butternut squash macaroni cheese

It’s lucky I don’t have a gambling problem. Well no, it’s lucky I’m Geordie enough to be so tight I wouldn’t DARE have a gambling problem. TV is absolutely awash with ads for online gambling sites, and they’re such utter, utter bollocks. Invariably, they’ll have some drooling slab of beef watching some whizzy virtual reality site flash by, gambling with hilarity and a big shit-eating smile on his face, all the while chucking a few £1 bets on and watching the money roll in.

Well let me tell you this isn’t the case. I make quite a bit of pin money on the side by gambling for ‘free’. and I’ll come to that later, but a good part of that comes from having to play online bingo. Online bingo is the antithesis of fun. Put simply, you’re paying good money to watch a pen automatically dab off your numbers in the hope of winning a crap jackpot against thousands of others. However, there’s more – in the adverts you’ll see sprightly young ladies giggling away and typing supportive messages to one another in the chatrooms, whereas all I’ve ever seen is punters with one good set of teeth between them and usernames like ~~!!!PIXIE_DUST_ROFL~~!!! and TISHMAM4LIFE desperately trying to outdo each other’s bad spelling. Even the photos of the winners are invariably harsh – all slack-jawed, light-bendingly dense landmasses with terraced chins and poor taste in acrylic outerwear holding their cheques for £667 like they’ve won La Primitiva. Bleurgh. When even I can’t eke a little fun from reading people’s chatter, you know there’s a bad job.


Anyway, the free gambling thing. I use Quidco, which is a cashback site, so if you’re doing online shopping you would go through Quidco, it tracks your purchase and offers you a small amount of cashback which gets deposited back into your bank account at the end of the month. You pay £5 a year and it’s very safe. There seems to be a intrinsic distrust of these sort of websites, which is fair enough, but this is a massive site used by thousands and I’ve never had a problem with it. Even old motormouth Martin Lewis recommends in. So – on Quidco are lots of offers for new customers on gambling sites, and they normally have a higher return than investment. Looking on there right now, William Hill Bingo is offering £30 back for new customers who spend £10. Obviously they want you to spend more than £10 but don’t. If you go for the offer and only spend £10, you’ll eventually get £30 back from Quidco, and you’ve made £20 right there. It takes a few weeks for things to track but there you go.

Of course, if when you spend the £10 on William Hill, you actually manage to win some money, that’s even more profit right there, but DON’T accept any of the introductory bonuses or little catches – just play with your own money, and stop the very second you’ve gambled whatever it is they ask you to gamble on Quidco. Remember, this only works if you:

  • you are controlled and never bet more than the minimum requirement set by Quidco
  • you ensure the cashback is more than the amount spent
  • you meet all the requirements set by Quidco, though they’re never especially onerous
  • stop, especially if you lose your money – remember to spend only what you have to!

If you want to join Quidco, feel free to go via my referral link!


ANYWAY enough about that shite. Here’s tonight’s recipe – bloody lovely macaroni cheese!

macaroni cheese

to make butternut squash macaroni cheese, you’ll need:

ingredients: 1300g butternut squash, 300ml chicken stock, 250ml almond milk (1 syn or HEA). 200g macaroni, 
2 teaspoons garlic salt, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce, 115g grated cheddar cheese (4.5 syns or HEA – remember this serves four). 

to make butternut squash macaroni cheese, you should:

recipecut up the butternut squash into cubes, add the stock and almond milk into a nice big pan, and chuck the squash in. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer under the squash is tender (about fifteen minutes). Blend this mixture in a decent processor or use a stick blender and really go at it – the smoother the better. Add the garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce. Add the cheese to the sauce and put it back onto the heat on a medium heat. Now you have a choice – you can cook the macaroni in a separate pan, drain and add to the sauce, or just chuck the macaroni into the sauce and cook it all in the same pan – this will help thicken the sauce because of all that tasty starch! Once the sauce is thickened, serve hot!

extra-easy: yep! here, you’re either using your cheese or your milk as your HEA on your serving. All that butternut squash makes this VERY high in superfree food and it just tastes wonderful, trust me. You can use up the rest of your HEA allowance (if you chose milk) throughout the day, you can have a fair bit on EE!