budget: creamy parsnip and apple soup

Creamy parsnip and apple soup – part of a new category of budget Slimming World recipes that we’re planning on doing. We’ve done a budget week before, you understand, but it became such a ballache having to work out a tenth of a stockcube that we stopped doing it – I know, I’m shameless. But at the time of writing ASDA are selling bags of parsnips for 20p, so you can make this entire pan of soup – which serves six – for less than £1.50. Freezes well, too.


Forgot to say: apologies everyone who received an empty email talking about a risotto – we haven’t published that yet and the email was sent in error – pressed the wrong button. Blame my sausage fingers, it’s why I’ve never mastered the keyboard or wettened an eager beaver. I’m a hamfisted slut! That’ll come online shortly, I’m sure.


Budget is a difficult topic to gauge, to be honest. What is cutting back to me might be eye-watering extravagance to you – what might be penny-pinching to everyone else might be essential to a few of you. Who knows. The reason we’ve decided to reboot this category is simple: I read an excellent article from Jack Monroe, author of cookingonabootstrap, entitled My Ready Meal is None Of Your Fucking Business. She tears apart the whole argument that people can eat ‘well’ on a few pounds a week far more eloquently than I ever could. So I won’t try, but I’ll give you the strongest push to have a read of her blog, especially if you’re struggling for money and need some cheap but decent food ideas. To think, somewhat ashamedly, that my only initial recollection of her was someone who used to vaguely vex me (because she looked like a teacher I disliked) on the Sainsbury’s adverts. Having read up, and realised that as well as everything else she does, she also managed to royally piss off the Daily Mail, well, fair play to her.

Paul and I are lucky – no dependents to fund, no mortgage to pay, plenty of that luscious pink pound to waste on Ritter chocolate and extravagant trips around Lidl. In theory. In reality, we’re both tighter than a photo finish – we hate spending money and will desperately try to avoid doing so unless it’s for a holiday. There’s a certain outdated stereotype that as gay blokes, we should be tripping the light fantastic in decadent clothes, but trust me when I say the most expensive thing in our wardrobe is the dehumidifier. All of our clothes come from the supermarket – I don’t think I’ve ever owned a shirt that hasn’t come from a multipack and poor Paul has been barrelling into work now in shirts that are almost six sizes too big for him. He fell over the other day in the wind and it took five minutes for him to float to the ground like a feather. I park 2.5 miles away from my work and walk in to save the £7 a day parking fee I’d otherwise occur. I like to tell people it’s because I’m trying to get fit but actually, it’s all about the money. The biggest muscle on my body is the thumb I use to keep my wallet shut. I’ve been trying to encourage Paul to allow us to be a ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow’ sort of household but we had to stop when the entire house started stinking like Sugar Puffs mixed with tuna.

Both of us came from families that didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but neither of us is any worse off for it – I wasn’t one of those spoiled brats who looked enviously at other kids going to Florida for their holidays – I was more than happy piling into the back of my parents’ car for the eight hour drive to the top of Scotland, thank you very much. Even now I can’t relax in a car unless I’ve got a tent peg threatening to burst my eardrum as I drive along. We never stopped at a Little Chef or anywhere fun en route either, no no – it was warm egg sandwiches and sullen faces all the way. Paul didn’t even get to go on holiday bar a trip to Ireland at the height of the troubles and some trip to Spain at the height of teletext-bargains. I’ve just asked him for a ‘poor’ memory and his was going to school with a pair of Activ trainers from Whittlesea Market whilst everyone else had Diadora specials. Pfft. He won’t elaborate further but I bet his Adidas trousers were two-stripe, with the third stripe being formed from his mother’s cigarette ash. Tsk.

There’s two exceptions to our thrift that I can think of: we like expensive aftershave (Tom Ford) and decent shoes. I like to think when I leave a room that I leave a pleasing order and a wonderful footprint, even if I do look like I’ve come dressed for a bet. Cheap shoes are a false economy – Paul struggled the three miles into work one day in a pair of gardening shoes when the entire bottom of his shoe came away, leaving him limping home in the rain like he’d staggered away from an explosion. A good pair of boots will last you forever, but of course, getting the funds together to buy them in the first place…

Anyway, in my usual roundabout way, I want to apologise if our budget recipes aren’t budget enough for you – but please, do feel free to suggest some more to us! Without further delay, let’s crack on with the creamy parsnip and apple soup, shall we? It’s from the Hairy Bikers, you know. Nope, not the first time two hairy bikers have left us satisfied and smiling with a slight pain in our bellies, but here we are. Do enjoy!

parsnip and apple soup

parsnip and apple soup

creamy parsnip and apple soup

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 bowls

Remember: according to the folks at Slimming World, if you cook fruit, it becomes synned. We don't always agree with this blanket rule and in this case as we've used two apples between six people and haven't made it into an apple pie so we've chosen to not syn it. I know. Mags will put my lights out.

If you want to follow Slimming World's exact advice, this would be about 15 syns - 2.5 syns per bowl - or approximately 2x HeB choices split between six. How silly.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 600g parsnips, peeled and cut into wee chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 600g Bramley apples, peeled, quartered and cut into chunks
  • 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
  • 150ml milk (3 syns)

Instructions

  • spray a large, heavy-bottomed pan with a bit of oil
  • add the onions and parsnips to the pan and gently fry for about fifteen minutes
    • as an aside - if you want, take your parsnip peelings, spray them with a bit of oil, rub in some curry powder and roast them for a few minutes to crunch them up - you can use these to top the soup!
  • add the garlic and apples to the pan and cook for another couple of minutes
  • pour in the stock and bring to the boil
  • reduce to a simmer and cook for about twenty minutes - the parsnips should be soft
  • remove from the heat and blend until smooth
  • add in the milk and give a good stir - add plenty of salt and pepper
  • serve!

Notes

We’ve done some amazing soup recipes! Have a look:

Enjoy!

J

spicy dynamite baked beans – a syn-free breakfast!

Dynamite baked beans, if you please. And even if you don’t, tough tit: it’s all you’re getting. But look, a new thing!

Jump straight to the recipe!

Oh I see, itching to get past all my drivel, eh?

Apologies for another extended break! I know, we’re awful. But in my defence, we’ve been briefly away down South (I know, I’ve got some nerve) and well, I can’t deny the fact that I’m feeling blue. Too much to do, too little time to do it in! Paul’s been unwell, the cat has broken her tail and now the worst news of all: Jim bloody Bowen has floated off to the big two-berth caravan in the sky, only a century away from the big 180. Gutted. Honestly, I know Stephen Hawking was a hero and a gentleman and a bloody great mind but I’m more upset about Jim – I bloody loved Bullseye. You might assume it’s because he championed darts – one of the few sports out there where a bloke with a fabulous rack can have a chance at being a champion. You’d be right.

I think I’m upset it’s because it’s another fragment of my childhood that has peeled away and exposed the fact that I’m getting older. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he has died unsullied and innocent as opposed to so many other eighties stars: if it had come out he had been finishing on a double-top of the children, that would have been too much to bear.

But Bullseye was a part of my childhood in much the same way that staring mournfully out of the window was, or getting road tar on my white Nick trainers. It lived on throughout recent years thanks to Challenge TV, where it’s always 1989 somewhere, and Paul and I loved to watch two unemployed perms from the Tyne Tees Television district winning a speedboat of an evening. We always joked that everyone in the audience – all blue rinses, lemon cardigans and beige bags clasped tightly to their chests – would all be dead by now. How we laughed. Too many legends dying, and it’s only going to get worse. I’m keeping a close eye on my beloved Anneka Rice.

That said, I would have loved a go on the Prize Board: there’s something elegant about winning a trouser press, a Soda Stream and a sewing machine for the wife on a throw of a dart. But perhaps someone more mature than me can explain something: why was a decanter and tantalus seen as the height of good taste back in the eighties? Nearly every show featured one as a prize, and you’d see Jackie from Anglia Television (“‘ospital cleaner, Jim“) throwing her darts like a severed marionette to try and win one. Can someone explain the appeal? Whilst we’re here, were televisions with a remote on a string really a thing? Eee, it’s a different world. I remember when my nana in Darlington had a TV with a box you had to put money into just to watch, with someone visiting every week to take away the quarter-tonne of 50p pieces. Simpler times. Now they just rob you via the licence fee, am I right, eh? Hello? Is this thing on? Fucking wants to be, I paid for it.

Not arsed about Ken Dodd though. Something about him left me cold and nervous, in much the same way as my mother can’t abide Lionel Blair. I’ve seen that woman storm out of a room in a fury before when he cha-cha-chaed his way into Dictionary Corner on Countdown, looking to all the world like the result of incestuous fraternisation between Gail from Corrie and a runover E.T costume. I asked about at work to see if anyone else shares these irrational celebrity dislikes and the results were varied and illuminating: for one colleague Keira Knightley leaves her cold (“stupid lollipop head”), another flies into a blistering tirade at the mere mention of Gary Barlow. That I can understand: Gary is the colour taupe assuming a human form. Paul can’t stand James Corden, but that’s fine, he loves himself more than enough to make up for it. We no longer use confused.com now he’s screaming and spitting into the camera about sheep – it’s a bad job when you long for the days of Sheila’s Wheels and their backwards car.

Ah let’s be honest, it’s all irrelevant anyway: we’re going to be irradiated ash by May. Can anyone else see this Russian crisis ending any other way than a nuclear bomb being dropped on one of our major cities? I know, deep in my heart, that I’ll nip out to get some milk and end up piddling myself in the street like that lass from Threads before every atom of my face is blown into the North Sea.

Still, must get on.

Speaking of a spicy burst of heat that’ll result in a crowd-clearing, fiery blast, let’s do the recipe for dynamite baked beans. I can’t take credit for this one, t’s from one of my favourite recipe books: Tasty, by Tony Singh. It’s available on Amazon for 55p! We have been trying to find a decent recipe for livening up baked beans for a while and this is just the ticket. A hearty, farty recommendation. This makes enough for two portions, but do just scale up if you prefer more.

dynamite baked beans

Don’t worry folks, we even prepared a video if you can’t be arsed to read!

We’re trying to do a good mix of video recipes that are simple and shenanigans! Let us know what you think!

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dynamite baked beans: spicy breakfast time!

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 servings

Looking for a syn-free breakfast or a gorgeous side? Try our spicy baked beans! They're gorgeous - easy to make, can be done in bulk and they freeze well! Top with a fried egg for something deliciously different!

Ingredients

  • 1 tin of baked beans
  • 2 small red onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1tsp green chilli, finely diced
  • 1 tsp garam massala
  • 150ml beef stock

Instructions

  • spray a frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
  • add the onions and fry until the start to soften and go golden brown
  • add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for another five minutes
  • add the chilli and stock, and give a good stir
  • add the garam masala to the pan, stir and simmer until thickened
  • add the beans to the pan and stir
  • cook for a few more minutes until the beans have warmed through and serve with a fried egg!

Notes

  • want to make this fancy? add cubed bacon - smoked is ever better!
  • if you can't be arsed clitting about with garlic and ginger, just buy a paste! You can buy it from Amazon or most major supermarkets - a good tablespoon will do it!

Courses breakfast, sides

Enjoy!

Want some more Slimming World vegetarian recipes?

J

salt and pepper chips (no MSG, no sweetener)

Salt and pepper chips! I’m amazed that we have never posted this as a recipe, but here we are. Now, here’s some sad news: James is poorly. Not poorly with man-flu or feeling a bit dicky (story of his life) but full on snot pouring from every orifice, voice like Madge Bishop shouting down an telephone line and a face the colour of the dead. The long dead. I’m having to type and listen to his gasping and wailing and snotting and it’s really quite something – it sounds like he’s suffocating animals in the bedroom. To be clear: he isn’t, just before anyone phones the RSPCA, though fat lot of good they ever do. To his credit, although he does like to moan on that he’s dying every time he cuts his toenails a bit too short, he’s rarely actually ill, so to see him sweating and dripping like he’s mid-exorcism is quite something. I must tend to him, so let’s get the recipe done!

This makes enough for a big portion to serve four people!

salt and pepper chips

salt and pepper chips

to make salt and pepper chips you will need:

  • 1 kg potatoes, cut into chips
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp sugar (1 syn)
  • 1 red and 1 green chilli pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tsp five spice
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes

There’s a couple of recipes out there which call for you to add MSG. Why? Totally unnecessary – you don’t need to add a ‘flavour-booster’ to your dinner if you cook with proper ingredients. Don’t be suckered into buying ingredients you don’t need just to make a few quid of commission for other blogs.

top tips for making salt and pepper chips:

  • an airfryer will make this one so much easier – if you haven’t got one yet check out our special review page to help you pick the right one for you
  • for nice, even chips try getting a chipper!
  • don’t be tempted to skip the sugar in this one – it’s definitely worth it
  • this one is a taste explosion even though it’s so simple – there’s no MSG! if you prefer it less spicy you can leave out the chilli flakes
  • get your chips nice and golden with a decent oil sprayer – we use this one
  • if you’re after the crinkle cut look, use one of these bad-boys 

to make salt and pepper chips you should:

  • cook the chips – if you’re using an Airfryer this is easy – just spray over a bit of oil and turn the machine on!
  • don’t forget to add the worcestershire sauce when you make your chips
  • if you’re cooking in the oven, spray with a bit of oil and bake for 30 minutes on 240°c
  • meanwhile, slice the chilli peppers and dice the onions
  • spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium0high heat
  • add the chilli peppers and onions to the pan and fry until the onion is a golden colour
  • add the salt, five-spice, chilli flakes and sugar to the pan and give a good stir
  • add the cooked chips to the frying pan and stir to coat well
  • serve!

We’ve done some amazing chips recipes over the years – have a look!

P

bacon and egg fried rice – perfect for breakfast!

Bacon and egg fried rice – for breakfast, to boot! This is the perfect recipe to keep in mind when you cook some of our recipes and have leftover rice, but for the love of good, make sure you heat leftover rice to within an inch of its life otherwise your weight loss will be from shitting out your intestines. I’m not kidding!

We’re away tonight so no nonsense – straight into the recipe! This kicks off our next theme of Chinese inspired meals, we hope you enjoy!

This makes enough bacon and egg fried rice for four people – if there’s just you, you know what to do.

bacon and egg fried rice

bacon and egg fried rice

to make bacon and egg fried rice you will need:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 6 bacon medallions, diced
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 500g cooked rice (doesn’t need to be exact)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • pepper

top tips for bacon and egg fried rice:

to make bacon and egg fried rice you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and spray with a little oil
  • pour in the beaten eggs and stir quickly to scramble, then remove and set aside
  • put the bacon in the pan and stir fry until nice and crispy
  • add the frozen peas to the pan and stir fry for just under a minute
  • add the rice and give a good stir
  • add the scrambled eggs back to the pan and give a good stir
  • add the soy sauce and a pinch of pepper, then serve straight away!

Good stuff right?

We’ve done a tonne of rice dishes – have a look!

J

one syn chips and cheesy garlic sauce

One syn cheesy garlic sauce and chips – building on yesterday’s fakeaway recipe, here’s our take on Paul’s favourite drunken snack (aside from whichever taxi driver happens to give him the keen-eye in the rank – and it’s not hard to catch Paul’s eye, given it swivels around like Mad Eye Moody on E). It’s not going to win any awards for classiness, presentation or nutritional value but if you’re at the end of a long, crap day and you want something to satisfy your hole (and indeed, you’re all out of the eighteen D batteries needed to power your robocock), this is the one for you.

Eee, what a sentence.

But first, I want to respond to something that’s been bugging me – I spotted this on Twitter:

I appreciate the first clue that this wasn’t going to be a reasoned, erudite debate should have come from the fact it was Good Morning Britain and as such it was meant as a light-hearted piece to get people talking, but it really annoyed me. They wouldn’t be allowed (and rightly so) to put ‘Are pensioners ALWAYS stinkin’ of piss’ or ‘Toddlers: they’re shite at tennis, so let’s throw them in the sea‘, so why is such an asinine point allowed when it’s about the so-called millennial? Someone then made a similar point and linked to a particularly vile Daily Mail article (I can imagine that you’re clutching your chest as we speak with the shock) about how young people are especially pointless and stupid because they can’t wire plugs, darn a sock or heaven-forbid bleed a radiator.

Now, I don’t know if I’m a millennial. I don’t think I am – I’m possibly too old.

Actually: according to Wikipedia, I am. Woohoo! And yet I’ve never even smashed an avocado.

I’m a millennial then, and here’s the thing: we don’t need to know these things. We live in a world where if a radiator needs bleeding, a quick two second type on our phones will bring up a video explaining exactly how to do it in more highly-defined pixels than could ever be counted. A further ten seconds would probably bring up a plumber’s number if things got super risky. Actually, on my phone I have several plumbers, though they’re never coming over to tighten my u-bend up. Is that a bad thing? No! It’s the way of the world, and it’s great!

Now some will doubtless say that we’re losing the skills of old but that isn’t true – they’re just transferring. Yes, we can’t darn a sock, but why would you darn a sock when you can order a pack of seven pairs delivered to your door within two hours with Amazon Prime? Why would you need to know off the top of your head how to make a white sauce when there’s millions of recipes online or in books that will show you how? The world has changed: instant information is here and it’s embraced by anyone with half an ounce of grey matter in their head.

You know what the worst thing is about all of this? They never mention how it works in reverse. Stereotyping massively, have you ever tried showing someone in their 80s how to use a television? My nana had a four channel TV and I spent nearly three hours explaining the various wee buttons on the remote. Even in the few days before she died she was waving that remote around like she was performing the Flight Simulator round on The Krypton Factor, with the TV blaring so loud that if I sit in a silent room even now I can still hear echoes of The Weakest Link. My mother is a beautiful, clever and astonishing woman but the first time she handled a computer mouse she picked it up and held it to her ear. Paul recounts of a similar tale with his mother who, upon receiving this errors back in the day of Windows 95:

went and drew the curtains so the police would think she was out. It’s easy to snicker at what we can’t do, but what about stuff we’ve mastered that would cause many an aged brow to wrinkle. For example: could you run a blog? Could you face countless years ahead of rack and ruin as automation steals your job and politicians steal your hope? Could you draw a penis out of the foam on the top of a latte? Exactly!

Anyway, it’s not like it fucking matters that a millennial can’t bleed a radiator: you’d need a house for your radiator first of all, and we all know exactly how great that situation currently is, eh?

Bloody old people with their wide-sweeping generalisations.

(I’M BEING SARCASTIC)

Eee, on that note, shall we do the recipe? Of course we should. One recipe for syn-free cheesy garlic sauce and chips coming right up, flower. Listen, I’d give you scraps but my boss will have my bollocks off if I give away any more freebies.

This makes enough sauce for four people very, very easily. It freezes well though!

cheesy garlic sauce

cheesy garlic sauce

to make one syn cheesy garlic sauce and chips, you’ll need:

  • as many slimming world chips as you want
  • 80g of whatever cheese you like – I like to use Red Leicester for a bit of colour (2x HEA) (grated)
  • 220g of Philadelphia Lightest (2 x HEA)
  • one bulb of garlic
  • chilli sauce – if you like – we use Flying Goose Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce for only 1tbsp for a syn

top tips for making one syn cheesy garlic sauce and chips:

to make one syn cheesy garlic sauce and chips, you should:

  • make the sauce first!
  • to make the sauce, cut your garlic bulb in half horizontally, so you’re cutting through the cloves inside
  • spray with a wee bit of oil and pop in the oven on a low heat for an hour or so
  • once it has roasted, simply slide the softened garlic – as much as you like – out of each clove and into a bowl and mash
  • heat a small pan up with the Philadelphia and garlic inside to loosen it a little  – add a splash of milk if you need to
  • add 60g of the cheese into the hot Philadelphia and stir it, don’t let it set – you want the cheese to be absorbed into the Philadelphia
  • add some salt and pepper if you like
  • pour over hot chips with the remainder of the cheese (we actually mixed it up and put some grated mature cheddar on too, because we’re filthy)
  • top with chilli sauce if you like

I know, right?

Want more fakeaways? Oh we’ve got too many to count man, come have a look by clicking on the button to unlock deliciousness! Remember to share us around!

fakeawayssmall

J

Slimming World sides: macho peas & orange and carrot mash

Sometimes we have recipes that don’t really warrant a post of their own – usually they’re simple side dishes – so tonight I’m bundling two for the price of one into the same post. You might worry that your inbox can’t handle two at once but I’m sure if you bear down and push out, everything will be tickety-boo. The macho peas recipe is a variant on the Nandos staple and the orange carrot mash was found in a BBC Good Food magazine that I found in the dentist. I’m not saying the magazine was out of date, but when they kept referring to getting in the carrots before the Luftwaffe wrecked the carrot fields, well…

OH: IF YOU’RE READING THIS ON THURSDAY 25 JANUARY 2018, and you want something worth £50 on Amazon – click here and use the code BIGTHANKS to knock a tenner off. Better than a slap in the face with a big wet willy!

So not farting about: straight to the recipes. Both recipes make enough for two large sides. Obviously the orange carrot mash doesn’t refer to orange carrots, but rather the fresh orange juice you use in the recipe! First, macho peas!

macho peas

to make macho peas, you’ll need:

  • three big handfuls of frozen peas – or fresh, if you’re fancy
  • one finely chopped onion
  • a nice big red chilli pepper or a teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • a good bunch of fresh mint (hell, use mint sauce if you want) (but it won’t taste so good)
  • for the first time in my life, I recommend a little knob – of SALTED BUTTER! AND THE CROWD GOES WILD! 10g of salted butter will make all the difference – 3.5 syns, and what’s that between friends? You could leave it out but I remind you: it’s two bloody syns each

to make macho peas, you should:

  • get a pan of water bubbling and throw in your peas – cook until softened slightly but not mush
  • pop your onion – finely chopped mind – into a pan, pop it on medium and sweat them down
  • whilst they’re cooking, chop up your mint nice and fine together with the chilli if not using flakes
  • drain your peas, mash them slightly  stir in the butter, onion, chopped mint and chopped chilli
  • serve!

See? Gorgeous! And now…

to make orange and carrot mash, you’ll need:

  • 500g of fresh carrots
  • 250ml of fresh orange juice (we use Tropicana 50/50 – 1 syn per 100g – 2.5 syns)
  • 500ml of vegetable stock
  • chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of fat free greek yoghurt

to make orange and carrot mash, you’ll need:

  • peel your carrots and then thinly slice them
  • spray some oil into a decent pan, heat it up and then pop the fennel seeds in until they pop
  • chuck in the carrot slices
  • add the orange juice and vegetable stock and bring to the boil
  • allow to simmer for thirty minutes until most of the liquid has disappeared and the carrots are soft
  • mash those carrots with lots of black pepper and a spoonful of fat free greek yoghurt

top tips for your orange carrot mash:

  • use a bloody mandolin slicer to slice your carrots quickly and uniformly – but please watch those fingers! Only £12 on Amazon!

Two lovely sides for you to consider. Want more veggie recipes? Of course!

Yum!

J

super spring greens soup, plus a new video!

Super spring greens soup is all well and good, but let’s be honest, it’s about as exciting as receiving bad medical results in the post. There’s simply no way to make it interesting, so, instead, let me post our latest video. We are messing about with making videos but can’t be fussed making ten-a-penny recipe videos, plus not sure if we can promise you diet recipes when you can see our fat wrists clawing away at the pan handle. There’s a euphemism.

What a catastrophe! Ah I hope you like it. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

So, the soup then. We wanted something nice and fresh, despite it being mid-winter. Here’s the thing: sometimes you really do need some vitamins to wash down your endless pasta, mince, cheese, beef…this doesn’t make a smooth soup mind, so if you’re one of those fannies who can’t abide soup that isn’t like drinking gossamer silk, then tough titty. This isn’t a taste explosion, no, but it’s hearty and healthy.

Do you need a soupmaker? You can use one if you like (this is the one we have) but in all honesty, this is a pan and stick blender job. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a stick blender – a tenner will do!

spring greens soup

a

spring greens soup

to make super spring greens soup, you’ll need:

  • one big head of broccoli
  • 200g of spring greens
  • 100g of watercress or spinach if you prefer
  • 750ml of veggie stock, made from bouillon powder preferably, but listen, I’m not arsed
  • lots of black pepper and salt
  • optional, but necessary if you’re a fancy-dan like me: a scattering of pumpkin or sunflower seeds (2 syns-ish)

to make super spring greens soup, you’ll need:

  • if you’re making in a soup maker – get the stock bubbling and then cook the broccoli and spring greens for about fifteen minutes until softened – add the watercress and blitz!
  • if you’re making in a pan, much the same – boil the veg, add the watercress, use a stick blender to blitz until fairly smooth
  • top with lots of black pepper and a pinch of salt
  • serve with your nuts laid on top if you’re using, mahaha!

Want more soup ideas? Who wouldn’t?

Yum! Off to mash another banana now. Someone call A&E!

J

slimming world chips: a definitive guide

What a formal title for what is a load of potatoes. It’s possibly one of the most common things people ask for – how to do good Slimming World chips. There’s a tonne of recipes out there, some more convoluted than the friggin’ Macarena (boil the chips, put them in a microwave, take them out, tumble them, put them in the microwave, take them out, aput them in the oven, die a little bit inside) and actually, I’ve always found the Slimming World way of parboiling them to be a pain in the arse too. So below, find the easiest and guaranteed way to make decent chips.

But before I get to that, I want to answer a couple of questions that we’ve been asked by newer members – and well, it never does any harm to reiterate a few important messages!

We’re not Slimming World consultants!

We get asked this all the time – admittedly, it would be hilarious if we had to run a class. I reckon we’d get about seven minutes in before Paul said something mortifyingly offensive and I compared the shrinking HiFi bars to a cold cock. Right at the very start of this blog we made enquiries about becoming Slimming World consultants – never heard back. Pity: we’re fabulous – though I won’t lie, I prefer dealing with people from behind a keyboard as opposed to face to face, and there are days when I can’t be arsed with all the fake bonhomie. So, if you have a proper Slimming World question, have a gab with your consultant – it’s what they are there for, after all! If you’re on the fence about going to a class, we say give it a go: yes, it’s not the most exciting way to spend two hours (sorry, Mags, but it isn’t) but you’ll usually meet good people and enjoy the support.

Are your syn values accurate?

They’re as accurate as Slimming World’s own syn calculator – that is, we run everything through the syns checker if we don’t know how high in syns they are. We’re fully paid-up members who attend a class and so we’re up to date with the latest changes. But if you have any concerns, check them yourself!

How many folks do your recipes serve?

It depends, honestly. It’s usually four people, but if you’re a greedy fat bastard like us, then sometimes just two. But four portions. Does that make sense? If you’re the type of greedy person who will suck your toothbrush dry rather than rinsing it under the tap, then you’ll be on bigger portions and thus two. But listen: you’ll never go hungry with our recipes. Sometimes we do smaller or larger recipes and if we do, we usually say when it serves more. So if you can’t see a comment about servings, assume 4.

Can we freeze your recipe / swap an ingredient for another / is it suitable for me and my allergies?

We’re two fat blokes from the North. We work in offices, not laboratories. We don’t mention you can freeze recipes unless we’ve done it ourselves and haven’t shat the world from our arse the day after. If we said you could freeze it, then made you seriously ill, we couldn’t live with ourselves. Same goes for allergy / gluten free posts – we don’t have enough of an understanding about it in order to make concrete comments. I know, it’s a shame, but at least we’re honest!

What makes your blog different from other SW blogs out there?

There’s some fantastic blogs out there, pumping out recipes and resources like someone shelling peas. That’s grand, but we like to be different. I can’t bear all the cutesy-poo language, omg-you-can-do-it, inspirational-quote-a-matic bollocks that surrounds dieting. Dieting isn’t fun, it isn’t interesting, it isn’t a gas. You’re never gonna burst into peals of laughter over a salad, after all. That’s why we started twochubbycubs – so we could post real recipes but also make light of this awful struggle. Yes, our language is coarse and the content can be raunchy, but we need to have fun to do this! We also try to be honest: if we recommend a product, it’s because you genuinely need it for a recipe. But 99% of our recipes can be made with stuff you’ll buy from the supermarket and use several times over. Being on a diet is expensive: why should you have to buy a ridiculously over-priced sweetener on top of that when a bit of honey will always nearly do? It’s bollocks. You can always rely on us to be honest – which leads me to the next point.

Advertising

We have a very strong policy on this: if you see a link, it’s because we own the product and enjoy it. We turn down a lot of requests to monetise this blog by shilling products. If those products could be useful, we will try them and recommend them only if we actually like them. We’re always open and honest if we’re paid to promote a product. Alongside that, we’re happy that we’ve been running for three years and still only have a couple of discreet adverts on the page. We’ve got to have them – it’s what pays for the blog – but we’d rather you didn’t have to battle through pop-ups, pop-unders, background ads, scrolling ads and all that shite to see us. To give you an example of what I mean, I just loaded up another blog of similar content and our Adblocker counted 19 adverts on the page. Ours has three. Hmmm.

Your recipe didn’t work!

Listen, we can take constructive criticism. Our recipes all work for us, otherwise we wouldn’t post them – and we use the ingredients we say we use, instead of cooking using all sorts of delicious synned ingredients for the sake of a gorgeous photo. If they don’t work for you, I apologise, but something clearly went awry, and please let us know if you think it is our fault. Let me give you an example: we had someone crashing their gash at us the other day because they made our perfect carbonara and it was ‘runny raw egg shite*’. When we responded that she must have added the egg when the pasta was cold – despite our three clear warnings that the pasta must be hot in order to cook the egg – we got a ‘omg u can’t take criticism*’ remark. We can but remember, a bad workman blames his tools.

*I’ve improved her comment by adding vowels – she didn’t seem to think it was necessary.

How do we get in contact with you? 

Leave a comment. We’ll usually get in touch if we’re interested!

Easy! All questions done. Sorry, I know it’s not terrifically interesting, but we’re obliged to do these posts every now and then just to keep things in check!

CHIPS. LET’S DO THE SLIMMING WORLD CHIPS JESUS CHRIST ALMIGHTY

We’ll do a non-Actifry route and an Actifry recipe. Because we’re canny. They boil down to the same outcome anyway.

slimming world chips

slimming world chips

to make perfect Slimming World chips using an Actifry, you’ll need:

  • about 900g of potatoes – now, any type will do but if you want REALLY nice chips you’re better off going for a ‘buttery’ type, or Maris Piper
  • oil – again, any type will do. We use olive oil, but rapeseed works well too.
  • flavouring – optional, but it really does make them so much better. Our favourites are stock cubes (lamb or beef), Steak seasoning, or good old fashioned sea salt.

to make perfect Slimming World chips using an Actifry, you should:

  • chop the potatoes however you like them (there’s no need to peel). We like them quite chunky. They don’t have to be exact, slice each potato 2-3 time across, and then each slice into 2-3 slices again. You can use a chipper if you like, but a good, sharp knife does the job just as quickly (especially when you’ve done it a few times).
  • tip the potatoes into the Actifry (don’t bother patting them dry or parboiling)
  • add the oil – you can either drizzle a tablespoon of oil (6 syns) over the chips, or use a sprayer (syn free) if you’re feeling more angelic. Avoid Fry Light if you can because it’ll clag up your machine and ruin the non-stick coating. Instead, try getting one of these and filling it with your own oil
  • If you’re spraying, spray the oil over the chips for about 6-8 sprays – you don’t need a lot. If you’re making loads of chips, maybe give them a shake in the pan and spray a bit more
  • next, sprinkle over whatever flavouring you’re using. If you’re using a stock cube (our fave!) make sure to crumble it well
  • close the lid and switch it on
  • if you want realllly tasty chips, try turning the machine off for ten minutes halfway through. I’m not sure how it works but it really does make them tastier!
  • switch the machine back on again until cooked
  • eat!

to make perfect Slimming World chips in the oven, you’ll need:

  • about 900g of potatoes potatoes
  • oil
  • flavouring

to make perfect Slimming World chips in the oven, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 240ºc
  • chop the potatoes however you like them
  • tip the potatoes into a large bowl
  • next, either drizzle over your oil or spray it over
  • tumble the potatoes well to make sure they’re evenly coated – the reason you often see blistered and crappy looking SW chips is because the oil is distributed unevenly! sprinkle in the flavourings too and give a good mix
  • next, tip the chips onto a non-stick tray and spread out into a single layer
  • bake in the oven for fifteen minutes, turn, and then bake for another fifteen minutes
  • eat!

Now, if you want really tasty chips without any of faff you really need to grab yourself a Tefal Actifry. Halos, Airfryers, Towers, Halogen ovens just don’t do the job as well at all (in our opinion)! Now mind, we’re not getting paid by Tefal for this. If you want consistently decent chips that taste almost like the proper thing, it’s the Actifry you want! You can make loads more than chips in it as well, just click some of the other recipes below that we’ve knocked up in our Actifry!

Yum!

J

creamy cheesy green veg medley

This creamy green veg medley is just the ticket if you’re looking to up your vegetable intake without incurring massive amounts of syns. You could easily spin it out into a cauliflower cheese but actually, we like it all jumbled up.

No chatter tonight – I’m keeping to my word of posting a few recipes nice and succinctly, so here we go! Don’t bitch on at me afterwards though! Fair warning: all of these steamed vegetables will make you fart like an absolute trooper. But hey!

We served our vegetables with a massive fat pork chop spread with two tablespoons of reduced fat red pesto (3 syns). We used our OptiGrill (press the chops button, away it goes) but you could just as cheerfully throw it under the grill.

veg medley

veg medley

to make our creamy green veg medley, you’ll need:

  • a head of broccoli
  • a head of cauliflower
  • a handful of sprouts
  • a big fat leek
  • 110g of Philadelphia Lightest (1 x HEA)
  • 40g of light extra mature cheddar (1 x HEA)
  • optional: 25g of panko (dried breadcrumbs) – 4.5 syns

This makes enough for two people, hence the two healthy extras. Panko is dried breadcrumbs and you can buy it in most supermarkets, trust me – but feel free to use breadcrumbs from your healthy extra bun. I don’t care, I’m easy.

Slice your leeks with ease with a mandolin slicer. We ours a lot – it’s perfect for slicing onions, leeks, peppers, carrots – even cheese. It’s a tenner and you can have the job of veg prepping done in the time it takes one Enya song to play out. Who needs fingertips anyway?

to make our creamy green veg medley, you should:

  • to be honest, it feels almost insulting to do this – it’s that easy
  • chop up your broccoli and cauliflower into little bits
  • quarter your sprouts
  • thinly slice your leek
  • tip all of them into a big saucepan with a good splash of water and lightly steam them until they soften – you don’t want them denture-ready, just not crunchy
  • drain them off and pop them in an overproof dish – mix in the Philadelphia, pinch of salt and pepper, then the mature cheddar, keeping a bit for the top (and add breadcrumbs if using), then pop under the grill for about ten minutes until it’s done and crispy!

How easy is that? You could use any veg you like – spring greens, peas, turnip, all sorts!

Looking for more vegetarian ideas? Click the links, you saucy bugger!

Tell your veggie friends, won’t you? Their brittle wrists can’t stand up to typing ‘vegetarian recipes’ into google, you know.

J

baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes

Baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes you say? Yes. Indeed. And lo, because it’s a quick post tonight after yesterday’s trip to Copenhagen, you’re going to get the recipe almost right away! But listen, we can’t claim any sort of authorship for this recipe, it’s just a simple take on huevos rancheros or shakshouka, which is fun to say. However, it’s syn-free, full of veg and very good for you and frankly, if you’ve got a few peppers and tomatoes turning into old-man-ballsacks in the fridge, this is just the dish to use them up. I had an absolute glut of homegrown tomatoes to use up so here we are!

Sorry, wouldn’t normally put a third photo in, but I love the colours!

to make baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes, you’ll need:

  • a big handful of fat tomatoes
  • one red pepper
  • one red chilli
  • one garlic clove
  • one fresh egg
  • one red onion
  • one vegetable oxo cube

Wondering where we get our fancy dishes? Just here!

to make baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes, you should:

  • thinly slice your pepper and onion and sweat in a few sprays of oil
  • mince your garlic (got one of these yet? no? treat yourself – you’ll wonder how you got by without it!) and add it in along with the thinly sliced red chilli
  • roughly chop your tomatoes into small chunks and chuck that in
  • simmer gently with a good pinch of salt
  • I like to add the oxo cube crumbled in just to add a bit of taste, plus a tiny spoon of Marmite if you like, then allow everything to thicken nicely
  • tip it into a shallow individual serving dish, crack an egg into the middle, cook in the oven for fifteen minutes or so until the egg is set
  • enjoy with lots of black pepper

Done!

Want more breakfast or other ideas? Click the buttons and go!

breakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmallslowcookersmallovernight-oatstastersmall

J