proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

We’re all itching for the proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, but honestly, like I’m going to let that happen without some flimflam first.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I might have changed his wording a little, but damn it, this is my blog not his. He’s absolutely right, though. I’ll give you an example – I have many, many cake and cooking tins from the halcyon days way back when when I used to bake all the time and delight my friends and co-workers with biscuits, cakes and goodies. Now all they get is barely disguised contempt and secretive farts into my office chair. One of these tins is a fancy Lakeland square tin with one of those bottoms that you push up (same as Paul) to release the cake. Great idea. Has it ever worked? Has it balls.

Does that stop me trying it? Of course not. No, every time a recipe requires something square, out it comes. I spend a few minutes looking owlishly at it, demanding that it doesn’t leak, then proceed with the recipe. This time it was for a fancy quiche – lots of cheese, egg whites, decent ham. I spent an age cutting up the onion, sweating them down, making everything just right. Popped the mixture into this non-leak square tin, placed the tin in the oven, turned my back for one moment to set Just a Minute away on the iPad and turned around to see all the beaten egg dripping out of the oven. My kitchen floor looked like the gusset of a £5 prostitute’s knickers. It would have been more effective had I left the removable bottom off.

Well I was furious. I’d given this fucking tin enough chances. Yes, I could line it, but it was sold to me on the basis I didn’t need to line the fucker and I’m not going to be dictated to by Lakeland. I salvaged the contents of the quiche into a Pyrex dish, covered it with egg-white and took the scalding hot square tin outside, where I set about it with a sledgehammer. Do I feel better? Yes, I do, and I’m all set if I ever want to make a rhombus-shaped christmas cake.

Anyway, that’s the only wrinkle in an otherwise lovely, quiet weekend. You know we aren’t ones for doing anything that requires more movement than entirely necessary, and that was certainly the case on Saturday, when we literally moved from the bed to the settee and back to the bed. We make no apologies, we have busy working weeks. But last night Paul turned to me and said, through a fine mist of pastry crumbs and spittle, that I was to wake him up early in the morning and not let him sleep in late. Pffft. Let me explain how weekend mornings work in our house.

I wake up about 8.30am, always have. I’m not one for sleeping all day – once my eyes open, I’m awake and that’s the end of it, thank you. Knowing he is tired, I’ll generally stay in bed until half nine so Paul has something to lie against and act as ballast to stop him tipping onto his front and drowning in his chin-fat. I’m like one of those tyres you see strapped onto the side of piers for the ferry to rub against. He’ll murmur incoherent nonsense in my ear, put a clammy hand around my belly and fart those indescribably foul morning farts in my general direction all the while. I don’t know what his body does to food overnight but I swear you could power a small city on the strength of his morning flatus. He chuckles away to himself whilst he lets them out, which I do find endearing as I’m clawing at my throat trying to find oxygen.

At around half nine, I get bored with looking at Reddit, not masturbating and spending our money and decide to wake Paul up. This is a complicated process. First I’ll start by cuddling in so he gets far too hot, but then he just moves away or lets out a warning fart, making me retreat. The next step is to start shaking the bed by jiggling on the spot, but that does nothing other than occasionally illicit a cry from him to ‘STOP WANKING’. Plus, our bed is so ridiculously oversized that by the time the tremors eventually hit him, it’s usually nighttime again.

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With the shaking of the bed bearing no fruit, I turn to shaking him directly, starting off with the buttocks, moving up to the stomach and then, if that doesn’t work, his shoulders. This normally does the trick and after he’s wiped the sleep from his eyes and tried his luck with Little Paul (not happening, matey, not without a shower and caustic acid) he reassures me that he’s going to get out of bed as soon as he’s ‘done his stretches’ and could I make him a coffee? I’m happy with this – I’ll mince, invariably stark-bollock-naked, into the kitchen, make him a coffee and return only to find him fast asleep and pulling that face that reminds me awfully of what I imagine his mother looks like when she hasn’t had the formaldehyde in her tank topped up. At this point I generally take a huff and set about cleaning the kitchen instead, which really only punishes me instead of him. At 11 I’ll go in, flap the duvet, wake him up and tell him to get up. At 11.30 I normally go in and take the duvet away altogether, which only results in him sleep-farting more in an effort to heat the room.

Noon means the nuclear option. I’ve touched on this before, but we’ve got speakers in each room of the house that can be controlled centrally via the iPad. These ones, if you please. They’re useful for cleaning – a bit of Dolly in the bathroom, some Radio 4 in the kitchen. Great stuff. At noon, I choose the worst song I can possibly find, turn the volume up to 100 so the bass shakes your fillings out, sneak in and muffle it a little with a towel so I don’t deafen the fucker, then on goes something genuinely frightening: We Want The Same Thing by Belinda Carlisle has a very loud intro, for example. There’s been Minnie Riperton singing Loving You, too, but that starts out slowly. This morning was Magic Dance from Labyrinth, which worked, but only because he was laughing so much.

I called him Hoggle, he called me DCI Vera Stanhope. Paul was awake and all was right with the world again.

Seriously though, what does fuck me off just a smidge (if you’re reading this, my little clartyarse) is that he’ll invariably turn to me fifteen minutes after getting up and say ‘you really need to start waking me up earlier’. How we both laugh as I imagine waking him up with petrol and matches.

Anyway, come, let’s get to the quiche. I really miss quiche when I’m dieting, not least because the Slimming World equivalents are usually full of cottage cheese and empty in taste. It’s the food equivalent of eating a bath sponge, only at least with a sponge you get the excitement of wondering whether you’ll choke to death to alleviate the crashing boredom. I’ve seen quiches made with Pasta and Sauces and I think, all the very best to you, but that’s not really for me. No, I need cheese, eggs, chest pains and flavour. So, here we are.

One compromise I’ve had to make is the pastry. There’s no way that you can bring pastry in under Slimming World’s radar, I’m sorry. Decent pastry is butter and flour combined, there’s not much that can be done without your consultant (hey consultants, big fan!) having a conniption fit and sobbing into her fan of stickers. However, salvation lies in the form of sweet potatoes. Yes, that’s right.

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

Seriously, look at the top of that. This makes enough for six large portions served with salad.

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

to make a proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, you’ll need:

  • one large sweet potato
  • a decent, non-stick pyrex dish that’ll not spill your dinner everywhere
  • three thick slices of ham – we got ours chopped at the deli counter, you want it about a cm thick (or use bog standard stuff if you want)
  • two large red onions
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125ml of 1% milk (from a HEA allowance, although 100ml is only two syns, so if you want, divide by six for less than half a syn per portion)
  • the whites from four more eggs
  • whatever cheese you want – I used 140g of Danish blue cheese – 35g is a HEA
  • pinch of mustard
  • bit of salt
  • lots of black pepper

to make a proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, you should:

  • slice your sweet potato – you want thickish slices and to save time and make this easier, use a mandolin – the one we use is currently reduced on Amazon, so it is
  • take your pyrex dish, give it a few squirts of spray oil and then layer the sweet potato on top of each other, covering the bottom and a little of the sides – don’t worry about the fact it doesn’t look uniform, that’s fine
  • put that into a preheated oven at 190 degrees for 25 minutes or so
  • whilst that’s cooking, cut up your onion nice and fine and sweat it off in a pan – I added a pinch of fresh thyme because I am one classy fucker
  • cut up the ham into nice cubes and crumble your cheese up
  • in a jug mix the egg whites, two large eggs, 125ml of 1% milk, pinch of mustard powder, salt and pepper
  • once your sweet potatoes are done, take them out of the oven, push them around a bit to make sure there are no major holes in the bottom of the dish
  • layer on the onion, the cubed ham, the cheese and then the egg mixture
  • cook in the oven for around 30 minutes on 200 degrees – make sure it doesn’t burn, but also, it’ll be a wee bit wobbly when it comes out, leave to cool and it’ll firm up nicely
  • I mean, do use your common sense though – if it looks like you could pour it on your cereal, cook it a bit longer
  • how easy was that?

You can swap out the cheese but don’t be adding mushrooms or tomatoes, they add liquid. I think this should be freezable, but not sure. Portion it up for lunches or, more realistically, eat the whole lot and spend the rest of the night on the toilet clutching your poor eggbound belly.

Looking for more ideas with pork or even taster nights (which you could take this quiche too, if you were feeling generous?) – click the buttons below! You could make this veggie too, so I’m including that link.

porksmalltastersmallvegetariansmall

Over and out!

J

ham and egg breakfast bites

Another breakfast recipe in the form of ham and egg breakfast bites – these couldn’t be simpler to make and the recipe will take no time at all to type, so let me rattle something else off. I was in the bath earlier (what can I say, I thought I’d make an effort for work tomorrow and, after hours of hard gardening, my bollock-consommé was particularly strong) when I happened across a chapter in Bill Bryson’s newest book where he listed ten of his irrational dislikes. First thought? The cheeky faced bearded bugger had clearly read my previous blog entry and nicked the idea. Second thought? As if a wonder like Bill Bryson would read my blog. I love Bill – my favourite author in the world. If I can get to 60 and be as witty and verbose as him, I’ll be a happy, better-bearded man. My previous irrational dislikes can be found here, but here’s a few more…

spitting in public

Spitting should never happen. It’s a vile process – unless you’ve ingested some kind of poison, there’s no reason to blow great chunks of lungbutter out onto the street. You’ll see people walking along spitting away merrily like they’ve got a mouthful of cat hair and it’s all I can do not to reach across and set their face on fire. Apparently I’m the one in the wrong if I do that. Pfft. I’m tempted to add spitting in private onto the list but I can think of at least one situation where someone may prefer to spit rather than swallow. Amateurs. I gargle.

baby on board stickers

The most pointless, self-indulgent little sticker known to man, other than the picture of Alan Shearer grinning his big smug smile in the 1997 football sticker album. I can’t bear Alan Shearer – I’ve met him, and he’s a boring, self-aggrandising arse. Anyway, what’s the point of these baby on board stickers? Do you think I was planning to drive onto your backseat and through your headrests until I saw your pink Comic Sans sticker of shite and decided against it? Some say it’s for the fire brigade to know immediately in a crash that there’s a baby somewhere in the crushed metal. I dare say that if an accident was so severe that the fire brigade couldn’t spot your baby mewling away in the back then chances are no-one is walking away from it anyway. 

people who say they’re dyslexic when they’re bloody well not

Dyslexic? Then of course you can make as many errors as you like, and anyone who judges you is a complete arse. People who can’t be arsed to learn the difference between they’re, their and there and then say ‘BUT IM DYSLEXIC’ when they’re pulled up on it? Does my fucking nut in. Don’t cheapen an illness by falsely using it to mask your own inadequacies. You turtle cant.

mothers using their pushchairs to stop traffic

Oddly specific one this. I drive to work down the same street every day, which coincides with when the parents are taking their adorable children to school. I say adorable children like one might say adorable terminal illness or adorable mass genocide. More often than not, some vacant-looking, red-eyed pyjama-clad monstrosity with more partners than teeth will, instead of crossing at the many safe crossing points, just push her pushchair into the road to try and cross. Nevermind teaching your kid how to cross the road safely, nevermind almost causing an accident because you’re too selfish to cross in the right place, you just get out there. Bah!

self-appointed traffic wardens who wear cameras

This is a difficult one. I absolutely understand why cyclists and cars have those cameras which record the road in front of you – there’s that many bell-ends on the road to justify it. But what makes me seethe is when you overtake a cyclist, leave plenty of room, indicate back in and they STILL tap their helmet and wag their fingers like I’m a dog who has shat on the carpet. You know that if you watch it back on Youtube later it’ll be accompanied by someone’s thin reedy voice reading out your registration and the sticky noise of someone masturbating furiously.

dings

I swear, everything in my house dings and dongs and bleeps at me. Put something on the fancy induction hob? It’ll do a little chirrup. Our smoke alarm system occasionally decides to launch a test with a brash American woman saying ‘THIS IS JUST A TEST’ – presumably a test to see how much blood can pour from my ears before I dismantle her. Our fridge beeps if we leave the door open for more than a second and it blares if the ice-dispenser gets too full or if the freezer is too full. The washing machine beeps each time it reaches a new stage in the cycle. My Wii U flashes when there’s a new notification and my Mac beeps whenever someone leaves us a facebook comment, or an email, or every time Siri has a shite. TwoChubbyCubs Towers is beginning to look and sound like a NASA control room and it vexes me.

people who stir their hot drink like they’re whisking eggs

There’s no need! Just give it a couple of stirs with your spoon and sit the fuck down. It makes my teeth rattle and my blood boil when they go at it like they’re trying to squeeze every last molecule of tea or take the finish off the cup, not least because I have decent Le Creuset cups and I don’t want bloody scratches on them.

stupid comments

Look, 99.9% of comments we get via the blog and facebook are wonderful, funny or useful, but we get some proper humdingers too. No: we won’t explain every facet of the plan to you, we’re not paid and we’re not consultants. Also, don’t have a pop at us if your Tesco in Wolverhampton didn’t have any 5% mince, it’s not our ruddy fault. And if you’re the lady with sand in her vag because I mentioned having to get up constantly in a cinema to let someone nip outside to the toilet and you took that as a full-scale assault on the incontinent, well, kiss my boobs. I knew the person I was getting up for and she’s only verbally incontinent.

takeaway menus

Whenever we are on a diet, three things happen: Dominos have their 50% off week, Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream goes to £2 a tub and we start getting a tsunami of takeaway leaflets through the door – all with the same dodgy photos of their food downloaded from google images, all with the same balloon fonts and all with the worst spelling mistakes. I like my nan (or rather I did, bless her, she’s dead now) but the thought of a free hot and spicy nan with my korma puts me right off. These will be the same type of places where you get a) tins of pop rather than cans of coke and b) roughly fingered for a free kebab.

air-fresheners

I might have touched on this before with my many moans about scented bloody candles and their pointless bloody names (A Child’s Fucking Wish, am I right?) but hell, it bears repeating. I’m yet to smell an air-freshener that doesn’t make my nose crinkle. They’re universally awful. Fair enough, if you spend decent money you can buy a decent candle with a reasonable smell (something like The White Company) but otherwise, open a bloody window. Those little hissy air-fresheners in public loos that smell ostensibly of pine? A load of bollocks! I’m not transported to a crisp and verdant forest with a tiny hiss, no, instead it smells like I’ve shit in a grass-clippings bin.

That’s 10, I could go on. But let’s call it a day. Ham and egg breakfast bites, then:

ham and egg breakfast bites

to make ham and egg breakfast bites, you’ll need (making enough for twelve, just scale back down if you want less)

  • a pack of decent wafer thin ham
  • 12 large eggs
  • a tin of baked beans
  • salt and pepper
  • a muffin tin greased with a few squirts of olive oil or some Frylight

to make ham and egg breakfast bites, you should:

  • layer a few slices of ham over each hole of the muffin tin and push in, so a ‘cup’ forms in each hole
  • put a small spoonful of beans in there
  • gently, crack an egg over the top – you might find it easier to crack an egg into a glass and pour it on, othewise you’re going to leave slimy residue all over the worktop and your partner will think you’ve been paying lip service to yourself in the kitchen, you filthy slut
  • crack a bit of pepper on top if you like and put in the oven
  • cook for around 25 minutes, though you might like to let them cook a bit longer to firm them up
  • once they’re done, let them cool – they’ll keep in a sealed box in the fridge for a couple of days
  • enjoy!

Phew!

J

syn free ham and potato hash plus new york: part one

The recipe for ham and potato hash can be found below all the following guff. Long time readers know that when I start talking about a holiday…well, I tend to go on. I’ve got five New York entries to get through, though don’t expect them one after the other, I’m a little behind…if you’re a fan of my holiday writings, don’t forget all of our previous entries on Germany, Ireland and Corsica can be found in our Amazon book, found right here. Our book – a collection of all the many, many articles from our blog – keeps us in holidays. Just saying!

twochubbycubs go to New York, part one

Before we get started on the actual travels, the exciting part – this was a complete surprise for Paul. We weren’t planning on taking any holidays after Corsica and Iceland being so close together, but I was driving home from a first-aid course when an advert for Expedia came on espousing cheap deals to New York. I drove on for another mile or so mulling it over, pulled into a layby, booked the time off work and emailed Paul’s lovely boss to get clearance. I left the small detail of actually booking the holiday until a few days after. I’ve mentioned before how easily led I am by advertising – thank fuck an advert didn’t come on for haemmorhoid cream else I’d have squatting down in a bus-stop feverishly applying Preparation H to my bumhole in the manner of a man spreading butter on a crumpet. Having managed to secure the time off for the both of us and after many, many “trips to ASDA” for poor Paul to get him out of the house so I could use the computer, I found a really decent deal with British Airways staying in a nice central hotel for six nights. Booked it there and then. Paul then had to endure ten days of me looking at him excitedly and dropping ‘a big secret’ that he probably thought he was getting divorce papers in the post. As if! I’m saving the divorce papers for when he’s paid off his half of the car.

That’s clearly a joke – I’d never divorce a man so perfectly squashy and who turns the shower on for me every morning so I don’t have to stand for a moment in a chilly bathroom. You might think he gets the shitty end of the stick (depends how careful he’s been with the old douche-bulb I guess) but read the above paragraph and think again!

Going to America always necessitates a full-on panic about travel insurance for me – I don’t want to fall ill in America, find out my travel insurance is void because I didn’t inform them someone once hurt my feelings in 1996 and then bankrupt my friends and family as they try and pay for my hospital treatment in a country which, for god knows why, doesn’t have decent free healthcare. Listen, I know my family, they’d just send someone out on an economy flight to fill my drip-bag with Cillit Bang and stop my heart. Fuckers. I spent a good hour on the phone to a very helpful lady at Coverwise who went through my various worries – do I declare heart palpitations four years ago? Yes. Do I declare obesity? Only if I need help getting in and out of bed – not quite there yet. My hair is thinning and I look like Steve McDonald drawn Castaway-style on a beach ball – apparently I don’t need to declare that. She then proceeded to take my payment but accidentally deleted all the details we had just decided upon, so we had to do it all again. Great times.

The night before the holiday I told him we were going away somewhere mysterious and to pack a suitcase. Naturally, Paul, being a keen and conscientious worker, immediately started fretting about meetings and out of office nonsense, until I told him it was all fine and that I’d been masterminding this scheme right from the off, like an evil Judith Chalmers. All he had to do was pack some clothes, find his passport (I told him we’d need it for car hire within the UK so he didn’t twig we were going abroad) and get to bed, as we had an early train in the morning. He sensibly did the right thing, although we did have a minor panic when we realised that I need a new passport very soon – thankfully, we were just within the limits for USA travel. I’ll be sad to see that passport go – it’s about the only ID I have where the picture doesn’t look like it should have a caption underneath saying ‘…jailed for eighteen months for public indecency’. Doubtless when I get a new passport I’ll be back to looking like a sandblasted puffer-fish. I’ll definitely need to get my hair cut before that day comes – the last time I want happening is someone at easyJet saying ‘Aaah Mr Trump, we’ve been expecting you’.

Off to the train station at ridiculous-o-clock then. This necessitated a taxi drive with the world’s most vocal taxi driver, who had an opinion on everything from my suitcase (“not very butch” – fuck off mate, if anyone can make a four-wheeled suitcase work, it’s me) to Uber. Uber, he took pains to tell me, was a danger because “anyone can drive them, they’re not vetted” (which was rich, as he looked like the type of man for whom Incognito Mode was the default status on his browser) and that “their cars aren’t checked, they could be death-traps”. This one really struck a chord with Paul, who texted me to point out that the driver’s rear-view mirror was gaffer taped to the roof of the car. I pleaded with him not to say anything lest we got bundled out at high speed on the Seaton Burn roundabout. Instead, we just spent the journey nodding politely and making ‘hmm’ and ‘mmm’ noises until, after seemingly taking us via Darlington, we arrived at the station and boarded our train.

What to say about the train journey that I haven’t covered before? It was entirely uneventful. I was given a cup of tea that had cleaning products in (thank god for the travel insurance!) but luckily, I spotted, or rather smelled, the problem before it had a chance to burn through my throat and cascade down my chest, ruining my nice shirt. The train had to take a long diversion at some point and the trip ended up taking five hours, but it was quiet, comfortable and, with it being first class, we had more biscuits than is possibly decent. It does vex me a little that they take the meal service off in first class during the weekends – frankly my train journey isn’t complete unless I’m eating something microwaved and slopped on a plate. Paul got up to go for a poo at some point and disappeared for twenty minutes. Naturally, I was so concerned it was all I could do to put down my iPad, pause the Youtube of the Crystal Maze that I was watching, and glance down the corridor. Had he alighted at a passing station, tired of looking at my angry face across the table from him? Had my still-awake-but-really-comfy-snoring angered him so? No. Turned out, being a wonderful husband, he’d walked/stumbled to the other end of the train, bought us two double gin and tonics each and a grilled cheese sandwich. As delighted as I was with the nourishment and booze, I couldn’t mask the alarm in my eyes, but he reassured me that it had only cost around £780.45 for this little treat. Good old Virgin!

On the train I told Paul we were going to Heathrow, so he knew at that point we were off abroad. We transferred onto the Heathrow Express, arrived in plenty of good time to nip into the terminal, buy some wine gums and play on the fruities before climbing inside those automatic toilets that whisk you around to various parts of Heathrow. Our destination? Why, the wonderful Thistle Hotel of course, which you may remember we weren’t particularly overtaken with joy with last time (by the way, that links to one of our favourite recipes, too)? Listen, it’s convenient and Paul loves that POD system, so that’s why we chose it. Naturally, our room was the size of a small shoebox and I had to spin around in the shower to get wet, but eh, it’s a bed. We had a Dominos and watched Vera. Vera is very much a guilty pleasure for us, although I can’t tell you what it looks like because I spend most of the time wincing against her attempt at a Geordie accent. Very few people in Newcastle actually substitute ‘pet’ where a full stop would normally go, but by god she does it. They were filming around where we live a few weeks ago so I fully expect a shot of her solving crime whilst my filthy car drives past in the background with me squinting to see what’s going on. I should have shouted ‘HERE MAN VERAH PET HAS THERE BIN A MOORDA PET HAS SOMEWURN HAD THEIR HEED CAVED IN EH’. Authentic!

I revealed to Paul that we were off to New York as we approached the ticket desk in the morning (well, it would have been tricky when she asked where we were going and he said he didn’t know his final destination) and of course, he was delighted. As we were in Terminal 5 it felt altogether too busy and crowded for a ‘thank you’ bit of bum-fun, so we just settled for oral instead. I’m kidding, we’re not that raunchy. It was a handjob. OK enough. We were given our tickets and the old problem of finding something to do early in the morning at Terminal 5 reared its head. We settled for an expensive, tasteless breakfast, a good poo and an hour of aimlessly wandering around smelling aftershave I wouldn’t use to clean a litter-box and avoiding a rather excitable woman who was determined we ‘sample her Baileys’. I noted with relief that we weren’t flying on a Dreamliner, which I was absolutely sure was the plane that had come up when I’d checked. I texted a friend to explain that I wouldn’t be making an unscheduled, on-fire stop in the Shetlands and boarded.

The flight was lovely. Smooth with no turbulence, aside from a moment of panic on my side as we were taking off and it felt as though the plane was struggling. It wasn’t, of course, but naturally my anxiety around taking off qualifies me as a fully-trained aeroplane pilot and I felt I had to tell Paul we were clearly going to crash. We’ve only flown British Airways once before and the last time was ruined by having a stewardess whose only regret in life was not being born into the Schutzstaffel, but the crew were amazing on this flight. Seats were comfortable, drinks were plentiful to the point I had seven miniature bottles of gin sitting on my table, and when they were taken away, the big bear steward, clearly feeling the rainbow connection, bought us four more. We dozed and watched movies (I watched Spectre, Paul watched bloody Ghost) and, aside from a moment where the inconsiderate oaf behind us decided to use the back of my chair and my hair to hoist himself up, it was lovely. He apologised, though I think my surprised shriek probably put me on a watch-list somewhere. We landed in JFK.

American security though, jeez. I’ve done it plenty of times to know that you don’t crack jokes and that they aren’t exactly forthcoming with the charm, but this was a whole new level. When he asked me to put out my fingers for scanning I honestly expected him to rap me on the knuckles with a wooden ruler. I’m here to spend money in your wonderful country, please don’t greet me like I’ve shit in your dinner. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not expecting an elaborate song and dance routine or a free cake with every stamp of my passport, but haway. Of course, by writing this, I’m sure I’ll immediately be put on a list that means the second I land in the USA I’ll be greeted by someone shining a light in my face and sticking a gloved finger up my bum. Listen, all I ask is that you tweak my nipples a bit first, get me going.

That’s us, then, on American soil. I’ll continue with the next part sometime soon! Let’s get to the recipe. You’re probably hungry now.

ham and potato hash

to make ham and potato hash, you’ll need:

  • one large white onion
  • one large green pepper
  • one garlic clove, yes, you guessed it, minced using a fabulous little mincer I know
  • three decent sized potatoes, preferably something waxy
  • pinch of salt and pepper and a tiny pinch of dried thyme
  • four thick slices of ham

to make ham and potato hash, you should:

  • cut the potato put into dice-sized chunks and boil them until they’re soft and fluffy but not mushy – drain and set aside
  • meanwhile, cut up the pepper and onion and soften them in a dab of oil or a few squirts of squirty oil on a medium heat
  • once they’ve softened, add your minced garlic, salt, pepper and thyme
  • cut your ham into chunks and throw them in
  • add the potatoes
  • stir – you’re not trying to create one large mass of potatoes so just be gentle
  • stick under the grill to toast it off – hell, you could even add a bit of cheese as long as you take it from your healthy extra

This is remarkably easy to make and tastes lovely – try and keep all your chunks the same size for uniformity. We served ours with a side of sticky sprouts, the recipe for which I’ll put on soon! No more typing. I’m tired! Enjoy.

Oh one more thing. If you’ve enjoyed this little tale about America, remember we did a full on America week with American recipes – you can find them here!

Please: remember to share and send us everywhere you can!

J

amazing ham, cheese and pea gnocchi

I know what you’re thinking. James, you promised me a post a day, and here we were yesterday crying into our Margaret Miles-Thingy tea-towels and waiting all night long. Well listen, it’s not the first time I’ve left someone unsatisfied long into the night and it won’t be the last.

See, I’m trying to be more social. Remember me saying how lazy I am a few posts back? That also applies to social events. I get asked to go to various things and usually decline because I’m a) shy and b) incredibly fond of lying on my sofa with a cat in my back hair and Paul squeezing my feet. It’s what I live for. But see I could die tomorrow and I don’t want people remembering me as the person who was always “washing his hair”, despite having roughly the same amount of hair found on my head as you’d find in a Phil Mitchell tribute annual.

So in the spirit of socialising and trying not to die alone surrounded by cats and a stuffed Paul carcass grinning lopsidedly at me like a boss-eyed Humpty Dumpty, I went along to a pub quiz with a couple of friends from work and two other ladies, who turned out to be lovely. I’m glad I went, not least because it was hilarious.

For a start, it was awash with teams taking it far too seriously. I love this. It’s a fucking pub quiz – you’re answering questions about Miley Cyrus, if you get it wrong you’re not going to be taken outside and shot by the Gestapo. The prize was £47! Even so, there was table after table of people in dire need of a wash and some love furrowing their brows and furiously debating which two countries has the most nuclear reactors. For the record, we got that answer correct – USA and France. I watch a lot of Discovery Channel.

That said, we didn’t win. We came…second from last. We did however win an extra point for having the best team name: Bender and the Jets. I think you’ll agree that is awesome, and I’m allowed to say bender, I’ve earned the right – I’ve quite literally taken one for the team on that front. Or back. It’s certainly better name than We’re The Winners or Quizmasters. Neither of those teams won anyway, so egg on their face. It’ll go well with the cum stains on their trousers.

Oh, I also totally pulled. Now it goes without saying that I wouldn’t anyway, but even if I’d been tempted by the suggestion, his face put me right off. Some drunken arse, easily into his sixties and with a face like a smashed crab, asked me if I wanted to know the answer to who sang ‘The Joker’ and then licked his lips lasciviously at me like he was the best offer I’d get all night. I’d get more aroused getting chatted up by the cigarette machine. Seriously, he looked like that guy from The Fully Monty who was in Corrie with a perm:

steve-huson-the-full-monty (1)

I wouldn’t care, we got the answer wrong, so maybe I should have just succumbed to his greasy wiles. Boke.

Finally, our group got ‘hushed’ and then told to be ‘bloody quiet’ by some gangster granny with a nicotine fringe and a mean look about her because we had the temerity to talk DURING THE INTERLUDE. She was trying to play card bingo like the top prize was a couple of extra month’s on a drip – I’ve never seen playing cards turned over with such ferociousness. She turned around again and said ‘AH’M TRYING TO HEAR THE ANNOUNCER’ (I could barely hear her through all the phlegm in her voice trying to scramble out) and we were kowtowed into silence. I wouldn’t care, it’s not as if we were tuning up a brass band or felling trees, we were just talking normally (perhaps with a slight bit of shrieking from me, I’d had liquor). Mardy cow. Oh! And she was cheating. She had her phone out during the countries round. The temptation for me to lean over and whisper ‘Do you mind not cheating so loudly, I’m trying to hear the announcer’ was almost too much.

Card bingo, by the way – you get given a few playing cards, the Quiz Man has a full deck (unlike some of the audience), he announces them randomly and when you’ve turned over your lot, you win. Well, you don’t win. You lose. EVERYONE loses at bloody card bingo.

In all though, a really good night! 

Oh – we lost 4lb between us at class, but that’s almost an afterthought these days. But let me tell you what ISN’T an afterthought – this recipe. It was amazing – it couldn’t have been better even if it had been served of the bumcheeks of the fatter brother from Prison Break. Easily one of our favourite recipes yet!

ham and cheese gnocchi

It doesn’t look so pretty on the plate, and that cheese top looks like the kind of knee-scab you’d pick off in the bath and secretly eat. I know what you’re like, don’t try and gussy yourself up for me.

you’ll need these:

  • 250g of syn-free ham – we used the thicker cuts you can buy in a pack from the supermarket, but really any old shite will do
  • one chopped onion
  • 250g of quark (taste the flavour!)
  • clove of garlic (minced) (yep: get one of these!)
  • 100g of frozen peas
  • 1 x HEA Mozzarella
  • 1 x HEA strong cheddar
  • 400g of gnocchi (6 syns, and this serves four) 

and you’ll need to do this:

  • gently cook the onion in a large pan over a medium heat in a little oil until soft
  • add garlic and stir until it starts to turn golden
  • add the ham to the pan and cook until warmed through
  • add the frozen peas to the pan and stir
  • add the quark and continue to stir until it loosens and makes a thick, creamy sauce – add a few tablespoons of water if it becomes too thick
  • add the gnocchi and simmer for 2-3 minutes
  • once the gnocchi is soft, remove from the heat and evenly spread out the cheese over the top
  • place under a medium grill until the cheese turns golden
  • serve!

Now, what we did at this point was to put it in the oven, with the oven still warm from the grill but not switched on, and left it to sit for an hour or so whilst Paul came and bundled me into the car. When we came back, the gnocchi was almost broken down and the sauce really sticky – it was delicious. However, that might not tickle your buds as it were, so feel free to stick to the script.

Technically, you should probably serve with a salad full of superfree stuff. But hell if you can’t let your hair down every now and then…

J

syn free pea and ham soup

I swear to God – Old Man River put my bin back for the second time today! Why did he think I’d put it again? Does he think I’m giving him a cardio workout or something? Ah he’s so bloody nice it’s impossible to be mad but I fear that the rough-hewn men at the council will be foaming – three times now they’ve had that bin lorry backed up our street and three times the bin hasn’t been out. Oops. That’ll be them putting Bowser into the rubbish compacter tomorrow.

So, today. I was unlucky enough to be caught behind a cluster of office workers waiting to cross the road today, all puffing away on their e-cigarettes. That said, it did afford me the opportunity to mince through the strawberry-scented fog like I was coming out of the doors on Stars In Their Eyes when the light changed. I’m not keen on those e-cigarette thingies – I’m of the belief that if you want to smoke, then man up and bloody smoke – it should be Capston Full Strength tabs or bust. Admittedly it’s far nicer seeing someone misting away like a boiling kettle than it is seeing them bent double chucking their lungbutter all over the pavement but still. Plus the e-cigarettes always look so ungainly, like you’re sucking nicotine from a nosehair trimmer, and it does attract a lot of quite smug people who say they are harmless – perhaps, but society thought thalidomide was ‘armless once.

I gave up smoking two years ago using Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking (clicking takes you to his book), and it was a revelation. I was panicked thinking the cravings would be hell on Earth but I finished his book, put out my cigarette and hardly even thought about smoking again. He teaches you to examine what exactly you’re doing when you smoke, and explains why you want to keep smoking, and then breaks down each reason/excuse that you use to rationalise your smoking. It’s great – cost £6 and never looked back, and I was on a good 20 smokes a day.

Mind you, that’s not to say I’ve become one of those fervent anti-smokers who cough that tinkly little cough if someone has the temerity to light up near them. That I absolutely can’t stand, it’s such an oddly British passive action to take – either ask them to put it out or fuck off – you wouldn’t sit in a burning building sneezing at the fire, you’d take immediate action! Fair enough you might end up with a Richmond Blue smouldering in your eye-socket but you would have the comfort of not being a passive-aggressive tosser to soothe it.

Speaking of soothing, here’s the soup recipe for this week – and fuck me, look at that, I definitely need to get a trim on my worktop.

PEAHAM

to make syn free pea and ham soup, you’ll need:

ingredients: tiny drop of olive oil, or some frylight, 200g chopped bacon medallions, an onion, one leek, 2 cloves of garlic, 500g frozen peas, 700ml chicken stock, 1tsp dried thyme and salt.

to make syn free pea and ham soup, you should:

recipe: I made this in my soup-maker, but to cook in a pan is just as easy – fry the bacon and onion off so there’s a bit of colour, add the sliced leek, sweat a bit more (the onion, not you, but I understand it’s a hot kitchen). Crush the garlic and add, together with the frozen peas, chicken stock, thyme and salt. Simmer for forty minutes and blend.

extra easy: yes, easily- all those peas, you’re really cooking on gas. It’s a lovely soup on its own but I added a poached egg, a couple of tiny drops of truffle oil (syn those) (1 syn) and some chilli flakes to pep it up. Make some, have it as a starter, take the rest to work in the morning! Done!

Oh and before I forget, my mate Phillipa challenged me to use the word enunciate in my blog today.

J

ham and superfree veg muffins

Firstly, I apologise for not updating the blog last night but we were both stuck at work! Off to Fatfighters soon so only a very quick post but here is a recipe card for a good snack idea. I know I’ll be putting weight on because I have had too much crap this week thanks to being constantly at work. Sad times.

Paul is my superfree muffin! Enjoy, and I’ll check in later to confirm what damage I’ve done…muffins ahoy!

J