grilled steak gyros: the best Greek you’ll swallow today

Grilled steak gyros. On Slimming World, if you don’t mind. I love Greek food, whether it’s these gyros, dolmades or some hot bronzed DILF demanding he makes me his woman. I’ll cope, papi. Lift my dress up out of the dirt, though. I’m going to warn you for a second: the next paragraphs contain some graphic raunch references. Scroll straight to the pictures if you’re the type of person who clutches at her pearls when she

But first, indulge me for a moment, would you? I want to talk about men’s bodies. Now you might think I’m going for the obvious route of leering, given I spend 45% of my time with my neck canted at 75 degrees trying to grab a quick look at the package of those chavs who wear grey trackie bottoms. I swear, I’m like an owl when I walk past Sports Direct in the morning. An owl with a very pale face.

Lots (rightly) gets made about women and how they struggle with body confidence, but let’s hear it for the lads, eh? The amount of posts I see in our facebook group where men are down on their looks depresses the hell out of me.

I know there’s loads of pressure on women to look good – of course there is – but do you ever notice the male stereotype that always gets bandied around? Big arms, but not too big. No loose skin. No belly, and if there is a belly, it’s hidden behind a bar or a bench (look at every Slimming World magazine!). Strong jaw with white teeth and a perfectly preened beard. It’s all so…bland and safe and boring. But I see men chasing this false ideal body and it’s such a waste.

One thing I’ve learned since I stopped giving a toss about my body and well, showing it off in various places which I’m not talking about here, is that there’s a jar for every lid. Literally, in my case. Plenty of folks out there will like you for you – your ‘problem zone’ is someone else’s splash-patch. Belly cascading out in front of you like a balloon of mottled trex? That’s someone’s pillow, that is. Bingo wings? Somewhere to dab your knob off after sex.

Paul and I are creepy – we always smile nicely at big lads – well Paul smiles, I leer lasciviously and lick my lips at them like the Childcatcher. What can I say, I’m a sucker for men in Jacamo outlet shirts. We like to think that it makes a bloke happy to get some attention, though we pick our targets. We might dilate at the thought of a roadworker with a mean streak, a broken nose and gnarled rough hands, but I don’t like having to pick my teeth off the floor after a blowjob. No, we pick those men with dumpy wee bellies, office-haircuts and (sorry ladies) wives fussing about in the supermarket. We’re homowreckers.

What am I trying to say with all of this? Men, if you’re out there, don’t be hung up about your looks. No need to try and aspire to some muscle god – the best looking men are those who are confident in their bodies and who wear it well without giving a monkey’s jot what they look like. Confidence: 100% sexy. And here’s the thing – if you have a partner or a husband or even just a buddy who is down on his looks, take a moment to tell him how fabulous he is.

Oh, and give him our numbers. We’re as indiscriminate as amyl-scented nerve gas.

I know that’s a very pat solution to a complicated confidence issue but honestly. Men. Get over yourselves.

The gyros, then…

steak gyros

Looks like your clopper, that does.

steak gyros

Looks like your gash, that does.

grilled steak gyros

Prep

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Yield 6 servings

Have yourself a Shirley Valentine moment and just imagine some hairy, Greek studmuffin sliding this in front of you, and then sliding himself in to you. Yeah, you like that, don't you?

Ingredients

  • 6 Tesco folded flatbreads (30 syns)
  • 2 sirloin steaks
  • 1 onion, sliced into 1cm thick rings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (12 syns)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 125g fat-free greek style yoghurt
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into thin rings
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 small handfuls of rocket

Instructions

  • in a large bowl, mix together the oil, garlic, oregano and paprika - pour one tbsp of the mix into a separate bowl with the yoghurt and mix well - that will make your sauce
  • add the onion and green pepper to the oil mix and toss, then gently remove with a slotted spoon
  • chuck in the steak and rub in as much of the marinade as is left
  • cook the steak to your liking, then remove from the pan and slice
  • add the onion and green pepper to the same pan and cook for a few minutes until starting to brown and caramelise
  • remove from the pan and finally add the flatbreads and cook for a minute or two each side, then remove from the pan
  • fold out the flatbreads and top each with a bit of rocket, then the steak slices, followed by the tomatoes and a drizzle of sauce
  • eat

Notes

  • this makes six gyros - one is enough for one person if you're having something with it like chips! if it's for fewer than six people just use one flatbread for each person and stuff more filling in - we won't tell
  • if the syn values of those flatbreads are giving you the willies you could use pitta breads instead if you really wanted to, or even a wrap if you're pious
  • we actually forgot to sear our flatbreads in the pan - you shouldn't, it makes them taste nicer!
  • any steak will do for this - it doesn't need to be fancy. We used sirloin from Muscle Food
  • a griddle pan is excellent for this to get the nice charmarks, or even better a Tefal Optigrill which is what we used - just press the 'steak' button
  • slice the onions quickly with a Mandolin slicer - just watch your fingers if you're a clumsy twat like me and always use the guard
  • same with garlic - use a microplane grater to mince it in seconds!
  • don't be tempted to leave out the oil - it makes it so much nicer!
  • don't like rocket? Any leafy salad will do

Cuisine greek

Want more in your wrap? Sure:

Yum!

Remember lads: tits out!

J

juicy steak with low syn slimming world chimichurri sauce

Slimming World chimichurri! Now admittedly chimichurri sounds like something a posh woman would call her fadge when telling the doctor it’s sealed over, but bear with us – it’s actually a gorgeous herby sauce where, if you use good fresh herbs, it’ll be an absolute delight. You’ll wonder why you haven’t had it before but we all know the answer to that is simple: like you’d ever turn down a cream sauce for your steak. Even so, give this a go.

There’s no time to lose today because we’ve had an actual House Calamity. You will have doubtless noticed that it’s been hotter than the devil’s dick outside until Friday, when the skies broke just in time to make sure that 1,000,000 people who still live at home with their mothers were denied the chance to look at the moon. It tipped it down, and naturally, our house decided to throw a spanner in our plans to save up for Canada and instead, sprung yet another leak. We’ve now got more brown damp patches on our ceiling than we ever manage on our mattress, but that’s what being married for eleven years will do for you.

This means yet more visits from roofers, more awkward small-talk and yet more waiting around for them to appear from ‘just around the corner, mate’, where presumably that corner is somewhere south of Doncaster. I’ve long since given up on people saying they’ll turn up at any given point – I swear we’ve still got someone due round to clean my little C2 (not a euphemism) and that was turned into a cube back in 2012.

So, you can have a recipe, and we’ll get on with fussing about our ceiling. Sigh. Chimichurri sauce for you!

slimming world chimichurri

slimming world chimichurri

juicy steak with Slimming World chimichurri

Prep

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Total

Yield 4 servings

Sounds fancy, eh? Chimichurri comes all the way from them Argies and is a tasty sauce for fresh meat! It's as easy as you after a night at the bingo and tastes phenomenal! It's a cool colour too, so the kids will love it.

The beauty with this is that you can have it with whatever you want! We had ours with chips because we're common and it's our default position. We had some left over the next day and slipped it into sandwiches and it was just as good! Sex up your meaty flaps tonight.

Ingredients

  • 4 good steaks
  • 2 big bunches of basil
  • 2 big bunches of parsley
  • 2 big bunches of mint
  • 2 big bunches of chives
  • 4 green chillis
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (6 syns)
  • salt 
  • pepper

Instructions

  • firstly, take the steak out of the fridge and bring it up to room temperature
  • next, finely chop all of the herbs, chillis and capers - if you can't be arsed, do what we did and chuck it all in a food processor
  • zest and juice the limes and add the olive oil, and mix well
  • sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the steaks and cook to your liking
  • as the meat is cooking, dollop the chimichurri sauce onto a chopping board and gently spread out into a large square big enough for the steaks to sit on
  • when the steak is cooked, place on top of the chimichurri and leave to rest for a few minutes
  • slice the steak and use a knife to spread the chimichurri sauce all over it - like it's getting a facial
  • serve

Notes

  • remember: this recipe is for four - if you're only making it for two people just halve everything
  • any steak will do - it doesn't have to be fancy, we used sirloin from Muscle Food
  • fresh herbs are always best if you can get them
  • we used our Tefal Optigrill to cook the steak perfectly - if you've got one, just press the 'steak' button and then wait until the light shows your desired level of 'doneness'!
  • don't be tempted to skimp on the oil in this one - it's worth it, and it's only a few syns!

 

Cuisine argentinian

Lovely! Perhaps you want some more steak ideas? Sure thing, cheesenips!

Always something to enjoy!

J

harissa steak sandwiches with sweet red onion pickle

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!

harissa steak sandwiches

harissa steak sandwiches

harissa steak sandwiches

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harissa steak sandwiches with sweet onion pickle

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

Courses sandwiches

Loved the sound of our harissa steak sandwiches and now want more sandwiches? Of course you do!

Yum!

J

rainbow beef: speedy and saucy

Saucy rainbow beef is today’s Chinese fakeaway recipe, and you’ll find it just below. Enjoy!

Thinking about my nephew’s birthday, and then having to choose from an absolutely bewildering amount of toys available in the shops, got me thinking about the toys I used to have. Now naturally, only my generation’s toys were any good and yours were rubbish, but bear with me.

Favourite toy of all time was a tatty teddy bear that was both a bumblebee and a lion. Of course: hence Bumblelion. Internet research suggests that Bumblelion was from a TV show called The Wuzzles but that means absolutely nothing to me – I think Bumblelion’s origin story was simply being stuck on a table at the Corbridge Boot Sale and being spotted by me and my sticky three year old hands. That teddy bear stayed with me for ages – losing its tail, fur, an eye, the nose, the stuffing over the years, but even now I’m fairly sure I could climb into our loft and find him again. My parents never bothered stitching the bits back on – they took a rather cavalier approach to safety: whilst everyone else went sledging on a proper wooden sledge for example, I was given a rinsed out giant plastic bag with ICI Chemicals printed on the side and sent hurtling towards a barbed wire fence at great speed.

I asked Paul what his favourite teddy bear was and he replied that I was. Once I’d finished vomiting into the toilet, he offered up an alternative. Apparently his parents went to the same ‘caring’ school as mine as he had an unfinished toy mouse without a tail, which by all accounts looked like a rudimentary fleshlight, given it had a huge hole with the stuffing leaking out at the rear end. Knowing Paul, that’s probably exactly what it was used for. He called it Mousey, showing an imagination that captivates an audience even now. I know for a fact where Mousey lives: somewhere in a landfill near Byker, as I accidentally threw him out in an overly-keen cleaning spree. Oops. Mousey was supplemented by all manner of tamagotchis that Paul was given to keep him quiet – I never had one and was furiously jealous of everyone else who had one. It’s probably for the best however – I was given my friend’s tamagotchi to look after and killed it for real within two hours by dropping it into the toilet.

We ended up choosing Lego for my nephew – partly because it’s the best gift you can give a young lad because it fires the imagination, partly because I know how much it will annoy my sister who now faces an eternity of stepping on Lego bricks in the dead of night. She can talk, she never used to clean away the Lego when we played at home. We used to build massive hamster runs and mazes out of Lego – it’s all good times until you forget about poor Snuffles working his way through the maze towards a carrot and go away on holiday. Poor little bugger*. I think all children should be given Lego at the earliest opportunity – not Duplo, that’s cheating, and not knock-off Lego that doesn’t quite fit together, but proper stuff. If I’m ever asked to step in and replace Theresa May on account that I have a soul and can smile without looking like I’m passing wind, I’ll make it mandatory that children are born into buckets of Lego that they then get to keep.

It wasn’t just Lego, of course – we had all manner of board games, all with nearly all the pieces included. It’s easy enough to play Pop-Up-Pirate without all of the swords but Buckaroo becomes a surprising challenge when you only have half of the donkey, and as for trying to solve a murder in Cluedo with only the Miss White card and 100 Lambert and Butler gratis points, well forget it. Paul’s favourite board-game was Screwball Scramble but because his mother was a shaved Hitler, he was only allowed to play it up to the bit where you had to smack the buttons and then stop, because the noise would ‘bring on one of her heads’. Even then he knew that her headaches were probably nicotine-poisoning. We want to join a local board game society up here in Newcastle but it all seems to be complicated games now – I want to play Monopoly with someone who doesn’t get in a huff when I buy Mayfair and then refuses to play when he starts losing: like Paul.

 

I’m obviously kidding about the hamster, by the way. All of our hamsters had luxurious, full lives, although we did lose one prematurely when it took an exciting and unexpected swerve on the hallway landing and went bouncing down the stairs in his little exercise ball. RIP Snowy.

Final highlight was a sit-on toy tractor that I could peddle around in the yard behind our house. I bloody loved that thing and used it until the brakes were worn, the wheels were shot and the whole thing was one more half-stone of my arse from falling to bits. It did almost kill me – I once went merrily shooting down our steep driveway and across two lanes of traffic before my mother remembered that she hadn’t shut the gate at the bottom. It’s alright, I survived (obviously) and there were only forty people injured in the resulting pile-up caused by the bus having to swerve around me into oncoming traffic.

The picture on this one doesn’t look amazing, but blame Paul: he forgot to take the pictures, so this is just a still from the video. Don’t worry, he’ll be getting a firm lashing later on.

UPDATE: Sorry – this isn’t syn free as it says in the photo, that’s a typo. It’s actually 1½ syns each! 

rainbow beef

rainbow beef

to make saucy rainbow beef you will need:

  • 500g beef stir-fry strips (or steak, sliced)
  • 1½ tsp cornflour (½ syn)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (3 syns)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • ½ tsp red chilli flakes
  • 8 shittake mushrooms
  • 3 peppers of different colours, sliced

top tips for saucy rainbow beef:

  • we used the beef strips from our excellent Big Meaty Package – if you want decent quality, cheap meat go check out our deals page!
  • mince the garlic and ginger in double-quick time with a Microplane grater – you can get one here!
  • shiitake mushrooms will give a nice, beefy taste but normal mushrooms will do fine
  • haven’t got rice wine vinegar? cider vinegar will be fine
  • this makes enough for two large bowls

to make saucy rainbow beef you should:

  • sprinkle the cornflour over the beef and give a good toss
  • pour over the tsp of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, one of the garlic cloves, sesame oil, salt and pepper and mix everything together
  • in a separate jug, stir the tbsp of rice wine vinegar and hoisin sauce and set aside
  • heat a large frying pan or wok over a high heat and spray in a little oil
  • add the beef to the pan and spread out as much as you can
  • let it cook for about a minute to crisp up, and then stir fry for another minute
  • slide the beef onto a plate and drain away any excess liquid
  • add the peppers to the pan along with the other garlic clove, ginger, chilli flakes and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes
  • add the beef back to the pan and give another stir
  • pour over the hoisin sauce, cook for another 30 seconds, then serve

Did that get your minge tingling? Don’t forget we’ve got loooaddss of other Chinese fakeaway meals waiting for you! You’ll find some of our favourites below:

Mwah!

J

beef chop suey: saucy and syn-free

Right, let’s fire out a recipe for beef chop suey with no chitchat, as we’re all busy people. Take Me Out isn’t going to watch itself, you know.

Now come on, as if we’d watch Take Me Out. If I wanted to listen to thirty lasses screaming at an orange man, I’d go to a Trump protest. THERE. THERE’S SOME BITING POLITICAL ANALYSIS. I’m kidding, it’s my nephew’s birthday so we’re actually off to hand over gifts and cards in exchange for love and kindness. But we couldn’t leave you without something to smack your lips over, so here we are! Saucy beef chop suey.

beef chop suey

beef chop suey

to make saucy beef chop suey you will need:

  • 220g beef stir fry strips, sliced (or steak, sliced)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 8 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 60g mangetout, sliced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 300g dried noodles

top tips for making saucy beef chop suey:

to make saucy beef chop suey you should:

  • cook the noodles according to the instructions
  • heat a large saucepan over a high heat and spray ina . little oil
  • add the garlic and onions and stir around the pan for about a minute, then add the beef
  • cook for a few minutes and then add the carrots, red pepper and mushrooms and cook for another five minutes
  • add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, mangetout and spring onions to the pan and give a good stir
  • cook for another 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened
  • serve over the noodles

Feeling saucier? Check out some of our other recipes!

our best ever mixed chow mein recipe

Now, you can have a mixed chow mein, or you can keep it simple with a plain chicken chow mein, but either way, this is possibly my favourite recipe that we have done in a while. Mixed chow mein is easily the one dish I order most from the Chinese takeaway – well, that and trapped wind – and so to make a perfect replica of it, well say no more fam. Or something. Scroll down for the recipe, or…

Indulge me for a moment. I had a right strop the other day about that stupid TUI advert with the silly woman hyperventilating through ‘Ain’t Nobody’ like an anxiety attack given a melody. Well, working from home on a Monday means that I have to run the gamut of daytime advertising – I like to have the TV on as background noise because a) it blocks out my tinnitus and b) daytime TV makes me feel better about my own life choices. For example, on a Jeremy Kyle catch-up this morning, they were arguing about whether someone had shat in a fridge.

Just let that sink in for a moment. I can’t conceive of any situation in my life that might end up with someone shitting in my fridge. Can you? I mean, we have one of those giant American fridges, you could take the shelves out and build a rudimentary portaloo, but even then I don’t know a single soul who, however drunk they got, would think that was a viable option for relieving themselves. So not only do you have a gaggle of inbred mouthbreathers with a shitty fridge, they think the best thing to do to clear it up (use Flash and warm water, surely) is to go on national TV to be soaked in indignant spittle and to show off your Thorntons Fudge Selection teeth to a judgemental nation. I could have a bomb up my arse and Jeremy Kyle could hold the defusing code and I’d still rather die than sit in the back with Graham awaiting my turn to bound on effing and jeffing. The mind boggles.

But anyway, this isn’t about Jeremy Kyle. I want to kvetch on about adverts again. Top of the list is the Nationwide adverts, and I don’t care that I bank with them, they can take all my money away if it means I’m never subjected to Toni Collette’s stand-in and Sharon Watt’s double singing their cutesy-poo wee ditties and playing the keyboard. Why? Some clever sort will doubtless say the advert works because I have remembered it but that’s like saying Anusol is wonderful because I once bought a tube of it back in 2008. It’s a negative memory: I don’t buy it now just for the nostalgia. This advert has done the opposite – it’s made me get off my fat arse and finally get around to switching banks over to First Direct who, although they overdo the ‘bants’ side of things, at least don’t have adverts that make me want to push my face into a thresher.

Next on the list: WHAT’S THAT? YOU HAVEN’T CLAIMED FOR YOUR MIS-SOLD PPI? You know the one, smarmy streak of piss in a shiny suit asking you whether you can afford to miss out on thooousands of pounds. Gladstone Brookes, I believe – you would think with all the money they’re raking in from charging a significant fee for something that people could easily do themselves that perhaps they’d fund a better advert, but no. I hate his incredulous tone and overacting and stupid beady eyes to the point where I’d like to kick a hole in my TV and send them the invoice. With knobhead protection insurance included, of course.

Surely the king of irritation – an almost superhuman level of advertising thrush, if you will – is the friggin’ Shpock advert though. For a start, shpock is a shite name for a company – the fact I had to google it to work out how to spell it says enough. What kind of word is shpock anyway? It sounds like something that would be forming in a drip on the end of a diseased penis – look at that, you’ve left a smear of shpock all over our bedspread, for example. According to their advert, it’s like having a boot sale in your pocket. Well whoopity-doo. The last time we went to a car-boot sale it was dreadful – people selling used ashtrays and dirty clothes and urgh. If you go by their advert the app will be full of fancy bikes, cars, beautiful people and distressed furniture. I loaded it up to try and shift my giant shirts and found it awash with such levels of illiteracy that I thought I’d somehow switched my language settings to Russian. There wasn’t a thing on there I would even entertain having in my house, and that’s just the sellers. It was deleted quicker than the time I accidentally downloaded Snapchat. I mean, I’m not a 14 year old girl.

OK one final gripe. Gambling adverts. Why are these allowed? Have you tried watching ITV2 or Challenge or Sky Sports in the evening? You can’t move for flashy adverts advertising betting or bingo sites and frankly, you’d be absolutely buggered if you had a gambling problem. They don’t allow adverts for cigarettes, so why something as addictive as gambling? And it’s always such a bullshit advert – sexy people playing in glamorous virtual casinos, all sultry stares and coquettish laughter and massive wins. I’d admire any company that portrayed the grim reality of someone sat in yesterday’s clothes, unshaved, unwashed, desperately clicking the spin button over and over and over in the hope of winning back a tenth of what they’ve been encouraged to gamble away if only so they can keep the wolves away from the door for another few days. They say that ‘when the fun stops, stop’, and then they play their adverts over and over and over. How does that work then?

In fact, I’d go as far to say that these are the worst adverts of all. They have the power to absolutely destroy lives, and they’re sandwiched repeatedly between bloody Love Island repeats. As if that shower of shits wasn’t bad enough.


I feel better for that! Right, let’s do this mixed chow mein. Remember, you can use whatever meat you want – we used leftover pieces from all the fakeaway recipes we’ve been cooking lately, and of course you could use prawns but why would you? They’re bloody awful. It’s as simple as that. This makes enough for four massive portions – we portioned it up (for once) and put some in the freezer.

Have no fear though, we took it back out again ten minutes later and ate it. I mean, we’re not called twochubbycubs for nothing, you know. Let’s do this. Don’t be tempted to leave out the oil – between four, it’s 1.5 syns each – think how many syns your normal takeaway would be. It’s worth it for the taste. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it really isn’t!

mixed chow mein

mixed chow mein

to make a mixed chow mein, you’ll need:

  • whatever meat you want – we used scraps of beef, some char sui pork and two chicken breasts, but honestly, there’s no rhyme or reason – if it’s already cooked, you’ll just need to warm it through in the instructions below, but if it is raw, make sure you cook it well
  • two or three nests of dried noodles
  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • one large onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of beansprouts
  • one bunch of spring onions – sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (1 syn)
  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (6 syns)
  • one large red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons of oyster sauce (free – yes, I was surprised too – and it doesn’t taste fishy, don’t worry)
  • 1 teaspoon of cornflour (1 syn)

So in total that makes eight syns: 2 syns each for a giant portion!

top tips for a mixed chow mein:

to make a mixed chow mein, you should:

  • mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of the dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the light soy sauce, 2 tablespoon of the oyster sauce and pour over whatever meat you’re using to marinate for a few hours
  • cook your noodles according to the instructions and then when cooked, run under cold water to stop them sticking
  • heat the oil in your pan and either heat your cooked meat or cook off your raw meat
  • take the meat out and throw in the onion, minced garlic, pepper spring onion, pepper and beansprouts and cook high and hard to soften everything
  • add the meat back in with the remainder of the wet ingredients (and the marinade you have left over, if you’ve kept it) and then add the noodles – stir everything through until the noodles are piping hot, then serve
  • want it saucier? Don’t we all – just add more oyster sauce!

How good does that look, honestly? Want more fakeaway recipes? Hit the links below!

Remember to share!

J

steak and ale pie: low syn and delicious

Steak and ale pie. No look, I’m not even going to waffle on for 1000 words about not being able to tie my shoelaces or an hilarious encounter in the office lift. You’re here for steak and ale pie, and we’re the ones to give it to you. Now let’s make one thing clear though – no amount of fancy recipe is going to allow you to have pastry all the way around the dish like a proper pie. Other blogs might suggest you use a Weight Watchers wrap instead of pastry but that’s like using a dildo instead of a toothbrush – it’s just not the same and you’ll chip your teeth. A wrap is bread. Pastry is delicious fat and flour. So, because we’re big fans of the old ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’, we say use proper pastry, use proper ale, and enjoy your dinner. Eat properly, not Frankenfood. You’re allowed 15 syns a day for goodness sake, don’t save them for some rotten homemade Hari-no jelly sweets and fifteen Muller Lights. It’s your body. Let’s do this.

This makes enough for four ‘pies’. The filling is very rich, as you’d expect, and the pastry creates a lovely thick lid to mop up the sauce. You’ll need four pie dishes or small vessels. Or just make a big one and eat it all yourself. Serve with whatever veg you like! Oh and a heavy casserole dish is better, rather than a bog-standard pan, but either way is fine.

steak and ale pie

steak and ale pie

to make a steak and ale pie, you’ll need:

  • about 1kg of braising steak – now, you don’t need to spend a massive amount here because it cooks for long enough to make it tender, but don’t go buying the Tesco Value shoe-leather steaks because you’ll be chewing it come December
  • one large white onion
  • two cloves of garlic
  • two fat carrots sliced into discs
  • a pinch of chilli powder
  • two beef stock cubes made into 600ml of stock
  • a 330ml (small) bottle of whatever ale you want – because we’re Geordies divvent-ya-knaa we use Newcastle Brown Ale. Couldn’t get more Northern if Sting came and made the stock for us. I’m glad he didn’t, because he’s a self-aggrandising arrogant prick, but sssh (6 syns)
  • two tsp of thyme (if dried) or a good pinch if fresh
  • a tin of marrowfat peas, or if you prefer, a good handful of frozen peas
  • optional: button mushrooms cut in half
  • 100g Jus-Rol lighter puff pastry (16 syns) (and actually, although you use 25g each for the lid, that’s being very generous – you’ll probably find yourself using less)
  • one egg
  • pinch of salt and pepper

If you’re wondering where we got our fancy dishes from – they’re actually soup bowls from Le Creuset, which you can still buy on Amazon – just saying!

to make a steak and ale pie, you should:

  • roughly chop the onion – you’re not going for presentation here so don’t take your time
  • cut up your braising steak into small chunks – postage stamp sized is good enough (get rid of any bits of fat) (I know, it hurts)
  • use a few sprays of oil, get the pan nice and hot and then sweat off your onions until golden
  • add the meat chunks – now, this is important – don’t keep moving them around in the pan relentlessly. Let them sit for a bit – they shouldn’t burn, but they’ll get a bit of a crust on them which is far nicer – trust me
  • whilst that’s cooking, mince your garlic and add it in along with the chilli powder, thyme, a pinch of pepper and salt
  • once your meat is browned, whack the heat right up for a moment and then pour in the ale – you want the pan hot so the ale bubbles up, then get a wooden spoon and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the tasty crunchy bits up into the sauce
  • next goes the stock, the carrots, the peas and mushroom if you’re using them
  • now just let this bubble gently on the hob for as long as you can – the longer you cook, the softer the steak and the thicker the sauce, but feel free to add some gravy granules if you want to thicken it quicker
  • when it comes to making the pies, get your pie dishes ready, ladle in a load of the mixture and then cut out a lid (using 25g of puff pastry)
  • pop the lid on top of the mixture – nice and snug – and then wash the pastry with beaten egg and a good pinch of both salt and pepper
  • cook in the oven for about 20 minutes or for as long as it takes for the pastry to go golden
  • enjoy!

Honestly one of my favourite meals – no surprise that I do indeed eat all of the pies. OH BONUS RECIPE!

steak and ale pie

We served ours with a wee little caramelised leek, parmesan and Marmite stack! Easy – thinly slice a couple of leeks, sweat them down forever with a pinch of salt and sugar (honestly, low heat, an hour) – they’ll reduce right down. Near the end, add a dollop of Marmite and your healthy extra Parmesan, then shape into little stacks!

Looking for more pie ideas?

Yum! Enjoy, and please do share.

J

saucy beef and cabbage stir fry – quick and easy, like YOU

Saucy beef and cabbage stir fry: for when you’re concerned you’re not farting enough Apologies for the lack of update, but, well, you’ve guessed it – we’ve been away! More on that tomorrow – but let me guarantee right now a recipe a day up until Christmas – we’ve got them all lined up and everything! A proper blog-post tomorrow, of course, but tonight is just going to be the recipe – saucy beef and cabbage stir fry! Let’s get straight to it, with no clitting about.

saucy beef and cabbage stir fry

saucy beef and cabbage stir fry

to make saucy beef and cabbage stir fry you will need:

to make saucy beef and cabbage stir fry you should:

  • mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, honey, sriracha and spring onions and pour over the beef
  • leave to marinade for at least an hour
  • when ready to cook, use a slotted spoon to lift out the beef and keep the marinade
  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add a little oil
  • cook the beef for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently
  • remove the beef from the pan and add the cabbage and the remaining marinade
  • bring to the boil, stirring frequently, until most of the marinade has evaporated
  • add the steak back to the pan, stir and serve

Before you moan at me about what sriracha is – it’s a hot spicy sauce. Any spicy sauce will do, or leave it out altogether!

Want more fakeaway goodies? We’ve got a section for that! Click the buttons below to find some more!

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Yum!

J

one-pot super simple beef stew

Right, quick recipe post for a super simple beef stew! Sometimes you need a plate of cat-food-esque stew to line your gunt and this is just the ticket. Plus, if you’re a haphazard fool like us in the kitchen, you can’t go too wrong with it – just need to cut everything up, hoy it all in a pan and allow to simmer, then thicken with gravy. Get it made!

Anyway, whilst I’ve got you here, we’re also running a competition this week to win a soupmaker! It’s not Paul, before you ask, but it’s a lovely Morphy Richards number. Click the image below and you’ll be taken straight to the competition entry page in a new window. Go for it – it’s an easy competition and all you have to do is find the queens’ Queen!

Right, straight to the recipe! See, I can do it occasionally…

super simple beef stew

super simple beef stew

to make one-pot super simple beef stew you will need:

  • 400g diced beef
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp flour (4 syns)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 litre water
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tsp gravy granules (4 syns)

Looking for a good deal on diced beef? Dead easy. A fair few of our exclusive Musclefood deals have diced beef included! Have a look – link will open in a new window!

to make one-pot super simple beef stew you should:

  • in a large pot, heat oil over a medium-high heat, add the beef and cook until browned
  • stir in everything else except for the gravy granules, cover with the lid and simmer for two hours
  • when finished, stir in the gravy granules until thick
  • serve

Love simple dinners? We’ve got loads more! Just click the buttons below:

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J

crispy chilli beef – well, sort of, because this is Slimming World after all

Crispy chilli beef! Yeah, kind of. Look you’re never going to replicate the chilli beef you get from the takeaway because they fry it in oil – like all delicious things – and obviously we can’t do that. But this is a good, tasty effort! Before we get to that, of course, Paul had the idea that he would like to bookend our Newcastle trip report with his views on the North East. I nearly died of shock – the poor sod never wants to write our posts – so who am I to complain? He’d love feedback and I hope his billet-doux leaves you satisfied and smiling. That said, if you’re not wanting to read, that’s fine – like I do for all the longer entries, I’m including a shortcut button for you. That’s right – this time just click on the GRUMPY NAG to go straight to the food.

I thought she’d never leave, you know? Someone should tell her about her moustache. You could use it to strain soup. Right, shall we get on?


part one | part two | part three | part four | part five | part six | part seven

It’s well-known on this blog that when James and I first met, we had a couple of dates and I, completely on a whim, moved straight to Newcastle to be with him. At that time I was living in the living hell that is commonly known as Portsmouth, renting a room in a mansion from a pair of sadomasochistic dungeon masters. I’m not even joking with that one, I’m actually surprised that story hasn’t made it into a blogpost yet.

The strangest thing for me though was that I never heard of anything coming out of Newcastle. No news, no excitement, nothing at all. All I knew of it was from Byker Grove and even then I was only giving it half my attention because there was no doubt a tin of Campbell’s meatballs in the microwave on the go for me. I knew it had Geordies (obviously) and some sort of past industrial history but that was it. Until that point, I made a promise (and my good friend Glenn reminds me of this often) that I would never live ‘in the North’. Don’t get me wrong – I’m probably the most common person you’ll ever meet and absolutely not a snob, but I just had this vision in my mind of unrelenting grey skies, rusting machinery everywhere and misery.

How pleasantly surprised I was then when I actually visited the place. It absolutely astounded me. For my first journey up we got the train; I remember getting off and seeing this little scale model of the city on a plinth just outside the entrance. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was lit up and everything. I thought maybe it’d been dropped by the planning department and should probably keep off it, but no – it was art. It was public art! Just something small and insignificant and probably ignored by most people who walked past it but I was genuinely speechless. This might all sound very over-the-top and dramatic but I promise it’s true. See, I grew up in a place called Peterborough which, except for a big ass cathedral, pretty much just exploded forth in the 60’s and 70’s into a New Town haemorrhage. It’s totally devoid of any sort of culture. Utilitarian. Dull. Brown. Ring roads. You get the idea. Portsmouth was even worse.

So we came out the Central Station and saw this little plinth. We walked down to the Quayside and there was more. There was a vampire rabbit over a door. An archway that lit up like Tetris bricks. Another arch that would sing to you in a weird Geordie accent as you went through. A statue of a bloke floating in the air. It was amazing. And the place was absolutely immaculate.

We arrived down onto the Quayside, I saw the Tyne Bridge for the first time, and just in the distance, nestled against the big curve was the Sage (which looks like me on my side). I was absolutely mesmerised. This place was gorgeous. It was modern, it was clean, it was NICE! I knew then that I immediately wanted to move here. It was a place that I’d actually want to leave the house for and explore, rather than to just go to the supermarket. We stopped at the Pitcher and Piano (which gives a cracking view out onto a tilting bridge!), I actually scribbled out my resignation letter on a sheet of notepaper I scrounged off the barman there and then and he kindly faxed it off for me. I’d forgotten all about that until now. I mean, look at us way back when…

I really want you to know how taken in I was with the instant beauty of ‘The North’ (James here: I’m fairly sure he’s talking about me, but don’t be blue)

Look how young we were! Aaaah.

I still get it now. When I visit Peterborough I’m sad to say that I’m appalled by it. It’s dirty, dull, dreary. It’s like going back behind the Iron Curtain. There’s no ‘life’ to it. The last time we visited we had to go to Milton Keynes to find something to do. That just ain’t the case in Newcastle. As you’ll read in our posts, I’ve lived here for ten years (James for 32) and we’ve STILL only scratched the surface of things to do here. We’ll never get bored.

Even though we don’t really live in Newcastle anymore (but we’re only up the road) you can ‘feel’ the atmosphere. Even in the ‘rough’ parts you get it – I tell my friends that live in Ashington all the time that there’s just an energy to it all, as wank as that sounds, but there is! There’s something in the air. The people are nicer up North too, not just politer, but nicer. Their default setting is to be cheerful and helpful rather than dour and suspicious. I love it.

Newcastle has everything you need – it’s got the beautiful town centre, an ugly bit of town centre (sometimes I do miss concrete), the seaside is only a few miles away, the nice seaside is only a few miles more, a big-ass Angel, rolling countryside that goes on forever, and an airport if you want some proper sun. What more do you need?

If I had to recommend somewhere to visit around here other than Newcastle (of course) would be the bit around South East Northumberland – you’ve got Northumberlandia, a giant woman made out of rubble, the fantastic mining history over in Ashington (the Woodhorn museum is fascinating), a gorgeous beach over at Blyth (not a 99 in sight! Just watch out for doggers) and some wonderful countryside-villagey stuff up near Alnwick including a brilliant bookshop in an old train station, a dramatic castle and a fancy garden. Vindolanda’s also nearby for some fancy learnin’, and if you want to see a dishy 20-something studmuffin dress up as a Roman soldier.

Oh, and did I mention the accent? It’s brilliant. Jokes are funnier coming out of a Geordie. It’s a scientific fact (probably).

Come. You won’t be disappointed.

 


Full disclosure – we’ve copied this one from Auntie but have made it a bit more SW friendly!

crispy chilli beef

crispy chilli beef

to make crispy chilli beef you will need:

  • 350g of minute steak, cut into thin slices (you can get some in our new ‘build your own’ Musclefood hamper!)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (2 syns)
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced (keep the green bits and the white bits separated)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (save the faff and get one of these)
  • thumb-sized bit of ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp Hellman’s Tomato Ketchup sweetened with Honey (1 syn) (normal tomato sauce will do, just add on another syn)
  • 250g wholewheat noodles, cooked according to the instructions

to make crispy chilli beef you should:

  • put the beef in a bowl and toss with the cornflour and five-spice
  • heat a wok or a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat and add a really good spray of oil (don’ let Frylight wreck your pans, use this instead)
  • add the beef and fry until nice and crisp
  • scoop out the beef and add in the peppers, half the chilli, the white bits of the spring onion, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about 3 minutes
  • in a small jug, mix togehter the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and tomato sauce along with 2tbsp water and pour over the veg
  • stir well and let it bubble for about 2 minutes
  • add the beef back to the pan, stir well and serve over the noodles, and sprinkle over the green bits of the spring onions

Finally managed to scratch that fakeaway itch? To be fair, the itch was probably just yer cystitis playing up. We’ve got plenty more to tickle your fancy – just press one of the buttons below to find out more!

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J