighteen minutes a day. This works, because it gives us enough time for a cuddle, bum and a blistering critique of his technique after. On holiday we are amazing and can spend weeks together without complaint, but that’s normally because we have new things to distract us from the cruelty in each other’s eyes.

But cooped up together in a one-bedroom flat without the possibility of leaving? We’d genuinely kill each other. Between Paul’s stunning ability to pull facts from eight years ago out of his arse and my propensity towards the melodramatic, it would only take a mild disagreement about who gets the firm pillow before it spilled over into bitter recriminations and me trying to post his head through the toaster. So, for ten days more, I was to stay in Liverpool whilst Paul locked down in Newcastle.

And you know, it was just fine. Paul, confined to what was effectively a fancy jail cell, built some Lego, scratched his bum and availed himself of all the naughty things in my bedside drawer that I tell him not to play with. I had a gay old time – the days flew by – and within the week had grown accustomed to the mild film of spittle that was being left on my face every time I asked someone especially Scouse for directions. Not every vowel needs strangling, just sayin’. I’m kidding, I love the Scouse accent and Liverpool is a terrific city.

However, with two days to go, my friend also gets a self-isolation warning on the app. You couldn’t write the script, could you? Common decency and the fact I’d been using Tall Paul’s toothbrush to ped-egg my feet in the bath meant that I couldn’t risk travelling back to my Paul in case my lungs were full of excitement. This meant a further stay whilst we anxiously waited to see if my lips would turn blue with something other than the effort of doing my shirt buttons, but thankfully no and, after a total of 22 days, I was able to come home and back into the flabby, comforting arms of my husband.

Here’s the thing: for all that I endlessly rag on Paul via this blog, for all that I tease and make him out to be a crabby, contumacious old sort, he’s alright really, and not being able to see him when I wanted was very much a trouble I hadn’t anticipated. Those that know me say that I suffer with contrarianism, that is, as soon as I can’t do something I very much want to do it. You may disagree with that analysis, but that’s fine, because then I’ll deliberately disagree with you and that proves me right. It’s why things like lockdown rankle with me (though I stick to the rules rigidly, because The Greater Good) – I can merrily sit on my bum for days on end and never see anyone but the instant I can’t do it, I’m arranging things left, right and centre and then going Max Tittylip that my plans are out.

And, you know, I really, really missed him. My hosts were truly amazing, each and all, and you must understand that I’m alway glad of an opportunity to sit on someone else’s sofa, but there’s a lot to be said for coming back and burying my nose in the hay-scented fleshpile that is Paul. I missed his innate skill of being able to recall some random quote from a Changing Rooms episode from way back when and reduce me to laughing tears with some naff catchphrase. I like the way his tongue appears at the corner of his mouth when he’s trying to concentrate in spite of my endless prodding. He’s the kindest, most selfless, most considerate barrel of fat you’ll ever meet, and by God he doesn’t get the credit he deserves on here.

It’s not all roses – and that’s mainly because the fat bastard eats them before I get a chance – for example, I don’t like that sometimes when he’s watching TV his jaw slackens and he looks like his mother, the Waltzers Queen of Peterborough. Plus he messes up his personal pronouns in a way that makes my shoulders lock into my ears with annoyance. He gives me a hard time for accidentally piddling around the toilet in the bathroom but has no shame in leaving the pan looking like someone hurled a tin of uncooked brownie mix in from a moving car.

But yeah, I missed him. A couple of times when I sat in front of the Mersey, listening to my Billie Eilish tapes, looking over the river to the hills beyond and knowing he was only a three hour drive away (actually more like seven, given my tendency to stop and get something down on paper at every service station on the way) was a bit of a wrench. We reunited last night in a blur of knock-off Doritos (clearly he hadn’t missed me enough to get name-brand) and The Cube and it was tremendous. Lovely. But that’s to be expected, as I do love him dearly. I mean look what a power couple we are.

Anyway, look, that’s quite enough of that mush. I’ll be back to calling him all sorts and tampering with the brakes on his Smart car lickety-split, I promise. Actually, given the Smart car’s brakes extend to nothing more than pushing a carrier bag out of the window at speed so it acts as a makeshift parachute, that bit will be easy!

The super quick lamb pilaf, then. You’ve waited long enough and endured all of my nonsense, and for that I’m grateful. As grateful as you will be for this delicious quick lamb pilaf? Abso-friggin-lutely. Let’s do this!

quick lamb pilaf

Turns out that despite being a delicious dinner to make, the quick lamb pilaf doesn’t photograph too well. Ah well. Bear with.

quick lamb pilaf

Serve the quick lamb pilaf with naan breads. Which translates as bread bread, fact-fans.

quick lamb pilaf

Just to add to our woes, the quick lamb pilaf photo here went all washed out. But you know what, you’re turning it into poop, let’s not fret too much about the looks.

tasty and quick lamb pilaf

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Lamb mince doesn't get nearly half as much love as it should. It's so much more tastier than beef mince, and is dead easy to cook. Try and get the lean stuff if you can, if you can't find it in the supermarkets a local butcher is a good bet. You slip someone enough spare change and you'd be amazed what they can do with a mincer.

This makes enough for two very large portions. Maybe a bit more for your lunchbox.

This is another recipe inspired from Hello Fresh - we've made a couple of changes to slim it down. We've been customers for a few months while our house gets rebuilt, and, I won't lie, writing a cookbook totally bloody drains you. We love it, and you probably will too! Click here if you want to give them a go, you'll get £20 off your first box. We also get £20, because damn it.

Ingredients

  • 400g lean lamb mince (4 syns)
  • 2 red onions
  • 1½ tbsp ras-en-hanout (you can buy this in all supermarkets, it's not rare, it'll be with the spices)
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 300g basmati rice
  • 600ml chicken stock
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 20ish mint leaves
  • half a lemon
  • 400g tin brown lentils
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 150g fat free natural yoghurt

Instructions

  • spray a saucepan with a little oil and place over a high heat
  • add the lamb mince and cook for 5-6 minutes, until browned
  • meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the red onion
  • add half of the onion to the mince and cook for another 5 minutes
  • add the ras-el-hanout and half of the turmeric, and cook for another minute
  • add the rice to the pan and stir, then add the stock and stir again
  • reduce the heat to medium and cook for ten minutes, covered, then remove from the heat and set aside for another ten minutes
  • as the pilaf is cooking, peel and mince the garlic, finely chop the minute leaves and drain and rinse the lentils in a colander
  • spray a frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium heat
  • add the remaining onion and cook until softened, about five minutes
  • add the spinach and cook for another couple of minutes until wilted, then add the garlic and lentils
  • cook for 1-2 minutes until the lentils have warmed through, then set aside
  • in a bowl, mix together the yoghurt with half of the mint and remaining turmeric
  • remove the lid from the pilaf and stir and fluff up
  • gently stir in the lentil mixture, remaining mint and a squeeze of lemon juice
  • serve in bowls, with a dollop of minty yoghurt

Notes

The dish

  • ras-el-hanout is a fantastic spice mix, if you get it you will love it. You'll find it nearly all spice bits in supermarket, but if you really are struggling you can use garam masala or curry powder
  • lean lamb mince will taste best in this, but beef mince works well too - cook in the same way. 
  • can't be arsed to track down a mint plant? Use a tbsp of mint sauce in the yoghurt instead and a tbsp in the pilaf, we'll never tell

The books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK can be pre-ordered from Amazon right now! It's rammed with recipes which are both FAST and FILLING. We called it FAST AND FILLING. I know, we're geniuses. But it's really banging. It'll be coming out just in time for the new year! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!

Tools

Courses dinner

Cuisine curry

What? You want more curry and spicy ideas? Of course you do. You love having a bumhole that looks like a frightened emoji. Here we go then:

JX

POUND THE ALARM! CUBS GOING CHEAP!

Oh goodness me, I’m out of breath using all those exclamation marks. Don’t worry, it won’t happen again. And yes, James will sulk that I used all caps.

I had to rush here to tell you that our cookbook, Two Chubby Cubs: The Cookbook has been included in Amazon’s Prime Day Deals and for the next 24 hours (plus a few) it’s just £6.90! This is the hardback edition, so you’ll get a canny, solid tome in your hands. Get it quick!Twochubbycubs The Cookbook: 100 Tried and Tested Slimming Recipes - The Book Bundle

And if you’re there, why not preorder our next cookbook? Two Chubby Cubs: Fast and Filling is due for release just after Christmas. Preorder it now and you’ll get the Amazon price guarantee, so you’ll always pay the lowest price. We’re so chuffed with this. If you bought our first one and loved it, you’ll love this one even more, I promise!

Thanks to everyone for their love and support recently, we love you all. Keep save Cubettes! See you soon.

 

P x