A huge thank you to everyone who has pre-ordered our amazing new cookbook – twochubbycubs: dinner time launching on May 26 2022! We are super excited to finally show you the fruits of our hard work, and it really makes us smile when we have your support! The price has already dropped so if you’re holding out, now is the time to buy! You’ll get the cheaper price if it drops again! You can order it here – thank you! Also: we are out of action for the next couple of days doing Book Stuff – the next blog will be Wednesday – we haven’t died.
We need to get this out of the way right from the get-go – this party ham pâté looks absolutely disgusting in the recipe book and the fact that the author microwaves it is absolutely beyond me. As you can see from the photo below of the original recipe, it looks like what you’d imagine Satan’s sphincter to be. It reminds one of something you’d use industrial strength Bazuka gel to burn off a limping horse’s foot. It is the kind of party dish you’d wheel out only if you wanted your guests to leave with scowls and for one of them to kick your dog in anger on the way out.
So, of course, we must try it. As you may have guessed by the subtle clue in the title, this recipe comes from ‘The Book of Microwave Cookery’ by none other than our good friend Sonia Allison. I ordered the book because the idea of a book devoted to microwave cookery delighted me and it was only after receipt that I spotted Sonia Allison was behind it. I mean, of course she was, there was seemingly a few years in the eighties where she was a veritable doyenne of hosting parties and writing recipes.
I’m experiencing strong Baader–Meinhof effect with this woman: I’ve seen her name once and now she’s everywhere, filling every conceivable cooking niche. I half expect to go for a crap and pick up some of the bathroom shiterature we have scattered about only to find her face walking me through 100 recipes for entertaining in the Khor Virap Monastery or 87 billion things to do with boiled eggs. She was certainly comprehensive.
Speaking of comprehensive, don’t you agree I make a wonderful Fanny?
The book does promise an awful lot – the cover is awash with interesting looking dishes that I refuse to believe were made in a microwave, including a lovely looking coffee cake and an elegant gateaux, though there’s scant reference to these in the book so I fear it may have been a bit of a bait and switch: stick a microwave in the background of a pre-prepared spread. I’m not saying you can’t trust Sonia but there’s clearly shenanigans afoot. More mysteriously there are five dessert glasses filled with a luminous purple slop that looks like something you’d scrape from your bumper after a drunken drive in the country which are entirely missing from the recipes.
There’s a whole chapter devoting to cooking safely with the microwave where Sonia walks you through exactly what a microwave is with the deft touch of someone who is also scrabbling together 100 Marmite recipes on the side (not even kidding there, I’ve got it in front of me). She does go against all accepted safety knowledge by stating you can put metal skewers in the microwave with no ill-effect, which is a nonsense. I once left a teaspoon in a cup of tea I was reheating and accidentally opened a portal through to 1992 – I could see Past James. Should have shouted through that he’ll end up doing alright and looking fit.
Perhaps my favourite writing touch from the whole book is the way she will start every single chapter with the same schtick: a dramatic declaration that using the microwave really serves no benefit and it does nothing a conventional oven and hob can’t do, before having herself an epiphany by the end of the chapter and crying out that she couldn’t believe she was so foolish. This is endearing at chapter three and vexing by chapter fourteen. She’s the 80s author equivalent of Troy McClure in The Simpsons slapping his cheek and looking shocked.
One thing I do love though: she thanks her scientific husband for his constructive advice and guidance, which I think is beautiful. Those who have read our books may have realised that Paul and I struggle with the romantic love-letters to one another at the back of the book. We are told to be mushy but if we were being honest, Paul’s note to me would be to thank me for staying out of his hair and mine to him would simply be a photograph of my guilty face with ‘WHAT AM I LIKE’ in cerise Mistral underneath.
To be honest, I do feel a bit mean reading these old cookbooks and scoffing because at the time they would have been an invaluable resource I’m sure, and plus, who is to say that in thirty years time someone won’t be reading our recipe books and chortling at our air-frying ways and crazy ingredients? Hell, it’ll probably be me doing it. Hi Future James, glad you made it through the bad weather, you’re looking fit!
The good news with this party ham pâté is that Sonia reassures us it is ‘an excellent recipe for slimmers’, presumably because you’ll spend most of the evening dry-heaving and pulling your lips back like a snarling dog at the thought of eating it. According to Sonia, for added piquancy, half a clove of garlic could be added. To 800g of ham. She was a wild one for sure! Saying that in the hints and tips bit at the very back she does coyly give a guide on how to microwave ‘body lotion or oils’ so maybe those dinner parties were a hotbed of filth after all.
I confess though: I did try following her recipe to the letter – which was difficult as I only have a normal microwave whereas she seems to be cooking in something you could climb inside for safety in the event of a nuclear war – and it was awful. When a recipe warns you that the edges will brown but this will have ‘no effect on taste or texture’ a warning sign should shoot up. Sonia also suggests using cling film in the microwave, which I did to no real ill effect, though it meant posting myself outside the microwave door lest it burst into flames.
With one ham entirely wasted, I tinkered with the recipe to bring it in line with a more ‘doable’ option at home. I have kept the ingredients largely the same, adding only a couple of modern touches to up the flavour a little. Finally, you can bore off if you think I’m spending time cutting a boiled egg just so for decoration like she did – slicing those pimento olives you see in the picture almost finished me off. To the recipe then!
As you can, the original party ham pâté wasn’t a looker!
But with a few tweaks, the party ham pâté can be made delicious!
And when served with piccalilli and decent bread, the party ham pâté is really quite good
You want chives with your party ham pâté? Then you’ll smoke a whole PACKET of dried chives
As discussed at length above, Sonia Allison's microwave party ham pâté is a surefire winner at the dinner table, as long as you change the ingredients, method of cooking and presentation style. But if you follow a recipe and change all the ingredients, method and delivery, is it the original recipe? Or your own? Either way, if you stick to the original method you'll be left with a Ship of Faeces, I guarantee.
This makes enough for four giant portions and if you do as we did, it goes really well with bread and piccalilli. As ever, calorie counts are approximate.
Oh: although Sonia feels the need to decorate the top with eighty-seven keels of dried chives, you absolutely shouldn't. I sneezed bringing this to the table (it's OK, we're among friends) and thought I was at a leprechaun's wedding. If you must adorn it, try just a sprinkling of fresh chives.
800g unsmoked gammon joint
two large white onions
two cloves of garlic
three large eggs
thirty olives stuffed with pimento
salt and pepper for days
25g parsley (fresh is better)
one teaspoon of dried sage
You will need a food processor / blender for this recipe - see notes if you don't have one
cook the ham as per the instructions - we use our Instant Pot - about twenty five minutes on high pressure and the whole thing is cooked and ready to shred
blitz the cooled ham in a food processor until very fine indeed
do the same with the onion and garlic and combine with the ham
stir the eggs into the mixture with a really good pinch or two of pepper and one of salt (don't add too much salt, the ham is already salty) together with the pepper and sage
grease a loaf tin - and really go for it mind you - and then press the mixture in and cook for around an hour on 170 degrees or until the egg has cooked through
allow to cool and adorn with the sliced pimento olives and whatever else you want
slice and serve
you could do so much with this - add curry powder for a bit of spice, chopped egg rather than beaten, different herbs and spices and all that
not got a food processor - shred the ham with two forks as much as you can instead - it'll be coarser, but so am I
our new cookbook - Dinner Time - is now available to pre-order and we quite honestly believe it is the best one yet - you can pre-order here!
our second cookbook Fast & Filling is all about saving time and eating well: order yours here!
our original cookbook will also tickle your pickle with 100 slimming recipes: click here to order
and if you're looking to track your dieting successes, then we have a gorgeous little planner: here
we have silicone loaf tins and they work superbly as you can just plop the food straight out - the ones we use are cheap on Amazon nearly all the time and can be found here
Disclosure: the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Which is handy, as I just wanna dance with somebody, I wanna feel the heat with somebody, and frankly with energy prices the way they are we need all the money we can get.
Got some leftover ham? Chuck it in our cheese and ham quiche from 2016 – click the picture to be taken straight there!
There ain’t no way that I’ll make do with anything less than I’m used to!
The reacharound this week falls to our sausage stroganott supper from 2016, when we both had ice on our feet and a love of alluring alliteration apparently. That blog entry is a corker, even if I do say so myself, detailing a day we spent in Iceland, traipsing around the spitting geysers and turning blue on a flight of stairs. There are parts that seem almost an abstraction now: tourists all rammed into coaches, people sitting down with strangers for dinner. Hopefully this year will see more travel, even if it is forever tainted by the angst of someone coughing near you and not knowing if you’re going to end up hissing away on a ventilator. Anyhoo.
Those who enjoy our photos on Instagram may have noticed a small change in my husband of late – and I’ve certainly referenced his weight loss a few times on here. To that end, in the spirit of a reacharound and also wanting to give my wrists a rest from typing, I asked him to write a blog article about his weight troubles. He duly did, and ever one for detail, somehow managed to spin it out over 8,000 words. I can’t exactly criticise: I’ve never managed to type up a holiday blog without spending 2,500 words detailing my trip to the airport, taking in some random tut about shoelaces and eighty-seven allusions to sucking off truckers. However, you mustn’t fret: despite Paul having a face that has never been knowingly troubled by a smile, he’s actually a very funny writer. If you don’t like the thought of my husband guiding you around his fat bits, scroll quickly to the photos of the food. For everyone else, here’s Paul.
Alright! It’s me, Paul! Don’t worry, I’m not dead. I’m gonna tell you all a story about me. I apologise if some of this you’ve already heard!
I really wanted to avoid calling this whole thing a story about my “JoUrNeY” but there really ain’t any other word for it, so indulge me this one time. I know, I know. I’m typing this all out in the middle of one hell of a health kick so I’m really hoping that by doing so it’ll be one more nudge to keep me going.
See, I’ve always been fat. Always, for as long as I remember. I know I’ve said this before but my earliest memory is creeping downstairs (I would’ve been about 2-3 I think) and filling this small, green plastic bowl with chocolates and biscuits from the cupboards (and then tuning in for watching ITV Schools. Remember those? I loved ’em). Even when I was at nursery I knew I was fat and was self-conscious about it. Our nursery had a swimming pool (don’t be fooled, I’m common as muck) and I can remember not wanting to go into the water because I just knew I was too fat. This you can then copy and paste for the next 34 years. It’s only after you lose weight that you realise just how being overweight impacted on every single part of your life, and it’s quite sad for me that for nearly every milestone I can recall, my weight has factored somewhere in it.
Now, before I start, I don’t want this to sound like it’s turning into fat shaming or anything like that – my experiences are my own and this is in no way meant to shame anyone into wanting to lose weight. We all have our own reasons for doing what we do and being what we are, and this is mine. Please don’t read this and think that I’m judging anyone at all for anything because I promise I’m not. This is just my journey (oh fuck I said it again) and my reasons and justifications and experiences are all unique to me. Just thought I needed to put that before anyone starts with the angry tweets.
Throughout my entire childhood and well into adulthood (actually, even to this day) I’ve placed a ‘limit’ on myself, especially when it comes to physical stuff about what I can do, but also what I’m willing to do in order to preserve my dignity, and it’s fair to say the limit is set pretty damn low. One of the best things that happened to me at school was breaking my arm and needing an operation because it meant I had 8 weeks off PE (which I managed to stretch to the whole four years…eeh). My education around food was absolutely non-existent. I had a basic idea that fruits and vegetables were good and burgers were bad but it didn’t really stretch much beyond that. Food tech was all about making bread rolls and a fruit salad and something called COSHH and that was all. Education at home was even worse than that (I once lived off Freschetta pizzas for months. Best half-year of my life). Again, copy and paste this part throughout the rest of my life until my early thirties (stay tuned for that).
Food education was one thing. Exercise, another. I did briefly join a gym in my teenage years (I had to lie about my age and say I was sixteen) which, weirdly, came about because I was jealous my mate fingered someone on a bus, and I thought I’d never get to that. Of course, you can guess what end of that arrangement I wanted to be on. And I did quite well at the gym! I really enjoyed it. I would go every day after school for a few hours at a time and didn’t mind it at all. I can’t really say that my strength, stamina or fitness really improved that much though I can only imagine it must have, because back at home I was still being fed the same shite so it probably counteracted each other. But regardless of that I did enjoy it but couldn’t really tell you why. I barely lost any weight (I think it was less than a stone over the year) and my confidence didn’t improve at all, and I didn’t really enjoy doing the exercises (though it was a cute little gym, above a WHSmith) and the sauna was incredibly cruisey which was nice. The routine was something new that I latched on to and it became a part of just a thing I did and so it was easier to keep up. I couldn’t afford to go to the gym after that initial year (poor kid innit) and as soon as I did stop going any promises I made to myself that I’d go jogging or lift tins of sweetcorn of course went out the window and after a week I was back to exactly where I was before I even started. A few years later when I got a job I did join another gym (the nice one I went to before turned into a ladies only one) but I didn’t go a single time. I didn’t even go to the induction. I just could not get myself into that headspace to get into it. It seemed like a chore. And I couldn’t be fucked.
The only time I did manage to lose weight after that time and before meeting James was solely out of necessity. In a trademark act of teenage stupidity I made a sudden move to Portsmouth, of course failing to factor in that I would have rent and bills to pay in one of the most expensive areas in the country on a minimum wage. I lost weight because I could not afford to eat, and nor could I afford to travel to work. I had to walk 4-5 miles a day to a train station that was cheaper to get a season ticket to, and once I’d paid for the essential things on pay day (rent, season ticket, phone top-up, fags) I’d not only have spent my entire wages, but another £100 on top. If I did a few extra shifts I could sometimes make enough for a £40-50 shop but of course, being me with no education or experience of cooking that didn’t go far at all. I survived pretty much on the biscuits in the staff room and whatever I could ponce from work after all the patients had been served their dinner (I’ll never forget the kindness of Dariusz who would always try and save me a whole meal. Thank you, Dariusz! Also, if you’re reading, I totally would).
I lasted about 9 months and lost nearly twelve stone in weight. Thankfully, being young and nicotined up I could get by without feeling too ill (compare that with today where if I don’t get my routine Fruit Corner as near as 12pm as possible I get the shakes). I did feel the benefits of losing weight. For once in my life I felt a little bit attractive and had a few men on the go (whatamilike) and reasonably fit (as fit as you could be with 40 roll-ups a day sitting on your lungs). But still, I didn’t have the knowledge about eating so my default would always be junk, like pizzas, crisps, chocolate. I still couldn’t cook a single meal other than mince ‘n’ mash. I couldn’t even make cheese on toast. I promise I’m not exaggerating. So while I was as slender as I had ever been (but still not skinny) it was only temporary. But that part of my life came to an end, because who came mincing up the driveway one day in a rugby kit that had never seen a grass stain?
So this little mincer came into my life and the, rest, they say, is history.
Good place to leave it! The blog post I mean, not my husband. Although make me an offer. At this point in the marriage I’d trade for a halfway decent sandwich.
Genuinely feel like this sausage stroganott reloaded plate might be one of the best photos yet
The sausage stroganott reloaded comes in at 195 calories which is absolutely nowt – fact
We're insisting on calling this stroganott because I just can't do another 'Strong Enough / Stroganoff' series of jokes again. I know I know, but I'm tired. It's OK though, I don't need your sympathy - there's nothing you can say or do for me. I'll see myself out. The original recipe didn't actually take too much tweaking, more's the pity, but we've added a few bits and bobs.
We served ours with braised red cabbage and mashed potato, but those aren't factored into the calories so make sure you add them on if you copy the plate completely. As usual, calorie counts are approximate using the NHS calorie checker, so don't shit the bed if you work them out a little higher. Only 195 calories for the sausage stroganott though, that's a bargain!
eight sausages of your choice - we used Richmond meat-free sausages because they were reduced and we're tight as a tick's nipsy
one large white onion, sliced finely
one big handful of mushrooms, chopped finely (any will do, we used a forest mix) (and feel free to leave them out, swap them for pepper)
one large red sweet pepper, sliced fine
four rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
pinch of salt and pepper
one clove of garlic
one teaspoon of paprika
250ml of beef stock
couple of tablespoons of gravy powder
firstly, we appreciate this is no more a stroganoff than it is a plate of chips, but the naming conventions of the twochubbycubs accords demand it
fry off your sausages - we used our Instant Dual Drawer, took fifteen minutes, then slice and set aside
whilst they cook, fry off your onion, bacon, mushrooms if using and pepper until softened
mince and add the garlic and cook for a minute or two more
add the paprika, sausages, stock and a pinch of salt and pepper and allow to bubble away for a few minutes
add gravy to thicken
serve up with whatever you want
a note on the mushrooms - Paul isn't a fan, but if you use decent mushrooms like the forest mix we suggested, they add good flavour and don't taste overwhelmingly of mushrooms - so do try
on a slimming regime and want 100+ ideas for meals that taste amazing - then try our Fast & Filling cookbook: order yours here!
still on that regime after finishing the last sentence - then try 100+ more recipes here: click here to order
want to keep track of your results and joy and happiness - use our planner: here
Disclosure: the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Which is handy, as I accidentally chipped one of our Le Creuset mugs putting it into the dishwasher and Paul's face hasn't recovered yet
Got leftover sausages? Use them in our sausage and boston beans recipe from earlier in the month – click the image below to be whisked straight there!
Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure!
Sticky picky sausages are presented for your consideration, and aren’t you glad it’s not Sticky Vicky sausages? Long time readers of our blog will remember our trip to Benidorm many moons ago where we were ever so disappointed not to see the Sticky Vicky tribute act: but no-one wants a link of sausages pulled out of there, now do they? We do these in an airfryer, not in a damp cavern. But first, some chitter chatter.
Our first ever cooking demonstration was a complete success! We were asked by the good people at Instant to nip down to Situ Live and show off what could be cooked in their new Dual Drawer airfryer. Now you must understand, I’ll cheerfully say yes to anything in the heat of the moment and spend the next few weeks regretting my life choices so this wasn’t such a big deal for me, but Paul was absolutely bricking it. Despite being an absolute legend on the radio, TV and literally everything we ever do together, he’s not one for public speaking. But more on that in a moment.
We travelled down on the Friday night, taking advantage of the Seatfrog app to score an upgrade into first class. First class train travels always promises luxury and comfort when in reality, you’re in a slightly more padded chair listening to wankers moo at their wives for several hours. Even so, the chance to stare moonily out of the window as you’re whisked across the country is always welcome, until you realise it’s winter and there’s nothing but darkness outside so you end up glaring at a greasy reflection of your own face like you’re in an 80s power ballad video. Paul was effortless in his good company though, keeping me entertained by putting his earbuds in the moment we sat down and spending the rest of the journey rubbing my leg with his muddy trainers so I look like I’d shat myself by the time we arrived. I will say though, the onboard catering was lovely. I had braised ox cheeks (story of my life) and a chocolate pudding, and they thoughtfully accompanied this with white wine that they’d put in the microwave alongside the beef to make sure it was scalding hot.
Paul didn’t order any of the free food because he’s healthy and virtuous and one MLM quote away from being a Hun, which naturally made me furious. In fact he couldn’t quite make out what I was saying over his earbuds but we agreed I’d definitely called him a Hun.
We stayed at the Premier Inn Kings Cross Hub Zip or whatever it’s called and no complaints there – I’ve put my head down in this hotel a few times over the years and always been satisfied – although there was a baffling moment where the barman told me they didn’t do cocktails and never had. I pointed out the cocktail menu I was holding in my hand and asked whether he thought I’d brought it from home but this bit of levity didn’t land. Weary that if I pressed the issue his brain might have melted and leaked from his ears in a thick soup, I switched us to cider and left it at that.
The event then: we had our own kitchen in a mock house setup in the middle of Westfield Shopping Centre and had planned to cook several rounds of ‘picky’ food that people could try as they walked around, including the sausages you see below. We were to talk about what we were doing and I’d prepared a load of jokes etc but in the end, it was far more conversational and sedate than I had built up in my head. Not going to lie: that was a relief, as it meant we were far more relaxed and ended up having a really, really good time. Thanks to those who came and said hello!
One thing I’ve learned is that I have a nervous tic – as soon as my mic was wired up, my nose thought that was the best time to give up any structural integrity and start everything slooshing out. You have no idea how hard it is to surreptitiously sniff when you’re broadcasting across a shopping centre floor, you truly don’t. It’s why in the video you’ll see me constantly twitching my nose as though I’m Claire from Steps without the talent and range.
Anyway. You can watch us by clicking on the link below – sorry for the audio quality at the start, but that’s just my accent.
We spent the rest of the weekend wandering around London (according to my watch, and the fact my feet look like corned beef, we walked over 30km yesterday alone) and agreeing that the fake-Sloaney accent is a terrible thing. Fronds are for flowers, not for socialising. Highlights, kept brief, include Paul telling me off for accidentally wrecking someone’s date (and then sweetly putting it right) in one of the gay pubs, going to the Tate Modern before realising we aren’t ones for art galleries and nevermoreso then when they’re awash with people trying to outsmug each other, and me treating myself to an oyster. Of course, I was reminded immediately why I have only tried them once: they’re utterly revolting. But would it be a twochubbycubs trip away if I wasn’t swallowing a mouthful of something salty? No.
On the way back to the station I did my usual thing of falling in love with wherever I’ve just been and told Paul that I think we ought to move to London to have adventures. He pointed out that a) we have a dog now and b) I’d be dead within two months maximum from ‘misadventure’ and we agreed we were probably best staying where we are. He’s a poor sport.
But, a brilliant one. To go back to my original point right at the start, he was absolutely petrified about getting up to speak in front of people and doubly so cooking in front of them. I swallowed my own worries to concentrate on geeing him up on the taxi over but didn’t really need to: as soon as we were live, he was just amazing. Forgive me a small indulgence here but I’ve seen him flourish in the last year since losing weight: his confidence is high and he faces every challenge head-on. Having been witness to him retreating into a shell of fat and overeating in 2020, it’s beautiful to see. To that end, he’s done a series of blog posts which are coming soon which explains his whole ‘battle’ and I can tell you know, they’re brilliant. I really feel like I have my fun husband back, and I absolutely love it.
Even if the stupid arse doesn’t take advantage of the free food when we’re out and about. But fret not, we can iron out those wrinkles. With an iron.
The sticky picky sausages, then.
Sticky picky sausages – 290 calories for ten, which is nothing really
Goomba with his eyes on the prize: though he looks fuming, he’s just about the sticky picky sausages life
These sticky picky sausages can be done in the oven just as easily as an Airfryer, so don't get your knickers in a twist if you're without one of those. The marinade is really easy but you can adjust to add spice, take it out, make it sweeter, whatever you like. And although we've used sesame seeds, feel free to drop them to save a few calories.
These are perfect to make a big batch of if you've got people over and need picky food. Of course, if you do have people over, make sure that you tell everyone you had no idea it was actually a party and it was all a terrible surprise. It's not so relevant now mixing is legal again, but you know, err on the side of caution. Just because our auricomous, shambling Pinocchio of a Prime Minister can seemingly do what he pleases with absolutely no worry of punishment, doesn't mean you can.
Calorie counts are approximate, as ever. 290 calories for ten.
forty precooked cocktail sausages - the ones that look like tiny uncircumcised willies
two teaspoons of honey
one tablespoon of chilli oil
one tablespoon of soy sauce
one tablespoon of chilli sauce
chilli flakes and sesame seeds
I've mentioned before the crispy chilli in oil that we absolutely adore - we used it here instead of the chilli oil but I haven't included it in the recipe because it can be quite hard to find. However, if you're ready for one of the tastiest foods I've ever had, you can order it here
tumble all the sausages around in the marinade (leaving the chilli flakes and sesame seeds til the end)
airfry until sticky
or roast them in the oven
scatter the sesame seeds / chilli flakes on top
I feel a bit cheeky sticking the recipe on, such as it is, but you wanted it
not a fan of spice - swap the chilli oil for sesame oil and the chilli sauce for a wholegrain mustard
Disclosure: the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Which is handy, as we accidentally ordered a pint in London and that's us on our second mortgage.
Coursessnacks, picky food
Want something else to pick at? Try our jerk pork and pineapple skewers! Click the picture, complete with our cheesy live laugh love style slogan on the bottom, to go to the recipe.
I’m off. Take care.
Like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain.
Bummus with sausage: I mean, honestly. You’re going to have to hear us out on this one: we bloody love houmous here at Chubby Towers Reborn and in the absence of the inclination to go to the shops and buy some, bummus was born. It’s a houmous made with baked beans which, depending on how strong your stomach is, will either delight or disgust you. It’s me taking my shirt off but in spread form, which, to be fair, if I’m taking my shirt off I’m usually in my spread form anyway. There’s logic here though: a houmous is usually made from chickpeas and what are haricot beans if not the gym-jacked sister of the chickpea? We aren’t pretending for a moment that this is a recipe for purists so please don’t shout at us, but listen, if you’re in a pinch for ingredients and you want something tasty, the bummus with sausage is for you. Recipe below.
Of course, you may be thinking that this is twochubbycubs, and we’re known for our smut and crappy puns, so of course we just came up with ‘bummus’ and worked backwards. First of all, how dare you, and second, of course we did. But it works and it’s so very us!
But it did make me remember a message we got over six years ago via the twochubbycubs page from a self-righteous woman in Cambridge (hi Cath!) who took it upon herself to message Paul to tell him she was shocked he had gone to Cambridge University because he was so uncouth and vulgar with his mannerisms and that we would never amount to anything if we carried on in the same vein. You see, her son had gone to Cambridge and he was ever such a good boy, whereas Paul, with his mouth like a sewer and his clothes fished from a river, was clearly degenerate. I pointed out on that blog entry that being a Cambridge student is no barometer to good behaviour and that I had once been asked by a lad who went to Cambridge to pee in his bum, so you know, whatever. I stand by that.
There’s been a few times over the years when we’ve wondered whether we should change the tone of the blog to make it a bit more ‘acceptable’ and it’s a fair thought: we would probably sell a few more books if Pascal and Canesten could sit little Hedgefund and Waitrose No.1 down after family lacrosse and hoot and chortle their way through our pages. But, meh: we’re nine years into this schtick by this point and I don’t think I have it in me to cook a recipe with aubergine and not squeeze eighty-seven dick jokes into it.
It is crazy though when we think back to six years ago and where we were. We had no idea then that this would ever spin out to become such a big thing and even now, it still feels utterly surreal to be writing about having bestselling cookbooks in the Sunday Times and hundreds of thousands of you sitting with one of our books in your kitchen. We’ve seen The Slimming Foodie and Slimming Eats go through the same experience and it is exhilarating to watch good people make a dream come true. Forgive us the treacle but it’s true. It’s been pointed out to me a couple of times that whenever I talk about twochubbycubs and its achievements that I always downplay everything and that is purely because it still feels alien to me. But that’ll pass, and we remain bloody proud of our achievements! And on that note, and I know we’ve been teasing something for aaaages, we have a big announcement coming very soon on the cookbook front. WHAT COULD IT B3? Swish!
Anyway, going back to the original point: Cath and her self-righteous little message to Paul telling him he would never amount to anything. We do hope she’s still reading at this point. I mean, they always are: they’ll say they’re never reading the page again and then you’ll spot them in the active members list waiting for someone to slap them on the back and tell them how right they are so they can feel ever so clever. We’ve waited almost six years to do this, but we wanted to reply properly to you directly so you really felt like your message was acknowledged…
Love you Cath!
Let’s get down to the bummus with sausage then, because it honestly won’t keep for a moment more.
It does look a bit goatsee, this bummus with sausage, but it’s tasty AF
We used vegetarian sausages for this bummus with sausage but if you want meat, go for it
Chilli sauce is just the thing to top this bummus with sausage, but feel free to leave it off
Bummus with sausage: might as well send this directly to Slimming Hurled right now because we are aware it looks totally gopping but you know what, it tastes bloody good and that's the end of it. We have included the bagel and sausages in the calorie count too so for 375 calories, you're getting a full meal!
Of course, the calorie counting is done via the NHS calorie check and Nutracheck and is meant as an approximate guide. Your experience may very depending on the sausages, beans and bagel you choose.
one tin of baked beans, any you like but we use Branston because they're the best and I'll fight anyone who says otherwise
a teaspoon of chipotle paste
four vegetarian sausages (or use meat if you want)
toast your bagels and fry off your sausages
tip half of the beans into your blender
tip the other half into a sieve and wash the sauce off
add those in with the others and the chipotle and blend until smoothish
assemble your bagel
you can mix this up by adding other bits and pieces - garlic and ginger would go well, or even keeping it plain
chilli isn't a bad shout either
there's over 100 attractively photographed recipes in book two - you must try it: order yours here!
Disclosure: the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Which is handy, as Goomba smokes only the finest cigars.
Cuisinebreakfast I say
If you do try this, show us!
You know, I’m something of a food scientist myself!
If you have leftover sausage from our previous recipe for speedy sausage and leek skillet – and listen, we both know that you don’t – then you could chop them up and stick them into this one pot sausage and beans, one of our older classic recipes. This is a recipe reacharound, where we go back to check on the recipes of yore to make sure they’re still up to snuff and to re-photo them. It makes me cringe when I look back at what we used to consider acceptable as a photo – there’s one recipe which we’ve actually taken down because the food looks more like something a surgeon would pull from an infected wound than it does delicious food. But this one pot sausage and beans meal deserves some love and given there’s nothing more to it than frying off sausages and bubbling them in a pan with a few other ingredients, it’s a good place to start.
It’s funny looking back at that old recipe, though – it is one of our older holiday style blog entries from when we took a glamour-filled weekend away in Peterborough. Take a read here, it’ll open in a new tab. It’ll perhaps come as no surprise after reading that if I tell you I haven’t been back. Paul occasionally nips down to remind his fragrant, wonderful mother that he exists and indeed, spent a merry week there not so long ago. He had only been in town twenty minutes before he felt someone reaching into his pockets to try and grab his wallet. Thankfully being married to me and my miserliness has taught him to never let his wallet out of his sight and he was able to shoo away the literal cheeky beggar before he lost out. Being a sensible chap he went to tell a local policeman who looked disinterested and said ‘aye, it happens a lot round here’. Brilliantly reassuring.
You don’t get that sort of apathy from Vera mind, she’d have you down the station and shouting hmm pet in your face before you could even think about calling for a lawyer. It’s to my eternal chagrin that my mother has handed in her cuffs and is no longer a policewoman – 87% of any conversation I have with her is accusing her of being Vera, and that all ends now. Back to calling her Rainie Cross.
Anyway, we mustn’t dawdle – the point of these reacharounds are that they are meant to be snappy redos – so here we are: the one pot sausage and beans for your approval. We served ours on a jacket potato (calories not counted for that) but this does just as well on chips or even on its own, as a kind of super-thick soup. A quick word on the potatoes: if you choose ‘buttery’ potatoes (most supermarkets have them) you won’t need to slather them with butter after. We use Vivaldi potatoes from Sainsbury’s because we know not what we do, but there’s plenty of brands out there. Now, if you’re reading this and thinking what a ‘stupid cow’ I am for suggesting there’s such a thing as a buttery breed of potato I’ll say only this: you’re wrong. You’re so wrong! You don’t even know how wrong you are. But it’s OK, you’re pretty/hung (delete as appropriate).
Mind you, no home-baked potato ever tastes as good as those jacket potatoes that have been sitting in those potato ovens in staff canteens since the turn of the millennium. We used to have one back when I worked (using that term exceptionally lightly, my way into work involved going past a gay sauna and I often came in late – then turned up for work) at One North East and I swear I almost turned into a potato. Because I’m such a people person, and I once lent her my Mach 3 to sort her moustache out, the dinner lady used to save me the biggest potato and throw on a quantity of tuna mayonnaise that you could have comfortably rendered a house with. More than once I had to schedule a meeting with myself in one of the boardrooms just so I could have a doze after lunch. It’s little wonder the Tories shut us down, looking back. Anyway: recipe.
Served on top of a jacket potato, this one pot sausage and beans is proper filling.
I do like how the steam looks coming off the one pot sausage and beans here. There’s something hypnotic about it all.
We have changed a couple of things from the original recipe here, namely adding a carton of chopped tomatoes and some chickpeas and removing the Oxo cube, but honestly, something like this can be adapted any way you fancy. We just chucked whatever shite we had kicking around in the cupboard into it.
Paul's top tip for jacket potatoes is an oldie-but-goodie though: pierce all over, put in a massive bowl with a big drizzle of garlic oil and some sea salt, tumble about and then bake in the oven.
As usual, we have worked out the calories via the NHS calorie check and your result may differ - it really depends on the brands of sausages you use. Treat it as a rough estimate.
one tin of kidney beans in chilli sauce
one large white onion
one clove of garlic (minced)
four reduced fat sausages
one 200ml carton of chopped tomatoes
a good glug of worcestershire sauce
a little dollop of Marmite if the thought doesn't repel you
a tin of chickpeas
stick your jacket potato in the oven if you're having one
about forty minutes before it comes out, fry off the onion in a little oil
cook your sausages whilst the onions are frying off, then slice them thinly
once the onions are softened, add your garlic and gently fry off for a minute
add your beans, chickpeas, glug of worcestershire sauce, Marmite if using and tomatoes
simmer for as long as you bloody well dare
chuck in a tin of baked beans here instead of the chickpeas and tomatoes and it'll be lovely
fancy having your arse remind you that you need to be kinder to it - add a glug of chilli sauce
our Fast & Filling cookbook has so many fabulous recipes in I can't even, but there's a tremendous chilli recipe in there if you like beans: order yours here!
losing weight and flying right - try our planner: here
Disclosure: the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Which is handy, as us whores must have our trinkets.
I know right! All that for 260 calories! Want another potato topper? Don’t we all love. But coronation chicken done our way will warm your cockles! Click here to try that.
Super speedy sausage and leek skillet time. Now, in the spirit of openness and honesty, I’m not entirely sure what a skillet is and should probably avoid using it, but let’s roll the dice. All I know is Paul made this for dinner the other day and it was bloody glorious, so here we are.
Speaking of Paul, it’s our anniversary tomorrow – twelve years of marriage. We’re not planning on getting gifts for one another because who needs that extra level of administration in their lives (plus Paul’s birthday is 8 January, and Valentines is the month after, so frankly that’s all my goodwill spent), however Google reliably informs me that the gifts for twelve years are silks and pearl. That’s easy then: I’ll blurt on his neck and dab it off after with a silk handkerchief. No wonder he looks so young!
Google also suggests that twelve years is almost 4400 days, which is just a bewildering amount of time, not least because Paul must have spent a good two thirds of them moaning at me for piddling on the bathroom floor, snoring too loudly or not observing the sanctity of our marriage. A stickler for the rules, always. But see I remember when I was young and six weeks felt like an eternity, or the weeks leading up to Christmas passing like cold treacle. You could throw a stone and hit the edge of what I considered my future. I could never imagine such a horror as being 25, let alone 36, and yet here I find myself, wincing at 95% of my Spotify Suggestions for being too ‘loud’ and making thankful ‘oooh‘ noises when we approach a particularly comfortable looking bench when out walking the dog.
You know when it hit home though? We were at our mates for New Years Eve and when the clock hit midnight and the big London firework display was kicking off, Paul turned to me and said ‘we should go next year’. Not sure why, if he wants loud explosions and pyrotechnical effects he only needs to step into our back yard, but he has said the same thing to me every year for twelve years now, save for the night I spent crying into the toilet whilst I tried desperately not to pebbledash the wall behind me thanks to some undercooked chicken. And every year we agree we will do it and then we put it off and at this point the only way I’ll see it is if they tip me into the Thames after my acid cremation. That’s what Paul and I have decided on by the way: rather than burning the body after death they dissolve you in acid and flush you down the toilet, though I imagine it’s a shade more glamorous than that. Makes sense: I lived through the foot and mouth crisis and I know what 1,100kg of beef smells like when it’s on fire. I’m doing you a favour.
This may read like I’ve got a touch of melancholy and I really haven’t – I’m actually quite content with my position in time – I can grow a salt and pepper beard and continue my slide into being a Daddy, for one. I own two pairs of slippers (padded for inside and waterproofs for outdoors) and smoke a pipe, so I’m halfway there already. But I have realised that time is hurtling by without a care for my procrastinations and I absolutely need to pull my socks up and course correct all the things I’ve been letting slide. This is as close to a ‘new year new me’ post that I parodied in the last entry but here we are. There’s a bit in Bridget Jones where she gives up smoking and shaves her legs in the bath and that’s where I am now, and if that just so happens to lead to me getting knobbed by Daniel Cleaver then that’s all the better. I always thought he was the better choice: Mark Darcy was such a wet weekend. Controversial but true.
To that end, after I’ve finished typing this up, I’m going to book a hotel for New Years Eve in London – if anything, the cost will give Paul and I something to moan about until we hit the thirteenth anniversary: the present for that is fur. That’s easy, he can fall asleep on my chest and spend the morning coughing up my chest hair.
Before we get to the recipe, I just wanted to set out how the blog is going to work going forward. Because this is now my full time job – Christ – I’m probably going to update it more than four times a year. As part of that, although most of the recipes will continue to be low calorie, we’ll also be posting other stuff that we’re cooking. For example, one of my (nineteen) resolutions of the year is to learn how to bake bread, because that is the rock and roll life I lead now, but I’ll be sticking those online as I go. I’m not going to promise that each recipe will come with the usual 2,000 words about absolutely nothing relevant, but it should mean that I get a chance to write more. In reality, I’ll probably update three times and then take up swimming. But, a boy can dream.
The super speedy sausage and leek skillet, then.
As you can see – the speedy sausage and leek skillet doesn’t look like much, but it tastes good!
The speedy sausage and leek skillet freezes surprisingly well, but don’t be adding the fried egg before you freeze it, obvs
One of those recipes which you can throw together without really thinking, which is always a plus in these workaday world. We have worked out the calories via Nutracheck and of course, they are a rough estimate: it all depends on what sausages you use, as some are more calorific than others. We've used Tesco reduced fat sausages for this but feel free to swap it out. This recipe is based on a Gousto recipe that we tried during the Christmas holiday and we've gussied it up a smidge to make it a bit more slimming. As is our way!
two medium leeks
four large eggs
800g of potatoes - we use Vivaldi potatoes from Sainsbury's because we think we're better than you
8 reduced fat sausages
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
a bunch of chives, finely sliced
slice the leeks in half lengthways, then slice horizontally into little half-moons
dice the potatoes (skin on) into small cubes
place the diced potatoes into a large pan and cover with boiling water, sprinkle in a little salt and bring back to the boil over a high heat
cook for 10-15 minutes until tender, then drain
return the pan to the hob over a medium-high heat and spray with a little oil
add the leeks to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, until softened
meanwhile, score each of the sausages with a sharp knife and remove the skins (chuck the skins in the bin, or give to a hungry dog)
add the sausage meat to the pan and stir regularly for 5-6 minutes, breaking them up with the spoon as you go
once the sausages are cooked, add the potatoes back to the pan and cook for another 6-8 minutes
stir through the mustard and then add half of the chives to the pan, stir again, and serve onto plates
put the pan back over a medium heat and add a little more oil
crack the eggs into the pan and cook or 2-3 minutes
serve the eggs over the hash and sprinkle over the remaining chives
if you're buying fresh chives, make sure you stick the rest of the plant in a wee pot on the windowsill and water it from the bottom - don't let those bastards at Big Chive get you down
they really know their onions, after all
oh do one
if you're not arsed about the calories, swap the sausages for higher fat beasties and you'll be living the dream
doubly so if you add chopped chorizo in with the sausage meat, just saying
our Fast & Filling cookbook has been out for a year now and still gets excellent reviews: order yours here!
the original cookbook is also a delight and if you're wanting a good place to start, it's here: click here to order
and if you're on a diet, you can track your progress using our diet planner: here
the mandolin slicer that we always recommend is currently cheap on Amazon and absolutely worth a few quid - though please exercise caution with those fingertips of yours - you can buy it here
Disclosure: the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. Which is handy, as us whores must have our trinkets.
Easy! If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial than the speedy sausage and leek skillet then can we recommend our one post sausage and boston beans served on top of a jacket potato? Because it’s fancy, just like you. Click the photo below to go straight there, though the updated recipe will be posted in a few days!
Well hello! Here for the lovely loaded wedges? But of course you are, you’re someone of excellent tastes, save for those cheap shoes and moustache. Praise be though, because this recipe is a reacharound – that is, we’ve taken a recipe from way back when on the blog, wiped its bum and gussied it up and, more importantly, worked out the calorie content. Because we’re that type of blog.
The original recipe – found here – is tasty enough but the photo does rather look like we cooked dinner on the elephant’s foot at Chernobyl. Long-time readers, you know what’s coming here, but won’t it be a delightful surprise for everyone else. A giant, molten, hazardous pile of hot slag, Paul is often found in the kitchen making this. Recycle a joke? Me? Never!
Reading that post from 2016, where I was twisting my gob about having to pay council tax…I didn’t know I was born, honestly. Our council tax (same property, mind you) has risen by a smart £350, and boy do we see the benefit of it. For example, we’ve now got more bins than we have things to put in them: one for glass, one for recycling, one for garden waste, one for Paul’s awful shirts – the list is endless. Well no, there’s only the general waste bin to include but for the sake of hyperbole, we’ll leave that out. Still, it does give us the joyful sight of the more senior neighbours all trying to out-do themselves to get their bin out first on collection day. I had to get up at 5am the other day to afford Goomba a chance to call his agent and there was one game old girl pulling her heaving bin to the kerb, dressed in her nighty. I let her get her bin into place and claim gold, then waved a cheery good morning, but she was too busy sitting on the pavement clutching her chest and shouting help. I told her I didn’t need any and left her to it.
But you know, I can take all of these annoyances if they just sped up collecting bulky waste. I’ve had two mattresses and an old armchair sat in our garage since April, and the earliest date they can send some burly blokes to hurl it into the back of a van is late September. I appreciate that logistically they have to send eight men tethered together in a human chain lest one of them falls into my mouth but even so. Even then we have to leave it outside all day which I don’t like the thought of: both of our mattresses look like sponges that God used to clean a combine harvester. They’re well used (mattresses shouldn’t squelch) to the point where we’ll probably be embroiled in a paternity test nine months later from random ladies walking past. Hell, if I drive to the tip at a modest speed with a screen showing some choice pornography in the rear view window, the mattresses will probably slosh their own way there.
I’d write a letter of complaint to my local MP but unless I put on a free buffet and some press photographers, there’s no chance of her turning up to assist. I will refrain from naming her – not least because if I say her name three times she may appear to tell me why schoolchildren should starve at lunchtime to build their spirit – but she’s as useless as balls on a dildo.
Anyway. Enough twisting. Let’s get to the lovely loaded wedges, shall we? They’re a thing of beauty, you’ll agree. Or so help me God.
Top your lovely loaded wedges with whatever you like. Or, top me, but we’ll need to discuss logistics first
It’s the same dish of lovely loaded wedges but turned a different way: magic!
This serves four people a normal portion or, if you're like us and the thought of being hungry eight days from now is a terror, two. Adjust the ingredients accordingly.
And, look, this isn't anything especially fancy and can be customised to your heart's content. Add whatever toppings you like: fried onions work, as do jarred peppers, as does enough cheese to make sure you don't need to stock the pond for a week or two. You could even reduce the amount and serve it with hot-dogs, but then you could do a lot of things if you had the money.
Finally, we work all of our recipe calories out using Nutracheck - remember your calorie count may be different depending on what type of cheese you use and all that, so calorie count is a rough guide only!
800g of Maris Piper potatoes cut into wedges
one beef stock cube
100g of extra mature cheddar
two teaspoons of olive oil (use flavoured if you have it)
bunch of spring onions
one pack of bacon medallions (or normal bacon, but this is a rare occasion when you're fine without the fat)
25ml of ranch dressing (we use Newman's Own)
25ml of hot sauce (we use Frank's Red Hot stuff)
pop your wedges into a bowl with the oil and the crumbled beef stock cube and tumble them around, making sure everything is coated, then:
cook for about twenty five minutes on 200 degrees until soft; or
whack them in the Actifry until they're golden
cook the bacon off under the grill and chop finely
chop the spring onion, green and white
once the wedges are done, arrange them on a tray if not done already, top with the sauce, cheese, dressing and chilli flakes
Remember last week when I gave you a quick recipe for soup? Well! Here we go again – this time it’s for pumpkin and bacon soup. Big fan of soup here at Chubby Towers Adjacent and this series of soups is all about recipes where you can buy the stuff pre-chopped and hoy it all in a pan or soup-maker and crack on!
Now had we been one of those super organised blogs we would have had this soup up around the hallowe’en time so that people had spare pumpkin around, but we’re not. We’ve only just got round to updating Realplayer and we can’t wait to bring you some video recipes soon.
Mind, I used to love hallowe’en, even if trick or treating in my family meant putting on a barely cleaned bag that had blown in from the farm next door, hollowing out a turnip, sticking a candle in it and schlepping around the village knocking on locked doors. No wonder they didn’t answer: nothing says ‘trick or treat’ than a ‘ghost’ emblazoned with ICI Chemicals mincing down your path smelling like a carvery.
They didn’t bother dressing Paul up to go trick-or-treating either, though I presume when he rocked up on a doorstep with his fragrant mother by his side, they assumed it was just Fester and Grandmama from the Addams Family. The realism!
Anyway, I said this would be a quick recipe, didn’t I? So we must crack on! To the pumpkin and bacon soup!
This spicy pumpkin and bacon soup is gorgeous, but if you have a sensitive nipsy, leave the spice out!
If you can’t find pumpkin, then swap it out for butternut squash! Right, let’s get this pumpkin and bacon soup on the go!
Now then, this spicy pumpkin and bacon soup doesn't need to be spicy, you can always leave that bit out at the end if you so desire. As before, we made ours in a Tefal Easy Soup but you can just chuck it all in a pan and blend it after half an hour. You don't need anything fancy here! But they are good, mind.
500g of finely chopped pumpkin
100g of chopped white onion
75g of chopped cooked bacon
1tsp each of garlic and ginger paste
500ml of chicken stock
1 tsp of chilli flakes
if using a pan, chuck everything in (save for some of the bacon) and simmer for about twenty minutes or until the pumpkin is soft
blend and top with chilli sauce and bacon bits
Of course, if you're using the Tefal Easy Soup - chuck it in, press the soup button, it'll blend when it's ready!
as I mentioned, you can swap pumpkin for butternut squash, and I dare say it will be easier to peel
you can buy pre-chopped pumpkin and butternut squash in most supermarkets, you lazy cow
LOVE THIS RECIPE? You should see some of the amazing recipes in our new cookbook - out December 31! Preorder yours here!
our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks
our Tefal Easy soup is a one button job and it cleans itself afterwards - wish Paul would - you can order one here
Afternoon all! Here for the sticky bacon meatballs? That’s fine, I can see from the spittle around your mouth that you’re ready for your dinner, but I must apologise: today’s blog entry is a long travel story and you might be here a while. Now, back in the day of the longer entries – when we were able to travel to new and exciting places – we used to provide you the courtesy of a button that would take you straight to the recipe so you could skip all those tricksy things like words. But I’m lazy and we have a lot of writing to get through before we get to the sticky bacon meatballs in their fancy redcurrant and onion gravy, so for this occasion, just scroll until you see the food. So, before we do the sticky bacon meatballs, here’s some words and all that.
OH! Actually: before I do that. If you’re not following us on Instagram or Facebook, make sure you dig us out – search for @twochubbycubs on Instagram or Facebook. We have some big news coming next week!
So: Paul and I haven’t had a break in months, and we were forever jetting away on budget airlines such as easyJet and NevaCrash and Ryanair, and it’s been awful not being able to do so. I’ve become so accustomed to ratching about Europe that I’ve started counting at least two of the airport security staff as fuckbuddies, given they’ve pawed at my genitals with their shovel-hands so often. They’re after my very own sticky bacon meatballs. However, coronavirus has put paid to random travelling and as much as I do live for danger sometimes, I don’t fancy heaving my lungs up through my mouth because of a short flight to Krakow. So, for now, Europe is out. We’re told by that walking blonde wheelie-bin in charge to holiday in the UK and to make the most of summer and that’s all well and good as long as you’re happy paying £18,050 for a weekend in Rhyl (rising to £20,000 if you stop for a service station sandwich on the way), but we’re not. What to do? In the end, my hands were tied by Paul coming home early and casually mentioning that he had the rest of the week off. With the terrifying thought of having to look at his haunted face staring at Judge Judy re-runs for a solid three days, I nipped onto Google, booked a couple of things, threw eighteen changes of clothes for me and the same selection of bus-driver shirts he always wears into a suitcase, and we were away.
First stop: a drive to Kanyu Escape rooms in York. Regular readers will know that I am not a gracious passenger and would therefore normally hire a car or take mine rather than let Captain Death and his Fisher Price car drive us anywhere, but my driving licence is with The Powers That Be because I was caught speeding. I know, I’m a horror. In my defence, I was too busy texting mates and trying not to drop my can of Monster to notice the speedometer shrieking. In my further defence, that’s a joke – I was just over the limit and hold my hands up about it: eight years I’ve been driving and that was my first genuine error. So it was that we had to take Paul’s Smart car and I could do no driving on this little break. I’ll say it now: it nearly killed me.
To give you an example of how fractious things get when Paul drives and I drive from the passenger seat – about a week or so before he was driving us to ASDA and I ever so politely asked him to slow it down a shade as light was beginning to warp around the bonnet. He took such umbrage that he did a full emergency stop (in a Smart car, that’s just opening the petrol cap and sticking your hand out of the window) and told me in no uncertain terms that if I criticised his driving ability one more time I’d be walking home. Me, full of spite and knowing there was a cruising ground about half a mile down the road, got out and started walking.
I was out for an hour before I had to text him to pick me up because I was cold – and he was equally as contrite because turns out I had his wallet and he didn’t have enough fuel to get home or money to pay for more. Don’t worry, we laugh about it now as it enters the ‘endlessly mentioned in heated arguments’ rota.
So yes: I’m not a good passenger. Paul isn’t a good driver, given he tends to drive like he’s stolen the car and will come out with reassuring little things like ‘I wish my eyes pointed in the same direction’ and ‘I should probably wear my glasses’ and ‘I don’t need to indicate on this roundabout’, and as such it’s always a heated combination. But I’ll say this: despite the weather being absolutely horrendous, he got us there with minutes to spare and only three of my fingernails embedded in the passenger door handle. A quick primer on escape rooms for those that don’t know: you’re locked in a sealed room and through the process of solving puzzles and riddles, have to escape. We’re huge fans and have been doing them for years, though it’s been a while (thanks COVID) since I did one with my husband. Kanyu Escape is in a curious location on the centre of a roundabout and I was alarmed/excited to see an ambulance on standby outside. I’m always ready for some gas, air and scenes of mild peril, after all.
The chap who met us was brilliant: slightly eccentric and very accommodating and we were in the room in no time. If you have concerns about doing escape rooms in this time of peril, don’t: the good rooms take your temperature on arrival, disinfect the room fully after you leave and make sure there’s sanitiser everywhere. I’m a slight hypochondriac and I felt absolutely safe at all the venues we ended up. The room was based on discovering a new source of electricity and was themed around an old secret laboratory and we absolutely loved it. Some escape rooms are franchises and can feel rather rote in what they offer: you can start undoing a lot of the familiar puzzles straight away. Not this one, he’d designed it himself and though it looked a tad rough and ready, it was terrific. All too often these rooms give you too much help or make the puzzles simple enough for everyone to do, but this one was taxing and we felt like we’d actually accomplished something at the end.
That said, those bank-vault locks where you have to spin the correct number, then spin another number, and then another, all the while making sure you turn the right amount and in the right direction? They can fuck right off. I have enough trouble trying to get my eyes to blink in unison, nevermind something as complicated as that. We lost a bit of time, but still escaped with moments to spare. We’ll be going back to do his other rooms, one of which is an outdoors escape room which I love the sound of. Though I confess, it will be a novelty to be tramping around in the woods and for me not to be pulling my knickers off. I do hope muscle memory doesn’t kick in.
Paul drove us down into Leeds entirely without incident and we stayed over at a Premier Inn next to a TGI Fridays, which as salubrious locations go is up there with having your dinner next to a GUM clinic. I don’t like TGI Fridays: we had a good meal there once and have forever been chasing that high since. I don’t get the appeal: it’s like someone did a trolley dash around Iceland, microwaved everything for one minute less than the instructions suggest and then serve it to you with a forced smile that suggests they’ve got a gun held to the back of their heads. That gun may be smothered in BBQ sauce though, because everything is at TGIs. Anyway, we weren’t going to eat there so it’s all irrelevant, I just wanted a dig. We checked in, with Paul reminded once again of my ability to talk to literally everyone I meet: I spent ten minutes chatting to the chap behind the counter whilst Paul danced in the doorway out of sight trying to communicate to me that he needed to get to the room immediately for a gentleman’s sit-down adventure. Classic. I spotted his anguished movements and wrapped up my conversation over a leisurely few more minutes, and Paul made it with moments to spare.
The room was comfortable as ever, though I was reminded of one thing: when you sleep with Paul you wake in a room entirely disorientated and unsure of where you are for a good few minutes until you realise he’s taken the duvet out out of the cover, polluted the air to such a degree that it’s almost edible and has star-fished his way across the bed. At home I’m used to such chicanery but throw in unfamiliar surroundings and it really can take a while before the fog clears.
Waking the next day refreshed and full of pep, we chose not to bother with the Premier Inn breakfast and instead wander into Leeds to pick breakfast up before our next escape room. A quick bagel with salad and a frank discussion on where things had all gone wrong in our breakfast choices and we were off to the next escape room – but first, spotted! It doesn’t happen an awful lot but you can always tell when someone recognises us because they look, try and work out whether we are the cubs off the Internet and whether they should say hello. Normally by the time they’ve decided to go for it, I’ve got my phone to my ear to pretend I’m on a call or I’ve pushed Paul in front of a bus to cause a distraction but I wasn’t quick enough this time. Mind, she was lovely, although because I’m mean I answered ‘are you the guys with the food blog‘ with ‘absolutely not‘ and pretended to walk on, before apologising profusely. I can’t resist it. We’d have people spotting us twice more that day and please, if you see us, do come say hello. You can delight in how incredibly socially awkward we are.
Now, look at the time. I’ve waffled on as is my way, and here we find ourselves 2000 words in and barely out of the door. So on that note, I’ll revisit this in the next entry. To the sticky bacon meatballs!
Sticky bacon meatballs served with cheesy mash and broccoli.
I mean, as sticky bacon meatballs go, they’re lovely!
Syn wise, these sticky bacon meatballs clock in at a shade over 2 syns per portion, but I can't be buggered with the quarter syns. The gravy is delicious and worth digging out the redcurrant jelly, but don't shit the bed if you can't find it.
Just a note on this recipe: whilst Chubby Towers is out of action and our kitchen is a no-no, we are using Hello Fresh for our meals and have been doing so for the last six weeks or so. We are not paid to promote them or anything like that, and we have taken this recipe and adjusted it slightly for Slimming World.
That said, honest review time (again, we aren't being paid to promote): we bloody love Hello Fresh. We haven't had a bad meal yet and the lack of food waste is brilliant for us. We only have a tiny kitchen to cook in at the moment and absolutely make do. They're not the cheapest, but we're fans. They do a 'Low Calorie' plan which is spot on if you're counting and we've found it works well with SW. But anyway, no matter what you're after we're sure you'll love it. If you use our referral link you'll get £20 off too!
1 tbsp mixed herbs
30g panko (5 syns) (optional but worth it)
250g lean pork mince
250g lean beef mince
1 red onion
60g reduced-fat cheddar, grated (use your healthy extra)
120g bacon medallions
250ml vegetable stock
400g broccoli florets
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly (see notes) (4 syns)
preheat the oven to 200 degrees
bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over a high heat, and add 1 tsp salt
dice the potatoes into 2cm chunks, and plop into the water. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes
halve any large broccoli florets and spread out onto a baking sheet, spraying with a little oil
roast the broccoli in the oven for 15-20 minutes
put the mixed herbs, panko and 2 tbsp of water into a mixing bowl and mix with a spoon
add the beef and the pork mince to the bowl and mix well
divide and roll the mixture into twenty balls and set aside
place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray with a little oil
add the meatballs to the pan and cook until browned all over, about 6-7 minutes, turning occasionally
meanwhile, halve and thinly slice the red onion, and dice the medallions into small pieces
gently remove the meatballs from the pan to a plate and set aside
add the onion and bacon to the same pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently
add the meatballs back onto the pan and pour over the vegetable stock
reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 7-8 minutes
meanwhile, drain the potatoes and mash with the grated cheese, and season with salt and pepper
once the meatballs have finished cooking, remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high again
gently stir in the jelly until the mixture is thickened and glossy
serve the broccoli and mash, and spoon over the meatballs and gravy
can't find/can't be arsed to find redcurrant jelly? We've used cranberry sauce instead and couldn't tell the difference, just use that! If you're really stuck just leave it out
consider the panko optional but it's definitely worth it. Lean mince can sometimes make meatballs dry. Panko helps to retain some moisture, but also add a 'crunchy' texture. You'll find panko in the 'world food' aisles of most supermarkets
our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!
Pulled pork: one of those things that happen to the best of us when we’re locked down and not much to do. Seriously, mine is about to drop off. However, I picked up a shoulder of pork in the reduced bit in Morrisons for £1.60 and, after leaving it sweating in my car for about six hours, realised I had to save it. So, pulled pork burgers it was. The benefit of this recipe is that you get enough pulled pork to make a thousand other things with – wraps, pasta bakes, I even stuck some in a cheese toastie the other day. We’ve used an Instant Pot to speed up the pulled pork but you can make it in a slow cooker just as easily.
Quick mention: our planner has now been finalised and is being printed – if you want a diet planner with tonnes of room to record your thoughts, plenty of us pointing at you, 26 recipes…all sorts – you can order it here (it’ll open in a new window), and I heartily promise you’ll love it!
However, before you get to the pulled pork recipe, there’s a hell of a long entry to read and/or scroll past. See, I’m very conscious that I haven’t been writing much (well, I have, but nothing I can share with you, yet) and, god love you all, you guys do seem to enjoy my scribbles. So, rather like the writers of Doctor Who at the moment, I’m scrambling through my old writings to see what I am yet to publish. I’m not so arrogant to think you’ll all be chomping at the bit to read, but if you have ten minutes, what follows is part two of our trip to Niagara Falls. Which is a tiny, tiny part of our massive book on our trip, bits of which I have scattered around on the laptop. I always enjoy writing the trip reports, so I hope you like them.
As an aside, I recently pulled together a load of clips from Canada for Paul so we can look back and shake our heads and be thankful I got over the gastroenteritis I was suffering from at the time. You can find the video here:
I know, we’ve never looked better. To the next chapter then!
Niagara Falls, then. We decided to have a stroll along to see it from the side. There’s an option to ‘cross the rainbow bridge’ and see it from the American side, but why bother? Plus the phrase rainbow bridge makes my teeth itchy, because I’ve seen it used in conjunction with dogs dying on Facebook and it’s nearly always accompanied by a trite quote and a Minion. We stopped for a moment to get the biggest ice-cream I’ve ever seen in my life from a place called Sweet Jesus. It was bigger than my head, and I had to apply for planning permission for my fivehead. Paul fibbed and told them it was his birthday so they gave him an extra scoop and stuck a candle in the top.
I’m glad, for a fleeting ten minutes, we were able to provide everyone with the stereotypical sight of two morbidly obese blokes eating enough ice-cream to feed a Christmas orphanage. I went at that ice-cream like a sex-starved sailor going at a portside snatch. It’s a bad job when someone who had been poured over a mobility scooter like hot wax gives you a withering look at your excesses.
The Falls, then. Here’s a revelation. Like so many things in life, including 90% of my Grindr dick appointments, it doesn’t look as big in real- life as they’ve made it look in photos. Presumably because they’re not pressing so hard into their pube fat-pad that they’ve got diamonds forming in their thumb-print. Don’t get me wrong, the main falls (i.e. the one you’ll know, the Horseshoe Falls) is 800m across, it’s not exactly an emptying bath, but I dunno – I expected bigger. Story of my life.
Favourite fact? In 1901, a 63 year old schoolteacher named Annie Taylor climbed into a barrel and set away, only to be washed over the falls. Oops. They found her barrel a few hundred meters downstream and out she popped, exclaiming that “no one ought ever to do that again”. Talk about an action nana! My nana, at least before we returned her to the Earth in a cloud of smouldering winceyette, used to get out of breath spreading butter on her toast in the morning. Best part is, Adventurous Annie didn’t get paid for her exciting adventure. I’d have been furious and sulked in my barrel for at least three days.
Oh, and 90% of fish that get swept over survive AND have some cracking Instagram shots afterwards.
Speaking of Instagram shots, some random ones to punctuate the words:
The waterfall was pretty. I wish I could do it justice with words but frankly, it’s a lot of water sloshing over a giant crack, and I covered that with my bubble-bath tale. But, because I’m an uncultured queen, I gazed at it for about five minutes, wondered how it would feel to be swept over the edge and then was ready to move on. Once you’ve got a picture (and trust me, that’s an adventure, given the sheer amount of tourists standing in front of it doing wistful looks into the distance) you’re kinda done. Worth the trip to say you’ve done it, but well. We stayed for another ten minutes watching the lights change and then went to find a pub.
A bar called Spyce came to the rescue (although I did wince at the weird Y in the name – love, Jaymes) and we were soon settled right behind a live singer with a flight of beer that extended to the sky. It was tremendous – lots of locally brewed beers and ales all with puns in the title. That’s my dream, right there, and we were having a great time until the singer started with his Tracy Chapman covers. Paul was dilating with pleasure and me? Well, if you have been a long-term reader you’d realise I’d sooner have extensive pulsatile tinnitus than listening to that warbling hellcat and so, we nicked off to the arcades. She absolutely infuriates: two chords on her guitar and no hope in her voice.
After a long night of pissing away the beer and altogether too much in the arcades, we went to bed. Our bathroom still looked like a pre-go-kart game in Fun House, only we didn’t have a walking mullet offering us the chance to win a ruler with a calculator in it. Gutted.
We awoke the next day, surprisingly refreshed for two lads with a surprise 2am Grindr visit from the floor below. My beard looked as though someone had spilled PVA glue on the floor of a barbershop but you know, a hot shower and a quick apology prayer to God soon put that right. We decided to do a few tours and so, after a keen breakfast buffet, we went out to find the information desk. We found it after a fashion which necessitated me having a strop, taking up smoking and a brief interlude where I considered going home, and joined the queue of about six groups.
We were there FOR NEARLY A WHOLE FUCKING HOUR. I’ve never known such unbelievably slow service. I don’t know whether the cashier was physically getting up and driving each customer to the various lookout points but it would have been quicker to wait for the waterfall to erode to the point where we just fell in. Christ almighty. Grim British Resolve meant we couldn’t move but we were entertained at least by the little Chinese lady in front who, after fifteen minutes of flapping her arms about, was smartly stung by a wasp right on the end of her nose. The first aider in me wanted to step in and help but the selfish, mean bastard in me overruled that and was glad to take her place when she had to step out crying. Pfft: amateur hour.
We arrived at the front after stopping to celebrate our 12th and 13th wedding anniversary in the queue (the Chinese lady had returned at this point, and I like to think the tears in her eyes wasn’t just venom leaking out) and were busy being served when some chap started proper kicking off in the queue because he thought a gaggle of Chinese ladies had pushed in. They hadn’t, they’d just done the entirely sensible thing of going off whilst another member of the family stayed put). He was giving it great classy guns, shouting in their face in loud Australian whilst they look confused and scared. I shouted oi but kept my face to the ticket lady, which gave her such a start that she sped her way through dispensing the tickets and drawing on our map and sent us on our way. I’d have stepped in but a) I wanted my tickets. There’s no b) – I’m horrendous.
Our first tour necessitated a bus-trip up the road, which I was eternally grateful for as up until that point I’d barely had a chance to sit down and send my eighty thousand texts and Instagram shots. Paul has so many photos of me taking photos of myself in his phone that we’ve almost reached Inception levels of vanity. The tour wasn’t even of the falls themselves but rather a wee bit down the river where the waters boil and swirl in a narrow gorge, and you’re taken over this water in a charming little cable car that the attendant took great care to tell us was ‘ancient’ and ‘rickety’ but ‘had never had an accident’. Hmm. I’m fine with heights but thundering water scares the bejesus out of me – Paul was happy as larry but it was all I could do not to rainbow-yawn over the side. I definitely drowned in a previous life – I get the willies when you take the plug out of a bath and the tiny whirlpool appears, for goodness sake.
It was beautiful, to be fair, and we got some cracking photos, but boy was I glad to be off. We spotted an iHop over the road and, buoyed up by excellent memories of Disney-times past, we made our way in, only to be curtly told that they shut at half two. It was half one. I reassured them that an hour was probably more than enough time for us to choke some dry pancakes down and then immediately resolved to order something I knew would need to be cooked fresh. Bastards.
We were shown to our seats by a man whose face betrayed the fact he’d had to battle for every erection he’d ever had and who then proceeded to serve us with all the enthusiasm of a prostitute’s eighth blowjob of the day. I mistook his grave attitude and dour face for an attempt at deadpan humour, and was badly mistaken: he was just a miserable fucker. He took our order without a please or a thank you, looked like he was about to cry when I asked for a refill and Christ, when Paul asked for some ketchup, you’d think he’d asked to borrow the waiter’s shoes. I’ve never seen such a downcast expression and, may I remind you, I used to have summer holidays in Darlington.
Now, you might be reading this thinking he was having a bad day, perhaps he didn’t want to deal with two jolly Englishmen wanting sustenance, and that’s possibly true: but fake it, mate. I don’t need a half-hour rimjob when I come into a restaurant but a degree of civility and a look that doesn’t suggest I trod dog-shit into the carpet will suffice. Things came to a head when I very gently pointed out that my steak philly sandwich had clearly been served straight from Alexander Fleming’s lunchbox, given the amount of mould growing on it, and he took the baguette, rubbed it on his pinny to check I hadn’t just painted the mould on myself, and took it away without a word of an apology.
Well, fuck that for a game of soldiers. It’s not like I have high food standards: I just prefer my sandwiches to be cold and emotionless, not sentient and able to move of their own volition. We slapped ten dollars on the table to pay for our drinks and walked straight out. I imagine he’s probably still there, looking at our empty seats with those big watery eyes and wondering where it all went wrong. We jumped on the bus and made our way to the next tour, a walk behind the falls.
Of course, before we could do that, Paul let me know that he needed a waterfall of his very own: from his anus. Smooth bit of writing, that. We nipped into the gift shop so that he could strangle a brownie and I was left to mince around looking at the tat on show whilst he took care of business.
I love a gift shop, especially a naff one, and I can spend a lot of time fingering lumps of wood with Niagara on and the exact same shirts and jerseys we’d seen literally everywhere else but with Niagara stencilled across them in Lucinda Handwriting. I was cooing to myself and wondering just how they sell enough china replicas of waterfalls to make it worthwhile giving them their own stand when I heard the thunder of a pair of George trainers rushing towards me. Paul skidded to a halt with a face that said ‘deportation imminent’ before clutching my sleeve and pulling me out of the shop as though it was about to blow up.
I cast a stricken glance over my shoulder as we rushed for the exit only to see about twelve Orthodox Jewish women waving their arms and shouting at us. It was only once we’d hyper-minced to the relative safety of a Baskin Robbins stand that Paul, breathlessly, clued me in as to the cause of all the tumult. He’d seen the queue for the gents stretching well into the bank of ‘I wish my husband got me as wet as Niagara’ XXXXL shirts and decided to instead nip into the ‘accessible toilet’, which was open for all. Not the disabled toilet, mind you: the genderfluid shitter.
In he had dashed, unbuckling his kegs as he jostled towards the trap, only for the door to burst open in his face to reveal a woman crimping off a hot turd and, inexplicably, another eleven or so ladies all bent around her watching what she was doing. Mortified, Paul starts putting his cock away, they all start shrieking and screaming, and out he dashed with a bright red face and a turtle’s head poking out. I’ve never seen him move so fast, and this is a chap who appears like the Tardis if he so much as hears a Toblerone being snapped. We never found out why they were all in there, why they didn’t lock the door or whether the Shitting Lady felt better after dropping the kids off, and we’ll never know. One of life’s little mysteries. We took the opportunity to join our tour ‘Behind the Falls’.
Now, admittedly, I could have guessed from the name, but a tour ‘behind the waterfalls’ wasn’t exactly much to write home about. You can look at a waterfall from many interesting perspectives: from the air to appreciate the scope, from a boat to take in the noise, from the edge to gain a new found love of life. What isn’t interesting is viewing a waterfall from behind. Think about it: you’re led down a couple of dank tunnels only to experience the ‘fascinating’ sight of water thundering down in front of you in a window sized hole. I felt like a Toilet Duck on curry night. You could have held up a badly-tuned television for the same effect.
Inexplicably, hundreds of tourists were snapping pictures of this astonishing vista as though it was the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and as a consequence, we couldn’t move because of all the mouth-breathers getting their photos just-so. It was awful, and I do not recommend. Half an hour we were down there and the only respite from the misery was me suffocating myself with the poncho, initially for a joke but then with a certain sincerity in my eyes as my lips turned blue. I took a picture and sent it to a friend who is well into suffocation play: fair took his breath away.
We hustled to the next tour – the famous one, mind, the Maid of the Mist. You know it: get on a boat with nine thousand other tourists, bob towards the bottom of the falls and get wet. I’m not doing it justice – it was fantastic and awe-inspiring and terrifying and wonderful – but again, it’s still just a waterfall. We’d seen this friggin’ waterfall from the air, from the side, from behind and now from the bottom. At this point I felt so close to the falls that I almost unlocked my private Growlr pics for him.
Oh: memory unlocked! When I was at school, a friend of mine appeared on 999: International when the boat he was on at the top of the falls broke down and started drifting towards the edge. That’s frightful luck, isn’t it? We all put it down to the fact his family and indeed, himself, were so astonishingly fat, and it led to all manner of ‘he’s fat, he’s round, he bounces on the ground’ songs for a good few months, until he kicked a window out on the school bus on the way home and ran away. Honestly, kids can be so cruel. Me especially. I was driving the bus, and this was only last year. His drifting boat was rescued by the hydroelectric workers just up the river, as it happens.
We docked up, and went for another beer. See, there’s a problem with Niagara: once you’ve got cooing at the waterfall out of the way, you’re stuck in a town that doesn’t have an awful lot going on for it. Cultured folk might drive on and visit one of the myriad beautiful villages nearby but well, we aren’t cultured, unless you count what’s growing on Paul’s taint. Which we ought to have looked at but hey, free Brie. So, to give all the people who buy Chat to sit on their coffee table something to do, they’ve built a strip of the most magnificent shite imaginable. It’s like Blackpool, only you don’t get given a cocktail of naloxone and Imperial Leather upon entry as a precautionary matter. Look it up: that joke works so much better than you imagine.
Here in Newcastle we have a seaside town called Whitley Bay. It’s just the ticket if you’re a stag party wanting to work on your STD catalogue and the beaches are terrific if you enjoy basking in a fetid mix of dimps and dog turds. To compensate for the lack of sunlight, vitamins and wholesome fun they tried many things: carnival rides which collapsed, arcades which take your money either through rigged machines or getting mugged by someone in a tracksuit with teeth installed by the council, summer festivals consisting of a stand selling knock-off Ella-with-Mumps dolls and tiny fried doughnuts – but nothing has ever worked. There’s always an air of gloom and poverty hanging over the place and hell, that’s Niagara for you, only with a giant overflowing bath in the middle.
Of course, we absolutely fucking loved it. There’s nothing more attractive to me than shite attractions with ridiculously high entrance prices: it’s why I married Paul, and gave away my soul. What follows in the next post will be a mince through some of Niagara’s premier entertainment choices. Strap in, give yourself a quick spray of your B&M David Beckham aftershave, and enjoy…once we come back. Which given my posting history, will be sometime in 2022.
To the pulled pork then. You can throw anything in with this, in all honesty, but we found this works well.
I mean just look at that. Perfect for Slimming World, given it’s only half a syn.
This stage is important – don’t be tempted to skip it.
This is a dead easy pulled pork recipe, which pretty much makes itself. The Instant Pot makes this a one pot, quick dinner but you can do it in the slow cooker if you prefer.
Again, use this as a rough guide, but there's really no exact science here. We used treacle because we like the taste, but you can swap it out for brown sugar. Up to you, but the syns are negligible when split between the easily eight portions this makes.
1.5kg of pork shoulder, fat removed and cut into chunks about the size of your fist
well not your fists, a normal person's fists
two tablespoons of treacle (4 syns)
two teaspoons of salt
few good grinds of black pepper
one teaspoon of smoked paprika
one teaspoon of garlic powder
one teaspoon of onion powder
one teaspoon of ground mustard
a good pinch of chilli flakes (leave out if you don't want your arse troubled)
300ml of chicken stock
more than a fair few shakes of mushroom ketchup (we use Geo Watkins' ketchup here, but if you can't find it, add Worcestershire Sauce)
Speaking of Geo Watkins, they were excellent enough to send us a personalised bottle to try - we use it all the time, but shamefully, it hasn't come up in recent recipes! We do recommend it - it's like a more savoury Worcestershire sauce. Paul hates mushrooms but loves it!
place your pork chunks into a massive bowl and tip over the dry ingredients
add the treacle - if you do it from a spoon, try and cover the pork all over as it slowly, slowly, slowly drips
get your fingers in - you want to rub the ingredients in as much as possible - I take five minutes or so here, and then have a cigarette after to calm down and feel ashamed of myself
then, depending on whether you're doing this in an Instant Pot or not...
click 'Saute', add a fair glug of oil to the bottom and when hot, sear the chunks of pork on all sides - you'll probably need to do it in two batches
once done, add the trivet, then the stock, then the pork
seal the Instant Pot and set the pressure to high for 75 minutes
go play with your ha'penny and come back once it's done, letting it vent naturally
once safe to do so, open the Instant Pot, drain the liquid (but keeping about 100ml aside), shred the pork with two forks, tip the passata and the leftover liquid back in
hit saute and let everything bubble away until the sauce has reduced right down - make sure you keep stirring
serve however you want - we put ours in burgers with a brioche bun, cheese, lettuce and pickled red onion - but we're fat
as above, but you're gonna wanna add the passata right at the start, and leave it to burble away for eight hours
shred the meat and if there is still too much sauce, throw it all in a big pan and cook it right down
pulled pork freezes well, and can be thrown into all sorts
remember - our slimming cookbook is now generally always at £9.99 and can be ordered online now - full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing! Click here to order