syn-free chicken jalfrezi, and it’s time to talk

Syn-free chicken jalfrezi – our streak of ‘what you pick up after a night out’ (aside from undetectable chlamydia, hussy) meals continues without any sign of stopping! But before we get to it, an important message. Long time readers of the blog will probably have heard this before, but bear with me – it’s Time To Talk day.

What’s Time to Talk Day I hear you mutter, in that alley-cat hiss of yours. It’s really terribly simple: it’s a day put out there to encourage everyone to talk about mental health, to hopefully try and reduce the stigma and suffering of anyone out there with mental health issues. It’s about being open and honest and non-judgemental and it’s a day that shouldn’t be needed, but sadly is.

Some of you may know that I (James) have a mental health problem: I have health anxiety. Whilst in all honesty it hasn’t bothered me significantly for a good couple of years now, it’s only because I have built my own systems for keeping it in check. Health anxiety is when your brain becomes consumed with the idea that there is something fatally wrong with you: a headache is a brain tumour, pins and needles in your arm is the beginning of motor neurone disease. At my worst, I was convinced I was going deaf and blind because my vision was a bit shaky and I was struggling to hear. Even my ovaries ached at one point.

Health anxiety is an especially cruel beast because anxiety forces the body to react in a ‘fight or flight’ mode all the friggin’ time – so your muscles ache from sitting tensed up, your head hurts from your mind going a-mile-a-minute, your eyes are irritable because you’ve been up all night fretting – and then all of those aches and pains feed back into your worries and you become sure that you are actually suffering with an illness and it really can’t be all in your head and anyway, what do the doctors know because fuck it, I’ve found my disease on google. It’s an endless, cruel, feedback loop.

Only it isn’t endless, not at all. At my worst I thought that my life was over – even if I wasn’t actually physically ill, my mind would never rest again – I’d be alright until the next crisis and then back to wobbling and feeling like warmed through shit. You have no idea how exhausting it is dying every single day. However, right now, I barely worry. I barely give twinges and aches and pains the slightest thought, and if I do concentrate on them, it’s because they actually hurt and they’ll go away. Which, touchwood, they always do. I’m actually a very healthy young man who has been supremely lucky in his life not to be beset by something tragic. I concentrate on that now, rather than wishing my life away. Hell, I knew I had overcome the worst of my health anxiety when I went for a shite the other day, noticed it was almost bright red and, rather than sorting out my will and ringing for an ambulance because my bowels were turning into a cancer-soup, simply remembered I’d knocked back a whole jar of pickled beetroot the night before. See: now I’m just a fat fucker, as opposed to a dying one.

So what helped? It’s hard to actually say, because what helped me may not help you. That’s the way things are – no two minds are the same (plus my mind is probably riddled with prions turning it to crumpet thanks to my mother’s predilection for cheap beef in the 80s). But, put succinctly, I trained myself not to care. I took the view that if I had MS or Parkinsons or motor neurone disease or toxic shock syndrome or blood cancer or feline aids or mad cow disease or a club foot or rabies then sitting rocking in my chair in front of Jeremy Kyle and sobbing wasn’t going to fix a damn thing. I had all of those and that’s that. So, before my legs turned to playdoh and my mind became a mist of memories, better to get out and enjoy things again. And that’s what I did: I forced myself out. I forced myself to socialise, I forced myself to ring the doctors ‘tomorrow’, and then made sure that tomorrow never switched from future to present. I’d go a bit further and a bit longer before giving in.

Of course it was hard – at times impossible – but progress was made. If you’re convinced in your mind that you have leg weakness, for example, pick up a football and punt it as far as you can, preferably through a neighbour’s window so you have to leg it afterwards. If you think you can’t remember, pull up the best ever sex you’ve ever had from your wank-bank and visualise it in explicit, squelching detail. I guarantee you’ll remember some small detail, but don’t feel down on yourself, that’s just what God gave you. Test yourself not by thinking about what you can’t do but instead what you can. Positive reinforcement instead of negative. It sounds wank and like I say, may not work for you – but when I got to the end of a week without ringing the doctors I felt ten times better than the ‘relief’ I felt from hearing a doctor telling me for the nineteenth time that I wasn’t leaving the surgery in a body-bag. Try it.

The other factor that helped me was having a decent support network. I’m very lucky: I have a husband who would sit and be patient with my wailing and whingeing – he never rolled his eyes at me or told me I was being stupid. He never shook me like that hysterical woman from Airplane. He may have wanted to – I cringe when I think I used to wake him up in the dead of night because my heart was racing (from anxiety, not the heart disease I then suspected) but he was lovely and kind and patient and exactly the type of rock you need to build a stable future on. Plus he’s fat and squashy, which acted like a stress ball during the worst of it.

I told my mum what was happening at the time and, although more blunt and honest with me, she was also incredibly supportive. She reassured me it would pass, that my worries would ease and my mind would clear, and it did. Mums are always right. Nearly always. I told a few friends but not many – I’m far more private than my 2,000,000 words and counting personal blog suggests – and it was interesting how many of them also suffered with mental health or knew someone that did. It isn’t the ‘just me’ problem you may think it is, you know, and the more that we are honest and open and brave about discussing it, the less power it has. The less shame is felt. More people will talk about it rather than bottling it up thinking it is something to be ashamed about. You wouldn’t feel embarrassed about going out with a broken leg, unless someone wrote that you were a bellend on your cast. Why feel bad about a broken mind?

I’m rambling, which is probably a symptom of my early-onset dementia. But if you take anything from this nonsense, it’s this – if you’re unwell at the minute, open up to someone – a friend, family, a co-worker you can trust. Don’t have those? Look at websites like Time to Change for resources, or, or talk to the doctors. Yes, it’s a bit of a crap-shoot at the moment with the NHS’s approach to mental health, but we know who to blame for that. But something is better than nothing. If you’re on the other side of the coin, feel good – and be prepared to listen. Don’t tut. Don’t roll your eyes. Be honest with the person pouring out their heart to you – you don’t need to patronise or say ‘there there’ (because what the fuck does that even mean?) but feel free to be candid (but not cruel). Never tell someone they’re worrying over nothing and to buck the fuck up, because that isn’t how it works – no-one chooses to be mentally unwell and there isn’t a switch.

But, to end on a ridiculously cheesy note: there’s always hope. It might be hidden under a pile of black, steamy turd, but it’ll be there, and it’ll come through. Recovery might take weeks, months, years or never, but you’ll cope. You always have so far.

CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN SWIM EVERY SEA! And to think you just came for a syn-free chicken jalfrezi. I am sorry, but that was important. Let’s do the recipe, shall we? It’s a piece of piss, no doubt about that. This is a recipe by Simon Rimmer so yes, unfortanately, that means you’ll be getting….RIMMER? I BARELY KNEW ‘ER. Eh? You having that? Hello?!

syn-free chicken jalfrezi

syn-free chicken jalfrezi

to make a syn-free chicken jalfrezi, you’ll need:

  • one onion, peeled and chopped
  • one teaspoon of chilli powder
  • three teaspoons of tasty, tasty turmeric
  • a good pinch of salt
  • four big fat chicken breasts, the kind of dirtypillows yer mother would tell you off for, chopped into chunks
  • one tin of chopped tomatoes
  • one teaspoon of freshly grated ginger (see my comment about your knob down below)
  • two cloves of freshly grated garlic
  • three teaspoons of cumin
  • three teaspoons of coriander
  • one big fat lemon
  • we served ours with chips – remember we have an easy guide to making your own here

top tips for a syn-free chicken jalfrezi:

  • if you’re using ginger, don’t keep buying fresh – buy a big knob and keep it in the freezer until you need it, then just use a microplane (no need to peel) to get what you need without even needing to defrost – we love our microplane, as well you know, and you can buy one here
  • the chicken from musclefood is consistently good – it doesn’t waste away to a watery epididymis unlike supermarket chicken – so buy yourself a massive pack at a decent price by clicking here and taking advantage of our unique deals
  • a good oil mister is perfect for this one – this is what we recommend
  • it might look like a lot of spices but these are all staples you should have in – remember, don’t buy in the spices aisle at Tesco, go find the world foods aisle and you’ll get so much more for the same price

to make a syn-free chicken jalfrezi, you should:

  • spray a good decent heavy pan with some oil and gently sweat the onions and garlic off until the onions are golden
  • mix the chilli, turmeric and salt together in a bowl and then toss the chicken pieces in – make sure they get covered evenly
  • put the spicy chicken in the pan and cook through – a good ten to fifteen minutes
  • stir the tomatoes, ginger, cumin and coriander into the pan and reduce the heat until it’s bubbling nicely
  • cook with the lid on for about twenty minutes until it has reduced down and if it’s looking a bit too thick, add a splash of water
  • now: if you’re feeling decadent, you add butter at the end: 25g is nine syns, so between four that’s just over 2 syns each! Just stir it in before serving, together with the juice of a lemon
  • serve with chips, rice or panache


Easy and syn free! I mean, what more could you desire?

Want more curries? I’d be delighted to assist.


warm and spicy shepherd’s pie – perfect warming food

Warm and spicy shepherd’s pie on the menu tonight. Two things: it really ought to be a cottage pie because we’re using beef mince and secondly, should it be shepherd’s or shepherds’ pie? Oh it confuses me, but at least you guys aren’t getting the blog delivered in text speak. So shush. For tonight’s story you’re coming back with us to Stockholm but listen, we’re not going to stay too long – it’s just I’ve had this ‘typed up’ in my head all day and I want to spurt it out. It’s only one memory – a two hour trip, in fact – but because it was great fun, here it is. As ever, if you’re here just for the food, click the button below to be whisked straight to it.

Do you know, even though I’ve included that button and made it super clear how to get to the recipe, I’ll still get emails from people saying luklushun were recipea plz. I think I could cheerfully nip over to their house, cook their meal and then press their faces into the gravy and they’d still look blank-eyed and slack-jawed, mouthing the words carent c it sorry over and over. But I digress. Enjoy my mini holiday entry, those of you with some dignity.

click here for part one

I’m actually going to cheat and jump forward to the next day – we spent most of the evening before just wandering around drinking before retiring for an early night, and as this isn’t an Ibsen play, I don’t think you need that level of blisteringly boring deal. So, power-mince through time with me ’til the next morning when, having applied for a small loan in order to buy a coffee and a pastry, we wandered out into the streets.

What joys awaited us then? Of course: a museum dedicated to what life is like if you’re a blind person. Admit it: that was your second guess. We had seen the Invisible Exhibition advertised in the inflight magazine on the flight over and despite the scant details, we knew we had to give it a go, and so it was that we were found heading towards the Osynlig Utställning at 10.30am in the morning.

Our journey on the bus was marred a little by having some chap stare at us the whole way – every time I looked up from cooing out the window at how pretty the city was I’d meet his fixed, cold gaze. This went on for a good twenty minutes and he didn’t return my smile or respond to my scowling. Even when I started doing that thing where you stick your middle finger up and slide it over your cheek in a subtle ‘fuck off’ fashion he didn’t stop staring. Very disconcerting, and, of course, when it came to our stop he jumped up and made his way smartly off the bus in front of us, though thankfully he disappeared in the opposite direction as went off to find a coffee that wouldn’t immediately bankrupt us.

That took altogether longer than expected: turns out there’s not a great amount of cafés open down at the docks on a Sunday morning, though we managed to finally locate a watery attempt at coffee by walking into a gym and standing looking at the receptionist for ten minutes whilst she dithered about with her paperclips as though we didn’t exist. Here, I know we’re fat and thus about as welcome in your fancy spa-gym as a verruca outbreak, but pay us some heed. Sulking but caffeinated, we made our way to the exhibition.

The premise then: experience life without sight. The first shock was the price of admission – they definitely saw us coming. Or rather, they didn’t. Actually the entrance fee was very reasonable – I just wanted to set up that laborious joke. We were the only ones there and had to stow our coats, watches and indeed, anything with a light, into a locker. I joked that ‘but I light up a room just by being there!’ but they must have been a deaf-mute because they didn’t immediately fall to the floor clutching their sides. The tour began with a kindly chap showing us how to use a Braille keyboard which, of course, I grasped straight away and typed out my name – it came out as Jimas, and rather than admit my error I just took that name and ran with it for the rest of the tour, feigning some vague Arabic origin story. Paul mastered it effortlessly, of course, but see he’s got a terribly boring first name which is hard to get wrong. If his name was a colour it would be the shade of piss-weak tea.

Our young host left us at this point and we sat at the table until a cry of ‘Jimas and Paul’ bellowed out from across the reception. Part two of our tour was ready: forty minutes being led around a pitch black room stumbling around various ‘scenarios’ to see how you would come without sight. Our guide arrived and OF COURSE it was the bloke from the bus who I thought had been staring wildly at me but had actually just been looking at me without seeing me. The relief I felt when he explained in his opening speech that he was totally blind was immense. He hadn’t seen me mouthing ‘fuck off’ to him for half the bus journey. Or had he? Was this a ruse? Was he going to trip me up in the darkness? Paranoid!

He led us in. What followed was a genuinely bizarre but, no pun intended, eye-opening experience – lots of different rooms to be led around in the blackness, guided only by his excellent instruction. Stuff like sniffing spice jars in the dark to season a meal (at first I thought he was giving me poppers – what can I say, when in a dark room…), operating the taps in a bathroom, putting on music. There was a room where we were encouraged to feel various statues to identify them – The Thinker by Rodin, Atlas holding up a globe and then, with much shrieking from Paul, he identified that he was in the throes of giving Michelangelo’s David a rusty trombone. Later rooms involved crossing a ‘busy street’, walking through a forest at night (♬ you gotta have faith-a-faith-a-faith ♬) and sitting down in a café where you were able to order drinks and snacks from the guide. I was all for a glass of tap water and getting the hell out but, because Paul is hilariously obese, he ordered a tube of Pringles. He could not have ordered a noisier bloody snack if he tried. Have you ever had to sit in the pitch black, all senses bar your sight heightened, listening to your partner crunch his Pringles, smack his lips and make awkward small talk with a guide who was probably itching to get out? I have. I took to making ‘wanker’ signs at Paul and mouthing ‘c*nt’ at him whilst he chewed.

It occured to me as we left the ‘room’ that there’s bound to be an infra-red camera up in the eaves watching us in case of someone falling over or a fire breaking out, meaning that me being horrible to my other half in the dark will all be documented and put on the staff newsletter. However, as we left, Paul confessed that whenever the guide had been talking, Paul had been pulling faces and spreading his arse cheeks at me. Classic Jimas and Paul, right? Once we’d settled up the bill for the Pringles and said a thanks to the guide, we scuttled out.

Let me say this on a genuine note: it was great. No pun intended, it was eye-opening – so disorientating being in the dark but interesting in all of the different ways life can be made easier for blind folk. The guides were charming and the exhibition really well set out – if you’re ever in Stockholm, and in the mood for something entirely different, give it a go!

previousArtboard 1

Right, let’s do this recipe eh? We were looking for a more unusual, warming take on the shepherd’s pie and this recipe came through! You might be feeling a bit unsure about adding spice to such a classic but trust me when I tell you it’s bloody amazing. This makes enough for four massive portions – could very easily serve 6, but we’re fat and greedy. We didn’t get here by eating salad, after all!

shepherd's pie

shepherd's pie

to make a warm and spicy shepherd’s pie, you’ll need:

  • 800g potatoes, diced into 1cm cubes
  • 500g lean lamb mince (or beef)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 400ml lamb (or beef) stock
  • 1 tbsp gravy granules (2½ syns)
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • juice of half a lemon

top tips for making warm and spicy shepherd’s pie:

to make a warm and spicy shepherd’s pie, you should:

  • if you’re using an actifry, chuck the potatoes in with the turmeric and spray over a bit of oil and cook for about 10 minutes
  • if you’re using an oven, spray the potatoes with a bit of oil and toss in the turmeric
  • next, preheat the oven to 200°c
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray in a little oil
  • add the mince, onions and carrots and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently
  • add the garam masala, stock, peas and gravy granules and give a good stir
  • bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce to a simmer until the gravy has thickened (about 3-4 minutes)
  • tip the mixture into a large dish and top with the potatoes, then squeeze over the lemon juice
  • bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes
  • serve!

Tasty! Want more ideas for a good evening meal with mince? Then let the Mincing King sort you out!



aubergine and tomato curry – absolutely gorgeous

You’re here for the aubergine and tomato curry of course, but first, I have some truly shocking news.

We’ve joined a bloody boot camp. A boot camp! Yes, like all the other New Year New Me fitness wankers. Weirdly, I feel I should explain our actions. We eat reasonably well but we simply don’t do enough exercise. We enjoy the gym, but I find I tend to stumble in my own drool on the treadmill as it faces the boxing class and well, if there’s a particularly brutish looking man getting battered around the ring, I find the emergency stop button being pressed by something other than my hands. Paul’s the same: enjoys the gym, but is very conscious that there’s a McDonalds, a KFC and a Dominos on the way home. It’s altogether too easy to think that you’ve worked up such a sweat punching the number for a Kitkat Chunky into the swimming pool vending machine that really you ought to have a treat. What can I say: I tried but I was weak and backsliding, and now the Devil has come home in the form of swollen ankles and breathlessness when I blink too much.

So: if crippling obesity doesn’t give me pause enough to do more exercise, what will? The lure of money – or rather, the fretting and angst that potentially losing money brings. I’m not going to name the company that I’m boot-camping with as I don’t want it to look like we’re pushing them – we’re not – but they offer a money back guarantee as long as you stick to the classes. If you don’t, you lose your money. All very fair and a great motivator for someone as tight-arsed as me – I’d climb Everest if I thought the guy in front of me had dropped a fiver out of his pocket when reaching for his oxygen tank. We’ve handed over a not insignificant amount of money and committed to six weeks of hell, all in the name of having slightly less fat on our arse when we roll into summer. Paul trembled at the thought of exercise, I sobbed at the thought of having to put my gym trainers back on.

We bit the bullet though and it was with a heavy heart and far heavier tits that we pulled into the car-park on an industrial estate at 9pm, something we never usually do unless we’ve pre-arranged a meeting with a lorry driver whose ‘wife just doesn’t understand him’ and ‘anyway it’s not gay if I don’t touch yours’. At least I think that’s what they say, my ears are usually muffled by thighs at that point. I had visions of walking in and everyone collectively gasping until someone rushed over and threw a blanket over us like one might do with a screeching budgie. I knew we’d attempt one exercise, find it all too much and then skulk out the emergency exit with our ears wringing. Typo deliberate, and I’m quite proud of that. But no: the crowd didn’t consist exclusively of people who looked like they’d been whittled from walnut, but rather an excellent mix of weights, sizes, ages, oxygen saturation levels and fitness. There were no shitty looks, no whispers, no redirections to a dark corner ‘for the best’. In fact, we were treated marvellously – we chuckled our way through the disclaimer (swollen ankles? I don’t know, they’re usually behind my ears out of sight, ho ho) and had our photos taken, front and profile like a mug-shot. Which is fitting, because my gym outfit was a crime to all things sartorial. I don’t care, I’m there to sweat and go blue, not pull. Judge me on my gasping, not my Lidl exercise socks.

Before we even had a chance to change our mind our class was ushered in and it began. What followed was dreadful in the best possible way – great fun, a good mix of exercises and excellent leadership – but you need to understand it’s hard to concentrate when you’re certain you’re about to shit out your own heart through over-exertion. I have genuinely never moved so much in my life: you could set me on fire and I’d still keep a slower pace than I did that night. We ran, we jumped, we threw a ball around, we did lunges and push-ups and press-ups and burpees and kicking and although we couldn’t do many, we bloody tried, and surprised ourselves with exactly how much we could do. There was no pressure: just firm encouragement, which was exactly what we needed. I could have done without the Now That’s What I Call Wrapping A Vauxhall Nova Around A Lamppost playing so loudly but if anything, it kept you moving if only to move away from the speaker.

The biggest revelation: we actually had fun. We both came out (surprise!) full of praise and looking forward to the next one. Who would have thought it?

But, by god, am I paying for it now – I can barely move. I’ve moved muscles that up until Monday night were still worried about the Millennium Bug. I’ve got aches in parts of my body that I didn’t know I had – who knew that the underside of a tit could ache so much? I feel like I’ve jumped out of a moving car. Yesterday wasn’t too bad but today I actually got stuck on the toilet for five minutes. Sat down no problem, sacrificed my dinner to the Sewer Gods without breaking a sweat, tidied up and made to leave only to find I couldn’t actually pull myself up. What to do? Spend the day with a cold nipsy in the vain hope someone would a) rescue me and b) not be repulsed enough by the fetid air that they would decide it was better to leave me to my fate? Unlikely. I had to hoist myself up using the towel rail like an old lady who had taken a tumble in the kitchen. Not just me though: I received a text from Paul this afternoon with the sorrowful phrase ‘I’m stuck on the stairs’ – like a cow, he had gone up the stairs no bother, but coming down meant bending his legs in such a way that was simply impossible. He had to shuffle down on his arse. Watching him walk across our lawn to the house was hilarious – he was walking so gingerly you’d think we’d stuck land-mines in the snowdrops.

Still: another session tonight at 9pm. If anyone wants to visit me in hospital afterwards, I’ll be in the Cramlington cardiothoracic department. You’ll be able to spot me by my cheap shoes and blue lips.

Right, let’s do the recipe for this aubergine and tomato curry, yes? That’s what you’ve come for, after all. It’s an aubergine and tomato curry from Meera Sodha’s Made in India book, adapted slightly for Slimming World. I can’t tell you enough how much I love this book – most of the recipes can be adapted if you’re feeling virtuous but they’re absolutely gorgeous exactly as they are. Plus, I’m yet to find a recipe in there that hasn’t been nice and easy to make. I genuinely recommend: you can buy it from Amazon right here!

aubergine and tomato curry

aubergine and tomato curry

to make an aubergine and tomato curry, you’ll need:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • 4cm knob of ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tbsp tomato pureé
  • 1 tsp sugar (1 syn)
  • 2 large aubergines, quartered and cut into half-cm slices

One gadget we swear by is a good Microplane grater – this’ll make mincing the garlic and ginger a breeze! No I know, I recommend them an awful lot, but it’s because it is worth having. You’ll use it a lot!

Yeah, we used one syn of sugar in the recipe. Divide between four and that’s quarter of a syn. I mean, really.

to make an aubergine and tomato curry, you should:

  • plonk a large frying pan over a medium heat and spray in a little oil (Frylight ruins non-stick coating, so use this instead!)
  • add the onion and cook until it’s turning a bit golden, which’ll take about 6-8 minutes
  • add the green chilli, ginger, and garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently
  • add the tomatoes to the pan and then stick the lid on
  • leave for about ten minutes for the tomatoes to soften
  • add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and tomato pureé to the an and mix well
  • when it’s looking a bit sloppy, add 150ml of warm water and then the aubergine slices
  • stir gently until the abuergine is nicely coated, the stick the lid back on again
  • cook for another 15-20 minutes over a medium-low heat – you’ll know it’s done when you can cut the aubergine with a wooden spoon
  • serve!

Enjoy? Why not click the vegetarian recipes I’ve provided below and live like a Queen?



simple but perfect beef mince biryani

Beef mince biryani – I’m sure there’s a billion ways of doing this recipe and this is probably the common as muck version but hey, sometimes you just fancy something spicy. Our takeaway has stopped taking our calls since Paul used to stand by the letterbox on all fours whenever the hunky deliveryman, with his baleful brown eyes and arms that promised the world, came to the door. Think that’s bad? He once put ‘Will nosh for extra dough balls‘ on our Dominos order when he was drunk and then made me answer the door. Don’t get me wrong, it’s factually correct – if anything it’s a slight understatement – but still. I wouldn’t mind but I opened the door to a lovely wee lady who looked like Sandi Toksvig trying to solve a particularly tough crossword.

Anyway, as promised, we’re going to go straight into the recipe, no messing about. We all know foreplay is a waste of time anyway, surely? Hello? Is this thing on?

Just so you know, we served this with our perfect chicken korma recipe – you know why it’s perfect? Because we don’t stir a friggin’ Muller Light into it. Why? Because we’re not simple. For scooping we used Broghies – they’re one syn crackers that can be found in most Icelands around the country by now. If they’re not in yours, run into the shop, bundle whatever old lady is in your way into a chest freezer and demand that the manager stocks them immediately. They’re perfect for dips! And no: we’re not on commission.

We found this recipe at mytamarindkitchen and I 100% a look at their blog because the food is absolutely amazing. Tweaked this for Slimming World. Let’s go.

mince biryani

mince biryani

to make the perfect beef mince biryani, you’ll need:

  • five ripe tomatoes chopped up – can’t be arsed, use tinned tomatoes, but come on now
  • a teaspoon of coriander, cumin and chilli powder – now, if you don’t have spices, go to your world foods bit in your supermarket and buy them in bulk – so much cheaper – keep them sealed in a good tin though
  • I cheated here and used a garam masala grinder rather than making my own – was only a quid in Tesco – used about 10 good grinds
  • a bay leaf or two (don’t stress if you don’t have them)
  • one big fat onion, chopped nice and fine
  • 500g of extra lean beef mince – or use turkey mince for even lower calories (though it’ll not change the syn value)
  • 350g of basmati rise
  • half a tin of cooked green lentils
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • a good couple of handfuls of peas
  • 1 inch of ginger, minced
  • half a teaspoon of turmeric
  • 100ml of beef stock
  • one green chilli

optional extras for your mince biryani:

  • one lemon and one lime
  • a pinch of (shiver) saffron
  • chopped mint and coriander

top tips for your mince biryani:

  • we cook our rice in our Instant Pot – you absolutely don’t need one, you can cook rice just fine in a pan – but if you have a pressure cooker have a look into it – rice is a doddle! Instant Pots are quite hard to come by at the moment due to a stock shortage and, whilst we love ours, we’ve heard good things about the Pressure King Pro – only £70 on Amazon at the moment
  • if you’re mincing your garlic and ginger, use a microplane grater – you don’t need to peel the garlic or ginger and it’ll save your poor wee fingers
  • oh and whilst we’re on about ginger, buy a big knob of it and put it in the freezer when you’re done with it – it grates just fine frozen and it’ll save you buying it fresh every time
  • and listen, if even that’s too much for you, you can buy ginger and garlic paste in most major supermarkets now – in the same jar – for a quid or two – just use a tablespoon for half a syn!

to make the perfect beef mince biryani, you should:

  • soak your rice in cold water for a good half hour, and then cook it through until it is almost cooked(I like to add the turmeric to the rice as it cooks, to give it a yellow sheen) – you want a bit of bite left
  • heat your oven up to about 175 degrees and get a good heavy pan out of the cupboard – you’ll need one that has a lid and can go in the oven
  • spritz with a few sprays of oil, grind the masala into it and heat until it smells amazing
  • add the garlic and ginger and the chopped onion – cook the onions until they take on some colour, but don’t burn them
  • then add a pinch of salt, the chilli, cumin and coriander and cook off – add the stock here so it doesn’t catch and to to get all the good stuff off the bottom of the pan
  • add the tomatoes and fry until they’ve softened down – then add the mince and peas and cook until that’s cooked through and has absorbed most of the moisture in the pan
  • the easy bit now – layer the lentils over the top followed by the rice
  • optional: add chopped mint, slices of lemon and lime and if you’re super fancy, you could dissolve the saffron in hot water (about 25ml) and pour that one
  • cook in the oven for about twenty minutes with the lid on so it can steam
  • once you’re happy with it, clap your hands and eat your dinner!

There. I hope that leaves you satisfied and smiling!

What? You want more curry and spicy ideas? Of course you do. You love having a bumhole that looks like a shocked mouth. Here we go then:

Enjoy. Do let me know your thoughts, won’t you?


absolutely perfect creamy chicken korma

Chicken korma. Korma? I barely knew her! Listen, I had to do it, don’t judge me. Now, rather than a blog post today, I’m going to post a video we’ve made explaining exactly how to syn bananas. Enjoy!

Now that’s an intriguing image, is it not? To the recipe then! A perfect creamy chicken korma that tastes like a proper takeaway without putting an extra roll of blubber on your boobs.

Naturally, because this has syns in it, no fucker will make it. But slop made with a coconut Muller yoghurt will be gobbled up like blowjobs on a stag do. Sigh: nevermind. If you’re brave enough to give this a go, trust me when I say you’ll be rewarded with a lovely, saucy dish. Like me. We served ours with rice and a Broghie for dipping.


Wondering what on Earth that broghie thing is? Hard to describe! But it’s just the thing for dipping and adding crunch – like a prawn cracker in consistency only without the oil and fat and fishiness that comes with it. We’re using them a lot for satisfying the crunch that we miss from bread – and they’re only a syn each. Available in most large Iceland stores now.

This makes enough for four.

chicken korma

to make a creamy chicken korma, you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, chopped into chunks as big as your thumb, assuming you don’t have wee little hands (get some hefty ones from our Musclefood pack!) 
  • 2 white onions (so racist), sliced nice and thin and uniform
  • 1 tsp caster sugar (1 syn)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 400ml full-fat Greek yogurt (12 syns – but you could use fat-free if you want and remove the syns, but it’s worth it)
  • fresh coriander, just the thing if you want to ruin your meal

For the spice paste

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 15g dessiccated coconut (4.5 syns)
  • 2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée

Can’t be arsed with all that bollocks? Replace the spice paste with Geetas Korma Paste (80g) for 5 syns. Oh, and if you want to save those sweet sausage fingers of yours, use a mandolin to quickly slice your onions. Saves a lot of time and faff and makes them pretty and uniform. Only a tenner on Amazon!

to make a creamy chicken korma, you should:

  • if you’re using your own spice mix, toast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garam masala and turmeric in a warm pan until nice and smelly – transfer into a pestle and mortar and grind the living fuck out of it – you want a nice fine powder – add the rest of the spice ingredients along with 50ml of water and combine
  • with a few squirts of oil, add your chicken and onion into the pan and cook for five minutes on high to brown off the onions and cook the chicken through – then add the spice mix / bought paste and cook until everything is coated and smells amazing
  • turn the heat down and add the sugar, pinch of salt and yoghurt, stirring gently for about five minutes so it doesn’t split – if it does split, that’s fine – it won’t look amazing, but you’re just turning it to shite anyway so who cares
  • add the chopped coriander if you feel you want to ruin your meal with the Devil’s Pubes
  • serve with rice and lime


Easy! Like I say, don’t be put off by the syns – it’s worth using the proper ingredients for this for a lovely taste experience. If you eat food that tastes good rather than comprimising all the time, this slog won’t feel like a diet at all.

Remember to share!

Want more recipe ideas? Click the buttons below!



roasted rainbow aloo gobi – syn free and amazing

Roasted rainbow aloo gobi if you please, and syn free to boot! You know sometimes you make a vegetarian dish and it’s OK but you’re left craving meat like a sex-starved nun? This wasn’t the case with this – in fact, it was so tasty and colourful we ended up making it again the next day. Then had the leftovers the day after. By that point the neighbours were banging on the window sure, so fetid and thick was the fart-air billowing from under our door, that someone had died. So, make it, but be warned: your leather cheerio will turn black and die.

You know, it’s a wonder I don’t get asked to write the recipes for Woman’s Weekly. Anyway, before we get to the pure sex that is the aloo gobi, you’re going to have to endure a night out with us, as it’s part four of our Benidorm trip. We’ve even got videos for you! Don’t want to read all our shite? That’s fine. I’ve put in a shortcut button. yes, for this one, you just need to click on the OLD MONA WHO’LL LET ANYONE CHUCK THEIR PAINT ON HER FACE below:

Possibly the classiest photo we’ve ever had on here and I’ve used it to make a spunk joke. Eee, what am I like. Shall we continue?

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three

When you last left us we had endured a breakfast buffet, met our doubles and sizzled by the pool for far longer than could be considered reasonable for a travel blog. Remember that time, we had hope in our eyes.

We used the day to plan for the night ahead, with an eye to having a bit of dinner somewhere local to the hotel and then heading out to a place we’d heard excellent reviews about – the Showboat, just up the road. Dinner was so awful that I can’t remember where we went, only that it was exactly like the slop you get in lay-bys from people who’ve used their food hygiene certificate to wipe their arse with. I’ve been told you can eat well in Benidorm and it’s undoubtedly true, but every single place we looked at within about half a mile’s mince from the hotel were full to the brim with people pointing at pictures of egg and chips on the laminated menu. If my memory serves me correctly, Paul had a hot-dog and I had a club sandwich. Presumably the Club the sandwich referred to was the Cavern Club because this sandwich tasted like it was made back in the sixties – I’ve never had to dip a sandwich in my pint before to moisten it.

Showboat, then. I’m not too sure how to couch my experience of the place, really – not least because we drank 11 pints each over the course of the entire evening. People in our facebook group were treated to some wonderfully awful videos, I can assure you. Let me say that the staff were lovely, the venue was clean and the toilet, far from the Trainspotting homage I expected, was spotless. We’d shuffled in at 8pm and had the place to ourselves – the entertainment such as it was started at 9pm so we decided on a game of pool. There was one pool cue and well, the lines on the table weren’t especially clear.

Like playing at The Crucible!

I won, because I always do when it comes to pool – Paul’s flipper-arms make holding the cue difficult – and then it was time to get a round in and enjoy the first act: a Tina Turner impersonation. Here’s the thing: when your opening gambit is a declaration that despite appearances, you’re not actually a man in drag, then it rather sets the tone. She (and she was a she, I could see no Nutbush City Limits under her straining skirt) was really good! She belted out a few of the classics, though I did feel sorry for her when she tried to get the audience up on stage – the front two rows looked like they couldn’t manage to breathe unassisted let alone jive through Proud Mary. She gamely pressed on.

We don’t need another hero. We just need someone to call a nurse.

Things reached a pinnacle when it came to River Deep Mountain High – one of my favourite songs. You know it – it has a great lead-in and then straight into Tina singing. I was all ready to stand up and clap and throw my knickers on the stage (the size of the fuckers meant they’d probably come back down in someone’s tapas in Valencia) but there was a problem – she uttered the first line and then stopped. Completely forgotten the words. I was devastated: I was itching to see her strut/stumble through my favourite, and it wasn’t to be. I yelled out that she must leave Ike before he did any more serious damage and, taking this on board, she carried on and saw it through to the end. Towards the closing notes I saw our doppelgängers arrive and take seats near the front. We exchanged glances. Tina shuffled off. More drinks for everyone.

Then came Stella Artois. A drag act. I’m going to hold my hands up here and say outright, I’m not a huge fan of drag unless it’s done superbly well. This guy wasn’t. Actually no, let’s rewrite that a bit: I don’t mind drag acts, but I don’t like the fact that some people seem to think it gives them a licence to be an abrasive, nasty arsehole. Stella was absolutely in this second category. They opened with a few gags which actually did make me laugh (and listen, I’m not a hard person to please, I’m probably the only person in Britain who’ll happily sit through You’ve Been Framed) and then boy oh boy did that show degenerate quickly. It’s pretty bad when you’re hearing material stolen from Peter Kay’s early work, it’s even worse when it’s from Bob bloody Monkhouse. I think if the crowd hadn’t been (barely) lapping it up he’d have started a Vera Lynn singalong.

That’s when things just got worse and worse. I’m all for a coarse gag – as evidenced in nearly every single post on here – but make it funny. I thought we’d reached a low point when he was talking about his arsehole but then the racist stuff followed. We’re not just talking like the naff racist gags you expect in a flat-roof social club but just vile shit about blowing up mosques and *clutch my sides* not seeing a white face in Birmingham. Jim and Saul were slapping their knees and sloshing their campari all over their shoes at the ‘humour’ whereas I was hoping to find blood in my urine just to cheer myself up. The show lasted an hour during which we anaesthetised ourselves with a lot more booze and making videos for the group. Not going to lie, we were thankful when they tottered off the stage, though I admit I was fretful about whether or not she would get back to Peterborough in time to put tea on for Paul’s brother.

I’m kidding, he looked nowt like Paul’s mother. She’s got a much more pronounced beard.

Anyway, Stella fucked off, and I thought the entertainment was over the night but then, WHAM! On came a George Michael tribute act. He was so much better! He looked more like George Osborne than George Michael but he could belt out a tune and that’s all that matters. He did all the classics: Fast Love, Careless Whisper, Faith, shot his load up the cubicle door in the gents, the lot. It was great fun. At one point he asked the crowd for their favourites – I, buoyed by more alcohol units than is sensible for a man of my obesity, shouted LAST CHRISTMAS. He immediately sniped back that that was a stupid suggestion because it was September, to which I shouted back that he was supposed to be dead, so all bets were off. He sang Freedom with a proper sulk on.

We left, though I took a moment to step on my double’s foot as I walked past. I like to think my weight on his foot dislodged a fragment of his doubtless infected toenail which shot straight to his heart, leading to a full cardiac arrest later in the holiday. Fucker shouldn’t have stolen my beans and/or looked like me. After a long stumble down the street, we were in bed, snoring and farting the rest of the night away.

Anyway, we made a supercut of the night for your viewing pleasure. You have no idea how long it took to make this faintly appropriate for the blog – the amount of bits we had to cut out just so we didn’t get shut down / put on the front pages of the tabloids, well, you’ll never know.

Oh and if you’re wondering how we were feeling the next morning…

I know, imagine waking up next to that breathing at you from across the pillows. To be honest, you’ve got the far better view out of the two available to you at that point.

Part five will surely come, but first, we really ought to crack on with the aloo gobi, yes? Before I go – all of that above and the sentence I’m most pleased with is the WHAM remark. I chuckled away to myself with that one.

REMEMBER, leave us some feedback on the holiday entries!

This makes enough for easily four people, whether as a side or a full main. You could chuck some red peppers in to increase the colour still further. I got the basic idea from my absolute favourite Indian cookery book, Made in India by Meera Sodha. There’s not a recipe I’ve made yet that hasn’t been absolutely gorgeous, so hats off to her. You can buy the book dirt cheap on Amazon! She recommends making this as a light salad and serving in a poppadom with crushed peanuts, but as I can almost hear Mags clutching her Facebook-raffle-prize pearls from here, I’ve slimmed it down a little.

rainbow aloo gobi

rainbow aloo gobi

to make roasted rainbow aloo gobi, you’ll need:

  • 500g of new potatoes – if you get Jersey potatoes or similar, they’ll be nice and yellow
  • 600g of cauliflower – to make it rainbow, buy rainbow cauliflowers – Marks and Spencers sell them – they come in yellow, white and purple
  • two large red onions
  • one big bastard bag of spinach
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • three cloves of garlic, minced (use one of these bad boys – you’ll save your fingers and you don’t need to fart about peeling the garlic)
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds or half a teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • salt and black pepper
  • spray oil, but not Frylight, because you’re so much better than that muck
  • red pepper optional

Let’s quickly talk about oil, for those that haven’t been with us since the beginning. Here’s the thing: we don’t like Frylight. It’s pushed too hard in a lot of recipes and it tastes like poo. We prefer to use a good olive oil (and if we’re absolutely honest, we don’t syn it – never have) but for the sake of you lot, we always factor the syns in. Most of the time for blog recipes we recommend using a spray oil – you’ll get enough from 10 sprays and that’s 1 syn according to the calculator. Divided between four, up to you if you syn such a negligible amount. We use one of these filled up with olive oil but listen, you can buy spray oil in the shops. Just look for the Frylight, knock them over, choose something decent. It’s your body – why eat plastic crap if you don’t have to do so?

to make roasted rainbow aloo gobi, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • chop your new potatoes into similar sized chunks
  • pick the cauliflower apart into chunky little florets
  • arrange them both on a baking tray, spritz them with a few sprays of oil, scatter over the garlic, chilli, cumin/cumin seeds and then season with a lot of salt and black pepper
  • into the oven they go for thirty minutes or so, turning them every now and then
  • meanwhile, thinly slice your onion and pepper if using, then gently sweat them in a few sprays of oil – cook them slowly mind, let them sweat and golden and caramelise
  • add the chickpeas (drained, obviously) then the spinach so it wilts down
  • mix in the potatoes and cauliflower and serve!

Super tasty and easy to make.

Want more ideas? You greedy bugger!

lunchsmallpastasmallvegetariansmall sausagessmall  seafoodsmall



grilled chicken tikka wraps – great for lunch

Yes, grilled chicken tikka wraps – great for lunch indeed, or rather, great for saying you’ll make a few extra for lunch only for you to eat them all over the course of the evening and then spending your time sobbing down a Pringles tube and lamenting your obesity. No? Just me then. Scroll down if you’re just here for the food!

Hey, we’re back. Like that super gonorrhoea going around, we’re back and here to stay. Never before has the prefix super been attached to something less worthy. Super gonorrhoea comes across as the worst comic book hero ever. Spiderman can shoot webs, Batman gets a voice like Madge Bishop gargling gravel, what would Super Gonorrhoea’s ability be? You can’t save the world with a burning pain when urinating and cottage cheese in your knickers.

WHAT AN OPENING PARAGRAPH – please, companies wanting to do sponsored posts, get in touch.

Where have we been, anyway? Well Paul has been busy nurturing his big fat belly and dashing here, there and everywhere with work – well, as much as a morbidly obese man with ankles made from wet sponge cake can dash. No, it’s been me who has been missing in action as, for the first time in about ten years, I’ve had to put my head down for reasons not connection to playing a tune on the pink-skin trumpet. I’ve had to revise. For a proper exam, not just a ‘omg which Spice Girl are you’ quiz in my sister’s More magazine.

Turns out that I really, really struggle to revise. I forced myself, but by god was it difficult. I’m too easily distracted – just look at my writing style on here and you’ll see how my brain works, floating from one abstract nonsense to another. You know those type of people who can spend hours sitting at their desk writing studious wee notes and highlighting everything primly in a smart set of colours? Yeah, that’s not me.

I tried recording myself speaking my notes aloud and asking myself questions, giving time for real-time James to answer back, but it all got super weird. Driving into work having a conversation with yourself like the world’s most boring interview is awful. The last person I want to argue with about licence documentation is myself. Especially when I sound so ridiculously posh on recordings (I’m not posh in the slightest, I just have a nice voice).

Things came to a head anyway when the MP3s of me asking myself questions imported across into Spotify and then appeared in my most recent songs playlist. Nothing concerning there until you’re halfway through a good session of testing out the emergency exit with Paul only to have SONOS to start playing ‘2.3: the benefits of international registration’ at full volume. Paul, with his hearing muffled by being face down in a pillow, probably thought I’d invited Nigel Havers around for a threesome.

I deleted my MP3s after that, it just felt tainted.

No, instead, I spent the last two weeks ignoring the little flashcards I’d typed up and instead holed myself up in one of the conference rooms at work, frantically scribbling on the wall of whiteboards there like I was Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. I took a gamble that the exam would be based on the stuff in the many, many Powerpoints we’d been given rather than the notes we’d been given and so, it was simply a case of memorising every last word of the slides and checking the notes for comprehension. I’ve found that I work best by creating mnemomics and I was especially proud of creating MINGEGAS for a set of legal terms and GRINCHBLOW for another. I had to rewrite the order of a set of countries though: BRA(zil)N(igeria)CH(ina) is fair enough, but writing CH(ina) IN(dia) K(enya) felt far less appropriate.

I spent the night before holed up in a very swanky hotel in London frantically revising and even more frantically trying to scrub clean the white sheets on my bed which I’d managed to slew a bottle of black ink across. I ordered pho via Deliveroo, not least because I wanted to try tofu and it came up as an option, and it was disgusting. I’ve never scraped something into a bin with such venom. The hotel itself was fine save for the fact they’d wedged the toilet inbetween the side of the shower cubicle and the sink, creating the slightly awkward issue of barely being able to fit in the gap to have a plop. And, without being gross, exam anxiety always makes me more regular than normal.

I always get major exam anxiety – not so much about not knowing anything, but rather, I’m always frightened I’m going to make a tit of myself somehow. I remember in my first GCSE English exam chewing the end of my pencil (not a euphemism) and biting off the little metal ferrule that holds the rubber in place, causing an almighty coughing fit, which ended only when one of the invigilators took a break from playing with her testicles and slapped me on the back. The rest of the exam was spent trying to suppress the tickly cough caused by my poor savaged throat. But hey, at Least it didd’unt affect my Engerlish skillz, babes. ROFL.

Since then I spend more time fretting about having a fit (coughing, sneezing or shitting) that I end up lugging around a box of tissues, a Sinex inhaler, two bottles of water and 24 blackcurrant Strepsils to numb my throat in case of emergency. It’s the same bag I take when Paul and I go for our midnight drive around the lorry park, weirdly enough. I spent more time getting my exam accoutrements out of my murse than I do actually writing the answers.

So, on the day of the exam, I turned up to the venue two hours early, panicking as I was that we were warned this was a one-shot only exam and if we were late, that was it, goodnight nurse. I took myself down to the little restaurant downstairs and thankfully realised that I wasn’t the only one who had arrived before the exam papers. I took a seat amongst the sea of ashen faces and got out my file. I had a minor panic when it turned out that everyone else at the table had reams upon reams of notes and I just had my wee Powerpoints to glance through, though. I took the view that if I didn’t know it by now it was too late and drifted back upstairs to wait anxiously at the door of the very fancy hall where the exam was being held. At least I looked keen, that would surely be worth an extra point or two?

As it happens, it all went well. Really well. Unless I’ve totally ballsed up somehow, I reckon it’s a pass, and the relief is so palpable I could shit, assuming I’d fit on the toilet. After the exam I had a few hours before my train home so I took myself to St. James’ Park to sit under the trees and let the stress melt away. Best part? Being able to chuck the giant lever arch file away that has clung to my side like a boil these last few weeks. Honestly, I’ve never scraped something into a bin with such venom since that pho.

And now we’re done, and the recipes will resume once more, and let me tell you know, we’ve got some absolute corkers coming up. Get ready to get moist! Moist like the chicken in these chicken tikka (tell me what’s wrong) wraps! LET’S GET THIS DONE. This makes enough for 4 big wraps, so you get two halves for one syn! CANNY.

to make grilled chicken tikka wraps you will need:

  • 4x BFree Multigrain Wraps (4x HeB)
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • 2 tbsp Patak’s Tikka Spice paste (4 syns)
  • 5 tbsp fat-free natural yogurt
  • ¼ of a large cucumber (you know what you can do with the rest, you saucy bugger)
  • 2 tsp mint sauce
  • 4 handfuls of rocket (or any salad leaves)
  • 1 pouch Tesco Everyday Value Golden Vegetable Rice (you can use any brand, but this one is free – others will vary up to about 3 syns so check!)
  • 2 large onions, sliced

We were kindly sent a Tefal Optigrill to try out and it worked well for this recipe – no messing about with tinfoil under a grill and it could be chucked in the dishwasher afterwards! We really do love it, and I promise we’re not just saying that because they gave us one for nowt!

All of our hampers have massive amounts of chicken in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of chicken, say (unlike me), hoy some more beef in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make chicken tikka wraps you should:

  • mix together the Tikka paste with 1 tbsp of the natural yogurt, and then stir into the chicken to coat completely – longer you can leave it, the better, but we just marinated for an hour or so
  • whilst the chicken marinades, add the onion to a large frying pan with few squirts oil and a good pinch of salt, and cook over a low heat with the lid on – stir every now and again until well caramelised and when it starts to stick, stir a bit more often – they won’t go golden, but when they’re sticky and gloopy they’re done
  • whilst that’s cooking, make the raita by peeling and dicing the cucumber and stirring into the natural yoghurt and mint sauce – keep in the fridge until you need it
  • make up the rice according to the packet instructions (leave out the oil, even if it says to use it)
  • next, get to business – if you’re using the Tefal Optigrill, simply press the Manual button until the light is orange, and once preheated add the chicken and close the lid until cooked
  • if using the grill, heat to medium-high, place the chicken underneath and cook until done, not forgetting to turn it now and again
  • grab your wraps and spread over as much raita as you like, followed by a sprinkling of rocket leaves, a couple of spoons of rice, caramelised onion and finally the chicken – this doesn’t need to be exact, just stuff them with as much as you want!
  • roll into a wrap shape, cut in half and enjoy

Oh! If you’re struggling with rolling wraps, it’s dead easy.

Nicking that video from Tesco. Don’t even care.

Yeah! How do you like them apples? Wanting more to stuff your gob? Just click one of the buttons below to be magically transported to more tasty recipes!

poultrysmallfakeawayssmall lunchsmall   snackssmall naughtyfooddrinkssmallbbqsmallonepot

super quick and easy chicken saag aloo

Chicken saag aloo – we’re talking about a dish that takes about ten minutes to make from beginning to end, as long as you’ve got a hot pan and a filthy mouth. God knows that’s you lot covered. No time for shenanigans so let’s go straight to part five of our New York entry. Buckle up. I’d really welcome feedback on the holiday entries!

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four

We decided to break with looking around the busy city and to take a nice walk along what is known as The High Line – a disused railway line that runs for a mile or so around Manhattan and affords lovely views of the Hudson and various arty-farty establishments to poke about it. We didn’t really have much of an excuse, it was only a ten-minute walk away from the hotel and boy did we need some ‘fresh air’. New York is amazing but you don’t realise how built-up it is until you look at your partner and he’s milk-white from lack of sunlight.

It was charming. I hate to use that word because it’s what pretentious knobheads use to describe tiny coffee places where they serve the coffee in a flat cap but I mean it. We went early enough so that it wasn’t completely awash with hipsters and pretty much had the place to ourselves, save for a few joggers. I was pleased to see that the ‘I’m about to cum’ face that British folk adopt when they run seems to have made it over the pond. Seriously, why pull that face? Running isn’t that exciting. At least, I can’t remember it being so – admittedly the last time I ran was back in 1997.

The High Line is full of little activities and things to do. We happened across a tiny park with stepping stones and tunnels to climb through, which then allowed you to pop your head up through the path to frighten passer-by’s. Great fun, until you realise that the tunnels probably weren’t designed to accommodate some twenty-stone Geordie with a fat arse and cheap jeans trying to turn around in there – it was like trying to turn a sofa around in a lift. I managed to get in alright but every time I moved backwards my coat scrunched up on top of me, stopping progress. It was only after my plaintive cries reached my dear husband – and in turn, once he had stopped laughing and taking pictures of my jammed arse – that he reached into the tunnel and pulled my coat free, allowing me to scuttle back out.

Later, Paul spotted a statue with the instruction ‘kiss to receive water’. Naturally, being Paul, he bent down and mimed performing cunnilingus on it so that I had a classy photo to put in the album. He was tutted at by someone who was more beard than man but hey, we have fun. We stopped at the end for a bagel and coffee and discussed where to go next, before deciding on the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Because we’re fat, we got a taxi. I’ve never heard my own feet say ‘phew’.

We arrived at the 9/11 Memorial Museum and were glad that the snaking queues we had witnessed a day or two before had dissipated and that actually, it wasn’t too busy.

It’s funny. We’ve all seen the footage on the TV or in print but until you’re there, it’s truly impossible to put it into perspective. To imagine the size of the buildings, the sheer amount of people caught up in it, the absolute terror that must have ensued. The museum itself was surprisingly sombre and tasteful – I admit I’d expect a certain amount of ‘America is Great’ bombast, but there was none. Just recollections, pieces of the building, subdued reconstructions and hushed tones.

One beautiful piece is a wall of almost 3,000 pieces of fabric paper painted in different shades of blue – it’s a tremendous sight with a sobering quote in the middle: ‘No Day Shall Erase You From The Memory Of Time’. Very true. Behind the wall is a room full of the unidentified remains of people caught up in the attacks, where they will lie forever until they are positively identified and taken by families, something which made even granite-faced me dab at my eyes. I’d encourage anyone visiting New York to have a look – it makes for a depressing hour but some things should never be forgotten. We moved on, and, because I want to change back to our normal tone of writing, let me draw a line under this.

Fancy! Next on our list was the Grand Central train station. You’ll have seen it before in so many movies – it’s a fabulous, colossal train station full of period detail and busy people. You may remember seeing it in such famous Lindsay Lohan movies such as ‘Just My Luck’, or infamous Lindsay Lohan movies such as ‘Yes, I’ll Let You Eight Guys Ride Me Like A Train for some meth’.

We decided to take a headphones audio tour of the station and do you know, it was one of the best things we did in New York. I know that sounds ridiculous but it was just the right mix of getting in people’s way, hearing interesting facts and having sights that you would never have known to look at pointed out to you. Case in point: the ceiling of the main concourse. Who ever looks up when they enter a train station? You should here – it’s a gorgeous astronomy map with glowing stars. That’s fascinating in and of itself, but see the ceiling was almost hidden from view by years of tobacco smoke and pollution. It took twelve years to clean it and restore it to its natural beauty, with one tiny square left to show the difference.

I made a mental note to contact Paul’s mother on my return to see if she wanted to hire the same cleaners to try and get the fifty-eight years of Samson roll-up smoke peeled from her ceiling (it’d be like using a spatula to clean the grill pan), but then promptly forgot about it when our audio tour guided us to the whispering walls.

Seriously, what fun. Under the main concourse is a dining area and part of that, near the Oyster bar, is the Whispering Wall. Due to the way the tunnel is built, sound whispered in one corner of the giant room travels all along the arch and can be heard a good ten metres away across the room. It’s a bloody weird effect.

Naturally, I stood in one corner and sent Paul to where I thought the whisper could be heard across the tunnel. Well, look, I can only apologise to the little Chinese lady who was very startled to have the ghost of a Geordie whisper the word c*nt in her ear from apparently nowhere. Turns out Paul was standing in the wrong place. In my defence, it was hilarious. We sharp moved on.

By some amazing coincidence our audio tour ended with us being taken into the gift-shop. Fancy! We were taken by all the lovely cartographic items and ended up buying six metal subway signs to sit above the doors of our house. Which, yes, sounds shit, but trust me when I say it looks good. It adds that New York sophistication to stumbling to the shitter to drop the kids off at night, trust me.

Next on the list of things to do was lunch, and, I’m ashamed to say this, we ate in a TGI Fridays. All those wonderful places and we ended up somewhere where a chav takes a hot-date in the hope of getting his fingers dipped. In our defence, it was the one in Times Square and we only went there because at this point, our feet were more blood than shoe, but it was grim. Because they don’t have to try, they absolutely didn’t. The food was bland, the drinks were sickly sweet and the waiter so full of false bonhomie that I could have asked for a blowjob instead of a dessert menu and he’d have sunk to his knees just to see me smile. His name tag was ‘Will!’, which I imagine took immense willpower (pun intended) not to put eight exclamations after.

We did leave a substantial tip though – the place was awash with British families taking a break between smacking their children and complaining to eat something similar to the Iceland muck they have at home. Past experience tells me that they won’t leave a tip because ‘it’s not right, we don’t have to do it, blah blah’ and frankly, that’s just shitty. Our lunch might have been shite but see, that wasn’t the fault of Smilin’ Will.

After lunch we waddled over to the Rockefeller Centre. You’ll know this place, too – it’s where they put the massive Christmas tree and ice-rink every year. We had paid for a day and night pass, which allows you to see the views during the day and then return later to see the same view but in inky blackness.

It was wonderful – there’s only so many times I can write about going up a tall building and making it faintly interesting for you, dear reader, so just let me say that being able to sit on a bench 70 floors in the air in the winter, looking out over New York, was just lovely. We had a romantic moment (which makes it sound like I noshed Paul off, but no, we just had a cuddle) and stayed up there a while.

As we left we were shepherded through a room of interactive lights – if you stood on the floor, certain ceiling lights would come on and your movement would be tracked. I suppose this is modern art. Paul exclaimed that it was ‘just like I’m in a video game’ and my reply of ‘Yes: FATRIS’ was a little louder than I had anticipated, leading to lots of shared guffaws amongst everyone. I do worry that I come across as such an arse to poor, put-upon Paul, but listen, he gives as good as he gets, don’t you worry.

Having satisfied ourselves of the view and done about as much marvelling as one can do before your face caves in through smiling, we made our way back through the building and back out onto the streets. After a little idle wandering we spotted a nearby church, and, never missing the opportunity to sit down and let my chafing thighs cool, we went in. If memory serves me right, it was St Mary the Virgin’s church and it was utterly beautiful.

Unusually, we didn’t burst into flames the second we stepped over the threshold and nor were we cast out for being sodomites. Religion, am I right? The church was gorgeous – beautiful stained glass windows, comfortable pews, perfectly ornate detailing, just lovely. It was heart-warming to know that the donations and money raised was going straight into keeping this prime piece of real-estate looking pretty so that all the homeless folk outside could at least have somewhere charming to rest their heads between starving and freezing to death. Hmm.

We sat in the pews for more time than is entirely decent, trying to discreetly rub our throbbing feet and not shallow-breathe on the necks of the people in front, who were bowed in prayer. I’m not a religious person but even I said a quick prayer for one of those feet-spas that all mums had in the Nineties that bubbled a bit of Radoxy-water around their hairy toes.

The serenity of the moment was shattered somewhat by the sound of a clearly mentally-ill woman bursting through the doors, running down the aisle screaming and then falling on the floor.  She was treated with all the compassion and understanding you might expect from the Church – pinned to the floor by the security guard’s knee, shouted at by some hurly-burly prick clutching a bible and then unceremoniously picked up and thrown back out into the street like a piece of rubbish. It was all very inelegant, though it did cause enough of a distraction for me to break wind, which, with my cheeks firmly pressed against the wood of the pew, sounded like a little helicopter landing. Sweet relief! Air befouled, we moved on.

Unfortunately, my notes for the day end here, which leads me to think we just went and got progressively more drunk during the rest of the day and then stumbled back to the hotel at some indecent hour. I have a faint recollection of being in a late-night pharmacy buying Doritos and spinach dip. Hey, we know how to party! We definitely ticked off the ‘buy a slice of New York pizza’ activity though, and I know this because there’s a photo on my phone of Paul fast asleep with a chunk of crust sticking out of his gob. We’re a classy pair, you know.

Right, let’s do the chicken saag aloo! You can cheerfully leave out the chicken and make this into a veggie dish. Why not? You’re the boss! This makes enough for two big bowls. Why chicken saag aloo? Simple. You may remember dear El Ehma from my work? She’s never cooked a meal that didn’t have freezer burn, but she’s really taken to saag aloo. I promised to make a version that she can follow and well, Joe Wicks has a recipe ready! You remember me mentioning Joe Wicks and the fact that we’ve found a whole load of recipes in his book that are perfect for Slimming World? Well we did, and you can buy it here. You can buy his book here and it is one I genuinely recommend.

chicken saag aloo

to make super quick and easy chicken saag aloo, you’ll need:

  • 700g new potatoes
  • a bunch of spring onions
  • two cloves of garlic
  • a little knob of ginger, haha
  • 2 tbsp of garam masala
  • two large chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 big handfuls of spinach leaves
  • squeeze of lemon juice

For the ginger and garlic, grate them finely using a microplane grater. It’s the one gadget we use all the time – you can use it for parmesan, peppers, garlic, ginger, lemon…all sorts! Click here and save!

All of our hampers have massive amounts of chicken in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of chicken, say (unlike me), hoy some more beef in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make super quick and easy chicken saag aloo, you should:

  • cut the potatoes in half, pop them in a microwave dish and cook them for three minutes – then let them rest – and cook again for three minutes – drain and set aside
  • thinly slice your spring onions and cook them off gently in a few spritzes of olive oil
  • once they’re softened, add the ginger and garlic until golden
  • add the potatoes
  • add the garam masala
  • stir everything then add the thinly sliced chicken breasts with a few splashes of water and cook everything through, with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • cook hard and quickly until the chicken is cooked through then add the spinach and allow to wilt down
  • serve with a squeeze of lemon


Want more recipes? Natch. Click the buttons!



meatball masala sauce – syn free and tasty!

Meatball masala! Why not? Plus, because we’re all about quick and punchy these days, the recipe is just below! But first…

I’m actually feeling particularly cross after having an argument with an idiot on Facebook about aspartame. We can all take a view on it, that’s fine, but she was adamant that she ‘never ingests any sort of chemical, only pure and natural’. I pointed out that water is a chemical and she got in a right old strop, pointing out that because she gets a headache from aspartame, it clearly means that it’s poison, not just that she’s sensitive to it. I cautiously mentioned that just because I’m allergic to pineapple doesn’t make the Man from Del fucking Monte a bioterrorist.

We agreed to disagree and so here I am, brain leaking from my ears. The problem is people get themselves so wound up in their misguided belief in some shitty product that they can’t possibly see reason or logic or common sense. There’s a post going around with some insoles for shoes that people ‘swear’ drain the fat out of your body as you wear them. How, at the end of a busy day, do they not take off their shoes, realise that these plastic insoles don’t look like buttered toast and then realise it’s a load of bloody twaddle? Where do they think the fat goes – decanted out of their shoelaces like a tiny petrol pump? There’s no helping some people. I genuinely think if I set up a facebook profile selling jars of ‘slimming air’ that has ‘been PROVEN BY SCIENCE’ to ‘help shift those pounds’ I’d get at least five people trying to sell it to me.

Anyway, enough chitter-chatter. Let’s get this meal done. Now this dinner doesn’t look amazing, and trust me when I say you could easily bulk it out with more veg and other nonsense, but it tastes mighty fine and served with decent rice, you’ll be cooking on gas.

to make meatball masala you will need:

  • 400g beef mince
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of chilli powder
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp turmeric

Our hampers have meatballs in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of pork, say (unlike me), hoy some more chicken in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make meatball masala you should: –

  • in a bowl, mix together the beef mince, egg and chilli powder and form into twelve meatballs, then leave in the fridge to firm up
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium heat, spray in a bit of oil (don’t ruin your pans with Frylight, get one of these instead) and add the sliced onions
  • cook the onions for about ten minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and golden
  • add the garlic, cumin, garam masala and turmeric
  • stir well, and cook for about a minute
  • add the carrot, celery and red pepper to the pan along with the tin of tomatoes
  • fill the tin with water, slosh about and pour into the pan
  • bring to the boil, cover, and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes
  • meanwhile, heat another pan over a medium-high heat and spray with oil
  • add the meatballs, stir frequently until they are completely cooked through (or, even better, use an Actifry and take out the paddle – it works perfectly)
  • when the masala sauce has finished cooking, use a stick blender (or an upright one if you have one) and blend until smooth
    add the meatballs to the sauce and serve

Easy peasy! Warning, you might get a hot ring! More ideas?



homovember recipe #1: slow cooker beef keema

Slow cooker beef keema, yeah, that’s right, slow cooker beef keema. You want it. We have it. You’ll find the recipe under all the following nonsense. Meanwhile, we’ve dropped Droptober because well, busy. Let’s embrace Homovember.

Hallowe’en has been and gone, and hopefully the only fright you’ve experienced is the site of your own toes as your gunt shrinks ever inwards.

For the first time in ten years since Paul and I got together, we decided to embrace Hallowe’en instead of spending the evening sat behind the sofa with the lights off, watching Coronation Street on the iPad with the brightness and volume turned right down. No, in the spirit (oh h oho) of taking part, we stuck up some perfunctory bits of tat from Poundland (probably getting lead poisoning whilst doing so) and put a pumpkin outside, shockingly not with the word C*NT carved in it. We’re getting better at this being social lark.

We wanted trick-or-treaters to knock on the door and take our chocolate. Perhaps that’s too far – we certainly had chocolate, but Paul had eyes like a kicked dog when I told him they were for any guests. That didn’t stop me eating three Freddos and a Fudge when he went to the bog, though. We didn’t dress up because apparently my suggestion of answering the door as Fred and Rose West was a little too “near-the-knuckle”. I’m not sure what Paul’s problem is, I’ve got a pair of my nan’s Blanche Hunt glasses that would have looked resplendent on him.

Best of all, we ever went to the trouble of setting up a light system for the house – all of our outdoor lighting is controllable by colour and timers so we had the house flickering like a fire with occasional bursts of white light like a lightning bolt. It was all very brilliant and took an hour of tinkering with our router and swearing incoherently at the iPad to get it all set up.

So, what did we get, perched as we are on a lovely corner of a cul-de-sac full of expensive houses all ripe for trick or treaters? Absolutely zip. Bugger all. Sweet fanny adams.

Actually, that’s not entirely true, we did get two teenage girls (very rough – they looked like they were on their third pregnancy of the year but only their first toothbrush) who stuck their hands out and said ‘trick or treat’ – a quick glance revealed that they hadn’t bothered with any sort of costume bar eight inches of poorly-applied foundation. We asked for trick and they kissed their teeth at us and tramped away over our lawn.

There were several children in groups who visited the streets but avoided our house altogether. I admit to being distraught. It was all I could do to choke down every last bit of chocolate and sour jellies that was left in our fruit-bowl.

Of course, like all things, Hallowe’en was a lot different when I was young. Because money was tight, my costume was a bin-liner (because nothing says BOO like ‘NO HOT ASHES’ spread across my arse) and my pumpkin was a turnip. Have you ever tried to carve a turnip? It’s like cutting a diamond with a butter knife. It’s why I associate Hallowe’en with carpal tunnel syndrome. My sister wore a bed-sheet with some red paint on it. Back in modern time, Paul and I couldn’t use our black bedsheets because people would think we’d come dressed as an badly tuned TV channel.

Most of the people in our village were knocking on 90 and thus, no sweets, fucks or hearing were given, but we always hit the jackpot when we visited the only footballer in our village, who gave us all a tub of Quality Street each. It’s tantamount to my obesity that this remains one of the fondest memories I have of growing up in Backwater, Northumberland.

Back in the now, I did find it interesting that after all the gash-crashing and naval-gazing that’s been happening over the ‘terror clowns’ ‘epidemic’ recently that so many parents thought it would be wise to dress their children up as frightening beasts to terrorise the neighbours, mind you. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, after all.

I’d welcome a clown jumping out at me to give me a fright – I just don’t shock that way. They’d get an entirely non-plussed reaction and a shoulder-shrug. No, if you really want to scare me, dress up as my bank manager and tell me Paul’s spending on the First Direct card. You’d need to bring me around with salts. I’d love to have a flasher jump out of the bushes, too, if only so I could ask if he wanted me to blow it or smoke it. Nothing cuts a man down quicker than a jibe at his wee-willy-winky.

The idea of ghosts certainly don’t scare me because I don’t believe in such a thing. I think, once you die, that’s it, though I’ve already told Paul that if the afterlife does exist I’ll be haunting him relentlessly – whooing and booing every time he reaches for some consolation ice-cream or, worse, a new lover. I’ve told him to at least let the sheets cool first, though I don’t doubt he’ll be asking the funeral procession to pull into a layby on the A19 on the way to the crem to take care of a lorry driver.

You know why I don’t think ghosts exist? Simple. If you could bring comfort to the living by letting them know you’re in a better place, why wouldn’t you just do it? Why go through the rigmarole of knocking over vases or hooting in the night? Worse, why would you deliver your message through rancid vile grief-exploiters like Sally Morgan or other psychic mediums? I don’t know about you, but I’d want my comforting messages to be passed directly to the target rather than over the lips of some permatanned Liverpudlian on Living TV. I’d love to think my dear nana is giving us a sign – perhaps that whistling in my ears and high-pitched ringing isn’t tinnitus after all but rather the ghost of her 1980s NHS hearing aid coming over time and space? Doctor Eeee-No. Bless her.

Right, enough of this nonsense, let’s get to the recipe, shall we? It’s a bit of a cheap recipe in that, rather than using a delicate blend of spices measured out individually and carefully toasted, I went for a spice mix that had the name GEETA on it just so I could shout SANJAY across the aisles in Tesco. Plus, it’s 4 syns for the spice mix which split between four is only a syn. Obviously. Actually, we doubled this recipe up because we’ve bought a massive slow cooker to replace our small one and this made enough for eight big servings. The recipe below makes enough for four. The idea for the recipe came from a blog called Jam and Clotted Cream, found right here – I’ve spun it so it is more suitable for us chunkers.

One more thing. You could just chuck everything in the slow cooker at once, but browning the mince and softening the veg in a pan first makes it so much better. Don’t be lazy!

slow cooker beef keema

to make slow cooker beef keema, you’ll need:

  • two large red onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (yes! you know it by now: buy one of these to mince your garlic and ginger with!)
  • 1 tiny flaccid knob of ginger (see note above)
  • one green pepper, one red pepper and hell, why the fuck not, let’s throw in an orange pepper too – CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES COME ON
  • 500g minced beef (make it less than 5% or Mags will be round trick’or’treating) (don’t forget you get two whole kilos of syn free mince in our freezer box)
  • one packet of Geeta’s Tikka Paste (80g) (can buy these in most Tescos, but just swap for a different tikka paste if you want – check the syns though) (4 syns)
  • 400g of chopped tomatoes – now listen here, use whatever you want, but slightly more expensive tomatoes always taste nicer, trust me
  • 1 beef stock cube 
  • 200g of frozen peas (adjust if you want, but I love loads of peas)

to make slow cooker beef keema, you should:

Before we go, let me change your life:

Watch this video and you’ll never look back when it comes to chopping peppers. No more seeds splashed all over the counter, no more fannying about. Admittedly, if you chop your food like a complete div, this might not help you, but for anyone else…

  • finely chop your onions and peppers and sweat those bad-boys down in a pan – which makes sense, as you’d have a hell of a job sweating them down in a washing up bowl
  • once they’ve softened ever so, throw in the mince and cook it hard until there’s no pink, only brown – ‘no pink, only brown’ being the name of our fourth twochubbycubs book, incidentally)
  • add the minced garlic and ginger and stir
  • add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock cube and tikka mix, stir, then slop it all into your slow cooker and cook that for at least six hours on low
  • half an hour before you want to get eating, put all the peas in – you can put them in at the start but they’ll moosh right down
  • serve with rice and sides – we served ours with our onion rice from way back when

Bloody lovely. As someone common would say, ‘that’s right nice, that’. Here, was this not enough for you? Then get those glassy eyes cast over even more recipes by clicking on the big ole buttons below!

beefsmalllambsmallfakeawayssmall    slowcookersmallonepot

Remember to share, folks.