Here for the bacon and butternut squash dahl? Of course: because the bacon and butternut squash dahl is amazing. You’ll find the recipe for bacon and butternut squash dahl down below, but before we get to the bacon and butternut squash dahl, you’ll have to endure a few words from your fearless leader. And Lisa, you may be saying bacon and butternut squash dahl an awful lot, but that’s because I can’t be arsed to scatter the references to bacon and butternut squash dahl throughout the article properly to hit the SEO target. What am I like!
Morning all! Having been woken up at 8am by my other half grabbing my morning thickness in his sleep and loudly going ‘Oooooh MY‘ like an especially somnambulant Kenneth Williams – and then having the poor grace to turn over and ignore it – I’ve decided to wake early. And not just so I could ‘realise my full potential’ all over his pillow out of frustrated spite. Good luck prying your face off that when you wake up, you jolly little butterball, it’ll be like pulling a cheese toastie out of a car-boot Breville.
There’s the classy writing you’ve all been missing during these times of uncertainty and woe. And what truly preternatural times these are – normally the biggest decision I have at the corner shop is whether I can eat four Kinder Buenos on the short drive home so I don’t have to share with Paul (readers: I can, and a pack of knock-off Wine Gums), now I have to worry about picking up a deadly virus with my bits and bobs. Fun!
In my last blog post I spoke of being hopeful and being kind, and all that applies ever more so now, but I won’t lie and say everything has been just peachy for me. I’ve always been entirely open and honest about my mental health – for there is no shame in it – but long days without the usual focuses of work or the familiar anchors have meant that there’s been times when I’ve been inside my own head too much. And listen: I have a giant fucking head, there’s room for us all in there as long as you like endless Doctor Who music and creaking Simpsons jokes. Curiously, I’ve managed to keep a lid on my health anxiety, taking the somewhat fatalistic view that I’ll probably get it and might die, but that does take some effort.
Anyway. I’m feeling much better now. Why worry about what you can’t change during a pandemic – going out, getting the bits you need, Paul – and concentrate on the good things. Little victories, my Good Friend Paul calls them, and so it is I will share with you my tips for getting through when you’ve got a face like a slapped arse and a head full of apathy.
Get a hammock or go outside
I can’t begin to tell you how much I love our hammock. Now I appreciate this will alienate those without a garden so I’m caveating it by saying, go outside. But, having finally assembled the bastard with Paul ‘helping’, I can’t recommend it enough. I lie outside and get a full dose of Vitamin D (sadly not euphemistically, and boy, am I missing that) and feel like a new man. I do feel for the neighbours though: I’m not shy about my body and so I tip myself into that hammock in just my boxer shorts and it must look to all the world like someone left two tonnes of bread mix out to prove in the sun.
There’s also the small matter of getting into it. Again, I am a man of heft and very little grace, and I essentially have to tip myself in. This is quite the acrobatic feat for someone for whom getting into a sex-sling requires two strong men to hold the frame and an army instructor bellowing encouragement. It would be easier to air-lift me in but I feel inappropriate ringing the air ambulance. More than twice I have thrown myself in and rolled straight back out the other side onto hard concrete, but I still persevere.
And honestly, I feel so much better for it, despite the sun bleaching my eyebrows blonde to the point where they disappear and remove my ability to look surprised.
Oh: added bonus. Being secreted into my hammock gives me the opportunity to eavesdrop on some of the conversations my neighbours have. So far, I’ve heard them slag off Paul, his car (fair game), our broken fence (broken by their tree) and us in general. Mind, I’ve also heard one of them describe the virus as ‘nothing more than a common cold, so this is all over the top’. She’s in her seventies, exactly the type who people are staying in to protect, and that’s her attitude. I’m not saying I get excited when I see an ambulance pull into the street but…
Stop reading the news
I mean, within reason – still keep the occasional eye for the bigger headlines: is Trump dead yet, when can we get back to shenanigans and firkytoodling, when can I get 5G in my local area and has the price gone up due to lockdown? But otherwise, what is there to say? At the start of this I was feverishly (poor choice of words, granted) reading the news for updates and all you see is woe and misery, plus Priti Patel, a sneer given sentience and an expenses account at Jigsaw. Nobody needs that negativity in their life. Stop reading it, and this just becomes a fancy stay-at-home holiday. You can’t complain about getting wet if you keep going out in the rain, after all.
Do something you’ve been unable to do before
With most of us having the obligation of going into work not looking like Worzel Gummidge halfway through the 12-step programme, we’re now afforded an amazing opportunity to experiment with our looks without judgement from those we shouldn’t care about. For example, a good friend of mine is letting her roots come in so she can turn her hair grey, something I’ve been badgering her about for ages. For my part, I’m growing out my beard, and have successfully navigated the difficult period of looking like someone you’d throw pennies at to keep me away, into the luxurious Saul from Homeland beard that I’ve been craving.
I’ve even got quite a bit of grey in there, which makes me look terribly distinguished, albeit it’s probably only spilt Activia. I’m longing for the days when art galleries reopen and I can walk around stroking my beard and saying hmm, quite, but what of the human nature?
Write a list of all the shite you’ve been putting off
Not saying you should actually do anything on there, but there’s a grim satisfaction of seeing all the chores and tut you’ve been putting off. However, if you’re feeling as keen as mustard, break each chore down even further into smaller targets, and work on them. For example, I’ve been wanting to learn a new language for years. Years! So I’ve paid for a course of lessons. Don’t get me wrong, that’s as far as I’ve got (and indeed, am going to get) but it did make me feel better just ticking off a tiny bit of progress.
Speaking of progress…
Meet your new diet assistants – order a new twochubbycubs planner!
The time to ourselves has given us plenty of time to finalise our diet planner – which is available to order now! The planner has 26 slimming recipes, all of our nonsense, inspirational quotes (written by me, so you can really guess how they go), weekly challenges, 10 pages per week to complete AND, best of all, colouring in pages to keep you distracted featuring us! And look how bloody adorable they are. Even I went ‘aww’ and my heart is made of granite.
You can order it here (it’ll open in a new window), and I heartily promise you’ll love it!
OK, there’s probably more I can write, but frankly, I need the loo so let’s barrel out this bacon and butternut squash dahl and be done.
The ingredients for bacon and butternut squash dahl, with Paul guest-starring.
Serve your bacon and butternut squash dahl with warmed pittas
Finally, an easy dish of bacon and butternut squash dahl you can get down pat!
bacon and butternut squash dahl
Yield 8 servings
This bacon and butternut squash dahl is a dirt-cheap meal to make - we use our Instant Pot Duo because honestly, it's easy just to chuck everything in and let it do the hard work, but a dahl is equally as happy burbling away on the hob on the lowest possible heat. You can swap the coconut milk for stock if you like, but this serves eight so I wouldn't worry about the syns.
For the base recipe, we adapted a red lentil dahl from A Virtual Vegan, and you can find her excellent recipe right here
If you don't want to fart about with all the spices, just use a tablespoon of curry powder. I won't tell yer ma.
Between eight, this is around 141 calories a portion. And that's including the coconut milk! Shut the front door.
- one large leek or one large onion, chopped finely
- six rashers of bacon, chopped finely
- if you're omitting the bacon, add a pinch more salt
- one butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1cm chunks
- 400g red lentils
- 400ml of light Blue Dragon coconut milk (14 syns, but worth it)
- two tablespoons of freshly chopped garlic
- two tablespoons of freshly chopped ginger
- two teaspoons of garam masala
- half a teaspoon of cinnamon
- one tablespoon of turmeric
- one tin of chopped tomatoes
- a tablespoon of chilli flakes (I like it spicy)
- good pinch of salt and a lot of pinches of black pepper
- 750ml of water
Instant Pot method
- press saute, add a bit of oil (not too much, as the bacon will provide plenty) and gently saute the onion and bacon until the bacon is just cooked through
- add the garlic and ginger and cook for another couple of minutes
- add the chunks of butternut squash and all of the spices / chilli flakes and cook for a couple of minutes - add a splash of water if it's catching
- add all the water and have a bloody good root around with a wooden spoon - you want to make sure there's nothing stuck on the bottom of the pan here
- add the coconut milk, lentils, tomatoes, stir once and pop the lid on
- seal the vent, select PRESSURE COOK and then programme it to cook for 10 minutes on high pressure
- once it's done, allow it to vent, give it a stir and allow it to cool
On the hob
- I mean, you can work it out - saute the bacon and leeks/onion, add the ingredients as above, leave to burble
- we find this even nicer the day after, and serve with red pepper pitta breads
- remember - our slimming cookbook is now generally always at £9.99 and can be ordered online now - full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing! Click here to order
- the Instant Pot duo is only £80 on Amazon at the time of writing, and worth every pound!
Courses cheap dinners
Cuisine instant pot
Yum! Honestly, what a simple recipe. Want more Instant Pot ideas? Sure thing sugar-tits:
- pork and sweet potato chilli (syn free)
- instant pot spaghetti bolognese (syn free)
- lentil and vegetable soup (syn free)
- split pea and ham soup (syn free)
- slimming world sandwich fillings (1 syn or less)
- homemade pease pudding (0-0.5 syns)
- leek, potato and cheddar soup (less than 1 syn)
- lazy cabbage bowls (1 syn)
- lemon and garlic chicken (0.5 syns)
- spicy carrot and coconut soup (2 syns)
- sticky sesame chicken (2.5 syns)
- the best bbq pork sandwiches you’ll ever have (2 syns)
- chicken caesar wraps (3 syns)
Keep going, folks!
Hi guys me and the hubby made your pina colada cheesecake and it was delish, thanks for the recipe, I wasnt brave enough to use brown sugar but the pretendy type worked fine, who would have thought using chickpeas for the base. Sorry you werent able to do the book signing at the metro center (Damn you corona) il look foreword to seeing you there when the cost is clear👍 Ps loved yous on james martin😉 love Catrina a fellow Geordie😊 x