stuffed yorkshire pudding: beefy or cheesy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

yorkshire pudding

yorkshire pudding

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

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

for the beef and horseradish:

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

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

for the sausage and cheesy mustard mash:

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

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

to make the yorkshire pudding canapés, you should:

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

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

Yum!

J

creamy chicken chipotle pasta with fancy veg

I’m so sick of seeing cajun bloody chicken that we’ve made a newish version: creamy chicken chipotle pasta. You might be thinking, oh, oh you fancy decadent bitches, but please: come for the recipes, stay for the flavour.


Fair warning: the next few paragraphs are proper ranty and if you’re delicate and/or pig ignorant, you’re best scrolling straight to the pictures.


Wondering where we’ve been? Taking a break from the Internet. Does anyone else need to do this every now and then? Do you get tired of wincing at the screen at the eighty-fifth permutation of the word ‘recipe’ you’ve seen that day? I know I do. I’m not one for picking people up on their spelling but I think there’s a Freudian element to the fact that so many of us fat fuckers seem to think the word recipe has a pie in it. When someone tells you to eat your words, it’s a turn of phrase, not a fucking serving suggestion.

Anyway, our tipping point came with the release of the Tesco Christmas advert. Have you seen it? It depicts all manner of family and friends coming together and enjoying a Christmas dinner. It’s about as offensive as a cup of weak tea left out in the sun, but by god, by the reaction it received you’d think it depicted Dr Who shitting in baby Jesus’ manger whilst Dawn French spits a Stormzy song over the top. But why? Because it featured a Muslim family. And see: that just won’t do.

Have a look now on Tesco’s Facebook page and you’ll see what I mean. In between all the Yummy Mummy bloggers with their so achingly obvious attempts at going viral with twee complaints about little Francesca you’ll spot the idiots. The beetroot-faced, barely literate bumholes, crashing their faces over the fact that CHRISMUS HAS NUFFIN TO DO WITH MOSLIMS and LERN HOUR KULTURES AND LANGWISHES and old faithful POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD. I’ll have to stop trying to spell like someone’s rearranged all the letters on my keyboard for a cruel bet, it makes my nose bleed.

These are the same shithead mouth-breathing sofa-cows that spend their entire life telling everyone else to integrate into our culture or fuck off home, as though home is some distant sand-blown wasteland as opposed to five streets away in a mortgaged semi, then they’re getting all indignant when they do join in. What do these people think Muslim folk do on 25 December, sit at home shaking their fists at the telly and frothing at the decadence of it all? Whenever I’ve had this conversation with Muslim friends they say the same thing – they get together, give presents and eat far too much food. Apparently that’s not right with SHEILA MAMOVFOUR TURNER from ‘ull (education: SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS, UNIVERSITY OF LIFE STILL LERNIN’) however, and they really ought to be banished. It’s pathetic reasoning, the equivalent of me turning all the lights off during Diwali and sitting in the cupboard pouting. I know Diwali is a Hindu festival, so shut up.

The worst part is the fact you can’t even tell the family in the advert are Muslim – you can make a guess that because they’re wearing headscarves they might be, but see, my nana wore a headscarf too, if only to keep her hearing aid from blowing down the street. She certainly didn’t pledge allegiance to Allah (it took her five minutes to lift herself off the settee, so getting on her knees five times a day was definitely off the cards). Plus she wasn’t one for exotic spices: her spice cupboard consisted of baking powder, pre-war Saxo and some whole cloves for sucking when her teeth hurt. But nevertheless, the viewers have made the assumption and got all up in arms, totally ignoring the Sikh family in turbans just a few frames later (presumably because when they typed ‘SEEK’ into google to start voicing their disgust, they just get adverts for private investigators).

That’s because this whole argument has bot-all to do with faith (amazingly how devout of a Christian people become in situations like this, ignoring the fact that the last time they were in a church it was to steal the lead off the windows) and it has nothing to do with political correctness but rather it’s just an excuse for people to be the vile, pathetic racists that they are. Even when they claim they’re not, a quick glance at their Facebook profile shows a endless piss-stream of shit memes, Britain First posts (why? Their leader looks like a potato straining to pass a bladder stone) and ‘proud of my country’. Yeah, you’re so fucking proud of your country that you’ve put the Union Jack upside down on your profile and the only time you fly the England flag is when we’re getting beaten at football and even then it’s a cheap Sports Direct affair with ENGERLAND emblazoned on it.

Try to take these folks on in reasoned discussion and you get three responses:

  • you don’t understand the bigger picture – as though they’re the enlightened ones because they’ve read a leaflet in a flat-roof pub telling them SHANIA LAW IS COMING BE REDDY;
  • you’re part of the problem – that one is a compliment – much rather be ‘part of a problem’ given I’m fairly sure a good chunk of these bellends would cheerfully be part of a Final Solution; or
  • TYPICAL LEFTIE SNOWFLAKE DO-GOODER

That’s the best, isn’t it? Leftie used as an insult as though Hitler, Mussolini and Pinochet were as inoffensive as the first three people to go out on Bake-Off. Snowflake I don’t understand: apparently if you’re against intolerance and pro everyone just getting along, you’re a delicate wee snowflake. I like snowflakes: they’re pretty, cold and capable of being blown all over town, which sounds like me to a tee. Why use the snowflake? Why not use that muddy slush that accumulates behind your tyres after a wintry drive, flecked as it is with dog-shit and broken glass. That’s what those complaining are: shit snow. Shnow, if you prefer. Then finally, do-gooder – I mean, the clue is in the word pairing, yes? Damn your hide, going out and doing good. How dare you! Why would you want to make a positive difference to the world rather than sitting on Facebook spitting bile at folks you don’t know about an issue you barely understand in words you can hardly type.

But what annoys me most of all is the fact that Tesco can’t just turn around to these two-bit racist jizz-streaks and tell them to FUCK RIGHT OFF. Nevermind buying groceries, I’d give the entire board of directors unhurried anilingus if they were direct and brave enough to tell these feeble-minded bigots to stay away from the store and to buy their giant Black Friday Polaroid TVs and crates of shit watery lager from elsewhere. But they’re too afraid to do it, because imagine the backlash?

I’m not afraid, though, albeit I pale in comparison I’m sure. If you’re reading this blog, be aware you’re cooking the recipes and reading the words of a young gay man in a happy modern marriage with another bloke, who counts all sorts of nationalities and faiths as his friends, and who, gasp, has the cheek to give money to people in the street even if they are ‘just going to spend it on drugs’. I have at least two different types of lentils in the cupboard. I worked for Shelter where I helped lots of decent folks into houses rather than having them dying on the street. Meh, maybe I am a do-gooder leftie tit, but see, I’d sooner be a tit than an arsehole.

Sorry folks, but I needed to get that off my chest!

Anyway, yes, that’s why we’ve been quiet. You sicken yourself of vileness and had I not stepped away, I’m sure I’d have an ulcer by now. If you’re planning on sending me a snotty message, don’t bother! Everyone else, enjoy being happy with everyone else. Life’s too short for shite.

to make creamy chicken chipotle pasta you will need:

Haven’t got chipotle sauce? Can’t even say it without spraying spittle everywhere? Don’t worry yer tits, just use a hot sauce.

to make spicy chicken chipotle pasta you should:

  • bring a big pan of water to the boil
  • add the asparagus and boil for 2-3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water (use a colander)
  • add the pasta to the pan and cook until just al dente, then drain into the same bowl as the asparagus (but don’t rinse it!)
  • in a bowl, mix the chicken chunks with lemon juice, salt and pepper and keep aside
  • add a little oil to a large frying pan over a medium-high heat
  • add the peppers and onions and cook until it starts to go a bit translucent
  • add the garlic and cook for another minute
  • remove the vegetables from the pan and put into a bowl
  • add a bit more oil to the pan and add the chicken and knock the heat up a little bit
  • cook the chicken until it’s brown on all side
  • add the honey, stir and cook for another 5 seconds
  • add the peppers back to the pan, stir then turn off the heat
  • wait a few minutes for it to cool, then add the chipotle sauce, philadelphia and quark and stir well
  • add the pasta and asparagus to the pan, along with the frozen peas
  • give a good stir until it’s well mixed
  • eat!

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Enjoy!

J

creamy tequila chicken tagliatelle

Creamy tequila chicken tagliatelle! Right – no farting about because it’s a long entry tonight! So, if you can’t be arsed to read, just click here and it’ll whizz you straight to the recipe. No sarky comments this time!

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four | click here for part five | click here for part six

I can’t quite believe we’re on part seven – I’m sorry if you’re not a fan of the holiday entries. When Paul first suggested Benidorm I thought the only thing I’d get from it was a urine infection and fleas, but clearly I had a much better holiday than I first expected! When you last left us we had deliberately gassed an old lady, I’d set my face on fire and we’d seen a Meat Loaf tribute act more Martin Mull than Marvin Lee. Think about it, that works. In this, our penultimate entry, we take a trip out.

Guadalest

After so many hours of being around braying English folk and all that that entails we decided we absolutely must try and get out of the town and go somewhere more…Spanish. A quick nose on Tripadvisor for places reachable by bus (we couldn’t hire a car because guess who had left the documents at home?) turned up Guadalest, a pretty village about forty minutes away. There was one bus there and one bus back – and this story isn’t going to go the way you might be expecting. We turned up at the bus stop nice and promptly in the morning, awaiting our carriage through the mountains. The bus turned up late, with an exasperated looking driver sat in front of what looked like 200 old folk squeezed behind him. If he had braked hard enough I reckon they would have all melded into one another, like that bit in Terminator 2 when the evil Terminator gets obliterated into pools of mercury, only to reform. Yeah, imagine that, only with the addition of 800 barely-sucked Murray Mints scattered about. We had more chance of getting on the Mayflower than we did this bus. Perhaps that’s for the best: long-time readers may recall the last time we went on a coach-trip, it didn’t go well. So we elected for a taxi which didn’t so much as drive us to the village as warp space and time to get us there before I’d even had a chance to say ‘how much, guv’nor’ in broken Spanish. We were going that fast it was like looking at a watercolour through the windscreen. However, once we stopped…

Not a SKOL ashtray in sight.

Just out of shot is a big old dam. You may remember I’m scared of dams. I know, I’m awfully brave.

Anyway, what treasures did Guadalest have clutched to her busom? Quite a lot, actually, although you wouldn’t spend the summer there. I reckon you’d die of boredom within two days. But for a day out, there was plenty. We ambled around the streets, buying trinkets from little shops, cooing at the pretty houses and desperately pleased that we had arrived before the Saga-louts, who were but a distant mumbling on the horizon. First on the tour was Museo de Microminiaturas, a charming wee museum which gave you the opportunity to gaze in wonder down a microscope lens at some stunning vista depicted on a grain of rice. The Spanish lady behind the counter laughed politely when I said I was experienced in finding tiny pleasures in the dark, but I could tell we’d never speak again. We walked around earnestly at first, oohing and aahing at a village carved into a flea, or a woman with her fanny out balanced on the head of a match, but I’m not going to lie, it’s difficult to remain enthralled by the eighth time you’ve rounded a corner only to see another row of magnifying glasses in front of you. The artist, Manuel Ussà, must have been a saucy bugger mind – I’ve never seen so many spread-eagled forms, even in miniature format. We didn’t want to look boorish by nicking out after five minutes so we stretched out our admiration for a good twenty minutes, before the deafening sound of dentures being sucked landed upon us and the elderly had arrived to serve as a distraction. We slipped out.

See?

Something familiar about this…

After a few minutes more climbing the stairs of the town and gasping theatrically into our sleeves we happened across another museum, the Museo Micro-Gigante. This sounds more like my cup of tea, the big wind-socked size queen that I am. We hastened indoors, paid for our tickets and were ushered past the entrance curtain…into a room full of magnifying glasses. It was another museum of miniatures.

Why? What town needs two museums dedicated to the world of the microscopic? Are they rivals? Do they hate each other? Do you reckon it might boil over one day and one of the owners will nip into the other museum and throw a cup of boiling water over their exhibits, cooking the rice and bankrupting them? Who knows. We again feigned interest in teensy-tiny things, me drawing on my year long experience of dating someone with a penis like a cat’s nipple*, and wandered about. Once we were sure we weren’t being watched, we ran upstairs, took a picture with the giant horse (hence the Gigante part of the name) and ran straight back out.

Oh I say!

 

*You might think I’m harsh drawing attention to my ex’s tiny willy, but he was an absolute bellend. A horrid, mean bellend. You don’t need a big knob to make someone happy, but it sure helps act as a distraction when you’ve got a personality like a blown-out arsehole.

By this time Paul was hungry – it had been at least two hours since he’d doubled his weight – and so we set about finding somewhere for a bit of lunch. Guadalest isn’t quite awash with beautiful places to eat but we did manage to find a lovely little café in the main square – even if it did have plastic chairs that creaked ominously underarse. Paul ordered some peri-peri chicken and I went for the healthy choice of a chef’s salad. His looked delicious – good quality chicken, well spiced and grilled to perfection. Mine looked like the little polystyrene tub of salad you get with your Chinese takeaway that sits and sweats under your chow mein. I’d have gained more nutrition from eating the napkin. It really annoys me that people can’t make a decent salad – iceberg lettuce belongs in nothing at all, the tuna was tinned and sweaty and the tomatoes, well, if you can’t grow a decent tomato in sunny Spain then frankly, you don’t deserve to serve lunch to the public. What makes this all the more offensive to me were the two asparagus stalks that had been slapped on the top – grey, thin and slimy. It was like having Voldemort’s cock pressed on my salad.

Naturally when the owner came around we were full of compliments and good cheer and ‘oh we’ve never had better!’, despite the fact I’d tipped most of my salad into the carrier bag we were carrying our trinkets in. Even now my Guadalest fridge magnet smells of onions and disappointment. We left a tip regardless because we’re nice like that.

Squint.

Tasteful!

A trip around the castle followed, then more bric-a-brac shopping (shown above) (I’m sorry, I really am, but if you’re wondering which lout rearranged the lovely letter-tiles you use to make up your house name into ‘El Homo’, it was I) and then onto the final museum – the Museo de Saleros y Pimenteros. That’s the museum of salt and pepper shakers, for the uncultured amongst you. I mean, really. A museum dedicated to some poor sap who decided to start collecting salt and pepper shakers and wasn’t able to tell her friends to stop bloody giving them to her for Christmas. I’m underselling it – this pepper collection was not to be sneezed at.

Ah bugger off.

We went inside and spoke to a charming woman who seemed positively delighted to see us. I can’t imagine there’s many visitors, to be honest, but that’s a great shame because it was actually very, very interesting! Here me out, won’t you – there’s well over 20,000 pairs of shakers in here, in every conceivable forms. They’re separated out first into theme and then into colour and the whole effect is just great – a real treat for the eyes. There’s not much to read (how many words can be said about condiment containers?) but your eyes are drawn to all sorts of oddities – shakers shaped like Diana and Charles, two little penis-shaped shakers (you have to shake the salt for a good five minutes but then poof, you get a proper spurt of salt for your efforts) and my favourite, two big bears cuddling in the corner. There’s something heart-warming about collections like this – your first thought is why bother, but then the real question is – why not? Better than collecting bodies in a cellar.

My favourite picture of the holiday.

Closer.

Closer still.

As we had the place to ourselves (I imagine we had just missed the morning rush which must surely have been like Black Friday at Brighthouse) we were able to devise a game where one of us would nip around the corner, take a picture of a random shaker and then task the other with finding it. It was all very Famous 5 until Paul bent down to snap a photo and broke wind with possibly the loudest fart I’ve ever heard him do. I’m surprised the curator didn’t rush in sure that the shelves had collapsed. Mortified – as they would have doubtless heard this in Catalonia never mind the entrance lobby – we made a dash for the exit, only to be stopped by the sweet-faced old lady owner who wanted to know what we thought. We didn’t want to give her short shrift but I was also conscious of the fact that there was a cloud of effluence billowing out from under the exit door and had she smelled it, it could have finished her off. So, I feigned being deaf. I know that’s dreadful but it works – I pointed out my ears and made some complicated hand gestures which I hoped at least looked like we had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It worked, mind – she gave us a beatific smile as we left.

We ducked into a church to rest our ankles and have a look around. The statues were a little…unique.

Poutin’ for Jesus – we also put out a prayer that whatever cruel curse that gave Paul a tiny desktop fan of a right ear would soon be lifted.

Let’s hear it for Mary – she’s got one eye on your sins, the other eye on the other side of the room.

Ah yes, The Slutty Shepherd and his Doughnut Carrying Dog     

We slipped out when the nuns came in to strike us down.

It was almost time for the return bus back to Benidorm and, aware of the fact we could easily skittle a few old biddies out of the way to ensure a seat on the bus, we wandered over to the bus-stop. However: no such luck. All those dear folk on the outbound bus were dutifully waiting in one bluey-grey mass, waiting to board. I suppose what comes up a mountain must come down. We were stuck: no obvious place to call for a taxi, no payphones, even Google couldn’t assist. Bugger. We walked around bickering in that passive-aggressive ‘well I knew we should have gone to Portugal’ way of ours until Paul spotted two stations of relief – a public toilet (I was bursting) and a tourist information centre, which, against all odds, was open. We asked for a taxi and he sat us outside in the sun to wait.

Aware that the taxi was coming all the way from Benidorm and thus we were in for a long wait, I diverted myself to the public toilet to while away the time dropping off my dinner. I was met outside by the type of bloke you see in local newspapers pointing furiously at leaves in his garden whilst his wife considers her life-choices in the background. A tedious, boring fart. He saw me heading over and I swear his eyes lit up with eagerness at the sight of someone fresh to talk to. His opening line was: “I’VE just been in there and it ABSOLUTELY stinks”. I applauded him on a job well done and told him to try the Salt and Pepper Museum if he fancies the smell of a lingering shit. I went inside and crashed the lock across, making sure to keep my foot pressed against the door for good measure. It did smell, but hey, it’s a toilet, not the Tom Ford counter, and I’m not dabbing the toilet water behind my ears so let’s crack on. Ten minutes later I emerged (it was a slow mover up the charts) only to find he had waited for me outside. He picked up the conversation as though I’d merely blinked out of existence for a moment, rather than disappeared  a dump. “APPARENTLY IT’S THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM” he bellowed at me, as though I’d spent the last ten minutes in the lavatory staring mystified at the u-bend. I had no idea how to react, so I nodded politely and made to cross the car-park to the relative safety of Paul, who I could see chuckling away to himself.

Thankfully, the guy didn’t follow me, but did leave a final exclamation ringing around my ears that “IT’S BECAUSE we’re SO HIGH UP, SEE”. I waved him away. It begs a bigger question, however – he was still hanging around outside the toilet twenty minutes later when our taxi arrived. Either his wife had an awful lot of meat and was struggling in the ladies or he was absolutely mental. There was no suggestion that he was cottaging or being inappropriate, but what other explanation could there be? Even as our taxi pulled away he was staring at the toilet door with a concerned look. I like to think he’s there even now, yelling about poo and the standards of the toilet paper.

That was Guadalest. Now, onto the food.

REMEMBER, leave us some feedback on the holiday entries!


Double dip time!





to make creamy tequila chicken tagliatelle you will need:

Remember, you can leave out the booze if you like, but it adds a certain tang! Oh and this serves 2 – two very big-fatty portions!

to make creamy tequila chicken tagliatelle you should:

  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and heat over a medium-high heat
  • add the garlic and jalapeños and cook for a few minutes
  • add the chicken stock, tequila and lime juice, whack the heat up a little and cook until it’s reduced a bit glaze-like
  • remove from the pan and leave to cool for a few minutes, then stir in the philadelphia, quark and soy sauce – then keep aside
  • now is a good time to bring a big pan of water to the boil and cook the tagliatelle
  • in another pan (or under the grill if you prefer) add a little oil and add the chicken breasts
  • sprinkle over the salt and pepper and cook over a medium-high heat for about 4 minutes each side or until cooked through
  • put the chicken on a plate and add the peppers and onion to the empty pan and cook for a few minutes, stirring every now and again
  • chop the chicken into 1″ cubes and add back into the pan with the onions and peppers
  • give a good stir, cook for a minute or two and then add the cheese sauce
  • mix well and add the drained pasta, and mix again
  • eat

Still not satisfied? Don’t worry – we’ve got tonnes of other recipes you can try. Just click one of the buttons below to find more!

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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.

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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

droptober recipe #3: cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake

Here for the cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake? It’s a few paragraphs below, but I beg your attention for a couple of minutes whilst I witter on. Let’s get the exciting news out of the way…

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Canny! I’m more surprised than anyone, trust me. We’re going slow and steady but after the week of naughtiness I had last week, I thought I’d put on for sure. Just shows: you should still go to class even when you can barely catch a breath because your mouth is so full of pie crust. If you want to take part in this challenge, there’s 100 syn free recipes and some colouring charts available all in one place right here! Remember to share.

Yes, last week then. See, I was sent up to Glasgow on a sort-of business trip to learn some new skills and socialise – both of which I’m terrible at. Had I been single I would have been up there so fast my shadow would have only appeared an hour later – Paul and I both love a Scotsman and between you and me (because who reads this, honestly) the biggest willy I’ve ever seen belonged to a Glaswegian. I didn’t know what to do with it – I’m surprised he didn’t pass out from lack of blood on the brain when he got an erection. It looked like a sausage casing stuffed with two cans of Carling Black Label. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or smash a bottle of champagne off the side of it. But those days are behind me (though I still whistle like a keyhole in a haunted castle) and so I didn’t have that to look forward to.

It also meant a whole week without Paul – I know. Before you’re all sick in your mouth (although, think of the weight-loss) please understand that we haven’t been apart for more than a week in the totality of our almost ten year relationship. I was fretting at the thought of being unable to sleep without the smell of death being blown across my nostrils at five-minute intervals. I shivered at the thought of being able to occupy more than 10% of the bed without Paul’s wandering hands, feet and knob poking and prodding me. There are nights I feel like a stress-ball. But hey, it had to be done, and it was with an aching heart and a threatening arsehole (we’d had easy peasy beef curry the night before, and whilst delicious, it was making a dramatic reappearance throughout the morning) that we schlepped off to pick up my hire car on Sunday.

I could see I was in for an easy time when I got to the desk and was assigned a car-rental-spokesperson who I wasn’t entirely convinced wasn’t dead. I’ve made more responsive omelettes. He didn’t look up from his keyboard once – perhaps he was trying to find the ‘wake the fuck up’ key but if so, he failed miserably. He didn’t check my insurance details, didn’t check my payment details, didn’t check my lyrics, nothing. I’d have had a more fruitful chat if I’d turned and had a discussion with the leaflet stand. I was going to ask him about fuel but I rather thought I’d need to fetch a defibrillator to just bring him back into some form of sentience, and well, my ankles were already hurting from having to concertina myself into Paul’s tiny Smart car. He did perk up when he remembered he could sell me an upgrade, and, remembering the Ford Boredom we’d been given last time, I asked him what he could offer me. First a Skoda – no. Then a Fiat 500 – no. Then his trump card (honestly, his eyes nearly opened with the shock) – he had an Audi. Did I want an Audi? I leaned over the desk and tried to explain that I’d be unable to take an Audi because a) I know how to use indicators and b) I’m not a middle-aged, impotent, prematurely-balding twat, but he’d pretty much already signed the card for me and was back to looking like he was trying to remember to breathe in and out. Resigned (and a fair few pounds lighter) I went to pick up my car.

Well, I’m not going to lie. It was lovely. I wanted to hate it, really I did, but it drove well and was comfortable for a long drive. I still wouldn’t buy one on sheer principle and I still think every single Audi driver – bar you and any of your charming family and friends, I’m sure – is a minge, but I can definitely see the appeal. I thought I’d do my best to be a decent Audi driver so I spent the first sixty miles or so driving gently and letting people out at junctions before a transformation took place and I was flooring it. You know how the Incredible Hulk turns green when he gets angry? I turned violet. In my defence I was stuck behind a little old dear doing 40mph on a single carriageway designed for 70mph and because I’m a nice guy deep down, I couldn’t flash my lights, but by god was I raging. I had to stop at the next services just to have a McFlurry and calm myself down.

I drove on, loving every second of having the car to myself for a long drive. I could sing along to my music without any protestation from Paul and there was no Alanis Fucking Morrisette to contend with, which was lucky as I don’t think my Budget Special Povvo Insurance would cover deliberately driving into the back of a petrol tanker. As I drove past Lockerbie the tyre pressure warning light came on. Horror! I pulled over, walked around the car kicking the tyres because I’d seen someone do it on the TV, then spent twenty minutes reading up on how to change a tyre. I have no clue. I know that I should have acquired this skill by now but really, I’m very much a pay-someone-else-to-do-it sort of guy (i.e. lazy). I didn’t want some oily-handed mechanic to come and tut at me on the hard shoulder whilst I tried to make crass jokes about helping him with his tight nuts or jacking up. I waited a bit and kicked the tyres again and they seemed hard enough, so on I went.

You may recall I’m somewhat of a catastrophic thinker – well, this meant that I couldn’t relax for the rest of the journey. That tiny light with the deflated tyre haunted me like the Telltale Heart, burning away at my retinas as I tried to think about anything else than my tyre exploding and sending me ricocheting into oncoming traffic. Imagine that – being found buckled into a shoebox cube of metal with the Audi rings imprinted on my forehead, with some coroner declaring me dead due to my lack of manliness. The last sixty or so miles into Glasgow were tenser than the last round of The Cube – I reckon there’s still a fingernail wedged into the steering wheel. However, after navigating my way down to the Clyde (via the road system, as opposed to plummeting off the A74 in a fading shriek of ABBA Gold) I arrived at the hotel, the not-especially-salubrious Garden Inn Hilton.

Alas, Paul just minced in from the kitchen to inform me dinner will be ready in ten minutes, so I’m going to plough straight on with tonight’s recipe and finish this story another time! This makes enough for four massive portions, so we’re going for comfort food here folks, not grace…

cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake

cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake

to make cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake you will need:

  • 6 bacon medallions, chopped

We use some of the bacon from our fantastic freezer filler deal – 24/26 chicken breasts, a load of bacon medallions, 5 big portions of extra lean beef mince and two portions of beef chunks – get yourself stocked up for Autumn by clicking here – it’ll open in a new window!

to make cheesy caramelised onion and bacon pasta bake you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add a splash of oil
  • slice the onions into 0.5cm slices and add to the pan, coating well
  • leave to cook in the pan for half an hour, stirring only when the edges start to brown, scraping up any bits sticking to the pan
  • when the onions are nicely browned (after about 15-20 minutes) add the balsamic vinegar, stir well to coat and continue to cook until it has evaporated off
  • meanwhile, preheat the oven to 190°c
  • fry the bacon in another frying pan over a medium-high heat until crispy
  • bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions, minus a minute or two so it’s still firm to bite into
  • in a large bowl, mix together the quark, creme fraiche, garlic powder and a little salt and pepper to taste
  • stir in the cooked bacon, chopped red pepper and half the grated cheese
  • stir in the drained pasta and caramelised onions and mix well to combine
  • slop out into a large baking dish and top with the remaining cheese – yes that’s right, we use words like slop out in our recipes – some might say gently transfer, but we’re not that kind of blog, fuck no
  • bake in the oven for 20 minutes, and finish off under the grill for 2 minutes until golden and the cheese is bubbling – we were terrible and crunched a stray packet of BBQ kettle chips that we had lying around over the top (six syns, so that’s 1.5 syns extra per person – you don’t need to do it but man, was it good)
  • serve!

Easy! Looking for more pasta recipes? One-pot? All sorts? Have some buttons and you know what to do!

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J

droptober recipe #1: pronto lamb tagine – a lovely autumn stew

A pronto lamb tagine? Well, yes, it’s a one-pot meal left over from one-pot week, and you can find it below. It’s one of those meals that no matter how you photograph it, it looks like something our cat did on the carpet when we changed his catfood for the cheaper variety. We’re currently locked in this exact battle of wills with our cats – we want to see if we can get them on cheapy cat food for a bit so we bought a sachet of Conshita or something from Lidl (I know) to test. They sampled a bit and seemed to enjoy themselves so we went and bought a crate of the stuff. Of course, this was a step too far and they immediately took such great offence at our penny-pinching that they’re refusing to eat. We’re also refusing to budge. They won’t go hungry, there’s plenty of dry food and mice and whatnot to be had, but I swear they both sit there smirking as I scrape the untouched catfood into the bin. We’ve got an Amazon Dash button for Whiskas on the fridge (very clever stuff – you press the button, Amazon automatically orders you a box of catfood and delivers it the next day – I’m not kidding, look!) and I reckon it’ll be three days before they’ve started pressing it themselves.

ANYWAY where have we been? Well, I’ve been in gay Glasgow on a sort-of business trip and Paul’s been stuck at home, aimlessly masturbating and wailing around the house like Victoria when Albert died. I did take my iPad with me with an eye to creating some new posts but actually, after I had finished work and navigated Glasgow, I couldn’t be arsed. Plus The Fall was on and I was too busy admiring Whisperin’ Agent Scully to hammer out a blog.

However, we’re going to try something new for the next month – a new post every day in October. Let’s have 31 days of new recipes and ideas and really concentrate on getting our slimming done right. Are you with us? You should be. I know October is traditionally given over to giving up smoking but listen, smoking makes you look cool and better you put a cigarette in your mouth than a family sized bar of Dairy Milk, am I right? I’m kidding: don’t smoke, folks, it makes you look common and everyone thinks you stink. I’ve been racking my brains to try and think of a decent, snappy title that combines October with recipes or losing weight and can I balls – if you can think of one, do leave a comment. One thing to stress though: there will be nights when it is PURELY a recipe we’re posting – so no guff beforehand! I always feel guilty if I can’t squeeze out a few paragraphs but no more! Something is better than nothing, after all…!

I can’t help but notice there’s a rash of strops and gashcrashing going on via the facebook groups about the fact that Slimming World are changing the rules on sweetener, which I believe is now synned at 1/2 syn per tablespoon. Quite bloody right! When you see people making cakes (sorry, how silly: vanilla scented omelettes) that have 75g of this shit in and then eating the whole lot because ‘ITZ JUS LIKE A PROPA CAKE HUN XOXOXOX’, you can see why SW stepped in and stopped it. That’s why we don’t have many cakes and biscuits on this blog – not because we can’t bake but because the reason these things taste so nice is because of the butter and because of the sugar. Sweetener, quark and the tears of a fatty is never going to beat that! Naturally we’ve had over-reactions, with people saying they’re going to leave because SW keep changing things, which is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the head because the logo for BBC2 has changed. Plus, if you HAVE to have it, it’s only 1/2 syn in a tablespoon. You’re allowed 15 syns a day. So that’s thirty tablespoons and frankly, if that isn’t enough to get by on, you’ve got bigger problems than getting Splenda out of the folds in your neck.

Finally, just a big thank you to all the wonderful kind comments and likes on our last post – I was so tempted at the end of it to say we were packing up and no more posts as a joke – I’m glad I didn’t. Judging by your outpouring of love (or was it just wind?) I’d have finished a few of you off – and not in that ‘rubbing ink off your hand’ way, if you get what I mean. To the lamb tagine! This serves four fatties and can be done all in the one pot as long as that pot has a decent lid and can go in the oven. If it can’t, you’re fucked. No, obviously not, you’ll just need to transfer it, but you can definitely manage that!

OH COMPLETELY AS AN ASIDE: do you need a laugh? This is a genuine goldmine. It’s as old as Paul’s mother but far more entertaining – read the reviews people have left for this portrait of Paul Ross. Click right here. It’s rare that I laugh 😐 but these had me absolutely creased. It’ll open in a new window, no need to shit the bed. You know we’ve got a good sense of humour, it’ll not let you down.

pronto lamb tagine

to make pronto lamb tagine you will need:

  • 500g lean diced lamb
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, quartered lengthways and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ras-el-hanout spice mix
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped (10 syns)
  • 600ml chicken stock

to make pronto lamb tagine you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • heat a casserole dish on the hob over a medium-high heat and add some oil
  • brown the lamb on all sides and then remove from the pan and place onto a plate
  • in the same pan, add the onions and carrots and cook for about three minutes
  • add the garlic and cook for another minute
  • stir in the spices and chopped tomatoes and stir
  • add the lamb back to the pan along with the chickpeas, dried apricots and and stock
  • stir well, bring to a simmer and cover with the lid
  • cook in the oven for a couple of hours, though make sure it doesn’t boil dry – add more stock if it does
  • serve with rice!

How easy was that? If you’re after a few more lamb recipes, click the buttons below, but you can indulge yourself with beef, chicken and pork too!

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Enjoy folks.

J

spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap

Here for the spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap? Who could blame you – it sounds wonderful. But first, some housekeeping. We’ve updated the Christmas challenge to include two very helpful colouring charts for you to monitor your progress on. You can find them at the bottom of the Christmas page – right here.

Let’s face it, breakfasts are a proper ball-ache on Slimming World. Yeah, you can have a fry-up the size of a multi-storey car-park, we know that, but who has time for that in the morning between getting ready for work and a forty minute crap? Honestly. That said, we’ve made some absolute classics in our time and here’s another to add to the list: a spinach, egg, tomato and feta wrap. Apparently this is a big thing in the United States, but so is Donald Trump, so what do they know? I kid, I love America. Anyway, a quick glance at the massively user-friendly and totally-worth-the-money syns calculator…

…reveals a Starbucks wrap comes in at 22 syns! Well butter my tits and call me Sally, no wrap is going to be worth that! So naturally we’ve made our own and you can find that all the way down at the bottom of the page. Because, naturally, I have shenanigans to discuss.

A friend of mine received a speeding ticket over the weekend and it made me think of the speed awareness course I went on. I’ve touched on it before but I recently found my hand-written diary and the notes I put down put some putting together – I essentially scribbled ‘whistler, bald, Posh Spice, 80s’ on the back of my ‘naughty boy admission’ card and frankly, that deserves fleshing out. That’s how I remember things, by the way – I’m forever jotting down nonsense on the back of things and then putting them away somewhere to get lost forever – if I ever die suddenly and they can’t find Paul, they’re going to be really confused when they open my desk drawer and a load of ASDA receipts with ‘cock, gingivitis, farting am-i-right and spiraliser’ on the back come tumbling out.

I was made to go on a speed awareness course after committing the heinous crime of doing 55mph in a 50mph zone at 6am on a motorway. I know what you’re thinking, it’s amazing that I didn’t kill anyone. To be fair, it was probably more to do with me caterwauling and screeching away to Smooth FM than anything else, probably knocked a sleeping policeman out of his slumber. The last time that happened was Raoul Moat and look how that ended up – that could have been me crouched all roided-up in a ditch in Rothbury, shouting at the police helicopter until I decided it was time to clean my ears with a sawn-off shotgun. But hey, a crime is a crime and I was speeding so it’s a fair cop, guv. I received a letter calling me a tinker in the post and was offered a speed awareness course or points on my licence.

Naturally, I chose that, and I was ordered to attend a course in a Holiday Inn near my home. A Holiday Inn, I might add, that’s slap-bang in the middle of a gay cruising ground, because who doesn’t like looking out over two carpet salesman furiously frotting away whilst they learn about road-signs? Incidentally, you know why they call it a Holiday Inn? It’s actually short for ‘Fuck me, I’d rather Holiday Inn anywhere but this shithole’. At least the one at Seaton Burn is. With a heavy heart, I turned up in the morning and was made to sit around a table with various men, all at various degrees of baldness (in my ideal world I would have stood up and rearranged them like matryoshka dolls) and each one, to an absolute fault, with appalling coffee-breath. I didn’t feel I knew them well enough to offer up chewing up or a hydrochloric rinse either, so I was stuck crinkling my nose all morning.

One guy was late, bursting in through the door 20 minutes after the course had started and we’d all done our introductions (“Hi, I’m James, I was speeding because I was too engrossed in the harmonies on Boyz II Men’s End of the Road, ironic, am I right?”) and explained that he had been stuck in traffic. I made a gag – my one and only of the day – that he should have put his foot down, but that was met with a few people sucking air over their teeth and the guy leading the class looking at me like I’d wiped out a bus full of children. His very next sentence was that ‘we needed to show we had the right attitude or we would fail the course’ and it wasn’t so much pointed as me as lubed up and rammed up my arse. I bit my bottom lip and tried to look as solemn as possible.

You know what though, despite my reservations that we were going to get shouted at by someone with bad teeth and glasses as thick as my wrists, it was actually really interesting. I’m not going to lie and say the day passed in a blur like a visit to Disneyworld, but I didn’t die of terminal boredom, not least because of the instructor’s tendency to add horrific detail into the most innocent of sentences. I’d be slumbering my way through a bit about junctions when he’d casually mention that he’d found a decapitated head once in a layby and shock us all back in the room.

We paused for coffee at about 11. I say coffee, it was some brown water that was dispensed sputtering from a machine first used in the Sufi monasteries in Yemen back in the sixteenth century. I can’t make small talk, not least with people whose only common denominator was that they were heavy on the accelerator, so we all sat in silence looking at our phones, a pointless endeavour as they didn’t give us the Wifi password and the mobile reception couldn’t get through the asbestos. Anyway, it didn’t feel right to check into Facebook on a speed awareness course, not least because I didn’t want my mother finding out and ringing with an earbashing. I’m 31, by the way.

Perhaps the most unusual part of the day was the little video where we learned all about stopping distances. All very sobering and factual – I’ve never looked so intently at a chart full of numbers since my doctor weighed me and told me it would be kinder just to push me into the sea and have done.  No, what made this unique was the fact they used a cardboard cut-out of Posh Spice as the target for the speeding car. Even now as I speed merrily along the motorway the sight of Posh Spice bouncing off the bumper of a Nissan Sunny and crumpling under the tyres will creep into my thoughts and make me slow down. Maybe that was their plan all along!

Anyway, after we all promised to be good and signed a form saying how naughty we were, we were released back to the car-park. There’s a bit in the Simpsons where they all leave the road-rage camp at the same time and everyone is unfailingly polite. Don’t worry, it was the same for us, which made me screeching past the waiting Audis much easier. I’m kidding, I spent so much time waving people out that my wrist sounds like a cement mixer.

Right, that’s quite enough guff. Let’s do the breakfast wrap. That sounds like the worst dance craze, doesn’t it?

jspinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap

That tomato ketchup you see behind? That’s coming online shortly too!

to make a spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap, you’ll need:

  • one BFree Foods Multigrain Wrap, Wheat & Gluten Free – currently a HEB, but do check for others
  • two eggs OR if you’re feeling decadent, three egg whites instead (we buy those egg whites in a carton, super easy)
  • a bag of spinach
  • a few dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes – not the ones in oil but the ones you rehydrate in water – now SW say this is 2 syns per 25g, but you use 10g at most – if you want to syn it, you can, but frankly, it’s a dried tomato, not a bloody Wispa)
  • 45g of feta (HEA)
  • a tablespoon of Quark – not a fan? Use Philadelphia Lightest – it’s 1 syn for 25g and again, you’re not using 25g so…

Now with this, customise it however you want. We used egg-whites but you can use the whole egg. Add garlic. Add peppers. Take out the tomato, it’s all good.

to make a spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap, you should:

  • start by rehydrating your tomatoes by putting them in boiling water, or just chopping up some normal tomatoes
  • add the spinach into a large dry pan over a medium heat and let it wilt right down
  • once that’s done, drain and squeeze your tomatoes and spinach to get all the water out, then chop finely
  • using your spinach pan, drop the beaten egg or egg whites into the pan on a medium heat, cover with a lid and allow to cook for a few minutes
  • chop up your feta in the meantime
  • then it’s just a case of assembly – a smear of soft cheese, some chopped spinach, some chopped tomato, a chunk of omelette and a sprinkling of feta – go ahead and add some black pepper and salt too, why not?
  • roll, serve, turn into poo.

Rolling a wrap is easy enough. If you imagine the big round wrap as a face, you want to put your filling where the mouth would be. Definitely just below the middle of the wrap. Tuck the sides in, fold the bottom up over the filling and then roll it!

You can toast it off in the omelette pan if you want. If you want a meatier version filled with sausages, chips and cheese (really!) click here!

For more breakfast ideas, overnight oats recipes or slow cooker links, click on the buttons below! EASY.

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Cheers,

J

ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni

Genuinely just a quick post tonight before we get to the ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni, but first, can someone answer me one question?

Why do people write on their own walls? Hear me out. Chunkles and I were watching Britain’s Benefit Tenants yesterday, laughing at the poor inbetween handfuls of caviar and swigs of champagne. Not quite – we had been watching something on Channel 4, the remote fell out of reach and we couldn’t be arsed to switch over. It was illuminating. I’m not going to get into the whole ‘landlords are bad’ / ‘tenants are scum’ because obviously there’s good and bad on all sides, but it did make me think, not least whether there a direct correlation between neon pink walls and jet black teeth.

What troubles me is the state of some of the houses. Look, I can be as slobby as the next person, but unless you’re unwell, there’s very little reason for your house to be so unclean. You see the same old tropes – the writing of names on the wall (why? WHY? It’s not even graffiti on an outside wall, just shit scribbling and the inevitable weed leaf on the living room wall), dried up dog poo in the kitchen and, in the garden, a broken Fisher Price slide that someone stepped through back in 2005 and two dogs so inbred and vicious that they’re fighting their own feet.

Now, I know, I’ve always been lucky in that, so far, I’ve always been gainfully employed and in reasonable health, so until I moved into the house I own, I always paid my rent. I do wonder if I was a mug for doing so, though, given it seems to be a-ok for someone to rent a house, smash it up and then move on to be rehoused. It’s why we don’t buy our own property to rent out – I’d be fucking livid if someone decided it was an appropriate reaction to kick their foot through my internal walls. Oh and plus, if we were landlords, I know we’d be the type you see on Crimewatch rubbing our thighs and suggesting ‘we come to other arrangements’ if the tenant so much as called in to report a leaky tap.

Anyway, speaking of stuffing tubes, let’s get straight to the ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni recipe, shall we? We used to make a variation on this all the time back in our proper Slimming World days when we took it seriously (cough) but that involved cottage cheese and sweetener. God knows why. This is proper food! We took inspiration from a blog called flavourbender which won us over on name alone. This makes enough for four.

1.5 syn ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni

to make ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni, you’ll need:

  • 10 large canneloni tubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced (mince mince mince, mince mince mince, shake your mincer…with this)
  • lots of salt and pepper
  • 270g of ricotta (90g is one HEA or six syns – this serves four – so if you want to syn it, it’s 4.5 syns per serving)
  • 150g of quark
  • 30g of parmesan (which is one HEA, or six syns – so again, between four, it’s 1.5 syns per serving)
  • one 400g packet of extra-lean beef mince (use one from our Musclefood deal – perfect size, perfect quality – click here to order)
  • one carrot
  • one stalk of celery
  • one large onion
  • one carton of passata

So, per serving, it’ll be either 1.5 syns or maximum of 6 syns per serving.

to make ricotta and spinach stuffed beefy cannelloni, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  • chop your onion, carrot and celery nice and fine, and sweat them off in a squirt or two of oil in a decent non-stick pan
  • add the minced garlic
  • add the mince and brown it off
  • add the passata, a pinch of salt, and let them simmer away gently so it thickens up
  • put your canneloni tubes in boiling water for a few minutes just to soften them up, though we didn’t actually bother and although it was a bit chewy, we still enjoyed it
  • in a seperate pan, tip all the spinach in with a tiny drop of water and put a lid on it – let the spinach wilt right down, then drain, squeeze, squeeze again, squeeze like it’s the windpipe of that bitch/bastard you hate, then chop it nice and fine
  • mix the ricotta, yolks, parmesan and quark together with the chopped spinach and a good pinch of salt and pepper to make the filling for the tubes
  • get the dish you’re going to cook everything in the oven with and put a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom
  • push the ricotta mix into the tubes – you can either do this by using your fingers like the filthy slattern you are, or tip the ricotta mix into a sandwich bag, tie it up at the top and cut a corner off on the bottom – voila, instant icing bag – much easier
  • place each filled tube into the dish and then cover the lot with the remainder of the tomato sauce
  • add more cheese on top if you dare, I won’t tell if you won’t
  • cover with tin foil and cook in the oven for 20 or so minutes, then remove the foil, whack the heat up to 210, and cook for another 15 minutes or so until the cheese is golden and the pasta is soft

Serve! Pretty easy, right? Again, it’s one of those recipes that sounds like a lot of instructions but actually, is dead easy. If you want more beef or pasta ideas, click on the buttons below! You could make this veggie by leaving out the beef and adding more veg to the sauce, so I’ve whacked in the veggie recipes link too.

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Cheers all.

J

 

stuffed ‘n’ rolled crunchy chicken

Here for the stuffed ‘n’ rolled crunchy chicken and don’t want any of my nonsense ruining it? I know right? Well tough titty. If it’s any consolation, I don’t have a lot to say so I’m not going to keep you long, but I do want to fill you in on something exciting.

We have decided we are going to have a new theme on the blog next year: holidays. We love going away, but saving money means that we’re being sensible and not going away. Which is a shame, but we did have six holidays in ten months so really, restrain yourselves. I don’t want to end up with one of those vagina necks from being in the sun too much anyway. So, despite me being one literal click from booking Las Vegas for a December break just yesterday because I was bored at home, we’re being good.

However, next year, we’re doing ten holidays – to celebrate our ten years together (aw). Now, we’re not Rockafella, so these holidays aren’t going to be super glitzy and glam – the idea is that we have ten two-to-four day breaks away over the year, with a set budget for each one. Any money we don’t spend on one holiday can be rolled onto the next, do you see? I get a lot of comments from folks that our travelogues are hilarious, so hopefully this means even more of those. We’re trying to do different types of holiday too – so expect to see us in (possibly!) a proper roughing it camping style holiday, Amsterdam (good grief), possibly somewhere awful like Benidorm, a city break, a coach tour…we’re still mapping it all out – but it’s going to be fun!

I know what you’re thinking – set up a Paypal account and you lot will pay for us to travel the world. It’s tempting, but I’m just not that mercenary. But do us a favour, buy some bloody meat once and a while, if only to pay for the extra fat-seat that Paul needs on the plane. It’s called the cargo deck.

Speaking of meat…

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Right, let’s get to the chicken!

stuffed 'n' rolled crunchy chicken

to make stuffed ‘n’ rolled crunchy chicken, you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 8 tbsp quark
  • 50g panko (10 syns)
  • 1½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • pinch of basil
  • pinch of oregano

Can’t get panko? No need to shit the bed, just whizz up a wholemeal breadbun into crumbs. THINK OF THE SYNS SAVING.

to make stuffed ‘n’ rolled crunchy chicken, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200ºc and line a baking tray with tinfoil
  • in a bowl, mix together the panko, breadcrumbs, paprika, celery salt, black pepper, garlic salt, garlic owder, onion powder, basil and oregano – mix it well as some of the ingredients have a tendency to settle at the bottom of the bowl
  • cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise (like you’re opening out a book) so you’re left with 8 thin breasts – lay them out flat
  • dollop a tablespoon of quark onto the middle of each breast and roll up from one end – don’t worry if it isn’t neat or it oozes out – it won’t matter – and secure with a toothpick
  • drop each roll into the bowl mixture and sprinkle over the panko mix to get an even coating – it should stick quite easily but if it doesn’t just spray with bit of frylight
  • place each roll onto the baking tray and bake for 25 minutes
  • when done, gently pull out the toothpicks before serving

We served this with salsa – Doritos Hot Salsa is 1/2 syn for two tablespoons and you know what, life is too short to be chopping up a bloody salsa.

If you’re looking for more chicken recipes, click on the button below and drool on the carpet with wonder. From your top lips or otherwise.

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Cheers!

J

syn free sweet potato and turkey layered casserole

Turned up for the sweet potato and turkey layered casserole, that’s syn-free and awash with taste? Well, don’t hasten along just yet. A word please, but for once, I’ll make it a quick one.

How do people keep falling for Facebook scams? It’s beyond me. I get it, people are keen for a bargain and would snatch the skin off your face if it meant getting 25% discount at Aldi, but please, exercise just a modicum of common sense. Tesco aren’t giving away 500 gift-cards with £500 quid on them because they’ve turned 50. You can tell that because a) Tesco wouldn’t give away a quarter of a million quid via stay-at-home-mums on facebook ‘buy ‘n’ sell’ pages (the ‘n’ stands for not having THAT in my house because it’s fucking gopping) and b) Tesco wouldn’t give you the steam off its piss.

I only mention it because Alton Towers have had to issue a statement explicitly stating that they’re not running a promotion for five free tickets for each person who shares some crappy low-res and clearly photoshopped picture of a ticket. I just find it perplexing that people get suckered in by crap like that. Surely at some point during the ‘complete X surveys’ and ‘submit your Paypal account details here’ an alarm bell must ring, and presumably that bell is going to be bloody loud because it’s got no brain to muffle the sound? Pfft. If I was in charge of Alton Towers, I’d honour the crummy tickets and put all the people most vocal about it straight on The Smiler – and I’d put the work experience kid in front of the controls. I mean HONESTLY.

This wouldn’t have caused me so much ire if Alton Tower’s official status on Facebook wasn’t awash with people who immediately started twisting their gobs about how Alton Towers had a duty to provide free tickets as compensation. Com-pen-bloody-sation! Listen, you should get compensation if you have your legs blown off by faulty wiring or your eyes smacked from your skull from a falling crane, you don’t deserve compensation just because you got your juicebox in a froth thinking you’d get a free ticket because of some barely literate sharing on Facebook.

Anyway, the last time I went to Alton Towers I had a very reasonable time. Make of that what you will. I enjoyed waiting in the queues for a one minute ride, I loved looking at the delicate displays of litter and wasps and found the experience of applying for a loan just to buy a small fries and hotdog to be remarkably thrilling. I love theme parks but I’ve been utterly spoiled by spending a month in Florida, with the added bonus of not being the fattest person in the park.

My mind boggles.

Speaking of mind boggling, you need to give Stranger Things a go. It was recommended by a friend, who, to her credit, is normally fairly spot-on with her recommendations and tea-making. It’s sublime. Wonderfully shot, gorgeously scored, tightly plotted and just something so unusual on TV these days – a real rare treat. It’s on Netflix and I can’t, in turn, recommend it highly enough. Who knew Winona Ryder (Ryder? I barely knew her!) could act? She’s a revelation. Even the kids can act! How comes whenever we see children on UK television they’re always that unique breed of smug, breathy annoyances with a know-it-all attitude and a name like an old Victoria affliction. OH LITTLE DROPSY, DO COME ALONG, YOU’LL BE LATE FOR YOUR MANDARIN CLASS. That kind of shite.

If it helps sweeten the deal, there’s a policeman in there with a strong jaw and a mean attitude, so at least you’re guaranteed a bit of rain at Fort Bushy.

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Eh?

Let’s get to the bloody casserole, eh, before I give you a nosebleed.

Look, it doesn’t look great, but it’s a good way of getting some speed veg in, it freezes well and you know, you could do worse!

sweet potato and turkey layered casserole

to make sweet potato and turkey layered casserole, you’ll need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 500g turkey mince (or use beef mince, and yeah, you’ll get plenty in our box below)
  • 250g bacon medallions (you’ll get some in any of our musclefood deals!)
  • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 50ml almond milk (this works out at less than 1/3rd of a syn – I didn’t count it but you can if you like)
  • 4 tbsp quark
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 150g mushrooms, chopped
  • salt
  • pepper

to make sweet potato and turkey layered casserole, you should:

  • begin by peeling the sweet potatoes and cut into chunks, and add to a pan of boiling water, cook until tender and drain
  • in another pan meanwhile, cook the bacon under a hot grill until crispy – when done, remove from the under the grill and set aside
  • great – now preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • cook the cauliflower florets in a pan of boiling water, for about 7 minutes (or until tender)
  • over a sink, drain the cauliflower and put into a food processor (or blender)
  • completely blend with half of the almond milk, a load of black pepper and half of the quark – blend until smooth and set aside
  • kindly do exactly the same with the sweet potato, but add parmesan if you want rather than peppers
  • in a large frying pan, add a little oil and cook the turkey mince
  • now, once the mince starts to brown, add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and keep stirring every now and again
  • mainly a job of layering now – in a large ovenproof dish (pyrex is best!) spoon half of the mince mixture and spread out to a thin layer
  • yes, add all of the cauliflower mix and spread out, then add the remaining meat mixture followed by the sweet potato
  • bake in the oven for 30 minutes
  • usually, we chop or crumble the bacon into little pieces and spread over the dish when cooked
  • masses of casserole for everyone – serve!

Looking for even more recipes? Good lord woman, steady on, you’ll snap it off. Click the buttons below for even more!

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Hope that left you satisfied and smiling.

J