boozy bangers and mash with amazing gravy

Here for the boozy bangers and mash with a gravy that’ll blow all other Slimming World gravy out of the water? Fine. But first…

I am pleased to announce that, after nine months of worry, tension and angst, we have finally chosen our new car. Well, my new car. Paul’s still ‘driving’ around in that ‘Smart’ ‘car’ of his, looking to all the world like a sunburnt wine-gum squashed into a lego car. After months of putting it off, I bit the bullet and went to the car dealership to see what the crack is. First thoughts? So much hair gel. Second thoughts: I’d rather spend my Saturday chewing toenails than have to go through the ignominy of pretending I give a toss about cars. We were greeted by an exceptionally exuberant man who bustled over to greet us before I’d even had a chance to park up.

Before we could start the dance of finance, he had a look around my car to make sure it was in a good working order for a part-exchange. Well, no, he had a glance and took me at my word that all was well. That really made the £400 that I’d just paid for the ‘obligatory’ service seem like good value, I can tell you. He commented that I keep a pristine car – I thanked him, neglected to tell him it’s because we’re always ‘wiping it down’ and prayed to myself that he didn’t sit on the back seat. The cushions in the back are like a Twinkie. Don’t get the reference? Click here and feel ashamed.

He took us inside and offered us a drink, having the good grace to laugh when I asked for a whisky to take the edge off getting fucked. He brought us some grey coffee instead which I tipped into a plant-pot on his desk when he wasn’t looking, only for it to start dripping out of the bottom and onto the floor. He didn’t notice, thankfully – he was probably lost in my eyes.

I knew we were on shaky ground when the portly chap (I’m going to call him George, not because that was his name, but because he looked like a George) grasped my hand, called me by entirely the wrong name and then asked what type of car I want. You need to understand, readers, that I know nothing about cars. I know how to drive one, of course, but what is horsepower? Why is a petrol better than a diesel? Why is there always so much blood and matted hair on my front bumper? It’s useless knowledge to me, like where to buy skinny jeans or how to stimulate a clitoris. Irrelevant data. To me, clitoris sounds like the name IKEA would give a coat-hook.

Anyway, dear George, to his credit, didn’t laugh when I said ‘something colourful’ and ‘a bit fast’. Those were my sole requirements. My previous research, so far as I’d glanced at Auto Trader, turned this up:

Fancy, but Paul had pointed out that I wasn’t Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, didn’t need a car with an automatic amyl-nitrate dispenser and anyway, it was over £500 a month. I appreciate I’m a tightarse Geordie but there’s fuck all way I’m spending that sort of money per month on a Citroen, unless it comes with a feature that automatically changes my number plate and flashes the interior lights whenever Paul and I pull into a layby of an evening. I asked if there was anything similar with an onus on lots of tech in the car and he hastened us over to look at the C4 Cactus.

Why? God knows. I’d rather get the bus, especially as this car was the colour of a dying man’s lips. Sensing I wasn’t swooning and completely ignoring the fact it’ll only be Paul and I so we don’t need a family car, he plopped me into the driving seat and leaned across to show me the ‘latest tech’. I mean, come on – you know someone’s clutching at straws when he’s feigning astonishment at the radio as though he was Marconi himself. I resisted the urge to be sarcastic and clutch my pearls when he mentioned the air-conditioning, and, knowing he was onto a loss, he got us back out and showed us an altogether more sensible solution, the new C3.

Imagine that but black. Tsk, racist.

Now this was more like it – it pretty much looks like a DS3 but designed by Fisher Price, but that’s fine – I’m a fan of bright colours and spend more time angsting about people banging their car doors into mine than I do blinking, the air-bumps on the side were a big ‘yes’. Even if they do look like someone’s stuck a particularly hi-tech jamrag on the side of the car. I selected the black and red version and so the negotiations began.

I like to think I’m pretty good at negotiating, but only for about 15 minutes. I simply can’t be arsed to haggle. I see Martin Lewis chirruping away on the telly about arguing for a better deal but sometimes, what price dignity? I did knock about £80 off the monthly amount but once George had gone an especially lurid shade of crimson and was looking at his own wallet with watery eyes, mumbling about having to feed the kids, I collapsed like a wet cake. I don’t doubt for a second that I could have maybe squeezed an extra ten quid or something off a month but it was hot, I was tired, I hate having to do the dance and that was that. I signed there and then and was told my car would be here in two weeks, thanks very much.

It actually turned up four days later – hooray – and with Paul away throwing himself at Jeremy Corbyn at the Durham Miners’ Gala, I picked it up myself and decided to go for a drive up to Coldstream. I’d never been before but I knew it is a good seventy miles of twisty-turny country road away from my house. It was a great drive – the car was responsive and zippy, my driving was top-notch and there was a minimal amount of people in my way all the way to Coldstream. I had, quite literally, just driven past the ‘Welcome to Coldstream’ sign when the in-car phone rang, almost forcing me to crash into a coach full of elderly folk in sheer shock – it was so bloody loud.

It was Paul asking where I was. He was home, see, but hadn’t thought to take a key with him. To make matters worse, he was “hot” and “tired” and “had been in the sun all day and was feeling faint”. The one set of neighbours we trust with a set of keys (i.e. the only ones who wouldn’t let themselves in to have a bloody good gawp) were out, of course. Thinking the poor bugger had sunstroke I performed an entirely illegal u-turn in the middle of the road and set straight back off for home, at an altogether terrifying speed.

All legal, I must say.

But certainly far faster than I should have been driving, and all in the name of love, with the thought of Paul’s scalp crisping up like a salad crouton rattling in my head. Naturally, he turned his phone off, so I couldn’t get hold of him, which led to even more panic as I thought he was slumped on the doorstep shallow-breathing. As opposed to his usual stance, slumped on the settee shallow-breathing. I overtook lots – and lots – of old dears, all perched as usual right up against the steering wheel, all doing a committed 40mph no matter what the occasion. There may have been swearing. I may have bellowed myself hoarse. I was definitely putting the c*nt in country road. But by god, I got back within the hour, just in time to see Paul relaxing with a cold drink and flicking through his facebook notifications.

Turns out the neighbours had come home about five minutes after his call to me and he’d put his phone onto charge, completely neglecting to tell me.

You can imagine the laughs we had about the whole misunderstanding, can’t you? How I chuckled as I ironed his face.

So yes, that’s my new car. It’s very nice, it goes like the clappers in comparison to my old one and I’ll never miss it in a car-park. All good.

Now, tonight’s recipe. Boozy Bangers and mash. I know that’s a wank title, I know. It’s sausages and mash but more importantly, it has an AMAZING gravy. Can we talk about gravy for a second? I made this for our facebook page:

I genuinely can’t stand it when you see a delicious looking roast and then someone pops up with ‘omg make sun-free gravy by blitzing (always fucking blitzing, how exactly are you blitzing your peas you spittle-flecked moron, dropping a bloody bomb on it?) a tin of mushy peas, or eight roasted onions, or some other AWFUL slop. That’s not gravy, that’s a grave injustice. A war crime.

Gravy is low in syns and given that so many people have more gravy on their plate than carbon atoms, you might as well get the good stuff. Make your own or use instant at a pinch. It’s a syn per teaspoon of powder. Unless you’re having a bath of gravy, how much do you bloody need? Drives me up the wall, which is fine because I’ve got that fancy new car, but still. So here’s a recipe with PROPER DELICIOUS GRAVY. We are going to be steering away from ‘pretend’ food (to be fair, we don’t do it much to begin with) as a blog and I’m sure you’ll come with us!

boozy bangers and mash

to make boozy bangers and mash you will need:

We get asked a lot about how good our mash looks. We don’t add anything, you know – it’s just good potatoes riced with a potato ricer once cooked. The one we use is only a tenner and can be bought here!

to make boozy bangers and mash you should:

  • bring a large pan of water to the boil and the potatoes – cook until soft and then mash, to however you like it (we like to chuck in some wholegrain mustard but not everyone is as classy as us)
  • whilst the potatoes are boiling away, make a slit down the sausages and squeeze out the meat into 3-4 equal-ish balls. don’t worry about rolling them into neat balls, they’ll be fine as they are
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil
  • add the sausages to the pan and fry until cooked, then remove from the pan
  • add a bit more oil to the pan if needed, and then add the chopped garlic
  • stir for about 30 seconds, then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sliced onions
  • cook the onions until they begin to caramelise, stirring now and again. Don’t worry if they stick a bit – that’s good
  • after about 15-20 minutes, add the stock and the guinness to the pan and bring to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan
  • in a little bowl, mix together the cornflour with 2 tbsp COLD water (it MUST be cold), and slowly dribble into the gravy, stirring constantly, and when you’re happy with it take it off the heat
  • dish up the potatoes and sausages, and pour over the tasty gravy
  • enjoy

See now come on, that’s a proper dinner right there! No? Want more? Get more!

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Beep beep (Richie!)

J

ooey gooey Slimming World risotto cake

Here for the fabulous layered risotto cake? Listen, we’d expect nothing less. But fair warning, it’s a savoury cake, so calm your boobs. Like us, you want something gooey, starchy and warm in your mouth, and you know that we are the guys who will give it to you without questions. No-one can pretend that this is going to be super-healthy for you as a day to day meal, but it’s low in syns, full of flavour and surprisingly easy to make. A perfect family dish. But first…oui oui! Let’s head back to France, my loves!

click here for part one  | click here for part two

You may remember we’d had a rather drunken night in the hotel the night before? Well, we had booked a tour of the Paris Catacombs in a gin-soaked fit of YEAH FUCK WAITING IN LINES that would normally leave me hyperventilating with the extravagance. As we stepped out of the hotel a passing Frenchman asked if I had a light for a cigarette so I passed him my American Express card, which was smouldering like a spent match. We Ubered our way over to the catacombs entrance and were immediately glad of the fact we had booked a private tour – the queue was already out the door and away down the street.

Serious tip: if you’re planning a visit, pay the extra and get on a tour. I looked on TripAdvisor and lines of four to five hours are common, with the added bonus of the organisers shutting the catacombs without notice and making you queue all over again the next day. We paid about £140 through getyourguide (paying extra because it was last minute) but the ability to just turn up and go in was brilliant. I do think that it’s usually worth paying the extra for these things when you’re on a short break because your time is as valuable as your money.

We were met by our tour guide Ari, who I instantly recognised as the actor who played Philip Martin in Neighbours, who counted us in and explained we would see bits that others don’t get to see and that the whole thing would take about an hour and a half, capped off with the return to the summit up a tight, narrow and exceptionally steep staircase of eighty eight steps. Paul and I both gasped audibly at this point, causing the group to stare at us with utter disdain and the tour guide to radio ahead to have an ambulance on standby.

The tour involved lots of walking and staring at the neatly stacked bones of millions of dead French folk. Sounds awful, yes? It wasn’t, it was utterly fascinating. Knowing that these tunnels were build so long ago, in such cramped and awful conditions, and that there are literally hundreds of miles of them, was a sobering thought. Even I stopped cracking jokes when met with a pile of skulls and bones bigger than my house. There’s lots of hidden things too, such as a miniature hospital carved into the limestone and a facsimile of a seaport that some intrepid miner had created. Mind-boggling. You forget, and it’s really terribly sad, that all of these bones belonged to living people with families and jobs, and they’ve been interred beneath the city without a name or a memorial other than to have hundreds of thousands of tourists ignoring the no flash rule and photographing themselves pulling silly faces in front of a stack of legs. When I die I want to be stuffed and sat in a chair (in a tee-shirt covered in blood with IT WAS MAGS WITH A SHARPENED COCK-SHAPED SHAGALUF LIGHTER scrawled across it) at the local Slimming World class, a reminder to everyone that there’s bigger things to worry about than spending half a syn on a sausage.

I’m going to post a few pictures now, but do feel free to scroll on by. Spin that wheel quickly if bones creep you out.

“Wherever you go, death follows the body’s shadow”

To give you an idea of how cramped it can be – but it is far more open when you’re in the crypts. Well, you need space to stretch your legs when you’re dead.

To give you an idea of how tall this pile is, I’m 6ft 1″, and I took this on my tip-toes with my arms outstretched above my head. Think how many ‘people’ are in this photo alone.

Miles upon miles of bones stacked like this – beautiful, creepy and amazing all at once. Oh, and it was good of Paul’s mother to drop in:

“yer yer y’know Bejewelled 3 yer HOW de yer get credits yer yer WELL ‘E GOES ON ABOUT JIMMY FACKIN’ SAVILLE ALL THE TIME COUGH COUGH SPLUTTER COUGH”

We were joined briefly and awkwardly by some lovely but super-flighty woman who asked us a stream of random nonsense – were there tarantulas down here, did I think the air smelled funny, what do the bats eat? Paul made the fatal error of not looking at her blankly and gesturing to his ears to pretend he was deaf, and she was away, jolly-hockey-sticking about her holidays in Paris and her homes in Berkshire and all other such terribly interesting flimflam. I made as though I wanted to take a picture of a pile of skulls and disappeared to the back of the queue, where I was able to look at her high-heeled shoes with disdain. Who thinks that high-heels are just the ticket to wear to an underground crypt full of puddles and mud and cobbles? I could barely make the distance and I was wearing my usual Build-a-Bear shoes! I mistook the clattering of her shoes for some of the bones reanimating like the old Scotch video-tape adverts.

The tour lasted a good two hours and I have to confess, towards the end, I was beginning to wonder if it was a cruel joke and they were planning on leaving us down there. I don’t care who you are, you lose the ability to sincerely go ‘eeee never’ and ‘goodness’ at yet another pile of bones. I’m just being honest. Everyone was respectful but you could tell the mood was turning and it was with barely hidden relief that Ari told us we were at the end of the tour and freedom was that worrisome flight of stairs away. Paul and I loitered at the back so that no-one would be treated to my especially fragrant arse in their face as we ascended and fuck me, we nearly died. I know it’s not a terrific amount of stairs but it was steep and very, very tight, plus you can’t stop to admire the view / hyperventilate. Thankfully our group had spilled out onto the street and only a couple of eyebrows were raised at our beetroot faces and shaking legs. You’d think we’d escaped from Alcatraz via Ben Nevis – it was all I could do to pretend I was interested in some tatty nonsense in the gift shop whilst I desperately tried to replenish my oxygen levels. I know for next time: bring a spare tank of oxygen ‘just in case’.

We managed to get our breath back and our resting heartbeat back to its usual 166BPM after four hours and by that time we were bloody starving. Nothing sobers the mind about your health like a shocking burst of exercise and so we thought it only right to have a small side salad with our colossal pizza. Don’t worry, we’re not pigs, we left it. We had ducked into the first promising little bistro we came across and it’s only a slight exaggeration to tell you our pizza was the size of a conference room carpet. You know you’re in trouble when it takes eight waiters coming in like pallbearers to fetch your dinner. We sat and ate our quarter-tonne of dough whilst people watching, our favourite thing. Paris is so stylish, isn’t it? Even the roadsweepers looked graceful as he tried to brush a dog-shit into his little sweeper, leaving a cheery doughnut-smear on the path just by our table. I wish I could say it put us off our lunch but fuck it, you know we’re fat bastards.

We paid the bill, as ever unsure as to whether to leave a tip on the table or don’t tip at all because it’s rude to tip, so we settled on slipping the waiter a note (of money, I mean, not our phone number scrawled in lip-gloss with ‘we’ll be gentle’ underneath) as we left. We’re just so smooth. We wandered for a bit just to take in the scenery. Well, no, that’s what normal folks do, we however spent a good fifteen minutes trying to find a toilet so Paul could ‘drop the kids off’. He was, apparently, too embarrassed to ask where the lavatory was at lunch and so it was that, yet again, I found myself loitering outside an automatic toilet for longer than could ever be considered reasonable. This time, determined not to be arrested for being a sex pervert, I went off into a tiny little bakers and bought us both something gooey and delicious. Paul emerged a good while later, having deposited something gooey and absolutely not delicious, and was delighted to see I’d rewarded him for his foul behaviour by buying him a treat. I hope he’s not like a dog – I don’t want him stopping at every toilet we see thinking he’s going to get a tarte aux pomme for his trouble. Anyway, enough toilet talk (we’re just going through the motions!) (eh?).

We Ubered back across the city to visit the The Centre Pompidou, despairing as we arrived at the site of a colossal queue snaking around the building. Why? Why can’t WE be the only tourists visiting Paris? It seemed so unjust. We were about to move on when, seized by a combination of rashness and swollen ankles, I decided that we really just ought to queue. Paul was aghast, but I promised him an ice-cream when we were inside. As it happens, the queue moved quickly, not least because we were afforded the chance to snark on every single stereotype about drippy artsy-fartsy folk whilst we waited. See:

  • nobody wants to listen to you play two notes on a didgeridoo over and over and over whilst slapping the ground with your foot – that isn’t expressing yourself, it’s being an annoyance, and that’s why people were avoiding you;
  • nobody wants to see the black soles of your filthy feet whilst you walk around ‘being free’ and giving people flowers;
  • nobody is going to buy your bangles and trinkets, they look like fire-damaged electrical cord, you lunatic wench;
  • no, I don’t want to donate to your cause;
  • no, I don’t want to fill out a ‘survey’ where we’ll get to the end and you’ll ask me to donate anyway;
  • no, I don’t want to hear anything other than Paul reading the ice-cream menu aloud.

It was like this:

Anyway, after fourteen weeks of waiting, we were in the building. Paul got himself a Magnum and I had a prim bottle of water so I could sip it and look thoughtfully at the art. If only I’d grown my beard I could have stroked it in that bloody aggravating manner people have.

Now: I’m sorry. I know we’re going to sound like philistines. I know. But it was boring. There were some pieces of art that did jump out at me and I enjoyed having a gander at those, but personally, I found the mix of modern art (wank) and the more traditional pieces to be very tiring indeed. I know my faults and having very little interest in gallery art is one of them. There was an exhibition by Cy Twombly there that looked like something a troubled child might do with a box of Crayola and the threat of violence. I’m about as artistic as the stuff you bleed from a radiator but even I thought I’d do a better job with an Argos pen.  People were gazing at each painting and I felt like I was going mad – that I wasn’t seeing some revelatory twist to the paintings that everyone else was experiencing. One lady looked like she was about to come and all that was in front of her was a white canvas with some blue squiggles on it. I’ve never been more perplexed in my life. In fact, I was trying so hard to work it out that I bumped into Paul sending him stumbling over the little black tape on the floor which in turn set off an alarm and caused a very gruff security man to shout at us. A French couple, clearly sharing a moustache, spat at us as we left.

The view from outside, over the streets of Paris, was lovely, mind. Oh, and it was good of Paul’s mother to drop in:

“well ofcourse ‘e don’t fackin’ listen see yer yer I mean I’ve told ‘im and ‘e still goes on a-mean it’s not right yer hockle hockle phlegm yer”

There were two exceptions to the pile of wank, though. There was an installation of contemporary art from the old USSR which was interesting – I didn’t quite have an epiphany but at least I wasn’t scratching at the walls to be let out. Lots of hammers and sickles and people saying ‘but yes of course’ and ‘how daaaah-ring’. I nodded my way through. The other piece was a giant ultramarine painting by Yves Klein and I was only struck by that because I’d love a car in the same shade.

Hmmm yes, yes I see what the artist is trying to say: every man is an island, time is fleeting, don’t oversalt your pasta and the oppressive commercialisation of the modern age is terrifying.

We did give it a good try, though – we went into every exhibition, we read all the little wee leaflets, we tried not to look like thick Geordies abroad, but I’m guessing we failed. We stepped into a tiny cinema on the second floor which was screening a tiny arthouse movie. We took our seats and promptly fell asleep, our bodies glad of the chance to sit down and digest all that dough from earlier. We woke a good twenty minutes later when the bombast of the closing credits brought us round. We left, shame-faced, although I’m sure we’ll be listed on some tosser’s Tripadvisor report in no time at all: “My children, Persephone, Hedge-Fund and Hugo Chinnery-Pissflaps, were paaasitively screaming to watch the Hungaaaarian tilt-shift documentary on corn-growing but it was simply ruined by the two rubenesque leviathans farting and snoring in the corner. Can’t recommend”. Pfft.

Seems like a good point to leave it, actually. So much more to come! Remember, I’d truly love your feedback!


Anyway, you’re lucky to get a post at all – I’ve been playing Breath of the Wild pretty much non-stop since last Friday. Can’t begin to tell you how amazing it is. If you’re on the fence about getting a Nintendo Switch and/or this game, you need to get off and take action.

This recipe then: it’ll serve eight if you have it with a side-salad or four as a hearty bowl of yum. Customise it however you want – stuff it full of asbestos for all I mind – it’s just a fun way of presenting the food and also, perfect cold night fare. It lasts well in the fridge too so champion if you want it for lunch. Let’s do this! We found this recipe in a Sicilian cookbook which a friend bought and I coveted so badly I had to Amazon Prime Now it. We’ve adapted it for Slimming World. Oh, and it’s known as a rice timbale, but I much prefer an ooey-gooey risotto cake, and, as I’m the fat bugger in charge, that’s what we’re calling it. Although this does serve eight, I’m going to err on the side of fat caution and syn it as though it makes four servings, so you can have a canny big serving.

to make an ooey-gooey risotto cake, you’ll need:

  • 500g of arborio/risotto rice
  • two large onions, cut finely
  • two cloves of garlic (minced, using one of these bad-boys for speed)
  • 175ml of white wine (optional, leave it out if you want – if adding, add 1.5 syns per serving)
  • 500ml of good passata – don’t be tight, buy a decent brand – we used a passata with basil in for a bit of oomph, but you’re really looking for something made from cherry tomatoes where possible – though don’t shit the bed if you can’t find it
  • 900ml of chicken stock (or veggie) made up
  • 50g of fresh parmesan (10 syns)
  • 240g of light mozzarella (4 x HEA)
  • 600g of spinach
  • a jar of those big roasted red peppers (optional)

to make an ooey-gooey risotto cake, you should:

Think of this recipe as nothing more than making a risotto, taking it a wee bit further than you normally would when cooking it, then assembling it into a ‘cake’.

  • whack the oven onto 180 degrees and carefully line a cake tin (if you don’t have one, you could do this in a pyrex dish just as easy) – I used a square cake tin like this one but really, anything that’s deep and about 8 or 9 inches across (I’ve said that before) – we line our tins with greaseproof paper and a top tip, if you have some metal (NOT PLASTIC) bulldog clips to hand, use them to clip the paper in place once you’ve lined the tin
  • get a big heavy pan out (preferably non-stick) and gently fry off the onion and garlic in a few sprays of olive oil until they’re softened
  • chuck in the rice and allow to toast gently – couple of minutes at most until it crackles
  • if you’re using wine, throw it in at this point and allow to simmer off for a good three minutes (stir to make sure things don’t stick)
  • add the passata, pinch of black pepper, salt and two thirds of the stock
  • now the boring part – it’ll take about twenty to thirty minutes, but you want the mixture to bubble away on a medium heat with you stirring every now and then, topping it up with stock when the liquid gets low, until you have a nice thick risotto – remember, you want to bubble away past the point of normal risotto – you want a good ‘firm’ risotto – add in 40g of the parmesan, stir and set aside to cool
  • prepare your spinach by chucking it in another pan with a splash of boiling water – keep it on a medium heat but allow the steam to wilt the leaves right down – then sieve and chop it finely to remove as much liquid as you can and make sure you season with a bit of salt and pepper
  • assembly time: put half the risotto in the bottom of the cake tin, flatten it out the best you can, then top with the mozzarella (sliced, obviously), spinach and red peppers (they open up like a book) – don’t worry about neatness, just chuck it in any old way
  • put the rest of the risotto over the top, sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan, and cook in the oven for about twenty five minutes
  • once everything is lovely and golden and bubbling, remove and leave to stand for a good ten to fifteen minutes to firm up
  • dish up and fall in love!

Now, like I said earlier, customise this to your heart’s content. Change the risotto, change the filling, add more veg, add meat (cooked slice bacon would be lovely), use a different cheese. It would also look slightly prettier in a round cake tin rather than a square tin, but make do with whatever you’ve got. If it all slops apart, don’t worry, you’ve still got a delicious dinner! Keep some for lunch the next day. To sex it up, I’d add some chorizo to the risotto, but remember to syn it or your consultant will be farting through your letterbox.

Want more recipes? Of course you do. Click the buttons below and crack on!

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Enjoy!

J

PS: we’re currently changing the ‘share this buttons’ – so if you’re wondering where they’ve gone, just hold on, they’ll be back!

caprese sausage stuffed pasta

It’s the return of the vag-pasta! Our caprese causage stuffed pasta makes good use of that weird shaped giant pasta!

Yeah that’s right, it’s a while since we used it and before I get anyone sending me frothy messages saying it’s not like a vagina, well, of course it’s not, but how many do you think I’ve seen in my life? Been there, done that, dry-heaved into my t-shirt. But see it’s what Paul calls this pasta so let’s just crack on with sausage caprese stuffed shells.

My goodness me. I opened the last post with a comment on the shitstorm surrounding this Porky Lights fiasco and here I see it has escalated into people appearing in the papers claiming they are devastated and had their diets ruined because the seven sausages they were eating for dinner might have had a slightly higher fat content than they expected. Listen, if you’re eating seven sausages in one sitting, you’ve got bigger fucking problems than a smidge more grease smacking on your lips. I work from home on a Friday so I was treated to even more hullabaloo from crinkle-faced mouthbreathers whingeing on. I think I’d rather be in the papers because I’ve been discovered wanking through a letterbox than holding up an over-done sausage the same shape as my downturned mouth and claiming my life was over. What happened to perspective?

OH and another bloody rant, if you don’t mind. If you drive and fiddle with your phone whilst you do so, then you’re an absolute and utter shit. A moron. A self-important, overly-entitled, preening cock. You’re a boil on society’s arsehole and everyone you come into contact with merely tolerates your presence. You’re about as liked as finding a hot streak of blood when you wipe your arse. If I saw you in the street I wouldn’t slap you, but it’s only because shit splatters.

The reason for my ire? Someone went into the back of me yesterday at a set of traffic lights (and I mean I’m used to having my crumple-zone pushed in from the rear, but at least buy a bloody drink first to grease the wheels) because he was BUSY PLAYING WITH HIS PHONE. I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry – the good thing about being tall and fat with a shaved head is that when you come hurtling out of a car with a face full of piss and vinegar the other person tends to back down pretty sharp, and I’m bloody mortified now that I reacted so aggressively. I didn’t hit him, but a proper red mist descended (probably an aneurysm brought on by the shunt) and I called him all sorts of very naughty words in an unexpectedly manly Geordie accent.

To the bloke’s credit he admitted straight away he was on his phone and apologised profusely and our insurance people are sorting everything out but FOR CRYING OUT LOUD just pull over. No-one is important enough to think they should be allowed to break the bloody rules and I genuinely hope that if someone is sitting out there reading this and thinking there’s no harm in using your phone that the next stop you make in your car is a dead-stop into a wall. It takes a bloody moment or two to pull over and deal with whatever you need to do and that way you don’t become a MASSIVE PULSATING DISEASED TWAT.

AAAAAARGH. Get me back to bloody France man! Speaking of which…

click here for part one 

Smooth segue, eh! I’m the Astroglide of blogging. You left us at the airport after we’d just passed through security. We found our bags and made for the train station. Paul asked me why I was walking slowly and I explained that I was just bracing myself for his inevitable ‘landed in a strange place, must have a crap’ moment. He astounded me by informing me, with all the subtle discretion of a football manager shouting instructions to his team from across a pitch, that he’d been for a ‘tom tit on the plane’. He’s learning, folks. I’d anticipated having to spend at least fifteen minutes loitering outside the gents whilst he strained and grunted but nope – we were straight onto the train, then the Metro, then a short mince to our hotel.

Now, wasn’t this grand? The Hotel Square in Paris – 22 rooms and featured in the Luxury Small Hotels guide to boot. I’m not sure how easy it is to get in that book – maybe it’s one of those scams where anyone can pay to look prestigious – but the hotel was gorgeous. Very clean, very modern. Big room with a bed big enough to roll around in and eat croissants. The only thing I wasn’t so keen on was the bathroom, given it was a very grand marble affair with mirrors surrounding the shower area. I’m not shy with my body but even I pale at the sight of reflections of my hairy arse coming at me from all sides of infinity. Paul came in to pick up a toothbrush whilst I was freshening up and it was like eight hundred of him had walked in going “how long you going to be, turns out there’s another train waiting at the station ready for dispatch“.

Here’s a photo so you can see what I mean. How embarrassing though I managed to get my face into the shot! Eeee I can’t get over it!

We had planned a very quiet first day and so it was that the only thing on the agenda was an Escape The Room. You know we love these: you’re locked in some weird room with a scary backstory and given sixty minutes to get out before disaster strikes. In London you’re locked into an abandoned cinema. In Iceland you’re put away in a jail cell on death row. They’ve opened one in Dewsbury where they take away your swimming costume and push you into the base of a divan bed with only a box of Tramadol for company. It’s all terrifically exciting. This one, however, was by far and away the best. We Ubered (I don’t know if that’s a verb or not, and I don’t care – it’s easier than saying ‘took an Uber’) over to the venue and after much confusion, found our way in.

We were met by the lovely Lucas who told us, in broken English far better than my pidgin French, what the situation was. We were to be stuck inside an out-of-control Paris Metro and we had to stop it before it crashed. Exciting! What really did make this fun was that the room was an actual Metro carriage and, whilst it clearly wasn’t going all end-of-Speed on us, it did rock side to side and brake and move. It was amazing! I like to think Paul and I have these things nailed now and we know what to look for but we were defeated at the very last step by the fact we were both recovering from head-colds – part of the clue revolves around sniffing bottles to identify smells to work out an exit code. We were supposed to smell cherries – all I could smell was Parisian soot and Vicks Sinex. Lucas had the good grace not to mention the fact that every time I had bent down to pick up a clue a good thirty percent of my arse was on show thanks to my inability to pack a belt, though doubtless we’ll be on some French version of You’ve Been Framed somewhere accompanied by bouncy accordion music.

Ashamed of the fact we had failed in our duties (but buoyed by the fact it was bloody good fun) we wandered the streets until we realised we were both hungry and that we really ought to eat. Well, you know Paris – you can’t move without happening across somewhere delightful full of lovely things to eat (I don’t think there was a single point in the holiday where I wasn’t either stuffing my face with pastry or brushing the crumbs off my coat) and it took no time at all to spot a little cafe down by the Seine which looked busy and promising. We bustled in, Paul ensuring that his coat dragged across as many tables as possible and me knocking into chairs and tables and ankles like a lost bull. One day, just once, we’ll enter a restaurant without it looking like we’re there to fake an insurance claim.

Our waiter (curt tones, face like a hundred miles of rough road, eyes that had never known joy) came over and barked at us to order. Our French is poor but we do try, but by god he gave us no leeway for error. Every fumble was tutted at – not necessarily in a rude way, just it was clear that he didn’t have time for our stumblings because he had to go back to watching emo arthouse movies and smoking. We ordered a starter consisting of various Corsican meats and cheeses – we had loved Corsica so and, given it cost a billion pounds to go there last time making it unlikely we’ll revisit, this was an easy way of reliving some memories.

The waiter had no sooner seemed to disappear through the doors into the kitchen when he immediately re-appeared holding aloft a platters of meats and breads. He set them down, adjusted them just so, took a moment to think what was missing and then blurted ‘le fromage’ and disappeared anew. A minute or two later he returned with the cheese board and goodness me, It was a challenge and a half. I like a strong cheese but even I was defeated by two of the monstrosities on this plate. I’m not exaggerating even for a moment when I tell you that I was entirely convinced one of these cheeses was actually alive. I had to leave it. Our waiter, his face full of French woe, asked if anything was wrong, to which I gave a British ho-ho and explained that I hadn’t realised I’d ordered the pickled smegma fresh off the chef’s helmet. Spread it on my bread? It was all I could do not to hurl it into the traffic outside. The only thing that stopped me was knowing Paris is on a critical terror alert and I’d end up banged up in Guantanamo Bay with bamboo being slid up my urethra.

Paul, having experimented with a somewhat French dish as a starter, decided that was quite enough of that nonsense and ordered an Italian burger. I was mortified. At least I made an effort, I had a croque Madame so French it was smoking a Gauloise when it was dropped in my lap. I’m not shy of trying new things – snails I have no problem with (who would have thought, me, a pro at swallowing unpleasant mouthfuls) and I wasn’t going to bother with frogs’ legs. I’ve had them before and it was like eating the meat from the used toothpicks at the end of a group dinner.

I made the right choice, lunch was lovely, and we lingered over coffee whilst we people watched the good folk of Paris and (quelle surprise) half of China flit about in that hurried way I’ll never understand. I find it incredible that all of these people have places to live and sleep and shag and eat and work and play and yet everything works like a well-oiled machine. I adore cities, I find them endlessly fascinating, and I could merrily sit and watch all day long. However, the waiter, possibly tired of watching us make a Gin Fizz last half a day, brought us l’addition with a cheery ‘you pay now’. I didn’t dare refuse, the sight of his ashen-face crumpling in on itself would haunt me forever more.

We decided to rough it and take the Parisian underground back to the hotel, only we had no sooner made it down the stairs when a large chap (imagine Shadow from Gladiator only with milk for eyes and a diseased foot) hurtled towards us asking us to donate. Donate to what? The Burns Unit that would need to tend to my eyes as the sight of his crispy foot sizzled against my retinas? We bid a hasty (as hasty as two fat blokes can) retreat back up the stairs and sent for an Uber.

As ever, our driver was lovely, he handed us a bottle of water, pointed out as we dashed through that we were in the tunnel where the Queen Fiat-Unoed poor Diana out of existence and offered us some sweets. He also had the kindest, more soulful eyes I’ve ever seen and he had the good grace not to notice me winking salaciously at him in his rear-view mirror. I begged Paul to let me put ‘Drove like a pro and melted my heart’ on the Uber review but alas, that was dashed. Muhammad, if you ever want to take either of us, or both of us, or a bit of one and some of the other, up a one-way street, do get in touch.

As we were knackered, we decided to have an early night and a few drinks in the room. I say a few drinks, it was rather impromptu – I went for an after sex decontamination shower only to hear the sound of Paul opening the minibar. Uh-oh. Worse, I barely had time to wash the Molton Brown out of my bumcrack before I heard the hiss of a bottle of fancy water being uncapped. I vaulted out of that shower like I was the winning horse at the Grand National and hurtled into the bedroom shouting EUROS ITS BLOODY FIFTEEN EUROS PAUL FIFTEEEEEEN like a man possessed. Paul explained he was thirsty but pfft, I’m Geordie. I didn’t speak to him for the rest of the holiday.

No, I jest. Once we had broken the seal of that minibar, the whole lot came out. We had a great night indeed, mini bottles of alcohol scattered everywhere, peanut crumbs in the bed, eye masks on, condoms blown up like water bombs in the bath. We sent down for another cheese board at 11pm to cap the night off and then away to bed with us.

When we woke the next morning, we were horrified. We tidied up until that room was sparkling like a new pin and stumbled out into the light. I wanted to throw myself over the desk of the charming lady on reception and wail je suis désolé! pardonne-moi je t’en supplie! in the hope she might take a dent off the minibar tab but all I could manage in reality was a gruff, Phil Mitchell-esque good morning and a couple of black peppercorn scented farts in the lift.

I’ll leave you to digest that image and get straight to the next recipe, eh?


caprese sausage stuffed pasta caprese sausage stuffed pasta

to make caprese sausage stuffed pasta you will need:

  • 6 sausages (we used the ones from our Musclefood deal – they’re just half a syn each AND they come with the added bonus of not being stockpiled by jibbering morons!)
  • ½tsp fennel seeds
  • 500g conchiglioni (you know the ones – the GIANT  pasta shells)
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • few handfuls of spinach
  • 4 tbsp chopped basil
  • 140g reduced fat mozzarella ball, chopped (2x HEA)
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • balsamic glaze (just reduce some balsamic vinegar in a pan, easy peasy)

If you’re using different sausages, remember to syn them however they are. Technically this dish comes in at just less than a syn each, actually, so hoy a bit extra cheese on. I’ll not tell Mags, though she’ll be too busy hammering nails into the Porky Light farmer’s tractors to give a toss.

to make caprese sausage stuffed pasta you should:

  • preheat the oven to 190ºc
  • spread half of one tin of chopped tomatoes across the bottom of a 9×13″ pyrex dish, or any, I don’t care
  • cook the giant shells according to the instructions, and then drain and set aside
  • meanwhile, slice the sausages as best you can (it doesn’t have to be neat) and then cut each slice into quarters
  • add some oil to a large frying pan and stick over a medium high heat
  • add the sausages and stir to cook until no pink meat remains – give them a chop up with the spatula to break it up, or gently press a masher over the top
  • add the rest of the chopped tomatoes, the spinach and half of the chopped basil and cook for about five minutes
  • remove the pan from the heat, and spoon in 1 tbsp the mixture into each of the shells and pop them into the pyrex dish
  • top with the mozzarella and sliced tomatoes and bake for twenty minutes
  • remove from the oven, top with the remaining basil and drizzle over the balsamic glaze

After some more grub? just click one of the buttons below to get even more ideas!

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J

ham, pease pudding, roasties and er…rumbledethumps

Yes, rumbledethumps. It sounds like a coy euphemism for getting nasty but actually, it’s a very pleasant side dish of cabbage and potatoes. If anything, having cabbage tends to exclude any possibility of having nookie-noo later thanks to all the resulting flatus. But give it a go!

Just a very quick recipe tonight thanks to Paul and his big fat arse. No, let me finish. See, for about four months now, our computer chair has been slowly breaking under our combined weight/bouncing/spinning/wanking. One of the arms snapped off a few weeks ago but that’s alright, as long as you hold yourself stiff (and god knows I’ve got plenty of experience keeping myself stiff in front of the Internet) you can still type. But about a fortnight ago the hydraulics started failing and we would end up sinking, ever so slowly, closer to the floor as we typed. That’s fine until you realise you’re typing with your eye-line just over the top of the keyboard and your neck sounds like a cement mixer.

Things came to a head last night when Paul leaned back in the chair to contemplate my offerings of Chinese or Indian when there was a tremendous crack and the entire back of the chair came away, sending him hilariously to the floor, rolling on his back like a stuck turtle. Paul falling over anything always cracks me up and I spent a good five minutes clutching the settee and laughing until my vision went blurry and I had to sit down. I think it’s because he makes a proper comedy fat-person noise when he tumbles – the sort of noise a bouncy castle would make if you drove a car into it. I’m a terrible husband, aren’t I?

So yes, picture me now, sat here, legs bowed under me, no back support, the gentle hiss of air escaping as I’m lowered further and further to the floor, and you’ll understand why I must hasten to the recipe! On we go…

rumbledethumps

To be honest, this meal is just a collection of nice things so although I’ll cover the other three bits, rumbledethumps is what I’ll focus on. It’s a lovely side of potato, cabbage, onion and cheese, and let’s be honest, everything is better when covered in cheese. Nearly everything. No-one like a brie lollipop, just sayin’

ham

Nothing more fancy than Waitrose’s Pulled Ham Hock (I think Paul did that yesterday when he fell out of his chair) pressed into a nice shape with a ring-press (think he did that too) (you can buy a mould here) and topped with a tablespoon of piccalilli. The ham is syn free and piccalilli is half a syn per tablesspoon but I never syn it because I’m a frightful slut.

pease pudding

We buy our pease pudding from a lovely local business called Pete’s Puddin’ – it comes in bog standard flavour, Newcastle Brown Ale flavour, Cheese and Pickle flavour and best of all for someone like me who would happily main-line the stuff straight into my veins, Marmite flavour. I bought the stuff because I was so taken with his puns (and also they were selling it in Sausology, another local business) and never looked back. It’s amazing – you can find buy it yourself here: http://www.petespuddin.com/ 

I know pease pudding isn’t for everyone but we bloody love it and the flavoured versions are almost guaranteed to give you the proper fanny gallops if you try them. I’m not recommending this product because we’re getting a kickback or money or half an hour with a rough-handed lorry driver in a pool of pease pudding, no, I’m recommending because it’s bloody delicious. Plus, it’s good to support a local industry, and you cannot get any more local than buying pease pudding from the market in the centre of Newcastle. Well, unless Denise Welch was stottin’ a stottie offa Cheryl Cuuurl’s heed next to you, haway man pet etc. No, you haven’t tuned into Vera.

Oh, and it’s syn free.

roasties

We often have these tiny roasties – if you’ve got an Actifry, and if not, why not, just cut your potatoes up nice and small, whack on some worcestershire sauce and two oxo cubes and set them away. If you don’t have an actifry, cut the potatoes up, make a thickish liquid with two oxo cubes and a splash of water, tumble the potatoes around in it and cook in the oven until scrummy-yummy. Scrummy-yummy? Yes, I vomited into my mouth on typing it too.

rumbledethumps

Best to use leftovers for this but let’s just say, for the sake of argument, you can’t be arsed and/or you’re too fat to leave leftovers. That’s us. This makes enough for four people as a side, so you know what, I’m going to use butter again! I’m using a few odds leftover from the rosti so hopefully you’ll have everything in. So you will need:

  • 750g of potato, peel them if you’re fancy – or use a mixture of potato and cubed turnip, chop into cubes
  • 500g of cabbage, any old cabbage will do, but we used savoy, sliced super thinly
  • 25g of reduced fat butter (7 syns)
  • two fat onions, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, sliced thinly
  • 120g of strong mature cheddar (4 x HEA)
  • a good handful of chopped chives
  • lots of black pepper and salt

If you’re wanting to make this quick, use a mandolin slicer to cut the onions and cabbage – it’ll be done in less than a minute. The one we use is here! Only a tenner, too!

To make rumbledethumps you should:

  • boil your potato or tatty and turnip mix for about twenty minutes until soft and then mash – don’t mash it too finely, just give it a quick going over – a knee-trembler, if you will
  • meanwhile, melt that delicious butter and gently cook the onions and cabbage, oh so slowly now, until everything is soft and cooked – takes about the same amount of time as the potatoes and don’t be shy of adding a drop of water if things start to stick
  • tip the butter, cabbage and onion into the mash mixture and stir like a bugger, adding two thirds of the cheese and a good few twists of salt and pepper
  • drop the lot into a wee oven dish and top with the rest of the cheese and some chives
  • cook for about fifteen minutes or so and then plop it onto your plates with everything else!

Eeee, what a handy way to use up spare veg. Cabbage and turnip are always in the bargain bins at tesco so help yourself!

Looking for more veg ideas? Meat ideas? Anything at all? Click the buttons!

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Enjoy!

J

droptober recipe #17: sweet potato bread buns

I’m almost loathe to post this recipe for sweet potato bread buns because I’ll invariably get a load of people messaging saying ‘but you can have an Aldi bun for a few syns more’ blah blah. Listen, I know that. But why buy a car when you’ve got two legs? Sometimes it’s nice to mix things up and with soup season just around the corner, these make a nice side dish for whatever slop you turn your veg into. Plus, I don’t know about you but we always seem to have three or four sweet potatoes rolling around in our drawers. It’s like being haunted by a vegan – but how would you even go about telling whether a vegan is a ghost? God knows they’re pale, wispy and whining in real-life. I’m kidding. Please don’t write me letters, save your strength.

Things are still grim in Chubby Towers. Paul’s been flirting with a cold for a good couple of weeks and now it has really got him in its snotty grip. He’s currently lying on the sofa sniffing and snorting like Kerry Katona on giro day. He’s coughing like a 200-a-day-smoker/his mother and I could toast marshmallows on the end of his nose. You know that bit in the movie Misery when Annie Wilkes gets walloped with an iron at the end of the movie? That’s Paul. He’s in a bad way. Now, traditionally, we’d rattle off a few jokes about man-flu but I’ve always thought that was reductionist and mean. He’s just a soft arse. I’m sore because as a result of him snoring like an idling bus all night and keeping me awake and I’m tired of running around getting drinks and decongestants and nasal sprays and tissues – oh CHRIST the tissues, it’s like I’m living in the bedroom of the type of blokes who get stung by online vigilantes – and I’m reaching the end of my goodwill. I’d make a shit nurse, I’m not going to lie. Anything more than applying a plaster and I’d be pressing a pillow into their face and turning off the alarm bells.

There was a brief shining glimmer of goodness in my day, however. I was given a free packet of crisps by someone in town today. Because I’m naturally cynical, I spent five minutes looking around for the hidden camera crew who would be recording me opening the packet only to get a face full of bees or something mean. Also, because I’m naturally morbidly obese and a greedy bastard, I spent another twenty five minutes going around and around to the various people until I had seven free bags. I know, what a cad. Paul and I were once in the Metrocentre (the glitz! the glamour – it never ends because it never fucking begins) and there was a team of 12 people handing out bags of those Milky Way Magic Stars. We sharp calculated that if we split up we could grab 24 bags. Even better, once I had removed my glasses I could grab another twelve and better yet, when Paul put my glasses on, he was able to get another 12, even if he could see through time whilst doing so. Then, swap coats to repeat the whole affair, then go and sit in McDonalds for half an hour and go around again. In total we ended up with about 150 bags of Milky Way Magic Stars. This was back when we didn’t drive so it meant an hour trip home on the bus with more chocolate than any fat bloke has a reason for having but we definitely won that day.

I can tell you now though – the allure of so much free chocolate is sharp lost after the 35th bag. We were eating those bloody stars for days and even now the sight of that four-eyed twat the Milky Bar kid fills me with absolute rage. I swear I was reclining in the bath when one of those damned stars floated out of my belly button.

Paul just chimed in from the sofa to add his best freebie story, so let me treat you to a wee bit more. Back when Paul was a nurse he, and a lot of his colleagues, were often treated to fun little freebies from drugs companies and other parasites. Mugs, laser pointers, chocolates and, somewhat inexplicably, a doorbell. Because nothing says ‘best treatment for a prolapsed arsehole’ like a doorbell. Anyway, he was super excited to be given a face towel roughly the same shape as a little pink pill. The gimmick being that you added water and the whole thing would rehydrate, unfurl and give you a charming, if somewhat moist, free towel to wipe your sweaty face with. So enchanted by this fabulously pointless gimmick that he saved this little towel-pill until he was at the gym and, with a proper flourish, rehydrated it in the changing room gym. Here’s the thing: it was a great towel, but it’s hard to look debonair and stylish when you’re wiping a towel with VAGISIL imprinted across it in pink Mistral font. No wonder he doesn’t bother with gyms now, the poor bugger is scarred.

Right, let’s get to the bread, eh?

sweet potato bread buns

to make sweet potato bread buns, you’ll need:

  • 300g of sweet potato – either leftover mash or some that you’ve made especially – just peel, boil and mash it as smooth as possible
  • 450g of plain flour (this makes enough for 18 buns – they’re not huge but they’re tasty – so this works out at 4 syns each)
  • 1 packet of yeast (1 syn – but damn it if I’m splitting that between 18)
  • 120ml of warm water
  • good pinch of salt and pepper
  • one egg
  • poppy seeds – if you want them, syn them, but you don’t need to add them onto the top

to make sweet potato bread buns, you should:

  • either in a big bowl or a stand mixer with a dough hook (we use our Kenwood Chef, we love it), add the flour, mashed sweet potato on one side, water on the other, yeast on another side and get bloody mixing
  • once it’s starting to come together, add the salt and pepper
  • you want to mix it until it’s all come together nicely – you want it smooth and elastic
  • drop it into a bowl and cover with clingfilm – then leave to double in size for about an hour in a warm room
  • take out, divide into 18 small balls, put onto a non-stick baking tray or two
  • cover with clingfilm and allow to double again for an hour
  • crack and beat the egg then smear the top of each bun with good old beaten egg
  • cook in a pre-heated oven for about 25 minutes on 180 degrees
  • serve – it’s just that easy!

Like I said, you could buy your own, of course, but if you’ve got leftovers, why not make these? EH? Click the buttons below for even more inspiration!
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Cheers all!

droptober recipe #11: peanut butter and caramelised banana toast

Just a recipe for peanut butter and caramelised banana toast tonight as we’re too busy putting our Musclefood box away and farting on with our new TV. See, this would be one of those days when we just wouldn’t post but because we’ve committed to this Droptober thingy, I feel like I can’t let you down! Breakfasts on Slimming World are either oaty affairs, a bit of fruit or that bloody fry-up picture which has been haunting the lifeline journal since time immemorial. Peanut butter is one of those things which sounds like it should be full of syns and, fair enough, it’s not syn-free, but as long as you’re sensible and don’t slap it on like Jordan slaps Canestan on her minnie-moo, you’ll be fine. 1 level tablespoon is 4 syns which you can easily spread between the two tiny Shreddies-sized slices of bread that Slimming World allows as your HEB.

peanut butter and caramelised banana toast

to make peanut butter and caramelised banana toast, you’ll need:

  • well I mean, it’s pretty obvious, no?
  • one banana
  • one tablespoon of peanut butter
  • whatever toast or thin you want to use
  • pinch of cinnamon if you dare

to make peanut butter and caramelised banana toast, you should:

  • toast your bread and get your peanut butter on it whilst it is hot – the heat will make it spread further
  • Christ, it’s a bad job when we’re having to eke out our peanut butter like we’re working from a ration book, isn’t it?
  • slice your banana and drop the slices into a hot, non-stick pan to toast them off and give them a bit of colour
  • top the toast

Just saying, but if you were feeling daring, you could totally add a drop or two of honey to the whole affair and really get going. If you’re going to be Lieutenant Anal about the whole syn thing, you should ‘technically’ syn the banana according to SW rules as it is cooked. However, it’s syn-free if you eat it uncooked and as you can see from the above, you’re doing nothing more than toasting it. If it makes you feel better, don’t toast the banana, just keep glaring at it until it toasts of its own accord. THAT WAY NO SYNS AM I RIGHT. Jeez.

If you’re looking for more breakfast ideas, click the buttons below and live like a Queen! We do have some canny overnight oats recipes!

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Remember to share!

J

beef and bacon stroganoff – quick and easy comfort food!

Here for the beef and bacon stroganoff? Well of COURSE you are. It’s take take take with you! But, as usual, before we get to the recipe, a preamble…

James is running late, he rang me from inside the multi-storey car park shouting and bawling about the barrier being broken – I could barely hear him over the sound of his car, his rage and my Now That’s What I Call Soviet National Anthems CD. I made out the words ‘…’king sick of this cun…’ and ‘as much fucking use as a sandpaper tampon’ then he cut out. He’ll be home soon, but I thought I’d do a blog entry for once. Poor guy. Poor you lot.

This week I managed to find a major motivator to lose weight in somewhere that I least suspected – clothes. That’s right. Despite being two of the most uninterested people in fashion as well as being the most unfashionable people out there, it was trying to find a nice suit for a job interview that really hit home how much we need to lose weight.

I have more trouble than James on this front – despite him being a good few stone heavier than me he’s also got another half a foot, so his chub is much more easily spread out – he’s like a wardrobe – whereas I’m more like a chest of drawers. Or imagine sputnik balanced on a chubby pair of thighs. It’s a bloody nightmare to find anything that fits properly, if at all. It’s like trying to dress a car accident.

As we’ve previously touched upon, we’ve finally found somewhere that caters to our needs that doesn’t result in 100% polyester or finding them between rows of Pringles – except for a Jacamo run on payday we often finds ourselves strutting around a local garden centre and a franchise of Cotton Traders. I know, I know, we’re not on deaths door or enfeebled but the stuff fits. Well, it fits James – I have to make do with a chequered bit of cotton that sits over my belly but results in the breast pocket being underneath my tit, and the bottom of the shirt floating around near my knees, which if I don’t tuck in ends up billowing about like a curtain in a Celine Dion video.

So it all came to a head when I needed a nice suit for a job interview – there’s a few suits in our wardrobe but they’re all suspiciously high in acrylic (it came to a point a few weeks ago that we had to chuck a few out because every time we swished open the floor to ceiling wardrobe door, there’d be a smell of plastic burning and an alarming amount of smoke). Plus, naturally, they are all far too small (keep hold of them…we’ll fit into them eventually, we say…).

Seeing as though I actually wanted this job we decided to splurge out on a reasonably priced one. So, being fat fucks and the garden centre of no use we went online to Jacamo and ordered a few, in different sizes so I could try one or the other and make a choice but all to no avail. I just cannot look good in a suit. At all. It feels like the shoulder pads are jutting out like I’m the sexiest milkmaid ever and I have to swing my arms around like a wind turbine to stop the sleeves from flapping about. It’s an absolute mare.

And, naturally, because it was something nice, the cats immediately took a dislike and left me looking like Grizabella with just a quick vag-flash and an ankle rub. So that was no good. I did manage, however, to hang on to the waistcoat which didn’t do too much of a bad job. It did make me look as though I was presenting Big Break alongside Professional Shitrat Jim Davison, but hey, you can’t have it all.

Perhaps I do need to lose weight then. I would love to be able to get something without schlepping out to a place where I can also get barbecue tongs and a lavender plant. As convenient as it is.

OOH I hear the door. One moment please. CUT TO ADVERTS.


Remember: our Musclefood deal is running for only three more days! 10% off! Canny deal – even if you don’t want it, share it with a friend!

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

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

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


Eee yes! Anyway, flying in the face of all of the above, we’re having chippy tea tonight because we’ve had some good news. GASP. But listen, I’m not going to let you down with thoughts of James pushing a spam fritter around his face like a greasy sponge. So let’s get tonight’s recipe done. You can reduce the syns in this by making a proper white sauce but you know sometimes when you get home from work, you want to sit on the settee with your bollocks out doing fuck all? This is for one of those nights. It cooks itself pretty much. Plus, unless you’re super careful, all the white sauces on Slimming World end up looking like something scraped off the side of the bin at the GUM clinic, so, make this, use your syns and rock on. This makes enough for four, so the syns in the soup aren’t that much per serving!

beef and bacon stroganoff

to make beef and bacon stroganoff, you’ll need:

At 15 syns for the whole dish, I’ll call it 4 syns a serving. I know that’s not quite right but hey.

to make beef and bacon stroganoff, you should:

  • chop up your onions, the green pepper and the mushrooms nice and fine
  • sweat it off in a few squirts of spray oil (not Frylight, haway) with the minced garlic
  • add the mince and the chopped bacon and cook it off with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • add in the frozen peas
  • pour the condensed soup into a jug and add the milk – you want a nice thick sauce – you’re not going to have loads of it, but that’s the point
  • lower the heat, add the soup to the mix and simmer gently just to thicken it up – if you want more sauce, add more milk and then simmer it for longer
  • cook the noodles, drain, add the sauce, serve!

 

Easy! Sounds complicated but it’s really just chop, chop, cook, cook, mix. Even you can do that! Oh and we’ve done a couple of stroganoff recipes before, too:

OK, if you want more pasta recipes or beef recipes, go ahead and click on the buttons below.

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Enjoy!

P

slimming world BBQ: perfect rainbow coleslaw, onion jam, hotdogs and frozen margaritas!

The next part of our series on what to put on a Slimming World BBQ is right here. For once, you’re not going to have to wade through all of my guff to get to it because well, time’s a factor. Paul and I have decided to have a day off together, partly because we had the idea that our garden furniture was going to arrive today. That didn’t happen, but ah well, could be worse, could be dead. We hopped into the car and shot off to see Ghostbusters and you know, it was great! Well-acted, fun, colourful – hit of all my buttons!

It’s a shame that Leslie Jones has been getting  shit thrown at her on Twitter as a result of being in the movie. She’s been called all sorts of vile things for simply putting herself forward and making people laugh. It’s depressing, and it’s not as though the world isn’t depressing enough as it is. It’s getting to the point where I could open my curtains in the morning and notice a mushroom cloud billowing towards me and I’d shrug and meh and go back to watching whatever atrocity is blazing across the TV.

That’s the problem with the Internet, it gives a voice to all those gimps with no self-confidence and no tact. I should know, I’ve made a healthy sideline from it. You see the most vile of comments left on the most innocuous of posts and articles – I’ve seen someone wish another woman a miscarriage because they disagreed over how much sweetener to put in a recipe, for goodness sake – and the answer to that one, by the way, is none at all. You have people who wouldn’t say boo to a goose blurting out vile rhetoric and for what? No other reason than to wound and upset. I genuinely don’t understand the mentality, and I love a sly dig every now and then – but I couldn’t take pleasure in actually breaking someone’s spirit.

We have a local paper up here called the Evening Chronicle, and it really is the go-to paper if you want to know who someone from Geordie Shore had up her snatch the previous day or perhaps a picture of a local councillor pointing furiously at some potholes with a face like he’s trying desperately not to shit himself on camera It’s entirely pointless but generally harmless, although they’re not averse to strumming up a bit of racial tension to get their comments counter overflowing. Anyway, they posted a story about some poor bugger who had climbed up an electricity pylon and was threatening to hurl himself onto the live wires. He was suicidal and as a result, the power folks had to turn off the juice. The story was full of comments like ‘shocking behaviour’ and ‘I hope he was charged’, which, whilst crass and insensitive, is harmless enough. We’re all guilty of a bit of black humour. However, topping off the comments was ‘So glad it didn’t hit my area i’f be raging if I’d missed the soaps!!’. For fucks sake. We’re not talking about someone nicking a bit of copper wire, we’re talking about someone being so fucked in the head that they think the best option is the pain of burning alive, and this claybrained footlicker is more concerned about missing Eastenders.

I despair. Not in a sanctimonious oh-aren’t-I-wonderful way but just as a human, how can you lack the compassion? Also, as an adult, how the fuck do you not know that it is I’d not i’f – and that’s after editing her comments. Urgh. Listen, I’m depressing myself now, so let’s just jump to the recipes. Bit of a hard segue to make though…so let’s chuck in a bit about our Musclefood deal first – so tasteful!


Before we get to the recipe, it would be churlish of me not to mention our LIMITED EDITION Musclefood deal – we’ve upgraded our freezer filler to add in some BBQ friendly products. Same price as before – £50 – but this comes with free delivery, 24 chicken breasts, 6 half a syn sausages, 2 fat steak burgers (1 syn), 2 fat rump steaks, 2 hickory bbq chicken steaks (syn free), 400g of spicy chicken drumsticks (syn free when skin removed), 400g of diced turkey, huge pack of bacon medallions, 12 giant meatballs (half a syn each) and 1 pack of seasoning (2 syns). It’s only for a couple of weeks whilst the weather is hot and I thought it would be a good change to add in some BBQ foods! Click here to order and use the code TCCSUMMER to get the deal!


We used the sausages in the above pack to make the hotdogs – you can buy syn-free sausages but they taste like someone stuffed an old sock full of shredded carpet and whatever’s been swept up off the floor at the Schwartz factory. I’ve tasted other people’s burps that I’ve enjoyed more than the Slimming World sausages, plus these Musclefood sausages don’t look like pickled willies when they’re cooked, so there’s that. Slimming World do a lot of tasty food don’t get me wrong, but I prefer a sausage I can eat rather than one I can shave with. Whack them in your healthy extra bun allowance and they are only half a syn. We haven’t used healthy extra buns in the picture but hell, it’s the summer and a hotdog isn’t the same in a wholemeal bun. The buns in the pictures are six syns each – Tesco finger buns – and well, I’ve always preferred a couple of fingers over a nice pair of baps. Boom boom.

No, the recipe is for onion jam and perfect coleslaw, two little additions for the side of the BBQ that will make everything taste that much better…

slimming world bbq

to make slimming world BBQ: onion jam and perfect rainbow coleslaw, you’ll need:

  • for the onion jam:
    • 250g of red onions
    • 50ml of balsamic vinegar
    • 75ml of apple / cider vinegar
    • a clove of garlic
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 tsp of sweetener if you want it syn free, but I use a teaspoon of honey which is technically a syn but meh…
  • for the coleslaw
    • a butternut squash
    • one large carrot
    • a bunch of spring onions
    • small white cabbage and a small purple cabbage
    • 200g (1 syn) of greek yoghurt, fat free
    • lots of black pepper
    • pinch of salt

to make slimming world BBQ: onion jam and perfect rainbow coleslaw, you should:

  • for the onion jam:
    • cut up your onions nice and small and uniform
    • finely mince your garlic using one of these so you’re not known as Stinky Fingers McGee (again)
    • throw everything into a pan on a low heat
    • cover and allow to simmer for ages – you want it to reduce slowly into a nice sticky sauce
    • easy!
  • for the perfect rainbow coleslaw
    • shred your cabbage nice and fine – whether you use a grater or, as we do, one of these fancy gadgets
    • don’t grate your carrot or butternut squash – use a potato peeler to cut small ribbons instead – you want nice chunks, not miles of the stuff
    • if you have leftover butternut squash, make my butternut squash macaroni and never look back
    • finely dice your onion
    • mix it all together with the yoghurt, pinch of salt and lots of pepper
    • the key is to make the different vegetables roughly the same size (bar the onion) so you get plenty of crunch and taste – it makes everything go a bit further
    • we were actually cheeky and grated one HEA of Parmesan into ours – gives it a bit extra kick but fine to leave out

That makes enough for four, so it’s 0.25 syns. If you want to syn that, shoot for the moon.

Now, the accompanying cocktail in our series on drinks that may use a few syns but last bloody ages and get you pissed is a frozen margarita. You’ll need a blender but this is amazing on a hot day, trust me. This makes enough for two BIG glasses – not going to lie and say we didn’t double the shots for our own version, but we like them strong. It puts hairs on your arse, this.

slimming world bbq

to make a tasty frozen margarita:

  • chuck a load of ice, 60ml of freshly squeezed lime juice, 50ml of tequila (6 syns)  and 25ml of triple sec (4 syns) into a blender. Blend like your life is on the line. Tip into chilled martini glasses and serve – it’s strong, but it’ll last for ages and tastes gorgeous – don’t be frightened to spend the syns!

Easy! Enjoy. If you want more recipes for sausages or snacks, hit the buttons below!

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Done!

J

we have a small problem

The problem is easy to solve, though. Admit it, you’ve been holding back the tears, thinking we’d disappeared into fat air. Perhaps Mags herself had finally had enough of all the slurs and cheek about Slimming World and, after a calming bath with Radox salts and a pint glass of Aldi gin, had sent a shitstorm of lawyers to close us down and burn our computer. Maybe we had given up the ghost and decided not to bother with the site anymore, driven mad by people requesting our RESSAPEAS PLZ HUN and subjecting us to their awful profile photos washing up on our iPad?

Well, the truth is far less interesting – we were actually on holiday. You may recollect us mentioning we were going on holiday at some point but we didn’t want to put it onto the internet that our house would be empty for a week, in case someone broke in and went through our ‘naughty’ drawer. I’d be devastated if I had to tell a policeman that our problem was that our iMac was missing, along with an assemblage of ‘loft insulation grade’ johnnies and a douching bulb. Oh the shame. We spent a week in sunny Corsica (don’t worry, I wasn’t sure either – it’s an island off the southern coast of France), tanning ourselves and basking in the sun like two especially hairy warthogs.

Naturally, the next couple of entries will detail all the bits and bobs to do with Corsica, and yes, I have some stories, and yes again, there’s accidental nudity and us causing embarrassment wherever we go. Shame follows us like the scent of a hurried poo at work. 

problem

But for tonight, just a few things. 

First, a moment of reflection. We’ve both fallen off the wagon lately and I’m not going to lie, we’re struggling to find our focus. Our problem is not the evening meal (which you see on here) but the hours in between, full as they are with cheesecake and sweets and pies and trips to Tesco for nonsense and calories. Our weight has been stable for a few weeks but I’m tired of being fat still. We’ve stopped taking the diet seriously, and that’s a shame, because we always do so well. 

How to fix it, short of giving up the delicious cooking and existing purely on Scan fucking Bran and those shitty ready meals from Iceland? How to solve that problem? We’re going to make our weight accountable again, and post our progress on here every Thursday so you can see that our diet works and that we are sticking to it. Hopefully the worry of hearing 20,000 chunkies sucking air over their teeth will be enough to keep us on track. We’re off to Iceland (the country, not the supermarket where an awful lot of people have that sour milk and fags scent) in December and it is imperative we lose weight before then. I don’t want to fall in the snow and be unable to get up, instead frozen in time like a memorial to Doritos and dilatory dieting. From Thursday, we will be back at class and ready to really try. We do have a fantastic class and it’s been a shame to miss so much of it.

To help you with the recipes, we’re going to be posting a competition tomorrow to win a box full of meat, and it’ll be nice and easy – so keep an eye on that. Don’t forget our Musclefood offer – click here for that!

Second, a promise. We’re going to give you a new recipe every single night until Christmas Eve, starting tomorrow. That’s 85 new recipes – the usual mix of syn-free and low-syn meals, all served up with the usual piss-taking sassiness you’ve come to know and demand from us. We can’t commit to reams of text to accompany each recipe so sometimes it will literally be only a picture and guidance, but when I can write more, you know that I will! 

To that end, please share the recipes and the group as far and as wide as you can – it helps us, obviously, but I like to think people are out there trying our stuff!

I certainly know people are reading it, because not only do we get all sorts of lovely comments and feedback, but we’ve finally had someone recognise us ‘in real life’ – hello to the lovely Elizabeth who nearly took my ear off with her enthusiastic recognition! I was out buying candles at a garden centre and it has to be said, had a face like thunder because I’d been stuck behind some dithering fart in a 206 all the way to the garden centre. Even a spot of singing along didn’t help because Radiohead came on and I couldn’t reach my phone to turn it off. By the time I had parked up I’d already fitted a hose-pipe to the exhaust. Anyway, naturally, she was lovely and it put me a much better mood – so thank you Elizabeth! You put a smile on this whiskery face. Excellent customer service too, although really you should have knocked at least 25% off. I mean come on.

Oh! A PLEA. If you’re sharing our recipes, that’s absolutely fine. We have no problem with that! But please give a link back to our pages if you do, just so we get new readers. We’ve spotted a couple of people recently taking our recipes – including our photos – taking off our watermarks and then passing it off as their work. Meh, a recipe can’t be copywritten, but show a little class. Give us the credit for the photos – we cook the food, we type it up. We pointed out this rudeness to one of the cockwombles who we had noticed was nicking our work only to end up in an argument with her, who stated that ‘we can’t claim our recipes as our own’. I’ve added in the vowels as she didn’t deem them necessary. Here’s a rule – if you ever spot something and think it looks like one of our recipes but with added Comic Sans, spelling like an upended Scrabble board and some shit rainbow effect added, let us know, because it’ll have been stolen from us.

We’ve just got a bit more class.

So, with that, we’re back, welcome to us, and it all starts…tomorrow!

J

PS: if anyone recognises where the title of this post comes from, you’re amazing. I could not be more excited about The X-Files returning. Oh hell yes.

sausagefest: musclefood sausages v slimming world sausages

Now look here. I wasn’t going to do a post tonight because my eyes hurt and I’m too busy putting together a lamp (so manly) but the word sausagefest came into my mind and I just had to use it. So, with that in mind, I’m going to dash off a very quick review of Slimming World sausages and Musclefood’s chicken sausages. We’re working with Musclefood to sort out a deal for you lot and I’ll post that nearer the time.

Before that, because you know I can’t go a day without some toe-curling moment of embarrassment, well, as I’ve documented a couple of times before, we spend a lot of time hiding away all the sex paraphrenalia in our house whenever a tradesperson comes to visit. I fear there is something off-putting about trying to do some plastering whilst a big black plastic willy winks away at you in the corner like a worm having a stroke. Well see the downside of doing this is that you invariably forget where you’ve put stuff and then it appears at a dramatic moment. Like today, with our alarm man (who was lovely and very charming) who opened our rarely-opened alarm cupboard, took the latch off the alarm case (which doesn’t work, so we just use it to hide stuff) only to be confronted by a black prostate tickler that we had squirreled away many moons ago.

Now he had the good grace not to say anything but given I have a slight ping-ding about the fact he might be travelling on the same bus as Paul and I, he totally knew what it was. What could I do? I couldn’t reach across him, grab it and pretend it was a novelty cigarette lighter, because knowing my luck he’d have been a smoker, asked for a light and I’d have to spend five minutes flicking the ‘hook’ end and lightly buzzing the end of his Silk Cut Ultra. 

So that’s that. Anyway, back to sausages. We’re massive fans of sausages (and I’m not even using sausage as a euphemism for a cock there, because if I WAS trying to come up with a euphemism for a penis, I’d of course use Spurt Reynolds) but they are tricky little things. Most of the low-fat sausages have as much taste as a roll of loft insulation, and anything with a bit of moisture is normally so bad for you that Margaret’s blue WKD bottle would shatter in her clenched fist if she so much as heard them sizzle in your pan. So we’ll cover two: Slimming World sausages and Musclefood’s chicken sausages.

Quorn sausages are a bust as they look and taste like something that’s been shat out of a poorly cat, so I’m not even going to mention them. I’d get more taste and enjoyment from sucking my thumb and hell, I know where my thumb has been. No wonder my nails are always filthy. 

We cook our sausages in an Actifry. If you’re on the fence about one of these, bloody get one. You’ll never look back, seriously. Above everything else, it’s the thing we love most in the kitchen. 

You can buy an Actifry from Amazon right here. They’ve lopped £70 off the bigger Actifry too. It’s in grey, but well, you don’t look at the cooker when you’re heating your sausage.

Slimming World sausages

Firstly, apologies for the lack of picture, but I rather thought that six sausages on a plate wouldn’t exactly set the blogosphere alight. I was right. These sausages are £3 from Iceland so they immediately lose a point for the fact you have to fight your way through masses of prawn rings, candied kangaroo mist and Peter fucking Andre. I remember when Iceland launched their Slimming World range and there were groups of people cracking the pavement camping outside the shop, like the answer to all of their prayers in life lay in some watery tomato sauce. Anyway, by the by. These are syn free so perfect for the diet.

They cook well enough – we chuck ours into the Actifry on top of chips and let the mouse’s tear sized bit of fat in them coat the chips. We tried grilling them but they came out looking like a dead dog’s dick, all wrinkly and misshapen. Not good. 

However, they’re tasty enough, with a bit of herb coming through after around forty minutes of chewing. They’re very tough, almost like they’ve been encased in the rubber ring from the bottom of a condom rather than a normal sausage casing, but they do taste good. Yes, they’re not quite sausage like, but they’ll certainly do well for a quick meal and chopped into a pasta salad, they’d hit the spot. They’re also very, very dry (how dry you say? Drier than a popcorn fart), but again, like any good sausage, once you coat them in a bit of sauce you’ll find they’ll fill your hole much easier.

Musclefood chicken sausages

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DISCLAIMER: we received these for free to try from Musclefood, but that’s not going to twist our review. Nope. 

A chicken sausage, you say? Paul balked at the very idea, until I reminded him he used to exist on Smart Price sausages in tomato sauce, and if they’re not made out of homeless people, disappointment and the ash leftover from the Foot and Mouth crisis I’ll eat my fucking hat. It’d certainly taste better. Somewhat relunctanctly, he agreed, and we tried them last night, again putting them into the Actifry on top of the chips so everything cooked together, removing the need for me to bend down in the kitchen to load the dishwasher, which is always a good thing because I invariably end up smacking myself in my face with my own titty. MUST LOSE WEIGHT.

Facts, then. Musclefood’s chicken sausages come in at half a syn each, which is nowt in the grand scheme of things but more than Slimming World’s. They’re also a bit pricier, coming in at £4 for a pack of six. However, it’s only chicken breasts and the various odds and sods you find in sausages, as opposed to the mysterious ‘pork’ you find on SW’s variety. 

These look much better when cooked – you could almost believe they were ‘proper’ sausages, although the sausages we tend to buy when we’re being naughty normally have an oil derrick poking out the top they’re that greasy. Plus neither sausage sizzles, which is sad – you can’t beat the sound of a sizzling sausage.

How do they taste? Good! Again though, so bloody firm – I’ve never had to soak a sausage overnight before I ate it (well, I have, sort of)…no they’re not that bad, but I reckon it must be a theme with ‘healthy’ sausages that they must bounce. The chicken meat comes through and they’re a lot more filling than other sausages – they certainly fared better on their own than other sausages. They’re also a decent size – I mean, you wouldn’t be dashing to the bedroom to put it to a better use, but they’re certainly big enough to satisfy us. 

They’d be good in our breakfast wrap found here or in a sausage casserole. I reckon they’re the better out of the two – they certainly sit better on the belly, and they look appetising. If the cost puts you off, fair enough, but don’t let the syn value be the decider – it’s worth spending your syns on decent food. Remember to live, people.

You can buy Musclefood’s chicken sausages right here. You all know how I feel about Musclefood – they do brilliant meat at excellent prices with decent delivery. Can’t get vexed at that. But you can also buy syn free sausages at Iceland, as long as you’re prepared to come out looking like Electro from Spiderman firing electricity from your hands thanks to all the polyester swishing about.

Enjoy. One day I’ll get the hang of posting a ‘quick’ post!

J