Ham and cheese scones. Nope. They’re not Slimming World friendly. But sometimes, you’ve got to let your gunt out, shake that Elnett-by-proxy out of your hair and live your life a little. Anyway, a little bit of what you fancy does you good, or at least it does until you’re left with an STD and Graeme from Jeremy Kyle is fussing about your nethers with a box of tissues. I’m feeling a bit soured towards the whole Slimming World thing at the moment anyway: any diet where people are making lemon meringue pies by scrapping a Muller yoghurt into a pastry made from PEASE PUDDING isn’t good.
To be fair, that’s not Slimming World’s fault such as it is people just trying to eat without spending syns, which is ridiculous but ground that we’ve covered so many times before that I earned my Body Magic Platinum badge (urgh) just from eye-rolling alone. You know, perhaps if they changed the name from something as negative as syns (short for synergy or some other such abbol) (abbol being short for absolute bollocks) people would be more inclined to ‘spend’ them instead of fretting about eating something perfectly normal.
Ah well. If I had to represent via the medium of cat how I feel looking at these recipes for Frankenfood, this is it:
super cheesy cheese scones - no, not Slimming World friendly
Cheese scones, proper ones mind you, with no nonsense. These have more cheese in them than is entirely decent and you know, that's good because frankly, if you're not having mild chest pains spreading the butter, then are you even alive?
I use the recipe from theguardian because I'm a hippy-drippy middle-class sort. Feel free to swap the butter for Trex and the gentle touch for a bad attitude, if you're so inclined.
Oh and if you're wondering why a diet blog contains a recipe for cheese scones, it's simple: because we're a cooking blog, and we all have a naughty side. Though if your idea of being naughty is a cheese scone, we need to get you out more...
450g of self-raising flour (70 syns)
1 tsp of smoked salt (ordinary salt is fine)
1 tbsp of English mustard powder
100g of cold, from-the-fridge, salted butter (36 syns)
250g extra strong mature cheese, plus a bit extra for the top (50 syns)
180g of shredded ham hock (buy it from Tesco, it's cheap, or cut up some ham yourself)
120ml of cold milk
120ml of cold water
1 egg, beaten up with a drop or two of milk
156 syns. Oops! 12 syns each.
heat your oven to 220 degrees
sift your flour, salt and mustard powder into a big bowl
grate in the butter and rub with the tips of your finger until you have fine sand
grate in the cheese and add the ham, then stir to combine
mix in the milk and water until everything starts to bind together, but don't overwork it - it'll be a sticky dough to begin with but you'll get there
tip onto a floured surface and roll to about 2cm high
cut into circles of about 6cm across, reshaping as you need
pop on a good non-stick baking tray, brush with the egg and milk mix and top with lots more cheese
cook in the oven until golden on top - mine took about 16 minutes
Mine came out perfectly but scones are a bitch sometimes - if they don't come out looking great, who cares: strive for good taste, not good looks!
You don't need any expensive kit to bake. A big bowl, a grater and some scone cutters. Hell, you can use a pint glass if you want. But if you're looking for ideas:
Well look, if there’s two lads you can rely on to jerk your pork, it’s us! Jerk pork and pineapple skewers! Another skewer recipe but it’s glorious weather and this is the type of food you need to enjoy. Plus, if the weather lets you down, there’s nothing to stop you throwing these under the grill.
But before we get there, two things. First, look what appeared just as I sat down to type this:
We don’t live in some Dickensian workhouse, but we’re near an awful lot of fields full of mice and this is the end result. Rats and mice don’t bother me as a rule but you better believe that I simultaneously leapt and shat when this bugger scuttled out from behind my router. I thought it was a spider, though if it had been, this house would have been razed to the ground. No second chances.
We only went and bloody did it! The two fat blokes (How fat? When we fall down the stairs people think Eastenders is finishing! So fat our patronuses are cakes! So fat that you need a bus journey with two connections just to get on our good side! Ho ho! Fuck off) who never exercise upped their game and ran a bloody 5k! We weren’t even the last ones to finish – I had visions of being lapped over and over before someone came and asked us to leave as they wanted to get home and only had tent hire until 11pm.
As it happens, we ran a good 80% of it and power-minced the rest. All we’ve done is focus on running a bit more each time – no fancy trainers, no expensive regimes, just walk, run, go. You know what made it lovely though? So many people clapping and encouraging folk as they ran past. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting to be chased with pitchforks (though it was Alnwick) but even I was surprised how lovely it all was. Who knows what lies ahead, other than plantar fasciitis and jogging cum-faces? Maybe we’ll do the Great North Run?
Pfft, aye, no.
Oh and we crossed the finishing line holding hands (with me leading Paul, who remember, has tiny corgi legs as opposed to my long, gazelle pins), just to make you sick up in your mouth a little. Cubs who finish together, stay together. Certainly not the first time I’ve tugged a chubby bloke to a happy finish in the vicinity of a rugby pitch, either.
Easy! The key with BBQ food is that it is easy and quick to make - this really couldn't be easier, given it's rubbing a bit of meat, chopping fruit and grilling it! What's not to love?
Remember, Slimming World's official line is that you should syn your pineapple if you're following the diet to the letter. Our view, and mind it is our view and not an official one, is that this is bollocks. But follow your own path - if you need to syn the pineapple, 100g is 2 syns. We're also not including the 0.5 syn drop of sriracha - this made six fat skewers, and I'll be damned if I'm dividing 0.5 between 6.
Then again, we're living in an era where people are making lemon meringue pies using pease pudding, so all bets are off.
Not sure what sriracha is? It's just a hot, spicy sauce. Leave it off if you've got a delicate balloon-knot, and replace it with a few drops of Worcestershire sauce.
Slimming World coleslaw. It might not be the most exciting of dishes but if it’s done right, you’ll slather it on thicker than me with the KY in the Eagle back in the noughties. Worst game of Cluedo ever. My character would be Rear Admiral Brown.
It’s bank holiday weekend, so I won’t keep you long, but I need to give you an order: watch Happy Valley.
I know I’m years behind with this recommendation but see, it’s been floating around on our Netflix Watch lists for ages and I’ve been put off because, inexplicably, I thought it was a comedy starring Raquel from Coronation Street, and frankly, that sounds awful. Plus I’m fairly sure that Happy Valley is a euphemism for the bit between your balls and bumhole. The taint, if you prefer. The Bridge of Sighs. The chin-strap, if you’re that way inclined. DMZ if you’re political. Baker Street if you’re a fan of the Underground and appreciate that it’s the stop where the pink line connects with the brown. Look, we could go on, but let’s not cheapen what is otherwise a classy, genteel blog.
No, we finally gave in and watched it and it was bloody amazing – rocketing right up the list of best things we’ve seen on TV to nestle at the top amongst Breaking Bad, Juliet and Sawyer’s love story on Lost and Ben Cohen’s wank-video. That wasn’t on TV, I know, but we streamed it via Chromecast because some things are worth watching in 65″ ultra-HD. I asked Paul if we could load it into our Samsung VR but apparently that’s too close to actually cheating. Back to Happy Valley: Sarah Lancashire is an absolute revelation and the drama is incredible. If you’re stuck on something to watch, give this a go!
Not in the mood for a twelve part drama? I understand. Why not watch this fifteen second video which shows you how we’re dealing with people who gawp into our garden as they walk past?
If you're looking for something to slather onto a burger in this BBQ season, give this a go. It's very, very easy to make and you can customise it, but don't be tempted to leave out the tahini to save syns - it adds a really nice, subtle creaminess to the coleslaw. You can find it in most supermarkets and it isn't very expensive as it'll keep for ages. At 5 syns for a tablespoon, I'm synning it at 1 syn per portion because this makes enough coleslaw for four people and I'll be damned if I'm putting 1.25 syns.
half a red cabbage
one large red onion
five big tablespoons of fat-free Greek yoghurt (free)
one tablespoon of tahini (5 syns)
gosh, this isn't going to take long
thinly slice the red onion
peel the carrot and turn into matchsticks
thinly shred the red cabbage
mix everything together, adding a bit of salt just before you serve (you can add it before, but it'll cause water to come from the cabbage - perfectly fine, but less attractive)
Just here for the peanut butter pork skewers? Don’t blame you, and the good news is that we’re going to go straight to the recipe! I, unsurprisingly, love a bit of pork: whether it’s bacon, ham or a good love-length, I’m all about it. Remember folks, buy the best meat you can afford in a dish like this, because it’ll make all the difference to your dinner!
Oh, before we do get to the recipe actually, I learned three animal facts today which I need to share:
queen bees carry the sperm of their suitors around inside them for months before fertilisation takes place: pfft, amateur. It only takes me about an hour before I’ve turned it into more moustache;
the baby of a horse is a foal – up until today, I would have told you entirely seriously that a baby horse is a pony. Apparently not, and every single person I’ve asked about this have looked at me as though I’m touched in the head and said ‘foal’ really, really slowly. Harumph; and
if a cow comes running towards you, the best line of attack that you have is to punch it square in the face as hard as you can – now I know this because I’m terrified of the cows on the town moor and they’re back for a fifth year. I can tolerate them if they stay at the other end of the town moor crapping all over the cycle path but recently they’ve become bold and started staying on the path. You better believe that if they come charging towards me with swishy tails and shitty arses, they’re going to get a left hook
Actually no, let’s be honest, there’s going to be about twenty seconds of screaming and flailing and power-mincing on my behalf, then they’ll bugger off to literal pastures new. I’m thinking I might use the punch defence when Paul gives me his come to bed eyes when I’m not in the mood, although, with his home and away eyes, it’s hard to tell whether he’s coming onto me or having a seizure.
Let’s do the recipe for the peanut butter pork skewers, what what.
We know the syn value might shock you a bit but trust us - this one is definitely worth it! And, it's only 4 syns a skewer (less if you reduce it a bit) - have one of these with loads of other BBQ stuff and you'll still have plenty of syns left. They're there to be used!
750g pork fillet, cut into chunks
4 garlic cloves
½ red onion
1 red chilli
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
zest of 1 lime
60ml lime juice
200g crunchy reduced fat peanut butter (40 syns)
thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated
cut the pork into skewer-size chunks
next, chuck everything else into a food processor and blend until nearly smooth (a few small chunks is fine) - be prepared to add a little water to thin it out if it's too thick
slop the mixture into a bowl and add the pork chunks, and give a really good mix
cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes
skewer the pork chunks - we reckon you should get about 10, especially if you chuck some peppers on the skewers too
cook over the barbecue for a few minutes each side, or under a hot grill
look - we know that 40 syns is a lot BUT remember that this makes LOADS - and it's totally worth it! It's a PROPER satay that's sticky AND crunchy!
you can reduce the syns if you like by adding some veg and making it go further, or use less peanut butter (it won't be as nice though)
we cooked these on the barbecue but you can do them under a hot grill too
if you're using wooden skewers remember to soak them first to stop them burning. We always prefer metal skewers as they help to cook the meat better - we used these ones from Amazon
I was just going to launch straight into the recipe for lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes but I can’t see through my tears. See, I’ve long clung to the belief that Prince Henry Charles Albert David, or Prince Harry if you prefer, or Gingerbollocks as I bet the Queen calls him, was going to have a last-second crisis of identity before he got married. In my mind, he was sure to have a look at the albeit beautiful Meghan (I would never say this to her face, but she’s a wonderful person and a gifted artist), realise that he prefers cock and slightly middle-class Geordie men, dash into his armoured Mercedes and drive to Newcastle (avoiding the Tyne Tunnel, of course) to declare his love and demand I sit on his throne.
However, it wasn’t to be. The closest I got to receiving a royal hand last night was my own Queen, Paul, slumping forward during the ‘exploratory’ part of the mission after one too many gins.
I like the Royals. Not so keen on what they stand for, and I balked at the sight of homeless people having their sleeping bags taken away from them just so folks born into the greatest luxury in the land wouldn’t have their wedding photos ruined, but I do enjoy a bit of pomp and ceremony. I always imagine Camilla would be the best on a night out – she’d be the one ordering shit mixed drinks and telling everyone to fuck off and glassing the bouncers by the end of the night. She’s got that look in her eye that says ‘I’ll give you a gobble behind the bins but don’t spaff on my tiara‘, I think.
Perhaps it’s because I was never a huge fan of Diana. I know: blasphemy. Actually, no – that’s unfair, I have no real strong feelings about Diana, but her death was certainly the beginning of this awful ‘who can be the most upset’ competition that occurs whenever someone faintly famous dies or something horrendous happens in the world. Grief should be a private, personal emotion, not an excuse to whip out your Minions-quote-template and best UP WITH THE ANGLES line just because Gemma Collins bruised a nail tripping on the slip-mats in Lidl. I saw that sea of flowers pushed up against the walls of Buckingham Palace and all I could hope was that Liz had stocked up on Piriteze. All that pollen – I sympathise, if someone blows a dandelion clock in Sussex I’m laid up in bed for four weeks groaning and streaming snot from every hole I possess.
Anyway, look, this is all by the by. Harry didn’t come by in the end, and by all accounts it was a lovely, traditional wedding. I say traditional, it didn’t end with someone having too many Archers Aquas and vomiting in a plant-pot, so really, was it a wedding at all?
Oh! We did celebrate the Royal Wedding with a bit of light baking, see?
Oh and final point on the Royal Wedding – we were schlepping around Tesco yesterday buying BBQ bits and pieces when we overheard a very earnest, rah-de-rah mother saying to her chubby-checked wee child that ‘shall we dash home now so we can get a look at Meghan’s dress?’ to which the kid – a future in comedy awaits – completely deadpanned that she ‘really couldn’t care less‘. Good on you, child whose name will inevitability contain ‘Ella’.
OK, let’s do the recipe then. I was given a big bag of greek oregano by a friend from work and I need to tell you know, it smells amazing. The oregano, that is, not my friend, I couldn’t comment on his redolence. I did have to spend altogether more time than I anticipated smiling wanly at people spotting the bag of oregano on my desk and asking if it was drugs, ho-ho, slap my knees. I was that busy laughing hysterically that I barely had time for my 11am ket-bump in the bogs.
How many times do you need a side for a BBQ and you find yourself opening a pack of coleslaw and crying because everything is so boring and you're sick of being fat and anyway, that miserable cow next door is already twitching her curtains and complaining about the smoke? Well, screw that, screw her and screw boring sides: our amazing lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes are a doddle to make, low in syn and taste bloody amazing.
Please: don't be tempted to skip the olive oil. It's worth it. You could use Frylight, yes, but why bother? Syns are there to be used for good food!
about 900g of new potatoes, scrubbed a bit but not peeled, cut into smallish chunks
two tablespoons of olive oil (see notes)
four garlic cloves, minced (see notes)
a couple of teaspoons of dried oregano
a few grinds of salt
a few grinds of black pepper
150ml of beef stock (or veggie stock if you're veggie, duh)
150ml of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons of fresh oregano - optional, dried is fine, but use a little less
get the oven up to about 200 degrees, and find a good non-stick roasting dish
pour the chopped potatoes in, together with the oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper (don't be shy), oregano and then pop the lid on and shake shake shake - really throw everything around to get it all coated
bake in the oven for about twenty minutes, take out, add the stock, shake and back into the oven it goes for about fifteen minutes
out it comes, add the lemon juice and again, shake it to buggery - then back into the oven for a good twenty minutes or so, until everything is cooked and most of the liquid has disappeared
top with fresh oregano and serve
Use your common sense here - if it needs a bit longer, keep it in! But make sure it doesn't burn.
You’re doubtless here for the baked eggs in cheesy toast – it’s easily one of our quickest, easiest recipes – and it’s delightful. You could scroll straight to the recipe – look for the picture – but first, I have an important message. Perhaps you could humour me.
It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, you know. No, I know, it feels like it’s always some sort of week at the moment – I’m still eagerly awaiting the celebrations of ‘Comfortably Upholstered Northern Tubsters’ week, but until the day comes when I’m presented with a perspex sausage roll trophy by, oh I dunno, Gail Platt from Corrie, I’ll need to keep dreaming. But this is an important issue so I don’t begrudge writing about it.
Actually, speaking of Coronation Street, Aidan Connor’s suicide storyline really made me upset – it’s unbearable to think that people keep things bottled up to the point where they feel they can’t cope anymore – so, in the spirit of being open about our feelings, I turned to Paul and admitted that I would have given anything, simply anything, to fall asleep nestled comfortably between the wibbly-wobbly cheeks of Shayne Ward’s bottom. I’ve genuinely never known a man make a Zara funnel overcoat look so damn good. I was reading a news story about the actor where he expressed upset over the fact he’s been called fatty-boom-boom on Twitter and accused of having a dad body. How utterly ridiculous: a bit of a podge belly is perfectly natural as you get older, and I certainly wouldn’t hold his belly against him – I’d just balance it on top of my head in the usual fashion.
The storyline has done some amazing work highlighting that not everyone suffering with mental health problems is a shrieker and a wailer and your (lazy) stereotypical loon throwing their faeces around and punching at the clouds. It shows, rightly, that it can affect anyone, with no barriers, and that’s why it’s important to actually talk about it, get it out in the open, have an honest discussion about it.
I’ve gone on previously about my own mental health issue – health anxiety – and I won’t bore you with the details of it. I will say this, though: another year has passed and this year I’ve managed to beat a brain tumour (because of my tinnitus), mad cow disease (because my mother insisted on buying cheap mince for most of the eighties), Alzheimer’s disease (because I forgot where I parked, once, and that’s because I was driving Paul’s ‘car’ as opposed to my own), sepsis (cut myself handling compost) and breast cancer (another harmless lump in my boobs, most likely a Trebor Soft Mint). It’s exhausting being so healthy, I can assure you. Though that exhaustion is probably chronic fatigue syndrome. Bugger.
If you’re out there, and you’re suffering, there’s only two bits of advice I can offer you – and you’ll have heard them before, but I don’t care: maybe my words will be the ones that hit home, like a determined sperm: talk to someone and don’t give up. Now, choose wisely with the first bit of advice, I’m not suggesting you ring your taxi-rank and advise them that you’re seeing only blackness ahead – if they’re anything like my local taxi service, you’ll get twenty seconds of phlegm-soaked coughing and some racist dialogue in the background. No, choose a family friend, someone from work, a loved one, the cat or even a cushion. Vocalising your issues is cathartic, even if you’re talking to yourself. I’m forever talking to myself and find it reassuring – often those negative thoughts in your head are exposed for the nonsense they are once they float out of your gob. If you’re entertaining the ‘what if’ question (especially with your health), rephrase it as ‘what if it isn’t’ – do you really want to be wasting your life worrying about something that isn’t going to happen or, if it is, you can do bot-all about? For every spoken question you give yourself, provide two answers – the rational and irrational. Give yourself a fuller picture. And mind, if you choose to talk to someone rather than yourself, make sure you choose wisely. They’re few and far between, but there’s some folk out there who will gladly lend you an ear just so you don’t notice the knife they’re sticking in your back.
The don’t give up part, then. It’s such a trite thing to say, but you never know what’s coming around the corner. Well, Paul does, but that’s because he’s got boggle-eyes (I’m not saying he’s cross-eyed, but he does have to sit sideways to watch the television). Even if you aim for one day at a time, a day that doesn’t end with a trip in a black ambulance with me driving behind you trying to decide whether it’s appropriate to overtake is a good one. At my lowest I thought I’d be doolally forever – and actually, perhaps I am because mental illness never leaves you – but you learn to cope, then you learn to stop caring, then you forget why you were ever stressed. Until you wake in the night convinced that you’re dying because although it COULD be trapped wind, that pain in your belly is almost certainly bowel cancer and this is it, I’m off to reunite with my nana after three months of shitting blood. Difference is, each time that anxiety-blip happens, you learn a bit more how to cope with your worries, and the time it takes to get over your anxiety decreases. In short, it gets easier. It does.
Chins up, folks. Remember, there’s fuck all to be ashamed about if you’re out there and you’re struggling: you’re a human being. Yes, even you, with that moustache. You wouldn’t feel embarrassed if you broke your toe, why should your emotions be any different? I read here that 1 in 6 folks experienced a symptom of a mental health condition last week. Perhaps you’re not so unusual, after all.
Oh and as an aside, if you’re one of those arseholes who pretend you’ve got OCD because you have to check the oven is switched off once in a blue moon, please, stop. Obsessive compulsive disorder is a genuinely devastating illness that manifests itself in much stronger ways than the occasional ‘but did I’ moment on the drive to work. It doesn’t make you sound interesting or kooky, it makes you sound like a proper Comfortably Upholstered Northern Tubster.
OK we’re done. No more lectures. But please, do talk. To the recipe, then!
This super quick breakfast looks impressive but is actually a doddle to make on Slimming World - you can have two 'toasts' and it'll be syn free! Don't want to use your HEA as well as your HEB? We've got you - use slightly less cheese - 10g is only two syns. This recipe makes enough for one person to have two slices - just scale it up as you wish.
Remember my warning from the last time we used a Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll? Let me remind you...
But here's the thing. Gluten free food is expensive and it can be a proper pain in the arse to find if you are following a gluten-free diet. That's annoying when you want to cook with it, but what if gluten free was the only bread you could have and you had to do without because some div on Slimming World was too frightened about just having a breadbun? Before you pick it off the shelf, have a think.
one Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll (HEB)
30g of red leicester cheese (HEA) (or use less, and syn it at 10g for 2 syns)
chives, black pepper
optional: chilli sauce - yum! We use Flying Goose and syn it at 1 syn, but that's optional
preheat the grill
cut your roll in half and drop it into a hot, dry frying pan, toasting off the bottom of each slice
remove your bread and, using the bottom of a glass, press a well into the bread and crack an egg in, like so
sprinkle your cheese and chives on top, then grill for a few minutes, keeping an eye on it so it doesn't burn - your egg should be solid, but the yolk nice and runny
serve - slather it with chilli sauce if you like your arse battered like us
not got chives? Don't panic - just use black pepper
if you were feeling decadent, you could always add chopped ham into your well
feel free to use a different bun - however, a ciabatta is good as it doesn't burn so quickly
There now! Looking for more breakfast ideas, you fabulous witch?
Chicken and chorizo jambalaya: because you need an easy chicken recipe, and we need an easy life. So, not only have we found you possibly the easiest chicken recipe we’ve ever done, we’ve even done you a video!
We get a lot of feedback with people mentioning that it’s a faff on having lots of different deals all over the place and that they want just ‘pure’ meat, as opposed to flavourings and rubs and meatballs and sausages. So, with that in mind, we’ve revamped our Musclefood offering so that you can buy different sizes of our popular Freezer Filler deal – all three sizes will save you money on buying it in the supermarket and of course, it’s all syn-free. Up to you how you cook it!
So here it is: the ULTIMATE FREEZER FILLER SELECTION! There’s three packs here for you to choose from so there’s something for every budget. If you haven’t ordered from us before then what are you waiting for?! You’ll save a fortune compared to getting the same amount of stuff at the supermarkets, and not only are you getting a bargain but it all tastes nicer too. The chicken breasts are HUGE and won’t shrivel when you cook them, the beef isn’t like chewing on a dry tampon and the mince isn’t mushy! Seriously, give it a try – we promise you won’t look back! Everything in these packs are syn free!
You’ll save a fortune ordering from us compared to getting the same amount of stuff at the supermarkets and the bigger the pack, the more you save. Fill up your freezer and it’ll last you for ages!
Full disclosure: we get a small commission for the meat we sell – it doesn’t change the price you pay, but helps keep us in the gin, buttplugs and fancy living lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to.
Now for a sneak inside my box – here’s what you get in our deals. We did try and get Musclefood to call the boxes ‘mouse’s ear, wizard’s sleeve and hippo’s yawn‘ but apparently, that’s too off-brand:
This super easy chicken and chorizo jambalaya is a one-pot, quick cooking marvel: it tastes good, it's low in syns and if you're shite in the kitchen, you'll be able to knock this together without breaking a sweat. It's an all round good guy!
2 chicken breasts, diced
1 onion, chopped
200g frozen peas
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tbsp Morrison's No Fuss garlic paste (1 syn) (or mince your own garlic, you fancy sod)
100g chorizo, diced (12 syns)
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
250g long grain rice
400g tin of plum tomatoes
400ml chicken stock
if you haven't already, dice and chop up everything that you need to and set aside
spray a large pan with oil and pop over a medium-high heat
add the chicken and cook until no pink remains
next, add everything else and give a good stir - give the tomatoes a bit of a squash with the edge of the spoon so they break up a little bit and spread out
add the lid to the pan and simmer for 25 minutes
we used garlic paste for this because we ran out of proper garlic - if you're using garlic cloves you can knock a syn off
Because putting a bit of mince in a wrap does not equal sausage rolls. Honestly, we weren’t going to bother with a sausage rolls recipe but having seen people passing off wraps stuffed with mince as sausage rolls, we felt we had to. Remember, Slimming World is about eating proper food, not pretend food, using your syns to eat something someone on a diet would eat, as opposed to pretend fake-food. The proof, as they say, is almost certainly in the pudding.
Although that pudding will probably be a smear of cinnamon and a photocopy of a chocolate bar wrapped in a Weight Watchers wrap and called a cinnamon swirl. Maybe on other sites.
Anyway, a quick word before we get to that recipe. Keen observers may have noticed that our recipe / blog output has slowed down a bit the last few weeks. There’s a reason for that but alas, I can’t go into it! We are trying to balance it back out, but at the moment we’re working during the day, coming home and going out to work on something else. But the end is in sight, and we have some cracking recipes coming up. So do bear with us, please! Remember, if you need inspiration, we have:
The recipe for the sausage rolls isn't much of a recipe at all, so we thought we'd bulk it out by including a veggie alternative that isn't just using vegetarian sausages, although you can do so. The veggie version is called pea pastizzi and comes from Sabrina Ghayour's FEASTS book that we keep banging on about!
to make the meaty sausage rolls (makes ten)
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
whatever six sausages you like - we use syn-free sausages from Musclefood, but you can use anything here
one red onion chopped
a pinch of garlic
to make the veggie pea alternatives (makes ten):
100g ready rolled light puff pastry (20 syns)
two large fat garlic cloves
one large onion, chopped fine
300g tin of marrowfat peas
1 tablespoon of curry powder
1 large egg
pinch of salt
for the meaty sausage rolls:
preheat the oven to 200°c
squeeze the sausagemeat from the sausages and fry in the pan with the finely chopped onion and garlic - the little bit of fat will soften the onions, so no need to add oil
add a good twist of pepper
take your puff pastry, roll it out - I prefer to actually roll it out a little thinner than it usually is, but you know, up to you
cut into ten squares
spoon the cooked sausage meat into each square and fold over the sides into a nice roll shape
wash with beaten egg and into the oven they go for 20 minutes or so to cook nicely
if you want, cut them in half again when cooked for 1-syn taster night sausage rolls
Easy! Do you see what I mean though - it's an easy recipe! Cook off the sausagemeat, add into puff pastry and cook.
for the veggie pea alternatives:
soften the onions by cooking them off in a little oil, adding the garlic as they get nice and golden
add the peas, curry powder, pinch of pepper and a good dash of dalt
allow everything to cook for about five minutes and soften and mash gently
do as you did above - roll out your pastry, spoon in your mixture, fashion into rolls, egg-wash the top and whack them in the oven for twenty minutes or so
as you have no doubt noticed, FEASTS is my favourite book at the moment - every last thing we've cooked from there has been a delight - you can pick it up cheap on Amazon
Sarah’s slaggy speed syn-free sauce! I mean, honestly. Do you know how many times we set off our own work filters because our website is classed as pornography and now we’re adding slaggy into our opening sentence? Eee, you accidentally put a picture of yourself felching a plumber up instead of a Yorkshire pudding recipe and suddenly everyone’s a prude. Nevertheless, Sarah, our guest writer for tonight, is a big fan of alliteration, and I’m a bloke who just can’t say no. Now, the reason I’m handing over to her tonight is because she has just started her own blog and I’m all for promoting new writers, especially ones who swear like all the old ladies when someone shouts house at bingo. We were recently awarded blog of the month at foodies100.co.uk and one of the questions they asked us during our questionnaire was whether more diversity in blogging is a good thing. I said no, frankly, it should be limited purely to men with willies like a wrestler’s leg, but when they asked me to revise that answer I said that new voices were good as long as they had something interesting to say.
Thankfully, Sarah does. Which is lucky, as I would have been far too British and embarrassed to retract my offer had she been shite. I urge you to have a look at https://tryingtodoitall.com/ for a good, frank and coarse look at life with a family, beautiful cats and M.E. I’m sure you’ll all join me in bemoaning the fact her blog isn’t called itsallaboutmememe but hey, it takes years to be this deft with wordplay. Minge. Without a moment more of hesitation…
So the boys were right nice and said not only could I go on their Facebook page and promote my blog but do a guest blogger bit on theirs too. I was chuffed to the back teeth. I mean, I had no bastard idea what they meant but I felt a bit like I’d been handed the royal hand to kiss and I was not about do anything bar polish their rings (I’ll do ‘owt for attention) and get on with it. So I’m here and I can’t quite believe it but I’m going to style it out in the way only an amateur amongst professionals can – with arrogance and determination.
Those of you who know me, or have read my blog will know that I don’t like making life difficult for myself, there’s no point. I’ve not got the energy or the patience for complicated recipes and even if I did I’d only make it look like roadkill when I went to serve it. The pinch of unicorn pubes and dusting of fairy jizz would lose its magic in amongst the carnage on the plate, and I’d be left with a skip full of washing up and a bad attitude.
So it needs to be easy, pain free and also I NEED my food to work hard for me – I have M.E. see and I refuse to spend what little energy I have on cooking from scratch a million times a week. I know lots of you do but this recipe is one for the lazy bastards in town. Move over proactive bouncy crew with your lycra and Zumba moves, the sloth gang is in charge for a bit.
Sometimes I just want to bang something quick and easy together, or want something I can take out the freezer because I’m shit and haven’t planned my meals, basically I need something to shut out the packet of bourbons giving me the “hello sailor” eyes from the now bereft and sad looking snack cupboard. So the recipe, such as it is…
Now, I know what you’re thinking. All that foreplay and you’re giving me a fucking pasta sauce? Yes I am and actually you’ll pipe down because it’s not ONLY a pasta sauce, it’s a meatball sauce, a ketchup replacement, a sauce to bake your chicken in, it’s a pulled pork sauce and it makes you shit for mercy because it’s made entirely of speed veg. Oh and it tastes epic, not diet epic, but life is good and I have a yacht epic… basically it’s YOUR SAVIOUR. Slaggy speed syn-free sauce goes with ANYTHING.
Now to get the most amount of value from this sauce you’ll want to make loads of it. That way you’re going to the effort of cooking once and it’s paying dividends for ages – freeze what you don’t use in individual portions. You’ll thank me later.
2 red peppers
2 yellow peppers
2 orange peppers
1 white onion
6 peppadew hot peppers (the jarred ones)
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
4 tablespoons of smoked paprika
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of cayenne (more if you like it hot, less if you have a toddler like mine…you could leave it out altogether to be fair)
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of sugar (1 syn but negligible by the time you divvy it up)
a few sprays of oil
At this point Sarah recommends using Frylight, and for that, we'll actually apply to get her pain relief medication cancelled. Always use Frylight, people, there is really no excuse!
get yourself ready
chop all that veg up - or buy pre-chopped if you're fancy
coat your pan in a few sprays of oil
chuck in your red, yellow, orange peppers and onions
fry on a low heat until the onions start looking yellowy (think liver failure) and the peppers are a bit smooshie (if you find the pan is drying out add more oil or try a splash of water)
add your chopped tomatoes, peppedaw peppers, garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, cayenne and sugar; stir like you’ve just told your ex his girlfriend is a prize slapper and put a lid on it, smug style
if you've lost your saucepan lids or don't want to bend down because you're mindful you won't be able to get up again without someone having to call for the fire brigade, just use a chopping board
let it simmer away for about 25 mins, you need to be careful mind, if you’ve got an aggressive gas stove like mine it could burn if you don’t keep an eye on it, so don’t get distracted by a shiny thing and forget about it - keep stirring - like a good night alone, it's up to you to keep it wet
when it looks like the pic (i.e. reduced, thick and chunky) get your blender or food processor geared up and show that chunky sauce who is boss - you want it to be a smooth as Grant Mitchell's giant heed.
You'll need two things for this:
a good quality saucepan - if you've got money pouring out of your arse, we recommend this set, but anything will do
Cubs here: if the recipe doesn’t taste good, don’t worry. Message Sarah to complain via her blog. Let’s face it, she’ll probably tire herself out switching her monitor on so you’ll be unlikely to get a reply. Oh I’m kidding, she probably has a special iPad. Have a look at her blog right here and she has a facebook page too, see?
Do you have something you want to say? If you can rattle off a few words, make it funny and give us a recipe, get in touch! Just leave a comment below and we’ll send you an email with details. Perhaps you feel as though you won’t be hilarious or interesting – don’t panic. I’ll just type in some gags and put a better photo. I’m like the gayest copy of Photoshop you’ll ever own.
Want more sauce recipes? That’s fine. We’ve got loads:
Ham, cheese and egg pancakes – well, it’s better than yet another overnight oats recipe, no? Bit of a preamble on this one so do just click here to go straight to the recipe!
Do you know who I can’t bear? Gavroche from Les Misérables. I jubilantly throw my box of Poppets in the air whenever that tatterdemalion shithead gets blasted in the stomach. Perhaps that makes me slightly psychopathic, celebrating the untimely end of a wee (albeit fictional) child, but there we have it. I’ve always been a Javert man, anyway.
I mention Gavroche as there was a kid in front of us at the swimming baths yesterday who was giving it such great funs with his loud, obnoxious shrieking that we elected to go for a spa day instead of a calorie burning frontcrawl. It’s half term: the children are off the roads but by God, they’re everywhere else, like lice on a dog.
It may surprise you that neither of us are born ‘spa boys’. The idea of people fussing about me with unctures and rubs holds zero appeal. However, we’re fortunate enough to live near a reasonable spa and, thanks to Groupon, entry was reasonably cheap. We did feel a bit out of place parking our muddy car in the sea of spotlessly white Range Rover Evoques (so-called, as they evoke feelings of ‘oh, what a smug looking c*nt’ whenever they swoosh past), and even more so traipsing in with our swim kit in an ASDA carrier bag. The lady on reception did blanch a little as we sashayed in. Pfft. I’m taking no judgement from someone who wouldn’t be able to register a look of surprise even if she dropped a pan of hot oil on her feet.
We’re realists – we weren’t going to inflict our naked, hairy bodies on someone whose on work experience certainly didn’t call for massaging our fat around like spreading butter on hot toast. Plus, I’m not one for being touched. I can take someone gripping my ears for stability and that’s about it. Although actually, I’ve heard masseuses prefer fat bodies as there’s more to work with, otherwise let’s face it, it’s like rubbing wax into a xylophone. I was having mild intestinal issues however, and didn’t fancy taking the risk of someone creating a biohazard by squeezing me like a tube of budget toothpaste. So, massages were off, and we decided to make use of the other facilities, which all involved some degree of sitting down and sweating. Couldn’t help but feel a bit ripped off, not least because I sit down and sweat just writing the blog.
Before that, a quick change. Luckily the place was quiet – not that I mind getting my knob out in front of folks, you understand, as a reasonably quick search on xtube will verify – and we were able to get changed in peace. Well – up until the point where it came to putting our stuff in the electronic lockers. We were just closing the door when a boiled beetroot in Jacamo shorts came barrelling over to shout at us / instruct us how to use the locker. It was a four digit pin, not the fucking Enigma machine, and I assured him we had it under control. He didn’t bugger off though, ‘supervising’ us as we locked our locker, leading to a slightly awkward moment where I had to shield the pin as though he was a street beggar after my money. Can’t be too careful. Satisfied that we had managed to satisfy Fermat’s last theorem / input four numbers into a locker, he lumbered off. We’d meet again.
Paul, keen to lose some weight through simple sweating, pushed us into the sauna. I hate saunas. I don’t see the appeal – I feel like a chicken breast in a sous vide machine, sweating and struggling to breathe through a dry heat of other people’s sweat and stink. Thankfully, unlike the other times I’ve used a sauna, there was no-one else in there – that’s great, because previous occasions have invariably had me sat oppostite an old dude sitting with his balls out. Have you ever seen what happens to a scrotum in extreme heat? Mine becomes so elastic that I can throw them over my shoulder and have them banging about like one of those old clackers toys from the eighties.
What’s good about a sauna, anyway? This particular one was turned up to over 90 degrees. To me, that’s approaching boiling point. I get uncomfortably hot when someone lights a church candle the next village over. I tried lying down but that made my back-hair sizzle. I tried sitting but was worried I’d cauterise my bumhole shut. Standing was no better – I just felt faint and knew that if I passed out, there’d be no way Paul could lift me out and I’d end up in there forever, cooking and desiccating until I ended up looking like Madge, Dame Edna’s assistant. I stayed in as long as I could but then had to dash out.
As I left the sauna our friendly neighbourhood beetroot appeared out of fat air and admonished me for not shutting the door quick enough, as though four seconds of the door being slightly ajar would reduce a room that was previously hotter than the surface of the sun down to the temperature of an Icelandic crevasse. I couldn’t tell if he was angry or just hot, though his skin had moved from rose to ruby coloured. For someone who had self-appointed himself as the King of the Spa, he certainly needed to fucking relax. I shut the door as quick as I could, leaving only four layers of skin crisping like bacon on the door handle. I thanked him. We’d meet again.
Paul slunk out of the sauna immediately after Al Murray had left, and we enjoyed a quick brisk shower before going for a sit in the aromatherapy room. I’m not going to lie: it was a novel experience to have the both of us in a heated room and for it not to smell like something has died behind a radiator, but there’s only so much pine scent you can inhale before you start getting light-headed and conscious of the fact you’re going to smell like an Air Wick for the next ten weeks. What is the aromatherapy room meant to do? I’m already Polo-shaped (I’m certainly mint with a hole), I don’t need to smell like one too. We left after about five minutes.
The last room was a steam room. To me, that’s just another sauna, but this time with steam. Woohoo! In we went, and there was Barry Big Bollocks spread-eagled, thankfully with his shorts on, steaming lightly. Now I could have cheerfully stayed in here save for the fact that the steam was clearly helping with his COPD, because no sooner had we sat down then he started coughing and hacking and clearing his throat as though he was drowning in phlegm. Nothing soothes the soul like steam and a fine miasma of the net result of forty straight years of chaining Lambert & Butlers. Every time our conversation halted he’d kick off again, clearly really getting in amongst his air-sacs for the full effect. He wasn’t so much clearing his throat as resurfacing the fucker. We left after about five minutes, speckled with blood and tar.
Only one thing left to do. The jacuzzi. I’m not a huge fan – let’s be frank, they’re nothing more than less portable hot-tubs – but hey, when you’ve spent twenty quid to get in, you have to get the use out of it. In we went. Now, yes, it was very pleasant, although they had positioned several jets in such a way that it was blowing my balls around rather a bit too dramatically in my swimming shorts. I had to move before my entire ball-sack floated to the surface and acted like a pool cover.
But even here I couldn’t relax. With my belly being pummelled from all directions, my fear of accidentally sharting and ruining the whole experience for everyone else was too much. Can you imagine how mortifying that would actually be? The more brazen amongst you might have been able to bluff it out by pretending you’d spilled a can of oxtail soup in the water but come on. I had to get out.
In all, we spent about 30 minutes at the spa and came out slightly pink and far less relaxed than when we went in. Best part for me was having Paul use the hairdryer in the changing rooms to dry my bum hair – such luxury! The receptionist asked if we had a nice time given it seemed as though we had hardly stayed. Naturally, we lied and said it was wonderful and we’d cheerfully come again, before spending the entire home bitching about everything. This is why we can’t have nice things, see. She did offer to see if someone was free to give us a pedicure but when I asked her if said person would be proficient in using a belt sander, she didn’t get the joke. We all mutually agreed that we ought to move on.
Sigh. Speaking of moving on, let’s do the recipe for ham, cheese and egg pancakes, eh?
I was going to call this recipe croque madame crêpes but Christ, I’ve seen how some of you lot spell two chubby cubs, I’m not going to start adding circumflexes into the mix. Without a moment of delay, let’s get to the recipe!
Something new and tasty for breakfast for those days when you can't face spooning yet another load of dry as old nick overnight oats into your aching gob.
For the basic pancake batter, we're using the pancake advice from February, namely:
My recipe makes enough for six pancakes - four which will be filled with ham and cheese, and then two extra for gobbling. It's either that or having to mess about with smaller ingredients. Don't be tempted to fart about blending oats or any of that nonsense, there's simply no need. You're so much better have a couple of real pancakes and cracking on. Oh and if you find yourself reaching for a wrap instead of making a pancake, please, throw yourself into the sea.
TO MAKE THE PANCAKES
50g plain flour (8 syns)
150ml of skimmed milk (2 and a quarter syns, but really, 2 syns)
So that's ten syns for six pancakes. But I'll syn them at 1.5 syns because you can bugger off if you think I'm putting 1.66666666666666 syns per pancake.
FOR THE FILLING
whatever ham you fancy
60g extra grated mature cheese (2 x HEA)
So to be clear, you're having two filled pancakes each, and you'll have enough batter leftover for a third if you want to scoff that too!
blend all the pancake ingredients together - add a pinch of...a pinch of...bleurgh...a good grinding of pepper, please
now, depending on your skill in the kitchen, you could fry the eggs in one pan and prepare the pancakes in another, but let's assume you've got the cooking skills of a turnip, and go step by step
fry your eggs off - don't cook them into full submission, you still want a bit of give on the yolk so it pops
pop your fried eggs on a plate on the side and start making your pancakes - a couple of sprays of olive oil, nice hot pan, tip a sixth of the batter in and quickly spread it around the pan
once the pancake has 'dried out' and coming away from the pan, flip it over - don't be frightened, you've got spare batter
once it is flipped, layer 15g of cheese in the middle, top with the ham and the fried egg
fold the sides of the pancake over like in the photo and cook for about thirty seconds to melt the cheese a bit
top with chives and eat!
Honestly, it sounds like a faff, but all this recipe is is a pancake stuffed with cheese and ham and egg - if you balls it up, it might not look great, but it'll taste absolutely fine. Remember, aim for taste, not perfection!
we whisk up our batter in our Nutribullet - gets rid of any lumps, but honestly, a bowl and a fork will do the same job and get you some Body Magic. Don't buy one just for this - though they are very good!
Now come on, that was easy! But if you fancy something different for breakfast, why not try something new from our list?