stuffed onions and a revelation

You want a recipe for stuffed onions – listen, I understand – you can find it just below the next few paragraphs of gibberish. 

Firstly, welcome to all our new subscribers. Not sure what has happened but we seem to have gained over 800 subscribers in the space of a few weeks! Goodness. Just a quick bit of admin before we get started – we’re not Slimming World consultants, so everything we say shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but we have been following the plan for years and are confident our recipes stack up syn-wise. We’re obliged to tell you that we’re definitely not Slimming World Official though. Which is good, as it means I can say fuck. Thank fuck!

Secondly, I know, we’re terrible. We went away on another holiday. Because Berlin, Ireland, Corsica, Iceland and New York just weren’t enough. One of the benefits of homosexuality, see, pink disposable income and no money-draining children to look after. The extent of our responsibility is to make sure that we leave the cats plenty of food to be getting on with and leaving instructions with our lovely neighbours for the alarm code. To be fair, it has been a bit of a topsy-turvy couple of weeks and we needed a break. We decamped to glorious Cornwall for a few days in a lovely cottage with an outdoor bath, and you can be assured that I’ll rattle off a couple of entries of our thoughts on that in due course.

However, we must take a moment to stop with the gurning and sarcasm and be serious for a moment. You’re going to laugh because I’m sure long-term readers will have read sentiments like this several times over on this blog, but we’re recommitted. We had a run of ‘big events’ at the end of March – birthday, a death, a hen party, a work night out, which then followed by a holiday means a big gain. This can’t go on! We can’t keep losing weight for a few weeks and then hoying it all back on in a glut of naughty food and too much alcohol. 

Well, Paul and I have both had that moment of realisation. A simultaneous awakening. I picked up a sack of potatoes in Morrisons (my life isn’t always this cosmopolitan) and realised it weighed five stone. Realistically, I could probably stand to lose one and a half of these sacks. It’s no wonder I ache all the time carrying around all this extra fat – I have arthritis and I should give my joints a rest. I’m tired of getting out of what I thought was an empty bath only for half the bathwater that was dammed behind my back fat suddenly appear with a loud fart noise. I’m sick of worrying whenever I get on an aeroplane that:

  1. the seatbelt won’t fit;
  2. I’ll be sat next to someone who will tut and sigh when he sees me stumbling down the aisle; and
  3. if the plane crashes, I’ll pop the escape slide on the way down, although the resulting blast of air might put out the fire, so perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.

I’m genuinely sad that I have to buy my clothes from online piano-dressers Jacamo or, if I’m lucky, I might find a shirt hidden right at the back of the rail in Tesco that doesn’t make me look like a hot air balloon crash. As I reckon a lot of fat people do, I’m constantly worried that I’m sweaty or that I smell. Which is ridiculous. I wear Tom Ford, for goodness sake. I’m horrendously unfit too – I get out of breath when my mind wanders, let alone a long country walk. More importantly, if I carry on – and if I haven’t already – I’m going to wreck my body and die young. I don’t want to die young, I want to be an old man who shouts at children and releases silent farts on public transport. To be fair, I do both now, but I want to be able to pretend to be deaf to the cries of my fellow passengers.

I know Paul feels the same, and then some. See, whereas I have a decent height to carry off my weight, so at least don’t look like a sphere with a face drawn on it, Paul came up short in the lottery of legs and looks like a wee egg in Build-a-Bear shoes. My dad, always the joker, described Paul as a skip. That’s my dad’s humour (and where I get it from) but Paul will cheerfully agree that he is skip-like – certainly, you can put anything into him without resistance. That’s come in handy during our marriage. I’d love my husband if he became so fat that he collapsed in on himself and turned into a puddle of Crisp ‘n’ Dry and gristle, but as it stands, we’re racing each other to the grave. He’s been told he has a fatty liver – personally, I’d be surprised if his liver didn’t have a butter-top like a breakfast crumpet – and he’s also been recommended to try Orlistat, which immediately and secretly voids any ingested fat out of your anus. We’re refusing on the grounds that we’ve just bought a new car and sofa and the last thing we need is carrot-orange liquid fat seeping out of his underwear. We buy our briefs from Tesco, they’re hardly going to keep the floods back. 

We did have a discussion about continuing with Slimming World, though. Deep down, I do feel that the plan is a little too restrictive and yes, whilst it certainly gets results, there’s a lot of rebounding that goes on with the diet. I’ve seen many, many ‘success stories’ fill out and slip back over the years. I sometimes feel that if we simply followed the calories out being more than calories in rule, we’d probably lose and – whisper it – enjoy it more. I hate the fact that an avocado – a perfectly healthy, good for you snack – has more syns than a Kitkat. I dislike the fact that you’re actively encouraged to almost bathe in Muller Lights, despite them being absolutely loaded with sweetener and sugar – but a drop of honey is dreadful. Plus, it’s all a bit twee. I’m not a fan of the nuclear smiles and the edifying, cloying language used in the magazines and books, either. 

However, it’s what we know, and what we write about, so we’re going to really give it a go. Increase our speed foods. Keep a food diary. Exercise more. Stop being lazy. I’m not promising a post a day but hell, we’ve got several lined up, so stay tuned. I’ll even dust off the knobometer at some point, but not until we’re back to the weight we last left it at. 

Oh: we have Fitbit Charge HRs now – these measure our steps, heart-rate and sleep patterns. My Charge HR’s heartbeat monitor was going mad as I took it out of the box but that’ll be the shock of paying for the fucking thing. If you want to add us as friends, look for and and go from there. If you’re on the fence about Fitbits, get one. What’s the worst that’ll happen? It does look like the world’s chicest bail tag but hey. I’m just glad it got all the way around my wrist – I would have hated to have to email asking for an extension. You can pick one up from Amazon by clicking here – all the various options are set out clearly. Give it a go! When we figure it out, we’ll set up some twochubbycubs challenges and you can win a branded pinny or something.

Finally, thanks all for entering into the spirit of things and giving our Musclefood competition a go – I’ll be drawing out the lucky name tomorrow and sending an email to the winner in the next couple of days. If you’ve entered, keep your eyes open!

Let’s get to the food then, eh? Stuffed onions! No really. Hear me out.

stuffed onions

Don’t they look pretty? We served ours on a bed of couscous because we’re all frou-frou like that. Do you see what I did there? This makes enough mixture to fill six decent sized onions. We used large white onions from Morrisons – they’re an actual thing, not just a description – proper white onions. But you can do this with any large onion, though obviously if it’s a bog-standard onion it’ll be very oniony. Yes.

to make stuffed onions, you’ll need:

  • one 400g pack of extra-lean beef mince (like the ones you get in our fantastic freezer filling Musclefood deal that we’ve secured exclusively for you – click here for that!)
  • six large white onions
  • 125g of chopped onion, which you can take from the onions you cook with
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced using a fabulous mincer like this one from Amazon
  • pinch of cayenne
  • beef stock cube
  • 1 egg
  • one small wholemeal breadbun (HEB) turned into breadcrumbs
  • optional: chopped peppers, mushrooms, peas

and to make stuffed onions, you should:

  • turn the oven onto 190 degrees
  • to prepare each onion – cut the top and bottom off the onion so that it can sit ‘upright’, with the hole at the top being wide enough to get a tablespoon into – then slowly scoop out the centre of the onion using your spoon. It’s far easier than it sounds, though a messy job. You’ll get a couple of layers out and then you can actually squeeze the rest out, leaving a thick layer on the outside – cover the hole at the bottom with a bit of onion and there you go, onions you can stuff – I stood mine up in a Yorkshire pudding tray so they didn’t tumble over
  • to make the stuffing – fry off the onion and garlic gently until golden, adding the pepper, cayenne and salt as you go – I use a few squirts of Filipo Berio rather than Frylight, boo – up to you if you syn this half syn between four people. If you do, get out now, you’re not for this blog
  • add the mushrooms, peppers or peas if you’re using them
  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • crumble over the beef stock cube
  • whilst everything is hot, crack the egg into the mince and stir vigorously – you don’t want scrambled eggs
  • add the breadcrumbs
  • spoon into the onions, making them nice and packed, and cook for around thirty minutes until golden – keep an eye to make sure they don’t burn!

Enjoy. Serve with speed foods on the side, naturally.

We’re back!


popcorn chicken plus new york: part two

You’re here for the popcorn chicken – of course you are. Quite right too, because it’s bloody delicious and has the benefit of not using bloody Smash. But before we get to that, there’s the little problem of getting a New York entry in. As you know, my holiday trip reports are always fairly long, so you might wear out the scroller on your mouse if you’re desperate for the popcorn chicken. Ah well. Send the bill to the good folk at Cry Me A River Inc. and crack on. You’ll find part one of our trip  and, if you buy our book, all of our previous holiday reports are there in one place, including Corsica, Ireland and Germany, where I exposed my arse to a whole platform of waiting train passengers. Yes! You can buy that here. By the way – if you’ve already bought the book and enjoyed it, please leave us a review on Amazon – you have no idea how happy that makes me. Not as happy as you buying several copies and giving them out electronically to friends but you know, let’s make do. Let’s head back to New York, then…

twochubbycubs go to New York, part two

After landing at JFK and undergoing the most intimidating entry interview I’ve ever faced (normally I’m not asked many questions prior to anyone admitting me entry, rather just a plea to be gentle and to call them after) (pfft!) (or rather whoooooooo….) (work that out) (jeez, this is a lot of bracketed thoughts), we were on our way. We decided that, rather than paying a billion dollars for a taxi to our hotel, we’d be savvy and streetwise and take the subway, not least because the subway is famous and exciting. I say exciting, there was a TV playing in the station whose main headline was ‘SEVENTH SLEEPING SOUL SLASHED IN SUBWAY’. Now, I’m all for alliteration and sharp headlines, but knife attacks aren’t usually an enticement to travel. Nevertheless, we ploughed on, trying to figure out what ticket we needed to buy for the week to get us from JFK and then afford us travel throughout the network all week. God knows what we bought – I was hustled into buying something in a newsagent by a strident sounding lady who was more weave than woman. The tickets worked in the barrier (after much ‘PUT IT THAT WAY, YOU’VE GOT IT THE WRONG WAY, NO YOU NEED IT PARALLEL TO THE Y-AXIS, YOU STUPID ASSHOLE!) and we were on our way. Hooray! At the risk of sounding like a hipster twat, I like to take the subway rather than taxis because I feel it adds to the experience.

Sadly, I was stabbed in the lung and spent the rest of the holiday in an American hospital being shook from my ankles until the coins fell out of my pocket.

I jest. After a couple of transfers and a brief interlude to watch a genuinely crazy man shouting and bawling into a litter-bin, we arrived at 34th Street – Penn Station. I don’t know what had caused the shouting man such ire but by God that bin had infuriated him. I find it remarkable that Paul and I can find our way around any foreign subway system given all we have to practice on up here is the Tyne and Wear Metro, which consists entirely of two lines and spends more time being apologised for than actually going anywhere. I used it briefly for about two months but eventually made it to my destination. Anyway, I digress.  We climbed a set of stairs, exited the station and goodness me, what a shock. Everything is so tall. That may seem ridiculous to you, I don’t know, but I hadn’t realised almost every building in the streets would be so many storeys – it creates the illusion of feeling a bit bunkered down – but not claustrophobic. I was expecting the streets to be busy, and they were, but I never felt as though I was in the way – which when you consider that combined Paul and I take up as much room as a modern housing development, is quite something. 

Our hotel, the Wyndham New Yorker, was over the road, and we hastened across, taking care to observe the flashing white man (who wouldn’t?) to permitted us to cross. Given my experience with the officers upon entry I didn’t fancy getting banged up for jaywalking, though it didn’t stop anyone else. The crossing was absolutely filled with cars coming from all directions, pedestrians, suitcases, people asking for money and a horse. Not people asking for a horse, rather, just a horse. Naturally. We had picked the New Yorker on a whim – it looked pleasant enough and the location was perfect, but that was the limit of our research. Well, it was delightful. It’s an art-deco hotel, opened in 1930 and not modernised too much – the lifts are grand, the lobby massive, the staff all well-to-do and pleasant and the plumbing clearly hasn’t been touched since the first brick was put down. I’ll touch on that in a moment. We checked in and were directed to our room on the 27th floor. I was sure that meant a penthouse or a decent suite but that was soon dispelled when we got into the lift and realised there were 43 floors. Boooo! We had sent ahead and mentioned it was our anniversary and I’d gone so far to book the room as Professor J Surname rather than plain old Mr, but nope. Ah well. Our room was perfunctory – pleasant, but nothing you’d write home about. You’d have a hard job given there was no writing desk or pens. The TV was small and the bed was so lumpy that I had to check we weren’t lying on top of the previous guests, but it was clean and warm and had an excellent view. We bravely set about emptying our suitcases into the tiny wardrobe (with four coat-hangers – we had to call down for more, I felt so stereotypical) and then immediately shoving everything we could possibly lift into the suitcase. It’s just the done thing to do.


They did do this to the bed though. D’aww. Don’t worry, the romance didn’t last – the sheets looked like a Jackson Pollock within 10 minutes.

I wish I could tell you that we spent the evening out in the glitz and glamour of New York, but, somewhat jet-lagged, we opted to stay in the room watching Wheel of Fortune and eating Jolly Ranchers. We both feel asleep almost immediately and didn’t wake again until 6am the next morning, where I was alarmed to find a half-sucked blue raspberry Jolly Rancher had tumbled out of my sleep-open mouth and into my hair. I’m a classy guy.

So, at 6am in the city that never sleeps, where do you go? I’m ashamed to say we spent a lot of our holiday time doing the really obvious sites, but listen, you can’t go to New York and not take in the obvious. To that end, this whole trip report will be a series of ticks off the list. We started the day right by nipping into the Tick Tock Diner right next to the hotel for a breakfast – I showed British restraint, having only three eggs, corned beef hash, sausages, bacon (it’s not bloody bacon, it looks like grilled hangnails, but nevermind) and toast on the side. My eggs came covered in cheese which should tell you everything you need to know about breakfasting in New York. It was AMAZING. Paul had pancakes – great big lumps of dough and syrup which he seemed remarkably content with. His eyes glazed over, but I reckon that could have been the maple syrup pushing through from the back like shampoo on a sponge. We finished our meal, paid the bill with a slight grimace (I had forgotten it was obligatory to tip over in America – I nearly always do anyway, even in England, but I do so hate how I’m forced to tip) and we were on our way.

First stop – the Statue of Liberty, which immediately set Paul off going ‘I THINKA CAN SEE THE STACHOO OF LIBERTAAY AL-A-READY‘ like that tiny Italian man from Titanic. There were a lot of Titanic quotes on this day. A good friend of mine had recommended I book everything well in advance, so we had tickets booked for Statue Cruises which set off from Battery Park. Once on the island we had a choice of going up to her crown, just into the general minge level or walking around the outside. We had opted for the minge option (I think they call it Pedestal Level) and were very much looking forward to it, so much so that we arrived an hour early. Oops. I entertained myself by going for a poo in the park toilets, which is always a terrifying experience in America as they like to leave a giant gap down the side of the doors plus make the door itself the size of a postage stamp. This is just awful – you end up desperately trying not to make any eye-contact with passing folks as you’re busy pushing brown. I get that it’s to stop cottaging and drug-taking but come on, people like a bit of privacy whilst they poop. Just look!


Actually, that doesn’t quite convey the creepiness. One sec.


Brrr. After a poo each and a good cup of coffee, we noticed our boat was coming in and so made our way through the security check, removing our belt for what would be the first of many, many times throughout this holiday, and dealing with customer service people who hated their jobs and everyone involved in it. I wear this necklace:


and the charming woman on security held it up for everyone to look at and asked me ‘it’s meaning’. I almost said OOHO IT’S A BIT OF VIV WESTWOOD LOVE’ but didn’t. I wear it because I like it, and it’s quite literally the only piece of designer anything I own. I’m too fat for designer clothes and too poor for designer furniture, so I can only have nice jewellery and shoes. And I buy my shoes from the same place I buy my toilet roll, so, you know. I wasn’t expecting to have to justify it to someone who had clearly only just remembered to have a shave that morning. She waved us through. Paul never gets any bother with security and he’s got half a bloody Meccano set keeping his arm together since he gashed it open on a discarded shopping trolley half-submerged in a ditch in Peterborough, or as they like to call it, a ‘child’s play area’. Our boat docked and about ten thousand people appeared from nowhere to disembark, pitching the boat at a perilous angle where I genuinely thought it was going over. Of course it wasn’t, but what’s life without melodrama. We boarded and were on our way in no time at all.


The cruise, such as it is, takes fifteen minutes, which afforded Paul enough time to discover a snack shop and buy us a cup of coffee that had seemingly come fresh from the sun. My lips blistered just taking the lid off the cup. Let me save you some money – if you’re going to New York, unless you’re massively fussed about seeing the statue up close and finding out more about it in the  museum, you don’t need to visit the old bird. Take the Staten Island ferry and see it from the water – it’ll cost you next to nothing and you won’t have to push children overboard indulge in a scrum to get on and off the boat. We love a good nosey around a museum though so we were champion, cooing and oohing our way around various cases and replicas of her giant toes. She certainly didn’t have a problem with an ingrown toenail – oh how I envied her. If you’re squeamish, skip the next paragraph. In fact, I’m going to hide the next paragraph so it’s only visible if you highlight it!

I remember once holidaying in France with an ingrown toenail so bad that my toe actually exploded in my trainer on a hot day, showering my sock with pus and a dead nail. The relief I felt though – no sex has ever come close to that feeling. Not quite grossed out enough? I used to let the family dog clean my toe because I was told a dog’s tongue has antiseptic qualities and he seemed to enjoy it! Eee, that’ll be me straight to hell now. Still, he did a great job until he died of advanced sepsis two months later.

I know, gross right? I’m so sorry. Poor Oscar.

We bought a tiny replica of the statue, took a few upskirt pictures of the old bird and then fannied about with the telescopes for a bit. It was a lovely day – warm but springlike and fresh, perfect for the massive wool coat I was wearing. At least I had my magma-esque coffee to cool me off.  Then, back onto the boat for a short hop over to Ellis Island, an optional freebie excursion where you can see the famous Immigrant Inspection Station and the housing and suchlike. It was all very interesting indeed but at this point our crippling obesity was beginning to play havoc with our ankles and we needed a good old fashioned sit-down, so we went into the little restuarant and seemingly emptied my wallet in exchange for two club sandwiches the size of my arm. We sat down and immediately regretted it as we had a talker immediately to our left, an octogenarian with a lot to say. We couldn’t ignore him because he seemed lonely.  ‘So where you guys from’ was his opening gambit, and when I replied with ‘Newcastle, England’ he took such a gasp of air that I almost gave him his last rites, thinking perhaps an errant crisp had lodged in his windpipe. No, it was just genuine surprise which didn’t subside when I explained it really wasn’t that far and we didn’t row across the Atlantic. He then kept us at the table for a good half hour, clutching my arm every time we made to leave. To be fair, he was actually very interesting and my ability to make small-talk never failed me, so the time flew by, but we did miss our boat back, meaning we had to spend another hour on the tiny island, trying to keep out of view of this old chap. I felt like I was sneaking into America myself. 

After Ellis Island we got the boat back over to Battery Park and decided to take a walk over to where the Twin Towers used to be and where the new One World Trade Centre tower now stood. Let me say this – although it is easier to walk to places in New York rather than fannying about on their labyrithine subway system, make sure you gauge the distances before you set off. We ended up with feet like corned beef by the end of the holiday. It’s more interesting though, seeing a city on foot. That’s what I told Paul as he poured blood out of his shoes.


Nothing can be said on the Twin Towers disaster that hasn’t already been said, but I’ll add my own thoughts. It’s always been something abstract – images on the TV or in the papers – and whilst utterly horrific and downright barbaric, I’ve never been able to actually get my head around it. Standing there then in the shadow of the new tower, with the two massive memorial pools in front of us, it actually hit home. Imagining not one but two of these towers falling into the street and the absolute mayhem and terror that would bring, well, we both actually got emotional. You need to understand – the only time I think I’ve seen Paul cry was when I hid his selection box at Christmas or when I clipped a peg onto his bumhair and accidentally nicked his sphincter. You stand at the bottom of this tower and look up and you can’t see the top. Imagine that the other way around and knowing you had to jump down to your death or burn. Horrendous. 

We entered the new tower and boarded the lift up to the 102nd floor which was an experience all in itself – 102 floors in less than 60 seconds, with the lifts being made from a 360 degree set of TV screens which model New York in front of you. I’ve done a shit job of explaining that, so here, take a look:

Come on now, that was something special. After leaving the lift, you’re taken to a row of cardboard cut-outs of skyscrapers in a darkened room, upon which a cheesy video about New York was projected. Naturally, being a cynic, I was about to moan to Paul that we’d paid $100 to watch a movie when suddenly everything in front of us rose out of view and was replaced with floor to ceiling glass windows, affording us the most incredible view. My flabber could not have been more gasted. It’s initially very disorientating as you forget you’re so high up until New York is revealed before you like a magician’s trick, but it’s genuinely wonderful. We spent an age walking around taking pictures that we’ll never look at again, like everyone else, before nipping up to the bar for a cocktail.


Are you sitting down? Our two cocktails cost $58. Yes, you could get a glass of tap water but fuck it, we were on holiday and it was money well-spent, although such very strong alcohol combined with the natural swaying of the building leads to a slightly unsettling experience. Here’s a couple of pictures.



The lift down was as fun as the lift going up and let me tell you, we were genuinely impressed with the whole experience. There was no gung-ho over-the-top patriotism like we expected, we weren’t forced to pay extra for stuff time and time again, and the views made it completely worthwhile. I’d recommend this in a heartbeat. We spent half an hour looking around the memorial pools and that’s another thing that seems odd – it’s so quiet. No-one is shouting or running around, just quietly paying respects. Roses are left pushed into people’s names that have been etched into the shiny black marble that surrounds the pools. It’s tasteful and thought-provoking. Not so much for a couple of very prissy knobheads who decided to treat the experience like a fashion show, lying across the memorials, draping their scarves on one another, squealing and clapping and generally being obnoxious dicks (and hell, that’s my job on holiday, surely?). We ruined a good number of their photographs as a petty revenge, walking behind them and into shot with stupid expressions on our faces, until I tired of the game and whispered loudly as we walked past that ‘they should show some fucking respect and stop being selfish boys’. I may not have used the word boys. I might have said something that rhymed with punts. The photographer of the two went squealing over to the other and they stalked off in a huff. Way man. A bit of respect, that’s all.

OK goodness me, we’ve hit the 3000 word mark. Let’s stop there! Popcorn chicken, then…this makes enough for two.

baked popcorn chicken

to make baked popcorn chicken, you need:

to make baked popcorn chicken, you should:

  • stick the oven onto 170 degrees and get it warm
  • cook the quinoa by tipping it into a pan with the stock, bringing to the boil and then covering and simmering for around 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed – keep an eye on it mind
  • meanwhile, prepare a sandwich bag with your flour, onion powder, salt and pepper inside, beat your egg in a bowl and cut up your chicken into tiny bites
  • once the quinoa is done, let it cool for five minutes and then fluff the fuck out of it with a fork
  • then, begin the assembly – dip the chicken in the egg, then the flour and spice mix, then the quinoa, mashing it onto the chicken 
  • place all your coated chicken pieces on a grease-proof paper lined tray (or frylight it) and bake for fifteen minutes or so
  • serve with sides of your choice – we went with BBQ beans and chips
  • if you’re wondering where we got the fancy little chip basket, it was on Amazon – click here!

YES. You could make this with Smash but so what? You could build a house using dildoes and toothpaste, doesn’t mean you should. Follow the recipe and enjoy!


slow cooker: beary beery barley beef stew

We’re having a quiet night tonight for two reasons – we’re both extremely tired due to us having different (but equally terrifying) nightmares last night that kept us awake – mine (Paul) involved a nuclear war, his had something about an old woman. I weren’t really listening. There’s nowt more boring than listening to someone else’s dreams.

Tonight’s recipe is naturally incredibly butch. I know it looks like something that fell out my arse, but trust me – this is truly delicious and just perfect for a cold night. If you have kiddiwinks and want to give them this, feel free to go ahead – the booze will boil off, and anyway, there’s not much tipple in here anyway so even the weakest lightweight won’t even have an eyelid flutter. This is also perfect for all the fans of slow cookers out there, which judging from our inbox asking for recipes must include nearly every one of you! 


to make beary beery barley beef stew you will need:

  • 400g lean stewing beef, cubed – Musclefood have come through for us – you can get BUY ONE GET ONE FREE on their beef chunks (already cheap and no fat) by clicking here, entering the code TCCHUNKS at the checkout
  • 1 onion (brown works best here but a red onion will still be okay)
  • 500g mixed root vegetables of your choice (we used carrots, parnips and a turnip)
  • ½ pint pale ale (we used Brew Dog’s Dead Pony Club, and very nice it was too) (about 4 syns)
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 750ml beef stock
  • bouquet garni

to make beary beery barley beef stew you should:

  • chop everything up into chunks – the root vegetables should be no bigger than the size of your thumb
  • pour everything together into the slow cooker and heat on low for 8-10 hours
  • that’s it!


quinoa porridge with roasted tomatoes and garlic

Didn’t get to sleep until 4am this morning. Was woken by Shaddapa Your Face at 7am. Brief entry. But you’ll note that we are still to let you down with our recipe-a-day. Proud of that one! 

Tonight’s recipe was something we’d seen somewhere, written down, then completely forgotten about until a bag of quinoa cheerfully fell out of the cupboard. Quinoa is one of those things that looks awful (to me) but tastes fine. Give this a go – it’s comforting and piss-easy to make.

quinoa porridge with roasted tomatoes and garlic

to make quinoa porridge with roasted tomatoes, you’ll need:

  • 250g quinoa
  • 1.1 litres vegetable stock
  • 90g reduced-fat feta cheese (2x HEA)
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 10g mint leaves, chopped to bits
  • salt

then to make quinoa porridge with roasted tomatoes, you should:

  • place the quinoa in a saucepan, add the stock and bring to the boil
  • reduce the heat to medium and cook gently for about 25 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally until it reaches a porridge-like consistency
  • fold in the feta chunks like a kind, careful lover
  • add the tomatoes into a hot oiled pan and cook for about five minutes, stirring once or twice so the sides become charred
  • add the garlic slices and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn
  • transfer the tomatoes and garlic into a bowl, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt and some black pepper
  • chop the mint and fold through tomatoes immediately before serving
  • spoon the porridge into a bowl, and top with the tomatoes

Easy. Yeah, it’s a bit ‘my husband works in the city and I’ve got an etsy page selling bunting made from spider dreams and melancholy’ but it’s worth it.


black bean and quinoa burgers

I managed to make a tit of myself today in a garden centre, and not just because I’m a 30 year old lad who’ll actively choose to go to a garden centre on a Sunday afternoon. What can I say, I like the variety – where else can you go and buy a new connector for a hosepipe, a double DVD box set of Das Boot and Last of the Summer Wine and a white chocolate florentine? Years ago I would have rather ran a power-sander over the tip of my cock than schlep around sniffing flowers and Yankee Candles, but I’m getting old now.

Can we take a moment to discuss Yankee Candles? Now, and this will come as no surprise to anyone, I don’t mind a scented candle, but can someone explain to me how they come up with the names for their ‘scents’? Red Raspberry I can understand, but who decides what a ‘Wedding Day’ smells like (disappointing sausage rolls and regretful sex?) or indeed, what the hell ‘New Born’ is? To me a ‘New Born’ candle should smell like placenta, chyme and the crushing realisation you’ll never have your life to yourself again, but the good folk at Yankee  Candle seem to think it smells like a urinal cake. Ah well.

We were there trying to find some suitable garden furniture for the new patio we’ve had built in the back garden. This is proving tricky in itself. All we want is a decent hardwood table and chairs. There’s no point in getting anything that needs to be brought in over the winter because we’re simply far too lazy and it’ll just to be left to rot. We had three pairs of boxer shorts hanging on our rotary drier all though Christmas last year because we kept meaning to bring them in. It was only when a particularly strong January wind blew one pair  onto next door’s greenhouse roof that we took action.

There’s no point in getting anything plastic either, because it looks absolutely awful, and you just know the very second our arse touches the seat it’ll splinter into individual atoms with a loud enough crack to blow the windows in over the road and rattan isn’t going to work either because it’ll give too much under our weight and end up looking like a knackered shopping bag after three or four lazy Sundays.

So yes: hardwood, oak preferably. The garden centre didn’t cater for such a ridiculous notion as decent garden furniture but it did have a very comfortable little fabric sun-lounger on show. Of course, me being me, I had to have a go, and I poured myself in like one might tip a jelly out of a mould. It was grand, save for the fact that, thanks to my weight, the fabric pretty much ensconced me like a venus-fly-trap and it soon became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to get back out unassisted. Bearing in mind it was fairly busy and Paul was busy in the candles bit trying to figure out what the fuck ‘A Child’s Wish’ smells like, I had to free myself using only my own steam, especially as I couldn’t swing my legs out as the crotch on the jeans I was wearing had split a few weeks ago and I wasn’t entirely confident I was wearing underwear that wouldn’t have shown my balls to the world.

So – turns out the easiest way is simply to swing to one side and tip the whole lounger over until I was wearing it on my back like a turtle and then throw it off. The whole process was over in less than ten seconds but my face was burning so brightly that I’m surprised Paul’s ‘Felching Remains’ Yankle Candle didn’t set itself away and take out his nosehair. We left immediately, hurtling out of the entrance hiding our faces like a disgraced politician entering court. So that was that.

I’ll need to crack on with the recipe now as the rest of the evening is going to be spent pulling up the god-awful carpet that haunts this house in anticipation of our fabulous new carpet that arrives tomorrow. I genuinely can’t wait. Words cannot describe how god-awful the current one is, it’s no wonder the previous occupant chose to die on the toilet in the bathroom rather than face-down in this shag, you’d never find a body.

So, black bean and quinoa burgers then…

black bean and quinoa burgers

to make the black bean and quinoa burgers you need (makes six burgers):

  • 1 tin of black eyed beans (drained) (Tesco, 55p)
  • 65g quinoa (£2.35 for 300g in Tesco, so I’m calling 50p)
  • ½ red onion (7p)
  • ½ wholemeal roll, made into breadcrumbs (use one from a pack of six and the remainder of the six to put your burgers (65p)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (10p from the bulb you’ve been using for the rest of the recipes)
  • 50ml of lime juice (you can buy a 250ml bottle for 85 – 17p used)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • ½ tsp cumin (if you’ve got it)
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes (if you’ve got it)
  • ¼ tsp black pepper (if you’ve got it)

34p a burger!

to make the black bean and quinoa burgers , you should:

  • add the quinoa and 250ml water to a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat for about fifteen minutes (or until nearly all the water is absorbed)
  • meanwhile, add a tsp of oil to a frying pan over a medium heat and gently sweat the chopped onion until softened
  • in a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, onion and black beans, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, lime juice and seasonings
  • mix by hand, gently mashing the beans with your hands slightly
  • when mixed, divide the portion into six and shape into burgers – if it feels a little wet you can add more breadcrumbs (though watch the syns!)
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and add one tbsp of olive oil or squirt your frylight like a boss
  • cook the burgers for about 4 minutes each side
  • assemble!

Syn-free as long as you HEB the breadbun. Up to you if you think half a bun between six for the breadcrumbs is worth synning but we’re talking half a syn at most.

to gussy it up:

  • de-vegetarian the meal – make it with chicken, bacon and dashed hopes
  • add rocket
  • add a range of tomatoes

to cheapen it further:

  • the spices add flavour, but you can make do with a bit of salt and pepper
  • hmmm…



bulgur wheat salad with superfree veg

Just a quick post tonight because, frankly, we’re pooped. James started screeching at half-one this morning about a plinky-plonky noise coming from the guttering and a bright light (it was either the thunderstorm outside or he was having a stroke) and I just couldn’t settle after that. To be fair, normally it’s me who keeps us awake with my excessive flatus or the fact I can’t sleep without pouring half of my fat over James like the world’s sweatiest blanket. He loves it.

So – just a quick ‘un and tonight it’s a rather nice summer delight – lots of bright colours and perfect for the hot weather. It’s also very filling and piss easy to make. Not going to lie, this only came about because the packet of bulgur wheat left over from the other week kept falling out of the cupboard and we were too lazy to transfer it into a Kilner jar.

This salad would be handy to take in for a working lunch (if you’re a working girl) (haha) as it keeps the flavour very well indeed, but, I think it would be best served alongside something with a bit of sauce – why not use it to mop up that “delicious” Slimming World curry that Iceland do? Anyway.

Here’s what to do:

bulgur wheat superfree

you’ll need this

  • 340g bulgur wheat (or quinoa if you’re a ponce, but we can’t get away with quinoa since James said they look like tiny bleached bumholes)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 carrot, chopped into tiny cubes
  • 1 red/orange pepper, chopped
  • handful of frozen peas
  • 100g mushrooms, chopped
  • salt

and you’ll need to do this:

  • rinse the bulgur wheat (or quinoa) in a sieve and add to a pan of cold water
  • bring to a boil, chuck in either a veg stock cube or a chicken stock cube, then cover and reduce the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes (or until cooked)
  • in a separate pan gently cook the chopped onion in a little oil over a medium heat until slightly golden
  • add the ginger and stir gently for about thirty seconds
  • add the chopped mushroom to the pan and cook until softened
  • add the peas and carrots along with a pinch of salt, stirring frequently
  • add the peppers to the pan and continue to stir
  • once everything has softened add the drained bulgur wheat (or quinoa) and mix well
  • serve with some mint to garnish




rainbow bulgur wheat salad with bacon and feta

Very quick post tonight as I’m going to work (hooray) to do overtime (hooray) and we’ve still got all of our boring, humdrum Sunday chores to do – such as watching Judge Rinder, playing Trivial Pursuit and ignoring our ironing. Slight moment of excitement when a police van came tearing into the cul-de-sac before, displaying a flagrant disregard for the neighbourhood SLOW CHILDREN sign, which I’ve always thought was a very apt description of the snotty-faced little life-leeches that occasionally visit. Of course everyone was immediately up out of their armchair peering through their nets to see what the deal was. Tsk. So nosy. I of course had to take that moment to immediately nip into the back garden and try to listen in hang out the washing. I didn’t hear anything and no-one was arrested.

Upon my return, Paul pointed out that I’d dashed into the back garden in such a rate of knots that I was still wearing my Spongebob Squarepants onesie from ASDA, plus it was drizzling so not exactly outside drying weather – hardly the most subtle of moves. Ah well. I’m too fat to be subtle. Here’s today’s recipe – it tasted amazing considering it’s such a simple mix of ingredients. It would package up nicely for an office lunch so why not make double and take a few extra portions in throughout the week? Urgh I sound like Delia Smith or something. Don’t worry, I awkwardly shoehorn in a reference to ejaculate in the recipe, so we’re alright.

You could easily omit the bacon  from this salad recipe and go veggie. But I mean, we’re not animals here.

rainbow salad

you’ll be needing these:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut into small 1cm cubes
  • a couple of drops of olive oil
  • 3 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 250g of bulgur wheat (substitute couscous if you prefer)
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 tin of red kidney beans
  • handful of chopped coriander, but feel free to leave this out if like me you think it tastes of soapy balls
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • a bunch of spring onions – cut up the green part as well as the white
  • 6 bacon medallions
  • 65g of reduced fat feta (cut into tiny cubes)

and you’ll need to do this:

  • preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius
  • in a bowl mix together the potato cubes, 2 tsp paprika, cumin seeds and salt with a drop of olive oil (or Frylight if you prefer) and toss (the potatoes) until the potatoes are evenly coated
  • spread the potato cubes out onto a foil-lined baking tray in one layer and bake for twenty minutes – turning halfway
  • meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over a medium heat
  • add a teaspoon of olive oil (or Frylight, if you prefer) and add the bulgur wheat
  • leave for a few minutes, stirring regularly until it starts to crackle just very slightly
  • add the lime zest and lime juice and 500ml water
  • bring to the boil and add a little salt to your taste
  • reduce the heat and cover the pan so the mixture simmers for about twenty minutes or until it’s cooked through
  • chuck your bacon medallions under the grill to cook, then slice into little strips
  • cut your feta into tiny cubes
  • drain the kidney beans and rinse well under running water, getting rid of all that gunky kidney-bean pre-cum you always get from tinned pulses
  • place the beans in a bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon of paprika – mix until well coated
  • add the cooked sweet potato, sliced spring onions and bulgur wheat to the bowl and mix.
  • To put this all more succinctly: cook everything that needs to be cooked, prepare everything that needs to be chopped, mix in a bloody big bowl and you’re done.
  • We dressed this with a quick dressing made from natural yoghurt, minced garlic and lime juice – but actually, it stands on its own very easily.


syn free tomato bulgar salad

For week one, we’re going to…ARMENIA…


Ar-bloody-menia indeed. We put all 50 countries into a randomiser and that’s the first bloody one it spits out. We know nothing about Armenia! In fact, most of our European knowledge comes from Eurovision – for example, I did know that Armenia did very well last year, and a quick gaze at Wiki reveals they came in fourth. We don’t mind admitting that we love Eurovision – the spectacle, the nonsense, the screaming gay men – and that’s just us in our living room. We’d love to go, but the desire to go to Eurovision is always tempered by a slight hint of embarrassment and the fear of being broadcast in full HD on BBC One wobbling about in the crowd with our bumholes blaring from all the amyl nitrates in the air. Plus, I can’t dance. I really can’t. I was going to come up with a funny euphemism for my dancing but in all honesty, it’s been described as a fat bloke trying to dance – all tilting and grand shifts of weight. Just awful. It’s like my body is sponsored by Mathmos. I’m like the Herald of Free Enterprise leaving dock. Oh I managed to get my euphemisms in after all!

A little tale that made me titter yesterday – my parents have been in The Gambia building schools and granting wishes and introducing the good Gambian folks to the joys of Lambert and his Butler, and it just so happens that my dad’s (Chris) birthday fell when they were over there. My mum arranged for a cake to be made and iced and it was brought out to much fanfare and stifled hilarity – iced on the top of the cake was HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHRIST. Now my dad HAS had a few nails put through his hand but that’s through lapses of judgement during DIY, not out of Christian malice. Parents did say it was absolutely amazing seeing people with so very little being happy. I’m sure there is a moral lesson in there, but as I’m a bourgeois pig, I don’t see it. Anyway…

Tonight’s recipe is Armenian Bulgar Salad – and I never know how to pronounce bulgar so I always have to whisper it in hushed tones in the supermarket lest people think I’m being tasteless. It’s delicious, like a tomatoey variant on my tabbouleh recipe from a while back, and would do lovely for a lunch. As long as you don’t mind your breath smelling like a hot fart later on.


to make syn free tomato bulgar salad, you’ll need:

ingredients: simple. A tiny drop or two of olive oil, a large chopped red onion, 1 tbsp of tomato paste, 1/2tsp of cumin, 1tbsp of chilli sauce, tin of chopped tomatoes, 250g of bulgar wheat and a bit of salt. I also added spring onions because I’m crazy-mad. Parsley for sprinkling.

to make syn free tomato bulgar salad, you should:

recipe: saute the onion until it’s nice and soft. Take your time here. Add the cumin, puree and hot sauce and stir. Add the tomatoes and salt, then stir for three minutes on a simmer. Try the sauce – if it needs a bit more acidity, chuck in some lemon juice. Now take it off the heat, throw in the bulger wheat, stir, add chopped spring onions and then put the lid on. After 30 minutes it’ll have swollen and dried a little – and trust me, it’s bloody delicious. Serve it with chops if you like but it works just as a lunch.

tip: this freezes very well – stick it in a freezer bag portioned out and then take it out when you need it. Or, more realistically, you’ll put it in there and forget about it forever.

extra-easy: well – no, not on its own, but if you served it with a salad of superfree food you’d be alright. Mind it does have tomatoes and onions in there…

Off to bed!


spicy couscous balls with tzatziki

I feel better! Thankfully. My ears are still full but don’t feel sloshy anymore, which is a good sign. Shitting bricks about an upcoming flight though, worried my head will explode Scanners-style as soon as the change in pressure hits. Well don’t worry – I’ve got a month’s worth of archived posts to activate in my absence. Paul often jokes about death (me less so, as I used to suffer from health anxiety and all it takes is a gentle nudge sometimes and I’m away worrying), and says that when I die he’ll keep me on ice until he shuffles off, and then have us entombed together, with his leg over the top of mine, forever making me too hot in the sweet embrace of death.

Speaking of death, I finished Stephen King’s newest book, Revival. Blimey. Worth a read but what an ending. I do think there’s an odd stigma about Stephen King – people perceive his books as a bit trashy or low-brow, but he’s a genuinely skilled writer with a fantastic imagination. Well, except for The Tommyknockers, that was bobbins.

Here’s a snack idea. I made it last Saturday and was going to stick it online, but then Sudafed took me away.


to make spicy couscous balls with tzatziki:

Not worth making a full recipe breakdown for this, because it’s so, so easy. I use two packets of Ainsley Harriott’s spicy sensations couscous, which come in at 1.5 syns per pack made up with water (so don’t be adding butter, you cheeky buggers). Add the appropriate level of water (whatever it says on the pack) and leave to absorb. Fluff with a fork. Beat an egg and mix it into the couscous, then squeeze as many balls as you can out of the mixture. Pop onto a tray and stick it in the oven on 150 degrees for an hour or so – you want to ‘dry’ them out. Cooked low and slow, you’ll be laughing. For a dip, make tzatziki – greek yoghurt (I use Tesco Finest 0% fat – no syns) mixed with cucumber cut into tiny cubes and mint. Stir, chill, eat.

These are perfect little snacks – they’re very filling and by using the flavoured couscous, they actually taste good. And so easy to make! You could easily double up the ingredients, make a giant batch and take some to work – or even serve with a side salad for a light lunch.

Hey, you know, I spend a fair bit of time trying to make the food look presentable and putting it into the twochubbycubs’ style before it comes online. Well, there was no saving this. It’s the Slimming World pork pie. I found the recipe – basically, take a tin of Pek Gold, wrap it in bread (healthy extra), brush with egg, put it in the oven. Voila. That’s a pork pie. Well no, it isn’t, it’s an eggy ham sandwich, but by god I wanted it.

I got this far:


Eee, haway. At this point, I was so taken by the ridiculousness of it that I stopped taking pictures, but when it came out of the oven, it all fell apart and tasted exactly like hot pek with a bit of mustard on it. Even the cat turned his nose up, and he spends hours of the day licking his arsehole like he’s trying to put out a fire.

Someone more skilled made this – it doesn’t look too bad.


Ah well, can’t win them all!


taboulleh salad

Firstly, let’s dispense with all the flimflam and get today’s recipe card out of the way – I’m in a rush because I’m clandestinely typing out this entry whilst sitting in one of the traps at work, and if anyone hears me waxing lyrical via my iPad I’ll get my fingers broken. Plus I’m typing quickly as I don’t want to be away from my desk for too long in case people suspect I’m voiding myself. Ah look! I’ve already fallen into the too much typing…

I decided to give this a whirl because I love couscous and needed an upgrade. Plus, everytime Paul asked me what I was making, I could turn dramatically and go ‘WHOOOOOA-OH, TABOULLEH-TABOULLEH-TABOULLEH-yadda-yaaa’ like Kate Bush pretty much did.

to make taboulleh salad, you’ll need:


This is absolutely bloody delicious – genuinely one of my favourite recipes that I’ve found so far. Simple enough – boil the bulger wheat for 30 mins in the stock, sieve and leave to dry out. Chop up everything else and chuck it into the bulger wheat. Add very finely chopped mint and leave it to sit so all the flavours absorb. It tastes fresh, you can add peppers and mushrooms (raw, finely diced, cooked wouldn’t be all that – it would look bad and smell of farts, like an embittered shut-in) to up your superfree intake, and as long as you use the reduced fat feta as your healthy extra B choice, you’re laughing.

This is perfect for a lunchtime meal to take into the office, as you can keep it at home in a big bowl and it’ll last two days, getting nicer the longer you leave it.

Now, as an aside, I get a lot of compliments on my lunchbox. I do! It’s shiny. See?


It’s called a Frozzypack, and to be fair, I only bought it because it sounded like Prozzyfack, which in turn sounds like something you’d get behind a skip on an industrial estate in Middlesbrough. No, these lunchboxes (£20 or so) have a built in gel in the lid – you chuck the lid in the freezer and the gel sets solid, which, when you then put the lid on your salad, will keep it cool and crispy until you come to it at lunch. They come in all sorts of colours. In the interest of fairness and equality, you can buy cheap versions of these from Poundland or Wilkinsons or similar, but the Wilkinsons in Newcastle is dog-rough so I don’t bother. I’ve almost seen people coming to blows over a multipack of Bloo. Plus, it looks elegant and the hard shell design means it survives a good beating. Fnar.

Back to work. Can you believe I’m working overtime again. No wonder I’m losing weight, I’ve never got any fucking time to eat! BAH.