cajun steak and cheese pasta

Our cat has betrayed me – normally he sleeps between the two of us if it’s a cold night but he’d gotten up early doors and gone out chasing mice. How the hell he manages to spend a night between the two of us I have no idea – we’re very much a ‘spooning’ couple, constantly intertwining our legs and arms and murmuring nonsense at each other. I actually woke up once with Paul having rolled on top of me, not in a ‘but it’s my birthday’ way but rather out of comfort, like I was an especially squashy lilo. Nevertheless, around 1am Bowser will be padding around our pillow and then crawls between us like a tiny potholer. How he survives I have no idea – the squashing I mentioned above must be bad enough, but the flatulence produced between the two of us vents out right where he sleeps. It must be like trying to sleep with your head stuck in one of those Dyson Airdryers you get in toilets, only one that blows out air that smells of turned corned-beef and death. I swear after a night of our easy chicken curry he’ll disappear under the duvet as a black and white tom and comes back a tortoiseshell who suffers night terrors.


Tonight’s recipe has the unfortunate problem of looking exactly like another recipe we did earlier in the week, but what can I say, we’ve missed carbs and we had some steak to use up. Isn’t that a first world problem right there?


to make cajun steak and cheese pasta you will need:

500g penne pasta, 120g steak (sliced into bite size pieces) 1 onion (chopped), 1 green pepper (chopped), 1 clove of garlic, 300ml skimmed milk, 250g quark, 2 tsp Cajun seasoning, 120g extra mature cheddar (grated), 20g parmesan (grated), 50g chorizo (sliced), breadcrumbs (from half a wholemeal roll)

if you use the wholemeal roll and the cheese as your healthy extras (remember, this serves 4) this will be 3 syns per serving, 1.5 from the chorizo, and 1.5 from the milk.

to make cajun steak and cheese pasta you should: 

  • cook the pasta until al dente (like Al Murray, but less of a cock), drain and set aside
  • in a large frying pan or saucepan soften the onion and green pepper in a little oil over a medium heat for about ten minutes
  • add the Cajun seasoning and stir well
  • slowly pour in the milk and stir continuously
  • add the quark in small amounts and mix until smooth and creamy
  • in a separate frying pan quickly cook the steak and chorizo over a high heat for one minute
  • add the steak and chorizo into the cheese mixture
  • add the cheddar and parmesan to the mixture, remove from the heat and stir continuously until all the cheese has melted
  • add the pasta to the mixture and mix well
  • pour the mixture into a large casserole dish, top with the breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for ten minutes just to make it sticky.

Now this is proper stick-to-your-ribs cooking and we loved it, but for goodness sake, it serves four. Keep some for your lunch the next day. This with the rice bake from the other day is more than making up our carb deficit and it tasted delicious!

Oh, if you need a casserole dish, get a bloody Le Creuset one. We’ve had ours over two years now and yes, it is very expensive, but we use it daily – as a frying pan, to cook in, to roast in, and it’s never stuck or failed us. They’re £160 on Amazon at the moment. Click here and treat yourself! Do you need something so pricey? No. But you kinda want one…



square egg, snacks and injuries

Previous readers may recall that a few months ago, I had to go for an MRI scan on my heart. Exciting. I described it at the time like being sucked into a Polo-coloured sphincter. Well, after weeks and weeks of fitfully looking at the letterbox waiting for news, I finally got a letter from my doctor yesterday which said everything was OK, heart was beating as it should be and I had nothing to worry about, bar being too handsome for most people to deal with. Typical NHS restraint. I’ve actually (touching wood) been remarkably lucky with my health so far – found a lump in my boob a year or so ago but it turned out to be nothing exciting (I’m surprised it wasn’t an M&M, to be honest) and a couple of bouts of anxiety throughout the last few years. I don’t want to dwell on anxiety, but it’s a very funny thing – people who wouldn’t take the piss out of you if you had a broken leg or lost the sight on one eye feel quite chipper making snide comments about anxiety behind your back. I don’t see a mental illness as less important than a physical one, but the world has a long way to go before that status is reconciled.

Ah well.

The only injuries I’ve ever had of note both have typically me causes – I’ve got a scar on my forehead from a killing curse launched at me by the greatest Dark Wizard who ever lived cartwheeling into the side of a door. I remember going downstairs (the cartwheel having been done in my bedroom, which was surprising because it remains the only bedroom I’ve ever been in where I had to back out onto the landing to turn around) with a cartoon egg-shaped lump on my head only for my mum to hoy a big bag of peas on it and sat me down in front of Countdown until I stopped trying to make an 18 letter conundrum. The second time I tore my lip open and bent (but didn’t break) (I don’t think) my nose to the left by using my face as an impromptu braking device on my bike – forgot that my brakes didn’t work as I thundered down a hill the only way a fat lad on an old bike can, hit the front brakes, bike stopped immediately and I sailed through the air like a clay pigeon. Only I landed on my face. This time, I think I was knocked out, as my only memory is my sister running home to get my mother who took me home, wrapped a tea-towel from the side in the kitchen around my face (I can still taste I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and strawberry jam if I lick the scar) and left it to sort itself out. I’ve got a big scar on my bottom lip which I can see if I push my lips flat against my teeth, but other than that I’m fine. Actually, reading all this back, it makes it sounds as though I grew up in Mr Bumble’s workhouse, but that’s far from the truth. My mum just didn’t want the nurses to question all the other bruises and marks on my body.

And that’s a joke too, before anyone tries to respectively put us on the register. I always received medical aid where necessary and my parents were – and are – very loving!

Speaking of very loving, how about this for an evening meal? Up here in Geordieland, we call an evening meal made up of lots of different little things (normally sandwiches, cakes, pork pies etc) a tea-tea, but I know there’s lots of others. Paul informs me he used to call it a picnic tea but I find that hard to believe because it conjures up a charming spread served on gingham tableclothes and bone china, whereas I know from his many tales that he never tasted food that didn’t have 4% Lambert and Butler ash in it until he moved up here.

snacks on slimming world

Like yesterday, with this being more of an ensemble dish, there’s little point in doing a recipe, so instead let me break down the various bits:

pickled onions – you can have most pickles for nothing on SW, so fill up – and try sauerkraut, it’s bloody delicious, although too much pickled cabbage will leave you with veritable knicker-stainers later. Open a window.

tomatoes – buy a variety to add colour and keep them out of the fridge – they’ll taste so much nicer.

pitta chips – you’re allowed one wholemeal pitta as a healthy extra – toast one, cut it up and serve with…

…sweet potato houmous – blend one large cooked sweet potato with four tablespoons of fat free yoghurt, one garlic clove, two tablespoons of lemon juice, salt and a 200g tin of chickpeas. Don’t blend it too smooth, it’s better with a few chunks. Just like the best of us.

roast potatoes – cut up some new potatoes, put them in the Actifry with an Oxo cube to cover them. Delicious.

pastrami wraps – make a sauce of four finely chopped gherkins, four tablespoons of fat free fromage frais and half a teaspoon of mustard powder. Smear onto a slice of pastrami, stuff it full of rocket and roll it up.

chicken wraps – nowt more fancy than a gherkin wrapped up in a slice of chicken!

square egg – they taste so much better than a normal egg but I’ve heard it makes the chicken walk funny. WELCOME TO MY WORLD, COCK.

A perfect picky dinner. Now off to watch Before I Go To Sleep with Fattychops. 100th post coming soon!

I used this little gadget to make my egg cube, by the way!


superfree quiche

Syn free this one, or maybe one syn if you’re anal. Hahaha, anal. Does anyone over the age of 18 not stop for a single beat whenever they type that word in its correct usage? Not only is it hilarious, it’s also delightfully smutty.

I have to say, for all the talk of Body Magic and moving our arses, Paul and I have done spectacularly little this weekend. No, really. I’m surprised I haven’t turned into one of those people who are grafted to their armchairs and have to have a group of men come in and wash me. Not that I’d turn my nose up at that. Our neighbours would love that. My mum once popped around in her police uniform (she’s a legit policewoman, not a stripper) and I’m not kidding, the sound of necks cracking as they craned round net curtains sounded like a giant rolling in bubble wrap.

Between Forza Horizon 2 and The Amazing Race, we’ve had very little reason to shift. Bowser seems reluctant to become a helping-cat, too, which doesn’t help. Our grand ideal of having the cat answer the phone, bring us the TV remote and cook us a three course meal seems entirely unreasonable to him. Anyway, short entry tonight as I’m off to work soon.

Tonight’s little recipe is what I suggestively call ‘Any Old Shite Superfree Quiche’ because frankly, that’s what I put in it.


I’m not sure we actually need a full recipe here – it’s all on the card. The only thing worth thinking about is synning the little bit of parmesan that I used, but it was such a small amount between four servings that I can’t be bothered. The rest is a case of chucking anything you have going spare / on the turn into a quiche tin, chopped up to reasonably similar sizes. Beat three eggs into 250g of fat-free cottage cheese, mix it all together, put in oven, and keep an eye on it. It might take a little longer as our oven is a fancypants one, but really you can tell when its cooked. Serve with a side salad or excellent for taking into work for lunch.

If I can give you any tips – adding a lot of tomatoes will make it quite wet

I realise that actually, our leftovers sound a bit lah-de-dah, but well, such is life. Our fridge has its own vodka shelf so that’s where we’re at.


chicken and chorizo risotto

Evening folks!

Paul and I are having a romantic night in, he’s cooking a lovely Indian tea and I’m scratching his feet with a matchbox. For now, please accept this recipe card as a treat, but be warned, chorizo and cheese does add a few syns to the dish. YOU CAN MAKE IT SYN FREE! But, you have 105 to use every week, spend it on something good. I’ll fill out the recipe in full tomorrow and add a snack idea for you all. Goodnight! (now done, see below!)


Paul and I have slept for a good, reasonable twelve hours and had a Slimming World fry-up breakfast (see here for a previous post about that), so I’m back and fighting fit. I promised you a full recipe breakdown for the risotto – and an easy way to make it syn free.

ingredients: one chicken breast (diced), chorizo (optional, I use 6 syns for 60g if I chose a particularly non-fatty chorizo, and then split that between two servings), shallots, arborio rice, garlic, tomatoes, mushrooms, peashoots, philapdelphia lightest (I’ve always synned 75g of the lightest as a healthy extra A, but even then, I hardly ever use that much and it’s split between two), peppers sliced.

recipe: get everything prepared – slice the onion, peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes to roughly the same size and thickness. Dry fry gently in a good non-stick casserole pot (this is important, because you try to make this risotto in a ‘sticky’ pan it’ll burn) until everything is nice and soft. Add the chicken and chorizo and continue cooking on a medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. Once you’ve done this, add the 250g of arborio rice and coat the rice in the liquid. Stir just once, chuck in your 1l of stock and big handful of garden peas. ONE stir. Then pop the lid on the pan, keep it on a medium heat (we use 6, but we’ve got a fancy induction hob so just stick to medium) and leave for exactly 20 minutes. You can peek at it just to make sure the liquid hasn’t disappeared, but maybe just once or twice – every time you let the steam out, god kills a kitten. After 20 minutes, check the rice -it’s always spot on for me but individual hobs may vary, so let it simmer a little bit longer if there is still a lot of liquid and/or the rice is a bit crunchy. Spoon in a dollop of the soft cheese and serve it on a bed of pea-shoots. I use pea-shoots because it adds another layer of flavour, but rocket will do. Don’t be common and use lettuce though. Twist of pepper and a couple of shavings of Parmesan and you’re done.

extra-easy: yes – though I syn the recipe exactly how I do it at 4 syns, just to take on board the chorizo and cheese. You can make it syn free though – replace the chorizo with chopped bacon (with no fat), and use the cheese as your healthy extra. But I like the taste the chorizo imparts to the rice and chicken and chorizo go together so well! Plenty of superfree – fresh peas, pea shoots, peppers, mushrooms, shallots…

top tips: Paul, because he’s a pleb who was brought up on sweet and sour chicken from his local Rainbow mixed with fag ash and a general feeling of malaise, adds a big old dollop of wholegrain mustard and mixes it in, which completely overpowers any other flavour. He says that he can still enjoy it through the sound of me tutting and sucking air in through my teeth.

Enjoy it!


stuffed chicken breast

OK, if the first thing that comes to mind when you hear cabbage is the tasteless, rubbery mush that you used to get served at school by someone with nicotine teeth and varicose veins like an AA road-map, then you really need to give this a go. Creating crunchy cabbage discs is as easy as slicing a cabbage into 1″ slices, basting it with a vinegar and thyme solution, and roasting in the oven. Roasting does wonders for everything – potatoes, peppers, drunken lays in a Premier Inn bedroom, all sorts. It creates a crunchy, sweet tasting vegetable that is miles apart from what you’re used to! Recipe card…

to make stuffed chicken breast, you’ll need:


I did have a close-up picture of the chicken oozing cheese, but it looked like something you’d get shown on Embarrassing Bodies when that doctor with the nose goes poking around in someone’s blurter.

ingredients: two decent chicken breasts, no skimping. better to buy two great quality chicken breasts from a butcher than two slabs of pink water from ASDA, parma ham (1/2 syn a slice, I use three per breast), sundried tomatoes in oil (3 syns for 28g but I only use one tomato chopped very finely), low low mature cheese spread, sweet potatoes, cabbage, frylight, balsamic vinegar (bog standard stuff), salt and pepper.

recipe: couldn’t be easier! Oven on to 180 degrees. Cut open chicken, stuff with tomato and cheese (57g for HEA). Wrap it in the ham and put ‘seal’ side down on a tray. Whack it in the oven. Same time, cut your cabbage into discs, baste them with the vinegar, thyme and salt and pepper mix. Put everything in together, after 10 or so minutes, stick another coating onto the cabbage. After 25 mins or so, take everything out and serve with sweet potato chips.

extra-easy: yes – very much so, but this is a synned recipe – the syns come from the tomato and the ham – you could skip the tomatoes, but they do add a richness to the stuffing. You could put slivers of fresh garlic in there instead though, and you’d be cooking on gas. You’d have a tough time replacing the parma ham, though I suppose you could use wafer thin ham, but again, haway, Spend those syns!

top tips: cabbage is a superfree food, so a couple of those tasty discs will really help you along. But you could make a nice coleslaw to go with the chicken, or a decent salad.

warning (crass): for gods sake, make sure you cook your chicken until there isn’t a hint of pink. I made myself very ill taking a chance with undercooked chicken and I was shitting like a lawn sprinkler for a good three days. Lost a tonne of weight but I can’t see Margaret Miles-Bramwell putting quote that on the front cover of the next magazine.

As an aside, how annoying are students these days? I know that makes me sound like an old fart but I had to get some cash from a cashpoint last night and I was stuck behind eight or so braying rah-rah students. I’m quite a calm person, but I’d have happily seen them put in a woodchipper and made into syn-free sausages.

Finally, anyone know at what point a beard is classed as ‘unkempt’? I haven’t shaved for two weeks and I’m beginning to look like one of those people who live in a library and have dried egg on their jumper and hair growing out their ears. I want to keep growing it though…