home made Slimming World pease pudding

Not going to lie, I’m in two minds to post this recipe for pease pudding. Keen readers may remember me mentioning a few posts back that people are scraping this stuff into pie dishes and pretending it’s a pastry. I can get behind that – sort of – it’s not that much different to a potato crust pie, I suppose. But, to top the lemon meringue pie monstrosity that I saw someone posting the other day, someone’s actually gone and made jam tarts. That’s a jam tart made from pease-pudding and a few squished strawberries. Syn-free, though, so who’s laughing now? Not the people watching you choke down these vile creations, I can tell you – they’re looking at you with thinly-veiled hatred, Sheila – not least because you’ve got pease pudding flakes in your moustache.

But hey, who am I to stand in the way of dignity – so a recipe for pease pudding it is. This isn’t syn-free because in a desperate attempt to make it interesting I’ve added a Newcastle Brown Ale syrup that I made from boiling the bejesus from a bottle of dog – that’s what we call Newcastle Brown Ale up here in tan-teeth-land: so-called because a husband would tell his wife he was walking the dog when instead he was creeping away for a quick drink. The rotter! You can, of course, leave that out. What you do with this pease pudding is entirely up to you – decent folk spread it on sandwiches with ham, sensible folk have it on the side of a good lunch, but if you choose to smear it up a pie tin and make a corned beef pie with it, then more power to your elbow.

A quick reminder before the recipe though:

Reposting this for the summer. Ask yourself a quick question – can you remember the hair colour of the last person who served you in a shop? Can you remember what style shirt the guy who let you out at the lights was wearing? In fact, any human interaction outside of your friends and family in the last three days – can you describe anyone in more than a fleeting detail? Of course you can’t – and that’s why you shouldn’t be covering up your wobbly bits or unsightly ham-arms. Because no-one cares, no-one remembers and only you are worried about them. When I posted this on Facebook yesterday there was a sea of positivity – good – but quite a few comments of people sat inside too scared to go out and enjoy themselves because they were scared of being judged. Please, for the love of Mags Miles-B and her 40 Rothmans larynx, stop. Don’t waste a second worrying about people who’d never give you a second thought (and I mean that kindly). Life’s too short.

The pease pudding then…

pease pudding

pease pudding

home made pease pudding

Yield 10 servings

So two things: you don't need an Instant Pot for this recipe - it just makes things so much easier. Second, you don't need to add the ale - it adds syns, but it makes a lovely base-note for the pudding. Christ, how pretentious. Add plenty of salt and pepper before cooking, too!

Remember that you could very easily switch and make syn free split pea soup! We have a recipe for this.

Oh and finally! Pease pudding in the supermarket is about 70p for a little pot. This recipe makes about 10 pots worth for £1 of ingredients. Pease pudding freezes well, so get it done!

It's this easy!

https://youtu.be/AW-N72urmbc

Ingredients

  • 500g of yellow split peas
  • one large chopped onion
  • 1100ml of ham stock
  • one bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale (330ml) (6 syns) (optional)
  • a right good pinch of black pepper and salt 

Instructions

  • if you're using the ale, reduce it down by adding it into a pan and allowing to reduce on the heat until it's reduced by about a third
  • if you're using an Instant Pot, throw it all in, turn the vent to seal, stick it on manual for twenty minutes
  • once cooked, let out the pressure, give it a good stir and then leave to cool
  • it'll thicken up in the fridge - portion up and freeze
  • if you don't have an Instant Pot, you can do this on the hob - just allow to blip and simmer away for as long as it takes

Notes

We love our Instant Pot - one of our favourite gadgets, and after being out of stock for a whole year, they're NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER! Have a look through the recipes we posted at the bottom of this post for more ideas but in the meantime, if you've sat on the fence about getting one, now is the time to get it! Order one here!

Courses snacks

Cuisine British

Easy! Want some more Instant Pot / Pressure King recipes? Then here you go:

J

a proper tasty BBQ-friendly veggie burger

Looking for a proper tasty BBQ-friendly veggie burger? Of course. And we’re happy to oblige, mind you, but you’ll need to scroll down to the pictures as I’ve got a very happy post to do first!

We did something we never normally do yesterday: we were social! YES. Despite it being an unwritten rule in Chubby Towers that if the sun is in the sky on a Saturday we will still be in bed, we were roused at 8.30am (gasp), put on a minibus with a few lovely colleagues from Paul’s work and dispatched to Northumberland Pride, the very first pride event in our local area. It’s a pride event to celebrate being yourself and inclusivity, not marvelling at dry-stone walls and rolling hills, as the name may suggest if you’re a little bit touched in the head.

One minibus trip later – an unusual experience that, because who knew you could travel thirty miles on a motorway without a forty minute sojourn in a secluded layby – and we were pulling onto the rugby club. We put together a load of goodie bags, congratulated ourselves on having the best stall and then made our way down into Alnwick to get ready to join the march. I’ve never seen more rainbows in my life – it was like (what I imagine) the gayest acid trip ever. We took up position behind a group of drummers and a lady up on stilts because of course.

One thing that struck me, aside from the back of the huge pride banner I was wearing that felt like it had been stitched right into my spine, was the mix of people there. I’d always (through ignorance I suppose) assumed it would be a load of young and beautiful people having a powermince and banging the drum, but no: every age, every gender, every shape. It was genuinely lovely to see so many people in one place just there to have a good time.

Whilst we were waiting for the march to start we were approached by an elderly couple who looked the spit of a couple from our street – the ones who don’t talk to us and walk around with a face like someone’s pissed on their chips. The type of folks who last laughed when Thatcher took milk from the poor kids. I was expecting a stern lecture on the perils of sodomy (tell me about it love, no-one likes a racing stripe) and how we’ll burn in hell, but no: they wanted a sticker for their car as their grandson had just come out and wanted support. D’awww. We primly advised them that this wasn’t a commercial event and sent them on their way but OF COURSE we didn’t, we gave them a sticker.

The march began and people of all shapes, sizes, genders and colours slowly snaked their way through a town that would never have been my first guess for an epicentre of equal rights – how wrong I was. We were cheered and clapped and welcomed by folks young and old and the band literally played on, drumming the way to the rugby club. There, the afternoon was full of people smiling at each other, grabbing as many freebies as they could and just having a bloody good time. Not an ounce of bother. I drank a bit too much lager, we both flirted wildly with everyone within spitting distance and we came away with some mint-flavoured condoms. I might put them in the Slimmer of the Week basket.

All in all, an amazingly positive experience.

Naturally, a quick glance on facebook and the negative nellies were exposed. The local police force round here have changed the battenburg markings on one police car so that they’re pride colours. One car. We’re not talking about the whole fleet, they haven’t stuck a fucking unicorn horn on the police helicopter or changed the sirens for the opening notes of Your Disco Needs You. But this was enough to get the usual suspects in a tizz: ‘WAIST OV POLISS RESAUCES’ and ‘SHUD NOT BE POLITIKAL’ and other ohfuckoffery. It’s not as though Vera Baird is sitting letting out prisoners because the jail budget has been frittered away in Claire’s Accessories. Morons. It’s a wonderful, positive message to push out – that people who have been subject to hate crimes should feel no fear about speaking to the police because they will be treated with the respect and care that everyone deserves. It’s our police force too, you know.

Perhaps I’m a smidge biased because some especially handsome policeman allowed us to try his helmet on for size. In fact, we were even allowed in the back of the van, an experience we treated with the absolute solemnity and respect you expect from us. So much shrieking about being too pretty for prison.

Who knew cottaging was still a crime? #bangedup #northumberlandpride

A post shared by twochubbycubs (@twochubbycubs) on

Paul’s teeth look a bit like he could chew an apple through a letterbox in this photo, I’m not sure why – they’re as straight as I am bent. But it’s a great photo that was representative of a lovely day.

Oh and I say the same things every year, but here’s the counters to the most common arguments:

  • you’re just doing it to rub your sexuality in our faces” – pfft, you wish, and no, perhaps we’re holding hands or being close to each other because, you know, love; or
  • it isn’t needed anymore” – the goals have changed absolutely, but the core message of accepting yourself and others for something they can’t change or help remains the same; or
  • why can’t we have a straight parade” – you do, it’s called life, but if you want to walk down the street in your tan chinos and beige jumpers and hold hands with the harridan you regret marrying and celebrate your life, then please do so. I’d sooner be held up waiting for a pride march to pass than a protest.

Another thing that was fun was having people who knew of us through the website / facebook group / Crimewatch repeats come up and say hello. It’s super awkward because we’ve got all the social finesse of a bout of hot diarrhoea at a wake but we try our best not to offend and at least get off one witty bon-mot before their eyes glaze over and they start with the ‘really must get on, things to do’ comments. Actually, everyone we met yesterday was an absolute delight and it really does make our hearts and ankles swell when people tell us how much they enjoy our food, support groups and ability to shoehorn a reference to wolfbagging (don’t, just don’t) into a recipe for houmous. Mmm, bacon. But please, remember the rules. The deal is that you must tell everyone afterwards that we were 6ft 3″, could pass for Jason Mamoa in a dark room and that I had trouble walking as it looked as though I was smuggling a foot-long hot-dog in my jeans pockets. Be reasonable.

We’re booked up to help with Newcastle Pride in July. Apparently it’s a bit more seedy and sexy, which you can only imagine how devastated I am to hear. One side of me wants to help dish out the condoms and positive health messages, the other side of me wants to try and find some strapping, leather-clad cigar-smoking brute of a man to adopt us two Cubs and make us his own. We’ll see which side wins out.

Right, shall we do the recipe then?

veggie burger

proper tasty BBQ veggie burger

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 burgers

We were going to call these millennial burgers because ho-ho avocado but then we realised we weren't that insufferably tedious, so these are veggie burgers you can do on the BBQ or under the grill. We're not fussed! They look a little dry and to be fair, they are - that's why you use avocado, to grease the wheels and add a different layer of taste! So don't skimp on it - the syns are there to be used AND think of this way, nothing with eyelashes has died to make your burger. You swine!

Ingredients

  • 400g button mushrooms, chopped small
  • 2 tins of butterbeans, drained
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4 wholemeal rolls (4x HeB)
  • few handfuls of rocket or lettuce
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, mashed (14 syns)
  • few drops of lime
  • few tbsp of our proper tasty coleslaw

Instructions

  • spray a large saucepan with a little oil and cook the chopped mushrooms until soft and all of the liquid has evaporated
  • add the butterbeans to the pan and cook for an extra minute or two, stirring frequently
  • remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until well mixed
  • add the garlic and give another mash
  • divide the mixture into four, roll into balls and then flatten into burger shapes
  • carefully slide the burgers onto the barbecue and cook for 3-4 minutes each side - avoid turning them more than once as they're quite fragile

  • if cooking on the hob, do the same but on a large frying pan over a high heat
  • assemble the burger by layering cherry tomatoes, salad leaves and coleslaw, then the burger, and then topping with the mashed avocado - add a pinch of salt and some lime juice onto that avocado and then shove it in your big, gaping gob!

Notes

  • Fry Light is gonna knacker your pans - get one of these instead!
  • don't shit yourself at the syn value for the avocado - they're really tasty and really good for you!
  • looking for coleslaw recipe - but natch - click here
  • chuck whatever else you like in the burger - cheese, fried onions, etc - whatever you want!
  • mince the garlic in seconds with one of these excellent Microplane graters - no fiddly bits, easy to wash and you can use it for all sorts!

Courses BBQ

Cuisine vegetarian

Yum, right? I know, we’re fabulous.

If you’re a vegetarian seeking more recipes from us, then by god can we help – just look at some of the suggested beauties below:

Country roads, take me home.

J

Slimming World halloumi burgers: veggie BBQ time

Halloumi burgers! Yes, we’re doing a vegetarian classic for our BBQ run. It’s surprisingly difficult to come up with anything particularly exciting when you’re not a vegetarian because well, we’re wedded to meat, but this is a great attempt. To give you an indication as to how good this actually was, we had it on Friday night and Sunday night in two seperate BBQs. Now the rumour that we only had the second BBQ to annoy the neighbour who sat by her window coughing and spluttering whilst we had the first is entirely false. I don’t know what her problem is, actually, she has a tank of oxygen connected to her nose anyway – how much bloody fresh air does she need? Honestly, some people just think of themselves.

Anyway, let’s make this quick. I’m sure the end of the world is due – coming home I happened across three things that never, ever happen and it must mean something:

  • someone smiled back at me – I try and smile nicely at people if they’re walking towards me. Not in a loony sort of way, but rather a ‘It’s OK, all my sexual advances are predicated by hours and hours of tortuous flirting, there will be no unexpected activity from me, so you can walk by safely’. I’m aware of my build and dazzling street presence and I fret enormously that as I clump towards a young female on a deserted path she might think I’m up to dickens. So I smile, and normally, people ignore me. However, today, someone – a handsome, stacked tradesman, no less – not only met my smile but gave me a good, cheery ‘afternoon’ as he slipped past and out of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I was hoping he’d tumble me into the hedges and make me feel like a natural woman, but no. Progress though!
  • then, as I was driving home, an Audi not only waited at a junction as I approached, but let me out with a cheery wave and an affectionate blink of his lights. I was so surprised I almost mounted the kerb and committed an atrocity. See I’m used to Audi drivers driving so far up my arse that it triggers my automatic ‘how long have we got until your wife is back mate’ conversation gambit, so one who was courteous and kind really knocked me for six; and
  • I came home to find Paul has managed to bring the bin in – I know! I had to sit down on the path with my smelling salts until the blood drained back into my face. Ten years we’ve been together and 9 years, 11 months and 3 weeks he has spent walking past the very same bin on bin day that he parks RIGHT BESIDE and then has to move out of the way just to walk up our path. It causes an fair frisson of tension between us on a Monday when I return only to find he’s seemingly missed the 140 litre bright blue beast that’s propped up against his Smart car. I asked him what triggered such a dramatic volte-face and his response was that he didn’t want to listen to me whingeing about it. See, he takes with one hand and gives with the other. That’s why I love him.

Must get on. End of the world to prep for. Let’s do the Slimming World halloumi burgers, eh? I mean, just look…

Dunno about you, but I’m at full-mast right now.

slimming world halloumi burgers

slimming world halloumi burgers

1 vote

Print

Slimming World halloumi burgers with sweet chilli drizzle

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 burgers

A burger perfect for all of those who don't like their burgers salted with the tears of crying animals. Understandable. Unlike most veggie burgers, we haven't tried to make a burger from nothing, so instead use cheese - and blacken it so it tastes even better.

You can omit the sauce if you prefer, but it brings it all together. Feel free to buy a shop version if you're lazy. If you do, check the syns!

Ingredients

  • 180g reduced fat halloumi (4x HeA)
  • 4x wholemeal buns (4x HeB)
  • rocket leaves
  • coleslaw

for the sweet chilli drizzle

  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp honey (2.5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar with Stevia (3 syns)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (1 syn)

Instructions

  • add all the sweet chilli drizzle ingredients into a bowl along with 2 tbsp water and give a good stir
  • microwave for 1 minute, stirring halfway, and then leave to cool and thicken
  • meanwhile, cut the halloumi into 4 equal size slices - nice and thick
  • place the halloumi onto the barbecue and cook for 2-3 minutes each side
  • slice the rolls and add a spoon of coleslaw and a few rocket leaves
  • top with the halloumi slices and drizzle over the sauce

Looking for a coleslaw recipe? Remember we made an amazing one syn proper coleslaw just a few entries ago?

Click here for that recipe!

Notes

  • you can cook the halloumi in a hot frying pan if you prefer (or if you can't be arsed to get the barbecue going) - just cook for 3-4 minutes each side
  • a good sweet chilli sauce is worth the syns which is why we always make our own - but any sweet chilli sauce from the shops will do if you don't want to make it
  • if you really want a 'put the ceftriaxone on ice, Doc' experience, slather it in Crucials sauce, which I'm told is sold in places like B&M or, better because you don't have to look at so many sweetcorn teeth, you can buy it on Amazon!

Courses burger, BBQ

Well burger me, what a beauty! Want more burger ideas? Natch:

That’s enough to fill even your holes.

J

proper tasty Slimming World coleslaw: revised!

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?

Eeee no. WARNING BAD LANGUAGE. #eyesfront #stopnebbing

A post shared by twochubbycubs (@twochubbycubs) on

Mahaha! Right, the Slimming World coleslaw.

slimming world coleslaw

slimming world coleslaw

perfect Slimming World coleslaw

Prep

Total

Yield 4 big servings

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.

Ingredients

  • four carrots
  • half a red cabbage
  • one large red onion
  • five big tablespoons of fat-free Greek yoghurt (free)
  • one tablespoon of tahini (5 syns)

Instructions

  • 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)
  • serve with burgers, salad or whatever you fancy

Notes

Courses sides, BBQ

Cuisine BBQ

Want some more recipe ideas? Of course, one moment please:

Yum!

J

lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes

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?

Fancy! I made ginger nuts (of course) by following our recipe here and rose-scented meringue bites by tweaking this exciting recipe made from chickpea pre-cum and I swear to God, that’s exactly what we used.

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.

roast potatoes

roast potatoes

1 vote

Print

lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

Courses sides, vegetarian

Cuisine BBQ

Yum!

Looking for more BBQ ideas? Then please, let us help you out:

Have a good weekend folks!

J

baked eggs in cheesy toast: syn-free and quick!

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!

baked eggs in cheesy toast

baked eggs in cheesy toast

2 votes

Print

baked eggs in cheesy toast

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield two slices

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.

Ingredients

  • one Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll (HEB)
  • two eggs
  • 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

Instructions

  • 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
  • enjoy!

Notes

  • 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

Courses breakfast

Cuisine easy

There now! Looking for more breakfast ideas, you fabulous witch?

Enjoy!

J

orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad: a fresh lunch idea

Here for the orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad? Then you’ve got exceptional taste, and you must be rewarded. If you’re in a hurry, scroll quickly to the video and watch the recipe, or read the words explaining how to make our delicious orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad. If you need a good light lunch, this is the one you’ll need. But first…

Paul has done some foolish things in his short time on the Earth. For example, he once pooed on the tracks of the East Coast Main Line just to see what would happen when a train went over it at full-clip. That also explains why we’re banned from Durham train station. Ay-oooo, I’ll be here all night, try the veal.

However, he’s excelled himself now. He’s signed us up to run a 5K at the end of the month to raise money for The Albert Kennedy Trust. I ought to explain: I get out of breath driving 5k, and that’s including a break to ogle/fellate the lorry drivers at Washington Services. The thought of running it makes my heart race all of its own, but that’s me and my hilarious tachycardia all over. I’ve been reassured that we will be fine and that actually, there is an air ambulance station only five minutes away from the run location. So I mean, that’s great: my lips might turn the colour of old liver and my brain will likely be starved of oxygen as all my blood pools in my cheap, not-suitable-for-running trainers, but hey, I get a ride in a helicopter.

Actually, that really IS a dealbreaker, I’ve always wanted to leap from a helicopter like Anneka Rice in Treasure Hunt. We’ll get Mags in as Wincey Willis, standing in front of a cardboard map pinning arrows of my location on with gay abandon, though we’d need to ask her to tone down her hairspray cloud to Bhopal levels lest Paul took an asthma attack.

Readers born in the late nineties might not get that reference. Ah well. I don’t understand how to use hashtags properly or why everyone is insistent on putting dog ears on their photos, so we’ll call it even. Seriously folks, why do you do that? Do you want conversation, or taken outside for a shite?

Anyway, I jest, of course. This fitness burst is actually a culmination of our efforts from New Year to increase our activity levels. I was tired of getting out of breath putting on my shoes. Paul was literally tired – he could barely sleep for fretting that I was going to choke on a landslide of my own neck-fat. I didn’t do much snore as drown through the night. So, naturally, we decided the sensible approach would be to go straight into a bootcamp (which wrecked us, but in a good way) and gym membership, and now here we are able to run for a mile without being blue-lighted into hospital and/or asked to leave because the resonance of our thighs slapping together is putting the structural integrity of the building at risk.

That mile thing is, well, a proper milestone – for months I’ve been telling myself that there’s simply no way I could run for that long without dying until, on Saturday, I told myself to give it a go. Armed with the reassurance that I had the emergency-stop clip attached to the waistband of my shorts (I think I managed to clip about half of my neatly-trimmed pubic hair too, just to add an extra frisson of excitement to possible failure) and a hurly-burly chap to my immediate right to give me mouth to mouth should I need it, away I went. And do you know, I did it without any drama, fanfare or worry – just plodded on through! So there’s hope yet.

Speaking of hope, that’s what we’re running the 5K for. The Albert Kennedy Trust provide support, help and sometimes accommodation for LGBT folks who are experiencing difficulties, especially those who have just come out and are facing adversity from their parents or guardians. I’ve told you the story of my ex who came out to his parents only to have his kind, patient, God-loving dad put a screwdriver to his throat and lock him away in the house until my mother went all Andy McNab (Mandy McTab, surely) and kidnapped him? Yeah: they help with folks in that sort of situation, and much worse. You can’t help your sexuality any more than you can change your eye-colour or the clip of your bumhole: why then should you live in fear over something you have no control over? Hmm?

If you would like to sponsor our run, then by all means do – look, I even made a dapper wee banner for you to click on (it’ll open in a new window) and anything at all would be absolutely amazing. But listen, if you’re sitting there on the bones of your arse with nothing but shrapnel and dreams in your purse, don’t fret for a second. We’re not shaking you down here: if you can and you want to, by all means donate and we’ll be delighted, but we won’t think anything less of anyone for not donating! There’s a million charities out there all equally as important to someone, I’m sure. Click to donate! One final thing: don’t worry, we’re not going to become jogging-wankers. I still think running is bloody awful. Why use your own locomotion when Uber is only a strained conversation away? We certainly won’t be doing fun-runs and sprinting along the town moor with that permanent ‘I’m about to cum through my own self-worth’ face on. And no to any sort of lycra, though that’s more for your benefit than mine: I look like a Shar Pei dog snuffling for truffles in a bin-liner when I wear any sort of figure-hugging outfit. No, that just won’t do.

Now that’s quite enough waffling on. I apologise that the drought of posts continues, but so does the drought of free-time we’re currently experiencing, so just bear with us. Today’s recipe for orzo, mint and tomato salad was borne from the need for a quick lunch to answer all the ‘what can I have for lunch’ posts we keep getting. This takes no time at all to make, uses only a few ingredients and keeps well in the fridge. To make up for the lack of recipes, we’ve done a video recipe for you – we’d love some feedback!

Let’s do the proper recipe now: orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad, just for you.
orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad

orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad

2 votes

Print

orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Looking for a lunch that you can keep in the fridge and it'll only get better? Then something like this orzo, mint and sundried tomato salad will hit the spot! Orzo is a type of pasta you can buy in most supermarkets - cheap, tasty and carries a sauce well.

Don't be tempted to use Quark: you're so much better than that. 

And yes, you could use cherry tomatoes and make this syn-free, but proper sun-dried tomatoes are tastier and will bring your dish up a treat! Give it a go!

Ingredients

  • 350g orzo
  • 25g chopped mint
  • 110g Philadelphia Lightest (one 1 x HEA)
  • 100g chopped sundried tomatoes (6 syns)
  • 150g spinach
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • boil your orzo for about eight minutes until soft
  • drain the orzo, keeping aside 100ml of the cooking water
  • pop the orzo back in the pan, pop the water back in and put it on a very low heat
  • add the mint, sundried tomatoes, spinach and cream cheese together with a pinch of salt and pepper and allow the cheese to soften down and the spinach to wilt
  • stir and serve!

Notes

  • this makes enough for four decent sized portions and keeps well in the fridge
  • add peas, peppers, onion, anything you like - but we like to keep it simple
  • looking for a lunchbox - you can find us on xtube, or buy your own for your dinner right here - nice and cheap, on both counts

Courses lunch

Cuisine salad

Looking for more salad ideas, you healthy bugger? Fine:

And, loads more in our salad section!

Enjoy!

J

proper sausage rolls with a veggie alternative

Sausage rolls indeed!

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:

So there’s always something to read! Right, shall we do sausage rolls?

proper sausage rolls

sausage rolls

1 vote

Print

proper sausage rolls and a veggie version

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 16 sausage rolls

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! 

Ingredients

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
  • pepper
  • an egg

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

Instructions

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

Notes

Courses taster night, samples, picnic

Looking for more taster night ideas?

Yum!

J

sarah’s slaggy speed syn-free sauce – guest blog!

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…

speed syn-free sauce

speed syn-free sauce

1 vote

Print

sarah's slaggy speed syn-free sauce

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield lots and lots

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. 

Ingredients

  • 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!

Instructions

  1. get yourself ready
  2. chop all that veg up - or buy pre-chopped if you're fancy
  3. coat your pan in a few sprays of oil
  4. chuck in your red, yellow, orange peppers and onions
  5. 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)
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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.

Notes

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
  • a blender - nothing expensive needed, this wee £10 model will do the job just as well

Courses side

Cuisine Italian

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?

www.facebook.com/tryingtodoitall.co.uk

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:

Get licking those fingers!

James and Sarah and Paul too

budget: creamy parsnip and apple soup

Creamy parsnip and apple soup – part of a new category of budget Slimming World recipes that we’re planning on doing. We’ve done a budget week before, you understand, but it became such a ballache having to work out a tenth of a stockcube that we stopped doing it – I know, I’m shameless. But at the time of writing ASDA are selling bags of parsnips for 20p, so you can make this entire pan of soup – which serves six – for less than £1.50. Freezes well, too.


Forgot to say: apologies everyone who received an empty email talking about a risotto – we haven’t published that yet and the email was sent in error – pressed the wrong button. Blame my sausage fingers, it’s why I’ve never mastered the keyboard or wettened an eager beaver. I’m a hamfisted slut! That’ll come online shortly, I’m sure.


Budget is a difficult topic to gauge, to be honest. What is cutting back to me might be eye-watering extravagance to you – what might be penny-pinching to everyone else might be essential to a few of you. Who knows. The reason we’ve decided to reboot this category is simple: I read an excellent article from Jack Monroe, author of cookingonabootstrap, entitled My Ready Meal is None Of Your Fucking Business. She tears apart the whole argument that people can eat ‘well’ on a few pounds a week far more eloquently than I ever could. So I won’t try, but I’ll give you the strongest push to have a read of her blog, especially if you’re struggling for money and need some cheap but decent food ideas. To think, somewhat ashamedly, that my only initial recollection of her was someone who used to vaguely vex me (because she looked like a teacher I disliked) on the Sainsbury’s adverts. Having read up, and realised that as well as everything else she does, she also managed to royally piss off the Daily Mail, well, fair play to her.

Paul and I are lucky – no dependents to fund, no mortgage to pay, plenty of that luscious pink pound to waste on Ritter chocolate and extravagant trips around Lidl. In theory. In reality, we’re both tighter than a photo finish – we hate spending money and will desperately try to avoid doing so unless it’s for a holiday. There’s a certain outdated stereotype that as gay blokes, we should be tripping the light fantastic in decadent clothes, but trust me when I say the most expensive thing in our wardrobe is the dehumidifier. All of our clothes come from the supermarket – I don’t think I’ve ever owned a shirt that hasn’t come from a multipack and poor Paul has been barrelling into work now in shirts that are almost six sizes too big for him. He fell over the other day in the wind and it took five minutes for him to float to the ground like a feather. I park 2.5 miles away from my work and walk in to save the £7 a day parking fee I’d otherwise occur. I like to tell people it’s because I’m trying to get fit but actually, it’s all about the money. The biggest muscle on my body is the thumb I use to keep my wallet shut. I’ve been trying to encourage Paul to allow us to be a ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow’ sort of household but we had to stop when the entire house started stinking like Sugar Puffs mixed with tuna.

Both of us came from families that didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but neither of us is any worse off for it – I wasn’t one of those spoiled brats who looked enviously at other kids going to Florida for their holidays – I was more than happy piling into the back of my parents’ car for the eight hour drive to the top of Scotland, thank you very much. Even now I can’t relax in a car unless I’ve got a tent peg threatening to burst my eardrum as I drive along. We never stopped at a Little Chef or anywhere fun en route either, no no – it was warm egg sandwiches and sullen faces all the way. Paul didn’t even get to go on holiday bar a trip to Ireland at the height of the troubles and some trip to Spain at the height of teletext-bargains. I’ve just asked him for a ‘poor’ memory and his was going to school with a pair of Activ trainers from Whittlesea Market whilst everyone else had Diadora specials. Pfft. He won’t elaborate further but I bet his Adidas trousers were two-stripe, with the third stripe being formed from his mother’s cigarette ash. Tsk.

There’s two exceptions to our thrift that I can think of: we like expensive aftershave (Tom Ford) and decent shoes. I like to think when I leave a room that I leave a pleasing order and a wonderful footprint, even if I do look like I’ve come dressed for a bet. Cheap shoes are a false economy – Paul struggled the three miles into work one day in a pair of gardening shoes when the entire bottom of his shoe came away, leaving him limping home in the rain like he’d staggered away from an explosion. A good pair of boots will last you forever, but of course, getting the funds together to buy them in the first place…

Anyway, in my usual roundabout way, I want to apologise if our budget recipes aren’t budget enough for you – but please, do feel free to suggest some more to us! Without further delay, let’s crack on with the creamy parsnip and apple soup, shall we? It’s from the Hairy Bikers, you know. Nope, not the first time two hairy bikers have left us satisfied and smiling with a slight pain in our bellies, but here we are. Do enjoy!

parsnip and apple soup

parsnip and apple soup

creamy parsnip and apple soup

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 bowls

Remember: according to the folks at Slimming World, if you cook fruit, it becomes synned. We don't always agree with this blanket rule and in this case as we've used two apples between six people and haven't made it into an apple pie so we've chosen to not syn it. I know. Mags will put my lights out.

If you want to follow Slimming World's exact advice, this would be about 15 syns - 2.5 syns per bowl - or approximately 2x HeB choices split between six. How silly.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 600g parsnips, peeled and cut into wee chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 600g Bramley apples, peeled, quartered and cut into chunks
  • 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
  • 150ml milk (3 syns)

Instructions

  • spray a large, heavy-bottomed pan with a bit of oil
  • add the onions and parsnips to the pan and gently fry for about fifteen minutes
    • as an aside - if you want, take your parsnip peelings, spray them with a bit of oil, rub in some curry powder and roast them for a few minutes to crunch them up - you can use these to top the soup!
  • add the garlic and apples to the pan and cook for another couple of minutes
  • pour in the stock and bring to the boil
  • reduce to a simmer and cook for about twenty minutes - the parsnips should be soft
  • remove from the heat and blend until smooth
  • add in the milk and give a good stir - add plenty of salt and pepper
  • serve!

Notes

We’ve done some amazing soup recipes! Have a look:

Enjoy!

J