droptober recipe #7: italian sausage and chicken risotto

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love our risottos, especially this Italian sausage and chicken risotto because it is simplicity itself! Italian sausage is usually sausage with fennel, so we’ve cheated a bit and used plain, syn free sausages and added fennel seeds. Yes, it’s that type of sassy thinking and cunning that got us where we are today. Bit of a long entry tonight but first, for the last time (well maybe tomorrow) an advert BEFORE IT RUNS OUT.


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LAST CHANCE. Before we get to the recipe, just a heads-up that – for two days only – we’ve reduced the prize of our freezer filler meatbox down to £40 instead of the already cheap-as-chips £50. That’s £40 for about 24 big chicken breasts, 5 x 400g servings of syn-free beef mince, 700g of bacon medallions (and it’s good bacon, mind, not the shite that withers away to bugger all) and 800g of beef chunks – and even better, the forty quid includes delivery. I posted this on Facebook this afternoon and people have been ordering it left-right-and-centre, so don’t delay – it’ll never be cheaper than this. Click here or on the image above (it’ll open in a new window) and make sure you use the code TCCFREEZER to bring it down to £40 with standard delivery. This is the meat we use in our recipes and it has never let us down!


Don’t worry, I think the code expires tomorrow so the big advert won’t be on the next lot of posts!

Paul and I have been thinking about switching slimming world classes. Not because our current class has anything wrong with it, it’s absolutely the best one in the area, but we’ve been going off and on for almost seven years. It’s easy to fall into a rut and we’re not staying to class anymore, so perhaps a new face and a new bank of folks to look at with my eye glaze over whilst they chunter on about 1/2lb here and there is exactly what we need. As I was mulling over this decision in the car on the way home, I started thinking about my perfect Slimming World class and what I’d do if I was a consultant.

Incidentally, we get so, so many people telling us they’d come to our class if we became consultants, but we offered our services to Slimming World way back when we were just starting out and didn’t get a phone call in return. Which, frankly, was foolish – we’ve got plenty of disposable income and a very carefree approach to spending it. My house could have been more Hi-Fi bar than brick. But anyway. So here’s how my dream class would go if I was a consultant. If you’re a consultant, feel free to nick my ideas, but be sure to have a framed photo of us with a candle burning in front of it, like people do when someone’s died in a car-crash.

For a start, let’s not be tight with the venue. I’m sick of sitting on rock hard chairs in draughty church halls, getting piles and backache. Let’s have the class in the back of the local pub, so people can pay lip service to losing weight and then get straight on the beers, wine and crackling, like EVERYONE WHO GOES TO FAT-CLASS does. The heating would be on but sensible – I’ve noticed classes are either so hot that you lose two pounds in sweat just sitting in your chair shallow-breathing or so fucking cold that you can open your third box of Hi-Fi bars with your diamond-level nipple.

I’d serve proper coffee and proper tea. There’s no excuse for people to people to fork over £5 and then get hit with coffee so weak you can see the bottom of the cup through it, or tea that tastes like it was brewed up in 1957 and left to stand. Yes, it’s a bit more pricey, but let’s class the joint up. I’d ban sweetener though because I’d get tired of people mooing at me about SINZ PLZ.

It would be mandatory for everyone to have the right change or a countdown when it came to paying. Let’s be honest: we’ve all been in the queue, inwardly seething and wishing death on the poor bugger at the front of the queue fumbling around in the depths of their Michelle Cors handbag for 10p. Think of it like a bus: turn up, pay, bugger off to the seats. Weighing would be the same – it would be mandatory, punishable by death, to be ready to get on the scales. No holding up the queue whilst you take off your support knickers, bra, false-teeth, clit-ring, fanny-chandelier, built-up shoes and pleatherette belt. Get on, get weighed, ten seconds only of your fake surprise act or blustered explanations, then on your way to the naughty seats ready for class.

Now the most important bit: the chat. I have quite a booming voice when I want to so being heard wouldn’t be a problem. I’d want the class to be full of laughter, fun and chatter, but if you’re the rude arsehole who insists on chatting to your mate all the way through whilst people are shitting themselves from straining so hard to hear who is talking, Paul will nip outside and put your tyres down. We’d open with weight losses – but not the 56 minute long affair of ‘and Mary has lost ‘arf a pound how have you done that Mary’ (repeating the name a lot so it looks like you are invested in your members but haway, it’s on your little screen).

Here’s the cruel truth – this bit adds absolutely nowt unless it sparks a discussion about weight loss. The fact that Bob from Greggs has lost two pounds, his foot has turned less black and he’s lost eight pounds overall in eighteen years means very little to most people unless you know them. No, we’d beetle about the room, giving out the stickers because let’s be fair, everyone likes a sticker, congratulating people in groups (so all the 2lb losses would get named, then the 1lb losses, then the stayed the same) – much quicker and easier. Plus, you don’t have to wrap your hands in gauze afterwards to stop the bleeding from clapping so fucking much. We’re adults, not seals desperate for people to throw us a fish.

Then, 45 minutes or so of chat, decent recipe swapping and funny stories. Make it an hour where you’d actually want to contribute and make it more like conversation between friends, instead of 60 disparate chubbies all fretting and cringeing until the moment their name is called.  I’d want to hear people laughing more than hearing people sigh and yawn into their hands. More focus on eating – that’s one thing I find so confusing about the groups – there’s surprisingly little focus on good things to eat and ideas. I’d bring technology into it – have a decent sized TV in the background with recipes on it, changing every now and then. Naturally, being us, we’d slip the odd slide in of a giant bouncy cock for half a second, just long enough to think you’ve seen it before onto a risotto recipe. There’d be jokes and genuine admiration. Aaah.

Slimmer of the Week wouldn’t win a basket of fruit that’s pretty much already turned into wine, no, the winner would get to take part in my game. I’d get my dad to build a massive wheel-of-fortune stand-up wheel with different segments and prizes – a free week, a box of Hi Fi bars, a tiny sliver for a free countdown, another for a big cuddle from the fattest person in the room, even the odd penalty to add a bit of risk – they have to put the chairs back at the end of the class, or come back to mine and cook us a delicious tea. Paul could mince on in a glittery dress like Debbie McGee’s morbidly obese twin, we could make a proper spectacle of it. Much better than ‘here’s a bunch of black bananas, a sweet ‘n’ sour mugshot and some unidentified fruit with half a WHOOPS sticker on it.

Raffle would be for useful things that people can use to cook with – a decent pan, a set of scales, spoons. Every now and then we’d think fuck it and put a box of chocolates on there. Guarantee we’d have far more raffle tickets being bought then! As for contact during the week, none of the mushy stuff – texts saying ‘Yeah, the chocolate might taste nice, but do you not fancy seeing your fadge again’ or ‘Try the mushy pea curry: you’ll be shitting for England but you’re sure to get that shiny star’ or even just the plain old threatening ‘Elnetta-MB has your details now. She knows where you live. DON’T EAT A PIE’. My facebook group would be full of rude jokes and recipe challenges and yeah, you’d still get stickers and certificates, but you’d also get arbitrary stickers like ‘Can open a Mars bar without getting breathless’ and ‘managed to see the end of her toes’. Make it fun, make it entirely non-serious, make it good.

Aaaah a boy can dream, eh? I know the practicalities of money, time and corporate branding would put the kibosh on all of the above, but hell, we could give it a bloody good go before SW cracked the whip.

Right, let’s get to the recipe, shall we? This makes two big bowls of delicious tasty stodge.

italian sausage and chicken risotto

to make italian sausage and chicken risotto you will need:

to make italian sausage and chicken risotto you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a splash of oil
  • add the sausages to the pan and cook for five minutes until browned but not fully cooked
  • remove from the pan, leave to cool for a bit and then slice and keep to one side
  • add the fennel seeds to the pan and stir around the pan for about a minute
  • add the leeks to the pan and cook for another 4-5 minutes, until starting to brown
  • mix the tomato puree with 1 tbsp water and add to the pan, along with the apple juice, garlic and spice mix
  • cook for a few minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes or so
  • add the rice and stir until well mixed and coated
  • add the chicken to the pan, lob in the sausages and stir again
  • add as much stock as you can to the pan – if you can’t get it all in just add what you can and keep topping it up
  • stir the mix every couple of minutes or so until the liquid has been absorbed, which’ll take about 20 minutes
  • serve!

There you have it – if you’ve ever fancied having an Italian stallion sit heavy in your stomach, you’ve just found one!

If you fancy other equally delicious dinners, just click on the buttons below to find more of our tasty ideas!

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J

sausage, fennel and pesto pasta

Sausage, fennel and pesto pasta? Have we gone all posh here at the always unpretentious, classless twochubbycubs? No. Don’t worry. We’re not going to start asking you to sous-vide (I’m sure she works in our local chippy) your food or start using sweetener that you can only buy in an Axminster branch of Holland and Barrett. However, we were asked for more sausage recipes so that people had something to do with those Slimming World sausages other than open the box and pour them directly into the bin because they’re so bloody awful. To make Slimming World sausages palatable (why is the third ingredient – after the 79% meat – citrus peel? I want to eat a sausage, not a pork-flavoured Yankee Candle), you need to add lots of flavour, hence the fennel and pesto. Before we get to that, though, some business to attend to.

I went over to visit The Progenitors this evening to make sure that a) they’re still kicking about and b) to casually remind them that there really is no better time to make a will than right now, and yes, don’t worry I’ll share. They’re in rude health as ever, and although I got roundly admonished for proclaiming that ‘the iPad can’t sense through leather’ when my mum told me her iPad wasn’t recognising her fingerprint, all was well. However, my mother has two messages for the blog which I feel I must pass on, at the very least to ensure that the flow of newly-laid eggs keeps coming my way.

First: she’s taken umbrage with the fact that I like to portray my childhood as some kind of Catherine Cookson-esque, poverty-stricken wasteland of bland meals and stolen potatoes. Well, obviously that wasn’t the case. We didn’t have much money but my sister and I never went without – we always had good food in our bellies, clothes on our backs and all the second-hand Lambert and Butler smoke a child could want. I reckon I was on ten fags a day by proxy by the age of ten. I’ve certainly inherited my lack of worry from them – they’re both very down-to-earth, decent people – just because my mother can drink like a sailor and my dad uses flatulence like one might use a full-stop doesn’t change that.

No, look, I do jest, and I do like to make gags about growing up, but I couldn’t have wished for better parents and when I listen to them now, bickering on at each other and twisting their faces, there’s still so much love there, it’s marvellous. They’ve been married for absolutely bloody ages and it’s quite inspiring to think you can make small-talk with the same person over dinner for thirty years and not want to stab them in the eye. It’s all I can do not to set myself on fire if I pass the same person on the stairs twice in one day. I think the anniversary gift for 30 years is pearl, and I’m definitely not going to mention that to my parents because, Christ, if you think I’m bad for smut and innuendo, you haven’t seen anything yet…

The second public service announcement from Mother Cub is a new gadget. See, since buying hens she has been awash with more eggs than she knows what to do with. My poor dad has had fried eggs, cubed eggs, boiled eggs, poached eggs, eggs eleven, eggy-eggs, eggy-bread and god knows what else. Anyway, my mum has found this on Amazon and it filled her with so much excitement it was the third thing she said to me after I stepped through her door (after DON’T GO STRAIGHT TO THE FRIDGE and CAN YOU JUST HAVE A LOOK AT SOMETHING ON THE COMPUTER FOR ME).

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It’s a three way egg-slicer. For when cutting with a knife won’t do, but then, nor will boring old slices. This one makes perfectly chunked egg mayo, wonderfully measured egg slices and, for that decadent touch, egg quarters. Whilst admittedly it’s quite literally the only time I ever want to hear about my mother having a three-way in the kitchen, it’s a gadget too much for me. I’ll say this though – the egg mayo sandwich that she made me was terrific. I’ve never had such uniform egg-based texture.

This makes enough for two big fatties to shovel in as dinner. So, just enough for me and Paul. So let’s say three syns per serving, but remember, it’s a giant bloody serving. I do like how the Amazon picture above already has the nicotine mottled-effect that most things in my parent’s house have. I’m joking again, just to be clear. Anyway, it’s on Amazon for only a few quid, so if you’re looking for a slicer that will blow your mind, go for it!

Anyway, that’s quite enough from Eva Braun, this is my blog, damn it.

Before we get to the sausage, fennel and pesto pasta, I have a quick question. I listen to The Archers. Love it. Don’t care that it’s a fuddy-duddy programme, I like how relaxing it all is. I’ve probably been listening for a year now – I tuned in when Rob Bastard started terrorising poor Helen and she stabbed him over the burst custard. But three questions:

  • am I ever going to get to the point where I recognise who is talking and who is related to who – I’m currently treating it like a white noise machine but I reckon I’d get more out of it if I actually understood the characters. But see, I go onto the Radio 4 website, read up on them, and then instantly forget everything I read, like my brain is trying to save me from premature old age;
  • is that young Johnny fella ever going to boff that other one (Josh?) – I feel like they’ve been building to A Beautiful Thing, but maybe that’s just me; and
  • am I wrong for getting teary-eyed over poor Scruff? SOB.

Now, you might be scoffing and tittering into your hand about my love of The Archers at the age of 31, but you know what, I don’t care. Not after poor Scruff’s death! LIFE’S TOO SHORT.

Right, let’s do the recipe.

sausage, fennel and pesto pasta

to make sausage, fennel and pesto pasta you will need:

  • 500g pasta
  • 6 sausages, skins removed (have you tried the sausages in our special Musclefood deals? They’re only ½ a syn each! Plus they have the added bonus of not tasting like you’re chewing a draught excluder – click here to order!)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat green pesto (3 syns)advert - summer-01

to make sausage, fennel and pesto pasta you should:

  • cook the pasta according to the instructions, towards the end of the cooking time take half-a-mugful of the pasta water for later on
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium high heat, sling in some oil and chuck in the fennel seeds, cook for about 30 seconds
  • add the onion and saute until it softens, about 5 minutes or so
  • mash the sausages the best you can with a fork and chuck into the pan, stir quickly to make sure it stays as broken up as possible – it doesn’t hurt to get a potato masher and smash things up a bit
  • add the black pepper, reduce the heat and keep stirring every now and again – don’t worry if bits stick to the bottom of the pan – that’s good
  • stir the pesto into the mug of pasta water and add to the pan and use it to scrape off any bits on the bottom of the pan
  • add the drained pasta to the pan and stir so it’s coated evenly in the pesto sauce and the sausage is mixed in
  • serve

Easy, right? If you’re looking for more sausage or pasta recipes, you’ll do well to click on the buttons below. We’ve got loads!

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Enjoy, won’t you?

J

sun-dried tomato and sausage pasta

Here for the sundried tomato and sausage pasta? Well, you’ll have to wait. Adults are talking.

Actually, I’m not so much talking as effing and jeffing angrily under my breath. I’m fizzing with anger! Remember we traded in the tiny Micra way back in March for an even smaller Smart car (next year we’re trading the Smart car in for a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe and some magic beans)? Well, we did all of the paperwork to switch the ownership of the Micra only to receive a stern letter from the DVLA telling us that we were breaking the law because GASP the Micra was uninsured despite a) us not owning it anymore and b) I’m fairly sure it’s a fucking cube of metal the size of a box of Swan Vestas by now.

I had the joy of speaking to someone so thick she’d struggle to look through a ladder who, after much umming, aahing and dribbling into the microphone so it sounded like she was in a washing machine, told me to send a letter in proving we had indeed sold the car. I did this promptly, without delay, and with only minimum amount of swearing. Hell, I even used my full name on the letter because it sounds lovely and posh. Then I, comfortable in the knowledge that the good folk at the DVLA were sorting it, immediately forgot about it and moved on with my life, which has recently consisted of looking at and ruling out garden furniture for 23 hours a day.

Until today when lo and behold I get a fucking penalty in the post for having an uninsured bloody car! Great! I’d understand if the penalty was for reasons of bad taste because we bought an orange Smart car that looks like we’re driving around in a Fruitella but no! AARGH man. Now I’ve got to send another letter with further proof and I’ve been told, via another wonderful customer service adviser who was also knitting with one needle, that I’ll still need to pay the fine regardless. Honestly, I almost did a proper Jeremy Kyle punch through the wall, though knowing my current luck this would result in a penalty from More Than for unauthorised household alterations.

Why are these things so difficult? We live in a world where, if I wanted to, I could nip onto the Internet and show my button off in glorious 1080p to some pervy old masochist in Canberra, but we seemingly can’t invent a system where we can submit our documents online in a safe and secure fashion. No, I have to leave important financial documentation to the idiosyncrasies of the Royal Bloody Mail, who currently have a 0% success rate with me. Perhaps I had a dyslexic postman who thought I meant VLAD instead of DVLA and is currently hiking his way through deepest Transylvania with a furrowed brow and a garlic necklace. Who knows.

Samsung was another experience – product still in warranty, had to call six times before I got through to someone who dared break the script in front of them and even then, still got absolutely nowhere until I complained via Twitter and got you lovely folks to chip in. In the end we had our hob fixed for free and the chap dealing with it was lovely but why make me jump through so many hoops? I mean COME ON I’m morbidly obese, jumping through hoops makes my ankles splinter. PAH. Nevermind.

Just as an update on the garden furniture situation – because I know you lot will have been gasping awake in the night with fret and worry about whether we’ve got somewhere to bronze our bitch-titties this summer – we found the table we want only to discover we’d need to hire a bloody crane to get it into the garden. Paul and I both agreed that this would be fine only on the basis that the fat builder from the moneysupermarket adverts was the crane operator, and oopsy-daisy-let-me-get-that-wet-hi-vis-off-you-oh-goodness-me-my-cock-fell-out, but they couldn’t guarantee this., the unreasonable swines. So we’re back to square one.  Great!

Now, before I get to the sundried tomato and sausage pasta, a quick favour. Just a tiny one, I promise. It’s two clicks. A friend of mine has entered his dog in a competition. When I say entered his dog, I don’t mean it in perhaps the way you think, you dirty moo. She’s (hopefully) to be the star of all of the vet’s correspondence from ‘Spot needs his anal-glands draining‘ (don’t we all) to ‘Oops we’ve put Rex down LOL #YOLO‘ and she’s currently being beaten. And well, if you don’t help, that means you enjoy seeing animals being beaten and that makes you worse than Hitler. So, for the love of all things chubby, click here (it’ll open in a new window) and vote for Pearl. Let’s make her a star!

OK. Enough chitter chatter. To the recipe…

sundried tomato and sausage pasta

to make sundried tomato and sausage pasta you will need:

  • 250g pasta (we used farfalle) (because we’re just FARFALLE people, boom boom)
  • 4 sausages, fat free or low in fat then syn appropriately (why not use the ones in our Musclefood deal?)
  • 1 tin of cannellini beans, drained
  • 5 sundried tomatoes (use the dried kind, not the one in oil! and steep them in hot water for 30 minutes beforehand to plump them back up and chop finely) (2 syns, apparently)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (come on, you know it’s coming, but haway, buy one of these, it’s genuinely brilliant!
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 2 handfuls of rocket
  • little bit of grated parmesan

to make sundried tomato and sausage pasta you should:

  • cook the pasta according to the instructions, drain (reserve 125ml of the water for use later) and set aside
  • meanwhile, heat a large, deep pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil or frylight, listen, be your own person, make your own rules here
  • cook the sausages until brown on all sides and add the tin of beans, tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic and chilli flakes, and cook for about a minute – stirring frequently
  • add the pasta to the pan along with the spinach and rocket and stir well
  • cook for about 30 seconds or so, until the leaves have wilted, and add a little of the reserved pasta water if it starts to look too dry
  • serve and sprinkle over the parmesan

Enjoy. Tell everyone about it. If you’re looking for MORE recipes, you greedy slattern, you’ll find more sausage recipes and more pasta recipes right here by clicking the buttons!

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Done. Now I’m off to attach a notice of new ownership to a carrier pigeon and hurl it at Wales.

J

sausage and potato salad – oh my

Very quick post tonight – no fussing about. I’ve spent almost two hours picking tomatoes from the greenhouse and all I want to do is recline on the sofa with the Doctor and an IV drip of vodka. This recipe isn’t our own – it belongs to Nigel Slater, but we’ve bastardised it a bit for Slimming World. It contains big portions of both sauerkraut and mushrooms – but don’t let that put you off. Sauerkraut might hold the unique title of smelling better coming out of your body than it does going in, but nevertheless, persevere – the mix of flavours here makes for a lovely Autumnal dish.

sausage and potato salad

to make sausage and potato salad, you’ll need:

  • 200g sausages (we used the sausages from our Musclefood deal, but you can use any as long as you’re sure they are syn free)
  • 350g potatoes
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 200g sauerkraut
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill
  • 2 tbsp fat-free fromage frais

to make sausage and potato salad then, you should:

 

  • cut the potatoes into large chunks and place in a large saucepan of boiling water – boil until just tender, drain, and slice thickly
  • cook the sausages according to the instructions – (ours always come out beautifully in an Actifry)
  • when the sausages are cooked, slice and set aside
  • meanwhile, add a little Frylight to a large saucepan, place over a medium heat and cook the onions for about five minutes
  • add the mushrooms and cook until they start to turn a little golden, adding a little more Frylight if necessary
  • add the sausages to the pan with the sliced potato – crush the potatoes with the back of the spoon a little bit as you add them to the pan
  • add the sauerkraut to the pan and mix well
  • remove from the heat and serve
  • add a tbsp of fromage frais to each plate and sprinkle on the dill
  • enjoy!

spicy Slimming World sausage rigatoni

Very quick post tonight as we’re at class and then off to see San Andreas, which will really set my phobia of dams at ease. This recipe came about because we think the Slimming World sausages taste like someone has emptied their Dyson into a condom and sealed it up. They’ve got as much kick as a dead horse. Least they’re syn free though…right? So, to liven them up, we’ve released the meat from the skin, made it into a spicy sauce and served it with rigatoni. NATCH.

You could make this syn free, just omit the wine and replace with beef stock. But like you’re going to do that eh, beetroot-nose?

spicy slimming world sausage rigatoni

This serves four, so it does.

to make spicy sausage rigatoni, you’ll need:

  • a few drops of oil, or, spit, Frylight
  • an onion the size of a clenched fist (normal, feminine hands – not like a Russian shot-putter)
  • 4 carrots 
  • a pack of SW sausages, circumcised (skin removed)
  • 1tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 chilli flakes
  • 1tsp of salt
  • 1tsp of black pepper
  • a few drops of balsamic vinegar
  • 100ml of wine (just the cheap stuff you use for cooking, or when ‘she’ comes around) (this is where the syns come in – 175ml of red wine is 6 syns, I’m only use about 60% of that, and this serves four, so let’s call it 4. I’m not Carol Vorderman!)
  • can of chopped tomatoes
  • 500g of rigatoni pasta, or more if you like
  • Parmesan and finely chopped basil to serve (30g of Parmesan being your healthy extra)

to make spicy sausage rigatoni, you should:

  • furiously mince, like Paul at a reduced counter, the carrots and onion – we used our fancydan blender but you could just finely grate them – cook them in the oil/Frylight until they’re soft on a medium heat;
  • add the ‘meat’ from the Slimming World sausages, together with the oregano, chilli flakes, salt and pepper
  • keep stirring until the sausage is cooked through and then whack the heat up for a moment and chuck the wine in – make a point of scraping around the pan to get any sticky good bits off the bottom, then reduce the heat
  • add the chopped tomatoes, drop the heat, add the vinegar and leave to simmer whilst you cook the pasta
  • cook the pasta, drain it, add the sauce and a few tablespoons of the water you cooked the pasta in
  • dish up, adoring it with shreds of basil and finely grated Parmesan.

Rejoice! A recipe that makes the SW sausages even tastier! Somehow, by adding flavour, they become delicious! I have to say, this was one of my favourite meals in a long time. Good for taking into work the next day too.

J

 

syn free breakfast burritos

Sort of accidentally, honest guv.

See after work yesterdayI went out with a good friend to endure Poltergeist at the cinema. I say endure, I mean barely tolerate. It was absolute bobbins. I LOVE horror movies, the schlockier the better, but this was just lazy pap. It says a lot that we weren’t bothered by the usual festering tits that had packed the cinema. The type of people who can’t sit for ninety minutes without checking Facebook. Normally they make me rage – they’re the type of people who I’d happily unplug their life support machine to charge up my phone – but given how bad the movie was I couldn’t blame them, could I? We appeared to have half of China visiting in the row behind us which gave the bizarre effect of having the English film in front of us being live-translated behind us followed by shrieks and giggles and excpetionally caricatured noises. Still a dull film though. Even I was hoping for one of Phillipa’s skin-melting farts just to liven things up but she was too busy being distracted by a rolling pig / unicorn hybrid.

So yes, I synned. See I had good intentions of staying on diet but I had a pint of Guinness in my hand before I had even sat down, which was followed by pizza, pasta and ice-cream. In my defence, I thought I was only ordering a small ice-cream but it turns out the scoop they use for their ‘three scoop special’ was a dustbin lid. You can imagine my distress and disappointment at having to eat it all, it really was just the worst.

I have to be honest, both Paul and I are in a bit of a lull with our diet at the moment – Slimming World is great because it isn’t very restrictive but occasionally I just get sick of eating sensibly and not being able to have what I want. Now, people always turn around and go ‘just have a little bit of what you fancy’ but that’s not how I work. I couldn’t just have a Freddo, I’d want a carpet-sized bar of chocolate to eat until I was sick. It’ll pass, but we’re relaxing the rules a little bit at the moment – still cooking a healthy recipe every day but just need to let it ease a bit. Once the bank holiday is over we’re going to be on it 100% – but even that’s easy to say and harder to do given neither of us have the type of job where we are guaranteed to be home at five with plenty of time to cook and prepare lunches. Sometimes I just want to come home, put on my scratty boxer shorts and scratch my balls in front of the TV for six hours until bed.

As an aside – I know I’ve been a bit quiet lately, but the good news is that I’m actually writing more than ever – it’s all going in the book. New content rather than old stuff!

Anyway: it’s Eurovision tonight, so that means vodka and snacks. No apologies!  I just hope to God Australia don’t win because I’ve sort-of promised Paul that we’ll go to the next one…

OK, that was moany. So here’s a nice breakfast recipe for you to be cracking on with:

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to make breakfast burritos, you’ll need:

one WW (boo hiss) Love Fibre wholemeal wraps (look for the purple and blue packaging, as you can use this wrap as a HEB); two slimming world sausages (or use low syn sausages but syn them), two eggs, HEA portion of extra mature cheese, two decent slices of ham cut into chunks and a potato.

to make breakfast burritos, you should:

  • cut the potato into very thin strips and spritz with a tiny bit of oil and pop in the oven for ten minutes (if that) until they’re cooked through like french fries – set aside
  • cook the sausages either under the grill or in an Actifry, then cut into thin slices (like matchsticks rather than discs)
  • crack the eggs into a pan and whisk on a medium heat to make scrambled eggs, set aside
  • slice up your ham and grate your cheese
  • when everything is ready, hoy your wrap into the oven for a minute or so to warm it through, then lie it flat on the counter
  • load it up – a row of cheese, then sausage, then egg, then chips, then ham
  • roll it up!

If you’re a bit slow and don’t know how to roll a wrap properly, you can find a guide here. I had to use it, don’t worry, no-one is judging.

Just out of shot in that photo was an attempt to make homemade salsa but as it looks like something you’d scrape out of an infected foot, I’m not putting the recipe on. What a bitch!

J

slimming world sausages and mash

One thing I want to get off my chest is this weird habit people seem to have of serving up their Slimming World slops in those awful three part plates. I’m not talking about the plates where it looks like someone fresh off the ‘Special Ward’ has been let loose with a bag of Poundland felt-tips, I’m talking about these:

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They’re bloody awful and they’re not a plate – they’re a bloody serving platter! The middle bit is for dip and the sides are for the Sprinters crisps and KP Nots. Plus it looks like the imprint that would be left in wet cement if Jordan did the splits above it. If you’re eating one main meal out of this, why not go the whole hog and get yourself a trough? Argh! It really annoys me.

I’ve had a genuinely quite lovely today at work – great fun. You remember that part of my job is being on a committee whose job it is to plan fun events and little surprises for everyone? When a colleague and I had to parcel up 160 pick-and-mixes for people? Well, I came up with the idea of a giant Easter Egg hunt, so naturally, Paul and I were in my office last night at midnight hiding 200 caramel, Lindt and créme eggs all over the place. Yes, I’ve had 200 or so eggs rolling around in the back of my car for almost two weeks. They were originally in the house but, no kidding, we had to put the eggs into the boot of the car and then put the car in the bloody garage to remove the temptation. So weakwilled and even then, we did a fair few mad dashes to the garage in our tatty boxers to grab a handful. I actually had to top up the eggs out of my own pocket. GASP. So yeah, imagine this greeting you every time you opened the boot:

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Seriously, we hid them all over. We had them buried in people’s muesli, parcel-taped under desks, hidden down the tube of a roll of wrapping paper, in vending machines…there were even gold and silver eggs hidden for an extra bonus. The silver egg I managed to hide in the peel of a tangerine which I then wrapped up and put back in the communal fruit bowl. The lucky finder won the booby prize of a jar of pickled eggs. The golden eggs – individually wrapped Lindt eggs in gold foil – were hidden in especially difficult places, including sellotaped to the blind mechanism so it would only appear when the blind was pulled down, another in a carrier bag dispenser, one hidden in our rolling rack system with the clue ‘I’ve hidden it in Baghdad’ (In Iraq, see?) and my favourite, a gold egg in the form of a gold helium star, attached to the balcony on the sixth floor with a 40m piece of garish pink parcel ribbon. The idea being it would float serenely above the building (“Find an egg with a view”) but no, no it sank and smeared along the side of the client meeting rooms. Oops, what-am-I-like. Had to cut the ribbon and pull it back a bit.

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The golden eggs were swapped for fancy-pants Easter eggs, see, hence the difficulty! Finally, we had nipped to Poundland (I still can’t get the smell of chip-pan out of my coat) on the Sunday and bought five ‘nests’ which we filled with several little eggs and they were stuck all over the place too. Aaah it was great fun! It’s genuinely one of the best parts about my job because I love shit like this, and being able to indulge it does cheer my soul.

Actually, I love treasure hunts full stop. For our first anniversary, I set up a massive treasure hunt all across Newcastle which started off in our flat – the first clue being frozen in a block of ice that could have sunk the Titanic. The second clue was hidden on the living room wall in giant letters – only I’d done it with UV paint, so it only showed up when Paul used the UV light on his keyring. Once we’d done the treasure hunt, we took great delight in writing all over the wall in the windowless hallway with UV paint – if the new tenants in Ouseburn Wharf somehow decide to rig up a UV light, they’re going to be mortified at what they find. I mean, swearing is so much more fun when no-one can see it…

…mind, that’s not the worst thing I’ve splashed on a wall. Not sure why me and my flatmate thought this was a good idea to do when we’d been on the pop one New Years Eve…

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The worst part about this was that, although we painted over it several times with Wilko’s own brand shitty beige paint, it was like painting with milk, and we could never quite get rid of his evil staring eyes. Probably why we lost our deposit. That and the iron-print burn in the kitchen lino when someone tried to straighten my then-long hair with an iron. Oops.

Anyway, this was only supposed to be a quick post but I’ve ended up chuntering on, so here’s a recipe. Well not really a recipe, given it’s pretty self-explanatory…

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Mushy peas are free, as is mashed potato (with added cauliflower just in case the peas don’t turn your arse into a mustard-gas factory) and indeed, so are the Slimming World sausages from Iceland. How are they? Alright. They look like someone’s pooed into a condom in some people’s photos but we seem to have cooking them down exactly right – chuck them in the Actifry and watch Judge Rinder for fifteen minutes. By the time you’ve heard him bitching and sassing and flouncing around his pretend courtroom in his black cape like a haunted toilet-roll cover, the sausages are just right. Gravy is synned at 1 syn per 50ml made up gravy and unless you’re one of those people who drown your food in gravy, that’ll be way more than enough.

Anyway christ, this was only meant to be a quick post…!

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cabbage, sausage and kidney bean soup

Can we get something right straight off the bat? Man-buns. There’s a simple test – if you are male, and you’ve tied up your locks like some weird hairy sphincter on top of your head, you’re a cock. And not a nice cock, mind – we’re talking a fishy old schlong. In fact no – if you had a sphincter in the middle of your head, that would actually make you an arse. I can’t bear it. It doesn’t so much as make my skin crawl as force it inside-out through cringing. Back when I had long hair, the only ‘style’ I succumbed to was brushing it, and that was only when I felt there might be a boiled sweet in amongst the tangles. There’s an advert on TV now for Trivago which ends with a supposedly-dreamy shot of a woman asleep in a man’s arms as he carries her down a hotel corridor to bed. He wouldn’t be bad looking, but because of the man bun, you know that night is going to end with her face-down on a pillow and him accidentally calling her Patrick at the height of climax. There’s no masculinity, no ruggedness – a weak, effete affectation which should only end up one way – in an acid bath. Too far? I say not far enough!

Tonight’s been a bit of a wash-out – I was originally supposed to be out for dinner with work colleagues to say goodbye, good luck and thanks for all the laughs to one of the partners I work for, but thanks to the incompetence of Northumberland Council and their inability to fit a bloody toilet correctly that didn’t happen, as I was summoned to my gran’s house. Water was leaking through the ceiling again where they incorrectly fitted the toilet. Well they didn’t fit the toilet on the ceiling, obviously. Anyway, it turns out it had been leaking since Wednesday and she had been patiently waiting for the council to come out, completely unable to use her upstairs loo, and having to totter down the stairs and to the outside loo (it’s a really old house, we’re not that Northern) every time she needed a tinkle in the dead of night. I mean for fucks sake, she’s a very slow mover – she can go upstairs with a fiver in her purse and by the time she’s made it back downstairs it’s only worth £4.50. So this was a crap situation, and after my sister and I spent a bit of time bellowing at the council, they remedied it. Bloody ridiculous. I had an image in my head of her sat on the outside toilet, Puzzler in hand, frozen in time like Jack Torrance at the end of The Shining. Thankfully that didn’t happen, although…

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Haha. We did get to spend some more time with my sister and lovely nephew though. I stand by everything I said earlier about children being red-faced poo-factories with all the charm of an ingrown toenail, but my nephew is the exception to prove the rule. Although, that said, the first thing he did when he heard we were on the way was immediately void his bowels – but then Paul does the same thing when I tell him we’re out of Muller Lights so isn’t life a rich tapestry.

Paul and I were chatting away in bed last night before sleep, discussing what we could do with the blog next. Our next idea that we’re going to build into the recipes is to have one recipe a week from a European country. Easy to begin with – we have Armenia first on the randomised list, but Kosovo is the third. Going to be a steep learning curve but well, our Slimming World journey is all about new flavours and learning to cook – so look forward to that!

Tonight’s recipe doesn’t look all that. In fact, if I’m being searingly honest, it sorta looks like something you might happen across in the pan of a public toilet after a heavy night. I know. But it tasted really good, and it’s our soup of the week – cabbage, kidney bean and sausage broth!

Mmm. How inviting! Look, you try making cabbage soup look appealing. If Roald fucking Dahl couldn’t manage it, I sure as hell can’t. So stop being so judgemental, sheesh.

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to make cabbage, sausage and kidney bean soup, you’ll need:

ingredients: 1.5l of chicken stock, half a big white cabbage sliced thinly (see tip below), eight grilled weight-watchers cumberland sausages (1/2 syn each) cut up into chunks, three tablespoons of tomato puree, two garlic cloves very finely grated, 1 shallot sliced, 1 teaspoon of dried basil, 1 teaspoon of celery seeds (or use fennel seeds) (or omit altogether, I’m not your keeper) and 1/2tsp of dried thyme – you’ll also need a tin of kidney beans.

tip: I bang on about this all the time, but if you’re a clumsy oaf like me in the kitchen, get yourself a decent mandolin. They’ll slice things perfectly for you, and you just need to be a bit careful not to slice off your fingertips. I bought mine for £10 from Amazon and the link is here – you’ll never look back. Honest, you’ll thank me for it. Along similar lines, I use a microplane grater for the garlic (and it can be used for parmesan too) and you can find that for less than a tenner on Amazon, here. You can do the job with a knife too, you don’t need fancy equipment for Slimming World – but they do make things easier!

to make cabbage, sausage and kidney bean soup, you should:

recipe: saute the garlic and the shallots for a few moments on a high heat – don’t burn it though. Then, tip everything in bar the sausage and beans, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add a bit of salt, your ticker can handle it. Chuck in the sausage and beans, and cook until the cabbage is soft and cooked. Done!

It’s more of a brothy soup – lots of liquid, but tastes good. If you like your soup so thick you could artex a ceiling with it, you’re out of luck – but if that’s what you like, try my super-speedy soup.

extra-easy – yes, and only one syn! Cabbage is a superfree food and a much maligned vegetable – don’t rule it out! It serves four, and the sausages are the syns – but what’s one syn between friends?

Enjoy, enjoy.

J