chicken and mango salad – fresh and fancy

Chicken and mango salad? I know, I’m a basic bitch, but just you listen here – you can use the leftover mango in two recipes and this stays fresh for a good couple of days for lunches. So stop bumping your lips. But of course, before we get to the recipe, we have the small matter of a previous post to expand upon…

Let’s get back to the story in hand – you may remember part one of my surgery story was posted a couple of days ago. Let’s follow it up! Remember, this is a very adult post and if you’re sensitive to smutty words and naughty ideas, click the button below to go straight to the recipe. It’s that easy! Readers of my book – The Second Coming (available now in Kindle AND paperback, just saying – click here, it’ll open in a new window) will recognise this story from the start of the book. So, to go straight to the recipe before I get my cock out, click the exit button!

The last time you were with me I was getting put under. I think, I can’t actually remember. So here we go…

The next time I woke up I was in an entirely different ward with what looked like an entire roll of dressing around my knob and an uncomfortable amount of dried blood. My gasp of shock must have roused the nurses because they came over with a cheery hello and, after asking if I was OK, they wheeled me back to Paul. We embraced and he had a look for himself. I’ve never seen a face go grey so quickly. It’s a bad job when I’m the one who has had the operation and Paul’s the guy who ends up on oxygen. Pfft.

They told me to rest for a bit but that I’d be out of hospital that evening, once I’d had some toast and a piss. The glamour! The very last thing I wanted to do was urinate but I never say no to toast. I had hoped it might be like when you have your tonsils out and you get ice-cream, but no. Eventually, the moment came when I did need a slash and so it was, with steps more ginger than my first as a child, I hobbled to the loo.

I can’t begin to tell you how uncomfortable it was getting there, every brush of my gown tickling the end and setting my nerves on fire. Having eventually managed to get myself to the bathroom, I, so very delicately, flopped him out, bandages and dressing included, and started to urinate.

Well fuck me. You know if you squeeze the end of a hose-pipe the jet of water goes much further? That was me in this tiny hospital bathroom. The swelling at the end was acting like a firm grip and good lord – I aimed for the toilet but hit the wall behind it with so much force I’m surprised I didn’t bust straight through into the ladies and piss in some poor woman’s handbag. I couldn’t stop because it would hurt too much so I stumbled back, eventually managing to hit the toilet only when I was stood right at the other end of the room, pissing a good 10ft or so into the toilet. All I could think is what would happen if I had a wank – probably would have blinded myself.

The nurses, content that I wasn’t pissing blood, let me go. I did ask if I could take my foreskin home with me but they said no. That’s a shame. I could have fashioned a wallet with it, with the added benefit being if you rubbed it just right it would swell to fit your chequebook in.

We stumbled slowly, oh so slowly, to the car, and it was then I knew bringing the Micra – with its absolute lack of suspension or finesse – was a mistake. It was enough having my knob drag on my trousers but every speed bump felt like someone was kicking me in the balls. Paul did his best, bless him, but Christ did I not feel every square inch of that drive home.

After that, it took a good couple of weeks to heal. Some comical asides – for a good week or so I had to stand in the doorway to our bathroom and piss right across the room because the pressure didn’t calm down for so long. We had to sleep apart, as Paul has a tendency to get frisky in his sleep and the last thing I needed was a stitch catching on his teeth, and to top off the indignity, I had to sleep with a bloody salad bowl over my crotch to stop the duvet dragging on my knob until everything has healed.

Even now when I make a salad I wince.

But you know what the worst part was? Being told to try my best not to get an erection because doing so could pull the stitches out. Men get erections so easily – sometimes for no good reason at all. I could be washing the dishes and suddenly have to stand back with my back arched until it goes back on the flop. There’s no rhyme or reason to the whole business.  Luckily, the fact that my cock looked like it had been run over for a good week or so meant it generally behaved, but I was flicking through the TV one day, salad bowl placed over the area, when I absent-mindedly starting watching the rugby.

Big mistake (oh I’m a boaster!) – the pain! Christ almighty – and the bloody thing was being resilient, too, working right through that pain barrier. The things I had to think about in order for it to beat a retreat doesn’t bear thinking about now. Bleurgh.

Thankfully, it all healed very nicely. It looks great, even if I do say so myself – I’ve avoided that Neapolitan ice-cream look that sometimes happen with a late circumcision. It works well too, but you don’t need to know that, I’m sure. I’ll also add in a footnote – if there is anyone out there with a partner who needs the chop, tell him to go for it – despite my hyperbole above, it really wasn’t that bad. Uncomfortable yes, but I’ve had more painful craps. If he’s unsure about whether he needs it, just send him down to Cubs Towers and we’ll be more than pleased to take a good, hard look at it for him.

Gosh, I really feel like we know each other well now, don’t you?

Shall we do the chicken and mango salad then? This makes enough for two.

chicken and mango salad

to make a chicken and mango salad, you’ll need:

  • two big fat dirty chicken breasts, yeah you love it
  • 1 Nandos rub – you can get them in Tesco in 25g packets – we used the garlic one (3.5 syns) but you can season your chicken however you want
  • one romaine lettuce
  • one punnet of cress
  • one fresh mango
  • 4 tbsp hoisin dipping sauce (6 syns)
  • one spring onion

to make a chicken and mango salad, you should:

  • rub your breasts until every last inch is covered in tasty flavours
  • grill your chicken:
    • if you’re using the Tefal Optigrill, simply press the Manual button until the light is orange, and once preheated add the chicken and close the lid until cooked
    • if using a grill, heat to medium-high, place the chicken underneath and cook until done, not forgetting to turn it now and again
    • allow to cool and slice
  • meanwhile, assemble your plate as above, cubing your mango, picking your cress and washing your lettuce
  • to make the dipping sauce, thin the hoisin sauce with some mango juice and tiny chunks of mango
  • serve!

I think this is the last of our Jamie Oliver recipes from his new book ‘5 Ingredients’, which you can buy from Amazon here.

If you have leftover mango, you could use it for our ready steady go overnight oats or the coronation chicken jacket potato filler!

Want more inspiration? Click the buttons!

poultrysmallbeefsmallporksmalllambsmallfakeawayssmall lunchsmallpastasmallvegetariansmall sausagessmall

Don’t forget to like and share using the buttons below!

J

tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas

Tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas! After yesterday’s long entry, let’s get straight to the recipe without a moment of delay! This is what we’re trying to do at the moment, have you noticed? Long entry followed by a short entry (it’s like a shit threesome), but lots more recipes! Enjoy!

This makes enough for a good lunch for four people. I think – and mind I’m not sure – this is a recipe from Anna Jones? Forgive me if I have synned. We’ve made it Slimming World friendly by removing the eight litres of olive oil. Now, some people will probably shit a brick telling you that this is a tweak – roasting the chickpeas – but shut yer hole because it absolutely isn’t. The chickpeas are part of the meal!

tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas

tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas

to make a tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • a kilogram of mixed tomatoes – use lots of different colours and cut them in different ways
  • good salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • one garlic clove (save your fingertips and use this) and a little red chilli (you can leave this out if you’ve got a sensitive hole)
  • one tin of drained chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • pinch of cumin
  • one shallot
  • pinch of sumac (don’t fret if you can’t find this, but it does make it tastier!)

to make a tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas, you should:

  • for the tomatoes, cut them up any old how, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then tumble them around in a bowl to get the salt liquor everywhere – tip into a colander and allow to sit for fifteen minutes
  • don’t be shy with the salt by the way – the tomatoes don’t pick the salt up, but it draws all the moisture out
  • transfer into a large bowl, add the garlic, sliced chilli and balsamic vinegar, toss and set aside
  • meanwhile, tip the chickpeas out into a bowl and add the oil and spices – and bloody tumble them about to make sure every last one is coated
  • roast them in the oven with the thinly sliced shallots
  • once crispy, out they come, mix with the tomatoes and eat right away! We topped ours with basil because we just don’t care!

That was easy. We’re making a real effort to ramp up our vegetarian recipes so please do share and like using the buttons at the bottom of the post! Want more ideas? Click the buttons below to be whisked to a world of flavours!

lunchsmallvegetariansmall   seafoodsmallsnackssmall

Enjoy!

J

french style cod stew with black olives

French style cod stew, apparently. Who knew? Joe Wicks apparently – and here’s me always thinking he was the one off Eastenders with the gaunt face who smashed Saskia’s face in with an ashtray.

Now: before we get to the recipe, we have some frippery to get through, but this comes with a stern warning! The following blog entry is very personal indeed and contains all sorts of references to willies (or if you prefer their medical term: mayo-cannons) and mishaps. I’m putting a special button under this paragraph that will whisk you straight to the recipe without a moment’s hesitation – but if you read the post and then complain, you can kiss my ring. Readers of my book – The Second Coming (available now in Kindle AND paperback, just saying – click here, it’ll open in a new window) will recognise this story from the start of the book. So, to go straight to the recipe before I get my cock out, click the exit button!

Ha, you’re still here aren’t you? You filthy swine. We need to go back a couple of years. Imagine I’m making the swoosh-swoosh sound of time bursting as I type this row of dots to indicate travel to a simpler point in time…

………………………….

There’s definitely a few sentences a man doesn’t want to hear, but a doctor telling me ‘well, it’s going to have to come off’ whilst he holds my cock in his hands with all the nonchalance of a clock-watching prostitute is definitely high up there.

A few weeks prior to this incident I’d had the most unfortunate accident. See, I had been out at a Christmas party and was having a piss in Possibly The Worst Pub Toilet In Existence. I was rushing it along before I passed out from the stale urine fumes, fell face-first into the trough and was found later by friends with a urinal cake up my nose and third-degree burns on my face. In my haste to leave quickly, I shook off the drips, tucked him away and pulled my zip up, like I’ve done so many times before in the 31 years I’ve been on this Earth.

Only, things are never that simple, are they? No, this time around, in either my haste or my drunken state, I managed to not tuck him away entirely and as a result, got a good chunk of my foreskin entangled up in the closed zip. You know when you’re on a train and someone makes a dash for the closing doors only to get halfway through them and squeezed tight as a result? Yeah, that. There was so much blood, I nearly hobbled into the ladies next door for a Tampax and a cuddle.

Anyway, zip forward (ouch) a week or so later and I’m stood in my doctor’s surgery with my on-the-flop cock out whilst he turns it this way and that like he’s trying to get Radio 4 to come out of my bumhole (a mistake in itself, as the only thing that broadcasts is sure and certain death). It was healing, yes, but because scar tissue is thick, it also meant that ‘movement was restricted’. To give you yet another analogy, imagine putting your arm into the sleeve into an old woollen jumper only to find it has shrunk considerably in the wash. He tutted and murmured and was down there for a good couple of minutes before announcing that, indeed, it would have to come off.

I have to say, I thought it was drastic – I like my cock very much, it’s served me well through the many years that I’ve paid interest in it – and a life without him would be grey indeed. He must have seen the shock sweep across my face because he immediately followed it up with a little chuckle and said ‘no no, just the foreskin’, as though I was meant to laugh and slap him on the back with relief. It would still involve someone setting about my genitals with a sharper blade than I’d ever want down there.

This meant a quick visit to a urologist who confirmed the news. I sat in the urology department, never desiring more a t-shirt that said ‘I DON’T HAVE THE CLAP’, until I was called in and, but of course, the man who wanted to look at my knob was incredibly attractive. Of course! In any other circumstance I would have been lubed and prepped before he’d had a chance to put his gloves on, but it was hard to get frisky when you know that he’s deciding the fate of your manhood that very day. I mean, I was quite literally an NHS cutback.

This decision didn’t take too long at all – he, like the other doctor, had a bit of a roll around with it, had a quick taste (I’m kidding, I didn’t go private) and then sat me down to discuss options. Options! With a circumcision! Apparently you can have a tight cut that makes everything prim and proper or you can have a loose cut which makes the whole thing look like an ice-cream cone that’s been left out in the rain. I asked if he could perhaps use pinking shears for a festive, fun twist but apparently not. Bah. The operation was scheduled for a few days away (it would not be the first time in my life someone’s tried to fit my penis into a tight spot) and, it gets better, it was on Paul’s birthday! Poor bugger.

That day soon rolled around, unlike my foreskin, and once I’d given Paul his birthday presents and he’d kissed my poor penis goodbye, we were off to the hospital. I had to change into one of those awful gowns that show your arse to every passing patient but hey, no time to be fashion conscious. I did plan on asking if Paul and I could have a couple to take away for our ‘trips to the lorry park to make sure the lorry drivers are happy’ but the anaesthetic put paid to that. The nurse asked if I’d had anything to eat or drink and I mentioned I had had a coffee in 1996, which meant I had to wait another few hours for that to leave my system. Bah! Time moves very slowly indeed when you know you’re going to be put under!

I admit I was nervous: I’m a big guy and the thought of going under anaesthetic troubled me. I have a weak heart and I’m a light sleeper. I didn’t want to a) die or b) come around halfway through the operation only to see them helicoptering my cock about or taking pictures for the staff newsletter. When it was time for the operation I relayed my concerns to the nurse prepping me for theatre who explained something which I can’t remember because I was out like a bloody light. It was as if someone had just switched me off.

Anyway, speaking of fishy dishes, let’s leave that there and crack on with the recipe, no? Aaaah I know, I’m awful.

cod

Please note: this is actually 0.75 syns a serving, but I didn’t keep the photo after I’d made the recipe photo above, so I can’t edit it! Boo!

to make french style cod with black olives you will need:

  • 2 bacon medallions
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced (save your fingertips and get one of these!)
  • 250g cod fillet, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 8 pitted black olives (1½ syns)
  • 70g light mozzarella, torn into chunks (1x HeA)
  • basil leaves (for fanciness)

This one is shamelessly stolen from Joe Wick’s excellent book – Lean in 15. If you don’t already have it – GET IT – it’s genuinely the cookbook we use most often. Remember that this serves one – perfect for a quick dinner! We’ve adapted it ever-so-slightly to make it more SW friendly.

to make french style cod with black olives you should:

  • spray a large frying pan with oil (Frylight is shite – use one of these instead) and heat over a medium-high heat
  • add the bacon and onion and fry for 2 minutes until the onion has softened and the bacon has cooked
  • add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds
  • add the cod chunks and fry, turning occasionally, for a total of 2 minutes
  • add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil
  • reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • add the olives and mozzarella, then remove the pan from the heat – let the mozzarella melt a bit in the pan
  • serve!

Are you looking for more tasty recipes to shift that gut? Click one of the buttons below to get more!

porksmall lunchsmall   seafoodsmalltastersmallsoupsmallonepot

J

cheesy baked broccoli bombs – grand for a snack or a side

Cheesy baked broccoli bombs, ladies and gentlemen. Don’t be put off by the thought of broccoli, it’s good for you and these taste fabulous. We’ll get to the recipe in a moment, but may I make a suggestion? Cook these along with the Thai chicken balls from yesterday and have yourself a wee picnic – they keep well in the fridge and they’re great for a snack! In short: never neglect the balls.

A quick serious post tonight as tonight’s tea is almost ready but do you know what I’m bloody sick of reading? Anti Slimming World rhetoric from personal trainers, ‘diet planners’, nutritionists and other such guff. I’m not going to say that some of what they say doesn’t make sense, that there aren’t holes in the SW logic, of course there is, but what vexes me is the obvious cheap shots they take.

See, maybe I’m old fashioned, but I’m a fairly big believer in setting up your own business on its own merits instead of taking potshots at others. Calling the diet crap or the company evil or the plan nutritionally bankrupt is a nonsense and people always back it up with the same hoary old lines that get trotted out every time this comes up:

“They don’t teach you portion control”

They do. They tell you to eat until you’re satisfied, but not to eat until you’re bursting. Christmas Full, I believe my old consultant calls it. They can’t control what you do outside of the class, but then see, nor can any amount of personal trainers shouting into a camera on Youtube.

“You can have 10 Muller-lights but you can’t have an avocado”

Yeah, true. On paper that sounds silly, and it’s something I’ll gently mock every now and then, but it’s bollocks. Yeah you can have 10 Mullers and stay within your syns, but people don’t. Why on Earth would you, for goodness sake? You can have avocado too – they’re high in syns because it’s a low-fat diet and it doesn’t matter a hill of beans whether they’re good fats, bad fats, trans fats or Fats Domino, they’re still fats. Slimming World works for folks because it’s a very simple way of keeping an eye on what you’re taking in. Are there better diets out there for losing weight? Possibly. Could they teach more about nutrition? Maybe. But that’s like saying that a learner driver should have a go at driving a double-decker bus – too much, too soon.

“Syns teaches people that some foods are negative”

It doesn’t, though. For a start, the ‘syn’ thing is a contraction of synergy, one of those awful bloody buzzwords that did the rounds back when Mags was a feisty young lass worried about the Jerry’s stealing her hair lacquer. I’m kidding, MMB. But Slimming World’s big thing is that no food is off-limits. Rather than saying you can’t have chocolate or vodka or hot sex, they say you absolutely can, but keep it within a syn bracket – and that’s no different to personal trainers saying ‘treat yourself with almonds’ or other stuff. SW teaches pleasure in moderation, and there’s no harm in that.

“There’s too much reliance on processed or Frankenfood”

I can see where people are coming from on this, because when you look around at some of the slop that people are eating – pasta’n’sauces blitzed into a ‘sauce’, Mug Shitz, Fryshite, Mullers, burgers served between two jacket potatoes, your heart does sink a little. But that isn’t SW’s fault. A lot of members seem to want to aim as low as possible on their syns and so will resort to shite like this. But you don’t have to do it – SW are big on the old ‘make it from scratch’ mantra, even if they have brought out those ‘delicious’ SW ready meals. People aren’t encouraged to keep their syns down at zero – quite the opposite! But it’s the choice of the members to eat the ‘zero syns’ food rather than spending a little of their allowance and having gorgeous recipes.

It’s actually one of the biggest bugbears I have with this site – we can put a wonderful, tasty, nutritionally perfect meal up that uses six syns and I can guarantee it’ll get hardly any likes. Stick up a roulade made with a wheelbarrow of Splenda and jam made from cut-out photos of strawberries blended with water and we’ll need to hook up a new server. But what can you do?

Oh, and as an aside, it’s astonishing the amount of people I see banging on about how nutritionally bankrupt the diet is, but then they’re busy flogging vitamins and shakes and powders and all that shite. Practice what you preach, or shut the hell up.

“They make money from people failing”

This is the one that bugs me the most. People make out as though the whole class structure is set up so that it keeps people going back time after time, barely losing weight. Presumably that’s because you get rebounders who follow the diet, lose weight and then stop going – then boom, all the weight trickles back on and they’re back. But here’s the thing – do you think the personal trainers don’t do exactly the same thing? Are they going to provide their services for free when their client gets skinny and toned? SW allow you to go back to class for free whenever you’re at target, so there’s your incentive to try and keep the weight off.

There’s lots of things I’d change about Slimming World – the classes need a mix-up because spending an hour clapping does my nut in, I can’t bear all the cutesy-poo language that gets used, I think some things are synned when they don’t need to be – so here’s what we do. We tinker with it a bit, and accept that if our weight loss slows, it’s because we’re moving away from the diet. But since we’ve started this blog all of our meals have been amazing – we choose to spend our syns on the food we eat – just like the plan encourages – and we’ll never look back.

I have no horse in this race. We’re not sponsored by Slimming World, we pay our membership fees like everyone else, and god knows this blog takes the piss out of the silliness more than most out there. But I’ve seen the difference the classes make to people’s confidence, figures, minds and life with my own eyes. SW isn’t perfect but how about all those people knocking it and making sly digs about the members just turn their eyes and focus on building their own business on their own merits? Even with its flaws it brings comfort and fun to millions of people – and I don’t think they should be knocked for that.

We’re not ashamed to say we love Slimming World. When you follow it, for the most part, it works. It’s easy to knock and it’s fun to tease, but stop trying to run it into the bloody ground.

Right, broccoli bombs anyone?

cheesy baked broccoli bombs

cheesy baked broccoli bombs

The recipe makes enough for eight or so.

to make cheesy baked broccoli bombs you will need:

  • 1 broccoli, cut into florets
  • 80g reduced-fat cheddar (2x HeA)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 25g panko (BREADCRUMBS. THEY’RE BLOODY BREADCRUMBS. Make yer own breadcrumbs if panko is too fancy for you) (4.5 syns)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper

to make cheesy baked broccoli bombs you should:

These are great as a snack, and kids will love them too! Do you know what else they’ll love? Two Chubby Cub dinners everynight! Spoil ’em rotten with some of our grub by clicking the buttons below:

lunchsmallvegetariansmall   snackssmall tastersmalldrinkssmallbbqsmallonepot 

Enjoy!

J

thai chicken dipping balls – excellent taster night idea

Thai chicken dipping balls. Every time I say the title, it sounds filthier than the last. Don’t care. Listen, we weren’t going to post tonight as dearest Paul decided to crash his car (he’s fine, my wallet isn’t) but Musclefood called us to give us another discount – but only for 24 hours. So for crying out loud, if you want some cheap meat, get it now. Hopefully you dear readers will forgive us an advert right off the bat but it’s rare we do it and it’s only because it’s a flash sale that we’re sticking it in. If you don’t want to even look, click here and it’ll go straight to the recipe! See? Considerate!


Right, details are as below – Musclefood are giving us a 15/20% discount on our three main packages – you can see below the various offers and the links are here – they’ll open in a new window:

We’ve got syn values and more details on our Musclefood page but remember, this is a flash sale that’ll end tomorrow night – so get it whilst its hot!

Right, shall we get straight to my balls? We’ve made these because they’re an easy alternative to the usual stuff trotted out at taster nights, but actually, they make for a bloody good snack too as they keep in the fridge! We’re the gift that keeps on giving, no?

chicken dipping balls

chicken dipping balls

to make Thai chicken dipping balls you will need:

to make Thai chicken dipping balls you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • put the chicken breasts into a food processor and blitz until they have a mince-like consistency (you can actually just use chicken mince if you prefer, but doing it this way with breasts makes for a nicer taste and texture)
  • next, combine all of the ingredients together in a big bowl
  • spray a large baking sheet with a little oil (don’t strip away the coating by using Frylight, use this instead and get the job done properly)
  • scoop out a tablespoon-sized ball of mixture and roll into a ball and place on the baking sheet, and then repeat
  • bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes
  • serve with whatever dipping sauce you like, we used sweet chilli!

Don’t dip your balls enough? Try your luck with us – and get making anything in the recipe lists below!

poultrysmallfakeawayssmall    snackssmall tastersmall

J

one-pot super simple beef stew

Right, quick recipe post for a super simple beef stew! Sometimes you need a plate of cat-food-esque stew to line your gunt and this is just the ticket. Plus, if you’re a haphazard fool like us in the kitchen, you can’t go too wrong with it – just need to cut everything up, hoy it all in a pan and allow to simmer, then thicken with gravy. Get it made!

Anyway, whilst I’ve got you here, we’re also running a competition this week to win a soupmaker! It’s not Paul, before you ask, but it’s a lovely Morphy Richards number. Click the image below and you’ll be taken straight to the competition entry page in a new window. Go for it – it’s an easy competition and all you have to do is find the queens’ Queen!

Right, straight to the recipe! See, I can do it occasionally…

super simple beef stew

super simple beef stew

to make one-pot super simple beef stew you will need:

  • 400g diced beef
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tbsp flour (4 syns)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 litre water
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tsp gravy granules (4 syns)

Looking for a good deal on diced beef? Dead easy. A fair few of our exclusive Musclefood deals have diced beef included! Have a look – link will open in a new window!

to make one-pot super simple beef stew you should:

  • in a large pot, heat oil over a medium-high heat, add the beef and cook until browned
  • stir in everything else except for the gravy granules, cover with the lid and simmer for two hours
  • when finished, stir in the gravy granules until thick
  • serve

Love simple dinners? We’ve got loads more! Just click the buttons below:

beefsmall     slowcookersmallsoupsmalldrinkssmallonepot

J

crispy chilli beef – well, sort of, because this is Slimming World after all

Crispy chilli beef! Yeah, kind of. Look you’re never going to replicate the chilli beef you get from the takeaway because they fry it in oil – like all delicious things – and obviously we can’t do that. But this is a good, tasty effort! Before we get to that, of course, Paul had the idea that he would like to bookend our Newcastle trip report with his views on the North East. I nearly died of shock – the poor sod never wants to write our posts – so who am I to complain? He’d love feedback and I hope his billet-doux leaves you satisfied and smiling. That said, if you’re not wanting to read, that’s fine – like I do for all the longer entries, I’m including a shortcut button for you. That’s right – this time just click on the GRUMPY NAG to go straight to the food.

I thought she’d never leave, you know? Someone should tell her about her moustache. You could use it to strain soup. Right, shall we get on?


part one | part two | part three | part four | part five | part six | part seven

It’s well-known on this blog that when James and I first met, we had a couple of dates and I, completely on a whim, moved straight to Newcastle to be with him. At that time I was living in the living hell that is commonly known as Portsmouth, renting a room in a mansion from a pair of sadomasochistic dungeon masters. I’m not even joking with that one, I’m actually surprised that story hasn’t made it into a blogpost yet.

The strangest thing for me though was that I never heard of anything coming out of Newcastle. No news, no excitement, nothing at all. All I knew of it was from Byker Grove and even then I was only giving it half my attention because there was no doubt a tin of Campbell’s meatballs in the microwave on the go for me. I knew it had Geordies (obviously) and some sort of past industrial history but that was it. Until that point, I made a promise (and my good friend Glenn reminds me of this often) that I would never live ‘in the North’. Don’t get me wrong – I’m probably the most common person you’ll ever meet and absolutely not a snob, but I just had this vision in my mind of unrelenting grey skies, rusting machinery everywhere and misery.

How pleasantly surprised I was then when I actually visited the place. It absolutely astounded me. For my first journey up we got the train; I remember getting off and seeing this little scale model of the city on a plinth just outside the entrance. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was lit up and everything. I thought maybe it’d been dropped by the planning department and should probably keep off it, but no – it was art. It was public art! Just something small and insignificant and probably ignored by most people who walked past it but I was genuinely speechless. This might all sound very over-the-top and dramatic but I promise it’s true. See, I grew up in a place called Peterborough which, except for a big ass cathedral, pretty much just exploded forth in the 60’s and 70’s into a New Town haemorrhage. It’s totally devoid of any sort of culture. Utilitarian. Dull. Brown. Ring roads. You get the idea. Portsmouth was even worse.

So we came out the Central Station and saw this little plinth. We walked down to the Quayside and there was more. There was a vampire rabbit over a door. An archway that lit up like Tetris bricks. Another arch that would sing to you in a weird Geordie accent as you went through. A statue of a bloke floating in the air. It was amazing. And the place was absolutely immaculate.

We arrived down onto the Quayside, I saw the Tyne Bridge for the first time, and just in the distance, nestled against the big curve was the Sage (which looks like me on my side). I was absolutely mesmerised. This place was gorgeous. It was modern, it was clean, it was NICE! I knew then that I immediately wanted to move here. It was a place that I’d actually want to leave the house for and explore, rather than to just go to the supermarket. We stopped at the Pitcher and Piano (which gives a cracking view out onto a tilting bridge!), I actually scribbled out my resignation letter on a sheet of notepaper I scrounged off the barman there and then and he kindly faxed it off for me. I’d forgotten all about that until now. I mean, look at us way back when…

I really want you to know how taken in I was with the instant beauty of ‘The North’ (James here: I’m fairly sure he’s talking about me, but don’t be blue)

Look how young we were! Aaaah.

I still get it now. When I visit Peterborough I’m sad to say that I’m appalled by it. It’s dirty, dull, dreary. It’s like going back behind the Iron Curtain. There’s no ‘life’ to it. The last time we visited we had to go to Milton Keynes to find something to do. That just ain’t the case in Newcastle. As you’ll read in our posts, I’ve lived here for ten years (James for 32) and we’ve STILL only scratched the surface of things to do here. We’ll never get bored.

Even though we don’t really live in Newcastle anymore (but we’re only up the road) you can ‘feel’ the atmosphere. Even in the ‘rough’ parts you get it – I tell my friends that live in Ashington all the time that there’s just an energy to it all, as wank as that sounds, but there is! There’s something in the air. The people are nicer up North too, not just politer, but nicer. Their default setting is to be cheerful and helpful rather than dour and suspicious. I love it.

Newcastle has everything you need – it’s got the beautiful town centre, an ugly bit of town centre (sometimes I do miss concrete), the seaside is only a few miles away, the nice seaside is only a few miles more, a big-ass Angel, rolling countryside that goes on forever, and an airport if you want some proper sun. What more do you need?

If I had to recommend somewhere to visit around here other than Newcastle (of course) would be the bit around South East Northumberland – you’ve got Northumberlandia, a giant woman made out of rubble, the fantastic mining history over in Ashington (the Woodhorn museum is fascinating), a gorgeous beach over at Blyth (not a 99 in sight! Just watch out for doggers) and some wonderful countryside-villagey stuff up near Alnwick including a brilliant bookshop in an old train station, a dramatic castle and a fancy garden. Vindolanda’s also nearby for some fancy learnin’, and if you want to see a dishy 20-something studmuffin dress up as a Roman soldier.

Oh, and did I mention the accent? It’s brilliant. Jokes are funnier coming out of a Geordie. It’s a scientific fact (probably).

Come. You won’t be disappointed.

 


Full disclosure – we’ve copied this one from Auntie but have made it a bit more SW friendly!

crispy chilli beef

crispy chilli beef

to make crispy chilli beef you will need:

  • 350g of minute steak, cut into thin slices (you can get some in our new ‘build your own’ Musclefood hamper!)
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (2 syns)
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced (keep the green bits and the white bits separated)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (save the faff and get one of these)
  • thumb-sized bit of ginger, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp Hellman’s Tomato Ketchup sweetened with Honey (1 syn) (normal tomato sauce will do, just add on another syn)
  • 250g wholewheat noodles, cooked according to the instructions

to make crispy chilli beef you should:

  • put the beef in a bowl and toss with the cornflour and five-spice
  • heat a wok or a large non-stick frying pan over a high heat and add a really good spray of oil (don’ let Frylight wreck your pans, use this instead)
  • add the beef and fry until nice and crisp
  • scoop out the beef and add in the peppers, half the chilli, the white bits of the spring onion, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for about 3 minutes
  • in a small jug, mix togehter the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and tomato sauce along with 2tbsp water and pour over the veg
  • stir well and let it bubble for about 2 minutes
  • add the beef back to the pan, stir well and serve over the noodles, and sprinkle over the green bits of the spring onions

Finally managed to scratch that fakeaway itch? To be fair, the itch was probably just yer cystitis playing up. We’ve got plenty more to tickle your fancy – just press one of the buttons below to find out more!

beefsmallfakeawayssmall pastasmall    naughtyfooddrinkssmall

J

this is nacho normal salad

I’m so sorry, but I can never resist a pun. I just can’t. I’m just glad I’m not a doctor. or I’d spend my days trying to work a gag into telling someone they had six months to live. But why nacho salad? Wait and see. But I have some business to attend to first…tonight’s travel entry, wrapping up Newcastle as it does, is a long one, and if you just want the food, then I’ve created a wee shortcut. Just click the LEATHERY OLD BOOT to go straight to the food…

I’m so glad she’s gone. Did you see what she was wearing? Sweet jesus…


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

Last Newcastle post! I know, I bet you’re so furious you could punch a toilet-attendant for handing you a lollipop, but try and hold your shit together. When you were last with us I’d just kicked Paul’s arse at Kerplunk and Connect 4 and he was crying into his gin. To sober him up and to add a touch of local culture to the weekend, we decided to visit our local museum dedicated to the North East – the Discovery Museum. It’s quite an apt name, as you’ll discover new levels of disappointment as you look at broken exhibit after broken exhibit.

I’ll be there!

No, that’s mean, and I’m being glib. It’s a perfectly fine way to kill an hour or two, even if everything interactive was either out of order or in the hands of a child. I shan’t open that particular wound up again. For the most part it’s about local history, so you get plenty of bits about the Tyne, about the ship-building areas, kids being sent down the mine with only a 20-deck of Capstan Full Strength and phlegm sandwiches for dinner, that sort of thing. There’s a ‘god bless them, they tried’ science lab where you can turn on lights and move handles and press buttons. It’s terrifically exciting, never quite knowing when the next yawn is coming along. We did have fun in the shadow room, mind:

I used to do my studies in here back when I was in the nearby college and I was keen to see if the little café upstairs was still the same – you used to be able to get a jacket potato the size of a sea-swollen foot with beans for £2. But of course not. No, it’s gone down the panini route like most other museum places, where you can get a panini that you could have a full shave together with eight crisps and a token bit of salad that looks like something scraped off the inside of a hamster’s cheek. Haway, shall we not. I had a sweet chilli chicken panini, Paul had coronation chicken, and I think it tells you everything you need to know that we didn’t realise until after we’d finished them that we had choken down each other’s order. That’s how fresh and flavourful they were. Harumph!

There was, at the very least, one saving grace – an exhibition devoted to our local annual funfair, The Hoppings. It promised to recreate the experience of being there, which alarmed me a bit as I didn’t fancy being ripped off by someone who owned eight caravans and seven wives, nor did I want to see Paul get shanked for successfully winning a rigged hook-a-duck game, but we went in regardless. What fun! They had a great collection of old games and creaking fruit machines and we spent a good half an hour wasting our time in there. All of the machines had been gifted to the museum for a few weeks by a group dedicated to restoring them and there was a friendly fella in there talking about them. I love anyone with proper enthusiasm and even my eyes didn’t glaze over whilst he told us about his push-a-penny machine. I was captivated! Paul had to drag me out as he’d spotted the rain that had been plaguing us all day had momentarily stopped, so we dashed out to find somewhere new.

Naturally, the heavens opened the split second those automatic days slid open and we had to dash like the two fat, breathless sods that we are to the nearby station for shelter. Gone are the days we would have cheerfully Ubered that 300 metre dash, and I can’t wait to tell you why…in time…anyway.

Paul took a moment to lead the station in a singalong around the old Joanna…

As we sat and steamed in the Central Station – a beautiful 19th century listed building ruined somewhat by 21st century bastards and the occasional spiced-up zombie – our phones buzzed and Tripadvisor recommended a nearby bar as being ‘right up our street’. It was, quite literally, so we squelched over, only pausing briefly whilst a chap I used to work with bumped into me and I spent a good two minutes trying desperately to remember who he was. Not because he was awful, you understand, but because he’d lost lots of weight and I’ve got a memory like a sieve. Is there a more awkward feeling than someone recognising you like an old chum and you not having the faintest clue? I was hoping for Paul to explosively shit himself as a distraction but his balloon-knot remained tightly clenched. Boo-shucks to him. Anyway, by the time I’d realised who he was it was time to leave, and I left feeling a right rotten bastard. Still, we had a science-themed bar to cheer me up…

…except it didn’t. I’ve genuinely never been served by someone so disinterested and with a contemptuous attitude in Newcastle. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect people to start doing the fucking can-can when we walk in but at least look up from your phone, you prissy column of hair-gel and unmerited superiority. We ordered drinks – as the only two people in there – and were served with all the interest you might give to a scab on your knee. Admittedly we ordered cocktails but we were told (lies!) that these would be fun, science based cocktails served in beakers. We got some syrupy-sweet sour nonsense mixed with tonic and a shitty look. We took our seats at the table, played with the chalk lovingly left for us:

and left before the atmosphere overcame us and we pitched ourselves through the glass windows in despair. Science? He was certainly a fucking alchemist when it came to turning joy into despair.

Luckily, Paul’s nose led us straight to the next meal, hidden away under the arches of the nearby railway. We seem to have a bit of a thing for eating under the arches of a bridge – The Herb Garden is another restaurant which has been stuffed neatly somewhere it shouldn’t, namely under the East Coast Main Line. We ate here on a whim – it was late in the afternoon and Paul was so entranced by the giant pizza oven in the window that it was a done deal before I could finish my ‘but Paul, your thighs’ sentence. We were the only ones in, but that’s purely down to the time of day – normally it’s packed solid, much like we both were afterwards. We were seated and served by a lovely friendly waitress and our food arrived in no time at all. We barely had time to work out who had the difficult job of dusting the lighting down…

We ordered the antipasti selection for two (we wanted to order it for four, but kept our dignity) and it certainly passed muster – tasty cured meats, olives far beyond the usual slop from the supermarkets and decent bread. We tried to eat slowly but it was gone before we could blink: may I stress, we’re greedy.

Given they’re famous for good pizza, we elected for a (deep breath) spinach, egg, pecorino, garlic, mozzarella, olives and basil pizza (£10) and, in a vain attempt to mitigate that cheese, we ordered a flower power chicken salad to share (£12).

They came within ten minutes of ordering and believe me when I say they were as tasty as they look. The pizza – clearly fresh and made to order – was cooked perfectly, with a big gooey egg in the middle. The salad, usually always the bridesmaid to the main meal’s bride, was a revelation to the point where we’ve tried to recreate it at home for the blog and failed miserably. The mix of textures, flavours and looks made this a dish more than capable of standing on its own. I didn’t want to share!

There’s the usual array of sides and appetizers to chomp your way through together with an extensive specials board with each dish inviting us to come back and to hell with the diet. There’s a breakfast pizza called The Fannie Farmer – who wouldn’t want to push their face into that on a weekend morning? Me. That’s who. Never been one for eating sushi off the barbershop floor. We waddled out, content, and wandered down to the High Level bridge to read the graffiti.

Read the graffiti? Why yes, and here’s some choice cuts…

       I can’t see PETA using this as a tag-line.

Brilliant stuff. There was also the usual array of rusty padlocks that people seem intent on leaving everywhere there’s a bridge. Why? I know it’s a love thing but if you feel like your love is only worthy of a view of the Ovoline Lubricants factory and the hearty stench of piss, perhaps it’s time to look again at your relationship. Anyway, we were off to hunt for a rabbit.

Hidden in a corner of Dean Street is the Vampire Rabbit – an odd little curiosity perched high above a door. Why is it odd? Because it’s a menacing looking stone rabbit with bloodied fangs. Because of course. Newcastle’s full of little eccentricities like this and I love it. The best part? It was supposed to be a cute adornment on a fancy door, but one of the owners of the building decided to make it a little more macabre by painting the sandstone. That’s my town.

The final stop on our Holiday at Home was our pre-arranged appointment at Dog and Scone, Newcastle’s first puppy restaurant. Controversial yes, but once you’ve had a puppy pizza you’ll never look back. So much meat on those little legs! Oh I’m kidding, clearly, just before anyone accosts me outside of work and throws red paint all over my best Jacamo coat. Newcastle has had a couple of cat cafes for a while now – somewhere where you can go and stroke cats with a cup of tea. I blogged about one of them and can cheerfully recommend them as a lovely way to waste an hour. But how do you upstage cats? You can’t, to be clear, but someone has opened a puppy café as an attempt to do so. Same principle – have a cup of tea and coo at the gorgeous puppies that frolic about. What next? Perhaps they’ll open a horse café. Ah that wouldn’t work – there would be nowt on the menu, but hay.

So proud of that one.

We washed our hands, took our seats and spent a lovely hour watching the dogs gambol around, chasing each other and hopefully having fun. They did look tired though, and I’ll come back to that later. There was a pug there called Laughing which I fell in love with – there’s something about saggy-jowled, snuffling, wide-eyed bags of barely-breathing flesh that I like, as my marriage to Paul demonstrates. They wrapped the pug in a towel and he fell asleep in my arms which was just lovely. Paul was given a corgi called Coffee which kept raucously farting and then looking at its own anus as if in absolute shock that such a thing could happen. If we ever get a dog Paul wants a corgi but I think that’s ridiculous – if you’re going to get a dog, get a bloody dog, not some silly bugger that looks like a roided-up cat. Oh, there was one little bitch that we didn’t like and who wasn’t on the menu – some foppish waste of skin and spunk who, upon being told the place was shutting imminently, made a fuss about getting a fresh pot of Darjeeling and that really it isn’t any bother at all for the staff to wait around whilst he finished it because he was the customer. Never before have I wanted a dog to bite someone on the bollocks so much. We left at closing time, he was still there being a bellend.

  

It did get me thinking how much money is in just buying a few dogs and a catering box of teabags from Costco and setting up a dog café of my own. Two Chubby Pups. Wags ‘n’ Fags. Puffs and Ruffs? I mean, the list is endless even if your enthusiasm isn’t. We did agree that we didn’t enjoy the puppy café as much as the cat café and let me tell you why – cats can get up on high and hide when they don’t want to be touched or handled, whereas the puppies kept going to their bed only to be picked up again and I genuinely can’t say I’m alright with that. I stress that I have no doubt that they are looked after amazingly well, but if you’re having to wake up a sleeping dog just to parade him about for photos…it left a sore taste in our mouths. Plus about half a dog’s worth of hair. We made our way home and, as usual, were greeted on the path by both cats looking nonchalant. That changed once they realised we’d been petting other animals and it was straight back to indifference and shunning and passively-aggressively licking their arseholes in front of the telly so their paws blocked the sensor on the front. Pfft.

And that’s that! Our holiday in Newcastle, done. Paul’s got some thoughts he wants to share with you all – god help us – and they’ll come next, but let me say one thing – explore your own city! We had such a fun weekend being tourists in our own city, doing things that have passed us by or that we would never normally be arsed to do because they’re on our doorstep – but here’s the thing, unless you open the door, you’ll never see them. Newcastle is an amazing city full of wonderful people – some of us have unwebbed feet, you know –  and I implore you to give our city a go. Paul will touch on it, but we’re so much more than Brown Ale, men punching police horses and Sherrul Curl, thank God. You can get a cheap hotel right in the city centre if you’re willing to go down the Premier Inn route, and then the weekend will be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it. We’re a big city that feels compact thanks to easy walking routes and a decent Metro system and if you’re feeling adventurous, you could even step out into Northumberland to try our amazing beaches, cracking local food and rolling hills. There’s a pretty famous wall to walk along, you know, and you might even bump into Vera as she solves her crimes in that wee little hat.

If you do, try and tell her that every single sentence doesn’t need to end in ‘pet’, ‘sweetheart’ and ‘love’ and that ‘Mordor’ isn’t a crime but rather where those little hobbits destroyed a ring.

We’d love your feedback guys!


Right, let’s do this not your nacho salad, shouldn’t I? Worth the syns, trust me! Makes enough for four bowls.

to make a nacho normal salad, you’ll need:

  • 400g of extra lean beef mince – 5% or less
  • one chopped romaine lettuce mixed with rocket
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • a cucumber cut into chunks
  • a mixture of gherkins, sliced olives (25g – 2 syns)
  • one onion
  • tin of black eyed beans
  • 160g of grated extra mature lighter cheese (4 x HEA)
  • one packet of doritos (30g – 7.5 syns)
  • one carton of passata (preferably with chilli)

You can buy loads, absolutely loads, of perfect mince in our Musclefood deals where, finally, you can choose what you want to make up your hamper! No more having to compromise! Do it your way.

to make a nacho normal salad, you should:

  • chop up all your veg (bar the onion) and crush up your nachos and keep to one side, like this

  • meanwhile, chop the onion, fry it off lightly in a bit of oil until softened (or Fryshite), then add the mince and cook it off until brown
  • meanwhile again, bubble off your passata to thicken it nicely into a sauce
  • put everything into one bowl (bar the sauce) and mix it all up – then add cheese, crushed doritos and a drizzle of sauce
  • done!

Want some more inspiration? Fine! You know what to do!

beefsmallporksmalllambsmallfakeawayssmall lunchsmallpastasmall

J

perfect pork on a bed of caramelised asparagus, onion and lentils

Oh how fancy! Just a quick recipe-only post tonight because frankly, my feet hurt, my bum hurts and my finger hurts from typing so much. However, I couldn’t resist posting this stunning little recipe because I think it looks so pretty in the picture. It’s good timing to post a ‘posh’ meal because I (somewhat gently) got called a snob yesterday for badmouthing Benidorm and it made me think – I’m the least snobbish person I know, but then I only move in certain circles. When you’re as fat as me, those circles are called orbits, by the way. I don’t care how much someone earns or owns and I find the more they brag about those things, the less interesting they are as a person.

Anyway, the reason for me mentioning this is because I’m reminded of a story I heard somewhere and it tickles me every single time I think about it. He recounts a quiet Sunday at home with his family having Sunday lunch when they all become aware of quite the commotion happening across the street. A fire engine comes tearing into the street and firemen pile out and dash into a house. His dad, being nosy, wanders outside to have a look, where he’s met by the next door neighbour who was the type who would make the Queen look like a dole-scrounger.

“I wonder what’s going on”, says the neighbour, to which his dad replied “I don’t know – perhaps it’s a chip pan fire”.

The lady turned to him and looked straight down her nose:

“Chips?”, she spat, aghast.

“On a Sunday?”

Aaaah I love that so much. I grew up in a village with more than its fair share of people like that – people who thought because they had a barely-affordable mortgage and a car the size of a cargo train they were better than anyone else. Pfft!

Anyway this isn’t going to be a quick-post if I don’t get to the recipe so without a moment more of hesitation, let’s rattle off the perfect pork with caramelised onion…this recipe makes enough for two large portions. Which you love, because you’re a filthy bugger.

to make perfect pork on a bed of caramelised asparagus, onion and lentils, you’ll need:

  • two excellent pork loin chops, no fat – we bought ours from Tesco for £3.50 – we’re not fancy
  • 250g of asparagus
  • two large white onions
  • 250g of cooked puy lentils (we buy Merchant Gourmet ones from the shop – 2 syns for 250g)
  • 1 tablespoon of caster sugar (3 syns)

We used an Optigrill for our chops – only because it’s such a doddle to chuck the chop in and let it cook itself, but you absolutely don’t need to buy one for this recipe – a pan will do. You’ll even get those pretty sear marks if you move it to and fro a bit. If you do want an Optigrill, you can buy them on Amazon and read our review here.

to make perfect pork on a bed of caramelised asparagus, onion and lentils, you should:

  • read this whole recipe before you start, as you’ll have a couple of pans on the go at once
  • peel and finely slice the onion – put in a good non-stick pan with a splosh of oil or a few sprays of olive oil, sprinkle over the caster sugar and a pinch of salt, pop the lid on and shake that pan for all your worth – this gets a bit of oil on all of the onion
  • cook on a low to medium heat with the lid on until the onions are slightly golden and soft – it does take a while, but don’t rush it
  • meanwhile, peel your asparagus to remove the stringy skin and then snap it in two – if you bend it gently, it’ll snap at just the right place
  • just as your onions take on a bit of colour, time to cook your pork:
    • we cooked ours in the Optigrill: turned it on, chose the pork chop setting, waited until it was ready to cook, chucked the pork in with a brushing of worcestershire sauce, cooked it until the machine told us to stop, done!
    • haven’t got an Optigrill – don’t worry a jot, you can use a normal griddle pan, frying pan or cook it on a sunburned shoulder for all I care – whatever you do, apply heat until the meat is cooked – I mean, it’s that easy
  • about ten minutes before the pork is done, chuck the asparagus in with the onion – if things are a bit sticky, loosen it up with a wee bit of water
  • just before you’re about to serve, heat your lentils through and plate up

Done! Want more inspiration? Sure thing, cheesenips. You know what to do.

porksmalllambsmallfakeawayssmall lunchsmallpastasmallvegetariansmall sausagessmall  seafoodsmall

J

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!

Want more ideas? Click the buttons!

breakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmallslowcookersmallovernight-oatstastersmall

J