roast beef and mustard lentil salad

Now, before we get to the roast beef and mustard lentil salad, I want to discuss something. Serious faces please. Fingers on lips. Not those lips. Not those fingers. Good lord, contain yourself.

After yesterday’s post I received a comment about how tired someone was because of ‘all the advertising’ on our blog. Fair enough: everyone’s entitled to an opinion, of course, and you’ll note that I approved the comment where I could have just deleted it. It’s a discussion worth having, after all. It’s been on my mind a little.

Here’s the thing – take a look at other food blogs – you’ll see tonnes of little adverts all over the page. I could do the same thing and quadruple my blog income in a shot. But on our main page, I’ve got one little google advert at the top. It’s not spread all over the place, it doesn’t slow the page, it doesn’t detract from the content. It could, very easily, but we chose to have a clean blog which is easy to access over something buggy and full of ads. When we email out to subscribers we could send a snippet rather than the full blog meaning that you had to visit the page and thus, drive up our adsense – but we don’t do it, because it would be crap for you. That’s the reason there’s no pop-up whenever you load the page asking you to subscribe, that’s why we don’t send out spam, that’s why there’s no ‘read more’ button which loads more ads. It’s about making it good for the reader not the writer.

How most blogs make money is via affiliate marketing – if I recommend Musclefood, I get a very small commission. Same with Amazon. That’s why, when we do a recipe with mince in it, I’ll stick a link in to Musclefood and if a recipe calls for grated garlic, I’ll mention the mincer. I don’t mean Paul. But this is the thing: we do use Musclefood for meat and we do own the few gadgets and Amazon products that I mention. I’m not just shilling for the tiny bit of money it makes me, I recommend them because I believe in them. I’ve always been totally transparent about the advertising, too – I don’t hide it away. We mention our books occasionally because I’m bloody proud of the fact I have a book – of course I should be! But that’s about the extent of the adverts.

Our blog operates to a very simple template – 1,000 words or so of preamble and nonsense, one decent photograph of the food, a very simple no-fuss breakdown of the recipe and then a couple of links to other posts on the blog. It takes me about 90 minutes to type up the ‘story’ and to try and add the funny bits. Sit and type out 1,000 words, try to make it faintly funny, see how long it takes you. We spend a couple of hours over the weekend researching and planning the recipes. We have to buy new ingredients and unusual ingredients because we like to have different styles of recipes spread out over the year. Paul spends an hour or so cooking the meals, I spend a few minutes photographing, then typing. I then spend 20 minutes or so publishing the blog in our various mediums. That’s a lot of time for two blokes who work full-time in demanding jobs and who, let’s face it, are bone-bloody-idle.

And there’s the cost too – we had to buy a proper server for the blog to sit on – that costs a fair chunk every year. New ingredients cost money. Photography software costs money. As much we don’t struggle for money, I’d much rather spend that money putting my fat arse on a beach somewhere than talking about servers with some chap in Wisconsin.

So why do we do it? Because we fucking love it! We adore all the wonderful, lovely comments we receive. We love hearing from folks who have cooked one of our meals and been pleasantly surprised that slimming food could be so delicious. We eat so well because we’re constantly trying new things. We’ve met amazing folk in our groups, on our facebook page, via here. Everyone’s got a story and we love to hear them. I love to write, so this is a perfect outlet for my verbal diarrhoea – and we’ve got a very unique thing in that we’ve got a perfect diary of our last two years. Paul could barely cook before we started and now he’s confident in the kitchen. It’s great!

We’re not going to stop any time soon despite all the effort it takes. But the balance for that is that in the big blog posts, you might get a couple of text links to ingredients and a mention of Musclefood. It’s easy ignored and I think a decent exchange for the work we do. When we’ve got a Musclefood sale on, you’ll get a paragraph, but it’s always delineated from the post by blank lines. Skip over it. It’s easy to forget that we’ve already done over 350 recipes which are all indexed by syns – you couldn’t buy a cookbook with that many recipes in it, and we give it away for free. Always will be!

I hope that clears things up! I am sorry to moan, but there just something in the wanky, passive-aggressive comment that pushed a button.

To make things worse, here’s a salad! It’s syn free, full of taste and made up of only a few ingredients – it’s an excellent way to use up any roast beef you have kicking about, but you can also throw sliced beef in there for no syns. We’re talking proper roast beef though, not the processed stuff as that sometimes does have syns. Before I do, though, I’m obliged to mention – because it’s possibly the last day we’re running this, our current Musclefood deal. If you’re already frothing at the gash at the thought of ONE advert, just scroll on by.

Remember: our Musclefood deal is running with 10% off but ending soon. Canny deal – even if you don’t want it, share it with a friend!

FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that. TO THE RECIPE.

roast beef and mustard lentil salad

to make a roast beef and mustard lentil salad, you’ll need:

  • lots of leftover roast beef
  • a can of green lentils
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • a wee bunch of spring onions
  • a lemon
  • a spoonful of wholegrain mustard (this might have syns from recollection – 1 syn – but shared between four)
  • a bag of bistro salad leaves – the ones that have the little strips of beetroot in that make your poo an alarming red – or use any other salad leaves

to make a roast beef and mustard lentil salad, you should:

  • nice and simple this one – chop your tomatoes into quarters, thinly slice your spring onions and put a nice bunch of salad leaves on your plate
  • empty your tinned lentils into a microwavable bowl and cook for about three minutes in enough water to cover them, then drain
  • stir the mustard through the lentils while they are warm and then allow to cool
  • time to assemble – leaves on the bottom, mix of beef, lentils, spring onions and tomatoes on the top
  • dress with the juice of a lemon and some of the zest – no oil needed, perhaps a pinch of salt!

You know, I wasn’t going to do this but hell. You can use one of these to grate the lemons – it creates a nice fine zest and then you can use it for every other recipe we do! You can even see the zest in the photo. HARRUMPH.

Anyway, enjoy!

If you’re looking for more beef recipes, you could do no better than having a look on the links below! I’ve also thrown in some vegetarian recipes because, although this isn’t a veggie recipe, there’s lots more salads in there!



potato crust meat pies

Just a quick post tonight because I want to get this recipe for potato crust meat pies up – can’t pretend it’s my own, it’s one of the current facebook fads doing the rounds, though we’ve pimped it up a bit with slow-cooked beef and onions. The recipe is after the photo, if you’re wondering where to go.

Before I get to that though, something has been sitting a little heavy on my mind. There was a heated discussion in our facebook group about whether or not it was right for the NHS to fund access to places like Slimming World or Weight Watchers, or whether people should be expected to pay for themselves. For the most part people agreed that it was a marvellous idea and that a little bit paid out now might stop a lifetime of the NHS having to pay out for obesity related diseases. Seems sensible. Of course, if you’re in a position to pay yourself, then you should, but if you’re unfortunate enough to struggle to find the money for Slimming World (and let’s be quite frank, although it might only “be a fiver”, it’s always a bit more – costs of getting there, bit of fruit for Slimmer of the Week, raffle prizes, magazines, books. Yeah, you don’t need to buy into any of that, but let’s be honest, there’s plenty of ways to lose money so although it might only be a fiver, it’s often a quite a bit more. Do we stop people going if they can’t afford it? Say no, sorry, go home and cry into your Smart Price bread and Extra Value glass of rainwater? Of course we fucking don’t, and it boils my piss that it was even suggested.

ANYWAY. The reason I bring this up is because Paul, quite rightly, vehemently defended the NHS (for they are marvellous) and pointed out quite saliently that we all claim from the NHS in some way, whether right now or in the future. It’s there for all to use, and rightly so. As part of his argument, he mentioned the fact he went to Cambridge University and, being from a poor working class background, was often made to feel inadequate by some of the folks there. Which is daft, because Paul is undeniably wonderful in every which way. He’s even got a big knob for someone of his height, so you know, work with it. His argument was comprehensive and fair and surprisingly free of swearing and innuendo – I thought someone had swapped him out for someone else. One of the posters disagreeing with him kept having a pop, so he ignored her, only to wake up this morning to a private message (it’s interesting, these folk never say what they want to say in front of others, only hidden away behind the shadows) from this woman who told him she couldn’t “believe he went to Cambridge” because he was so “classless and uncouth“. She “thanked God” that she never bumped into “someone like you” and reassured him that he “would never amount to anything“. All this because Paul’s an advocate for folk getting help when they need it as opposed to when they can afford it.

Naturally, he blocked her, despite me wanting to point out to her that clearly the Cambridge education of her son hadn’t rubbed off on her based on her many spelling errors and nonsensical grammar. Disappointing. But honestly, how pathetic. I can’t bear actual proper snobbery, especially when it’s coming from someone who clearly has all the class of a fingerbang in a taxi-rank. There’s something so undignified about someone in their late sixties scrabbling around on facebook trying to put others down based on class. It’s like Jeremy Kyle but with Sanotagen. So your son went to Cambridge and you never saw anyone uncouth there? Pfft. I once ‘went back’ with a lad from Cambridge and he asked me to pee in his bum, the logistics of which I couldn’t fathom, so stick that in your cigarette-holder and smoke it. I shan’t name the lady and I don’t want people to comment below adding their twopenneth, because sometimes it’s easier just to let people’s ignorance stand clear and undiluted.

The point to mentioning this? Well, just to lead to a reminder of what we are all about at twochubbycubs. We don’t discriminate – we’re awful about everyone, but in a teasing, gentle way. If you actually want help, join our page or our group and get asking and I’m fairly sure someone will be along to help, though don’t ask for syn values otherwise you’ll get a boot up your arse. We’re all here for the same reason – we’re fat and the smell of bacon follows us wherever we go. Our recipes are free (and I do think we could make a lot more money if we actually charged for them, but we don’t) and hopefully there’s something for everyone. Well, no, not everyone. If you’re a needlessly haughty sort with hair like someone has run their finger around the inside of a plughole in the shower room of a men’s prison, perhaps you should skip on by.


Let us go somewhere nicer for a moment. I spent the afternoon volunteering at our local cat and dog shelter (Brysons) and had the pleasure of spending an hour with this little furball, Spitfire.


He is a kitten and was absolutely terrified after spending many weeks by himself in the cold, he had a bloody nose from fighting, but now he’s in the right place and will be loved and nursed. He was found after scratching at an office window to be let in from the cold. Oh, and when the RSPCA were called to pick up this stray cat, they told the caller to leave him outside and that there was nothing they could do. For a cat no bigger than my fist, stick-thin and shivering, with blood all over his face. Great work, “caring” animal charity. Brysons went to pick him up and are looking after him now, so all is well!

Right, let’s get to this smash crust pie. Before I type the recipe up, fair warning – this could be considered a tweak. Gives me an excuse to pop this on though.


My views on tweaking can be found here. It’s hopefully a marvellous read.

You’re using Smash to make the ‘crust’ of the pie, but frankly, I don’t think it uses any more Smash than you would if you were having it on the side. So I personally say don’t sweat it. You could negate all of this by making your own mashed potato from scratch, but this is just convenient. If you’re making your own mash, keep it as ‘dry’ as possible. Don’t be adding lots of milk and egg otherwise a) your consultant will implode and b) it’ll be hard to ‘mould’. This made enough filling and mash to make two big pies (see photo), just tweak the recipe for more folks.

potato crust meat pie

to make potato crust meat pies, you’ll need:

  • a decent quantity of made-up mash, whether through the Smash route, cooled and set aside (we used a normal sized bag of ordinary Smash – 176g pack – and added our own onion granules)
  • a cheap joint of beef, with no fat, or chunks of beef, or even mince
  • a tin of peas, a tin of carrots, a tin of butter-beans
  • two large onions
  • a dollop of Marmite (leave this out if you’re not a fan)
  • 100ml of stock
  • one clove of minced garlic (use a mincer like this one, so much easier!)

to make potato crust meat pies, you should:

  • slice your onions and cook them gently in a pan with worcestershire sauce instead of oil
  • once they’re softened, whack the heat up, put in your beef joint and ‘seal’ on all sides (press it against the bottom of the hot pan, you’re not trying to cook it but just seal it off) – or if using chunks or mince, cook them through
  • tip the meat into a slow cooker and add the stock
  • before you take the onions from the pan, keep the heat high and add a few more drops of worcestershire sauce and scrape at the bottom to get all the lovely meat juices mixed with the onions, then drop into the slow cooker with the carrots, peas, garlic, Marmite and butter-beans
  • cook for as long as you like – we went for a few hours, but get the meat softened and the sauce thick
  • when it’s time to prepare your pies, get two glass bowls (Pyrex) or a decent sized dish, squirt them with a tiny dab of oil (and rub this in), then mould your mashed potato to create a thin ‘crust’ around the sides, saving some mash for the lids
  • fill the pies with your meat, right up to the top
  • create a lid with the remainder of the mash and press it down to seal
  • bake in the oven on 170 for around thirty minutes, adding your healthy extra cheese if you desire a crusty lid
  • listen, a crusty lid is never a good thing on a bloke, just saying
  • you can either eat it out of the dish like we did or have a go at tipping them out – good luck!
  • serve with your speed food.

In our picture you can see gravy in our fancy container – to make our gravy, we just sweat off a tonne of onions, add some stock and then blend in our Nutribullet. Easy. We served with some frozen mixed veg because we’re lazy. This is pretty much a shepherds pie, I guess, but the heart likes what the eyes see, so if you’re wanting a big ole pie, this will help the cravings! Not our original idea, no, but we’ve added a bit of razzmatazz. It’s what us common, uncouth fuckers do, see.



slow cooker: stuffed mexican chilli and lime beef tortillas

Ah, I love you lot. We can post delicious dinners that we’ve laboured over for many an hour and ne’ry a mention of it anywhere, but post a KFC recipe and you go mad on social media! Still, not complaining – we’re exactly the same! We’re going to try and do a ‘takeaway’ recipe once a month going forward, if only so it gives us an excuse to go to McDonalds next. Like we need an excuse!

Right, slow cooker week it is. I have to confess, I’m not a huge fan of the slow cooker. It’s certainly convenient – I appreciate having the dinner cooked and ready for us by the time we get in the house. But CHRIST it makes everything in the house smell like a dinner lady’s fart for a good few weeks. Is that just us? I find myself flapping my coat on the back of my chair at work and someone across the office will ask who’s bought rabbit stew in. Plus, everyone seems to get oddly evangelical about them – the amount of women I’ve had in slimming classes clutch at my arm and say ‘oooooo but the meat it just falls off the bone lover’ or some regional variant is uncountable. I’m presuming that’s not a half-hearted attempt to get in my trousers.

I don’t need my food to feel like it’s pre-chewed – if I’m getting to that point, I’d sooner be put on a drip and fed that way, because then at least I could watch TV lying down. Every fatty’s dream. Also, you may remember I’m an anxious sort, and I find it difficult not to believe that the slow-cooker is going to overheat and set my kitchen on fire. I’d hate ‘cauliflower and lentil curry’ to be put down on the insurance form. On top of all of this, we made a recipe ahead of schedule last night only to sleep in way past the time we should have got up and found a meal so cooked and burnt that we had to throw out the slow cooker. Probably for the best – it was a Morphy Richards thing and was absolute bobbins.

If you don’t have a slow-cooker, get one. They’re only normally around £30 for a decent one and the model we’ve bought, from Amazon, is reduced from £36 to £23. Nice. You can click here for that. It goes red with the rest of the things in our kitchen – our stand mixer, our glass toaster, Paul’s face. We’ve also done quite a few slow cooker recipes before:

Tonight’s recipe is a bit of a spin on the spicy pork in sauce recipe above, which you could just as easily use. We wanted to do a recipe with meat cooked in fizzy pop because there seems to be so many people getting their growler damp at the thought of Diet Coke chicken at the moment, or curries made with Fanta. God knows why. The below recipe, based on the fact you get eight of those tortillas in a pack, easily makes enough for eight with a lot of beef left over which can be put into a salad the day after). So…

stuffed mexican chilli and lime beef tortillas

to make stuffed mexican chilli and lime beef tortillas, you’ll need:

  • 500ml of Sprite (now it’s up to you – you can use sugar free if you want, and lose seven syns off the whole dish, but the full sugar version is better for flavour – and this makes a LOT of beef so those few syns spread very thinly)
  • some of those Old El Paso stand and stuff tortillas – now, let me say this. These come in at 4 and half syns each, and when I saw them cradled in a hand on the packaging I thought they were a decent size. They’re not. They’re tiny. If you want to use them like we did, do, but you could just serve this on top of a bed of rice without the tortilla thing and again, save the syns. Plus, for reasons inexplicable, they remind me a bit of vaginas, so that’s that
  • tomato salsa (1/2 syn per tablespoon…to be honest, I don’t count it, I know I know)
  • two packets of Tesco savoury rice (4 syns for two packets) made up, or, make your own rice and save the syns!)
  • 1kg of rolled beef brisket (feel free to drop this down in weight, or use chunks) – we used the good guys at Musclefood again, and it cost us £7, which is nowt given how much it makes
  • pinch of chilli powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely cut
  • juice of two fat limes

to make stuffed mexican chilli and lime beef tortillas, you should:

  • put the beef, sliced garlic, Sprite, chilli powder and salt in the slow cooker
  • cover, and cook on low for eight hours, or as long as you like
  • shred the beef, mix with the juice from the limes
  • assemble your tortilla – bit of rice, lots of meat, squirt of juice, bit of salsa

Remember, you can drop the syns down to a syn per serving if you do away with the ‘boats’. I don’t think they’re needed! Up to you though. 

Off to iron into the small hours now. Booo.


bloody mary beef, discuss

Tonight’s recipe comes from a friend who recommended it to me with such gusto and fervency that I couldn’t refuse. She’s one of the three who hold the keys to my chains at work, so I couldn’t really say no – but as it happens, we had a chunk of beef the size of a Volkswagen Golf parked in our freezer that kept tumbling onto Paul’s toes whenever he reached for the frozen peas, so it was a decent opportunity to use that up. Right? It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe made suitable for Slimming World and it pretty much cooks itself overnight in a slow-cooker, so even you can do it. A lot of people don’t care for Jamie Oliver but I rather like the man – he’s got a good heart and seems to mean well. Fair enough, he might have a face not unlike an over-inflated tyre, but still. Nobody’s perfect.

I still feel rotten (worse!) – my head feels like someone has sucked out my brain and piped in a load of cotton wool. My joints ache and my jaw is throbbing, though that’s possibly from telling Paul over and over and over again how manky I’m feeling. So you’ll forgive me if I’m not here long. That said, I wanted to mention the most ridiculous argument I had last night with some absolute stream of arse-gravy who was trying to have a pop at me for explaining how to cook an omelette. Her ‘proposal’ was to find a zippable (?) sandwich bag, pour in four eggs, seal the bag, break the eggs up, open the bag, add all the toppings, seal it again, boil the bag in a pan full of water and then after a few minutes, out slides the “omelette’ like a bright orange poo full of undigested tomato. Apparently, this saves time.

For goodness sake. An omelette is one of the quickest meals you can make as long as you’re not so mentally deficient you don’t know how to crack an egg, and if that’s the case, you’d perhaps be better served colouring in and eating lead. Crack eggs into jug, beat the eggs, pour into pan, allow to stiffen, add toppings, fold over, finish under grill. If James Martin and some random bag of hormones from Hollyoaks can do it on Saturday Kitchen then so can anyone. I mentioned this and got “well we can’t all be fucking mastercheffs‘, followed by lots of huffing and unbecoming puffing and argument style which felt like I was getting sassed by Dizzee Rascal, which doesn’t quite suit a “full time mammy” from Surbiton. Ignoring the fact that she’d quite semi-literally over-egged the pudding with her ‘recipe’, I’d hardly call being able to make an omelette ‘highly-skilled’. I chose a decent deal in Subway this morning and saved £1.35, that doesn’t make me Lord bloody Sugar. Thank Christ, his earlobes terrify me. Why must we revel in ignorance? I exited the “conversation” when I realised she looked the double of H from Steps and I couldn’t write anything without shoehorning in a Steps reference. 

OK, I sneaked two in. I said it was a Tragedy that she was getting so upset, and that the conversation was Better Best Forgotten. What AM I like.

The recipe, then. You don’t need to use the vodka, but really, it evaporates off during cooking and anyway, it’s so few syns it’s not worth stressing about. Also, this makes so much (serves eight, easily) that you can save some of the meat and sauce and mix with spaghetti the day after for lunch.

bloody mary beef

so to make bloody mary beef, you’ll need:

  • 1kg beef – we used a roasting joint from Tesco
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped into chunks
  • 4 small red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 700g passata
  • 1x bouquet garni bag
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3cm piece of horseradish, finely grated OR 1 tbsp from a jar (1 syn)
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • few drops of Tabasco sauce
  • 3 tbsp vodka (6 syns, barely)
  • juice of half a lemon

so to make bloody mary beef, you should:

  • juice of half a lemon
  • instructions:
  • preheat the oven to 130 degrees celsius (gas mark 1/2)
  • heat a large casserole dish (we bought one of these a while back (click) and although expensive, we use it almost daily – well worth the money – also, reduced by £40!) on the hob over a medium heat and add a splash of oil
  • season the beef with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan and cook for about ten minutes, until it’s browned all over
  • add the chopped celery and onions to the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5-10 minutes until he veg has softened slightly
  • mix together the passata, horseradish, worcestershire and tabasco sauce, vodka and lemon juice in a jug with 250ml water, and pour into the pan. stir to mix
  • lob in the bouquet garni bag 
  • cut out some greaseproof paper to just larger than the casserole dish and place over the top, pushing the middle of the paper down onto the surface of the food – this helps create a better ‘seal’
  • cover with the lid and cook in the oven for five hours
  • when cooked, pull the beef apart with two forks and serve – in our case, we served with horseradish mash (make mash, add horseradish and boiled cabbage) and tenderstem broccoli



roast beef with french onion gravy

BEFORE I BEGIN. We have a major backlog of comments. I turned off notifications for the blog when I went away on holiday, forgot to turn them back on and just noticed I’ve got 78 comments to approve. Oops. If you have commented and you’re sitting there thinking what a rude fucker I am for not replying, I apologise profusely. I’ll work through them. OK? So calm down!

Gosh. Finally something to do with that slab of beef I’ve had chilling in the kitchen going a bit green. Yes, I set him to work cooking some roast beef for ma dinner. BOOM. He deserves to be put to work, anyway, for the cheeky crack he made about me in my new coat, which zips right up to under my chins. Upon seeing me (and remembering that I’m especially bearded at the moment) in my fancy new coat, he told me my ‘face looked like a seventies porno muff’. Nice!

I’m spending the evening looking at hotels and bits and bobs to do in Iceland. We’ve decided to give Air B&B a go. 

I know, I know. We’re asking for trouble. 

I’ve always wanted to stay at a B&B, because they’re usually somewhere beautiful and it doesn’t quite feel like you’re sleeping in the jizz-dust of 1,000 businessmen that have literally come before you. But I just can’t. For one, I have a shit poker face, and if I was shown into a room and I didn’t like it, the disappointment avalanching across my ashen face would immediately make me an enemy of the host and she’d spit in my breakfast. I can’t bear chintz and flimflam and unnecessary accessories (although that would make a good band name, no?) either, so unless it was a perfectly sterile room decorated in tiny nice things, I’d feel uncomfortable. Then there’s the small talk – I don’t want to be fussed over as I try not to die in my morning coffee or asked where I’m going / how I’m getting there or tutted at when I don’t take my boots off. I’d spend the entire time away agonising over any little offence I may have caused that I’d simply need another holiday afterwards to relax. 

That said, I did once see a B&B on Four in a Bed where about two hundred cats roamed the property and it was pretty much a guarantee that you’d end up in bed with a hairy Persian sitting on your face – and well, that sounds good to me.

Speaking of cats, we took ourselves off to Mog on the Tyne (what can I say, I’m a sucker for puns – I’d eat my dinner in a clap clinic if it was given a pun for a name…something like Spotted Dicks or The Leaky Bucket) a couple of weeks ago. Mog on the Tyne is Newcastle’s first cat café and, with a rare afternoon off, Paul and I decided to try it. 

It’s brilliant. The food is basic café food – paninis, quiche, brownies et al – but the focus lies squarely on the ten or so cats that mill around the place, fighting, purring or – as is always the case with me – showing their bumholes as you try to finish your brownie. The café is fitted out with all sorts of toys, climbing frames and beds and the cats seem perfectly content – of course they are, they’re getting made a fuss of. You have to pay a fiver each for entry (which is unusual, because in the Bigg Market, usually it only takes a Blue WKD and a ten-deck of Lambert and Butler to be guaranteed entry) (sorry) which pays towards the upkeep of the cats, and the food is reasonable quality. It was a charming way to spend an hour and I’d heartily recommend it if you’re a cat fan. Of course, if you’re not a cat fan, then you have other options available, such as having a quiet word with yourself regarding the direction your life has taken. Our favourite cat was seemingly everyone else’s – a beast of a pussy called Stan who had suffered a nasty road accident. Aye, he took the bend at Billy Mill roundabout at 50mph in a Ford Capri and lost control. 

No, he got run over and although he’s fine now, he’s unable to put his tongue in his mouth, meaning he has a permanently dopey expression. I’ve shamelessly stolen a picture from another blog because all of my photos look like I’ve taken them using a potato (credit to – click here to read their report).


Now then! You can find more details on Mog on the Tyne at their website – – give them a go!

Of course, the bonus of visiting Mog on the Tyne was that as soon as we got back, our cats were all over us like flies on muck. I felt like a husband cheating on his missus, especially as the cats kept sniffing the end of my fingers and recoiling (which to be fair, I do myself). Awkward.

Right, tonight’s recipe.

roast beef with french onion gravy

to make roast beef with french onion gravy, you’re gonna need:

  • 1kg beef (silverside or topside) – tip if you’re a tightarse, scour the reduced sections in your supermarket on Monday morning, they’ll always be shifting beef
  • 8 small carrots or four large ones or two massive carrots or one carrot as big as your leg – chopped

Sorry, can I just jump in here and say how much I hate logging onto Slimming World’s website to check syns? It’s the ‘Log in and Love It’ slogan. Love what? Using a website that acts and feels like it was built back when geocities was a thing? Love typing ‘olive oil’ into the syns checker and getting nothing but typing ‘artisanal rice crackers’ and getting Tesco’s entire stock inventory? Fucks sake.

  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 170ml white wine (6 syns)
  • 600ml beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g brown onions
  • 1 tsp honey (1 syn)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tbsp corn flour (1 syn)

Shit the bed! Eight syns! Yes, but the syns all belong in the gravy and unless you’re going to be drinking from the gravy boat, you’ll not get anywhere near eight syns. Hell, this serves 4 anyway. So calm down.

to make roast beef with french onion gravy, like a big bloody pansy, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 160 degrees and heat a large casserole dish
  • lube up your meat with a little oil and plenty of salt and pepper
  • pack your meat in the warm, waiting dish and return to the oven to brown for about ten minutes
  • meanwhile, spray a frying pan with a little Frylight and fry the carrots and celery for ten minutes, and it’s alright to spend five minutes shaking your fist at the sky at a cruel God who decided celery should be a thing
  • plop your meat out of the pan, and slap it to one side
  • pour the wine into the casserole dish and boil for two minutes over a high heat
  • pour in the stock, return the beef and add the carrots, celery and bay leaves – you’ll feel like such a posh fucker using bay leaves
  • cover and return to cook in the oven for two hours, turning the meat halfway – you don’t need to wait at the oven until exactly sixty minutes to turn it, this isn’t The Cube
  • meanwhile, thinly slice the onions and heat a little oil in a large frying pan
  • stir in the onions, thyme and seasoning to taste
  • cover and cook gently for twenty minutes on a low heat until the onions are soft but not coloured (racist)
  • remove the lid, increase the heat and add a little more oil and the honey and cook the onions until they caramelise, stirring often
  • remove the thyme sprigs, brush the cat’s teeth with them or something
  • when the beef is ready remove from the casserole dish and leave to rest
  • reheat the onion mixture, stir in the corn flour and cook for one minute
  • mix the onions into the casserole dish to make a thick gravy – you’ll want it thick enough that it runs down the side of your meat and makes your tatties sticky
  • slice the beef and pour the gravy over the top – now, if you’re not good at slicing meat, let someone competent do it – Paul cuts meat like he’s shaving a fucking ice-sculpture with a chainsaw – we only get two slices a pop from our sourdough
  • serve with a fabulous selection of superfree food, or, in our case, more roasties than ten decent people would eat

Get it down you!


the sunday roast

Right – a heads up, which may be a bad choice of words for the little bit of explaining that I’m going to be doing – this blog post might be a little saucy. Oh my! Skip the next lot of paragraphs if you’d rather just get to the good bit.

You have to be super careful typing our blog name into google. Why? Because it can bring up a lot of filthy results if it is incorrectly spelled, just like one slip of the keys can make a weekend in Scunthorpe altogether less palatable. Thanks to the traffic we receive to the blog, we’re number one if you search for ‘chubby cubs’ but if you look down, there’s a fair few blogs that aren’t quite for vanilla eyes!

So let me explain the name of the blog – the two and the chubby bit is obvious, we’re a couple of gentleman of generous scale. But the cubs bit might be less obvious. See, in the gay world, aside from all the rainbows, magic dust and blistering fisting sessions, there’s a tendency to group male types by an animal name. Breaking them down, very very loosely, and tongue completely in (bum)cheek:

bear: a bear is a more masculine looking bloke – bearded, hairy, generally stocky or fat, normally has a wardrobe full of plaid shirts, fan of Kate Bush;

cub: a younger version of a bear, generally equally hairy, more stereotypically masculine in traits, might order a Guinness in a pub rather than a blue WKD and a fingering;

otter: more difficult – because not all bears are fat, stocky and of course you get people in all different shades, a thin hairy bear might be described as an otter. Presumably because he is generally ‘otter than most people under all that hirsuteness;

chicken – which became twink, I think – a young, attractive, usually slender or physically fit slip of a man. Again, very generally speaking, perhaps camper than most, more effeminate.

Of course, all boundaries are meaningless and it’s also a rather outdated way of looking at things – being able to grow a beard and light a cigar without coughing your lungs up doesn’t make you more masculine, whereas knowing the lyrics to every Alcazar song in Swedish and English doesn’t necessarily make you less of a man. Well…

Our problem is – we’re almost at the tipping point where we’d probably be classed as ‘bears’ rather than ‘cubs’ because we’re getting on, but frankly two chubby bears doesn’t scan right. Two Busomesque Bears? Two Beefy Butterballs? Actually, I quite like that one, but fuck me our porn warnings would skyrocket.

Oh, as an aside, those girls who seem to only have gay men as friends? Like my ex-flatmate who exclaimed we could go shopping together and sort each other’s hair out? She got short shrift. But they have many sarcastic terms too – fruit flies, fag hags, queer dears…

That’s enough of that, anyway. Speaking of beef, here’s dinner this evening – a proper roast dinner!


to make the sunday roast, you should…

I don’t really need to break down a recipe, because it’s all a sum of its parts, but this is more to show you can have a big bloody dinner on SW and not lose out. Broken down:

  • roast beef – syn free joint from Tesco’s reduced bin – reduced from £9 to £2, and bloody lovely!
  • broccoli – steamed
  • peas – tinned
  • carrots and parsnips – done in the Actifry with a tiny tiny bit of oil
  • mash – sweet potato and normal potato mashed together
  • turnip – it’s the singing turnip from this recipe
  • roasties – we tried to do the Oxo roasties that everyone bangs on about and got it wrong, so we’re going to do them another time and post a recipe!

Now you could have gravy – 100ml is 1.5syns, which is bugger all, but don’t drown your dinner in gravy, it’s terribly common. Paul puts mint sauce on his beef and I end up wincing my way through the meal. But he cooked tonight’s tea so he’s let off with love.