droptober recipe #1: pronto lamb tagine – a lovely autumn stew

A pronto lamb tagine? Well, yes, it’s a one-pot meal left over from one-pot week, and you can find it below. It’s one of those meals that no matter how you photograph it, it looks like something our cat did on the carpet when we changed his catfood for the cheaper variety. We’re currently locked in this exact battle of wills with our cats – we want to see if we can get them on cheapy cat food for a bit so we bought a sachet of Conshita or something from Lidl (I know) to test. They sampled a bit and seemed to enjoy themselves so we went and bought a crate of the stuff. Of course, this was a step too far and they immediately took such great offence at our penny-pinching that they’re refusing to eat. We’re also refusing to budge. They won’t go hungry, there’s plenty of dry food and mice and whatnot to be had, but I swear they both sit there smirking as I scrape the untouched catfood into the bin. We’ve got an Amazon Dash button for Whiskas on the fridge (very clever stuff – you press the button, Amazon automatically orders you a box of catfood and delivers it the next day – I’m not kidding, look!) and I reckon it’ll be three days before they’ve started pressing it themselves.

ANYWAY where have we been? Well, I’ve been in gay Glasgow on a sort-of business trip and Paul’s been stuck at home, aimlessly masturbating and wailing around the house like Victoria when Albert died. I did take my iPad with me with an eye to creating some new posts but actually, after I had finished work and navigated Glasgow, I couldn’t be arsed. Plus The Fall was on and I was too busy admiring Whisperin’ Agent Scully to hammer out a blog.

However, we’re going to try something new for the next month – a new post every day in October. Let’s have 31 days of new recipes and ideas and really concentrate on getting our slimming done right. Are you with us? You should be. I know October is traditionally given over to giving up smoking but listen, smoking makes you look cool and better you put a cigarette in your mouth than a family sized bar of Dairy Milk, am I right? I’m kidding: don’t smoke, folks, it makes you look common and everyone thinks you stink. I’ve been racking my brains to try and think of a decent, snappy title that combines October with recipes or losing weight and can I balls – if you can think of one, do leave a comment. One thing to stress though: there will be nights when it is PURELY a recipe we’re posting – so no guff beforehand! I always feel guilty if I can’t squeeze out a few paragraphs but no more! Something is better than nothing, after all…!

I can’t help but notice there’s a rash of strops and gashcrashing going on via the facebook groups about the fact that Slimming World are changing the rules on sweetener, which I believe is now synned at 1/2 syn per tablespoon. Quite bloody right! When you see people making cakes (sorry, how silly: vanilla scented omelettes) that have 75g of this shit in and then eating the whole lot because ‘ITZ JUS LIKE A PROPA CAKE HUN XOXOXOX’, you can see why SW stepped in and stopped it. That’s why we don’t have many cakes and biscuits on this blog – not because we can’t bake but because the reason these things taste so nice is because of the butter and because of the sugar. Sweetener, quark and the tears of a fatty is never going to beat that! Naturally we’ve had over-reactions, with people saying they’re going to leave because SW keep changing things, which is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the head because the logo for BBC2 has changed. Plus, if you HAVE to have it, it’s only 1/2 syn in a tablespoon. You’re allowed 15 syns a day. So that’s thirty tablespoons and frankly, if that isn’t enough to get by on, you’ve got bigger problems than getting Splenda out of the folds in your neck.

Finally, just a big thank you to all the wonderful kind comments and likes on our last post – I was so tempted at the end of it to say we were packing up and no more posts as a joke – I’m glad I didn’t. Judging by your outpouring of love (or was it just wind?) I’d have finished a few of you off – and not in that ‘rubbing ink off your hand’ way, if you get what I mean. To the lamb tagine! This serves four fatties and can be done all in the one pot as long as that pot has a decent lid and can go in the oven. If it can’t, you’re fucked. No, obviously not, you’ll just need to transfer it, but you can definitely manage that!

OH COMPLETELY AS AN ASIDE: do you need a laugh? This is a genuine goldmine. It’s as old as Paul’s mother but far more entertaining – read the reviews people have left for this portrait of Paul Ross. Click right here. It’s rare that I laugh 😐 but these had me absolutely creased. It’ll open in a new window, no need to shit the bed. You know we’ve got a good sense of humour, it’ll not let you down.

pronto lamb tagine

to make pronto lamb tagine you will need:

  • 500g lean diced lamb
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, quartered lengthways and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ras-el-hanout spice mix
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped (10 syns)
  • 600ml chicken stock

to make pronto lamb tagine you should:

  • preheat the oven to 180°c
  • heat a casserole dish on the hob over a medium-high heat and add some oil
  • brown the lamb on all sides and then remove from the pan and place onto a plate
  • in the same pan, add the onions and carrots and cook for about three minutes
  • add the garlic and cook for another minute
  • stir in the spices and chopped tomatoes and stir
  • add the lamb back to the pan along with the chickpeas, dried apricots and and stock
  • stir well, bring to a simmer and cover with the lid
  • cook in the oven for a couple of hours, though make sure it doesn’t boil dry – add more stock if it does
  • serve with rice!

How easy was that? If you’re after a few more lamb recipes, click the buttons below, but you can indulge yourself with beef, chicken and pork too!

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Enjoy folks.

J

oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham

There is literally no way of writing oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham without getting a queasy feeling in the stomach. It just doesn’t sound appetising, does it? The same way that you could never describe a pedicure as refreshing or having your anus watched out with water as cleansing. But bear with me: it tastes lovely and makes for a far more substantial breakfast. But before we get to it, a couple of things to consider.

I want to take a moment to say thank you to each and all of you for the lovely comments and messages I received after my previous post about advertising and the snooty comment that some boorish fartface left complaining that our advertising was out of control. There wasn’t a single message agreeing with her and everyone was exceptionally kind. I’d thank you all individually but I’m lazy, so please accept my thanks this way! We’ll say no more about the whole sorry mess and move on.

Bitch

I nearly died yesterday. OK so yes, I’m prone to melodrama and perhaps I wasn’t as close to death as that dramatic opening sentence suggests, but honestly. See, Paul told me he had to go into work and move his desk around – presumably pulling it further away from the wall so he can get his gunt behind it – and that left me with an afternoon to fill. What were my options? Stay at home watching the Olympics and masturbating? Not likely, it was diving. I’m not a fan. Paul and I can cheerfully watch the weight-lifting as men built like bridge pillars come out and hurl weights around – part of us is watching because they’re hot, part of us is scare-watching in case someone has an anal prolapse and everything comes pouring out like someone stepped on a sausage roll. There’s some things you don’t need to see in 65″ ultra HD, I can assure you.

So, given it was a nice day and I’m a lazy, lazy man, I thought it would be a good idea to take myself out for a walk. Growing up I was forever out walking about – it’s how I lost so much weight in my late teens – and I’ve fallen out of step (boom boom) with that since meeting Paul and learning how to drive. Paul is wonderful but he’d take the car to go to the bathroom for a piss if he could. Actually, he probably could do that now he has a car that Polly Pocket herself could drive. I used to adore tramping about in the woods with nothing but my bottle of tapwater, knock-off Rockports (Rickparts by George at ASDA) and a crappy little MP3 player that a friend gave me that I loaded up with downloaded episodes of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. No regrets! With that joyous image of young me in my mind, I asked Paul to drop me off at the nearby Plessey Woods and to pick up me up three hours later when I called him with my location.

Well, honestly. I knew from about three minutes in that I’d made a mistake. Firstly, I was wearing Paul’s trainers meaning every step pinched my feet and chewed my skin. I could feel the ghost of his pitted keratolysis haunting my toes. Second, the very moment I stepped out of his car my phone immediately lost signal. I don’t know if the trees of Plessey Woods are lined with lead but I didn’t get a signal again until an hour later. Nevermind, we made do before and we’ll do so again – I had downloaded a week’s worth of The Archers and three Food Programme episodes on the iPlayer before I set off so it wasn’t too bad.

You know what ruins public beauty spots? The public. I’d forgotten for a moment that I lived in the North East of England and that Geordie law dictates that as soon as a beam of sunlight hits the end of a Lambert and Butler, shirts must come off, disposable BBQs must be bought, lit and covered in 46% mince burgers and children must be encouraged to run around screaming with full nappies and empty minds. I’m so curmudgeonly these days, I know, but wouldn’t it be a treat to go somewhere and not experience a cacophony of kids blaring and parents bellowing and mooing at them? I put my headphones on and waddled down to the river like an angry buffalo.

Once in the forest though, it was wonderful. Always is. Most of the families stayed within a 200 metre of the ice-cream truck lest their children went more than five minutes without a Costco Calippo smeared across their face, so within no time at all I had the place to myself. I followed the river, marvelling at untouched beauty of it all, enjoying the silence. There was a brief startling moment when I happened across a tiny notice warning of a wasp nest up ahead – no actual instruction on where it was or what to do. I plodded on, knowing that if I did stumble into a wasp nest, that would be it for me. No chance of running away thanks to my bulk. They’d find my bloated, wasp-filled corpse floating down the river with my face frozen forever in a ‘COME AT ME, YOU FUCKING SHIT-BEES’ snarl.

Didn’t happen though, thankfully. No wasps and no other drama for a good two miles or so until I popped up on the side of the A1, sweating and confused and tired. Oh! One thing – let me explain an irrational fear of mine. See, alone in the woods, I only came across (bad choice of words given what is coming) another walker, a sole female walking towards me through the thick trees. I always instantly worry in a situation like this that the lass is going to see a red-faced, angry looking shaven-headed man blundering towards her and immediately reach for her pepper spray. I’m a kind, gentle soul but even I sometimes shit myself when I see my ugly mug in the mirror when I get up in the night for a piss.

So, what do I do? I can’t grin inanely at her from a distance because I have the type of grin that says ‘it’s going to hurt you more than it hurts me’. I can’t shout a cheery hello because then I’d just look insane. I don’t want her thinking I’m a threat in this crazy frightening world so the only thing I can really do is camp it up and make it clear that, how can I put this delicately, I take it up the Glitter. Thus, hand out like I’m clutching an invisible rail, dainty point feet as I gambol lightly over the rocks on the path, tra-la-laing along to the Archers omnibus theme tune. If I’d had my drill kit I could have set myself up behind a gloryhole in a nearby oak for good measure but there was no time, and she passed by unfazed, with a loud hiyaaaaaa from me. I do worry too much, don’t I?

After emerging onto the side of the A1 and spending ten minutes trying to cross it whilst half of the United Kingdom sped past at 100mph, I decided to send Paul a text to let him know I hadn’t a) fallen in a river or b) been raped and left for dead by some forest-dweller. His reply was ‘shall I get us a McFlurry before I pick you up’. Soothing. I told him I’d press on because I was enjoying myself and I’d call him when I was ready, spotting a barely visible public footbath through the Blagdon Estate, I minced onwards.

THAT’s where things turned deadly. Or at least, mildly inconvenient. I got lost. I so rarely get lost, I’m excellent with direction and hell, I know the area like the back of my hand, but I don’t know if I stumbled in the wrong direction trying to avoid cows or was distracted by something shiny on the horizon, but I completely lost my bearings. No mobile signal. Mild panic set in. Every field looked the same. The tracks were endless. I only had a little bit of water left and the day was hot. Clearly, the situation was grave, and given how prone I am to catastrophic thinking, I knew this was it. I stumbled bravely on for another couple of miles or two, trying to distract myself with The Archers but only making myself angrier because of silly Helen, until, finally, rising from the trees like the most middle-class mirage ever, the Northumberland Cheese Company. Phew.

Naturally, it was shut. I was gutted. Nothing quenches a raging thirst like a nettle and elderflower pressé and a truckle of expensive cheese. Salvation came in the form of FINALLY getting a signal on my mobile and I called Paul, who immediately dispatched himself to come to my aid. Took him forty fucking minutes. He wins a MASSIVE gold star for effort for playing Nearer My God To Thee through his car-speakers as he came hurtling over the horizon. Clearly at this point I was close to death, and imagine the indignity of such a frou-frou death as collapsing outside a cheese farm from heatstroke with only Sheila Dillon twittering on about strawberries to comfort me into the blackness. PAH. Paul bundled me into the Smart car (the fat equivalent of trying to stuff a telephone directory into an A5 envelope), pressed a McFlurry into my hand and sensitively pointed out that I was a little red in the cheeks. I’ll say: I walked, accordingly to my Fitbit, almost 8 miles in the blazing sun.

I’m paying for it today mind – my ankles hurt, my skin feels a bit tight and my chest hurts, presumably from my lungs having to do anything other than filter out shards of Smarties and chips. I, thankfully, don’t seem to have burnt myself though. I did have a moment of panic this morning when I woke up and felt my skin peeling from my face, only to find when I went to the bathroom that it was something else entirely – the happy by-product of a successful, loving marriage that had somehow splattered a little off-course and been missed in the after sex clean-up. It’s great for the skin, by the way, though I can’t see Montagne Jeunesse releasing a fuckmuck edition.

Speaking of sowing the wild oats, why not put proper oats into an omelette? See below. Christ, I only meant to type a few words for this post too! I’m saying syn free because you’re allowed 35g of oats as a healthy extra, but if you want to syn it, go for 25g at 4.5 syns. Up to you. Before I get to the recipe, I’m going to just mention that I don’t think Musclefood have turned off our discount yet so, if you’re still sitting on the fence, do I have a deal for you.

Because an advert follows, let me just give you the option of skipping the advert entirely. You just need to click on, entirely apropos of nothing, this tiny picture of Annie Wilkes from Misery to jump forward.

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FREEZER FILLER: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, 2kg (5 portions of 400g) less than 5% fat mince, 700g of bacon, 800g of extra lean diced beef and free standard delivery – use TCCFREEZER at checkout – £45 delivered!

BBQ BOX: 5kg (24/26) of big fat chicken breasts, two Irish rump steaks, 350g of bacon, 6 half-syn sausages, twelve giant half-syn meatballs, 400g diced turkeys, two juicy one syn burgers, two bbq chicken steaks, free delivery, season and 400g seasoned drumsticks (syn-free when skin removed) – use TCCSUMMER at checkout – £45 delivered!

Remember, you can choose the day you want it delivered and order well in advance – place an order now for a couple of weeks time and they’ll only take the payment once the meat is dispatched! Right, that’s enough of that. TO THE RECIPE.


Back, are we? Phew! Let’s do this.

oaty breakfast omelette

to make a oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham, you’ll need:

  • three decent eggs
  • three tablespoons of oats (taken from your healthy extra allowance or synned as above)
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • chopped ham or bacon
  • syn-free houmous (or syn some shop-bought stuff) – here’s a recipe for four houmous recipes! Don’t worry, it’ll open in a new window.
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • I used some leftover dried sundried tomatoes to add onto mine – I don’t syn them – they’re the dried variety which are dried and then need rehydrating – no oil involved and you’re eating no more tomato than chopping a cherry tomato in half – but up to you!

You can customise this however you want, add more speed, mushrooms, any old shite. Add cheese if you want! Also, if you do make a batch of houmous, you can use any remainder to make this recipe for houmous topped chicken. Nice.

to make a oaty breakfast omelette topped with houmous and ham, you should:

  • there’s really nothing to this – beat the eggs in a jug with the oats and a pinch of salt and pepper
  • using a good non-stick pan with a couple of sprays of oil, cook your omelette – pour it in, allow it to firm and if you’re feeling brave, flip it – but don’t fold it over
  • once it’s cooked, slide it onto a plate, slather it with houmous, top with the ham, bacon, cheese, old car bits, fag ash, anything you want
  • eat by placing small chunks of it into your mouth and masticating wildly

It’s that easy! I was really pleasantly surprised – it makes for a more substantial breakfast. Slimming World’s breakfast choices are a bit limited I find, so anything new is to be welcomed. And look ma, no sweetener! WHOO. In case you’re wondering, we use one of these for our omelettes. We were given one as a gift and have never looked back, although I know it’s ridiculously fancy. But so are we, damn it.

For more breakfast ideas or overnight oats recipes, click the buttons below!

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Cheers, big-ears,

J

taster night ideas for Slimming World

Looking for taster night ideas? There’s SEVEN recipes down below. I’m not surprised you want inspiration, nothing seems to strike fear into slimmers at Slimming World more than ‘we’re having a party next week, bring something along‘. Well, perhaps the words ‘let’s split the room in half, someone keep points, we’re going to do group activities‘. God I hate that. I’m too antisocial at the best of times but being forced to come up with a witty team name and shout out speed foods makes my throat hitch. For those not in the Cult of Mags, a taster night is where everyone is expected to bring along some food to share with the rest of the class and usually results in about twenty quiches and a box of grapes bought from the Co-op over the road by the lady who forgot it was on.

I struggle with taster nights because, as previously mentioned, I don’t like eating food when I don’t know how clean the kitchen it’s coming from is. Luckily I’m in a class now with people who do look familiar with a bottle of Ajax, but Christ, some of the sights I’ve seen in other classes, well I wouldn’t eat what came out of their kitchens even if it contained the antidote to a life-threatening poison I’d accidentally ingested. I don’t mind a slice of Slimming World quiche, I just don’t like to be twanging cat hair out of my teeth for the following week. Anyway, as ‘what can I make for taster night’ and ‘slimming world snacks’ appear quite regularly on the little index of what people search for to find this blog. Well, it can’t all be ‘chubby cub cum explosion’ (can’t remember that recipe?) and ‘fat men fuking’ (masturbation is no excuse for poor spelling, chaps).

Oh! A quick word. When a buffet is served up in class, try and allow the meek amongst us access to the food. A couple of years ago, in a class in Wakefield no less, Paul and I didn’t get any food because half the class – not the better half – dashed forward as soon as the ‘party’ began and formed one giant body of impassable bulk. It was like the Berlin Wall, only smelling faintly of chips. I’ve never seen food shovelled and devoured with such ferocity and I’ve seen Sicilian wild boars being fed. All I wanted was a (nothing-like-a) Ferrero Rocher and a few ‘JUST LIKE DORITOS’ crisps that I could have planed a door with. I had my revenge anyway – the wasabi peas that I put on the table thinking they were syn-free were actually about eight syns a handful. What can I say? My knowledge of the Mandarin language is a little rusty.

So, with all the above in mind, we decided to do a post on snacks, also fuelled by the fact it was Eurovision last night and we like to have a trough of food to work through whilst we watch our entry get annihilated. Before anyone says the UK will never win because ‘it’s too political’ and ‘no-one votes for us because of the war’, that was relevant maybe ten years ago and certainly isn’t now. Russia almost won it and well, that Putin’s been a bit of a tinker this year, has he not? We don’t win because we send absolute shite – po-faced, dreary, period-pain music with insipid staging and crap tunes. No doubt that Aldi Jedward can sing a tune and strum a guitar but they lost a singing competition where literally tens of people voted for someone else to be a winner. Why would that translate to success in the Eurovision Song Contest? EH? We need to send something amazing, with a massive chorus and an uplifting melody, not a song that would barely make its way onto the second CD in the Now That’s What I Call White Noise 87 compilation.

I was just sore because I had Poland and Italy in the sweepstakes, and did you catch them? Poland came dancing out like a crystal-meth Cheryl Cole and Italy’s act was so boring that I forgot about it whilst she was singing the words, which is quite something. I wanted Russia to win. That stage, that song (You Are The Obi Wan, You’re My Obi Wan…) and gasp, when that screen spun around…well, I loved it. Plus one of my work colleagues had Russia in the sweepstakes and I just know he’s going to be spend his winnings on delicious things for the entire floor. That’s right, isn’t it Alan? SHOUT-OUT FOR ALAN. Mahaha. Paul threw his weight behind Sweden, who I can’t really be mean about because the singer was only 8 and he has the angst of puberty to get through. He’s no Eric Saade (2011) with his exploding glass cages though.

As it happens, one of the worst songs managed to win – Kate Bush’s stunt double caterwauling about politics – and Ukraine took the prize, meaning Russia will be hosting the Eurovision next year. Boom boom. We’ve said it every year – we should go to the next Eurovision – and the fact that it is being held in Ukraine only sweetens the deal. If it had been Russia we’d have been conflicted – on one hand, we love the idea of a night of catchy tunes surrounded by every other gay man in existence, but on the other hand I prefer not to have my teeth kicked down my throat because I’m a rampant bummer. Ah yes.

Anyway come on now, let’s get to the recipes, shall we? This is the spread.

taster night ideas

Fancy, right? On view then:

  • Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip
  • our teeny tiny teriyaki tasters
  • sandwiches filled with syn-free egg mayonnaise and tuna and cucumber
  • sweet potato crisps with four different types of houmous
  • baked new potatoes with cheese and bacon topping

Out of sight:

  • spicy couscous balls
  • gin and tonic lollies

Three caveats that I’m going to throw in before we begin:

TWEAK

  • some of these recipes are ‘tweaks’ in the truest sense of the word – especially the crisps – and it’s up to you whether you follow the rule of synning them or not – tweaks being when you use an ingredient in a way it isn’t intended to be used, such as slicing a sweet potato to make crisps. I will mention it where appropriate. My own view (which you can find here) is that it’s better to be eating something made from a healthy ingredient than a processed packet of crisps. It boils down to this – 100g of sweet potato is around 85 calories, 100g of Walkers crisps kicks in over 550 calories. I’ll be fucked if I’m synning sweet potato crisps at the same rate as normal crisps. If you feel the need to be all frothy and leave a comment castigating me for my temerity, please save yourself the finger strain, wipe the spittle from your lips and simply don’t bother – personal choice;
  • a couple of these recipes you’ll have seen before if you’re a long-time follower, but I thought it would be handy to put them all in one place; and
  • as usual, I’ve given syn values for a normal portion and I’ll mention when it uses up a HEA/HEB. If you’re eating the entire buffet, you’ll need to think about how many HEB/HEA’s you’re using! It’ll make sense as we go along. Basically, each recipe stands on its own. Right? Right.

taster night ideas #1: sweet potato crisps with four different types of houmous:

taster night ideas

to make the sweet potato crisps, you’ll need:

  • a couple of big sweet potatoes
  • spray oil – a few squirts of Filippo Berio’s olive oil is only half a syn, and that’s all you need
  • chinese five spice

to make the sweet potato crisps, you should:

  • to make the crisps, use a microwave, it’s much easier
  • get a big old sweet potato and cut it to uniform thin slices – this is where having a mandolin slicer comes in very handy, because it’ll take no time at all to do the slices – buy one here and never look back, not least because it makes your food look great when it’s all uniform
  • arrange the slices on a plate, squirt with some spray oil, dust with chinese five spice (or indeed, any flavouring you want) and rub it in
  • microwave on full power – it usually takes about six minutes, but keep checking every couple of minutes, and once they start to look dry, turn them over
  • keep a proper eye on them mind, because they can burn easily once they dry out
  • once done, take them off the plate, set aside, and do the next batch

to make the four way houmous, you’ll need:

  • a few small tins of chickpeas
  • garlic cloves
  • fat free cottage cheese
  • a lemon or two
  • sea salt

to make the four way houmous, you should:

  • the basic houmous recipe is simple enough – for enough to fill one of those little square bowls above, you’ll want to use one small tin of cooked chick peas (syn free), a nice round tablespoon of fat free cottage cheese, a garlic clove, pinch of sea salt and some lemon juice. Blend it together, adding a little more lemon juice if you like it runny or keeping some back if you prefer it chunky. It’s up to you. You will save yourself so much time if you get yourself one of these little express choppers that Delia Smith was always going on about between tumblers of Scotch – you can find one here – it’ll make houmous in no time
  • to make the different variations, you just add a few ingredients:
    • lemon and garlic (add an extra couple of garlic gloves, a squidge more lemon juice and decorate with finely grated lemon peel) (don’t take the pith, literally, as that is very bitter – just the top layer, please)
    • basil and parmesan (10 torn basil leaves, 10g of shaved parmesan, bit of salt) – up to you if you want to syn such a tiny portion of parmesan but bearing in mind you’ll be getting what, 2.5g of it, I wouldn’t bother
    • pickled red cabbage (just a few chunks of pickled red cabbage and some of the pickling vinegar added to give it colour
    • paprika and sun-dried tomato – I chucked in 1tbsp of sundried tomato paste (1.5 syns, but again, through the laws of dilution, it’s up to you if you syn it)

Easy! Of course, if you don’t want to fart on making the crisps, just chop up some peppers, carrots and cucumber and use them instead to dip into your houmous. If you want our little serving dish, you guessed it, it’s on Amazon!

taster night ideas #2: teeny tiny teriyaki tasters:

teeny tiny teriyaki tasters

This makes enough for 36 sticky teeny tiny teriyaki tasters (fnar fnar), if you make them bigger, adjust the syns per ball. There’s 12 syns in the overall recipe.

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you’ll need:

to make teeny tiny teriyaki tasters, you should:

  • in a large bowl mix together the pork and the beef mince with the egg yolk
  • using a tablespoon, scoop out a spoon-size ball and roll into meatballs – do this for all of the mixture (you’ll need about 36 – if you want, you could weigh out each ball at around 27g each…but life’s too short)
  • heat a large pan over a medium high heat and add a couple of squirts of spray oil or, urgh, Frylight, bleurgh
  • cook the meatballs until browned all over and cooked right through – you WILL need to do them in batches
  • place cooked meatballs onto a baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm whilst you cook the rest
  • when done, mix together the soy sauce, white wine, sherry, honey and ginger in a small jug and pour into the same pan you used to cook the meatballs and reduce the heat to medium
  • cook for a few minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened
  • add the meatballs back into the pan and stir carefully to coat – I find it easier to tumble the meatballs in and then pick up the pan and gently slosh them around rather than trying to stir with a spoon
  • serve on cocktail sticks and sprinkle over the seeds – don’t sweat it if you can’t find these, you could easily leave them off and that brings the syn count to 1 syn for six – even better – but they look so pretty with the seeds on

taster night ideas #3: Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip:

taster night ideas

to make Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip, you’ll need:

  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1 onion (grate half of it, chop the other half)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp of sriracha, (1 syn) (you can use any old hot sauce)
  • 1 egg
  • 25g panko (4.5 syns) (or use breadcrumbs from your HEB allowance)
  • ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 5 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 100g quark

to make Bánh Mì balls with a spicy dip, you should:

Full disclosure: we got this recipe from the fabulous cookingforkeeps.com – her recipe can be found here and looks equally as delicious – we’ve tweaked ours for Slimming World!

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  • in a bowl, mix together the turkey mince, onion (grated and chopped), carrot, spring opnions, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, 1 tsp of sriracha, egg and the panko until combined
  • roll into 1″ size balls and place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper
  • cook in the oven for twenty minutes
  • meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp sriracha and the quark to make a dipping sauce
  • slice the radishes and cucumbers as thinly as you can and skewer one of each onto a cocktail stick with the meatball

taster night ideas #4: little sandwiches:

to make little sandwiches, you’ll need:

taster night ideas

No need for a full recipe here, really. Take whatever bread you want from your HEB – we use Kingsmill Crustless Wholemeal bread, which you can have three slices of. Cut nice circles out of them, remember you eat with your eyes.

  • for the egg salad, boil up four eggs, break them up with a fork, add a tablespoon of quark, lots of black pepper, a chopped tomato and some spring onions
  • for the tuna – well, we’re old school, we just like tuna mixed with vinegar and served with cucumber. You could splash out and add a bit of Quark to bind it, I suppose…

taster night ideas #5: baked new potatoes with a cheese and bacon topping:

taster night ideas

to make baked new potatoes, you’ll need:

  • 1.5kg small salad-type potatoes
  • 100g fat-free fromage frais
  • 30g parmesan (1x HEA)
  • 4 rashers of bacon, all visible fat removed
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • chives

to make baked new potatoes, you should:

  • preheat the oven to 200 degrees (or an actifry with the paddle removed is just as good – Amazon are selling them for £125 at the moment too!)
  • prick the potatoes with a fork, spray with a little frylight and bake in the oven (or actifry) for about 45 minutes
  • grill or dry-fry the bacon until crispy and chop into small pieces
  • mix together the fromage frais, parmesan and spring onions and set aside
  • when the potatoes are cooked, leave to cool for about ten minutes
  • make a cross in the top of each potato and squeeze the bottoms to open them up
  • spoon in a little of the fromage frais mixture and top with bacon pieces and chives

taster night ideas #6: spicy couscous balls:

couscousballs

Please note: that’s an old photo, it’s actually now 4 syns for all the balls, but you’re not going to eat them all yourself anyway, surely? I’ll nip back in time and change the photo later.

Not worth making a full recipe breakdown for this, because it’s so, so easy. I use two packets of Ainsley Harriott’s spicy sensations couscous, which come in at 2 syns per pack made up with water (so don’t be adding butter, you cheeky buggers). Add the appropriate level of water (whatever it says on the pack) and leave to absorb. Fluff with a fork. Beat an egg and mix it into the couscous, then squeeze as many balls as you can out of the mixture. Pop onto a tray and stick it in the oven on 150 degrees for an hour or so – you want to ‘dry’ them out. Cooked low and slow, you’ll be laughing. For a dip, make tzatziki – greek yoghurt (I use Tesco Finest 0% fat – no syns) mixed with cucumber cut into tiny cubes and mint. Stir, chill, eat.

taster night ideas #7: gin and tonic ice lollies

taster night ideas

Again, no need for a full recipe. We mixed 25ml of gin with a glass of diet tonic, poured it into a cheapy ice-lolly mould like this £3 from Amazon and added a slice of cucumber. Between six, it’s half a syn each. Of course, it’s easy to customise this, put your pint of whisky in, add lime, add fruit, don’t add alcohol, do what you like!

OK, I hope that’s given you some inspiration. It’s certainly made my fingers ache!

Do me a favour though – share this page in as many facebook pages as you can, because taster recipes is one of the main things people need. Spread the love! Leave me your comments below!

Oh it’s worth noting, we did have a couple of drinks to get us through Eurovision, see…

taster night ideas

J

chicken souvlakia, plus weigh in week eight

Ah, hello there. Come for the chicken souvlakia recipe? Then please, wait a moment. I’ll get to it. But first, it’s weigh in day, and well, goodness me…

week8

Whilst I’m here, I forgot to post last week’s cockometer too!

12795355_1102913176409558_1589710959370133735_n

I shall make a page of them all on. I find myself thinking of new themes for each knob.

Hooray! 32lb over eight weeks, including the time we put 11lb back on in New York, is good enough for me! Our aim has always been to lose 2lb a week. I get so frustrated when I read comments online where people kvetch and moan about only losing a couple of pounds – that’s the healthy way to do it – slowly and sensibly. I sometimes think Slimming World puts a bit too much emphasis on big losses (like Slimmer of the Week) as it is and it creates disappointment. Mind, my frustration soon builds to sheer eye-popping rage when I see people saying that they’re stuck for ideas on what to cook. You’re using the Internet, the world’s biggest cookbook – it isn’t just used for watching jizz vids and bloody asos.com, you know. I do sometimes think it boils down to laziness – people can’t be arsed to cook but that in itself is a shame, because so many of our recipes for example cook in no time at all. Anyway, no time for soapbox, dinner is almost ready, and I need to post the bloody recipe.

It’s a chicken recipe to celebrate our brilliant new Musclefood deal – I’m going to talk about it in full over the weekend, but we now have a decent, plain deal – around 25 chicken breasts (and each one is huge and doesn’t shrink!), 2kg of extra lean beef mince, 2 big packs of fat fee bacon medallions and two packs of beef strips. For £50, delivered. And mind it’s not delivered the usual online way, where it gets stuffed into a jiffy bag, driven across the country by a lorry driver who has only had three hours sleep, then chucked in your wheelie bin as a “safe place”. Nope, this is a trackable, chilled delivery. Normally £80, haggled it down to £50. We all it our freezer filler, partly because they wouldn’t let me call it a box-stretcher. Click here for this deal and our fancy new Musclefood page!

So, chicken souvlakia!

chicken souvlakia

Just look at it, it’s tasty, juicy and actually, so easy to make. Let’s go. This makes enough for four if you use four chicken breasts. And fuck me, if you needed that explaining, perhaps you’d be better off with a packet of crisps and a sit-down. 

to make chicken souvlakia you will need: 

for the souvlaki:

for the sauce:

  • 250ml fat free greek yoghurt
  • half a cucumber, peeled with the flesh grated
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

for the salad:

  • half an onion, chopped finely
  • half a cucumber
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • salt and pepper

for the houmous:

to make chicken souvlakia you should:

  • mix together the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice with the chicken and leave to marinade for about thirty minutes
  • meanwhile – prepare the sauce by mixing together all of the sauce ingredients and prepare the salad by chopping everything into neat chunks 
  • when ready, thread the chicken onto the skewers and grill for about ten minutes each side under a hot grill
  • serve with toasted pitta triangles from your HEB and a great big smile because you’ve done ever so well, haven’t you?

J

houmous coated chicken

If you’re here looking for houmous coated chicken then scroll down! This entry is all about our wonderful trip to Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon. Enjoy!

twochubbycubs go to Iceland: part five

Our trip to The Blue Lagoon, then. The Blue Lagoon is possibly one of Iceland’s most recognisable places – a large man-made pool created from the water output from the nearby geothermal powerplant. They take super hot water from the ground, spin a few turbines with it and then let the rest pour into the lagoon, keeping it toasty warm. I admit I was surprised – I thought it was a natural pool thanks to all the tasteful photography and talk of ‘lagoon’, but then I suppose ‘come and have a swim in the run-off water from our power plant’ doesn’t sound quite so grand. I mean, I don’t worry about my fertility at the best of times, but I do like to know my snake tears could still do what they are supposed to do if the situation required it. Luckily, obviously, it’s not radioactive. They also completely replace the water every two days, meaning that even if someone sharts in the far corner of the pool, you’re unlikely to be bothered by it. 

Let me start by saying that this quick tale will be bookended by two bus-woe stories, both equally vexing, but only one where Paul and I redeemed British folk for all the world. 

We booked our trip well in advance and, yet again, were picked up at the hotel by a minibus and then shepherded to an idling coach early in the morning. This is pretty much the start of every single tour you’ll ever do in Iceland by all accounts. If you’re a fan of looking hopefully at the horizon, you’ll be in your element here. The buses are clean, comfortable and have free WiFi, which is handy if the endless beauty of Iceland holds no appeal for you and you’ve got Candy Crush to dribble over.

Like class swots, we took our seats at the front of the coach, only to have the two biggest, boring, most vacuous young ladies sit immediately behind us. They were lawyers from London and by god did you know about it by the time the bus had climbed into third gear. Every word was strained like they were running out of air, every sentence pronounced so loudly that I could have stayed in the hotel and still heard all about her stupid landlord who wouldn’t let Gareth (Guuur-raaaaaath) stay over. Everyone else feigned sleep – it was 8am after all – but no, this pair of braying donkeys kept up their schtick all the way to the Lagoon, a good forty-five minutes away. Paul and I were terribly British about the whole thing – coughing, giving side-eye, sighing like the oxygen on the bus was running out, but there was no stopping them. Never have I thought about crashing off a mountain road into an abyss with such longing.

The bus drops you off seemingly in the middle of nowhere (actually, a lava field in Grindavík – not active lava I needlessly add – there’s nothing especially relaxing about third degree burns), with a tiny visitor centre and a rock exclaiming that you’ve arrived. There’s very little to indicate that you need to walk further on, but, despite being spherical, we bravely continued, not letting the 400m walk to the entrance faze us. Heroes the both of us. We had booked our tickets in advance online and I’d heartily recommend you do the same – the queue, even at that time in the morning – was through the door. We chose the ‘Premium’ ticket online, which allows you to queue jump and gets you a free drink within the Lagoon. It’s worth it for not having to wait, plus you’re given a pair of slippers and a robe. Sadly, the Body Beautiful behind the counter looked at me and handed me an XL robe with a very ‘that won’t fit’ look. It was Paul in the Austrian mine all over again. For the record, the XL robe fitted perfectly, although it did say ‘FOR RENT ONLY’ in big letters on it. That took me back to my college days, I can tell you. You’re also given a wristband which acts as both your key for the locker and a card of sorts for any drinks or food you purchase. Handy. On we trotted.

Now, let me cover something off – you absolutely do need to change and shower with other people. In order to keep this facility clean and hygienic you’re expected to give yourself a good soaping. Fair enough, no-one likes to swim drinking in tagnuts, holehair and winnits. If you’re like me and couldn’t give the shiniest shite about what other people think of your body, you can whip everything out, have a blasting hot shower and be done in a few minutes. If you’re shy, though, that’s also accommodated for by way of little changing cubicles which you can hide your modesty behind, though it’s that frosted glass so if you have a particularly hairy growler people can still see it. I’m not a fan, I’m always worried my arse-cheeks will press up against the glass as I take my socks off and someone will think it’s a magic eye puzzle of a hot-air balloon disaster. There’s a handy chart on the wall showing the special areas you must wash – your face, armpits, fanny and arse, though presumably you’re not expecting to use the same cloth. Again, if you’re shy, you’ll face a wait for the privacy cubicles – so there’s another reason to get there nice and early.

Once you’re showered to the point where someone could eat their dinner off your bumhole (and they’d have a handy place to keep their napkin, certainly), you pop your clothes in the locker, use your wristband to secure the door and out you go, carefully dodging all the willies flapping about as others change. I pity the poor bastard who is given a locker closest to the ground  because inevitably you’re going to look up from putting your shoes away and find yourself peering into someone’s arse-crack. Anyway. The lagoon is just at the bottom of some stairs and, being so early in the morning, was lit by soft blue lights under the twinkling stars. It was magic. You can wade in like you’re on a Lidl Baywatch, or, perhaps more sensibly, you can swim out into the lagoon from the building itself, getting yourself used to the water.

A few quick observations. It’s hot. Durr, I know, but it really threw me quite how hot it was. You know when you’re in a bath and you’re letting more hot water in with your toe, and you’re about five seconds away from it being too hot? It’s like that, in places, and even hotter still if you swim near to the vents where the hot water bubbles out. You’re not going to burn – they’re ‘rocked’ off – but expect everything to be soft and sagging when you get out. It’s the first and only time in my life where I’ve been able to scratch my balls with my big toe. The rest of the lagoon is around the same temperature as your body, but, being Iceland, you just need to stand up to cool off, given how cold the air is. It’s a wonderful feeling. 

It’s also surprisingly large. Although it’s crowded at the entrance to the pool, you can swim out into the steam and lose yourself. I never felt like I was in anyone’s way, besides Paul, but that’s only because he wanted to cuddle in the water and I was alarmed that we might stick together like a cheese toastie in the heat. It’s not so deep you can’t stand up in it, but it’s deep enough to swim around should you desire. There’s a cave to swim through (where I naughtily found the switch to change the narrator from gentle, soothing English to booming German, much to the consternation of a few bathing Chinese ladies who were probably already confused by the apparent sight of two beluga whales swimming towards them. There’s also a waterfall which cascades lovely hot water all over your body with such force that my fat rolls started playing a disco beat from slapping against each other. I probably looked like an oil slick viewed through a heat haze. Don’t care. You can book a massage where you float on a pad in the water but we never got around to sorting this out. Of course, we both immediately regretted it when we saw the masseuse – a giant muscly mountain man who could have put us both over his shoulder and had his wicked way with us. We’ll put down the wistful tears in Paul’s eyes to a reaction with the sulphur, shall we.

Ah yes, the sulphur. Look, you can’t get away from the fact the place has a certain eggy smell to it. In places, it smells like a freshly cleaved poo. But it’s a natural smell, like when they spread muck on the fields or when the sewers overflow. You get used to it, which is handy, as you’ll be smelling of eggs for a good while afterwards. Dotted around the lagoon are pots of the silica mud that naturally forms on the bottom of the lagoon – it’s apparently an excellent face-mask. It’s also a brilliant white, leading to some frightening experiences when some of the more…aged folks in the pool come swirling out of the mists looking like Heath Ledger as the Joker. Paul and I covered ourselves in it and had a whale of a time. I swam up to the swim-up bar (well, it seemed like the right thing to do) and ordered us some drinks – I had a plastic pint of beer, Paul had a strawberry iced drink. Luckily I have the chest hair to carry off such manliness, even if I did scream when Paul accidentally spilt his slop down my back. Well, wouldn’t be the first time. 

After an hour or so of floating about, we got out, had a sandwich and a sit down (it’s tiring being lazy) and then went back in for another hour or so. You don’t really need a full day here. Oh! One more observation. So many selfie sticks! But worse, so many unprotected phones being carried out in the water. Why?! If you drop that bloody phone in the water, it’s not coming out again working, let me tell you. You might get a final kamikaze shot of someone’s legs uploaded to your iCloud but that’s it. I don’t know how people hold their nerves, I get anxious brushing my teeth with my phone in my hand. 

We got changed and walked back to the bus, stopping only for a couple more photos and a Calippo. Keeping it real. Vexingly, we had missed the hourly bus back by about thirty minutes, but we were happy enough to sit and wait.

Unlike the beast I’m going to call Sandra – for that was her name. Sandra and her very, VERY henpecked husband had missed the bus by only a minute or two, seemingly by the husband not sprinting ahead to stop it. She apparently would have ran herself but ‘what would have been the point, given how slow you were’. Let me tell you, the only time this woman was running anywhere was if a vending machine had been left unlocked. She was absolutely dreadful – she sat and very loudly explained to her husband all of his faults and why she could do better. My heart went out to him – I almost asked Paul if I should nip over and give him a blowjob just to lift his spirits. I rather got the impression she wouldn’t have done that either.

And, typically, with all the inevitability of day following night, when the bus did come, she sat behind us – and the forty five minute bus-ride from hell in the morning was nothing compared to this. She had this incredibly irritating way of trying to sound like she was better than everyone else, both Icelandic and English, and that, in her words:

  • Iceland is shit because you have to get a bus everywhere” (you don’t, you can get a taxi, unless you can’t afford it but you want people to think you can)
  • what’s the fackin’ point of Wifi if it doesn’t FACKIN’ WORK” (who’d have thought it? Wifi on a bus in the middle of nowhere being patchy!)
  • “...place would be so much better if it wasn’t for all the FACKIN’ tourists” (it would certainly be better without one of them)
  • aren’t Icelandic houses shit” (because that two-up-two-down in some piss-pot village is the classier choice)
  • who’d stay in a FACKIN’ shit ‘OTEL like this” (not you, my love, because you’re staying at a cheaper hotel down the road)

and so on and so forth. She was embarrassingly crass and vocal and all her husband could do was ‘yes dear’ and ‘no dear’. She was loud so EVERYONE could hear her. Here’s the fun part though. The bus, dropping everyone off in ‘random order’ (but clearly based on how luxurious the hotels were…i.e. the more expensive hotels got their passengers back first) and ours was second on the list. This pissed her off and on she ranted. 

So, naturally, as we got off, I turned around on the steps of the bus and, loudly, called her a ‘common, classless tart‘ before proper dashing into the foyer in case the rancid old bag or her wispy husband followed suit. They didn’t. That split second I saw of her face avalanching in anger was more than enough for me and I’m not joking when I say that gives me a chuckle even now. Probably shouldn’t have said anything. Don’t care though. 

previousArtboard 1  nextArtboard 1

Right, the recipe! This makes enough for four big breasts. So that’s two each. We served with mushrooms, new potatoes and some broccoli. Classy! You can mix this up by using one of our four houmous recipes found right here!

houmous coated chicken

Don’t forget, you get plenty of giant chicken breasts in our big old meat box! You can find the details for that right here!

to make houmous coated chicken you will need: 

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp fat free cottage cheese
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • fresh basil leaves, chopped

to make houmous coated chicken you should:

  • preheat the oven to 220ºc
  • spray a large baking dish with Frylight and place the chicken breasts in a single layer and set aside
  • to make the houmous, add the chickpeas, cottage cheese, cumin and paprika to a food processor and blend until smooth
  • spread the houmous mixture over each chicken breast using a spatula – you need need to ‘slap’ it on instead of spreading it. you’ll want a nice, thick amount on each one.
  • bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is well cooked
  • sprinkle on some chopped basil and serve

Easy! It might not look amazing but it tasted damn fine and it’s syn free. So suck it!

Oh! I should say. As usual, my shite photography let me down. But here’s what it looks like when the photo is taken by someone who has more dexterity and eye for detail than a potato.

50640469

J

pork and chorizo kebabs

EMERGENCY RECIPE ACTIVATE (Paul and I are gallivanting!). This is super quick to make and a good way to use up pork mince – pork is a slightly drier mince so works well with the oily chorizo but beef could be used too. 

pork and chorizo burgers

to make pork and chorizo kebabs, you’ll need:

  • 500g lean pork mince
  • 75g chorizo, chopped (7.5 syns)
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • handful of chopped parsley

This makes enough for six ‘burgers’, which you can chop up and put into a kebab or indeed, have as a burger. I think that’s enough for three people. If you’re finding that there’s too much meat for you to handle and you’ve got a badly-packed kebab, just take a bit out and try again. You’ll get the hang of it and there’ll be thick yoghurt sauce everywhere in no time at all.

to make pork and chorizo kebabs, you should:

  • mix together all of the ingredients and season to taste
  • divide the mixture into six and press into burger shapes
  • heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and place the burgers in the pan
  • cook for about 6-7 minutes each side, making sure the burgers are fully cooked
  • serve in a pitta bread (make sure it’s suitable for your HEB) with salad and raita (mix fat free yoghurt with chopped mint and shredded cucumber)

So easy!

J

quinoa porridge with roasted tomatoes and garlic

Didn’t get to sleep until 4am this morning. Was woken by Shaddapa Your Face at 7am. Brief entry. But you’ll note that we are still to let you down with our recipe-a-day. Proud of that one! 

Tonight’s recipe was something we’d seen somewhere, written down, then completely forgotten about until a bag of quinoa cheerfully fell out of the cupboard. Quinoa is one of those things that looks awful (to me) but tastes fine. Give this a go – it’s comforting and piss-easy to make.

quinoa porridge with roasted tomatoes and garlic

to make quinoa porridge with roasted tomatoes, you’ll need:

  • 250g quinoa
  • 1.1 litres vegetable stock
  • 90g reduced-fat feta cheese (2x HEA)
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 10g mint leaves, chopped to bits
  • salt

then to make quinoa porridge with roasted tomatoes, you should:

  • place the quinoa in a saucepan, add the stock and bring to the boil
  • reduce the heat to medium and cook gently for about 25 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally until it reaches a porridge-like consistency
  • fold in the feta chunks like a kind, careful lover
  • add the tomatoes into a hot oiled pan and cook for about five minutes, stirring once or twice so the sides become charred
  • add the garlic slices and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn
  • transfer the tomatoes and garlic into a bowl, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt and some black pepper
  • chop the mint and fold through tomatoes immediately before serving
  • spoon the porridge into a bowl, and top with the tomatoes

Easy. Yeah, it’s a bit ‘my husband works in the city and I’ve got an etsy page selling bunting made from spider dreams and melancholy’ but it’s worth it.

J

turkey biryani and Corsica shenanigans

Three things before we set off:

  • I was in ASDA before (the glamour!) and as I was busy upsetting the self-scan machine, I heard some pompous bellend bark at an ASDA employee to ‘fetch me a basket’. The worker had the good grace to point him in the direction of some baskets, but I was instantly reminded why I hate people before I love them. The only thing I would have fetched him was his arsehole through his throat. 
  • It’s approaching poppy season, which means the people whose DNA had to decide between growing black teeth or growing brain cells and promptly decided on the former will be on facebook telling you that poppies can’t be sold in XYZ because of Muslims. I’ve exhausted myself on facebook arguing with numpties, but look, it’s bullshit. The Royal British Legion have confirmed. Just research it!
  • First weigh-in since we decided to give it a bit more effort. I lost 5.5lb (and you’ve seen the meals I’ve been eating!) and Paul managed a respectable 2lb, meaning half a stone’s worth of pressure has been taken off the metal slats of our bed. Good. See, eating properly works, so put down your Scan-Bran and crack on.

A lovely lady at class last night told me I had to crack on with my Corsica holiday trip – and she’s quite right, of course, as ladies always are. So here we go. The last entry finished with us landing at the world’s smallest airport and being given a Peugeot 206: Sloth Edition to trundle around the island in. If you’re not a fan of my writing and you just want the recipe, hit the scroll button, because this is a long one. Like you can’t handle a long entry, you FILTHY MINX. So…

After landing at Figari, and wrestling the keys from a woman who probably could have brought the car in on her shoulders, we were on our way down the N198 (the main road ‘around’ Corsica) to the charming little town of Sainte Lucie de Porto Vecchio, which was a good half hour drive away. We didn’t mind the drive, it gave us an opportunity to let the scenery sink in. Corsica is beautiful – a true island of contrasts, with white beaches, heady mountains, green fields and dusty trees – and not what I was expecting. Our car, protesting as it did every time I dared nudge it above 40mph, shuttled us towards the town, and, us being us, we drive right past the turn off for the villa. Good stuff! We realised our mistake a good twenty minutes down the road and pulled over in a dusty lay-by by a beach to take stock. I could have texted the rep for directions and assistance but Paul had packed away my mobile into the suitcase, locked the suitcase, and put it in the bottom of the boot. It was altogether too much effort to sort. Paul insists on locking the suitcases at every opportunity, partly because they’re fancy-dan editions where the zips actually form part of the locking system. He locked them after we had wedged them into the boot of the car. He remained entirely non-plussed by my bewildered reasoning of ‘who the fuck is going to nick anything from a moving car, a tiny Corsican gypsy hiding in the ashtray?’. Honestly, the things I have to put up with. Frankly, if someone is that desperate to be at my passport that they want to sort through my extra-extra-large t-shirts and his ‘broken in’ boxers shorts, they deserve a reward.

Paul nipped into the bushes for a piddle and came dashing out with an alarmed face – not because of snakes, or scary wild boars, but (in his words) ‘there’s SO MUCH SHITTY BOG PAPER IN HERE’. Oh lovely! That would be a bit of a theme mind. Corsica is astonishing, but by god don’t venture into the bushes to change your clothes, empty your shoes of half a ton of sand or for a piss, because they sure do love shitting and leaving the paper for nature. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t imagine anyone would take their skidmarked paper home like a flower pressing, but at least bury it, don’t festoon the fucking branches with it. Honestly, it looked like Christmas in Worksop.

We stopped at a nearby Spar for groceries. Groceries isn’t quite the right word for the food you buy on holiday, though, is it? The only thing we left the shop with that could provide any nutritional value was the receipt. I’m going to hazard a guess that it will be the only time in my life that a bottle of Limoncello, swimming googles, eight bags of Haribo, headache pills, Pringles and enough bread to build an ark would appear in my shopping basket together. We did buy a token bag of rocket which looked great in the fridge at the start of the holiday and even better in the bin at the end. As a ‘car snack’ we bought a pretzel the size of a steering wheel to eat in the car (I was reassured that I could have dislodged any errant blobs of dough from my teeth with the toenail clipping that the previous driver had generously left on the dash) and we were back on our way. Let me tell you – it’s difficult to drive an unfamiliar car on unfamiliar roads whilst trying to make sure Paul didn’t get more than half of the bread. We made our back, veering dangerously across the road and spraying crumbs everywhere until we spotted the turn-off.

I have to say, the approach to the villa wasn’t very inviting – it looked like the start of every dodgy serial-killer film I’ve ever seen – and the architects had carefully and assuredly made sure to put as many possible pot-holes and boulders on the drive-way, so that the 100m drive up to the villa made me feel like a trainer in a tumble drier. It was worth it, though.

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Casa Julia! I’ve stolen the photos from Simpson Travel’s website because frankly, my photography skills are up there with Stevie Wonder’s. I could be alone in the world and still manage to get the back of someone’s head or a rogue thumb into my shots. Anyway, we paid a king’s ransom for the villa, I’m fairly sure they can let me use their photos. Isn’t it beautiful? It accommodates ten people, so naturally it was just the right size for Paul and I to mince around naked and use every single bed to get the full value out of the holiday. Anyone else do that? God forbid the maid would get a moment to herself, we were too busy crinkling the bedsheets and leaving chest hairs in every conceivable crevice to care. Paul went for a dump almost immediately, despite having ‘freshened the air’ at the airport a mere hour ago. He uses new toilets like one might stamp a passport – to say he’s been. 

Nevertheless, the suitcases hadn’t been unlocked more than half a minute before I was fully undressed and scampering to the pool. That’s a fib, I’m too fat to scamper. Let’s go with trundle. Lumbered. Yeah – I lumbered excitedly to the pool. That doesn’t work either, actually, because you can’t lumber with enthusiasm. How the fuck do you describe that grotesque speedy ‘shift’ that us fatties do? Shall we say I galumphed to the pool? That means to move in a ‘loud and clumsy way’, which describes the way my thighs slap when I go at speed. I galumphed to the pool. Not quite ‘Arnold raced out of the door’, mind.

I spent five minutes teetering on the step of the pool because it was SO BLOODY COLD. Not because it wasn’t heated, it was, but because I was so overheated in my ‘English’ clothes that anything less than a pan of boiling jam hurled in my face would have felt a bit ‘nippy’. Paul shouted encouragement from the lavatory (thankfully that was a one-way process – I don’t think the locals would have been especially pleased to hear my Geordie tones shouting ‘PUSH’ and ‘IS IT CROWNING YET’ across the fields) but that’s rich coming from him. Paul has never, ever just ‘got’ into a pool. He has to inch himself in, letting the water hit each part of his body and letting out a tiny scream as it does so….OOOH ME ANKLES…OOH IT’S COLD…OOOH IT’S ON MY HELMET…CHRIST MY GUNT….and so on. He’ll then spend ten minutes with it lapping just under his tits before finally he’ll crack and tumble in like a falling mountain. A fatslide, if you will. I’m the opposite, I’ll dither and fanny on for a little bit and then just jump in. I’ve got the luxury of all-over hair, see – the cold doesn’t bother me so much because it has to penetrate my shag. It does rather look like someone has pushed an old persian rug into the pool, however. Even the air-filter gasped rather unnecessarily when I waded in, I thought.

Once I’d managed to acclimatise to the coldness of the pool and my scrotum had stopped resembling a Shredded Wheat, it was lovely. I swam around in that fat-person style – 2m of front-crawl, bob under the water, kick my legs about, lie on my back. I got a bloody fright when I felt something swim underneath me and envisioning some kind of aqua-wild-boar, I hurtled (again, however a fat man hurtles) to the other end of the pool only to realise it was the bloody pool cleaner. I hated it immediately. I have an inherent and deep phobia of machinery in water ever since I watched 999 and watched some poor horse-faced lady get stuck underwater when her pony-tail was sucked into a filter. Brrr. Although looking back, everyone was panicking and screaming but really, no-one thought to grab a pair of scissors? Anyway, this little device looked like a Roomba – a smooth circle of menace attached to a hose and with three turning wheels, and it’s job was to beetle around the pool during the day (when normally, the guest would be out), sucking up leaves and hair and tagnuts. It was creepy. It moved silently through the water aside from a tiny electrical hum every now and then and all I could think was that it was going to either get entangled in my arse-hair (imagine THAT 999) or it’ll somehow become live and fry me in the water like an especially fatty pork chop. I couldn’t relax until Paul finished his dump, fished it out for me (the robot, not the poo) and placed it to the side, where it lay gasping and spluttering and wishing me dead. We did manage to turn it off before it drained the pool. Phew.

We then spent a hearty two hours getting in and out of the pool, lying on every sun-lounger and swinging in the hammock that rather put me in mind of a big metal bollock. By god they were comfy. I looked for them online when I got home only to discover they were over £1,000 each. I like comfort, but I don’t think an afternoon lying in the mild air of Northumberland quite justifies the cost. Plus, I’d need to be dressed here, and it just wouldn’t be the same. I was swinging away in my hammock telling Paul all my thoughts on the stewardesses and Corsicans when his lack of answering – and his rumbling snoring – told me he was off to sleep. Ah well. Regular readers will know that we can’t go more than a few scattered minutes without impressing some kind of embarrassment on ourselves and it was my time to shine with a trip to buy yet more beer and bread. Beer and bread, it genuinely doesn’t get better than that for a fatty. Don’t worry needlessly however, we weren’t forgetting our roots – the beer was an entirely unnecessary raspberry froth called pietra (recommended by a far classier and tasteful friend) and the bread a foccacia with pressed olives and bacon wedged inside. We’re that fancy. Leaving Paul in the hammock to fart away to his heart, and indeed his arse’s, content, I stole out of the villa with a view to restocking the fridge with all manner of local ‘nice things’ from the other grocery shop I’d spotted down the road.

You may recall that I can’t speak a lick of French. I really can’t. I only managed one year of ‘French lessons’ before I got so bored it was either transfer to Spanish or defenestrate myself. Actually, we used to take our lessons on the ground floor so the most I could have hoped for was a grazed knee and an audition for drama school. It didn’t help that our French teacher had an eye full of blood for seven months. It’s all any of us could look at. No wonder I never learned my pronouns for goodness sake, he looked like the Terminator 2 poster rendered in Microsoft Paint. After a year I transferred over to learn Spanish and well, no me arrepiento, right? That said, I’m always keen to at least try, so I spent the fifteen minutes walking down to the shop reading my language app and practising out loud anything I may need to say – ‘…huit tranches de jambon, s’il vous plaît’, or ‘une petite portion de fromage local, mon amour‘ or indeed, ‘…pouvez-vous me montrer aux préservatifs extra-forts?‘ I genuinely thought I’d be welcomed and praised for my attempts, that perhaps someone would admirably slap me on my back and strike up in French with me about the local political situation or Greece’s turbulent economy. Thank fuck they didn’t – me repeating ‘QUOI’ over and over wouldn’t have quite the same effect.

Anyway, you can guess, that didn’t quite happen. No. I minced around the shop, filling my basket with ham and eggs and cheeses and, somewhat inexplicably, a box of blonde hair dye because I had a fit of the vapours and thought about dyeing my hair blonde because I’m on holiday, which has to rank up there amongst the ‘unlikeliest thing to do because I’m on holiday’ together with having a colonoscopy or visiting the dentist. My basket was full of deliciousness and I was immensely proud of myself for engaging the various shop folk in stilted, bare-bones chatter. I spotted the beer I’d seen earlier and put two six packs in my basket. All good. No. In my haste to reach for a bottle of mixer, my basket tipped over and deposited everything I’d picked up all over the bloody floor, each beer bottle shattering at once in the most noisy fashion. It would have been quieter if I’d ramraided the shop in a fucking train.

Time stopped. Every single person in the shop – indeed, the island – span around to look at me in a most accusatory manner, as if I was some tiny-scale terrorist. I stood there, desperately fishing around in my head for any relevant French, but I could feel every last French word in my brain popping like champagne bubbles, rendering me entirely mute and confused in a sea of glass and blood-coloured beer. Finally, the silence was broken by the absolute harridan behind the till yelling and shouting at me in incomprehensible gibberish and waving her hands around like Tony Blair bringing in an aeroplane. After a good couple of minutes I FINALLY remembered and I blurted out ‘je suis désolé‘ over and over until she FINALLY twigged I couldn’t understand her. Do you know what is shameful? I only know ‘je suis désolé’ from a bloody Madonna song. Thank God for ole Vinegartits! Some genuinely tiny hairy man came bustling out from the back with a brush and set about clearing away the glass with such exaggerated sighs and harumphing that I almost emptied out my tomatoes and gave him the paper bag to breathe into. I wish I knew what the French was for FAT, ENGLISH, CLUMSY OAF. I felt paranoid that the cow behind the counter was going to put a tannoy announcement mocking my silliness so I hastily paid (her slapping the coins down into my hand with such venom that if I turn my wrist towards the sun, I can make out the imprint of a two euro coin under my thumb) and scuttled back to Paul, who hadn’t so much as noticed I was out of the pool.

To make up for my folly, he prepared a delicious tea of French bread, cheese, ham, grapes and that great equaliser, Pringles. ROSEMARY FLAVOURED PRINGLES, mind you. Living the dream! We spent the rest of the evening lounging and watching Modern Family on the Chromecast.

Sweet Jesus. I’ve typed 3,000 words and all I’ve managed to do is get to the villa and drop some beer. I need an editor! We’ll leave it here, because the tip-tapping of this tiny Mac keyboard is getting on my tits. What do we have for dinner tonight? Turkey biryani! I’m making a bit of effort to use turkey mince where I can because it’s cheaper and a lot of you ask us for cheaper recipes – plus it’s very low in fat. That said, if you’re feeling like a decadent trollop, swap in beef mince. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off – it’s easy to make and tastes delightful. Ah fuck, I said delightful. That’s one of my least favourite synonyms.

turkey biryani

to make turkey biryani, you’ll need (deep breath):

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 500g turkey mince
  • 1″  knob of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli pepper, finely shopped
  • 1 tsp of cardamom seeds
  • 1 tbsp each of ground cumin and ground coriander
  • 6 cloves or half a tsp of clove powder (but you’re so much better with actual cloves)
  • 1 cinnamon stick or half a tsp of cinnamon (see above)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp crushed black peppercorns
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 25g sultanas (4 syns)
  • 250g basmati rice
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • salt
  • 100g fat­free yoghurt
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 2 tbsp chopped mint (or 1 tsp mint sauce)

You can get away with leaving out the odd spice, just use what you have. 

then to make the turkey biryani, you should:

  • cook your onion gently, until nicely golden
  • add the turkey mince and cook over a medium heat until cooked through
  • stir in all the spices bar the turmeric and leave to cook for a minute or two
  • add the tomatoes, stock, sultanas and a pinch of salt
  • bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to let it gently cook for around forty five minutes
  • meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160 degrees
  • cook the rice however you like – we use the one cup of rice to two cup of water rule – add the turmeric before it boils – BUT STOP after ten minutes – you don’t want the rice fully cooked yet
  • mix together the turkey and the rice and place in a casserole dish
  • cover and cook in the oven for 25 minutes, add a little more stock if the rice isn’t cooked after 20 minutes
  • meanwhile, core the cucumber of its seeds and then grate it into the yoghurt, adding the mint
  • serve everything together

Yum. I am so tired now.

J

rainbow bulgur wheat salad with bacon and feta

Very quick post tonight as I’m going to work (hooray) to do overtime (hooray) and we’ve still got all of our boring, humdrum Sunday chores to do – such as watching Judge Rinder, playing Trivial Pursuit and ignoring our ironing. Slight moment of excitement when a police van came tearing into the cul-de-sac before, displaying a flagrant disregard for the neighbourhood SLOW CHILDREN sign, which I’ve always thought was a very apt description of the snotty-faced little life-leeches that occasionally visit. Of course everyone was immediately up out of their armchair peering through their nets to see what the deal was. Tsk. So nosy. I of course had to take that moment to immediately nip into the back garden and try to listen in hang out the washing. I didn’t hear anything and no-one was arrested.

Upon my return, Paul pointed out that I’d dashed into the back garden in such a rate of knots that I was still wearing my Spongebob Squarepants onesie from ASDA, plus it was drizzling so not exactly outside drying weather – hardly the most subtle of moves. Ah well. I’m too fat to be subtle. Here’s today’s recipe – it tasted amazing considering it’s such a simple mix of ingredients. It would package up nicely for an office lunch so why not make double and take a few extra portions in throughout the week? Urgh I sound like Delia Smith or something. Don’t worry, I awkwardly shoehorn in a reference to ejaculate in the recipe, so we’re alright.

You could easily omit the bacon  from this salad recipe and go veggie. But I mean, we’re not animals here.

rainbow salad

you’ll be needing these:

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut into small 1cm cubes
  • a couple of drops of olive oil
  • 3 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • 250g of bulgur wheat (substitute couscous if you prefer)
  • Zest of one lime
  • 1 tin of red kidney beans
  • handful of chopped coriander, but feel free to leave this out if like me you think it tastes of soapy balls
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • a bunch of spring onions – cut up the green part as well as the white
  • 6 bacon medallions
  • 65g of reduced fat feta (cut into tiny cubes)

and you’ll need to do this:

  • preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius
  • in a bowl mix together the potato cubes, 2 tsp paprika, cumin seeds and salt with a drop of olive oil (or Frylight if you prefer) and toss (the potatoes) until the potatoes are evenly coated
  • spread the potato cubes out onto a foil-lined baking tray in one layer and bake for twenty minutes – turning halfway
  • meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over a medium heat
  • add a teaspoon of olive oil (or Frylight, if you prefer) and add the bulgur wheat
  • leave for a few minutes, stirring regularly until it starts to crackle just very slightly
  • add the lime zest and lime juice and 500ml water
  • bring to the boil and add a little salt to your taste
  • reduce the heat and cover the pan so the mixture simmers for about twenty minutes or until it’s cooked through
  • chuck your bacon medallions under the grill to cook, then slice into little strips
  • cut your feta into tiny cubes
  • drain the kidney beans and rinse well under running water, getting rid of all that gunky kidney-bean pre-cum you always get from tinned pulses
  • place the beans in a bowl and sprinkle with a teaspoon of paprika – mix until well coated
  • add the cooked sweet potato, sliced spring onions and bulgur wheat to the bowl and mix.
  • To put this all more succinctly: cook everything that needs to be cooked, prepare everything that needs to be chopped, mix in a bloody big bowl and you’re done.
  • We dressed this with a quick dressing made from natural yoghurt, minced garlic and lime juice – but actually, it stands on its own very easily.

J

red lentil dahl – syn-free and it’ll make you pump

See, told you we’d be going daily with the recipes! Tonight’s recipe is a red lentil dahl might not look incredibly appetitising but it’s the easiest thing in the world to make and full of low-fat, tasty goodness. Plus, without wanting to be crass (oh why not, I always am), it’ll really help things move along. So, if you’re having trouble down below, which is a very common side effect with the SW diet, this recipe will have you releasing an otter in no time at all.

red lentil dahl

to make red lentil dahl, you’ll need:

  • you’ll need a slow cooker for this recipe
  • 500g of dried red lentils
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • a lump of fresh ginger about the size of half a thumb, minced
  • 300g frozen spinach
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tbsp curry powder – choose from mild, hot, very hot or OH CHRIST MY RING
  • 1tsp of mustard seeds (optional)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1000ml of chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you’re vegetarian – and don’t be tight and use the cheapest stock you can find, it’s a main ingredient here so splash out a little)
  • LOOK – one thing I always say to you is to buy yourself a microplane grater. You’ll never look back, you can mince garlic and ginger in no time at all. Yes, they’re a bit pricey if you compare it to a bog standard grater, but treat yourself. You’re only fat once. Click here to do the honours

to make red lentil dahl, you should:

  • once you’ve weighed out your lentils, give them a rinse in the sink to get the dust off them (that’s what I say to Paul when he’s ‘getting lucky’ in the morning…)
  • chuck absolutely everything into the slow cooker, set it to low and cook for 6-7 hours
  • keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t get too thick (something else I say to Paul when he’s ‘getting lucky’ in the morning…)
  • serve with curried vegetables, rice or whatever you like!
  • This does well as a side dish but we take it in for lunch sometimes on its own – like an extra-thick soup. Tasty!

Enjoy!

J