our best ever mixed chow mein recipe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mixed chow mein

mixed chow mein

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

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

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

top tips for a mixed chow mein:

to make a mixed chow mein, you should:

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

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

Remember to share!


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.


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!


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!



six slimming world sandwich fillings

Now, it’s been a while since we did a load of recipes on one post, and, although you might think that this is a holiday blog dotted with the odd moan about Mullers, we’re a recipe blog first of all! So, here’s a helpful wee post of Slimming World sandwich fillings that frankly wouldn’t justify a post of their own. Sandwiches are the one thing I truly miss on Slimming World – that and not measuring my worth by mass-produced shiny weight-loss stickers.

These fillings, with the addition of chopped lettuce, veg or whatever the hell you want, make for great fillings for wraps and bread. But, as you know, we’re huge fans of the broghie here – 1 syn each, they’re like giant crackers which act as the perfect platform for whatever nonsense you want to top them with. I’d rather have four of these buggers for four syns than blow it all on a sandwich. You can buy them in Iceland across the country, so no excuses! But, no time for flim-flam, let’s go to the recipes…

egg and cress – syn free

  • pretty simple, this one – boil an egg for ten minutes, peel, mash with a fork and mix with 2 tablespoon of natural yoghurt, with plenty of salt and pepper and, if you’re feeling sexy, add a dash of mustard

chinese chicken – 1.5 syns for the lot

  • make the pulled chicken by sticking four chicken breasts in a slow cooker overnight with 250ml of stock, or even better, put them in an Instant Pot with 250ml of water, cook on high pressure for 12 minutes and then shred – easy!
  • once cool, mix with 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce and 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt and a tiny bit of five-spice, together with cubed cucumber (not the seeds, use the flesh) and sliced spring onion – easy!

ham and pease pudding – syn free

  • spread pease pudding onto your bread, broghie or wrap and layer with slices of wafer thin ham and tomato – yeah, not much to this one, but I just want to put a special plea out there that if you haven’t tried pease pudding, give it a go. Yeah, it looks like baby poo, but it tastes damn fine

cheese savoury – syn free

  • to make enough for two, mix together your HEA of Red Leicester (30g) with their HEA of 40g extra mature lighter cheddar, add thinly sliced red onion, cubed pepper with enough fat-free natural yoghurt to bind it together

beef with red onion and mustard – barely a syn

  • layer slices of beef (or you could use leftover pulled beef from our amazing bloody mary beef) with thinly sliced red onions, mini gherkins and 1 tsp American style mustard (1 tbsp, if you bother synning it)

houmous and crunchy veg – syn free

use one of our delicious syn-free houmous recipes and top with chopped onion and chopped peppers

How easy was all that? If you’re wondering, they’re Le Creuset plates, from Amazon. Hope you enjoyed. One other bit of housekeeping – see that row of buttons below? They’re share buttons – share all over!


one-pot super simple beef stew

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

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

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

super simple beef stew

super simple beef stew

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

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

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

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

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

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

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instant pot spaghetti bolognese

Just a quick post tonight because, for once, we’ve kept our word and managed to get round to updating the recipes page to include an instant pot section! Remember, for all of our instant pot recipes, you can use a normal pressure cooker or a pan on the hob – you don’t need to buy an expensive bit of kit for our stuff!

Updated recipes section here – it’ll open in a new window.

Cheers folks! Tomorrow will be a full post!

instant pot spaghetti bolognese

instant pot spaghetti bolognese

to make instant pot spaghetti bolognese you will need:

  • 400g lean beef mince (save pennies and get delicious meat by taking advantage of our excellent Musclefood deals!)
  • 500g spaghetti
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (one of the handiest things you can have in the kitchen is one of these)
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 500ml passata
  • anything else you want to chuck in – bacon, mushroom, family ashes

Looking for a pot? They’re cheap on Amazon at the moment.

to make instant pot spaghetti bolognese you should:

  • set the instant pot to saute and add a splash of oil
  • add the onion and cook for a few minutes until it goes soft
  • chuck in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so
  • add the mince and cook until browned all over
  • add in the chopped tomatoes, passata, salt, pepper and oregano and give a good stir
  • break the spaghetti in half and chuck in the pan along with a litre of water – make sure the spaghetti is covered – push it down with a spoon if it isn’t
  • cook at high pressure for ten minutes, then use the ‘quick release’ to get it in your belly quicker
  • don’t worry if it looks a bit watery when you first open it – it’ll soon thicken up when you give it a good stir
  • serve!

You can easily make this using a normal pressure cooker – just cook the mince and onion in a pan first before transferring to the pressure cooker, where you’ll need to cook it for 8 minutes. Haven’t got an instant pot? Make it the same way but in two pans, for a dead simple bolognese!

Got a hole that just can’t be stuffed? Let us try! Click one of the buttons below to get your hands on even more recipes:

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boozy bangers and mash with amazing gravy

Here for the boozy bangers and mash with a gravy that’ll blow all other Slimming World gravy out of the water? Fine. But first…

I am pleased to announce that, after nine months of worry, tension and angst, we have finally chosen our new car. Well, my new car. Paul’s still ‘driving’ around in that ‘Smart’ ‘car’ of his, looking to all the world like a sunburnt wine-gum squashed into a lego car. After months of putting it off, I bit the bullet and went to the car dealership to see what the crack is. First thoughts? So much hair gel. Second thoughts: I’d rather spend my Saturday chewing toenails than have to go through the ignominy of pretending I give a toss about cars. We were greeted by an exceptionally exuberant man who bustled over to greet us before I’d even had a chance to park up.

Before we could start the dance of finance, he had a look around my car to make sure it was in a good working order for a part-exchange. Well, no, he had a glance and took me at my word that all was well. That really made the £400 that I’d just paid for the ‘obligatory’ service seem like good value, I can tell you. He commented that I keep a pristine car – I thanked him, neglected to tell him it’s because we’re always ‘wiping it down’ and prayed to myself that he didn’t sit on the back seat. The cushions in the back are like a Twinkie. Don’t get the reference? Click here and feel ashamed.

He took us inside and offered us a drink, having the good grace to laugh when I asked for a whisky to take the edge off getting fucked. He brought us some grey coffee instead which I tipped into a plant-pot on his desk when he wasn’t looking, only for it to start dripping out of the bottom and onto the floor. He didn’t notice, thankfully – he was probably lost in my eyes.

I knew we were on shaky ground when the portly chap (I’m going to call him George, not because that was his name, but because he looked like a George) grasped my hand, called me by entirely the wrong name and then asked what type of car I want. You need to understand, readers, that I know nothing about cars. I know how to drive one, of course, but what is horsepower? Why is a petrol better than a diesel? Why is there always so much blood and matted hair on my front bumper? It’s useless knowledge to me, like where to buy skinny jeans or how to stimulate a clitoris. Irrelevant data. To me, clitoris sounds like the name IKEA would give a coat-hook.

Anyway, dear George, to his credit, didn’t laugh when I said ‘something colourful’ and ‘a bit fast’. Those were my sole requirements. My previous research, so far as I’d glanced at Auto Trader, turned this up:

Fancy, but Paul had pointed out that I wasn’t Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, didn’t need a car with an automatic amyl-nitrate dispenser and anyway, it was over £500 a month. I appreciate I’m a tightarse Geordie but there’s fuck all way I’m spending that sort of money per month on a Citroen, unless it comes with a feature that automatically changes my number plate and flashes the interior lights whenever Paul and I pull into a layby of an evening. I asked if there was anything similar with an onus on lots of tech in the car and he hastened us over to look at the C4 Cactus.

Why? God knows. I’d rather get the bus, especially as this car was the colour of a dying man’s lips. Sensing I wasn’t swooning and completely ignoring the fact it’ll only be Paul and I so we don’t need a family car, he plopped me into the driving seat and leaned across to show me the ‘latest tech’. I mean, come on – you know someone’s clutching at straws when he’s feigning astonishment at the radio as though he was Marconi himself. I resisted the urge to be sarcastic and clutch my pearls when he mentioned the air-conditioning, and, knowing he was onto a loss, he got us back out and showed us an altogether more sensible solution, the new C3.

Imagine that but black. Tsk, racist.

Now this was more like it – it pretty much looks like a DS3 but designed by Fisher Price, but that’s fine – I’m a fan of bright colours and spend more time angsting about people banging their car doors into mine than I do blinking, the air-bumps on the side were a big ‘yes’. Even if they do look like someone’s stuck a particularly hi-tech jamrag on the side of the car. I selected the black and red version and so the negotiations began.

I like to think I’m pretty good at negotiating, but only for about 15 minutes. I simply can’t be arsed to haggle. I see Martin Lewis chirruping away on the telly about arguing for a better deal but sometimes, what price dignity? I did knock about £80 off the monthly amount but once George had gone an especially lurid shade of crimson and was looking at his own wallet with watery eyes, mumbling about having to feed the kids, I collapsed like a wet cake. I don’t doubt for a second that I could have maybe squeezed an extra ten quid or something off a month but it was hot, I was tired, I hate having to do the dance and that was that. I signed there and then and was told my car would be here in two weeks, thanks very much.

It actually turned up four days later – hooray – and with Paul away throwing himself at Jeremy Corbyn at the Durham Miners’ Gala, I picked it up myself and decided to go for a drive up to Coldstream. I’d never been before but I knew it is a good seventy miles of twisty-turny country road away from my house. It was a great drive – the car was responsive and zippy, my driving was top-notch and there was a minimal amount of people in my way all the way to Coldstream. I had, quite literally, just driven past the ‘Welcome to Coldstream’ sign when the in-car phone rang, almost forcing me to crash into a coach full of elderly folk in sheer shock – it was so bloody loud.

It was Paul asking where I was. He was home, see, but hadn’t thought to take a key with him. To make matters worse, he was “hot” and “tired” and “had been in the sun all day and was feeling faint”. The one set of neighbours we trust with a set of keys (i.e. the only ones who wouldn’t let themselves in to have a bloody good gawp) were out, of course. Thinking the poor bugger had sunstroke I performed an entirely illegal u-turn in the middle of the road and set straight back off for home, at an altogether terrifying speed.

All legal, I must say.

But certainly far faster than I should have been driving, and all in the name of love, with the thought of Paul’s scalp crisping up like a salad crouton rattling in my head. Naturally, he turned his phone off, so I couldn’t get hold of him, which led to even more panic as I thought he was slumped on the doorstep shallow-breathing. As opposed to his usual stance, slumped on the settee shallow-breathing. I overtook lots – and lots – of old dears, all perched as usual right up against the steering wheel, all doing a committed 40mph no matter what the occasion. There may have been swearing. I may have bellowed myself hoarse. I was definitely putting the c*nt in country road. But by god, I got back within the hour, just in time to see Paul relaxing with a cold drink and flicking through his facebook notifications.

Turns out the neighbours had come home about five minutes after his call to me and he’d put his phone onto charge, completely neglecting to tell me.

You can imagine the laughs we had about the whole misunderstanding, can’t you? How I chuckled as I ironed his face.

So yes, that’s my new car. It’s very nice, it goes like the clappers in comparison to my old one and I’ll never miss it in a car-park. All good.

Now, tonight’s recipe. Boozy Bangers and mash. I know that’s a wank title, I know. It’s sausages and mash but more importantly, it has an AMAZING gravy. Can we talk about gravy for a second? I made this for our facebook page:

I genuinely can’t stand it when you see a delicious looking roast and then someone pops up with ‘omg make sun-free gravy by blitzing (always fucking blitzing, how exactly are you blitzing your peas you spittle-flecked moron, dropping a bloody bomb on it?) a tin of mushy peas, or eight roasted onions, or some other AWFUL slop. That’s not gravy, that’s a grave injustice. A war crime.

Gravy is low in syns and given that so many people have more gravy on their plate than carbon atoms, you might as well get the good stuff. Make your own or use instant at a pinch. It’s a syn per teaspoon of powder. Unless you’re having a bath of gravy, how much do you bloody need? Drives me up the wall, which is fine because I’ve got that fancy new car, but still. So here’s a recipe with PROPER DELICIOUS GRAVY. We are going to be steering away from ‘pretend’ food (to be fair, we don’t do it much to begin with) as a blog and I’m sure you’ll come with us!

boozy bangers and mash

to make boozy bangers and mash you will need:

We get asked a lot about how good our mash looks. We don’t add anything, you know – it’s just good potatoes riced with a potato ricer once cooked. The one we use is only a tenner and can be bought here!

to make boozy bangers and mash you should:

  • bring a large pan of water to the boil and the potatoes – cook until soft and then mash, to however you like it (we like to chuck in some wholegrain mustard but not everyone is as classy as us)
  • whilst the potatoes are boiling away, make a slit down the sausages and squeeze out the meat into 3-4 equal-ish balls. don’t worry about rolling them into neat balls, they’ll be fine as they are
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • add the sausages to the pan and fry until cooked, then remove from the pan
  • add a bit more oil to the pan if needed, and then add the chopped garlic
  • stir for about 30 seconds, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sliced onions
  • cook the onions until they begin to caramelise, stirring now and again. Don’t worry if they stick a bit – that’s good
  • after about 15-20 minutes, add the stock and the guinness to the pan and bring to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan
  • in a little bowl, mix together the cornflour with 2 tbsp COLD water (it MUST be cold), and slowly dribble into the gravy, stirring constantly, and when you’re happy with it take it off the heat
  • dish up the potatoes and sausages, and pour over the tasty gravy
  • enjoy

See now come on, that’s a proper dinner right there! No? Want more? Get more!

poultrysmallbeefsmall lunchsmall sausagessmall

Beep beep (Richie!)


slow cooker cottage pie

Super quick post tonight of slow cooker cottage pie – Christmas party was last night and we’re both proper rough! Straight to it!

slow cooker cottage pie

to make slow cooker cottage pie you will need:

I’m going to say this is syn free – if you want to syn the 0.25 syn of milk, then do. If you’re looking for a decent slow cooker, the one we use is reduced on Amazon right now, and pretty to look at!

to make slow cooker cottage pie you should:

  • add the onion and mince into a hot pan and brown off
  • add the carrots, tomatoes, garlic, peas, tomato puree, celery, worcestershire sauce, thyme and stock and stir to combine
  • decant into the slow cooker and cook for as long as you like on low – a few hours is best to really meld the flavours
  • four hours before you want to eat, cut the potatoes into large chunks (no need to peel) and cook in a large saucepan until tender.
  • drain, add the milk and quickly crack in the egg – mash furiously so the egg mixes in well and doesn’t scramble (don’t use the egg if you’re pregnant – treat yourself to some butter instead)
  • use a spatula or ladle to flatten the meat mixture in the slow cooker so it’s level
  • gently spoon in the mashed potato and smooth off with a fork
  • cover and cook on low for three hours
  • about half an hour towards the end, sprinkle over the grated cheese
  • cover with a tea towel so that it doesn’t touch the food but is taut across the top – this helps to absorb moisture
  • serve!


Want more ideas? Click the buttons below!

beefsmallfakeawayssmall    slowcookersmallonepot



best ever spaghetti bolognese

Yes! The best ever spaghetti bolognese! Well no, you can do so much better by adding things like bone marrow or bacon or delicious dates but I don’t want to be responsible for any weigh-in-ladies getting slapped around the chops, so this is the best you can do within a reasonable amount of syns. We have done a syn free version way back when which you can find here.

Anyway, we weren’t going to post today but see we were discussing in bed this morning our old crushes. Everyone has them – that one celebrity that makes you damp and uncomfortable in the minnie-moo area. Because Paul’s common, most of his were characters from Eastenders because seemingly that was all that was on in the smokehouse where he grew up. Mine are a little more cultured. Pffft. Without further delay:

Paul’s old crushes – then and now


What can we take from this? Well, it certainly explains why he calls me Sonia during sex and makes me do a little turn on the trumpet to kick things off. It also demonstrates that, if you were lucky enough to have teenage Paul rub one out over the thought of you, you are blessed with immortality and NEVER AGE. Seriously, aside from the chap on the bottom who has upgraded his weirdly phallic beard into a decent sculpted affair and Sean from 5ive looking slightly more boss-eyed, no-one has changed!

Bonus mentions for: the fat Di Marco from Eastenders (who I couldn’t put into the pictures because there’s not a recent photo of him – luckily he hasn’t died. Well no, his acting career has. Bitch). Reese from Malcolm in the Middle.

James’ old crushes – then and now


Mine are a little more obvious, no? I ummed and aahed over that picture of Tyrone there – just to be clear, the actor is two years older than me so I’m SURE he’s over age then. AND I WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE 16, SO GIVE ME A BREAK. Anyway Paul and I both agree he’s aged well and we were both aghast and stiff when that evil walking Afro was setting about his nethers with the hoover extension. Bears and BDSM, what can I say. Viktor Krum was quite possibly more a case of being in love with his red jacket and furry muff than anything to do with those strong, Slavic eyebrows and jaw. He does however seem to have aged into someone you’d see on the front page of a local paper being sentenced for ripping off old ladies for bogus roof repairs. Pity. Oh and Travis Fimmel – now there’s an interesting one. I just can’t think what attracted me about the top left picture as a young’un – I remember I used to pass a giant billboard for Calvin Klein’s Crave on the way to college and there’s just something that caught my eye. That kind of look is the antithesis of the type of man that Paul and I find attractive – which makes it all the more curious that he now looks like someone we’d both let sit on our face and pedal our ears. Eee, isn’t lust fun.

Bonus mentions: Rhino and Shadow from Gladiators. I swear they’re about 60% responsible for my homosexuality. Not because of their looks, as such, but rather their costumes. Good lord. Thank goodness we didn’t have 3D TV’s back in the day – we would have needed to move the settee back a good half a foot. I vaguely remember liking Toadfish from Neighbours but a quick look at google images reveals that this couldn’t have been true given he used to look like a tiny version of Penn from Penn and Teller – or, nineties fans, the Head of the Witches Council from Sabrina. I never had much time for the dreamboats like Harvey from Sabrina or Billy Kennedy from Neighbours. Too pretty. I used to enjoy Janice’s bit on the side in Coronation Street (Dennis?) – he’s a bit of a gay icon! Oh and Krycek from The X-Files. And Mulder! And poor Pendrell! I’d go on, but it’s too difficult to type with the keyboard constantly being nudged away from me. So let’s do the recipe!

I’m putting this recipe up so you have a reason to use up the rest of the wine you might have used for our previous recipe for dirty macaroni. But come on. We both know you drank it, you filthy lush.

best ever spaghetti bolognese

to make the best ever spaghetti bolognese you will need:

to make the best ever spaghetti bolognese you should:

  • bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions – although for fucks sake, it’s spaghetti – boil it, eat it – if you can’t manage that, perhaps it’s time to give Dignitas a call
  • meanwhile, heat a large pan over a high heat and add a little oil

Just jumping in for a second – we get asked a lot about what pans we use that are non-stick enough not to need loads of oil. Now, I know there’s loads out there made from ceramic or teflon or whatever, and they’re probably alright, but we bought some Le Creuset casserole dishes a few years ago and genuinely use the big casserole dish every single day – without anything sticking and (gasp) we clean it in the dishwasher. They are expensive – very expensive – but absolutely and utterly worth it. Buy cheap and buy twice, after all. Amazon currently have a discount – why not treat yourself?

  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • remove the mince from the pan using a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside
  • in the same pan quickly cook the onions for 3-4  minutes
  • add the chopped garlic and cook for another 2 minutes
  • add the chicken stock to the pan to deglaze (i.e. get your wooden spoon and scrape all the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan) and stir the onions often until the stock has reduced by half
  • add the wine to the pan and do the same again
  • add the bay leaves to the pan and the passata, bring to the boil
  • reduce the heat slightly and cook until it has thickened slightly, which will take about 6 minutes or so. add salt and pepper to taste
  • remove the bay leaves, add the mince and the spaghetti to the pan and mix to combine
  • serve with lots of black pepper, parmesan from your HEA and some basil leaves


If you’re looking for more pasta or beef recipes, click on the links below!

beefsmall pastasmall

Now I’m off to put my greengrocer’s tabard on for Paul.


taster night ideas for Slimming World

Looking for taster night ideas? There’s SEVEN recipes down below. I’m not surprised you want inspiration, nothing seems to strike fear into slimmers at Slimming World more than ‘we’re having a party next week, bring something along‘. Well, perhaps the words ‘let’s split the room in half, someone keep points, we’re going to do group activities‘. God I hate that. I’m too antisocial at the best of times but being forced to come up with a witty team name and shout out speed foods makes my throat hitch. For those not in the Cult of Mags, a taster night is where everyone is expected to bring along some food to share with the rest of the class and usually results in about twenty quiches and a box of grapes bought from the Co-op over the road by the lady who forgot it was on.

I struggle with taster nights because, as previously mentioned, I don’t like eating food when I don’t know how clean the kitchen it’s coming from is. Luckily I’m in a class now with people who do look familiar with a bottle of Ajax, but Christ, some of the sights I’ve seen in other classes, well I wouldn’t eat what came out of their kitchens even if it contained the antidote to a life-threatening poison I’d accidentally ingested. I don’t mind a slice of Slimming World quiche, I just don’t like to be twanging cat hair out of my teeth for the following week. Anyway, as ‘what can I make for taster night’ and ‘slimming world snacks’ appear quite regularly on the little index of what people search for to find this blog. Well, it can’t all be ‘chubby cub cum explosion’ (can’t remember that recipe?) and ‘fat men fuking’ (masturbation is no excuse for poor spelling, chaps).

Oh! A quick word. When a buffet is served up in class, try and allow the meek amongst us access to the food. A couple of years ago, in a class in Wakefield no less, Paul and I didn’t get any food because half the class – not the better half – dashed forward as soon as the ‘party’ began and formed one giant body of impassable bulk. It was like the Berlin Wall, only smelling faintly of chips. I’ve never seen food shovelled and devoured with such ferocity and I’ve seen Sicilian wild boars being fed. All I wanted was a (nothing-like-a) Ferrero Rocher and a few ‘JUST LIKE DORITOS’ crisps that I could have planed a door with. I had my revenge anyway – the wasabi peas that I put on the table thinking they were syn-free were actually about eight syns a handful. What can I say? My knowledge of the Mandarin language is a little rusty.

So, with all the above in mind, we decided to do a post on snacks, also fuelled by the fact it was Eurovision last night and we like to have a trough of food to work through whilst we watch our entry get annihilated. Before anyone says the UK will never win because ‘it’s too political’ and ‘no-one votes for us because of the war’, that was relevant maybe ten years ago and certainly isn’t now. Russia almost won it and well, that Putin’s been a bit of a tinker this year, has he not? We don’t win because we send absolute shite – po-faced, dreary, period-pain music with insipid staging and crap tunes. No doubt that Aldi Jedward can sing a tune and strum a guitar but they lost a singing competition where literally tens of people voted for someone else to be a winner. Why would that translate to success in the Eurovision Song Contest? EH? We need to send something amazing, with a massive chorus and an uplifting melody, not a song that would barely make its way onto the second CD in the Now That’s What I Call White Noise 87 compilation.

I was just sore because I had Poland and Italy in the sweepstakes, and did you catch them? Poland came dancing out like a crystal-meth Cheryl Cole and Italy’s act was so boring that I forgot about it whilst she was singing the words, which is quite something. I wanted Russia to win. That stage, that song (You Are The Obi Wan, You’re My Obi Wan…) and gasp, when that screen spun around…well, I loved it. Plus one of my work colleagues had Russia in the sweepstakes and I just know he’s going to be spend his winnings on delicious things for the entire floor. That’s right, isn’t it Alan? SHOUT-OUT FOR ALAN. Mahaha. Paul threw his weight behind Sweden, who I can’t really be mean about because the singer was only 8 and he has the angst of puberty to get through. He’s no Eric Saade (2011) with his exploding glass cages though.

As it happens, one of the worst songs managed to win – Kate Bush’s stunt double caterwauling about politics – and Ukraine took the prize, meaning Russia will be hosting the Eurovision next year. Boom boom. We’ve said it every year – we should go to the next Eurovision – and the fact that it is being held in Ukraine only sweetens the deal. If it had been Russia we’d have been conflicted – on one hand, we love the idea of a night of catchy tunes surrounded by every other gay man in existence, but on the other hand I prefer not to have my teeth kicked down my throat because I’m a rampant bummer. Ah yes.

Anyway come on now, let’s get to the recipes, shall we? This is the spread.

taster night ideas

Fancy, right? On view then:

  • Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip
  • our teeny tiny teriyaki tasters
  • sandwiches filled with syn-free egg mayonnaise and tuna and cucumber
  • sweet potato crisps with four different types of houmous
  • baked new potatoes with cheese and bacon topping

Out of sight:

  • spicy couscous balls
  • gin and tonic lollies

Three caveats that I’m going to throw in before we begin:


  • some of these recipes are ‘tweaks’ in the truest sense of the word – especially the crisps – and it’s up to you whether you follow the rule of synning them or not – tweaks being when you use an ingredient in a way it isn’t intended to be used, such as slicing a sweet potato to make crisps. I will mention it where appropriate. My own view (which you can find here) is that it’s better to be eating something made from a healthy ingredient than a processed packet of crisps. It boils down to this – 100g of sweet potato is around 85 calories, 100g of Walkers crisps kicks in over 550 calories. I’ll be fucked if I’m synning sweet potato crisps at the same rate as normal crisps. If you feel the need to be all frothy and leave a comment castigating me for my temerity, please save yourself the finger strain, wipe the spittle from your lips and simply don’t bother – personal choice;
  • a couple of these recipes you’ll have seen before if you’re a long-time follower, but I thought it would be handy to put them all in one place; and
  • as usual, I’ve given syn values for a normal portion and I’ll mention when it uses up a HEA/HEB. If you’re eating the entire buffet, you’ll need to think about how many HEB/HEA’s you’re using! It’ll make sense as we go along. Basically, each recipe stands on its own. Right? Right.

taster night ideas #1: sweet potato crisps with four different types of houmous:

taster night ideas

to make the sweet potato crisps, you’ll need:

  • a couple of big sweet potatoes
  • spray oil – a few squirts of Filippo Berio’s olive oil is only half a syn, and that’s all you need
  • chinese five spice

to make the sweet potato crisps, you should:

  • to make the crisps, use a microwave, it’s much easier
  • get a big old sweet potato and cut it to uniform thin slices – this is where having a mandolin slicer comes in very handy, because it’ll take no time at all to do the slices – buy one here and never look back, not least because it makes your food look great when it’s all uniform
  • arrange the slices on a plate, squirt with some spray oil, dust with chinese five spice (or indeed, any flavouring you want) and rub it in
  • microwave on full power – it usually takes about six minutes, but keep checking every couple of minutes, and once they start to look dry, turn them over
  • keep a proper eye on them mind, because they can burn easily once they dry out
  • once done, take them off the plate, set aside, and do the next batch

to make the four way houmous, you’ll need:

  • a few small tins of chickpeas
  • garlic cloves
  • fat free cottage cheese
  • a lemon or two
  • sea salt

to make the four way houmous, you should:

  • the basic houmous recipe is simple enough – for enough to fill one of those little square bowls above, you’ll want to use one small tin of cooked chick peas (syn free), a nice round tablespoon of fat free cottage cheese, a garlic clove, pinch of sea salt and some lemon juice. Blend it together, adding a little more lemon juice if you like it runny or keeping some back if you prefer it chunky. It’s up to you. You will save yourself so much time if you get yourself one of these little express choppers that Delia Smith was always going on about between tumblers of Scotch – you can find one here – it’ll make houmous in no time
  • to make the different variations, you just add a few ingredients:
    • lemon and garlic (add an extra couple of garlic gloves, a squidge more lemon juice and decorate with finely grated lemon peel) (don’t take the pith, literally, as that is very bitter – just the top layer, please)
    • basil and parmesan (10 torn basil leaves, 10g of shaved parmesan, bit of salt) – up to you if you want to syn such a tiny portion of parmesan but bearing in mind you’ll be getting what, 2.5g of it, I wouldn’t bother
    • pickled red cabbage (just a few chunks of pickled red cabbage and some of the pickling vinegar added to give it colour
    • paprika and sun-dried tomato – I chucked in 1tbsp of sundried tomato paste (1.5 syns, but again, through the laws of dilution, it’s up to you if you syn it)

Easy! Of course, if you don’t want to fart on making the crisps, just chop up some peppers, carrots and cucumber and use them instead to dip into your houmous. If you want our little serving dish, you guessed it, it’s on Amazon!

taster night ideas #2: teeny tiny teriyaki tasters:

teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

This makes enough for 36 sticky teeny tiny teriyaki tasters (fnar fnar), if you make them bigger, adjust the syns per ball. There’s 12 syns in the overall recipe.

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you’ll need:

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you should:

  • in a large bowl mix together the pork and the beef mince with the egg yolk
  • using a tablespoon, scoop out a spoon-size ball and roll into meatballs – do this for all of the mixture (you’ll need about 36 – if you want, you could weigh out each ball at around 27g each…but life’s too short)
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat and add a couple of squirts of spray oil or, urgh, Frylight, bleurgh
  • cook the meatballs until browned all over and cooked right through – you WILL need to do them in batches
  • place cooked meatballs onto a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm whilst you cook the rest
  • when done, mix together the soy sauce, white wine, sherry, honey and ginger in a small jug and pour into the same pan you used to cook the meatballs and reduce the heat to medium
  • cook for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened
  • add the meatballs back into the pan and stir carefully to coat – I find it easier to tumble the meatballs in and then pick up the pan and gently slosh them around rather than trying to stir with a spoon
  • serve on cocktail sticks and sprinkle over the seeds – don’t sweat it if you can’t find these, you could easily leave them off and that brings the syn count to 1 syn for six – even better – but they look so pretty with the seeds on

taster night ideas #3: Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip:

taster night ideas

to make Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip, you’ll need:

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 onion (grate half of it, chop the other half)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of sriracha, (1 syn) (you can use any old hot sauce)
  • 1 egg
  • 25g panko (4.5 syns) (or use breadcrumbs from your HEB allowance)
  • ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 100g quark

to make Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip, you should:

Full disclosure: we got this recipe from the fabulous cookingforkeeps.com – her recipe can be found here and looks equally as delicious – we’ve tweaked ours for Slimming World!

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • in a bowl, mix together the turkey mince, onion (grated and chopped), carrot, spring opnions, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, 1 tsp of sriracha, egg and the panko until combined
  • roll into 1″ size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper
  • cook in the oven for twenty minutes
  • meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sriracha and the quark to make a dipping sauce
  • slice the radishes and cucumbers as thinly as you can and skewer one of each onto a cocktail stick with the meatball

taster night ideas #4: little sandwiches:

to make little sandwiches, you’ll need:

taster night ideas

No need for a full recipe here, really. Take whatever bread you want from your HEB – we use Kingsmill Crustless Wholemeal bread, which you can have three slices of. Cut nice circles out of them, remember you eat with your eyes.

  • for the egg salad, boil up four eggs, break them up with a fork, add a tablespoon of quark, lots of black pepper, a chopped tomato and some spring onions
  • for the tuna – well, we’re old school, we just like tuna mixed with vinegar and served with cucumber. You could splash out and add a bit of Quark to bind it, I suppose…

taster night ideas #5: baked new potatoes with a cheese and bacon topping:

taster night ideas

to make baked new potatoes, you’ll need:

  • 1.5kg small salad-type potatoes
  • 100g fat-free fromage frais
  • 30g parmesan (1x HEA)
  • 4 rashers of bacon, all visible fat removed
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • chives

to make baked new potatoes, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees (or an actifry with the paddle removed is just as good – Amazon are selling them for £125 at the moment too!)
  • prick the potatoes with a fork, spray with a little frylight and bake in the oven (or actifry) for about 45 minutes
  • grill or dry-fry the bacon until crispy and chop into small pieces
  • mix together the fromage frais, parmesan and spring onions and set aside
  • when the potatoes are cooked, leave to cool for about ten minutes
  • make a cross in the top of each potato and squeeze the bottoms to open them up
  • spoon in a little of the fromage frais mixture and top with bacon pieces and chives

taster night ideas #6: spicy couscous balls:


Please note: that’s an old photo, it’s actually now 4 syns for all the balls, but you’re not going to eat them all yourself anyway, surely? I’ll nip back in time and change the photo later.

Not worth making a full recipe breakdown for this, because it’s so, so easy. I use two packets of Ainsley Harriott’s spicy sensations couscous, which come in at 2 syns per pack made up with water (so don’t be adding butter, you cheeky buggers). Add the appropriate level of water (whatever it says on the pack) and leave to absorb. Fluff with a fork. Beat an egg and mix it into the couscous, then squeeze as many balls as you can out of the mixture. Pop onto a tray and stick it in the oven on 150 degrees for an hour or so – you want to ‘dry’ them out. Cooked low and slow, you’ll be laughing. For a dip, make tzatziki – greek yoghurt (I use Tesco Finest 0% fat – no syns) mixed with cucumber cut into tiny cubes and mint. Stir, chill, eat.

taster night ideas #7: gin and tonic ice lollies

taster night ideas

Again, no need for a full recipe. We mixed 25ml of gin with a glass of diet tonic, poured it into a cheapy ice-lolly mould like this £3 from Amazon and added a slice of cucumber. Between six, it’s half a syn each. Of course, it’s easy to customise this, put your pint of whisky in, add lime, add fruit, don’t add alcohol, do what you like!

OK, I hope that’s given you some inspiration. It’s certainly made my fingers ache!

Do me a favour though – share this page in as many facebook pages as you can, because taster recipes is one of the main things people need. Spread the love! Leave me your comments below!

Oh it’s worth noting, we did have a couple of drinks to get us through Eurovision, see…

taster night ideas


syn-free crisps and dip

Here for the crisps and dip? They’re a wee bit lower down, but you won’t have so much to read through tonight to get to the recipe because, to use a Geordieism, I’m STOTTIN’ MAD. It took me two hours to exit the multistorey car-park this evening – not because I fell down the stairs or I got lost trying to find my car, no, because some bumhole thought it would be a smashing idea to block the one-way road off with roadworks and then not put any provisions for people wanting to leave in place, leading to about 300 office workers all trying to leave at once from eight different directions down a one way street. All it would have taken is some preferably-fit bloke in a hi-vis to guide the traffic out or indeed, a set of traffic lights, but no.

To make things worse, I got into my car at 5.05pm and needed a piss by 5.07pm. Of course, I was in a completely static line of traffic so I probably had enough time to get out, go home, have a piss, send that away for testing, discuss why it sometimes smells of coconut with a doctor and then begin a course of antibiotics, but I couldn’t take the risk that as soon as I stepped away and nipped to the gents that the line of traffic wouldn’t start up and I’d end up with a ticket for abandoning my car. 

Have you ever had to look around your car and gauge what you could realistically piss in? I have, and let me tell you, in a reasonably clean DS3, there’s not many options. There’s an ashtray and an oversized glove box, and neither of them are waterproof. A Doritos bag seemed like the only option but even then, I’d need both hands to turn the tight corners and I didn’t want a crisp packet of urine balanced on my dash. I knew there was an empty Orangina bottle in the boot but I couldn’t remember if it was glass or plastic, and well, I’ve spent my life avoiding getting a gash on my helmet, let’s not start tonight.

Nevermind, I managed to hold it in, and after an extended period of muttering away to myself in a very British fashion and embarrassing my friend on the radio, I managed to get away, although not after losing my temper with some doddery old bugger who pretty much reversed into my car in his haste to try and cut in front of me. It’s surprisingly awkward when you shout at someone and then have to sit in front of them for another forty minutes, trying desperately not to meet the eye of the old bugger you yelled at in haste. 

Anyway, I’m home now. I did win £400 on a slot machine so that takes the edge off. You may or may not remember that I practice safe gambling through Quidco. More on that here, but I remind you that if you’ve got an addictive personality, it’s not a good route to go down. I’m a tightarse Geordie so no chance of me getting a gambling addition!

Remember too, we’re running a competition to win £50 of Musclefood meat! Go take a look.

Right, let’s crack on. 

crisps and dip

I’ll pop this here, see the bit about tweaking below, but remember, this is how we feel about tweaking.


to make crisps and dip, you’ll need:

  • a few big potatoes
  • whatever flavouring you like – I used Worcestershire sauce but you can use salt and vinegar
  • 250g tub of fat-free cottage cheese
  • a few big dollops of quark
  • parmesan – use your HEA allowance
  • chopped chives
  • salt and pepper

Honestly, slicing potatoes evenly is a fart-on. Buy a mandolin slicer, it’s one of the things we use most in the kitchen for slicing up veg and it’ll save you a tonne of time. They’re here and cheap. Tight-arse.

to make crisps and dip, you should:

  • slice your potato nice and thin and even, like Good King Wenceslas did (and I bet he didn’t have a load of people having a shitfit at him over whether it’s a bloody tweak!)
  • season them – few sprays of olive oil, worcestershire sauce, salt
  • place in the oven but keep an eye on them – rather than lying them flat, place them standing up between the ‘rungs’ of a cooling tray, that way you don’t need to clart about turning the buggers
  • once they’re nearly done, take them out, leave to cool and then put them in the microwave in a couple of batches – keep an eye on them though, they can burn quite quickly, you’re just trying to dry them out
  • blend the cottage cheese, parmesan and quark together – I use my Nutribullet for this, but you can just use a hand blender, you don’t need owt fancy (though I use my Nutribullet a surprising amount)
  • top the dip with chopped chives
  • serve

Are these a taste explosion? No, not at all. Whilst they were decent enough, I’d prefer to syn crisps. Should you class these as a tweak? Depends. If you’re chopping one potato up, then I wouldn’t bother. If you’re slicing up a sack of potatoes bigger than a taxi, then yes, it’s a tweak, and yes you should syn. Slimming World will tell you to syn this – it’s up to you how you want to play it.

I’m not your boss!