quick sticky beef with kale

Quick sticky beef with kale is just below the guff. It’s on the gunt of this page, if you will.

A productive day today.

Firstly, thank you to all and everyone for the reassuring words in response to my last post about health anxiety. I’m just having a wobble, all will be well. Always darkest before the dawn and all that shite. I did see the doctor today who mentioned carpal tunnel syndrome and gave me a few exercises to try with my wrist. Now that sounds filthy, but I can assure you it’s all non-erotic and safe. I don’t pay for private healthcare, after all. He did ask what I thought may have caused it and I tried to explain that there is quite the collection of Audi drivers around where I work, and frankly, given the amount of wanker-signs I do in my mirror it’s not surprising my wrists sound like a cement mixer.

He told me not to worry about my fogginess and had a bit of a feel of my stomach. He had the good grace not to ask for the block and tackle be brought in. I hate taking my shirt off at the doctors (almost as much as I used to hate taking my underwear off in church) because, although my doctor is wonderful, kind and non-judgemental, I’m embarrassed that he has to see how much I’ve ruined my beautiful body by filling it with gravy and chips for a solid ten years. At least I get a brownie point when he asks if I smoke and I get to say only after sex, because then he remembers I’m married and therefore that means two cigarettes a year. I certainly can’t claim I’m tee-total anymore, given we’ve now got a giant bookshelf full of hard liquor.

Liquor? I barely knew her!

Paul dealt with the man who came to test our boiler. This is possibly the most terrifying thing for me – we’ve touched upon my hatred of having anyone in my house who isn’t delivering food and boiler men are no exception. See, to get into our loft (we’re a bungalow) you climb through a hatch in the ceiling via a strong metal ladder that comes down automatically. Yes, that is the most pointless sentence I’ve ever managed to write – you’re hardly going to trampoline into the fucker, are you? When Paul steps on this ladder, it doesn’t so much strain as shriek.

I’ve watched enough Air Crash Investigation to know what metal fatigue is and this ladder is absolutely fucking knackered. I try to ask Paul to make sure the ladder is locked before we have anyone climb up so it doesn’t snap down but he ignores me on the basis I’m being irrational. Of course I’m irrational – you’re talking to someone who diagnosed himself with a brain tumour because his ears were warm, for goodness sake. I have visions of some gruff type climbing the ladder only for it to plunge down on his hands and cleave his fingers right off. Paul always looks at me non-plussed as I try to demonstrate why this is a bad thing by thumping my palm on a piano or clumsily trying to pick up a pen with a balled fist. Jeez. As it happens, the guy went up the ladder like a rat up a drainpipe, banged around a bit, confirmed that our boiler wasn’t killing us and beat a hasty retreat.

He’s probably been warned by either the last guy who went up into the loft only to be confronted with a big old box of free condoms that well, we don’t have much use for, or the alarm guy who couldn’t help but notice the douching bulb that was unfortunately sat on top of the alarm box. Meh. I hope we’re not getting a reputation – although actually, I did put ‘If you’re quick, I might nosh you off 😉 Paul xxx’ on our Just-Eat order last night knowing that Paul would have to get the door when the delivery man came. That was my revenge for Paul writing ‘I <3 COCK’ on the back of my car and letting me drive it around for a week. Do you know, I wasn’t so angry with that as the fact I didn’t get one beep’n’leer from passing lorry drivers.

We also arranged for new cleaners, too. Which I know sounds terribly frou-frou but hey, got to spend the huge advertising spoils somehow. Our last cleaner was great at cleaning but ridiculously expensive (only because she came from Sunderland, so we had to pay danger money) and used to leave the TV tuned to MTV Clubland at full volume, which was a fright when we came home from a hard day’s graft. Nothing says …aaaand relax like some harpie more herpes than woman screaming ‘BUY CLUBLAAAAAND EIIIIIGHTY-SIIIIIX NAAAAAAAW’ over some sped-up Faithless.

We did manage to cause instant intrigue by telling them they must never enter our bedroom. I know, suspicious, but I don’t want anyone seeing our black sheets and thinking they’re a Jackson Pollock homage. I know they’ll have seen it all before but still. They start on Friday and seem like lovely people, so fingers crossed.

Finally, we fixed our cat. He’s been licking away at his knob all summer. I know what you’re thinking, we’d all do it if we were able, but I reckon he’d probably scratch your face if you tried. We had him checked to make sure he could urinate properly (he can, and evidenced the fact by having a long, luxurious piss on the vet’s table when she squeezed him) and all was fine. But still he persists. It seems I can’t go outside without seeing him sitting on the path in front of the neighbours licking away at himself with his bumhole on show. They must think our lifestyle is catching. One of our neighbours absolutely hates our cats – he’s taken to staring furiously at the cats whilst they pad about in our garden. I’m not sure who he thinks he is scaring, but honestly, even a cat wouldn’t be intimidated by a man who looks like he bought all of the clothes he’ll ever need in one trip to Woolworths in the seventies. He’s the same man who once came pounding on our door inviting us to look at the shit one of our cats had apparently done in his flower-bed – notably how large it was. I wasn’t sure if he was expecting us to stick a 1st prize rosette on it or something. We just let him go red in the face.

Anyway, turns out our cat is allergic to fleas. He doesn’t have fleas, which is lucky, but every time he fights with another cat who has been in contact with fleas it makes his skin itchy then he bites away at it, hence the sore bit around his knob. Our vet, a very jolly woman who looked like a farmer’s wife from a James Herriott novel, and had bigger hands than I did, manhandled poor Bowser this way and that and then gave him an injection. He already seems much happier. I was less happy when I was presented with the bill – £49! For one injection. I mean, he’s worth it, don’t get me wrong, but what the hell did she inject him with? Saffron via a diamond syringe? He’s fully insured but that’s too little to claim, meaning we’ll just need to soak it up. Things between us and the cat were tense on the car-ride home, with Paul barely slowing the Smart car down as we passed over the speed-bump into the street and the cat sulking all the way home.

It’s a relief to know that I might not be woken up by looking directly into Bowser’s balloon-knot tomorrow morning, though.

Right, let’s get this wrapped up. Great British Bake-Off is on soon and I need to prepare myself for an hour of looking furiously at things I’ll never have and idly wondering whether Mary Berry ever climbed our loft ladder.

Now, when Paul suggested beef with cumin, I got entirely the wrong end of the stick and that he’d finally lost his mind, Dahmer-style, but no, apparently I’m just being silly. Of course! However, the other name for this recipe is hunan beef, and that looks just a little bit too close to human beef. So either way we’re fucked. All you need to know is this is a simple, quick dish with lots of flavour and a decent way of getting kale into the diet. Of course, the best way to enjoy kale is to hurl it maniacally into a bin and then seal the bin in concrete lest any of that earthy, crinkly shite escapes, but in the meantime, here we are…

quick sticky beef with kale

to make quick sticky beef with kale you will need:

  • 400g stir-fry beef strips (or use diced beef and cut each cube in half) – you get beef strips (much tastier than queef strips) in our Musclefood deals, yes you do, which are just perfect – and plus you get tonnes of mince and chicken too – what’s not to enjoy about that – click here for that
  • 1 tbsp sherry (about 1 syn)
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (1 syn)
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 6 big handfuls of kale
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2 syns)

Now I post this periodically, but just a reminder: if you buy ginger, buy a big knob and keep it in the freezer, grating it when you need it. It’ll keep quite happily in there and saves a lot of money on wasted knobs. And yes, I know, I know, but get one of these mincers for your garlic and ginger. Much easier. MUCH EASIER. And so cheap. You could make this serve 4 but listen, we didn’t get where we are eating little portions, so pull out your trough and make it serve two.

to make quick sticky beef with kale you should:

  • mix together the sherry, dark and light soy sauce, cornflour and 1 tbsp of warm water and pour over the beef – leave to marinade for about 20 minutes
  • in a large pan, heat some oil from your favourite spray dispenser over a high heat and add the garlic, ginger and chilli flakes and cook for about a minute
  • add the beef and cook for another three minutes or so
  • add the kale and cook for another few minutes, until it has all wilted – keep stirring!
  • add the cumin and stir well – cook for another minutes or two
  • turn off the heat, add the spring onions and sesame oil, stir and serve with rice

Easy. As. That.

Right, if you’re looking for more fakeaway recipes, beef recipes or, shit, why not, soup recipes, why don’t you just click on these buttons like a big man?

beefsmallfakeawayssmall    soupsmall

Yeah that’s right.

J

strawberry jelly pots – and it’s good to talk

The strawberry jelly pots are right below the next bit. Honest.

I spotted something interesting in the papers today (ok ok, I’m sorry, it was on the Sidebar of Shame on the Daily Mail – I’m mortified enough to be viewing it at work on my lunch computer that I cover most of it with some fisting porn in case anyone gets the wrong idea). Chiselled, Australian hunk Chris Hemsworth was wearing a t-shirt with ‘it’s not weak to speak’, which links to a mental health charity in Australia who are trying to get across the message that people shouldn’t feel ashamed about suffering from a mental illness.

He’s spot on, and I’m not just saying that because he could cheerfully sit on my face and pedal my ears. I’ve written about my anxiety before and I describe it as a slow rollercoaster – it’s always going to be there in the background, but most of the time I’m on an ‘up’ and don’t really notice it – or at least, I can take control of it. My anxiety manifests itself through health anxiety – I don’t have panic attacks (much) or depression, but I fall into the trap of analysing every little quirk of my body and thinking it is something sinister.

Well, unfortunately, I’m in a pretty big dip at the moment. It all started a couple of weeks ago when my left hand started going intermittently numb and tingly, something as innocuous as that. I’d been feeling great for over a year so this came as a bit of a surprise. I reassured myself that it was nothing to be concerned about and that worked for a fair while, but the fact that it comes and goes troubles me. Here’s how my mind works:

  • rational mind: I sleep on my arm a lot, I’ve been having problems with my neck, it’ll be a pinched nerve, the fact that it comes and goes is a good sign, I can still grip, I hold my iPad up in bed for an hour each morning using my hand so it’s no wonder it’s struggling a little
  • irrational mind: muscle weakness and tingliness is a sign of MS (which is my big fear), it’s definitely happening, can’t be anything else.

PLEASE: I don’t want any comments confirming my irrational thoughts, no tips to go see a neurologist – nothing. Feel free to comment if you sometimes get a tingly hand and you know it’s because you’ve pinched a nerve or something!

What then happens is a constant struggle between being rational (95% of the time) and 5% being irrational. Because I’m distracted by thoughts of something scary, I become hyper-aware of everything. How I speak – if I stumble over my words, it’s because my brain is turning to cheese. If my knees hurt (which given my weight is no bloody surprise) it’s because my muscles are atrophying. Because I’m up a height, I don’t sleep too well at night, which in turns means I’m knackered during the day – and then I worry because I have no energy, I keep forgetting things and my vision goes blurry – all of which happen when people get tired, but all of which add to my worries.

It’s exhausting. I’ve beaten it before, I’ll beat it again. It’s just a quirk of my body. I’m at the doctors on Wednesday and I’ll mention all of the above on the off-chance it is something to be worried about, but it’ll be nothing, I’m sure. I end up feeling guilty because it’s almost like I’m making a mockery of those with genuine concerns, but see, this is a genuine concern to me.

But here’s why I’m mentioning it – I’m lucky, because I’ve got Paul, family and friends to talk to. Although I’m pretty good at dealing with this stuff myself, Paul’s always there to reassure me that I’m shaky because I’ve had two tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, not because I’ve got Parkinsons, or that I don’t have dementia because I’m able to tell him the room number from our trip to New York. It helps so much to be honest. If you’re out there and feeling blue, find someone to talk to, even if it’s just yourself in the mirror. If you’re feeling fine, take a moment to speak to someone who you’re worried about, or listen to people if they’re trying to tell you they’re not right. It’s the small gestures that make a difference to people’s lives.

As for me, don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I’ll come right back around and crack on. Sorry to be a downer!

In the meantime, let’s get to the dessert! To be fair, I hardly think it needs a recipe! This made enough for four glasses like the one you see below.

strawberry jelly pots

to make strawberry jelly pots, you’ll need:

  • one sachet of no added sugar jelly made up as instructed  (1.5 syns)
  • fat-free vanilla yoghurt (choose a syn-free variety)
  • 100g of strawberries (supposedly 1.5 syns if you cook them, which I doubt, but let’s be true to Slimming World)
  • mint for garnish

So that’s three syns, serving four, which I reckon is about half a syn each. A fraction more mathematically, but look, I’m not Carol fucking Vorderman.

to make strawberry jelly pots, you should:

  • make up the jelly as instructed and get four clean glasses out – preferably something like the ones pictured above
  • find yourself a muffin tray
  • fill each glass with exactly the same amount of jelly and put the glass, tilted about 45 degrees, into the muffin tray (the muffin tray stops it tipping over) – you don’t want the jelly to reach right to the top of the glass, leave a little bit of room
  • put into the fridge for about six hours
  • once they’re set, fill the other side with the vanilla yoghurt
  • chop the strawberries up and put them into a pan with just a drop of hot water – heat gently until the fruit breaks down and then thickens a little
  • top the pots carefully with this strawberry jam and garnish with a mint leaf!

Super easy. Now if you’re looking for more dessert ideas, you can find them by clicking here!

dessertsmall

J

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

We’re all itching for the proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, but honestly, like I’m going to let that happen without some flimflam first.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I might have changed his wording a little, but damn it, this is my blog not his. He’s absolutely right, though. I’ll give you an example – I have many, many cake and cooking tins from the halcyon days way back when when I used to bake all the time and delight my friends and co-workers with biscuits, cakes and goodies. Now all they get is barely disguised contempt and secretive farts into my office chair. One of these tins is a fancy Lakeland square tin with one of those bottoms that you push up (same as Paul) to release the cake. Great idea. Has it ever worked? Has it balls.

Does that stop me trying it? Of course not. No, every time a recipe requires something square, out it comes. I spend a few minutes looking owlishly at it, demanding that it doesn’t leak, then proceed with the recipe. This time it was for a fancy quiche – lots of cheese, egg whites, decent ham. I spent an age cutting up the onion, sweating them down, making everything just right. Popped the mixture into this non-leak square tin, placed the tin in the oven, turned my back for one moment to set Just a Minute away on the iPad and turned around to see all the beaten egg dripping out of the oven. My kitchen floor looked like the gusset of a £5 prostitute’s knickers. It would have been more effective had I left the removable bottom off.

Well I was furious. I’d given this fucking tin enough chances. Yes, I could line it, but it was sold to me on the basis I didn’t need to line the fucker and I’m not going to be dictated to by Lakeland. I salvaged the contents of the quiche into a Pyrex dish, covered it with egg-white and took the scalding hot square tin outside, where I set about it with a sledgehammer. Do I feel better? Yes, I do, and I’m all set if I ever want to make a rhombus-shaped christmas cake.

Anyway, that’s the only wrinkle in an otherwise lovely, quiet weekend. You know we aren’t ones for doing anything that requires more movement than entirely necessary, and that was certainly the case on Saturday, when we literally moved from the bed to the settee and back to the bed. We make no apologies, we have busy working weeks. But last night Paul turned to me and said, through a fine mist of pastry crumbs and spittle, that I was to wake him up early in the morning and not let him sleep in late. Pffft. Let me explain how weekend mornings work in our house.

I wake up about 8.30am, always have. I’m not one for sleeping all day – once my eyes open, I’m awake and that’s the end of it, thank you. Knowing he is tired, I’ll generally stay in bed until half nine so Paul has something to lie against and act as ballast to stop him tipping onto his front and drowning in his chin-fat. I’m like one of those tyres you see strapped onto the side of piers for the ferry to rub against. He’ll murmur incoherent nonsense in my ear, put a clammy hand around my belly and fart those indescribably foul morning farts in my general direction all the while. I don’t know what his body does to food overnight but I swear you could power a small city on the strength of his morning flatus. He chuckles away to himself whilst he lets them out, which I do find endearing as I’m clawing at my throat trying to find oxygen.

At around half nine, I get bored with looking at Reddit, not masturbating and spending our money and decide to wake Paul up. This is a complicated process. First I’ll start by cuddling in so he gets far too hot, but then he just moves away or lets out a warning fart, making me retreat. The next step is to start shaking the bed by jiggling on the spot, but that does nothing other than occasionally illicit a cry from him to ‘STOP WANKING’. Plus, our bed is so ridiculously oversized that by the time the tremors eventually hit him, it’s usually nighttime again.

advert - summer-01

With the shaking of the bed bearing no fruit, I turn to shaking him directly, starting off with the buttocks, moving up to the stomach and then, if that doesn’t work, his shoulders. This normally does the trick and after he’s wiped the sleep from his eyes and tried his luck with Little Paul (not happening, matey, not without a shower and caustic acid) he reassures me that he’s going to get out of bed as soon as he’s ‘done his stretches’ and could I make him a coffee? I’m happy with this – I’ll mince, invariably stark-bollock-naked, into the kitchen, make him a coffee and return only to find him fast asleep and pulling that face that reminds me awfully of what I imagine his mother looks like when she hasn’t had the formaldehyde in her tank topped up. At this point I generally take a huff and set about cleaning the kitchen instead, which really only punishes me instead of him. At 11 I’ll go in, flap the duvet, wake him up and tell him to get up. At 11.30 I normally go in and take the duvet away altogether, which only results in him sleep-farting more in an effort to heat the room.

Noon means the nuclear option. I’ve touched on this before, but we’ve got speakers in each room of the house that can be controlled centrally via the iPad. These ones, if you please. They’re useful for cleaning – a bit of Dolly in the bathroom, some Radio 4 in the kitchen. Great stuff. At noon, I choose the worst song I can possibly find, turn the volume up to 100 so the bass shakes your fillings out, sneak in and muffle it a little with a towel so I don’t deafen the fucker, then on goes something genuinely frightening: We Want The Same Thing by Belinda Carlisle has a very loud intro, for example. There’s been Minnie Riperton singing Loving You, too, but that starts out slowly. This morning was Magic Dance from Labyrinth, which worked, but only because he was laughing so much.

I called him Hoggle, he called me DCI Vera Stanhope. Paul was awake and all was right with the world again.

Seriously though, what does fuck me off just a smidge (if you’re reading this, my little clartyarse) is that he’ll invariably turn to me fifteen minutes after getting up and say ‘you really need to start waking me up earlier’. How we both laugh as I imagine waking him up with petrol and matches.

Anyway, come, let’s get to the quiche. I really miss quiche when I’m dieting, not least because the Slimming World equivalents are usually full of cottage cheese and empty in taste. It’s the food equivalent of eating a bath sponge, only at least with a sponge you get the excitement of wondering whether you’ll choke to death to alleviate the crashing boredom. I’ve seen quiches made with Pasta and Sauces and I think, all the very best to you, but that’s not really for me. No, I need cheese, eggs, chest pains and flavour. So, here we are.

One compromise I’ve had to make is the pastry. There’s no way that you can bring pastry in under Slimming World’s radar, I’m sorry. Decent pastry is butter and flour combined, there’s not much that can be done without your consultant (hey consultants, big fan!) having a conniption fit and sobbing into her fan of stickers. However, salvation lies in the form of sweet potatoes. Yes, that’s right.

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

Seriously, look at the top of that. This makes enough for six large portions served with salad.

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

to make a proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, you’ll need:

  • one large sweet potato
  • a decent, non-stick pyrex dish that’ll not spill your dinner everywhere
  • three thick slices of ham – we got ours chopped at the deli counter, you want it about a cm thick (or use bog standard stuff if you want)
  • two large red onions
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125ml of 1% milk (from a HEA allowance, although 100ml is only two syns, so if you want, divide by six for less than half a syn per portion)
  • the whites from four more eggs
  • whatever cheese you want – I used 140g of Danish blue cheese – 35g is a HEA
  • pinch of mustard
  • bit of salt
  • lots of black pepper

to make a proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, you should:

  • slice your sweet potato – you want thickish slices and to save time and make this easier, use a mandolin – the one we use is currently reduced on Amazon, so it is
  • take your pyrex dish, give it a few squirts of spray oil and then layer the sweet potato on top of each other, covering the bottom and a little of the sides – don’t worry about the fact it doesn’t look uniform, that’s fine
  • put that into a preheated oven at 190 degrees for 25 minutes or so
  • whilst that’s cooking, cut up your onion nice and fine and sweat it off in a pan – I added a pinch of fresh thyme because I am one classy fucker
  • cut up the ham into nice cubes and crumble your cheese up
  • in a jug mix the egg whites, two large eggs, 125ml of 1% milk, pinch of mustard powder, salt and pepper
  • once your sweet potatoes are done, take them out of the oven, push them around a bit to make sure there are no major holes in the bottom of the dish
  • layer on the onion, the cubed ham, the cheese and then the egg mixture
  • cook in the oven for around 30 minutes on 200 degrees – make sure it doesn’t burn, but also, it’ll be a wee bit wobbly when it comes out, leave to cool and it’ll firm up nicely
  • I mean, do use your common sense though – if it looks like you could pour it on your cereal, cook it a bit longer
  • how easy was that?

You can swap out the cheese but don’t be adding mushrooms or tomatoes, they add liquid. I think this should be freezable, but not sure. Portion it up for lunches or, more realistically, eat the whole lot and spend the rest of the night on the toilet clutching your poor eggbound belly.

Looking for more ideas with pork or even taster nights (which you could take this quiche too, if you were feeling generous?) – click the buttons below! You could make this veggie too, so I’m including that link.

porksmalltastersmallvegetariansmall

Over and out!

J

ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni

Genuinely just a quick post tonight before we get to the ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni, but first, can someone answer me one question?

Why do people write on their own walls? Hear me out. Chunkles and I were watching Britain’s Benefit Tenants yesterday, laughing at the poor inbetween handfuls of caviar and swigs of champagne. Not quite – we had been watching something on Channel 4, the remote fell out of reach and we couldn’t be arsed to switch over. It was illuminating. I’m not going to get into the whole ‘landlords are bad’ / ‘tenants are scum’ because obviously there’s good and bad on all sides, but it did make me think, not least whether there a direct correlation between neon pink walls and jet black teeth.

What troubles me is the state of some of the houses. Look, I can be as slobby as the next person, but unless you’re unwell, there’s very little reason for your house to be so unclean. You see the same old tropes – the writing of names on the wall (why? WHY? It’s not even graffiti on an outside wall, just shit scribbling and the inevitable weed leaf on the living room wall), dried up dog poo in the kitchen and, in the garden, a broken Fisher Price slide that someone stepped through back in 2005 and two dogs so inbred and vicious that they’re fighting their own feet.

Now, I know, I’ve always been lucky in that, so far, I’ve always been gainfully employed and in reasonable health, so until I moved into the house I own, I always paid my rent. I do wonder if I was a mug for doing so, though, given it seems to be a-ok for someone to rent a house, smash it up and then move on to be rehoused. It’s why we don’t buy our own property to rent out – I’d be fucking livid if someone decided it was an appropriate reaction to kick their foot through my internal walls. Oh and plus, if we were landlords, I know we’d be the type you see on Crimewatch rubbing our thighs and suggesting ‘we come to other arrangements’ if the tenant so much as called in to report a leaky tap.

Anyway, speaking of stuffing tubes, let’s get straight to the ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni recipe, shall we? We used to make a variation on this all the time back in our proper Slimming World days when we took it seriously (cough) but that involved cottage cheese and sweetener. God knows why. This is proper food! We took inspiration from a blog called flavourbender which won us over on name alone. This makes enough for four.

1.5 syn ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni

to make ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni, you’ll need:

  • 10 large canneloni tubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced (mince mince mince, mince mince mince, shake your mincer…with this)
  • lots of salt and pepper
  • 270g of ricotta (90g is one HEA or six syns – this serves four – so if you want to syn it, it’s 4.5 syns per serving)
  • 150g of quark
  • 30g of parmesan (which is one HEA, or six syns – so again, between four, it’s 1.5 syns per serving)
  • one 400g packet of extra-lean beef mince (use one from our Musclefood deal – perfect size, perfect quality – click here to order)
  • one carrot
  • one stalk of celery
  • one large onion
  • one carton of passata

So, per serving, it’ll be either 1.5 syns or maximum of 6 syns per serving.

to make ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  • chop your onion, carrot and celery nice and fine, and sweat them off in a squirt or two of oil in a decent non-stick pan
  • add the minced garlic
  • add the mince and brown it off
  • add the passata, a pinch of salt, and let them simmer away gently so it thickens up
  • put your canneloni tubes in boiling water for a few minutes just to soften them up, though we didn’t actually bother and although it was a bit chewy, we still enjoyed it
  • in a seperate pan, tip all the spinach in with a tiny drop of water and put a lid on it – let the spinach wilt right down, then drain, squeeze, squeeze again, squeeze like it’s the windpipe of that bitch/bastard you hate, then chop it nice and fine
  • mix the ricotta, parmesan and quark together with the chopped spinach and a good pinch of salt and pepper to make the filling for the tubes
  • get the dish you’re going to cook everything in the oven with and put a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom
  • push the ricotta mix into the tubes – you can either do this by using your fingers like the filthy slattern you are, or tip the ricotta mix into a sandwich bag, tie it up at the top and cut a corner off on the bottom – voila, instant icing bag – much easier
  • place each filled tube into the dish and then cover the lot with the remainder of the tomato sauce
  • add more cheese on top if you dare, I won’t tell if you won’t
  • cover with tin foil and cook in the oven for 20 or so minutes, then remove the foil, whack the heat up to 210, and cook for another 15 minutes or so until the cheese is golden and the pasta is soft

Serve! Pretty easy, right? Again, it’s one of those recipes that sounds like a lot of instructions but actually, is dead easy. If you want more beef or pasta ideas, click on the buttons below! You could make this veggie by leaving out the beef and adding more veg to the sauce, so I’ve whacked in the veggie recipes link too.

beefsmallpastasmallvegetariansmall

Cheers all.

J

 

mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps

Have you stumbled onto this blog, face agog with the idea of a mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps, but Slimming World friendly? Well, you’ve come to the right place. But first, some nonsense. There’s always nonsense!

I had a half day off work today. Now, that might not sound very exciting – a Tuesday afternoon all to myself – but it was glorious. I love Paul to bits (even if he cuddled into me the other night, whispered ‘who has a sexy arse…’ and then followed it up with ‘not yours, your arse smells like death‘) but see a day where I can do my own thing and trot about is never a bad time. I decided, possibly against my better judgement, to go for a walk in the woods again – this time to a place called Plankey Mill. The weather decided to play ball, my morning’s work wasn’t too strenuous and, with all of the impulsiveness of someone who says he is trying to save money but finds the whole affair rather boring, I bought two annual passes for me and Chubs McGee for the National Trust so that I wouldn’t have to pay £2 for parking. Makes sense, right?

I did, somewhat mischievously, put myself down as a doctor (I have health anxiety, I spend all day diagnosing myself with various illnesses, so it sort of works) and Paul does as a ‘Rear Admiral’. Well, he’s certainly swabbed more than his fair share of poop decks, the filthy swine.

Plankey Mill is a charming walk along the River Allen and we used to go there a lot as children, possibly because it was free, possibly because my parents were hoping we’d fall in and be swept away to pastures new so they could jet off to Ayia Napa and open an English Breakfasts bar called Sticky Fingers. I remember it fondly through nicotine-tinted glasses and thought it would be the perfect place to spend an afternoon. I remember reading that most of the path had been swept away in 2014 but thought that the National Trust must have sorted it by now, given they had Rear Admirals in their ranks.

I was right, but only sort of. I turned off the A69 just outside of Hexham after spending a good ten minutes shouting animatedly at the back of a caravan, who I can assure you was in absolutely no rush at all, thank you very much. When I eventually managed to overtake I snuck a glance at the driver and yep, easily 125 years old, driving with that eyes-on-the-road-fixed-lips-no-nonsense expression that they always have. I like to think he pulled over later and felt guilty about holding up the traffic, or, even better, drove into a tree in an explosion of MDF and travel kettle shrapnels. Either or.

The first problem arose when, after lulling me into a false sense of security with one bold road sign, the directions to Plankey Mill suddenly stopped, and I found myself hurtling along single-file tracks with only sheep nodding at me as company. After farting about for a good twenty minutes I decided, somewhat reasonably I might add, that it was unlikely that a river walk would take place at the very top of a hill, and so spun the car around and down an unmarked path. After half a mile or so of uncertainty, a tiny sign that I assume Emperor Hadrian put up as a side-project appeared and I knew I was on the right path. Sadly, there was someone else on my path, an Audi coming in my direction. Single file, remember.

Now, because this is going to make me sound like an arsehole, let me preface the next bit with a simple fact: she drove past TWO passing places and then up the hill AFTER she saw me. I had nowhere to pull over. Look, I’m no good with words, so I built you a CGI representation using only the top-end computer software. It took me hours:

explain

So there she was, in her spotless white Audi, nasty cheap sunglasses making her look like a bee, all but demanding I reverse my car back up the twisty turny hill. Well, no, that’s not happening. I stood my ground. So did she. Mexican stand-off style. Eventually she folded like a cheap suit and began the labourious process of reversing down the twists and turns, only she did such a piss-poor job of it she ended up in the muddy verge twice AND she had to go back to the first passing point she passed as in the time it had taken her to realise that an Audi doesn’t mean she’s Queen of the Road (my title), another car had pulled in behind her.

I make no apologies for it, I really don’t. I gave her a sickly little wave and a tinkly  ‘thanks EVER so much’ as I drove past her and she looked absolutely furious. You can imagine just how much distress that gave me. I carried down the track and eventually ended up where I remember we used to park way back when, in a little field by the river.

Only now – of course – the farmer had decided that he really ought to squeeze a few pennies from everyone and had put a gate on the road, only accessible by the payment of £2 into the honesty box. I know, it’s £2, but come on. This is what I hate about Britain – if there’s a chance to shake some money out of your pockets, by god people will find it. Already grumbling, I parked up amongst discarded disposable BBQs, empty bottles and other such nonsense. It was a mess and a bloody shame. Nevertheless, I decided to crack on and make the best of it, knowing that the beauty of the countryside would soon envelop me. I fair pranced over the wee bridge crossing the river (though I was surprised not to find the farmer at the other end asking me for £3 towards the wear and tear I’d placed on the steel cabling) and happened across another sign. Perhaps it would warn me of poisonous plants or a diversion or something else equally as arresting.

No, the bloody path was closed. The 2014 landslide had taken away a good chunk of the path and it just wasn’t safe. I did ponder as to whether they were planning on waiting for another flood to see if a replacement bridge would be washed down the river but the thought provided little comfort. The sign did helpfully point out that there was another path back over the river that would take me to roughly where I wanted to be – all I had to do was to follow the path marked in brown. Listen, I’ve been following ‘the brown path’ all my life, mate, and even the thought of an extra mile didn’t deter me.

The fucking cliffs did, though. Brown path my arse! I crossed the river, searched high and low for the start of the brown path (clearly marked it said – with what, a sheer rock face?) and could I buggery find it? There was no path. Of course not. Perhaps if I’d thought ahead to bring my crampons (in fact, I would need to have thought even further ahead than that, as I’d need to learn what a fucking crampon is first) I could have deftly made my way along like a morbidly obese Spiderman, but no. Hmm.

On the verge of giving up, I spotted one more public footpath heading in the opposite direction and made for it, only to find the very first field was full of cows. I hate cows. They trouble me. Yeah, they’re happy enough eating all day and shitting everywhere, but so is Paul, and I don’t have the risk of being turned into a lumpy paste on the floor by him. You can’t trust a cow, especially when they’re hot and skittish. Speaking of hot meat…


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I threw up my hands in a camp display of annoyance, stomped back to the car and sulked for five minutes. All I wanted to do was to walk: how rare to hear someone of my bulk say that. But no! Plus I’d wasted two fucking pound to park my car, read a sign and be disappointed from quite literally every direction. I spun the car round, made for the gate, waited for someone with a face like a charity shop handbag to fumble the catch and open the gate for me, and sped off.

Luckily, my day was saved a mere mile or two later, when I spotted the actual car park I should have parked in, Staward Gorge. Oops. Clearly I was too busy singing along to something shite on the radio as I had managed to drive past it twice on my way in. Bah! It was quiet, though, and after sticking my temporary Rear Admiral badge in the window, I left the car and headed up into the forest, and it was wonderful. Very hilly in places, yes, and my ankles were protesting almost as soon as I got out of the car, but I walked for an hour or so in one direction before returning to the car, only passing a couple of old folk and a committed hiker on the way.

Can I quickly mention those hikers who go out for a quick walk in the country and yet dress up like they’re trekking the Hindu Kush? I can understand a trekking pole if you’re a little unsteady, but I passed one guy who looked, from a distance, like he was being fucked from behind by a wardrobe clad in rustling, luminous polyester. That can’t be comfortable. I’d understand if he was walking Hadrian’s Wall or similar, but it’s a 5 mile loop and frankly, if I can shift my colossal bulk around it without too much bother in my work shoes and Tesco Finest work trousers, so can he. I was tempted to ask if he was selling pegs when he walked past but frankly, he had a crazy look in his eye and I didn’t want to be found two months on face-down in the bushes with a telescopic peg hammer wedged in my arse.

I do recommend the walk, though – I can’t tell you how much I love living in Northumberland. The place is awash with beautiful, hidden idylls like this. Yes, you’ll break a sweat, but the feeling of reaching the top, being brought back to life with a National Trust defibrillator and then taking in the views of the rolling fields, shaded forest and little swirling river below, well, nothing beats it. I made my way back, cheer restored. One thing to note: I decided to go for a piss before the drive back only to find a big warning sign on the door from the National Trust telling me ‘HONEY BEES ARE NESTING IN THE ROOF – PLEASE USE CAUTION’. Caution? Nevermind fucking caution, use fucking napalm!

I jest, I’m all for bees, my garden is full of bee-friendly flowers, but christ almighty, there’s a time and a place and it’s not when I’ve got my cock out, I can assure you. I did think about chancing it, reasoning that if the danger was that high they’d shut the loo – but when I creaked open the door and heard the very loud, very threatening buzzing, I minced right back to the car, the need to urinate completely gone. All down my leg. No, not quite, but goodness me – who needs that type of threat when they’re having a piss? They might as well have put ‘Shit carefully, folks, as we’ve rigged one of the toilet seats with plastic explosives and a depth charge’. I haven’t heard such terrifying buzzing since I lived with Mary and I accidentally turned on what I thought was her thermos flask but turned out to be her robocock. I’m surprised she didn’t chip her teeth, the dirty bitch.

I decided to cap the day off with a visit to Brockbrushes (our local pick your own fruit affair), but after parking up and negotiating – in turn – the sausage shop, the ice-cream parlour, the garden furniture stand, the farm shop, the coffee shop, the herb garden, the bouncy castle, the second bouncy castle, the cheese stand and then finally, FINALLY, the bloody place where you get the baskets to go pick your own, I was told that they had no fruit. No raspberries to pick, no blackcurrants, no redcurrants, no nothing. Strawberries were ‘very limited’, apparently. I did ask the guy behind the counter if there was anything I could pick in the hope he’d at least have a sense of humour and suggest ‘your arse’ (like I would have) but he just shook his head grimly. This annoys me – picking your own fruit is literally the point of a pick-your-own-fruit farm. If they have no fruit, fair enough, but then put a bloody sign up on your fancy smiling strawberry sign by the side of the A1. Don’t waste my time. I took a huff and walked back to the car, stopping only to admire some farm-made cheese before realising I only have £270 in my wallet and thus, couldn’t afford it. I came home.

Now, that probably all sounds like I had a rotten day, but listen, I thrive on any excuse to have a moan and a whinge. I’m never happier then I am when I have something to kvetch silently to myself about. It’s just a shame for you guys that this is my outlet for it and you’re treated to 2000 words on what amounts to me driving to a river, walking a couple of miles and not buying strawberries. But you love it, you know you do.

What you’re going to definitely love, though, is this recipe. See, McDonalds isn’t great food, but it fills a hole and we bloody love their chicken wraps. But oh no: they’re between 17 to 25 syns or so each. Not worth that much. So we decided to make our own. Here follows the recipe! This makes enough for four wraps.

mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps

to make mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps, you’ll need:

  • 2 chicken breasts (which easily makes enough for four wraps, so if there’s only two of you, you only need one) (especially if you’re using a chicken breast from our Musclefood deal – click here – because you could beat someone to death with one of these)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 30g panko (6 syns) mixed with black pepper
  • 125g fat – free natural yoghurt (fat-free, watch your syns)
  • lettuce
  • cucumber
  • four wraps – one BFree wrap is currently a HEB, but do check

Panko is a dried breadcrumb which is super crunchy and tasty. Buy it in big supermarkets or on Amazon by clicking here. If you can’t find it, whiz up a breadbun, but remember to syn it – though even then it’ll only be 1.5 syn per person if you use one breadbun for all the chicken.

to make mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps, you should:

  • cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make four thin breasts
  • dip each chicken breast into the beaten egg, shake off the excess and then dip in the panko
  • spray with a little spray oil and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes – you’ll get nice crunchy chicken
  • cut each chicken breast into three strips
  • heat the wrap for a moment or two in a dry frying pan
  • assemble the wrap by laying out the lettuce and cucumber, and then place the three strips of chicken on top
  • add a good dollop of whichever sauce from below tickles your fancy
  • fold the wrap up from the bottom, and then tuck in from the sides

Now, here are the four variants to help sex up your mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps:

  • to make a garlic mayo wrap: mix together 1 tsp garlic powder and 2 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise (Morrisons NuMe mayonnaise is just 1 syn per tablespoon!)
  • to make a sweet chilli wrap: making your own sweet chilli sauce is a clart on – pick up a supermarket one, which is roughly 1½ syns per tablespoon)
  • to make a BBQ bacon and chicken wrap: grill two bacon medallions (they’re in our MF box!) and make up the sauce from this recipe or use supermarket BBQ sauce for about a syn per tablespoon
  • to make the hot peri peri chicken one: mix together 125g fat free natural yoghurt, 1 tsp dried garlic, 1 tbsp sriracha (½ syn per tablespoon) and ½ tsp salt

We nicked the sleeves from the chicken wraps we had to buy from McDonalds to do the comparison with. I know, it’s a hard life. If you’re struggling to fold your flaps in, and I understand that’s a problem that comes with age, buy one of these wee things – it’ll hold your wrap!

Eee yes, we do spoil you. If you enjoyed our ‘taking a naughty meal and making a low syn version’ why not have a look at our KFC chicken zinger tower burger? If that doesn’t give you a wide-on, nothing will!

Looking for more fakeaway or chicken ideas? Click the buttons below…

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Mwah!

J

oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham

There is literally no way of writing oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham without getting a queasy feeling in the stomach. It just doesn’t sound appetising, does it? The same way that you could never describe a pedicure as refreshing or having your anus watched out with water as cleansing. But bear with me: it tastes lovely and makes for a far more substantial breakfast. But before we get to it, a couple of things to consider.

I want to take a moment to say thank you to each and all of you for the lovely comments and messages I received after my previous post about advertising and the snooty comment that some boorish fartface left complaining that our advertising was out of control. There wasn’t a single message agreeing with her and everyone was exceptionally kind. I’d thank you all individually but I’m lazy, so please accept my thanks this way! We’ll say no more about the whole sorry mess and move on.

Bitch

I nearly died yesterday. OK so yes, I’m prone to melodrama and perhaps I wasn’t as close to death as that dramatic opening sentence suggests, but honestly. See, Paul told me he had to go into work and move his desk around – presumably pulling it further away from the wall so he can get his gunt behind it – and that left me with an afternoon to fill. What were my options? Stay at home watching the Olympics and masturbating? Not likely, it was diving. I’m not a fan. Paul and I can cheerfully watch the weight-lifting as men built like bridge pillars come out and hurl weights around – part of us is watching because they’re hot, part of us is scare-watching in case someone has an anal prolapse and everything comes pouring out like someone stepped on a sausage roll. There’s some things you don’t need to see in 65″ ultra HD, I can assure you.

So, given it was a nice day and I’m a lazy, lazy man, I thought it would be a good idea to take myself out for a walk. Growing up I was forever out walking about – it’s how I lost so much weight in my late teens – and I’ve fallen out of step (boom boom) with that since meeting Paul and learning how to drive. Paul is wonderful but he’d take the car to go to the bathroom for a piss if he could. Actually, he probably could do that now he has a car that Polly Pocket herself could drive. I used to adore tramping about in the woods with nothing but my bottle of tapwater, knock-off Rockports (Rickparts by George at ASDA) and a crappy little MP3 player that a friend gave me that I loaded up with downloaded episodes of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. No regrets! With that joyous image of young me in my mind, I asked Paul to drop me off at the nearby Plessey Woods and to pick up me up three hours later when I called him with my location.

Well, honestly. I knew from about three minutes in that I’d made a mistake. Firstly, I was wearing Paul’s trainers meaning every step pinched my feet and chewed my skin. I could feel the ghost of his pitted keratolysis haunting my toes. Second, the very moment I stepped out of his car my phone immediately lost signal. I don’t know if the trees of Plessey Woods are lined with lead but I didn’t get a signal again until an hour later. Nevermind, we made do before and we’ll do so again – I had downloaded a week’s worth of The Archers and three Food Programme episodes on the iPlayer before I set off so it wasn’t too bad.

You know what ruins public beauty spots? The public. I’d forgotten for a moment that I lived in the North East of England and that Geordie law dictates that as soon as a beam of sunlight hits the end of a Lambert and Butler, shirts must come off, disposable BBQs must be bought, lit and covered in 46% mince burgers and children must be encouraged to run around screaming with full nappies and empty minds. I’m so curmudgeonly these days, I know, but wouldn’t it be a treat to go somewhere and not experience a cacophony of kids blaring and parents bellowing and mooing at them? I put my headphones on and waddled down to the river like an angry buffalo.

Once in the forest though, it was wonderful. Always is. Most of the families stayed within a 200 metre of the ice-cream truck lest their children went more than five minutes without a Costco Calippo smeared across their face, so within no time at all I had the place to myself. I followed the river, marvelling at untouched beauty of it all, enjoying the silence. There was a brief startling moment when I happened across a tiny notice warning of a wasp nest up ahead – no actual instruction on where it was or what to do. I plodded on, knowing that if I did stumble into a wasp nest, that would be it for me. No chance of running away thanks to my bulk. They’d find my bloated, wasp-filled corpse floating down the river with my face frozen forever in a ‘COME AT ME, YOU FUCKING SHIT-BEES’ snarl.

Didn’t happen though, thankfully. No wasps and no other drama for a good two miles or so until I popped up on the side of the A1, sweating and confused and tired. Oh! One thing – let me explain an irrational fear of mine. See, alone in the woods, I only came across (bad choice of words given what is coming) another walker, a sole female walking towards me through the thick trees. I always instantly worry in a situation like this that the lass is going to see a red-faced, angry looking shaven-headed man blundering towards her and immediately reach for her pepper spray. I’m a kind, gentle soul but even I sometimes shit myself when I see my ugly mug in the mirror when I get up in the night for a piss.

So, what do I do? I can’t grin inanely at her from a distance because I have the type of grin that says ‘it’s going to hurt you more than it hurts me’. I can’t shout a cheery hello because then I’d just look insane. I don’t want her thinking I’m a threat in this crazy frightening world so the only thing I can really do is camp it up and make it clear that, how can I put this delicately, I take it up the Glitter. Thus, hand out like I’m clutching an invisible rail, dainty point feet as I gambol lightly over the rocks on the path, tra-la-laing along to the Archers omnibus theme tune. If I’d had my drill kit I could have set myself up behind a gloryhole in a nearby oak for good measure but there was no time, and she passed by unfazed, with a loud hiyaaaaaa from me. I do worry too much, don’t I?

After emerging onto the side of the A1 and spending ten minutes trying to cross it whilst half of the United Kingdom sped past at 100mph, I decided to send Paul a text to let him know I hadn’t a) fallen in a river or b) been raped and left for dead by some forest-dweller. His reply was ‘shall I get us a McFlurry before I pick you up’. Soothing. I told him I’d press on because I was enjoying myself and I’d call him when I was ready, spotting a barely visible public footbath through the Blagdon Estate, I minced onwards.

THAT’s where things turned deadly. Or at least, mildly inconvenient. I got lost. I so rarely get lost, I’m excellent with direction and hell, I know the area like the back of my hand, but I don’t know if I stumbled in the wrong direction trying to avoid cows or was distracted by something shiny on the horizon, but I completely lost my bearings. No mobile signal. Mild panic set in. Every field looked the same. The tracks were endless. I only had a little bit of water left and the day was hot. Clearly, the situation was grave, and given how prone I am to catastrophic thinking, I knew this was it. I stumbled bravely on for another couple of miles or two, trying to distract myself with The Archers but only making myself angrier because of silly Helen, until, finally, rising from the trees like the most middle-class mirage ever, the Northumberland Cheese Company. Phew.

Naturally, it was shut. I was gutted. Nothing quenches a raging thirst like a nettle and elderflower pressé and a truckle of expensive cheese. Salvation came in the form of FINALLY getting a signal on my mobile and I called Paul, who immediately dispatched himself to come to my aid. Took him forty fucking minutes. He wins a MASSIVE gold star for effort for playing Nearer My God To Thee through his car-speakers as he came hurtling over the horizon. Clearly at this point I was close to death, and imagine the indignity of such a frou-frou death as collapsing outside a cheese farm from heatstroke with only Sheila Dillon twittering on about strawberries to comfort me into the blackness. PAH. Paul bundled me into the Smart car (the fat equivalent of trying to stuff a telephone directory into an A5 envelope), pressed a McFlurry into my hand and sensitively pointed out that I was a little red in the cheeks. I’ll say: I walked, accordingly to my Fitbit, almost 8 miles in the blazing sun.

I’m paying for it today mind – my ankles hurt, my skin feels a bit tight and my chest hurts, presumably from my lungs having to do anything other than filter out shards of Smarties and chips. I, thankfully, don’t seem to have burnt myself though. I did have a moment of panic this morning when I woke up and felt my skin peeling from my face, only to find when I went to the bathroom that it was something else entirely – the happy by-product of a successful, loving marriage that had somehow splattered a little off-course and been missed in the after sex clean-up. It’s great for the skin, by the way, though I can’t see Montagne Jeunesse releasing a fuckmuck edition.

Speaking of sowing the wild oats, why not put proper oats into an omelette? See below. Christ, I only meant to type a few words for this post too! I’m saying syn free because you’re allowed 35g of oats as a healthy extra, but if you want to syn it, go for 25g at 4.5 syns. Up to you. Before I get to the recipe, I’m going to just mention that I don’t think Musclefood have turned off our discount yet so, if you’re still sitting on the fence, do I have a deal for you.

Because an advert follows, let me just give you the option of skipping the advert entirely. You just need to click on, entirely apropos of nothing, this tiny picture of Annie Wilkes from Misery to jump forward.

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FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that. TO THE RECIPE.


Back, are we? Phew! Let’s do this.

oaty breakfast omelette

to make a oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham, you’ll need:

  • three decent eggs
  • three tablespoons of oats (taken from your healthy extra allowance or synned as above)
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • chopped ham or bacon
  • syn-free houmous (or syn some shop-bought stuff) – here’s a recipe for four houmous recipes! Don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window.
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • I used some leftover dried sundried tomatoes to add onto mine – I don’t syn them – they’re the dried variety which are dried and then need rehydrating – no oil involved and you’re eating no more tomato than chopping a cherry tomato in half – but up to you!

You can customise this however you want, add more speed, mushrooms, any old shite. Add cheese if you want! Also, if you do make a batch of houmous, you can use any remainder to make this recipe for houmous topped chicken. Nice.

to make a oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham, you should:

  • there’s really nothing to this – beat the eggs in a jug with the oats and a pinch of salt and pepper
  • using a good non-stick pan with a couple of sprays of oil, cook your omelette – pour it in, allow it to firm and if you’re feeling brave, flip it – but don’t fold it over
  • once it’s cooked, slide it onto a plate, slather it with houmous, top with the ham, bacon, cheese, old car bits, fag ash, anything you want
  • eat by placing small chunks of it into your mouth and masticating wildly

It’s that easy! I was really pleasantly surprised – it makes for a more substantial breakfast. Slimming World’s breakfast choices are a bit limited I find, so anything new is to be welcomed. And look ma, no sweetener! WHOO. In case you’re wondering, we use one of these for our omelettes. We were given one as a gift and have never looked back, although I know it’s ridiculously fancy. But so are we, damn it.

For more breakfast ideas or overnight oats recipes, click the buttons below!

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Cheers, big-ears,

J

roast beef and mustard lentil salad

Now, before we get to the roast beef and mustard lentil salad, I want to discuss something. Serious faces please. Fingers on lips. Not those lips. Not those fingers. Good lord, contain yourself.

After yesterday’s post I received a comment about how tired someone was because of ‘all the advertising’ on our blog. Fair enough: everyone’s entitled to an opinion, of course, and you’ll note that I approved the comment where I could have just deleted it. It’s a discussion worth having, after all. It’s been on my mind a little.

Here’s the thing – take a look at other food blogs – you’ll see tonnes of little adverts all over the page. I could do the same thing and quadruple my blog income in a shot. But on our main page, I’ve got one little google advert at the top. It’s not spread all over the place, it doesn’t slow the page, it doesn’t detract from the content. It could, very easily, but we chose to have a clean blog which is easy to access over something buggy and full of ads. When we email out to subscribers we could send a snippet rather than the full blog meaning that you had to visit the page and thus, drive up our adsense – but we don’t do it, because it would be crap for you. That’s the reason there’s no pop-up whenever you load the page asking you to subscribe, that’s why we don’t send out spam, that’s why there’s no ‘read more’ button which loads more ads. It’s about making it good for the reader not the writer.

How most blogs make money is via affiliate marketing – if I recommend Musclefood, I get a very small commission. Same with Amazon. That’s why, when we do a recipe with mince in it, I’ll stick a link in to Musclefood and if a recipe calls for grated garlic, I’ll mention the mincer. I don’t mean Paul. But this is the thing: we do use Musclefood for meat and we do own the few gadgets and Amazon products that I mention. I’m not just shilling for the tiny bit of money it makes me, I recommend them because I believe in them. I’ve always been totally transparent about the advertising, too – I don’t hide it away. We mention our books occasionally because I’m bloody proud of the fact I have a book – of course I should be! But that’s about the extent of the adverts.

Our blog operates to a very simple template – 1,000 words or so of preamble and nonsense, one decent photograph of the food, a very simple no-fuss breakdown of the recipe and then a couple of links to other posts on the blog. It takes me about 90 minutes to type up the ‘story’ and to try and add the funny bits. Sit and type out 1,000 words, try to make it faintly funny, see how long it takes you. We spend a couple of hours over the weekend researching and planning the recipes. We have to buy new ingredients and unusual ingredients because we like to have different styles of recipes spread out over the year. Paul spends an hour or so cooking the meals, I spend a few minutes photographing, then typing. I then spend 20 minutes or so publishing the blog in our various mediums. That’s a lot of time for two blokes who work full-time in demanding jobs and who, let’s face it, are bone-bloody-idle.

And there’s the cost too – we had to buy a proper server for the blog to sit on – that costs a fair chunk every year. New ingredients cost money. Photography software costs money. As much we don’t struggle for money, I’d much rather spend that money putting my fat arse on a beach somewhere than talking about servers with some chap in Wisconsin.

So why do we do it? Because we fucking love it! We adore all the wonderful, lovely comments we receive. We love hearing from folks who have cooked one of our meals and been pleasantly surprised that slimming food could be so delicious. We eat so well because we’re constantly trying new things. We’ve met amazing folk in our groups, on our facebook page, via here. Everyone’s got a story and we love to hear them. I love to write, so this is a perfect outlet for my verbal diarrhoea – and we’ve got a very unique thing in that we’ve got a perfect diary of our last two years. Paul could barely cook before we started and now he’s confident in the kitchen. It’s great!

We’re not going to stop any time soon despite all the effort it takes. But the balance for that is that in the big blog posts, you might get a couple of text links to ingredients and a mention of Musclefood. It’s easy ignored and I think a decent exchange for the work we do. When we’ve got a Musclefood sale on, you’ll get a paragraph, but it’s always delineated from the post by blank lines. Skip over it. It’s easy to forget that we’ve already done over 350 recipes which are all indexed by syns – you couldn’t buy a cookbook with that many recipes in it, and we give it away for free. Always will be!

I hope that clears things up! I am sorry to moan, but there just something in the wanky, passive-aggressive comment that pushed a button.

To make things worse, here’s a salad! It’s syn free, full of taste and made up of only a few ingredients – it’s an excellent way to use up any roast beef you have kicking about, but you can also throw sliced beef in there for no syns. We’re talking proper roast beef though, not the processed stuff as that sometimes does have syns. Before I do, though, I’m obliged to mention – because it’s possibly the last day we’re running this, our current Musclefood deal. If you’re already frothing at the gash at the thought of ONE advert, just scroll on by.


Remember: our Musclefood deal is running with 10% off but ending soon. Canny deal – even if you don’t want it, share it with a friend!

FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that. TO THE RECIPE.


roast beef and mustard lentil salad

to make a roast beef and mustard lentil salad, you’ll need:

  • lots of leftover roast beef
  • a can of green lentils
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • a wee bunch of spring onions
  • a lemon
  • a spoonful of wholegrain mustard (this might have syns from recollection – 1 syn – but shared between four)
  • a bag of bistro salad leaves – the ones that have the little strips of beetroot in that make your poo an alarming red – or use any other salad leaves

to make a roast beef and mustard lentil salad, you should:

  • nice and simple this one – chop your tomatoes into quarters, thinly slice your spring onions and put a nice bunch of salad leaves on your plate
  • empty your tinned lentils into a microwavable bowl and cook for about three minutes in enough water to cover them, then drain
  • stir the mustard through the lentils while they are warm and then allow to cool
  • time to assemble – leaves on the bottom, mix of beef, lentils, spring onions and tomatoes on the top
  • dress with the juice of a lemon and some of the zest – no oil needed, perhaps a pinch of salt!

You know, I wasn’t going to do this but hell. You can use one of these to grate the lemons – it creates a nice fine zest and then you can use it for every other recipe we do! You can even see the zest in the photo. HARRUMPH.

Anyway, enjoy!

If you’re looking for more beef recipes, you could do no better than having a look on the links below! I’ve also thrown in some vegetarian recipes because, although this isn’t a veggie recipe, there’s lots more salads in there!

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J

beef and bacon stroganoff – quick and easy comfort food!

Here for the beef and bacon stroganoff? Well of COURSE you are. It’s take take take with you! But, as usual, before we get to the recipe, a preamble…

James is running late, he rang me from inside the multi-storey car park shouting and bawling about the barrier being broken – I could barely hear him over the sound of his car, his rage and my Now That’s What I Call Soviet National Anthems CD. I made out the words ‘…’king sick of this cun…’ and ‘as much fucking use as a sandpaper tampon’ then he cut out. He’ll be home soon, but I thought I’d do a blog entry for once. Poor guy. Poor you lot.

This week I managed to find a major motivator to lose weight in somewhere that I least suspected – clothes. That’s right. Despite being two of the most uninterested people in fashion as well as being the most unfashionable people out there, it was trying to find a nice suit for a job interview that really hit home how much we need to lose weight.

I have more trouble than James on this front – despite him being a good few stone heavier than me he’s also got another half a foot, so his chub is much more easily spread out – he’s like a wardrobe – whereas I’m more like a chest of drawers. Or imagine sputnik balanced on a chubby pair of thighs. It’s a bloody nightmare to find anything that fits properly, if at all. It’s like trying to dress a car accident.

As we’ve previously touched upon, we’ve finally found somewhere that caters to our needs that doesn’t result in 100% polyester or finding them between rows of Pringles – except for a Jacamo run on payday we often finds ourselves strutting around a local garden centre and a franchise of Cotton Traders. I know, I know, we’re not on deaths door or enfeebled but the stuff fits. Well, it fits James – I have to make do with a chequered bit of cotton that sits over my belly but results in the breast pocket being underneath my tit, and the bottom of the shirt floating around near my knees, which if I don’t tuck in ends up billowing about like a curtain in a Celine Dion video.

So it all came to a head when I needed a nice suit for a job interview – there’s a few suits in our wardrobe but they’re all suspiciously high in acrylic (it came to a point a few weeks ago that we had to chuck a few out because every time we swished open the floor to ceiling wardrobe door, there’d be a smell of plastic burning and an alarming amount of smoke). Plus, naturally, they are all far too small (keep hold of them…we’ll fit into them eventually, we say…).

Seeing as though I actually wanted this job we decided to splurge out on a reasonably priced one. So, being fat fucks and the garden centre of no use we went online to Jacamo and ordered a few, in different sizes so I could try one or the other and make a choice but all to no avail. I just cannot look good in a suit. At all. It feels like the shoulder pads are jutting out like I’m the sexiest milkmaid ever and I have to swing my arms around like a wind turbine to stop the sleeves from flapping about. It’s an absolute mare.

And, naturally, because it was something nice, the cats immediately took a dislike and left me looking like Grizabella with just a quick vag-flash and an ankle rub. So that was no good. I did manage, however, to hang on to the waistcoat which didn’t do too much of a bad job. It did make me look as though I was presenting Big Break alongside Professional Shitrat Jim Davison, but hey, you can’t have it all.

Perhaps I do need to lose weight then. I would love to be able to get something without schlepping out to a place where I can also get barbecue tongs and a lavender plant. As convenient as it is.

OOH I hear the door. One moment please. CUT TO ADVERTS.


Remember: our Musclefood deal is running for only three more days! 10% off! Canny deal – even if you don’t want it, share it with a friend!

FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that.


Eee yes! Anyway, flying in the face of all of the above, we’re having chippy tea tonight because we’ve had some good news. GASP. But listen, I’m not going to let you down with thoughts of James pushing a spam fritter around his face like a greasy sponge. So let’s get tonight’s recipe done. You can reduce the syns in this by making a proper white sauce but you know sometimes when you get home from work, you want to sit on the settee with your bollocks out doing fuck all? This is for one of those nights. It cooks itself pretty much. Plus, unless you’re super careful, all the white sauces on Slimming World end up looking like something scraped off the side of the bin at the GUM clinic, so, make this, use your syns and rock on. This makes enough for four, so the syns in the soup aren’t that much per serving!

beef and bacon stroganoff

to make beef and bacon stroganoff, you’ll need:

At 15 syns for the whole dish, I’ll call it 4 syns a serving. I know that’s not quite right but hey.

to make beef and bacon stroganoff, you should:

  • chop up your onions, the green pepper and the mushrooms nice and fine
  • sweat it off in a few squirts of spray oil (not Frylight, haway) with the minced garlic
  • add the mince and the chopped bacon and cook it off with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • add in the frozen peas
  • pour the condensed soup into a jug and add the milk – you want a nice thick sauce – you’re not going to have loads of it, but that’s the point
  • lower the heat, add the soup to the mix and simmer gently just to thicken it up – if you want more sauce, add more milk and then simmer it for longer
  • cook the noodles, drain, add the sauce, serve!

 

Easy! Sounds complicated but it’s really just chop, chop, cook, cook, mix. Even you can do that! Oh and we’ve done a couple of stroganoff recipes before, too:

OK, if you want more pasta recipes or beef recipes, go ahead and click on the buttons below.

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Enjoy!

P

subway the cubs way

I wasn’t going to post tonight because well, I can’t frankly be arsed, but the fear of letting you all down is just too much to bear. Plus Paul’s out at his Let Me Talk To You About Jeremy Corbyn event and there’s nowt on the TV, so here I am. Just a quick informative post with no chitter-chatter though.

We’re trying hard to save money from now until Christmas, with the idea that we can squirrel away a decent nest egg to pay for the ten holidays next year. Listen, I know that sounds ridiculous and a very OH LOOK AT ME thing to say but we both work hard and well, it’s the joys of having no children or expensive drug habits. Anyway, most working days I invariably forget to take my lunch in and end up in Subway which is right next door and has a handsome Polish man. I’m just saying. I get the same boring old salad and because I’m weak and backsliding, I end up getting the crisps and a drink with my salad for a ridiculous £4.90. That’s £24.50 a week and £98 a bloody month. Insane. I don’t need the extra syns from the Doritos, my tits already slurp under my shirt in this heat.

So, I’ve decided to start making my own and see if it works out cheaper. My usual order is (deep breath) double plain chicken, no cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, no onion, olives, gherkins, jalapenos (gives me an excuse for fifteen minutes on the crapper later in the afternoon) and southwest dressing. Problem is, the lettuce is always watery iceberg lettuce and the tomatoes are chilled which makes them taste of exactly nothing. The Southwest dressing alone is 4.5 syns per serving and because the staff in the shop love me and my regular custom, they always go into a minor paralysis as they’re pouring it on, making my lunch more dressing than salad. Eee, it’s no wonder I’m so fat.

I spent Sunday evening preparing the following:

to make this:

subway cubway salad

Which when divided up, makes this:

subway cubway salad

I had to use a big lunchbox for the rest because Paul’s took the small lunchboxes to work with him and never brought them back. It’s alright, I’ll kneecap the fucker when he comes in. I reckon that comes in at around £10 for five proper salads and it takes no time at all. Plus, I’m not at risk of ‘accidentally’ buying the Doritos or wasting syns. I was going to post a list of the various syn values for salad but I don’t want Mags hammering nails into my car brakes for eating into her profits. So…

Enjoy!

J

cubby’s chocolate orange overnight oats

Right, before we get to the recipe for chocolate orange overnight oats, I have to inform you that our Musclefood discount week is back – we don’t get told in advance of these but apparently, because we’re selling so well, they can give us a discount of 10% on both our boxes for five days only. I don’t normally throw the advert in right from the off but well, if you need meat, it’s a good deal and it’s a limited offer! Click either deal below and you’re good to go. I promise that we’ll be a smidge more subtle with the ads on the rest of the week – it’s the only advertising we do though and it keeps the lights on at Cubs Towers, so…


FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that.


You know what really boils my piss? Being told my opinion is invalid because I’m ‘young’. For a start, let’s be frank, given my diet, years of smoking and tendency to mainline gin after a hard day at work, I’m probably comfortably into the dotage of my life. I’m about two doddery steps away from putting a tartan blanket over my legs and calling it a day. I mean, I’ve already mentioned that I enjoy The Archers, but did you know I’ve also developed a tic of making proper old man noises when I get up from a chair? The noise isn’t just air escaping from my blubber, either, it’s a proper ‘ooooooof’. There’s no hope. So I’m certainly not ‘young’.

The reason I mention all of this is due to yet another facebook argument I’ve been having with the elders of the town where I live. I joined a facebook group full of people discussing the current events around our town and it is absolutely awash with bloody moaners. I live in a great place but seemingly every Tom, Dickhead and Harry who would previously moan to their wives behind the net curtains has joined to put in their thoughts. It’s full of people looking at their shoes and feeling sorry for themselves because ‘our town doesn’t get this’ and ‘that town gets that and we get nothing’. If there was an emoji of someone twisting a cloth cap between their hands with watery, sad eyes, it’s all you’d see on this group. I can’t stand it. Despite my constant moaning on here, I’m a pretty chipper person and certainly a firm believer in making do with what you’ve got.

So, naturally, I end up bickering. I point out that we’re unlikely to get a leisure centre of our own given there’s one within four miles of us in each compass direction, but that’s not good enough. I explain that we don’t have a swimming pool because there’s bloody five within a ten minute drive – that’s me being unreasonable. I mentioned that another town near us pays a tonne more council tax, has more residents and thus, has a tennis court, and you’d think I’d shat on their Wiltshire Farm Foods blended lasagne. I’ll have a discussion back and forth with anyone and I’m always unfailingly polite, even if I did get a stern lecture of swearing from one of the crinklies when I used the word bloody. But they always play the trump card: ‘you’re young, you don’t understand’.

Paul tells me that my retaliation of: ‘you’re old, you’ll be dead soon enough and you can’t get a coffin down a water-slide’ is churlish at best. I agree, so I merely think it to myself. But see it really does vex me that my opinion is apparently worth less because I’m ‘young’. I may be young, but I own my own house, I’ve worked since I was 16, I’m sensible and eloquent and I try my best not to fart in committee meetings. My opinion is as valid as someone who can’t type for their bottom lip hitting the keyboard.

Manners between the old and the young seem to be a very one-way street. We hear a lot about how rude kids are and how badly treated old folk are (and I hasten to add – anyone who is rude to an old person is an arsehole, absolutely) but never the other way around. I’ve had plenty of experiences with old folk pushing into queues with that resolute cats-arse-lips-face that says don’t fuck with me, I’ve got razor sharp shards of glacier mints in my winceyette cardigan.

I’ve been sworn at by old ladies during bingo. When I worked at BT in the complaints department, it was the elderly who had the most entitled, brusque manners. I was told by someone to stick my ‘1471 up my arse’ when I had the temerity to tell her it cost money to press 5 and call back. Charming! I hold doors open only to be met with glazed eyes, a stern look and zero thanks. Hell, I’ve stopped my car in the street to let some whiskery-chinned charmer cross the road with her zimmer without the threat of being turned into lavender jam, only for her to shuffle over the road like an Edinburgh Woollen Mill sponsored snail without so much as a shaky nod of thanks in my direction. Bah.

Perhaps I was spoiled, I don’t know. My own dear nana was a proper nana – she baked scones and played her television so loud that you could solve the Countdown Conundrum on the drive over to see her. She used to take such a large intake of breath when I mouthed the word ‘vacuum’ at Paul that I’m surprised she didn’t get the bends. We used to go over for an hour or so to hear who had died in the village (which she always spoke of with barely hidden relish, the auld ghoul), how she was getting on never taking her tablets (100% record) and to fix all the incorrect answers in her Puzzler.

I do find myself thinking of her a lot in summer, weirdly. It’s been over a year since she died (that entry makes me feel sad, so I don’t read it) and Paul and I are always laughing about things she’d come out with. The reason I think of her in summer is because, despite the glorious sunshine and thirty degree heat, you’d walk into her living room and she’d have her coal fire blazing away, with the rug in front of it always just on the cusp of catching alight. She’d complain she was cold despite us being able to hear the bacon frying in the fridge. Funny what you remember. She’d never shoot your opinion down and always listened. I say listened, she couldn’t hear a bloody thing, so the polite nodding and murmurs of assent were probably just a touch of Parkinsons.

Eee, I’d give anything to have her back.

Anyway, come on, I wasn’t meaning to end on a miserable note. She was always laughing and she’d have loved this blog, despite not being able to understand what the hell I was going on about when I explained the Internet. She thought it consisted purely of people making telephone calls to each other and stealing money. Which I mean it does, but there’s also a lot of pornography too. Tsk.

Right, chocolate orange overnight oats then. Overnight oats tend to be a succession of dry oats, boring yoghurt and disappointment. You’d get more joy eating a bag of asbestos. So don’t do it! We’ve done so many good ones:

Would you believe we’ve even done a savoury full English Breakfast overnight oats? We have! Right here! A few syns, yes, but better than another bloody Hifi bar.

chocolate orange overnight oats

to make cubby’s chocolate orange overnight oats, you’ll need:

  • 35g of plain jane oats – we just use Tesco Value and don’t even care
  • 50g of mandarin segments in juice – 1 syn
  • Muller chocolate orange with dark chocolate sprinkles (syn free)
  • 10g of milk chocolate chips – it’s 6 syns for 25g, so I said it was 2.5 syns for 10g – easy!

to make cubby’s chocolate orange overnight oats, you should:

  • layer the ingredients as above
  • once you’ve taken a photo or showed it off, mix it all up and leave it overnight
  • actually, I like to eat it straight away but the oats don’t soften – this can make your stomach sore, so exercise caution
  • if you’re feeling like a proper slut, pour a little orange juice from the tin into the oats…extra orangey and doesn’t add too many syns

Delicious! Now, if you want more breakfast ideas or overnight oats recipes, click on the buttons below!

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Cheers!

J