roasted rainbow aloo gobi – syn free and amazing

Roasted rainbow aloo gobi if you please, and syn free to boot! You know sometimes you make a vegetarian dish and it’s OK but you’re left craving meat like a sex-starved nun? This wasn’t the case with this – in fact, it was so tasty and colourful we ended up making it again the next day. Then had the leftovers the day after. By that point the neighbours were banging on the window sure, so fetid and thick was the fart-air billowing from under our door, that someone had died. So, make it, but be warned: your leather cheerio will turn black and die.

You know, it’s a wonder I don’t get asked to write the recipes for Woman’s Weekly. Anyway, before we get to the pure sex that is the aloo gobi, you’re going to have to endure a night out with us, as it’s part four of our Benidorm trip. We’ve even got videos for you! Don’t want to read all our shite? That’s fine. I’ve put in a shortcut button. yes, for this one, you just need to click on the OLD MONA WHO’LL LET ANYONE CHUCK THEIR PAINT ON HER FACE below:

Possibly the classiest photo we’ve ever had on here and I’ve used it to make a spunk joke. Eee, what am I like. Shall we continue?

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three

When you last left us we had endured a breakfast buffet, met our doubles and sizzled by the pool for far longer than could be considered reasonable for a travel blog. Remember that time, we had hope in our eyes.

We used the day to plan for the night ahead, with an eye to having a bit of dinner somewhere local to the hotel and then heading out to a place we’d heard excellent reviews about – the Showboat, just up the road. Dinner was so awful that I can’t remember where we went, only that it was exactly like the slop you get in lay-bys from people who’ve used their food hygiene certificate to wipe their arse with. I’ve been told you can eat well in Benidorm and it’s undoubtedly true, but every single place we looked at within about half a mile’s mince from the hotel were full to the brim with people pointing at pictures of egg and chips on the laminated menu. If my memory serves me correctly, Paul had a hot-dog and I had a club sandwich. Presumably the Club the sandwich referred to was the Cavern Club because this sandwich tasted like it was made back in the sixties – I’ve never had to dip a sandwich in my pint before to moisten it.

Showboat, then. I’m not too sure how to couch my experience of the place, really – not least because we drank 11 pints each over the course of the entire evening. People in our facebook group were treated to some wonderfully awful videos, I can assure you. Let me say that the staff were lovely, the venue was clean and the toilet, far from the Trainspotting homage I expected, was spotless. We’d shuffled in at 8pm and had the place to ourselves – the entertainment such as it was started at 9pm so we decided on a game of pool. There was one pool cue and well, the lines on the table weren’t especially clear.

Like playing at The Crucible!

I won, because I always do when it comes to pool – Paul’s flipper-arms make holding the cue difficult – and then it was time to get a round in and enjoy the first act: a Tina Turner impersonation. Here’s the thing: when your opening gambit is a declaration that despite appearances, you’re not actually a man in drag, then it rather sets the tone. She (and she was a she, I could see no Nutbush City Limits under her straining skirt) was really good! She belted out a few of the classics, though I did feel sorry for her when she tried to get the audience up on stage – the front two rows looked like they couldn’t manage to breathe unassisted let alone jive through Proud Mary. She gamely pressed on.

We don’t need another hero. We just need someone to call a nurse.

Things reached a pinnacle when it came to River Deep Mountain High – one of my favourite songs. You know it – it has a great lead-in and then straight into Tina singing. I was all ready to stand up and clap and throw my knickers on the stage (the size of the fuckers meant they’d probably come back down in someone’s tapas in Valencia) but there was a problem – she uttered the first line and then stopped. Completely forgotten the words. I was devastated: I was itching to see her strut/stumble through my favourite, and it wasn’t to be. I yelled out that she must leave Ike before he did any more serious damage and, taking this on board, she carried on and saw it through to the end. Towards the closing notes I saw our doppelgängers arrive and take seats near the front. We exchanged glances. Tina shuffled off. More drinks for everyone.

Then came Stella Artois. A drag act. I’m going to hold my hands up here and say outright, I’m not a huge fan of drag unless it’s done superbly well. This guy wasn’t. Actually no, let’s rewrite that a bit: I don’t mind drag acts, but I don’t like the fact that some people seem to think it gives them a licence to be an abrasive, nasty arsehole. Stella was absolutely in this second category. They opened with a few gags which actually did make me laugh (and listen, I’m not a hard person to please, I’m probably the only person in Britain who’ll happily sit through You’ve Been Framed) and then boy oh boy did that show degenerate quickly. It’s pretty bad when you’re hearing material stolen from Peter Kay’s early work, it’s even worse when it’s from Bob bloody Monkhouse. I think if the crowd hadn’t been (barely) lapping it up he’d have started a Vera Lynn singalong.

That’s when things just got worse and worse. I’m all for a coarse gag – as evidenced in nearly every single post on here – but make it funny. I thought we’d reached a low point when he was talking about his arsehole but then the racist stuff followed. We’re not just talking like the naff racist gags you expect in a flat-roof social club but just vile shit about blowing up mosques and *clutch my sides* not seeing a white face in Birmingham. Jim and Saul were slapping their knees and sloshing their campari all over their shoes at the ‘humour’ whereas I was hoping to find blood in my urine just to cheer myself up. The show lasted an hour during which we anaesthetised ourselves with a lot more booze and making videos for the group. Not going to lie, we were thankful when they tottered off the stage, though I admit I was fretful about whether or not she would get back to Peterborough in time to put tea on for Paul’s brother.

I’m kidding, he looked nowt like Paul’s mother. She’s got a much more pronounced beard.

Anyway, Stella fucked off, and I thought the entertainment was over the night but then, WHAM! On came a George Michael tribute act. He was so much better! He looked more like George Osborne than George Michael but he could belt out a tune and that’s all that matters. He did all the classics: Fast Love, Careless Whisper, Faith, shot his load up the cubicle door in the gents, the lot. It was great fun. At one point he asked the crowd for their favourites – I, buoyed by more alcohol units than is sensible for a man of my obesity, shouted LAST CHRISTMAS. He immediately sniped back that that was a stupid suggestion because it was September, to which I shouted back that he was supposed to be dead, so all bets were off. He sang Freedom with a proper sulk on.

We left, though I took a moment to step on my double’s foot as I walked past. I like to think my weight on his foot dislodged a fragment of his doubtless infected toenail which shot straight to his heart, leading to a full cardiac arrest later in the holiday. Fucker shouldn’t have stolen my beans and/or looked like me. After a long stumble down the street, we were in bed, snoring and farting the rest of the night away.

Anyway, we made a supercut of the night for your viewing pleasure. You have no idea how long it took to make this faintly appropriate for the blog – the amount of bits we had to cut out just so we didn’t get shut down / put on the front pages of the tabloids, well, you’ll never know.

Oh and if you’re wondering how we were feeling the next morning…

I know, imagine waking up next to that breathing at you from across the pillows. To be honest, you’ve got the far better view out of the two available to you at that point.

Part five will surely come, but first, we really ought to crack on with the aloo gobi, yes? Before I go – all of that above and the sentence I’m most pleased with is the WHAM remark. I chuckled away to myself with that one.

REMEMBER, leave us some feedback on the holiday entries!


This makes enough for easily four people, whether as a side or a full main. You could chuck some red peppers in to increase the colour still further. I got the basic idea from my absolute favourite Indian cookery book, Made in India by Meera Sodha. There’s not a recipe I’ve made yet that hasn’t been absolutely gorgeous, so hats off to her. You can buy the book dirt cheap on Amazon! She recommends making this as a light salad and serving in a poppadom with crushed peanuts, but as I can almost hear Mags clutching her Facebook-raffle-prize pearls from here, I’ve slimmed it down a little.

rainbow aloo gobi

rainbow aloo gobi

to make roasted rainbow aloo gobi, you’ll need:

  • 500g of new potatoes – if you get Jersey potatoes or similar, they’ll be nice and yellow
  • 600g of cauliflower – to make it rainbow, buy rainbow cauliflowers – Marks and Spencers sell them – they come in yellow, white and purple
  • two large red onions
  • one big bastard bag of spinach
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • three cloves of garlic, minced (use one of these bad boys – you’ll save your fingers and you don’t need to fart about peeling the garlic)
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds or half a teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • salt and black pepper
  • spray oil, but not Frylight, because you’re so much better than that muck
  • red pepper optional

Let’s quickly talk about oil, for those that haven’t been with us since the beginning. Here’s the thing: we don’t like Frylight. It’s pushed too hard in a lot of recipes and it tastes like poo. We prefer to use a good olive oil (and if we’re absolutely honest, we don’t syn it – never have) but for the sake of you lot, we always factor the syns in. Most of the time for blog recipes we recommend using a spray oil – you’ll get enough from 10 sprays and that’s 1 syn according to the calculator. Divided between four, up to you if you syn such a negligible amount. We use one of these filled up with olive oil but listen, you can buy spray oil in the shops. Just look for the Frylight, knock them over, choose something decent. It’s your body – why eat plastic crap if you don’t have to do so?

to make roasted rainbow aloo gobi, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • chop your new potatoes into similar sized chunks
  • pick the cauliflower apart into chunky little florets
  • arrange them both on a baking tray, spritz them with a few sprays of oil, scatter over the garlic, chilli, cumin/cumin seeds and then season with a lot of salt and black pepper
  • into the oven they go for thirty minutes or so, turning them every now and then
  • meanwhile, thinly slice your onion and pepper if using, then gently sweat them in a few sprays of oil – cook them slowly mind, let them sweat and golden and caramelise
  • add the chickpeas (drained, obviously) then the spinach so it wilts down
  • mix in the potatoes and cauliflower and serve!

Super tasty and easy to make.

Want more ideas? You greedy bugger!

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Enjoy!

J

cheese and spinach stuffed aubergine rolls

Cheese and spinach stuffed aubergine rolls awaits you, but before we get there, we have a small diversion to take via Benidorm. Buckle up folks, it’ll be a bumpy ride. Not interested in our holiday stories? Click the LEATHERY OLD SLAPPER just below to be whisked straight to the recipe.

Pfft, like we wanted her to stay anyway, eh? Let’s do this.


I know that technically that’s not the Spanish flag but honestly, saying as I think I heard one sentence of Spanish in the entire holiday, I thought it was fitting to overlay the United Kingdom flag behind it.

Let me start by reminding everyone that these our own views and that your experience may differ. Whilst I’ll play up our snobbiness for the blog, we don’t really think that bad of folk. Hell there were some sights to be seen for sure, but for the most part it was a decent holiday. Before you light your rolled-up copies of That’s Life and march on my doorstep, remember: shut up.

So, why Benidorm? Why, on the Earth full of beautiful places, interesting cultures and wonderful sights, did we settle on five days in a concrete wasteland full of boggle-eyed Brits shouting at waiters for DOS BEE-URS POR FAV-WHORE? Easy. Paul. The problem I have is that I’m very easily led – work hard enough on me and I can be persuaded to do pretty much anything. Anything, just saying. I once drove home behind a bus with an advert for ladies private healthcare on the back and had to be stopped from booking myself in for a full cervical screen and a hysterectomy. Paul takes advantage of my suggestibility an awful lot, which is why I have a Smart car on the drive and a bumhole like the end of an exploding joke cigar. He had seen me slumped in my chair on the plane back from Portugal, working my way through a rum and diazepam on ice, and suggested we go to Benidorm. He’d watched a programme on Channel 5 and thought it would be hilarious. I was too busy seeing individual moments of time fragment before my eyes to argue, and so it was that we’d no sooner landed, got home and fed the cats than he had the flights and hotel booked.

Great! I spent the next three weeks moaning to all and sundry that it wasn’t my idea of a good holiday place, and, as a result, I could barely get excited for it. If I want to see port-coloured Brits wearing full football kits and kicking in the locals, I need only nip down the road and book myself into a hostel in Whitley Bay, possibly the only place in the UK where the beach is more dog shit than sand. Nevertheless, time rolled on, and here it was the night before our flight and I had to pack. Paul had one job – wash our work clothes so we didn’t have to blunder about when we came back. Easy, yes?

No! He did indeed manage to wash them and hell, they even ended up in the tumble drier right on schedule – but he neglected to check the pockets, meaning our debit cards were treated to a full hot wash and tumble. They were wavy, and completely unable to fit inside a cash machine. This meant that for the entire holiday we had to withdraw money via our credit card which, because banks are bastards, ended up costing more (roughly) than the hotel. Pfft. Imagine the kind words that were exchanged between us. Actually, I just look into those protuberant, wobbling, bloodshot eyes (or try to, one is usually swivelling around like Mad Eye Moody sitting on a washing machine) and all is forgiven. I can’t stay angry with that wee face.

Our flight in the morning was an altogether reasonable 9am, but Paul does love to be at the airport in plenty of time, so usually we end up setting off the previous Christmas to ensure we make the ten miles to the airport without incident. I always mock him for this but for once, he was actually right to tip me groaning out of bed, into the shower, wash me under my boobs and get me dressed because – catastrophe – my car had a flat tyre. Although I didn’t admit it at the time, I later confessed that I thought I’d damaged the tyre when I was making the car bump and groove to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun as I drove home the day before. Taking his car was a no no because we were carrying more than a leaflet with us and thus, there wasn’t room.

What a to-do! I’m sure folks out there more manly or competent than us wouldn’t have spent ten minutes looking at the jack in the boot of the car, wondering whether 6am was too early to wake a neighbour to come and be butch for us or discussing whether to chance a ride to the airport with a flat tyre. In the end, we caved and ordered a taxi. We were told it would be here within ten minutes – it actually took forty, and the unshaven, brutish oik of a driver didn’t so much as apologise. We did spend the entire car ride nodding politely at his stream of racist comments. Paul had to hold me back when he started banging on about the work standards of immigants (sic) – I looked around at his filthy taxi, stinking of smoke as it did despite the no smoking sign, looked at the footwell full of litter and the clock which showed we were thirty minutes behind schedule, and all I wanted to do was to say that if this was the benchmark upon which to compare work ethics, well, the quicker Krzysztof arrived here in the back of a lorry the better.

We didn’t tip.

Newcastle Airport remains a disappointment. It has a few shops but I mean, come on, which joker thought Sports Direct was a good idea? There’s also a kebab house, a Greggs and a poky WH Smith for good measure. I nipped in there to buy some chewing gum and was asked to show my boarding card. For a packet of chewing gum. I think he knew from how loudly I rolled my eyes that it wasn’t going to happen. We went to the only place that wasn’t full of stags and hens – so, so many hens shrieking and cackling – indeed, the only place that looked halfway decent. We ended up paying over £16 for two coffees and two bowls of yoghurt and muesli. I mean, get fucked.

Oh and to top it off, Paul was upset by some braying skidmark in a cheap suit who, when asked to move out of the way as he was blocking the entrance, told him to fuck off. Pfft! Because we’re British and hate direct confrontation, it was only later when I was able to respond in kind – we were stood behind him waiting to pay for our breakfast when I loudly wondered out loud if ‘when your nose hair gets to such an extensive level, do you not consider a combover’. The guy knew we were talking about him because he touched his nose as he left. Let’s hope he develops a complex and ends up old, alone and covered in matted nosehair.

I hate airports – it just feels like everything is designed to piss you off in some way. Security is a ballache – a necessary one, absolutely, but for goodness sake crack a smile, tell a joke, lighten the mood a little – if you’re going to be groping my cock to see if I’m carrying on an extra 20ml of Tom Ford at least be gracious about it. You go into shops and it’s the same shite for sale as everywhere else, only with fake reductions on it, and everyone gets in your way. You get corralled into tiny ‘gates’ where there’s enough seating for the five people on your full flight and then when they call you to the plane, they don’t let you board, preferring instead to keep you penned together at the bottom of a flight of stairs, sweating and collectively tutting away. I know you can pay extra to get into the airport lounges but Newcastle’s lounge is an absolute joke – if you like piss-weak flat prosecco and scrapping over lukewarm Costco muffins with a Grouponed-gaggle of hens, maybe it’s for you. Frankly, I’d be more relaxed if I board the plane freefalling from 35,000ft in the air.

Perhaps I’m just being grumpy. But see, I had two other concerns. Firstly, we were flying Ryanair, and it was just at the time when they had started announcing flight cancellations and all sorts of problems with the schedules. The relief when I glanced outside our gate window and saw they had actually sent a plane rather than a cardboard cut-out to fool us was immeasurable. But the fact that the plane was there at all created another worry – we’d never flown Ryanair but have heard all sorts of horror stories about how they gouge you at every opportunity. I was that ready to be shafted that I’d lubed myself up in the toilets and soaked my boarding pass in amyl nitrates. To top it off, they charge you to sit together – actually actively go out of their way to pull you apart to force you to pay more – and so, out of protest, Paul had ignored this, meaning we weren’t sitting together for the flight out!

Great! I’m not scared of flying but I do like to have Paul next to me so that, if the plane was plummeting towards the earth in a ball of fire and wrenching metal, I could push him in front of me to act as a crude take on an airbag, even if that airbag is full of air that smells of pure, concentrated death. We had speedy boarding so we were the first to be released from the holding pen and we took our seats.

Thoughts? Awful. Listen, Ryanair is very much ‘what it says it is’, but for goodness sake, there’s not even a seat pocket in front of you to put your stuff in, meaning you have to balance your iPad, phone, headphones, water and headphones on your lap. By the end of the flight I was a grade four juggler. Actually, that’s a fib, but I was technically deaf. I’ve never been on such a loud flight. There were no groups of stags or hens – thank God – but everyone was speaking at about twenty decibels more than necessary. I tried listening to a podcast but it’s difficult to concentrate on Sheila Dillon when you’re sat in the middle of a People’s Postcode Lottery advert. People who, rather than get up and walk down the aisle to talk to a family member, preferred to yell down the plane like they were hijacking the flight.

Oh and christ almighty, the coughing. It was like being on a last-chance flight to Lourdes. At one point I was actually thankful for the lack of seat pockets because they’d be full of blackened lung. I hoped for a small fire just to get the oxygen masks to deploy and give their lungs a break. We’re not talking delicately coughing into a tissue here like Satine in Moulin Rouge, but rather, huge rasping barks where you can hear the air-sacs ripping. Half of the time there wasn’t so much as a hand in front of their mouths, meaning the air in that cabin was probably 80% lungbutter particles. I couldn’t bear it and I could sense from the shade of Paul’s ears a few rows in front that he felt the same. Folks, if smoking means you can’t get through a three hour flight without sounding like you’ve just escaped a house fire, give it up! For goodness sake!

Aside from the volume and coughing, the flight passed smoothly – it was canny of Ryanair to make sure we didn’t get a moment’s rest by coming onto the intercom every five minutes to sell us sandwiches, drinks, duty free, scratchcards, perfumes, a 15 minute turn in the cockpit and the odds on the plane having enough jet fuel to land safely. They should have came round with a trolley full of Strepsils, they’d have turned enough profit to pay John Travolta to fly all of those cancelled flights.

We landed safely, if somewhat abruptly, and cleared passport control in mere moments, which was lovely. I was still hoping that someone had slipped a kilo of coke up my arse at this point and we’d be sent home but no, no such luck. We had arrived – for better or for worse. Let’s leave it there and do the recipe though, eh?


This makes about twelve rolls, more if you’re stingy, and make for a nice little tapas style dinner!

 

to make cheese and spinach stuffed aubergine rolls, you’ll need:

  • two aubergines, as big and thick and as phallic as you dare – if you’re not worried about the neighbours seeing them tumble out of your car, they’re not big enough
  • 200g of ricotta (two HEA)
  • 80g of soft goat cheese (two HEA)
  • 25g of breadcrumbs (just use ready made, 4.5 syns – or you could clit about with your healthy extra but zzz)
  • 200g of wilted spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (6 syns)
  • salt and pepper

In total then, if this makes 12 rolls, you can have three rolls for 2.5 syns and a HEA. You’ll need a griddle pan for the best looking rolls, an Optigrill, or hell, even a frying pan will do it but you’ll not get the fancy griddle marks.

to make cheese and spinach stuffed aubergine rolls, you should:

  • thinly slice your aubergine, lay them out flat and rub salt into each slice – leave for thirty minutes to pull some of the bitterness out of the slices
  • pop your oven onto 180 degrees
  • meanwhile, wilt your spinach – not a euphemism, don’t give yourself a strum in the kitchen – once it’s wilted, chop it fine
  • want a tip? put your spinach on a plate and put a plate on top and squeeze – it’ll get all the water out
  • mix the spinach, ricotta, goat cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper into a bowl
  • when you’re ready to cook, take each slice, pat it down to get rid of the water, and brush each slice with the oil – you only need a little bit of oil per slice so don’t go mad here, I did make the tablespoon last!
  • time to grill your slices:
    • if using an Optigrill, whack the heat sensor up to red and let it get up to temperature – I sprayed the plates a couple of times with spray oil (not Fryshite) – when up to temperature, lay your slices on and cook them until the griddle marks are nice and clear – done!
    • if using the griddle pan or frying pan, same as above – get it out, cook for a few minutes, remembering to turn and take off the heat when the marks appear
  • take each slice, put a teaspoon of the filling at one end, and then roll up
  • pop them all into an ovenproof dish and whack it in the oven for fifteen minutes
  • done!

Easy! Looking for more ideas for quick dinners? Here’s a random collection of buttons that’ll see you right!

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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

tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas

Tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas! After yesterday’s long entry, let’s get straight to the recipe without a moment of delay! This is what we’re trying to do at the moment, have you noticed? Long entry followed by a short entry (it’s like a shit threesome), but lots more recipes! Enjoy!

This makes enough for a good lunch for four people. I think – and mind I’m not sure – this is a recipe from Anna Jones? Forgive me if I have synned. We’ve made it Slimming World friendly by removing the eight litres of olive oil. Now, some people will probably shit a brick telling you that this is a tweak – roasting the chickpeas – but shut yer hole because it absolutely isn’t. The chickpeas are part of the meal!

tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas

tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas

to make a tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas, you’ll need:

  • a kilogram of mixed tomatoes – use lots of different colours and cut them in different ways
  • good salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • one garlic clove (save your fingertips and use this) and a little red chilli (you can leave this out if you’ve got a sensitive hole)
  • one tin of drained chickpeas
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • pinch of cumin
  • one shallot
  • pinch of sumac (don’t fret if you can’t find this, but it does make it tastier!)

to make a tomato salad with roasted spicy chickpeas, you should:

  • for the tomatoes, cut them up any old how, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then tumble them around in a bowl to get the salt liquor everywhere – tip into a colander and allow to sit for fifteen minutes
  • don’t be shy with the salt by the way – the tomatoes don’t pick the salt up, but it draws all the moisture out
  • transfer into a large bowl, add the garlic, sliced chilli and balsamic vinegar, toss and set aside
  • meanwhile, tip the chickpeas out into a bowl and add the oil and spices – and bloody tumble them about to make sure every last one is coated
  • roast them in the oven with the thinly sliced shallots
  • once crispy, out they come, mix with the tomatoes and eat right away! We topped ours with basil because we just don’t care!

That was easy. We’re making a real effort to ramp up our vegetarian recipes so please do share and like using the buttons at the bottom of the post! Want more ideas? Click the buttons below to be whisked to a world of flavours!

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Enjoy!

J

baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes

Baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes you say? Yes. Indeed. And lo, because it’s a quick post tonight after yesterday’s trip to Copenhagen, you’re going to get the recipe almost right away! But listen, we can’t claim any sort of authorship for this recipe, it’s just a simple take on huevos rancheros or shakshouka, which is fun to say. However, it’s syn-free, full of veg and very good for you and frankly, if you’ve got a few peppers and tomatoes turning into old-man-ballsacks in the fridge, this is just the dish to use them up. I had an absolute glut of homegrown tomatoes to use up so here we are!

Sorry, wouldn’t normally put a third photo in, but I love the colours!

to make baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes, you’ll need:

  • a big handful of fat tomatoes
  • one red pepper
  • one red chilli
  • one garlic clove
  • one fresh egg
  • one red onion
  • one vegetable oxo cube

Wondering where we get our fancy dishes? Just here!

to make baked eggs in spicy peppers and tomatoes, you should:

  • thinly slice your pepper and onion and sweat in a few sprays of oil
  • mince your garlic (got one of these yet? no? treat yourself – you’ll wonder how you got by without it!) and add it in along with the thinly sliced red chilli
  • roughly chop your tomatoes into small chunks and chuck that in
  • simmer gently with a good pinch of salt
  • I like to add the oxo cube crumbled in just to add a bit of taste, plus a tiny spoon of Marmite if you like, then allow everything to thicken nicely
  • tip it into a shallow individual serving dish, crack an egg into the middle, cook in the oven for fifteen minutes or so until the egg is set
  • enjoy with lots of black pepper

Done!

Want more breakfast or other ideas? Click the buttons and go!

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J

lentil and vegetable soup – instant pot, hob or slow cooker

This lentil and vegetable soup looks like vomit. It does. I know that, you know that. But it was so tasty! I urge you to give it a go! We’re going straight to the recipe tonight as we’re out and about, so here we go!

lentil and vegetable soup

to make instant pot lentil and vegetable soup you will need:

  • 1 large onion, finely diced (if you can’t be arsed with all this dicing, and who could blame you, you could chuck it all in a food processor. We use this one because it looks cute!)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 stick of celery, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 100g dried lentils (any type)
  • ½ tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 40g spring greens

If you haven’t got an instant pot yet then what is wrong with you? Save time and effort for more important stuff. Get yours from Amazon right here and help sling a few pence commission our way. WE’RE VERY LOW ON GIN.

to make instant pot lentil and vegetable soup you should:

  • add a little oil to the instant pot and press the ‘saute‘ button
  • add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot, give it a good stir and cook for about 6-7 minutes, stirring every now and again
  • add the garlic and cook for another minute or two
  • throw everything else into the pan except for the spring greens and give a really good stir
  • press ‘manual‘ cook on high pressure for ten minutes, and then use the quick release to get to it quicker
  • stir in the spring greens and leave for a couple of minutes
  • serve!

You don’t need to use an instant pot for this, it’s just easier and quicker. You could do it in a slow cooker too, just throw everything in at once (except for the spring greens) and cook on high for 4-5 hours on high, or 8-10 hours on low.

Don’t expect this one to look amazing because frankly it won’t, BUT it does taste really nice. Even Paul loved it and he hates pretty much everything that’s in it. Plus, it’s crammed full of good stuff!

Feeling angelic? Don’t worry, we’ve got tonnes more recipes for you to help shift that gut. Just click one of the buttons below to be transported to even more ideas!

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J

creamy garlic mushroom pasta super speedy lunch

Creamy garlic mushroom pasta? On Slimming World? I know!

A proper quick post tonight, no flimflam! Not going to fib, this recipe is not my own, no no. We’ve adapted it from Jamie Oliver’s new book ‘5 Ingredients’, which you can buy from Amazon here. Big fans of Jamie Oliver, though I find myself having to watch his earlier shows on mute to avoid all that laddish banter he used to do. Got right on me ‘ampton make no mistake guv’nor apples ‘n’ pears saaaarf of the river and all that shite. Why doesn’t he age? Anyway, we recommend the book simply because we’ve had a flick through it and nearly all of the recipes use only a few ingredients and can easily be adapted to Slimming World. Of course, you could just wait and see what we post on here and save yourself a tenner. I feel safe saying that (you could say, given the recipe, it’s a question of morels…eh? Hello? Is this thing on?), it’s not as though he’s going to send his solicitors over to us over a few lost sales. I’ve certainly spent enough money working my way down his cocktail list in his restaurants to make up for it.

So, creamy garlic chicken pasta then – dead easy and you can adjust the garlic levels however you like it. If you’re one of those folks who like to smell like an old bin for days afterwards, chuck more in. Same with the mushrooms – I like the Tesco Finest Asian Selection, purely because one of the mushrooms looks like a little knob, but you can use any old shite. I’ve just noticed that my mushrooms come from South Korea so Christ, if you are planning on cooking this, I’d go buy the mushrooms now whilst you still can. If you wait a few more weeks, chances are they’ll be able to walk here on their own steam/radiation. This makes enough for two, with each person using a Healthy Extra A choice. Yeah, that’s right, and so what?

creamy garlic mushroom pasta

creamy garlic mushroom pasta

to make creamy garlic mushroom pasta, you’ll need:

  • about 200g of whatever mushrooms you want – as I said, I like the ‘weird’ mushrooms as they have lots of taste, but have whatever you want, I’m not yer mother
  • 2 cloves of garlic, or three, or four
  • 30g parmesan cheese (1 HEA)
  • 150g of pasta – you can use any kind, but I like to use Caserecce pasta (from Tesco, own brand, 50p) because it holds the sauce better
  • 110g of Philadelphia lightest (1 HEA)

to make creamy garlic mushroom pasta, you should:

  • get a pan of water up to the boil, make it as salty as a sailor’s cock, throw in the pasta and cook it until it’s soft on the tongue, then drain – keeping aside half a cup of the pasta water – then put the pasta to one side
  • whilst that’s hubbling and bubbling, slice up your mushrooms (don’t be Captain Prissypants about it – slice them any old how, lots of different sizes and shapes) and thinly slice your garlic cloves
  • throw them in a pan with a few squirts of olive oil and cook until golden and softened
  • tip the pasta into the pan along with the Philadelphia and the parmesan and give everything a good stir – adding some of that reserved water if things are looking a bit thick
  • season with salt and lots of black pepper and serve hot and juicy!

How easy was that? You know when people twist their gobs about not having time to cook? That takes ten minutes at best. Come on now. Want more recipes? But of course!

lunchsmallpastasmallvegetariansmall   snackssmall dessertsmall

J

super side: spicy salty sweet potato fries

Here for the spicy salty sweet potato fries – oh, you dirty girl. Of course you are.

Now, before we get to another travel tale (possibly tomorrow, if I can be chewed on) but as we’ve recently had a bit of a spike in traffic, I thought it’s important to do a bit of administration for the blog for the new readers! I do this monthly, long-time readers, scroll away! Actually it’s a decent read, so have a gab. Leave us a comment. Most links will open in new windows.

Remember: you can always scroll down to the recipe if the chat is too long

I think, if you take anything away tonight, it’s this. We’ve had a few people moaning at us lately because there’s too much chat for a food blog. Here’s the thing: we’re not a food blog. We’re not. It’s why you don’t get 500 words of us going ‘and then I went to the market and bought an organic pepper and then I went to the supermarket and bought a carrot made of mist and I remember when my cousin Clitoris-Marie went to Tuscany for the summer’ and all that shite. We’re a personal blog first with recipes tagged on because we like cooking. Don’t like it? Scroll down to the recipe or go to the other billion food blogs out there that’ll give you recipes and nowt else. They’re ten-a-penny, we’re not. You can find out more about the two mincers who run this blog by clicking here.

We’re not Slimming World consultants

But we’re their biggest fans. Possibly literally. Yes, there’s flaws with the plan, they’re a bit slow when it comes to embracing technology (but don’t worry, Doyenne Bramwell has just bought Windows 98 at a car-boot sale and she’s itching to get started) and I’ve never been to a class that didn’t leave my arse aching (and not in a good way), but you’ll not find a better plan out there. I’m yet to meet a consultant who hasn’t been an absolute treasure with their heart in the right place and I always recommend you go along to class, if only to practice your clapping. We’re both paying members, though, and have been for nearly ten years and whilst we might not take it as seriously as some would like, we’re pretty good with the syns values and checking things. That said, if you have SW questions, speak to your consultant first and if you’re unsure about syns, use the online syns checker. Prepare to swear, mind.

Want to find your nearest group? Click here.

I don’t like the coarse language, the smutty references or the gay agenda – what can I do?

Ah, we have you covered there…

Seriously, life is too short for complaints. Don’t like it? Move on!

Where can we find the recipes and more information?

Easy!

All of our (450+) recipes are on one page: right here
All our vegetarian recipes are under one section: click here
We even have a page collecting together all of our overnight oats recipes: see?
Want 150 syn free recipes together with free weight loss trackers? That’s fine. Click here.

Need more information about the Slimming World plan? We designed a very tongue-in-cheek FAQ: have a look!

What’s your views on advertising?

Can’t bear it, but it’s a necessary evil. Contrary to what other blogs say, it doesn’t take hundreds a month to run a blog, but at the same time, servers, bandwidth, new cooking stuff and recipe research does cost. So, our blog-income comes from:

  • Amazon referrals – if we use a product – and only if we actually own it, mind you – we’ll recommend it – if you click the link and buy it, we get a tiny bit of commission
  • small blog adverts – each recipe page will never have more than two adverts on it. We use the internet, we know how annoying it is to try and navigate a site when it’s full of adverts and ‘click here to read more’ and other tat. Balls to that: this is a happy balance
  • Musclefood – we get a commission if we sell you Musclefood – all of our meat comes from Musclefood and we genuinely love it – chicken that doesn’t turn to nowt in the pan, proper meat, tasty food – we have all the syns values on one page together with details of the various hampers and deals we’ve got with them
  • sponsored posts – a rarity, because we turn a lot down, but occasionally you’ll see a review of a product that we’ve been given or paid to review – we will be absolutely honest, won’t shill something we don’t like, and will always make it clear

Why don’t you do cooking videos?

Time – we both have full-time jobs and this blog was always meant to be a sideline – it’s become something much more, but sadly we don’t have more time. But there’s plenty of excellent video bloggers out there: Fopperholic, Slimming World’s own website and The Slimming Foodie.

Extending on that point, there’s also some amazing food blogs out there: Basement Bakehouse for good, decent food, Fat Girl Skinny which is an amazing resource for syn values and ideas, Macheesmo for amazing bloody food that isn’t exactly SW friendly but hell he has a good beard and the food is wonderfulPinch of Nom for sheer volume and Slimming World Survival for food and syns.

What’s your view on…

  • syns: use them! You’ve got one body – why make it a race to the bottom by trying to scrimp on your syns – better to spend a few syns and eat decent food than to cut back on ingredients just to get that zero on your chart
  • portion size: most of our recipes serve four unless otherwise indicated – though there’s nothing stopping you eating two portions…
  • sweetener: your choice to make, but we avoid it – not because we have concerns about the health aspects, but simply because it’s unnecessary. Most of our recipes use honey if they need to be sweetened, but you can always swap out
  • Frankenfood: that’s the name we give recipes that use bollocks ingredients for the sake of it – our motto is simple enough, if you can’t buy it easily in a supermarket or a market, then it doesn’t need to go in the recipe. Our recipes are thickened through heat, our flavour comes from spices. Tying into what we said above, we won’t push ingredients on you simply to get some commission from Amazon
  • desserts: hard to do them properly. Desserts are usually amazing because they’re full of sugar, fat or flour, that’s what makes them rich and tasty. You can’t replicate that with sweetener and oats. In our view, better to have a little bit of what you fancy and syn it, that’s what the plan is all about! Ask yourself a simple question: do you reckon those who aren’t struggling with their weight are slim because they’re blending oats into dust or mainlining Canderel? Nope…
  • dieting: just have fun. Life is too short to go around with a face like a smacked arse because you’ve had a Kitkat and a punch-up. Pull up those giant knickers and get on with things. That’s why we like to have a laugh on here.

Can we follow you on social media?

Yep. We have a facebook group (where you’re not allowed to post syns, and we only let people in every now and then), a Facebook page where we post ten recipes a day but no spam, a Twitter account and an Instagram…thing. Whichever way you take us, we’ll leave you satisfied and smiling.

We also have three published books: Saturated Fats, The Second Coming and The Big Fat Gay Honeymoon. In paperback too, so we can get you wet out and about too!

Right, that’ll do, won’t it? Let’s get to the spicy salty sweet potato fries – these are an amazing side, trust me. Spend the syns – totally worth it.

to make spicy salty sweet potato fries you will need:

  • 1kg sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp satay sauce (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp sriracha (1 syn)
  • 2 tbsp hoisin dipping sauce (3 syns)
  • 15g dry roasted peanuts (about 4 syns)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced

Now just you listen here. Before you leave comment after comment asking me what Sriracha is, let me tell you to save those nicotine-stained fingers from dancing over the keys: it’s hot sauce. You can buy it in the supermarket in the sauce aisle, funnily enough! Who knew?

to make spicy salty sweet potato fries you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200°C
  • peel the sweet potatoes and chop into thin chips (save your wrists for something more important and invest in one of these)
  • add the chips to a large bowl and drizzle with a bit of oil or a few sprays (0.5 syns for five sprays, up to you if you syn that) then put a plate over the bowl
  • toss well so that the chips are well coated and roughed up a bit
  • line a large baking tray with baking paper and spread the chips out into a single layer and bake for 40 minutes
  • meanwhile, use a pestle and mortar or a mini chopper to lightly chop up the peanuts – you want a mixture of big chunky nuts and dusty bits (don’t we all, love)
  • when the chips are cooked, remove from the oven
  • drizzle over the satay sauce, sriracha and hoisin sauce, and sprinkle over the peanuts and spring onions
  • enjoy!

Still not satisfied? Just click one of the buttons below to find even more scran to smash into your mush:

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Cheers!

J

spicy carrot coconut soup – instant-pot or hob!

Spicy carrot coconut soup – done in the Instant Pot in a matter of moments but can also be done old-school on the hob or in the slow cooker – awaits you, if only you bear with me for a few minutes. Good news: it’ll be a short entry tonight as Fat-tits has wheeled out the BBQ and we’re going to do our best to pretend that summer didn’t fuck off back in May and enjoy a nice pink-in-the-middle-see-you-again-in-thirty-minutes beefburger. It’s the British way.

We can only get to our BBQ because we’ve spent the good part of four hours clearing out the shed and ferrying various bits back and forth to the tip. Long-time readers know that I love going to the tip – not just because of all the hi-vis-clad blokes wandering around sweating in the sun and bellowing obscenities on the wind, but also because I love seeing what people are chucking out. It’s why I couldn’t work there – I’d spend so much time tutting at people’s questionable tastes that they’d think a woodpecker had taken up residence in the staff shelter. For example, I saw someone manhandling out of the boot of her Picasso a giant piece of pink, glittering wall-art that simply said ‘DREAMZ’. I don’t know what made me wince more – the mistaken ‘Z’, the mistral font or that awful pink colour that is solely reserved for cheap plastic vibrators, limousines “slagwagons” and those awful velour tracksuits that not a single body in all of existence has ever looked anything approaching decent in. 99% of the time they look like a saveloy sausage with legs. Just sayin’.

Anyway, because it was literally the first thing I put my hands on in our wardrobe, I was also wearing a hi-vis shirt, which led to an awkward moment when someone asked me where best to put an office chair and I had to explain that I didn’t work there. Don’t get me wrong, I’d have played along save for the fact I was getting eyeballed at the time by one of the proper workers who was checking I wasn’t throwing my cardboard box (containing onion peelings, I’m so sorry) into the general waste. I’m glad he didn’t ask why I was wearing hi-vis – my reply that it’s purely for role-play between me and Paul (I’m the road worker, he’s the pothole) would have likely offended.

Now it’s all cleaned out, take a look at my shed:

See? I will have order. All the beans stacked in order, facing the right way. Even that tower of shit-tickets is tidy. I have absolutely no idea what that skidmark is but it’s terribly frustrating – it looked like someone crawled in and died on the carpet.  Our cats are prone to killing all manner of things and depositing them somewhere where they’ll know we will be super grateful to find them, like in a shoe or underneath the settee. I’m not even kidding on that one, I dropped my phone between the sofa cushions the other day and when I reached in to get it, I pulled half a rat out by the tail. Why? Was my cat keeping it for winter? Does he think he’s a squirrel? You can be assured that he was chased out of the cat-flap with the threat of my Dr Martens up his bumhole for that trick.

Oh, and apropos of nothing, you can see on the top there the see-through toaster, Instant Pot and the Optigrill XL – see, we do own the stuff we peddle!

Now, I didn’t want to come on here just to talk you through my visit to the tip, but the story does link somewhat organically into what I actually wanted to discuss by virtue of both venues being awash with bright, unwanted rubbish. See, I went to Sports Direct on Friday. I’m not being snobby, it’s just generally not a shop I’d ever have reason to go in – it’s not like we need specialised clothing for sitting watching TV and occasional dogging. Perhaps some knee-pads, but I can buy them at the garden centre when I pick up our shirts. However, a friend of mine needed to exchange one highly-flammable and very rustly sports outfit for another highly-flammable and very rustly sports outfit, only this one in red. This, inexplicably, took her a good twenty minutes of cooing and picking things on and off the rails, looking around for sizes unknown to man and generally taking an age to do anything. I was there that long I could feel my teeth furring up through the miasma of Mugler Angel in the air. I can’t stand shopping at the best of times but god knows I hate shopping somewhere where I’m clearly unwanted – I could see staff looking at my straining belt and 27XL shirt and trying to decide whether to cone me off or call security.

Eventually El Ehma decided on a slightly lighter shade and we traipsed over to the exchange desk, only for some sweaty-necked oik to barge past us and slap down a pair of trainers on the desk. To her credit, the lady behind the counter didn’t do much as wince, though it would have been tricky to register such a facial movement as she’d taken the highly-inefficient step of wearing all the make-up she owned at once. He wanted a refund because “the tag cut into his foot”. I had two instant rejoinders to that one:

  • it’ll distract from the tag cutting into your ankle, ho-ho; or
  • are you sure it isn’t diabetes?

but see Emma is slight and whilst I reckon I could get a few seconds head-start by throwing her in front of someone’s fist, he’d be able to catch up with me on the stairs, what with my game ankle. So I kept schtum. The assistant looked at the trainers and within the passing of a second, declared that she wasn’t going to take them back because a) they were fine and b) they’d clearly be worn. Worn? It looked like the fucker had water-skiied behind a tractor to get to the shop. They weren’t so much ‘worn-in’ as ‘fit for the fire’. You’d have second thoughts putting them in the charity bin in the supermarket car-parks, put it that way. What followed was a good ten minute shouting match between the customer and the manager who had clearly hurried up from the smoking shelter outside, judging by the blue-smoke drifting lazily from his man-bun. We heard all the usual cliches – ‘hardly worn them’, ‘not fit for purpose’ and then my personal favourite, ‘what about my human rights?’. Because good men laid down their lives so someone had the right to blow spittle all over an exchange desk and return their favourite Nick trainers whenever they fancied.

Sensing that the manager wasn’t going to acquiesce and/or his ankles weren’t going to last, the man scooped up the trainers and stalked off, ranting and raving about rip-off this and fuck-off that. I’ve genuinely never seen someone go so red – if I’d had one of those weight-watcher wraps I could have made a Slimming World pasty* from the heat alone – I was all set for some cardiac action, but no. We exchanged our items with minimal fuss and made for the exit, only to see him stood outside warning folk not to go in, like some sweaty, tracksuited Cerberus. We left him getting shouted out by a street-performer angry that all of the fuss was distracting the crowds from watching him hammer nails up his nose. I’m not even kidding.

* sorry, but corned-beef wrapped in a wrap isn’t a pasty. A pasty is made from delicious shortcrust pasty and gravy. Whilst I’m sure these are delicious, they’re hot sandwiches.

Christ, I said this would be a short entry – I’m sorry. It was longer than either of us expected, wasn’t it? I hope I didn’t bruise your kidneys, ma’am. If I can sum up my ramblings it’s this: be nice to customer service folks. It isn’t their fault, they have to follow company procedure, and you catch more flies with honey than vinegar anyway. I can’t bear people being rude, especially when they’re in the wrong.

Anyway, come on, that’ll do. Shall we get to the spicy carrot and coconut soup? Yes, we should. This is an Instant-Pot recipe but I’ll provide two methods for cooking it, so if you don’t have an Instant-Pot, don’t fret a jot. You don’t need one. It makes things quicker and easier, but honestly, this recipe is a doddle either way. To give you an idea of how delicious it is – I dislike both carrots and coconut, but I loved this! I wanted to try a carrot take on our pea and coconut soup (also amazing) and we found this on a blog called platedcravings and have adjusted it for Slimming World. It serves four.

spicy carrot coconut soup

to make spicy carrot coconut soup, you’ll need:

  • a few sprays of olive oil (up to you if you syn it, it’s 0.5 syns for seven sprays)
  • one large onion, chopped neatly
  • one clove of garlic, minced
  • a little knob (half a thumb) of ginger, minced
  • about 500g of carrots, peeled and chopped into pound-coin size discs
  • good pinch of salt and pepper
  • 200ml of blue dragon coconut milk light (7ish syns)
  • 500ml of good chicken stock (or veg)
  • two tablespoons of hot sauce (1 syn) – any hot sauce is fine, or Sriracha

Few things to make life easier, but you don’t need these to cook with:

  • a microplane grater – it’ll make short work of mincing garlic and ginger – with garlic you don’t need to peel it and ditto ginger, which you can keep in the freezer until the next time you need it;
  • an Instant Pot – we love ours, but only because it’s so quick to do everything, and I’m finally over my fear of them; and
  • a stick blender – you really don’t need anything fancy – this £5 little blender will do the same as any expensive blender!

to make spicy carrot coconut soup in an Instant Pot, you should:

  • press the saute button, spray the cooking pot with a bit of oil and saute the onions for a few minutes until soft – add the ginger and garlic and keep going for a minute more
  • tip in the carrots, a pinch of salt and pepper, and saute for a couple more minutes
  • stir in the stock, coconut milk and hot sauce
  • cook on high pressure for six minutes, then let the pressure release naturally for five to ten minutes, then quick release
  • use a stick blender in the pot until it’s smooth as silk – season with salt and pepper

To cook it on the hob, saute everything off in the pan and gently simmer until the carrots are softened – then blend away! It’ll take longer but it’s still a doddle!

Want more ideas for soup and lunches and veggie goodness? Click the buttons below!

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Enjoy!

J

summer salad with fried feta and a tomato consommé

You wanted summer recipes, so here’s two: summer salad with fried feta and a tomato and nasturtium consommé. But first, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The searing hot, radioactive, giant ball of gassy matter that pumps out offensive levels of heat and that could kill us all. That’s right, my husband – he’s currently in bed, so I’m going to discuss the sun. For those in Scotland:

this is the sun – it’s the thing that turns you from that milky white colour to freshly butchered mince in 8 seconds.

I hate it. I’ve discussed at length the many things I hate about the great British summer but, because I’m a) tetchy and b) fat and c) sweaty, I’m going to moan about it again.

Insects

Literally everywhere you turn. Now I’m not daft, I know bees are important and without them we wouldn’t have pollination and food and existence and, perhaps more importantly, this gif of a bee giving a high-five:

but even so. Just once I’d like to spend more than eight minutes outside without something biting me, swarming at me, worrying me or just giving me shitty looks. I took this salad outside yesterday to take a decent photo in the light and I swear I’ve come back without at least one full layer of skin thanks to all the bites. I know I’m irresistible but I’d love to enjoy a meal outside without the both of us swearing and screaming like the table is on fire and we’re eating petrol sandwiches. The situation escalated surprisingly quickly when Paul knocked over a bottle of limoncello syrup – you can imagine how the wasps and bees reacted to that. Hopefully they’ve got smashed off their tits and are comatose in a hedge somewhere, the vespine equivalent of a teenager celebrating getting his fingers wet. I know of a friend who foolishly went camping in summer at Kielder Forest and was sent back to Newcastle by a roaming gang of midges. And we’re Geordies, you understand, we’re geet hard as ‘owt. Pfft.

Cars

Dogs die in hot cars. True, and you always get a satisfying story in the papers of some idiotic clot who dashed into a clinic to get her vag steamed only to leave poor Fido sizzling away on the parcel shelf, who then came out to find some hero has smashed all the windows in the car and called her a c*nt on national TV. I’d be tempted to let the dog out and do a big steaming shit all over her steering wheel, claiming the dog did it out of distress. But that’s not all – getting into my car at the moment is like trying to make yourself comfortable in an active volcano. I climbed in yesterday, peeling layers of skin off my hands as I did so, and found that the car was registering 34 degrees. 34! I turned the engine on expecting the car to blow up and leave me smeared across the street like fat jam. Paul’s car is even worse thanks to his asthmatic air-conditioning – I had to check whether he’d bought a new air-freshener yesterday but the smell of cooking bacon turned out to be the seatbelt clip sinking into my tit like a hot knife through butter.

Increased neighbour interaction

Most – though not all – of my neighbours are decent folks now, especially since they’ve had five years to come around to the fact that two gay men living on their street doesn’t mean we’re going to have all-night orgies and an amyl-nitrate fountain put in the front garden. About half of them actually stop to talk to us now, would you believe. That’s acceptable, but it means we also see the other half a lot more. Take this morning. I was awoken at 8am by the sound of my neighbour yanking and swearing at his shitty Lidl lawnmower to try and get it started. You need to understand that there’s only two reasons I ever want to be woken up on a Sunday before 11am: either I’m sleepshopping naked in ASDA and I’ve got my cock resting in the bananas or Paul has managed to convince the entire first team squad of the Newcastle Falcons that I’m their pre-game warm-up.

He eventually managed to get his £7.99 lawnmower going (and bearing in mind he’s one of these type of folks who’ll spend £35,000 on a car then never take it out of third gear) and I was left trying to dose whilst he whirred and spluttered and farted around his postage-stamp lawn. At 8am. On a Sunday. When he is fully retired and could do this at any time during the week. You can imagine my good humour, can’t you? I did a terribly British thing of getting up and slamming the window shut, but that in turn made the room boiling hot so I had to get up. Paul slept on. You know when they detonate those giant cooling towers and they crumble to the ground in a cloud of dust and excitement? You could stick Paul on a camp-bed right in the epicentre of the blast and he’d still only fart, turn over and start grizzling about his lumpy pillows. The fat bastard.

Go out and enjoy yourself  

Oh fuck off. I can enjoy the oppressive heat when I’m lying baking on a beach in Corsica, somewhere where I can dash into the sea to wipe away my sweaty boob rash and to peel my scrotum away from the sides of my ankle if it gets too much, but what can we do here? As I said, we can’t sit in the garden because we’re like cocaine for insects and we can’t go out in the car because it’s like driving a convection oven down the motorway, so what is left? Standing outside trying to surreptitiously peel clothing out of fat rolls and going ‘ooooh this is nice, bet it won’t last‘ like every other Brit? I don’t want to go outside. I want to stay inside where it is cold and air-conditioned and lovely and yeah I might get rickets but so fucking what, I’ll look bloody hilarious running for a bus. Beer gardens are full of boorish hooray-henries vaping and existing, public parks are awash with children screaming and laughing and even the cold, dark of the cinema is ruined by the kids being ‘on holiday’. Bah.

We need a decent plague and for him upstairs to turn the air-conditioning back on. By him upstairs I mean Paul, and, as we live in a bungalow, even that tortuous analogy doesn’t work. Let’s blame it on the heat.

Recipes then – summer salad with fried feta and a bonus recipe for a tomato consommé. I realised there was no point in sticking the tomato consommé on as an individual recipe because no bugger will make it, but hey, let’s roll the dice.

to make summer salad with fried feta you will need:

  • 250g reduced-fat feta cheese (4x HeA)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour (4 syns)
  • 4 tbsp panko (or any other type of breadcrumb, but panko works best) (4.5 syns)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • any sort of salad stuff you want to throw together
  • spray oil

Notes

You will need a fair few sprays of oil on this one – for each portion I’m going to say 10 sprays of a decent spray oil – so unusually, I’m counting the oil as an extra syn (5 sprays for 0.5 syns). It’s up to you, though. We use a spray oil dispenser from Amazon and top it up with decent quality olive oil – you can see the one we use right here (it’s dirt cheap). You could use Frylight but why would you – it’s shite. Plastic, nasty shite, plus it’ll mess your pans up. God knows why it is constantly recommended.

Those lovely looking pink onions? I’ve posted the recipe for them before right here (it’ll open in a new window) – they’re amazing. Soaked in vinegar, the sharpness melts away and they look amazing in a salad. Any time you have a red onion approaching the end of its life, follow this recipe!

Our salad consisted of a yellow pepper sliced and turned into matchsticks, moonblush tomatoes (made from our recipe here – we’re really using up the old favourites), a few black olives which I don’t syn so shoot me, peeled and sliced cucumber, rocket, sliced red onion and sliced pickled red onion. Make your salads interesting – it’ll serve you so much better – lots of flavour and textures.

to make summer salad with fried feta you should:

  • prepare the salad
  • cut the feta block into four equal pieces
  • dredge each block into the flour, then coat in the egg, and finally roll about in the breadcrumbs so it sticks (roll the feta, not yourself)
  • next, heat a small frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray some oil (save your pans and get yourself one of these)
  • whilst the feta is frying, gently spray a little more oil over the top so they brown when you flip them, which you’ll need to do do after about five minutes
  • when golden, serve on top of the salad so it’s just slightly soft in the middle

Delicious! Now onto the consommé – this is delicious but only if you’re a big tomato fan. I didn’t syn the drop of olive oil I used but up to you whether you include that! This is a clear(ish), pure tomato soup served cold. Very refreshing!

to make tomato and nasturtium consommé, you’ll need:

  • 2kg of tomatoes – red and ripe – soft is fine, we bought a giant box for a couple of quid from our local garden centre
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce and 1/2tsp of tabasco
  • either a big handful of nasturtium flowers or, if you can’t get them (and you should bloody grow them because they’re amazing for you AND for the bees – they add pepperiness and you can eat both the flowers and the leaves), a big handful of basil
  • some decent salt flakes
  • a squirt of decent olive oil (optional)
  • a couple of pretty little tomatoes or nasturtiums and chopped chive

Notes:

This will serve four people a bloody big bowl of soup. It’s a faff timewise to make but worth it if you’re a fan of tomatoes and you want to try doing something different.

If you’re a vegetarian, remember to swap out the Worcestershire sauce for a veggie equivalent.

to make tomato and nasturtium consommé, you should:

  • chop the tomatoes into quarters, removing any particularly beefy stalks
  • tip the lot, together with the shallots, tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and basil/nasturtium into a food processor and blitz it – you might need to do it in stages – season with salt and then blitz again – you do not want a smooth paste, you want it lumpy
  • now the tricky part – I found it so much easier to do this over the sink – put a large pan into the sink and then you’re going to want to take a large piece of muslin cloth and tip the tomato mixture in – tie the cloth up so the mixture can’t pour out of the sides and then find a way to suspend it over the pan so that the juices can drip through overnight (oh you flirt!) – I just tied my cloth to my tap which hangs over the sink
    • if you don’t have muslin cloth, use a very clean tea-towel – we’re not talking about the Congratulations Charles and Diana tea-towel that you wipe your minnie with when no-one is looking but a good fresh tea-towel – maybe use two – try not to get one that you’ve washed with fabric conditioner though eh, because the smell of Lenor is going to be off-putting
    • you can buy fine muslin cloth from amazon for a couple of quid – so much easier
  • the longer you leave it the better it will be, but DON’T SQUEEZE THE BAG otherwise your consommé will be cloudy (it’s natural for it to be a bit cloudy or yellow, but don’t make it worse)
  • in the morning, add a tiny dash of olive oil (1 tsp – 2 syns, up to you if you syn that tiny amount between 6) and gently simmer the liquid for about quarter of an hour – don’t boil it
  • season to taste with a bit of extra Tabasco sauce or salt if needed, then refrigerate until ready to serve
  • when serving, decorate with a few thin slices of the nice looking tomatoes or a couple of nasturtium flowers and chives and serve as cold as can be

Done! Enjoy! Want more veggie or lunch ideas? But of course you do. You know what to do by now!

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J