sausage colcannon bake: utterly delicious

Here for the sausage colcannon bake? Of course you are, and I’ll get to it, but I first I want to express my dismay. If you’re only here for the food, scroll down to the pictures!

A year or so ago I posted that I was going to try and ‘be nicer’, less quick to temper, warmer to strangers and generally, a more affable guy.

I finally got round to implementing that today and decided that from the moment I got up until the moment I went to bed, I’d be ‘good’. I let Paul get up and make my breakfast without intervening (I know, I’m a joy). That went well, and I was rewarded with scrambled eggs made from duck eggs as a result.

I then set off for work, giving the neighbour a cheery wave as I left the street. As usual, he stood there with his face that would make an onion cry and point-blank ignored me. He always does this, just because I once had the temerity to put up a Vote Labour sign and I don’t shit myself every morning when I read the latest tripe in the Daily Express) (oh, and the cock-loving doesn’t endear me to him, either). Off to a good start! The short drive in took an hour because someone put their brake lights on in Cornwall and thus every car in existence had to immediately stop. Nevermind, we’ll get there eventually, there’s no rush!

Against better judgement, I flashed some painted harlequin in a financed-Audi out at a tricky junction. Normally, given they were driving an Audi and were therefore the worst people in the world (you know I’m right) I’d have sailed past sticking my fingers surreptitiously up on the side of my face, but no, be nice! Did I get a wave? A blink of acknowledgement? A smile? Did I balls. I did however enjoy a far more exciting drive as she wandered all over the road in front of me with her phone in her hand. It’s hard to remain focussed on being nice when you’re hoping for her tyres to blow-out and impale her on a broken street-light. But hey. Worse things happen in Rome.

Work passed in its usual way and you better believe my day was lightened when someone on the phone asked ‘to speak to someone who could actually be of some use’ despite them ringing the wrong number entirely and asking for the wrong person. Doesn’t matter, James: smile when you dial hun. A quick toilet break was full of deleting posts from our group from people who think the rules don’t apply to them and no, really, I want a facebook full of ‘how many syns in my shitty knock-off Muller yoghurt’. But hey! They know no better!

Luckily, I had the afternoon off – plenty of opportunities to smile at people and pay it forward. I decided to drive to Craster and do a nice five mile trek up to the ruined castle and then around in a loop. Lovely! I especially loved the last four miles of windy road which was only made better by being stuck behind a caravan – who needs a sea-view when you’ve got the Turbo-Sprinter Deluxe 1999 in puce weaving in front of you at a slow crawl, driven by two people who died last year. Clearly pulling over was beyond them, and why would they? Why, they have as much right to be on that road as anyone else.

I pulled into the car-park only to find all 80 of the parking spaces taken up by 60 cars, all parked rakishly over the lines to ensure no-one scratched their expensive, fancy motors. I sat and waited – big grin now – as an elderly couple doddled back to their car – at last, a free space. Nope: they opened up their wee tupperware boxes of sandwiches and sat chewing themselves to death. My grin, now rictus, would only have been dashed had they choked on a stray bit of egg salad. It’s always egg salad, presumably because it masks the smell of decomposition that occurs when you seal the aged in a red-hot Suzuki Swift.

Ticked off, I parked outside of one of the bays and minced into town – I say minced, I can barely walk at the moment as I spent an hour doing squats on Monday and now every step looks like I’ve shit myself. Nevertheless, I gamely struggled along the path, approached the gate to access the field where the walk started only for some old fart in altogether too much knitwear to shut it pretty much in my face despite watching me painfully hobble up to it. I don’t think it’s too much of an over-reaction to hope he’d do a Harold Bishop and tumble unnoticed into the sea, dashing his beetroot-nosed skull on the sharp rocks, then be swept out to sea unable to call for help because he’d been paralysed from the fall and only had a lifetime of regret and missed opportunity to comfort him as he gasped his last in the water. On I went.

A sheep gave me a shitty look. I stepped in a cow-pat. I got stuck behind a group of haw-haw-jolly-good ramblers braying on about their hiking boots for a good ten minutes, unable to slip past because I can’t walk at speed. The castle itself was fascinating and the man behind the counter had a lovely Scottish burr in his voice that almost made me pay another year’s membership to English Heritage, save for the fact I had to wait ten minutes whilst a coach party dithered and dathered at him about places to go in the area. I wanted to suggest the crematorium, but kept quiet. Be nice. When I was eventually served, all my positivity had disappeared, and paying £1.90 for a Diet Coke did little to help. I finished my walk in a gloom and made my way back to the car, only stopping to leap out of the way of a giant pristine white Range Rover (of course) driven by a gammon of a man who thundered down the road with his phone to his ear. Again.

I realised at that point that being nice was to have no reward for me, and bollocks, let’s get back to being mean-spirited and cruel. As I was leaving the car-park I spotted another pair of Saga-louts pulling in and driving around looking for a space. I handed them my pay-and-display ticket and trilled ‘it’s good for another few hours’. They looked positively delighted, and for a moment I felt guilty. See, in a fit of ill-temper, I’d deliberately given them the pay and display ticket from a different car-park from last week, and I know they’re shit-hot on parking control in Craster so that means they’ve doubtless got a ticket.

Ooops.

My drive back was far more pleasant as I spent most of it deciding how I’d ruin the Earth if I ever became an overlord. Let’s be honest: it’s so much more fun being an arsehole, yes? But if you see me out and about, give me a smile. Try and change my view on life. Make me hopeful that there’s something other than blackness out there.

Tell you what will cheer you up though: our sausage colcannon bake. You’ll love it, because it’s easy to make and tastes damn fine. Let’s do the recipe.

sausage colcannon bake

sausage colcannon bake

1 vote

Print

sausage colcannon bake

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Sausage colcannon bake - listen, it's sausage casserole topped with mashed tatties and kale. It's proper comfort food and listen, it's not going to make itself. It freezes well, serves four (MASSIVE portions, mind) and is easy to knock out. Get on it!

Ingredients

  • 6 medium-sized potatoes, cut into large chunks
  • 80g kale
  • 1 egg
  • 8 sausages (see notes)
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain flour (4 syns)
  • 3 beef stock cubes dissolved in 500ml boiling water
  • 125g sliced mushrooms
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 1tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 200ºc
  • put the potatoes in a large saucepan, fill with cold water until covered and bring to the boil
  • reduce the heat and simmer for fifteen minutes, then drain
  • meanwhile, splash in a little bit of water to another pan and add the kale
  • cook over a high heat for 3 minutes until softened a bit
  • crack the egg into the potatoes and mash with the kale and add some salt and pepper to taste, and keep to one side
  • next, cook the sausages however you like (see notes)
  • spray a large frying pan with some oil and add the onions
  • fry over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and beginning to caramelise
  • add the flour and whisk with the onions for about a minute, then slowly add a little stock at a time, continually whisking, until you have a thickened gravy
  • add the sausages to the pan along with the mushrooms, peas, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf and give a good stir
  • tip into a large dish and gently spoon the mash on top, spreading evenly across the top
  • bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes

Notes

  • we used the syn free sausages from our Muscle Food deal in this - you can use whichever sausages you like but remember to check the syns
  • you can leave the egg out of the mash if you like but it really does make it taste creamy - trust us! if you prefer to use milk or butter or whatever you can, just remember to syn it
  • we cooked the sausages in our Tefal Actifry (best to remove the paddle) and you can cook yours however you like, under the grill, in a frying pan, Optigrill, George Foreman, Airfryer... it's up to you!
  • not a fan of kale? swap it with whatever you like
  • use this oil sprayer instead of Fry Light if you don't want your pans to be ruined

Courses soul food

Cuisine comfort

See? Easy! Want some more comfort dishes? Why not have a review of some of the following:

I’m off to smile at people.

J

proper sausage rolls with a veggie alternative

Sausage rolls indeed!

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:

So there’s always something to read! Right, shall we do sausage rolls?

proper sausage rolls

sausage rolls

1 vote

Print

proper sausage rolls and a veggie version

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 16 sausage rolls

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! 

Ingredients

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
  • pepper
  • an egg

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

Instructions

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

Notes

Courses taster night, samples, picnic

Looking for more taster night ideas?

Yum!

J

sausage and white wine risotto: low syn and gorgeous

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…

Oh one thing: if you’re still after a Halo fryer, they are now the absolute lowest they’ve ever been – get it ordered!

This serves four! Oh and it’s actually 1.25 syn per serving, but I can’t be arsed to be that anal. It’s been a long day!

sausage and white wine risotto

sausage and white wine risotto

2 votes

Print

sausage and white wine risotto

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 big bowls

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. 

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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

Notes

  • 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!
  • you can use any sausages you like - including veggie ones if you want - but just remember to check the syns! We used Muscle Food Low Fat pork sausages which are syn free
  • you can use a sprig of rosemary and thyme instead of the dried stuff if you prefer, just remember to fish them out before serving
  • use any wine you like but remember that different types have different syn values so remember to check. We used normal 12.5% stuff.
  • slice the onions in double-quick time with a mandoline - just watch your fingers if you're a clumsy twat
  • a good, heavy lidded pan works best - this is what we use

Courses Dinner

Cuisine Italian

Looking good right? Want some more risotto ideas? We’ve got loads – why not try one of the following?

Enjoy!

J

full english breakfast risotto: a perfect bit of stodge

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.

full english breakfast risotto

full english breakfast risotto

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
  • 4 eggs
  • 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!
  • an oil sprayer will make this so much easier and won’t strip your pans like Fry Light does – we use this one and it’s excellent!
  • if you want fancy fried egg like us *cough* you can get your mitts on some fancy food rings at Amazon

to make full english breakfast risotto you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190ºc
  • lay the cherry tomatoes out onto a baking tray and spray with a little oil
  • cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and spray in a little oil
  • add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and fry until the onions start to turn golden
  • add the rice to the pan along with the sausages and bacon and give another stir
  • pour the stock into the pan, cover and simmer on a low heat for 20-25 minutes
  • meanwhile, spray a frying pan with a little oil and fry the black pudding for 3-4 minutes each side, and set aside
  • in the same pan, add a little more oil and fry the eggs to your liking
  • once the risotto is cooked serve into bowls
  • top with the tomatoes, halved black pudding and fried egg

Craving more ooey, gooey risottos? We’ve got loads!

Yum!

J

sausage and ham super scrambled eggs

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.

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.

Sigh.

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.

super scrambled eggs

super scrambled eggs

to make super scrambled eggs you will need:

  • 8 eggs
  • 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
  • we used the sausages from our incredible Musclefood deals which are free! If you use a different type be sure to syn them
  • Fry Light will ruin your pans – get one of these misters instead!
  • you can cook the sausages and bacon however you like, we used our Tefal Optigrill but you can cook yours in a frying pan, under the grill or in a George Foreman – it’s up to you!

how to make super scrambled eggs:

  • whisk the eggs together with the milk
  • spray a saucepan with a little oil and add the sausages, bacon (or ham) and tomatoes
  • cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently
  • add the eggs to the pan and stir constantly until they’re scrambled to your liking
  • serve and sprinkle over the grated cheese
  • eat served on whatever you like

Looking for more breakfast ideas? You greedy bugger!

J

 

breakfast sausage and egg hash browns

Nice simple recipe for breakfast hash browns coming up – and coming up quickly, mind you – but first, I want to share three little irritations. I need to get them off my chest otherwise they’ll bubble and boil and I’ll end up taking it out on the cat, perhaps by forgetting to turn on their chilled water or giving them Whiskas instead of their fancy organic shite. That’s a waste of money, anyway: yes, it might be organic, but I’ve seen my cat vomit up a bird and have another bash at eating it immediately after. They’re not picky.

Firstly, I’ve been gravely wounded. I’ve been cut up. Shanked. Given a ‘Welcome to Byker’. I jest, though I passed through Byker once in the car. They didn’t film Byker Grove there, by the way – it’s just one devastating lie after another. No see, I’ve started giving a toss what my hair looks like. Normally I like to let it grow cheerily for seven or eight weeks, spreading out however it wished like Molton Brown-scented mould. But now my face is slightly less egg-like I’ve taken to getting it cut with a straight-edge razor at a Turkish barbers that I’ve discovered in Newcastle. I only called in to try and get taken around the back to have my comb dipped, but alas, no dice. Anyway they’re usually very good and, for the most part, don’t chat, which I like. I can’t stand making small-talk especially when I’m gazing at my own reflection in the mirror – it feels like the most schizophrenic interview ever. The thing with having your head shaved with a proper razor is that you can’t move – you can’t nod or jolt or disco dance because otherwise you’ll end up looking like Carrie White.

I’m good at sitting still – being fat does tend to gift that skill to a person – but even I was on edge. We were almost done when he must have jolted and, in the process of doing so, gave me a lovely long cut right on the back of my shiny bald bonce. Worst part is, I didn’t even feel it happen – the blade is that sharp, I only noticed when he apologised and stuck a square of kitchen roll on the back of my head. Apology accepted, he then set about doing my beard, and you have to understand that there’s no tension quite like what you feel when you’ve got a man capable of random spasms holding a razor-blade right in front of your throat. Brrr! He did a fabulous job though, and gave me a free haircut. Someone said the scar would add character and make me look like a hard man: aye right fella – I’m more Ann Mitchell than Grant Mitchell.

I couldn’t find the right place to drop this in, so please, accept this bon mot floating out of place: “It’s certainly the closest a wet gash has ever been to my face“.

Second, let’s talk needless offence. This always happens when we have a swell of new people in our facebook group – the professionally offended itching for their chance to climb on their high horses and look down at those chuckling at good humour. Let me give you an example: someone shared a post of a photography business who had posted a load of ‘new parent’ pictures, only instead of a baby they used a cat. Said photos included them cuddling their swaddled cat, the ‘father’ crying with emotion and the mother whipping her breast out as if to feed. The cat wasn’t latched on. It wasn’t pushed out of her fadge. It was happy enough in a blanket being cooed over. But Christ, you’d think we’d uploaded footage of a cat being tied to the space shuttle for shits and giggles. Cries of ‘omg this is sik’ and ‘shud be band ADMIN’ rang out like bells at Christmas. There was a common theme amongst the complainants was that it only took 30 seconds to review each Facebook profile and find a ‘97% OF PEOPLE WON’T SHARE THIS PICTURE OF A BACON SANDWICH DO IT BEFORE FACEBOOK BAN IT’ meme. I wish we could take the Internet away from these folks. They’re the same cavalcade of clits that complain about men kissing in soup adverts or the fact Tesco use Muslims in their Christmas adverts. Arseholes, in short.

Lastly, elderly drivers. No look I’m sorry, I know it’s a blanket, sweeping statement, but I’ve had years of hearing how bad boy racers are at driving their little acne-carriages, let’s have a pop at the elderly. Before I do: I know there’s loads of good old drivers out there, but they’re seemingly all down South – they’re certainly not in bloody Newcastle. You know what I mean: going 40mph whether on the motorway, outside a school or ploughing into pedestrians. Incapable of seeing over the steering wheel. Rictus frown on their face. My latest encounter was outside of Lidl only today, and actually, I was on foot and yet they still managed to aggravate me. I was just stepping onto a zebra crossing to cross the car-park when a Nissan Family-Circle-Tin ran over the front of my left shoe, having elected not to bother stopping. Normally I’d just give him some Newcastle sign-language but because he’d actually kept going, I banged on his roof. Well, he almost shit himself (and there’s a certain inevitability about that). He wound down his window and muttered that he hadn’t seen me. How can you not see me? I’m the size of a vending machine and I know for a fact that my outlet-bargain Jacamo jacket doesn’t have a double-function as a fucking invisibility cloak. I waited for an apology that wasn’t coming, gave him a shitty look and hobbled off. Tell you what: I reckon a good 80% of the folks who cut me up, slam their brakes on or drive like bellends are octogenerian or plus. But of course, it’s not their fault. No-no. Argh.

Actually, fuck it, let’s add a fourth irritation: the ad-bumpers on The Chase, featuring the most excruciating raillery even committed to film. I love The Chase but I have to turn it over before it cuts to the drama students guffawing into their hands. It’s either that or I put my foot through the telly. Who approves this nonsense? The same degenerate who allowed the TUI adverts to go ahead. You know the one: some canyon-toothed dolly-dippit singing an appalling cover of Ain’t Nobody in that awful drab register so common these days whilst men who ought to be ashamed of their life tap-dance in the background. I’d sooner book a flight on a crashing plane than TUI. Dot the Ts and cross the Is? They don’t even do that! Bastards!

Eee I feel better for that – it’s like lancing a boil. And, on that attractive note, let’s do these sausage and egg hash browns, shall we? This made six, but it really depends on the size of your Yorkshire pudding tin.

hash browns

hash browns

to make breakfast sausage and egg hash browns, you’ll need:

  • about 800g of potatoes
  • one red onion
  • 80g of lighter extra mature cheddar
  • six eggs
  • a few sausages of your choice – we don’t go for anything fancy, just the 0.5 syn sausages from our Musclefood offers – grilled – and then cut into chunks. If you want to syn two pieces of 0.5 syn sausage, you crack on. I’m not stressing about quarter of a syn.
  • lots of black pepper and salt
  • a good clean teatowel
  • a Yorkshire pudding tin
  • squirty oil spray

to make breakfast sausage and egg hash browns, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  • grate your potatoes (skin on) and onion – use a box grater or, if you’ve got a fancy Kenwood like us, the grater blade – it’ll take no time at all
  • using the clean tea-towel to wrap the grated potato and onion in, squeeze as much liquid as you can out of it – then do it again – you need it as dry as possible
  • add lots of salt and pepper and mix the cheese in too
  • spray your pudding tin with some spray oil (0.5 syns for 5 sprays, you only need ten at most, and this makes six hash browns, so it’s up to you if you syn them
  • press equal amounts of mixture into the tin – really press the bottom down mind and then up the side
  • add diced sausage and crack an egg on the top
  • pop in the oven for a good twenty five minutes or so
  • done!

Make life easy for yourself: don’t make the ‘walls’ of the hash-browns too thick, or they’ll not crisp up. Also, rather than squeezing with a tea-towel, use a potato ricer. Yep – the thing we always recommend for perfect mash can also be put to use here by squeezing every last drop from your potatoes in no time at all! These freeze really well, too! I’ve included the cooking picture so you can see how I made them.

Want more breakfast ideas? Please take a look:

J

stuffed yorkshire pudding: beefy or cheesy!

Gosh, that’s a mouthful of a sentence, isn’t it? Yorkshire pudding canapés: aye, I know it’s not really a canapé, but listen, it beats eating mystery meat or hydrogenated tomato flavoured dust from Iceland, no? For all those uncultured swines out there who think a canapé is what a Geordie might say when the bailiffs turn up to take his telly away, it’s actually a wee decorative food served to whet the appetite before someone brings out the chips. The Internet is awash with ideas but they’re all spectacularly frou-frou and pointless. Shirley Conran said that life was too short to stuff a mushroom and she’s absolutely correct so you’ll be glad to know that these can be made in two shakes of a lamb’s tail – instant ingredients turned into something nice.

We’re cheating, of course: we’re using Aunt Bessie’s tiny Yorkshire puddings from Asda. We’re not getting paid to promote the red-faced old bag, don’t worry: I just resent making Yorkshire puddings unless they’re big enough to be considered as a second car. Go large or go home. They’re £1.50 for 30 and it saves clitting about in the kitchen using ground up oats (really) or having to buy a special whaddya-know-it’s-an-Amazon-link muffin tray. Just saying. Buy these and you’ll have enough time to sit and scratch your minnie.

By the way, we’ve been away. That whole schtick about a Christmas clear-out? It was bollocks – we were spending a glorious ten days in Stockholm, Oslo and Bergen. There’s going to be some cracking holiday entries in the New Year but if I can give you one eye-opening revelation about the whole thing, it’s this:

Benny from ABBA! I had absolutely no idea he was such a DILF back in the day! Good heavens. Of all the places I expected to be walking around with a badly-hidden semi, the ABBA museum was not high up on the list. Does Your Mother Know? She does know, I called her to tell her I wish I’d been born in the seventies. He could lay all of his love on me, oh yes – he’d definitely not end up Slipping Through My Fingers either. I’d be the winner who took it all, for sure!

Listen, I tried desperately to make a pun about it being ‘The Day Before You Came’ but I just couldn’t. Anyway, HELLO. Perhaps not now though – he looks like Bill Bryson scratching through bins for a sandwich.

Anyway, that’s quite enough of all that – I’m all moist. Let’s get straight to the recipe, such as it is. You could make these for taster nights, or a spectacularly depressing party (sometimes the two aren’t mutually exclusive), or do as we did and make thirty and sit and eat them in front of The Apprentice. No-one’s judging you, bar me. This makes thirty – fifteen of each, with plenty of mix left over. Once the two fillings are made you can freeze them for another time. Gosh!

yorkshire pudding

yorkshire pudding

to make the yorkshire pudding canapés, you’ll need:

  • one bag of mini Yorkshire puddings – you’ll find them in ASDA – £1.50 for 30 – half a syn each
  • an icing or sandwich bag

for the beef and horseradish:

  • good quality sliced beef
  • 200g of quark (trust me, if you think it’s vile, don’t worry: the horseradish masks the taste – but you could always use Philadelphia Lightest instead – 110g is a HEA!)
  • two tablespoons of horseradish sauce (3 syns)
  • good pinch of salt and pepper

So that’s 3 syns to make enough filling for 15 puddings – up to you if you syn the 0.2 syns! You could maybe argue that each filled pudding is a syn, but hey, it’s Christmas. I’m going for 0.5 syns, because I’m a decadent winter whore. Same if you’re going to measure that sliver of HEA!

for the sausage and cheesy mustard mash:

  • any leftover mash (syn free) or Smash original (syn free) made up as instructed – probably need about a small packet
  • two tsp of wholegrain mustard (1 syn)
  • 50g of Mattessons Smoked Pork Sausage (4 syns) cut into 8 discs, then halved (eat the spare)
  • 30g of extra mature cheddar (1 x HEA)
  • good pinch of salt and pepper

That’s 5 syns for 15 puddings. For ease, with the Yorkshire pudding added in, let’s call it a syn per pudding. But again, that’s over-estimating…

to make the yorkshire pudding canapés, you should:

  • well, this is embarrassing – it’s as easy as cooking the puddings for four minutes on 200 degrees fan
  • make the fillings by combining everything together
  • stuff the pudding by slopping the filling into your sandwich bag, snipping off the corner and piping the filling on top – decorate with sliced sausage or the beef sliced curled up like an unsightly labia

Done! You can impress your friends and be the envy of your slimming class once more! You want more ideas for snacks and taster nights? Naturally. Check out:

Yum!

J

sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks

You’re here for the sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, aren’t you? Who could blame you – they’re quite something, though I feel bad luring you in for such a simple recipe.

But first (isn’t there an always a but first with us…actually, not always, sometimes I’ll start by working the balls) I wanted to follow up my last blog post, which dealt with the nasty side of the Internet and the disadvantages of giving chavs a keyboard that isn’t connected to a Speak ‘n’ Spell. No sooner had I put up a 1,500 word moan about the idiots kicking off at Tesco then something lovely happened. Allow me to explain, first with a wee picture…

I know, right? I ought to work for Saatchi and Saatchi, not least because think of all that delicious food Nigella would have cooked me over the years. I’m gayer than cum on a moustache but you better believe I’d happily spend my life with Ms Lawson. Any women who will cheerfully fry a sandwich in butter in her best dressing gown is a keeper, surely?

Can you remember last year when we asked you all to send us a Christmas card? Boy, did you come through for us – we received cards from all around the world and for once, the postman wasn’t being euphemistic when he came to our slot and emptied his bulging sack. Oh stop it: I know, it’s like Julian Clary is guest-writing the blog tonight. I think the grand total was over 1,500 and we read each and every one, not least because we thought you may have squirrelled away a fiver or two in there. It was great fun and we planned to do it again but, in a rare moment of genius, Paul suggested we raise money for our local cat and dog shelter, Bryson’s.

How could I resist? So we stuck our donation request online and within 36 hours, we’d managed to raise £1,300 – it now stands at £1,500! Pretty incredible and we couldn’t be more chuffed. Bryson’s are an amazing little shelter up in Gateshead who take in all manner of waifs and strays and never put a well animal to sleep – if they can’t find a home for them, it doesn’t matter, they’ll stay at Bryson’s until the end. Their staff was dedicated, kind volunteers and look, we can’t say enough about them: anyone who lets us two come in and cuddle their cats can’t be anything but amazing. You can read up on what they do here

Now – if you can, we would love it forever if you could help us. If things are tight then of course don’t worry, but if you’ve enjoyed our recipe, nonsense, videos, posters and other flimflam throughout the year, could we beg the tiniest favour and ask for a donation? We’ve stuck £100 in from the two of us – we’d absolutely love to get it up to £2,000 – and maybe more! We just think this will make a difference more than Christmas cards ever could. If you don’t want to donate, no problem – please don’t think less of us for asking – but if you do, here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window!):

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/twochubbycubs

How lovely! Remember, we’re not asking you to donate loads – just what you can, the cost of a Christmas card!

Now, to sweeten the deal a bit, we’ve done a rare video for you. It’s a recipe for syn-free brownies – you won’t believe how easy they are to make with just a few small substitutions and swaps. Naturally, we’ve put our spin on things. Enjoy!

Ha! Now, finally, let’s do the recipe, such as it is…this makes enough for two ‘stacks’.

cheesy hash brown

cheesy hash brown

to make sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, you’ll need:

  • Kingsmill wholemeal bread thins (1 x HEB per thin)
  • two good eggs
  • a potato
  • Quorn sausage patties (0.5 syn each), or cook some pork sausages and slice in half lengthways
  • 60g of mature cheese (2 x HEA)
  • 1 tablespoon of oil (we used chilli oil because we like it hot!) (makes about five, so let’s call it a syn each)

I know there’ll be folks out there now not bothering with the recipe because it uses six syns of oil (1 tablespoon) – reconsider. The oil binds the potato and makes it like a proper hash brown. You could make your own vibrator from filling a cigar tube with bees, doesn’t mean you should. Spend the syns!

to make sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, you should:

  • hashbrowns are a doodle – grate your potato and then squeeze the living hell out of it – you want the shredded potato to be as dry as an old bajingo – then mix in the tablespoon of oil and the grated cheese, add a tonne of black pepper and a bit of salt, then press into yorkshire pudding or muffin trays – really pack it in mind you – then bung them in the oven for about 30 minutes to crisp up and brown – this actually ended up making about 5 hash-browns so keep any spare for eating later
  • it’s OK – I laughed at the concept of spare food too
  • then…well, really not sure what there is to say for the rest – grill your sausage patties and fry the eggs
  • we use a chef’s ring (he doesn’t mind, we buy him a drink after) to keep the eggs nice and round but really, you don’t need to do so
  • we use the same ring to cut a circle out of the thins but you know, why waste the extra bread? Just whack it in
  • serve with a disc on the bottom, hash brown, sausage and egg, then disc on top

If you’re one of these people who can’t fry an egg, worry not – it’s easy. Hot pan, few sprays of olive oil, crack the egg in and shape it a bit with a spatula – pop the lid on the pan once everything has started to firm up and it’ll cook nicely in the steam. Fresh eggs help. We get our eggs from my mother – you’d think she would have stopped laying them now she’s approaching 94 but hey.

Want more breakfast ideas? But of course you do. Click the buttons below.

vegetariansmall sausagessmall  breakfastsmall slowcookersmallovernight-oatstastersmall

Enjoy! And please, give what you can – we really will love you forever.

J

sausage and apple bake

 

Sausage and apple bake, if you don’t mind. I was going to post part four of Copenhagen but I’ve had three hours sleep, my brain is made of cheese and my right eye is gunky. Clearly I’m two hours away from death so I’ll make this quick.

What doesn’t help my tiredness is that our house is currently the approximate temperature of a raging crematorium. I thought I could hear the Langoliers coming but it was actually the hair in my ears crisping. You see, because Paul’s been in all day and because it’s a ‘bit chilly’, the Nest gets pumped up to 30 degrees, the radiators are all blaring and he’s sitting there in his worst boxer shorts, ballsack hanging out like a crushed satsuma, sweating everywhere and making everything sticky.

It drives me up the bloody sweat-soaked wall – he’ll complain that he’s cold but he’ll be sitting there in less clothes than he clattered out of his mum’s fanny with. That analogy works as he’s from a rough part of Peterborough and probably came mincing out wearing knock-off Donnay jogging bottoms. I’ll kvetch on at him to turn the bloody heating off but it’s too late: I know this means the start of the ‘heating arguments’ season, where not one hour goes by where one of us isn’t tinkering with the thermostat or turning off the radiators. I hate having a ‘smart’ home – he can set the whole house to ‘inferno’ from the comfort of the shitter, and it just isn’t fair.

We don’t tend to argue much, mind, for a couple that’s been together for ten years and spend most evenings passively aggressively cutting our toenails into each other’s cup of tea. There’s no point – I like to think most couples reach the stage where they just accept the idiosyncrasies and foibles of the other without stopping to question it, preferring instead to release the tension by crying in the shower or bundling carpet-wrapped hitchhikers into ditches by the side of the road.

For example, there’s no point in asking Paul what he wants to dinner, because he never knows what he wants. He does however know exactly what he doesn’t want and that’s whatever meal you suggest. You wouldn’t believe the look of ennui that ripples over his face when I suggest ‘lasagne’ – he’ll normally reply with ‘I don’t know if I’m in the mood for that‘, taking care to really spit the last word out, as though I’ve suggested giving him a Cleveland Steamer.

We can’t play Scrabble, though. You’d think such a simple board game, with the clear rules of play and calming pastel colours on the double and triple score squares, would have a pleasingly somnifacient effect on us. Not so. I won’t embarrass PAUL by naming who it was but one of us became so angry with the other playing smart with two letter words that they threw the board, titles and racks over the balcony of our riverside flat many moons ago. Again, I won’t say who IT WAS, PAUL will not want it known.

For balance, I’ve asked him what silly things he thinks we argue about and do you know, he can only name two: my inability to close the living room windows before we go to bed and the fact that there is always a coat hanger on his side of the bed under the duvet when he gets in. See, I’m last out in the morning and invariably leave the coat hanger my shirt was hanging on somewhere on his half of the bed. I mean, as things that tick you off go, I’m not exactly leaving skidders on the bedsheets or have a whole secret family of little James out there, am I? Pfft.

Before I go, whilst I’m thinking about arguments, you may recall that I used to live with a charming lady called Mary way back before Paul entered my life/hole. She had her peculiar ways, such as leaving her thrush cream in the fridge and her soiled clotstoppers wedged down the back of the radiator in her bedroom, but one day I came home to find her boiling a cauldron full of tea-towers on the hob.

What followed was a blistering thirty minute shouting match where she screamed at me for not understanding why simply putting tea-towels in the washing machine like a normal human being wasn’t enough to ‘kill the germs’. I pointed out that it was more than sufficient and had the added advantage of not making our house smell like we were embalming roadkill and anyway, I paid the rent, so she should shut the hell up. The argument proceeded to rise in both pitch and fury before she picked up the pan of boiling water, complete with my nana’s best collection of ‘I’ve been to Runcorn’ tea-towels, and hurled it straight through our kitchen window. As a full stop, that works especially well.

She went to live with her mother after that and for three glorious months I had the house to myself. No arguments, no manic moments and all the space in the world to set out my coat-hangers of a morning. Bliss.

Right, shall we do the recipe for the sausage and apple bake? We’d be foolish not to, wouldn’t we, when we’ve come all this way?

I’m saying this sausage and apple bake serves two – big portions mind!

to make sausage and apple bake you will need:

This is another recipe we’ve adapted from Jamie Oliver’s new book ‘5 Ingredients’, which you can buy from Amazon here. We love it and aren’t ashamed!

to make sausage and apple bake you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • heat a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium high heat and add a little bit of oil
  • Peel and quarter the onions, and pull the petals apart into a large frying pan
  • next, core and quarter the apples and chuck them in the pan too, give a good stir
  • use a speed-peeler (want a decent one? get this!) to first peel the parsnips, and then to slice thin ribbons from them. it helps to turn the parsnip after each slice to get more out of it
  • stir in 1 tbsp red wine vinegar to the pan and then pile the parsnip slices on top
  • lay the sausages on top and spray with a little oil, as well as a bit of salt and pepper
  • bake in the oven for 30 minutes
  • remove from the oven, drizzle over the honey and then pop back in the oven for five minutes until golden

Full up yet? No? Just click one of the buttons below to get even more recipes!

porksmall vegetariansmall sausagessmall  seafoodsmallbreakfastsmall

dessertsmallovernight-oatstastersmallsoupsmallonepot

Enjoy!

J

boozy bangers and mash with amazing gravy

Here for the boozy bangers and mash with a gravy that’ll blow all other Slimming World gravy out of the water? Fine. But first…

I am pleased to announce that, after nine months of worry, tension and angst, we have finally chosen our new car. Well, my new car. Paul’s still ‘driving’ around in that ‘Smart’ ‘car’ of his, looking to all the world like a sunburnt wine-gum squashed into a lego car. After months of putting it off, I bit the bullet and went to the car dealership to see what the crack is. First thoughts? So much hair gel. Second thoughts: I’d rather spend my Saturday chewing toenails than have to go through the ignominy of pretending I give a toss about cars. We were greeted by an exceptionally exuberant man who bustled over to greet us before I’d even had a chance to park up.

Before we could start the dance of finance, he had a look around my car to make sure it was in a good working order for a part-exchange. Well, no, he had a glance and took me at my word that all was well. That really made the £400 that I’d just paid for the ‘obligatory’ service seem like good value, I can tell you. He commented that I keep a pristine car – I thanked him, neglected to tell him it’s because we’re always ‘wiping it down’ and prayed to myself that he didn’t sit on the back seat. The cushions in the back are like a Twinkie. Don’t get the reference? Click here and feel ashamed.

He took us inside and offered us a drink, having the good grace to laugh when I asked for a whisky to take the edge off getting fucked. He brought us some grey coffee instead which I tipped into a plant-pot on his desk when he wasn’t looking, only for it to start dripping out of the bottom and onto the floor. He didn’t notice, thankfully – he was probably lost in my eyes.

I knew we were on shaky ground when the portly chap (I’m going to call him George, not because that was his name, but because he looked like a George) grasped my hand, called me by entirely the wrong name and then asked what type of car I want. You need to understand, readers, that I know nothing about cars. I know how to drive one, of course, but what is horsepower? Why is a petrol better than a diesel? Why is there always so much blood and matted hair on my front bumper? It’s useless knowledge to me, like where to buy skinny jeans or how to stimulate a clitoris. Irrelevant data. To me, clitoris sounds like the name IKEA would give a coat-hook.

Anyway, dear George, to his credit, didn’t laugh when I said ‘something colourful’ and ‘a bit fast’. Those were my sole requirements. My previous research, so far as I’d glanced at Auto Trader, turned this up:

Fancy, but Paul had pointed out that I wasn’t Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, didn’t need a car with an automatic amyl-nitrate dispenser and anyway, it was over £500 a month. I appreciate I’m a tightarse Geordie but there’s fuck all way I’m spending that sort of money per month on a Citroen, unless it comes with a feature that automatically changes my number plate and flashes the interior lights whenever Paul and I pull into a layby of an evening. I asked if there was anything similar with an onus on lots of tech in the car and he hastened us over to look at the C4 Cactus.

Why? God knows. I’d rather get the bus, especially as this car was the colour of a dying man’s lips. Sensing I wasn’t swooning and completely ignoring the fact it’ll only be Paul and I so we don’t need a family car, he plopped me into the driving seat and leaned across to show me the ‘latest tech’. I mean, come on – you know someone’s clutching at straws when he’s feigning astonishment at the radio as though he was Marconi himself. I resisted the urge to be sarcastic and clutch my pearls when he mentioned the air-conditioning, and, knowing he was onto a loss, he got us back out and showed us an altogether more sensible solution, the new C3.

Imagine that but black. Tsk, racist.

Now this was more like it – it pretty much looks like a DS3 but designed by Fisher Price, but that’s fine – I’m a fan of bright colours and spend more time angsting about people banging their car doors into mine than I do blinking, the air-bumps on the side were a big ‘yes’. Even if they do look like someone’s stuck a particularly hi-tech jamrag on the side of the car. I selected the black and red version and so the negotiations began.

I like to think I’m pretty good at negotiating, but only for about 15 minutes. I simply can’t be arsed to haggle. I see Martin Lewis chirruping away on the telly about arguing for a better deal but sometimes, what price dignity? I did knock about £80 off the monthly amount but once George had gone an especially lurid shade of crimson and was looking at his own wallet with watery eyes, mumbling about having to feed the kids, I collapsed like a wet cake. I don’t doubt for a second that I could have maybe squeezed an extra ten quid or something off a month but it was hot, I was tired, I hate having to do the dance and that was that. I signed there and then and was told my car would be here in two weeks, thanks very much.

It actually turned up four days later – hooray – and with Paul away throwing himself at Jeremy Corbyn at the Durham Miners’ Gala, I picked it up myself and decided to go for a drive up to Coldstream. I’d never been before but I knew it is a good seventy miles of twisty-turny country road away from my house. It was a great drive – the car was responsive and zippy, my driving was top-notch and there was a minimal amount of people in my way all the way to Coldstream. I had, quite literally, just driven past the ‘Welcome to Coldstream’ sign when the in-car phone rang, almost forcing me to crash into a coach full of elderly folk in sheer shock – it was so bloody loud.

It was Paul asking where I was. He was home, see, but hadn’t thought to take a key with him. To make matters worse, he was “hot” and “tired” and “had been in the sun all day and was feeling faint”. The one set of neighbours we trust with a set of keys (i.e. the only ones who wouldn’t let themselves in to have a bloody good gawp) were out, of course. Thinking the poor bugger had sunstroke I performed an entirely illegal u-turn in the middle of the road and set straight back off for home, at an altogether terrifying speed.

All legal, I must say.

But certainly far faster than I should have been driving, and all in the name of love, with the thought of Paul’s scalp crisping up like a salad crouton rattling in my head. Naturally, he turned his phone off, so I couldn’t get hold of him, which led to even more panic as I thought he was slumped on the doorstep shallow-breathing. As opposed to his usual stance, slumped on the settee shallow-breathing. I overtook lots – and lots – of old dears, all perched as usual right up against the steering wheel, all doing a committed 40mph no matter what the occasion. There may have been swearing. I may have bellowed myself hoarse. I was definitely putting the c*nt in country road. But by god, I got back within the hour, just in time to see Paul relaxing with a cold drink and flicking through his facebook notifications.

Turns out the neighbours had come home about five minutes after his call to me and he’d put his phone onto charge, completely neglecting to tell me.

You can imagine the laughs we had about the whole misunderstanding, can’t you? How I chuckled as I ironed his face.

So yes, that’s my new car. It’s very nice, it goes like the clappers in comparison to my old one and I’ll never miss it in a car-park. All good.

Now, tonight’s recipe. Boozy Bangers and mash. I know that’s a wank title, I know. It’s sausages and mash but more importantly, it has an AMAZING gravy. Can we talk about gravy for a second? I made this for our facebook page:

I genuinely can’t stand it when you see a delicious looking roast and then someone pops up with ‘omg make sun-free gravy by blitzing (always fucking blitzing, how exactly are you blitzing your peas you spittle-flecked moron, dropping a bloody bomb on it?) a tin of mushy peas, or eight roasted onions, or some other AWFUL slop. That’s not gravy, that’s a grave injustice. A war crime.

Gravy is low in syns and given that so many people have more gravy on their plate than carbon atoms, you might as well get the good stuff. Make your own or use instant at a pinch. It’s a syn per teaspoon of powder. Unless you’re having a bath of gravy, how much do you bloody need? Drives me up the wall, which is fine because I’ve got that fancy new car, but still. So here’s a recipe with PROPER DELICIOUS GRAVY. We are going to be steering away from ‘pretend’ food (to be fair, we don’t do it much to begin with) as a blog and I’m sure you’ll come with us!

boozy bangers and mash

to make boozy bangers and mash you will need:

We get asked a lot about how good our mash looks. We don’t add anything, you know – it’s just good potatoes riced with a potato ricer once cooked. The one we use is only a tenner and can be bought here!

to make boozy bangers and mash you should:

  • bring a large pan of water to the boil and the potatoes – cook until soft and then mash, to however you like it (we like to chuck in some wholegrain mustard but not everyone is as classy as us)
  • whilst the potatoes are boiling away, make a slit down the sausages and squeeze out the meat into 3-4 equal-ish balls. don’t worry about rolling them into neat balls, they’ll be fine as they are
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • add the sausages to the pan and fry until cooked, then remove from the pan
  • add a bit more oil to the pan if needed, and then add the chopped garlic
  • stir for about 30 seconds, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sliced onions
  • cook the onions until they begin to caramelise, stirring now and again. Don’t worry if they stick a bit – that’s good
  • after about 15-20 minutes, add the stock and the guinness to the pan and bring to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan
  • in a little bowl, mix together the cornflour with 2 tbsp COLD water (it MUST be cold), and slowly dribble into the gravy, stirring constantly, and when you’re happy with it take it off the heat
  • dish up the potatoes and sausages, and pour over the tasty gravy
  • enjoy

See now come on, that’s a proper dinner right there! No? Want more? Get more!

poultrysmallbeefsmall lunchsmall sausagessmall

Beep beep (Richie!)

J