sticky sausages with cheesy sweet potato kale mash

Did you miss us? I did mention we were going to take some time off, and well, listen, I’ve seen some of the things people search for to find this blog. I didn’t want them knowing the house was empty and we were out of the country. I just couldn’t bear it if someone had broken in and judged my skittered-toilet or the Lindt Chocolate Wrapper Mountain. So – we took some time off and here we are. We would have been back a bit sooner but our blog fell over from so many new people joining! OOPS.This post is going to be a bit of a house-keeping post just to get everyone up to speed, but, because we’re just THAT kind, we’ll chuck in a recipe for sticky sausages.

FIRST: my exciting news! We have a proper book out! Well, it’s a Kindle book, but it’s a colossal collection of all the articles and funny bits from our blog – a year’s worth coming in at over 100,000 words, condensed into neat little topics covering activities such as having a colonic irrigation to our various calamities in Corsica, Ireland and Germany. I’m told it’s a good read and if you’re a fan of our writing or if you want to support us, please give it a purchase! If you’re a long time reader and want to make my day, please do! It’s the same price as a SW class, only you’ll not get a sloshing bowl of fruit with each purchase.

You can buy it here – and I’d love you forever!

SECOND: I can’t believe how out of control this blog and our facebook group has become. We’ve gone from kicking over around 30,000 – 40,000 views a day to well over 140,000. Keep sharing! We have many social streams you can throw yourself into:

  • a Facebook group –  (for chat, odd postings from us, other nonsense – but mind, don’t join if you’re a Professionally Offended Person, because I can’t be fussed on with that – and it is NOT a HOW MANNY SINZ PLEAS group, so none of that muck or I’ll smack your arse
  • a Facebook page –  if you like this, whenever we post a recipe it’ll appear in your facebook feed – no spam
  • a Twitter account – same deal as before, but with less characters

I am flirting with Instagram but I’m just terrified of installing it on my phone and having forty shots of Paul’s bumhole uploaded into the cloud with the hashtag #darkmeat.

THIRD: we have renewed our deal with Musclefood for the two offers we have:

We do get a small amount for recommending Musclefood but honestly, if something was shite, I’d tell you. We find the meat tasty and affordable – other meat suppliers are available. If you’re a vegetarian, there are plenty of recipes to be found scattered on our blog. We’re very tasteful and inclusive, it comes from years of being confirmed manhole-inspectors.

FOURTH: we’ve got a massive queue of comments to filter through – we will get to them, I promise.

FIFTH: we are absolutely and utterly not an official Slimming World blog. We are unofficial – meaning we follow the diet and work the syns out ourselves, like every other blog, but we’re not employed by Slimming World. Listen, they wouldn’t have us. We swear like shipyard workers, we fart all the time and our classes would be 55 minutes of hilarity and 5 minutes of ‘HOW MUCH YOU LOST HUN’. We believe Slimming World works, we really do, but we just can’t bear to be another blog which is cloying and sweet. If you’re not a fan of swearing, rude comments and frank discussions, then please just enjoy the recipes or move on. We’ve received a few personal messages from people telling us how we should write our blog – that’s not how it works. You take us as you find us, great big hairy man-tits as well.

We’ve got some excellent stuff coming up – we’re back on it from the very second we get weighed on a Thursday night, and you’re going to see a slightly different, more determined attitude from us going forward. But listen, don’t worry, if you’re here purely to learn some new filthy euphemisms, there will be plenty of that too.

We’ve got Iceland to talk about for one thing – five days spent shuffling around in the cold, biting wilderness eating fermented shark, buying penises (yes) and even parting with money in a Minge. It’s been all go. There’s also been trips to the hairdresser, a Christmas party, a new wedding and a massage to talk about in excruciating detail.

Ah yes, with dear old Nana being turned into polyester and lavender ash and scattered to the wind this year, Christmas was a little different. Not least because I didn’t leave with my ears bleeding from having to yell THANKS FOR MY SLIPPERS eighty-seven times whilst she cricked her neck at me and smiled unknowingly like a bemused sparrow. We spent Christmas Day together, just Paul and I, and then Boxing Day with the family. Paul created a wonderful Christmas dinner – naturally I did my bit by lying prostrate on the couch wailing for more gin, more ice, more lemons, more attention. I’m a heartless bugger.

We are so ready to get back to eating properly, mind. We’ve had so much rich, dense food that I haven’t been on the usual Slimming World plan shitcycle of forty craps a day. Every fart I do sounds like the opening trumpet solo from Carnaval de Paris. I’m surprised we haven’t had officials from Northumbrian Water knocking on the door out of concern.

Right, so let’s get to it! Sticky sausages await!

sticky sausages

Just to explain that wee warning on the bottom of the photo. Please feel free to share our images and recipe, but do not remove our name from them. The photograph, text and recipe remain our work. 

to make sticky sausages in onion gravy you will need:

  • 6 syn-free sausages (or low syn, or 100 syns, listen, I’m not the boss here, you have whatever you want my love, I won’t tell a soul)
  • 3 onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tsp honey (1 syn)
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh thyme (not essential, so don’t shit the bed if you haven’t got it)
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 400ml beef stock

to make sticky sausages in onion gravy you should: 

  • cook the sausages however you like (we use an Actifry because we’re decadent bitches) and keep aside – you’ll want to do the rest whilst they’re cooking
  • heat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • add the onions and stir well, like it’s a juicy bit of gossip about someone you hate at work
  • cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes until softened and mushy
  • remove the lid, add the honey and worcestershire sauce and stir well
  • cook for another 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions have softened and turned golden
  • increase the heat to medium-high and gradually add the stock, stirring frequently
  • add the thyme and stir
  • allow the gravy to thicken until it’s sticky and wonderful and pour over the sausages

Now just listen here, you’ve probably seen that great big orange and green mass on the side of the plate…well, that’s our attempt at getting some speed food on the plate in the form of cheesy sweet potato and kale mash. Don’t worry, we’re not going to become professional kale-botherers, but it’s actually quite a tasty addition.

to make kale and sweet potato cheesy mash you will need: 

  • 150g kale, chopped
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • 220g quark
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (and really, you could do worse than use one of these, our favourite gadget)
  • 1 tsp dried dill and 1 tsp of parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil and same again of thyme
  • 50ml milk taken from your milk allowance

If you don’t have the herbs, just make do with what you’ve got or leave them out – not a dealbreaker!

to make kale and sweet potato cheesy mash you should:

  • bring a large pan of water to the boil
  • add the potatoes and boil for about 10-15 minutes until soft to the touch, then drain
  • in the now empty pan, add the milk, quark, herbs, garlic and kale and stir over a medium heat until the kale has wilted and reduced
  • add the potatoes back to the pan and mash like buggery

ENJOY OUR STICKY SAUSAGES! We’re back!

J and P

sausage and potato salad – oh my

Very quick post tonight – no fussing about. I’ve spent almost two hours picking tomatoes from the greenhouse and all I want to do is recline on the sofa with the Doctor and an IV drip of vodka. This recipe isn’t our own – it belongs to Nigel Slater, but we’ve bastardised it a bit for Slimming World. It contains big portions of both sauerkraut and mushrooms – but don’t let that put you off. Sauerkraut might hold the unique title of smelling better coming out of your body than it does going in, but nevertheless, persevere – the mix of flavours here makes for a lovely Autumnal dish.

sausage and potato salad

to make sausage and potato salad, you’ll need:

  • 200g sausages (we used the sausages from our Musclefood deal, but you can use any as long as you’re sure they are syn free)
  • 350g potatoes
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 200g sauerkraut
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp fat-free fromage frais

to make sausage and potato salad then, you should:

 

  • cut the potatoes into large chunks and place in a large saucepan of boiling water – boil until just tender, drain, and slice thickly
  • cook the sausages according to the instructions – (ours always come out beautifully in an Actifry)
  • when the sausages are cooked, slice and set aside
  • meanwhile, add a little Frylight to a large saucepan, place over a medium heat and cook the onions for about five minutes
  • add the mushrooms and cook until they start to turn a little golden, adding a little more Frylight if necessary
  • add the sausages to the pan with the sliced potato – crush the potatoes with the back of the spoon a little bit as you add them to the pan
  • add the sauerkraut to the pan and mix well
  • remove from the heat and serve
  • add a tbsp of fromage frais to each plate and sprinkle on the dill
  • enjoy!

sausagefest: musclefood sausages v slimming world sausages

Now look here. I wasn’t going to do a post tonight because my eyes hurt and I’m too busy putting together a lamp (so manly) but the word sausagefest came into my mind and I just had to use it. So, with that in mind, I’m going to dash off a very quick review of Slimming World sausages and Musclefood’s chicken sausages. We’re working with Musclefood to sort out a deal for you lot and I’ll post that nearer the time.

Before that, because you know I can’t go a day without some toe-curling moment of embarrassment, well, as I’ve documented a couple of times before, we spend a lot of time hiding away all the sex paraphrenalia in our house whenever a tradesperson comes to visit. I fear there is something off-putting about trying to do some plastering whilst a big black plastic willy winks away at you in the corner like a worm having a stroke. Well see the downside of doing this is that you invariably forget where you’ve put stuff and then it appears at a dramatic moment. Like today, with our alarm man (who was lovely and very charming) who opened our rarely-opened alarm cupboard, took the latch off the alarm case (which doesn’t work, so we just use it to hide stuff) only to be confronted by a black prostate tickler that we had squirreled away many moons ago.

Now he had the good grace not to say anything but given I have a slight ping-ding about the fact he might be travelling on the same bus as Paul and I, he totally knew what it was. What could I do? I couldn’t reach across him, grab it and pretend it was a novelty cigarette lighter, because knowing my luck he’d have been a smoker, asked for a light and I’d have to spend five minutes flicking the ‘hook’ end and lightly buzzing the end of his Silk Cut Ultra. 

So that’s that. Anyway, back to sausages. We’re massive fans of sausages (and I’m not even using sausage as a euphemism for a cock there, because if I WAS trying to come up with a euphemism for a penis, I’d of course use Spurt Reynolds) but they are tricky little things. Most of the low-fat sausages have as much taste as a roll of loft insulation, and anything with a bit of moisture is normally so bad for you that Margaret’s blue WKD bottle would shatter in her clenched fist if she so much as heard them sizzle in your pan. So we’ll cover two: Slimming World sausages and Musclefood’s chicken sausages.

Quorn sausages are a bust as they look and taste like something that’s been shat out of a poorly cat, so I’m not even going to mention them. I’d get more taste and enjoyment from sucking my thumb and hell, I know where my thumb has been. No wonder my nails are always filthy. 

We cook our sausages in an Actifry. If you’re on the fence about one of these, bloody get one. You’ll never look back, seriously. Above everything else, it’s the thing we love most in the kitchen. 

You can buy an Actifry from Amazon right here. They’ve lopped £70 off the bigger Actifry too. It’s in grey, but well, you don’t look at the cooker when you’re heating your sausage.

Slimming World sausages

Firstly, apologies for the lack of picture, but I rather thought that six sausages on a plate wouldn’t exactly set the blogosphere alight. I was right. These sausages are £3 from Iceland so they immediately lose a point for the fact you have to fight your way through masses of prawn rings, candied kangaroo mist and Peter fucking Andre. I remember when Iceland launched their Slimming World range and there were groups of people cracking the pavement camping outside the shop, like the answer to all of their prayers in life lay in some watery tomato sauce. Anyway, by the by. These are syn free so perfect for the diet.

They cook well enough – we chuck ours into the Actifry on top of chips and let the mouse’s tear sized bit of fat in them coat the chips. We tried grilling them but they came out looking like a dead dog’s dick, all wrinkly and misshapen. Not good. 

However, they’re tasty enough, with a bit of herb coming through after around forty minutes of chewing. They’re very tough, almost like they’ve been encased in the rubber ring from the bottom of a condom rather than a normal sausage casing, but they do taste good. Yes, they’re not quite sausage like, but they’ll certainly do well for a quick meal and chopped into a pasta salad, they’d hit the spot. They’re also very, very dry (how dry you say? Drier than a popcorn fart), but again, like any good sausage, once you coat them in a bit of sauce you’ll find they’ll fill your hole much easier.

Musclefood chicken sausages

IMG_1946

DISCLAIMER: we received these for free to try from Musclefood, but that’s not going to twist our review. Nope. 

A chicken sausage, you say? Paul balked at the very idea, until I reminded him he used to exist on Smart Price sausages in tomato sauce, and if they’re not made out of homeless people, disappointment and the ash leftover from the Foot and Mouth crisis I’ll eat my fucking hat. It’d certainly taste better. Somewhat relunctanctly, he agreed, and we tried them last night, again putting them into the Actifry on top of the chips so everything cooked together, removing the need for me to bend down in the kitchen to load the dishwasher, which is always a good thing because I invariably end up smacking myself in my face with my own titty. MUST LOSE WEIGHT.

Facts, then. Musclefood’s chicken sausages come in at half a syn each, which is nowt in the grand scheme of things but more than Slimming World’s. They’re also a bit pricier, coming in at £4 for a pack of six. However, it’s only chicken breasts and the various odds and sods you find in sausages, as opposed to the mysterious ‘pork’ you find on SW’s variety. 

These look much better when cooked – you could almost believe they were ‘proper’ sausages, although the sausages we tend to buy when we’re being naughty normally have an oil derrick poking out the top they’re that greasy. Plus neither sausage sizzles, which is sad – you can’t beat the sound of a sizzling sausage.

How do they taste? Good! Again though, so bloody firm – I’ve never had to soak a sausage overnight before I ate it (well, I have, sort of)…no they’re not that bad, but I reckon it must be a theme with ‘healthy’ sausages that they must bounce. The chicken meat comes through and they’re a lot more filling than other sausages – they certainly fared better on their own than other sausages. They’re also a decent size – I mean, you wouldn’t be dashing to the bedroom to put it to a better use, but they’re certainly big enough to satisfy us. 

They’d be good in our breakfast wrap found here or in a sausage casserole. I reckon they’re the better out of the two – they certainly sit better on the belly, and they look appetising. If the cost puts you off, fair enough, but don’t let the syn value be the decider – it’s worth spending your syns on decent food. Remember to live, people.

You can buy Musclefood’s chicken sausages right here. You all know how I feel about Musclefood – they do brilliant meat at excellent prices with decent delivery. Can’t get vexed at that. But you can also buy syn free sausages at Iceland, as long as you’re prepared to come out looking like Electro from Spiderman firing electricity from your hands thanks to all the polyester swishing about.

Enjoy. One day I’ll get the hang of posting a ‘quick’ post!

J

 

 

syn free dippy cheesy sloppy tater tots

 

The recipe tonight is a mix-up of two American junk foods – the sloppy joe and tater tots. Tater tots are traditionally mashed potato shaped into little cylinders and deep-fried and they taste amazing, but Margaret would be choking on her Blue Nun if she thought I was deep-frying. So naturally we’ve made a few switches and tweaks and let me tell you, this is genuinely one of the best recipes we’ve done so far. Scroll down and enjoy! OH and it’s syn-free!

Anyway, today’s American diary entry, from our book available here, is from the day we went to Wet and Wild, which isn’t some kind of golden-showers den of sin, but rather a scrappy but beloved waterpark at the arse-end of International Drive. I’ve since heard it’s shutting down, which is a shame, but given we probably left indelible skidmarks on some of the scarier rides it’s probably for the best.


 

Day 26 – Jaymes needs a Chute (Wet and Wild)

Finally – Wet ‘n’ Wild. The concrete and fag-end cuckolded sibling of the rather more salubrious Aquatica, held out of our reach for so long by either weather-based closures or burrito-based bum trouble. A prompt early morning call revealed the park to be open, so after fitting a good eight hundred pastries down our chops, we taxied over to have some splish-splash fun. Before entering, we paid our respects to the Metropolitan Express (the very first hotel we ever stayed in when visiting Orlando back in 2008) by nipping over the road and well, wandering past the reception and down into the corridors.

A little bit about the Metropolitan Express before I come to the meat of the day. It’s grim. Proper grim. We chose the hotel because we were on a budget and didn’t know any better – those were the days when we went to Orlando for ten days, didn’t stay at Disney and had a budget of $1000 for the entire holiday, seems unreal now. The staff are well-meaning and very helpful, but security left a lot to be desired – and this clearly hadn’t improved by the fact that we just sauntered into the hotel past reception and helped ourselves to the free coffee laid out for hotel guests. Sorry, but you shouldn’t be able to do that considering it’s at the rougher end of International Drive. If anyone has the place booked, reconsider. Always pay what you can afford rather than trying to save a few pounds here and there. You may think that we were only able to get back into the hotel because we had made such a fabulous impression on the reception staff that they considered us old friends – but this can’t be the case. I’ll tell you why. On the last day of our first stay back in 2008, we decided to er…make whoopy (we were young then) before leaving. What we hadn’t realised was that I had stashed an open packet of Cheesits under the duvet of the ‘spare’ bed in the room, and we proceeded, entirely by accident, to squash the entire packet, and its radioactive orange contents, into the blankets, under the duvet and up the pillowcases. After we had er…finished, we realised our error, and left hastily, the orange stain refusing to shift from the sheets. Heaven knows what Monique thought when she came to clean the room, but considering we had strategically left a Pringle right in the middle of the carpet for four days to see whether housekeeping were doing their job and it remained there right until the last day, I don’t think the housekeeping was up to much anyway. Oh, and the place stank of cheap weed, too. Not that I know what expensive weed smells like, I hasten to add. I did think I had inhaled rather too much second-hand toke once I had seen the carpets in the hallway mind. It was like someone had trodden a quiche into the carpet. Anyway! Back to 2011, back to Wet and Wild.

Remember our snappy fat/wet suits from earlier in the holiday, purchased in Aquatica in a pique of self-consciousness? Well, we were soon back in those, our jiggly bits cocooned safely in bulging lycra, meaning that we looked to all the world rather like two extra large condoms stuffed with cottage cheese. No matter – as long as no-one laughed at me, I didn’t care. We were straight into the lazy river to ‘acclimatise’ to the water temperature. I got sassed by a lifeguard for not diving in, but to be fair, I practically had to smash my way through the ice-crust it was that bloody cold. The lazy river here leaves a lot to be desired, doesn’t it? Admittedly, it doesn’t have the ped-egg flooring that Disney prefers, but still, give us something to look at other than impossibly sculpted lifeguard bodies.

Most of the day was spent doing slide after slide, and incurring injury after injury. The Storm – the natty slide that shoots you down a steep drop and deposits you like many a poo into what looks like a giant toilet bowl was awesome, as ever, even if I did have to sacrifice my Robin Williams back-hair, which was lightly flayed off under my lycra by the rivets on the slide. Brain Wash is as good as ever, and thankfully they’ve set up an automatic lift so you don’t have to carry those colossal rubber-rings up the winding staircase. Paul and I aren’t especially fit, and anything that reduces the need to break a sweat is good for us. Still, it’s a steep climb, and we’re clearly fitter than last time as we didn’t have to set up base-camp halfway up the tower. I love Brain Wash – try and take a second whilst you’re shooting up and down the tube to look up – they play a nifty ‘subliminal message’ video on the ceiling. All good fun. I banged my head – my own fault – on the side as I was too busy pulling a stupid face at Paul as we were flushed out. So that’s injury two.

With a sore head and a flayed back, we took some time to people-watch, milkshake in hand, under the nice umbrellas by the wavepool. And good lord, we didn’t half see some sights. I know I’m a judgemental sod and hypocritical as I don’t like people taking the mick out of me, but I’ll make no apologies for biting my bottom lip and going ‘Ooooh, look at ‘er’ to Paul for a good half hour. Wet ‘n’ Wild seems to attract a more…hmm…Brighthouse crowd, if you see what I mean. For example, one of the sun-loungers was occupied by someone reading Inside Soap. Now who on Earth goes to the trouble of packing a magazine about English bloody soap operas as reading material on a holiday? Bet she orders Egg and Chips in every restaurant. Also – surprising amount of bad tattoos, especially on necks. I can’t abide it. Frankly, if you have to have the name of your child inked onto your lobster-red neck just so you don’t forget their name and birthday then you shouldn’t be bloody breeding in the first place. Still, it doesn’t beat the worst tattoo I’ve ever seen (some years back, in a rough pub in Newcastle) (Raffertys, if anyone is wondering) – the poor bloke had ‘ENGLUND FOREVER’ inked on his hand. See, if that had been me, I would have asked the tattooist to tattoo a wavy red line under ENGLUND and make out like I was being terribly hip and ironic.

So yes, with my head better and my back crisping up nicely, we decided to do Mach 5. I’m not a huge fan of this ride, because I always manage to lose my dignity somehow – either I come off the mat halfway down or, right at the start, mis-time my bellyflop onto the mat so that I whizz down the slide on my belly whilst the mat cheerfully leads the way ahead of me, just out of reach. Paul’s a genius at stuff like this and never misses, so to humour him, I went on. I didn’t miss the mat. I didn’t come off the mat. Nope, I managed to stay on but, having jumped eagerly, managed to land almost squarely on my clackers, which became pretty much sandwiched between the mat and my lycra-clad body. So – the entire ride was spent having my fertility smacked out of me and I was a very, very interesting shade of puce at the end. Not good. Thank Christ I don’t have to worry about my sperm quality. Paul was sympathetic in that he only guffawed at my predicament rather than fell into hysteria. The tinker. Mind you – he didn’t seem too well either.

Yep, turned out that his ear was playing up again. Ever the trooper, we spent another couple of hours barrelling down the slides and splashing in the water before retreating to the Room of Shame to get changed. We decided to head down to Walgreens to visit their instore doctor, all the while I was silently mouthing my words so Paul felt even more deaf. Mind you, clearly his ear wasn’t too bad – he decided that the sensible thing to do whilst suffering from a balance problem was to have a go on the Slingshot. Yes – that giant tower that you see at the top of International Drive, where those who have been dropped on their heads as children strap themselves into a ball and get slung 200ft into the air, stopped only by two elastic bands. Well, I’m sorry, I’ll do any rides, but I wasn’t going to do that. I don’t trust any ride that looks as though it’s been pieced together by whatever was left over at the Meccano factory. However, being a proper black widow, I ushered Paul onto the ride, and bravely took photos. I wish they had come out well, but it just looks like someone has smeared a blur onto the photo he was going that fast.

 

Apparently, it was brilliant, ear problems or not. Having got that out of his system, we arrived at Walgreens with a minute to spare.

Now, the doctor was fantastic. She performed all sorts of little tests on Paul, and after 40 minutes of clucking her tongue and checking her charts, she diagnosed that the poor bugger had a perforated ear-drum. Of course, I immediately start hyperventilating knowing that we were flying in a few days time, but she reassured us that he would be OK to fly as long as he took the drops she was about to prescribe.

Then, she told us the price. $245 (nearabouts) – $180 of which was for one tiny dropper bottle of antibiotics. Luckily, I managed to floor her with the first punch and Paul ran out with the bottle. I wish. No, we paid up, and I almost perforated his other eardrum whinging about having to pay for something I seem to get routinely prescribed at home like Smarties. Seriously – I could go into my doctors with a missing face and he’d send me on my way with a crate of amoxicillin and a flea in my ear. Thank Christ for travel insurance. We made a tonne of calls later that evening and actually ended up getting nowhere, just one big circle of call centres and idiots who couldn’t tell us what to do. Worst yet – that ended up costing us about $400 in phone call charges from the Hard Rock! Bah. Next time he damages his ear, I’ll just fill it full of cotton wool and use sign language. Only really need to know ‘Feed Me’ ‘Have you douched?’ and ‘Go to sleep’ to get by.

Before turning in for the night, we wandered down to Olive Garden for our evening meal. Absolutely delicious. I don’t remember an awful lot of it save for three facts. First – I was getting eyed up by a splinter-thin River-Island-clad pipe-cleaner of a man who followed me to the loo, only to turn around and leave in disgust when I went into a cubicle and deliberately trumpeted as loudly as possible. Second – the food was scrummy, and the cocktails even better. Third – we gave our server a $100 tip on a $60 meal, because she dealt with us with such aplomb whilst having to serve a table of twelve boorish Americans all waving their hands in the air. See – I’m flying the flag for Britain!

All in all then, a mixed day. We love Wet and Wild – yeah it’s rough and it needs polishing up, and it has nowhere near the level of class that the likes of Aquatica or Typhoon Lagoon have, but if you want fast rides and easy living, it’s the one to go for. Plus – remember my tip for an early morning pick-me-up: free coffee at the Metropolitan Express. But stay there…not on my experience.


So here we go…!

tater tots slimming world friendly

serves 4

you’ll need these:

  • 900g potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 750g lean beef mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper, finely diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely diced
  • 500g passata
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • ¾ tbsp cider vinegar
  • ¾ tsp chilli powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce (optional)
  • 40g reduced fat mozarella, grated (one HEA choice, this serves four!0
  • 4 spring onions, sliced

and you’ll need to do this:

  • cook the cubed potatoes in a spoonful of worcestershire sauce in your Actifry, or alternatively place on a baking sheet and bake at 190 degrees until browned, remembering to turn frequently
  • meanwhile, heat a little oil in a pan over a medium high heat and add the onions, stirring frequently until they start to turn translucent
  • add the mince and cook until brown
  • next add the passata, carrots, garlic, red pepper and celery and stir well
  • mix together the mustard powder, chilli powder, cider vinegar and a tablespoon of water and add to the mixture
  • stir again, cover the pan over a medium-low heat and cook for 20-30 minutes until nicely thickened
  • in a grill-safe pan (or baking dish) layer the mince mixture with potatoes, add the grated cheese and spring onions (just slice up the green part) and grill until the cheese has turned golden brown
  • drizzle over with the buffalo sauce and serve

It’s up to you what sides you serve this with to make up the third-speed-food-rule on your plate, but I’m not going to pretend that we didn’t just eat our quarter and immediately go back for more, with the roasted broccoli still in the oven…oops!

I’ll say this – if you cook only one of our recipes, ever, cook this. It makes a pan full of absolute bloody wonder!

TOP TIP: don’t chuck away the white part of the spring onions, put them root-first into a glass of water, and they’ll grow again! Easy.

J

bacon wrapped tenderloin with a balsamic and strawberry dressing

Just a quick post tonight as we’re busy sorting out Cubs Towers ahead of the Summer of Works. Exciting.

We had a glut of strawberries to use up, I wanted a salad, Paul wanted a roast dinner, so this was the happy compromise. You might wrinkle your nose at the thought of using strawberry but it pairs nicely with pork – think plum sauce with duck and you’ve got the right idea. We served it with roast potatoes which were PERFECT. In fact, let’s cover off how we did our roasties.

roast potatoes

you’ll be needing

  • enough potatoes to fill that echoing belly of yours, cut up into decent chunks
  • Frylight or oil – just a drop or two
  • a lamb Oxo cube
  • an Actifry (if you don’t have one, don’t shit the bed, you can do it in the oven and I’ll cover that in a second

then…

  • squirt the chopped potato with a spritz of spray or a drop of oil
  • chuck in the actifry
  • cook for twenty minutes
  • crumble a lamb Oxo cube on there and splash a good tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce on them
  • cook for another twenty minutes or until they look just right
  • serve!

The Actifry is possibly the best thing we’ve bought since joining Slimming World – not least because it does make genuinely proper tasty chips. You can get others like it but they’re not quite as good (the Airfryer, for example). It’s expensive, but we fry off our meatballs, sausages, chips and potatoes in it with little to no oil. If you’re on the fence about one, take it from us that you won’t regret the expense. You can buy it on Amazon by clicking here. Why not treat yourself?

Too tight for an actifry? Don’t worry. Just put them in the oven for 20 minutes, take them out, shake them, splash them and crumble that cube on the top, and cook again. The key is letting them sit for a few minutes before they cook for the second time.

I’ve seen a lot of people gobble on about those Oxo potatoes where you cook them half submerged in stock…well yes, but then you end up getting potatoes that look like athletes foot, all soft and crinkled and mushy. If that works for you, champion, but I’m not quite at the stage in my life where I need to gum my food. Try the above! 

Anyway, the main event:

sliced pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon

you’ll be needing this (this serves 4):

  • pork tenderloin – with fat removed, ours was around 1kg
  • eight slices of bacon with fat removed (if only it was that easy!)
  • 300g of strawberries, nicely ripe, sliced
  • 125ml of balsamic vinegar
  • three cloves of garlic
  • bag of rocket

and then, once you’ve finished being all hysterical, do this:

  • wrap the tenderloin in bacon – use cocktail sticks to secure if you want
  • put it into the oven on 200 degrees for 30 minutes, then take it out and turn it over and cook for another thirty minutes
  • meanwhile, finely chop (remember: buy a mini chopper, easier, and no stinkin’ fingers) the garlic and pop in a pan over a medium high heat with a drop of oil or a squirt of Frylight
  • cook for around two minutes until slightly golden
  • add the balsamic vinegar and half of the strawberries
  • bring to a boil and then allow to simmer for ten minutes – your kitchen will smell lovely at this point
  • once the second half of the pork is done, take it out, baste it with a few tablespoons of the balsamic strawberries and whack it under the grill for about two minutes to colour it
  • throw the other half of the sliced strawberries into the balsamic pan just so you get a nice difference in texture 
  • remove the pork, cut into thick slices, serve on the rocket with a drizzle of the balsamic and strawberry sauce
  • enjoy, you posh bastard.

Here, I was GOING to call it a reduction, because I suppose it is, but that’s just too wank, even for me!

ENJOY.

J

syn free breakfast burritos

Sort of accidentally, honest guv.

See after work yesterdayI went out with a good friend to endure Poltergeist at the cinema. I say endure, I mean barely tolerate. It was absolute bobbins. I LOVE horror movies, the schlockier the better, but this was just lazy pap. It says a lot that we weren’t bothered by the usual festering tits that had packed the cinema. The type of people who can’t sit for ninety minutes without checking Facebook. Normally they make me rage – they’re the type of people who I’d happily unplug their life support machine to charge up my phone – but given how bad the movie was I couldn’t blame them, could I? We appeared to have half of China visiting in the row behind us which gave the bizarre effect of having the English film in front of us being live-translated behind us followed by shrieks and giggles and excpetionally caricatured noises. Still a dull film though. Even I was hoping for one of Phillipa’s skin-melting farts just to liven things up but she was too busy being distracted by a rolling pig / unicorn hybrid.

So yes, I synned. See I had good intentions of staying on diet but I had a pint of Guinness in my hand before I had even sat down, which was followed by pizza, pasta and ice-cream. In my defence, I thought I was only ordering a small ice-cream but it turns out the scoop they use for their ‘three scoop special’ was a dustbin lid. You can imagine my distress and disappointment at having to eat it all, it really was just the worst.

I have to be honest, both Paul and I are in a bit of a lull with our diet at the moment – Slimming World is great because it isn’t very restrictive but occasionally I just get sick of eating sensibly and not being able to have what I want. Now, people always turn around and go ‘just have a little bit of what you fancy’ but that’s not how I work. I couldn’t just have a Freddo, I’d want a carpet-sized bar of chocolate to eat until I was sick. It’ll pass, but we’re relaxing the rules a little bit at the moment – still cooking a healthy recipe every day but just need to let it ease a bit. Once the bank holiday is over we’re going to be on it 100% – but even that’s easy to say and harder to do given neither of us have the type of job where we are guaranteed to be home at five with plenty of time to cook and prepare lunches. Sometimes I just want to come home, put on my scratty boxer shorts and scratch my balls in front of the TV for six hours until bed.

As an aside – I know I’ve been a bit quiet lately, but the good news is that I’m actually writing more than ever – it’s all going in the book. New content rather than old stuff!

Anyway: it’s Eurovision tonight, so that means vodka and snacks. No apologies!  I just hope to God Australia don’t win because I’ve sort-of promised Paul that we’ll go to the next one…

OK, that was moany. So here’s a nice breakfast recipe for you to be cracking on with:

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to make breakfast burritos, you’ll need:

one WW (boo hiss) Love Fibre wholemeal wraps (look for the purple and blue packaging, as you can use this wrap as a HEB); two slimming world sausages (or use low syn sausages but syn them), two eggs, HEA portion of extra mature cheese, two decent slices of ham cut into chunks and a potato.

to make breakfast burritos, you should:

  • cut the potato into very thin strips and spritz with a tiny bit of oil and pop in the oven for ten minutes (if that) until they’re cooked through like french fries – set aside
  • cook the sausages either under the grill or in an Actifry, then cut into thin slices (like matchsticks rather than discs)
  • crack the eggs into a pan and whisk on a medium heat to make scrambled eggs, set aside
  • slice up your ham and grate your cheese
  • when everything is ready, hoy your wrap into the oven for a minute or so to warm it through, then lie it flat on the counter
  • load it up – a row of cheese, then sausage, then egg, then chips, then ham
  • roll it up!

If you’re a bit slow and don’t know how to roll a wrap properly, you can find a guide here. I had to use it, don’t worry, no-one is judging.

Just out of shot in that photo was an attempt to make homemade salsa but as it looks like something you’d scrape out of an infected foot, I’m not putting the recipe on. What a bitch!

J

kangaroo burger with fries

Only a teensy tiny post tonight as Paul is out gallivanting and I’m stuck at work – so I’m activating a saved post! Enjoy!

kangaroo burger with fries

Actually, not much to say about this recipe aside from the burger – we bought it from www.musclefood.com where we previously got a big old box of chicken. Delivery was quick and the meat really has been second to none. The kangaroo burger has languished at the back of the freezer and we thought, well why not? Let me tell you – it was very tasty! You could hoy a beefburger in here just as easy. It’s syn free, very lean meat and chucked in a bun with tomato, onion, rocket and a slice of cheese it made for a good tea. Cook it under the grill for around fifteen minutes until the juices run clear. If Musclefood float your boat, order using this link and you’ll get four free chicken breasts. Goodness! Remember, HEB for the bun, HEA for the cheese.

The fries were easier still – just cut them thin, drop of oil, a bit of salt and into the Actifry. Same effect could be made from doing them in the oven!

Finally, if you’re a fan of the snazzy little (wanky) chip pan, you can pick up a pack of four here. All you need to complete the gastropub experience is a giant plate with a tiny bit of crackling and a tiny period of cranberry sauce on it. Yum!

slimming world sausages and mash

One thing I want to get off my chest is this weird habit people seem to have of serving up their Slimming World slops in those awful three part plates. I’m not talking about the plates where it looks like someone fresh off the ‘Special Ward’ has been let loose with a bag of Poundland felt-tips, I’m talking about these:

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They’re bloody awful and they’re not a plate – they’re a bloody serving platter! The middle bit is for dip and the sides are for the Sprinters crisps and KP Nots. Plus it looks like the imprint that would be left in wet cement if Jordan did the splits above it. If you’re eating one main meal out of this, why not go the whole hog and get yourself a trough? Argh! It really annoys me.

I’ve had a genuinely quite lovely today at work – great fun. You remember that part of my job is being on a committee whose job it is to plan fun events and little surprises for everyone? When a colleague and I had to parcel up 160 pick-and-mixes for people? Well, I came up with the idea of a giant Easter Egg hunt, so naturally, Paul and I were in my office last night at midnight hiding 200 caramel, Lindt and créme eggs all over the place. Yes, I’ve had 200 or so eggs rolling around in the back of my car for almost two weeks. They were originally in the house but, no kidding, we had to put the eggs into the boot of the car and then put the car in the bloody garage to remove the temptation. So weakwilled and even then, we did a fair few mad dashes to the garage in our tatty boxers to grab a handful. I actually had to top up the eggs out of my own pocket. GASP. So yeah, imagine this greeting you every time you opened the boot:

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Seriously, we hid them all over. We had them buried in people’s muesli, parcel-taped under desks, hidden down the tube of a roll of wrapping paper, in vending machines…there were even gold and silver eggs hidden for an extra bonus. The silver egg I managed to hide in the peel of a tangerine which I then wrapped up and put back in the communal fruit bowl. The lucky finder won the booby prize of a jar of pickled eggs. The golden eggs – individually wrapped Lindt eggs in gold foil – were hidden in especially difficult places, including sellotaped to the blind mechanism so it would only appear when the blind was pulled down, another in a carrier bag dispenser, one hidden in our rolling rack system with the clue ‘I’ve hidden it in Baghdad’ (In Iraq, see?) and my favourite, a gold egg in the form of a gold helium star, attached to the balcony on the sixth floor with a 40m piece of garish pink parcel ribbon. The idea being it would float serenely above the building (“Find an egg with a view”) but no, no it sank and smeared along the side of the client meeting rooms. Oops, what-am-I-like. Had to cut the ribbon and pull it back a bit.

photo

The golden eggs were swapped for fancy-pants Easter eggs, see, hence the difficulty! Finally, we had nipped to Poundland (I still can’t get the smell of chip-pan out of my coat) on the Sunday and bought five ‘nests’ which we filled with several little eggs and they were stuck all over the place too. Aaah it was great fun! It’s genuinely one of the best parts about my job because I love shit like this, and being able to indulge it does cheer my soul.

Actually, I love treasure hunts full stop. For our first anniversary, I set up a massive treasure hunt all across Newcastle which started off in our flat – the first clue being frozen in a block of ice that could have sunk the Titanic. The second clue was hidden on the living room wall in giant letters – only I’d done it with UV paint, so it only showed up when Paul used the UV light on his keyring. Once we’d done the treasure hunt, we took great delight in writing all over the wall in the windowless hallway with UV paint – if the new tenants in Ouseburn Wharf somehow decide to rig up a UV light, they’re going to be mortified at what they find. I mean, swearing is so much more fun when no-one can see it…

…mind, that’s not the worst thing I’ve splashed on a wall. Not sure why me and my flatmate thought this was a good idea to do when we’d been on the pop one New Years Eve…

paint

The worst part about this was that, although we painted over it several times with Wilko’s own brand shitty beige paint, it was like painting with milk, and we could never quite get rid of his evil staring eyes. Probably why we lost our deposit. That and the iron-print burn in the kitchen lino when someone tried to straighten my then-long hair with an iron. Oops.

Anyway, this was only supposed to be a quick post but I’ve ended up chuntering on, so here’s a recipe. Well not really a recipe, given it’s pretty self-explanatory…

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Mushy peas are free, as is mashed potato (with added cauliflower just in case the peas don’t turn your arse into a mustard-gas factory) and indeed, so are the Slimming World sausages from Iceland. How are they? Alright. They look like someone’s pooed into a condom in some people’s photos but we seem to have cooking them down exactly right – chuck them in the Actifry and watch Judge Rinder for fifteen minutes. By the time you’ve heard him bitching and sassing and flouncing around his pretend courtroom in his black cape like a haunted toilet-roll cover, the sausages are just right. Gravy is synned at 1 syn per 50ml made up gravy and unless you’re one of those people who drown your food in gravy, that’ll be way more than enough.

Anyway christ, this was only meant to be a quick post…!

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full english breakfast savoury oats

BUGGER: we thought oats were syn free! Not sure why – so we cooked the breakfast below without thinking and thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was only when an eagle-eyed reader (hello Lisa!) pointed out our mistake that we realised! So this comes out at 12 syns a portion. Good lord. Tasty mind…very rare we cock up but oops!

Oooh has there every been a more dramatic, more twist-filled, more suspenseful storyline than Eastender’s Who Killed Lucy plot? Yes, many times. Anyway, everyone knows she was killed by some livid fashion designer who grew tired of her wearing that awful grey bloody suit.

Paul broke The Rule today. We both agreed that we wouldn’t buy each other a Valentines gift because we’re saving up for something big, and for once in my life I decided to stick to it. Normally I roll my eyes and buy a gift anyway whenever people do that – my nana is a particular bugger for it – ‘OOOH DON’T MAKE A FUSS ETC’ but if you turned up on Christmas Day with a card, well-wishes and lack of present, she’d sit there like you’d swapped her sherbet lemons for hard-boiled piss. But no, this year I stuck to the rules, and Paul promptly presented me with a new bottle of Tom Ford’s Grey Vetiver – my favourite scent in the whole world. He’d done well, soaked in all my hints in the car journey on the way home from work, gone to John Lewis and promptly forgot the name and scent – managed to find it by describing it to the perfume lady and through scent alone! Normally I smell like chips and shame, so it’ll make a change to smell all classy like. In my defence, I did ask him whether he’d want a Vivienne Westwood necklace that I’d seen, but he replied by saying that it was a bit too gay. It’s as if the last eight years of sodomy and frotting never happened.

Nevertheless, I had a trick up my sleeve. I’ve secured a white t-shirt out of the wardrobe, hastily printed a picture of Barack Obama on it and turned it into my ‘YES, WE CAN’ shirt, meaning that if he asks me to do something, the answer will automatically be yes. It’s fun and it’s free – what price dignity? I’m glad we don’t own a pool though, a day like this can easily end up turning sour (the “Barrymore Effect”) and the last thing I want is to be found face-down in a swimming pool with a bumhole like a windsock and ‘anal trauma’ on my death certificate. So lord knows what I’ll end up doing today, but at least I’m not The Worst Husband in the World anymore.

Paul’s Valentines card to me was ace, though:

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And mine, in return, was equally as lovely:

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Mine’s printed on recycled ice-lolly sticks, meaning I’d already given Paul wood by the time we had got out of bed this morning, which I’m sure you’ll agree is incredibly efficient. I only noticed one of the whales had lipstick and mascara on when I got the card home, but that’s alright, we’re both confident young men who are at ease with our roles.

Speaking of roles, or rolls, you want to lose some – so here’s today’s breakfast recipe. I wanted to do something nice for breakfast that hasn’t been done yet, and this hits the target. If you’re a fan of overnight oats, give this a whirl – it’s a savoury use for the oats, and creates a thick, stodgy but delicious breakfast, using all the main bits of a full cooked breakfast!

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to make full english breakfast savoury oats you will need:

400g normal oats that you’d use for porridge but not ones with added sugar – you’re allowed 35g for a HEB, so I worked out that if everyone was using their HEB, that leaves 260g of oats, which is around forty five syns each – so for the sake of argument, that’s around 11.5 syns per portion, two stock cubes made into 800ml of stock with a tsp of soy sauce added, 2 onions very finely chopped, a pack of Weight Watchers Cumberland Sausages (4 syns per pack, this serves four, so these will be half a syn) – take four and take the skin off, crumble the sausagemeat into a bowl, and set the other four aside, two eggs, a handful of cherry tomatoes quartered, bacon medallions cut into thin strips, salt, pepper, chilli flakes.

to make full english breakfast savoury oats you should:

get everything chopped and ready to go. You’ll need two frying pans here. In one, cook off the onion and bacon until nice and soft and cooked through, then chuck in the sausage meat. In the other pan, gently fry off the sausages (or you can use an Actifry for this). Let the sausages in both pans cook through, add the tomatoes to the onion and sausagemeat, still cook. Once the whole sausages are cooked, set aside and chop into discs when cool. To make the savoury porridge, tip the oats and soy/stock into a microwaveable bowl, cook for about two minutes until it goes nice and stodgy, then chuck the lot into the bacon and onion and tomato mix and cook off on a medium heat to dry it out a bit. Whilst that’s occuring, fry off two eggs in your other pan that had the sausages on. Assemble on a plate, add the sausage discs, fried egg and lots of black pepper and salt.

extra-easy: well, no – there’s not 1/3 superfree in there, but you could have a few pieces of fruit during the day to counter it. Let your hair down, it’s Valentines Day.

Listen, seriously now – try this. It was delicious – almost a bit haggis-like. You could add chilli sauce, use different sausages, add peppers, all sorts. It’s stodgy, filling and very tasty!

By the way, it was totally Abi who killed Lucy, with Max helping to cover it up. Cheers.

square egg, snacks and injuries

Previous readers may recall that a few months ago, I had to go for an MRI scan on my heart. Exciting. I described it at the time like being sucked into a Polo-coloured sphincter. Well, after weeks and weeks of fitfully looking at the letterbox waiting for news, I finally got a letter from my doctor yesterday which said everything was OK, heart was beating as it should be and I had nothing to worry about, bar being too handsome for most people to deal with. Typical NHS restraint. I’ve actually (touching wood) been remarkably lucky with my health so far – found a lump in my boob a year or so ago but it turned out to be nothing exciting (I’m surprised it wasn’t an M&M, to be honest) and a couple of bouts of anxiety throughout the last few years. I don’t want to dwell on anxiety, but it’s a very funny thing – people who wouldn’t take the piss out of you if you had a broken leg or lost the sight on one eye feel quite chipper making snide comments about anxiety behind your back. I don’t see a mental illness as less important than a physical one, but the world has a long way to go before that status is reconciled.

Ah well.

The only injuries I’ve ever had of note both have typically me causes – I’ve got a scar on my forehead from a killing curse launched at me by the greatest Dark Wizard who ever lived cartwheeling into the side of a door. I remember going downstairs (the cartwheel having been done in my bedroom, which was surprising because it remains the only bedroom I’ve ever been in where I had to back out onto the landing to turn around) with a cartoon egg-shaped lump on my head only for my mum to hoy a big bag of peas on it and sat me down in front of Countdown until I stopped trying to make an 18 letter conundrum. The second time I tore my lip open and bent (but didn’t break) (I don’t think) my nose to the left by using my face as an impromptu braking device on my bike – forgot that my brakes didn’t work as I thundered down a hill the only way a fat lad on an old bike can, hit the front brakes, bike stopped immediately and I sailed through the air like a clay pigeon. Only I landed on my face. This time, I think I was knocked out, as my only memory is my sister running home to get my mother who took me home, wrapped a tea-towel from the side in the kitchen around my face (I can still taste I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and strawberry jam if I lick the scar) and left it to sort itself out. I’ve got a big scar on my bottom lip which I can see if I push my lips flat against my teeth, but other than that I’m fine. Actually, reading all this back, it makes it sounds as though I grew up in Mr Bumble’s workhouse, but that’s far from the truth. My mum just didn’t want the nurses to question all the other bruises and marks on my body.

And that’s a joke too, before anyone tries to respectively put us on the register. I always received medical aid where necessary and my parents were – and are – very loving!

Speaking of very loving, how about this for an evening meal? Up here in Geordieland, we call an evening meal made up of lots of different little things (normally sandwiches, cakes, pork pies etc) a tea-tea, but I know there’s lots of others. Paul informs me he used to call it a picnic tea but I find that hard to believe because it conjures up a charming spread served on gingham tableclothes and bone china, whereas I know from his many tales that he never tasted food that didn’t have 4% Lambert and Butler ash in it until he moved up here.

snacks on slimming world

Like yesterday, with this being more of an ensemble dish, there’s little point in doing a recipe, so instead let me break down the various bits:

pickled onions – you can have most pickles for nothing on SW, so fill up – and try sauerkraut, it’s bloody delicious, although too much pickled cabbage will leave you with veritable knicker-stainers later. Open a window.

tomatoes – buy a variety to add colour and keep them out of the fridge – they’ll taste so much nicer.

pitta chips – you’re allowed one wholemeal pitta as a healthy extra – toast one, cut it up and serve with…

…sweet potato houmous – blend one large cooked sweet potato with four tablespoons of fat free yoghurt, one garlic clove, two tablespoons of lemon juice, salt and a 200g tin of chickpeas. Don’t blend it too smooth, it’s better with a few chunks. Just like the best of us.

roast potatoes – cut up some new potatoes, put them in the Actifry with an Oxo cube to cover them. Delicious.

pastrami wraps – make a sauce of four finely chopped gherkins, four tablespoons of fat free fromage frais and half a teaspoon of mustard powder. Smear onto a slice of pastrami, stuff it full of rocket and roll it up.

chicken wraps – nowt more fancy than a gherkin wrapped up in a slice of chicken!

square egg – they taste so much better than a normal egg but I’ve heard it makes the chicken walk funny. WELCOME TO MY WORLD, COCK.

A perfect picky dinner. Now off to watch Before I Go To Sleep with Fattychops. 100th post coming soon!

I used this little gadget to make my egg cube, by the way!

J