beef and bacon stroganoff – quick and easy comfort food!

Here for the beef and bacon stroganoff? Well of COURSE you are. It’s take take take with you! But, as usual, before we get to the recipe, a preamble…

James is running late, he rang me from inside the multi-storey car park shouting and bawling about the barrier being broken – I could barely hear him over the sound of his car, his rage and my Now That’s What I Call Soviet National Anthems CD. I made out the words ‘…’king sick of this cun…’ and ‘as much fucking use as a sandpaper tampon’ then he cut out. He’ll be home soon, but I thought I’d do a blog entry for once. Poor guy. Poor you lot.

This week I managed to find a major motivator to lose weight in somewhere that I least suspected – clothes. That’s right. Despite being two of the most uninterested people in fashion as well as being the most unfashionable people out there, it was trying to find a nice suit for a job interview that really hit home how much we need to lose weight.

I have more trouble than James on this front – despite him being a good few stone heavier than me he’s also got another half a foot, so his chub is much more easily spread out – he’s like a wardrobe – whereas I’m more like a chest of drawers. Or imagine sputnik balanced on a chubby pair of thighs. It’s a bloody nightmare to find anything that fits properly, if at all. It’s like trying to dress a car accident.

As we’ve previously touched upon, we’ve finally found somewhere that caters to our needs that doesn’t result in 100% polyester or finding them between rows of Pringles – except for a Jacamo run on payday we often finds ourselves strutting around a local garden centre and a franchise of Cotton Traders. I know, I know, we’re not on deaths door or enfeebled but the stuff fits. Well, it fits James – I have to make do with a chequered bit of cotton that sits over my belly but results in the breast pocket being underneath my tit, and the bottom of the shirt floating around near my knees, which if I don’t tuck in ends up billowing about like a curtain in a Celine Dion video.

So it all came to a head when I needed a nice suit for a job interview – there’s a few suits in our wardrobe but they’re all suspiciously high in acrylic (it came to a point a few weeks ago that we had to chuck a few out because every time we swished open the floor to ceiling wardrobe door, there’d be a smell of plastic burning and an alarming amount of smoke). Plus, naturally, they are all far too small (keep hold of them…we’ll fit into them eventually, we say…).

Seeing as though I actually wanted this job we decided to splurge out on a reasonably priced one. So, being fat fucks and the garden centre of no use we went online to Jacamo and ordered a few, in different sizes so I could try one or the other and make a choice but all to no avail. I just cannot look good in a suit. At all. It feels like the shoulder pads are jutting out like I’m the sexiest milkmaid ever and I have to swing my arms around like a wind turbine to stop the sleeves from flapping about. It’s an absolute mare.

And, naturally, because it was something nice, the cats immediately took a dislike and left me looking like Grizabella with just a quick vag-flash and an ankle rub. So that was no good. I did manage, however, to hang on to the waistcoat which didn’t do too much of a bad job. It did make me look as though I was presenting Big Break alongside Professional Shitrat Jim Davison, but hey, you can’t have it all.

Perhaps I do need to lose weight then. I would love to be able to get something without schlepping out to a place where I can also get barbecue tongs and a lavender plant. As convenient as it is.

OOH I hear the door. One moment please. CUT TO ADVERTS.


Remember: our Musclefood deal is running for only three more days! 10% off! Canny deal – even if you don’t want it, share it with a friend!

FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that.


Eee yes! Anyway, flying in the face of all of the above, we’re having chippy tea tonight because we’ve had some good news. GASP. But listen, I’m not going to let you down with thoughts of James pushing a spam fritter around his face like a greasy sponge. So let’s get tonight’s recipe done. You can reduce the syns in this by making a proper white sauce but you know sometimes when you get home from work, you want to sit on the settee with your bollocks out doing fuck all? This is for one of those nights. It cooks itself pretty much. Plus, unless you’re super careful, all the white sauces on Slimming World end up looking like something scraped off the side of the bin at the GUM clinic, so, make this, use your syns and rock on. This makes enough for four, so the syns in the soup aren’t that much per serving!

beef and bacon stroganoff

to make beef and bacon stroganoff, you’ll need:

At 15 syns for the whole dish, I’ll call it 4 syns a serving. I know that’s not quite right but hey.

to make beef and bacon stroganoff, you should:

  • chop up your onions, the green pepper and the mushrooms nice and fine
  • sweat it off in a few squirts of spray oil (not Frylight, haway) with the minced garlic
  • add the mince and the chopped bacon and cook it off with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • add in the frozen peas
  • pour the condensed soup into a jug and add the milk – you want a nice thick sauce – you’re not going to have loads of it, but that’s the point
  • lower the heat, add the soup to the mix and simmer gently just to thicken it up – if you want more sauce, add more milk and then simmer it for longer
  • cook the noodles, drain, add the sauce, serve!

 

Easy! Sounds complicated but it’s really just chop, chop, cook, cook, mix. Even you can do that! Oh and we’ve done a couple of stroganoff recipes before, too:

OK, if you want more pasta recipes or beef recipes, go ahead and click on the buttons below.

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Enjoy!

P

homemade corned beef potato gratin

Homemade corned beef potato gratin? Homemade? Yes! Making your own corned beef is a lot easier than I imagined – not as easy as pulling your pork or stuffing your fish taco, but bear with me. If you’re a lazy arse, don’t worry, you can use tinned corned beef, but I wanted to see if I could make a very low syn version – and I succeeded. Of course! No theme for today’s blog post, so I’m just going to rattle off a few observations that don’t lend themselves to a full blog article.

Let’s begin with Naked Attraction on Channel 4. Ostensibly a dating show, it’s a crude little performance masquerading as a serious look at attraction. To put it succinctly, it’s an excuse for everyone to gawk at a few cocks for 60 minutes. Listen, it’s not like I’m averse to that, I love my daily intake of Vitamin D, but haway, on the telly? The only time I want to see an engorged prick when I turn the TV on is when Owen Smith hands in his resignation. Boom: biting political satire. The problem with this show is that there’s really no such thing as an attractive cock when it’s on the flop. If the guy isn’t packing heat, it ends up looking like one of those lugworm piles you see on the beach when the tide goes out. Like a walnut whip left in a slightly warm room. Similarly, if he’s a shower, it just looks like someone’s stuck a googly-eye on a length of intestine. A penis is a wonderful thing, regardless of whether it’s compact, coupe or stretch, and yes, it’s the motion not the meat, but please, erect only.

Damn, I actually should do a full article on the above. So many thoughts.

We had a trip out in the car yesterday to Seahouses, North Northumberland’s premier tat-shop hotspot. It was literally a trip in the car, because, after driving for what felt like eight hours behind some lovely old dear in a Fiat Euthanised doing about 6mph and throwing the brakes on every time the air over her chin-whiskers got a bit much. I reckon it would have been quicker for me to park up, jump into the North Sea and swim up the coast – I’d have done that but I didn’t want a human turd in my 99. By the time we had arrived in fair Seahouses, the car was actually running on the steam from my ears. When will people learn that it is just as dangerous to drive too bloody slow than it is to drive too fast? If I was PM, I’d make it legal to give these tiny, slow cars a gentle nudge into a layby or say, a combine harvester. I can’t imagine she was enjoying listening to Paul and I bewailing our way through We Don’t Need Another Hero that much.


You may not need another hero, but I bet you do need meat. We all do. We were approached by another company to try and shill their healthy seeds and flours and I said no, not my lot. They’re hungry. Here’s a wee deal:

advert - freezer-01


Seahouses was a bust. When I was young it was the go-to place for my parents to take me and my sister – it had the dual advantage that they could furnish us with a few quid and we’d look after ourselves in the arcades for a couple of hours whilst they sat outside and smoked. Sometimes they smoked inside for a change of scenery. It’s a perfect example of a town that should be so much more. For a start, it’s in an absolutely beautiful part of the country – fantastic beaches, amazing castles (Dunstanburgh, Bamburgh, Chillingham – all very different experiences and all marvellous), great food and the majesty of the North Sea.

I remember great places to eat, chips on the pier, rock-pooling, playing that shitty bingo above the arcades where you slid a plastic door over the numbers as they were called and won a packet of J-Cloths for a full house. Now there’s a Co-op, a litany of awful trying-to-be-upmarket gift shops, an expensive fish-and-chips place and a sense of general ennui. I took the jackpot out of a Deal or no Deal fruitie on the seafront and I genuinely thought I was going to get stabbed on the way out. I’d have had less eyes on me if I’d stripped naked and given Paul a rim-job over the Grace Darling commemorative buoy.

There used to be a brilliant arcade full of sit-on-rides and proper funfair type games – that’s gone – replaced by soulless, identikit apartment blocks that no doubt don’t have enough room to nudge-nudge-nudge your lemon in. Yeah, some rich la-de-dah has a sea-view and somewhere to put those awful inspirational-shite-on-a-piece-of-driftwood wall-art that you can see fading in every gift-shop within flying distance from a seaside town, but where’s my chance to win an asbestos-stuffed Sanic the Hodgeheg from a fixed claw machine? Eh?

I should have learned my lesson from the last time we visited – this time with Paul’s severely autistic brother. He disliked the place so much he got himself worked up into a sulk and wouldn’t get out of the car for love nor money. He had the right idea. We should follow his sage advice – my favourite story ever involves him asking his mother to buy that tea-tree and mint Original Source shampoo because ‘it makes my head feel like it’s sucking on a giant mint Polo’. I love that, he’s brilliant.

I’m perhaps doing the place a disservice for the sake of a tongue-in-cheek blog entry. It’s still worth a visit. Remember, I have rose-tinted (well, more nicotine-stained) glasses from childhood visits with school and family. As a returning adult, I see all that has disappeared and wince at what has replaced it. Perhaps it was the fact we arrived at 3pm on a Saturday (to be fair, we’d set off at 5pm on Tuesday but thanks to that auld cow in the Fiat…) but it was all very meh.

One glimmer of hope, though: ONE of the tat-shops remains. I think it’s called Farne Gift Shop but don’t rely on that, I saw the name through a red-mist of pure rage as I drove in. It hasn’t changed a jot – it was a relief to find that the giant pencil with ‘SEAHOUSES AND BAMBRUGH’ smeared down the side in lead paint was still tucked away on the shelf where I regrettably left it when I was 8. It’s literally a shop full of tat: tea-towels with a ‘HERE’S TO A HAPPY FUTURE’ message for Charles and Diana, jigsaw boxes devoid of all colour from being left in the sun for eighty-seven years, sticks of rock to prise your fillings up and tonnes of other nonsense. I loved it.

We had a moment of hilarity when Paul discovered something which he’d been referencing for years: a donkey which shits out cigarettes. Apparently his mother had one, along with a toilet ashtray which dispensed a little bit of sand to snuff out your fag – and I’d never believed such a thing existed. Well, here we had one – I wanted to buy one to really class up our living room but Paul pointed out that a) neither of us smoke and b) our furnishings aren’t being paid for in weekly installments. Spoil-sport.

To show that I’m not making it up, click here to view the donkey in it’s full ‘glory’. What I love about that listing is that it’s filed under ‘Cigar Accessories’, as though it’s a classy humidor or a tasteful engraved ashtray like the one that did Saskia in. I can’t imagine ever having a conversation where I’m offering someone a Colorado Maduro and when they gratefully accept, waving their hand away and saying ‘but wait, watch it emerge from a donkey’s arse!’. Actually, that’s a filthy lie. I totally can.

No, do give Seahouses a go. If you’ve never been, have a weekend away on our coast. It’s amazing. I’m planning a proper paean in the future to the wonderful world where I live, so keep an eye out for that, but in short, come see the castles, have a trip out on the boats to Holy Island, enjoy our beautiful beaches and have some cinder toffee. Just understand that if you get in front of me on the roads and your car has dust on all the numbers above 25 on the speedometer, you’ll get three minutes of me smiling at you politely before I drive into your boot and throttle you with my bare hands. I’ll do it, prison holds no fear for me.

Right, let’s get to the recipe, shall we? I’ll do it in two stages. If you want to make your own corned beef – and you should, mind, because it’s really bloody easy, follow the first bit. If you’re going to chicken out and buy tinned, buy decent quality or get the fuck out. Sadly, I didn’t take a picture of the prepared corned beef, but that’s because it looks like a bit of body that’s been trapped in a weir for two weeks. Now, I can’t claim any credit for this recipe – it comes from Manna and Spice – I’ve just tweaked it to make it Slimming World friendly. The process is simple – make a brine, cure the meat, cook the meat. Done!

to make your own homemade cured corned beef, you’ll need:

  • 275g of kosher salt (you can buy this in Tesco – if you use table salt, add a bit more – maybe increase it to 350g)
  • a decent cut of brisket beef – fat removed – we used 2.75kg which we had cut from a butcher in Newcastle’s Grainger Market – and it was lovely – but you can also get them from Musclefood by clicking here, albeit you’ll need to buy three to get the same weight – which is fine, because it all goes into one pot anyway)
  • 50g of sugar (10 syns – and it’s up to you whether to syn this, but understand this – the corned beef probably makes enough for 20 servings, the sugar goes into the brine and well, you’re not drinking the brine, are you? So, per serving, the syns are infinitesimal)
  • don’t use sweetener, for crying out loud: you’re making something special, not trying to pretend your options and egg omelette is a fucking chocolate cake taste extravaganza)
  • 150ml of cider vinegar
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • 10-12 pods cardamom, lightly crushed in your pestle and mortar
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tbsp juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 2 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorn, lightly crushed
  • 2 tbsp allspice berries, lightly crushed
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp prague powder
  • 1 gallon warm water

Now: that’s a big long list. Don’t shit yerself if you haven’t got everything in – we were lucky, we had almost everything bar the juniper berries, but if you want to miss some out, don’t stress. One thing I’ll say though, take a look at your indoor markets wherever you live – there’s bound to be a spice merchant or similar where you can buy small quantities of the ingredients for pennies. It’s what we do!

ALSO, important: that prague powder on the list. I bet you’re wondering what the fuck that is. It’s a curing salt and it stops the meat going a bell-end grey. It’s what makes corned beef pink. You can buy it from Amazon right here for a fiver.


I can’t stress enough that if you change the weight of your meat, change the amount of prague powder accordingly. If you use less meat, use less powder!


to make your own homemade cured corned beef, you should:

  • make a brine by pouring the liquid into a nice big pan, adding the salt and the sugar, dissolving them over a low heat, add everything else bar the meat, warm through and then tip the meat into the brine
  • cover with a tight-fitting lid and leave somewhere cool for five days, but preferably ten – making sure the lid is airtight and that there’s enough liquid to completely cover the meat throughout the ten days
  • once you’re ready to cook, simply take the meat, give it a bit of a rinse under cool water to remove the brine and put into a slow cooker with enough hot water to cover maybe a third of it
  • cook on low for about eight hours
  • once it’s done, allow to cool completely and then slice against the grain of the meat into nice thick chunks

Done!

Now I’m not daft, I know most of you are going to read all that, think fuck that for a game of soldiers, and go open up a tin of Arseholes and Eyelids Special from Fray Bentos. Can’t blame you, but really, it takes no effort to cure your own once you have all the bits you need, and it tastes that much nicer, trust me. If you choose to use tinned corned beef for the recipe below, remember to syn it! Right. Aside from a tonne of sandwiches and whatnot, I decided to make the corned beef into a tasty gratin – essentially a fancy layering of various delicious things. Again, I’m not claiming the idea for this recipe either (though I’ve adapted it considerably to make it Slimming World friendly) – all credit goes to Kevin at KevinIsCooking. His photos look better than mine, but to be fair to me, I was too concerned with getting it into my big fat mouth to fart about taking pictures. Right, let’s do this. Oh! Before I DO start, look, this recipe uses a few syns. It’s worth it. I’m sure you could replicate it with a Muller Yoghurt strained through Mags’ hair and mixed with Splenda, but don’t bother.

homemade corned beef potato gratin

to make homemade corned beef potato gratin, you’ll need:

  • lots and lots of lovely sliced homemade corned beef (syn free) or tinned corned beef (synned, and what price dignity)
  • two or three large potatoes (preferably something wet – the extra special potatoes from ASDA are perfect for this recipe)
  • 500ml of semi skimmed milk (250ml is a HEA and this serves four – so two people’s HEA or 12 syns)
  • 2 tbsp of corn flour (2 syns)
  • four sliced shallots
  • a big bag of brussels sprouts
  • 30g of parmesan (a HEA, or 6 syns)
  • lots of salt and pepper

Right, so, if no-one uses a HEA, this is 4.5 syns per serving. If you decide to use a HEA for your milk or cheese, knock some syns off. Let’s go!

to make homemade corned beef potato gratin, you should:

  • put that oven up to 220 degrees and give a nice square casserole dish a bit of loving with some spray oil
  • now listen: the one thing that is going to make your job easier today is a mandolin slicer with a guard – get one, you’ll get perfectly uniform slices and, used correctly, you’ll not take off your fingertips – you can click here for one – stop being a cheapskate, especially now it’s on sale!
  • using the mandolin or a knife, slice the potatoes into 1/8th inch thick slices
  • do the same with the shallots
  • do the same with the sprouts
  • do the hokey-cokey and turn around
  • that’s what it’s all about
  • put the potato into a pan and cover with milk, simmer for eight minutes or so just to take the crunch out of the potatoes and then allow to cool
  • layer the potato into the casserole dish – not all of it mind, then add corned beef, then shallots, then the sprouts – then repeat with the rest of the ingredients until you’ve used it all up
  • whisk (quickly) the flour into the milk, add a pinch of salt and pepper and pour over the layers – add the parmesan on the top
  • bake for around fifty minutes until the top looks all crunchy and delicious
  • wait: don’t rush in, allow to cool and firm up – then serve with peas!

This isn’t a thick, creamy sauce – that’s because you’re a bad person and you’re on Slimming World and most thick sauces tend to split – but it is very, very tasty and filling. Don’t like sprouts? Why not, don’t you like farting for England and smelling like a discarded settee? Swap them out for peppers or cabbage or anything. Sweet potatoes could be used instead of normal potatoes, though simmer them for less time. If the top of your gratin is burning but the rest isn’t done, just cover it with foil and cook for a bit longer.

Done!

Christ, am I tired now. If you’re looking for more delicious beef recipes, click on the button below and get yourself ready for a hot beef injection.

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Enjoy. I’m off to wrap my fingers in gauze.

J

beef in a black bean sauce

I bet you’re here for the beef in a black bean sauce, aren’t you? Well, before we get to the main event, let me tease you with some words. Thoughtplay, if you prefer. Nah, it’s not that posh. The bits in my blog before the recipes are the equivalent of a chav spitting on his fingers beforehand. Before I do, though…


Our Musclefood deal runs for another couple of days only – 10% off our already amazing value freezer box! It’s a delivered chilled box of wonder – with 24/26 big fat chicken breasts, 800g of extra lean beef chunks, 2kg of extra lean beef mince and lots and lots of bacon. It’s usually £50 – which is cheap when compared to what you’d pay in the shop – but we’ve knocked off 10% for ONE WEEK ONLY. This brings it down to £45 – the cheapest it has ever been. Remember you can choose the date of delivery and payment doesn’t come out until your chosen date, so you can order in advance. To order, just click this link, add to basket, add the code TCCFREEZER and choose standard delivery – £45! Easy! But this is for ONE WEEK ONLY.


Sorry, we’re not normally so heavy with the advert, but well, it only runs for a little bit longer, and you’ll be twisting your gob if you try and buy it and it’s full-price, so buy it now. Hell, you can use the beef chunks to make the recipe below!

We’ve been swimming. Good god I know. Normally we confine getting our tits out to times when we’re at least two large water masses away from the UK, but balls to that – literally buoyed up with goodwill from the gym, we thought we’d dip our toe in the water, not least before all the swimming pools in the United Kingdom get filled up with cement and turned into posh hat shops. Anyway, look at the state of us – at least you know we’re going to float with all the blubber.

I love the thought of swimming – I enjoy thinking about getting up early, getting myself a nice fresh towel, driving myself to the baths and doing a few luxurious lengths of the pool before laughing gaily in the changing rooms and talking of times past with some accountant with a verruca. It never happens though. It’s probably the early morning – we have four alarms in the morning and it’s only the fourth, an exceptionally loud chorus of Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl playing through every speaker in the house, that gets us up. There’s a lot to be said for having a fancy connected house sound-system but having that tangerine-faced little shit-tickler caterwauling throughout until you get to the iPad and turn him off isn’t one of them.

I did used to swim with my old flatmate, Mary, but she stopped going when she thought the chlorinated water was giving her cystitis. Not the regular parade of blokes you understand, but the mild waters of Hexham baths. She’d put on a coach over the weekend. I’ve always fancied having a pop at wild swimming, which, from what I understand from the Guardian, is where lots of people whose first name ends in a -reh or a -rah sound get together, show off their varicose veins, swim in a river and then stop for an elderflower press on the way home. That’s fine but my closest river is the Wansbeck and I don’t fancy swimming using someone else’s recently passed stool as earplugs. Plus, remember, I’m scared of dams and sluices and grates and weirs. I’d wind up having a panic attack in the water near a sewage pipe and end up with Michael Buerk narrating my dramatic rescue, with candid overhead shots of me being winched into the helicopter on a slab of tarpauline like the time that poor whale got stuck in the Thames. Fuck that.

Now, the last time we did venture into a swimming pool that we hadn’t rented all to ourselves was at David Lloyd, where the pool comes with a steam room that makes you smell like oranges. Which is great, given a lot of the ladies (and indeed most of the men) had the skin colour of a bottle of Tropicana as it was. We didn’t enjoy it because there were so many beady eyes watching us attempt to swim, so we sat in the jacuzzi farting just as hard as we could. If you’re going to be snooty with me, Madam, you can enjoy the smell of pizza stuffed meatloaf dispersed through so many jets of bubbles.

So anyway, it was at 8am on Saturday morning that found us pouring into Paul’s Smart car, destined for the salubrious wonderland that is Morpeth Riverside Leisure Centre. See, Morpeth is canny posh and we thought most of the residents would be too busy making soufflé or beating their help to be bearing witness to our attempts. The morning hadn’t started well – the swimming shorts that I had previously worn in Corsica had somehow shrunk in the wash (yes, that was it) meaning the netting inside pressed right up against my clockweights, giving them the impression of an overstuffed tangerine bag. Paul was fine, his elephant’s elbow were tucked away neatly. I cut out the netting, thinking at least I’d be able to use him like a rudder if the water was warm.

It wasn’t, by the way.

But I will say this – it was very enjoyable! Yes, you’ve got to get changed in front of everyone else, and yes, there’s always one man see-sawing a towel in his arse-crack like he’s rubbing out an error in an exam, and yes, everything jiggles, but once you’re in the water and swimming, it’s actually very pleasant. Burns about 500 calories an hour if you swim slowly, though let’s be realistic. Unless you’re committed, you’ll do one length and then fart about in the shallow end for an hour before it’s a reasonable time to get out and get a Mars bar from the vending machine. Paul likes me to go underwater and swim between his legs, but I’ve stopped doing that since he left a racing stripe on my freshly-shaved head. We will definitely be talking about going back.

In the meantime, if you fancy giving wild swimming a go, have a look here!

By the way, not going to make a fuss, but we lost 10lb between us this week 🙂

beef in a black bean sauce

This makes 4 VERY generous portions!

to make beef in a black bean sauce you will need:

  • 800g beef strips (two packs from our Musclefood deal!)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1″ knob of fresh ginger, minced (for the garlic and ginger, use a mincer, you’ll have it done in a doddle – click here for ours!)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 3 tbsp black beans, mashed up a little bit (this is optional – they’re a bugger to find!) (though we found ours in our local Chinese supermarket, fermented – tasty!)
  • 2 red chilli peppers, sliced thinly
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

for the marinade:

  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2 syns)
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

for the sauce

  • 160ml beef stock
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce

Don’t worry if you don’t have dark and light soy sauce just make do with one of the other!

to make beef in a black bean sauce you should:

  • firstly, mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl
  • place the diced beef into a freezer bag or bowl, drizzle over the marinade, shake it up and marinade for at least 20 minutes but ideally overnight, though I know, you’ll be cooking it the very second the minute hand sweeps past thirty
  • when ready to cook, mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside
  • heat a large pan over a high heat and add a little oil or a few squirts of Frylight
  • lob in the beef and cook until browned
  • remove the beef from the pan, add a little bit more oil/Frylight and throw in the onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry for a few minutes
  • chuck in the red peppers and black beans (if using) and cook for a bit longer until the peppers have softened
  • next, add in the red chilli, rice vinegar and spring onions and return the beef to the pan
  • stir for a minute, add the sauce, cook for another thirty seconds and serve with rice!

You can actually cheerfully leave out the black beans, though they do add something to the dish. Try and use low salt soy sauce if you can. Enjoy!

For more fakeaway recipe ideas or beef ideas, click the icons below!

beefsmall  fakeawayssmall

J

best ever spaghetti bolognese

Yes! The best ever spaghetti bolognese! Well no, you can do so much better by adding things like bone marrow or bacon or delicious dates but I don’t want to be responsible for any weigh-in-ladies getting slapped around the chops, so this is the best you can do within a reasonable amount of syns. We have done a syn free version way back when which you can find here.

Anyway, we weren’t going to post today but see we were discussing in bed this morning our old crushes. Everyone has them – that one celebrity that makes you damp and uncomfortable in the minnie-moo area. Because Paul’s common, most of his were characters from Eastenders because seemingly that was all that was on in the smokehouse where he grew up. Mine are a little more cultured. Pffft. Without further delay:

Paul’s old crushes – then and now

IMG_2890

What can we take from this? Well, it certainly explains why he calls me Sonia during sex and makes me do a little turn on the trumpet to kick things off. It also demonstrates that, if you were lucky enough to have teenage Paul rub one out over the thought of you, you are blessed with immortality and NEVER AGE. Seriously, aside from the chap on the bottom who has upgraded his weirdly phallic beard into a decent sculpted affair and Sean from 5ive looking slightly more boss-eyed, no-one has changed!

Bonus mentions for: the fat Di Marco from Eastenders (who I couldn’t put into the pictures because there’s not a recent photo of him – luckily he hasn’t died. Well no, his acting career has. Bitch). Reese from Malcolm in the Middle.

James’ old crushes – then and now

IMG_2889

Mine are a little more obvious, no? I ummed and aahed over that picture of Tyrone there – just to be clear, the actor is two years older than me so I’m SURE he’s over age then. AND I WOULD HAVE BEEN LIKE 16, SO GIVE ME A BREAK. Anyway Paul and I both agree he’s aged well and we were both aghast and stiff when that evil walking Afro was setting about his nethers with the hoover extension. Bears and BDSM, what can I say. Viktor Krum was quite possibly more a case of being in love with his red jacket and furry muff than anything to do with those strong, Slavic eyebrows and jaw. He does however seem to have aged into someone you’d see on the front page of a local paper being sentenced for ripping off old ladies for bogus roof repairs. Pity. Oh and Travis Fimmel – now there’s an interesting one. I just can’t think what attracted me about the top left picture as a young’un – I remember I used to pass a giant billboard for Calvin Klein’s Crave on the way to college and there’s just something that caught my eye. That kind of look is the antithesis of the type of man that Paul and I find attractive – which makes it all the more curious that he now looks like someone we’d both let sit on our face and pedal our ears. Eee, isn’t lust fun.

Bonus mentions: Rhino and Shadow from Gladiators. I swear they’re about 60% responsible for my homosexuality. Not because of their looks, as such, but rather their costumes. Good lord. Thank goodness we didn’t have 3D TV’s back in the day – we would have needed to move the settee back a good half a foot. I vaguely remember liking Toadfish from Neighbours but a quick look at google images reveals that this couldn’t have been true given he used to look like a tiny version of Penn from Penn and Teller – or, nineties fans, the Head of the Witches Council from Sabrina. I never had much time for the dreamboats like Harvey from Sabrina or Billy Kennedy from Neighbours. Too pretty. I used to enjoy Janice’s bit on the side in Coronation Street (Dennis?) – he’s a bit of a gay icon! Oh and Krycek from The X-Files. And Mulder! And poor Pendrell! I’d go on, but it’s too difficult to type with the keyboard constantly being nudged away from me. So let’s do the recipe!

I’m putting this recipe up so you have a reason to use up the rest of the wine you might have used for our previous recipe for dirty macaroni. But come on. We both know you drank it, you filthy lush.

best ever spaghetti bolognese

to make the best ever spaghetti bolognese you will need:

to make the best ever spaghetti bolognese you should:

  • bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions – although for fucks sake, it’s spaghetti – boil it, eat it – if you can’t manage that, perhaps it’s time to give Dignitas a call
  • meanwhile, heat a large pan over a high heat and add a little oil

Just jumping in for a second – we get asked a lot about what pans we use that are non-stick enough not to need loads of oil. Now, I know there’s loads out there made from ceramic or teflon or whatever, and they’re probably alright, but we bought some Le Creuset casserole dishes a few years ago and genuinely use the big casserole dish every single day – without anything sticking and (gasp) we clean it in the dishwasher. They are expensive – very expensive – but absolutely and utterly worth it. Buy cheap and buy twice, after all. Amazon currently have a discount – why not treat yourself?

  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • remove the mince from the pan using a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside
  • in the same pan quickly cook the onions for 3-4  minutes
  • add the chopped garlic and cook for another 2 minutes
  • add the chicken stock to the pan to deglaze (i.e. get your wooden spoon and scrape all the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan) and stir the onions often until the stock has reduced by half
  • add the wine to the pan and do the same again
  • add the bay leaves to the pan and the passata, bring to the boil
  • reduce the heat slightly and cook until it has thickened slightly, which will take about 6 minutes or so. add salt and pepper to taste
  • remove the bay leaves, add the mince and the spaghetti to the pan and mix to combine
  • serve with lots of black pepper, parmesan from your HEA and some basil leaves

DELICIOUS.

If you’re looking for more pasta or beef recipes, click on the links below!

beefsmall pastasmall

Now I’m off to put my greengrocer’s tabard on for Paul.

J

stuffed onions and a revelation

You want a recipe for stuffed onions – listen, I understand – you can find it just below the next few paragraphs of gibberish. 

Firstly, welcome to all our new subscribers. Not sure what has happened but we seem to have gained over 800 subscribers in the space of a few weeks! Goodness. Just a quick bit of admin before we get started – we’re not Slimming World consultants, so everything we say shouldn’t be taken as gospel, but we have been following the plan for years and are confident our recipes stack up syn-wise. We’re obliged to tell you that we’re definitely not Slimming World Official though. Which is good, as it means I can say fuck. Thank fuck!

Secondly, I know, we’re terrible. We went away on another holiday. Because Berlin, Ireland, Corsica, Iceland and New York just weren’t enough. One of the benefits of homosexuality, see, pink disposable income and no money-draining children to look after. The extent of our responsibility is to make sure that we leave the cats plenty of food to be getting on with and leaving instructions with our lovely neighbours for the alarm code. To be fair, it has been a bit of a topsy-turvy couple of weeks and we needed a break. We decamped to glorious Cornwall for a few days in a lovely cottage with an outdoor bath, and you can be assured that I’ll rattle off a couple of entries of our thoughts on that in due course.

However, we must take a moment to stop with the gurning and sarcasm and be serious for a moment. You’re going to laugh because I’m sure long-term readers will have read sentiments like this several times over on this blog, but we’re recommitted. We had a run of ‘big events’ at the end of March – birthday, a death, a hen party, a work night out, which then followed by a holiday means a big gain. This can’t go on! We can’t keep losing weight for a few weeks and then hoying it all back on in a glut of naughty food and too much alcohol. You know when you see some ashen-faced chunker on This Morning being told that if they don’t lose weight, they’ll die / be unable to have kids / need someone to come in with a block-and-tackle to get them off the sofa before Gino D’Acampo comes on to do his bit on spaghetti? You see the moment of realisation hit them as if they’ve seen the runners putting the buffet table away.

Well, Paul and I have both had that moment of realisation. A simultaneous awakening. I picked up a sack of potatoes in Morrisons (my life isn’t always this cosmopolitan) and realised it weighed five stone. Realistically, I could probably stand to lose one and a half of these sacks. It’s no wonder I ache all the time carrying around all this extra fat – I have arthritis and I should give my joints a rest. I’m tired of getting out of what I thought was an empty bath only for half the bathwater that was dammed behind my back fat suddenly appear with a loud fart noise. I’m sick of worrying whenever I get on an aeroplane that:

  1. the seatbelt won’t fit;
  2. I’ll be sat next to someone who will tut and sigh when he sees me stumbling down the aisle; and
  3. if the plane crashes, I’ll pop the escape slide on the way down, although the resulting blast of air might put out the fire, so perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.

I’m genuinely sad that I have to buy my clothes from online piano-dressers Jacamo or, if I’m lucky, I might find a shirt hidden right at the back of the rail in Tesco that doesn’t make me look like a hot air balloon crash. As I reckon a lot of fat people do, I’m constantly worried that I’m sweaty or that I smell. Which is ridiculous. I wear Tom Ford, for goodness sake. I’m horrendously unfit too – I get out of breath when my mind wanders, let alone a long country walk. More importantly, if I carry on – and if I haven’t already – I’m going to wreck my body and die young. I don’t want to die young, I want to be an old man who shouts at children and releases silent farts on public transport. To be fair, I do both now, but I want to be able to pretend to be deaf to the cries of my fellow passengers.

I know Paul feels the same, and then some. See, whereas I have a decent height to carry off my weight, so at least don’t look like a sphere with a face drawn on it, Paul came up short in the lottery of legs and looks like a wee egg in Build-a-Bear shoes. My dad, always the joker, described Paul as a skip. That’s my dad’s humour (and where I get it from) but Paul will cheerfully agree that he is skip-like – certainly, you can put anything into him without resistance. That’s come in handy during our marriage. I’d love my husband if he became so fat that he collapsed in on himself and turned into a puddle of Crisp ‘n’ Dry and gristle, but as it stands, we’re racing each other to the grave. He’s been told he has a fatty liver – personally, I’d be surprised if his liver didn’t have a butter-top like a breakfast crumpet – and he’s also been recommended to try Orlistat, which immediately and secretly voids any ingested fat out of your anus. We’re refusing on the grounds that we’ve just bought a new car and sofa and the last thing we need is carrot-orange liquid fat seeping out of his underwear. We buy our briefs from Tesco, they’re hardly going to keep the floods back. 

We did have a discussion about continuing with Slimming World, though. Deep down, I do feel that the plan is a little too restrictive and yes, whilst it certainly gets results, there’s a lot of rebounding that goes on with the diet. I’ve seen many, many ‘success stories’ fill out and slip back over the years. I sometimes feel that if we simply followed the calories out being more than calories in rule, we’d probably lose and – whisper it – enjoy it more. I hate the fact that an avocado – a perfectly healthy, good for you snack – has more syns than a Kitkat. I dislike the fact that you’re actively encouraged to almost bathe in Muller Lights, despite them being absolutely loaded with sweetener and sugar – but a drop of honey is dreadful. Plus, it’s all a bit twee. I’m not a fan of the nuclear smiles and the edifying, cloying language used in the magazines and books, either. 

However, it’s what we know, and what we write about, so we’re going to really give it a go. Increase our speed foods. Keep a food diary. Exercise more. Stop being lazy. Stay to group and clap until our hands look like a prostitute’s labia majora. I’m not promising a post a day but hell, we’ve got several lined up, so stay tuned. I’ll even dust off the knobometer at some point, but not until we’re back to the weight we last left it at. 

Oh: we have Fitbit Charge HRs now – these measure our steps, heart-rate and sleep patterns. My Charge HR’s heartbeat monitor was going mad as I took it out of the box but that’ll be the shock of paying for the fucking thing. If you want to add us as friends, look for jaymes@twochubbycubs.com and paul@twochubbycubs.com and go from there. If you’re on the fence about Fitbits, get one. What’s the worst that’ll happen? It does look like the world’s chicest bail tag but hey. I’m just glad it got all the way around my wrist – I would have hated to have to email asking for an extension. You can pick one up from Amazon by clicking here – all the various options are set out clearly. Give it a go! When we figure it out, we’ll set up some twochubbycubs challenges and you can win a branded pinny or something.

Finally, thanks all for entering into the spirit of things and giving our Musclefood competition a go – I’ll be drawing out the lucky name tomorrow and sending an email to the winner in the next couple of days. If you’ve entered, keep your eyes open!

Let’s get to the food then, eh? Stuffed onions! No really. Hear me out.

stuffed onions

Don’t they look pretty? We served ours on a bed of couscous because we’re all frou-frou like that. Do you see what I did there? This makes enough mixture to fill six decent sized onions. We used large white onions from Morrisons – they’re an actual thing, not just a description – proper white onions. But you can do this with any large onion, though obviously if it’s a bog-standard onion it’ll be very oniony. Yes.

to make stuffed onions, you’ll need:

  • one 400g pack of extra-lean beef mince (like the ones you get in our fantastic freezer filling Musclefood deal that we’ve secured exclusively for you – click here for that!)
  • six large white onions
  • 125g of chopped onion, which you can take from the onions you cook with
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced using a fabulous mincer like this one from Amazon
  • pinch of cayenne
  • beef stock cube
  • 1 egg
  • one small wholemeal breadbun (HEB) turned into breadcrumbs
  • optional: chopped peppers, mushrooms, peas

and to make stuffed onions, you should:

  • turn the oven onto 190 degrees
  • to prepare each onion – cut the top and bottom off the onion so that it can sit ‘upright’, with the hole at the top being wide enough to get a tablespoon into – then slowly scoop out the centre of the onion using your spoon. It’s far easier than it sounds, though a messy job. You’ll get a couple of layers out and then you can actually squeeze the rest out, leaving a thick layer on the outside – cover the hole at the bottom with a bit of onion and there you go, onions you can stuff – I stood mine up in a Yorkshire pudding tray so they didn’t tumble over
  • to make the stuffing – fry off the onion and garlic gently until golden, adding the pepper, cayenne and salt as you go – I use a few squirts of Filipo Berio rather than Frylight, boo – up to you if you syn this half syn between four people. If you do, get out now, you’re not for this blog
  • add the mushrooms, peppers or peas if you’re using them
  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • crumble over the beef stock cube
  • whilst everything is hot, crack the egg into the mince and stir vigorously – you don’t want scrambled eggs
  • add the breadcrumbs
  • spoon into the onions, making them nice and packed, and cook for around thirty minutes until golden – keep an eye to make sure they don’t burn!

Enjoy. Serve with speed foods on the side, naturally.

We’re back!

J

beef satay with peanut dipping sauce

Beef satay with peanut dipping sauce? On Slimming World? Surely not! But YES. Let me tell you, it actually tasted like something you’d get in a Chinese restaurant too, as opposed to the usual Slimming World slop-swap, where the end result isn’t so much divorced from the original as moved to a new city and never seeing the children. You know when people theatrically slap their hand to their open mouth in shock? Well, I didn’t have time to do that as I was too busy making sure Paul didn’t eat my share. Recipe below.

Can I just take a moment to say I thoroughly enjoyed Batman v Superman? I just like to think that Ben Affleck is probably reading this blog, dying to know how to turn ASDA beef chunks into something palatable, and after all of the criticism he’s faced over his boring film, this might cheer him up. Plus, Paul and I both agree that you have quite an impressive knob in Gone Girl, and I’m not talking about Rosamund Pike. I went to see Batman vs Superman with an old friend (literally, she’s well old) and it was all very enjoyable, even in blurry 3D-vision. I’m a fan of 3D if done well (Saw 3D, of all things, was fun) but not if it’s just to make the odd leaf or snowflake look like it’s coming towards you. No amount of blistering 3D detail is going to make me think I’m right there in Gothametroplis (right?) – my arse-cheeks turning to concrete on the rock-hard cinema seats keep me grounded.

Oh, that and the little shits along the row who, along with their father, spent every other minute looking at their phones and being unnecessarily rambunctious. Naturally, as a Brit, I tutted and sighed for two hours until I was on the verge of hyperventilating and had to blow into my pic-and-mix bag for comfort. The father took a bloody phone call at one point! Unless it’s a doctor ringing up to tell you that “yes, Mr Smith, we’ve found you a brain, you’ll need to come in for fitting immediately” you don’t take a bloody phone call in the cinema. If I had my way, everyone would have their hands stapled to the arm-rest and if your phone rang or you needed a poo, well tough titty. The cherry on the cake was towards the end I went to get the last sour apple snake from my bag (not a euphemism) (also, yes, hypocritical) when one of the children sighed like he was blowing out the candles on a birthday cake and said ‘I CAN’T WATCH THE FILM IF PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO RUIN IT‘. I’ve never felt so chagrined. 

Anyway, today we’ve said at least two things that hammer home how old we’re getting – first, Paul suggested we go out “for a drive in the car“. I don’t know why we do it, we invariably get stuck behind someone for whom the fourth gear is uncharted territory and I end up going apocalyptic behind them trying to overtake. I have to come home and punch a brick wall to calm down. The second line that tumbled from my ageing lips was the clincher though – when Paul mentioned that our home town could do with some decent flowers being planted (in itself a very Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells thing to say), I replied by saying ‘yes, but the young’uns would just pull them up and cause a mess‘.

May I remind you I’m 31.

Goodness me. I almost stopped at the Lloyds Pharmacy on my left there and then for a hearing test and a fitting for Tena for Men but well, it would take a while to get parked and with my aching hips, getting out of the car is too much of a chore. So instead we drove to the beach and ate sandwiches in the car whilst listening to Gardeners’ Question Time and nodding at nothing in particular.

Ah well, to the satay! It’s something I always order whenever we get a takeaway, though sadly our favourite local takeaway seems to have closed down. I like to think they couldn’t keep up with our demands. I’ve definitely had more than eight ‘it’s my birthday, can we have a free giant spring rolls please thanks‘ events this year. I certainly hope it hasn’t been closed down by the council because that would bring our total of ‘favourite then condemned’ eateries to three. We used to have a Chinese takeaway literally across the street from us when we lived in Gosforth (more Kenton actually, but Gosforth sounds posher and well, we didn’t have a trampoline or discarded mattress in our front garden, so we didn’t belong in Kenton*) which was fantastic.

Paul was confused when he first went to order because the tiny, very Chinese looking lady behind the counter spoke with a Geordie accent that sounded like she was possessed by Tim Healy. And he’s not even dead. It really didn’t gel with her beautiful cheongsam dress and I-kid-you-not chopsticks in her hair bun.

Still, the food was delicious and tasty up until the point the ‘Scores on the Doors’ folk came around and rated them zero out of five for cleanliness, food safety and hygiene. Nothing says did you enjoy your chow-mein like seeing it again two minutes after eating from one end or twenty minutes from the other. I must have a stomach of asbestos though as so few things ever upset my natural balance.

We now get our Chinese food from a car-park in Morpeth. So far, so good – they certainly don’t seem to be using the same microfibre cloth to wipe their work-surfaces and their bumholes, so they’re already up on the Gosforth Chinese.

* Kenton is lovely really. Please don’t firebomb my house or spray me with Greggs crumbs as you refute my jokey aspersions.

beef satay with peanut dipping sauce

to make beef satay with peanut dipping sauce you will need:

  • 700g beef, cubed (why not use the beef you’ve got from our wonderful Musclefood Freezer Filler? You get a couple of packs with your mince, chicken and bacon, and it has the added benefit of not feeling like you’re chewing on a bike tyre like so much of the beef in your average cheap supermarket beef does – click here to order. Oh, and we’re running a competition to win one of our £50 hampers – click here and enter!)
  • 8 shallots or two large white onions (shallots are far nicer though, much sweeter)
  • a little knob of ginger, peeled
  • haha, I said little knob
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, sliced (can’t get lemongrass? Use a teaspoon of lemon rind)
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fennel (or crushed fennel seeds)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • a few squirts of olive oil spray

for the peanut sauce:

  • 4 tbsp reduced-fat peanut butter (18 syns) (be sensible here, a tablespoon is a tablespoon, but don’t go scooping it out like it’s mortar and you’re building a brick wall at gunpoint)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sweetener
  • 2 drops of sriracha (or any hot sauce)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

to make beef satay with peanut dipping sauce you should:

  • place all of the ingredients together (except the beef) in a food processor (aside from the stuff for the peanut sauce, obviously) and blitz until you get a thick paste – loosen it off with water if it’s too thick but you do want a paste, not a slop
  • in a large bowl mix together the beef and the marinade until it’s well coated, and leave for at least six hours (or overnight)
  • push the cubes of beef onto skewers and grill under a high heat for about 15 minutes, turning regularly

Feel free to ramp up the speed factor by adding peppers and mushrooms onto your skewers. Also, if you’ve got wooden skewers, remember to soak them for as long as you can – basically, if you’ve got wood, get it wet. Lesson to live your life by.

To make the dipping sauce, mix together all of the ingredients with 4 tbsp of water – to make a really thick paste. keep mixing in 1 tbsp water at a time to the required consistency.

Enjoy!

 

loaded wedges and philly cheese steak sliders

Yep, you’re getting two recipes for the price of one with this post for loaded bacon and cheese wedges  and philly cheese steak sliders. We’re really spoiling you lately. Least you could do is show willing and buy my ruddy book or a meat-box! Haha.

I’m in a bit of a huff tonight, if I’m honest. Came home to find a big bill waiting for me on the doormat. Normally I never say no to bending down for a Big Bill but this one was our council tax and it’s fucking £1700! What the hell for? They’ve turned off our street lights, driving on the roads feels like I’m playing Moon Patrol and they only pick up the bins when there is a full solar eclipse. There’s more chance of me getting pregnant than getting a book that doesn’t have Katie Price on the front cover out of our local library and if you fancy a stroll in the park, best get used to the dogshit and litter billowing around your feet like the shittiest version of the Crystal Dome. I don’t know why they don’t push all the dog-sausages into the fucking potholes in the road, at least that way I wouldn’t get out of the car with my neck canted a forty-five degree angle from being clattered off the roof of my car.

MOAN MOAN MOAN. But seriously, it would be a bloody welcome change if they said oh James, you work hard, here, enjoy your wage to do whatever you want with it, instead of grasping it out of my cold, cruel hands. I’m paying into a pension and being sensible by saving, but what’s the use? So when I get to seventy the Government can take away my house and stick me in a care home? Fuck that. We’ve already decided that when we get to seventy, if we’re both alive and capable of getting lob-ons, the house is getting sold and we’re getting two lithe twenty year olds to rub our bunions and change our oxygen tanks. BAH.

I might start a go-fund-me accompanied by a picture of Paul looking sadly into middle-distance and footage of me looking through photo albums. Maybe.

Can I just take a second to remind you of something? We have a list of every recipe we’ve EVER done right here. I worry that some people don’t know where it is. Use it, it’ll serve you well!

Anyway look, let’s get to the real reason you’re here. These recipes make enough for four. Each recipe is syn free if you use the appropriate HEAs and HEBs. If you have both of them at the same time, syn the cheese on the wedges – 40g is one HEA or 6 syns, so at most it’ll be 1.5 syns per portion. It’s syn free if you don’t combine the burgers and wedges. I’m just being a slut.

 loaded bacon and cheese wedges

to make loaded bacon and cheese wedges, you’re going to need:

  • ‘wet’ potatoes, like Maris Piper, as many as you dare
  • a few squirts of olive oil spray (0.5 syn for 7 squirts)
  • one beef oxo cube
  • packet of bacon medallions (we used half a pack from our Musclefood freezer filler, because it doesn’t disappear to nowt – proper tasty bacon)
  • spring onions
  • lighter mature cheese (40g or one HEA)
  • optional: hot sauce if you want it

to make loaded bacon and cheese wedges, you should:

  • cut each potato in half, then cut into each half in a ‘v’ shape, so you’re dividing each half into three triangular wedges – or you know, don’t fuck about and just cut them how you like
  • tip them into a bowl, sprinkle over the oxo cube and oil, and shake the buggers so they’re coated in a bit of stock cube and oil
  • put them into an oven for 30 minutes or so to colour and soften
  • meanwhile, fry off the bacon in small chunks, slice the spring onion and grate the cheese (remember, one of these makes that cheese allowance stretch further)
  • check your wedges – if they’re nearly done, take them out, scatter the bacon and cheese and spring onion over the top, and put back into the oven until the wedges are done and the cheese is crispy and delicious
  • serve
  • best get a defibrillator ready, just saying

If you’re looking for something to serve it with, these tiny sliders (fancy word for little ‘burgers’) will do the trick. There’s no speed food on your plate, but fuck it. If you don’t tell Mags, nor will I. This was our treat night after all. Jeez.

philly cheese steak sliders

to make philly cheese steak sliders, you’ll need:

  • a big white onion
  • a big green pepper
  • one slice of Swiss Gruyere (we buy ours from Waitrose) – 5 syns for a 25g slice, or a HEA
  • a suitable breadbun for your healthy extra allowance
  • 120ml of beef stock
  • packet of beef strips (I promise I’m not deliberately over-advertising but we genuinely used our beef strips from our Musclefood freezer filler, and they were tasty as all outdoors)
  • lots of black pepper

to make philly cheese steak sliders, you should:

  • cut your onion into decent slices, same with the pepper
  • soften them in a dot of oil, a few sprays of olive oil or even better, a few drops of Worcestershire sauce, or if you’re an imbecile, use Frylight and wreck your pans
  • once they’re softened, set them aside and throw in the beef, cooking it off and giving it a bit of colour – I use Worcestershire sauce instead of oil because it adds taste
  • once the meat is browned off, put the stock in plus lots of pepper and whack the heat up, stirring until the stock has cooked off and thickened – give the bottom of the pan a good scrub with your spoon to get all those juices up
  • assemble your slider – breadbun cut in half, cheese slice, beef strips, peppers and onions
  • easy!

It doesn’t look terribly exciting but my word these were fantastic.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to perform oral sex in exchange for money. By the time I’ve paid off the council tax I’ll be permanently yawning. 🙁

J

sizzling rainbow salad, roasted garlic chickpeas and weigh in

Yes yes, the sizzling rainbow salad will follow.

Long title for what will be a very quick post because damnit, my tea is ready, I have two recipes to post and a weigh-in to report. So let’s wheel out the old knob and see how we’ve done this week…

twochubbycubs

Oh how cosmopolitan! Classy Paul sent me a text to say ‘Only lost half a pound, but got three pounds of last night’s tea pulling out of the depot as we speak’. It’s always a joy living in this house. We weighed in separately tonight as Paul had to dash home (as much as someone the approximate shape of Saturn can dash) and let the electrician in to fit an outside light in our back garden. See (barely), our local council has taken it upon themselves to tear down the old orange streetlights in our street and replace them with these AWFUL little white LED lamps, which, given how faint and pointless they are, must all be running off the same watch battery. It’s so dark I can look out of the window and see when next door’s TV goes off standby. Actually, that’s a fib, we don’t have immediate neighbours…

…which is lucky, because fuck me is the new light bright. He flicked it on and I half expected Paul to be standing at the fence shaking and bursting into flame like Sarah Connor in Terminator 2. Even the cat put a layer of Piz-Buin on before nipping out to shit in the flowerbed – that wasn’t steam coming off her turd, it was smoke. He advised me that we could adjust it if we wanted to but nah, I like to know that if I stumbled home in the dark and lost a contact lens amongst my tomatoes, I could find it in quite literally the blink of an eye. We’ve also had a couple of outdoor sockets fitted, which will just the thing for us to look at occasionally and think about pressure washing the paving stones. 

Anyway, the recipes. Let’s start with sizzling rainbow salad, which is really just a colourful salad but with all the goodness and virtue of eating greens taken out and replaced with juicy, delicious cow. If you want to keep it vegetarian that’s fine, but please ask someone to chop for you least your cockle-esque muscles give out. I’m kidding I’m kidding. Please don’t write to me, I won’t read it. I’ll be too busy wiping the cow juice off my chin and cackling wildly. Until I get CJD and Paul has to take me around the back of the house, my legs disco-dancing independently of each other, and push me into a burning pit with a tractor.

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to make sizzling rainbow salad, you’ll need:

  • any steak you like – fillet steak, frying steak, rib-eye steak, miss-steak, Mis-Teeq or Stakeford, I don’t care, as long as it mooed and had children (ouch)
  • any syn-free noodles
  • a cucumber, one that if it was a penis, you’d perhaps reach for a dab more Durex Play than you’re used to
  • a carrot, see above
  • a few radishes
  • if you can get them, a candy beetroot and a golden beetroot, if not, regular beetroot
  • two red chilli peppers
  • a lime
  • spring onions
  • crunchy lettuce of any sort you like
  • chickpeas from the below recipe

to make sizzling rainbow salad, you should:

  • cook your noodles
  • peel and slice the cucumber and carrots into thin ribbons using a potato peeler
  • very thinly slice the beetroot – I eat it raw, I like the crunch – and I use one of these mandolins for perfect uniform slices (plus it protects your fingers, you don’t want your piano career ruined by circumcised fingers)
  • do the same with the radishes
  • chop the spring onion and chillis
  • cook your steak however you like and slice it into thin strips – we just used bog-standard steak like this – remember you can add stuff like this on if you buy our freezer-filler-wonder-offer from Musclefood, just add whatever you want as extras into the basket – we cook our steak by getting a pan roaring hot, using worcestershire sauce and pepper instead of oil, quickly cooking it off and serving
  • assemble in a bowl – noodles, crunchy lettuce, sliced veg, steak, squirt a bit of lime juice over for taste
  • if you’re making the chickpeas below, scatter them on too for extra crunch
  • very healthy, I’m sure you will agree

OK, onwards. BEFORE WE START.

TWEAK

We explain what tweaking is right here. Our policy is that it’s better to eat something like this than it is to eat a tube of Pringles. Well no, it’s not better, but it’ll keep the scales happy. Hopefully. Up to you to decide what you want to do. To me, chickpeas are syn free, garlic is syn free, you don’t use enough sprays of the oil to be worth synning it, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to be told off for it. GO.

to make roasted garlic chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • a bulb of garlic
  • two big tins of chickpeas
  • a few squirts of olive oil (which might add up to a syn if you’re lucky, plus I’d hope you’re not going to eat them all)

 chickpeas 

to make roasted garlic chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • cut the garlic bulb right through the middle (horizontally left to right rather than straight down the middle) – don’t worry about peeling
  • sprinkle with a touch of salt
  • put in a low temperature oven for around half an hour, just to soften the garlic flesh, then scoop out (I just scrunch up the bulb with my hand)
  • rinse your chickpeas
  • put them into a bowl with a few squirts of oil, salt, pepper and the softened sticky flesh of the garlic
  • roll those chickpeas around each other – gently, you’re not panning for bloody gold – but enough to get them coated in some garlic, seasoning and oil
  • tip out onto a baking tray and bake in a medium oven for around 30-45 minutes, but do keep checking, they can catch quite quickly
  • eat as a snack or tumbled into salad. Tumbled?! Oh behave James.

Enjoy!

J

sweet potato and spinach beef bowl

The recipe for sweet potato and spinach beef bowl is just beneath the next few paragraphs of waffle about the cats. Why the cats? Well – we’re getting a lot of charming comments about our cats now that the blog is growing and I thought I’d mention them, not least because Sola has turned into a filthy slut. Let me explain. 

sola

This is Sola.

She’s very much a ‘get the fuck out of my face, feed me when I ask and if I want to shit on your pillow, by god I’ll do it’ sort of gentle, lovely cat. She’s not a fighter either – we never see her scrapping with other cats, though I suspect if she could work a Zippo with her paws she’d be the type to burn their house down instead. In short, she’s unpleasant and we’d barely see each other. We might pass a glance to one another when she’s not busy showing me her bumhole when I wake up but that’s about the limit of our interaction. Just lately though things have changed – she’s been all over us, meowing and purring and rubbing against our legs – fair enough, have a stroke, yes yes. Then she started ‘presenting’ – lying down with her back legs up showing off her pink-panther. It’s incredibly creepy. We had a vet check her over just in case she’s managed to grow herself a uterus in the last ten years and is dying for some cat-cock, but no, she’s very well and content. 

So, onto Google – and we found what we think is the answer. Some cats like to be spanked. Not in a sexual way, I can’t imagine she’s going to turn her cat house into a red room and install tiny feline whips and a Whiskas-logoed crucifix, but because there’s a lot of nerves along their back they like the feel of a smacked side. See?

Now before anyone calls the RSPCA on us, we don’t pat away at her like we’re trying to put out the flames on a Christmas pudding. Plus, you know, these cats have their own shed to go into if it’s too cold. We certainly don’t utilise utensils like the above chap. But the cat goes absolutely mental for it – purring, running around, meowing like mad if you dare stop. Once she walks off, that’s game over, but honestly, we’ve never seen her so content. Christ, is our house really so perverse and unholy that even the cats are kinky buggers?

Well, Bowser sure as hell isn’t.

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This is Bowser, before he had a good chunk of his right ear torn off by another cat.

As an experiment, we tried a gentle tap on him, and he promptly attempted to deglove Paul’s hand, which is unusual given how bloody soft he normally is. I can’t say he’s a lover not a fighter because all he does when he goes outside is fight with other cats. I’m tempted to modify his cat-flap so that when he exits ‘Eye of the Tiger’ plays and sets him up for a scrap. I reckon he’s got one full ear left and every time you stroke him you find another scab or cut. He feels like a hair-covered Weetabix. At night though he’ll mew outside our bedroom door until we let him come in, at which point he normally gets up on the pillows, crawl under the duvet and falls asleep curled up next to Paul’s quivering arse. That to me seems counterproductive – it must be like trying to sleep behind the fan on an out-of-control hovercraft, only with the smell of eggs and death blasting up your nostrils instead of sea-air. Still, he seems content enough, even if he comes out in the morning with brown foam on his lips.

Ah, aren’t they just a treat. Anyway, come on, let’s get to tonight’s meal – sweet potato and spinach beef bowl. It’s genuinely easy to make, uses only a handful of ingredients and is full of taste. Makes technically enough for four, but we ate it all between the two of us. Fat fuckers!

sweet potato and spinach beef bowl

to make sweet potato and spinach beef bowl, you’ll need:

to make sweet potato and spinach beef bowl, you should:

  • cook your sweet potatoes for an hour or so, until they’ve softened but haven’t turned to mush – leave to cool then then peel and cut into large chunks about the size of a thumb, though please, don’t put your thumb in the dinner, I know where you’ve been sticking it
  • chop up your onion, of course, and mince your garlic, and sweat them gently in a pan with a drop of oil or a few squirts of Frylight – if you want to add chopped peppers or peas, chuck them in here
  • throw in a tablespoon of fish sauce, a good twist of black pepper and salt, put in your mince once the onion has gone golden and cook that mince on high until it is brown and cooked through – I crumble an Oxo cube on for extra flavour but do that towards the end of cooking otherwise it makes it difficult to see how well the mince is cooked, and I don’t want the blame if you’re stuck in the shitter firing the chocolate laser all night
  • take it off the heat, empty your bag of spinach into the pot and put a lid on for a few minutes – the steam will wilt the spinach making it easier to stir, though you might need to shift the pan back onto a low heat and stir the spinach through when you can. Or do it in batches. Come on, it’s not rocket science this
  • chuck the sweet potato cubes in and stir the lot to get everything mixed together
  • serve with more pepper or a few drops of Tabasco sauce as above

That’s it! You could add more speed veg if you wanted to, but I see this as a very healthy meal and very easy to make – one pot to clean and quick to prepare, save for the time spent waiting for the sweet potatoes to cook. Use that time wisely – clean the kitchen, spank the cat or just play with your boobs. It’s your life, live it.

J

syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots

Christ, what a bloody awful last couple of days with this website! We’ve had a right fart-on with moving it from a different server to a fancy new one, but finally, it should mean no more errors and subsquently, no more tearful messages from ladies wanting my beef recipe. SO: here’s the recipe I was going to post two nights ago before it all went to cock.


Not a post tonight, really, but I wanted to chuck this recipe on as quick as we can. By far and away our most popular and visited recipe is the one for our amazing syn-free tater tots. Only problem with that recipe is that, although it tastes bloody amazing, it’s a bit of a fart-on to cut up all the potatoes into cubes. If you have the time, do it, it’s amazing, but if not (or if you’ve spent too long watching “videos” on the Internet despite promising your other half you’d make tea), here’s a much quicker option. This serves four and uses four HEA’s worth of cheese.

syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots

to make syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots you’ll need:

  • one small carton of passata
  • one tablespoon of tomato puree
  • two tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
  • pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper
  • 500g of beef mince, remember to keep it on or below 5%, like the EXCELLENT MINCE FROM OUR MUSCLEFOOD DEAL JUST SAYIN’ JEEZ
  • two garlic cloves, minced, perhaps using one of these fine mincers
  • one strong white onion, chopped
  • one green pepper, chopped finely
  • one beef oxo cube
  • spring onions
  • 500g of soup pasta – this is tiny, tiny pasta shells you can buy from most supermarkets – in Tesco it’s called marghartine, but essentially any tiny pasta will do (and it’s dirt cheap)
  • 120g of grated reduced fat red leicester cheese (3 x HEA)
  • 75g of reduced fat Philadelphia (1 x HEA)
  • Sriracha (or any hot sauce) – Sriracha is half a syn per tablespoon and that’s all we used for the whole dish, so if you want to be anal-Marie, syn the dish at 0.12 syns a bloody serving, but if you’re that way inclined, just get out

to make syn free sloppy joe mac and cheese tater tots you should:

  • it’s really a bolognese bake, but with a few extra nice ingredients, so…
  • chop your onion and pepper finely and soften it in a medium-heated pan with dab of oil or bloody Frylight booooooo
  • add the minced garlic as the onion starts to go golden and cook for a minute or so
  • tip in the mince and brown it off
  • add the beef stock cube, worcestershire sauce (reduce this if you’re not a huge fan), salt and pepper, passata and puree
  • give it a reet good stir and allow to simmer away so the sauce thickens and you’ve got a nice mince, like so many men tell me I have
  • whilst that’s bubbling, cook your tiny pasta – watch it doesn’t go too overcooked, it only needs a minute or so in bubbling water – just try it and if it’s cooked, get it drained and shake as much water out as possible – really go for it
  • measure out your philadelphia and stir it through the warm pasta with a pinch of black pepper and salt – you’re not aiming for saturation here, just a nice taste throughout
  • mix everything together in one big over-proof pan, top with the grated cheese and grill for around 5 or 7 minutes, until it looks delicious
  • sprinkle with chopped spring onions and a few dabs of hot sauce, and serve!

Of course you can tailor this, add more veg, do what you like, but this is syn-free as long as you use your HEAs. It makes a ginormous serving for each person too! In short, we’re replacing the cubed potatoes with tiny pasta, and it becomes more like a super cheesy pasta bake, but by god it’s wonderful! ENJOY.

Remember to share this recipe wherever you can, it really helps us!

J