Just a super quick post to mention that we have started doing video recipes – we plan to do a new video from either the book recipes or the blog recipes every week, but no promises! We get a lot of people who mention that they aren’t very good cooks and are nervous about trying new things. We want to show you that our recipes are an absolute doddle to make and require very little in the way of complicated cooking or mystery ingredients.
We aren’t flashy and we’re just filming in our kitchen using an iPhone so there’s no high production values but hell, that’s us in a nutshell!
We have typed out the captions for those that need them or may find it easier to use them – and the full ingredient lists can be found in our cookbooks, though if you watch the video you can pretty much guess what goes where.
It would really mean a lot if you would subscribe to our channel and like our videos – it’s quite difficult gaining momentum on Youtube these days so anything is helpful! And finally, if you have any feedback on things we could do better or stuff you want to see, please do let us know!
To the recipes then!
Mongolian Beef (from book one)
We had to do it really. You don’t need to stick to beef – people have tried mushrooms, chicken, pork, all sorts. What you will note from our recipe is that there’s no sweetener in there – because why would there be? Use proper ingredients!
Balsamic chicken (from book two)
The only tip I’ll give you for this recipe is to use the best tomatoes you possibly can – a good mixture of colours and flavours will stand you in very good stead!
A nice trickle of pre-orders at the moment ahead of launch of our new cookbook in May – having seen the final drafts and signed off on all the recipes a few days ago, we can promise you it is absolutely glorious. Very us. You can order it here – thank you!
Today’s retrorecipe is something slightly different. I’ve realised that there’s a lot of sport to be had from looking at old recipes and mocking the fact that they put everything in jelly or use the word ‘puff’ far more than could ever be considered decent, but there’s actually a lot of very good recipes out there which have fallen out of favour that simply need rescuing and brought up to date. Plus there’s the small matter of us wasting food by cooking stuff only for Paul to shove it away and pronounce that he isn’t eating it, like he’s Newcastle’s answer to Violet Beauregarde. That’s my drag name right there incidentally: Violent Noregarde.
This coconut chicken is an absolute doddle to make and comes from Betty Crocker’s ‘Buffets’, which promises menus, recipes and planning tips for easy and successful home entertaining. Now my first confession: for years I have imagined Betty Crocker as some homely nana bustling around in her American kitchen, keeping an apple pie cooling on the window and swatting at her sticky-fingered grandchildren with a broom. Kind of like my nana but she doesn’t have Fifteen-to-One playing at a volume that brings the roof tiles clattering off when someone buzzes in. However, a quick bit of googling to see what she looks like reveals the whole thing to be a sham: she’s a made-up figurehead representing a massive conglomerate who just so happens to look like my husband in a nice dress. I confess myself seriously disappointed and to make matters worse, it turns out there was never an Aunt Bessie, despite all the cloying marketing and ‘just like my nana used to make’ advertising. Which, to loop around, wouldn’t be true anyway: my nana used to make Yorkshire puddings that you could climb inside and enjoy a hot bath of gravy – I’ve never had an Aunt Bessie Yorkshire pudding that wasn’t as flat as a witch’s tit.
I’m just amazed it’s taken me thirty-six years to realise the scale of corruption in the home baking world, I truly am. I know a lie takes the elevator whilst the truth takes the stairs but even so: madness.
Second confession: this book is absolutely glorious. A relic of its time absolutely (make sure there is one ashtray per every two guests is an especially timeless tip, with presumably a few tanks of oxygen kept to one side for after) and very much a ‘whilst your husband goes and works, you stay home at occupy yourself with doilies’ tome, but still glorious. By way of example, there’s four pages, including diagrams, detailing how best to set up your buffet to promote good flow. There’s a map if you’re having a circular buffet, those who fancy a three-sided buffet are literally catered for and, best of all, a double-line buffet plan. Not to be sniffed at.
We can’t very well talk about buffets if we don’t mention the one buffet that I absolutely do not miss: the taster nights. I know we have talked about this a lot over the years but good lord if we didn’t see the worst of humanity (maybe overegging the pudding a bit) at those events. Long time stalwarts will know it’s where everyone attending Slimming World is encouraged to bring a snack to place on the decorating table and everyone titters and chortles their way through eating watery quiche and plucking dog hair from their teeth. The type of meeting where you’re looking to see if those are sesame seeds on the prawn toast or nits. We were lucky – our class was on the outskirts of the posh part of Newcastle (Edinburgh) and so it was fairly civilised but I always remember a couple of weeks we spent attending a class in a flat-roof social club whilst on holiday. I’m not saying it was rough but when we got up to eat we took our chairs with us in case the scrap man swiped them. I’ve never seen, either before or since, such fervent desire for a Tupperware box of golden vegetable rice that had been sweating in someone’s handbag for the best part of eight hours. Possibly the only buffet I’ve attended where everyone brought their own knives without knowing the event was catered.
Thankfully, Betty Crocker’s buffets are a far more decadent affair – you can tell Betty has a bit of money because ‘she’ also recommends having one member of staff (hired or otherwise) per six guests to dispense drinks and to replenish snacks. Maybe this is where Fanny Cradock’s Sarah moonlights at night, when she’s not busy being scolded/scalded by Fanny during the day. You won’t need any staff to assist with this coconut chicken because it’s luckily very easy to make – handy, it’ll give you time to rearrange your ashtrays just so. Perhaps the best bit of the book is how bewilderingly comprehensive it is: she has thought of every buffet situation you can imagine. They start off obvious: ‘A Mother’s Day Buffet‘ opens the book, though if I served my mother a gooseberry tart and a ‘summer’ cocktail for Mother’s Day I’d be likely to get it thrown back in my face. My mother’s idea of a cocktail is putting her usual six Jack Daniels shots into a mist of diet coke and sticking a cigarette in it for decoration.
We then travel the world a little: ‘A Hungarian Style Dinner‘ gives us an apple strudel and some buttered noodles, a ‘Scandinavian Coffee Party‘ suggests ‘jam sandwiches and cookies’ which sounds delightful and even Ireland gets a mention with ‘An Irish Dinner‘, a stunning festivity consisting of Irish coffee and bread. You rather get the sense that ‘Betty’ is phoning it in at this point but fret not, she pulls it out of the bag for the ending. If you have ever agonised at night what to serve at an ‘Out of Town Guest Buffet‘ (usually clumsily-administered poppers in my case, and if they were halfway decent, I’d make them some toast after) then the answer is here: a marinated cauliflower and broccoli salad set in aspic BECAUSE OF BLOODY COURSE IT IS. We end on my personal favourite: a ‘Soup and Sandwich Late Supper‘ (presumably for the times you don’t want to wake Iris and instead microwave your own soup) where Betty suggests that when you get home of an evening stinking of shame and sambucca, you should set about making scotch shortbread and creamy split pea soup. I mean goodness me, it’s all I can do not to void myself into the wash-basket after three sniffs of the barman’s cloth – where does Betty get her stamina from?
All the above sarcasm aside, it really is a terrific book that I will be taking more than a few recipes from. Given we only let people into our homes if they’re punching a hole in something (walls, ceilings, my bumcheeks) we tend not to have many buffets but with this handy guide, perhaps that’ll change. Shall we do the coconut chicken then? No, we must.
We served our coconut chicken with a traditional puck of Uncle Ben’s (ANOTHER LIE) rice and some chilli sauce
You can use any chutney for this coconut chicken – anything you want
So desiccated coconut - aside from being one of those ingredients I actively avoid because I can't spell it (desiccated I mean, I can manage coconut) - is one of those things I say I don't like until I actually eat it and realise it's like eating a Bounty bar. If you're not a fan of coconut however then you're shit out of luck here and I suggest you leave right now, before you fall any deeper.
You'll forgive me if I don't make any obvious jokes about chutney stuffing in this recipe, because that would be childish and immoral.
I apologise for the somewhat uninspired photography - I was in a rush because as I was serving up, Goomba was staring at me with his big sad eyes like he was Link's nana from Windwaker and that only means one thing - he needed to be let out. It was very much a plate up, photo and go affair otherwise we'd have another kitchen disaster to handle.
We used fig chutney from Tesco here because it was the first chutney Paul spotted on the shelf, but you can - and perhaps should - use a red onion chutney or similar.
Finally, as ever, all calories are approximate and worked out via the NHS app. Your experience may differ. If that's the case, sorry.
four large chicken breasts
chutney of your choosing - we used Tesco Finest Fig & Balsamic chutney here because we are fancy bitches
two large eggs
100g of desiccated coconut
salt and pepper
We served ours with microwave rice and some chilli sauce because we were in a rush, see. You will also need some cocktail sticks and preferably a big rolling pin. What can I say: size-queen for life, me.
bring to mind someone who you absolutely hate: the type of person who if you accidentally ran them over, you'd reverse back over them to make sure the job was done
whilst you're thinking of them, take a knife and cut your chicken breasts in half horizontally - through the breast so it can open like a book
place onto some greaseproof paper and cover with more greaseproof paper
still got your enemy in your head - excellent - take your rolling pin and bash the absolute buggery out of those chicken breasts, imagining it is the skull of your nemesis, flattening them so they're easy to roll
hiding your 'excitement', remove the greaseproof paper, smear a good tablespoon of chutney in the middle of each breast, ignoring the fact it now looks a bit like a beskiddered gusset
carefully roll the breasts up in a nice spiral and secure them with cocktail sticks
they can sit in the fridge for a bit until needed
once you're ready to cook, carefully dip them in beaten egg (seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper) and then roll in the desiccated coconut
cook - you can bake in the oven but we put ours in our Instant Vortex Airfryer (cocktail sticks removed) for twenty minutes, until the chicken was cooked through
serve with rice
please make sure the chicken is cooked through before serving - at a minimum you want an internal temperature of at least 75 degrees celsius to be safe - see our notes under tools
twochubbycubs: Dinner Time is our new book and it's out in May and has over one hundred meal ideas for every single evening event you can imagine - you can pre-order here!
our second book, glorious in its rainbow spine, is perfect for every other meal occasion: 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 is going to the groomers next week and if he's anything like his Dad, will tip the groomer generously in the hope of being roughly tumbled about in the back room by the lad clipping his hair
Howdo! Told you we’d be back with a bang, and this cheesy chicken kiev is something to behold. Might look a bit like a diseased foof but hey. We’ve been having a chitter-chatter amongst our various holidays about whether or not we should be aiming for low-syn / no-syn dinners in light of the blossoming success of the book and blog and you know what, nope: we are going to continue exactly as we are! Our food has always been about spending a few points / syns / calories and enjoying it – so here we go! A chicken kiev recipe and a load of sass!
First, a bit of admin!
Our cookbook continues to soar and sell and we couldn’t be happier – remember you can pick it up in most major supermarkets and bookshops and there’s always Amazon if you get stuck – if you have been so kind as to buy it, please consider leaving us a review on Amazon – we want to get to 2,000! You don’t need to have bought it on Amazon to review it either!
Next, we’re down in Southampton filming something secret at the end of the month and there’s two book signings lined up – please do come along and get your book signed, we promise to be filthy!
Right – before we get to the recipe, a long holiday entry to endure! If you’re in a rush for the chicken kiev, click the banner and be whisked straight there!
Gosh, it’s been a while since I typed out a holiday entry (and I’m more than aware that I have Hamburg to finish, ssh) but in the spirit of efficiency, I’m going to barrel this one nice and fresh. I’m actually typing a good chunk of this out on the aeroplane home, trying desperately not to incur the wrath of the poor bloke sat between us who has been trying to complete a level on his motorbike game for the last hour or so. Oh Bohuslav, love, if you’re reading this over my shoulder, let me have a stab. Like so many of my men, you’re pulling out a fraction early. Anyway, let’s start with the detail.
See, Paul and I have been together almost thirteen years now, and Valentine’s Day is always a bloody nightmare – it falls six weeks after Christmas and four weeks after Paul’s birthday, and trying to come up with something unique and special is an absolute pain in the arse. Paul, however, has been ‘good’ (for good, read ‘endlessly forgiving of my indiscretions and nonsense’) to me this last year, and I wanted to get him something decent. It was only after finishing Sky Atlantic’s recent Chernobyl docudrama that I remembered he had always wanted to visit Chernobyl and so, after a cursory moment of trying to find a cheap deal, I had us booked onto a package with travelcenter.uk which included flights, hotel and a twelve hour tour for a very reasonable £360 or so. I presented him with the detail and he was over-the-moon – I was seeing his face light up in a way that no amount of low-level radiation could ever do. He explained that Chernobyl had always been on his bucket list and wasn’t I a brilliant husband for arranging it. Naturally, I accepted this high praise with full modesty and grace and elected not to tell him I’d only really booked it because I wanted my back doors smashed in by any of the number of muscly Adidas-clad sentient frowns that appeared on google when doing my research into the Ukraine. He didn’t need to know that bit.
With his Valentines present sorted, I eagerly awaited mine. I got nowt. Not even a card. I smiled through the tears, increasingly used as I am to the disparity of effort.
Now, let’s discuss the elephant in the room, and I don’t (for once) mean my bouncy beloved. We’ve been asked two questions on our social media channels which demand an answer, namely why would we choose to visit a country not exactly known for its gay rights and then, why visit Chernobyl? The first is a tricky one – we don’t normally go places where we aren’t welcome – and the Ukraine political situation is genuinely horrifying to us as gay men – but unlike countries like Jamaica (where we’d love to go, but would never be welcome), there’s only one Chernobyl – and to get there, unfortunately, you do need to go via Kiev. We choose our holidays sensitively but our hand was forced on this one, and I’ll circle back to this point a little later. As to why visit Chernobyl? Far easier. I married a massively polluting, noxious pile of slag – when do you ever get a chance to visit its twin? To the holiday, then.
Normally I spend ages waffling on about our trip to the airport, but this time, I’ll keep it short. As we weren’t flying to Magaluf, Bristol or Ibiza, we couldn’t fly from Newcastle, and so our journey necessitated flights from Manchester and a car journey. I was still ‘tired and emotional’ from a week of excess before so it was up to Paul – in his new black Smart car, no less – to drive us to Manchester. The arse-end of Storm Ciara made it an arresting car ride, with Paul barely needing to touch the accelerator, instead allowing us to be blown all the way there. Wouldn’t be the first time. I was a quiet, considerate passenger, keeping my shrieking and fitful crashing of phantom passenger-side brake pedals to a minimum. I’ll say this, though: Mancurians – you’re lovely, but you absolutely can’t drive. Here’s a clue: when you’re changing lanes, try flicking the indicators on. I appreciate it’ll mean you looking up from your Love Island repeats on ITV Player, but go on, give it a go. Four separate times I came within a whisker of cheating on Paul simply by virtue of having the Smart rammed so far into the back of someone’s car that I could have whispered ‘it only hurts for a bit’ into the driver’s ear. Arses.
We arrived at the fabulously appointed (cough) Holiday Inn Express at around 11pm and Paul immediately set about shaving his head with the clippers he had brought from home. Halfway through I hear the bzz-bzz-bzzz of a set of dying clippers and a plaintive mew from the bathroom. He had cut about a third of his hair before the clippers had run out of juice. That’s fine, get the charger, but wait no – Paul had left the charger at home on account that the clippers ‘looked fully charged’. I silkily enquired as to when he had acquired the impressive ability to ascertain electrical charge of an object just by glancing at it, and what this meant for the Terminator franchise going forward, but was met with a volley of indignant ranting. Faced with the horrific thought of cutting about the Ukraine with someone who’s head looked like a wet egg rolled disinterestedly in pubic hair, I leant him my Mach 3 and gave him a skinhead. To be fair, he looked pretty fit with it, but it then meant I couldn’t sort my own hair out – something that wouldn’t have been so critical if I hadn’t still been sporting a mohawk that my best mate had clumsily cut into my hair in an act of alcohol-soaked mischief. I can make a mohawk work when everything else on my face is neat and tidy, but for the remainder of the holiday I looked like I’d stumbled early out of rehab. Ah well.
We woke bright and wheezy the next morning and made our way to the airport, way ahead of schedule. For once, it was the right decision – the security halls at Manchester Airport were absolutely rammed thanks to couples disappearing off for romantic breaks. You couldn’t move for people making moony faces at their beloved or kissing in that ‘look everyone, we have sex’ way that is for everyone else’s benefit. My boots, coat and suitcase all raised alarms and I was selected for a grope, so can’t complain, though I was hoping (as it was Valentines) he might have given me his number after effectively giving me a handy in the search for illicit substances. As it was, no idea why my boots and suitcase set off the alarms – presumably fashion related – but my coat contained four separate lighters. I tried to style it out by saying I was a one-man-tribute to Cirque du Soleil but he was having none of it.
Flight was with Ryanair and I can’t fault it – Paul had forgotten his headphones and was looking to me to keep him entertained, and I genuinely hope he liked the sight of me face-down in Star Trek: Picard for the journey. He cheered himself up by ordering a coffee and setting away with the task of spilling the tubes of milk all over his legs, and then dozed on my shoulder. Can’t recall any particularly exciting turbulence.
Unusually for Ryanair, they landed us at an airport in the same country as our destination, although things were complicated by the lack of a metro straight to the city centre. I’d read about tourist taxi scams on the flight over and, now officially part of The Real Hustle team, I spent a good ten minutes handwaving and no-no-noing at all the offers of taxis that came over. Normally I’m not so fussy but these cars looked as though they’d been parked outside the reactor when it went kaboom, and I’m sorry, but I do like living. Luckily, Uber has made it to the Ukraine, and a driver was promptly dispatched.
And, oh my word. Fit? This bloke, with his name like an explosion at the Boggle factory, was stunning. Bright blue eyes that had seen, caused and relished in death, black hair I’d be picking from my teeth for weeks after. He spoke no English – and quite right too – and we all squeezed into his Honda Menace in a thick sea of sexual tension. He kept looking in his rear-view mirror, presumably to work out why my mouth was hanging open and spittle was pooling on my moobs, and it was all I could do not to reach over, open Paul’s door and tumble him out, then beg a long life with a man who would never show me intimacy. By the time we arrived at the hotel I’d learned the Ukranian for ‘I’m on PrEP mate, it’s fine’ and started arranging the tablecloths for our wedding, but he simply gave us a curt nod and was on his way, ready to break more hearts. Sigh. I blame Paul.
Our hotel – ‘Tourist Hotel Complex’ – looked fairly swish from the outside and we were checked in with lovely smiles and warm wishes. We had chosen a twin room in a fit of worry and panic and so were given a room on the ninth floor. My god. It was…basic. I’m not one for fancy hotel rooms, given we mainly just spend our time in there sleeping off booze or entertaining the locals, but this looked like a hostel you’d see a messy murder taking part in. No, that’s mean – imagine your nana’s spare room that she keeps for best. Lots of rickety pine, magic-eye wallpaper and fussy bits. The bathroom was tiny with the lavatory tucked neatly into a corner in such a way that to have a tom-tit meant folding your legs up like an accordian. You may remember, I’m 6ft 2″ tall and not that far off wide.
Worse though – the shower. The one thing I really do need is a powerful shower to blast away the snail-trails and harsh living, but this, this was dire. I had enough time between the drops of water hitting me to dry off and cut my toenails. I’ve never had a shower where I’ve had to move to stay wet. To add insult to injury, there was about two minutes of tepid water before it started sputtering and went cold. I was foaming, but mainly because there wasn’t enough water to get rid of the body-wash nestled in my chest hair. Harrumph.
Now, this is getting a trifle long, and for that I apologise. We will revisit this next week! But now, time for a chicken kiev! I know that is an incredibly obvious first choice for a Ukraine recipe but I can’t see that we’ve done one before – so let’s try and make a decent slimming chicken kiev! Let’s go!
Look, we're fat, we can't be arsed trying to make it look pretty. It's a baked chicken breast, we're not miracle workers. You can serve it with chips, salad or glitter from your bum. Up to you. The recipe makes enough for two kievs.
two large chicken breasts
50g of Philadelphia Garlic and Herb (4 syns)
25g of golden breadcrumbs (4.5 syns)
if you like it super garlicky, add a teaspoon of garlic paste (syn free)
I mean, can you take a guess here, poppet?
preheat the oven to 200 degrees and get yourself a good non-stick tray
cut a big fancy gash in the side of your chicken and stuff it with half of the Philadelphia (you're making two, remember) and smidge a bit of garlic in there if you're using it
fold the gash lips over themselves a bit
beat the egg and dip the chicken in
roll it around in the breadcrumbs
bake in the oven until cooked through
you COULD save syns and calories by using your own breadcrumbs from your healthy extra, but don't, just don't - this is as close to a proper kiev as you can get
you COULD also use Quark and garlic but for goodness sake, get a grip
If you want more recipes like this, buy our cookbook! You can order it now and it’ll be with you soon – click here! There’s also a Kindle version for immediate reading!
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Enjoy! More chicken recipes? Have a look at our huge chicken index right here!
Hiyaaaaaa! Urgh, stop. Before we get to the super-quick chicken kebab wraps, I’ve got a tale to spin to you. It involves Germany, and it’s a holiday post. If you’re here for the recipe, click the heart below and it’ll dash you straight there. Otherwise, settle in – it’s a long one, but you can take it. Meanwhile, cookbook coming along lovely, thank you: we’re now locked in and ready to go! You can pre-order it here.
Goodness, it’s been a while since I rattled out a holiday post – not because we haven’t been gallivanting, mind you, I’m always working on my suntanned wattle – but it’s been an age since I could sit and type something other than recipes. This holiday post takes us all to Hamburg and is unusual in that I’m combining two separate trips into one. The first time we went was back in April courtesy of srprs.me (more on that later) and I booked the second one in one of my atypical ‘go fuck yourself’ huffs. Some people spend days poring over brochures and cooing at hotels.com before they pick their next adventure – with me, you just need to wait until someone cuts me up on a roundabout or I stub my toe on the settee and I’m straight onto easyjet.com filling in my API with rage-a-tremble fingers.
This trip was our fourth with srprs.me – a simple concept where you pay a travel agent a discreet sum of money and they book you a holiday somewhere exciting and wonderful. You don’t find out until you’re at the airport, where you scratch off a scratchcard, enter a code on their website and find out your gate number and destination. It’s all terrifically exciting and indeed, we videoed our last reveal in the hope of sharing it with you all. However, the 4am start and general rattiness of me being at Newcastle Airport betrayed us and when our destination of Malaga was revealed, I announced ‘for fucks sake, fucking MALAGA’ and promptly knocked my coffee over with that touch of the dramatic I know you all love. In my defence, I was confusing it with some super-rough beach resort that I vaguely remembered seeing on those 90s reality shows like Fingerblasts Uncovered where walking flesh-envelopes of fake-tan spilled Blue WKD into their nethers and gurned to camera.
It was actually a superb place, since I mention it. But no, this trip was to Hamburg, and quite honestly, I knew nothing about the place other than it was in Germany and sounded delicious. A quick google reveals some interesting details: it has one of the largest seaports in the world (I shan’t make an awash with seamen joke), the most bridges of any global city and, every three months, hosts the Hamburger Dom.
Coincidentally, on my second trip, so did I.
It was the trip to the airport on the second trip that bears discussion, so we’ll start there and from now on, I’m just going to flit between the two without further clarification. Our flight was 6.45pm from Manchester Airport and, after a fitful morning, we set away at 12 noon, planning on stopping for lunch somewhere fancy en-route. Six hours to travel 180 miles of motorway – even in a Smart car laden with two fat blokes – surely no problem?
So you’d think. But every single citizen of the United Kingdom had clearly decided to go out for a leisurely crash of their cars at precisely 12.01 and what should have been a simple, uncomplicated jaunt became a nailbiting exercise in clock-watching, screaming myself hoarse at the backs of lorries and listening to Paul’s music. It was the last part that almost finished me off – I’d promised not to say one word about his music in exchange for him doing the long drive (I was tired from having my hair cut) and my god, in all honesty, wrenching the steering wheel from him and swerving us under an Iceland articulated lorry has never been so tempting. So much sad guitar chords and female warbling. The only thing that stopped me was the indignity of being cut out of the wreckage of a Smart car whilst chewing my way through a Sara Lee gateaux that had wedged itself up my arse.
The gates closed promptly at 6.15pm and I’ve seen enough sweaty-jowled businessmen being shouted at on Airline to know easyjet are merciless with their deadlines. For years I’ve watched that programme taking sweet satisfaction from families being denied their holidays or some person missing out on a liver transplant because they’d parked too far away to make check-in, but now I was at risk of missing out, I was manic. We threw our keys at the meet and greet parking people, apologising profusely at 200mph for being in a rush, and sprinted through fast-track security and the departures lounge.
I say sprinted. I don’t sprint. I’ve got good long legs that allow me to move with purpose and my general size and my face all-a-tittylip means people will get out of my face with minimal need for cursing under my breath and punching old folks to the ground. Paul, on the other hand, moves with all the urgency of a man selecting a slice of toast for a weekend breakfast, and I grew ever more furious with him as he delicately tip-toed around folks and ‘ever-so-sorry’ allowed people to get in front. Things came crashing to a head as he slipped over on an incline and fell fat on his face with an almighty moo.
I am, I admit, a terrible person. An awful husband, a cruel lover and a heartless soul. I burst out laughing. My weakness, if you ever need to make me laugh, are random jerky movements and people falling over and hurting themselves. Others watch stand-up, I watch You’ve Been Framed with a smirk and a semi. We didn’t have time to spare so he picked himself up, looked at me with a face that made it clear I’d have to spend twenty minutes later making pained expressions of fake remorse, and off we went. We made it to the gate with one whole minute to spare, according to his now heavily-scuffed smart-watch.
Thank god we made it though, otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the subsequent twenty-five minutes of standing at the gate peering at our plane and wondering why we couldn’t get on. That was never explained, though it did give me plenty of time to smile coquettishly and have a mutual eye-wank with a lovely German bear a couple of steps down the queue. Ah, German men. There’s something so alluring about an accent that sounds like they’re coughing up gravel even when they’re “whispering sweet nothings” into the back of your neck.
Our flights were uneventful – prompt, comfortable and with minimal fuss – though my trip was made all the more comfortable by the four gins I downed, ignoring the fact that the bill came to more than I’d paid for our flight ticket. We’re on holiday, such extravagance is to be encouraged. Clearly easyJet has its knockers – she served me the drinks – but damn I love them. We landed, breezed through security in that almost effortless manner we currently enjoy thanks to being part of a fantastic union of shared responsibilities and agreed border processes – what absolute melt would begrudge that – and then we managed about four hundred meters before we sat down and had a sandwich.
See, there’s another reason why we love Germany. So. Many. Sandwiches. I know they all come from the same processing plant and have probably sat there so long you could escape from prison using the bread as a file, but I care not: they’re delicious. It’s like living in a sandwich buffet and I’m all for it. My choice was a sandwich with so much smoked cheese and ham in it that I had to call for special assistance just to lift my fat-ass back out of the seat. My apologies, I should really call him by his first name, Paul.
Paul’s sandwich had an entire section of Lidl pressed into it:
The German public transport system is another joy, once you get around the fact the map looks like a Michael Bay action thriller where some sap has to cut just the right wire to defuse a bomb. I’m sure it’s easy to follow and indeed, after forty minutes sweating, crying and deciphering the beast we managed, we were on our way, but jeez does it make you realise how shit our system is. We’ve got two lines on our Metro system in Newcastle and trains that still have George Stephenson in the cab. But mustn’t grumble: you pay £5.20 to be told by a pleasant soothing voice that the trains are delayed and you can expect to arrive three stops short by the summer equinox.
The hotel that srprs.me had chosen was a delight – the Hotel Jufa, down on the docks. Ostensibly a ‘maritime’ hotel, though the lack of filthy-handed sailors was a disappointment, it was full of ships to play on and curious little tchotchkes alluding to the port. That’s all well and good, but I’m not Alex Polizzi (there was a PUUUUBE, DAAAARLING) (hi Adam) and there’s no need to review the hotel here save to tell you the three most important facts:
the breakfast buffet was plentiful, varied and everything fabulous about a German breakfast;
the room had decent air-conditioning and none of those silly double mattresses which are two normal mattresses zipped together – very important when you’re our combined weight and turning over in your sleep means both beds careering to either end of the room; and
it had a homophobic shower. Seriously, hoteliers, sort your shit out so I can sort mine. Mind, I made the most of it…
Hotel done, we’ll switch to the various activities we took part in – no chronological order, mind you, this isn’t Sherlock.
The Saw Escape Room by EscapeDiem
You know how much we love escape rooms, yes? It had been a while since Original Flavour Paul and I had done one and well, what extra level of tension could having all the instructions in German add?
Turns out, a lot. But: what a fantastic room. Based on the Saw movies, you start off in the bathroom from the movies – filthy toilet (and yep, you need to put your hand in) and all. Clever tricks abound – heat sensitive paints, heartbeat locks, false rooms…all marvellous. Then the twist halfway through: you had to go inside the walls. There was a tiny vent to crawl through – now I’m not claustrophobic so I was generally fine with that – but then you had to loop back over yourself and climb up. They’d built a multi-level maze in the walls in the almost pitch black.
Scary, but doable, yes? Well think of me for a second – I was lodged in a wall, barely able to move, with Paul – all many, many stone of him – perched right above me with only a thin sheet of plywood holding him up. It wasn’t Jigsaw or being stuck I was scared of but rather being reduced to atom-wide jam by the weight of the clumsiest fucker alive crashing down on me. It actually felt like a Saw movie, especially when I slashed Paul’s throat for getting the combination wrong at the end. Lolz – caught up in the moment wasn’t I! We escaped the room with a couple of minutes to go and our already strained marriage in tatters.
A museum devoted to life in miniature: sounds deadly dull, but it was bloody brilliant. Tonnes and tonnes of teensy-tiny recreations of cities with working trains and tiny interactive models: we loved it. Me for the sheer mechanics and level of detail, Paul because he actually felt like a normal sized human for once. I galloped through like Glumdalclitch’s daddy, Paul went tip-toeing through the roses, letting himself into the matchbox-sized houses and taking a breath on a bench made from four cocktail sticks and a pin.
He’s not even that short, you know, but it makes a change from the fat jokes. Poor Paul, I love him really.
It was fun though: I’m all for an exhibit where there’s buttons to press and this place was awash with them. For example, you pressed a button and a tiny version of a concert started playing, complete with miniature lighting rigs and hundreds of wee humans bobbing to the beat. There was a scale version of Hamburg Airport with planes taking off (disappearing neatly behind a curtain of cloud) (cotton wool) and if you pressed the button and waited, a UFO would touch down. I mean, haway! If that was the UK, each exhibition would have an out of order sign and the only buttons you could press would be on the chip-and-pin machine as you paid your £44 entrance fee.
Actually, the UK was represented with a tiny version of London, replete with lots of top-hat wearing guards and a ding-donging Big Ben. Newcastle wasn’t featured, which was a shame, because I’d have loved to have pressed a button and seen Gemma-Marie, Marie-Marie and Lisa-Marie rolling around pulling each other’s hair in a puddle of their own foamy piss. As I said, the attention to detail was really quite terrific.
Now, honestly, we’re almost at 2000 words. Let’s cut it short there and come back another day.
You came for the quick and easy chicken kebab wraps, didn’t you? Who could blame you? We’ve seen loads of hot-takes on our recipe for chicken doner kebabs, but this is the easiest one yet. Inspiration came from quite genuinely the best fast food we’ve ever had, pushed down into our gullets at 4am on a crisp Hamburg morning. Because I was drunk and a walking horn at this point, it was a case of finding anywhere that was open, dispensed food and was staffed by sultry looking men with a kebab shaver. Wasn’t hard to come across one, though we did have to pretend it was raita when a customer came in. This is something that takes no time to throw together – you could probably make a marinade yourself with lots of ingredients but honestly, pick one of these sauces up for 60p and hoy it in the cupboard for when you just can’t be arsed.
We've done wraps so many times over, and make no apology for it. If you're controlled and sensible you can keep a load of wraps in the freezer and defrost as needed - then chuck any old shite in there. The sweet raita is what makes this dish though - don't be afraid to get it made. This makes loads - freeze any leftover meat! Enjoy our chicken kebab wraps!
For the wraps:
whatever wraps SW have decreed syn-free as your healthy extra
five chicken thighs
one packet of Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli & Garlic Stir Fry Sauce (10 syns)
one small red onion
one small white cabbage
half a cucumber (if you're looking for something to do with the other half, pop it up your blurter)
For the sweet raita:
250g fat free greek yoghurt
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp mint sauce
pinch of salt
dice up your chicken thighs into very small chunks - doesn't need to be uniform, but go nice and small
marinate the chopped thighs in the sauce and leave as long as you like
when it's time to eat, tip the marinated chicken into a hot pan and cook it quickly - keep stirring so it doesn't stick, but you want the sauce to get nice and sticky
whilst that's cooking, shred your cabbage, thinly slice the onion and chop your cucumber
make your wraps by adding a slick of raita to the wrap, add your meat, chopped veg and wrap away!
speed this up by using shop-bought raita
this makes enough for four big wraps with plenty of chicken left over - you can freeze the chicken once cooked
we served ours in a folded up naan bread, but we don't count our syns with bread
if you have some time, pop the sliced onion and cabbage in a bowl with some vinegar for twenty minutes - it'll soften the cabbage and take the sting from the onion - just rinse everything off before you serve
Chicken taco wraps! Remember we’re old school here at twochubbycubs. We use wraps for making wraps as opposed to making apple pies and panty liners with them. But if you want the recipe for chicken taco wraps, you’ll need to hold onto your nonny for a second because, as usual, nonsense follows! Scroll down to the food photos if you’re not quite ready for me to spice up your life with my shenanigans.
First, a gentle reminder. We have a cookbook coming out – 100 recipes of slimming classics (but none of the use sweetener, use fry-light shite) that’ll help you see your bajingo again when you’re naked. They won’t let us use that as a strapline. It’s coming along terrifically and we promise it’ll scratch the itch you have. Which saves you buying natural yoghurt, which be fair, you’d only eat anyway. Click to pre-order and say you’ll be there at launch day!
Happy Father’s Day, everyone! Usually I’d write a post about my dad but he’s terribly shy and stoic and wouldn’t enjoy the fuss, and this isn’t a love thing, so I’ll just say that he’s an amazing dad who never once rolls his eyes when his 34 year old son rings him because he needs a washer changing or a shelf putting up. By the same token, our mutually respectful relationship means I don’t judge him too vociferously for not turning the keypad noises off on his phone or watching him stab at the iPad like a chicken hunting corn. He’s always been there for me, providing me with a haunting visage of the looks I can expect when I hit sixty. Thank God my deleterious lifestyle choices will shuffle me into the Earth by 54 at best.
Anyway, how have you all been? Well? I’m asking as though I’ll read the replies when you all holler. It’s been terrifically busy at Chubby Towers – the disadvantage of writing a cookbook is that we’re having to cook so many new recipes and write them up that I’ve barely had time for my nine hour daytime naps and ‘let’s have another round of The Office, seasons 2-7’. It’s a chore being us. But we’ve managed to fit a few exciting things in, one of which was a trip to see the Spice Girls.
Well, one of us. Spice Girls is to Paul what water is to a rabid dog, so he bailed out after eight months of me geeing him along and instead, Paul II replaced him. There was no chance he wouldn’t do it – Spice Girls is to Paul II what water is to a chip pan fire, if I may torture that analogy for a second more. A hotel was secured, a train driver was cautioned that he would be dragging especially heavy cargo and I managed to accidentally leave work early by 28 minutes, so all was well. I say that, the plan was for me to come home, pick up my stuff and be straight out, but I got collared by one of the (very few) sweet neighbours on our street who asked me to nip her back passage and take a look at her abelia bush.
Frankly, it was the best offer I’d had all day and I needed practice at making the elderly happy, so off I went. She kept me there for thirty minutes despite my ‘must get on’ and ‘time goes by’ schtick but honestly, she was so lovely and a proper nana that I didn’t want to go. I did point out that it was nearly the weekend, love, but she didn’t pick up on it – I was wasting my time. I’ve been hankering for a substitute nana since mine was Endgamed and she could be the one. Although she didn’t have a television operating at Chernobyl-disaster levels of volume so I’m not sure. Once I managed to get away I quickly shaved my noggin and off I went.
The trip to the Stadium of Light was an ordeal and a half, not least because as someone with (albeit the faintest possible trace) Newcastle United running through my veins (thanks to my parents), it feels wrong. This was compounded by the Metro carriage being full of loud, shrieking Geordies wearing lip-readable skirts singing all the wrong words to every Spice Girls song they could imagine. Paul II is quick to anger and I could see the rage building in his yellow eyes and, as for me, I would have been glad of a tunnel so I could pop my head out of the window and shave away my ears at 60mph on the brickwork. It was a long journey, though livened up by Paul II’s surprise that the North East has a) fields and b) horses. Well aye: we always need somewhere to knock together a Catherine Cookson adaptation at a moment’s notice if Robson Green’s gas bill needs paying.
After a slow walk of life to the stadium (Paul II has weak knees, I have thick thighs) where we were accompanied by a lass telling us she had shaved her whisker biscuit for a Nelly concert, we found our seats. I’d picked spectacular seats for sure, even if they were high enough in the stands to require oxygen. Well, ticketmaster did – we were sat down above the entrance with an unobstructed view and even better, nothing in front of us bar a precipitous drop and a view of everyone’s dandruff as they wandered in. I was dispatched to find alcohol because once Paul II has sat down it’s a four man job to get him up again and I’m delighted to report that I politely asked them to move over and only managed to stand on eight feet on the way. I’m told she’ll walk again but her dancing career is fucked. That’ll be the last time, lover.
The concert was terrific, mind you. Absolutely mint. People had been making pointed comments at me for a couple of weeks about sound quality but come on, for four ladies in their seventies they did an absolutely cracking job. All the classics with a load of album tracks in the middle which I sang along to despite not knowing the words or the key. But when does that ever stop this boy with song in his heart? You have to sing if you can’t dance! I admit to my Emotional Response Unit faltering a shade when Viva Forever kicked in and everyone was singing. I may have got wet eyes, much like Paul II when Let Love lead The Way came on and everyone picked up Posh’s bits. I was schooled by Paul II who knows every single word to every single Spice Girls song and who also sang along, which must have been a treat for everyone around us to have two giant gay bears bellowing and screaming like cows in a Foot and Mouth fire.
Oh! Something kinda funny happened though – events were livened up still further by a fight breaking out a few rows behind us between a few lasses who all had the look of ladies who know where the best local dogfights are held. The video is worth a watch, if only to see the chunky mama in green fall down between the concrete of the row and the seats in front like the thick blue line in Tetris. She was escorted out by all manner of chaps in hi-vis (when they came sprinting up the stairs next to me I thought one of my wishes had come true and instinctively started pushing out) (though I wouldn’t be the first person to leave that stadium suckered to their chair like a Garfield toy on the window of a Vauxhall Zafira; the dancers were very handsome indeed) and that was that. Fancy fighting at a Spice Girls concert though. Listen, girls – who do you think you are? We’re all sore Posh was too busy clipping out her ingrown toenail to turn up, but keep your shit together – the lady is a vamp, remember, and she has David Beckham to enjoy.
Any sense of excitement and joy was immediately tempered by the queue for the Metro though. In an astonishing bit of not-like-me, I’d forgotten that 50,000 people would be trying to get home. Naturally, as we had taken our leisurely time leaving (stopping for a piss in the gents only to be confronted by what looked like the Saturday night divas from the bingo hall all sitting in the urinal) (thankfully, though only just, sitting not a typo) we were position number 49,890 in the queue. We contemplated trying to wave down the Spice Bus but it didn’t happen, so we pooled our resources and found the most expensive Uber trip ever back to town and told him to take me home. Traffic was bumper to bumper and I was bursting for a piss – I had tears in my eyes at the end that had nothing to do with the optimistic Magic Tree hanging on the dash. Taxi driver was a treat though – complimented my glittery bear shirt and everything. Right back at ya, driver!
Paul II also stayed for the day after and we filled it with food and escape rooms. I’m saying absolutely nowt about our performance in the second escape room because honestly, it’s not worth my life. Ah balls to it – I wanna be honest. We escaped with ten seconds to spare, and in our defence the very last action of the room involved an actual sprint to the exit. We were doomed from the start, not least when Paul II had to get down with me to retrieve all the balls I’d spilled on the floor. But we performed admirably, with absolutely no mistakes made.
And that was that! Spice Girls concert done with my mate and a great couple of days away from looking at a computer screen with bile in my eyes. When the Spice Girls come back for their eighty-seventh reunion tour, be sure to see them if you wanna have some fun. They’ll never give up on the good times, it wasn’t certainly wasn’t too much and there is no denying – they were so much better than I hoped!
To be honest, calling this a recipe is a bit cheeky - but you know sometimes you just want a quick dinner? This is one of those meals. Grill the chicken however you like it - add some spice, if you prefer, but I like it naked. This is meant to show you how quickly you can make something up!
4 wholemeal wraps (use your HEB)
2 chicken breasts
8 tbsp salsa (4 syns)
4 tbsp guacamole (6 syns)
180g reduced fat mozzarella (use your HEA)
chopped iceberg lettuce
This makes enough for four wraps, one each, 2.5 syns! But I appreciate it's hard to stop with wraps, so don't be surprised if two become one!
cook the chicken however you like - we grilled ours in an Optigrill
lay out the wraps and dollop 2 tbsp of salsa mix and guacamole onto each one and spread out (like you're topping a pizza)
sprinkle over the chopped lettuce and diced chicken and top with the grated mozzarella
Chicken, chorizo and seafood paella, if you don’t mind? Firstly, let me kick off proceedings by announcing this is a sponsored post. That is, the good folks at Tefal have sent us another Actifry to test out and have compensated us generously for farting about in Adobe Premiere for an hour or two. Usual rules apply though: if we don’t like the product, or it doesn’t work, or it sets Paul’s training bra on fire, we’ll always tell you. Five years we’ve been doing this dance, you know, and I know all the steps by now. But first, a reminder!
When Tefal approached us to ask us to take part in their Spin Class activities, my first thought was that it meant exercise and frankly, I’d rather set my eyes on fire. Thankfully, once they’d explained and cleared the Zippo fluid from my eyeballs, we realised it was their new promotion to show the new Actifry Genius XL off, with all the fancy features you’d expect from a product called Genius. The Spin Class is a clever pun on the spinning of the actifry paddle, see. It’s all very clever. And the paella…well, I’ll come to that a bit later (and if you don’t have an Actifry, don’t fret, we’ve covered you too!), but first, nonsense.
I’m not saying I’m anti-exercise, I’m really not, but it’s altogether too much effort at the moment. We’re back at Elite, and bloody loving it, but good lord I genuinely thought I was going to die last Wednesday. It was forty five minutes of squats, thrusts, push-ups, jumping jacks and lying on my front with my bumcheeks in the air gasping for breath. And listen, I’ve been there many times before, but usually it’s pitch black – this wasn’t my scene. You’re reading the words of someone whose lips go blue buttoning his shirt up of a morning. Paul, who normally wouldn’t notice if I came into the kitchen with my arse where my face should be, turned to me with concern etched across his face and asked whether I needed an ambulance. He was wrong: I needed a hearse.
I blame my PE teachers at school. For the last two years of high school me and a gaggle of the other fat, camp and lazy kids used to refuse to take part and eventually, the teacher realised we weren’t going to take him seriously and so let us sit on the gym mats spectating. That got knocked on the head a few months in when we made a proper event of it and brought a picnic and a CD player. I wasn’t an especially camp teenager, but it’s hard to look butch when you’re bringing crisps out of a wicker basket whilst Vogue plays. I was good at three sports: basketball (because I was tall and excellent at dribbling – still am!), cross-country running (in that I could run 400m out of sight, and then share all the fags I’d nicked from my mother’s nuclear-war stockpile) and rugby. Rugby was great – being fairly fast yet superbly chubby meant I was hard to knock over and it became possibly the only sport I could have enjoyed playing more. However, I spent too long looking moonily at the other players that it never went anywhere. A couple of my friends play for the Newcastle Ravens and have invited me to take part, but I’m fairly confident that it would make things uncomfortable if I’m used as the table for the half-time oranges. Or worse. Ah well.
I asked Paul what exercise he enjoys and he replied ‘resting his ears from your nonsense’, which seems unnecessarily catty.
The Actifry, then. Tefal will kick off if we don’t tell you a little bit about what it can do. Firstly, it looks a little less like the Daft Punk era models of old, which is lovely. But it’s an absolute beast: 1.7kg capacity, which they tell us is enough for five portions of food, or a snack for Paul. You know how they work, yes? Add a tiny bit of oil, switch it on and the heat and the moving paddle turns and cooks your food with very little fat involved, bar the two chunkers operating it. Unlike the earlier models, this machine allows you to change the temperature (so low and slow for things like a chilli, nice and hot for crispy chips) and set the time it cooks for, which is handy for when, like me, you’re catching up on your stories and really want to see how this Chernobyl story plays out without burning your dinner. There’s also pre-set cooking options which takes the mystery out of pressing buttons AND there’s a handy app which showcases 300+ recipes, of which you may even see a couple of ours lumped in there. I have to confess, not usually a fan of tie-in apps, but this one is actually decent – not too much clucking about and presents the recipes in an attractive, step-by-step fashion. Might nick it.
I’ll say this though. We’ve been using our Actifry for years, mainly for chips because: obesity, but it’s genuinely our favourite kitchen gadget we own. It does exactly what it is supposed to do, with minimal fuss. It doesn’t leave your kitchen stinking of fat and it’s easy to keep clean, given all but the base can go in the dishwasher. It’s like the antithesis of Paul. There’s plenty of cheaper alternatives out there but – and mind this is rare because we’re usually all about not needing to spend money to eat well – this is worth spending your money on, even if you get a smaller or older model. Buy cheap, buy twice, and plus I’ve seen the clip of some of the models you can get in B&M and it looks like someone’s parked a coke-ravaged R2D2 on your worktop. Nobody wants that, now do they?
It’s OK, we know he’s fit too. The Papa Bear to your Chubby Cubs. Imagine my distress and agony at having to clip and trim all that video footage of him working out on my 27″ screen. I had to push my chair back at one point. Now the text recipe – and look, if you don’t have an Actifry, don’t fret, we’ll give you a non-Actifry route to cook too! Because we’re canny.
Paella in an Actifry? That's not chips! I know right - but this is tasty. If you're not a fan of seafood, leave it out, and you've got a tasty chicken and chorizo paella. Don't leave out the chorizo though - it's 3 syns per serving, but the oil from the chorizo makes everything that bit more tasty!
200g of paella rice
800ml of water
500g chicken breast (diced)
200g cooked prawns
200g shelled mussels
100g chorizo (12 syns), sliced
two sweet onions, sliced finely
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large red pepper
1 chicken stock cube
1/2 tsp each of curry powder, turmeric and smoked paprika
pinch of salt and pepper
boil the rice in the water and stock for about five minutes, then set it aside
select 40 minutes and 220 degrees on the Actifry
tip everything in, shut the lid, go sit and pick your feet for forty minutes whilst it does all the hard work
On the hob route
in one pan, boil the rice in the water and stock for about five minutes, then set it aside
whilst that's cooking, gently fry off the onion and pepper for about five minutes
add the garlic and the spices and keep gently frying until everything is sweated down
add the chicken and cook for a further couple of minutes
tip the rice, stock and water into the onion pan, add everything else and pop the lid on, cooking and bubbling for forty minutes - make sure the chicken is cooked through, whatever you do!
Actifry Southern Fried Chicken! I know, listen to us, rubbing our breasts with spice (classic Newcastle behaviour that, just need a quick romp in a bus-shelter and a bag of chips and I’ll be sorted) and going on about the Actifry. You know what that means…
Yeah, I know. Usual twochubbycubs stuff applies here: we’re always honest, we don’t say it’s good for the sake of it and frankly, this Actifry Southern Fried Chicken will leave such a good taste in your yawning gob that’ll it replace the bad taste from our sponsorship. And anyway, hush, Paul has rickets from New Year and I’m putting cardboard in my shoes. What more do you want? If you want me on my knees begging, well, contact us on Grindr and make a payment.
We’ve got a couple of big posts coming over the next two including a big announcement tomorrow (!) so I won’t keep you here too long. I’ll only tell you this: how our New Year’s Resolutions are going. I’ve taken up smoking. Paul’s had two affairs and worn out his knees in the local forest (and he wasn’t looking for truffles, as you may suspect). We tried to give up terrible trash telly but Paul’s busy shouting at the telly because there’s a family with one set of teeth between them on Jeremy Kyle. Exercise is going great guns though: I split one pair of gym shorts trying to do a somersault at boot-camp and Paul had to take a seat and catch his breath from filling up his water bottle. My attempt to calm down behind the wheel came to an end the second one of the distant neighbours didn’t wave animatedly enough as I let him onto the street and it took all my strength not to back the car up at 60mph and run over his loafers. Kindness to the cats disintegrated once one of the little hellions decided the best place to put his face, including his tiny cold nose, was between the cheeks of my arse as I slept. I don’t know who screamed more: Paul at the shock of me hurtling out of bed, the cat because, instead of the rich Bovril scent he expected, he was met with a blur of chronic obesity and swearing, or me: I’ve been married twelve years and any unexpected action around the rear is both a colossal shock and an unwelcome distraction.
Anyway. Enough razzmatazz. We’ll save that for the upcoming posts.
Actifry contacted us to take part in their New Year Revolution a couple of weeks, challenging us to make something new in the Actifry. Once I’d checked that this involved absolutely no physical movement, and been reassured that no, I could do it from the comfort of my chair, we were good to go. They sent a fetching pinny (I can’t begin to tell you how hot I look: imagine someone rolled a marshmallow on a barbershop floor and stuck two boss eyes on it) which I can’t wear because it excites Paul too much when I wear a smock. He thinks he’s getting fed. Also, a wonderful plastic meal-decider which makes a charming rattle when you spin it. The good folks loved me as I shrieked through playing with that, I promise.
The Revolution (because the Actifry spins, see) was to take an old recipe or a family favourite (my own family’s favourite is bitter arguments over cheap supermarket beer, but that option wasn’t on there). We spun the spinner and landed on Southern Fried Chicken. Well, honestly: that’s easy, we spend so much time in the KFC drive-thru that they know when to rota extra staff on to cope with our order. So, off we went.
Before the recipe, the advertising bit. I know, but bear with us. If you take a gander through our old posts you’ll see we have always been advocates of the Actifry – hell, we’ve shifted enough of them via Amazon that we really ought to have shares in Tefal. But there’s a reason: they’re excellent. We chuck all sorts in ours but here’s a top tip: put your sausages in with your chips – the oil from the sausages cooks the chips, the chips roughen up the sausages and everyone is happy, including even you. Syn free chips? No bother: no oil, bit of Worcestershire sauce, beef stock cubes. Go. The Actifry cooks things nice and gently and means you can still have your favourites without all the fat and grease of a deep-fat fryer. Personally, the only deep, fat fryer I love is Ali who runs our chippy: he has a belly I could build a nest in and arms that could ‘gently persuade’ me to sleep. Sigh. One day.
You might think OH BUT I CAN GET AN AIRFRYER FROM LIDL for a tuppence and yeah, you’re right, but you’re so much better than middle-Lidl-purchases and anyway, at least this Actifry looks the business. I tire of seeing £19.99 rejects looking like bad Daft Punk cosplay littering our reader’s kitchens. What price dignity, people? Have a look under the recipe to see you can do so much more! And here’s a guide to the various Airfryers out there.
Right, let’s do this Actifry Southern Fried Chicken, shall we? Don’t want to use syns? Shame on you. You can make this syn-free though. Don’t forget if you’re having a burger, use your HEB.
Now then. We've done a KFC recipe before, we've done bits and bobs with crispy chicken, but we reckon this is the best. I mean obviously we would say that because the good folks at Actifry aren't going to give us silver if we say it's pap, but listen, we've been honest all the way through this!
Don't have an Actifry? Well, gosh. Get one. Or, do this in the oven - it'll be a wee bit soggier though. Not a huge fan of soggy breasts, usually.
five chicken thighs and four chicken breasts or whatever you want
100g panko (18 syns, but this makes enough for 6 people - and if you use panko, you can use a HEB for your breadbun and have a burger - IMAGINE SUCH LUXURY)
2 tbsp onion granules
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp garlic granules
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried sage
1 tbsp marjoram
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp ginger
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
cajun spice from the supermarket because haway, you're not that fancy to have all them spices. Bet you say ORIGANNO too
pour the panko onto a plate or shallow dish and mix together all of the other dry ingredients
crack three eggs into another shallow dish and beat (the eggs, that is)
dip the chicken into the egg and let any excess slop off
roll the chicken into the panko and herb mixture until well coated
place into an Actifry (paddle removed) and cook for 30 minutes
make into a lovely burger, have with salad, yeah right, and crack on
panko is a type of breadcrumb y0u'll find it in all the main supermarkets (head towards the 'world foods' aisle, or near the Japanese stuff). If you can't get your hands on it normal breadcrumbs will do
you can reduce the syns by using your HeA choice wholemeal bun blitzed up. It won't be as nice, but it'll work
use any chicken you like! We used thighs because they're juicy (like us) and breasts (because we wanted a burger too) but you can use whatever you want. Drumsticks and even chopped up chicken will work just as well
if you can't be fannied on with all the herbs and spices any mix will do, cajun works well in this, or chicken seasoning. The flavour will be different, but as long as you like it, who cares?
BBQ pulled chicken, if you please? This is our second competition entrant and my god I just want it so badly I’ve had to push my chair a few inches from my desk to compensate. Now, because there’s actually two recipes at play here, I’m awarding two entries! Just like my ideal Sunday. This is coming from the lovely Lisa-Leela!
Everyone who has submitted an entry, keep your eyes open! They’re starting to appear!
This is a thick, juicy BBQ sauce - if you're super anal, which I love the fact that'll appear on the Cubs' blog, you can syn the brown sugar. But come on.
½ red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed (tip: use a mini grater if you don’t have a garlic press)
1 level tbsp tomato purée
1/2 tsp cumin
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
juice of ½ lemon
1 level tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp chilli powder
few drops Tabasco sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground black pepper
Spray a small pan with whatever spray oil you like to use. On a medium heat sauté the onion until soft (about 5 mins) add garlic cook for about another minute
Reduce heat. Add tomato puree and cumin, mix for 1min. Add the canned tomatoes and all the remaining ingredients stir and cook gently until the sauce reduces and thickens to your liking (usually around 35 - 40 minutes for me)
Season to taste with salt and pepper
You can blend to make a smooth sauce or leave it as it is for a chunky bbq sauce. If you want to make a thinner sauce simply add water a spoon at a time when blending until you get the desired texture.
The sauce keeps in the fridge for 2 weeks and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
(Use half this sauce for Pulled Chicken recipe)
If you prefer a sweeter sauce you can add 2 tablespoons brown sugar when cooking but that will increase syns/calories.
Now you have the BBQ sauce, you're going to use it to make an amazing pulled chicken, which you can load into sandwiches, burgers or whatever the hell you want!
900g boneless skinless chicken (you can use a whole chicken, remove thighs, drumsticks and breasts, cut breasts into 2 or 3 pieces or use just chicken thighs, or a mix of thighs and breasts)
1 small onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1tsp smoked paprika (smoked paprika gives a much different taste to sweet and is more suitable for a barbecue flavour)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
175g homemade BBQ sauce
heat the oven to 170°c.
spray the base of a heavy pot (with a lid) with whatever spray oil you use. Place over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes or until quite soft. Add the smoked paprika and stir. Add the chicken pieces and mix well. Add salt and a couple of generous grinds of black pepper.
set 2 tbsp of the BBQ sauce aside and pour the remaining sauce into the pot. Simmer. Turn off the heat.
cover the pot with a heavy lid and put in the oven for an hour and a half. When ready move the chicken to a large bowl leaving sauce in the pot. Use two forks to finely pull the chicken apart.
while you’re shredding the chicken, put any sauce thats left in the pan onto the stove over high heat and add the 2 tbsp that you saved earlier. Bring to a boil for about 5-10mins to reduce. Pour this thickened sauce over the pulled chicken and stir. Taste and season if needed.
serve with Broghies/buns/thins/slims/coleslaw/salad/homemade oven chips or whatever you fancy. Add extra barbecue sauce on the side if you like.
Quick pad thai – we did a proper pad thai not so long since but damn it, it takes so long. So here’s a quick version. However…before we get to the recipe, I enjoyed writing those little question and answer sessions so much that we’re doing a round three – unapologetically shameless here, you know.
What inspired you to start your page?
I made a shitty comic book style montage of my nana using an iPad. This gave me the idea of doing recipes in a similar vein – we struggled on like that for a few months before people start writing to us suggesting that we actually do novel things like listing the ingredients and methods and not including pictures of my cat’s bumhole. Poor sports. We changed the style to what you see today. One thing we’re particularly proud of is the fact that the blog remains resolutely low-tech, just writing, photos and we’re done. On other blogs it takes a year and a day to actually get to the recipe, after all the shilling for Frylight, facebook groups, video adverts and other tut. You might get some nonsense with our blog about our day to day life, but I think that keeps it unique. I (personally) would rather read a bit about the owners (although not 800 words about picking tomatoes at the local market) than some impersonal SEO-fest. I was also pig sick of making SW recipes that looked like cradle cap swimming in a pool of tomato water and realised that it had to be possible to cook well, follow the guidelines and still lose weight. Whaddya know – it is (and you don’t need Sukrin, Frylight, special meat or other tut to do it!)
How long will you keep going?
You’re talking someone who managed to pop an anecdote about getting blown in a hot-tub into a recipe for baked bean lasagne. As long as there are shenanigans to report and food to make, we’ll keep going. It’s been trickier this past year because something exciting has taken up so much time, but that’s done and now we’re back. Just need some bloody holidays.
Who’s the boss in the relationship?
Paul likes to think he is, but I have the weight and height advantage, plus he’d be hard-pressed to tell you who we bank with. Hell, he’d struggle to tell you his name without checking the inside of his blazer. We have very differing argument styles though – I shout and bawl and kick off, he gets very quiet and sulky. I’m emotional, he’s barely in motion. Something like that. We tend not to argue much as we’re both too fat and lazy to make a show of ourselves, but when we go at it, it usually involves me getting huffy, tripping over my words and spitting like a stuck cat, whilst he purses his lips and drinks his tea and rattles off facts and figures from 10 years ago that entirely disprove whatever point I’m trying to make. The man can’t remember to flush the toilet after he’s had a shit (dis-gust-ting) but that type I made googly-eyes at a passing biker in 2008 is imprinted on the back of his eyelids.
What toys do you like to use in the bedroom, stairs, wherever or is it all just you two?
Now come on, I’m not answering that. This is a family blog. OK, no, a Rubik’s Cube. I like to push it into him and watch him solve it without moving his hands. It might come out smelling of spoiled meat but it’s always a spectacle. I will say this, though, couples out there – don’t be afraid to experiment. The same way you wouldn’t want the same dessert every day for the rest of your life, there’s only so many times you can smile wanly at the same Mini Milk before you fancy a Feast.
Length or girth?
Ah, the age old question. This isn’t me being diplomatic for all the button-men out there, but it really isn’t imperative to have one or the other. You can drive to the same destination in a Smart car that you can with a bus, you know. Not going to lie – girthy feels nicer knocking on the back door, lengthy is good if you want a dip-test for your stomach acid, but if you don’t know how to use it, what’s the point? The worst sex I’ve ever had was with someone whose knob was like two full size coke-cans on top of the other. It was like being mounted by a clumsy dog that was more interested in getting his dinner. So, lads, if you’re reading this, don’t focus on your size, focus on your technique. That said, I barely have a gag-reflex these days, so if there’s anyone out there who wants to come and rub my heart from the inside, please get in touch.
If you could have just one super power what would it be?
Thanos’ power, or a variant thereof – where I could click my fingers and that person would vanish from all of existence. You get to get rid of people without all of the pesky murder charges, though sweeping up the ash would be a knacker. Old ladies stood in a cluster in the supermarket? Click. Someone looking at me funny? Click. Doctor explaining that I had RSI due to all the clicking? Click. There would be hardly anyone left by half three in the afternoon – though I’d like a second click to bring the person back, as I tend to react rashly (see above). Imagine how much grovelling I’d need to do to Paul for sending him to the nether-dimension just because he didn’t hang the bog-roll up right. Failing Thanos’ power, I’d like the ability to change people’s sexuality on a whim. Imagine the fun you could have with that? Old ladies stood in a cluster in the supermarket? Clack – scissoring time. Someone looking at me funny? Clack – they want to pedal my ears and make me pregnant. Doctor explaining that I had RSI due to all the dicking? Clack. Pfft, he’d have his mouth full.
If you could only eat three things for the rest of your life what would they be?
peanut butter Haagen Daaz;
Ibuprofen – a diet consisting strictly of the above two will lead to massive strain on my knees.
Where is the next travel destination? Do you ever think you’ll be bored of traveling? Do you avoid countries that are anti gay?
Three questions, what is this? Next travel destination is Canada. I’m sure we’ll get there some day…as for getting bored of travelling? How can you – the world is waiting and there’s so many places we want to go. Even in the UK alone we could holiday somewhere new every year and not get bored. Do we avoid anti-gay places? Yeah. Mostly. We would love to go to Russia, but it takes the shine off when you run the risk of having your face smashed up just for shagging a bloke. Well, it puts Paul off, I’m all about a gamble. For a good few years we used to holiday quite conservatively but Christ, you don’t want to get to your deathbed thinking you’d wish you had seen the world. We’re not sophisticated travellers – our luggage comes from George, we stay in cheapo hotels and we spend more time than is sensible sleeping when we get to destinations, but we’ve got so many memories now that how could it not be worth doing? 2019 will be the year of 14 holidays – we managed 10 in 2017 (still need to write them up!) – and we like a challenge.
What do you both do for a living?
Have you / would you do drag? What would your drag name be?
Done it once, I looked dreadful. I had a cracking set of plastic tits mind, until someone put a cigarette out on my left boob. I’ve never felt less feminine. There’s a chap in a wheelchair who calls herself Sarah Palegic, which tickles me. I would absolutely love to see Paul in full drag just to see whether I’d be game for boffing him or not. He’s already got a smashing rack, he’s halfway there. I love proper drag. Remember our trip to see Benidorm’s premier drag-act?
OK, that’ll do it for now. No more! NO MORE. Time for a quick pad thai, if you please.
You’re here for the coronation chicken pasta salad, and who can blame you? Lunch times – when you work – are one of the hardest meals to get right when you’re on Slimming World. There’s only so many times you can crack open a tupperware box of cherry tomatoes and unwrap a Hifi bar before you seriously contemplate pushing your face into your desk-fan and ending it all. No? Just me?
Well the good news is it’s just a quick post tonight as we’ve got boot-camp to go to and these tits aren’t going to heave themselves, are they? But I do have a quick question for all the cat lovers out there: is there a reason why a perfectly standoffish cat would certainly be all over me like bird crap o a just-washed car?
I ask because that’s exactly what has happened with Bowser, our tom cat with the torn ears. He’s gone from spending his life giving me disdainful looks and wiping his arse on the carpet (particularly galling – he’s fully wormed, so he’s doing it out of spite and/or copying Paul) to hanging around me all day, mewing and purring. He seems happy enough – no obvious pain, eating his food, constantly looking cheerful, he’s given up smoking – but I can’t deny it isn’t getting irritating.
Things came to a head today when I woke up with his tiny little anus about the distance of the thickness of a stamp away from my eyes. He had decided, in his infinite, faintly-Whiskers-scented wisdom, that the first thing I needed to see when I cracked my eyes open was an extreme close-up of what looked like a drought-hit reservoir. It took me a moment or two to work it out, and you can only imagine how pleased I was that I hadn’t assumed it was Paul coming in for a kiss.
I forgave him quick enough when he turned on his tractor-purr and started padding about. He means well, and anyway, who hasn’t been so proud of their own jail purse that they want to show their nearest and dearest? It’s why I’m not welcome at weddings.
However, I can forgive many things, but not using my scrotum as a pulling-up point. See, in his haste to get up on my shoulders, he decided to climb up me as I sat nude after the shower – and rather than using his feline athleticism to leap up onto the back of my chair as he has done so many times previously, he jumped up and implanted his claws right into my ball-sack on his way up.
I’m amazed that he didn’t explode Scanners-style, given how high-pitched and immediate my reaction was. He dashed out into the garden whilst I tried to work out how I’d gone from approving posts on facebook to staggering around with a punctured spunk-bunker. Thank god I don’t need to worry about my fertility.
Anyway. All is well. I sat on a bag of peas for a bit (Paul can have them in his dinner, they’ll come with free dental-floss for after) and thankfully, everything still seems to work. At 4pm the cat came back in and, looking as compunctious as a cat can be, spent the next hour rubbing against my legs and purring until I picked him up and placed him back on my shoulder.
Listen, you can chuck anything into a salad like this, but we've kept it simple. If you want to drop the syns, leave out the mango chutney or get rid of the sultanas, but listen: this makes six massive portions, and the syns make it so much better. You'll enjoy this coronation chicken pasta salad more for using proper ingredients, trust me.
You can leave out the chicken if you want to keep costs down!
500g of macaroni pasta
220g of Philadelphia Lightest (this is 2 HEAs - so you're using a third of your HEA...up to you if you just want to sneak it through - gasp!)
1 tablespoon of mild curry powder
4 tbsp of mango chutney (6 syns)
200g of fat-free natural yoghurt
50g sultanas (7 syns)
1/2 cucumber, deseeded and diced
2 celery sticks, diced
juice of half a lemon
two chicken breasts, cooked and diced/shredded (feel free to leave this out)
pinch of salt
So that's thirteen syns between six servings - let's call it two syns each. These are big portions!
well I mean, come on
cook the pasta, drain it and run a load of cold water through it so it doesn't stick
chop the celery, chicken and cucumber (remove the seeds)
mix everything together in a giant bowl
so how easy was that?
this will keep in the fridge for a few days, but good luck not picking away at it - ours didn't last more than two days...
we got the base of this recipe from BBC Good Food, and adapted it a little to add taste