slow cooker cottage pie

Super quick post tonight of slow cooker cottage pie – Christmas party was last night and we’re both proper rough! Straight to it!

slow cooker cottage pie

to make slow cooker cottage pie you will need:

I’m going to say this is syn free – if you want to syn the 0.25 syn of milk, then do. If you’re looking for a decent slow cooker, the one we use is reduced on Amazon right now, and pretty to look at!

to make slow cooker cottage pie you should:

  • add the onion and mince into a hot pan and brown off
  • add the carrots, tomatoes, garlic, peas, tomato puree, celery, worcestershire sauce, thyme and stock and stir to combine
  • decant into the slow cooker and cook for as long as you like on low – a few hours is best to really meld the flavours
  • four hours before you want to eat, cut the potatoes into large chunks (no need to peel) and cook in a large saucepan until tender.
  • drain, add the milk and quickly crack in the egg – mash furiously so the egg mixes in well and doesn’t scramble (don’t use the egg if you’re pregnant – treat yourself to some butter instead)
  • use a spatula or ladle to flatten the meat mixture in the slow cooker so it’s level
  • gently spoon in the mashed potato and smooth off with a fork
  • cover and cook on low for three hours
  • about half an hour towards the end, sprinkle over the grated cheese
  • cover with a tea towel so that it doesn’t touch the food but is taut across the top – this helps to absorb moisture
  • serve!

Easy!

Want more ideas? Click the buttons below!

beefsmallfakeawayssmall    slowcookersmallonepot

Enjoy!

J

slow cooker lasagne

Do you know, I’m never comfortable typing lasagne. I dither for ages as to whether it’s lasagne or lasagna and whenever I type it into google my eyes glaze over through boredom and I give up. So, take your pick. 

Super quick post tonight as we’ve only just got back from returning the Smart Car. Paul loves it. I hate it with the passion of a thousand suns. Admittedly, it was surprisingly roomy (but not roomy enough for any backseat shenanigans…not least because it doesn’t have a backseat, unless you fancy singeing your arse cheeks on the engine and having the Mercedes logo branded above your nipsy) but it was so…I hate to use the word lame, I’m not in Mean Girls, but yes, lame. I’ve never heard a car wheeze before. Paul stepped on the accelerator and it ‘shot away’ from a junction like a stubborn poo round a u-bend – going, but just. It did give the neighbours something to look at however and turning around at the top of the street was great fun as it can seemingly turn on a penny, but no, no, we’re not getting one. Sorry Paul! I embarrassed him today by parking outside the Smart car dealership whilst he was inside handing back the keys and putting the Black Beauty theme on loud. 

Tonight’s recipe, then – slow cooker lasagne. This serves six and only uses one 400g portion of extra lean mince, the type that you can buy from our Musclefood deal by clicking here. Just saying! You can bulk this out as much as you like by adding carrots, courgette, peas – any old shite you happen to have floating around in the back of the freezer. Also, this can easily be made vegetarian by replacing the beef mince with Quorn or similar. But ew, right. I hope they’ve improved Quorn mince since the last time I tried it – it was like digesting loft insulation. This lasagne is pretty much the same method as a normal lasagne. The pasta cooks slowly and is so soft, it’s almost like another sauce. Sounds like I’m having a joke but honestly, it’s good. That’s why it is essential to make your mince sauce as tasty as possible, it carries the dish! 

We served ours with roast potatoes and some steamed broccoli. Oh how fancy. 

SLOW COOKER LASAGNE

Look at it bubbling away…

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Looking good! Right. So…

to make slow cooker lasagne, you’ll need:

  • 400g lean beef mince
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500ml passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 280g lasagne sheets (about 2/3rds of a box)
  • 340g fat-free cottage cheese
  • 250g quark
  • as much reduced fat mozzarella cut into chunks as you like – 65g is one person’s HEA, and this serves six
  • whatever speed food you have about

to make slow cooker lasagne, you should:

  • in a large frying pan heat a little oil/Frylight over a medium high heat, add the onions and sweat down
  • add the garlic and the mince and stir occasionally until no pink meat remains
  • add the chopped tomatoes, passata, tomato puree and any other speed veg you are using into the pan and stir well, cook for a few minutes
  • meanwhile, add all of the cheeses into a bowl and mix together
  • spoon a quarter of the meat mixture into the slow cooker, top with a few lasagne sheets (break them up if you need to) and then spread over the top a quarter of the cheese mixture – repeat this three more times to make layers
  • cook on a low heat for 5 hours with the lid on

This freezes well, you’ll be glad to know. We portioned some up, put it in the freezer and got them about again 15 minutes later to eat. That’s portion control for you!

J


Remember, if you’re a fan of our writing, we now have a book out! You can find that here!

slow cooker: chicken coconut curry

I can’t begin to tell you how sick I am of slow cooker week. Everything tastes the bloody same! I appreciate it’s convenient, I appreciate that it probably saves money, I understand that it saves time…but for goodness sake, I feel like I’m in a Wiltshire Farm Foods advert. And let me tell you, if that was the case, I’d give Ronnie bloody Corbett a smack on the chops because I find his hamster-like face upsetting and the fact that he’s hawking mush to old ladies for a vastly-overinflated price to be quite infuriating. Plus he’s got eyebrows like a seventies porn vagina. No, I like my food to have texture – most of the meals to come out of the slow cooker have less structural integrity than a passing fancy. I’ll rattle one more recipe for you tonight and then it’s back to business – proper bloody food that requires a working set of teeth to get through. As a rule, the only meals you’ll need a straw for going forward are the vodka-and-lemonades that Paul and I sometimes swap our dinner for.

Where have I been anyway? Who are you, my mother? I can tell you’re not because you’re not asking me to fix your iPad. No, the ear pain I mentioned last week became a cheery infection and knocked me for six. For four days it felt like I had been kicked in the head by a pissed off horse. It was all I could do to stay in bed demanding ice-cream and comfort from poor Paul, who had to take over all the duties within the house. Actually, he does them anyway, just this time with me being ill he wasn’t allowed to complain about it. The poor bugger. He’s a trooper though and I don’t give him his dues often enough. LOVE YOU DEAR.

So what’s been happening this week? I managed to get into a proper argument with some pallid-faced swamp donkey on facebook who tried to peddle her Juice Plus shite in my group. She private messaged me to tell me that the fact I’d deleted her snake-oil post told her that I hate women and people who try to make a go of themselves. Honestly – I could eat a tin of alphabet spaghetti and shit out a better argument than that. I don’t hate women (except Mylenne Klass…and I don’t hate her, she just makes my skin shiver) and I’m all for entrepreneurship, but as well you all know, I can’t bear the idea of vulnerable folk being duped into buying worthless, untested medicines on the scientific advice of a hairdresser from Worksop. What I can’t get my head around is the fact PEOPLE FALL FOR IT. Why?! I can understand folks who are seriously ill buying a pill in the vain hope of it helping, but spending hundreds of pounds just to shift a bit of weight? Bah! Are these the same people who buy laptops from a car boot sale and get them home to unwrap a cardboard box full of bricks? Or the people who get an unsolicited phone-call from Microsoft telling them they need to buy antivirus software at a cost of two bajillion pounds? Honestly. How do these people sleep at night? Penniless, I presume. Anyway, the argument rumbled on for ages, with Juice Plus curing her of depression, suicidal thoughts, liver disease, tennis elbow, easy living and fast cars (apparently it didn’t cure her of her verbal diarrhoea or dirty mouth), until I copied our chat in with the Juice Plus representatives and left it at that. I know nothing will come of it because Juice Plus is a dishonest pyramid scheme sold by numpties and dolts, but meh, made me feel better.

Now, my next piece is going to feel like an advert for Amazon Prime, and well, although I’m going to stick a link on the bottom, this isn’t really an advert at all. Just an observation. Paul and I are members of Amazon Prime, and have been for a very long while. I can’t remember the last time I paid for it because every time something is late, they stick an extra month on the membership. We’ve become accustomed to ordering something on a whim and having it turn up the next day, which is handy as it gives us no time for buyer’s remorse. Hence the cat tower. Hence the all-in-one breakfast sandwich maker. Hence the shit-you-not Teasmade. A bloody Teasmade, I ask you – I don’t even drink tea in the morning. I don’t get out of bed unless I’m having a palpitation just from smelling my morning coffee. Anyway, we got a little email the other day with the news that Amazon Prime Now has launched in Newcastle. What is it? You order something on Amazon, and it’s delivered within two hours for free.

Well fuck me. The only thing from turning Paul and I into perfect spheres with weak ankles is our inability to muster up the energy to drive to ASDA of an evening to buy ice-cream. Now it’s delivered by Amazon within enough time for Paul and I to have quick marriage-friendly nookie, make tea and watch Emmerdale. It’s too convenient. It’s not without flaws, though. You can only select from a range of groceries and flimflam via their App, which is proper hokey. I put ‘dip’ into the search box and it suggested some taramasalata, tzatziki and er, industrial strength cat-nip. One whole kilogram of the stuff. A kilo of cat-nip delivered within two hours! Unless you’re fighting a fucking tiger in your box-room, who the hell needs that? Nevertheless, we persevered and placed an order full of Slimming World friendly things – the usual Haagen Daaz, Goodfellas pizza and bags of Skittles. Look, we had to spend thirty quid, and I wasn’t going to spend it on bloody quinoa. I bet Mags is sucking on a Bensons and Hedges quite furiously with the thought but you know, I’ve got to let my (apparently Geography-teacher-esque) hair down.

What followed was a tense 80 minutes where we watched, in real-time, our order being picked from somewhere on an industrial estate in Gateshead (hey, we didn’t order a bag of ket and mild domestic battery, did we?) – all terribly exciting. When the screen updated to show ‘MARK’ had picked up our order and was beetling up the A1 to our house, well, we were agog. It’s a bloody miracle, technology. We had it on the big TV in our living room like the shittest, cheapest version of 24 you can imagine. The whole process fell down at the end though, because the driver turned onto our street and spent five minutes trying to find our house. I’ll give you a clue, mate – it’s the only one that’s not attached to any others, plus we were flashing the lights from green to red whenever he backed his van out of sight. The groceries were all nicely chilled and the ice-cream was spot-on. It took eighty eight minutes from beginning to end, and that includes 5 minutes of the driver being unable to find the only house in the street to be named after a sexual consequence.

Would I recommend it? Yes. Amazon Prime is amazing, anyway, if you’re a big Amazon shopper. Yes it costs £79 a year but you get plenty of perks with it. Plus, you can always sign up for a trial and then cancel. But don’t forget to actually cancel. Otherwise you’ll be one of those turds who complain about getting money taken out of your bank account for something you’ve asked for. This two hour thing is dangerous for Paul and I though – we already dish out way too much of our monthly pink-pound disposable income to Amazon – I can’t help feeling that eventually I’m going to be paying them my wages direct and they’ll be sending a box van of goodies every month, probably branded Amazon Instant, with a picture of a smiling man sucking the pound coins from my pocket on the side. Ah well. If you did want to try it, you can do so here.

 

 

I still can’t believe it. I’m easily impressed, but jesus, Amazon stuff delivered within two hours for nowt. I remember ordering pornography online back when we first got the internet and actually taking time off from school just to sit by the letterbox for about two weeks in case my father accidentally opened my post and wondered who the hell had sent him RUGBY CUM BATH 2: SCRUM, BUM AND ORAL FUN on DVD. I might have made that title up but you get the drift. I feel I should hasten to say that my parents weren’t lax when it came to supervising my internet security…I was just better at it. Honestly, you parents out there who think the kids can’t access what they want on the internet, you’re so wrong.

Finally, Paul, being a sod and knowing I didn’t have the iPad with me on my commute into work on Friday, started streaming Enya’s new album through the car speakers. Yes, I could have turned it off, but then I have to listen to myself swearing at people and I shame myself, so I left it on. Jesus, how does she do it? It’s like she records one song and then changes the key, layers it on top of another song, and plays it backwards. She’s the aural equivalent of a malfunctioning self-checkout. An ex of mine used to be absolutely obsessed with her, almost to the point of being unable to come without me whispering LET THE ORINOCO FLOW in his ear as we made love. I say made love, he was a means to an end, so let’s not romanticise it too much. Anyway, I spent most evenings at the age of seventeen being forced to smile politely as he showed me the Irish tinker caterwauling her way through videos that looked like something even a gap-yah student would deem too pretentious. Christ it’s no wonder I’m so mentally fragile.

Let’s do the chicken coconut curry. I actually typed cocknut curry there. I can’t decide whether that actually might look better.

low syn chicken coconut curry

to make chicken coconut curry, you’ll need:

and to make chicken coconut curry, you should:

  • well, hazard a bloody guess
  • no? chuck it all in the slow cooker, cook for six to seven hours, serve with rice

Serves four. Looks worse than it tastes. I hate slow cookers!

J

slow cooker: colourful mash

Please stop prefixing all of your sentences with the word ‘well’, people. No, come on. It makes it sound like everyone has been holding their breath waiting for the revelation that you’ve put the cat out or spent the afternoon with your feet up having a cheeky glass of Bellabrusco. It’s not needed.

Only a quick post tonight because a) we have ironing to do and b) my ear hurts. Really hurts. Clearly this is my punishment for having a bag of Revels at the drive-in cinema yesterday, but it was either that or a hotdog served up with a side of phlegm from the hairy lass on the food-stall, so I think I made the right choice. The drive-in itself was really quite fun too – not least because I spend most of a cinema trip in some discomfort from holding in a fart, whereas in my own car I could trump to my heart’s content and the people either side of us could do nothing about it other than wind their windows up and gag into their airbag. Inside Out was a bit of a bust mind, but that could be more to do with the fact we were watching it from a distance through the pouring rain. I felt like a peeping tom. I’d still recommend the experience, though.

Tonight’s meal is mash done in a slow cooker. Whilst trying desperately to find a recipe that didn’t involve pulled this or shredded that, I discovered you could do mash in the slow cooker. Do you need to? I’m not sure. But it does look pretty.

colourful mash

Can I just say, you have no idea how much work goes into using mirrored bowls and not accidentally reflecting my knob into the pictures.

to make slow cooker colourful mash, you’ll need:

  • however many potatoes you normally use for your mash
  • one red pepper
  • one yellow pepper
  • bunch of spring onions
  • handful of jalapeños
  • 50ml of chicken stock – add more if you have ‘dry’ potatoes – just keep an eye on them and make sure they don’t boil dry
  • 30g of hard goats cheese (optional) (HEA)
  • splash of milk
  • salt and pepper

to make slow cooker colourful mash, you should:

  • chop up your potatoes into manageable chunks and drop into the slow cooker
  • chop up the peppers, onion and jalapeno into nice square chunks and place on the top
  • pour on the stock
  • cook on low for three hours
  • mash up in the pan – don’t aim for super-smooth, you want it looking like a bowl of GINO O GINO GINELLI TUTTI FRUTTI ICE CREAM ABBONDANZA 
  • grate in the cheese and add enough milk to loosen it
  • dunno, serve this with sausages or something, at least the kids will eat it

In fact, let me just leave this here:

Actually, it’s genuinely really good – comfort food! You could add bacon too, if you were feeling like a proper decadent slut.

J

slow cooker: sticky fruity pulled pork burger

Have to be quick tonight, as we’re going out to a drive-in to watch Inside Out. I’m not going to lie, it’ll be unusual for Paul and I to be parked by the seafront at night without a lorry driver poking his knob through the passenger side window, but we’ll give it a go. I’m kidding, we don’t do that. We found a deal for said drive-in on LivingSocial and thought, well why not. We wanted to see Grease but apparently the good people in South Shields beat us to it, which is surprising as I genuinely didn’t think you could drive a car with webbed fingers.

My facebook woes continue – I’ve just been deleted from the Newcastle ‘Pick Up My Tat’ (swapping) page for pointing out that someone’s light-up, flashing, disco headboard is one of the tackiest things I’ve ever seen. Someone with a name that sounds like a company that manufactures t-shirts for a market stall (Demi-Marie?) kicked off, said I had no right ‘dissing her bed’ and blocked me. You can just imagine how devastated I am.

Seriously mind, who orders a bed with a flashing headboard? Humans do two things in bed – sleep and shag. Neither of those activities are helped by a bed that looks like the world’s shittest nightclub. Either you’re going to be kept awake by a bed that resembles the back of a lorry making a three-point-turn on a country lane or you’re going to be held off your vinegar strokes by a seizure. 

Let’s quickly discuss that John Lewis advert, shall we? This one?

Yeah yeah. I’m sure your facebook walls have been awash with emoticons of crying faces and people posting statuses like ‘OMG!!!Q1 TEURS STREEMING DOWN MY ARSE SO SAD’ and the noise of thousands upon thousands of mooing cattle trying to outdo themselves with sentimental guff and tearful reactions. Well honestly. Have a Mars Bar and man the fuck up. I don’t understand the fuss and frothing over the various John Lewis adverts, truly I don’t, and I’m not just saying that to be wicked-cool. They’re pretty to look at, yes, but so is a rainbow, and that doesn’t mawkishly yank on my heartstrings like a coked up campanologist. This advert, featuring a dirty old bugger sitting on the moon lamenting his bail conditions and spying on a wee lass in her pyjamas…well, it doesn’t scream Christmas, does it? Aside from that bit where Alexis and Alexander sit down in their Farrow & Ball coated dining room for a split-second of sprout-eating before letting their child get back to hurling paper out of the window, it’s about as Christmassy as an Easter egg. And that bloody song – is there a piece of software that takes any decent piece of music and runs it through a filter so it sounds like the dying gasp of a sparrow? Pfft. 

Mind, I’m a massive hypocrite, because I love the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert. I do! But there is a giant cat in it, so you know, I can be excused. I laugh at the sentiment though – I can tell you now that if we had a house fire, some of our neighbours wouldn’t be coming around with plates of food and beaming faces. No, we’d get them traipsing across our lawn moaning that there was ash blowing on their washing and could we please do something about the smoke because poor Colin’s asthmatic and he’s two puffs from running out of Ventolin. 

Anyway, tonight’s recipes makes enough for eight. I know we said we’d try and stay away from pulled pork, but well, we had to do it once, and put into burgers…well, it’s amazing.  Plus, if you have any meat left over, you can cook it down with pasta and tomatoes and make a very quick lunch. So there.

FRUITY BUNS

Come on, admit it. You want to push your face into that and shake it all about. Before anyone asks, the chips are from our perfect roasties recipe, found here.

to make fruity pulled pork burgers, you’ll need:

to make fruity pulled pork burgers, you should:

  • mince your garlic, chop your onion, tip everything bar the coleslaw and bun into a slow cooker and cook for nine hours on low
  • remove the pork, put on a plate and pull apart with two forks
  • tip the sauce into a frying pan and heat it on high to reduce it right down
  • tip in the pork and stir, getting everything nice and sticky and thick
  • serve!

The breadbun is your HEB – if you have two, don’t forget to syn the extra bun.

Any leftover pork can be turned into this:

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Just make a sauce of tomatoes, chopped artichoke, onion and garlic and add the meat in. Heat through and serve with pasta! 

DONE.

J

slow cooker: cheeseburger soup (really)

I’m in a bit of a huff, so if you’re old-fashioned about swearing, skip to the recipe. Swearing follows.

Yes, cheeseburger soup. I’m putting this up on here as a rare example of when our food doesn’t look very good! As it was bubbling away in the slow cooker all I could think was that it looked like someone had already eaten it, half-digested it and then brought it back up. It looks vile. But, just to be contrary, it tasted pretty good. So: perhaps give it a go.

Can we talk about this stupid voice that young ladies seem to have decided is just right-and-dandy for this modern world? I know it’s been discussed to death but it drives me so far up the wall I have to stop and fill up at Vertical Petrol on the way. I’ll give you an example. Tonight in Tesco I was in that unhappy situation where everywhere I went, the same shopper and her melt of a boyfriend went. I had to buy peas, there she was, I had to buy KY jelly, there she was again, speaking like thiiiiiiiiisssss and draaaaaawing out raaaaaandaaaam syllaaaaables for god knows why. I just can’t bear it. Things came to a head, as they so often do, in the reduced vegetables bit, where she picked up every fucking item and croaked what she thought was a witty rejoinder to everything – ‘OMG who even (EVAN) needs a baaaaaaay-bee sweet potaaaaahto‘ ‘OMG look at these taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaangerines they’re like 8p‘ ‘jeeeeesus what’s a squaaash LOL’ (and she SAID LOL) – to which I threw down the peas that had been turning into puree in my hands and stalked off with a loud OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE.

I know, not big nor clever, and probably made me look like an arse on reflection, but I think I’d genuinely rather have my ears pissed in by a horse than have to deal with that. Not everything needs schtick. Why do people pretend so? You’re from Kingston Park lover, not Sweet Valley fucking High. It did cross my mind that her cotton-bud shaped boyfriend might have caught up with me to rough me up in the yoghurt aisle but frankly he looked the sort who couldn’t direct a shit into a toilet bowl, so my fears were groundless.

To be honest, I was just in a huff because yet again it took me an interminable amount of time getting home for the third night in a row. At least tonight I got a bit of satisfaction from sending some douchebag in an Audi down onto the Central Motorway rather than letting him cut in at the lights. I was late yesterday due to someone breaking down right in front of me and blocking the way (fair enough, not like I could help, I know less about mechanics than I do about the female orgasm) and I was late getting home on Monday due to being caught up in a protest by our local taxi drivers. They had decided to go on a ‘go-slow’ protest of driving their cars very carefully around Newcastle, blocking the roads and delaying people in protest of Newcastle City Council scrapping the ‘knowledge’ test that’s usually mandatory for taxi drivers up here. I hadn’t realised anything was different with cars going around Newcastle at 3mph until I heard Carol on Look North explain it whilst I scraped yesterday’s dinner out of the slow cooker. They’ve got a point, though. I hate taxis at the best of time because I like driving and don’t enjoy strained conversation about football and tits, but I can tolerate them if the driver is decent and they know where they’re going. But, more often than not, they don’t – and it’s not like I live in some far-off utopia, I’m just off the A1. I recently had a taxi driver who not only wanted me to instruct him, he also made me sit in the front because he was a ‘bit muff and jeff’. I almost asked if he didn’t just want to go the whole hog and have us switch seats and for me to drive him home, bit was dark and there are a lot of country fields that I could be rolled into a carpet and dumped into, so I didn’t.

There was a taxi driver in Orlando who comes to mind – he took us from Disney to Orlando International Airport. All very pleasant, bar for the fact he was a) off his face and b) on the game. He kept turning around to talk to us, letting his car veer across the road whilst he did so, and went from gentle conversation about Cher to offering us hardcore gay sex and free crystal meth. You don’t get that offer with Blueline Taxis. I remember him tossing us a cigar tube and telling us to take a sniff, which naively I did, before realising it was weed, which pretty much guaranteed me getting fingered for drugs by a swarthy security guard later at the airport. Ah fun times. He did tell us he was going to take his mother to see Cher before she died (his mother, not Cher, I♫ BE-LEE-IEVE ♫ she died many years ago and is just a corpse on strings now) (ah that’s mean, I like Cher)…I wonder if he ever got there. Probably not. He looked like he lived the type of life which ends up with you motionless in a pool with a bumhole like a yawning dog. 

I’d love to be a taxi driver, although I reckon most of my passengers would be putting in claims for tinnitus because I’m always shouting and bawling away inside my car. It’s stress relief. I can talk to people quite freely when I’m in control of the situation so the social side of things would be fine – essentially if they ever started a sentence with ‘I’M NOT RACIST BUT‘ I could just speed round a corner, open their door and tumble them out under a passing lorry. I’d struggle with people who smell like sour milk or those people who put out their cigarette and stick the remainder back in the packet because you have no idea how bad that makes you smell, but generally, I’d be good.  

I’d definitely be good. ANYWAY look, The Apprentice is on soon and even though I hate looking at Alan Sugar’s tiny growling bum of a face, I’m still hooked. So here’s the recipe, which serves 6:

cheeseburger soup

to make cheeseburger soup you will need:

to make cheeseburger soup you will need to:

  • heat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and cook the onions and mince until no pink remains
  • add the all of the ingredients except for the milk and cheese into the slow cooker and cook over a low heat for six hours
  • when cooked, add the milk and cheese to the slow cooker and stir well to combine – allow to cook for another five minutes or so
  • serve – reassure your guests that this isn’t vomit and enjoy! Decorate with a few bits of cheese, a couple of chunks of carrot maybe…

slow cooker: beary beery barley beef stew

We’re having a quiet night tonight for two reasons – we’re both extremely tired due to us having different (but equally terrifying) nightmares last night that kept us awake – mine (Paul) involved a nuclear war, his had something about an old woman. I weren’t really listening. There’s nowt more boring than listening to someone else’s dreams.

Tonight’s recipe is naturally incredibly butch. I know it looks like something that fell out my arse, but trust me – this is truly delicious and just perfect for a cold night. If you have kiddiwinks and want to give them this, feel free to go ahead – the booze will boil off, and anyway, there’s not much tipple in here anyway so even the weakest lightweight won’t even have an eyelid flutter. This is also perfect for all the fans of slow cookers out there, which judging from our inbox asking for recipes must include nearly every one of you! 

 

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to make beary beery barley beef stew you will need:

  • 400g lean stewing beef, cubed – Musclefood have come through for us – you can get BUY ONE GET ONE FREE on their beef chunks (already cheap and no fat) by clicking here, entering the code TCCHUNKS at the checkout
  • 1 onion (brown works best here but a red onion will still be okay)
  • 500g mixed root vegetables of your choice (we used carrots, parnips and a turnip)
  • ½ pint pale ale (we used Brew Dog’s Dead Pony Club, and very nice it was too) (about 4 syns)
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 750ml beef stock
  • bouquet garni

to make beary beery barley beef stew you should:

  • chop everything up into chunks – the root vegetables should be no bigger than the size of your thumb
  • pour everything together into the slow cooker and heat on low for 8-10 hours
  • that’s it!

Enjoy!

slow cooker: stuffed mexican chilli and lime beef tortillas

Ah, I love you lot. We can post delicious dinners that we’ve laboured over for many an hour and ne’ry a mention of it anywhere, but post a KFC recipe and you go mad on social media! Still, not complaining – we’re exactly the same! We’re going to try and do a ‘takeaway’ recipe once a month going forward, if only so it gives us an excuse to go to McDonalds next. Like we need an excuse!

Right, slow cooker week it is. I have to confess, I’m not a huge fan of the slow cooker. It’s certainly convenient – I appreciate having the dinner cooked and ready for us by the time we get in the house. But CHRIST it makes everything in the house smell like a dinner lady’s fart for a good few weeks. Is that just us? I find myself flapping my coat on the back of my chair at work and someone across the office will ask who’s bought rabbit stew in. Plus, everyone seems to get oddly evangelical about them – the amount of women I’ve had in slimming classes clutch at my arm and say ‘oooooo but the meat it just falls off the bone lover’ or some regional variant is uncountable. I’m presuming that’s not a half-hearted attempt to get in my trousers.

I don’t need my food to feel like it’s pre-chewed – if I’m getting to that point, I’d sooner be put on a drip and fed that way, because then at least I could watch TV lying down. Every fatty’s dream. Also, you may remember I’m an anxious sort, and I find it difficult not to believe that the slow-cooker is going to overheat and set my kitchen on fire. I’d hate ‘cauliflower and lentil curry’ to be put down on the insurance form. On top of all of this, we made a recipe ahead of schedule last night only to sleep in way past the time we should have got up and found a meal so cooked and burnt that we had to throw out the slow cooker. Probably for the best – it was a Morphy Richards thing and was absolute bobbins.

If you don’t have a slow-cooker, get one. They’re only normally around £30 for a decent one and the model we’ve bought, from Amazon, is reduced from £36 to £23. Nice. You can click here for that. It goes red with the rest of the things in our kitchen – our stand mixer, our glass toaster, Paul’s face. We’ve also done quite a few slow cooker recipes before:

Tonight’s recipe is a bit of a spin on the spicy pork in sauce recipe above, which you could just as easily use. We wanted to do a recipe with meat cooked in fizzy pop because there seems to be so many people getting their growler damp at the thought of Diet Coke chicken at the moment, or curries made with Fanta. God knows why. The below recipe, based on the fact you get eight of those tortillas in a pack, easily makes enough for eight with a lot of beef left over which can be put into a salad the day after). So…

stuffed mexican chilli and lime beef tortillas

to make stuffed mexican chilli and lime beef tortillas, you’ll need:

  • 500ml of Sprite (now it’s up to you – you can use sugar free if you want, and lose seven syns off the whole dish, but the full sugar version is better for flavour – and this makes a LOT of beef so those few syns spread very thinly)
  • some of those Old El Paso stand and stuff tortillas – now, let me say this. These come in at 4 and half syns each, and when I saw them cradled in a hand on the packaging I thought they were a decent size. They’re not. They’re tiny. If you want to use them like we did, do, but you could just serve this on top of a bed of rice without the tortilla thing and again, save the syns. Plus, for reasons inexplicable, they remind me a bit of vaginas, so that’s that
  • tomato salsa (1/2 syn per tablespoon…to be honest, I don’t count it, I know I know)
  • two packets of Tesco savoury rice (4 syns for two packets) made up, or, make your own rice and save the syns!)
  • 1kg of rolled beef brisket (feel free to drop this down in weight, or use chunks) – we used the good guys at Musclefood again, and it cost us £7, which is nowt given how much it makes
  • pinch of chilli powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely cut
  • juice of two fat limes

to make stuffed mexican chilli and lime beef tortillas, you should:

  • put the beef, sliced garlic, Sprite, chilli powder and salt in the slow cooker
  • cover, and cook on low for eight hours, or as long as you like
  • shred the beef, mix with the juice from the limes
  • assemble your tortilla – bit of rice, lots of meat, squirt of juice, bit of salsa

Remember, you can drop the syns down to a syn per serving if you do away with the ‘boats’. I don’t think they’re needed! Up to you though. 

Off to iron into the small hours now. Booo.

J

bloody mary beef, discuss

Tonight’s recipe comes from a friend who recommended it to me with such gusto and fervency that I couldn’t refuse. She’s one of the three who hold the keys to my chains at work, so I couldn’t really say no – but as it happens, we had a chunk of beef the size of a Volkswagen Golf parked in our freezer that kept tumbling onto Paul’s toes whenever he reached for the frozen peas, so it was a decent opportunity to use that up. Right? It’s a Jamie Oliver recipe made suitable for Slimming World and it pretty much cooks itself overnight in a slow-cooker, so even you can do it. A lot of people don’t care for Jamie Oliver but I rather like the man – he’s got a good heart and seems to mean well. Fair enough, he might have a face not unlike an over-inflated tyre, but still. Nobody’s perfect.

I still feel rotten (worse!) – my head feels like someone has sucked out my brain and piped in a load of cotton wool. My joints ache and my jaw is throbbing, though that’s possibly from telling Paul over and over and over again how manky I’m feeling. So you’ll forgive me if I’m not here long. That said, I wanted to mention the most ridiculous argument I had last night with some absolute stream of arse-gravy who was trying to have a pop at me for explaining how to cook an omelette. Her ‘proposal’ was to find a zippable (?) sandwich bag, pour in four eggs, seal the bag, break the eggs up, open the bag, add all the toppings, seal it again, boil the bag in a pan full of water and then after a few minutes, out slides the “omelette’ like a bright orange poo full of undigested tomato. Apparently, this saves time.

For goodness sake. An omelette is one of the quickest meals you can make as long as you’re not so mentally deficient you don’t know how to crack an egg, and if that’s the case, you’d perhaps be better served colouring in and eating lead. Crack eggs into jug, beat the eggs, pour into pan, allow to stiffen, add toppings, fold over, finish under grill. If James Martin and some random bag of hormones from Hollyoaks can do it on Saturday Kitchen then so can anyone. I mentioned this and got “well we can’t all be fucking mastercheffs‘, followed by lots of huffing and unbecoming puffing and argument style which felt like I was getting sassed by Dizzee Rascal, which doesn’t quite suit a “full time mammy” from Surbiton. Ignoring the fact that she’d quite semi-literally over-egged the pudding with her ‘recipe’, I’d hardly call being able to make an omelette ‘highly-skilled’. I chose a decent deal in Subway this morning and saved £1.35, that doesn’t make me Lord bloody Sugar. Thank Christ, his earlobes terrify me. Why must we revel in ignorance? I exited the “conversation” when I realised she looked the double of H from Steps and I couldn’t write anything without shoehorning in a Steps reference. 

OK, I sneaked two in. I said it was a Tragedy that she was getting so upset, and that the conversation was Better Best Forgotten. What AM I like.

The recipe, then. You don’t need to use the vodka, but really, it evaporates off during cooking and anyway, it’s so few syns it’s not worth stressing about. Also, this makes so much (serves eight, easily) that you can save some of the meat and sauce and mix with spaghetti the day after for lunch.

bloody mary beef

so to make bloody mary beef, you’ll need:

  • 1kg beef – we used a roasting joint from Tesco
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped into chunks
  • 4 small red onions, peeled and quartered
  • 700g passata
  • 1x bouquet garni bag
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3cm piece of horseradish, finely grated OR 1 tbsp from a jar (1 syn)
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • few drops of Tabasco sauce
  • 3 tbsp vodka (6 syns, barely)
  • juice of half a lemon

so to make bloody mary beef, you should:

  • juice of half a lemon
  • instructions:
  • preheat the oven to 130 degrees celsius (gas mark 1/2)
  • heat a large casserole dish (we bought one of these a while back (click) and although expensive, we use it almost daily – well worth the money – also, reduced by £40!) on the hob over a medium heat and add a splash of oil
  • season the beef with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan and cook for about ten minutes, until it’s browned all over
  • add the chopped celery and onions to the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5-10 minutes until he veg has softened slightly
  • mix together the passata, horseradish, worcestershire and tabasco sauce, vodka and lemon juice in a jug with 250ml water, and pour into the pan. stir to mix
  • lob in the bouquet garni bag 
  • cut out some greaseproof paper to just larger than the casserole dish and place over the top, pushing the middle of the paper down onto the surface of the food – this helps create a better ‘seal’
  • cover with the lid and cook in the oven for five hours
  • when cooked, pull the beef apart with two forks and serve – in our case, we served with horseradish mash (make mash, add horseradish and boiled cabbage) and tenderstem broccoli

Delicious!

J

spicy pork in a citrus sauce

First, a question – does anyone else make the car dance around when they’re driving along and a particularly good song comes on. I almost crashed before coming back from Tesco making the back of the car boogie along to Funkytown. Honestly imagine that on my death certificate – cause of death ‘Lipps Inc’s infectious grasp of beats’. Mortifying.

Hey, we’ve been gardening today. Outside of our kitchen is a square of soil that nothing other than the rosemary beast seems to grow in – it’s exceptionally thick clay and well, I can’t be arsed to treat it. So, we dug everything out, buried these nice coloured plant pots, filled them with compost and have replanted the rosemary, bay, thyme and chives and added garlic, mint, parsley, oregano and sage. We’ve then covered the soil around the buckets with bark. It needs levelling out and the bricks pressure washed and the fence painted (that’s for the gardener to do) but it got dark and we got lazy, but it doesn’t look too bad!

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Anyway, I forgot to mention yesterday that we actually went back for our weigh-in to our NEW group – Saturday morning. We did try a couple of others during the week but they’ve either been too big or don’t quite marry up with our availability. Problem is…it’s 8.30am in the morning! The plan is that it’ll encourage us to use up the remainder of the Saturday instead of languishing in bed until 1pm and then sitting naked until one of us ventures to the shop for breakfast.

So how did we do? Well, badly!

james – 2lb on; and

paul – 1lb on.

Fuck. Well actually no. It’s not suprising – I’ve been eating all sorts of crap at work given I’ve been working crazy hours (almost 90 hours overtime in two weeks) – I’m actually pretty chuffed it’s only 2lb! I’ve had Wagamamas, a Chinese, Dominos pizza, more chocolate than I know what to do with (and wait until you see tomorrow’s post). I’ve been eating healthy at home, and I can only presume that Paul has been comfort eating through the lack of my wobbly arse blowing around the house. Plus, without wanting to be crass, both of us had brown dogs scratching to be let out but hadn’t had time to free them, so there’s probably a good 1lb for the each of us right there. I do think the damage could have been so much worse if we’d been eating crap at home too.

However, we’re not going to be able to weigh in next week because…we’re going on holiday! Here’s the twist – we have absolutely no plans. We both finish work on Friday at 5pm and then we have ten days off. We could end up absolutely anywhere – the only thing that we’ve done is set a budget. We might turn up at the airport and jet off, we might hire a campervan, we might get a train into Europe, who knows? Given our maximum level of adventure is normally eating an after-eight mint at half seven, this is new grounds for us. OH and before anyone thinks of burgling our sweet little home, my cousin is staying here for the week to look after the cats. SO THERE.

So our next weigh in will be Saturday 5th – but with a week of holiday AND my birthday, it might be catastrophic. But after that, we’re doing our Nuclear Week (see the 7777 banner above) and we will still be posting recipes until we go away – and if you’re really good, I might even queue up some recipes to come on when we’re away!

Speaking of recipes, this was a beauty – pork carnitas made in the slow cooker. It’s pork cooked slowly in orange and lime juice, with a blend of spices and a little bit of stock. Tasty and although GASP you’ll need to count syns, you’re only using…1.5 SYNS. Call the motherfucking police!

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to make spicy pork in a citrus sauce, you’ll need:

four pork chops with all fat removed and cut into little strips, two medium onions (diced), 4 garlic cloves (minced – how many times have I told you about these? Get one!), 1 tsp of cumin, 1 tbsp of chilli powder, 1tbsp of chipotle mix (we found ours in Tesco), 1tbsp of finely chopped oregano from your herb garden or dried from the cupboard like a pleb, 1 tsp of salt and one of pepper, 100ml of chicken stock, 4 tablespoons of lime juice (microwave your lime for 5 seconds and then squeeze, you’ll get shitloads more juice) and 250ml of Tropicana 50/50 orange juice (1 syn for 100ml – so 2.5 syns for this, which serves two).

NOTE: Batchelors Super Rice is now 2 syns a packet. Boo. But haway.

to make spicy pork in a citrus sauce, you should:

chuck everything into the slow cooker, stir, and whack on high for six hours or low for eight. Then, scoop the pork and onions out and shred the pork with a fork. Set the juice aside. Put the shredded pork back in the slow cooker on high for fifteen minutes just to dry out a smidge and put the juice into a pan and heat on a medium to high heat for that fifteen minutes to thicken the sauce. Combine the lot and serve with rice! We were lazy and used Batchelors Super Rice which is syn free.

TASTY.

J