chive vinegar – a syn-free flavourful dressing

We got into an argument today in the car-park of a fucking farm-shop. I mean seriously, a farm-shop, it doesn’t get any more middle-class-on-a-Saturday than that. To complete the scene, we had only stopped to see if they sold duck eggs. Anyway, we had parked Paul’s little Micra between the lines of the bay as any normal, educated people would do. Some Red-Leicester-coloured, wrinkly, pendulum-tittied tart got out her car to the left and crashed her door into the side of ours. ‘Accidentally’. And didn’t apologise. I was foaming – not so much for any possible damage to the car (there was a bit of a scrape, but it’s our ‘scrappy’ car so I don’t mind, it only adds to the character) but more for her nonchalance.

When I pointed out that she’d hit our car, she told me (quote) “the fucking wind caught my door”. Looking at her, her face had clearly caught a fucking sandstorm, but that’s by the by. I asked her to be more careful only to be met with a volley of abuse as she stomped off into the shop. Seriously now what happened to manners? It wouldn’t really look too good having two big bald men shouting at one woman so we couldn’t continue, but it took all of my good breeding not to climb on top of her shitty Ford Ka (missing the letters AAAHNT) and take a dump on her windscreen.

I can’t bear people like that. Accidents happen – she did – but fucking apologise, for crying out loud. Since when did it become OK to waltz through life without any personal responsibility? £10 says she’s the type who thinks acting classy is hanging a Magic Tree from her inevitable clit-ring before she sets off for a prison visit. Gah. Anyway. Recipe.

Now you might think this is a bit of a cheek as it isn’t really much of a recipe, but look, one thing I find Slimming World can fall down on is flavour, and this is a nice, simple way of injecting a bit of flavour into a meal – the chive flowers create a subtle onion taste and the vinegar can be combined with a touch of oil to make a decent salad dressing. I have to admit, it looks pretty sitting there in its Kilner jar, but please don’t be tempted to give something like this as a gift. I know that Nigella lassie pretends that she goes around to her friends on the bus with a box of handmade chutney, but this is real-life, and no-one will thank you for some onion vinegar, Kilner or no.

Chive flowers grow on the top of chives, obviously, and you can eat them raw or cut up into a salad. If you don’t have chive flowers, don’t worry – you won’t be able to make this just yet, but chives are the easiest plant to grow. Get yourself to a garden centre, knock all the hairy-chinned old biddies into the flowerbeds, pick up a chive plant and drop it into a container of soil. As long as you remember to occasionally water it and don’t cover it in salt or bleach, it’ll come along nicely, and you can use chives wherever the recipe calls for a subtle onion taste.

chive vinegar

you’ll be needing these:

  • 2 or 3 chive flowers
  • Enough white vinegar to fill up your jar
  • A suitably pretentious jar

and you’ll need to do this:

  • Fill your jar with vinegar
  • Push the chive flowers in
  • Seal and leave to sit for a couple of days
  • Once the vinegar has gone a suitably camp pink, use a toothpick to fish out the chive flowers – or leave them in if you like a strong onion flavour

Enjoy!

 

cheesy smash scones

Gosh, I love a Saturday – the traffic to the blog spikes like crazy and we always get a swell of new people joining. Hello one and all, don’t forget to tell your friends. That was the deal. Don’t make me Princess Di you, I’ve got access to a Fiat Uno. You’ll find a link to all the recipes at the top of the page, together with an FAQ for new members of Slimming World and some other flim-flam.  Tonight’s recipe is for slimming world smash scones, and tomorrow’s Slimming World Classic is salt and pepper chicken, but we’ve jazzed it up just a smidge. The recipe that we found out was ‘fry chicken, add salt, add pepper’ which isn’t a recipe at all. Their other recipes included ‘elegant tannin slurp’ (boil kettle, add milk, add tea-bag). Knobbers. Maybe I made that bit up, you’re not the boss here.

Anyway, back to Ireland, where you may remember we were spending an awful amount of time driving around and being snotty about craft shops? Well rest assured that this continued unabated. But first, an observation. See, Paul and I have the type of marriage where we can openly discuss other good-looking men without one of us throwing a paddy and waving a pair of blunt scissors at the other’s cock, and as a result we were looking forward to seeing plenty of rough-hewn Irish farmer types with bushy beards and big soft eyes strutting around. Well, pfft. For a start, everyone was about 2ft tall. Seriously, they’d have blinded themselves if they’d pulled their socks up. Plus, weedy – apparently despite only having shops that sell Daniel O’Donnell tat and Guinness fiddle-faddle the men have found somewhere that sells those bloody awful Abercrombie and Fitch hoodies and tiny pin-leg jeans. THAT’S NOT MANLY. I even saw a man-bun (and you may remember how I feel about that) on someone serving diesel in the last petrol station before civilisation ended. I bet if we go back in a year there will be burgers in brioche buns and someone drinking out of a watering can. Pissheads. Scotland has the best blokes – then England, then Wales, then Ireland.

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That’s what we were expecting…

Studio portrait of young man

That’s what we got. GOD-DAMN IT IRELAND.

We visited a chocolate factory. I say visited, Paul barely had time to register the words coming up on the turn-off sign before I had swerved the car across the road and into the car-park. I swear I was inside at the tasting station before he’d even unsuckered the sat-nav from the windscreen. MIND. It was a bit of a stretch to call it a chocolate factory, given it seemed to consist of a few lovely Irish ladies melting chocolate nips and scattering orange peel into it. That said, we still stocked up, ostensibly on gifts for our co-workers, but I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that we had one of the giant chocolate slabs open before we’d even pulled out of the car park. We rationalised it by thinking that, as we’d seemingly shored up Ireland’s deficit by buying so much chocolate, the decent thing to do would be to enjoy it. Plus, they’d been a bit stingy with the ‘free tasting’ considering the amount of money we’d spent – I can remember even now seeing Paul’s watery eyes and downturned mouth when she went to put away the tray of free chocolate.

We also visited the “Most Beautiful Cliffs in Kerry” – which I personally think lived right up to the name. It’s a strong, bold claim and we almost didn’t get to see it. Not because of bad weather, or the access being closed…no, because we were so full of chocolate that we drove straight past when we saw ‘only a five minute walk from the car-park’ on the side.  Isn’t that mortifyingly lazy? But I’ve been each and every person reading this has done something similar. I mean, it was just so warm in the car, and a cliff is a bloody cliff…right? We drove on for another ten minutes before we had to turn back around and go see the bloody cliffs, so ashamed were we by our own bloody laziness. Actually – glad we did, because look…

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Isn’t that amazing? Despite the two minute walk being more like a ten minute gentle stroll up a gradient that a marble would struggle picking up speed rolling down, it was more than worth it, even if Paul did struggle with the defibrillator at the end. My sense of injustice was piqued by the gypsy (genuinely, I’m not just being racist) who charged me €4 to park the car and gave us a ticket to view the cliffs, but I didn’t fancy arguing with someone who had colour-ordinated his brown change purse with his nicotine-lacquered teeth.

We visited an immeasurable number of beaches, and by god I’ll never forget them, not least because I’m still pouring out a good half of them onto my living room carpet at the end of the day. One afforded us the chance, thanks to a stern warning that we simply mustn’t go on the rocks (which we immediately did), to reinact that bit where old Jelly Belly Harold Bishop fell into the sea and Madge was left shouting HAAAAARULD at the crashing waves after she found his glasses in a rockpool. Remember that? Twochubbycubs do.

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Seriously, every day with us is full of nonsense like this. If we’re not re-enacting famous soap deaths – I’ve done Jim Robinson before, complete with quacks and a rolling orange, we’re yelling Titanic quotes at each other. Plus, we left behind some free advertising.

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Subtle, right? Here, one final thing. The cottage had an amazing cottage but clearly attracted the sort of people who were braggarts and fancydans when it came to their wine, to the point where each person staying had placed an empty bottle of their best wine on top of the kitchen cupboards (quite a task, given how high up they were – I had to really stretch and I’m tall enough to be continued). And oh lord, people had signed them too – and the names read like a Vegan’s Anonymous meeting, all Cressy and Johnathanial and suchlike. So, in the sense of causing mischief, we added our own. Can you spot it?

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Haha, I’ve never drank blue WKD in my life, I don’t think. It’s like wearing Lynx, once you’ve actually had sex, it should be beneath you. Anyway. I tell you what’s below me? My feet. My feet which aren’t cheesy. But I tell you what IS cheesy? These Smash scones! Yeah alright, that was a shit link, so sue me, it’s late. LOOK AT THEM.

scones

Before I get started, let me just put this in here.

TWEAK

Yes, this is definitely a tweak. If you don’t tweak, just skip on. If you’re comfortable tweaking, crack on! These are delicious and perfect to make as a snack. Not sure what tweaking is? My previous rant explains it…click here for that (lots of people seem to really enjoy that article…!)

to make cheesy smash scones, you’ll need:

100g of plain Smash, 2 eggs, 300g of low-fat cottage cheese (make sure you get the syn free cottage cheese, I use the Tesco low fat version), 30g of hard extra strong cheese, chopped chives (we have them growing in the garden – for goodness sake, get yourself a pot, bit of compost and one of the growing pots from Tesco for a quid, they almost grow themselves), paprika for the top, garlic salt.

to make cheesy smash scones, you should:

nothing to this one – you blend the egg and cottage cheese together with a hand-blender, add the Smash, cheese, chives and garlic and shape into a dough. It should feel dry and not very sticky, you can always work a bit more Smash in. You don’t actually need to blend the egg and cottage cheese first, but I like it smooth. Shape it into whatever shape you want, drop them into a frylighted oven tray, sprinkle with paprika and cook for 25 minutes on 190 degrees (check on them after 15 minutes).

Done!

ENJOY.

J

syn free cheesy garlic bread

I can’t begin to describe the absolute cuntnugget that I happened across yesterday. I was queued up in Subway awaiting my usual lunchtime trough of food (plain chicken, all the salad bar onion, double gherkin, double pickle, honey and mustard, no drink, cheers yes, haha) when in walks some twat wearing a top-hat. In Newcastle, in Subway, with a waxed pointy moustache to boot. It gets worse – when he got to the counter, he actually came out with ‘So how on Earth does this work, then’. I was filled with irrational hatred. All I could think about was dashing back to the counter, pushing his face through the glass sneeze-guard and holding his head down in the pickles container until he stopped struggling for life and the police arrived to take me away. He was singularly the most achingly try-hard hipster twat that I’ve ever had the absolute displeasure to orbit.

It is, without doubt, the worst ‘subculture’ that exists right now. Zip backwards fifteen years ago and it was easy (at our school at least) – you had normal kids, then on either side of those you had chavs or Goths. And mind, these Goths were the starter Goths – none of this professional goth/emo whatever you see around town. They all had knock-off coats like Neo from the Matrix and a Livejournal account for photos of their self-harming. I had long, black hair for a good portion of my later school years but I was never a goth, not least because I was too fat – there’s nowt worse than a tiny muffin-top popping out over a pair of New-Rock boots. One of my exes told me he was a goth before we met up but that only extended to have long hair – I’m not sure how gothic giving someone Enya’s A Box Of Dreams on a first date is.

Chavs on the other hand are less tolerable but I just put most of that down to being thick. It was the time of coke-can fringes and Kappa tracksuit and for the most part, given it was a fairly posh school I went to, we’d only really see them out and about in the wild, their tracksuits rustling in the breeze. As I get older I find myself growing more contemptuous of a subculture that seems to revel in stupidity and an ability not to throw a trampoline on any square of dog-shit littered grass bigger than a postage stamp, but that’s by the by – it’s hipster that draws my true ire.

It’s just so loathsome, so affected, so nonsensical. Every year – including going backwards and forward through time, no doubt – it’s the same. Newcastle becomes awash with students all trying to outdo each other on the poncy twat stage. Instead of the booming Geordie dialect ricocheting around the streets of the city centre, you’ll hear trust-fund rah-rah knobheads, whose idea of living dangerously is a quinoa salad on a terrace in Jesmond, stumbling around in their lollipop trousers and 1920s make-up. We have bars opening up all over the town catering to such predilections, all copying the ‘trends’ that London washed its hands off three years earlier – a drink served in a jam-jar? Oh outrageous. And I fucking hate it.

I don’t hate garlic bread, mind, but being a fat twat means I can’t have it. Sniff. But I can have this…

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This photo doesn’t really do it justice, I must say. I had to hurry through the kitchen like Electra from the Starlight Express whilst Paul juggled three separate courses at the same time. This tastes almost exactly like cheesy garlic breadsticks you get from the takeaway, with the exception that it’s healthy!

This will make about eight breadsticks – enough for two.

to make syn free cheesy garlic bread you’ll need:

one cauliflower (or 600g-ish defrosted cauliflower florets), one egg white, 2 cloves of garlic, 40g grated cheese (2x HexA), salt, pepper, oregano

to make syn free cheesy garlic bread you should:

preheat the oven to 190 degrees (gas mark 5). Cut the cauliflower into florets and bung into a large food processor. Blitz until it has a ‘rice’ texture with a few bigger chunks. Spread out onto a baking tray or Pyrex dish and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool for about five minutes. Tip the mixture into a dry, clean tea towel and pull the corners together. Squeeze the ball of mixture as much as you can (if it’s still too hot, let it cool down for a bit more). This will take about ten minutes of squeezing, until it has quite a dry, crumbly texture. In a bowl, add garlic and egg whites to the cauliflower with 10g of grated cheese and mix well. Tip onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and shape until it’s about half a centimetre thick. Top with the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for about twenty minutes, and grill for about three. Cut, and enjoy!

Don’t be put off by the cauliflower – yes, it does taste a little like cauliflower but if you’re not a fan of you really won’t mind – it gives a great ‘doughy’ texture. Make sure it’s nice and firm when it’s cooked so it’ll hold it’s shape for dipping. If it sags a little, bake for a few minutes more.

On a final note…

TWEAK

This uses half a cauliflower each as a base. Some might consider it a tweak and therefore requires synning, but given that half a cauliflower isn’t an extravagant amount of veg to have in one go and you haven’t magically deep-fried it in lard as you moved it from the oven to the tea-towel I haven’t bothered. You can if you wish.

Buon appetito or summat.

J

balsamic roasted sprouts

For week four, we’re going to…Belgium! Well, sort of. I’ll come to that later…

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Admit it, you’ve missed us. I’ve got visions of people wailing and rocking, waiting for the update that just didn’t appear. Well, to be frank, I’m disappointed that there were no Princess Diana-esque walls of flowers created, or that no-one doused themselves in petrol and set themselves on fire on our front lawn. Honestly, people. No, the unglamourous truth was that we’ve both been a little under the weather – and I was out on the piss on Friday night – and needed yesterday to recover.

Now see here, I’m not a big drinker – I tend to be an all or nothing sort of guy, so if I start drinking, I’m on it until I’m bundled into a taxi / arrested for lewd behaviour / do a Winehouse and choke on my vomit. It was supposed to be a civilised night, actually, and it certainly started off that way, with champagne in Hotel Indigo. That civilised chatter lasted about fifteen minutes before talk about bumhole waxing, black fluff and ‘dripping’ got underway and then the night never really got the glamour back. Brilliant night though, even if my mate did end up telling some poor, haggard looking woman with eighties hair and a very cats-arse-mouth (she was tutting at our conversation and rolling her eyes) that she looked like Enya. Taxi!

I like to think I’m a pleasant enough drunk – I’m certainly not an angry drunk or – worse – the moaning, miserable sort – if anything I just become way too affectionate towards Paul. In the interest of full disclosure and to try and prove a point, here’s a screenshot of my texts to Paul on Friday. Bearing in mind I’m the type of person who will chew through his trousers with his own bumhole if someone so much as uses a LOL in a text message to me, I certainly let my standards slip after four bottles of champagne.

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God he puts up with a lot, doesn’t he? Look at those times though, I was clearly hammered pretty quickly. In my defence, if there is one, my phone has a smashed glass screen so it’s hard to type properly. Yeah, that’ll be it. I can’t remember anything from after Paul bundled me into the Micra, though he tells me:

  • I kept falling asleep / passing out on the twenty minute drive home, intermittently burping and slouching over onto his shoulder, meaning he had to keep jerking the car to the left at high speed to tilt me the other way;
  • I spent a lot of time telling no-one in particular to fuck off; and
  • when I got home, he opened the car door and I went tearing out like my arse was on fire because I was about to have a technicolour yawn, went headfirst straight into the side of the shed – and then was sick all over our front lawn.

Tell you what mind, I felt right as bloody rain on Saturday after Paul cooked me a low-syn breakfast. Weigh in tomorrow and I think I’ll have put on, but hopefully Paul will have lost. But remember what I always say – we’re aiming to lose weight slowly, so if it goes up or down, it doesn’t matter. I’m certainly in credit. We spent today walking Lester from the cat and dog shelter, but he was clearly Hooch from Turner and Hooch!

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Aw. OK, finally, tonight’s recipe. I’ll make a confession – we totally forgot to think of a European recipe this week, so this is a little last minute. It’s a snack idea using brussel sprouts, which to be fair were cultivated in Belgium. We may revisit this one but actually, the sprouts are delicious hot or cold as a snack!

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to make balsamic roasted sprouts you will need:

a tablespoon of olive oil, a bag of brussel sprouts, balsamic vinegar, salt

 

to make balsamic roasted sprouts you should:

top and tail a bag of sprouts (take outer leaves off, cut the stem off the bottom). Get a tablespoon of decent olive oil (6 syns) and a good few glugs of balsamic vinegar. Mix them well and put onto a baking tray and sprinkle with some salt. Into the oven on 180degrees for twenty minutes, give them a shake and then cook for another twenty. Serve hot or cold and keep the windows open, because your bumhole is going to be backfiring like an old car. This easily served us twice over, so the two syns in the picture above could actually be lower (I decided that a serving was 1/3 of a bag of sprouts). Enjoy!

I’M BACK, BITCHES.

J