fresh spring rolls and dipping sauce

Was it my fresh spring rolls and dipping sauce that caught your eye? Well scroll on down, you filthy buggers. Fair warning, tonight’s entry is a little saucy.

Before we get to the recipe, I’m going to do something unusual. See, in the facebook group that accompanies this blog are a load of funny buggers, each more crass and hilarious than the last. I can rattle off a blue joke and a knob gag no worries, but well, I struggle to get women’s problems correct. It’s all so complicated, and well, if you get it wrong, you’re liable to end up with a clit around the ear and a flap in the face. Wah-wah.

Anyway, I decided it would be a gas to ask people if they wanted to write an ‘article’ for the blog – no catches, write what you want, and if I have a recipe but can’t be buggered to type up one of my usual why-use-one-word-when-forty-paragraphs will do, I can post one up! If you’re interested in having a go, let me know in the comments. Readers, please remember that these articles are people wanting to try their hand at writing a blog post but don’t have the confidence to set up a full blog. Be kind. If you’re thinking negative comments, keep them ssh. If you enjoy the article, let’s hear from you!

Tonight’s entry is by the charming Clarabell, who lists the ability to say the alphabet backwards and having a creepy double-jointed hand as her party trick. Don’t believe me? Take a look!

20160522_174459

Goodness. Least she never struggles to get the last Pringle out of the tube, eh? I’d better make sure that isn’t the image that shows up when you post this to facebook. Over to Clarabell…


sweatbox: a tale by Clarabell

Now, we’re all used to the candid craic from James and Paul about douche bulbs, all things in the downstairs department, and of course the post that mentioned bukkake…which I had to google. On a work laptop. Upon which I forgot to delete the history. Cheers guys! So I figured that with a gaggle of MAINLY female readers that my post would have to be about some nether region tale of the female variety. Something we’ve probably all experienced at one point. Perhaps not James and Paul. (James edit: NOT TRUE! I’ve been there and it was all very charming, but not for me. That’s what keeps the world interesting, different opinions, apropos of nothing I don’t like potted ox tongue either).

I’ve been fed up lately, I’ve been getting bouts of cystitis, antibiotics, thrush, cystitis….repeat. I’ve had a scan and there’s nothing wrong with me other than I don’t drink enough water, and have self-created this cycle of misery.

Resigned to buying the thrush cream, after the standard tactic of ‘ignore it and it might not be there’ stopped working, off I went to the local shopping centre, my purse hovering on the thick air in front of me. I’m in Asda but I can’t see what I want on the shelves, and I’m quickly narked that the chemist is the other side of the centre, only because when your regions are on fire, that’s a long walk to do, simultaneously avoiding the urge for a scratch, and walking like there’s stones in your shoes. But! In a flash of delight, I remember that they took out half of the checkouts, to make an optician that no-one goes in, and…. a PHARMACY! Whoop! There’s nothing like the delight of knowing you can get minge cream at the same time as your linguine.

I’d like some Canesten Oral Duo” I say bravely– pointing to the bottom shelf. Worryingly, he looks like he doesn’t have a clue what I’m asking for. He follows my finger to the bottom shelf, and picks up some Sea Legs, examines box, puts it back and repeats – he does this a few times with a box of Rennie, and some headlice solution, and eventually comes across the thrush ‘range’ glowing on the shelf like a barber’s pole in full red and white glory. I’m wondering at this point if he is the pharmacist, or whether he’s mugged the rightful medicine man of his Asda badge and strolled behind the desk in the manner of an imposter, hoping to get first nab of the nearby ‘Whoops’ range, but he comes across the requested item at last. Not literally, you’d really struggle to pick the box up if he did that.

“Is it for you?” he asks. Christ on a bike…look mate, it’s fifteen flaming quid…I am not about to raffle it off in the Slimmer of the Week basket I don’t say this, instead I go with “yes” and 100% resting bitch face. Oh but he isn’t finished, “have you used it before?”…panic! What’s the correct answer to this? ‘Yes’ and appear like some serial offender, someone who can’t control their rancid ways and lifting minnie?! Or ‘no’ and risk a declined purchase, or worse, some sort of lecture on best application practice and/or side effects?! I go with “yes” quickly followed up with “a while ago…” He gives a small nod. He knows I’m baking bread. Phew, home and dry, which is good because another customer has joined me and she has the smug privacy of a prescription, which is her ticket to a no question transaction.  What is it with these useless questions?

However, there can be none more useless than the question I once got asked buying antihistamines for hayfever, “drowsy or non-drowsy” I was asked! Really?! Erm..let me check my diary…nope, nothing on the afternoon, drowsy for me please, I’m fine to lounge around spaced out and sleepy, I was not planning on driving and the only ‘machinery’ I’ll be operating will be the telly, so yup, drowsy will do just do fine…ah wait, no consuming alcohol? Poop.

Anyway, Ahmed walks to the till, and promptly stops and stands above it doing jazz hands, and of course he just remembered he doesn’t know how to use it. Suddenly, “Doreen!” he shouts WAVING THE CANESTEN BOX IN THE AIR! “Doreen, can you ring this in for me please”! I swear the smug-prescription-holder does the smirking shimmy, that tiny little wobble that comes only with an inner titter.  I throw her some side-ways shade, which is code for ‘look lady, we’ve all been there, and you will one day (maybe soon after that prescription for antibiotics teehee!) also have to stand here and deal with this lovely bloke, showing the world his arm pit sweat patch whilst at the same time holding aloft the solution to your itchy snatch’.


Goodness me! I once had a flatmate who had perpetual thrush, brought on by the fact her extra-endowed boyfriend  seemed hellbent on hammering her cervix over her back-teeth. Not even kidding there, she showed me a photo he’d sent and what I thought was his arm holding the camera definitely wasn’t. At one point our fridge was more cranberry juice than anything else. I still can’t have a cranberry sour without thinking of her undercarriage. I remember we once had a full stand-up row over the fact I refused to boil tea-towels in a saucepan on the hob to sterilise them. Awfully judgemental for someone with a little too much glue on their envelope.

Now listen, before anyone starts writing their ‘ANGRY OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS’ letters and getting themselves in a tizz, don’t. I know it’s perfectly natural and I know people get all sorts of things but do you know, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, what can we do? Let’s not live in a joyless vacuum.

Right, to the food!

 fresh spring rolls

These are one of those tasty little dishes that look complicated to make, but they’re really not. We used Blue Dragon Rice Pancakes for these which SW say are one syn each (ridiculous) – you can buy rice pancakes from any Asian supermarket too. The joy with these is that you can ram them absolutely chock-full of speed vegetables and lovely free things. 

to make fresh spring rolls, you’ll need:

to make fresh spring rolls, you should:

  • get a plate and fill it with warm water, you’ll obviously not need a lot
  • chop all your veg up – this is where a mandolin will save you so much time and make everything neat and wonderful – click here to buy one of those
  • get everything ready to hand
  • take one pancake, push it into the water, allow to rehydrate a little
  • take out, shake off the water and lay it on a tea-towel or better, a nice clean worktop
  • if you imagine it in thirds, you want to place a big amount of filling at the top of the bottom third – or really, just below the middle of the pancake
  • fold in the sides
  • fold in the bottom
  • roll – keep it nice and tight with your hands (fnar fnar)
  • place on a chopping board and cut with a very sharp knife

You’re done! We served ours with a dipping sauce where we took low sodium soy sauce (6 tbsp), a couple of tablespoons of hoisin (4 syns), a few chilli flakes, a drop of honey (1 syn) and some passata. Stir and serve!

Although these are a syn each, these fresh spring rolls are very, very filling and a brilliant way of getting fresh veg into you. I’m a big fat pig and only managed four! If you wanted to keep it vegetarian, swap out the meat for cooked egg or mushrooms.

Enjoy.

J

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:

TWEAK

  • 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:

couscousballs

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

J

beef satay with peanut dipping sauce

Beef satay with peanut dipping sauce? On Slimming World? Surely not! But YES. Let me tell you, it actually tasted like something you’d get in a Chinese restaurant too, as opposed to the usual Slimming World slop-swap, where the end result isn’t so much divorced from the original as moved to a new city and never seeing the children. You know when people theatrically slap their hand to their open mouth in shock? Well, I didn’t have time to do that as I was too busy making sure Paul didn’t eat my share. Recipe below.

Can I just take a moment to say I thoroughly enjoyed Batman v Superman? I just like to think that Ben Affleck is probably reading this blog, dying to know how to turn ASDA beef chunks into something palatable, and after all of the criticism he’s faced over his boring film, this might cheer him up. Plus, Paul and I both agree that you have quite an impressive knob in Gone Girl, and I’m not talking about Rosamund Pike. I went to see Batman vs Superman with an old friend (literally, she’s well old) and it was all very enjoyable, even in blurry 3D-vision. I’m a fan of 3D if done well (Saw 3D, of all things, was fun) but not if it’s just to make the odd leaf or snowflake look like it’s coming towards you. No amount of blistering 3D detail is going to make me think I’m right there in Gothametroplis (right?) – my arse-cheeks turning to concrete on the rock-hard cinema seats keep me grounded.

Oh, that and the little shits along the row who, along with their father, spent every other minute looking at their phones and being unnecessarily rambunctious. Naturally, as a Brit, I tutted and sighed for two hours until I was on the verge of hyperventilating and had to blow into my pic-and-mix bag for comfort. The father took a bloody phone call at one point! Unless it’s a doctor ringing up to tell you that “yes, Mr Smith, we’ve found you a brain, you’ll need to come in for fitting immediately” you don’t take a bloody phone call in the cinema. If I had my way, everyone would have their hands stapled to the arm-rest and if your phone rang or you needed a poo, well tough titty. The cherry on the cake was towards the end I went to get the last sour apple snake from my bag (not a euphemism) (also, yes, hypocritical) when one of the children sighed like he was blowing out the candles on a birthday cake and said ‘I CAN’T WATCH THE FILM IF PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO RUIN IT‘. I’ve never felt so chagrined. 

Anyway, today we’ve said at least two things that hammer home how old we’re getting – first, Paul suggested we go out “for a drive in the car“. I don’t know why we do it, we invariably get stuck behind someone for whom the fourth gear is uncharted territory and I end up going apocalyptic behind them trying to overtake. I have to come home and punch a brick wall to calm down. The second line that tumbled from my ageing lips was the clincher though – when Paul mentioned that our home town could do with some decent flowers being planted (in itself a very Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells thing to say), I replied by saying ‘yes, but the young’uns would just pull them up and cause a mess‘.

May I remind you I’m 31.

Goodness me. I almost stopped at the Lloyds Pharmacy on my left there and then for a hearing test and a fitting for Tena for Men but well, it would take a while to get parked and with my aching hips, getting out of the car is too much of a chore. So instead we drove to the beach and ate sandwiches in the car whilst listening to Gardeners’ Question Time and nodding at nothing in particular.

Ah well, to the satay! It’s something I always order whenever we get a takeaway, though sadly our favourite local takeaway seems to have closed down. I like to think they couldn’t keep up with our demands. I’ve definitely had more than eight ‘it’s my birthday, can we have a free giant spring rolls please thanks‘ events this year. I certainly hope it hasn’t been closed down by the council because that would bring our total of ‘favourite then condemned’ eateries to three. We used to have a Chinese takeaway literally across the street from us when we lived in Gosforth which was fantastic.

Paul was confused when he first went to order because the tiny, very Chinese looking lady behind the counter spoke with a Geordie accent that sounded like she was possessed by Tim Healy. And he’s not even dead. It really didn’t gel with her beautiful cheongsam dress and I-kid-you-not chopsticks in her hair bun.

Still, the food was delicious and tasty up until the point the ‘Scores on the Doors’ folk came around and rated them zero out of five for cleanliness, food safety and hygiene. Nothing says did you enjoy your chow-mein like seeing it again two minutes after eating from one end or twenty minutes from the other. I must have a stomach of asbestos though as so few things ever upset my natural balance.

We now get our Chinese food from a car-park in Morpeth. So far, so good – they certainly don’t seem to be using the same microfibre cloth to wipe their work-surfaces and their bumholes, so they’re already up on the Gosforth Chinese.

beef satay with peanut dipping sauce

to make beef satay with peanut dipping sauce you will need:

  • 700g beef, cubed (why not use the beef you’ve got from our wonderful Musclefood Freezer Filler? You get a couple of packs with your mince, chicken and bacon, and it has the added benefit of not feeling like you’re chewing on a bike tyre like so much of the beef in your average cheap supermarket beef does – click here to order. Oh, and we’re running a competition to win one of our £50 hampers – click here and enter!)
  • 8 shallots or two large white onions (shallots are far nicer though, much sweeter)
  • a little knob of ginger, peeled
  • haha, I said little knob
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, sliced (can’t get lemongrass? Use a teaspoon of lemon rind)
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fennel (or crushed fennel seeds)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a few squirts of olive oil spray

for the peanut sauce:

  • 4 tbsp reduced-fat peanut butter (18 syns) (be sensible here, a tablespoon is a tablespoon, but don’t go scooping it out like it’s mortar and you’re building a brick wall at gunpoint)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sweetener
  • 2 drops of sriracha (or any hot sauce)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

to make beef satay with peanut dipping sauce you should:

  • place all of the ingredients together (except the beef) in a food processor (aside from the stuff for the peanut sauce, obviously) and blitz until you get a thick paste – loosen it off with water if it’s too thick but you do want a paste, not a slop
  • in a large bowl mix together the beef and the marinade until it’s well coated, and leave for at least six hours (or overnight)
  • push the cubes of beef onto skewers and grill under a high heat for about 15 minutes, turning regularly

Feel free to ramp up the speed factor by adding peppers and mushrooms onto your skewers. Also, if you’ve got wooden skewers, remember to soak them for as long as you can – basically, if you’ve got wood, get it wet. Lesson to live your life by.

To make the dipping sauce, mix together all of the ingredients with 4 tbsp of water – to make a really thick paste. keep mixing in 1 tbsp water at a time to the required consistency.

Enjoy!

 

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.

TWEAK

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!

J

chicken souvlakia, plus weigh in week eight

Ah, hello there. Come for the chicken souvlakia recipe? Then please, wait a moment. I’ll get to it. But first, it’s weigh in day, and well, goodness me…

week8

Whilst I’m here, I forgot to post last week’s cockometer too!

12795355_1102913176409558_1589710959370133735_n

I shall make a page of them all on. I find myself thinking of new themes for each knob.

Hooray! 32lb over eight weeks, including the time we put 11lb back on in New York, is good enough for me! Our aim has always been to lose 2lb a week. I get so frustrated when I read comments online where people kvetch and moan about only losing a couple of pounds – that’s the healthy way to do it – slowly and sensibly. I sometimes think Slimming World puts a bit too much emphasis on big losses (like Slimmer of the Week) as it is and it creates disappointment. Mind, my frustration soon builds to sheer eye-popping rage when I see people saying that they’re stuck for ideas on what to cook. You’re using the Internet, the world’s biggest cookbook – it isn’t just used for watching jizz vids and bloody asos.com, you know. I do sometimes think it boils down to laziness – people can’t be arsed to cook but that in itself is a shame, because so many of our recipes for example cook in no time at all. Anyway, no time for soapbox, dinner is almost ready, and I need to post the bloody recipe.

It’s a chicken recipe to celebrate our brilliant new Musclefood deal – I’m going to talk about it in full over the weekend, but we now have a decent, plain deal – around 25 chicken breasts (and each one is huge and doesn’t shrink!), 2kg of extra lean beef mince, 2 big packs of fat fee bacon medallions and two packs of beef strips. For £50, delivered. And mind it’s not delivered the usual online way, where it gets stuffed into a jiffy bag, driven across the country by a lorry driver who has only had three hours sleep, then chucked in your wheelie bin as a “safe place”. Nope, this is a trackable, chilled delivery. Normally £80, haggled it down to £50. We all it our freezer filler, partly because they wouldn’t let me call it a box-stretcher. Click here for this deal and our fancy new Musclefood page!

So, chicken souvlakia!

chicken souvlakia

Just look at it, it’s tasty, juicy and actually, so easy to make. Let’s go. This makes enough for four if you use four chicken breasts. And fuck me, if you needed that explaining, perhaps you’d be better off with a packet of crisps and a sit-down. 

to make chicken souvlakia you will need: 

for the souvlaki:

for the sauce:

  • 250ml fat free greek yoghurt
  • half a cucumber, peeled with the flesh grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

for the salad:

  • half an onion, chopped finely
  • half a cucumber
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • salt and pepper

for the houmous:

to make chicken souvlakia you should:

  • mix together the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice with the chicken and leave to marinade for about thirty minutes
  • meanwhile – prepare the sauce by mixing together all of the sauce ingredients and prepare the salad by chopping everything into neat chunks 
  • when ready, thread the chicken onto the skewers and grill for about ten minutes each side under a hot grill
  • serve with toasted pitta triangles from your HEB and a great big smile because you’ve done ever so well, haven’t you?

J

turkey biryani and Corsica shenanigans

Three things before we set off:

  • I was in ASDA before (the glamour!) and as I was busy upsetting the self-scan machine, I heard some pompous bellend bark at an ASDA employee to ‘fetch me a basket’. The worker had the good grace to point him in the direction of some baskets, but I was instantly reminded why I hate people before I love them. The only thing I would have fetched him was his arsehole through his throat. 
  • It’s approaching poppy season, which means the people whose DNA had to decide between growing black teeth or growing brain cells and promptly decided on the former will be on facebook telling you that poppies can’t be sold in XYZ because of Muslims. I’ve exhausted myself on facebook arguing with numpties, but look, it’s bullshit. The Royal British Legion have confirmed. Just research it!
  • First weigh-in since we decided to give it a bit more effort. I lost 5.5lb (and you’ve seen the meals I’ve been eating!) and Paul managed a respectable 2lb, meaning half a stone’s worth of pressure has been taken off the metal slats of our bed. Good. See, eating properly works, so put down your Scan-Bran and crack on.

A lovely lady at class last night told me I had to crack on with my Corsica holiday trip – and she’s quite right, of course, as ladies always are. So here we go. The last entry finished with us landing at the world’s smallest airport and being given a Peugeot 206: Sloth Edition to trundle around the island in. If you’re not a fan of my writing and you just want the recipe, hit the scroll button, because this is a long one. Like you can’t handle a long entry, you FILTHY MINX. So…

After landing at Figari, and wrestling the keys from a woman who probably could have brought the car in on her shoulders, we were on our way down the N198 (the main road ‘around’ Corsica) to the charming little town of Sainte Lucie de Porto Vecchio, which was a good half hour drive away. We didn’t mind the drive, it gave us an opportunity to let the scenery sink in. Corsica is beautiful – a true island of contrasts, with white beaches, heady mountains, green fields and dusty trees – and not what I was expecting. Our car, protesting as it did every time I dared nudge it above 40mph, shuttled us towards the town, and, us being us, we drive right past the turn off for the villa. Good stuff! We realised our mistake a good twenty minutes down the road and pulled over in a dusty lay-by by a beach to take stock. I could have texted the rep for directions and assistance but Paul had packed away my mobile into the suitcase, locked the suitcase, and put it in the bottom of the boot. It was altogether too much effort to sort. Paul insists on locking the suitcases at every opportunity, partly because they’re fancy-dan editions where the zips actually form part of the locking system. He locked them after we had wedged them into the boot of the car. He remained entirely non-plussed by my bewildered reasoning of ‘who the fuck is going to nick anything from a moving car, a tiny Corsican gypsy hiding in the ashtray?’. Honestly, the things I have to put up with. Frankly, if someone is that desperate to be at my passport that they want to sort through my extra-extra-large t-shirts and his ‘broken in’ boxers shorts, they deserve a reward.

Paul nipped into the bushes for a piddle and came dashing out with an alarmed face – not because of snakes, or scary wild boars, but (in his words) ‘there’s SO MUCH SHITTY BOG PAPER IN HERE’. Oh lovely! That would be a bit of a theme mind. Corsica is astonishing, but by god don’t venture into the bushes to change your clothes, empty your shoes of half a ton of sand or for a piss, because they sure do love shitting and leaving the paper for nature. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t imagine anyone would take their skidmarked paper home like a flower pressing, but at least bury it, don’t festoon the fucking branches with it. Honestly, it looked like Christmas in Worksop.

We stopped at a nearby Spar for groceries. Groceries isn’t quite the right word for the food you buy on holiday, though, is it? The only thing we left the shop with that could provide any nutritional value was the receipt. I’m going to hazard a guess that it will be the only time in my life that a bottle of Limoncello, swimming googles, eight bags of Haribo, headache pills, Pringles and enough bread to build an ark would appear in my shopping basket together. We did buy a token bag of rocket which looked great in the fridge at the start of the holiday and even better in the bin at the end. As a ‘car snack’ we bought a pretzel the size of a steering wheel to eat in the car (I was reassured that I could have dislodged any errant blobs of dough from my teeth with the toenail clipping that the previous driver had generously left on the dash) and we were back on our way. Let me tell you – it’s difficult to drive an unfamiliar car on unfamiliar roads whilst trying to make sure Paul didn’t get more than half of the bread. We made our back, veering dangerously across the road and spraying crumbs everywhere until we spotted the turn-off.

I have to say, the approach to the villa wasn’t very inviting – it looked like the start of every dodgy serial-killer film I’ve ever seen – and the architects had carefully and assuredly made sure to put as many possible pot-holes and boulders on the drive-way, so that the 100m drive up to the villa made me feel like a trainer in a tumble drier. It was worth it, though.

Casa_Julia_LowRes_Sept14_SH_02

living_dining_terrace master_bedroom_2

Casa Julia! I’ve stolen the photos from Simpson Travel’s website because frankly, my photography skills are up there with Stevie Wonder’s. I could be alone in the world and still manage to get the back of someone’s head or a rogue thumb into my shots. Anyway, we paid a king’s ransom for the villa, I’m fairly sure they can let me use their photos. Isn’t it beautiful? It accommodates ten people, so naturally it was just the right size for Paul and I to mince around naked and use every single bed to get the full value out of the holiday. Anyone else do that? God forbid the maid would get a moment to herself, we were too busy crinkling the bedsheets and leaving chest hairs in every conceivable crevice to care. Paul went for a dump almost immediately, despite having ‘freshened the air’ at the airport a mere hour ago. He uses new toilets like one might stamp a passport – to say he’s been. 

Nevertheless, the suitcases hadn’t been unlocked more than half a minute before I was fully undressed and scampering to the pool. That’s a fib, I’m too fat to scamper. Let’s go with trundle. Lumbered. Yeah – I lumbered excitedly to the pool. That doesn’t work either, actually, because you can’t lumber with enthusiasm. How the fuck do you describe that grotesque speedy ‘shift’ that us fatties do? Shall we say I galumphed to the pool? That means to move in a ‘loud and clumsy way’, which describes the way my thighs slap when I go at speed. I galumphed to the pool. Not quite ‘Arnold raced out of the door’, mind.

I spent five minutes teetering on the step of the pool because it was SO BLOODY COLD. Not because it wasn’t heated, it was, but because I was so overheated in my ‘English’ clothes that anything less than a pan of boiling jam hurled in my face would have felt a bit ‘nippy’. Paul shouted encouragement from the lavatory (thankfully that was a one-way process – I don’t think the locals would have been especially pleased to hear my Geordie tones shouting ‘PUSH’ and ‘IS IT CROWNING YET’ across the fields) but that’s rich coming from him. Paul has never, ever just ‘got’ into a pool. He has to inch himself in, letting the water hit each part of his body and letting out a tiny scream as it does so….OOOH ME ANKLES…OOH IT’S COLD…OOOH IT’S ON MY HELMET…CHRIST MY GUNT….and so on. He’ll then spend ten minutes with it lapping just under his tits before finally he’ll crack and tumble in like a falling mountain. A fatslide, if you will. I’m the opposite, I’ll dither and fanny on for a little bit and then just jump in. I’ve got the luxury of all-over hair, see – the cold doesn’t bother me so much because it has to penetrate my shag. It does rather look like someone has pushed an old persian rug into the pool, however. Even the air-filter gasped rather unnecessarily when I waded in, I thought.

Once I’d managed to acclimatise to the coldness of the pool and my scrotum had stopped resembling a Shredded Wheat, it was lovely. I swam around in that fat-person style – 2m of front-crawl, bob under the water, kick my legs about, lie on my back. I got a bloody fright when I felt something swim underneath me and envisioning some kind of aqua-wild-boar, I hurtled (again, however a fat man hurtles) to the other end of the pool only to realise it was the bloody pool cleaner. I hated it immediately. I have an inherent and deep phobia of machinery in water ever since I watched 999 and watched some poor horse-faced lady get stuck underwater when her pony-tail was sucked into a filter. Brrr. Although looking back, everyone was panicking and screaming but really, no-one thought to grab a pair of scissors? Anyway, this little device looked like a Roomba – a smooth circle of menace attached to a hose and with three turning wheels, and it’s job was to beetle around the pool during the day (when normally, the guest would be out), sucking up leaves and hair and tagnuts. It was creepy. It moved silently through the water aside from a tiny electrical hum every now and then and all I could think was that it was going to either get entangled in my arse-hair (imagine THAT 999) or it’ll somehow become live and fry me in the water like an especially fatty pork chop. I couldn’t relax until Paul finished his dump, fished it out for me (the robot, not the poo) and placed it to the side, where it lay gasping and spluttering and wishing me dead. We did manage to turn it off before it drained the pool. Phew.

We then spent a hearty two hours getting in and out of the pool, lying on every sun-lounger and swinging in the hammock that rather put me in mind of a big metal bollock. By god they were comfy. I looked for them online when I got home only to discover they were over £1,000 each. I like comfort, but I don’t think an afternoon lying in the mild air of Northumberland quite justifies the cost. Plus, I’d need to be dressed here, and it just wouldn’t be the same. I was swinging away in my hammock telling Paul all my thoughts on the stewardesses and Corsicans when his lack of answering – and his rumbling snoring – told me he was off to sleep. Ah well. Regular readers will know that we can’t go more than a few scattered minutes without impressing some kind of embarrassment on ourselves and it was my time to shine with a trip to buy yet more beer and bread. Beer and bread, it genuinely doesn’t get better than that for a fatty. Don’t worry needlessly however, we weren’t forgetting our roots – the beer was an entirely unnecessary raspberry froth called pietra (recommended by a far classier and tasteful friend) and the bread a foccacia with pressed olives and bacon wedged inside. We’re that fancy. Leaving Paul in the hammock to fart away to his heart, and indeed his arse’s, content, I stole out of the villa with a view to restocking the fridge with all manner of local ‘nice things’ from the other grocery shop I’d spotted down the road.

You may recall that I can’t speak a lick of French. I really can’t. I only managed one year of ‘French lessons’ before I got so bored it was either transfer to Spanish or defenestrate myself. Actually, we used to take our lessons on the ground floor so the most I could have hoped for was a grazed knee and an audition for drama school. It didn’t help that our French teacher had an eye full of blood for seven months. It’s all any of us could look at. No wonder I never learned my pronouns for goodness sake, he looked like the Terminator 2 poster rendered in Microsoft Paint. After a year I transferred over to learn Spanish and well, no me arrepiento, right? That said, I’m always keen to at least try, so I spent the fifteen minutes walking down to the shop reading my language app and practising out loud anything I may need to say – ‘…huit tranches de jambon, s’il vous plaît’, or ‘une petite portion de fromage local, mon amour‘ or indeed, ‘…pouvez-vous me montrer aux préservatifs extra-forts?‘ I genuinely thought I’d be welcomed and praised for my attempts, that perhaps someone would admirably slap me on my back and strike up in French with me about the local political situation or Greece’s turbulent economy. Thank fuck they didn’t – me repeating ‘QUOI’ over and over wouldn’t have quite the same effect.

Anyway, you can guess, that didn’t quite happen. No. I minced around the shop, filling my basket with ham and eggs and cheeses and, somewhat inexplicably, a box of blonde hair dye because I had a fit of the vapours and thought about dyeing my hair blonde because I’m on holiday, which has to rank up there amongst the ‘unlikeliest thing to do because I’m on holiday’ together with having a colonoscopy or visiting the dentist. My basket was full of deliciousness and I was immensely proud of myself for engaging the various shop folk in stilted, bare-bones chatter. I spotted the beer I’d seen earlier and put two six packs in my basket. All good. No. In my haste to reach for a bottle of mixer, my basket tipped over and deposited everything I’d picked up all over the bloody floor, each beer bottle shattering at once in the most noisy fashion. It would have been quieter if I’d ramraided the shop in a fucking train.

Time stopped. Every single person in the shop – indeed, the island – span around to look at me in a most accusatory manner, as if I was some tiny-scale terrorist. I stood there, desperately fishing around in my head for any relevant French, but I could feel every last French word in my brain popping like champagne bubbles, rendering me entirely mute and confused in a sea of glass and blood-coloured beer. Finally, the silence was broken by the absolute harridan behind the till yelling and shouting at me in incomprehensible gibberish and waving her hands around like Tony Blair bringing in an aeroplane. After a good couple of minutes I FINALLY remembered and I blurted out ‘je suis désolé‘ over and over until she FINALLY twigged I couldn’t understand her. Do you know what is shameful? I only know ‘je suis désolé’ from a bloody Madonna song. Thank God for ole Vinegartits! Some genuinely tiny hairy man came bustling out from the back with a brush and set about clearing away the glass with such exaggerated sighs and harumphing that I almost emptied out my tomatoes and gave him the paper bag to breathe into. I wish I knew what the French was for FAT, ENGLISH, CLUMSY OAF. I felt paranoid that the cow behind the counter was going to put a tannoy announcement mocking my silliness so I hastily paid (her slapping the coins down into my hand with such venom that if I turn my wrist towards the sun, I can make out the imprint of a two euro coin under my thumb) and scuttled back to Paul, who hadn’t so much as noticed I was out of the pool.

To make up for my folly, he prepared a delicious tea of French bread, cheese, ham, grapes and that great equaliser, Pringles. ROSEMARY FLAVOURED PRINGLES, mind you. Living the dream! We spent the rest of the evening lounging and watching Modern Family on the Chromecast.

Sweet Jesus. I’ve typed 3,000 words and all I’ve managed to do is get to the villa and drop some beer. I need an editor! We’ll leave it here, because the tip-tapping of this tiny Mac keyboard is getting on my tits. What do we have for dinner tonight? Turkey biryani! I’m making a bit of effort to use turkey mince where I can because it’s cheaper and a lot of you ask us for cheaper recipes – plus it’s very low in fat. That said, if you’re feeling like a decadent trollop, swap in beef mince. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off – it’s easy to make and tastes delightful. Ah fuck, I said delightful. That’s one of my least favourite synonyms.

turkey biryani

to make turkey biryani, you’ll need (deep breath):

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1″  knob of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli pepper, finely shopped
  • 1 tsp of cardamom seeds
  • 1 tbsp each of ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 6 cloves or half a tsp of clove powder (but you’re so much better with actual cloves)
  • 1 cinnamon stick or half a tsp of cinnamon (see above)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 25g sultanas (4 syns)
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • salt
  • 100g fat­free yoghurt
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint (or 1 tsp mint sauce)

You can get away with leaving out the odd spice, just use what you have. 

then to make the turkey biryani, you should:

  • cook your onion gently, until nicely golden
  • add the turkey mince and cook over a medium heat until cooked through
  • stir in all the spices bar the turmeric and leave to cook for a minute or two
  • add the tomatoes, stock, sultanas and a pinch of salt
  • bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to let it gently cook for around forty five minutes
  • meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160 degrees
  • cook the rice however you like – we use the one cup of rice to two cup of water rule – add the turmeric before it boils – BUT STOP after ten minutes – you don’t want the rice fully cooked yet
  • mix together the turkey and the rice and place in a casserole dish
  • cover and cook in the oven for 25 minutes, add a little more stock if the rice isn’t cooked after 20 minutes
  • meanwhile, core the cucumber of its seeds and then grate it into the yoghurt, adding the mint
  • serve everything together

Yum. I am so tired now.

J

curried chicken salad

Let’s see if we can actually do a quick post. No waffle. Tonight’s meal idea is actually good for a quick lunch, or for hoying onto a jacket tatty for a quick dinner. Not a fan of celery? Leave it out and put a bit of chopped onion in. Don’t like curried things? Well, tricky, but add paprika instead. Not a fan of me? Then simply kiss my arse. Doing well on the 85 recipes deal mind!

curried chicken salad

to make curried chicken salad, you’ll need:

  • 85g fat free natural yoghurt
  • 20g dried apricots, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp curry powder
  • juice from 1/2 lime
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (we got 13 breasts in our box from Musclefood)
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
  • 1/2 mango, chopped

A little tip – chop everything up nice and fine – small chunks are always better.

and to make curried chicken salad, simply:

  • mix together the yoghurt, apricots, curry powder, lime juice, cayenne pepper and salt in a small bowl and set aside
  • in a large bowl mix together the chicken, celery, spring onions and mango
  • pour the dressing mixture over the chicken and toss to coat
  • serve on whatever you like!

DONE. Still 200 words mind! 🙁

J

syn-free houmous four-ways

Only a small post today as it’s mother’s day (so I need to go visit Ripley) and I’m ‘on-call’ for work, with the expectation that I’ll be expected to work into the wee hours again. Fingers crossed this doesn’t happen but it’s not as if I could just turn my phone off…

I am very lucky to have a mum (and dad) like I do. They handled my being a back-door-deirdre with sensitivity and aplomb, which aren’t words you’d immediately associate with our family. I always felt incredibly supportive and they even put up with the various boyfriends that I brought up like a cat with a dying mouse without too much commentary. They even let my ‘friend’ stay for two weeks at a time during the summer holidays. Such a memorable summer. ALTHOUGH saying that, my mum absolutely detested one of my exes, Neil, but he was a cock and she was absolutely right in retrospect. Plus, he looked like a daddy long-legs wearing Matalan slacks. Spindly little bugger. I know a few other gay lads who weren’t so lucky with their parents – I’ve mentioned on here before about the guy who, enthused about being gay since I broke him in, rushed home to tell his parents the good news only for his dad to throw him against a wall and hold a screwdriver to his throat. Good old religion! My parents came through then too – they let him stay at our house and ‘hid him away’ despite his parents turning up in the village where we lived and asking on doors if people had seen him! Crazy times. I think I’ve managed to grow up well-adjusted and happy in myself thanks to my parents and I love them very much for it.

Anyway, enough bloody treacle. In honour of dear old Mother, here’s a rare picture of me and the good lady on a night out. Don’t we look glam?

article-0-02E1BA3C000005DC-221_468x351

What a trooper. Still, better get in the car, nip to the graveyard to pick up a nice bunch of flowers for her, and be away. I can fudge away the ‘With Sympathies’ card easily enough, I’m sure.

Here’s a recipe to tide you over:

syn free slimming world houmous

to make syn-free houmous four-ways:

I love how this looks in a photo, and all four varieties of houmous taste different and fresh in their own ways. All syn free too! They’re just variations of the same basic houmous recipe, below:

  • 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)

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 may remember Delia Smith banging on about these when she wasn’t pissed off her nut. They’re genuinely amazing and it’ll make just the right amount of houmous to fill one of the bowls above. I use it all the time.

BUT OH NO:

TWEAK

Before the Tweak Police are on the phone to Margaret and she’s clambering into the back of a battered Ford Transit with a sock full of batteries to take me out, FAIR WARNING. This could technically be considered a tweak on the Slimming World diet. Is it? Is it bollocks. You’re not eating more chickpeas than you could reasonably eat, and this filled us up enough to skip our evening meal, so kiss it! I’ve done a whole article on tweaking which, if you’re new to this site, you’ll probably get a right good kick out of. It’s here.

Serve with pitta chips (one WW 50/50 pittas (branded as love fibre) is a HEB – toast it and cut it up) and all sorts of superfree slices – cucumber, red peppers, carrots, tomatoes. World is your oyster.

Happy mother’s day all.

J