strawberries and cream overnight oats

My word, just take a moment to look at those strawberries and cream overnight oats –  what a thing of beauty. Normally our food looks crap but I’m happy with how that picture turned out! Overnight oats seem to be making a bit of a resurgence amongst the slimming rabble online so I thought it’s about time we had a new one. This meant a trip to Lidl – normally I’d send Paul but see he went to bed ‘to rest his eyes’ at 2pm and he’s still in bed now! I should probably check he hasn’t choked to death on his own fat tongue but meh, Doctor Who is on shortly. So no, I went to Lidl myself, and that’s a very dangerous thing indeed.

Why? Because anyone who knows me will tell you I’m as tight as a nun’s gee but somethings comes over me at Lidl and I’m throwing the cash around like Barry Big Bollocks. Admittedly, this doesn’t amount to a hill of beans because you could probably buy the entire stock inventory of our local Lidl and pay the staff with the total of the coins in my car ashtray. It isn’t an ashtray but I can’t be arsed to google and find out what the compartment is called. You may remember I contemplated pissing in it once, though (don’t worry, that risky click will open in a new window).  But see I went into Lidl this afternoon to buy one box of strawberries and spent nearly fifty quid on absolute tat. This doesn’t happen to me in Aldi, possibly because I’m too stressed about approaching the checkout and having my shopping hurled off the back wall by a cashier with a forearm like a Russian shot-putter, but Lidl, every fucking time.

So what did I buy? I bought some strawberries, yes, very good. But I also bought two giant bars of Ritter chocolate. Some stuffed vine leaves. Some kirsch. A self-watering plant pot which has already broken from when I threw it in the boot. A ‘chips and dip’ bowl I wouldn’t even sell at a car boot sale. Some suncream – why? I live in Newcastle, the closest I get to a tan is walking past the heated cabinets in Greggs. A citronella candle with a wick so thick I feel like I’m part of the lighting of the beacons from Lord of the Rings. I bought a selection of real ale simply because the names amused me, even though I’m about as much into real ale as I am playing football and punching horses. There’s also a bag of crisps made from pasta which I’m sure will actually make Slimming World spontaneously combust as they battle to work out whether it is a tweak or not. I had to stop myself buying a set of telescopic hedge trimmers on the basis that a) all of our hedges are about 10ft and growing wildly b) I’m lazy and c) we have a gardener for that sort of thing. Not showing off, it’s just two hilariously obese blokes aren’t exactly cut out for hard graft in the garden (see Paul’s current status, above).

I did go too far, though. I bought my cats some Coshita, or whatever the Lidl cat food is. I’m not a snob, not in the slightest, but by Christ my cats are. I slopped this out of the sachet, gagging all the while (who knew that ash mixed with horse sphincter and mouse droppings could taste so nasty) and our cats wandered over to try it. I say try it, they didn’t even sniff it – just looked at the pile of food and then back at me with a look that said we’d never be friends again. I actually had to rush to our first aid box because I was so severely burnt by their coldness. They both turned and stropped straight out the cat flap and I haven’t seen them since. If I didn’t know that cats don’t have opposable thumbs I’d be willing to bet they were currently hitchhiking down the A1 to London in the hope of meeting a kinder owner who would feed them fresh chicken every day. I can’t understand their mentality – I’ve seen one cat chew up the brains, eyes and skull of a poor mouse only to then sick it back up and have the other cat have a bash at it. They’re certainly very picky considering they must spend at least 30% of their day rasping away at each other’s arsehole.

Pah. The list above isn’t even exhaustive, you know. I came back with three big bags and nothing to actually show for it. That’s why I send Paul – he knows that if he spends money on nonsense he’ll have to put up with me sitting around with a face like a collapsed mine kvetching at him for frittering money away.

Anyway, enough about me and my sexy temperament. Let’s do this recipe!

strawberries and cream

to make strawberries and cream overnight oats, you’ll need:

  • 40g of Quaker or store-brand oats
  • as much syn free natural yoghurt as you want – or use a Mullerlight if you’re not feeling fancy
  • a couple of good handfuls of strawberries
  • lighter squirty cream (12.5g) (look, I just put a good squirt in there, I don’t care) (1.5 syns)

I suppose if you cook the strawberries you ought to syn them if you follow SW’s diet to the absolute letter. People will feverishly tell you, whilst covering your blouse with their yellow spittle, that it’s because ‘IT RELISUS THE SHERGARS‘ or other bumtwattery. It isn’t. The rule is there to stop you over-eating. It doesn’t apply in this case. If I was asking you to blend fifteen punnets of strawberries then yeah, you should syn it. But as I’m assuming that you not a fucking dormouse and thus could easily sit and eat five or six strawberries in one sitting – and therefore, as you’re not ingesting any extra calories then you normally would – I don’t think you need to syn it. However, if you’re one of these people who demand everyone follows it 100% or else they’re worse than Hitler, here’s a pro-tip: have yourself seventeen Muller-lights and a Hifi bar, do it your way, I’ll do it my way, and everyone can be happy! Tra-la-la.

to make strawberries and cream overnight oats, you should:

  • mix together your oats and yoghurt
  • chop up all of the strawberries into little chunks and mix half into the oaty mix
  • pop the rest into a cup and microwave for ten seconds, just to get the juices running, and then mash lightly with a fork
  • take your phone off the hook to stop the Slimming World Mafiosa ringing you up, slurring down the line about tweaaaaaaks
  • layer the jar like in the picture – half the jar with oats, then the layer of mushy strawberry, then the rest of the oats
  • put it in the fridge overnight
  • in the morning, top with your squirty cream and another strawberry
  • easy!

OH we got our jars from here!

Want more overnight oats recipes? We’ve made loads! Hell, there’s even a boozy version for all of you who shake your way through the day!

More breakfast ideas? More inspiration? Just click what you need!

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Enjoy!

J

cranachan – a perfect Slimming World dessert that totally isn’t overnight oats

Cranachan? Yes, that’s right, it sounds like something you’d rub on an irritated cha-cha but it’s not! It’s lovely. But first: nonsense.

In what I’m sure is karma for eating naughty synned things, I’ve just knocked an entire Sherbet Fountain across my glass desk, into my keyboard, into my mouse, onto my monitor – great! Everything is going to be sticky and covered in white streaks for months now – or well, until the cleaner comes. She’s going to think I’ve got one hell of a coke problem although Christ, she ought to know better – she’s ironed enough of my X²L shirts to know my body isn’t being ravaged by drugs. I expect the cat will be along later to sample the spillage and I’ll find her off her tits rolling around showing her minnie off to the neighbours. What fun we have.

Anyway, that’s a completely unrelated opening to what I’m going to talk about today, which is Scotland. Why? Because tonight’s dish is a bastardisation of a Scottish dessert which no doubt I’ll have some incoherent feisty Scot bellowing at me about and, more simply, I bloody love Scotland. If Paul and I could live anywhere in the world we’ve both agreed it would be Glasgow – Edinburgh is lovely, but I like a shade more menace when I’m ordering a crème de menthe in a social club. The accent is amazing – and that’s coming from a Geordie – everything sounds slightly angry and inquisitive but every single insult is hilarious. Even as simple as calling something mince – we have shite, but mince is perfect.

The landscape is beautiful – I love the fact you can trot anywhere in any direction and within an hour be somewhere completely different, not only in location but also feel, sound and sight. I’ve never had a disappointing trip up North and when we drive past the sign welcoming us to Scotland I’m always cheered, not least because I’m usually busting for a piss at this point and I know there’s a shitter in Jedburgh. Most of our holidays were in Scotland as a child, wild camping around the coast and enjoying many a summer having the first two layers of my skin chewed off by midges. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got midges down here and they’re a mild annoyance, but in Scotland they’re armed with knives. I remember my parents optimistically scanning their camping guidebook and selecting what sounded like a charming place somewhere near Glencoe. When we turned up, announced in advance as always by the spluttering engine of our car and the blue smoke pouring from both the exhaust and my parents nostrils, the place was an absolute dump. Literally, a dump: there were abandoned cars, old fridges, massive mud piles, the works. It was exactly the place where you just knew the car of the family who had arrived before you would be ablaze in a woods nearby with their skins hanging up in the owner’s living room. You could have crashed a plane into this campsite and improved it. Naturally, my dad dickered about the price for a bit and was all ready to set the tent up when my mum put her foot down and demanded we leave.

You know the worst thing? I’m fairly sure the place was called Red Squirrel and when I look at it now online, it looks bloody idyllic. Harumph. But anyway, enough reminiscing, I promised Paul this would be a super-quick post as he wants me to ped-egg his feet. We bought one of those fancy motorised versions so I’m fully expected to be diagnosed with popcorn lung from inhaling the microdust of his shaved feet for an hour.

Oh: as a final thought – we’ve never met a Scottish gay who hasn’t been hung like God was trying to give him a third leg and ran out of time before he put the foot on. I’m just saying. Is it something in the water? Goodness me!

So yes: cranachan. This Scottish dessert is usually made with double cream whipped thick, but alas, I reckon if I put that into a recipe it’ll be the very thing that tipped poor Mags back onto three bottles of Taboo a day. So – forgive me Scotland, I know not what I do – I’ve replaced it with Greek yoghurt. The rest of the ingredients remain though – whisky, honey, oats and raspberries. It’s like a fancy overnight oats recipe – one you might whirl out if you were trying to persuade your husband to give you a bit of the other. You could leave the whisky out, but it really is a key part of this, and it doesn’t overpower the dish so it’s absolutely worth doing. Up to you how you want to portion this out – up the oats, reduce the greek yoghurt, add more raspberries, or throw it all in the bin and have yet another Vienetta. I don’t mind! I saw cranachan on Come Dine With Me a while back and made a note to find a recipe – it’s thank to Caroline at Caroline’s Cooking for the inspiration. Let’s do this then – this makes enough for one big glass as shown below – scale up or down if you are making more or eating your dinner from a dustbin lid.

cranachan

to make cranachan, you’ll need:

  • 40g of oats – the better quality the better, like Quaker, but you can just use normal porridge oats if you like
  • a big handful of fresh raspberries
  • 100ml of thick Greek yoghurt – but make sure it is 0% fat and syn free (or as low as possible)
  • a teaspoon of honey (1 syn)
  • 25ml of whisky (3 syns)

We’re not massive whisky drinkers here at Cubs Towers so we just bought a tiny bottle of Haig Club, which I now know is David Beckham’s brand. I mean, how embarrassing. Now, there’s no easy way for me to link to Amazon in tonight’s post, so why don’t you just buy my new book instead? I promise it’ll make you laugh at least once. Promise.

to make cranachan, you should:

  • toast off your oats in a pan – they don’t brown, but you want them heated through so they smell nutty
  • crush your raspberries lightly with a fork – don’t mash them, whatever you do, god no – so that the juice runs a little
  • combine your yoghurt, oats, honey, whisky, raspberries and honey in a glass and stir, or if you prefer, layer it all in all fancy like
  • serve with a couple of raspberries on the top and some of the oats
  • lovely!

This was a lovely, filling, unusual dessert that is easily customisable to your tastes. It’s overnight oats but a bit more grown up and we loved it!

Looking for more dessert, drinks or snacks ideas? Click the buttons!

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J

low syn goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast

Goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast? Yes, I know. Fancy! But look, I’m sick of looking at overnight oats and oats recipes and overnight baked wonder-oats and bloody Fibre One bars.

Remember when Paul managed to cause us much embarrassment when he accidentally posted a pulsing sphincter onto our facebook page which resulted in us getting banned from facebook for a week? Well, that was mortifying, but he’s managed to shame us yet again. See, I was driving us to the supermarket when I stopped to let a dad and his young boy cross the road in front of us. The lad was clearly learning to ride a bike and he had an adorable Union Jack helmet on and I was feeling generous, plus I wanted a chance to put the windows down because Paul’s car reeks of those bloody awful Yankee Candle air-fresheners – he has about eight dangling from his wing mirror, which given he drives a Smart car, reduces the interior by 45%.

Anyway, Paul hadn’t noticed why I’d stopped until I explained that I was stopping to let ‘that little boy with his lovely little helmet’ cross the road. Paul’s reaction? Why, it was to shout ‘UUUUUURGH YOU DOOOORTY PEEEEE-DO‘ to me at the top of his voice for a ‘joke’. The dad looked furiously at me but hey, it’s not as though we were driving an easily-identified, tangerine-coloured car in a town full of beige Range Rovers. The kid hadn’t heard, just to be clear, he was cycling away merrily into oncoming traffic (I’m kidding, he was on the path). I fully expect to have my windows put through later this evening and have Dark Justice ambushing me as I leave work. Good work Paul, what a love!

Can I ask a question which I may have touched on before – is there anyone else out there who loves nothing more than a lazy Sunday? I always feel like we should be out doing something but see, once we’ve dragged ourselves out of bed at 11am and had our 2pm nap, there’s really not enough time to go out. I know I’m super lazy but meh, I’m happy. When you watch the TV and see all those adverts with zippy young people flying about and being exciting it makes me feel momentarily bad, but I find that feeling goes away if I just shut my eyes or concentrate on opening the Ben & Jerry’s. I did manage to resubmit my application to go on The Chase though which I’ve been meaning to do for a couple of months – I don’t know why, I’ll be uniformly terrible because I can’t cope with pressure – put me up against the clock and someone could ask me what my name was and I’d still blurt out pass and then fall over. Ah well.

Been doing a lot of boring admin on the blog today – updating the recipe list, removing some Christmas stuff and upgrading our servers behind the scenes – you should notice it is loading nice and quickly. Phew, right? We were mulling over adding more adverts but have decided to leave it for another year. To me, there’s nothing worse than loading a food blog only to have 47 adverts load up, then a read more button, then a subscribe button, then a load of tracking adverts running in the background. You’re here for recipes and hopefully a laugh, not to have us fingering through your pockets clamouring for every spare penny. Do let us know if we haven’t got the balance right, though – we’re here for you!

We’ve added a new category into our recipe page for lunches, too.

lunchsmall

See? Most of our meals can be made in bulk and taken to work the next day, but hopefully this list will identify the stuff you can easily make the night before and portion up. Hope this helps! If we make a recipe going forward that is easily portable, you’ll see this button.

Oh! Another new thing, before we get to the recipe. We thought, for nothing more than shits and giggles, to do a short video review of the new Mullerlight blackurrant and liquorice yoghurt. Give it a whirl, at least you’ll get to hear what one of us sounds like.

I know, it’s like Brendan from Coach Trip had an illicit pump-and-dump with Denise Welch and I was the resulting lovechild. Ah well.

Anyway, let’s get to the recipe, but first…

warning

It’s not even science, to be fair, but the old tweak warning banner didn’t go with the rest of the site! Here’s the thing. This recipe, which makes enough for one (but you know, scale up if there’s more than one of you), uses 100g of blackberries, but, gasp, I heat them up first in a pan. Following Slimming World’s rules to their strictest form, you ought to syn these blackberries at 1 syn. In my eyes, there’s absolutely bot-all difference between 100g of uncoooked blackberries and 100g of cooked blackberries, but I’m not here to question Slimming World’s logic – it’s up to you to make a choice here. I’ll probably get a load of people trying to explain ‘why’ this should be synned – some blah about if you chew it with your mouth you use up more energy but haway, we’re talking about blackberries here, not bloody allen keys – it’s not like you’ve got to writhe on with your mouth to burst it through. Plus, you know, we’re not making jam here.

So yes: depending on how you view the hot-button topic of tweaking (and you can read more about our views here), the blackberries ought to be synned at zero or one.

goat cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast

to make goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast, you’ll need:

  • your healthy extra B of bread – I don’t mind what you use – use three slices if you wish or trip the light fantastic and have a bagel or something, just syn it
  • 100g of blackberries
  • 40g of soft goat cheese (a HEA – now, if you prefer, you can use maybe 10g of goats cheese and save the rest of your HEA for something else, but that’s too complicated for us)
  • quark (now I know, it tastes of fuck-all and then nothing, but we are using it with the goats cheese to bulk it out – you may not need this if you want a full on goat cheese experience
  • 1 tsp of honey (1 syn)
  • a drop or two of vanilla extract
  • chopped mint

to make goats cheese and honeyed blackberries on toast, you should:

  • toast your bread, whether under the grill, in a toaster or placed behind a farting arse – whatever gets the job done. Is this a good chance to show off our fabulous toaster? I’m going to. No shame. It’s so pretty. I mean, look at it! Plus, just like Paul, it has an extra wide slot – though, unlike Paul, you can change how brown your slice is when you pull it out – boom boom
  • I am so sorry for the above, I ought to be ashamed
  • to make the blackberries all lovely, put them in a small pan on medium heat with about two tablespoons of water, the teaspoon of honey and the vanilla – cook for about five minutes, keeping an eye to make sure they don’t catch, and crushing them ever so delicately with a fork to let the juice out – you want the berries warmed through and nice and soft, with a little bit of berry liquor left over
  • liquor? Why officer, I barely knew her!
  • mix the goats cheese with however much quark you want – none at all if you prefer a nice strong taste – then spread on your toast
  • top with the warm blackberries and mint and enjoy!

See, how simple was that? To get all wank for a moment, it is a lovely breakfast because there’s so many flavours and textures going on. Absolutely worth a try. You could make it syn free by using sweetener instead of honey but for goodness sake, why do that to yourself? Enjoy flavour rather than a sight of a zero on your syns count, that’s what I say!

Not a fan of goat’s cheese? Use ricotta. You can have 90g of it as a HEA, you know.

Want more breakfast ideas? This one not buttering your muffin? Click the buttons and live like a Queen!

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Hope you all had a lovely weekend, gallivanting and adventuring around like you’re in an 1980s tampon advert!

J

taster night fruit skewers

Taster night – yes, we hate them too. We do have loads of taster night ideas though right here, but here’s a new one – taster night fruit skewers! Doesn’t really need a recipe but even so, I’ve done one at the bottom. But first…

…here’s a minty-fresh Switzerland entry! Part five if you don’t mind.

swissfive

part one | part two | part three | part four

Now, the last time you nestled into my busom and let me tell you a Swiss story we were just disembarking from the train in Bern. I was giddy with superlatives and the clean mountain air. We enjoyed an evening out and explored the town and I’ll touch on that later but first, despite having just arrived, we were already planning to leave. GASP. If that doesn’t get you sticking to your chair, what will?

So, yes, the night before, somewhat shitfaced on gin and schnapps, we had rashly decided to hire a car and go see some nearby Swiss features. A company called Sixt took our money and booking only to then call us at 11pm to say that actually they couldn’t hire us a car after all. My reply was probably something like wellfuguthendon’twanyercaranywaaay, as I remind you I was drunk, and we managed to sort something out with Enterprise. Hence, a few hours later, after a quick tram ride into the ghettos (as if Swiss cities have bloody ghettos – even the graffiti says ‘FUCK THE COPS, PLEASE’) we were outside the Enterprise offices waiting for the effortlessly efficient Celine to finish putting her hair in plaits and open the door. We made the class awkward small-talk and were shown to our car – a very boring Peugeot 208. I almost asked if they had anything more exciting but realised that would encompass every single mode of transport ever invented. It’s not that it was a bad car, no, it was just…so…plain. It was the motoring equivalent of having a disinterested vicar read you the warranty conditions of your new kettle.

We set off, very gingerly. Actually, that’s a fib, it took us about ten minutes to figure out how to disengage the handbrake. Every button I pressed seem to do something I didn’t want (and I’d later discover I’d accidentally set the seat-warmers to maximum – I only realised when I pulled over absolutely sure I’d shit myself). Paul fiddled with the Sat-Nav. You may recollect from previous entries that I have an inherent distrust of Sat-Navs whereas Paul clings to every word like a drowning man would clutch a lifebelt. The Sat-Nav is never wrong. It could instruct him to plunge a knife into my chest then take the third exit and he’d have the cutlery drawer open before you could say Skynet.

I’d checked online previously and the motorway that we needed was a mere half mile and two junctions away – I thought that once I was on that we’d be grand – driving on a motorway is an easy way to get used to a car, unless you’re Henri Paul. Paul plugged the address for the cheese factory in and we were away, guided by the disembodied voice of Teresa May. I’m not even exaggerating – it was as though the liver-lipped old trout was in the car with us, barking orders and shrieking instructions. It was terrifying: take the second Brexit, indeed.

Anyway, I immediately noticed something was wrong when we ended up following a tram down the tram lines. That’s generally a bad sign. Nevertheless, buoyed by Paul’s strict instruction that the Sat-Nav is always right and ‘you always panic driving in cities‘, we ploughed on.

For an arresting moment we found ourselves trundling through a Christmas market in the car – I could have reached out and grabbed myself a hot chocolate as we drove past to calm my nerves – before the Sat-Nav sent us down a tiny cobbled street. Clearly, something was amiss, but Paul was having none of it. We pootled on for another half an hour on possibly the most scenic city centre tour you’ve ever seen outside of one of those lurid double-decker scenic busses before I finally pulled us over in someone’s garden and told Paul to check the settings on the Sat-Nav. Yep: he had it set to ‘avoid major roads’, which, as you can imagine, adds an extra layer of fun and frolics onto driving an unfamiliar car in an unfamiliar city, on the wrong side of the road, on the wrong side of the car, in ice and heavy fog. Oh how I laughed as I spun the car wheels on the icy grass before we made our way back to the motorway. You could see the car-rental place from the sliproad of the motorway as we joined.

Ah well. You live and learn. Once we were on the open road we were straight up to 75mph (their speed limit) despite the freezing fog. Why? Because everything just works perfectly. There wasn’t a flake of ice on the road, there wasn’t a ten mile tailback of beeping cars and lorries, no, everyone just sped along in uniform civility. It was lovely. It puts us to shame, it truly does. I know we’re not an alpine country and thus people aren’t used to driving in wintry conditions but for goodness sake, they shut the A1 in both directions if I leave my freezer door open too long. Pah.

One thing we learnt about the Swiss as we drove along their motorways: they fucking love getting their cocks out in the motorway toilets, and I don’t mean for a piss. I don’t like to be crass but for goodness sake, let me have a piss in peace without helicoptering your penis at me or wanking away like you’re beating out a carpet fire. I half-expected to be arrested for suspicious behaviour because I wasn’t cottaging. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no prude, and if the smell of twenty years of splashed urine and 10,000 lorry driver farts gets the blood pumping for you then all the very best, but please, try and be a bit more discreet.

Anyway, we left after five hours – just enough time for the ammonia on the floor to burn through my jeans at the knees.

As we drove towards Gruyère the fog seemed to melt away and Switzerland opened up for us – it was magical. Everything was frozen but, especially when bathed in the brilliant light of the winter sun, it shone. I wanted to walk in every forest, ratch down every street – and that’s really saying something when you consider what a fat fucker I am. You’d barely get a chance to admire the views of an ice-covered river when a hill would rear up and you’d get a load of chocolate-box cottages all glistening in the cold. I felt like I was in a chewing gum advert. Paul developed RSI from having to snap his neck this way and that as I exclaimed ‘oooh look at that‘ and ‘cor have you seen that mountain?‘ – luckily, we weren’t short of ice to put on it. To give you an idea of the beauty:

taster night fruit skewers taster night fruit skewers

We made it to our first destination, La Maison du Gruyère, in good time indeed. Now, as you might have guessed from the name, this was a factory manufacturing ball bearings. Well obviously not – it was a cheese factory. I love cheese, and I love GruyèreI will cheerfully admit to having a semi as I climbed out of the car. I know visiting a Swiss cheese factory whilst in Switzerland is as obvious as visiting the Eiffel Tower whilst in Paris or being happy-slapped for your mobile in Hull, but I don’t care. We paid the very modest entry fee and were given quite the phallic-looking handset that would translate the entire thing for us so it sounded like Paul’s sister patronising us the whole way around. It was quite distressing. However, what made up for that was the fact you’re given a packet of cheese as you enter. My kind of museum!

The displays were informative – the right mix of cutesy-poo (meet Cherry The Cow!) and blistering factory facts to keep you going. Don’t get me wrong, don’t plan a holiday around it as we were done in half an hour, but as cheese factories go, it was great. I say this from the perspective of someone who has a cheese factory you can tour a mere ten miles from my house. I know, truly my life is decadent. There’s a comedy picture of me biting into a cheese wheel that’s only just wider than Paul’s waist but as my chins are cascading down my coat like a melted church candle, I shan’t be posting it. We stopped into the well-appointed gift shop in the hope of buying me a hat but were thwarted yet again by my giant elephantine head. I don’t understand it, you know – I look in the mirror and see a normal sized head but I can’t get a single hat to fit me without being skintight and giving me a permanently startled look. I’d kill to be able to wear a tricorn hat with panache, like Inspector Javert. More like Fatbear, am I right? Sigh.

We did toy with having a tour around Gruyère but we had a lot to do and we had to return the car at 6pm, so culture was pushed to one side.

Next stop on our Car Trip of Cardiovascular Strain was a trip to a chocolate factory, which frankly, is like following up a large scratchcard win with a fantastic blowjob. I mean, it doesn’t get better than the words ‘unlimited samples of Swiss chocolate’, does it? At this point I had to push my car seat back a good few inches, and it wasn’t just my belly that was swelling. Cor! Turns out that the Maison Cailler was about a twenty minute drive down the road so off we went. Roadworks diverted us into an aerodrome which made for a startling moment or two as tiny planes beetled about around us but we were soon back on our way and, after navigating a proper hairpin bend on a very steep hill (what fun!) we were parked up and joined the queue for entry.

Well, whilst I hate to repeat myself, this was smashing too. Entry costs were minimal but the whole experience was well thought-out, interesting and interactive. We joined a group of six very obviously gay men (no need to peacock though, there were lots of knowing looks and laughter) (and actually, that would explain our eight blank faces when we got to the Frigor bit) (Frigor? Why I barely know her!) and were shown to the entrance. What followed was a good thirty minute walk around showing the history of chocolate, how it is made, the health benefits…I tried to look as interested as possible but what we all wanted to know was when were the free samples coming and would I be told off for bringing a suitcase? We rounded a corner and there it was – all sorts of different chocolates just out for the tasting.

Naturally, being British, we showed remarkable restraint, nibbling and coyly picking up just-one-more in case they decided we were obscene and shut the door. Hilariously though, there was this big gym-bunny of a man there with his girlfriend. Now, he was not that nice, toned gym-boy that you see around but rather he looked like a bin-liner stuffed with rugby balls. His Littlewoods crop-top positively strained over Wotsit coloured muscles and I’m sorry but he had the haunted look of someone who knows that he’ll be injecting steroids into his cock later that day. ANYWAY. When he saw eight burly men come mincing barrelling around the corner he immediately started puffing out his chest and strutting around like Barry Big Bollocks. You know what I mean?? That thing blokes do when they try and make themselves look hard and important? Pffft. Top tip mate: no-one was impressed, you were trying to intimidate eight gay blokes who each had a better spread of facial hair than you and it’s impossible to look macho when you’re standing in a chocolate factory shovelling dainty wee raspberry truffles into your gob with your giant shovel hands, you absolute fucking melt.

His girlfriend had the good grace to look embarrassed.

We all tittered and laughed at the little machine that pooed out the chocolates (no other word for it) and then Paul and I added our own bit of humour onto their massive interactive computer board which asked the question ‘When should you enjoy chocolate?’

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That’ll be us off the magazine list, again. Ah well. At least our effort was better than Baba Babayev’s on the right there though – what a kiss-arse. Bet that wasn’t just cocoa on her lips.

Next stop on our whistlestop tour of Things That Sounded Good When Pissed was the town of Montreux, a mere forty minutes or so away. Now we absolutely didn’t have time to tour the town and do it justice so we decided to visit the absolutely stunning Château de Chillon, down on the shoreline of Lake Geneva instead.

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The castle was the inspiration for the castle in The Little Mermaid, which is a handy link as Paul models himself on The Little Mermaid’s villain, Ursula. We were so lucky – perhaps because it was Christmas or because it was overcast I don’t know, but we almost had the place to ourselves.

This was very fortuitous indeed. Why? Because the castle – whilst breathtakingly pretty and wonderfully kept – is a series of staircases, ladders and steep climbs to get right to the very top. With both of us busy turning eight kilos of chocolate and cheese into poo and heart disease, this was perhaps not a good idea. The fact we were by ourselves was most welcome as it meant we weren’t pressured into climbing at anyone else’s pace and we were able to stop and catch our breath, shock our hearts and discreetly vomit into nearby suits of armour. Any passing staff must have thought we found the info-boards particularly absorbing (and, to be fair, they were) but actually, it was just us bent double trying to resaturate our blood with oxygen.

taster night fruit skewers

You know what made the place great, though? It took us a while to twig and then we realised – there wasn’t masses of taped-off areas and warning signs to mind your head and stop smoking and don’t run and don’t use flash photography. We weren’t being told off at every opportunity and it was most refreshing, even if I did curse loudly when the top of my head scrapped along the ceiling. Oh and I did fall down a pretty much vertical flight of stairs when I started can-can-ing my legs as I came down, which in turn made Paul exclaim that I ‘looked like the Phantom of the Opera, only more a fat c*nt’ (we had the place to ourselves, I remind you), which then made me laugh and lose my footing. I landed on my giant gelatinous arse and was fine, don’t worry. Silly Swiss: I might recommend a warning sign for ‘acts of theatricality’. We made sure to take plenty of photos to add onto our iCloud to never be seen again and then made our way out.

There was a photo opportunity as we left with a little pier that strutted right out into the lake and we made for it only to be rudely pushed out of the way by what I think were the same horde of tourists that had prevented us getting a decent picture at the Broken Chair a few entries back.  First they would each take a picture of one of them standing on the pier, then they’d swap, then they’d change the lens, then they’d shriek hysterically and change the lens again. We waited patiently for a good fifteen minutes before (conscious of the fact I’d parked the hire car in a place I wasn’t entirely unconvinced wasn’t a coach park) I invaded their photographs and walked right along that pier. It made for a good set of photos – me posing merrily with my little Swiss flag, eighteen disgruntled and sullen faces just moving out of shot. Pfft. I’d post the picture but the rage-blood seeping from my eyes somewhat ruins it.

We bought some chocolate from the gift-shop and made our way back to the car. At this point I was very tired so Paul was under strict instruction to keep talking to me and not to let me fall asleep. Naturally, he was asleep before I turned the indicators off to get out of the car park. It was a long drive home – I had to keep stopping at the rest areas to have a man-made protein shake rest. We were less than half a mile away from the car drop-off area, all ready to head back to the hotel, when the stupid Sat-Nav suddenly thought we were in entirely the wrong place and set us down a slip road onto a different motorway, adding an extra 30 miles onto our trip. I hate them. I really bloody hate them. My loud swearing woke Paul up whose first words were ‘you should have woke me up’ which, as you can imagine, really made me chuckle. I could have undid his seatbelt, opened his car door and sent him tumbling out onto the motorway at 75mph and he’d still be fast asleep, doing tiny little cheesy farts all the night long. BAH.

By the time we did make it back to our room it was all we could do to remove the tiny Toblerone they placed on our pillows before falling fast asleep. All that mountain air, see. I promise to talk to you about Bern on the next entry, it really was a terrific place, but look, we’re almost at 3,000 words and I’m just sure that means most of you will have buggered off by now. If so, shame on you, least not because you’ve missed out on the recipe for these taster night fruit skewers!

taster night fruit skewers

to make taster night fruit skewers, you’ll need – well, duh:

  • a couple of tangerines
  • a box of raspberries
  • a few kiwi fruits
  • a fresh pineapple
  • black grapes, black as your soul
  • cocktail sticks – ours aren’t anything fancy, we bought them for the burgers we do, you get 100 on Amazon for about a fiver, or you could use any old shite you have sitting around the house, no need to fret!

to make taster night fruit skewers, you should:

  • now come on, really
  • no, really?
  • OK, well, assemble as above
  • I cored the pineapple, cut it into rings and then into chunks, but you can buy chunks in juice, remember to syn it though
  • I made the kiwi stars by cutting thick slices of kiwi and then, wait for it, using a star shaped pastry cutter – I know, someone call Alfred Nobel, because we’ve got a bloody genius here
  • that’s it

Two things to remember:

  • Captain Gunt suggests that you could serve this with a melted Freddo bar or something to dip in – but seriously, come on, just eat your Freddo; and
  • not a fan of the fruits above? Well, you’re homophobic and I’ll thank you not to read this blog. Oh THOSE fruits, right right – no, just swap them out for anything you like, I don’t mind, I just like the pretty colours!

Want more taster night ideas? Love picking other people’s cat hair out of your teeth whilst you choke down a sliver of cottage cheese quiche? Then click the buttons below and be inspired!

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Goodnight all!

J

droptober recipe #11: peanut butter and caramelised banana toast

Just a recipe for peanut butter and caramelised banana toast tonight as we’re too busy putting our Musclefood box away and farting on with our new TV. See, this would be one of those days when we just wouldn’t post but because we’ve committed to this Droptober thingy, I feel like I can’t let you down! Breakfasts on Slimming World are either oaty affairs, a bit of fruit or that bloody fry-up picture which has been haunting the lifeline journal since time immemorial. Peanut butter is one of those things which sounds like it should be full of syns and, fair enough, it’s not syn-free, but as long as you’re sensible and don’t slap it on like Jordan slaps Canestan on her minnie-moo, you’ll be fine. 1 level tablespoon is 4 syns which you can easily spread between the two tiny Shreddies-sized slices of bread that Slimming World allows as your HEB.

peanut butter and caramelised banana toast

to make peanut butter and caramelised banana toast, you’ll need:

  • well I mean, it’s pretty obvious, no?
  • one banana
  • one tablespoon of peanut butter
  • whatever toast or thin you want to use
  • pinch of cinnamon if you dare

to make peanut butter and caramelised banana toast, you should:

  • toast your bread and get your peanut butter on it whilst it is hot – the heat will make it spread further
  • Christ, it’s a bad job when we’re having to eke out our peanut butter like we’re working from a ration book, isn’t it?
  • slice your banana and drop the slices into a hot, non-stick pan to toast them off and give them a bit of colour
  • top the toast

Just saying, but if you were feeling daring, you could totally add a drop or two of honey to the whole affair and really get going. If you’re going to be Lieutenant Anal about the whole syn thing, you should ‘technically’ syn the banana according to SW rules as it is cooked. However, it’s syn-free if you eat it uncooked and as you can see from the above, you’re doing nothing more than toasting it. If it makes you feel better, don’t toast the banana, just keep glaring at it until it toasts of its own accord. THAT WAY NO SYNS AM I RIGHT. Jeez.

If you’re looking for more breakfast ideas, click the buttons below and live like a Queen! We do have some canny overnight oats recipes!

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Remember to share!

J

jaffa cakes for taster nights

Yes, I love jaffa cakes too, but please, calm your slot for a second and let me speak.

Here’s the thing about my husband – I love him very much, but he can be an absolute liability. He’s managed to get me temporarily banned from interacting on Facebook, which is vexing because there’s a child out there awaiting a heart transplant and if the doctor gets 1,000,000 likes, they’re going to operate on him, and without me as the millionth like, I guess it’s into the soil for poor wee Jimmy Fictional. Let me explain how. On a Sunday, we set aside an hour or so to schedule some links to our older posts via our Facebook page, which has just shy of 85,000 people on it. It’s simple enough – write a bit of blurb, post the photo, add the link and then diarise it so it gets posted automatically on a set time and date. We forgot to do it this week, so we’ve had to do them the night before in a bit of a rush. Paul was given the task of doing Friday’s posts and in his haste to get them done before the chips were cooked, he managed to not like to a tasteful picture of our lovely steak with hasselback potatoes, but to this:

Yes, he managed to put a link to a three second film of a sphincter. Not his own, I hasten to add, but one that he’d found on the Internet to whatsapp to his nursing friends for a joke. Thankfully, it’s a lovely clean balloon-knot as opposed to some pebble-dashed wormhole, so it’s not all bad, but when I reposted the tale in our group, I got automatically banned for 24 hours for sheer filth. Aaaah man. So: if you’re a fan of ours and you love our Facebook page and happened to witness a giant arsehole instead of a steak dinner, I can only apologise. And laugh. Oh my how I laughed – when I spotted the mistake at work, I had to leave my desk and go sit in the gents for fifteen minutes with my fist in my mouth trying not to laugh out loud. Good times.

Anyway, some exciting news. The cat is much better and has stopped licking away at his bellend like it was made out of Kitekat. Definitely worth the expense just to say him back to his normal self of punching the other cat about and showing us his anus.

I spotted, somehow, that Big Brother finished last night, and I’m just amazed it is still going. How? Whenever I catch it it’s full of self-aware knackers mooing and braying and playing up to the cameras. Lots of bronzed folks walking around in undeserved vests showing arms that couldn’t snap a wet cigarette and tattoos that mean nothing and look awful. By far the worst, for me, is our lovely local representative Marnie, who got her gash out on telly, sucked someone off and swore like a trooper. Listen, we’re not all like that. I mean, I don’t even have a gash. But Big Brother is ruined now, yet it used to be genuinely interesting TV.

I remember where I was when the original series went big and everyone started to watch it – on the Isle of Arran with the world’s most boring family in the world’s most boring cottage with the world’s most boring set of activities to do. You know the type – lots of corduroy trousers, thick sex-offender glasses and rustling rain-wear. At no time, either before or since, have I ever been closer to dashing my head against the rocks on the beach just to liven things up.

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The deal was that my family took my then best friend on holiday with us to Portugal and I’d then get to join his family on their holiday. My family’s holiday was full of food, fun and sunshine (although he elected to stay inside the apartment and watch Sky News), his family’s holiday was lots of earnest discussions over turnip dinners and early nights. Not the good type of early nights where you might get your end away, no, the type of early night where the only excitement comes hoping you’ll die in your sleep. Seven nights I spent on that island surrounded by four people who couldn’t entertain a thought, nevermind a guest. They wouldn’t allow us to have the television on because “we were on holiday” so the only outlet I had, after I’d walked around so much my feet were one with my shoes, was copies of The Sun that I bought in Blackwaterfoot, and all of the salacious Big Brother stories they carried.

Listen, it was very much a last resort, buying The Sun, but that’s what got me into Big Brother and prevented me from becoming so depressed I’d have my own Livejournal and emo haircut. Paul and I went back to Arran as a couple a few years ago and it was a marvellous place, not the grey cesspit I remembered it as with my jaundiced eyes, so it just shows that it’s definitely the person you’re with that makes a place. Actually, I’ve got my notes from our Arran trip way back when, so if I can be arsed, I’ll turn them into a blog entry.

Right, enough chitter chatter. Jaffa cakes.

Look, the only reason I’ve made these is because they were on Bake Off, and I thought to myself that they could be made faintly Slimming World friendly. They probably can, but it would take a better baker than me to make them look good. To be fair, I was in a rush today, hence the sloppy presentation, but I reckon you’d still eat them, you filthy minxes. This makes ten or so.

taster night jaffa cakes

to make taster night jaffa cakes, you’ll need:

  • 25g of self-raising flour (4 syns)
  • one large egg
  • 2 chocolate freddos (10 syns)
  • one sachet of orange no added sugar jelly (1.5 syns)
  • 25g of caster sugar (5 syns)
  • a shallow bun tin (or, do as we did, use a Yorkshire pudding tin, who cares am I right?)

You don’t use all of the jelly so I’m going to call this as 20 syns for ten cakes. Much thicker chocolate and bases than normal Jaffa cakes which come in a 2.5 syns each, plus you get the fun of baking them. You could knock the syn count down by using sweetener, yes, but why would you do that to yourself?

to make taster night jaffa cakes, you should:

  • make the jelly up as instructed, then pour into a container big enough so you get a layer of jelly only about half a cm thick – I find using less water than instructed gives a firmer jelly, but as you can see from my pictures, I forgot to do this…
  • whisk the egg and the sugar together until it’s full of air, pale and frothy, just like Mary Berry herself
  • it’s easier to do this in a wee bowl rather than a stand mixer, just because there isn’t much mixture
  • gently fold in the flour – you’re not trying to put out an electrical fire with a doormat, use a bit of finesse
  • pour ten equal amounts into your baking tray (make sure to give that a squirt or two with oil, just to make it non-stick if you’ve only got cheap-o pans)
  • bake on 180 degrees for about eight minutes or until they’ve gone golden brown
  • allow to cool
  • once the jelly has set, take a glass or a circle cutter and cut out ten discs of jelly
  • pop them on top of the little cakes
  • melt your Freddos and spoon the chocolate on top – we’re not going to win awards for presentation here, but you’re just going to turn it into poo anyway, so come on

Enjoy!

Looking for more taster night ideas or desserts? Click the buttons below!

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J

strawberry jelly pots – and it’s good to talk

The strawberry jelly pots are right below the next bit. Honest.

I spotted something interesting in the papers today (ok ok, I’m sorry, it was on the Sidebar of Shame on the Daily Mail – I’m mortified enough to be viewing it at work on my lunch computer that I cover most of it with some fisting porn in case anyone gets the wrong idea). Chiselled, Australian hunk Chris Hemsworth was wearing a t-shirt with ‘it’s not weak to speak’, which links to a mental health charity in Australia who are trying to get across the message that people shouldn’t feel ashamed about suffering from a mental illness.

He’s spot on, and I’m not just saying that because he could cheerfully sit on my face and pedal my ears. I’ve written about my anxiety before and I describe it as a slow rollercoaster – it’s always going to be there in the background, but most of the time I’m on an ‘up’ and don’t really notice it – or at least, I can take control of it. My anxiety manifests itself through health anxiety – I don’t have panic attacks (much) or depression, but I fall into the trap of analysing every little quirk of my body and thinking it is something sinister.

Well, unfortunately, I’m in a pretty big dip at the moment. It all started a couple of weeks ago when my left hand started going intermittently numb and tingly, something as innocuous as that. I’d been feeling great for over a year so this came as a bit of a surprise. I reassured myself that it was nothing to be concerned about and that worked for a fair while, but the fact that it comes and goes troubles me. Here’s how my mind works:

  • rational mind: I sleep on my arm a lot, I’ve been having problems with my neck, it’ll be a pinched nerve, the fact that it comes and goes is a good sign, I can still grip, I hold my iPad up in bed for an hour each morning using my hand so it’s no wonder it’s struggling a little
  • irrational mind: muscle weakness and tingliness is a sign of MS (which is my big fear), it’s definitely happening, can’t be anything else.

PLEASE: I don’t want any comments confirming my irrational thoughts, no tips to go see a neurologist – nothing. Feel free to comment if you sometimes get a tingly hand and you know it’s because you’ve pinched a nerve or something!

What then happens is a constant struggle between being rational (95% of the time) and 5% being irrational. Because I’m distracted by thoughts of something scary, I become hyper-aware of everything. How I speak – if I stumble over my words, it’s because my brain is turning to cheese. If my knees hurt (which given my weight is no bloody surprise) it’s because my muscles are atrophying. Because I’m up a height, I don’t sleep too well at night, which in turns means I’m knackered during the day – and then I worry because I have no energy, I keep forgetting things and my vision goes blurry – all of which happen when people get tired, but all of which add to my worries.

It’s exhausting. I’ve beaten it before, I’ll beat it again. It’s just a quirk of my body. I’m at the doctors on Wednesday and I’ll mention all of the above on the off-chance it is something to be worried about, but it’ll be nothing, I’m sure. I end up feeling guilty because it’s almost like I’m making a mockery of those with genuine concerns, but see, this is a genuine concern to me.

But here’s why I’m mentioning it – I’m lucky, because I’ve got Paul, family and friends to talk to. Although I’m pretty good at dealing with this stuff myself, Paul’s always there to reassure me that I’m shaky because I’ve had two tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, not because I’ve got Parkinsons, or that I don’t have dementia because I’m able to tell him the room number from our trip to New York. It helps so much to be honest. If you’re out there and feeling blue, find someone to talk to, even if it’s just yourself in the mirror. If you’re feeling fine, take a moment to speak to someone who you’re worried about, or listen to people if they’re trying to tell you they’re not right. It’s the small gestures that make a difference to people’s lives.

As for me, don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I’ll come right back around and crack on. Sorry to be a downer!

In the meantime, let’s get to the dessert! To be fair, I hardly think it needs a recipe! This made enough for four glasses like the one you see below.

strawberry jelly pots

to make strawberry jelly pots, you’ll need:

  • one sachet of no added sugar jelly made up as instructed  (1.5 syns)
  • fat-free vanilla yoghurt (choose a syn-free variety)
  • 100g of strawberries (supposedly 1.5 syns if you cook them, which I doubt, but let’s be true to Slimming World)
  • mint for garnish

So that’s three syns, serving four, which I reckon is about half a syn each. A fraction more mathematically, but look, I’m not Carol fucking Vorderman.

to make strawberry jelly pots, you should:

  • make up the jelly as instructed and get four clean glasses out – preferably something like the ones pictured above
  • find yourself a muffin tray
  • fill each glass with exactly the same amount of jelly and put the glass, tilted about 45 degrees, into the muffin tray (the muffin tray stops it tipping over) – you don’t want the jelly to reach right to the top of the glass, leave a little bit of room
  • put into the fridge for about six hours
  • once they’re set, fill the other side with the vanilla yoghurt
  • chop the strawberries up and put them into a pan with just a drop of hot water – heat gently until the fruit breaks down and then thickens a little
  • top the pots carefully with this strawberry jam and garnish with a mint leaf!

Super easy. Now if you’re looking for more dessert ideas, you can find them by clicking here!

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J

cubby’s chocolate orange overnight oats

Right, before we get to the recipe for chocolate orange overnight oats, I have to inform you that our Musclefood discount week is back – we don’t get told in advance of these but apparently, because we’re selling so well, they can give us a discount of 10% on both our boxes for five days only. I don’t normally throw the advert in right from the off but well, if you need meat, it’s a good deal and it’s a limited offer! Click either deal below and you’re good to go. I promise that we’ll be a smidge more subtle with the ads on the rest of the week – it’s the only advertising we do though and it keeps the lights on at Cubs Towers, so…


FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that.


You know what really boils my piss? Being told my opinion is invalid because I’m ‘young’. For a start, let’s be frank, given my diet, years of smoking and tendency to mainline gin after a hard day at work, I’m probably comfortably into the dotage of my life. I’m about two doddery steps away from putting a tartan blanket over my legs and calling it a day. I mean, I’ve already mentioned that I enjoy The Archers, but did you know I’ve also developed a tic of making proper old man noises when I get up from a chair? The noise isn’t just air escaping from my blubber, either, it’s a proper ‘ooooooof’. There’s no hope. So I’m certainly not ‘young’.

The reason I mention all of this is due to yet another facebook argument I’ve been having with the elders of the town where I live. I joined a facebook group full of people discussing the current events around our town and it is absolutely awash with bloody moaners. I live in a great place but seemingly every Tom, Dickhead and Harry who would previously moan to their wives behind the net curtains has joined to put in their thoughts. It’s full of people looking at their shoes and feeling sorry for themselves because ‘our town doesn’t get this’ and ‘that town gets that and we get nothing’. If there was an emoji of someone twisting a cloth cap between their hands with watery, sad eyes, it’s all you’d see on this group. I can’t stand it. Despite my constant moaning on here, I’m a pretty chipper person and certainly a firm believer in making do with what you’ve got.

So, naturally, I end up bickering. I point out that we’re unlikely to get a leisure centre of our own given there’s one within four miles of us in each compass direction, but that’s not good enough. I explain that we don’t have a swimming pool because there’s bloody five within a ten minute drive – that’s me being unreasonable. I mentioned that another town near us pays a tonne more council tax, has more residents and thus, has a tennis court, and you’d think I’d shat on their Wiltshire Farm Foods blended lasagne. I’ll have a discussion back and forth with anyone and I’m always unfailingly polite, even if I did get a stern lecture of swearing from one of the crinklies when I used the word bloody. But they always play the trump card: ‘you’re young, you don’t understand’.

Paul tells me that my retaliation of: ‘you’re old, you’ll be dead soon enough and you can’t get a coffin down a water-slide’ is churlish at best. I agree, so I merely think it to myself. But see it really does vex me that my opinion is apparently worth less because I’m ‘young’. I may be young, but I own my own house, I’ve worked since I was 16, I’m sensible and eloquent and I try my best not to fart in committee meetings. My opinion is as valid as someone who can’t type for their bottom lip hitting the keyboard.

Manners between the old and the young seem to be a very one-way street. We hear a lot about how rude kids are and how badly treated old folk are (and I hasten to add – anyone who is rude to an old person is an arsehole, absolutely) but never the other way around. I’ve had plenty of experiences with old folk pushing into queues with that resolute cats-arse-lips-face that says don’t fuck with me, I’ve got razor sharp shards of glacier mints in my winceyette cardigan.

I’ve been sworn at by old ladies during bingo. When I worked at BT in the complaints department, it was the elderly who had the most entitled, brusque manners. I was told by someone to stick my ‘1471 up my arse’ when I had the temerity to tell her it cost money to press 5 and call back. Charming! I hold doors open only to be met with glazed eyes, a stern look and zero thanks. Hell, I’ve stopped my car in the street to let some whiskery-chinned charmer cross the road with her zimmer without the threat of being turned into lavender jam, only for her to shuffle over the road like an Edinburgh Woollen Mill sponsored snail without so much as a shaky nod of thanks in my direction. Bah.

Perhaps I was spoiled, I don’t know. My own dear nana was a proper nana – she baked scones and played her television so loud that you could solve the Countdown Conundrum on the drive over to see her. She used to take such a large intake of breath when I mouthed the word ‘vacuum’ at Paul that I’m surprised she didn’t get the bends. We used to go over for an hour or so to hear who had died in the village (which she always spoke of with barely hidden relish, the auld ghoul), how she was getting on never taking her tablets (100% record) and to fix all the incorrect answers in her Puzzler.

I do find myself thinking of her a lot in summer, weirdly. It’s been over a year since she died (that entry makes me feel sad, so I don’t read it) and Paul and I are always laughing about things she’d come out with. The reason I think of her in summer is because, despite the glorious sunshine and thirty degree heat, you’d walk into her living room and she’d have her coal fire blazing away, with the rug in front of it always just on the cusp of catching alight. She’d complain she was cold despite us being able to hear the bacon frying in the fridge. Funny what you remember. She’d never shoot your opinion down and always listened. I say listened, she couldn’t hear a bloody thing, so the polite nodding and murmurs of assent were probably just a touch of Parkinsons.

Eee, I’d give anything to have her back.

Anyway, come on, I wasn’t meaning to end on a miserable note. She was always laughing and she’d have loved this blog, despite not being able to understand what the hell I was going on about when I explained the Internet. She thought it consisted purely of people making telephone calls to each other and stealing money. Which I mean it does, but there’s also a lot of pornography too. Tsk.

Right, chocolate orange overnight oats then. Overnight oats tend to be a succession of dry oats, boring yoghurt and disappointment. You’d get more joy eating a bag of asbestos. So don’t do it! We’ve done so many good ones:

Would you believe we’ve even done a savoury full English Breakfast overnight oats? We have! Right here! A few syns, yes, but better than another bloody Hifi bar.

chocolate orange overnight oats

to make cubby’s chocolate orange overnight oats, you’ll need:

  • 40g of Quaker or store-brand oats – we use Quaker because we like them
  • 50g of mandarin segments in juice – 1 syn
  • Muller chocolate orange with dark chocolate sprinkles (syn free)
  • 10g of milk chocolate chips – it’s 6 syns for 25g, so I said it was 2.5 syns for 10g – easy!

to make cubby’s chocolate orange overnight oats, you should:

  • layer the ingredients as above
  • once you’ve taken a photo or showed it off, mix it all up and leave it overnight
  • actually, I like to eat it straight away but the oats don’t soften – this can make your stomach sore, so exercise caution
  • if you’re feeling like a proper slut, pour a little orange juice from the tin into the oats…extra orangey and doesn’t add too many syns

Delicious! Now, if you want more breakfast ideas or overnight oats recipes, click on the buttons below!

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Cheers!

J

rainbow peppermint meringues – taster night idea

Was it the mention of my rainbow peppermint meringues that brought you here? You’ll find them just below. But first, a word from old Gobshite McGee – me.

Oh, before we start, I haven’t put a plug in for our books for bloody ages. We have two! One is a full recount of our month long honeymoon in Florida so many moons ago and be found by clicking here – the other book is a massive, giant collection of all of our articles from the blog and can be found by clicking here. If you’ve read them and enjoyed them, I’ll dance at your wedding if you leave me a lovely review. Already married? Then unprotected anal it is.

Here’s an odd thing. There seems to be a rash of people posting pictures of themselves in dresses on facebook and then asking total strangers how they look, only with the caveat of ‘no nasty comments’ but ‘honest replies please’. How does that work? For a start, don’t ask strangers how you look because frankly, there’s too many arseholes out there who will be cruel just for the sake of it. But, if you are going to seek the validation of strangers you’ll never meet then at least be prepared to accept that some people will have different opinions and that they aren’t the Devil Incarnate for saying your dress is a bit tight under the gunt.

Personally, I couldn’t give a flying toss what people think I look like – I described my own body as looking like a landslide of hairy Trex just the other day – and it’s a very liberating place to be. I spent years hidden behind a giant black coat like the Scottish fucking Widow when I was younger because I was ashamed of my man-boobs and having to buy my school clothes from the adult section in BHS. But life’s too short to care – no-one ever, in the throes of death, turns to their loved one and says ‘yes, but Suzanne from Warrington thought I looked fab-hun-xox in my Primark bikini‘, after all.

That said, I did have a rather mortifying moment the other night when Paul, in his haste to get all of our holidays photos on Facebook, accidentally uploaded a completely nude photo of me getting into an outside bath in Cornwall which sat in our photo albums before the sound of retching from all around the North East finally reached us and I hastily deleted it. Not because I’m ashamed as such but really, I could do without my friends and co-workers knowing that my arse-cheeks look like someone stood on a pumpkin and rolled it in cat-hair.

Not that such privacy is everyone’s concern, though. I had to remove a couple of distant friends from my facebook because every nuance of their tedious lives was played out via passive aggressive memes, hospital check-ins and barely legible statuses about ‘standin on mi one agin’. The hospital check-in is the most baffling – big status about waiting in A&E or ‘PRAY FOR MY LITTLE MONIQUA-MARIELEIGH’ then, when people invariably comment asking what’s wrong (whts up hun??) they are either ignored or worse, the old ‘inbox uz hun‘. I hate it – mostly because it’s just attention-seeking, but also because I’m incredibly nosy and not finding out leaves me massively unsatisfied, like being interrupted by someone coming home unexpectedly just as you reach Batter Splatter Point. One for the gentlemen, that.

God, I miss the heady days of logging in and out of ICQ (3536698204, oh yes*) to get someone to notice you, or changing the MSN Messenger tagline to some kind of meaningful lyric to really show you meant business. Such innocent times indeed.

Anyway, enough reminiscing. I wanted to do something with a rainbow theme as it’s Gay Pride month and well, after my post last week was followed up by the absolutely awful events in Orlando, I thought it might be a nice idea. So many lives lost because some knobhead couldn’t handle the fact he liked a bit of cock. Great work, you callous shitbag. I hope the 72 virgins waiting for you are all rough, hairy powertops with vein-canes like those snake draught excluders nanas used to put under the door.

Actually, you know, it’s shit like that that reinforces what I was saying about not caring what others think of you – life’s too bloody short. You never know what’s coming round the corner.

OK. I have no idea how to segue onto my recipe here so let’s literally draw a line under this post.


There we go. Right, I’ve used this rainbow painting thing before to make macarons and they looked amazing, but saying as Margaret Elnett doesn’t like us having flour, I thought I’d swap it for the lighter meringue. Also, when I took a moment to look into making ‘lighter’ meringues I happened across a very unusual substitute for egg whites that I just had to try out – chickpea water! You know when you buy a tin of chickpeas from the supermarket and all the chickpeas are sitting in that weird pre-cummy chickpea water? Don’t slosh it down the drain – oh no – use it for this recipe!

Of course, if you wanted to, you can use egg whites. Also, I have a feeling that these could be made with Stevia or whatever that fine granulated sugar is and therefore possibly syn-free, but fuck that. If you’re reading this thinking OH MY GOD I COULD USE SWEETENER well, take yourself to the foot of the stairs because that won’t bloody work. They come out looking like loft insulation and taste like anus. Use your bloody syns – so much better to have a little bit of something good than it is to have a tonne of something disgusting. Not that some people take that on board given the amount of ONE-SYN LEMON MERINGUES I see that look like something I’d use to scrub the grout in the shower with. Anyway, sssh. The original recipe for the chickpea meringues came from another blog, right here, so credit to them!

rainbow peppermint meringues rainbow peppermint meringues

to make rainbow peppermint meringues, you’ll need:

  • 125ml of chickpea pre-cum (i.e. the water from the chickpea tin) (real name for this stuff is aquafaba, fact fans!) or the whites of three large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons of caster sugar (18 syns)
  • a teaspoon of lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt
  • a few drops of peppermint essence, but don’t go mad
  • food dyes (see my note below)
  • an icing bag or a strong sandwich bag
  • two trays with greaseproof paper cut to fit

This recipe makes around 40 little meringues so for the sake of argument, we’ll say that each meringue is half a syn each.

A couple of notes:

  • I didn’t actually use peppermint essence – I used two drops of rhubarb and two drops of custard flavouring that I had from my cupcake days – feel free to experiment but don’t add too much extra liquid in
  • this won’t work with liquid dyes, they’ll all run – you need gels. You can buy these from supermarkets but I buy mine online right here – they are used for colouring massive amounts of icing and are very strong – use sparingly!
  • you can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer (this is the beast we have – fancy, right?)

to make rainbow peppermint meringues, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 100 degrees celsius – you’re cooking low and slow
  • get a decent bowl out of the cupboard or your mixing bowl ready – make sure the bowl is absolutely spotless, dry and grease-free – if you’re not sure, cut a lemon in half and run it around the inside of the bowl before giving it a good dry – the meringue will not form if there’s even a speck of grease or wet on there
  • tip in the chickpea water / egg whites, pinch of salt, lemon juice and whatever flavour you want and start mixing until it starts looking foamy
  • add half the sugar and keep mixing until soft peaks form
  • add the rest of the sugar and keep mixing – it will take a while but eventually you’ll be left with thick, glossy white peaks that stay put even when you remove the mixers
  • the old trick is to hold the bowl upside down above your head which is fine if you want anyone passing to think you’re a bellend
  • put the bowl to one side and concentrate
  • before you start with the colours, get your trays, put a dab of meringue between each corner of the greaseproof paper and the tray just to hold them in place whilst they cook
  • get a large glass or something to hold your icing bag (because we’re careless with money and buy any old tat, we actually have an icing bag holder – right here – take a look so you know what I mean) – you want to make it so you can paint the inside with dye and then tip the icing in, so anything that will hold the bag open will do
  • using something like a long piece of uncooked spaghetti, dip into the different food dyes and paint a stripe of dye up the inside of the bag – not a massive stripe, just a thin stripe – then repeat with whatever colours you want to use, leaving space between the stripes
  • DON’T WORRY – it’ll look crap at this point, but the finished effect is great, just make sure the stripes are spread out and go as far into the bottom as you can
  • gently fill the icing bag with the meringue then lift out, cut the very tip off the bottom of the bag, twist the tip to stop it leaking out and to push the meringue down the bag
  • gently squeeze the meringue out – onto the trays in small, gentle dollops – finish each with a little flick of the wrist to get the peak, and remember to leave a bit of space between them, though they don’t need much
  • pop in the oven for an hour or so then after an hour, unless they are soft to the touch and need longer, just turn the oven off and leave them in there until they’re completely cool

Serve!

Listen, that recipe sounds complicated but it’s an absolute doddle – the key is to paint stripes on the inside of the icing bag (or sandwich bag, whichever you’re using), cut a tiny bit off the bottom and pipe. You’ll cock up a couple of them, so what? Don’t go too mad with the colour though – discreet swirls look better than a psychedelic pigeon shit splattered on a tray.

You can either save these for yourself (tasty!) or take them along to taster night and make poor Sandra from Warrington look ashen-faced as she puts her Slimming World quiche down next to your wonder!

For more taster or dessert ideas, click the icons below!

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Enjoy,

J

* not my ICQ number, so if ICQ is even still a thing, don’t be messaging some poor bloke in Utah asking how many syns are in a Hartley’s Jelly Pot. He won’t have a fucking clue!

six slimming smoothies

Here for the six slimming smoothies? Of course you are. But first…

It’s too hot. It’s too hot for a long post so damn it, I’m going to post the recipe for the six smoothies and go lie down in our air-conditioned bedroom, wailing and calling for Paul to turn me away from the sun.

I hate the hot weather. I really do. I can’t be done with it. I’m sweating like Josef Fritzl on Through the Keyhole / a nun picking cucumbers / a cat burying a shit on a concrete floor. Yes, that’s tasteful enough to put in. You should have heard the three I didn’t put in. I’ve always been envious of those folk who can seemingly bask in sunlight and thoroughly enjoy it. You have no idea how much I want to take my shirt off and eat ice-cream in the centre of town, but I genuinely think it would cause a riot. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of the type of bloke who goes topless the very second the ice warning dings off in his car, it must be a nice feeling. Perhaps I should get a copperplate-writing tattoo on my neck and turn my shoulders red. It ruins every aspect of anything enjoyable – good hearty stews get pushed to one side and replaced with salad, more salad, salad with a bit of salad on the side and salad-salad. I can’t face toiling in the kitchen for hours – even by proxy, given Paul is the one who does the cooking – so meals tend to get repetitive. Sex becomes a chore with everything sticking to each other like pulling warm bacon rashers apart. The roads become full of stupidly big cars trundling along at 25 miles an hour with a big plastic shitheap being towed behind them. I know it’s terribly fashionable to hate on caravans but look, they’re bloody ugly things and almost (unless YOU’RE a driver, you’re fine) always pulled by the type of people you know read the Daily Express, furiously circling the word immigrants in thick red pen with spittle on their lips. The men who are more nose-hair than bellend.

Pub gardens become full of braying donkeys taaaalking like thaaas and coughing at people for having the temerity to light up a fag. Beaches become awash with badly parked Dacia Dusters, dog poo and poorly buried Poundland BBQs with a half-life longer than Tellerium-128 just waiting to slice your foot open. You can’t open the windows because all of the neighbours are cutting their grass to the exact millimetre meaning the air is so thick with pollen I’ve only got to sniff daintily at it to make everything inside my face swell-up and turn me into John Merrick’s fun-house reflection. Birds singing from 3am in the morning until 2.58am the next day means only one thing – endless half-chewed birds being dragged through the cat-flap and deposited somewhere where I’m absolutely guaranteed to stand during the night when I get up for a piss. You’ve never known revulsion until you’ve felt half a sparrow crunch under your toes in a twilit bathroom.

But you know what really fills me with unbridled fury? When people say ‘OH BUT YOU’LL MISS THE HEAT WHEN WINTER COMES’. No! No I absolutely fucking won’t. I have never turned around in December and said ‘well yes Marie, this Christmas vista is quite charming but it could only be improved with the top of my head being sweaty, extensive chub-rub on my legs and sinuses like cocktail sticks’. I bloody love the winter! If I’m cold, I can put a jacket on. Well no, I’m Geordie, so I might deign to put a thin t-shirt on if the ends of my fingers turn black. There’s nothing you can do when you’re too hot except gripe, moan and whinge about it, even when you say you’re not going to do a long post. But god it felt good getting all that off my chest.

Let’s get to the six slimming smoothies, shall we?

BEFORE WE BEGIN – and partly because I’m feeling all bolshie from my moan about the heat – it’s up to YOU whether you decide to syn these smoothies. I don’t. Slimming World’s argument is that you should syn fruit if it is blended but there are no syns if you eat it raw. Ostensibly this is due to ‘changing the filling factor of the food’ or creating a situation where you might over-eat calories. Fine. That rule applies if you want to make orange juice – you couldn’t sit and eat eight oranges but you could easily neck the juice of eight oranges in one go. I keep reading from people in SW groups who say that blending releases the natural sugars, as though the strawberry is a spirit level bubble filled with syrup. Pfft. Perhaps that’s true. I don’t know. All I know is this: none of these smoothies use any more fruit than you could cheerfully and comfortably eat in a fruit salad. If it makes you feel better, don’t blend the fruit in a Nutribullet or similar, push it all in your mouth with your sausage-fingers and frantically chew it up before spitting it into a glass. Technically, according to SW, that makes it syn-free. PFFFFT. I’ve covered my thoughts on this tweaking nonsense before, too.

Anyway, because I’m a kind, loving blogger, I’ll give you the syns option IF you think you need them. These smoothies are lovely for a quick breakfast and full of health and wonder. Plus, they make a pretty range of colours! Let’s get started.

six slimming smoothies

All of these smoothies have the same basic ingredients – half a small banana (2 syns), a few tablespoons of fat-free yoghurt and some ice. They make a delicious, thick smoothie. If you want it a little runnier, add almond milk (100ml is 1 syn, usually) or milk from your allowance. Adjust to taste. I’ve been very generous with the amount of fruit too below, so chances are the smoothies will come out lower syns anyway. Plus, you know, it’s fruit. There’s absolutely no bollocksy way that a HiFi bar is a better option at 6 syns. Bah! Remember: it is YOUR choice to make, not mine! Why not have the odd smoothie and see if it troubles your weight loss?

We blend all of our smoothies in a Nutribullet – they have a range on Amazon but the one we use is this one and it blends everything we throw at it! Plus it’s dirt cheap. We also bought the fancy jars from Amazon, right here.

So, left to right, the six slimming smoothies are:

strawberry, cherry and raspberry – a handful of strawberries – (50g is 0.75 syn), a handful of raspberries (50g is 0.5 syn) and a handful of cherries (50g is 1.5 syns) = syn total including the banana is about 4.5 syns

peach, carrot and apricot – one apricot (50g is 0.75 syns), one peach (50g is also 0.75 syns) and one carrot (free) = syn value overall including the banana is 3.5 syns

mango and pineapple – 50g of mango is 1.5 syns, 50g of pineapple is 1 syn = syn value overall including the banana is 4.5 syns

spinach, mint and choc chips – 25g of dark chocolate chips (we used Dr Oetker which are 6 syns, so 1.5 syns a serving), 80g of uncooked spinach, 40g of mint leaves = syn total overall including banana  is 3.5 syns

blueberry – pretty obvious, chuck in a whack of blueberries (75g blended is 1 syn) = syn value including the banana is 3 syns

beetroot and blackberry – 0.5 syn for 50g of blackberries and I threw a tiny wee pre-cooked beetroot in there. Tell you what mind, don’t be alarmed when you go to the netty later and it looks as though you’re bleeding. You’re not. Promise. Syn value including the bloody banana is 2.5 syns.

Enjoy! I reckon these are a much easier way of getting fruit in at breakfast.

If you want more breakfast ideas, click on the icon below.

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Now, if you will excuse me, I’m off to try and peel myself away from this leather chair without it sounding like a rhino queefing.

J