Slimming World coleslaw. It might not be the most exciting of dishes but if it’s done right, you’ll slather it on thicker than me with the KY in the Eagle back in the noughties. Worst game of Cluedo ever. My character would be Rear Admiral Brown.
It’s bank holiday weekend, so I won’t keep you long, but I need to give you an order: watch Happy Valley.
I know I’m years behind with this recommendation but see, it’s been floating around on our Netflix Watch lists for ages and I’ve been put off because, inexplicably, I thought it was a comedy starring Raquel from Coronation Street, and frankly, that sounds awful. Plus I’m fairly sure that Happy Valley is a euphemism for the bit between your balls and bumhole. The taint, if you prefer. The Bridge of Sighs. The chin-strap, if you’re that way inclined. DMZ if you’re political. Baker Street if you’re a fan of the Underground and appreciate that it’s the stop where the pink line connects with the brown. Look, we could go on, but let’s not cheapen what is otherwise a classy, genteel blog.
No, we finally gave in and watched it and it was bloody amazing – rocketing right up the list of best things we’ve seen on TV to nestle at the top amongst Breaking Bad, Juliet and Sawyer’s love story on Lost and Ben Cohen’s wank-video. That wasn’t on TV, I know, but we streamed it via Chromecast because some things are worth watching in 65″ ultra-HD. I asked Paul if we could load it into our Samsung VR but apparently that’s too close to actually cheating. Back to Happy Valley: Sarah Lancashire is an absolute revelation and the drama is incredible. If you’re stuck on something to watch, give this a go!
Not in the mood for a twelve part drama? I understand. Why not watch this fifteen second video which shows you how we’re dealing with people who gawp into our garden as they walk past?
If you're looking for something to slather onto a burger in this BBQ season, give this a go. It's very, very easy to make and you can customise it, but don't be tempted to leave out the tahini to save syns - it adds a really nice, subtle creaminess to the coleslaw. You can find it in most supermarkets and it isn't very expensive as it'll keep for ages. At 5 syns for a tablespoon, I'm synning it at 1 syn per portion because this makes enough coleslaw for four people and I'll be damned if I'm putting 1.25 syns.
half a red cabbage
one large red onion
five big tablespoons of fat-free Greek yoghurt (free)
one tablespoon of tahini (5 syns)
gosh, this isn't going to take long
thinly slice the red onion
peel the carrot and turn into matchsticks
thinly shred the red cabbage
mix everything together, adding a bit of salt just before you serve (you can add it before, but it'll cause water to come from the cabbage - perfectly fine, but less attractive)
Because putting a bit of mince in a wrap does not equal sausage rolls. Honestly, we weren’t going to bother with a sausage rolls recipe but having seen people passing off wraps stuffed with mince as sausage rolls, we felt we had to. Remember, Slimming World is about eating proper food, not pretend food, using your syns to eat something someone on a diet would eat, as opposed to pretend fake-food. The proof, as they say, is almost certainly in the pudding.
Although that pudding will probably be a smear of cinnamon and a photocopy of a chocolate bar wrapped in a Weight Watchers wrap and called a cinnamon swirl. Maybe on other sites.
Anyway, a quick word before we get to that recipe. Keen observers may have noticed that our recipe / blog output has slowed down a bit the last few weeks. There’s a reason for that but alas, I can’t go into it! We are trying to balance it back out, but at the moment we’re working during the day, coming home and going out to work on something else. But the end is in sight, and we have some cracking recipes coming up. So do bear with us, please! Remember, if you need inspiration, we have:
The recipe for the sausage rolls isn't much of a recipe at all, so we thought we'd bulk it out by including a veggie alternative that isn't just using vegetarian sausages, although you can do so. The veggie version is called pea pastizzi and comes from Sabrina Ghayour's FEASTS book that we keep banging on about!
to make the meaty sausage rolls (makes ten)
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
whatever six sausages you like - we use syn-free sausages from Musclefood, but you can use anything here
one red onion chopped
a pinch of garlic
to make the veggie pea alternatives (makes ten):
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
two large fat garlic cloves
one large onion, chopped fine
300g tin of marrowfat peas
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 large egg
pinch of salt
for the meaty sausage rolls:
preheat the oven to 200°c
squeeze the sausagemeat from the sausages and fry in the pan with the finely chopped onion and garlic - the little bit of fat will soften the onions, so no need to add oil
add a good twist of pepper
take your puff pastry, roll it out - I prefer to actually roll it out a little thinner than it usually is, but you know, up to you
cut into ten squares
spoon the cooked sausage meat into each square and fold over the sides into a nice roll shape
wash with beaten egg and into the oven they go for 20 minutes or so to cook nicely
if you want, cut them in half again when cooked for 1-syn taster night sausage rolls
Easy! Do you see what I mean though - it's an easy recipe! Cook off the sausagemeat, add into puff pastry and cook.
for the veggie pea alternatives:
soften the onions by cooking them off in a little oil, adding the garlic as they get nice and golden
add the peas, curry powder, pinch of pepper and a good dash of dalt
allow everything to cook for about five minutes and soften and mash gently
do as you did above - roll out your pastry, spoon in your mixture, fashion into rolls, egg-wash the top and whack them in the oven for twenty minutes or so
as you have no doubt noticed, FEASTS is my favourite book at the moment - every last thing we've cooked from there has been a delight - you can pick it up cheap on Amazon
Ham, cheese and egg pancakes – well, it’s better than yet another overnight oats recipe, no? Bit of a preamble on this one so do just click here to go straight to the recipe!
Do you know who I can’t bear? Gavroche from Les Misérables. I jubilantly throw my box of Poppets in the air whenever that tatterdemalion shithead gets blasted in the stomach. Perhaps that makes me slightly psychopathic, celebrating the untimely end of a wee (albeit fictional) child, but there we have it. I’ve always been a Javert man, anyway.
I mention Gavroche as there was a kid in front of us at the swimming baths yesterday who was giving it such great funs with his loud, obnoxious shrieking that we elected to go for a spa day instead of a calorie burning frontcrawl. It’s half term: the children are off the roads but by God, they’re everywhere else, like lice on a dog.
It may surprise you that neither of us are born ‘spa boys’. The idea of people fussing about me with unctures and rubs holds zero appeal. However, we’re fortunate enough to live near a reasonable spa and, thanks to Groupon, entry was reasonably cheap. We did feel a bit out of place parking our muddy car in the sea of spotlessly white Range Rover Evoques (so-called, as they evoke feelings of ‘oh, what a smug looking c*nt’ whenever they swoosh past), and even more so traipsing in with our swim kit in an ASDA carrier bag. The lady on reception did blanch a little as we sashayed in. Pfft. I’m taking no judgement from someone who wouldn’t be able to register a look of surprise even if she dropped a pan of hot oil on her feet.
We’re realists – we weren’t going to inflict our naked, hairy bodies on someone whose on work experience certainly didn’t call for massaging our fat around like spreading butter on hot toast. Plus, I’m not one for being touched. I can take someone gripping my ears for stability and that’s about it. Although actually, I’ve heard masseuses prefer fat bodies as there’s more to work with, otherwise let’s face it, it’s like rubbing wax into a xylophone. I was having mild intestinal issues however, and didn’t fancy taking the risk of someone creating a biohazard by squeezing me like a tube of budget toothpaste. So, massages were off, and we decided to make use of the other facilities, which all involved some degree of sitting down and sweating. Couldn’t help but feel a bit ripped off, not least because I sit down and sweat just writing the blog.
Before that, a quick change. Luckily the place was quiet – not that I mind getting my knob out in front of folks, you understand, as a reasonably quick search on xtube will verify – and we were able to get changed in peace. Well – up until the point where it came to putting our stuff in the electronic lockers. We were just closing the door when a boiled beetroot in Jacamo shorts came barrelling over to shout at us / instruct us how to use the locker. It was a four digit pin, not the fucking Enigma machine, and I assured him we had it under control. He didn’t bugger off though, ‘supervising’ us as we locked our locker, leading to a slightly awkward moment where I had to shield the pin as though he was a street beggar after my money. Can’t be too careful. Satisfied that we had managed to satisfy Fermat’s last theorem / input four numbers into a locker, he lumbered off. We’d meet again.
Paul, keen to lose some weight through simple sweating, pushed us into the sauna. I hate saunas. I don’t see the appeal – I feel like a chicken breast in a sous vide machine, sweating and struggling to breathe through a dry heat of other people’s sweat and stink. Thankfully, unlike the other times I’ve used a sauna, there was no-one else in there – that’s great, because previous occasions have invariably had me sat oppostite an old dude sitting with his balls out. Have you ever seen what happens to a scrotum in extreme heat? Mine becomes so elastic that I can throw them over my shoulder and have them banging about like one of those old clackers toys from the eighties.
What’s good about a sauna, anyway? This particular one was turned up to over 90 degrees. To me, that’s approaching boiling point. I get uncomfortably hot when someone lights a church candle the next village over. I tried lying down but that made my back-hair sizzle. I tried sitting but was worried I’d cauterise my bumhole shut. Standing was no better – I just felt faint and knew that if I passed out, there’d be no way Paul could lift me out and I’d end up in there forever, cooking and desiccating until I ended up looking like Madge, Dame Edna’s assistant. I stayed in as long as I could but then had to dash out.
As I left the sauna our friendly neighbourhood beetroot appeared out of fat air and admonished me for not shutting the door quick enough, as though four seconds of the door being slightly ajar would reduce a room that was previously hotter than the surface of the sun down to the temperature of an Icelandic crevasse. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or just hot, though his skin had moved from rose to ruby coloured. For someone who had self-appointed himself as the King of the Spa, he certainly needed to fucking relax. I shut the door as quick as I could, leaving only four layers of skin crisping like bacon on the door handle. I thanked him. We’d meet again.
Paul slunk out of the sauna immediately after Al Murray had left, and we enjoyed a quick brisk shower before going for a sit in the aromatherapy room. I’m not going to lie: it was a novel experience to have the both of us in a heated room and for it not to smell like something has died behind a radiator, but there’s only so much pine scent you can inhale before you start getting light-headed and conscious of the fact you’re going to smell like an Air Wick for the next ten weeks. What is the aromatherapy room meant to do? I’m already Polo-shaped (I’m certainly mint with a hole), I don’t need to smell like one too. We left after about five minutes.
The last room was a steam room. To me, that’s just another sauna, but this time with steam. Woohoo! In we went, and there was Barry Big Bollocks spread-eagled, thankfully with his shorts on, steaming lightly. Now I could have cheerfully stayed in here save for the fact that the steam was clearly helping with his COPD, because no sooner had we sat down then he started coughing and hacking and clearing his throat as though he was drowning in phlegm. Nothing soothes the soul like steam and a fine miasma of the net result of forty straight years of chaining Lambert & Butlers. Every time our conversation halted he’d kick off again, clearly really getting in amongst his air-sacs for the full effect. He wasn’t so much clearing his throat as resurfacing the fucker. We left after about five minutes, speckled with blood and tar.
Only one thing left to do. The jacuzzi. I’m not a huge fan – let’s be frank, they’re nothing more than less portable hot-tubs – but hey, when you’ve spent twenty quid to get in, you have to get the use out of it. In we went. Now, yes, it was very pleasant, although they had positioned several jets in such a way that it was blowing my balls around rather a bit too dramatically in my swimming shorts. I had to move before my entire ball-sack floated to the surface and acted like a pool cover.
But even here I couldn’t relax. With my belly being pummelled from all directions, my fear of accidentally sharting and ruining the whole experience for everyone else was too much. Can you imagine how mortifying that would actually be? The more brazen amongst you might have been able to bluff it out by pretending you’d spilled a can of oxtail soup in the water but come on. I had to get out.
In all, we spent about 30 minutes at the spa and came out slightly pink and far less relaxed than when we went in. Best part for me was having Paul use the hairdryer in the changing rooms to dry my bum hair – such luxury! The receptionist asked if we had a nice time given it seemed as though we had hardly stayed. Naturally, we lied and said it was wonderful and we’d cheerfully come again, before spending the entire home bitching about everything. This is why we can’t have nice things, see. She did offer to see if someone was free to give us a pedicure but when I asked her if said person would be proficient in using a belt sander, she didn’t get the joke. We all mutually agreed that we ought to move on.
Sigh. Speaking of moving on, let’s do the recipe for ham, cheese and egg pancakes, eh?
I was going to call this recipe croque madame crêpes but Christ, I’ve seen how some of you lot spell two chubby cubs, I’m not going to start adding circumflexes into the mix. Without a moment of delay, let’s get to the recipe!
Something new and tasty for breakfast for those days when you can't face spooning yet another load of dry as old nick overnight oats into your aching gob.
For the basic pancake batter, we're using the pancake advice from February, namely:
My recipe makes enough for six pancakes - four which will be filled with ham and cheese, and then two extra for gobbling. It's either that or having to mess about with smaller ingredients. Don't be tempted to fart about blending oats or any of that nonsense, there's simply no need. You're so much better have a couple of real pancakes and cracking on. Oh and if you find yourself reaching for a wrap instead of making a pancake, please, throw yourself into the sea.
TO MAKE THE PANCAKES
50g plain flour (8 syns)
150ml of skimmed milk (2 and a quarter syns, but really, 2 syns)
So that's ten syns for six pancakes. But I'll syn them at 1.5 syns because you can bugger off if you think I'm putting 1.66666666666666 syns per pancake.
FOR THE FILLING
whatever ham you fancy
60g extra grated mature cheese (2 x HEA)
So to be clear, you're having two filled pancakes each, and you'll have enough batter leftover for a third if you want to scoff that too!
blend all the pancake ingredients together - add a pinch of...a pinch of...bleurgh...a good grinding of pepper, please
now, depending on your skill in the kitchen, you could fry the eggs in one pan and prepare the pancakes in another, but let's assume you've got the cooking skills of a turnip, and go step by step
fry your eggs off - don't cook them into full submission, you still want a bit of give on the yolk so it pops
pop your fried eggs on a plate on the side and start making your pancakes - a couple of sprays of olive oil, nice hot pan, tip a sixth of the batter in and quickly spread it around the pan
once the pancake has 'dried out' and coming away from the pan, flip it over - don't be frightened, you've got spare batter
once it is flipped, layer 15g of cheese in the middle, top with the ham and the fried egg
fold the sides of the pancake over like in the photo and cook for about thirty seconds to melt the cheese a bit
top with chives and eat!
Honestly, it sounds like a faff, but all this recipe is is a pancake stuffed with cheese and ham and egg - if you balls it up, it might not look great, but it'll taste absolutely fine. Remember, aim for taste, not perfection!
we whisk up our batter in our Nutribullet - gets rid of any lumps, but honestly, a bowl and a fork will do the same job and get you some Body Magic. Don't buy one just for this - though they are very good!
Now come on, that was easy! But if you fancy something different for breakfast, why not try something new from our list?
I think, if someone held a gun to my head and demanded I pick one meal to eat for the rest of my life, I’d go for quiche. You have no idea how much I love it – I grew up on my nana’s cooking and her idea of quiche was two eggs, bacon that was still oinking and more salt than the Dead Sea. It was delicious, not least because it took away the taste of her apple pie. I’m not sure if it was a result of growing up in the war (she fought a pivotal role in the Transvaal Rebellion) but she was never lavish with her ingredients – she remains the only woman I ever met who could turn a postage stamp sized bit of pastry into eight full fruit pies and a batch of sausage rolls. The apple pie didn’t so much have a filling of apple as a light dusting. I would love to be able to bake like that – absolutely no measurements, timings or fuss: just 100% pure instinct.
That leads me to my simple point that I want to make before getting straight to the recipe: don’t fall into the trap of following recipes slavishly – everything we post is merely a guideline. Don’t like an ingredient? Leave it out (though use common sense, you’ll struggle to make tomato ketchup if you use Weetabix and tears, for example) and put in something you actually want to eat. Recipe not looking quite right? Cook it for a bit longer. Use cheaper meat if you’re short on cash. Don’t stress about the little things – and never more so then in this chicken, leek and bacon quiche recipe, because you can chuck any old shite into a quiche and as long as you season it well, you’ll be laughing.
This chicken, leek and bacon quiche is perfect for either using up all manner of leftovers from the fridge or specifically for a tasty, lovely lunch. You can add anything you like - add more cheese, some mushrooms, pepper, red onion...anything you like! Easy to make too.
two chicken breasts - grilled, poached or baked - cut into cubes or shredded
a few rashers of bacon
one large yellow pepper
one chilli pepper
one leek - get a big one, mind, you want it to leave you wincing every time you pick it up
lots of salt and pepper
180g of ricotta (2 x HEA)
40g of extra mature lighter cheddar (1 x HEA)
eight or so eggs (if you're using whole eggs) or 12 egg yolks (so much nicer!)
30g of parmesan (1 x HEA)
NOTE: so this makes enough for eight wedges, but let's assume you'll eat two wedges. That's one HEA.
cook off the leeks, pepper, bacon and chilli together in a pan until the bacon is cooked and the leeks have softened
add the chicken
mix together the ricotta, cheddar and the eggs - now this is where you need to use your judgement - you may not need as many eggs if you have big eggs or less mixture - you want a good thick 'sauce' when it is all beaten together
I prefer to use egg yolks only because it makes a lovely rich quiche, but can work out pricey for eggs - if you go down this route, don't waste the egg yolk - make these peppermint meringues!
mix everything together in one bowl and add a good pinch of salt and pepper
slop it all into a good non-stick dish - I like to grate half the parmesan into the bottom of the dish before putting the mix in, then top the quiche with the rest of the cheese
cook in the oven for about 35 minutes, or longer if it is still wobbly
We had to make this – we’ve seen someone passing off a frozen yoghurt with crushed berries on the top as a ‘traditional trifle’. That’s about as much of a traditional trifle as I am confident around a fusebox / football discussion / vagina. Sometimes it feels like we’re screaming into the wind trying to encourage people to eat proper food, but nevertheless, here’s a rare beast: a twochubbycubs desserts. Yes, it has syns, but it’s easy to make, tasty and you know, proper food. Before we get there, two things:
wouldn’t normally stick an advert here but Amazon have a proper cracking deal on Morphy Richards soup-makers at the moment, including this £100 model down to £40. If you’re looking for one, now is the time to get it! Prices correct at the time of writing (18 March). Click for that – it’ll open in a new window!
and – this is also a holiday entry – boo – so if you’re here just for the food, click the button below and head straight there!
The last time you left us we were getting pulled off by the police. In my imagination, because the officer looked like Javert’s lumberjack brother. I almost certainly would yield when we came face to face. BOOM: culture/anal reference right off the bat! We went to bed shortly afterwards (unaccompanied, sadly) and awoke the next day as fresh as a daisy. We ordered breakfast: croissant, coffee and amyl nitrates to bring me back round when they put the bill down, then off we went. For the sake of your eyes, we’re going to wrap up the two days left in Stockholm in one concise entry.
We spent the morning wandering about the Vasa Museum (a museum about a famous Swedish warship which was the best of its time, until it sank six minutes into its maiden voyage), the Nordiska Museet (a museum of Swedish history) and the Fotografiska, an art gallery. You know where we stand of those: usually eight steps away from the exit, moving swiftly. Don’t get me wrong, there were some interesting pieces to look at – there was a great exhibition of x-rays to gaze at and diagnose myself with (I knew my uterus was hurting, I just didn’t know why) and it gave me an always-welcome opportunity to stare disdainfully at people whose legs were thinner than my wrists and shoes more expensive than my car. Why do so many art aficionados always look so brittle? You’re not living in squalor in the Bohemian bedsits of 19th century Paris, love, have yourself a sandwich and fuck off.
We did find something a bit vag-esque outside though. Hence the faces. Also, Paul perfecting his Jayda Fransen face. Only, he’s not banned from Facebook, unlike that vile racist shitbit. Mahaha!
The Nordiska Museet was slightly more entertaining, not least because a lot of the exhibitions had buttons to press and TVs to gawp slack-jawed at in that uncultured fashion of ours. We know what we are. There was an exciting moment when Paul attempted to crawl through a small door made for a child only for his arse to catch on the frame of the door and wrench a good portion of it away. We made our excuses and left, with no-one around to witness our embarrassment.
The Nordiska Museet
We did get a chance to dress up, mind, and I think we can all agree that I make a Santa that you’d happily allow to empty his sack onto your best duvet cover, no?
See? And look, Paul makes a sexy secretary elf!
You’ve never been wetter, have you?
Speaking of wetness, the Vasa Museum was an absolute bust. Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing that they managed to salvage and restore the boat, and it looks mightily impressive in the grand hall, but…OK, deep breath now…sigh…
…if I wanted to see an old, creaking wreck that resulted in the death of an immeasurable amount of seamen, one that was barely held together and had succumbed terribly to the harsh ravages of time, something that just didn’t work and was 95% rust and rot, something that appears preserved in time but smells of foist and rot…you’ve guessed it…
I’d go see Paul’s mother!Eh? You having that? Hello?
Eee she’s lovely really, you know, and I give her some awful stick on here – she was absolutely cracking as Zelda in Terrahawks, too.
After paying polite respects, we left.
You may laugh, but we spent the next three hours tootling about on the subway system taking pictures of the stations. Partly because we needed to rest our cankles but also because Stockholm’s subway stations are awash with art – some painted in very dramatic fashion, some stations themed, some looking like the entrance to Hell. It was terrific: cheap, fun and, rather unlike the Tyne and Wear Metro, we weren’t asked for a tab, money or used as a soft spot to rest a carving knife. It makes me realise that, as much as I love the UK, we could do everything so much better by spending a bit of money to make things a little less shit. The artwork on our Metro extends to some toerag writing INCH everywhere and PUT ARE CUNTRY FURST stickers left by spittle-lipped wankers. Stations, bar for a couple in the centre of Newcastle, are grey and dingy and threatening. Luckily, the Metro only runs for 5% of the time before being cancelled, so you get plenty of time to appreciate the squalor. Here’s three of our favourite Stockholm shots, and if you’re wanting to try it yourself, here’s a very handy guide to the best stations!
Fun fact: this is the exact same viewpoint as one of my sperm.
Cruising over, my phone suggested that we were near to a place called N3rdsbar – a videogame themed bar full of vintage games consoles you could actually play, Nintendo artwork and a toilet full of retro instruction manuals. Paul thought I had the shits when actually I was just finally figuring out how to get past Grimace’s Highlands in MC Kids. Anyone who disagrees with me that MC Kids was one of the best NES games out there can go burn in a fire.
Silly me, that’s not how you spell Count!
I’ve never felt more masculine in my life.
It was fantastic – they even had a full range of videogame themed cocktails, including a ladder of multi-coloured shots called Rainbow Road. Imbued with nostalgia and more than a little pissed, we put our card behind the bar and settled down for a game of Mario Party 2 on the N64, signalling for more drinks and shots and beer and wine and burgers whilst making the absolutely fatal error of not asking the prices and forgetting we were in Stockholm, where you get charged forty quid just to wipe your arse after a plop.
Yep. Not our proudest moment. A brilliant night though, only tempered with what happened next – we were just deciding what to do when my phone flashed up with a text from our lovely neighbours who look after our house – emergency! That’s all it said, with a short message asking me to give them a call. Naturally I start catastrophising – clearly the cat had been run over, or had somehow worked out how to get the chip pan out and start a fire. Perhaps we had been burgled – the thought of some rough scally running his fingers around in my underwear drawer usually gives me pause but not when I’m on holiday – but no, no notifications from our Nest alarm. I tried to call back but in my heavily drunken state couldn’t remember how to dial internationally, or indeed, how to form words consisting of more than strings of vowels and slurred Ss. When I eventually got through I was inconsolable and speaking gibberish (I was worried and drunk, be fair!) – my poor neighbour, it must have been like the calls Bryan McFadden still gets from Kerry Katona when there’s been a 25% discount at Oddbins. Eventually it transpired that our outdoor tap had burst in the cold and was spraying water everywhere, necessitating a quick call to my dad to establish what a stopcock was (do I look like someone who has ever said that word?) and then a second call to the previous owners of the house to find out where the stopcock was, then a third back to our neighbours who were dispatched to turn off the stopcock in our bathroom. The thought that Paul might have left a skidmark on the toilet before we flew to Stockholm that had been sitting baking for four days was enough to sober my mind and it was with that image that we decided to cut short our night out and head back to the hotel – we were flying to Oslo in the morning anyway, so perhaps a clear mind for international travelling would be wise.
As a side-note, we really do have excellent neighbours – well, the ones that look after our house, anyway. They’re like surrogate grandparents – I don’t think I’ve ever met a more cheerful woman and her husband keeps me in vegetables and stories. There’s still a few living near us who don’t speak to us even when we speak to them, but you can imagine how little that concerns me. Ignorance wears tan corduroy. Five years we’ve lived here and never been so much as a bother – we even employ a gardener just to keep our lawns short even though frankly, I couldn’t give a monkey’s jot what our garden looks like. Anyway…
We did, however, stop for hot-dogs on the way home.
I genuinely can’t remember the last time Paul looked at me like that.
Still, we were home in good enough time…
We awoke the next day to absolutely wild weather – a proper winter storm. It was amazing – certainly puts our Beast from the East into keen perspective – it was like stepping into an untuned television. Would we get away to Norway? Were the trains running? Of course. Indeed, our fretting about whether or not we would be able to even get to Oslo in light of the heavy snow, blowing winds and freezing temperatures were relieved as soon as we got to Stockholm Airport and saw that not a single plane was showing as delayed. Very much business as normal. Now I’m not daft – I know that their infrastructure is designed to cope with harsh weather and ours isn’t, and I’m not going to be one of those curmudgeons who goes on about how we can’t handle snow…
…but at the same time, Newcastle Airport shuts up shop if someone so much as sneezes in Durham. Why? It was snowing that hard in Stockholm that we had to take a husky-ride with Santa just to get to the plane – which made a refreshing change from being packed into a tiny sweaty bus with two hundred other people, chewing your way through someone else’s armpit hair as you careen around the runway. Everywhere you looked there were bearded blokes in hi-vis jackets throwing snow about and bellowing at each other in some mysterious language. It was like an LSD-infused wet-dream for the both of us, and we almost missed our flight, so taken were we with the view from the window. We boarded with about three minutes to spare, with the Chief Flight Attendant giving us a look that would have emptied a lion’s cage. I gave her my best ‘but we’re British’ smile but she was having none of us, and ushered us to sit down.
Our plane – Norwegian Air – was clean, spotless and, more excitingly, came with free Wifi. I had managed to forget to download anything interesting to my phone and the thought of having to make polite conversation with Paul for an hour filled me with dread. I’m sure he felt the same. Paul’s role on the plane is to occasionally order me drinks and smile indulgently when I pick at his sleeve and ask him whether he thinks the chimes from the stewardesses means the cockpit is on fire or whether we’re making an unscheduled, atomised stop in Uzbekistan. The poor bugger spends so much time taking out his earphones and putting them back that his Radio 4 podcast sounds like the poshest dubstep ever. The flight was wonderfully smooth and we were descending into Oslo in no time at all. Quite literally: we seemed to go from about 33,000ft to being on the runway in the time it took me to put away my Camembert-ripe feet and do up my laces. Even the stewardess seemed surprised – she barely had time to finish her shave.
We were through security with all the brisk efficiency you expect from the Norwegian, and, one short train trip later, we were at our hotel. That’s an excellent place to leave not only our luggage but also this post – until we meet again…
…as an aside, what an absolute joy it was to jump countries: from hotel to hotel took us less than five hours, including the flight. If you’re looking at a Scandinavian trip, we heartily recommend Norwegian for internal flights – without luggage (we travel light) the flights were about £30 each and there’s a flight every hour. Can’t get vexed!
Seems like a good place to leave it!
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Right, the trifle then! We’ll give you two options here – the proper way and the lower syn route. We recommend the proper route – it’s tastier – but if you must, you can make some swaps for a lower-syn end result. But…
If you're looking for something sweet at the end of a meal, have a Polo. But if you're still itching for dessert, make one of these dead easy trifles! Still well within your syns limit, they make a nice change from shattering your teeth on frozen yoghurts or trying to pretend your 'sponge cake' tastes of anything other than sweaty hot arse.
This makes two big bowls or, if you're fancy, serve them in a nice glass like we did.
a bag of frozen raspberries
two Tesco trifle sponges (7 syns)
one sachet of Hartley's sugar free jelly - we used raspberry (1.5 syns)
six tablespoons of light squirty cream (1 syn)
200g proper custard (light) - (7 syns)
10g of hundreds and thousands (2 syns)
That's a total of 18.5 syns - so for each trifle, just over nine syns. But it makes a big, proper dessert. Worth it!
But if you're worried about syns, you can drop it by either:
leaving out the sponge and replacing it with more fruit (-7 syns)
replacing the custard with banana and custard Muller yoghurt (-7 syns)
That brings each dessert to just two syns. But really.
break up your sponge cake into tiny little pieces and line the bottom of your bowl with it
optional: you could drizzle on some creme de cassis if you wanted, 25ml is 3.5 syns!
build up a tight layer of frozen raspberries - pack them in so they can't roll about
make up your jelly and gently pour over the raspberries and sponge until it just covers the fruit
leave to set
top with custard (yes!) or Muller Yoghurt (booo), then the cream, then the hundreds and thousands
you can, of course, have whatever flavour of fruit, jelly or yoghurt that you fancy
Now, you can have a mixed chow mein, or you can keep it simple with a plain chicken chow mein, but either way, this is possibly my favourite recipe that we have done in a while. Mixed chow mein is easily the one dish I order most from the Chinese takeaway – well, that and trapped wind – and so to make a perfect replica of it, well say no more fam. Or something. Scroll down for the recipe, or…
Indulge me for a moment. I had a right strop the other day about that stupid TUI advert with the silly woman hyperventilating through ‘Ain’t Nobody’ like an anxiety attack given a melody. Well, working from home on a Monday means that I have to run the gamut of daytime advertising – I like to have the TV on as background noise because a) it blocks out my tinnitus and b) daytime TV makes me feel better about my own life choices. For example, on a Jeremy Kyle catch-up this morning, they were arguing about whether someone had shat in a fridge.
Just let that sink in for a moment. I can’t conceive of any situation in my life that might end up with someone shitting in my fridge. Can you? I mean, we have one of those giant American fridges, you could take the shelves out and build a rudimentary portaloo, but even then I don’t know a single soul who, however drunk they got, would think that was a viable option for relieving themselves. So not only do you have a gaggle of inbred mouthbreathers with a shitty fridge, they think the best thing to do to clear it up (use Flash and warm water, surely) is to go on national TV to be soaked in indignant spittle and to show off your Thorntons Fudge Selection teeth to a judgemental nation. I could have a bomb up my arse and Jeremy Kyle could hold the defusing code and I’d still rather die than sit in the back with Graham awaiting my turn to bound on effing and jeffing. The mind boggles.
But anyway, this isn’t about Jeremy Kyle. I want to kvetch on about adverts again. Top of the list is the Nationwide adverts, and I don’t care that I bank with them, they can take all my money away if it means I’m never subjected to Toni Collette’s stand-in and Sharon Watt’s double singing their cutesy-poo wee ditties and playing the keyboard. Why? Some clever sort will doubtless say the advert works because I have remembered it but that’s like saying Anusol is wonderful because I once bought a tube of it back in 2008. It’s a negative memory: I don’t buy it now just for the nostalgia. This advert has done the opposite – it’s made me get off my fat arse and finally get around to switching banks over to First Direct who, although they overdo the ‘bants’ side of things, at least don’t have adverts that make me want to push my face into a thresher.
Next on the list: WHAT’S THAT? YOU HAVEN’T CLAIMED FOR YOUR MIS-SOLD PPI? You know the one, smarmy streak of piss in a shiny suit asking you whether you can afford to miss out on thooousands of pounds. Gladstone Brookes, I believe – you would think with all the money they’re raking in from charging a significant fee for something that people could easily do themselves that perhaps they’d fund a better advert, but no. I hate his incredulous tone and overacting and stupid beady eyes to the point where I’d like to kick a hole in my TV and send them the invoice. With knobhead protection insurance included, of course.
Surely the king of irritation – an almost superhuman level of advertising thrush, if you will – is the friggin’ Shpock advert though. For a start, shpock is a shite name for a company – the fact I had to google it to work out how to spell it says enough. What kind of word is shpock anyway? It sounds like something that would be forming in a drip on the end of a diseased penis – look at that, you’ve left a smear of shpock all over our bedspread, for example. According to their advert, it’s like having a boot sale in your pocket. Well whoopity-doo. The last time we went to a car-boot sale it was dreadful – people selling used ashtrays and dirty clothes and urgh. If you go by their advert the app will be full of fancy bikes, cars, beautiful people and distressed furniture. I loaded it up to try and shift my giant shirts and found it awash with such levels of illiteracy that I thought I’d somehow switched my language settings to Russian. There wasn’t a thing on there I would even entertain having in my house, and that’s just the sellers. It was deleted quicker than the time I accidentally downloaded Snapchat. I mean, I’m not a 14 year old girl.
OK one final gripe. Gambling adverts. Why are these allowed? Have you tried watching ITV2 or Challenge or Sky Sports in the evening? You can’t move for flashy adverts advertising betting or bingo sites and frankly, you’d be absolutely buggered if you had a gambling problem. They don’t allow adverts for cigarettes, so why something as addictive as gambling? And it’s always such a bullshit advert – sexy people playing in glamorous virtual casinos, all sultry stares and coquettish laughter and massive wins. I’d admire any company that portrayed the grim reality of someone sat in yesterday’s clothes, unshaved, unwashed, desperately clicking the spin button over and over and over in the hope of winning back a tenth of what they’ve been encouraged to gamble away if only so they can keep the wolves away from the door for another few days. They say that ‘when the fun stops, stop’, and then they play their adverts over and over and over. How does that work then?
In fact, I’d go as far to say that these are the worst adverts of all. They have the power to absolutely destroy lives, and they’re sandwiched repeatedly between bloody Love Island repeats. As if that shower of shits wasn’t bad enough.
I feel better for that! Right, let’s do this mixed chow mein. Remember, you can use whatever meat you want – we used leftover pieces from all the fakeaway recipes we’ve been cooking lately, and of course you could use prawns but why would you? They’re bloody awful. It’s as simple as that. This makes enough for four massive portions – we portioned it up (for once) and put some in the freezer.
Have no fear though, we took it back out again ten minutes later and ate it. I mean, we’re not called twochubbycubs for nothing, you know. Let’s do this. Don’t be tempted to leave out the oil – between four, it’s 1.5 syns each – think how many syns your normal takeaway would be. It’s worth it for the taste. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it really isn’t!
to make a mixed chow mein, you’ll need:
whatever meat you want – we used scraps of beef, some char sui pork and two chicken breasts, but honestly, there’s no rhyme or reason – if it’s already cooked, you’ll just need to warm it through in the instructions below, but if it is raw, make sure you cook it well
two or three nests of dried noodles
two cloves of garlic, minced
one large onion, chopped
1 bag of beansprouts
one bunch of spring onions – sliced thinly
1 teaspoon of sugar (1 syn)
1 teaspoon of white pepper
1 tablespoon of sesame oil (6 syns)
one large red pepper, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
5 tablespoons of oyster sauce (free – yes, I was surprised too – and it doesn’t taste fishy, don’t worry)
1 teaspoon of cornflour (1 syn)
So in total that makes eight syns: 2 syns each for a giant portion!
top tips for a mixed chow mein:
track down sesame oil – it’s worth it as it adds a lot of nutty taste
mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of the dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the light soy sauce, 2 tablespoon of the oyster sauce and pour over whatever meat you’re using to marinate for a few hours
cook your noodles according to the instructions and then when cooked, run under cold water to stop them sticking
heat the oil in your pan and either heat your cooked meat or cook off your raw meat
take the meat out and throw in the onion, minced garlic, pepper spring onion, pepper and beansprouts and cook high and hard to soften everything
add the meat back in with the remainder of the wet ingredients (and the marinade you have left over, if you’ve kept it) and then add the noodles – stir everything through until the noodles are piping hot, then serve
want it saucier? Don’t we all – just add more oyster sauce!
How good does that look, honestly? Want more fakeaway recipes? Hit the links below!
What a formal title for what is a load of potatoes. It’s possibly one of the most common things people ask for – how to do good Slimming World chips. There’s a tonne of recipes out there, some more convoluted than the friggin’ Macarena (boil the chips, put them in a microwave, take them out, tumble them, put them in the microwave, take them out, aput them in the oven, die a little bit inside) and actually, I’ve always found the Slimming World way of parboiling them to be a pain in the arse too. So below, find the easiest and guaranteed way to make decent chips.
But before I get to that, I want to answer a couple of questions that we’ve been asked by newer members – and well, it never does any harm to reiterate a few important messages!
We’re not Slimming World consultants!
We get asked this all the time – admittedly, it would be hilarious if we had to run a class. I reckon we’d get about seven minutes in before Paul said something mortifyingly offensive and I compared the shrinking HiFi bars to a cold cock. Right at the very start of this blog we made enquiries about becoming Slimming World consultants – never heard back. Pity: we’re fabulous – though I won’t lie, I prefer dealing with people from behind a keyboard as opposed to face to face, and there are days when I can’t be arsed with all the fake bonhomie. So, if you have a proper Slimming World question, have a gab with your consultant – it’s what they are there for, after all! If you’re on the fence about going to a class, we say give it a go: yes, it’s not the most exciting way to spend two hours (sorry, Mags, but it isn’t) but you’ll usually meet good people and enjoy the support.
Are your syn values accurate?
They’re as accurate as Slimming World’s own syn calculator – that is, we run everything through the syns checker if we don’t know how high in syns they are. We’re fully paid-up members who attend a class and so we’re up to date with the latest changes. But if you have any concerns, check them yourself!
How many folks do your recipes serve?
It depends, honestly. It’s usually four people, but if you’re a greedy fat bastard like us, then sometimes just two. But four portions. Does that make sense? If you’re the type of greedy person who will suck your toothbrush dry rather than rinsing it under the tap, then you’ll be on bigger portions and thus two. But listen: you’ll never go hungry with our recipes. Sometimes we do smaller or larger recipes and if we do, we usually say when it serves more. So if you can’t see a comment about servings, assume 4.
Can we freeze your recipe / swap an ingredient for another / is it suitable for me and my allergies?
We’re two fat blokes from the North. We work in offices, not laboratories. We don’t mention you can freeze recipes unless we’ve done it ourselves and haven’t shat the world from our arse the day after. If we said you could freeze it, then made you seriously ill, we couldn’t live with ourselves. Same goes for allergy / gluten free posts – we don’t have enough of an understanding about it in order to make concrete comments. I know, it’s a shame, but at least we’re honest!
What makes your blog different from other SW blogs out there?
There’s some fantastic blogs out there, pumping out recipes and resources like someone shelling peas. That’s grand, but we like to be different. I can’t bear all the cutesy-poo language, omg-you-can-do-it, inspirational-quote-a-matic bollocks that surrounds dieting. Dieting isn’t fun, it isn’t interesting, it isn’t a gas. You’re never gonna burst into peals of laughter over a salad, after all. That’s why we started twochubbycubs – so we could post real recipes but also make light of this awful struggle. Yes, our language is coarse and the content can be raunchy, but we need to have fun to do this! We also try to be honest: if we recommend a product, it’s because you genuinely need it for a recipe. But 99% of our recipes can be made with stuff you’ll buy from the supermarket and use several times over. Being on a diet is expensive: why should you have to buy a ridiculously over-priced sweetener on top of that when a bit of honey will always nearly do? It’s bollocks. You can always rely on us to be honest – which leads me to the next point.
We have a very strong policy on this: if you see a link, it’s because we own the product and enjoy it. We turn down a lot of requests to monetise this blog by shilling products. If those products could be useful, we will try them and recommend them only if we actually like them. We’re always open and honest if we’re paid to promote a product. Alongside that, we’re happy that we’ve been running for three years and still only have a couple of discreet adverts on the page. We’ve got to have them – it’s what pays for the blog – but we’d rather you didn’t have to battle through pop-ups, pop-unders, background ads, scrolling ads and all that shite to see us. To give you an example of what I mean, I just loaded up another blog of similar content and our Adblocker counted 19 adverts on the page. Ours has three. Hmmm.
Your recipe didn’t work!
Listen, we can take constructive criticism. Our recipes all work for us, otherwise we wouldn’t post them – and we use the ingredients we say we use, instead of cooking using all sorts of delicious synned ingredients for the sake of a gorgeous photo. If they don’t work for you, I apologise, but something clearly went awry, and please let us know if you think it is our fault. Let me give you an example: we had someone crashing their gash at us the other day because they made our perfect carbonara and it was ‘runny raw egg shite*’. When we responded that she must have added the egg when the pasta was cold – despite our three clear warnings that the pasta must be hot in order to cook the egg – we got a ‘omg u can’t take criticism*’ remark. We can but remember, a bad workman blames his tools.
*I’ve improved her comment by adding vowels – she didn’t seem to think it was necessary.
How do we get in contact with you?
Leave a comment. We’ll usually get in touch if we’re interested!
Easy! All questions done. Sorry, I know it’s not terrifically interesting, but we’re obliged to do these posts every now and then just to keep things in check!
CHIPS. LET’S DO THE SLIMMING WORLD CHIPS JESUS CHRIST ALMIGHTY
We’ll do a non-Actifry route and an Actifry recipe. Because we’re canny. They boil down to the same outcome anyway.
to make perfect Slimming World chips using an Actifry, you’ll need:
about 900g of potatoes – now, any type will do but if you want REALLY nice chips you’re better off going for a ‘buttery’ type, or Maris Piper
oil – again, any type will do. We use olive oil, but rapeseed works well too.
flavouring – optional, but it really does make them so much better. Our favourites are stock cubes (lamb or beef), Steak seasoning, or good old fashioned sea salt.
to make perfect Slimming World chips using an Actifry, you should:
chop the potatoes however you like them (there’s no need to peel). We like them quite chunky. They don’t have to be exact, slice each potato 2-3 time across, and then each slice into 2-3 slices again. You can use a chipper if you like, but a good, sharp knife does the job just as quickly (especially when you’ve done it a few times).
tip the potatoes into the Actifry (don’t bother patting them dry or parboiling)
If you’re spraying, spray the oil over the chips for about 6-8 sprays – you don’t need a lot. If you’re making loads of chips, maybe give them a shake in the pan and spray a bit more
next, sprinkle over whatever flavouring you’re using. If you’re using a stock cube (our fave!) make sure to crumble it well
close the lid and switch it on
if you want realllly tasty chips, try turning the machine off for ten minutes halfway through. I’m not sure how it works but it really does make them tastier!
switch the machine back on again until cooked
to make perfect Slimming World chips in the oven, you’ll need:
about 900g of potatoes potatoes
to make perfect Slimming World chips in the oven, you should:
preheat the oven to 240ºc
chop the potatoes however you like them
tip the potatoes into a large bowl
next, either drizzle over your oil or spray it over
tumble the potatoes well to make sure they’re evenly coated – the reason you often see blistered and crappy looking SW chips is because the oil is distributed unevenly! sprinkle in the flavourings too and give a good mix
next, tip the chips onto a non-stick tray and spread out into a single layer
bake in the oven for fifteen minutes, turn, and then bake for another fifteen minutes
Now, if you want really tasty chips without any of faff you really need to grab yourself a Tefal Actifry. Halos, Airfryers, Towers, Halogen ovens just don’t do the job as well at all (in our opinion)! Now mind, we’re not getting paid by Tefal for this. If you want consistently decent chips that taste almost like the proper thing, it’s the Actifry you want! You can make loads more than chips in it as well, just click some of the other recipes below that we’ve knocked up in our Actifry!
Now, it’s been a while since we did a load of recipes on one post, and, although you might think that this is a holiday blog dotted with the odd moan about Mullers, we’re a recipe blog first of all! So, here’s a helpful wee post of Slimming World sandwich fillings that frankly wouldn’t justify a post of their own. Sandwiches are the one thing I truly miss on Slimming World – that and not measuring my worth by mass-produced shiny weight-loss stickers.
These fillings, with the addition of chopped lettuce, veg or whatever the hell you want, make for great fillings for wraps and bread. But, as you know, we’re huge fans of the broghie here – 1 syn each, they’re like giant crackers which act as the perfect platform for whatever nonsense you want to top them with. I’d rather have four of these buggers for four syns than blow it all on a sandwich. You can buy them in Iceland across the country, so no excuses! But, no time for flim-flam, let’s go to the recipes…
egg and cress – syn free
pretty simple, this one – boil an egg for ten minutes, peel, mash with a fork and mix with 2 tablespoon of natural yoghurt, with plenty of salt and pepper and, if you’re feeling sexy, add a dash of mustard
chinese chicken – 1.5 syns for the lot
make the pulled chicken by sticking four chicken breasts in a slow cooker overnight with 250ml of stock, or even better, put them in an Instant Pot with 250ml of water, cook on high pressure for 12 minutes and then shred – easy!
once cool, mix with 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce and 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt and a tiny bit of five-spice, together with cubed cucumber (not the seeds, use the flesh) and sliced spring onion – easy!
ham and pease pudding – syn free
spread pease pudding onto your bread, broghie or wrap and layer with slices of wafer thin ham and tomato – yeah, not much to this one, but I just want to put a special plea out there that if you haven’t tried pease pudding, give it a go. Yeah, it looks like baby poo, but it tastes damn fine
cheese savoury – syn free
to make enough for two, mix together your HEA of Red Leicester (30g) with their HEA of 40g extra mature lighter cheddar, add thinly sliced red onion, cubed pepper with enough fat-free natural yoghurt to bind it together
beef with red onion and mustard – barely a syn
layer slices of beef (or you could use leftover pulled beef from our amazing bloody mary beef) with thinly sliced red onions, mini gherkins and 1 tsp American style mustard (1 tbsp, if you bother synning it)
houmous and crunchy veg – syn free
use one of our delicious syn-free houmous recipes and top with chopped onion and chopped peppers
How easy was all that? If you’re wondering, they’re Le Creuset plates, from Amazon. Hope you enjoyed. One other bit of housekeeping – see that row of buttons below? They’re share buttons – share all over!
Right, quick recipe post for a super simple beef stew! Sometimes you need a plate of cat-food-esque stew to line your gunt and this is just the ticket. Plus, if you’re a haphazard fool like us in the kitchen, you can’t go too wrong with it – just need to cut everything up, hoy it all in a pan and allow to simmer, then thicken with gravy. Get it made!
Anyway, whilst I’ve got you here, we’re also running a competition this week to win a soupmaker! It’s not Paul, before you ask, but it’s a lovely Morphy Richards number. Click the image below and you’ll be taken straight to the competition entry page in a new window. Go for it – it’s an easy competition and all you have to do is find the queens’ Queen!
Right, straight to the recipe! See, I can do it occasionally…
to make one-pot super simple beef stew you will need:
Just a quick post tonight because, for once, we’ve kept our word and managed to get round to updating the recipes page to include an instant pot section! Remember, for all of our instant pot recipes, you can use a normal pressure cooker or a pan on the hob – you don’t need to buy an expensive bit of kit for our stuff!
add the onion and cook for a few minutes until it goes soft
chuck in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so
add the mince and cook until browned all over
add in the chopped tomatoes, passata, salt, pepper and oregano and give a good stir
break the spaghetti in half and chuck in the pan along with a litre of water – make sure the spaghetti is covered – push it down with a spoon if it isn’t
cook at high pressure for ten minutes, then use the ‘quick release’ to get it in your belly quicker
don’t worry if it looks a bit watery when you first open it – it’ll soon thicken up when you give it a good stir
You can easily make this using a normal pressure cooker – just cook the mince and onion in a pan first before transferring to the pressure cooker, where you’ll need to cook it for 8 minutes. Haven’t got an instant pot? Make it the same way but in two pans, for a dead simple bolognese!
Got a hole that just can’t be stuffed? Let us try! Click one of the buttons below to get your hands on even more recipes: