coronation chicken pasta salad: batch cook lunch!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well.

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

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

He makes a shit parrot.

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

A post shared by twochubbycubs (@twochubbycubs) on

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

coronation chicken pasta salad

coronation chicken pasta salad

coronation chicken pasta salad

coronation chicken pasta salad

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 servings

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

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

Ingredients

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

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

Instructions

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

Notes

Courses lunches

Cuisine Italian

More lunch ideas you say? Want more pasta ideas?

Yum!

J

sausage colcannon bake: utterly delicious

Here for the sausage colcannon bake? Of course you are, and I’ll get to it, but I first I want to express my dismay. If you’re only here for the food, scroll down to the pictures!

A year or so ago I posted that I was going to try and ‘be nicer’, less quick to temper, warmer to strangers and generally, a more affable guy.

I finally got round to implementing that today and decided that from the moment I got up until the moment I went to bed, I’d be ‘good’. I let Paul get up and make my breakfast without intervening (I know, I’m a joy). That went well, and I was rewarded with scrambled eggs made from duck eggs as a result.

I then set off for work, giving the neighbour a cheery wave as I left the street. As usual, he stood there with his face that would make an onion cry and point-blank ignored me. He always does this, just because I once had the temerity to put up a Vote Labour sign and I don’t shit myself every morning when I read the latest tripe in the Daily Express) (oh, and the cock-loving doesn’t endear me to him, either). Off to a good start! The short drive in took an hour because someone put their brake lights on in Cornwall and thus every car in existence had to immediately stop. Nevermind, we’ll get there eventually, there’s no rush!

Against better judgement, I flashed some painted harlequin in a financed-Audi out at a tricky junction. Normally, given they were driving an Audi and were therefore the worst people in the world (you know I’m right) I’d have sailed past sticking my fingers surreptitiously up on the side of my face, but no, be nice! Did I get a wave? A blink of acknowledgement? A smile? Did I balls. I did however enjoy a far more exciting drive as she wandered all over the road in front of me with her phone in her hand. It’s hard to remain focussed on being nice when you’re hoping for her tyres to blow-out and impale her on a broken street-light. But hey. Worse things happen in Rome.

Work passed in its usual way and you better believe my day was lightened when someone on the phone asked ‘to speak to someone who could actually be of some use’ despite them ringing the wrong number entirely and asking for the wrong person. Doesn’t matter, James: smile when you dial hun. A quick toilet break was full of deleting posts from our group from people who think the rules don’t apply to them and no, really, I want a facebook full of ‘how many syns in my shitty knock-off Muller yoghurt’. But hey! They know no better!

Luckily, I had the afternoon off – plenty of opportunities to smile at people and pay it forward. I decided to drive to Craster and do a nice five mile trek up to the ruined castle and then around in a loop. Lovely! I especially loved the last four miles of windy road which was only made better by being stuck behind a caravan – who needs a sea-view when you’ve got the Turbo-Sprinter Deluxe 1999 in puce weaving in front of you at a slow crawl, driven by two people who died last year. Clearly pulling over was beyond them, and why would they? Why, they have as much right to be on that road as anyone else.

I pulled into the car-park only to find all 80 of the parking spaces taken up by 60 cars, all parked rakishly over the lines to ensure no-one scratched their expensive, fancy motors. I sat and waited – big grin now – as an elderly couple doddled back to their car – at last, a free space. Nope: they opened up their wee tupperware boxes of sandwiches and sat chewing themselves to death. My grin, now rictus, would only have been dashed had they choked on a stray bit of egg salad. It’s always egg salad, presumably because it masks the smell of decomposition that occurs when you seal the aged in a red-hot Suzuki Swift.

Ticked off, I parked outside of one of the bays and minced into town – I say minced, I can barely walk at the moment as I spent an hour doing squats on Monday and now every step looks like I’ve shit myself. Nevertheless, I gamely struggled along the path, approached the gate to access the field where the walk started only for some old fart in altogether too much knitwear to shut it pretty much in my face despite watching me painfully hobble up to it. I don’t think it’s too much of an over-reaction to hope he’d do a Harold Bishop and tumble unnoticed into the sea, dashing his beetroot-nosed skull on the sharp rocks, then be swept out to sea unable to call for help because he’d been paralysed from the fall and only had a lifetime of regret and missed opportunity to comfort him as he gasped his last in the water. On I went.

A sheep gave me a shitty look. I stepped in a cow-pat. I got stuck behind a group of haw-haw-jolly-good ramblers braying on about their hiking boots for a good ten minutes, unable to slip past because I can’t walk at speed. The castle itself was fascinating and the man behind the counter had a lovely Scottish burr in his voice that almost made me pay another year’s membership to English Heritage, save for the fact I had to wait ten minutes whilst a coach party dithered and dathered at him about places to go in the area. I wanted to suggest the crematorium, but kept quiet. Be nice. When I was eventually served, all my positivity had disappeared, and paying £1.90 for a Diet Coke did little to help. I finished my walk in a gloom and made my way back to the car, only stopping to leap out of the way of a giant pristine white Range Rover (of course) driven by a gammon of a man who thundered down the road with his phone to his ear. Again.

I realised at that point that being nice was to have no reward for me, and bollocks, let’s get back to being mean-spirited and cruel. As I was leaving the car-park I spotted another pair of Saga-louts pulling in and driving around looking for a space. I handed them my pay-and-display ticket and trilled ‘it’s good for another few hours’. They looked positively delighted, and for a moment I felt guilty. See, in a fit of ill-temper, I’d deliberately given them the pay and display ticket from a different car-park from last week, and I know they’re shit-hot on parking control in Craster so that means they’ve doubtless got a ticket.

Ooops.

My drive back was far more pleasant as I spent most of it deciding how I’d ruin the Earth if I ever became an overlord. Let’s be honest: it’s so much more fun being an arsehole, yes? But if you see me out and about, give me a smile. Try and change my view on life. Make me hopeful that there’s something other than blackness out there.

Tell you what will cheer you up though: our sausage colcannon bake. You’ll love it, because it’s easy to make and tastes damn fine. Let’s do the recipe.

sausage colcannon bake

sausage colcannon bake

sausage colcannon bake

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Sausage colcannon bake - listen, it's sausage casserole topped with mashed tatties and kale. It's proper comfort food and listen, it's not going to make itself. It freezes well, serves four (MASSIVE portions, mind) and is easy to knock out. Get on it!

Ingredients

  • 6 medium-sized potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 80g kale
  • 1 egg
  • 8 sausages (see notes)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain flour (4 syns)
  • 3 beef stock cubes dissolved in 500ml boiling water
  • 125g sliced mushrooms
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 1tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 200ºc
  • put the potatoes in a large saucepan, fill with cold water until covered and bring to the boil
  • reduce the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes, then drain
  • meanwhile, splash in a little bit of water to another pan and add the kale
  • cook over a high heat for 3 minutes until softened a bit
  • crack the egg into the potatoes and mash with the kale and add some salt and pepper to taste, and keep to one side
  • next, cook the sausages however you like (see notes)
  • spray a large frying pan with some oil and add the onions
  • fry over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and beginning to caramelise
  • add the flour and whisk with the onions for about a minute, then slowly add a little stock at a time, continually whisking, until you have a thickened gravy
  • add the sausages to the pan along with the mushrooms, peas, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf and give a good stir
  • tip into a large dish and gently spoon the mash on top, spreading evenly across the top
  • bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes

Notes

  • we used the syn free sausages from our Muscle Food deal in this - you can use whichever sausages you like but remember to check the syns
  • you can leave the egg out of the mash if you like but it really does make it taste creamy - trust us! if you prefer to use milk or butter or whatever you can, just remember to syn it
  • we cooked the sausages in our Tefal Actifry (best to remove the paddle) and you can cook yours however you like, under the grill, in a frying pan, Optigrill, George Foreman, Airfryer... it's up to you!
  • not a fan of kale? swap it with whatever you like
  • use this oil sprayer instead of Fry Light if you don't want your pans to be ruined

Courses soul food

Cuisine comfort

See? Easy! Want some more comfort dishes? Why not have a review of some of the following:

I’m off to smile at people.

J

super cheesy ham and cheese scones

Ham and cheese scones. Nope. They’re not Slimming World friendly. But sometimes, you’ve got to let your gunt out, shake that Elnett-by-proxy out of your hair and live your life a little. Anyway, a little bit of what you fancy does you good, or at least it does until you’re left with an STD and Graeme from Jeremy Kyle is fussing about your nethers with a box of tissues. I’m feeling a bit soured towards the whole Slimming World thing at the moment anyway: any diet where people are making lemon meringue pies by scrapping a Muller yoghurt into a pastry made from PEASE PUDDING isn’t good.

To be fair, that’s not Slimming World’s fault such as it is people just trying to eat without spending syns, which is ridiculous but ground that we’ve covered so many times before that I earned my Body Magic Platinum badge (urgh) just from eye-rolling alone. You know, perhaps if they changed the name from something as negative as syns (short for synergy or some other such abbol) (abbol being short for absolute bollocks) people would be more inclined to ‘spend’ them instead of fretting about eating something perfectly normal.

Ah well. If I had to represent via the medium of cat how I feel looking at these recipes for Frankenfood, this is it:

I’ve never known a cat have such resting bitch face. For balance, here’s Bowser.

Don’t hate them because they’re beautiful. Shall we do cheese scones then?

cheese scones

super cheesy cheese scones - no, not Slimming World friendly

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 13 scones

Cheese scones, proper ones mind you, with no nonsense. These have more cheese in them than is entirely decent and you know, that's good because frankly, if you're not having mild chest pains spreading the butter, then are you even alive?

I use the recipe from theguardian because I'm a hippy-drippy middle-class sort. Feel free to swap the butter for Trex and the gentle touch for a bad attitude, if you're so inclined.

Oh and if you're wondering why a diet blog contains a recipe for cheese scones, it's simple: because we're a cooking blog, and we all have a naughty side. Though if your idea of being naughty is a cheese scone, we need to get you out more...

Ingredients

  • 450g of self-raising flour (70 syns)
  • 1 tsp of smoked salt (ordinary salt is fine)
  • 1 tbsp of English mustard powder
  • 100g of cold, from-the-fridge, salted butter (36 syns)
  • 250g extra strong mature cheese, plus a bit extra for the top (50 syns)
  • 180g of shredded ham hock (buy it from Tesco, it's cheap, or cut up some ham yourself)
  • 120ml of cold milk
  • 120ml of cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten up with a drop or two of milk

156 syns. Oops! 12 syns each.

Instructions

  • heat your oven to 220 degrees
  • sift your flour, salt and mustard powder into a big bowl
  • grate in the butter and rub with the tips of your finger until you have fine sand
  • grate in the cheese and add the ham, then stir to combine
  • mix in the milk and water until everything starts to bind together, but don't overwork it - it'll be a sticky dough to begin with but you'll get there
  • tip onto a floured surface and roll to about 2cm high
  • cut into circles of about 6cm across, reshaping as you need
  • pop on a good non-stick baking tray, brush with the egg and milk mix and top with lots more cheese
  • cook in the oven until golden on top - mine took about 16 minutes

Mine came out perfectly but scones are a bitch sometimes - if they don't come out looking great, who cares: strive for good taste, not good looks!

Notes

You don't need any expensive kit to bake. A big bowl, a grater and some scone cutters. Hell, you can use a pint glass if you want. But if you're looking for ideas:

Courses x-rated, scones

Cuisine naughty

I know, right? Want more naughty ideas? We don’t have many but the ones we have…

Ta

J

a proper tasty BBQ-friendly veggie burger

Looking for a proper tasty BBQ-friendly veggie burger? Of course. And we’re happy to oblige, mind you, but you’ll need to scroll down to the pictures as I’ve got a very happy post to do first!

We did something we never normally do yesterday: we were social! YES. Despite it being an unwritten rule in Chubby Towers that if the sun is in the sky on a Saturday we will still be in bed, we were roused at 8.30am (gasp), put on a minibus with a few lovely colleagues from Paul’s work and dispatched to Northumberland Pride, the very first pride event in our local area. It’s a pride event to celebrate being yourself and inclusivity, not marvelling at dry-stone walls and rolling hills, as the name may suggest if you’re a little bit touched in the head.

One minibus trip later – an unusual experience that, because who knew you could travel thirty miles on a motorway without a forty minute sojourn in a secluded layby – and we were pulling onto the rugby club. We put together a load of goodie bags, congratulated ourselves on having the best stall and then made our way down into Alnwick to get ready to join the march. I’ve never seen more rainbows in my life – it was like (what I imagine) the gayest acid trip ever. We took up position behind a group of drummers and a lady up on stilts because of course.

One thing that struck me, aside from the back of the huge pride banner I was wearing that felt like it had been stitched right into my spine, was the mix of people there. I’d always (through ignorance I suppose) assumed it would be a load of young and beautiful people having a powermince and banging the drum, but no: every age, every gender, every shape. It was genuinely lovely to see so many people in one place just there to have a good time.

Whilst we were waiting for the march to start we were approached by an elderly couple who looked the spit of a couple from our street – the ones who don’t talk to us and walk around with a face like someone’s pissed on their chips. The type of folks who last laughed when Thatcher took milk from the poor kids. I was expecting a stern lecture on the perils of sodomy (tell me about it love, no-one likes a racing stripe) and how we’ll burn in hell, but no: they wanted a sticker for their car as their grandson had just come out and wanted support. D’awww. We primly advised them that this wasn’t a commercial event and sent them on their way but OF COURSE we didn’t, we gave them a sticker.

The march began and people of all shapes, sizes, genders and colours slowly snaked their way through a town that would never have been my first guess for an epicentre of equal rights – how wrong I was. We were cheered and clapped and welcomed by folks young and old and the band literally played on, drumming the way to the rugby club. There, the afternoon was full of people smiling at each other, grabbing as many freebies as they could and just having a bloody good time. Not an ounce of bother. I drank a bit too much lager, we both flirted wildly with everyone within spitting distance and we came away with some mint-flavoured condoms. I might put them in the Slimmer of the Week basket.

All in all, an amazingly positive experience.

Naturally, a quick glance on facebook and the negative nellies were exposed. The local police force round here have changed the battenburg markings on one police car so that they’re pride colours. One car. We’re not talking about the whole fleet, they haven’t stuck a fucking unicorn horn on the police helicopter or changed the sirens for the opening notes of Your Disco Needs You. But this was enough to get the usual suspects in a tizz: ‘WAIST OV POLISS RESAUCES’ and ‘SHUD NOT BE POLITIKAL’ and other ohfuckoffery. It’s not as though Vera Baird is sitting letting out prisoners because the jail budget has been frittered away in Claire’s Accessories. Morons. It’s a wonderful, positive message to push out – that people who have been subject to hate crimes should feel no fear about speaking to the police because they will be treated with the respect and care that everyone deserves. It’s our police force too, you know.

Perhaps I’m a smidge biased because some especially handsome policeman allowed us to try his helmet on for size. In fact, we were even allowed in the back of the van, an experience we treated with the absolute solemnity and respect you expect from us. So much shrieking about being too pretty for prison.

Who knew cottaging was still a crime? #bangedup #northumberlandpride

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Paul’s teeth look a bit like he could chew an apple through a letterbox in this photo, I’m not sure why – they’re as straight as I am bent. But it’s a great photo that was representative of a lovely day.

Oh and I say the same things every year, but here’s the counters to the most common arguments:

  • you’re just doing it to rub your sexuality in our faces” – pfft, you wish, and no, perhaps we’re holding hands or being close to each other because, you know, love; or
  • it isn’t needed anymore” – the goals have changed absolutely, but the core message of accepting yourself and others for something they can’t change or help remains the same; or
  • why can’t we have a straight parade” – you do, it’s called life, but if you want to walk down the street in your tan chinos and beige jumpers and hold hands with the harridan you regret marrying and celebrate your life, then please do so. I’d sooner be held up waiting for a pride march to pass than a protest.

Another thing that was fun was having people who knew of us through the website / facebook group / Crimewatch repeats come up and say hello. It’s super awkward because we’ve got all the social finesse of a bout of hot diarrhoea at a wake but we try our best not to offend and at least get off one witty bon-mot before their eyes glaze over and they start with the ‘really must get on, things to do’ comments. Actually, everyone we met yesterday was an absolute delight and it really does make our hearts and ankles swell when people tell us how much they enjoy our food, support groups and ability to shoehorn a reference to wolfbagging (don’t, just don’t) into a recipe for houmous. Mmm, bacon. But please, remember the rules. The deal is that you must tell everyone afterwards that we were 6ft 3″, could pass for Jason Mamoa in a dark room and that I had trouble walking as it looked as though I was smuggling a foot-long hot-dog in my jeans pockets. Be reasonable.

We’re booked up to help with Newcastle Pride in July. Apparently it’s a bit more seedy and sexy, which you can only imagine how devastated I am to hear. One side of me wants to help dish out the condoms and positive health messages, the other side of me wants to try and find some strapping, leather-clad cigar-smoking brute of a man to adopt us two Cubs and make us his own. We’ll see which side wins out.

Right, shall we do the recipe then?

veggie burger

proper tasty BBQ veggie burger

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 burgers

We were going to call these millennial burgers because ho-ho avocado but then we realised we weren't that insufferably tedious, so these are veggie burgers you can do on the BBQ or under the grill. We're not fussed! They look a little dry and to be fair, they are - that's why you use avocado, to grease the wheels and add a different layer of taste! So don't skimp on it - the syns are there to be used AND think of this way, nothing with eyelashes has died to make your burger. You swine!

Ingredients

  • 400g button mushrooms, chopped small
  • 2 tins of butterbeans, drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 wholemeal rolls (4x HeB)
  • few handfuls of rocket or lettuce
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, mashed (14 syns)
  • few drops of lime
  • few tbsp of our proper tasty coleslaw

Instructions

  • spray a large saucepan with a little oil and cook the chopped mushrooms until soft and all of the liquid has evaporated
  • add the butterbeans to the pan and cook for an extra minute or two, stirring frequently
  • remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until well mixed
  • add the garlic and give another mash
  • divide the mixture into four, roll into balls and then flatten into burger shapes
  • carefully slide the burgers onto the barbecue and cook for 3-4 minutes each side - avoid turning them more than once as they're quite fragile

  • if cooking on the hob, do the same but on a large frying pan over a high heat
  • assemble the burger by layering cherry tomatoes, salad leaves and coleslaw, then the burger, and then topping with the mashed avocado - add a pinch of salt and some lime juice onto that avocado and then shove it in your big, gaping gob!

Notes

  • Fry Light is gonna knacker your pans - get one of these instead!
  • don't shit yourself at the syn value for the avocado - they're really tasty and really good for you!
  • looking for coleslaw recipe - but natch - click here
  • chuck whatever else you like in the burger - cheese, fried onions, etc - whatever you want!
  • mince the garlic in seconds with one of these excellent Microplane graters - no fiddly bits, easy to wash and you can use it for all sorts!

Courses BBQ

Cuisine vegetarian

Yum, right? I know, we’re fabulous.

If you’re a vegetarian seeking more recipes from us, then by god can we help – just look at some of the suggested beauties below:

Country roads, take me home.

J

jerk pork and pineapple skewers: get them grilling!

Well look, if there’s two lads you can rely on to jerk your pork, it’s us! Jerk pork and pineapple skewers! Another skewer recipe but it’s glorious weather and this is the type of food you need to enjoy. Plus, if the weather lets you down, there’s nothing to stop you throwing these under the grill.

But before we get there, two things. First, look what appeared just as I sat down to type this:

We don’t live in some Dickensian workhouse, but we’re near an awful lot of fields full of mice and this is the end result. Rats and mice don’t bother me as a rule but you better believe that I simultaneously leapt and shat when this bugger scuttled out from behind my router. I thought it was a spider, though if it had been, this house would have been razed to the ground. No second chances.

The other thing to announce…

I'm allowed to be pretty damn chuffed with us!

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We only went and bloody did it! The two fat blokes (How fat? When we fall down the stairs people think Eastenders is finishing! So fat our patronuses are cakes! So fat that you need a bus journey with two connections just to get on our good side! Ho ho! Fuck off) who never exercise upped their game and ran a bloody 5k! We weren’t even the last ones to finish – I had visions of being lapped over and over before someone came and asked us to leave as they wanted to get home and only had tent hire until 11pm.

As it happens, we ran a good 80% of it and power-minced the rest. All we’ve done is focus on running a bit more each time – no fancy trainers, no expensive regimes, just walk, run, go. You know what made it lovely though? So many people clapping and encouraging folk as they ran past. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting to be chased with pitchforks (though it was Alnwick) but even I was surprised how lovely it all was. Who knows what lies ahead, other than plantar fasciitis and jogging cum-faces? Maybe we’ll do the Great North Run?

Pfft, aye, no.

Oh and we crossed the finishing line holding hands (with me leading Paul, who remember, has tiny corgi legs as opposed to my long, gazelle pins), just to make you sick up in your mouth a little. Cubs who finish together, stay together. Certainly not the first time I’ve tugged a chubby bloke to a happy finish in the vicinity of a rugby pitch, either.

Shall we do the recipe then?

pork and pineapple skewers

pork and pineapple skewers

jerk pork and pineapple skewers

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 skewers

Easy! The key with BBQ food is that it is easy and quick to make - this really couldn't be easier, given it's rubbing a bit of meat, chopping fruit and grilling it! What's not to love?

Remember, Slimming World's official line is that you should syn your pineapple if you're following the diet to the letter. Our view, and mind it is our view and not an official one, is that this is bollocks. But follow your own path - if you need to syn the pineapple, 100g is 2 syns. We're also not including the 0.5 syn drop of sriracha - this made six fat skewers, and I'll be damned if I'm dividing 0.5 between 6.

Then again, we're living in an era where people are making lemon meringue pies using pease pudding, so all bets are off.

Not sure what sriracha is? It's just a hot, spicy sauce. Leave it off if you've got a delicate balloon-knot, and replace it with a few drops of Worcestershire sauce.

We nicked this from BBC Good Food. See, it's that easy to give credit to recipes when they've been Pinched. 😉

Ingredients

  • 400g pork fillets, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium pineapple
  • 2 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (1 syn)
  • zest and juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  • in a large bowl mix together the jerk seasoning, sriracha and lime zest and juice
  • tip in the pork chunks and mix well - really give that meat a good rub, and then leave to marinade for a bit (room temperature is best)
  • peel and core the pineapple, and cut into large chunks
  • skewer the pork and pineapple alternately until it's all used up
  • cook over the barbecue or under  a hot grill for about 7-10 minutes, turning regularly

Notes

  • can't find jerk seasoning? any kind of seasoning mix will do - just use whatever you have in
  • we always prefer using metal skewers as they're less faff - we use these ones
  • wooden ones will work fine too, just remember to soak them for thirty minutes so they don't catch fire
  • this should be enough for 6 medium (wooden) skewers' worth, or 4 big ones (no prizes for guessing which we went for)
  • the 'official' rules say you should really syn the pineapple as technically it's cooked, but really. It's up to you. We didn't bother. No hate mail please. 
  • to make quick work of the pineapple you should try one of these - it'll save you no end of hassle!
  • if you really can't be arsed though you can use the pre-prepared chunks, though they may be on the small side

Courses BBQ

Cuisine BBQ

Yum! Want more BBQ ideas? Remember we’ve done loads lately!

If you’re having a BBQ this weekend, get it done!

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

1 vote

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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

proper tasty Slimming World coleslaw: revised!

Slimming World coleslaw. It might not be the most exciting of dishes but if it’s done right, you’ll slather it on thicker than me with the KY in the Eagle back in the noughties. Worst game of Cluedo ever. My character would be Rear Admiral Brown.

It’s bank holiday weekend, so I won’t keep you long, but I need to give you an order: watch Happy Valley.

I know I’m years behind with this recommendation but see, it’s been floating around on our Netflix Watch lists for ages and I’ve been put off because, inexplicably, I thought it was a comedy starring Raquel from Coronation Street, and frankly, that sounds awful. Plus I’m fairly sure that Happy Valley is a euphemism for the bit between your balls and bumhole. The taint, if you prefer. The Bridge of Sighs. The chin-strap, if you’re that way inclined. DMZ if you’re political. Baker Street if you’re a fan of the Underground and appreciate that it’s the stop where the pink line connects with the brown. Look, we could go on, but let’s not cheapen what is otherwise a classy, genteel blog.

No, we finally gave in and watched it and it was bloody amazing – rocketing right up the list of best things we’ve seen on TV to nestle at the top amongst Breaking Bad, Juliet and Sawyer’s love story on Lost and Ben Cohen’s wank-video. That wasn’t on TV, I know, but we streamed it via Chromecast because some things are worth watching in 65″ ultra-HD. I asked Paul if we could load it into our Samsung VR but apparently that’s too close to actually cheating. Back to Happy Valley: Sarah Lancashire is an absolute revelation and the drama is incredible. If you’re stuck on something to watch, give this a go!

Not in the mood for a twelve part drama? I understand. Why not watch this fifteen second video which shows you how we’re dealing with people who gawp into our garden as they walk past?

Eeee no. WARNING BAD LANGUAGE. #eyesfront #stopnebbing

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Mahaha! Right, the Slimming World coleslaw.

slimming world coleslaw

slimming world coleslaw

perfect Slimming World coleslaw

Prep

Total

Yield 4 big servings

If you're looking for something to slather onto a burger in this BBQ season, give this a go. It's very, very easy to make and you can customise it, but don't be tempted to leave out the tahini to save syns - it adds a really nice, subtle creaminess to the coleslaw. You can find it in most supermarkets and it isn't very expensive as it'll keep for ages. At 5 syns for a tablespoon, I'm synning it at 1 syn per portion because this makes enough coleslaw for four people and I'll be damned if I'm putting 1.25 syns.

Ingredients

  • four carrots
  • half a red cabbage
  • one large red onion
  • five big tablespoons of fat-free Greek yoghurt (free)
  • one tablespoon of tahini (5 syns)

Instructions

  • gosh, this isn't going to take long
  • thinly slice the red onion
  • peel the carrot and turn into matchsticks
  • thinly shred the red cabbage
  • mix everything together, adding a bit of salt just before you serve (you can add it before, but it'll cause water to come from the cabbage - perfectly fine, but less attractive)
  • serve with burgers, salad or whatever you fancy

Notes

Courses sides, BBQ

Cuisine BBQ

Want some more recipe ideas? Of course, one moment please:

Yum!

J

bbq time: lemon and oregano grilled chicken

I’m fully aware that we’ve had a bit of a run of lemon and oregano recipes but here me out with this grilled chicken – I’ve still got tonnes of that oregano my mate gave me and well, it’s coming up to Bank Holiday and time to get the BBQ out. So if you don’t like it, please feel free to pucker up and kiss my bum!

Just a very quick post today as lots to do, but I want to make a special plea to you lot following my bee-facts on Tuesday. If you’ve got a moment or two, pot up some nice bright flowers and stick them outside. Nothing fancy: a few flowers in a rusty beans can will do the job, hell, you can stick a lupin in your fundament for all I care, but let’s save the bees. We’re surrounded on our street by pristine laws of immaculate grass and mm-precision borders and it makes me sad: where are the bees to land if not on our dandelions? We’re deliberately letting the garden grow a bit wild, if only because it makes us laugh when some of the neighbours wince as they walk past. Now they know how I feel when I catch sight of their chinos and Daily Mail.

Oh and whilst we’re on the topic of nature:

Seriously, it makes an amazing pesto for this recipe: spinach and wild garlic pesto pasta (3 syns). Though I recommend you choose the leafs away from the path, otherwise you’ll be accompanying your dinner with a light drizzle of dog piss.

The grilled chicken, then.

grilled chicken

lemon and oregano grilled chicken

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 thighs

This recipe for lemon and oregano grilled chicken is fresh from Martha Stewart's website, but that's OK, she probably stole it off someone else anyway. #topical

This recipe couldn't be easier, so even your hamfisted attempts at clarting about in the kitchen can't end in disaster. Make the marinade, leave it to sit and then grill it! BBQ or normal grill, who cares - end result is tasty chicken!

DON'T be tempted to skip the oil, for goodness sake. It adds a bit of succulence and for crying out loud, if you're having a BBQ, better to spend the syns on something tasty than an arseholes-and-eyelashes burger from Aldi? Yes?

Looking for something to serve this with: try using the same ingredients to make a batch of roast potatoes and, whilst you've got your grill hot and steamy, whack our peanut butter pork skewers on there!

Ingredients

  • as many chicken thighs as you want, though this makes enough marinade for about eight - boneless is better, but if you're alright with the thought of a bone in your mouth, and let's be honest we've all read the graffiti in the bogs which confirms that fact, go with the bone
  • 2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest
  • 120ml of lemon juice (fresh, mind, don't you be cheap about this)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (12 syns, which I've dividing between eight)
  • two tablespoons of fresh oregano if you have it (finely chopped) or dried if you're a Dismal Deirdre
  • good pinches of salt and ground pepper
  • fresh oregano sprigs if you're that way inclined

Instructions

  • look, there's two ways of approaching this - make your choice:
    • I'm a hussy: OK, leave the skin on the chicken, it's tasty, but you should syn it...should...but well, you know...
    • I'm a nun: take off the skin, throw it in the bin, sob silently into your sleeve at what a monster you've become
  • whichever way you choose, prick the chicken all over with a fork
  • the next step is to combine all the ingredients together and give those chicken thighs a good rub, you saucy minx
  • leave to marinate for as long as you dare
  • BBQ for however long it takes for the juices to run clear and the internal temperature reaches over 74 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken
  • you can, of course, grill in the oven - same rules apply!

Serve with salad!

Notes

  • nothing fancy to report here, but if you're sick of chicken thighs don't worry - you can use chicken breasts just as well - we recommend Musclefood's chicken because it doesn't shrink away to an epiglottis-sized piece of nothing when you cook it. We have secured a deal with them which includes a crazy amount of chicken, along with other syn-free meats, and I suggest you take a look right here (oh and full disclosure, we get a tiny bit of commission: but remember our rule, it we don't rate it, we don't sell it)
  • we've got a Weber BBQ and love it - this one, actually - but honestly, you don't need to spend a lot of money on a BBQ - as long as it gets hot, that's all you need
  • buy a meat thermometer for your BBQing though - seriously - unless you're a fan of spending all weekend trying to stop your innards falling through your hoop! Amazon do a proper cheap number here!

Courses BBQ

Cuisine Italian

My question to you is simple: why aren’t you making this? Want more chicken ideas? Then I, being a merciful Lord, will oblige:

Enjoy!

J

sticky peanut butter pork skewers: BBQ time

Just here for the peanut butter pork skewers? Don’t blame you, and the good news is that we’re going to go straight to the recipe! I, unsurprisingly, love a bit of pork: whether it’s bacon, ham or a good love-length, I’m all about it. Remember folks, buy the best meat you can afford in a dish like this, because it’ll make all the difference to your dinner!

Oh, before we do get to the recipe actually, I learned three animal facts today which I need to share:

  • queen bees carry the sperm of their suitors around inside them for months before fertilisation takes place: pfft, amateur. It only takes me about an hour before I’ve turned it into more moustache;
  • the baby of a horse is a foal – up until today, I would have told you entirely seriously that a baby horse is a pony. Apparently not, and every single person I’ve asked about this have looked at me as though I’m touched in the head and said ‘foal’ really, really slowly. Harumph; and
  • if a cow comes running towards you, the best line of attack that you have is to punch it square in the face as hard as you can – now I know this because I’m terrified of the cows on the town moor and they’re back for a fifth year. I can tolerate them if they stay at the other end of the town moor crapping all over the cycle path but recently they’ve become bold and started staying on the path. You better believe that if they come charging towards me with swishy tails and shitty arses, they’re going to get a left hook

Fucin sick of dis fat cow showin off her titz at ma man fukn foamin

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Actually no, let’s be honest, there’s going to be about twenty seconds of screaming and flailing and power-mincing on my behalf, then they’ll bugger off to literal pastures new. I’m thinking I might use the punch defence when Paul gives me his come to bed eyes when I’m not in the mood, although, with his home and away eyes, it’s hard to tell whether he’s coming onto me or having a seizure.

Let’s do the recipe for the peanut butter pork skewers, what what.

sticky peanut butter pork skewers

sticky peanut butter pork skewers

sticky peanut butter pork skewers

Prep

Cook

Inactive

Total

Yield 10 skewers

We all love satay recipes - people LOVE our chicken and beef satay recipes so we thought we'd do a pork one too - and this recipe for sticky peanut butter pork skewers is PERFECT for the barbecue! 

Looking for a side to go with this? Make a big batch of our lemon, garlic and oregano potatoes!

We know the syn value might shock you a bit but trust us - this one is definitely worth it! And, it's only 4 syns a skewer (less if you reduce it a bit) - have one of these with loads of other BBQ stuff and you'll still have plenty of syns left. They're there to be used!

Ingredients

  • 750g pork fillet, cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 red chilli
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 60ml lime juice
  • 200g crunchy reduced fat peanut butter (40 syns)
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated

Instructions

  • cut the pork into skewer-size chunks
  • next, chuck everything else into a food processor and blend until nearly smooth (a few small chunks is fine) - be prepared to add a little water to thin it out if it's too thick
  • slop the mixture into a bowl and add the pork chunks, and give a really good mix
  • cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes
  • skewer the pork chunks - we reckon you should get about 10, especially if you chuck some peppers on the skewers too
  • cook over the barbecue for a few minutes each side, or under a hot grill

Notes

  • look - we know that 40 syns is a lot BUT remember that this makes LOADS - and it's totally worth it! It's a PROPER satay that's sticky AND crunchy! 
  • you can reduce the syns if you like by adding some veg and making it go further, or use less peanut butter (it won't be as nice though) 
  • we cooked these on the barbecue but you can do them under a hot grill too
  • if you're using wooden skewers remember to soak them first to stop them burning. We always prefer metal skewers as they help to cook the meat better - we used these ones from Amazon
  • make easy work of the garlic with one of these Microplane graters!

Courses BBQ

Cuisine BBQ

Seriously, it’s worth spending the syns on. It’s gorgeous. If you want more satay or BBQ recipes, then of course we can help!

Seriously, if there’s not something in there to satisfy you, you’re beyond saving!

J

lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes

I was just going to launch straight into the recipe for lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes but I can’t see through my tears. See, I’ve long clung to the belief that Prince Henry Charles Albert David, or Prince Harry if you prefer, or Gingerbollocks as I bet the Queen calls him, was going to have a last-second crisis of identity before he got married. In my mind, he was sure to have a look at the albeit beautiful Meghan (I would never say this to her face, but she’s a wonderful person and a gifted artist), realise that he prefers cock and slightly middle-class Geordie men, dash into his armoured Mercedes and drive to Newcastle (avoiding the Tyne Tunnel, of course) to declare his love and demand I sit on his throne.

However, it wasn’t to be. The closest I got to receiving a royal hand last night was my own Queen, Paul, slumping forward during the ‘exploratory’ part of the mission after one too many gins.

I like the Royals. Not so keen on what they stand for, and I balked at the sight of homeless people having their sleeping bags taken away from them just so folks born into the greatest luxury in the land wouldn’t have their wedding photos ruined, but I do enjoy a bit of pomp and ceremony. I always imagine Camilla would be the best on a night out – she’d be the one ordering shit mixed drinks and telling everyone to fuck off and glassing the bouncers by the end of the night. She’s got that look in her eye that says ‘I’ll give you a gobble behind the bins but don’t spaff on my tiara‘, I think.

Perhaps it’s because I was never a huge fan of Diana. I know: blasphemy. Actually, no – that’s unfair, I have no real strong feelings about Diana, but her death was certainly the beginning of this awful ‘who can be the most upset’ competition that occurs whenever someone faintly famous dies or something horrendous happens in the world. Grief should be a private, personal emotion, not an excuse to whip out your Minions-quote-template and best UP WITH THE ANGLES line just because Gemma Collins bruised a nail tripping on the slip-mats in Lidl.  I saw that sea of flowers pushed up against the walls of Buckingham Palace and all I could hope was that Liz had stocked up on Piriteze. All that pollen – I sympathise, if someone blows a dandelion clock in Sussex I’m laid up in bed for four weeks groaning and streaming snot from every hole I possess.

Anyway, look, this is all by the by. Harry didn’t come by in the end, and by all accounts it was a lovely, traditional wedding. I say traditional, it didn’t end with someone having too many Archers Aquas and vomiting in a plant-pot, so really, was it a wedding at all?

Oh! We did celebrate the Royal Wedding with a bit of light baking, see?

Fancy! I made ginger nuts (of course) by following our recipe here and rose-scented meringue bites by tweaking this exciting recipe made from chickpea pre-cum and I swear to God, that’s exactly what we used.

Oh and final point on the Royal Wedding – we were schlepping around Tesco yesterday buying BBQ bits and pieces when we overheard a very earnest, rah-de-rah mother saying to her chubby-checked wee child that ‘shall we dash home now so we can get a look at Meghan’s dress?’ to which the kid – a future in comedy awaits – completely deadpanned that she ‘really couldn’t care less‘. Good on you, child whose name will inevitability contain ‘Ella’.

OK, let’s do the recipe then. I was given a big bag of greek oregano by a friend from work and I need to tell you know, it smells amazing. The oregano, that is, not my friend, I couldn’t comment on his redolence. I did have to spend altogether more time than I anticipated smiling wanly at people spotting the bag of oregano on my desk and asking if it was drugs, ho-ho, slap my knees. I was that busy laughing hysterically that I barely had time for my 11am ket-bump in the bogs.

roast potatoes

roast potatoes

1 vote

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lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

How many times do you need a side for a BBQ and you find yourself opening a pack of coleslaw and crying because everything is so boring and you're sick of being fat and anyway, that miserable cow next door is already twitching her curtains and complaining about the smoke? Well, screw that, screw her and screw boring sides: our amazing lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes are a doddle to make, low in syn and taste bloody amazing.

Please: don't be tempted to skip the olive oil. It's worth it. You could use Frylight, yes, but why bother? Syns are there to be used for good food!

Ingredients

  • about 900g of new potatoes, scrubbed a bit but not peeled, cut into smallish chunks
  • two tablespoons of olive oil (see notes)
  • four garlic cloves, minced (see notes)
  • a couple of teaspoons of dried oregano
  • a few grinds of salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 150ml of beef stock (or veggie stock if you're veggie, duh)
  • 150ml of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano - optional, dried is fine, but use a little less

Instructions

  • get the oven up to about 200 degrees, and find a good non-stick roasting dish
  • pour the chopped potatoes in, together with the oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper (don't be shy), oregano and then pop the lid on and shake shake shake - really throw everything around to get it all coated
  • bake in the oven for about twenty minutes, take out, add the stock, shake and back into the oven it goes for about fifteen minutes
  • out it comes, add the lemon juice and again, shake it to buggery - then back into the oven for a good twenty minutes or so, until everything is cooked and most of the liquid has disappeared
  • top with fresh oregano and serve 

Use your common sense here - if it needs a bit longer, keep it in! But make sure it doesn't burn.

Notes

Courses sides, vegetarian

Cuisine BBQ

Yum!

Looking for more BBQ ideas? Then please, let us help you out:

Have a good weekend folks!

J