simple but perfect beef mince biryani

Beef mince biryani – I’m sure there’s a billion ways of doing this recipe and this is probably the common as muck version but hey, sometimes you just fancy something spicy. Our takeaway has stopped taking our calls since Paul used to stand by the letterbox on all fours whenever the hunky deliveryman, with his baleful brown eyes and arms that promised the world, came to the door. Think that’s bad? He once put ‘Will nosh for extra dough balls‘ on our Dominos order when he was drunk and then made me answer the door. Don’t get me wrong, it’s factually correct – if anything it’s a slight understatement – but still. I wouldn’t mind but I opened the door to a lovely wee lady who looked like Sandi Toksvig trying to solve a particularly tough crossword.

Anyway, as promised, we’re going to go straight into the recipe, no messing about. We all know foreplay is a waste of time anyway, surely? Hello? Is this thing on?

Just so you know, we served this with our perfect chicken korma recipe – you know why it’s perfect? Because we don’t stir a friggin’ Muller Light into it. Why? Because we’re not simple. For scooping we used Broghies – they’re one syn crackers that can be found in most Icelands around the country by now. If they’re not in yours, run into the shop, bundle whatever old lady is in your way into a chest freezer and demand that the manager stocks them immediately. They’re perfect for dips! And no: we’re not on commission.

We found this recipe at mytamarindkitchen and I 100% a look at their blog because the food is absolutely amazing. Tweaked this for Slimming World. Let’s go.

mince biryani

mince biryani

to make the perfect beef mince biryani, you’ll need:

  • five ripe tomatoes chopped up – can’t be arsed, use tinned tomatoes, but come on now
  • a teaspoon of coriander, cumin and chilli powder – now, if you don’t have spices, go to your world foods bit in your supermarket and buy them in bulk – so much cheaper – keep them sealed in a good tin though
  • I cheated here and used a garam masala grinder rather than making my own – was only a quid in Tesco – used about 10 good grinds
  • a bay leaf or two (don’t stress if you don’t have them)
  • one big fat onion, chopped nice and fine
  • 500g of extra lean beef mince – or use turkey mince for even lower calories (though it’ll not change the syn value)
  • 350g of basmati rise
  • half a tin of cooked green lentils
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • a good couple of handfuls of peas
  • 1 inch of ginger, minced
  • half a teaspoon of turmeric
  • 100ml of beef stock
  • one green chilli

optional extras for your mince biryani:

  • one lemon and one lime
  • a pinch of (shiver) saffron
  • chopped mint and coriander

top tips for your mince biryani:

  • we cook our rice in our Instant Pot – you absolutely don’t need one, you can cook rice just fine in a pan – but if you have a pressure cooker have a look into it – rice is a doddle! Instant Pots are quite hard to come by at the moment due to a stock shortage and, whilst we love ours, we’ve heard good things about the Pressure King Pro – only £70 on Amazon at the moment
  • if you’re mincing your garlic and ginger, use a microplane grater – you don’t need to peel the garlic or ginger and it’ll save your poor wee fingers
  • oh and whilst we’re on about ginger, buy a big knob of it and put it in the freezer when you’re done with it – it grates just fine frozen and it’ll save you buying it fresh every time
  • and listen, if even that’s too much for you, you can buy ginger and garlic paste in most major supermarkets now – in the same jar – for a quid or two – just use a tablespoon for half a syn!

to make the perfect beef mince biryani, you should:

  • soak your rice in cold water for a good half hour, and then cook it through until it is almost cooked(I like to add the turmeric to the rice as it cooks, to give it a yellow sheen) – you want a bit of bite left
  • heat your oven up to about 175 degrees and get a good heavy pan out of the cupboard – you’ll need one that has a lid and can go in the oven
  • spritz with a few sprays of oil, grind the masala into it and heat until it smells amazing
  • add the garlic and ginger and the chopped onion – cook the onions until they take on some colour, but don’t burn them
  • then add a pinch of salt, the chilli, cumin and coriander and cook off – add the stock here so it doesn’t catch and to to get all the good stuff off the bottom of the pan
  • add the tomatoes and fry until they’ve softened down – then add the mince and peas and cook until that’s cooked through and has absorbed most of the moisture in the pan
  • the easy bit now – layer the lentils over the top followed by the rice
  • optional: add chopped mint, slices of lemon and lime and if you’re super fancy, you could dissolve the saffron in hot water (about 25ml) and pour that one
  • cook in the oven for about twenty minutes with the lid on so it can steam
  • once you’re happy with it, clap your hands and eat your dinner!

There. I hope that leaves you satisfied and smiling!

What? You want more curry and spicy ideas? Of course you do. You love having a bumhole that looks like a shocked mouth. Here we go then:

Enjoy. Do let me know your thoughts, won’t you?


perfect syn free egg fried rice

Tonight’s recipe is syn free egg fried rice – I’m working tonight, alas, so it really is just a recipe for you – but what a recipe! Paul can’t cook rice for the life of him. He just can’t. There’s not many things he can’t do, but we can safely add cooking rice to other items such as bending over without tipping over and climbing more than two flights of stairs without his Fitbit melting off his wrist. We have tried many times to perfect this rice dish but each time it’s ended up soggier than a submarine’s number plate. The amount of times we’ve hurled white mush into the bin and brought out good old Uncle Ben, you have no idea. So, research was needed, and after a bit of digging on the internet it turns out you have to use bone-dry and cooled white rice. Who knew? We chucked in a load of veg and we were on our way! Think of us next time you need a side dish, won’t you?

syn free egg fried rice

to make syn free egg fried rice, you’ll need:

  • however much white rice you want, cooked and cooled all the way through
  • a big handful of peas
  • a carrot, julienned – we discovered this wee thing on Amazon which GASP makes tiny strips of carrot – so easy!
  • one large red pepper – cut into tiny chunks about the size of the peas
  • two eggs – beaten
  • one red onion, sliced fine
  • one bog standard cheap-ass onion, chopped
  • any leftover broccoli you might have, also into tiny chunks
  • a tiny knob of ginger about the size of your thumbnail, minced using one of these bad boys 
  • two cloves of garlic – see comment above
  • LOW-SALT soy sauce
  • a couple of rings of pineapple if you really want to push the boat out

Oh and BONUS, you can cook it in one pan.

to make syn free egg fried rice, you should:

  • prepare all your veg as instructed above, taking only a moment to wipe your brow and buy a grater, mincer or julienne peeler
  • get your big pan nice and hot and squirted with a few sprays of Filippo Berio or other spray oil – I add a few drops of soy sauce here too
  • throw in your eggs and scramble them – really go at them with a wooden spoon
  • once they’re nearly cooked, remove them as best you can into a dish, and throw in the onions, garlic and ginger (not finger, as I originally posted, otherwise you’ll get a spicy grot-slot) and allow to gently soften
  • throw in the rest of your veg and pineapple and a good glug of soy sauce and allow to soften
  • add the rice, stir, and warm it through completely
  • once everything is hot and mixed, add the scrambled egg, and stir well!

Serve topped with some cut spring onions. Easy. The key to this recipe is getting everything a nice uniform shape and making sure everything is cooked through.

Of course, if you’re looking for some dishes to serve this with, pick something lovely from our massive list of fakeaway Chinese dishes! Click the icon below.




cheesy chicken broccoli rice bake

I’m writing in a bit of a huff.

See, I’m going to have to go to the dentist. A year or so ago I cracked my back tooth chewing on a hairbrush, which sounds fabulously fun but it hurt like hell. My dentist took one look, took it out and sent me on my way, with only a stiff jaw and a modest NHS bill to accompany me. All good. However, one of my wisdom teeth has clearly seen the gap left by my departed tooth and thought to himself that he would really rather like to move in. And it hurts. Not the tooth but rather a tiny bit of gum that I keep catching with my teeth as I shut my mouth. How can it heal if I keep biting into the bloody thing? It’s bad enough that I have to sit with my mouth slightly open at all times like a pensioner stuck on her Sudoku, but now I have to go to the dentist to fix it? Bah.

It’s not that I’m scared of dentists…well, no, that’s a fib. I am, but who isn’t, you can’t get a kick out of a man pumping a tool in and out of your gob and finishing it off with a squirt of something acidic to set your teeth on edge. OR CAN YOU. No. Oddly, the drill I can deal with because it doesn’t hurt, but when they use that little air-sprayer thingy I just want to bite his nipple off as he hangs over me in his dainty tunic. My skin is crawling up my back as we speak. I know where the unease about my dentist comes from – I had to have a tooth out when I was little after I (again!) cracked one eating nuts. I swear my teeth are made of glass. Anyway, the dentist I had back then clearly hated life, children and smiles, so set about me with all the care and precision one might elect to us knocking down a brick wall. I remember even now his pock-marked face being within kissing distance from mine, his bloodshot eyes darting around and spittle-flecked lips pursed as he yanked the tooth out. It wouldn’t come, so naturally he decided to put his entire bodyweight onto me, using his elbow in my chest as leverage. Fair enough, he got the tooth in the end, but he had to stop after forty minutes to have his brow mopped with a towel and Lucozade brought in and I had a collapsed lung and internal bleeding. No wonder I’m scared, though I’m not scared of much else. Rollercoasters? High as you like. Water? Chuck me in. Enclosed spaces? Pfft. As long as I don’t get stuck and have to be ‘popped out’ of the tight space by a team of firemen, I’ll be fine. That said…

Spiders bother us both, though Paul more than me. We once ran screaming from our Quayside flat when a spider the size of a small motorcar came trundling out from under the fridge. We were on the cusp of checking into a hotel when we realised our wallets were still in the flat, and without those, we’d be screwed. So we dutifully went back in only to see it, bold as brass, sitting in the middle of the laminate flooring. I swear if my vision had been good enough I would have been able to see his tiny little finger sticking up at me in defiance. Action was needed, so, screaming all the while, Paul ran to the balcony doors and flung them open as I dashed (I was skinny back then, I could dash) into the little office, got the giant (expensive) John Lewis waste-paper bin, emptied the contents on the floor, ran back into the living room (still screaming), trapped the little fucker and promptly ran to the balcony and threw him, the bin and almost myself over the bloody edge. I was surprised the little bastard didn’t have a parachute and a distress flare he was that big. Good times. The bin disappeared down onto a road somewhere and when we picked it up the next morning, an electric bus had run over it. Serves me right eh.

Paul’s also scared of all the boring things like being buried alive, and he doesn’t like the idea of drowning or burning, which seems an altogether reasonable way to live, whereas all my fears are quite silly. For one, I’m scared of dams. Terrified. Even looking at the word makes my teeth jitter a bit (which doesn’t help my sore gum). It’s not the fear of them breaking – oh no – it’s just how alien and unsettling they look. They have no business being there. Having a parent who works for the local water company means I have an unflinching and comprehensive knowledge of all the creepy things and secret pipes hidden just below the ground, ready to suck you away into oblivion. He once told me that a family crashed their car into a reservoir and the suction on an intake pipe held all the doors shut so they couldn’t get out. Yikes. Sewers too. Pennywise I could handle, but the sluice gate at the end would have me sucking on Kalms like there was no tomorrow.

I’m also genuinely frightened of irregular holes. Har-de-har not bumholes, no, but irregular clusters of holes sets me on edge. If I have a crumpet, I have to have it upside down otherwise I can’t eat it, and sponges make me feel uneasy if I look at them. I feel like I could have myself a story in Chat magazine surrounded by sponges, biting my nails, but alas I saw someone has beaten me to it. Things like sieves are alright because the holes are organised and clean, but I reckon I’m probably the only person ever to almost faint looking at Swiss cheese. Ah, aren’t phobias daft.

Tell you what’s not daft though – tonight’s evening meal idea, which uses up all the scraggly old broccoli you have lying around.


chicken, broccoli and rice bake

REMEMBER: this serves eight! It uses four HEAs and half a HEB. But the meal freezes nicely and will do for lunches and makes a good whack. The recipes doesn’t make a gloopy dish, it actually cooks right down and is more sticky than anything else. tasty!

to make cheesy chicken broccoli rice bake you will need:

370g uncooked long grain rice, 500ml chicken stock, 500ml skimmed milk, 250ml water, 1 bay leaf, sage rosemary and thyme leaves (or dried), 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 25g plain flour (4.5 syns), 250g fat free greek yoghurt, ½ tsp chili powder, 2 chicken breasts (cooked and chopped), 90g Gruyere cheese (or cheddar) (3 x HEA), 40g light feta cheese, salt and pepper, one head of broccoli, half of a wholemeal roll (as breadcrumbs) (half a HEB), handful of cheddar (HEA).

to make cheesy chicken broccoli rice bake you should:

  • measure out and rinse the rice. set aside
  • cook the chicken breasts and shred like they’re incriminating documents
  • pour the chicken stock, milk, water, bay leaf and sprigs of herbs into a saucepan over a medium heat for a few minutes then put to one side
  • spray a large frying pan with Frylight and cook the onions for a few minutes until softened
  • add the flour and coat the onions well
  • add the liquid mixture to the frying pan and stir well until there are no lumps
  • reduce the heat to low and add the yoghurt, chicken, chili powder and cheese and stir continuously until well mixed and the cheese has melted
  • transfer the mixture into a large casserole dish with a tight lid (or cover with foil) and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes
  • meanwhile, chop the broccoli into small florets – the smaller the better
  • stir the broccoli into the casserole dish along with the rice and mix well
  • re-cover, and bake for another 15 minutes
  • sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and a little leftover cheese and place under a medium grill for just a few minutes until golden brown, texture like sun


By the way, I know we have the last two days of 7777 week to publish – that’ll probably be this weekend!