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January 20, 2015, Posted by Richard in Baking Bad, Food

Baking Bad – Man V Fat special

Many’s the time I’ve found myself standing by the sandwich isle, wondering whether to have cheese and pickle or egg and cress, or in fact whether I’d rather cheese, pickle, egg and cress were to all join forces, smack me round the chops and tell me to go make something myself.

Luckily, with the help of the excellent new MAN V FAT book, and accompanied by blue-eyed pork-pie fancier, Thomas Noble, that’s exactly what I did. The three recipes we tried out were couscous salad with roasted vegetables, Miso soup, and Halloumi, Beetroot and Spinach (I’m a vegetarian, ok? But there are some delicious sounding meaty recipes in there too).

The required ingredients for these three glorious recipes. Bang. Look at all those colours (ignoring the Flake desert and Pringles, which were mainly there for moral support).

I’m a tofu crumbler. There, I’ve said it. Does look quite disgusting, but the flavours!! Enhances any Miso.

sliced veg
Have you ever seen such a cornucopia of sliced health? No, you haven’t.

stirring soup
Noble stirs the Miso Soup. He’s apprensive about tofu because it isn’t served in pastry and/or with gravy.

all done
A triumvirate of delicious nutritiousness. All exceptionally quick and easy to make, with pretty simple ingredients. And good for you! What more could you want?

eating soup
Caught post-slurp (thanks Noble), I tuck into the warming and flavoursome Miso Soup.

Couscous and roasted veg meets halloumi, spinach and beetoot. And the rest is history.

So there you have it. Never again should you have to stand in the kitchen at work pretending you’re excited about the watery soup rotating in the microwave. Check out Andrew Shanahan‘s Man V Fat and get some proper healthy grub down your gullets. Using a three-step guide, it’ll help you understand why you got fat in the first place, how to then tackle the flab, and how to create a lasting winning structure. It’s also got tips on which diet is right for you, nutrition advice, plus exercise and fitness plans. Basically everything you need to kick your beer belly’s ass.


Man V Fat: The Weight Loss Manual is out now! For more on the book and for no-nonsense weight loss tips and support, visit

October 23, 2014, Posted by Richard in Baking Bad, Culture, Food, Recipes

Baking Bad – Paul Hollywood special

As soon as a copy of Paul Hollywood’s new tome slammed onto the MWSAB desk, we were eagerly thumbing through it, deciding what slice of gold we were going to bake the hell out of. And, gosh-darn it, when even the Silver Fox himself demanded we document the process, it was clear this called for another round of BAKING BAD.

Since our last adventure, Tom Noble had seen fit to leave behind his ‘characterful’ Islington flat for some delightful new lodgings in London’s exotic Crouch End.

‘It’s like a Spanish Villa!’ Ben Willis spluttered, washing the tobacco and more miscellaneous filth from his fingers as he prepared to cook.

‘Tell me about it,’ Tom rejoined, thrusting cans of lager into the fridge and inexplicably spreading plain flour on top of the dishwasher.

Tom flours the dishwasher

Bakewell Pudding

With compliments offered and filthy fingers scrubbed, it was time to crack open a can and get bloody baking.

Sweat coursing down his cheek and into the gap where he accidentally shaved without the guard on his razor, Tom grappled manfully with the puff pastry. Before long the top of his dishwasher was adorned with a golden crown. Mesmerised, I watched him inserting it into a cake tin with the care and affection of a young lad applying glue to his first Spitfire Airfix kit.

The pastry placed, it was now time for me to shine. After a brief debate about what’s a dessert spoon and what’s a table spoon, I dutifully dolloped some raspberry jam into the mix. Textbook.

Wearied by our exertions, we stuck the brute into the fridge (post-lager removal), and headed to the soft embrace of the lounge area to watch a beleaguered Liverpool stretched apart by Real Madrid like the very pastry we had just been manipulating.

Half-time, and back to the kitchen. It was time to whack the rest of the ingredients into a bowl. Wham! No bother. Cristiano Ronaldo might have an extraordinary goalscoring record in the champions league, but by God I’d be surprised if he could combine eggs and milk this well. Mixture now added to the cooled jam and pastry party, it was time to bang the whole thing into a pre-heated oven and let that bad boy bake.

photo 2
They call me the dollop king (unfortunately)



Ben Willis may have turned up an hour late after taking the wrong train, having to take solace in a nearby kebab shop as the kindly proprietors juiced his iPhone5 and offered him cigarettes, but that wasn’t going to hinder him, especially after Tom and I had already sorted out the mixture.

To describe the breathtaking dexterity with which he fingered the dough is nigh on impossible. He reminded me of a master-puppeteer, who, with a flick of his pinkie, could create such nuanced changes in his puppets’ movements as to make us think those wooden sods were real.

photo 3
A master at work

Later, we crowded around the oven like excited kiddiewinks on Christmas morn. Had Santa been? You better believe it. The golden treats which awaited us in that piping prison were nothing short of basically edible. Tom in particular was so taken aback by the sight and smell of the slightly charred pastry that he became overcome with nostalgia for his northern childhood. Proust had his madeleines, Noble had his Bakewell Pudding.

Bidding our host and, dare I say it – friend – adieu, Ben and I hastened out into the night. We shivered against the chill, hurrying past a dimly lit Londis on the way to the bus stop. But whilst the night air did its best to infiltrate our coats, it was powerless against the warm glow that throbbed in our hearts.

Quite simply, we had baked our little socks off.

photo 5
Finished article 1: Bakewell Pudding

photo 4
Finished article 2: Jumbles

Both of these actually turned out really rather well, and there are some excellent recipes in this beautifully produced book. Whether you fancy tackling some of Paul’s brilliant British recipes for yourself, or need some early Christmas-shopping inspiration, we heartily recommend you part with your dosh for this one.

PHBB packshot

Paul Hollywood’s British Baking is out now from Bloomsbury

May 21, 2014, Posted by Ben Willis in Baking Bad, Food

Making Tony Singh’s Triple Chocolate Brownies | Baking Bad

In our third and final instalment of Baking Bad 2: Singh For Your Supper, Ben was in charge of the final dish: Triple Chocolate Brownies.

[WARNING: Contains occasional mild fiction]

It all started with the wrong sized baking tray, a 40 cm squared space of tired, stained 80s formica kitchen surface, and an electric hob that some annoying person (Richard) kept turning off when I wasn’t looking. I was a brownie virgin, and now, looking back, I can admit I was nervous. My previous experience of baking was limited and had led only to vicious insults from colleagues, and balls of sponge concealed passive aggressively in napkins in the tops of bins scattered around the office. Self-raising flour? Caster sugar? An egg? What the hell had I gotten myself into…

The ingredients
I recall it consisted mostly of chocolate: white and milk chocolate chips and substantial slabs of the 80% dark stuff. But there was definitely other things in there too; things like sugar, butter, a single hen’s egg (large) and flour, you know, stuff like that. At one point I almost poured some milk in, but was prevented from doing so by Holly, who pointed out that the ‘milk’ actually referred to the kind of chocolate we would be using. Phew.


The equipment
Tom doesn’t believe in pyrex bowls, so a small, scratched glass measuring jug would have to do for the chocolate and butter melting. A saucepan of boiling water was vital for this. A baking tray (note: try not to use a roasting tray, if at all possible…) is a useful tool for cooking the finished mix in. You need an oven too – I can’t stress that enough.

The method
This is the part that’s hard to share using mere words. How can I possibly describe accurately the careful, exact twist of my right hand as I whisked sugar and egg together to form a yellowy fluff-goo? How does one find words to amply illustrate the careful, considered stirring of chocolate and butter as it melted down to brown silk? And then how – HOW – can I paint in your mind the image of my combining of these two sticky sludges as they become one, and then the method by which I took that mighty broth and poured it with gentle arm into the grateful mouth of the greaseproof paper-dressed baking tray? Bake for 20 minutes.


The results
Headline publicist Elaine Egan said they were the ‘best brownies she’s ever had, and I’ve visited Martha Stewart in jail.’

I’m glad your brownies were my first, Tony.

brownieThe glory

TASTY by Tony Singh is published Thursday 22nd May. It’s an absolute cracker of a book. Order yourself a copy here and get cooking.

tasy cover

Tweet Tony: @McTSingh

May 20, 2014, Posted by Richard in Baking Bad, Food

Making Tony Singh’s Sweet Potato Curry | Baking Bad

In the previous episode of Baking Bad, we stumbled our way to triumph baking John Whaite’s top notch Mojito Cake. So this time it seemed like we should step things up a gear; rather than just cooking one thing between us, we’d each do our own dish. The source of our inspiration this time? TASTY, the absolutely stunning new book from Tony Singh, one of The Incredible Spice Men from BBC Two.

Over the next few days, we’ll be showing you the 3 dishes we cooked from the book. Next up, here’s Richard with the sexy Sweet Potato Curry

the hatch

The ingredients
All nice and straightforward. You should be able to pop into a Tesco Metro and get everything you need (other supermarkets are available of course, and good luck to them). If you can’t find scales in the shop, 750g of sweet potato is roughtly equivalent to Nicholas Lyndhurst’s shoulder.

The equipment
Even if you’re cooking on a plastic chopping board from 1998, as I am below, you’ll be fine. Ideally you’ll be using a knife that’s fairly decent, as the sweet potato can be a tough one.

rich-slicingOnion, sweet potato, various condiments. See what I mean about the chopping board?

The method

The glory of this recipe is its simplicity. You can choose to bake the sweet potato before you add it to the onion, ginger and spices, or you can chop it at start (as I did), and whack it in at the kick-off. With four of us dancing around a kitchen the size of Jamie Oliver’s sink, it was handy that I was mostly diligently stirring.

The results

As the vegetarian correspondent of MWSAB, I am pleased to say this is a particularly thrilling dish. The spices mingled like advertising executives in a sweaty boardroom, and the sweet potato and chickpeas soaked them up greedily. All in all, lovely stuff.



Round 2 of ‘Singh For Your Supper’ was ten on ten (Sonia). I shall be making a big-time batch of this in the very near future. Tony you diamond.

Next up…

Pudding fancier and raconteur Ben Willis treats us all to Triple Chocolate brownies.

TASTY by Tony Singh is published Thursday 22nd May. It’s an absolute cracker of a book. Order yourself a copy here and get cooking.

tasy cover

Tweet Tony: @McTSingh

May 19, 2014, Posted by Tom in Baking Bad, Food

Making Tony Singh’s Peanut Butter Chicken Thighs | Baking Bad

In the previous episode of Baking Bad, we stumbled our way to triumph baking John Whaite’s top notch Mojito Cake. So this time it seemed like we should step things up a gear; rather than just cooking one thing between us, we’d each do our own dish. The source of our inspiration this time? TASTY, the absolutely stunning new book from Tony Singh, one of The Incredible Spice Men from BBC Two.

Over the next few days, we’ll be showing you the 3 dishes we cooked from the book. First up, here’s Tom with the downright awesome peanut butter chicken thighs with steamed rice…

The ingredients
A pretty varied list of stuff, but nothing too extravagant and you should be able to pick up all the ingredients easily enough. I mean, you might not be able to get Szechuan peppercorns at your local 24-hour garage, but most big supermarkets should deliver the goods. Who knew you could add a bag of dry-roasted peanuts to a dish and it taste amazing? Surely the most versatile of pub snacks.

The equipment
You just need a wok to cook it all in, and couple of bowls for mixing the sauce and the marinade, but nothing too crazy. This isn’t Heston, this is proper food.

chicken-and-sauceThe peanut butter sauce (left) and the chicken thighs in the delicious soy and sesame oil marinade (right). And a little bit of my washing machine.

The method

Flicking through Tasty, I’d spied this recipe early on as the photos look incredible, but I’d been wary that it might be quite complicated. However, when you look through properly it’s actually pretty straightforward. Prepare your marinade and peanut butter sauce, slap the marinated chicken in a sizzling hot wok with some chillies, garlic and ginger and stir fry until cooked, chuck in your sauce and a few other spices, give it a few minutes and then serve with steamed rice and chopped spring onions. Lovely stuff.

The results

Put it this way, this will now be a regular dish in my arsenal of ‘impressive dishes’ (I’m now up to 6). From the moment the chicken hit the wok I knew this would be good as it smelt amazing, but I was genuinely blown away by how good this tasted. It was salty, sweet and crunchy all at once, and all the flavours worked so well together. I hope this photo does it some justice…




Round 1 of ‘Singh For Your Supper’ was a complete success. This dish is quick, easy to make, and looks and tastes delicious. Well done Tony, I knew you wouldn’t let me down.

Next up…

It’s veggie time tomorrow, as Rich takes on the baked sweet potato curry. He’s gonna have to work damn hard to match this though…

TASTY by Tony Singh is published Thursday 22nd May. It’s an absolute cracker of a book. Order yourself a copy here and get cooking.

tasy cover

Tweet Tony: @McTSingh

April 16, 2014, Posted by Tom in Baking Bad, Food

How to bake John Whaite’s Mojito cake | Baking Bad

In episode one of our (potentially regular, but don’t hold your breath) new series, the MWSAB team decided to take on a recipe from the awesome new book from John Whaite: John Whaite Bakes At Home. Naturally, we wanted to bake something a bit unusual, so we went for the Mojito cake, which definitely ticked that box and had the added bonus of containing booze. After gathering our ingredients, we headed to the kitchen with a sense of trepidation, excitement and hunger. Here’s what happened…


You need a quite a few ingredients for this, but there’s nothing crazy so you should be able to find them all easily in your local supermarket. We made a mistake in buying golden icing sugar rather than the normal stuff, but it tastes pretty much the same. We think.

ben rich

Teamwork is vital. Never forget that.


Rum is vital. Never forget that.


The delicous creamy filling, featuring rum, mint leaves, icing sugar and double cream. Note the zesty limes as well. This cake is both tasty and healthy.


Mixing the batter. Ben cannot stress enough the importance of making sure you whisk your egg whites to stiff peaks, so much so that you can hold the bowl upside above your head and it not fall out. He actually tried this, and fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on what you think of Ben), they did indeed stay put.


Adding the cream filling, on top of a layer of lemon curd (we couldn’t find lime curd in our Sainsbury’s local, but they are pretty much the same thing aren’t they? Citrus).

Leave it to cool/rest/sink, and within a few hours you’ll have a delicious cake fit for a king.

final cake
And here’s the finished thing. She’s a beauty, isn’t she?

So, that was fun. Sure, we can probably work on our presentation, but the taste is second to none. If we baked it again we’d make sure we had lime curd, use the correct icing sugar, and leave it to cool for a lot longer before adding the curd and cream filling. But you live and learn, and baking is a journey. Reactions in the office ranged from ‘That’s delicious!’ to ‘Is that a quiche?’, via ‘Well that’s got too much booze in’. But overall, we’re proud. Well done John on creating such a damn fine recipe. We hope we didn’t make too much of a mess of it.

Think you can do better? You’re probably right. The recipe is taken from John’s new book, John Whaite Bakes At Home, which is out NOW people. Pick up a copy and show us what you’ve got.


And follow John on Twitter, he’s cool: @JohnWhaiteBakes

June 5, 2014, Posted by Tom in Books

Treat Old Bear this Father’s Day

It’s that time of year again, when we scramble desperately to find a suitable gift for Dad. Socks are so Christmas, and we can’t afford World Cup tickets, so what are we supposed to do? Well, fear not friends, as we have some lifesaving ideas for you…


spy who

THE SPY WHO CHANGED THE WORLD – Mike Rossiter: This is the true story of arguably the most successful spy in modern history, Klaus Fuchs. Packed full of details about Fuchs’ sharing of America’s atom bomb secrets with the Soviet Russians, he will go down as one of the most influential figures of the Cold War. Brrrrr.


BEND IT LIKE BULLARD – Jimmy Bullard: The former Wigan, Hull and Fulham midfielder lifts the lid on his somewhat unconventional football career. This isn’t your standard football autobiography, as for a start Bullard has more charisma in his little finger than the average top flight football squad put together. A hilarious read from one of the beautiful game’s true characters. See Jimmy read an extract

oceanTHE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE – Neil Gaiman: A novel of memory, magic and survival from the legendary author of AMERICAN GODS, STARDUST, NEVERWHERE, the list goes on. This was named the Specsavers Nationak Book Awards ‘Book of the Year’ for 2013. So it’s not just us who absolutely loved it.

blood crows THE BLOOD CROWS – Simon Scarrow: The latest Cato and Macro adventure from the bestselling author. It’s an action-packed story, as our heroes find themselves back in Britannia to face some unruly locals. Expect blood, guts and glory.

Boy in the Book TPB
THE BOY IN THE BOOK – Nathan Penlington
: Nathan Penlington’s story of obsession, childhood nostalgia and adventure is one of our favourite books this spring. Nathan’s live show based on events in the book has been critically acclaimed, including a run at this year’s Tribecca Film Festival.

forbidden tomb
: Action-packed tomb-raiding at it’s very best – the return of The Hunters is certainly a welcome one. Out now in paperback, you can pick this one up for a bargain from any good bookshop.

murray PB
: Murray Mint! Was just one of the lame puns we banded around after Muzza’s extraordinary win at Wimbledon last summer. Now out in paperback, SEVENTY-SEVEN is the behind-the-scenes tale of Andy becoming the first British man since Fred Perry to win Tennis’s ultimate prize.


SMASHING PHYSICS – Jon Butterworth: For all those popular science nuts out there, this is the first ever insider account of the work at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the discovery of the Higgs particle – and what it all means for our understanding of the laws of nature. Is your dad a science nerd? Then this is the perfect gift for Father’s Day.

tasy cover

TASTY – Tony Singh: As you may recall from our second BAKING BAD extravaganza, we’ve had a bash at a few of Tony Singh’s recipes with pretty thrilling results. With summer nearly upon us, there are some excellent-looking barbecue treats for your old man to try out here too.


inside llewyn davis

Inside Llewyn Davis: The latest offering from the Coen brothers, which received rave reviews on its cinematic release and is now available on DVD. Starring Oscar Isaac and Carey Mulligan, it looks at one week in the life of a singer in 60s New York. It’s a stunning film with a great soundtrack. Highly recommended.

True DetectiveTrue Detective: The must-see TV series of 2014, True Detective blew everyone away with its stunning cinematography, script, soundtrack and, of course, incredible performances from leading men Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. So pick up the DVD, close the curtains and crack a crate of Lone Star. Great times.


war on drugs lost in the dream‘Lost in the Dream’ – The War on Drugs: The third album from Philadelphia’s indie heroes, ‘Lost in the Dream’ is a cracker and will appeal to fans of everyone from Bob Dylan to Talking Heads. Get a taste of what’s in store with this video for ‘Red Eyes’.

black keys turn blue‘Turn Blue’ – The Black Keys: Now on their eighth album, The Black Keys have slowly risen from indie darlings to festival headliners. ‘Turn Blue’ isn’t much of a deviation from their last few albums, but delivers more classic heavy riffs and plenty of tunes that are perfect to sing along to in the car.

Other ideas…


Beer? It’s a universally accepted fact that pretty much all Dads like beer, so why not treat him to a few bottles of good stuff? Most of the best breweries have online shops, such as Brew Dog, so get online and order something to suit his taste.


Subbuteo? World Cup fever is upon us, and rather than watch England crash out early on you can encourage the old man to reconnect with his childhood and play this classic game again. What’s not to love? You can buy the individual teams and everything.