Creamy thai red chicken curry – look, it’s a bit of a ‘cheat’ meal in that it uses curry paste but so what, it’s better than a slap in the face with a wet willy, no? And look – no preamble this time, we’re going to go straight in. Unlubed. Pucker up.
Actually, before we get to the recipe – just a quick reminder (and you’ll see these for the next few weeks!):
If you’ve enjoyed our recipes or nonsense and only if you can afford to donate a couple of quid, please do! The response has been absolutely phenomenal and honestly, nothing but a massive thank you for both me and Paul to all those who have chipped in. Every last penny goes to Bryson’s Animal Shelter. Please do forgive us our advertising – but it’s for a good cause!
Right! Recipe. Let’s do this. This makes enough for four, serve with rice.
to make creamy Thai red chicken curry you will need:
Roasted rainbow aloo gobi if you please, and syn free to boot! You know sometimes you make a vegetarian dish and it’s OK but you’re left craving meat like a sex-starved nun? This wasn’t the case with this – in fact, it was so tasty and colourful we ended up making it again the next day. Then had the leftovers the day after. By that point the neighbours were banging on the window sure, so fetid and thick was the fart-air billowing from under our door, that someone had died. So, make it, but be warned: your leather cheerio will turn black and die.
You know, it’s a wonder I don’t get asked to write the recipes for Woman’s Weekly. Anyway, before we get to the pure sex that is the aloo gobi, you’re going to have to endure a night out with us, as it’s part four of our Benidorm trip. We’ve even got videos for you! Don’t want to read all our shite? That’s fine. I’ve put in a shortcut button. yes, for this one, you just need to click on the OLD MONA WHO’LL LET ANYONE CHUCK THEIR PAINT ON HER FACE below:
Possibly the classiest photo we’ve ever had on here and I’ve used it to make a spunk joke. Eee, what am I like. Shall we continue?
When you last left us we had endured a breakfast buffet, met our doubles and sizzled by the pool for far longer than could be considered reasonable for a travel blog. Remember that time, we had hope in our eyes.
We used the day to plan for the night ahead, with an eye to having a bit of dinner somewhere local to the hotel and then heading out to a place we’d heard excellent reviews about – the Showboat, just up the road. Dinner was so awful that I can’t remember where we went, only that it was exactly like the slop you get in lay-bys from people who’ve used their food hygiene certificate to wipe their arse with. I’ve been told you can eat well in Benidorm and it’s undoubtedly true, but every single place we looked at within about half a mile’s mince from the hotel were full to the brim with people pointing at pictures of egg and chips on the laminated menu. If my memory serves me correctly, Paul had a hot-dog and I had a club sandwich. Presumably the Club the sandwich referred to was the Cavern Club because this sandwich tasted like it was made back in the sixties – I’ve never had to dip a sandwich in my pint before to moisten it.
Showboat, then. I’m not too sure how to couch my experience of the place, really – not least because we drank 11 pints each over the course of the entire evening. People in our facebook group were treated to some wonderfully awful videos, I can assure you. Let me say that the staff were lovely, the venue was clean and the toilet, far from the Trainspotting homage I expected, was spotless. We’d shuffled in at 8pm and had the place to ourselves – the entertainment such as it was started at 9pm so we decided on a game of pool. There was one pool cue and well, the lines on the table weren’t especially clear.
Like playing at The Crucible!
I won, because I always do when it comes to pool – Paul’s flipper-arms make holding the cue difficult – and then it was time to get a round in and enjoy the first act: a Tina Turner impersonation. Here’s the thing: when your opening gambit is a declaration that despite appearances, you’re not actually a man in drag, then it rather sets the tone. She (and she was a she, I could see no Nutbush City Limits under her straining skirt) was really good! She belted out a few of the classics, though I did feel sorry for her when she tried to get the audience up on stage – the front two rows looked like they couldn’t manage to breathe unassisted let alone jive through Proud Mary. She gamely pressed on.
We don’t need another hero. We just need someone to call a nurse.
Things reached a pinnacle when it came to River Deep Mountain High – one of my favourite songs. You know it – it has a great lead-in and then straight into Tina singing. I was all ready to stand up and clap and throw my knickers on the stage (the size of the fuckers meant they’d probably come back down in someone’s tapas in Valencia) but there was a problem – she uttered the first line and then stopped. Completely forgotten the words. I was devastated: I was itching to see her strut/stumble through my favourite, and it wasn’t to be. I yelled out that she must leave Ike before he did any more serious damage and, taking this on board, she carried on and saw it through to the end. Towards the closing notes I saw our doppelgängers arrive and take seats near the front. We exchanged glances. Tina shuffled off. More drinks for everyone.
Then came Stella Artois. A drag act. I’m going to hold my hands up here and say outright, I’m not a huge fan of drag unless it’s done superbly well. This guy wasn’t. Actually no, let’s rewrite that a bit: I don’t mind drag acts, but I don’t like the fact that some people seem to think it gives them a licence to be an abrasive, nasty arsehole. Stella was absolutely in this second category. They opened with a few gags which actually did make me laugh (and listen, I’m not a hard person to please, I’m probably the only person in Britain who’ll happily sit through You’ve Been Framed) and then boy oh boy did that show degenerate quickly. It’s pretty bad when you’re hearing material stolen from Peter Kay’s early work, it’s even worse when it’s from Bob bloody Monkhouse. I think if the crowd hadn’t been (barely) lapping it up he’d have started a Vera Lynn singalong.
That’s when things just got worse and worse. I’m all for a coarse gag – as evidenced in nearly every single post on here – but make it funny. I thought we’d reached a low point when he was talking about his arsehole but then the racist stuff followed. We’re not just talking like the naff racist gags you expect in a flat-roof social club but just vile shit about blowing up mosques and *clutch my sides* not seeing a white face in Birmingham. Jim and Saul were slapping their knees and sloshing their campari all over their shoes at the ‘humour’ whereas I was hoping to find blood in my urine just to cheer myself up. The show lasted an hour during which we anaesthetised ourselves with a lot more booze and making videos for the group. Not going to lie, we were thankful when they tottered off the stage, though I admit I was fretful about whether or not she would get back to Peterborough in time to put tea on for Paul’s brother.
I’m kidding, he looked nowt like Paul’s mother. She’s got a much more pronounced beard.
Anyway, Stella fucked off, and I thought the entertainment was over the night but then, WHAM! On came a George Michael tribute act. He was so much better! He looked more like George Osborne than George Michael but he could belt out a tune and that’s all that matters. He did all the classics: Fast Love, Careless Whisper, Faith, shot his load up the cubicle door in the gents, the lot. It was great fun. At one point he asked the crowd for their favourites – I, buoyed by more alcohol units than is sensible for a man of my obesity, shouted LAST CHRISTMAS. He immediately sniped back that that was a stupid suggestion because it was September, to which I shouted back that he was supposed to be dead, so all bets were off. He sang Freedom with a proper sulk on.
We left, though I took a moment to step on my double’s foot as I walked past. I like to think my weight on his foot dislodged a fragment of his doubtless infected toenail which shot straight to his heart, leading to a full cardiac arrest later in the holiday. Fucker shouldn’t have stolen my beans and/or looked like me. After a long stumble down the street, we were in bed, snoring and farting the rest of the night away.
Anyway, we made a supercut of the night for your viewing pleasure. You have no idea how long it took to make this faintly appropriate for the blog – the amount of bits we had to cut out just so we didn’t get shut down / put on the front pages of the tabloids, well, you’ll never know.
Oh and if you’re wondering how we were feeling the next morning…
I know, imagine waking up next to that breathing at you from across the pillows. To be honest, you’ve got the far better view out of the two available to you at that point.
Part five will surely come, but first, we really ought to crack on with the aloo gobi, yes? Before I go – all of that above and the sentence I’m most pleased with is the WHAM remark. I chuckled away to myself with that one.
REMEMBER, leave us some feedback on the holiday entries!
This makes enough for easily four people, whether as a side or a full main. You could chuck some red peppers in to increase the colour still further. I got the basic idea from my absolute favourite Indian cookery book, Made in India by Meera Sodha. There’s not a recipe I’ve made yet that hasn’t been absolutely gorgeous, so hats off to her. You can buy the book dirt cheap on Amazon! She recommends making this as a light salad and serving in a poppadom with crushed peanuts, but as I can almost hear Mags clutching her Facebook-raffle-prize pearls from here, I’ve slimmed it down a little.
to make roasted rainbow aloo gobi, you’ll need:
500g of new potatoes – if you get Jersey potatoes or similar, they’ll be nice and yellow
600g of cauliflower – to make it rainbow, buy rainbow cauliflowers – Marks and Spencers sell them – they come in yellow, white and purple
two large red onions
one big bastard bag of spinach
1 tin of chickpeas
three cloves of garlic, minced (use one of these bad boys – you’ll save your fingers and you don’t need to fart about peeling the garlic)
1 tsp of cumin seeds or half a teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
salt and black pepper
spray oil, but not Frylight, because you’re so much better than that muck
red pepper optional
Let’s quickly talk about oil, for those that haven’t been with us since the beginning. Here’s the thing: we don’t like Frylight. It’s pushed too hard in a lot of recipes and it tastes like poo. We prefer to use a good olive oil (and if we’re absolutely honest, we don’t syn it – never have) but for the sake of you lot, we always factor the syns in. Most of the time for blog recipes we recommend using a spray oil – you’ll get enough from 10 sprays and that’s 1 syn according to the calculator. Divided between four, up to you if you syn such a negligible amount. We use one of these filled up with olive oil but listen, you can buy spray oil in the shops. Just look for the Frylight, knock them over, choose something decent. It’s your body – why eat plastic crap if you don’t have to do so?
to make roasted rainbow aloo gobi, you should:
preheat the oven to 180 degrees
chop your new potatoes into similar sized chunks
pick the cauliflower apart into chunky little florets
arrange them both on a baking tray, spritz them with a few sprays of oil, scatter over the garlic, chilli, cumin/cumin seeds and then season with a lot of salt and black pepper
into the oven they go for thirty minutes or so, turning them every now and then
meanwhile, thinly slice your onion and pepper if using, then gently sweat them in a few sprays of oil – cook them slowly mind, let them sweat and golden and caramelise
add the chickpeas (drained, obviously) then the spinach so it wilts down
Slow cooker beef keema, yeah, that’s right, slow cooker beef keema. You want it. We have it. You’ll find the recipe under all the following nonsense. Meanwhile, we’ve dropped Droptober because well, busy. Let’s embrace Homovember.
Hallowe’en has been and gone, and hopefully the only fright you’ve experienced is the site of your own toes as your gunt shrinks ever inwards.
For the first time in ten years since Paul and I got together, we decided to embrace Hallowe’en instead of spending the evening sat behind the sofa with the lights off, watching Coronation Street on the iPad with the brightness and volume turned right down. No, in the spirit (oh h oho) of taking part, we stuck up some perfunctory bits of tat from Poundland (probably getting lead poisoning whilst doing so) and put a pumpkin outside, shockingly not with the word C*NT carved in it. We’re getting better at this being social lark.
We wanted trick-or-treaters to knock on the door and take our chocolate. Perhaps that’s too far – we certainly had chocolate, but Paul had eyes like a kicked dog when I told him they were for any guests. That didn’t stop me eating three Freddos and a Fudge when he went to the bog, though. We didn’t dress up because apparently my suggestion of answering the door as Fred and Rose West was a little too “near-the-knuckle”. I’m not sure what Paul’s problem is, I’ve got a pair of my nan’s Blanche Hunt glasses that would have looked resplendent on him.
Best of all, we ever went to the trouble of setting up a light system for the house – all of our outdoor lighting is controllable by colour and timers so we had the house flickering like a fire with occasional bursts of white light like a lightning bolt. It was all very brilliant and took an hour of tinkering with our router and swearing incoherently at the iPad to get it all set up.
So, what did we get, perched as we are on a lovely corner of a cul-de-sac full of expensive houses all ripe for trick or treaters? Absolutely zip. Bugger all. Sweet fanny adams.
Actually, that’s not entirely true, we did get two teenage girls (very rough – they looked like they were on their third pregnancy of the year but only their first toothbrush) who stuck their hands out and said ‘trick or treat’ – a quick glance revealed that they hadn’t bothered with any sort of costume bar eight inches of poorly-applied foundation. We asked for trick and they kissed their teeth at us and tramped away over our lawn.
There were several children in groups who visited the streets but avoided our house altogether. I admit to being distraught. It was all I could do to choke down every last bit of chocolate and sour jellies that was left in our fruit-bowl.
Of course, like all things, Hallowe’en was a lot different when I was young. Because money was tight, my costume was a bin-liner (because nothing says BOO like ‘NO HOT ASHES’ spread across my arse) and my pumpkin was a turnip. Have you ever tried to carve a turnip? It’s like cutting a diamond with a butter knife. It’s why I associate Hallowe’en with carpal tunnel syndrome. My sister wore a bed-sheet with some red paint on it. Back in modern time, Paul and I couldn’t use our black bedsheets because people would think we’d come dressed as an badly tuned TV channel.
Most of the people in our village were knocking on 90 and thus, no sweets, fucks or hearing were given, but we always hit the jackpot when we visited the only footballer in our village, who gave us all a tub of Quality Street each. It’s tantamount to my obesity that this remains one of the fondest memories I have of growing up in Backwater, Northumberland.
Back in the now, I did find it interesting that after all the gash-crashing and naval-gazing that’s been happening over the ‘terror clowns’ ‘epidemic’ recently that so many parents thought it would be wise to dress their children up as frightening beasts to terrorise the neighbours, mind you. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, after all.
I’d welcome a clown jumping out at me to give me a fright – I just don’t shock that way. They’d get an entirely non-plussed reaction and a shoulder-shrug. No, if you really want to scare me, dress up as my bank manager and tell me Paul’s spending on the First Direct card. You’d need to bring me around with salts. I’d love to have a flasher jump out of the bushes, too, if only so I could ask if he wanted me to blow it or smoke it. Nothing cuts a man down quicker than a jibe at his wee-willy-winky.
The idea of ghosts certainly don’t scare me because I don’t believe in such a thing. I think, once you die, that’s it, though I’ve already told Paul that if the afterlife does exist I’ll be haunting him relentlessly – whooing and booing every time he reaches for some consolation ice-cream or, worse, a new lover. I’ve told him to at least let the sheets cool first, though I don’t doubt he’ll be asking the funeral procession to pull into a layby on the A19 on the way to the crem to take care of a lorry driver.
You know why I don’t think ghosts exist? Simple. If you could bring comfort to the living by letting them know you’re in a better place, why wouldn’t you just do it? Why go through the rigmarole of knocking over vases or hooting in the night? Worse, why would you deliver your message through rancid vile grief-exploiters like Sally Morgan or other psychic mediums? I don’t know about you, but I’d want my comforting messages to be passed directly to the target rather than over the lips of some permatanned Liverpudlian on Living TV. I’d love to think my dear nana is giving us a sign – perhaps that whistling in my ears and high-pitched ringing isn’t tinnitus after all but rather the ghost of her 1980s NHS hearing aid coming over time and space? Doctor Eeee-No. Bless her.
Right, enough of this nonsense, let’s get to the recipe, shall we? It’s a bit of a cheap recipe in that, rather than using a delicate blend of spices measured out individually and carefully toasted, I went for a spice mix that had the name GEETA on it just so I could shout SANJAY across the aisles in Tesco. Plus, it’s 4 syns for the spice mix which split between four is only a syn. Obviously. Actually, we doubled this recipe up because we’ve bought a massive slow cooker to replace our small one and this made enough for eight big servings. The recipe below makes enough for four. The idea for the recipe came from a blog called Jam and Clotted Cream, found right here – I’ve spun it so it is more suitable for us chunkers.
One more thing. You could just chuck everything in the slow cooker at once, but browning the mince and softening the veg in a pan first makes it so much better. Don’t be lazy!
one packet of Geeta’s Tikka Paste (80g) (can buy these in most Tescos, but just swap for a different tikka paste if you want – check the syns though) (4 syns)
400g of chopped tomatoes – now listen here, use whatever you want, but slightly more expensive tomatoes always taste nicer, trust me
1 beef stock cube
200g of frozen peas (adjust if you want, but I love loads of peas)
to make slow cooker beef keema, you should:
Before we go, let me change your life:
Watch this video and you’ll never look back when it comes to chopping peppers. No more seeds splashed all over the counter, no more fannying about. Admittedly, if you chop your food like a complete div, this might not help you, but for anyone else…
finely chop your onions and peppers and sweat those bad-boys down in a pan – which makes sense, as you’d have a hell of a job sweating them down in a washing up bowl
once they’ve softened ever so, throw in the mince and cook it hard until there’s no pink, only brown – ‘no pink, only brown’ being the name of our fourth twochubbycubs book, incidentally)
add the minced garlic and ginger and stir
add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock cube and tikka mix, stir, then slop it all into your slow cooker and cook that for at least six hours on low
half an hour before you want to get eating, put all the peas in – you can put them in at the start but they’ll moosh right down
serve with rice and sides – we served ours with our onion rice from way back when
Bloody lovely. As someone common would say, ‘that’s right nice, that’. Here, was this not enough for you? Then get those glassy eyes cast over even more recipes by clicking on the big ole buttons below!
Normally I’d just shove the old cock thermometer onto a post but you know what, we’ve had so many lovely comments from you lot that we’re actually putting a recipe on too. But no chat. What is this, a knitting group? I read about a knitting group in America called Stitches and Bitches and do you know, I almost took up knitting just so I can set up the same. I’m forever thinking of names for businesses that Paul and I could establish – a gay wine bar called Bottoms Up, a café of Slimming World meals called Guntbusters, a cigar shop called Buttsuckers…list goes on. It’s how I entertain myself in between screaming wildly at Audi drivers on the A1 (I smile, with murder on my mind) and dreaming about a double page spread in Pick Me Up with my giant trousers held aloft.
Before I get to weigh-in, a curious thing. A couple of weeks ago I was walking to my car along Stowell Street in Newcastle when I noticed what looked like a binliner just chucked on the pavement. Once I was closer and my boss eyes has focussed, it turned out to be a young lad, lying on his back, eyes rolling to the back of his head. Of course, me being first aid trained, I immediately set about dithering and flapping and fussing, asking him what was wrong, no response, turning him over, no response, then calling for an ambulance. No sooner had I asked to speak to the ambulance service then he leapt to his feet and ran off, albeit somewhat shakily. Odd. Perhaps it was the thought of my bristly top lip brushing the top off his coldsores during mouth to mouth that managed to ‘revive’ him. Who knows. But see, I received an email a few months ago warning me (and others, I’m not that important) about a fella who would pretend to be unconscious up until the point he heard you call an ambulance, then he’d fuck off like Usain Bolt. No attempt at nicking your stuff, no rudeness or threatening behaviour, just lying prone, pretending to be unwell, then shooting off. I didn’t think anything more of it until it happened personally to me.
The reason I mention this is because it happened again today. Sort of. As I was walking back to the car, I noticed someone lying on the ground. Everyone walking past him – probably a good twenty or so people, despite him lying right in their way. I actually had to umm and aah a moment before I went to help, but luckily, someone got there ahead of me. They wrapped him up in a coat, and I took my leave. I’d be interested to know whether it was just another scam. What I can’t understand is the people who walked past. Now look, I’m a realist, I know some people are out to scam and others are unpredictable and wild, but for goodness sake, surely we’re not at the point where we can’t give a prone body lying in the street the benefit of the doubt? I actually saw two people step over his legs like he was rubbish. Maybe he’s done it to them before, maybe they’d been warned, or maybe it was some poor sod taking a bad reaction to god knows what. Made me feel a bit sad, though. Still a human being.
Eeeh well. I feel better for getting that off my chest.
Speaking of my chest, it’s looking a bit smaller than ever…
Ah yes! Considering we were aiming to lose 2lb a week, we’re quite happy with how this is going, thank you very much. Unusually, Paul lost more than me, but I put that down to the fact I had two pints of Guinness yesterday. I’m trying to refute a friend’s suggestion that homosexuality / vodka are intrinsically linked. Tsk. Paul got his half stone award, I’m 2lb away from a stone award. We’re doing well – that cock thermometer will be spurting in no time!
Tonight’s recipe, then – easy peasy beef curry. We had a pack of the beef chunks left over from our Musclefood box and this seemed like an appropriate place to use them. I do love a curry, but if you don’t like it super spicy, don’t worry – just leave out the chilli pepper and use the mildest chilli powder you can find. Or even leave it out, give that a try. This serves four, very easily.
I can’t begin to tell you how sick I am of slow cooker week. Everything tastes the bloody same! I appreciate it’s convenient, I appreciate that it probably saves money, I understand that it saves time…but for goodness sake, I feel like I’m in a Wiltshire Farm Foods advert. And let me tell you, if that was the case, I’d give Ronnie bloody Corbett a smack on the chops because I find his hamster-like face upsetting and the fact that he’s hawking mush to old ladies for a vastly-overinflated price to be quite infuriating. Plus he’s got eyebrows like a seventies porn vagina. No, I like my food to have texture – most of the meals to come out of the slow cooker have less structural integrity than a passing fancy. I’ll rattle one more recipe for you tonight and then it’s back to business – proper bloody food that requires a working set of teeth to get through. As a rule, the only meals you’ll need a straw for going forward are the vodka-and-lemonades that Paul and I sometimes swap our dinner for.
Where have I been anyway? Who are you, my mother? I can tell you’re not because you’re not asking me to fix your iPad. No, the ear pain I mentioned last week became a cheery infection and knocked me for six. For four days it felt like I had been kicked in the head by a pissed off horse. It was all I could do to stay in bed demanding ice-cream and comfort from poor Paul, who had to take over all the duties within the house. Actually, he does them anyway, just this time with me being ill he wasn’t allowed to complain about it. The poor bugger. He’s a trooper though and I don’t give him his dues often enough. LOVE YOU DEAR.
So what’s been happening this week? I managed to get into a proper argument with some pallid-faced swamp donkey on facebook who tried to peddle her Juice Plus shite in my group. She private messaged me to tell me that the fact I’d deleted her snake-oil post told her that I hate women and people who try to make a go of themselves. Honestly – I could eat a tin of alphabet spaghetti and shit out a better argument than that. I don’t hate women (except Mylenne Klass…and I don’t hate her, she just makes my skin shiver) and I’m all for entrepreneurship, but as well you all know, I can’t bear the idea of vulnerable folk being duped into buying worthless, untested medicines on the scientific advice of a hairdresser from Worksop. What I can’t get my head around is the fact PEOPLE FALL FOR IT. Why?! I can understand folks who are seriously ill buying a pill in the vain hope of it helping, but spending hundreds of pounds just to shift a bit of weight? Bah! Are these the same people who buy laptops from a car boot sale and get them home to unwrap a cardboard box full of bricks? Or the people who get an unsolicited phone-call from Microsoft telling them they need to buy antivirus software at a cost of two bajillion pounds? Honestly. How do these people sleep at night? Penniless, I presume. Anyway, the argument rumbled on for ages, with Juice Plus curing her of depression, suicidal thoughts, liver disease, tennis elbow, easy living and fast cars (apparently it didn’t cure her of her verbal diarrhoea or dirty mouth), until I copied our chat in with the Juice Plus representatives and left it at that. I know nothing will come of it because Juice Plus is a dishonest pyramid scheme sold by numpties and dolts, but meh, made me feel better.
Now, my next piece is going to feel like an advert for Amazon Prime, and well, although I’m going to stick a link on the bottom, this isn’t really an advert at all. Just an observation. Paul and I are members of Amazon Prime, and have been for a very long while. I can’t remember the last time I paid for it because every time something is late, they stick an extra month on the membership. We’ve become accustomed to ordering something on a whim and having it turn up the next day, which is handy as it gives us no time for buyer’s remorse. Hence the cat tower. Hence the all-in-one breakfast sandwich maker. Hence the shit-you-not Teasmade. A bloody Teasmade, I ask you – I don’t even drink tea in the morning. I don’t get out of bed unless I’m having a palpitation just from smelling my morning coffee. Anyway, we got a little email the other day with the news that Amazon Prime Now has launched in Newcastle. What is it? You order something on Amazon, and it’s delivered within two hours for free.
Well fuck me. The only thing from turning Paul and I into perfect spheres with weak ankles is our inability to muster up the energy to drive to ASDA of an evening to buy ice-cream. Now it’s delivered by Amazon within enough time for Paul and I to have quick marriage-friendly nookie, make tea and watch Emmerdale. It’s too convenient. It’s not without flaws, though. You can only select from a range of groceries and flimflam via their App, which is proper hokey. I put ‘dip’ into the search box and it suggested some taramasalata, tzatziki and er, industrial strength cat-nip. One whole kilogram of the stuff. A kilo of cat-nip delivered within two hours! Unless you’re fighting a fucking tiger in your box-room, who the hell needs that? Nevertheless, we persevered and placed an order full of Slimming World friendly things – the usual Haagen Daaz, Goodfellas pizza and bags of Skittles. Look, we had to spend thirty quid, and I wasn’t going to spend it on bloody quinoa. I bet Mags is sucking on a Bensons and Hedges quite furiously with the thought but you know, I’ve got to let my (apparently Geography-teacher-esque) hair down.
What followed was a tense 80 minutes where we watched, in real-time, our order being picked from somewhere on an industrial estate in Gateshead (hey, we didn’t order a bag of ket and mild domestic battery, did we?) – all terribly exciting. When the screen updated to show ‘MARK’ had picked up our order and was beetling up the A1 to our house, well, we were agog. It’s a bloody miracle, technology. We had it on the big TV in our living room like the shittest, cheapest version of 24 you can imagine. The whole process fell down at the end though, because the driver turned onto our street and spent five minutes trying to find our house. I’ll give you a clue, mate – it’s the only one that’s not attached to any others, plus we were flashing the lights from green to red whenever he backed his van out of sight. The groceries were all nicely chilled and the ice-cream was spot-on. It took eighty eight minutes from beginning to end, and that includes 5 minutes of the driver being unable to find the only house in the street to be named after a sexual consequence.
Would I recommend it? Yes. Amazon Prime is amazing, anyway, if you’re a big Amazon shopper. Yes it costs £79 a year but you get plenty of perks with it. Plus, you can always sign up for a trial and then cancel. But don’t forget to actually cancel. Otherwise you’ll be one of those turds who complain about getting money taken out of your bank account for something you’ve asked for. This two hour thing is dangerous for Paul and I though – we already dish out way too much of our monthly pink-pound disposable income to Amazon – I can’t help feeling that eventually I’m going to be paying them my wages direct and they’ll be sending a box van of goodies every month, probably branded Amazon Instant, with a picture of a smiling man sucking the pound coins from my pocket on the side. Ah well. If you did want to try it, you can do so here.
I still can’t believe it. I’m easily impressed, but jesus, Amazon stuff delivered within two hours for nowt. I remember ordering pornography online back when we first got the internet and actually taking time off from school just to sit by the letterbox for about two weeks in case my father accidentally opened my post and wondered who the hell had sent him RUGBY CUM BATH 2: SCRUM, BUM AND ORAL FUN on DVD. I might have made that title up but you get the drift. I feel I should hasten to say that my parents weren’t lax when it came to supervising my internet security…I was just better at it. Honestly, you parents out there who think the kids can’t access what they want on the internet, you’re so wrong.
Finally, Paul, being a sod and knowing I didn’t have the iPad with me on my commute into work on Friday, started streaming Enya’s new album through the car speakers. Yes, I could have turned it off, but then I have to listen to myself swearing at people and I shame myself, so I left it on. Jesus, how does she do it? It’s like she records one song and then changes the key, layers it on top of another song, and plays it backwards. She’s the aural equivalent of a malfunctioning self-checkout. An ex of mine used to be absolutely obsessed with her, almost to the point of being unable to come without me whispering LET THE ORINOCO FLOW in his ear as we made love. I say made love, he was a means to an end, so let’s not romanticise it too much. Anyway, I spent most evenings at the age of seventeen being forced to smile politely as he showed me the Irish tinker caterwauling her way through videos that looked like something even a gap-yah student would deem too pretentious. Christ it’s no wonder I’m so mentally fragile.
Let’s do the chicken coconut curry. I actually typed cocknut curry there. I can’t decide whether that actually might look better.
Where to start? Firstly, if you’re here for the recipe, have a good scroll down and you’ll find a recipe for good old mushy pea curry, which although it does look like someone’s already eaten it for you, is tasty, cheap and slimming. Trust me. If you’re here for the long haul, enjoy the first part of my rambling about our recent few days away in Ireland…
You may remember me mentioning that we had no plans and were planning a last-minute holiday away wherever we could find a cheap deal to a decent place? Well let me tell you – don’t bother. The only available flights were to places which you just know will be full of bald English men with red shoulders reading The Sun and eating full English breakfasts at 4pm. Bleugh. I don’t like flying – the thought of flying somewhere with such little reward just ruled going abroad at last-minute completely out. So, the night before we set off, we booked a holiday cottage in the absolute middle of nowhere in the Ring of Kerry, Ireland, and at 5pm the next day our car was packed, Paul had been picked up and we were on our way in no time at all. I normally hide away the sat-nav for reasons below but intrigue got the better of me as to how far I had to drive and the sat-nav was plugged in and on the dash within ten minutes.
Sat-navs are great in principle but I always end up putting mine sulkily away in the glove box after approximately five minutes. We bought a proper fancydan version in the sales but see, I hate being told what to do when I’m driving and struggle with the authority it commands in the car. I always have good intentions of listening to it and indeed, it’s never failed to guide us where we need to go, but I still have an inherent distrust and because Paul always sides with the sat-nav, it causes arguments. Plus, it only has two male voices, Daniel and Kevin. Kevin is a sarcastic knobhead so he immediately gets turned off but Daniel has been upgraded to this weird breathy version who almost whispers the commands at us like some robotic milk-tray man. I don’t know how appropriate it is to have a semi whilst driving around the Bangor ring-road but there you have it.
We arrived in Bangor at around ten and, due to being full of wine gums and other sweets, went straight to bed. We’d elected to stay at a Premier Inn but this is always a mistake – not because they’re uncomfortable, quite the opposite actually – I’ve always had a great night’s sleep at a Premier Inn – but rather I spend all night scheming and plotting about how I might make my money back under their ‘Guaranteed Good Night’s Sleep’ promise. The problem with that is, I’ve always found the staff so nice and disarming that I immediately become charming and submissive and don’t dare mention any perceived problem with the room. Bah. We sped down towards Holyhead in the morning and we were at the dock in plenty of good time to sit and wait in the gales and mist before it was time to board the ferry.
Oh! Before I carry on with the tale, let me mention Paul’s idea of breakfast. As we didn’t have time to hoover up an all-you-can-eat-breakfast at the Premier Inn, I bustled him into Holyhead ASDA with the direction of getting a breakfast snack for us. This is what he came back with.
Haway. In case you can’t make it out, it was a little packet which contained a cheesestring, a wrap so dry I could have shaved my three-day-stubble with it, a sachet of knock-off tomato ketchup and (unlike in the picture above, which I’ve nicked from somewhere to illustrate my post) some sliced rolled chicken. It was unspeakably vile. I opened the packet and I swear it hissed when I pulled the lid back. The car smelt like someone had shit out a corpse on the back seat. We got fifty yards down the road before I pulled over and Paul, now with a considerable flea in his ear, had to dispose of the ‘meal’ in the nearest bin. Honestly Holyhead, get your act together. I had tears in my eyes as we drove past McDonalds to the ferry port, let me tell you. Anyway…
You know what I love about the English? The very second they perceive anyone to be at any sort of advantage to them, they start bitching – and this is compounded if they’ve paid extra. Let me explain. Paul and I paid an extra £10 each way on the ferry to be given priority boarding, disembarkation (is that a needlessly clumsy word or what) and access to the Stena lounge. It is the ferry equivalent of first class and we only bought it because the seats in the lounge looked moderately comfortable and there was promise of free snacks. Accordingly, when we drove into the port, we were asked to drive into one of two ‘Premium’ lanes. We parked up and had the windows down only to hear the whisker-faced woman, putting the Tena in Stena Line, in the Audi (shock! horror!) to my right immediately start bitching to her husband that ‘they had paid extra’ and ‘why where we in the second premium lane and they weren’t’ blah blah. He looked amazingly henpecked. She went on and on and on about the perceived injustice of people boarding ahead of her and only stopped when I put my window back up and we both started laughing at her. I think her mood soured further when we did indeed board first – a whole lane ahead of her – and I gave her and her watery-eyed husband a dainty handwave as we drove past. Stupid old mare that she was – it’s not as if those in Premium were going to sailing over on the fucking QE2 and the rest of the passengers were sailing on a floating door.
Once we were loaded onto the ferry, we dashed up the stairs to be the first couple into the ‘Stena Plus’ lounge. Part of the ‘premium’ booking is access to this lounge which is controlled by a surly miss and a set of glass doors. We had to give our surname and were ushered in to avail ourselves of the free snacks, which consisted of those little packet of shortbread that you get in cheap hotels and a few cans of Diet Coke. There were some bottles of wine available for those who were already shaking and slurring at 9am in the morning, plus tea and coffee. Once they had allowed all of the steerage passengers onboard and shut them behind the metal gates, we were on our way.
And good lord, what a crossing. We were warned by the captain (via the ship’s loudspeaker, not personally – I mean we’d only paid an extra tenner and that had to cover the forty cans of Pepsi that I’d secreted away into my rucksack) that the crossing was going to be rough due to the strong winds and turbulent seas, and he wasn’t kidding. The Stena Plus lounge is situated at the front of the ferry and the waves were cresting over the top of the prow as it bobbed up and down. It was awful – it was all I could do to eat my cooked breakfast and fret about whether I’d put the handbrake on, envisioning my car rolling around on the car deck and the weight of our car-snacks causing a frightful Herald of Free Enterprise incident. It was a long four hours – I spent most of it snaffling snacks and gambling in the arcades. Oh and another moan! If you have kids, you don’t automatically have the right to use any machine you want or to have people who are altogether more sensible than you to get out of the way just so your crusty-faced little shitmachine can ‘have a go at driving’. I know, awful, but some pompous little knobhead with a bristly-little tache and his child took a look into the arcade, saw Paul and I playing Mario Kart Arcade Edition and said to his child ‘DON’T WORRY DARLING, YOU’LL BE ABLE TO HAVE A TURN ON THESE KIDS MACHINES WHEN THESE FULLY GROWN MEN HAVE FINISHED’. Honest to God, fully grown men. It was all I could do not to pick up his child and toss him into the Irish sea. I wouldn’t mind but we all know that children don’t actually play the machines, they just sit making silly noises and taking up space. Frankly, parents should be made to lock their children in the car and they can spend the ferry crossing on the car-deck, well out of the way. The ferry journey passed, eventually.
Now we managed to get all the way to the Ring of Kerry via Holyhead, a ferry and seemingly eight years of twisty roads absolutely fine and without incident, and we were a mile away from our cottage when it all went wrong. We arrived at the right ‘area’ and that’s where we were told to switch off the sat-nag (typo intended) and open up the owner’s own directions which would guide us merrily to our cottage in enough time to get the hot-tub going and allow us an hour to flick disdainfully through her CD collection and make snide comments about her glassware.
Well, did they fuck. For a start, she had worded the directions as though as we were in Lord of the Rings, all ‘go over the brow of the hill and make a turn (which direction? which hill?)’ and ‘drive on until you feel a chill’. They were crap. You need to understand how remote the area was – imagine in the pitch black trying to find a remote cottage with not so much as a blinking light anywhere to be seen. It took us three hours – THREE HOURS – of steaming around the countryside along farm tracks screaming and swearing at the perceived injustice of it all. I like to think what the poor horse in the field nearby thought of it all when he saw our car appearing over the crest of a hill for the eightieth time and the last few syllables of a swearing tirade against the Irish, Tom Tom, cottages, Citroen, Enya and Guinness as we sped past. No wonder he got his revenge later in the holiday (that’ll be in part 2).
Completely lost and on the verge of driving the car into a peat bog and setting it on fire, we found an isolated little cottage with a light on and knocked on the door. Now imagine that. You’re a lady, alone, cooking your evening meal, when two burly bald blokes come mincing up your track and braying on the door asking for directions to ‘Cum Bag’ (which was our approximate pronunciation of the name of the cottage, which was in Gaelic). The poor lass probably thought she was starring in her own Vera adventure. She took an age to find directions but eventually, helpfully, she sent us on our way. Buoyed with confidence, we shot off and within five minutes we’d taken another wrong turn, driven the car up a forty-five degree incline into a farmer’s field and were left spinning the car around in the mud in the pitch black, with Paul outside of the car bellowing directions on where I should reverse and me unable to hear him as I was revving the engine so hard out of sheer, unadulterated anger. Haha. Just to add a cherry on top of this my reverse sensors were blaring away making out there was an obstacle behind me until we realised it was mud on the sensor.
Aaah. We headed back to the road, sulked for a good fifteen minutes and then decided to go back to the start and try following her directions one final time. We were at the cottage, parked up and steaming, within ten minutes. God knows how, why or what we were doing wrong, but we managed it without a hitch. I was fizzing and it seems like a good point to stop the tale and move onto the recipe…
Mushy pea curry. Yes, I know, it sounds revolting, but most people will eat a chickpea dahl and this is quite like that. I’ve added chicken, somewhat unnecessarily, but that’s me all over. It’s syn free and you’ll be able to get a good few chapters of my book completed as you sit on the thunderbox firing this out for the next two weeks.
to make mushy pea curry, you’ll need:
two tins of mushy peas, one tin of baked beans, a few mushrooms, a tin of chopped tomatoes, two onions, three garlic gloves (minced), a chicken breast, a red pepper, 1tsp of hot chilli powder and two tbsp of curry powder, as hot as you like. You’ll also need a decent pan. You’ll also need a drop of oil and some salt.
For the rice, you’ll need long-grain white rice. Duh.
cut the chicken up into small pieces and the mushrooms into slices
put the tiny drop of oil into the pan and chuck the onion, mushroom and peppers in there with a bit of salt, and on a medium heat, leave them to sweat down a little
after ten minutes or so, pull maybe a quarter of the onion/pepper out and set it aside in a dish – you’ll use this for your rice;
throw the chicken into the hot pan and cook it hard and fast on a high heat;
now throw in everything else (bar the rice and the quarter of the onion mix, obviously) and mix well – leave it to simmer for half an hour or so
for the rice, add a cup full of rice (literally a cup full – take a cup out of the cupboard, fill it with rice, tip that into a pan with the onion/pepper you set aside, using the same cup add two cups of water into the pan, bring to the boil, turn it down to simmer and leave it for around fourteen minutes – covered with a tight-fitting lid – on a gentle simmer. Tasty, fluffy rice
Just a wee post tonight for tonight’s dinner, a chicken curry with rice. I’m posting a big article about the cost of Slimming World tomorrow, so I’m working on that tonight. Plus, Paul has Judge Rinder on, and he’s distracting me…
to make chicken curry and rice, you’ll need:
ingredients: two chicken breasts (decent size!), tin of chopped tomatoes, one large chopped onion, three tablespoons of curry powder, 100ml of light coconut milk, 250g of broccoli, bog standard white rice, chicken stock cube.
and to make chicken curry and rice, you should:
recipe: the curry is the easiest ever – sweat the onion for a few minutes, add the diced chicken, curry powder, chopped tomatoes, coconut milk and cook for ten minutes. Then chuck in the broccoli and simmer for another fifteen minutes on a medium heat with the lid off. Fifteen minutes before that is done, measure out a cup of rice, follow it up with two cups of chicken stock, throw it in a pan, cover and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes. Don’t peek at it. The cups rule is spot on – use any old mug as long as you keep the ratio the same.
extra-easy: yep! The syns come from the coconut milk – I used Blue Dragon Light, and it works out (with this serving four) as 1.25 syns each – or 1.5syns for the sake of argument. It’s not a flavour explosion, but if you want a quick, hot meal – and a cheap one at that, you can knock this out quickly.
top tip: rather than piling your rice all over the plate like one of those obscene people at a chinese buffet, get a small bowl, oil it ever so lightly with a drop of olive oil, fill it with cooked rice, press down hard to pack it together, and then tip out onto the plate. It looks pretty and it controls your portion size too. Don’t worry, you can always go back, jeez…
I’ve done a bit of rejigging on the blog as I realised it was getting difficult to find all the recipes – so now if you’re looking for them, just click the category on the right and voila, all the badly realised comic-style recipes you can manage!
Paul’s actually off down in London at the ‘Give Britain a Payrise’ rally. I work in the private sector so my eyes tend to glaze over when he goes on about rallies and protests, but fair play to the bugger for campaigning. Last time I told him to try and keep a low profile, and he ended up headlining the 1pm news with a soundbite about pensions. Even worse, the last time his place of work went on strike, he threw himself in front of someone’s car and called her a scab, without realising it was the Chief Executive inside. Oops. Anyway, he’s coming back home now and the latest text I got was ‘Missing you, dying for a shit’, which I don’t really know how to take but I’ll assume it was meant as a compliment.
I spent all morning lying in bed and willing myself to get up, but I didn’t quite manage it until 1pm. Which sounds lazy, but I’ve had a very long week and our bed is super comfortable. Actually, that’s a bit of a fib as I got up once and managed to moon someone putting a leaflet through our front door at the same time. I should explain. I got up for a wee and noticed the postman had been. We sleep naked, but the curtains were drawn so I went to the front door and bent down, completely naked, at the same time someone pushed a takeaway leaflet through the letterbox. Luckily our front door has that weird frosted glass in it, but I’m still fairly sure he got a damn good view of my tea-towel holder winking at him as I scrabbled to pick up the post. Ah well. This afternoon I decided to take it upon myself to go to B&M to find an elusive curry mix that Slimming World members go on about which is low in syns. Now, I’ve never been in B&M before, and well, goodness me.
Let me caveat the following by saying that I’m no snob, I don’t mind cheap shops and I don’t care how much something costs. But honest to god, I’ve never seen so many people with missing teeth in one place. I felt like I was at a gingivitis support class. Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever had so many polyester-mix fleeces rubbed against me as people rugby-charged past to get to the Playboy mirrors. I’m lucky I didn’t come out of there sparking and jolting like Electro from Spiderman. I did, however, get the elusive curry mix – Mayflower Curry Sauce Mix, at 8 syns for 56g (which makes more than enough sauce for two people to have a curry). With this in my hot sweaty hands, and the smell of chip-pans and sour milk a mere memory, I set about making tonight’s meal – a vegetable curry.
This was supposed to be a chicken curry, but fate put the kibosh on that. I defrosted the chicken, had the audacity to leave the room for a minute to have a slash, only to find upon my return Bowser (our cat) munching his way through it, having dragged it out of the kitchen, across the living room and into his cat house. I was gone less than a minute, and the chicken was steaming hot. He must have been like bloody lightning, so I let him have the chicken and decided to ‘superfree’ the curry instead. He got a stern look and as a punishment, I won’t be turning on his water fountain tonight and he’ll just have to quench his thirst like a normal cat.
ingredients: all the veg you see above, and really, anything you have spare. Pack it out with whatever you have left in the freezer, or tins, or fresh – we tend to buy a lot of stuff on the off-chance we’ll use it and then chuck it out, but don’t – throw it all in the curry. It’s a fantastic way of getting your superfree food quota, and this meal is easily over your 1/3 portion size rule. Serve with rice, or chips, or even on its own as a warming treat. It’ll certainly warm you again in eight hours or so.
recipe:cut up all your veg, add a dash of water, steam it until soft but not mush. The mushier the veg, the less nutrients, plus it’ll feel like you’re eating your dinner in a nursing home. To make the curry sauce, add 56g of powder to cold water, and start whisking. Turn the heat up to get the liquid to boiling, then whack it right back down to a very low heat. It’ll thicken in no time at all, but if you stop whisking, it’ll end up lumpy. Mix it up with the veg and serve with your side.
extra-easy:yes – though not syn free. the sauce is 8 syns for 56g of powder but then divided down into portion size, I reckon about 2 syns. This recipe would easily serve four. You’ve got more superfree food in here than you could shake a water-retaining finger at. Best of all, it really DOES taste like takeaway curry.
top tips:this would be made a lot more ‘takeaway’ by taking away a lot of the veg, and remaking it with cooked chicken, garden peas and chunks of onion. It could be made even more takeaway by flicking some fag ash and a few chest hairs in there, and having the ‘chicken’ squeak when you bite into it.
OK, anyway – enjoy. I’m off to shave off my beard. Sob!
A minor catastrophe this morning. Having been asked to go into work early, I find that my wonderful work colleague has kindly left me a pain au chocolat and croissant on my desk, still warm and freshly baked as compensation for the early start. Now, if I had wanted to be a rude arse, I would have declined and stuck to my banana (er, as in the fruit, not a euphemism for wanking) but because you ‘fit Slimming World into your life’ I took the pain au chocolat and enjoyed every last buttery morsel. My colleagues are used to me spraying crumbs everywhere when I talk so that was no great problem. 12 syns! But worth it. I did give my croissant away, and spent the next twenty minutes crying curled up in a foetal positions in the gents. Generosity doesn’t come easy to me! Anyway, today’s recipe.
BTW, I think Paul got sick of me shouting SAAAAAGALOOOOO like Olivia Newton-John’s Xanadu about four minutes into cooking. He should be grateful I didn’t come wheeling into the kitchen dressed in Bacofoil and wearing skates.
I apologise for the standard of photos in this recipe card. It’s quite hard to make a curry look appetising when you’re using fromage frais rather than oil! It does, unfortunately, look like someone has been sick into my Le Creuset pot. Let me tell you now, if that happened they’d find themselves detesticled quicker than you can say boiled eggs. Both the saag aloo and the korma are completely syn-free on extra easy and I’ve included the spice mixes after the recipe as they’re quite comprehensive. My favourite spice? Ginger. Wrecked the fucking group when she left, mind – Holler was NOTHING.
to make syn free chicken korma
The full recipe can be found in Slimming World’s fakeaways recipe book, which is genuinely really good. Both the korma and saag aloo are a case of preparing the meat or potatoes, adding spices, adding stock, boiling down and for the korma, a couple of dollops of fromage frais (let the sauce cool before adding or it’ll curdle and look like a pavement pizza).
It’s worth getting yourself a good range of spices if you haven’t already. They’re a great way to add flavour without adding syns to a meal, and a small amount goes a long, long way.
warning: take heed of the warning about the fromage frais, because it looks bloody rotten if it curdles. You can still eat it but there’s no guarantee your body won’t think it’s already tried it and chucked it. Nothing else to say here, you can’t go too wrong with a curry as long as you’re not pouring bloody Gold Top into it.
extra-easy: completely syn-free. chuck it full of peppers, onion, tomatoes and chilli to boost your superfree.
double warning:Paul accidentally used red-hot chilli peppers instead of the milder version, so that’ll be me on the toilet firing a chocolate laser out of my nipsy tomorrow. Cheers love!