BLTE bap, hot tuna salad and larb burger

So here’s the thing. I get a lot of people telling me to write a book, and I’ve always wanted to, but never really had the right idea or the inclination to do research and gain the appropriate knowledge. Then, as it happens, Paul decided to stroke my ego in the car today (and we weren’t pulled over in a layby flashing our interior lights at lorry drivers, which is normally what we’re doing in the car together – honestly, I hope Eddie Stobart’s drivers aren’t epileptic, it looks like an Eighties disco in our car) and told me I really should get on with it. Well, I love writing, I adore writing this blog (for the most part) and because I’m massively egocentric, what better topic to write about than what is happening in our lives? That would be great for me – but boring(ish) for you.

Here’s my idea: I am going to write a book – it’s going to be in the same format as what we’re doing now with the blog posts, but with fictional stuff interwoven amongst the nonsense. It won’t be a slimming book, simply because I don’t want Margaret coming after me with her Lynda la Plante weave all awry and her gang of Slimming World lawyers straining on the leash to do me in for copyright law. But I’ll put a few of my favourite recipes in there too. It’ll be like Bridget Jones Diary, only massively less successful. Renee Zellweger could totally play me though, if she put 180lb on and fell face-first into a fire. Naturally the blog remains at the forefront of my writing, and this side project will be something I’ll be tinkering on with for the next few months. In the meantime, if you fancy reading more of our writing, don’t forget we have a book on Amazon which is an account of our four weeks in Orlando: read about how I spent the first two days of the holiday tinted blue thanks to cheap sunscreen, or how I exposed my not unsubstantial arse to a crowd in a waterpark. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and by paying only £1.20, you’ll keep Paul and I in replacement ped-eggs. That can be found here.

Right, so with that announcement over, let’s start with day four of SP! Tomorrow I’m going to explain SP in a bit more detail and also tell you exactly what I think of it. I’ll give you a clue: I think it’s a load of horse’s arse. And I’m not even going to mark that as a protein, either.

BREAKFAST

blt slimming world

BLTE

The E stands for egg (P), obviously. Plus lettuce (S) and tomato (S). There’s not an awful lot to say about this, other than: 

  • we totally didn’t have two each *cough/splutter*
  • I got Paul out of bed to make this (because I was hungry) by setting off the smoke alarm and then hiding in the kitchen – he came dashing in completely nude like the world’s cuddliest fireman and then proceeded to tell me off for about five minutes, the whole while I’m standing there agreeing solemnly with everything he said and pushing the packet of bacon closer and closer to him. I know one day our actifry is going to burst into flame through overuse and we’ll both perish in the fire because we’ve played too many pranks with the smoke alarm. I bet Paul manages to die with a pious ‘see I told you’ expression on his face
  • there’s a certain type of wholemeal bread roll you’re allowed – I think it’s a Weight Watchers one – but we only had these little buns in the freezer and after waking Paul up by tricking him into thinking he was in The Towering Inferno, I didn’t have the temerity to tell him to go to the shop…so we just used these. They’re about the same size.

LUNCH

hot hot tuna salad

Hot, hot tuna salad

So good I named it twice, see. No, it’s hot in both senses of the word – hot because of the added chilli and also, served hot. Usually tuna salad is served cold and, to someone who doesn’t like fish, isn’t especially appetising. Hell, I’ll make Paul wash Little Paul in the bathroom sink before he gets his birthday gobble. 

Christ can I say as an aside I realise that this post is making it sound like Paul has an awful life, like some hairy Little Mo to my Trevor. Honestly, it’s not that bad, no-one needs to call Relate for us just yet. The only time he’s raised an iron in anger is when our ironing lady was off for two weeks having something done with her ovaries. Having them out I think, not wallpapered.

Anyway, yes, tuna salad:

to make hot, hot tuna salad you will need: 

several big fuck-off lettuce leaves (S) – I grow mine in the greenhouse and honest to God, it’s like Day of the Triffids in there at the moment. I’m lucky I have a retractable hose-pipe – if I get lost amongst the lettuce, I just pull myself free. Yep. You’ll also need two tins of tuna (P), two large sweet peppers cut into chunks (S), three shallots sliced thinly (S), two tomatoes cut into chunks (S), 1 tsp of black pepper, 1 tsp of garlic salt, 1 tsp of chilli flakes, 1/4 tsp of salt and a bit of oil.

to make hot, hot tuna salad you should:

  • mix the tuna together with all the spices and salt and set aside
  • fry the onion and pepper in a dab of oil or some frylight until soft
  • chuck the tuna in and heat through – why not add a bit of chilli sauce if you like your hoop to look like a deflated liferaft
  • serve up on the giant lettuce leaves
  • to eat, fold the lettuce into neat parcels and chew
DETOX WATER

mandarin water

Mandarin

My favourite water so far! It tasted like sunshine in a glass. Well no, not quite, but it’s just one ingredient:

  • mandarin – which is excellent for vitamin C, which is handy for preventing skin wrinkling. 

I assume Gordon Ramsay doesn’t like mandarins, because he has a face like an unmade bed. Don’t forget, if you want a gloriously ostentatious way of serving up your water (and don’t think for a second that come Eurovision night that isn’t going to be full of punch) you can buy one from Amazon. I will say this, we’ve certainly consumed a lot more water since we bought it, but that’s more because I’m such a tight-arse that I’m determined not to lose face and see it consigned to the back of the cupboard along with the lollipop maker and the ravioli crimper.

Haha, crimper.

BODY MAGIC IDEA – GEOCACHING

 geocachingday42

geocachingday42

Ah geocaching. I’ve rumbled on about geocaching before – it’s essentially a giant treasure hunt where no-one wins. But you don’t need to win a prize to enjoy it, it’s fantastic fun if you’re GIANT NERDS like us. People have hidden containers all over the world (and I’d bet my savings there’s probably at least five within easy walking distance from your house right now) and you use your GPS or an app on your smartphone to find them. Then you sign the book and put it back. It’s a great way of:

  • livening up a charming walk out in the country; and
  • making the British public think you’re loitering in the bushes with your knob out ready to strike.

See, part of geocaching is that you have to be subtle – some of the containers are hidden in plain sight, so you have to try and swipe them without people seeing, which can be difficult when you’re stumbling around in the trees like a flannel-shirted rapist. We had a lovely walk around a nature reserve and ended up on one of Northumberland’s fantastic beaches. Just look at that scene above. See, the North is so much more than child-beating and whippets. That picture of the rock at the top – that’s called a disco cache, where the logbook is hidden inside a container designed to look like something completely different. They’re extra hard – I’ve hid caches myself inside golf balls, birds nest and even a fake blob of chewing gum. It’s all free of charge and hey, if you’ve got kids, get them involved too.

Everyone I ever explain geocaching to wrinkles their nose and asks me what is the point, but it’s great fun. You’ll end up enjoying yourself, trust me. Visit www.geocaching.com, pop in your postcode and go and find the closest one to you.

DINNER 

larb burgers

Larb burgers

Told you I was getting the use out of my lettuce! Note: I used a carrot and ginger dressing from Tesco on this which works out at almost a syn for two tablespoons. But you can use fat-free vinaigrette if you dare not sacrifice a syn. 

to make larb burgers you will need: 

  • 500g of turkey mince or three chicken breasts (if you’re using breasts, then you’ll need a mincer – and how often as a gay man do I get to say that?), 3 shallots (S) (one thickly sliced, the other two thinly), 3 cloves of garlic (S), a few lime leaves (get them from Tesco’s world food bit), 1 small stalk of lemongrass, a dash of fish sauce, a bit of ginger (you only need a little knob to really taste it – and how often as a gay man do I get to say that), a lime (S), pickled cabbage (S I think) and the ubiquitous giant lettuce leaves (S).

to make larb burgers you should:

  • get your food processor or blender or what have you on the go
  • throw in the thickly cut shallot, garlic, lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger, fish sauce and a pinch of salt and pulse to a paste
  • add the meat and pulse so it’s nicely mixed up with the spices
  • shape into six burgers
  • heat a griddle pan with a drop of oil or some Frylight and get it medium hot
  • add the burgers and cook hard – you want to get some sear lines into the burger for that classy bitches look
  • turn over and repeat on the other side – we cooked them for seven minutes each side to really cook them through – always be careful with chicken
  • if they look a bit dry, throw some lime juice into the pan
  • in the same griddle pan, put the finely sliced shallots in to fry off in the juice of the meat and lime
  • once cooked through, assemble onto the lettuce leaves, add some pickled cabbage and the shallots, and serve (you can add dressing if you want, I found it wasn’t necessary.

Enjoy! Oooh it’s like you in a tropical paradise, right?

DAY FOUR DONE.

J

breakfast loaf, ploughman’s lunch and pizza topped chicken

So yes, sorry about yesterday and all, but we got sidetracked by the election, and anyway you got a competition so hush your gums. How do I feel about the election? Pretty annoyed, in all honesty, not least because it means I have to look at that smug, oily-faced knobber everytime I open the newspaper. I liked Ed Miliband but he had all the leadership potential of a carrier bag blowing in the wind, but he didn’t deserve that. Ah well. No politics chat. Five more years is plenty time for the United Kingdom to rue their decision. So yes, that’s that.

I keep receiving phone calls from various ‘Claims Management’ companies who have somehow got my number and are adamant that I’ve had an accident and must claim now. I’m not one of these people who get hysterical about it, ultimately people are just doing their jobs, but they are parasitic vultures and I do enjoy wasting their time. The amount of different scenarios I’ve had for my fictional accident is beyond belief. I had some cheery chap on the phone the other day for fifteen minutes asking me about my accident – I told him I was driving a car ferry down the A1 and hit a bridge. His response? He asked me for the registration plate of the ferry. I told him I couldn’t recall the registration plate and that I couldn’t check because one of my eyes had fallen out on impact.

Today’s call was a little shorter, I told him I’d hit a pollard. Admittedly, I’m not convinced English was his first accent, but I have a clear voice and clearly said pollard. He asked me to repeat. I said pollard. He asked again. Pollard. ‘Bollard Sir? You hit a bollard?’ – to which my reply was no, I’d hit eighties television star Su Pollard, who had strayed in front of my car whilst lighting a cigarette after turning on Durham’s Christmas lights. I mentioned that I felt her trademark glasses crack under my tyre and I couldn’t sleep for knowing there was so many Hi-De-Hi fans who’d never be happy again.

He hung up. No staying power at all, these cold callers.

BREAKFAST

daythreebreak

Breakfast loaf

I confess, this has to be singularly the most unappetising dish I’ve made yet. It tasted nice, but it looked like a foot that had fallen in the sea. In fact, that’s all I can see now. It’s 4 syns for the whole lot and it made enough for breakfast for the two of us and a few slices for snacking. Is it healthy? Christ no. To be frank, if I stop and think about it, it’s bloody revolting the amount of meat being used here…

to make breakfast loaf you will need:

8 Be-Good-To-Yourself sausages (1/2 syn each) (you might need more, I did, but I have a big loaf tin), four eggs, a chopped onion, around twelve rashers of bacon. You’ll also need a loaf tin.

to make breakfast loaf you should:

  • set your eggs away boiling – after eight minutes, take out, run under cold water and peel them
  • using your fingers, squeeze the sausage-meat out of their casing – you might want to really concentrate carefully at how this looks as you’re doing it because trust me, with this veritable mountain of meat, you won’t be experiencing this action for a few days – and into a bowl
  • gently fry off the onion in a dab of oil or frylight and set aside
  • line the loaf tin with the rashers of bacon, leaving some dangling over the top of the sides which you’ll then fold over the sausagemeat – make sure you cover the bottom of the tin too
  • spoon half of the sausagemeat into the bottom of the tin
  • place the four boiled eggs into the loaf tin on their sides
  • spoon over the cooked onion
  • get the rest of the sausagemeat and pack it into the tin, then fold the bacon over the top
  • you want your meat packed really quite tight – you’re creating a bacon wrapped parcel of goodness
  • cook in the oven for around forty minutes or until it is cooked through – you might need to drain a little liquid off
  • leave to cool, then slice and serve

You’ll also need to know this basic hands-only CPR:

  • place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the centre of the person’s chest. Place your other hand on top of your first hand and interlock your fingers
  • position yourself with your shoulders above your hands
  • using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by 5–6cm on their chest
  • repeat this until an ambulance arrives

That bit about the using all your weight bit makes me titter. If I used all of my weight on someone’s chest they’d be taking the corpse into hospital in a fucking gravy boat.

LUNCH

daythreeploughman

this one’s easy.

ingredients: one egg, 2 slices of ham, 2 tomatoes, 40g reduced-fat cheddar, cucumber, handful of pickled onions, two slices of wholemeal bread (healthy extra), 2 tbsp fat free cottage cheese, one chicken breast

recipe: well now, really. This one practically makes itself. We George Foreman’ed the chicken breast. That is, we grilled it, not became so proud of it that we put our name on it. Have you seen my full name? It wouldn’t fit on a cucumber.

DETOX WATER

daythreewater

Lemon and ginger

I’m not a huge fan of ginger, unless we’re talking about mega-titted Geri Halliwell, who was my favourite Spice Girl. I always pretend to Paul that I’m too cool for that type of music but then he’ll catch me doing all the voices to Spice Up My Life whilst pottering around in the shed and the game is up. Tell you what, this detox water is playing havoc with my sleeping pattern – I’m waking up to strain the potatoes a good four times a night. I’m like the secret lemonade drinker, only the lemonade is cucumber scented and I’m spraying it all over the bathroom tiles in my sleep-addled state. So yes, enjoy that…this mixture is simple:

  • lemon – apparently very good for digestion, which is a good idea when you’re eating all this meat (honestly, if you’re not suffering with a logjam on the River Brown by the end of this SP week, I’d be amazed. I’m a whisker away from calling in those chaps who blow up old cooling towers).
  • ginger – good for motion sickness, which is handy to stop your head spinning from trying to get your head around this bloody SP malarkey.
BODY MAGIC IDEA – LOOKING THE BIZ WITH LIZ MCDONALD

daythreeliz

Well, this was absolutely disastrous. We had originally planned to give a ‘fitness DVD’ a go and had settled on trying to find that Charlotte Crosby’s DVD. She lost so much weight on her diet, but frankly, I don’t know if I can exist on a diet of jizz and cocaine, so we put that on the backburner. Then I remembered – my old flatmate bought me Beverley Callard’s Rapid Results from a Scope shop so many moon ago, and I’ve always kept it because it looks hilarious to see her tiny face peeping out next to the boxsets of 24 and Lost. I’m not fibbing either – you really can lose weight with Liz McDonald! 

We got about five minutes in and gave up. Why? Because it was ridiculous! For a start, we don’t have the level of fitness required to keep up with the lovely Bev, and secondly, neither of us could concentrate on the TV because of the fear of seeing some eye-watering camel toe. There’s something intensely troubling about trying to keep up with the squats with the Queen of the Rovers Return, especially as she was going through her ‘Kevin Keegan’ haircut stage at the time of filming.

Plus, I couldn’t take it seriously. I kept yelling ‘LIZ YA WHOOOOOREEE’ at Paul in my best Jim McDonald voice, together with ‘Catch yerself on, Elizabeth’ and ‘What about ye Paul’ even before the exercise started. See this is why we can’t go along to classes. Ah well. At least we tried! Imagine what it must have looked like to see two big fat benders yelling corrie quotes at each other whilst Roly from Eastenders did lunges on the telly.

BTW, I can’t begin to tell you how often Jim McDonald impressions get made in our house. The other Corrie impression that comes out all the time is Paul shouting LEEEEES like Janice Battersby used to. It’s like the last ten years never happened!

DINNER 

daythreepizza

Pizza topped chicken (makes two)

to make pizza topped chicken you will need:

1 small red onion (chopped finely), 1 red pepper (chopped), 2 small cloves of garlic (crushed), 2 tbsp stock, 1 tin of chopped tomatoes, 2 tsp tomato puree, 1 tsp oregano, two chicken breasts, 65g reduced fat mozzarella, few leaves of basil (finely chopped)

to make pizza topped chicken you should: 

  • slice the chicken breast in half horizontally, making sure not to slice through the entire breast, then fold open to make a butterfly shape and repeat for the other breast.
  • spray a large pan with Frylight (or add a teaspoon of olive oil for 2 syn) and fry the breasts over a medium-high heat until slightly browned and repeat on both sides.
  • place the breasts onto a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.
  • meanwhile, in a saucepan, mix together the onions, garlic and stock and simmer for a few minutes until the onion is slightly softened
  • add the tomatoes, tomato puree and oregano and stir, remove from the heat
  • when the chicken breasts are cooked, spread a tablespoon or more of the tomato mixture onto each breast
  • add the mozzarella and cook in the oven for a further 5 minutes
  • sprinkle with the chopped basil and eat!

DAY THREE DONE.

J

chicken fattoush

Before we launch into day two, I’ve found a brilliant little feature hidden away in the background of my blog – I’ve got the ability to see what people search for to find my blog. It’s so I can tailor the pages in such a fashion to pick up google searches for SW recipes and the like. All very exciting to a data-nerd like me. But I thought I’d share some of the more…obscure searches that people have used to come across (literally, in some cases) my blog..

‘carrot cake overnight oats slimming world’

Excellent! One of my favourite recipes. Nice choice, google.

‘dont trust slimming world’

Oh no! What do they know that we don’t? Maybe it’s all a cult – that would explain all the fucking clapping, for sure. Maybe Mags herself is plotting to take over the world one watery curry at a time?

‘look at my chunky pussy’

Good lord. I like the fact that someone typed that into google too, like it was an instruction rather than a question…

‘1000 heartbeats shit’

I couldn’t agree more. Vernon tries his best, god love him, but you’re still essentially watching someone solve wordsearches during an echocardiogram.

‘miniature brown teapot with teapot and bread on’

I bet they were absolutely gutted when this appeared. For the record, I prefer my “teapots” colossal and without a “lid”, if you know what I mean. If you don’t, I’m talking about cocks again.

11062747_866129470127324_6319142510301069702_o

‘chocolate in rainbow world’

God knows.

‘stocky hairy men washing each other’

They’d be disappointed. I wash Paul with the extendable hose from outside. However if watching two fat blokes grappling over the ped-egg and yelling nonsense at the TV melts your butter, get in touch.

‘can dogs have baked cod’

Yes, but only if it’s their birthday. 

‘is semen classed as a syn on slimming world’

No, it isn’t – but remember, only sluts gargle. 

‘young chubby has two at once and loves it’

No denying this one. It was the best night I’ve had in a while. Four fingers at once. But that’s a Kitkat for you (11.5 syns).

And my personal favourite:

‘wat syns.cn u see wen sum is busy with evil’

Words fail me. Seems like a good time to start then…

BREAKFAST

day2break

Red berry fruit salad with sweetened Quark

Nothing to this other than it’s a medley of different red berries and, because it’s SP week and you’re not allowed a yoghurt if you’re sticking to it 100% otherwise your consultant will be around to fling a dog-turd off your window, we mixed quark with a little bit of milk and some sweetener. I fail to see the point or the logic to it but we’re fully invested. I can’t imagine my body is going to shut down like Titanic’s furnace the very second a Muller passes my lips but nevertheless. The Quark (P) tasted alright, but…we used frozen mixed berries (all of them (S) foods)on the bottom of the glass that had been allowed to thaw (but not cooked, because christ I can’t handle two moans about bloody tweaking in one post) and chopped strawberries (S) on the top. That masked the taste. Pomegranates aren’t speed though, surprisingly, but you could swap them out for raspberries if you were desperate.

LUNCH

daytwolunch

Chicken fattoush salad

Note: this can easily be syn-free – just omit the olive oil. But I like a bit of oil on my dressing. Up to you…OH and in our haste this morning to make this before work, we forgot to take a picture. But it looked like the one above, trust me.

to make chicken fattoush you will need:

½ cucumber (S), 1 green pepper (S), 3 medium tomatoes (S), 6 spring onions (S), 1-2 chicken breasts grilled and cut into strips (P), handful of chopped coriander, handful of chopped parsley, as much leafy salad as you like, 1 tbsp finely chopped mint, 40ml lemon juice, salt and pepper, 1 tbsp sumac.

to make chicken fattoush you should: 

  • chop the cucumber in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds (you don’t have to do this, but it stops it getting soggy)
  • chop the pepper, tomatoes and spring onions into chunks
  • mix all of the above with the salad leaves, herbs and chopped mint and chicken
  • in a separate small bowl, whisk together the sumac and lemon juice until well mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • pour the dressing over the salad, and eat!

For heaven’s sake though, have a mint after. All that onion!

DETOX WATER

daytwowater

Mint and cucumber

Someone posted a comment on a Facebook group I use about a ‘Sassy Water’ where, if you drink it, the nutrients and wonderful vitamins swimming around in your body would make you lose A POUND AN HOUR. Ridiculous right, and not least because Sassy Water sounds like a particularly ghetto-fabulous drag queen. But what made me more aghast – and I am a man who spends a good two hours of my day with my hand clasped theatrically to my lips with a ‘well fuck me’ expression – PEOPLE BELIEVED IT. People honest to God without theatrics believed it. How?! How do these people remember to breathe in AND breathe out? Imagine if losing weight was as easy as drinking a few glasses of water with the Tesco Reduced Items basket bobbing around in it like a turd in a pier? For goodness sake. Tell you what, maybe that searcher above was right and Slimming World is a big con after all, keeping us fat so we can keeps Mags in Bentleys and Montecristos. 

Just kidding, I love SW really. In the water today then:

  • mint from the garden, chopped up fine; and
  • enough cucumber to make a nun purse her lips.

Cucumber is good for the skin and mint is champion if your breath bleaches people’s hair as you talk. Still tasted like I was drinking a face-mask mind.

BODY MAGIC IDEA – WALKING

daytwobody

Today’s body magic was walking – into work and back again. I’ve mentioned before that walking into work is a chore (opens in a new window that one, so don’t worry, give it a read) but today was especially tiresome. At 5.00pm, I looked across Newcastle from my office and saw the sun bright in the sky, children playing happily and I could almost hear tinkly laughter from the street below. I got in the lift, travelled seven floors to the bottom, and went outside. It was like The Day After Tomorrow, with horizontal rain and hail. It felt like my face was being powersanded by God himself. Of course, I had a hoodie on, so I was fine, but Paul was immediately caught out by his cheap-o Tesco work shirt turning see-through so everyone could see his dirtypillows. It was an uncomfortable swim home. To top it off, the cows on the town moor thought it would be a jolly jape to start running together over the path with their shitclad tails swishing about, meaning we had to powermince to avoid them, slipping in the cowpats they’d skilfully and carefully left on the path whilst the rain and wind blew all around us. At one point I almost collapsed onto a bench and told Paul to go on without me. It was like Threads, and that shit’s real.

Of course, the rain, wind and bad weather stopped the very second I pressed the door-release on my car keys. 

God, if you’re up there, why do you hate me so? Is it the blasphemy? The sodomy? The fact I look better with a beard? Bah!

Anyway, in total, I walked 7.64 miles throughout the day (including a schlep around Tesco and my many walks to the photocopier) and burned 1308 calories. Paul managed a respectful 3.4 mile walk (into work and back – he forgot to leave his pedometer on). We definitely earned our dinner.

OH WHAT A SEGUE.

DINNER 

Well, this is embarrassing. It’s still in the oven! We’re having oven-baked meatballs but didn’t realise that they took over two hours to slowly cook. Great! I’ll post a picture tomorrow. Promise. Honest. But the recipe…:

ingredients: 2 large onions (S), 500g lean beef mince (P) (or pork, or turkey!), 2tsp dried oregano, 2 garlic cloves (crushed) (S), salt and pepper, 400g tin of chopped tomatoes (S), 400ml passata, 150ml vegetable stock, 2 medium courgettes (S), 1 medium aubergine (S).

recipe:

  • finely chop the two onions and put into a bowl with the mince, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper
  • combine the mixture by hand and roll into twenty or so equal balls
  • titter at the word balls
  • place the meatballs into the fridge to chill, perhaps pipe a bit of Michael Buble in for them
  • trim and chop the courgettes and aubergine into chunks and mix together in a large roasting dish with the tomatoes, passata and vegetable stock
  • cover the dish with foil and cook for 50 minutes at 200 degrees celsius
  • add the meatballs to the dish, recover (the dish, not your dignity) and cook for another 40 minutes
  • serve!

We’re having ours with turnip and green beans because that’s the only thing left after we made sassy water.

DAY TWO DONE.

J

leek, samphire, pea, mushroom and bacon frittata

Right, so remember we’re structuring the posts a little different this week – it’s pure diet. No sass. Oh fuck off, this is me, I can’t sign my name without a 500 word critique of someone’s hairy top lip and an anecdote about peas. I heard something I haven’t heard in years today: ‘Oh, you’ll know him, he’s gay too’. I mean, it’s a harmless enough comment and it was certainly meant with no malice, but it does tickle me. I like the idea of there being a gay psychic link that becomes activated the very second you turn to someone who shares the same approximate genitals as you (so to speak) and say, oh we’ll give it a go. A yellow pages but in lavender. I suppose it works on the same idea as ‘having a gaydar’ which I DO think there’s a grain of truth in. Paul and I can normally spot the other gay couples wandering around the garden centre or fingering the strawberries in Waitrose, but it never extends to anything more than a tiny smirk and a colossal leer at the cucumber in their trolley. Half the time I walk around like I’ve had a stroke because I’m trying not to wink at them.

In fact, this is what happens when you’re not looking. 

Anyway, hush. So how are we going to do this? Easy! I’m going to mark speed foods with a S and protein-rich foods with a P.

BREAKFAST

poached-eggs

Poached eggs on marmite toast with baked beans

Now come on, you don’t really need me to talk you through this, but it’s a HE of wholemeal bread (the small loaf, don’t be putting two eggs on a doorstep of bread and come crying to me next week) slathered with marmite, baked beans (P) and eggs (P). I can poach an egg properly no problem but time is always a factor, especially now I have to contend with the worry of not getting a reflection of my knob in the pictures (we’re always naked during breakfast, saves showering twice when I invariably spill my cornflakes into my chest hair). So we bought one of these egg-poachers – It’s the easy and lazy way to cook poached eggs in the microwave. £4.99 on Amazon, steal. You half fill each compartment, microwave for forty seconds, crack your egg in, microwave for another 30 seconds and you are done. Normally you get the runny yolk but I was sidetracked scratching Paul’s back this morning so forgot to take them out. Anyway, done!

Oh, be careful – whilst I’ve never experienced this, it can be slightly dangerous to microwave an egg. Perhaps prick the yolk. Up to you. If you happen to like goo blasting across your face in the morning, well then you’re my type of reader.

LUNCH

frittata SLIMMING WORLD

This makes enough for six servings, or if we’re being realistic about the type of people that we are, two servings and a bit leftover to pick at in tears whilst you hang that too-skinny pair of jeans back into the wardrobe. WE’LL GET THERE.

to make leek, samphire, pea, mushroom and bacon frittata you will need:

: one big bugger leek (sliced) (S), a handful of samphire (S), handful of sugarsnap peas (S), mushrooms (sliced) (S), salt and pepper, garlic, 30g of parmesan (optional – HEA choice but don’t forget this serves two/three) eight eggs and a frying pan that is a) non-stick and b) capable of going in the oven.

to make leek, samphire, pea, mushroom and bacon frittata you should:

  • slice and prepare your veg and chuck it all into a frying pan
  • cook off the bacon medallions under the grill (or normal bacon, but chuck away that fat) then chop and add
  • beat all the eggs into submission in a jug, adding a good sprinkle of salt, pepper and garlic (grated)
  • pour egg into the bacon and veg mix and give it a good shake and mix to let the egg soak through
  • pop onto a medium heat for around ten minutes or so until things start to firm up – the top will be runny though
  • add the grated parmesan here if you’re using it
  • whack it into the oven for ten minutes or so on around 180 degrees – you want it firm but not overcooked
  • leave to cool and then slice and serve with salad – it transports well so it’s good for lunch

top tip: you really can chuck any old shite into a frittata, it’s really very forgiving. Any flimflam you have sitting in the bottom of the fridge will easily taste delicious in a frittata. Get it done!

DETOX WATER

detox water 1

Full disclosure – I really think detox waters are a load of piss. Well, not immediately, but they’ll get there. Your body is a detoxing machine! However, that said, drinking water is always a wonderful thing. Click here for the Kilner water dispenser. You don’t need one. You really don’t. But it’s summer soon. Cheaper alternatives are available, by the way. This water contains:

  • two sliced limes (S) (can help prevent kidney stones)
  • one sliced lemon (S) (because you don’t want scurvy, your legs will bend when you get on the scales)
  • half a sliced grapefruit (S) (strengthens the immune system)
  • pineapple sage leaf.

Pineapple sage leaf? Totally unnecessary. But it’s amazing. You may recall I started a herb garden a few posts ago and this little bugger is growing merrily away – the leaves taste like sweet pineapple and smell amazing. You could brew it in a tea, if you’re the type of arty-farty person who thinks such a thing is a sensible idea. 

The water was refreshing and ‘clean’. But then what do you expect, we have plumbed in filtered water and an ice-dispenser. FAT MEN LIVING THE DREAM. Of course, I needed it after my body magic…

BODY MAGIC – GARDENING

garden

I had timetabled four miles of walking for the body magic today, but when we got up it was absolutely chucking it down. I would have been drier had I swam to work down the Tyne. Plus the cows are back on the Town Moor, and they terrify me with their cold, dead eyes and shitty tails. So instead, we spent a good hour or so gardening – from top to bottom:

  • repotted our baby leeks
  • potted out our tomatoes into their automatic watering beds
  • trimmed back our lettuce monster
  • FINALLY planted all the early potatoes!

Google tells me that gardening comes in at around 300 calories for an hour of medium graft. Personally, I reckon 295 of that calorie spend comes from me constantly yanking up my trousers to stop the neighbours over the road being able to see my bumhole everytime I planted a potato. I live in perpetual and unending fear of my top of my arse-crack being exposed.

Never gardened before? You’re missing out. I’m no Charlie Dimmock, despite having her tits and then some. Even if you’ve only got a tiny bit of land to potter in, you can grow your lettuce and herbs easy enough. Tomatoes are more of a fart-on but worth the effort. But start small. Nothing tastes better than something you’ve grown yourself. 

Finally…

chicken curry

Does anyone have Margaret’s number? Seriously, I feel like ringing up and congratulating her. I’ve FINALLY found a Slimming World curry recipe that doesn’t taste like someone’s sneezed a curry stock cube onto some chicken and wrung a dishcloth over it. It was tasty, though I made some adjustments! And SP friendly. So without a moment of hesitation…

to make easy chicken curry with spicy broccoli you will need:

one red onion (chopped) (S), 2 garlic cloves (grated) (S), one chicken breast (makes enough for two) (P), 1 tbsp of korma powder, 6tbsp of tomato puree, 200g of passata, a half teaspoon of turmeric, 400ml of chicken stock, chopped red pepper (S), spinach (S), bit of coriander so you can pretend you’re out somewhere dead fancy. For the broccoli you’ll need some tenderstem broccoli (S) and a 1tbsp of tandoori curry powder

to make easy chicken curry with spicy broccoli you should: 

  • gently cook the onion, chopped red pepper and garlic in a drop of oil or a few squirts of everyone’s favourite pan-ruiner, Frylight
  • chuck in the diced chicken and cook hard and fast until there’s not a squeak of pink chicken
  • add everything else – powder, puree, stock and passata, bring to the boil and then reduce to a low heat and cook for twenty minutes or so until the sauce has thickened, throwing in the spinach for five minutes near the end;
  • whilst that’s happening, throw your broccoli into boiling water and cook the very life out of it for 3 minutes or so – you still want it firm, if you have to gum it to enjoy it you’ve gone too far;
  • drain the broccoli and whilst it is still damp, sprinkle that tandoori powder all over it
  • heat up a griddle pan – again, tiny bit of oil or frylight, and griddle the hell out of that broccoli for a couple of minutes
  • serve up – add a dainty bit of coriander that’ll sit mournfully on the side of your plate until the cat eats it.

Phew! Enjoy that did we? I hope so!

SPEED FOODS USED TODAY: red pepper, spinach, leeks, broccoli, grapefruit, lime, lemon, garlic, onion, mushrooms, samphire, sugarsnap peas (12).

Before I go, there’s a competition running this week. I’ll announce it tomorrow (if I remember) but it’ll reward those with keen eyes…

Please do share this blog as far and as wide as you can.

J

 

kangaroo burger with fries

Only a teensy tiny post tonight as Paul is out gallivanting and I’m stuck at work – so I’m activating a saved post! Enjoy!

kangaroo burger with fries

Actually, not much to say about this recipe aside from the burger – we bought it from www.musclefood.com where we previously got a big old box of chicken. Delivery was quick and the meat really has been second to none. The kangaroo burger has languished at the back of the freezer and we thought, well why not? Let me tell you – it was very tasty! You could hoy a beefburger in here just as easy. It’s syn free, very lean meat and chucked in a bun with tomato, onion, rocket and a slice of cheese it made for a good tea. Cook it under the grill for around fifteen minutes until the juices run clear. If Musclefood float your boat, order using this link and you’ll get four free chicken breasts. Goodness! Remember, HEB for the bun, HEA for the cheese.

The fries were easier still – just cut them thin, drop of oil, a bit of salt and into the Actifry. Same effect could be made from doing them in the oven!

Finally, if you’re a fan of the snazzy little (wanky) chip pan, you can pick up a pack of four here. All you need to complete the gastropub experience is a giant plate with a tiny bit of crackling and a tiny period of cranberry sauce on it. Yum!

falafel burgers

For some reason, Jehovah’s Witnesses have taken to standing around outside of Eldon Square of a lunchtime, thrusting copies of The Watchtower at me as I shuffle past with my headphones in and trying desperately not to catch their eye. I feel like I can’t be mean to religious people in the same way I often am with chuggers – I usually just point at my ears and pretend I’m deaf, and I once told someone collecting for Alzheimer’s Research that she’d spoken to me just a few minutes before, didn’t she remember…she called me a very unsavoury name, and perhaps rightly so. But the JWs are a bit creepy – too earnest with the smiles, too keen to stop people and try and engage them, too comfortable with being told to fuck off. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll rock up to them and ask what they can do for me, as a blood-giving (sssh), civil-partnered sodomite who believes in abortion and hard living.

I’ve never been a religious person – the only time I went to church growing up was at Easter to get a free Easter egg (although it was always a Spar special egg, dead cheap with white bloom on the chocolate) or Christmas for the same reason, substituting egg for a chocolate jesus. It didn’t help that the guy delivering the sermons had an almighty lisp, which as a child was immensely hilarious. I know, cruel, but there you go. Actually, unusual disability seems to have followed me around through religion – our RE teacher in middle school was amazing (used to let us watch South Park rather than read the bible) but he had a tremor in his left hand, which combined with his hand all clawed up through arthritis, looked like he was wanking all the time. Awful I know, but that also used to cause much hilarity during lessons – teacher twittering on about God whilst calling him a wanker with his left hand.

I haven’t had much experience with other religions either, sadly. As part of a cultural exchange, our class had to go and visit Newcastle Hindu Temple – the idea being our minds would be broadened by their lavish food, colourful buildings and pleasant atmosphere, whereas young Hindu children would get to come and sit on the rock hard pews and listen to a man in a frock lisp his way through All Thingth Bright and Beautiful. Well see it was all going swimmingly until we had to sit cross-legged on the floor and listen to the brahmin explain Hinduism – champion. Except I, coming from an environment where the only spice I consumed belonged to Ginger, Baby, Scary, Sporty and Posh, was having a bad reaction to the pakora we had been given at the start and, genuinely accidentally, let out a fart that, pushed between my flabby schoolboy bumcheeks and the hard, polished floorboards, was ridiculously loud. And long. Once it was coming, there was no stopping it – at least ten seconds easily of earth-shattering, hair-burning fart. It sounded like the police helicopter was hovering overheard, it truly did. No-one believed me that it was a genuine accident and I got made to stand outside, although to be fair that was probably to give my nipsy a chance to cool off in the autumn air. I got detention and summarily bollocked for that little incident. It’s no wonder there’s so much tension these days – if only there’d been a bit more tension in my sphincter, eh.

Whilst I’m talking about religion, a quick comment on the upcoming Pegida march through Newcastle. I find it shameful, utterly shameful. People say it isn’t racist but you’ve only got to look at the comments on Facebook to see the true colours. I’ll say only one thing – people bleat on and on and on about what asylum seekers get given – but they base it on hearsay and what they read in the paper. Take a moment, do some proper research – they get next to nothing. I worked for a charity for over a year and the state of some of the properties that these asylum seekers were living in would make you weep. It really would. You’d hear stories of what they went through, what they’d seen, and you’d know straightaway why they tried to get away. Awash with benefits? Absolutely not. And do you know, it was always, always, ALWAYS the same type of person complaining about foreigners getting this that and the other – bone-idle, lazy bastards who had never worked a day in their life, or even intended to. Give me 1000 asylum seekers over just one of those type of people each and every time. That’s all I’m saying – don’t like to tubthumb on a funny blog, but it boils my piss.

Anyway! Let’s move on. Tonight’s recipe is these lovely falafel burgers, served with tzatziki dip.

10986860_841535855920019_253612384417604126_o

Assume you’re using your bun as your healthy extra, this is syn free. Admittedly I had two, but ssh.

to make falafel burgers you will need:

1/4 chopped onion, three cloves of garlic, a good handful of parsley (or rocket), 2 tsp cumin, pinch of smoked paprika, salt and pepper, 1 tsp of lemon zest, 1/2tsp of baking soda, pinch of pepper. You’ll also need 250g of chickpeas but NOT the tinned version, no, get dried and soak them for around 36 hours – just cover them, leave, drain and dry. I chucked in some shredded chicken that I had in the fridge but you don’t need to.

to make falafel burgers you should:

blend everything together, gently – you want a coarse, grainy paste, nothing too smooth. If you need to dry it out a little, add breadcrumbs (6 syns for a wholemeal roll). Shape into four burgers and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Bake on 180 for thirty minutes, serve with tzatziki in a wholemeal bun!

to make tzatziki you will need:

mix 200g of finely chopped cucumber, a small red onion finely chopped, 200g of fat free yoghurt, a bit of garlic finely chopped, 1 tbsp of lemon juice and salt and pepper. Season to taste and put in the fridge until you need it.

Enjoy, enjoy.

J

ploughman’s lunch

Gosh! Remember yesterday I was blathering on about my lights being fixed in the bathroom? Well, excitedly, I drove home like I’d spilt acid in my lap just to get home and try them out – and they’re great! Perhaps a bit too bright – I tried to read Bill Bryson in the bath but the top of the book started smoking after ten minutes. I could open a Stand ‘n’ Tan, although I don’t want old orange women with necks like crinkle-cut crisps stubbing out their rollies on my nice carpet. Still, at least I can see where I’ve dropped the soap after I’ve been singing ‘Just Call Me Angel In The Morning’ into it to get Paul out of bed.

Anyway, I’m a terrible person – I have a new enemy, and he’s a Big Issue seller.. He’s not the same tramp who hustled me for a fiver a few months ago, but instead he’s a Big Issue seller and I find him absolutely revolting. I know that makes me an awful person with a lack of compassion but I can’t help it – humans take an instant dislike to each other sometimes. Anyway, I see him whenever I’m mincing to Marks and Spencers in Newcastle – he stands in the middle of the path with his magazines and annoying face and jabs you with the magazine, all the while saying the same thing over and over in a voice that cuts me like a knife – BIG ISSUE PLEASE. Except it’s BAAAAG ISSHOOO PLEEEURGHASE. He doesn’t say the words, he throttles the fucking life out of them. When he’s not smoking and thrusting a magazine at you, he’s coughing up big old balls of phlegm and spitting them on the pavement, second only to seeing people smoke near babies, is something I loathe. And the noises! He doesn’t so much bring up his phlegm as fucking mine it. I know I should be sympathetic but as I said, I’m dubious of his intent and let’s not pretend we are all holier than thou, anyway.

Anyway, my new phleghnemy aside, I gave into considerable temptation today. Well yesterday, but I couldn’t post yesterday as some people from work read the blog and I didn’t want to give away the surprise. Part of my job at work is to think of events and ideas that’ll make everyone else happy, and it was my idea to buy everyone a £1 mix-up. Because everyone loves sweeties, right? So, I picked up £165 worth of pic-n-mix and had to spend an afternoon decanting them into colourful little bags and adding even more sweets from the leftover bit of budget. I’m sorry, being surrounded by that many sweets, I couldn’t help myself and the diet was forgotten – to be honest, everyone ought to be grateful they didn’t find me rolling around on the floor covered in jazzies and cola cubes, laughing hysterically from all the sugar. This week’s diet aim has switched to MAINTAIN, as opposed to LOSE. Don’t they look pretty, though?

10446292_834866173253654_5502878135549381720_o

I know what you’re thinking, what a glamourous office! I know – every day it feels like I’m walking into Prada. No just jesting – I was having to hide in a back room to keep the secret. Anyway, the sweets were dispatched to everyone today and I can write this day off for bad. It’s going to happen, after all, and at least I didn’t completely derail and order a Dominos pizza, which was totally due to my self-control and not because I’d left my wallet at work. Honest guv. See, this is what we had for our evening meal…Ploughman’s Lunch!

10995287_834865046587100_3781680546246162137_o

Paul made the scotch eggs by boiling an egg and wrapping it in the meat (well, sawdust and sage) of a Linda McCartney rosemary and red onion sausage. Cook in the oven and honest, it’ll be just like a real scotch egg, only not at all. Still tastes nice! Potato salad was new potatoes, fat free fromage frais, mustard and spring onion. Cheese is your normal HEA amount with some pickled onions, ham was syn-free from Tesco (I took the crust off after the picture) and then salad for the superfree. A lovely ‘picky’ tea. The syns come from the pickle – 1 syn per level tbsp, but you could leave that off if you were being Captain Fussytits.

Enjoy, have a good Valentines tomorrow…

J

slimming world syn-free frittata

do you know, there’s lots of things I enjoy about staying in an airport hotel – not just the excitement, cramping belly and visits to the can that flying the next day induces in me, oh no. I like having my soap in a handy dispenser in the shower, plus the added novelty (occasionally) of having a seat in the shower – the glamour of being able to soap myself down with absolute minimal effort.

But what we really love is Rabbit Gay TV. We don’t get this channel at home because it’s on Freeview and we suckle merrily on Sky’s teat, so whenever we stay at a budget hotel we delight in the wares of the channels at the end of the Freeview EPG. Rabbit Gay TV is just the best. It’s essentially a scrolling list of those adverts you get in lonely heart columns, only with pictures. And good heavens, the pictures.

Now, I’ve been through enough shenanigans to know not to judge anyone’s sexual choices, but I’ve genuinely never seen so many lorry drivers, binmen and retired accountants dressed up as 1980s housewives in one place. They’re always the same, bad nylon wig, dress from a charity shop, posing with their hands coquettishly over their mouth like some simpering never-been-kissed seamstress, though you rarely get a seamstress named Big Keith. The adverts are nearly always the same, lots of WLTM and TV and GSOH and VWE (because what else do you expect to see when you lift up a lace petticoat than a very well endowed cock winking at you) and the audio clips are ever weirder, with hushed proclamations of desire whispered out in the echoing sounds of their garage or Vauxhall Passat.

Paul and I once decided to text a reply to someone on there to see what would happen, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that within five text messages, he was asking whether we liked “playing with dogs”. Which sorta summarises exactly the type of person on there. Mind you, Paul used to know a lad who was paid by an old geezer to come round to his flat, eat beans and fart in the man’s face. Now as someone who enjoys money, likes beans and loves a good fart, that sounds like my ideal job, though perhaps not for the poor victim. One of my toxic bumtrumpets near his face would leave him looking like Harvey Dent from the Batman series when he had half of his face burnt off. In fact, it would look like the top of a well cooked frittata, which is a lovely segue into…

frittatapic

Delicious, right? Here’s the full recipe.

to make slimming world syn-free frittata:

FRITTATA RECIPE

I’m on holiday at the moment so hopefully the details above will be enough!

Enjoy!

super speedy “just like heinz” tomato soup

I was told by Paul, with no uncertain terms, that I had to have a recipe done, comic-booked and onto the blog before 11pm or there would be no mattress polka for anyone, given he’s tired. SO, imagine this done in the style of 24 – it’s going to be a quick post, and instead of Jack Bauer yelling at terrorists, you’ve got me accidentally tipping over a whole Magimix XL of cold soup with Roxette’s Dangerous playing in the background. Not QUITE the same high-stakes but well, that passes for drama in our house. I love Roxette, my old flatmate used to play her songs all the time. Mind she also used to leave her dirty knickers behind the radiator in her bedroom, which made the whole house smell of hot shredded wheat whenever the heating went on. I know your business, but I don’t know your name…

ANYWAY. I’ve seen plenty of people on facebook talking about this wonder soup – meant to taste EXACTLY like Heinz soup. I’m always so wary of this type of recipe – I’d rather have a bowl of Heinz rather than a knockoff, but actually…it’s pretty decent! Recipe card:

Tomato Soup

SYN FREE.

to make super speedy “just like heinz” tomato soup you will need:

two tins of beans, two tins of chopped tomatoes, two tins of carrots (with the water), a few pickled onions, a veg stock cube and worcestershire source.

to make super speedy “just like heinz” tomato soup you should:

Throw it all in the blender, pulse it until blended, heat and serve. It does taste creamy, oddly, but I’d maybe omit the carrot water as it makes it a bit starchy. BRILLIANT super-free meal though – onion, carrots and tomatoes all being cracking weight loss food, and baked beans are great for filling you up. There’s nothing more to it! It’ll do for a lunch, after all!

11pm now. Off to bed before Paul kicks off. Oh I’m the Little Mo of the street I truly am. I actually used to have hair just like her!

J

shaved sprout salad

Christ I wanted to give my recipe today a pretentious restaurant title and I think I’ve succeeded. For all those people, like me, who don’t like a fussy title, don’t worry, it’s essentially just cooked sweet potato, sundried tomatoes and bacon mixed with sliced brussel sprouts.

Before we get to the recipe, I need to make an announcement that I’m really a terrible grandson. I had plans to visit my nana today (she only lives 30 miles away and it’s a nice drive), but I didn’t get round to it because I got caught up gardening and playing on the Xbox. It will probably do my diet the world of good anyway, as whenever Paul and I go and visit we get the same questions…’would you like a bit of quiche / eight kitkats / mince pie / mince and potato pie / sandwich / lovely bit of tongue (steady) / a Ferrari Racket chocolate from ALDI etc…’ which, when met with polite refusal and cries of ‘but no, we’re on a diet’ results in a look like you’ve taken a shit on the carpet and woes of ‘It’ll never get eaten, it’s just me in this house’ and ‘a quarter inch thick layer of butter on your sandwich will do you no harm’. Honestly! And mind that’s even if she hears your refusal, she’s so tone deaf you could fell a tree in the living room behind her chair and she’d smile bemused at you and say EH.

My nana is amazing, mind, no doubt about that. She is totally accepting of the whole Paul and I being bummers situation, though she did once ask ‘which one was the woman’ which was slightly awkward, as I thought she meant which of us preferred an ‘unexpected item in the bagging area’ – but she was actually meaning who did the ironing/cooking etc (remember she’s in her late eighties). Ha! So I’ll go visit her on Tuesday with my usual refrain of ‘I DIDN’T LIKE TO CHANCE LEAVING IT TOO LONG NANA, IN CASE I NEED TO GET MY FUNERAL SUIT DRY-CLEANED’. God, I love her to bits.

Anyway, enough about nana – my absence at her house through gardening was a nice link to me talking about the surfeit of brussel sprouts that we suddenly have thanks to my green-fingered neighbour. So, I got to thinking what I could do with them, and with Paul ‘being the woman’ (ie doing the ironing) (not my actual view I hasten to add), I decided on this fruity number.

Sprout salad

RIGHT, before we start with the details, let me say two things: if you’re not a fan of sprouts, please still give this a go. Sprouts in Britain seem to be served boiled within an inch of their life and will leave your whole house smelling like a condemned nursing home. This doesn’t need to be. Sliced very thinly and dressed well, they’re a crunchy, tasty wonder. Second – yes, this meal is synned – you could make it syn free by omitting the dressing but remember, you have the syns to use, and why not make your evening meal that bit nicer simply by making a dressing to go with the salad? Even then, four syns is still a very excessive estimate – I reckon it would come in at two syns if you omitted the cheese at the end. OK…

to make shaved sprout salad you will need: 

sprouts, an egg, bacon medallions (or bacon with fat cut off), sundried tomatoes (replace with fresh tomatoes grilled if you want to lower the syns), sweet potato, parmesan shavings. For the dressing, honey, olive oil and lemon juice.

to make shaved sprout salad you should:

right, the dressing first. 4 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tsp of honey (1 syn), 1 tbsp of olive oil (2 syns), some salt, some pepper. Put it in a jamjar and shake, shake, shake! Double up if you need two servings. Then, cube up the sweet potato (leave the skin on) into 1cm chunks, add a tiny bit of olive oil and shake them around to get them coated, add a bit of salt, roast in the oven until soft. Also, stick your bacon on the grill or at the top of the oven to cook. Meanwhile, get your sprouts and take off the outer leaves if they’re a bit muddy or torn. Then the tricky bit – slice the sprouts as thin as you can. You can use a knife, yes, but honestly, get a mandolin. They’re a tenner from Lakeland and you’ll use it for all sorts – coleslaw, sliced potatoes, fruit salad, sprouts. Order one here and never look back. But BE CAREFUL. The sprouts are small and the blade is sharp – just take your time. I used about 30 sprouts in all.

After you’ve shaved your sprouts, get your fingers in and lightly toss them off (haha) so they separate, but you don’t need to go crazy – different textures are what makes this a good salad. Slice your tomatoes and add them in. Add in your cubed sweet potato (cooked) and bacon (now sliced). Arrange on a plate nice and dainty like. Poach your egg (lots of ways to do this, but I go old-school – pan of simmering water, create a whirlpool, drop the egg in from a little glass, poach and serve). Fish it out with a slotted spoon, put on top of the salad, cut the yolk and you’re done. I’ve added a bit of parmesan because why not – hence the four syns.

extra-easy: definitely – this is a fantastic meal because it’s nearly all superfree food, bar the dressing. Sprouts, tomatoes and sweet potato make up the meal, with a bit of bacon and dressing and egg on top. Yes, you can omit the dressing or replace it with a vinaigrette if you want to save the syns – and omit the cheese. But come on, live a little! Heh.

top tips: normally I say you can add all sorts to this salad, but don’t – keep it nice and simple. It’s an excellent new way of trying sprouts and I guarantee you’ll never look back. I’d love to know what people think! But DO get a mandolin. It’ll save those pretty fingers of yours.

FINALLY, my fortnightly call – if you’re enjoying this blog, please tell people on facebook and share it far and wide. I love new readers, comments, fuss – anything at all! I’d be very grateful and I’ll dance at your wedding if you do.

J