Curried banana soup I hear you cry – though I’d ask you to keep the noise down because Goomba has just been out for a tom-tit and he’s very volatile. One loud noise and his training will be set back two weeks and he’ll be back to pooing on the utility room floor with a glint in his eye that just screams ‘you wanna dance, bitch’. For a dog of ten weeks he’s got an awful lot of attitude and a very efficient bum, I can tell you. But hear me out on the curried banana: as long as you use good madras powder (the type that may suggest putting a roll of Andrex in the fridge for after), the sweetness of the banana and the cream cut with it to make a very flavourful, surprising dinner. If the thought of it still turns your stomach, then at least this is only the smallest of blog entries to work through with pursed lips. We are, after all, a food blog.
But of course I am going to talk about the dog for a moment more, given I’ve now become a dog-sitting shut-in (and there’s an assemblage of syllables you don’t want to mix up) and therefore have nothing else to talk about. We’re almost at the end of the week following his second jab and are very much looking forward to going out, though I am braced for the onslaught of people coming over and fussing him and giving me their sage advice on how to raise him. You have to understand that although I am a fairly social being at the best of times, when someone ambushes me first thing in the morning when my eyes are still stuck together and I’m dry-heaving my way through picking up his droppings, my responses will be quite curt.
One lady, who I have never met before in my entire life and who looked as though her ears were still ringing from the Big Bang, came to our gate the other morning to tell us that Goomba must be muzzled outside (in our own garden, no less) and that we mustn’t be afraid to beat him in order to establish dominance. I laughed in her face, but thought better than to mention that such a strategy hasn’t worked in the fifteen years I’ve been with Paul and that he still leaves empty milk bottles on top of the bin instead of inside it. I understand that everyone has an opinion and they’re welcome to it but she wouldn’t have enjoyed it if I’d knocked on her door and suggested a couple of ways she could make her moustache frame her face better.
That said, if anyone has some tips on how to get cats used to a new dog, I’d welcome them. Bowser isn’t arsed, he just hisses and sends the dog packing, but Sola is a different beast entirely. She’s already a very skittish cat – she won’t allow you to pick her up under any circumstances and the closest you’ll get to affection is her showing off her anus as you take a bath – and seems to be quite put out. We’re fussing her the best we can (telling her we hate the dog really, leaving Mein Kampf playing on Audible as she sleeps) but she is spending most of her time in her box atop the kitchen cabinets. Lots of online guides say she will come round in her own time and it’ll just take one swipe at his nose for her to draw a line. That’s fine, but they haven’t met Sola – she won’t use her claws, but instead a shiv she’s whittled from a toothbrush. Tough times ahead.
Anyway, I said this would be a quick and easy entry (my favourite) so let us not linger amongst the dogchatter and get straight to the curried banana soup. First thing I want to say is: it’s really hard to make a white bowl filled with yellow gloop to look exciting in a photo. The book we adapted this from suggested serving with sweet potato crisps and indeed, I went to Lidl especially, but I ate them on the drive home. Once a chubby cub, always a chubby cub. You’ll note that this recipe uses butter and single cream and still comes in under 300 calories.
Curried banana soup: tasty, I promise
I had to turn up the brightness to try and salvage the photo, hence this curried banana soup looking almost radioactive
So if you trust us enough to try this curried banana soup, please note a couple of things: we use butter and single cream in this recipe, and it still comes in under 300 calories for a lunch. If you're on Slimming World, you'll need to swap your butter for olive oil (though if you use Frylight, I'll do time) and you could maybe swap the single cream for some Philadelphia. I dunno anymore. Frankly, you're better off synning the ingredients, but we've been saying that for years and do you listen? Do you bugger!
We worked this out at around 295 calories per serving.
one teaspoon of garlic paste
one large white onion, chopped
one heaped tablespoon of madras powder
120g of basmati rice
1200ml of chicken stock
250g of single cream
two decent sized (ripe) bananas
squirt of lime juice
gently fry the onion in the butter until the onion is golden and soft
stir in the garlic paste and cook for a minute more
add the curry powder and stir
add the rice and chicken stock and cook for around twenty minutes on a simmer, until the rice is cooked through
add the cream and bananas and blend the absolute dickens out of it using a hand-blender, but do be careful you don't burn yourself
serve with a squirt of lime juice and those crisps you bought and ate in the car
the banana needs to be ripe - you want those bananas that you're saving for the banana bread that you'll never make
we're using garlic paste because it's handy but you could just mince a clove of garlic if you don't have the paste - but then again, you could do a lot of things if you just believed
this very well may be a soup that you have right there and now - it'll certainly get 'gloopy' if you leave it to sit, but if that happens, just eat it through gently and you'll be cooking on gas
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Whilst we are on the topic of soups that look like hot-arse but taste good, here’s another soup for you to try: spinach, pea and ham thick soup! Click it to go straight there, and you can find all of our other soup recipes here.
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.
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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.
Looks bloody good in the pan, does the posh frittata!
Tried to get a good cheese pull shot of the posh frittata but it was having none of it.
And here is what the posh frittata looks like inside! SO CLASSY
posh frittata: asparagus, spinach and smoked cheese frittata
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.
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
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
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
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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:
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:
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.
Oh I know, for a roasted vegetable and lentil jumble that looks pretty damn good doesn’t it?
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.
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.
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 bunch of coriander (see notes)
2 tins of lentils
1 handful of flaked almonds (optional)
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 vegetable stock cube
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
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!
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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.
The ingredients for the curry loaf – chop, mix, go.
The key to a curry loaf is understanding you can throw anything into it vegetable wise and it'll work. This isn't an exact recipe by any stretch of the imagination: think of it as the perfect vehicle for whatever you have left in the house.
You will note one big change: we swapped out the chickpea dahl for Heinz Curry Beans. We did have a scour of the major supermarkets (well no, I half-heartedly looked in Tesco before giving up) and couldn't find a good dahl, but if you know of one, do mention it in the comments. The beans worked surprisingly well! From recollection they're about 1.5 syns, but you can use normal baked beans and add a teaspoon of curry sauce.
This, served up, makes about nine slices or so.
one tin of Heinz Curry Beans (1.5 syns)
one packet of golden vegetable rice cooked through (see notes)
one large thinly sliced onion
one large red pepper chopped
one large orange pepper chopped
a bunch of ham chopped up
a spoonful of mustard
good pinches of salt and pepper
preheat the oven to 200 degrees
grease a loaf tin with a little olive oil (see the notes for the one we use)
mix everything together
slop it into the tin and bake until you can stick a knife in and it comes out clean
if it is catching, cover with foil as it cooks
once cool, tip out and slice
swap the beans for chickpea dahl if you can find one
we use golden vegetable rice from Aldi which is syn free
leeks, new potatoes, peas, grated carrot all work well in this loaf
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Curried sprout risotto: I can already hear you all gasping and dry-heaving into your mailboxes. And yet, you mustn’t: the sprout may be a little ball of farts, but cooked well and with flavour, it makes for a lovely, soft, oniony dish. If your only sprout experience comes from Christmasses past where your mother put them on to boil a day or two after Easter, then I beg you to reconsider. Here, we’ve turned it into a risotto and served it with spicy jerk chicken from our newest cookbook – and that’s exactly what this should be used for: a base. Bit first, a couple of bits of admin as ever, then the curried sprout risotto recipe is all yours, I swear it.
Firstly, thank you to everyone for buying our book – it’s still doing so well and frankly, having an extension put on the house where I can smoke expensive cigars and type out my stories like Lynda La Plante has never seemed so possible. Please keep sharing your photos, reviews, telling your friends etc. For all those that haven’t yet got it, it’s available right here on this link!
Secondly, I apologise, but this is a long, long entry! It occurred to me the other night that we haven’t done a good ‘writing’ post in such a long time. So, here we go – but please, if you are hungry, scroll down to the recipe! If you honour me by reading it, I would absolutely love your feedback and comments. Don’t be shy! Here we go.
I’m about to tell you a story that I haven’t put to paper, for reasons each more inexplicable and bewildering than the last (I forgot), and will subsequently detail over four blog entries. It was a simpler time: Brexit was confirmed but we all thought it would disappear as elegantly as a magician’s trick on an ill-lit stage. There was nothing more infectious troubling the world than my laughter. Paul’s face wasn’t the haggard shell that haunts me now as I drift off to sleep. Our cats were young, with full bellies and bad attitudes and, in Sola’s case, ovaries: something she’s never quite forgiven us for taking away. It was 2017, we had returned from a mortifying trip to Copenhagen (where Paul shat out an egg with me dying of fremdscham at the side, and of course, the time I used chøc-a-bløc in a blog recount of our holiday, a writing standard I don’t think I’ve topped since) and were just settling down to ignore our ever increasing obesity when I received a text from a friend. It wasn’t the usual ‘you best go get checked love, it’s dripping from the end’ text either – it was, for the want of a less hyperbolic phrase – a text that changed our lives.
It’s here that we start the story of the time we went on This Time Next Year.
chapter one: “oh, so much cum”
Copenhagen, for all the laughs and jolliness the holiday recaps portrayed, was an awful holiday. It was the first time we’ve ever been away where we weren’t able to enjoy ourselves properly. We were simply too fat: we’d reached a critical mass where going on rides was a no-no. Eating in public was an exercise in embarrassment and self-consciousness. We couldn’t walk across the city – a city known for beautiful, lithe people, mind you – without worrying about what people thought and whether our ankles would make it. Older readers may remember a bit in the Vicar of Dibley where Geraldine, laden with three Christmas dinners, hops into a taxi which takes her about fifty yards down the road. We did pretty much that one evening, bellies so bloated that we got a taxi what would take a reasonable person three minutes to walk. I’ve always been fairly body confident but that was the absolute first time where my weight was making me miserable. Paul took a photo of me over dinner (presumably taking a census of the bread rolls that were left for later interrogation) and I look like two people cosplaying as a bearded horse. I’m literally widescreen. Paul was equally fat and equally as miserable. We rowed constantly, both unhappy with ourselves and taking it out on the other.
I mean, you’d struggle to run me up a flagpole, wouldn’t you?
Now, you must understand, us arguing on holiday is almost a tradition, though it’s usually over me opening my legs like the gates on a level crossing whenever a passing bearded Daddy-type walks past. But these were absolute humdingers, and for comparison, Paul once left for the airport to fly home from Hamburg after we had a ruckus in a backstreet gay bar. That’s not a euphemism. The only thing that stopped him actually flying home (after spending hundreds on a ticket) was the fact he’d forgotten to strop back to the hotel first and pick up his passport. So holiday arguing is de rigueur and normally, once we’ve cried into a few pastries over breakfast, we’re fine. Not this time. Things came to a head on the final night: me throwing stuff around the room, him shouting and bawling like his arse was on fire and his hands were in mittens. Realising that – for once, I wasn’t in the wrong, we had a good chat about what had happened, and confessed to each other how unhappy we were with how far we’d let ourselves go. Such a dramatic revelation was tempered a little by the fact we were sharing a giant Toblerone from the airport at the time – though perhaps it tells you of our greed that we bought a Toblerone from our departure airport as opposed to one from our returning airport.
But what could we do? We knew how to lose weight: we ran twochubbycubs at that point and dieting wasn’t some elusive mystery. Calories in vs calories out. But it’s all such a bore, isn’t it, if we’re honest. We’d had eight or so years at this point, attending Slimming World classes and developing piles on the plastic chairs and wishing for death as Sandra and Enid and Derek and Elsie and Sandra again all recounted their tales of how they couldn’t shit and birthday parties where they ‘had been really good and just sucked an ice-cube‘ all night. That’s not being good, that’s wasting an opportunity. The only thing that was sticking for us was cholesterol in our arteries, clad on the sides like seams of fridge-cold butter. We couldn’t bear the idea of another twelve months of standing in someone else’s verruca-prints and discussing Muller Lights. But without a class, what is there? The frightening prospect of taking responsibility for our own actions, and I think the fuck not. Never have, never will.
Then, as I say, we got a text. My good friend Sarah – someone I had worked with for a few years and made such an impression on that she knitted a fabulous little Bobomb for our house – had seen a calling card for a show on ITV called ‘This Time Next Year’ and sent it over. The premise was astoundingly simple: you turn up, pledge you are going to do something dramatic within a year, Davina McCall smiles and asks you lots of questions, then you disappear behind a door. This part is filmed but not aired at the time of recording. A year later, you come back, walk back out of the door and Davina has a scream and everyone claps and you’re briefly the star of ITV prime-time. Then, through the magic of editing, they splice the two films together and make a show of it so it looks as though you disappear behind a door and then come straight back out again a changed man. Or men, in our case. If you look on discussion forums discussing the first series you get numbskulls actually thinking the ‘change’ has happened there and then, as though Dumbledore was putting in a nightshift at Celador and just magicked away your fat. I mean, it’s surely not the most taxing of concepts, but to look at digitalspy back in 2017 you’d think the viewers were being tasked with cracking Gödel’s completeness theorem using only a broken abacus and six of their webbed fingers.
Realising that this was an opportunity we may never get again – and once I’d explained the gist of the show to Paul through discussion, then animation, then puppets and finally one of those ‘pick a number’ folding papers people used to make in school to choose their boyfriends – I emailed the production company. Sensing that one look at our humourless faces may send us straight to Deleted Items exile, I tried to make our application as funny as I could, describing myself a ‘spherical Geordie prone to shrieking’ and Paul as a ‘lighthouse in M&S slacks’. I also attached a couple of photos of the two of us, including that awful one I mentioned above. We must have caught their eye as we received a call a couple of hours later – first with a researcher who asked us lots of questions about whether we had been on TV before (me, no, but Paul yes, being wheeled in a pram through some flood water and throwing himself in front of the Chief Executive of the local council’s car during a pension strike) (not on the same day), whether we had been in trouble with the law and why we would be a good fit. A couple of Skype interviews followed that where we were asked what we wanted to pledge – we both said we wanted to lose four stone each.
Four stone! In all honesty, we could have both spared twelve stone a pop and still rarely have felt the cold. I genuinely can’t remember the exact weight, but I know I was over 26 stone and Paul 25 stone. The researchers went away and discussed with the production company and came back to make us an offer: lose ten stone each. Quite the upgrade but, faced with the very real possibility of us joining together like little globs of mercury when we made love, we agreed. Contracts were signed, confidentiality clauses agreed, and a date set for a week or two in the distance where we were to travel to London to film the ‘before’ portion of the show. We barely had time to get nervous, but you better believe we made the most of that week, wanting to be the heaviest we could possibly be when we got on the scales before the year of dieting commenced. We’re talking ordering two separate takeaways of an evening, grabbing a McDonalds every time we went for the paper, that sort of sluttish behaviour. And oh, it was glorious: a week dedicated to fattening ourselves up like Christmas turkeys. It wouldn’t have come as a surprise to me if I had walked in on Paul brushing his teeth with a Cadbury’s Flake. The night before filming we drove down to the cheery little Premier Inn in Borehamwood where we were all stationed and we stopped at every single services on the way. That’s ten, for the record, and we snacked at each one. By the time our little Micra pulled in at the hotel two of the tyre pressure warnings had come on. We were, quite literally, bursting at the seams: the fly on my elasticated jeans had come open for reasons, unusually, not relating to my traditional ‘welcome to the roads of Britain’ blowjobs I hand out to lorry drivers with especially consonant-heavy first names.
We slept fitfully: partly the worry of being filmed the next day, partly the angst of not knowing whether we would be able to squeeze in a Premier Inn breakfast before our taxi picked us up at 7.30am. You mustn’t worry: we did, and did so handsomely, knowing this would probably be the last ‘unhealthy’ meal for a very long time. Our taxi came and whisked us to Elstree, where we were given a fancy BBC badge (ITV were borrowing their studios) and made to wait in the security guard office until someone came and picked us up. They forgot about us. Paul didn’t seem to mind as he spent most of the time anxiously looking out of the window in the hope of seeing his teenage wank-fantasy Martin Fowler strolling up to set. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he had left the show in 2007 – it was just nice to see Paul with some light behind his eyes. A runner eventually noticed that the security guard’s hut was full of fat people and came to whisk us to the green room in a blur of yahs and small-talk. Actually, that’s doing her a disservice, she was utterly lovely and put us at ease immediately. I remember seeing a Holby City ambulance and being amazed by how run-down everything looked behind the scenes, though I suppose the BBC mustn’t be seen to be splashing the cash on paint and decent carpets in these times of austerity.
Our green room was immediately behind the set and although we had arrived first, we were to be the fourth story filmed. This meant spending most of the day making small talk with people. Now, I’m excellent at small talk and can cheerfully chat away to most folks without a pause, but this was different. The people in the green room were absolutely terrific but they had all such important stories: someone was wanting to face the outdoors again after a fire had left her with significant burns. There was a couple who were trying one last bout of IVF before giving up on being parents after years of unsuccessful attempts. A young boy with artificial legs who wanted to play a proper game of football. Actual heroes, laughing and smiling away and all hiding their nerves with too many cups of the free (and bloody awful) coffee. We felt like shams: we were there because we’d eaten too many sandwiches over the course of our married life and neglected to move enough to counter it. But the camaraderie was great and though I’ve forgotten their names (and cut me some slack, it’s 50/50 on whether I remember to breathe out these days), I won’t forget how we all relaxed one another and cheered when each pairing disappeared off to make-up, wardrobe and then onto filming.
Our time came soon enough. Another brief chat with one of the production staff who ran through the questions we would be asked, where to stand on stage, how to definitely not say fuck or bugger and don’t do it as a joke because fuck me, that bugger is tired, that sort of thing. Then into wardrobe where they pressed the clothes we brought from home and stuck a sanitary towel in our underarms to stop us sweating. I’m a big guy, I asked for a maxi-flow. The clothes thing – they wanted us to bring our own clothes because they knew we’d look awful in them, so when the big reveal happened later and they had dressed us with decent, stylish clothes, it would look so much better. That’s why, if you watch the video, we are wearing dreadful polyester shirts picked straight from the two-pack pastel selection from ASDA. Then straight into make-up which I absolutely fucking loved, not least because the chap doing my make-up was a gorgeous, massive bear, camp as tits and utterly indiscreet. I got asked for my number somewhat surreptitiously (don’t worry, so did Paul, what a cad) and he described his previous visits to the North in glorious technicolour as he powdered my face: ‘oh but there was SO MUCH CUM‘. I had to ask him to calm down because I was laughing so much my foundation was falling off like Tango-coloured snow.
When they had finished making us look halfway presentable (which involved turning us a very, very orange shade which is then cancelled out by the studio lights) we were sent back into the corridor, ready to be installed behind the doors waiting for the big moment when they slid open and revealed our corpulent, crumpled selves to Davina and the audience. However, you know my husband: he can’t pass a toilet without some sort of crisis and as a result, piped up that he just needed a wee. No problem, he was dispatched to a nearby lavatory and I took up waiting outside. He was gone mere moments before we heard a crash and a sound not unlike a cow being branded by a farmhand with an essential tremor. I poked my head round to find him lying on the floor like a piss-soaked turtle – he’d rounded a corner a bit too sharpish and fell over at the urinal. With little time to spare and a face as red as a freshly-slapped arse, he was whisked to wardrobe where, with not enough time to change his clothes, they went over him with a hair-dryer and pushed him back out. We like to think it was water on the floor from a leaking urinal, but he stank like a city-centre back-alley. Davina wasn’t crying with emotion that day, it was pure ammonia fumes.
Clothes smartened, make-up touched up, mics fitted and refitted when they realised my belly was accidentally turning off the mic-pack when I sat down, we were taken to the back of the stage. I can’t remember anything that the runners were saying at that moment and was instead concentrating on making sure I was standing on the right side of Paul and holding his slightly scented hand to keep us both calm. My own bumhole was chewing out the seams of my pants, but no time for panic.
The lights went up, the doors slid open, and in we went.
More on that next time!
Goodness, that was a LOT of text, wasn’t it? But see, when I have something I like writing about, it flows like a poo half an hour following consumption of a newsagent egg sandwich. To the curried sprout risotto, then!
See, the curried sprout risotto isn’t as bad it sounds!
Normally with a risotto we throw everything in the pan and let it bubble away on its own with the lid clamped tightly over it. Not this time. Possibly due to my swirling contemplativeness, I found much merit in standing by the hob stirring the buggery out of it whilst looking sadly at the kitchen tiles. Either way will work though, I suppose it just depends on your ankles.
Take a look at the notes: I've added a few ideas to liven it up if you wanted to push this into a main all of its own.
one large white onion
200g of baby sprouts
one clove of garlic, minced
pinch of salt and curry powder
around 800ml of good quality or so help me God I'll do time vegetable stock
200g of risotto rice
chop the onion finely
with the sprouts, cut off the stems, remove a couple of the other layers and then chop finely into lovely little lunules
gently sweat off the onion and chopped sprouts in a little oil until the onions have gone lightly golden
add the curry powder, garlic and salt and cook for a moment or two more
add the risotto rice and stir it through so all the grains are moistened (eww) and then add a ladle of stock at a time, cooking on medium, allowing the liquid to almost disappear before adding another ladleful
keep stirring until the rice is cooked through
serve with whatever you want
if you wanted to add meat, cubed bacon lardons added with the garlic would be a good choice, but don't add extra salt
we served ours with our jerk chicken from the book - rub and cook
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Sometimes you need something that is quick to throw together and sticks to your belly like muck on a lavatory, and honestly, despite that unsavoury opening, this recipe for spinach and chickpea will do the trick. Doesn’t sound like the most exciting in the world, but it’s grand – nicely spicy, no meat and just yessss.
Before we get to the razzmatazz of the recipe, a note about our new book which is available to pre-order on Amazon and WH Smith now. There’s only a couple of weeks to go before this colourful little bugger is in your hands. If you pre-order now by clicking the banner below, if the price drops between then and now, you’ll pay the lower price! We get asked a lot why we didn’t release at Christmas and I would have thought the answer obvious: if someone bought me a ‘lose weight’ cookbook for Christmas, they’d have it pushed up their fundament. So that’s the reason, plus you know, we need time to write these and get the swearwords past our publishers. So! Don’t delay, do order today. If you loved our last book, and so many did, you’ll find even more of us in here!
Anyway, enough admin. Can we discuss hotel breakfasts? For me, the best part of staying in a hotel, aside from leisurely scattering bodily fluids all over someone else’s duvet and stealing everything that isn’t welded down, is the hotel breakfast. Long-time readers will also know that a Premier Inn breakfast is, to me, the pinnacle of good eating: as you’ve seen from both my waistline and my marital indiscretions I believe in quantity over quality, and being able to graze at a trough of heat-lamp solidified Costco fare is an absolute treasure. As it happens, I had cause to find myself in a Premier Inn a while ago (post first lockdown, so shush, snitches get stitches from bitches) and aside from my room being so far from the reception that going out for a cigarette meant crossing two tier levels, it was grand. I live for moments cast in electric magenta. My friend Tall Paul, of similar heft and capacity for eating, was joining me for breakfast.
How can it be possible to get every single item on a breakfast wrong? It was like a Dali interpretation of what a good cooked breakfast should be. Case in point: the toast. When we have previously breakfasted together it is my job to fetch enough toast that the shareholders of Warburtons can book themselves another week in St Moritz. That’s fine: I’m the master of working two rotary toasters at once and make skipping between the two into an elegant polyester ballet. It’s not a taxing affair, yet somehow in the haste to deny us all pleasures in life thanks to COVID, they’ve taken away that responsibility from the customer. You now have to owlishly ask for toast, tempering the amount you want lest the waiting staff wrinkle their noses in disgust and refer to you as Bacon-Tits in the kitchen.
Still, toast isn’t hard to get right, no? After forty minutes, Schrödinger’s Toast appeared: a sheet of midnight carbon on one side, totally uncooked on the other. It explained the wait at least, given they’d clearly prepared the toast by standing outside and holding it up to the December sun for thirty-five minutes like some sacrifice to the Yeast Gods before finishing it off in the blast zone of a nuclear atrocity. To make things worse, they had brought four tiny pats of butter for six slices of toast and everyone ought to know by now that this simply won’t do: we both spread our butter like a whore applies lipstick and we had to pester the waiter for more. He slapped it down on the table with a finality that suggested we weren’t to ask for anything else and a moment later, our breakfast was hurled onto the table with similar venom.
The bacon was one good vet away from resurrection, the hash-browns had all the structural integrity of an envelope full of custard and they even managed to bodge the beans up. Breakfast beans should be put into a saucepan and gently heated for approximately four days before being served, so the sauce goes as thick as a welder’s apron and leaves little red kisses in the corner of your mouth. This is especially pertinent with my dining companion as looking at the food smeared into his beard is my only reassurance he’s eating properly. Instead, we were given beans that suggested that the cook had parcelled them out individually moments earlier, perhaps wearisome of oncoming rationing measures. Not usually a disaster but when beans serve as the only moisture available on the plate, it becomes far more consequential. I’d have had a wetter mouth if I’d tucked into a plate of those silica balls that come with my boots.
They had made an attempt to gussy up the tomato by cutting it with pinking shears but frankly, if it didn’t work for my circumcision, it’ll do nothing for an ice-cold tomato. And the sausages: a good sausage is either (a) pink, cylindrical and devoid of any identifiable meat bar an eyelash or valve or (b) made with care and attention from animals that get tucked in at night by a kindly nanny. The middle ground is a waterbed of meh and it was in that meh that the sausages bobbed like turds in the sea.
But honestly, it was the egg that finished us off. A fried egg should be white and firm on the outside, with a sealed yolk that you can excitedly dip your toast into. Salt should be liberally applied either via the vessel on the table or your own thankful tears. What we were served was almost a magician’s trick: the perfect looking fried egg indeed, but one that you couldn’t dip your toast into even if you applied it to the sharp end of a wish.com pneumatic drill. I’ve never known an egg fight back – it was as though they had cast it from plaster. My friend likened it to those plastic facsimiles of food you get in the windows of restaurants in Tokyo and I was minded to agree, though disagreeing with him is never truly an option anyway, unless you like to be told why you’re wrong over the course of fifteen minutes, three slideshows and a ‘discussion’ that ends with him looking at you with a sage expression, resting his hand on your shoulder and shaking his head sadly whilst you boil with barely-masked incredulity.
Naturally, as we are British and fat, we ate everything put in front of us and were fully prepared to reassure the waiting staff how delightful the food was had they bothered to check in.
With the main plate finished, my mate nipped outside to smoke, such as he does treat eating as an interruption to his smoking regime rather than the other way around, and I was left alone to my own devices. Of course this is where the waiter took a moment to come over and whether he could get us anything else. I resisted the urge to ask for a pre-emptive air ambulance ride to the nearest gastrointestinal unit and instead requested, somewhat tremulously, some yoghurt. He met my gaze and said ‘cumpit‘ with a raised eyebrow. I confess, I was shocked and at once wondered how he knew – perhaps house-keeping had let him know the state of my room in advance – before realising he was actually saying compote in that gloriously bewildering accent where every syllable is murdered twice over before arriving at the lips. I agreed with him that it would be a sensible addition and he returned moments later with a bowl of yoghurt and a tiny bowl of berries which, rather like the toast, managed to exist in two states at once. I’ve never had my lips frozen and burned at the same time, and I’ve kissed Paul’s mother.
Breakfast finished, we both agreed to never speak of it again, chalk it down as an anomaly and, should the moment take us later, leave a snotty review on Twitter or suchlike. However, neither of us are petty enough to remember the detail, so I’ve simply and reasonably settled for a 1,200 word bitchfit on my blog instead.
Speaking of poorly presented food, here’s the spinach and chickpea stew, actually looking bloody beautiful!
How’s that for a plate full of stodge? But it’s so damn fine! Try our spinach and chickpea stew, or shush.
Only one syn, and you can leave the apricots out of the spinach and chickpea stew to make it syn-free!
It’s like a super quick tagine, this spinach and chickpea stew!
Warming, slightly spicy, mixed with a tonne of feta - this spinach and chickpea stew is bloody fine!
We've adapted another of Hello Fresh's recipes to make it a bit easier on the waistline and the pocket. This spinach and chickpea moroccan style stew combines a few of our most favourite things and is so rich, you'll love it. If you want to give Hello Fresh a go you can use this magic link to get £20 off, and also send £20 our way n'all. Cheers!
By the way, we ain't on a kickback from Hello Fresh, but until we're out of Chubby Towers Adjacent, it's all we have!
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 dried apricots, roughly chopped (4 syns)
2 tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
500g baby spinach
160g reduced fat feta cheese (HEA x4)
1 chicken stock cube
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp tomato purée
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
crumble half of the stock cube over the couscous and pour over 480ml of boiling water, and stir well
cover and set aside
spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
add the onion to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, until softened
add the garlic, paprika, tomato puree, chilli flakes, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, pepper and cinnamon to the pan along with the dried apricots and cook for one minute
stir in the passata and 100ml of water along with the remaining half of the stock cube and bring to a simmer
add the chickpeas to the pan and continue to simmer for another 4-5 minutes
stir in the baby spinach in handfuls and cook until fully wilted
fluff up the couscous and add half of the parsley
serve the couscous in bowls and top with the stew, crumbled feta and the remaining parsley
the original recipe uses 'tagine paste' which we've never come across in the supermarket, but the spices in this are almost identical. If you can find tagine paste however feel free to use that instead - you'll need about 2 tbsp
if you aren't a fan of feta a bit of natural yoghurt with a bit of salt added will add a nice alternative tang
OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK IS COMING OUT SOON! You thought the last one was good? It was, but this sequel is even better - it'll be coming out just in time for the new year! Preorder yours here!
our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks
Just the quickest of posts tonight for this spicy tomato and beetroot soup, which has already featured on our Instagram but needs an airing on here. As the cold nights draw nearer we all need something warm slipped inside us, and frankly, this soup does the job perfectly.
I shan’t keep you with my usual 1000 words of hooey, but I will slip in a note of caution for you (and if you’re sensitive, do skip forward to the recipe pictures, I beg you) – please remember that you’ve had beetroot the day after you demolish this soup. I tell you this only as someone with a tendency towards the dramatic. Paul doesn’t like beetroot, it reminds him of kissing his mother, so I consumed four bowls of this soup in one day a couple of weeks ago.
That wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem – I’m a big lad and can wear the extra calories like one might wear a winter muff – however I clean forgot about my intake of beetroot the day after when I’d dashed home especially to see a friend off to the coast. That dealt with, I took a quick look (and bugger off, everyone does this) (your own I mean, I don’t fancy a bus trip being put on to come look at mine) and was left aghast by the fact I was clearly shedding blood at an alarming rate.
Naturally, I was beside myself, and that’s coming from someone who is only ever two brief shocks away from hysteria.
I called Paul at work to explain that I would probably be dead on the floor by the time he got back and that he wasn’t to take another lover for at least five years after my death. He calmed me down in that patient, complaisant manner of his and then downgraded my self-diagnosed terminal illness to simply overindulgence of beetroot. It was a rollercoaster few moments, I can tell you, and I’ll ask that you exercise appropriate caution with this tomato and beetroot soup.
It’s hard to make tomato and beetroot soup look sexy, but honestly, this is gorgeous!
We served this with a lump of beetroot bread from Morrisons. Yes, it does rather look like a diseased knuckle. But…
If you're not a fan of beetroot, I still recommend giving this a go: it doesn't taste very...beetrooty! Also, if you are really fussed about spending syns you could swap out the Philadelphia for a bit of horseradish - but only a teaspoon otherwise you really will be in trouble on the thunderbox.
We used a Tefal Easy Soup for this - but you can use a pan just as easily! We love it because you chuck everything in and press a button and away it goes.
400g chopped cooked beetroot
60g of chopped white onion
400ml of chilli and tomato passata
one garlic clove, minced
450ml of beef stock
50g of Philadelphia Lightest
chuck everything in a pan bar the Philadelphia and cook for about twenty minutes
blend and serve with lovely bread
I mean it's that easy.
swap Philadelphia for horseradish if you want a more 'sour' soup
cooked beetroot is different from pickled beetroot mind you - you'll find cooked beetroot in the fresh vegetables part of the supermarket, but vacuum packed
We had to revisit this mushy pea curry, and I shall tell you why. We’ve been it making a bit of a resurgence in Slimming World circles and frankly, it always looks like someone’s strained a hot pile of meconium through a tramp’s sock. It had to be done better, surely? For this recipe, we’ve taken inspiration from the excellent Hari Ghotra and omitted the chicken we previously used in order to make a lovely vegan meal. I know, we’re shocked too. This ‘recipe reacharound’ will be an ongoing feature here on the blog, where we take some of our older recipes and revisit them to make them better.
Spoiler warning, mind: it still looks like a shitty nappy. But mushy pea curry tastes good, I swear.
Now, because it’s a recipe reacharound there won’t be a full post to go with it, though I will say this in reference to the post the original recipe accompanied: I bloody miss writing up our holiday entries. Paul and I are currently collecting old travel photos from our holidays for a Secret Project and it isn’t half giving us wanderlust. Without wanting to sound like a pretentious prick but doubling down on that anyway, there’s a whole world out there that we want to explore and thanks to COVID, we can’t. Still, mustn’t grumble. Ireland was a surprisingly amazing holiday for us: Paul got bit on the head by a horse, we were interrupted shagging in a hot-tub by a farmer (sadly not a porn-style farmer with thick arms and needs his wife can’t meet, but rather someone who looked like he cured the BSE crisis singlehandedly by eating all the poisoned cows) and we nearly careered off the Cliffs of Kerry caterwauling to Diana Ross in our car. What a week.
What’s encouraging to note from the holiday entry is that even back then we were thieving little bastards: shove us into a situation where we can snaffle freebies and we’ll be walking out with backpacks full of diet cokes and bumholes full of muffin. We have no shame when it comes to that sort of thing and don’t put any stock in the argument that it ruins it for everyone else. We both came from poor families (mine financially, Paul’s emotionally) and those feelings of hunger never truly wash off. Our most recent experience on a ferry over to Vancouver Island was exactly the same: we paid for the premier upgrade and ate so many pastries that every time I pooed over the next few days a cheese straw came curling out.
Ah, precious memories.
“I don’t know how appropriate it is to have a semi whilst clumsily navigating around the Bangor ring-road…“
I’ve since learned his name.
Right, to the mushy pea curry! I mean, look at it….
This mushy pea curry is perfect for Slimming World, mainly because it's syn free but also because looking at it might put you right off your dinner. Season to taste. The original recipe demanded all sorts of spices and whatnot but honestly, as a side, this will do the trick. We have cheated by using pastes for the garlic and ginger and curry powder, but listen, we're in a rush.
That said: don't skimp on the spices and chilli: if it doesn't hurt, they're not doing it right.
300g or so of fresh, ripe tomatoes, chopped roughly
one large onion, finely chopped
one vegetable stock cube dissolved into 200ml of water
two teaspoons of garlic paste
one teaspoon of ginger paste
three fresh green chillis chopped so fine, or some green chilli paste
400g of marrowfat peas
one teaspoon of hot curry powder
salt and pepper
sweat the onions off in a little oil
blend the onion, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chillis, curry powder and stock together
allow to thicken a little on low heat for ten minutes or so
chuck the peas in - if they're from a tin and not fresh (and let's be honest you lot, I know our readers, they'll be tinned) you can add the delightful pea-water in with it
thicken for a wee bit more and mash slightly until you get a thick, pea curry
season to taste
It's that easy. Serve it atop a naan, she won't mind, she misses human interaction.
you can bulk this out with peppers or, if you need meat as much as I do, fry off some finely chopped chicken breasts when you do the onion
the longer you leave it the thicker it gets, which is always a good thing
you can use chopped tomatoes from a can - this isn't a beauty pageant
our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 2400 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!
We love Hari Ghotra and just noticed she has a curry cookbook out - she has never let us down on a recipe yet - click here to order!
I know right! You’re all gonna be cutting a dash to the kitchen to make that for the wee’uns aren’t you? AT LEAST WE TRIED.
Anyway shush! More veggie recipes? Fill your boots!
Syn-free butterbean houmous awaits you today, with an apology because there’s absolutely no way of taking a photograph of a plate of syn-free butterbean houmous without it looking like Smash that someone’s already had a crack at eating. But it tastes lovely and makes a decent change from the chickpea houmous that we also recommend. That’s enough about houmous. Very quickly, I’m doing alright. Lots of lockdown langour at the moment – there’s only so much staring sadly out of the window one can do before he becomes a lighthouse keeper – but I’m getting on with things. As per the last few entries we’re opening with a tale as old as time before we get to the syn-free butterbean houmous, but you’re free to scroll down to the food pictures if you’re in a rush! Always welcome feedback on the holiday entries, and must apologise for this one, as it is a little more adult than the previous entries.
Little bit of admin first, of course: our fabulous new planner comes out next month, and if you’re needing inspiration, a kick up the arse, sex-tips (maybe not those) or other flimflam, you’ll find it all in our beautiful new book! You can order it here – I know, how terribly exciting! Now, come back with me to Canada…
Next on the list of attractions that time forgot, a mirror maze! Piece of piss this one, though: how hard can a hastily assembled mirror maze consisting of a few boards of plywood and some scotchy IKEA mirrors be? Please. I spend most of my day cats-bumming my mouth into my phone camera, a few tricksy mirrors and party-bus lighting wasn’t going to hold me back. I paid the lady, Paul went ahead, and in I stumbled into hell.
A little side-story for you. After Canada, we flew to Tokyo for a few days “to rest”. Whilst there we came to learn of a gay sauna exclusively for the larger gentleman – you would actually be turned away if you rocked up with a six pack and a BMI that didn’t need an extra digit on the calculator. Skinny and toned folks were sent next door to use the sauna for the slim. It was heaven: we’ve always been about the larger chap. Sex holds little allure for me unless there’s a strong risk of one of us clutching our arm and Jim Robinson-ing our way through to climax. Oh! They also fluffed you and measured your cock when you turned up and if you were over a certain size, you’d get a King Kong sticker to wear somewhere on your ample frame. They gave me a Goomba sticker and a lollipop.
Anyway, the way this sauna was set up was a giant dark maze – the idea being that you would stumble around until you slid into another fatty-boom-boom and made sweet, slappy love. Or, in my case, a breathless handjob whilst I tried not to pass out from the heady combination of poppers and having to climb more than two flights of stairs. It was great fun, if not a little disorientating.
Paul and I crashed around in the dark (though I went down well, figuratively and literally, because I was a good foot taller than everyone else there) and had a great time. At one point I decided to try and find a new nest of immorality and so I set about exploring in the dark. After a few false starts grabbing the wrong type of knob I managed to find a promising door. I yanked it open only to reveal the other sauna on the other side, well-lit, with lots and lots of skinny, beautiful Japanese fellas sitting around nude. The sight of my hairy, wobbling frame bursting through the door caused instant dismay, looking as I do like a badly-shaved McGrimace with a bouncing erection. I’ve never seen so many sets of lips purse at once – it was like someone had sprayed lemon juice into the room. I gently gave everyone a nod, did a little curtsy (my knees had been weakened by earlier activity – I had forgotten to bring my kneeling pad from the garden) and carefully shut the door. I know my place, and it isn’t amongst men who look like they’ve been whittled from marble by God himself.
Anyway – I mention this sauna because that’s what this mirror maze was like: endless corridors, albeit with less fat businessmen grabbing at my bumhole like a sliding mountaineer might grab at the cliff-edge as he tumbles. I panicked. I knew Paul had managed to escape relatively easily but I just could not figure it out. Small kids were running around my legs and making a quick exit as I blundered about leaving fingerprints on the glass and crying. OK, I may not have cried, but I won’t pretend that I wasn’t struggling to keep my shit together as I was surrounded by eight identical versions of myself. For someone whose camera is permanently on selfie mode you may think that this is my idea of nirvana but I assure you, seeing all my imperfections wrought large in octuple was soul-destroying. I have a friend whose sole reason for existence seems to be pointing out the fact my nose has more angles than a shattered protractor and having this presented to me from all sides really stabbed me deep. Like he does.
At one point I stopped trying to exit and just gazed at my haunting visage, lit by cruel blue LED and strobing green, and wondered where everything had gone wrong with my life to leave my face looking like a bag of broken china. I stood for a good few minutes before the owner must have spotted me looking glum and sad and turned the emergency lights on, leading me straight to the exit where I was met by Paul. To his credit, he had the decency to notice I’d had a full existential crisis and so took me gently over the road to get a burger, where all became right with the world and really, it was just the lighting that upset me. Yes.
Existential ennui overcome and drowned in saturated fat, we made for the final attraction of the night: an arcade that promised a ghost train and a 6D rollercoaster. Not 4D, no no, six dimensions of thrills. It barely managed three. We were the only ones on-board and once the shoulder-holders came down, we realised that actually, it didn’t move – it was a simulator. The 32” ALBA screen in front of us degaussed and we were off, the distant chimes of the Windows 95 start-up sound seeing us into the ride. It. Was. Crap. Give me ten minutes and I can knock together better animation in Paint 3D. The ‘six dimensions’ came from the seat rocking gently to the side about five seconds after the on-screen cue and a tiny spray of what I am sure was hydraulic fluid in my face when we went underwater. I’ve had more thrills and spills washing my poor nipsy on a Japanese toilet.
The ghost train was no better. We shunted off through various neon-painted cardboard ‘frights’ – cardboard graveyard, cardboard fun- house, cardboard 25 Cromwell Street. At one point a spring burst out with absolutely nothing on it. The only scream that the ride elicited from me was afterwards, when the busty young lady at the front asked if we wanted to pay half price and go again. I demurred, claiming my heart could only take so much excitement, and we instead set about winning enough tickets on the Wheel of Fortune machines to claim a glorious prize. An hour later, with handfuls and handfuls of tickets, we dashed up to claim our prize just to find we only had enough for a tacky painted fish (since lost) and some chewing gum. Best $120 we’ve ever spent.
All in all, an absolutely fucking brilliant night. We also squeezed in a round of crazy golf and half an hour in a weird door maze but I fear I’ll lose you forever if I don’t wrap this chapter up soon. All you need to know about the golf is that I won. I always win. Paul has prism lenses in his glasses that afford him four holes to aim for instead of the customary one and thus is at an immediate disadvantage. Thinking about it, that’ll be why we’re still, 12 years in, playing the ‘up a bit, up a bit, no down a bit, just push it in’ game of an evening.
Niagara done, we retired to bed, and with the burger and mouldy iHop platter from earlier rustling around in our bellies, were soothed to sleep by the sound and scent of a thousand farts.
We arose the next day in a grim state. I’d been fighting off a nasty cough for about a week and had woken up with a throat like sandpaper. Understand that’s par for the course when you’re a frisky bitch like me, but Christ I felt dreadful. We decided to reach for the antibiotics: but this meant a visit to the Canadian doctors. All very easy – trip to Walmart where the surgery was, a quick signing of a few forms and then I simply needed to pull together every piece of jewellery, money and property I own to hand over to the receptionist who took the lot and asked for more. In a perfect circular loop-back to the time we paid $180 for a course of antibiotics for Paul’s poorly ear back in Florida, here we paid $280 for a ten minute chat with the doctor and some amoxycilin. He had the sheer brass neck to make a loud disapproving noise when I explained that ‘otherwise I was in good health’. Great: I have a face that exudes illness.
Worst part of all of this? No sooner had I paid for my antibiotics and checked with my travel insurance company who no, of course not, wouldn’t cover the cost (too small of an expense – I was tempted to go ram my head through the plate glass window out of sheer fucking spite) than I immediately felt better. The shock of paying so much for a few pills was clearly enough to reboot my system. If I ever get some awful terminal disease, I’m going out to buy a BMW.
The rest of the day was spent driving back to Toronto and finding our AirBnB, before meeting our “just a friend”, who I’m naming Bhalu as he was cute and cuddly. We’ll come to Toronto in another blog entry, because see, that’s how holiday entries work, but I need a good closing anecdote.
Which I haven’t got. So let’s stumble around the word count and take a moment to bow our heads in sadness, because there was one casualty of our trip to Niagara: the sex-hat. Back in Montreal I successfully pulled The Hottest Barista in Town and he gave me a lovely cap to go with my troubled bumhole. The one hat I’ve ever had in my life that doesn’t look like a comedy Christmas cracker sized hat on my giant moonhead. The one that I was wearing because it reminded me of a happy time when I was used like Sooty by someone with hands with size of banquet gammons.
Paul left it in the fucking rental car. He had tried it on whilst he was driving and because I didn’t want a rim of dead skin and sun-tan lotion left on it, I had plucked it from his head and hurled it in the back. You may think the onus was on me to retrieve it but no, it would have been on my head had he not touched my things and ruined my life. I’m not one for sulking but you better believe I was at maximum tittylip for a good hour or so after that. Paul offered to go buy me a hat but it could never have been the same if it wasn’t gifted to me by The Dreamy Barista to make up for the blood pooling in my knickers.
Right, let’s get to the syn-free butterbean houmous, shall we? Looks alright!
The Northern Lights are dancing!
Čajet dan čuovgga!
Suppose you’ll be wanting the recipe for this syn-free butterbean houmous, aye? Gosh, I remember when you were far less maintenance…
Sometimes you just need something to dip your finger / crudites / nipples into without guilt or remorse, and that's where this syn-free butterbean houmous comes into it. You can make it syn free by leaving out the oil, but given this makes enough to serve four, we'd be tempted to demand you drizzle a bit of flavour oil on the top and soak up the syns (6 syns). But again, we aren't your parents.
one large tin of butterbeans
one clove of garlic (chopped garlic is fine)
one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
good pinch of salt
one reserved tablespoon of the weird butterbean pre-cum that they come in the tin with (aquafaba, if you want to be technical)
couple of tablespoons of natural yoghurt
If you're using oil, add it at the end (6 syns).
I mean, haway. Do you want to have a guess, pet?
stick all the ingredients in a blender
loosen it up by adding more yoghurt or the aquafaba from the butterbeans
season to taste
Syn-free butterbean houmous, done.
the one thing I’m going to push here is our Kenwood Mini Chopper. It makes very quick work of this dip. It’s cheap on Amazon. Not essential but I will say this – as people who use a lot of gadgets, this is probably one of our favourites
we buy our flavoured oils from Yorkshire Drizzle, in this case, a lemon oil. You can take a look at their range here: it'll open in a new window. We haven't been paid to promote or anything like that, they're just a bloody good company and we love them very much
remember - our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now - full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 2400 5* reviews: click here to order
our new diet planner launches soon: you can order it here (it’ll open in a new window)
Curried cauliflower soup – and syn free to boot – perfect as the winter sets in and Christmas approaches. This is a dual purpose recipe: I wanted to find a soup recipe that took no effort at all AND used a vegetable that is cheap and abundant at the moment. Added bonus: it’ll make your arse so toxic that, should you be like me and have a husband who is constantly knocking on your nethers with Ole Blind Bob, you’ll be given a free pass. A free ass, if you will, though no-one’s ever thrown socks at my bottom. Pity. Anyway, the curried cauliflower soup will follow shortly, but first the usual balderdash.
One thing I haven’t mentioned on the blog lately is that I’ve been gallivanting quite a bit – a veritable blizzard of trips away and driving around the country snaffling a hundred service station sandwiches whilst owlishly ignoring my ‘Service Due’ spanner light on my car. One such trip took me to Birmingham to see Chernobyl Edition Paul who took me along to see Frisky & Mannish. Now, when someone recommends something to me, I’ll often nod and smile and die inside whilst I have to pretend to be interested in something awfully unfunny or just not up my street. If you ever meet me, you’ll see the exact ‘but I don’t care‘ face I pull the very second I ask you how you are and you reply with anything other than the most basic acknowledgement of the question. Honestly, it should be a crime to actually give a proper answer. In the North East we have this down to a fine art, which goes like this:
See? Didn’t even answer the question and then it’s off back down t’pit. Learn from that, people.
Anyway, it turned out his recommendation wasn’t duff at all, and after a few Youtube videos which actually made my insides ache we were booked and ready to go. Now, if you’ve never heard of them, they’re a musical comedy duo act who do shows which play on musical themes and mix pop parodies, jokes and some actual amazing singing. That’s a shit way of describing them, so let me simply encourage you to watch this:
It even won over my stone-hearted husband, who last laughed back in 2014, and even that was mainly acid-reflux.
Aside from spilling my beer as I sat down and creating a heart-stopping moment when Frisky came speeding out in massive heels and oh-so-almost slipped over, it was a genuinely fantastic show. You know how these things tend to go: there’s nearly always a ‘down bit’ where they try new material and not everything sticks. Not here: I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a live show, and I’m someone who ends up in paroxysms of laughter watching You’ve Been Framed. My benchmark isn’t high. I left that venue with my ribs aching like someone had spent four minutes slapping me about with a pair of fish slices to the key-change in Scared of the Dark by Steps. That’s a musical joke and you know it.
We were given a chance to meet them after and to their absolute credit, they remained entirely unfazed and positive even in light of being hugged by a giant sentient Sugar Puff and his glazed companion. I’d post the picture but I look like I’ve been awake for eight days and that’s not a treat for anyone. However, they were that bloody good that when I returned home I booked three more tickets to see them in Newcastle with Paul and someone who was sick of hearing me bang on about them. They loved it too, and it was great to see them playing to a much larger venue. Actually! Because I’m a narcissistic sod, I wanted to redo the picture I had taken from the other week and they were only happy to oblige:
I’m the one in the middle, in case you didn’t realise. Did I feel guilty about leaving Patrick and Paul outside in the pouring rain whilst I went full Annie Wilkes in the foyer? I did not. Worth it! They’re taking a break now but honestly, if you ever get a chance to see them, you absolutely must.
We also managed to squeeze in to see Jay Rayner on his Last Supper tour when we were both in Birmingham. I’m going to use that as a jumping off point for a fuller blog entry down the line but I’ll say two things now. Firstly, the man was an utter delight – hilarious, self-effacing and full of anecdotes you actually want to listen to. Which leads me to my next point: if you’re attending a show with a ‘question and answer’ element, don’t be that irritating raclure-de-bidet who thinks everyone in the room has come to hear your thoughts on the act as the show goes on. My word, she was bothersome – talking over everyone’s questions, guffawing in that ‘look at me look at me oh god won’t you look at me’ way at everything he said…the list could go on. I sure hope her heartbeat doesn’t.
Anyway, we’ll come back to Jay Rayner another time, but in the meantime, let’s do this curried cauliflower soup, shall we? I can’t pretend I’ve found a way of making curried cauliflower soup look exciting, but damn it’s syn free and delicious. What more do you want?
We're trying to spin our meals around whatever vegetables are currently in season here at Chubby Towers - plus, eating meat for every single meal is getting a bit tiresome on both the entrance and exit doors. What can you do with a cauliflower? Some people - we'll call them mental - pretend you can make steaks with them. You can't. You can no more make a steak with a cauliflower than you can make a lamppost with a giraffe. Get ahad of yerself, lass.
However, the good folks at Olive Magazine posted this recipe last year, and although we've adapted it ever so slightly for twochubbycubs and Slimming World, it didn't lose any flavour in our tinkering. We heartily recommend!
We've also included a tip to really speed things up if you're pushed for time, but honestly, there's very little to do here.
one large cauliflower - remove the outer leaves
few sprays of olive oil
one large white onion (we used the cannonball onions from Morrisons, but only because the name got me all a-frisk)
two teaspoons of garlic paste
one tablespoon of hot curry powder
one litre of vegetable stock (made from bouillon powder if you have it)
100g of fat-free Greek yoghurt
chop up your cauliflower into little cauliflowers - don't waste the stem either, chop it finely
save a few shapely florets aside
slice up your onion
in a nice big pan, gently sweat off your onion and cauliflower until nicely golden
add the garlic paste and curry powder and give everything a good stir and cook for a couple of minutes more
add the stock and allow to simmer gently for around 25 minutes, or until everything has softened up
if you like a thicker soup, simmer for a bit longer to take off some of the stock
allow to cool, add the yoghurt and then blend together with a stick blender
taste and if it needs salt, add it and reblend
For the top, I sliced the cauliflower florets nice and thickly and then in another small pan, fried them off in Worcestershire sauce - you want them to have a bit of a bite, but the Worcestershire sauce adds a lovely flavour - totally unnecessary though! I also added a bit of chilli oil because I'm not content unless my arse is melting like a summer ice-cream
want to speed this up - you can buy already chopped cauliflower in Tesco sold as 'cauliflower rice' - combine with a pot of chopped onions and you could have this done in no time at all
want more fabulous recipes of this scale and complexity - of course you do, you're wonderful - click away!
Click here to preorder our new cookbook! Now £10!
This freezes well, I should have said – and what better way to say I want a divorce than present your partner with some freezer-burn soaked curried cauliflower soup? I ask you. You want some more ideas for soup? We got you – here’s all our syn free soups: