mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps

Have you stumbled onto this blog, face agog with the idea of a mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps, but Slimming World friendly? Well, you’ve come to the right place. But first, some nonsense. There’s always nonsense!

I had a half day off work today. Now, that might not sound very exciting – a Tuesday afternoon all to myself – but it was glorious. I love Paul to bits (even if he cuddled into me the other night, whispered ‘who has a sexy arse…’ and then followed it up with ‘not yours, your arse smells like death‘) but see a day where I can do my own thing and trot about is never a bad time. I decided, possibly against my better judgement, to go for a walk in the woods again – this time to a place called Plankey Mill. The weather decided to play ball, my morning’s work wasn’t too strenuous and, with all of the impulsiveness of someone who says he is trying to save money but finds the whole affair rather boring, I bought two annual passes for me and Chubs McGee for the National Trust so that I wouldn’t have to pay £2 for parking. Makes sense, right?

I did, somewhat mischievously, put myself down as a doctor (I have health anxiety, I spend all day diagnosing myself with various illnesses, so it sort of works) and Paul does as a ‘Rear Admiral’. Well, he’s certainly swabbed more than his fair share of poop decks, the filthy swine.

Plankey Mill is a charming walk along the River Allen and we used to go there a lot as children, possibly because it was free, possibly because my parents were hoping we’d fall in and be swept away to pastures new so they could jet off to Ayia Napa and open an English Breakfasts bar called Sticky Fingers. I remember it fondly through nicotine-tinted glasses and thought it would be the perfect place to spend an afternoon. I remember reading that most of the path had been swept away in 2014 but thought that the National Trust must have sorted it by now, given they had Rear Admirals in their ranks.

I was right, but only sort of. I turned off the A69 just outside of Hexham after spending a good ten minutes shouting animatedly at the back of a caravan, who I can assure you was in absolutely no rush at all, thank you very much. When I eventually managed to overtake I snuck a glance at the driver and yep, easily 125 years old, driving with that eyes-on-the-road-fixed-lips-no-nonsense expression that they always have. I like to think he pulled over later and felt guilty about holding up the traffic, or, even better, drove into a tree in an explosion of MDF and travel kettle shrapnels. Either or.

The first problem arose when, after lulling me into a false sense of security with one bold road sign, the directions to Plankey Mill suddenly stopped, and I found myself hurtling along single-file tracks with only sheep nodding at me as company. After farting about for a good twenty minutes I decided, somewhat reasonably I might add, that it was unlikely that a river walk would take place at the very top of a hill, and so spun the car around and down an unmarked path. After half a mile or so of uncertainty, a tiny sign that I assume Emperor Hadrian put up as a side-project appeared and I knew I was on the right path. Sadly, there was someone else on my path, an Audi coming in my direction. Single file, remember.

Now, because this is going to make me sound like an arsehole, let me preface the next bit with a simple fact: she drove past TWO passing places and then up the hill AFTER she saw me. I had nowhere to pull over. Look, I’m no good with words, so I built you a CGI representation using only the top-end computer software. It took me hours:

explain

So there she was, in her spotless white Audi, nasty cheap sunglasses making her look like a bee, all but demanding I reverse my car back up the twisty turny hill. Well, no, that’s not happening. I stood my ground. So did she. Mexican stand-off style. Eventually she folded like a cheap suit and began the labourious process of reversing down the twists and turns, only she did such a piss-poor job of it she ended up in the muddy verge twice AND she had to go back to the first passing point she passed as in the time it had taken her to realise that an Audi doesn’t mean she’s Queen of the Road (my title), another car had pulled in behind her.

I make no apologies for it, I really don’t. I gave her a sickly little wave and a tinkly  ‘thanks EVER so much’ as I drove past her and she looked absolutely furious. You can imagine just how much distress that gave me. I carried down the track and eventually ended up where I remember we used to park way back when, in a little field by the river.

Only now – of course – the farmer had decided that he really ought to squeeze a few pennies from everyone and had put a gate on the road, only accessible by the payment of £2 into the honesty box. I know, it’s £2, but come on. This is what I hate about Britain – if there’s a chance to shake some money out of your pockets, by god people will find it. Already grumbling, I parked up amongst discarded disposable BBQs, empty bottles and other such nonsense. It was a mess and a bloody shame. Nevertheless, I decided to crack on and make the best of it, knowing that the beauty of the countryside would soon envelop me. I fair pranced over the wee bridge crossing the river (though I was surprised not to find the farmer at the other end asking me for £3 towards the wear and tear I’d placed on the steel cabling) and happened across another sign. Perhaps it would warn me of poisonous plants or a diversion or something else equally as arresting.

No, the bloody path was closed. The 2014 landslide had taken away a good chunk of the path and it just wasn’t safe. I did ponder as to whether they were planning on waiting for another flood to see if a replacement bridge would be washed down the river but the thought provided little comfort. The sign did helpfully point out that there was another path back over the river that would take me to roughly where I wanted to be – all I had to do was to follow the path marked in brown. Listen, I’ve been following ‘the brown path’ all my life, mate, and even the thought of an extra mile didn’t deter me.

The fucking cliffs did, though. Brown path my arse! I crossed the river, searched high and low for the start of the brown path (clearly marked it said – with what, a sheer rock face?) and could I buggery find it? There was no path. Of course not. Perhaps if I’d thought ahead to bring my crampons (in fact, I would need to have thought even further ahead than that, as I’d need to learn what a fucking crampon is first) I could have deftly made my way along like a morbidly obese Spiderman, but no. Hmm.

On the verge of giving up, I spotted one more public footpath heading in the opposite direction and made for it, only to find the very first field was full of cows. I hate cows. They trouble me. Yeah, they’re happy enough eating all day and shitting everywhere, but so is Paul, and I don’t have the risk of being turned into a lumpy paste on the floor by him. You can’t trust a cow, especially when they’re hot and skittish. Speaking of hot meat…


advert - freezer-01


I threw up my hands in a camp display of annoyance, stomped back to the car and sulked for five minutes. All I wanted to do was to walk: how rare to hear someone of my bulk say that. But no! Plus I’d wasted two fucking pound to park my car, read a sign and be disappointed from quite literally every direction. I spun the car round, made for the gate, waited for someone with a face like a charity shop handbag to fumble the catch and open the gate for me, and sped off.

Luckily, my day was saved a mere mile or two later, when I spotted the actual car park I should have parked in, Staward Gorge. Oops. Clearly I was too busy singing along to something shite on the radio as I had managed to drive past it twice on my way in. Bah! It was quiet, though, and after sticking my temporary Rear Admiral badge in the window, I left the car and headed up into the forest, and it was wonderful. Very hilly in places, yes, and my ankles were protesting almost as soon as I got out of the car, but I walked for an hour or so in one direction before returning to the car, only passing a couple of old folk and a committed hiker on the way.

Can I quickly mention those hikers who go out for a quick walk in the country and yet dress up like they’re trekking the Hindu Kush? I can understand a trekking pole if you’re a little unsteady, but I passed one guy who looked, from a distance, like he was being fucked from behind by a wardrobe clad in rustling, luminous polyester. That can’t be comfortable. I’d understand if he was walking Hadrian’s Wall or similar, but it’s a 5 mile loop and frankly, if I can shift my colossal bulk around it without too much bother in my work shoes and Tesco Finest work trousers, so can he. I was tempted to ask if he was selling pegs when he walked past but frankly, he had a crazy look in his eye and I didn’t want to be found two months on face-down in the bushes with a telescopic peg hammer wedged in my arse.

I do recommend the walk, though – I can’t tell you how much I love living in Northumberland. The place is awash with beautiful, hidden idylls like this. Yes, you’ll break a sweat, but the feeling of reaching the top, being brought back to life with a National Trust defibrillator and then taking in the views of the rolling fields, shaded forest and little swirling river below, well, nothing beats it. I made my way back, cheer restored. One thing to note: I decided to go for a piss before the drive back only to find a big warning sign on the door from the National Trust telling me ‘HONEY BEES ARE NESTING IN THE ROOF – PLEASE USE CAUTION’. Caution? Nevermind fucking caution, use fucking napalm!

I jest, I’m all for bees, my garden is full of bee-friendly flowers, but christ almighty, there’s a time and a place and it’s not when I’ve got my cock out, I can assure you. I did think about chancing it, reasoning that if the danger was that high they’d shut the loo – but when I creaked open the door and heard the very loud, very threatening buzzing, I minced right back to the car, the need to urinate completely gone. All down my leg. No, not quite, but goodness me – who needs that type of threat when they’re having a piss? They might as well have put ‘Shit carefully, folks, as we’ve rigged one of the toilet seats with plastic explosives and a depth charge’. I haven’t heard such terrifying buzzing since I lived with Mary and I accidentally turned on what I thought was her thermos flask but turned out to be her robocock. I’m surprised she didn’t chip her teeth, the dirty bitch.

I decided to cap the day off with a visit to Brockbrushes (our local pick your own fruit affair), but after parking up and negotiating – in turn – the sausage shop, the ice-cream parlour, the garden furniture stand, the farm shop, the coffee shop, the herb garden, the bouncy castle, the second bouncy castle, the cheese stand and then finally, FINALLY, the bloody place where you get the baskets to go pick your own, I was told that they had no fruit. No raspberries to pick, no blackcurrants, no redcurrants, no nothing. Strawberries were ‘very limited’, apparently. I did ask the guy behind the counter if there was anything I could pick in the hope he’d at least have a sense of humour and suggest ‘your arse’ (like I would have) but he just shook his head grimly. This annoys me – picking your own fruit is literally the point of a pick-your-own-fruit farm. If they have no fruit, fair enough, but then put a bloody sign up on your fancy smiling strawberry sign by the side of the A1. Don’t waste my time. I took a huff and walked back to the car, stopping only to admire some farm-made cheese before realising I only have £270 in my wallet and thus, couldn’t afford it. I came home.

Now, that probably all sounds like I had a rotten day, but listen, I thrive on any excuse to have a moan and a whinge. I’m never happier then I am when I have something to kvetch silently to myself about. It’s just a shame for you guys that this is my outlet for it and you’re treated to 2000 words on what amounts to me driving to a river, walking a couple of miles and not buying strawberries. But you love it, you know you do.

What you’re going to definitely love, though, is this recipe. See, McDonalds isn’t great food, but it fills a hole and we bloody love their chicken wraps. But oh no: they’re between 17 to 25 syns or so each. Not worth that much. So we decided to make our own. Here follows the recipe! This makes enough for four wraps.

mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps

to make mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps, you’ll need:

  • 2 chicken breasts (which easily makes enough for four wraps, so if there’s only two of you, you only need one) (especially if you’re using a chicken breast from our Musclefood deal – click here – because you could beat someone to death with one of these)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 30g panko (6 syns) mixed with black pepper
  • 125g fat – free natural yoghurt (fat-free, watch your syns)
  • lettuce
  • cucumber
  • four wraps – one BFree wrap is currently a HEB, but do check

Panko is a dried breadcrumb which is super crunchy and tasty. Buy it in big supermarkets or on Amazon by clicking here. If you can’t find it, whiz up a breadbun, but remember to syn it – though even then it’ll only be 1.5 syn per person if you use one breadbun for all the chicken.

to make mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps, you should:

  • cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally to make four thin breasts
  • dip each chicken breast into the beaten egg, shake off the excess and then dip in the panko
  • spray with a little spray oil and bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes – you’ll get nice crunchy chicken
  • cut each chicken breast into three strips
  • heat the wrap for a moment or two in a dry frying pan
  • assemble the wrap by laying out the lettuce and cucumber, and then place the three strips of chicken on top
  • add a good dollop of whichever sauce from below tickles your fancy
  • fold the wrap up from the bottom, and then tuck in from the sides

Now, here are the four variants to help sex up your mcdonalds-style crispy chicken wraps:

  • to make a garlic mayo wrap: mix together 1 tsp garlic powder and 2 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise (Morrisons NuMe mayonnaise is just 1 syn per tablespoon!)
  • to make a sweet chilli wrap: making your own sweet chilli sauce is a clart on – pick up a supermarket one, which is roughly 1½ syns per tablespoon)
  • to make a BBQ bacon and chicken wrap: grill two bacon medallions (they’re in our MF box!) and make up the sauce from this recipe or use supermarket BBQ sauce for about a syn per tablespoon
  • to make the hot peri peri chicken one: mix together 125g fat free natural yoghurt, 1 tsp dried garlic, 1 tbsp sriracha (½ syn per tablespoon) and ½ tsp salt

We nicked the sleeves from the chicken wraps we had to buy from McDonalds to do the comparison with. I know, it’s a hard life. If you’re struggling to fold your flaps in, and I understand that’s a problem that comes with age, buy one of these wee things – it’ll hold your wrap!

Eee yes, we do spoil you. If you enjoyed our ‘taking a naughty meal and making a low syn version’ why not have a look at our KFC chicken zinger tower burger? If that doesn’t give you a wide-on, nothing will!

Looking for more fakeaway or chicken ideas? Click the buttons below…

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Mwah!

J

roast beef and mustard lentil salad

Now, before we get to the roast beef and mustard lentil salad, I want to discuss something. Serious faces please. Fingers on lips. Not those lips. Not those fingers. Good lord, contain yourself.

After yesterday’s post I received a comment about how tired someone was because of ‘all the advertising’ on our blog. Fair enough: everyone’s entitled to an opinion, of course, and you’ll note that I approved the comment where I could have just deleted it. It’s a discussion worth having, after all. It’s been on my mind a little.

Here’s the thing – take a look at other food blogs – you’ll see tonnes of little adverts all over the page. I could do the same thing and quadruple my blog income in a shot. But on our main page, I’ve got one little google advert at the top. It’s not spread all over the place, it doesn’t slow the page, it doesn’t detract from the content. It could, very easily, but we chose to have a clean blog which is easy to access over something buggy and full of ads. When we email out to subscribers we could send a snippet rather than the full blog meaning that you had to visit the page and thus, drive up our adsense – but we don’t do it, because it would be crap for you. That’s the reason there’s no pop-up whenever you load the page asking you to subscribe, that’s why we don’t send out spam, that’s why there’s no ‘read more’ button which loads more ads. It’s about making it good for the reader not the writer.

How most blogs make money is via affiliate marketing – if I recommend Musclefood, I get a very small commission. Same with Amazon. That’s why, when we do a recipe with mince in it, I’ll stick a link in to Musclefood and if a recipe calls for grated garlic, I’ll mention the mincer. I don’t mean Paul. But this is the thing: we do use Musclefood for meat and we do own the few gadgets and Amazon products that I mention. I’m not just shilling for the tiny bit of money it makes me, I recommend them because I believe in them. I’ve always been totally transparent about the advertising, too – I don’t hide it away. We mention our books occasionally because I’m bloody proud of the fact I have a book – of course I should be! But that’s about the extent of the adverts.

Our blog operates to a very simple template – 1,000 words or so of preamble and nonsense, one decent photograph of the food, a very simple no-fuss breakdown of the recipe and then a couple of links to other posts on the blog. It takes me about 90 minutes to type up the ‘story’ and to try and add the funny bits. Sit and type out 1,000 words, try to make it faintly funny, see how long it takes you. We spend a couple of hours over the weekend researching and planning the recipes. We have to buy new ingredients and unusual ingredients because we like to have different styles of recipes spread out over the year. Paul spends an hour or so cooking the meals, I spend a few minutes photographing, then typing. I then spend 20 minutes or so publishing the blog in our various mediums. That’s a lot of time for two blokes who work full-time in demanding jobs and who, let’s face it, are bone-bloody-idle.

And there’s the cost too – we had to buy a proper server for the blog to sit on – that costs a fair chunk every year. New ingredients cost money. Photography software costs money. As much we don’t struggle for money, I’d much rather spend that money putting my fat arse on a beach somewhere than talking about servers with some chap in Wisconsin.

So why do we do it? Because we fucking love it! We adore all the wonderful, lovely comments we receive. We love hearing from folks who have cooked one of our meals and been pleasantly surprised that slimming food could be so delicious. We eat so well because we’re constantly trying new things. We’ve met amazing folk in our groups, on our facebook page, via here. Everyone’s got a story and we love to hear them. I love to write, so this is a perfect outlet for my verbal diarrhoea – and we’ve got a very unique thing in that we’ve got a perfect diary of our last two years. Paul could barely cook before we started and now he’s confident in the kitchen. It’s great!

We’re not going to stop any time soon despite all the effort it takes. But the balance for that is that in the big blog posts, you might get a couple of text links to ingredients and a mention of Musclefood. It’s easy ignored and I think a decent exchange for the work we do. When we’ve got a Musclefood sale on, you’ll get a paragraph, but it’s always delineated from the post by blank lines. Skip over it. It’s easy to forget that we’ve already done over 350 recipes which are all indexed by syns – you couldn’t buy a cookbook with that many recipes in it, and we give it away for free. Always will be!

I hope that clears things up! I am sorry to moan, but there just something in the wanky, passive-aggressive comment that pushed a button.

To make things worse, here’s a salad! It’s syn free, full of taste and made up of only a few ingredients – it’s an excellent way to use up any roast beef you have kicking about, but you can also throw sliced beef in there for no syns. We’re talking proper roast beef though, not the processed stuff as that sometimes does have syns. Before I do, though, I’m obliged to mention – because it’s possibly the last day we’re running this, our current Musclefood deal. If you’re already frothing at the gash at the thought of ONE advert, just scroll on by.


Remember: our Musclefood deal is running with 10% off but ending soon. Canny deal – even if you don’t want it, share it with a friend!

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.


roast beef and mustard lentil salad

to make a roast beef and mustard lentil salad, you’ll need:

  • lots of leftover roast beef
  • a can of green lentils
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • a wee bunch of spring onions
  • a lemon
  • a spoonful of wholegrain mustard (this might have syns from recollection – 1 syn – but shared between four)
  • a bag of bistro salad leaves – the ones that have the little strips of beetroot in that make your poo an alarming red – or use any other salad leaves

to make a roast beef and mustard lentil salad, you should:

  • nice and simple this one – chop your tomatoes into quarters, thinly slice your spring onions and put a nice bunch of salad leaves on your plate
  • empty your tinned lentils into a microwavable bowl and cook for about three minutes in enough water to cover them, then drain
  • stir the mustard through the lentils while they are warm and then allow to cool
  • time to assemble – leaves on the bottom, mix of beef, lentils, spring onions and tomatoes on the top
  • dress with the juice of a lemon and some of the zest – no oil needed, perhaps a pinch of salt!

You know, I wasn’t going to do this but hell. You can use one of these to grate the lemons – it creates a nice fine zest and then you can use it for every other recipe we do! You can even see the zest in the photo. HARRUMPH.

Anyway, enjoy!

If you’re looking for more beef recipes, you could do no better than having a look on the links below! I’ve also thrown in some vegetarian recipes because, although this isn’t a veggie recipe, there’s lots more salads in there!

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J

subway the cubs way

I wasn’t going to post tonight because well, I can’t frankly be arsed, but the fear of letting you all down is just too much to bear. Plus Paul’s out at his Let Me Talk To You About Jeremy Corbyn event and there’s nowt on the TV, so here I am. Just a quick informative post with no chitter-chatter though.

We’re trying hard to save money from now until Christmas, with the idea that we can squirrel away a decent nest egg to pay for the ten holidays next year. Listen, I know that sounds ridiculous and a very OH LOOK AT ME thing to say but we both work hard and well, it’s the joys of having no children or expensive drug habits. Anyway, most working days I invariably forget to take my lunch in and end up in Subway which is right next door and has a handsome Polish man. I’m just saying. I get the same boring old salad and because I’m weak and backsliding, I end up getting the crisps and a drink with my salad for a ridiculous £4.90. That’s £24.50 a week and £98 a bloody month. Insane. I don’t need the extra syns from the Doritos, my tits already slurp under my shirt in this heat.

So, I’ve decided to start making my own and see if it works out cheaper. My usual order is (deep breath) double plain chicken, no cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, no onion, olives, gherkins, jalapenos (gives me an excuse for fifteen minutes on the crapper later in the afternoon) and southwest dressing. Problem is, the lettuce is always watery iceberg lettuce and the tomatoes are chilled which makes them taste of exactly nothing. The Southwest dressing alone is 4.5 syns per serving and because the staff in the shop love me and my regular custom, they always go into a minor paralysis as they’re pouring it on, making my lunch more dressing than salad. Eee, it’s no wonder I’m so fat.

I spent Sunday evening preparing the following:

  • quartering a punnet of mixed tomatoes (and a handful of tomatoes from the garden) – £1.50 from Tesco
  • removing the seeds and slicing a whole cucumber (45p)
  • taking a mixture of lettuce leaves from the garden and from a tray of living leaves that are £1 in Lidl and you can use them all summer as long as you keep watering them
  • peppers from the garden all chopped up
  • half a jar of tiny pearl onions from Tesco – 75p
  • half a jar of chopped gherkin slices from Tesco – 50p
  • jar of Tesco’s jalapenos (£1.20)
  • half a jar of black sliced olives (60p) (a few syns, I’m counting one per day)
  • opening a jar of Hellman’s fat-free vinegarette (syn free)
  • cooking and dicing two large chicken breasts from our massive freezer filler and cooking them off in tikka powder

     

    Remember: our Musclefood deal is running for the next few days only!

    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 make this:

subway cubway salad

Which when divided up, makes this:

subway cubway salad

I had to use a big lunchbox for the rest because Paul’s took the small lunchboxes to work with him and never brought them back. It’s alright, I’ll kneecap the fucker when he comes in. I reckon that comes in at around £10 for five proper salads and it takes no time at all. Plus, I’m not at risk of ‘accidentally’ buying the Doritos or wasting syns. I was going to post a list of the various syn values for salad but I don’t want Mags hammering nails into my car brakes for eating into her profits. So…

Enjoy!

J

blackened chicken caesar salad

Blackened chicken caesar salad? Yes, that’s right. And, for once, when I say it’s going to be a quickpost, it really is – no guff, no messing about! Your dear writer is unwell! Bah.

This makes enough for four, especially if you add some extras like tomatoes and cucumber. Just customise it however you want, I’m not arsed.

blackened chicken caesar salad

to make blackened chicken caesar salad you will need:

for the rub

  • 4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp salt

for the dressing

  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp Morrison’s NuMe Reduced Fat mayonnaise (3 syns) (feel free to use other mayo, but check the syns)
  • 2 anchovy fillets, mashed (leave out if you’re not a fan, but, take it as someone who doesn’t like fish, it doesn’t taste fishy!)
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (½ syn)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan (2½ syns)

to make blackened chicken caesar salad you should:

  • cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise (butterfly) so you’re left with a total of 4 halves and put into a sandwich bag
  • pour in the fat free vinaigrette and leave to marinade whilst you make the rest
  • if you’ve got an actifry, throw in the bread cubes with a little bit of oil and allow to cook for about 10 minutes, or until they resemble croutons. If you haven’t got an actifry, spray the bread with oil and bake in the oven at 190°c for about 12 minutes
  • in a shallow bowl, mix together all of the rub ingredients and set aside
  • in another bowl, add together the dressing ingredients and whisk until creamy. put in the fridge until you need it
  • pat the chicken breasts dry with some kitchen roll and coat with the rub mix – don’t be shy, get it right in there
  • heat a large pan over a medium-high heat and brush with oil
  • add the chicken breasts and cook each side for about 5 minutes each side, or until cooked through
  • serve with the lettuce, croutons and dressing

Done! Now, if you’re after some more chicken recipes, you’d do well to click the button below!

poultrysmall

J

slimming world bbq: zesty salmon burgers and a radish and pea salad

Goodness me, we’re still flogging this dead horse of Slimming World BBQ, are we? You have no idea how many times I’ve trundled the Weber out of the shed only for the skies to immediately blacken, the thunder start-up and the rain to come down so hard that I have to front-crawl past the recycling bins just to get back to the kitchen. Listen, when even God himself doesn’t want you to tearfully chew your way through the taste-explosion that is a Slimming World burger, you know it’s not a good idea.

Now, long time readers may remember I did an article way back in February of last year called james vs paul and it consisted of five things that annoyed him about me and five things that annoyed me about him. If you haven’t committed our various faults to memory – and if not, why not – you can find it here, together with a delicious recipe for chicken chow mein. Yeah, that’s right. Anyway, it’s due a sequel. You’ll be glad to know that we both still do every single thing that previously annoyed the other, but hey, fuck it, that’s marriage. Here’s five more – and, just like before, I’ve got right to reply on Paul’s critiques of me. Why? Because I have no gag reflex, and frankly if he wants to take advantage of that going forward, he has to let me reply…mahaha! Plus, I get the right to expand on my annoyances too. What a cad!

Paul’s five things that rile him about me:

  • there’s always coat hangers in our bed
    • aye, it’s a fair cop this one. See, I get ready for work about ten minutes after Paul, because bless, he has to get up and put the coffee on and turn the shower on for me. My reward for his wonderful kindness is to litter his side of the bed with coat-hangers from where I’m trying to decide what shirt to wear in the morning – the shirts then get put over the top of the door rather than hung up. I think Paul’s getting a complex that I’m trying to do him a mischief when every time he climbs into bed he gets prodded with the coat-hanger, but in my defence, they’re velvet
  • james never put liners in the tiny kitchen bin
    • meh. I can see Paul’s point, no-one wants smears of cat-food and whatnot on the inside of the bin. Fair enough. But Paul insists on buying a) tiny bins and b) massive bin liners. I wanted a lovely massive Brabantia bin but Paul knocked that idea on the head saying that we’d never empty it and we’d have what amounted to a vertical skip in the kitchen. Hmm. But then see he buys bin liners that you could drive a car through, meaning I’ve got to spend ten minutes flapping them out and trying to get them to sit in the tiny bin without just filling up the bloody container in the first place. It’s an ongoing, very middle-class problem, and it threatens to tear us apart at times
  • everything electrical is going to burst into flames unless it’s unplugged when not in use
    • again, I think this is unfair! I grew up on a diet of 999 and with parents who had a very casual attitude to fire safety and thus I think my fears are entirely reasonable. I’m a catastrophic thinker – if I leave a box of matches on the side, I’ll spend the day envisioning various ways that the cats will knock them to the floor, followed by them knocking on the gas-oven in fear, followed by spiders skittering around on the sulphur of the scattered matches, igniting and destroying my home. That sounds fair enough until you realise we don’t have a gas oven
  • socks, socks everywhere, as far as the eye can see
    • not fair: they’re not just my socks. For two tidy, professional men, we don’t half have a habit of leaving our socks scattered about in unusual places, and not just because they’re the wanksocks, we’re not 14 anymore. I don’t think I owned a pair of socks that didn’t crunch and crackle between the age of 12 and 19. But see in my haste to have my feet rubbed and squeezed (despite Paul’s entirely baseless remonstrations that it makes his hands smell like Roquefort), my socks will often just get discarded and forgotten until either Paul or the cleaner finds them
  • james’ genuine concern and worry whenever I hurt myself in a clumsy, hilarious manner
    • I may have reworded that a little. Paul is taking umbrage at the fact that when he hurts himself by a) tumbling over in that way only fat men can, b) burning his mouth because he’s so keen to eat he doesn’t let his food cool down or c) cuts himself on his edgy political analysis, I immediately respond by fussing over him and saying ‘what’s the matter’ eighteen times a second. Hmph. I think that shows only love and concern for my precious, gorgeous husband, frankly.

Hmm. Seems fair. Now it’s my turn. Because I’m the writer, I get to say what annoys me about Paul AND expand on it too. What annoys me about Paul?

WELL.

  • he can’t hoover to save his life
    • let me explain, as that seems a trifle extreme – we’ve got one of those fancy-dan digital Dyson vacuums that sit on the wall charging up until it’s needed, then you have exactly six minutes to flounce around the house shrieking whilst it vacuums at full power. That in itself is a mere inconvenience. No, it only becomes a problem because Paul vacuums up every single fucking thing on the floor rather than picking up the bigger bits – whole pasta twists, cable ties, shoes, you name it Paul’s tried to suck it up into the tiny drum and then spent 5 minutes gawping and swearing at the vacuum whilst it chugs and splutters because the tube is blocked. I swear, I spend more time poking around in the drum with a chopstick trying to dislodge errant nonsense than I do breathing in and out. I half expect to walk into our utility room to find our full-sized tom cat squeezed into the tiny plastic drum of the vacuum, mewing pitifully through a mouthful of dust and ped-egged-foot-skin
  • he always wants his back scratched
    • doesn’t matter where we are, I can blink and when I open my eyes, his shirt will be hoisted up over his tits and his back will be looming towards me with his plaintive cries of ‘up a bit down a bit go mad NO NOT THAT HARD’ filling the air – if I had the money, I’d get a HappyCow machine installed

Actually, balls to the list, let me just show you a HappyCow machine and tell me it doesn’t fill your heart with joy!

Look at that happy cow! It’s a video, so click play to see those eyes light up with life and joy.

That reminds me, don’t forget we’ve got a meat sale on:

What can I say, I’m an opportunistic bugger.

  • he can’t handle Sky Digital
    • we’ve been together nine years and still whenever we’re recording and watching Jeremy Kyle The Today Show and recording The Man With The 10 Stone Testicles Panorama, he’ll attempt to turn the telly over onto a third channel and then act perplexed when the TV says no. He also can’t fast-forward through breaks – it’s like he has a tremor when he presses the button during Hotel Inspector and suddenly everything is 30x the speed and unpaused just as Alex Polizzi’s giant smile is filling the screen and she’s climbing back into her Audi
  • he maintains that his Smart car is a sensible choice despite massive evidence to the contrary
    • I go to this well a lot and I don’t care. Going to buy anything bigger than a Rubik’s cube? Paul will spend ten minutes assuring me it’ll fit despite me advising him that the rules of physics still apply even if his car is the colour of a baked bean. Of course, once we’ve bought the BBQ / new SONOS soundbar / sack of potatoes and made our way back to the car park, he’ll realise that, whilst it does fit – just – there’s no space for me, leaving me standing in the car park cursing his name whilst he races home in the car at its top speed of 32mph before returning to pick me up not even a little bit contrite. We’ve had many a terse conversation whilst making our way slowly and uncomfortably back home, I can assure you
  • he wakes me up by farting, but not in the way you might expect
    • we both find farting absolutely hilarious – there’s few things funnier to our juvenile minds than a good taint-stainer, plea for help from Sir Knobbly-Brown, misguided burp, creeping hisser, floorboard troubler or an extended moment of steam-pressing your knickers, so that doesn’t trouble me in the slightest. No, if I’m woken up by a loud fart, I’ll spend the day chuckling. It only becomes a problem because we tend to spoon when we’re asleep in the morning and Paul manages to turn whatever food he’s had the night before – no matter how fine the ingredients, no matter how dainty the amounts – into concentrated pure death. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been woken up in the morning by what smells like concentrated hate not so much filling my nostrils as filing them, peeling off skin and various bits of my olfactory system. It’s a bad job when you wake up gagging and reminiscing with longing for the smell of burning cows from the Foot and Mouth days. I grew up right next door to the farm that started it all and they said it could never happen again. Well it is – in Paul’s arse at 5.45am.

That reminds me, don’t forget we’ve got a meat sale on:

advert - summer-01

Mahaha. Hey, listen, those are his faults. But for all of those minor things, he’s still the man who I’ve only spent 6 nights away from and who makes me laugh right from the get-go as soon as I come through the door. There’s no regrets here and there’s not many couples who can say that!

Right, let’s get to the BBQ recipes before I well up like the big old pansy that I am.

Salmon burgers, eh? You know people say if it swims, it slims? Well pffft. Load of crap. I’ve been swallowing swimmers for years and I still chaff when I run. But we do need more fish recipes, so…

We found the recipe for the below from this blog and we’ve made it Slimming World friendly. I know, we’re heroes.

slimming world bbq

to make zesty salmon burgers you will need:

this is enough to make one – if you want more, just multiply the recipe

  • 1 wholemeal roll (HeB)
  • 15g panko (or use breadcrumbs, but panko is nicer) (4.5 syns for 25g, so we’ll say about 2.5 syns for 15g, just before I get angry letters and panko covered turds pushed through my letterbox from the more fervent of you)
  • 1 spring onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 140g salmon fillet (skinless and boneless)
  • 4 slices picked gherkins

to make the sriracha mayonnaise:

  • 1 tbsp Morrisons NuMe mayonnaise (or use any low-fat mayo – just check the syns) (1 syn)
  • 1 tsp hoisin sauce (½ syn)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sriracha (if you can’t find sriracha, any ‘hot sauce’ will do – Cholula is a good alternative!)

to make zesty salmon burgers you should:

  • add all of the sriracha mayonnaise ingredients into a bowl and mix well – plonk in the fridge whilst you do the rest
  • next, add all of the burger ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth, except for the bun and gherkins – if you haven’t got a food processor, chop everything up and mix by hand – extra body magic!
  • shape into a burger shape – it only needs to be about 1½cm thick to cook evenly
  • add onto the hot grill of the BBQ and cook for about four minutes a side, or until it’s how you like it
  • spread half of the mayonnaise mixture onto each half of the bun and lay on the pickled gherkins
  • add the burger on top, and enjoy!

Before you start up – remember:

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This is panko. Dried, crunchy breadcrumbs.

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This is not panko. This is pan k.o.

Easy!

Right, here’s a side suggestion. Because we’re super jolly hockey-sticks and what-ho, we’ve grown so many wonderful things in our garden this year, including a tonne of radishes and peas. If you’re not keeping up with the Jones, feel free to buy these items in a shop. I present our radish and pea salad! It’s really basic, but full of crunch and taste and hell, that’s probably a lot of speed food. This makes enough for four.

slimming world bbq

to make radish and pea salad, you’ll need:

  • a big handful of radishes – there’s no need to be precise, use as many or as much as you need
  • a big handful of fresh peas in their pods – you don’t want giant peas but rather baby peas
  • 3 tablespoons of white wine vinegar – or apple vinegar, or raspberry vinegar, or vinegar-tits
  • four or five spring onions
  • a tablespoon of rapeseed or olive oil (6 syns)
  • a nice sprig of fresh mint, chopped finely
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper

to make radish and pea salad, you should:

  • get a pan of boiling water, throw your peas (in their pods) into the water for a minute, then take them out and put them in iced water to stop them cooking through
  • the boring bit, sorry – julienne your radishes and pea pods – basically, cut the radishes into slices, and then the slices into matchsticks – this isn’t an exact science, so don’t sweat it – if there are big peas, pop them out into the serving bowl as you chop
  • you can use a mandoline slicer for your radishes, it’ll speed things up – and the one we use is only £7.99 – but BE CAREFUL, they’re dangerous bloody things if you don’t use the guard
  • very finely chop your mint and spring onions, including the green stalk
  • mix the oil and vinegar, pepper, salt and mint together – add maybe a pinch of sugar if you really want (neglible syns given this serves four)
  • put everything into a dish, mix with the ‘sauce’ and serve immediately

It’s a really easy salad but worth the time spent making it, trust me.

Finally, let’s go for a cocktail in the form of a Blue Hawaiian. I had a blue Hawaiian. This one is from Jamie Oliver, a man I rather enjoy despite his best efforts.

slimming world bbq

to make a blue hawaiian, you’ll need:

  • 35ml of decent white rum (3.5 syns)
  • 35ml blue curaçao (5.5 syns)
  • a couple of drops of coconut essence
  • 100ml pineapple juice (2.5 syns – Del Monte)

to make a blue hawaiian, you should:

  • get a cocktail shaker, throw everything in with a load of ice and shake it, shake it good
  • serve up on a load of crushed ice
  • serve it in a hollowed-out pineapple for that true access-day-visit-to-TGI-Fridays feel

Enjoy! I know it’s a lot of syns, but hey, it’s summer. If you can’t let your hair down and your boobs cool in this heat, when can you?

If you’re looking for more recipes for fish then you’re shit out of luck. There’s no many. But look, as a compromise, here’s a link to all of our beef and chicken recipes too.

beefsmallpoultrysmallseafoodsmall

J

 

slimming world bbq: chimichurri turkey skewers and an amazing loaded potato salad

Here for the next installment of our Slimming World BBQ series? Well don’t worry, we’ll get to it. But first, indulge me a little time to ramble on…

Today has been a day of getting shit done. I know, a profanity right off the bat, but there’s a good reason for that – I’ve noticed another telling off comment on one of my articles. Please understand: this is a coarse blog about the gay-to-gay lifestyle of two fat blokes with no airs nor graces. There will be swearing. There will be frank and numerous references to sex and knobs and bumholes and slutmanship because well, you write about what you know. There’s a reason this blog isn’t called james’n’paul’n’catz and decorated wth frou-frou hearts and whimsical tales of picnics and cricket and buying peppers in a market. It’s just not us. We’re both about as classy as two seagulls fighting over a discarded packet of chips in somewhere like…oooh, Chelmsford, and we’re quite happy with that. Most of the time I’ll let the little digs wash over me with good grace and a little fart but today I thought I’d reply because, as I said, we’re getting shit done:

slimming world bbq

Oh I’m a stinker, aren’t I? To be fair, I don’t actually think I swear that much anyway. I certainly don’t use the C-word on here because it’s not worth the terse phone call from my mother telling me off for using that word on the Internet. I know, it’s warm under the thumb, but hey, you don’t upset the Keeper of the Inheritance. Though for the record, that works both ways, as Keeper of the Care Home Decision…

So what have we managed to get done today? Well, I pressure washed everything we owned that was looking a little bit grubby: outdoor furniture, fence panels, the blood stains on the front of my car, the hair and scalp in the tyre-wells, the paving slabs and the gate. There’s something amazingly satisfying about watching a tiny jet of water blast away years of accumulated dirt and filth. If I didn’t think it would tear straight through his small intestine I’d have a crack at blasting Paul’s out-pipe. It’d be like pressure-washing a hot Malteser. It goes without saying that I blasted several choice swearwords into the path but Paul made me remove them – apparently it doesn’t do for folks who visit to be greeted by an increasingly-vile set of phrases culminating in mingetacular. Pffft.

When I was putting away the pressure washer into the let’s-tell-Paul-I’ll-use-it-all-the-time-but-then-never-use-it-again pile in our shed, I realised that one of our cats had disappeared under the various detritus on the shed floor and was mewing pitifully. After digging through and locating her and putting her outside the shed (to which point she immediately came back in through the cat-flap to get lost again) (I was all, alright love, you’re not on fucking Fun House here, I haven’t just tagged you back in), I realised it was time to clear out the shed. I know, this is truly riveting reading, but please, bear with me. See, I’ve mentioned before that we turned our giant outdoor shed into a Cat Hotel / stockpile room (hence the cat-flap on a shed, see – it gives them somewhere to go when it’s raining and they can sleep on the cat tree in there). Recently the shed has become a depository for remnants of abandoned hobbies (GPS units from geocaching, walking boots, an unused tent, lightshade made of human skin), stuff from the kitchen which we’re keeping in case we need it (Nutribullet box, ice-cream maker, pickled knees) and well, all sort of other shite. It was chaos, but after two hours and several trips to the tip (mainly because Paul insisted on taking his Smart car rather than my car, limiting us to taking two Rizla papers and a discarded screw at a time), we could see the carpet again.

Yeah, carpet, we can’t have the cats getting cold feet.

As an aside, the men at our nearest tip are a delight, and I’m not just saying that because they wear those fancy hi-vis boiler-suits and I want to be roughly groped behind the oil-disposal drums (though it would be fitting). It’s rare to find folks who seem happy in their job and who are keen to help, pointing us in the direction of the appropriate skip and masking their disapproval of the fact we couldn’t be arsed to separate our garden waste from our general waste. I know, we deserve to be bricked up in a tomb somewhere for killing the Earth, but honestly, Paul’s arse does more damage to the environment and I don’t run the risk of pricking my fingers when I handle that. It’s a far cry from the roughly-hewn grunters at our previous Newcastle tip. I honestly thought I was going to have my face slashed with a shard of a broken Pyrex dish for having the temerity to ask which bin to put hedge clippings in. I mean, I apologised for interrupting their blistering chatter about which bird (sorry: boord) they’d fuck out of the Daily Sport. Pfft.

After clearing the shelves and vacuuming about half a tonne of dried rosemary out of the carpet (hang it in the shed he said…we’ll use it all the time he said…) we had a clear shed and a clear mind. This meant only one thing: time to restock. See, Slimming World and life in general can be expensive but if you buy the staples you use in bulk, you’ll save cold hard cash, and that’s good for everyone, not least because it means you can buy a few more raffle tickets in class and keep Queen Mags in Cheeky Vimtos and Cutter’s Choice. We buy food like beans, chopped tomatoes, passata, pasta and rice in massive bags and store it in the shed, meaning if we’re ever stuck we can throw something together in the blink of an eye. Off we went to B&Ms to replenish.

Now listen, I know B&Ms is like Mecca to some folk, but I just can’t bear it. It’s full of people who dawdle and who hold up a jar of Nescafe in one hand and a jar of Blue Mountain in the other, looking dead behind the eyes whilst their spittle pools around their feet. The aisles are littered with ladies who look like they could punch an articulated lorry to death. It’s awash with screaming children and bright lights and too many not-quite products to bear. We filled our trolley with dishwasher tablets, coal tar soap and oops-sorry-Mags a box of Lucky Charms and hurtled through the checkout. The charming lass behind the counter carried on a conversation with her co-worker the entire time and spoke only to spit the price out at us. Never again. I never learn, I always think ‘let’s save some money’ but then I end up stuck in an aisle with mirrors with the Playboy logo on them whilst Paul holds himself up crying next to the locked display of perfumes featuring classics such as I’ve Just Come by Mark Wright or Gonorrhoea by someone who came second in I’m a Celebrity in 2009.

Celebrity scents confuse me at the best of times – I’ve never in my entire life looked at someone famous and thought by Christ I wish I smelled like them – but even more so when it’s a non-entity from a reality show on ITV Be (Thankful You Can Turn It Over, presumably). I imagine that smells like pure shame.

The good news is the shed is all stocked up. The bad news, if you’re a picker at the Tesco in Kingston Park, I’ve just put an order in for 96 bottles of various mixers to fill up our mixer shelves. If you want, crack open a bottle of the diet ginger ale because that belongs to Paul and I know he’ll spare it. Touch my tonic with a hint of cucumber and I’ll turn your delivery truck over. Obviously I’m kidding, but seriously now. Paul did suggest we go and pick up the drinks ourselves but frankly, if we took his car, we’d only have enough for one of those tiny tins of Coke you used to steal buy from Woolworths. The jokes about his Smart car will never, ever end, you realise. Even he’s accepted that, answering me with a chuckle that says ‘oh my’ and eyes that say ‘fuck you’. Ah well.

The other thing I managed to get done today was to finally open and put to use the copy of Adobe Illustrator that I’ve been paying £30 a month for since January, when I downloaded it in order to design a new front cover for our book. Did I mention we have a book? We do! Yes, click here to have a read. If you’ve read it, leave a review and buy ten copies of your friends. The reason for my dip into Illustrator was to design a little advert I could put into these blog entries to sell our Musclefood boxes – it gets difficult trying to shoehorn in reference to meat, especially when the topics are stuff like online bullying or my nana dying. Some might call me tactless but at least I didn’t put a sponsored ad in the funeral readings. So, you might see something like this on a post, but I’ll keep them discreet and not hammer home the advertising:

advert - summer-01

By the way, that’s an absolutely stonking deal – it’s what is fuelling our current BBQ week and the meat is delicious. We do also have three other deals and you can view them by clicking on our special, updated Musclefood page – even if you’re not wanting the meat, pass it to a friend by sending them a link. Cheers, big-ears.

I really have ummed and aahed about adding adverts – I bet you’ve hardly noticed our current level of advertising because we only have one on a page as a rule, and they’re tiny. Advertising is what keeps the blog going so we do have to have it, but I’m loathe to become one of those blogs where you get ten ads on a page, a newsletter sign-up shaking away at you every few minutes and constant plugging of various products that you know the owner is only saying because they’re getting paid to do so. Everything we recommend is something that we genuinely use, I promise. We do try and strike a balance of user friendliness vs advertising and I reckon – based on feedback I’ve requested in our group – we’ve got it right. Please do tell us if that isn’t the case! We want you to come here for either:

  • the delicious food;
  • the attempts at funny chatter; or
  • the hope of seeing my genitals in a blurred reflection of a polished curry bowl.

We’ll take whatever we can!

Right, right, goodness me, we have to do the recipes, don’t we? Sometimes when I sit down I can think of nothing to type and other times, nothing will have happened but I’ll still be able to spin 1800 words out of it. If you’re not a fan of my verbosity, you can always scroll straight to the recipes. If you are a fan, do me a favour and recommend us in your slimming groups or to mates. Build us and watch us flower.

Tonight we have three recipes – one for marinated turkey chimichurri skewers, another for a genuinely delicious loaded potato salad that tastes like it would be full of syns and nastiness but is actually low in syns and keeps well for lunches the next day, and oh, a seabreeze. We’re really getting into the cocktails thing. I know, just when you thought we couldn’t get any gayer. Ah well. To the food…

slimming world bbq

to make slimming world bbq: turkey chimichurri skewers, you’ll need:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced finely (hey guess what, I’m not going to recommend…ah fuck it, you know I am: here, use this!)
  • a big handful of parsley and a big handful of coriander

Listen, it’s always better to use fresh herbs. Buy a plant from the supermarket, stick it in water on your windowsill and it’ll grow all summer. But if you’re pushed for time, use dried

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • a pack of diced turkey – and what do you know, our Musclefood deal has the perfect pack in it – click here for that – you could also use a couple of diced up chicken breasts from the same box, we won’t tell
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper

Normally proper chimichurri is made with oil – so if you want to be a decadent bitch, get rid of the water and use four tablespoons of oil (24 syns) – this makes enough for eight skewers so that’s still only 6 syns per serving, assuming you have two skewers. If you use the above recipe, it’ll be 1.5 syns for two skewers.

to make slimming world bbq: turkey chimichurri skewers, you should:

  • dice the turkey or chicken if not already done
  • blend in a food processor all the other ingredients – taste with your fingers – you want to get it to a runny paste with some herbs left intact, not a perfectly blended mush
  • tip the turkey/chicken into a food bag and top with the chimichurri – really moosh it in with your fingers to get it pushed into the meat
  • leave for as long as you see fit, but, just like a lot of things, the longer the better
  • actually, that’s a lie, girth is more important, apologies if you’re a guy with a knob like one of those novelty giant pencils you buy in Scottish gift shops, but it’s true
  • when you’re ready to cook and the BBQ is up to temperature, thread the meat onto soaked wooden skewers or, better, metal skewers, together with whatever vegetables you have lying around in the house and place onto the grill
  • turn these a couple of times and for god’s sake, like everything else, make sure it’s all cooked before you eat it

You can also see in the picture there the hickory BBQ steaks and the drumsticks from our Musclefood deal. Just saying. They were delicious.

OK, now the potato salad. This was genuinely amazing, and well worth making! You can gussy it up however you want. This makes enough for four, though it was all Paul could do to stop me mashing my face into the bowl and eating the lot.

slimming world bbq

to make amazing loaded potato salad, you’ll need:

  • 1kg baby potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons salt, for the boiling water
  • 350g bacon medallions
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves of darlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard (1½ syns)
  • 2 tbsp Morrison’s NuMe Reduced Fat Mayonnaise (2 syns) – or use any alternative reduced fat mayonnaise but check the syn values as they vary
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained (obvs)
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach

to make amazing loaded potato salad, you should:

  • boil a big pan of water and throw in the potatoes, whole and with the skins on – cook until they’re done and they fall off when stabbed with a fork (about 15 minutes or so)
  • when done, drain and then rinse the potatoes under cold water to stop them from cooking. drain again and set aside
  • cook the bacon in a frying pan on a medium-high heat until crispy, then remove from the pan and onto a plate to cool
  • in the same pan add the chopped onion and cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally
  • then, add the garlic and cook for another minute or so, then remove the pan from the heat
  • in a small bowl whisk together the red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper
  • cut the potatoes into chunks – either halves or quarters, depending how you like them and place into a large bowl
  • crumble the bacon into small pieces and add to the potatoes, along with the onion and garlic
  • then add the sweetcorn, spinach and mustard sauce and mix well to combine
  • serve!

Perfect, right? Now let’s end with a cocktail. We’re keeping it easy with these cocktails, nice and strong with the idea that you’re not going to down it in one. Frankly, if you’re that type of lady, we both know your BBQ is going to end with you with your knickers off face-down in the neighbours’ leylandii, you shameless hussy.

slimming world bbq

to make a slimming world bbq: seabreeze, you’ll need:

  • a chilled glass
  • 35ml of reasonable vodka – we used Absolut Grapevine, but that’s because we’re extravagant  (4 syns)
  • 50ml of cranberry juice (1.5 syns ish)
  • lots of ice
  • 50ml of grapefruit juice (1 syn)
  • slice of lime

to make a slimming world bbq: seabreeze, you should:

  • lots of ice in the glass
  • vodka in the bottom
  • then cranberry juice
  • then grapefruit juice
  • decorate with a lime

Drink lots and be merry, folks.

J

slimming world bbq: syn-free chicken wraps and mojitos

Yes, a Slimming World BBQ! We haven’t done a themed week (although realistically, it’s going to be longer than a week because a) the weather keeps changing every time I blink and b) it’s too hot for us to run anywhere near full capacity on blog entries. But we’ll do our best!

Can I just get the ultimate first world problem out of the way first, in the hope that someone out there can solve it for me. Every time I switch my Mac on to write I have to clart about in the system settings to make the Caps Lock key active as soon as I start to type. Why? Why can’t it come on the second I press it? I know using the Caps Lock key to capitalise letters as you type is just one level above running your fingers under words as you read but I don’t care, I was too busy wiping smudged ink off my left hand in school to properly type. Not even a euphemism – being left-handed in a school where you have to write in proper ink was a nightmare.

Speaking of solving problems, I’ll say no more than how excellent the DVLA are at dealing with complaints and really, they employ the most terrific staff. I rescind everything I said in my previous post and really, can’t say enough about how good they are. Yep, they have sorted out the issue with the shitbiscuit Micra and now I’m good to go! Thank you, Guardian Angel. I know, I’ve got more faces than the town clock, and each one of them is putting things in its mouth that it shouldn’t.

So, BBQs then. Let’s be frank – no-one wants to sit nibbling away at a limp bit of lettuce whilst people shove more meat into their mouths than an eager lady on a football bus. As a result, the recipes are going to be fairly meat-heavy but I’m going to try and throw in some vegetarian recipes too. Bear with us. Also, because it’s summer and we need something to cool us down so our sweaty flesh doesn’t collapse in on itself, we’re throwing in some easy drink recipes too. That gives us an opportunity to show off our newest labels…

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After we’ve finished this themed week, we’ll add these to the recipes page so you’re good to go. You have no idea how much stress I went through trying to decide on the correct spelling of barbeque. It’s acceptable with either a Q or a C, so if anyone is feeling they want to comment telling me it is wrong, I invite them to go find a church and sit on the steeple. Can you tell I’m cranky?


Before we get to the recipe, it would be churlish of me not to mention our LIMITED EDITION Musclefood deal – we’ve upgraded our freezer filler to add in some BBQ friendly products. Same price as before – £50 – but this comes with free delivery, 24 chicken breasts, 6 half a syn sausages, 2 fat steak burgers (1 syn), 2 fat rump steaks, 2 hickory bbq chicken steaks (syn free), 400g of spicy chicken drumsticks (syn free when skin removed), 400g of diced turkey, huge pack of bacon medallions, 12 giant meatballs (half a syn each) and 1 pack of seasoning (2 syns). It’s only for a couple of weeks whilst the weather is hot and I thought it would be a good change to add in some BBQ foods! Click here to order and use the code TCCSUMMER to get the deal!

Oh and as a one off, we’ve done an unboxing video so you can actually take a look at what you get for your cold hard cash!

Ten points if you know the tune…


BBQs were always a mixed affair in our families. In my house barbecues consisted of enough black smoke to warrant someone knocking on the door and asking my dad if he was burning tyres in the back garden, a chicken breast that had the unique feature of being pure carbon on the outside and still clucking on the inside and running around the garden until the shits kicked in and then it was twenty minutes sitting on the toilet crying. My parents hosted barbeques of an evening for adults only, where all us kids could do is look mournfully from our bedroom windows like the children in Flowers in the Attic whilst everyone chomped party food under a solid ceiling of Lambert and Butler smoke. I did once light the barbeque at 5am in the morning when my parents were away and I had people over, although the bewhiskered chin of our neighbour appearing and tutting at us soon put paid to that fancy. To be fair, who does want to be woken up by some posh bird from Hexham screeching her way through the opening of B*Witched’s C’est La Vie with her knickers around her ankles? Not me.

Paul confirms that his barbecue experiences were much the same, save for a time when someone enlivened proceedings by accidentally kicking a gas canister into the fire. I’ve always wondered why Paul always looks so shiny and surprised, now we know. He was fed ‘Mum salad’ which consisted of lettuce (iceberg, heaven forbid there would be flavour), chopped tomato (always almost green, heaven forbid there would be flavour) and cucumber (yeah, you get it). This would all be put in neat vinegar and served with a healthy side of coughing. I do love it when Paul tells me stories of his childhood, it’s always like a Catherine Cookson novel but with more knock-off fag brands. There’d always be a bowl of microwaved-to-fuckery golden rice which was served in the same bowl used if anyone needed to vomit, oh, and this bit I love because we had exactly the same – a french stick from that bakery in the Co-op whose name escapes me cut into discs and buttered.

Truly, those were golden times.

Tonight’s BBQ recipe is simple enough – a good way to have a burger without having to use the bread from your HEA. So you could have two, if you wanted, and you know you’re going to so let’s not pretend. It’s up to you if you decide to syn the pineapple ring – Slimming World say 100g of Del Monte pineapple rings in juice is 3.5 syns. You’re not using 100g and you’re not using the juice. If you’re so concerned, cut a pineapple up yourself – fresher too! The recipe makes enough for two ‘wraps’, so just add more stuff onto the BBQ if you’re wanting more. Obviously.

slimming world bbq

to make slimming world BBQ chicken wraps, you’ll need:

  • two chicken breasts (the beasts from our Musclefood deal will do the job!) that have been marinating in minced garlic, juice of half a lime, a teaspoon of fresh lime zest (use one of these for both the garlic and the zest) and a chopped red chilli (leave this out if you’ve got a sensitive arse) for as long as you dare
  • four rashers of bacon from our Musclefood pack or indeed, any bacon with the fat cut off
  • some pineapple rings, either fresh or tinned
  • lettuce with big leaves – we grow ours in the garden so lord only knows what it is

to make slimming world BBQ chicken wraps, you should:

  • get your BBQ nice and hot with grey charcoal
  • throw the chicken on to cook, turning regularly – about five minutes before you think it’s done, chuck the bacon and pineapple on the grill
  • once it’s all done, with the juices running clear (from the chicken, not you), assemble by wrapping the chicken in the cooked bacon with a pineapple ring underneath, then wrap it all in lettuce and stuff it in your big open maw
  • easy!

Now I can’t stress enough that you need to be careful when cooking on a BBQ. Buy a wee meat thermometer for example, or at least ensure everything is cooked through properly. You will lose weight if you’re firing the chocolate laser all night, but it’s not a good way to live.

Of course, you’ll need a drink to go with your burger, so may I suggest you have a good, proper Mojito? We have a really decent, if altogether far too wank, cocktails book which goes into great detail about the history of each cocktail and the proper way to make it. But hey, we’re in a rush and we’re not fancy here, so…

slimming world bbq

to make a decent Mojito, you’ll need:

  • a 50ml shot of decent white rum – listen, the idea is that you make a decent drink using only a few syns because then you’ll enjoy it more and not miss your litre of Bellabrusco, so choose wisely – 50ml is 5 syns
  • fresh mint – we have it growing in the garden but you can buy a plant in the supermarket and, providing you keep it watered, it’ll last all summer – hell, it’ll last forever, it’s the herpes of herbs
  • a literal drop or two of honey (if you want to syn it, it’s 1 syn per tsp, but you’re not using anywhere near that)
  • mmm, nice
  • soda water
  • 25 ml of fresh lime juice
  • lots of crushed ice

to make a decent Mojito, you should:

  • place ten or so mint leaves in the bottom of the glass and very gently knock them about a bit – don’t writhe on at them like you’re killing a spider, you just want to bruise them lightly to release the mint
  • add the rum, lime juice and honey drop and stir gently with a little crushed ice
  • add some soda water and the rest of the ice and fill to the top, swirling gently
  • decorate with a mound of crushed ice and a bit more mint

Classy, eh? I like a strong measure but if you’re a Dainty Daisy, cut back or leave out the rum. Although I mean, come on…more Slimming World BBQ meals tomorrow!

More chicken recipes? Of course, click the button.

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J

james’ any old shite salad

What an alluring name! But my any old shite salad is so called because I literally dice up and chuck in any old shite that I have lying in the back of the fridge. I’m on a bit of a drive to stop wasting so much food – something that is quite difficult when running a food blog given how many new recipes we have to come up with. Plus, I spend £3 a day on Subway for my lunch and thought this would be cheaper, plus I don’t have to stare angrily at the back of some poor lad’s head whilst he umms and aaars his way through the choices.

As an aside, do I win Pickiest Subway Salad award? I get double plain chicken, no cheese, half lettuce, cucumber, no onion or olives, double gherkins, double jalapeno, tomatoes (with a pinch of salt), honey and mustard dressing but the dressing has to go on before all the salad so the leaves are wet. I know, I’m a terror, but I think I get away with it because I’m so unfailingly polite and I bought them a box of Celebrations at Christmas. I’m not convinced the guy behind the till speaks a lick of English – and alas, my Latvian is a little rusty – so he could be calling me worse than muck under his breath and I wouldn’t know. Ah well, them’s the breaks. I prefer to live in blissful ignorance.

Oh, I once got thrown out of a Subway in Southend after getting steaming drunk in Colours in Basildon with my ex who looked like Granitarse from Knightmare and storming in demanding a chicken ticky-licky sandwich and crying when they didn’t understand what I meant. Look, it had been an emotional evening, my ex’s then-partner had caught us…what a slut. I’m not usually such an arsehole when I’m drunk, I hasten to add. I’m not.

Right, anyway, no diversions, we weren’t going to post tonight as we’re in the middle of decorating our bedroom and getting jizz off the ceiling takes a great deal of determination. So: the any old shite salad.

any old shite salad

I’m not going to treat you like a moron and tell you how to prepare any old shite salad, but here’s what is in mine:

  • sliced baby cucumber with the seeds cut out
  • a variety of cherry tomatoes, chopped, salted and drained
  • a handful of baby corn, sliced
  • a fistful of sugarsnap peas
  • a baby’s mitten of gherkins, sliced
  • a cat’s sneeze of new potatoes, diced
  • an extravagant wave of tiny soup pasta
  • a perfunctory sexual act of tiny pickled onions
  • a discarded cigarette packet of olives (which I don’t syn, not the pitted black ones, and that’s not because I’m racist)
  • a blushing smile of tiny pickled red peppers
  • a knee-slapping chortle of broccoli
  • an angry drunken confrontation of asparagus tips
  • a thought of mint leaves
  • a carpet sample of ham – leave out for a veggie option
  • an uprising of chopped red and green pepper
  • a don’t-tell-Margaret-HEA (X2) of crumbled feta cheese
  • an after-coitus-dribble of fat-free dressing (I make mine from balsamic vinegar, a tablespoon of dijon mustard and some lemon juice – I don’t syn the mustard either, it’s a tiny amount, but you can go for it)

You can surely tell from my piss-take amounts that there’s no set rules when it comes to amounts. Make as much as you like, vary the ingredients, take out what you don’t like and add stuff you do. I like to cram as many different textures and tastes into each salad because it keeps things interesting. I make enough on a Monday night to fill four large lunchboxes and this carries me through to the end of the week. It keeps well in the fridge because you haven’t saturated it in dressing and actually, the less moisture in the salad, the fresher it seems to stay.

Lunchboxes? Sistema all the way. Cheap but reliable and next to nothing on Amazon – see!

any old shite salad

See, I might have called it any old shite, but it’s a bloody good idea for lunch!

Oh, as a little extra, I made some pickled red onion slices a couple of weeks ago when I made those fancy eggs – nothing special, just a load of very thinly sliced red onion (this is where one of these comes in handy – and ooh, it’s almost half price on Amazon – buy one and you’ll use it lots, I promise), stick them in a sterilised Kilner jar, top up with rice vinegar with a teaspoon of sugar added (heat the vinegar, add the sugar so it dissolves, then take off the heat), throw in some black peppercorns and leave in the jar in the fridge for as long as you need them. Everything goes a pretty colour, as you can see. Up to you whether you syn the sugar – if you do, it’s 1 syn per tsp, but really, it goes into the vinegar and well, you’re not going to eat all the onion in one go). This is lovely on a burger but even better mixed into your any old shite salad!

any old shite salad

Enjoy. If you want more ideas for vegetarian recipes or snacks, click on the buttons below!

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Thanks!

J

fresh spring rolls and dipping sauce

Was it my fresh spring rolls and dipping sauce that caught your eye? Well scroll on down, you filthy buggers. Fair warning, tonight’s entry is a little saucy.

Before we get to the recipe, I’m going to do something unusual. See, in the facebook group that accompanies this blog are a load of funny buggers, each more crass and hilarious than the last. I can rattle off a blue joke and a knob gag no worries, but well, I struggle to get women’s problems correct. It’s all so complicated, and well, if you get it wrong, you’re liable to end up with a clit around the ear and a flap in the face. Wah-wah.

Anyway, I decided it would be a gas to ask people if they wanted to write an ‘article’ for the blog – no catches, write what you want, and if I have a recipe but can’t be buggered to type up one of my usual why-use-one-word-when-forty-paragraphs will do, I can post one up! If you’re interested in having a go, let me know in the comments. Readers, please remember that these articles are people wanting to try their hand at writing a blog post but don’t have the confidence to set up a full blog. Be kind. If you’re thinking negative comments, keep them ssh. If you enjoy the article, let’s hear from you!

Tonight’s entry is by the charming Clarabell, who lists the ability to say the alphabet backwards and having a creepy double-jointed hand as her party trick. Don’t believe me? Take a look!

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Goodness. Least she never struggles to get the last Pringle out of the tube, eh? I’d better make sure that isn’t the image that shows up when you post this to facebook. Over to Clarabell…


sweatbox: a tale by Clarabell

Now, we’re all used to the candid craic from James and Paul about douche bulbs, all things in the downstairs department, and of course the post that mentioned bukkake…which I had to google. On a work laptop. Upon which I forgot to delete the history. Cheers guys! So I figured that with a gaggle of MAINLY female readers that my post would have to be about some nether region tale of the female variety. Something we’ve probably all experienced at one point. Perhaps not James and Paul. (James edit: NOT TRUE! I’ve been there and it was all very charming, but not for me. That’s what keeps the world interesting, different opinions, apropos of nothing I don’t like potted ox tongue either).

I’ve been fed up lately, I’ve been getting bouts of cystitis, antibiotics, thrush, cystitis….repeat. I’ve had a scan and there’s nothing wrong with me other than I don’t drink enough water, and have self-created this cycle of misery.

Resigned to buying the thrush cream, after the standard tactic of ‘ignore it and it might not be there’ stopped working, off I went to the local shopping centre, my purse hovering on the thick air in front of me. I’m in Asda but I can’t see what I want on the shelves, and I’m quickly narked that the chemist is the other side of the centre, only because when your regions are on fire, that’s a long walk to do, simultaneously avoiding the urge for a scratch, and walking like there’s stones in your shoes. But! In a flash of delight, I remember that they took out half of the checkouts, to make an optician that no-one goes in, and…. a PHARMACY! Whoop! There’s nothing like the delight of knowing you can get minge cream at the same time as your linguine.

I’d like some Canesten Oral Duo” I say bravely– pointing to the bottom shelf. Worryingly, he looks like he doesn’t have a clue what I’m asking for. He follows my finger to the bottom shelf, and picks up some Sea Legs, examines box, puts it back and repeats – he does this a few times with a box of Rennie, and some headlice solution, and eventually comes across the thrush ‘range’ glowing on the shelf like a barber’s pole in full red and white glory. I’m wondering at this point if he is the pharmacist, or whether he’s mugged the rightful medicine man of his Asda badge and strolled behind the desk in the manner of an imposter, hoping to get first nab of the nearby ‘Whoops’ range, but he comes across the requested item at last. Not literally, you’d really struggle to pick the box up if he did that.

“Is it for you?” he asks. Christ on a bike…look mate, it’s fifteen flaming quid…I am not about to raffle it off in the Slimmer of the Week basket I don’t say this, instead I go with “yes” and 100% resting bitch face. Oh but he isn’t finished, “have you used it before?”…panic! What’s the correct answer to this? ‘Yes’ and appear like some serial offender, someone who can’t control their rancid ways and lifting minnie?! Or ‘no’ and risk a declined purchase, or worse, some sort of lecture on best application practice and/or side effects?! I go with “yes” quickly followed up with “a while ago…” He gives a small nod. He knows I’m baking bread. Phew, home and dry, which is good because another customer has joined me and she has the smug privacy of a prescription, which is her ticket to a no question transaction.  What is it with these useless questions?

However, there can be none more useless than the question I once got asked buying antihistamines for hayfever, “drowsy or non-drowsy” I was asked! Really?! Erm..let me check my diary…nope, nothing on the afternoon, drowsy for me please, I’m fine to lounge around spaced out and sleepy, I was not planning on driving and the only ‘machinery’ I’ll be operating will be the telly, so yup, drowsy will do just do fine…ah wait, no consuming alcohol? Poop.

Anyway, Ahmed walks to the till, and promptly stops and stands above it doing jazz hands, and of course he just remembered he doesn’t know how to use it. Suddenly, “Doreen!” he shouts WAVING THE CANESTEN BOX IN THE AIR! “Doreen, can you ring this in for me please”! I swear the smug-prescription-holder does the smirking shimmy, that tiny little wobble that comes only with an inner titter.  I throw her some side-ways shade, which is code for ‘look lady, we’ve all been there, and you will one day (maybe soon after that prescription for antibiotics teehee!) also have to stand here and deal with this lovely bloke, showing the world his arm pit sweat patch whilst at the same time holding aloft the solution to your itchy snatch’.


Goodness me! I once had a flatmate who had perpetual thrush, brought on by the fact her extra-endowed boyfriend  seemed hellbent on hammering her cervix over her back-teeth. Not even kidding there, she showed me a photo he’d sent and what I thought was his arm holding the camera definitely wasn’t. At one point our fridge was more cranberry juice than anything else. I still can’t have a cranberry sour without thinking of her undercarriage. I remember we once had a full stand-up row over the fact I refused to boil tea-towels in a saucepan on the hob to sterilise them. Awfully judgemental for someone with a little too much glue on their envelope.

Now listen, before anyone starts writing their ‘ANGRY OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS’ letters and getting themselves in a tizz, don’t. I know it’s perfectly natural and I know people get all sorts of things but do you know, if we can’t laugh at ourselves, what can we do? Let’s not live in a joyless vacuum.

Right, to the food!

 fresh spring rolls

These are one of those tasty little dishes that look complicated to make, but they’re really not. We used Blue Dragon Rice Pancakes for these which SW say are one syn each (ridiculous) – you can buy rice pancakes from any Asian supermarket too. The joy with these is that you can ram them absolutely chock-full of speed vegetables and lovely free things. 

to make fresh spring rolls, you’ll need:

to make fresh spring rolls, you should:

  • get a plate and fill it with warm water, you’ll obviously not need a lot
  • chop all your veg up – this is where a mandolin will save you so much time and make everything neat and wonderful – click here to buy one of those
  • get everything ready to hand
  • take one pancake, push it into the water, allow to rehydrate a little
  • take out, shake off the water and lay it on a tea-towel or better, a nice clean worktop
  • if you imagine it in thirds, you want to place a big amount of filling at the top of the bottom third – or really, just below the middle of the pancake
  • fold in the sides
  • fold in the bottom
  • roll – keep it nice and tight with your hands (fnar fnar)
  • place on a chopping board and cut with a very sharp knife

You’re done! We served ours with a dipping sauce where we took low sodium soy sauce (6 tbsp), a couple of tablespoons of hoisin (4 syns), a few chilli flakes, a drop of honey (1 syn) and some passata. Stir and serve!

Although these are a syn each, these fresh spring rolls are very, very filling and a brilliant way of getting fresh veg into you. I’m a big fat pig and only managed four! If you wanted to keep it vegetarian, swap out the meat for cooked egg or mushrooms.

Enjoy.

J

peanut broccoli salad

Here for the peanut broccoli salad? Scroll down to the picture and start running your fingers under the words on the screen. Today’s post isn’t going to be played for laughs because something is on my mind. The NHS. Yes, today we’re not going to so much as wander off the path as set camp in the forest. See, I was driving home listening to Professional Chode Jeremy Hunt gabbling away in that smug, shit-eating way of his about reaching a deal with the junior doctors. I can’t abide the man. You know when someone is described as making your skin crawl? He makes me turn inside out like a salt-covered slug with shyness issues. I’m unapologetic in my view. He represents the very worst – perhaps second only to George Osborne, a man so smug that he probably has a Fleshlight designed in the vision of his own face delivering bad news – of what is wrong with who is running the country. But that’s another rant for another time.

See, I love the NHS. I truly do. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve had previous bouts of health anxiety and whilst that’s under control, it’s also meant I’ve had many trips to the doctors in my time. I’ve also got a dicky ticker to boot. Every single time I’ve been into hospital I’ve been treated with the utmost respect by all of the staff, who wear their smiles wide and work hard to bring reassurance and comfort to all. I was in there this morning for physiotherapy on my Klicker-Klacker neck. The doctor who I saw was wonderful, knew about my anxiety, took the time to explain what the problem was (and more importantly, what it wasn’t!) and even had the good grace not to recoil when I took my shirt off. I wasn’t rushed, I wasn’t made to feel like I was inconveniencing them, and I was told just to call up if things got worse. 

I hasten to clarify something – I’ve only been into hospital when I’ve actually had something wrong – I’m not a timewaster (though I’ll say this – don’t dismiss anyone with health anxiety as being a timewaster – take a moment to ponder what it must actually be like worrying and fretting that they’re dying). I’ve never had a single bad experience with the NHS, and it breaks my heart (just what I need) to see the systematic dismantling of it coming in via the back door.

And listen – I normally love things coming in via the back door. Of course there could be improvements, but what massive organisation can’t stand to lose a little fat? Plus if I have to sit through one more ‘GO YOU’ video in the waiting room where positive messages are beamed at me by someone more tooth than human I’ll cut myself. Least I’ll be in the right place. I’m going to hand over the typing to Paul, who can put our feelings in much better terms. Over to you, Fatty.

All we ever really hear about the NHS is that it’s awful, things are going wrong, mistakes are happening – I can only disagree with that entirely both with my own experiences and those I’ve seen of others (as a spectator and a cog in the machine itself). 

It’s pretty amazing to think of this giant institution being there in the background which we all take for granted. Can you imagine having to dole out some cash every time you wanted to see the doctor? I had a taste of it when we last went to Florida and suffered from a simple perforated eardrum. It cost nearly £500 for ten minutes with a mardy quack and a Tiny-Tears bottle of ear drops. £500! James started clutching his heart until I reminded him we’d need to mortgage the house to pay for the defibrillator. We paid it because I needed it – I was in agony and due to fly back, and fortunately had some travel insurance to cover it, but to imagine having that sort of thing drop into my lap on a normal day beggars belief and needless to say would mean I’d probably have to self-medicate with whinging and attention-seeking, and probably some Ben & Jerry’s too. 

This whole idea of the value of the NHS hit me today just as I was sorting out our diary – I’ve got a few medical appointments coming up with my GP and at the hospital (we’re at that age, you know) that are for things that are all down to my fatness, and James had a quick rub-down by the physio today for his wonky neck. I did a quick bit of googling about the subject and to have all of these things without the NHS (i.e. like in America) would have cost nearly £3,000. Isn’t that astonishing? I know there’s insurance and various schemes but overall, what a mess. 

Isn’t it great that all these services are offered for nowt, all because of our NHS. Now, I know – I annoy myself with these things – all this treatment is entirely my own fault and completely avoidable, and I am a little ashamed to have to be using up the resources of the NHS on me being too greedy, but on the other hand what a fantastic public service it is – to know that all of us, whoever we are, where we come from, what we do, can have the most fundamental thing – our continued survival – at our disposal. And, what a thing it is that we can be so lucky to have something so grand and wonderful that we take it for granted.

So I made myself a commitment today – to look-up to the NHS and champion it, and also defend it. James will be rolling his eyes at this (he hates it when I get political) (James edit: no I don’t, I just find it hard to get it up when you wear your Thatcher wig and flat shoes) so I’ll maybe soften it a bit – but we ALL need to defend it from those that want to take it away. It is OURS and we must keep it OURS and so we must all do what we can to cherish it, use it, and make sure it’s there for others in the future. So, from today, I’ll continue my weight loss journey so that I can get healthy but also reduce the strain on the NHS in the future – today it’s a fatty liver but if I keep on at the rate I am there will be all sorts of obesity-related conditions that come knocking at my creaky door (and knees – and I need them for….things…), and make sure I do all I can to protect and defend the NHS when I can. Not just in a rabble-rousing way but also to defend the very essence of the NHS and the culture that comes with it, because god knows we’ll miss it when it’s gone. 

Phew. All better. 

Let’s do the recipe, then. This salad more than filled us up as a main meal – we served two paprika chicken breasts with it, the recipe for which you can find here – but it would do as a side too. Plenty of speed and more importantly, plenty of taste. This makes enough for four people as a big side dish.

peanut broccoli salad

to make peanut broccoli salad, you’ll need:

  • 1 or 2 large broccoli, cut into florets (or use 600g tenderstem/purple sprouting broccoli like we did)
  • 1 tin of chickpeas
  • 3 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp reduced fat peanut butter (8 syns)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey (2½ syns)
  • a drop of sesame oil (½ syn)

If you’re serving with chicken, use the Musclefood chicken. Not saying this to push the product because we get paid commission (although we do) – we forgot to defrost some chicken and had to buy a couple of breasts from the supermarket. They went in looking swell and tasty, they came out shrunken and dry as a dead dog’s dick. Musclefood’s chicken is tasty, doesn’t shrink and isn’t full of gristle that makes eating your dinner the equivalent of chewing on the ring of a condom. Click here to order our freezer filler which will get you loads of chicken!

And look – yes you use syns, but this dish works out as 11 syns for the lot. I’ve divided it into four at 3 syns each, so I’m actually being over-cautious there. Don’t sack it off because it uses syns, that’s what they are there for. 

Finally, the inspiration for this recipe came from gimmesomeoven – we’ve taken it and made it SW-friendly.

to make peanut broccoli salad, you should:

  • reheat the oven to 200°c
  • drain the chickpeas well and place on a single layer on a baking sheet and dribble Worcestershire sauce over them – give them a shake to get them coated
  • bake in the oven for about 30 minutes – you don’t want them at full teeth-shattering level but a bit of crunch is a good thing
  • meanwhile, in a bowl mix together the peanut butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil, loosen with a tablespoon of hot water if it’s too thick, until you reach your desired consistency
  • bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the broccoli
  • cook for a minute or two, or longer if you like it softer (amateur)
  • drain and place in cold water
  • when ready to serve, drain the broccoli and in a large bowl mix together with the peanut sauce
  • serve and sprinkle over the roasted chickpeas

Enjoy!

J