cookies and cream overnight oats

Cookies and cream overnight oats! I know, right? We were going to do one of those giant milkshakes that you see floating about but having worked out the syns, we didn’t want to be responsible for Mags having one of her ‘moments’ by her hi-fi bar-shaped pool in Benidorm. So we’ve toned it down and made an overnight oats recipe instead. It’s tasty! However, before we get there, there’s the next part of our trip to Newcastle to read about. Now listen, if you’re not in the mood to read our travel tales, that’s fine. You just need to click on the GIANT BORING TOOL below to be whisked straight to the recipe!

I know, what a stinker! Still with me? Then let us begin…oh and I’m sorry this one is taking ages to rattle through, but when I’m talking about the place I love, words just aren’t enough…please give us feedback. Am I getting the tone right?

part one | part two | part three | part four | part five

We awoke bright and breezy at a very respectable 9am and after a quick tidy of the room to ensure that we haven’t left anyone behind that could reasonably be considered fair game for a hotel guest to steal (Paul has to slap my hands away from unscrewing the light fittings and rolling up the carpet) we were out of our room and in reception in good time. The receptionist gave us a ‘you sure, you fat fucker’ look when I told her we had managed to avoid eating anything from the minibar and we settled our room service tab. We’d only had a round of sandwiches and some fizzy water so it came to an entirely reasonable £89,645.

I’ll cheerfully recommend the Hotel du Vin if you’re looking for somewhere fancy-ish to stay. They’re a chain and very aware of themselves, but the bed was comfortable and the room well-appointed. And just think: if you book it now, you might get the same bed as me and you can drift off to the sweet scent of sweet-potato farts and Tom Ford. Careful if you’re ovulating though, two young lads full of the joys of spring inevitably means things were squirted about that might not have caught the eye of the cleaner.

We parked the Smart car under where I work (the joys of working in the city centre: always have a parking space whilst everyone is outside fighting to the death at Christmas) and walked down to the Tyneside Cinema café for breakfast. Now, perhaps a cinema café puts you in mind of the farty smell of popcorn and pick-and-mix with a higher price-per-kg point than saffron but not this place: the food is superb. In a desperate attempt to put right the misdeeds of the night before, we opted for a late breakfast of…

Steak Benedict for me…

…eggs royale for the Missus.

The steak was a decent cut cooked perfectly, with the accompanying hollandaise sauce light and silky rather than the gelatinous jizzy goop that so often gets passed off as a perfect poached-egg partner. Sriracha hot sauce was a nice touch, if only so I could feel alive again. Paul’s salmon was even better judging by the eye-rolling and curious noises he was making. It would have been too obvious to shout out ‘I’ll have what HE’S having’ in a cinema-themed eaterie, so I kept my mouth shut.

Oh! There was a brief but terribly exciting moment just as we were settling up when a somewhat bewildered looking chap came and started banging on the window, arguing with his own reflection. He clearly wasn’t very well but it created a peculiar situation where we had to fuss about with the sugar cubes and the card reader whilst someone screamed spittle onto the window right beside my ear. I felt like an exhibit in a furious zoo. Ah Newcastle, never change.

The plan was to do some shopping but frankly, I see enough of the shops on my lunchtime during the week to warrant me never deciding to go there for pleasure on a weekend. We did stop into Fenwick to look at expensive aftershave I’ll never have and TVs the size of buses, but that’s about it. It’s unusual for me to leave Fenwick without smelling like I’ve been swimming in ladies’ perfume – I go there most lunches with El Ehma and I’m often caught in the airburst from her enthusiastic ‘testing’. Fun fact: her skin is now 90% Creed Aventus For Her. She had to give up smoking before she went up like a roman candle.

Pictured is a statue of Saint Robson Green who protects the Haymarket bus station. The inscription reads ‘haway man, lerrus in man y’awld bitch, I knaa there’s nee busses runnin, d’yis think ah’m a daft c*nt like

The Church of St Thomas, taken by the phone of Saint James

Abandoning the shopping idea, much to the collective relief of the beancounters at First Direct and American Express, we instead lumbered up Northumberland Street to the Hancock Museum, where excitement and tat-buying awaited. I’ve only been here once on a school trip and that was cut short when one of the teachers fell down two flights of stairs and had to be taken away in an ambulance. We never did finish learning about roman pottery and she never walked again, so really, who suffered most? It’s OK, I’m kidding – of course we finished our pottery lessons – they got a supply teacher in.

“Someone should iron you”

The Hancock is a lovely little museum as it happens. Plenty for kids to do – there’s interactive boards they can wreck with their sticky fingers, quiet reflection halls which they can ruin with their shrill fire-alarm voices and there’s even a very well-stocked kids play area which they can totally ignore in favour of running around your legs and shrieking. Honestly, the sooner they make it legal to pack children away into broom cupboards and disused corridors the better. I spotted an old colleague of mine who I used to work with more than a few years ago and with whom I shared a mutual hatred of each other with, so I pulled Paul into the planetarium to avoid her.

She once reported me to HR for laughing too much, I kid you not. I (ironically) had the last laugh though – she got made redundant before me when they shut the quango I worked for down. I tried not to smirk too much as she struggled through her tears to pack her leaving box. I would have helped but hey, she was the worst.

The planetarium was a bust, mind. There was me thinking we’d be exploring the universe together, gasping and whooing as stars rattled past our ears and planets loomed large before us. I mean, it’s a planetarium. You’ll understand my confusion then when I tell you we were treated to a movie all about prehistoric sea creatures that was produced and dispatched back in 2002. In this era of ultra-HD TV when you can actually see the smarm oozing out of Piers Morgan’s nose pores like mash through a ricer it was a proper shock – it was as pixellated as watching the Discovery Channel projected onto a live game of Tetris. We persevered for about ten minutes before promptly falling asleep, only waking forty minutes later when the credits rolled and the lights came back on. Thankfully, aside from the chap sitting at the door in case any fire / excitement / interest broke out, we were alone in our snoring and sleep-farting.

We wandered around for another hour or so, thankfully avoiding my old nemesis. Absolute full credit to the Hancock Museum – it’s a very decent place with plenty of interesting exhibitions and unusually, isn’t dumbed down for the kiddiwinks. I showed my appreciation by dropping a note into the donations box instead of my usual 2p and washer. Paul was aghast.

As a leathery, ancient, black-toothed, beast that terrifies men and is the very last thing you want to see coming at you in the dark, Paul’s mother also likes dinosaurs.

Random question but can anyone identify this actress? She’s famous, I recognise the face, but I’ll be damned if I can put a name to her.

We decided that as we were on a particular roll with the museums that we’d give the Discovery Museum a go, but not before stopping into nearby pub The Hotspur for more booze. Good selection of ales and beer in here, though that meant nothing to Paul as he primly ordered a gin and tonic. The man knows what he wants, I suppose, but it was match day and I confess to being worried about leaving through the window once they realised we were imposters in that masculine world. Actually, it was probably the fact that we were shrieking our way through a game of Kerplunk that would give that particular gayme away.

The key is knowing the right moment when to pull out so you don’t blow your load too early.

The pub had lovingly left some board games on the side to play and, being a huge fan of sticking my rod in and making the balls jiggle, Kerplunk was the obvious choice. I won, and I won the subsequent game of Connect 4 too. Paul’s got all the subtlety of a hot fart at a funeral so the Kerplunk victory was inevitable, but he must have taken his eye off the ball with Connect 4 as he’s usually victorious.

To be fair to him mind, his eyes do work completely independently of each other, so that’s not entirely unexpected.

I had forgotten that I played a game of Connect 4 against John Savident, but here’s the proof.

Now, actually, we’re getting away from ourselves again. Let’s close this post off for tonight and get to the recipe. Hey though, if you’ve read this far, I’d love feedback on the holiday entries – please do leave a comment or email me or whatever. Feedback always welcomed!


Right! Ready for cookies and cream overnight oats? You filthy bugger, of course you are!

 

to make cookies and cream overnight oats, you’ll need:

  • 40g of oats – any old oats will do and now Slimming World gives you 40g to wrap your lips around, instead of just 35g – I bet you feel spoiled now, don’t you? Try and remain humble
  • a vanilla with chocolate sprinkles Muller Light (syn free) – or, if you’re not a fan of all that fake sugar and aspartame, mix 1 tsp of bournville cocoa powder (1 syn) into whatever yoghurt you use – we use Skyr because we’re just so cosmopolitan
  • two Oreo thins (3 syns)
  • Anchor squirty light cream – (1 syn for 12.5g – I’ve just nipped into the kitchen to see how much that is and let me tell you, it’s a really big, enthusiastic squirt) (you do the jokes)

A lot of people ask if these overnight oats recipes need to go in a jar. Nah. Honestly, any old shite will do – as long as you mix them together, you could serve them alongside a single plum, floating in perfume, served in a man’s hat and nobody would bat an eye.

That said, there’s a nice set on Amazon if you need them!

to make cookies and cream overnight oats, you should:

  • mix 40g of oats, a good dollop of yoghurt and one crushed up Oreo together and put in the jar
  • I like to top it off with a little bit more yoghurt on top
  • now, I like to eat it straight away so I add the squirty cream and stick the Oreo in and then eat, but if you prefer to leave it overnight, do, and then add the squirty cream in the morning along with your Oreo and eat!

I’m just saying, but a couple of extra Oreos isn’t going to turn you into ten tonne tessie, so if you were planning on adding a few more crushed up, I’ll never tell…

Want more overnight oats recipe? Of course you do. Take your pick!

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J

jaffa cakes for taster nights

Yes, I love jaffa cakes too, but please, calm your slot for a second and let me speak.

Here’s the thing about my husband – I love him very much, but he can be an absolute liability. He’s managed to get me temporarily banned from interacting on Facebook, which is vexing because there’s a child out there awaiting a heart transplant and if the doctor gets 1,000,000 likes, they’re going to operate on him, and without me as the millionth like, I guess it’s into the soil for poor wee Jimmy Fictional. Let me explain how. On a Sunday, we set aside an hour or so to schedule some links to our older posts via our Facebook page, which has just shy of 85,000 people on it. It’s simple enough – write a bit of blurb, post the photo, add the link and then diarise it so it gets posted automatically on a set time and date. We forgot to do it this week, so we’ve had to do them the night before in a bit of a rush. Paul was given the task of doing Friday’s posts and in his haste to get them done before the chips were cooked, he managed to not like to a tasteful picture of our lovely steak with hasselback potatoes, but to this:

Yes, he managed to put a link to a three second film of a sphincter. Not his own, I hasten to add, but one that he’d found on the Internet to whatsapp to his nursing friends for a joke. Thankfully, it’s a lovely clean balloon-knot as opposed to some pebble-dashed wormhole, so it’s not all bad, but when I reposted the tale in our group, I got automatically banned for 24 hours for sheer filth. Aaaah man. So: if you’re a fan of ours and you love our Facebook page and happened to witness a giant arsehole instead of a steak dinner, I can only apologise. And laugh. Oh my how I laughed – when I spotted the mistake at work, I had to leave my desk and go sit in the gents for fifteen minutes with my fist in my mouth trying not to laugh out loud. Good times.

Anyway, some exciting news. The cat is much better and has stopped licking away at his bellend like it was made out of Kitekat. Definitely worth the expense just to say him back to his normal self of punching the other cat about and showing us his anus.

I spotted, somehow, that Big Brother finished last night, and I’m just amazed it is still going. How? Whenever I catch it it’s full of self-aware knackers mooing and braying and playing up to the cameras. Lots of bronzed folks walking around in undeserved vests showing arms that couldn’t snap a wet cigarette and tattoos that mean nothing and look awful. By far the worst, for me, is our lovely local representative Marnie, who got her gash out on telly, sucked someone off and swore like a trooper. Listen, we’re not all like that. I mean, I don’t even have a gash. But Big Brother is ruined now, yet it used to be genuinely interesting TV.

I remember where I was when the original series went big and everyone started to watch it – on the Isle of Arran with the world’s most boring family in the world’s most boring cottage with the world’s most boring set of activities to do. You know the type – lots of corduroy trousers, thick sex-offender glasses and rustling rain-wear. At no time, either before or since, have I ever been closer to dashing my head against the rocks on the beach just to liven things up.

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The deal was that my family took my then best friend on holiday with us to Portugal and I’d then get to join his family on their holiday. My family’s holiday was full of food, fun and sunshine (although he elected to stay inside the apartment and watch Sky News), his family’s holiday was lots of earnest discussions over turnip dinners and early nights. Not the good type of early nights where you might get your end away, no, the type of early night where the only excitement comes hoping you’ll die in your sleep. Seven nights I spent on that island surrounded by four people who couldn’t entertain a thought, nevermind a guest. They wouldn’t allow us to have the television on because “we were on holiday” so the only outlet I had, after I’d walked around so much my feet were one with my shoes, was copies of The Sun that I bought in Blackwaterfoot, and all of the salacious Big Brother stories they carried.

Listen, it was very much a last resort, buying The Sun, but that’s what got me into Big Brother and prevented me from becoming so depressed I’d have my own Livejournal and emo haircut. Paul and I went back to Arran as a couple a few years ago and it was a marvellous place, not the grey cesspit I remembered it as with my jaundiced eyes, so it just shows that it’s definitely the person you’re with that makes a place. Actually, I’ve got my notes from our Arran trip way back when, so if I can be arsed, I’ll turn them into a blog entry.

Right, enough chitter chatter. Jaffa cakes.

Look, the only reason I’ve made these is because they were on Bake Off, and I thought to myself that they could be made faintly Slimming World friendly. They probably can, but it would take a better baker than me to make them look good. To be fair, I was in a rush today, hence the sloppy presentation, but I reckon you’d still eat them, you filthy minxes. This makes ten or so.

taster night jaffa cakes

to make taster night jaffa cakes, you’ll need:

  • 25g of self-raising flour (4 syns)
  • one large egg
  • 2 chocolate freddos (10 syns)
  • one sachet of orange no added sugar jelly (1.5 syns)
  • 25g of caster sugar (5 syns)
  • a shallow bun tin (or, do as we did, use a Yorkshire pudding tin, who cares am I right?)

You don’t use all of the jelly so I’m going to call this as 20 syns for ten cakes. Much thicker chocolate and bases than normal Jaffa cakes which come in a 2.5 syns each, plus you get the fun of baking them. You could knock the syn count down by using sweetener, yes, but why would you do that to yourself?

to make taster night jaffa cakes, you should:

  • make the jelly up as instructed, then pour into a container big enough so you get a layer of jelly only about half a cm thick – I find using less water than instructed gives a firmer jelly, but as you can see from my pictures, I forgot to do this…
  • whisk the egg and the sugar together until it’s full of air, pale and frothy, just like Mary Berry herself
  • it’s easier to do this in a wee bowl rather than a stand mixer, just because there isn’t much mixture
  • gently fold in the flour – you’re not trying to put out an electrical fire with a doormat, use a bit of finesse
  • pour ten equal amounts into your baking tray (make sure to give that a squirt or two with oil, just to make it non-stick if you’ve only got cheap-o pans)
  • bake on 180 degrees for about eight minutes or until they’ve gone golden brown
  • allow to cool
  • once the jelly has set, take a glass or a circle cutter and cut out ten discs of jelly
  • pop them on top of the little cakes
  • melt your Freddos and spoon the chocolate on top – we’re not going to win awards for presentation here, but you’re just going to turn it into poo anyway, so come on

Enjoy!

Looking for more taster night ideas or desserts? Click the buttons below!

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J

strawberry jelly pots – and it’s good to talk

The strawberry jelly pots are right below the next bit. Honest.

I spotted something interesting in the papers today (ok ok, I’m sorry, it was on the Sidebar of Shame on the Daily Mail – I’m mortified enough to be viewing it at work on my lunch computer that I cover most of it with some fisting porn in case anyone gets the wrong idea). Chiselled, Australian hunk Chris Hemsworth was wearing a t-shirt with ‘it’s not weak to speak’, which links to a mental health charity in Australia who are trying to get across the message that people shouldn’t feel ashamed about suffering from a mental illness.

He’s spot on, and I’m not just saying that because he could cheerfully sit on my face and pedal my ears. I’ve written about my anxiety before and I describe it as a slow rollercoaster – it’s always going to be there in the background, but most of the time I’m on an ‘up’ and don’t really notice it – or at least, I can take control of it. My anxiety manifests itself through health anxiety – I don’t have panic attacks (much) or depression, but I fall into the trap of analysing every little quirk of my body and thinking it is something sinister.

Well, unfortunately, I’m in a pretty big dip at the moment. It all started a couple of weeks ago when my left hand started going intermittently numb and tingly, something as innocuous as that. I’d been feeling great for over a year so this came as a bit of a surprise. I reassured myself that it was nothing to be concerned about and that worked for a fair while, but the fact that it comes and goes troubles me. Here’s how my mind works:

  • rational mind: I sleep on my arm a lot, I’ve been having problems with my neck, it’ll be a pinched nerve, the fact that it comes and goes is a good sign, I can still grip, I hold my iPad up in bed for an hour each morning using my hand so it’s no wonder it’s struggling a little
  • irrational mind: muscle weakness and tingliness is a sign of MS (which is my big fear), it’s definitely happening, can’t be anything else.

PLEASE: I don’t want any comments confirming my irrational thoughts, no tips to go see a neurologist – nothing. Feel free to comment if you sometimes get a tingly hand and you know it’s because you’ve pinched a nerve or something!

What then happens is a constant struggle between being rational (95% of the time) and 5% being irrational. Because I’m distracted by thoughts of something scary, I become hyper-aware of everything. How I speak – if I stumble over my words, it’s because my brain is turning to cheese. If my knees hurt (which given my weight is no bloody surprise) it’s because my muscles are atrophying. Because I’m up a height, I don’t sleep too well at night, which in turns means I’m knackered during the day – and then I worry because I have no energy, I keep forgetting things and my vision goes blurry – all of which happen when people get tired, but all of which add to my worries.

It’s exhausting. I’ve beaten it before, I’ll beat it again. It’s just a quirk of my body. I’m at the doctors on Wednesday and I’ll mention all of the above on the off-chance it is something to be worried about, but it’ll be nothing, I’m sure. I end up feeling guilty because it’s almost like I’m making a mockery of those with genuine concerns, but see, this is a genuine concern to me.

But here’s why I’m mentioning it – I’m lucky, because I’ve got Paul, family and friends to talk to. Although I’m pretty good at dealing with this stuff myself, Paul’s always there to reassure me that I’m shaky because I’ve had two tubs of Ben and Jerry’s, not because I’ve got Parkinsons, or that I don’t have dementia because I’m able to tell him the room number from our trip to New York. It helps so much to be honest. If you’re out there and feeling blue, find someone to talk to, even if it’s just yourself in the mirror. If you’re feeling fine, take a moment to speak to someone who you’re worried about, or listen to people if they’re trying to tell you they’re not right. It’s the small gestures that make a difference to people’s lives.

As for me, don’t worry. I’ll be fine. I’ll come right back around and crack on. Sorry to be a downer!

In the meantime, let’s get to the dessert! To be fair, I hardly think it needs a recipe! This made enough for four glasses like the one you see below.

strawberry jelly pots

to make strawberry jelly pots, you’ll need:

  • one sachet of no added sugar jelly made up as instructed  (1.5 syns)
  • fat-free vanilla yoghurt (choose a syn-free variety)
  • 100g of strawberries (supposedly 1.5 syns if you cook them, which I doubt, but let’s be true to Slimming World)
  • mint for garnish

So that’s three syns, serving four, which I reckon is about half a syn each. A fraction more mathematically, but look, I’m not Carol fucking Vorderman.

to make strawberry jelly pots, you should:

  • make up the jelly as instructed and get four clean glasses out – preferably something like the ones pictured above
  • find yourself a muffin tray
  • fill each glass with exactly the same amount of jelly and put the glass, tilted about 45 degrees, into the muffin tray (the muffin tray stops it tipping over) – you don’t want the jelly to reach right to the top of the glass, leave a little bit of room
  • put into the fridge for about six hours
  • once they’re set, fill the other side with the vanilla yoghurt
  • chop the strawberries up and put them into a pan with just a drop of hot water – heat gently until the fruit breaks down and then thickens a little
  • top the pots carefully with this strawberry jam and garnish with a mint leaf!

Super easy. Now if you’re looking for more dessert ideas, you can find them by clicking here!

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J

chocolate cake filled pastel eggs

Happy Easter, all – I’ve been forced to make a nice Easter recipe for chocolate cake filled pastel eggs, saying as I can barely hear my TV for the sound of fatties crying into their children’s Easter Eggs and shallow-breathing around the empty Mini Egg packets. It’s pretty to look at and I suppose it could be fun to make these with children, but not for me, as I dislike children. Snotty-nosed little poo-machines. Every day I run the risk of deliberately crashing my car into the central reservation when the ‘child of the day’ calls in on Radio 2 at half seven. They’re always so achingly middle-class it enrages me. ‘What are you doing today, little Randolph?’ ‘WELL CHRASS UM IT’S MY PICCOLO EXAM AT HALF SEVEN UM AND THEN I’M MAKING ARTISAN PARST-AARGH WITH THE HELP’. Pfft. At 11 I was too busy counting my pubic hair to worry about exams.

Pah. Sometimes I’d welcome the sweet caress of death. 

Speaking of death, I got told off for being rude by a group of old ladies in Waitrose today for having the temerity to say ‘excuse me please’. I know, shocking behaviour. I’m basically Harold Shipman but I murder with words. No, listen, I was making to leave when seemingly every elderly lady in a ten mile range of Ponteland Waitrose decided to meet and hold an impromptu W.I. meeting right in the store doors. Seriously, the automatic doors were stuttering back and forth whilst they gossiped and clucked in one giant lavender mass. I waited for a few moments, clearing my throat, tapping my foot, cocking my shotgun, but no. One old love looked me straight in the eyes (I assume, her cataract was haunting her vision) and then carried on chatting. Eventually I caved, collapsed forward into their huddled mass, sending copies of the Daily Mail flying and hips popping like popcorn in the microwave. 

No, I said ‘excuse me, please’ and waited for the mass to disperse, which it didn’t. It took me asking three times, in increasing pitch and volume, before they deigned to let me past, but not before some wizened old crone with lipstick bleeding into her almond-esque skin clutched my sleeve and told me to ‘respect my elders’. Pfft. It was all I could do not to pick her up and post her into the charity token bank, hopefully into something ironic like Age Concern. Instead I smiled my most ingratiating smile and said ‘terribly sorry Sir’ and walked past. I assume she’ll have sat bolt upright in her Medichair about ten minutes ago with a look of anger.

It didn’t help that as I was leaving I was pounced on by some chap who felt it necessary to proper tell me off for apparently going the ‘wrong way around the one way system’ which ‘could lead to serious accidents’. Undoubtedly I was in the wrong, but in my defence I hadn’t spotted the lettering on the road indicating it was one-way until I turned the corner and had it in front of me. I’ll get a periscope fitted to the car just as soon as I can. He was needlessly officious about the whole thing despite my genuine apologies, banging on about those serious accidents. Serious accidents? If I had been going any more than 5mph I’d have been surprised – I was overtaken by a flock of grannies itching to get to the door for their meeting, for goodness sake. We weren’t about to repeat the M4 motorway disaster. I wiped the flecks of his spittle off my coat and carried on, suitably chastised. I did notice that he wasn’t doing jackshit about all the massive, perfectly spotless, ridiculously oversized Range Rovers parked up on the double yellows to the side of the store though. Wonder why.

Anyway, I couldn’t have been in Waitrose for a more middle-class reason if I tried – I was after white eggs. Not boring old normal eggs, but white eggs, because they take the dye a lot easier for the recipe below. You can use normal eggs though, just leave them in the dye for a bit longer.

There’s a myriad of ‘Slimming World desserts’ which are, without exception, disgusting. You can’t make a good dessert because all the delicious tasting things are rammed in syns – caramel, sugar, flour, butter, cream, chocolate, toffee….no amount of stirring an Options into a friggin’ bowl of fromage frais is going to fool your tastebuds into a food-orgasm, is it? Nearly all of the desserts seem to be the same – take more eggs than is decent, decant a jar of sweetener into it and then add something to give it a flavour, like a Rolo or some apple. That’s not a cake. It tastes like a fart and looks like a scabby knee. It’s no more a lemon drizzle cake than I am a successful heterosexual with fabulous flowing hair. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I see why people try these things – because the idea of being able to eat cake and diet is a wonderful one, but personally, I think it’s a con. I’d be amazed if any successful slimmer has managed to get to their ideal weight and then carried on making these eggy abominations. You’re given 15 syns for a reason – to have the extra bits you fancy, to enjoy yourself and not feel like you’re on a diet. Use them!

So with that in mind, the recipe:

chocolate cake filled pastel eggs

to make chocolate cake filled pastel eggs, you’ll need:

  • 12 eggs (white if you can get them, so much easier – normal eggs are fine though)
  • 60 ml milk (take it from your healthy extra)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g plain flour (19 syns)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (0.5 syns) 
  • 110g unsalted butter (21 syns)
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (for each dye you use)
  • 125g granulated Stevia (closest you can get to normal sugar)
  • 1 cup hot water (for each dye you use)
  • 50g dark chocolate (13 syns)
  • 2 eggs (taken from 2 empty shells)
  • various food colouring (I use Wilton dye gels, but you can use anything with a strong colour)
  • 25g cocoa powder (4.5 syns)

Assuming you’re going to make six different colours, you’ll need six different containers to hold the dye. Obviously. Or do two, rinse the container, and repeat. You’ll also need icing bags or freezer bags.

To me, that makes 58 syns for the lot, or just under five syns per egg. Worth it. You can sit and peel them like a hard-boiled egg too, then eat the dense chocolate cake within. Oh yes! Fair warning – this recipe isn’t difficult, but it does take time to do the various stages.

to make chocolate cake filled pastel eggs, you should:

  • fill a big bowl with warm water and some salt
  • to prepare the shell, poke a hole into the top of the egg with something small and thin, like a chopstick, and then widen the hole with your finger, fnar fnar, yeah you know what I mean
  • let the yolk and white slip out – now, rather than wasting it, you could make these ham and egg breakfast bites at the same time – just empty the egg into one of these – easy, and no waste
  • repeat this twelve times
  • wash out each egg with cold water AND take a moment to poke something sharp gently around the inside of the egg, you’ll often get a tiny sac of air at the top of the egg which will make them float in the dye later and cause confusion
  • place all twelve washed out eggs into the warm brine and go pick your bum for thirty minutes or so

Then…

  • once you’ve scratched that itch, it’s time to dye the eggs
  • rinse out the shells with cold water
  • fill your dye container with enough boiling water to cover the eggs you are planning to die, add a teaspoon of vinegar and a good splash of dye – then submerge the eggs
  • if they float, scrape the insides again – if there’s no air, they’ll sink see
  • now, leave them for as long as you want – if you want a pastel hue and you’re using white eggs, a couple of minutes will do, but you might need longer if you don’t have strong dye or you’re using normal eggs
  • pick them out and let them dry in an egg box, hole facing down
  • repeat for all the other eggs and shades – remember, hot water, vinegar, dye, egg…

Then…

  • prepare your cake batter – now, I’m a lazy, stylish sod, so naturally we have one of those fancy Kenwood mixers that Nigella uses (this one), but you can do it by hand just as easy
  • weigh out all your ingredients and get everything ready to go
  • butter and sugar first – into the mixer or bowl and beat like crazy until it’s pale and fluffy – thinking about stopping? Don’t – that’s where so many people fall down – this bit is essential
  • beat in the two eggs and a drop or two of vanilla and 
  • mix in the flour, cocoa and baking powder
  • CONFESSION: though you’re not strictly supposed to, I just throw everything into the mixer and stick it on high, never had a complaint about my cakes yet
  • break up the dark chocolate and microwave for thirty seconds, stir, and another thirty seconds, stopping when it’s melting but not completely melted – the residual heat will melt the rest, just stir it away and allow to cool for a minute or so, then tip into the mixture
  • give everything a final good stir
  • get a muffin tray and some tin foil and create nests in each muffin hole – enough tin foil to hold your egg in place (and make sure it can’t tip over – easy to do
  • tip the lot into icing bags or a sandwich bag (twist it up then cut a tiny bit of the corner off, same thing) and gently pipe it into the dyed eggs – you want about three quarter full – better to fill them up to this level and not have enough for a couple of eggs then to try and be get an equal amount in each one
  • place tin foil over the top and put into the oven for fifteen minutes
  • after these fifteen minutes, take them out, pick off any overflow (easy to do when it’s hot) and put them back in without the foil on top for another ten minutes or so
  • allow to cool, then peel and eat!

It’s a dense cake, nice with milk. It’ll really scratch the chocolate itch too. If you’d prefer to use caster sugar rather than Stevia, add another 22.5 syns or, for the sake of argument, another two syns per cake.

Enjoy, and happy Easter! It might be a few days before we’re back because well, it’s bank holiday AND my birthday, but we will return soon! We’ve got four recipes from one big chicken, so there’s that to look forward to!

Finally: thank you for user wizmakel on sortedfood for the recipe idea!

J

cherry cola float

OK, so fair enough, our photography skills let us down on this one and our cherry coke float doesn’t look great, but look, it’s a decent idea for a low syn pudding! Plus, won’t you feel like a classy sort getting your knickerbocker glasses out? We’re the gift that keeps on giving.

I’m feeling a little rough this monring. I was out last night and my plan of having a single gin and tonic and then coming home for a delicious meal and warm conversation became sinking several pints over a few hours and pretty much pushing my face into chips and nachos. Yes: chips and machos. I can almost hear the air whistling through Mags’ teeth as she sucks a breath in disapprovingly. Sorry, but life is for living, after all.

We had drinks in the Tyneside Cinema bar in Newcastle and it was all very lovely and to-do, although there was a distressing amount of people taking up all the tables when we arrived. Due to my imposing bulk and unwelcome face I was given the task of spotting a table becoming free which of course, I attended to with aplomb. A couple had no sooner dabbed at their lips with their hankies before I started subtly (as subtly as someone of my frame can do) leaning into their table. She gave me a waspish look and said YES WE’RE LEAVING NOW like I’d sat down on her lap. Well, I’m sorry, don’t sit at a table designed for six people just to eat your peanuts. The night was merry, although my unique talent of being unable to go somewhere without attracting an odd character didn’t fail me – I nipped to the gents to undrink my lager when some cloud-haired-buffoon who was dressed as the Fourth Doctor from Doctor Who leered at me in the queue for the ONE urinal (really!) and said ‘AAAH YES MY MAN, US CHAPS OF A CERTAIN AGE FIND THEMSELVES FOREVER IN THE TOILET DON’T WE!’ like I was his age and has a prostate like a ruddy cauliflower! The cheek. I can hold my water for ages! I presumed it wasn’t some sort of clumsy come-on so just smiled politely, did a ‘Oh you’ shake of the head (the one on my neck) and disappeared into a trap instead.

I hope I become like him when I’m old, booming away in toilets about my need to piss.

Anyway come on, let’s get this cherry cola float out of the way. Have you noticed we’re making a bit more effort to post regularly? You should! 

Our cherry coke float is below – it looked so much better in real-life but we were drunk when we made it and I didn’t focus the camera very well. Ooops. We got the idea from another blog (found right here) and hers looks a lot better than mine! Haha. Ah well. Listen we can’t all be winners! Paul seemed bemused at the idea of a coke float but it was a regular dessert in our house when I was young. Mind, Paul’s idea of a luxury dessert back in the day was one of those no-name choc-ices where the chocolate was all cracked and the ‘ice cream’ tasted like that oasis stuff you stick dried flowers into.

 cherry coke float

Hers:

Cherry-Vanilla-Coke-Float-2

Photo credit: thecraftedsparrow

Of course, to make it Slimming World friendly, you’ll need to make a couple of changes.

to make a cherry coke float, you’ll need:

  • some diet cherry coke
  • low-fat ice-cream – we used 100ml of Asda’s Good For You Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt for each float, which comes in at 4 syns)
  • a good squirt of squirty cream (1.5 syns for 15g of Asda’s light aerosol cream)
  • a normal cherry for the top

to make a cherry coke float, you should:

  • seriously?
  • ok, put coke in glass, add scoop of ice-cream, add squirty cream and top with a cherry
  • pass it through your lips, into your stomach, out yer bum

Job done!

Looking for stripey straws? Easy. Right here.

Looking for fancy Kilner jar glasses? Even easier. Right here.

J

twochubbycubs’ slimming world pop tarts

There’s a title if ever there was one. Remember Pop Tarts? Those crunchy ‘biscuits’ that you’d put into the toaster and then spend eight years waiting for the interior to cool down from the middle-of-the-sun temperature they managed to get up to? We were always too poor for such fancies. I used to get sugar sandwiches and a flea in my ear if I dared to ask for such luxury.

Ah that’s mean and not true. We just used to get the Netto version – Pap Tarts, if you will, or even Plop Tarts. Or ‘Sugared Wafer Molten Jam Toaster Brick’. I dunno. 

Anyway, with the thought of such breakfast decadence in my mind, and partly because I’m sick to my scrotum of seeing that bloody ‘cat food and bread’ ‘steak bake’ getting plastered all over Facebook like genital warts, I thought we could have a bash at something new. 

Before we crack on with the recipe, just a quick message. We used something called Prutella rather than Nutella – Prutella is available from Musclefood.com and is half the syns of Nutella (Nutella being 4 syns, Prutella being 2 syns). You can use Nutella just as easy – just hoy on two extra syns or spread the tablespoon a little thinner. We use Musclefood a lot for our meat – that and our local butcher, and they’re genuinely excellent for bulk meat delivery. They’ve kindly looked at our blog and, despite all the gags about anal sex and willies littering the recipes, have provided us with some new products to try. Now listen – we’re not going to turn into a big old advert, don’t you worry. If the meat tastes like I’m chewing on the ring of a condom, I’ll be sure to tell you. We’re our own people here!

Have a look at their opening offer for new customers and see what you think. You can do that by clicking here, and in the next post I’m going to break down what I think the syns are.

SO, where were we? Pop tarts! Go on, take a gander:

slimming world pop tartsRemember to chuck on two extra syns if you’re using Nutella.

to make these pop tarts, you’ll need:

  • one of those Kingsmill Wholemeal thins – one ‘sandwich’ is a HEB
  • a tablespoon of Nutella (4 syns) or Prutella (exactly the same taste but two syns, available here)
  • either a chopped banana or ten mini marshmallows (1 syn)
  • a drop of milk
  • the tiniest pinch of sugar (leave out if you want, but don’t bother with bloody sweetener)

then to assemble the pop tarts, just:

  • ‘butter’ both of the thins on one side with the Nutella/Prutella
  • put in the chopped banana or marshmallows
  • close it up like a sandwich
  • brush with a bit of milk
  • sprinkle with that tiny bit of sugar
  • put in the oven on 180 degree for about ten minutes but keep an eye on them!

It’s that easy! 

J

 

apple pie and ice-cream

Do you ever get that feeling, deep in your stomach, that you’re going to do something and get a raft of angry-faced people throwing badly-typed obscenities your way? I feel like my face has just been published in the paper next to something obscene and I’m about to have my windows put through?

Why? Because…I’m posting a recipe that HEAVILY involves tweaking. 

TWEAK

I know! Christ. Someone better get me some aftersun because I’m about to get my fingers burnt. 

Our official position on tweaking can be found here (it’s a fun read, I assure you) but to put it succinctly, we don’t class blending veg or fruit up as a bad thing, unless you’re eating substantially more than you would normally. Slimming World will tell you that if you mash a banana up on a bowl, it’s five syns, but if you mash it up in your gob, it’s free. The logic being that you derive more ‘satisfaction’ from putting it in your mouth and whilst that is normally the case for me being a cheerfully homosexual young man, I don’t agree with it here. It’s up to you which side of the debate you fall on and either way is fine – but please, I don’t want anyone telling me off. I know the rules, I’m just flexible.

Tonight’s recipe then is apple pie and ice-cream, which was the most American thing I could think of – and it tastes amazing, genuinely. It’s 5 syns if you believe in tweaking and 13 syns if you don’t, but even then – 13 syns for a good quality dessert is fuck all. It’s better than sobbing into your eighty-fifth Freddo and wishing you were dead. And because I love you, I’ve included a way to knock five syns off the entire thing.

BUT before we get to the good bit, here’s one more extract from my American diary. If you’re enjoying it, and seemingly loads of you are, buy it or recommend it and make me a happy, happy bunny! You’ll find the link here.


Day 12 – See, World?

Seaworld! The last time we visited you we were left unimpressed and cold by your displays of penguin entrapment and subpar rides. Would this visit go the way of the Disney parks and win us over for good? There’s only one way to find out! A super-quick breakfast at McDonalds and a trundle on the best I-Ride trolley ever (singing driver announcing all the stops) and we were standing by that lighthouse, posing for pictures. Bit mean of a passing tourist to call me Shamu like. We decided to upgrade our tickets to the Rapid Queue benefit but it wasn’t really needed once you were in.

Can you guess what the first thing these two roller-coaster nuts went on? Of course! Manta. Several times. We drifted through the proper queue area first to see all the theming that has gone into the area, and it really looks something else. It’s worth wandering through even if you weren’t planning to ride. This would be my first time on a ‘lying-down’ rollercoaster and I was nervous, I’ll admit. Paul, having done Alton Towers, knew what it felt like and reassured me that a) it wouldn’t hurt and b) the supports would be able to handle my considerable mass, so I felt good enough to go on.

Oooh and I’m glad we did. It’s possibly one of the best rollercoasters in Orlando – so incredibly smooth, just the right side of scary-fast and a very different experience. I think we rode it about six times in a row, each time trying a different position – the back is probably the best as it is so much faster, but a young lad next to me upchucked his breakfast as we were going round which put a stop to any further journeys around, at least until my own belly settled down. Anyone else like that? I can’t bear seeing people being sick, especially when it looks almost exactly like the breakfast you just bolted down yourself at the McDonalds over the road? He got a really, really dirty look off me (as in angry, I wasn’t given him the flirt-eye, I’m not a emetophile)  and we wandered down to the bottom of the park.

We were gutted to see Journey to Atlantis shut down for the entire length of our visit – between this, Dudley Do-Right closed due to fire and Splash Mountain closed for annual repair, we were destined never to have a holiday photo of our heaving busoms showing through our cheap wet t-shirts. Sigh. I wouldn’t care but I LOVE water-rides. My mum has always said I was a water-baby. But I think that’s her way of making herself feel better for leaving me in the bath for several hours with nothing more than an electric toaster to play with. Sorry Ma…

Kraken next, of course. One of my favourite rollercoasters, if only for the first drop where it feels as though your belly is going to rise up out of your mouth. We can’t get enough of rollercoasters and plan to do a tour of American Theme Parks for our next holiday. But in the present, we were thrown round, span round and dropped down several times over, all the while screaming and swearing, until we got close to the people taking pictures as that’s ‘Disappointed Face’ time. I’ve mentioned it before – give it a try – when it comes to the bit where the photo is taken, put on your most deadpan, miserable face. It’s almost as fun as walking past people filming their holiday videos and QUIETLY swearing away to your partner, so when they get home and stick the video on, they’ll hear a sole voice muttering away. Heh. We do it at home too, though I got caught out walking past someone and saying ‘I didn’t know Ronseal did tans’ – but her unintelligent comeback was hardly worth a comeback. Anyway…

A day out wouldn’t be complete without an ice-cream, and it’s yet another thing that you can’t get a ‘small’ version of, not that we were complaining as we had developed reverse diabetes since then – if we didn’t have our body weight in sugar during the day we would get the shakes and you’d find us in the toilet trying to melt a Jolly Rancher on the top of a spoon. We headed to the ice-cream parlour and enjoyed a couple of smooth creamy ones, all the while watching this American family – the parents had massive ice-creams, the kids had what looked like mini-milks. That’s a method of parenting that I can get on board with! We fannied about a bit on the soft toy attractions and Paul won me a delightful…dragon. Very Seaworld. Given the look of some of the ‘attraction workers’ mind, I was half-expecting to come away with crabs. This poor dragon was promptly given away to a passing child (not because I’m mean to Paul, but because it was huge and we couldn’t be bothered to carry it around) and I won him a little octopus. We still have him, of course, sat on top of the computer.

Thank heavens for Southwest Airlines and their air-conditioning Sponsorship of Cruelty! Yep, it was time to look at the penguins. And I don’t like it. They’re cute as a pin, but that room seems so small, and whilst I’m not a lentil-eating-sandal-knitting hippy, I don’t think it’s right. We took a couple of cursory pictures and moved on. Am I the only one who doesn’t like dolphins either? They leave me cold, with their dead eyes. I did fancy feeding them, but as you have to pay extra and the thought of spending money sends us into a cold sweat, we moved on to look at the manatees. Our kind of animal! Perhaps the most terrifying sight of all was, whilst in the underground viewing cave, we spotted two dolphins seemingly in flagrante. Either that or they were fighting…but he very clearly had his little lipstick out! Dirty rascal. We moved swiftly on.

Oooh, the shows! I can’t remember the names but we watched the show all about clever animals (dogs, cats, pigs, birds etc) and the whale show. As ever, the whale show was cheesier than my previous ingrown toenail – if I wanted to see an overgrown beast flap around and spurt in the water, I’d make Paul take a bath with me.

The show is all about the trainers now, instead of the whales, and it seems daft. No-one cares about your special necklace love. Resisting the urge to heckle, we left just before the rest of the teary-eyed imbeciles, and both agreed never again. The other show mind, the almost-live-You’ve-Been-Framed doodah, was great! We are cat-people see and as we were sorely missing our own litter (Luma and Sola) it was nice to see some pussy action. How do they get the cats to open doors anyway? The only trick our three have managed to come up with is pooing in our shoes if they don’t care for the cat-food, then smirking about it afterwards. Mind you, they’ve since learnt that smirking is indeed bad for their health, as a boot to their buttons can offend.

Coming to the end of the day, there were only a couple of things left on the map to do. Clearly, as you can see, we chose the most masculine attraction of them all, and spent a gay twenty minutes paddling our pink swan (Laura Labia) around the tiny paddling area. All the other swans were filled with little children delighted by the splashing water but we don’t really care for recommended age limits. We had to come back to the jetty once our swan started listing perilously when we were trying to get a nice photo of the two of us. It was JUST like the Herald of Free Enterprise. The last thing was the Skyride Tower, and I just couldn’t do it. I have no idea why, heights don’t faze me, but I think I was worried about having a panic attack whilst up there because it moves so slowly. Maybe next time. A couple more rides on Manta just to ram home how good it was, then we set off for the Wyndham.

Seaworld seems to be a divisive place, doesn’t it? I see a lot of people seeing that they will miss the park out of their schedule as there isn’t much to do. I disagree – they’ve now got two of the best coasters in Orlando, plus plenty for people to look at. It’s a nice day out, less pressured than Disney, more organised than Universal. I’m not so keen on the cooped-up animals but there again, Seaworld do a lot of good for the sick and poorly critters, so it’s a bit catch-22. Ah well. Let’s not  get too deep. This is my big gay trip report, not Peer bloody Gynt.

We ended the day with a meal in TGI Fridays. They’re so different to their English counterparts. The last time we visited one of these in England we were served by staff more interested in talking to each other than serving the customers and the food was horrible. The American version could not have been more different. Our waiter actually sat outside with us for a while asking about England and brought us a little box to take our free desserts back with. I know he was chasing a tip but still, it’s always good to feel welcome. The food was delicious and we worked our way down the cocktail list – it’s about the only place where I can order a Woowoo and still feel comfortable. We walked home – got offered many a lift from those pedicab things where you can sit in the back and let someone cycle you back to the hotel but I didn’t fancy having to pay his medical bills for thigh strain, so we declined. Throbbing feet though, but Paul sorted me out by giving it a good rub so all was well. As for my feet, I just stuck them in the fridge for a bit. Kaboomtish! Day twelve: DONE.


OK, so onto the apple pie. I’ll just park this here…

apple pie

Seriously though, how good is that? This is what you’ll need:

for the apple pie (to make 1):

  • 115g of chopped apple (if you don’t believe in tweaking, this is 3 syns, if you’re tweak, it’s syn-free)
  • a tsp of sweetener (gasp)
  • a squirt of lemon juice
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 5g of sultanas (25g is 3.5 syns – so this works out at less than a syn, but let’s call it 1 syn for ease)
  • 25g of Tesco Lighter puff pastry (4 syns)

to create the apple pie:

  • stew the apple by putting the chopped pieces into a pan with a few tablespoons of water, some cinnamon and the sweetener, put the lid on and let it sit on a medium heat until the apple turns mushy
  • break it up with a fork but leave some lumps
  • put into a pie dish
  • take your lump of pastry and roll it nice and thin – then use a pizza wheel or a sharp knife to cut into stripes and lattice across the top of the pie dish. You could decide to cut the pastry into stars or something – but trust me, 25g will go far if you just stretch it!
  • rub a drop or two of milk across the pastry, sprinkle with cinnamon and put into the oven for around thirty minutes on 180degrees – keep an eye on it

to drop five syns:

  • substitute the pastry (4 syns) for 35g of oats mixed with cinnamon
  • miss out the sultanas

for the ice-cream (this serves four reasonably or two greedily):

  • chop up four large bananas and freeze the pieces (takes around two hours)
  • in a decent blender, blend the frozen bananas until smooth, adding syn-free natural fat-free greek yoghurt to loosen a little
  • add a drop or two of vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon
  • pop it into a freezer-proof dish and allow to settle
  • serve!

I’m off to hide under a flameproof blanket. But look at it above, it’s a thing of beauty.

J

tiramisu – 1 syn, 5 syns, take your pick!

James (doing overtime again) says two things: people will never know the trauma of trying to diet with over 200 chocolate eggs surrounding you, and damn – a disappointing new song from Muse. Ah well. Over to Rose West…

Do you know what gets on my wick? And I mean really gets on my wick? Staff tuck shops. You know the ones I mean – some enterprising colleague decides to clear out a filing cabinet drawer and stuff it to the brim with chocolate and crisps and all sorts of delicious treats. These are also the ones that probably send around 30 CC’d emails around the office every other day for some Cake Sale event that going around. Comic Relief. Sports Relief. Colon Relief. That last one was made up, but equally as satisfying, believe me.

Now, I know my anger with this one is misplaced. I’m not angry with the drawer (it’s a very pretty, sleek affair) or with what’s in it – oh no. A slightly-undersized Snickers at hand provides a national service on-par with the NHS in my book. And the cost is entirely reasonable, especially when the menstrual vending machine wants to charge three-times that amount on a battered, broken Twirl. No, my anger on this issue is placed solely at the type of people that do it. Wholly pleasant people, naturally, but they’re always tiny, or skinny. The one in my office is completely lean, not an inch of fat on him and it was the same in my old office. How do they do it?! I can only assume they have complete self-control, something probably unnatural inside them that stops them from diving headfirst into it like Scrooge McDuck does into his pile of money which is exactly what I would do if I didn’t think I’d get stink-eye from the typists.

I managed to stay away from our drawer at work for a whole 14 MONTHS (I refused to be allowed to be told where exactly it was) before succumbing to a 40p can of Diet Coke and since then it’s like an aluminium Mermaid, sending out a siren song, enticing me to just drop a few coins for a roll of Rolo’s with the label in Turkish. Gah, it drives me mad. I try my best to instruct everyone around it to form some sort of Transformers-style Berlin Wall whenever I hoist myself off my orthopaedic chair but it never works. So the fault is entirely theirs that I’m so fat. Yup.

Keeping a mental note of what sweet treats have syn values can be a right fanny-on. I always like to save a copy of those pictures you often see fly around Facebook that has syn values printed over various bars of chocolate. I have to suck air through my teeth as I notice the 5 different notification bars at the top and the MS Word red-squiggly line under some words (one day the world will know how to do these things properly. And I will be happy) but on the whole they’re very useful.

And this got me thinking – how exactly can you enjoy a sweet treat on Slimming World? I’m sure you’d agree with me that desserts are by far the most neglected part of any diet. Dessert for me is the absolute highlight of a meal. I always position myself as close as possible to pregnant ladies on meals out because I know they’ll never let me down and I can at least half-pretend to have a pudding in solidarity. After I’ve spent a week telling them of course that the baby would want a dessert, and have you seen the dessert list? And oooh, you must be craving crumble by now. Never fails. It’s almost worth the effort knocking them all up.

Where was I? Oh yes. Dessert. Or Pudding if you’re rough (just kidding). Like me you’ll probably balk at the idea of a bowl of sliced fruit with a spoon of Splenda slung money-shot style over the top of it, or a bowl of Quark with an Options stirred in. These aren’t all bad, but they always seem to lack that indulgent factor that makes a dessert a dessert. That’s why, with this baby, I’m sure you’ll be pleased. Slimming World Tiramisu! The Cilla Black of the dessert world, granted, but this really was delicious. Just healthy enough to keep you on track, and indulgent enough to make you giggle like a horny housewife at a meter reader. A few elements of this are the standing Slimming World fare– quark, Options, sweetener, but to add a bit of depth to it I’ve added a spoonful of Baileys – one – for a bit of creaminess, two – for a boozy taste that you need for Tiramisu, and three – for a bit of boldness to the flavour. We like to use the mantra that a few syns are good for you – it’s those that keep you on track. A syn-free diet will only lead to ruin. This is great for a weigh-in night treat.

11026316_851654401574831_4805731212691168112_o

Here’s the recipe, and this will serve up two big portions, or four small ones.

to make tiramisu, you’ll need:

Tub of Quark (I’d use the Golden Acre or any ‘thicker’ style of Quark – a ‘spoonable’ one won’t quite give you the right texture, unless you put the whole thing in the freezer for an hour or so, so it firms up, two Cappucino Mullerlights, 1tsp sweetener, 2tsp of Camp (one syn), 50ml Bailey’s (eight syns), pinch of sea salt and a pinch of cocoa

to make tiramisu, you should:

Throw the lot together and mix. I used a stand mixer and it was done in less than a minute. Stick a sponge finger at the end and pretend you didn’t eat the rest of the pack whilst it was mixing. 5 syns a portion, or 2.5 if you’re having a smaller one. You could reduce the syn value to just 1 if you’re feeling virtuous if you left out the Bailey’s, but I think it gives it a kick. As always, please give it a go, and let us know what you think!

chocolate orange cheesecake

Do you know, I post these recipes every day in a Facebook group full of lovely ladies and get plenty of nice comments – but today I posted a comment asking how many syns were in man-jam and it’s like my phone has turned into a rampant rabbit – it’s never stopped buzzing. Negligible amount of syns, if you were wondering. Some say it’s great for a diet and it is in my case, my jaw hurts so much I can barely eat a grape for an hour afterwards. Haha.

So, today’s ‘thing’ was geocaching, combined with taking another rescue dog out for a walk from Bryson’s Cat and Dog Shelter. Geocaching is one of those activities which is incredibly hard to explain and sounds terminally dull until you get out there and try it yourself. Put succinctly, it’s a treasure hunt where no-one wins, but everyone has a good time trying. It’s completely free to play and is an interesting way of seeing new sights in your local area or injecting some fun into a routine walk. I can almost guarantee there will be a fair few caches near you right now.

What is a cache, then? Members of the public from around the world hide containers – some of them tiny little tubes, some proper Tupperware boxes, some massive chests – all over the place. The idea is that you’d never find them unless you were looking for them, but by searching for them you’ll often be taken to interesting places you didn’t know, or pretty views, or just cool spots. The containers will hold a log-book and you sign your name to say you’ve found it – and that’s it! There’s no prize, although some of the containers will hold little trinkets like bouncing balls. How do you find them? Using the GPS on your phone, which most smartphones these days will have. Log onto geocaching.com, see if there are any nearby. Download the geocaching app onto your phone (£6.99 for the full version, but there’s a free ‘intro’ app which does the same thing). Then go out to your chosen place, and follow the compass and clues to your cache! Done!

Or, to explain in it an overly twee but rather nice way, here is the official video:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/1YTqitVK-Ts]

Urgh, do your teeth hurt like mine do? But no – it’s genuinely really fun!

So, we looked online, and there was a lovely trail of eight geocaches near the cat and dog shelter. We immediately acquired number one, which was a tiny magnetic cache stuck behind one of the exchange boxes in the street. Then we picked up this little beauty:

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She was a staffie cross, and boy was she strong – the path was icy and I swear to God, I skated half the way around the walk. Like the other week though, she was so excited to be out and about! How people can just ditch these dogs is beyond me. We were warned that she was nervous around dogs so when someone approached me on the path with a big fuck-off Alsatian, I went and hid in the bushes to the side of the path. Only the stupid old duffer then stood directly in front of my way out with the dog, checking his phone, oblivious to the fact I was ankle-deep in freezing mud. Mind he sharp shifted when I shouted ‘I’M NOT BLOODY STANDING HERE HOPING TO GROW ROOTS, FOR FUCK’S SAKE’. Oops.

It was a lovely two hour walk, with a good mix of caches – one stuck under an old deserted railway platform, one under a postbox, one disguised as a branch of a tree and my personal favourite, a camouflaged lunchbox hidden in a rotten tree-trunk covered in hay with the only clue being ‘Part My Hair’. We found five of the eight and some pics are below:

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You can see in the top pictures the little magnetic cache with just enough room to hide a logbook and pencil, the second set of pictures shows the ‘wig’ cache and the third was the hardest, just a tiny bit of wood hidden in an old tree.

Geocaching is great fun, free and perfect for body magic. Give it a go. More on this next week.

Finally, a recipe for you:

chocolate orange cheesecake

This makes four cheesecakes or two big ones for us fatties.

to make chocolate orange cheesecake, you’ll need:

ingredients: two chocolate orange options (1.5 syns each), 500g quark and four lighter lemon alpen bars, little sugar stars to decorate (optional, one syn per tsp I reckon).

to make chocolate orange cheesecake, you should:

recipe: microwave your alpen bar for five seconds just to loosen it up, chop it up and press to the bottom of a glass. Mix together the quark and options and place on top. Chill for a couple of hours and decorate with stars.

extra easy: it’s a dessert, so it’s all about syns, but really, not much at all. Two light alpen bars is your HEB, and you only need one each here so you can have another one another time. Let’s call the options one syn and the stars another, so in total – two syns each, but if you swap the stars out for tangerine pieces, it’ll be a syn each. Delicious and simple!

J