taster night ideas for Slimming World

Looking for taster night ideas? There’s SEVEN recipes down below. I’m not surprised you want inspiration, nothing seems to strike fear into slimmers at Slimming World more than ‘we’re having a party next week, bring something along‘. Well, perhaps the words ‘let’s split the room in half, someone keep points, we’re going to do group activities‘. God I hate that. I’m too antisocial at the best of times but being forced to come up with a witty team name and shout out speed foods makes my throat hitch. For those not in the Cult of Mags, a taster night is where everyone is expected to bring along some food to share with the rest of the class and usually results in about twenty quiches and a box of grapes bought from the Co-op over the road by the lady who forgot it was on.

I struggle with taster nights because, as previously mentioned, I don’t like eating food when I don’t know how clean the kitchen it’s coming from is. Luckily I’m in a class now with people who do look familiar with a bottle of Ajax, but Christ, some of the sights I’ve seen in other classes, well I wouldn’t eat what came out of their kitchens even if it contained the antidote to a life-threatening poison I’d accidentally ingested. I don’t mind a slice of Slimming World quiche, I just don’t like to be twanging cat hair out of my teeth for the following week. Anyway, as ‘what can I make for taster night’ and ‘slimming world snacks’ appear quite regularly on the little index of what people search for to find this blog. Well, it can’t all be ‘chubby cub cum explosion’ (can’t remember that recipe?) and ‘fat men fuking’ (masturbation is no excuse for poor spelling, chaps).

Oh! A quick word. When a buffet is served up in class, try and allow the meek amongst us access to the food. A couple of years ago, in a class in Wakefield no less, Paul and I didn’t get any food because half the class – not the better half – dashed forward as soon as the ‘party’ began and formed one giant body of impassable bulk. It was like the Berlin Wall, only smelling faintly of chips. I’ve never seen food shovelled and devoured with such ferocity and I’ve seen Sicilian wild boars being fed. All I wanted was a (nothing-like-a) Ferrero Rocher and a few ‘JUST LIKE DORITOS’ crisps that I could have planed a door with. I had my revenge anyway – the wasabi peas that I put on the table thinking they were syn-free were actually about eight syns a handful. What can I say? My knowledge of the Mandarin language is a little rusty.

So, with all the above in mind, we decided to do a post on snacks, also fuelled by the fact it was Eurovision last night and we like to have a trough of food to work through whilst we watch our entry get annihilated. Before anyone says the UK will never win because ‘it’s too political’ and ‘no-one votes for us because of the war’, that was relevant maybe ten years ago and certainly isn’t now. Russia almost won it and well, that Putin’s been a bit of a tinker this year, has he not? We don’t win because we send absolute shite – po-faced, dreary, period-pain music with insipid staging and crap tunes. No doubt that Aldi Jedward can sing a tune and strum a guitar but they lost a singing competition where literally tens of people voted for someone else to be a winner. Why would that translate to success in the Eurovision Song Contest? EH? We need to send something amazing, with a massive chorus and an uplifting melody, not a song that would barely make its way onto the second CD in the Now That’s What I Call White Noise 87 compilation.

I was just sore because I had Poland and Italy in the sweepstakes, and did you catch them? Poland came dancing out like a crystal-meth Cheryl Cole and Italy’s act was so boring that I forgot about it whilst she was singing the words, which is quite something. I wanted Russia to win. That stage, that song (You Are The Obi Wan, You’re My Obi Wan…) and gasp, when that screen spun around…well, I loved it. Plus one of my work colleagues had Russia in the sweepstakes and I just know he’s going to be spend his winnings on delicious things for the entire floor. That’s right, isn’t it Alan? SHOUT-OUT FOR ALAN. Mahaha. Paul threw his weight behind Sweden, who I can’t really be mean about because the singer was only 8 and he has the angst of puberty to get through. He’s no Eric Saade (2011) with his exploding glass cages though.

As it happens, one of the worst songs managed to win – Kate Bush’s stunt double caterwauling about politics – and Ukraine took the prize, meaning Russia will be hosting the Eurovision next year. Boom boom. We’ve said it every year – we should go to the next Eurovision – and the fact that it is being held in Ukraine only sweetens the deal. If it had been Russia we’d have been conflicted – on one hand, we love the idea of a night of catchy tunes surrounded by every other gay man in existence, but on the other hand I prefer not to have my teeth kicked down my throat because I’m a rampant bummer. Ah yes.

Anyway come on now, let’s get to the recipes, shall we? This is the spread.

taster night ideas

Fancy, right? On view then:

  • Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip
  • our teeny tiny teriyaki tasters
  • sandwiches filled with syn-free egg mayonnaise and tuna and cucumber
  • sweet potato crisps with four different types of houmous
  • baked new potatoes with cheese and bacon topping

Out of sight:

  • spicy couscous balls
  • gin and tonic lollies

Three caveats that I’m going to throw in before we begin:

TWEAK

  • some of these recipes are ‘tweaks’ in the truest sense of the word – especially the crisps – and it’s up to you whether you follow the rule of synning them or not – tweaks being when you use an ingredient in a way it isn’t intended to be used, such as slicing a sweet potato to make crisps. I will mention it where appropriate. My own view (which you can find here) is that it’s better to be eating something made from a healthy ingredient than a processed packet of crisps. It boils down to this – 100g of sweet potato is around 85 calories, 100g of Walkers crisps kicks in over 550 calories. I’ll be fucked if I’m synning sweet potato crisps at the same rate as normal crisps. If you feel the need to be all frothy and leave a comment castigating me for my temerity, please save yourself the finger strain, wipe the spittle from your lips and simply don’t bother – personal choice;
  • a couple of these recipes you’ll have seen before if you’re a long-time follower, but I thought it would be handy to put them all in one place; and
  • as usual, I’ve given syn values for a normal portion and I’ll mention when it uses up a HEA/HEB. If you’re eating the entire buffet, you’ll need to think about how many HEB/HEA’s you’re using! It’ll make sense as we go along. Basically, each recipe stands on its own. Right? Right.

taster night ideas #1: sweet potato crisps with four different types of houmous:

taster night ideas

to make the sweet potato crisps, you’ll need:

  • a couple of big sweet potatoes
  • spray oil – a few squirts of Filippo Berio’s olive oil is only half a syn, and that’s all you need
  • chinese five spice

to make the sweet potato crisps, you should:

  • to make the crisps, use a microwave, it’s much easier
  • get a big old sweet potato and cut it to uniform thin slices – this is where having a mandolin slicer comes in very handy, because it’ll take no time at all to do the slices – buy one here and never look back, not least because it makes your food look great when it’s all uniform
  • arrange the slices on a plate, squirt with some spray oil, dust with chinese five spice (or indeed, any flavouring you want) and rub it in
  • microwave on full power – it usually takes about six minutes, but keep checking every couple of minutes, and once they start to look dry, turn them over
  • keep a proper eye on them mind, because they can burn easily once they dry out
  • once done, take them off the plate, set aside, and do the next batch

to make the four way houmous, you’ll need:

  • a few small tins of chickpeas
  • garlic cloves
  • fat free cottage cheese
  • a lemon or two
  • sea salt

to make the four way houmous, you should:

  • the basic houmous recipe is simple enough – for enough to fill one of those little square bowls above, you’ll want to use one small tin of cooked chick peas (syn free), a nice round tablespoon of fat free cottage cheese, a garlic clove, pinch of sea salt and some lemon juice. Blend it together, adding a little more lemon juice if you like it runny or keeping some back if you prefer it chunky. It’s up to you. You will save yourself so much time if you get yourself one of these little express choppers that Delia Smith was always going on about between tumblers of Scotch – you can find one here – it’ll make houmous in no time
  • to make the different variations, you just add a few ingredients:
    • lemon and garlic (add an extra couple of garlic gloves, a squidge more lemon juice and decorate with finely grated lemon peel) (don’t take the pith, literally, as that is very bitter – just the top layer, please)
    • basil and parmesan (10 torn basil leaves, 10g of shaved parmesan, bit of salt) – up to you if you want to syn such a tiny portion of parmesan but bearing in mind you’ll be getting what, 2.5g of it, I wouldn’t bother
    • pickled red cabbage (just a few chunks of pickled red cabbage and some of the pickling vinegar added to give it colour
    • paprika and sun-dried tomato – I chucked in 1tbsp of sundried tomato paste (1.5 syns, but again, through the laws of dilution, it’s up to you if you syn it)

Easy! Of course, if you don’t want to fart on making the crisps, just chop up some peppers, carrots and cucumber and use them instead to dip into your houmous. If you want our little serving dish, you guessed it, it’s on Amazon!

taster night ideas #2: teeny tiny teriyaki tasters:

teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

This makes enough for 36 sticky teeny tiny teriyaki tasters (fnar fnar), if you make them bigger, adjust the syns per ball. There’s 12 syns in the overall recipe.

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you’ll need:

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you should:

  • in a large bowl mix together the pork and the beef mince with the egg yolk
  • using a tablespoon, scoop out a spoon-size ball and roll into meatballs – do this for all of the mixture (you’ll need about 36 – if you want, you could weigh out each ball at around 27g each…but life’s too short)
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat and add a couple of squirts of spray oil or, urgh, Frylight, bleurgh
  • cook the meatballs until browned all over and cooked right through – you WILL need to do them in batches
  • place cooked meatballs onto a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm whilst you cook the rest
  • when done, mix together the soy sauce, white wine, sherry, honey and ginger in a small jug and pour into the same pan you used to cook the meatballs and reduce the heat to medium
  • cook for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened
  • add the meatballs back into the pan and stir carefully to coat – I find it easier to tumble the meatballs in and then pick up the pan and gently slosh them around rather than trying to stir with a spoon
  • serve on cocktail sticks and sprinkle over the seeds – don’t sweat it if you can’t find these, you could easily leave them off and that brings the syn count to 1 syn for six – even better – but they look so pretty with the seeds on

taster night ideas #3: Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip:

taster night ideas

to make Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip, you’ll need:

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 onion (grate half of it, chop the other half)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of sriracha, (1 syn) (you can use any old hot sauce)
  • 1 egg
  • 25g panko (4.5 syns) (or use breadcrumbs from your HEB allowance)
  • ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 100g quark

to make Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip, you should:

Full disclosure: we got this recipe from the fabulous cookingforkeeps.com – her recipe can be found here and looks equally as delicious – we’ve tweaked ours for Slimming World!

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • in a bowl, mix together the turkey mince, onion (grated and chopped), carrot, spring opnions, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, 1 tsp of sriracha, egg and the panko until combined
  • roll into 1″ size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper
  • cook in the oven for twenty minutes
  • meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sriracha and the quark to make a dipping sauce
  • slice the radishes and cucumbers as thinly as you can and skewer one of each onto a cocktail stick with the meatball

taster night ideas #4: little sandwiches:

to make little sandwiches, you’ll need:

taster night ideas

No need for a full recipe here, really. Take whatever bread you want from your HEB – we use Kingsmill Crustless Wholemeal bread, which you can have three slices of. Cut nice circles out of them, remember you eat with your eyes.

  • for the egg salad, boil up four eggs, break them up with a fork, add a tablespoon of quark, lots of black pepper, a chopped tomato and some spring onions
  • for the tuna – well, we’re old school, we just like tuna mixed with vinegar and served with cucumber. You could splash out and add a bit of Quark to bind it, I suppose…

taster night ideas #5: baked new potatoes with a cheese and bacon topping:

taster night ideas

to make baked new potatoes, you’ll need:

  • 1.5kg small salad-type potatoes
  • 100g fat-free fromage frais
  • 30g parmesan (1x HEA)
  • 4 rashers of bacon, all visible fat removed
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • chives

to make baked new potatoes, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees (or an actifry with the paddle removed is just as good – Amazon are selling them for £125 at the moment too!)
  • prick the potatoes with a fork, spray with a little frylight and bake in the oven (or actifry) for about 45 minutes
  • grill or dry-fry the bacon until crispy and chop into small pieces
  • mix together the fromage frais, parmesan and spring onions and set aside
  • when the potatoes are cooked, leave to cool for about ten minutes
  • make a cross in the top of each potato and squeeze the bottoms to open them up
  • spoon in a little of the fromage frais mixture and top with bacon pieces and chives

taster night ideas #6: spicy couscous balls:

couscousballs

Please note: that’s an old photo, it’s actually now 4 syns for all the balls, but you’re not going to eat them all yourself anyway, surely? I’ll nip back in time and change the photo later.

Not worth making a full recipe breakdown for this, because it’s so, so easy. I use two packets of Ainsley Harriott’s spicy sensations couscous, which come in at 2 syns per pack made up with water (so don’t be adding butter, you cheeky buggers). Add the appropriate level of water (whatever it says on the pack) and leave to absorb. Fluff with a fork. Beat an egg and mix it into the couscous, then squeeze as many balls as you can out of the mixture. Pop onto a tray and stick it in the oven on 150 degrees for an hour or so – you want to ‘dry’ them out. Cooked low and slow, you’ll be laughing. For a dip, make tzatziki – greek yoghurt (I use Tesco Finest 0% fat – no syns) mixed with cucumber cut into tiny cubes and mint. Stir, chill, eat.

taster night ideas #7: gin and tonic ice lollies

taster night ideas

Again, no need for a full recipe. We mixed 25ml of gin with a glass of diet tonic, poured it into a cheapy ice-lolly mould like this £3 from Amazon and added a slice of cucumber. Between six, it’s half a syn each. Of course, it’s easy to customise this, put your pint of whisky in, add lime, add fruit, don’t add alcohol, do what you like!

OK, I hope that’s given you some inspiration. It’s certainly made my fingers ache!

Do me a favour though – share this page in as many facebook pages as you can, because taster recipes is one of the main things people need. Spread the love! Leave me your comments below!

Oh it’s worth noting, we did have a couple of drinks to get us through Eurovision, see…

taster night ideas

J

teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

Here for the teeny tiny teriyaki tasters which are perfect for those awful taster nights where everyone brings in food? You’ll find them just below the picture. But naturally, because it’s us, there’s going to be a bit of guff before we get to that point.

Firstly, this is important: you know how we have our fabulous deal with Musclefood, where you can choose from our meat-filled big box or a smaller, still meaty, freezer filler? This one? They’re currently out of stock at the moment though. Booo! Well, they’re also running a deal right now where you get 5kg of their marvellous chicken breasts for £18 instead of £32.85. You’ll need to click here, add it to your basket and use the code GREATCHICK in the promo codes bit in your basket. The chicken breasts are colossal – we usually use one where two supermarket chicken breasts would do. Tasty too.

Usual guff applies, the minimum order is £25 and delivery is £3.95, but if you fill out your order with the usual staples of extra lean beef mince you’ll be fine. Enjoy!

Right, secondly, couple of boring admin things – we get asked a lot how many servings our meals will do – unless we say otherwise, assume four. We’re very big eaters, always have been, and our meals could comfortably serve four unless we go out of our way to say it’ll be six or two or whatever. I’ve got no time for tiny portions whether during mealtimes or sex. Also, we’ve got so many lovely, warm comments in our comment queue, we’re going to try and get through them today. Please don’t be disenheartened that it takes such an age to clear them – we read each one as it comes in and it touches us right in our special no-no places. To give you an idea how much admin that is, there’s 156 comments waiting for us to approve and comment on, and I only cleared the queue before we went to New York! Goodness me!

So yes, today’s recipe is designed for all those people who spill their vowels down their front and ask us ‘WOT CAN I TAKE TO TASTA NITE‘. I’ll include some more links at the bottom for other snack suggestions, but seriously, if you take these bad boys to class, I’d be surprised if your consultant doesn’t give you Slimmer of the Year right there and fill your book with so many stickers it looks like a Panini 1998 World Cup album, only with Mags playing centre forward instead of Les Ferdinand. God I’d pay good money for that.
Buffets as a rule leave me cold, but these have put me in mind of a recent visit to a carvery. See, before we set off anew on this diet a few weeks ago, we had a little list of things to cram down our necks before we had to be strict again and exist on kale and misery (recipe for kale and misery stew will be online shortly, prep your tears now). They included something delicious from McDonalds (an abstract thought if ever there was one), all manner of beige nonsense from Iceland and a visit to a carvery – perhaps more precisely, a Toby Carvery. I’ve never been, but I feel I’ve been vicariously through all the frothy-mouthed praising I’ve seen people on the internet do. Apparently they’re delicious, the sort of place you would go for a final meal, a Sunday dinner done right at any time of the week – having seen the fervent delirium that swims over the eyes of their fans I was half expecting to be fellated under the table as I worked my way through my roast.
 
Well, that didn’t happen. We stumbled into the Kingston Park Toby Carvery and although the staff were pleasant, the food was awful and most of the customers were clearly determined to get the value out of their £5.99 and to hell with decency. Listen, I’m a fat bloke, but show a bit of restraint man – people were coming back to the table with plates piled so high with heat-lamp warm veg that their glazed-over eyes were barely visible over the top of them. I think it’s a very British thing, confusing quantity with quality, but it made me feel a bit queasy. Just because you can eat as much as you like, doesn’t mean you should. It’s not a challenge, you’re not on the Krypton Factor or up against a timer – they’ll still let you out if you’re capable of breathing under your own steam.
 
The food wasn’t all that, considering the rapturous praise it seems to elicit from various people online. The meat was so leathery and tough that I could have reheeled my shoes with it. The mash and roast potatoes were so dry that I almost asked for a bowl of those little silica gel balls for dessert just to grab a bit of moisture. Because the food is kept under heatlamps and customers are allowed to ‘help themselves’, everything ends up slightly mixed together so you get cauliflower cheese mixed in with the peas and queasy droplets of horseradish blobbing on the top of the gravy. Finally, their famous Yorkshire puddings? I could have sanded a brick wall with the buggers. Bah! The staff were lovely, mind.
 
I see the same thing when I walk down Stowell Street in Newcastle to my car, which is awash with all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurants with the same folk piling their plates high with all sorts of salty nonsense. I can put it away myself, don’t you worry, but I’ve never felt it necessary to combine starter, main and dessert on one plate, especially when you can go back up if you want more. It always ends up tasting the same and I can’t bear seeing people eat without actually tasting the food they’re pouring into their maw. They look like cows in a field chewing the cud, quite possibly with the same levels of methane barrelling out of their arses.
 
Admittedly, I’m being slightly hypocritical. I don’t mean to be. I’d love to make a pig of myself at a buffet but I suffer from buffet-anxiety, or premature mastication if you prefer. I’ll go up, fill my plate with about two thirds of the amount I actually want, and then cry inside at the sight of everyone else’s plate, which is normally full of the things I wanted but didn’t dare pick up in case some snotty cow yelled ‘SPOON OF MINIATURE TRIFLE EH? WITH YOUR TITS?’ or similar. We’ve all been there.
Moral of the story? Calm the fuck down at buffets.
Right, recipe!

teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

This makes enough for 36 sticky teeny tiny teriyaki tasters (fnar fnar), if you make them bigger, adjust the syns per ball. There’s 12 syns in the overall recipe.

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you’ll need:

  • 500g lean pork mince
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 60ml light soy sauce
  • 60ml white wine (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp sherry (1.5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp honey (2.5 syns)
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 15g of a mix of black and white sesame seeds (6 syns, as 25g is 8 syns – and to be honest, you’ll not use all of these because a lot will end up on the chopping board, but let’s err on the side of caution)

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you should:

  • in a large bowl mix together the pork and the beef mince with the egg yolk
  • using a tablespoon, scoop out a spoon-size ball and roll into meatballs – do this for all of the mixture (you’ll need about 36 – if you want, you could weigh out each ball at around 27g each…but life’s too short)
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat and add a couple of squirts of spray oil or, urgh, Frylight, bleurgh
  • cook the meatballs until browned all over and cooked right through – you WILL need to do them in batches
  • place cooked meatballs onto a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm whilst you cook the rest
  • when done, mix together the soy sauce, white wine, sherry, honey and ginger in a small jug and pour into the same pan you used to cook the meatballs and reduce the heat to medium
  • cook for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened
  • add the meatballs back into the pan and stir carefully to coat – I find it easier to tumble the meatballs in and then pick up the pan and gently slosh them around rather than trying to stir with a spoon
  • serve on cocktail sticks and sprinkle over the seeds – don’t sweat it if you can’t find these, you could easily leave them off and that brings the syn count to 1 syn for six – even better – but they look so pretty with the seeds on

Get used to people going OOOOOH and slapping you on the back. Hell, you’ve earned it.

Enjoyed our tale? Remember: we have a book with all of our stories in one place, and you’ll be keeping us in gin if you buy it!

J

pork and chorizo kebabs

EMERGENCY RECIPE ACTIVATE (Paul and I are gallivanting!). This is super quick to make and a good way to use up pork mince – pork is a slightly drier mince so works well with the oily chorizo but beef could be used too. 

pork and chorizo burgers

to make pork and chorizo kebabs, you’ll need:

  • 500g lean pork mince
  • 75g chorizo, chopped (7.5 syns)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • handful of chopped parsley

This makes enough for six ‘burgers’, which you can chop up and put into a kebab or indeed, have as a burger. I think that’s enough for three people. If you’re finding that there’s too much meat for you to handle and you’ve got a badly-packed kebab, just take a bit out and try again. You’ll get the hang of it and there’ll be thick yoghurt sauce everywhere in no time at all.

to make pork and chorizo kebabs, you should:

  • mix together all of the ingredients and season to taste
  • divide the mixture into six and press into burger shapes
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and place the burgers in the pan
  • cook for about 6-7 minutes each side, making sure the burgers are fully cooked
  • serve in a pitta bread (make sure it’s suitable for your HEB) with salad and raita (mix fat free yoghurt with chopped mint and shredded cucumber)

So easy!

J

sweet and sour pork meatballs

James is busy trying to be all macho with his dad putting together our new utility room but there’s no manly way to hold a handheld Dyson or use a microfibre cloth. So tonight’s post comes from me (Paul). Sorry about that.

Blimey. What a day. I knew there was something the matter with us when we starting planning our day at IKEA. ON A BASTARD BANK HOLIDAY. IKEA is pure hell at the best of times – one of these places that makes you think you’re going to have a wonderful day bouncing about on sofa cushions and bean bags and being one big giggling family with a hot dog and an ice cream at the end, when the reality is actually you spending one floor staring intensely into the back of someone’s head because they’re walking far too slowly, and the second floor wanting to just die because you’re SICK OF THIS SHIT ALREADY. So, against our better judgement, that’s what we did today.

But with a difference.

After having the Ikea experience on multiple occasions for big projects (like the kitchen) we’ve eventually got this all down to a tee. So, down to the second, we had the whole day planned out that minimised any interaction with slow-walking, gormless members of the public, ordered a new living room set, refunded a dodgy kitchen door (that I accidentally drilled through – eeehwhatamilike) and threw in a breakfast for good measure. Well, you need that energy if you’re going to mutter ‘FUCKING MOVE’ under your breath every ten seconds.

We arrived on the dot, just as the revolving door started to move and slyly minced our way through all the shortcuts to get straight to the restaurant – the most important part of the day. Once James had wiped away his tears after noticing they’d gotten rid of the potato cake (NOOOOOOOOOOOO) we were straight to the BESTÅ stand to fuck around on some crappy little computer bunging cupboards on walls. If you’ve ever fancied having a sob into some KUNTÅ sidetable go ahead and try and plan your living room on their online planner. It’s what I imagine it’d be like to be Stephen Hawking on speed trying to describe the texture of Quark on that little Atari he’s got strapped to his chair. Stressful isn’t the word. You might as well etch your design it into your arm with a compass and present it the warehouse staff.

I’d fantasised about at least ten ways of dispatching multiple rough sorts on the way to the lighting section. I can never understand the mentality of people who think it’s perfectly acceptable to just stop in the middle of an aisle when there’s practically a stampede of guffawing Geordies rampaging towards you (not unlike that scene in the Lion King but with a lot more polyester and teenage pregnancies). I bet those people are also those that pull their trolley across in a supermarket like a barrier. I’m far too polite (cowardly) though to ever say anything. I just stare at them like I’m trying to burn through them with laser-beam eyes. James isn’t quite so composed and will just barge through shouting at people to ‘MOVE!’, like a hairy snow plough. He almost ran someone off the road simply for having the temerity of having a mauve car.

Fortunately though the whole day was a success, despite all the eejits and lack of an ice cream at the end and we got everything sorted. They even managed to refund us the drawer and door that I ballsed up without a receipt. God love ‘em. As a thank you I was sure to press the green smiley face button that measures people’s happiness as many times as I could. I’d like to think it made a difference.

One way we always make our IKEA experience a little more fun is to watch out for any couples that are eyeing up a particular piece of furniture. If either of them makes a muttering that they quite like it we’ll always come up behind them and then start slagging it off. ‘Oh that’s fucking gopping’, or, “Oh lord, I’ve never seen anything as tacky as THAT in my life’. They’ll soon walk off and have a tiff a little further on. Oh we’re such terrors.

But that’s enough yak. In the spirit all things IKEA we’ve managed to bring together a delicious meatball recipe that’ll cure any takeaway pangs you have… here’s our take on Sweet & Sour Pork Meatballs.

IMG_1935

to make our sweet and sour pork meatballs, you’ll need:

for the meatballs:

  • 500g pork mince
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • half a pineapple, cut into small chunks (0.25cm)

for the sweet and sour sauce:

  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minded
  • ½ large red pepper, sliced
  • ½ green pepper, sliced
  • 3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • half a pineapple, cut into chunks (halve again into two separate portions)
  • 115g tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (1 syn)
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

and this is how you make it:

  • preheat your oven to 180°c and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper
  • heat a small saucepan over a medium heat and add a little oil
  • add the minced garlic and spring onions and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened and slightly browned. set aside
  • in a large bowl mix together the mince, carrot, peppers, egg, basil, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, pineapple pieces and the spring onions
  • roll the mixture into even sized balls – squeezing out the liquid if you need to – don’t worry if it seems too wet (fnar), they’ll keep their shape if you squeeze enough liquid out (fnar)
  • place the meatballs onto the baking sheet and spray with a little Frylight
  • cook for about thirty minutes or until golden brown
  • whilst the meatballs are cooking you can make the fruity sauce
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a little oil
  • add the sliced red onion and garlic and stir frequently until the onion is slightly caramelised
  • add the peppers one of the pineapple portions and cook for a few minutes until softened
  • add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and keep cooking, stirring frequently
  • using a sieve, crush down the other half of the pineapple chunks portion into a jug to get the juice
  • add the cornflour to the pineapple juice and stir until dissolved
  • add the tomato paste, honey, cider vinegar, lemon juice and 120ml water to the jug and mix well
  • pour this mixture into the frying pan, bring to a boil and simmer for about ten minutes until the mixture thickens
  • serve the meatballs and pour the sauce over the top

Please don’t be put off by the long ingredient list – you’ll probably have a lot of it already in your cupboards and if not, go get some! It’ll all be dead cheap and useful to you for future recipes. Also, don’t be put off by the syn values – yes, this uses honey and cornflour but divided by four this only comes in at 1.5 syns, which is nothing compared to a takeaway. And, it’ll finally give you a reason to use that pineapple you keep buying and leaving to rot on your windowsill…

Technically, because you’re squeezing the juice out of a quarter of a pineapple you could syn it if you’re anal about such things. We didn’t because we take a more common sense approach to tweaking. You can if you wish – I reckon it’d be about half a syn’s worth (if that).

Smaklig måltid!

cabbage rolls

First of all, today’s recipe is cabbage rolls, which couldn’t sound less appetising if they tried. Plus, I tried to take a decent photo of them, but they invariably look like something you’d see hanging off a tramp’s foot in the summer. They tasted wonderful though and, well, it’s something different! And here, it’s a Romanian recipe so that gives us an excuse to dust off the old flagmaker, rattle off this banner and declare twochubbycubs’ European Tour back on. OK so it may not be weekly but we’re only two men.

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But first, today. We’re mulling over whether or not to move house. I know, the people in the street would be bereft not seeing my knob hanging out of the front of my boxers as I absent-mindedly put the bins out on a Monday, but since we had some strange lads in our back passage a few days ago (not invited through Grindr, either, unusually) it’s made us a bit unsettled. We don’t think they were trying to break in, because there was an open window into our bedroom (though admittedly the flashing neon red light was turned off at the time) and they didn’t do anything…but still. It makes you feel uneasy. Though saying that, had they climbed in through the bedroom window, they would have fallen onto our bed – and all I’m saying is I wouldn’t have needed Tony Martin’s shotgun to make them bleed from behind. The little smackrats. This is a nice part of the world!

So yes, we bundled into the car and decided to go have a look at some of the new estates that are being build, and to take the opportunity to view the showhomes. Well, they were awful. It didn’t help that the chap on the front desk took one look at us – physically looked us up and down, mind you, taking in our dog-walking trainers, shaved heads and George jeans – and clearly decided we were there to steal the copper wiring and good silver. His opening gambit was that ‘these houses are very difficult to get’ and that we’d need excellent credit to get an appropriate mortgage. The cheeky, oily little oik – we own our house outright with no mortgage and I’ve got better credit than the Queen. Paul hasn’t, because he bought a stereo from Kays catalogue on tick and then forgot all about it over ten years ago, but there you go. Always trust a Geordie with money. We spent ten minutes looking around and then left with a disdainful look at Captain Acne behind the desk and told him it was far too small and there were altogether too many Audis on the estate.

We didn’t manage to leave quietly though as I managed to back the car over a child’s football that had been discarded in the middle of the road, resulting in an surprisingly loud bang echoing around the estate which probably sounded like the car backfiring, which I suppose didn’t help our image. We trundled over to The Parents and spent half an hour oohing and aahing at how well my nephew is coming along (I make him sound like a tomato plant) – without so much as a cup of tea mind, mother – and the highlight of that being when he pointed at Paul and called him Uncle Fatty. The kid has style!

After my parents came IKEA, and good lord IKEA is stressful at the best of times but even more so when you’re breaking the rules and going anti-clockwise with seemingly all of Gateshead’s unwashed masses bearing down on you, it’s hell on Earth. Especially because when the weather is warm enough not to leave an icicle on your tit, everyone decides to throw on a scraggy t-shirt exposing their Neapolitan-ice-cream skin to the sun – blistered red from being out under a SKOL umbrella all afternoon, yellow from nicotine and jaundice, streaky brown wherever the Poundstretcher Fake-Bake took hold. 

And the stopping! I know everyone needs a moment to sniff their eighty-dozen orange-scented KLIT tea-lights but for goodness sake, do it to the side. I genuinely think there should be two lanes in places like this – one of those who can glide with purpose and one for those dolts who walk like they have a ball-bearing stuck in their socks. I’m being glib, I appreciate that people have disabilities and of course, they’re exempt, but if you can’t move quickly simply because you’re too much of a clot to remember to put one foot in front of the other in a reasonably rhythmic pattern, then just do everyone a favour and stay at home and have someone else pick up your ÖRGI bookshelf. Bastards. I didn’t even get a bloody hot-dog at the end because I couldn’t bear the thought of having my face stripped by someone’s eye-watering B.O for ten minutes in the queue whilst I had nothing to do than count the skin tags on their neck.

Hark listen to me, you’d think I was Adonis. But Paul says I am, so there.

Costco next – and if you think IKEA is bad, then Costco is even worse. Here the aforementioned numpties are armed with a trolley big enough to fit a hot-tub and enough baked beans to keep a Toby Carvery going for a financial quarter. Oh and it gets worse – it was bloody tasting day, which meant crowds of people all pushing and pulling at one another with their 4×4 trolleys in a nugatory attempt to get their cracked hands on a postage stamp of lasagne or a bit of brioche you could start a fire with. We bought our usual forty tins of tomato puree, sack of pasta and catering jar of gherkins, which were crashed through the till by the cashier with all the care and panache you’d expect from someone who had tattooed her eyelashes on, and we were on our way to the final test – Tesco at 3.40pm on a Sunday afternoon.

Which, remarkably, was a fairly sedate experience, despite me shrieking at Paul ‘STOP PLAYING WITH YOURSELF THERE ARE KIDS ABOUT’ when he was adjusting his belt in the reductions aisle. I’m surprised he had room, the usual ballaches were waiting to tackle the poor Tesco lackey to the floor for their 35p breadbuns. I genuinely can’t stand greed of this sort – but I’ve rambled on about these shitgibbons before who fill their trolley because they can, not because they need to. Nobody needs fifteen discount cauliflowers at 4pm on a Sunday. Take one, and fuck off.

So that was today. Goodness me.

Today’s recipe then: cabbage rolls!

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to make cabbage rolls you will need:

1 medium white cabbage, 160g cooked rice, 1 egg (beaten), 60ml skimmed milk, half an onion (chopped), 500g pork mince, ½ tsp pepper, 4 cloves of garlic, 500ml passata, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp lemon juice, ½ tsp black pepper, a good dollop of sauerkraut (optional but delicious but by gaw it’ll make your bum windy)

to make cabbage rolls you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (gas mark 4)
  • remove the core from the head of the cabbage
  • boil the whole head of cabbage for ten minutes
  • drain the cabbage and leave to cool
  • in a large bowl mix together the cooked rice, mince egg, milk, chopped onion, crushed garlic and pepper
  • peel away 12 or so leaves from the cabbage – they need to be a good size but the smaller ones will still be okay, just use less for the next step. Shake off any excess water, nobody loves a moist cabbage
  • scoop roughly two-tablespoons worth of the mince and rice mixture and plop into the centre of a cabbage leaf
  • fold the bottom ends up and the sides to make a small parcel
  • place roll seam-side down into a baking dish that has been sprayed with a little FryLight if you’re a tasteless buffoon or a drop of oil if you’re sensible
  • in a separate bowl mix together the passata, tinned tomatoes, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the cabbage rolls
  • cover the dish with tin foil and bake for an hour
  • serve with anything you like, but we had new potatoes because they were the easiest thing to grab

Enjoy! 

 

 

cock, fights, pork chilli

We’ve been looking at holidays and have discovered that Thomson have a specialised ‘side business’ selling ‘gay holidays’, called Freedom Holidays. It seems like a load of patronising guff but they’re well-meaning so I’ll forgive them. Being gay is becoming less and less of an ‘issue’ now. Indeed, Newcastle is such a liberal, progressive city that I actually forget how lucky I am sometimes. I’d feel comfortable walking around holding hands with Paul, or buying rings together, or discussing frotting and cottaging over a frothy cappuccino on The Green. I don’t even think about it. I’m sure that’s partly because of the thriving and varied gay scene. which is littered with lots of different bars catering to all sorts of happy, cheerful people whose only common thread is that they enjoy a bit of cock. Or indeed, a bit of quim if they’re a lady. That said, we tend not to venture out on the scene – not least because we both feel old and our knees hurt and neither of us can dance. Camp shrieking is heavy on the ears and well, music isn’t what it used to be. That said, back in my youth (fucking hell you’d think I was 70, not coming up to thirty) I had some good times on there, dancing (well, more ‘fitting’ in tune to the music) and trying to hide my man-tits.

This sounds like stereotypical fiction but I can assure you, on the life of my poor old nana, that it’s true – I once got in a fight with a lesbian over whose turn it was to use the pool table. It gets better – there was previous bad blood between us because I interrupted her Anastasia marathon to put the Grease megamix on the ‘Choose Your Own Music’ jukebox. The whole situation couldn’t have been more stereotypical unless I had thrown my campari over her and she’d come at me with a powertool and dungarees before we settled it with a dance-off. Along very similar lines, my ex-boyfriend once had a chair thrown at him by a raging lady who (genuinely mistakenly) thought he was taking a picture of her across the pub. He was actually taking a picture of me trying to carry drinks whilst pissed, not her – he didn’t have his wide angle lens for one thing.

The Eagle is about the only bar where we’d be welcomed with something other than a pair of pursed lips and a snide comment about our attire, but it’s not really for us. Admittedly, we both go for the more ‘manly’ type (hence we found each other) (because I’m so masculine it hurts, naturally) and we’d be in our element in a bar like that, but of course, because it’s a manly bar, it’s instantly all about sex and it is incredibly seedy. There’s a gloryhole in the gents, for goodness sake. For those unfamiliar with what a gloryhole is, it’s essentially a hole drilled into the side of a cubicle wall where someone might pop their dingaling through in the vain hope of satisfaction. Well honestly. The only thing I want popping into my peripheral vision when I’m using the lavatory is a fresh, cooled roll of Quilted Velvet for my nipsy, not some angry looking willy with its owner hidden from sight. I’d be tempted to stick the toilet roll on it and use it as a dispenser. Still, each to their own. There was a tale that used to go round that some vengeful ex took a knife in there and sliced off his partner’s schlong as he popped it through. It all goes on!

Tell you what else goes on? This pork chilli! Onto your fork! Well that was a shit segue but you get the idea.


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We used pork but there’s no reason you couldn’t be a decadent whore and go for chicken, turkey or beef mince.

This’ll serve 4.

to make pork chilli, you’ll need:

500g pork mince, two tins of chopped tomatoes, one tin of kidney beans, two tins of Pinto beans, 400ml chicken stock, one chopped onion, one diced yellow pepper, 4 cloves of garlic, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, 1tsp paprika, 2 tbsp chilli powder, ½ tsp oregano, ½ tsp cumin

to make pork chilli, you should:

spray a large pan with Frylight (use Frylight if you must, but I always think it’s better to use a tiny drop of oil and syn it, unless you want your pans to look like Jodie Marsh’s cervix), and add the mince over a medium-high heat until nicely browned. Add the onion, diced pepper, salt, garlic and black pepper, and cook for a further five minutes. Then add the chilli powder, paprika, oregano and cumin, stir well and cook for another minute. To the same pot, add tomatoes and chicken stock with the tin of drained kidney beans and one can of drained Pinto beans. Bring the mixture to a boil, put the lid on and reduce it to a simmer. In a small bowl, drain the remaining tin of Pinto beans and mash with a fork – this can be done a bit sloppily if you like, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Add this to the chilli and stir well, and then re-cover. Cook for about thirty minutes or until it’s at the desired consistency. Remove from the heat, and serve! For a bit of ‘coolness’ you could add a blob of fromage frais or yoghurt to the top. We didn’t because we were so hungry the thought didn’t occur to us.

Enjoy!

rolled stuffed meatloaf

Only a little preamble tonight, because the recipe is a corker and I need my wordcount for that. BUT remember my Muller yoghurt letter? There’s a new (well, old) letter to read below…

I visited Poundland today – all I wanted was a money-tin, all I got is my eyes opened. I’ve said many times before that I’m not a snob but do you know, maybe I am. I’m snobbish about good manners, for one thing – asking me to do something without saying please is as bad in my eyes as taking my packed lunch and crapping in my salad roll. The reason I mention manners is the amount of people zombieing around Poundland, death-rattling and spluttering and sniffing was beyond the pale. Since when did it become acceptable to cough without covering your mouth, or sneeze right in someone’s face without attempting to cover it? At one point I went to pick up a pack of Haribo only for some wispy-chinned gasbag to cough the bottom of her lungs right across me and THEN keep on moving without so much as a backwards glance. Poundland? I almost pounded her head off a shelf full of knock-off Elsie and Anal Frozen figurines.

What makes Newcastle’s Poundland more interesting is that it is right next door to Waitrose, so you get people coming out of Waitrose, all full of puff and OH LOOK AT ME BUYING MY QUINOA AND DOLPHIN TEAR SALAD quickly nipping into Poundland to buy some cheap batteries, and people coming out of Poundland going into Waitrose to get a free coffee and finger all of the posh fruit. I’m not a huge fan of Waitrose, it’s absolutely rammed full of yah-yah-mummy students and people who think they’re the Big I Am. Have you tried any of Heston Bloominghell’s nonsense food from there? I can safely say I’ve tried most of it and thought it was all overpriced piss. Just because you can coat bacon in mushy pea puree and the hope of a orphan doesn’t mean you should.

Hey actually, speaking of Poundland, a few years ago I actually wrote to them – ironically, about a moneytin – and if you’re a fan of my fruity letters to organisations, you’ll enjoy this. Here:

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poundland-complaint_page_2

Oh young James, you should have known better. They replied with a proper arsey letter.

Anyway, what YOU should do is try this recipe, it was bloody delicous – and only the coleslaw is synned, so you could leave that out and have a syn-free dinner that looks a treat! It’s your normal meatloaf recipe, but with three ingredients in the middle – sweet potato, shaved sprouts and very finely chopped mushroom.

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to make the hot and spicy coleslaw you will need:

 100g of red cabbage, 100g of radishes, 100g of white cabbage, one carrot large enough to make your eyes water, 100g of fat free natural yoghurt, salt, pepper and 1tbsp of horseradish sauce (1 syn but it makes enough to feed six, so your choice but I’ll say syn free).

to make rolled stuffed meatloaf you will need:

900g of a mix of lean pork mince and lean beef mince, 1 large red onion, two garlic gloves (grated) PLEASE, get a microplane grater. Like this one on Amazon. It’ll make it so much easier! You’ll also need two large eggs, 2 tablespoons of parsley, 2 tbsp dried mustard powder, 1 tbsp of thyme (fresh or dried, see if I’m bothered), 1 tbsp coriander seeds crushed (can leave these out, I won’t tell), 1sp of onion powder, some salt and pepper, and a tiny bit of baking powder.

For the stuffing, you’ll need 3 sweet potatoes, half a bag of sprouts, half a pack of mushrooms and an onion.

to make hot and spicy coleslaw you should:

Finely grate your cabbage(s), radishes and carrot into a bowl. Add yoghurt, horseradish, salt and pepper and mix well. Put it in the fridge.

to make rolled stuffed meatloaf you should:

Then the meatloaf mix – combine the meat, chopped onion, garlic, eggs and all of the spices and seasoning and mix it in a bowl until you get one lovely lump. Too wet? Add breadcrumbs. One wholemeal roll is a healthy extra – blend and add as much as you think you need. You’re aiming for a well mixed lump. Put it in the fridge to cool.

Next, pierce and microwave your sweet potatoes for around 15 minutes. Once cooked and cooled, scoop out the flesh into a bowl and add salt. Eat the skins, they’re fucking tasty. Next, finely chop the mushroom and onion. I used my Kenwood chopper here. It does make things a lot easier, even Delia says so. Mind it does nothing that a sharp knife can’t do but you are looking for finely chopped. Put into a pan, cook for five minutes or so on a medium heat to draw out the moisture. Set aside. Next, very thinly slice your sprouts. You can again use a knife or if you’re a fan of speed and danger, use a mandolin. This is mine, and it’s only £11. Stick the sprouts in a microwave bowl, cook for two minutes so they soften just a little, and set aside after draining and getting as much liquid out as possible.

Now, assembly. Hoy the oven onto 180 degrees. Get a loaf tin and grease the sides. You’ll then need to get some parchment paper or greaseproof paper or anything but the Daily Mail and line the tin. Doesn’t have to be precise, you’re not on the Krypton Factor and I’m not Gordon Burns. Next, get a flat sheet (preferably a baking sheet, it’ll make it easier for you) and line that with greaseproof paper. You want to be able to form a rectangle of around 8″ by 13″. Here’s a tip, don’t let a man measure this for you – the amount of men I’ve met in my life who think 5.5″ is 8″ is surprising. Dump your meat into the middle and flatten down to create an even rectangle, nice and flat. Take your time.

Now, spread the sweet potato over the top, nice and thin – don’t worry if it’s a bit patchy, but take your time to keep it smooth. Add the sprouts, then the mushroom and onion.

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This is the tricky SOUNDING part, it’s actually quite easy.  You want to roll the meatloaf. Start by getting hold of the parchment paper at one of the short ends of the rectangle and slowly roll the meat over itself – tight, but not ridiculous. Peel off the paper as you go. It’ll make sense when you do it, trust me. Take your time, rolling and peeling, rolling and peeling, until you’re left with a lovely roll of meat. Oooer etc.

Next, lift carefully into your loaf tin – remember it must be lined. Place the meat seam side down. Decorate the top with tomatoes or bacon or whatever.

In the oven for fifty minutes, take it out, drain the excess liquid away carefully, put back in oven for fifteen minutes, then crack the door open and turn the heat off and let it sit for 15 minutes. Cut and serve with chips and coleslaw and a big fuck-off smile on your face. Well done!

J

meatballs in a cheese sauce served in noodle nests

Ah now look at that – we haven’t had a quickpost this week, so tonight is the night – just the recipe today as I’m out and about! Normal service will resume tomorrow. And anyway, don’t be greedy – I did a big blog page earlier today on the ‘my favourite things’ post. Gimme a break damn it! WE’RE BUT TWO LADS!

meatballs and cheese sauce

This is another ‘use it or lose it’ meal where most of the ingredients are leftovers and/or stuff we haven’t got round to cooking. We’re trying to minimise leftovers, see? GO GREEN. We always keep a bag of frozen meatballs (made ourselves) in the freezer, the noodles were leftover from last night’s meal (sweet and sour pork – that’s coming online tomorrow, oooh a peek behind the curtain!) and the veg was what was left rolling around in amongst the vodka at the bottom of the fridge.

to make meatballs in a cheese sauce served in noodle nests, you’ll need:

ingredients: for the meatballs – pork mince, salt, pepper, dried sage – squash all together with your hands, shape into small balls and chill until needed. For the cheese sauce – 250g quark, 110g lightest philadelphia (HEA for me) and 30g of parmesan (HEA for Paul) and mustard powder. For the nests, use any leftover spaghetti or noodles. You’ll also need an egg and any old bollocks you have left in the veg drawer.

tip: make double the amount of meatballs, then freeze half. To freeze, put them on a flat plate not touching each other, freeze them, then pick them off the plate and put into a bag. That way they’ll stay separate and easier to work with.

to make meatballs in a cheese sauce served in noodle nests, you should:

recipe: start by making the cheese sauce, which is as easy as adding the quark, philadelphia and cheese into a pan and heating it slowly until it all comes together. Allow to cool. Then, get your noodles/spaghetti, coat them in about half of the sauce and include a beaten egg, and mix quickly. Get a muffin tray, do the frylight/oil thing (whichever you prefer!) so they don’t stick, and get a handful of spaghetti and put it in each muffin slot. Shape them so there is an indent in the middle. Hoy them in the oven for about 25 minutes and take out when golden – I took mine out a trifle too soon. Whilst they’re cooking, cook off your meatballs. If you’ve got a decent non-stick pan, have the confidence to let them get a good crust on them – they’ll take about 10 minutes on a reasonably high heat to brown off. Top tip – near the end, throw in a good glug of worcestershire sauce if you want – on a high heat, it’ll deglaze the pan and give your balls a nicer colour. Yes. Then, it’s just assembly – work your noodle nest out, put a dab of cheese sauce in the indent, top with a meatball. Serve your veg on the side with any leftover meatballs and cheese sauce. DELICIOUS.

extra-easy – yes, and syn free – the veg on the side is superfree, naturally. Try it!

Goodnight.

J

meatloaf cupcakes

Only a very quick update today as we’re rattling around visiting and shopping – but I wanted to share this little photo of the meal Paul made for lunch. He took leftover meatloaf (syn free) from heresquished it down into muffin tins and made an icing from mustard mash. I ignored the fact he’s made my piping nozzle smell of potatoes because it was just so hilarious!

meatloaf cupcakes

meatloaf cupcakes

The site traffic for this blog generally sits around 1000 visitors a day these days, which suits me – but yesterday it almost hit 3500 views when I posted the fudge recipe! Heh. I only need a couple more followers to reach 400 lucky buggers who get my words thrown at them once a day. Feel free to share, like, tell your friends, post online, put an advert in the newspaper. That’ll make me happy!

half a syn american meatloaf

You know what I miss most from the last two decades or so? My hair. I used to have amazing hair. My friends, family and everyone in existence would doubtless think otherwise, but I don’t care. I grew my hair for a good three years or so, dyed it a myriad of different colours, and always had something fun to play with during those tricky times when having a wank just wasn’t appropriate behaviour, such as sitting on a bus or the funeral of a loved one. It was thick, luxurious, well-maintained – I loved being able to lie in the bath and swish it around in the water, I loved being able to tie knots in it, hell, I even straightened it once with a pair of straighteners and it was like the second coming. I do want to say though – at no point did I ever have one of those awful fringes which covered the eyes and necessitated that awful neck-throwing action that seems to be everywhere. I was never an Emo McGee. Too fat for it, for one thing, and I didn’t have the wherewithal to start putting shit poetry on Livejournal.

Of course, wistful recollection is a wonderful thing, but in reality, I probably looked like the abandoned child of Snape from Harry Potter and old ‘why use one voice when nineteen layered over the top of each other will do’ Enya. When I was thin, it fair suited me, but when I was a porky fella, I just looked like a hairy Christmas bauble. I remember going to France with a mate when I was eighteen, and during a daring bit of drunkenness, having all my hair removed – and we’re talking hair down to the middle of my back shaved off and my head left as smooth as a bowling ball. My mum walked straight past me at the airport and then spent the next twenty minutes shrieking and telling me I looked normal again. Cheers mum. For the first time in years, I felt a draft around my ears that even now makes me wince and long for the comfort of my Fructis-scented wonderhair. Ah well. Those days are definitely behind me, given that I’ve got hair like Steve McDonald now, and it’s easier just to cut it myself than see myself reflected in a barber’s mirror, light bouncing off the smooth, hairless front where so many beautiful hairs once lay. Sigh. The reason for this hair chatter by the way was the simple, indubitable truth that if I was to grow my hair again, I’d look like the time Heather from Eastenders dresSed up as Meat Loaf (hence the meat loaf recipe). See?

meatloaf

Anyway, come on, enough about times past. I went to see Interstellar last night, hence no post – apologies. However, I’ve got a corking recipe below for meatloaf which is perfect homely food for these cold nights. Interstellar, by the way, is absolute bobbins. It starts off promising enough, but then descends into look-at-me schtick and aren’t-I-clever writing. Plus, every time Anne Fucking Hathaway opened her mouth I started having internal flashbacks to her caterwauling through Les Misérables a couple of years ago and had to stop the shakes with my salted popcorn. I’m sorry, but I just don’t like her – and I think my friend summed it up best when she said that ‘the biggest black hole in the entire movie is when Anne opens her letterbox mouth’. Haha!

SO shush man, meatloaf.

to make half a syn american meatloaf:

Meatloaf

ingredients: two stalks of celery, 1 medium carrot, an onion, small pepper, 3 mushrooms (I used shiitake because…well because they were all I had in the fridge, but I reckon they add a good strong taste, so roll with it), 500g of beef mince (remember, 5% fat or under), 500g of pork mince, three slices of breadcrumbs (though we only ended up using two slices worth – just gauge how wet your meat is before you pound it, haha), 2 large eggs, 1 tomato, seasonings. Ketchup or passata.

recipe: get that oven up to 190 degrees and lightly frylight a loaf tin. Actually, you know what, fair enough if you want to stay away from syns, but I can’t recommend frylight anymore. Do as I do and use a drop of olive oil and spread it around. It’ll be enough and you’re not having that mess of chemical water you get in frylight.

Use the food processor to blitz the bread into crumbs. Empty out. Cut the celery, carrot and onion up in the food processor. Add a clove of garlic if you like. Cook the chopped-up pepper and mushrooms until soft. Chuck everything into a bowl – all the meat, the two eggs, crumbs (don’t use all of them, keep some aside in case you need to add more if your mixture is too wet – it’s a lot easier to add something than try to balance it!), the cooked mushroom and peppers, the veg paste from the food processor and the chopped tomato. Add in a proper good glug of worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper. Season as much as you think, and then add a bit more. Really pound your meat and get everything mixed together, and then shape it so it looks like a loaf. Drop it into your tin and smear tomato ketchup on the top. If you want to save syns, use some passata, but the sugars from the ketchup finish the dish off.

You’ll need to cook this for a good while – we went for 90 minutes, but start using your common sense from about 75m in. LEAVE to cool and serve with your sides. We went for sweet potato and peas.

Now listen – this will easily make eight servings. It’s up to you how much you want to eat, but this can very easily be turned into leftovers the next day with some pasta, or even in a sandwich as long as you use your healthy extra for the bread.

extra-easy: yes, but make sure you make the sides of the meal nice and high in superfree food. You could do a salad, or cabbage, or anything – but the meatloaf itself won’t make up your 1/3 rule. Syn wise is negligible, to be fair. Tomato ketchup is 1 syn per level tablespoon – so two tablespoons of that to cover the top and then split into eight is quarter of a syn. If you’re going to be fussy, use passata, but haway, Two slices of wholemeal bread is a healthy extra (small loaf mind) and although I blended up three, I only needed two – and again, you’re splitting this into eight servings. So…up to you, but I didn’t syn the bread as I used it as a healthy extra!

top tips: this looks like quite an expensive meal to make, given the amount of meat, but you can nearly always buy the mince on a deal. I don’t recommend making it all from beef because it doesn’t have quite the same texture, but you could try it. You can freeze it too. Plus, this makes a BIG loaf. YOU’LL be making a big loaf afterwards, I can assure you. Enjoy!

J