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!


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:


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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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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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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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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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.


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.


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


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


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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droptober recipe #16: greek garden omelette

Well, Droptober’s 31 recipes fell over, but hey, let’s at least try and aim for 20 eh? Shit or bust! Tonight’s recipe is greek garden omelette, but let’s dwell for a moment.

Ah, autumn. It’s finally arrived. You know how you know autumn has truly arrived? It’s really very simple – it’s not the leaves on the trees turning russet and golden, nor is the first icy chill in the air oh no, it’s when you first spot the first sharing of ‘MUSLIMS WANT 2 BAN THE POPEYE LIKE IF U THINK THIS ISA DISC RACE IGKNORR IF U H8 SIVILISA SIEVEISEYELISAT EVRY1′ on facebook.


Just for the record, this is a disc race. The word you’re aiming for is a disgrace, as in ‘I am a disgrace to my peers for sharing this hateful nonsense’. Twat. I’ve had my first one already this year. Don’t share hatred!

Anyway, not sure where that little nugget of anger popped from, as I’m actually feeling quite laid back. Apologies that we stopped posting for a bit but well, we’re busy folk and plus, in all honesty, it’s hard to eke out 700 exciting words about doing very little thanks to ear infections, busy work and house problems. Some random thoughts, though.

Paul pointed out that I must have come across as a right unsympathetic arse with the guy who comes around and cleans my car, and not least because the poor sod has to sit in a mist of my farts, Haribo wrappers and chest hair whilst he scrubs away at my accellarator and that weird second pedal in the middle that I have no idea what purpose it solves. See, he was supposed to be at ours last weekend and failed to turn up, leaving me seething and sighing dramatically to the point where Paul diagnosed me with COPD and put me on an oxygen feed. He texted a few hours later to say his mother had been taken into hospital, hence no contact, and I said it was fine, no worries, we can re-arrange. See, I’m not a complete bastard.

If I was a bastard I’d have driven to the hospital, unplugged her life-support and plugged in the little handheld hoover so he could give my gearstick bag a good suck, but I digress.

He turned up yesterday full of unnecessary apologies and set to work. I asked if he wanted a coffee to keep him warm then promptly forgot about it and went about my business. It was only after spotting him looking forlorn across the garden that I remembered and hastened out with a piping cup of the Blue Mountain that we keep for guests. However, Paul pointed out afterwards that I’d served his coffee in one of our Modern Toss cups, namely the one that says “I don’t feel like turning up for work today, so fuck off”. I hope he doesn’t think I’m being passive aggressive and refuse to polish my rims. Just once I’d like a workman to leave this house and actually want to come back.

Ah! You know how people always say there’s never a policeman around when you need one? Well, after five years of driving, it finally happened for me – I was beetling along a dual carriageway in the right hand land, unable to pull over into the left lane as there was slower traffic, when some wankstain in a Vauxhall Insignia came so far up my arse that I almost unrolled a condom as force of habit. He was doing the usual – giant hand gestures, yelling incoherently, wanker signs – I’m not sure if he had realised that I literally couldn’t go anywhere as my DS3 was unlikely to squeeze into the passenger seat of the Fiat 500 to the left of me. Cock. I drove on, keeping to the speed limit and putting my hand on my chest and shaking my head ruefully in a very British ‘what am I like’ gesture, which only served to make him angrier.

However, once I could get over, I did move over, not least because his face had turned into a mewling over-ripe strawberry at that point and I didn’t want the fucker to stroke-out and need mouth to mouth by the side of the road. I rather expected his lips would taste of sweat, cheap cigars and Lynx Atlantis. He sped past, gesticulating all the while, and I promptly forgot about him, the very same way I imagine all his friends and family do at a social occasion. Five minutes later, at the end of the dual carriageway, there he was getting talked to by a very butch looking policeman. Ah, lovely. I made absolutely damn sure I slowed down as I went past but didn’t manage to catch his eye – however, he saw me on my fourth trip around the roundabout, and I was sure to give him the tinkliest, most coquettish little way as I trundled past.

Finally, it’s been a while since we discussed the neighbours and that’s for a good reason – all bar one have turned into decent human beings. We still have the one who won’t talk to us unless he’s blowing spittle in our face and complaining about our cats, but then he’s also the one who bemoaned to our other neighbours that having two gay men on the street would bring the house prices down, so you can imagine how much we value his opinion. Everyone knows that having a gay couple only improves the house prices because there’s no screaming children kicking about and well, we’re hardly likely to put a trampoline on our immaculate lawn, are we? The stupid fart.

Anyway, the reason I mention the neighbours is that we’re coming up to Christmas cards buying time (sorry!) and we still haven’t solved the problem from last year – we realised that we have a couple called Pat and Les on the street but no fucking clue which is which. I know it doesn’t matter but I hate not knowing, not least because they’re decent people and always make a point of saying ‘morning James, you’re looking slim’ or “sorry Paul, can you come and retrieve your car, a slight gust has blown it into our lobelia”, to which I can only stutter and say ‘howdo…my love’ or similar. Is it Patrick and Lesley? Patricia and Les? Bah. At least we know what to call the homophobic neighbour, although, as he’s deaf, he’s must be mystified as to why we call him a Count as he walks past scowling at our cats.

Speaking of gardens, let’s get to the greek garden omelette I promised you earlier!

greek garden omelette

to make greek garden omelette you will need:

  • 10 eggs
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
  • 3-4 tomatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 130g reduced-fat feta cheese (2x HeA)
  • handful of black olives (about 20-ish – 4 syns), sliced in half
  • handful of rocket leaves
  • pinch of salt and pepper

The joy of an omelette is that you can customise it however you want – throw in some sliced sausages, ham, mushrooms, cigarettes or a small motor car. It’s YOUR dinner. This makes enough for four. You will need a pan that can go into the oven – we use this, but you can get cheaper!

to make greek garden omelette you should:

  • in a big bowl, whisk together the eggs with the salt and pepper
  • preheat the grill to high
  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add some oil (use one of these and save your pans!)
  • chuck in the onions and fry for a bit until softened and beginning to brown
  • add the olives, rocket and tomatoes and cook for a few minutes more until softened
  • reduce the heat to medium and pour in the eggs – stir frequently whilst they’re still runny and until the mixture is half-set – this will only take a couple of minutes
  • sprinkle over the feta cheese and put the pan under grill and cook for 5-6 minutes until puffy and golden

Enjoy! For more ideas, click any of the buttons below!

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