I’m not going to lie, it feels good to cast off the shackles of Chinese week – I love Chinese food but see, it’s like when you get a takeaway – you feel great for about thirty minutes, then you just want more, end up eating all the straggly bits leftover and then spend the rest of the night clutching your belly as it distends with wind. Just me? Anyway, we’re still away, and because you’ve had an awful lot of long blog posts lately, just a quick post tonight. One thing we always struggle with on Slimming World is a tasty side dish but we’ve found an answer from Greece – sautéed mushrooms! Give them a go – this makes enough for two large portions.
to make greek lemon and garlic sautéed mushrooms you will need:
450g chestnut or button mushrooms
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp dried parsley
2 bay leaves
top tips for greek lemon and garlic sautéed mushrooms:
peppercorns will give a stronger flavour, but if you don’t have any 10 twists of a pepper grinder will do the job
mince that garlic in seconds without faffing on with a garlic press – get a Microplane grater and you’ll use it every day!
Caramelised red onion houmous! Just a quickie today (ooh I say) but y’see, we’ve got shit to do. We’ve got a tasty recipe for an Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous! below which’ll tickle your tastebuds and maybe a bit more if you’re lucky. We’ve been busy little bees today cooking all sorts of recipes which will start to filter through over the next couple of days – and they’re all absolute corkers. Seriously, clear your diary and your fridge, send your husband away, pack the kids off somewhere – you won’t want to share them.
Isn’t it a pain though doing anything on a Sunday? All I wanted to do today was sleep until lunchtime and then pray that How Clean Is Your House was recommissioned during the night and their first task was my house. But of course it wasn’t to be so from 10am I just had James poking his head around the bedroom door every 9 minutes, whinging at me to get out of bed like some sort of mincing, squealing snooze button.
So once all the necessaries were done it was on to cooking. We’d already written a list of everything we needed and were sure we’d got them all but of course there’s always one pissing things that missing, meaning you’ve gotta swoosh out the door to go on the hunt for some obscure spice before everything closes. And then you’ve gotta deal with Sunday drivers clogging up every dual carriageway going at 30 miles an hour. It’s like the Gauntlet from Gladiators but instead of hunks in lycra you’ve got piss-stained Daewoo Matiz’s.
And there’s fuck all on telly.
But anyway, that feels better. Here’s a nice snack to help cool you down.
to make Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous you will need:
top tips to make Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous:
you can use ground cumin and coriander instead of seeds if you like, but you’ll get more flavour out of the seeds
we used a mandoline slicer to slice our onions and it does the job in seconds. Use the guard!
a NutriBullet does the job perfectly for nice, smooth houmous! Get yours here!
to make Indian spiced caramelised red onion houmous, you should:
spray a large frying pan with a bit of oil and plonk over a medium-high heat
add the sliced onion and cook until lightly browned – keep some aside to put on top later to make it look fancy
remove from the heat and set aside
add the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds into another pan and toast for a couple of minutes over a low heat, then grind into a powder using a pestle and mortar (if you’re using ground stuff you can leave this step)
then, chuck all the ingredients together into a food processor and blitz until smooth
Love houmous? So do we! Check out some of our other recipes below:
A super quick fakeaway dinner of sticky mushrooms tonight because it’s boot camp in an hour or so and I need to go put on my industrial-strength Lanacane with a paint roller. Honestly, you could fry an egg on my thighs after boot-camp, which to be fair would go remarkably well with the scent of bacon that pervades. Cor, stinks in ‘ere, dunnit!
Anyway I’m terrifically excited. You know how last year was the year of mini holidays? This is the year of the beast, and we’ve finally agreed it with work, booked the flights and figured out how we’re going to look after the cats – we’ve decided to spend the next few months training them how to use the electric tin opener and leave them a slab of Whiskas. We’re going somewhere we’ve always wanted to go but never found the time: OH CANADAAAAAAA! Yes! It’s like Cub Heaven: it’s cool in temperature, hot in bearded-men stakes and full of beauty. If we happen to catch the eye of some bearish mountain daddy who wants to keep us both and take us logging, both literally and euphemistically you understand, then so be it.
You know the best bit? We’re turning left on the plane. That’s right, the pilots have read all my witty comments about having a go at the controls and said, you know what, he’s seen enough episodes of Air Crash Investigation, he knows what the flaps do, let’s give it a whirl. No, I’ve actually just come off the phone with an incredibly helpful agent who managed to get us into first class both ways (proper first class, mind) for pretty much the same price as premium economy. I was breathing that heavily with excitement that he patched me through to 111 thinking I was having chest pains. We’ve flown first before but not for 10 hours and not on the massive A380. I don’t doubt that I’ll make a tit of myself within ten minutes by blowing cheese pasty crumbs across the floor and breaking wind as they hand me my pyjamas but what can you do? I’m just upset that poor Cilla Black carked it because I would have loved to have pushed her out of her seat.
Now we’re not boasting or showing off here – we save up all year for our holiday and forgo all of life’s little pleasures to get there – we don’t smoke, don’t do drugs and only drink alcohol every other hour. We tried prostituting Paul but he just came back with a runny nose and an empty wallet. Anyway listen – it’s going to make for an absolutely blinding set of travel posts, so look forward to it!
Speaking of looking forward, I bet you’re just wishing I’d shut the hell up and get to the sticky mushrooms. Of course! This is a veggie recipe but you could very easily swap in some chicken or beef – but actually, the mushrooms work just fine on their own. Trust me! Plus if you’re in the mood for something quick and tasty, this will really hit the spot because you can make it in less time than it takes to cook the rice. You don’t need to serve it in quite such a froufrou fashion as me, either, but I remind you: I am homosexual.
to make super sticky mushrooms you’ll need:
two cloves of garlic, minced
400g of mushrooms – now, get a good mix (the oriental selection in Tesco is absolutely perfect) of types and flavours and chop them up to a good uniform size – don’t just get boring plain mushrooms, you need the flavour
4 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon of brown sugar (please, don’t use sweetener – you could, but it’ll ruin the taste of the dish) (3 syns) or swap for honey (1 tbsp – 2.5 syns)
lots of freshly ground black pepper
serve with steamed rice, sliced radishes and chopped spring onions, or whatever veg and rice you want!
if you want to use chicken, you may need to add about 50ml of stock – the mushrooms release a lot of water which is what creates the sticky sauce
You’re here for the aubergine and tomato curry of course, but first, I have some truly shocking news.
We’ve joined a bloody boot camp. A boot camp! Yes, like all the other New Year New Me fitness wankers. Weirdly, I feel I should explain our actions. We eat reasonably well but we simply don’t do enough exercise. We enjoy the gym, but I find I tend to stumble in my own drool on the treadmill as it faces the boxing class and well, if there’s a particularly brutish looking man getting battered around the ring, I find the emergency stop button being pressed by something other than my hands. Paul’s the same: enjoys the gym, but is very conscious that there’s a McDonalds, a KFC and a Dominos on the way home. It’s altogether too easy to think that you’ve worked up such a sweat punching the number for a Kitkat Chunky into the swimming pool vending machine that really you ought to have a treat. What can I say: I tried but I was weak and backsliding, and now the Devil has come home in the form of swollen ankles and breathlessness when I blink too much.
So: if crippling obesity doesn’t give me pause enough to do more exercise, what will? The lure of money – or rather, the fretting and angst that potentially losing money brings. I’m not going to name the company that I’m boot-camping with as I don’t want it to look like we’re pushing them – we’re not – but they offer a money back guarantee as long as you stick to the classes. If you don’t, you lose your money. All very fair and a great motivator for someone as tight-arsed as me – I’d climb Everest if I thought the guy in front of me had dropped a fiver out of his pocket when reaching for his oxygen tank. We’ve handed over a not insignificant amount of money and committed to six weeks of hell, all in the name of having slightly less fat on our arse when we roll into summer. Paul trembled at the thought of exercise, I sobbed at the thought of having to put my gym trainers back on.
We bit the bullet though and it was with a heavy heart and far heavier tits that we pulled into the car-park on an industrial estate at 9pm, something we never usually do unless we’ve pre-arranged a meeting with a lorry driver whose ‘wife just doesn’t understand him’ and ‘anyway it’s not gay if I don’t touch yours’. At least I think that’s what they say, my ears are usually muffled by thighs at that point. I had visions of walking in and everyone collectively gasping until someone rushed over and threw a blanket over us like one might do with a screeching budgie. I knew we’d attempt one exercise, find it all too much and then skulk out the emergency exit with our ears wringing. Typo deliberate, and I’m quite proud of that. But no: the crowd didn’t consist exclusively of people who looked like they’d been whittled from walnut, but rather an excellent mix of weights, sizes, ages, oxygen saturation levels and fitness. There were no shitty looks, no whispers, no redirections to a dark corner ‘for the best’. In fact, we were treated marvellously – we chuckled our way through the disclaimer (swollen ankles? I don’t know, they’re usually behind my ears out of sight, ho ho) and had our photos taken, front and profile like a mug-shot. Which is fitting, because my gym outfit was a crime to all things sartorial. I don’t care, I’m there to sweat and go blue, not pull. Judge me on my gasping, not my Lidl exercise socks.
Before we even had a chance to change our mind our class was ushered in and it began. What followed was dreadful in the best possible way – great fun, a good mix of exercises and excellent leadership – but you need to understand it’s hard to concentrate when you’re certain you’re about to shit out your own heart through over-exertion. I have genuinely never moved so much in my life: you could set me on fire and I’d still keep a slower pace than I did that night. We ran, we jumped, we threw a ball around, we did lunges and push-ups and press-ups and burpees and kicking and although we couldn’t do many, we bloody tried, and surprised ourselves with exactly how much we could do. There was no pressure: just firm encouragement, which was exactly what we needed. I could have done without the Now That’s What I Call Wrapping A Vauxhall Nova Around A Lamppost playing so loudly but if anything, it kept you moving if only to move away from the speaker.
The biggest revelation: we actually had fun. We both came out (surprise!) full of praise and looking forward to the next one. Who would have thought it?
But, by god, am I paying for it now – I can barely move. I’ve moved muscles that up until Monday night were still worried about the Millennium Bug. I’ve got aches in parts of my body that I didn’t know I had – who knew that the underside of a tit could ache so much? I feel like I’ve jumped out of a moving car. Yesterday wasn’t too bad but today I actually got stuck on the toilet for five minutes. Sat down no problem, sacrificed my dinner to the Sewer Gods without breaking a sweat, tidied up and made to leave only to find I couldn’t actually pull myself up. What to do? Spend the day with a cold nipsy in the vain hope someone would a) rescue me and b) not be repulsed enough by the fetid air that they would decide it was better to leave me to my fate? Unlikely. I had to hoist myself up using the towel rail like an old lady who had taken a tumble in the kitchen. Not just me though: I received a text from Paul this afternoon with the sorrowful phrase ‘I’m stuck on the stairs’ – like a cow, he had gone up the stairs no bother, but coming down meant bending his legs in such a way that was simply impossible. He had to shuffle down on his arse. Watching him walk across our lawn to the house was hilarious – he was walking so gingerly you’d think we’d stuck land-mines in the snowdrops.
Still: another session tonight at 9pm. If anyone wants to visit me in hospital afterwards, I’ll be in the Cramlington cardiothoracic department. You’ll be able to spot me by my cheap shoes and blue lips.
Right, let’s do the recipe for this aubergine and tomato curry, yes? That’s what you’ve come for, after all. It’s an aubergine and tomato curry from Meera Sodha’s Made in India book, adapted slightly for Slimming World. I can’t tell you enough how much I love this book – most of the recipes can be adapted if you’re feeling virtuous but they’re absolutely gorgeous exactly as they are. Plus, I’m yet to find a recipe in there that hasn’t been nice and easy to make. I genuinely recommend: you can buy it from Amazon right here!
to make an aubergine and tomato curry, you’ll need:
1 large onion, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
4cm knob of ginger, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
300g cherry tomatoes, halved
½ tsp ground turmeric
1½ tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp tomato pureé
1 tsp sugar (1 syn)
2 large aubergines, quartered and cut into half-cm slices
One gadget we swear by is a good Microplane grater – this’ll make mincing the garlic and ginger a breeze! No I know, I recommend them an awful lot, but it’s because it is worth having. You’ll use it a lot!
Yeah, we used one syn of sugar in the recipe. Divide between four and that’s quarter of a syn. I mean, really.
to make an aubergine and tomato curry, you should:
plonk a large frying pan over a medium heat and spray in a little oil (Frylight ruins non-stick coating, so use this instead!)
add the onion and cook until it’s turning a bit golden, which’ll take about 6-8 minutes
add the green chilli, ginger, and garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently
add the tomatoes to the pan and then stick the lid on
leave for about ten minutes for the tomatoes to soften
add the turmeric, cumin, coriander and tomato pureé to the an and mix well
when it’s looking a bit sloppy, add 150ml of warm water and then the aubergine slices
stir gently until the abuergine is nicely coated, the stick the lid back on again
cook for another 15-20 minutes over a medium-low heat – you’ll know it’s done when you can cut the aubergine with a wooden spoon
Enjoy? Why not click the vegetarian recipes I’ve provided below and live like a Queen?
This creamy green veg medley is just the ticket if you’re looking to up your vegetable intake without incurring massive amounts of syns. You could easily spin it out into a cauliflower cheese but actually, we like it all jumbled up.
No chatter tonight – I’m keeping to my word of posting a few recipes nice and succinctly, so here we go! Don’t bitch on at me afterwards though! Fair warning: all of these steamed vegetables will make you fart like an absolute trooper. But hey!
We served our vegetables with a massive fat pork chop spread with two tablespoons of reduced fat red pesto (3 syns). We used our OptiGrill (press the chops button, away it goes) but you could just as cheerfully throw it under the grill.
to make our creamy green veg medley, you’ll need:
a head of broccoli
a head of cauliflower
a handful of sprouts
a big fat leek
110g of Philadelphia Lightest (1 x HEA)
40g of light extra mature cheddar (1 x HEA)
optional: 25g of panko (dried breadcrumbs) – 4.5 syns
This makes enough for two people, hence the two healthy extras. Panko is dried breadcrumbs and you can buy it in most supermarkets, trust me – but feel free to use breadcrumbs from your healthy extra bun. I don’t care, I’m easy.
Slice your leeks with ease with a mandolin slicer. We ours a lot – it’s perfect for slicing onions, leeks, peppers, carrots – even cheese. It’s a tenner and you can have the job of veg prepping done in the time it takes one Enya song to play out. Who needs fingertips anyway?
to make our creamy green veg medley, you should:
to be honest, it feels almost insulting to do this – it’s that easy
chop up your broccoli and cauliflower into little bits
quarter your sprouts
thinly slice your leek
tip all of them into a big saucepan with a good splash of water and lightly steam them until they soften – you don’t want them denture-ready, just not crunchy
drain them off and pop them in an overproof dish – mix in the Philadelphia, pinch of salt and pepper, then the mature cheddar, keeping a bit for the top (and add breadcrumbs if using), then pop under the grill for about ten minutes until it’s done and crispy!
How easy is that? You could use any veg you like – spring greens, peas, turnip, all sorts!
Looking for more vegetarian ideas? Click the links, you saucy bugger!
Here for the goat cheese burger with courgette chips? Who could blame you – even I’ve got a semi-on just thinking about it. It’s lines like that which stop me getting a job in Good Housekeeping, isn’t it? Still, I’m doing better than the poor sod at Virgin Trains, but we’ll touch on that tomorrow. I didn’t know whether to post this as two separate recipes but hey, let’s live life on the edge today, and combine it as one. But first: shenanigans. Remember, scroll to the pictures of the food if you don’t want to read my waffle.
First day back at work today after about a billion weeks off. Does anyone else find it utterly infuriating having to work? You mustn’t get me wrong, I really do love my job and I work with some wonderful people (HR STATUS CHECKER: CLEAR) but by God it is such a battle not to steer my car straight into the central reservation every single morning at 8.20am. You know how some people are morning people who breeze out of bed at 5am with a cheery smile on their face and their day full of promise? Well they can piss off. The only time I ever get out of my bed that early is if I’ve shat in it.
What I can’t get my head around is where everyone else is going at that time in the morning. Logically, they’re all going to work just like me, or worse, dropping their crotchfruit off at school for a few hours, but emotionally, I feel like they’ve all climbed into their car just to get in my way. I try listening to music to gee me along and lift my spirits but my Spotify is broken and the recommended music keeps recommending Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Yes Sir I Can Boogie on repeat. I mean, what fresh hell is that? I’d sooner listen to a drill-bit sloughing through my ear-drum.
It doesn’t help that nobody else can drive as well as I can. Naturally, I’m a patient, caring driver who lets people in and merges in turn. My hands wave politely even if my lips drip with malice. Everyone else pushes in. Everyone else spends entirely too much time worrying my back bumper. Everyone else does that annoying thing of slamming on the brakes if they see someone backing off their drive 312 miles away. Everyone else has garish cars and rubbish haircuts and annoying music and morning-coffee-breath and stupid bumper stickers and ugly children in the back seat. In an ideal world everyone would be forced to stay at home until I’ve arrived at work and only then could they push out onto the road, on the strict instruction that they have to be back at home and quietly watching Tipping Point by 4pm. That’ll teach ’em.
I take some consolation in the fact that I can look around in the luxurious forty minutes I spend stuck in traffic and see that everyone else has a face like a smacked arse too. Perhaps I’m not alone. Perhaps there are others – perhaps there is hope.
Anyway, as it happens, I was slightly more buoyant than normal this morning because I was wearing this fruity number to the office:
If that doesn’t leave you moister than an oyster, then I don’t know what will. It’s OK: I know I look silly. I look like John Goodman roleplaying as Jon Snow. Like a silverback gorilla caught in the process of mauling Brendan from Coach Trip. To be quite honest, it’s the type of coat I imagine our Fearless Leader might wear, pockets stuffed with half-smoked John Player Superkings and badly torn Bella coupons. My entrance into the office was well-received; me dropping it off poorly wrapped for return at the post office with a plaintive cry of ‘can I borrow some parcel tape’ less so.
As it happens, I only managed three hours at work before the darkness set in and I asked to take a half day’s holiday. This was granted and so it happens that I ended up at my parents. I can’t relax there: every proffered cup of tea is usually followed by eighty-seven questions about setting up iCloud, how does the Internet work and why my mum can’t connect the kettle up to the Wifi. I don’t think I’ve ever visited their house without having to reset at least four passwords. I’m painting them as technological luddites which is actually terribly unfair – my mother has just managed to keep her Tamagotchi alive for a three day streak and my dad has totally mastered Windows 98.
As a total aside, if you’ve ever wondered where I get my bawdy sense of humour from, it’s totally my parents. Whilst raiding through the cupboards in the utility room to see what would look better in my house, I spotted that my mother had scrawled ‘boobies’ on the calendar, accompanied with a 🙁 face. That was enough to set off my hypochondria/filial love/avarice and I demanded to know how long she had left and whether she’d arranged a will. Turns out it was just for a perfectly routine mammogram. Well, that was my mistake, calling it ‘routine’. You have to understand that my knowledge of boobs extends to twiddling Paul’s nipples like I’m trying to get the shipping forecast to bellow from his arse. She was very quick to put me right that it isn’t routine at all and that it actually bloody hurts having your boob squashed between two plates like someone plastering a ceiling. Then came the killer line:
“I wouldn’t mind, but after they’ve finished I could post my tits through a letterbox”
Ha. There’s an image that I could have certainly done without, although it did remind me to get the bacon out of the freezer when I got home.
The recipe then! We’re trying to cut our carbs down – no particular reason other than it makes us bloat like a beachbound whale – hence the lack of bun. If you’re dribbling and twitching at the thought of a bunless burger, just use your healthy extra B bun and shut up. For the love of God, don’t do what I’ve seen other people doing and sandwich your burger in between two halves of a jacket potato. If you think that is anything other than an abomination then I invite you to look at your life and think hard about who hurt you so badly.
to make goats cheese burger you will need:
400g lean beef mince
120g soft goats cheese (4x HeA)
1 red onion
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
mixed salad leaves (whatever you like – we used rocket)
pinch of salt and pepper
to make goats cheese burger you should:
mix the mince together with the salt and pepper and divide into four
roll each ball into a burger shape – it doesn’t have to be anything fancy!
next, cook the burgers however you like. We used our OptiGrill so we could get them perfect and rare, but you can do it however you like – under a medium-high grill or in a frying pan, or on a George Foreman grill or whatever. They won’t take that long
whilst they’re cooking, add the onion to a small saucepan with just a wee bit of oil, and sauté over a medium-high heat until just starting to brown
add the red wine vinegar right at the end and give a good stir
serve the burger on top of the sliced onion, and top with a 30g slice of goats cheese (each)
Christmas clear-out continues with this fancy Greek salad! I have no idea why Paul has such a stiffy on for Greek food at the moment, but I’m not complaining as long as he tends to my every whim and fills my world with dolmades. I’d love to find a low-syn version of those but it’s tricky given they need to be soaked in oil.
Remember: our Christmas Clear Out is our wee break away, taking care of something personal and exciting. We’ll be back soon, but in the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying these recipes that we’re passing over. A lot of people ask us to put the recipes first on the blog and then follow it up with the nonsense afterwards. We’re thinking about it – what would you prefer?
Right: to the recipe. Dead simple this one and it makes for such a good lunch you’ll give yourself a wide-on just thinking about it. Serves two.
to make this fancy greek salad you will need:
80g quinoa, rinsed
90g reduced fat halloumi, thinly sliced (2 x HEA)
a few modest inches of cucumber, cut into chunks
16 black olives, sliced (3 syns)
8 tbsp couscous
250ml vegetable stock
16 cherry tomatoes, halved
handful fresh mint, chopped
two good handfuls of rocket
2 tbsp lemon juice
ground black pepper
to make this fancy greek salad you should:
well, really: cook the quinoa and couscous as instructed using the hot vegetable stock
chop up your tomatoes and toss them with the lemon juice, olives and the rocket and a good pinch of salt and pepper
dry fry your halloumi in a pan – use a griddle pan if you’re going for the fancy griddle mark look
we added bacon after the photo was taken – we didn’t like the idea of having a meal that didn’t leave us looking anxiously at each other whilst clutching our left arms
This keeps very well for a lunch the next day, though I’d maybe hold back from tossing your rocket until you’re actually about to it. Trust me, if there’s one thing I’m an expert on, it’s tossing my rocket – been doing it since I was 12.
Here for the Greek potato hash? Christmas push continues as we throw out a few of the recipes we’ve had floating about – we’re taking a break at the moment, so this is just to tidy things up before Christmas! No time for chitter-chatter, let’s do this!
You’re going to think I’m taking the mick with this recipe for spicy red pepper and tomato soup, as it’s literally the laziest recipe you’ll ever make. But here’s the thing – we get asked all the time for truly simple recipes and well, it doesn’t get any easier than this. You’ll find everything you need either in your cupboard or down the supermarket, nothing fancy here! Plus it’s syn free and you don’t need to clart about peeling vegetables or feigning interest in someone else doing it for you.
Let’s get straight to the recipe – remember, this week, we’re away working on an exciting personal project and thus, no blog posts. But rather than leaving you hanging, we’re pumping out a few of our stragglers with hardly any guff at all! Don’t worry, normal service will, of course, resume soon!
to make spicy red pepper and tomato soup you will need:
270g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 vegetable stock cube
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
to make spicy red pepper and tomato soup you should:
You’re here for the sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, aren’t you? Who could blame you – they’re quite something, though I feel bad luring you in for such a simple recipe.
But first (isn’t there an always a but first with us…actually, not always, sometimes I’ll start by working the balls) I wanted to follow up my last blog post, which dealt with the nasty side of the Internet and the disadvantages of giving chavs a keyboard that isn’t connected to a Speak ‘n’ Spell. No sooner had I put up a 1,500 word moan about the idiots kicking off at Tesco then something lovely happened. Allow me to explain, first with a wee picture…
I know, right? I ought to work for Saatchi and Saatchi, not least because think of all that delicious food Nigella would have cooked me over the years. I’m gayer than cum on a moustache but you better believe I’d happily spend my life with Ms Lawson. Any women who will cheerfully fry a sandwich in butter in her best dressing gown is a keeper, surely?
Can you remember last year when we asked you all to send us a Christmas card? Boy, did you come through for us – we received cards from all around the world and for once, the postman wasn’t being euphemistic when he came to our slot and emptied his bulging sack. Oh stop it: I know, it’s like Julian Clary is guest-writing the blog tonight. I think the grand total was over 1,500 and we read each and every one, not least because we thought you may have squirrelled away a fiver or two in there. It was great fun and we planned to do it again but, in a rare moment of genius, Paul suggested we raise money for our local cat and dog shelter, Bryson’s.
How could I resist? So we stuck our donation request online and within 36 hours, we’d managed to raise £1,300 – it now stands at £1,500! Pretty incredible and we couldn’t be more chuffed. Bryson’s are an amazing little shelter up in Gateshead who take in all manner of waifs and strays and never put a well animal to sleep – if they can’t find a home for them, it doesn’t matter, they’ll stay at Bryson’s until the end. Their staff was dedicated, kind volunteers and look, we can’t say enough about them: anyone who lets us two come in and cuddle their cats can’t be anything but amazing. You can read up on what they do here
Now – if you can, we would love it forever if you could help us. If things are tight then of course don’t worry, but if you’ve enjoyed our recipe, nonsense, videos, posters and other flimflam throughout the year, could we beg the tiniest favour and ask for a donation? We’ve stuck £100 in from the two of us – we’d absolutely love to get it up to £2,000 – and maybe more! We just think this will make a difference more than Christmas cards ever could. If you don’t want to donate, no problem – please don’t think less of us for asking – but if you do, here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window!):
How lovely! Remember, we’re not asking you to donate loads – just what you can, the cost of a Christmas card!
Now, to sweeten the deal a bit, we’ve done a rare video for you. It’s a recipe for syn-free brownies – you won’t believe how easy they are to make with just a few small substitutions and swaps. Naturally, we’ve put our spin on things. Enjoy!
Ha! Now, finally, let’s do the recipe, such as it is…this makes enough for two ‘stacks’.
to make sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, you’ll need:
Kingsmill wholemeal bread thins (1 x HEB per thin)
two good eggs
Quorn sausage patties (0.5 syn each)
60g of mature cheese (2 x HEA)
1 tablespoon of oil (we used chilli oil because we like it hot!) (makes about five, so let’s call it a syn each)
I know there’ll be folks out there now not bothering with the recipe because it uses six syns of oil (1 tablespoon) – reconsider. The oil binds the potato and makes it like a proper hash brown. You could make your own vibrator from filling a cigar tube with bees, doesn’t mean you should. Spend the syns!
to make sausage, egg and cheesy hash brown breakfast stacks, you should:
hashbrowns are a doodle – grate your potato and then squeeze the living hell out of it – you want the shredded potato to be as dry as an old bajingo – then mix in the tablespoon of oil and the grated cheese, add a tonne of black pepper and a bit of salt, then press into yorkshire pudding or muffin trays – really pack it in mind you – then bung them in the oven for about 30 minutes to crisp up and brown – this actually ended up making about 5 hash-browns so keep any spare for eating later
it’s OK – I laughed at the concept of spare food too
then…well, really not sure what there is to say for the rest – grill your sausage patties and fry the eggs
we use a chef’s ring (he doesn’t mind, we buy him a drink after) to keep the eggs nice and round but really, you don’t need to do so
we use the same ring to cut a circle out of the thins but you know, why waste the extra bread? Just whack it in
serve with a disc on the bottom, hash brown, sausage and egg, then disc on top
If you’re one of these people who can’t fry an egg, worry not – it’s easy. Hot pan, few sprays of olive oil, crack the egg in and shape it a bit with a spatula – pop the lid on the pan once everything has started to firm up and it’ll cook nicely in the steam. Fresh eggs help. We get our eggs from my mother – you’d think she would have stopped laying them now she’s approaching 94 but hey.
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Enjoy! And please, give what you can – we really will love you forever.