recipe: curried sprout risotto – no, seriously, hear us out

Curried sprout risotto: I can already hear you all gasping and dry-heaving into your mailboxes. And yet, you mustn’t: the sprout may be a little ball of farts, but cooked well and with flavour, it makes for a lovely, soft, oniony dish. If your only sprout experience comes from Christmasses past where your mother put them on to boil a day or two after Easter, then I beg you to reconsider. Here, we’ve turned it into a risotto and served it with spicy jerk chicken from our newest cookbook – and that’s exactly what this should be used for: a base. Bit first, a couple of bits of admin as ever, then the curried sprout risotto recipe is all yours, I swear it.

Firstly, thank you to everyone for buying our book – it’s still doing so well and frankly, having an extension put on the house where I can smoke expensive cigars and type out my stories like Lynda La Plante has never seemed so possible. Please keep sharing your photos, reviews, telling your friends etc. For all those that haven’t yet got it, it’s available right here on this link!

Secondly, I apologise, but this is a long, long entry! It occurred to me the other night that we haven’t done a good ‘writing’ post in such a long time. So, here we go – but please, if you are hungry, scroll down to the recipe! If you honour me by reading it, I would absolutely love your feedback and comments. Don’t be shy! Here we go.

I’m about to tell you a story that I haven’t put to paper, for reasons each more inexplicable and bewildering than the last (I forgot), and will subsequently detail over four blog entries. It was a simpler time: Brexit was confirmed but we all thought it would disappear as elegantly as a magician’s trick on an ill-lit stage. There was nothing more infectious troubling the world than my laughter. Paul’s face wasn’t the haggard shell that haunts me now as I drift off to sleep. Our cats were young, with full bellies and bad attitudes and, in Sola’s case, ovaries: something she’s never quite forgiven us for taking away. It was 2017, we had returned from a mortifying trip to Copenhagen (where Paul shat out an egg with me dying of fremdscham at the side, and of course, the time I used chøc-a-bløc in a blog recount of our holiday, a writing standard I don’t think I’ve topped since) and were just settling down to ignore our ever increasing obesity when I received a text from a friend. It wasn’t the usual ‘you best go get checked love, it’s dripping from the end’ text either – it was, for the want of a less hyperbolic phrase – a text that changed our lives.

It’s here that we start the story of the time we went on This Time Next Year.

chapter one: “oh, so much cum”

Copenhagen, for all the laughs and jolliness the holiday recaps portrayed, was an awful holiday. It was the first time we’ve ever been away where we weren’t able to enjoy ourselves properly. We were simply too fat: we’d reached a critical mass where going on rides was a no-no. Eating in public was an exercise in embarrassment and self-consciousness. We couldn’t walk across the city – a city known for beautiful, lithe people, mind you – without worrying about what people thought and whether our ankles would make it. Older readers may remember a bit in the Vicar of Dibley where Geraldine, laden with three Christmas dinners, hops into a taxi which takes her about fifty yards down the road. We did pretty much that one evening, bellies so bloated that we got a taxi what would take a reasonable person three minutes to walk. I’ve always been fairly body confident but that was the absolute first time where my weight was making me miserable. Paul took a photo of me over dinner (presumably taking a census of the bread rolls that were left for later interrogation) and I look like two people cosplaying as a bearded horse. I’m literally widescreen. Paul was equally fat and equally as miserable. We rowed constantly, both unhappy with ourselves and taking it out on the other.

I mean, you’d struggle to run me up a flagpole, wouldn’t you?

Now, you must understand, us arguing on holiday is almost a tradition, though it’s usually over me opening my legs like the gates on a level crossing whenever a passing bearded Daddy-type walks past. But these were absolute humdingers, and for comparison, Paul once left for the airport to fly home from Hamburg after we had a ruckus in a backstreet gay bar. That’s not a euphemism. The only thing that stopped him actually flying home (after spending hundreds on a ticket) was the fact he’d forgotten to strop back to the hotel first and pick up his passport. So holiday arguing is de rigueur and normally, once we’ve cried into a few pastries over breakfast, we’re fine. Not this time. Things came to a head on the final night: me throwing stuff around the room, him shouting and bawling like his arse was on fire and his hands were in mittens. Realising that – for once, I wasn’t in the wrong, we had a good chat about what had happened, and confessed to each other how unhappy we were with how far we’d let ourselves go. Such a dramatic revelation was tempered a little by the fact we were sharing a giant Toblerone from the airport at the time – though perhaps it tells you of our greed that we bought a Toblerone from our departure airport as opposed to one from our returning airport.

But what could we do? We knew how to lose weight: we ran twochubbycubs at that point and dieting wasn’t some elusive mystery. Calories in vs calories out. But it’s all such a bore, isn’t it, if we’re honest. We’d had eight or so years at this point, attending Slimming World classes and developing piles on the plastic chairs and wishing for death as Sandra and Enid and Derek and Elsie and Sandra again all recounted their tales of how they couldn’t shit and birthday parties where they ‘had been really good and just sucked an ice-cube‘ all night. That’s not being good, that’s wasting an opportunity. The only thing that was sticking for us was cholesterol in our arteries, clad on the sides like seams of fridge-cold butter. We couldn’t bear the idea of another twelve months of standing in someone else’s verruca-prints and discussing Muller Lights. But without a class, what is there? The frightening prospect of taking responsibility for our own actions, and I think the fuck not. Never have, never will.

Then, as I say, we got a text. My good friend Sarah – someone I had worked with for a few years and made such an impression on that she knitted a fabulous little Bobomb for our house – had seen a calling card for a show on ITV called ‘This Time Next Year’ and sent it over. The premise was astoundingly simple: you turn up, pledge you are going to do something dramatic within a year, Davina McCall smiles and asks you lots of questions, then you disappear behind a door. This part is filmed but not aired at the time of recording. A year later, you come back, walk back out of the door and Davina has a scream and everyone claps and you’re briefly the star of ITV prime-time. Then, through the magic of editing, they splice the two films together and make a show of it so it looks as though you disappear behind a door and then come straight back out again a changed man. Or men, in our case. If you look on discussion forums discussing the first series you get numbskulls actually thinking the ‘change’ has happened there and then, as though Dumbledore was putting in a nightshift at Celador and just magicked away your fat. I mean, it’s surely not the most taxing of concepts, but to look at digitalspy back in 2017 you’d think the viewers were being tasked with cracking Gödel’s completeness theorem using only a broken abacus and six of their webbed fingers.

Realising that this was an opportunity we may never get again – and once I’d explained the gist of the show to Paul through discussion, then animation, then puppets and finally one of those ‘pick a number’ folding papers people used to make in school to choose their boyfriends – I emailed the production company. Sensing that one look at our humourless faces may send us straight to Deleted Items exile, I tried to make our application as funny as I could, describing myself a ‘spherical Geordie prone to shrieking’ and Paul as a ‘lighthouse in M&S slacks’. I also attached a couple of photos of the two of us, including that awful one I mentioned above. We must have caught their eye as we received a call a couple of hours later – first with a researcher who asked us lots of questions about whether we had been on TV before (me, no, but Paul yes, being wheeled in a pram through some flood water and throwing himself in front of the Chief Executive of the local council’s car during a pension strike) (not on the same day), whether we had been in trouble with the law and why we would be a good fit. A couple of Skype interviews followed that where we were asked what we wanted to pledge – we both said we wanted to lose four stone each.

Four stone! In all honesty, we could have both spared twelve stone a pop and still rarely have felt the cold. I genuinely can’t remember the exact weight, but I know I was over 26 stone and Paul 25 stone. The researchers went away and discussed with the production company and came back to make us an offer: lose ten stone each. Quite the upgrade but, faced with the very real possibility of us joining together like little globs of mercury when we made love, we agreed. Contracts were signed, confidentiality clauses agreed, and a date set for a week or two in the distance where we were to travel to London to film the ‘before’ portion of the show. We barely had time to get nervous, but you better believe we made the most of that week, wanting to be the heaviest we could possibly be when we got on the scales before the year of dieting commenced. We’re talking ordering two separate takeaways of an evening, grabbing a McDonalds every time we went for the paper, that sort of sluttish behaviour. And oh, it was glorious: a week dedicated to fattening ourselves up like Christmas turkeys. It wouldn’t have come as a surprise to me if I had walked in on Paul brushing his teeth with a Cadbury’s Flake. The night before filming we drove down to the cheery little Premier Inn in Borehamwood where we were all stationed and we stopped at every single services on the way. That’s ten, for the record, and we snacked at each one. By the time our little Micra pulled in at the hotel two of the tyre pressure warnings had come on. We were, quite literally, bursting at the seams: the fly on my elasticated jeans had come open for reasons, unusually, not relating to my traditional ‘welcome to the roads of Britain’ blowjobs I hand out to lorry drivers with especially consonant-heavy first names.

We slept fitfully: partly the worry of being filmed the next day, partly the angst of not knowing whether we would be able to squeeze in a Premier Inn breakfast before our taxi picked us up at 7.30am. You mustn’t worry: we did, and did so handsomely, knowing this would probably be the last ‘unhealthy’ meal for a very long time. Our taxi came and whisked us to Elstree, where we were given a fancy BBC badge (ITV were borrowing their studios) and made to wait in the security guard office until someone came and picked us up. They forgot about us. Paul didn’t seem to mind as he spent most of the time anxiously looking out of the window in the hope of seeing his teenage wank-fantasy Martin Fowler strolling up to set. I didn’t have the heart to tell him he had left the show in 2007 – it was just nice to see Paul with some light behind his eyes. A runner eventually noticed that the security guard’s hut was full of fat people and came to whisk us to the green room in a blur of yahs and small-talk. Actually, that’s doing her a disservice, she was utterly lovely and put us at ease immediately. I remember seeing a Holby City ambulance and being amazed by how run-down everything looked behind the scenes, though I suppose the BBC mustn’t be seen to be splashing the cash on paint and decent carpets in these times of austerity.

Our green room was immediately behind the set and although we had arrived first, we were to be the fourth story filmed. This meant spending most of the day making small talk with people. Now, I’m excellent at small talk and can cheerfully chat away to most folks without a pause, but this was different. The people in the green room were absolutely terrific but they had all such important stories: someone was wanting to face the outdoors again after a fire had left her with significant burns. There was a couple who were trying one last bout of IVF before giving up on being parents after years of unsuccessful attempts. A young boy with artificial legs who wanted to play a proper game of football. Actual heroes, laughing and smiling away and all hiding their nerves with too many cups of the free (and bloody awful) coffee. We felt like shams: we were there because we’d eaten too many sandwiches over the course of our married life and neglected to move enough to counter it. But the camaraderie was great and though I’ve forgotten their names (and cut me some slack, it’s 50/50 on whether I remember to breathe out these days), I won’t forget how we all relaxed one another and cheered when each pairing disappeared off to make-up, wardrobe and then onto filming.

Our time came soon enough. Another brief chat with one of the production staff who ran through the questions we would be asked, where to stand on stage, how to definitely not say fuck or bugger and don’t do it as a joke because fuck me, that bugger is tired, that sort of thing. Then into wardrobe where they pressed the clothes we brought from home and stuck a sanitary towel in our underarms to stop us sweating. I’m a big guy, I asked for a maxi-flow. The clothes thing – they wanted us to bring our own clothes because they knew we’d look awful in them, so when the big reveal happened later and they had dressed us with decent, stylish clothes, it would look so much better. That’s why, if you watch the video, we are wearing dreadful polyester shirts picked straight from the two-pack pastel selection from ASDA. Then straight into make-up which I absolutely fucking loved, not least because the chap doing my make-up was a gorgeous, massive bear, camp as tits and utterly indiscreet. I got asked for my number somewhat surreptitiously (don’t worry, so did Paul, what a cad) and he described his previous visits to the North in glorious technicolour as he powdered my face: ‘oh but there was SO MUCH CUM‘. I had to ask him to calm down because I was laughing so much my foundation was falling off like Tango-coloured snow.

When they had finished making us look halfway presentable (which involved turning us a very, very orange shade which is then cancelled out by the studio lights) we were sent back into the corridor, ready to be installed behind the doors waiting for the big moment when they slid open and revealed our corpulent, crumpled selves to Davina and the audience. However, you know my husband: he can’t pass a toilet without some sort of crisis and as a result, piped up that he just needed a wee. No problem, he was dispatched to a nearby lavatory and I took up waiting outside. He was gone mere moments before we heard a crash and a sound not unlike a cow being branded by a farmhand with an essential tremor. I poked my head round to find him lying on the floor like a piss-soaked turtle – he’d rounded a corner a bit too sharpish and fell over at the urinal. With little time to spare and a face as red as a freshly-slapped arse, he was whisked to wardrobe where, with not enough time to change his clothes, they went over him with a hair-dryer and pushed him back out. We like to think it was water on the floor from a leaking urinal, but he stank like a city-centre back-alley. Davina wasn’t crying with emotion that day, it was pure ammonia fumes.

Clothes smartened, make-up touched up, mics fitted and refitted when they realised my belly was accidentally turning off the mic-pack when I sat down, we were taken to the back of the stage. I can’t remember anything that the runners were saying at that moment and was instead concentrating on making sure I was standing on the right side of Paul and holding his slightly scented hand to keep us both calm. My own bumhole was chewing out the seams of my pants, but no time for panic.

The lights went up, the doors slid open, and in we went.

More on that next time!


Goodness, that was a LOT of text, wasn’t it? But see, when I have something I like writing about, it flows like a poo half an hour following consumption of a newsagent egg sandwich. To the curried sprout risotto, then!

See, the curried sprout risotto isn’t as bad it sounds!

Well no, maybe it looks poo, but it’s tasty!

curried sprout risotto

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Normally with a risotto we throw everything in the pan and let it bubble away on its own with the lid clamped tightly over it. Not this time. Possibly due to my swirling contemplativeness, I found much merit in standing by the hob stirring the buggery out of it whilst looking sadly at the kitchen tiles. Either way will work though, I suppose it just depends on your ankles.

Take a look at the notes: I've added a few ideas to liven it up if you wanted to push this into a main all of its own.

Ingredients

  • one large white onion
  • 200g of baby sprouts
  • one clove of garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt and curry powder
  • around 800ml of good quality or so help me God I'll do time vegetable stock
  • 200g of risotto rice

Instructions

  • chop the onion finely
  • with the sprouts, cut off the stems, remove a couple of the other layers and then chop finely into lovely little lunules
  • gently sweat off the onion and chopped sprouts in a little oil until the onions have gone lightly golden
  • add the curry powder, garlic and salt and cook for a moment or two more
  • add the risotto rice and stir it through so all the grains are moistened (eww) and then add a ladle of stock at a time, cooking on medium, allowing the liquid to almost disappear before adding another ladleful
  • keep stirring until the rice is cooked through
  • serve with whatever you want

Notes

Recipe

  • if you wanted to add meat, cubed bacon lardons added with the garlic would be a good choice, but don't add extra salt
  • we served ours with our jerk chicken from the book - rub and cook

Books

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

Tools

Courses risotto

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Enjoy! Want more risotto recipes? Sure!

Mwah!

J

recipe: spinach and chickpea stew

Sometimes you need something that is quick to throw together and sticks to your belly like muck on a lavatory, and honestly, despite that unsavoury opening, this recipe for spinach and chickpea will do the trick. Doesn’t sound like the most exciting in the world, but it’s grand – nicely spicy, no meat and just yessss.

Before we get to the razzmatazz of the recipe, a note about our new book which is available to pre-order on Amazon and WH Smith now. There’s only a couple of weeks to go before this colourful little bugger is in your hands. If you pre-order now by clicking the banner below, if the price drops between then and now, you’ll pay the lower price! We get asked a lot why we didn’t release at Christmas and I would have thought the answer obvious: if someone bought me a ‘lose weight’ cookbook for Christmas, they’d have it pushed up their fundament. So that’s the reason, plus you know, we need time to write these and get the swearwords past our publishers. So! Don’t delay, do order today. If you loved our last book, and so many did, you’ll find even more of us in here!

Anyway, enough admin. Can we discuss hotel breakfasts? For me, the best part of staying in a hotel, aside from leisurely scattering bodily fluids all over someone else’s duvet and stealing everything that isn’t welded down, is the hotel breakfast. Long-time readers will also know that a Premier Inn breakfast is, to me, the pinnacle of good eating: as you’ve seen from both my waistline and my marital indiscretions I believe in quantity over quality, and being able to graze at a trough of heat-lamp solidified Costco fare is an absolute treasure. As it happens, I had cause to find myself in a Premier Inn a while ago (post first lockdown, so shush, snitches get stitches from bitches) and aside from my room being so far from the reception that going out for a cigarette meant crossing two tier levels, it was grand. I live for moments cast in electric magenta. My friend Tall Paul, of similar heft and capacity for eating, was joining me for breakfast.

How can it be possible to get every single item on a breakfast wrong? It was like a Dali interpretation of what a good cooked breakfast should be. Case in point: the toast. When we have previously breakfasted together it is my job to fetch enough toast that the shareholders of Warburtons can book themselves another week in St Moritz. That’s fine: I’m the master of working two rotary toasters at once and make skipping between the two into an elegant polyester ballet. It’s not a taxing affair, yet somehow in the haste to deny us all pleasures in life thanks to COVID, they’ve taken away that responsibility from the customer. You now have to owlishly ask for toast, tempering the amount you want lest the waiting staff wrinkle their noses in disgust and refer to you as Bacon-Tits in the kitchen.

Still, toast isn’t hard to get right, no? After forty minutes, Schrödinger’s Toast appeared: a sheet of midnight carbon on one side, totally uncooked on the other. It explained the wait at least, given they’d clearly prepared the toast by standing outside and holding it up to the December sun for thirty-five minutes like some sacrifice to the Yeast Gods before finishing it off in the blast zone of a nuclear atrocity. To make things worse, they had brought four tiny pats of butter for six slices of toast and everyone ought to know by now that this simply won’t do: we both spread our butter like a whore applies lipstick and we had to pester the waiter for more. He slapped it down on the table with a finality that suggested we weren’t to ask for anything else and a moment later, our breakfast was hurled onto the table with similar venom.

Well.

The bacon was one good vet away from resurrection, the hash-browns had all the structural integrity of an envelope full of custard and they even managed to bodge the beans up. Breakfast beans should be put into a saucepan and gently heated for approximately four days before being served, so the sauce goes as thick as a welder’s apron and leaves little red kisses in the corner of your mouth. This is especially pertinent with my dining companion as looking at the food smeared into his beard is my only reassurance he’s eating properly. Instead, we were given beans that suggested that the cook had parcelled them out individually moments earlier, perhaps wearisome of oncoming rationing measures. Not usually a disaster but when beans serve as the only moisture available on the plate, it becomes far more consequential. I’d have had a wetter mouth if I’d tucked into a plate of those silica balls that come with my boots.

They had made an attempt to gussy up the tomato by cutting it with pinking shears but frankly, if it didn’t work for my circumcision, it’ll do nothing for an ice-cold tomato. And the sausages: a good sausage is either (a) pink, cylindrical and devoid of any identifiable meat bar an eyelash or valve or (b) made with care and attention from animals that get tucked in at night by a kindly nanny. The middle ground is a waterbed of meh and it was in that meh that the sausages bobbed like turds in the sea.

But honestly, it was the egg that finished us off. A fried egg should be white and firm on the outside, with a sealed yolk that you can excitedly dip your toast into. Salt should be liberally applied either via the vessel on the table or your own thankful tears. What we were served was almost a magician’s trick: the perfect looking fried egg indeed, but one that you couldn’t dip your toast into even if you applied it to the sharp end of a wish.com pneumatic drill. I’ve never known an egg fight back – it was as though they had cast it from plaster. My friend likened it to those plastic facsimiles of food you get in the windows of restaurants in Tokyo and I was minded to agree, though disagreeing with him is never truly an option anyway, unless you like to be told why you’re wrong over the course of fifteen minutes, three slideshows and a ‘discussion’ that ends with him looking at you with a sage expression, resting his hand on your shoulder and shaking his head sadly whilst you boil with barely-masked incredulity.

Naturally, as we are British and fat, we ate everything put in front of us and were fully prepared to reassure the waiting staff how delightful the food was had they bothered to check in.

With the main plate finished, my mate nipped outside to smoke, such as he does treat eating as an interruption to his smoking regime rather than the other way around, and I was left alone to my own devices. Of course this is where the waiter took a moment to come over and whether he could get us anything else. I resisted the urge to ask for a pre-emptive air ambulance ride to the nearest gastrointestinal unit and instead requested, somewhat tremulously, some yoghurt. He met my gaze and said ‘cumpit‘ with a raised eyebrow. I confess, I was shocked and at once wondered how he knew – perhaps house-keeping had let him know the state of my room in advance – before realising he was actually saying compote in that gloriously bewildering accent where every syllable is murdered twice over before arriving at the lips. I agreed with him that it would be a sensible addition and he returned moments later with a bowl of yoghurt and a tiny bowl of berries which, rather like the toast, managed to exist in two states at once. I’ve never had my lips frozen and burned at the same time, and I’ve kissed Paul’s mother.

Breakfast finished, we both agreed to never speak of it again, chalk it down as an anomaly and, should the moment take us later, leave a snotty review on Twitter or suchlike. However, neither of us are petty enough to remember the detail, so I’ve simply and reasonably settled for a 1,200 word bitchfit on my blog instead.

Speaking of poorly presented food, here’s the spinach and chickpea stew, actually looking bloody beautiful!

spinach and chickpea stew

How’s that for a plate full of stodge? But it’s so damn fine! Try our spinach and chickpea stew, or shush.

spinach and chickpea stew

Only one syn, and you can leave the apricots out of the spinach and chickpea stew to make it syn-free!

spinach and chickpea stew

It’s like a super quick tagine, this spinach and chickpea stew!

spinach and chickpea stew

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Warming, slightly spicy, mixed with a tonne of feta - this spinach and chickpea stew is bloody fine!

We've adapted another of Hello Fresh's recipes to make it a bit easier on the waistline and the pocket. This spinach and chickpea moroccan style stew combines a few of our most favourite things and is so rich, you'll love it. If you want to give Hello Fresh a go you can use this magic link to get £20 off, and also send £20 our way n'all. Cheers!

By the way, we ain't on a kickback from Hello Fresh, but until we're out of Chubby Towers Adjacent, it's all we have!

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 dried apricots, roughly chopped (4 syns)
  • 2 tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 240g couscous
  • 500ml passata
  • 500g baby spinach
  • 160g reduced fat feta cheese (HEA x4)
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Instructions

  • crumble half of the stock cube over the couscous and pour over 480ml of boiling water, and stir well
  • cover and set aside
  • spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
  • add the onion to the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes, until softened
  • add the garlic, paprika, tomato puree, chilli flakes, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, pepper and cinnamon to the pan along with the dried apricots and cook for one minute
  • stir in the passata and 100ml of water along with the remaining half of the stock cube and bring to a simmer
  • add the chickpeas to the pan and continue to simmer for another 4-5 minutes
  • stir in the baby spinach in handfuls and cook until fully wilted
  • fluff up the couscous and add half of the parsley
  • serve the couscous in bowls and top with the stew, crumbled feta and the remaining parsley

Notes

Recipe

  • the original recipe uses 'tagine paste' which we've never come across in the supermarket, but the spices in this are almost identical. If you can find tagine paste however feel free to use that instead - you'll need about 2 tbsp
  • if you aren't a fan of feta a bit of natural yoghurt with a bit of salt added will add a nice alternative tang

Books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK IS COMING OUT SOON! You thought the last one was good? It was, but this sequel is even better - it'll be coming out just in time for the new year! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks

Tools

Courses dinner

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Delicious right? Want more vegetarian recipes? Have a gander at these:

Mwah!

J

recipe: syn free leek and blue cheese soup

Syn free leek and blue cheese soup: if you can get past the gipping and the heaving as you open the packet of cheese and you smell that uniquely manky honk, then a delicious soup awaits you.

You know, if I may, do try and persevere with blue cheese, and indeed any food that leaves you cold. Tastes change as you mature. and you only have to look at me as proof of that maxim: I used to believe that the best look I ever had was my shoulder-length black and blue hair, whereas truthfully I looked like something an insane person would draw crawling from a well in their nightmares. Samara? I barely trapped her!

Anyway, today’s recipe for leek and blue cheese soup is a quickie, and so I won’t keep you for too long with the blog post only to tell you my idea for a movie. We’ve all seen Speed and decreed it amazing, and Speed 2 is an enjoyable bit of popcorn fluff, even if Jason Patric has all the acting range of a greased doorknob. In fact, this idea only came about because I was listening to the excellent Speed 2 score on a drive home lately, which always adds a frisson of excitement to navigating the central motorway.

So: Speed 3. Obviously they’ve done a bus, a subway train, a boat and Willem Dafoe, a man whose face would frighten toothpaste back into its tube. You’d think the possibilities are exhausted, but no. Aeroplane. It seems so obvious when you think of it but the fact it hasn’t been done already leads me to think I’m Alfred Hitchcock reincarnated, and not just because I’m fat and look good with a cigar. Where were we?

It’s a ‘smart plane’ with lots of fancy technology but oh no – the pilots are no longer needed to fly them, they’re that safe. But what do you know? A disgruntled ex-pilot sabotages the first passenger-carrying flight because he’s got a tittylip about being put out of a job. The plane climbs to 33,000ft and then suddenly boom – the inflight entertainment displays a message to everyone saying that if the plane descends below 15, 000ft, it’ll blow up. It’s an altitude bomb. Heavens! Lots of panicking and shrieking and heavens-to-betsy but what do you know? Sandra Bullock has retrained as a flight stewardess. That’s right: she had so much fun driving that bus that she swapped it for a trolley full of perfume and cigarettes.

Now I can’t work out for the life of me why Sandra Bullock would end up trying to control the plane but that’s what scriptwriters are for. I’m also not a certified pilot, or indeed any pilot at all, so I’m not 100% it would work, but a couple of the set-pieces would be a fire which necessitated one of the doors being blown off in order to suck the oxygen out and starve the fire. But then that creates a new problem because there’s only limited oxygen in those wee tanks everyone gets. WHAT A CALAMITY. There’d be a scene where they’re all trying to fight the plane but it’s throwing them around and all it’s all terrifically exciting.

Anyway the end would involve the plane flying upside down to trick the altitude bomb and Sandra Bullock parachuting out the back. No, I don’t know where she got a parachute but haway, it’s Sandra Bullock, she flew through space with a fire extinguisher and an anguished grimace, she can do this. Oh and the passengers? Dunno. SHIT NO yes I do: they climbed inside the terrorist-proof cargo hold with a tonne of pillows and when the plane went kaboom at the end they were fine.

Best part? It’s called Speed 3: Bad Altitude and the tagline for every poster would be ‘Fear Takes Off’. Admit it, you’d watch the shit out of that. Hollywood? Call me!

That’s enough of that nonsense anyway, young lady. Let’s do this SYN FREE leek and blue cheese soup, shall we? SHALL WE?

leek and blue cheese

You try making a leek and blue cheese soup look good. Go on, I dare you. Mind it does look a bit like the opening of Heroes but in soup form.

`leek and blue cheese

syn free leek and blue cheese soup

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 bowls

Leek and blue cheese soup. It's quick, it's syn free, it's tasty, it smells like death. Try it, you may just like it!

Ingredients

  • half a white onion, chopped
  • two large leeks, chopped - you want the greens 
  • one large potato, cubed and peeled 
  • 500ml of beef stock
  • 80g of roquefort
  • black pepper

Instructions

  • everything into a pan, saving a wee bit of the roquefort to go on the top
  • after the potato is softened, blend it
  • smatter with black pepper
  • yeah that's all there is to it
  • what of it
  • got a problem

Notes

Books

  • Our FAST AND FILLING COOKBOOK is coming out this year - 100 more recipes designed to tickle your pickle and help you lose weight - Preorder yours here! 
  • AND our first cookbook with over 3500+ 5* reviews of its 100+ slimming recipes is still available to buy! You can click here to order
  • looking to track your weight loss - try our diet planner - you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!

Tools

Courses soup

Cuisine soup

I love blue cheese, and it works for this leek and blue cheese soup, but you can’t look at that and not feel revulsion.

There you go! More soup recipes needed? Nee bother!

JX

recipe: spicy tomato and beetroot soup

Just the quickest of posts tonight for this spicy tomato and beetroot soup, which has already featured on our Instagram but needs an airing on here. As the cold nights draw nearer we all need something warm slipped inside us, and frankly, this soup does the job perfectly.

I shan’t keep you with my usual 1000 words of hooey, but I will slip in a note of caution for you (and if you’re sensitive, do skip forward to the recipe pictures, I beg you) – please remember that you’ve had beetroot the day after you demolish this soup. I tell you this only as someone with a tendency towards the dramatic. Paul doesn’t like beetroot, it reminds him of kissing his mother, so I consumed four bowls of this soup in one day a couple of weeks ago.

That wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem – I’m a big lad and can wear the extra calories like one might wear a winter muff – however I clean forgot about my intake of beetroot the day after when I’d dashed home especially to see a friend off to the coast. That dealt with, I took a quick look (and bugger off, everyone does this) (your own I mean, I don’t fancy a bus trip being put on to come look at mine) and was left aghast by the fact I was clearly shedding blood at an alarming rate.

Naturally, I was beside myself, and that’s coming from someone who is only ever two brief shocks away from hysteria.

I called Paul at work to explain that I would probably be dead on the floor by the time he got back and that he wasn’t to take another lover for at least five years after my death. He calmed me down in that patient, complaisant manner of his and then downgraded my self-diagnosed terminal illness to simply overindulgence of beetroot. It was a rollercoaster few moments, I can tell you, and I’ll ask that you exercise appropriate caution with this tomato and beetroot soup.

tomato and beetroot soup

It’s hard to make tomato and beetroot soup look sexy, but honestly, this is gorgeous!

tomato and beetroot soup

We served this with a lump of beetroot bread from Morrisons. Yes, it does rather look like a diseased knuckle. But…

spicy tomato and beetroot soup

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 bowls

If you're not a fan of beetroot, I still recommend giving this a go: it doesn't taste very...beetrooty! Also, if you are really fussed about spending syns you could swap out the Philadelphia for a bit of horseradish - but only a teaspoon otherwise you really will be in trouble on the thunderbox.

We used a Tefal Easy Soup for this - but you can use a pan just as easily! We love it because you chuck everything in and press a button and away it goes.

Ingredients

  • 400g chopped cooked beetroot
  • 60g of chopped white onion
  • 400ml of chilli and tomato passata
  • one garlic clove, minced
  • 450ml of beef stock
  • 50g of Philadelphia Lightest

Instructions

  • chuck everything in a pan bar the Philadelphia and cook for about twenty minutes
  • blend and serve with lovely bread

I mean it's that easy.

Notes

Recipe

  • swap Philadelphia for horseradish if you want a more 'sour' soup
  • cooked beetroot is different from pickled beetroot mind you - you'll find cooked beetroot in the fresh vegetables part of the supermarket, but vacuum packed
  • you could use the leftover beetroot juice to make beetroot pickled eggs

Books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK IS COMING OUT SOON! You thought the last one was good? It was, but this sequel is even better - it'll be coming out just in time for the new year! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks

Tools

Courses soup

Cuisine soup man

There you go! Enjoy! Want some more soup ideas?

J

syn-free butterbean houmous – perfect for lunch

Syn-free butterbean houmous awaits you today, with an apology because there’s absolutely no way of taking a photograph of a plate of syn-free butterbean houmous without it looking like Smash that someone’s already had a crack at eating. But it tastes lovely and makes a decent change from the chickpea houmous that we also recommend. That’s enough about houmous. Very quickly, I’m doing alright. Lots of lockdown langour at the moment – there’s only so much staring sadly out of the window one can do before he becomes a lighthouse keeper – but I’m getting on with things. As per the last few entries we’re opening with a tale as old as time before we get to the syn-free butterbean houmous, but you’re free to scroll down to the food pictures if you’re in a rush! Always welcome feedback on the holiday entries, and must apologise for this one, as it is a little more adult than the previous entries.

Little bit of admin first, of course: our fabulous new planner comes out next month, and if you’re needing inspiration, a kick up the arse, sex-tips (maybe not those) or other flimflam, you’ll find it all in our beautiful new book! You can order it here – I know, how terribly exciting! Now, come back with me to Canada…

part one | part two | part three

Next on the list of attractions that time forgot, a mirror maze! Piece of piss this one, though: how hard can a hastily assembled mirror maze consisting of a few boards of plywood and some scotchy IKEA mirrors be? Please. I spend most of my day cats-bumming my mouth into my phone camera, a few tricksy mirrors and party-bus lighting wasn’t going to hold me back. I paid the lady, Paul went ahead, and in I stumbled into hell.

A little side-story for you. After Canada, we flew to Tokyo for a few days “to rest”. Whilst there we came to learn of a gay sauna exclusively for the larger gentleman – you would actually be turned away if you rocked up with a six pack and a BMI that didn’t need an extra digit on the calculator. Skinny and toned folks were sent next door to use the sauna for the slim. It was heaven: we’ve always been about the larger chap. Sex holds little allure for me unless there’s a strong risk of one of us clutching our arm and Jim Robinson-ing our way through to climax. Oh! They also fluffed you and measured your cock when you turned up and if you were over a certain size, you’d get a King Kong sticker to wear somewhere on your ample frame. They gave me a Goomba sticker and a lollipop.

Anyway, the way this sauna was set up was a giant dark maze – the idea being that you would stumble around until you slid into another fatty-boom-boom and made sweet, slappy love. Or, in my case, a breathless handjob whilst I tried not to pass out from the heady combination of poppers and having to climb more than two flights of stairs. It was great fun, if not a little disorientating.

Paul and I crashed around in the dark (though I went down well, figuratively and literally, because I was a good foot taller than everyone else there) and had a great time. At one point I decided to try and find a new nest of immorality and so I set about exploring in the dark. After a few false starts grabbing the wrong type of knob I managed to find a promising door. I yanked it open only to reveal the other sauna on the other side, well-lit, with lots and lots of skinny, beautiful Japanese fellas sitting around nude. The sight of my hairy, wobbling frame bursting through the door caused instant dismay, looking as I do like a badly-shaved McGrimace with a bouncing erection. I’ve never seen so many sets of lips purse at once – it was like someone had sprayed lemon juice into the room. I gently gave everyone a nod, did a little curtsy (my knees had been weakened by earlier activity – I had forgotten to bring my kneeling pad from the garden) and carefully shut the door. I know my place, and it isn’t amongst men who look like they’ve been whittled from marble by God himself.

Anyway – I mention this sauna because that’s what this mirror maze was like: endless corridors, albeit with less fat businessmen grabbing at my bumhole like a sliding mountaineer might grab at the cliff-edge as he tumbles. I panicked. I knew Paul had managed to escape relatively easily but I just could not figure it out. Small kids were running around my legs and making a quick exit as I blundered about leaving fingerprints on the glass and crying. OK, I may not have cried, but I won’t pretend that I wasn’t struggling to keep my shit together as I was surrounded by eight identical versions of myself. For someone whose camera is permanently on selfie mode you may think that this is my idea of nirvana but I assure you, seeing all my imperfections wrought large in octuple was soul-destroying. I have a friend whose sole reason for existence seems to be pointing out the fact my nose has more angles than a shattered protractor and having this presented to me from all sides really stabbed me deep. Like he does.

At one point I stopped trying to exit and just gazed at my haunting visage, lit by cruel blue LED and strobing green, and wondered where everything had gone wrong with my life to leave my face looking like a bag of broken china. I stood for a good few minutes before the owner must have spotted me looking glum and sad and turned the emergency lights on, leading me straight to the exit where I was met by Paul. To his credit, he had the decency to notice I’d had a full existential crisis and so took me gently over the road to get a burger, where all became right with the world and really, it was just the lighting that upset me. Yes.

Existential ennui overcome and drowned in saturated fat, we made for the final attraction of the night: an arcade that promised a ghost train and a 6D rollercoaster. Not 4D, no no, six dimensions of thrills. It barely managed three. We were the only ones on-board and once the shoulder-holders came down, we realised that actually, it didn’t move – it was a simulator. The 32” ALBA screen in front of us degaussed and we were off, the distant chimes of the Windows 95 start-up sound seeing us into the ride. It. Was. Crap. Give me ten minutes and I can knock together better animation in Paint 3D. The ‘six dimensions’ came from the seat rocking gently to the side about five seconds after the on-screen cue and a tiny spray of what I am sure was hydraulic fluid in my face when we went underwater. I’ve had more thrills and spills washing my poor nipsy on a Japanese toilet.

The ghost train was no better. We shunted off through various neon-painted cardboard ‘frights’ – cardboard graveyard, cardboard fun- house, cardboard 25 Cromwell Street. At one point a spring burst out with absolutely nothing on it. The only scream that the ride elicited from me was afterwards, when the busty young lady at the front asked if we wanted to pay half price and go again. I demurred, claiming my heart could only take so much excitement, and we instead set about winning enough tickets on the Wheel of Fortune machines to claim a glorious prize. An hour later, with handfuls and handfuls of tickets, we dashed up to claim our prize just to find we only had enough for a tacky painted fish (since lost) and some chewing gum. Best $120 we’ve ever spent.

All in all, an absolutely fucking brilliant night. We also squeezed in a round of crazy golf and half an hour in a weird door maze but I fear I’ll lose you forever if I don’t wrap this chapter up soon. All you need to know about the golf is that I won. I always win. Paul has prism lenses in his glasses that afford him four holes to aim for instead of the customary one and thus is at an immediate disadvantage. Thinking about it, that’ll be why we’re still, 12 years in, playing the ‘up a bit, up a bit, no down a bit, just push it in’ game of an evening.

Niagara done, we retired to bed, and with the burger and mouldy iHop platter from earlier rustling around in our bellies, were soothed to sleep by the sound and scent of a thousand farts.

We arose the next day in a grim state. I’d been fighting off a nasty cough for about a week and had woken up with a throat like sandpaper. Understand that’s par for the course when you’re a frisky bitch like me, but Christ I felt dreadful. We decided to reach for the antibiotics: but this meant a visit to the Canadian doctors. All very easy – trip to Walmart where the surgery was, a quick signing of a few forms and then I simply needed to pull together every piece of jewellery, money and property I own to hand over to the receptionist who took the lot and asked for more. In a perfect circular loop-back to the time we paid $180 for a course of antibiotics for Paul’s poorly ear back in Florida, here we paid $280 for a ten minute chat with the doctor and some amoxycilin. He had the sheer brass neck to make a loud disapproving noise when I explained that ‘otherwise I was in good health’. Great: I have a face that exudes illness.

Worst part of all of this? No sooner had I paid for my antibiotics and checked with my travel insurance company who no, of course not, wouldn’t cover the cost (too small of an expense – I was tempted to go ram my head through the plate glass window out of sheer fucking spite) than I immediately felt better. The shock of paying so much for a few pills was clearly enough to reboot my system. If I ever get some awful terminal disease, I’m going out to buy a BMW.

The rest of the day was spent driving back to Toronto and finding our AirBnB, before meeting our “just a friend”, who I’m naming Bhalu as he was cute and cuddly. We’ll come to Toronto in another blog entry, because see, that’s how holiday entries work, but I need a good closing anecdote.

Which I haven’t got. So let’s stumble around the word count and take a moment to bow our heads in sadness, because there was one casualty of our trip to Niagara: the sex-hat. Back in Montreal I successfully pulled The Hottest Barista in Town and he gave me a lovely cap to go with my troubled bumhole. The one hat I’ve ever had in my life that doesn’t look like a comedy Christmas cracker sized hat on my giant moonhead. The one that I was wearing because it reminded me of a happy time when I was used like Sooty by someone with hands with size of banquet gammons.

Paul left it in the fucking rental car. He had tried it on whilst he was driving and because I didn’t want a rim of dead skin and sun-tan lotion left on it, I had plucked it from his head and hurled it in the back. You may think the onus was on me to retrieve it but no, it would have been on my head had he not touched my things and ruined my life. I’m not one for sulking but you better believe I was at maximum tittylip for a good hour or so after that. Paul offered to go buy me a hat but it could never have been the same if it wasn’t gifted to me by The Dreamy Barista to make up for the blood pooling in my knickers.

Sigh


Right, let’s get to the syn-free butterbean houmous, shall we? Looks alright!

butterbean houmous

The Northern Lights are dancing!

butterbean houmous

Čajet dan čuovgga!

butterbean houmous

Suppose you’ll be wanting the recipe for this syn-free butterbean houmous, aye? Gosh, I remember when you were far less maintenance…

syn-free butterbean houmous

Prep

Total

Yield 4

Sometimes you just need something to dip your finger / crudites / nipples into without guilt or remorse, and that's where this syn-free butterbean houmous comes into it. You can make it syn free by leaving out the oil, but given this makes enough to serve four, we'd be tempted to demand you drizzle a bit of flavour oil on the top and soak up the syns (6 syns). But again, we aren't your parents. 

Ingredients

  • one large tin of butterbeans
  • one clove of garlic (chopped garlic is fine)
  • one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • good pinch of salt
  • one reserved tablespoon of the weird butterbean pre-cum that they come in the tin with (aquafaba, if you want to be technical)
  • couple of tablespoons of natural yoghurt

If you're using oil, add it at the end (6 syns).

Instructions

  • I mean, haway. Do you want to have a guess, pet?
  • stick all the ingredients in a blender
  • blend
  • loosen it up by adding more yoghurt or the aquafaba from the butterbeans
  • season to taste

Syn-free butterbean houmous, done.

Notes

  • the one thing I’m going to push here is our Kenwood Mini Chopper. It makes very quick work of this dip. It’s cheap on Amazon. Not essential but I will say this – as people who use a lot of gadgets, this is probably one of our favourites
  • we buy our flavoured oils from Yorkshire Drizzle, in this case, a lemon oil. You can take a look at their range here: it'll open in a new window. We haven't been paid to promote or anything like that, they're just a bloody good company and we love them very much
  • remember - our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now - full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 2400 5* reviews: click here to order
  • our new diet planner launches soon: you can order it here (it’ll open in a new window)

Courses dips and sides

Cuisine I hardly think that's any of your business

Looking for more dip ideas? We got you covered:

Enjoy!

Jx

warming curried cauliflower soup: syn-free and tasty!

Curried cauliflower soup – and syn free to boot – perfect as the winter sets in and Christmas approaches. This is a dual purpose recipe: I wanted to find a soup recipe that took no effort at all AND used a vegetable that is cheap and abundant at the moment. Added bonus: it’ll make your arse so toxic that, should you be like me and have a husband who is constantly knocking on your nethers with Ole Blind Bob, you’ll be given a free pass. A free ass, if you will, though no-one’s ever thrown socks at my bottom. Pity. Anyway, the curried cauliflower soup will follow shortly, but first the usual balderdash.

One thing I haven’t mentioned on the blog lately is that I’ve been gallivanting quite a bit – a veritable blizzard of trips away and driving around the country snaffling a hundred service station sandwiches whilst owlishly ignoring my ‘Service Due’ spanner light on my car. One such trip took me to Birmingham to see Chernobyl Edition Paul who took me along to see Frisky & Mannish. Now, when someone recommends something to me, I’ll often nod and smile and die inside whilst I have to pretend to be interested in something awfully unfunny or just not up my street. If you ever meet me, you’ll see the exact ‘but I don’t care‘ face I pull the very second I ask you how you are and you reply with anything other than the most basic acknowledgement of the question. Honestly, it should be a crime to actually give a proper answer. In the North East we have this down to a fine art, which goes like this:

“Alreet mate?’

“Alreet?”

See? Didn’t even answer the question and then it’s off back down t’pit. Learn from that, people.

Anyway, it turned out his recommendation wasn’t duff at all, and after a few Youtube videos which actually made my insides ache we were booked and ready to go. Now, if you’ve never heard of them, they’re a musical comedy duo act who do shows which play on musical themes and mix pop parodies, jokes and some actual amazing singing. That’s a shit way of describing them, so let me simply encourage you to watch this:

It even won over my stone-hearted husband, who last laughed back in 2014, and even that was mainly acid-reflux.

Aside from spilling my beer as I sat down and creating a heart-stopping moment when Frisky came speeding out in massive heels and oh-so-almost slipped over, it was a genuinely fantastic show. You know how these things tend to go: there’s nearly always a ‘down bit’ where they try new material and not everything sticks. Not here: I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a live show, and I’m someone who ends up in paroxysms of laughter watching You’ve Been Framed. My benchmark isn’t high. I left that venue with my ribs aching like someone had spent four minutes slapping me about with a pair of fish slices to the key-change in Scared of the Dark by Steps. That’s a musical joke and you know it.

We were given a chance to meet them after and to their absolute credit, they remained entirely unfazed and positive even in light of being hugged by a giant sentient Sugar Puff and his glazed companion. I’d post the picture but I look like I’ve been awake for eight days and that’s not a treat for anyone. However, they were that bloody good that when I returned home I booked three more tickets to see them in Newcastle with Paul and someone who was sick of hearing me bang on about them. They loved it too, and it was great to see them playing to a much larger venue. Actually! Because I’m a narcissistic sod, I wanted to redo the picture I had taken from the other week and they were only happy to oblige:

I’m the one in the middle, in case you didn’t realise. Did I feel guilty about leaving Patrick and Paul outside in the pouring rain whilst I went full Annie Wilkes in the foyer? I did not. Worth it! They’re taking a break now but honestly, if you ever get a chance to see them, you absolutely must.

We also managed to squeeze in to see Jay Rayner on his Last Supper tour when we were both in Birmingham. I’m going to use that as a jumping off point for a fuller blog entry down the line but I’ll say two things now. Firstly, the man was an utter delight – hilarious, self-effacing and full of anecdotes you actually want to listen to. Which leads me to my next point: if you’re attending a show with a ‘question and answer’ element, don’t be that irritating raclure-de-bidet who thinks everyone in the room has come to hear your thoughts on the act as the show goes on. My word, she was bothersome – talking over everyone’s questions, guffawing in that ‘look at me look at me oh god won’t you look at me’ way at everything he said…the list could go on. I sure hope her heartbeat doesn’t.

Anyway, we’ll come back to Jay Rayner another time, but in the meantime, let’s do this curried cauliflower soup, shall we? I can’t pretend I’ve found a way of making curried cauliflower soup look exciting, but damn it’s syn free and delicious. What more do you want?

curried cauliflower soup curried cauliflower soup

1 vote

Print

curried cauliflower soup

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 bowlfuls

We're trying to spin our meals around whatever vegetables are currently in season here at Chubby Towers - plus, eating meat for every single meal is getting a bit tiresome on both the entrance and exit doors. What can you do with a cauliflower? Some people - we'll call them mental - pretend you can make steaks with them. You can't. You can no more make a steak with a cauliflower than you can make a lamppost with a giraffe. Get ahad of yerself, lass.

However, the good folks at Olive Magazine posted this recipe last year, and although we've adapted it ever so slightly for twochubbycubs and Slimming World, it didn't lose any flavour in our tinkering. We heartily recommend!

We've also included a tip to really speed things up if you're pushed for time, but honestly, there's very little to do here.

Ingredients

  • one large cauliflower - remove the outer leaves
  • few sprays of olive oil
  • one large white onion (we used the cannonball onions from Morrisons, but only because the name got me all a-frisk)
  • two teaspoons of garlic paste
  • one tablespoon of hot curry powder
  • one litre of vegetable stock (made from bouillon powder if you have it)
  • 100g of fat-free Greek yoghurt
  • Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • chop up your cauliflower into little cauliflowers - don't waste the stem either, chop it finely
  • save a few shapely florets aside
  • slice up your onion
  • in a nice big pan, gently sweat off your onion and cauliflower until nicely golden
  • add the garlic paste and curry powder and give everything a good stir and cook for a couple of minutes more
  • add the stock and allow to simmer gently for around 25 minutes, or until everything has softened up
  • if you like a thicker soup, simmer for a bit longer to take off some of the stock
  • allow to cool, add the yoghurt and then blend together with a stick blender 
  • taste and if it needs salt, add it and reblend

For the top, I sliced the cauliflower florets nice and thickly and then in another small pan, fried them off in Worcestershire sauce - you want them to have a bit of a bite, but the Worcestershire sauce adds a lovely flavour - totally unnecessary though! I also added a bit of chilli oil because I'm not content unless my arse is melting like a summer ice-cream

Notes

  • you don't need a fancy blender for soup - we always recommend this wee stick blender which does the job and is rarely more than a tenner on Amazon
  • want to speed this up - you can buy already chopped cauliflower in Tesco sold as 'cauliflower rice' - combine with a pot of chopped onions and you could have this done in no time at all 
  • want more fabulous recipes of this scale and complexity - of course you do, you're wonderful - click away!

Click here to preorder our new cookbook! Now £10!

Courses soup

Cuisine vegetarian

This freezes well, I should have said – and what better way to say I want a divorce than present your partner with some freezer-burn soaked curried cauliflower soup? I ask you. You want some more ideas for soup? We got you – here’s all our syn free soups:

Tasty!

J

syn free halloumi and vegetable biryani

Halloumi and vegetable biryani! If that doesn’t moisten your gusset, then you’re dead inside!

Now I’m not sure if this could be classed as a biryani, or even if I’m typing that right, so don’t shoot me – shoot Amelia, who provided this gorgeous recipe via our competition! Over to Amelia. Which, by the way, is possibly my favourite girl’s name ever. If she ends up jumping off a building in 1920’s New York I’ll be fizzing.

Our competition continues and today we have a guest writer and a guest recipe! Golden tickets for both, please. Before we get to the recipe, today’s story comes from Samantha. I’ll hand you over…whoosh…


My name is Sam and I am 46 years old. When I grew up I wanted to be a fighter pilot. Instead I became a teacher. Now I care for my dad with dementia. Most people see dementia as just forgetting things. It’s not – it’s heartbreaking and hilarious, sadly not in equal measure. For example, not many folk know that people with dementia can have no filter. None. So anyone who is different, be they too fat, too different, or have too many tattoos is a beacon of interest to people like my dad will comment – loudly!

I have nearly been smacked in the mouth in Maccies too many times to mention. He will also talk to his burger in a loving way. This also gathers people’s attention. Now, they might also have no inhibitions (the person with dementia, not the burger I hasten to add). Now we’re all smut loving filth mongers in the Cubs’ circle. But imagine it’s a kindly looking septuagenarian who’s being smutty, loudly…and probably in Maccies. Not as much fun then.

So, if ever you’re in Maccies (other fast food restaurants are available) and you see a tired looking 40 something trying to wrangle a seemingly lovely old man away from potential triggers, it’s probably me. Or any one of the millions like me who have had to learn the true face of dementia. Cut us a bit of slack. They don’t mean to be rude so when we apologise in a hushed aside. Just know, they can’t help it.

To lighten the mood, here’s an example of the more amusing side of dealing with dementia.

I took him to get his shopping – standard. On the way he suddenly started craning around in the seat to see something that we had passed. I didn’t pay much attention – usually it’s as he’s seen an attractive woman / a larger person / a person of colour / anything ‘different’ to him basically and if he starts, he doesn’t stop!
So I ignored him for about half a mile. He was still desperately trying to see behind him so I gave in and asked what he was looking at.

Me: What is it dad?
Dad: (still facing the rear windscreen) It’s a massive jet!
Me: Ok.
Dad: Wait! It’s 2! No 3…4!
Me:
Dad: NO wait! It’s 6, 7 – no there’s 9! There are 9 massive jets!
Me: (bearing in mind we live in the very far west of Cornwall – not many massive jets seen round these parts) Really dad? Which way are they going?
Dad: Hang on there’s two more, they’re going that way (pointing behind us)
Me: 11 massive jets.
Dad: Yes! you can still see them, pull over!
Me: :/
Dad: You have to pull over!
Me: (nowhere to pull over)
Dad: I think it’s Putin
Me:  Could it be? Is he right? 11 massive jets flying over west Cornwall. Oh god, husband and daughter at work, other daughter at home with grandson, youngest is at school, what do I do? Actually started feeling a bit twitchy. Dad still craning to watch all this going on.
Finally pulled over, it was chem trails. Not war after all. Didn’t even get to ASDA.


Well it made me laugh, anyway. Samantha – I’ll call her Sam, she’ll love that, we’re like best friends now I know her email address and rough location. I do wonder how she feels about all the blog entries where I slagged off Cornwall, though. Like this lovely trip to Lands End.

And now food! Look at this and tell me you don’t want it in your mouth.

halloumi and vegetable biryani

halloumi and vegetable biryani

halloumi and vegetable biryani

1 vote

Print

syn free halloumi and vegetable biryani

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Looking for a vegetarian meal that doesn't leave you crying into your weak, child-like wrists? Don't worry, Amelia has you covered. And it's syn free!

Ingredients

  • butternut squash - cut into slices
  • 1 courgette - cut into chunks
  • 1 onion - cut into chunks
  • curry powder - mixed with water to make a paste
  • a little spray oil
  • peas
  • flaked almonds - toasted (20g is a HEB)
  • coriander - chopped
  • pomegranate seeds
  • halloumi - cut into slices. This can be your HEA (35g) for the day - I use a lighter version and we eat the whole thing - oops!

Instructions

  • put slices of butternut in a roasting tin and spray with garlic oil or just normal oil and add a few garlic cloves and season with black pepper
  • roast in oven for about 45 mins
  • spray your wok with oil and add the courgette, once it’s got a bit to colour add the onion and get a bit of colour on that too
  • add the curry powder and give it a good mix and cook through, then add the rice and mix again
  • in a separate pan spray with oil and cook the halloumi
  • with a few minutes to go add the peas to the rice mixture and give it a good mix
  • serve with the butternut and halloumi on top and scatter with the coriander, pomegranate and almonds

Notes

  • if you don’t wasn’t to use your healthy eating A or don’t like halloumi you could use chicken instead doesn’t have to be a veggie dish
  • want more veggie recipes with a bit of taste and spice? I can't recommend this book enough!

Courses evening meal

Cuisine vegetarian

Yes! Want more vegetarian recipes? Of course you do:

Indeed.

J

mixed bean salad – perfect for taster night!

Let’s not delay. Taster night is looming large and you need something quick to put together but classy enough to make it look as though you care what the Witch’s Council thinks of you. This is smashing, actually – get everything cut to the same size and you’re halfway there.

In the interests of keeping things super quick and easy, here’s the recipe!

mixed bean salad

mixed bean salad

mixed bean salad - perfect for taster nights!

Prep

Total

Yield 8 portions

Mixed bean salad. It isn't sexy, it isn't going to blow your socks off and christ, they aren't going to be talking about it for years to come. But sometimes you need a simple salad of undigestable beans to get those scales moving!

Ingredients

  • tin of butter beans
  • tin of kidney beans
  • tin of black eyed beans
  • small tin of sweetcorn
  • one cucumber - take the seeds out with a spoon and chop
  • one large red pepper - deseeded, chopped fine
  • one large onion - chopped fine
  • one pinch of dill, salt, pepper
  • one tablespoon of olive oil (6 syns)
  • juice of a lemon

Instructions

  • do you want to hazard a guess, Sherlock?
  • chop everything up the same size, rinse your beans (dirty bugger), add everything into a giant bowl, stir
  • this is perfect for sitting in the fridge for a couple of days or taking to a taster night

Notes

Courses salad

Cuisine twochubbycubs

Want more salad ideas? But of course you do, and we’re always happy to oblige you on that front, see.

Enjoy!

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!

A post shared by twochubbycubs (@twochubbycubs) on

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

Print

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

Slimming World halloumi burgers: veggie BBQ time

Halloumi burgers! Yes, we’re doing a vegetarian classic for our BBQ run. It’s surprisingly difficult to come up with anything particularly exciting when you’re not a vegetarian because well, we’re wedded to meat, but this is a great attempt. To give you an indication as to how good this actually was, we had it on Friday night and Sunday night in two seperate BBQs. Now the rumour that we only had the second BBQ to annoy the neighbour who sat by her window coughing and spluttering whilst we had the first is entirely false. I don’t know what her problem is, actually, she has a tank of oxygen connected to her nose anyway – how much bloody fresh air does she need? Honestly, some people just think of themselves.

Anyway, let’s make this quick. I’m sure the end of the world is due – coming home I happened across three things that never, ever happen and it must mean something:

  • someone smiled back at me – I try and smile nicely at people if they’re walking towards me. Not in a loony sort of way, but rather a ‘It’s OK, all my sexual advances are predicated by hours and hours of tortuous flirting, there will be no unexpected activity from me, so you can walk by safely’. I’m aware of my build and dazzling street presence and I fret enormously that as I clump towards a young female on a deserted path she might think I’m up to dickens. So I smile, and normally, people ignore me. However, today, someone – a handsome, stacked tradesman, no less – not only met my smile but gave me a good, cheery ‘afternoon’ as he slipped past and out of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I was hoping he’d tumble me into the hedges and make me feel like a natural woman, but no. Progress though!
  • then, as I was driving home, an Audi not only waited at a junction as I approached, but let me out with a cheery wave and an affectionate blink of his lights. I was so surprised I almost mounted the kerb and committed an atrocity. See I’m used to Audi drivers driving so far up my arse that it triggers my automatic ‘how long have we got until your wife is back mate’ conversation gambit, so one who was courteous and kind really knocked me for six; and
  • I came home to find Paul has managed to bring the bin in – I know! I had to sit down on the path with my smelling salts until the blood drained back into my face. Ten years we’ve been together and 9 years, 11 months and 3 weeks he has spent walking past the very same bin on bin day that he parks RIGHT BESIDE and then has to move out of the way just to walk up our path. It causes an fair frisson of tension between us on a Monday when I return only to find he’s seemingly missed the 140 litre bright blue beast that’s propped up against his Smart car. I asked him what triggered such a dramatic volte-face and his response was that he didn’t want to listen to me whingeing about it. See, he takes with one hand and gives with the other. That’s why I love him.

Must get on. End of the world to prep for. Let’s do the Slimming World halloumi burgers, eh? I mean, just look…

Dunno about you, but I’m at full-mast right now.

slimming world halloumi burgers

slimming world halloumi burgers

2 votes

Print

Slimming World halloumi burgers with sweet chilli drizzle

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 burgers

A burger perfect for all of those who don't like their burgers salted with the tears of crying animals. Understandable. Unlike most veggie burgers, we haven't tried to make a burger from nothing, so instead use cheese - and blacken it so it tastes even better.

You can omit the sauce if you prefer, but it brings it all together. Feel free to buy a shop version if you're lazy. If you do, check the syns!

Ingredients

  • 180g reduced fat halloumi (4x HeA)
  • 4x wholemeal buns (4x HeB)
  • rocket leaves
  • coleslaw

for the sweet chilli drizzle

  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp honey (2.5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar with Stevia (3 syns)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (1 syn)

Instructions

  • add all the sweet chilli drizzle ingredients into a bowl along with 2 tbsp water and give a good stir
  • microwave for 1 minute, stirring halfway, and then leave to cool and thicken
  • meanwhile, cut the halloumi into 4 equal size slices - nice and thick
  • place the halloumi onto the barbecue and cook for 2-3 minutes each side
  • slice the rolls and add a spoon of coleslaw and a few rocket leaves
  • top with the halloumi slices and drizzle over the sauce

Looking for a coleslaw recipe? Remember we made an amazing one syn proper coleslaw just a few entries ago?

Click here for that recipe!

Notes

  • you can cook the halloumi in a hot frying pan if you prefer (or if you can't be arsed to get the barbecue going) - just cook for 3-4 minutes each side
  • a good sweet chilli sauce is worth the syns which is why we always make our own - but any sweet chilli sauce from the shops will do if you don't want to make it
  • if you really want a 'put the ceftriaxone on ice, Doc' experience, slather it in Crucials sauce, which I'm told is sold in places like B&M or, better because you don't have to look at so many sweetcorn teeth, you can buy it on Amazon!

Courses burger, BBQ

Well burger me, what a beauty! Want more burger ideas? Natch:

That’s enough to fill even your holes.

J