The reacharound this week falls to our sausage stroganott supper from 2016, when we both had ice on our feet and a love of alluring alliteration apparently. That blog entry is a corker, even if I do say so myself, detailing a day we spent in Iceland, traipsing around the spitting geysers and turning blue on a flight of stairs. There are parts that seem almost an abstraction now: tourists all rammed into coaches, people sitting down with strangers for dinner. Hopefully this year will see more travel, even if it is forever tainted by the angst of someone coughing near you and not knowing if you’re going to end up hissing away on a ventilator. Anyhoo.
Those who enjoy our photos on Instagram may have noticed a small change in my husband of late – and I’ve certainly referenced his weight loss a few times on here. To that end, in the spirit of a reacharound and also wanting to give my wrists a rest from typing, I asked him to write a blog article about his weight troubles. He duly did, and ever one for detail, somehow managed to spin it out over 8,000 words. I can’t exactly criticise: I’ve never managed to type up a holiday blog without spending 2,500 words detailing my trip to the airport, taking in some random tut about shoelaces and eighty-seven allusions to sucking off truckers. However, you mustn’t fret: despite Paul having a face that has never been knowingly troubled by a smile, he’s actually a very funny writer. If you don’t like the thought of my husband guiding you around his fat bits, scroll quickly to the photos of the food. For everyone else, here’s Paul.
Alright! It’s me, Paul! Don’t worry, I’m not dead. I’m gonna tell you all a story about me. I apologise if some of this you’ve already heard!
I really wanted to avoid calling this whole thing a story about my “JoUrNeY” but there really ain’t any other word for it, so indulge me this one time. I know, I know. I’m typing this all out in the middle of one hell of a health kick so I’m really hoping that by doing so it’ll be one more nudge to keep me going.
See, I’ve always been fat. Always, for as long as I remember. I know I’ve said this before but my earliest memory is creeping downstairs (I would’ve been about 2-3 I think) and filling this small, green plastic bowl with chocolates and biscuits from the cupboards (and then tuning in for watching ITV Schools. Remember those? I loved ’em). Even when I was at nursery I knew I was fat and was self-conscious about it. Our nursery had a swimming pool (don’t be fooled, I’m common as muck) and I can remember not wanting to go into the water because I just knew I was too fat. This you can then copy and paste for the next 34 years. It’s only after you lose weight that you realise just how being overweight impacted on every single part of your life, and it’s quite sad for me that for nearly every milestone I can recall, my weight has factored somewhere in it.
Now, before I start, I don’t want this to sound like it’s turning into fat shaming or anything like that – my experiences are my own and this is in no way meant to shame anyone into wanting to lose weight. We all have our own reasons for doing what we do and being what we are, and this is mine. Please don’t read this and think that I’m judging anyone at all for anything because I promise I’m not. This is just my journey (oh fuck I said it again) and my reasons and justifications and experiences are all unique to me. Just thought I needed to put that before anyone starts with the angry tweets.
Throughout my entire childhood and well into adulthood (actually, even to this day) I’ve placed a ‘limit’ on myself, especially when it comes to physical stuff about what I can do, but also what I’m willing to do in order to preserve my dignity, and it’s fair to say the limit is set pretty damn low. One of the best things that happened to me at school was breaking my arm and needing an operation because it meant I had 8 weeks off PE (which I managed to stretch to the whole four years…eeh). My education around food was absolutely non-existent. I had a basic idea that fruits and vegetables were good and burgers were bad but it didn’t really stretch much beyond that. Food tech was all about making bread rolls and a fruit salad and something called COSHH and that was all. Education at home was even worse than that (I once lived off Freschetta pizzas for months. Best half-year of my life). Again, copy and paste this part throughout the rest of my life until my early thirties (stay tuned for that).
Food education was one thing. Exercise, another. I did briefly join a gym in my teenage years (I had to lie about my age and say I was sixteen) which, weirdly, came about because I was jealous my mate fingered someone on a bus, and I thought I’d never get to that. Of course, you can guess what end of that arrangement I wanted to be on. And I did quite well at the gym! I really enjoyed it. I would go every day after school for a few hours at a time and didn’t mind it at all. I can’t really say that my strength, stamina or fitness really improved that much though I can only imagine it must have, because back at home I was still being fed the same shite so it probably counteracted each other. But regardless of that I did enjoy it but couldn’t really tell you why. I barely lost any weight (I think it was less than a stone over the year) and my confidence didn’t improve at all, and I didn’t really enjoy doing the exercises (though it was a cute little gym, above a WHSmith) and the sauna was incredibly cruisey which was nice. The routine was something new that I latched on to and it became a part of just a thing I did and so it was easier to keep up. I couldn’t afford to go to the gym after that initial year (poor kid innit) and as soon as I did stop going any promises I made to myself that I’d go jogging or lift tins of sweetcorn of course went out the window and after a week I was back to exactly where I was before I even started. A few years later when I got a job I did join another gym (the nice one I went to before turned into a ladies only one) but I didn’t go a single time. I didn’t even go to the induction. I just could not get myself into that headspace to get into it. It seemed like a chore. And I couldn’t be fucked.
The only time I did manage to lose weight after that time and before meeting James was solely out of necessity. In a trademark act of teenage stupidity I made a sudden move to Portsmouth, of course failing to factor in that I would have rent and bills to pay in one of the most expensive areas in the country on a minimum wage. I lost weight because I could not afford to eat, and nor could I afford to travel to work. I had to walk 4-5 miles a day to a train station that was cheaper to get a season ticket to, and once I’d paid for the essential things on pay day (rent, season ticket, phone top-up, fags) I’d not only have spent my entire wages, but another £100 on top. If I did a few extra shifts I could sometimes make enough for a £40-50 shop but of course, being me with no education or experience of cooking that didn’t go far at all. I survived pretty much on the biscuits in the staff room and whatever I could ponce from work after all the patients had been served their dinner (I’ll never forget the kindness of Dariusz who would always try and save me a whole meal. Thank you, Dariusz! Also, if you’re reading, I totally would).
I lasted about 9 months and lost nearly twelve stone in weight. Thankfully, being young and nicotined up I could get by without feeling too ill (compare that with today where if I don’t get my routine Fruit Corner as near as 12pm as possible I get the shakes). I did feel the benefits of losing weight. For once in my life I felt a little bit attractive and had a few men on the go (whatamilike) and reasonably fit (as fit as you could be with 40 roll-ups a day sitting on your lungs). But still, I didn’t have the knowledge about eating so my default would always be junk, like pizzas, crisps, chocolate. I still couldn’t cook a single meal other than mince ‘n’ mash. I couldn’t even make cheese on toast. I promise I’m not exaggerating. So while I was as slender as I had ever been (but still not skinny) it was only temporary. But that part of my life came to an end, because who came mincing up the driveway one day in a rugby kit that had never seen a grass stain?
So this little mincer came into my life and the, rest, they say, is history.
Good place to leave it! The blog post I mean, not my husband. Although make me an offer. At this point in the marriage I’d trade for a halfway decent sandwich.
Genuinely feel like this sausage stroganott reloaded plate might be one of the best photos yet
The sausage stroganott reloaded comes in at 195 calories which is absolutely nowt – fact
sausage stroganott reloaded
Yield 4 servings
We're insisting on calling this stroganott because I just can't do another 'Strong Enough / Stroganoff' series of jokes again. I know I know, but I'm tired. It's OK though, I don't need your sympathy - there's nothing you can say or do for me. I'll see myself out. The original recipe didn't actually take too much tweaking, more's the pity, but we've added a few bits and bobs.
We served ours with braised red cabbage and mashed potato, but those aren't factored into the calories so make sure you add them on if you copy the plate completely. As usual, calorie counts are approximate using the NHS calorie checker, so don't shit the bed if you work them out a little higher. Only 195 calories for the sausage stroganott though, that's a bargain!
- eight sausages of your choice - we used Richmond meat-free sausages because they were reduced and we're tight as a tick's nipsy
- one large white onion, sliced finely
- one big handful of mushrooms, chopped finely (any will do, we used a forest mix) (and feel free to leave them out, swap them for pepper)
- one large red sweet pepper, sliced fine
- four rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
- pinch of salt and pepper
- one clove of garlic
- one teaspoon of paprika
- 250ml of beef stock
- couple of tablespoons of gravy powder
- firstly, we appreciate this is no more a stroganoff than it is a plate of chips, but the naming conventions of the twochubbycubs accords demand it
- fry off your sausages - we used our Instant Dual Drawer, took fifteen minutes, then slice and set aside
- whilst they cook, fry off your onion, bacon, mushrooms if using and pepper until softened
- mince and add the garlic and cook for a minute or two more
- add the paprika, sausages, stock and a pinch of salt and pepper and allow to bubble away for a few minutes
- add gravy to thicken
- serve up with whatever you want
- a note on the mushrooms - Paul isn't a fan, but if you use decent mushrooms like the forest mix we suggested, they add good flavour and don't taste overwhelmingly of mushrooms - so do try
- on a slimming regime and want 100+ ideas for meals that taste amazing - then try our Fast & Filling cookbook: order yours here!
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- want to keep track of your results and joy and happiness - use our planner: here
- we knocked out our sausages in the Vortex Airfryer which we love and admire - you can pick one up from Amazon today
Disclosure: the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Which is handy, as I accidentally chipped one of our Le Creuset mugs putting it into the dishwasher and Paul's face hasn't recovered yet
Got leftover sausages? Use them in our sausage and boston beans recipe from earlier in the month – click the image below to be whisked straight there!
Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure!
Love both the recipe and Paul’s blog tonight! Thanks for both boys. X