recipe: warming beef and chickpea loaded naans

Oh yoohoo! Come for the beef and chickpea loaded naans, stay for the writing and adverts! No, I jest, but listen, I’ve been through the archives and my drafts folder tidying up and I’ve come across a blog-post that I didn’t publish – and it just commands attention!

So, without a moment of pause and certainly before we get to the beef and chickpea loaded naans, let me take you back to February this year, when circumstance saw me in terrible pain. I know, hankies at the ready.


If this was a Youtube video, I’d be opening it with a dramatic sigh and dabbing fake tears from my eyes as some mournful music – let’s say a trap remix of Radiohead’s Creep – played in the background. I’d pick up the cat and blow my nose on its fur. Paul would come into shot, put his spammy hands on my shoulders and say ‘there there’ in that meaningless way people use to provide comfort, as though I was a horse startled by a van.

See, I’m poorly. Now I’m not one for exaggeration so I shan’t tell you that I’ve been at death’s door and really you ought to buy as many cookbooks as you possibly can to pay for my fancy funeral (unlikely to happen: I expect DEFRA will turn up at my corpse in bleach-soaked-shoes, set me on fire and set up a three mile hot-zone) but I can’t deny it isn’t tempting. See, more than a few days ago, I was driving home from a Marquis de Sade homage when I noticed what felt like a tiny mouth ulcer on my jawline. Naturally I spent the next hundred miles or so poking it enthusiastically with my tongue as though I was trying to rim a Rubik’s Cube to orgasm. By the time I got to Ferrybridge services, it was knacking to the point where I couldn’t have my customary Haribo, Burger King and Ukrainian lorry-driver combo. Gutted? I was foaming: as my cheek had swollen up so much I couldn’t spit properly.

I checked into a hotel to feel sorry for myself and the next day, drove home with a face quite literally like a smacked arse. I tried to brazen it out until the point where the swelling was so bad it was pushing on all my teeth and gums and making me look like Rocky Dennis chewing a toffee penny.  To put this in perspective – I do have a high pain threshold, tested regularly and thoroughly at what I’m convinced isn’t a BUPA hospital at all – but I was actually crying because it hurt that much. Paul insisted I call 111, though I think that was predominately to hear me trying to speak to the operator through a mush of cheek and spittle. The charming chappy at the end of the phone demurred at my insistence they send the air ambulance and instead sent me to the walk-in centre. We stumbled in at ten to midnight and I was seen within fifteen minutes by the friendliest, most Geordie nurse I’ve ever met. I had to resist the urge to ask her to adopt me, though admittedly that may have been my eyes falling upon the strong painkillers that was colouring my view.

She declared a salivary blockage – mmm – and told me to take antibiotics and suck lemon sherbets. Even through my significant dolor I tried to crack a joke and asked if I could have one of the Fruit Pastilles that I could see poking out of her handbag. She pushed said bag under the desk with thin lips indeed and we departed awkwardly. Paul drove me home – me pressing my cheek against the window of his Smart car and wailing all the while – and then tucked me up in bed and fussed the living hell out of me. What has then followed has been over a week of me eating soup, gazpacho and the softest of scrambled eggs, washing them down with as many sour sweets as possible and me watching Vera furiously as I pressed my face so hard against a hot water bottle that I’ve got ‘COMFORT RUBBER’ imprinted on my face. I mean, it kinda works. For the first few days I could barely talk or open my jaw – Paul offered to make me a curry until I snapped at him that he’d need to freeze it into a paper-thin slab and post it through my jaw like a court summons. To make things worse, no-one knows what it is. The doctor says go to the dentist, the dentist says go to the doctor. I’m tempted to go the vets as a wildcard and see what happens, though they’ll probably just melt me down for glue.

ANYWAY. The swelling has gone down leaving a lovely hard lump in my cheek which shows no signs of going away. The urge to poke at it with a pin is my main focus right now, and honestly, if I didn’t think I’d end up with some awful blood related side-effect that’s precisely what I’d be doing. It doesn’t hurt unless I really stretch my jaw open (so you can imagine how this is upsetting other key parts of my life) but it is bloody annoying. If anyone is reading this and has any hot ideas, do get in touch. Meanwhile, I’ll stumble ever onwards, only reminded of its presence by the occasional mishap – my barber put his full weight on my jaw before to trim my beard and I almost passed out. To be fair, he’s used to that, as soon as he gets close with his rough hands and a blade at my neck, all the blood rushes to one point. Ah Farzad, my love, I would be yours at the drop of a hat. Wish me luck, everyone.


You’re back with me in present time now. The lump went away but it took two weeks and I was sick of my life by the end of it. Also, seems like so long ago that you could go into a services and nosh off a lorry driver without having to worry about catching something that couldn’t be cured with a simple course of antibiotics and another stamp on your GUM clinic loyalty card. It’s the little things in life I miss most, I tell you.

beef and chickpea loaded naans

Look at those beef and chickpea loaded naans man!

beef and chickpea loaded naans

You don’t just need the topping for beef and chickpea loaded naans – stick it on a jacket tattie if you prefer!

beef and chickpea loaded naans

We sprinkle a bit of zahtar powder on our beef and chickpea loaded naans because we’re fancy. Black pepper will do the same.

curry beef and chickpea loaded naans

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 naans

I love the idea of a loaded naan, not least because my own nan shuffled off in her Aldi slippers far from loaded, much to my chagrin. We got very little in the way of inheritance but that's fine: I'd still swap everything I have for another chance to listen to her four same stories and her loud remonstrations whenever I used to mouth 'vacuum' at Paul from across the room. Ah, sweet times.

This recipe really is ridiculously easy - note that we haven't counted the syns for the naan breads though because it changes all the time. Check with your SW consultant for the best naan breads to have as your healthy extra!

As our exciting life in a hotel continues, we're still using Hello Fresh - not getting paid to promote them, mind, and making changes to their recipes to bring them in line with the blog. That said, because we've been asked, we tend to go for the low-calorie options or the rapid options if you were thinking about having a go. It works for us because we don't have a big kitchen to store ingredients and we're actually saving money because no food waste. If you do want to try it, you can use this link to get £20 off your first box, and we'll get £20 too.

Ingredients

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • one tin of chickpeas
  • one beef stock cube
  • two tsp of curry powder
  • salt and pepper
  • two tbsp of tomato puree
  • one clove of garlic minced
  • four mini naans
  • one iceberg lettuce
  • natural yoghurt to drizzle all over the top

Instructions

  • drain and rinse your chickpeas, keeping half in a bowl and mashing the rest with a fork
  • in a frying pan, fry off your beef mince until cooked through
  • add a pinch of salt and pepper as it cooks
  • reduce to a medium heat and then add the curry powder, tomato puree and garlic, stirring through for a moment or two
  • add 100ml of water along with the chickpeas - mashed and whole - and the stock cube
  • allow to burble away for a few minutes to thicken up
  • whilst that's happening, toast your naan breads and chop up your lettuce
  • when you're ready to serve, top the naan with lettuce, then the beef mix, then a drizzle of yoghurt on the top if you can be arsed

Notes

Recipe

  • if you don't want to use your healthy extra on naan breads, this mixture does very well indeed on a jacket potato
  • add peppers and onion to bulk it out, but honestly, the recipe sings with its simplicity

Books

  • you know what has over 100 recipes designed to help you lose weight - our new cookbook! More curries, burgers, exciting dinners and all that excitement - Preorder yours here! 
  • of course, our first cookbook was a treat too - click here to order
  • we even have a fabulous diet planner - you can order it here 

Tools

  • I was going to recommend a potato masher for the chickpeas but honestly, use the underside of a cup if you can't do it with a fork - save your money
  • give the pan a good coating of oil with a mister – this is what we use

Courses dinner

Cuisine who can say

How’s that for a perfect quick dinner? You want some more beef mince ideas? Naturally – try these:

JX

recipe: ginger beef noodles – and Paul’s got the ‘rona

Well, hello there: ginger beef noodles may sound like the nickname you may give an ex-lover but no, fear not, it’s just another delicious dish from us, the two fat blokes who occasionally trouble your inbox. If you want the recipe then scroll straight to the pictures, because as ever, we have a bit of admin and an update for you.

Firstly, have you pre-ordered our new cookbook yet? Because if you have, then we must insist you take part in our competition for a chance to win £250 towards your food shop this Christmas. Just send an email with a copy of your pre-order or what have you to fastandfilling@hodder.co.uk to be in with a chance of winning. Not ordered your copy yet? Preorder yours here! I know it’s an obvious thing to say but honestly, we’re even prouder of this book than our last! 100 more slimming recipes and our usual nonsense. Go!

So, how are we? Well. You know when people say it never rains but it pours? Turns out that it doesn’t just apply to your liberal touch with the gravy boat, young lady.

No, 2020 wasn’t quite done with us just yet. After being forced to spend three weeks apart due to various self-isolation dramas, we finally got back together. Hooray: back to catty asides and me staring disdainfully at Paul as he struggles to put his shoes on of a morning. We had decided to try for a weekend away because what greater joy is there than exploring a desolated high street in a different city before enjoying a meal surrounded by plexiglass? I ask you.

Only, of course, that didn’t happen. Paul got a notification to say he had been around someone who had tested positive for COVID and so off we went for tests. Paul’s came back positive. Mine came back negative. We’re living in a hotel at the moment and so the staff – who have been absolutely wonderful – squirreled me into a different hotel room right next door. That was eight days ago, and two waiting games begun:

  • Paul to see how bad his infection would be and to ride it out (10 days); and
  • me to see if I became symptomatic (14 days)

So, by way of update: Paul has been incredibly lethargic, a terrible sense of taste and gets out of breath easily, and then to contract COVID on top of that has been a shock. Jokes aside, he’s done absolutely fine – each day seems to have brought a new symptom, but he’s just getting on with it. Which doesn’t surprise me, he’s an incredibly stoic person when it comes to stuff like this. He’s not just my rock because he weighs a tonne and smells of sulphur, you know. Hopefully he’ll be on the mend soon, although it’s going to be a while before I go back into our shared room without fretting he’s accidentally left a thin sheen of spittle on everything. I’ve seen him eating: it’s inevitable.

For me, well: I have health anxiety and have been trying really hard to minimise my COVID risk, so I thought I’d spiral and go completely doolally, but actually, save for a minor wobble at the start, I’ve been fine! Worst part has been the self-isolation and not being able to go outside: I find myself pressing up against the hotel window and gazing longingly at the folks outside – which given I haven’t worn clothes for a good seven days now must look like an especially obese starfish pressed up against the walls of its tank.

I still don’t understand how I didn’t catch it from Wobbles McGee given I shared a bed with him for a full week and had many a car trip with him coughing and spluttering away, but I suppose there’s still time yet. Part of me thinks I may have already had it back in February, but who can say? Anyway: wish us both luck!

Now, let’s not keep you for a moment more: our next recipe is here – ginger beef noodles!

ginger beef noodles

It’s ginger beef noodles, but honestly, this works well with pork and lamb too.

ginger beef noodles

Only 1.5 syns for a massive portion of ginger beef noodles.

ginger beef noodles

Now that’s proper scran and make no mistake. Ginger beef noodles on the plate in twenty minutes!

2 votes

Print

ginger beef noodles

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This makes enough for two large servings, but it's an easy enough recipe to double up if you need to. Or stretch the ginger beef noodles out by adding more vegetables. You do you!

Hey guess what, yes, it's another Hello Fresh recipe. Don't worry, we aren't being sponsored or owt like that, we're just very satisfied customers using 'em during a difficult period, and hoping that if we praise them enough they won't bollock us for sharing their recipes. We've modified this slightly to make it lower in calories and a few of the ingredients to ones you're more likely to find in your local supermarket, but it tastes just as good. If you want in on the action, you can use this link to get £20 off your first box, and you slip £20 our way n'all. Win win, eh?

 

 

Ingredients

  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 160g green beans
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp of ginger paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce (3 syns)
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 250g dried egg noodles
  • 1 bunch of coriander (optional)

Instructions

  • trim the green beans and chop into thirds (or rinse under lukewarm water to defrost if you're using frozen), then set aside
  • halve the peppers and discard the seeds and core, and slice into thin strips
  • zest and quarter the lime
  • roughly chop the coriander (if using)
  • fill a large pan with water and bring to the boil
  • meanwhile, spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
  • add the mince and cook until browned (about 6-8 minutes), then scoop out the pan into a large bowl and stir in the hoisin and oyster sauce and half of the soy sauce and set aside
  • when the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook for 4 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water
  • return the frying pan to the heat and spray with a bit more oil
  • add the sliced peppers and runner beans to the pan and stir fry for a few minutes
  • add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for another minute
  • add the remaining soy sauce to the pan and stir
  • add the mince back to the pan along with the noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously
  • remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime zest, juice of half the lime and half of the chopped coriander
  • serve into bowls and sprinkle over the remaining coriander and remaining wedges of lime

Notes

Recipe

  • frozen or tinned runner beans are absolutely fine in this, no need to get fancy
  • any colour peppers will do, it doesn't really matter
  • don't be put off by oyster sauce - it doesn't taste like you think it would, and gives a lovely, rich taste. Try it!
  • either light or dark soy sauce is fine in this, use whatever you have

Books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK IS COMING OUT SOON! You thought the last one was good? It was, but this sequel is even better - it'll be coming out just in time for the new year! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedbacks

Tools

 

Courses noodles

Cuisine dunno, whatever, who even reads this bit?

Still absolutely Hank Marvin? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Here’s more!

Enjoy!

J

recipe: sticky teriyaki mince

Here for the sticky teriyaki mince? Naturally: it’s quick, it’s sweet and it it is terribly good for you. I mean, what more could you want? Of course, as it’s us, we’re going to bore you with waffle and flimflam first as is our way. So, if you are wanting the sticky teriyaki mince, just scroll down past the pictures to be taken straight there. Fair warning, it IS a long way down because boy howdy, do I have a lot to say. The sticky teriyaki mince is worth it though!

First, a reminder that our fabulous new cookbook is coming and is available to pre-order now! Even better: it is released on 31 December 2020 so this time round, we’ll be there right with you from day one of 2021! You can pre-order from Amazon right now by clicking here (it’ll open in a new window) and of course, Amazon comes with a price guarantee – you don’t pay until the day of release, and if the price goes down (which it absolutely will) you’ll pay the lower amount! It’s a beautiful, beautiful book and we can’t wait for you to see it.

Secondly, in the antepenultimate blog entry to this one, I was chuntering on about a weekend away with my better half, Paul. You may recall him from such memories past as The Time He Was Bitten On The Head By A Horse and James, We Need To Talk 89. In my usual rash approach to using eight hundred words per sentence I’d tipped the blog entry into a 2,000 word behemoth and we’d barely climbed out of the car. So: we’re going to be succinct this time, I swear.

The morning was sent doing two further escape rooms – a Hotel Heist and a World War II themed room. They were both terrific but honestly, if I write about escape rooms anymore I think my eyes will permanently glaze over. That is, I adore doing them, but they’re bloody hard to write about without giving away spoilers. The World War II room had a worrying moment where we had a few minutes left to assemble a four piece object. Sounds easy, but you’re talking to someone who fumbles getting his knob out for an urgent piss and ends up with wet legs. I can’t cope under pressure! Luckily Paul, with a manual dexterity that betrays the fact his eyes can see into both his immediate future and distant past at once, managed to throw it together and out we sauntered.

We decided to celebrate saving the world by having lunch in a vegan place. I can’t all in all honesty say it would have been my first pick, but it was delicious. I had smashed avocado served on toast that attended a poetry circle on a weekend, washed down with tea. I’m always thrown off by the bewildering array of not-milks offered and start to panic. Oat? Rice? Almond? Soya? Hemp? Coconut? Watered down brilliant white gloss from Wickes? Pea milk? How the fuck do you milk a pea? I knew I had to decide quickly because the lady serving looked as though the effort of clicking her waitress’ pen might necessitate a lie down to regain her strength, so chose a black tea and regretted my choice immediately. I have tried with non-dairy milk, I swear I have, but it’s the look and the consistency that put me off: they all, to a fault, look like samples being sent away from a GUM clinic. Food was terrific though!

Buzzing our tits off with the introduction of fresh vitamins into our otherwise grey diet, we decided to drive onto our next stop, The Bear’s Paw hotel. How could we not? Paul hand-waved my offer of helping with putting it into the Sat Nav and off we set, with Captain Death at the wheel driving the car like the police were chasing him. We pulled up an hour or so later, Paul just glad to be getting away from me gently singing my way through every song that came up on Spotify (does he know how lucky he is to have a husband who can switch from Lady Gaga to Madonna to John Denver in a blink of an eye – sometimes I wonder) and went to check into our room.

Except, we couldn’t. We were told by the charming madam behind the bar that “we don’t do rooms, and we never have“. The never have was said with a touch too much malice for my liking, as though Paul’s Smart car was capable of time-travel and we were gonna sneak back two weeks previous and catch her out on her lies. I thanked her for her effusive, warm welcome and went back to the car. Now, as a humble, caring husband I acknowledge that people make mistakes and so resisted the urge to smile smugly at Paul and tell him how silly he had been, but by the time I had closed the passenger door that had worn off and terse words were exchanged.

The drive to the actual hotel was done in fair silence, though as this afforded me a chance to doze and only wake to clutch dramatically at the door handle as Paul careered around sharp corners on what felt like two wheels, I was happy enough. We checked to the proper Bears Paw Inn in Sandbach and it was truly lovely. My standards are low when it comes to hotels – as long as the bed is comfortable and there’s a decent number of men tramping through the corridors who look as though they could put their fist through my jaw, I sleep well. I can’t be one of those absolute knobbers on programmes like Four In A Bed who will go into a hotel room with their prissy white gloves on, start dismantling the sinktrap and then feign utter disgust that there’s a smear of toothpaste in there. In fact, I’m like the reverse of The Hotel Inspector, in that I’ll walk into a spotless room and immediately start shedding pubes all over the floor.

Faced with the prospect of having to talk to each other, we decided to drive yet further into Chester and do another two escape rooms: Legacy and Roman at Escapism. They were brilliant, especially the Legacy room which featured a load of different locks and puzzles. Unfortunately, I was up against a friend’s time and lost by minutes, but it balances out nicely because we beat his time in a room in Las Vegas. Plus, Paul and I smell significantly better. In the Roman room you are split up as you go in and have to rely on shouting at each other to relay the clues you have in your individual rooms. Not going to lie, it did give me a moment of pause when Paul yelled through the bars that he was checking his helmet for clues. I’n not saying muscle memory kicked in but I’d already got my hand-drill out and was putting a hole in the partition before I realised. Excellent room though, and the staff were just the very best.

Now, we’re tipping into long blog post territory again so I’m going to jump forward to the next day when, in a fit of whimsy, we decided to go to Liverpool because there were two things there Paul had always wanted to do: a nuclear bunker and a safari park. Me, as an obliging and kind husband and also a fan of irradiated wastelands, agreed to go to Liverpool to honour those requests.

Hack Green Bunker, then: you may know it from all the signage on the motorway advertising ‘SECRET NUCLEAR BUNKER‘, which seems like a bit of a misnomer to me, but hey, I’m not in charge. Thank fuck: I’m just clumsy and spiteful enough to set off a nuclear bomb accidentally by falling on it or lighting a cigarette off the fuse-wire. Speaking of highly explosive fat-boys with a short fuse, Paul was in his element. He adores stuff like this and can cheerfully spend an age looking at old bits of communication whilst I smile wanly and wish for death. Don’t get me wrong, I love a museum, but only if it has buttons to push and children to knock down the stairs in my haste to get to the gift-shop to buy a giant pencil. I’m doing the place a disservice in the name of a funnier blog entry, it actually was pretty decent.

One ‘interactive’ part involved going into a ‘fallout shelter’ to experience what it was like to be hiding from the bombs as they fell. Lots of flashing lights and scary noises and terrifying smells. The sign on the door explained that the simulation would loop every ten minutes and as we took a seat in the pitch black room, we realised we must have just missed it so had to sit and wait for it to start again.

And wait, we did. Twenty five minutes we sat in that inky blackness before someone must have spotted us on the infrared camera and came in to explain the exhibit was closed because they couldn’t have people sitting in close proximity to one another. Made sense, but I was furious that she had interrupted my nap. I begged Paul to go on ahead and leave me in there but he was having none of it, the poor sport. We made sure to take lots of photos that we would naturally never look at again and came to a small theatre where The War Game was playing. Fuck me: it’s hard to have an upbeat day when you’re watching someone’s skin melt off in black and white. Fallout? We almost did when Paul wanted to watch it over again. I explained that my tolerance for death and destruction had reached its peak and I think he saw from the glow in my eyes that I meant business. We went to the giftshop, bought a terrific amount of tat (no giant pencil, but a snowglobe with a burnt-out city on the bottom and the snow flying around representing fall-out – we’re saving that cheery little number for a Christmas decoration) and went on our way to Knowesley Safari Park.

Now, of course, Paul had decided that we would spend eight hours at Hack Green and therefore had booked our tickets for the safari park for 4pm, which meant spending an hour in some awful business park trying not to swear at one another and browsing the tat in B&Ms. Side question: why is everything grey and crushed diamonds all of a sudden? What’s that about: why would you want your living room to look like a side-of-the-motorway-stripper show? I ask you.

4pm rolled around, and after we had driven up to the entrance and then driven all the way back to the business park so Paul could have an emergency poop, we were in. I’ll say this: I’m not a fan of zoos and wouldn’t normally go, but if we have to have them then a safari park is probably the kindest option. Can’t say I felt especially safe though – not because the safety protocols weren’t up to scratch because they absolutely were – but because we were sat in a Smart car going through a rhino enclosure. Again, a Smart car: a car that is at genuine risk of tipping over if I get out of the passenger seat before Paul gets out. I’d have felt safer mincing through in a bikini made of Bacofoil with a side of bacon hanging out my cheeks. Nevertheless, it was all very interesting and we took some great photos which I shan’t bore you with.

Highlight of the trip was the baboon enclosure which was preceded for about half a mile by signs warning you that if you choose to drive through, they will possibly damage your car. That gets upgraded to ‘YOUR CAR WILL BE DAMAGED’ as you get closer, and then as you enter there’s a rough Scouse bird shouting ‘ROWLL YER FUCKIN’ WINDIZZ UP LAAAAA‘ as you drive over the cattle grid. Paul, naturally, ignored all of these warnings and turned to me, with that infuriating sage face he pulls when I’m just being silly, and explained that baboons aren’t likely to go for a Smart car, as though they’re sitting there perusing What Car waiting for a flash BMW to shit all over.

We were no sooner in the enclosure before the Chief Baboon came bounding over, sat on the bonnet and gave us a look that guaranteed mischief. Firstly, have you ever seen a baboon’s arse up close? I had to check Paul hadn’t got out to change the windscreen wiper fluid but no, he was right next to me shrieking. Very conscious of the fact we had a 200 mile drive home in the rain, we could ill afford any damage to the car. The baboon fixed us with a stare and immediately started wrenching away at the windscreen wipers. Of course I went full Chris Hargensen in Carrie and demanded Paul put his foot down and floor it, but Paul’s altogether more compassionate and instead threw the car speakers on. Turns out that (You Drive Me) Crazy by Britney has no effect on a hungry baboon, though he did move away from taking off the wipers and instead bent down, grabbed the washer jets and pulled them both out with his teeth. The little fucker even had the cheek to roll them around his mouth like they were Mint Imperials before spitting them into the grass. Luckily, a smug looking family in a flash BMW came in and the baboon fucked off – Paul was right!

We decided there and then that this was altogether too much drama for one day, and plus, knowing we had to get back to Newcastle without the ability to wash our bloody car windows, we had to act fast. Luckily, it was a British summer, so we had rain from leaving Liverpool to arriving back in Newcastle. Paul paid £50 to get the jets fixed and I promise I didn’t rag on him too much for his many errors.

And that, readers, was our little weekend away. I’ll say this, too: it was fantastic to get away with him and not have to worry about all the crap currently going on. We felt safe in every place we went to, everyone seemed chipper and I’ll simply never tire of paying over-the-odds for any British experience. I’d forgotten, almost, what a brilliant travel companion he is: always willing to entertain my nonsense, never complains when I litter the bottom of his car with eight hundred empty packets of crisps or when I pick fitfully at his sleeve when there’s a chance I might have to get my wallet out. The best part of this twochubbycubs show is that we’ve been able to travel to all sorts of places and have mischief, and although COVID has temporarily put a stopper on international travel, it’s reassuring to know we can still enjoy ourselves here. Even if he was wrong about:

  • driving in the rain
  • the hotel we stopped at
  • driving through a baboon enclosure
  • most of the clues in all of the escape rooms
  • his inability to pack for more than one weather condition

but I don’t like to cause a scene.

Right! Shall we do the sticky teriyaki mince? Of course we should. Without any more pause…

sticky teriyaki mince

Well hello there Sticky teriyaki mince! How you doing?

sticky teriyaki mince

For a proper quick dinner, the sticky teriyaki mince does the job!

sticky teriyaki mince

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This makes enough for two huge portions - and certainly enough mince for four.

This is another recipe inspired by one we've had from Hello Fresh recently. They aren't sponsoring us or owt, we're just normal customers, but their stuff is good! If you want to give it a try, use this link and get £20 off your first box. We'll also get £20 so you'll be sharing the love! We've adapted this one to make it more slimming and more twochubbycubs friendly. Trust us, this will become a new favourite in your house. It's sweet, it's saucy, it's tasty, it's sticky. And we know you love all of that. Give it a try!

Ingredients

  • 500g beef mince
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2" piece of ginger
  • 2 spring onions
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 300g jasmine rice (see notes)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (2 syns)
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce (see notes)
  • 1 tsp sugar (see notes) (2 syns)

Instructions

  • bring a pan of 600ml water to the boil with a pinch of salt, and stir in the rice
  • reduce the heat to medium and cover with a lid, then leave to cook for ten minutes
  • after ten minutes, remove from the heat (still covered) and leave for another ten minutes to finish cooking. DON'T TAKE OFF THE LID!
  • meanwhile, peel and mince the garlic and the ginger, then thinly slice the spring onions
  • heat a small saucepan over a medium high heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute, then add the soy sauce
  • bring to a simmer, then stir in the sugar, and cook for 1 more minute, stirring continuously
  • remove from the heat and set aside, stirring occasionally
  • next, heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat (no oil!) and add the sesame seeds. Gently toss for 3-4 minutes until they start to turn golden. Pour the seeds into a small bowl and place the pan back over the heat, and spray with a little oil
  • add the mince and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned
  • pour in the soy sauce mixture along with half of the spring onions and cook for 1-2 minutes, adding a splash of water if needed
  • fluff the rice and stir in the lime zest
  • divide between bowls and top with the mince
  • sprinkle over the remaining spring onion and sesame seeds
  • eat

Notes

The dish

  • we're getting right into jasmine rice and we think you should too. It's like normal rice but stickier. It's lovely, try it. If you don't have any, normal rice will work just as well, including the microwave stuff.
  • any soy sauce will work fine here, but if you can, use the dark stuff. It's thicker and sweeter and not as salty, but the light stuff will be fine too!
  • don't you dare miss out that sugar, now. I mean it. It's worth it. 

The books

  • OUR BRAND NEW COOKBOOK can be pre-ordered from Amazon right now! It's rammed with recipes which are both FAST and FILLING. We called it FAST AND FILLING. I know, we're geniuses. But it's really banging. It'll be coming out just in time for the new year! Preorder yours here! 
  • our first slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!

Tools

Courses dinner

Cuisine japanese

Want more fakeaway goodies in your gob?

Enjoy

J&P

sticky bacon meatballs with redcurrant and onion gravy

Afternoon all! Here for the sticky bacon meatballs? That’s fine, I can see from the spittle around your mouth that you’re ready for your dinner, but I must apologise: today’s blog entry is a long travel story and you might be here a while. Now, back in the day of the longer entries – when we were able to travel to new and exciting places – we used to provide you the courtesy of a button that would take you straight to the recipe so you could skip all those tricksy things like words. But I’m lazy and we have a lot of writing to get through before we get to the sticky bacon meatballs in their fancy redcurrant and onion gravy, so for this occasion, just scroll until you see the food. So, before we do the sticky bacon meatballs, here’s some words and all that.

OH! Actually: before I do that. If you’re not following us on Instagram or Facebook, make sure you dig us out – search for @twochubbycubs on Instagram or Facebook. We have some big news coming next week!

So: Paul and I haven’t had a break in months, and we were forever jetting away on budget airlines such as easyJet and NevaCrash and Ryanair, and it’s been awful not being able to do so. I’ve become so accustomed to ratching about Europe that I’ve started counting at least two of the airport security staff as fuckbuddies, given they’ve pawed at my genitals with their shovel-hands so often. They’re after my very own sticky bacon meatballs. However, coronavirus has put paid to random travelling and as much as I do live for danger sometimes, I don’t fancy heaving my lungs up through my mouth because of a short flight to Krakow. So, for now, Europe is out. We’re told by that walking blonde wheelie-bin in charge to holiday in the UK and to make the most of summer and that’s all well and good as long as you’re happy paying £18,050 for a weekend in Rhyl (rising to £20,000 if you stop for a service station sandwich on the way), but we’re not. What to do? In the end, my hands were tied by Paul coming home early and casually mentioning that he had the rest of the week off. With the terrifying thought of having to look at his haunted face staring at Judge Judy re-runs for a solid three days, I nipped onto Google, booked a couple of things, threw eighteen changes of clothes for me and the same selection of bus-driver shirts he always wears into a suitcase, and we were away.

First stop: a drive to Kanyu Escape rooms in York. Regular readers will know that I am not a gracious passenger and would therefore normally hire a car or take mine rather than let Captain Death and his Fisher Price car drive us anywhere, but my driving licence is with The Powers That Be because I was caught speeding. I know, I’m a horror. In my defence, I was too busy texting mates and trying not to drop my can of Monster to notice the speedometer shrieking. In my further defence, that’s a joke – I was just over the limit and hold my hands up about it: eight years I’ve been driving and that was my first genuine error. So it was that we had to take Paul’s Smart car and I could do no driving on this little break. I’ll say it now: it nearly killed me.

To give you an example of how fractious things get when Paul drives and I drive from the passenger seat – about a week or so before he was driving us to ASDA and I ever so politely asked him to slow it down a shade as light was beginning to warp around the bonnet. He took such umbrage that he did a full emergency stop (in a Smart car, that’s just opening the petrol cap and sticking your hand out of the window) and told me in no uncertain terms that if I criticised his driving ability one more time I’d be walking home. Me, full of spite and knowing there was a cruising ground about half a mile down the road, got out and started walking.

I was out for an hour before I had to text him to pick me up because I was cold – and he was equally as contrite because turns out I had his wallet and he didn’t have enough fuel to get home or money to pay for more. Don’t worry, we laugh about it now as it enters the ‘endlessly mentioned in heated arguments’ rota.

So yes: I’m not a good passenger. Paul isn’t a good driver, given he tends to drive like he’s stolen the car and will come out with reassuring little things like ‘I wish my eyes pointed in the same direction’ and ‘I should probably wear my glasses’ and ‘I don’t need to indicate on this roundabout’, and as such it’s always a heated combination. But I’ll say this: despite the weather being absolutely horrendous, he got us there with minutes to spare and only three of my fingernails embedded in the passenger door handle. A quick primer on escape rooms for those that don’t know: you’re locked in a sealed room and through the process of solving puzzles and riddles, have to escape. We’re huge fans and have been doing them for years, though it’s been a while (thanks COVID) since I did one with my husband. Kanyu Escape is in a curious location on the centre of a roundabout and I was alarmed/excited to see an ambulance on standby outside. I’m always ready for some gas, air and scenes of mild peril, after all.

The chap who met us was brilliant: slightly eccentric and very accommodating and we were in the room in no time. If you have concerns about doing escape rooms in this time of peril, don’t: the good rooms take your temperature on arrival, disinfect the room fully after you leave and make sure there’s sanitiser everywhere. I’m a slight hypochondriac and I felt absolutely safe at all the venues we ended up. The room was based on discovering a new source of electricity and was themed around an old secret laboratory and we absolutely loved it. Some escape rooms are franchises and can feel rather rote in what they offer: you can start undoing a lot of the familiar puzzles straight away. Not this one, he’d designed it himself and though it looked a tad rough and ready, it was terrific. All too often these rooms give you too much help or make the puzzles simple enough for everyone to do, but this one was taxing and we felt like we’d actually accomplished something at the end.

That said, those bank-vault locks where you have to spin the correct number, then spin another number, and then another, all the while making sure you turn the right amount and in the right direction? They can fuck right off. I have enough trouble trying to get my eyes to blink in unison, nevermind something as complicated as that. We lost a bit of time, but still escaped with moments to spare. We’ll be going back to do his other rooms, one of which is an outdoors escape room which I love the sound of. Though I confess, it will be a novelty to be tramping around in the woods and for me not to be pulling my knickers off. I do hope muscle memory doesn’t kick in.

Paul drove us down into Leeds entirely without incident and we stayed over at a Premier Inn next to a TGI Fridays, which as salubrious locations go is up there with having your dinner next to a GUM clinic. I don’t like TGI Fridays: we had a good meal there once and have forever been chasing that high since. I don’t get the appeal: it’s like someone did a trolley dash around Iceland, microwaved everything for one minute less than the instructions suggest and then serve it to you with a forced smile that suggests they’ve got a gun held to the back of their heads. That gun may be smothered in BBQ sauce though, because everything is at TGIs. Anyway, we weren’t going to eat there so it’s all irrelevant, I just wanted a dig. We checked in, with Paul reminded once again of my ability to talk to literally everyone I meet: I spent ten minutes chatting to the chap behind the counter whilst Paul danced in the doorway out of sight trying to communicate to me that he needed to get to the room immediately for a gentleman’s sit-down adventure. Classic. I spotted his anguished movements and wrapped up my conversation over a leisurely few more minutes, and Paul made it with moments to spare.

The room was comfortable as ever, though I was reminded of one thing: when you sleep with Paul you wake in a room entirely disorientated and unsure of where you are for a good few minutes until you realise he’s taken the duvet out out of the cover, polluted the air to such a degree that it’s almost edible and has star-fished his way across the bed. At home I’m used to such chicanery but throw in unfamiliar surroundings and it really can take a while before the fog clears.

Waking the next day refreshed and full of pep, we chose not to bother with the Premier Inn breakfast and instead wander into Leeds to pick breakfast up before our next escape room. A quick bagel with salad and a frank discussion on where things had all gone wrong in our breakfast choices and we were off to the next escape room – but first, spotted! It doesn’t happen an awful lot but you can always tell when someone recognises us because they look, try and work out whether we are the cubs off the Internet and whether they should say hello. Normally by the time they’ve decided to go for it, I’ve got my phone to my ear to pretend I’m on a call or I’ve pushed Paul in front of a bus to cause a distraction but I wasn’t quick enough this time. Mind, she was lovely, although because I’m mean I answered ‘are you the guys with the food blog‘ with ‘absolutely not‘ and pretended to walk on, before apologising profusely. I can’t resist it. We’d have people spotting us twice more that day and please, if you see us, do come say hello. You can delight in how incredibly socially awkward we are.

Now, look at the time. I’ve waffled on as is my way, and here we find ourselves 2000 words in and barely out of the door. So on that note, I’ll revisit this in the next entry. To the sticky bacon meatballs!

sticky bacon meatballs

Sticky bacon meatballs served with cheesy mash and broccoli.

sticky bacon meatballs

I mean, as sticky bacon meatballs go, they’re lovely!

sticky bacon meatballs with onion gravy

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

Syn wise, these sticky bacon meatballs clock in at a shade over 2 syns per portion, but I can't be buggered with the quarter syns. The gravy is delicious and worth digging out the redcurrant jelly, but don't shit the bed if you can't find it.

Just a note on this recipe: whilst Chubby Towers is out of action and our kitchen is a no-no, we are using Hello Fresh for our meals and have been doing so for the last six weeks or so. We are not paid to promote them or anything like that, and we have taken this recipe and adjusted it slightly for Slimming World.

That said, honest review time (again, we aren't being paid to promote): we bloody love Hello Fresh. We haven't had a bad meal yet and the lack of food waste is brilliant for us. We only have a tiny kitchen to cook in at the moment and absolutely make do. They're not the cheapest, but we're fans. They do a 'Low Calorie' plan which is spot on if you're counting and we've found it works well with SW. But anyway, no matter what you're after we're sure you'll love it. If you use our referral link you'll get £20 off too! 

Ingredients

  • 900g potatoes
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 30g panko (5 syns) (optional but worth it)
  • 250g lean pork mince
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 1 red onion
  • 60g reduced-fat cheddar, grated (use your healthy extra)
  • 120g bacon medallions
  • 250ml vegetable stock
  • 400g broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp redcurrant jelly (see notes) (4 syns)

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over a high heat, and add 1 tsp salt
  • dice the potatoes into 2cm chunks, and plop into the water. Bring back to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes
  • halve any large broccoli florets and spread out onto a baking sheet, spraying with a little oil
  • roast the broccoli in the oven for 15-20 minutes
  • put the mixed herbs, panko and 2 tbsp of water into a mixing bowl and mix with a spoon
  • add the beef and the pork mince to the bowl and mix well 
  • divide and roll the mixture into twenty balls and set aside
  • place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and spray with a little oil
  • add the meatballs to the pan and cook until browned all over, about 6-7 minutes, turning occasionally
  • meanwhile, halve and thinly slice the red onion, and dice the medallions into small pieces
  • gently remove the meatballs from the pan to a plate and set aside
  • add the onion and bacon to the same pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently
  • add the meatballs back onto the pan and pour over the vegetable stock
  • reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 7-8 minutes
  • meanwhile, drain the potatoes and mash with the grated cheese, and season with salt and pepper
  • once the meatballs have finished cooking, remove the lid and increase the heat to medium-high again
  • gently stir in the jelly until the mixture is thickened and glossy
  • serve the broccoli and mash, and spoon over the meatballs and gravy

Notes

The dish

  • can't find/can't be arsed to find redcurrant jelly? We've used cranberry sauce instead and couldn't tell the difference, just use that! If you're really stuck just leave it out
  • consider the panko optional but it's definitely worth it. Lean mince can sometimes make meatballs dry. Panko helps to retain some moisture, but also add a 'crunchy' texture. You'll find panko in the 'world food' aisles of most supermarkets

The books

  • our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now – full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 3000 5* reviews – even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is out now and utterly brilliant – you can order it here – thank you to everyone so far for the positive feedback!

Tools

Courses dinner

Cuisine meatballs

And that’s that! Sticky bacon meatballs done. Want more recipes? Well now.

Enjoy!

J

cheesy gnocchi bake: recipe reacharound

Afternoon folks – keeping well? Here for the cheesy gnocchi bake? Of course you are, it’s a scorcher, but…

Apologies for the lack of posts, but as reasons go, as previously mentioned, we’ve got a killer reason. Now, because I know our readers consist of two types:

  • learned folks who will offer me sage advice which I’ll promptly ignore in favour of spending my days trying to perfect every voice from ‘One Day More’; and
  • nosey gossips who demand every morsel and detail and will be fumin hun if we don’t tell…

I shan’t go into detail. Maha. But that’s also the last time I’ll allude to it because frankly, Mr Shankley, I’m sick of talking about it.

Before we get to the blog, just a reminder that our diet planner is coming out very soon! If you liked the cookbook you’ll love the planner, and if you buy it and hate it, at least you can scrawl rude words on my cartoon face. There’s 26 recipes, six months of challenges and places to write stuff, and well, in short, it’s tremendous. You can order it here and it’ll even open in a fancy new window to stop you getting distracted.

As we press on with all the exciting things that need attending to, we’re going to revisit some of the older blog recipes and give them a gussy-up. Actually, I believe the term to use is glow-up, where something that was once a wreck to look at is transformed into something beautiful simply by shaking out their hair and taking their glasses off. I’ve tried doing exactly that, but if I shake my face, my lips don’t stop moving until three days later and people assume I’ve developed an essential tremor. Also, if you look back at our old blog entries, our recipe style was something else: a paragraph of guff with ingredients missing and measurements all awry. Oh, and let’s not forget that St Margaret of the Church Hall Massive does like to change the syns occasionally just to be tricksy.

We, because we’re filthy, will be calling these revisitations our ‘recipe reacharound’. Because who doesn’t look a reacharound? I wouldn’t know. I’m so rotund these days that it would take a relay team and a safety car to give me one of those. We aren’t planning on doing all the old recipes again because Christ, some of the combinations we used to come up both sicken and disgust me, but over the next year we might find ourselves revisiting a few. But just the old favourites, eh?

So, first in our reacharound is the saucy cheeseburger gnocchi bake from 2015. It’s an amazing dish – quick to make, easy to pad out and has enough cheese on it to drown a horse, though why you’d want to do that is anyone’s guess. When we published it Uptown Funk was at number one, no-one had heard of the coronaVIRUS and one of the biggest news items was that someone had taken a picture of the sun and it looked angry. I mean, as memorable days go, it’s not a winner. But looking back at the blog entry is hilariously sweet: I was gushing over the fact we had 1,000 followers. Seems incredible now we’re well over 500,000 but let me say, without a slip of sarcasm, that we’re still thankful for each and every one of you. If you have been reading since day one, I’d love to hear from you – please leave a comment!

For some reason I thought the best lead-in for a recipe was to talk about my cat vomiting, which I’d probably steer away from now. But one thing remains a comfort: even half a decade ago, my cat was a stone-cold bitch. Don’t get me wrong, I love her and her permanently angry human face, but she exudes anger and vitriol like you wouldn’t believe. If she came through the cat flap covered in blood and waving a flick-knife around in her paws, I wouldn’t question her. I long worry for the day when I wake to find the corpse of my husband, his throat clawed open and her merciless eyes fixed on me from across the bedroom. She’d probably teach herself to speak human if only so she could silkily whisper in my ear that I’ve always been a fat disappointment to her as I died. The other cat is fine, by the way – he’s far more mellow, which I put down to the fact he spends 22 hours a day licking at his willy. I wish I could, but he’d probably scratch my face if I tried it.

Good news though: we longer have that carpet. Every cloud…

To the cheesy gnocchi bake then!

cheesy gnocchi bake

Honestly, how’s that pan of cheesy gnocchi bake for a sight for sore eyes?

cheesy gnocchi bake

You want the top of the cheesy gnocchi bake to crisp and bubble. Don’t be afraid to add more cheese, we won’t ever tell.

cheesy gnocchi bake

Cheesy gnocchi bake is one of those dishes that tastes amazing but looks shite plated up – cover with hot sauce, it hides all sins. Syns. Shush.

cheesy gnocchi bake

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 large servings

We previously used Quark for this recipe, and you can do so too if you're not a fan of flavour and fun in your meals. We swapped it out for Philadelphia Lightest which adds a much nicer creaminess but does add 10 syns - so if you are trying to make this lighter, drop it. If you wanted to take it a step further, you could swap the gnocchi for small boiled potatoes, but honestly.

This cheesy gnocchi bake - like all of our recipes - is very easy to customise. Good additions would be sweetcorn, peas or different, strong mushrooms. Quorn mince does work well if you're that way inclined.

Ingredients

  • 100g of button mushrooms, sliced finely
  • two large peppers (one red, one green, or use whatever you have) diced fine
  • one large onion, diced fine
  • one garlic clove, minced fine
  • 500g chilled gnocchi (we use ASDA gnocchi because we've let ourselves go, and that's 6 syns for 500g)
  • 500g of lean mince
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 250g of Philadelphia Lightest (swap for Quark if saving syns) (10 syns)
  • 160g of light grated mozzarella (4 x HEA)
  • teaspoon of dijon mustard and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • one beef stock cube

This serves four big portions and comes in at 4 syns each.

Instructions

  • preheat the oven to 180 degrees
  • cook your gnocchi according to instructions, but if it's anything other than throwing them in boiling water, waiting for them to float and setting aside, you're doing it wrong
  • pop your onion and peppers into a heavy-bottomed pan (and one that can go in the oven and under the grill, mind you) with a little bit of oil and sweat it down until softened
  • add the garlic and mince and fry it off - you can this to be quite 'dry'
  • we crumble in a stock cube here but you can skip it if you're watching your salt intake
  • in a bowl, combine the Philadelphia, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper together
  • mix it into your beef and add the gnocchi
  • top with the grated cheese
  • pop into the oven for about fifteen minutes, then under the grill to crisp up for about another five minutes (keep an eye on it)
  • we serve in a bowl with a lake of hot sauce, but your experience may vary

Notes

Books

  • our slimming cookbook can be ordered online now - full of 100+ slimming recipes, and bloody amazing, with over 2400 5* reviews - even if we do say so ourselves: click here to order
  • our new diet planner is launching soon and is utterly brilliant - you can order it here (it’ll open in a new window)

Food

  • we buy our flavoured oils from Yorkshire Drizzle and we used their chilli oil to cook off the mince and vegetables - you can take a look at their range here: it'll open in a new window
  • we have started using Musclefood again for meat - until we're happy that their quality is back to what it was, we will not be referring people there - but it's all under review. The mince we used here was superb however!

Tools

  • a decent sized frying pan that you can make this entire dish in will keep it as a one-pot dinner
  • we were asked where we got our silicone oven-mitts from that someone spotted in a video - they're from Amazon and are dirt cheap (£6) - you can buy them here and the good news is, once you've got your hot pan from the oven, you can grip your boob with the hot mitts and it feels lovely...so I'm told

Courses dinner

Cuisine easy dinner

I hope you all enjoy it! Please do let us know if you have cooked this by tagging us on Instagram or Twitter (@twochubbycubs for both) or via our Facebook channels. If there’s a particular recipe you want us to revisit, drop us a line!

Whilst we’re on a roll with one-pot dinners, you’ll find a lot to like here:

Enjoy!

J

cajun steak dirty rice, and time to feel proud!

Here for the cajun steak dirty rice? Bless your soul. The recipe is down the bottom, but first, an apology for the time between posts. I’ve been either:

  • on the pop;
  • in a crisis;
  • in a crisis whilst on the pop;
  • on my knees;
  • on my knees, drunk, causing a crisis; or
  • at a Pride event, see above.

But I’m all sorted now. Of course, the other thing gobbling me up is this cookbook of ours. You know, we’ve got a cookbook coming out, with all our new recipes in it, plus a delicious spurt of sassiness. Click the banner to pre-order! And remember if all you’re here for is the cajun steak dirty rice, get scrolling!

Whoops. Posted this the other night, but hit the schedule button rather than publish. So pretend it’s Monday, won’t you?

*hic*

I wasn’t going to post tonight, but I sent Paul into our bedroom an hour ago to pick something up off the floor only to find him fifteen minutes face-down with his arse in the air. Now you might reasonably think, oh, James, your luck is in, but I must remind you of one salient fact: I’ve been married ten years. The only time Paul puts out these days is when he’s angling for a surprise holiday or wants a few minutes lying prostrate so he can finish his book. No, the poor guy is all tuckered out because we’ve been down in Birmingham (at this point, I’m considering getting a second job down there, given I’m like a yoyo between the two cities at present) for Pride and I made him drive all the way down on Saturday and all the way back today. I’d have driven, but it’s a Smart car, and honestly I’d sooner drive a hearse full of ashen-faced mourners to the wrong funeral than that orange little rustbucket. So we can forgive him his sins, for now, and I’ll continue on my high horse, thank you.

Pride came out of nowhere for us this year – we’d been invited down by a good mate and were umming and aahing (not least because I was hungover from Wednesday in Leeds) until we watched a particularly gruesome episode of Chernobyl and decided life’s too short, let’s go. Packed my best rainbow knickers (I really ought to wash them, but I’m waiting for the Daz Doorstep Challenge to make a return just so I can see Danny Baker blanch when I hand over my barely foldable keks), told Paul to book a hotel and tickets and away we went.

Paul doesn’t travel well with me on long journeys when I’m the passenger. It’s like having four personalities in the car:

  • the shrieking me who holds onto the door handles and winces every time we go around a corner like I’m on that rollercoaster from Final Destination 3;
  • the shrieking me who sings along to every last song (I choose the music) – Paul’s recently been told he’s going deaf and actually, I’m not entirely convinced that it isn’t a lifestyle choice he’s made;
  • the shrieking me who litters the bottom of his car with crisp packets, coke bottles, whatever I’ve found in my bag, whatever I’ve found in his glovebox (the man has a surprising amount of baby wipes stashed in his car – I’d be worried, but no-one’s going to approach a Smart car pulled up in a layby, let’s face it);
  • the shrieking me who reaches over and beeps his horn for him (not a euphemism, see earlier comment) because he’s altogether too polite and frankly a car journey for me isn’t complete until I’ve started bringing up lung from screaming at anyone who gets in the way.

So understand, the four hours it took us to get to Birmingham – well, I had a whale of a time, Paul less so. The important thing is I enjoyed myself.

We checked into a Premier Inn in the city centre and, after a moment or four hours to enjoy the glamour and to pack away the towels, we minced out to meet our friend, who you may recall from an earlier post. He was easy enough to spot, given he’s the epitome of our ideal man and well, we were semi-flaring within 100 yards. What followed was a terrific amount of drinking, diversions and some mild peril. It was a great night, though in a great example of him never being off, Paul ended up engaged in political debate with two drunk fellas who wouldn’t leave us alone. That’s what I’m told, I was experiencing an X-Files-esque lost period of time in the gents. We parted ways around 2ish and after a brief interlude (actually lasting forty minutes) where I sat and chatted with a homeless fella who offered to show me his leg ulcer, went to bed. Sunday was better still – back out and on it, this time joined by Andy’s long-suffering but lovely girlfriend, a good friend from Facebook, Paul II and his husband and two of Andy’s friends. Another great night! To share details would be lurid but there were some fabulous twists and turns and fun was had by all. The best kiss of the night wore lipstick.

But that’s not why I’m writing. I’ve touched on the importance of Pride many times over – including this fabulous article – and all those things stand. But what did strike me, as we wandered around, was how happy everyone was. Bar one overweening queen who looked my husband up and down and did the ‘yes, I know who you are’ gambit, there was not a blot of bother. We live in a country that is becoming increasingly fractured, and for the first time in my entire life I’m worried about where the rights for LGBT+ folks are going – you’ve got ministers supporting the banning of tolerance teaching in schools, an American president who sits proudly with the bigoted bastard in charge of Brazil and, more so, the far right given a voice that remains unchallenged. All this for something as immutable as eye colour or the size of your feet. It’s easy to sit on the outside looking in when you have the luxury of not being the one getting looked down on, but we need Pride more than ever. Yes, it’s overly commercial, yeah there’s something arguably cynical about HSBC and Argos changing their logo to a rainbow, but damn, it’s always a pleasure to see so many people having a good time without any second thoughts. Even nicer to see lots of families bringing their children along and showing them a world full of colour, and doubly more important when there’s protests outside from ‘caring parents’ who ‘don’t want their kids to see deviant behaviour’. Pfft. My mother was incredibly supportive of all my fabulousness growing up and I turned out perfect, right? Hello?

As an addendum, given with the miracle of time-travel (i.e. the advantage of forgetting to post for a week), we’ve also just returned from Northumberland Pride, which is like Birmingham Pride but done on a budget befitting a much smaller enterprise. Brum had Faithless, we had Lorraine Crosby (star of 1993’s hit single I Would Do Anything For Love, But I Won’t Do That) (that being trading on past glories) (I’m kidding, she’s great). Brum had a pub full of bears and an attitude full of sin, Northumberland Pride had a cake stand and some hashtags. But it was smashing, actually, partly because I got drunk and didn’t manage to make a fool of myself, partly because we both took full advantage of all the caterers. We even camped overnight, breaking Paul’s camping cherry and also his lower back. He’s such a diva, honestly. If you can’t get comfortable on a single deflating £14.99 airbed from Argos whilst yesterday’s sweat and spittle drips on your face, then you just aren’t trying.

Support your Prides, people. Go out and have an amazing time. If you’re worried about your husband not feeling comfortable with all that rampant homosexuality, don’t fret, I’ll look after him. We can add another S-fluid onto the tent of dreams.

Right, all that schmaltz aside, shall we get to the recipe in hand? Cajun steak dirty rice! Easy to make and will definitely get you some action if you serve it in your best lingerie. Apologies for the photos – we took them outside in the dark, so had to artificially lighten them.

cajun steak dirty rice cajun steak dirty rice cajun steak dirty rice

cajun steak dirty rice

Prep

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Total

Yield 4 servings

An absolute classic, why? Because it's so damn good! Piece of piss too, and everyone loves it. An easy way to sneak some veg into your kids if they're that sort. A little bit of prep is needed but it's all worth it. This works great on its own or even as a side. Have it for breakfast for all I care. 

Ingredients

  • 200g long-grain rice
  • 400g steak
  • 4 bacon medallions, diced
  • ½ red, yellow and green pepper, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 6 mushrooms, diced
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 tsp cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce (optional)

Instructions

  • cook the rice according to the instructions, and set aside
  • spray a large frying pan with some oil over a medium-high heat and slap in your steak
  • cook the steak to your liking, remove from the pan onto a plate and leave to rest
  • wipe out the pan and add a little more oil and place back over the heat
  • add the bacon and onion and cook until the bacon is done
  • stir in the cajun seasoning along with the worcestershire sauce (if using)
  • dissolve the stock cube in 200ml of boiling water and keep aside
  • chuck the peppers, carrots and mushrooms along with the stock and give a good stir - cook until most of the liquid has evaporated 
  • once most of the liquid has evaporate throw in the rice and stir until well mixed and warmed through
  • dice the steak and stir into the mixture
  • serve and sprinkle over the spring onions

Notes

  • You don't need fancy or expensive steak for this, any will do
  • If you can't be arsed to cook rice just use the microwave pouches, cook in the microwave towards the end and stir into the pan with the vegetables - make sure you check the syns though
  • Stop ruining your pans with Fry Light! All it does is evaporate off and leave a sticky, gungy mess. Use one of these instead
  • No-one has time for dicing a carrot so do we what we did - use a julienne peeler, and then simply slice across to get easy, small diced bits
  • You can find cajun seasoning in most supermarket along with the herbs and spices, but to be honest any spice mix you have gathering dust will do. We've done this with piri-piri and fajita mixes and it comes out just as good! 
  • WE HAVE A BLOODY COOKBOOK COMING OUT REMEMBER! Yessss: click here for sexiness!
  • Any meat will do in this if you haven't got any steak - diced chicken and pork work especially well, or even sausages! Divvn't be shy, pet. 

Cuisine cajun

Want more random ideas? Click any of the buttons below to be whisked away on on adventure through time and eating!

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JX

grilled steak gyros: the best Greek you’ll swallow today

Grilled steak gyros. On Slimming World, if you don’t mind. I love Greek food, whether it’s these gyros, dolmades or some hot bronzed DILF demanding he makes me his woman. I’ll cope, papi. Lift my dress up out of the dirt, though. I’m going to warn you for a second: the next paragraphs contain some graphic raunch references. Scroll straight to the pictures if you’re the type of person who clutches at her pearls when she

But first, indulge me for a moment, would you? I want to talk about men’s bodies. Now you might think I’m going for the obvious route of leering, given I spend 45% of my time with my neck canted at 75 degrees trying to grab a quick look at the package of those chavs who wear grey trackie bottoms. I swear, I’m like an owl when I walk past Sports Direct in the morning. An owl with a very pale face.

Lots (rightly) gets made about women and how they struggle with body confidence, but let’s hear it for the lads, eh? The amount of posts I see in our facebook group where men are down on their looks depresses the hell out of me.

I know there’s loads of pressure on women to look good – of course there is – but do you ever notice the male stereotype that always gets bandied around? Big arms, but not too big. No loose skin. No belly, and if there is a belly, it’s hidden behind a bar or a bench (look at every Slimming World magazine!). Strong jaw with white teeth and a perfectly preened beard. It’s all so…bland and safe and boring. But I see men chasing this false ideal body and it’s such a waste.

One thing I’ve learned since I stopped giving a toss about my body and well, showing it off in various places which I’m not talking about here, is that there’s a jar for every lid. Literally, in my case. Plenty of folks out there will like you for you – your ‘problem zone’ is someone else’s splash-patch. Belly cascading out in front of you like a balloon of mottled trex? That’s someone’s pillow, that is. Bingo wings? Somewhere to dab your knob off after sex.

Paul and I are creepy – we always smile nicely at big lads – well Paul smiles, I leer lasciviously and lick my lips at them like the Childcatcher. What can I say, I’m a sucker for men in Jacamo outlet shirts. We like to think that it makes a bloke happy to get some attention, though we pick our targets. We might dilate at the thought of a roadworker with a mean streak, a broken nose and gnarled rough hands, but I don’t like having to pick my teeth off the floor after a blowjob. No, we pick those men with dumpy wee bellies, office-haircuts and (sorry ladies) wives fussing about in the supermarket. We’re homowreckers.

What am I trying to say with all of this? Men, if you’re out there, don’t be hung up about your looks. No need to try and aspire to some muscle god – the best looking men are those who are confident in their bodies and who wear it well without giving a monkey’s jot what they look like. Confidence: 100% sexy. And here’s the thing – if you have a partner or a husband or even just a buddy who is down on his looks, take a moment to tell him how fabulous he is.

Oh, and give him our numbers. We’re as indiscriminate as amyl-scented nerve gas.

I know that’s a very pat solution to a complicated confidence issue but honestly. Men. Get over yourselves.

The gyros, then…

steak gyros

Looks like your clopper, that does.

steak gyros

Looks like your gash, that does.

grilled steak gyros

Prep

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Total

Yield 6 servings

Have yourself a Shirley Valentine moment and just imagine some hairy, Greek studmuffin sliding this in front of you, and then sliding himself in to you. Yeah, you like that, don't you?

Ingredients

  • 6 Tesco folded flatbreads (30 syns)
  • 2 sirloin steaks
  • 1 onion, sliced into 1cm thick rings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (12 syns)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 125g fat-free greek style yoghurt
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into thin rings
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 small handfuls of rocket

Instructions

  • in a large bowl, mix together the oil, garlic, oregano and paprika - pour one tbsp of the mix into a separate bowl with the yoghurt and mix well - that will make your sauce
  • add the onion and green pepper to the oil mix and toss, then gently remove with a slotted spoon
  • chuck in the steak and rub in as much of the marinade as is left
  • cook the steak to your liking, then remove from the pan and slice
  • add the onion and green pepper to the same pan and cook for a few minutes until starting to brown and caramelise
  • remove from the pan and finally add the flatbreads and cook for a minute or two each side, then remove from the pan
  • fold out the flatbreads and top each with a bit of rocket, then the steak slices, followed by the tomatoes and a drizzle of sauce
  • eat

Notes

  • this makes six gyros - one is enough for one person if you're having something with it like chips! if it's for fewer than six people just use one flatbread for each person and stuff more filling in - we won't tell
  • if the syn values of those flatbreads are giving you the willies you could use pitta breads instead if you really wanted to, or even a wrap if you're pious
  • we actually forgot to sear our flatbreads in the pan - you shouldn't, it makes them taste nicer!
  • any steak will do for this - it doesn't need to be fancy. We used sirloin from Muscle Food
  • a griddle pan is excellent for this to get the nice charmarks, or even better a Tefal Optigrill which is what we used - just press the 'steak' button
  • slice the onions quickly with a Mandolin slicer - just watch your fingers if you're a clumsy twat like me and always use the guard
  • same with garlic - use a microplane grater to mince it in seconds!
  • don't be tempted to leave out the oil - it makes it so much nicer!
  • don't like rocket? Any leafy salad will do

Cuisine greek

Want more in your wrap? Sure:

Yum!

Remember lads: tits out!

J

juicy steak with low syn slimming world chimichurri sauce

Slimming World chimichurri! Now admittedly chimichurri sounds like something a posh woman would call her fadge when telling the doctor it’s sealed over, but bear with us – it’s actually a gorgeous herby sauce where, if you use good fresh herbs, it’ll be an absolute delight. You’ll wonder why you haven’t had it before but we all know the answer to that is simple: like you’d ever turn down a cream sauce for your steak. Even so, give this a go.

There’s no time to lose today because we’ve had an actual House Calamity. You will have doubtless noticed that it’s been hotter than the devil’s dick outside until Friday, when the skies broke just in time to make sure that 1,000,000 people who still live at home with their mothers were denied the chance to look at the moon. It tipped it down, and naturally, our house decided to throw a spanner in our plans to save up for Canada and instead, sprung yet another leak. We’ve now got more brown damp patches on our ceiling than we ever manage on our mattress, but that’s what being married for eleven years will do for you.

This means yet more visits from roofers, more awkward small-talk and yet more waiting around for them to appear from ‘just around the corner, mate’, where presumably that corner is somewhere south of Doncaster. I’ve long since given up on people saying they’ll turn up at any given point – I swear we’ve still got someone due round to clean my little C2 (not a euphemism) and that was turned into a cube back in 2012.

So, you can have a recipe, and we’ll get on with fussing about our ceiling. Sigh. Chimichurri sauce for you!

slimming world chimichurri

slimming world chimichurri

juicy steak with Slimming World chimichurri

Prep

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Total

Yield 4 servings

Sounds fancy, eh? Chimichurri comes all the way from them Argies and is a tasty sauce for fresh meat! It's as easy as you after a night at the bingo and tastes phenomenal! It's a cool colour too, so the kids will love it.

The beauty with this is that you can have it with whatever you want! We had ours with chips because we're common and it's our default position. We had some left over the next day and slipped it into sandwiches and it was just as good! Sex up your meaty flaps tonight.

Ingredients

  • 4 good steaks
  • 2 big bunches of basil
  • 2 big bunches of parsley
  • 2 big bunches of mint
  • 2 big bunches of chives
  • 4 green chillis
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (6 syns)
  • salt 
  • pepper

Instructions

  • firstly, take the steak out of the fridge and bring it up to room temperature
  • next, finely chop all of the herbs, chillis and capers - if you can't be arsed, do what we did and chuck it all in a food processor
  • zest and juice the limes and add the olive oil, and mix well
  • sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the steaks and cook to your liking
  • as the meat is cooking, dollop the chimichurri sauce onto a chopping board and gently spread out into a large square big enough for the steaks to sit on
  • when the steak is cooked, place on top of the chimichurri and leave to rest for a few minutes
  • slice the steak and use a knife to spread the chimichurri sauce all over it - like it's getting a facial
  • serve

Notes

  • remember: this recipe is for four - if you're only making it for two people just halve everything
  • any steak will do - it doesn't have to be fancy, we used sirloin from Muscle Food
  • fresh herbs are always best if you can get them
  • we used our Tefal Optigrill to cook the steak perfectly - if you've got one, just press the 'steak' button and then wait until the light shows your desired level of 'doneness'!
  • don't be tempted to skimp on the oil in this one - it's worth it, and it's only a few syns!

 

Cuisine argentinian

Lovely! Perhaps you want some more steak ideas? Sure thing, cheesenips!

Always something to enjoy!

J

harissa steak sandwiches with sweet red onion pickle

Here for the harissa steak sandwiches, which are nothing more than the perfect low-syn dinner you deserve? Then you’re in the right place…but first…

I was planning on doing a more general Room 101 type post – and I’ll come back to that a little down the line – but upon writing my notes it struck me the amount of ‘internet pet-peeves’ appeared on my list. So, instead of a wider picture, take my hand as I pull you down a very specific tunnel of anger: e-annoyances.

Actually, first on the list, adding e- to any noun or verb. This isn’t the nineties anymore, Pat Sharp has long since got rid of his mullet and even Jim Bowen has died. Let’s all move on, shall we? We’re not going to e-meet, e-grieve or e-felch.

Next is vaguebooking. If you’re checking in at a hospital it should be the law that you have to give everyone every scintillating detail of what you’re in for. You want people to know you’re there, so don’t leave them hanging – even if you’re having a team of doctors giving you a smear test using a block and tackle and a diving helmet it doesn’t matter, put pictures up. Or: shut the fuck up about it. This is compounded by those imbeciles who check in and then don’t respond to the countless ‘is everything alright’ posts that invariably trickle in. There’s a special place reserved in Hell for you: I can only hope the doctor doesn’t warm his hands beforehand.

Along similar lines, anyone posting ‘karma will get you’ or ‘omg can’t believe what I’ve heard’ or any other vague statement designed to make them look faintly interesting whilst revealing their own crushing existential crisis, they can go jump in the sea. This seems to be common amongst those who believe shaving off their eyebrows and reapplying them using a highlighter pen is a good look.

Normally synonymous alongside the above is use of the word haters. There ought to be a reality check button on facebook to clarify that no, you’re not actually important enough to have haters. No-one is, unless you’re someone like professional shitgibbon Katie Hopkins, and look what happened to her. Why would you imagine that people are actively going out of their way to ‘hate’ you when most people simply pass you by? It’s exhausting: and, let’s say for the sake of argument that you do have haters, are you really ‘showing the haters’ by finally beating level 344 of Candy Crush? Haway.

They’re the same folks who usually upload jpeg images of Marilyn Monroe with the (incorrectly attributed) quote “but if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best” scrawled across it in Mistral. To compound things, the jpeg is usually accompanied with eight levels of tray-icons from being screenshotted from every mobile device known to man – I swear I’ve seen Marilyn Monroe (as viewed through a potato) with Super Mario Land playing in the background. This particular quote makes my teeth itch whenever you see it stretched badly over some canvas in B&M, nevermind seeing it on facebook too.

Whilst we’re here, if you’re having to put something like ‘Only God can judge me‘ on your facebook wall, then chances are you should be judged as you’re having to pre-empt people calling you out. I wish I was God: I wouldn’t hesitate on slurring the word biiiiiiiiiiiiitch out as you tried to put on your shoes.

Curveball time: if you’re writing ‘kitteh‘ or ‘doggo‘ or anything other than the actual name of the animal, and you’ve mastered not shitting your pants and solid food, then you deserve nothing more than everlasting shame and I hope your life is full of always thinking you’ve left something switched on at home. There’s simply no need for it. Cats and dogs are cute as they are without adding some ridiculously asinine mispronunciation on top of it.

Shall we cover leaving speeches? We see it ever so often in our facebook group – people flouncing out but having to put a big speech in just before they do to explain their departure. Why? Do they imagine all 70,000 of us are sitting there ashen-faced, looking at each other with pleading eyes, all desperate to know why Shelly Mamov5 McGee has forsaken us? It’s always done with altogether too many emojis and hysteria to be taken as constructive criticism anyway.

And finally, why the joint profile names, people? Surely it’s quicker just to upload a brief statement explaining who cheated who? #awkward, right?

RIGHT. That’s quite enough of all that, my blood pressure can’t take it anymore. Let’s do the harissa steak sandwiches!

harissa steak sandwiches

harissa steak sandwiches

harissa steak sandwiches

2 votes

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harissa steak sandwiches with sweet onion pickle

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 2 sandwiches

Now, for these harissa steak sandwiches, you have a choice: you can serve it up in your normal bread bun or, if you are feeling fancy, you can pop it in a ciabatta - you can have a Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll as a healthy extra, after all!

But here's the thing. Gluten free food is expensive and it can be a proper pain in the arse to find if you are following a gluten-free diet. That's annoying when you want to cook with it, but what if gluten free was the only bread you could have and you had to do without because some div on Slimming World was too frightened about just having a breadbun? Before you pick it off the shelf, have a think.

Before anyone tells us off, first of all: how dare you. We used a bog standard ciabatta for this. No regrets.

Ingredients

  • a couple of thin skirt steaks - or whatever steak you want to use, but skirt steak is super cheap
  • 3 tbsp of harissa paste (you can buy it in most supermarkets, and it's 1/2 syn per tablespoon)
  • whatever breadbun you want to use (a Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Roll is your HEB, but so is a bog-standard brown breadbun)
  • a bag of mixed salad leaves
  • fresh ground pepper and salt
  • two red onions
  • 4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (or use normal white vinegar, if you don't have it to hand)
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • tsp of honey (1 syn)

Instructions

  • make the pickle - dead easy, slice the onion into thin half moons, pop in a bowl with the vinegar, chilli and honey - and leave to soak for thirty minutes or so
  • rub the harissa paste into the steak and lie flat on a plate, leave for an hour or so to marinate
  • next bit is dead easy - cook your steaks however you like - we like it still mooing, as you can see - and grill your ciabatta / breadbun
  • thinly slice your cooked steak
  • make up your sandwich - hot meat, pickled onion and green salad - yum!

It's as easy as that!

Notes

Courses sandwiches

Loved the sound of our harissa steak sandwiches and now want more sandwiches? Of course you do!

Yum!

J

a proper syn-free deep-dish slimming world lasagne

A syn-free deep-dish slimming world lasagne? With my reputation?

Do you know, in all the time we’ve been doing this, we’ve never just done a straight-up plain lasagne? We’ve done a slow cooker lasagne (amazing), a chicken and pea lasagne (ignored) and a cheat’s lasagne. We’ve served it in a cup. We’ve made a Mexican version. But someone asked us the other day for a bog-standard version and could we hell as like find one – so here we are! Although classic us, we have tweaked it a little: we found a recipe that uses wraps in one of Davina McCall’s books and thought that we would give it a go instead of dried pasta sheets that either always go slimy or don’t cook enough. It works a bloody treat!

Just a recipe post tonight as I have lost my voice. You might assume that this doesn’t stop me from typing – and you would be right – but it does preclude me from summoning Paul every ten minutes to make me a cup of tea or to rub my feet, so it’s a no-no-Nanette for long posts. I’m not going to lie, I’m tired of feeling under the weather – feels like one of us has been ill for ages! Still doing boot camp though, which probably isn’t the best idea when you’ve got a chest infection and you’re eating reheated red lentil dahl for lunch. Last night I spent so long clamping my own arsehole shut and trying not to spray lung-croutons everywhere that I barely had time to do my squats. One of our exercises involves falling onto the floor, hoisting our legs in the air and staying there. It’s taken eight classes to stop me from automatically moaning and reaching about for the phantom bottle of poppers.

Anyway.

Let’s get straight to it, then… syn-free deep-dish slimming world lasagne! This is makes enough for four large servings.slimming world lasagne

slimming world lasagne

slimming world lasagne

1 vote

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proper slimming world deep dish lasagne

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 servings

This doesn't need to be served in a deep dish - just make it like a normal lasagne, if you don't mind - it serves four people and uses wraps in place of pasta. I know, I know, we're scum, but listen, it works really well. This is Davina McCall's recipe, and you don't argue with the Queen.

This serves four and uses your HEB and HEA .- but it's absolutely bloody worth it, and you get loads!

It might look like a lot of ingredients but honestly, this is quick to make! Also, top tip: if you're using a circular dish, before you start cooking stick it upside down onto a wrap and cut out around the dish the perfect shape - your wraps will now fit lovely and snug!

Ingredients

  • three Weight Watchers White low fat wraps (one wrap is a HEB - so as this serves four, you'll use just under your HEB allowance, but easier just to say you've used it)
  • 500g of 5% beef mince
  • two large red onions, chopped finely
  • one large pepper, chopped finely
  • two garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp of dried oregano
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • two tins of chopped tomatoes
  • one large bag of spinach
  • one courgette, grated
  • 180g of ricotta cheese (2 x HEA)
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 220g of Philadelphia Lightest (2 x HEA)
  • teaspoon of wholegrain mustard (1/2 a syn - up to you if you want to syn an eighth of a bloody syn!)
  • cherry tomatoes to go on the top

Instructions

  • pop the oven on 180 degrees (fan)
  • start by making the mince layers for your lasagne - gently fry off the onion, pepper and garlic for a few minutes in a few sprays of oil
  • add the mince and beef stock cube and cook until browned
  • add the chopped tomatoes and oregano together with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • allow to simmer and bubble until it has reduced right down to a thick mince, which is also my name for Paul
  • start on the middle layer whilst the mince is cooking - first step, wash your spinach - don't dry it too vigourously
  • tip your spinach and grated courgette into a pan with just a tiny splash of water and wilt it down over a low heat (if you leave the lid on, the spinach will steam and wilt much quicker
  • once everything has wilted down, take the spinach over to the sink and squeeze as much liquid out of it as you can
  • seriously, keep squeezing - top tip is to put the spinach on a chopping board, put another chopping board over the top and squeeze the two together - get every last bit of moisture out!
  • finely chop the cooked spinach and tip back into your pan together with the ricotta and nutmeg - stir until the ricotta has softened and the spinach is mixed in, then set aside
  • layer your lasagne in the deep dish: half of the mince mixture, followed by a wrap, followed by the spinach and ricotta, then a wrap, then the rest of the mince, then another wrap
  • make the white sauce for the top by popping your philadelphia into a pan, add the mustard and soften it over a low heat - add a splash of milk if it is too thick, but it should be fine 
  • pour over the top, add halved cherry tomatoes and grate some extra cheese on top if you want more, though do syn it!
  • cook for a good forty minutes and then enjoy!

Notes

  • if you're looking for a place to get excellent low fat beef mince, try our Musclefood Freezer Filler: you get loads for the price together with excellent chicken and bacon! I mean, what's not to love? Click here to order
  • sort that garlic in seconds with one of these Microplane graters! It’s our most used kitchen gadget!
  • if you're struggling to find a deep dish, have a look in TK Maxx - we found ours in there. A deep cake tin will do exactly the same job, or throw it in a normal Pyrex dish - there's no need to spend a lot of money here!

Courses dinner, low syn

Cuisine Italian

Perfection, right?

Mind we’ve got some bloody amazing, different pasta recipes – let me show you some syn-free suggestions!

J