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

stuffed chicken breast

OK, if the first thing that comes to mind when you hear cabbage is the tasteless, rubbery mush that you used to get served at school by someone with nicotine teeth and varicose veins like an AA road-map, then you really need to give this a go. Creating crunchy cabbage discs is as easy as slicing a cabbage into 1″ slices, basting it with a vinegar and thyme solution, and roasting in the oven. Roasting does wonders for everything – potatoes, peppers, drunken lays in a Premier Inn bedroom, all sorts. It creates a crunchy, sweet tasting vegetable that is miles apart from what you’re used to! Recipe card…

to make stuffed chicken breast, you’ll need:

cabbage

I did have a close-up picture of the chicken oozing cheese, but it looked like something you’d get shown on Embarrassing Bodies when that doctor with the nose goes poking around in someone’s discharging mini-moo.

ingredients: two decent chicken breasts, no skimping. better to buy two great quality chicken breasts from a butcher than two slabs of pink water from ASDA, parma ham (1/2 syn a slice, I use three per breast), sundried tomatoes in oil (3 syns for 28g but I only use one tomato chopped very finely), low low mature cheese spread, sweet potatoes, cabbage, frylight, balsamic vinegar (bog standard stuff), salt and pepper.

recipe: couldn’t be easier! Oven on to 180 degrees. Cut open chicken, stuff with tomato and cheese (57g for HEA). Wrap it in the ham and put ‘seal’ side down on a tray. Whack it in the oven. Same time, cut your cabbage into discs, baste them with the vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper mix. Put everything in together, after 10 or so minutes, stick another coating onto the cabbage. After 25 mins or so, take everything out and serve with sweet potato chips.

extra-easy: yes – very much so, but this is a synned recipe – the syns come from the tomato and the ham – you could skip the tomatoes, but they do add a richness to the stuffing. You could put slivers of fresh garlic in there instead though, and you’d be cooking on gas. You’d have a tough time replacing the parma ham, though I suppose you could use wafer thin ham, but again, haway, Spend those syns!

top tips: cabbage is a superfree food, so a couple of those tasty discs will really help you along. But you could make a nice coleslaw to go with the chicken, or a decent salad.

warning (crass): for gods sake, make sure you cook your chicken until there isn’t a hint of pink. I made myself very ill taking a chance with undercooked chicken and I was shitting like a lawn sprinkler for a good three days. Lost a tonne of weight but I can’t see Margaret Miles-Bramwell putting quote that on the front cover of the next magazine.

As an aside, how annoying are students these days? I know that makes me sound like an old fart but I had to get some cash from a cashpoint last night and I was stuck behind eight or so braying rah-rah students. I’m quite a calm person, but I’d have happily seen them put in a woodchipper and made into syn-free sausages.

Finally, anyone know at what point a beard is classed as ‘unkempt’? I haven’t shaved for two weeks and I’m beginning to look like one of those people who live in a library and have dried egg on their jumper and hair growing out their ears. I want to keep growing it though…

syn free chicken korma

A minor catastrophe this morning. Having been asked to go into work early, I find that my wonderful work colleague has kindly left me a pain au chocolat and croissant on my desk, still warm and freshly baked as compensation for the early start. Now, if I had wanted to be a rude arse, I would have declined and stuck to my banana (er, as in the fruit, not a euphemism for wanking) but because you ‘fit Slimming World into your life’ I took the pain au chocolat and enjoyed every last buttery morsel. My colleagues are used to me spraying crumbs everywhere when I talk so that was no great problem. 12 syns! But worth it. I did give my croissant away, and spent the next twenty minutes crying curled up in a foetal positions in the gents. Generosity doesn’t come easy to me! Anyway, today’s recipe.

BTW, I think Paul got sick of me shouting SAAAAAGALOOOOO like Olivia Newton-John’s Xanadu about four minutes into cooking. He should be grateful I didn’t come wheeling into the kitchen dressed in Bacofoil and wearing skates.

I apologise for the standard of photos in this recipe card. It’s quite hard to make a curry look appetising when you’re using fromage frais rather than oil! It does, unfortunately, look like someone has been sick into my Le Creuset pot. Let me tell you now, if that happened they’d find themselves detesticled quicker than you can say boiled eggs. Both the saag aloo and the korma are completely syn-free on extra easy and I’ve included the spice mixes after the recipe as they’re quite comprehensive. My favourite spice? Ginger. Wrecked the fucking group when she left, mind – Holler was NOTHING.

Halftone

to make syn free chicken korma

The full recipe can be found in Slimming World’s fakeaways recipe book, which is genuinely really good. Both the korma and saag aloo are a case of preparing the meat or potatoes, adding spices, adding stock, boiling down and for the korma, a couple of dollops of fromage frais (let the sauce cool before adding or it’ll curdle and look like a pavement pizza).

Saag aloo spices: 2tsp cumin seeds, 2tsp black mustard seeds, 1tsp cumin, 1tsp ground coriander, 1/2tsp turemic, 1/2tsp garam masala, 1/2tsp chilli powder

Korma: 1 cinnamon stick, 1tsp cardamom seeds (crushed), 1/4tsp ground cloves, 2tsp cumin seeds, 1tbsp ground coriander, 1tbsp ground cumin, 2tsp mild curry powder.

It’s worth getting yourself a good range of spices if you haven’t already. They’re a great way to add flavour without adding syns to a meal, and a small amount goes a long, long way.

warning: take heed of the warning about the fromage frais, because it looks bloody rotten if it curdles. You can still eat it but there’s no guarantee your body won’t think it’s already tried it and chucked it. Nothing else to say here, you can’t go too wrong with a curry as long as you’re not pouring bloody Gold Top into it.

extra-easy: completely syn-free. chuck it full of peppers, onion, tomatoes and chilli to boost your superfree.

double warning: Paul accidentally used red-hot chilli peppers instead of the milder version, so that’ll be me on the toilet firing a chocolate laser out of my nipsy tomorrow. Cheers love!

Enjoy!

J