Tasty Thursday : Curry from scratch

I love curries.  There I said it, it’s not a secret anymore.  If like me you have been watching the amazing Rick Steins “India” series on the beeb recently you may well have also been a little curry obsessed.  But, but I do have a dirty curry secret, I have never made one off the bat no recipe I was always too scared to just wing it.  My Dad makes amazing curries from scratch and in all my life I have never seen him use a recipe for a curry and my Father in Law is another amazing cook owing to a job that meant a lot of travel so hopefully they will be proud of me!


Anyway, a few words before I launch into the recipe; I always use chicken thighs if I am doing a chicken curry, they are sweeter, don’t dry out as much as breast and they are higher in protein so I can rest safe in the knowledge that it is extra good for my girls, who are both big curry fans.  I have put the Rick Stein book on my birthday wish list so lets hope it appears!

So here we go:

  • 4 skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1/2 sweet potato, cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1/2 Green pepper, cut into bite sized chunks
  • Small red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Good grating of ginger ( I tend to freeze mine on purchase and break off / grate what I need as I go…no need to peel then!)
  • Can chickpeas
  • Can tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 3 – 4 mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • Heaped teaspoon ground coriander
  • Heaped teaspoon ground cumin
  • Heaped teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Heat you oil (veg / sunflower not olive oil) in a big frying pan and brown your chicken (I tend to coat mine in a bit of flour first but feel free to leave this step out) remove and let it rest on a plate. Add your onions, ginger and garlic.  Keep it moving so not to burn and once it gets that smell that only onions frying have just before they get soft add in your spices (the seeds might POP), again keep it moving so not to burn anything and getting that horrid acrid smell.  When it does smell delicious and spicy add your chicken back in along with the potato, pepper and mushroom and give it a few minutes to colour up a bit before adding in your drained chickpeas and the tomatoes.  Let it simmer with the lid on for the first 15 minutes then turn up the heat with the lid off for the last 5 – 7 minutes to let it thicken up.


Tada…fancy plating ain’t my thing unfortunatley


Serve with rice, naan bread or rotis, lime pickle (why is this SO good?!) and chutney.  I was really pleased with this and as it makes such a big quantity hubby took it to work for lunch and received lots of looks and sniffs from two of his Indian colleagues, they were very impressed with my efforts – I was so chuffed you can’t believe!

Anyway the moral is, step away from the pastes and jars of sauce and give it a go I think you will be pleasantly surprised.  And thanks to Steph @ Imcountingufoz for the virtual kick up the arse I needed, there’s no going back now.


Tasty Thursday : Mexican style Jambalaya

You know when you have something in your fridge that needs to be used and your lacking ANY inspiration?  Well, this is where this dish was born from.

The delicious chicken I roasted needed to be used and it was definitely not chicken noodle soup weather, but weirdly I was craving a bit of stodge. So after having a rummage to find out what else needed to be used, this is the random creation that is Mexican Style jambalaya!

One pot mexican style jambalaya

I do however need to apologise as the recipe itself is also a bit on the random / vague side…

  • One courgette diced
  • Cup of rice
  • 2 Tablespoon chipotle chili paste
  •  Tinned tomatoes
  • Boiled water (enough to cover rice by about two cm)
  • 2/3 Sliced spring onions
  • Tin of kidney beans, drained
  • Cooked & shredded chicken
  • Grated cheese & sour cream to serve

What it lacks in specific quantities it makes up for in pack a punch flavour and ease.

Heat some oil and fry your courgettes for a few minutes til they soften, add the rice and stir so it gets nicely coated, add the tinned toms, water and stock cube/powder if you have to hand, once simmering add the 1st spoonful of paste.  Let it simmer, lid on until the rice is almost done then add the rest of the paste and the kidney beans and chicken.  Once it all heated few, serve it up and add your toppings – spring onions, cheese and soured cream. Yum. Next time, I will use chorizo too adding instead of oil and cooking with the courgette. mmmmm. I think it would translate to veggie easily too, no meat, mixed peppers and mixed beans, uber yum.


Mexican style jambalaya

Tasty Thursday : Braaied Chicken


Yep, that is a word, when you marry a South African you can stop saying Barbie and BBQ and just say Braai.  Thankfully having already fallen in love with South Africa before I had even met my husband I had abandoned BBQ’ing forever!



So, Sunday rolled round I was hankering for a Roast Dinner, without the fuss faff and melting in the kitchen.  There was only once answer, my take on a summer roast.

First up, a lovely rub for the chicken, whilst Hubby got the fire going I had a quick rummage and this is what I came up with:

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Tarragon
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 Heaped Teaspoon Hot Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 Heaped Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 Heaped Teaspoon Swiss Boullion Base stock powder
  • Then add enough sunflower oil to make a runny paste.

Stuff one lemon (pricked to let the juice out) handful fresh thyme and lavender into the cavity and drizzle the rub over your chicken.

We have the separators for the bottom of our Weber BBQ so we separated the coals equally, put a tin with water and another handful of herbs in and then put the chicken onto the grill above with foil scrunched round the sides, lid on and away you go!! You will need to keep adding coals to keep the temperature up but depending on the size of your bird it will take between 2/3 hours all in all – But keep checking! Keeping with the summer theme I raided the fridge for a suitable veggie side and settled on roasted veg, always a winner in this house!

Red and yellow peppers, 1 1/2 courgettes, whole red onion, mushroom and sweet potato all chopped into big chunks seasoned liberally with more Oregano, pepper and drizzled with some lovely Balsalmic vinegar.  My top tip for roasted veg is to put your oil in your roasting tin and bung it into the oven to heat up while you chop and season (much like roast spuds I guess) when your ready tip them all in and 4/5 whole skin on garlic cloves squashed a bit and stir it about, then leave them to cook on high (200) for about 40mins, giving them a good shake after 20 mins or so.  And the last accompaniment was Couscous, again super super easy.

  • 200 grams couscous
  • 2 big squeezes tomato puree
  • Salt
  • Stock
  • Grated clove of garlic
  • Pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves, torn to shreds (7 / 8)

Put all into a bowl with a  good drizzle of oil and splodge of butter, when everything is almost ready to go pout in some boiled water to about 2cms above the level of the couscous, give it a mix and cover with a tea towel and when your ready to serve give it a quick fluff up.

Easy peasey, and if your kids are anything like mine they will love it!!

Not the most beautiful plate of food, but it was so gooood.

Not the most beautiful plate of food, but it was so gooood.

Meal Planning Monday – W/c 21st January

mpmframe200a_zps9bddd4deI LOVES me a meal plan!!

I try to do one once a week anyway, but seeing this on the Amazing Sarah (AKA Glasgow Mummy)‘s blog, I followed the link to At Home With Mrs M! and thought I would attempt to join every week to keep me on the straight and narrow!  Plus, you can NEVER read too many blogs or have too many reciepes…I am a bit of a slut for recipes truth be known.

So, without further ado here is my Meal Plan, including Sunday (last night which was Roast, left overs to be used for lunches etc)


  • Roast Chicken
  • Barley Rissoto originally from here…
  • Spanish Chicken casserole
  • Prawghetti – aside from prawns I haven’t yet finalised this one…
  • Meat Loaf
  • Spiced Chicken with Lentils

Pork and Bean me up Scotty

So, it was my brother’s birthday in the week so I invited him and the rest of the family for dinner, the menu chosen of course by my wonderful brother.

He asked for my Pork & Bean casserole and The Londoners AMAZING slutty brownies (his housemates were very confused when he told them he couldn’t wait to have a slutty brownie at his sisters house…ahem)

Any who, it all got demolished before I could take any pics of the finished dishes, so you’re gonna have to use your imagination I’m afraid!

So, Pork and Bean me up, began its life as a recipe given to me by my FIL who is an incredible cook, I have made it my own and named it in tribute to him and his Scottish roots. Enjoy!

You will need…

600 grams Pork shldr steak-cubed

4 boneless chicken thighs cubed

1 pack diced pancetta

1-ring uncooked Chorizo

8 Spicy pork sausages

1 medium red onion sliced finely

2 medium hot chillies-chopped or put in whole (optional)

3 sprigs fresh thyme-leaves only

1 tin chopped tomato’s

1 jar roasted red pepper pasta sauce (or similar)

+/- 250mls chicken stock

1 tin butter beans

1 tin kidney beans

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 tbsp smoked paprika

Chopped parsley-good handful

Ready? Lets go

Preheat your oven to 150deg.

Get your casserole pot on a medium heat, add 2 or 3 good glugs of olive oil and add the chorizo and spicy pork sausages and cooked till lightly browned, remove and set aside leaving all those gorgeous orange juices in the pan. Fry the pancetta until its crispy and golden then remove.

Turn the heat down and add the onions and saute for about 10 mins till soft but not browned, making sure to scrape all the goodies stuck to your pan about. Chuck in the garlic and cook for a further 2 mins. Add the pork and chicken and cook for 2 mins or so mixing well and then put the pancetta back in. Pop your thyme, paprika and chillies if using and make sure you mix it well getting everything coated.

Pour in the tinned tomato’s and jar of red pepper sauce, add enough stock just to cover the meat, cover pot with the lid and place in the oven for about 1 hour till the pork is cooked and tender.

Remove the pot from the oven and add the chorizo, spicy sausages, butter and kidney beans, bring to a simmer for 5 – 10 mins to make sure the beans are cooked and the sausages are heated through. Add in your parsley stir well and serve straight from the pot!

I served mine with rice and Rosemary Roasties

Cube 6/8 potatoes with the skin still on

5/6 crushed cloves of garlic (skin on)

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

whole lotta olive oil!

Put everything in your roasting tin, and give it a good ol’ mix, making sure every one of those cubes gets a good coating, bung in the oven for 40 mins until it’s a lovely crispy golden colour and ENJOY!

Rosemary Pots waiting to go in the oven

Rosemary Pots waiting to go in the oven

Slutty brownies, strawberries and clotted cream...

Slutty brownies, strawberries and clotted cream…

Chicken Nuggets

So, I have given bean nuggets from both BK & Maccy D’s and felt so guilty everytime! She loves them and the texture is just right for developing teeth & hands to make there way around.

So I thought to myself there must be a way I can make some equally tasty…

So this afternoon, I made bread crumbs and then blitzed about half a left over roast chicken, adding in a teaspoon of dried oregano and the same of fresh thyme.
It looked quite fine and crumb like not sticky like I was after so I added a drop of beaten egg and a splash of milk until the texture looked a bit more sticky!
I rolled the mixture into little balls, dipped them into flour, followed by beaten eggs, breadcrumbs then back into the flour.
I then squished them so they made little discs and fried them in olive oil until golden brown – and they are delicious!!
Guilt free – left over roast chicken, eggs from our own chickens YUM!
Now to make some adult sized ones with this weeks left over and some grown up dips…