recipe reacharound: lovely loaded wedges

Well hello! Here for the lovely loaded wedges? But of course you are, you’re someone of excellent tastes, save for those cheap shoes and moustache. Praise be though, because this recipe is a reacharound – that is, we’ve taken a recipe from way back when on the blog, wiped its bum and gussied it up and, more importantly, worked out the calorie content. Because we’re that type of blog.

The original recipe – found here – is tasty enough but the photo does rather look like we cooked dinner on the elephant’s foot at Chernobyl. Long-time readers, you know what’s coming here, but won’t it be a delightful surprise for everyone else. A giant, molten, hazardous pile of hot slag, Paul is often found in the kitchen making this. Recycle a joke? Me? Never!

Reading that post from 2016, where I was twisting my gob about having to pay council tax…I didn’t know I was born, honestly. Our council tax (same property, mind you) has risen by a smart £350, and boy do we see the benefit of it. For example, we’ve now got more bins than we have things to put in them: one for glass, one for recycling, one for garden waste, one for Paul’s awful shirts – the list is endless. Well no, there’s only the general waste bin to include but for the sake of hyperbole, we’ll leave that out. Still, it does give us the joyful sight of the more senior neighbours all trying to out-do themselves to get their bin out first on collection day. I had to get up at 5am the other day to afford Goomba a chance to call his agent and there was one game old girl pulling her heaving bin to the kerb, dressed in her nighty. I let her get her bin into place and claim gold, then waved a cheery good morning, but she was too busy sitting on the pavement clutching her chest and shouting help. I told her I didn’t need any and left her to it.

But you know, I can take all of these annoyances if they just sped up collecting bulky waste. I’ve had two mattresses and an old armchair sat in our garage since April, and the earliest date they can send some burly blokes to hurl it into the back of a van is late September. I appreciate that logistically they have to send eight men tethered together in a human chain lest one of them falls into my mouth but even so. Even then we have to leave it outside all day which I don’t like the thought of: both of our mattresses look like sponges that God used to clean a combine harvester. They’re well used (mattresses shouldn’t squelch) to the point where we’ll probably be embroiled in a paternity test nine months later from random ladies walking past. Hell, if I drive to the tip at a modest speed with a screen showing some choice pornography in the rear view window, the mattresses will probably slosh their own way there.

I’d write a letter of complaint to my local MP but unless I put on a free buffet and some press photographers, there’s no chance of her turning up to assist. I will refrain from naming her – not least because if I say her name three times she may appear to tell me why schoolchildren should starve at lunchtime to build their spirit – but she’s as useless as balls on a dildo.

Anyway. Enough twisting. Let’s get to the lovely loaded wedges, shall we? They’re a thing of beauty, you’ll agree. Or so help me God.

lovely loaded wedges

Top your lovely loaded wedges with whatever you like. Or, top me, but we’ll need to discuss logistics first

lovely loaded wedges

It’s the same dish of lovely loaded wedges but turned a different way: magic!

lovely loaded wedges

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This serves four people a normal portion or, if you're like us and the thought of being hungry eight days from now is a terror, two. Adjust the ingredients accordingly.

And, look, this isn't anything especially fancy and can be customised to your heart's content. Add whatever toppings you like: fried onions work, as do jarred peppers, as does enough cheese to make sure you don't need to stock the pond for a week or two. You could even reduce the amount and serve it with hot-dogs, but then you could do a lot of things if you had the money.

Finally, we work all of our recipe calories out using Nutracheck - remember your calorie count may be different depending on what type of cheese you use and all that, so calorie count is a rough guide only!

Ingredients

  • 800g of Maris Piper potatoes cut into wedges
  • one beef stock cube
  • 100g of extra mature cheddar
  • two teaspoons of olive oil (use flavoured if you have it)
  • bunch of spring onions
  • one pack of bacon medallions (or normal bacon, but this is a rare occasion when you're fine without the fat)
  • 25ml of ranch dressing (we use Newman's Own) 
  • 25ml of hot sauce (we use Frank's Red Hot stuff)
  • chilli flakes

Instructions

  • pop your wedges into a bowl with the oil and the crumbled beef stock cube and tumble them around, making sure everything is coated, then:
    • cook for about twenty five minutes on 200 degrees until soft; or
    • whack them in the Actifry until they're golden
  • cook the bacon off under the grill and chop finely
  • chop the spring onion, green and white
  • once the wedges are done, arrange them on a tray if not done already, top with the sauce, cheese, dressing and chilli flakes
  • add more cheese, we both know you

Notes

Recipe

  • as mentioned, you can chuck anything on here
  • minced sausage fried off would be lovely

Books

Courses wedges

Cuisine twochubbycubs

And that’s your lot – I’ll thank you to stay out of my affairs.

Want something else to do with your potatoes? Try this potato salad below!

slimming world bbq

Goodbye forever!

J

recipe: quick chicken and spinach curry

Here for the super quick chicken and spinach curry and can’t wait until we give you the ingredients so you can look at them and order a takeaway instead? Well I’ll need you to calm your tits, Susan, because there’s the little matter of some blog nonsense to get your laughing gear around first.

As neither Paul or I have any current life outside of looking after our dog, we shall of course go straight to Goomba news. He’s fine: 13 weeks old now, got teeth that could open a tin of corned beef without breaking a sweat and fully capable of scenting a room with the rich smell of shite with the tiniest farts you can imagine. It’s a bad job when I have to ball Paul’s streaked knickers into my mouth and huff just to let my vision clear.

We’ve been able to take him walking for twenty minutes a couple of times a day, which is just the right amount of time for him to pretend he doesn’t need to offload some freight, fuss about on the field and then send a fax right outside the neighbour’s front door when we’re twenty feet away from the house. It took a solid two weeks of training to get him to that point, but we nailed it. And I’ll say this: I still can’t get past the way that he eyeballs us as he does it. I’ve since learned it is because he feels at his most vulnerable when he’s dropping the property value and is looking to me for reassurance. He’s out of luck: I’m usually bent over dry-heaving into my elbow, but this behaviour does go some way to explaining Paul’s need to leave the door open and announce his efforts (“oooh, I don’t half feel lighter, ooooh, when did we have Cheerios, oooh, call the plumber”) when he goes.

I’m sorry, you don’t come to our food blog to read about our dog’s bowel movements, do you? So forgive me for that, although it will doubtless initiate eighty-seven private messages telling me how awful I am for letting the dog poop on grass or not brushing his ears or not rigging up an oxygen tent in the spare room lest his lungs pack in from climbing over the doorstep. Honestly, and I say this with a touch of hyperbole admittedly, I’ve never known an activity elicit such feedback as owning a dog. I could announce tomorrow that I’ve been smacking Paul about and nursing a merry hard drug addiction to less controversy and ire. Which is silly: I’m no good with needles and the thought of making my own dinner leaves me aghast.

It’s not a complaint, though, as people mean well, but it just leaves me paralysed with choice and options. I’m indecisive at the best of times – or am I? – and you must understand that any decision I eventually make is normally backed up by eighteen months of feverish googling and pained expressions as I discover a counterpoint opinion to something I’d finally accepted. But, I know such advice is given with good intent and therefore I can take no real issue with it, even if I do now have four different harnesses for Goomba because each previous one has been debunked to the point you’d think I was strapping him into a brazen bull when I took him out. Honestly, between this and Paul’s tendency to buy fifteen new toys for the dog every time he goes out – he has that poor-kid-to-comfortable-adult character trait where he can’t leave a shop with both arms the same length – we’re about two weeks from declaring bankruptcy.

One cheery update is that we have found an excellent doggy day care centre where Goomba can socialise with other dogs a couple of afternoons a week. Even cuter is the fact that he doesn’t get to go into the big dogs school yet but rather ‘Little Legs’ club because he’s so wee. I had to chaperone Paul on the first day just in case they assumed he was joining as well. I can see now why parents get so anxious and fretful about their children going to school for the first time: would Goomba fit in, would he be bullied, how many tabs do I need to stick behind his ear so they think he’s cool – all the usual presentiments that come with new experiences.

We needn’t have worried. At the induction he was placed with a tiny pug who immediately chased him about the garden for a few minutes until Goomba realised that she wasn’t a threat. Indeed, he did such a volte-face regarding his opinion on this pug that he set about chasing her and then, somewhat embarrassingly, mounted her. There’s something a touch unseemly about discussing payment plans with a trainer whilst your dog is jabbing his lipstick into thin air with a lurid leer immediately over her shoulder. Goomba isn’t a big dog by any means but sexual intercourse between a Springer Spaniel and a Pug is going to be the equivalent of trying to park a bus in a tissue box.

He’s since been back a few times and is absolutely loving it, which is a relief, as it does free up some of my day-time for occasionally remembering to work and to attend to my chores. Thursday was an especially productive day: I had a builder round to look at the side of our house (still covered in paint and varnish from the shed fire) and we mutually agreed that it hadn’t magically disappeared in the five months since someone last came round to look at it. A dishwasher repair man then managed to fix the leak in our dishwasher and Paul and I had a giddy forty minutes of clean plates before realising it was still pissing lemon-scented detergent all over the kitchen floor. I called Goomba in from the kitchen and momentarily thought he’d developed rabies.

Looking sharp, though.

But most exciting of all was the surprise appearance of a group of tree surgeons that I had clean forgotten I’d arranged who had come to remove a couple of dead trees from our garden. Well of course they’re from the garden, they’re not likely to be growing in our utility room now are they. The tree at the back was in danger of falling over and crushing that which I hold most dear – my car – so that was an easy decision, but the tree at the front goes some way to masking us from the gaze of some of our less cheerful neighbours. Though, to be fair, it’s perhaps not that startling that the tree is dying given one of those aforementioned neighbours spends so long staring daggers at us that I’m surprised she hasn’t burned straight through it like Homelander.

Thusly I did get to spend a merry hour watching very talented blokes cutting the tree down and feeding it into the chipper, although they did nix my request to have a go at it myself. Probably wise: I’m an inherently clumsy person and I’d have only ended up tumbling in face-first after tripping over my own shadow. They did such a terrific job and, even better, left without taking payment – the ideal situation. I did agonise for a few moments before calling them back and pressing a bundle of notes into his hands like a nana giving pocket money. The garden seems a lot lighter now, which is handy as it matches my wallet.

And that’s us for now. Before I get to the quick chicken and spinach curry recipe, just a quick word of apology. With us having to look after Goomba so much and get him settled him, we’re very conscious that we haven’t been quite as active about replying to messages and comments as we normally are. If you have contacted us, or tagged us in a story, or made our recipes – we thank you, and apologise for not replying. Happily, we’re back on an even keel now and that ship should right itself shortly. Thank you for persevering with us, I know we’re awful.

Oh – a double apology! My phone is taking absolutely gash photos at the moment. Looking to get it fixed, but yeah, bear with.

chicken and spinach curry

The chicken and spinach curry tastes a lot better than it looks, I swear

chicken and spinach curry

Now you get to see the chicken and spinach curry from a different angle, I do spoil you.

The quick chicken and spinach curry, then!

quick chicken and spinach curry

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

So, a quick chicken and spinach curry - we've done a great number of these over the years but this one is enlivened with some mango chutney and the fact it takes no time at all to cook. I'm sure it would be made all the better by a long, slow simmer but if you're already tearing about like your arse is on fire, rest assured it's all done in around twenty five minutes.

Calorie wise this comes in at (roughly) a modest 665 calories per person (with rice) and the recipe serves four. Freezes well too. We work out calories using Nutracheck's app which is terrific, but please read the notes about that.

This is a Hello Fresh recipe which we have tweaked to make more slimming friendly. Normally we would stick in a referral link here but I can't in all good conscience: we're having serious issues with the quality of Hello Fresh at the moment, with lots of the vegetables turning up already past their best and items missing from each bag. If that improves, we will recommend them once more because lord knows they are convenient, but for now, hold off if you're considering it.

Ingredients

  • 300g basmati rice
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 green chilli
  • 500g diced chicken thighs
  • 4 tbsp korma curry paste (we use Patak)
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 400g passata
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney
  • 1 bunch coriander

Instructions

  • bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with ¼ tsp salt
  • when boiling, add the rice and cook for 12 minutes, then drain in a sieve and return to the pan with the lid on until ready to serve
  • meanwhile, finely dice the onion and peel and grate the garlic
  • halve the chilli lengthways, deseed and finely chop
  • spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
  • add the diced chicken and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden
  • add the onion and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until softened
  • add the korma paste, garlic, tomato puree and half of the green chilli to the pan, stir and cook for one minute
  • add the passata, 200ml water and crumble in the stock cube, and simmer until thickened (about 6-8 minutes)
  • meanwhile, roughly chop the coriander (stalks and all) - unless you're the sensible sort like me, where you'll scrape it immediately in the bin)
  • add the spinach to the pan a handful at a time and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes
  • simmer until everything has reduced slightly, which will take about 3-4 minutes
  • add the mango chutney and half of the coriander to the pan and stir well
  • stir the remaining coriander into the rice and serve along with the curry, and sprinkle over the remaining chilli

Notes

Recipe

  • rice: if you follow our advice to the letter, you'll have perfect rice - but remember rice is a fickle thing indeed - if you measure out enough for four people you'll get enough for nine hundred, or you'll take a look at the end of the boil and see that there's only three grains of rice in there and they're all sticking their fingers up at you
  • feel free to use chicken breast but thighs are so much tastier and worth the insignificant extra calories
  • up the amount of spinach as high as you want too - we love spinach here and could cheerfully double or triple the amount
  • not sure on syns for this - it won't be high, I think the only thing to syn would be the mango chutney and the chicken thighs, so I'd hazard a guess around 4

Books

Recommendations

  • three of our favourite bloggers now have either a book out or a book coming, and we encourage you to support them as much as you can:
    • The Slimming Foodie has a book out now which is full of recipes that'll make your heart sing - good slimming food which, like us, uses proper ingredients rather than crappy pretend recipes - order it here; and
    • Slimming Eats has a book coming out at the end of the year and again, we can't recommend her enough if you want good slimming food that tastes amazing - you can pre-order here
    • Sugar Pink Food also has a recipe book out and lord is she the Queen of food that looks like it shouldn't be good for you but is really bloody stunning - give her a whirl here
  • both Pip (Slimming Foodie), Siobhan (Slimming Eats) and Latoyah (Sugar Pink) are the kindest, most decent people you could hope for when it comes to other bloggers and it really would mean a lot to us if you could support them. They've both been at this for such a long time (like us) and really know their stuff - so go for it!

Tools

  • we are getting a few comments that calories that people have worked out on Nutracheck are slightly different to our total and wondering why - the reason is simple - we may use different brands to you. For example, there's a 60 calorie difference between Tesco and Waitrose chicken thighs, presumably because that extra smugness of the Waitrose chicken adds extra
  • to that end, make sure you're adding your recipe as you go along if you use Nutracheck, although if you're happy with the rough estimate, more power to you

Courses evening

Cuisine curry

I think that’s us done for the day, but if you were needing a different curry idea, may I suggest clicking the image below to be taken to another delicious dish?

Stay safe,

JX

recipe: chicken and rhubarb stew

I hope by now that you trust us enough to take a gamble on a recipe if we recommend it: this chicken and rhubarb stew demands this of you. Most people use rhubarb for tarts or crumbles, but if those tarts fancy a savoury dish, what can you offer? Try this chicken dish. The astringent nature of the rhubarb is tempered by being cooked low and slow with some honey and chicken and the end result is something approaching a hot and sour sauce. Please, read the recipe and try it: rhubarb is everywhere at the moment and it’s always nice to try something new. But before we get to the chicken and rhubarb stew, we do, but of course, have a blog post to slog through. If you’re itching to get straight to the chicken and rhubarb stew, then just scroll to the recipe photos (and get some Canesten on that itch, you utter jezebel).

Mind, we didn’t have a choice when it came to cooking with rhubarb: we don’t grow it, but our neighbours have an allotment and by all accounts, they’re over-run with the stuff. So much so that I was sitting on our settee a couple of nights ago when the letterbox clattered and a long pink stalk came poking through. Our neighbour was posting his spare rhubarb, which was very thoughtful, but it didn’t half remind me of the time when we used to have a ‘special access door’ installed for our gentlemen visitors.  Glory days indeed! We lost that contraption in the house fire – it was either save that or save the cats and although a box of matches fell out from under Sola’s tail as she hurtled out, I feel I made the right choice. Probably for the best, the black hallway carpet was starting to look like a badly-tuned television channel towards the end.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about our lickerish indiscretions of old: I’m here to make an official twochubbycubs announcement. We were going to take an advert out in The Times but this seemed like an easier route: we’d be lost amongst the ridiculous birth and marriage announcements. I did once see a Rafferty Rocket in there, mind you, though you’ll never convince me that isn’t the name of a sex toy you’d order from wish.com.

See, an announcement is always going to be one of four things, isn’t it:

  1. Paul has finally tired of being slagged off something rotten on here, pulled his size three socks up and set off to storm out the front door*, hoping to get there within two days with his tiny bandy legs
  2. we’re releasing a third book full of more amazing recipes, wit and comedy
  3. we’re having a baby
  4. we’re getting a new pet

* Actually, to be fair to him, I’m the ‘storm out and slam the front door’ one in the marriage. The last time I did this I slammed the door so hard it cracked the wall all around the front door. Worse, we have a novelty emergency money box affixed to the wall next to the door which looks like one of those ‘in an emergency, smash here’ boxes where they keep the fire hammer on trains. As the door clattered this fell off the wall, sending a lovely cascade of pound coins showering to the kitchen floor. It’s difficult to maintain a surly face when it feels as though the house itself celebrated your departure by cashing out like a jackpot spin in Las Vegas. Anyway. Where were we? Ah yes, why those four scenarios are just silly.

Well:

  1. Paul knows where his bread is buttered, and given his immoderation towards calorie intake, that’s more than likely a full loaf of Toastie Thick hidden in his rucksack which is hanging in the hall: he’ll never leave. He lives for my bi-annual compliment, that boy
  2. can you imagine us doing such a thing – don’t you think you’ve had enough? Mind, never say never…
  3. there’s more chance of me eschewing cock for good than ever entertaining the idea of having a bawling poo-machine littering our slightly-singed carpet, thank you

So, that really just leaves number four, doesn’t it? Well, in that case…

goomba

Meet Goomba, our incoming Springer Spaniel puppy!

See, long-time readers of the blog (and occasional readers of the books, where I swore blind we would never get a dog) will know we have wanted a dog for ages. Well, no, Paul has wanted a dog since time immemorial – the only pets he was allowed growing up were the more resilient dickies in his unwashed hair – and I’ve always been the sensible one saying no because we work full-time away from home.

But now, with the relative success of the books and the fact that coronavirus has meant working from home for me, we’re in a position to finally give a dog the life it deserves. We’ve spent the last few months applying to take in a rescue dog, getting our hopes raised and dashed over and over by charities that never got back to us or decided, for whatever reason, we weren’t suitable. That’s their prerogative of course, and far better they are choosy with rehoming because the last thing any rescue dog needs is more upheaval, but even so it has been an incredibly demoralising process. I think a stumbling block was trying to find a dog that was accustomed to living with cats: doubly so when you consider that 50% of our feline contingent spends her days plotting ever more horrible ways to kill us. It says a lot that I could empty Sola’s cat carrier one day and remain entirely unsurprised to find a gun in there. The only reason she hasn’t killed us in our sleep is surely because she can’t reach the cupboard to get her cat food out herself. The second she learns how to operate the portable stepladders we have in the garage, we’re fucked.

So, mainly because I could see how much Paul wanted a dog, I set about finding a puppy and, in an especially serendipitous moment of canine oestrus excitement, a good friend’s bitch gave birth to eight puppies at just the right moment I was looking. I don’t mean I was actually looking when she gave birth – I imagine it would look like pushing a guinea pig through a loose pack of ham – but I was ever so excited. I arranged everything and, would you believe, managed to keep the entire process secret until the moment we drove up to pick our dog from the litter. That really is something, you know: I’m as appalling at keeping secrets as Paul is efficient at unveiling them. I’m probably the only husband to sit down ashen-faced and confess to an extra-marital indiscretion before the blood has even pooled in my nethers. He was terribly excited, and this isn’t a man who excites easily: he could win £100,000 on a scratchcard and still complain he’s got silver fingernails. But it was genuinely lovely to see his enthusiasm.

Picking was difficult because of course all puppies are tremendous and wonderful, but we spotted one particular puppy who had taken one look at us and decided to reverse himself under the sofa. After a little reassurance and a quick piss on the floor, Paul was ready, and he chose the shy puppy that had hidden away. And, readers, honestly: take one look at his gorgeous wee face, with that smudge marking on his nose, and tell me Paul made the wrong choice? We already had the name picked out – all of our pets have Nintendo related names (Luma, Sola, Bowser) and Goomba was the perfect fit for this one. I mean I wanted to call him Keith, but Paul said no, the poor sport. Dogs with human names will never not be hilarious to me.

So, that’s our news. I think you’ll agree it was a corker. Goomba joins us late in July, and if you think we’re going to be one of those couples who talk about their dog all the time: you’re right. I’m even thinking of going all in and changing the email subscription title to pupdates. Yeah, you like that, don’t you? Ahem.

Shall we get to the business of chicken and rhubarb stew then? Let me say one thing before we get to it: taking a picture of chicken and rhubarb stew and making it look at all sexy and tasty is an impossibility. It’s a brown slurry. But readers, you just need to believe.

chicken and rhubarb stew

There, a chicken and rhubarb stew: it won’t win any awards, but it’s damn tasty!

chicken and rhubarb stew

Served with rice, this chicken and rhubarb stew is way under 500 calories: it doesn’t take Vera to work that one out. Pet.

chicken and rhubarb stew

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This chicken and rhubarb stew uses rhubarb to make an almost sweet and sour sauce, and it's beautiful for it. Even if you're not a fan of rhubarb I implore you to try it: if you like plum sauce for example, this will be a winner. This is a recipe you'll need to taste as you go along, adding honey if it needs to be a bit sweeter.

This chicken and rhubarb stew came from a blog called whereismyspoon - I encourage you to go take a look, although reading it on a mobile is a chore due to the video adverts. I know we all have to do what we have to do to get through life, but please, bloggers: video adverts which you can't get rid of - especially ones with music - can get in the sea. That aside, there's some delicious recipes on there. We've tweaked this slightly to our tastes.

This comes in at 280 calories per serving and makes enough for four. Serve it with a decent portion of rice and it'll still be under 500 calories too. Syn wise? Probably quite low, but Slimming World syn honey don't they? Even so, I doubt it's more than two syns a pop. Calorie counts are approximate, using Nutracheck.

Ingredients

  • eight boneless and skinless chicken thighs (don't use breast, you want the slightly gamier taste of thighs here)
  • 400g peeled, chopped rhubarb
  • two large white onions
  • two teaspoons of garlic paste
  • one teaspoon of turmeric
  • one tablespoon of black pepper
  • one tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 750ml of chicken stock
  • five tablespoons of honey
  • four tablespoons of lime juice

Salt to taste. But not too much, you.

Instructions

  • you'll need a good casserole dish - see notes
  • fry the chicken thighs on both sides for a few minutes on a high heat until golden brown, then remove
  • lower the heat a little and then, in the oil used for the chicken, add the chopped white onion and allow to soften and go slightly golden, before adding the pepper, garlic paste and turmeric
  • give everything a stir and cook for a minute more 
  • add the rhubarb and tomatoes, give everything a good stir
  • add the stock, honey and lime juice, stir
  • add the chicken back to the pan
  • bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer
  • allow to bubble away gently for as long as you can - we cooked ours for ninety minutes, only occasionally deigning to stir the contents every now and then
  • do taste as you go along - add more lime if it's a bit too sweet and more honey if it's a bit too sour - rhubarb is a tricky thing, but don't forget it'll mellow as it cooks
  • serve with rice to applause and declarations of love

Notes

Recipe

  • this freezes really, really well, so feel free to double up the amounts and batch cook
  • this would absolutely work in a pressure cooker - follow the steps until simmering, and then cook on high for about 15 minutes then release
  • please don't be tempted to use chicken breasts, I can't stress that enough people

Books

  • our second book sold like absolute hot-cakes, which is no surprise when you look at how much we all love a cake - it gets excellent reviews and you can do no better, trust me: order yours here! 
  • a plea: if you have bought any of our books, please do take a moment to leave a review on Amazon, we will love you forever and it helps us out so much
  • the first book is a bit cheaper and still an incredible bible if you're looking to lose weight with delicious recipes: click here to order
  • our planner will help you on your way - loads of space to keep track of your weight loss and lovely pictures of us to be getting on with: here

Tools

  • gonna talk to you about casserole dishes - we have had the same Le Creuset pot now for nine years and use it weekly, and it has never failed us: I can feel confident recommending to you that if you have the spare cash, it's an investment worth making - Amazon often have them on sale here
  • if you're using fresh limes, top tip - roll them under the palm of your hand for a little bit, and then pop in the microwave for five seconds - you'll get so much more juice out of them. Failing that, use one of these even if it does look a little like a tool a doctor would be struck off for using on you

Oh! Bonus tip. Don't chuck your shredded lime out once you've got the juice from it - pop it in a dish with some water covering it, then microwave for about three minutes. CAREFULLY remove the dish when done. But the steam will loosen all the dirt on your microwave, making it easy to wipe clean. Eee, I'm like Kim Woodburn, aren't I?

Courses dinners

Cuisine chicken and other stuff I dunno what to put here I never do get off my back jeez

Looking for something a bit more traditional to use up your rhubarb? Try this – click the image to go straight to the recipe!

Goodness, we used to take some bloody low-res photos back in the day, didn’t we?

Until we all meet again, stay safe and well,

Jx

special announcement: the new book is £6 on Amazon!

Forgive the short intrusion (said that before so many times in my life) (sigh) but this is a pretty big deal! Amazon have our new cookbook for £6 delivered if you’re a Prime member, today and possibly tomorrow. It’s the cheapest it has ever been and I doubt very much it’ll come back down. If you’re not a Prime member, you can sign up for a free trial and then cancel it in a couple of days if it isn’t for you. Either way: if you’ve been after our cookbook, this is the time to buy. 100 amazing recipes, all of our sass, some blistering nudes, it’s got everything. Alsatians, the lot. Click the massive picture below to order!

Now, if you already have the book, please do us a favour and spread the word! Stick it in your facebook groups, that sort of thing, and we’ll love you forever and ever!

recipe: posh frittata with asparagus and smoked cheese

Posh frittata today, and only a quick post mind you, but I did think it was important to try and post a recipe once and a while on this recipe blog of ours. If you’re waiting for the next part of my NC500 story, know that it is coming as soon as I’ve managed to remember where I went and why I spent so much time swearing at things. I’m not kidding: I keep a little electronic notepad on my phone of anything I can think of to write about and one day it seems I forgot to update it bar one succinct entry: ‘fucking motorhomes’. Now, I don’t think I briefly took up mechanophilia on my travels (real thing, look it up) (in Incognito mode: ask your partner how) but hey, Paul was away and my little Golf does have a cute little rear, so who knows? But yes, that’s coming, I promise, but today is all about the posh frittata. You may realise that we do post a lot of quiche recipes here but as readers of the books will know, you can blame my mother and her eighty-seven chickens for that. I’ve got eggs coming out of my arse, and they have to go somewhere.

Speaking of books, may I make a small plea? Amazon reviews really make a difference for us – if you’ve bought the books and would like to leave a review, we’d love you forever. We have some book news coming soon! But in the meantime, here’s a banner to take you straight there

Paul and I have been ratching about the UK a bit of late – I feel it only fair that he is afforded the chance to look at his phone in a different location once and a while – and it feels weird. I’m still not used to seeing large groups of people without thinking they’re all going to be tumbled into a mass grave a few weeks later like the foot-and-mouth cattle. It’s been fifteen months since the start of the first lockdown (I think, my memory of the time is a little hazy) and, all things being well, we’ll be dancing out properly on 21 June. But it all seems so unlikely and alien that it is hard to get excited about it. Plus let’s be fair, the current Government will probably allow us out for an hour, decide that’s quite-enough-of-that-young-lady and then send us back into the cellar for another year or two to stare at our shoes and draw eyes on oranges for company.

That said, I don’t see why anyone is concerned: you’d think coronavirus was over the way so many people are going on. Masks seem to have become an optional part of shopping again* with people wandering around coughing and sneezing with gay abandon. I can take that though: people were gross before coronavirus, this isn’t new. But those idiots, of which I know thousands of words have already been committed to, who walk around with a mask over their chin instead of their mouth and nose do my head in. It’s such a pointless anti-effort that I can only assume they’ve read that coronavirus bursts from their blackheads and they’re saving us all from that.

*you must understand, I have zero interest in you telling me why masks are useless, or why I’m a sheep. That said, if someone can tell me why the word sheep doesn’t seem correct when referring to a single sheep all of a sudden, that would be tremendous: I’ve just spent five minutes trying to remember what the single form is before deciding I’m clearly having a stroke.

I was in Sainsbury’s the other day and a charming wee woman was standing in front of the cherry tomatoes, agonising over the choice of three different varieties as though she was choosing which child to send to the mines. Naturally, as a calm and patient soul, I stood two metres away waiting for her to get her shit together and finally pick, before I noticed she was pulling her mask down over her chin, picking up each punnet of tomatoes and sticking her nose right in to sniff them. She repeated this a fair few times, making sure to catch the dew of the tomatoes on her nose-hair and moustache each time, before my theatrical sighs and foot-tapping clearly spurred her into action and she wandered off. Of course, as a terribly British person I didn’t say a word to her face and instead penned a snotty anonymous tweet about it, then hastened into her spot to check for myself that Sainsbury’s hadn’t started dusting their tomatoes with sniff. I mean, I know it’s a middle-class supermarket, but sadly not. I did make sure to catch up with her later in the store and fart near her head as she was bending down to select something off a lower shelf, so I consider myself the winner.

Of course, the way out of all of this nonsense is vaccination. If you’re anti-vaccination I won’t use this blog to try and change your mind, because personal choice and all that, but I do beg of you that you at least do some proper research into these things before you rule them out. Taking medical advice from someone who has ‘University of Hard Knocks’ on their Facebook profile and ‘none of ur fukin buzniss’ listed as their employer, for example, is never a good idea. No, my point about vaccination is for anyone out there who is worried about having it due to health anxiety, something I’ve talked at inexhaustible length before. As you can imagine, for someone like me who is a fretter, getting injected with something new is always going to mess with my head. But a degree of research beforehand, a stoic sense of ‘well something has to kill me, and I’m not giving him the satisfaction’ and the angst of not being able to immediately tell people I’ve been vaccinated on Facebook got me past my doubts.

For the record, I’ve had both jabs now, and both times the process was amazing. Turned up, was reassured by someone very friendly, less than a minute wait, quick jab in my arm and a nice sit down. I didn’t feel a thing both times, with the second time especially painless – I had to ask her if she was sure it had gone in, which admittedly is something I’m used to. Luckily, she said I was the best she had ever had and we all laughed awkwardly. Due to NHS budget cuts I didn’t get a sticker or a lollipop which naturally I was fuming about, but you make do. After the first jab I felt like crap the day after, but nothing a couple of ibuprofen and wearing Paul into the ground didn’t solve. The second jab gave me a headache, but that gave me the chance to theatrically wail in the bedroom and turn my back to the sunlight which is always welcome. Now, fully vaccinated, I feel tip-top and ready to spend the rest of my days wincing when anyone coughs and reflexively asking people stay three metres away at any given time unless they’re entering me. I know the rule is two metres, but I’m a contrary bitch.

Oh look at that: I was planning on a succinct entry for the posh frittata, and instead I’ve waffled on ever so. But let’s be honest, you expected that as much as I did. Please do get your vaccine, though. Remember, it’s not all about keeping yourself safe, it’s about making it safe for others who can’t.

To the posh frittata, then.

posh frittata

Looks bloody good in the pan, does the posh frittata!

posh frittata

Tried to get a good cheese pull shot of the posh frittata but it was having none of it.

posh frittata

And here is what the posh frittata looks like inside! SO CLASSY

posh frittata: asparagus, spinach and smoked cheese frittata

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 big wedges

The inspiration for this posh frittata came from a book called The Picnic Cookbook which I impulsively bought in a garden centre as an assuagement to my feelings of FOMO - Paul was treating himself to eighty-seven new Yankee Candles and I wanted something. Why he buys those bloody things I don't know: I don't allow them to be burned in the house because they make the place smell like a nursing home, but he likes to collect them. I'll have the last laugh though: when he invariably dies before me I'll cram his piano-box coffin with them and when he goes in the incinerator, the whole of Newcastle will be choked on a miasma of A Child's Wish, Summer Roses and Rendered Fat.

We have made a few changes in this posh frittata - they suggest blue cheese but why would you - and for once, we're leaving out the butter they suggest. You don't need it, and that's that. As with all quiche/frittata recipes you can add all sorts in. Don't be shy. Do read the notes on this one!

This comes in at 375 calories for a massive quarter, or, I believe, syn-free if you use your HEA. 

Also: we cooked ours in our oven-proof frying pan because we couldn't find our silicone tin.

Ingredients

  • 400g of new potatoes - don't need to peel them, but do dice them into fairly uniform chunks
  • 200g of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1cm chunks
  • four fat spring onions, cut into slim chunks
  • a big bag of spinach leaves (150g or so - you know the one, you cook it down and it leaves you with a postage stamp square of spinach)
  • eight large eggs
  • 160g of smoked cheese, cut into dice (your healthy extra of smoked cheese is 40g, if you're on Slimming World)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees and lightly oil a good quiche tin - there's a link in the notes to the one we use
  • boil the new potatoes and asparagus chunks for a couple of minutes until softened but still with a bit of bite
  • their recipe calls for you to fry off the spring onion, but I don't think you need to do it
  • in a large pan with a dribble of water, and over a medium heat add the spinach leaves and pop a lid on - let the spinach wilt in the heat until it's all done, then finely chop
    • spinach tip - to make sure you get all the water from the spinach, get two equally sized chopping boards and sandwich the spinach between the two - then push down on the chopping board on top so all the water is forced out - then chop it finely, pile it back up and repeat a couple of times - so much easier
  • in a large bowl, crack the eggs and beat them with a good pinch of salt and pepper, add the rest of the ingredients and give everything a bloody good stir
  • slop it into your quiche tin and stick it in the oven for about forty minutes or until a knife pushed into the middle comes out clean
  • if it needs longer and the top is catching, cover it with foil and keep cooking
  • allow to cool and serve with salad

Notes

Recipe

  • you can swap the smoked cheese out for blue cheese as suggested
  • peas make a great addition - throw a couple of handfuls in with the potatoes when they're cooking
  • bacon and chicken can also be added if you desire

Books

  • we couldn't be prouder of our second book: it's technicolour, the recipes are banging and the reviews are amazing: order yours here! 
  • if you're struggling for funds, the first book is a bit cheaper and still utterly glorious: click here to order
  • we've also got a planner: here

Tools

  • we use a smart silicone dish for this posh frittata - this has never failed us once!
  • this freezes perfectly - cut it up, wrap the pieces in foil and take one out the night before for lunch
  • feel free to tip the mixture into several smaller tins to make individual quiches

Courses snacks

Cuisine picnic

Done! And if you’re looking for another frittata recipe, why not click the image below to be taken to another of our favourites?

Stay safe!

J

recipe: roasted vegetable and lentil jumble

Roasted vegetable and lentil jumble: if the thought of a vegetarian dish leaves you shaking and pulling at the hairs on your arm at the thought of a meal without meat, then have a bloody word with yourself young lady. This is delicious. A wonder. A treat, if you prefer. We weren’t convinced on lentils but a friend of mine has seemingly been making a lentil dish for the last twenty-eight weeks and honestly, hearing the word lentils over and over and over and over – well, something sunk in. But anyway, whisht yer gob, I’ve got things to say.

A couple of pieces of housekeeping before we get to the chat and the recipe. Firstly, I need to show you this:

james and paul

We wanted something for the house that represented our twochubbycubs story – and also, I want something to show Paul when he says that he doesn’t make stupid faces when I want to take a photo of him. We asked local artist and mega-DILF Tom Owen to come up with what we would look like in the future (me forty years, Paul forty minutes) and this is what he came up with – and we adore it. He’s really captured everything you need to know about us: Paul does the cooking and has a face that could stop a clock, I’m the one behind him holding a knife with scant regard for anyone’s welfare and setting his hat on fire for giggles. If you’re looking for something unique, or some stunning prints for your home, please do give Tom a follow on Instagram – the fact that he’s fit as all outdoors is, for once, not swaying my recommendation of what an absolute legend he is. Honestly, give him a follow and check out his work: he deserves every single success.

The other piece of house news is this:

a big garish light of our logo

What better way to celebrate being back in the house than to have your logo created in neon almost two metres across and attached to your otherwise very Hun-grey kitchen wall? We wanted something to finish the kitchen off, and after trying a fire, what else was there? We hadn’t appreciated quite how bright it is – if I turn it on, my cigarettes light themselves before I get a chance to fumble them out of the packet. Also, as you pull into the street, you see the word CUBS light up in glorious neon as clear as day. It’s like we’re running a gay nightclub and I adore it. I am conscious that, should the days ever commence when we get trade over, we’ll need to turn it off – don’t want to run the risk of my gobbling lips becoming the focus of our next cookbooks. Though I promise that if such a thing does happen, we’ll call the book ‘Easy to Swallow’.

Anyway, that’s enough of me and my braggadocio ways: let’s turn to the important matter: I’ve had a haircut! Now I know what you’re thinking, James, you’re beautiful as you are, and any haircut is going to be as irrelevant as chiselling a more defined six-pack into Michelangelo’s David. And naturally you’re right, but you must understand that this represents a major point in my (and I feel I speak for the nation here, too) fuck-off-COVID journey. Before someone sneezed and the world wiped spittle off its face, I used to go for a haircut once a week. It was my one slight indulgence, amongst the myriad of others. That hour spent in a chair trying not to look at myself in the mirror was one of peace, serenity and wondering whether the fact my barber had just rested his balls on my hand whilst he set about threshing my ear-hair was a mistake or a come-on. I looked forward to it. Hopefully they did too, though I imagine there was an element of despair that they’d spent an hour shaping my beard and plucking my nose hair and setting my eyes on fire and giving me a sick-fade-bro only for me to look down into my wallet to get a tenner out and look back up with a face that looked like a boiled egg rolled in the contents of a hoover bag. Seriously, my hair grows so quickly that it’s a genuine surprise that my eyelashes don’t dreadlock together when I blink.

Of course, with COVID restrictions, health anxiety and my general apathy to moving away from my computer chair it was always going to be an exercise in nerves, and certainly, it didn’t get off to a good start when I peered into the window and spotted my normal barber had either died or called in sick. I’m not one for dramatics so let’s assume he’s died of a broken heart. However, in his place was another chap with brown cow-like eyes and altogether too much FM-World-Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male and what can I say, I’m literally a sucker for a man who could pin me into a barber’s chair and hold a blade to my throat. He actually didn’t even give me a choice, he shouted ‘bossman’ at me through the window and beckoned me in.

He did a cracking job too – I like to tell them to do whatever they want (in the forever vain hope it’ll lead to shenanigans) and then, after a bit of small talk, shut my eyes and drift off. I’m not one of those socially awkward people who can’t handle a conversation with a stranger and one of my favourite things to do is change my profession every time I go in and see how long I can carry on the ruse for (which got me into trouble once when I had to bluff my way through real estate law). But, at the same time – and especially now people are wearing masks –  I can’t make out what people are saying, and even more so when you’re looking into their earhole. So there’s a lot of ‘pardon’ and ‘excuse me’. Plus, I do hate being asked for my opinion on something whilst someone is holding a straight-edge razor to my lips. I’m an animated story-teller at the best of times so if you ask for my opinion on whatever hot-topic is in the news at the moment, I’m liable to come out looking like him out of Hannibal who cut his lips off. Luckily, conversation stalled as soon as he asked about my girlfriend and I laughed gaily and told him about my twenty-stone husband. You don’t know him, he’s standing behind 30-stone-Paul.

Despite me nuking the conversation by confessing to being a touch light in the loafers, he didn’t skimp on the attention and a wonderful hour was had by both. He had to ask me to stop polishing my glasses under the blanket a couple of times but that’s standard. I do hate the last five minutes though – you think he’s done, and suddenly there’s a lotion being slapped on the shaved bits, or some bright blue unguent scooped from a bottomless jar slathered into your hair. I made to get out of the chair so many times that he must have thought I’d developed an essential tremor. Turns out the final flourish was to hold the mirror up behind me so I can look at what he’s done to the back of my head. I’m mystified by this: he’s cut all the hair off, what is he going to do if I shriek and say it’s not what I wanted? Run a Pritt-Stick over and try and sweep my back hair upwards? Anyway it doesn’t matter, he could have written ‘yer ma’s a tart’ on the back of my skull in bright pink Sharpie and I’d still smile like Julia Roberts accepting her Oscar and say what a terrific job he’s done.

Naturally, I didn’t miss a chance to embarrass myself, lest you were concerned that my return to normal society had gone without calamity. When it came to paying I asked how much I owed and he mumbled ‘forty’ from under his mask. I was aghast and with all the polite Britishness that I so embody, I replied with a ‘how fucking much?’, doing a full clutching my heart theatrics whilst I did. He clarified that it was fourteen pounds, which in retrospect did seem altogether more reasonable, and I paid and cut a quick dash. Tune in next week to see how else I can make a tit of myself, won’t you?

Oh! Thinking about it, I don’t think I was so out of line being shocked by the price. The barbers does have a photo of Drake in the window and frankly, if he can lure multi-millionaire Canadian rappers to Bedlington, then he must be shit-hot.

Speaking of shit-hot, shall we do this recipe? I can confirm that this roasted vegetable and lentil jumble is a thing of beauty. You might be looking at it thinking that it’s going to leave you farting like a brewery horse and indeed, that’s correct, but trust me with this one: it really is tasty.

roasted vegetable and lentil jumble

Oh I know, for a roasted vegetable and lentil jumble that looks pretty damn good doesn’t it?

roasted vegetable and lentil jumble

If you’re stuck for a lunch idea, try this roasted vegetable and lentil jumble – it keeps ever so well! But don’t keep it waiting too long though: everything has a limit.

roasted veg and lentil jumble

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Yeah as I was saying in the paragraph before where I always forget that I need to write this bit too, it's a thing of beauty. With all roast vegetable dishes you can add any old shite into this: it's not a taxing matter to make it your own. Also: if you're thinking that's a lot of cheese and perhaps you should cut back, then frankly if that is the case, then you can go to hell. More cheese, always. It serves four.

A reminder that we're all about calories now: but if you're still following SW, you'll find the syns are low enough! We use the NHS calorie checker to work it out - so it's a rough estimate!

Oh we drizzled it with basil oil (olive oil mixed with basil - Internet readers hate us!) because we're that kind of wanker now.

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines - 120 calories 
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 red onions
  • 250g baby plum tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 100g harissa paste
  • 160g reduced fat feta cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch of coriander (see notes)
  • 2 tins of lentils
  • 1 handful of flaked almonds (optional)
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 vegetable stock cube

Instructions

  • first, preheat the oven to 200°c
  • chop off the ends of the aubergines and then slice in half
  • slice each half into four long strips, then cut widthways into roughly 3cm chunks
  • chop the sweet potatoes into 2cm chunks (no need to peel)
  • peel the onions and roughly slice one, then chop the other into wedges
  • add the sweet potatoes, aubergines and onion wedges to a large baking tray and spray with a little oil
  • drizzle over the harissa paste and mix well by hand until everything is well coated, then spread out into an even layer (use two trays if you need to)
  • bake in the oven for thirty minutes. At the halfway point turn the veg and add the tomatoes to roast for the remaining time
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat (dry, no oil) and add the almonds
  • cook for a few minutes until toasted, approximately 2-3 minutes, then tip out into a bowl
  • next, squeeze the juice from the lemon into a bowl with the coriander, a pinch of salt and 2 tbsp of olive oil, and mix well
  • put the frying pan back over a medium-high heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the sliced onions to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally
  • add the garlic and cumin to the pan and cook for another minute, then add 150ml cold water to the pan and stir well
  • crumble in the stock cube and stir again, and leave to cook for a minute
  • drain and rinse the lentils and add to the frying pan, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, then remove from the heat
  • add the roasted veg to the pan and stir until everything is mixed
  • serve onto plates, crumbling over the feta and sprinkling with the almonds, and finally finish with the herby drizzle

Notes

Recipe

  • we think coriander is rank, and if you do too then you're our kind of person. Feel free to do what we did and swap it out for a basil instead, it's just as tasty (if not better)
  • not a fan of feta? Goats cheese or even dollops of philadelphia will do the trick here - and might save you some calories too 
  • lentils are cheap, tasty and bloody brilliant at making dinners go further. If you're not a fan please do give this a go, we reckon we're about to change your mind!
  • we've used some oil for the dressing and reckon it's worth it, but if you really are being tight with the syns feel free to chop the basil up and simply sprinkle it on top. We won't judge you!

Books

  • we couldn't be prouder of our second book: it's technicolour, the recipes are banging and the reviews are amazing: order yours here! 
  • if you're struggling for funds, the first book is a bit cheaper and still utterly glorious: click here to order
  • we've also got a planner: here

Tools

  • no fancy tools needed for this one, but of course it wouldn't be a recipe without us mentioning our most favourite kitchen gadget - the Microplane. It's almost like it makes the garlic melt away! 

Courses lunch

Cuisine vegetarian

Want some more veggie recipes? You’ll find loads by clicking here and, if I may suggest this beauty? Click the picture to go straight to it!

sautéed mushrooms

Stay safe and well, all.

J&P

recipe reacharound: curry loaf reloaded

Well hello! Normally I’d apologise for the delay between posts but not time time, no way: the last time I updated we were about to move back to Chubby Towers, and now? We’re back, and it’s all very exciting. More on that a moment!

Today’s recipe is one of our reacharounds, where we look at the abominations that were our early recipes and update them for a more modern take: and for this one, we’re going right back to the very beginning, not least because that’s a very good place to start. It was 2014 when we first posted this and honestly, looking at that style we used to have makes me cringe so hard I’m no longer circumcised. I’m not sure why we eschewed capital letters back then, or providing proper ingredient lists, or presented our food in such a cackhanded fashion. But thank goodness we’ve changed.

Curry loaf is one of those things that are held up in highest regard amongst Slimming Worlders, possibly because it’s so easy to cook, possibly because they’re always at bloody taster nights, possibly because it has ‘loaf’ in it and us dieters start bubbling at the lips at the thought of being allowed bread. Who can say? Either way, a curry loaf is just a combination of various vegetables, some microwave rice (leftover rice also works, but none of us got to where we are by leaving leftovers – most of us barely leave the pattern on the plate because we’re so feverishly finishing our food), eggs and a chickpea dahl. Chickpea dahl is an absolute arseache to find these days so we’ve done a few swaps, and if you’re in a rush to get to the food, just scroll straight to the curry loaf photos and be done.

It’s funny though, looking so far back at the old stuff when we are, for the want of a far less hyperbolic turn of phrase, at the start of a new chapter for us. Being back at home is terrific, although I miss terribly the excitement of settling down for a wank and then having housekeeping rattling the door and trying to get in. I’ve tried to recreate it by bundling Paul into the alarm cupboard and locking the door, but his mewling cries about spiders just proved more of a distraction. Plus, it’s Paul, leave him unfed for more than twenty minutes and he’ll start chewing at his own arms in the hope of righting the calorie deficit. Our house wasn’t destroyed in the fire, but pretty much everything needed replacing or redoing, and all the rooms are now blank canvases for my fits of whimsy and it’s great. For example: no house truly needs a toilet brush that looks like a cherry, but we do, even if very good friends grouse about it. But then some very good friends’ lavatories look like the one out of Trainspotting, so they can respectfully sod off. We have some plans for the outdoor bit and our kitchen is far more suitable for filming in, so you can expect some fresh twochubbycubs content soon enough. Well, that, or onlyfans, and I ask that if you do want to pay good money to watch me eating name-brand crisps in my off-brand knickers whilst I scratch at my balls with a bristle brush, you get in touch privately.

Of course, the best thing about being home is simple: we have our cats back, though it was very much an exercise in winning their trust back. We were lucky that they both escaped the fire unharmed (though watching Sola trying to hustle out of the cat-flap with a box of Cooks Matches wedged in her jaw did arouse suspicion) and we were able to house them just up the road with a friend. However, they had to become house cats for ten months, as we couldn’t bear the thought of them plodding back to our house and scratching at the door to be let in to no avail. That would be no problem for Sola, the older one, but Bowser is very much an outdoors cat and if he hasn’t had his four fights with the neighbourhood cats he tends to get a little fussy. I’m not one for sentimentality, I’m not, but when we used to drive back to check on progress at the house I couldn’t bear to turn around at the top of the street in case I saw them looking forlornly at the window like the widows of men lost at sea. I say that as though Sola wouldn’t have spent the ten months learning how to stick her middle finger up.

We decided to bring them back with a week between them in order to allow them to re-acclimatise to the new house without winding each other up. Bowser was brilliant: immediately fussing about us and then retiring to our bedroom to casually shed as much hair as he can all over our new bed. He doesn’t seem to go out as much, but then maybe he’s just observing the COVID guidance. Sola was far more effort: although the initial reunion between us was slightly less hysterical than I anticipated, that’s mainly because she’s grown too fat to run away at speed. She was always such a lithe cat back in the day – now she looks like a teapot when she sits. Watching her trying to lick her nipsy (we don’t have Sky anymore, so gotta watch something) is quite the sight. We’re putting her on a calorie controlled diet. Anyway: she let us pick her up (which she would never do) and carry her home, where she immediately took one look at our newly grey and very hun walls and disappeared under the sofa, where she remained for a good couple of days.

However, as philosopher Daisaku Ikeda said according to the google search for patience quotes I just did to make this blog entry sound more clever, ‘with love and patience, nothing is impossible’. Well, I’m the master of patience (I’ve waited fourteen years for the light of love to leave Paul’s eyes, and still here we are) and also fantastic at pss-pss-pssing, and now she’s back to her normal self. That is, she will meow loudly at me every morning until I move to stroke her, then turn her back on me to show she considers me to be subhuman scum. She’s easily won around with a little baggy of catnip and a fuss, mind, so perhaps we aren’t so different after all.

So: reunited, and it feels so good, and Chubby Towers is complete once more. We have smoke alarms in each room which all bellow at us in unison if we so much as snuff out a candle without using a fire blanket. Speaking of fire blankets, Paul bought one for the kitchen but given it was £3.99 and they have misspelled blanket as blaknet on the box, I’m not especially convinced it’ll do us the world of good if the fire demands a sequel. But we’re home and it is marvellous. Even the neighbours seem pleased to see us save for one miserable old fart who ignored my cheery wave, electing instead to scowl at me. But then he always has a face that suggests he’s just discovered blood in his urine, so I shan’t take it to heart.

To the curry loaf then.

curry loaf

The ingredients for the curry loaf – chop, mix, go.

curry loaf

Curry loaf all cooked!

Curry loaf sliced and ready to go!

lovely loaded wedges

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This serves four people a normal portion or, if you're like us and the thought of being hungry eight days from now is a terror, two. Adjust the ingredients accordingly.

And, look, this isn't anything especially fancy and can be customised to your heart's content. Add whatever toppings you like: fried onions work, as do jarred peppers, as does enough cheese to make sure you don't need to stock the pond for a week or two. You could even reduce the amount and serve it with hot-dogs, but then you could do a lot of things if you had the money.

Finally, we work all of our recipe calories out using Nutracheck - remember your calorie count may be different depending on what type of cheese you use and all that, so calorie count is a rough guide only!

Ingredients

  • 800g of Maris Piper potatoes cut into wedges
  • one beef stock cube
  • 100g of extra mature cheddar
  • two teaspoons of olive oil (use flavoured if you have it)
  • bunch of spring onions
  • one pack of bacon medallions (or normal bacon, but this is a rare occasion when you're fine without the fat)
  • 25ml of ranch dressing (we use Newman's Own) 
  • 25ml of hot sauce (we use Frank's Red Hot stuff)
  • chilli flakes

Instructions

  • pop your wedges into a bowl with the oil and the crumbled beef stock cube and tumble them around, making sure everything is coated, then:
    • cook for about twenty five minutes on 200 degrees until soft; or
    • whack them in the Actifry until they're golden
  • cook the bacon off under the grill and chop finely
  • chop the spring onion, green and white
  • once the wedges are done, arrange them on a tray if not done already, top with the sauce, cheese, dressing and chilli flakes
  • add more cheese, we both know you

Notes

Recipe

  • as mentioned, you can chuck anything on here
  • minced sausage fried off would be lovely

Books

Courses wedges

Cuisine twochubbycubs

And that’s your lot – I’ll thank you to stay out of my affairs.

If you want to try your hand at a different loaf, may I suggest our chicken and ham picnic loaf? Just click the image below to be taken straight there!

chicken and ham picnic loaf

J (and Paul) (and Bowser) (and Sola)

recipe: crispy chilli beef and coriander noodles

Now just look here a minute would you? Crispy chilli beef is an utter misnomer right from the off on a slimming blog because in the absence of fat to fry in, they don’t get very crispy. They don’t melt in your mouth like a pocket full of church chocolate and they do have a bit of a kick, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But still: if you’re after crispy chilli beef and coriander noodles, and bless you, you must be if you’ve started reading, this will still tickle your pickle.

We’re taking a tiny wee break from the This Time Next Year story this week because it’s A MILESTONE. Sadly not a millstone, that’s my husband and his fat ankles hanging onto our marriage like a sailor in a rough sea, but a milestone in that this will be the very last blog entry from Chubby Towers Adjacent: we are going home! We are! It were all round ASDA, it must be true! Short of the roof developing COVID or the rubble bursting into flame, we are due to be back in our own bed in a matter of days.

And we’re beyond excited. Understand this: it’s now been just shy of ten months since we last hurtled out of our home in a blaze, no pun intended, of polyester and partial nudity. Ten months since I sat in the garden and cried like a bitch whilst Paul tried to wrap me up in a duvet whilst simultaneously hiding the worst of the jizzle-streaks from the neighbours. The original plan was for our insurers to put us up in a hotel until they found a short-term let, but then the world caught a cough and we got fussy about not being able to have the cats with us. We’ve ended up staying exactly where they put us on the first night and you know, it actually hasn’t been bad at all. One small kitchen, a living room and an air-conditioned bedroom.

Don’t get me wrong. I miss the excitement of having a bath at home, reaching behind to grab the shower gel and being accosted by Sola showing how much she loves me by presenting her puckering asterisk-anus at me like a child might show off a drawing they did at school. She does seem inordinately pleased with it, I’ll say that. I’ve missed the wall of ashen faces staring at me as I take the wrong bin out on the wrong day outside of the pre-approved hours. I know at least one neighbour must have been having sleepless nights due to not having my car to tut at, ‘accidentally’ key or covet with his mackerel eyes. All that and more to come when we return, at least.

But the hotel won us round. At first we felt like Alan Partridge and Lynne (you won’t get a coconut if you correctly guess which is which) and lockdown meant it was just us, a few select other guests and the staff and because, in the absence of anything other to do than prime my lungs for COVID, I was outside at the smoking shelter so often they put up a plaque. I am awash with bonhomie at the best of times but faced with the same faces for weeks on end, I would usually cave and give up leaving the room rather than making awkward small-talk. Not with this lot. I’m not writing this in the hope that I get a few IHG points, I promise, but you just couldn’t wish for better staff. Given what a shite year we’ve all been through they have, without exception, been utterly wonderful. Imagine how hard it must be to muster up a polite smile at the sight of me stumbling out of the lift of a morning, face like an unmade bed and my belly spilling over the top of my ‘yoghurt’ stained jeans. They never faltered! I can barely speak to Paul without acidity until around 11am, but there they are, all round the clock, always smiling and professional. They’ve made a frobly-mobly year halfway decent, and you’ll find no better in Newcastle.

Tell you what we won’t miss though: the agony of having to clean the room before housekeeping get here. I know from chatting with staff that they see some unseemly sights working in a hotel but it’s just not in me to leave a beskiddered toilet pan for someone else to clean up. Especially as living with Paul tends to mean you’ll need a pneumatic drill and some strong prayer to get the worst of it. I’m used to it now, the same way that one may get used to a wart on a finger or a haemorrhoid, but no-one else needs that in their lives. Also, the slight angst of knowing that someone is going to look at your rubbish as they empty it and silently tut at the amount of sweet wrappers, fag packets and none-name-brand beans has meant I’ve been responsible for taking the rubbish out most days. To be honest, I’m thinking about getting a pinny and a name-badge and putting in a shift.

Actually, not the worst idea, because that would give unprecedented access to the very best feature of this hotel: it is absolutely and utterly awash with tradies and men who ‘ave a babby at ‘ome but t’wife durnt do it like she used to’. Honestly, if I was single I’d be lollipop-thin, completely white behind the eyes and have lips whittled down to my teeth. Thankfully, Paul’s harsh ways and bewilderingly keenness to maintain the sanctity of our marriage has put paid to any indiscretions, but, let me tell you: it’s been hard. Many times over. Every day I stand at the window like Miss Havisham, waving goodbye with doleful eyes to another departing Network Rail van, only for another one to come barrelling under the security barrier ready to spill another quintet of gas engineers or some other such treat.

Our house then. It is ready to receive us, with a fancy new bathroom and an upgraded kitchen. We’ve painted all the walls a ‘bright’ shade of grey, if only to make a mockery of all of my hun-rhetoric of late. There’s new carpet and a robot or two to sweep up the crumbs. We’ve got new pillows to pluck at whilst we struggle to sleep thinking every snap, crackle and pop is the house bursting into flame again. Luckily, we know the pillows are remarkably comfortable simply by virtue of them being the exact same ones as the pillows they have here. Funny that: see also the bath-towels and a quarter-tonne of dishwasher tablets. It’s a mystery! So, off we go. Back to Chubby Towers and goodbye to Staybridge Suites in Newcastle, with particular (but not discerning) goodbye to the lovely Caterina, Nola, Dave, Paul, Philip, Jason and honestly, everyone. Too many names to mention. And this is getting indulgent now, so stop. Sssh.

Let’s do the crispy chilli beef and coriander noodles. That’s crispy chilli beef and coriander noodles, you know, for the sake of the SEO. I must apologise for the shite photography: Paul took the pictures and as he is from a town where electricity was dispensed 50p at a time and inbreeding was encouraged, he doesn’t know how to use the AUTOMATIC focus on a camera. It’s not surprising. His eyes permanently look like he’s anguishing over a Magic Eye puzzle, though I suppose we mustn’t be too scornful.

crispy chilli beef

You deserve someone so much better than anyone who puts coriander on their crispy chilli beef, mind.

crispy chilli beef

I mean, you would, wouldn’t you: our crispy chilli beef?

crispy chilli beef and coriander noodles

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

So, then, crispy chilli beef and coriander noodles! This has gorgeously rich beef mince with some gorgeous, carby noodles on the side. Perfect if you're in the mood for a takeaway. Fool yourself that it's basically a salad by sprinkling some coriander on top, though know that we will forever judge you and never invite you to our famous candlelight suppers.

As you've just read and no doubt are sick of us mentioning by now, we've been trying out recipe kits while we're in the hotel as we've limited space and equipment, and frankly, I can't be arsed to go shopping. We've recently made the switch from Hello Fresh to Gousto as so many of you were recommending them, and so far we haven't been disappointed! This is another recipe ripped off lovingly inspired by those folk at Gousto, but made slightly healthier. If you fancy giving them a go, use our referral link to send some dosh our way and get 50% off your first box, and 30% off your first month. 

Ingredients

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 red chillis
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 30g fresh root ginger
  • 5 spring onions
  • 250g fine egg noodles
  • 2 carrots
  • 8 tbsp of sweet chilli sauce (8 syns)
  • 30ml toasted sesame oil
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 60ml rice vinegar
  • 10g sesame seeds (optional)
  • 20g coriander

Instructions

  • chop the tops and bottoms off the carrots, peel and then grate
  • peel and finely grate the ginger and garlic
  • peel and finely chop the shallots
  • cut the chillis in half and scrape out the insides, then finely chop
  • next, heat a large saucepan over a high heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the mince to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes until browned
  • meanwhile, trim and roughly chop the spring onions
  • chop the coriander finely (including the stalks)
  • add the grated carrot to the mince and cook for another three minutes, stirring frequently, and then boil the kettle
  • pop the egg noodles into a pan and cover with boiling water until submerged, then bring to a boil over a high heat. Cook the noodles for 1-2 minutes until tender, then drain (reserving a cupful of the water) and put back into the pan, and set aside
  • add the garlic, ginger and chilli to the mince and cook for one minute
  • add the sweet chilli and half of the soy sauce and cook for another 3-4 minutes
  • place the noodles back over a medium heat add the spring onions, remaining soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil and stir well until combined, then remove from the heat and set aside. Add a splash of the reserved water if it needs loosening a bit
  • serve the beef with the noodle, and garnish with the coriander and sesame seeds

Notes

Recipe

  • if, like us, you think coriander is fucking rank feel free to leave it out
  • if you like things a bit stickier, try using dark soy sauce in this - it works a treat
  • no shallots? an onion is fine!
  • if you're a total fanny when it comes to spiciness you can reduce or even leave out the chilli, it's still good

Books

  • absolutely loving all the kind words from you about our amazing new cookbook - please leave a review or order yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be also ordered of course – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 5000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – it'll keep you going through the next six months!

Tools

  • mince that garlic and ginger in no time with one of these microplane graters. It's our No. 1 kitchen gadget!
  • give the pan a good coating of oil with a mister – this is what we use

Cuisine chinese

Hungry for more?

Yeah whatever

J

recipe: turkish-style lamb bulgur pilaf

Was it the turkish-style lamb bulgur pilaf that brought you here? Well, bless you, it is a wonder and a delight and I promise it’ll leave you happy. But, in a rare case of no admin and no chat, we’re going to get straight to part two of our This Time Next Year story. Why? Because I like gabbing and you like reading. As ever, let me know your thoughts! But if you did want to go straight to the turkish-style lamb bulgur pilaf, we won’t hold it against you – just scroll straight to the pictures.

Also: buy our book. I mean here’s a banner and everything.

chapter two: “alreet Davvy pet, we’re still fat”

When you last joined us, we were bright orange, dressed like the Thénardiers and ready to face Davina. Hands held and with strict instruction to walk straight forward, smile like threatened cats and walk over to Davina after a brief pause, the doors slid open, and in we went.

Not quite. See, in my haste to make sure we stopped on the mark, I forgot to watch where my feet were going and clattered my left Dr Marten into the door, knocking it off its track. Cut, go again. I apologised profusely and tried to explain that I can’t move more than two metres without knocking something over, but everyone was terribly kind and reassured me that I hadn’t caused a scene. We all knew that I had, of course, but I styled it out with my best ‘what AM I like’ face that I normally reserve for confessing my affairs or mowing down cyclists. Take two then. The music went, the lights went up and the doors opened again, albeit slightly shakily. Out we strode, pinballing off each other’s fat. Quick pause to give the audience time to clap and for the camera crew to pull back on the focus, then we walked over to the sofa to sit with Davina. I say audience: for the first bit there was only a scattering of production staff sitting on rickety chairs – the applause and the crowd reactions were filmed later and slotted in. It’s a weird feeling having to react as though there’s a few hundred people applauding you when all you have in front of you is a bank of cameras and someone who barely looked up from her Puzzler when we walked in. Anyway.

First comment: that was a very, very flimsy sofa. I know this, because I’ve got it at home. Not the actual sofa from the show, I’m not that quite tight that I’d steal large furnishings from ITV, but it was from made.com and I knew from sitting on it at home that it barely took my weight without protest. Add Paul onto that and it was a recipe for us appearing on It’s Alright On The Night with a pizzicato score highlighting our calamity. However, it didn’t fail us, though I could see a flash of alarm cross Davina’s eye when a large crack sounded when we sat down. His name is Paul.

Second comment: Davina was unutterably lovely. We can’t say a word against her, though I did tell my mother that she was a proper diva, swearing at the runners and kicking off about the temperature of her water. My mother is a huge fan and I live for moments of mischief, but had to put a stopper in that fib when her eyes filled with tears. Never meet your heroes, even by proxy. Davina asked all the right questions, made us relaxed and chatty, and we genuinely forgot about the cameras (which you must understand is a novelty for me, my lips are always puckered in a pre-emptive pout) until the chat was over. We’re talking fifteen minutes at most. We made our pledge a couple of times to camera, Davina was pulled out of our gravitational pull and then we were ushered backstage.

It didn’t end there though. Unbeknownst to us, they wanted to do a bit more filming, and the idea was awful – they wanted to film us standing almost nude on a little rotating platform in front of a green screen, with the idea being that they’d repeat the process at the end of the year and then do a morph of us transforming into our skinnier selves. I was mortified: as previously mentioned, I’m fairly body confident, but I was absolutely not ready to stand in front of ITV in my knickers with my boobs hanging out. Paul was even less keen, but hey, we were committed at this point, so off we trundled to the backstage studio. We were given a robe that didn’t fit to wear whilst they farted about with the camera, and then it was my turn to be filmed spinning around like a whirling dervish. All I can remember thinking is how I wished I’d worn better underwear: unless I’m out for a shag, my underwear looks like something you’d wrestle from the teeth of a rabid dog. I don’t so much get the value out of them as break their spirit.

So it was then that I stood on the rotating platform, arms splayed out like I was pretending to be an aeroplane, the cameras started rolling, and round I went. This bit took at least ten minutes and I was under strict instruction not to lower my arms otherwise the tracking would be knocked out. Have you ever tried to hold your arms up for that long? I was sweating like a glassblower’s arse by minute three and by the halfway point, I had to ask them to stop. At least I was on brand as a fat, lazy fucker. Paul lasted no longer, though he pretended to have an inner-ear infection to abort the spinning. He totally hammed it up when he got off the platform too, lolling around the studio like he was at sea. He only righted himself when he saw a little table of sandwiches nearby, but I had to slap them out of his chubby hands and tell him ‘what would Davina say’ – that would become the recurring theme of the next year. All done, we were sent back to the hotel and, after a moment to decant all the towels in our suitcase, made our way home. We stopped halfway in some grotty Little Chef (or similar) and had beans on toast whilst we took in the commitment we had made. A year. A year to lose ten stone each. That’s quite the commitment, especially to someone like me who doesn’t like to look more than three hours in the future. I do remember the waiter giving us a peculiar look – presumably because the sweat dripping off the both of us from being on the wheel had run through our make-up, leaving us looking her that crawled out of the well in The Ring. We didn’t care. We were excited. We were set. We were determined.

We were at Cadbury World the very next day. See before we had committed to This Time Next Year, we had decided to make 2017 the year of twelve holidays – partly because we were sick of being sat in the house, partly because I wanted some fresh material for the blog and, if we’re honest, mostly because holiday dickings are always the best. The one rule was that each holiday had to be a different ‘experience’ and as part of that, we had paid for a ‘mystery tour’ on a coach. I shan’t bore you with the details – you can read part one here and part two here (they’ll open in new windows) – but I will tell you that I’ve never been so close to smashing the emergency exit open and tumbling myself out into motorway traffic. We ended up at Cadbury World in Birmingham and so the very first video we recorded to Davina in our video diaries (more on that in a moment) was one of us talking about how committed we were whilst the Cadbury mascot appeared in the background and Paul had two Double Deckers sticking out of his shirt pocket. I mean, we had our resolve, but they were giving out free chocolate: we’re only human.

The video diaries – part of the commitment was that we were to do a video once a week, always opening with ‘Hi Davina, it’s week XX on our pledge to lose ten stone each, and we’ve...’ followed by some quick story of our weight loss, any successes, any failures. They would then cherry pick any interesting bits to put together in a compilation to show at the end. By week three we were butchering the intro so much that the production staff called up to tell us off – apparently my effortless humour and deadpan delivery of ‘alreet Davvy pet, we’re still fat‘ wasn’t quite what they were after. We filmed ourselves doing all manner of exciting things:

  • sitting on our sofa talking to the camera;
  • sitting in the kitchen talking to the camera;
  • sitting in the car talking to camera;
  • sitting in the garden talking to camera; and
  • talking to the camera whilst standing on a set of scales with ‘gasp’ faces

They didn’t say, but there were definitely some hushed meetings behind the scenes at ITV to try and give us our own prime-time show, I just know it. It turns out that when you don’t move much as a rule, creating exciting videos is bloody hard work. A couple of highlights off the top of my head include doing an eighties fitness routine with a DVD of Beverley Callard in a leotard. We covered ourselves in neon paint and did a full recorded twenty minute workout. Thankfully, it never saw the light of day: it was as horrendous as you can imagine. We looked like a Blue Man Group reunion, if the Blue Men had spent their down years bed-bound through crippling obesity. It’s no wonder the roof tiles came loose later that year – forty stone of pure fat thundering around is going to trouble any structural integrity. Still, the neighbours enjoyed it – we’ve never seen Number 2 peer through her curtains with such intensity before. The dry-heaving was a mean touch, though.

Also in the mix were some shots of us swimming, because of course there had to be. That meant Paul holding his breath underwater with a waterproof camera and me diving in like I was jumping from a burning ferry. The sly fucker filmed it in slow motion too, which meant the sight of my body hitting the water and spreading like Baileys poured into lemon juice. They wanted shots from underneath with me swimming over the top of the camera which necessitated Paul sinking to the bottom of the deep end and filming upwards. As previously mentioned, I’m a big lad and it looks terrible – not too unlike when the boat crashes into the harbour at the end of Speed 2. Paul was down there so long he got the bends and had to be taken away in an ambulance. We changed tack the second time around and Paul filmed me from the spectators bit above the pool, but that was a bust too – because I’ve got such a hairy back, I just looked like a roll of discarded carpet slowly bobbing along. Funnily enough, they didn’t use those clips.

Indeed, quite possibly because we were making such a sham of doing our own videos, they sent their own crew up to our house for the day to film us cooking in the kitchen to show off the twochubbycubs angle of our story. Well, for this to work, you need to know how we normally cook in our kitchen. We select a meal, I dispatch Paul into the kitchen with a flea in his ear about making sure it’s delicious, then I spend the time whilst he’s cooking eating chocolate and turning the SONOS off in the kitchen so I don’t need to listen to his awful music. We are very much not a team. But that didn’t matter, they wanted some ‘us’ shots, so we all crowded round into our tiny kitchen – that’s me, Paul, a sound man, a camera guy and a researcher asking us questions – whilst we struggled through cooking Mongolian beef and answering questions. Paul put a knife through his fingernail which meant stopping to plaster his fingers, I got in the way, it was utterly calamitous. None of the camera crew fancied eating the beef either, which was upsetting: blood only adds flavour, after all. They decided to mix it up by having us sat in front of our Mac ‘answering questions from our adoring fans’ but that fell over because the only questions we ever get in our inbox are ‘wear can i find recepeas hun’ and ‘am allergic to air wot can i have’, which makes our brows furrow so much that it’s hard to look cheerful. I’m the absolute master of the cheesy ‘aaaah well’ smile to camera though (if anyone watched The Middle, me and my Paul refer to it as Frankie Hecking), but they wanted more!

So, change of plan again – they crammed us all into our tiny hallway (good natural light) and the researcher, close enough to my face that I could have sneezed and blown his moustache off, asked us questions. Now, you may know this, but it’s very common in ‘reality shows’ for people to be asked a question framed in such a way that their answers are pretty much scripted. For example, they will not ask ‘how do you feel about your weight loss so far’, but rather, ‘would you agree that your weight loss has meant you’re the biggest best person in the world’ – then ask you to repeat part of the question in your answer. It’s why you get so many people on The Apprentice looking like such utter bellends in their bits to camera. That, and they’re total bellends. They asked how we were finding it (easy, but mainly because we weren’t really trying), how had we supported one another (I helped Paul tie his laces of a morning, he lifted up his belly for oral) and where we saw ourselves in the future (McDonalds, day one after filming the last bit).

Oh! I forgot about the fridge. They wanted some shots of the interior of our fridge, which necessitated a quick trip to Waitrose (where we only shop if there’s a chance someone is going to judge our fridge with a clipped sneer) to stock up on all manner of things that looked healthy. They then put a little camera inside the fridge, pressed record and shut the fridge door. The idea was that they would get a selection of shots of the two of us individually opening the fridge, looking happy and joyous and loudly selecting something healthy with a big smug grin on our face. ‘OOOH A PEPPER’ said I, and ‘GOSH LET’S HAVE AUBERGINE CURRY IT’S A TASTE EXPLOSION’ says Paul. Works in principle and not the worst idea. I failed at the first attempt, pulling out a bag of something and then realising I had not one single fucking clue what they were. The first take of me ends with me holding up a bag of what I now know to be cobnuts and saying ‘what the fuck are these? to Paul off-camera. They didn’t use those bits either.

A final roll of the dice saw us all dispatched to a nearby beach to film some outdoor shots. They’d done some research as to good filming locations and selected one just down the road from us, but I didn’t have the heart at this point to tell him that the sand-dunes become a giant cruising ground at night. That’s not even exaggeration for this story, they truly do – you drive along that road at the right time of night and you can see countless gently bobbing heads glinting in the moonlight. It’s beautiful, in a way. However, the sunlight was on our side – just – so I kept schtum. What followed was an hour of filming us tramping along the beach, holding hands, looking wistfully out to sea together. They had us draw a love-heart in the sand at one point, but Paul got in a huff when I stumbled over his initials. It was all terrifically twee (and surprisingly exhausting, filming the same bits over and over whilst walking on sand), but they didn’t use any of that footage either. Presumably because although I’m talking intently to camera, my eyes keep drifting to just behind shot where some old princess was skipping through the dunes with a bottle of poppers.

We all bid goodnight to one another at that point. It had been a fun day indeed and we learned ever so much about filming and cameras and drones and boom-mics. Paul and I sat on the bench by the beach for a bit and realised that, in all honesty, we hadn’t been taking things as seriously as we ought to and that this was month four and we had only lost a token amount. We needed to up our game. We needed to try harder, otherwise the whole thing was a sham. We agreed to really knuckle down, to work together to hit our goal. Paul mentioned that we should head back, and I told him I’d make my own way home after I’d collected my thoughts. I arrived back a couple of hours later, brushing the sand off my knees and elbows, and together, we came up with a plan to get us to the end. We were going to do this.

OR WILL WE? Spoilers, we sort of do, but that’s for next time.


Now that’s quite enough of your schtick young lady. Let’s do the bloody recipe for turkish-style lamb bulgur pilaf and get it out of the way.

turkish-style lamb bulgur pilaf

This turkish-style lamb bulgur pilaf is a one-pot dish by the way, perfect for you as a lazy slattern!

turkish-style lamb bulgur pilaf

And you don’t need to jizz all over the turkish-style lamb bulgur pilaf, but maybe it helps?

one-pot turkish-style lamb bulgur pilaf

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Two things to take away from this dinner, please. You can get 10% fat lamb mince from Tesco, or any decent butcher. You can use the normal stuff too if you like, just remember to syn it. Swap it out for beef if you prefer.

And, more importantly, this is a ONE-POT dinner - sound the alarms! That'll save your busting thighs now won't it?

Oh and technically it's 1.25 syns a portion. But go away.

Ingredients

  • 500g 10% fat lamb mince
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 10g mint leaves
  • 2 red peppers
  • 260g bulgur wheat
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tsp sumac (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp baharat (see notes)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 160g fat-free natural yoghurt

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • heat a large, oven-proof casserole dish over a medium-high heat (or use a frying pan) and spray with a little oil
  • add the lamb mince to the pan along with the oregano, bay leaves and baharat and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently
  • meanwhile, slice the top off the peppers, remove the core and slice into rings, and slice the tomatoes into wedges
  • add the peppers and tomato to the pan and give a good stir
  • put the dish in the oven, uncovered, and cook for fifteen minutes (if you're using a pan, tip into an ovenproof dish)
  • dissolve the stock cube and tomato puree in 400ml of boiling water, stir, and set aside
  • when ready, remove the dish from the oven and stir through the bulgur wheat and tomato stock
  • cover with a lid or foil, and cook in the oven for another 15 minutes
  • remove the dish from the oven and leave to stand covered for another ten minutes
  • strip the mint leaves from the stems and roughly tear into smaller bits
  • fluff up the bulgur and serve onto plates
  • drizzle or dollop on the yoghurt and sprinkle over the mint leaves
  • finally, sprinkle over the sumac

Notes

Recipe

  • nah, we'd never heard of baharat either - if you can't find any just use equal parts cinnamon, paprika and ground cumin
  • the sumac is optional - if you can't find any a little bit of lemon zest will do the trick
  • beef mince also works well in this one - cook in exactly the same way

Books

  • absolutely loving all the kind words from you about our amazing new cookbook - please leave a review or order yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be also ordered of course – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 5000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – it'll keep you going through the next six months!

Tools

Courses dinner

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Looking for more one-pot dinners? Bless you!

Enjoy, or so help me God Susan

J

roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta

Well hi! Now I know you’ve come here for the roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta, and who could blame you? It’s stunning, it’s brave, it’s fabulous, but then so are your twochubbycubs. And whilst we would love to give you that roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta without delay, that’s not our style. If you’re champing at the snatch for the recipe then just scroll down to the photos, as ever, and it’s right there, a roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta ready for your lunches or evening meals. Wondering if I can shoehorn roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta into an opening paragraph in any other ways? Well, there’s one more.

The admin first: thank you, oh so very much thank you, to everyone who has been buying our books and cooking our delicious recipes! Even better, this time around you’re going crazy on social media posting the results of your toil in the kitchen. You need to know that there’s no greater pleasure than seeing eighty-seven chicken alfredos when I open my Instagram feed. It breaks up all the photos of fat men pouting in their knickers but does make having a quick hand-shandy that bit more difficult: I’m usually starving by the time I’ve slicked my knuckles. If you’re on Instagram, make sure to tag us into your stories and shots – we see them all and try to comment where we can, and it really does make things worth doing! We do love you all. If you’re loving the book, please do leave us a review on Amazon, it all helps – and you can buy it below if you’re a bit slow.

Now, today’s writing is actually an excerpt from our ‘about us’ page, which we noticed we hadn’t updated since 2016. You can read the full story of us right here or indeed, wait until the more salacious details hit The Daily Sport. 2016 seems like so long ago, it really does: the things we thought we’d never do: release a cookbook, travel the world, drop our knickers in lorry-parks. When we updated the page it didn’t send a post email out to everyone, and because I demand attention, I’ve decided to include the bit about each other below.

twochubbycubs: James (the writer)

We have experimented with each writing the other’s bio, but frankly, Paul doesn’t put the same level of sass into mine that I desire and so, I’m writing my own. My name is James, I’m 35, six foot two and described, entirely by my own making, as a walking B-Side Pet Shop Boys lyric. Growing up I wanted to be a pilot (but was scared of flying and came from a village where they still scream at the metal dragons when they fly over), a vet (until I put my hand up a sheep’s vagina, though I must stress it was a consensual and monitored situation: I was helping a friend deliver a lamb), an actor (still keeping that one in the bank) and a writer. I’ve always wanted to write ever since a teacher back in middle school graded my mock English Language SATS at a never-before-seen-in-our-school grade 8 – the sense of pride I felt never left me, though I’ll confess to Ms Westgarth (my favourite ever teacher) right now that the piece of fiction I submitted was almost a word for word recap of The X-Files Movie. It feels good to get that off my chest.

My favourite colour is blue (eyes, humour and the lips of my lovers), my favourite band is Muse (too many angsty teenage break-ups involved me sniffling into my long hair to the sounds of Unintended), I’m submechanophobic, mildly trypophobic and a dreadful hypochondriac. I hold my breath when I get in a lift to see if I can make it all the way to my desired floor without passing out. I’m a firm believer in being open about my mental health and long-time readers will know that for all the mettle in my writing, if I’m struggling, I’ll talk about it, because not enough people do. I have four regrets in life with only one that I’ll discuss here: I spent far too much of my life worrying what people think of me. If I could spread one message it would be one of loving yourself, and not in the masturbatory way – though that’s just marvellous too. My confidence now is a relatively new thing and stems entirely from realising that I genuinely don’t give a fuck what the average person in the street thinks I look like, an epiphany that came too late to stop me turning down all sorts of fun situations, both debauched and wholesome. If I could speak to my younger self it would only be to reassure him that he wasn’t a gargoyle and to encourage him to cut his hair short a bit sooner. Nowadays, although admittedly I am prone to periods of introspection when the right person says the wrong thing, I just don’t care. Try it – focus only on those that matter.

Heavy stuff, but then, so am I – I’ve battled with my weight all my life, alternating between one extreme to the other as a hairy Schrödinger’s Fat. When I’m skinny I miss my belly and when I’m fat I miss my toes. At the time of writing I’m back at the stage where you’d deliberate over getting into a two-man tent with me, but I’m happy enough with that. I’m rarely cold and I’m told my gently bobbing boobs are wonderful to sleep upon, plus, I’m now at the age where I can grow a beard, get a paw-print tattoo and market myself as a bear in the gay world. That’s where the cubs part of twochubbycubs is from, by the way – a cub is a young, hairy gay bloke.

I suppose, given I’m now handing over to Paul for his bit, a little about the other, better half of me. I rag Paul out something terrible on here, always making jibes about his weight or his laziness or his inability to order food without embarrassing himself or his insistence on voiding his bowels whenever we go anywhere or his silly rollerskate car or the fact he owns eighteen lumberjack shirts of varying shades of green and blue or the terrifying truth that his mother looks like Zelda from Terrahawks eight months into a meth addiction or the fact he still can’t tie his laces properly and ducks them into the side of his shoes or even that he literally only listens to Tracy Chapman or the small detail of his whistling nose when he sleeps or, whilst we’re here, the fact he chuckles to himself in deep slumber whenever he breaks wind and let’s not forget whilst we’re on a roll the slight vexatiousness of his incapability of making a decision and for good measure can we please talk about the fact he will nod agreement to anything I say and then say what afterwards the same way my nana used to or even the little way he gets himself literally addicted to Sinex Micromist leaving our bedside table awash with camphoric vapour, but I truly can’t imagine a life without him. He rolls (usually buttered) with all my verbal punches and not a single day goes by without him making me laugh. He’s a good egg, both metaphorically and physically, though I take pains not to let any of you know lest you steal him away.

JX

twochubbycubs: Paul (the cook)

Oh bloody hell, my go. Okay, well, I’m Paul – 34, five foot something and I guess you could describe me as the brains, body and face of the blog. I’m much more a ‘behind the scenes’ kind of guy so as much as you might see James pouting away on the feed, I’m lolloping around there somewhere, likely scraping out the crispy bits from the bottom of the Actifry and grinding multivitamins into his tea. As you’ve probably heard us say loads of times I’m the ‘cook’ and do most of the ‘recipe development’ if we’re going to go all fancy-dan about it. I make the stuff, then James goes on and makes everything look pretty, and serves it all directly into your brain. I think it’s a perfect partnership that works amazingly well, even if I do spend 20% of my time trying to bore a hole into the back of James’ head with my eyes for not using bin liners.

I grew up in a boring little village practically in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by sugar beet and burning pig carcasses. Growing up I wanted to be a wrestling team’s ‘relief’ but Connexions didn’t have a leaflet for that, so instead I went with my second choice to work doing the lights for travelling concerts. Of course, being me and scatty and mashed on 20/20 I ended up doing fairly tedious admin jobs until I found a job I actually love doing. Favourite colour? Green. Favourite singer is of course my Tracy Chapman. Voice of angel and the only woman I’d turn for.

As you may be able to tell I’m really quite shy so talking about myself doesn’t come easily. I work full-time in a hospital doing all sorts of things that are tremendous fun but will make your eyes glaze over if I explained it to you. All you need to know is that I look just as dumpy in a pair of polyester scrubs as I do in real life. Imagine an apple crumble poured into a sandwich bag. I suppose I’m a bit more stoic and practically-minded than James – I tend to just get on with things whereas he’ll dream up ideas. Again, together, I reckon we make it work really well. We’re excited to see where twochubbycubs go from here. It’s amazing but a weird feeling to think that just a few years ago we were pulling together these blog posts to share with you all – taking photos on an old iPad in our shitty beige kitchen on our black Wilkos dinner plates. Some of our early stuff makes me cringe so hard my urethra burns, but then going through them it’s brilliant to see how we developed and grew into what we are now. It’s like an html version of marking your kids height on a doorframe.

We might not be the biggest or the best, but damn it, I reckon we do alright – and if you’re reading this I hope you do too! I started all of this not being a confident cook at all – I could barely cook a tin of beans – but just gradually, over time, the more I did the basic things like chopping an onion (without lopping off a fingertip) and searing some beef (without it becoming cremated) we got a bit better and a bit better. To think that we’ve now got cookbooks is something I NEVER would have thought would happen. But here we are! Cooking is something that had never really been of any interest to me and most definitely wasn’t anything that came naturally. The blog was borne out of James’ need to write (and my need for him to be away from under my feet) so to share the labour I’d agree to at least attempt to cook, while he wrote the spiel around it and so the cookery part was pure necessity. Having twochubbycubs means that I’ve been able to learn, entirely from scratch, a brand new skill, and I’m so grateful for it. I’m hoping I get to also grow a heaving bosom like wor Nigella.

Unlike James I’ve been fat all of my life, never really venturing outside of the ‘obese’ category until recently when we went on This Time Next Year. After always being a big boy I find it really difficult to get out of the mindset and bad habits. Having this blog and all of our various challenges over the years has allowed me to find a good routine that works for me, and although I’m not perfect at sticking to it I’m getting better. At the very least, I know exactly what *doesn’t* work for me which is about half the battle. A combination of lockdown, long COVID, living in a hotel and just general ennui means I’ve fallen off the wagon quite a bit, but I’m working back to get to where I was. Learning where you go wrong and getting back on track is all part of the process.

So, yes. That’s me. You won’t see or hear much of me but I am here, beavering away! You’ve got a much better bit of eye candy in James anyway so enjoy it as much as I do. He’s got a lovely arse. For all that we bicker sometimes he’s the cherry to my Lambrini and I couldn’t be without him and twochubbycubs just wouldn’t be here without him and his genius ideas, and actually being the one that gets things from our hob out there to you, which he does almost single-handedly. And for that, I have now almost forgiven him for giving me the clap on our first date.

PX


Still with us and haven’t managed to bring your dinner up yet? Here’s us through the ages!

OK, that’ll do pig, that’ll do. If you want to read the full article and have some time to spare, take a look here.

Let’s do the recipe then: I present roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta!

roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta

roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 massive portions

If you wanted to make this a veggie recipe (and syn free), you could easily leave out the chorizo. We add chorizo to everything because we're filthy slatterns and honestly I'd brush my teeth with it if I didn't think my dentist would bang me out for it.

Paul doesn't like mushrooms as a rule but is absolutely fine with them in this.

This is another recipe from Hello Fresh that we've adjusted slightly for Slimming World. We're using Hello Fresh whilst our house is being rebuilt and honestly, we love it. If you want to give them a shout follow this link and you'll get £20 off, and also send £20 our way too! We're back home within a month - our own recipes will resume soon - but this way we don't need tonnes of space in our hotel room for all the kitchen bits!

Ingredients

  • 150g of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 200g of spaghetti
  • two large red peppers, sliced thinly
  • one tsp of garlic puree
  • 50g of chorizo, diced (6 syns)
  • one tbsp of tomato puree
  • one tin of chopped tomatoes with garlic
  • bunch of chives, chopped
  • 100ml of water with a vegetable stock cube in it 

Instructions

  • heat the oven to 200 degrees
  • pop the pepper slices in a bowl with a little bit of oil, tumble them about and then spread onto a tray for the oven, coating with a good dash of salt and pepper - roast them for twenty minutes, turning halfway
  • meanwhile, cook your spaghetti until cooked and drain
  • in a large frying pan (no oil, use the chorizo oil), cook the mushrooms and chorizo until the mushrooms are softened and golden brown and the chorizo cooked
  • add the garlic, tomato purees, tomatoes and stock
  • simmer until thick and glossy, about five mins
  • add the roasted peppers and cooked pasta and stir like the absolute buggery - you want everything coated
  • serve, topping with cheese (if you want) and the chives

I know, we're fabulous.

Notes

Recipe

  • leave out the chorizo if you want a veggie or syn free version
  • swap chives for chilli flakes if you prefer heat
  • add sundried tomato paste if you want to ramp up the tomatoey-ness of it - I don't know it's that is a word, but I don't care, so you crack on young lady

Books

  • our new cookbook is getting rave reviews but then, of course it is: 100 slimming recipes to help you save time and feed your family - order yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be also ordered now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 5000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – it'll keep you going through the next six months!

Tools

Courses dinner

Cuisine Italian I guess, but who can say?

Snazzy!

Want more pasta recipes? Sure thing sugarboobs:

Swallow that!

J