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 wonderfulPinch of Nom for sheer volume 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

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.

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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