rainbow beef: speedy and saucy

Saucy rainbow beef is today’s Chinese fakeaway recipe, and you’ll find it just below. Enjoy!

Thinking about my nephew’s birthday, and then having to choose from an absolutely bewildering amount of toys available in the shops, got me thinking about the toys I used to have. Now naturally, only my generation’s toys were any good and yours were rubbish, but bear with me.

Favourite toy of all time was a tatty teddy bear that was both a bumblebee and a lion. Of course: hence Bumblelion. Internet research suggests that Bumblelion was from a TV show called The Wuzzles but that means absolutely nothing to me – I think Bumblelion’s origin story was simply being stuck on a table at the Corbridge Boot Sale and being spotted by me and my sticky three year old hands. That teddy bear stayed with me for ages – losing its tail, fur, an eye, the nose, the stuffing over the years, but even now I’m fairly sure I could climb into our loft and find him again. My parents never bothered stitching the bits back on – they took a rather cavalier approach to safety: whilst everyone else went sledging on a proper wooden sledge for example, I was given a rinsed out giant plastic bag with ICI Chemicals printed on the side and sent hurtling towards a barbed wire fence at great speed.

I asked Paul what his favourite teddy bear was and he replied that I was. Once I’d finished vomiting into the toilet, he offered up an alternative. Apparently his parents went to the same ‘caring’ school as mine as he had an unfinished toy mouse without a tail, which by all accounts looked like a rudimentary fleshlight, given it had a huge hole with the stuffing leaking out at the rear end. Knowing Paul, that’s probably exactly what it was used for. He called it Mousey, showing an imagination that captivates an audience even now. I know for a fact where Mousey lives: somewhere in a landfill near Byker, as I accidentally threw him out in an overly-keen cleaning spree. Oops. Mousey was supplemented by all manner of tamagotchis that Paul was given to keep him quiet – I never had one and was furiously jealous of everyone else who had one. It’s probably for the best however – I was given my friend’s tamagotchi to look after and killed it for real within two hours by dropping it into the toilet.

We ended up choosing Lego for my nephew – partly because it’s the best gift you can give a young lad because it fires the imagination, partly because I know how much it will annoy my sister who now faces an eternity of stepping on Lego bricks in the dead of night. She can talk, she never used to clean away the Lego when we played at home. We used to build massive hamster runs and mazes out of Lego – it’s all good times until you forget about poor Snuffles working his way through the maze towards a carrot and go away on holiday. Poor little bugger*. I think all children should be given Lego at the earliest opportunity – not Duplo, that’s cheating, and not knock-off Lego that doesn’t quite fit together, but proper stuff. If I’m ever asked to step in and replace Theresa May on account that I have a soul and can smile without looking like I’m passing wind, I’ll make it mandatory that children are born into buckets of Lego that they then get to keep.

It wasn’t just Lego, of course – we had all manner of board games, all with nearly all the pieces included. It’s easy enough to play Pop-Up-Pirate without all of the swords but Buckaroo becomes a surprising challenge when you only have half of the donkey, and as for trying to solve a murder in Cluedo with only the Miss White card and 100 Lambert and Butler gratis points, well forget it. Paul’s favourite board-game was Screwball Scramble but because his mother was a shaved Hitler, he was only allowed to play it up to the bit where you had to smack the buttons and then stop, because the noise would ‘bring on one of her heads’. Even then he knew that her headaches were probably nicotine-poisoning. We want to join a local board game society up here in Newcastle but it all seems to be complicated games now – I want to play Monopoly with someone who doesn’t get in a huff when I buy Mayfair and then refuses to play when he starts losing: like Paul.

 

I’m obviously kidding about the hamster, by the way. All of our hamsters had luxurious, full lives, although we did lose one prematurely when it took an exciting and unexpected swerve on the hallway landing and went bouncing down the stairs in his little exercise ball. RIP Snowy.

Final highlight was a sit-on toy tractor that I could peddle around in the yard behind our house. I bloody loved that thing and used it until the brakes were worn, the wheels were shot and the whole thing was one more half-stone of my arse from falling to bits. It did almost kill me – I once went merrily shooting down our steep driveway and across two lanes of traffic before my mother remembered that she hadn’t shut the gate at the bottom. It’s alright, I survived (obviously) and there were only forty people injured in the resulting pile-up caused by the bus having to swerve around me into oncoming traffic.

The picture on this one doesn’t look amazing, but blame Paul: he forgot to take the pictures, so this is just a still from the video. Don’t worry, he’ll be getting a firm lashing later on.

UPDATE: Sorry – this isn’t syn free as it says in the photo, that’s a typo. It’s actually 1½ syns each! 

rainbow beef

rainbow beef

to make saucy rainbow beef you will need:

  • 500g beef stir-fry strips (or steak, sliced)
  • 1½ tsp cornflour (½ syn)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (3 syns)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • ½ tsp red chilli flakes
  • 8 shittake mushrooms
  • 3 peppers of different colours, sliced

top tips for saucy rainbow beef:

  • we used the beef strips from our excellent Big Meaty Package – if you want decent quality, cheap meat go check out our deals page!
  • mince the garlic and ginger in double-quick time with a Microplane grater – you can get one here!
  • shiitake mushrooms will give a nice, beefy taste but normal mushrooms will do fine
  • haven’t got rice wine vinegar? cider vinegar will be fine
  • this makes enough for two large bowls

to make saucy rainbow beef you should:

  • sprinkle the cornflour over the beef and give a good toss
  • pour over the tsp of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, one of the garlic cloves, sesame oil, salt and pepper and mix everything together
  • in a separate jug, stir the tbsp of rice wine vinegar and hoisin sauce and set aside
  • heat a large frying pan or wok over a high heat and spray in a little oil
  • add the beef to the pan and spread out as much as you can
  • let it cook for about a minute to crisp up, and then stir fry for another minute
  • slide the beef onto a plate and drain away any excess liquid
  • add the peppers to the pan along with the other garlic clove, ginger, chilli flakes and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes
  • add the beef back to the pan and give another stir
  • pour over the hoisin sauce, cook for another 30 seconds, then serve

Did that get your minge tingling? Don’t forget we’ve got loooaddss of other Chinese fakeaway meals waiting for you! You’ll find some of our favourites below:

Mwah!

J

our best ever lemon chicken fakeaway

Lemon chicken, if you don’t mind – but I do mind, because it’s my favourite dish and I want it now. James is still laid out with illness and, in between dabbing his fevered brow and attending to his every need *cough*, we still have to get a blog-post out. However, luckily, the other half writes out his holiday entries well in advance so when times are dry for things to write about, we can whack one of these up. To that end, if you’re here for the recipe and the recipe alone, click the button below to be whisked straight there. Or scroll until you see the food. I imagine that’ll pose no difficulties for most of you.

Thank goodness they’ve gone. I bet they own more television remotes than books, you know. Let’s go back to Stockholm!


click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three

Look, if we carry on at the rate we’re going, we’ll never leave Stockholm. We’ve got three more days there and frankly, if I keep spending 1000 words describing the type of coffee I enjoyed, we’ll never get anywhere. So let’s try something different: I’m going to write about the highlights of the trip in a loose, fudged-together timeline. If you’re like Rose and are displeased, I invite you to stop being such a surfitta-lit. Best not to google that one, though.

Skyview at the Ericsson Globe

First on the list was a trip on the Skyview – an external lift that goes up and over the Ericsson Globe arena down in the imaginatively named Stockholm Globe City district of Stockholm.

It’s like a Bond film without a budget!

You’ll know the Globe, I bet: it’s hosted the Eurovision Song Contest at least twice (fun fact: for three days after these events they don’t actually need to power the lifts – they rise up on the fug of amyl nitrate of their own accord) (and mysteriously, all the previously stuck doors just ease open to allow easy access) and there’s been all manner of big stadium concerts in there. And Shania Twain. We learned this fact by having to bear witness to the same Shania Twain five-second advert on loop whilst we stood in the queue for ten minutes waiting for tickets to be the first to board. No man should ever have to endure that much Shania Twain – I felt like I was 14 again, listening to my sister play ‘That Don’t Impress Me Much’ for the eighty-seventh time. She’s a hard to please witch, isn’t she – Shania, not my sister: frankly, if there’s any rocket scientists out there with a car and fine hair, get in touch. I get impressed by a bloke who can eat his dinner without spilling a third of it on the carpet, much lower standards. We were second in the queue with only a wee Chinese grandma in front of us so we were guaranteed admission to the first pod and then we could be on our way.

Only, no; she bought tickets for 22, and out of the McDonalds over the road came a tour-bus of selfie-sticks, expensive winter wear and Marlboro Reds, pushing us back into the third pod. That meant twenty more minutes of Shania looping. If I close my eyes now I still see her fabulously-conditioned hair and Polo-mint-teeth burnt on my eyelids. Keeping things in perspective, I spent those twenty minutes staring at the suspension cable of their pod in the vain hope so much venom would melt the steel. It was our turn soon enough and I mean, it was good fun and affords you a pleasant enough view of the city, but nothing that the (much cheaper) TV tower earlier hadn’t done the day before. Plus, the clean freak in me wanted to open the pod and run a squeegee along the windows, they were absolutely hacky.

#inspirashunal #omgbabez

Twenty minutes is a long time to spend looking over the top of a mall and some distant buildings, though we were at least entertained by the three teenage girls who spent the entire twenty minutes posing in front of their phones. I swear, they couldn’t have looked out of the window once. Just how many shots do you need of:

  • sucking invisible spaghetti;
  • thousand yard stare;
  • oh my god spontaneous shot of me I promise but actually, it’s taken twelve minutes;
  • McDonalds eyebrows; and
  • GROUP OF GIRLS RIGHT hadehar

for your friggin’ Instagram? You know how I take photos of us? I point the camera somewhere north of our staircase of chins, and click take photo. Done. It’s that simple.

The ABBA museum

Next, the ABBA museum. Well, it had to be, didn’t it? We made our way via Sweden’s excellent underground rail system. First of all, they must have known I was coming because they put up some especially camp warning signs.

No mincing please

Secondly, our journey was greatly enlivened by the fact that a woman, clearly off her tits, stood up, started shouting in Swedish and then pissed herself at great length. Was it my aftershave? I don’t know, but we had to all get off at the next stop – her to clean herself up, me to wring the bottom of my jeans out. Poor lass pissed like a bloody racehorse. Luckily, we were close enough to walk to the Abba museum and it only took us ten minutes of sliding around on the ice to do so. Now, remember me telling you that Sweden is eye-wateringly expensive? I was in full gush when I paid for our tickets here: £44 for two. £44 to enter a museum! That’s not £44 for a sit down meal and a chance to try and talk Agnetha round, no no – just to give you access to the turntable. I mean, I know they’ve got to make their Money Money Money, but come on.

We paid up and went in and boom: something to make it all worthwhile. Who the hell knew that Benny was such a DILF back in the day? I mean now he looks like someone you’d see arguing with trees but back then, fuck me – lucky I hadn’t spotted him yesterday, or else it really would have been The Day Before You Came. I was quite taken – all sorts of shirtless photos and videos plastered the walls – at least I had somewhere to hang my multi-language headset, I suppose.

He’d be Benny, Paul and I would be the Jets

And actually, despite the shafting at the start, the museum was excellent – very thorough, detailed and interactive. Almost too interactive actually: there were booths you could nip into and do karaoke without people being able to hear you. We elected to give Mamma Mia a bash and thought we sounded great until we listened back later on via their website and it sounds like a livestream from a condemned abattoir. You know how you think you can sing in the shower? You can’t. I’m surprised they didn’t ask us to leave.

Make just one swap in this photo and it’ll match the thumbnail of at least two of our xtube videos. Just saying.

It only got worse – we rounded a corner to find the next exhibition was where you could get up on stage and sing along as the 5th member of ABBA whilst they superimposed the other four alongside us. FLABBA, if you prefer. I said we couldn’t, but the museum worker was very persuasive – she literally said you can dance, you can jive. I tried to explain that I dance like my feet are on fire and she replied ‘Dancing Queen’. I retorted by calling her a homophobic blonde bitch.

I jest, on we went – there was no-one about anyway bar her and I’m sure she’s seen two eighteen-stone Geordies pretending to be Abba before. Who hasn’t? I’m sure it was a storyline in an episode of Vera – if it wasn’t then it bloody should have been, because we absolutely murdered the song. Of course, no sooner had we started caterwauling and shuffling around like sad bears in a rubbish zoo than a gaggle of other gay men – all stylish and shrieking – came round the corner and started giving us bitchy appraising looks. Honestly, the collective effect of them pursing their lips at the same time pulled at my eyelashes. The curator had the good grace to at least shut the music off after a minute rather than making us do a full set. We slunk off stage like the fat national embarrassment that we were and we hadn’t even went through the exit doors before André, B’Michael, Brandonael and A’Joseph were belting out Does Your Mother Know.

The rest of the museum was awash with dresses, videos, quizzes and all sorts of memorabilia. Yes: far too expensive, but worth it. I mean, it’s Abba.

Putting at least one syllable into country singer

 

Eating and drinking

We spent more than a couple of lovely hours in the Ardbeg Embassy tasting all the various beers they had to offer. Listen, when a beard with a man hanging off it offers you a giant glass of ‘Just Don’t Call Me Brett’ or ‘Cellar Troll’, you just don’t say no.

 

Always wondered what happened to Casualty’s Clive Mantle, and now we know – he’s ordering a pint in Sweden

What started as a ‘quick drink’ became an elongated ‘work our way down the list’ until we were a) smashed and b) poor. Fifteen quid for two pints, remember.

Pished

Drunk and beholden to our empty stomachs, we ventured out to find food, only to stumble into the first place with an open door that we found – Sally’s, next door. It was delicious. You know how good food tastes when you’re steaming and hungry? That, but coupled with big doughy flatbreads and good cheese – you need to understand that I haven’t had bread for several months at this point and I’m not kidding when I say my side of the table lifted up a fair few inches when they brought it out. Almost spilled my wine.

I want this again.

Oh and because it was Christmas, I had the reindeer carpaccio for starters. They even stuck a little red tomato on the plate in what I thought was a rather cruel jibe at poor Rudolph. Christmas is cancelled and I’m turning it into poo.

This was better than it looks.

The 3am graffiti

At some point we were tucked up in bed, doing our best to keep the hotel awake with our beer-smothered snoring, when I got up for a gypsy’s kiss and noticed that for the first time in the entire holiday, it was proper snowing. Not that stupid vicar’s dandruff sort of snow we get, but big thick flakes of it, all settling merrily on the ground. You need to understand that we went to Iceland, Switzerland and Copenhagen in winter and saw barely any snow so this was a big deal, so much so that I woke up Paul by throwing water in his face (accidentally, I knocked over his bedside glass in the excitement – I haven’t taken to waterboarding him in his sleep – yet) and got him out of bed. We dressed in all the fabulous winter attire we had brought and thought we wouldn’t need and dashed out to play in the snow like the two big kids we are. The city was asleep, we had to place to ourselves – I managed to sneak in some free advertising:

I was going to try and put other SW blogs on there but I didn’t have time to draw out the eight adverts necessary to go with it.

We made our way down into a small square that was absolutely pristine with snow – a complete blank canvas.

This IS…ART ATTACK!

It took less than a nanosecond before we were both studiously working on writing out the most offensive swearword we could in the biggest letters our legs would allow. Unhappily, I was only a third of the way through the ‘N’ when two police officers came over to see what all the gleeful screaming was about. You’ve never seen someone turn a nine foot capital ‘N’ into a ‘B’ and a tiny ‘S’ quicker than me that night – I was like Michael Flatley on ice. They asked what we were doing and I lied through my teeth to try and explain we were making a giant version of our logo – it was only when I showed them twochubbycubs on my phone that they understood.

Now in a normal situation both Paul and I would have been well-up with being bundled into the back of a van by two tattooed, bearded, uniformed men and roughly manhandled, indeed, we call it a successful night at Washington Services round here, but not that night – it was that cold that my testicles were rolling around in my scrotum like peas at the bottom of the freezer. Any ejaculate would have slid out like a Mini Milk, so even I didn’t bother making the ‘whatever can I do, officer’ fluttering eyes/arse at them.

A mite embarrassed, we returned to our beds.

Paul does have a chin – he has a collection, actually – it’s just the lighting

Seems like a good place to leave it!

REMEMBER FOLKS: we love feedback on the holiday entries! It makes my day! So please do leave a comment to gee us along!

previousArtboard 1


Let’s do the lemon chicken recipe then. This makes enough for four large portions, and if there’s anyone who can handle a large portion, it’s YOU!

lemon chicken

lemon chicken

to make our best ever lemon chicken fakeaway, you’ll need:

  • four chicken breasts, big and fat, cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of rice vinegar
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 175ml chicken stock
  • 75ml lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 2 tbsp of honey (5 syns)
  • 1 tbsp of cornflour (1 syn)

top tips for our best ever lemon chicken fakeaway:

to make our best ever lemon chicken fakeaway, you should:

  • in a bowl, add the chicken chunks to the soy sauce and vinegar and make sure every piece is covered – longer you leave it, the better it will be
  • when you’re ready to cook, cook the chicken off in a pan until it is cooked through
  • mix together the chicken stock, lemon juice, honey and cornflour and then tip into the pan with the chicken and cook until it has all thickened up
  • serve with rice and finely grated lemon rind
  • mwah!

Easy peasy! We’ve done loads of fakeaways lately, take a look:

J

our best ever mixed chow mein recipe

Now, you can have a mixed chow mein, or you can keep it simple with a plain chicken chow mein, but either way, this is possibly my favourite recipe that we have done in a while. Mixed chow mein is easily the one dish I order most from the Chinese takeaway – well, that and trapped wind – and so to make a perfect replica of it, well say no more fam. Or something. Scroll down for the recipe, or…

Indulge me for a moment. I had a right strop the other day about that stupid TUI advert with the silly woman hyperventilating through ‘Ain’t Nobody’ like an anxiety attack given a melody. Well, working from home on a Monday means that I have to run the gamut of daytime advertising – I like to have the TV on as background noise because a) it blocks out my tinnitus and b) daytime TV makes me feel better about my own life choices. For example, on a Jeremy Kyle catch-up this morning, they were arguing about whether someone had shat in a fridge.

Just let that sink in for a moment. I can’t conceive of any situation in my life that might end up with someone shitting in my fridge. Can you? I mean, we have one of those giant American fridges, you could take the shelves out and build a rudimentary portaloo, but even then I don’t know a single soul who, however drunk they got, would think that was a viable option for relieving themselves. So not only do you have a gaggle of inbred mouthbreathers with a shitty fridge, they think the best thing to do to clear it up (use Flash and warm water, surely) is to go on national TV to be soaked in indignant spittle and to show off your Thorntons Fudge Selection teeth to a judgemental nation. I could have a bomb up my arse and Jeremy Kyle could hold the defusing code and I’d still rather die than sit in the back with Graham awaiting my turn to bound on effing and jeffing. The mind boggles.

But anyway, this isn’t about Jeremy Kyle. I want to kvetch on about adverts again. Top of the list is the Nationwide adverts, and I don’t care that I bank with them, they can take all my money away if it means I’m never subjected to Toni Collette’s stand-in and Sharon Watt’s double singing their cutesy-poo wee ditties and playing the keyboard. Why? Some clever sort will doubtless say the advert works because I have remembered it but that’s like saying Anusol is wonderful because I once bought a tube of it back in 2008. It’s a negative memory: I don’t buy it now just for the nostalgia. This advert has done the opposite – it’s made me get off my fat arse and finally get around to switching banks over to First Direct who, although they overdo the ‘bants’ side of things, at least don’t have adverts that make me want to push my face into a thresher.

Next on the list: WHAT’S THAT? YOU HAVEN’T CLAIMED FOR YOUR MIS-SOLD PPI? You know the one, smarmy streak of piss in a shiny suit asking you whether you can afford to miss out on thooousands of pounds. Gladstone Brookes, I believe – you would think with all the money they’re raking in from charging a significant fee for something that people could easily do themselves that perhaps they’d fund a better advert, but no. I hate his incredulous tone and overacting and stupid beady eyes to the point where I’d like to kick a hole in my TV and send them the invoice. With knobhead protection insurance included, of course.

Surely the king of irritation – an almost superhuman level of advertising thrush, if you will – is the friggin’ Shpock advert though. For a start, shpock is a shite name for a company – the fact I had to google it to work out how to spell it says enough. What kind of word is shpock anyway? It sounds like something that would be forming in a drip on the end of a diseased penis – look at that, you’ve left a smear of shpock all over our bedspread, for example. According to their advert, it’s like having a boot sale in your pocket. Well whoopity-doo. The last time we went to a car-boot sale it was dreadful – people selling used ashtrays and dirty clothes and urgh. If you go by their advert the app will be full of fancy bikes, cars, beautiful people and distressed furniture. I loaded it up to try and shift my giant shirts and found it awash with such levels of illiteracy that I thought I’d somehow switched my language settings to Russian. There wasn’t a thing on there I would even entertain having in my house, and that’s just the sellers. It was deleted quicker than the time I accidentally downloaded Snapchat. I mean, I’m not a 14 year old girl.

OK one final gripe. Gambling adverts. Why are these allowed? Have you tried watching ITV2 or Challenge or Sky Sports in the evening? You can’t move for flashy adverts advertising betting or bingo sites and frankly, you’d be absolutely buggered if you had a gambling problem. They don’t allow adverts for cigarettes, so why something as addictive as gambling? And it’s always such a bullshit advert – sexy people playing in glamorous virtual casinos, all sultry stares and coquettish laughter and massive wins. I’d admire any company that portrayed the grim reality of someone sat in yesterday’s clothes, unshaved, unwashed, desperately clicking the spin button over and over and over in the hope of winning back a tenth of what they’ve been encouraged to gamble away if only so they can keep the wolves away from the door for another few days. They say that ‘when the fun stops, stop’, and then they play their adverts over and over and over. How does that work then?

In fact, I’d go as far to say that these are the worst adverts of all. They have the power to absolutely destroy lives, and they’re sandwiched repeatedly between bloody Love Island repeats. As if that shower of shits wasn’t bad enough.


I feel better for that! Right, let’s do this mixed chow mein. Remember, you can use whatever meat you want – we used leftover pieces from all the fakeaway recipes we’ve been cooking lately, and of course you could use prawns but why would you? They’re bloody awful. It’s as simple as that. This makes enough for four massive portions – we portioned it up (for once) and put some in the freezer.

Have no fear though, we took it back out again ten minutes later and ate it. I mean, we’re not called twochubbycubs for nothing, you know. Let’s do this. Don’t be tempted to leave out the oil – between four, it’s 1.5 syns each – think how many syns your normal takeaway would be. It’s worth it for the taste. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it really isn’t!

mixed chow mein

mixed chow mein

to make a mixed chow mein, you’ll need:

  • whatever meat you want – we used scraps of beef, some char sui pork and two chicken breasts, but honestly, there’s no rhyme or reason – if it’s already cooked, you’ll just need to warm it through in the instructions below, but if it is raw, make sure you cook it well
  • two or three nests of dried noodles
  • two cloves of garlic, minced
  • one large onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of beansprouts
  • one bunch of spring onions – sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (1 syn)
  • 1 teaspoon of white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (6 syns)
  • one large red pepper, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons of oyster sauce (free – yes, I was surprised too – and it doesn’t taste fishy, don’t worry)
  • 1 teaspoon of cornflour (1 syn)

So in total that makes eight syns: 2 syns each for a giant portion!

top tips for a mixed chow mein:

to make a mixed chow mein, you should:

  • mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of the dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the light soy sauce, 2 tablespoon of the oyster sauce and pour over whatever meat you’re using to marinate for a few hours
  • cook your noodles according to the instructions and then when cooked, run under cold water to stop them sticking
  • heat the oil in your pan and either heat your cooked meat or cook off your raw meat
  • take the meat out and throw in the onion, minced garlic, pepper spring onion, pepper and beansprouts and cook high and hard to soften everything
  • add the meat back in with the remainder of the wet ingredients (and the marinade you have left over, if you’ve kept it) and then add the noodles – stir everything through until the noodles are piping hot, then serve
  • want it saucier? Don’t we all – just add more oyster sauce!

How good does that look, honestly? Want more fakeaway recipes? Hit the links below!

Remember to share!

J

one pot chinese braised beef

We’ve done many quick beef recipes before, but this one-pot Chinese braised beef really hits the spot. The G-Spot. Put down some plastic sheeting and let’s get cooking! Oh wait, no, no, we have to finish our Peterborough report, don’t we? It haunts me now like a Vietnam flashback. So many soiled mattresses. I’ll bust out the old graphic…

peterborough

…and kindly advise you that part one can be found here and part two can be found here. If you’re a fan of our travel tales and writing, you can find our previous trips to Corsica, Ireland, Iceland and Berlin, along with many other articles, in our big compendium book! It’s been a while since I mentioned it – you can find it on Amazon right here!

When you left us we were just finishing up Bletchley Park and steeling ourselves for the journey back to the hotel. Despite the sat-nav’s attempts to make our head explode scanner style by repeating roundabout over and over, it was a pleasant enough journey and we were back at the hotel in no time at all. True to their word, they had switched our rooms to an altogether more charming one (although Paul’s face was ashen when he realised it was up a flight of stairs, the poor lamb). They told us to nip back to the old room and pack our things, which we promptly did.

On our thigh-chaffing walk to the old room, Paul pushed me out of the way and hurtled ahead. Turns out that his ashen-face was more down to the immediate and pressing need to dispose of the World’s Shittiest Italian Meal from the day before. I, being a thoughtful chap, told him that he’d need to hold it in because the housekeepers would be waiting for us to leave so they could clean the room and there was no way I was adding ‘walking into a deathcloud of barely digested pancetta’ onto their list of reasons to hate life. So began the quickest debate you’ve ever seen, with Paul dancing back and forth on his feet and me being firm and telling him he had to hold it. I only relented when he said it was either the toilet of the old room or the hood on my hoodie in the corridor.

Well, you can’t argue with that. I stepped aside. There was a lot of noise and motion.

Of course, it smelt like someone had died, meaning we had to stay in the room for twenty minutes frantically wafting the curtains and flapping the duvet to try and get the stench to dissipate. I don’t want a mark on my Premier Inn record that states we leave the room smelling like someone has burnt a tyre full of human hair. Having done the best we could, with me liberally sprinkling Rive D’Ambre everywhere (and that stuff is £170 a bottle, just saying: we’re fat, it’s the only designer thing we can wear), we switched rooms.

Why is it, no matter what time of the day or night it is, you can turn E4 or More4 or 4Skin or 4goodnesssakepickaname on, there’s always a Come Dine with Me quintet to watch? At the very last there’s a Four in the Bed chain to work through. Having realised that there was absolutely bot-all-else to do on a Sunday in fair Peterborough, we settled down with vending machine snacks and a tiny cup of Barely Grey and made the best of it. Naturally, we fell asleep. Say what you want about Premier Inn, they do make a damn comfy bed. I should know, we’ve got one installed.

We woke up at 7, full of piss and vinegar for falling asleep and wasting our evening, only to realise that there was nowhere in Peterborough that caught our eye. Paul did suggest a visit to a floating boat which served Chinese food but then we bought realised we didn’t fancy stopping every ten minutes on the way home to revisit our dinner. Casting our net a little wider we eventually spotted somewhere that did take our fancy – Stilton, just over the roundabout. Lovely. I made to make a reservation at a lovely looking place that I can’t remember the name of (Bell Inn?) but Paul reminded me of something.

See, my lovely, confident husband frets something chronic about going to ‘nice places’ to eat. He has an inferiority complex – he absolutely shouldn’t, he’s wonderful, but he thinks he is going to make an arse of himself. I reassured him that he amazing in every way and so we made a reservation and set off.

Well, honestly. It was a gorgeous little pub and the menu sounded great. We were given a seat on a tiny table by the fire (not a criticism mind) and ordered our food. Paul was a little on edge but we got through the starters without any difficulties. The mains arrived and we got stuck in. Everything was going just so until Paul illustrated a particularly bold point with an expansive sweep of his arm, which pushed his pint of Pepsi off the table and down the wall. Nobody noticed, thankfully, despite the pool of Pepsi around my feet. Fair enough, everyone’s allowed one. I went to take a bite of my burger – one of those overly stuffed, towering piles of meat that are the style these days – only to have the cheese covered meat slide out and cascade down my pink shirt. Great! All equal.

Naturally, Paul had to one-up me. He’d ordered pork belly which came with a smashing bit of crackling which, try as he might, Paul couldn’t crack into small enough bits of eat. He couldn’t very well pick it up and eat it with his hands so he tried many different ways to get into it. No joy. I suggested using the knife as a chisel and to tap it from the top with his hands, like hammering a nail. I thought he’d be careful. Of course not. The ham-fisted dolt hit his knife so hard that it not only shot through the crackling but also cleaved his dinner plate in two. He very much won that round. We finished our meal, polished off a cheese-board, paid the bill and left a hearty tip before we were asked to leave. It was a gorgeous meal and a lovely place, mind.

We stopped at the hotel ‘bar’ for a gin and tonic – me resisting the urge to ask if he’d gone to press the juniper berries himself he was gone that long. We won £7 from the Itbox and made for bed, safe and snug in the knowledge that we’d be home in the morning.

advert - freezer-01

We woke at eight, peeling ourselves apart once more like two flip-flops in the sun due to the room being the temperature of lava. I walked around in the shower for ten minutes until I was wet enough to clean myself and then we made for the car. It was here we made a rash decision. You need to understand we were motivated purely by hunger at this point.

We went to a Toby Carvery for our breakfast.

I know, we’re monsters. I’d seen an advert somewhere and it seemed like a filthy proposition – and as I’ve mentioned before, we do love a buffet breakfast.

I barely need to tell you how awful it was. It was foul. I could talk about the fact we were having breakfast on an industrial estate. I could describe the food: baked beans cooked last November, bacon you could reupholster a settee with, sausages with less meat content than a butcher’s pencil, eggs that I’m still working through my teeth now. Hell, I could go on about the fact that they advertise the fact they have ‘special breakfast Yorkshire puddings’ (i.e. the Yorkshire puddings they didn’t sell in the roast dinner the day before that were so hard I could have used them to stop a runaway train) or the ‘cheese and potato hash’ (i.e. the roast potatoes that didn’t get used the day before with a bit of Primula added) or even the ‘special breakfast gravy’ which was yesterday’s gravy with some tomato ketchup in it. This gravy didn’t so much have a skin as a coat of fucking armour. I’ve never had to slice gravy before, I can tell you.

No, what put me off (after all that, shocking!) was the sheer, unadulterated, naked greed from the person sitting a couple of tables away. Everyone makes a pig of themselves at a buffet, yes, but this guy deserved a gold medal. Three plates of breakfast, each heaped like a mini cowpat of excess. He ate and he ate and he ate without barely drawing breath – which was in itself not such a bad thing because when he did breathe it sounded like someone hoovering up a pile of rubber gloves. When he did stop he burped, and it wasn’t a polite wee burp into a hand like decent folk, but a really resounding baaaarp like he was clearing out just another pocket to cram breakfast into. Bleurgh.

I must be clear: I adore a buffet, I’m capable of great amounts of eatings, but have a bit of fucking decorum. When your chin is more bacon fat than skin, stop. This is why we don’t do those all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets in town – you always get someone who treats it as though it’s their last meal and I’m sorry, it makes me feel queasy.

We drove home, ashamed of ourselves for the breakfast and full of regrets that we’d spent as much money as we did on an awful weekend. It was lovely meeting Paul’s brother and Paul’s dad and his partner, but those were the only high points in an otherwise dismal 72 hours. Paul chastised me constantly for driving at 90mph all the way home but in my defence, it was the fear of breaking down and the car having to be towed back to Peterborough that kept my foot firmly on the accelerator. Never again.

We nipped back home to pick up my car and then made our way back to the car rental. Paul, naturally, forgot to have the windows down on the drive over so when the rental guy bent down to check the interior of the car for cleanliness, he visibly paled. I’m surprised he didn’t charge us for making vegetable soup in the boot. Paul also helpfully forgot to un-sync his phone from the car’s entertainment system so when the guy started the car back up, it reconnected with Paul’s phone and started blasting the chorus from Big Girls Don’t Cry by Lolly. A fitting end.

Naturally, upon our return, the cats paid entirely no attention to us and carried on licking their bottoms. We did have a moment of hilarity when we realised we’d accidentally packed the little purple Premier Inn branded bed-runner into our suitcase. I confessed our accidental theft on Twitter and they kindly told us to keep it. I put it on the bed for ten minutes, Paul chortled, then we both realised exactly how many different accountants and salesmen must have wiped their cocks on it. We’ve packed it away in the cupboard for when his mother comes over.

And that’s that. I was disappointed but Paul even more so – he remembered growing up in a place with lots to do. Heraclitus wrote that ‘it is impossible to step into the same river twice‘, and no more so is that true then when you go ‘home’. Bah.

Right then, let’s do the recipe. This serves two fatties or three or four healthy appetites. The main dish cooks all in one pot and we just microwaved some noodles rather than cooking fresh because we’re super lazy. Remember to syn that. As usual, you can use frylight if you prefer for frying, but proper spray olive oil is 7 sprays for half a syn or something, and has the advantage of not tasting like a sweaty arse.

one pot chinese braised beef

to make one pot chinese braised beef you will need:

to make one pot chinese braised beef you should:

  • preheat the oven to 150°C
  • heat a casserole dish on the hob over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • fry the garlic, spring onions, ginger and chilli for about 1 minute
  • toss the beef in the flour and add to the pan, and stir until browned all over
  • add the five-spice and honey and stir until combined
  • add the rice wine vinegar to the pan, scraping up the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula
  • pour in the stock and the soy sauce, mix, cover with the lid and cook in the oven for an hour
  • pull the pak choi apart and place on top of the stew for the last fifteen minutes so it wilts down
  • serve!

We thought this was amazing, no kidding. It’s quite like our Mongolian beef but a lot more saucy.

If you want more beef or fakeaway recipes, hit the buttons below! Oh and we’ve finally added the one-pot section, so click that for more one-pot ideas! PHEW

beefsmallfakeawayssmallonepot

I’d love some comments and feedback!

J

perfect syn free egg fried rice

Tonight’s recipe is syn free egg fried rice – I’m working tonight, alas, so it really is just a recipe for you – but what a recipe! Paul can’t cook rice for the life of him. He just can’t. There’s not many things he can’t do, but we can safely add cooking rice to other items such as bending over without tipping over and climbing more than two flights of stairs without his Fitbit melting off his wrist. We have tried many times to perfect this rice dish but each time it’s ended up soggier than a submarine’s number plate. The amount of times we’ve hurled white mush into the bin and brought out good old Uncle Ben, you have no idea. So, research was needed, and after a bit of digging on the internet it turns out you have to use bone-dry and cooled white rice. Who knew? We chucked in a load of veg and we were on our way! Think of us next time you need a side dish, won’t you?

syn free egg fried rice

to make syn free egg fried rice, you’ll need:

  • however much white rice you want, cooked and cooled all the way through
  • a big handful of peas
  • a carrot, julienned – we discovered this wee thing on Amazon which GASP makes tiny strips of carrot – so easy!
  • one large red pepper – cut into tiny chunks about the size of the peas
  • two eggs – beaten
  • one red onion, sliced fine
  • one bog standard cheap-ass onion, chopped
  • any leftover broccoli you might have, also into tiny chunks
  • a tiny knob of ginger about the size of your thumbnail, minced using one of these bad boys 
  • two cloves of garlic – see comment above
  • LOW-SALT soy sauce
  • a couple of rings of pineapple if you really want to push the boat out

Oh and BONUS, you can cook it in one pan.

to make syn free egg fried rice, you should:

  • prepare all your veg as instructed above, taking only a moment to wipe your brow and buy a grater, mincer or julienne peeler
  • get your big pan nice and hot and squirted with a few sprays of Filippo Berio or other spray oil – I add a few drops of soy sauce here too
  • throw in your eggs and scramble them – really go at them with a wooden spoon
  • once they’re nearly cooked, remove them as best you can into a dish, and throw in the onions, garlic and ginger (not finger, as I originally posted, otherwise you’ll get a spicy grot-slot) and allow to gently soften
  • throw in the rest of your veg and pineapple and a good glug of soy sauce and allow to soften
  • add the rice, stir, and warm it through completely
  • once everything is hot and mixed, add the scrambled egg, and stir well!

Serve topped with some cut spring onions. Easy. The key to this recipe is getting everything a nice uniform shape and making sure everything is cooked through.

Of course, if you’re looking for some dishes to serve this with, pick something lovely from our massive list of fakeaway Chinese dishes! Click the icon below.

fakeawayssmall

BYEEEE.

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!

 

sizzlin’ steak

I’m going to warn you, I’m in a right old grump today. But what’s new! I write better when I’m angry anyway.

You have no idea how much it pains me to write sizzlin’ in the title instead of sizzling, but Paul threatened to withhold sex if I didn’t acquiesce, and so here we are. In a perfect world there would be no need for unnecessary shortenings of random words, but it’s not a perfect world, and I’m not a perfect person. So sizzlin’ it is. Sizzling puts me in mind of those awful pubs where they bring your food out and slide it out onto a scalding hot bit of stone so it ‘sizzles’ and you’re supposed to sit there rapturous whilst your food bubbles. Perhaps it’s because I’m a curmudgeonly-old-before-his-type fart but I don’t get it – I’ve seen stuff heating up before, I’ve used a pan in my lifetime. If they brought it to the table and heated the food via some Rube Goldberg machine that involved flamethrowers and magnetite, I’d perhaps crack a smile. Those types of pub are always full of the same type of people:

  1. those who can’t eat their Sunday dinner without the application of three separate condiments that have to be brought to the table by some harried waitress with a lot more consonants than vowels in her first name;
  2. access day visits from dads sharing wan smiles and thin conversation with the top of their iPhone-engrossed children; and
  3. the elderly, fussing and gumming their way through a special menu printed in Times New Roman Size 32 so everything looks like this:

“puree of turnip served with turkey paste and parsnip wisps”

OK, so I exaggerate, but still. 

It’s been an uneventful day. We had two things in mind – go to Costco to see if they had the giant bar of Dairy Milk that was 10kg, £160 and came with a tray of prepped insulin on the side, and to Dobbies – our local garden centre. It’s a terribly posh garden centre, you can tell because the person blocking the exit tries to sell us an ‘orangerie’ on the way out, rather than double-glazing. An orangerie! Just the thing – I was beginning to grow concerned that my lemon tree was becoming a mite chilled in the North Sea air. Actually, confession: we’ve already got an orangerie, but because I’m not a pretentious tagnut, I call it a greenhouse. He’s actually stopped asking us anyway, possibly because last time he did so I replied that ‘I couldn’t possibly, I’m Jewish‘ and rushed past aghast. I could almost hear his brain whirring trying to work it out, by which time we were away.

Costco, then. Costco on a Sunday. Four weeks before Christmas. On ‘sample’ day. On a list of fun activities, that sits just above peeling off my face with the edge of a corned beef tin and just below shitting out an armchair. Busy? We didn’t walk around, we just blended with a group of around 200 into one giant shell-suited mass and went as one, gliding down the aisles grabbings things as we went. I was gutted – there’s nothing I like more than taking my time, judging people who are buying 84 Andrex Quilted and wondering who the fuck decides on a Sunday that what they really need to buy is 24 jars of chilli peppers. Naturally, because it was sample day, every single aisle was capped by some poor dolt in a pinny handing out ‘samples’ and, as a consequence, 50 or so slack-jawed simpletons all jostling and pushing to try and get a paper cup with FOUR FUCKING HARIBO in them. I can’t abide queues at the best of times and wouldn’t have stopped if they were offering to tickle my balls and give me cold hard cash, but jesus, the lack of dignity people display over a ‘freebie’! I was tempted to spit my chewing gum on the floor and shout ‘FREE PRE-CHEWED MINTS’ to cause a stampede but the exit was far away and I didn’t have my running shoes on. 

You witness this ugliness on Black Friday and during the sales and I just can’t get my head around it. I can’t! You see them on the television, queueing up outside of Next so at 5am they can rush in and have the pick of all the shit that no person wanted during the only time of the year pretty much guaranteed to empty your stock room, so what’s left is the absolute dregs. Wahey! I’m sure Aunt Marjorie will be delighted with her jumper stained with the greasy fingers of the desperate and the nonsensical. There was a guy on Look North the other day who had been queueing outside of Currys all night in anticipation of the bargains galore he expected from Black Friday. He was the only one who turned up. When they interviewed him on the television you could see in his eyes that he regretted his decision, but clearly didn’t want to back down, and he was later shown staggering shamefaced out of the shop after two hours (TWO HOURS! The only way I’d spend two hours in Currys would be if I’d had a cardiac arrest in the TV section, and that’s pretty bloody likely given how high their prices are). What had he picked up? I couldn’t see everything, but there were at least four graphics cards, two blu-ray players and some speakers. Not good speakers, I add. It was as if he was the sole contestant in the world’s most depressing version of Fun House – one where Melanie and Martina had long since died and Pat Sharp didn’t have a haircut that looked like Stevie Wonder had done it as a favour. He claimed to have spent £4,500, and all I could say to Paul was ‘Yes, but what price dignity?’. Takes all sorts.

It took us almost 45 minutes in Costco to pick up a wheelbarrow of tea-bags, a mountain of coffee and a box of Rice Krispies so big that I feel like I’m in a shit version of Honey I Shrunk the Kids every time I look at it. It then took us almost an hour to get out of the ‘Metrocentre’ area, which was awash with red-faced families in oversized cars all trying to cram into the same lane. Luckily, we had the audiobook version of Carrie to finish in the car, so we were fairly content, though god knows what passer-bys must have thought to hear some American woman screaming about dirtypillows and menstrual blood coming from our car. I’d love to be telekinetic but I’d definitely end up being sent to Hell afterwards – people who so much as blocked my way for a moment in Marks and Spencers would be sent flying up into the air-conditioning fans and turned to jam, or all those Audis that insist on cutting in at the last second and blocking the box junction outside of where I park – they’d end up crumbled into a cube no smaller than the dice from a Travel Monopoly set. The world would be on fire before the end of the week, I almost guarantee it. I already spend roughly forty hours a week looking crazily at the back of someone’s head and willing their brain to start leaking out of their ears. Sigh.

Dobbies was an absolute no-no, too. Quite literally, we got there, and there was no parking and no hope of securing a spot, given the place was awash with those fucking awful white Range Rovers (oh look at me, I’m driving a car designed for mud, all-terrain and exciting driving, and I only ever use it to ferry little Quentissimo and Angelica-Foccacia to their organic flute lessons) (bitch) and other such ‘luxury’ cars. We drove around and around and around and around until I felt like Sandra Bullock in Gravity and we admitted defeat. Paul and I did get a colossal serving of schadenfreude though with the sight of a spotlessly white BMW being completely and utterly trapped on the muddy overflow parking field. The silly arse behind the wheel kept spinning his tyres, sinking him even further into the mud, whilst his granite-faced wife looked coldly at everyone who went past laughing. Hey, it’s not my fault your husband is a useless tosser who doesn’t know how to pull a car from mud. We did, along with everyone else, smirk in that very British way when he got out of the car and started shouting at it. KNOB POWER ACTIVATE. I like to think he went home and had a good hard look at his life.

Anyway, that’s enough bile. I feel like someone who has shouted the anger out, and now I’m ready to give you a recipe. So without a moment more of hesitation, I present to you sizzlin’ beef. Sigh. SIZZLING. IT’S FUCKING SIZZLING. SIZZLE SIZZLE CRASH BANG WALLOP IT’S THE PRINCESS.

sizzlin' steak

to make sizzlin’ steak, you’ll need:

to make sizzlin’ steak, you should:

  • in a small jug mix together the bicarbonate of soda with 125ml of water and mix until well dissolved
  • pour the water and soda over the chopped steak in a bowl and leave to tenderise for an hour (but no longer)
  • meanwhile in a small jug mix together the worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, passata, honey and 3 tbsp water and mix well. set aside.
  • drain the meat in a sieve and pat dry using a clean tea towel or kitchen roll. 
  • if you want it to sizzle at the end, place an empty iron griddle pan in the oven and heat to 250 degrees
  • heat a large saucepan over a high temperature with a little oil and add the meat – it will froth and look gross but that’s fine – spoon out the steak after about 2-3 minutes, wipe the inside of the pan and then put the meat back in until it’s browned all over
  • remove the meat from the pan and place onto a plate
  • put the pan back on the heat and add the onions – stir fry for a few minutes until softened and starting to turn golden
  • remove from the pan and place into a bowl
  • add the meat back into the pan and pour over the sauce
  • bring it to the boil and reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes – it should go nice and sticky
  • remove the pan from the oven and place the onions around the outside, and then spoon the steak into the middle – it should sizzle! (if you’re skipping the sizzling part, you can serve it as normal)
  • serve, and enjoy!

We served ours with a tit of rice, as you can see. We’re classy bitches, see?

J

sticky chinese chicken

I’ve just received a bastard speeding ticket from Corsica! We went in bloody September. You can imagine that I’m impotent with rage, although, fair dues, I was speeding – 78km/h instead of 70km/h. I’m tempted to appeal against it on the grounds that there was no possible way the car we hired could get anywhere near 78km/h – it struggled backing us off the driveway let alone speeding through the Corsican roads like we’d stolen it. Bah.

The last time I got a speeding ticket was for doing 53mph in a 50mph zone and it was all very British – slightly apologetic letter, strong grounds of appeal, nip along to a speeding awareness course and don’t do it again. This French ticket was full of French disdain – every last word in French, four different sheets of A4 in tiny writing with lots of aggressive red underlining – I can imagine that some paunchy-faced chief in an administrative office in deepest Roubaix scoffing at my infraction, spitting a wad of Gauloise-laced phlegm into a bin and ringing AVIS demanding my credit card.

Ah well. I was the one speeding, so I’m the biggest arse of them all. That’s one thing I can never get my head around – people who moan about getting caught speeding. You’re speeding! We all do it – I’m terrible for it – but you can’t complain about getting caught when you’re actively breaking the law. It’s not like taking an extra biscuit from the packet – you do run the risk of turning an old biddy into human jam on the front of your bumper if you lose control.

The speed awareness course was surprisingly good fun, though. The car-park outside was rammed full of Vauxhall Insignias, Audis (shock!) and various shittily-modded Acne Carriages belonging to the chavs. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly better things to do on a Thursday morning than sit in a hot room in a Holiday Inn with a load of chavs and salesmen, but the course itself was interesting enough. I thought I was going to have three hours of being told I’m a naughty boy for being a bit savage on my accelerator but once we got past the awkward talk and the dishwater coffee it was alright, though of course we had to spend a ridiculous amount of time introducing ourselves like we were on a shit gameshow.

Anyway – I’ve paid it, so I’m just going to sulk about it all night now. Here’s a recipe for any spare chicken you may have sitting around – it’s not exciting, it is just chicken and chips…but still! To make it a little more Slimming World friendly, chuck in some crunchy veg with the chicken. This is the kind of thing we have when we don’t want to cook – it’s just make a sauce, pour on, fry off. Easy!

sticky chinese chicken

to make sticky chinese chicken, you’ll need:

and to make sticky chinese chicken, you should:

  • mix all of the ingredients except the chicken together in a bowl
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook your meat according to how you like it – add vegetables towards the end if you have some
  • when everything is cooked, pour the sauce mixture over and bring it to a boil – this may only take a few seconds!
  • turn the heat down slightly and let the mixture boil and reduce
  • when everything is nicely coated and sticky, remove from the heat and serve immediately

Serve with chips, rice, veg…anything. Go for it!

J

stir fried greens with plum sauce

Man, I feel rough as a badger’s arse this evening. So you’ll forgive me if I go and tip every potion and lotion into the bath and go baste for a good hour.  I have a lengthy Corsica entry typed up but it needs proofing and oh god, I am boring myself. So, here is a recipe to go with the delicious garlic beef we served yesterday. PRAY FOR MOJO. Can’t claim credit for this one – well, we can, we made it suitable for Slimming World, but it’s actually bastardised from a Wagamama recipe. Oh my.

stir fried greens with plum sauce

to make stir fried greens with plum sauce, you’ll need:

  • 200g dried noodles
  • 150g broccoli florets
  • 1 onion, sliced thickly
  • 3cm piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 pak choi (or 2 baby pak choi), chopped roughly
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp plum sauce (3 syns)
  • 1 red chilli, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 100ml chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 2 tsp cornflour (1 syn), dissolved in 2 tbsp chicken stock

to make stir fried greens with plum sauce, you should:

  • prepare all of your ingredients beforehand- trust me, it makes things MUCH easier
  • cook the noodles according to the instructions – drain and set aside
  • heat a large frying pan or wok over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • stir fry the broccoli and onion for about two minutes
  • add the ginger, garlic and pa choi and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes
  • add the plum sauce, soy sauce and chilli and cook for another two minutes
  • add the stock and the dissolved corn flour and stir for about half a minute until it all thickens up
  • add the noodles to the pan and stir to combine everything
  • serve!

Easy!

J

 

beef in a honey and black pepper sauce

Remember me twittering on about our fancy lights? We’ve went and bought a new gadget – it’s a NEST smoke alarm. We need a new smoke alarm – we’ve been using our old one to prop the dishwasher up, and given the amount of vodka and aftershave in our house, it’s too risky not to have a working system. Now, this isn’t just a smoke alarm. It’s fancy. Real fancy. Our house is becoming the gadget city we always wanted, see. This smoke alarm hooks into my WiFi and will alert me if the batteries are low or if it detects smoke. And how does it do this? IT BLOODY WELL TALKS. Admittedly it’s in a plummy ‘don’t be scared, but you’re about to be cremated’ voice, whereas if I’m about to die, I want a fucking air-raid siren, not Joanna Lumley whispering me to the grave. If I’m honest, we only bought it because it a) works with our thermostat (it’ll thoughtfully turn the boiler off if it’s pumping out more poisonous smoke than the shelter outside a Mecca Bingo at the interlude) and b) it glows. It will momentarily glow green when you shut all the lights off so you know it works. It’ll glow red if you’re on fire. It’ll even glow white for 20 seconds in the hallway if you get up for a piss, which is handy if you’re like us and your bathroom lights are so intense that your helmet blisters as you urinate. 

Speaking of bright, they say you should always look on the bright side of life. I generally do. My days aren’t often filled with wonder and drama but they’re always littered with tiny moments of joy or laughter, and that’s a nice way to live. For example, I take great solace in, every day at one attosecond past five’o’clock, I hurtle out of my work office, straight to my car on the 11th floor of the car-park, throw ‘The Final Countdown’ onto Spotify and hurtle down the ramps as fast I can so that as my car pulls out of the car-park, ‘IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN’ plays. There’s just enough time to do it as long as no-one gets in my way. That said, more often than enough, I’ll get stuck behind someone who’s as thick as a submarine door and is trying to operate the barrier by inserting her Boots Advantage card and calling for help on a box of Lillets. But it’s still good fun – a simple pleasure, but a pleasure none the less. I mean, that happiness normally dissipates a second later as I’m stuck behind some numpty in a BMW who thinks the indicator stalks are somewhere to rest her ankles when she’s got a client in the back-seat.

The reason I mentioned happiness is because I actually got myself upset earlier – and you need to realise, I have a heart of solid black granite. The only time I get upset is when Paul eats more than half of the Ben and Jerry’s. GOD-DAMN IT. No, I was reading an article on the BBC News (link) about a young Iraqi gay lad who was forced to leave his country simply because he was gay. His own dad told him that he would be happy for ISIS to chuck him off a tall building to his death, or burn him alive, simply because of his biological leanings. I couldn’t comprehend it. Men are being sent into the desert with their arseholes glued shut so that they die an incredibly painful death just because they like a bit of cock. All very distressing and we shouldn’t linger on the details.

What it did make me think though was how bloody lucky I am / we are to live in a country where being gay just isn’t a problem. Not really, not on the scale it once was. The fact that I can live with my husband in the middle of Menopauseville, Northumberland and no-one really bats an eye is testament to how far we’ve come. My nana, god bless her, told all the old wrinklies at the WI about my wedding and challenged anyone who had a problem with it. She literally took all comments on her whiskery chin. I can’t personally remember the last time I experienced any sort of homophobia.

Sure, there’s the well-meant but incredibly offensive comments – I was told once by a colleague that ‘my religion doesn’t agree with gays, but don’t worry, I can tolerate you’ – like I was a bad smell, or an ingrown toenail. I resisted the urge to snip back that I don’t agree with grown men in frocks putting their holy willies into little boy’s bottoms, but what’s the use. You also get a lot of people asking ‘how it works’, like there is a hidden user guide (a gayde?) that explains all the mechanics (when he pushes, so do you), but that’s fair enough. I don’t mind answering questions as long as you’re comfortable with vivid descriptions and use of the term santorum. It’s a given now that if I’m filling out a form, I’ll be able to choose ‘Civil Partnered’ or ‘Married’ as opposed to ‘Living with Partner’, which was simply a euphemism for being a chutney-ferret.

Actually, the most devastating thing about filling out forms these days is that I’ve gone up an age-bracket – I now fall into the 30-34 category. Sniff. Might as well order myself some piss-knickers now. Sigh.

iPad running slowly now, clearly don’t feel with my sass. So let me chuck you a recipe like the decadent bitch that I am.

beef in honey and black pepper sauce

you’ll need these (serves two fatties):

  • 2 tbsp honey (5 syns)
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 600g dried noodles
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 400g diced beef
  • 1 broccoli, cut into florets
  • half a cabbage head, chopped

 

and you’ll need to do this

  • soak/cook the noodles according to the instructions
  • put a pan of water on and boil the broccoli and cabbage for about 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
  • honey,  soy sauce, fish sauce, mirin and black pepper gets whisked together next, and set aside
  • into a pan goes a little oil or Frylight and heat until it starts to smoke
  • next, add the onion and reduce the heat immediately to medium-high
  • cook for about a minute
  • throw in the beef and cook it however you like it (we always prefer a bit of pink meat…)
  • empty the pan of the beef and onion and set aside
  • return the pan to the heat
  • final stage now – add the sauce mixture to the pan and thicken into a syrup
  • add the broccoli and cabbage to the pan, and stir
  • chuck in the noodles and the beef to the pan and mix well
  • enjoy!

Mmmm!

J