budget week: sweet potato, turkey and leek bake

I’m in an awful mood because it took me ninety minutes to get home instead of the usual twenty-five, thanks to all the braying hoo-rays spilling out of Newcastle Racecourse and blocking the road with their shitty Audis. So, instead of my usual pleasantries, I’m going to rattle off a list of random things that piss me off. WARNING: COARSE LANGUAGE. Of course!

sour sweets – they’re never quite sour enough for me. Seriously – if I buy a packet of sour sweets, I want my mouth to resemble the arsehole of someone who’s trying to hold back a fart at a funeral. I want to wince and tremble every time I put one on my tongue, not crash my car because my eyes have rolled to the back of my head with disappointment. Take a note Haribo, you lying bastards;

hun – I know it’s an obvious one but it drives me up the fucking wall quicker than Princess Di’s driver. Out of all the facebook platitudes, this has to be the most vapid and inane – there’s simply no excuse;

hairflickers – I went four years with hair past my shoulderblades and at no point did I feel the need to swoosh my hair like a horse being bothered by a fly – it’s an affected, fey little move and I don’t think I’m especially irrational for hoping it snaps your spinal cord;

bingo websites – since I signed up to a few bingo sites a while back (read here for my guide to making some easy money from them), we have been inundated with shitty little pieces of junk-mail through our letterbox, and they’re all the same – horrible balloon font (the type of font you’d use for warning signs in a special school), some actress who was last seen in Crossroads with badly whitened teeth, a few rainbows and a shit name – rehabbingo.com, spunkgarglerbingo.com, punchmyclitbingo.com and so on;

mincers – that stupid affected little mince that certain ladies do on the way to the car at the supermarket, with their knock-off handbag in the crook of an elbow and a bunch of keys to the other. We get it, you can drive, but I’d bet my house you’ve got ‘SPEED BITCH’ on your bumper and think your indicators are for resting your ankles on during coitus;

scratchers – people who buy scratchcards and can’t even wait until they’re out of the shop before losing all dignity and going at them – there’s someone in our local newsagent who is a bugger for this – he’s got a permanently silver fingertip. Use a coin, you sweaty-faced titrash;

straight men – well, not all straight men, only those who think that because I love a bit of cock that I must want theirs. I don’t. And just as an aside, if you’re a straight man who enjoys a bit of lavender action behind your wife’s back, then YOU’RE NOT FUCKING 100% STRAIGHT. The whole thing about it ‘not being gay if you don’t push back’ definitely, absolutely does not apply. There’s a simple enough test for blokes: if you have a cock between your legs, that’s reasonable. But if you have one pistoning away between your bumcheeks, then you’re not straight – and that’s cool, everyone has different degrees of sexuality, but stop with the 100% bollocks;

readers – people who read communal newspapers and don’t put them back in any sensible order, instead leaving all the pages out of sync and the entire paper looking like it’s blown down the street by a force 9 gale;

Paul – that I can’t find a good word to describe Paul – I don’t like husband because it sounds like I’m trying to make a political point, I don’t like partner because it makes it sound like we’ve only been together for a few months and are just testing the water, I don’t like ‘boyfriend’ because I actually have hair on my arse and my voice is broken so it’s not relevant, I don’t like life partner because just fuck off, I don’t like other half because that’s how thick chancers on game shows refer to their wives and apparently referring to him as Fatty or Shitty McGee is insulting;

‘s – it’s Tesco, not Tescos. It’s ASDA, not ASDAs. It’s especially NOT Marks and fucking Spencers;

drawn on eyebrows – why lighten your hair and then shave off your eyebrows and then draw them on with a Midnight Black Crayola? It’s even worse when they use a tin of Impulse as a drawing guide and put those half-moon shapes on above their eyes, giving them the look of someone who’s just been shot right on the sphincter with a pellet gun;

my face – I don’t like being told to cheer up. Look, I’m a genuinely cheerful guy most of the time, it just so happens that years of being cripplingly obese has left my face looking like an elderly pug being given bad news. I appreciate the concern, but equally, fuck off; and

phantom shitters – I’m not coy about dropping the kids off as and when I need to, so public toilets hold no fear for me. That said, it absolutely boils my piss when I nip into the gents only to find someone has sand-blasted the bowl or left something that could resink the Titanic floating around for everyone to look at. It’s not that bloody hard to flush a toilet and, if you’ve left the pan looking like someone wearing heavy boots has stepped on a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, fucking clean it up! The brush next to the toilet isn’t a bloody ornament.


So yeah, the recipe! Look it looks like a proper school dinner. It’s not fancy-dan, but it’s stodge, syn-free and cheap to make (and you can make it even cheaper if you try). Give it a go! Syn-free if you use a spray olive oil and HEA the cheese easily between six.

sweet potato bake

to make the sweet potato, turkey and leek bake, you need:

  • 1 large turkey fillet  (£3 from Tesco)
  • 200g mushrooms, chopped (Tesco Value – 45p)
  • 2 leeks, sliced (40p)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped (69p, used 40p)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (use up some of the cloves from previous meals)
  • sprig of thyme (grown in the garden, or nick a sprig from the shop!)
  • 300g fat free cottage cheese (Tesco Value, syn free – 64p)
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (63p, Tesco)
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, shredded (47p – Tesco Everyday Value mozzarella)

This serves six, so by my estimation, this costs around £1 a serving – if you’re on a budget, just use the rest of the pack of mushrooms you buy instead of turkey and sweat it down a bit longer – that reduces the cost per serving by 50p and makes it veggie friendly. That’ll put a smile on your grey, ashen, meat-deprived face. Just kidding, before you write your complaints…

to make the sweet potato, turkey and leek bake, you should:

  • place the sweet potato in a large pan of boiling water and cook until soft, mash and set aside
  • flatten the turkey (if needed) using a rolling pin so that it is about 2cm thick, just imagine it’s someone you hate and you’re trying to kill them;
  • using a pan with a lid, heat one teaspoon of oil over a medium heat and add the turkey (syn the oil if you’re feeling anal, but haway);
  • allow the turkey to cook for ten minutes with the lid on;
  • after ten minutes, turn off the heat – keep the lid on and allow it to continue cooking in the leftover heat;
  • remove the lid from the pan and leave for another 5-10 minutes just to cool down;
  • check the turkey is cooked throughout and there is no pink meat remaining – if there is, cook for another five minutes over a medium heat until you’ve really beaten your pink meat;
  • when the turkey is cooked, shred it using two forks to pull the meat apart and set aside;
  • heat a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and add another teaspoon of oil (or Frylight);
  • add the garlic and cook until it’s sizzling and lovely, stirring occasionally;
  • add the mushrooms, leek and celery and stir until softened and the creepy mushroom juice has reduced;
  • remove from the heat, add the cottage cheese and turkey, and mix well;
  • spoon the turkey mixture into a casserole dish, or individual dishes;
  • top with the sweet potato and shredded mozarella and bake in the oven at 190 until the cheese is browned
  • serve with a flourish, you big fairy.

to gussy it up:

  • use chicken (we did, but turkey is cheaper)
  • add bacon (fat off, mind)
  • pipe your sweet potato on so it looks prettier – Paul flung the mash on ours with all the grace of a distressed chimp in a zoo flinging his faeces around

to reduce the cost:

  • take out the meat and replace with mushrooms
  • take out the leeks and use bog standard onion
  • go to ALDI or t’market
  • seriously, if you need thyme, you could just break off a bit as you schlep around the supermarket. Naughty…or, leave it out, it adds a nice flavour but it could sit without it just as well.

One thing: Tesco Everyday Value low-fat cottage cheese is syn-free and a lot cheaper than their healthy living cottage cheese. So there’s that.

Eee, I’m sorry for the rant before…it’s just not like me!