chickpea and chorizo tapas – a super speedy dish

Chickpea and chorizo tapas, of course. But first – I’m going to open tonight’s post with a full and frank apology. Well, two, because I don’t like odd numbers.

First: I am sorry for anyone who is itching in the nethers at the excitement of another Copenhagen entry, but I’m actually going to interrupt the Copenhagen holiday entries to bring you our latest holiday shenanigans. I know, I’m such a cheeky kusse! But see, we’ve just been to Benidorm for five days and I want to write about it whilst it is fresh in my head. I usually take a notebook with me and fill it full of nonsense but I was so delirious from my anti-chav injections (you go to BUPA and they put you on a drip of Waitrose cordial) that I plum forgot. So: for necessity, before my mind decides that I need to know the names of the Apprentice candidates more than the precious memories of holiday past, we’re going to write about Benidorm. The posts will start tomorrow, assuming I don’t die.

But then, what of the second apology? It’s contrition served up with a big slice of full-fat humble pie. I poo-pooed Benidorm (my fault for drinking their tap-water) for years, thinking it would have nothing to offer me. I mean, I’m in gainful employment, I don’t look at a toothbrush with suspicion and I’m not a grandfather at the age of 31. My idea of a good holiday is seeing the world a bit, talking to the locals, buying shite in shops that haven’t seen a duster for twenty years and gorging myself on all the food that is decent, and then a bit more after. The idea of holidaying in Benidorm horrified me – I’d seen my fair share of those awful low-rent TV shows on Channel 5 with people almost 94% cremated barrelling around on mobility scooters and shouting in what I thought was Portuguese but was actually a thick Scouse accent. I thought it was going to be an absolute shithole full of the worst of society. However, Paul thought it would be a good idea to have two sunny long weekends away – one in 5* luxury in Portugal, one in a fleapit in Benidorm. In my haste to shut his mouth so I could open it again and get my end away, I agreed, only realising later how horrible it would be.

But fuck my arse, was I wrong. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My own blinkered (somewhat tongue-in-cheek, mind) snobbishness had led me down completely the wrong path. Whilst you’ll need to wait for the upcoming entries to see everything, I’m actually ashamed of how I had summed it up in my head. I’m not a snob, I promise you, but people have certain ways they like to enjoy themselves and I didn’t think there would be anything for us there. What I actually found was a fun place full of lovely people. Who would have thought? There’s some good stories coming your way, including us meeting our evil doppelgängers, Paul getting run over, me setting my face on fire and flatulence being used as a weapon against the miserable.

Oh and a black Rod Stewart. Of course!

Right, let’s crack on with the recipe. Have you noticed that our holidays are loosely following the man, the myth, the legend Rick Stein’s recent TV show where he stumbled around Europe like a lost pensioner from a Saga coach trip? He went to Cadiz, we went to Benidorm. Faintly similar. Anyway, he made this lovely wee tapas dish and, having watched the show on the plane to distract myself from all the vocal fry and glottal stops around me, I knew we could make it too. It’ll keep lovely for a lunch the day after.

NOTE: this one serves SIX instead of the usual four! Remember that it’s a tapas dish, you’re not supposed to have a bowl you can bathe in. Self-control!

chickpea and chorizo tapas


chickpea and chorizo tapas

to make chickpea and chorizo tapas you will need:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 100g chorizo, diced (12 syns)
  • 1 small red pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 1 small green pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 60ml red wine (about 3 syns)
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 2x 400g tins of chickpeas (drained)
  • salt and pepper

You can find plenty more of Rick’s recipes in his book, available here. And look – just to prove we aren’t just corporate shills, not only do we have the book, he also signed it! What a delight.

I know, it’s hard to make out, but the ‘run away with me and be the Queens of Padstow’ bit is very faint.

to make chickpea and chorizo tapas you should:

  • heat a medium saucepan over a low heat and add a little oil
  • add the onion and garlic, stir well and then put the lid on the pan and leave to cook for about 5-6 minutes
  • add the chorizo, peppers and bay leaves to the pan and cook for another five minutes, until you can see orange oil starting to come out of the chorizo
  • add the red wine and paprika to the pan, whack up the heat and give a good stir, and cook for a few minutes until the sauce is only loosely coating what’s in the pan (you’ll know what we mean when you do it)
  • add the chickpeas to the pan, reduce the heat a little, put the lid back on and cook for about 5 minutes, until the chickpeas are warmed through
  • add salt and pepper to however you like it
  • serve!

Get that in you, and then click the buttons below to get even more!

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Enjoy!

J

crunchy tomato feta dip

Crunchy tomato feta dip you say? I do, because frankly, it’s delicious. You may remember from yesterday that we’re having a break from the writing bit for a few days but this is another recipe for you to get your lips around. We made this tomato feta dip to try out a recipe we’ve found and actually ended up having it for our main meal. Worth every last syn, I can assure you.

That said, if you were stuck for something unique to take along to taster night, and for goodness sake why would you be when we have so many excellent taster night recipes, and it doesn’t cost an awful lot of time or money to make. I can’t bear taster nights because people seem to lose all dignity – I’ve seen someone actually pushed over by some leviathan in a Paul’s Boutique hoodie, so keen that she was to get her soiled sticky hands on a Ferrero Not-cher. Plus, frankly, I can’t bear not knowing what people’s kitchens look like. I’m happy to eat most things but not if it’s been prepared in something that looks like a trap from Saw. Brr.

To the recipe!

to make crunchy tomato feta dip you will need:

  • 260g reduced-fat feta, cut into rough cubes (4x HeA)
  • 5 big tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 big tbsp of jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp oregano
  • 80g reduced-fat cheddar, grated (12 syns)
  • 4 wholemeal pitta breads (4x HeB)

to make crunchy tomato feta dip you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • mix together everything except for the cheddar and the pita breads
  • spray a small casserole dish with oil and tip in the tomato and feta mixture
  • top with the grated cheddar and bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden
  • leave to cool for five minutes, then serve with the pitta breads

Get that down yer. And when you’re done, why not check out some more of our recipes? Just click below!

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J

corned beef nacho bites for taster nights

Very quick post for the corned beef nacho bites tonight as it is our local election and damn it, I want to be out there throwing eggs and shaking up the system. If you haven’t voted, get those wibbly-wobbly legs on the go and vote – doesn’t matter whether you’re voting to ruin the country or who wins The X-Factor – if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. I’m not one for political rioting and fighting the powers that be – that honour belongs to Paul who, if there’s an excuse to put on a tabard and his woolly hat and cause a ruckus, will gladly do so.

I remember a few years back when he used to work for our local council and they were led out on strike over pensions. I begged him to keep a low profile as being sent as a rabble-rouser at a time of redundancies and cuts was never a good idea. Hardly heard a peep from him all day until I was busy making lunch and I heard his voice bellowing from the living room. Oooh he’s back early, what fun, afternoon delight time – no.

No, there was my dear heart, giving it large about ‘GUURLD-PLATED PENSIONS’ live on BBC News at 1pm, live in front of the nation resplendent in his ASDA hoodie. I don’t know why he’s got such fat lips in the photo but we can assume it’s not from suckling on the tit of capitalism. Or something.

Oh, and he managed to throw himself in front of the Chief Executive’s car whilst calling her a scab for crossing the picket line. Here’s a picture of the car all parked up.

Ah at least he has morals. I’d give up workers’ rights and pension pots for the first hunky politician to make a bit of side-eye at me.

Recipe then! Look, we’ve tried to make these look appealing but you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. We thought these would be a nice thing to take along to a taster class (you would assemble them there, mind you, don’t fancy carrying these towers on the bus). Has to be a better option than a bunch of bloody grapes or a quiche with cat hair and fag ash in it. The whole recipe makes enough for 24 discs, so at about 8 syns for the lot, that’s three for a syn. Eeee, you couldn’t make it up!

to make corned beef nacho bites you will need:

  • 2 large potatoes, cut into half-a-centimetre slices
  • 250g lean corned beef, diced (3½ syns)
  • 160g reduced-fat cheddar, grated (4x HeA)
  • handful sliced jalapeños
  • 4 tbsp reduced-fat soured cream (4 syns)
  • half an onion, diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

for the salsa

  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • half an onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Or just buy salsa and live like a queen!

to make corned beef nacho bites you should:

  • preheat the oven to 220°c
  • place the potato slices onto a lined baking sheet and spray with a bit of oil (don’t use Frylight – use this instead and get a proper mist!)  and sprinkle over the salt and pepper
  • bake the potatoes for about 20 minutes, then flip over and bake for another 15-20 minutes (keep an eye on them!)
  • meanwhile, mix the salsa ingredients together and set aside
  • when finished cooking, remove from the oven and place a little pile of grated cheese on top of each potato slice, followed by some corned beef cubes
  • whack under a hot grill until the cheese has just melted
  • add a dollop of sour cream and salsa, then chuck on the jalapeños and onion
  • serve!

Want more dazzling party ideas? Click the buttons below to find even more!

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taster night tiny tropical towers – twochubbycubs

Taster night looming? Can’t face another quiche that tastes like a discarded shoe? Then this post of taster night tiny tropical towers is for you! But first…

In what world, in what grey, dystopian, horrendously bleak outlook, does a fucking breadbun rolled in sweetener and stuffed with a hotel breakfast portion of jam become a doughnut? Well? It’s no more a bloody doughnut than I am a red-blooded heterosexual who could confidently annotate a diagram of the vagina. It’s a friggin’ jam sandwich at best only with the added advantage of making your teeth retract so far into your body through the sweetness that you’ll be eating out of your own arsehole.

Gah! Christ, if there is one thing that really boils up my piss about this diet, it’s stuff like this. That isn’t healthy. It isn’t going to be a ‘sweet treat’, it isn’t going to ‘taste just like a doughnut’ and you really WILL be able to ‘taste the difference’. A proper doughnut tastes so good because it’s a) full of butter b) full of sugar c) full of flour d) fried in enough oil to make a Deepwater Horizon sequel and e) because you can actually feel your heart strain and protest as you eat it. A bloody breadbun with a period of seedless Hartleys isn’t going to do the same thing! I understand people are desperate to find recipes that allow them to eat how they used to eat but you’re already on one – Slimming World! Just use your syns, have a proper bit of what you fancy and jog the fuck on.

I should totally write the opening guff for Slimming World magazine, shouldn’t I? I’d be the first person in history whose asterisk key on his keyboard crumbled to dust through overuse.

Anyway, what a diversion. I wasn’t even going to post a recipe tonight because Paul’s had an awful day but to hell with him, I’ve put him to bed already and now I have an hour to myself. Don’t worry, I’l wake him up later with a Dominos delivery, so he’s really not doing too bad. To be fair, I’ve actually had the whole day to myself because I now work from home on a Friday – the excitement! No but it is exciting for me, not least because it is one less day that I have to spend screaming myself hoarse at some shovel-faced cacafuego in an Audi who inevitably cuts me up because he’s such a big deal. I love my job but the seventy minute commute (which takes twenty minutes during half-term) does my nut in. I’ve had to fit a roof-rack just to hold my fucking blood pressure, it’s that high.

I did have anxiety about whether I’d be able to focus on work, being by myself, but what a joy it’s been. Again, I love my job and I like the cut and thrust of working in a modern office, but there’s something to be said about doing the same work in your worst underwear whilst Jeremy Kyle plays quietly in the background. My writing desk looks out onto the street and I’ve been able to watch the comings and goings of various folk. Weirdly, for a cul-de-sac holding twenty or so houses, we’ve had two ambulance visits. We nearly had another visit when I strained my neck from being too nosy but I put one of those heat cushions on and we’re tickety-boo.

Another positive about working from home is that I was able to have visitors – today, a sparkie and a delivery man. Not in an Irina Palm way, you understand, but simple honest reasons – we need a quote for moving a light switch six inches along the wall and some new lighting for the food photos. Our previous electrician seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth – there’s literally no record of him or his business anywhere on the Internet now and I’m beginning to think we had all of our lights installed by a particularly industrious ghost. Actually, I remember the last time he was here he did such a rotten fart climbing up the loft ladder that there’s no way he could have been fiction – we still get a whiff of burnt eggs every time I flick that loft light on. Anyway, the new chap came highly recommended, turned up on time and didn’t so much as flinch when he saw the awful Venture Photography special photo of me and Paul perched on the bookcase. It’s awful – a nasty studio photo with the cheesiest pose you can imagine because they made us tickle each other in front of the camera so we had natural smiles. Pfft. It doesn’t help that I’m dressed like an office worker from a 1980’s fire safety video and Paul’s sweating like a whore on Sunday under the studio lamps.

We only bought it out of courtesy for the poor lass who had tried to touch the photo up the best she could. We use it now to keep our nephew away from our drawer of sin.

The other chap was delivering a new kitchen gadget from Amazon – a pressure cooker. This is how easily I’m persuaded by advertising – I had seen a link to some pressure cooker recipes on Facebook and without even opening the page I’d ordered one from Amazon. I’m the worst. It’s the size of Sputnik II and has more buttons on it than a 7XL shirt. Of course, having a delivery means you have to be on high alert all day because you don’t want to miss it and have to fart about with redelivery, which in turn meant I was scared to leave my computer. Naturally, he didn’t turn up to 4.45pm, at which point I’d given up and gone for a shower. No sooner had I squirted a blob of Molton Brown on my boobs when I hear a knock at the door. He was lucky, I hadn’t started singing yet. I hurtle out, throw a dressing gown on and then promptly manage to wrest one of our internal doors clean off its hinges by virtue of my dressing gown cord snagging on the door handle, resulting in me bellowing ‘OH YOU FUCKING C*NT’ at the stricken door, which I’m sure the poor delivery bloke heard. As if the sight of me answering the door, beetroot-faced, barely holding my dressing gown together whilst dragging a door behind me wasn’t entertaining enough.

Still, pressure cooker, eh – recipes coming soon for that, I’m sure. But first, a new taster night idea, if you’re feeling generous and kind. If not, make them for yourself like we did and you get the added bonus of not being shouldered in the tit by someone desperate to scoop every last ‘JAM DOUGHNUT’ into their gob.

taster night tiny tropical towers

taster night tiny tropical towers

to make taster night tiny tropical towers you will need:

  • 8 small wholemeal buns (Sainsbury’s sell them – they’re really tiny!)
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 4 bacon medallions (or 4 rashers of bacon, all fat removed)
  • 2 fresh pineapple rings (watch the syns if using tinned)
  • 8 tsp of any sauce that tickles your fancy (we used our own syn-free tomato ketchup, recipe here, or you could syn the tiniest wee blob if you want)
  • 1 mini-gem lettuce, chopped
  • 160g reduced fat cheddar, cut into small squares
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

This makes 16 wee little towers – the bread on each is roughly 20g or so and 10g of cheese – a tiny portion of your HEA and HEB. You could have three for no syns!

Looking for good, decent, less than 5% mince? Then let Musclefood help you. We’ve got a banging deal – you’ll wonder if you can take all the meat but if you just relax, you’ll be fine. Have a look at our deals, don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window.

to make taster night tiny tropical towers, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 240 degrees celsius
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray in a little oil
  • pat dry the pineapple slices and place in the pan, and leave to caramelise for about 5-6 minutes
  • flip over and do again for the other side
  • when the pineapple is cooked, remove from the pan then cut into eighths
  • in the same pan, add the bacon and cook until crispy, and then remove and cut into quarters
  • meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the minced beef, salt and pepper
  • divide the mince mixture into 16 and roll into small balls, and flatten into a mini burger shape
  • plop all of the burgers onto a wire rack over a baking tray and pop in the oven to cook for 3-4 minutes
  • turn over and cook for another 3 minutes
  • top the burgers with the cheese squares and cook for another minute until melted
  • remove from the oven
  • spread a little sauce over each of the bun halves, add a bit of lettuce, then top with a mini-burger, slice of bacon and a pineapple wedge
  • if you’re after our fancy moustache spikes, they’re from Tiger but also available on Amazon, see here

These are lovely cold so fine to take to class!

After more fakeaway recipes or taster night ideas? Then look no further, my friends. Look no further. Buttons will lead the way.

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J

rainbow peppermint meringues – taster night idea

Was it the mention of my rainbow peppermint meringues that brought you here? You’ll find them just below. But first, a word from old Gobshite McGee – me.

Oh, before we start, I haven’t put a plug in for our books for bloody ages. We have two! One is a full recount of our month long honeymoon in Florida so many moons ago and be found by clicking here – the other book is a massive, giant collection of all of our articles from the blog and can be found by clicking here. If you’ve read them and enjoyed them, I’ll dance at your wedding if you leave me a lovely review. Already married? Then unprotected anal it is.

Here’s an odd thing. There seems to be a rash of people posting pictures of themselves in dresses on facebook and then asking total strangers how they look, only with the caveat of ‘no nasty comments’ but ‘honest replies please’. How does that work? For a start, don’t ask strangers how you look because frankly, there’s too many arseholes out there who will be cruel just for the sake of it. But, if you are going to seek the validation of strangers you’ll never meet then at least be prepared to accept that some people will have different opinions and that they aren’t the Devil Incarnate for saying your dress is a bit tight under the gunt.

Personally, I couldn’t give a flying toss what people think I look like – I described my own body as looking like a landslide of hairy Trex just the other day – and it’s a very liberating place to be. I spent years hidden behind a giant black coat like the Scottish fucking Widow when I was younger because I was ashamed of my man-boobs and having to buy my school clothes from the adult section in BHS. But life’s too short to care – no-one ever, in the throes of death, turns to their loved one and says ‘yes, but Suzanne from Warrington thought I looked fab-hun-xox in my Primark bikini‘, after all.

That said, I did have a rather mortifying moment the other night when Paul, in his haste to get all of our holidays photos on Facebook, accidentally uploaded a completely nude photo of me getting into an outside bath in Cornwall which sat in our photo albums before the sound of retching from all around the North East finally reached us and I hastily deleted it. Not because I’m ashamed as such but really, I could do without my friends and co-workers knowing that my arse-cheeks look like someone stood on a pumpkin and rolled it in cat-hair.

Not that such privacy is everyone’s concern, though. I had to remove a couple of distant friends from my facebook because every nuance of their tedious lives was played out via passive aggressive memes, hospital check-ins and barely legible statuses about ‘standin on mi one agin’. The hospital check-in is the most baffling – big status about waiting in A&E or ‘PRAY FOR MY LITTLE MONIQUA-MARIELEIGH’ then, when people invariably comment asking what’s wrong (whts up hun??) they are either ignored or worse, the old ‘inbox uz hun‘. I hate it – mostly because it’s just attention-seeking, but also because I’m incredibly nosy and not finding out leaves me massively unsatisfied, like being interrupted by someone coming home unexpectedly just as you reach Batter Splatter Point. One for the gentlemen, that.

God, I miss the heady days of logging in and out of ICQ (3536698204, oh yes*) to get someone to notice you, or changing the MSN Messenger tagline to some kind of meaningful lyric to really show you meant business. Such innocent times indeed.

Anyway, enough reminiscing. I wanted to do something with a rainbow theme as it’s Gay Pride month and well, after my post last week was followed up by the absolutely awful events in Orlando, I thought it might be a nice idea. So many lives lost because some knobhead couldn’t handle the fact he liked a bit of cock. Great work, you callous shitbag. I hope the 72 virgins waiting for you are all rough, hairy powertops with vein-canes like those snake draught excluders nanas used to put under the door.

Actually, you know, it’s shit like that that reinforces what I was saying about not caring what others think of you – life’s too bloody short. You never know what’s coming round the corner.

OK. I have no idea how to segue onto my recipe here so let’s literally draw a line under this post.


There we go. Right, I’ve used this rainbow painting thing before to make macarons and they looked amazing, but saying as Margaret Elnett doesn’t like us having flour, I thought I’d swap it for the lighter meringue. Also, when I took a moment to look into making ‘lighter’ meringues I happened across a very unusual substitute for egg whites that I just had to try out – chickpea water! You know when you buy a tin of chickpeas from the supermarket and all the chickpeas are sitting in that weird pre-cummy chickpea water? Don’t slosh it down the drain – oh no – use it for this recipe!

Of course, if you wanted to, you can use egg whites. Also, I have a feeling that these could be made with Stevia or whatever that fine granulated sugar is and therefore possibly syn-free, but fuck that. If you’re reading this thinking OH MY GOD I COULD USE SWEETENER well, take yourself to the foot of the stairs because that won’t bloody work. They come out looking like loft insulation and taste like anus. Use your bloody syns – so much better to have a little bit of something good than it is to have a tonne of something disgusting. Not that some people take that on board given the amount of ONE-SYN LEMON MERINGUES I see that look like something I’d use to scrub the grout in the shower with. Anyway, sssh. The original recipe for the chickpea meringues came from another blog, right here, so credit to them!

rainbow peppermint meringues rainbow peppermint meringues

to make rainbow peppermint meringues, you’ll need:

  • 125ml of chickpea pre-cum (i.e. the water from the chickpea tin) (real name for this stuff is aquafaba, fact fans!) or the whites of three large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons of caster sugar (18 syns)
  • a teaspoon of lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt
  • a few drops of peppermint essence, but don’t go mad
  • food dyes (see my note below)
  • an icing bag or a strong sandwich bag
  • two trays with greaseproof paper cut to fit

This recipe makes around 40 little meringues so for the sake of argument, we’ll say that each meringue is half a syn each.

A couple of notes:

  • I didn’t actually use peppermint essence – I used two drops of rhubarb and two drops of custard flavouring that I had from my cupcake days – feel free to experiment but don’t add too much extra liquid in
  • this won’t work with liquid dyes, they’ll all run – you need gels. You can buy these from supermarkets but I buy mine online right here – they are used for colouring massive amounts of icing and are very strong – use sparingly!
  • you can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer (this is the beast we have – fancy, right?)

to make rainbow peppermint meringues, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 100 degrees celsius – you’re cooking low and slow
  • get a decent bowl out of the cupboard or your mixing bowl ready – make sure the bowl is absolutely spotless, dry and grease-free – if you’re not sure, cut a lemon in half and run it around the inside of the bowl before giving it a good dry – the meringue will not form if there’s even a speck of grease or wet on there
  • tip in the chickpea water / egg whites, pinch of salt, lemon juice and whatever flavour you want and start mixing until it starts looking foamy
  • add half the sugar and keep mixing until soft peaks form
  • add the rest of the sugar and keep mixing – it will take a while but eventually you’ll be left with thick, glossy white peaks that stay put even when you remove the mixers
  • the old trick is to hold the bowl upside down above your head which is fine if you want anyone passing to think you’re a bellend
  • put the bowl to one side and concentrate
  • before you start with the colours, get your trays, put a dab of meringue between each corner of the greaseproof paper and the tray just to hold them in place whilst they cook
  • get a large glass or something to hold your icing bag (because we’re careless with money and buy any old tat, we actually have an icing bag holder – right here – take a look so you know what I mean) – you want to make it so you can paint the inside with dye and then tip the icing in, so anything that will hold the bag open will do
  • using something like a long piece of uncooked spaghetti, dip into the different food dyes and paint a stripe of dye up the inside of the bag – not a massive stripe, just a thin stripe – then repeat with whatever colours you want to use, leaving space between the stripes
  • DON’T WORRY – it’ll look crap at this point, but the finished effect is great, just make sure the stripes are spread out and go as far into the bottom as you can
  • gently fill the icing bag with the meringue then lift out, cut the very tip off the bottom of the bag, twist the tip to stop it leaking out and to push the meringue down the bag
  • gently squeeze the meringue out – onto the trays in small, gentle dollops – finish each with a little flick of the wrist to get the peak, and remember to leave a bit of space between them, though they don’t need much
  • pop in the oven for an hour or so then after an hour, unless they are soft to the touch and need longer, just turn the oven off and leave them in there until they’re completely cool

Serve!

Listen, that recipe sounds complicated but it’s an absolute doddle – the key is to paint stripes on the inside of the icing bag (or sandwich bag, whichever you’re using), cut a tiny bit off the bottom and pipe. You’ll cock up a couple of them, so what? Don’t go too mad with the colour though – discreet swirls look better than a psychedelic pigeon shit splattered on a tray.

You can either save these for yourself (tasty!) or take them along to taster night and make poor Sandra from Warrington look ashen-faced as she puts her Slimming World quiche down next to your wonder!

For more taster or dessert ideas, click the icons below!

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Enjoy,

J

* not my ICQ number, so if ICQ is even still a thing, don’t be messaging some poor bloke in Utah asking how many syns are in a Hartley’s Jelly Pot. He won’t have a fucking clue!

mini meat volcanoes – taster night idea

Just a quick post tonight – we’ve got far too much ironing to be fannying on with, and a whole sky box of Jeremy Kyle waiting for us. Don’t fret though, because we’ve got an absolute belter lined up for you which is another notch on the bedpost for a snack, taster night idea AND for a proper meal! I know, I know, we spoil you. Speaking of spoiling, we spent a lovely few hours today out and about at Brysons in Gateshead which is a great local animal shelter – if you’re in the area and looking for a new pet, please do give them a look – they take wonderful care of all their animals and provide a great service. We took the handsome Harvey out for a walk around Eighton Banks and were mesmerised by his wobbling bum. I think any animal becomes a hundred times cuter when they’re a little chubby. We also spent some time getting our hands on some pussy which, believe me, we don’t get to say very often. Our own cats are now in a massive sulk with us and insist on only coming near us to fart. The dirty buggers.

Today’s recipe, then – we got the idea from/ripped it off from one of those videos you see looping and making you shit yourself when the sound starts going off on Facebook – full link here if you want to take a look for yourself. We’ve adapted it slightly to make it more Slimming World friendly. A doddle to make, taste fantastic and a new, interesting way to tart up mince. Oh I know that they’re not especially photogenic, but not everything needs to look like it’s come out of Smug Fucker magazine.

mini meat volcanoes

This makes nine. 1.5 syns for the lot.

to make mini meat volcanoes you will need:

to make mini meat volcanoes you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • carefully cut the slices of ham to make 9 thin slices – they don’t need to be neat, no-one is standing behind you tutting and this isn’t Art Attack
  • in a bowl, mix together the mince, salt, pepper and onion granules
  • divide the mixture into nine and roll into balls
  • loosely wrap the ham around the ball to make a ‘collar’ – making sure the two ends overlap
  • gently push your thumb into the middle and pinch the edges to make a cup shape – do this for all nine
  • place the cups into a large baking tray or yorkshire pudding tin
  • drop a slice of jalapeno into each cup, a small dollop of passata and top with a chunk of mozarella
  • cook in the oven for about twenty minutes

Serve with speed foods, or, if you’re normal, chips. These can also be stuffed in a tupperware box and eaten cold at a taster session. But listen, that’s a lot of meat to be sharing with people who have probably only brought in a rotten banana or made a Mug Shot in the kitchen. Fuck ’em, take a bag of Snack a Jacks instead.

If you’re looking for more beef or taster night ideas, click the buttons below:

beefsmall tastersmall

J

taster night ideas for Slimming World

Looking for taster night ideas? There’s SEVEN recipes down below. I’m not surprised you want inspiration, nothing seems to strike fear into slimmers at Slimming World more than ‘we’re having a party next week, bring something along‘. Well, perhaps the words ‘let’s split the room in half, someone keep points, we’re going to do group activities‘. God I hate that. I’m too antisocial at the best of times but being forced to come up with a witty team name and shout out speed foods makes my throat hitch. For those not in the Cult of Mags, a taster night is where everyone is expected to bring along some food to share with the rest of the class and usually results in about twenty quiches and a box of grapes bought from the Co-op over the road by the lady who forgot it was on.

I struggle with taster nights because, as previously mentioned, I don’t like eating food when I don’t know how clean the kitchen it’s coming from is. Luckily I’m in a class now with people who do look familiar with a bottle of Ajax, but Christ, some of the sights I’ve seen in other classes, well I wouldn’t eat what came out of their kitchens even if it contained the antidote to a life-threatening poison I’d accidentally ingested. I don’t mind a slice of Slimming World quiche, I just don’t like to be twanging cat hair out of my teeth for the following week. Anyway, as ‘what can I make for taster night’ and ‘slimming world snacks’ appear quite regularly on the little index of what people search for to find this blog. Well, it can’t all be ‘chubby cub cum explosion’ (can’t remember that recipe?) and ‘fat men fuking’ (masturbation is no excuse for poor spelling, chaps).

Oh! A quick word. When a buffet is served up in class, try and allow the meek amongst us access to the food. A couple of years ago, in a class in Wakefield no less, Paul and I didn’t get any food because half the class – not the better half – dashed forward as soon as the ‘party’ began and formed one giant body of impassable bulk. It was like the Berlin Wall, only smelling faintly of chips. I’ve never seen food shovelled and devoured with such ferocity and I’ve seen Sicilian wild boars being fed. All I wanted was a (nothing-like-a) Ferrero Rocher and a few ‘JUST LIKE DORITOS’ crisps that I could have planed a door with. I had my revenge anyway – the wasabi peas that I put on the table thinking they were syn-free were actually about eight syns a handful. What can I say? My knowledge of the Mandarin language is a little rusty.

So, with all the above in mind, we decided to do a post on snacks, also fuelled by the fact it was Eurovision last night and we like to have a trough of food to work through whilst we watch our entry get annihilated. Before anyone says the UK will never win because ‘it’s too political’ and ‘no-one votes for us because of the war’, that was relevant maybe ten years ago and certainly isn’t now. Russia almost won it and well, that Putin’s been a bit of a tinker this year, has he not? We don’t win because we send absolute shite – po-faced, dreary, period-pain music with insipid staging and crap tunes. No doubt that Aldi Jedward can sing a tune and strum a guitar but they lost a singing competition where literally tens of people voted for someone else to be a winner. Why would that translate to success in the Eurovision Song Contest? EH? We need to send something amazing, with a massive chorus and an uplifting melody, not a song that would barely make its way onto the second CD in the Now That’s What I Call White Noise 87 compilation.

I was just sore because I had Poland and Italy in the sweepstakes, and did you catch them? Poland came dancing out like a crystal-meth Cheryl Cole and Italy’s act was so boring that I forgot about it whilst she was singing the words, which is quite something. I wanted Russia to win. That stage, that song (You Are The Obi Wan, You’re My Obi Wan…) and gasp, when that screen spun around…well, I loved it. Plus one of my work colleagues had Russia in the sweepstakes and I just know he’s going to be spend his winnings on delicious things for the entire floor. That’s right, isn’t it Alan? SHOUT-OUT FOR ALAN. Mahaha. Paul threw his weight behind Sweden, who I can’t really be mean about because the singer was only 8 and he has the angst of puberty to get through. He’s no Eric Saade (2011) with his exploding glass cages though.

As it happens, one of the worst songs managed to win – Kate Bush’s stunt double caterwauling about politics – and Ukraine took the prize, meaning Russia will be hosting the Eurovision next year. Boom boom. We’ve said it every year – we should go to the next Eurovision – and the fact that it is being held in Ukraine only sweetens the deal. If it had been Russia we’d have been conflicted – on one hand, we love the idea of a night of catchy tunes surrounded by every other gay man in existence, but on the other hand I prefer not to have my teeth kicked down my throat because I’m a rampant bummer. Ah yes.

Anyway come on now, let’s get to the recipes, shall we? This is the spread.

taster night ideas

Fancy, right? On view then:

  • Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip
  • our teeny tiny teriyaki tasters
  • sandwiches filled with syn-free egg mayonnaise and tuna and cucumber
  • sweet potato crisps with four different types of houmous
  • baked new potatoes with cheese and bacon topping

Out of sight:

  • spicy couscous balls
  • gin and tonic lollies

Three caveats that I’m going to throw in before we begin:

TWEAK

  • some of these recipes are ‘tweaks’ in the truest sense of the word – especially the crisps – and it’s up to you whether you follow the rule of synning them or not – tweaks being when you use an ingredient in a way it isn’t intended to be used, such as slicing a sweet potato to make crisps. I will mention it where appropriate. My own view (which you can find here) is that it’s better to be eating something made from a healthy ingredient than a processed packet of crisps. It boils down to this – 100g of sweet potato is around 85 calories, 100g of Walkers crisps kicks in over 550 calories. I’ll be fucked if I’m synning sweet potato crisps at the same rate as normal crisps. If you feel the need to be all frothy and leave a comment castigating me for my temerity, please save yourself the finger strain, wipe the spittle from your lips and simply don’t bother – personal choice;
  • a couple of these recipes you’ll have seen before if you’re a long-time follower, but I thought it would be handy to put them all in one place; and
  • as usual, I’ve given syn values for a normal portion and I’ll mention when it uses up a HEA/HEB. If you’re eating the entire buffet, you’ll need to think about how many HEB/HEA’s you’re using! It’ll make sense as we go along. Basically, each recipe stands on its own. Right? Right.

taster night ideas #1: sweet potato crisps with four different types of houmous:

taster night ideas

to make the sweet potato crisps, you’ll need:

  • a couple of big sweet potatoes
  • spray oil – a few squirts of Filippo Berio’s olive oil is only half a syn, and that’s all you need
  • chinese five spice

to make the sweet potato crisps, you should:

  • to make the crisps, use a microwave, it’s much easier
  • get a big old sweet potato and cut it to uniform thin slices – this is where having a mandolin slicer comes in very handy, because it’ll take no time at all to do the slices – buy one here and never look back, not least because it makes your food look great when it’s all uniform
  • arrange the slices on a plate, squirt with some spray oil, dust with chinese five spice (or indeed, any flavouring you want) and rub it in
  • microwave on full power – it usually takes about six minutes, but keep checking every couple of minutes, and once they start to look dry, turn them over
  • keep a proper eye on them mind, because they can burn easily once they dry out
  • once done, take them off the plate, set aside, and do the next batch

to make the four way houmous, you’ll need:

  • a few small tins of chickpeas
  • garlic cloves
  • fat free cottage cheese
  • a lemon or two
  • sea salt

to make the four way houmous, you should:

  • the basic houmous recipe is simple enough – for enough to fill one of those little square bowls above, you’ll want to use one small tin of cooked chick peas (syn free), a nice round tablespoon of fat free cottage cheese, a garlic clove, pinch of sea salt and some lemon juice. Blend it together, adding a little more lemon juice if you like it runny or keeping some back if you prefer it chunky. It’s up to you. You will save yourself so much time if you get yourself one of these little express choppers that Delia Smith was always going on about between tumblers of Scotch – you can find one here – it’ll make houmous in no time
  • to make the different variations, you just add a few ingredients:
    • lemon and garlic (add an extra couple of garlic gloves, a squidge more lemon juice and decorate with finely grated lemon peel) (don’t take the pith, literally, as that is very bitter – just the top layer, please)
    • basil and parmesan (10 torn basil leaves, 10g of shaved parmesan, bit of salt) – up to you if you want to syn such a tiny portion of parmesan but bearing in mind you’ll be getting what, 2.5g of it, I wouldn’t bother
    • pickled red cabbage (just a few chunks of pickled red cabbage and some of the pickling vinegar added to give it colour
    • paprika and sun-dried tomato – I chucked in 1tbsp of sundried tomato paste (1.5 syns, but again, through the laws of dilution, it’s up to you if you syn it)

Easy! Of course, if you don’t want to fart on making the crisps, just chop up some peppers, carrots and cucumber and use them instead to dip into your houmous. If you want our little serving dish, you guessed it, it’s on Amazon!

taster night ideas #2: teeny tiny teriyaki tasters:

teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

This makes enough for 36 sticky teeny tiny teriyaki tasters (fnar fnar), if you make them bigger, adjust the syns per ball. There’s 12 syns in the overall recipe.

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you’ll need:

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you should:

  • in a large bowl mix together the pork and the beef mince with the egg yolk
  • using a tablespoon, scoop out a spoon-size ball and roll into meatballs – do this for all of the mixture (you’ll need about 36 – if you want, you could weigh out each ball at around 27g each…but life’s too short)
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat and add a couple of squirts of spray oil or, urgh, Frylight, bleurgh
  • cook the meatballs until browned all over and cooked right through – you WILL need to do them in batches
  • place cooked meatballs onto a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm whilst you cook the rest
  • when done, mix together the soy sauce, white wine, sherry, honey and ginger in a small jug and pour into the same pan you used to cook the meatballs and reduce the heat to medium
  • cook for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened
  • add the meatballs back into the pan and stir carefully to coat – I find it easier to tumble the meatballs in and then pick up the pan and gently slosh them around rather than trying to stir with a spoon
  • serve on cocktail sticks and sprinkle over the seeds – don’t sweat it if you can’t find these, you could easily leave them off and that brings the syn count to 1 syn for six – even better – but they look so pretty with the seeds on

taster night ideas #3: Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip:

taster night ideas

to make Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip, you’ll need:

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 onion (grate half of it, chop the other half)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of sriracha, (1 syn) (you can use any old hot sauce)
  • 1 egg
  • 25g panko (4.5 syns) (or use breadcrumbs from your HEB allowance)
  • ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 100g quark

to make Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip, you should:

Full disclosure: we got this recipe from the fabulous cookingforkeeps.com – her recipe can be found here and looks equally as delicious – we’ve tweaked ours for Slimming World!

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • in a bowl, mix together the turkey mince, onion (grated and chopped), carrot, spring opnions, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, 1 tsp of sriracha, egg and the panko until combined
  • roll into 1″ size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper
  • cook in the oven for twenty minutes
  • meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sriracha and the quark to make a dipping sauce
  • slice the radishes and cucumbers as thinly as you can and skewer one of each onto a cocktail stick with the meatball

taster night ideas #4: little sandwiches:

to make little sandwiches, you’ll need:

taster night ideas

No need for a full recipe here, really. Take whatever bread you want from your HEB – we use Kingsmill Crustless Wholemeal bread, which you can have three slices of. Cut nice circles out of them, remember you eat with your eyes.

  • for the egg salad, boil up four eggs, break them up with a fork, add a tablespoon of quark, lots of black pepper, a chopped tomato and some spring onions
  • for the tuna – well, we’re old school, we just like tuna mixed with vinegar and served with cucumber. You could splash out and add a bit of Quark to bind it, I suppose…

taster night ideas #5: baked new potatoes with a cheese and bacon topping:

taster night ideas

to make baked new potatoes, you’ll need:

  • 1.5kg small salad-type potatoes
  • 100g fat-free fromage frais
  • 30g parmesan (1x HEA)
  • 4 rashers of bacon, all visible fat removed
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • chives

to make baked new potatoes, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees (or an actifry with the paddle removed is just as good – Amazon are selling them for £125 at the moment too!)
  • prick the potatoes with a fork, spray with a little frylight and bake in the oven (or actifry) for about 45 minutes
  • grill or dry-fry the bacon until crispy and chop into small pieces
  • mix together the fromage frais, parmesan and spring onions and set aside
  • when the potatoes are cooked, leave to cool for about ten minutes
  • make a cross in the top of each potato and squeeze the bottoms to open them up
  • spoon in a little of the fromage frais mixture and top with bacon pieces and chives

taster night ideas #6: spicy couscous balls:

couscousballs

Please note: that’s an old photo, it’s actually now 4 syns for all the balls, but you’re not going to eat them all yourself anyway, surely? I’ll nip back in time and change the photo later.

Not worth making a full recipe breakdown for this, because it’s so, so easy. I use two packets of Ainsley Harriott’s spicy sensations couscous, which come in at 2 syns per pack made up with water (so don’t be adding butter, you cheeky buggers). Add the appropriate level of water (whatever it says on the pack) and leave to absorb. Fluff with a fork. Beat an egg and mix it into the couscous, then squeeze as many balls as you can out of the mixture. Pop onto a tray and stick it in the oven on 150 degrees for an hour or so – you want to ‘dry’ them out. Cooked low and slow, you’ll be laughing. For a dip, make tzatziki – greek yoghurt (I use Tesco Finest 0% fat – no syns) mixed with cucumber cut into tiny cubes and mint. Stir, chill, eat.

taster night ideas #7: gin and tonic ice lollies

taster night ideas

Again, no need for a full recipe. We mixed 25ml of gin with a glass of diet tonic, poured it into a cheapy ice-lolly mould like this £3 from Amazon and added a slice of cucumber. Between six, it’s half a syn each. Of course, it’s easy to customise this, put your pint of whisky in, add lime, add fruit, don’t add alcohol, do what you like!

OK, I hope that’s given you some inspiration. It’s certainly made my fingers ache!

Do me a favour though – share this page in as many facebook pages as you can, because taster recipes is one of the main things people need. Spread the love! Leave me your comments below!

Oh it’s worth noting, we did have a couple of drinks to get us through Eurovision, see…

taster night ideas

J

spicy couscous balls with tzatziki

I feel better! Thankfully. My ears are still full but don’t feel sloshy anymore, which is a good sign. Shitting bricks about an upcoming flight though, worried my head will explode Scanners-style as soon as the change in pressure hits. Well don’t worry – I’ve got a month’s worth of archived posts to activate in my absence. Paul often jokes about death (me less so, as I used to suffer from health anxiety and all it takes is a gentle nudge sometimes and I’m away worrying), and says that when I die he’ll keep me on ice until he shuffles off, and then have us entombed together, with his leg over the top of mine, forever making me too hot in the sweet embrace of death. When I do die, I want to be put out on the front lawn facing Cruella’s house over the road, with my rotting finger pointing accusingly at the tyres of her shitty Kia Picanto, with Paul applying a fresh coat of jam and Trex to her bumper every night.

Speaking of death, I finished Stephen King’s newest book, Revival. Blimey. Worth a read but what an ending. I do think there’s an odd stigma about Stephen King – people perceive his books as a bit trashy or low-brow, but he’s a genuinely skilled writer with a fantastic imagination. Well, except for The Tommyknockers, that was bobbins.

Here’s a snack idea. I made it last Saturday and was going to stick it online, but then Sudafed took me away.

couscousballs

to make spicy couscous balls with tzatziki:

Not worth making a full recipe breakdown for this, because it’s so, so easy. I use two packets of Ainsley Harriott’s spicy sensations couscous, which come in at 1.5 syns per pack made up with water (so don’t be adding butter, you cheeky buggers). Add the appropriate level of water (whatever it says on the pack) and leave to absorb. Fluff with a fork. Beat an egg and mix it into the couscous, then squeeze as many balls as you can out of the mixture. Pop onto a tray and stick it in the oven on 150 degrees for an hour or so – you want to ‘dry’ them out. Cooked low and slow, you’ll be laughing. For a dip, make tzatziki – greek yoghurt (I use Tesco Finest 0% fat – no syns) mixed with cucumber cut into tiny cubes and mint. Stir, chill, eat.

These are perfect little snacks – they’re very filling and by using the flavoured couscous, they actually taste good. And so easy to make! You could easily double up the ingredients, make a giant batch and take some to work – or even serve with a side salad for a light lunch.

Hey, you know, I spend a fair bit of time trying to make the food look presentable and putting it into the twochubbycubs’ style before it comes online. Well, there was no saving this. It’s the Slimming World pork pie. I found the recipe – basically, take a tin of Pek Gold, wrap it in bread (healthy extra), brush with egg, put it in the oven. Voila. That’s a pork pie. Well no, it isn’t, it’s an eggy ham sandwich, but by god I wanted it.

I got this far:

porkpie

Eee, haway. At this point, I was so taken by the ridiculousness of it that I stopped taking pictures, but when it came out of the oven, it all fell apart and tasted exactly like hot pek with a bit of mustard on it. Even the cat turned his nose up, and he spends hours of the day licking his arsehole like he’s trying to put out a fire.

Someone more skilled made this – it doesn’t look too bad.

10726658_10152303486262693_1807117462_n

Ah well, can’t win them all!

J