Well, hello there! Here for our char sui pork? It’s understandable, you love a bit of meat. This is our final ‘Chinese’ style meal for a while, you’ll either be pleased or disappointed to hear! What could our next theme be…anyway, it’s not James writing tonight, but rather Paul. You can tell because my swearing is more gentle and there’s about 60% less knob jokes.
After James’ posts yesterday on why I’m so damn perfect I thought it’s only fair that I do one the other way round. So here goes: three things which make James pretty damn spesh.
He’s like a hairy water bottle
Now you might think that that sounds gross, but hear me out here.
As we are slightly less rotund than before we keep finding ourselves at full nipple-on quite often and it’s so handy having a heat source to hand. There’s nowt better when you’ve just come in from taking the bins out to smushing your face right into a hot pillow made out of fat – it’s truly wonderful. And not only that but he sometimes lifts up his belly so I can put my feet underneath, so it’s like getting your feet massaged whilst in a hot bath. It’s great! One of my most favourite things in the world (and he’ll hate me for saying this) is when I get up for a piss in the middle of the night and get back into bed to warm up. I’ll press right up against him and I feel like a panini.
I’ll try not to get too mushy here because I know you miserable buggers hate all of that, but he’s always been one for giving me surprises, and not just of the venereal disease kind – the couple that leaks together stays together. Sometimes they’re small, like an unexpected Creme Egg and sometimes they’re fookin’ massive, like that time he surprised me with a trip to New York. I quite often come home to find a new desk gadget, or a cake, or something that he found in a shop somewhere that he thought I would like.
I have absolutely zero willpower. Quite literally none at all. If I were still single I’d have had a heart attack about ten years ago because I just can’t stop myself. Fortunately I’ve got Muffin who’ll not only dissuade me from eating shit or doing daft stuff, but do it kindly as well. It’s like having to distract a tantruming toddler – he does it tactfully and patiently! But it’s not just with food, it’s with other stuff too – we often come up for ideas for the blog together but I either lose patience or get distracted, but he’s always there to keep me on track and focussed. It’s helped me change and also to work hard to get a better job. Honestly, without him I’d be too scatty to actually ever get anything done.
Right, that’s enough of that bollocks, eh? Onto what you really came here for – char sui pork! This’ll make one big, long Linford-style tenderloin, enough for four servings and then spin the leftovers into our mixed chow mein. I mean honestly.
to make char sui pork you will need:
500g pork tenderloin
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger, minced
60ml soy sauce
60ml cider vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar with stevia (6 syns)
1 tbsp hoi sin sauce (1½ syns)
2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
top tips for making char sui pork:
don’t be tempted to skimp on the syns for this one – they’re worth every single one! remember that syns are there to be used!
Here for the pork and ginger stir fry, syn-free and wonderful as it is? Please hold.
Before we begin, I need to confess that I feel terrible: we received a ‘please order milk from your independent milkman’ letter through the door the other day. As it happens, I’m all for supporting local industry and would happily take advantage but he delivers after we go to work and I don’t want the milk sitting outside on the step all day. It’s not that I’m concerned that young hoodlums will steal it, oh no, quite the opposite – we live on a street with a lot of elderly folk, and I can see them now eyeing up an opportunity for some free calcium for their brittle bones. All we would see on our CCTV is the top of a gently-bobbing mass of grey hair shuffling along the bottom of our screen and then the milk disappearing. Tsh. Anyway, I was just settling down with a giant cup of coffee when the door went – I answered, already in my dressing gown, and there’s the milkman, asking if we had received his letter and would we like to order anything. Well, I was flustered, not least because frankly I’d have cheerfully invited him in for a half-pint of his full-fat milk, and couldn’t think of a way to phrase it so that I didn’t sound snotty or dismissive of his plea. I said the only thing I could think of: that I was gluten intolerant.
He corrected me to lactose-intolerant, looked at my giant cup of coffee, spotted the milk on the side in the kitchen, and had the good grace not to call me out on my obvious duplicity as he left. I tried to call after him that I would considering ordering fresh orange juice or some eggs but my words must have been carried away on the wind.
Anyway, enough about my poor milkman. Today is a day of love, you know. Whether you’re coupled up or single, take a moment to appreciate the good things in life. That might take the form of telling your partner you love them, or a good friend that you’ll always be there. Or, have a wank. Whatever works for you. I’m always teasing poor Paul via the medium of this blog but he’s alright really, so I thought it would be a good time to write three lovely things he does that just cements why we’re so good together.
When I’m angry, he’s angry
An important one, this. Even if he might not fully believe it what I’m raging against, he so very rarely tells me to calm down. I feel like the whole world is out to antagonise me most mornings and I can be out of bed for only five minutes before the cat has got in my way, Facebook has pissed me off and the sight of Piers Morgan on the television has sent me into a white-hot apoplexy. Paul is always there agreeing and eee-I-knowing and giving me ‘quite right’ looks and for that I’m thankful. It’s good to have someone to be cantankerous with and I think it’s a sign of true love that we can both sit and moan and bitch at each other and be bitter together.
He squeezes my feet
My feet hurt all the time now that we’re forever at the gym or walking or swimming or stamping out oil fires or booting the cat up her arse for getting in the way. Nothing too painful, just a dull ache that when pressed feels amazing. And, sure as eggs are eggs, each night when we’re cabbaged on the sofa watching TV he will pull my foot up onto his lap and squeeze the living daylights out of them. It feels amazing: you’re talking to someone who used to lift up our Caesar-sized mattress, contort his leg underneath and then lie on top of it to really squeeze the bones. Paul has actually stopped me from buying a vice to clamp my foot with. But what makes this extra special, indeed, takes it to a whole new level is this: he never complaint that my feet smell like a tramp has wiped his arse with a wheel of cupboard-warm Camembert, or that you could file the Forth Bridge with the skin on my heels. Listen, I walk eight miles a day now, I’m allowed hobbit feet, and anyway, it’s not like I can see them, what with my jiggling gunt in the way.
The morning routine
This is the big one. Paul loves to sleep: you could set his irises on fire and he’d still be there snoring and sleep-farting away. I’ve known him go to bed at 10pm and get up again at 7pm for his first piss, then go back to bed. However, every weekday morning he sets the alarm for ten minutes before I get up, makes sure the heating is on, goes and puts the coffee on, makes our porridge and, you’ll like this, turns the shower on for me so the bathroom is hot and steamy and the water boiling for when I emerge naked from under the duvet, farting and grunting away. Every morning, without fail. That’s pretty amazing, no? And you know why he does all of this?
Because he’ll get a damned good hiding if he doesn’t. Poor bastard has kidneys like dropped black pudding at this point.
I asked Paul what three things I do which make him happy and his reply was ‘going to work, going to sleep and being quiet’. Ho-hum. He will answer properly tomorrow. Or so help him.
Anyway, to celebrate over ten years of being together, look what popped up in our newsfeed throwback today!
Ten years and then some ago! Look at the clip of us: we look like football thugs who will kick your head in, sell you some wobbly eggs and suck you to a full and fruitful completion. In the interest of balance, here’s us now:
Looking good, right?
Shall we do the recipe? This makes enough for four people or two big portions for two big folks!
to make pork and ginger stir fry you will need:
2 tbsp ginger, minced
450g pork medallions, sliced
2 tsp soy sauce
100g mangetout, sliced in half
1 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 spring onions, chopped
1 tbsp rice wine
top tops for pork and ginger stir fry:
we used the fantastic medallions in Muscle Food’s Build Your Own Hamper deal! Find out more here!
feel free to use pork chops instead of medallions – just cut off the fat.
Cherry coke chicken thighs await you in a moment – and good news, this is just a quick post, but first…
Aaargh! I don’t know why I inflict facebook groups on myself, you know. With pancake day approaching, the pages are awash with people suggesting they can make “delicious syn-free pancakes” from blending oats, frying them in frylight and mixing with yoghurt and sweetener. Why? yeah, you might save a few syns, but what price dignity? What price the crap that you’re putting into your body in the name of trying to get a syn-free dinner? I know it’s personal choice and that’s all well and good but I bet there’s the same amount of calories, or close, in the amount of oats you’ll use, plus oil, plus sweetener, then there is in a couple of proper pancakes. And even then, why not enjoy your food? You’ve got one body and you’re here only once – why not enjoy your food? Have good food and eat a bit less and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it all the more. 15 syns to spend on making the stuff you’re eating enjoyable, tasty and memorable.
Ah I dunno. I can’t get my head around the mentality of thinking spending syns on your dinner is a bad thing but sitting cramming a chocolate bar into your mouth “because you can” is the way forward? Frankenfood and nonsense is totally against Slimming World anyway, and let’s be fair, I’m hardly their most ‘anal’ fnar fnar follower. You need this to be a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. When people lose all the weight will they be eating oat pancakes and “sausage rolls” made from wrapping a manky sausage in a wrap? No. Then what happens to that weight loss? But hey, what do I know? Follow SW’s rules, they know what they’re doing. Mostly.
Let’s do some cherry cola chinese chicken! The cherry cola adds a nice glaze and using chicken thighs keeps the meal cheap and easy. Let’s be honest: if there’s one thing you love, it’s some cheap and easy thighs. Right?
to make chinese diet coke chicken you will need:
8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs
150ml diet cherry coke
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ tsp chilli flakes
top tips for chinese diet cherry coke
we used diet cherry coke but you can use what you like – normal diet coke, Dr Pepper, etc.
Right, let’s fire out a recipe for beef chop suey with no chitchat, as we’re all busy people. Take Me Out isn’t going to watch itself, you know.
Now come on, as if we’d watch Take Me Out. If I wanted to listen to thirty lasses screaming at an orange man, I’d go to a Trump protest. THERE. THERE’S SOME BITING POLITICAL ANALYSIS. I’m kidding, it’s my nephew’s birthday so we’re actually off to hand over gifts and cards in exchange for love and kindness. But we couldn’t leave you without something to smack your lips over, so here we are! Saucy beef chop suey.
Stir fry cucumber and pork? You are either doing one of two things:
experiencing confusing feelings in your nethers – you’re scared, but you want to try it; or
you’re quietly gipping into your sleeve.
But trust me, it’s delicious! Paul, who doesn’t like cucumber whether it’s sliced, diced or hidden somewhere it’s not nice to talk about, declared the dish one of the best he’s ever had – and it’s so cheap too.
Anyway: good news everyone: I’m feeling better. Not 100%, I still feel like someone has backed a transit van over my head and everything capable of producing liquid is working over-time, but at least I’m not dying. See? Always a positive. But I need to stay rested, so let’s go straight to the recipe!
Oh, this makes enough for four nice bowls of stir fry cucumber and pork.
to make stir fry cucumber and pork, you’ll need:
two big cucumbers (or buy three, you’ll have something to play with whilst the cucumber soaks)
salt (smoked salt is nice, but any salt will do)
500g of low-fat pork mince (you can use turkey mince too)
3 teaspoon of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of rice wine (about 0.00000001 of a syn, so fuck it)
2 teaspoon of oil (4 syns) (I used sesame, it’s easier)
1 teaspoon of fish sauce (you can buy it from most supermarkets, it’s syn free and doesn’t taste fishy)
1 teaspoon of cornflour (quarter of a syn, see above)
a pinch of chilli flakes
two garlic cloves, minced
rice to serve
top tips stir fry cucumber and pork
absolute full credit goes to seriouseats.com for this one – we found it a while ago and thought it would be a load of bollocks, but we’re so glad we tried it – fair play!
quickly mince the garlic with a Microplane grater – you’ll wonder how you ever got on without one – or you can buy ready minced garlic in most supermarkets if you’re lazy
if you’re using turkey mince, I’d suggest adding another tablespoon of oil (6 syns) because turkey can be quite dry, like me
marinate your pork by mixing it with two teaspoons of soy sauce, the rice wine, one teaspoon of oil, the fish sauce and half a teaspoon of cornflour – really give it a good mix, and then set aside – the longer you leave it the better it will be
peel slices from your skin of your two cucumbers so you’re left with alternating stripes around the outside, cut in half along the horizontal, so you’re left with two long halves, cut each half into chunks and then put in a bowl, scatter a good couple of pinches of salt on top, shake and leave them to sit for an hour or so
once you’re ready to cook, in a small bowl mix two teaspoons of water, the other half teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of sesame oil and a teaspoon of soy sauce – mix and set aside
wash your cucumber chunks through a sieve to get the salt off them, and then pat
heat up a frying pan with a few sprays of oil, get it nice and hot, then place the pork in almost like a big burger – allow to cook for thirty seconds or so exactly like that, then start breaking it up with a spatula, add the chilli flakes and garlic and cook until everything is golden brown
now add the cucumber chunks and cook high and quick – mix your sauce again and pour it in – there’s not a lot, but the idea is to make it a bit glossy – remember, cook quick and hot
serve with rice!
Guys, do you trust us at this point? Do we ever really post a duff recipe? No. This isn’t one of them, either. The cucumbers keep a bit of crunch but go more meaty than you would imagine. It tastes lovely and fresh and is a good, cheap alternative to a fakeaway. Give it a go!
A rare beast tonight! With The Governess still unwell and me struggling away at the helm, we’re going to go straight to the recipe without a moment of delay. Enjoy!
This makes enough sticky sesame chicken for four people. This is known as General Tso’s chicken in America, if you’re curious. You can leave off the sesame seeds at the end if you absolutely must but they add a nice crunch!
to make instant pot sticky sesame chicken you will need:
Lemon chicken, if you don’t mind – but I do mind, because it’s my favourite dish and I want it now. James is still laid out with illness and, in between dabbing his fevered brow and attending to his every need *cough*, we still have to get a blog-post out. However, luckily, the other half writes out his holiday entries well in advance so when times are dry for things to write about, we can whack one of these up. To that end, if you’re here for the recipe and the recipe alone, click the button below to be whisked straight there. Or scroll until you see the food. I imagine that’ll pose no difficulties for most of you.
Thank goodness they’ve gone. I bet they own more television remotes than books, you know. Let’s go back to Stockholm!
Look, if we carry on at the rate we’re going, we’ll never leave Stockholm. We’ve got three more days there and frankly, if I keep spending 1000 words describing the type of coffee I enjoyed, we’ll never get anywhere. So let’s try something different: I’m going to write about the highlights of the trip in a loose, fudged-together timeline. If you’re like Rose and are displeased, I invite you to stop being such a surfitta-lit. Best not to google that one, though.
Skyview at the Ericsson Globe
First on the list was a trip on the Skyview – an external lift that goes up and over the Ericsson Globe arena down in the imaginatively named Stockholm Globe City district of Stockholm.
It’s like a Bond film without a budget!
You’ll know the Globe, I bet: it’s hosted the Eurovision Song Contest at least twice (fun fact: for three days after these events they don’t actually need to power the lifts – they rise up on the fug of amyl nitrate of their own accord) (and mysteriously, all the previously stuck doors just ease open to allow easy access) and there’s been all manner of big stadium concerts in there. And Shania Twain. We learned this fact by having to bear witness to the same Shania Twain five-second advert on loop whilst we stood in the queue for ten minutes waiting for tickets to be the first to board. No man should ever have to endure that much Shania Twain – I felt like I was 14 again, listening to my sister play ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’ for the eighty-seventh time. She’s a hard to please witch, isn’t she – Shania, not my sister: frankly, if there’s any rocket scientists out there with a car and fine hair, get in touch. I get impressed by a bloke who can eat his dinner without spilling a third of it on the carpet, much lower standards. We were second in the queue with only a wee Chinese grandma in front of us so we were guaranteed admission to the first pod and then we could be on our way.
Only, no; she bought tickets for 22, and out of the McDonalds over the road came a tour-bus of selfie-sticks, expensive winter wear and Marlboro Reds, pushing us back into the third pod. That meant twenty more minutes of Shania looping. If I close my eyes now I still see her fabulously-conditioned hair and Polo-mint-teeth burnt on my eyelids. Keeping things in perspective, I spent those twenty minutes staring at the suspension cable of their pod in the vain hope so much venom would melt the steel. It was our turn soon enough and I mean, it was good fun and affords you a pleasant enough view of the city, but nothing that the (much cheaper) TV tower earlier hadn’t done the day before. Plus, the clean freak in me wanted to open the pod and run a squeegee along the windows, they were absolutely hacky.
Twenty minutes is a long time to spend looking over the top of a mall and some distant buildings, though we were at least entertained by the three teenage girls who spent the entire twenty minutes posing in front of their phones. I swear, they couldn’t have looked out of the window once. Just how many shots do you need of:
sucking invisible spaghetti;
thousand yard stare;
oh my god spontaneous shot of me I promise but actually, it’s taken twelve minutes;
McDonalds eyebrows; and
GROUP OF GIRLS RIGHT hadehar
for your friggin’ Instagram? You know how I take photos of us? I point the camera somewhere north of our staircase of chins, and click take photo. Done. It’s that simple.
The ABBA museum
Next, the ABBA museum. Well, it had to be, didn’t it? We made our way via Sweden’s excellent underground rail system. First of all, they must have known I was coming because they put up some especially camp warning signs.
No mincing please
Secondly, our journey was greatly enlivened by the fact that a woman, clearly off her tits, stood up, started shouting in Swedish and then pissed herself at great length. Was it my aftershave? I don’t know, but we had to all get off at the next stop – her to clean herself up, me to wring the bottom of my jeans out. Poor lass pissed like a bloody racehorse. Luckily, we were close enough to walk to the Abba museum and it only took us ten minutes of sliding around on the ice to do so. Now, remember me telling you that Sweden is eye-wateringly expensive? I was in full gush when I paid for our tickets here: £44 for two. £44 to enter a museum! That’s not £44 for a sit down meal and a chance to try and talk Agnetha round, no no – just to give you access to the turntable. I mean, I know they’ve got to make their Money Money Money, but come on.
We paid up and went in and boom: something to make it all worthwhile. Who the hell knew that Benny was such a DILF back in the day? I mean now he looks like someone you’d see arguing with trees but back then, fuck me – lucky I hadn’t spotted him yesterday, or else it really would have been The Day Before You Came. I was quite taken – all sorts of shirtless photos and videos plastered the walls – at least I had somewhere to hang my multi-language headset, I suppose.
He’d be Benny, Paul and I would be the Jets
And actually, despite the shafting at the start, the museum was excellent – very thorough, detailed and interactive. Almost too interactive actually: there were booths you could nip into and do karaoke without people being able to hear you. We elected to give Mamma Mia a bash and thought we sounded great until we listened back later on via their website and it sounds like a livestream from a condemned abattoir. You know how you think you can sing in the shower? You can’t. I’m surprised they didn’t ask us to leave.
Make just one swap in this photo and it’ll match the thumbnail of at least two of our xtube videos. Just saying.
It only got worse – we rounded a corner to find the next exhibition was where you could get up on stage and sing along as the 5th member of ABBA whilst they superimposed the other four alongside us. FLABBA, if you prefer. I said we couldn’t, but the museum worker was very persuasive – she literally said you can dance, you can jive. I tried to explain that I dance like my feet are on fire and she replied ‘Dancing Queen’. I retorted by calling her a homophobic blonde bitch.
I jest, on we went – there was no-one about anyway bar her and I’m sure she’s seen two eighteen-stone Geordies pretending to be Abba before. Who hasn’t? I’m sure it was a storyline in an episode of Vera – if it wasn’t then it bloody should have been, because we absolutely murdered the song. Of course, no sooner had we started caterwauling and shuffling around like sad bears in a rubbish zoo than a gaggle of other gay men – all stylish and shrieking – came round the corner and started giving us bitchy appraising looks. Honestly, the collective effect of them pursing their lips at the same time pulled at my eyelashes. The curator had the good grace to at least shut the music off after a minute rather than making us do a full set. We slunk off stage like the fat national embarrassment that we were and we hadn’t even went through the exit doors before André, B’Michael, Brandonael and A’Joseph were belting out Does Your Mother Know.
The rest of the museum was awash with dresses, videos, quizzes and all sorts of memorabilia. Yes: far too expensive, but worth it. I mean, it’s Abba.
Putting at least one syllable into country singer
Eating and drinking
We spent more than a couple of lovely hours in the Ardbeg Embassy tasting all the various beers they had to offer. Listen, when a beard with a man hanging off it offers you a giant glass of ‘Just Don’t Call Me Brett’ or ‘Cellar Troll’, you just don’t say no.
Always wondered what happened to Casualty’s Clive Mantle, and now we know – he’s ordering a pint in Sweden
What started as a ‘quick drink’ became an elongated ‘work our way down the list’ until we were a) smashed and b) poor. Fifteen quid for two pints, remember.
Drunk and beholden to our empty stomachs, we ventured out to find food, only to stumble into the first place with an open door that we found – Sally’s, next door. It was delicious. You know how good food tastes when you’re steaming and hungry? That, but coupled with big doughy flatbreads and good cheese – you need to understand that I haven’t had bread for several months at this point and I’m not kidding when I say my side of the table lifted up a fair few inches when they brought it out. Almost spilled my wine.
I want this again.
Oh and because it was Christmas, I had the reindeer carpaccio for starters. They even stuck a little red tomato on the plate in what I thought was a rather cruel jibe at poor Rudolph. Christmas is cancelled and I’m turning it into poo.
This was better than it looks.
The 3am graffiti
At some point we were tucked up in bed, doing our best to keep the hotel awake with our beer-smothered snoring, when I got up for a gypsy’s kiss and noticed that for the first time in the entire holiday, it was proper snowing. Not that stupid vicar’s dandruff sort of snow we get, but big thick flakes of it, all settling merrily on the ground. You need to understand that we went to Iceland, Switzerland and Copenhagen in winter and saw barely any snow so this was a big deal, so much so that I woke up Paul by throwing water in his face (accidentally, I knocked over his bedside glass in the excitement – I haven’t taken to waterboarding him in his sleep – yet) and got him out of bed. We dressed in all the fabulous winter attire we had brought and thought we wouldn’t need and dashed out to play in the snow like the two big kids we are. The city was asleep, we had to place to ourselves – I managed to sneak in some free advertising:
I was going to try and put other SW blogs on there but I didn’t have time to draw out the eight adverts necessary to go with it.
We made our way down into a small square that was absolutely pristine with snow – a complete blank canvas.
This IS…ART ATTACK!
It took less than a nanosecond before we were both studiously working on writing out the most offensive swearword we could in the biggest letters our legs would allow. Unhappily, I was only a third of the way through the ‘N’ when two police officers came over to see what all the gleeful screaming was about. You’ve never seen someone turn a nine foot capital ‘N’ into a ‘B’ and a tiny ‘S’ quicker than me that night – I was like Michael Flatley on ice. They asked what we were doing and I lied through my teeth to try and explain we were making a giant version of our logo – it was only when I showed them twochubbycubs on my phone that they understood.
Now in a normal situation both Paul and I would have been well-up with being bundled into the back of a van by two tattooed, bearded, uniformed men and roughly manhandled, indeed, we call it a successful night at Washington Services round here, but not that night – it was that cold that my testicles were rolling around in my scrotum like peas at the bottom of the freezer. Any ejaculate would have slid out like a Mini Milk, so even I didn’t bother making the ‘whatever can I do, officer’ fluttering eyes/arse at them.
A mite embarrassed, we returned to our beds.
Paul does have a chin – he has a collection, actually – it’s just the lighting
Seems like a good place to leave it!
REMEMBER FOLKS: we love feedback on the holiday entries! It makes my day! So please do leave a comment to gee us along!
Let’s do the lemon chicken recipe then. This makes enough for four large portions, and if there’s anyone who can handle a large portion, it’s YOU!
to make our best ever lemon chicken fakeaway, you’ll need:
four chicken breasts, big and fat, cut into chunks
3 tbsp of light soy sauce
2 tbsp of rice vinegar
pinch of salt and pepper
175ml chicken stock
75ml lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
2 tbsp of honey (5 syns)
1 tbsp of cornflour (1 syn)
top tips for our best ever lemon chicken fakeaway:
if you’re using fresh lemons – and you should – pierce them a couple of times, stick them in the microwave for fifteen seconds and then juice them – you’ll get so much more juice – we use one of these, but you can just use your hands – not posh!
serve with rice or whatever you like, and we can confirm this freezes well!
to make our best ever lemon chicken fakeaway, you should:
in a bowl, add the chicken chunks to the soy sauce and vinegar and make sure every piece is covered – longer you leave it, the better it will be
when you’re ready to cook, cook the chicken off in a pan until it is cooked through
mix together the chicken stock, lemon juice, honey and cornflour and then tip into the pan with the chicken and cook until it has all thickened up
serve with rice and finely grated lemon rind
Easy peasy! We’ve done loads of fakeaways lately, take a look:
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!
Syn-free chicken jalfrezi – our streak of ‘what you pick up after a night out’ (aside from undetectable chlamydia, hussy) meals continues without any sign of stopping! But before we get to it, an important message. Long time readers of the blog will probably have heard this before, but bear with me – it’s Time To Talk day.
What’s Time to Talk Day I hear you mutter, in that alley-cat hiss of yours. It’s really terribly simple: it’s a day put out there to encourage everyone to talk about mental health, to hopefully try and reduce the stigma and suffering of anyone out there with mental health issues. It’s about being open and honest and non-judgemental and it’s a day that shouldn’t be needed, but sadly is.
Some of you may know that I (James) have a mental health problem: I have health anxiety. Whilst in all honesty it hasn’t bothered me significantly for a good couple of years now, it’s only because I have built my own systems for keeping it in check. Health anxiety is when your brain becomes consumed with the idea that there is something fatally wrong with you: a headache is a brain tumour, pins and needles in your arm is the beginning of motor neurone disease. At my worst, I was convinced I was going deaf and blind because my vision was a bit shaky and I was struggling to hear. Even my ovaries ached at one point.
Health anxiety is an especially cruel beast because anxiety forces the body to react in a ‘fight or flight’ mode all the friggin’ time – so your muscles ache from sitting tensed up, your head hurts from your mind going a-mile-a-minute, your eyes are irritable because you’ve been up all night fretting – and then all of those aches and pains feed back into your worries and you become sure that you are actually suffering with an illness and it really can’t be all in your head and anyway, what do the doctors know because fuck it, I’ve found my disease on google. It’s an endless, cruel, feedback loop.
Only it isn’t endless, not at all. At my worst I thought that my life was over – even if I wasn’t actually physically ill, my mind would never rest again – I’d be alright until the next crisis and then back to wobbling and feeling like warmed through shit. You have no idea how exhausting it is dying every single day. However, right now, I barely worry. I barely give twinges and aches and pains the slightest thought, and if I do concentrate on them, it’s because they actually hurt and they’ll go away. Which, touchwood, they always do. I’m actually a very healthy young man who has been supremely lucky in his life not to be beset by something tragic. I concentrate on that now, rather than wishing my life away. Hell, I knew I had overcome the worst of my health anxiety when I went for a shite the other day, noticed it was almost bright red and, rather than sorting out my will and ringing for an ambulance because my bowels were turning into a cancer-soup, simply remembered I’d knocked back a whole jar of pickled beetroot the night before. See: now I’m just a fat fucker, as opposed to a dying one.
So what helped? It’s hard to actually say, because what helped me may not help you. That’s the way things are – no two minds are the same (plus my mind is probably riddled with prions turning it to crumpet thanks to my mother’s predilection for cheap beef in the 80s). But, put succinctly, I trained myself not to care. I took the view that if I had MS or Parkinsons or motor neurone disease or toxic shock syndrome or blood cancer or feline aids or mad cow disease or a club foot or rabies then sitting rocking in my chair in front of Jeremy Kyle and sobbing wasn’t going to fix a damn thing. I had all of those and that’s that. So, before my legs turned to playdoh and my mind became a mist of memories, better to get out and enjoy things again. And that’s what I did: I forced myself out. I forced myself to socialise, I forced myself to ring the doctors ‘tomorrow’, and then made sure that tomorrow never switched from future to present. I’d go a bit further and a bit longer before giving in.
Of course it was hard – at times impossible – but progress was made. If you’re convinced in your mind that you have leg weakness, for example, pick up a football and punt it as far as you can, preferably through a neighbour’s window so you have to leg it afterwards. If you think you can’t remember, pull up the best ever sex you’ve ever had from your wank-bank and visualise it in explicit, squelching detail. I guarantee you’ll remember some small detail, but don’t feel down on yourself, that’s just what God gave you. Test yourself not by thinking about what you can’t do but instead what you can. Positive reinforcement instead of negative. It sounds wank and like I say, may not work for you – but when I got to the end of a week without ringing the doctors I felt ten times better than the ‘relief’ I felt from hearing a doctor telling me for the nineteenth time that I wasn’t leaving the surgery in a body-bag. Try it.
The other factor that helped me was having a decent support network. I’m very lucky: I have a husband who would sit and be patient with my wailing and whingeing – he never rolled his eyes at me or told me I was being stupid. He never shook me like that hysterical woman from Airplane. He may have wanted to – I cringe when I think I used to wake him up in the dead of night because my heart was racing (from anxiety, not the heart disease I then suspected) but he was lovely and kind and patient and exactly the type of rock you need to build a stable future on. Plus he’s fat and squashy, which acted like a stress ball during the worst of it.
I told my mum what was happening at the time and, although more blunt and honest with me, she was also incredibly supportive. She reassured me it would pass, that my worries would ease and my mind would clear, and it did. Mums are always right. Nearly always. I told a few friends but not many – I’m far more private than my 2,000,000 words and counting personal blog suggests – and it was interesting how many of them also suffered with mental health or knew someone that did. It isn’t the ‘just me’ problem you may think it is, you know, and the more that we are honest and open and brave about discussing it, the less power it has. The less shame is felt. More people will talk about it rather than bottling it up thinking it is something to be ashamed about. You wouldn’t feel embarrassed about going out with a broken leg, unless someone wrote that you were a bellend on your cast. Why feel bad about a broken mind?
I’m rambling, which is probably a symptom of my early-onset dementia. But if you take anything from this nonsense, it’s this – if you’re unwell at the minute, open up to someone – a friend, family, a co-worker you can trust. Don’t have those? Look at websites like Time to Change for resources, or www.mind.co.uk, or talk to the doctors. Yes, it’s a bit of a crap-shoot at the moment with the NHS’s approach to mental health, but we know who to blame for that. But something is better than nothing. If you’re on the other side of the coin, feel good – and be prepared to listen. Don’t tut. Don’t roll your eyes. Be honest with the person pouring out their heart to you – you don’t need to patronise or say ‘there there’ (because what the fuck does that even mean?) but feel free to be candid (but not cruel). Never tell someone they’re worrying over nothing and to buck the fuck up, because that isn’t how it works – no-one chooses to be mentally unwell and there isn’t a switch.
But, to end on a ridiculously cheesy note: there’s always hope. It might be hidden under a pile of black, steamy turd, but it’ll be there, and it’ll come through. Recovery might take weeks, months, years or never, but you’ll cope. You always have so far.
CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN SWIM EVERY SEA! And to think you just came for a syn-free chicken jalfrezi. I am sorry, but that was important. Let’s do the recipe, shall we? It’s a piece of piss, no doubt about that. This is a recipe by Simon Rimmer so yes, unfortanately, that means you’ll be getting….RIMMER? I BARELY KNEW ‘ER. Eh? You having that? Hello?!
to make a syn-free chicken jalfrezi, you’ll need:
one onion, peeled and chopped
one teaspoon of chilli powder
three teaspoons of tasty, tasty turmeric
a good pinch of salt
four big fat chicken breasts, the kind of dirtypillows yer mother would tell you off for, chopped into chunks
one tin of chopped tomatoes
one teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (see my comment about your knob down below)
if you’re using ginger, don’t keep buying fresh – buy a big knob and keep it in the freezer until you need it, then just use a microplane (no need to peel) to get what you need without even needing to defrost – we love our microplane, as well you know, and you can buy one here
it might look like a lot of spices but these are all staples you should have in – remember, don’t buy in the spices aisle at Tesco, go find the world foods aisle and you’ll get so much more for the same price
to make a syn-free chicken jalfrezi, you should:
spray a good decent heavy pan with some oil and gently sweat the onions and garlic off until the onions are golden
mix the chilli, turmeric and salt together in a bowl and then toss the chicken pieces in – make sure they get covered evenly
put the spicy chicken in the pan and cook through – a good ten to fifteen minutes
stir the tomatoes, ginger, cumin and coriander into the pan and reduce the heat until it’s bubbling nicely
cook with the lid on for about twenty minutes until it has reduced down and if it’s looking a bit too thick, add a splash of water
now: if you’re feeling decadent, you add butter at the end: 25g is nine syns, so between four that’s just over 2 syns each! Just stir it in before serving, together with the juice of a lemon
serve with chips, rice or panache
Easy and syn free! I mean, what more could you desire?
A super quick fakeaway dinner of sticky mushrooms tonight because it’s boot camp in an hour or so and I need to go put on my industrial-strength Lanacane with a paint roller. Honestly, you could fry an egg on my thighs after boot-camp, which to be fair would go remarkably well with the scent of bacon that pervades. Cor, stinks in ‘ere, dunnit!
Anyway I’m terrifically excited. You know how last year was the year of mini holidays? This is the year of the beast, and we’ve finally agreed it with work, booked the flights and figured out how we’re going to look after the cats – we’ve decided to spend the next few months training them how to use the electric tin opener and leave them a slab of Whiskas. We’re going somewhere we’ve always wanted to go but never found the time: OH CANADAAAAAAA! Yes! It’s like Cub Heaven: it’s cool in temperature, hot in bearded-men stakes and full of beauty. If we happen to catch the eye of some bearish mountain daddy who wants to keep us both and take us logging, both literally and euphemistically you understand, then so be it.
You know the best bit? We’re turning left on the plane. That’s right, the pilots have read all my witty comments about having a go at the controls and said, you know what, he’s seen enough episodes of Air Crash Investigation, he knows what the flaps do, let’s give it a whirl. No, I’ve actually just come off the phone with an incredibly helpful agent who managed to get us into first class both ways (proper first class, mind) for pretty much the same price as premium economy. I was breathing that heavily with excitement that he patched me through to 111 thinking I was having chest pains. We’ve flown first before but not for 10 hours and not on the massive A380. I don’t doubt that I’ll make a tit of myself within ten minutes by blowing cheese pasty crumbs across the floor and breaking wind as they hand me my pyjamas but what can you do? I’m just upset that poor Cilla Black carked it because I would have loved to have pushed her out of her seat.
Now we’re not boasting or showing off here – we save up all year for our holiday and forgo all of life’s little pleasures to get there – we don’t smoke, don’t do drugs and only drink alcohol every other hour. We tried prostituting Paul but he just came back with a runny nose and an empty wallet. Anyway listen – it’s going to make for an absolutely blinding set of travel posts, so look forward to it!
Speaking of looking forward, I bet you’re just wishing I’d shut the hell up and get to the sticky mushrooms. Of course! This is a veggie recipe but you could very easily swap in some chicken or beef – but actually, the mushrooms work just fine on their own. Trust me! Plus if you’re in the mood for something quick and tasty, this will really hit the spot because you can make it in less time than it takes to cook the rice. You don’t need to serve it in quite such a froufrou fashion as me, either, but I remind you: I am homosexual.
to make super sticky mushrooms you’ll need:
two cloves of garlic, minced
400g of mushrooms – now, get a good mix (the oriental selection in Tesco is absolutely perfect) of types and flavours and chop them up to a good uniform size – don’t just get boring plain mushrooms, you need the flavour
4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon of brown sugar (please, don’t use sweetener – you could, but it’ll ruin the taste of the dish) (3 syns) or swap for honey (1 tbsp – 2.5 syns)
lots of freshly ground black pepper
serve with steamed rice, sliced radishes and chopped spring onions, or whatever veg and rice you want!
if you want to use chicken, you may need to add about 50ml of stock – the mushrooms release a lot of water which is what creates the sticky sauce