greek turkey meatballs

Surreal sight #477 in Tesco today. Well, no, just outside of Tesco, some biffa standing next to her bags with an inhaler in one hand and a cigarette in the other – she’d take a couple of drags on her cigarette and then a quick puff on the inhaler. Now THAT’S commitment. Even when you can physically feel yourself choking, you carry on – oxygen is for pussies, after all. It’s like opening an AA meeting with a swift half and a celebratory chaser. Takes all sorts. Anyway, there’s a rant coming, so batten down the hatches.

I’m going to write about tweaks today. Before I start, know that this isn’t exactly the official Slimming World position, but rather my own. Obviously.

To me, the ‘no tweaks’ rule is something Slimming World have put into place to stop you blending eighteen bananas into a smoothie for breakfast, or using two tubs of Smash and some Splenda to fashion a small motor car to take you to McDonalds. The logic is over-consuming is easy – you can drink a smoothie in moments but it would take an age to eat the fruit that goes into one, and you’d likely stop before you’d even had a third. You’d need to press a whole lot of apples to make a glass of fresh juice, but one apple would normally curb your hunger.

But people take it to ridiculous levels, and my carrot cake overnight oats from a week or so ago caused a bit of a stir because I said it was syn free despite it having a mashed banana in it. If you follow the Slimming World rule about fruit to its absolute base level, then yes, it should be synned. But, if you apply logic and reason, there’s no difference to me mashing the banana using my fancy-pants potato ricer than there is mashing it between my teeth. Using a masher isn’t going to coat the banana in Nutella, it isn’t going to ‘add sugars’ or ‘release the fibre content’ any different. Sugar doesn’t float about in the air like a midge, waiting to strike the very second you cut into a piece of fruit. Some try and say that you’d use up energy chewing your banana which you don’t do if you mash it in a bowl – perhaps, but I’m not a fucking snake, I don’t dislocate my jaw and swallow the bowl and its contents without chewing, for goodness sake. I have a banana every morning on top of my porridge, the only difference here is that it’s inside my porridge as opposed to sitting on top. It’s still going to be chewed, digested and turned into a gentleman’s egg a few hours later – and I’m not going to fucking syn it!

What irks me more is that there’s always a curious sanctimony applied with the rule, with some people delighting in pointing out ‘BUT THAT SHOULD BE SYNNED’ like they’ve got Margaret MB standing behind them, pointing a pistol at the back of their shaking heads. A rule is a rule, but common sense also needs to apply. I mean, you’re not exactly supposed to stop in the middle of a road, but you do if an ambulance needs to be past – you don’t sit there blocking it, sucking air through your teeth and going WELL THE HIGHWAY CODE SAYS OTHERWISE as some poor bugger has his chest pumped in the back. I’ve been told before that it could confuse new starters, well, perhaps so – but my nephew still craps his pants because he hasn’t got the hang on his potty quite yet, should I start wearing adult nappies so he doesn’t get a complex? Haway!

And finally, what really riles me about being told off about my tweaking is that the very same people will sit there and tut and huff about a cake made from chickpeas but will then make a brownie using a bollockload of artificial sweetener until their countertops look like the inside of Kerry Katona’s fucking nostril. At least I cook proper, healthy, nutritious food instead of manky, artificially-sweetened pap – even if I do have the temerity to use a mashed up banana. FORGIVE ME.

BAH. After that, I could murder a cigarette, but I don’t smoke, and I don’t know where my old salbutamol inhaler is. Anyway, after all that, here’s tonight’s recipe which is actually bloody delicious!


to make greek turkey meatballs you will need:

300g of chopped frozen spinach (defrosted), 500g of turkey mince (very low in fat), 3 cloves of garlic chopped so finely, an egg, tsp of oregano, salt, pepper, 90g of crumbled feta (45g is your HEA, but this serves four) and you might, dependent on the quality of your mince, need some breadcrumbs – if so, chuck in 25g of dried breadcrumbs (4 syns – so 1 syn each) but we didn’t need them. For the sauce, a pot of passata, garlic, onion. Spaghetti, any.

to make greek turkey meatballs you should:

nothing more to it for the meatballs than combining everything together for the balls into one bowl, mixing and squeezing and really blending it with your hands and shaping it into 24 balls. Stick them onto a non-stick tray and pop them in the oven for twenty or so minutes on 180 until nicely browned. Meanwhile, cook your spaghetti. Make a simple tomato sauce by mixing passata, sauteed onions and garlic. Combine sauce with cooked spaghetti, put meatballs on top.

extra-easy: yup. plenty of spinach and tomatoes in this to make it a go-go-go. You could jazz up the sauce by adding peppers if you were so inclined but this’ll do nicely. The balls are tasty and cheesy, and it’s not often I say that.

Cheers now,




62 thoughts on “greek turkey meatballs

  1. AMEN to that. I loved your recipe and I fully subscribe to the philosophy where proper, nutritious food wins over artificially sweetened, processed crap. If we’re so sanctimonious about a bloody banana, why is the highly refined, highly processed, low fibre and instant sugar release cupa-soup not synned! A little grey matter activity never hurt anyone.

  2. Ha….. When my consultant was running on about mashed banana I did ask if should chew it but not swallow and spit it out to make pancakes….. Seemed fair to me but she wasn’t impressed.
    She also reckons that cos I put frozen fruit in with my porridge and zap the whole lot in the microwave that should be synned…. Err… I get the logic of not eating buckets of lasagne chips every night but a few berries warmed through??????
    Any way my advice my advice is chew not swallow

  3. Peeing myself love this post James, the tweak police drive me crazy, you’ve nailed it on the head here!! Thank you for brightening up my Sunday morning 😀 xx

  4. Couldn’t agree more! I’ve made your carrot cake overnight oats and they are Devine. So filling – I put in the raisins but I did syn those! Love your recipes , going to get my turkey mince out for tomorrow! You do make me laugh!!!!!! N

    • ….It’s been two games….. two …..Jesus, why do I even bother? Sigh. I propose Kurt introduces a Youtube-like system where we can mark certain comments as “downers” or “pessimism to the point of ris1#ulousneds.&c822i; That way we can read the comments we want to read without getting bogged down.

  5. Very well put my lovely …. Why do people feel the need to be so rigid with rules makes no sense either you chew or mash same out come ….. there are tweaks in all things in life …. go with the flow and enjoy is my motto …. and sod the assholes …. keep up the good work my lovelys x

  6. Love love love this! Always excited when I get an email now hoping it’s one of your posts, thank you, this has made my Sunday morning. The tweak police won’t be too impressed reading this while they’re munching into their mountain of ‘mugshots or pasta n sauce’ but hey ho, some people will never change. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!

  7. You do tickle my funny bone. I so look forward to your posts. You are of course, perfectly right.
    Why, oh, why can’t these people develop a back bone and apply commonsense?
    Because, unfortunately they are sheep and can not deviate from the ‘plan’ for fear of being left out of the flock!
    The same people bleat about the application of heat and mashing blah, blah, blah.

    • Isn’t that what it boils down to though – common sense?! I can sense why some people might not want to ‘deviate’ lest they ruin their weight loss, and that’s fair enough, but to then pontificate at others? Booo!

  8. I totally agree. I’ve stopped going on any Facebook groups now because I’m so sick of some self righteous twat with a cats arse face harping on about the evils of tweaks. It gives me the rage and I’m unfriendly enough right now thanks to my Mars bar withdrawal symptoms. And breathe…

  9. Thanks for the rant; I think you’re absolutely right. I’m prefacing my next comment by saying “Everyone’s journey is different; everyone who joins SW does so because they want to lose weight and following the rules is an important factor in achieving target.” However…for those who think they have the right to judge the efforts of others, they can jump on their self-righteous, anti-tweak high horses and ride straight to [fill in your own version of “hell” here].

    I’m 8 1/2 months in, nearly 5 stones down and have at least another 8 or 10 months before my target is a glimmer on the horizon. So if I want to mash a banana into my porridge and say it’s syn free, I’m going to. If I want to cut up an apple, throw some vanilla extract and cinnamon on it, microwave it and drop a spoonful of quark on top while everyone else is having proper apple crumble, I’m going to do that, too. If I want to whiz a frozen banana in the food processor to make banana “ice cream”, I’m going to do that as well. As long as I don’t adulterate more than I would eat raw, I’m not syning it.

    When you’re SW road is as long as mine is, tweaks aren’t a cheat – they’re a necessity.

    • Bloody hell Lisa – nearly 5 stones? That’s amazing! That’s pretty much what we’re both aiming for too, so glad to know it’s obtainable 🙂

      I think you’ve summed up very neatly, and without half the amount of swearing that I had to use, the whole tweaking issue. Thank you for commenting and carry on the good work!

      • Ta v much. And I edited heavily – I was swearing all the way. You guys will succeed and we’ll all celebrate with you when you do.

  10. Mashed bananas get on my wick!
    How come you mash a banana and 4 syns fall out but make a pizza with smash and it doesn’t get a number!?
    The term “tweak” is about protecting losses….. Blitzing up macaroni cheese for cheese sauce on lasagne I kind of get, yes it’s still free but in a non Slimming World are you telling me you would eat a plate of lasagne with a side of Macaroni Cheese!? No! That one makes sense! FOUR SYNS FOR SQUASHING A BANANA WITH A FORK! That one kills me every time!

      • Maybe the masher is to blame but I still don’t get it….
        I still think it’s all taken too far!

        Oh I’m other news after forwarding your Valentine blog to a non SW non FB friend he totally quoted captain fussy tits back at me today! Changing the face of communication one blog at a time

  11. Woohoo, you go there on your tweaking soapbox I agree 100%!!!
    I also warm my blueberries in the microwave every morning before putting my muesli and yogurt on top – and Ive never synned it, oh the shame!
    My diirty secret love is…..smash!

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  13. These comments made me chuckle! I suppose I’ve got a rebellious streak..I will mash my banana if I bloody well…keep up the great work boys.x

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  15. So glad I found this. Ahhhh the relief of reading common sense. A mashed banana is still only a banana, its not going to make me eat 24 of them just because it has magically transformed into another state!
    I’m only on day 4 of Synning World and I feel that its the opposite of the way I had gathered from how its advertised, “eat as much as you like, no guilt” …but god help you if you take a bite of dark chocolate or eat an avocado or …mash a banana……
    3.5lbs down, something is working. (walking up to an hour a day and belly dance class helps too!)
    I think I may use me noggin and tweak as I see fit, avoiding the nasty artificial sweeteners. I know whats healthy and it sure ain’t beating yourself up over a banana.

    BTW Your meatballs look delicious.

    • They ARE delicious – get them made!

      3.5lb in four days suggest the diet is working but you’re absolutely right, it’s definitely not all you can eat – more you can eat everything that is free and even then, stop when you’re full. Pfft! I can’t bear the tweaking nonsense, it drives me up the wall. Eat healthily, follow the diet 90% and you’ll be reet!

      Belly dance? Good lord I’d flatten the floor! Keep going and good luck 🙂

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  17. Just started SW and this is what’s putting me off already. I always start the day with a smoothie. (Handful oats, glug almond milk,1 banana, 1 handful frozen berries and a bit of spinach) – I just don’t see why I can make those ingredients into porridge – (minus the spinach, so it wouldn’t even be as good for me!) but not a smoothie! I can see shop bought smoothies are likely to be bad but I love mine! Would having it be “tweaking”??? Should I put the nutribullet on Gumtree??

    • Hey Alison

      I say you bloody go for it and have your smoothie – see how you get on. If it affects your weight loss then stop, but frankly I can’t see why it would! Be a rebel!

    • I agree with James but would say to protect your weight loss, chuck your “handful” of oats on the digital scales to see if it’s more than the 35g allowed for your Healthy Extra B. If so, just syn the rest (4.5 syns for 25g). Obviously you’d have to have quite big hands to hold 60g of oats but hey, maybe you do! It’s always best to know. Tweak away!! 🙂

  18. Do you think it would be ok to make a fruit smoothie then, i could easily stick to the diet if i could make them ? im scared if i gain weight as on the fb page it gets bloody drilled into your head

    • The reason they don’t like you having smoothies is because once you puree the fruit, it loses its power to fill you up. If you put a banana, apple, strawberries and grapes in your smoothie and drink it, it will not give you the same feeling of fullness as eating a banana, apple, strawberries and grapes.

      I would suggest trying to stick to the plan as written for three or four weeks to see how you get on. If you’ve already decided you can’t do it without smoothies, you defeated yourself before you’ve begun. Good luck.

  19. This is quite frankly the funniest blog I have ever had the pleasure of reading… Some dick was prattling on one of my posts that the 3 raspberries in my cupcake recipe (per cake) should be synned… Let’s be honest if I get into the realms about caring about the syns of 3 sodding raspberries I clearly need to find something more exciting to do with my life… Maybe investigating ways of smoking through an inhaler would be a viable use of time… Clearly a market for it!

  20. Love the logic! Surely if one use common sense and finds a ‘tweak’ has affected weight loss, it isn’t used again. Also, different people react in different ways to certain foods.

  21. This blog is awesome.. you guys never fail to make me laugh out loud. I love reading it.. and love the recipes. I’ve done slimming world for a good few years. Gotta say I’m not a big fan of bananas.. (but I’m going to try mashing one into my oats though ) what a rebel ** runs speedily from the tweak police**. I do use tweaks.. I’ve been at target a while and if I want to use tinned oranges in my overnight oats or make my chicken nuggets coated with smash I do. Like you say you gotta use your noodle.. keep up the great work.. I love love love this blog !!

  22. Saw a program on tv some time ago where they served a meal up and measured how long it stayed in the stomach and kept you feeling full. Then they made exactly the same ingredients into soup and did the same tests. The soup kept them feeling fuller for longer. Would this be the same for smoothies? – not sure? I have only just come to your blog – it is so funny and clever, I too hate the rules and being told what to do. Commen sense is paramount in this world – if you follow blindly what someone else tells you to do and think without doing any research yourself you could become fed up and disallusioned with it all. I think your way of thinking is way better – it is how I cook anyway – I never follow a recipe!!
    Keep blogging – you made me laugh out loud and I look forward to when they come through.

  23. Hi I’m a newcomer to this party and so far love your blogs and recipes. I found a non-official SW recipe online for Chicken Dhansak which was bloody gorgeous and was sweetened with natural pineapple. When I mentioned it at a meeting, I was told that the pineapple should be synned because it was cooked. I thought at the time it was bloody ridiculous as I couldn’t see how cooking something magically made it bad for you (unless of course you deep fried it in lard or something). I am mardy when things are illogical and I am not given a good reason for it.

    So do I continue to call bollocks on this (only in my head of course) (well I can usually control the voices in my head from speaking out loud)?

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