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

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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

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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

jerk pork and pineapple skewers: get them grilling!

Well look, if there’s two lads you can rely on to jerk your pork, it’s us! Jerk pork and pineapple skewers! Another skewer recipe but it’s glorious weather and this is the type of food you need to enjoy. Plus, if the weather lets you down, there’s nothing to stop you throwing these under the grill.

But before we get there, two things. First, look what appeared just as I sat down to type this:

We don’t live in some Dickensian workhouse, but we’re near an awful lot of fields full of mice and this is the end result. Rats and mice don’t bother me as a rule but you better believe that I simultaneously leapt and shat when this bugger scuttled out from behind my router. I thought it was a spider, though if it had been, this house would have been razed to the ground. No second chances.

The other thing to announce…

I'm allowed to be pretty damn chuffed with us!

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We only went and bloody did it! The two fat blokes (How fat? When we fall down the stairs people think Eastenders is finishing! So fat our patronuses are cakes! So fat that you need a bus journey with two connections just to get on our good side! Ho ho! Fuck off) who never exercise upped their game and ran a bloody 5k! We weren’t even the last ones to finish – I had visions of being lapped over and over before someone came and asked us to leave as they wanted to get home and only had tent hire until 11pm.

As it happens, we ran a good 80% of it and power-minced the rest. All we’ve done is focus on running a bit more each time – no fancy trainers, no expensive regimes, just walk, run, go. You know what made it lovely though? So many people clapping and encouraging folk as they ran past. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting to be chased with pitchforks (though it was Alnwick) but even I was surprised how lovely it all was. Who knows what lies ahead, other than plantar fasciitis and jogging cum-faces? Maybe we’ll do the Great North Run?

Pfft, aye, no.

Oh and we crossed the finishing line holding hands (with me leading Paul, who remember, has tiny corgi legs as opposed to my long, gazelle pins), just to make you sick up in your mouth a little. Cubs who finish together, stay together. Certainly not the first time I’ve tugged a chubby bloke to a happy finish in the vicinity of a rugby pitch, either.

Shall we do the recipe then?

pork and pineapple skewers

pork and pineapple skewers

jerk pork and pineapple skewers

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 skewers

Easy! The key with BBQ food is that it is easy and quick to make - this really couldn't be easier, given it's rubbing a bit of meat, chopping fruit and grilling it! What's not to love?

Remember, Slimming World's official line is that you should syn your pineapple if you're following the diet to the letter. Our view, and mind it is our view and not an official one, is that this is bollocks. But follow your own path - if you need to syn the pineapple, 100g is 2 syns. We're also not including the 0.5 syn drop of sriracha - this made six fat skewers, and I'll be damned if I'm dividing 0.5 between 6.

Then again, we're living in an era where people are making lemon meringue pies using pease pudding, so all bets are off.

Not sure what sriracha is? It's just a hot, spicy sauce. Leave it off if you've got a delicate balloon-knot, and replace it with a few drops of Worcestershire sauce.

We nicked this from BBC Good Food. See, it's that easy to give credit to recipes when they've been Pinched. 😉

Ingredients

  • 400g pork fillets, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium pineapple
  • 2 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (1 syn)
  • zest and juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  • in a large bowl mix together the jerk seasoning, sriracha and lime zest and juice
  • tip in the pork chunks and mix well - really give that meat a good rub, and then leave to marinade for a bit (room temperature is best)
  • peel and core the pineapple, and cut into large chunks
  • skewer the pork and pineapple alternately until it's all used up
  • cook over the barbecue or under  a hot grill for about 7-10 minutes, turning regularly

Notes

  • can't find jerk seasoning? any kind of seasoning mix will do - just use whatever you have in
  • we always prefer using metal skewers as they're less faff - we use these ones
  • wooden ones will work fine too, just remember to soak them for thirty minutes so they don't catch fire
  • this should be enough for 6 medium (wooden) skewers' worth, or 4 big ones (no prizes for guessing which we went for)
  • the 'official' rules say you should really syn the pineapple as technically it's cooked, but really. It's up to you. We didn't bother. No hate mail please. 
  • to make quick work of the pineapple you should try one of these - it'll save you no end of hassle!
  • if you really can't be arsed though you can use the pre-prepared chunks, though they may be on the small side

Courses BBQ

Cuisine BBQ

Yum! Want more BBQ ideas? Remember we’ve done loads lately!

If you’re having a BBQ this weekend, get it done!

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

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Slimming World halloumi burgers with sweet chilli drizzle

Prep

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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

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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

bbq time: lemon and oregano grilled chicken

I’m fully aware that we’ve had a bit of a run of lemon and oregano recipes but here me out with this grilled chicken – I’ve still got tonnes of that oregano my mate gave me and well, it’s coming up to Bank Holiday and time to get the BBQ out. So if you don’t like it, please feel free to pucker up and kiss my bum!

Just a very quick post today as lots to do, but I want to make a special plea to you lot following my bee-facts on Tuesday. If you’ve got a moment or two, pot up some nice bright flowers and stick them outside. Nothing fancy: a few flowers in a rusty beans can will do the job, hell, you can stick a lupin in your fundament for all I care, but let’s save the bees. We’re surrounded on our street by pristine laws of immaculate grass and mm-precision borders and it makes me sad: where are the bees to land if not on our dandelions? We’re deliberately letting the garden grow a bit wild, if only because it makes us laugh when some of the neighbours wince as they walk past. Now they know how I feel when I catch sight of their chinos and Daily Mail.

Oh and whilst we’re on the topic of nature:

Seriously, it makes an amazing pesto for this recipe: spinach and wild garlic pesto pasta (3 syns). Though I recommend you choose the leafs away from the path, otherwise you’ll be accompanying your dinner with a light drizzle of dog piss.

The grilled chicken, then.

grilled chicken

lemon and oregano grilled chicken

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 8 thighs

This recipe for lemon and oregano grilled chicken is fresh from Martha Stewart's website, but that's OK, she probably stole it off someone else anyway. #topical

This recipe couldn't be easier, so even your hamfisted attempts at clarting about in the kitchen can't end in disaster. Make the marinade, leave it to sit and then grill it! BBQ or normal grill, who cares - end result is tasty chicken!

DON'T be tempted to skip the oil, for goodness sake. It adds a bit of succulence and for crying out loud, if you're having a BBQ, better to spend the syns on something tasty than an arseholes-and-eyelashes burger from Aldi? Yes?

Looking for something to serve this with: try using the same ingredients to make a batch of roast potatoes and, whilst you've got your grill hot and steamy, whack our peanut butter pork skewers on there!

Ingredients

  • as many chicken thighs as you want, though this makes enough marinade for about eight - boneless is better, but if you're alright with the thought of a bone in your mouth, and let's be honest we've all read the graffiti in the bogs which confirms that fact, go with the bone
  • 2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest
  • 120ml of lemon juice (fresh, mind, don't you be cheap about this)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (12 syns, which I've dividing between eight)
  • two tablespoons of fresh oregano if you have it (finely chopped) or dried if you're a Dismal Deirdre
  • good pinches of salt and ground pepper
  • fresh oregano sprigs if you're that way inclined

Instructions

  • look, there's two ways of approaching this - make your choice:
    • I'm a hussy: OK, leave the skin on the chicken, it's tasty, but you should syn it...should...but well, you know...
    • I'm a nun: take off the skin, throw it in the bin, sob silently into your sleeve at what a monster you've become
  • whichever way you choose, prick the chicken all over with a fork
  • the next step is to combine all the ingredients together and give those chicken thighs a good rub, you saucy minx
  • leave to marinate for as long as you dare
  • BBQ for however long it takes for the juices to run clear and the internal temperature reaches over 74 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken
  • you can, of course, grill in the oven - same rules apply!

Serve with salad!

Notes

  • nothing fancy to report here, but if you're sick of chicken thighs don't worry - you can use chicken breasts just as well - we recommend Musclefood's chicken because it doesn't shrink away to an epiglottis-sized piece of nothing when you cook it. We have secured a deal with them which includes a crazy amount of chicken, along with other syn-free meats, and I suggest you take a look right here (oh and full disclosure, we get a tiny bit of commission: but remember our rule, it we don't rate it, we don't sell it)
  • we've got a Weber BBQ and love it - this one, actually - but honestly, you don't need to spend a lot of money on a BBQ - as long as it gets hot, that's all you need
  • buy a meat thermometer for your BBQing though - seriously - unless you're a fan of spending all weekend trying to stop your innards falling through your hoop! Amazon do a proper cheap number here!

Courses BBQ

Cuisine Italian

My question to you is simple: why aren’t you making this? Want more chicken ideas? Then I, being a merciful Lord, will oblige:

Enjoy!

J

sticky peanut butter pork skewers: BBQ time

Just here for the peanut butter pork skewers? Don’t blame you, and the good news is that we’re going to go straight to the recipe! I, unsurprisingly, love a bit of pork: whether it’s bacon, ham or a good love-length, I’m all about it. Remember folks, buy the best meat you can afford in a dish like this, because it’ll make all the difference to your dinner!

Oh, before we do get to the recipe actually, I learned three animal facts today which I need to share:

  • queen bees carry the sperm of their suitors around inside them for months before fertilisation takes place: pfft, amateur. It only takes me about an hour before I’ve turned it into more moustache;
  • the baby of a horse is a foal – up until today, I would have told you entirely seriously that a baby horse is a pony. Apparently not, and every single person I’ve asked about this have looked at me as though I’m touched in the head and said ‘foal’ really, really slowly. Harumph; and
  • if a cow comes running towards you, the best line of attack that you have is to punch it square in the face as hard as you can – now I know this because I’m terrified of the cows on the town moor and they’re back for a fifth year. I can tolerate them if they stay at the other end of the town moor crapping all over the cycle path but recently they’ve become bold and started staying on the path. You better believe that if they come charging towards me with swishy tails and shitty arses, they’re going to get a left hook

Fucin sick of dis fat cow showin off her titz at ma man fukn foamin

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Actually no, let’s be honest, there’s going to be about twenty seconds of screaming and flailing and power-mincing on my behalf, then they’ll bugger off to literal pastures new. I’m thinking I might use the punch defence when Paul gives me his come to bed eyes when I’m not in the mood, although, with his home and away eyes, it’s hard to tell whether he’s coming onto me or having a seizure.

Let’s do the recipe for the peanut butter pork skewers, what what.

sticky peanut butter pork skewers

sticky peanut butter pork skewers

sticky peanut butter pork skewers

Prep

Cook

Inactive

Total

Yield 10 skewers

We all love satay recipes - people LOVE our chicken and beef satay recipes so we thought we'd do a pork one too - and this recipe for sticky peanut butter pork skewers is PERFECT for the barbecue! 

Looking for a side to go with this? Make a big batch of our lemon, garlic and oregano potatoes!

We know the syn value might shock you a bit but trust us - this one is definitely worth it! And, it's only 4 syns a skewer (less if you reduce it a bit) - have one of these with loads of other BBQ stuff and you'll still have plenty of syns left. They're there to be used!

Ingredients

  • 750g pork fillet, cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 red chilli
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 60ml lime juice
  • 200g crunchy reduced fat peanut butter (40 syns)
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely grated

Instructions

  • cut the pork into skewer-size chunks
  • next, chuck everything else into a food processor and blend until nearly smooth (a few small chunks is fine) - be prepared to add a little water to thin it out if it's too thick
  • slop the mixture into a bowl and add the pork chunks, and give a really good mix
  • cover with clingfilm and leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes
  • skewer the pork chunks - we reckon you should get about 10, especially if you chuck some peppers on the skewers too
  • cook over the barbecue for a few minutes each side, or under a hot grill

Notes

  • look - we know that 40 syns is a lot BUT remember that this makes LOADS - and it's totally worth it! It's a PROPER satay that's sticky AND crunchy! 
  • you can reduce the syns if you like by adding some veg and making it go further, or use less peanut butter (it won't be as nice though) 
  • we cooked these on the barbecue but you can do them under a hot grill too
  • if you're using wooden skewers remember to soak them first to stop them burning. We always prefer metal skewers as they help to cook the meat better - we used these ones from Amazon
  • make easy work of the garlic with one of these Microplane graters!

Courses BBQ

Cuisine BBQ

Seriously, it’s worth spending the syns on. It’s gorgeous. If you want more satay or BBQ recipes, then of course we can help!

Seriously, if there’s not something in there to satisfy you, you’re beyond saving!

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

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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

slimming world bbq: zesty salmon burgers and a radish and pea salad

Goodness me, we’re still flogging this dead horse of Slimming World BBQ, are we? You have no idea how many times I’ve trundled the Weber out of the shed only for the skies to immediately blacken, the thunder start-up and the rain to come down so hard that I have to front-crawl past the recycling bins just to get back to the kitchen. Listen, when even God himself doesn’t want you to tearfully chew your way through the taste-explosion that is a Slimming World burger, you know it’s not a good idea.

Now, long time readers may remember I did an article way back in February of last year called james vs paul and it consisted of five things that annoyed him about me and five things that annoyed me about him. If you haven’t committed our various faults to memory – and if not, why not – you can find it here, together with a delicious recipe for chicken chow mein. Yeah, that’s right. Anyway, it’s due a sequel. You’ll be glad to know that we both still do every single thing that previously annoyed the other, but hey, fuck it, that’s marriage. Here’s five more – and, just like before, I’ve got right to reply on Paul’s critiques of me. Why? Because I have no gag reflex, and frankly if he wants to take advantage of that going forward, he has to let me reply…mahaha! Plus, I get the right to expand on my annoyances too. What a cad!

Paul’s five things that rile him about me:

  • there’s always coat hangers in our bed
    • aye, it’s a fair cop this one. See, I get ready for work about ten minutes after Paul, because bless, he has to get up and put the coffee on and turn the shower on for me. My reward for his wonderful kindness is to litter his side of the bed with coat-hangers from where I’m trying to decide what shirt to wear in the morning – the shirts then get put over the top of the door rather than hung up. I think Paul’s getting a complex that I’m trying to do him a mischief when every time he climbs into bed he gets prodded with the coat-hanger, but in my defence, they’re velvet
  • james never put liners in the tiny kitchen bin
    • meh. I can see Paul’s point, no-one wants smears of cat-food and whatnot on the inside of the bin. Fair enough. But Paul insists on buying a) tiny bins and b) massive bin liners. I wanted a lovely massive Brabantia bin but Paul knocked that idea on the head saying that we’d never empty it and we’d have what amounted to a vertical skip in the kitchen. Hmm. But then see he buys bin liners that you could drive a car through, meaning I’ve got to spend ten minutes flapping them out and trying to get them to sit in the tiny bin without just filling up the bloody container in the first place. It’s an ongoing, very middle-class problem, and it threatens to tear us apart at times
  • everything electrical is going to burst into flames unless it’s unplugged when not in use
    • again, I think this is unfair! I grew up on a diet of 999 and with parents who had a very casual attitude to fire safety and thus I think my fears are entirely reasonable. I’m a catastrophic thinker – if I leave a box of matches on the side, I’ll spend the day envisioning various ways that the cats will knock them to the floor, followed by them knocking on the gas-oven in fear, followed by spiders skittering around on the sulphur of the scattered matches, igniting and destroying my home. That sounds fair enough until you realise we don’t have a gas oven
  • socks, socks everywhere, as far as the eye can see
    • not fair: they’re not just my socks. For two tidy, professional men, we don’t half have a habit of leaving our socks scattered about in unusual places, and not just because they’re the wanksocks, we’re not 14 anymore. I don’t think I owned a pair of socks that didn’t crunch and crackle between the age of 12 and 19. But see in my haste to have my feet rubbed and squeezed (despite Paul’s entirely baseless remonstrations that it makes his hands smell like Roquefort), my socks will often just get discarded and forgotten until either Paul or the cleaner finds them
  • james’ genuine concern and worry whenever I hurt myself in a clumsy, hilarious manner
    • I may have reworded that a little. Paul is taking umbrage at the fact that when he hurts himself by a) tumbling over in that way only fat men can, b) burning his mouth because he’s so keen to eat he doesn’t let his food cool down or c) cuts himself on his edgy political analysis, I immediately respond by fussing over him and saying ‘what’s the matter’ eighteen times a second. Hmph. I think that shows only love and concern for my precious, gorgeous husband, frankly.

Hmm. Seems fair. Now it’s my turn. Because I’m the writer, I get to say what annoys me about Paul AND expand on it too. What annoys me about Paul?

WELL.

  • he can’t hoover to save his life
    • let me explain, as that seems a trifle extreme – we’ve got one of those fancy-dan digital Dyson vacuums that sit on the wall charging up until it’s needed, then you have exactly six minutes to flounce around the house shrieking whilst it vacuums at full power. That in itself is a mere inconvenience. No, it only becomes a problem because Paul vacuums up every single fucking thing on the floor rather than picking up the bigger bits – whole pasta twists, cable ties, shoes, you name it Paul’s tried to suck it up into the tiny drum and then spent 5 minutes gawping and swearing at the vacuum whilst it chugs and splutters because the tube is blocked. I swear, I spend more time poking around in the drum with a chopstick trying to dislodge errant nonsense than I do breathing in and out. I half expect to walk into our utility room to find our full-sized tom cat squeezed into the tiny plastic drum of the vacuum, mewing pitifully through a mouthful of dust and ped-egged-foot-skin
  • he always wants his back scratched
    • doesn’t matter where we are, I can blink and when I open my eyes, his shirt will be hoisted up over his tits and his back will be looming towards me with his plaintive cries of ‘up a bit down a bit go mad NO NOT THAT HARD’ filling the air – if I had the money, I’d get a HappyCow machine installed

Actually, balls to the list, let me just show you a HappyCow machine and tell me it doesn’t fill your heart with joy!

Look at that happy cow! It’s a video, so click play to see those eyes light up with life and joy.

That reminds me, don’t forget we’ve got a meat sale on:

What can I say, I’m an opportunistic bugger.

  • he can’t handle Sky Digital
    • we’ve been together nine years and still whenever we’re recording and watching Jeremy Kyle The Today Show and recording The Man With The 10 Stone Testicles Panorama, he’ll attempt to turn the telly over onto a third channel and then act perplexed when the TV says no. He also can’t fast-forward through breaks – it’s like he has a tremor when he presses the button during Hotel Inspector and suddenly everything is 30x the speed and unpaused just as Alex Polizzi’s giant smile is filling the screen and she’s climbing back into her Audi
  • he maintains that his Smart car is a sensible choice despite massive evidence to the contrary
    • I go to this well a lot and I don’t care. Going to buy anything bigger than a Rubik’s cube? Paul will spend ten minutes assuring me it’ll fit despite me advising him that the rules of physics still apply even if his car is the colour of a baked bean. Of course, once we’ve bought the BBQ / new SONOS soundbar / sack of potatoes and made our way back to the car park, he’ll realise that, whilst it does fit – just – there’s no space for me, leaving me standing in the car park cursing his name whilst he races home in the car at its top speed of 32mph before returning to pick me up not even a little bit contrite. We’ve had many a terse conversation whilst making our way slowly and uncomfortably back home, I can assure you
  • he wakes me up by farting, but not in the way you might expect
    • we both find farting absolutely hilarious – there’s few things funnier to our juvenile minds than a good taint-stainer, plea for help from Sir Knobbly-Brown, misguided burp, creeping hisser, floorboard troubler or an extended moment of steam-pressing your knickers, so that doesn’t trouble me in the slightest. No, if I’m woken up by a loud fart, I’ll spend the day chuckling. It only becomes a problem because we tend to spoon when we’re asleep in the morning and Paul manages to turn whatever food he’s had the night before – no matter how fine the ingredients, no matter how dainty the amounts – into concentrated pure death. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been woken up in the morning by what smells like concentrated hate not so much filling my nostrils as filing them, peeling off skin and various bits of my olfactory system. It’s a bad job when you wake up gagging and reminiscing with longing for the smell of burning cows from the Foot and Mouth days. I grew up right next door to the farm that started it all and they said it could never happen again. Well it is – in Paul’s arse at 5.45am.

That reminds me, don’t forget we’ve got a meat sale on:

advert - summer-01

Mahaha. Hey, listen, those are his faults. But for all of those minor things, he’s still the man who I’ve only spent 6 nights away from and who makes me laugh right from the get-go as soon as I come through the door. There’s no regrets here and there’s not many couples who can say that!

Right, let’s get to the BBQ recipes before I well up like the big old pansy that I am.

Salmon burgers, eh? You know people say if it swims, it slims? Well pffft. Load of crap. I’ve been swallowing swimmers for years and I still chaff when I run. But we do need more fish recipes, so…

We found the recipe for the below from this blog and we’ve made it Slimming World friendly. I know, we’re heroes.

slimming world bbq

to make zesty salmon burgers you will need:

this is enough to make one – if you want more, just multiply the recipe

  • 1 wholemeal roll (HeB)
  • 15g panko (or use breadcrumbs, but panko is nicer) (4.5 syns for 25g, so we’ll say about 2.5 syns for 15g, just before I get angry letters and panko covered turds pushed through my letterbox from the more fervent of you)
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 140g salmon fillet (skinless and boneless)
  • 4 slices picked gherkins

to make the sriracha mayonnaise:

  • 1 tbsp Morrisons NuMe mayonnaise (or use any low-fat mayo – just check the syns) (1 syn)
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce (½ syn)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sriracha (if you can’t find sriracha, any ‘hot sauce’ will do – Cholula is a good alternative!)

to make zesty salmon burgers you should:

  • add all of the sriracha mayonnaise ingredients into a bowl and mix well – plonk in the fridge whilst you do the rest
  • next, add all of the burger ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth, except for the bun and gherkins – if you haven’t got a food processor, chop everything up and mix by hand – extra body magic!
  • shape into a burger shape – it only needs to be about 1½cm thick to cook evenly
  • add onto the hot grill of the BBQ and cook for about four minutes a side, or until it’s how you like it
  • spread half of the mayonnaise mixture onto each half of the bun and lay on the pickled gherkins
  • add the burger on top, and enjoy!

Before you start up – remember:

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This is panko. Dried, crunchy breadcrumbs.

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This is not panko. This is pan k.o.

Easy!

Right, here’s a side suggestion. Because we’re super jolly hockey-sticks and what-ho, we’ve grown so many wonderful things in our garden this year, including a tonne of radishes and peas. If you’re not keeping up with the Jones, feel free to buy these items in a shop. I present our radish and pea salad! It’s really basic, but full of crunch and taste and hell, that’s probably a lot of speed food. This makes enough for four.

slimming world bbq

to make radish and pea salad, you’ll need:

  • a big handful of radishes – there’s no need to be precise, use as many or as much as you need
  • a big handful of fresh peas in their pods – you don’t want giant peas but rather baby peas
  • 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar – or apple vinegar, or raspberry vinegar, or vinegar-tits
  • four or five spring onions
  • a tablespoon of rapeseed or olive oil (6 syns)
  • a nice sprig of fresh mint, chopped finely
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper

to make radish and pea salad, you should:

  • get a pan of boiling water, throw your peas (in their pods) into the water for a minute, then take them out and put them in iced water to stop them cooking through
  • the boring bit, sorry – julienne your radishes and pea pods – basically, cut the radishes into slices, and then the slices into matchsticks – this isn’t an exact science, so don’t sweat it – if there are big peas, pop them out into the serving bowl as you chop
  • you can use a mandoline slicer for your radishes, it’ll speed things up – and the one we use is only £7.99 – but BE CAREFUL, they’re dangerous bloody things if you don’t use the guard
  • very finely chop your mint and spring onions, including the green stalk
  • mix the oil and vinegar, pepper, salt and mint together – add maybe a pinch of sugar if you really want (neglible syns given this serves four)
  • put everything into a dish, mix with the ‘sauce’ and serve immediately

It’s a really easy salad but worth the time spent making it, trust me.

Finally, let’s go for a cocktail in the form of a Blue Hawaiian. I had a blue Hawaiian. This one is from Jamie Oliver, a man I rather enjoy despite his best efforts.

slimming world bbq

to make a blue hawaiian, you’ll need:

  • 35ml of decent white rum (3.5 syns)
  • 35ml blue curaçao (5.5 syns)
  • a couple of drops of coconut essence
  • 100ml pineapple juice (2.5 syns – Del Monte)

to make a blue hawaiian, you should:

  • get a cocktail shaker, throw everything in with a load of ice and shake it, shake it good
  • serve up on a load of crushed ice
  • serve it in a hollowed-out pineapple for that true access-day-visit-to-TGI-Fridays feel

Enjoy! I know it’s a lot of syns, but hey, it’s summer. If you can’t let your hair down and your boobs cool in this heat, when can you?

If you’re looking for more recipes for fish then you’re shit out of luck. There’s no many. But look, as a compromise, here’s a link to all of our beef and chicken recipes too.

beefsmallpoultrysmallseafoodsmall

J

 

slimming world bbq: chimichurri turkey skewers and an amazing loaded potato salad

Here for the next installment of our Slimming World BBQ series? Well don’t worry, we’ll get to it. But first, indulge me a little time to ramble on…

Today has been a day of getting shit done. I know, a profanity right off the bat, but there’s a good reason for that – I’ve noticed another telling off comment on one of my articles. Please understand: this is a coarse blog about the gay-to-gay lifestyle of two fat blokes with no airs nor graces. There will be swearing. There will be frank and numerous references to sex and knobs and bumholes and slutmanship because well, you write about what you know. There’s a reason this blog isn’t called james’n’paul’n’catz and decorated wth frou-frou hearts and whimsical tales of picnics and cricket and buying peppers in a market. It’s just not us. We’re both about as classy as two seagulls fighting over a discarded packet of chips in somewhere like…oooh, Chelmsford, and we’re quite happy with that. Most of the time I’ll let the little digs wash over me with good grace and a little fart but today I thought I’d reply because, as I said, we’re getting shit done:

slimming world bbq

Oh I’m a stinker, aren’t I? To be fair, I don’t actually think I swear that much anyway. I certainly don’t use the C-word on here because it’s not worth the terse phone call from my mother telling me off for using that word on the Internet. I know, it’s warm under the thumb, but hey, you don’t upset the Keeper of the Inheritance. Though for the record, that works both ways, as Keeper of the Care Home Decision…

So what have we managed to get done today? Well, I pressure washed everything we owned that was looking a little bit grubby: outdoor furniture, fence panels, the blood stains on the front of my car, the hair and scalp in the tyre-wells, the paving slabs and the gate. There’s something amazingly satisfying about watching a tiny jet of water blast away years of accumulated dirt and filth. If I didn’t think it would tear straight through his small intestine I’d have a crack at blasting Paul’s out-pipe. It’d be like pressure-washing a hot Malteser. It goes without saying that I blasted several choice swearwords into the path but Paul made me remove them – apparently it doesn’t do for folks who visit to be greeted by an increasingly-vile set of phrases culminating in mingetacular. Pffft.

When I was putting away the pressure washer into the let’s-tell-Paul-I’ll-use-it-all-the-time-but-then-never-use-it-again pile in our shed, I realised that one of our cats had disappeared under the various detritus on the shed floor and was mewing pitifully. After digging through and locating her and putting her outside the shed (to which point she immediately came back in through the cat-flap to get lost again) (I was all, alright love, you’re not on fucking Fun House here, I haven’t just tagged you back in), I realised it was time to clear out the shed. I know, this is truly riveting reading, but please, bear with me. See, I’ve mentioned before that we turned our giant outdoor shed into a Cat Hotel / stockpile room (hence the cat-flap on a shed, see – it gives them somewhere to go when it’s raining and they can sleep on the cat tree in there). Recently the shed has become a depository for remnants of abandoned hobbies (GPS units from geocaching, walking boots, an unused tent, lightshade made of human skin), stuff from the kitchen which we’re keeping in case we need it (Nutribullet box, ice-cream maker, pickled knees) and well, all sort of other shite. It was chaos, but after two hours and several trips to the tip (mainly because Paul insisted on taking his Smart car rather than my car, limiting us to taking two Rizla papers and a discarded screw at a time), we could see the carpet again.

Yeah, carpet, we can’t have the cats getting cold feet.

As an aside, the men at our nearest tip are a delight, and I’m not just saying that because they wear those fancy hi-vis boiler-suits and I want to be roughly groped behind the oil-disposal drums (though it would be fitting). It’s rare to find folks who seem happy in their job and who are keen to help, pointing us in the direction of the appropriate skip and masking their disapproval of the fact we couldn’t be arsed to separate our garden waste from our general waste. I know, we deserve to be bricked up in a tomb somewhere for killing the Earth, but honestly, Paul’s arse does more damage to the environment and I don’t run the risk of pricking my fingers when I handle that. It’s a far cry from the roughly-hewn grunters at our previous Newcastle tip. I honestly thought I was going to have my face slashed with a shard of a broken Pyrex dish for having the temerity to ask which bin to put hedge clippings in. I mean, I apologised for interrupting their blistering chatter about which bird (sorry: boord) they’d fuck out of the Daily Sport. Pfft.

After clearing the shelves and vacuuming about half a tonne of dried rosemary out of the carpet (hang it in the shed he said…we’ll use it all the time he said…) we had a clear shed and a clear mind. This meant only one thing: time to restock. See, Slimming World and life in general can be expensive but if you buy the staples you use in bulk, you’ll save cold hard cash, and that’s good for everyone, not least because it means you can buy a few more raffle tickets in class and keep Queen Mags in Cheeky Vimtos and Cutter’s Choice. We buy food like beans, chopped tomatoes, passata, pasta and rice in massive bags and store it in the shed, meaning if we’re ever stuck we can throw something together in the blink of an eye. Off we went to B&Ms to replenish.

Now listen, I know B&Ms is like Mecca to some folk, but I just can’t bear it. It’s full of people who dawdle and who hold up a jar of Nescafe in one hand and a jar of Blue Mountain in the other, looking dead behind the eyes whilst their spittle pools around their feet. The aisles are littered with ladies who look like they could punch an articulated lorry to death. It’s awash with screaming children and bright lights and too many not-quite products to bear. We filled our trolley with dishwasher tablets, coal tar soap and oops-sorry-Mags a box of Lucky Charms and hurtled through the checkout. The charming lass behind the counter carried on a conversation with her co-worker the entire time and spoke only to spit the price out at us. Never again. I never learn, I always think ‘let’s save some money’ but then I end up stuck in an aisle with mirrors with the Playboy logo on them whilst Paul holds himself up crying next to the locked display of perfumes featuring classics such as I’ve Just Come by Mark Wright or Gonorrhoea by someone who came second in I’m a Celebrity in 2009.

Celebrity scents confuse me at the best of times – I’ve never in my entire life looked at someone famous and thought by Christ I wish I smelled like them – but even more so when it’s a non-entity from a reality show on ITV Be (Thankful You Can Turn It Over, presumably). I imagine that smells like pure shame.

The good news is the shed is all stocked up. The bad news, if you’re a picker at the Tesco in Kingston Park, I’ve just put an order in for 96 bottles of various mixers to fill up our mixer shelves. If you want, crack open a bottle of the diet ginger ale because that belongs to Paul and I know he’ll spare it. Touch my tonic with a hint of cucumber and I’ll turn your delivery truck over. Obviously I’m kidding, but seriously now. Paul did suggest we go and pick up the drinks ourselves but frankly, if we took his car, we’d only have enough for one of those tiny tins of Coke you used to steal buy from Woolworths. The jokes about his Smart car will never, ever end, you realise. Even he’s accepted that, answering me with a chuckle that says ‘oh my’ and eyes that say ‘fuck you’. Ah well.

The other thing I managed to get done today was to finally open and put to use the copy of Adobe Illustrator that I’ve been paying £30 a month for since January, when I downloaded it in order to design a new front cover for our book. Did I mention we have a book? We do! Yes, click here to have a read. If you’ve read it, leave a review and buy ten copies of your friends. The reason for my dip into Illustrator was to design a little advert I could put into these blog entries to sell our Musclefood boxes – it gets difficult trying to shoehorn in reference to meat, especially when the topics are stuff like online bullying or my nana dying. Some might call me tactless but at least I didn’t put a sponsored ad in the funeral readings. So, you might see something like this on a post, but I’ll keep them discreet and not hammer home the advertising:

advert - summer-01

By the way, that’s an absolutely stonking deal – it’s what is fuelling our current BBQ week and the meat is delicious. We do also have three other deals and you can view them by clicking on our special, updated Musclefood page – even if you’re not wanting the meat, pass it to a friend by sending them a link. Cheers, big-ears.

I really have ummed and aahed about adding adverts – I bet you’ve hardly noticed our current level of advertising because we only have one on a page as a rule, and they’re tiny. Advertising is what keeps the blog going so we do have to have it, but I’m loathe to become one of those blogs where you get ten ads on a page, a newsletter sign-up shaking away at you every few minutes and constant plugging of various products that you know the owner is only saying because they’re getting paid to do so. Everything we recommend is something that we genuinely use, I promise. We do try and strike a balance of user friendliness vs advertising and I reckon – based on feedback I’ve requested in our group – we’ve got it right. Please do tell us if that isn’t the case! We want you to come here for either:

  • the delicious food;
  • the attempts at funny chatter; or
  • the hope of seeing my genitals in a blurred reflection of a polished curry bowl.

We’ll take whatever we can!

Right, right, goodness me, we have to do the recipes, don’t we? Sometimes when I sit down I can think of nothing to type and other times, nothing will have happened but I’ll still be able to spin 1800 words out of it. If you’re not a fan of my verbosity, you can always scroll straight to the recipes. If you are a fan, do me a favour and recommend us in your slimming groups or to mates. Build us and watch us flower.

Tonight we have three recipes – one for marinated turkey chimichurri skewers, another for a genuinely delicious loaded potato salad that tastes like it would be full of syns and nastiness but is actually low in syns and keeps well for lunches the next day, and oh, a seabreeze. We’re really getting into the cocktails thing. I know, just when you thought we couldn’t get any gayer. Ah well. To the food…

slimming world bbq

to make slimming world bbq: turkey chimichurri skewers, you’ll need:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced finely (hey guess what, I’m not going to recommend…ah fuck it, you know I am: here, use this!)
  • a big handful of parsley and a big handful of coriander

Listen, it’s always better to use fresh herbs. Buy a plant from the supermarket, stick it in water on your windowsill and it’ll grow all summer. But if you’re pushed for time, use dried

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • a pack of diced turkey – and what do you know, our Musclefood deal has the perfect pack in it – click here for that – you could also use a couple of diced up chicken breasts from the same box, we won’t tell
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper

Normally proper chimichurri is made with oil – so if you want to be a decadent bitch, get rid of the water and use four tablespoons of oil (24 syns) – this makes enough for eight skewers so that’s still only 6 syns per serving, assuming you have two skewers. If you use the above recipe, it’ll be 1.5 syns for two skewers.

to make slimming world bbq: turkey chimichurri skewers, you should:

  • dice the turkey or chicken if not already done
  • blend in a food processor all the other ingredients – taste with your fingers – you want to get it to a runny paste with some herbs left intact, not a perfectly blended mush
  • tip the turkey/chicken into a food bag and top with the chimichurri – really moosh it in with your fingers to get it pushed into the meat
  • leave for as long as you see fit, but, just like a lot of things, the longer the better
  • actually, that’s a lie, girth is more important, apologies if you’re a guy with a knob like one of those novelty giant pencils you buy in Scottish gift shops, but it’s true
  • when you’re ready to cook and the BBQ is up to temperature, thread the meat onto soaked wooden skewers or, better, metal skewers, together with whatever vegetables you have lying around in the house and place onto the grill
  • turn these a couple of times and for god’s sake, like everything else, make sure it’s all cooked before you eat it

You can also see in the picture there the hickory BBQ steaks and the drumsticks from our Musclefood deal. Just saying. They were delicious.

OK, now the potato salad. This was genuinely amazing, and well worth making! You can gussy it up however you want. This makes enough for four, though it was all Paul could do to stop me mashing my face into the bowl and eating the lot.

slimming world bbq

to make amazing loaded potato salad, you’ll need:

  • 1kg baby potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt, for the boiling water
  • 350g bacon medallions
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of darlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard (1½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp Morrison’s NuMe Reduced Fat Mayonnaise (2 syns) – or use any alternative reduced fat mayonnaise but check the syn values as they vary
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (obvs)
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach

to make amazing loaded potato salad, you should:

  • boil a big pan of water and throw in the potatoes, whole and with the skins on – cook until they’re done and they fall off when stabbed with a fork (about 15 minutes or so)
  • when done, drain and then rinse the potatoes under cold water to stop them from cooking. drain again and set aside
  • cook the bacon in a frying pan on a medium-high heat until crispy, then remove from the pan and onto a plate to cool
  • in the same pan add the chopped onion and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally
  • then, add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, then remove the pan from the heat
  • in a small bowl whisk together the red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper
  • cut the potatoes into chunks – either halves or quarters, depending how you like them and place into a large bowl
  • crumble the bacon into small pieces and add to the potatoes, along with the onion and garlic
  • then add the sweetcorn, spinach and mustard sauce and mix well to combine
  • serve!

Perfect, right? Now let’s end with a cocktail. We’re keeping it easy with these cocktails, nice and strong with the idea that you’re not going to down it in one. Frankly, if you’re that type of lady, we both know your BBQ is going to end with you with your knickers off face-down in the neighbours’ leylandii, you shameless hussy.

slimming world bbq

to make a slimming world bbq: seabreeze, you’ll need:

  • a chilled glass
  • 35ml of reasonable vodka – we used Absolut Grapevine, but that’s because we’re extravagant  (4 syns)
  • 50ml of cranberry juice (1.5 syns ish)
  • lots of ice
  • 50ml of grapefruit juice (1 syn)
  • slice of lime

to make a slimming world bbq: seabreeze, you should:

  • lots of ice in the glass
  • vodka in the bottom
  • then cranberry juice
  • then grapefruit juice
  • decorate with a lime

Drink lots and be merry, folks.

J

slimming world BBQ: perfect rainbow coleslaw, onion jam, hotdogs and frozen margaritas!

The next part of our series on what to put on a Slimming World BBQ is right here. For once, you’re not going to have to wade through all of my guff to get to it because well, time’s a factor. Paul and I have decided to have a day off together, partly because we had the idea that our garden furniture was going to arrive today. That didn’t happen, but ah well, could be worse, could be dead. We hopped into the car and shot off to see Ghostbusters and you know, it was great! Well-acted, fun, colourful – hit of all my buttons!

It’s a shame that Leslie Jones has been getting  shit thrown at her on Twitter as a result of being in the movie. She’s been called all sorts of vile things for simply putting herself forward and making people laugh. It’s depressing, and it’s not as though the world isn’t depressing enough as it is. It’s getting to the point where I could open my curtains in the morning and notice a mushroom cloud billowing towards me and I’d shrug and meh and go back to watching whatever atrocity is blazing across the TV.

That’s the problem with the Internet, it gives a voice to all those gimps with no self-confidence and no tact. I should know, I’ve made a healthy sideline from it. You see the most vile of comments left on the most innocuous of posts and articles – I’ve seen someone wish another woman a miscarriage because they disagreed over how much sweetener to put in a recipe, for goodness sake – and the answer to that one, by the way, is none at all. You have people who wouldn’t say boo to a goose blurting out vile rhetoric and for what? No other reason than to wound and upset. I genuinely don’t understand the mentality, and I love a sly dig every now and then – but I couldn’t take pleasure in actually breaking someone’s spirit.

We have a local paper up here called the Evening Chronicle, and it really is the go-to paper if you want to know who someone from Geordie Shore had up her snatch the previous day or perhaps a picture of a local councillor pointing furiously at some potholes with a face like he’s trying desperately not to shit himself on camera It’s entirely pointless but generally harmless, although they’re not averse to strumming up a bit of racial tension to get their comments counter overflowing. Anyway, they posted a story about some poor bugger who had climbed up an electricity pylon and was threatening to hurl himself onto the live wires. He was suicidal and as a result, the power folks had to turn off the juice. The story was full of comments like ‘shocking behaviour’ and ‘I hope he was charged’, which, whilst crass and insensitive, is harmless enough. We’re all guilty of a bit of black humour. However, topping off the comments was ‘So glad it didn’t hit my area i’f be raging if I’d missed the soaps!!’. For fucks sake. We’re not talking about someone nicking a bit of copper wire, we’re talking about someone being so fucked in the head that they think the best option is the pain of burning alive, and this claybrained footlicker is more concerned about missing Eastenders.

I despair. Not in a sanctimonious oh-aren’t-I-wonderful way but just as a human, how can you lack the compassion? Also, as an adult, how the fuck do you not know that it is I’d not i’f – and that’s after editing her comments. Urgh. Listen, I’m depressing myself now, so let’s just jump to the recipes. Bit of a hard segue to make though…so let’s chuck in a bit about our Musclefood deal first – so tasteful!


Before we get to the recipe, it would be churlish of me not to mention our LIMITED EDITION Musclefood deal – we’ve upgraded our freezer filler to add in some BBQ friendly products. Same price as before – £50 – but this comes with free delivery, 24 chicken breasts, 6 half a syn sausages, 2 fat steak burgers (1 syn), 2 fat rump steaks, 2 hickory bbq chicken steaks (syn free), 400g of spicy chicken drumsticks (syn free when skin removed), 400g of diced turkey, huge pack of bacon medallions, 12 giant meatballs (half a syn each) and 1 pack of seasoning (2 syns). It’s only for a couple of weeks whilst the weather is hot and I thought it would be a good change to add in some BBQ foods! Click here to order and use the code TCCSUMMER to get the deal!


We used the sausages in the above pack to make the hotdogs – you can buy syn-free sausages but they taste like someone stuffed an old sock full of shredded carpet and whatever’s been swept up off the floor at the Schwartz factory. I’ve tasted other people’s burps that I’ve enjoyed more than the Slimming World sausages, plus these Musclefood sausages don’t look like pickled willies when they’re cooked, so there’s that. Slimming World do a lot of tasty food don’t get me wrong, but I prefer a sausage I can eat rather than one I can shave with. Whack them in your healthy extra bun allowance and they are only half a syn. We haven’t used healthy extra buns in the picture but hell, it’s the summer and a hotdog isn’t the same in a wholemeal bun. The buns in the pictures are six syns each – Tesco finger buns – and well, I’ve always preferred a couple of fingers over a nice pair of baps. Boom boom.

No, the recipe is for onion jam and perfect coleslaw, two little additions for the side of the BBQ that will make everything taste that much better…

slimming world bbq

to make slimming world BBQ: onion jam and perfect rainbow coleslaw, you’ll need:

  • for the onion jam:
    • 250g of red onions
    • 50ml of balsamic vinegar
    • 75ml of apple / cider vinegar
    • a clove of garlic
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 tsp of sweetener if you want it syn free, but I use a teaspoon of honey which is technically a syn but meh…
  • for the coleslaw
    • a butternut squash
    • one large carrot
    • a bunch of spring onions
    • small white cabbage and a small purple cabbage
    • 200g (1 syn) of greek yoghurt, fat free
    • lots of black pepper
    • pinch of salt

to make slimming world BBQ: onion jam and perfect rainbow coleslaw, you should:

  • for the onion jam:
    • cut up your onions nice and small and uniform
    • finely mince your garlic using one of these so you’re not known as Stinky Fingers McGee (again)
    • throw everything into a pan on a low heat
    • cover and allow to simmer for ages – you want it to reduce slowly into a nice sticky sauce
    • easy!
  • for the perfect rainbow coleslaw
    • shred your cabbage nice and fine – whether you use a grater or, as we do, one of these fancy gadgets
    • don’t grate your carrot or butternut squash – use a potato peeler to cut small ribbons instead – you want nice chunks, not miles of the stuff
    • if you have leftover butternut squash, make my butternut squash macaroni and never look back
    • finely dice your onion
    • mix it all together with the yoghurt, pinch of salt and lots of pepper
    • the key is to make the different vegetables roughly the same size (bar the onion) so you get plenty of crunch and taste – it makes everything go a bit further
    • we were actually cheeky and grated one HEA of Parmesan into ours – gives it a bit extra kick but fine to leave out

That makes enough for four, so it’s 0.25 syns. If you want to syn that, shoot for the moon.

Now, the accompanying cocktail in our series on drinks that may use a few syns but last bloody ages and get you pissed is a frozen margarita. You’ll need a blender but this is amazing on a hot day, trust me. This makes enough for two BIG glasses – not going to lie and say we didn’t double the shots for our own version, but we like them strong. It puts hairs on your arse, this.

slimming world bbq

to make a tasty frozen margarita:

  • chuck a load of ice, 60ml of freshly squeezed lime juice, 50ml of tequila (6 syns)  and 25ml of triple sec (4 syns) into a blender. Blend like your life is on the line. Tip into chilled martini glasses and serve – it’s strong, but it’ll last for ages and tastes gorgeous – don’t be frightened to spend the syns!

Easy! Enjoy. If you want more recipes for sausages or snacks, hit the buttons below!

sausagessmallsnackssmall

Done!

J