Just a lunch idea tonight: roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta. How many times do we end up buying something bog-awful for lunch just because we didn’t plan the night before or because we can’t face another day of choking down an asbestos-flavoured MugShitz? Make a batch of this and never look back! And look, no nonsense to read through to get straight to the recipe!
Looking for a quick lunch? Have yourself a packet of crisps and a good cry, or, make this gorgeous little pasta salad - it'll keep well in the fridge and serve you well for a good couple of days. Don't be tempted to make this roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta without the chorizo - the tiny crunchy bits of oily goodness is what makes this dish sing!
100g chorizo, diced (12 syns)
6 bacon medallions, diced
½ red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
300g cherry tomatoes, halved
130g reduced fat feta, crumbled (2x HeA)
pop the tomatoes in a roasting dish and set away on a low heat, chopped in half, for about twenty minutes - you want them softened but not burst
cook the pasta according to the instructions, scoop out a little of the water into a mug and keen aside, then drain
meanwhile, spray a bit of oil into a large frying pan and place over a medium-high heat
add the chorizo and bacon and fry until golden
remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside
add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook in the chorizo oil until translucent
add the tomatoes to the pan and a couple of tablespoons of water
cook until the tomatoes have softened and the sauce has reduced, add a bit more water if it starts to look a bit dry
chuck in the chorizo and bacon to the pan and give another good stir
add the pasta and stir again - use some of the water you collected earlier if needed to thin out the sauce
serve into bowls, top with the crumbled feta and salt and pepper to taste
don't be afraid to use chorizo - it's what makes this one so tasty! Substituting it for something lower in syns will just dull the flavour. Syns are there to be used!
mince the garlic in seconds with one of these! Don't fanny on with awkward garlic presses!
you can use normal tomatoes in this if you prefer - just cut them up into cherry tomato-sized chunks
don't like feta? Use any cheese you like - just remember to check the syns
you can use any pasta you like - we used Gigli because it's pretty and cooks quickly
Courseslunch, pasta, salad
See? What’s not to like about a dinner like our roasted tomato, bacon and chorizo pasta? Easy, uses only a couple of syns and actually tastes of something other than the shite you pick up in the supermarket!
Want more ideas for lunch? Of course! Try one of these:
You’re doubtless here for the baked eggs in cheesy toast – it’s easily one of our quickest, easiest recipes – and it’s delightful. You could scroll straight to the recipe – look for the picture – but first, I have an important message. Perhaps you could humour me.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, you know. No, I know, it feels like it’s always some sort of week at the moment – I’m still eagerly awaiting the celebrations of ‘Comfortably Upholstered Northern Tubsters’ week, but until the day comes when I’m presented with a perspex sausage roll trophy by, oh I dunno, Gail Platt from Corrie, I’ll need to keep dreaming. But this is an important issue so I don’t begrudge writing about it.
Actually, speaking of Coronation Street, Aidan Connor’s suicide storyline really made me upset – it’s unbearable to think that people keep things bottled up to the point where they feel they can’t cope anymore – so, in the spirit of being open about our feelings, I turned to Paul and admitted that I would have given anything, simply anything, to fall asleep nestled comfortably between the wibbly-wobbly cheeks of Shayne Ward’s bottom. I’ve genuinely never known a man make a Zara funnel overcoat look so damn good. I was reading a news story about the actor where he expressed upset over the fact he’s been called fatty-boom-boom on Twitter and accused of having a dad body. How utterly ridiculous: a bit of a podge belly is perfectly natural as you get older, and I certainly wouldn’t hold his belly against him – I’d just balance it on top of my head in the usual fashion.
The storyline has done some amazing work highlighting that not everyone suffering with mental health problems is a shrieker and a wailer and your (lazy) stereotypical loon throwing their faeces around and punching at the clouds. It shows, rightly, that it can affect anyone, with no barriers, and that’s why it’s important to actually talk about it, get it out in the open, have an honest discussion about it.
I’ve gone on previously about my own mental health issue – health anxiety – and I won’t bore you with the details of it. I will say this, though: another year has passed and this year I’ve managed to beat a brain tumour (because of my tinnitus), mad cow disease (because my mother insisted on buying cheap mince for most of the eighties), Alzheimer’s disease (because I forgot where I parked, once, and that’s because I was driving Paul’s ‘car’ as opposed to my own), sepsis (cut myself handling compost) and breast cancer (another harmless lump in my boobs, most likely a Trebor Soft Mint). It’s exhausting being so healthy, I can assure you. Though that exhaustion is probably chronic fatigue syndrome. Bugger.
If you’re out there, and you’re suffering, there’s only two bits of advice I can offer you – and you’ll have heard them before, but I don’t care: maybe my words will be the ones that hit home, like a determined sperm: talk to someone and don’t give up. Now, choose wisely with the first bit of advice, I’m not suggesting you ring your taxi-rank and advise them that you’re seeing only blackness ahead – if they’re anything like my local taxi service, you’ll get twenty seconds of phlegm-soaked coughing and some racist dialogue in the background. No, choose a family friend, someone from work, a loved one, the cat or even a cushion. Vocalising your issues is cathartic, even if you’re talking to yourself. I’m forever talking to myself and find it reassuring – often those negative thoughts in your head are exposed for the nonsense they are once they float out of your gob. If you’re entertaining the ‘what if’ question (especially with your health), rephrase it as ‘what if it isn’t’ – do you really want to be wasting your life worrying about something that isn’t going to happen or, if it is, you can do bot-all about? For every spoken question you give yourself, provide two answers – the rational and irrational. Give yourself a fuller picture. And mind, if you choose to talk to someone rather than yourself, make sure you choose wisely. They’re few and far between, but there’s some folk out there who will gladly lend you an ear just so you don’t notice the knife they’re sticking in your back.
The don’t give up part, then. It’s such a trite thing to say, but you never know what’s coming around the corner. Well, Paul does, but that’s because he’s got boggle-eyes (I’m not saying he’s cross-eyed, but he does have to sit sideways to watch the television). Even if you aim for one day at a time, a day that doesn’t end with a trip in a black ambulance with me driving behind you trying to decide whether it’s appropriate to overtake is a good one. At my lowest I thought I’d be doolally forever – and actually, perhaps I am because mental illness never leaves you – but you learn to cope, then you learn to stop caring, then you forget why you were ever stressed. Until you wake in the night convinced that you’re dying because although it COULD be trapped wind, that pain in your belly is almost certainly bowel cancer and this is it, I’m off to reunite with my nana after three months of shitting blood. Difference is, each time that anxiety-blip happens, you learn a bit more how to cope with your worries, and the time it takes to get over your anxiety decreases. In short, it gets easier. It does.
Chins up, folks. Remember, there’s fuck all to be ashamed about if you’re out there and you’re struggling: you’re a human being. Yes, even you, with that moustache. You wouldn’t feel embarrassed if you broke your toe, why should your emotions be any different? I read here that 1 in 6 folks experienced a symptom of a mental health condition last week. Perhaps you’re not so unusual, after all.
Oh and as an aside, if you’re one of those arseholes who pretend you’ve got OCD because you have to check the oven is switched off once in a blue moon, please, stop. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a genuinely devastating illness that manifests itself in much stronger ways than the occasional ‘but did I’ moment on the drive to work. It doesn’t make you sound interesting or kooky, it makes you sound like a proper Comfortably Upholstered Northern Tubster.
OK we’re done. No more lectures. But please, do talk. To the recipe, then!
This super quick breakfast looks impressive but is actually a doddle to make on Slimming World - you can have two 'toasts' and it'll be syn free! Don't want to use your HEA as well as your HEB? We've got you - use slightly less cheese - 10g is only two syns. This recipe makes enough for one person to have two slices - just scale it up as you wish.
Remember my warning from the last time we used a Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll? Let me remind you...
But here's the thing. Gluten free food is expensive and it can be a proper pain in the arse to find if you are following a gluten-free diet. That's annoying when you want to cook with it, but what if gluten free was the only bread you could have and you had to do without because some div on Slimming World was too frightened about just having a breadbun? Before you pick it off the shelf, have a think.
one Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll (HEB)
30g of red leicester cheese (HEA) (or use less, and syn it at 10g for 2 syns)
chives, black pepper
optional: chilli sauce - yum! We use Flying Goose and syn it at 1 syn, but that's optional
preheat the grill
cut your roll in half and drop it into a hot, dry frying pan, toasting off the bottom of each slice
remove your bread and, using the bottom of a glass, press a well into the bread and crack an egg in, like so
sprinkle your cheese and chives on top, then grill for a few minutes, keeping an eye on it so it doesn't burn - your egg should be solid, but the yolk nice and runny
serve - slather it with chilli sauce if you like your arse battered like us
not got chives? Don't panic - just use black pepper
if you were feeling decadent, you could always add chopped ham into your well
feel free to use a different bun - however, a ciabatta is good as it doesn't burn so quickly
There now! Looking for more breakfast ideas, you fabulous witch?
Here for the orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad? Then you’ve got exceptional taste, and you must be rewarded. If you’re in a hurry, scroll quickly to the video and watch the recipe, or read the words explaining how to make our delicious orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad. If you need a good light lunch, this is the one you’ll need. But first…
Paul has done some foolish things in his short time on the Earth. For example, he once pooed on the tracks of the East Coast Main Line just to see what would happen when a train went over it at full-clip. That also explains why we’re banned from Durham train station. Ay-oooo, I’ll be here all night, try the veal.
However, he’s excelled himself now. He’s signed us up to run a 5K at the end of the month to raise money for The Albert Kennedy Trust. I ought to explain: I get out of breath driving 5k, and that’s including a break to ogle/fellate the lorry drivers at Washington Services. The thought of running it makes my heart race all of its own, but that’s me and my hilarious tachycardia all over. I’ve been reassured that we will be fine and that actually, there is an air ambulance station only five minutes away from the run location. So I mean, that’s great: my lips might turn the colour of old liver and my brain will likely be starved of oxygen as all my blood pools in my cheap, not-suitable-for-running trainers, but hey, I get a ride in a helicopter.
Actually, that really IS a dealbreaker, I’ve always wanted to leap from a helicopter like Anneka Rice in Treasure Hunt. We’ll get Mags in as Wincey Willis, standing in front of a cardboard map pinning arrows of my location on with gay abandon, though we’d need to ask her to tone down her hairspray cloud to Bhopal levels lest Paul took an asthma attack.
Readers born in the late nineties might not get that reference. Ah well. I don’t understand how to use hashtags properly or why everyone is insistent on putting dog ears on their photos, so we’ll call it even. Seriously folks, why do you do that? Do you want conversation, or taken outside for a shite?
Anyway, I jest, of course. This fitness burst is actually a culmination of our efforts from New Year to increase our activity levels. I was tired of getting out of breath putting on my shoes. Paul was literally tired – he could barely sleep for fretting that I was going to choke on a landslide of my own neck-fat. I didn’t do much snore as drown through the night. So, naturally, we decided the sensible approach would be to go straight into a bootcamp (which wrecked us, but in a good way) and gym membership, and now here we are able to run for a mile without being blue-lighted into hospital and/or asked to leave because the resonance of our thighs slapping together is putting the structural integrity of the building at risk.
That mile thing is, well, a proper milestone – for months I’ve been telling myself that there’s simply no way I could run for that long without dying until, on Saturday, I told myself to give it a go. Armed with the reassurance that I had the emergency-stop clip attached to the waistband of my shorts (I think I managed to clip about half of my neatly-trimmed pubic hair too, just to add an extra frisson of excitement to possible failure) and a hurly-burly chap to my immediate right to give me mouth to mouth should I need it, away I went. And do you know, I did it without any drama, fanfare or worry – just plodded on through! So there’s hope yet.
Speaking of hope, that’s what we’re running the 5K for. The Albert Kennedy Trust provide support, help and sometimes accommodation for LGBT folks who are experiencing difficulties, especially those who have just come out and are facing adversity from their parents or guardians. I’ve told you the story of my ex who came out to his parents only to have his kind, patient, God-loving dad put a screwdriver to his throat and lock him away in the house until my mother went all Andy McNab (Mandy McTab, surely) and kidnapped him? Yeah: they help with folks in that sort of situation, and much worse. You can’t help your sexuality any more than you can change your eye-colour or the clip of your bumhole: why then should you live in fear over something you have no control over? Hmm?
If you would like to sponsor our run, then by all means do – look, I even made a dapper wee banner for you to click on (it’ll open in a new window) and anything at all would be absolutely amazing. But listen, if you’re sitting there on the bones of your arse with nothing but shrapnel and dreams in your purse, don’t fret for a second. We’re not shaking you down here: if you can and you want to, by all means donate and we’ll be delighted, but we won’t think anything less of anyone for not donating! There’s a million charities out there all equally as important to someone, I’m sure. Click to donate! One final thing: don’t worry, we’re not going to become jogging-wankers. I still think running is bloody awful. Why use your own locomotion when Uber is only a strained conversation away? We certainly won’t be doing fun-runs and sprinting along the town moor with that permanent ‘I’m about to cum through my own self-worth’ face on. And no to any sort of lycra, though that’s more for your benefit than mine: I look like a Shar Pei dog snuffling for truffles in a bin-liner when I wear any sort of figure-hugging outfit. No, that just won’t do.
Now that’s quite enough waffling on. I apologise that the drought of posts continues, but so does the drought of free-time we’re currently experiencing, so just bear with us. Today’s recipe for orzo, mint and tomato salad was borne from the need for a quick lunch to answer all the ‘what can I have for lunch’ posts we keep getting. This takes no time at all to make, uses only a few ingredients and keeps well in the fridge. To make up for the lack of recipes, we’ve done a video recipe for you – we’d love some feedback!
Let’s do the proper recipe now: orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad, just for you.
Looking for a lunch that you can keep in the fridge and it'll only get better? Then something like this orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad will hit the spot! Orzo is a type of pasta you can buy in most supermarkets - cheap, tasty and carries a sauce well.
Don't be tempted to use Quark: you're so much better than that.
And yes, you could use cherry tomatoes and make this syn-free, but proper sun-dried tomatoes are tastier and will bring your dish up a treat! Give it a go!
25g chopped mint
110g Philadelphia Lightest (one 1 x HEA)
100g chopped sundried tomatoes (6 syns)
salt and pepper
boil your orzo for about eight minutes until soft
drain the orzo, keeping aside 100ml of the cooking water
pop the orzo back in the pan, pop the water back in and put it on a very low heat
add the mint, sundried tomatoes, spinach and cream cheese together with a pinch of salt and pepper and allow the cheese to soften down and the spinach to wilt
stir and serve!
this makes enough for four decent sized portions and keeps well in the fridge
add peas, peppers, onion, anything you like - but we like to keep it simple
Chicken and chorizo jambalaya: because you need an easy chicken recipe, and we need an easy life. So, not only have we found you possibly the easiest chicken recipe we’ve ever done, we’ve even done you a video!
We get a lot of feedback with people mentioning that it’s a faff on having lots of different deals all over the place and that they want just ‘pure’ meat, as opposed to flavourings and rubs and meatballs and sausages. So, with that in mind, we’ve revamped our Musclefood offering so that you can buy different sizes of our popular Freezer Filler deal – all three sizes will save you money on buying it in the supermarket and of course, it’s all syn-free. Up to you how you cook it!
So here it is: the ULTIMATE FREEZER FILLER SELECTION! There’s three packs here for you to choose from so there’s something for every budget. If you haven’t ordered from us before then what are you waiting for?! You’ll save a fortune compared to getting the same amount of stuff at the supermarkets, and not only are you getting a bargain but it all tastes nicer too. The chicken breasts are HUGE and won’t shrivel when you cook them, the beef isn’t like chewing on a dry tampon and the mince isn’t mushy! Seriously, give it a try – we promise you won’t look back! Everything in these packs are syn free!
You’ll save a fortune ordering from us compared to getting the same amount of stuff at the supermarkets and the bigger the pack, the more you save. Fill up your freezer and it’ll last you for ages!
Full disclosure: we get a small commission for the meat we sell – it doesn’t change the price you pay, but helps keep us in the gin, buttplugs and fancy living lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to.
Now for a sneak inside my box – here’s what you get in our deals. We did try and get Musclefood to call the boxes ‘mouse’s ear, wizard’s sleeve and hippo’s yawn‘ but apparently, that’s too off-brand:
This super easy chicken and chorizo jambalaya is a one-pot, quick cooking marvel: it tastes good, it's low in syns and if you're shite in the kitchen, you'll be able to knock this together without breaking a sweat. It's an all round good guy!
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 onion, chopped
200g frozen peas
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tbsp Morrison's No Fuss garlic paste (1 syn) (or mince your own garlic, you fancy sod)
100g chorizo, diced (12 syns)
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
250g long grain rice
400g tin of plum tomatoes
400ml chicken stock
if you haven't already, dice and chop up everything that you need to and set aside
spray a large pan with oil and pop over a medium-high heat
add the chicken and cook until no pink remains
next, add everything else and give a good stir - give the tomatoes a bit of a squash with the edge of the spoon so they break up a little bit and spread out
add the lid to the pan and simmer for 25 minutes
we used garlic paste for this because we ran out of proper garlic - if you're using garlic cloves you can knock a syn off
Because putting a bit of mince in a wrap does not equal sausage rolls. Honestly, we weren’t going to bother with a sausage rolls recipe but having seen people passing off wraps stuffed with mince as sausage rolls, we felt we had to. Remember, Slimming World is about eating proper food, not pretend food, using your syns to eat something someone on a diet would eat, as opposed to pretend fake-food. The proof, as they say, is almost certainly in the pudding.
Although that pudding will probably be a smear of cinnamon and a photocopy of a chocolate bar wrapped in a Weight Watchers wrap and called a cinnamon swirl. Maybe on other sites.
Anyway, a quick word before we get to that recipe. Keen observers may have noticed that our recipe / blog output has slowed down a bit the last few weeks. There’s a reason for that but alas, I can’t go into it! We are trying to balance it back out, but at the moment we’re working during the day, coming home and going out to work on something else. But the end is in sight, and we have some cracking recipes coming up. So do bear with us, please! Remember, if you need inspiration, we have:
The recipe for the sausage rolls isn't much of a recipe at all, so we thought we'd bulk it out by including a veggie alternative that isn't just using vegetarian sausages, although you can do so. The veggie version is called pea pastizzi and comes from Sabrina Ghayour's FEASTS book that we keep banging on about!
to make the meaty sausage rolls (makes ten)
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
whatever six sausages you like - we use syn-free sausages from Musclefood, but you can use anything here
one red onion chopped
a pinch of garlic
to make the veggie pea alternatives (makes ten):
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
two large fat garlic cloves
one large onion, chopped fine
300g tin of marrowfat peas
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 large egg
pinch of salt
for the meaty sausage rolls:
preheat the oven to 200°c
squeeze the sausagemeat from the sausages and fry in the pan with the finely chopped onion and garlic - the little bit of fat will soften the onions, so no need to add oil
add a good twist of pepper
take your puff pastry, roll it out - I prefer to actually roll it out a little thinner than it usually is, but you know, up to you
cut into ten squares
spoon the cooked sausage meat into each square and fold over the sides into a nice roll shape
wash with beaten egg and into the oven they go for 20 minutes or so to cook nicely
if you want, cut them in half again when cooked for 1-syn taster night sausage rolls
Easy! Do you see what I mean though - it's an easy recipe! Cook off the sausagemeat, add into puff pastry and cook.
for the veggie pea alternatives:
soften the onions by cooking them off in a little oil, adding the garlic as they get nice and golden
add the peas, curry powder, pinch of pepper and a good dash of dalt
allow everything to cook for about five minutes and soften and mash gently
do as you did above - roll out your pastry, spoon in your mixture, fashion into rolls, egg-wash the top and whack them in the oven for twenty minutes or so
as you have no doubt noticed, FEASTS is my favourite book at the moment - every last thing we've cooked from there has been a delight - you can pick it up cheap on Amazon
Here for the harissa steak sandwiches, which are nothing more than the perfect low-syn dinner you deserve? Then you’re in the right place…but first…
I was planning on doing a more general Room 101 type post – and I’ll come back to that a little down the line – but upon writing my notes it struck me the amount of ‘internet pet-peeves’ appeared on my list. So, instead of a wider picture, take my hand as I pull you down a very specific tunnel of anger: e-annoyances.
Actually, first on the list, adding e- to any noun or verb. This isn’t the nineties anymore, Pat Sharp has long since got rid of his mullet and even Jim Bowen has died. Let’s all move on, shall we? We’re not going to e-meet, e-grieve or e-felch.
Next is vaguebooking. If you’re checking in at a hospital it should be the law that you have to give everyone every scintillating detail of what you’re in for. You want people to know you’re there, so don’t leave them hanging – even if you’re having a team of doctors giving you a smear test using a block and tackle and a diving helmet it doesn’t matter, put pictures up. Or: shut the fuck up about it. This is compounded by those imbeciles who check in and then don’t respond to the countless ‘is everything alright’ posts that invariably trickle in. There’s a special place reserved in Hell for you: I can only hope the doctor doesn’t warm his hands beforehand.
Along similar lines, anyone posting ‘karma will get you’ or ‘omg can’t believe what I’ve heard’ or any other vague statement designed to make them look faintly interesting whilst revealing their own crushing existential crisis, they can go jump in the sea. This seems to be common amongst those who believe shaving off their eyebrows and reapplying them using a highlighter pen is a good look.
Normally synonymous alongside the above is use of the word haters. There ought to be a reality check button on facebook to clarify that no, you’re not actually important enough to have haters. No-one is, unless you’re someone like professional shitgibbon Katie Hopkins, and look what happened to her. Why would you imagine that people are actively going out of their way to ‘hate’ you when most people simply pass you by? It’s exhausting: and, let’s say for the sake of argument that you do have haters, are you really ‘showing the haters’ by finally beating level 344 of Candy Crush? Haway.
They’re the same folks who usually upload jpeg images of Marilyn Monroe with the (incorrectly attributed) quote “but if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best” scrawled across it in Mistral. To compound things, the jpeg is usually accompanied with eight levels of tray-icons from being screenshotted from every mobile device known to man – I swear I’ve seen Marilyn Monroe (as viewed through a potato) with Super Mario Land playing in the background. This particular quote makes my teeth itch whenever you see it stretched badly over some canvas in B&M, nevermind seeing it on facebook too.
Whilst we’re here, if you’re having to put something like ‘Only God can judge me‘ on your facebook wall, then chances are you should be judged as you’re having to pre-empt people calling you out. I wish I was God: I wouldn’t hesitate on slurring the word biiiiiiiiiiiiitch out as you tried to put on your shoes.
Curveball time: if you’re writing ‘kitteh‘ or ‘doggo‘ or anything other than the actual name of the animal, and you’ve mastered not shitting your pants and solid food, then you deserve nothing more than everlasting shame and I hope your life is full of always thinking you’ve left something switched on at home. There’s simply no need for it. Cats and dogs are cute as they are without adding some ridiculously asinine mispronunciation on top of it.
Shall we cover leaving speeches? We see it ever so often in our facebook group – people flouncing out but having to put a big speech in just before they do to explain their departure. Why? Do they imagine all 70,000 of us are sitting there ashen-faced, looking at each other with pleading eyes, all desperate to know why Shelly Mamov5 McGee has forsaken us? It’s always done with altogether too many emojis and hysteria to be taken as constructive criticism anyway.
And finally, why the joint profile names, people? Surely it’s quicker just to upload a brief statement explaining who cheated who? #awkward, right?
RIGHT. That’s quite enough of all that, my blood pressure can’t take it anymore. Let’s do the harissa steak sandwiches!
Now, for these harissa steak sandwiches, you have a choice: you can serve it up in your normal bread bun or, if you are feeling fancy, you can pop it in a ciabatta - you can have a Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll as a healthy extra, after all!
But here's the thing. Gluten free food is expensive and it can be a proper pain in the arse to find if you are following a gluten-free diet. That's annoying when you want to cook with it, but what if gluten free was the only bread you could have and you had to do without because some div on Slimming World was too frightened about just having a breadbun? Before you pick it off the shelf, have a think.
Before anyone tells us off, first of all: how dare you. We used a bog standard ciabatta for this. No regrets.
a couple of thin skirt steaks - or whatever steak you want to use, but skirt steak is super cheap
3 tbsp of harissa paste (you can buy it in most supermarkets, and it's 1/2 syn per tablespoon)
whatever breadbun you want to use (a Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll is your HEB, but so is a bog-standard brown breadbun)
a bag of mixed salad leaves
fresh ground pepper and salt
two red onions
4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (or use normal white vinegar, if you don't have it to hand)
pinch of chilli flakes
tsp of honey (1 syn)
make the pickle - dead easy, slice the onion into thin half moons, pop in a bowl with the vinegar, chilli and honey - and leave to soak for thirty minutes or so
rub the harissa paste into the steak and lie flat on a plate, leave for an hour or so to marinate
next bit is dead easy - cook your steaks however you like - we like it still mooing, as you can see - and grill your ciabatta / breadbun
thinly slice your cooked steak
make up your sandwich - hot meat, pickled onion and green salad - yum!
It's as easy as that!
this recipe is from FEAST by Sabrina Ghayour - I adore this book, as I adore all of her cookery books - the food is gorgeous and it has never failed us - dirt cheap too!
we used our Optigrill to cook the steak, but anything will do - just as good in a pan, no need for anything fancy - but the Optigrill you can just whack it under and leave it to cook
Sarah’s slaggy speed syn-free sauce! I mean, honestly. Do you know how many times we set off our own work filters because our website is classed as pornography and now we’re adding slaggy into our opening sentence? Eee, you accidentally put a picture of yourself felching a plumber up instead of a Yorkshire pudding recipe and suddenly everyone’s a prude. Nevertheless, Sarah, our guest writer for tonight, is a big fan of alliteration, and I’m a bloke who just can’t say no. Now, the reason I’m handing over to her tonight is because she has just started her own blog and I’m all for promoting new writers, especially ones who swear like all the old ladies when someone shouts house at bingo. We were recently awarded blog of the month at foodies100.co.uk and one of the questions they asked us during our questionnaire was whether more diversity in blogging is a good thing. I said no, frankly, it should be limited purely to men with willies like a wrestler’s leg, but when they asked me to revise that answer I said that new voices were good as long as they had something interesting to say.
Thankfully, Sarah does. Which is lucky, as I would have been far too British and embarrassed to retract my offer had she been shite. I urge you to have a look at https://tryingtodoitall.com/ for a good, frank and coarse look at life with a family, beautiful cats and M.E. I’m sure you’ll all join me in bemoaning the fact her blog isn’t called itsallaboutmememe but hey, it takes years to be this deft with wordplay. Minge. Without a moment more of hesitation…
So the boys were right nice and said not only could I go on their Facebook page and promote my blog but do a guest blogger bit on theirs too. I was chuffed to the back teeth. I mean, I had no bastard idea what they meant but I felt a bit like I’d been handed the royal hand to kiss and I was not about do anything bar polish their rings (I’ll do ‘owt for attention) and get on with it. So I’m here and I can’t quite believe it but I’m going to style it out in the way only an amateur amongst professionals can – with arrogance and determination.
Those of you who know me, or have read my blog will know that I don’t like making life difficult for myself, there’s no point. I’ve not got the energy or the patience for complicated recipes and even if I did I’d only make it look like roadkill when I went to serve it. The pinch of unicorn pubes and dusting of fairy jizz would lose its magic in amongst the carnage on the plate, and I’d be left with a skip full of washing up and a bad attitude.
So it needs to be easy, pain free and also I NEED my food to work hard for me – I have M.E. see and I refuse to spend what little energy I have on cooking from scratch a million times a week. I know lots of you do but this recipe is one for the lazy bastards in town. Move over proactive bouncy crew with your lycra and Zumba moves, the sloth gang is in charge for a bit.
Sometimes I just want to bang something quick and easy together, or want something I can take out the freezer because I’m shit and haven’t planned my meals, basically I need something to shut out the packet of bourbons giving me the “hello sailor” eyes from the now bereft and sad looking snack cupboard. So the recipe, such as it is…
Now, I know what you’re thinking. All that foreplay and you’re giving me a fucking pasta sauce? Yes I am and actually you’ll pipe down because it’s not ONLY a pasta sauce, it’s a meatball sauce, a ketchup replacement, a sauce to bake your chicken in, it’s a pulled pork sauce and it makes you shit for mercy because it’s made entirely of speed veg. Oh and it tastes epic, not diet epic, but life is good and I have a yacht epic… basically it’s YOUR SAVIOUR. Slaggy speed syn-free sauce goes with ANYTHING.
Now to get the most amount of value from this sauce you’ll want to make loads of it. That way you’re going to the effort of cooking once and it’s paying dividends for ages – freeze what you don’t use in individual portions. You’ll thank me later.
2 red peppers
2 yellow peppers
2 orange peppers
1 white onion
6 peppadew hot peppers (the jarred ones)
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
4 tablespoons of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of cayenne (more if you like it hot, less if you have a toddler like mine…you could leave it out altogether to be fair)
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of sugar (1 syn but negligible by the time you divvy it up)
a few sprays of oil
At this point Sarah recommends using Frylight, and for that, we'll actually apply to get her pain relief medication cancelled. Always use Frylight, people, there is really no excuse!
get yourself ready
chop all that veg up - or buy pre-chopped if you're fancy
coat your pan in a few sprays of oil
chuck in your red, yellow, orange peppers and onions
fry on a low heat until the onions start looking yellowy (think liver failure) and the peppers are a bit smooshie (if you find the pan is drying out add more oil or try a splash of water)
add your chopped tomatoes, peppedaw peppers, garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne and sugar; stir like you’ve just told your ex his girlfriend is a prize slapper and put a lid on it, smug style
if you've lost your saucepan lids or don't want to bend down because you're mindful you won't be able to get up again without someone having to call for the fire brigade, just use a chopping board
let it simmer away for about 25 mins, you need to be careful mind, if you’ve got an aggressive gas stove like mine it could burn if you don’t keep an eye on it, so don’t get distracted by a shiny thing and forget about it - keep stirring - like a good night alone, it's up to you to keep it wet
when it looks like the pic (i.e. reduced, thick and chunky) get your blender or food processor geared up and show that chunky sauce who is boss - you want it to be a smooth as Grant Mitchell's giant heed.
You'll need two things for this:
a good quality saucepan - if you've got money pouring out of your arse, we recommend this set, but anything will do
Cubs here: if the recipe doesn’t taste good, don’t worry. Message Sarah to complain via her blog. Let’s face it, she’ll probably tire herself out switching her monitor on so you’ll be unlikely to get a reply. Oh I’m kidding, she probably has a special iPad. Have a look at her blog right here and she has a facebook page too, see?
Do you have something you want to say? If you can rattle off a few words, make it funny and give us a recipe, get in touch! Just leave a comment below and we’ll send you an email with details. Perhaps you feel as though you won’t be hilarious or interesting – don’t panic. I’ll just type in some gags and put a better photo. I’m like the gayest copy of Photoshop you’ll ever own.
Want more sauce recipes? That’s fine. We’ve got loads:
Ham, cheese and egg pancakes – well, it’s better than yet another overnight oats recipe, no? Bit of a preamble on this one so do just click here to go straight to the recipe!
Do you know who I can’t bear? Gavroche from Les Misérables. I jubilantly throw my box of Poppets in the air whenever that tatterdemalion shithead gets blasted in the stomach. Perhaps that makes me slightly psychopathic, celebrating the untimely end of a wee (albeit fictional) child, but there we have it. I’ve always been a Javert man, anyway.
I mention Gavroche as there was a kid in front of us at the swimming baths yesterday who was giving it such great funs with his loud, obnoxious shrieking that we elected to go for a spa day instead of a calorie burning frontcrawl. It’s half term: the children are off the roads but by God, they’re everywhere else, like lice on a dog.
It may surprise you that neither of us are born ‘spa boys’. The idea of people fussing about me with unctures and rubs holds zero appeal. However, we’re fortunate enough to live near a reasonable spa and, thanks to Groupon, entry was reasonably cheap. We did feel a bit out of place parking our muddy car in the sea of spotlessly white Range Rover Evoques (so-called, as they evoke feelings of ‘oh, what a smug looking c*nt’ whenever they swoosh past), and even more so traipsing in with our swim kit in an ASDA carrier bag. The lady on reception did blanch a little as we sashayed in. Pfft. I’m taking no judgement from someone who wouldn’t be able to register a look of surprise even if she dropped a pan of hot oil on her feet.
We’re realists – we weren’t going to inflict our naked, hairy bodies on someone whose on work experience certainly didn’t call for massaging our fat around like spreading butter on hot toast. Plus, I’m not one for being touched. I can take someone gripping my ears for stability and that’s about it. Although actually, I’ve heard masseuses prefer fat bodies as there’s more to work with, otherwise let’s face it, it’s like rubbing wax into a xylophone. I was having mild intestinal issues however, and didn’t fancy taking the risk of someone creating a biohazard by squeezing me like a tube of budget toothpaste. So, massages were off, and we decided to make use of the other facilities, which all involved some degree of sitting down and sweating. Couldn’t help but feel a bit ripped off, not least because I sit down and sweat just writing the blog.
Before that, a quick change. Luckily the place was quiet – not that I mind getting my knob out in front of folks, you understand, as a reasonably quick search on xtube will verify – and we were able to get changed in peace. Well – up until the point where it came to putting our stuff in the electronic lockers. We were just closing the door when a boiled beetroot in Jacamo shorts came barrelling over to shout at us / instruct us how to use the locker. It was a four digit pin, not the fucking Enigma machine, and I assured him we had it under control. He didn’t bugger off though, ‘supervising’ us as we locked our locker, leading to a slightly awkward moment where I had to shield the pin as though he was a street beggar after my money. Can’t be too careful. Satisfied that we had managed to satisfy Fermat’s last theorem / input four numbers into a locker, he lumbered off. We’d meet again.
Paul, keen to lose some weight through simple sweating, pushed us into the sauna. I hate saunas. I don’t see the appeal – I feel like a chicken breast in a sous vide machine, sweating and struggling to breathe through a dry heat of other people’s sweat and stink. Thankfully, unlike the other times I’ve used a sauna, there was no-one else in there – that’s great, because previous occasions have invariably had me sat oppostite an old dude sitting with his balls out. Have you ever seen what happens to a scrotum in extreme heat? Mine becomes so elastic that I can throw them over my shoulder and have them banging about like one of those old clackers toys from the eighties.
What’s good about a sauna, anyway? This particular one was turned up to over 90 degrees. To me, that’s approaching boiling point. I get uncomfortably hot when someone lights a church candle the next village over. I tried lying down but that made my back-hair sizzle. I tried sitting but was worried I’d cauterise my bumhole shut. Standing was no better – I just felt faint and knew that if I passed out, there’d be no way Paul could lift me out and I’d end up in there forever, cooking and desiccating until I ended up looking like Madge, Dame Edna’s assistant. I stayed in as long as I could but then had to dash out.
As I left the sauna our friendly neighbourhood beetroot appeared out of fat air and admonished me for not shutting the door quick enough, as though four seconds of the door being slightly ajar would reduce a room that was previously hotter than the surface of the sun down to the temperature of an Icelandic crevasse. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or just hot, though his skin had moved from rose to ruby coloured. For someone who had self-appointed himself as the King of the Spa, he certainly needed to fucking relax. I shut the door as quick as I could, leaving only four layers of skin crisping like bacon on the door handle. I thanked him. We’d meet again.
Paul slunk out of the sauna immediately after Al Murray had left, and we enjoyed a quick brisk shower before going for a sit in the aromatherapy room. I’m not going to lie: it was a novel experience to have the both of us in a heated room and for it not to smell like something has died behind a radiator, but there’s only so much pine scent you can inhale before you start getting light-headed and conscious of the fact you’re going to smell like an Air Wick for the next ten weeks. What is the aromatherapy room meant to do? I’m already Polo-shaped (I’m certainly mint with a hole), I don’t need to smell like one too. We left after about five minutes.
The last room was a steam room. To me, that’s just another sauna, but this time with steam. Woohoo! In we went, and there was Barry Big Bollocks spread-eagled, thankfully with his shorts on, steaming lightly. Now I could have cheerfully stayed in here save for the fact that the steam was clearly helping with his COPD, because no sooner had we sat down then he started coughing and hacking and clearing his throat as though he was drowning in phlegm. Nothing soothes the soul like steam and a fine miasma of the net result of forty straight years of chaining Lambert & Butlers. Every time our conversation halted he’d kick off again, clearly really getting in amongst his air-sacs for the full effect. He wasn’t so much clearing his throat as resurfacing the fucker. We left after about five minutes, speckled with blood and tar.
Only one thing left to do. The jacuzzi. I’m not a huge fan – let’s be frank, they’re nothing more than less portable hot-tubs – but hey, when you’ve spent twenty quid to get in, you have to get the use out of it. In we went. Now, yes, it was very pleasant, although they had positioned several jets in such a way that it was blowing my balls around rather a bit too dramatically in my swimming shorts. I had to move before my entire ball-sack floated to the surface and acted like a pool cover.
But even here I couldn’t relax. With my belly being pummelled from all directions, my fear of accidentally sharting and ruining the whole experience for everyone else was too much. Can you imagine how mortifying that would actually be? The more brazen amongst you might have been able to bluff it out by pretending you’d spilled a can of oxtail soup in the water but come on. I had to get out.
In all, we spent about 30 minutes at the spa and came out slightly pink and far less relaxed than when we went in. Best part for me was having Paul use the hairdryer in the changing rooms to dry my bum hair – such luxury! The receptionist asked if we had a nice time given it seemed as though we had hardly stayed. Naturally, we lied and said it was wonderful and we’d cheerfully come again, before spending the entire home bitching about everything. This is why we can’t have nice things, see. She did offer to see if someone was free to give us a pedicure but when I asked her if said person would be proficient in using a belt sander, she didn’t get the joke. We all mutually agreed that we ought to move on.
Sigh. Speaking of moving on, let’s do the recipe for ham, cheese and egg pancakes, eh?
I was going to call this recipe croque madame crêpes but Christ, I’ve seen how some of you lot spell two chubby cubs, I’m not going to start adding circumflexes into the mix. Without a moment of delay, let’s get to the recipe!
Something new and tasty for breakfast for those days when you can't face spooning yet another load of dry as old nick overnight oats into your aching gob.
For the basic pancake batter, we're using the pancake advice from February, namely:
My recipe makes enough for six pancakes - four which will be filled with ham and cheese, and then two extra for gobbling. It's either that or having to mess about with smaller ingredients. Don't be tempted to fart about blending oats or any of that nonsense, there's simply no need. You're so much better have a couple of real pancakes and cracking on. Oh and if you find yourself reaching for a wrap instead of making a pancake, please, throw yourself into the sea.
TO MAKE THE PANCAKES
50g plain flour (8 syns)
150ml of skimmed milk (2 and a quarter syns, but really, 2 syns)
So that's ten syns for six pancakes. But I'll syn them at 1.5 syns because you can bugger off if you think I'm putting 1.66666666666666 syns per pancake.
FOR THE FILLING
whatever ham you fancy
60g extra grated mature cheese (2 x HEA)
So to be clear, you're having two filled pancakes each, and you'll have enough batter leftover for a third if you want to scoff that too!
blend all the pancake ingredients together - add a pinch of...a pinch of...bleurgh...a good grinding of pepper, please
now, depending on your skill in the kitchen, you could fry the eggs in one pan and prepare the pancakes in another, but let's assume you've got the cooking skills of a turnip, and go step by step
fry your eggs off - don't cook them into full submission, you still want a bit of give on the yolk so it pops
pop your fried eggs on a plate on the side and start making your pancakes - a couple of sprays of olive oil, nice hot pan, tip a sixth of the batter in and quickly spread it around the pan
once the pancake has 'dried out' and coming away from the pan, flip it over - don't be frightened, you've got spare batter
once it is flipped, layer 15g of cheese in the middle, top with the ham and the fried egg
fold the sides of the pancake over like in the photo and cook for about thirty seconds to melt the cheese a bit
top with chives and eat!
Honestly, it sounds like a faff, but all this recipe is is a pancake stuffed with cheese and ham and egg - if you balls it up, it might not look great, but it'll taste absolutely fine. Remember, aim for taste, not perfection!
we whisk up our batter in our Nutribullet - gets rid of any lumps, but honestly, a bowl and a fork will do the same job and get you some Body Magic. Don't buy one just for this - though they are very good!
Now come on, that was easy! But if you fancy something different for breakfast, why not try something new from our list?
Sausage and white wine risotto, if you don’t mind!
We’ve come to the end of our second bootcamp and can’t quite believe it. For two lads whose idea of exercise was a casual Sunday wank or rolling over in bed so our sleep apnea doesn’t suffocate us, I’d say we’ve done really rather well! I’ll talk about it more in due course but honestly, if you’re out there thinking you can’t exercise, get yourself moving! I mean…I haven’t died, yet…
Just a quick recipe tonight to keep you going – but this is delicious! You may know our approach to risottos – just chuck everything in and leave it to cook itself. Might not be 100% authentic but by god, it’ll leave you satisfied. Without further delay…
Sausages, booze, and stodge. This sausage and white wine risotto is THE perfect dinner idea that you've been waiting for! Robust, meaty and just a little bit fruity - just like us. Even though it's full of rich ingredients this is just one syn and a bit each and one of the tastiest things we've ever made!
We've adapted this and made it a bit skinnier from our 'spirit daddies', The Hairy Bikers. Their original recipe is in the brilliant 'Meat Feasts' book - you can get a copy at Amazon! Don't forget to check out their website for more tasty ideas.
4-6 sausages (see notes)
1 litre chicken stock
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
300g arborio rice
125ml white wine (5 syns)
60g parmesan, grated (2x HeA)
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
cook the sausages however you like them, and then slice and keep to one side
meanwhile, heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and spray in some oil
add the sliced onions and cook until starting to turn brown - remember to stir them about regularly
once the onions have started to lightly caramelise, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, herbs and rice and stir well
add the wine and give a good stir, and then pour in the stock and stir again, and then put the lid on the pan
cook for twenty minutes - no need to stir!
gently drag a wooden spoon through the rice - if it falls back in 'waves' it's at the right consistency - cook for a few minutes more if it's not
stir in the sausages slices and sprinkle over the parmesan
serve and sprinkle over the parsley
you can cook the sausages however you like - we used our Optigrill - but however you like it will do, just make sure they're cooked!
I think, if someone held a gun to my head and demanded I pick one meal to eat for the rest of my life, I’d go for quiche. You have no idea how much I love it – I grew up on my nana’s cooking and her idea of quiche was two eggs, bacon that was still oinking and more salt than the Dead Sea. It was delicious, not least because it took away the taste of her apple pie. I’m not sure if it was a result of growing up in the war (she fought a pivotal role in the Transvaal Rebellion) but she was never lavish with her ingredients – she remains the only woman I ever met who could turn a postage stamp sized bit of pastry into eight full fruit pies and a batch of sausage rolls. The apple pie didn’t so much have a filling of apple as a light dusting. I would love to be able to bake like that – absolutely no measurements, timings or fuss: just 100% pure instinct.
That leads me to my simple point that I want to make before getting straight to the recipe: don’t fall into the trap of following recipes slavishly – everything we post is merely a guideline. Don’t like an ingredient? Leave it out (though use common sense, you’ll struggle to make tomato ketchup if you use Weetabix and tears, for example) and put in something you actually want to eat. Recipe not looking quite right? Cook it for a bit longer. Use cheaper meat if you’re short on cash. Don’t stress about the little things – and never more so then in this chicken, leek and bacon quiche recipe, because you can chuck any old shite into a quiche and as long as you season it well, you’ll be laughing.
This chicken, leek and bacon quiche is perfect for either using up all manner of leftovers from the fridge or specifically for a tasty, lovely lunch. You can add anything you like - add more cheese, some mushrooms, pepper, red onion...anything you like! Easy to make too.
two chicken breasts - grilled, poached or baked - cut into cubes or shredded
a few rashers of bacon
one large yellow pepper
one chilli pepper
one leek - get a big one, mind, you want it to leave you wincing every time you pick it up
lots of salt and pepper
180g of ricotta (2 x HEA)
40g of extra mature lighter cheddar (1 x HEA)
eight or so eggs (if you're using whole eggs) or 12 egg yolks (so much nicer!)
30g of parmesan (1 x HEA)
NOTE: so this makes enough for eight wedges, but let's assume you'll eat two wedges. That's one HEA.
cook off the leeks, pepper, bacon and chilli together in a pan until the bacon is cooked and the leeks have softened
add the chicken
mix together the ricotta, cheddar and the eggs - now this is where you need to use your judgement - you may not need as many eggs if you have big eggs or less mixture - you want a good thick 'sauce' when it is all beaten together
I prefer to use egg yolks only because it makes a lovely rich quiche, but can work out pricey for eggs - if you go down this route, don't waste the egg yolk - make these peppermint meringues!
mix everything together in one bowl and add a good pinch of salt and pepper
slop it all into a good non-stick dish - I like to grate half the parmesan into the bottom of the dish before putting the mix in, then top the quiche with the rest of the cheese
cook in the oven for about 35 minutes, or longer if it is still wobbly