beef and butterbean stew

Tonight, for our evening meal, we have:


This diet is definitely working- I tried a new shirt on (well an old one, actually, with super bright multi-coloured stripes – I look like an ice-cream seller) and it fits! I resisted the urge to come mincing out the bedroom singing ‘I look handsome I look smart I’m a walking work of art’ and jazzhanding at Paul, but only just.

Do you know, I’ve never heard anything back from The Chase about my recent application. I’m secretly a bit gutted. All I want is for my star to shine on TV – first I narrowly missed getting on the bus with Coach Trip, now even Bradley Walsh is turning me down. I’d quite like a stab at Gogglebox too, if I’m honest, although I don’t think Channel 4 could cope with Paul and I sitting on our pleather settee in our knickers with pastry crumbs cascading down our chests whilst we slag off all and sundry. Plus I do spend an impressive amount of time scratching my feet with a Ped-Egg and I can imagine that would look especially unsavoury in HD, with my cheesy foot snow billowing about every time we fart. I’ve been trying to persuade Paul to play with me on New Super Mario World on the Wii U but because he’s got eyes that can see both ends of a wedding buffet at the same time (he never looks forward to anything), he can’t handle 3D games. But then I can’t handle discussing the political implications of the North Korea situation like he can, so we balance each other out. UNLIKE HIS EYES.

Eee what a cow. Here’s the recipe.

to make beef and butterbean stew:


ingredients: three red onions, cut nice and small, light jus-rol pastry, chopped tomatoes, 400ml of beef stock, cornflour, smoked paprika, garlic, lean beef casserole, butter beans and an egg

recipe: pop the hob onto a medium-high heat and get your casserole pot out (preferably one you can bung in the oven). A splash of olive oil on the bottom or frylight if you’re syn-free. Roll your meat around in a teaspoon of cornflour and smoked paprika. You can skip this bit if you like – I didn’t, because the flour helps it not to stick, but as this serves four, I didn’t syn it – if you want to be super-careful it’ll be 1 syn at most. Fry the meat for three minutes to get a good seal on it. Take the meat out, put the onion in to saute, and then add everything into the pot.

Now your choice is simple. Hob for two hours on medium or oven for three. I prefer the oven, because it takes longer and the flavours develop. The meat I got from Sainsbury’s was as tough as old boots – I actually went onto their facebook and left a message:

‘By ‘eck Sainsburys. I’ve had some tasteless, flabby portions of meat in my mouth in my time but never have I had the displeasure I’ve just felt trying to chew my way through your ‘diced lean casserole beaf steak’ pack that you recommend for your beef and butter bean pie. Tasteless, tough meat that I could probably bounce on the floor as it was so rubbery. Felt like I was eating calamari. I feel I’d have enjoyed more flavour, and certainly more succulence, if I’d ripped up a floor tile from your Cramlington store and made that into a casserole. Even my cat, who isn’t picky, turned her nose up at it, and she licks her own bottom all day long.’

I actually salvaged the dinner by cooking it for three hours – I think two hours on the hob won’t cut it if you use cheaper meat. Your call!

If you want the stars, syn them at 4 syns (and again, that’s being generous). Easy enough, unroll the pastry and cut them out with a cutter. I’ve actually got a penis-shaped cutter, but I thought that would look ungainly. Brush with egg and put them in a hot oven for fifteen minutes, or until they’re golden brown.

We had the usual sweet potato mash – chop potatoes, rice them, add a drop of horseradish and the remainder of the egg you’ll use to glaze the stars. Mix, and serve. Broccoli on the side.

extra-easy: yes, 0 syns if you omit the pastry stars and the cornflour, but again, remember you’re eating to be happy, not punishing yourself. Get out of the mindset of being scared to use your syns and spend them on making your food that little bit better. THAT said, if you didn’t have pastry, you could throw the mash on top and have a sort of shepherds pie. If you’re INSANE. To work out the syns, well here’s a copy of the post I made explaining it!

I used a teaspoon of cornflour, most of which was left in the bottom of the bowl – so split between four, is almost nothing (I did say this in the blog to make sure mind!). I’ve never synned the garlic – but looking at it, if you use the paste, it’s a syn per tablespoon – so I generally use the powdered stuff. As for the pastry – 100g which made enough stars for four servings, it’s 53 syns (!) for 320 – so I worked it out as 4 syns for the stars!

top tips: The scraps of the Jus-Rol could easily be made into those cinnamon swirl things you see dotted around various groups. But that’s just pastry, cinnamon and sweetener – and we’re talking a LOT of sweetener, and it isn’t very good for the body. Your call mind, I’m not lecturing! If you wanted, just cut out strips, sprinkle sweetener and cinnamon, and roll them up into a wheel shape. Mmm! 2 syns each. Just have a bloody Freddo and get on with it!