droptober recipe #15: fish cakes, chips and peas

Fish cakes, chips and peas WITH lemon and caper mayonnaise on the side, might I add? I know right – what decadent bitches! Don’t worry, we still ate our dinner from our laps whilst watching television like the slatterns that we really are. I can barely press the buttons on our old Sky remote because there’s so much gravy smeared across the buttons. In a way, I’ve got entirely the same problem with my Mac keyboard, although that’s an entirely different sort of gravy, if you know what I mean. Jism.

Remember ages and ages ago I mentioned that I have an enemy in the form of a shrewish looking harridan who effs and jeffs at me every time I park my car in ‘her’ spot in the muti-storey car park? If not, I’ll summarise briefly – she always parks in the exact same spot every day, unless I get there first and make a point of parking there. It’s a good spot see, no chance of anyone bumping the car on either side, and anyway, there’s loads of spaces free for her to park her motor in. Anyway, if she spots me parked up, she revs her engine as she drives past, makes a massive show of slamming the car door and stomps to the lift like the heels of her shoes are on fire. Naturally, I sit in the car smirking at her to wind her up and occasionally playing the Friends theme tune if I’m feeling particularly cruel.

WELL, today, awkwardness ensued – I was running five minutes late so no time for shenanigans and as I parked up and hurtled to the lift, so did she. Our first time face to face. Naturally, we were both incredibly British about the whole thing and I let her into the lift first (when really, in keeping with tradition, I should have nipped past her, tumbled her down the stairs and took the lift cackling and jeering). Never has nine floors felt so long but let me tell you something that will justify, forever, my hijinks and mischief: she sneezed and DIDN’T cover her fucking mouth. I was so aghast (and cowardly) that I didn’t say anything and she fair skipped out of the lift when we got to the ground floor. Skipping as much as her cankles allowed, anyway.

What sort of ill-mannered beldam doesn’t stop the spray from her sneeze? We were in a lift, not a fucking wind-tunnel, there was literally no place for her spittle and disease to go, and I swear I was still wiping a froth of slaver and Charlie Red off my glasses at lunchtime. I knew we were at war, but I thought it was always agreed that biological weapons are a no-no. I tell you now, if she ever leaves her window down, even just a crack, I’m going to make sure I push my sphincter through like a grandma’s kiss and fill her shitmobile with the foulest smelling flatus I can muster. And boy, can I muster it: I’m on Slimming World, remember.

Ah well. Revenge will come and it won’t be disappointing. Speaking of disappointment, did anyone catch the one-off special of The Crystal Maze last night? You have no idea how long I’ve hoped for a TV comeback for this show – it was truly my favourite viewing experience back when I was young. Well, that and trying to pause the telly on the brief flashes of cock featured on Eurotrash, something which Paul just confirmed he used to do as well. Ha. I once fell asleep with Eurotrash paused on my little portable CRT telly which created an unfortunate screen-burn when I remembered and unpaused it in the morning. It’s hard to concentrate on Fun House when there’s a few pixels of a Frenchman’s withered cock dangling under Martina’s chin, I can tell you.

Anyway, it was always my dream to go on The Crystal Maze, but they never answered my letters when I applied for the children’s special and then cancelled it before I became an adult, which is something I’m still furious about to this day. I would have even had a crack at it when that Ed Tudor-Pole guy was presenting, I’m not fussy.  I know that there’s a Crystal Maze experience opening in Manchester (London is just too far) but I don’t think it’ll be the same as a 31 year old man, unless they’ve replaced the Aztec zone with the Sofa Zone and one of the games is a three-minute sit down to catch my breath and ease my stitch.

That said, the remake on TV wasn’t too bad, as it happens. Stephen Merchant, a man I’ve always disliked simply because of his proximity to Ricky Gervais, made a decent fist of presenting and we both actually laughed out loud a few times at his quips. However, it suffered from what most decent shows on TV suffer with these days – celebrity. What value do producers think it adds to have Rio Ferdinand fumbling about trying to wire up a battery for three minutes? A man so seemingly thick that if he forgets just one more fact they’ll need to start watering him three times a week.

Part of the charm of the old show was watching Sue, a Clinton’s Cards sorter from Colchester, try to arrange coloured dominos in an arbitrary fashion or obtaining a grade two concussion from stotting her head off a balance beam. Michelle Keegan hanging up pub signs or Sara Cox dodging lasers holds far less appeal. The best thing they could do with The Crystal Maze is to inject genuine peril into it – make those lasers into 2000mW jobbies that slice your foot off whilst you cartwheel your way to the crystal, or make someone solve a Rubik’s cube whilst a crowd of their family hurl drawing pins at their eyes. Film it all with those awful GoPro cameras and have Adele fart out the theme tune and it would be an instant, guaranteed success. NOW Channel 4 will answer my letters, I’m sure.

Speaking of instant successes, let’s take a look at tonight’s recipe – fish cakes, chips and peas. I’m not going to provide a recipe for our chips because it’s as simple as cutting potatoes and putting them in an Actifry with a teaspoon of oil (2 syns) and a teaspoon of worcestershire sauce. Perfect every time. Amazon (at the time of writing) have the new model for only £99, so why not treat yourself? The peas are from the Tesco Value vintage and are artfully cooked in an old jug in the microwave. I know, where’s that Michelin star when you deserve it? Let’s get to the fish cakes, shall we? Fish cakes aren’t usually something I’d go for at the chippy – I like a haggis and a large chips with curry sauce, thanks. I like to know at least something has died in order to feed me.

fish cakes, chips and peas

to make fish cakes, chips and peas you will need

  • 250g cod or haddock (frozen is fine – it’s what we used, just make sure it’s defrosted)
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 50g panko (9 syns)
  • 1x 60g wholemeal roll, blitzed (1x HeB)

This makes four big fishcakes, feel free to make eight instead and syn them down accordingly.

optional: for the lemon and caper mayonnaise

  • 6 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (Morrison’s NuMe range is only 1 syn per tbsp)
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp capers

By the way, you don’t need to serve it on a board like a pretentious twat like we did, just use a plate and be done.

to make fish cakes, chips and peas you should:

  • peel and quarter the potatoes and bring a pan of water to the boil
  • simmer for about 15 minutes, until tender, and then drain and mash
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, and a bit of oil and cook the fish fillets for about 4 minutes each side
  • remove the fish from the heat, flake with a fork and add to the mash
  • add the beaten egg, spring onions and mustard to the fish and potato mix and stir well
  • divide the mixture into four and press into four burger shapes
  • in a shallow dish, mix together the panko and bread roll crumbs
  • gently dab the fish cakes into the panko, making sure each one is well coated
  • clean out the frying pan and add a few more sprays of oil over a medium high heat
  • gently add each cake to the pan and cook on each side until golden brown
  • to make the lemon and caper mayonnaise, just mix all the ingredients together
  • serve on a plate, put it into your mouth, chew, swallow and start turning into poo – it’s really this simple

Enjoy! I know that you can make fish cakes syn free if you try but look, this is crunchy, tasty and filling – use your syns for a decent meal. It can’t all go on Bellabrusco, you know.

For more seafood, fakeaway or, I dunno, other recipes, click the buttons below.

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Cheers!

J

orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad

Oh I know, I’m a fancy bastard sometimes. After yesterday’s encounter with Countess Canestan-Extra and her silly dismissal of Paul as classless and uncouth, I thought I’d make a geet proper posh tea of orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad. Then I shelved that idea and hoyed a bit of fish and some butterbeans on a chopping board. I did act ‘all posh’ by not farting my way through dinner at least.

So, just a recipe to post tonight because you don’t normally get a recipe a day, but hey, today’s been a good day so why not. Yes, you’ll need to use your syns for this dinner so that probably means the majority of you lot won’t bother, but remember, syns are there to be used! Also, save for a couple of dishes way back when, this is a very rare dish indeed because it contains fish. I don’t like fish. I’m sorry, I don’t, and whilst that normally garners the same response from everyone I mention it to where they list every fish they can think of as if I’m telling a fib and I secretely crave and desire fish, let me assure you I’m not kidding. I might stomach a tin of tuna and I always swallow, but that’s about the only ingesting of anything that swims that I manage.

Paul likes it though, so this is for you babezzz 4EVA IN MI HARTS 

You might not want to bother with the butterbean salad or you might want to skip the fish. Just adjust the dish accordingly and I’ll see you in the morning. Let’s go! This makes a hearty meal for two. I’ve adapted the salad idea from an old Rose Elliott recipe. I’ve tried to marry them so that both recipes use similar ingredients. BECAUSE I’M NICE.

orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad

to make the orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad, you’ll need:

  • for the salmon
    • two tablespoons of honey (5 syns)
    • three tablespoons of soy sauce, but for goodness sake go low sodium, think of that ticker, let’s be frank you’re already working it hard
    • one tablespoon of rice vinegar 
    • two tablespoons of pure orange juice (we use the Trop50 Tropicano orange juice which is 1 syn for 100ml, but you’re using nowhere near that, so don’t bother synning it)
    • one tsp of sesame oil (2 syns)
    • a couple of cloves of garlic, minced finely, and yeah you know where I’m going with this, buy a bloody mincer – I know, I’m the only cheap mincer you need, but seriously, get one, it’ll make your life better
    • a little knob of ginger no bigger than your thumb or what hangs between the legs of those nobheads on the motorway who drive up your arse like they want to park on your teeth, minced finely, you know, using your mincer
    • few drops of hot tabasco sauce if you like to feel your dinner both going into your body and tumbling out later
    • a couple of good sized salmon fillets
    • some foil

So that’s 7 syns in total, but between two, only 3.5 syns.

  • for the salad
    • two tins of butterbeans – you’re better off getting a slightly better brand so they’re not too mushy and falling apart, drained and washed
    • a good grind of dried red chilli peppers
    • two tablespoons of maple syrup (4 syns) or use honey (5 syns)
    • two tablespoons of rice vinegar
    • one tsp of sesame oil (2 syns)
    • one tsp of reduced salt soy sauce
    • two spring onions cut as finely as you possibly can
    • a good handful of rocket, cut up, but not too fine
    • 10g of Tesco salted peanuts, smashed up with a rolling pin (3 syns) (optional)

That’s 9 syns in total, and you can drop it down to 6 if you leave out the peanuts, but they add crunch. Between two is only 4.5 syns maximum.

to make the orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad, you should:

  • for the salmon
    • slap your fish down onto a foiled baking tray skin-side down and put the oven onto 200 degrees
    • make sure there is enough foil to wrap around the fish to form a parcel
    • mix together all the other ingredients and brush gently onto the salmon flesh
    • wrap the foil up around the fish so it’s fully enclosed 
    • cook in the oven for around twenty minutes
    • making sure it’s almost cooked, take it out, scoop the sauce up (use a spoon, not your fingers, unless you never want to play the piano again) and glaze the fish with it once more
    • chuck it under a grill for three or four minutes to colour off the top
    • I chucked on a few sesame seeds I had kicking about, you don’t need to, but a tiny pinch is less than a syn so…
    • serve with the salad, which follows below…
  • for the salad
    • see, I told you it was coming, and I don’t normally, I like the element of surprise see
    • OK, if you’ve rinsed off your butter beans, pop them into a bowl, and whisk together all the other ingredients bar the rocket, peanuts and spring onion
    • drizzle the dressing over the beans and mix it gently, you’re not trying to clap out an oil fire
    • about five minutes before your fish is ready, add the cut up rocket and sliced spring onion, and mix again, like you did last summer
    • when serving, scatter on the smashed up peanuts to add a bit of crunch.

Sorted! Fancy dinner or what. You don’t need to serve it on an ostentatious chopping board like me, but sometimes it’s good to let your hair down. 

Enjoy!

J

This Slimming World friendly dish of orange glazed salmon with spicy butterbean salad uses a few syns but makes for a delicious dinner that looks good but is very easy to prepare!

homemade fish fingers

There was a TV programme smeared on BBC One on Wednesday night, immediately following Bake Off, called Britain’s Spending Secrets? Did anyone catch it? It was presented by Anne Robinson, who, despite being only one facelift from having a second pair of lips to talk through, I rather like. She’s disarming yet dangerous – I always feel that if I was to talk to her I’d start off joking about boobs and end up confessing to being making super speed soup out of Shergar. I love how that sounds as a sentence. All those S’s. Ssss.

Anyway the reason I bring up Wednesday’s TV like it’s even slightly relevant is because of how angry it made me. The show itself was the usual bit of evening fluff where some people talk about having money, some talk about not having money, the presenter (attempts to) smiles her way through having to sit on someone’s Perfect Home settee and disguise the fact she wants to go home and boil wash her Etro blazer. And of course, being the BBC, it’s all done without the malice that would have accompanied it if the show had been on Channel 5, which seems to have morphed into the ‘Benefits’ channel, where even the most mundane activity has been turned into an excuse to film fat people struggling off the sofa whilst that fucking annoying pizzicato violin music plays. 

Fact for you: it’s called Dance of the Woodland Pixies. Play the below and you’ll feel like Alex Polizzi, checking hotel toilets for pubes and looking disdainful.

Part of the show involved swapping two mothers over – one from a ‘buy buy buy’ family, the other from a ‘save save save’ lot. Predictable snipping. You can expect that. No, what made my blood turn to piss was the sight of the ‘rich’ family sneering at the ‘poor family’. The mother of the rich family made a big point about how she bought her daughters anything they wanted, that it is better to live for today and enjoy your money rather than worry what is coming (not completely untrue) and that labels made her happy. That’s fine, save for the fact she was instilling the same virtue in her daughter, who stood laughing at the ‘poor’ mother because she had the temerity to buy her stuff from a car boot sale. If I had been so openly disrespectful when I was little the skin on my arse would have looked like a slab of beef.

I could vaguely understand her reasoning if she had a gorgeous house and enough money in the bank to wipe her arse with £50 notes, but she actually had quite a run-down looking home, an average salary and a husband who walked behind her at all times. There was such an air of undeserved condescension about her that I almost bit clean through my cocoa cup. I can’t work my head around those who live their lives through what the label on their handbag says or what the tags on the back of their coats read. The only label I ever take notice of on a person is if they have ‘CAUTION: BITES’ pinned to their shirt. There’s no shame in having nice things but to use your shitty labels to pour scorn on others? Harumph.

Of course, if we’re going to be mean about the whole thing, she was prattling on in Debenhams (where all the well-to-do folk shop, naturally) about how she doesn’t blink twice about paying for a label because it’s the first thing people notice about her…well it wasn’t for Paul and me. We noticed her bad hair-dye job (sweetcorn yellow) and the fact that she thought a Radley handbag was the height of sophistication far quicker than we did notice her fanciness. Inner ugliness always shows, no matter how much ‘expensive’ make-up you trowel on.

Rest assured, if Paul and I had money, we wouldn’t be spending it on expensive clothes. I don’t see the point. Frankly, as long as my cock isn’t hanging out (which thanks to most of my jeans having a split in them, it normally is) and my tits aren’t on show, I’m fine and dandy in cheap clothes. Let’s all go to Tesco, where Jaymes buys his best clothes, la-la-la-la.

No, if we won the lottery, especially if we won one of those ridiculous figures where your brain really has to think to work out exactly what the zeroes mean, we’d spend it having a bloody great whale of a time. I don’t think I’d ever move again, for one thing. We’d have a chef, a driver, a decent PA, someone to come in and wash my belly-shelf. I’d like to think I’d be generous but I reckon we’d turn into evil rich people within approximately 30 minutes – paying Disney for the sole use of their parks and then sitting at the gates turning kids away, that kind of thing. I’d go round to all my exes with a car made of gold coins and jeer at them from the window. There’d be so many holidays that coming home would be having a rest.

Would I work? Would I fuckity. I must write my resignation letter in my head at least twice a week, and I actually enjoy my job, so if I had money behind me, I’d never work again. I can’t bear that, you know, when some yellow-eyed binman wins a few million and promises to carry on working. No! You don’t get to keep working, give your job to someone else and get yourself a new liver, you joyless bugger.

Ah, a boy can dream. Maybe this is why budget week didn’t quite work for us. But here, there’s a recipe we didn’t post which can be done on the cheap. This makes enough fish fingers to serve two with mushy peas and chips. I’m not a big fan of fishy fingers (seems apt), but these were lovely and a cheap recipe to make!

homemade fish fingers

to make your fish fingers, you’ll need:

  • 400g fish of your choice, defrosted (we used frozen cod)
  • 17g corn flakes (3 syns)
  • 2 slices of wholemeal bread (HEB)
  • one egg (beaten)
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • mushy peas if you want them
  • chips if you want them 

and then to make fish fingers, you should:

  • grate the zest from the lemon and then juice the fucker into submission (remember, if you’re pissing about grating on a box grater like a div, get a microplane grater, best gadget I own! Buy one here cheap cheap)
  • cut the fish into fingers and place in a shallow baking dish and cover with the lemon juice
  • meanwhile add the corn flakes, bread, parsley and pepper to a food processor and blitz into a fairly fine powder, or if you’re lo-tech, hoy it all in a bag and bash it with a rolling pin
  • dip the fish fingers into the egg and roll gently in the breadcrumb mixture
  • heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a little oil – or frylight – but make sure you use the best non-stick pan you’ve got
  • cook the fish fingers in a single layer for about 4-5 minutes each side until golden
  • serve with chips and peas!

Musclefood burgers tomorrow! And in time…an offer…

J

spicy tuna and bacon pasta

Just a recipe today folks, as we’re having a lazy day in front of Netflix. We literally could not have done less today – we stayed in bed until 10am, got up, took the duvet with us and got under it on the sofa and have barely moved since.  Paul went for a piss sometime after noon and I’ve made a few cups of tea, but put it this way, if we had a pedometer attached to one of our flabrolls, it would read ‘ERR’ right now. Ah well. We work hard, we can rest! It’s lucky that neither of us are the type to look with jealous eyes at other people on Facebook who are out protesting, or burning in the sun, or rolling down hills in plastic balls. I mean, yes, that’s fun, but it’s so energetic. We like to rest before we get tired.

Tell you what though, we have had a minor bout of decisiveness – we’ve only gone and booked our Christmas holiday! Yes, we’re shuffling our jellyforms onto a plane bound for Iceland. Iceland! Not the shop – the idea of spending my holiday surrounded by a herd of woman with moustaches buying horse-arse burgers and a suitcase of ice-pops holds no appeal. Thinking about it, Iceland really is the perfect holiday destination for two plus-sized puffs:

  • they’re super gay-friendly, which is a bonus as it means I can hold Paul’s hand without having my teeth kicked out through my arse;
  • a lot of their food seems repellant to me, and christ, I’ll put any old shite in my mouth, but ‘singed and boiled sheep head’ and ‘shark fermented in piss’ seems a bit much even for me. I might get old Magsy on the blower tonight and see if she’ll do a piss-shark special in the next magazine;
  • it’s cold – very cold – which means we don’t need to be walking around fanning our faces like frisky debutantes and worrying about the sweat patches forming under our bitch-titties; and
  • it’s not going to be full of awful people who think a SKOL ashtray and a STELLA umbrella is the sign of a fine establishment, although, the other side of that coin is that it’s bound to be full of hipsters photographing the Northern Lights and saying yah-but-really-though all the time.

So: if you’re a fan of our previous travels to Ireland or Germany, you’ll enjoy hearing us battle our way through the customs and traditions of Iceland. Anyway: tonight’s recipe, before I pass out through sheer exhaustion, is a spicy tuna and bacon pasta.

spicy sw pasta

I know what you’re thinking. Bacon and tuna is an odd mix, but it works. I’m not a big fan of fish, but I found this tasty. If you don’t have any fancy-dan pasta like us, just use any old guff that you find rattling around in the back of the cupboard. This is a recipe that you could tart-up by adding lots of other vegetables, but actually, the simplicity works for us. We know our limits. So…

you’ll need this to make spicy tuna and bacon pasta:

  • 200g of any pasta – we used fusilli lunghi from Tesco, but just use what you have
  • one tin of tuna – look, I never use this blog to tubthump, what you buy is your own business, but if you can afford it, buy decent tinned tuna, at the very least stuff that is caught ‘pole and line’ rather than the cheap stuff (actually, some of the cheap stuff is alright and the known brands are crap, like John West and Princes, but just do some research). Tuna caught in massive nets is bad because the same nets suck in all sorts of other sealife, such as sharks and turtles. Terrible when you think that turtle could have made someone a lovely ashtray)
  • 6 bacon medallions, or you know, you could be normal and just trim the fat off proper bacon
  • 1 yellow onion 
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely grated, and yes, I’ll plug the microplane grater again for this: click here if you want one – at least your fingers won’t reek of garlic
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4tsp of cumin powder and 1/4tsp of chilli powder (which you can leave out if you’ve got a sensitive balloon-knot
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 125ml of milk (1% is 2.5 syns, this serves two)
  • drop of two of oil, or Frylight, for all your pan-ruining needs!

and to make spicy tuna and bacon pasta, you should:

  • cook your pasta in salty water until it’s cooked – fling it off a tile to see if it sticks, though you’ll look like a monkey throwing its shit around in a zoo;
  • let your chopped onions and minced garlic gently cook in a drop of oil until they go as see-through as a whore’s knickers
  • in goes the chopped bacon, which you’ll cook unil it’s golden brown (texture like sun)
  • then in go the chopped tomatoes, which you’ll cook until they soften
  • once that’s done, in go the spices, tuna, chilli powder and oregano, which you’ll mix up nicely
  • ready for the milk now – chuck it in, bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer until it thickens up
  • in goes the cooked pasta, swirl it and mix it all up
  • serve with a sprinkling of parmesan (30g is a HEA)

Enjoy. Like I said, it’s not the most amazing thing to look at, but it’s tasty and quick

baked cod with samphire

What a lovely day! An hour spent bellowing at my nana – not out of malice you understand, but remember, she’s tone deaf so you end up repeating things in incremental degrees of volume until you’re screaming NO THANKS I DON’T NEED A METRIC TONNE OF MINT IMPERIALS I’M ON A DIET like you’re trying a hail a taxi from the moon. Bless her, it would be quicker and easier for me to have my side of the conversation tattooed onto my body and relayed back to her via sign language than it is to have a two-way conversation punctuated only by the sound of her hearing aid whirring away like an old 56k modem. Bless her though, I’d not change a bit about her. Even the answers in her Puzzler are hilarious – when she doesn’t know, she just adds random letters in like someone upending a Scrabble board.

But, before we went to my nana, we spent three hours walking dogs! It was BRILLIANT. I love dogs (not as much as cats – it’s my ambition in life (or rather death) that when I snuff it, I lie in a living room with eighty cats picking away at my carcass and eight pouches of Bite ‘n’ Chew in my birds nest hair) but we can’t have one in our house. It wouldn’t be fair, as we both work long hours and I’d spend all day worried that the dog was looking out the window with a doleful expression on its face, waiting for our DS3 to come bouncing over the speed-bump/her at Number 2 at the bottom of our street. So. How to get some body magic in and meet new dogs? Easy! We rang up a local cat and dog shelter (Brysons of Gateshead) (I’m not sure if that needs apostrophising and now I’m stressing, so if it does, I’m sorry) and asked if they needed people to walk their dogs – and they do, so we did!

After spending ten minutes doing my normal parking routine of driving into a parking space, leaving it, driving back in at one degree less than before, checking the lines, driving out, putting my wipers on instead of my indicators and then finally driving in another bay just up the road, we were there, and after handing over ID (lest we stole the dogs, I assume) we were given Max (a spaniel, I think) and Scout (a greyhound). Off we trotted, with the greyhound almost immediately pulling me over. I’m a big guy, but this bugger was strong! Paul had worn a shitty pair of old trainers so he was fine clarting around in the mud, but I’d inexplicably chose Chelsea boots to wear, and I pretty much skated my way through the mud along the Bowes Railway. We spent ages trotting along with the dogs who were wonderfully behaved, giving them a good walk (and us some great body magic) and generally enjoying ourselves. The dogs seemed happy to be made of a fuss of and getting some fresh air, even if my dog (Max) spent a horrendous amount of time picking absolutely every bit of rubbish up off the ground and trying to eat it, followed by me trying to stop him – I don’t think we’d be able to take dogs out again if I returned it with a Panda Pop bottle poking out of his bumhole.

Here they are!

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Gorgeous little buggers. Great way to get more exercise and to help out a local charity. They also need cat cuddlers but I don’t think my heart can take it. Here’s our two, beautiful as ever. You’ll note the cat beds hanging from the radiator, spoilt little buggers.

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Bowser is particularly pleased, as he managed to get a whole piece of cod for his tea. Cod from the recipe below, which was also our meal this evening…enjoy!

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to make baked cod with samphire, you’ll need:

ingredients: 250g of halved cherry tomatoes, 100g of pitted black olives, two tablespoons of capers, two tablespoons of mixed herbs (not the mixed herbs – use thyme, dill and oregano), four cod fillets (frozen), tablespoon of olive oil, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and a packet of samphire.

and to make baked cod with samphire, you should:

recipe: place the tomatoes, capers, olives and fish in a pyrex dish – fish nestled amongst the other ingredients rather than sitting on top. Make a oil from the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and herbs and drizzle over the top. Add salt and pepper. Put into the oven for 20-25 minutes (if frozen, if you’re using fresh go for 15 minutes and check if it needs longer). Five minutes before the fish is ready, boil a pan of water, chuck in the samphire for two or three minutes and sieve. Put that on a plate, add a piece of fish and some of the capers/tomatoes/olives. Drizzle over some of the liquid that was released when the ingredients cooked, and bloody well enjoy!

extra-easy: perfectly. There are syns, but you’re supposed to use them, and again I’ve been fairly conservative with the syn value here – the dish serves four, and the two syns is per serving, but you could lower the amount of olives and adjust the syns accordingly. It’s really not high though, and the ingredients are beautifully simple. Samphire can be tricky to find, and if you’ve never had it, give it a go. It’s got a strong, salty taste, but is delicious – you can eat it raw, but I prefer it blanched for a moment or two just to take the edge off. It grows by the sea and really adds to the fish dish!

Enjoy. What a day!

J

seared tuna with carrot flowers

The meal this evening:

Tuna

Tonight was supposed to be a lovely romantic night, filled with Amazing Race and cosiness on the settee. I was going to take the lock off the central heating and allow Paul to put the heating on – well, it was icy on my car this morning, I think I’ve been entirely Geordie enough about the temperature thing. We’ve got one of those god-awful ‘why yes, I’m incontinent’ gas fires that the previous old couple had installed and I hate it. It hisses and smells, rather like Paul – and has equally dangerous levels of combustible gas. Anyway. That idea was quite literally put to bed as, after I made him the delicious dinner you see below, he went to ‘drop the kids off’ and fell asleep on the toilet. So he’s away for an early night (in bed, that is – he’s not still on the netty) and I’m left to do the cleaning up, accompanied only by the sound of his snoring, gasping for air and death-rattle farting. He’s lucky he’s so deliciously squishy.

Actually, I say it’s quiet, but I’m actually being tormented by Cat Number 2 (Sola), who is currently outside the house trying to get in. No problem, I’ll open the door. Except when I do, she sits there meowing and runs off as soon as I go to pick her up. Now she isn’t fucking Lassie, I know there’s no-one trapped down a well (and plus she’s an evil cat – she’d be at the top of the well having a shit over the rim rather than dashing for help), she’s just doing it to torment me. I sit down at the computer chair, and I hear the scratching at the front door begin. Then, she sticks her paw in a loose bit of fixture on the door and pulls it back just enough to make a tapping sound. Again and again and again. I put up with it, I curse at her, then I eventually get up, open the door, and off she flees. My own cat is playing Knocky-fucking-Nine Doors with me! It’s bad enough I wake up to the sight of her licking her pencil sharpener every single morning, now she’s bullying me at night too! Bag. I might see if I can take her to the vet and get her un-spayed, just because she was so hilariously grumpy for the few days after her last op. That’ll teach her.

to make seared tuna with carrot flowers:

Tuna2

No need for a recipe breakdown here, I don’t think – says it all above! The bit about balsamic pearls is just something extra, you absolutely don’t need to dick about doing that. It does look good though, even if the tuna in the photo looks like Vern from the leech scene in Stand by Me. Don’t judge, I only had a crappy sugar thermometer. Always good to learn new techniques though and it was the recipe here that I used. Give it a go!

Oh! One thing. You could easily make this a syn free meal by omitting the horseradish, but I find it adds a nice hit of heat to an otherwise plain, but delicious, dinner.

I’m trying hard to get into fish for an evening meal, with the old adage of ‘if it swims, it slims’ ringing in my ears. But so far, only tuna has passed muster, with everything else being deemed too fishy by my sensitive tastebuds. People always do the same thing when I mention I don’t like fish – have you tried swordfish, oysters, trout, blah blah – yes! I have! I’m not unadventurous when it comes to food – I’ll try anything and never say I don’t like something without trying it. So I’m working my way through more fish, but, you know if you were to put down a steak and a piece of fish, you’d be able to tell which was fish because of the taste? It’s THAT taste I don’t like. Not fishiness, just…non-meatiness!

Fish does remind me of a favourite memory, though. I used to go on holiday to Montreuil-sur-Mer with a very good mate, and despite us both being common as muck, we decided to see if we could get a table at the poshest restaurant in the area, the Château de Montreuil, a ridiculously uptight fine-dining affair, not quite our level. Well no, nowhere near our level. We managed to bluff our way through the million courses until we were served a tiny blini with what I imagine was very good caviar atop. At the precise moment my friend put it into his mouth, I made a snide comment about one of the waiters and, of course with me being so deliciously cutting, he promptly burst out laughing, with the barely digested blini and caviar arcing gracefully across the table and landing in my doubtless very-expensive glass of white wine. Well, that was it for me, I was beyond help, in veritable paroxysms of laughter, but he was momentarily ashen. What to do? All manner of French lemon-mouthed hoity-toitys had turned to look at us. So, cool as a chinese cucumber, he reaches across the table, lifts my glass and downs the lot – wine, caviar and blini – in one full gulp and crashes the glass down on the table with a loud exclamation of ‘DEE-LICIOUS’.

Good heavens.

It’s no wonder other nations think we’re such an uncultured bunch. Ah he’s brilliant.

I’m off to try and rouse Paul and salvage the last of our evening. I want my bloody one-syn chocolate orange for one thing! I’ve mulled over the best way to wake him up, and I’ve settled on playing Les Dennis doing his Mavis impression on loop through the wireless speaker in our bedroom. Ain’t I a stinker…

Goodnight,

J

a fisherman’s burger

Tonight’s recipe is Fisherman’s Burger – basically a breaded cod fillet in a bun with homemade tartare sauce. I’m not kidding – I’m not a massive fan of fish, but this was just tremendous! And so easy to make, give it a go. Here’s a recipe card:

fishy

ingredients: cod fillets, skinless and boneless, lettuce, gherkins, two small wholemeal buns, four small slices of wholemeal bread, extra light mayo, fat free fromage frais, dill, parsley, salt and pepper, garlic, onion and gherkins.

recipe: easy! blitz the sliced bread, garlic, parsley and dill to make crumbs, dip the fish in egg, then into the crumbs. Pop it in the oven for fifteen minutes until crunchy. Whack it into a bun with crunchy lettuce and tartare sauce as made above. Serve with chips, mushy peas and lemon.

extra-easy: it’s three and a half syns per burger, and you’ll need to use your healthy extra B for the bun. If you’re having two, syn the second bun for 6.5 syns. It’s worth it though! You could make a salad to go with the bun to up your superfree though. I think (and I may be wrong) that the syns come from the crumbs, but most of that stays in the tray so I’d actually say it was 1.5 syn per burger. Bloody go for it! Fish is an excellent food – if it swims, it slims.

Enjoy 🙂