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

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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

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

potato, bacon and beer bake

Admit it, you’ve been worried that, following our eight minutes on prime-time TV, we’d have gone all celebrity: shagging about, coke binges, drunk-driving and fisticuffs outside the top bars. Please: they barely let me into a Wetherspoons with my rent-by-the-week shoes and I make Paul buy the Lidl own-brand paracetamol.

I meant to post a new recipe last week but time got away from us. We’ve been doing some exciting stuff on the back of This Time Next Year (did you know we were on the telly?) and well, look. Mischief takes time. But, before we get to the potato, bacon and beer bake, let me tell you our tale.

The story starts like all of mine, with an unexpected pussy. I was busy leering out of our bedroom window at the one neighbour we have under seventy (and who mows his lawn with his top off, which I know is for my benefit – even if he doesn’t acknowledge it, there’s a twinkle in his eye that gives away his intent) (could be cataracts, though, he does smoke a lot) when I spotted a cat in our greenhouse. That’s not uncommon, we have all manner of feline visitors who love nothing more than falling asleep on all of the gardening equipment I leave out to show our gardener that I mean well. Out I trot, handful of Dreamies and a heart full of love, to make a new friend. I’ve yet to meet a cat that I haven’t been able to seduce with a scratch of their ears or a rub under the chin, which is also how I got Paul to agree to polygamy. Hand outstretched, I manage not to scare the cat away and he turned his wee head to me…and…oh my.

Poor little bugger had completely caked over eyes, scratches all over his face and well, looked like he was about to die. Cats leave their home to die away from their owners and it would just be my luck that this cat would roll a seven on my tomato feed. We couldn’t bring him in because we’ve got two of our own who I barely trust not to kill me in my sleep, let alone an imposter, and anyway he was lifting with fleas. A stray. Well, that was me. I know you see me as some stone-hearted brute with the emotional range of a house-brick but not when it comes to animals. People, fuck ’em. Children? Pah. But cats? Oh no. I lifted him into a cat basket and sat him on the cat tree, wiped his eyes with water and went to fetch my Abide with Me CD. I brought him a slab of Whiskas (incurring piss-taking from a friend who took great delight in pointing out I was feeding stray cats on a Le Creuset saucer), some water and left him to it on a blanket. Our own cat came dashing out of the cat flap but, perhaps sensing the other cat was no threat, left him to it (though ate half the food – cat after my heart). We checked in during the day and he was sleeping, barely moving, and after we returned from seeing Escape Room at 11pm, popped our heads in only to see he had still barely moved and was breathing shallowly, like me reading a sentence longer than eight words.

Well, we couldn’t cope with that level of emotional discomfort and a decision was made to take him to the vets, finance be damned. We rang the RSPCA who were absolutely bobbins (of course!) but luckily our own vets agreed we could bring him in, but could we drop him off at an emergency shelter up the road? 30 miles up the road? Of course. Nearing midnight now, on a Sunday no less. We attached a blue light to the Smart car and went to bundle the cat into a car carrier. In the dark, because no lighting in the greenhouse, because of course.

Let me tell you: for a cat that couldn’t see and was nearing death, he came to life like Evel fucking Knievel, hurtling around the greenhouse in a petrified blur. Could we catch him? Could we balls. Imagine trying to get a distressed cat into a carrier with only the light of a phone to guide you. I’ve got hands like Freddie Kreuger trying to get a jacket potato from a campfire. Hissing, shrieking and screaming – and with the cat making similar noises – we got him into a corner, only for Paul to drop the carrier and set him off again. We were about to let nature simply take its course when an unexpected turn: a very stylish gay lad turned up at our gate. At midnight. Asked if we wanted a hand, and I was a second away from asking him if he’d made an appointment and even so, you’re at the wrong door for that mate, when he mentioned he’d lost a cat. He was walking past looking for his cat at the very moment we were trying to stuff him into the carrier. What serendipity! We let him in, he looked at the cat and confirmed that indeed, it was his. Well, not immediately: the first thing he did was sniff the air and say our greenhouse smelled like cat piss. My gay peacock-feathers shot up at this barb but I resisted the urge to say that it was because OF YOUR BLOODY CAT, and let it slide. He joined us for a cigarette in the garden, which must have looked peculiar to the neighbours to have three men sitting in the dark at our fabulous garden table, but hey. He was actually very lovely and friendly and I want his coat but that’s by the by.

We swapped numbers (because: I’m a slut) and off he toddled. All done, cat rescued.

Phone rings ten minutes later. Cat guy. Sounded terribly perturbed. Turns out he had passed the petrol station behind our house at the very moment it was being turned over. We could hear the alarms blaring in the background, and of course, we immediately called the police. Less than a split second later our house was locked up, we’d sprinted across the lawn at the front and were away in the Smart car to have a gawp. The CCTV footage of our dash is hilarious – Paul’s car goes over the speedbump like a rocket. You may remember he drives a toy car. The police were indeed there and we realised it would look suss to drive past eight times in a bright orange tiny car, so made our way home, where the police were waiting because they thought the robbers might have made their escape down our street. Listen: it’ll not be the first time a rough local trick with an ASBO has dumped his hot load in my back-alley, but I thought it remiss of me to boast. The policemen were delicious, though it was super awkward when they asked us for our new friend’s name and I had to explain I’d put him into my phone as Cat Man Noooo and didn’t know his name. In a sweet twist, the policeman asked if we’d been on the telly recently because his girlfriend comes to Elite with us and had mentioned us. I tried to hide my tittylip at the mention of his girlfriend because fuck me, he was handsome as all outdoors. All the while our cat chap is ringing with updates and then texted to say he was nearly home.

All done, cat rescued, petrol station robbery embroilment over. And so to bed.

Phone rings. He’s lost his keys and is terribly upset. Perhaps they fell out during the cat chase, perhaps whilst he was dashing away from a robbery. Well, as much as I wanted to go take advantage of the horn that only a brush with the law could give me, out we went to search the garden, again with phonelight, with Paul away up the street to help look. Ten minutes later, the chap calls. Found his keys. In the inside pocket of his jacket pocket, because bless him he was all a tizz from the night’s excitement. We confirmed that he was in his house, settled, cat in the carrier, no chip pan fires or plane crashes. Content that the night’s excitement was over, we all said goodnight, I got his real name and we all agreed to meet for a drink in a couple of week’s time when we’re not doing bootcamp. Just getting into bed and vehemently disagreeing with Paul that 2am isn’t too late for bumming even when one of us has to be up at 5am to register for Elite’s weigh-in thingy when oof, phone rings.

It’s not his cat.

In a curious turn of events, our lovely friend had assumed it was his cat (and later sent a picture of him with his actual cat to show the similar markings) and in a fit of excitement, taken the wrong cat home. Well, honestly. At this point, what more could be done? He graciously agreed to look after the cat and take him to the vets the next day, and after three more calls in the night to discuss the cat’s wellbeing and invite us over (hmm), this story was wrapped up neatly. He did indeed take the cat to the vet and sadly, it wasn’t chipped, but at the time of writing he’s still alive and responding well to whatever they’ve given him. We’ve made a new friend as it turns out that Cat Man – Dan – is actually hilarious (and it’s nice having a fellow gay in this town, and unusual in that we haven’t tasted his semen before learning his first name) and everything has turned good.

But the worst part? The cat, in its panicked state, flipped our Le Creuset saucer onto the floor and chipped it. I mean, for Christ’s sakes.

Gosh: that was a story and a half, wasn’t it? I so much prefer it when I have something to tell you. But, your poor belly. You must be starving, you’ll be working your way through your back-up gunt at this point. Let’s do the recipe: potato, bacon and beer bake. As you were.

potato bacon and beer bake

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potato, bacon and beer bake

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Yield 4 servings

Now. You can lower the syns in this by swapping out the beer for stock, but honestly you're doing yourself a disservice. The beer adds a lot of the taste, but it isn't essential. For the sake of a couple of syns, you'll get a great side. 

We found this recipe in an Italian cookbook by a chap called Gennaro. We adapted it slightly, but full credit to the guy who looks the double of Paul's dad on the front cover. You can pick up an ecopy here.

This makes enough for four decent servings as a side dish, but we had it between the two of us because: obesity.

Ingredients

  • 1kg or so of potatoes, peeled
  • 200ml of good lager - I used Brewdog's Lost Lager but any will do - around 6 syns 
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil (6 syns)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large onions
  • 200g of bacon - you can buy medallions and cut them up if you like, but we just used bacon lardons and didn't syn them because we're not frightened of a bit of redundant fat, unless it's Paul's mother
  • 80g of light extra mature cheddar (1 person's healthy extra, so fuck it, I'd be minded not to count it, but that's your choice to make) (or, do as we did, and double the cheese because you're a greedy heifer)

Instructions

  • put the oven onto 200 degrees
  • using your mandolin or a knife, thinly slice the potatoes and onions
  • throw the potatoes into a large bowl, add the beer, oil and lots of salt and pepper
  • line the bottom of an overproof dish with sliced tatties, onions, few cubes of bacon and some of the grated cheese
  • layer over and over and press down damn hard with your hand as you go, covering the top with more grated cheese
  • pour over the beer mixture, give it another press down and cover in foil
  • bake for an hour, then remove the foil and cook for another 30 minute
  • serve with whatever slop you want on the side

Notes

Courses side dish

Cuisine italian, supposedly

Nice, eh? Problem with making a potato bake is that the resulting photo always ends up looking like a scabby knee so, just trust your cubs on this one and I promise you it’s worth a bake.

Want more? Greedy cow.

Enjoy!

J

roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta

Just a lunch idea tonight: roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta. How many times do we end up buying something bog-awful for lunch just because we didn’t plan the night before or because we can’t face another day of choking down an asbestos-flavoured MugShitz? Make a batch of this and never look back! And look, no nonsense to read through to get straight to the recipe!

roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta

roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta

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roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta

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Looking for a quick lunch? Have yourself a packet of crisps and a good cry, or, make this gorgeous little pasta salad - it'll keep well in the fridge and serve you well for a good couple of days. Don't be tempted to make this roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta without the chorizo - the tiny crunchy bits of oily goodness is what makes this dish sing!

Ingredients

  • 100g chorizo, diced (12 syns)
  • 6 bacon medallions, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 130g reduced fat feta, crumbled (2x HeA)
  • 500g pasta
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

  • pop the tomatoes in a roasting dish and set away on a low heat, chopped in half, for about twenty minutes - you want them softened but not burst
  • cook the pasta according to the instructions, scoop out a little of the water into a mug and keen aside, then drain 
  • meanwhile, spray a bit of oil into a large frying pan and place over a medium-high heat
  • add the chorizo and bacon and fry until golden
  • remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside
  • add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook in the chorizo oil until translucent
  • add the tomatoes to the pan and a couple of tablespoons of water
  • cook until the tomatoes have softened and the sauce has reduced, add a bit more water if it starts to look a bit dry
  • chuck in the chorizo and bacon to the pan and give another good stir
  • add the pasta and stir again - use some of the water you collected earlier if needed to thin out the sauce
  • serve into bowls, top with the crumbled feta and salt and pepper to taste

Notes

  • sick of Fry Light stripping your pans? Use this instead!
  • don't be afraid to use chorizo - it's what makes this one so tasty! Substituting it for something lower in syns will just dull the flavour. Syns are there to be used!
  • mince the garlic in seconds with one of these! Don't fanny on with awkward garlic presses!
  • you can use normal tomatoes in this if you prefer - just cut them up into cherry tomato-sized chunks
  • don't like feta? Use any cheese you like - just remember to check the syns
  • you can use any pasta you like - we used Gigli because it's pretty and cooks quickly

Courses lunch, pasta, salad

Cuisine Italian

See? What’s not to like about a dinner like our roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta? Easy, uses only a couple of syns and actually tastes of something other than the shite you pick up in the supermarket!

Want more ideas for lunch? Of course! Try one of these:

J

full english breakfast risotto: a perfect bit of stodge

Full English breakfast risotto – not a breakfast recipe, no, but rather a delicious risotto with all the lovely bits of a full English breakfast! Yes it’s indulgent, yes it’ll probably give you blue lips, but it’s so, so good: plus as with all our risottos, it pretty much cooks itself – no clarting about with adding ladles of stock! This is a rollover recipe – you can use the leftover sausages and bacon from yesterday’s recipe of super scrambled eggs to make into this beauty! I mean, I don’t recommend you have them both on the same day, but there’s nothing stopping you cooking off all the sausages and bacon and leaving half aside to make this.

Not a fan of congealed blood and fat and oats? Please: call yourself a blubber-merchant? Feel free to leave it out. If you do, it’s syn free. Top tip for this: once you’ve finished serving it up in that effortlessly stylish way of ours, pop the yolk so it runs through the risotto, mash the tomatoes in and crumble over that black pudding. It’s so, so good!

No chitter-chat tonight as we’re off to the gym. I know: who have we become? But after yesterday’s diatribe I need to stop bumping my lips for a bit.

This serves four, by the way – normal portions. If you’re a greedy sod like me, two massive bowls.

full english breakfast risotto

full english breakfast risotto

to make full english breakfast risotto you will need:

  • 400g arborio rice
  • 3 chicken stock cubes (dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water)
  • 4 low fat sausages, cooked and sliced (see top tips below)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 bacon medallions, cooked and chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 slices of Morrison’s black pudding (9 syns)
  • 2 big handfuls of mushrooms
  • 150g cherry tomatoes

top tips to make full english breakfast risotto:

  • we used the sausages and bacon from Musclefood which are both syn free! If you want to check out our special deals just click here! Of course, you can use other sausages – just remember to syn them
  • we used Morrison’s black pudding which is 4½ syns a slice – they vary a lot across brands though so do check yours
  • you can cook the bacon and sausages however you like them – we used our Optigrill but you could use an airfryer, a frying pan, a George Foreman grill or a normal grill – however you want! For best results cook the sausages halfway (they’ll cook fully later)
  • don’t like black pudding or mushrooms? Just leave them out! You can add or remove whatever you like – make it however you like it!
  • an oil sprayer will make this so much easier and won’t strip your pans like Fry Light does – we use this one and it’s excellent!
  • if you want fancy fried egg like us *cough* you can get your mitts on some fancy food rings at Amazon

to make full english breakfast risotto you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190ºc
  • lay the cherry tomatoes out onto a baking tray and spray with a little oil
  • cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and spray in a little oil
  • add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and fry until the onions start to turn golden
  • add the rice to the pan along with the sausages and bacon and give another stir
  • pour the stock into the pan, cover and simmer on a low heat for 20-25 minutes
  • meanwhile, spray a frying pan with a little oil and fry the black pudding for 3-4 minutes each side, and set aside
  • in the same pan, add a little more oil and fry the eggs to your liking
  • once the risotto is cooked serve into bowls
  • top with the tomatoes, halved black pudding and fried egg

Craving more ooey, gooey risottos? We’ve got loads!

Yum!

J

Hawaiian pizza pasta bake – no seriously, hear us out

Hawaiian pizza pasta if you please! I know what you’re thinking – years of my brain stem being nudged increasingly repeatedly from the front twice a day for ten minutes has left me addled. Well, you’re not wrong, but we’re actually making Hawaiian pizza pasta bake to celebrate the fact that Vera returns to the telly tonight. Don’t get the link? It’s simple: Hawaiian is how she tells people to enter a building in that “Geordie” “accent” of hers. “Hawaiian pet, there’s been a moorda

See? It’s that easy. If you’re wondering what that snapping noise was, it was sound of a tortuous analogy breaking in two.

Actually, speaking of pet, did anyone see that storm in the teacup with Virgin Trains in the middle of the week? Someone complaining was told to ‘go right ahead, honey‘ and when she mentioned it on their Twitter that actually, when complaining, it doesn’t do to be overfamiliar in return, the customer service guy replied with ‘would you prefer darling or sweetheart, next time?

I have to admit, I was absolutely howling. That’s exactly why I couldn’t work in social media, I’d be putting my foot in my mouth that much I’d need to tie my shoelaces with my uvula. Everyone is kicking off as though she’s Millie Tant in human form but reading beyond the typically salacious PC-GONE-MAD headline, she only complained that the train guard had called her honey in a voice dripping with sarcasm. As someone who was told loudly that WE MUST SERVE EVERYONE ELSE BEFORE YOU GET SECONDS when I asked for a sandwich on their train, I can sympathise.

It did make me think, though – I give absolutely everyone a nickname and I can’t help it. Paul is shittyarse, Shitty McGee or sugartits, my mum is Boot, dad is Greengrass, even my bosses are Chief and Guv’nor respectively. I wouldn’t think twice about sticking a love or a pet or a flower on the end of my hello or thank you in a shop. Sex doesn’t come into it, unless they’re giving me the keen-eye and I’ve got time. In fact, this habit teamed with my booming voice in shops probably doesn’t endear me to about half the people I come across, but meh, fuck it – no malice is meant – but I ought to apologise on behalf of almost every Geordie in existing who use this over-familiar terms of endearment like Southern folks use full-stops.

WE JUST DURNT KNOW ANY BETTA PETUL!

Right, to the recipe. Hawaiian pizza pasta bake! Just trust me. After all this time? Always. This makes four big portions. Cook it, freeze it, keep some extra! Lovely. If you’re after a carb hit, I just happen to have got what you need, just exactly what you need…

Hawaiian pizza pasta bake

Hawaiian pizza pasta bake

to make Hawaiian pizza pasta bake, you’ll need:

  • 250g pasta
  • 750ml passata
  • 4 slices of thick ham, chopped
  • 300g bacon medallions
  • 230g pineapple chunks (fresh is better, just buy a pre-cut pack in the supermarket if you can’t be arsed)
  • 140g reduced-fat mozzarella, diced or grated (2x HeA)
  • if you’re feeling extra sluttish, add 80g of extra mature lighter cheddar on top – I know, I’m pure filth

Get proper tasty bacon in our Musclefood deal! Make your own hamper so it’s full with only the stuff you love! Click here to find out more.

Top tip: use your microplane grater, the one I always recommend, to make your cheddar go that much further – nice and fine creates a proper crunchy top!

Up to you if you syn the pineapple. We don’t, because it’s a bollocks rule.

to make Hawaiian pizza pasta bake, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions
  • meanwhile cook the bacon under the grill, and then roughly chop
  • add the passata to a saucepan and heat gently
  • spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
  • add the chopped ham and pineapple and cook for a few minutes
  • add the passata, bacon, ham and pineapple to the drained pasta and stir well
  • stir through half of the mozzarella and tip into a large pyrex dish
  • sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes
  • finish under the grill for a few minutes to brown the cheese
  • serve!

Love pasta bakes? You’re not the only one! You’ll find more ideas below!

Mwah! Don’t forget to share our stuff by simply clicking the buttons below!

J

bacon cheeseburger bites and a happy new year!

Bacon cheeseburger bites, if you don’t mind! Scroll down to the pretty pictures if reading gives you a nosebleed.

Happy New Year! Gosh, that was a slog wasn’t it? Feels like Christmas has been hanging around like a winnit on your knickers for absolutely bloody ages. I’m not a fan of Christmas – all that joviality, child’s laughter and general happiness leaves me gagging into a handkerchief. Everywhere is full of people walking entirely too slowly, breathing too loudly, snotting and sniffing and hacking away. Even the supermarkets offer no relief – people who wouldn’t usually be allowed unsupervised access to a box of crayons are suddenly flush with cash and put in charge of a trolley full of turkeys. If Paul and I ever win the lottery, we’re moving to the Pitcairn Islands with a live-in rent-boy. Would that be a mortgage-boy? Huh, that sounds less erotic.

Now, as it’s New Year, there’s been an almighty spike in subscribers and blog views: welcome. Take a seat: it’s reinforced. You want to lose weight and you’ve been told about us in the same furtive manner that schoolboys whisper about the school slapper (which was, ironically, both of us). Everything you’ve heard is true. We’re filthy, but full of fun. We never get straight to the point. We swear altogether too much and you’d be astonished how many tired references about anal we can shoehorn into a cottage pie recipe. However, know this: this is a personal blog, not a SW blog, and thus the content will never change! You can always skip straight to the recipe if you find your ‘tache bristling at the crudeness.

There is a slight change this year, however. Since starting this blog we’ve typed over 500,000 words: that’s a lot of typing. My fingers are so worn down that I’d struggle to pick up a penny from a tiled floor. Sometimes it’s a chore having to think up all sorts of shenanigans before the recipe so we’re shifting focus just a little – more recipes. Not less chat, you understand – just rather than having gaps between the recipes, we’re going to save the ‘long’ posts for a couple of times a week. More holiday entries, less moaning. I hope you understand that this keeps things interesting for us – this is like the bit in a marriage where you can’t face another serving of your other half’s sausage surprise so you start making coquettish winks to the postman. Makes sense: our postman is an absolute dish. It’s all I can do not to wait at the letterbox on all fours when I see him lumbering up the path. So yes: change is coming. But we all change, when you think about it, we’re all different people; all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear…

House-keeping then.

Right! That’ll do.

Oh, a further treat for you if you like – we designed a weight-loss tracker for the year! Click the image to download a pin-sharp A4 version ready just for you!

Right, that’s quite enough nonsense. Let’s do the recipe! If you can’t be arsed to read the recipe, we’ve actually done an entirely serious video recipe for you. Yes: serious. Now that’s a screengrab you can take to the bank.

Enjoy that? We’re spent.

bacon cheeseburger bites

bacon cheeseburger bites

to make bacon cheeseburger bites you will need:

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 red onion, diced finely
  • 50g panko
  • 80g reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 6 bacon medallions
  • handful of gherkin slices, finely diced
  • pinch of salt and pepper

useful bits:

  • you can get decent mince AND bacon (plus loads more!) in our fantastic Musclefood packs! Just click here to find out what deals we’ve got on!
  • we’d also recommend you invest in one of these cutiepies to help you out, especially with the faffy bits of chopping the onion and the gherkins!

to make bacon cheeseburger bites you should:

  • cook the bacon until it’s super crisp, however you like. We used our OptiGrill and it worked perfectly! You want it really crisp!
  • allow the bacon to cool down a bit, and then chop into little bacon bits (or do as we did and chuck it in a food processor)
  • preheat the oven to 175°C
  • next, get all of the ingredients together, chuck in a bowl and mix together
  • divide the mixture into 20-25 balls and lay on a non-stick baking sheet
  • cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes
  • serve with tiny baby gherkins, or anything else you like!

If you’re looking for similar party food, taster night ideas or snacks, why not try some of these?

Finally: remember to share our recipes! Just click those giant share buttons and make your friends wet with excitement!

J

cheesy bacon chicken goujons – my word, so good

Cheesy bacon chicken goujons. Cheese? Bacon? Chicken? I’ll prep the defibrillator for your stopped heart and Paul will fetch a mop for the slug trail you’re leaving. These are bloody lovely – normally we’d suggest dipping them into a ranch dip but frankly, as I don’t want to hasten your consultant to eternal slumber, let’s keep the syns low and serve with beans. We’ll get to the recipe in a moment, you understand, but first, nonsense. If you can’t be arsed to read, just click on the OVER-AGED RIPE STINKER below:

Thank god they’ve left. Someone had their make-up gun set to whore, am I right? Let us begin…hey, remember though, I love getting feedback on the holiday entries. I read them all!

click here for part one | click here for part two

We decided, given our somewhat alcohol-tinged gadabouting the previous night, that we would do the Very British Thing and have a day by the pool, only moving to eat, burn and bask. Normally we’re quite good at getting “out and about” when we go on holiday but you know what, sometimes all a boy wants to do is lie back, singe his titties and ogle the lifeguards. Actually, scratch that last bit – the lifeguards looked about 12 years old and would struggle pulling the plug out of an empty bath. I had no high hopes that if I suffered cardiac arrest from doing half a minute of gentle swimming that they’d be able to hoist my bloated corpse out of the jacuzzi area. I’d be left there for time evermore, bubbling away in the heated jets and turning into James soup.

So, on that alluring note, we decided (against our alcohol-souzed brains’ better judgments) to rise early and go downstairs for the buffet breakfast, which was thoughtfully included in our hotel booking. Good food soaks up booze, after all – but catastrophe. We got to the buffet floor only to find a queue of elderly people all sucking their teeth and murmuring. It was like a sequel to Cocoon, only with Spanish dubbing. By joining the queue we actually lowered the mean age of the queue by forty eight years. It was like being on the flight to Corsica all over again, where I was absolutely sure we’d accidentally boarded a pilgrimage to Dignitas. The queue shuffled as slowly as you can imagine it would (if you’ve ever tried doing your lunch shopping in Marks and Spencer when they’ve put the £10 meal deal on, you’ll catch my drift – that’s right, isn’t it Alan?) and when we eventually arrived at the front we were shouted at by some officious bloke on the desk who couldn’t understand my room number of 2002. He asked me to repeat it every which way possible – Paul was set to do some interpretative dance – before finally caving in and letting us through. Here, mate – I’m not that fucking enamoured with bright red overcooked Spanish sausages that look like diseased dogs’ dicks that I’m running a breakfast racket, alright?

Oh and you better believe that this repeated itself over and over throughout the holiday. Every morning the same problem, the same jobsworth man with a face full of woe, the same discussion. On the penultimate day I actually took a picture of the room number on our door as proof but Paul wouldn’t let me show it.

We sat down to breakfast. Actually, I sat down, Paul was dispatched to find coffee and orange juice. I can only presume he walked to Seville for the oranges because by the time he reappeared he’d grown a grey beard and a zimmer frame. Turns out he’d just picked them up by osmosis from being trapped in a crowd of the elderly at the omelette station. Coffee downed for fortitude we went for our food, promising each other that we would be healthy. Paul wandered off to the yoghurts and fruit station, I went straight for the gold – cooked breakfast. I know, Englishman aboard and all that shite, but I wanted something to line my stomach and a fucking Activia yoghurt and some sawmill muesli wasn’t going to cut it.

Now, do you know, this was actually a very good breakfast. I’ll refrain from listing all the delicious things they had, not least because I don’t want you getting a wide-on when I mention fried bread, fried bacon, fried eggs and fried milk (not even kidding). However, it was here that I met my holiday nemesis. I met me! I was reaching for the ladle for the beans when some fat fuckface actually pushed my arm out of the way to get there first. I followed his arm, slightly aghast, only to realise it was attached to the body of someone who was almost my double – same glasses, same shaved head, same beard, same build – honestly, if I ever needed a stunt double this would be my guy. I mean, it wasn’t a complete replica – his cheap trainers let him down and he was almost certainly wearing Lynx as opposed to my Tom Ford – but it was so close. He was 100% definitely on my bus too – I could tell by the way he was pursing his lips in a ‘yeah and what’ face at me.

In any other timeline, where Paul had blinked out of existence, it would have been at the very most ten minutes before we were having animalistic hot twin-sex over the hash-browns, but because he was rude, that was it, no chance. We made our way down the queue together, me behind tutting at his choice of fried egg over poached, me sighing theatrically when he put the mushrooms spoon in with the cubed potatoes, him huffing when I took the last bit of bacon. The tension was palpable. Also, he was one of those people who feel the need to tower their food at a buffet rather than eating like a normal person. I was hoping, praying even, that the sole of his Aldi trainers would come loose and send him crashing to the floor, but alas, God, you let me down again.

Now, it doesn’t end there. When I got back to our table and breathlessly (well, it was a long buffet) recounted my tale of meeting my double to Paul, he told me a similar story – he too had bumped into ‘me’ and then, to top it off, had then spotted him making his own way back to his table where he sat down with a ‘Paul’ – Mama Cass with a five o’clock shadow. Turns out we’d stumbled across an evil version of ourselves: just like when Sabrina the Teenage Witch met her evil twin Katrina. There’s a reference everyone will get! We christened them Jim and Saul and, much like the breakfast maître d’, they would haunt our holiday.

One thing we did notice: they were always miserable as sin. Every time we did spot them the bigger one had a face like he’d lost a fiver and found a pound and his long-suffering husband was trailing behind him like a condemned man. Paul and I have lots of faults, but we’re always bloody laughing.

With breakfast demolished and the chest pains subsided we returned for our room for Paul to ‘drop the kids off’. This took twenty five minutes, all time that I spent anxiously bouncing about on the balcony looking at all the sun-loungers disappearing under rolls of pink flesh. Have you seen videos on the tourists waiting for the bell so they can dash out and claim the sunbeds?

Actually, this is just over the road from where we were staying. I’d seen this video a week or two previous to the holiday and knew that we had no chance of a sun-lounger by the poolside. I kept trying to urge Paul to hurry up but ‘it was a slow mover up the charts’ apparently and we were in for the long-haul. So frustrating! By the time he had birthed, showered, dressed and suncreamed it was knocking onto 11am and yes, indeed, by the time we got down to the genuinely lovely pool there wasn’t a sun-lounger to be had. We wandered around ashen-faced before Paul let out a yell and made a dash as quick as a fat man with troublesome bowels dared – he’d spotted a couple leaving (possibly because we were blocking their sun) and their loungers were ours!

Anyway, here’s a video from our pool, together with our voices and faces and hairy shoulders. You poor sods.

What followed were a good few hours of relaxing, soaking up the sun and reading, mixed with a few little splashes in the pool. It was lovely, but I’ll be damned if I can make an interesting couple of paragraphs about it. So instead, let me touch on something else which I’ve mentioned before – don’t worry about your body when you’re on holiday! There were far too many ladies, bless, hiding their less than toned bodies behind giant towels or worse, sitting in a t-shirt sweating away. I know the feeling, I’ve done it myself – you’re worried that you’ll look awful when you step out in a bikini (OK I haven’t done that before) or go for a swim. Why though? Why giving a flying fuck what people around that pool think of you?

For a start, no-one is bloody looking anyway, and if they are it’s only to try and read the page of Take a Break that has been inked on your tit from lying out in the sun too long. Then there’s the small fact that, unless you are spectacularly unlucky, you’re never going to meet this same group of people ever again, unless you’re watching a Judge Rinder marathon. So for goodness sake, you spend so much money to get out there, let the wobbly bits, untanned streaks, saggy boobs and spaniel-ear-ballsacks hang loose. You’re a long time dead! The best looking people around that pool were the ones who walked with a bit of confidence, misguided or not. Schlepping around like a Babushka in your eighty-seven layers, face dripping with heat exhaustion, is never going to be a good look.

Now, let’s do the recipe and pick up this story next time. I can sense a lot of teeth gnashing going on. Least I hope it’s your teeth.

REMEMBER, leave us some feedback on the holiday entries!


Cheesy bacon chicken goujons. I mean, you just WOULD.

cheesy bacon chicken goujons cheesy bacon chicken goujons

to make cheesy bacon chicken goujons you will need:

Oh god, look, just google panko. It’s a breadcrumb you can buy from most supermarkets. Or make your own. Technically this is 2.25 per serving, but if you’re going to shit the bed over quarter of a syn, why don’t you just go back to your ready-meals and crying into your Chat magazine?

to make cheesy bacon chicken goujons you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200ºC
  • lay a sheet of baking paper over a large baking sheet or tray
  • cook the bacon until it’s well done – we used our Optigrill which did the job perfectly but you can do yours however you like – make sure its really crisp!
  • put the bacon into a food processor (if you’re after a decent one you can’t beat a Magimix) and blitz until a quite coarse sand-like consistency
  • tip the bacon into the panko and add the cheese, and mix well – it’s not a bad idea to split the mixture into two bowls because as it starts to get a bit ‘claggy’ from the egg it won’t stick as well.
  • cut each chicken breast into 2/3 long slices
  • dip each goujon into the egg mix and roll in the panko until well coated
  • lay each goujon onto the baking sheet and spray with just a little oil (don’t go mad, it only needs a bit of a mist to help it brown off – this does the job perfectly!)
  • bake in the oven for 20 minutes (there’s no need to turn)

Enjoy! These really were lovely – good work.

Want more inspiration? What do we ever get from you? Psssh! Click the buttons below!

poultrysmallbeefsmallporksmalllambsmall

J

chorizo and bacon stuffed mushrooms

Chorizo and bacon stuffed mushrooms – there’s not one bit of that description that doesn’t give me a stiffy. You’ll find the recipe below, but first, the next part of our trip to Benidorm. If you read the entry and enjoy it, please do leave feedback. I love feedback on the holiday entries, I truly do! Don’t let me down. However, if you’re feeling mean, you can skip straight to the recipe by clicking on the GASSY OLD SAGGY BAG below.

Right, she’s gone. Did you see her clothes? Is she wearing those for a bet? Let’s get straight back to Spain…

click here for part one

Let’s get straight back into it. That Wilkinson own-brand sun lotion won’t slap itself on, you know? You last left us at the airport, which is totally understandable. You were probably like me and, having seen the place as the plane descended through the clouds of Lambert and Butler, were wondering whether you ought to take a chance clinging to the undercarriage on the returning flight. With a deep sigh, we pushed on.

Paul then decided to hit me with another revelation – we had a private transfer to take us the 40 minute or so trip to the city centre. Marvellous – I can’t stand transfer buses: they’re always full of loud folks in loud clothes smacking their children and fretting whenever some half-finished shitpit looms large in the driver’s window. I envisioned a nice air-conditioned taxi, deftly driven by some Spaniard with big brown eyes and reassuring arms, who might be so taken by Paul and I that he would whisk us up into the mountains to feed us tapas and make us both his wife, spending many many years trying to make us bear children.

Well, that didn’t happen. The taxi driver looked like an meth-addicted gopher and the car had seen better days, namely the 1970s. I can get past that but then Paul explained that our private transfer wasn’t private at all – we had to share with two other folk. The indignity! How is that a private transfer? If you nip into a public toilet and have to shit in a cubicle with someone else, that’s not private, is it? Adding anyone extra into any situation, unless it’s an orgy, negates any notion of privacy. I started rolling my eyes so much Paul thought I was going into hypoxia and made me blow into a crisp packet that was caught against the airport doors.

As it happens, our company was terrific – just the type of people we would actually want to be stuck in a hot car with, full of laughter and bawdy jokes. Sharon and Kim, I remembered your names, which is some feat as I find most people so completely forgettable that they drift out of focus by the time we get to the ‘and who are you’ part of the conversation. They did little to allay my concerns about Benidorm’s reputation mind, given their second sentence was warning us about pickpockets and their third was telling us the areas to avoid if we didn’t want to get beaten up. I felt I didn’t know them well enough to lean over and ask them for directions to the sexual assaults hotspots with a knowing wink: well, I didn’t want to look too keen.

The taxi ride passed remarkably uneventfully, though it was had to discern anything outside as it was going past in such a blur – the guy was driving so fast that I can only assume that he was trying to blast the rust off his car. We arrived at the Hotel Melia precisely four minutes before we set off from the airport and first impressions were excellent. The lobby was airy and full of plants, mobility scooters were banned* and the staff were exceptionally welcoming. Alejandro on the front desk could not do enough for us – I genuinely think if I’d asked for a quick rim in the panoramic lift he’d have been on his knees quicker than you can say ¿te has sentado en un poco de chocolate?

* mobility scooters. Don’t worry, I haven’t gone all Jim Davidson on you (not least because I’m reasonably funny, as opposed to being an objectionable shovel-faced c*nt) and started taking pot-shots at the disabled. No – Benidorm gained a bit of a reputation for chavs and cattle hiring mobility scooters to blaze around the place in, as much as you can blaze anywhere with a setting of ‘tortoise’. People were being dashed against walls or tumbled into road as these whirring menaces scooted past. Benidorm Council decreed that you must be over 55 (years, presumably, though stones would do it) and/or disabled before you can hire them, and quite right too. If you’re disabled then of course you should use them, but if you’re only doing it to rest your sweaty cankles or to be a dick, then frankly, I hope you have your next period in a shark tank.

We took the lift to our room on the 20th floor and took stock of our bedroom. Comfortable, well-appointed, decent bed and the TV was tuned straight into ITV2 so you know the previous occupants had been watching Jeremy Kyle. Least I hope that’s the case – I’d hate to think a housekeeper has been learning English by watching that show given none of the people on it can speak it in the first place. Hell, most of them can’t blink in unison. We immediately decanted all of the toiletries into our suitcase and called down for some more. We also ordered room service – we wouldn’t normally be so greedy but we hadn’t had anything since our gold-plated yoghurt and it was too hot to move.

Room service was disappointing. I called up only to be put on hold for a good five minutes and then passed to someone who spoke neither Spanish or English. That’s fine, no problem, but I didn’t have the time to look up the Latvian for cheeseburger (sorry Mags) and two diet cokes. We stumbled around each other before he gave up and handed the phone to someone else. I can only assume he did so for a bet because this chap was even worse – it was like trying to place my order with Ludo from Labyrinth. I was giving it the old college try with my broken Spanish, but no. Nevertheless, after four days, we placed the order and what turned up was dreadful. A pre-BSE beef burger, chips that managed be so tasteless I wasn’t sure I’d eaten them and time-machine salad which catapulted me back twenty years to when my rough nana thought a salad should consist of sliced cucumber, quartered pink tomatoes and the shitty part of the iceberg lettuce (i.e. all of it) tossed in vinegar and cigarette ash.

We gamely tried to choke it down but most of it ended up being scraped into the bin. Paul thought I had tears in my eyes but it was actually my long-suppressed gag-reflex coming to the fore. We lay on the bed for a bit, watched a bit of TV for a bit and must have dozed off because we only came around when the dulcet tones of Susan Calman came bellowing out of the TV. I was confused: if she was on the TV, who was taking part in every single Radio 4 show? Goodness. For some inexplicable reason this seemed to trigger my ‘let’s get the fuck out of here’ button so we moved out on the balcony to admire the views.

Not bad considering the air is 40% Jet2 fuel and 60% Joop

Look at that sea view! It’s like a beach hut in Corsica, no?

I know what you’re thinking – we must have felt like the only ones there! I can’t say this sight filled me with any joy – looking at all these indistinct high-rise buildings towering in front of me left me feeling like a piece of knock-off Lego. In the 50s Benidorm’s fishing industry fell on its arse, leading to the Council approving all sorts of charmless buildings. It worked though – in a rare instance of ‘if you build it they will come’ actually working out, tourists flocked to the city. So, a necessary evil, I guess.

We took the lift and went over the road to the supermarket to get holiday hotel room supplies, namely off-brand Coke and sandwich making bits and bobs. I picked up a packet of something which looked a lot like ham but had no mention of jamón on the packet, but fuck it, I’m a game soul, I bought it anyway. Upon later consumption it had the taste of a teabagged-scrotum – and I finished the lot. 

After shopping, sex and a shower, it was time to finally head out and see what was out there. First stop: the airport to check for any possible free seats. I jest. No, we went to the Red Lion just down the road where we immediately dropped any pretence of staying sober by ordering two double vodkas and cokes. We took our drinks outside to watch the people walk by.

Now here’s the thing: you know what struck me? A glass hurled by a chav. No, obviously not. It was the sound of laughter. Every single person in that bar – and all of the people walking past – were laughing, having a good time, enjoying themselves. I think it’s easy to forget sometimes when you’re being faux-snobbish about Benidorm that people don’t go there for the haute cuisine (thank fuck) or the fabulous architecture but rather because it’s cheap, hot and fun. Just like Paul. Oh and also, everyone was talking to everyone else. People weren’t sitting primly at their tables rolling their eyes and tutting at others but rather engaging each other in conversations and jokes. Hell, we’re the most antisocial pair you’ll ever meet and even we ended up getting involved and it was marvellous. This scene would occur over and over and over in every single place we went to on this holiday and it was such a wonderful change.

Now, the rest of the night was a blur, if I’m honest, because we simply walked along the beachfront and stopped at random places on the way. I’ll save some of the descriptions for a later post. We can chart our progress in photos:

6pm: Happy to be here.

7pm: The look of a man who is terrified how much the charge will be for two double vodkas paid for on a credit card.

I know! It’s like wandering through Florence in the spring, isn’t it? I’m including this photo because it was immediately after we both shat ourselves – just behind that sign was a fireworks display. We (perhaps sadly) thought it was a terrorist attack and we were being shot at. When I got my breath back and asked Paul why he hadn’t run for cover, his reply was ‘eh, I’d rather die than run’. That’s my man!

8pm: sliding. Also, I love how this looks like we’ve taken the photo using Photoshop, but let me reassure you, we DO actually own these shirts and wear them out in public. And yeah, I know my glasses are bent. But so am I, and I could wreck your arse if you made a cheap joke.

We went to a bar and ordered something called a Fat Frog. It was revolting. I think it was a blue WKD, a Smirnoff Ice and a Bacardi Breezer mixed with a Brighthouse payment schedule and a lot of regret. It was like being 15 again, only I didn’t need to tug off the rugby captain to get a drink.

10pm: decay

Midnight: deterioration

2am: ruin.

We finished the night by stopping at The Red Lion on the way back – well, we needed a local. Another double vodka and coke please, barman. We sat down and people-watched. It was great, if incredibly loud, bar one thing that spoiled it completely. A few tables across from us was a young lass sitting by herself tucking into a fishbowl cocktail. Great, why not? Well here’s why: her easily-less-than-two-years-old baby was in the pram next to her, gristling and grumbling away, and she was sitting glued to her phone, cackling at something asinine on Facebook. The only time there was any contact with her child was when she practically burnt his eyelashes off every time her fag-holding hand slumped down off the table. Now, doubtless, I’ll get told off for being judgemental, where was the dad, blah blah, but no: there’s no situation where a kid that young should be in a bar that loud that early in the morning. It’s as simple as that. If he couldn’t sleep, then stay with him in a hotel room – she was paying him absolutely no heed at all. I’ve never been so close to snatching a child – it was only the worry that Ryanair would probably charge me a £55,000 Unexpected Infant Companion tax that put me off.

Didn’t put Paul off though – in a rare bout of gobshiteness, he called her Mum of the Year as he left. She responded with a volley of abuse as filthy as the table her drink was sat on. Pfft. Don’t care. We retired to bed in what would be an early for this holiday 2am. Let’s leave it there!

REMEMBER, leave us some feedback on the holiday entries!


Right, to the recipe, which works wonders as a posh starter or for a taster night or a tapas night! You can use the rubble to stuff a pepper with if you prefer. Or a marrow. Or your big gob. Whatever!



to make chorizo and bacon stuffed mushrooms you will need:

  • 16 biggish button mushrooms
  • 100g chorizo, finely diced (12 syns)
  • 4 bacon rashers, finely diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sherry or white wine (not sure how to syn this, to be honest – it’ll be around 2 syns, if that, divided by 16, and most of it cooks off – so I’m not choosing not to syn it)
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs (same)
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan (same)
  • ½ tsp paprika

If you want to be super anal about it, work out how many syns in a tbsp of breadcrumbs and cheese and divide it by 16. There’s your answer.

For this whole recipe, we chopped everything in our little Kenwood mini chopper. It doesn’t need to be uniform or fancy, just everything cut really fine. Can’t fault ours – we use it all the time, and it even handled the chorizo well. Just like Paul. Buy one here: opens in a new window!

to make chorizo and bacon stuffed mushrooms you should:

  • preheat the oven to 220ºc
  • chop off the mushroom stalks and – you got it – finely chop
  • add the mushrooms stalks, bacon, chorizo, onion and garlic and cook for five minutes – you don’t need to add oil here as the chorizo will release plenty of oil
  • add the parsley, chorizo and then the white wine or sherry and cook until the booze has evaporated
  • remove the pan from the heat and add the breadcrumbs and cheese, add a little salt and pepper to taste and then the paprika
  • spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps and place on a baking dish
  • cook for about 10 minutes until the mushrooms have browned and the mixture is hot
  • stick a cocktail stick in each one to make them easier to handle and eat

Done! Less than a syn per mushroom. Good for a taster night, a tapas meal or anything else you like!

Want more ideas? Fine! Click the buttons and go!

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J

a big bowl full of caprese blt salad

Straight to the recipe tonight for caprese blt salad because yesterday, as usual, I waffled on with nonsense. But first, I do have one urgent question to ask…

Tea. My parents are having a right old dingdong about who is right when it comes to making a bog-standard cup of tea. Do you put the milk in first like my father or last like my mother? Please: leave a comment or a Facebook comment below and let me know. In the interests of balance, I’ve managed to quickly screenshot the various Facebook messages showing both sides of the argument. I may have touched the colour balance up on the photos but that’s the only change I’ve made, I swear.

Mother:

Father:

And for some reason Paul’s mother got in on the act:

So who is right? Milk in first or milk in last? Don’t be all cosmopolitan about it – we’re talking just normal tea, nothing fancy, served in a cup from a Smarties Easter Egg back from 1993. Comments please!

caprese blt salad

caprese blt salad

to make a big bowl full of caprese blt salad you will need:

  • 160g cous cous (or 400g cooked cous cous)
  • 40g rocket leaves
  • 150g lettuce
  • 2 reduced-fat mozzarella balls (roughly half a ball each will be 1 HeA)
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 balls of steamed beetroot (or whatever you have)
  • 8 bacon medallions (you’ll get loads of syn free ones in our Musclefood deal!)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of oregano

Fair warning: we love to roast the hell out of our tomatoes and beetroot, hence the blackened look above, but you don’t need to be quite so keen!

to make a a big bowl full of caprese blt salad you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • slice the tomatoes and place on a baking sheet, cut side up
  • dice the beetroot and place alongside the tomatoes, and spray the lot with a little oil
  • grind over some salt and sprinkle with some oregano and roast for about 30 minutes (keep an eye on them though)
  • cook the bacon under a grill until nice and crisp
  • cook the cous cous according to the packet instructions
  • when everything is cooked, throw it all together in a big bowl!

How’s that for fresh? We like to cook this on a Sunday, triple the amounts and make six packed lunches with it to see us through to Wednesday. I know, we’re good like that.

We’ve got plenty more to keep you going, just click on one of the buttons below to find even more of our recipes:

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J