a big bowl full of caprese blt salad

Straight to the recipe tonight for caprese blt salad because yesterday, as usual, I waffled on with nonsense. But first, I do have one urgent question to ask…

Tea. My parents are having a right old dingdong about who is right when it comes to making a bog-standard cup of tea. Do you put the milk in first like my father or last like my mother? Please: leave a comment or a Facebook comment below and let me know. In the interests of balance, I’ve managed to quickly screenshot the various Facebook messages showing both sides of the argument. I may have touched the colour balance up on the photos but that’s the only change I’ve made, I swear.

Mother:

Father:

And for some reason Paul’s mother got in on the act:

So who is right? Milk in first or milk in last? Don’t be all cosmopolitan about it – we’re talking just normal tea, nothing fancy, served in a cup from a Smarties Easter Egg back from 1993. Comments please!

caprese blt salad

caprese blt salad

to make a big bowl full of caprese blt salad you will need:

  • 160g cous cous (or 400g cooked cous cous)
  • 40g rocket leaves
  • 150g lettuce
  • 2 reduced-fat mozzarella balls (roughly half a ball each will be 1 HeA)
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 2 balls of steamed beetroot (or whatever you have)
  • 8 bacon medallions (you’ll get loads of syn free ones in our Musclefood deal!)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • pinch of oregano

Fair warning: we love to roast the hell out of our tomatoes and beetroot, hence the blackened look above, but you don’t need to be quite so keen!

to make a a big bowl full of caprese blt salad you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • slice the tomatoes and place on a baking sheet, cut side up
  • dice the beetroot and place alongside the tomatoes, and spray the lot with a little oil
  • grind over some salt and sprinkle with some oregano and roast for about 30 minutes (keep an eye on them though)
  • cook the bacon under a grill until nice and crisp
  • cook the cous cous according to the packet instructions
  • when everything is cooked, throw it all together in a big bowl!

How’s that for fresh? We like to cook this on a Sunday, triple the amounts and make six packed lunches with it to see us through to Wednesday. I know, we’re good like that.

We’ve got plenty more to keep you going, just click on one of the buttons below to find even more of our recipes:

porksmall lunchsmallvegetariansmall    tastersmall

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

baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes

Baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes you say? Yes. Indeed. And lo, because it’s a quick post tonight after yesterday’s trip to Copenhagen, you’re going to get the recipe almost right away! But listen, we can’t claim any sort of authorship for this recipe, it’s just a simple take on huevos rancheros or shakshouka, which is fun to say. However, it’s syn-free, full of veg and very good for you and frankly, if you’ve got a few peppers and tomatoes turning into old-man-ballsacks in the fridge, this is just the dish to use them up. I had an absolute glut of homegrown tomatoes to use up so here we are!

Sorry, wouldn’t normally put a third photo in, but I love the colours!

to make baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes, you’ll need:

  • a big handful of fat tomatoes
  • one red pepper
  • one red chilli
  • one garlic clove
  • one fresh egg
  • one red onion
  • one vegetable oxo cube

Wondering where we get our fancy dishes? Just here!

to make baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes, you should:

  • thinly slice your pepper and onion and sweat in a few sprays of oil
  • mince your garlic (got one of these yet? no? treat yourself – you’ll wonder how you got by without it!) and add it in along with the thinly sliced red chilli
  • roughly chop your tomatoes into small chunks and chuck that in
  • simmer gently with a good pinch of salt
  • I like to add the oxo cube crumbled in just to add a bit of taste, plus a tiny spoon of Marmite if you like, then allow everything to thicken nicely
  • tip it into a shallow individual serving dish, crack an egg into the middle, cook in the oven for fifteen minutes or so until the egg is set
  • enjoy with lots of black pepper

Done!

Want more breakfast or other ideas? Click the buttons and go!

breakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmallslowcookersmallovernight-oatstastersmall

J

ready steady go overnight oats – a fruity breakfast treat

Ready steady go overnight oats! For the sake of easy searching I probably should have called it ‘fruity tooty’ overnight oats or some other nonsense but hey, I’m a sucker for a catchy title. But first, before we get to the recipe, we’re going back on holiday. If you’re not a fan of our holiday waffle (oh please, you’d eat our holiday waffle without so much as stopping to wipe the syrup off your under-lips), that’s fine, just click on this RUSTY, SEAMEN-FILLED OLD WRECK.

Thank god she’s gone, right? Did you smell her? Smelt like a fire in a rendering plant.

Goodness me, we wrap up one holiday and we’re right bang into the next one. Apologies for the Geordie sidetrack but I wanted to get it out whilst it was still fresh, which weirdly enough was also the same line I used to get Paul into bed when we first met. Ah that’s a fib – it was actually the promise of a McDonalds and a loan of my Family Guy DVD boxset that got him to drop his knickers. Is that a record? We’re two sentences in and I’ve already deviated from the holiday to a time ten years ago? I’ll do my best to stay on track.

click here for part one | click here for part two

Enjoy our holiday entries? Please do give us feedback or share or whatever, it’s what we live for!

When you last left us in Copenhagen we had arrived at the hotel, admired the plug sockets and gazed in abject despair that yet again we’d ended up in a hotel whose only British TV channels were Fox News and CNN. I’d sooner take my political and global news from a skidmark on the toilet than Fox News, so we were left with the shrieking of CNN to lull us to sleep of an evening. Don’t judge me, I don’t usually fret about these things, but I can’t go to sleep in a quiet room, lest I hear Pennywise scratching from under the bed. Somewhat shamefully, we spent the evening ordering room service…

Syn free because I used HEB.

 …and then falling asleep, making sure we would be bright and breezy for the next morning.

The next morning rolled around, as you’d expect, and we awoke, as far from bright and breezy as you can imagine. The hotel was faultless save for the fact that the bed was quite small and the air-conditioning somewhat lacking. By somewhat lacking I mean the heat generated from running this clunking beast cancelled out any wheezing chilling efforts it may have made. I had to peel myself away from Paul in the night – like pulling apart two slices of cheap ham – and go snort a line of toothpaste in the bathroom just to cool myself down. We aren’t attractive people at the best of times but take sleep away from us and we emerge from the hotel room looking like we’ve been locked in a cellar for eight months. However, buffet breakfast awaited.

We’ve discussed before how much we love a buffet breakfast – there’s something so appealing about being able to combine a continental, full English, pure greed and Danish delicacies into one wobbling tower of food, isn’t there? In the 80 minutes I had spare whilst Paul was doing his morning poo I’d researched Danish breakfasts and came across (not literally, though it was close) pålægschokolade (gesundheit!) – thin slices of chocolate that are used to top bread at breakfast. My watery eyes scanned that buffet table several times for such a wonder but sadly, no – though there were plenty of hot boiled eggs to slip into our pockets for later. We have no shame: if we learned anything from our trip to Iceland it was that free food is worth keeping as the stuff in the shops is invariably expensive and sounds like a hacking cough when you try and order it. A charming chap in a waistcoat and the full flush of puberty came to our table and offered us what looked like an excised cyst in a little glass tumbler. I asked what it was only to be met with a blank stare and a polite smile. Clearly his English was fluent as my Danish. I passed it to Paul to try just in case it was a rohypnol colada (that way, I’d still get my end away) and he swallowed it like the old pro that he is, declared it delicious, but was completely unable to tell me what it was. To this day I’m not entirely convinced that Paul didn’t just neck back a shot glass of tomato ketchup that the waiter had brought over for our bacon and sausages. Ah well, he’s still here.

I was just finishing my yoghurt and trying to work out whether this place was too posh for me to lick the foil lid (it was, sadly) when an ashen-look swept across Paul’s baggy-eyed face. “We’ve come on a bank holiday!” he cried, to which I pointed out that we’d done the same on his birthday and one weekend back in March, so what was the problem? Delving deeper into his angst, he pointed out that everywhere will doubtless be closed – he’d read about it online and everything. Catastrophe! Of course, he’d neglected to tell us this when we were booking the holiday, but never mind. We decided to just go for a wander, see what was about and do whatever we fancied. Personally, I think those are the best holiday days anyway – I hate being beholden to a schedule of booked trips and ‘things you must do’. I like to walk until my cankles ache and my belly blows out from too much pastry.

So, with nothing but blank hours in front of us, we caught the Metro system to Islands Brygge, a few stops away, and somewhere approximately in the centre of the city. I marvelled once more at their Metro system – quick, reliable and cheap, and not once was I offered drugs, a handjob or the exciting chance to see the inside of my belly on the outside of my shirt. It’s a step-up from Newcastle, for sure. Did I mention it was driverless? Not since our heady trip around the fully automatic Heathrow Pod system has Paul had such a turgid hard-on for mass transportation systems. We alighted and wandered, indeed seeing that most shops seemed to be shut and the streets relatively quiet. Hmm. We decided to walk down to the waterfront – I’m not sure what you’d call it, as it technically isn’t a river but rather the sea cutting through, but I’m sure someone will come along and tell me in an entirely non-patronising way.

After a leisurely mince and a stop for coffee at a peculiar café which saw the ground floor dedicated to the tables for eating and then, upon taking a lift to the basement to use the lavatory, a whole floor full of screaming children and flustered parents. It was really quite unsettling, like I’d stumbled into something terrifically sinister. I’m sure it said nursery on the eighty-nine letter spelling out the café name but who knows. A further wander and we happened across our first activity of the day: solar-powered picnic boats.

What is a picnic boat? Well come on, it’s clearly a boat with a picnic table on it so that you can float about the sea whilst having ginger ale and cucumber sandwiches. We were sold but before I get to it, let me tell you our reservations. I have a slight inner-ear problem which means I’m always nervous of floating about on the water lest I become one of those poor souls who always feel like they’re out on the sea despite being sat at home watching Jeremy Kyle. I know, I’m a fanny. I’m also really quite wary of canals and sluices and weirs and all sorts of man-made water contraptions. I know, as I said, I’m a fanny. On top of that, imagine trying to balance a ball-bearing on the edge of a 50p whilst all the while someone is slapping your boobs around and setting your legs on fire – that’s Paul’s level of personal coordination. Between his boss-eyes and inability to concentrate, he’s not one for climbing elegantly into a boat and then piloting us around Copenhagen’s waterways with any sense of panache. To add another layer of ‘no, this is a bad idea’, it was a particularly windy and overcast day, which is just the ticket when you’re piloting a solar-powered boat without any sails, no?

Well, have no fear – I manned the fuck up, paid the very reasonable £90 for two hours, and after a stern lecture from the bearded chap behind the counter and a frantic search for two lifejackets that would fit us (I offered to stitch together three medium life-jackets but a needle and thread couldn’t be found in time), we were aboard. Naturally, I immediately delegated all piloting (and it is piloting, I’ve checked, you only sail a boat with sails, so fuck you) duties to Paul, made myself comfortable at the back of the boat and immediately started shitting myself as the boat rocked this way and that in the wind. Paul had an eye on our destination which was reassuring – it was the fact his other eye was somewhere down the shoreline that concerned me.

However, what followed was an absolutely brilliant two hours. You can get the measure of a city from walking its streets but seeing it from the water is another thing entirely. There’s a loose route to follow around the canals and you’re encouraged to drift along at your own leisure, taking in the sights. I mean, look at the photo they use to advertise it on their website to get an idea of how relaxing it is:

I mean, you can almost hear the yah-yah-ing and the fizz-plink of an elderflower pressé being opened, can’t you?

Still not as good as our take on it:

That is a spectacularly bad photo of Paul (and me, to be fair) – he doesn’t normally look like Hoggle drawn on a melted candle, so forgive us.

The wind had returned our map to the sea within 5 minutes of our boat setting off (I blame Paul) so we were going in blind, but we spent a good two hours taking in views of the Amalienborg Slot (I’m sure I’ve met her), the lovely opera building, the ramshackle houses and boats of Christiana and the many, many moored up boats that line the canals.

Those people on the left waved at us. I like to think it’s because they had never seen such style and elegance on the water but actually, I think they were warning us of the giant boat coming through the tunnel straight towards us. Pfft.

Copenhagen is awash with beautiful painted houses like this – it’s possibly the most colourful place I’ve ever been. Have a look on google maps at Copenhagen from the air, it’s just amazing.

Of course, it was not without peril, oh no. Thanks to our inability to navigate, Paul’s poor vision and my shrieking and screaming, we ended up with more clumsy scrapes than an alcoholic gynaecologist. That’s fine – they know you’ll probably put a few dings in the side of the boat, it’s expected. We returned our boat looking like Herbie does at the end of The Love Bug and they barely raised a Danish eyebrow.

One thing you must be mindful of is the knowledge that the massive yellow taxi-boats, carrying 200 or so folks around the waterways, have absolute right of way. You stay away. You slow down. You absolutely do not do what Paul did and gun your boat, with its top speed of 6.4km (and that’s when it isn’t laden down with two fat Geordie bastards), in the hope of getting passed. Eee, it was like Speed 2, only with better acting and special effects. We did actually make it past, though I still need to look up whatever ‘klodset kusse’ means in English. I’m sure it means ‘after you, kind Sirs’.

Here’s some more pictures to get you moist.

What you can’t see here is how close we are to hitting a bridge pillar on the right. The air was blue!

The Copenhagen Opera House, as seen from the viewpoint of someone lying down.

I absolutely love this photo – a rare bit of good photography from me. It’s The Marble Church, not Photoshopped.

Bloody caravans, even manage to ruin waterways!

Beautiful, right? The two hours were soon up and so we had to race our way back to the little harbour area to return our boat. As we neared the jetty one of the cheery bearded men came out to wave us in. How canny. I sensed danger. We drew up alongside this tiny wee floating jetty and the man hopped aboard to tie the boat up, telling us to wait until we were tied up before climbing out of the boat. I duly followed orders and sat back down.

However, Paul didn’t get the message, oh no. Whether he was touching cloth, desperate to get on land or just showing a rare bit of athleticism, he made to step out, only for one leg to land on the jetty and the other leg to push the boat away. You know on You’ve Been Framed when you see someone do this and their legs spread apart and they fall in? Yep. Well, not quite actually – in quite literally the deftest move I’ve ever seen him make, he flung himself towards that jetty like he was scoring the winning try for the English rugby team. He was a positive blur of obesity and elasticated polyester. I was absolutely sure he was going in the water but no, he hurled himself down on his belly onto this tiny jetty, arms wrapped tightly around either side, and let out the loudest ‘OH FUCK’ you can imagine.

Well I couldn’t do a bloody thing for laughing, could I? I feel bad retrospectively because I, of course, should have dashed to his side and helped him up, but no. I was bent double with unending paroxysms of laughter, to the point where I almost fell out too when the guy in charge brought the boat back. But you know what was the funniest part? It wasn’t Paul’s face as he realised what was happening, it wasn’t even the loud crack that so much fat makes as it slaps against wet wood, no…

…it was the fact that a little hard-boiled egg came rolling out of his back pocket and came to rest neatly on the jetty beside him, looking to all the world like he’d hatched an egg in sheer fright.

Even now, quite genuinely, if I bring that image to mind, it makes me crack up. Paul took the embarrassment in good humour, he always does, and we both had to sit on a nearby bench to get our breath back, albeit for two entirely different reasons. He’s a good sport, isn’t he?

I’ll leave this entry there for now. It seems like a terrific place to stop. Before I go though, can I just point out that I managed to make a nautical blog entry without resorting to these obvious three jokes that I had lined up in the chamber ready to fire:

  • if there’s one thing we’re comfortable around, it’s a poop deck;
  • the place was awash with seamen, and I bloody love it;
  • tiller? I barely knew ‘er

We’re getting better. Until we meet again…

Enjoy our holiday entries? Please do give us feedback or share or whatever, it’s what we live for!


Right, let’s do these ready steady go overnight oats, shall we? They’re ready steady go because of the colours, in case you haven’t quite worked it out. Although frankly, if you haven’t worked that out, you ought to be ashamed.

ready steady go overnight oats

ready steady go overnight oats

to make ready steady go overnight oats, you’ll need:

  • 40g of oats mixed with whatever syn-free yoghurt you like – we’re a big fan of Skyr because you don’t get all the added shite you get with Mullerlight, but all is good
  • one kiwi fruit
  • one mango
  • a good handful of strawberries

to make ready steady go overnight oats, you should:

  • it’s really terrifically simple – mix your oats and yoghurt together
  • chop your kiwi fruit into small bits and press it down into the bottom of your jar or glass
  • add yoghurt and oats on top
  • chop your mango* and layer it on
  • add yoghurt and oats
  • chop your strawberries and top the whole thing off!

Couple of top tips for you. If you chop your fruit unevenly and then just break it up with a fork, you’ll get a bit more juice and it’ll look prettier. Also, you’ll probably have half a mango over – just keep it for the next day or chop it up and make coronation chicken!

You’ll note that we didn’t serve ours in a jar. I know, herecy! But that’s the thing with overnight oats, you can serve them any way you want. A jar, a glass, a sink, serve it alongside the Aurora Borealis…yes, at this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country, localised entirely within your kitchen!

That said, there’s a nice set on Amazon if you need them!

Want more overnight oats recipe? Of course you do. Take your pick!

Want more ideas? Click the buttons!

breakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmallslowcookersmallovernight-oatstastersmall

Enjoy!

J

lentil and vegetable soup – instant pot, hob or slow cooker

This lentil and vegetable soup looks like vomit. It does. I know that, you know that. But it was so tasty! I urge you to give it a go! We’re going straight to the recipe tonight as we’re out and about, so here we go!

lentil and vegetable soup

to make instant pot lentil and vegetable soup you will need:

  • 1 large onion, finely diced (if you can’t be arsed with all this dicing, and who could blame you, you could chuck it all in a food processor. We use this one because it looks cute!)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 100g dried lentils (any type)
  • ½ tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 40g spring greens

If you haven’t got an instant pot yet then what is wrong with you? Save time and effort for more important stuff. Get yours from Amazon right here and help sling a few pence commission our way. WE’RE VERY LOW ON GIN.

to make instant pot lentil and vegetable soup you should:

  • add a little oil to the instant pot and press the ‘saute‘ button
  • add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot, give it a good stir and cook for about 6-7 minutes, stirring every now and again
  • add the garlic and cook for another minute or two
  • throw everything else into the pan except for the spring greens and give a really good stir
  • press ‘manual‘ cook on high pressure for ten minutes, and then use the quick release to get to it quicker
  • stir in the spring greens and leave for a couple of minutes
  • serve!

You don’t need to use an instant pot for this, it’s just easier and quicker. You could do it in a slow cooker too, just throw everything in at once (except for the spring greens) and cook on high for 4-5 hours on high, or 8-10 hours on low.

Don’t expect this one to look amazing because frankly it won’t, BUT it does taste really nice. Even Paul loved it and he hates pretty much everything that’s in it. Plus, it’s crammed full of good stuff!

Feeling angelic? Don’t worry, we’ve got tonnes more recipes for you to help shift that gut. Just click one of the buttons below to be transported to even more ideas!

lunchsmallvegetariansmall    slowcookersmalltastersmall

soupsmallonepot 

J

mediterranean meatloaf – perfect for dinner or day-after leftovers

Here for the mediterranean meatloaf? I’d expect nothing less from someone like you, if I’m honest. The good news is the recipe is typed up and ready for you to start running your fingers under the words in just a few paragraphs from now, but first: flimflam.

Firstly, glad today’s terrorist attack in London didn’t go as planned, even if some people were unlucky enough to receive injuries, it could have been much worse and we should be thankful for it. We live in uncertain times but don’t let it stop you from doing anything, life’s too short to worry. That said, imagine my distress when Facebook didn’t activate their ‘Safety Check-in’ function, leading to me fretting all day that my housebound Aunt in Oban had been caught up in the drama. She was good enough to check herself in as ‘safe’ during Hurricane Harvey, she must have been beside herself today that she couldn’t keep up updated!

Next – we’ve seen IT. We actually went to see it last Saturday night and it was excellent. Genuinely creepy – a couple of times I was left breathless and it wasn’t just from having to climb the stairs back to our seats in the back row after I’d been for a piss. People hold up the original TV series in high regard and I think it’s undeserving, no I do, Tim Curry played it campy and the book is far away from that. This take on IT, although it misses out huge chunks of the book, was just marvellous. Give it a go, even if you’re not a horror fan.

I was, however, reminded of why I hate going to the cinema: other people. You know in TV shows about ‘being the last person on Earth’ the lead character always has a dreadful time without anyone to talk to or socialise with? That’s my idea of heaven, though perhaps with keeping Paul around to act as a safety-valve for my balls. I spend so long fretting about having people in front of me looking at their phones, beside me smelling of wee, BO or Joop or worse, behind me with breath that could strip paint that I’m already an anxious mess before the movie starts.

Plus people have become so inconsiderate, no? I know that makes me sound like an old fart but I don’t care – there were three mouthbreathers who, when not sat looking at their phones set to nuclear-detonation levels of brightness,  kept screaming theatrically and running down the cinema stairs as though they were terrified. It was incredibly distracting and the fact that they didn’t trip on the stairs, fall, break their necks and die is proof to me that there is no God. It was all I could do to tut into my popcorn and sigh like an asthmatic climbing stairs. And here, before you send me letters, I say that as an asthmatic. So don’t hold your breath for an apology, because if you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to.

Whilst we’re picking the scab of bad manners to see what bleeds out, another small annoyance. I walk into work across our local town moor most days. It’s a charming way to start the day – it clears my head, not least because my brain needs all the space it can get to reassure me the fact I can see my thundering heartbeat lifting up my fingernails isn’t a bad thing. However, it’s fraught with peril – cows, cow shit, dogs running around, cyclists bursting past like lycra-clad missiles of smugness (some, not all, naturally) and people running with the inevitable ‘I’m about to cum’ face that so befalls the casual jogger.

It’s OK, I know there’s a parallel blog somewhere where someone is kvetching about trying to get past some stumbling fat oaf sliding around on the cow shite in his cheap shoes. That’s fine.

Anyway, each day when I get to the gate I hold it open for three or so cyclists (in a vain attempt to hide my heavy breathing and spluttered gasps) to cycle through so they don’t need to stop and get off their bikes. I probably get thanked oooh….50% of the time, with the others cycling through as though I have nothing better to do then to stand there holding the gate open like the gayest fence-post you’ve ever seen. I’ve started theatrically calling ‘NO NO, IT WAS MY PLEASURE, YOU BUMBLING CLIT’ but I doubt they hear it over the hum of their own self-importance. You must understand that this isn’t a critique of cyclists but rather the ill-mannered who don’t say thank you. The urge to hold the gate open only to clang it shut at the very last second did enter my brain, but on the basis that I’m not a psychopath, it drifted back out.

Let’s see what next week brings, eh? Anyway, shush James, this was supposed to be a quick opening entry before we served up the mediterranean summer meatloaf, so shall we do that now?

This serves SIX!

TWO SYN MEDITERRANEAN MEATLOAF

TWO SYN MEDITERRANEAN MEATLOAF

to make mediterranean meatloaf you will need:

for the meatloaf

for the glaze

  • 3 tbsp Hellman’s Tomato Ketchup Sweetened with Honey (1½ syns)
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard (1½ syns)
  • ¼ tsp hot chilli powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp honey (2½ syns)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar

to make mediterranean meatloaf you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • in a large bowl mix together all of the meatloaf ingredients together by hand until well combined, and slop into a loaf tin
  • next, mix together all of the glaze ingredients in a small bowl and brush over the top of the meatloaf
  • bake in the oven for 45 minutes
  • let it rest for ten minutes (it helps to improve the flavour) then serve

 

These dinners are our favourite because they’re so easy! You know what else is easy? YOU. AND all of our other recipes – we’re nearly at 500! Click one of the buttons below to be magically transported to even more ideas!

beefsmallporksmalllambsmallfakeawayssmall lunchsmallpastasmall   snackssmall tastersmallonepot

J

cheesy baked broccoli bombs – grand for a snack or a side

Cheesy baked broccoli bombs, ladies and gentlemen. Don’t be put off by the thought of broccoli, it’s good for you and these taste fabulous. We’ll get to the recipe in a moment, but may I make a suggestion? Cook these along with the Thai chicken balls from yesterday and have yourself a wee picnic – they keep well in the fridge and they’re great for a snack! In short: never neglect the balls.

A quick serious post tonight as tonight’s tea is almost ready but do you know what I’m bloody sick of reading? Anti Slimming World rhetoric from personal trainers, ‘diet planners’, nutritionists and other such guff. I’m not going to say that some of what they say doesn’t make sense, that there aren’t holes in the SW logic, of course there is, but what vexes me is the obvious cheap shots they take.

See, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I’m a fairly big believer in setting up your own business on its own merits instead of taking potshots at others. Calling the diet crap or the company evil or the plan nutritionally bankrupt is a nonsense and people always back it up with the same hoary old lines that get trotted out every time this comes up:

“They don’t teach you portion control”

They do. They tell you to eat until you’re satisfied, but not to eat until you’re bursting. Christmas Full, I believe my old consultant calls it. They can’t control what you do outside of the class, but then see, nor can any amount of personal trainers shouting into a camera on Youtube.

“You can have 10 Muller-lights but you can’t have an avocado”

Yeah, true. On paper that sounds silly, and it’s something I’ll gently mock every now and then, but it’s bollocks. Yeah you can have 10 Mullers and stay within your syns, but people don’t. Why on Earth would you, for goodness sake? You can have avocado too – they’re high in syns because it’s a low-fat diet and it doesn’t matter a hill of beans whether they’re good fats, bad fats, trans fats or Fats Domino, they’re still fats. Slimming World works for folks because it’s a very simple way of keeping an eye on what you’re taking in. Are there better diets out there for losing weight? Possibly. Could they teach more about nutrition? Maybe. But that’s like saying that a learner driver should have a go at driving a double-decker bus – too much, too soon.

“Syns teaches people that some foods are negative”

It doesn’t, though. For a start, the ‘syn’ thing is a contraction of synergy, one of those awful bloody buzzwords that did the rounds back when Mags was a feisty young lass worried about the Jerry’s stealing her hair lacquer. I’m kidding, MMB. But Slimming World’s big thing is that no food is off-limits. Rather than saying you can’t have chocolate or vodka or hot sex, they say you absolutely can, but keep it within a syn bracket – and that’s no different to personal trainers saying ‘treat yourself with almonds’ or other stuff. SW teaches pleasure in moderation, and there’s no harm in that.

“There’s too much reliance on processed or Frankenfood”

I can see where people are coming from on this, because when you look around at some of the slop that people are eating – pasta’n’sauces blitzed into a ‘sauce’, Mug Shitz, Fryshite, Mullers, burgers served between two jacket potatoes, your heart does sink a little. But that isn’t SW’s fault. A lot of members seem to want to aim as low as possible on their syns and so will resort to shite like this. But you don’t have to do it – SW are big on the old ‘make it from scratch’ mantra, even if they have brought out those ‘delicious’ SW ready meals. People aren’t encouraged to keep their syns down at zero – quite the opposite! But it’s the choice of the members to eat the ‘zero syns’ food rather than spending a little of their allowance and having gorgeous recipes.

It’s actually one of the biggest bugbears I have with this site – we can put a wonderful, tasty, nutritionally perfect meal up that uses six syns and I can guarantee it’ll get hardly any likes. Stick up a roulade made with a wheelbarrow of Splenda and jam made from cut-out photos of strawberries blended with water and we’ll need to hook up a new server. But what can you do?

Oh, and as an aside, it’s astonishing the amount of people I see banging on about how nutritionally bankrupt the diet is, but then they’re busy flogging vitamins and shakes and powders and all that shite. Practice what you preach, or shut the hell up.

“They make money from people failing”

This is the one that bugs me the most. People make out as though the whole class structure is set up so that it keeps people going back time after time, barely losing weight. Presumably that’s because you get rebounders who follow the diet, lose weight and then stop going – then boom, all the weight trickles back on and they’re back. But here’s the thing – do you think the personal trainers don’t do exactly the same thing? Are they going to provide their services for free when their client gets skinny and toned? SW allow you to go back to class for free whenever you’re at target, so there’s your incentive to try and keep the weight off.

There’s lots of things I’d change about Slimming World – the classes need a mix-up because spending an hour clapping does my nut in, I can’t bear all the cutesy-poo language that gets used, I think some things are synned when they don’t need to be – so here’s what we do. We tinker with it a bit, and accept that if our weight loss slows, it’s because we’re moving away from the diet. But since we’ve started this blog all of our meals have been amazing – we choose to spend our syns on the food we eat – just like the plan encourages – and we’ll never look back.

I have no horse in this race. We’re not sponsored by Slimming World, we pay our membership fees like everyone else, and god knows this blog takes the piss out of the silliness more than most out there. But I’ve seen the difference the classes make to people’s confidence, figures, minds and life with my own eyes. SW isn’t perfect but how about all those people knocking it and making sly digs about the members just turn their eyes and focus on building their own business on their own merits? Even with its flaws it brings comfort and fun to millions of people – and I don’t think they should be knocked for that.

We’re not ashamed to say we love Slimming World. When you follow it, for the most part, it works. It’s easy to knock and it’s fun to tease, but stop trying to run it into the bloody ground.

Right, broccoli bombs anyone?

cheesy baked broccoli bombs

cheesy baked broccoli bombs

The recipe makes enough for eight or so.

to make cheesy baked broccoli bombs you will need:

  • 1 broccoli, cut into florets
  • 80g reduced-fat cheddar (2x HeA)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 25g panko (BREADCRUMBS. THEY’RE BLOODY BREADCRUMBS. Make yer own breadcrumbs if panko is too fancy for you) (4.5 syns)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper

to make cheesy baked broccoli bombs you should:

These are great as a snack, and kids will love them too! Do you know what else they’ll love? Two Chubby Cub dinners everynight! Spoil ’em rotten with some of our grub by clicking the buttons below:

lunchsmallvegetariansmall   snackssmall tastersmalldrinkssmallbbqsmallonepot 

Enjoy!

J

thai chicken dipping balls – excellent taster night idea

Thai chicken dipping balls. Every time I say the title, it sounds filthier than the last. Don’t care. Listen, we weren’t going to post tonight as dearest Paul decided to crash his car (he’s fine, my wallet isn’t) but Musclefood called us to give us another discount – but only for 24 hours. So for crying out loud, if you want some cheap meat, get it now. Hopefully you dear readers will forgive us an advert right off the bat but it’s rare we do it and it’s only because it’s a flash sale that we’re sticking it in. If you don’t want to even look, click here and it’ll go straight to the recipe! See? Considerate!


Right, details are as below – Musclefood are giving us a 15/20% discount on our three main packages – you can see below the various offers and the links are here – they’ll open in a new window:

We’ve got syn values and more details on our Musclefood page but remember, this is a flash sale that’ll end tomorrow night – so get it whilst its hot!

Right, shall we get straight to my balls? We’ve made these because they’re an easy alternative to the usual stuff trotted out at taster nights, but actually, they make for a bloody good snack too as they keep in the fridge! We’re the gift that keeps on giving, no?

chicken dipping balls

chicken dipping balls

to make Thai chicken dipping balls you will need:

to make Thai chicken dipping balls you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • put the chicken breasts into a food processor and blitz until they have a mince-like consistency (you can actually just use chicken mince if you prefer, but doing it this way with breasts makes for a nicer taste and texture)
  • next, combine all of the ingredients together in a big bowl
  • spray a large baking sheet with a little oil (don’t strip away the coating by using Frylight, use this instead and get the job done properly)
  • scoop out a tablespoon-sized ball of mixture and roll into a ball and place on the baking sheet, and then repeat
  • bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes
  • serve with whatever dipping sauce you like, we used sweet chilli!

Don’t dip your balls enough? Try your luck with us – and get making anything in the recipe lists below!

poultrysmallfakeawayssmall    snackssmall tastersmall

J

creamy garlic mushroom pasta super speedy lunch

Creamy garlic mushroom pasta? On Slimming World? I know!

A proper quick post tonight, no flimflam! Not going to fib, this recipe is not my own, no no. We’ve adapted it from Jamie Oliver’s new book ‘5 Ingredients’, which you can buy from Amazon here. Big fans of Jamie Oliver, though I find myself having to watch his earlier shows on mute to avoid all that laddish banter he used to do. Got right on me ‘ampton make no mistake guv’nor apples ‘n’ pears saaaarf of the river and all that shite. Why doesn’t he age? Anyway, we recommend the book simply because we’ve had a flick through it and nearly all of the recipes use only a few ingredients and can easily be adapted to Slimming World. Of course, you could just wait and see what we post on here and save yourself a tenner. I feel safe saying that (you could say, given the recipe, it’s a question of morels…eh? Hello? Is this thing on?), it’s not as though he’s going to send his solicitors over to us over a few lost sales. I’ve certainly spent enough money working my way down his cocktail list in his restaurants to make up for it.

So, creamy garlic chicken pasta then – dead easy and you can adjust the garlic levels however you like it. If you’re one of those folks who like to smell like an old bin for days afterwards, chuck more in. Same with the mushrooms – I like the Tesco Finest Asian Selection, purely because one of the mushrooms looks like a little knob, but you can use any old shite. I’ve just noticed that my mushrooms come from South Korea so Christ, if you are planning on cooking this, I’d go buy the mushrooms now whilst you still can. If you wait a few more weeks, chances are they’ll be able to walk here on their own steam/radiation. This makes enough for two, with each person using a Healthy Extra A choice. Yeah, that’s right, and so what?

creamy garlic mushroom pasta

creamy garlic mushroom pasta

to make creamy garlic mushroom pasta, you’ll need:

  • about 200g of whatever mushrooms you want – as I said, I like the ‘weird’ mushrooms as they have lots of taste, but have whatever you want, I’m not yer mother
  • 2 cloves of garlic, or three, or four
  • 30g parmesan cheese (1 HEA)
  • 150g of pasta – you can use any kind, but I like to use Caserecce pasta (from Tesco, own brand, 50p) because it holds the sauce better
  • 110g of Philadelphia lightest (1 HEA)

to make creamy garlic mushroom pasta, you should:

  • get a pan of water up to the boil, make it as salty as a sailor’s cock, throw in the pasta and cook it until it’s soft on the tongue, then drain – keeping aside half a cup of the pasta water – then put the pasta to one side
  • whilst that’s hubbling and bubbling, slice up your mushrooms (don’t be Captain Prissypants about it – slice them any old how, lots of different sizes and shapes) and thinly slice your garlic cloves
  • throw them in a pan with a few squirts of olive oil and cook until golden and softened
  • tip the pasta into the pan along with the Philadelphia and the parmesan and give everything a good stir – adding some of that reserved water if things are looking a bit thick
  • season with salt and lots of black pepper and serve hot and juicy!

How easy was that? You know when people twist their gobs about not having time to cook? That takes ten minutes at best. Come on now. Want more recipes? But of course!

lunchsmallpastasmallvegetariansmall   snackssmall dessertsmall

J

pork fillet and cheesy mash gratin

Here for the pork fillet and cheesy mash gratin? Good choice, it’s a bloody marvel. But here’s the thing – I can’t buy a pork tenderloin without blushing like I’ve had my first kiss. There’s something attractive about a long length of pink meat, just saying. But I do wish Paul would exercise the same level of shame and control when it comes to shopping because god help him, our house is absolutely awash with things we don’t need. Yesterday’s purchase was a cracker. Not literally, I’d have swallowed that before Mags could shine the Fat-Symbol into the skies to summon the consultants. Let me explain. But first, if you’re getting yourself clammy because I’m not getting to the recipe, then please, don’t fret: I’ve added a twochubbycubs shortcut. Just click on dried up slag and you’ll be taken straight there!

Last night I thought I was going mad. We’d come home from our various activities, had our tea (posted below) and then Paul had to go into work and drop off some papers. Listen, it’s fine, I know that sounds like the classic ‘he’s having an affair’ line but it’s Paul, the laziest man alive – it takes all of his energy and willpower just to open his bumhole to fart. So imagine me sitting at our computer typing up a recipe, looking to all the world like Angela Lansbury with a shaved head and bigger tits, when I become aware of this very faint crackle. It sounded like when you put an electrical cable into a socket but it’s not quite in there. I turned down my Archers omnibus and set about trying to identify the mystery sound, thinking we were minutes away from the dishwasher bursting into flame or the walls of the house crashing down. To give you more of an idea, imagine a tiny Geiger counter clicking in a corridor, or a family of mice putting up shelves in the skirting board.

Well, I was bloody demented. I went from room to room, barely able to hear it but it being just loud enough to get right on my tits. Actually, speaking of tits, I did think it might be my sunburnt chest peeling and cracking like a dry ploughed field, but no, the rack was all in order, though perhaps a little red. I unplugged the TV, the computer, the router, the Nest, the fridge, the lot. You may remember that I have health anxiety? Well in that long drawn out HOUR I’d diagnosed myself with an inner ear infection, schizophrenia, vertigo and obviously, something had crawled in my ear and was making itself a nice home on my brain-stem – and listen, I grew up on cheap burgers and mystery mince, I know I’m long overdue CJD. You’ll doubtless see me stumbling around a sluice grate with a shitty arse in a decade’s time.

Anyway, in walks Paul, full of fat and good cheer, and when I inform him of my lapse into insanity, he leads me into the corner of the living room and points out his latest purchase – a bloody Woodwick candle which ‘crackles like a real fire’. Does it shite! It sounds like someone furiously tapping out a reply to an argument on a Blackberry in a locked toilet. I mean, of all the things you’d think to check for odd noises, a bloody candle is never going to be high on the list, is it? To top it off, he’d replaced the lovely Seychelles White Company candle with this abomination that smells of – wait for it now – Rhubarb and Radish. Why the fuck would anyone want a room that smells like Rhubarb and Radish? Who am I, Tatty Bogle? Haway man. I wouldn’t have minded so much if it was a lovely, subtle flavour – when I get frustrated, or irritated or… angry, I come up here and I just smell all my candles and it just…goes away – but it smells like the air-freshener in an unlicensed taxi.

Then, for good measure, it bloody crackles! Why? At what development meeting did they decide they needed to add volume to a candle? It’s like putting a handle on a cat or wallpaper that loudly announces when a bus goes past. It hisses and splutters and futters and spits but by god, it doesn’t crackle. As the cherry on the radish and rhubarb cake, to make it work, the wick is wooden and in the shape of a cross and as a result, it creates a ridiculously bouncy, jittery flame – so not only do you go slowly insane because of the noise but you’re also risking a bloody seizure having it lit. You’ll be glad to know that this £22 candle has been banished into the cupboard, only to be taken out if the world ends and we need illumination.

Maybe I’m just sensitive to noise – misophonic, don’t you know – or perhaps my ears are just on high alert from going to the cinema on Friday and it feeling like they’d decided to put a live showing of the movie on my fucking eardrum. More on that later. The noise I especially hate is when common people scrape their knives and forks across the plate whilst they scrabble to get the last crumb. Just stop it. It cuts through me like a chilli-covered cock.

Honestly though, I can tolerate listening to my cat tonguing two layers of skin of its own arsehole in the night as I lay awake, I can listen to Joe Pasquale on the radio, hell, I can sit through two hours of people explaining they’ve put on weight because they’re either bunged up with faeces or sloughing. I’m tough. But there’s one sound I can’t stand, and, I’m sorry, but I’m now going to leave you with something that will change your life forever. It’s a sound that, once heard, you’ll hear over and over, in adverts, unimaginative TV, news reports, video games and soon, your nightmares. You’ll wake sweating at the birth of a new day with this ringing in your ears and murder on your mind. It is, I think, the most singularly annoying sound you can imagine:

Tell me I’m wrong, I dare you. I mean christ, even the video thumbnail looks like Pennywise the dancing clown. Now it’s all you’ll hear. Listen out for it on the TV and remember, it was the twochubbycubs who wrecked your ears for other men.

Now, one final bit of admin before we get to the pork fillet recipe – we’ve added sharing buttons back onto each recipe and page! You’ll see them – they look like this:

You can now pin, facebook like, share, message, all sorts of tut – just click the buttons! It helps us to spread, like a dose of the clap.



to make pork fillet and cheesy mash gratin you will need:

  • 800g potatoes
  • 400g pork fillet (all visible fat removed)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh sage (it’s worth it, trust me)
  • 40g reduced-at cheddar cheese, grated (1x HeA)
  • 4 slices of prosciutto (2 syns)
  • 1 egg

Couple of gadgets to make your life easier here:

Also: don’t forget we’re running a competition to win a soupmaker this week! Click here to enter – it’ll open in a new window.

to make pork fillet and cheesy mash gratin you should:

  • preheat the grill to high
  • chop the potatoes into 3cm chunks (you don’t need to peel them) and chuck into a pan of boiling water, cook with the lid on for about 12 minutes or until they’re tender
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a high heat and add a little oil
  • sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the pork and add to the hot pan
  • sear on each side for a total of about 4 minutes, but turn it regularly
  • remove the pork from the pan and set aside
  • add the sage to the same pan and stir about for no more than ten seconds, then remove from the pan
  • drain the potatoes and mash well – a potato ricer does all the hard work for you and will leave your mash super-smooth!
  • add half of the cheese to the mash and crack in the egg and stir quickly until it’s mixed in
  • next, tip the mash into a large frying pan (or grill-safe dish) and push all the way to the edges
  • sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and plop the pork on top
  • cook under the grill for 15-20 minutes
  • remove from the heat and drop the prosciutto slices around the pork, it doesn’t need to look fancy, and then sprinkle over the sage leaves
  • pop under the grill for another two minutes or until the pork is fully cooked
  • eat!

How nice does that look?! We’ve got plenty more just waiting for you to try, all you have to do is click one of the buttons below to go straight to ’em!

porksmall  sausagessmall  breakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmall

tastersmallsoupsmalldrinkssmallonepot 

J