roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta

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

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

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

twochubbycubs: James (the writer)

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

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

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

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

JX

twochubbycubs: Paul (the cook)

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

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

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

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

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

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

PX


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

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

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

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

roasted pepper, chorizo and mushroom pasta

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 massive portions

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

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

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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

I know, we're fabulous.

Notes

Recipe

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

Books

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

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Courses dinner

Cuisine Italian I guess, but who can say?

Snazzy!

Want more pasta recipes? Sure thing sugarboobs:

Swallow that!

J

recipe: rigatoni caprese pasta

Howdo! This rigatoni caprese pasta is a treasure, not least because it’s perfect for when you can’t be arsed to fuss about in the kitchen for very long because your ankles hurt and you’ve got a touch of sweaty boob rash and your husband is an unhelpful clot. Just me? The recipe can be found if you just scroll straight on down to the photos, as ever, but also, as ever, we have all our self-indulgent ramblings to get through. Only a quick one though! Before I do, one note on the rigatoni caprese pasta – you can reduce the syns entirely by leaving out the pine nuts, honey and olives, but honestly, they add so much.

As mentioned in previous blog posts, Paul did indeed come down with the ‘rona and had to be put away in another room, like one might do with best china when you have rough relatives around. Only in this case, Paul is the rough relative. After a long period of wondering whether he was going to get worse (he didn’t) or I was going to catch it (I didn’t) we are reunited and it feels so good. Well, it feels as good as it can do, we’ve been together fourteen years. Reuniting was like pulling an old jumper from the wardrobe before winter comes.

He’s still not 100% – getting breathless very easily being his main bugbear – but given he gets out of breath sucking a Polo mint at the best of times, it’s hard to know what is what. He’s also entirely lost his sense of taste which I’m sure in no way goes towards explaining why he’s started cutting about town in a little yellow woollen hat. Actually to be fair, he does look cute in it so we can let him off. His sense of smell is returning which I’m absolutely raging about because I was in the middle of arranging for the gas taps at home to be uncapped so he could have a terrible accident.

But let’s be honest: Paul got lucky here. He’s a lad of heft, after all, and I confess that as soon as he told me he was positive I was eyeing up my black shirts and wondering whether I had the legs to carry off a set of widow’s weeds. Other people haven’t been so lucky and whilst a vaccine may be incoming, it’s going to be a rough winter.

It’s not my place to hold forth on the legitimacy of the virus or whether it’s all a big conspiracy, although, clue, it isn’t.  But I do just want to make one plea: be considerate. Having Paul go under with it made it all very real for me, and I honestly think that’s what it’ll take for all those people not bothering with masks or washing their hands. The mask thing I genuinely don’t understand: absolutely fair enough if you can’t wear one for medical reasons, but those people who make a big show of not wearing them because it’s ‘state control’ or ‘following the sheep’ – nonsense.

It’s just decent behaviour. Even if you don’t think it’ll make much difference, where’s the harm in popping one on when you speak to people in retail, for example? By not doing so, you’re forcing them in a difficult position where they have to be civil despite you not giving a jot what they think. But if you wear one, no-one loses out!

Anyway, shan’t keep you. Let’s do the rigatoni caprese pasta and then you can get back to being filthy.

rigatoni caprese pasta

This rigatoni caprese pasta is perfect for a quick lunch, and remember you can knock out a few syns by leaving out the pine nuts. But you mustn’t!

rigatoni caprese pasta

You can add chilli to this rigatoni caprese pasta if you want it a bit spicier.

rigatoni caprese pasta

It keeps well in the freezer too, though the tomatoes may burst.

rigatoni caprese pasta

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 servings

This recipe for rigatoni caprese pasta makes enough for two big servings.

You'll know this by now - we're huge fans of Hello Fresh. We took out a subscription while we had to lockdown in a hotel after a Pasta 'n' Sauce went rogue and made Cub Towers uninhabitable for a bit. We've only got a tiny kitchen here and it just made sense, and plus I couldn't be chewed on with queueing outside of the Morrison's. We've stuck with it while we're still here and we're hoping if we big them up enough they'll not get a cob on about us pinching their recipes. If you want a taste of the action, just click here to get £20 off your first box, and also send a pretty £20 note our way too. Thanking you! Now, if you'll excuse me I'm gonna ride this big rigatoni into the sky. 

Ingredients

  • 2 shallots
  • 400g rigatoni
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 black olives (3 syns)
  • 250g baby plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts (2x HeB, or 6 syns)
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 bunch of chives
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 80g reduced fat mozzarella (2x HEA)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey (2½ syns)

Instructions

  • bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil
  • meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the shallot and roughly chop the olives
  • halve the baby plum tomatoes and roughly chop the parsley
  • place the baby plum tomatoes and parsley in a bowl and season with a pinch of salt
  • when the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook according to the instructions, then drain
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the pine nuts, and toast until golden (this will take about 2-3 minutes, be sure to stir them frequently), then tip into a bowl
  • place the frying pan back over the heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the shallots to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the garlic and tomato puree and give a good stir
  • add the chopped tomatoes and olives and crumble in the stock cube and stir again
  • bring to a simmer and cook for about ten minutes (until reduced by about half)
  • meanwhile, finely chop the chives and drain the mozzarella
  • tear the mozzarella into small pieces
  • gently stir the balsamic vinegar and honey into the baby plum tomatoes
  • when the sauce is cooked, add the drained pasta to the frying pan and stir until well coated
  • add half the chives and half of the mozzarella and stir again, and serve onto plates or bowls
  • top with the baby plum tomatoes, remaining chives and mozzarella, and pine nuts

Notes

Recipe

  • any pasta you have will do!
  • the pine nuts are absolutely optional, if you can't be arsed to find them then you can leave them out. Roasted chickpeas work really well in this too!
  • if you want to add a bit of zing, feta works really well instead of mozzarella 

Books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK IS COMING OUT SOON! Loved the first one? You'll love this one even more, we promise. It's bloody amazing. Get it in time for your New Years Resolution! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks

Tools

Courses twochubbycubs

Cuisine pasta

Love having your hole stretched?  The rigatoni caprese will do that, and you can find more pasta ideas from your tasty cubs below!

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

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

spinach, pea and ham thick soup

I’ve tried so hard to make this soup look faintly attractive in the photos, but I can’t. It’s green slop, but it’s so tasty – pea and ham thick soup that looks like something from the sink trap. Anyway, it’ll do the job for days when you want something quick and easy to satisfy your hole and the postman has already been. I say that with an air of familiarity – our postman is delicious. I know it doesn’t do to judge people on looks but goodness me, he has legs I could spin around on and a face that just screams ‘I’ll apologise after’. Here’s me looking forlornly out of the window once he’s passed by.

If you’re a fan of sporadic updates, non-food related shenanigans and overly-saturated photos of bear cubs so past their prime we should be dancing on a rescue advert somewhere, then why not join us on Instagram?

The pea and ham thick soup, then:

pea and ham thick soup

pea and ham thick soup

pea and ham thick soup

1 vote

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syn free pea and ham thick soup

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 bowls

This syn free pea and ham thick soup - there's no way of making it sound attractive - comes straight from Jamie Oliver himself. I know he's divisive but I have a lot of time for him - anyone who can make decent food through such a heavy mist of spittle is a winner in my books. This soup is so easy to make - chuck it in a blender, throw it in a pan, spin it out the window, dance like no-one's watching. Keeps well in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of spring onions
  • 350g frozen peas
  • 300g frozen chopped spinach
  • 100g ham
  • big handful of fresh mint
  • 300g dried pasta, any old shite will do
  • 50g feta cheese (use your HEA)
  • 1600ml of chicken stock

Instructions

  • chop the spring onions
  • throw the peas, mint, spring onion, ham, frozen spinach and 400ml of chicken stock in a blender and blend the buggery out of it - add a pinch of salt and pepper
  • pour into a pan and add 1200ml of chicken stock
  • smash up your pasta - hit it with a rolling pin - and tip it in - let everything bubble for about twenty minutes until the pasta is cooked
  • serve with the feta crumbled in
  • lots of black pepper and salt, natch

Notes

  • this recipe came from Jamie's book all about his family and their expensive house and wholewheat pasta and Cath Kidson tableware. If you fancy replicating the experience with your B&M saucepans and Charles and Diana pinny, you can order his book from here
  • actually fair play to him, it's a great book - tonnes of recipes easily adapted for SW
  • it won't surprise you but we have a fancy blender that could blend anything, you can get one, or just use a stick blender - you don't need to spend lots of money to do our recipe!
  • we let ours bubble away for a good two hours (accidentally, I fell asleep watching Murder She Wrote) and it was lovely and thick - don't be frightened to cook it for longer!

Courses soup

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Fancy, right? Want some more soup that you could smash your face in? Of course, we’ve got loads that are syn free!

Yum!

J

red pesto pasta – the easiest dinner in the world, ever

OK so maybe not the easiest dinner in the world but red pesto pasta sure as hell beats ‘shit with sugar sandwiches’ that my mother, bless her blackened heart, used to threaten us with when we whinged on. Pfft, at least we would have got some fibre into our diet!

I’m pleased as punch writing this – I totally pulled at Pride on Saturday. Now you must know that Paul and I are terribly loyal to one another but we’re realists, there’s no harm in looking at the sweet-shop as long as you’re not unwrapping and swallowing. And, if you are, you enjoy your pic-n-mix together, see? But I asked some hurly-burly bear where he got his t-shirt (check me out, being social) and he responded with ‘oooooh, off yer bedroom floor love’.

I think, technically, that means we’re now betrothed and we’ll need to send Paul away with all of his clothing packed into a Lidl bag, walking out into the night back to Peterborough. Ah I jest. Listen, you can’t have James without Paul – it’s like French without Saunders, or Fred without Rose. It just doesn’t work.

Pride was great fun though, as it always is, though an entirely different beast to Northumberland Pride – lots more stalls, huge queues and lots more fetishwear. I dropped my wallet on the floor in front of the burger stand and had to be very cautious picking it up in case some leather-daddy took it upon himself to fist me like Winnie the Pooh reaching in for honey.

I love Pride events – so many happy people out to celebrate love. But by Christ, it makes you feel old.  remember being teenage and full of literal and metaphorical spunk, having a whale of a time and being myself without stressing about labels and identity and gender. Happy times. Now I spend a good half of the time at Pride wondering where I can get a nice sit down because my feet hurt. I actually found myself wincing when we went into the music tent, although in our defence they were playing S Club 3. You’ve heard of them, yes? S Club 7 with all the talent removed. So, S Club 7.

No that’s mean, Don’t Stop Moving is a belting tune. Much better when The Beautiful South covered it in a blues style, though:

The day passed in a blur of trying not to buy stuff because we’re cheap, trying not to eat stuff because we’re on a diet and dealing with the super-awkward situation of being recognised by lovely folks who said hello and then had to immediately witness us stumbling over our words and blushing furiously. Admittedly, it’s not like anyone is camping out on our lawn, but it does happen more often than you think and when it does, it throws me off. Don’t let it stop you, though, if you ever see us out and about do come over and say hello: if you’re a fan of awkward conversation and slightly too long stares, you’ll get your fill with us!

Oh, and we also rescued a dog.

Good heavens! Good boy!

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Again, maybe it speaks to my age or my obesity, but all I could think of was how hot he must be under there. Not his naked lithe body, no, that doesn’t do anything for me, but I was sweating like a glassblower’s arse and all I had on, as you can see, was a cheap H&M sailor shirt and half a shaved gorilla. I think I have more hair draped over my right nipple than Paul does on his entire body. He must have been absolutely dripping under all that PVC, and to make things worse, I saw him locked in a car in ASDA car-park later. Dogs die in hot cars, you know.

What else to report? Very little, I’m afraid: our evenings have been given over to stuffing envelopes and licking stamps and trying to think of 800 creative ways to draw knobs on envelopes when we’re sending out our twochubbycubs badges. The good news is that our badges are flying out so get your orders in and keep us in gin.

Dunno what she means…

I messed up a little bit by addressing a badge to a lady but calling her DILF-MASTER GENERAL, though. See, what was I saying about gender insensitivities? Right, shall we get to the red pesto pasta? It’s almost a cheek to call it a recipe, because honestly it’s just mixing a few things together, but sometimes you want something plain filling your hole, but still tasty. This red pesto pasta is exactly that! So enjoy.

red pesto pasta

red pesto pasta

1 vote

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red pesto pasta

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This recipe is ridiculously easy but doesn't 'alf pack a punch on the taste front. This should take you no more than 10 minutes and only uses one pan! What's not to love?! 

Ingredients

  • 500g linguine
  • 6 tbsp red chilli pesto (9 syns)
  • 90g ricotta (1x HeA)
  • handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 30g parmesan (1x HeA)

Instructions

  • cook the pasta according to the instructions but stop just short of fully done - you want it to have a bit of bite to it
  • reserve half a mug of the pasta water
  • drain the pasta and return to the pan
  • lob in the pesto, ricotta, basil and parmesan and stir - dribble in a bit of the pasta water to loosen it if needed
  • serve!

Notes

  • we used linguine (it's like a flat spaghetti) but honestly, any pasta will do
  • if you can't find red chilli pesto just use normal red pesto and add half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • you could use quark or Philadelphia instead of the ricotta if you like - but where's the fun in that?
  • like our pan? It's Le Creuset - you can buy it here!
  • this will take up only half a Healthy Extra A choice per person but if you prefer to use your syns instead it's only 5 each
  • you can easily scale this recipe - just half or double it as needed - it'll still come out fine.

Courses lunch, dinner

Cuisine italian

How easy was that? Tell your friends.

Now if you want some more pasta lunch ideas, of course, we have loads, including:

Yum!

J

no regrets proper macaroni cheese

Well, this is naughty: our no regrets proper macaroni cheese. It’s macaroni cheese done right, and comes in at 24 syns a serving. This is in no way diet food: but sometimes you need a Hot Flavour Injection before you get back on the horse to Bland Town. This dish is the culinary equivalent of telling your wife you’re discussing spreadsheets at a conference when you’re actually paying someone to do all those things to you that you read in Schmutziges Erotik-Pferd back in the fifties. Filth!

We shan’t mess about with gossip and flim-flam – I don’t doubt you’re chomping at the clout to get to our proper macaroni cheese, so let’s get straight to it. No foreplay.

proper macaroni cheese

proper macaroni cheese

I know, right?

1 vote

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proper macaroni cheese and to hell with the syns

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 servings

Sometimes you need something dirty. In situations like that, no amount of pretending Quark is anything other than something scraped from under a particularly pungent bellend will do. No, sometimes you need something proper to hit the spot rather than pretend, and this macaroni cheese - loaded with butter, cheese, chorizo and more cheese, will do just that. 

This is 24 syns per serving. You'll need to put a towel down, just saying.

Ingredients

  • 500g penne
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 chorizo ring, finely chopped (31 syns)
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 50g panko (9 syns)
  • 6 tbsp butter (33 syns)
  • 70g flour (12½ syns)
  • 1 litre whole milk (30 syns) 
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp sriracha (2 syns)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 125g extra-mature cheddar, grated (25 syns)
  • 125g red leicester, grated (25 syns)
  • 125g mozarella, grated (17½ syns)
  • 50g parmesan, grated (12 syns)

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions, then drain
  • place the cherry tomatoes onto a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle over some salt, and bake for twenty minutes
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat
  • add a few teaspoons of oil and fry the chorizo and onion until crisp
  • use a slotted spoon to scoop out the chorizo and onion, and set aside
  • reduce the heat to medium and add the butter to the same pan (with the tasty chorizo oil) and stir continuously until melted
  • add the flour to the pan and stir for a minute
  • whisk in the milk and bring to the boil, whisking constantly
  • add the mustard, sriracha and Worcestershire sauce to the pan and keep whisking
  • add in the cheese, reserving a quarter of each for the topping, plus the chorizo and onions, and keep stirring
  • tip the drained pasta into the cheese sauce and mix well
  • tip into a large dish and top with the cherry tomatoes
  • sprinkle over the panko, parmesan and the rest of the cheese and bake for 35 minutes

Notes

  • you may need one of these from Amazon
  • If you find that your companion has gone blue at the lips, follow these steps:
    • place the heel of your hand on the centre of the person's chest, then place the other hand on top and press down by 5-6cm (2-2.5 inches) at a steady rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
    • after every 30 chest compressions, give two rescue breaths.
    • tilt the casualty's head gently and lift the chin up with two fingers. Pinch the person’s nose. Seal your mouth over their mouth and blow steadily and firmly into their mouth for about one second. Check that their chest rises. Give two rescue breaths.
    • continue with cycles of 30 chest compressions and two rescue breaths until they begin to recover or emergency help arrives

Courses whore

Cuisine Italian

Now of course one must remember that this is a diet blog so, if the above has left you leaking like a broken fridge but unable to see said leak because you’ve got a continental shelf rather than a gunt, panic not. We’ve got you, fam – here’s some diet takes on macaroni cheese to keep you going:

Enjoy!

J

coronation chicken pasta salad: batch cook lunch!

You’re here for the coronation chicken pasta salad, and who can blame you? Lunch times – when you work – are one of the hardest meals to get right when you’re on Slimming World. There’s only so many times you can crack open a tupperware box of cherry tomatoes and unwrap a Hifi bar before you seriously contemplate pushing your face into your desk-fan and ending it all. No? Just me?

Well the good news is it’s just a quick post tonight as we’ve got boot-camp to go to and these tits aren’t going to heave themselves, are they? But I do have a quick question for all the cat lovers out there: is there a reason why a perfectly standoffish cat would certainly be all over me like bird crap o a just-washed car?

I ask because that’s exactly what has happened with Bowser, our tom cat with the torn ears. He’s gone from spending his life giving me disdainful looks and wiping his arse on the carpet (particularly galling – he’s fully wormed, so he’s doing it out of spite and/or copying Paul) to hanging around me all day, mewing and purring. He seems happy enough – no obvious pain, eating his food, constantly looking cheerful, he’s given up smoking – but I can’t deny it isn’t getting irritating.

Things came to a head today when I woke up with his tiny little anus about the distance of the thickness of a stamp away from my eyes. He had decided, in his infinite, faintly-Whiskers-scented wisdom, that the first thing I needed to see when I cracked my eyes open was an extreme close-up of what looked like a drought-hit reservoir. It took me a moment or two to work it out, and you can only imagine how pleased I was that I hadn’t assumed it was Paul coming in for a kiss.

I forgave him quick enough when he turned on his tractor-purr and started padding about. He means well, and anyway, who hasn’t been so proud of their own jail purse that they want to show their nearest and dearest? It’s why I’m not welcome at weddings.

However, I can forgive many things, but not using my scrotum as a pulling-up point. See, in his haste to get up on my shoulders, he decided to climb up me as I sat nude after the shower – and rather than using his feline athleticism to leap up onto the back of my chair as he has done so many times previously, he jumped up and implanted his claws right into my ball-sack on his way up.

Well.

I’m amazed that he didn’t explode Scanners-style, given how high-pitched and immediate my reaction was. He dashed out into the garden whilst I tried to work out how I’d gone from approving posts on facebook to staggering around with a punctured spunk-bunker. Thank god I don’t need to worry about my fertility.

Anyway. All is well. I sat on a bag of peas for a bit (Paul can have them in his dinner, they’ll come with free dental-floss for after) and thankfully, everything still seems to work. At 4pm the cat came back in and, looking as compunctious as a cat can be, spent the next hour rubbing against my legs and purring until I picked him up and placed him back on my shoulder.

He makes a shit parrot.

Worst pirate ever. I definitely can't hear the sea.

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If anyone has any clues as to why he’s suddenly come over all familiar, I’d be delighted to hear it. Now, let’s get this coronation chicken pasta salad underway, yes?

coronation chicken pasta salad

coronation chicken pasta salad

coronation chicken pasta salad

1 vote

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coronation chicken pasta salad

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 servings

Listen, you can chuck anything into a salad like this, but we've kept it simple. If you want to drop the syns, leave out the mango chutney or get rid of the sultanas, but listen: this makes six massive portions, and the syns make it so much better. You'll enjoy this coronation chicken pasta salad more for using proper ingredients, trust me.

You can leave out the chicken if you want to keep costs down!

Ingredients

  • 500g of macaroni pasta
  • 220g of Philadelphia Lightest (this is 2 HEAs - so you're using a third of your HEA...up to you if you just want to sneak it through - gasp!)
  • 1 tablespoon of mild curry powder
  • 4 tbsp of mango chutney (6 syns) 
  • 200g of fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 50g sultanas (7 syns)
  • 1/2 cucumber, deseeded and diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • juice of half a lemon
  • two chicken breasts, cooked and diced/shredded (feel free to leave this out)
  • pinch of salt

So that's thirteen syns between six servings - let's call it two syns each. These are big portions!

Instructions

  • well I mean, come on
  • cook the pasta, drain it and run a load of cold water through it so it doesn't stick
  • chop the celery, chicken and cucumber (remove the seeds)
  • mix everything together in a giant bowl
  • tadaaaaa!
  • so how easy was that?

Notes

Courses lunches

Cuisine Italian

More lunch ideas you say? Want more pasta ideas?

Yum!

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

1 vote

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roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 lunches

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

beef chilli and bean pasta bake – canny winter food!

Beef chilli and bean pasta bake! We’ve done a fair few pasta bakes lately but see, they’re excellent winter meals because you can make a huge portion, freeze the leftovers and thoroughly enjoy them as a meal! It’s a holiday entry though, so if you’re here just for the recipe, click the button below and it’ll take you straight to the recipe. Move along, sugarboobs, there’s nothing for you here.

You absolutely made the right choice, let’s go!


click here for part one | click here for part two

You last left us just as we stumbled, blinking and frowning into the apricity of a Stockholm winter, having spent a merry hour groping around in the dark with a total stranger. I appreciate that’s pretty much the start of all of our holiday entries but you get the idea. What next? Over in the distance from the Museum for the Blind loomed the Kaknästornet, a 155 meter TV tower. We weren’t planning on visiting until we realised there was a restaurant on the 26th floor and given how windy it was, it was likely to be deserted. A quick tramp through the woods led us there and, after handing over a small fortune, we were dispatched to a rickety old lift that sounded like it clacked and clicked against every last bolt and screw in that shaft. Despite the whole tower swaying ominously it was absolutely worth the trip – the views were amazing. We sat and enjoyed a strong restorative coffee and a slab of cake the size of Paul’s arse and all was well with the world. I like being high up looking down – it makes me feel like a God, albeit one with lingonberry jam dripping on his chin.

Admittedly not the best photo, but it was swaying…

 

We should explain at this point that we had, for once in our lives, managed to plan ahead and purchase a Stockholm Pass, which afforded you entry into all sorts of attractions for a one-off fee. A quick google search revealed we were within walking distance of a bus-stop which would take us straight to the museum district which held, amongst other things, an Absolut Museum and even better, the friggin’ ABBA museum. Well now come on, some things are inevitable, and us two benders paying homage to the campest band ever, well, it was always going to happen. We wandered over to the bus-stop and took a seat, reassured that one of Stockholm’s incredibly reliable buses would be along within six minutes. The timetable and electronic board certainly confirmed this. So we waited. Waited some more. Then a bit longer. Thirty minutes passed and I made to leave only to spot Paul sitting there with that grim, sulky and determined look on his face that told me that because he had wasted half an hour waiting for this bus, he was going to damn well wait until one turned up. I know this face well: bottom lip pops out, eyebrows furrow like he’s solving a cryptic crossword – normally the only thing that can break the spell is if he hears me unwrapping a Crunchie bar, like an obese take on Pavlov’s dog.

Even the bus-stop suggested filth.

So we waited even longer until I snapped and ordered him to stand up and start moving. So much protestation but I’d be damned if I was going to spend another minute gazing at the minutiae of the Stockholm bus timetable and trying to work out whether överföra meant cancelled, transfer or that the typesetter had taken ill at the keys and slumped over the keyboard. After promising I’d rub his feet if he started moving we were finally off.

We were about twenty steps away from the stop when a bus sailed straight past us, depositing a pleasant mix of slush and schadenfreude across the bottom of our trousers. Paul was furious and only calmed down when we happened across The Museum of Science and Technology. Now we’re talking: buttons to press. It was great fun! Highlights included a stage where you could pose whilst virtual reality dinosaurs ran around you, the sight of which was beamed to the rest of the museum live. It took less than seven hot seconds before Paul was pretending to get bummed by a tyrannosaurus rex and was roundly tutted from the stage. Oh and let’s not forget the winter sports section where you could try all manner of sporty experiences in the comfort of a warm museum and a reassuring proximity to a defibrillator. I climbed a tiny little mountain before realising my own giant crevasse was on show.

It’s like a Lidl take on Cliffhanger

We both tried our hand at curling only to realise you need dexterity and grace rather than a considerable weight advantage – most folks glide on ice, we look like a landslide. My favourite part was an enclosed booth which offered you the chance to be commentators on an ice-hockey game playing out in front of you – we started off with good intentions, yelling and blaring, before it degenerated into ‘HAWAY TORVILL, YOU LAMPSHAPE-FACED SLAPPER’ and ‘SKATE FASTER, NANCY KERRIGAN: THIS TIME THERE’S NAILS IN THE BAT’.

Not exactly Match of the Day

All in good fun – the booth was soundproof from the inside so no harm no foul, and we took everyone’s icy stares as simply being that crisp Swedish attitude so common over there. That was until we realised I’d managed to shut my coat in the door, preventing it from fully closing, and allowing the museum full audible access to our rantings, shrieking and wailings. We left ashen-faced, but not before a quick go on the virtual toboggan – only a quick go because a four year old child appeared and start pressing the buttons.

Honestly, do folks not know how to behave in museums?

We tackled the big issues!

After the Science Museum I somehow managed to persuade Paul to keep walking (it’s easier in cold countries – because of the icy ground, you just need to shove him gently and let gravity do the rest) and we headed a couple of miles along the river to the Spritmuseum down on Djurgårdsvägen, having found out that the Abba museum was shut for the night. Bastards. The Spritmuseum is a museum dedicated to booze – how they make it, how they bottle it, what it does to the body and even better, with some free tasters. You understand why we were lured in, yes? I can’t pretend it was terrifically exciting, and I don’t think we took the ‘hangover simulator’ as seriously as the guides wanted as Paul promptly fell asleep on the sofa during the ‘a hard night out’ movie, but it passed the time. There’s something about museums abroad that the UK can’t seem to match – our museums are always full of tired exhibitions hidden behind glass cubes coated with fingerprints, smelly children barrelling around being noisy and loud and lots of ladies who have never known what it is to love yelling at people that THEY MUST NOT TOUCH and STAND WELL BACK and YOU CAN’T EAT THAT IN HERE. I swear I once had an argument with a curator who had a pop at me for eating outside food when I took a packet of Halls from my pocket. Pfft.

Found Paul!

Found my bedroom friend!

The museum itself took up only half an hour but afterwards we decamped into the bar and, in a fit of ‘but I don’t care that it cost more than the flights over’ excitement, I ordered a taster selection of the various spirits for us to try.

Pictured: Cyril Smith enjoying a drink

It’s hard to look butch in that shirt

Now listen: I’ve swallowed some disgusting things in my life. Top tip: pinch your nose and gulp, you’ll find it slips down that much easier. But these spirits absolutely defeated me – I felt like Anne Robinson back when she was necking her dressing room Chanel. I tried to sip them to ‘taste the flavour notes’ but it would have been nicer to chew open batteries. Paul was merrily necking them and so, in my haste to get past it, I threw the lot in my mouth, grimaced and swallowed. Worst 50 Swedish krona we spent that holiday. We should have left, but the very friendly bar staff noticed how quickly we had knocked it back and filled our glasses up again for free. Very generous indeed, but you have no idea how difficult it is to fake pleasure in swallowing what tastes like something they’d use to dissolve a London fatberg, especially when some blonde bombshell is looking at you both approvingly whilst you savour the flavour. I’ve never acted so hard in my life but after the second round – seeing stars – we had to pretend to urgently leave. We were absolutely bloody smashed.

We had an escape room booked for the evening and so, conscious of the fact we were both seeing double, we decided to make our way to the escape room via a nice long boat ride. Ah it was glorious – floating along in the ice-cold really freshened the mind and by the time we were pulling into the port, we were back in full ‘Rose and Jack’ voice.

Our Escape Room was hosted by Fox in a Box and they welcomed us with open arms, wincing only gently at the alcohol fumes pouring out of us. It was a very unusual location – underground with several rooms with different themes. You know we love an escape room and we have made a point of doing one on each holiday so far: this one was themed like a laboratory and the idea was that we had to stop a zombie apocalypse. Of course. Escape rooms are fun but it’s so hard to look serious whilst someone who couldn’t care less is telling you that there’s zombies just outside the door. She sealed us in. I started looking for clues when, as though he’d been holding it in since the TV tower, Paul let out a fart so loud and so elongated that I thought he’d found a trombone. You know how your ears ring after a large firework goes off? That was me. I might remind you that the rooms are linked to the reception so that they can hear if you get stuck, so they would have been treated as well. We were absolutely creased – we’re huge fan of toilet humour – but then it literally sank in. In a sealed room, with no air-conditioning or window, that fetid air wasn’t going anywhere. If anything, it seemed to get worse and worse, smelling like someone was burning tyres in a fire made of shit. It’s hard to concentrate on mixing colours and typing codes when your eyes are streaming and your nose is bleeding. The hour passed and we ‘saved the day’ with moments to spare. That’s all well and good, but when the lassie unlocked to lock the door and the air rushed out of the room, she was hit with the full force and set away with a coughing fit. I’ve never been so embarrassed and this happens a lot on our holidays: I’m left beetroot faced and Paul is standing there grinning like the cat that shat the bed.

Oh, at least the McDonalds had a compliment…

Cheers mate!

Seems like a good moment to get back to the recipe, doesn’t it?

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Right, let’s do this recipe eh? This serves 4 big portions!

beef chilli and bean pasta bake


beef chilli and bean pasta bake

to make beef chilli and bean pasta bake you will need:

  • 400g lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of kidney beans, drained
  • 2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp chilli powder (as hot or as mild as you like)
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 300g wholewheat pasta
  • 120g fat-free greek yoghurt (check the syns)
  • 220g Philadelphia lightest (2x hea)
  • 80g reduced fat extra mature cheese, grated (2x HeA)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten

top tips to make beef chilli and bean pasta bake

to make beef chilli and bean pasta bake you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200ºc
  • cook the pasta according to the instructions, then drain
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, spray with a bit of oil and add the onions and celery
  • cook for a few minutes until starting to soften, then scoop out the pan and set aside
  • add the mince to the pan and cook until browned
  • add the onions and celery back into the pan and tip in the tomatoes, kidney beans, celery, tomato puree, chilli powder, garlic and beef stock
  • stir well, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes
  • next, mix together the yoghurt, Philadelphia, salt, pepper, cheese and eggs and set aside
  • mix the pasta and the mince mixture together and tip into a large dish
  • top with the cheese mixture, making sure that it’s even spread over the top
  • bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes – finish under the grill for a few minutes to get the top crispy

Who couldn’t love that?! Try our other pasta bakes!

J