recipe: sticky teriyaki mince

Here for the sticky teriyaki mince? Naturally: it’s quick, it’s sweet and it it is terribly good for you. I mean, what more could you want? Of course, as it’s us, we’re going to bore you with waffle and flimflam first as is our way. So, if you are wanting the sticky teriyaki mince, just scroll down past the pictures to be taken straight there. Fair warning, it IS a long way down because boy howdy, do I have a lot to say. The sticky teriyaki mince is worth it though!

First, a reminder that our fabulous new cookbook is coming and is available to pre-order now! Even better: it is released on 31 December 2020 so this time round, we’ll be there right with you from day one of 2021! You can pre-order from Amazon right now by clicking here (it’ll open in a new window) and of course, Amazon comes with a price guarantee – you don’t pay until the day of release, and if the price goes down (which it absolutely will) you’ll pay the lower amount! It’s a beautiful, beautiful book and we can’t wait for you to see it.

Secondly, in the antepenultimate blog entry to this one, I was chuntering on about a weekend away with my better half, Paul. You may recall him from such memories past as The Time He Was Bitten On The Head By A Horse and James, We Need To Talk 89. In my usual rash approach to using eight hundred words per sentence I’d tipped the blog entry into a 2,000 word behemoth and we’d barely climbed out of the car. So: we’re going to be succinct this time, I swear.

The morning was sent doing two further escape rooms – a Hotel Heist and a World War II themed room. They were both terrific but honestly, if I write about escape rooms anymore I think my eyes will permanently glaze over. That is, I adore doing them, but they’re bloody hard to write about without giving away spoilers. The World War II room had a worrying moment where we had a few minutes left to assemble a four piece object. Sounds easy, but you’re talking to someone who fumbles getting his knob out for an urgent piss and ends up with wet legs. I can’t cope under pressure! Luckily Paul, with a manual dexterity that betrays the fact his eyes can see into both his immediate future and distant past at once, managed to throw it together and out we sauntered.

We decided to celebrate saving the world by having lunch in a vegan place. I can’t all in all honesty say it would have been my first pick, but it was delicious. I had smashed avocado served on toast that attended a poetry circle on a weekend, washed down with tea. I’m always thrown off by the bewildering array of not-milks offered and start to panic. Oat? Rice? Almond? Soya? Hemp? Coconut? Watered down brilliant white gloss from Wickes? Pea milk? How the fuck do you milk a pea? I knew I had to decide quickly because the lady serving looked as though the effort of clicking her waitress’ pen might necessitate a lie down to regain her strength, so chose a black tea and regretted my choice immediately. I have tried with non-dairy milk, I swear I have, but it’s the look and the consistency that put me off: they all, to a fault, look like samples being sent away from a GUM clinic. Food was terrific though!

Buzzing our tits off with the introduction of fresh vitamins into our otherwise grey diet, we decided to drive onto our next stop, The Bear’s Paw hotel. How could we not? Paul hand-waved my offer of helping with putting it into the Sat Nav and off we set, with Captain Death at the wheel driving the car like the police were chasing him. We pulled up an hour or so later, Paul just glad to be getting away from me gently singing my way through every song that came up on Spotify (does he know how lucky he is to have a husband who can switch from Lady Gaga to Madonna to John Denver in a blink of an eye – sometimes I wonder) and went to check into our room.

Except, we couldn’t. We were told by the charming madam behind the bar that “we don’t do rooms, and we never have“. The never have was said with a touch too much malice for my liking, as though Paul’s Smart car was capable of time-travel and we were gonna sneak back two weeks previous and catch her out on her lies. I thanked her for her effusive, warm welcome and went back to the car. Now, as a humble, caring husband I acknowledge that people make mistakes and so resisted the urge to smile smugly at Paul and tell him how silly he had been, but by the time I had closed the passenger door that had worn off and terse words were exchanged.

The drive to the actual hotel was done in fair silence, though as this afforded me a chance to doze and only wake to clutch dramatically at the door handle as Paul careered around sharp corners on what felt like two wheels, I was happy enough. We checked to the proper Bears Paw Inn in Sandbach and it was truly lovely. My standards are low when it comes to hotels – as long as the bed is comfortable and there’s a decent number of men tramping through the corridors who look as though they could put their fist through my jaw, I sleep well. I can’t be one of those absolute knobbers on programmes like Four In A Bed who will go into a hotel room with their prissy white gloves on, start dismantling the sinktrap and then feign utter disgust that there’s a smear of toothpaste in there. In fact, I’m like the reverse of The Hotel Inspector, in that I’ll walk into a spotless room and immediately start shedding pubes all over the floor.

Faced with the prospect of having to talk to each other, we decided to drive yet further into Chester and do another two escape rooms: Legacy and Roman at Escapism. They were brilliant, especially the Legacy room which featured a load of different locks and puzzles. Unfortunately, I was up against a friend’s time and lost by minutes, but it balances out nicely because we beat his time in a room in Las Vegas. Plus, Paul and I smell significantly better. In the Roman room you are split up as you go in and have to rely on shouting at each other to relay the clues you have in your individual rooms. Not going to lie, it did give me a moment of pause when Paul yelled through the bars that he was checking his helmet for clues. I’n not saying muscle memory kicked in but I’d already got my hand-drill out and was putting a hole in the partition before I realised. Excellent room though, and the staff were just the very best.

Now, we’re tipping into long blog post territory again so I’m going to jump forward to the next day when, in a fit of whimsy, we decided to go to Liverpool because there were two things there Paul had always wanted to do: a nuclear bunker and a safari park. Me, as an obliging and kind husband and also a fan of irradiated wastelands, agreed to go to Liverpool to honour those requests.

Hack Green Bunker, then: you may know it from all the signage on the motorway advertising ‘SECRET NUCLEAR BUNKER‘, which seems like a bit of a misnomer to me, but hey, I’m not in charge. Thank fuck: I’m just clumsy and spiteful enough to set off a nuclear bomb accidentally by falling on it or lighting a cigarette off the fuse-wire. Speaking of highly explosive fat-boys with a short fuse, Paul was in his element. He adores stuff like this and can cheerfully spend an age looking at old bits of communication whilst I smile wanly and wish for death. Don’t get me wrong, I love a museum, but only if it has buttons to push and children to knock down the stairs in my haste to get to the gift-shop to buy a giant pencil. I’m doing the place a disservice in the name of a funnier blog entry, it actually was pretty decent.

One ‘interactive’ part involved going into a ‘fallout shelter’ to experience what it was like to be hiding from the bombs as they fell. Lots of flashing lights and scary noises and terrifying smells. The sign on the door explained that the simulation would loop every ten minutes and as we took a seat in the pitch black room, we realised we must have just missed it so had to sit and wait for it to start again.

And wait, we did. Twenty five minutes we sat in that inky blackness before someone must have spotted us on the infrared camera and came in to explain the exhibit was closed because they couldn’t have people sitting in close proximity to one another. Made sense, but I was furious that she had interrupted my nap. I begged Paul to go on ahead and leave me in there but he was having none of it, the poor sport. We made sure to take lots of photos that we would naturally never look at again and came to a small theatre where The War Game was playing. Fuck me: it’s hard to have an upbeat day when you’re watching someone’s skin melt off in black and white. Fallout? We almost did when Paul wanted to watch it over again. I explained that my tolerance for death and destruction had reached its peak and I think he saw from the glow in my eyes that I meant business. We went to the giftshop, bought a terrific amount of tat (no giant pencil, but a snowglobe with a burnt-out city on the bottom and the snow flying around representing fall-out – we’re saving that cheery little number for a Christmas decoration) and went on our way to Knowesley Safari Park.

Now, of course, Paul had decided that we would spend eight hours at Hack Green and therefore had booked our tickets for the safari park for 4pm, which meant spending an hour in some awful business park trying not to swear at one another and browsing the tat in B&Ms. Side question: why is everything grey and crushed diamonds all of a sudden? What’s that about: why would you want your living room to look like a side-of-the-motorway-stripper show? I ask you.

4pm rolled around, and after we had driven up to the entrance and then driven all the way back to the business park so Paul could have an emergency poop, we were in. I’ll say this: I’m not a fan of zoos and wouldn’t normally go, but if we have to have them then a safari park is probably the kindest option. Can’t say I felt especially safe though – not because the safety protocols weren’t up to scratch because they absolutely were – but because we were sat in a Smart car going through a rhino enclosure. Again, a Smart car: a car that is at genuine risk of tipping over if I get out of the passenger seat before Paul gets out. I’d have felt safer mincing through in a bikini made of Bacofoil with a side of bacon hanging out my cheeks. Nevertheless, it was all very interesting and we took some great photos which I shan’t bore you with.

Highlight of the trip was the baboon enclosure which was preceded for about half a mile by signs warning you that if you choose to drive through, they will possibly damage your car. That gets upgraded to ‘YOUR CAR WILL BE DAMAGED’ as you get closer, and then as you enter there’s a rough Scouse bird shouting ‘ROWLL YER FUCKIN’ WINDIZZ UP LAAAAA‘ as you drive over the cattle grid. Paul, naturally, ignored all of these warnings and turned to me, with that infuriating sage face he pulls when I’m just being silly, and explained that baboons aren’t likely to go for a Smart car, as though they’re sitting there perusing What Car waiting for a flash BMW to shit all over.

We were no sooner in the enclosure before the Chief Baboon came bounding over, sat on the bonnet and gave us a look that guaranteed mischief. Firstly, have you ever seen a baboon’s arse up close? I had to check Paul hadn’t got out to change the windscreen wiper fluid but no, he was right next to me shrieking. Very conscious of the fact we had a 200 mile drive home in the rain, we could ill afford any damage to the car. The baboon fixed us with a stare and immediately started wrenching away at the windscreen wipers. Of course I went full Chris Hargensen in Carrie and demanded Paul put his foot down and floor it, but Paul’s altogether more compassionate and instead threw the car speakers on. Turns out that (You Drive Me) Crazy by Britney has no effect on a hungry baboon, though he did move away from taking off the wipers and instead bent down, grabbed the washer jets and pulled them both out with his teeth. The little fucker even had the cheek to roll them around his mouth like they were Mint Imperials before spitting them into the grass. Luckily, a smug looking family in a flash BMW came in and the baboon fucked off – Paul was right!

We decided there and then that this was altogether too much drama for one day, and plus, knowing we had to get back to Newcastle without the ability to wash our bloody car windows, we had to act fast. Luckily, it was a British summer, so we had rain from leaving Liverpool to arriving back in Newcastle. Paul paid £50 to get the jets fixed and I promise I didn’t rag on him too much for his many errors.

And that, readers, was our little weekend away. I’ll say this, too: it was fantastic to get away with him and not have to worry about all the crap currently going on. We felt safe in every place we went to, everyone seemed chipper and I’ll simply never tire of paying over-the-odds for any British experience. I’d forgotten, almost, what a brilliant travel companion he is: always willing to entertain my nonsense, never complains when I litter the bottom of his car with eight hundred empty packets of crisps or when I pick fitfully at his sleeve when there’s a chance I might have to get my wallet out. The best part of this twochubbycubs show is that we’ve been able to travel to all sorts of places and have mischief, and although COVID has temporarily put a stopper on international travel, it’s reassuring to know we can still enjoy ourselves here. Even if he was wrong about:

  • driving in the rain
  • the hotel we stopped at
  • driving through a baboon enclosure
  • most of the clues in all of the escape rooms
  • his inability to pack for more than one weather condition

but I don’t like to cause a scene.

Right! Shall we do the sticky teriyaki mince? Of course we should. Without any more pause…

sticky teriyaki mince

Well hello there Sticky teriyaki mince! How you doing?

sticky teriyaki mince

For a proper quick dinner, the sticky teriyaki mince does the job!

sticky teriyaki mince

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This makes enough for two huge portions - and certainly enough mince for four.

This is another recipe inspired by one we've had from Hello Fresh recently. They aren't sponsoring us or owt, we're just normal customers, but their stuff is good! If you want to give it a try, use this link and get £20 off your first box. We'll also get £20 so you'll be sharing the love! We've adapted this one to make it more slimming and more twochubbycubs friendly. Trust us, this will become a new favourite in your house. It's sweet, it's saucy, it's tasty, it's sticky. And we know you love all of that. Give it a try!

Ingredients

  • 500g beef mince
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2" piece of ginger
  • 2 spring onions
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 300g jasmine rice (see notes)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (2 syns)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce (see notes)
  • 1 tsp sugar (see notes) (2 syns)

Instructions

  • bring a pan of 600ml water to the boil with a pinch of salt, and stir in the rice
  • reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid, then leave to cook for ten minutes
  • after ten minutes, remove from the heat (still covered) and leave for another ten minutes to finish cooking. DON'T TAKE OFF THE LID!
  • meanwhile, peel and mince the garlic and the ginger, then thinly slice the spring onions
  • heat a small saucepan over a medium high heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute, then add the soy sauce
  • bring to a simmer, then stir in the sugar, and cook for 1 more minute, stirring continuously
  • remove from the heat and set aside, stirring occasionally
  • next, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat (no oil!) and add the sesame seeds. Gently toss for 3-4 minutes until they start to turn golden. Pour the seeds into a small bowl and place the pan back over the heat, and spray with a little oil
  • add the mince and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned
  • pour in the soy sauce mixture along with half of the spring onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, adding a splash of water if needed
  • fluff the rice and stir in the lime zest
  • divide between bowls and top with the mince
  • sprinkle over the remaining spring onion and sesame seeds
  • eat

Notes

The dish

  • we're getting right into jasmine rice and we think you should too. It's like normal rice but stickier. It's lovely, try it. If you don't have any, normal rice will work just as well, including the microwave stuff.
  • any soy sauce will work fine here, but if you can, use the dark stuff. It's thicker and sweeter and not as salty, but the light stuff will be fine too!
  • don't you dare miss out that sugar, now. I mean it. It's worth it. 

The books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK can be pre-ordered from Amazon right now! It's rammed with recipes which are both FAST and FILLING. We called it FAST AND FILLING. I know, we're geniuses. But it's really banging. 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 feedback!

Tools

Courses dinner

Cuisine japanese

Want more fakeaway goodies in your gob?

Enjoy

J&P

our fabulous NEW cookbook is available for pre-order: FAST AND FILLING!

You have no idea how long we’ve been waiting to announce this! Following the massive (and totally unexpected) success of our first cookbook earlier in the year, we can FINALLY announce…

Our new cookbook is coming and is available to pre-order now! Even better: it is released on 31 December 2020 so this time round, we’ll be there right with you from day one of 2021!

You can pre-order from Amazon right now by clicking here (it’ll open in a new window) and of course, Amazon comes with a price guarantee – you don’t pay until the day of release, and if the price goes down (which it absolutely will) you’ll pay the lower amount!

You can also pre-order from WH Smith or the good folks at Waterstones if you prefer AND if you want to pick it up in the shops, it will be in all major supermarkets!

Let me tell you a bit about this book: we’ve taken all the best parts of the last book and built on them, whilst listening to the feedback we received as to other things you may want! So:

  • there’s 100 more (in fact, there’s about 120 when you include all the little extra recipes!) low calorie meals – all under 500 calories this time – that don’t taste like diet food but just amazing food you want to eat
  • you know our food, you know it works, you know it’s tasty and we don’t use random ingredients – this is easy cooking that tastes bloody fantastic
  • this isn’t ‘fancy’ food but delicious recipes to serve the whole family – that was the best feedback we received from the last one, and we’ve kept that in mind
  • all the recipes are designed to save you time – whether they cook quickly, or are easy to batch cook, or freeze for later – they are all accompanied by a clear key showing which recipes do what
  • cooking times are included for each recipe (because whoops, we forgot last time!)
  • it is ABSOLUTELY UTTERLY GORGEOUS: you think the last book was colourful – you ain’t seen nothing yet!
  • all the recipes come with our usual style of writing and sass and I kid you not, arrogant it may be, we think it’s funnier than the last book
  • plenty of veggie recipes in there and we’ve made sure to make clear which recipes are suitable for those with allergies and intolerances

CLICK HERE TO PRE-ORDER! ENJOY!

We are genuinely excited: we’ve seen the finished result and hand-on-heart, absolutely love it. It’s just so very, very us and we know if you liked the first book, you’re going to adore this one! And let us say one more thing and then you can get back to picking your bum. All of this, all our books, recipes and nonsense, would never have amounted to a hill of beans if you guys hadn’t got behind us to support what we do. Your support means the world to us – always has and always will – and I hope you trust us that we will give you the absolute very best book we can possibly can. To every single person who bought our last book and planner, to those who share our recipes, who read our blog, to those who whisper our names in Slimming World circles: the biggest, most heartfelt thank you you can ever imagine. Without you lot, we’d be nothing, and this is us giving back the only way we can without breaking up your marriages.

With love, always

J&P

sticky bacon meatballs with redcurrant and onion gravy

Afternoon all! Here for the sticky bacon meatballs? That’s fine, I can see from the spittle around your mouth that you’re ready for your dinner, but I must apologise: today’s blog entry is a long travel story and you might be here a while. Now, back in the day of the longer entries – when we were able to travel to new and exciting places – we used to provide you the courtesy of a button that would take you straight to the recipe so you could skip all those tricksy things like words. But I’m lazy and we have a lot of writing to get through before we get to the sticky bacon meatballs in their fancy redcurrant and onion gravy, so for this occasion, just scroll until you see the food. So, before we do the sticky bacon meatballs, here’s some words and all that.

OH! Actually: before I do that. If you’re not following us on Instagram or Facebook, make sure you dig us out – search for @twochubbycubs on Instagram or Facebook. We have some big news coming next week!

So: Paul and I haven’t had a break in months, and we were forever jetting away on budget airlines such as easyJet and NevaCrash and Ryanair, and it’s been awful not being able to do so. I’ve become so accustomed to ratching about Europe that I’ve started counting at least two of the airport security staff as fuckbuddies, given they’ve pawed at my genitals with their shovel-hands so often. They’re after my very own sticky bacon meatballs. However, coronavirus has put paid to random travelling and as much as I do live for danger sometimes, I don’t fancy heaving my lungs up through my mouth because of a short flight to Krakow. So, for now, Europe is out. We’re told by that walking blonde wheelie-bin in charge to holiday in the UK and to make the most of summer and that’s all well and good as long as you’re happy paying £18,050 for a weekend in Rhyl (rising to £20,000 if you stop for a service station sandwich on the way), but we’re not. What to do? In the end, my hands were tied by Paul coming home early and casually mentioning that he had the rest of the week off. With the terrifying thought of having to look at his haunted face staring at Judge Judy re-runs for a solid three days, I nipped onto Google, booked a couple of things, threw eighteen changes of clothes for me and the same selection of bus-driver shirts he always wears into a suitcase, and we were away.

First stop: a drive to Kanyu Escape rooms in York. Regular readers will know that I am not a gracious passenger and would therefore normally hire a car or take mine rather than let Captain Death and his Fisher Price car drive us anywhere, but my driving licence is with The Powers That Be because I was caught speeding. I know, I’m a horror. In my defence, I was too busy texting mates and trying not to drop my can of Monster to notice the speedometer shrieking. In my further defence, that’s a joke – I was just over the limit and hold my hands up about it: eight years I’ve been driving and that was my first genuine error. So it was that we had to take Paul’s Smart car and I could do no driving on this little break. I’ll say it now: it nearly killed me.

To give you an example of how fractious things get when Paul drives and I drive from the passenger seat – about a week or so before he was driving us to ASDA and I ever so politely asked him to slow it down a shade as light was beginning to warp around the bonnet. He took such umbrage that he did a full emergency stop (in a Smart car, that’s just opening the petrol cap and sticking your hand out of the window) and told me in no uncertain terms that if I criticised his driving ability one more time I’d be walking home. Me, full of spite and knowing there was a cruising ground about half a mile down the road, got out and started walking.

I was out for an hour before I had to text him to pick me up because I was cold – and he was equally as contrite because turns out I had his wallet and he didn’t have enough fuel to get home or money to pay for more. Don’t worry, we laugh about it now as it enters the ‘endlessly mentioned in heated arguments’ rota.

So yes: I’m not a good passenger. Paul isn’t a good driver, given he tends to drive like he’s stolen the car and will come out with reassuring little things like ‘I wish my eyes pointed in the same direction’ and ‘I should probably wear my glasses’ and ‘I don’t need to indicate on this roundabout’, and as such it’s always a heated combination. But I’ll say this: despite the weather being absolutely horrendous, he got us there with minutes to spare and only three of my fingernails embedded in the passenger door handle. A quick primer on escape rooms for those that don’t know: you’re locked in a sealed room and through the process of solving puzzles and riddles, have to escape. We’re huge fans and have been doing them for years, though it’s been a while (thanks COVID) since I did one with my husband. Kanyu Escape is in a curious location on the centre of a roundabout and I was alarmed/excited to see an ambulance on standby outside. I’m always ready for some gas, air and scenes of mild peril, after all.

The chap who met us was brilliant: slightly eccentric and very accommodating and we were in the room in no time. If you have concerns about doing escape rooms in this time of peril, don’t: the good rooms take your temperature on arrival, disinfect the room fully after you leave and make sure there’s sanitiser everywhere. I’m a slight hypochondriac and I felt absolutely safe at all the venues we ended up. The room was based on discovering a new source of electricity and was themed around an old secret laboratory and we absolutely loved it. Some escape rooms are franchises and can feel rather rote in what they offer: you can start undoing a lot of the familiar puzzles straight away. Not this one, he’d designed it himself and though it looked a tad rough and ready, it was terrific. All too often these rooms give you too much help or make the puzzles simple enough for everyone to do, but this one was taxing and we felt like we’d actually accomplished something at the end.

That said, those bank-vault locks where you have to spin the correct number, then spin another number, and then another, all the while making sure you turn the right amount and in the right direction? They can fuck right off. I have enough trouble trying to get my eyes to blink in unison, nevermind something as complicated as that. We lost a bit of time, but still escaped with moments to spare. We’ll be going back to do his other rooms, one of which is an outdoors escape room which I love the sound of. Though I confess, it will be a novelty to be tramping around in the woods and for me not to be pulling my knickers off. I do hope muscle memory doesn’t kick in.

Paul drove us down into Leeds entirely without incident and we stayed over at a Premier Inn next to a TGI Fridays, which as salubrious locations go is up there with having your dinner next to a GUM clinic. I don’t like TGI Fridays: we had a good meal there once and have forever been chasing that high since. I don’t get the appeal: it’s like someone did a trolley dash around Iceland, microwaved everything for one minute less than the instructions suggest and then serve it to you with a forced smile that suggests they’ve got a gun held to the back of their heads. That gun may be smothered in BBQ sauce though, because everything is at TGIs. Anyway, we weren’t going to eat there so it’s all irrelevant, I just wanted a dig. We checked in, with Paul reminded once again of my ability to talk to literally everyone I meet: I spent ten minutes chatting to the chap behind the counter whilst Paul danced in the doorway out of sight trying to communicate to me that he needed to get to the room immediately for a gentleman’s sit-down adventure. Classic. I spotted his anguished movements and wrapped up my conversation over a leisurely few more minutes, and Paul made it with moments to spare.

The room was comfortable as ever, though I was reminded of one thing: when you sleep with Paul you wake in a room entirely disorientated and unsure of where you are for a good few minutes until you realise he’s taken the duvet out out of the cover, polluted the air to such a degree that it’s almost edible and has star-fished his way across the bed. At home I’m used to such chicanery but throw in unfamiliar surroundings and it really can take a while before the fog clears.

Waking the next day refreshed and full of pep, we chose not to bother with the Premier Inn breakfast and instead wander into Leeds to pick breakfast up before our next escape room. A quick bagel with salad and a frank discussion on where things had all gone wrong in our breakfast choices and we were off to the next escape room – but first, spotted! It doesn’t happen an awful lot but you can always tell when someone recognises us because they look, try and work out whether we are the cubs off the Internet and whether they should say hello. Normally by the time they’ve decided to go for it, I’ve got my phone to my ear to pretend I’m on a call or I’ve pushed Paul in front of a bus to cause a distraction but I wasn’t quick enough this time. Mind, she was lovely, although because I’m mean I answered ‘are you the guys with the food blog‘ with ‘absolutely not‘ and pretended to walk on, before apologising profusely. I can’t resist it. We’d have people spotting us twice more that day and please, if you see us, do come say hello. You can delight in how incredibly socially awkward we are.

Now, look at the time. I’ve waffled on as is my way, and here we find ourselves 2000 words in and barely out of the door. So on that note, I’ll revisit this in the next entry. To the sticky bacon meatballs!

sticky bacon meatballs

Sticky bacon meatballs served with cheesy mash and broccoli.

sticky bacon meatballs

I mean, as sticky bacon meatballs go, they’re lovely!

sticky bacon meatballs with onion gravy

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Syn wise, these sticky bacon meatballs clock in at a shade over 2 syns per portion, but I can't be buggered with the quarter syns. The gravy is delicious and worth digging out the redcurrant jelly, but don't shit the bed if you can't find it.

Just a note on this recipe: whilst Chubby Towers is out of action and our kitchen is a no-no, we are using Hello Fresh for our meals and have been doing so for the last six weeks or so. We are not paid to promote them or anything like that, and we have taken this recipe and adjusted it slightly for Slimming World.

That said, honest review time (again, we aren't being paid to promote): we bloody love Hello Fresh. We haven't had a bad meal yet and the lack of food waste is brilliant for us. We only have a tiny kitchen to cook in at the moment and absolutely make do. They're not the cheapest, but we're fans. They do a 'Low Calorie' plan which is spot on if you're counting and we've found it works well with SW. But anyway, no matter what you're after we're sure you'll love it. If you use our referral link you'll get £20 off too! 

Ingredients

  • 900g potatoes
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 30g panko (5 syns) (optional but worth it)
  • 250g lean pork mince
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 1 red onion
  • 60g reduced-fat cheddar, grated (use your healthy extra)
  • 120g bacon medallions
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 400g broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly (see notes) (4 syns)

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over a high heat, and add 1 tsp salt
  • dice the potatoes into 2cm chunks, and plop into the water. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes
  • halve any large broccoli florets and spread out onto a baking sheet, spraying with a little oil
  • roast the broccoli in the oven for 15-20 minutes
  • put the mixed herbs, panko and 2 tbsp of water into a mixing bowl and mix with a spoon
  • add the beef and the pork mince to the bowl and mix well 
  • divide and roll the mixture into twenty balls and set aside
  • place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the meatballs to the pan and cook until browned all over, about 6-7 minutes, turning occasionally
  • meanwhile, halve and thinly slice the red onion, and dice the medallions into small pieces
  • gently remove the meatballs from the pan to a plate and set aside
  • add the onion and bacon to the same pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently
  • add the meatballs back onto the pan and pour over the vegetable stock
  • reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 7-8 minutes
  • meanwhile, drain the potatoes and mash with the grated cheese, and season with salt and pepper
  • once the meatballs have finished cooking, remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high again
  • gently stir in the jelly until the mixture is thickened and glossy
  • serve the broccoli and mash, and spoon over the meatballs and gravy

Notes

The dish

  • can't find/can't be arsed to find redcurrant jelly? We've used cranberry sauce instead and couldn't tell the difference, just use that! If you're really stuck just leave it out
  • consider the panko optional but it's definitely worth it. Lean mince can sometimes make meatballs dry. Panko helps to retain some moisture, but also add a 'crunchy' texture. You'll find panko in the 'world food' aisles of most supermarkets

The books

  • our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!

Tools

Courses dinner

Cuisine meatballs

And that’s that! Sticky bacon meatballs done. Want more recipes? Well now.

Enjoy!

J

planner challenge: 2CCARGH – what really annoys you?

Another week, another planner post! Twas a long week last week so we didn’t give you a reacharound and for that we can only apologise, but I was beetling my hire car around Glasgow and, for the briefest of momenets, Liverpool, and my typing fingers were aching from yanking on an unfamiliar gear-stick. Forgive me.

Of course, Monday means a planner post! You may recall that we have a planner out – you can order it here – and part of that is a weekly challenge to get people talking. So, without delay, let’s turn to #2CCARGH!

I’m afraid we’ve gone for a contentious planner challenge choice this week, partly on the back of the grumpy post last week, partly because I’m currently a swirling vortex of anger but mainly because I love hearing what other people kvetch about. If one’s man’s meat is another man’s poison, then please, fill my hole with as much meat as you can. The smaller annoyances are the best, but if you feel the need to vent, you go for it.

As you can see, we’ve done made a graphic to go with it.

Paul’s annoyance is easy: he sucks air over his teeth whenever someone says ‘going forward’. He has a point: it’s a very rare thing in life to be able to work backwards, unless you’re solving a murder or disassembling a jigsaw to go to a charity shop. Mind regular readers will know that he also has a strop if I say thrice, which is a perfectly cromulent word, but he’s having none of it. It’s just one of those nonsense terms that means nothing to him, like me and ‘forsaking all others’ and ‘that’s a sharing platter’.

My complaint was going to be men who wear Joop because honestly, gentlemen, there’s no excuse to go around smelling like a unicorn fart warmed on a radiator, but that’s a matter of personal taste so I took it back. No, mine speaks to a wider annoyance which is troubling me at the moment: people who have chosen to wear their arseholeness as a badge of honour online. We’ve seen it recently in our facebook group: people being nasty for the sake of it. And it is beyond tiresome, it really is.

You know the people, too, because everyone knows at least one: people who say things like ‘I tell it like it is’ and ‘I don’t sugarcoat things’ and ‘honesty is the best policy’ and ‘if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best’ and other meaningless B&M inspiration-board twaddle. Those dead-behind-the-eyes anuses who delight in knocking people down and being the first to get in with some cruel aside because ‘it needs to be said’.

I genuinely hate it, and I say that as someone who loves a decent aside. I can think of maybe two people I know (and I don’t include myself in that trio) who are witty and quick enough to be able to deliver nuanced sassiness, because that’s exactly what it takes to be that scathing – wit. Wit, after all, is nothing more than an incisive observation humourously phrased and delivered with impeccable timing, and so many people fumble the ball. So many others are just being bitter because they think it’s a personality. It’s not.

I raised that very same point in our group and for the most part, people agreed, which is always a good sign that I’m not shouting into the void, however we did get a couple pointing out that it’s always best to be honest. Free speech and all that. Mmhmm. It’s an old analogy, but think of it like this: you get yourself dressed up all smart and ready to get your end away. A lady, we’ll call her Susan, passes you in the street and tells you that you look like a bag of shite.

Now: she’s entitled to hold that opinion. But does she need to share it? No. That’s the key difference here, and that’s what I truly hate: those who can’t help but be nasty. Being a shit for the sake of it holds no allure.

And ugliness always rises.

On that cheery note, over to you! We’d love to hear what really pisses you off. Do leave a comment on the usual social media guff!

Bit to do before signing off:

  • 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!

Até mais

J

recipe: crunchy munchy wraps

Crunchy munchy wraps. Listen, cut me some slack, I can’t think of a better name (and if I’m entirely honest, I’m sure I’ve used that name before somewhere and it’s bugging me enough to make my forehead furrows appear but not enough for me to get off my fat arse and check) and avocado smash wraps makes us sound like dicks. Regular readers will know that we’re fans of the avocado here – despite Slimming World’s nonsense approach – but even I’m sick of seeing it on menus now). Mind, it’s not as bad as people pretending a portobello mushroom is a sound swap for a burger bun or, worse, sliced cauliflower is a substitute for a steak. In what world is that acceptable? I’d sooner eat the stuffing out of my writing chair, and I know how toxic my south-mouth can be.

Perhaps I’m just feeling a bit curmudgeonly because of the heat, though. Perhaps I ought to do some deep breathing and calm down. But see, summer means that when I breathe deeply, I’m rewarded with lungfuls of flower ejaculate that immediately sets about clagging up my nostrils and making my eyes itchy. I also burn ridiculously easily so, although I do currently have a nice golden tan (almost like I’ve been standing next to a wood fire), I know that if I misjudge it my skin will rebel, turn shiny pink and send me scuttling inside to hide in the shadows again. At least with wind and rain you know where you are – pop a coat on if it’s wet, extra layer if it’s cold: not like I can just take my tits off to go outside when it’s sweltering. I genuinely hate summer. Remember in the Teletubbies when they’d wake up and the sun would come out to play, with a creepy baby in the middle gurgling away? That’s my life, only the sun is a drunken Nicki French shouting obscenities at me and calling me fat. Raging, hun.

And I think, if I may, that because I always have the low level irritant of being:

  • too hot to function without a shiny patina forming on my forehead; and
  • achingly conscious of the fact that now I’m always in a t-shirt, every time I sit down it’ll ride up and show my arse-crack to the world

that every other little annoyance that may have once glanced over me really hits home.

Even polite gestures are vexing me. We’re still in Chubby Towers Adjacent and there honestly hasn’t been another guest in this hotel who hasn’t been a delight to talk to. One thing I’ve come to realise is that people who smoke are far more interesting than their counterparts (aye, but you non-smokers always have the edge when it comes to blowing up party balloons) given some of the wonderful conversations I’ve been having outside with all and sundry whilst we work on our COPD. Everyone has a story to tell and I’m proper enjoying listening. Didn’t know I could! But what this does mean is that there’s many a time when they’ll do something lovely like holding the lift door open, meaning I have to then waddle-jog over and politely refuse because of the one-household-rule. This then creates that awkward ten seconds where you’re waiting for the lift door to shut so they disappear and you can press the button, and doesn’t that ten seconds feel like a lifetime, having to alternately stare at your shoes, smile wanly at them and going ‘oh ho ho, I’ll get the next one’. Yes, here at this hotel, I cosplay as Santa.

Linked to my mention of hayfever earlier, whilst we’re here, can we have a permanent abeyance on people saying ‘bless you’ after each sneeze? Once is fine – I mean, I can do without it full-stop because I’m fairly confident my sniffles is pollen related and not the fucking plague – but you do you. This wouldn’t ordinarily be so bad save for the fact that when I get going, I’ll sneeze a good six or seven times, which then leads to the person invariably clicking on that they’re going to be there a while and thus ought to go full ham. Bless you! BLESS YOU! BLESS YOU HAHA. BLESS YOU. OOOH DO YOU RECKON YOU COULD DO A FEW MORE BLESS YOU. BLESS YOU. OOOH ONE MORE AND YOU’LL ORGASM BLESS YOOOU.

I know you mean well but I’ve had that schtick all my life. Next time it happens I’m going to pull an almighty cum-face and pop a mayonnaise sachet in my pocket. Just one bless you and be gone, thot.

Anyway, that’s quite enough misery. We’ve got something wonderful in the form of these wraps – they’re just something we threw together a few weeks ago for tea to use up all the shite in our cupboard. As ever with our recipes and doubly so with these wraps – fill them with whatever you like. And that’s that. To the crunchy munchy wraps.

crunchy munchy wraps

Stuff the crunchy munchy wraps how you like. Stuff them with lettuce, herbs, onion, or stuff them up your arse. Either or.

crunchy munchy wraps

Tell you what though: I wrap a bloody good wrap.

crunchy munchy wraps

Prep

Total

Yield 4 wraps

This makes enough for four wraps, or eight halves. Obviously. Lovely and summery these.

Up to you if you syn avocado - Slimming World syn it as something ridiculous and if you're following the plan, you ought to do the same. However, if you're like us, you won't syn it at all and then these are syn free...

Ingredients

  • one large avocado (14 syns) (hmmm)
  • a big packet of wafer thin turkey
  • a selection of small peppers chopped into strips
  • one small can of chickpeas, drained
  • pinch of curry powder
  • juice of one lime
  • a tablespoon or two of yoghurt
  • whatever wraps you're allowed

Instructions

  • mash the avocado with a good pinch of salt and the lime juice
  • mash your chickpeas with the yoghurt and curry powder
  • layer your wrap - chickpeas on the bottom, peppers, wafer thin turkey and then avocado
  • wrap up and eat

Notes

The dish

  • swap out the turkey for ham and add cheese
  • we tend not to toast our wraps because we're too fat to wait to eat, but these done in a griddle pan would be superb
  • roll these up and wrap in tin foil - they're good for lunch if made in the morning

The books

  • 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!

Tools

Courses wraps

Cuisine who can say

There you go – shove that in yer mush! Want more wrap ideas? Here you go:

J

planner challenge: 2CCGUILTYPLEASURE – what’s your weird food combination?

You’ll need to forgive me: I had these queued up for last week but forgot to press the scheduler. No, if we’re truly honest, I went away for a week with my head full of magic and simply forgot. I know, I’m scum – subhuman scum. Look, it was an eventful week which culminated in me chain-eating blue raspberry sour laces on the drive home and then having a terrifying poo the next day when it looked to all intents and purposes like I’d shat out a Smurf. I tried to explain my terror to Paul only for him to fix me with one of those slack-jawed gazes that suggests the only reason he has a brain is to stop his skull collapsing in on itself and only then did I remember my fruity indulgence the night before.

And there, readers, is why you come to our blog, isn’t it? A blue poop story within the opening paragraph.

Anyway, hush your lips: the reason I have brought you all here tonight is not to discuss my cerulean-poo but rather it’s a planner challenge. Now, for those that div-nat-knaa, we have a planner out and it’s terribly sexy and will help you with your weight loss – you’ve just got to look for it! Part of the planner is the weekly challenges and this week I have chosen #2CCGUILTYPLEASURE – which is talking about what is your mankiest food combination. We’ve all got one – my ex-flatmate Mary for example used to like combining a dirty thick marrow with what looked like a grimacing oyster, and that’s why she’s not allowed down the allotment anymore.

We done made a graphic:

Here’s the thing: even if you don’t like Marmite, this is a taste sensation that works. Crunchy burnt toast, mashed sweet banana and just a little spread of Marmite. Actually, that’s a fib, I spread Marmite on in the same way one might tarmac a driveway, but you don’t need to go that far. I just like to feel alive.

Now in the spirit of sharing, a few other ones that I thoroughly enjoy but that make Paul gip into his sleeve:

  • tinned tuna fish mashed into baked beans – really mashed mind you, so you get a really thick stodge, then fried off with chilli sauce
  • salt added to black coffee – this came via Modern Family, although Gloria adds it to chocolate milk. I’m too much of a fat bastard to have chocolate milk but I tried it with strong black coffee and it was delicious
  • baked beans with two eggs cracked straight in, swirled around with chopped hotdogs mixed in – it genuinely looks like something that might fall off a diseased cow’s udders but by God it’s comfort food in a bowl

My husband Paul, being the prim and proper little bugger that he is, can’t think of any weird combinations that he puts in his mouth. If only he knew. He does sit and nibble stock cubes of an evening which in retrospect explains his blood pressure. That and living with me and my blue-poop-dramas and constant fiddling with his Spotify account when he’s at work. Do you have any ideas how many relationship-threatening arguments we have had because Billie Eilish keeps getting added to his favourites?

My friend Paul, himself a Sugar-Puff scented Refresher bar brought to fabulous life, has chimed in with ‘cheese and ketchup served in a cheap bread sandwich’ which, let’s be honest, is a pretty safe combination. What’s ketchup if not tomato chutney for the impoverished? What’s bread if not crackers left out in a steam room? I mean haway. I’ll not hold my breath for a second round.

Which is unlike me, admittedly.

On our facebook group we’ve had:

  • bananas, cheese and garlic pickle which I have to admit, sounds alright – but imagine the burps
  • hot cross buns coated with cheese, which is a delightful combination
  • jacket potato served with chopped gherkin, sweetcorn and salad cream – which apparently is ‘better than any dick I’ve ever tasted’ – I’m not saying I disagree, but as someone who has sampled enough of the latter to risk going blind from the inside, I know which I’d rather have in my gob
  • McDonalds fries into milkshake – I think this one is dirty, honestly, and I’m all for salty/sweet mix
  • my second favourite – onion ring crisps with a Malteaser popped on top like a fancy canapé – that tickled me

But my absolute favourite: potato salad and Bombay Mix mixed together, which I’m tenting in my knickers for. That sounds amazing! Off to go to Tesco to try this one!

Bit of admin before I clock off:

  • 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!

Stay safe! Would love to know what your manky food combination is!

J

recipe reacharound: mushy pea curry

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.

Interestingly:

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….

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recipe reacharound: mushy pea curry

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

The dish

  • 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

The books

  • 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!

Tools

  • 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!

Courses sides

Cuisine curry

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!

Byeeeee byeee

J

recipe: bacon and tomato rigatoni – syn free

Bacon and tomato rigatoni – it’s a quick meal to throw together with the added bonus of some aubergine in there so you can ‘get your speed’ and all that pap. Full confession: this is inspired by a Hello Fresh meal we had. We’re trying out Hello Fresh whilst we’re stuck at Chubby Towers Adjacent because there’s not much of a kitchen here and it was getting to the point where we were on first name terms with the entire roster of the Just Eat delivery drivers. It sounds amazing eating takeaway every day but once Paul’s lips had turned blue from the effort of shaking the drips off after a piss, we needed to change. We aren’t being paid by Hello Fresh – indeed, somehow, Paul managed to be the only person in the entire world to pay full price for his first box – but we will keep you informed as to how we go. So far, so good! Don’t you fret, though, the meals on here will always be Slimming World friendly, and this bacon and tomato rigatoni is a good example of that! Take a look:

bacon and tomato rigatoni

Oh, and this bacon and tomato rigatoni is excellent for lunches!

Anyway. How are you all coping with the kids being at home during these difficult times? Because, frankly, it must be bloody awful for you. I have made no secret on here that I am terrible with children. They can’t tell good jokes, they’re rubbish at fetching things and they command your attention all the time. I’ve already got myself for that. Babies get angry and poo all the time (and seem destined to get troubling maladies like cradle cap – a friend of mine had a baby recently and I genuinely thought she had popped out a giant rice crispie), toddlers bump into things and shout, children need clothes and feeding and teenagers – from my own experience – are whirlwinds of emotions and Lynx Africa. Nope.

The reason I mention children is that I overheard an absolute belter this morning. A very prim and proper looking family (you know the type surely, Dad will be an accountant in a failing regional firm, mum will spend her evening writing lengthy diatribes about perceived supermarket injustices on Mumsnet) were in front of me when I went to collect breakfast. There was ever so much noise as you’d expect with two children in tow, with the youngest shouting Mummy over and over again and being largely ignored save by me who tutted and made a show of turning up the volume on my earbuds*. This went on for at least five hateful minutes before he shouted MUUUUUUMMY one last time and then loudly declared that he ‘needed a big shit’. Well: they are looked mortified and I had to feign a good old corona-cough into my elbow to mask my laughter. If I had a child, that’s the kind of kid I want.

* nothing makes me feel older and in the way than trying to change songs on my Samsung Earbuds. You have to tap three times to move back a song, and double tap to move forward. I just can’t get the hang of the tapping, and as a result I’m left walking down the street swearing furiously to myself whilst tap-tap-tapping at my ears like a fucking woodpecker. Honestly, I long for the days of my JAMP3 player where I had to agonise over which twelve Limp Bizkit songs to put on it and then cut about town holding what looked like a radon detector in my hands.

Children is something that will never happen, though. Can you imagine the resulting mess that would come about from Paul and I blurting into a test-tube together and getting it fertilised? If we were lucky we’d end up with a child who inherited my humour and height together with Paul’s fabulous eyebrows and exhaustive intellect but readers, we’re not lucky. The little bugger would get my “designed by Frank Gehry” nose, Paul’s pig-trotter feet, my total irrationality and some bizarre combination of the very worst of all our features. In short, our child would look like a badly-faxed photo of Ann Widdecombe, and that’s something this world doesn’t need.

I’ll concede on one aspect of having children around that I would like: taking them to magical places like Disney. I bet that’s an amazing feeling seeing their faces light up with joy and wonder. But see, that feeling would soon sour when we left them in the car with the window down whilst we went shrieking round the teacups. It’s just too much responsibility for a man for whom keeping a basil plant alive for two weeks is his crowning achievement in fatherhood.

Luckily, I have a nephew who I can deign to visit on occasion, and he’s really not bad for a mewling bespectacled hellion, though I’m reminded that I made the correct life choices within four minutes of being in his presence. If children came with an off button I’d be far more inclined to consider one, but the endless volume is really too much for my old ears.

Anyway. That’s quite enough chatter for now. Shall we get to the bacon and tomato rigatoni? We ought to: it’s really very good.

bacon and tomato rigatoni

If you’re not a fan of bacon in the bacon and tomato rigatoni, swap it out for chorizo!

bacon and tomato rigatoni

You can all sorts of vegetables into the bacon and tomato rigatoni, but this works jut fine as it is for Slimming World.

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bacon and tomato rigatoni

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

We seem to have hit a bit of a run with pasta recipes here at twochubbycubs but I shan't apologise for it. No no. See, quick meals you can throw together with whatever shite you have in the fridge is our raison d'être and frankly, this bacon and tomato rigatoni is very much one of those. We have, of course, tweaked it slightly for Slimming World. But damn does it taste good!

Ingredients

  • 2 aubergines
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 300g plum tomatoes, halved
  • 80g reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled (use your HEA!)
  • 400g dried rigatoni
  • 120g bacon medallions, diced
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp dried crushed chillis

Instructions

  • first, preheat your grill to high and bring a large pan of salted water to the boil
  • as those are heating up, halve your aubergines lengthways, then slice slice each half into centimetre long strips, then slice the other way for cute little 1cm cubes
  • spread the aubergine cubes out onto a baking sheet into a single layer and spray with a little oil, and sprinkle with a little bit of salt
  • place under the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, then turn and cook for another ten minutes
  • as that's going on, cook the pasta according to the instructions
  • meanwhile, spray a large frying pan with a bit of oil and place over a high heat
  • add the bacon and cook for 5-6 minutes, until crispy
  • reduce the heat to medium high and add the onion, and cook until soft (about 4 minutes, stirring frequently)
  • add the garlic and the chilli flakes to the pan, stir, and cook for another minute 
  • add the tin of chopped tomatoes and stir
  • reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • once the aubergine is cooked, stir it into the pasta sauce
  • meanwhile, place the cherry tomatoes onto the same tray you used for the aubergine, spray with a bit of oil, and crumble over the feta. Pop under the grill for 4-5 minutes
  • when the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the tomato sauce with the grilled plum tomatoes, and stir
  • serve to gasps of amazement

Notes

The dish

  • diced aubergine really helps to pad this out and make it go further, and tastes bloody lovely
  • you can swap out the bacon for chorizo if you like

The books

  • 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!

Tools

  • nothing fancy needed for this recipe, but if you need some new lunchboxes for work, the SISTEMA ones we use are currently on sale at time of writing - click here!

Courses dinner

Cuisine pasta

Tasty stuff! Once you’ve had your fill of syn free bacon and tomato rigatoni, why not spin the wheel on our other pasta dishes? Here’s links to ten syn-free dishes!

Enjoy!

J

planner challenge: 2CCFRIDGERAIDERS – post your fridge selfie!

OK, a few days late, but we’re starting to get into the rhythm now. And listen, I’m told – as a flagrant homosexual – the rhythm method is the most reliable method out there. So let’s stick with it!

As you may or may not know, we have a planner out – and part of the planner, amongst the twenty-six fabulous recipes, colouring in, inspirational guff and bits and bobs, there are weekly challenges to keep you focused. The idea being that you let us see the results of the challenge, or you can search for other people’s ideas via the associated hashtag. We’ve completed four challenges so far – and shamefully only posted one – but in our defence we’re surrounded by the most handsome men you can imagine. However, concentrate James…

This week’s #2CCFRIDGERAIDERS challenge is to post a selfie of your fridge or cupboard when it is chock-a-block with everything you need to diet and eat healthily. Here’s our current fridge, another when it’s looked a damn sight better and a reminder that we have the best damn spice collection you can imagine.

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PLANNER CHALLENGE! This week's challenge is to show us the contents of your 'slimming' fridge. Well. We're fucked, because we're away from home. But damn, you can do it! Scroll through to see the good, the bad and the ugly!⁠ ⁠ SHOW US YOUR FRIDGE! #2CCFRIDGERAIDERS ⁠ ⁠ Our fabulous planner is available to buy on Amazon now! Excellent reviews and loads to do!⁠ ⁠ #twochubbycubs #weightlossjourney #fitfam #weightloss #healthyfood #healthy #leanin15 #fitnessmotivation #weightlossstory #fitnessjourney #weightlossmotivation #weightlosstransformation #weightlossgoals #slimmingworlduk #slimmingworld #slimmingworldjourney #slimmingworldfamily #repost #swfamily #fooddiary #slimmingworldfood #slimmingworldmotivation #slimmingworldmeals #slimmingworldlife #onplan #slimming #swinsta

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Just have a wee scroll through!

Our current fridge is a monument to our inability to really cook here at Chubby Towers Adjacent, though we’re currently trying Hello Fresh to try and keep us someway on plan. But that second picture, where the fridge is overflowing with goodness? It’s a SHAM! When we were being recorded for This Time Next Year, they came to our house two or three times to record our new journey. Now, I’m not saying we were told to make sure the kitchen looked healthy, but I’ve never bought more than one colour of egg in my entire life, and now we had a cock full of fancy eggs. The film crew wanted some shots of us opening the unhealthy fridge first, so to begin with it was rammed full of gorgeous, naughty things. They stuck a camera inside so that they could film Paul’s massive fat face reaching in for chocolate and my stuffed-with-Spam-hands clawing away at the beers. They then turned up a few months later to film us laughing gaily as we plucked at the celery and holding back the tears as we tried to pretend we weren’t dying inside as we cooed over eight different types of lettuce.

Worst part was that they filmed us talking through our healthy fridge and I honestly couldn’t tell them what half the things were. You see on the middle shelf those green knobbly things? I bought them at Waitrose because they looked relatively good for you. So, when I’m recording my piece to camera, they pluck one of those out and go ‘and what do you do with these’? I styled it out by coughing and asking for my line, and then a researcher told us they were cobnuts. Well, cobnuts are what I thought hung off your arsehair when you don’t wipe thoroughly, and if I’m honest, I’m still none the wiser.

I mean, the whole fridge is a nonsense: like I’d ever allow Paul to buy coke in glass bottles: I’m that tight with his money that I had triple glazing installed just so he wouldn’t hear the ice-cream van, for goodness sake.

So, think on: things aren’t always what they seem!

Bit of admin before I clock off:

  • 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!

Stay safe! Would love to know what your guilty pleasure is in the fridge…

J

chorizo and bacon carbonara: carbonara? I…ah bugger it

Boy, am I sick of that joke. Yes, though, chorizo and bacon carbonara is coming up – we posted it on our Instagram a few weeks ago as just a lunch idea but we had enough people asking for the recipe that we thought we would throw it on here. I mean, the chorizo and bacon carbonara is just our bog standard carbonara but damned if I ain’t seeing people making carbonara with vanilla yoghurt yet again: and I wish that was a joke, truly I do.

How are we? Still holed up at Chubby Towers Adjacent, still fat and still mean-spirited. We are having work done to the original Chubby Towers. This means a steady stream of builders, electricians and mean-looking gas men which leaves me with such a hot flush that you could fry an egg on my head. To be fair, you could run a motorway layby food-van on there given the size of my fivehead but that, Madam, is entirely besides the point. Our temporary residence in a local hotel does, however, come with some perks.

Firstly, we have been in the same hotel where Network Rail temporarily house all of their engineers when they’re in Newcastle, and to say it has been a treat for the eyes is a massive understatement. Every single day, around 8am, the reception is full of hurly-burly bearded men all coming back from a difficult shift mending the railways. Around 9pm, they all depart for the night. I know this because I’m usually outside smoking with my face full of lust and my brain full of ways I could reasonably make Paul disappear and thus be free to live a life as a worker’s wife. They’re stunning. I’m not saying I’m obsessed but I’m fairly sure they could helicopter me in as their shift organiser, given I seem to know their schedules down pat. The hotel had to ask me to come down later for breakfast because frankly, the whistle of my dilated bumhole was getting mistaken for a faulty kettle. But that’s quite enough of that, although know that if I do disappear and the blog is never updated again, I’m rolled up in a carpet down a railway embankment with the biggest smile on my face.

Secondly, breakfast: they’re kind enough to put a free continental breakfast bag out in the morning, which delights my obesity. When we first ‘moved in’ these bags consisted of a little croissant and an orange because it was the height of lockdown and everyone was about to die. Thankfully, they have upgraded these to include a cereal bar, some toast and two little Costco muffins. Paul, who takes great pains to assure me that he isn’t snacking as he’s trying to lose weight, was rumbled by me getting into his car and finding about thirty of the muffin-cases stuffed guiltily under the passenger seat. To be fair, he’d find far worse under mine. A recent development is free hot bacon sandwiches which are a treat because they use proper stotties and bacon that they set away cooking when they put the Christmas sprouts on. I’m not mocking: it’s nice to have a sandwich that you’re still feeling the benefit of a couple of days later when the bacon works its way back under from your teeth.

Thirdly, temporarily living in a hotel has given me many occasions to totally make a tit of myself, which honestly takes no effort at all for me given my life seems to be a series of slapstick and pratfalls. By way of example, we’re on the sixth floor, and on three entirely separate occasions I’ve been returning to the room a touch tiddlysquiff, entirely engrossed on my phone and failing to notice the lift stopped on the fifth floor when I got out. I go careering down the corridor and start braying on the door of what I think is our room, shouting jokey obscenities and yelling that Paul had better not have anyone in there, only for the door to be answered by some very startled looking guest who wasn’t Paul at all. Or if it was Paul, he’s really been cracking along with his keto – and has grown a better set of boobs than what he currently has – given it’s always been a lady who answered the door. She looked less forgiving the second time I accidentally woke her, I can tell you.

At least I’m on good terms with the reception staff and have totally embraced my role as Filthy Alan Partridge (Anal Partridge?). Upon learning that the seal under our bath had been leaking water into the bedroom below (that poor lass really does have it difficult), a man was dispatched to fix the bath. Upon returning to the hotel later that evening I was told that the flood had been caused by ‘my ring perishing’. I heartily guffawed that it wouldn’t be the first time altogether too loudly, much to the consternation of all the lovely tradies drinking their beer. All that was needed was for Paul to bend over and his bra to come pinging off and Carry On Chubby would have been completed.

Anyway, I digress. But I wanted to say, all is well, we are well and I hope you are too. Now before we get to the chorizo and bacon carbonara, just the small matter of our planner. As you may or may not know, it’s been out for a couple of weeks and the reviews are lovely! Going forward, we will be doing a planner post every week (next one tomorrow, then it’ll shift to Monday). Keep an eye out!

bacon and chorizo carbonara

How good does that chorizo and bacon carbonara look? EH?

To the chorizo and bacon carbonara then, and not a moment too soon.

chorizo and bacon carbonara

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 servings

Right, perfect for Slimming World and all other diets, this chorizo and bacon carbonara is a fucking delight. There, I've said it. Hoy some parmesan on at the end if you're feeling decadent but otherwise, it takes ten minutes to make and will really satisfy you in a way that no battery powered dongle ever could.

This makes enough for two. 

Ingredients

  • 200g of linguine (I use that instead of spaghetti, but it really makes no odds)
  • 50g of chopped chorizo (6 syns)
  • four or five bacon medallions with all the fat cut off
  • a bunch of spring onions
  • three egg yolks - you can use the whites to make an egg-white omelette, or you can stop bumping your lips and throw the whites down the sink so you can watch them sploosh down the plughole like everyone else, you contrary tinker
  • black pepper

Note: do not salt the water when you boil your spaghetti: chorizo and bacon add a lot of saltiness, so don't be adding more for Christ's sakes

Instructions

  • get a big old pan, fill it with cold water and get it boiling away
  • pop your linguine in to cook
  • meanwhile, if you don't mind, chop your chorizo and bacon off as finely as you can - we like to cook it almost so it goes like crumbs, but it's up to you
  • finely slice the green of the spring onions whilst you're waiting
  • when the linguine is cooked through, get ready to act quickly
  • drain the water from the linguine, keeping aside a small cup full
  • add the egg yolks, bacon and chorizo in with the hot linguine and stir to absolute fuckery - you want the heat to cook the egg but you don't want it to scramble (though if it does, no big loss, it just doesn't look as good)
  • if it goes a bit claggy, and it shouldn't if you're quick, add a tablespoon or two of the hot pasta water
  • once mixed, plate up and top with the greens of the spring onions
  • add grated parmesan and so much black pepper if you so desire

We serve ours with the bacon and chorizo on top - see the picture - but there's no right or wrong way.

Notes

Food

  • you can absolutely leave the chorizo out to save on syns, but only if you're devoid of all fun and taste in your life
  • crumbled up sausage meat is also lovely in this - fry it as you would fry the chorizo
  • don't be adding oil when you do the bacon and chorizo because the chorizo oil is all you need

Tools

Books

  • 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!

Courses dinner

Cuisine Italian

Chorizo and bacon carbonara done, perhaps you need some more pasta recipes? Sure thing!

Enjoy!

J