spicy dynamite baked beans – a syn-free breakfast!

Dynamite baked beans, if you please. And even if you don’t, tough tit: it’s all you’re getting. But look, a new thing!

Jump straight to the recipe!

Oh I see, itching to get past all my drivel, eh?

Apologies for another extended break! I know, we’re awful. But in my defence, we’ve been briefly away down South (I know, I’ve got some nerve) and well, I can’t deny the fact that I’m feeling blue. Too much to do, too little time to do it in! Paul’s been unwell, the cat has broken her tail and now the worst news of all: Jim bloody Bowen has floated off to the big two-berth caravan in the sky, only a century away from the big 180. Gutted. Honestly, I know Stephen Hawking was a hero and a gentleman and a bloody great mind but I’m more upset about Jim – I bloody loved Bullseye. You might assume it’s because he championed darts – one of the few sports out there where a bloke with a fabulous rack can have a chance at being a champion. You’d be right.

I think I’m upset it’s because it’s another fragment of my childhood that has peeled away and exposed the fact that I’m getting older. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he has died unsullied and innocent as opposed to so many other eighties stars: if it had come out he had been finishing on a double-top of the children, that would have been too much to bear.

But Bullseye was a part of my childhood in much the same way that staring mournfully out of the window was, or getting road tar on my white Nick trainers. It lived on throughout recent years thanks to Challenge TV, where it’s always 1989 somewhere, and Paul and I loved to watch two unemployed perms from the Tyne Tees Television district winning a speedboat of an evening. We always joked that everyone in the audience – all blue rinses, lemon cardigans and beige bags clasped tightly to their chests – would all be dead by now. How we laughed. Too many legends dying, and it’s only going to get worse. I’m keeping a close eye on my beloved Anneka Rice.

That said, I would have loved a go on the Prize Board: there’s something elegant about winning a trouser press, a Soda Stream and a sewing machine for the wife on a throw of a dart. But perhaps someone more mature than me can explain something: why was a decanter and tantalus seen as the height of good taste back in the eighties? Nearly every show featured one as a prize, and you’d see Jackie from Anglia Television (“‘ospital cleaner, Jim“) throwing her darts like a severed marionette to try and win one. Can someone explain the appeal? Whilst we’re here, were televisions with a remote on a string really a thing? Eee, it’s a different world. I remember when my nana in Darlington had a TV with a box you had to put money into just to watch, with someone visiting every week to take away the quarter-tonne of 50p pieces. Simpler times. Now they just rob you via the licence fee, am I right, eh? Hello? Is this thing on? Fucking wants to be, I paid for it.

Not arsed about Ken Dodd though. Something about him left me cold and nervous, in much the same way as my mother can’t abide Lionel Blair. I’ve seen that woman storm out of a room in a fury before when he cha-cha-chaed his way into Dictionary Corner on Countdown, looking to all the world like the result of incestuous fraternisation between Gail from Corrie and a runover E.T costume. I asked about at work to see if anyone else shares these irrational celebrity dislikes and the results were varied and illuminating: for one colleague Keira Knightley leaves her cold (“stupid lollipop head”), another flies into a blistering tirade at the mere mention of Gary Barlow. That I can understand: Gary is the colour taupe assuming a human form. Paul can’t stand James Corden, but that’s fine, he loves himself more than enough to make up for it. We no longer use confused.com now he’s screaming and spitting into the camera about sheep – it’s a bad job when you long for the days of Sheila’s Wheels and their backwards car.

Ah let’s be honest, it’s all irrelevant anyway: we’re going to be irradiated ash by May. Can anyone else see this Russian crisis ending any other way than a nuclear bomb being dropped on one of our major cities? I know, deep in my heart, that I’ll nip out to get some milk and end up piddling myself in the street like that lass from Threads before every atom of my face is blown into the North Sea.

Still, must get on.

Speaking of a spicy burst of heat that’ll result in a crowd-clearing, fiery blast, let’s do the recipe for dynamite baked beans. I can’t take credit for this one, t’s from one of my favourite recipe books: Tasty, by Tony Singh. It’s available on Amazon for 55p! We have been trying to find a decent recipe for livening up baked beans for a while and this is just the ticket. A hearty, farty recommendation. This makes enough for two portions, but do just scale up if you prefer more.

dynamite baked beans

Don’t worry folks, we even prepared a video if you can’t be arsed to read!

We’re trying to do a good mix of video recipes that are simple and shenanigans! Let us know what you think!

dynamite baked beans: spicy breakfast time!




Yield 2 servings

Looking for a syn-free breakfast or a gorgeous side? Try our spicy baked beans! They're gorgeous - easy to make, can be done in bulk and they freeze well! Top with a fried egg for something deliciously different!


  • 1 tin of baked beans
  • 2 small red onions, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1tsp green chilli, finely diced
  • 1 tsp garam massala
  • 150ml beef stock


  • spray a frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
  • add the onions and fry until the start to soften and go golden brown
  • add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for another five minutes
  • add the chilli and stock, and give a good stir
  • add the garam masala to the pan, stir and simmer until thickened
  • add the beans to the pan and stir
  • cook for a few more minutes until the beans have warmed through and serve with a fried egg!


  • want to make this fancy? add cubed bacon - smoked is ever better!
  • if you can't be arsed clitting about with garlic and ginger, just buy a paste! You can buy it from Amazon or most major supermarkets - a good tablespoon will do it!

Courses breakfast, sides


Want some more Slimming World vegetarian recipes?


chocolate and cherry porridge – breakfast done right

It’s Britney, bitch.

We’re back, and with chocolate and cherry porridge! Have you ever heard the likes? We needed a break, you know. It wasn’t you, it was us: we were a bit burned down – we wanted to see if we could do a streak of 50 recipes in 50 days, and boy, did we manage it. But when you’re trying to type with blood-soaked fingers worn down to a nub, you know it’s time to stop.

Bit brisk, isn’t it? I’m a Geordie so this minus ten weather and eight foot of snow is nothing – I might elect to put on an extra t-shirt later, but that’s about it. The country is going to shit though: you’d think it was anthrax falling from the sky, not bits of frozen water. I say that entirely shamelessly from the warm comfort of my own home – work have let me stay at home for the last two days as I can do everything I’d normally do in the office from home and they don’t have to listen to me shallow-breathing to boot. I can’t drive in snow, it frightens me – not that Paul cares. Let me set you a scene.

Tuesday night and the roads are awash with snow. We live out in the country and as a result, the approach to gritting the roads extends to one of our elderly neighbours nipping out with a tub of Saxo and scattering it about with trembling hands. I wouldn’t mind but she hasn’t even bothered with that this year – in fact, she hasn’t even thought to bring her milk in, there’s over 10 bottles on her doorstep. It’s just lazy.

Anyway, with the snow pelting down and a genuine blizzard swirling, Paul decides that no, we really ought to go to the gym and that the weather wouldn’t be that bad, oh no. The roads would be absolutely fine once we were on them, for sure. Just our estate that is bad, despite the view from the window looking as though they had been smeared with Trex. We couldn’t take my car – more powerful, bigger, doesn’t run on AAA batteries – no, we had to take his Smart car because it was already defrosted and deiced and delightful.

He took my moans of protest as little more than excuses for not going to the gym and fair shepherded me into my gym kit and out into the car. We managed to drive – slowly, sliding everywhere – about a mile before he agreed that yes, it was rather troubling out on the roads and that, like Jack and Kate, we had to go back. This wouldn’t have been such a problem if he had decided this before we had slid to the bottom of one of the many banks that surround us, but I knew there was absolutely no way this tiny, rubbish car was getting back up the hill.

Well, Paul is nothing if not stubborn, so he turned the car around (surprisingly easy to do in a Smart car – you can turn a full 180 degrees on a circle the size of a Lego steering wheel) and off we set up the hill. We crawled about two meters before the car couldn’t get a grip and we were skidding on the ice, unable to go forwards or backwards. On a dual carriageway, mind you, with traffic coming. The air was as blue as my lips – bearing in mind the windchill was easily -6 degrees or so – but I was dispatched to push.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried pushing a car with a big fat bastard in it on an ice-covered gradient whilst wearing Sports Direct trainers with about as much grip as Jeremy Beadle’s right hand, but it’s a frigging chore, I can assure you. We weren’t moving. No bastard would stop to help. Thankfully, after ten minutes, a gritter truck appeared on the horizon and, God love them, moved in front of the car and barrelled a load of salt down in front of the car, finally enabling Paul to get some traction and to pull away. Of course, with me standing behind the car pushing, my face, arms and bare legs were treated to shards of salt being blasted against them. The joy!

Sidepoint: it’s certainly not the first time that a rough lad in a hi-vis has sprayed salty muck across my face, causing Paul to quickly pull himself off with great relief, but that’s by the by.

I wish I could tell you the story ends there, dear readers, but no. Paul, so buoyed with the excitement of finally being able to move again, pulled away – and didn’t stop. There was a brief moment or two when I tried to run after the car on the ice which ended abruptly when I fell over and skinned my already frozen knees. In the salt. Apparently, if you nip down any alleyway within a radius of five miles where I fell, you can still hear my loud expletive bouncing around off the walls…uuuunt-uuuunt-uuunt-uuunt

I walked home that night with ice on my flesh and frost in my heart, I promise you. A mile in gym kit in what was the coldest night of recent memory, all the while Paul had made it home and poured himself a lovely cup of tea. I asked our Facebook group what I could rightly expect as recompense and most people suggested full anal (by the way, what’s partial anal – when you have the discussion about doucheing but then just go to sleep?) but unless said anal was with the entire Newcastle Falcons team entirely at my leisure, that wouldn’t be enough.

I did leave him a clue about how angry I was via our front door CCTV mind. Click on the cute kittens below to be shown what I did, and fair warning, it’s very, very, very adult. Don’t you complain!

If you’re wondering who CLINT is. I suggest you get your eyes checked.

It took a good few hours of rubbing my feet, making pained faces of apology at me and bringing me enough cups of tea to my make my stomach sloosh before he was forgiven. In fact, my knees have not pained me for almost nineteen hours.

All is well.

Shall we do the chocolate and cherry porridge then, such as it is? It’s not much of a recipe, but you know sometimes you want something other than eggs or two Rice Krispies and a thimble of milk for your breakfast? Well, this will scratch that itch. The other itch you might want to get a doctor to look at. Also, we’re starting to redesign the site over the next few weeks – bear with us!

chocolate and cherry porridge




Yield 2 big bowls

Something warm, sticky and sweet to fill your hole: our chocolate and cherry porridge isn't exactly high-cuisine but it'll please you for only a few syns!


  • 80g of porridge oats (any will do) - 40g is one healthy extra choice (B)
  • 400ml of Arlo lactofree chocolate milk - 200ml is a healthy extra choice (A)
  • 100g of black cherries in light juice (3.5 syns)
  • 25g of chocolate chips (6 syns for Dr Oetker - and mind, you could leave these out, it's sweet enough!)


  • well now come on
  • heat your milk up and add the oats, with a pinch of salt
  • on a medium heat, keep stirring and stirring - the porridge will thicken after about ten minutes
  • top with the cherries and chocolate chips
  • enjoy


top tips:

  • swirl some of that sweet cherry juice through as the porridge thickens for a taste explosion
  • knock the syns down by using fresh cherries or skipping the chocolate
  • I can't find of a single thing to link to on Amazon that might be relevant to what you need, so instead, why not treat yourself to a Halo - they're currently cheap as chips!

Courses breakfast

I mean, you just would, wouldn’t you? And what’s this, you want MORE ideas for breakfast? Sigh. A boy can only do so much, you know…

Pure filth!


lemon and garlic sautéed mushrooms

I’m not going to lie, it feels good to cast off the shackles of Chinese week – I love Chinese food but see, it’s like when you get a takeaway – you feel great for about thirty minutes, then you just want more, end up eating all the straggly bits leftover and then spend the rest of the night clutching your belly as it distends with wind. Just me? Anyway, we’re still away, and because you’ve had an awful lot of long blog posts lately, just a quick post tonight. One thing we always struggle with on Slimming World is a tasty side dish but we’ve found an answer from Greece – sautéed mushrooms! Give them a go – this makes enough for two large portions.

sautéed mushrooms

sautéed mushrooms

to make greek lemon and garlic sautéed mushrooms you will need:

  • 450g chestnut or button mushrooms
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 5 peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 60ml water

top tips for greek lemon and garlic sautéed mushrooms:

  • peppercorns will give a stronger flavour, but if you don’t have any 10 twists of a pepper grinder will do the job
  • mince that garlic in seconds without faffing on with a garlic press – get a Microplane grater and you’ll use it every day!
  • give the pan a good coating of oil with a mister – this is what we use

to make greek lemon and garlic sautéed mushrooms you should:

  • remove the stems from all of the mushrooms
  • slice the lemon in half and juice one half of the lemon, and keep aside
  • rub each mushroom against the flesh of the other lemon half
  • spray a large frying pan with a little oil and put over a medium heat
  • add the mushrooms, garlic, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves and fry gently for 4-5 minutes
  • add the water and lemon juice to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms are soft but not mushy
  • sprinkle over the dried parsley and serve

Hungry for more veggie options? We’ve got loads! Have a deeks at some of our favourites below:


greek salad cheese toastie: syn-free snacking!

A greek salad cheese toastie? On a Friday? Good evening all! Just a quickie (ooh I say) for today as we’re off to a rave. No, seriously. I’m digging out my dummy and E’s especially for it. It’s a good job I’ve got a strong jaw. Years of practice, that.

But just because we’re out doesn’t mean that you miss out – oh no. We’ve got a treat for you with this one – a fantastic greek salad cheese toastie! I know that doesn’t sound like it should go but it really does and I demand you go make this immediately. You’ll feel like you’re in Mamma Mia. As always, this makes enough for four! Shall we?

greek salad cheese toastie

greek salad cheese toastie

to make a greek salad cheese toastie:

  • 4 wholemeal pitta breads (4x HeB)
  • 8 tbsp twochubbycubs’ houmous
  • 65g reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled (1x HeA)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • quarter of a cucumber, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced

top tips for a greek salad cheese toastie:

  • our houmous is the best you’ll ever have and it’s syn free! If you can’t be arsed you can use the shop-bought stuff, just remember to syn it. A tablespoon of reduced-fat stuff is 1½ syns)
  • make quick work of the veg with a Mandoline slicer!
  • we used pitta breads because they’re tasty but you could use your usual Healthy Extra B choice bread instead
  • we used an Optigrill to cook this, just because it’s easy and makes nice slices. You could put these under a normal grill or in a George Foreman instead
  • add olives if you want, I don’t care

to make a greek salad cheese toastie you should:

  • cut the pitta breads in half and microwave for 15 seconds to help open them up a bit
  • spread the inside of each pitta bread half with one tablespoon of the houmous, then add all the other ingredients
  • cook for a few minutes until nicely golden (see top tips above)
  • eat!

Love a good sandwich? So do we! Have a look at our other recipes below!

salt and pepper chips (no MSG, no sweetener)

Salt and pepper chips! I’m amazed that we have never posted this as a recipe, but here we are. Now, here’s some sad news: James is poorly. Not poorly with man-flu or feeling a bit dicky (story of his life) but full on snot pouring from every orifice, voice like Madge Bishop shouting down an telephone line and a face the colour of the dead. The long dead. I’m having to type and listen to his gasping and wailing and snotting and it’s really quite something – it sounds like he’s suffocating animals in the bedroom. To be clear: he isn’t, just before anyone phones the RSPCA, though fat lot of good they ever do. To his credit, although he does like to moan on that he’s dying every time he cuts his toenails a bit too short, he’s rarely actually ill, so to see him sweating and dripping like he’s mid-exorcism is quite something. I must tend to him, so let’s get the recipe done!

This makes enough for a big portion to serve four people!

salt and pepper chips

salt and pepper chips

to make salt and pepper chips you will need:

  • 1 kg potatoes, cut into chips
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp sugar (1 syn)
  • 1 red and 1 green chilli pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tsp five spice
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes

There’s a couple of recipes out there which call for you to add MSG. Why? Totally unnecessary – you don’t need to add a ‘flavour-booster’ to your dinner if you cook with proper ingredients. Don’t be suckered into buying ingredients you don’t need just to make a few quid of commission for other blogs.

top tips for making salt and pepper chips:

  • an airfryer will make this one so much easier – if you haven’t got one yet check out our special review page to help you pick the right one for you
  • for nice, even chips try getting a chipper!
  • don’t be tempted to skip the sugar in this one – it’s definitely worth it
  • this one is a taste explosion even though it’s so simple – there’s no MSG! if you prefer it less spicy you can leave out the chilli flakes
  • get your chips nice and golden with a decent oil sprayer – we use this one
  • if you’re after the crinkle cut look, use one of these bad-boys 

to make salt and pepper chips you should:

  • cook the chips – if you’re using an Airfryer this is easy – just spray over a bit of oil and turn the machine on!
  • don’t forget to add the worcestershire sauce when you make your chips
  • if you’re cooking in the oven, spray with a bit of oil and bake for 30 minutes on 240°c
  • meanwhile, slice the chilli peppers and dice the onions
  • spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium0high heat
  • add the chilli peppers and onions to the pan and fry until the onion is a golden colour
  • add the salt, five-spice, chilli flakes and sugar to the pan and give a good stir
  • add the cooked chips to the frying pan and stir to coat well
  • serve!

We’ve done some amazing chips recipes over the years – have a look!


one syn chips and cheesy garlic sauce

One syn cheesy garlic sauce and chips – building on yesterday’s fakeaway recipe, here’s our take on Paul’s favourite drunken snack (aside from whichever taxi driver happens to give him the keen-eye in the rank – and it’s not hard to catch Paul’s eye, given it swivels around like Mad Eye Moody on E). It’s not going to win any awards for classiness, presentation or nutritional value but if you’re at the end of a long, crap day and you want something to satisfy your hole (and indeed, you’re all out of the eighteen D batteries needed to power your robocock), this is the one for you.

Eee, what a sentence.

But first, I want to respond to something that’s been bugging me – I spotted this on Twitter:

I appreciate the first clue that this wasn’t going to be a reasoned, erudite debate should have come from the fact it was Good Morning Britain and as such it was meant as a light-hearted piece to get people talking, but it really annoyed me. They wouldn’t be allowed (and rightly so) to put ‘Are pensioners ALWAYS stinkin’ of piss’ or ‘Toddlers: they’re shite at tennis, so let’s throw them in the sea‘, so why is such an asinine point allowed when it’s about the so-called millennial? Someone then made a similar point and linked to a particularly vile Daily Mail article (I can imagine that you’re clutching your chest as we speak with the shock) about how young people are especially pointless and stupid because they can’t wire plugs, darn a sock or heaven-forbid bleed a radiator.

Now, I don’t know if I’m a millennial. I don’t think I am – I’m possibly too old.

Actually: according to Wikipedia, I am. Woohoo! And yet I’ve never even smashed an avocado.

I’m a millennial then, and here’s the thing: we don’t need to know these things. We live in a world where if a radiator needs bleeding, a quick two second type on our phones will bring up a video explaining exactly how to do it in more highly-defined pixels than could ever be counted. A further ten seconds would probably bring up a plumber’s number if things got super risky. Actually, on my phone I have several plumbers, though they’re never coming over to tighten my u-bend up. Is that a bad thing? No! It’s the way of the world, and it’s great!

Now some will doubtless say that we’re losing the skills of old but that isn’t true – they’re just transferring. Yes, we can’t darn a sock, but why would you darn a sock when you can order a pack of seven pairs delivered to your door within two hours with Amazon Prime? Why would you need to know off the top of your head how to make a white sauce when there’s millions of recipes online or in books that will show you how? The world has changed: instant information is here and it’s embraced by anyone with half an ounce of grey matter in their head.

You know what the worst thing is about all of this? They never mention how it works in reverse. Stereotyping massively, have you ever tried showing someone in their 80s how to use a television? My nana had a four channel TV and I spent nearly three hours explaining the various wee buttons on the remote. Even in the few days before she died she was waving that remote around like she was performing the Flight Simulator round on The Krypton Factor, with the TV blaring so loud that if I sit in a silent room even now I can still hear echoes of The Weakest Link. My mother is a beautiful, clever and astonishing woman but the first time she handled a computer mouse she picked it up and held it to her ear. Paul recounts of a similar tale with his mother who, upon receiving this errors back in the day of Windows 95:

went and drew the curtains so the police would think she was out. It’s easy to snicker at what we can’t do, but what about stuff we’ve mastered that would cause many an aged brow to wrinkle. For example: could you run a blog? Could you face countless years ahead of rack and ruin as automation steals your job and politicians steal your hope? Could you draw a penis out of the foam on the top of a latte? Exactly!

Anyway, it’s not like it fucking matters that a millennial can’t bleed a radiator: you’d need a house for your radiator first of all, and we all know exactly how great that situation currently is, eh?

Bloody old people with their wide-sweeping generalisations.


Eee, on that note, shall we do the recipe? Of course we should. One recipe for syn-free cheesy garlic sauce and chips coming right up, flower. Listen, I’d give you scraps but my boss will have my bollocks off if I give away any more freebies.

This makes enough sauce for four people very, very easily. It freezes well though!

cheesy garlic sauce

cheesy garlic sauce

to make one syn cheesy garlic sauce and chips, you’ll need:

  • as many slimming world chips as you want
  • 80g of whatever cheese you like – I like to use Red Leicester for a bit of colour (2x HEA) (grated)
  • 220g of Philadelphia Lightest (2 x HEA)
  • one bulb of garlic
  • chilli sauce – if you like – we use Flying Goose Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce for only 1tbsp for a syn

top tips for making one syn cheesy garlic sauce and chips:

to make one syn cheesy garlic sauce and chips, you should:

  • make the sauce first!
  • to make the sauce, cut your garlic bulb in half horizontally, so you’re cutting through the cloves inside
  • spray with a wee bit of oil and pop in the oven on a low heat for an hour or so
  • once it has roasted, simply slide the softened garlic – as much as you like – out of each clove and into a bowl and mash
  • heat a small pan up with the Philadelphia and garlic inside to loosen it a little  – add a splash of milk if you need to
  • add 60g of the cheese into the hot Philadelphia and stir it, don’t let it set – you want the cheese to be absorbed into the Philadelphia
  • add some salt and pepper if you like
  • pour over hot chips with the remainder of the cheese (we actually mixed it up and put some grated mature cheddar on too, because we’re filthy)
  • top with chilli sauce if you like

I know, right?

Want more fakeaways? Oh we’ve got too many to count man, come have a look by clicking on the button to unlock deliciousness! Remember to share us around!



Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous

Caramelised red onion houmous! Just a quickie today (ooh I say) but y’see, we’ve got shit to do. We’ve got a tasty recipe for an Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous!  below which’ll tickle your tastebuds and maybe a bit more if you’re lucky. We’ve been busy little bees today cooking all sorts of recipes which will start to filter through over the next couple of days – and they’re all absolute corkers. Seriously, clear your diary and your fridge, send your husband away, pack the kids off somewhere – you won’t want to share them.

Isn’t it a pain though doing anything on a Sunday? All I wanted to do today was sleep until lunchtime and then pray that How Clean Is Your House was recommissioned during the night and their first task was my house. But of course it wasn’t to be so from 10am I just had James poking his head around the bedroom door every 9 minutes, whinging at me to get out of bed like some sort of mincing, squealing snooze button.

So once all the necessaries were done it was on to cooking. We’d already written a list of everything we needed and were sure we’d got them all but of course there’s always one pissing things that missing, meaning you’ve gotta swoosh out the door to go on the hunt for some obscure spice before everything closes. And then you’ve gotta deal with Sunday drivers clogging up every dual carriageway going at 30 miles an hour. It’s like the Gauntlet from Gladiators but instead of hunks in lycra you’ve got piss-stained Daewoo Matiz’s.

And there’s fuck all on telly.

But anyway, that feels better. Here’s a nice snack to help cool you down.

caramelised red onion houmous

caramelised red onion houmous

to make Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous you will need:

  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (you can use the liquid to make our Peppermint Meringues!)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or ½ tsp ground)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds (or ¾ tsp ground coriander)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2½ syns)

top tips to make Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous:

  • you can use ground cumin and coriander instead of seeds if you like, but you’ll get more flavour out of the seeds
  • we used a mandoline slicer to slice our onions and it does the job in seconds. Use the guard!
  • a NutriBullet does the job perfectly for nice, smooth houmous! Get yours here!

to make Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous, you should:

  • spray a large frying pan with a bit of oil and plonk over a medium-high heat
  • add the sliced onion and cook until lightly browned – keep some aside to put on top later to make it look fancy
  • remove from the heat and set aside
  • add the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds into another pan and toast for a couple of minutes over a low heat, then grind into a powder using a pestle and mortar (if you’re using ground stuff you can leave this step)
  • then, chuck all the ingredients together into a food processor and blitz until smooth

Love houmous? So do we! Check out some of our other recipes below:



Slimming World sides: macho peas & orange and carrot mash

Sometimes we have recipes that don’t really warrant a post of their own – usually they’re simple side dishes – so tonight I’m bundling two for the price of one into the same post. You might worry that your inbox can’t handle two at once but I’m sure if you bear down and push out, everything will be tickety-boo. The macho peas recipe is a variant on the Nandos staple and the orange carrot mash was found in a BBC Good Food magazine that I found in the dentist. I’m not saying the magazine was out of date, but when they kept referring to getting in the carrots before the Luftwaffe wrecked the carrot fields, well…

OH: IF YOU’RE READING THIS ON THURSDAY 25 JANUARY 2018, and you want something worth £50 on Amazon – click here and use the code BIGTHANKS to knock a tenner off. Better than a slap in the face with a big wet willy!

So not farting about: straight to the recipes. Both recipes make enough for two large sides. Obviously the orange carrot mash doesn’t refer to orange carrots, but rather the fresh orange juice you use in the recipe! First, macho peas!

macho peas

to make macho peas, you’ll need:

  • three big handfuls of frozen peas – or fresh, if you’re fancy
  • one finely chopped onion
  • a nice big red chilli pepper or a teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • a good bunch of fresh mint (hell, use mint sauce if you want) (but it won’t taste so good)
  • for the first time in my life, I recommend a little knob – of SALTED BUTTER! AND THE CROWD GOES WILD! 10g of salted butter will make all the difference – 3.5 syns, and what’s that between friends? You could leave it out but I remind you: it’s two bloody syns each

to make macho peas, you should:

  • get a pan of water bubbling and throw in your peas – cook until softened slightly but not mush
  • pop your onion – finely chopped mind – into a pan, pop it on medium and sweat them down
  • whilst they’re cooking, chop up your mint nice and fine together with the chilli if not using flakes
  • drain your peas, mash them slightly  stir in the butter, onion, chopped mint and chopped chilli
  • serve!

See? Gorgeous! And now…

to make orange and carrot mash, you’ll need:

  • 500g of fresh carrots
  • 250ml of fresh orange juice (we use Tropicana 50/50 – 1 syn per 100g – 2.5 syns)
  • 500ml of vegetable stock
  • chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of fat free greek yoghurt

to make orange and carrot mash, you’ll need:

  • peel your carrots and then thinly slice them
  • spray some oil into a decent pan, heat it up and then pop the fennel seeds in until they pop
  • chuck in the carrot slices
  • add the orange juice and vegetable stock and bring to the boil
  • allow to simmer for thirty minutes until most of the liquid has disappeared and the carrots are soft
  • mash those carrots with lots of black pepper and a spoonful of fat free greek yoghurt

top tips for your orange carrot mash:

  • use a bloody mandolin slicer to slice your carrots quickly and uniformly – but please watch those fingers! Only £12 on Amazon!

Two lovely sides for you to consider. Want more veggie recipes? Of course!



lemon and blueberry overnight oats

Just the quickest of posts for lemon and blueberry overnight oats tonight as I’m more than conscious that we’ve had a lot of waffle lately! Plus, it’s just been one of those days and all I want to do is lie on the settee with a cold flannel on my head whingeing to Paul about the state of the world. Let me how my day has gone:

  • woke up twenty minutes late as the alarm didn’t go off, meaning I had to shave/shit/shower/brush in approximately forty seconds – I’ve probably still got sweetcorn in my teeth;
  • stuck in traffic for a billion years because everyone can’t stop screwing and having awful children which apparently need educating;
  • work (and I like my job, but if you tell me you don’t have days where you’d cheerfully pitch yourself out of the window, you’re a liar and you’ve got no class)
  • half-day – hooray! – only no, I got stuck behind some silly bag in a Clio who decided to stop her car in front of the car-park entrance, blocking the exit whilst she went and found her parking ticket on the eighth floor;
  • volunteered to walk a dog at our cat and dog shelter only to find halfway that the world was in imminent danger of falling out of my arse, necessitating a prolonged spell in a supermarket toilet
  • three stone lighter and on a drip, I was given a dog to walk – a beautiful white husky – hooray! Salvation. Only no, lovely dog, but I don’t like dogs that are always showing their bumhole as they walk in front of you;
  • Archers omnibus hadn’t downloaded and with no signal all that I had to listen to was the laboured sounds of my own breathing;
  • fell over in the mud because they usually give me a tiny Jack Russell and I wasn’t aware of how powerful a husky can be;
  • went to cuddle the cats, got scratched on the neck for my bother;
  • came home to find one of our cats had accidentally been locked in the bathroom and had pissed in the bath as protest – I mean, there’s a friggin’ toilet right there;
  • spent forty minutes on the phone to Adobe Customer Support being passed through six different teams, none of whom could understand me nor fix my problem;
  • fixed that myself by having to reformat our Mac, meaning there’s all sorts of filth and pornography lost in the digital ether; and
  • I’ve made myself even more furious by recounting this all.

Oh, and now I have to go into work because I forgot to bring home the parcel of meat that I need for tonight’s dinner. Here’s a pro-tip, Newcastle: if you’re planning on getting on the road tonight and end up in front of a C3 apparently being driven by a beetroot on legs, either make sure you’re speeding or get out of my way. Cheers babes love you!

I know we’ve had a glut of overnight oats recipes lately but this lemon and blueberry overnight oats idea came from the fact that Slimming World have upgraded blueberries to a speed food. Begorrah! The world’s most duplicitous fruit (it’s not blue) has come through for us all. Hoy a handful into your breakfast and reap the whirlwind of barely noticeable flavour.

lemon and blueberry overnight oats

to make lemon and blueberry overnight oats, you’ll need:

  • 40g of oats
  • any yoghurt you like, but we used natural greek yoghurt – make sure it’s syn free
  • a big handful of blueberries
  • a lemon

This makes a very tart overnight oats, so if you like, use a vanilla yoghurt to temper the taste a little. I like a little tart in my mouth of a morning, so I’m tickety-boo.

to make lemon and blueberry overnight oats, you should:

  • cut up your blueberries and put them in the bottom
  • mix your oats with as much yoghurt as you like
  • finely grate the lemon rind (not the pith) into the yoghurt – about half
  • add a squirt of lemon juice if you fancy
  • mix it all together and save for the morning!

Look, I know, it’s not super exciting – but sometimes you need simplicity, no? If you’re seeking more exciting overnight oats, why not give our last three a try?


gallo pinto: a pan of tasty rice and beans

Rice and beans! Gosh, those words take me back. Absolutely no messing about tonight, straight to the recipe – I had plans to sit and type out the next part of our Stockholm adventures (one a week) but like all best laid plans, they were unravelled by the introduction of a wildcard third party, this time in the form of my parents. We received a phonecall at 2pm to inform us that they’d broken down (the car, not their personalities) in Blyth (for those that don’t know, Blyth is a verruca on the model’s foot that is the Northumbrian coast) and could we possibly get them a pack of batteries as they thought the immobiliser key was at fault. Meh, fair enough: should be easy, no? You’d think so, only they didn’t know the size of the battery. Or where to go. I rang Halfords who were about as much help as a glass hammer, Maplins who didn’t bother to answer and Homebase who put me on hold until time immemorial to ‘check the stock’. I don’t know if anyone is missing a pleasant-voiced nana in the North East area, but I assume she’s trapped somewhere in the back of Homebase under a load of decking. We schlepped around the shops – in the snow, no less – and managed to secure one of those cards of tiny batteries from B&M of all places. I hate B&M – it’s all a bit shellsuit, isn’t it – but at least they had what we needed.

A nice 15 mph crawl back to Blyth (stuck behind someone who was driving as though the lightly falling snow were greasy ball bearings) revealed the next part of the fun – none of the batteries were the right size. Oh good! Helpfully, neither parent had brought along their glasses meaning they couldn’t read the tiny make and model of the battery, but luckily Paul’s eager eyes spotted it. Off we went, once more, into the snow, car swerving merrily on the slick roads. If I asked you where to get a PX28A battery at 3pm on a Sunday – with only an hour to go until the shops shut – what would you do? We took a gamble on a mad dash to another Halfords a few miles away. Paul rang ahead to check and salvation lay within: they had six of what we needed. Driving altogether too quickly for safety and adding in an alarming drift around a roundabout, we arrived with minutes to spare. I sent Paul in for what should have been a quick purchase and out, but five minutes passed and still he hadn’t reappeared. A text came through from him to say he was “stuck behind some chavvy c*nt with liquorice teeth arguing about baby seats”. I went to investigate and he was spot on – one of those vile arrogant-without-a-good-reason bucket-boxed trollops giving it the Big I-Am because she’s got an bottom-end Audi on extensive finance and who thinks she’s Anita Roddick because she’s a green level Younique seller. She was doing that awful thing of repeating what she was complaining about over and over and louder and louder (with a foul mouth) without listening for a reply. To her absolute credit, the cashier managed to shut her down in the end and turned to serve us with broken eyes. We bought those batteries with two minutes left on the clock.

I don’t like to be cruel, but I do hope that Audi span into a river on the way home.

Anyway, a sharp drive back to Blyth was met with sarcastic replies about timekeeping from my parents and much shivering. The battery was hastily replaced, the key was turned…and the battery was flat. Repeated attempts to start the battery had left it as flat as a witch’s tit. We tried to jump start it using my car but a combination of me being a total fanny about anything mechanical and us all being unable to get to my engine meant we had to rope someone else in – and then it turned out that wasn’t the issue either. Finally: time for my parents to bite the bullet and phone a bloody breakdown service. We then had to sit all huddled in my car for an hour or so, which was fine, but the car park we were in is a notorious dogging spot and so it was altogether exceptionally awkward. To pour salt in the wound, we were dispatched to get a McDonalds for our nephew meaning my car now smells delicious and we had to watch all sorts of lovely food being chowed down by folks who don’t know they’re born. Bastards. Ah well. We got home at 7pm and whaddya know, the local newsagents just doesn’t sell the green beans nor veal that we needed for tonight’s tea.

I’m thinking about having them put in a home prematurely.

Anyway listen, let’s not procrastinate. I said I would get straight to the recipe and I failed you wildly. I apologise. Let’s do the rice and beans – to me, this makes more than enough for a proper meal (veggie too) but if you want to bulk it out, grill some chicken breasts with peri-peri sauce and feel like you’re in Nandos, only without having to pretend that the chicken and chips you’ve massively overpaid for isn’t a bit shit, actually. I hate Nandos: it’s a cesspit of first dates, crap chicken and folks who think they’re too good for KFC.

I’m sure this recipe is entirely inauthentic but I don’t care, it was tasty! Serves four-ish. I found the recipe on stripedspatula.com and adapted it only slightly to make it SW friendly – full credit to them!

rice and beans

to make gallo pinto (rice and beans) you’ll need:

  • one large red pepper
  • one large white onion
  • two cloves of garlic
  • a tin of black beans – you can find them in most major supermarkets, sometimes in the ‘World Foods’ bit, but if not, use kidney beans)
  • 8 tbsp of salsa (2 syns – the salsa we use is from ASDA and comes in a Hot and Spicy edition) (but most salsa kicks in about the 1/2 syn for a tbsp mark)
  • a good glug of worcestershire sauce (or tamari)
  • 200ml of beef or chicken stock (or veggie)
  • chopped coriander for the top
  • 400g of cooked rice – much better to use day-old leftover rice, but MAKE SURE THE DISH IS COOKED THROUGH GOOD AND HOT
  • if you can’t be arsed with leftover rice, cook some fresh and allow to cool.

top tips for gallo pinto (rice and beans):

to make gallo pinto (rice and beans) you should:

  • chop the onion and pepper up into little chunks and gently fry them off in a few squirts of oil (0.5 syns, but between four? Come on)
  • once they’re softened, add the garlic (minced: use one of these to save your smelly fingers!)
  • tip everything else in bar the coriander and give everything a stir and allow to bubble quickly for a few minutes until the stock has almost boiled off and the rice is steaming hot
  • top with the coriander and serve!

Easy peasy – and a great side dish! Want more random ideas? Click any of the buttons below to be whisked away on on adventure through time and eating!

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