Before we start and I get to the recipe for meaty pizza fingers, a message for the chap who found this blog by searching for “local herbs to bewitch and win local elections” – I’m sorry if my recipe for red lentil dahl wasn’t quite what you were looking for. But all the very best to you.
Gosh, all terribly exciting this morning in Newcastle. Looked out of my office window to see a big column of black smoke billowing into the air and my first thought was sheer stricken terror at the thought it might have been Paul’s mother arriving.
Just kidding, don’t strike me off the Christmas list yet.
No, a great fire was busy raging at one of a shop in Newcastle and it looks like it has completely gutted the building. An awful thing to happen, and they have been unable to account for the whereabouts of one chap. Hopefully he’ll be found. Watching the local press heralded such treats as ‘there is a smell of smoke in the air’ and ‘the firemen are putting water on the fire’. Really? Not petrol? Perhaps hurl a chip pan through the window and see if that’ll calm the flames? Christ.
It made me realise how cosseted and safe my job is, and how frightening it must be to be a fireman. Imagine having to enter a building where you can’t see, the structure is unsafe and IT’S ON BLOODY FIRE. I get nervous turning the thermostat up, let alone having to battle an inferno to rescue someone from being roasted alive. I just can’t imagine it. I used to be absolutely terrified of fire. No wonder, looking back, with three memories sticking in my mind like smouldering ashes.
Firstly, chip pans. To watch 999 and the like you’d think a chip pan – a proper one mind, full of fat and bubbling on the hob – was akin to a grenade sat there with the pin taken out. Because we were Northern and geet hard we’d have chips for nearly every meal, and my parents were forever putting the pan on and ‘having a lie down’ in front of Countdown, or taking the washing out, or driving over to the next village for a twenty deck of Lambert and Butler, leaving me sat in the living room just waiting for the invariable explosion and the feeling of my skin melting off my face. Clearly they knew what they were doing but good lord, I used to be terrified. Never quite put me off eating the chips afterwards, mind.
Next, anyone have a coal fire? For those who aren’t a fan of bringing coal in from the outdoors and developing COPD over the course of a childhood, you often needed to make the fire ‘blaze’ at the start – essentially you’d cover the fire up with a solid object / covering, which in turn caused the air from the chimney to pull through the fire and ‘get it going’ (or, indeed, to go all Tim Healy-haway-Pet on you, ‘take ahad’). One morning whilst we were playing at a friend’s house (I remember the board game, it was a knock-off version of Frustration where you had to shake the dice yourself instead of popping the dome – probably called Inconvenient or For Fuck’s Sake) and her mother decided to light the fire. Being a proper countrywoman that took no time at all and she decided that instead of using something sensible to make the fire blaze, she covered it up with A SHEET OF NEWSPAPER. She couldn’t have chosen a more stupid material if she tried – I’m surprised she didn’t swap out the logs for canisters of Elnett. To put the cherry on the massive third-degree burns, the child-hating witch then left the house to go up the street to make a phonecall, presumably to her lover. Of course, simple physics took place, the newspaper set alight and promptly fell apart, scattering little burning embers into the air, onto chairs, in my hair, all over the living room, leaving us children to try and stamp them all out. We did, but that made my heart race faster than any game of bloody Frustration.
Finally, anyone who has grown up in the countryside will remember the colossal pyramids of round hay bales that used to be scattered around. Well, my sister and I were cheerfully ignoring my mother’s stern-faced admonishments about playing on the bales and sitting atop a gigantic pile when we heard a terribly loud WHOOMPH and the whole pile went up in flames. Well, you’ve never seen two pairs of Naf-Naf trainers move so quickly. Turns out that tightly-packed hay holds a LOT of heat and only needs the slightest encouragement to burst into flames. Who knew? We certainly didn’t – we were only ever worried about being crushed under the weight of the bales, and well, that never stopped us rolling them down the field and crashing them through the fences at the bottom and into the stream. Oops. Turns out that it was a small broken bottle focussing the sun’s rays onto the hay which started the fire. We were just the little dirty-faced urchins who just happened to be nearby.
I realise that my descriptive ways of talking about anything from my childhood makes it sound like we were the rough family from every single Catherine Cookson novel but of course, I always add that slight air of exaggeration into my description. My dad wasn’t Robson Green and I don’t think I ever had pleurisy from working down t’pit. Here’s a little fact though – up until the age of…I dunno, whenever I discovered masturbation and thus had something else to occupy my thoughts alone in the night, I used to have a ‘procedure’ I had to do before I went to sleep to make sure the house didn’t burn down – blink eight times in a row, whirl my eyes around in my head and then shut my eyes and go to sleep. Interesting how a child’s mind works.
Anyway, enough puff and nonsense from me. Here’s tonight’s recipe. I agonised for ages over what on earth to call them – ‘twochubbycubs’ meaty fingers’ sounds like a sex toy, whereas bolognese burgers just sounds awful and like something you’d get in a Wetherspoons between your second pint and having your teeth kicked out by a walking collection of steroids and inadequacies. Confession – I found this recipe on the internet a while back and copied down the recipe but not the link, so if it’s yours, I apologise. I tweaked it for Slimming World though so I’ve done my bit. I put the word ‘longboy’ down on the page (I handwrite everything, I’m such a fusspot) which, upon further googling (googling which probably put me on some sort of Yewtree watchlist as soon as I typed “+longboy +meat +fingers” into google) sounds like the proper name. Who knows.
This makes enough for four (two halves each).
to make meaty pizza fingers, you’ll need:
- 4 wholemeal sub rolls (60g – HeA)
- 50g panko (9 syns) – optional but dead tasty (before you ask: panko is a dried breadcrumb available from most supermarkets, you don’t NEED it, and if you don’t use it, drop the syns down to half a syn!)
- 400g lean minced beef (we used a pack from our twochubbycubs’ meat hamper – just one pack, and it’s amazing meat)
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato sauce (2 syns)
- handful of chopped chillis
- 30g low-fat cheese, grated (HeB)
Here’s the thing. We used mini submarine rolls instead of a ‘bun’. They’re exactly the same thing and ours weighed 64g instead of 60g. I refuse to syn them, and I’m using one as a healthy extra. If you’re going to be Captain Anal about it, use a normal wholemeal bun. No need to shit the bed. You get two ‘fingers’ each for 3 syns, or 0.5 syn if you don’t use panko.
to make meaty pizza fingers, you should:
- preheat the oven to 230 degrees celsius
- slice the rolls in half and place on a baking sheet, cut side up
- bake in the oven for about 5 minutes – when finished, reduce the heat of the oven to 190 degrees whilst you complete the next step
- meanwhile, mix together the minced beef, panko, onion, worcestershire sauce, thyme, garlic, egg, salt and pepper in a large bowl
- spread the mixture onto the bread rolls – make sure it goes all the way to the edge to stop the bread from burning
- mix together 2 tbsp of tomato sauce with 2 tbsp of water and brush over the meat
- bake in the oven at 190 degrees for about 20-25 minutes
- remove from the oven and scatter over the sliced chillis and cheese, and bake for another five minutes
- finish under the grill for a few minutes to brown it all off
- serve and enjoy!
If you enjoyed this, can I recommend another pizza recipe? For mature cheddar, leeks and pulled pork pizza? You’ll adore it. Promise.
Remember to share.