pork and apple burgers with blue cheese

Did you miss us? I know, we’re just awful people. You’ve probably been logging on every day, typing through your tears, crying into your pillows, wailing and sobbing and bawling about our lack of posts. For that I apologise. But see, we just needed a proper break from the blog just to freshen up and do some back-end stuff, which isn’t a euphemism for anal sex, unusually. Most of it is done, second book is almost finished, all is well in the world.

One mistake we’ve made though is declaring that we really ought to watch Lost again. See, we have a big fancy TV and that Sky Q service that gives you everything you need and more for a vastly overpriced sum every month, yet all we watch is Police Interceptors (and that’s more because it’s the only way for either of us to see how our nieces and nephews are growing – aaah, they look so grown-up in their ASBA ankle-bracelets and Madidas tracksuits). Lost took over our lives a few summers ago to the point where both of us feigned having swine flu just to stay at home and see what happened next. That was back in the day when I used to work for an organisation which class a full day’s work as turning up before 11 and nicking off at 3pm. No wonder they shut the place down…

…anyway, as a result of our foray back into Lost, we’re losing time all over the place. Every night becomes ‘one more, just one more’ and I’ve taken to calling Paul ‘Hurley’ on account of his big fat tits. Poor guy.

We’re still fat, by the way. We did toy with the idea of relaunching the blog as a Weight Watchers blog for shits and giggles but I didn’t want to be responsible for eight hundred heart attacks at once – I’ve seen how angry some of you get over Iceland running out of curry sauce, let alone us taking the recipes away. I swear to God I’ve seen a poor Iceland worker covered in so much spittle by a venting Slimming Worlder that I nearly wiped his face down myself with my sleeve. We’ve accepted that this year is a bit of a write-off and that we will shallow breathe our way to New Year, but we have something nice planned for 2017 which really will provide some focus…

My health anxiety made a brief but unwelcome reappearance when I went to the loo only to notice a load of blood in the water. Frightening. Naturally, I had diagnosed myself with advanced and terminal bowel cancer by the time I had wiped my nipsy and it was only after eight hours of hyperventilating and worried emailing that Paul remembered we’d had about four bowls full of red pepper soup the night before and his er…droppings, were equally as scarlet. So at least I can add that to the list of diseases I’ve beat this year.

We took the recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I had to persuade Paul that he liked blue cheese after all when he did one of his usual 180 degree spins on food – he’s as bad as our cats. We bought 84 pouches of Whiskas a few weeks ago as the cats seem to love it only to find that the very first pouch was completely ignored, meaning we have 83 pouches to take along to the cat and dog shelter to give to cats who don’t have a rod stuck up their arse. Anyway, Paul was simply adamant that he didn’t like blue cheese because ‘it smells like off-cock’ (to be fair, he’s right on that point) until I reminded him that he’d managed to put away half a wheel of cheese at my mum’s Christmas buffet last year to the point he constipated himself over the New Year. Suddenly, when faced with that enticing detail, he remembered he DID like cheese after all. It’s the little things.

Right, to the recipe then…this really is an easy dinner to make – serve with a side salad or, more realistically, a load of chips, and you’ll be in Fatty Heaven.

pork and apple burger with blue cheese

to make a pork and apple burger with blue cheese you will need:

Can I make a recommendation? If you make a load of homemade burgers, get yourself a little burger press. This is the one we have – there’s plenty of cheaper models out there too but this has the advantage of not looking like your kitchen has been fitted out by Fisher Price. Plus, it’s only a couple of quid more. You get nice uniform compressed burgers that don’t fall apart in the pan.

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to make a pork and apple burger with blue cheese you should:

  • mix together the pork, diced apple and paprika
  • leave to chill for twenty minutes to firm up
  • divide the mixture into four and shape into burgers
  • add a little oil to a large frying pan and put over a medium-high heat
  • add the burgers and cook for about 6 minutes each side
  • when cooked, lob into a bun with a bit of lettuce and crumble over the blue cheese

Done! It’s as easy as that. You could make a few extra burgers and freeze them if you please. Looking for more meal ideas? But of course. Click the buttons below!

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Enjoy! Ah, I’ve missed you guys.

J

droptober recipe #14: one-pot pork and rice

Very quick post tonight, folks – one-pot pork and rice, just another one pot meal that we had left over! James is cooking so unusually, you’ve got the other Cub coming on your screen. Lucky!

I’m dead excited today because they’re putting up the Christmas decorations in our town – I mean, they look shite but it’s a sure sign that Christmas is on it’s way and it’s my favourite time of year! I love it all and there is literally no limit to how much Quality Street I can eat. Seriously, I try to warn people but they don’t listen and then bitch on when it’s just fudge left in the tub.

We’ve promised ourselves this year to put up some lights on the outside of our house (I know, the pinnacle of class) because it’s something I have ALWAYS wanted to do. And, because I know that the super-bright LEDs you can now buy with super-epilepsy mode is sure to piss off Nos. 1-5 on our street. Christmas is always a lovely affair here at The Sticky Patch, we never skimp on our trees and despite our complete lack of design skill we actually do a pretty good job of it. It’s certainly a step-up from what it was like when we were younger, with the cheapest possible tree from the Freemans catalogue sitting in the corner of the room doing a fantastic impression of an impending bonfire with its three sets of lights wired into the same plug. Mother would be eggwashing some frozen sausage rolls in the kitchen with a light dusting of fag ash and my sister and I would be sent away with an Argos catalogue and a strict limit – we had to write down exactly what we wanted, price, page number and catalogue number and a running sub-total. If it weren’t in that catalogue you couldn’t get it. Magical times.

What you can get, however, is this simple recipe for one-pot pork and rice. Serves four optimistically, two realistically. Listen, it looks like shite, I know, but it tastes good, I promise!

one-pot pork and rice

to make one-pot pork and rice you will need:

to make one-pot pork and rice you should:

  • squeeze the meat out the sausage casing so you get about 4 ‘balls’ from each sausage and roll into a perfect ball
  • heat a large casserole dish over a medium-high heat, spray with oil (save your pans and get one of these) and brown the meatballs on all sides, then remove from the pan and set aside
  • add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for a further five minutes, until softened
  • add the cumin, coriander and rice to the pan and stir well
  • pour in the vegetable stock and the chopped tomatoes and scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan
  • simmer for ten minutes until the rice is done
  • gently stir the meatballs into the rice, and serve

 

if you’re looking for more tasty recipe ideas, just click the buttons below!

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J

droptober recipe #10: rainbow superfood salad with yoghurt dressing

I bet you’re all clammy with the thought of a rainbow superfood salad, aren’t you? Who could blame you? Let’s be honest, none of us got to where we are by eating edamame beans and rare grains, did we? Not unless they were deep-fried and served as a garnish on a kebab. If that’s the case, what type of bloody kebab shop are you going to, you fancy fucker? Our local is Kebabylon and a meal isn’t complete unless you’ve pulled enough of the cook’s back-hair out of your dinner to make a tiny brillo pad to scrub the grease off your chins. But er, yes, the recipe will follow, but first some unimaginable nonsense.

Today has me sat in the house waiting for our Sky engineer to come and fit us a new Sky Q box. Why this requires a) an engineer visit and b) me to take a day off work is an absolute mystery. I do have someone coming to finger my guttering at some point in the afternoon but really, when don’t I? I semi-dilate when anyone with rough hands and a beard drives past the house. Paul sent me a text message ten minutes after leaving the house this morning to say “no need to suck the engineer off, we’ve already arranged a sizeable discount on the Ultra HD package”, which I think is a bit below the belt. I mean, he’s got a point – I’m a cheap bastard and I’d do full unprotected anal if it meant free fibre broadband for a year, but still. Give me some credit. Oh and speaking of Sky, it’s lucky I checked the ‘before we visit’ letter which mentions the need to know our Wifi password. Our Wifi password, as it turns out, was WELOVEBIGCOCKS8669! – I’ve just changed it to something entirely innocent – fancyafelchyouhunkybucketofspunk apparently didn’t meet the security requirements. Who knew? I did toy with leaving it unchanged for a laugh but felt that it would look like a clumsy attempt at a come-on – long-time readers must recall that this is one of my fears with having workmen in the house, that every sentence sounds like I’m trying to set away some cheesy porn-style scenario. I’m such a clutz, I can barely pass over a cup of tea without putting my cock in it. Aaaah well. We’ll see what time he turns up.

It’s also a very sad day in our house. For years we’ve been saying we need to buy a Roomba to replace the old Roomba that broke and went beetling into our garage, never to return, when we moved house. But they start at £400, we’ve got a fancy Dyson Digital vacuum anyway AND we have a cleaner, so we couldn’t really justify it. Until last Thursday night when we were pissed out of our nut on Waldhimbeergeist and lemonade (I don’t know either: it was a random bottle of something from Lild – could have been industrial bleach for all we knew, but it tasted nice and had a raspberry on the front so we rolled the dice and got smashed). It’s amazing how alcohol changes your justification for spending money and as a result, we had a Roomba delivered by the good folks from Amazon on Saturday morning. How we gazed admiringly at it, knowing it would scoot about during the day time terrorising the cats and pulling the odd bit of hair and crushed cat treat from our carpet. We could finally relax with the gentle hum of the robotic whirring to sing us to sleep.

Nope.

Turns out Roombas can’t function on black carpet. Our house, bar the kitchen, is either black carpet or black tile (don’t worry, it goes tastefully with the Misty Mountain grey on the walls: may I remind you we are homosexual) and as a result, the Roomba senses these black patches as ‘cliffs’, throws a bit of a strop, spins a bit and then beeps forlornly. Putting him down on the living room carpet must feel like, to him, being hurled into a black hole of no escape. We placed him into the kitchen for a laugh (our kitchen floor being black and white square tiles – our kitchen has an American diner theme, it’s very fancy) and it was hilarious – I’ve never seen a robot actually have a fit but the poor fucker was jitterbugging and stuttering all over the place. I had to put a small pile of ground Diazepam down on the white tile just to calm him the fuck down. Anyway, back into the box and returned to Amazon with a naturally furious email about there being no mention of the Roomba’s sense of existential dread.

Perhaps it’s a good thing. Our house is too connected. One of my colleagues expressed some reservations about our ‘House of Connected Things’, citing concern about security and the ability for folks to hack our home. Really, I know it’s more a pressing worry that I’m not going to turn up at work of a morning because I’ve been killed in my sleep by Amazon Alexa instructing a rogue Roomba to come and hoover all of the oxygen out of my lungs whilst I sleep. We buy our gadgets and nonsense because we don’t have children to spoil and they’re great, but I did think to myself as I walked into the house, said clearly “Alexa, please turn on the lights” only for her to turn one light on and start playing Bill Bryson, how much time are we actually saving here? It’s a novelty being able to turn our heating on from the sofa by telling Nest to ‘turn the hallway down to 9 degrees’ but again, it’s no hardship at all to get up and turn the thermostat down. Actually, that bit is a lie – we get these things because we’re bone-bloody-idle, so anything that minimises our movements is no bad thing.

I have discovered one excellent thing about Amazon Echo though – I can say “Alexa, play The Archers” whilst I’m having a crap and it’ll start playing the latest episode through the house speakers. An episode of The Archers is just the right length to enjoy when you have a shaggy brown dog scratching at the back door. However, as we don’t have a speaker in the bathroom, I have to “Alexa: turn it up” about eight times until it gets loud enough for me to satisfactorily hear it from the bathroom. The downside to this is that the Alexa gets so loud that once I’ve finished my business and moved back to the living room it is playing too loud to hear me shouting “Alexa: shut the fuck up” at it, meaning I get locked in an increasingly loud, shrill and vicious circle trying to make myself heard over the sound of POOR OLD HELEN ARCHER fussing about her joint bank account. I can’t imagine, in the entire history of The Archers being on air, anyone ever seeming to react so violently to Rob being slow-clapped off the cricket team. My poor neighbours must think I have the most exciting time paying my sewer-tax with all the yelling and middle-class braying that goes on.

Ah well. On that classy note, let’s sign off for the day. I’ve just discovered that you can play the original Rollercoaster Tycoon on the Mac so I thoroughly expect to be hearing this for the next eight hours. Does this take anyone else back?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT45kiI5FYw

Now let’s take a look at today’s recipe, shall we? Rainbow superfood salad. It’s a salad idea for lunch. These usually go down like a shit in a lift but please, give it a go – it’s easy enough to make and, for a salad, tastes bloody good. The dressing is syn free, as you’d expect, and the whole bowl is full of crunch and goodness. As with all of our recipes, do mix it up – if there’s stuff in here you don’t like, just swap it for something else. Can’t be arsed finding farro? Don’t blame you (though it’ll be wherever the quinoa or couscous is in your supermarket), swap it for another grain or leave it out entirely. Not a fan of feta? Then you’re a sick bastard and you should be ashamed: feta is lovely! Pfft. This recipe is a hybrid of one that I found here and a Marks and Spencers superfood salad which I had to stop buying because each visit to the supermarket at lunchtime was becoming more dangerous: I was one shuffling old biddy fumbling about the meal-deals away from mass genocide. Enjoy!

rainbow superfood salad

to make a rainbow superfood salad, you’ll need:

  • 100g of farro (before you all send me messages saying what’s farro: it’s like quinoa’s fatter cousin and can be found in the same place in the supermarket – feel free to swap for couscous)
  • one small red onion
  • one red pepper and one yellow pepper
  • half a box of edamame beans (you can buy these in Tesco’s fruit and veg bit – or swap them out for chickpeas)
  • half a small red cabbage chopped up nice and fine
  • pomegranate seeds (either from a fresh pomegranate – which I really struggle with as I’m mildly trypophobic, or buy them from the supermarket in a little pot)
  • 45g of feta (which is one HEA)
  • for the dressing, just mix some mint sauce into natural fat free yoghurt – I know, we’re not fancy here

to make a rainbow superfood salad, you should:

  • cook the farro according to the instructions on the packet – but you don’t want to cook it to mush and you definitely want to make sure you’ve washed it well afterwards so it doesn’t go all starchy
  • I cook my farro in chicken stock because I’m a cruel, murdering meat-eating bastard, but feel free to use veggie stock – it just adds another note of flavour
  • chop everything up into small chunks and then scatter through the cooked farro
  • season with salt and pepper if you so desire
  • see above for the dressing
  • this will keep cheerfully in the fridge for up to three days, but only as long as you don’t dress it – once it has been dressed, get it eaten

Done! I’d love to think this rainbow superfood salad wasn’t dismissed out of hand because it’s a bloody gorgeous lunch – don’t be put off by the ingredients, just swap them out for stuff you don’t like, but if you’ve never tried edamame, pomegranate, cabbage or farro in a salad, give it a whirl! For more ideas on what to put in your mouth, click the buttons below!

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J

droptober recipe #8: syn-free tomato ketchup

Just a recipe for syn-free tomato ketchup today – no time for chit-chat because we’re getting shit done. I say getting shit done, we’re actually trying our best to work through 87 episodes of Police Interceptors and Jeremy Kyle before the Sky man gives us a new box on Monday. I’m not having him judging me based on the fact that most of our TV recordings have the word ‘Benefits’ in the title somewhere and have all been recorded from Channel 5 HD. What can I say? I’m a sucker for seeing bumblebee-teeth (yellow, black, venomous) in blistering high-definition.

So, syn-free tomato ketchup. I did have a look around for a syn-free version and indeed, Slimming World have their own take on the tomato ketchup, but naturally, they add artificial sweetener. So it’s syn-free but tastes like shite (in my humble opinion). Other recipes use passata which is fine, but if you can get your hands on proper tomatoes from the market or grown yourself, all the better. This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver, a man who thoroughly divides our house. Paul hates him with a passion, whereas I think he’s a sweet-natured fella with his heart in the right place, even if his tongue isn’t.

To the recipe then. To be clear, this recipe does contain 50g of brown sugar which should be synned at 10 syns. But it also makes about six bottles worth of the size you can see in my picture. Given there’s probably about 10 servings per bottle, it works out at less than a tenth of a syn per dash. If you’re the type of person who puts ketchup on like you’re trying to hide the food you’re eating underneath, perhaps you ought to syn it. Your choice. You’re an adult, after all, though even if you used every last bit of sauce in one meal, it would still only be 10 syns. So…?

It does use a lot of ingredients but you ought to have most of them kicking around in the cupboard and yes, it is one of those recipes that you could just use a bit of Heinz and syn it – but damn if it doesn’t taste good! We made a batch with red tomatoes and another with orange, hence the colour difference. We added a bit more vinegar to the orange sauce and reduced the sugar – made for a more ‘sweet and sour’ taste. Listen, I know, we’re amazing.

syn-free tomato ketchup

to make syn-free tomato ketchup, you’ll need:

  • 1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • ½ bulb fennel, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1 stick celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • some spray olive oil
  • a little knob of ginger, about the size of your thumb, minced using one of these to save time
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, also using the tool above
  • ½ fresh red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped (feel free to leave out if you’re not a fan of ringsting)
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks chopped (if you buy a plant, stick it in water afterwards and it’ll cheerfully grow again)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • good pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 kg yellow, orange or green tomatoes , chopped, or 500g cherry or plum tomatoes, halved plus 500g tinned plum tomatoes
  • 200ml red wine vinegar
  • 50g soft brown sugar

to make syn-free tomato ketchup, you should:

  • make sure you’ve got a heavy duty pot for this – non-stick and decent size
  • give the pan a few squirts of oil then add everything solid bar the tomatoes – the onion, fennel, celery, ginger, garlic, basil stalks, pepper, salt, cloves and coriander seeds
  • cook gently for about fifteen minutes until everything is softened slightly, then add the tomatoes and water and allow to gently simmer, like a loved one taking a huff because you recorded over her soap operas
  • allow to simmer until it has reduced by half – can take a while, but there’s no rush here
  • once reduced, throw in the basil leaves and whoosh the sauce with a stick blender – or allow to cool and do it in the food processor, whatever is easiest
  • Jim recommends sieving the sauce twice and I agree – it’s a fart on but it makes for a much smoother ketchup
  • return to the heat and add the vinegar and sugar – stir well and again, allow to simmer for ages until it’s really reduced down and gone nice and thick and gloopy – this took a couple of hours for me, stirring every now and then – no need to rush these things
  • once you’re happy, and you know it, and you really want to fucking show it, decant the ketchup into your sterilised bottles
  • to sterilise bottles, according to the BBC:

Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, then rinse well. Place the jars on a baking sheet and put them in the oven to dry completely.

  • keep in the fridge until you need a bit of ketchup in your life – it’s that easy!

Our bottles are cute, but you can use anything glass as long as you sterilise it first. We have fancy Kilner ones because of course we do, and you can buy a set on Amazon for a reasonable enough price by clicking here. They have the added bonus of allowing you to look like a right hipster sod by drinking your smoothies from them too! LOVE YOU.

RIGHT. Must get back to the TV, Paul’s eyes have become unfocussed from so much flashing lights. If you want more recipes, click some of the wonderful buttons below, and have a smashing weekend.

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J

droptober recipe #2: pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms

Looking for the pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms recipe? Well who can blame you? It’s below. But first…

It’s been a long day. Not content with filling our house with buttons that automatically buy our shopping, we’ve invested in an Amazon Echo – essentially an always-listening little personal assistant (like Siri) who can automatically turn our heating up, turn our lights off, play music, that sort of forward-thinking thing. However, because it’s voice-activated, my day has been spent listening to Paul bellow incoherently at the Echo: ‘ALEXA: TELL ME A JOKE’ was good, ‘ALEXA: WHAT’S THE WEATHER LIKE’ was even better, but ‘ALEXA: Siri thinks you’re a snotty slaaaaaag’ yielded little worthwhile result and when I shouted ‘ALEXA’ and farted into the speaker, it just shut itself off.

I do like to imagine that somewhere deep underground there’s a team of Evil Amazon Folk listening to our every move, because frankly, unless they like lots of shrieking over Forza Horizon, copious amounts of farting, ancient Janice Battersby impressions and arguments about who was the best Doctor Who, they’re in for a disappointing time.

We received lots of helpful suggestions for our October idea – i.e. where we post one recipe a day all through October – but Droptober was the one that won out above all others. Whether you’re looking to drop some weight, drop some baggage or just drop a load of steamy piss through your knickers due to laughing and age, we’ve got you covered. Now remember, some of these will be lovely short posts like this, so no leaving moaning comments for the lack of text!

This works very well as a lunch – make it the night before and it’ll keep until the morning. Normally whenever I do a veggie post people treat it as if I had admitted I’d murdered a child and completely blank me, but please, do actually give this a go – it’s very tasty! This made enough for two lunches once served with some cooked bulgur wheat.

pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms

to make pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms, you’ll need:

  • a packet of any mushrooms you like – I used chestnut mushrooms but only because they were the first ones my languid, tired body fell upon in Tesco
  • either a jar of those roasted peppers in brine or two large sweet peppers
  • a massive handful of mint
  • a lemon
  • 130g of reduced fat feta (which is 2 x HEA, but this serves two remember, so calm yer tits)
  • salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce (which I know isn’t technically veggie, but I’ve been told (by some pallid, shaking, wincing from the sunlight vegetarian that you can buy a veggie-friendly equivalent) (I’m kidding I’m kidding, she had to write it down and even then her fingers snapped like breadsticks when she tried to grip a pencil)
  • bulgur wheat, quinoa or couscous cooked however you fancy it

to make pepper, herb and feta salad with roasted mushrooms, you should:

  • cut your mushrooms into quarters and tumble them about in a couple of spoonfuls of worcestershire sauce, with a pinch of pepper and salt
  • stick them in the oven for about twenty minutes on say 190 degrees until they’re nice and roasted and all of the mushroom juices (urgh) have leaked out
  • whilst the mushrooms are cooking, chop up your mint – get all of the leaves together and wrap them into a cigar shape – then finely slice – much easier
  • if you’re roasting your peppers, cut them in half, stick them under the grill and cook until blackened – or – be a good dear and buy the jar from Tesco – cut into chunks
  • crumble your feta any old how – you’re making a salad here, not a work of art
  • toss the peppers, mint and feta in with a tablespoon or two of lemon juice from your lemon and a pinch of salt and allow to marinate whilst the mushrooms roast
  • once the mushrooms are done, it’s a quick assembly job – cooked quinoa or what on the bottom, peppers and cheese next, hot roasted mushrooms on the top

Done! If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, swap them out for a plain chicken breast. You monster.

OH ONE FINAL THING: we’ve added Pinterest and other share buttons to the end of these posts – if you need them, you’ve got them!

Looking for more veggie ideas, or do you want to make sure at least something’s been killed for your dinner? Click the buttons below. Let’s go crazy and put all sorts button on here!

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Cheers guys!

J

spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap

Here for the spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap? Who could blame you – it sounds wonderful. But first, some housekeeping. We’ve updated the Christmas challenge to include two very helpful colouring charts for you to monitor your progress on. You can find them at the bottom of the Christmas page – right here.

Let’s face it, breakfasts are a proper ball-ache on Slimming World. Yeah, you can have a fry-up the size of a multi-storey car-park, we know that, but who has time for that in the morning between getting ready for work and a forty minute crap? Honestly. That said, we’ve made some absolute classics in our time and here’s another to add to the list: a spinach, egg, tomato and feta wrap. Apparently this is a big thing in the United States, but so is Donald Trump, so what do they know? I kid, I love America. Anyway, a quick glance at the massively user-friendly and totally-worth-the-money syns calculator…

…reveals a Starbucks wrap comes in at 22 syns! Well butter my tits and call me Sally, no wrap is going to be worth that! So naturally we’ve made our own and you can find that all the way down at the bottom of the page. Because, naturally, I have shenanigans to discuss.

A friend of mine received a speeding ticket over the weekend and it made me think of the speed awareness course I went on. I’ve touched on it before but I recently found my hand-written diary and the notes I put down put some putting together – I essentially scribbled ‘whistler, bald, Posh Spice, 80s’ on the back of my ‘naughty boy admission’ card and frankly, that deserves fleshing out. That’s how I remember things, by the way – I’m forever jotting down nonsense on the back of things and then putting them away somewhere to get lost forever – if I ever die suddenly and they can’t find Paul, they’re going to be really confused when they open my desk drawer and a load of ASDA receipts with ‘cock, gingivitis, farting am-i-right and spiraliser’ on the back come tumbling out.

I was made to go on a speed awareness course after committing the heinous crime of doing 55mph in a 50mph zone at 6am on a motorway. I know what you’re thinking, it’s amazing that I didn’t kill anyone. To be fair, it was probably more to do with me caterwauling and screeching away to Smooth FM than anything else, probably knocked a sleeping policeman out of his slumber. The last time that happened was Raoul Moat and look how that ended up – that could have been me crouched all roided-up in a ditch in Rothbury, shouting at the police helicopter until I decided it was time to clean my ears with a sawn-off shotgun. But hey, a crime is a crime and I was speeding so it’s a fair cop, guv. I received a letter calling me a tinker in the post and was offered a speed awareness course or points on my licence.

Naturally, I chose that, and I was ordered to attend a course in a Holiday Inn near my home. A Holiday Inn, I might add, that’s slap-bang in the middle of a gay cruising ground, because who doesn’t like looking out over two carpet salesman furiously frotting away whilst they learn about road-signs? Incidentally, you know why they call it a Holiday Inn? It’s actually short for ‘Fuck me, I’d rather Holiday Inn anywhere but this shithole’. At least the one at Seaton Burn is. With a heavy heart, I turned up in the morning and was made to sit around a table with various men, all at various degrees of baldness (in my ideal world I would have stood up and rearranged them like matryoshka dolls) and each one, to an absolute fault, with appalling coffee-breath. I didn’t feel I knew them well enough to offer up chewing up or a hydrochloric rinse either, so I was stuck crinkling my nose all morning.

One guy was late, bursting in through the door 20 minutes after the course had started and we’d all done our introductions (“Hi, I’m James, I was speeding because I was too engrossed in the harmonies on Boyz II Men’s End of the Road, ironic, am I right?”) and explained that he had been stuck in traffic. I made a gag – my one and only of the day – that he should have put his foot down, but that was met with a few people sucking air over their teeth and the guy leading the class looking at me like I’d wiped out a bus full of children. His very next sentence was that ‘we needed to show we had the right attitude or we would fail the course’ and it wasn’t so much pointed as me as lubed up and rammed up my arse. I bit my bottom lip and tried to look as solemn as possible.

You know what though, despite my reservations that we were going to get shouted at by someone with bad teeth and glasses as thick as my wrists, it was actually really interesting. I’m not going to lie and say the day passed in a blur like a visit to Disneyworld, but I didn’t die of terminal boredom, not least because of the instructor’s tendency to add horrific detail into the most innocent of sentences. I’d be slumbering my way through a bit about junctions when he’d casually mention that he’d found a decapitated head once in a layby and shock us all back in the room.

We paused for coffee at about 11. I say coffee, it was some brown water that was dispensed sputtering from a machine first used in the Sufi monasteries in Yemen back in the sixteenth century. I can’t make small talk, not least with people whose only common denominator was that they were heavy on the accelerator, so we all sat in silence looking at our phones, a pointless endeavour as they didn’t give us the Wifi password and the mobile reception couldn’t get through the asbestos. Anyway, it didn’t feel right to check into Facebook on a speed awareness course, not least because I didn’t want my mother finding out and ringing with an earbashing. I’m 31, by the way.

Perhaps the most unusual part of the day was the little video where we learned all about stopping distances. All very sobering and factual – I’ve never looked so intently at a chart full of numbers since my doctor weighed me and told me it would be kinder just to push me into the sea and have done.  No, what made this unique was the fact they used a cardboard cut-out of Posh Spice as the target for the speeding car. Even now as I speed merrily along the motorway the sight of Posh Spice bouncing off the bumper of a Nissan Sunny and crumpling under the tyres will creep into my thoughts and make me slow down. Maybe that was their plan all along!

Anyway, after we all promised to be good and signed a form saying how naughty we were, we were released back to the car-park. There’s a bit in the Simpsons where they all leave the road-rage camp at the same time and everyone is unfailingly polite. Don’t worry, it was the same for us, which made me screeching past the waiting Audis much easier. I’m kidding, I spent so much time waving people out that my wrist sounds like a cement mixer.

Right, that’s quite enough guff. Let’s do the breakfast wrap. That sounds like the worst dance craze, doesn’t it?

jspinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap

That tomato ketchup you see behind? That’s coming online shortly too!

to make a spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap, you’ll need:

  • one BFree Foods Multigrain Wrap, Wheat & Gluten Free – currently a HEB, but do check for others
  • two eggs OR if you’re feeling decadent, three egg whites instead (we buy those egg whites in a carton, super easy)
  • a bag of spinach
  • a few dehydrated sun-dried tomatoes – not the ones in oil but the ones you rehydrate in water – now SW say this is 2 syns per 25g, but you use 10g at most – if you want to syn it, you can, but frankly, it’s a dried tomato, not a bloody Wispa)
  • 45g of feta (HEA)
  • a tablespoon of Quark – not a fan? Use Philadelphia Lightest – it’s 1 syn for 25g and again, you’re not using 25g so…

Now with this, customise it however you want. We used egg-whites but you can use the whole egg. Add garlic. Add peppers. Take out the tomato, it’s all good.

to make a spinach, tomato, egg and feta wrap, you should:

  • start by rehydrating your tomatoes by putting them in boiling water, or just chopping up some normal tomatoes
  • add the spinach into a large dry pan over a medium heat and let it wilt right down
  • once that’s done, drain and squeeze your tomatoes and spinach to get all the water out, then chop finely
  • using your spinach pan, drop the beaten egg or egg whites into the pan on a medium heat, cover with a lid and allow to cook for a few minutes
  • chop up your feta in the meantime
  • then it’s just a case of assembly – a smear of soft cheese, some chopped spinach, some chopped tomato, a chunk of omelette and a sprinkling of feta – go ahead and add some black pepper and salt too, why not?
  • roll, serve, turn into poo.

Rolling a wrap is easy enough. If you imagine the big round wrap as a face, you want to put your filling where the mouth would be. Definitely just below the middle of the wrap. Tuck the sides in, fold the bottom up over the filling and then roll it!

You can toast it off in the omelette pan if you want. If you want a meatier version filled with sausages, chips and cheese (really!) click here!

For more breakfast ideas, overnight oats recipes or slow cooker links, click on the buttons below! EASY.

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Cheers,

J

one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne

Lasagne in one pot? But of course. To be fair, this one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne is not strictly a lasagne, rather more bolognese and soft pasta, but hey, it’s still easy to make and it all comes out the same colour in the end, right? Naturally, before we get to the recipe, I’m going to say words at you until your eyes glaze over and you stop nodding politely. It’s part two of our fabulous whirlwind tour of Peterborough, so let me bust out the banner once more…

peterborough

You can find part one by clicking here, but honestly, don’t bother. Actually do bother, I’ll get 0.0001p for each page-load, and if I earn enough money, I can pay someone to raze Peterborough to the ground so it never haunts my life again. Where were we…

Ah yes. The charming Norman Cross Premier Inn. After a night spent sweating, tossing and peeling our back fat away from each other with loud slurps, we woke bright and breezy. We decided that we’d take care of our ablutions and then see about getting some breakfast. Can I let you in on a mortifying secret? We chose not to get the Premier Inn breakfast that we normally do because it wasn’t an unlimited buffet. How greedy, I know. Technically it was unlimited in the sense that I could ask the waiter to bring me more bacon, more eggs, more sausages and a portable ECG monitor, but I’m always too shy.

We like our breakfast to spread far beyond what the eyes can see and frankly, if I’m not clutching my chest, hoisting my fat-arse out of my chair and walking to a tureen of beans with the barely-disguised disgusted whispers of the other occupants of the hotel, I’m not interested. We made do with a Twirl from the vending machines and that was that.

We stopped by reception to ask if we could change rooms. I explained that the room was too hot and that Paul’s genitals now looked like a trio of celebration balloons left tied to a fence for a week, and the receptionist promised that she would arrange a new room for us once we returned from our day out. The charmer from the day before was obviously off meeting with Big Men in New York. We decamped back to our sweatbox so Paul could slide the chocolate bolt across, giving me time to plan our day.

I logged onto tripadvisor to find something to do. When the third or fourth suggestion is a chain cinema, you know you’re in trouble. I searched High Wycombe and Lowestoft (sorry, I’m so proud of that laboured joke that it’s staying in) and there was absolutely bot-all to do that didn’t require an outrageous drive and the threat of growing old prematurely by osmosis due to close proximity of coach tours.

Eventually Paul’s voice piped up from the thunderbox to tell me Bletchley Park (home of the codebreakers during WW2) was about an hour away. Shamefully, my reaction was meh, but faced with the prospect of X-Factor repeats and turning into a prune in the hotel room, we agreed that Milton Keynes our best chance of happiness – something which I’m fairly sure has never, ever been said about Milton Keynes before. Before we yawned our way down the A1 we needed fuel, and thanks to the good folk at the Mace garage in Yaxley, even that turned into a right song and dance.

See, Paul got out, put the nozzle in and clicked the handle. The pump dispensed about 4p worth of fuel then shut off. The lady behind the counter looked grimly at him through the window and ignored his plight – he kept clicking, the fuel would dribble out enough fuel to get us approximately 4ft off the forecourt and then shut off. I’m sitting in the car effing and jeffing because I’d spotted an Esso literally over the road and Paul’s clicking away like he’s a farmer counting his sheep.

Eventually, the Queen of the Pumps spots something is awry and comes out. What followed was an excruciating exchange where she just didn’t accept it was her fuel pump that was broken. No, Paul hadn’t ‘put it in right’ (I find that easy to believe, given the years and years of ‘up a bit, down a bit, up a bit more, push forward – honestly, sometimes gay sex is like I’m guiding someone in Knightmare – SIDESTEP LEFT), then he ‘wasn’t clicking hard enough’. In a gesture that speaks volumes about his character, he decided against going all No Country For Old Men on her and smiled politely throughout. IT TOOK TEN MINUTES. I mean, God loves a trier, but we know how to use a bloody petrol pump for goodness sake, we’re not on the fucking Krypton Factor.

She went in and reset the pumps about a dozen times before asking whether we’d like to switch to another problem. Guessing that the second pump would probably require us to solve a cryptic crossword and a complex Sudoko we politely declined and went on our way over the road, where only a packet of Cadbury’s Snacks could calm our ire. I wouldn’t have minded so much but Paul actually went in and paid the £2.10 of fuel we eventually got. Bah.

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Driving in Milton Keynes is an adventure, isn’t it? Bill Bryson absolutely hated the place and whilst I thought it looked alright from the car, I had no desire to step out and trip the light fantastic myself. Things became tense when we realised the Sat-Nav, built into the car with no obvious way to turn her down, was having a complete shitfit over the amount of roundabouts. If the British government ever need to break a terrorist they need only to strap them into a Ford Fiesta and let them endure 20 minutes of ‘AT THE NEXT ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE SECOND LEFT AT THE NEXT ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE THIRD EXIT AT THE NEXT ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE THIRD ROUNDABOUT TAKE THE JUNCTION TAKE TAKE TAKE ROUNDABOUT ROUNDABOUT ROUNDABOUT’. I felt like I was being driven by Johnny 5 in the throes of a nervous breakdown.

We arrived at Bletchley Park with only mild tinnitus and discovered a small computer museum at the arse-end of the car-park. Being giant geeks we were very excited, and, being giant geeks, we waddled breathlessly to the entrance just as the volunteer flipped the open sign over and opened the door. Hooray! We immediately got stuck behind a visitor who thought he was God’s Gift to comedy, every line to the cashier was a ‘joke’ and bit of patter. It was just awful. I had a thought that it must be what it is like to be stuck behind me in Tesco but I quickly tucked that thought away into the same mind-folder where the ‘I bet that ingrown toenail goes septic and you lose your foot’ and ‘is your heart supposed to go boom-badum-boom-badum-BOOM-whoo when you climb stairs’.

The computer museum was a treat. It was a pleasure to be somewhere which wasn’t full of screaming children getting their arses smacked and stupid interactive displays that don’t work. No, this museum was decidedly (and fittingly) old school – full of amazing old computers and genuine pieces of history like the Tunny machines and Colossus, which were both instrumental in helping decipher secret messages during World War Two. We revelled at the old computers from times way past and then were horrified to find that computers we remembered from our youth were classed as ‘retro’. I’ve never felt so old. A lot of the old machines were switched on and I couldn’t resist typing

HELLO SORRI HUNS MI APP IS DOWN HOW MANI SUNS IN ALDI YOGURTS PLEASE XOXOXO

into an old ICL DRS6000. I know, I’m a stinker. We did want to sit and play on the old BBC computers (I’ve never finished Granny’s Garden and god-damnit, I still remember where the magic tree is) but there was a group of three lads in the room spraying spittle through their braces and chuckling loudly about frame-rates. Is there a word for intimidation mixed with pity? I bet there’s a German word. Regardless, we moved on and after a quick fanny about with a few knobs in the classroom (oh that takes me back) we were done. We left a lovely positive Tripadvisor report and made our way down to the actual Bletchley Park estate.

Now, something to annoy you, due to ongoing issues with the managements of both attractions, you pay twice – once to visit the Computing Museum (block H of the estate) and once more to visit the rest of the estate. Hmm. Naturally, because the estate had a few interactive boards and a video tour, the price for entry is £34.50 for the two of us. Bah. However, this too was a lovely few hours – we wandered around at our own pace, taking in the interesting stories and displays, and credit where it’s due, the attraction does an excellent job of celebrating the amazing work that folks like Alan Turing did. I confess to a little bit of museum-fatigue: there’s only so many times you can walk into a hut, look at a map on a table and nod appreciatively. It also gave us both pause to think that only 64 years ago being gay was cause enough to lock someone up for gross indecency. How far we’ve come, eh.

Tell you what – let’s pick the rest of our tale up tomorrow – we’re already at 1,500 words and I know how you all get when you’re hungry. Tonight’s one-pot recipe then is one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne and whilst it doesn’t look like much in the photo, it’s a very tasty wee dish to make during the week and take to lunch the next day. On we go…

to make one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne, you’ll need:

to make one pot super-quick cheat’s lasagne, you should:

  • add a little oil to a large casserole pot and heat over a medium-high heat
  • add the mince and cook until browned
  • add the garlic and onions, stir and cook for another three minutes
  • add the passata, chopped tomatoes, stock, spinach, herbs and pasta and mix well
  • bring to the boil the reduce to a simmer and cover with the lid
  • cook for about 15 minutes until the pasta is al dente
  • add the mozzarella to the pan (tear into chunks if you’re using a ball) and stir through the mixture until melted
  • serve

Nice, right?

If you’re looking for more recipes with beef, pasta or seafood (why not), click the buttons below!

beefsmallpastasmall   seafoodsmall

Goodnight all.

J

one pot week: french onion risotto with grilled cheese

Of course you’ve stumbled onto our blog desperate for the french onion risotto with grilled cheese – well, you know we’ll get there eventually. But first, some chunter. We haven’t had a theme week in what seems like ages – and this week’s theme is ONE-POT-MEALS. We’ve even created a new icon for the recipe page, which we’ll update when we’re done.

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Although we’re generally quite good at keeping our meals simple, our recipes can leave your kitchen looking like someone’s crashed a small plane right through the window. We’ve got a cleaner so we’re not especially arsed but hey, we thought with this being the week of the kids going back to school, a lot of our readers might benefit from quick, no-mess dinners. Now, if you cook with all the grace and elan of someone having a cactus inserted into their anus, we can’t change that, and it might be that your kitchen still looks messy. But that’s your problem!

I can’t bear this time of year – I’ve had six weeks of being able to roll out of bed at 8.00am, have enough time for a good scratch of my balls and a morning poo, a warm shower and a hot coffee, then to make my merry way to work with no pressure or stress. Now the kids are back it means the roads are full of red-faced parents erratically driving cars the size of a combine harvester, swerving over the road as they simultaneously do their kid’s homework, feed them porridge and tan their backsides for being cheeky. Everywhere suddenly becomes super busy and I can’t even relax on Facebook as my feed is full of children in uniform standing in front of doorways showing off their uneven teeth and inappropriate-for-school-haircuts. Listen, I know you think your children are adorable and they undoubtedly are, but I’ll never find out why DENTISTS HATE THIS SOUTH SHIELDS WOMAN AND HER $20 TOOTH-WHITENING TRICK if all I can see is little Letitia and Amyl writ large and toothy on my iPad.


Caveat time: your children are fine. When I’m talking about annoying children, I obviously mean the offspring of everyone else.


One good thing that comes out of this return to school period, however, is the inevitable deluge of moon-faced parents doing a sad-face to camera in the local papers because the school sent home their little darlings for not observing the uniform rules. I’ve already seen one where the kid has hair like a pineapple and his mother is mooing about human rights, as though King John himself demanded a clause in the Magna Carta to cover dressing like an insufferable arse. I’m not a complete monster: I think sending kids home or putting them in isolation because they have grey trousers instead of black is ridiculous and often the sign of a power-mad tosser in charge, but when you’ve got teenagers walking around in skirts so short you can lip-read and boys with hair that looks as though it’s been cut underwater with a power-sander for a bet, you have to draw a line.

And that line should be 30cm off the ground in a light charcoal, thank you very much.

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Perhaps these parents are the same folk who think going shopping in pyjamas is the correct and adult thing to do. Let me tell you now: it isn’t. You sleep in those clothes. You sweat in those clothes. Knowing at least half of the readers of this blog, you probably scratch your minnie until your lips turn blue in that outfit. I don’t want that sweaty terry-towelling number brushing over my vine tomatoes, thank you. I’m not demanding a return to top-hat-and-tails or anything, just a modicum of common decency. The sight of someone accidentally flashing their growler at me whilst they bend down to pick up the Daily Sport is not a risk I should have to take. It’s bad enough I see so many tops of arses peeking out over jeans without belts – not because I find the arse an especially ugly thing (hell, I dare say I’ve seen enough of them from enough bewildering angles to draw you a topographic map of the average English anus) but because I yearn to drop a pencil down the crack – or, if they’re especially zaftig, a fire extinguisher.

Anyway, enough tittle-tattle. I’m clearly in for a rough few weeks getting to work so I might switch to walking in over the moor, which means you can expect several entries about dealing with cows and the general public. It’s OK, it’s common to feel tingly at the thought. Coming up in the next few days you can also expect a recount of our trip to Peterborough. Let me give you a sneak preview: it was grim.

To the recipe…it’s worth remembering that this method works for all of our risottos and it saves you having to ladle in stock. Who has time for that? You need to be polishing the front door to line the kids up against!

french onion risotto with grilled cheese

to make french onion risotto with grilled cheese, you’ll need:

  • five large white onions
  • a few squirts of spray oil – 1 syn at the very most, but divided between four, it’s barely a scratch
  • a good pinch of salt
  • a bit of thyme if you have it – fresh is always better but dried is fine too
  • 350g arborio rice (or look for paella rice)
  • worcestershire sauce
  • black pepper
  • three cloves of garlic, minced (use one of these if you like – it’ll also come in useful later for the parmesan, but a bog-standard grater will do the job too)
  • about 900ml chicken stock (swap for veggie if you’re that way inclined) (pervert)
  • a really small baguette – now 50g is 6.5 syns and will make enough for a couple per bowl, so let’s go ahead and syn that at 1.5 syns per serving
  • parmesan cheese – 30g is a HEA – this makes enough for four people, so if you want to use 120g overall in the dish, go right ahead! Though obviously not if you’re eating it all yourself. Do you get me?

Now, this makes a decent, fairly simple bowl of stodge. If you want to liven it up, chuck in some peas, chorizo (syn), chicken, bacon, leeks, anything you like. I like the simplicity of it, but see that’s because I’m a simple minded fool.

to make french onion risotto with grilled cheese, you should:

  • peel and slice your onions nice and thin – we used our gorgeous baby to do it in under a minute but you can also use a trusty old mandolin (cheap on Amazon right now) to do it just as quick – just watch your fingers
  • spray the bottom of your heavy duty pot with a few squirts of oil – be generous
  • put the sliced onion into the pot with a decent pinch of salt, shake it around
  • cover with a lid and leave to cook gently on the hob on a medium heat for about 50 minutes – every five minutes check and give them a stir – if they catch a little on the bottom, that’s fine, just loosen them off, if they go super dry just add a splash of water
  • once they’re golden and delicious, add your minced garlic and cook for another five minutes
  • in goes the rice – stir it once only to get each rice bit sticky and covered
  • add the stock, pepper, any extras you want, put the lid on and cook on medium heat for about 25 minutes, checking after twenty to make sure it hasn’t boiled dry – but don’t keep lifting the lid off every minute like you’re trying to catch the rice wanking
  • whilst that’s bubbling away, make the crostini – slice the baguette nice and thin – you only one two or three discs per person and arrange on a tray
  • finely grate your parmesan and sprinkle over the discs with a bit of black pepper – use the same mincer as you did for the garlic!
  • grill for a couple of minutes until golden
  • if you want, make little heaps of parmesan on the same tray – they’ll melt down and crisp up, giving you parmesan crisps, but stay within your HEA
  • once the dish is ready – i.e. the rice has absorbed the liquid and is nice and soft, grate in the remainder of your Parmesan and stir
  • serve immediately – in a nice bowl, lots of black pepper and the grilled crostini on the top

If you’re looking for more one-pot recipes, here’s four from our archives:

And, if you’re looking for more vegetarian, fakeaways or chicken recipes, just click on the links below!

vegetariansmallpoultrysmallfakeawayssmall

J

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

We’re all itching for the proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, but honestly, like I’m going to let that happen without some flimflam first.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I might have changed his wording a little, but damn it, this is my blog not his. He’s absolutely right, though. I’ll give you an example – I have many, many cake and cooking tins from the halcyon days way back when when I used to bake all the time and delight my friends and co-workers with biscuits, cakes and goodies. Now all they get is barely disguised contempt and secretive farts into my office chair. One of these tins is a fancy Lakeland square tin with one of those bottoms that you push up (same as Paul) to release the cake. Great idea. Has it ever worked? Has it balls.

Does that stop me trying it? Of course not. No, every time a recipe requires something square, out it comes. I spend a few minutes looking owlishly at it, demanding that it doesn’t leak, then proceed with the recipe. This time it was for a fancy quiche – lots of cheese, egg whites, decent ham. I spent an age cutting up the onion, sweating them down, making everything just right. Popped the mixture into this non-leak square tin, placed the tin in the oven, turned my back for one moment to set Just a Minute away on the iPad and turned around to see all the beaten egg dripping out of the oven. My kitchen floor looked like the gusset of a £5 prostitute’s knickers. It would have been more effective had I left the removable bottom off.

Well I was furious. I’d given this fucking tin enough chances. Yes, I could line it, but it was sold to me on the basis I didn’t need to line the fucker and I’m not going to be dictated to by Lakeland. I salvaged the contents of the quiche into a Pyrex dish, covered it with egg-white and took the scalding hot square tin outside, where I set about it with a sledgehammer. Do I feel better? Yes, I do, and I’m all set if I ever want to make a rhombus-shaped christmas cake.

Anyway, that’s the only wrinkle in an otherwise lovely, quiet weekend. You know we aren’t ones for doing anything that requires more movement than entirely necessary, and that was certainly the case on Saturday, when we literally moved from the bed to the settee and back to the bed. We make no apologies, we have busy working weeks. But last night Paul turned to me and said, through a fine mist of pastry crumbs and spittle, that I was to wake him up early in the morning and not let him sleep in late. Pffft. Let me explain how weekend mornings work in our house.

I wake up about 8.30am, always have. I’m not one for sleeping all day – once my eyes open, I’m awake and that’s the end of it, thank you. Knowing he is tired, I’ll generally stay in bed until half nine so Paul has something to lie against and act as ballast to stop him tipping onto his front and drowning in his chin-fat. I’m like one of those tyres you see strapped onto the side of piers for the ferry to rub against. He’ll murmur incoherent nonsense in my ear, put a clammy hand around my belly and fart those indescribably foul morning farts in my general direction all the while. I don’t know what his body does to food overnight but I swear you could power a small city on the strength of his morning flatus. He chuckles away to himself whilst he lets them out, which I do find endearing as I’m clawing at my throat trying to find oxygen.

At around half nine, I get bored with looking at Reddit, not masturbating and spending our money and decide to wake Paul up. This is a complicated process. First I’ll start by cuddling in so he gets far too hot, but then he just moves away or lets out a warning fart, making me retreat. The next step is to start shaking the bed by jiggling on the spot, but that does nothing other than occasionally illicit a cry from him to ‘STOP WANKING’. Plus, our bed is so ridiculously oversized that by the time the tremors eventually hit him, it’s usually nighttime again.

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With the shaking of the bed bearing no fruit, I turn to shaking him directly, starting off with the buttocks, moving up to the stomach and then, if that doesn’t work, his shoulders. This normally does the trick and after he’s wiped the sleep from his eyes and tried his luck with Little Paul (not happening, matey, not without a shower and caustic acid) he reassures me that he’s going to get out of bed as soon as he’s ‘done his stretches’ and could I make him a coffee? I’m happy with this – I’ll mince, invariably stark-bollock-naked, into the kitchen, make him a coffee and return only to find him fast asleep and pulling that face that reminds me awfully of what I imagine his mother looks like when she hasn’t had the formaldehyde in her tank topped up. At this point I generally take a huff and set about cleaning the kitchen instead, which really only punishes me instead of him. At 11 I’ll go in, flap the duvet, wake him up and tell him to get up. At 11.30 I normally go in and take the duvet away altogether, which only results in him sleep-farting more in an effort to heat the room.

Noon means the nuclear option. I’ve touched on this before, but we’ve got speakers in each room of the house that can be controlled centrally via the iPad. These ones, if you please. They’re useful for cleaning – a bit of Dolly in the bathroom, some Radio 4 in the kitchen. Great stuff. At noon, I choose the worst song I can possibly find, turn the volume up to 100 so the bass shakes your fillings out, sneak in and muffle it a little with a towel so I don’t deafen the fucker, then on goes something genuinely frightening: We Want The Same Thing by Belinda Carlisle has a very loud intro, for example. There’s been Minnie Riperton singing Loving You, too, but that starts out slowly. This morning was Magic Dance from Labyrinth, which worked, but only because he was laughing so much.

I called him Hoggle, he called me DCI Vera Stanhope. Paul was awake and all was right with the world again.

Seriously though, what does fuck me off just a smidge (if you’re reading this, my little clartyarse) is that he’ll invariably turn to me fifteen minutes after getting up and say ‘you really need to start waking me up earlier’. How we both laugh as I imagine waking him up with petrol and matches.

Anyway, come, let’s get to the quiche. I really miss quiche when I’m dieting, not least because the Slimming World equivalents are usually full of cottage cheese and empty in taste. It’s the food equivalent of eating a bath sponge, only at least with a sponge you get the excitement of wondering whether you’ll choke to death to alleviate the crashing boredom. I’ve seen quiches made with Pasta and Sauces and I think, all the very best to you, but that’s not really for me. No, I need cheese, eggs, chest pains and flavour. So, here we are.

One compromise I’ve had to make is the pastry. There’s no way that you can bring pastry in under Slimming World’s radar, I’m sorry. Decent pastry is butter and flour combined, there’s not much that can be done without your consultant (hey consultants, big fan!) having a conniption fit and sobbing into her fan of stickers. However, salvation lies in the form of sweet potatoes. Yes, that’s right.

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

Seriously, look at the top of that. This makes enough for six large portions served with salad.

proper ham, cheese and onion quiche

to make a proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, you’ll need:

  • one large sweet potato
  • a decent, non-stick pyrex dish that’ll not spill your dinner everywhere
  • three thick slices of ham – we got ours chopped at the deli counter, you want it about a cm thick (or use bog standard stuff if you want)
  • two large red onions
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125ml of 1% milk (from a HEA allowance, although 100ml is only two syns, so if you want, divide by six for less than half a syn per portion)
  • the whites from four more eggs
  • whatever cheese you want – I used 140g of Danish blue cheese – 35g is a HEA
  • pinch of mustard
  • bit of salt
  • lots of black pepper

to make a proper ham, cheese and onion quiche, you should:

  • slice your sweet potato – you want thickish slices and to save time and make this easier, use a mandolin – the one we use is currently reduced on Amazon, so it is
  • take your pyrex dish, give it a few squirts of spray oil and then layer the sweet potato on top of each other, covering the bottom and a little of the sides – don’t worry about the fact it doesn’t look uniform, that’s fine
  • put that into a preheated oven at 190 degrees for 25 minutes or so
  • whilst that’s cooking, cut up your onion nice and fine and sweat it off in a pan – I added a pinch of fresh thyme because I am one classy fucker
  • cut up the ham into nice cubes and crumble your cheese up
  • in a jug mix the egg whites, two large eggs, 125ml of 1% milk, pinch of mustard powder, salt and pepper
  • once your sweet potatoes are done, take them out of the oven, push them around a bit to make sure there are no major holes in the bottom of the dish
  • layer on the onion, the cubed ham, the cheese and then the egg mixture
  • cook in the oven for around 30 minutes on 200 degrees – make sure it doesn’t burn, but also, it’ll be a wee bit wobbly when it comes out, leave to cool and it’ll firm up nicely
  • I mean, do use your common sense though – if it looks like you could pour it on your cereal, cook it a bit longer
  • how easy was that?

You can swap out the cheese but don’t be adding mushrooms or tomatoes, they add liquid. I think this should be freezable, but not sure. Portion it up for lunches or, more realistically, eat the whole lot and spend the rest of the night on the toilet clutching your poor eggbound belly.

Looking for more ideas with pork or even taster nights (which you could take this quiche too, if you were feeling generous?) – click the buttons below! You could make this veggie too, so I’m including that link.

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Over and out!

J

oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham

There is literally no way of writing oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham without getting a queasy feeling in the stomach. It just doesn’t sound appetising, does it? The same way that you could never describe a pedicure as refreshing or having your anus watched out with water as cleansing. But bear with me: it tastes lovely and makes for a far more substantial breakfast. But before we get to it, a couple of things to consider.

I want to take a moment to say thank you to each and all of you for the lovely comments and messages I received after my previous post about advertising and the snooty comment that some boorish fartface left complaining that our advertising was out of control. There wasn’t a single message agreeing with her and everyone was exceptionally kind. I’d thank you all individually but I’m lazy, so please accept my thanks this way! We’ll say no more about the whole sorry mess and move on.

Bitch

I nearly died yesterday. OK so yes, I’m prone to melodrama and perhaps I wasn’t as close to death as that dramatic opening sentence suggests, but honestly. See, Paul told me he had to go into work and move his desk around – presumably pulling it further away from the wall so he can get his gunt behind it – and that left me with an afternoon to fill. What were my options? Stay at home watching the Olympics and masturbating? Not likely, it was diving. I’m not a fan. Paul and I can cheerfully watch the weight-lifting as men built like bridge pillars come out and hurl weights around – part of us is watching because they’re hot, part of us is scare-watching in case someone has an anal prolapse and everything comes pouring out like someone stepped on a sausage roll. There’s some things you don’t need to see in 65″ ultra HD, I can assure you.

So, given it was a nice day and I’m a lazy, lazy man, I thought it would be a good idea to take myself out for a walk. Growing up I was forever out walking about – it’s how I lost so much weight in my late teens – and I’ve fallen out of step (boom boom) with that since meeting Paul and learning how to drive. Paul is wonderful but he’d take the car to go to the bathroom for a piss if he could. Actually, he probably could do that now he has a car that Polly Pocket herself could drive. I used to adore tramping about in the woods with nothing but my bottle of tapwater, knock-off Rockports (Rickparts by George at ASDA) and a crappy little MP3 player that a friend gave me that I loaded up with downloaded episodes of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. No regrets! With that joyous image of young me in my mind, I asked Paul to drop me off at the nearby Plessey Woods and to pick up me up three hours later when I called him with my location.

Well, honestly. I knew from about three minutes in that I’d made a mistake. Firstly, I was wearing Paul’s trainers meaning every step pinched my feet and chewed my skin. I could feel the ghost of his pitted keratolysis haunting my toes. Second, the very moment I stepped out of his car my phone immediately lost signal. I don’t know if the trees of Plessey Woods are lined with lead but I didn’t get a signal again until an hour later. Nevermind, we made do before and we’ll do so again – I had downloaded a week’s worth of The Archers and three Food Programme episodes on the iPlayer before I set off so it wasn’t too bad.

You know what ruins public beauty spots? The public. I’d forgotten for a moment that I lived in the North East of England and that Geordie law dictates that as soon as a beam of sunlight hits the end of a Lambert and Butler, shirts must come off, disposable BBQs must be bought, lit and covered in 46% mince burgers and children must be encouraged to run around screaming with full nappies and empty minds. I’m so curmudgeonly these days, I know, but wouldn’t it be a treat to go somewhere and not experience a cacophony of kids blaring and parents bellowing and mooing at them? I put my headphones on and waddled down to the river like an angry buffalo.

Once in the forest though, it was wonderful. Always is. Most of the families stayed within a 200 metre of the ice-cream truck lest their children went more than five minutes without a Costco Calippo smeared across their face, so within no time at all I had the place to myself. I followed the river, marvelling at untouched beauty of it all, enjoying the silence. There was a brief startling moment when I happened across a tiny notice warning of a wasp nest up ahead – no actual instruction on where it was or what to do. I plodded on, knowing that if I did stumble into a wasp nest, that would be it for me. No chance of running away thanks to my bulk. They’d find my bloated, wasp-filled corpse floating down the river with my face frozen forever in a ‘COME AT ME, YOU FUCKING SHIT-BEES’ snarl.

Didn’t happen though, thankfully. No wasps and no other drama for a good two miles or so until I popped up on the side of the A1, sweating and confused and tired. Oh! One thing – let me explain an irrational fear of mine. See, alone in the woods, I only came across (bad choice of words given what is coming) another walker, a sole female walking towards me through the thick trees. I always instantly worry in a situation like this that the lass is going to see a red-faced, angry looking shaven-headed man blundering towards her and immediately reach for her pepper spray. I’m a kind, gentle soul but even I sometimes shit myself when I see my ugly mug in the mirror when I get up in the night for a piss.

So, what do I do? I can’t grin inanely at her from a distance because I have the type of grin that says ‘it’s going to hurt you more than it hurts me’. I can’t shout a cheery hello because then I’d just look insane. I don’t want her thinking I’m a threat in this crazy frightening world so the only thing I can really do is camp it up and make it clear that, how can I put this delicately, I take it up the Glitter. Thus, hand out like I’m clutching an invisible rail, dainty point feet as I gambol lightly over the rocks on the path, tra-la-laing along to the Archers omnibus theme tune. If I’d had my drill kit I could have set myself up behind a gloryhole in a nearby oak for good measure but there was no time, and she passed by unfazed, with a loud hiyaaaaaa from me. I do worry too much, don’t I?

After emerging onto the side of the A1 and spending ten minutes trying to cross it whilst half of the United Kingdom sped past at 100mph, I decided to send Paul a text to let him know I hadn’t a) fallen in a river or b) been raped and left for dead by some forest-dweller. His reply was ‘shall I get us a McFlurry before I pick you up’. Soothing. I told him I’d press on because I was enjoying myself and I’d call him when I was ready, spotting a barely visible public footbath through the Blagdon Estate, I minced onwards.

THAT’s where things turned deadly. Or at least, mildly inconvenient. I got lost. I so rarely get lost, I’m excellent with direction and hell, I know the area like the back of my hand, but I don’t know if I stumbled in the wrong direction trying to avoid cows or was distracted by something shiny on the horizon, but I completely lost my bearings. No mobile signal. Mild panic set in. Every field looked the same. The tracks were endless. I only had a little bit of water left and the day was hot. Clearly, the situation was grave, and given how prone I am to catastrophic thinking, I knew this was it. I stumbled bravely on for another couple of miles or two, trying to distract myself with The Archers but only making myself angrier because of silly Helen, until, finally, rising from the trees like the most middle-class mirage ever, the Northumberland Cheese Company. Phew.

Naturally, it was shut. I was gutted. Nothing quenches a raging thirst like a nettle and elderflower pressé and a truckle of expensive cheese. Salvation came in the form of FINALLY getting a signal on my mobile and I called Paul, who immediately dispatched himself to come to my aid. Took him forty fucking minutes. He wins a MASSIVE gold star for effort for playing Nearer My God To Thee through his car-speakers as he came hurtling over the horizon. Clearly at this point I was close to death, and imagine the indignity of such a frou-frou death as collapsing outside a cheese farm from heatstroke with only Sheila Dillon twittering on about strawberries to comfort me into the blackness. PAH. Paul bundled me into the Smart car (the fat equivalent of trying to stuff a telephone directory into an A5 envelope), pressed a McFlurry into my hand and sensitively pointed out that I was a little red in the cheeks. I’ll say: I walked, accordingly to my Fitbit, almost 8 miles in the blazing sun.

I’m paying for it today mind – my ankles hurt, my skin feels a bit tight and my chest hurts, presumably from my lungs having to do anything other than filter out shards of Smarties and chips. I, thankfully, don’t seem to have burnt myself though. I did have a moment of panic this morning when I woke up and felt my skin peeling from my face, only to find when I went to the bathroom that it was something else entirely – the happy by-product of a successful, loving marriage that had somehow splattered a little off-course and been missed in the after sex clean-up. It’s great for the skin, by the way, though I can’t see Montagne Jeunesse releasing a fuckmuck edition.

Speaking of sowing the wild oats, why not put proper oats into an omelette? See below. Christ, I only meant to type a few words for this post too! I’m saying syn free because you’re allowed 35g of oats as a healthy extra, but if you want to syn it, go for 25g at 4.5 syns. Up to you. Before I get to the recipe, I’m going to just mention that I don’t think Musclefood have turned off our discount yet so, if you’re still sitting on the fence, do I have a deal for you.

Because an advert follows, let me just give you the option of skipping the advert entirely. You just need to click on, entirely apropos of nothing, this tiny picture of Annie Wilkes from Misery to jump forward.

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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. TO THE RECIPE.


Back, are we? Phew! Let’s do this.

oaty breakfast omelette

to make a oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham, you’ll need:

  • three decent eggs
  • three tablespoons of oats (taken from your healthy extra allowance or synned as above)
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • chopped ham or bacon
  • syn-free houmous (or syn some shop-bought stuff) – here’s a recipe for four houmous recipes! Don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window.
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • I used some leftover dried sundried tomatoes to add onto mine – I don’t syn them – they’re the dried variety which are dried and then need rehydrating – no oil involved and you’re eating no more tomato than chopping a cherry tomato in half – but up to you!

You can customise this however you want, add more speed, mushrooms, any old shite. Add cheese if you want! Also, if you do make a batch of houmous, you can use any remainder to make this recipe for houmous topped chicken. Nice.

to make a oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham, you should:

  • there’s really nothing to this – beat the eggs in a jug with the oats and a pinch of salt and pepper
  • using a good non-stick pan with a couple of sprays of oil, cook your omelette – pour it in, allow it to firm and if you’re feeling brave, flip it – but don’t fold it over
  • once it’s cooked, slide it onto a plate, slather it with houmous, top with the ham, bacon, cheese, old car bits, fag ash, anything you want
  • eat by placing small chunks of it into your mouth and masticating wildly

It’s that easy! I was really pleasantly surprised – it makes for a more substantial breakfast. Slimming World’s breakfast choices are a bit limited I find, so anything new is to be welcomed. And look ma, no sweetener! WHOO. In case you’re wondering, we use one of these for our omelettes. We were given one as a gift and have never looked back, although I know it’s ridiculously fancy. But so are we, damn it.

For more breakfast ideas or overnight oats recipes, click the buttons below!

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Cheers, big-ears,

J