rick stein’s filthy macaroni

Very quick post tonight – just time to rattle off the FILTHY macaroni!

Ah Rick Stein, let us count the ways we love you. Your food is simply delicious. You look like a Waitrose take on Brendan from Coach Trip. You have a great sense of humour which shines through all of your shows. You make us both feel confident that when we get to 70 we’ll still have a twinkle in our eyes and the ability to act slightly camp in unusual situations. People at work have decreed that I must want to stare moonily through his windows at him because I idolise him so much.

Gush, gush. Look, we’ve only just happened across Rick via his Long Weekends show on BBC2. For years we didn’t bother because most of his meals revolve around seafood and although god knows we’ll put most things in our mouth without blinking, neither of us have ever managed to get away with fish.  We spotted, however, that he was holidaying in Berlin and Iceland for his show, staying both times at the same hotels we did, and since then we’ve become massive fans. He’s brilliant! Let’s do the recipe, then, shall we? I absolutely can’t claim this as one of our own – it’s all darling Rick’s work. The original recipe is called sporki macaroni which he doesn’t like as it means dirty pasta. Frankly, we like him so much we’re going to call the recipe FILTHY macaroni! 

You can buy Rick’s book with this recipe from Amazon and I’d heartily recommend it – yes, you’ll spend syns per meal but christ it’s worth it. Click here for that. Oh and we’re not getting paid to promote Rick. I reckon the fact we bought two fish and chips from his little outlet in Padstow means we’ve given him enough money. They were delicious.

filthy macaroni

to make filthy macaroni, you’ll need:

  • 400g lean beef – we used one of the packets of diced lean beef you get in our Musclefood deal – very tasty meat indeed! Have a look!
  • small red onions, chopped
  • small carrots, sliced
  • bay leaf (we have a little plant growing in the garden – buy one and never look back)
  • pinch of salt
  • a good grinding of black pepper, then do it again – you can never have too much
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced, using a fabulous little mincer that feels good in the hand, such as this one
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • a few handful of spinach
  • 250ml full-bodied red wine (11.5 syns – this serves 4 and I reckon most of it boils off, so let’s live life on the edge and call it 2.5 syns each) (don’t tell Mags though, she’ll key my car with her nails)
  • 600g pasta – any old shite will do, but we used penne that’s been rattling around amongst the weevils for the last year – only the best

to make filthy macaroni, you should:

  • unusually for a gay man, I’m going to recommend you brown off your beef – do this by putting a drop of oil in a decent, heavy pan, getting it sizzling and then dropping in the beef – better to do this in two batches rather than trying to cram your meat into a space that perhaps isn’t designed to accommodate it all at once (also unusual for me to say…)
  • add the chopped onions and carrots and stir
  • once these are brown, add the bay leaf and a good pinch of salt and all the pepper
  • stir in the tomato puree, cinnamon and garlic and fry gently for a couple of minutes
  • add the red wine and chicken stock – heat all the way up to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about an hour or so until the meat is tender
  • about fifteen minutes before, cook up your pasta – don’t cook it to mush, keep it nice and al dente (not Al Murray) – and about five minutes before it is done throw the spinach in – drain the pasta, add to the meat sauce and stir – then cook on a low heat for another ten minutes to get the flavours working together

Done! Rick serves with chopped parsley but I’d genuinely rather set my eyes on fire than do that. Bleurgh. It’s the Devil’s Pubic Hair!

If you’re looking for more beef or pasta recipes, click the icons below to be whisked away to our fabulous bank of recipes!

beefsmallpastasmall

J

loaded wedges and philly cheese steak sliders

Yep, you’re getting two recipes for the price of one with this post for loaded bacon and cheese wedges  and philly cheese steak sliders. We’re really spoiling you lately. Least you could do is show willing and buy my ruddy book or a meat-box! Haha.

I’m in a bit of a huff tonight, if I’m honest. Came home to find a big bill waiting for me on the doormat. Normally I never say no to bending down for a Big Bill but this one was our council tax and it’s fucking £1700! What the hell for? They’ve turned off our street lights, driving on the roads feels like I’m playing Moon Patrol and they only pick up the bins when there is a full solar eclipse. There’s more chance of me getting pregnant than getting a book that doesn’t have Katie Price on the front cover out of our local library and if you fancy a stroll in the park, best get used to the dogshit and litter billowing around your feet like the shittiest version of the Crystal Dome. I don’t know why they don’t push all the dog-sausages into the fucking potholes in the road, at least that way I wouldn’t get out of the car with my neck canted a forty-five degree angle from being clattered off the roof of my car.

MOAN MOAN MOAN. But seriously, it would be a bloody welcome change if they said oh James, you work hard, here, enjoy your wage to do whatever you want with it, instead of grasping it out of my cold, cruel hands. I’m paying into a pension and being sensible by saving, but what’s the use? So when I get to seventy the Government can take away my house and stick me in a care home? Fuck that. We’ve already decided that when we get to seventy, if we’re both alive and capable of getting lob-ons, the house is getting sold and we’re getting two lithe twenty year olds to rub our bunions and change our oxygen tanks. BAH.

I might start a go-fund-me accompanied by a picture of Paul looking sadly into middle-distance and footage of me looking through photo albums. Maybe.

Can I just take a second to remind you of something? We have a list of every recipe we’ve EVER done right here. I worry that some people don’t know where it is. Use it, it’ll serve you well!

Anyway look, let’s get to the real reason you’re here. These recipes make enough for four. Each recipe is syn free if you use the appropriate HEAs and HEBs. If you have both of them at the same time, syn the cheese on the wedges – 40g is one HEA or 6 syns, so at most it’ll be 1.5 syns per portion. It’s syn free if you don’t combine the burgers and wedges. I’m just being a slut.

 loaded bacon and cheese wedges

to make loaded bacon and cheese wedges, you’re going to need:

  • ‘wet’ potatoes, like Maris Piper, as many as you dare
  • a few squirts of olive oil spray (0.5 syn for 7 squirts)
  • one beef oxo cube
  • packet of bacon medallions (we used half a pack from our Musclefood freezer filler, because it doesn’t disappear to nowt – proper tasty bacon)
  • spring onions
  • lighter mature cheese (40g or one HEA)
  • optional: hot sauce if you want it

to make loaded bacon and cheese wedges, you should:

  • cut each potato in half, then cut into each half in a ‘v’ shape, so you’re dividing each half into three triangular wedges – or you know, don’t fuck about and just cut them how you like
  • tip them into a bowl, sprinkle over the oxo cube and oil, and shake the buggers so they’re coated in a bit of stock cube and oil
  • put them into an oven for 30 minutes or so to colour and soften
  • meanwhile, fry off the bacon in small chunks, slice the spring onion and grate the cheese (remember, one of these makes that cheese allowance stretch further)
  • check your wedges – if they’re nearly done, take them out, scatter the bacon and cheese and spring onion over the top, and put back into the oven until the wedges are done and the cheese is crispy and delicious
  • serve
  • best get a defibrillator ready, just saying

If you’re looking for something to serve it with, these tiny sliders (fancy word for little ‘burgers’) will do the trick. There’s no speed food on your plate, but fuck it. If you don’t tell Mags, nor will I. This was our treat night after all. Jeez.

philly cheese steak sliders

to make philly cheese steak sliders, you’ll need:

  • a big white onion
  • a big green pepper
  • one slice of Swiss Gruyere (we buy ours from Waitrose) – 5 syns for a 25g slice, or a HEA
  • a suitable breadbun for your healthy extra allowance
  • 120ml of beef stock
  • packet of beef strips (I promise I’m not deliberately over-advertising but we genuinely used our beef strips from our Musclefood freezer filler, and they were tasty as all outdoors)
  • lots of black pepper

to make philly cheese steak sliders, you should:

  • cut your onion into decent slices, same with the pepper
  • soften them in a dot of oil, a few sprays of olive oil or even better, a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, or if you’re an imbecile, use Frylight and wreck your pans
  • once they’re softened, set them aside and throw in the beef, cooking it off and giving it a bit of colour – I use Worcestershire sauce instead of oil because it adds taste
  • once the meat is browned off, put the stock in plus lots of pepper and whack the heat up, stirring until the stock has cooked off and thickened – give the bottom of the pan a good scrub with your spoon to get all those juices up
  • assemble your slider – breadbun cut in half, cheese slice, beef strips, peppers and onions
  • easy!

It doesn’t look terribly exciting but my word these were fantastic.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to perform oral sex in exchange for money. By the time I’ve paid off the council tax I’ll be permanently yawning. 🙁

J

sizzling rainbow salad, roasted garlic chickpeas and weigh in

Yes yes, the sizzling rainbow salad will follow.

Long title for what will be a very quick post because damnit, my tea is ready, I have two recipes to post and a weigh-in to report. So let’s wheel out the old knob and see how we’ve done this week…

twochubbycubs

Oh how cosmopolitan! Classy Paul sent me a text to say ‘Only lost half a pound, but got three pounds of last night’s tea pulling out of the depot as we speak’. It’s always a joy living in this house. We weighed in separately tonight as Paul had to dash home (as much as someone the approximate shape of Saturn can dash) and let the electrician in to fit an outside light in our back garden. See (barely), our local council has taken it upon themselves to tear down the old orange streetlights in our street and replace them with these AWFUL little white LED lamps, which, given how faint and pointless they are, must all be running off the same watch battery. It’s so dark I can look out of the window and see when next door’s TV goes off standby. Actually, that’s a fib, we don’t have immediate neighbours…

…which is lucky, because fuck me is the new light bright. He flicked it on and I half expected Paul to be standing at the fence shaking and bursting into flame like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Even the cat put a layer of Piz-Buin on before nipping out to shit in the flowerbed – that wasn’t steam coming off her turd, it was smoke. He advised me that we could adjust it if we wanted to but nah, I like to know that if I stumbled home in the dark and lost a contact lens amongst my tomatoes, I could find it in quite literally the blink of an eye. We’ve also had a couple of outdoor sockets fitted, which will just the thing for us to look at occasionally and think about pressure washing the paving stones. 

Anyway, the recipes. Let’s start with sizzling rainbow salad, which is really just a colourful salad but with all the goodness and virtue of eating greens taken out and replaced with juicy, delicious cow. If you want to keep it vegetarian that’s fine, but please ask someone to chop for you least your cockle-esque muscles give out. I’m kidding I’m kidding. Please don’t write to me, I won’t read it. I’ll be too busy wiping the cow juice off my chin and cackling wildly. Until I get CJD and Paul has to take me around the back of the house, my legs disco-dancing independently of each other, and push me into a burning pit with a tractor.

IMG_2579

to make sizzling rainbow salad, you’ll need:

  • any steak you like – fillet steak, frying steak, rib-eye steak, miss-steak, Mis-Teeq or Stakeford, I don’t care, as long as it mooed and had children (ouch)
  • any syn-free noodles
  • a cucumber, one that if it was a penis, you’d perhaps reach for a dab more Durex Play than you’re used to
  • a carrot, see above
  • a few radishes
  • if you can get them, a candy beetroot and a golden beetroot, if not, regular beetroot
  • two red chilli peppers
  • a lime
  • spring onions
  • crunchy lettuce of any sort you like
  • chickpeas from the below recipe

to make sizzling rainbow salad, you should:

  • cook your noodles
  • peel and slice the cucumber and carrots into thin ribbons using a potato peeler
  • very thinly slice the beetroot – I eat it raw, I like the crunch – and I use one of these mandolins for perfect uniform slices (plus it protects your fingers, you don’t want your piano career ruined by circumcised fingers)
  • do the same with the radishes
  • chop the spring onion and chillis
  • cook your steak however you like and slice it into thin strips – we just used bog-standard steak like this – remember you can add stuff like this on if you buy our freezer-filler-wonder-offer from Musclefood, just add whatever you want as extras into the basket – we cook our steak by getting a pan roaring hot, using worcestershire sauce and pepper instead of oil, quickly cooking it off and serving
  • assemble in a bowl – noodles, crunchy lettuce, sliced veg, steak, squirt a bit of lime juice over for taste
  • if you’re making the chickpeas below, scatter them on too for extra crunch
  • very healthy, I’m sure you will agree

OK, onwards. BEFORE WE START.

TWEAK

We explain what tweaking is right here. Our policy is that it’s better to eat something like this than it is to eat a tube of Pringles. Well no, it’s not better, but it’ll keep the scales happy. Hopefully. Up to you to decide what you want to do. To me, chickpeas are syn free, garlic is syn free, you don’t use enough sprays of the oil to be worth synning it, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to be told off for it. GO.

to make roasted garlic chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • a bulb of garlic
  • two big tins of chickpeas
  • a few squirts of olive oil (which might add up to a syn if you’re lucky, plus I’d hope you’re not going to eat them all)

 chickpeas 

to make roasted garlic chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • cut the garlic bulb right through the middle (horizontally left to right rather than straight down the middle) – don’t worry about peeling
  • sprinkle with a touch of salt
  • put in a low temperature oven for around half an hour, just to soften the garlic flesh, then scoop out (I just scrunch up the bulb with my hand)
  • rinse your chickpeas
  • put them into a bowl with a few squirts of oil, salt, pepper and the softened sticky flesh of the garlic
  • roll those chickpeas around each other – gently, you’re not panning for bloody gold – but enough to get them coated in some garlic, seasoning and oil
  • tip out onto a baking tray and bake in a medium oven for around 30-45 minutes, but do keep checking, they can catch quite quickly
  • eat as a snack or tumbled into salad. Tumbled?! Oh behave James.

Enjoy!

J

potato crust meat pies

Just a quick post tonight because I want to get this recipe for potato crust meat pies up – can’t pretend it’s my own, it’s one of the current facebook fads doing the rounds, though we’ve pimped it up a bit with slow-cooked beef and onions. The recipe is after the photo, if you’re wondering where to go.

Before I get to that though, something has been sitting a little heavy on my mind. There was a heated discussion in our facebook group about whether or not it was right for the NHS to fund access to places like Slimming World or Weight Watchers, or whether people should be expected to pay for themselves. For the most part people agreed that it was a marvellous idea and that a little bit paid out now might stop a lifetime of the NHS having to pay out for obesity related diseases. Seems sensible. Of course, if you’re in a position to pay yourself, then you should, but if you’re unfortunate enough to struggle to find the money for Slimming World (and let’s be quite frank, although it might only “be a fiver”, it’s always a bit more – costs of getting there, bit of fruit for Slimmer of the Week, raffle prizes, magazines, books. Yeah, you don’t need to buy into any of that, but let’s be honest, there’s plenty of ways to lose money so although it might only be a fiver, it’s often a quite a bit more. Do we stop people going if they can’t afford it? Say no, sorry, go home and cry into your Smart Price bread and Extra Value glass of rainwater? Of course we fucking don’t, and it boils my piss that it was even suggested.

ANYWAY. The reason I bring this up is because Paul, quite rightly, vehemently defended the NHS (for they are marvellous) and pointed out quite saliently that we all claim from the NHS in some way, whether right now or in the future. It’s there for all to use, and rightly so. As part of his argument, he mentioned the fact he went to Cambridge University and, being from a poor working class background, was often made to feel inadequate by some of the folks there. Which is daft, because Paul is undeniably wonderful in every which way. He’s even got a big knob for someone of his height, so you know, work with it. His argument was comprehensive and fair and surprisingly free of swearing and innuendo – I thought someone had swapped him out for someone else. One of the posters disagreeing with him kept having a pop, so he ignored her, only to wake up this morning to a private message (it’s interesting, these folk never say what they want to say in front of others, only hidden away behind the shadows) from this woman who told him she couldn’t “believe he went to Cambridge” because he was so “classless and uncouth”. She “thanked God” that she never bumped into “someone like you”. All this because Paul’s an advocate for folk getting help when they need it as opposed to when they can afford it.

Naturally, he blocked her, despite me wanting to point out to her that clearly the Cambridge education of her son hadn’t rubbed off on her based on her many spelling errors and nonsensical grammar. Disappointing. But honestly, how pathetic. I can’t bear actual proper snobbery, especially when it’s coming from someone who clearly has all the class of a fingerbang in a taxi-rank. There’s something so undignified about someone in their late sixties scrabbling around on facebook trying to put others down based on class. It’s like Jeremy Kyle but with Sanotagen. So your son went to Cambridge and you never saw anyone uncouth there? Pfft. I once ‘went back’ with a lad from Cambridge and he asked me to pee in his bum, the logistics of which I couldn’t fathom, so stick that in your cigarette-holder and smoke it. I shan’t name the lady and I don’t want people to comment below adding their twopenneth, because sometimes it’s easier just to let people’s ignorance stand clear and undiluted.

The point to mentioning this? Well, just to lead to a reminder of what we are all about at twochubbycubs. We don’t discriminate – we’re awful about everyone, but in a teasing, gentle way. If you actually want help, join our page or our group and get asking and I’m fairly sure someone will be along to help, though don’t ask for syn values otherwise you’ll get a boot up your arse. We’re all here for the same reason – we’re fat and the smell of bacon follows us wherever we go. Our recipes are free (and I do think we could make a lot more money if we actually charged for them, but we don’t) and hopefully there’s something for everyone. Well, no, not everyone. If you’re a needlessly haughty sort with hair like someone has run their finger around the inside of a plughole in the shower room of a men’s prison, perhaps you should skip on by.

Bah.

Let us go somewhere nicer for a moment. I spent the afternoon volunteering at our local cat and dog shelter (Brysons) and had the pleasure of spending an hour with this little furball, Spitfire.

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He is a kitten and was absolutely terrified after spending many weeks by himself in the cold, he had a bloody nose from fighting, but now he’s in the right place and will be loved and nursed. He was found after scratching at an office window to be let in from the cold. Oh, and when the RSPCA were called to pick up this stray cat, they told the caller to leave him outside and that there was nothing they could do. For a cat no bigger than my fist, stick-thin and shivering, with blood all over his face. Great work, “caring” animal charity. Brysons went to pick him up and are looking after him now, so all is well!

Right, let’s get to this smash crust pie. Before I type the recipe up, fair warning – this could be considered a tweak. Gives me an excuse to pop this on though.

TWEAK

My views on tweaking can be found here. It’s hopefully a marvellous read.

You’re using Smash to make the ‘crust’ of the pie, but frankly, I don’t think it uses any more Smash than you would if you were having it on the side. So I personally say don’t sweat it. You could negate all of this by making your own mashed potato from scratch, but this is just convenient. If you’re making your own mash, keep it as ‘dry’ as possible. Don’t be adding lots of milk and egg otherwise a) your consultant will implode and b) it’ll be hard to ‘mould’. This made enough filling and mash to make two big pies (see photo), just tweak the recipe for more folks.

potato crust meat pie

to make potato crust meat pies, you’ll need:

  • a decent quantity of made-up mash, whether through the Smash route, cooled and set aside (we used a normal sized bag of ordinary Smash – 176g pack – and added our own onion granules)
  • a cheap joint of beef, with no fat, or chunks of beef, or even mince
  • a tin of peas, a tin of carrots, a tin of butter-beans
  • two large onions
  • a dollop of Marmite (leave this out if you’re not a fan)
  • 100ml of stock
  • one clove of minced garlic (use a mincer like this one, so much easier!)

to make potato crust meat pies, you should:

  • slice your onions and cook them gently in a pan with worcestershire sauce instead of oil
  • once they’re softened, whack the heat up, put in your beef joint and ‘seal’ on all sides (press it against the bottom of the hot pan, you’re not trying to cook it but just seal it off) – or if using chunks or mince, cook them through
  • tip the meat into a slow cooker and add the stock
  • before you take the onions from the pan, keep the heat high and add a few more drops of worcestershire sauce and scrape at the bottom to get all the lovely meat juices mixed with the onions, then drop into the slow cooker with the carrots, peas, garlic, Marmite and butter-beans
  • cook for as long as you like – we went for a few hours, but get the meat softened and the sauce thick
  • when it’s time to prepare your pies, get two glass bowls (Pyrex) or a decent sized dish, squirt them with a tiny dab of oil (and rub this in), then mould your mashed potato to create a thin ‘crust’ around the sides, saving some mash for the lids
  • fill the pies with your meat, right up to the top
  • create a lid with the remainder of the mash and press it down to seal
  • bake in the oven on 170 for around thirty minutes, adding your healthy extra cheese if you desire a crusty lid
  • listen, a crusty lid is never a good thing on a bloke, just saying
  • you can either eat it out of the dish like we did or have a go at tipping them out – good luck!
  • serve with your speed food.

In our picture you can see gravy in our fancy container – to make our gravy, we just sweat off a tonne of onions, add some stock and then blend in our Nutribullet. Easy. We served with some frozen mixed veg because we’re lazy. This is pretty much a shepherds pie, I guess, but the heart likes what the eyes see, so if you’re wanting a big ole pie, this will help the cravings! Not our original idea, no, but we’ve added a bit of razzmatazz. It’s what us common, uncouth fuckers do, see.

Enjoy!

J

spicy beef bowl, and christ, we’re back

BOO. Yes, spicy beef bowl below.

Been wondering where we’ve been? Well, see, I had to keep the fact we were going away a complete secret. We’ve actually been in New York for seven days, doing all sorts of wonderful things and having a gay old time. But I hadn’t told Paul about it – a complete secret as a surprise for his birthday / our anniversary. Good, right? You have literally no idea how much anal that’s going to get me. Also, I was unable to arrange for a housesitter and I didn’t fancy advertising the fact our house was empty for a week. Again. Now you might be thinking how utterly extravagant, given we’ve been to Corsica, Iceland and now America in the last four months and well, it’s true, I am becoming Judith Chalmers, only I don’t have that weird neck that comes from holidaying in the sun too much. Listen: shrouds don’t have pockets, that’s all I’m saying. You can’t take it with you. New York was amazing and I’ll undoubtedly get round to writing up my book of notes from the trip (once I’ve finished Iceland off!), there’s lots of things to say.

This also meant a week off from the diet, because I’ll be buggered if I’m expected to go to New York and eat houmous made from chickpeas. Everything I put in my mouth had cheese on it (what can I say, it gets hot and humid when you’re riding the subway) – I genuinely wouldn’t have been surprised to be given a Cheesestring to stir my coffee with. You’ll see below the results of this time off…

Another twist which I couldn’t really talk about is that I’ve sort-of-got-a-new-job. Whilst I won’t bore you with the details, it’s something that is going to demand some of my attention whilst I get up to speed, so although we’re planning on regular posts again, they might not be so long. But hell how many times have I said that and I’ll end up talking the hind legs off a donkey!

So yes, our weight chart…well, it’s pretty buggered.

the big apple

Gosh! Oh I know I know. It looks bad. But a few good poos (we both have logjams in the river), a week of being on plan and we’ll be cooking on gas. We did get Couple of the Year, though, which led to an awkward moment where someone struggled to get the sash over my man-tits. I felt like an elephant on parade. It’s a lovely gesture but I think the cheery mood blackened when our considerable weight gains were revealed. Oops.

spicy beef bowl

to make spicy beef bowl you will need:

  • 400g beef strips, like the ones you get in our musclefood deal
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 2 good handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 chilli pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp of sambal paste – you can buy this in any Tesco, it’s not essential, but adds a good depth of flavour
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (2 syns)
  • 160ml low sodium soy sauce (seriously, use low sodium, or it’ll be too salty)
  • 60ml white wine vinegar

to make a spicy beef bowl you should:

  • using a food processor (a nutribullet works great for this) pulse the sesame oil, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, garlic, sambal oelek and ginger until smooth
  • place the beef in a freezer bag and add the dressing – tie the bag up and leave to marinate for about 1-2 hours, shaking it regularly
  • heat a large saucepan over a medium high heat and add a little oil or Frylight
  • drain the meat from the marinade and place in the saucepan – keep what’s left of the marinade mix
  • cook the meat for about 1-2 minutes, it’s all it will need!
  • remove from the pan and set aside on a plate – if you don’t like it pink don’t worry – it will keep cooking
  • in the same pan, cook the peppers and spinach until softened with about 75ml of the marinade mix – add more if you think it needs it, it should all be well coated and you’ll have plenty of the stuff left
  • add the beef back into the pan and cook for another minute, making sure everything is mixed well
  • serve immediately, and sprinkle on the spring onions and chilli pepper

Don’t forget, put a loo roll in the fridge to wipe your taint with later, because this’ll make it sting! You can make it less spicy, but what’s the point in living if you can’t feel alive?

J

sizzlin’ steak

I’m going to warn you, I’m in a right old grump today. But what’s new! I write better when I’m angry anyway.

You have no idea how much it pains me to write sizzlin’ in the title instead of sizzling, but Paul threatened to withhold sex if I didn’t acquiesce, and so here we are. In a perfect world there would be no need for unnecessary shortenings of random words, but it’s not a perfect world, and I’m not a perfect person. So sizzlin’ it is. Sizzling puts me in mind of those awful pubs where they bring your food out and slide it out onto a scalding hot bit of stone so it ‘sizzles’ and you’re supposed to sit there rapturous whilst your food bubbles. Perhaps it’s because I’m a curmudgeonly-old-before-his-type fart but I don’t get it – I’ve seen stuff heating up before, I’ve used a pan in my lifetime. If they brought it to the table and heated the food via some Rube Goldberg machine that involved flamethrowers and magnetite, I’d perhaps crack a smile. Those types of pub are always full of the same type of people:

  1. those who can’t eat their Sunday dinner without the application of three separate condiments that have to be brought to the table by some harried waitress with a lot more consonants than vowels in her first name;
  2. access day visits from dads sharing wan smiles and thin conversation with the top of their iPhone-engrossed children; and
  3. the elderly, fussing and gumming their way through a special menu printed in Times New Roman Size 32 so everything looks like this:

“puree of turnip served with turkey paste and parsnip wisps”

OK, so I exaggerate, but still. 

It’s been an uneventful day. We had two things in mind – go to Costco to see if they had the giant bar of Dairy Milk that was 10kg, £160 and came with a tray of prepped insulin on the side, and to Dobbies – our local garden centre. It’s a terribly posh garden centre, you can tell because the person blocking the exit tries to sell us an ‘orangerie’ on the way out, rather than double-glazing. An orangerie! Just the thing – I was beginning to grow concerned that my lemon tree was becoming a mite chilled in the North Sea air. Actually, confession: we’ve already got an orangerie, but because I’m not a pretentious tagnut, I call it a greenhouse. 

Costco, then. Costco on a Sunday. Four weeks before Christmas. Time to fight!

You witness this ugliness on Black Friday and during the sales and I just can’t get my head around it. I can’t! You see them on the television, queueing up outside of Next so at 5am they can rush in and have the pick of all the shit that no person wanted during the only time of the year pretty much guaranteed to empty your stock room, so what’s left is the absolute dregs. Wahey! I’m sure Aunt Marjorie will be delighted with her jumper stained with the greasy fingers of the desperate and the nonsensical. There was a guy on Look North the other day who had been queueing outside of Currys all night in anticipation of the bargains galore he expected from Black Friday. He was the only one who turned up. When they interviewed him on the television you could see in his eyes that he regretted his decision, but clearly didn’t want to back down, and he was later shown staggering shamefaced out of the shop after two hours (TWO HOURS! The only way I’d spend two hours in Currys would be if I’d had a cardiac arrest in the TV section, and that’s pretty bloody likely given how high their prices are). What had he picked up? I couldn’t see everything, but there were at least four graphics cards, two blu-ray players and some speakers. Not good speakers, I add. It was as if he was the sole contestant in the world’s most depressing version of Fun House – one where Melanie and Martina had long since died and Pat Sharp didn’t have a haircut that looked like Stevie Wonder had done it as a favour. He claimed to have spent £4,500, and all I could say to Paul was ‘Yes, but what price dignity?’. Takes all sorts.

It took us almost 45 minutes in Costco to pick up a wheelbarrow of tea-bags, a mountain of coffee and a box of Rice Krispies so big that I feel like I’m in a shit version of Honey I Shrunk the Kids every time I look at it. It then took us almost an hour to get out of the ‘Metrocentre’ area, which was awash with red-faced families in oversized cars all trying to cram into the same lane. Luckily, we had the audiobook version of Carrie to finish in the car, so we were fairly content, though god knows what passer-bys must have thought to hear some American woman screaming about dirtypillows and menstrual blood coming from our car. I’d love to be telekinetic but I’d definitely end up being sent to Hell afterwards – people who so much as blocked my way for a moment in Marks and Spencers would be sent flying up into the air-conditioning fans and turned to jam, or all those Audis that insist on cutting in at the last second and blocking the box junction outside of where I park – they’d end up crumbled into a cube no smaller than the dice from a Travel Monopoly set. The world would be on fire before the end of the week, I almost guarantee it. I already spend roughly forty hours a week looking crazily at the back of someone’s head and willing their brain to start leaking out of their ears. Sigh.

Dobbies was an absolute no-no, too. Quite literally, we got there, and there was no parking and no hope of securing a spot, given the place was awash with those fucking awful white Range Rovers (oh look at me, I’m driving a car designed for mud, all-terrain and exciting driving, and I only ever use it to ferry little Quentissimo and Angelica-Foccacia to their organic flute lessons) (bitch) and other such ‘luxury’ cars. We drove around and around and around and around until I felt like Sandra Bullock in Gravity and we admitted defeat. Paul and I did get a colossal serving of schadenfreude though with the sight of a spotlessly white BMW being completely and utterly trapped on the muddy overflow parking field. The silly arse behind the wheel kept spinning his tyres, sinking him even further into the mud, whilst his granite-faced wife looked coldly at everyone who went past laughing. Hey, it’s not my fault your husband is a useless tosser who doesn’t know how to pull a car from mud. We did, along with everyone else, smirk in that very British way when he got out of the car and started shouting at it. KNOB POWER ACTIVATE. I like to think he went home and had a good hard look at his life.

Anyway, that’s enough bile. I feel like someone who has shouted the anger out, and now I’m ready to give you a recipe. So without a moment more of hesitation, I present to you sizzlin’ beef. Sigh. SIZZLING. IT’S FUCKING SIZZLING. SIZZLE SIZZLE CRASH BANG WALLOP IT’S THE PRINCESS.

sizzlin' steak

to make sizzlin’ steak, you’ll need:

to make sizzlin’ steak, you should:

  • in a small jug mix together the bicarbonate of soda with 125ml of water and mix until well dissolved
  • pour the water and soda over the chopped steak in a bowl and leave to tenderise for an hour (but no longer)
  • meanwhile in a small jug mix together the worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, passata, honey and 3 tbsp water and mix well. set aside.
  • drain the meat in a sieve and pat dry using a clean tea towel or kitchen roll. 
  • if you want it to sizzle at the end, place an empty iron griddle pan in the oven and heat to 250 degrees
  • heat a large saucepan over a high temperature with a little oil and add the meat – it will froth and look gross but that’s fine – spoon out the steak after about 2-3 minutes, wipe the inside of the pan and then put the meat back in until it’s browned all over
  • remove the meat from the pan and place onto a plate
  • put the pan back on the heat and add the onions – stir fry for a few minutes until softened and starting to turn golden
  • remove from the pan and place into a bowl
  • add the meat back into the pan and pour over the sauce
  • bring it to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes – it should go nice and sticky
  • remove the pan from the oven and place the onions around the outside, and then spoon the steak into the middle – it should sizzle! (if you’re skipping the sizzling part, you can serve it as normal)
  • serve, and enjoy!

We served ours with a tit of rice, as you can see. We’re classy bitches, see?

J

steak au poivre

No point in fibbing, we used neither a proper steak or a double cream based sauce for this, but well, we’re on Slimming World and something needs to counter the massive packet of Pinballs that somehow got eaten on the drive home from the cat and dog shelter today. We’ll come to the recipe a wee bit later but first, a couple of things.

Really, just a gentle reminder to all that we’re completely unofficial, and what we write is entirely our own opinion. I like to think we’re genuinely nice people and what we post is all in good humour, but please remember, this is ultimately a personal blog and we’re allowed to let our opinions slip through. Same goes for our Facebook group/page. We’ve experienced a bit of a ‘problem’ user who took great umbrage to me asking, perfectly innocently, where she got her serving platter from and that I thought it was pretty. She inexplicably took this as me suggesting she ate like a pig (which she didn’t, and I wasn’t) and then went onto one of the big facebook groups making out like there had been a whole campaign against her and I was planning on taking out an advert in The Times calling her a fatty-boom-boom. Maybe I exaggerate but, like crabs, exaggeration is catching. What did annoy me – and so little does, honestly – was her making out like I was a bully. I’ve never bullied anyone in my life – I’m too soft-hearted, despite all the puff and bluster. I’d be absolutely and utterly mortified to have caused genuine upset, but what I think happened was that she wildly misconstrued the original comment and then couldn’t quite calm down. An over-reaction against a slight that never happened – that’s the Internet for you. I did explain, over and over and over, but…ah well. If you’ve come to the page expecting Hitler in an XXL Cotton Traders t-shirt fatshaming women all over, you must be sorely disappointed. If you’re here wanting diet advice and a few laughs and pictures of cats, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Take a look over the last year’s worth of posts, pictures and recipes, and then decide if I’m a bully. 

No need to leave a comment re: the above!

We’re struggling more and more not to buy a dog. Personally, I think it would be a little mean given we’re out all day, but then, dog-sitters exist…every time we come away from the cat and dog shelter I almost have to drag Paul to the car weeping and wailing over some cute bundle of fur that he’s seen. It’s like Sophie’s Choice every fucking Sunday. We’d be absolutely excellent ‘parents’ but I don’t know. I mean, we’ve just had that lovely sofa delivered. I’d prefer another cat, but given our two alternate between tearing lumps out of one another and spending an hour or so licking each other’s arsehole in front of our TV, maybe it’s not the best time to introduce another. There’s a cat there called Malcolm with beautiful tiger stripes and big green eyes and I know, I just know, he’s going to end up being put into our car at some point. It’s funny, back in the day when we had three cats (before we gave one away to a lonely friend), when we introduced Cat 3, Cat 1’s reaction was to piss on everything we owned. She pissed on our skybox, she pissed on Paul’s slippers, she even climbed up onto the hob and pissed all over that. She even left us a few hot links in the shower for good measure. She seemed content enough but for ages our tea had a faint scent of ammonia about it. I just wish I was rich, then I’d give them all a home.

Finally, we went to B&M today which is always a mistake because I end up getting so wound up. Who out there is buying those bits of wood with messages like ‘MEMORIES LIVE FOREVER, DREAMS FADE’ and ‘BITCH OF THE KITCHEN’ on them? Because whoever you are, please stop it immediately. I swear I walked through an aisle so full of motivational slogans and ‘PRINCESS’ tags that I came out the other end with diabetes and an hour to live. Though, I did chuckle to note that the second ‘S’ from a big lump of shite with ‘Princess’ emblazoned on it had fallen to the floor, leaving it looking like a motivational plank for a tin of corned beef. To my “delight” they had put out all the Christmas decorations, meaning I got a good early look at all the tat I’m going to be driving past and tutting at. Again – tell me – who buys those awful ‘snow scenes’ with the tiny people whirring around on sledges? Who wants what looks like a lump of asbestos knocked out of a wall and painted by a lunatic sitting atop their mantle? But I think, really, the very worst thing I saw was a toilet seat cover with Santa’s cheery face on it. Because nothing says ‘IT’S CHRIIIIIIIISTMAS’ like having to look at Santa’s twinkling eyes whilst you’re touching cloth? I think there’s something deeply troubling about having to lift up Santa’s face to curl one out – it’s like you’re shitting on Christmas itself. Still, a bargain at £1.99.

That said, we didn’t come away completely empty-handed. We caved and bought a few bits of shite for our props cupboard – that’s the random stuff you’ll sometimes see in photos, such as the hot-dog wrappers and the popcorn stand. That’s the problem with running a food blog, your kitchen becomes awash with absolute nonsense items bought for one photo and consigned to the back of the cupboard. Remember the little machine I bought that turns eggs into neat squares? It’s fun, but it’s been stopping our little drawer under the oven from closing properly for about six months now. Ditto the popcorn machine. Ditto the lollipop moulds…and so on. OH MIDDLE CLASS PROBLEMS RIGHT?

steak au poivre

to make steak au poivre you’ll need:

  • 2 hache steaks – we used the two from Musclefood that come with our box – details here – but if you want to buy them on their own, they’re right here! They’re a decent, cheap alternative and according to the syns calculator, they come out as syn free. NICE. They’re like a really thick, tasty burger. Also, you can use any steak of course!
  • 75ml worcestershire sauce
  • 10-20 peppercorns
  • 75ml fat free fromage frais
  • ½ chicken stock cube

to make hasselback potatoes you’ll need:

  • 1kg of charlotte potatoes (or similar)
  • Filippo Berio spray oil (7 sprays is ½ syn)
  • 2 tbsp parmesan, grated (2 syns)

to make crispy kale you’ll need:

  • as much kale as you’d like
  • Filippo Berio spray oil (7 sprays is ½ syn)
  • pinch of five spice seasoning

 

to make steak au poivre you should:

  • pour the worcestershire sauce into a small saucepan
  • heat the saucepan over a medium high heat until it starts to boil and reduced by about half, leaving a thick syrup
  • remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes – this is very important so that the mixture doesn’t split – and don’t worry if it goes sticky, that’s fine
  • when cooled slightly, add the fromage frais and mix to combine, it should end up a caramel colour. use a silicon spatula to scrape the syrup up from the pan if you need to
  • crumble the stock into the mixture and stir
  • place the pan back on the hob on the lowest possible setting and keep stirring, keeping a careful eye on it to make sure it doesn’t split
  • next, add the peppercorns and stir – the more you use, the hotter it’ll be (we used all 20 and it was lovely)
  • meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat with a little oil
  • add the hache steaks to the pan and cook to your liking
  • serve, pouring the sauce over the steak

to make hasselback potatoes, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • place the potato into the bowl of a wooden spoon – this stops you from cutting all the way through
  • cut into the potato at a sharp angle until you hit the spoon edge
  • do this every 3mm or so and complete for each of the potatoes
  • place all of the potatoes onto a baking sheet and spray with the oil
  • sprinkle over some salt and the parmesan
  • bake in the oven for about 45-50 minutes

to make the crispy kale you should:

 

  • spread the kale out onto a baking sheet
  • spray with only a couple of pumps of oil
  • sprinkle over some five spice
  • bake in the oven at 210°c for about 10 minutes

Phew!

J

date-wrecking asian garlic beef

Quick post tonight as we’re both knackered after our poor stay at the glamorous, salubrious Village Hotel just outside of Whitley Bay. We decided to spend a night there on the basis that “it can’t be that bad”, which is never a good reason to stay in a hotel. Now let me say this, I’m sure it’s lovely for weddings or it has rooms that blow the mind, but we were given a room that resembled Barbara Cartland’s bathroom, all bright colours and furnishings. The bed was that uncomfortable that we actually went for a drive at midnight as opposed to trying to sleep with the jizz-rusted springs digging into our back. We had a meal delivered by room service that was so forgettable I went for a bath halfway through my burger. It was very ‘god bless, they’ve had a try at least.’ I did feel bad for the room service people though – as soon as Paul ordered our meal I spent a good twenty minutes generously farting away under the duvet, with the effect that as soon as they knocked on the door and I barrelled to the bathroom, a veritable mushroom-cloud of trump went off in the bedroom. Paul tells me that the poor lass delivering our food physically blanched upon smelling, and I’m sure I heard her gagging away in the hallway.

You know what pisses me off though? The various ways they rip you off or let you down in places like this. For example, for £20, we could have been upgraded to ‘Upper Deck’ where such luxuries as Sky Movies and Starbucks coffee awaited. Choose not to upgrade, and your TV (I kid you not) picks up BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, True Movies and Nickelodeon. Perfect if I want to watch the lass out of Cheers getting slapped about or Songs of Praise, but otherwise, fucking pointless. Not to mention the picture broadcast was so poor that I wasn’t entirely sure there wasn’t a tiny man behind the screen hastily drawing an approximation of what should have been on the screen at any given time. Why not just give us the normal TV channels rather than going out of your way to give a shit service? We had a drink in the bar – £13.50 for a gin (unbranded) and tonic (ditto) and a cider. I’m a tight Geordie, yes, but for that price I expect a hairy orchard-worker to come and squeeze my apples himself. Our room service cost £7 to be delivered (had they come in a taxi?) because we had two trays – fair enough, save for the fact that one of the trays held a tiny plate of cheesecake and could have easily been buried on the other tray. I’m surprised that they didn’t have the lift shake the coins out of our pockets as we checked out.

It’s foolish because all it does is create a shit impression – pay extra on top of your hotel stay and you’ll get what you paid for originally. It’s no surprise the hotel trade is dying on its arse with the likes of AirBnB chasing them – I’d sooner pay a flat rate and get everything than pay through the nose and then get asked for more.

Oh, and the coffee. I’d have got more taste and flavour if I’d pissed the bed and sucked it through the mattress.

Staff were lovely though.

So: recipe. I’m calling this date-wrecking because cor, it has a lot of garlic. Very mellow tastes though and it’s a good way to use up the beef strips like you get in, oh I dunno, our fantastic bloody deal with Musclefood? Remember? Forty quid of meat that you can enjoy all sorts of recipes with? Here, take a gander.

asian garlic beef

to make date-wrecking asian garlic beef, you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed (or even better, use a little mincer – no, not Paul, one of these)
  • salt and pepper
  • 500g of beef strips (or any beef, cut into strips)
  • 1 onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 pack of mushrooms – any you like, we used those exotic mushroom packs you get in Tesco
  • 2 spring onions, sliced

and then to make date-wrecking asian garlic beef, you should:

  • in a bowl, mix together the sauces and lime juice
  • in another bowl, mix together the garlic and 1 tsp pepper
  • season the beef with some salt and pepper, spray a large frying pan with oil/frylight, and heat to medium high
  • add the beef and mushrooms (FINALLY I UPDATED IT) and cook until browned, for about 1-2 minutes and then set aside on a plate
  • in the same pan, spray with a little more frylight or oil and cook the onion for about 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently
  • add the garlic and pepper paste and stir constantly for about thirty seconds – add a splash of water if it begins to ‘catch’
  • return the beef to the pan and stir well to combine
  • add the soy sauce mixture to the pan and stir until well combined
  • serve and top with the spring onions

We served this with greens, the recipe for which is coming tomorrow. What a tease!

Dead easy!

J

Mongolian beef

Firstly, big welcome to all the new subscribers! I’ve noticed one hell of a spike over the weekend – good to see you all! I hope you’re fans of knob gags and decent food, because that’s what you’ll be getting. Something I keep meaning to mention – if you leave a comment and I don’t reply or it doesn’t appear immediately, don’t worry, I’ve seen it – I’m just not at my desk to reply to it! But I always get around to it and because I’m an arrogant lover, I like hearing from you all. So, you know…

Here, can we all agree that the silly woman in that bloody Oral B advert can fuck right off with her ‘go pro with my toothpaste’ schtick? It’s been a long time since an advert annoyed me so. I can’t decide if it’s because of the way she delivers her lines like one of those gap-yah knobbers who inflect every syllable upwards like they’re asking questions, or whether it’s because we’re supposed to give the shiniest of shites about her dentist appointment? Perhaps it’s the fact SHE HAS NO FUCKING TOOTHPASTE ON HER BRUSH WHEN SHE’S BRUSHING HER TEETH. Plus the toothpaste must have one hell of an anaesthetic in it given she seems to paralyse one side of her face after brushing, the smug twatapotamus that she is. Anyway.

Today’s been the first quiet day in a long while, hence you’re getting a blog post. Yesterday we had to have our electrician around as an emergency because the bathroom lights (installed three years ago) had been merrily trying to set the house on fire. Drama! That’s all fixed, but I could have done without him knocking on the door at 9am (instead of the agreed 10.30am) as it meant I had to go from fast-asleep to fresh-faced within twenty seconds. Those days are behind me – I look like I’ve fallen face-first into a fire for a good half hour in the morning until I’ve freshened up with a shower and four tankards of coffee.

Lucky I didn’t have morning glory, though I suppose could have given him somewhere to hang his cabling. He barrelled into the bathroom before I had a chance to check whether Paul had left one of his trademark ‘freshly-ploughed field’ skidders on the toilet, so I just went back to bed and left Paul to deal with any potential embarrassment. We’ve had top luck with all of our ‘tradespeople’ so far, luckily. Certainly no-one has felt they’ve needed to do the whole ‘TITS AND FOOTBALL’ chatter that never washes with us, although I did manage to embarrass myself with the joiner who has been fitting out our wardrobes by asking him if he had wood. I should have just committed and leered at him instead of letting the tops of my ears go red.

So today we’ve had a lie-in – well, Paul did, I got woken up by one of the cats who, yet again, decided that the very first thing I needed to see when I woke up was her puckered bumhole glaring at me as she fussed about on the duvet. It’s not fair, Paul would sleep through a gas explosion whereas I wake up if someone sighs in Darlington. I reckon Sola knows that and decided that 9am was when she wanted her food, so I needed to be up. Ah well. After two hours of me making increasingly loud noises in the kitchen, Paul rolled out of bed and we were on our way to the cat and dog shelter.

Regular readers will know that Paul and I regularly walk dogs at our local cat and dog shelter, Brysons. It’s an easy way to get a bit of body magic and the dogs bloody love it. Brysons do amazing work with so little funding so we’re happy to help, plus we had a bucketload of extra donated food that my work had put in for, so all was great. We were given this little beauty:

tansie

Aww. I’m not a fan of small dogs – especially yappy breeds – but she was adorable, even if I did pick her up for a photo only for her to lick so excitedly at my face that her tongue actually went into my mouth. I don’t know who came off worse in that situation frankly, but if the bitch doesn’t buy me some flowers and arrange a second date I’ll be fizzing.

After the dog was walked, we decided (against better judgement) to have a spin out in the car and go to Dalton Park, which is a local outlet centre. We apparently didn’t learn our lesson from our jaunt to Royal Quays, which was incredibly disappointing (link opens in a new window). We need some new shoes, shorts and shirts before we go to Corsica, and apparently there is a Cotton Traders there which is suitable for our vast frames.

Well, honestly. What a heap of shite. For one thing, it was absolutely rammed to the point where we were struggling to park – and this was at 3.30pm on a Sunday afternoon. Who the hell wakes up on a Sunday and decides that what they really want to do on their day off is look around an M&S outlet centre, buy a factory-seconds bag of Turkish Delight and enjoy a sun-warmed fly-buzzed potato in Spud-u-Like? I was immediately seething at the temerity of everyone else for bringing their bloody children along. Shopping should be a pleasurable experience and not feel like I’m on Total Wipeout trying to reach the tills with screaming children snottily orbiting my ankles. BAH. Still, I spotted a ‘The Works’.

I love The Works, it’s like someone created a load of nonsense books for a bet and put them out to see if they’d sell. Crotcheting the Norfolk Broads with Wincey Willis? The Better Sex Guide with the late Wendy Richards? Painting with Mist? Absolute tut! That said, we somehow managed to spend £50 on yet more cookbooks that will languish on our shelves unread and unloved until we have a fit and decide to donate them to charity. I swear we keep our local Scope exceptionally well-stocked for books, no wonder the lady who runs the shop drives a Mercedes and has a Radley bag which I BET someone donated. Scandal!

The lady behind the counter at The Works decided that no, putting eight hardback books into seperate bags was an entirely silly idea and really we would best be able to manage by putting all the books into one carrier bag and then quadruple-bagging it, meaning I had to struggle around the bloody shopping arcade like Sisyphus, trying desperately to mask my hard breathing and tomato face. Great fun. 

We did pop into Sports Direct for roughly fifteen seconds which was fourteen seconds longer than we needed to be reminded of why we never venture in there. It was awash – nay, it was crawling – with the slackjawed masses you see in the paper for shoplifting buying themselves new accessories to match their grey sweatpants.  Men shouldn’t be allowed to wear those grey sweatpants that hug every wrinkle and vein, it removes all the mystery for Paul and I as gay men, like knowing your Christmas present in advance. 

We ducked next door into the Adidas outlet and asked (well, no, interrupted the chat about football between him and a co-worker) the first member of staff we saw whether they had any size 12 trainers in stock. Well jesus, you’d think we’d asked him why sheep don’t shrink in the rain, he looked so dumbfounded. It’s not the most unusual of questions to ask in a fucking shoe-shop but hey, clearly when God was handing out brains he was off getting a second helping of mouth, so that was that. We gave up at this point and went home, stopping for a consolation McDonalds on the way home. I know I know, but if you won’t tell Margaret, nor will we.

Tell you what though, if you’re itching to tell Margaret anything, you could give her the recipe for this bloody lovely Mongolian beef.

mongolian beef

We served it on instant rice, for shame, with broccoli on the side, but the star of the show really is the beef – sticky, salty and delicious. 

to make Mongolian beef, you’ll need: 

  • 450g beef steak, sliced thinly – now you can buy decent enough stuff from Tesco, but remember, we’re big fans of Musclefood and you can buy stir fry strips of extra lean beef from there that are perfect for this dish by clicking here)
  • 25g corn flour (4.5 syns)
  • ½ tsp grated ginger (remember to put it in the bloody freezer after, don’t be buying new ginger every time!)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (use a microplane grater for your garlic and ginger and your fingers won’t smell so bad – buy one from Amazon for £9)
  • 120ml low sodium soy sauce (seriously now, use low sodium because otherwise it’s gonna be too salty and bad for your ticker)
  • 25g brown sugar (5 syns) (worth it – makes it sticky – this makes enough for four) (don’t bloody use sweetener, it won’t work)
  • ¾ tsp chilli pepper flakes
  • 3 spring onions, sliced (remember – leave an inch or so of root and then pot them into water – the onions will grow again!)

to make Mongolian beef, you oughta:

  • place the beef onto a clean, dry tea towel (or kitchen roll) in a single layer and pat dry – you want it drier than a nun’s gusset
  • add the meat to a bowl and sprinkle over the corn flour – toss (the flour) until evenly coated
  • heat a little oil / frylight in a large pan over a medium high heat
  • add the garlic and ginger and stir for a few minutes until it is nicely coloured
  • add the soy sauce, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and 120ml water to the pan and cook the mixture for about two minutes to thicken, then pour into a jug and set aside
  • heat the pan to high, add a little more frylight / oil  and cook the beef until browned on all sides
  • pour the sauce back into the pan and cook until the meat is thick, shiny and just waiting to be slid into your mouth
  • add the spring onions, reserving some to garnish, stir and serve on rice with a bit of onion on top

That’s Mongolian beef. IT’S JUST THAT EASY.

Until next time, lovers.

J

beef in a honey and black pepper sauce

Remember me twittering on about our fancy lights? We’ve went and bought a new gadget – it’s a NEST smoke alarm. We need a new smoke alarm – we’ve been using our old one to prop the dishwasher up, and given the amount of vodka and aftershave in our house, it’s too risky not to have a working system. Now, this isn’t just a smoke alarm. It’s fancy. Real fancy. Our house is becoming the gadget city we always wanted, see. This smoke alarm hooks into my WiFi and will alert me if the batteries are low or if it detects smoke. And how does it do this? IT BLOODY WELL TALKS. Admittedly it’s in a plummy ‘don’t be scared, but you’re about to be cremated’ voice, whereas if I’m about to die, I want a fucking air-raid siren, not Joanna Lumley whispering me to the grave. If I’m honest, we only bought it because it a) works with our thermostat (it’ll thoughtfully turn the boiler off if it’s pumping out more poisonous smoke than the shelter outside a Mecca Bingo at the interlude) and b) it glows. It will momentarily glow green when you shut all the lights off so you know it works. It’ll glow red if you’re on fire. It’ll even glow white for 20 seconds in the hallway if you get up for a piss, which is handy if you’re like us and your bathroom lights are so intense that your helmet blisters as you urinate. 

Speaking of bright, they say you should always look on the bright side of life. I generally do. My days aren’t often filled with wonder and drama but they’re always littered with tiny moments of joy or laughter, and that’s a nice way to live. For example, I take great solace in, every day at one attosecond past five’o’clock, I hurtle out of my work office, straight to my car on the 11th floor of the car-park, throw ‘The Final Countdown’ onto Spotify and hurtle down the ramps as fast I can so that as my car pulls out of the car-park, ‘IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN’ plays. There’s just enough time to do it as long as no-one gets in my way. That said, more often than enough, I’ll get stuck behind someone who’s as thick as a submarine door and is trying to operate the barrier by inserting her Boots Advantage card and calling for help on a box of Lillets. But it’s still good fun – a simple pleasure, but a pleasure none the less. I mean, that happiness normally dissipates a second later as I’m stuck behind some numpty in a BMW who thinks the indicator stalks are somewhere to rest her ankles when she’s got a client in the back-seat.

The reason I mentioned happiness is because I actually got myself upset earlier – and you need to realise, I have a heart of solid black granite. The only time I get upset is when Paul eats more than half of the Ben and Jerry’s. GOD-DAMN IT. No, I was reading an article on the BBC News (link) about a young Iraqi gay lad who was forced to leave his country simply because he was gay. His own dad told him that he would be happy for ISIS to chuck him off a tall building to his death, or burn him alive, simply because of his biological leanings. I couldn’t comprehend it. Men are being sent into the desert with their arseholes glued shut so that they die an incredibly painful death just because they like a bit of cock. All very distressing and we shouldn’t linger on the details.

What it did make me think though was how bloody lucky I am / we are to live in a country where being gay just isn’t a problem. Not really, not on the scale it once was. The fact that I can live with my husband in the middle of Menopauseville, Northumberland and no-one really bats an eye is testament to how far we’ve come. My nana, god bless her, told all the old wrinklies at the WI about my wedding and challenged anyone who had a problem with it. She literally took all comments on her whiskery chin. I can’t personally remember the last time I experienced any sort of homophobia.

Sure, there’s the well-meant but incredibly offensive comments – I was told once by a colleague that ‘my religion doesn’t agree with gays, but don’t worry, I can tolerate you’ – like I was a bad smell, or an ingrown toenail. I resisted the urge to snip back that I don’t agree with grown men in frocks putting their holy willies into little boy’s bottoms, but what’s the use. You also get a lot of people asking ‘how it works’, like there is a hidden user guide (a gayde?) that explains all the mechanics (when he pushes, so do you), but that’s fair enough. I don’t mind answering questions as long as you’re comfortable with vivid descriptions and use of the term santorum. It’s a given now that if I’m filling out a form, I’ll be able to choose ‘Civil Partnered’ or ‘Married’ as opposed to ‘Living with Partner’, which was simply a euphemism for being a chutney-ferret.

Actually, the most devastating thing about filling out forms these days is that I’ve gone up an age-bracket – I now fall into the 30-34 category. Sniff. Might as well order myself some piss-knickers now. Sigh.

iPad running slowly now, clearly don’t feel with my sass. So let me chuck you a recipe like the decadent bitch that I am.

beef in honey and black pepper sauce

you’ll need these (serves two fatties):

  • 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 600g dried noodles
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 400g diced beef
  • 1 broccoli, cut into florets
  • half a cabbage head, chopped

 

and you’ll need to do this

  • soak/cook the noodles according to the instructions
  • put a pan of water on and boil the broccoli and cabbage for about 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
  • honey,  soy sauce, fish sauce, mirin and black pepper gets whisked together next, and set aside
  • into a pan goes a little oil or Frylight and heat until it starts to smoke
  • next, add the onion and reduce the heat immediately to medium-high
  • cook for about a minute
  • throw in the beef and cook it however you like it (we always prefer a bit of pink meat…)
  • empty the pan of the beef and onion and set aside
  • return the pan to the heat
  • final stage now – add the sauce mixture to the pan and thicken into a syrup
  • add the broccoli and cabbage to the pan, and stir
  • chuck in the noodles and the beef to the pan and mix well
  • enjoy!

Mmmm!

J