chinese cherry coke chicken thighs – perfect for taster night

Cherry coke chicken thighs await you in a moment – and good news, this is just a quick post, but first…

cherry coke chicken

Aaargh! I don’t know why I inflict facebook groups on myself, you know. With pancake day approaching, the pages are awash with people suggesting they can make “delicious syn-free pancakes” from blending oats, frying them in frylight and mixing with yoghurt and sweetener. Why? yeah, you might save a few syns, but what price dignity? What price the crap that you’re putting into your body in the name of trying to get a syn-free dinner? I know it’s personal choice and that’s all well and good but I bet there’s the same amount of calories, or close, in the amount of oats you’ll use, plus oil, plus sweetener, then there is in a couple of proper pancakes. And even then, why not enjoy your food? You’ve got one body and you’re here only once – why not enjoy your food? Have good food and eat a bit less and I guarantee you’ll enjoy it all the more. 15 syns to spend on making the stuff you’re eating enjoyable, tasty and memorable.

Ah I dunno. I can’t get my head around the mentality of thinking spending syns on your dinner is a bad thing but sitting cramming a chocolate bar into your mouth “because you can” is the way forward? Frankenfood and nonsense is totally against Slimming World anyway, and let’s be fair, I’m hardly their most ‘anal’ fnar fnar follower. You need this to be a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. When people lose all the weight will they be eating oat pancakes and “sausage rolls” made from wrapping a manky sausage in a wrap? No. Then what happens to that weight loss? But hey, what do I know? Follow SW’s rules, they know what they’re doing. Mostly.

Let’s do some cherry cola chinese chicken! The cherry cola adds a nice glaze and using chicken thighs keeps the meal cheap and easy. Let’s be honest: if there’s one thing you love, it’s some cheap and easy thighs. Right?

cherry coke chicken

to make chinese diet coke chicken you will need:

  • 8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • 150ml diet cherry coke
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes

top tips for chinese diet cherry coke

to make chinese diet cherry coke chicken you should:

  • in a jug mix together the coke, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chilli flakes
  • plop the chicken thighs into a bowl and pour over the marinade, turn the thighs over to make sure they get a good coating
  • leave in the fridge for about an hour, then remove from the marinade and pop onto a paper towl
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray in some oil
  • add the chicken thighs and cook until browned, then turn
  • pour over the remaining marinade, bring to a simmer and cover with a lid
  • cook for five minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another five or until the marinade is nicely thickened
  • serve!

Still hungry? We’ve got plenty more chinese fakeaway recipes for you!

Yum!

J

rainbow beef: speedy and saucy

Saucy rainbow beef is today’s Chinese fakeaway recipe, and you’ll find it just below. Enjoy!

Thinking about my nephew’s birthday, and then having to choose from an absolutely bewildering amount of toys available in the shops, got me thinking about the toys I used to have. Now naturally, only my generation’s toys were any good and yours were rubbish, but bear with me.

Favourite toy of all time was a tatty teddy bear that was both a bumblebee and a lion. Of course: hence Bumblelion. Internet research suggests that Bumblelion was from a TV show called The Wuzzles but that means absolutely nothing to me – I think Bumblelion’s origin story was simply being stuck on a table at the Corbridge Boot Sale and being spotted by me and my sticky three year old hands. That teddy bear stayed with me for ages – losing its tail, fur, an eye, the nose, the stuffing over the years, but even now I’m fairly sure I could climb into our loft and find him again. My parents never bothered stitching the bits back on – they took a rather cavalier approach to safety: whilst everyone else went sledging on a proper wooden sledge for example, I was given a rinsed out giant plastic bag with ICI Chemicals printed on the side and sent hurtling towards a barbed wire fence at great speed.

I asked Paul what his favourite teddy bear was and he replied that I was. Once I’d finished vomiting into the toilet, he offered up an alternative. Apparently his parents went to the same ‘caring’ school as mine as he had an unfinished toy mouse without a tail, which by all accounts looked like a rudimentary fleshlight, given it had a huge hole with the stuffing leaking out at the rear end. Knowing Paul, that’s probably exactly what it was used for. He called it Mousey, showing an imagination that captivates an audience even now. I know for a fact where Mousey lives: somewhere in a landfill near Byker, as I accidentally threw him out in an overly-keen cleaning spree. Oops. Mousey was supplemented by all manner of tamagotchis that Paul was given to keep him quiet – I never had one and was furiously jealous of everyone else who had one. It’s probably for the best however – I was given my friend’s tamagotchi to look after and killed it for real within two hours by dropping it into the toilet.

We ended up choosing Lego for my nephew – partly because it’s the best gift you can give a young lad because it fires the imagination, partly because I know how much it will annoy my sister who now faces an eternity of stepping on Lego bricks in the dead of night. She can talk, she never used to clean away the Lego when we played at home. We used to build massive hamster runs and mazes out of Lego – it’s all good times until you forget about poor Snuffles working his way through the maze towards a carrot and go away on holiday. Poor little bugger*. I think all children should be given Lego at the earliest opportunity – not Duplo, that’s cheating, and not knock-off Lego that doesn’t quite fit together, but proper stuff. If I’m ever asked to step in and replace Theresa May on account that I have a soul and can smile without looking like I’m passing wind, I’ll make it mandatory that children are born into buckets of Lego that they then get to keep.

It wasn’t just Lego, of course – we had all manner of board games, all with nearly all the pieces included. It’s easy enough to play Pop-Up-Pirate without all of the swords but Buckaroo becomes a surprising challenge when you only have half of the donkey, and as for trying to solve a murder in Cluedo with only the Miss White card and 100 Lambert and Butler gratis points, well forget it. Paul’s favourite board-game was Screwball Scramble but because his mother was a shaved Hitler, he was only allowed to play it up to the bit where you had to smack the buttons and then stop, because the noise would ‘bring on one of her heads’. Even then he knew that her headaches were probably nicotine-poisoning. We want to join a local board game society up here in Newcastle but it all seems to be complicated games now – I want to play Monopoly with someone who doesn’t get in a huff when I buy Mayfair and then refuses to play when he starts losing: like Paul.

 

I’m obviously kidding about the hamster, by the way. All of our hamsters had luxurious, full lives, although we did lose one prematurely when it took an exciting and unexpected swerve on the hallway landing and went bouncing down the stairs in his little exercise ball. RIP Snowy.

Final highlight was a sit-on toy tractor that I could peddle around in the yard behind our house. I bloody loved that thing and used it until the brakes were worn, the wheels were shot and the whole thing was one more half-stone of my arse from falling to bits. It did almost kill me – I once went merrily shooting down our steep driveway and across two lanes of traffic before my mother remembered that she hadn’t shut the gate at the bottom. It’s alright, I survived (obviously) and there were only forty people injured in the resulting pile-up caused by the bus having to swerve around me into oncoming traffic.

The picture on this one doesn’t look amazing, but blame Paul: he forgot to take the pictures, so this is just a still from the video. Don’t worry, he’ll be getting a firm lashing later on.

UPDATE: Sorry – this isn’t syn free as it says in the photo, that’s a typo. It’s actually 1½ syns each! 

rainbow beef

rainbow beef

to make saucy rainbow beef you will need:

  • 500g beef stir-fry strips (or steak, sliced)
  • 1½ tsp cornflour (½ syn)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (3 syns)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • ½ tsp red chilli flakes
  • 8 shittake mushrooms
  • 3 peppers of different colours, sliced

top tips for saucy rainbow beef:

  • we used the beef strips from our excellent Big Meaty Package – if you want decent quality, cheap meat go check out our deals page!
  • mince the garlic and ginger in double-quick time with a Microplane grater – you can get one here!
  • shiitake mushrooms will give a nice, beefy taste but normal mushrooms will do fine
  • haven’t got rice wine vinegar? cider vinegar will be fine
  • this makes enough for two large bowls

to make saucy rainbow beef you should:

  • sprinkle the cornflour over the beef and give a good toss
  • pour over the tsp of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, one of the garlic cloves, sesame oil, salt and pepper and mix everything together
  • in a separate jug, stir the tbsp of rice wine vinegar and hoisin sauce and set aside
  • heat a large frying pan or wok over a high heat and spray in a little oil
  • add the beef to the pan and spread out as much as you can
  • let it cook for about a minute to crisp up, and then stir fry for another minute
  • slide the beef onto a plate and drain away any excess liquid
  • add the peppers to the pan along with the other garlic clove, ginger, chilli flakes and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes
  • add the beef back to the pan and give another stir
  • pour over the hoisin sauce, cook for another 30 seconds, then serve

Did that get your minge tingling? Don’t forget we’ve got loooaddss of other Chinese fakeaway meals waiting for you! You’ll find some of our favourites below:

Mwah!

J

beef chop suey: saucy and syn-free

Right, let’s fire out a recipe for beef chop suey with no chitchat, as we’re all busy people. Take Me Out isn’t going to watch itself, you know.

Now come on, as if we’d watch Take Me Out. If I wanted to listen to thirty lasses screaming at an orange man, I’d go to a Trump protest. THERE. THERE’S SOME BITING POLITICAL ANALYSIS. I’m kidding, it’s my nephew’s birthday so we’re actually off to hand over gifts and cards in exchange for love and kindness. But we couldn’t leave you without something to smack your lips over, so here we are! Saucy beef chop suey.

beef chop suey

beef chop suey

to make saucy beef chop suey you will need:

  • 220g beef stir fry strips, sliced (or steak, sliced)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 8 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 60g mangetout, sliced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 300g dried noodles

top tips for making saucy beef chop suey:

to make saucy beef chop suey you should:

  • cook the noodles according to the instructions
  • heat a large saucepan over a high heat and spray ina . little oil
  • add the garlic and onions and stir around the pan for about a minute, then add the beef
  • cook for a few minutes and then add the carrots, red pepper and mushrooms and cook for another five minutes
  • add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, mangetout and spring onions to the pan and give a good stir
  • cook for another 1-2 minutes until slightly thickened
  • serve over the noodles

Feeling saucier? Check out some of our other recipes!

salt and pepper chips (no MSG, no sweetener)

Salt and pepper chips! I’m amazed that we have never posted this as a recipe, but here we are. Now, here’s some sad news: James is poorly. Not poorly with man-flu or feeling a bit dicky (story of his life) but full on snot pouring from every orifice, voice like Madge Bishop shouting down an telephone line and a face the colour of the dead. The long dead. I’m having to type and listen to his gasping and wailing and snotting and it’s really quite something – it sounds like he’s suffocating animals in the bedroom. To be clear: he isn’t, just before anyone phones the RSPCA, though fat lot of good they ever do. To his credit, although he does like to moan on that he’s dying every time he cuts his toenails a bit too short, he’s rarely actually ill, so to see him sweating and dripping like he’s mid-exorcism is quite something. I must tend to him, so let’s get the recipe done!

This makes enough for a big portion to serve four people!

salt and pepper chips

salt and pepper chips

to make salt and pepper chips you will need:

  • 1 kg potatoes, cut into chips
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tsp sugar (1 syn)
  • 1 red and 1 green chilli pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tsp five spice
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes

There’s a couple of recipes out there which call for you to add MSG. Why? Totally unnecessary – you don’t need to add a ‘flavour-booster’ to your dinner if you cook with proper ingredients. Don’t be suckered into buying ingredients you don’t need just to make a few quid of commission for other blogs.

top tips for making salt and pepper chips:

  • an airfryer will make this one so much easier – if you haven’t got one yet check out our special review page to help you pick the right one for you
  • for nice, even chips try getting a chipper!
  • don’t be tempted to skip the sugar in this one – it’s definitely worth it
  • this one is a taste explosion even though it’s so simple – there’s no MSG! if you prefer it less spicy you can leave out the chilli flakes
  • get your chips nice and golden with a decent oil sprayer – we use this one
  • if you’re after the crinkle cut look, use one of these bad-boys 

to make salt and pepper chips you should:

  • cook the chips – if you’re using an Airfryer this is easy – just spray over a bit of oil and turn the machine on!
  • don’t forget to add the worcestershire sauce when you make your chips
  • if you’re cooking in the oven, spray with a bit of oil and bake for 30 minutes on 240°c
  • meanwhile, slice the chilli peppers and dice the onions
  • spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium0high heat
  • add the chilli peppers and onions to the pan and fry until the onion is a golden colour
  • add the salt, five-spice, chilli flakes and sugar to the pan and give a good stir
  • add the cooked chips to the frying pan and stir to coat well
  • serve!

We’ve done some amazing chips recipes over the years – have a look!

P

bacon and egg fried rice – perfect for breakfast!

Bacon and egg fried rice – for breakfast, to boot! This is the perfect recipe to keep in mind when you cook some of our recipes and have leftover rice, but for the love of good, make sure you heat leftover rice to within an inch of its life otherwise your weight loss will be from shitting out your intestines. I’m not kidding!

We’re away tonight so no nonsense – straight into the recipe! This kicks off our next theme of Chinese inspired meals, we hope you enjoy!

This makes enough bacon and egg fried rice for four people – if there’s just you, you know what to do.

bacon and egg fried rice

bacon and egg fried rice

to make bacon and egg fried rice you will need:

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 6 bacon medallions, diced
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 500g cooked rice (doesn’t need to be exact)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • pepper

top tips for bacon and egg fried rice:

to make bacon and egg fried rice you should:

  • heat a large frying pan over a high heat and spray with a little oil
  • pour in the beaten eggs and stir quickly to scramble, then remove and set aside
  • put the bacon in the pan and stir fry until nice and crispy
  • add the frozen peas to the pan and stir fry for just under a minute
  • add the rice and give a good stir
  • add the scrambled eggs back to the pan and give a good stir
  • add the soy sauce and a pinch of pepper, then serve straight away!

Good stuff right?

We’ve done a tonne of rice dishes – have a look!

J

lamb doner kebab burger: a gorgeous syn-free fakeaway

A lamb doner kebab burger. At this point, we might as well serve you our recipes with a pint of WKD and a quick fingerblast behind the bins. But the theme has been ‘late night fakeaways’ and well, you don’t get any more ‘I’ll regret this in the morning’ than a kebab, improperly stuffed or no. Now, as a naan bread is well out of the question on Slimming World, we’ve stuck it in a burger bun. Definitely not because we had a spare bun to use, oh no. This is the last fakeaway recipe for a bit, so fans of vitamins, nourishment and not sending an aspirin after your dinner can rejoice.

But first, a plea. Those of you who actually read the bawdy filth that prefaces the recipes may remember a post I did a while back imploring you not to be frightened of exercising in case someone looks at you or judges you. That point still stands: go out there and don’t give anyone a second thought. But since the New Year, I have become aware of a special breed of knobhead that has arisen – the ‘I was here first and I’m better than anyone who has just joined’ shitgibbon. For example, at the gym I go along to to breathlessly pant on all manner of machines, there’s two guys who sit at the machines and only actually move whenever they see someone looking at them. Then it’s full grunt, full lift, full raaar, and then dismissive looks at anyone else who is trying to lift or move or exist. You know the type: veins on their forehead that looks like roots of an oak tree, arms like condoms full of walnuts, fake tan applied unevenly and streakily leaving them looking like a distressed armoire. They’re the type of bloke who is so roided up that when they go for a slash they still manage to piss on their hands despite only gripping their shrunken badonkadonk with one finger. I don’t understand it: the posturing and the peacocking and the ‘look at me lifting some arbitrary amount of weight in front of a mirror in my best Jacamo buy one get two free shorts that my wife bought me to encourage me to go to the gym so she can have my brother around for wild sex’ posing.

Honestly, it’s all I can do to focus on Air Crash Investigation and not die on the treadmill. Here’s the top tip: ignore them. It’s quite honestly the worst thing you can do to them – they crave the attention of being ogled, whether you’re doing it aggressively or surreptitiously. Let them get more and more wound up until they stomp out and hopefully wrap their finance-deal-beamer into a tree.

To get away from that today I thought I’d try swimming, but sadly, the pool was also infected with this rot. That and children, though you have to allow the children their noisiness and rambunctiousness as it is a Saturday, I suppose. With Paul advising me that he wouldn’t be joining me in the pool as quite honestly he’s got enough verrucas to keep him going and that he didn’t fancy the inevitable naegleria fowleri infection from the communal showers (well, it is Ashington, you know), I was left alone. Fair enough. Get in, paddle about it a bit and then move into the slow lane to try and do some lengths. I’m not a great swimmer – I look like Artax dying in the Swamp of Sadness from The Neverending Story but with a hairier back – but I can tick along as a reasonable speed and with minimal gasping. I do enjoy watching the lifeguards fretting about having to pull me out of the water if I start flailing, however. So, I’m merrily tootling along with a rudimentary breaststroke, with a couple of blokes in front of me keeping pace, and all is well with the world. As well as it can be when you’ve got someone’s arse pistoning away in front of you, that is, though the chlorine burning my eyes dulled that image a little. All of a sudden there’s a great wave and some absolute fucking bellend goes rocketing past, forcing everyone to swim out of the way. He hits the wall, does that ‘oh look at me’ spin in the water, and sets away back for another length, again causing a wave of water for us poor slowpokes. This continued for a good few minutes before the lifeguard blew her whistle – the power – and told him that he was in the slow lane and if he wanted to swim at such a lick, he would need to move into the fast lane immediately to the left. His reply?

“I AM SWIMMING SLOWLY, THIS IS MY SLOW STROKE”, spat out with such venom I’m surprised the water around him didn’t start to bubble. What a pompous, entitled arse – it was clear he was going as quick as he could but by god he wanted everyone to feel that he could go that much bit quicker. Also, he seemed oblivious to the fact that it’s tricky to look intimidating when you’re wearing a tight, bright pink swimming cap that is pulling your eyebrows up to a permanently surprised look and have combined it with a nose-clip to turn your voice into a high-pitched whinny. Everyone in the immediate vicinity looked at him and the lifeguard made him move over, where he huffed and puffed down the fast lane whilst shooting shitty looks at anyone who went past him. There was no way I could keep up, of course, but you better believe that every time we drew parallel in the lanes, I was shouting the word cuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu*nt under the water at him. That made me feel better, as I like to think there was at least a slight revenge. If God existed, he would have been sure to suck the drawstring of his swimming shorts into the filter on the bottom of the pool and kill the bastard off.

Everywhere I go, murder follows. Still: I managed twenty lengths overall, and that’s not bad at all for a bloke who is losing more and more of his buoyancy as the year progresses. Swimming doesn’t feel the same when you don’t immediately follow it up with a Kitkat Chunky and a packet of crisps from the vending machine, however. Paul rejoined me at the car and opened with the line “you know, I wish I was a woman: I’d never stop putting things up my fanny to see if it would fit” – and that’s where we’ll leave it for now.

The recipe, then. Lamb doner kebab burger, if you please. We’ve actually done this recipe before way back when but it looks so awful in the photograph, and frankly, didn’t taste that exciting, we thought we’d do it again but better. Here’s the thing: unless you’re getting your butcher to mince the lamb for you, you’re not going to find 5% lamb mince in the supermarket. You’re just not, and anyone who tells you that you are is a filthy lying bastard. So: buy lamb chunks and food process the hell out of it to make a ‘mince’ instead. It’s that easy! To the lamb doner kebab burger, then…

lamb doner kebab burger

lamb doner kebab burger

to make the lamb doner kebab burger you will need:

  • 4x wholemeal rolls (4x HeB)
  • 200g lamb steaks (see top tips below)
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • sweet chilli sauce (0ptional) (remember to syn it, though)
  • any toppings you like (we used red cabbage, lettuce, rocket and onion)
  • 60g fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp mint sauce

top tips for lamb doner kebab burger:

  • you don’t have to use lamb steaks – diced lamb would do the trick just as well, or mince (just mix by hand instead of in the food processor)
  • if you’re really not a fan of lamb you could use beef mince
  • a good food processor will make easy work of this. If you don’t have one though you could use lamb mince, just mix it all by hand instead
  • you could use pitta breads instead of rolls if you wanted a proper kebab!
  • any loaf tin will do, but a silicon one makes it so much easier! 
  • mince your garlic in seconds with one of these bad boys – it’s our favourite kitchen gadget!

to make the lamb doner kebab burger you should:

  • in a small bowl mix together the yoghurt, garlic and mint sauce, and put in the fridge
  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • chuck the lamb steaks, onion, coriander, garam masala, salt and pepper into the food processor and blitz until smooth
  • roll into a ball and tip into a medium-sized loaf tin, spreading it out so it’s nice and flat
  • cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes
  • remove from the oven, leave to cool for a bit, and then drain off any liquid
  • lift out onto a chopping board and slice thinly
  • assemble your burger to however you like it – don’t forget the yoghurt and mint sauce!

We love nothing more than a good fakeaway! Check out 10 of our most recent fakeaway recipes!

Enjoy!

J

the DILF burger: beef with a salt and pepper crust

Yes: the DILF burger. We toyed with the idea of calling it the salt and pepper burger but that’s dull. So, to keep things filthy, we’re calling it the DILF burger. Choose your explanation:

  • “I spend lots of time on my knees praying” = the DILF stands for Dieting Is Lots of Fun
  • “I spend lots of time on my knees doing things that it’s not nice to talk about” = the DILF stands for Dad I‘d Like to Fu…

Yeah! You know, like Tim from Corrie, Jim Hopper from Stranger Things and the new Captain Birdseye – have you seen him?

He’s gone straight from Yewtree to You: Now.

Only doing a very quick post tonight as I have to spend the rest of the evening sobbing into my HMRC forms. I thought I had filed it months ago but er, turns out I had left it to check something and then totally forgot about it. Still, I can’t see it being a problem – it’s not like the lines at HMRC will be busy, eh? Wish me luck! Let’s get straight to the recipe!

the dilf burger

to make the DILF burger you will need:

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 4 bacon rashers
  • 70g peppercorns (we used a mixture of pink and black)
  • a good grind of salt
  • 250g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • 25g Philadelphia Lightest (you can have 110g as a healthy extra, so up to you if you bother synning such a small amount divided by four)
  • 80g reduced fat cheddar cheese, cut into four slices (2x HeA)
  • 4 wholemeal buns (4x HeB)
  • 2 big handfuls of rocket (or any salad leaf you want)

top tips to make the DILF burger

 

  • a pestle and mortar for the pepper is best but if you haven’t got one or can’t be arsed you could use a grinder, or alternatively bash it with the end of a rolling pin
  • musclefood do some amazing deals on mince and bacon – have a look, you can build yer own hamper these days – fancy!
  • a good oil mister is perfect for this one – this is what we recommend
  • you can cook this in a frying pan, under the grill or with a fancy gadget – we used an Optigrill for ours and used the ‘Burger’ button for a perfect rare burger. A George Foreman grill will do the job too!
  • wholemeal rolls look really shit in a photo. We used a brioche for purely photographic purposes – if you use a brioche bun, syn them (ASDA’s are about eight syns)

to make the DILF burger you should

  • heat a saucepan over a high heat and spray in a little oil
  • add the mushrooms and onions and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently
  • remove from the heat and set aside
  • use a pestle and mortar (or a grinder) to grind the peppercorns and the salt to a coarse consistency and carefully pour onto a plate
  • next, tip the mince into a large bowl and knead for a little bit to help mix it up and easier to shape
  • divide the mince into four and form into burgers (see Top Tips above)
  • gently press each burger in the peppercorns until well coated – don’t forget the edges! if the mince is dry, give a quick spritz with some oil to help it stick
  • spray a large frying pan with oil and place on a high heat or use a grill (see Top Tips above) and cook the burgers to your liking, then remove to a plate
  • in the same pan, chuck in the bacon and cook until done
  • making sure the mushrooms and onions have cooled a bit, add the philly and give a good stir
  • split the rolls and add a quarter of the mushroom mix to each bun
  • top with a burger, slice of cheese, bacon, tomato and rocket
  • cram into gob and turn into poo

Don’t worry – that wet patch will soon dry up. But if you don’t want it to, check out our other burger recipes!

Gosh, that’s a lot!

J

syn-free chicken doner kebab wraps

Syn-free chicken doner kebab wraps! Yes! We’ve got a fantastic streak of recipes coming down the line and this is just the beginning – proper ‘naughty’ food, and yes, I cringed too writing that.

I’m not going to keep you too long, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve found a butch new past-time – boxing! Well past-time might be overselling it but we’ve just done a boxing class at boot camp and I bloody loved it. I suppose there was always a certain inevitability that I’d enjoy being pummelled in the ring by someone more tattoo than man but still. N0, none of that business, just a few boxing moves in the darkness.

One thing that it brought to light was how terrible I am at throwing a punch – but see, I’m a lover, not a fighter. I prefer to cuddle, but that’s frowned upon, especially when everyone is sweaty. When it was my turn to be the ‘puncher’ I really struggled to work out the technique until, miraculously, that annoying little ‘What’s A Computer?’ shitrat’s face appeared on the pads in front of me and I absolutely leathered them. It felt great! All that anger being released in a safe and controlled fashion, rather than coming out in the form of the spittle dripping down my windscreen. In my head I felt like Conor McGregor, but I’m sure in the harsh light of the gym I was more John Prescott when he got hit by an egg.

I could have cheerfully carried on punching but we had to switch roles (it’s OK, I’m gay, it’s a routine part of our existence: sometimes you’re Jim Henson, sometimes you’re Kermit) and it was my turn to block the punches. That’s fine when it’s Paul and his brittle wrists but when you’ve got people with arms like oil pipelines, it becomes terrifying. All I’m saying is that it’s probably quite hard for the leader to keep up the macho, aggressive atmosphere when you’ve got a big fat mincer shrieking ‘mind me teeth! MIND ME TEEEEEETH‘. Aaaah, good times.

There is a downside to the whole experience – slipping on a pair of communal gloves that have been used for eight classes previously that day…was grim. I felt like I was fisting an especially lubed bumhole. Now: I’m going to tell you something but because it’s super rude, I’m going to a) hide it in white text so you’ll need to highlight it and b) suggest that anyone prudish scrolls to the next paragraph. Don’t say you weren’t warned!


Wondering how I know what fisting someone feels like? Because I did it accidentally. I had met someone for – let’s not be polite here – casual sex (long before I met Paul) and one aspect of gay sex is that usually, you’ve got to apply a fair bit of lube. That’s fine, I was oiling his keyhole when he pushed back without warning, sending my whole fist and half my forearm up his arse, the way a vet does to a cow when he’s trying to deliver a difficult calf. He didn’t even flinch. I’m not into this at all, but what the hell do you do in that situation? It didn’t so much kill my mood as tear it wide open and leave it gaping. I pulled out my fist, checked I still had my ring on (he didn’t) and apologised profusely. He was fine about it, but there was no fucking way I was following it up – I’ve got nowt to be ashamed of, but I’d hate to meet the man who can compete with the girth of his own balled-up fist. I made an excuse (my arm looks like a giant fizzy cola bottle, THANKS) and legged it. 

Legend has it that if you listen carefully, in the right conditions, you can actually hear Ben from Hartlepool’s arse whistling in the breeze even now.


You’re back! We’re going to buy our own set and one of those wee mannequins that you can punch about the room without fear of being sent to jail. I might stick Little Mo’s face on it from Eastenders and pretend I’m Trevor. Man, I used to have such a thing for him, which I know is terrible: he was a monster, but I wouldn’t mind being face-down in his gravy, I can promise you.

Anyway, on that charming note, to the recipe! We’ve adapted this from recipetineats which is a fantastic site – if you haven’t visited yet go there now!

chicken doner kebab wraps

chicken doner kebab wraps

 to make chicken doner kebab wraps you will need:

  • 8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • half a red cabbage, finely sliced
  • half an iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp tabasco sauce (or any hot sauce)
  • 4 WeightWatchers low fat white wraps (4x HeB)

for the marinade

  • 250g fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or hot chilli powder)
  • 1½ tsp onion granules
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2½ tbsp tomato puree
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

for the yoghurt and mint sauce

  • 100g fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp mint sauce

top tips for chicken doner kebab wraps

  • we had lettuce, cabbage, onion and tabasco sauce in our kebab but you can have whatever you like!
  • cooking in the oven will give you the best results but if you can’t be arsed you can also do them under the grill – just be careful they don’t burn and make sure they’re cooked in the middle
  • a Tefal Optigrill will also make light work of this – just press the ‘Chicken’ button and cook until the light is yellow/orange, turning once or twice halfway through
  • you can help keep the chicken moist by spraying with a bit of oil before it goes in the oven, and just before you turn them halfway through. Frylight tastes rank, get one of these instead and go for a proper tasty mist, with real oil!
  • you really want chicken thighs for this one – you could use breasts, but they might go a bit dry
  • don’t be shy when stuffing your wrap – you’ll probably have quite a bit of meat left over – this makes LOADS

to make chicken doner kebab wraps you should:

  • in a large bowl mix together all of the marinade ingredients
  • add the chicken and mix to coat well
  • cover the bowl in cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 3 hours, or ideally overnight
  • in another bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients and leave in the fridge until you need it
  • preheat the oven to 220°c
  • find a baking tray that’s the right size so that you can sit the skewers for the next bit on either side – a pyrex dish is perfect for this
  • remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and divide into two piles
  • fold the chicken thighs over and push onto two parallel skewers – think about those horrible ice lollies you had with two sticks – that’s the kind of thing you’re after. use two skewers for each pile, so you’ll end up with two big kebabs
  • sit the ends of the skewers on the edge of the dish so that the meat doesn’t touch the bottom – you don’t want to lose any of that tasty marinade!
  • bake in the oven for 35 minutes, then turn and bake for another twenty minutes
  • remove from the oven and then carefully stand them up on a chopping board, and slice thinly
  • open up a wrap and fill with your chosen toppings
  • add the chicken, drizzle over any sauces, fold over the wrap and eat
  • make it tastier by toasting the wrap first in a griddle pan or Optigrill!

Or, to put it simply: marinade your chicken, skewer it and cook it in the oven – easy.

That’s a wrap! Oh noes, my sides. If you love wraps as much as we do, have a look at some of our other recipes!

Enjoy!

J

syn-free minestrone soup in a hurry

Syn-free minestrone soup in a hurry tonight, and that’s very fitting indeed because I have to get the blog done, get washed and showered and dressed all before our taxi gets here at 7.30pm. I wish I could say we were off to do something exciting but good lord, we’re going to play bingo in Ashington. If you’re not familiar with Ashington, just picture Aleppo but with more B&M outlets. It’s a safe bet that I’ll be mugged, but all bets are off as to whether it’ll be by the taxi driver, the smokers outside the entrance doors or the old biddies feeding their pensions into the lobby slots. Wish me luck!

Now this syn-free minestrone soup looks like it’ll be a pain in the arse but it’s ridiculously easy, although I’ve taken some liberties with the recipe. The recipe this is cribbed from (Delia Smith) has you sweating vegetables and taking your time. Balls to that: this is soup in a hurry. This makes enough for four big bowls of soup.

syn-free minestrone

Ours looks a bit oily because we didn’t cut the fat off the bacon. Because we’re decadent.

to make syn-free minestrone soup in a hurry, you’ll need:

  • 100g of bacon medallions (see note below)
  • one large onion (see note below)
  • two stalks of celery (see note below)
  • 150g of carrots (peeled) (see note below)
  • 2 large tomatoes, ripe
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • two leeks (see note below)
  • handful of spring greens
  • 75g of pasta (little macaroni is best, but we only add proper size)
  • 1.5 litres of chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato puree

top tips for syn-free minestrone soup:

to make syn-free minestrone soup in a hurry, you should:

  • spritz a heavy-duty pan with oil, heat to medium and chuck your chopped onion, bacon, minced garlic, celery, leek and carrot chunks in on a medium heat with a splash of water – allow to sweat a little
  • add a good pinch of salt and pepper and continue to let them sweat for a good twenty minutes or so, giving it a bit of a stir every now and then so it doesn’t stick
  • add your hot stock, bring to the boil and then allow to simmer gently for a good hour
  • once the hour is done, add the macaroni, spring greens if you’re using, and cook uncovered for another ten minutes or so until the pasta is cooked
  • serve in bowls topped with your healthy extra allowance of Parmesan and lots of black pepper

Easy! Want more soups?

J

beef chilli and bean pasta bake – canny winter food!

Beef chilli and bean pasta bake! We’ve done a fair few pasta bakes lately but see, they’re excellent winter meals because you can make a huge portion, freeze the leftovers and thoroughly enjoy them as a meal! It’s a holiday entry though, so if you’re here just for the recipe, click the button below and it’ll take you straight to the recipe. Move along, sugarboobs, there’s nothing for you here.

You absolutely made the right choice, let’s go!


click here for part one | click here for part two

You last left us just as we stumbled, blinking and frowning into the apricity of a Stockholm winter, having spent a merry hour groping around in the dark with a total stranger. I appreciate that’s pretty much the start of all of our holiday entries but you get the idea. What next? Over in the distance from the Museum for the Blind loomed the Kaknästornet, a 155 meter TV tower. We weren’t planning on visiting until we realised there was a restaurant on the 26th floor and given how windy it was, it was likely to be deserted. A quick tramp through the woods led us there and, after handing over a small fortune, we were dispatched to a rickety old lift that sounded like it clacked and clicked against every last bolt and screw in that shaft. Despite the whole tower swaying ominously it was absolutely worth the trip – the views were amazing. We sat and enjoyed a strong restorative coffee and a slab of cake the size of Paul’s arse and all was well with the world. I like being high up looking down – it makes me feel like a God, albeit one with lingonberry jam dripping on his chin.

Admittedly not the best photo, but it was swaying…

 

We should explain at this point that we had, for once in our lives, managed to plan ahead and purchase a Stockholm Pass, which afforded you entry into all sorts of attractions for a one-off fee. A quick google search revealed we were within walking distance of a bus-stop which would take us straight to the museum district which held, amongst other things, an Absolut Museum and even better, the friggin’ ABBA museum. Well now come on, some things are inevitable, and us two benders paying homage to the campest band ever, well, it was always going to happen. We wandered over to the bus-stop and took a seat, reassured that one of Stockholm’s incredibly reliable buses would be along within six minutes. The timetable and electronic board certainly confirmed this. So we waited. Waited some more. Then a bit longer. Thirty minutes passed and I made to leave only to spot Paul sitting there with that grim, sulky and determined look on his face that told me that because he had wasted half an hour waiting for this bus, he was going to damn well wait until one turned up. I know this face well: bottom lip pops out, eyebrows furrow like he’s solving a cryptic crossword – normally the only thing that can break the spell is if he hears me unwrapping a Crunchie bar, like an obese take on Pavlov’s dog.

Even the bus-stop suggested filth.

So we waited even longer until I snapped and ordered him to stand up and start moving. So much protestation but I’d be damned if I was going to spend another minute gazing at the minutiae of the Stockholm bus timetable and trying to work out whether överföra meant cancelled, transfer or that the typesetter had taken ill at the keys and slumped over the keyboard. After promising I’d rub his feet if he started moving we were finally off.

We were about twenty steps away from the stop when a bus sailed straight past us, depositing a pleasant mix of slush and schadenfreude across the bottom of our trousers. Paul was furious and only calmed down when we happened across The Museum of Science and Technology. Now we’re talking: buttons to press. It was great fun! Highlights included a stage where you could pose whilst virtual reality dinosaurs ran around you, the sight of which was beamed to the rest of the museum live. It took less than seven hot seconds before Paul was pretending to get bummed by a tyrannosaurus rex and was roundly tutted from the stage. Oh and let’s not forget the winter sports section where you could try all manner of sporty experiences in the comfort of a warm museum and a reassuring proximity to a defibrillator. I climbed a tiny little mountain before realising my own giant crevasse was on show.

It’s like a Lidl take on Cliffhanger

We both tried our hand at curling only to realise you need dexterity and grace rather than a considerable weight advantage – most folks glide on ice, we look like a landslide. My favourite part was an enclosed booth which offered you the chance to be commentators on an ice-hockey game playing out in front of you – we started off with good intentions, yelling and blaring, before it degenerated into ‘HAWAY TORVILL, YOU LAMPSHAPE-FACED SLAPPER’ and ‘SKATE FASTER, NANCY KERRIGAN: THIS TIME THERE’S NAILS IN THE BAT’.

Not exactly Match of the Day

All in good fun – the booth was soundproof from the inside so no harm no foul, and we took everyone’s icy stares as simply being that crisp Swedish attitude so common over there. That was until we realised I’d managed to shut my coat in the door, preventing it from fully closing, and allowing the museum full audible access to our rantings, shrieking and wailings. We left ashen-faced, but not before a quick go on the virtual toboggan – only a quick go because a four year old child appeared and start pressing the buttons.

Honestly, do folks not know how to behave in museums?

We tackled the big issues!

After the Science Museum I somehow managed to persuade Paul to keep walking (it’s easier in cold countries – because of the icy ground, you just need to shove him gently and let gravity do the rest) and we headed a couple of miles along the river to the Spritmuseum down on Djurgårdsvägen, having found out that the Abba museum was shut for the night. Bastards. The Spritmuseum is a museum dedicated to booze – how they make it, how they bottle it, what it does to the body and even better, with some free tasters. You understand why we were lured in, yes? I can’t pretend it was terrifically exciting, and I don’t think we took the ‘hangover simulator’ as seriously as the guides wanted as Paul promptly fell asleep on the sofa during the ‘a hard night out’ movie, but it passed the time. There’s something about museums abroad that the UK can’t seem to match – our museums are always full of tired exhibitions hidden behind glass cubes coated with fingerprints, smelly children barrelling around being noisy and loud and lots of ladies who have never known what it is to love yelling at people that THEY MUST NOT TOUCH and STAND WELL BACK and YOU CAN’T EAT THAT IN HERE. I swear I once had an argument with a curator who had a pop at me for eating outside food when I took a packet of Halls from my pocket. Pfft.

Found Paul!

Found my bedroom friend!

The museum itself took up only half an hour but afterwards we decamped into the bar and, in a fit of ‘but I don’t care that it cost more than the flights over’ excitement, I ordered a taster selection of the various spirits for us to try.

Pictured: Cyril Smith enjoying a drink

It’s hard to look butch in that shirt

Now listen: I’ve swallowed some disgusting things in my life. Top tip: pinch your nose and gulp, you’ll find it slips down that much easier. But these spirits absolutely defeated me – I felt like Anne Robinson back when she was necking her dressing room Chanel. I tried to sip them to ‘taste the flavour notes’ but it would have been nicer to chew open batteries. Paul was merrily necking them and so, in my haste to get past it, I threw the lot in my mouth, grimaced and swallowed. Worst 50 Swedish krona we spent that holiday. We should have left, but the very friendly bar staff noticed how quickly we had knocked it back and filled our glasses up again for free. Very generous indeed, but you have no idea how difficult it is to fake pleasure in swallowing what tastes like something they’d use to dissolve a London fatberg, especially when some blonde bombshell is looking at you both approvingly whilst you savour the flavour. I’ve never acted so hard in my life but after the second round – seeing stars – we had to pretend to urgently leave. We were absolutely bloody smashed.

We had an escape room booked for the evening and so, conscious of the fact we were both seeing double, we decided to make our way to the escape room via a nice long boat ride. Ah it was glorious – floating along in the ice-cold really freshened the mind and by the time we were pulling into the port, we were back in full ‘Rose and Jack’ voice.

Our Escape Room was hosted by Fox in a Box and they welcomed us with open arms, wincing only gently at the alcohol fumes pouring out of us. It was a very unusual location – underground with several rooms with different themes. You know we love an escape room and we have made a point of doing one on each holiday so far: this one was themed like a laboratory and the idea was that we had to stop a zombie apocalypse. Of course. Escape rooms are fun but it’s so hard to look serious whilst someone who couldn’t care less is telling you that there’s zombies just outside the door. She sealed us in. I started looking for clues when, as though he’d been holding it in since the TV tower, Paul let out a fart so loud and so elongated that I thought he’d found a trombone. You know how your ears ring after a large firework goes off? That was me. I might remind you that the rooms are linked to the reception so that they can hear if you get stuck, so they would have been treated as well. We were absolutely creased – we’re huge fan of toilet humour – but then it literally sank in. In a sealed room, with no air-conditioning or window, that fetid air wasn’t going anywhere. If anything, it seemed to get worse and worse, smelling like someone was burning tyres in a fire made of shit. It’s hard to concentrate on mixing colours and typing codes when your eyes are streaming and your nose is bleeding. The hour passed and we ‘saved the day’ with moments to spare. That’s all well and good, but when the lassie unlocked to lock the door and the air rushed out of the room, she was hit with the full force and set away with a coughing fit. I’ve never been so embarrassed and this happens a lot on our holidays: I’m left beetroot faced and Paul is standing there grinning like the cat that shat the bed.

Oh, at least the McDonalds had a compliment…

Cheers mate!

Seems like a good moment to get back to the recipe, doesn’t it?

REMEMBER FOLKS: we love feedback on the holiday entries! It makes my day! So please do leave a comment to gee us along!

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Right, let’s do this recipe eh? This serves 4 big portions!

beef chilli and bean pasta bake


beef chilli and bean pasta bake

to make beef chilli and bean pasta bake you will need:

  • 400g lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin of kidney beans, drained
  • 2 sticks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp chilli powder (as hot or as mild as you like)
  • 300ml beef stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 300g wholewheat pasta
  • 120g fat-free greek yoghurt (check the syns)
  • 220g Philadelphia lightest (2x hea)
  • 80g reduced fat extra mature cheese, grated (2x HeA)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten

top tips to make beef chilli and bean pasta bake

to make beef chilli and bean pasta bake you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200ºc
  • cook the pasta according to the instructions, then drain
  • meanwhile, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat, spray with a bit of oil and add the onions and celery
  • cook for a few minutes until starting to soften, then scoop out the pan and set aside
  • add the mince to the pan and cook until browned
  • add the onions and celery back into the pan and tip in the tomatoes, kidney beans, celery, tomato puree, chilli powder, garlic and beef stock
  • stir well, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes
  • next, mix together the yoghurt, Philadelphia, salt, pepper, cheese and eggs and set aside
  • mix the pasta and the mince mixture together and tip into a large dish
  • top with the cheese mixture, making sure that it’s even spread over the top
  • bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes – finish under the grill for a few minutes to get the top crispy

Who couldn’t love that?! Try our other pasta bakes!

J