lamb and mint burgers, plus time for DILF!

You have come for the lamb and mint burgers – I nearly did too. But in order to get to the lamb and mint burgers, you’ll either need to scroll through a tale of DILFery OR jump straight to the picture of two men nearly kissing. Either way, I’m going to make you work for it.

They say never meet your heroes, and nor should you reuse your opening joke from a similar blog entry two posts ago, but sometimes you have to take a risk that the man you’re meeting off the Internet isn’t going to brutally attack, sodomise and chop you into bits. Much to my chagrin: I could do with the easy weight loss a leg amputation would bring. Following hot on the heels of my recent jaunt to meet Paul II, the chap behind our roast potatoes recipe, we rolled the dice again and agreed to meet another mate for the first time. His name is Andy, and if you’re a member of our Facebook group, you’ll have seen his arse more times than you’ll have seen our recipes. He was up to see Suede and had decided to make a weekend of it and thus, plans were afoot. We were going to meet Saturday Night, but then I realised Sunday was far more appropriate.

We had arranged to meet in Newcastle’s cigar lounge for a few drinks and a catch-up, but then Paul came along (as did Andy’s wife) and thus we had to find a new venue to accommodate everyone. I shan’t call it cockblocking, even though that’s clearly what it is. We settled on Newcastle’s premier ‘why yes, I am vegan’ hotspot (although technically it’s Gateshead) ‘By the River’, which is a charming collection of shipping containers full of pop-up boutique eateries and fancy places to drink. It’s wank, aye, but good wank: the type of wank which doesn’t take forever and rewards you by just leaving your pubes looking like an iced-bun. By The River, if you want to use that in your advertising, my fees are entirely reasonable. Gateshead has a rough reputation – some of which is deserved (there’s more than a few places where if you’ve got a full set of teeth in your head you’ll be beating the street’s total) and some of which isn’t, but By The River at least feels safe.

We were late but they were later still and on entirely the wrong side of the river so, whilst they minced over the swing bridge resplendent in their winter wear (She’s In Fashion), I went in and ordered a couple of beers.

“We only serve our beers in 2/3rds, no pints” said the charming lady behind the bar, and who then stuck her hand out for £11 – for not even two pints. When I asked whether I was renting the pub for the evening and whether I only needed to pay 2/3rds of the bill, she gave me a look that turned my beer flat and jostled her hand at me again. I love to make friends. I took my sunkissed tangerine press beer and Paul’s grapefruit and hops liquor nonsense (surprised it didn’t come with a tampon floater) outside just in time to meet Andy, Sarah and their children. A baby (she’s a roight good babby she am!) and a young lad. I’ll say this now – what an absolute treasure their children are. Absolutely Beautiful Ones. You have to understand that I’m coming at this as someone who dislikes children immensely and would think nothing of dropkicking the little buggers into the Tyne if they so much as slightly inconvenience me in any way. It’s testament to Sarah and Andy’s excellent parenting that the lad, So Young, was able to sit and be cheerful through ten hours of our nonsense, and was content to nurse his Jaegerbomb and twenty deck of Lamberts whilst the adults chatted.

We sat by the river for about half an hour chatting like old friends before we realised that the baby’s lips had turned blue and she had icicles hanging off her nappy and thought it would be wise to head indoors but, met with a sea of shaped beards, brittle wrists and occupied seats, we were forced to decamp to the Wetherspoons over the bridge. I’m not a fan of Wetherspoons for political reasons and because the owner looks like Professor Weetos mid-CBT, but nevertheless, it’s cheap and cheerful and at least the baby would have a chance to thaw. Finding a table for six proved difficult, not least because Captain Potato Paint was sat at a table for six and refused to move. He wasn’t sat with anyone and yet refused to swap over, taking a fair bit of joy in watching us crowd around a tiny table. Prick. With any luck, he’ll have pitched himself into the Tyne on his way home.

Eventually a table came clear and, with a final shitty look at the melt who wouldn’t move, we took our seats and started drinking. Here’s a cute thing: we posted our table number into our facebook group and mentioned if people wanted to send us a drink or two, they could. They sent a bloody table’s worth of booze – gins, whisky, pints, shots, pitchers of lurid cocktails and, of course, some smoothies and a lemonade for the little one (Paul). That was amazing, and if you sent us a drink, thank you – but it gets even better. People, knowing what fatties we were, sent food. So much food. We had 12 trays of halloumi fries, seven bowls of mushy peas, a token salad and so many biscuits. Whilst We Are The Pigs and Can’t Get Enough, even we can’t manage that much. At one point both the ‘Chef’ and the bar manager came over to ask whether we actually wanted the drinks and food that people had sent and tried to guilt-trip us because we’d caused a run on the bar. Fancy, a pub having to serve drinks and food! They both had a right strop on – presumably the Chef’s microwave had reached critical mass and was threatening to become the next Chernobyl, but even so – people paid for the food, you give it to them! I blame BREXIT.

A good few hours passed in delightful company and let me tell you, conversation never felt strained, save for when we were trying to work out the nuances of Sarah’s Sam Allardyce accent. The baby was getting restless at around 10pm (I’ve never seen a baby call for her own Uber before) and the decision was made to return back to their Premier Inn with us two in tow. What followed was a smashing game of car Tetris which saw the delightful Ahmed (5*) trying to fit a baby, pram, two fat blokes, a small child and his Switch, one rugby-build bloke and one wife with a better beard than all of us into a Vauxhall Zafira. To his credit, once we’d strapped Sarah onto the roof like the granny from The Beverley Hillbillies, popped the baby in the glove box with a rusk and I’d persuaded Andy to sit on my face and wriggle, we were away.

The Premier Inn was a wonderful establishment with kind staff, a bottomless bar (well until I turned up) and cheery receptionists who were just so eager to please. The rest of the evening was spent messing about, talking Trash and laughing until about half one, when we definitely chose of our own volition to leave the bar. We were waved off warmly by the staff and even had a long conversation outside with the kind, good-natured receptionist and just charming security chap. Paul and I jumped in an Uber home and although the driver seemed not to mind detouring into Gosforth Racecourse so we could all go for a piss, he hid his disgust well behind a cloud of our piss-steam. A good night indeed!

Tell you what though, what a pleasure it was meeting such a lovely group of people. I’m not one for overwrought writing but sometimes you just know when you’ve made good friends – so well done Sarah and Andy, you’ve melted our hearts. They’ve made the catastrophic error of inviting us to their wedding later in the year – sounds like a gas save for the fact I love being the centre of attention and if Sarah thinks I’m not turning up in a size 36 white wedding dress with mascara smeared on my face and Astroglide smeared up my arse then she’s got another thing coming. Probably Andy, to be fair. Up my bum, hopefully. We haven’t been to a wedding since the last time when we got drunk and I tried to fuck to the strains of Gina G. How am I gonna beat that?

And finally, before the recipe, a moment of congratulations for me, if you don’t mind. I’ve managed to type 1400 words or so and never really made clear what an absolute fucking DILF this man is:

There’s just something about his looks that appeals to me, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. We’ll Stay Together again!

Right, speaking of tasty meat, shall we do this lamb and mint burgers recipe? Let’s get your dripping from your mouth instead of your blurter.

lamb and mint burgers



lamb and mint burgers

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lamb and mint burgers

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Yield 4 burgers

This recipe really is just so easy - just two ingredients, so any old simpleton can do it. Whack in a bun with whatever the hell you like and you've got yourself a top BBQ favourite!

If you don't fancy lamb, swap it out for a pork and apple burger!

Ingredients

  • 500g 10% fat lamb mince (5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp mint sauce (1 syn)

Instructions

  • in a bowl mix together the lamb mince and the mint sauce
  • divide into four, roll into balls and squash into burger shapes
  • cook on the barbecue (or hot pan, or under the grill) until done - they'll only need about 5 minutes each side
  • eat!

We served ours in a HEB bun with some natural yoghurt and a tiny bit of mint sauce added, with lettuce and onion. But you don't need to follow us slavishly, you know.

Notes

  • You can get 10% fat lamb mince from Tesco, or any decent butcher. You can use the normal stuff too if you like, just remember to syn it
  • Your burgers don't need to be neat and tidy, all we do is roll into a ball and smash down and they come out perfectly everytime, but if you're anal/fancy/trying to pull you could do with one of these burger presses
  • Don't worry if the mix feels sloppy, it'll firm up a bit as you keep mixing
  • Don't be tempted either to crack an egg into it or add breadcrumbs like many recipes tell you to do - it just isn't necessary at all!
  • We cooked ours on the barbecue but these will do just as well under a hot grill or in a hot frying pan, just make sure the internal temperature is above 72°c if you don't want the shits 
  • Stick whatever you like in your burger - we had a wholemeal bun (HeA), lettuce, onion and a bit of yoghurt and mint sauce
  • After a decent barbecue recommendation? Of course! This is what we have and it's cracking

 

Having a barbie? We’ve got tons of proper good recipes to tickle that fancy of yours (ooer)! Just click any of the links below!

Ta la!

J

kalamata spread with tasty pitta chips

‘ey up! Kalamata spread with tasty pitta chips – no messing about, just a good simple recipe for when you’re craving a snack in front of the TV. It’s the one thing Paul and I miss the most when we’re on a diet – we have a large coffee table in front of us and feel cheated if we can see even a postage stamp sized portion of it underneath all the dips and crisp packets. It’s not a good night unless my lips are sloughing off from all the salt and vinegar.

Now: to make this low-syn dip takes no time at all and would easily do for a taster night too – if you want to make it go a bit further, mix some greek yoghurt in with the tuna and add some chives. Easy! This makes enough for two hearty portions.

kalamata spread

kalamata spread

to make kalamata spread with tasty pitta chips you will need:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tin of tuna, drained
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 25g reduced-fat feta, crumbled (2 syns)
  • 5 kalamata olives, chopped (about 2 syns)
  • 1 wholemeal pitta bread, cut into triangles (1x HeB)

top tips for kalamata spread with tasty pitta chips:

  • the red pepper is optional, but hey, it looks fancy and gives you something else to eat along with it
  • make a nice, fine mist of oil for the pitta breads with one of these!
  • can’t find kalamata olives? black olives will do

to make kalamata spread with tasty pitta chips you should:

  • preheat the grill to medium-high
  • chop the pitta bread into triangles and spray with a little oil and a pinch of paprika
  • cook the pitta breads under the grill until brown and crisp then turn and cook for a few seconds more
  • meanwhile, slice the top off the pepper and remove the seeds
  • next, mix together all of the other ingredients in a bowl and spoon into the empty red pepper
  • eat – don’t forget you can pick the pepper apart and eat that too – waste not want not…

Are you enjoying our Greek meals? We’ve got more!

J

lemon and garlic sautéed mushrooms

I’m not going to lie, it feels good to cast off the shackles of Chinese week – I love Chinese food but see, it’s like when you get a takeaway – you feel great for about thirty minutes, then you just want more, end up eating all the straggly bits leftover and then spend the rest of the night clutching your belly as it distends with wind. Just me? Anyway, we’re still away, and because you’ve had an awful lot of long blog posts lately, just a quick post tonight. One thing we always struggle with on Slimming World is a tasty side dish but we’ve found an answer from Greece – sautéed mushrooms! Give them a go – this makes enough for two large portions.

sautéed mushrooms

sautéed mushrooms

to make greek lemon and garlic sautéed mushrooms you will need:

  • 450g chestnut or button mushrooms
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 60ml water

top tips for greek lemon and garlic sautéed mushrooms:

  • peppercorns will give a stronger flavour, but if you don’t have any 10 twists of a pepper grinder will do the job
  • mince that garlic in seconds without faffing on with a garlic press – get a Microplane grater and you’ll use it every day!
  • give the pan a good coating of oil with a mister – this is what we use

to make greek lemon and garlic sautéed mushrooms you should:

  • remove the stems from all of the mushrooms
  • slice the lemon in half and juice one half of the lemon, and keep aside
  • rub each mushroom against the flesh of the other lemon half
  • spray a large frying pan with a little oil and put over a medium heat
  • add the mushrooms, garlic, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves and fry gently for 4-5 minutes
  • add the water and lemon juice to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms are soft but not mushy
  • sprinkle over the dried parsley and serve

Hungry for more veggie options? We’ve got loads! Have a deeks at some of our favourites below:

Enjoy!

greek salad cheese toastie: syn-free snacking!

A greek salad cheese toastie? On a Friday? Good evening all! Just a quickie (ooh I say) for today as we’re off to a rave. No, seriously. I’m digging out my dummy and E’s especially for it. It’s a good job I’ve got a strong jaw. Years of practice, that.

But just because we’re out doesn’t mean that you miss out – oh no. We’ve got a treat for you with this one – a fantastic greek salad cheese toastie! I know that doesn’t sound like it should go but it really does and I demand you go make this immediately. You’ll feel like you’re in Mamma Mia. As always, this makes enough for four! Shall we?

greek salad cheese toastie

greek salad cheese toastie

to make a greek salad cheese toastie:

  • 4 wholemeal pitta breads (4x HeB)
  • 8 tbsp twochubbycubs’ houmous
  • 65g reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled (1x HeA)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • quarter of a cucumber, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced

top tips for a greek salad cheese toastie:

  • our houmous is the best you’ll ever have and it’s syn free! If you can’t be arsed you can use the shop-bought stuff, just remember to syn it. A tablespoon of reduced-fat stuff is 1½ syns)
  • make quick work of the veg with a Mandoline slicer!
  • we used pitta breads because they’re tasty but you could use your usual Healthy Extra B choice bread instead
  • we used an Optigrill to cook this, just because it’s easy and makes nice slices. You could put these under a normal grill or in a George Foreman instead
  • add olives if you want, I don’t care

to make a greek salad cheese toastie you should:

  • cut the pitta breads in half and microwave for 15 seconds to help open them up a bit
  • spread the inside of each pitta bread half with one tablespoon of the houmous, then add all the other ingredients
  • cook for a few minutes until nicely golden (see top tips above)
  • eat!

Love a good sandwich? So do we! Have a look at our other recipes below!

christmas clear out: fancy greek salad

Christmas clear-out continues with this fancy Greek salad! I have no idea why Paul has such a stiffy on for Greek food at the moment, but I’m not complaining as long as he tends to my every whim and fills my world with dolmades. I’d love to find a low-syn version of those but it’s tricky given they need to be soaked in oil.

Remember: our Christmas Clear Out is our wee break away, taking care of something personal and exciting. We’ll be back soon, but in the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying these recipes that we’re passing over. A lot of people ask us to put the recipes first on the blog and then follow it up with the nonsense afterwards. We’re thinking about it – what would you prefer?

Right: to the recipe. Dead simple this one and it makes for such a good lunch you’ll give yourself a wide-on just thinking about it. Serves two.

to make this fancy greek salad you will need:

  • 80g quinoa, rinsed
  • 90g reduced fat halloumi, thinly sliced (2 x HEA)
  • a few modest inches of cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 16 black olives, sliced (3 syns)
  • 8 tbsp couscous
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • handful fresh mint, chopped
  • two good handfuls of rocket
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt
  • ground black pepper

to make this fancy greek salad you should:

  • well, really: cook the quinoa and couscous as instructed using the hot vegetable stock
  • chop up your tomatoes and toss them with the lemon juice, olives and the rocket and a good pinch of salt and pepper
  • dry fry your halloumi in a pan – use a griddle pan if you’re going for the fancy griddle mark look
  • we added bacon after the photo was taken – we didn’t like the idea of having a meal that didn’t leave us looking anxiously at each other whilst clutching our left arms

This keeps very well for a lunch the next day, though I’d maybe hold back from tossing your rocket until you’re actually about to it. Trust me, if there’s one thing I’m an expert on, it’s tossing my rocket – been doing it since I was 12.

Oh we get asked a lot about what lunchboxes we use. Listen, we’re not fancy: get yourself a few Sistema boxes and crack yerself on. They’re dirty cheap on Amazon RIGHT NOW. 

More recipes please? Certainly. Open wide…

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J

christmas clear out: stuffed greek wraps

Stuffed Greek wraps in but a moment. Are you missing us? Like the desert misses the rain? Well, don’t worry, we’ll be back soon, but in the meantime our Christmas clear out continues ahead of next year! Lots of random recipes that we’ve never had the time to post are here for your viewing pleasure with the added bonus of minimal to non-existent guff before the recipes! You can customise these however you want but I was inspired by spanakopita, which is my favourite Greek dish after the hairy-necked beast who runs the Greek salad shop in Newcastle. Oh my: he could certainly invade my Ottoman area, am I right ladies? Makes enough for four.

stuffed greek wraps

to make stuffed greek wraps you will need:

  • 4 Weight Watchers white wraps (4x HeB)
  • 200g spinach
  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 65g reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled (1x HeA)
  • 25g sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (1.5 syns – soak in hot water for 20 minutes to plump them up. The ones in oil are higher in syns so be sure to check if you’re using those instead)

for the tzatziki

to make stuffed greek wraps you should:

  • mix together all of the tzatziki ingredients in a bowl, and leave in the fridge while you do the rest
  • next, chuck the spinach in a large pan with a few drops of water and cook over a medium-high heat until wilted (or bung it in the microwave)
  • squeeze out as much of the water as you can – I find the best way is to let it cool and then wring it like a wet cloth
  • mix together the spinach with the chopped tomatoes, feta, and spring onions
  • heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and spray in a little oil (don’t let Frylight ruin your pans – get one of these!)
  • spread half of the spinach mixture over a wrap and top with another plain one – do the same again for the other and press down a little bit
  • cook for a couple of minutes, turn the edge over every now and again to make sure it isn’t burning. once it’s nice and golden carefully flip and cook the other side. do the same again with the other one
  • cut into quarters and eat! Remember, two quarters is your HEB choice as that’s a whole wrap.

Serve it with the greek potato hash from yesterday and you’ll be cooking with gas!

Hanging out your arse? Don’t worry – we’ll look after you. Click one of the buttons below to get your mitts on more of our delicious recipes!

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J

christmas clear out: greek potato hash

Here for the Greek potato hash? Christmas push continues as we throw out a few of the recipes we’ve had floating about – we’re taking a break at the moment, so this is just to tidy things up before Christmas! No time for chitter-chatter, let’s do this!

greek potato hash

to make greek potato hash you will need:

to make greek potato hash you should:

if you have an Actifry you will save yourself a lot of faff. If you haven’t got one yet, get one here!

  • chuck the potatoes along with a spoon of oil into the Actifry, and cook until roasted
  • about five minutes towards the end, add the oregano and garlic
  • when finished, tip the potatoes into a bowl and sprinkle over the salt, pepper, zest and crumble in the feta
  • mix for a little bit, sprinkle over the lemon zest and then serve

If you haven’t got an Actifry, you can do these in a pan instead:

  • bring a pan of water to the boil and add the potatoes
  • boil for about 10-12 minutes until the potatoes are soft
  • drain the potatoes and pat dry
  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add a little oil
  • fry the potatoes for about 6-8 minutes, until browned
  • add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano to the pan and stir well
  • cook for a few more minutes and remove from the heat
  • crumble over the feta and sprinkle on the zest, and serve

Want some more? Just click one of the buttons below!

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cheese and spinach stuffed aubergine rolls

Cheese and spinach stuffed aubergine rolls awaits you, but before we get there, we have a small diversion to take via Benidorm. Buckle up folks, it’ll be a bumpy ride. Not interested in our holiday stories? Click the LEATHERY OLD SLAPPER just below to be whisked straight to the recipe.

Pfft, like we wanted her to stay anyway, eh? Let’s do this.


I know that technically that’s not the Spanish flag but honestly, saying as I think I heard one sentence of Spanish in the entire holiday, I thought it was fitting to overlay the United Kingdom flag behind it.

Let me start by reminding everyone that these our own views and that your experience may differ. Whilst I’ll play up our snobbiness for the blog, we don’t really think that bad of folk. Hell there were some sights to be seen for sure, but for the most part it was a decent holiday. Before you light your rolled-up copies of That’s Life and march on my doorstep, remember: shut up.

So, why Benidorm? Why, on the Earth full of beautiful places, interesting cultures and wonderful sights, did we settle on five days in a concrete wasteland full of boggle-eyed Brits shouting at waiters for DOS BEE-URS POR FAV-WHORE? Easy. Paul. The problem I have is that I’m very easily led – work hard enough on me and I can be persuaded to do pretty much anything. Anything, just saying. I once drove home behind a bus with an advert for ladies private healthcare on the back and had to be stopped from booking myself in for a full cervical screen and a hysterectomy. Paul takes advantage of my suggestibility an awful lot, which is why I have a Smart car on the drive and a bumhole like the end of an exploding joke cigar. He had seen me slumped in my chair on the plane back from Portugal, working my way through a rum and diazepam on ice, and suggested we go to Benidorm. He’d watched a programme on Channel 5 and thought it would be hilarious. I was too busy seeing individual moments of time fragment before my eyes to argue, and so it was that we’d no sooner landed, got home and fed the cats than he had the flights and hotel booked.

Great! I spent the next three weeks moaning to all and sundry that it wasn’t my idea of a good holiday place, and, as a result, I could barely get excited for it. If I want to see port-coloured Brits wearing full football kits and kicking in the locals, I need only nip down the road and book myself into a hostel in Whitley Bay, possibly the only place in the UK where the beach is more dog shit than sand. Nevertheless, time rolled on, and here it was the night before our flight and I had to pack. Paul had one job – wash our work clothes so we didn’t have to blunder about when we came back. Easy, yes?

No! He did indeed manage to wash them and hell, they even ended up in the tumble drier right on schedule – but he neglected to check the pockets, meaning our debit cards were treated to a full hot wash and tumble. They were wavy, and completely unable to fit inside a cash machine. This meant that for the entire holiday we had to withdraw money via our credit card which, because banks are bastards, ended up costing more (roughly) than the hotel. Pfft. Imagine the kind words that were exchanged between us. Actually, I just look into those protuberant, wobbling, bloodshot eyes (or try to, one is usually swivelling around like Mad Eye Moody sitting on a washing machine) and all is forgiven. I can’t stay angry with that wee face.

Our flight in the morning was an altogether reasonable 9am, but Paul does love to be at the airport in plenty of time, so usually we end up setting off the previous Christmas to ensure we make the ten miles to the airport without incident. I always mock him for this but for once, he was actually right to tip me groaning out of bed, into the shower, wash me under my boobs and get me dressed because – catastrophe – my car had a flat tyre. Although I didn’t admit it at the time, I later confessed that I thought I’d damaged the tyre when I was making the car bump and groove to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun as I drove home the day before. Taking his car was a no no because we were carrying more than a leaflet with us and thus, there wasn’t room.

What a to-do! I’m sure folks out there more manly or competent than us wouldn’t have spent ten minutes looking at the jack in the boot of the car, wondering whether 6am was too early to wake a neighbour to come and be butch for us or discussing whether to chance a ride to the airport with a flat tyre. In the end, we caved and ordered a taxi. We were told it would be here within ten minutes – it actually took forty, and the unshaven, brutish oik of a driver didn’t so much as apologise. We did spend the entire car ride nodding politely at his stream of racist comments. Paul had to hold me back when he started banging on about the work standards of immigants (sic) – I looked around at his filthy taxi, stinking of smoke as it did despite the no smoking sign, looked at the footwell full of litter and the clock which showed we were thirty minutes behind schedule, and all I wanted to do was to say that if this was the benchmark upon which to compare work ethics, well, the quicker Krzysztof arrived here in the back of a lorry the better.

We didn’t tip.

Newcastle Airport remains a disappointment. It has a few shops but I mean, come on, which joker thought Sports Direct was a good idea? There’s also a kebab house, a Greggs and a poky WH Smith for good measure. I nipped in there to buy some chewing gum and was asked to show my boarding card. For a packet of chewing gum. I think he knew from how loudly I rolled my eyes that it wasn’t going to happen. We went to the only place that wasn’t full of stags and hens – so, so many hens shrieking and cackling – indeed, the only place that looked halfway decent. We ended up paying over £16 for two coffees and two bowls of yoghurt and muesli. I mean, get fucked.

Oh and to top it off, Paul was upset by some braying skidmark in a cheap suit who, when asked to move out of the way as he was blocking the entrance, told him to fuck off. Pfft! Because we’re British and hate direct confrontation, it was only later when I was able to respond in kind – we were stood behind him waiting to pay for our breakfast when I loudly wondered out loud if ‘when your nose hair gets to such an extensive level, do you not consider a combover’. The guy knew we were talking about him because he touched his nose as he left. Let’s hope he develops a complex and ends up old, alone and covered in matted nosehair.

I hate airports – it just feels like everything is designed to piss you off in some way. Security is a ballache – a necessary one, absolutely, but for goodness sake crack a smile, tell a joke, lighten the mood a little – if you’re going to be groping my cock to see if I’m carrying on an extra 20ml of Tom Ford at least be gracious about it. You go into shops and it’s the same shite for sale as everywhere else, only with fake reductions on it, and everyone gets in your way. You get corralled into tiny ‘gates’ where there’s enough seating for the five people on your full flight and then when they call you to the plane, they don’t let you board, preferring instead to keep you penned together at the bottom of a flight of stairs, sweating and collectively tutting away. I know you can pay extra to get into the airport lounges but Newcastle’s lounge is an absolute joke – if you like piss-weak flat prosecco and scrapping over lukewarm Costco muffins with a Grouponed-gaggle of hens, maybe it’s for you. Frankly, I’d be more relaxed if I board the plane freefalling from 35,000ft in the air.

Perhaps I’m just being grumpy. But see, I had two other concerns. Firstly, we were flying Ryanair, and it was just at the time when they had started announcing flight cancellations and all sorts of problems with the schedules. The relief when I glanced outside our gate window and saw they had actually sent a plane rather than a cardboard cut-out to fool us was immeasurable. But the fact that the plane was there at all created another worry – we’d never flown Ryanair but have heard all sorts of horror stories about how they gouge you at every opportunity. I was that ready to be shafted that I’d lubed myself up in the toilets and soaked my boarding pass in amyl nitrates. To top it off, they charge you to sit together – actually actively go out of their way to pull you apart to force you to pay more – and so, out of protest, Paul had ignored this, meaning we weren’t sitting together for the flight out!

Great! I’m not scared of flying but I do like to have Paul next to me so that, if the plane was plummeting towards the earth in a ball of fire and wrenching metal, I could push him in front of me to act as a crude take on an airbag, even if that airbag is full of air that smells of pure, concentrated death. We had speedy boarding so we were the first to be released from the holding pen and we took our seats.

Thoughts? Awful. Listen, Ryanair is very much ‘what it says it is’, but for goodness sake, there’s not even a seat pocket in front of you to put your stuff in, meaning you have to balance your iPad, phone, headphones, water and headphones on your lap. By the end of the flight I was a grade four juggler. Actually, that’s a fib, but I was technically deaf. I’ve never been on such a loud flight. There were no groups of stags or hens – thank God – but everyone was speaking at about twenty decibels more than necessary. I tried listening to a podcast but it’s difficult to concentrate on Sheila Dillon when you’re sat in the middle of a People’s Postcode Lottery advert. People who, rather than get up and walk down the aisle to talk to a family member, preferred to yell down the plane like they were hijacking the flight.

Oh and christ almighty, the coughing. It was like being on a last-chance flight to Lourdes. At one point I was actually thankful for the lack of seat pockets because they’d be full of blackened lung. I hoped for a small fire just to get the oxygen masks to deploy and give their lungs a break. We’re not talking delicately coughing into a tissue here like Satine in Moulin Rouge, but rather, huge rasping barks where you can hear the air-sacs ripping. Half of the time there wasn’t so much as a hand in front of their mouths, meaning the air in that cabin was probably 80% lungbutter particles. I couldn’t bear it and I could sense from the shade of Paul’s ears a few rows in front that he felt the same. Folks, if smoking means you can’t get through a three hour flight without sounding like you’ve just escaped a house fire, give it up! For goodness sake!

Aside from the volume and coughing, the flight passed smoothly – it was canny of Ryanair to make sure we didn’t get a moment’s rest by coming onto the intercom every five minutes to sell us sandwiches, drinks, duty free, scratchcards, perfumes, a 15 minute turn in the cockpit and the odds on the plane having enough jet fuel to land safely. They should have came round with a trolley full of Strepsils, they’d have turned enough profit to pay John Travolta to fly all of those cancelled flights.

We landed safely, if somewhat abruptly, and cleared passport control in mere moments, which was lovely. I was still hoping that someone had slipped a kilo of coke up my arse at this point and we’d be sent home but no, no such luck. We had arrived – for better or for worse. Let’s leave it there and do the recipe though, eh?


This makes about twelve rolls, more if you’re stingy, and make for a nice little tapas style dinner!

 

to make cheese and spinach stuffed aubergine rolls, you’ll need:

  • two aubergines, as big and thick and as phallic as you dare – if you’re not worried about the neighbours seeing them tumble out of your car, they’re not big enough
  • 200g of ricotta (two HEA)
  • 80g of soft goat cheese (two HEA)
  • 25g of breadcrumbs (just use ready made, 4.5 syns – or you could clit about with your healthy extra but zzz)
  • 200g of wilted spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (6 syns)
  • salt and pepper

In total then, if this makes 12 rolls, you can have three rolls for 2.5 syns and a HEA. You’ll need a griddle pan for the best looking rolls, an Optigrill, or hell, even a frying pan will do it but you’ll not get the fancy griddle marks.

to make cheese and spinach stuffed aubergine rolls, you should:

  • thinly slice your aubergine, lay them out flat and rub salt into each slice – leave for thirty minutes to pull some of the bitterness out of the slices
  • pop your oven onto 180 degrees
  • meanwhile, wilt your spinach – not a euphemism, don’t give yourself a strum in the kitchen – once it’s wilted, chop it fine
  • want a tip? put your spinach on a plate and put a plate on top and squeeze – it’ll get all the water out
  • mix the spinach, ricotta, goat cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper into a bowl
  • when you’re ready to cook, take each slice, pat it down to get rid of the water, and brush each slice with the oil – you only need a little bit of oil per slice so don’t go mad here, I did make the tablespoon last!
  • time to grill your slices:
    • if using an Optigrill, whack the heat sensor up to red and let it get up to temperature – I sprayed the plates a couple of times with spray oil (not Fryshite) – when up to temperature, lay your slices on and cook them until the griddle marks are nice and clear – done!
    • if using the griddle pan or frying pan, same as above – get it out, cook for a few minutes, remembering to turn and take off the heat when the marks appear
  • take each slice, put a teaspoon of the filling at one end, and then roll up
  • pop them all into an ovenproof dish and whack it in the oven for fifteen minutes
  • done!

Easy! Looking for more ideas for quick dinners? Here’s a random collection of buttons that’ll see you right!

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J

 

 

crunchy tomato feta dip

Crunchy tomato feta dip you say? I do, because frankly, it’s delicious. You may remember from yesterday that we’re having a break from the writing bit for a few days but this is another recipe for you to get your lips around. We made this tomato feta dip to try out a recipe we’ve found and actually ended up having it for our main meal. Worth every last syn, I can assure you.

That said, if you were stuck for something unique to take along to taster night, and for goodness sake why would you be when we have so many excellent taster night recipes, and it doesn’t cost an awful lot of time or money to make. I can’t bear taster nights because people seem to lose all dignity – I’ve seen someone actually pushed over by some leviathan in a Paul’s Boutique hoodie, so keen that she was to get her soiled sticky hands on a Ferrero Not-cher. Plus, frankly, I can’t bear not knowing what people’s kitchens look like. I’m happy to eat most things but not if it’s been prepared in something that looks like a trap from Saw. Brr.

To the recipe!

to make crunchy tomato feta dip you will need:

  • 260g reduced-fat feta, cut into rough cubes (4x HeA)
  • 5 big tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 big tbsp of jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp oregano
  • 80g reduced-fat cheddar, grated (12 syns)
  • 4 wholemeal pitta breads (4x HeB)

to make crunchy tomato feta dip you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • mix together everything except for the cheddar and the pita breads
  • spray a small casserole dish with oil and tip in the tomato and feta mixture
  • top with the grated cheddar and bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden
  • leave to cool for five minutes, then serve with the pitta breads

Get that down yer. And when you’re done, why not check out some more of our recipes? Just click below!

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J

summer salad with fried feta and a tomato consommé

You wanted summer recipes, so here’s two: summer salad with fried feta and a tomato and nasturtium consommé. But first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The searing hot, radioactive, giant ball of gassy matter that pumps out offensive levels of heat and that could kill us all. That’s right, my husband – he’s currently in bed, so I’m going to discuss the sun. For those in Scotland:

this is the sun – it’s the thing that turns you from that milky white colour to freshly butchered mince in 8 seconds.

I hate it. I’ve discussed at length the many things I hate about the great British summer but, because I’m a) tetchy and b) fat and c) sweaty, I’m going to moan about it again.

Insects

Literally everywhere you turn. Now I’m not daft, I know bees are important and without them we wouldn’t have pollination and food and existence and, perhaps more importantly, this gif of a bee giving a high-five:

but even so. Just once I’d like to spend more than eight minutes outside without something biting me, swarming at me, worrying me or just giving me shitty looks. I took this salad outside yesterday to take a decent photo in the light and I swear I’ve come back without at least one full layer of skin thanks to all the bites. I know I’m irresistible but I’d love to enjoy a meal outside without the both of us swearing and screaming like the table is on fire and we’re eating petrol sandwiches. The situation escalated surprisingly quickly when Paul knocked over a bottle of limoncello syrup – you can imagine how the wasps and bees reacted to that. Hopefully they’ve got smashed off their tits and are comatose in a hedge somewhere, the vespine equivalent of a teenager celebrating getting his fingers wet. I know of a friend who foolishly went camping in summer at Kielder Forest and was sent back to Newcastle by a roaming gang of midges. And we’re Geordies, you understand, we’re geet hard as ‘owt. Pfft.

Cars

Dogs die in hot cars. True, and you always get a satisfying story in the papers of some idiotic clot who dashed into a clinic to get her vag steamed only to leave poor Fido sizzling away on the parcel shelf, who then came out to find some hero has smashed all the windows in the car and called her a c*nt on national TV. I’d be tempted to let the dog out and do a big steaming shit all over her steering wheel, claiming the dog did it out of distress. But that’s not all – getting into my car at the moment is like trying to make yourself comfortable in an active volcano. I climbed in yesterday, peeling layers of skin off my hands as I did so, and found that the car was registering 34 degrees. 34! I turned the engine on expecting the car to blow up and leave me smeared across the street like fat jam. Paul’s car is even worse thanks to his asthmatic air-conditioning – I had to check whether he’d bought a new air-freshener yesterday but the smell of cooking bacon turned out to be the seatbelt clip sinking into my tit like a hot knife through butter.

Increased neighbour interaction

Most – though not all – of my neighbours are decent folks now, especially since they’ve had five years to come around to the fact that two gay men living on their street doesn’t mean we’re going to have all-night orgies and an amyl-nitrate fountain put in the front garden. About half of them actually stop to talk to us now, would you believe. That’s acceptable, but it means we also see the other half a lot more. Take this morning. I was awoken at 8am by the sound of my neighbour yanking and swearing at his shitty Lidl lawnmower to try and get it started. You need to understand that there’s only two reasons I ever want to be woken up on a Sunday before 11am: either I’m sleepshopping naked in ASDA and I’ve got my cock resting in the bananas or Paul has managed to convince the entire first team squad of the Newcastle Falcons that I’m their pre-game warm-up.

He eventually managed to get his £7.99 lawnmower going (and bearing in mind he’s one of these type of folks who’ll spend £35,000 on a car then never take it out of third gear) and I was left trying to dose whilst he whirred and spluttered and farted around his postage-stamp lawn. At 8am. On a Sunday. When he is fully retired and could do this at any time during the week. You can imagine my good humour, can’t you? I did a terribly British thing of getting up and slamming the window shut, but that in turn made the room boiling hot so I had to get up. Paul slept on. You know when they detonate those giant cooling towers and they crumble to the ground in a cloud of dust and excitement? You could stick Paul on a camp-bed right in the epicentre of the blast and he’d still only fart, turn over and start grizzling about his lumpy pillows. The fat bastard.

Go out and enjoy yourself  

Oh fuck off. I can enjoy the oppressive heat when I’m lying baking on a beach in Corsica, somewhere where I can dash into the sea to wipe away my sweaty boob rash and to peel my scrotum away from the sides of my ankle if it gets too much, but what can we do here? As I said, we can’t sit in the garden because we’re like cocaine for insects and we can’t go out in the car because it’s like driving a convection oven down the motorway, so what is left? Standing outside trying to surreptitiously peel clothing out of fat rolls and going ‘ooooh this is nice, bet it won’t last‘ like every other Brit? I don’t want to go outside. I want to stay inside where it is cold and air-conditioned and lovely and yeah I might get rickets but so fucking what, I’ll look bloody hilarious running for a bus. Beer gardens are full of boorish hooray-henries vaping and existing, public parks are awash with children screaming and laughing and even the cold, dark of the cinema is ruined by the kids being ‘on holiday’. Bah.

We need a decent plague and for him upstairs to turn the air-conditioning back on. By him upstairs I mean Paul, and, as we live in a bungalow, even that tortuous analogy doesn’t work. Let’s blame it on the heat.

Recipes then – summer salad with fried feta and a bonus recipe for a tomato consommé. I realised there was no point in sticking the tomato consommé on as an individual recipe because no bugger will make it, but hey, let’s roll the dice.

to make summer salad with fried feta you will need:

  • 250g reduced-fat feta cheese (4x HeA)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour (4 syns)
  • 4 tbsp panko (or any other type of breadcrumb, but panko works best) (4.5 syns)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • any sort of salad stuff you want to throw together
  • spray oil

Notes

You will need a fair few sprays of oil on this one – for each portion I’m going to say 10 sprays of a decent spray oil – so unusually, I’m counting the oil as an extra syn (5 sprays for 0.5 syns). It’s up to you, though. We use a spray oil dispenser from Amazon and top it up with decent quality olive oil – you can see the one we use right here (it’s dirt cheap). You could use Frylight but why would you – it’s shite. Plastic, nasty shite, plus it’ll mess your pans up. God knows why it is constantly recommended.

Those lovely looking pink onions? I’ve posted the recipe for them before right here (it’ll open in a new window) – they’re amazing. Soaked in vinegar, the sharpness melts away and they look amazing in a salad. Any time you have a red onion approaching the end of its life, follow this recipe!

Our salad consisted of a yellow pepper sliced and turned into matchsticks, moonblush tomatoes (made from our recipe here – we’re really using up the old favourites), a few black olives which I don’t syn so shoot me, peeled and sliced cucumber, rocket, sliced red onion and sliced pickled red onion. Make your salads interesting – it’ll serve you so much better – lots of flavour and textures.

to make summer salad with fried feta you should:

  • prepare the salad
  • cut the feta block into four equal pieces
  • dredge each block into the flour, then coat in the egg, and finally roll about in the breadcrumbs so it sticks (roll the feta, not yourself)
  • next, heat a small frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray some oil (save your pans and get yourself one of these)
  • whilst the feta is frying, gently spray a little more oil over the top so they brown when you flip them, which you’ll need to do do after about five minutes
  • when golden, serve on top of the salad so it’s just slightly soft in the middle

Delicious! Now onto the consommé – this is delicious but only if you’re a big tomato fan. I didn’t syn the drop of olive oil I used but up to you whether you include that! This is a clear(ish), pure tomato soup served cold. Very refreshing!

to make tomato and nasturtium consommé, you’ll need:

  • 2kg of tomatoes – red and ripe – soft is fine, we bought a giant box for a couple of quid from our local garden centre
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce (or tamari) and 1/2tsp of tabasco
  • either a big handful of nasturtium flowers or, if you can’t get them (and you should bloody grow them because they’re amazing for you AND for the bees – they add pepperiness and you can eat both the flowers and the leaves), a big handful of basil
  • some decent salt flakes
  • a squirt of decent olive oil (optional)
  • a couple of pretty little tomatoes or nasturtiums and chopped chive

Notes:

This will serve four people a bloody big bowl of soup. It’s a faff timewise to make but worth it if you’re a fan of tomatoes and you want to try doing something different.

If you’re a vegetarian, remember to swap out the Worcestershire sauce for a veggie equivalent.

to make tomato and nasturtium consommé, you should:

  • chop the tomatoes into quarters, removing any particularly beefy stalks
  • tip the lot, together with the shallots, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and basil/nasturtium into a food processor and blitz it – you might need to do it in stages – season with salt and then blitz again – you do not want a smooth paste, you want it lumpy
  • now the tricky part – I found it so much easier to do this over the sink – put a large pan into the sink and then you’re going to want to take a large piece of muslin cloth and tip the tomato mixture in – tie the cloth up so the mixture can’t pour out of the sides and then find a way to suspend it over the pan so that the juices can drip through overnight (oh you flirt!) – I just tied my cloth to my tap which hangs over the sink
    • if you don’t have muslin cloth, use a very clean tea-towel – we’re not talking about the Congratulations Charles and Diana tea-towel that you wipe your minnie with when no-one is looking but a good fresh tea-towel – maybe use two – try not to get one that you’ve washed with fabric conditioner though eh, because the smell of Lenor is going to be off-putting
    • you can buy fine muslin cloth from amazon for a couple of quid – so much easier
  • the longer you leave it the better it will be, but DON’T SQUEEZE THE BAG otherwise your consommé will be cloudy (it’s natural for it to be a bit cloudy or yellow, but don’t make it worse)
  • in the morning, add a tiny dash of olive oil (1 tsp – 2 syns, up to you if you syn that tiny amount between 6) and gently simmer the liquid for about quarter of an hour – don’t boil it
  • season to taste with a bit of extra Tabasco sauce or salt if needed, then refrigerate until ready to serve
  • when serving, decorate with a few thin slices of the nice looking tomatoes or a couple of nasturtium flowers and chives and serve as cold as can be

Done! Enjoy! Want more veggie or lunch ideas? But of course you do. You know what to do by now!

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J