carrot, mint and ginger salad – a quick and easy Slimming World lunch

Here for the carrot, mint and ginger salad? Can’t wait to get chomping? Well, haud yer wheesht, because as ever, we have some flimflam.

You know what I hate? Facebook’s Timehop service. Those whose internet experience amounts of replying positively to Nigerian Kings and typing ‘dancing jesus website lolz’ into google may be unfamiliar with it, so let me explain, as it’s very simple. Every other day Facebook will find a photo of you from many years ago and show you it in the vain hope you’ll go AAAH HOW LOVELY and post it. Not me. No, all I see is my youthful looks staring back at me accusatorially, demanding to know what Present James has done with his life to warrant wrecking Past James so horrifically. Occasionally the brightness of the iPad is bright enough that I can see my own current face reflected back on my young previous face and I feel like Dorian looking ashen-faced into his portrait in the attic. I know we all change (“We all change, when you think about it, we’re all different people; all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be“) we all age, but I swear I’m not ageing so much as I am melting into a hairy, gelatinous landslide of fat. It’s like the slowest Doctor Who regeneration ever – only I’m turning from James van der Beek into Chewbacca’s stunt double. Paul would be Billie Piper, he has the three-cock-gob. So yeah, Timehop can fuck right off.

I did something yesterday which I haven’t had to do for a long time – no, it wasn’t fumbling my way around a vagina and nor was it paying my driving test examiner to pass me despite the blood congealing on my frontbumper – no, I had to learn something. See, I’ve plodded on in my job for many years (and thoroughly enjoy it, mind you) (that one’s for HR) but recently they’ve very kindly agreed that I can broaden my responsibilities and have sent me for training. This means lots of revision and travelling and attending training. Fine for most people, but I struggle to concentrate – I get distracted and tired mid-piss, for goodness sake.

Nevertheless, I gamely headed to London yesterday, making sure I get in as many people’s way as possible as I farted about trying to find my way to Canary Wharf. Unusually for me, I managed to get there without much difficulty or upset, and I took my chair as the lecture began. I’d bought myself a nice new notebook and Paul’s Christmas present to me, a fancy fountain pen. I can’t write in Biro because we were forced to use ‘proper pens’ at school – you can imagine how difficult that was for me as a left-handed eejit. Every essay I wrote was a collection of smudges, stains and wrist-stamps. I had that much black ink on the side of my hand that my doctor thought I had frostbite. I’ve mastered the art now and as long as I take my time and don’t over-excite myself, I can write coherently.

The one thing I didn’t have was a wee desk. This made the whole thing quite difficult – try writing notes whilst you’re balancing a slides handout, A4 notebook and colour examples on your knee, especially when you have to write all cack-handed anyway due to being all sinistra (did you know that was the latin root of sinister, so, left-handed people are evil? Makes sense, I had no compunction about breaking wind on the escalators on the Tube yesterday). On top of that I have the anxiety of not wanting to write too much but also not missing anything, and every time I set my pen down, the lady next to me immediately started writing. It was like that duelling banjos scene from Deliverance, only with a far less troubling outcome. In the end I managed to pay attention and have six beautiful pages of notes to coo over. After the lectures, the worst part of all: networking.

I can’t network to save my life. I know it’s an acquired skill but, despite the three years of this blog, I hate talking about myself and have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to talking about what I do. I had it in my mind that I’d make up a bewildering, breath-taking back-story, but instead I spluttered my tea and stumbled my words. I must have looked like a simpleton. It didn’t help that whilst I was talking to the vert first victim I’d picked to talk to, I dunked my cookie into my tea only for it to fall in, meanly I had to gamely drink my tea with floating crumbs bobbing around on top whilst they chatted about what they do. Next time I’ll just pick up a cookie and go hide in the toilets like everyone else.

Ah well. I might as well be remembered as the cookie guy as opposed to the heavy-breathing-notes-taking man, I suppose. Networking finished, I realised that I had three bloody hours to kill at Kings Cross before my train, thanks to my penny-pinching ways of buying a non-transferrable ticket. I couldn’t even get into the First Class lounge as you’re only allowed in there two hours before your journey. It was rush hour, there wasn’t a single place to sit anywhere in the station, my bag was too heavy to go anywhere exciting, so I just sat outside and people watched.

I know it’s an unoriginal thought, but Christ, London is so busy. Where do all these people, scurrying about like ants on a sugar pile, live? Where do they work? I like to imagine all the threads of their lives crossing over this way and that, all in one giant tangle, and then my head starts hurting so I move my thoughts back to thinking about chips. I spent 30p to have a pee, which I still think is outrageous even now – if I have to pay to piss, then surely I should have the option of saving my money and being allowed just to piss on the tracks instead? Bastards.

After an hour or so I attempted to make my way to the First Class lounge only to be caught up in a giant mass of people all thundering for a train whose platform had just been announced. You know in old cartoons when they’d start fighting and disappear into a comedy smoke bubble with flailing limbs popping out? It was like that, only with a lot more cheap aftershave and hooraying. I was deposited out five minutes later all dazed and confused and, after a brief interlude where I was pushed around Little Waitrose by a heaving queue of focaccia buyers, stumbled into the First Class lounge.

I wish I could say there was respite to be had but no. It was busy, as you’d expect, but that meant it was full of the type of businessmen who need you to know how important they are by bellowing loudly into their phones. On top of this, I kept getting icy stares and extremely loud sighs and harrumphs from an older lady who seemed to take great offence to the fact I’d sat next to her in the only spare seat in the lounge. I didn’t let her know that I took great offence to the fact she’d seemingly put her make-up on four times over, so why was she giving me such cold looks? She soon stopped when I stared right back. I was tempted to do that thing of putting two fingers on my lips and flapping my tongue through but I didn’t want to be bundled out before I’d managed to secrete as many free bags of crisps as I could into my bag. As it happens, I decided to leave soon after I came in as it was all so very stuffy. I people watched for a while longer, made my way through the 5kg of Corkers crisps I had in my bag, and then got the train. Aside from having someone who was clearly unwell jibbering away across the aisle and the train being delayed thanks to ‘problems with the tension’ (I presumed it was sexual tension from seeing me dashing aboard in my Jacamo coat and sensible shoes), it was an entirely uneventful ride home. Job done. Until the next time…

Final thought – Paul has been raving at me about an online internet station that plays all the old nineties music we like without any crappy DJ linking the songs together. I mean, seriously, he hasn’t shut up about it, but I kept dismissing his bold claims because his Spotify playlist consists of Tracy Chapman, more Tracy Chapman and Now That’s What I Call Amyl Nitrates. However, he left the SONOS player open and I stuck on the previously played tracks – and they’re all brilliant. I mean, haway, the song that is playing right now is Ain’t No Doubt by Jimmy Nail, a man who is nothing more than a steel-capped workboot given a tongue and lips. The station is Pride Radio 90s. Yes, the rainbow face made my eyes bleed too, but we can overlook the trivialities, can’t we.

Proper final thought – can you lot calm the fuck down over these Fiber One bars? Jesus Christ man. I’ve seen so many fights and arguments with grown women calling each other worse than child-murderers for having the temerity to buy a few boxes of these in the supermarket. Why? They taste shite, they’re tiny, they’re full of chemicals and you’d get more flavour sucking on the doormat. I swear it’s very much a Slimming World thing – something gets ‘recommended’ on facebook by a couple of people and then hundreds of adults start storming the supermarkets like the boxes came with half an hour of cunnilingus by Tom Hardy. I’ve seen photos where people have bought 30 or 40 boxes and I just think, Christ, have some bloody dignity. It’s not about ‘saving some for other people’, you have as much right to buy them as anyone else, but you’re only buying them because you’ve seen others doing the same. Don’t be a bloody sheep, especially not one who is brawling in ASDA and calling others ‘fukin greedee slags’ all for the sake of a shit bloody brownie.

BAH!

Right, with all that out of the way, let’s get this recipe done, eh? You might be thinking that a carrot salad is boring, but if you’re a fan of carrots, I can guarantee it’s worth a go. I made this for a lunch but you could easily use it as a side on one of our dishes that don’t have the third speed in it. You could add cooked noodles into this to bulk it out, if you wished. You know how Slimming World have launched those little salads in Iceland that you can have for your lunch? Think of this like those, only fresher as you’re making them yourself. Yes, it has a couple of syns, but absolutely worth it. We used two packs of Marks and Spencers rainbow carrots (£3 for two packs) but you can use bog standard carrots if you want. We won’t tell. This makes enough for three hearty portions.

carrot, mint and ginger salad

to make carrot, mint and ginger salad, you’ll need:

  • around 400g of carrots, baby ones are better, peeled
  • two shallots
  • fresh mint (or dried, but fresh always better)
  • a little knob of ginger (about half an inch), peeled and grated
  • tablespoon of mustard seeds
  • juice of half a lime
  • tablespoon of olive oil (6 syns) (you could use lemon flavoured oil here, be lovely)
  • good pinch of salt and black pepper

to make carrot, mint and ginger salad, you should:

  • chop your carrots into strips or, even better and far quicker, julienne them using one of these – much easier and you’ll get nice uniform strips
  • thinly slice the shallots
  • it’s much nicer if you toast off your mustard seeds – chuck them in a dry pan on a medium heat for a minute or two, just until you get the scent of them, and then take off the heat
  • grate your ginger nice and fine (yep, I know, predictable, but please, buy a mincer for your ginger, then just freeze a big lump of ginger and grate it as and when you need it straight from frozen!
  • mix everything together in a bowl and top with fresh mint and give everything a good tumble with your fingers

This can go a bit watery if left after a while, that’s fine – just dress it when you want to eat it. You could add sliced peppers and noodles, remember. This would work very well as an accompaniment to curries!

Right, that’s all done. If you want more veggie dishes, lunch ideas or other such nonsense, click the buttons below! You know you want to.

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J

droptober recipe #10: rainbow superfood salad with yoghurt dressing

I bet you’re all clammy with the thought of a rainbow superfood salad, aren’t you? Who could blame you? Let’s be honest, none of us got to where we are by eating edamame beans and rare grains, did we? Not unless they were deep-fried and served as a garnish on a kebab. If that’s the case, what type of bloody kebab shop are you going to, you fancy fucker? Our local is Kebabylon and a meal isn’t complete unless you’ve pulled enough of the cook’s back-hair out of your dinner to make a tiny brillo pad to scrub the grease off your chins. But er, yes, the recipe will follow, but first some unimaginable nonsense.

Today has me sat in the house waiting for our Sky engineer to come and fit us a new Sky Q box. Why this requires a) an engineer visit and b) me to take a day off work is an absolute mystery. I do have someone coming to finger my guttering at some point in the afternoon but really, when don’t I? I semi-dilate when anyone with rough hands and a beard drives past the house. Paul sent me a text message ten minutes after leaving the house this morning to say “no need to suck the engineer off, we’ve already arranged a sizeable discount on the Ultra HD package”, which I think is a bit below the belt. I mean, he’s got a point – I’m a cheap bastard and I’d do full unprotected anal if it meant free fibre broadband for a year, but still. Give me some credit. Oh and speaking of Sky, it’s lucky I checked the ‘before we visit’ letter which mentions the need to know our Wifi password. Our Wifi password, as it turns out, was WELOVEBIGCOCKS8669! – I’ve just changed it to something entirely innocent – fancyafelchyouhunkybucketofspunk apparently didn’t meet the security requirements. Who knew? I did toy with leaving it unchanged for a laugh but felt that it would look like a clumsy attempt at a come-on – long-time readers must recall that this is one of my fears with having workmen in the house, that every sentence sounds like I’m trying to set away some cheesy porn-style scenario. I’m such a clutz, I can barely pass over a cup of tea without putting my cock in it. Aaaah well. We’ll see what time he turns up.

It’s also a very sad day in our house. For years we’ve been saying we need to buy a Roomba to replace the old Roomba that broke and went beetling into our garage, never to return, when we moved house. But they start at £400, we’ve got a fancy Dyson Digital vacuum anyway AND we have a cleaner, so we couldn’t really justify it. Until last Thursday night when we were pissed out of our nut on Waldhimbeergeist and lemonade (I don’t know either: it was a random bottle of something from Lild – could have been industrial bleach for all we knew, but it tasted nice and had a raspberry on the front so we rolled the dice and got smashed). It’s amazing how alcohol changes your justification for spending money and as a result, we had a Roomba delivered by the good folks from Amazon on Saturday morning. How we gazed admiringly at it, knowing it would scoot about during the day time terrorising the cats and pulling the odd bit of hair and crushed cat treat from our carpet. We could finally relax with the gentle hum of the robotic whirring to sing us to sleep.

Nope.

Turns out Roombas can’t function on black carpet. Our house, bar the kitchen, is either black carpet or black tile (don’t worry, it goes tastefully with the Misty Mountain grey on the walls: may I remind you we are homosexual) and as a result, the Roomba senses these black patches as ‘cliffs’, throws a bit of a strop, spins a bit and then beeps forlornly. Putting him down on the living room carpet must feel like, to him, being hurled into a black hole of no escape. We placed him into the kitchen for a laugh (our kitchen floor being black and white square tiles – our kitchen has an American diner theme, it’s very fancy) and it was hilarious – I’ve never seen a robot actually have a fit but the poor fucker was jitterbugging and stuttering all over the place. I had to put a small pile of ground Diazepam down on the white tile just to calm him the fuck down. Anyway, back into the box and returned to Amazon with a naturally furious email about there being no mention of the Roomba’s sense of existential dread.

Perhaps it’s a good thing. Our house is too connected. One of my colleagues expressed some reservations about our ‘House of Connected Things’, citing concern about security and the ability for folks to hack our home. Really, I know it’s more a pressing worry that I’m not going to turn up at work of a morning because I’ve been killed in my sleep by Amazon Alexa instructing a rogue Roomba to come and hoover all of the oxygen out of my lungs whilst I sleep. We buy our gadgets and nonsense because we don’t have children to spoil and they’re great, but I did think to myself as I walked into the house, said clearly “Alexa, please turn on the lights” only for her to turn one light on and start playing Bill Bryson, how much time are we actually saving here? It’s a novelty being able to turn our heating on from the sofa by telling Nest to ‘turn the hallway down to 9 degrees’ but again, it’s no hardship at all to get up and turn the thermostat down. Actually, that bit is a lie – we get these things because we’re bone-bloody-idle, so anything that minimises our movements is no bad thing.

I have discovered one excellent thing about Amazon Echo though – I can say “Alexa, play The Archers” whilst I’m having a crap and it’ll start playing the latest episode through the house speakers. An episode of The Archers is just the right length to enjoy when you have a shaggy brown dog scratching at the back door. However, as we don’t have a speaker in the bathroom, I have to “Alexa: turn it up” about eight times until it gets loud enough for me to satisfactorily hear it from the bathroom. The downside to this is that the Alexa gets so loud that once I’ve finished my business and moved back to the living room it is playing too loud to hear me shouting “Alexa: shut the fuck up” at it, meaning I get locked in an increasingly loud, shrill and vicious circle trying to make myself heard over the sound of POOR OLD HELEN ARCHER fussing about her joint bank account. I can’t imagine, in the entire history of The Archers being on air, anyone ever seeming to react so violently to Rob being slow-clapped off the cricket team. My poor neighbours must think I have the most exciting time paying my sewer-tax with all the yelling and middle-class braying that goes on.

Ah well. On that classy note, let’s sign off for the day. I’ve just discovered that you can play the original Rollercoaster Tycoon on the Mac so I thoroughly expect to be hearing this for the next eight hours. Does this take anyone else back?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT45kiI5FYw

Now let’s take a look at today’s recipe, shall we? Rainbow superfood salad. It’s a salad idea for lunch. These usually go down like a shit in a lift but please, give it a go – it’s easy enough to make and, for a salad, tastes bloody good. The dressing is syn free, as you’d expect, and the whole bowl is full of crunch and goodness. As with all of our recipes, do mix it up – if there’s stuff in here you don’t like, just swap it for something else. Can’t be arsed finding farro? Don’t blame you (though it’ll be wherever the quinoa or couscous is in your supermarket), swap it for another grain or leave it out entirely. Not a fan of feta? Then you’re a sick bastard and you should be ashamed: feta is lovely! Pfft. This recipe is a hybrid of one that I found here and a Marks and Spencers superfood salad which I had to stop buying because each visit to the supermarket at lunchtime was becoming more dangerous: I was one shuffling old biddy fumbling about the meal-deals away from mass genocide. Enjoy!

rainbow superfood salad

to make a rainbow superfood salad, you’ll need:

  • 100g of farro (before you all send me messages saying what’s farro: it’s like quinoa’s fatter cousin and can be found in the same place in the supermarket – feel free to swap for couscous)
  • one small red onion
  • one red pepper and one yellow pepper
  • half a box of edamame beans (you can buy these in Tesco’s fruit and veg bit – or swap them out for chickpeas)
  • half a small red cabbage chopped up nice and fine
  • pomegranate seeds (either from a fresh pomegranate – which I really struggle with as I’m mildly trypophobic, or buy them from the supermarket in a little pot)
  • 45g of feta (which is one HEA)
  • for the dressing, just mix some mint sauce into natural fat free yoghurt – I know, we’re not fancy here

to make a rainbow superfood salad, you should:

  • cook the farro according to the instructions on the packet – but you don’t want to cook it to mush and you definitely want to make sure you’ve washed it well afterwards so it doesn’t go all starchy
  • I cook my farro in chicken stock because I’m a cruel, murdering meat-eating bastard, but feel free to use veggie stock – it just adds another note of flavour
  • chop everything up into small chunks and then scatter through the cooked farro
  • season with salt and pepper if you so desire
  • see above for the dressing
  • this will keep cheerfully in the fridge for up to three days, but only as long as you don’t dress it – once it has been dressed, get it eaten

Done! I’d love to think this rainbow superfood salad wasn’t dismissed out of hand because it’s a bloody gorgeous lunch – don’t be put off by the ingredients, just swap them out for stuff you don’t like, but if you’ve never tried edamame, pomegranate, cabbage or farro in a salad, give it a whirl! For more ideas on what to put in your mouth, click the buttons below!

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Please remember to share using our fancy buttons below!

J

droptober recipe #2: pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms

Looking for the pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms recipe? Well who can blame you? It’s below. But first…

It’s been a long day. Not content with filling our house with buttons that automatically buy our shopping, we’ve invested in an Amazon Echo – essentially an always-listening little personal assistant (like Siri) who can automatically turn our heating up, turn our lights off, play music, that sort of forward-thinking thing. However, because it’s voice-activated, my day has been spent listening to Paul bellow incoherently at the Echo: ‘ALEXA: TELL ME A JOKE’ was good, ‘ALEXA: WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE’ was even better, but ‘ALEXA: Siri thinks you’re a snotty slaaaaaag’ yielded little worthwhile result and when I shouted ‘ALEXA’ and farted into the speaker, it just shut itself off.

I do like to imagine that somewhere deep underground there’s a team of Evil Amazon Folk listening to our every move, because frankly, unless they like lots of shrieking over Forza Horizon, copious amounts of farting, ancient Janice Battersby impressions and arguments about who was the best Doctor Who, they’re in for a disappointing time.

We received lots of helpful suggestions for our October idea – i.e. where we post one recipe a day all through October – but Droptober was the one that won out above all others. Whether you’re looking to drop some weight, drop some baggage or just drop a load of steamy piss through your knickers due to laughing and age, we’ve got you covered. Now remember, some of these will be lovely short posts like this, so no leaving moaning comments for the lack of text!

This works very well as a lunch – make it the night before and it’ll keep until the morning. Normally whenever I do a veggie post people treat it as if I had admitted I’d murdered a child and completely blank me, but please, do actually give this a go – it’s very tasty! This made enough for two lunches once served with some cooked bulgur wheat.

pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms

to make pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms, you’ll need:

  • a packet of any mushrooms you like – I used chestnut mushrooms but only because they were the first ones my languid, tired body fell upon in Tesco
  • either a jar of those roasted peppers in brine or two large sweet peppers
  • a massive handful of mint
  • a lemon
  • 130g of reduced fat feta (which is 2 x HEA, but this serves two remember, so calm yer tits)
  • salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce (which I know isn’t technically veggie, but I’ve been told (by some pallid, shaking, wincing from the sunlight vegetarian that you can buy a veggie-friendly equivalent) (I’m kidding I’m kidding, she had to write it down and even then her fingers snapped like breadsticks when she tried to grip a pencil)
  • bulgur wheat, quinoa or couscous cooked however you fancy it

to make pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms, you should:

  • cut your mushrooms into quarters and tumble them about in a couple of spoonfuls of worcestershire sauce, with a pinch of pepper and salt
  • stick them in the oven for about twenty minutes on say 190 degrees until they’re nice and roasted and all of the mushroom juices (urgh) have leaked out
  • whilst the mushrooms are cooking, chop up your mint – get all of the leaves together and wrap them into a cigar shape – then finely slice – much easier
  • if you’re roasting your peppers, cut them in half, stick them under the grill and cook until blackened – or – be a good dear and buy the jar from Tesco – cut into chunks
  • crumble your feta any old how – you’re making a salad here, not a work of art
  • toss the peppers, mint and feta in with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice from your lemon and a pinch of salt and allow to marinate whilst the mushrooms roast
  • once the mushrooms are done, it’s a quick assembly job – cooked quinoa or what on the bottom, peppers and cheese next, hot roasted mushrooms on the top

Done! If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, swap them out for a plain chicken breast. You monster.

OH ONE FINAL THING: we’ve added Pinterest and other share buttons to the end of these posts – if you need them, you’ve got them!

Looking for more veggie ideas, or do you want to make sure at least something’s been killed for your dinner? Click the buttons below. Let’s go crazy and put all sorts button on here!

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Cheers guys!

J

tomato panzanella with haricot beans

The tomato panzanella with haricot beans will be with you shortly, don’t worry.

Apologies for the lack of posts this week, but see real life got in the way and I didn’t have much time to sit at my desk typing away – normal service should resume next week.

We’ve hired a car for the weekend. Now, hiring a car when you’re young free and single may bring to mind a fancy sports car or a top-end muscle car, but no, not for the Cautious Cubs, oh no no. Because we’re a) tight and b) stingy, we just went for the cheapest option which has landed us with a Ford Fiesta. Nowt wrong with a Fiesta but it doesn’t exactly get the blood pumping, does it? It doesn’t help that it comes in ‘Aged Pubic Grey’.

The guy serving was clearly on the same bus as us so there was lots of knowing looks at us ‘going away for the weekend’. Luckily, he wasn’t one of those prickly gay men who get uppity and peacocky around other gay men, so all was well. He had the good grace to look ashamed when he handed over the key to our temporary Ford Tedium, though he brightened up when he asked how we got to the rental place and I pointed at Paul’s smart-car and explained that we’d come over in a rollerskate.

I hate driving unfamiliar cars – I like the comfort of knowing what every knob does (in my car he usually sits in the passenger seat telling me how to drive) and how to turn on the air-conditioner. Some silly fool has set all the radio channels up the incorrect way, with Radio 2 being on the number four present and all the other channels being full of Now That’s What I Call Tinnitus. The indicators don’t make a pleasing clicky-clack like mine and to top it off, it’s an automatic. Nowt against automatics you understand, but it isn’t proper driving unless I’m wearing out the clutch and over-revving like I’m the lorry driver in Duel.

Oh a final thing I need to say – sorry, but boring legal bit here. We’re happy for you to share our photos in your groups and links to our blog everywhere you can, that’s grand, no problem at all. However, we’ve had an incident where some greasy-faced spunkguzzler decided to make our recipes into a book and sell them for profit. Let me make one thing clear: we will pursue the rights to our content to the very end. The photos are ours, the content is ours, and we do it for free for a reason – to help those who can’t afford to go to SW. Don’t be a cheeky twat – we will come after you!

Anyway, no time for chitter-chatter as we’ve got stuff to sort. We will be blogging again next week with lots of new recipes, and we’ve even got a theme week planned. I’ll leave you with this quick recipe for a panzanella to use up any tomatoes you have kicking about – perhaps you have some spare from the previous recipe! We found the recipe on another blog – right here – so full credit to them. Naturally, we’ve give it a bit of a Slimming World tweak. Makes enough for four light lunches.

tomato panzanella with haricot beans

to make tomato panzanella with haricot beans, you’ll need:

  • as many tomatoes as you dare, warm from the sun not cold from your heart/fridge
  • a red onion
  • a few basil leaves
  • two teaspoons of olive oil
  • however much bread you want – so if you’re having four portions, use 4 x HEB allowance
  • a tin of haricot beans (or butter beans), easy to find in the supermarket (they’ll be near the sweetcorn)
  • one orange pepper
  • one red pepper
  • tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt and black pepper

to make tomato panzanella with haricot beans, you should:

  • cube up your bread allowance and put into a bowl with the oil and some salt and pepper
  • swish it around, rough and tumble, so everything has a bit of oil
  • put onto a tray and slide it elegantly into the oven – maybe for ten minutes or so until it’s just nice and toasty but not actually toasted
  • if you can’t be arsed to fart about, just toast the slices and then cut them up after
  • meanwhile, thinly slice your peppers and onions, drain your beans (that’s not a euphemism, you filthy tart) slice your red onion nice and fine and shred those basil leaves – you don’t need to be elegant here, just cut it up any old how
  • quarter your tomatoes – lots of different sizes and colours
  • chuck everything bar the bread into a bowl, add the vinegar, mix it all up and leave until you want your meal
  • add the breadcrumbs at the last moment and give it a mix
  • serve!

Lots of speed foods and lots of flavour. Enjoy! Looking for more ideas? Take your pick…

vegetariansmall  sausagessmall  seafoodsmallbreakfastsmallsnackssmall dessertsmallslowcookersmall

J

roast beef and mustard lentil salad

Now, before we get to the roast beef and mustard lentil salad, I want to discuss something. Serious faces please. Fingers on lips. Not those lips. Not those fingers. Good lord, contain yourself.

After yesterday’s post I received a comment about how tired someone was because of ‘all the advertising’ on our blog. Fair enough: everyone’s entitled to an opinion, of course, and you’ll note that I approved the comment where I could have just deleted it. It’s a discussion worth having, after all. It’s been on my mind a little.

Here’s the thing – take a look at other food blogs – you’ll see tonnes of little adverts all over the page. I could do the same thing and quadruple my blog income in a shot. But on our main page, I’ve got one little google advert at the top. It’s not spread all over the place, it doesn’t slow the page, it doesn’t detract from the content. It could, very easily, but we chose to have a clean blog which is easy to access over something buggy and full of ads. When we email out to subscribers we could send a snippet rather than the full blog meaning that you had to visit the page and thus, drive up our adsense – but we don’t do it, because it would be crap for you. That’s the reason there’s no pop-up whenever you load the page asking you to subscribe, that’s why we don’t send out spam, that’s why there’s no ‘read more’ button which loads more ads. It’s about making it good for the reader not the writer.

How most blogs make money is via affiliate marketing – if I recommend Musclefood, I get a very small commission. Same with Amazon. That’s why, when we do a recipe with mince in it, I’ll stick a link in to Musclefood and if a recipe calls for grated garlic, I’ll mention the mincer. I don’t mean Paul. But this is the thing: we do use Musclefood for meat and we do own the few gadgets and Amazon products that I mention. I’m not just shilling for the tiny bit of money it makes me, I recommend them because I believe in them. I’ve always been totally transparent about the advertising, too – I don’t hide it away. We mention our books occasionally because I’m bloody proud of the fact I have a book – of course I should be! But that’s about the extent of the adverts.

Our blog operates to a very simple template – 1,000 words or so of preamble and nonsense, one decent photograph of the food, a very simple no-fuss breakdown of the recipe and then a couple of links to other posts on the blog. It takes me about 90 minutes to type up the ‘story’ and to try and add the funny bits. Sit and type out 1,000 words, try to make it faintly funny, see how long it takes you. We spend a couple of hours over the weekend researching and planning the recipes. We have to buy new ingredients and unusual ingredients because we like to have different styles of recipes spread out over the year. Paul spends an hour or so cooking the meals, I spend a few minutes photographing, then typing. I then spend 20 minutes or so publishing the blog in our various mediums. That’s a lot of time for two blokes who work full-time in demanding jobs and who, let’s face it, are bone-bloody-idle.

And there’s the cost too – we had to buy a proper server for the blog to sit on – that costs a fair chunk every year. New ingredients cost money. Photography software costs money. As much we don’t struggle for money, I’d much rather spend that money putting my fat arse on a beach somewhere than talking about servers with some chap in Wisconsin.

So why do we do it? Because we fucking love it! We adore all the wonderful, lovely comments we receive. We love hearing from folks who have cooked one of our meals and been pleasantly surprised that slimming food could be so delicious. We eat so well because we’re constantly trying new things. We’ve met amazing folk in our groups, on our facebook page, via here. Everyone’s got a story and we love to hear them. I love to write, so this is a perfect outlet for my verbal diarrhoea – and we’ve got a very unique thing in that we’ve got a perfect diary of our last two years. Paul could barely cook before we started and now he’s confident in the kitchen. It’s great!

We’re not going to stop any time soon despite all the effort it takes. But the balance for that is that in the big blog posts, you might get a couple of text links to ingredients and a mention of Musclefood. It’s easy ignored and I think a decent exchange for the work we do. When we’ve got a Musclefood sale on, you’ll get a paragraph, but it’s always delineated from the post by blank lines. Skip over it. It’s easy to forget that we’ve already done over 350 recipes which are all indexed by syns – you couldn’t buy a cookbook with that many recipes in it, and we give it away for free. Always will be!

I hope that clears things up! I am sorry to moan, but there just something in the wanky, passive-aggressive comment that pushed a button.

To make things worse, here’s a salad! It’s syn free, full of taste and made up of only a few ingredients – it’s an excellent way to use up any roast beef you have kicking about, but you can also throw sliced beef in there for no syns. We’re talking proper roast beef though, not the processed stuff as that sometimes does have syns. Before I do, though, I’m obliged to mention – because it’s possibly the last day we’re running this, our current Musclefood deal. If you’re already frothing at the gash at the thought of ONE advert, just scroll on by.


Remember: our Musclefood deal is running with 10% off but ending soon. Canny deal – even if you don’t want it, share it with a friend!

FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that. TO THE RECIPE.


roast beef and mustard lentil salad

to make a roast beef and mustard lentil salad, you’ll need:

  • lots of leftover roast beef
  • a can of green lentils
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • a wee bunch of spring onions
  • a lemon
  • a spoonful of wholegrain mustard (this might have syns from recollection – 1 syn – but shared between four)
  • a bag of bistro salad leaves – the ones that have the little strips of beetroot in that make your poo an alarming red – or use any other salad leaves

to make a roast beef and mustard lentil salad, you should:

  • nice and simple this one – chop your tomatoes into quarters, thinly slice your spring onions and put a nice bunch of salad leaves on your plate
  • empty your tinned lentils into a microwavable bowl and cook for about three minutes in enough water to cover them, then drain
  • stir the mustard through the lentils while they are warm and then allow to cool
  • time to assemble – leaves on the bottom, mix of beef, lentils, spring onions and tomatoes on the top
  • dress with the juice of a lemon and some of the zest – no oil needed, perhaps a pinch of salt!

You know, I wasn’t going to do this but hell. You can use one of these to grate the lemons – it creates a nice fine zest and then you can use it for every other recipe we do! You can even see the zest in the photo. HARRUMPH.

Anyway, enjoy!

If you’re looking for more beef recipes, you could do no better than having a look on the links below! I’ve also thrown in some vegetarian recipes because, although this isn’t a veggie recipe, there’s lots more salads in there!

beefsmallvegetariansmall

J

subway the cubs way

I wasn’t going to post tonight because well, I can’t frankly be arsed, but the fear of letting you all down is just too much to bear. Plus Paul’s out at his Let Me Talk To You About Jeremy Corbyn event and there’s nowt on the TV, so here I am. Just a quick informative post with no chitter-chatter though.

We’re trying hard to save money from now until Christmas, with the idea that we can squirrel away a decent nest egg to pay for the ten holidays next year. Listen, I know that sounds ridiculous and a very OH LOOK AT ME thing to say but we both work hard and well, it’s the joys of having no children or expensive drug habits. Anyway, most working days I invariably forget to take my lunch in and end up in Subway which is right next door and has a handsome Polish man. I’m just saying. I get the same boring old salad and because I’m weak and backsliding, I end up getting the crisps and a drink with my salad for a ridiculous £4.90. That’s £24.50 a week and £98 a bloody month. Insane. I don’t need the extra syns from the Doritos, my tits already slurp under my shirt in this heat.

So, I’ve decided to start making my own and see if it works out cheaper. My usual order is (deep breath) double plain chicken, no cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, no onion, olives, gherkins, jalapenos (gives me an excuse for fifteen minutes on the crapper later in the afternoon) and southwest dressing. Problem is, the lettuce is always watery iceberg lettuce and the tomatoes are chilled which makes them taste of exactly nothing. The Southwest dressing alone is 4.5 syns per serving and because the staff in the shop love me and my regular custom, they always go into a minor paralysis as they’re pouring it on, making my lunch more dressing than salad. Eee, it’s no wonder I’m so fat.

I spent Sunday evening preparing the following:

to make this:

subway cubway salad

Which when divided up, makes this:

subway cubway salad

I had to use a big lunchbox for the rest because Paul’s took the small lunchboxes to work with him and never brought them back. It’s alright, I’ll kneecap the fucker when he comes in. I reckon that comes in at around £10 for five proper salads and it takes no time at all. Plus, I’m not at risk of ‘accidentally’ buying the Doritos or wasting syns. I was going to post a list of the various syn values for salad but I don’t want Mags hammering nails into my car brakes for eating into her profits. So…

Enjoy!

J

blackened chicken caesar salad

Blackened chicken caesar salad? Yes, that’s right. And, for once, when I say it’s going to be a quickpost, it really is – no guff, no messing about! Your dear writer is unwell! Bah.

This makes enough for four, especially if you add some extras like tomatoes and cucumber. Just customise it however you want, I’m not arsed.

blackened chicken caesar salad

to make blackened chicken caesar salad you will need:

for the rub

  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp salt

for the dressing

  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp Morrison’s NuMe Reduced Fat mayonnaise (3 syns) (feel free to use other mayo, but check the syns)
  • 2 anchovy fillets, mashed (leave out if you’re not a fan, but, take it as someone who doesn’t like fish, it doesn’t taste fishy!)
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (½ syn)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan (2½ syns)

to make blackened chicken caesar salad you should:

  • cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise (butterfly) so you’re left with a total of 4 halves and put into a sandwich bag
  • pour in the fat free vinaigrette and leave to marinade whilst you make the rest
  • if you’ve got an actifry, throw in the bread cubes with a little bit of oil and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, or until they resemble croutons. If you haven’t got an actifry, spray the bread with oil and bake in the oven at 190°c for about 12 minutes
  • in a shallow bowl, mix together all of the rub ingredients and set aside
  • in another bowl, add together the dressing ingredients and whisk until creamy. put in the fridge until you need it
  • pat the chicken breasts dry with some kitchen roll and coat with the rub mix – don’t be shy, get it right in there
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and brush with oil
  • add the chicken breasts and cook each side for about 5 minutes each side, or until cooked through
  • serve with the lettuce, croutons and dressing

Done! Now, if you’re after some more chicken recipes, you’d do well to click the button below!

poultrysmall

J

slimming world bbq: zesty salmon burgers and a radish and pea salad

Goodness me, we’re still flogging this dead horse of Slimming World BBQ, are we? You have no idea how many times I’ve trundled the Weber out of the shed only for the skies to immediately blacken, the thunder start-up and the rain to come down so hard that I have to front-crawl past the recycling bins just to get back to the kitchen. Listen, when even God himself doesn’t want you to tearfully chew your way through the taste-explosion that is a Slimming World burger, you know it’s not a good idea.

Now, long time readers may remember I did an article way back in February of last year called james vs paul and it consisted of five things that annoyed him about me and five things that annoyed me about him. If you haven’t committed our various faults to memory – and if not, why not – you can find it here, together with a delicious recipe for chicken chow mein. Yeah, that’s right. Anyway, it’s due a sequel. You’ll be glad to know that we both still do every single thing that previously annoyed the other, but hey, fuck it, that’s marriage. Here’s five more – and, just like before, I’ve got right to reply on Paul’s critiques of me. Why? Because I have no gag reflex, and frankly if he wants to take advantage of that going forward, he has to let me reply…mahaha! Plus, I get the right to expand on my annoyances too. What a cad!

Paul’s five things that rile him about me:

  • there’s always coat hangers in our bed
    • aye, it’s a fair cop this one. See, I get ready for work about ten minutes after Paul, because bless, he has to get up and put the coffee on and turn the shower on for me. My reward for his wonderful kindness is to litter his side of the bed with coat-hangers from where I’m trying to decide what shirt to wear in the morning – the shirts then get put over the top of the door rather than hung up. I think Paul’s getting a complex that I’m trying to do him a mischief when every time he climbs into bed he gets prodded with the coat-hanger, but in my defence, they’re velvet
  • james never put liners in the tiny kitchen bin
    • meh. I can see Paul’s point, no-one wants smears of cat-food and whatnot on the inside of the bin. Fair enough. But Paul insists on buying a) tiny bins and b) massive bin liners. I wanted a lovely massive Brabantia bin but Paul knocked that idea on the head saying that we’d never empty it and we’d have what amounted to a vertical skip in the kitchen. Hmm. But then see he buys bin liners that you could drive a car through, meaning I’ve got to spend ten minutes flapping them out and trying to get them to sit in the tiny bin without just filling up the bloody container in the first place. It’s an ongoing, very middle-class problem, and it threatens to tear us apart at times
  • everything electrical is going to burst into flames unless it’s unplugged when not in use
    • again, I think this is unfair! I grew up on a diet of 999 and with parents who had a very casual attitude to fire safety and thus I think my fears are entirely reasonable. I’m a catastrophic thinker – if I leave a box of matches on the side, I’ll spend the day envisioning various ways that the cats will knock them to the floor, followed by them knocking on the gas-oven in fear, followed by spiders skittering around on the sulphur of the scattered matches, igniting and destroying my home. That sounds fair enough until you realise we don’t have a gas oven
  • socks, socks everywhere, as far as the eye can see
    • not fair: they’re not just my socks. For two tidy, professional men, we don’t half have a habit of leaving our socks scattered about in unusual places, and not just because they’re the wanksocks, we’re not 14 anymore. I don’t think I owned a pair of socks that didn’t crunch and crackle between the age of 12 and 19. But see in my haste to have my feet rubbed and squeezed (despite Paul’s entirely baseless remonstrations that it makes his hands smell like Roquefort), my socks will often just get discarded and forgotten until either Paul or the cleaner finds them
  • james’ genuine concern and worry whenever I hurt myself in a clumsy, hilarious manner
    • I may have reworded that a little. Paul is taking umbrage at the fact that when he hurts himself by a) tumbling over in that way only fat men can, b) burning his mouth because he’s so keen to eat he doesn’t let his food cool down or c) cuts himself on his edgy political analysis, I immediately respond by fussing over him and saying ‘what’s the matter’ eighteen times a second. Hmph. I think that shows only love and concern for my precious, gorgeous husband, frankly.

Hmm. Seems fair. Now it’s my turn. Because I’m the writer, I get to say what annoys me about Paul AND expand on it too. What annoys me about Paul?

WELL.

  • he can’t hoover to save his life
    • let me explain, as that seems a trifle extreme – we’ve got one of those fancy-dan digital Dyson vacuums that sit on the wall charging up until it’s needed, then you have exactly six minutes to flounce around the house shrieking whilst it vacuums at full power. That in itself is a mere inconvenience. No, it only becomes a problem because Paul vacuums up every single fucking thing on the floor rather than picking up the bigger bits – whole pasta twists, cable ties, shoes, you name it Paul’s tried to suck it up into the tiny drum and then spent 5 minutes gawping and swearing at the vacuum whilst it chugs and splutters because the tube is blocked. I swear, I spend more time poking around in the drum with a chopstick trying to dislodge errant nonsense than I do breathing in and out. I half expect to walk into our utility room to find our full-sized tom cat squeezed into the tiny plastic drum of the vacuum, mewing pitifully through a mouthful of dust and ped-egged-foot-skin
  • he always wants his back scratched
    • doesn’t matter where we are, I can blink and when I open my eyes, his shirt will be hoisted up over his tits and his back will be looming towards me with his plaintive cries of ‘up a bit down a bit go mad NO NOT THAT HARD’ filling the air – if I had the money, I’d get a HappyCow machine installed

Actually, balls to the list, let me just show you a HappyCow machine and tell me it doesn’t fill your heart with joy!

Look at that happy cow! It’s a video, so click play to see those eyes light up with life and joy.

That reminds me, don’t forget we’ve got a meat sale on:

advert - summer-01

What can I say, I’m an opportunistic bugger.

  • he can’t handle Sky Digital
    • we’ve been together nine years and still whenever we’re recording and watching Jeremy Kyle The Today Show and recording The Man With The 10 Stone Testicles Panorama, he’ll attempt to turn the telly over onto a third channel and then act perplexed when the TV says no. He also can’t fast-forward through breaks – it’s like he has a tremor when he presses the button during Hotel Inspector and suddenly everything is 30x the speed and unpaused just as Alex Polizzi’s giant smile is filling the screen and she’s climbing back into her Audi
  • he maintains that his Smart car is a sensible choice despite massive evidence to the contrary
    • I go to this well a lot and I don’t care. Going to buy anything bigger than a Rubik’s cube? Paul will spend ten minutes assuring me it’ll fit despite me advising him that the rules of physics still apply even if his car is the colour of a baked bean. Of course, once we’ve bought the BBQ / new SONOS soundbar / sack of potatoes and made our way back to the car park, he’ll realise that, whilst it does fit – just – there’s no space for me, leaving me standing in the car park cursing his name whilst he races home in the car at its top speed of 32mph before returning to pick me up not even a little bit contrite. We’ve had many a terse conversation whilst making our way slowly and uncomfortably back home, I can assure you
  • he wakes me up by farting, but not in the way you might expect
    • we both find farting absolutely hilarious – there’s few things funnier to our juvenile minds than a good taint-stainer, plea for help from Sir Knobbly-Brown, misguided burp, creeping hisser, floorboard troubler or an extended moment of steam-pressing your knickers, so that doesn’t trouble me in the slightest. No, if I’m woken up by a loud fart, I’ll spend the day chuckling. It only becomes a problem because we tend to spoon when we’re asleep in the morning and Paul manages to turn whatever food he’s had the night before – no matter how fine the ingredients, no matter how dainty the amounts – into concentrated pure death. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been woken up in the morning by what smells like concentrated hate not so much filling my nostrils as filing them, peeling off skin and various bits of my olfactory system. It’s a bad job when you wake up gagging and reminiscing with longing for the smell of burning cows from the Foot and Mouth days. I grew up right next door to the farm that started it all and they said it could never happen again. Well it is – in Paul’s arse at 5.45am.

That reminds me, don’t forget we’ve got a meat sale on:

advert - summer-01

Mahaha. Hey, listen, those are his faults. But for all of those minor things, he’s still the man who I’ve only spent 6 nights away from and who makes me laugh right from the get-go as soon as I come through the door. There’s no regrets here and there’s not many couples who can say that!

Right, let’s get to the BBQ recipes before I well up like the big old pansy that I am.

Salmon burgers, eh? You know people say if it swims, it slims? Well pffft. Load of crap. I’ve been swallowing swimmers for years and I still chaff when I run. But we do need more fish recipes, so…

We found the recipe for the below from this blog and we’ve made it Slimming World friendly. I know, we’re heroes.

slimming world bbq

to make zesty salmon burgers you will need:

this is enough to make one – if you want more, just multiply the recipe

  • 1 wholemeal roll (HeB)
  • 15g panko (or use breadcrumbs, but panko is nicer) (4.5 syns for 25g, so we’ll say about 2.5 syns for 15g, just before I get angry letters and panko covered turds pushed through my letterbox from the more fervent of you)
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 140g salmon fillet (skinless and boneless)
  • 4 slices picked gherkins

to make the sriracha mayonnaise:

  • 1 tbsp Morrisons NuMe mayonnaise (or use any low-fat mayo – just check the syns) (1 syn)
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce (½ syn)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sriracha (if you can’t find sriracha, any ‘hot sauce’ will do – Cholula is a good alternative!)

to make zesty salmon burgers you should:

  • add all of the sriracha mayonnaise ingredients into a bowl and mix well – plonk in the fridge whilst you do the rest
  • next, add all of the burger ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth, except for the bun and gherkins – if you haven’t got a food processor, chop everything up and mix by hand – extra body magic!
  • shape into a burger shape – it only needs to be about 1½cm thick to cook evenly
  • add onto the hot grill of the BBQ and cook for about four minutes a side, or until it’s how you like it
  • spread half of the mayonnaise mixture onto each half of the bun and lay on the pickled gherkins
  • add the burger on top, and enjoy!

Before you start up – remember:

IDShot_540x540

This is panko. Dried, crunchy breadcrumbs.

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This is not panko. This is pan k.o.

Easy!

Right, here’s a side suggestion. Because we’re super jolly hockey-sticks and what-ho, we’ve grown so many wonderful things in our garden this year, including a tonne of radishes and peas. If you’re not keeping up with the Jones, feel free to buy these items in a shop. I present our radish and pea salad! It’s really basic, but full of crunch and taste and hell, that’s probably a lot of speed food. This makes enough for four.

slimming world bbq

to make radish and pea salad, you’ll need:

  • a big handful of radishes – there’s no need to be precise, use as many or as much as you need
  • a big handful of fresh peas in their pods – you don’t want giant peas but rather baby peas
  • 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar – or apple vinegar, or raspberry vinegar, or vinegar-tits
  • four or five spring onions
  • a tablespoon of rapeseed or olive oil (6 syns)
  • a nice sprig of fresh mint, chopped finely
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper

to make radish and pea salad, you should:

  • get a pan of boiling water, throw your peas (in their pods) into the water for a minute, then take them out and put them in iced water to stop them cooking through
  • the boring bit, sorry – julienne your radishes and pea pods – basically, cut the radishes into slices, and then the slices into matchsticks – this isn’t an exact science, so don’t sweat it – if there are big peas, pop them out into the serving bowl as you chop
  • you can use a mandoline slicer for your radishes, it’ll speed things up – and the one we use is only £7.99 – but BE CAREFUL, they’re dangerous bloody things if you don’t use the guard
  • very finely chop your mint and spring onions, including the green stalk
  • mix the oil and vinegar, pepper, salt and mint together – add maybe a pinch of sugar if you really want (neglible syns given this serves four)
  • put everything into a dish, mix with the ‘sauce’ and serve immediately

It’s a really easy salad but worth the time spent making it, trust me.

Finally, let’s go for a cocktail in the form of a Blue Hawaiian. I had a blue Hawaiian. This one is from Jamie Oliver, a man I rather enjoy despite his best efforts.

slimming world bbq

to make a blue hawaiian, you’ll need:

  • 35ml of decent white rum (3.5 syns)
  • 35ml blue curaçao (5.5 syns)
  • a couple of drops of coconut essence
  • 100ml pineapple juice (2.5 syns – Del Monte)

to make a blue hawaiian, you should:

  • get a cocktail shaker, throw everything in with a load of ice and shake it, shake it good
  • serve up on a load of crushed ice
  • serve it in a hollowed-out pineapple for that true access-day-visit-to-TGI-Fridays feel

Enjoy! I know it’s a lot of syns, but hey, it’s summer. If you can’t let your hair down and your boobs cool in this heat, when can you?

If you’re looking for more recipes for fish then you’re shit out of luck. There’s no many. But look, as a compromise, here’s a link to all of our beef and chicken recipes too.

beefsmallpoultrysmallseafoodsmall

J

 

peanut broccoli salad

Here for the peanut broccoli salad? Scroll down to the picture and start running your fingers under the words on the screen. Today’s post isn’t going to be played for laughs because something is on my mind. The NHS. Yes, today we’re not going to so much as wander off the path as set camp in the forest. See, I was driving home listening to Professional Chode Jeremy Hunt gabbling away in that smug, shit-eating way of his about reaching a deal with the junior doctors. I can’t abide the man. You know when someone is described as making your skin crawl? He makes me turn inside out like a salt-covered slug with shyness issues. I’m unapologetic in my view. He represents the very worst – perhaps second only to George Osborne, a man so smug that he probably has a Fleshlight designed in the vision of his own face delivering bad news – of what is wrong with who is running the country. But that’s another rant for another time.

See, I love the NHS. I truly do. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had previous bouts of health anxiety and whilst that’s under control, it’s also meant I’ve had many trips to the doctors in my time. I’ve also got a dicky ticker to boot. Every single time I’ve been into hospital I’ve been treated with the utmost respect by all of the staff, who wear their smiles wide and work hard to bring reassurance and comfort to all. I was in there this morning for physiotherapy on my Klicker-Klacker neck. The doctor who I saw was wonderful, knew about my anxiety, took the time to explain what the problem was (and more importantly, what it wasn’t!) and even had the good grace not to recoil when I took my shirt off. I wasn’t rushed, I wasn’t made to feel like I was inconveniencing them, and I was told just to call up if things got worse. 

I hasten to clarify something – I’ve only been into hospital when I’ve actually had something wrong – I’m not a timewaster (though I’ll say this – don’t dismiss anyone with health anxiety as being a timewaster – take a moment to ponder what it must actually be like worrying and fretting that they’re dying). I’ve never had a single bad experience with the NHS, and it breaks my heart (just what I need) to see the systematic dismantling of it coming in via the back door.

And listen – I normally love things coming in via the back door. Of course there could be improvements, but what massive organisation can’t stand to lose a little fat? Plus if I have to sit through one more ‘GO YOU’ video in the waiting room where positive messages are beamed at me by someone more tooth than human I’ll cut myself. Least I’ll be in the right place. I’m going to hand over the typing to Paul, who can put our feelings in much better terms. Over to you, Fatty.

All we ever really hear about the NHS is that it’s awful, things are going wrong, mistakes are happening – I can only disagree with that entirely both with my own experiences and those I’ve seen of others (as a spectator and a cog in the machine itself). 

It’s pretty amazing to think of this giant institution being there in the background which we all take for granted. Can you imagine having to dole out some cash every time you wanted to see the doctor? I had a taste of it when we last went to Florida and suffered from a simple perforated eardrum. It cost nearly £500 for ten minutes with a mardy quack and a Tiny-Tears bottle of ear drops. £500! James started clutching his heart until I reminded him we’d need to mortgage the house to pay for the defibrillator. We paid it because I needed it – I was in agony and due to fly back, and fortunately had some travel insurance to cover it, but to imagine having that sort of thing drop into my lap on a normal day beggars belief and needless to say would mean I’d probably have to self-medicate with whinging and attention-seeking, and probably some Ben & Jerry’s too. 

This whole idea of the value of the NHS hit me today just as I was sorting out our diary – I’ve got a few medical appointments coming up with my GP and at the hospital (we’re at that age, you know) that are for things that are all down to my fatness, and James had a quick rub-down by the physio today for his wonky neck. I did a quick bit of googling about the subject and to have all of these things without the NHS (i.e. like in America) would have cost nearly £3,000. Isn’t that astonishing? I know there’s insurance and various schemes but overall, what a mess. 

Isn’t it great that all these services are offered for nowt, all because of our NHS. Now, I know – I annoy myself with these things – all this treatment is entirely my own fault and completely avoidable, and I am a little ashamed to have to be using up the resources of the NHS on me being too greedy, but on the other hand what a fantastic public service it is – to know that all of us, whoever we are, where we come from, what we do, can have the most fundamental thing – our continued survival – at our disposal. And, what a thing it is that we can be so lucky to have something so grand and wonderful that we take it for granted.

So I made myself a commitment today – to look-up to the NHS and champion it, and also defend it. James will be rolling his eyes at this (he hates it when I get political) (James edit: no I don’t, I just find it hard to get it up when you wear your Thatcher wig and flat shoes) so I’ll maybe soften it a bit – but we ALL need to defend it from those that want to take it away. It is OURS and we must keep it OURS and so we must all do what we can to cherish it, use it, and make sure it’s there for others in the future. So, from today, I’ll continue my weight loss journey so that I can get healthy but also reduce the strain on the NHS in the future – today it’s a fatty liver but if I keep on at the rate I am there will be all sorts of obesity-related conditions that come knocking at my creaky door (and knees – and I need them for….things…), and make sure I do all I can to protect and defend the NHS when I can. Not just in a rabble-rousing way but also to defend the very essence of the NHS and the culture that comes with it, because god knows we’ll miss it when it’s gone. 

Phew. All better. 

Let’s do the recipe, then. This salad more than filled us up as a main meal – we served two paprika chicken breasts with it, the recipe for which you can find here – but it would do as a side too. Plenty of speed and more importantly, plenty of taste. This makes enough for four people as a big side dish.

peanut broccoli salad

to make peanut broccoli salad, you’ll need:

  • 1 or 2 large broccoli, cut into florets (or use 600g tenderstem/purple sprouting broccoli like we did)
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat peanut butter (8 syns)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey (2½ syns)
  • a drop of sesame oil (½ syn)

If you’re serving with chicken, use the Musclefood chicken. Not saying this to push the product because we get paid commission (although we do) – we forgot to defrost some chicken and had to buy a couple of breasts from the supermarket. They went in looking swell and tasty, they came out shrunken and dry as a dead dog’s dick. Musclefood’s chicken is tasty, doesn’t shrink and isn’t full of gristle that makes eating your dinner the equivalent of chewing on the ring of a condom. Click here to order our freezer filler which will get you loads of chicken!

And look – yes you use syns, but this dish works out as 11 syns for the lot. I’ve divided it into four at 3 syns each, so I’m actually being over-cautious there. Don’t sack it off because it uses syns, that’s what they are there for. 

Finally, the inspiration for this recipe came from gimmesomeoven – we’ve taken it and made it SW-friendly.

to make peanut broccoli salad, you should:

  • reheat the oven to 200°c
  • drain the chickpeas well and place on a single layer on a baking sheet and dribble Worcestershire sauce over them – give them a shake to get them coated
  • bake in the oven for about 30 minutes – you don’t want them at full teeth-shattering level but a bit of crunch is a good thing
  • meanwhile, in a bowl mix together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil, loosen with a tablespoon of hot water if it’s too thick, until you reach your desired consistency
  • bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the broccoli
  • cook for a minute or two, or longer if you like it softer (amateur)
  • drain and place in cold water
  • when ready to serve, drain the broccoli and in a large bowl mix together with the peanut sauce
  • serve and sprinkle over the roasted chickpeas

Enjoy!

J

chicken chopped salad – and buying a bloody sofa

They say that moving house is one of the most stressful things a couple can do – well, that’s bullshit. Listen, we moved the entire contents of our flat to our new home in a Citreon C2. You’ve never lived until you’ve hurtled down the A1 with the threat of a chest of drawers tumbling off the roof of the car and littering the road with boxer shorts and buttplugs. Actually, moving was quite a charming experience, especially once we had a bonfire of all the old biddy furniture in the back garden – who would have thought that ulcer dressings and boxes upon boxes upon boxes of expired Solpadeine would go up like Piper Alpha? Not me!

No, moving house was easy. It’s decorating that’s really turning my teeth to dust as I grind them with impatience and anger. Today Paul and I went sofa shopping, see, and quite genuinely I’d rather spend the afternoon having various items of kitchenware roughly inserted into my anus in a display window in House of Fraser rather than repeat it. It was just awful, with each shop bringing a fresh horror.

We made the mistake of starting in DFS, where we were immediately accosted by someone fresh out of nappies and with more product in his hair than there is on our freshly plastered ceilings. I reckon he took longer on his hair that morning than I’ve spent cumulatively on mine my entire life. And I used to have long, luscious hair, like a fruity Meat Loaf. His opening gambit was ‘So are you thinking of buying a sofa?’. I resisted the urge to throw my hand to my mouth in mock surprise and go ‘Heavens no, I’ve come to have the car’s tyres realigned and my brake fluid changed, how DID I end up in here?’.

I can’t bear nonsense questions like that (and I’m never rude to shopworkers, mind, they’re just doing what they’re told) – I’m hardly going to be renting a sofa for a weekend, am I? We shuffled around the store until his Lynx Africa got too much for my sensitive nose and we bid him goodbye, promising to ‘come back later’. Honestly there’s more chance of Princess Diana ‘coming back later’ than me.

Next was Barker and Stonehouse, which is pretty much the antithesis of DFS in terms of ‘style’ but I found it ghastly, not least because I immediately felt incredibly out of place in my George jeans and painting hoodie. There are some beautiful pieces of furniture to be had, but it all felt a little bit overpriced, and the only assistance offered amounted to nothing more than such an angry glare from an bumptious oil-slick of a man that I actually thought I’d trod muck in on my shoes. Perhaps he was looking disdainfully at our B&M carrier bag full of hot chocolates, but what can I say, I like a bargain. I got a quick snipe in as I left that ‘perhaps if I was opening an upper-class brothel, I’d consider it’, but it fell a little flat.

The next shop was some ‘Sofa Warehouse’ or suchlike – the only thing I remember about it was that, when I enquired about leather sofas, he immediately showed us to this god-awful brown number that looked like the first turd after a bout of severe constipation…and had cupholders in it. I’m sorry but no, cupholders in a sofa is strictly the domain of people who put tomato ketchup on everything they eat and who breathe loudly through their mouth. I mean honestly, I don’t even have a tattoo of a loved one’s name in copperplate on my neck. I bet the same people who leave comments like ‘RESIPEE PLZ K THX HUN’ under my food pictures have cupholders. Is it so difficult to strain forward and pop your can of Monster down on a coffee table? We made our excuses there and then.

And so it went on. We visited almost ten different places and each one was absolutely rammed full of awful shapes, awful textures, awful colours and awful people. There was one settee that looked like it had been stitched together by Stevie Wonder at gunpoint – about eighty different textures and patterns all stretched horrendously over some cheap metal legs. It looked like a corrupted MPEG of a colonoscopy. Who buys stuff like that, seriously? I wouldn’t burn that in my garden.

We did eventually find a settee we like, but then being tight-arsed Geordies, we dashed home to see if we could find it cheaper online and via Quidco, which we’ve dutifully done, but no – it’s cheaper in store! So that means tomorrow we’re going to go back and haggle like we’ve never done before. The sales assistant looked hard-faced (although it was hard to tell under her fifteen inches of Max Factor – she sneezed at one point and I swear half her cheek fell onto her blazer) but I reckon I’ll be able to get £200 off the asking price and free delivery. That’s my goal.

Tell you what though, you couldn’t pay me to deal with the general public – we witnessed some appalling behaviour from families with children today, including one set of parents who let their litter tip a fucking settee over and ignored the somewhat plaintive cries of the poor assistant who clearly knew that a call to a claims solicitors was mere moments away. You also get arseholes coming in like me who fake-smile at you, take a free cup of coffee and then spend thirty minutes clumsily pawing their way through the fabric selection book before hurtling home to order it online and put a hammer in the nail of the coffin of your job security. In my defence: I’m always super-polite and I’m never, ever rude. Plus anyway, I’m going back tomorrow so she’ll be getting her commission.

Christ though, it’ll be ten weeks before delivery. Ten weeks! What are they doing, pulling it with their hair from Penzance? Bah! That leaves nearly no time at all for the cats to completely destroy it before Christmas comes and we have to host family. 

Anyway. That was my day. When we came back, we threw together whatever shite we could find in the fridge and the cupboard and fashioned together a ‘chicken chopped salad’ of sorts, made up of various bits of nonsense. It was tasty, but does it require a recipe? I’m not sure. I’ll give you a picture though, so be happy.

chicken chopped salad

 

our chicken chopped salad contains:

  • healthy extra amount of light mozzarella (65g each)
  • two chicken breasts, cooked on the grill and coated in lime juie
  • four boiled eggs, sliced
  • diced crunchy iceberg lettuce
  • two rashers of bacon which Paul dutifully turned into shoe-leather on the grill
  • sliced beef tomatoes
  • tin of black eyed beans
  • tin of sweetcorn
  • sliced red cabbage

You could make this veggie friendly by omitting the chicken and bacon and replacing it with peppers, mushrooms, sofa cushions, horse farts, anything. I don’t often cover salads but it did make for a nice photo and a quick dinner, so here we are. Enjoy! 

Oh dressing: we just mixed some fat free yoghurt with mint from the garden. Easy!

J