Because putting a bit of mince in a wrap does not equal sausage rolls. Honestly, we weren’t going to bother with a sausage rolls recipe but having seen people passing off wraps stuffed with mince as sausage rolls, we felt we had to. Remember, Slimming World is about eating proper food, not pretend food, using your syns to eat something someone on a diet would eat, as opposed to pretend fake-food. The proof, as they say, is almost certainly in the pudding.
Although that pudding will probably be a smear of cinnamon and a photocopy of a chocolate bar wrapped in a Weight Watchers wrap and called a cinnamon swirl. Maybe on other sites.
Anyway, a quick word before we get to that recipe. Keen observers may have noticed that our recipe / blog output has slowed down a bit the last few weeks. There’s a reason for that but alas, I can’t go into it! We are trying to balance it back out, but at the moment we’re working during the day, coming home and going out to work on something else. But the end is in sight, and we have some cracking recipes coming up. So do bear with us, please! Remember, if you need inspiration, we have:
The recipe for the sausage rolls isn't much of a recipe at all, so we thought we'd bulk it out by including a veggie alternative that isn't just using vegetarian sausages, although you can do so. The veggie version is called pea pastizzi and comes from Sabrina Ghayour's FEASTS book that we keep banging on about!
to make the meaty sausage rolls (makes ten)
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
whatever six sausages you like - we use syn-free sausages from Musclefood, but you can use anything here
one red onion chopped
a pinch of garlic
to make the veggie pea alternatives (makes ten):
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
two large fat garlic cloves
one large onion, chopped fine
300g tin of marrowfat peas
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 large egg
pinch of salt
for the meaty sausage rolls:
preheat the oven to 200°c
squeeze the sausagemeat from the sausages and fry in the pan with the finely chopped onion and garlic - the little bit of fat will soften the onions, so no need to add oil
add a good twist of pepper
take your puff pastry, roll it out - I prefer to actually roll it out a little thinner than it usually is, but you know, up to you
cut into ten squares
spoon the cooked sausage meat into each square and fold over the sides into a nice roll shape
wash with beaten egg and into the oven they go for 20 minutes or so to cook nicely
if you want, cut them in half again when cooked for 1-syn taster night sausage rolls
Easy! Do you see what I mean though - it's an easy recipe! Cook off the sausagemeat, add into puff pastry and cook.
for the veggie pea alternatives:
soften the onions by cooking them off in a little oil, adding the garlic as they get nice and golden
add the peas, curry powder, pinch of pepper and a good dash of dalt
allow everything to cook for about five minutes and soften and mash gently
do as you did above - roll out your pastry, spoon in your mixture, fashion into rolls, egg-wash the top and whack them in the oven for twenty minutes or so
as you have no doubt noticed, FEASTS is my favourite book at the moment - every last thing we've cooked from there has been a delight - you can pick it up cheap on Amazon
Here for the harissa steak sandwiches, which are nothing more than the perfect low-syn dinner you deserve? Then you’re in the right place…but first…
I was planning on doing a more general Room 101 type post – and I’ll come back to that a little down the line – but upon writing my notes it struck me the amount of ‘internet pet-peeves’ appeared on my list. So, instead of a wider picture, take my hand as I pull you down a very specific tunnel of anger: e-annoyances.
Actually, first on the list, adding e- to any noun or verb. This isn’t the nineties anymore, Pat Sharp has long since got rid of his mullet and even Jim Bowen has died. Let’s all move on, shall we? We’re not going to e-meet, e-grieve or e-felch.
Next is vaguebooking. If you’re checking in at a hospital it should be the law that you have to give everyone every scintillating detail of what you’re in for. You want people to know you’re there, so don’t leave them hanging – even if you’re having a team of doctors giving you a smear test using a block and tackle and a diving helmet it doesn’t matter, put pictures up. Or: shut the fuck up about it. This is compounded by those imbeciles who check in and then don’t respond to the countless ‘is everything alright’ posts that invariably trickle in. There’s a special place reserved in Hell for you: I can only hope the doctor doesn’t warm his hands beforehand.
Along similar lines, anyone posting ‘karma will get you’ or ‘omg can’t believe what I’ve heard’ or any other vague statement designed to make them look faintly interesting whilst revealing their own crushing existential crisis, they can go jump in the sea. This seems to be common amongst those who believe shaving off their eyebrows and reapplying them using a highlighter pen is a good look.
Normally synonymous alongside the above is use of the word haters. There ought to be a reality check button on facebook to clarify that no, you’re not actually important enough to have haters. No-one is, unless you’re someone like professional shitgibbon Katie Hopkins, and look what happened to her. Why would you imagine that people are actively going out of their way to ‘hate’ you when most people simply pass you by? It’s exhausting: and, let’s say for the sake of argument that you do have haters, are you really ‘showing the haters’ by finally beating level 344 of Candy Crush? Haway.
They’re the same folks who usually upload jpeg images of Marilyn Monroe with the (incorrectly attributed) quote “but if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best” scrawled across it in Mistral. To compound things, the jpeg is usually accompanied with eight levels of tray-icons from being screenshotted from every mobile device known to man – I swear I’ve seen Marilyn Monroe (as viewed through a potato) with Super Mario Land playing in the background. This particular quote makes my teeth itch whenever you see it stretched badly over some canvas in B&M, nevermind seeing it on facebook too.
Whilst we’re here, if you’re having to put something like ‘Only God can judge me‘ on your facebook wall, then chances are you should be judged as you’re having to pre-empt people calling you out. I wish I was God: I wouldn’t hesitate on slurring the word biiiiiiiiiiiiitch out as you tried to put on your shoes.
Curveball time: if you’re writing ‘kitteh‘ or ‘doggo‘ or anything other than the actual name of the animal, and you’ve mastered not shitting your pants and solid food, then you deserve nothing more than everlasting shame and I hope your life is full of always thinking you’ve left something switched on at home. There’s simply no need for it. Cats and dogs are cute as they are without adding some ridiculously asinine mispronunciation on top of it.
Shall we cover leaving speeches? We see it ever so often in our facebook group – people flouncing out but having to put a big speech in just before they do to explain their departure. Why? Do they imagine all 70,000 of us are sitting there ashen-faced, looking at each other with pleading eyes, all desperate to know why Shelly Mamov5 McGee has forsaken us? It’s always done with altogether too many emojis and hysteria to be taken as constructive criticism anyway.
And finally, why the joint profile names, people? Surely it’s quicker just to upload a brief statement explaining who cheated who? #awkward, right?
RIGHT. That’s quite enough of all that, my blood pressure can’t take it anymore. Let’s do the harissa steak sandwiches!
Now, for these harissa steak sandwiches, you have a choice: you can serve it up in your normal bread bun or, if you are feeling fancy, you can pop it in a ciabatta - you can have a Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll as a healthy extra, after all!
But here's the thing. Gluten free food is expensive and it can be a proper pain in the arse to find if you are following a gluten-free diet. That's annoying when you want to cook with it, but what if gluten free was the only bread you could have and you had to do without because some div on Slimming World was too frightened about just having a breadbun? Before you pick it off the shelf, have a think.
Before anyone tells us off, first of all: how dare you. We used a bog standard ciabatta for this. No regrets.
a couple of thin skirt steaks - or whatever steak you want to use, but skirt steak is super cheap
3 tbsp of harissa paste (you can buy it in most supermarkets, and it's 1/2 syn per tablespoon)
whatever breadbun you want to use (a Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll is your HEB, but so is a bog-standard brown breadbun)
a bag of mixed salad leaves
fresh ground pepper and salt
two red onions
4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (or use normal white vinegar, if you don't have it to hand)
pinch of chilli flakes
tsp of honey (1 syn)
make the pickle - dead easy, slice the onion into thin half moons, pop in a bowl with the vinegar, chilli and honey - and leave to soak for thirty minutes or so
rub the harissa paste into the steak and lie flat on a plate, leave for an hour or so to marinate
next bit is dead easy - cook your steaks however you like - we like it still mooing, as you can see - and grill your ciabatta / breadbun
thinly slice your cooked steak
make up your sandwich - hot meat, pickled onion and green salad - yum!
It's as easy as that!
this recipe is from FEAST by Sabrina Ghayour - I adore this book, as I adore all of her cookery books - the food is gorgeous and it has never failed us - dirt cheap too!
we used our Optigrill to cook the steak, but anything will do - just as good in a pan, no need for anything fancy - but the Optigrill you can just whack it under and leave it to cook
Ham, cheese and egg pancakes – well, it’s better than yet another overnight oats recipe, no? Bit of a preamble on this one so do just click here to go straight to the recipe!
Do you know who I can’t bear? Gavroche from Les Misérables. I jubilantly throw my box of Poppets in the air whenever that tatterdemalion shithead gets blasted in the stomach. Perhaps that makes me slightly psychopathic, celebrating the untimely end of a wee (albeit fictional) child, but there we have it. I’ve always been a Javert man, anyway.
I mention Gavroche as there was a kid in front of us at the swimming baths yesterday who was giving it such great funs with his loud, obnoxious shrieking that we elected to go for a spa day instead of a calorie burning frontcrawl. It’s half term: the children are off the roads but by God, they’re everywhere else, like lice on a dog.
It may surprise you that neither of us are born ‘spa boys’. The idea of people fussing about me with unctures and rubs holds zero appeal. However, we’re fortunate enough to live near a reasonable spa and, thanks to Groupon, entry was reasonably cheap. We did feel a bit out of place parking our muddy car in the sea of spotlessly white Range Rover Evoques (so-called, as they evoke feelings of ‘oh, what a smug looking c*nt’ whenever they swoosh past), and even more so traipsing in with our swim kit in an ASDA carrier bag. The lady on reception did blanch a little as we sashayed in. Pfft. I’m taking no judgement from someone who wouldn’t be able to register a look of surprise even if she dropped a pan of hot oil on her feet.
We’re realists – we weren’t going to inflict our naked, hairy bodies on someone whose on work experience certainly didn’t call for massaging our fat around like spreading butter on hot toast. Plus, I’m not one for being touched. I can take someone gripping my ears for stability and that’s about it. Although actually, I’ve heard masseuses prefer fat bodies as there’s more to work with, otherwise let’s face it, it’s like rubbing wax into a xylophone. I was having mild intestinal issues however, and didn’t fancy taking the risk of someone creating a biohazard by squeezing me like a tube of budget toothpaste. So, massages were off, and we decided to make use of the other facilities, which all involved some degree of sitting down and sweating. Couldn’t help but feel a bit ripped off, not least because I sit down and sweat just writing the blog.
Before that, a quick change. Luckily the place was quiet – not that I mind getting my knob out in front of folks, you understand, as a reasonably quick search on xtube will verify – and we were able to get changed in peace. Well – up until the point where it came to putting our stuff in the electronic lockers. We were just closing the door when a boiled beetroot in Jacamo shorts came barrelling over to shout at us / instruct us how to use the locker. It was a four digit pin, not the fucking Enigma machine, and I assured him we had it under control. He didn’t bugger off though, ‘supervising’ us as we locked our locker, leading to a slightly awkward moment where I had to shield the pin as though he was a street beggar after my money. Can’t be too careful. Satisfied that we had managed to satisfy Fermat’s last theorem / input four numbers into a locker, he lumbered off. We’d meet again.
Paul, keen to lose some weight through simple sweating, pushed us into the sauna. I hate saunas. I don’t see the appeal – I feel like a chicken breast in a sous vide machine, sweating and struggling to breathe through a dry heat of other people’s sweat and stink. Thankfully, unlike the other times I’ve used a sauna, there was no-one else in there – that’s great, because previous occasions have invariably had me sat oppostite an old dude sitting with his balls out. Have you ever seen what happens to a scrotum in extreme heat? Mine becomes so elastic that I can throw them over my shoulder and have them banging about like one of those old clackers toys from the eighties.
What’s good about a sauna, anyway? This particular one was turned up to over 90 degrees. To me, that’s approaching boiling point. I get uncomfortably hot when someone lights a church candle the next village over. I tried lying down but that made my back-hair sizzle. I tried sitting but was worried I’d cauterise my bumhole shut. Standing was no better – I just felt faint and knew that if I passed out, there’d be no way Paul could lift me out and I’d end up in there forever, cooking and desiccating until I ended up looking like Madge, Dame Edna’s assistant. I stayed in as long as I could but then had to dash out.
As I left the sauna our friendly neighbourhood beetroot appeared out of fat air and admonished me for not shutting the door quick enough, as though four seconds of the door being slightly ajar would reduce a room that was previously hotter than the surface of the sun down to the temperature of an Icelandic crevasse. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or just hot, though his skin had moved from rose to ruby coloured. For someone who had self-appointed himself as the King of the Spa, he certainly needed to fucking relax. I shut the door as quick as I could, leaving only four layers of skin crisping like bacon on the door handle. I thanked him. We’d meet again.
Paul slunk out of the sauna immediately after Al Murray had left, and we enjoyed a quick brisk shower before going for a sit in the aromatherapy room. I’m not going to lie: it was a novel experience to have the both of us in a heated room and for it not to smell like something has died behind a radiator, but there’s only so much pine scent you can inhale before you start getting light-headed and conscious of the fact you’re going to smell like an Air Wick for the next ten weeks. What is the aromatherapy room meant to do? I’m already Polo-shaped (I’m certainly mint with a hole), I don’t need to smell like one too. We left after about five minutes.
The last room was a steam room. To me, that’s just another sauna, but this time with steam. Woohoo! In we went, and there was Barry Big Bollocks spread-eagled, thankfully with his shorts on, steaming lightly. Now I could have cheerfully stayed in here save for the fact that the steam was clearly helping with his COPD, because no sooner had we sat down then he started coughing and hacking and clearing his throat as though he was drowning in phlegm. Nothing soothes the soul like steam and a fine miasma of the net result of forty straight years of chaining Lambert & Butlers. Every time our conversation halted he’d kick off again, clearly really getting in amongst his air-sacs for the full effect. He wasn’t so much clearing his throat as resurfacing the fucker. We left after about five minutes, speckled with blood and tar.
Only one thing left to do. The jacuzzi. I’m not a huge fan – let’s be frank, they’re nothing more than less portable hot-tubs – but hey, when you’ve spent twenty quid to get in, you have to get the use out of it. In we went. Now, yes, it was very pleasant, although they had positioned several jets in such a way that it was blowing my balls around rather a bit too dramatically in my swimming shorts. I had to move before my entire ball-sack floated to the surface and acted like a pool cover.
But even here I couldn’t relax. With my belly being pummelled from all directions, my fear of accidentally sharting and ruining the whole experience for everyone else was too much. Can you imagine how mortifying that would actually be? The more brazen amongst you might have been able to bluff it out by pretending you’d spilled a can of oxtail soup in the water but come on. I had to get out.
In all, we spent about 30 minutes at the spa and came out slightly pink and far less relaxed than when we went in. Best part for me was having Paul use the hairdryer in the changing rooms to dry my bum hair – such luxury! The receptionist asked if we had a nice time given it seemed as though we had hardly stayed. Naturally, we lied and said it was wonderful and we’d cheerfully come again, before spending the entire home bitching about everything. This is why we can’t have nice things, see. She did offer to see if someone was free to give us a pedicure but when I asked her if said person would be proficient in using a belt sander, she didn’t get the joke. We all mutually agreed that we ought to move on.
Sigh. Speaking of moving on, let’s do the recipe for ham, cheese and egg pancakes, eh?
I was going to call this recipe croque madame crêpes but Christ, I’ve seen how some of you lot spell two chubby cubs, I’m not going to start adding circumflexes into the mix. Without a moment of delay, let’s get to the recipe!
Something new and tasty for breakfast for those days when you can't face spooning yet another load of dry as old nick overnight oats into your aching gob.
For the basic pancake batter, we're using the pancake advice from February, namely:
My recipe makes enough for six pancakes - four which will be filled with ham and cheese, and then two extra for gobbling. It's either that or having to mess about with smaller ingredients. Don't be tempted to fart about blending oats or any of that nonsense, there's simply no need. You're so much better have a couple of real pancakes and cracking on. Oh and if you find yourself reaching for a wrap instead of making a pancake, please, throw yourself into the sea.
TO MAKE THE PANCAKES
50g plain flour (8 syns)
150ml of skimmed milk (2 and a quarter syns, but really, 2 syns)
So that's ten syns for six pancakes. But I'll syn them at 1.5 syns because you can bugger off if you think I'm putting 1.66666666666666 syns per pancake.
FOR THE FILLING
whatever ham you fancy
60g extra grated mature cheese (2 x HEA)
So to be clear, you're having two filled pancakes each, and you'll have enough batter leftover for a third if you want to scoff that too!
blend all the pancake ingredients together - add a pinch of...a pinch of...bleurgh...a good grinding of pepper, please
now, depending on your skill in the kitchen, you could fry the eggs in one pan and prepare the pancakes in another, but let's assume you've got the cooking skills of a turnip, and go step by step
fry your eggs off - don't cook them into full submission, you still want a bit of give on the yolk so it pops
pop your fried eggs on a plate on the side and start making your pancakes - a couple of sprays of olive oil, nice hot pan, tip a sixth of the batter in and quickly spread it around the pan
once the pancake has 'dried out' and coming away from the pan, flip it over - don't be frightened, you've got spare batter
once it is flipped, layer 15g of cheese in the middle, top with the ham and the fried egg
fold the sides of the pancake over like in the photo and cook for about thirty seconds to melt the cheese a bit
top with chives and eat!
Honestly, it sounds like a faff, but all this recipe is is a pancake stuffed with cheese and ham and egg - if you balls it up, it might not look great, but it'll taste absolutely fine. Remember, aim for taste, not perfection!
we whisk up our batter in our Nutribullet - gets rid of any lumps, but honestly, a bowl and a fork will do the same job and get you some Body Magic. Don't buy one just for this - though they are very good!
Now come on, that was easy! But if you fancy something different for breakfast, why not try something new from our list?
Sausage and white wine risotto, if you don’t mind!
We’ve come to the end of our second bootcamp and can’t quite believe it. For two lads whose idea of exercise was a casual Sunday wank or rolling over in bed so our sleep apnea doesn’t suffocate us, I’d say we’ve done really rather well! I’ll talk about it more in due course but honestly, if you’re out there thinking you can’t exercise, get yourself moving! I mean…I haven’t died, yet…
Just a quick recipe tonight to keep you going – but this is delicious! You may know our approach to risottos – just chuck everything in and leave it to cook itself. Might not be 100% authentic but by god, it’ll leave you satisfied. Without further delay…
Sausages, booze, and stodge. This sausage and white wine risotto is THE perfect dinner idea that you've been waiting for! Robust, meaty and just a little bit fruity - just like us. Even though it's full of rich ingredients this is just one syn and a bit each and one of the tastiest things we've ever made!
We've adapted this and made it a bit skinnier from our 'spirit daddies', The Hairy Bikers. Their original recipe is in the brilliant 'Meat Feasts' book - you can get a copy at Amazon! Don't forget to check out their website for more tasty ideas.
4-6 sausages (see notes)
1 litre chicken stock
1 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
300g arborio rice
125ml white wine (5 syns)
60g parmesan, grated (2x HeA)
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
cook the sausages however you like them, and then slice and keep to one side
meanwhile, heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and spray in some oil
add the sliced onions and cook until starting to turn brown - remember to stir them about regularly
once the onions have started to lightly caramelise, reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, herbs and rice and stir well
add the wine and give a good stir, and then pour in the stock and stir again, and then put the lid on the pan
cook for twenty minutes - no need to stir!
gently drag a wooden spoon through the rice - if it falls back in 'waves' it's at the right consistency - cook for a few minutes more if it's not
stir in the sausages slices and sprinkle over the parmesan
serve and sprinkle over the parsley
you can cook the sausages however you like - we used our Optigrill - but however you like it will do, just make sure they're cooked!
I think, if someone held a gun to my head and demanded I pick one meal to eat for the rest of my life, I’d go for quiche. You have no idea how much I love it – I grew up on my nana’s cooking and her idea of quiche was two eggs, bacon that was still oinking and more salt than the Dead Sea. It was delicious, not least because it took away the taste of her apple pie. I’m not sure if it was a result of growing up in the war (she fought a pivotal role in the Transvaal Rebellion) but she was never lavish with her ingredients – she remains the only woman I ever met who could turn a postage stamp sized bit of pastry into eight full fruit pies and a batch of sausage rolls. The apple pie didn’t so much have a filling of apple as a light dusting. I would love to be able to bake like that – absolutely no measurements, timings or fuss: just 100% pure instinct.
That leads me to my simple point that I want to make before getting straight to the recipe: don’t fall into the trap of following recipes slavishly – everything we post is merely a guideline. Don’t like an ingredient? Leave it out (though use common sense, you’ll struggle to make tomato ketchup if you use Weetabix and tears, for example) and put in something you actually want to eat. Recipe not looking quite right? Cook it for a bit longer. Use cheaper meat if you’re short on cash. Don’t stress about the little things – and never more so then in this chicken, leek and bacon quiche recipe, because you can chuck any old shite into a quiche and as long as you season it well, you’ll be laughing.
This chicken, leek and bacon quiche is perfect for either using up all manner of leftovers from the fridge or specifically for a tasty, lovely lunch. You can add anything you like - add more cheese, some mushrooms, pepper, red onion...anything you like! Easy to make too.
two chicken breasts - grilled, poached or baked - cut into cubes or shredded
a few rashers of bacon
one large yellow pepper
one chilli pepper
one leek - get a big one, mind, you want it to leave you wincing every time you pick it up
lots of salt and pepper
180g of ricotta (2 x HEA)
40g of extra mature lighter cheddar (1 x HEA)
eight or so eggs (if you're using whole eggs) or 12 egg yolks (so much nicer!)
30g of parmesan (1 x HEA)
NOTE: so this makes enough for eight wedges, but let's assume you'll eat two wedges. That's one HEA.
cook off the leeks, pepper, bacon and chilli together in a pan until the bacon is cooked and the leeks have softened
add the chicken
mix together the ricotta, cheddar and the eggs - now this is where you need to use your judgement - you may not need as many eggs if you have big eggs or less mixture - you want a good thick 'sauce' when it is all beaten together
I prefer to use egg yolks only because it makes a lovely rich quiche, but can work out pricey for eggs - if you go down this route, don't waste the egg yolk - make these peppermint meringues!
mix everything together in one bowl and add a good pinch of salt and pepper
slop it all into a good non-stick dish - I like to grate half the parmesan into the bottom of the dish before putting the mix in, then top the quiche with the rest of the cheese
cook in the oven for about 35 minutes, or longer if it is still wobbly
Creamy parsnip and apple soup – part of a new category of budget Slimming World recipes that we’re planning on doing. We’ve done a budget week before, you understand, but it became such a ballache having to work out a tenth of a stockcube that we stopped doing it – I know, I’m shameless. But at the time of writing ASDA are selling bags of parsnips for 20p, so you can make this entire pan of soup – which serves six – for less than £1.50. Freezes well, too.
Forgot to say: apologies everyone who received an empty email talking about a risotto – we haven’t published that yet and the email was sent in error – pressed the wrong button. Blame my sausage fingers, it’s why I’ve never mastered the keyboard or wettened an eager beaver. I’m a hamfisted slut! That’ll come online shortly, I’m sure.
Budget is a difficult topic to gauge, to be honest. What is cutting back to me might be eye-watering extravagance to you – what might be penny-pinching to everyone else might be essential to a few of you. Who knows. The reason we’ve decided to reboot this category is simple: I read an excellent article from Jack Monroe, author of cookingonabootstrap, entitled My Ready Meal is None Of Your Fucking Business. She tears apart the whole argument that people can eat ‘well’ on a few pounds a week far more eloquently than I ever could. So I won’t try, but I’ll give you the strongest push to have a read of her blog, especially if you’re struggling for money and need some cheap but decent food ideas. To think, somewhat ashamedly, that my only initial recollection of her was someone who used to vaguely vex me (because she looked like a teacher I disliked) on the Sainsbury’s adverts. Having read up, and realised that as well as everything else she does, she also managed to royally piss off the Daily Mail, well, fair play to her.
Paul and I are lucky – no dependents to fund, no mortgage to pay, plenty of that luscious pink pound to waste on Ritter chocolate and extravagant trips around Lidl. In theory. In reality, we’re both tighter than a photo finish – we hate spending money and will desperately try to avoid doing so unless it’s for a holiday. There’s a certain outdated stereotype that as gay blokes, we should be tripping the light fantastic in decadent clothes, but trust me when I say the most expensive thing in our wardrobe is the dehumidifier. All of our clothes come from the supermarket – I don’t think I’ve ever owned a shirt that hasn’t come from a multipack and poor Paul has been barrelling into work now in shirts that are almost six sizes too big for him. He fell over the other day in the wind and it took five minutes for him to float to the ground like a feather. I park 2.5 miles away from my work and walk in to save the £7 a day parking fee I’d otherwise occur. I like to tell people it’s because I’m trying to get fit but actually, it’s all about the money. The biggest muscle on my body is the thumb I use to keep my wallet shut. I’ve been trying to encourage Paul to allow us to be a ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow’ sort of household but we had to stop when the entire house started stinking like Sugar Puffs mixed with tuna.
Both of us came from families that didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but neither of us is any worse off for it – I wasn’t one of those spoiled brats who looked enviously at other kids going to Florida for their holidays – I was more than happy piling into the back of my parents’ car for the eight hour drive to the top of Scotland, thank you very much. Even now I can’t relax in a car unless I’ve got a tent peg threatening to burst my eardrum as I drive along. We never stopped at a Little Chef or anywhere fun en route either, no no – it was warm egg sandwiches and sullen faces all the way. Paul didn’t even get to go on holiday bar a trip to Ireland at the height of the troubles and some trip to Spain at the height of teletext-bargains. I’ve just asked him for a ‘poor’ memory and his was going to school with a pair of Activ trainers from Whittlesea Market whilst everyone else had Diadora specials. Pfft. He won’t elaborate further but I bet his Adidas trousers were two-stripe, with the third stripe being formed from his mother’s cigarette ash. Tsk.
There’s two exceptions to our thrift that I can think of: we like expensive aftershave (Tom Ford) and decent shoes. I like to think when I leave a room that I leave a pleasing order and a wonderful footprint, even if I do look like I’ve come dressed for a bet. Cheap shoes are a false economy – Paul struggled the three miles into work one day in a pair of gardening shoes when the entire bottom of his shoe came away, leaving him limping home in the rain like he’d staggered away from an explosion. A good pair of boots will last you forever, but of course, getting the funds together to buy them in the first place…
Anyway, in my usual roundabout way, I want to apologise if our budget recipes aren’t budget enough for you – but please, do feel free to suggest some more to us! Without further delay, let’s crack on with the creamy parsnip and apple soup, shall we? It’s from the Hairy Bikers, you know. Nope, not the first time two hairy bikers have left us satisfied and smiling with a slight pain in our bellies, but here we are. Do enjoy!
Remember: according to the folks at Slimming World, if you cook fruit, it becomes synned. We don't always agree with this blanket rule and in this case as we've used two apples between six people and haven't made it into an apple pie so we've chosen to not syn it. I know. Mags will put my lights out.
If you want to follow Slimming World's exact advice, this would be about 15 syns - 2.5 syns per bowl - or approximately 2x HeB choices split between six. How silly.
2 medium onions, chopped
600g parsnips, peeled and cut into wee chunks
2 garlic cloves, minced
600g Bramley apples, peeled, quartered and cut into chunks
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
150ml milk (3 syns)
spray a large, heavy-bottomed pan with a bit of oil
add the onions and parsnips to the pan and gently fry for about fifteen minutes
as an aside - if you want, take your parsnip peelings, spray them with a bit of oil, rub in some curry powder and roast them for a few minutes to crunch them up - you can use these to top the soup!
add the garlic and apples to the pan and cook for another couple of minutes
pour in the stock and bring to the boil
reduce to a simmer and cook for about twenty minutes - the parsnips should be soft
remove from the heat and blend until smooth
add in the milk and give a good stir - add plenty of salt and pepper
A syn-free deep-dish slimming world lasagne? With my reputation?
Do you know, in all the time we’ve been doing this, we’ve never just done a straight-up plain lasagne? We’ve done a slow cooker lasagne (amazing), a chicken and pea lasagne (ignored) and a cheat’s lasagne. We’ve served it in a cup. We’ve made a Mexican version. But someone asked us the other day for a bog-standard version and could we hell as like find one – so here we are! Although classic us, we have tweaked it a little: we found a recipe that uses wraps in one of Davina McCall’s books and thought that we would give it a go instead of dried pasta sheets that either always go slimy or don’t cook enough. It works a bloody treat!
Just a recipe post tonight as I have lost my voice. You might assume that this doesn’t stop me from typing – and you would be right – but it does preclude me from summoning Paul every ten minutes to make me a cup of tea or to rub my feet, so it’s a no-no-Nanette for long posts. I’m not going to lie, I’m tired of feeling under the weather – feels like one of us has been ill for ages! Still doing boot camp though, which probably isn’t the best idea when you’ve got a chest infection and you’re eating reheated red lentil dahl for lunch. Last night I spent so long clamping my own arsehole shut and trying not to spray lung-croutons everywhere that I barely had time to do my squats. One of our exercises involves falling onto the floor, hoisting our legs in the air and staying there. It’s taken eight classes to stop me from automatically moaning and reaching about for the phantom bottle of poppers.
Let’s get straight to it, then… syn-free deep-dish slimming world lasagne! This is makes enough for four large servings.
This doesn't need to be served in a deep dish - just make it like a normal lasagne, if you don't mind - it serves four people and uses wraps in place of pasta. I know, I know, we're scum, but listen, it works really well. This is Davina McCall's recipe, and you don't argue with the Queen.
This serves four and uses your HEB and HEA .- but it's absolutely bloody worth it, and you get loads!
It might look like a lot of ingredients but honestly, this is quick to make! Also, top tip: if you're using a circular dish, before you start cooking stick it upside down onto a wrap and cut out around the dish the perfect shape - your wraps will now fit lovely and snug!
three Weight Watchers White low fat wraps (one wrap is a HEB - so as this serves four, you'll use just under your HEB allowance, but easier just to say you've used it)
500g of 5% beef mince
two large red onions, chopped finely
one large pepper, chopped finely
two garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 beef stock cube
two tins of chopped tomatoes
one large bag of spinach
one courgette, grated
180g of ricotta cheese (2 x HEA)
pinch of nutmeg
220g of Philadelphia Lightest (2 x HEA)
teaspoon of wholegrain mustard (1/2 a syn - up to you if you want to syn an eighth of a bloody syn!)
cherry tomatoes to go on the top
pop the oven on 180 degrees (fan)
start by making the mince layers for your lasagne - gently fry off the onion, pepper and garlic for a few minutes in a few sprays of oil
add the mince and beef stock cube and cook until browned
add the chopped tomatoes and oregano together with a pinch of salt and pepper
allow to simmer and bubble until it has reduced right down to a thick mince, which is also my name for Paul
start on the middle layer whilst the mince is cooking - first step, wash your spinach - don't dry it too vigourously
tip your spinach and grated courgette into a pan with just a tiny splash of water and wilt it down over a low heat (if you leave the lid on, the spinach will steam and wilt much quicker
once everything has wilted down, take the spinach over to the sink and squeeze as much liquid out of it as you can
seriously, keep squeezing - top tip is to put the spinach on a chopping board, put another chopping board over the top and squeeze the two together - get every last bit of moisture out!
finely chop the cooked spinach and tip back into your pan together with the ricotta and nutmeg - stir until the ricotta has softened and the spinach is mixed in, then set aside
layer your lasagne in the deep dish: half of the mince mixture, followed by a wrap, followed by the spinach and ricotta, then a wrap, then the rest of the mince, then another wrap
make the white sauce for the top by popping your philadelphia into a pan, add the mustard and soften it over a low heat - add a splash of milk if it is too thick, but it should be fine
pour over the top, add halved cherry tomatoes and grate some extra cheese on top if you want more, though do syn it!
cook for a good forty minutes and then enjoy!
if you're looking for a place to get excellent low fat beef mince, try our Musclefood Freezer Filler: you get loads for the price together with excellent chicken and bacon! I mean, what's not to love? Click here to order
if you're struggling to find a deep dish, have a look in TK Maxx - we found ours in there. A deep cake tin will do exactly the same job, or throw it in a normal Pyrex dish - there's no need to spend a lot of money here!
Coursesdinner, low syn
Mind we’ve got some bloody amazing, different pasta recipes – let me show you some syn-free suggestions!
Apologies for another extended break! I know, we’re awful. But in my defence, we’ve been briefly away down South (I know, I’ve got some nerve) and well, I can’t deny the fact that I’m feeling blue. Too much to do, too little time to do it in! Paul’s been unwell, the cat has broken her tail and now the worst news of all: Jim bloody Bowen has floated off to the big two-berth caravan in the sky, only a century away from the big 180. Gutted. Honestly, I know Stephen Hawking was a hero and a gentleman and a bloody great mind but I’m more upset about Jim – I bloody loved Bullseye. You might assume it’s because he championed darts – one of the few sports out there where a bloke with a fabulous rack can have a chance at being a champion. You’d be right.
I think I’m upset it’s because it’s another fragment of my childhood that has peeled away and exposed the fact that I’m getting older. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he has died unsullied and innocent as opposed to so many other eighties stars: if it had come out he had been finishing on a double-top of the children, that would have been too much to bear.
But Bullseye was a part of my childhood in much the same way that staring mournfully out of the window was, or getting road tar on my white Nick trainers. It lived on throughout recent years thanks to Challenge TV, where it’s always 1989 somewhere, and Paul and I loved to watch two unemployed perms from the Tyne Tees Television district winning a speedboat of an evening. We always joked that everyone in the audience – all blue rinses, lemon cardigans and beige bags clasped tightly to their chests – would all be dead by now. How we laughed. Too many legends dying, and it’s only going to get worse. I’m keeping a close eye on my beloved Anneka Rice.
That said, I would have loved a go on the Prize Board: there’s something elegant about winning a trouser press, a Soda Stream and a sewing machine for the wife on a throw of a dart. But perhaps someone more mature than me can explain something: why was a decanter and tantalus seen as the height of good taste back in the eighties? Nearly every show featured one as a prize, and you’d see Jackie from Anglia Television (“‘ospital cleaner, Jim“) throwing her darts like a severed marionette to try and win one. Can someone explain the appeal? Whilst we’re here, were televisions with a remote on a string really a thing? Eee, it’s a different world. I remember when my nana in Darlington had a TV with a box you had to put money into just to watch, with someone visiting every week to take away the quarter-tonne of 50p pieces. Simpler times. Now they just rob you via the licence fee, am I right, eh? Hello? Is this thing on? Fucking wants to be, I paid for it.
Not arsed about Ken Dodd though. Something about him left me cold and nervous, in much the same way as my mother can’t abide Lionel Blair. I’ve seen that woman storm out of a room in a fury before when he cha-cha-chaed his way into Dictionary Corner on Countdown, looking to all the world like the result of incestuous fraternisation between Gail from Corrie and a runover E.T costume. I asked about at work to see if anyone else shares these irrational celebrity dislikes and the results were varied and illuminating: for one colleague Keira Knightley leaves her cold (“stupid lollipop head”), another flies into a blistering tirade at the mere mention of Gary Barlow. That I can understand: Gary is the colour taupe assuming a human form.
Ah let’s be honest, it’s all irrelevant anyway: we’re going to be irradiated ash by May. Can anyone else see this Russian crisis ending any other way than a nuclear bomb being dropped on one of our major cities? I know, deep in my heart, that I’ll nip out to get some milk and end up piddling myself in the street like that lass from Threads before every atom of my face is blown into the North Sea.
Still, must get on.
Speaking of a spicy burst of heat that’ll result in a crowd-clearing, fiery blast, let’s do the recipe for dynamite baked beans. I can’t take credit for this one, t’s from one of my favourite recipe books: Tasty, by Tony Singh. It’s available on Amazon for 55p! We have been trying to find a decent recipe for livening up baked beans for a while and this is just the ticket. A hearty, farty recommendation. This makes enough for two portions, but do just scale up if you prefer more.
Don’t worry folks, we even prepared a video if you can’t be arsed to read!
We’re trying to do a good mix of video recipes that are simple and shenanigans! Let us know what you think!
Looking for a syn-free breakfast or a gorgeous side? Try our spicy baked beans! They're gorgeous - easy to make, can be done in bulk and they freeze well! Top with a fried egg for something deliciously different!
1 tin of baked beans
2 small red onions, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2.5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
1tsp green chilli, finely diced
1 tsp garam massala
150ml beef stock
spray a frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
add the onions and fry until the start to soften and go golden brown
add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for another five minutes
add the chilli and stock, and give a good stir
add the garam masala to the pan, stir and simmer until thickened
add the beans to the pan and stir
cook for a few more minutes until the beans have warmed through and serve with a fried egg!
want to make this fancy? add cubed bacon - smoked is ever better!
if you can't be arsed clitting about with garlic and ginger, just buy a paste! You can buy it from Amazon or most major supermarkets - a good tablespoon will do it!
Full English breakfast risotto – not a breakfast recipe, no, but rather a delicious risotto with all the lovely bits of a full English breakfast! Yes it’s indulgent, yes it’ll probably give you blue lips, but it’s so, so good: plus as with all our risottos, it pretty much cooks itself – no clarting about with adding ladles of stock! This is a rollover recipe – you can use the leftover sausages and bacon from yesterday’s recipe of super scrambled eggs to make into this beauty! I mean, I don’t recommend you have them both on the same day, but there’s nothing stopping you cooking off all the sausages and bacon and leaving half aside to make this.
Not a fan of congealed blood and fat and oats? Please: call yourself a blubber-merchant? Feel free to leave it out. If you do, it’s syn free. Top tip for this: once you’ve finished serving it up in that effortlessly stylish way of ours, pop the yolk so it runs through the risotto, mash the tomatoes in and crumble over that black pudding. It’s so, so good!
No chitter-chat tonight as we’re off to the gym. I know: who have we become? But after yesterday’s diatribe I need to stop bumping my lips for a bit.
This serves four, by the way – normal portions. If you’re a greedy sod like me, two massive bowls.
to make full english breakfast risotto you will need:
400g arborio rice
3 chicken stock cubes (dissolved in 1 litre of boiling water)
4 low fat sausages, cooked and sliced (see top tips below)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 bacon medallions, cooked and chopped
2 slices of Morrison’s black pudding (9 syns)
2 big handfuls of mushrooms
150g cherry tomatoes
top tips to make full english breakfast risotto:
we used the sausages and bacon from Musclefood which are both syn free! If you want to check out our special deals just click here! Of course, you can use other sausages – just remember to syn them
we used Morrison’s black pudding which is 4½ syns a slice – they vary a lot across brands though so do check yours
you can cook the bacon and sausages however you like them – we used our Optigrill but you could use an airfryer, a frying pan, a George Foreman grill or a normal grill – however you want! For best results cook the sausages halfway (they’ll cook fully later)
don’t like black pudding or mushrooms? Just leave them out! You can add or remove whatever you like – make it however you like it!
Sausage and ham super scrambled eggs: because you’re worth it.
Guys, if you want the recipe and aren’t in the mood for a politically-correct, bang-on, leftie snowflake moan, just scroll down until you see the pretty pictures of the dinner. Because boy, am I going to moan.
You may recall a while back I did a post complaining that the ignorant fuckers banging on about Tesco pandering to Muslims because they had the temerity to include an Asian family in their Christmas advert. I know: shock horror! If not, you can find it here. You would have hoped that the passage of time might have quelled the ignorant, or perhaps they might have found something shiny on the floor to distract them, but no – that sound you hear, like someone standing barefoot on wet rice krispies, is the spittle collecting in the corner of their downturned mouths once more. Why? Because Cadbury’s are BANNING THE WORD EASTER FROM THEIR EASTER EGGS TO APPEASE MUSLIMS.
Except, much like Tesco, they’re not. This one is even easier to discount: whilst you can argue that maybe Tesco weren’t being honest in their right-on PC approach to inclusivity (which is bollocks, plenty of Muslim families take part in Christmas), you can’t argue that Cadbury’s are banning the word Easter when you can walk into any shop, pick up any number of Cadbury’s eggs and see the word Easter emblazoned on the box, or on the chocolate egg, or sat amongst all of the other Easter eggs in the friggin’ Easter egg section of the supermarket. It’s quite literally there in brown and white. It’s like getting in a tizz about the sky not existing or grass not being green – it’s an unequivocal, incontrovertible fact. They say the word is banned, people post photos of their eggs showing otherwise. That would surely be enough to calm their tits, no?
No, despite absolute evidence to the contrary, they still believe in a great conspiracy to ‘devalue the importance of Easter’ and that Cadbury’s are head of the coterie working hard to bring this country to its knees. They ignore the fact that most eggs have Easter on them in order to point out the few that don’t (carefully side-stepping the fact that the Help for Heroes egg doesn’t mention Easter) as justification of their anger. Some learned sort posted pictures of eggs from the 1970s, also Easter-less, as proof that sometimes an egg is just allowed to be an egg, but this too was ignored. At this point anyone pointing out the fallacies in their arguments is usually made out as a JEREMI CORBIN LOVER or typical leftie libtard or some other such nonsense, as though having a rational mind and decent principles is something to be ashamed of.
What vexes me is that most of these people couldn’t give the shiniest of shites about Christianity and indeed, the last time they were on their knees in a church it was probably to either suck off the vicar or wrench the lead from the stained glass windows. They’re about as Christian and as God-bothering as I am a sofa cushion. Do you think these people are good Christian soldiers? No: it’s just another excuse to bash the Muslims and to try and justify their thick, idiotic behaviour. They wheel out the ‘importance of the true Easter message’ as though they’ll be doing anything at Easter other than ransacking the shelves of B&M and watching Jeremy Kyle, who might tip his hat to Easter by adding bunny noises over the punch-ups and tying a bonnet on Steve the bouncer. Pfft. The only thing I want to tie behind Steve the Bouncer’s ears are my thighs. You ask most of them which muscle-bound adonis was well-hung at Easter and they’ll probably name some stripper they saw at the last lock-in at whatever flat-roofed barred-window shithole they had their Shenice’s 5th birthday in, for a beige buffet all round.
The final argument is the finisher though: good people are told that ‘they just don’t see the bigger picture’ or ‘you’re too scared to admit the truth’. It’s as though the truth that they have rattling in their brains like a grain of rice in a tumble drier is the gospel and that they, not you, are the enlightened one because they’re one vein-pop away from crouching down in a barnyard yelling at the hens because they don’t imprint ‘I LOVE JESUS’ on each egg they fire out. If that’s the truth, then slap my arse, call me a salty bitch and make me a liar, because I want nothing of it.
Paul pointed out that I have to stop arguing on facebook, and he’s right. What does it ever get you? No-one, no matter what side of the fence you come down on, is ever going to change their mind on a hot-button issue because Sandra from Stanley weighed in on her Radio Rentals Amstrad to tell us why Brexit is a good idea, why gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry or who really did wear it best between Holly Willoughby and a toilet-roll cover. And yet, everyone feels the need to voice, to speak, to get their opinion across: I’m doing it as we speak, but don’t worry, I’m safely strapped in on my high horse. It’s very comfortable. But it’s all so…pointless. I’ve decided then to give facebook a rest, at least outside of my social circle.
I’ve unliked all the local news stories, where an article about a new bus-stop can turn into a smear against the mayor, an argument about Poles coming over here stealing our daffodils and why Theresa May is good/bad/incapable of smiling without looking like she’s pissing blood-soaked nails. I’ve stopped following anything faintly contentious or interesting. American articles are an absolute cesspit of who can call Trump the worst thing, which is pointless because everyone knows the correct answer to that is that he’s like a pube-covered Wotsit that a deranged person carved a face onto. TV shows fanpages are a no-go because they’re full of people who have never left their mother’s busom and who take everything so seriously. Comment sections on newspaper sites are like the table in the pub you avoid at all costs. And now, even the sanctuary that was a chocolate facebook page has been sullied by the thick and the ignorant.
What’s the cure? If I was ever Prime Minister, I’d have all of these people who graduated from the School of Hard Knocks and who have a degree from the University of Life rounded up, popped into a lorry and driven into the sea. Don’t worry, they’d be long dead before they entered the water, drowned in a yellowish froth of their collective bile, disgust and self-righteousness, arguing and spitting to the very end. You know how I’d celebrate? With a large, generous slice of politically correct cocoa-ovoid.
Anyway, let’s do the recipe. It’s super scrambled eggs but done all fancy and meaty! Now, if you buy a pack of bacon and sausages, keep half of them for the recipe that’s coming tomorrow – we’re calling this a rollover recipe! Let’s do this.
to make super scrambled eggs you will need:
6 bacon medallions OR 100g of cooked ham, cooked and chopped
4 low fat sausages (see top tips below), cooked and sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
100ml skimmed milk (1½ syns)
30g cheddar, grated (3 syns)
top tips for super scrambled eggs:
the milk and cheese is optional but totally worth it