jerk pork and pineapple skewers: get them grilling!

Well look, if there’s two lads you can rely on to jerk your pork, it’s us! Jerk pork and pineapple skewers! Another skewer recipe but it’s glorious weather and this is the type of food you need to enjoy. Plus, if the weather lets you down, there’s nothing to stop you throwing these under the grill.

But before we get there, two things. First, look what appeared just as I sat down to type this:

We don’t live in some Dickensian workhouse, but we’re near an awful lot of fields full of mice and this is the end result. Rats and mice don’t bother me as a rule but you better believe that I simultaneously leapt and shat when this bugger scuttled out from behind my router. I thought it was a spider, though if it had been, this house would have been razed to the ground. No second chances.

The other thing to announce…

I'm allowed to be pretty damn chuffed with us!

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We only went and bloody did it! The two fat blokes (How fat? When we fall down the stairs people think Eastenders is finishing! So fat our patronuses are cakes! So fat that you need a bus journey with two connections just to get on our good side! Ho ho! Fuck off) who never exercise upped their game and ran a bloody 5k! We weren’t even the last ones to finish – I had visions of being lapped over and over before someone came and asked us to leave as they wanted to get home and only had tent hire until 11pm.

As it happens, we ran a good 80% of it and power-minced the rest. All we’ve done is focus on running a bit more each time – no fancy trainers, no expensive regimes, just walk, run, go. You know what made it lovely though? So many people clapping and encouraging folk as they ran past. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting to be chased with pitchforks (though it was Alnwick) but even I was surprised how lovely it all was. Who knows what lies ahead, other than plantar fasciitis and jogging cum-faces? Maybe we’ll do the Great North Run?

Pfft, aye, no.

Oh and we crossed the finishing line holding hands (with me leading Paul, who remember, has tiny corgi legs as opposed to my long, gazelle pins), just to make you sick up in your mouth a little. Cubs who finish together, stay together. Certainly not the first time I’ve tugged a chubby bloke to a happy finish in the vicinity of a rugby pitch, either.

Shall we do the recipe then?

pork and pineapple skewers

pork and pineapple skewers

jerk pork and pineapple skewers

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 skewers

Easy! The key with BBQ food is that it is easy and quick to make - this really couldn't be easier, given it's rubbing a bit of meat, chopping fruit and grilling it! What's not to love?

Remember, Slimming World's official line is that you should syn your pineapple if you're following the diet to the letter. Our view, and mind it is our view and not an official one, is that this is bollocks. But follow your own path - if you need to syn the pineapple, 100g is 2 syns. We're also not including the 0.5 syn drop of sriracha - this made six fat skewers, and I'll be damned if I'm dividing 0.5 between 6.

Then again, we're living in an era where people are making lemon meringue pies using pease pudding, so all bets are off.

Not sure what sriracha is? It's just a hot, spicy sauce. Leave it off if you've got a delicate balloon-knot, and replace it with a few drops of Worcestershire sauce.

We nicked this from BBC Good Food. See, it's that easy to give credit to recipes when they've been Pinched. 😉

Ingredients

  • 400g pork fillets, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium pineapple
  • 2 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (1 syn)
  • zest and juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  • in a large bowl mix together the jerk seasoning, sriracha and lime zest and juice
  • tip in the pork chunks and mix well - really give that meat a good rub, and then leave to marinade for a bit (room temperature is best)
  • peel and core the pineapple, and cut into large chunks
  • skewer the pork and pineapple alternately until it's all used up
  • cook over the barbecue or under  a hot grill for about 7-10 minutes, turning regularly

Notes

  • can't find jerk seasoning? any kind of seasoning mix will do - just use whatever you have in
  • we always prefer using metal skewers as they're less faff - we use these ones
  • wooden ones will work fine too, just remember to soak them for thirty minutes so they don't catch fire
  • this should be enough for 6 medium (wooden) skewers' worth, or 4 big ones (no prizes for guessing which we went for)
  • the 'official' rules say you should really syn the pineapple as technically it's cooked, but really. It's up to you. We didn't bother. No hate mail please. 
  • to make quick work of the pineapple you should try one of these - it'll save you no end of hassle!
  • if you really can't be arsed though you can use the pre-prepared chunks, though they may be on the small side

Courses BBQ

Cuisine BBQ

Yum! Want more BBQ ideas? Remember we’ve done loads lately!

If you’re having a BBQ this weekend, get it done!

J

proper tasty Slimming World coleslaw: revised!

Slimming World coleslaw. It might not be the most exciting of dishes but if it’s done right, you’ll slather it on thicker than me with the KY in the Eagle back in the noughties. Worst game of Cluedo ever. My character would be Rear Admiral Brown.

It’s bank holiday weekend, so I won’t keep you long, but I need to give you an order: watch Happy Valley.

I know I’m years behind with this recommendation but see, it’s been floating around on our Netflix Watch lists for ages and I’ve been put off because, inexplicably, I thought it was a comedy starring Raquel from Coronation Street, and frankly, that sounds awful. Plus I’m fairly sure that Happy Valley is a euphemism for the bit between your balls and bumhole. The taint, if you prefer. The Bridge of Sighs. The chin-strap, if you’re that way inclined. DMZ if you’re political. Baker Street if you’re a fan of the Underground and appreciate that it’s the stop where the pink line connects with the brown. Look, we could go on, but let’s not cheapen what is otherwise a classy, genteel blog.

No, we finally gave in and watched it and it was bloody amazing – rocketing right up the list of best things we’ve seen on TV to nestle at the top amongst Breaking Bad, Juliet and Sawyer’s love story on Lost and Ben Cohen’s wank-video. That wasn’t on TV, I know, but we streamed it via Chromecast because some things are worth watching in 65″ ultra-HD. I asked Paul if we could load it into our Samsung VR but apparently that’s too close to actually cheating. Back to Happy Valley: Sarah Lancashire is an absolute revelation and the drama is incredible. If you’re stuck on something to watch, give this a go!

Not in the mood for a twelve part drama? I understand. Why not watch this fifteen second video which shows you how we’re dealing with people who gawp into our garden as they walk past?

Eeee no. WARNING BAD LANGUAGE. #eyesfront #stopnebbing

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Mahaha! Right, the Slimming World coleslaw.

slimming world coleslaw

slimming world coleslaw

perfect Slimming World coleslaw

Prep

Total

Yield 4 big servings

If you're looking for something to slather onto a burger in this BBQ season, give this a go. It's very, very easy to make and you can customise it, but don't be tempted to leave out the tahini to save syns - it adds a really nice, subtle creaminess to the coleslaw. You can find it in most supermarkets and it isn't very expensive as it'll keep for ages. At 5 syns for a tablespoon, I'm synning it at 1 syn per portion because this makes enough coleslaw for four people and I'll be damned if I'm putting 1.25 syns.

Ingredients

  • four carrots
  • half a red cabbage
  • one large red onion
  • five big tablespoons of fat-free Greek yoghurt (free)
  • one tablespoon of tahini (5 syns)

Instructions

  • gosh, this isn't going to take long
  • thinly slice the red onion
  • peel the carrot and turn into matchsticks
  • thinly shred the red cabbage
  • mix everything together, adding a bit of salt just before you serve (you can add it before, but it'll cause water to come from the cabbage - perfectly fine, but less attractive)
  • serve with burgers, salad or whatever you fancy

Notes

Courses sides, BBQ

Cuisine BBQ

Want some more recipe ideas? Of course, one moment please:

Yum!

J

lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes

I was just going to launch straight into the recipe for lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes but I can’t see through my tears. See, I’ve long clung to the belief that Prince Henry Charles Albert David, or Prince Harry if you prefer, or Gingerbollocks as I bet the Queen calls him, was going to have a last-second crisis of identity before he got married. In my mind, he was sure to have a look at the albeit beautiful Meghan (I would never say this to her face, but she’s a wonderful person and a gifted artist), realise that he prefers cock and slightly middle-class Geordie men, dash into his armoured Mercedes and drive to Newcastle (avoiding the Tyne Tunnel, of course) to declare his love and demand I sit on his throne.

However, it wasn’t to be. The closest I got to receiving a royal hand last night was my own Queen, Paul, slumping forward during the ‘exploratory’ part of the mission after one too many gins.

I like the Royals. Not so keen on what they stand for, and I balked at the sight of homeless people having their sleeping bags taken away from them just so folks born into the greatest luxury in the land wouldn’t have their wedding photos ruined, but I do enjoy a bit of pomp and ceremony. I always imagine Camilla would be the best on a night out – she’d be the one ordering shit mixed drinks and telling everyone to fuck off and glassing the bouncers by the end of the night. She’s got that look in her eye that says ‘I’ll give you a gobble behind the bins but don’t spaff on my tiara‘, I think.

Perhaps it’s because I was never a huge fan of Diana. I know: blasphemy. Actually, no – that’s unfair, I have no real strong feelings about Diana, but her death was certainly the beginning of this awful ‘who can be the most upset’ competition that occurs whenever someone faintly famous dies or something horrendous happens in the world. Grief should be a private, personal emotion, not an excuse to whip out your Minions-quote-template and best UP WITH THE ANGLES line just because Gemma Collins bruised a nail tripping on the slip-mats in Lidl.  I saw that sea of flowers pushed up against the walls of Buckingham Palace and all I could hope was that Liz had stocked up on Piriteze. All that pollen – I sympathise, if someone blows a dandelion clock in Sussex I’m laid up in bed for four weeks groaning and streaming snot from every hole I possess.

Anyway, look, this is all by the by. Harry didn’t come by in the end, and by all accounts it was a lovely, traditional wedding. I say traditional, it didn’t end with someone having too many Archers Aquas and vomiting in a plant-pot, so really, was it a wedding at all?

Oh! We did celebrate the Royal Wedding with a bit of light baking, see?

Fancy! I made ginger nuts (of course) by following our recipe here and rose-scented meringue bites by tweaking this exciting recipe made from chickpea pre-cum and I swear to God, that’s exactly what we used.

Oh and final point on the Royal Wedding – we were schlepping around Tesco yesterday buying BBQ bits and pieces when we overheard a very earnest, rah-de-rah mother saying to her chubby-checked wee child that ‘shall we dash home now so we can get a look at Meghan’s dress?’ to which the kid – a future in comedy awaits – completely deadpanned that she ‘really couldn’t care less‘. Good on you, child whose name will inevitability contain ‘Ella’.

OK, let’s do the recipe then. I was given a big bag of greek oregano by a friend from work and I need to tell you know, it smells amazing. The oregano, that is, not my friend, I couldn’t comment on his redolence. I did have to spend altogether more time than I anticipated smiling wanly at people spotting the bag of oregano on my desk and asking if it was drugs, ho-ho, slap my knees. I was that busy laughing hysterically that I barely had time for my 11am ket-bump in the bogs.

roast potatoes

roast potatoes

1 vote

Print

lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

How many times do you need a side for a BBQ and you find yourself opening a pack of coleslaw and crying because everything is so boring and you're sick of being fat and anyway, that miserable cow next door is already twitching her curtains and complaining about the smoke? Well, screw that, screw her and screw boring sides: our amazing lemon, garlic and oregano roast potatoes are a doddle to make, low in syn and taste bloody amazing.

Please: don't be tempted to skip the olive oil. It's worth it. You could use Frylight, yes, but why bother? Syns are there to be used for good food!

Ingredients

  • about 900g of new potatoes, scrubbed a bit but not peeled, cut into smallish chunks
  • two tablespoons of olive oil (see notes)
  • four garlic cloves, minced (see notes)
  • a couple of teaspoons of dried oregano
  • a few grinds of salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 150ml of beef stock (or veggie stock if you're veggie, duh)
  • 150ml of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano - optional, dried is fine, but use a little less

Instructions

  • get the oven up to about 200 degrees, and find a good non-stick roasting dish
  • pour the chopped potatoes in, together with the oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper (don't be shy), oregano and then pop the lid on and shake shake shake - really throw everything around to get it all coated
  • bake in the oven for about twenty minutes, take out, add the stock, shake and back into the oven it goes for about fifteen minutes
  • out it comes, add the lemon juice and again, shake it to buggery - then back into the oven for a good twenty minutes or so, until everything is cooked and most of the liquid has disappeared
  • top with fresh oregano and serve 

Use your common sense here - if it needs a bit longer, keep it in! But make sure it doesn't burn.

Notes

Courses sides, vegetarian

Cuisine BBQ

Yum!

Looking for more BBQ ideas? Then please, let us help you out:

Have a good weekend folks!

J

Slimming World sides: macho peas & orange and carrot mash

Sometimes we have recipes that don’t really warrant a post of their own – usually they’re simple side dishes – so tonight I’m bundling two for the price of one into the same post. You might worry that your inbox can’t handle two at once but I’m sure if you bear down and push out, everything will be tickety-boo. The macho peas recipe is a variant on the Nandos staple and the orange carrot mash was found in a BBC Good Food magazine that I found in the dentist. I’m not saying the magazine was out of date, but when they kept referring to getting in the carrots before the Luftwaffe wrecked the carrot fields, well…

OH: IF YOU’RE READING THIS ON THURSDAY 25 JANUARY 2018, and you want something worth £50 on Amazon – click here and use the code BIGTHANKS to knock a tenner off. Better than a slap in the face with a big wet willy!

So not farting about: straight to the recipes. Both recipes make enough for two large sides. Obviously the orange carrot mash doesn’t refer to orange carrots, but rather the fresh orange juice you use in the recipe! First, macho peas!

macho peas

to make macho peas, you’ll need:

  • three big handfuls of frozen peas – or fresh, if you’re fancy
  • one finely chopped onion
  • a nice big red chilli pepper or a teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • a good bunch of fresh mint (hell, use mint sauce if you want) (but it won’t taste so good)
  • for the first time in my life, I recommend a little knob – of SALTED BUTTER! AND THE CROWD GOES WILD! 10g of salted butter will make all the difference – 3.5 syns, and what’s that between friends? You could leave it out but I remind you: it’s two bloody syns each

to make macho peas, you should:

  • get a pan of water bubbling and throw in your peas – cook until softened slightly but not mush
  • pop your onion – finely chopped mind – into a pan, pop it on medium and sweat them down
  • whilst they’re cooking, chop up your mint nice and fine together with the chilli if not using flakes
  • drain your peas, mash them slightly  stir in the butter, onion, chopped mint and chopped chilli
  • serve!

See? Gorgeous! And now…

to make orange and carrot mash, you’ll need:

  • 500g of fresh carrots
  • 250ml of fresh orange juice (we use Tropicana 50/50 – 1 syn per 100g – 2.5 syns)
  • 500ml of vegetable stock
  • chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of fat free greek yoghurt

to make orange and carrot mash, you’ll need:

  • peel your carrots and then thinly slice them
  • spray some oil into a decent pan, heat it up and then pop the fennel seeds in until they pop
  • chuck in the carrot slices
  • add the orange juice and vegetable stock and bring to the boil
  • allow to simmer for thirty minutes until most of the liquid has disappeared and the carrots are soft
  • mash those carrots with lots of black pepper and a spoonful of fat free greek yoghurt

top tips for your orange carrot mash:

  • use a bloody mandolin slicer to slice your carrots quickly and uniformly – but please watch those fingers! Only £12 on Amazon!

Two lovely sides for you to consider. Want more veggie recipes? Of course!

Yum!

J

goat cheese beefburger with baked cheesy courgette chips

Here for the goat cheese burger with courgette chips? Who could blame you – even I’ve got a semi-on just thinking about it. It’s lines like that which stop me getting a job in Good Housekeeping, isn’t it? Still, I’m doing better than the poor sod at Virgin Trains, but we’ll touch on that tomorrow. I didn’t know whether to post this as two separate recipes but hey, let’s live life on the edge today, and combine it as one. But first: shenanigans. Remember, scroll to the pictures of the food if you don’t want to read my waffle.

First day back at work today after about a billion weeks off. Does anyone else find it utterly infuriating having to work? You mustn’t get me wrong, I really do love my job and I work with some wonderful people (HR STATUS CHECKER: CLEAR) but by God it is such a battle not to steer my car straight into the central reservation every single morning at 8.20am. You know how some people are morning people who breeze out of bed at 5am with a cheery smile on their face and their day full of promise? Well they can piss off. The only time I ever get out of my bed that early is if I’ve shat in it.

What I can’t get my head around is where everyone else is going at that time in the morning. Logically, they’re all going to work just like me, or worse, dropping their crotchfruit off at school for a few hours, but emotionally, I feel like they’ve all climbed into their car just to get in my way. I try listening to music to gee me along and lift my spirits but my Spotify is broken and the recommended music keeps recommending Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Yes Sir I Can Boogie on repeat. I mean, what fresh hell is that? I’d sooner listen to a drill-bit sloughing through my ear-drum.

It doesn’t help that nobody else can drive as well as I can. Naturally, I’m a patient, caring driver who lets people in and merges in turn. My hands wave politely even if my lips drip with malice. Everyone else pushes in. Everyone else spends entirely too much time worrying my back bumper.  Everyone else does that annoying thing of slamming on the brakes if they see someone backing off their drive 312 miles away. Everyone else has garish cars and rubbish haircuts and annoying music and morning-coffee-breath and stupid bumper stickers and ugly children in the back seat. In an ideal world everyone would be forced to stay at home until I’ve arrived at work and only then could they push out onto the road, on the strict instruction that they have to be back at home and quietly watching Tipping Point by 4pm. That’ll teach ’em.

I take some consolation in the fact that I can look around in the luxurious forty minutes I spend stuck in traffic and see that everyone else has a face like a smacked arse too. Perhaps I’m not alone. Perhaps there are others – perhaps there is hope.

Anyway, as it happens, I was slightly more buoyant than normal this morning because I was wearing this fruity number to the office:

 

If that doesn’t leave you moister than an oyster, then I don’t know what will. It’s OK: I know I look silly. I look like John Goodman roleplaying as Jon Snow. Like a silverback gorilla caught in the process of mauling Brendan from Coach Trip. To be quite honest, it’s the type of coat I imagine our Fearless Leader might wear, pockets stuffed with half-smoked John Player Superkings and badly torn Bella coupons. My entrance into the office was well-received; me dropping it off poorly wrapped for return at the post office with a plaintive cry of ‘can I borrow some parcel tape’ less so.

As it happens, I only managed three hours at work before the darkness set in and I asked to take a half day’s holiday. This was granted and so it happens that I ended up at my parents. I can’t relax there: every proffered cup of tea is usually followed by eighty-seven questions about setting up iCloud, how does the Internet work and why my mum can’t connect the kettle up to the Wifi. I don’t think I’ve ever visited their house without having to reset at least four passwords. I’m painting them as technological luddites which is actually terribly unfair – my mother has just managed to keep her Tamagotchi alive for a three day streak and my dad has totally mastered Windows 98.

As a total aside, if you’ve ever wondered where I get my bawdy sense of humour from, it’s totally my parents. Whilst raiding through the cupboards in the utility room to see what would look better in my house, I spotted that my mother had scrawled ‘boobies’ on the calendar, accompanied with a 🙁 face. That was enough to set off my hypochondria/filial love/avarice and I demanded to know how long she had left and whether she’d arranged a will. Turns out it was just for a perfectly routine mammogram. Well, that was my mistake, calling it ‘routine’. You have to understand that my knowledge of boobs extends to twiddling Paul’s nipples like I’m trying to get the shipping forecast to bellow from his arse. She was very quick to put me right that it isn’t routine at all and that it actually bloody hurts having your boob squashed between two plates like someone plastering a ceiling. Then came the killer line:

“I wouldn’t mind, but after they’ve finished I could post my tits through a letterbox”

Ha. There’s an image that I could have certainly done without, although it did remind me to get the bacon out of the freezer when I got home.

The recipe then! We’re trying to cut our carbs down – no particular reason other than it makes us bloat like a beachbound whale – hence the lack of bun. If you’re dribbling and twitching at the thought of a bunless burger, just use your healthy extra B bun and shut up. For the love of God, don’t do what I’ve seen other people doing and sandwich your burger in between two halves of a jacket potato. If you think that is anything other than an abomination then I invite you to look at your life and think hard about who hurt you so badly.

to make goats cheese burger you will need:

  • 400g lean beef mince
  • 120g soft goats cheese (4x HeA)
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • mixed salad leaves (whatever you like – we used rocket)
  • pinch of salt and pepper

to make goats cheese burger you should:

  • mix the mince together with the salt and pepper and divide into four
  • roll each ball into a burger shape – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy!
  • next, cook the burgers however you like. We used our OptiGrill so we could get them perfect and rare, but you can do it however you like – under a medium-high grill or in a frying pan, or on a George Foreman grill or whatever. They won’t take that long
  • whilst they’re cooking, add the onion to a small saucepan with just a wee bit of oil, and sauté over a medium-high heat until just starting to brown
  • add the red wine vinegar right at the end and give a good stir
  • serve the burger on top of the sliced onion, and top with a 30g slice of goats cheese (each)

to make courgette chips you will need

to make courgette chips you should:

  • line a baking sheet with baking paper and preheat the oven to 200°c
  • slice the ends off the courgette, and then slice lengthways
  • discard the seeded bit in the middle
  • slice again until you get 2-3″ long chips
  • mix together the flour, parmesan, onion granules and garlic salt and tip into a shallow dish
  • tip the egg into another dish
  • gently roll the chips in the flour mix, then the egg, and then the flour again (tip: it helps to hold them by the ends of the chip so you don’t rub off the coating) and spray with a fine mist of oil
  • place onto the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes

That fruity looking sauce is some really nice Tomato and Basil Quark from Tesco mixed in with a splash of milk to loosen it a bit. It’s lovely!

Looking for more burger ideas? Don’t worry. We’ve got loads!

Enjoy!

J

super side: spicy salty sweet potato fries

Here for the spicy salty sweet potato fries – oh, you dirty girl. Of course you are.

Now, before we get to another travel tale (possibly tomorrow, if I can be chewed on) but as we’ve recently had a bit of a spike in traffic, I thought it’s important to do a bit of administration for the blog for the new readers! I do this monthly, long-time readers, scroll away! Actually it’s a decent read, so have a gab. Leave us a comment. Most links will open in new windows.

Remember: you can always scroll down to the recipe if the chat is too long

I think, if you take anything away tonight, it’s this. We’ve had a few people moaning at us lately because there’s too much chat for a food blog. Here’s the thing: we’re not a food blog. We’re not. It’s why you don’t get 500 words of us going ‘and then I went to the market and bought an organic pepper and then I went to the supermarket and bought a carrot made of mist and I remember when my cousin Clitoris-Marie went to Tuscany for the summer’ and all that shite. We’re a personal blog first with recipes tagged on because we like cooking. Don’t like it? Scroll down to the recipe or go to the other billion food blogs out there that’ll give you recipes and nowt else. They’re ten-a-penny, we’re not. You can find out more about the two mincers who run this blog by clicking here.

We’re not Slimming World consultants

But we’re their biggest fans. Possibly literally. Yes, there’s flaws with the plan, they’re a bit slow when it comes to embracing technology (but don’t worry, Doyenne Bramwell has just bought Windows 98 at a car-boot sale and she’s itching to get started) and I’ve never been to a class that didn’t leave my arse aching (and not in a good way), but you’ll not find a better plan out there. I’m yet to meet a consultant who hasn’t been an absolute treasure with their heart in the right place and I always recommend you go along to class, if only to practice your clapping. We’re both paying members, though, and have been for nearly ten years and whilst we might not take it as seriously as some would like, we’re pretty good with the syns values and checking things. That said, if you have SW questions, speak to your consultant first and if you’re unsure about syns, use the online syns checker. Prepare to swear, mind.

Want to find your nearest group? Click here.

I don’t like the coarse language, the smutty references or the gay agenda – what can I do?

Ah, we have you covered there…

Seriously, life is too short for complaints. Don’t like it? Move on!

Where can we find the recipes and more information?

Easy!

All of our (450+) recipes are on one page: right here
All our vegetarian recipes are under one section: click here
We even have a page collecting together all of our overnight oats recipes: see?
Want 150 syn free recipes together with free weight loss trackers? That’s fine. Click here.

Need more information about the Slimming World plan? We designed a very tongue-in-cheek FAQ: have a look!

What’s your views on advertising?

Can’t bear it, but it’s a necessary evil. Contrary to what other blogs say, it doesn’t take hundreds a month to run a blog, but at the same time, servers, bandwidth, new cooking stuff and recipe research does cost. So, our blog-income comes from:

  • Amazon referrals – if we use a product – and only if we actually own it, mind you – we’ll recommend it – if you click the link and buy it, we get a tiny bit of commission
  • small blog adverts – each recipe page will never have more than two adverts on it. We use the internet, we know how annoying it is to try and navigate a site when it’s full of adverts and ‘click here to read more’ and other tat. Balls to that: this is a happy balance
  • Musclefood – we get a commission if we sell you Musclefood – all of our meat comes from Musclefood and we genuinely love it – chicken that doesn’t turn to nowt in the pan, proper meat, tasty food – we have all the syns values on one page together with details of the various hampers and deals we’ve got with them
  • sponsored posts – a rarity, because we turn a lot down, but occasionally you’ll see a review of a product that we’ve been given or paid to review – we will be absolutely honest, won’t shill something we don’t like, and will always make it clear

Why don’t you do cooking videos?

Time – we both have full-time jobs and this blog was always meant to be a sideline – it’s become something much more, but sadly we don’t have more time. But there’s plenty of excellent video bloggers out there: Fopperholic, Slimming World’s own website and The Slimming Foodie.

Extending on that point, there’s also some amazing food blogs out there: Basement Bakehouse for good, decent food, Fat Girl Skinny which is an amazing resource for syn values and ideas, Macheesmo for amazing bloody food that isn’t exactly SW friendly but hell he has a good beard and the food is wonderful and Slimming World Survival for food and syns.

What’s your view on…

  • syns: use them! You’ve got one body – why make it a race to the bottom by trying to scrimp on your syns – better to spend a few syns and eat decent food than to cut back on ingredients just to get that zero on your chart
  • portion size: most of our recipes serve four unless otherwise indicated – though there’s nothing stopping you eating two portions…
  • sweetener: your choice to make, but we avoid it – not because we have concerns about the health aspects, but simply because it’s unnecessary. Most of our recipes use honey if they need to be sweetened, but you can always swap out
  • Frankenfood: that’s the name we give recipes that use bollocks ingredients for the sake of it – our motto is simple enough, if you can’t buy it easily in a supermarket or a market, then it doesn’t need to go in the recipe. Our recipes are thickened through heat, our flavour comes from spices. Tying into what we said above, we won’t push ingredients on you simply to get some commission from Amazon
  • desserts: hard to do them properly. Desserts are usually amazing because they’re full of sugar, fat or flour, that’s what makes them rich and tasty. You can’t replicate that with sweetener and oats. In our view, better to have a little bit of what you fancy and syn it, that’s what the plan is all about! Ask yourself a simple question: do you reckon those who aren’t struggling with their weight are slim because they’re blending oats into dust or mainlining Canderel? Nope…
  • dieting: just have fun. Life is too short to go around with a face like a smacked arse because you’ve had a Kitkat and a punch-up. Pull up those giant knickers and get on with things. That’s why we like to have a laugh on here.

Can we follow you on social media?

Yep. We have a facebook group (where you’re not allowed to post syns, and we only let people in every now and then), a Facebook page where we post ten recipes a day but no spam, a Twitter account and an Instagram…thing. Whichever way you take us, we’ll leave you satisfied and smiling.

We also have three published books: Saturated Fats, The Second Coming and The Big Fat Gay Honeymoon. In paperback too, so we can get you wet out and about too!

Right, that’ll do, won’t it? Let’s get to the spicy salty sweet potato fries – these are an amazing side, trust me. Spend the syns – totally worth it.

to make spicy salty sweet potato fries you will need:

  • 1kg sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp satay sauce (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp sriracha (1 syn)
  • 2 tbsp hoisin dipping sauce (3 syns)
  • 15g dry roasted peanuts (about 4 syns)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced

Now just you listen here. Before you leave comment after comment asking me what Sriracha is, let me tell you to save those nicotine-stained fingers from dancing over the keys: it’s hot sauce. You can buy it in the supermarket in the sauce aisle, funnily enough! Who knew?

to make spicy salty sweet potato fries you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°C
  • peel the sweet potatoes and chop into thin chips (save your wrists for something more important and invest in one of these)
  • add the chips to a large bowl and drizzle with a bit of oil or a few sprays (0.5 syns for five sprays, up to you if you syn that) then put a plate over the bowl
  • toss well so that the chips are well coated and roughed up a bit
  • line a large baking tray with baking paper and spread the chips out into a single layer and bake for 40 minutes
  • meanwhile, use a pestle and mortar or a mini chopper to lightly chop up the peanuts – you want a mixture of big chunky nuts and dusty bits (don’t we all, love)
  • when the chips are cooked, remove from the oven
  • drizzle over the satay sauce, sriracha and hoisin sauce, and sprinkle over the peanuts and spring onions
  • enjoy!

Still not satisfied? Just click one of the buttons below to find even more scran to smash into your mush:

fakeawayssmall vegetariansmall   snackssmall tastersmall

Cheers!

J

one-pot half-syn homemade bacon baked beans

Here for the homemade bacon baked beans? You should be, because they’re delicious. Absolutely one of the best side dishes we’ve made and served on good bread with a proper fresh egg, it’s just pure sex. Oh and it’s a one-pot recipe with no particularly awkward ingredients. What’s not to love? Look at this gif I’ve made for you and tell me that you haven’t just had a rush of blood somewhere moist.

But come on. You know there’s no chance of us going straight to a recipe, especially when I’ve got part two of the Newcastle holiday straining in my boxers just needing release. So, here we go…

click here for part one

So, where was the first stop on our Holiday at Home? An escape room! I know, we’re terribly predictable, but we love them so and had heard excellent things about Exit Newcastle on Westgate Road, so here we were. An escape room is where a group of you are placed in a ‘locked’ room and you have to solve mysteries in order to get out. It’s like Saw, only with a lot more props bought in from Wilkinsons.

We had actually planned on heading to the grandly named ‘Crystal Maze experience escape room’ that we’d seen floating about on facebook but the disclaimer that we’d need to be physically fit enough to squeeze through narrow spots and do some slight climbing put paid to that. We’re not that unfit but at the same time my life could do without someone livestreaming a group of firemen buttering my flanks to try and squeeze me into a tight hole. No, for that video, you’ll need to click incognito mode on your internet browser and do some serious searching. We were shown to our ‘cell’ by some lovely dapper chap with excellent hair who thankfully saw that we didn’t need anything explaining to us and left us to crack on with stopping Newcastle getting blown to bits by some mad scientist. Of course.

It was great. I shan’t ruin the fun for anyone by giving away the twists and turns but there were some really inventive puzzles and creative uses of props which we adored and I was complimented, for possibly the first time in my entire life, on my mad-sick sport skills. See, Paul had drained the batteries on one of the puzzles leading me to fix it with brute force by utilising a pipe to act as a hockey stick and swiping the ‘thing’ we needed to get at from underneath the cage it was held in. I’m not saying it was world-changing but I reckon they’ll still be watching the replays with gasps and astonishment as you read this. We solved the mystery with minutes to spare and Newcastle was saved. As Paul fannied on taking pictures I gazed down at the streets below and wondered if all those passing below had sensed how close they had come to utter destruction. My guess, as I watched one member of a hen party pretend to frig herself off with a giant inflatable cock whilst her friend took a steamy piss behind a large wheelie bin, was that they didn’t.

I can’t recommend Exit Newcastle enough – have a look, give it a go. We did it as a couple but they can handle large groups too. 

After saving the world we tottered down Pink Lane (given its name as it used to lead to the ‘Pink Tower’, one of the seventeen towers on the wall that used to circle Newcastle, and not because it’s where all the prostitutes used to hang about which is the well-known rumour) – and into The Bohemian, a vegetarian / vegan restaurant that had come up time and time again when we searched for ‘healthy evening meals’. I have to admit that I had reservations, namely for 8pm. But also, what to expect from a vegetarian restaurant? Would they have anything to satisfy this bloodthirsty monster? I can’t enjoy a meal unless it’s been salted in its own tears. I’m jesting, of course, you’ve seen how we cater to vegetarians on the blog, we’re big fans. Not ready to stop eating meat but certainly more and more open to the idea. Anyway, in my head, I was expecting meals that tasted of farts served to us by folks who looked like streams of milk, hissing at the bright lights of the city outside and handing us food with wrists bending like overcooked spaghetti.

Well, shut my hole. It was wonderful. The restaurant itself was small and eclectically decorated with all sorts of tut and nonsense, the staff were quick to serve but that level of discreet attention that’s hard to find and the food was delicious. We shared a quesadilla and some tempura vegetables for a starter. As usual, I’m always slightly deflated by the fact my starter isn’t the same size as a bus steering wheel like it is at home, but that’s certainly not the fault of the restaurant. For the mains, I went for a spinach and cream cheese pizza. I asked what the cheese was made from and when he replied ‘nut milk’, Paul kicked me hard under the table, knowing I was a split second away from going ‘OOOOOH YES PLEASE, MY FAVOURITE, GOBBLE GOBBLE’ with a bawdy leer. He’s like the filter I never knew I needed. Paul chose a pulled jackfruit kebab, lured in with the promise that this slow-cooked fruit tasted and had the same mouth-feel as pulled pork.

 They were bloody right! It was lovely. We had promised to share our mains 50/50 but I had to keep engineering more and more elaborate excuses to get Paul to turn around so I could steal more of his food: no easy feat when you consider Paul is a man who wouldn’t turn away from his dinner if someone set about his back with a flamethrower. He cracked onto my ruse when I accidentally hurled my fork to the floor for the third time and that was that. I’ve looked into getting some jackfruit for some recipes on the blog but frankly, it’s a ballache. If Waitrose don’t deliver it, I’m not having it.

We accompanied our meal with plenty of lurid cocktails, each one more fruity and decorated than the last. It’s been many a year since I had a drink with a tiny push-up umbrella in and let me tell you, I regret nothing. The sight of those tiny umbrellas gives me the willies ever since a good friend of mine told me that they use something similar to test men for “morning drip” down at the clap-clinic. In the umbrella goes, perfect, but ooh when it comes out…

For the record: they don’t do anything of the sort. So if you’re sitting fretting with a bad case of crotch-crickets, get yourself away and be tested. You dirty bastard.

The bill came to a reasonable £65 and we paid in good cheer, staggering gently out into the night. Have a wee look at the menu here, if you’re interested. We decided that, given we had an early start the next day, we’d walk back to the hotel via the Quayside, taking in a couple of drinks on the way. But first: The Eagle.

Newcastle has a pretty decent gay scene for a city of its size and, more interestingly, there’s a strong blurred line between what were originally ‘gay’ bars and what are now ‘anyone’ bars. I’m not talking about those gay bars which get invaded by gaggles of hens shrieking about cocks and telling everyone with a faintly debonair air about them that ‘THEY’RE WASTED ON MEN’, but rather just excellent places to go ‘be yourself’, regardless of what you like to bump your genitals against. To me, it’s how it should be and is absolutely where the world is going, and that’s just grand.

That said, I’m not one for the more flamboyant bars in our pink triangle simply because I struggle to hear myself speak over the sound of air being sucked over two hundred pairs of teeth as we struggle to fit through the door side-by-side. With that in mind, we elected to go to The Eagle, which is ostensibly a ‘bear’ bar catering for the more husky gentleman (i.e. we’re fat, so we grow a beard to hide the chins and dress like a lumberjack because Jacamo have a bit of a hard-on for checked shirts).

The Eagle is an interesting place – at first it looks like a little sinbox full of hairy blokes and brutish looking men, but then you hear most are as camp as everyone else and there’s a giant 55” TV showing naked men behind the bar. It’s hard to decide on a local ale when you’ve got a giant penis pulsing away behind the barman. We ordered drinks and sat down at a table to admire the view. Oh there’s another interesting layer, quite literally, to the Eagle – have a trip down the stairs and it’s a full-on sex floor, with people cheerfully bumming away merrily in dark corners. You don’t get that in a Wetherspoons, that’s for sure. I only went downstairs for a packet of roasted nuts and by the time we resurfaced it was Tuesday.

Come again? Yes.

We decided to move on after a couple of drinks and not a moment too soon – there was that much amyl nitrate floating about in the air that we were both two deep breaths away from making our bar stools disappear like a magic trick. We wandered down the hill onto the Quayside and just casually took the night air, stopping for a drink in the imaginatively named ‘The Quayside’ followed by another in the Pitcher & Piano.

I’ll say this now: I can’t bear the Pitcher & Piano. It is positively awash with the type of people who think they’re classy but who have ketchup with every single meal. The air was thick with laryngealisation and showing off. I used to think I was ever so sophisticated having a quiche and a cocktail in front of the Tyne, for goodness sake, but now I’d sooner take my chances drinking the river from the  riverbed now than go back. Bleurgh. It always comes highly-recommended – it needn’t bother. Watch Geordie Shore, add a few Malberri handbags and that shite half-shaved Millennial Combover that so many walking douche-bulbs have and you’re there.

However, something far more our scene loomed just over the Millennium Bridge – Jesterval. No, I don’t know what it is/was either, but there was a big pop-up tent with dry-ice and 2Unlimited blaring out of it. We practically floated over that bridge on a cloud of Lynx-Africa-scened nostalgia – though we did stop for this excellent photo:

Amazing, right? It’s like you’re right there! If you’re wondering what settings I used for such a snap, it was done with a Samsung S8+ and a slight falling over on the stairs.

Turns out Jesterval was lots of things but, more importantly, the pop-up tent was a ‘social club disco’. We paid our ten pounds and bustled in, completely ignored by the two doormen guarding the entrance. Just once I’d like to be roughly tackled to the floor and made to feel like a lady. He didn’t even comment on my sketchy knock-off trainers, but then see technically we were in Gateshead so he was probably surprised to see someone with their own teeth. The disco was great! We didn’t stop long because we’re old and our cankles were already hurting but we had a couple of drinks and attempted to dance, which is usually a no-no for us. We had to stop when a concerned bystander called an ambulance for us ‘to be on the safe side’. Luckily there was one of those trucks that look like big silver suppositories parked just outside offering more booze for a very respectable £8,799 a pint and we finished up the evening under an IKEA blanket watching everyone stagger home. I had hoped that if we sat under the blanket for long enough that someone could start throwing coins at us or press a cup of hot soup into our hands but no. We wandered back to the Hotel du Vin, ignored the plaintive mewling of the Room Service card, and drifted off to sleep. Next time: tunnels, holes, booze and hipsters. Sigh, I know.


Now, homemade smoky baked beans. A boring recipe you might think, but trust me – these are an absolute doddle to make, syn-free and delicious. You can add more speed in the form of peppers if you wish or leave them out. I don’t care. The reason I’m making these is because I bought a tin of Heinz Bacon Beans in the supermarket and was full of excitement to try them, only for it to be the most disappointing moment of the year (second only to Paul saying we’d better leave the Eagle else I’d have no lips left). They were Schrödinger’s Beans, managing to be entirely tasteless and ridiculously sweet at the same time. I hate it when you get your hopes up only for them to be cruelly dashed by people fakin’ bacon. So I set about finding a decent recipe to make my own and here we are. The recipe itself comes from Thomasina Miers’ cookbook which is full of fancy things to cook at home (click here for that, credit where it’s due), and I promise you now it’s an easy, one-pot dish of glory.

This makes enough for eight large portions – but it keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days, so have it for breakfast and lunch. Tastes better left overnight too!

to make homemade bacon baked beans, you’ll need:

  • 3 tins of haricot beans, washed of all that gloopy bean pre-cum you always get in tinned beans (you can use fresh, but it’s a ballache) (I ended up using 1.2kg all in all – remember, just scale our recipe back if you want to make less)
  • a big head of garlic (we used smoked black garlic from Morrisons, but you absolutely don’t need it for the recipe, normal garlic will do – though the smoked garlic made it super tasty and it’s only about 50p more)
  • two large red onions
  • two sticks of celery
  • 200g of bacon (smoked is better again)
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika (now this is worth getting over and above paprika, but again, the sky won’t fall in if you don’t have it)
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1 tsp of chilli flakes
  • 2 tins of chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tsp of worcestershire sauce
  • 250ml of beef stock
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup (4 syns, between 8)
  • salt and pepper

Hey, if you can’t find bay leaves, oregano or smoked paprika, don’t worry, just improvise. You can buy loads, absolutely loads, of bacon in our Musclefood deals where, finally, you can choose what you want to make up your hamper! No more having to compromise! Do it your way.

The only things you’ll need for this recipe is a good, thick-bottomed casserole pot (this is the beast we use) that you can use on the hob and oven (though you can just transfer the beans into a normal dish to hoy in the oven if you haven’t got one) and a microplane grater for all that stinky garlic.

to make homemade bacon baked beans, you should:

  • wash your bean, wipe your hands down and then get in the kitchen to start on dinner
  • 😂
  • cut your celery, bacon and onion into small chunks, though don’t stress about being neat – you want small pieces, not a work of art and then gently saute in your pan with a few sprays of oil
  • grate five cloves of garlic (dial back on this if you’re not so keen) of the garlic in with the onions
  • let everything gently sweat and mingle then add the chilli flakes and herbs and sweat for a few minutes more
  • add everything else, stir, season to taste
  • add 250ml of beef stock, give everything a good stir, then lid on and into the oven
  • keep an eye on it, you might need to add a bit more stock, but really you want it to dry out like the picture
  • eat it however you want, but this really is amazing on good bread with a fresh egg in the morning after

Enjoy!

Recommend this to your friends but with a FAIR WARNING: this makes you fart like an absolute trooper. Want more recipes? Natch. Click the buttons!

porksmallfakeawayssmall lunchsmall   breakfastsmall

J

sunshine potato salad and minted pea crush

Here for the sunshine potato salad and minted pea crush? Well, let’s be frank, you’re not going to be here to buy a set of bulbs for your hallway or tips on cleaning your yeasty clout. The recipe follows, unusually shortly, but first…

Can someone kindly explain to me the fuss about these fidget spinners thing? I’ve seen so many people wandering down the streets looking like they’re clicking their fingers in that insufferably smug manner adopted by professional Rent-a-Gobs like Michael Buble lately that it makes my head spin, and not even ironically. I’ve seen people paying a tenner for something they can hold in their hands and fidget with, which, for at least 50% of the population, is overlooking the obvious choice, although playing with your cock whilst you ‘concentrate’ in the cat food aisle at ASDA is only ever going to get you into trouble.

I abjure from most fads – I grew my hair long and dark way after all the other Emo McGee boys at school did it, but then Snape came along and ruined it for me with his fabulous locks. I avoided the whole ‘charity wristband’ nonsense by wearing one that said ‘fuck commercialisation’ – listen, I know, it’s a wonder I didn’t cut myself on all that edginess! That was ridiculous mind, you’d have people walking around with ten of these wristbands strangling their ham-hock wrists and turning their fingers blue. They’d look like the necks of the Kayan women, only with SPORTS DIRECT and FIND SHANNUN COME HERM on there. I planked only accidentally – by lying down when I was tired and/or to rest my ankles, though gone were the days when I used to tuck them behind my ears.

I pierced the wrong ear by mistake – imagine, had I not pierced the ‘gay’ ear, I’d be living at home with a pleasantly plump wife called Jenny and two wholesomely toothy children, I’m sure, though I’d be spending more time in a layby than an AA van. I attempted to put a piercing in my eyebrow but given my brows look like Kevin Webster’s nineties moustache, no-one noticed. I have thought about a tattoo – something tasteful, you understand, with lots of colour – but I lose weight and gain weight so often that it would end up just a blurry smear on my elasticated skin, as though I’d fallen asleep on a page from Take a Break. No, I’ll stay as I am.

The recipe, then. Both sides make enough for four people. Serve this with the amazing lamb I put up a few posts back. Can’t recall? Let me help.

to make sunshine potato salad and minted pea crush, you’ll need:

for the potatoes:

  • a bag of new potatoes, nice and small, cut into halves
  • half a red onion, chopped nice and fine
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • pinch of salt, pinch of pepper
  • two tablespoons of olive oil (12 syns)
  • a good pinch of turmeric, ground ginger and if you have it, lemongrass

You might be thinking: three syns for a portion of potato salad. Yes! But it’s nice. You can certainly buy syn-free SW potato salad from certain ‘cold’ retailers, but what price dignity?

for the peas:

  • 500g of frozen peas
  • 30g of grated pecorino, or any other hard cheese (HEA)
  • pinch of good salt
  • one clove of garlic
  • nice bunch of mint with the leaves removed
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (6 syns)
  • 3 tbsp of lemon juice

to make sunshine potato salad and minted pea crush, you should:

for the potatoes:

  • boil your new potatoes and chop the onion nice and fine
  • blend everything else together to make a light, creamy sauce – you’re not trying to drown an ex in it, you just want a lovely light coating
  • mix everything together!

I know, ridiculously easy. I used our poxy wee chopper thing from Amazon but it did the job perfectly – anything will do though, as long as you can whisk it super fast. Use the cat’s leg for all I care!

This is all the better for sitting in the fridge for a bit.

for the peas:

  • cook your frozen peas for just a moment in boiling water
  • blend absolutely everything together – you’re not aiming for a sauce but just a nice chunky mix – then plop it into a dish and season to taste

I know that seems so obvious, but I think getting sides to go with your dinner can be tricky – at least this is something new! Enjoy!

Looking for more ideas with what to do with vegetables other than scraping them directly into the bin? Well click the button and rejoice!

lunchsmallpastasmallvegetariansmall sausagessmall  seafoodsmall

J

mustard chicken

apologies for not updating yesterday, but I sat down at my computer chair at 8am and didn’t it until 1am today. Bit tired. I bet I end up being one of the unlucky fuckers who end up getting DVT from working on the sixth floor. My office is absolutely littered with sweets – Haribo on one desk, Celebrations on the other. One of my colleagues seems to be systemically buying out the sweets counter at the Sainsbury’s next door. Not that I mind, she’s a very kind soul and I’m a proper greedy sod.

So, because it’s late, let’s have a simple recipe for mustard chicken:

image

At first look, it looks boring as hell. It isn’t! The key is microwaving the turnip/swede. Cut a little hole in the top, and stick it in the microwave for 15 minutes. After a while, it’ll start whistling. Take it out, spoon out the flesh, mash it and mash it hard. Chicken was just fromage frais and a tiny dollop of mustard. Maybe a syn for the mustard but come on.

Now – I’ve got to cut a dash. It’s a night off, I want to watch old Scrotum Face Alan Sugar fire people, and Paul has bought me a new Pedegg after I wore the last one out. Eeep.

J

cheap-ass syn-free onion jam

proper proud of myself and my penny pinching. Normally I don’t give the reduced section in the supermarket a second glance – not because I’m a snob but because I don’t like fearing for my life and jostling with people with no teeth for 13p off a fizzy egg and ham bap. I mean honestly. I shit you not when I say I’ve seen a proper physical fight over a Whoops trifle in Asda in Blyth, with security being called and everything. I do love the fact they call their reductions ‘Whoops’ though – it’s so camp – you might as well stick ‘What am I like’ after it and have a small photo of a man holding his fingertips to his lips. In Waitrose you don’t get any of that puff and bluster, just a discreet sticker that you can hide under your copy of the Daily Mail and quinoa-soaked-in-tears salad. Anyway the reason for all of this is because I managed to get a 2kg bag of red onions from Morrisons after class yesterday for the grand sum of 35p! yes, 35p for a bag of on-the-turn onion already chopped up and ready for action. I couldn’t freeze them as our freezer is full of lollies, dough and about eighty-eight bags of cod fillet that we keep buying at the supermarket and telling ourselves we’ll eat more fish. We never do, you’d think we’d learn.

So, I put out a question onto a SW group on FB, which has been invaluable in providing tips, and the general consensus was that I should make a chutney. Someone very thoughtfully provided a recipe, so as one good turn deserves another, here is a recipe card:

to make onion jam:

Halftone

Because I’m a bit prissy, I generally don’t like sweetener as it’s an awful amount of chemicals for nothing at all. Just use a bit of sugar or even better, honey. If you want to make it with sugar, add a good tablespoon and call it five syns, but sweetener will be free. Add to sterilised jars (dishwasher, highest temp, leave to air dry) and it’ll keep for a few days in the fridge. Perfect with meat!

J