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 : 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.

Things I NEVER seem to get round to doing.


Its not just me is it?  I have a stack of books gathering dust beside my bed, countless recipes slowly but surely passing through the holes in my brain like flour through a sieve to only be remembered via instagram, forms becoming more crumpled and dog eared and lets face it toddler fodder before I actually get round to filing them away or taking them to their destinations, photos printed but never hung and blog posts that never leave my internal notepad.


I’m tired.  Lazy and decidedly unmotivated once my youngest is asleep I just want to vegetate on the sofa but by the time I’ve made, eaten and cleaned up dinner, sorted washing (blergh) tidied toddler mayhem and attempted some quality time with the husband its into bed I collapse exhausted and a stretch to have a made 10pm, I know rock and roll!

How do I find that elusive balance so I can get some me time? I always start with such grand plans but every eventuality ends up with me lying in bed frustrated because I’ve


again.  Or as seems to be the case more and more over the last fortnight feeling like a terrible mother.  I find myself being short and angry, which obviously doesn’t help when dealing with little people, I’d go so far as to say it actually makes the situation worse…big time.  And yet I struggle to stop myself and at the end of the day berrate myself to the point of loathing.

I can’t stand to feel like this anymore my children deserve better and think I do to.  I am going to try my utmost to get that balance, I need it and ultimately my family need me to find it to so I can get back to being a good Mum.


Look at them? They deserve a good Mummy.



And these recipes need writing!!

What’s Bean Eating?

So, a chance for me to look back at what I’ve made over the last month to see what I made for dinner that Bean loved…coz I’m guessing one day soon she will go through a really fussy eating stage…



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Monday Meal Plan – W/c 4th February

Last weeks plan went a bit awry, we went out for dinner on Thursday night, yes a date night if you will (our first since our wedding anniversary back in August!) and my bro and his fiancée came and cooked for us on Saturday.  I did manage to cook most of the meals though.

Sunday as always will be a roast we can eat as a family, the leftovers will be turned into chicken pie, or soup depending how the week goes!!

Yes,I know a bit indecisive this week, but I’m allowed one week where I’m all over the show, surely?! Perhaps I can have a nose at some of the other menus in the link up for some inspiration.

I think the Veggie enchiladas were my fave from last week, and I will definitely be posting the recipe it was one of those meals that was so satisfying and I didn’t feel like I had stuffed my face when I well and truly did!


Yup, I made that name up.  It’s my name for any prawn & spaghetti recipe and I like it!

Last weeks Meal Plan had this in it and I didn’t know what it would consist of until that evening, and it went a little bit like this.

Get a nice bog  pot of water boiling away and sling in your pasta.

Saute 2 bashed and sliced cloves of garlic in some oil AND butter with about half a teaspoon of chilli seeds, stir until it smells amazing and chuck in your prawns, with a good squeeze of lemon and the grated zest, keep it moving until the prawns go from grey to pink (and cooked, obv.) When they look almost done, throw in 2 chopped spring onions and keep it moving. hopefully by now the pasta will almost be cooked – chuck in a good few handfuls of spinach and leave for a minute or to before you start using tongs or similar to transfer it into you prawny pan, making sure to toss it all about.  When it all in add in some creme fraiche and keep moving it about so everything gets coated, your spinach will be nice and wilted and the pasta should soak a little of the sauce up.  use some of the pasta cooking water to loosen things up a bit, dish it up and cover with pepper and parmesan.

Eat. marvel at how easy and delicious this is.

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Meal Planning Monday – W/c 28th January

mpmframe200a_zps9bddd4deWow its come round quick, but here we go again.

And THANK GOD January is nearly over, phew.

Meal plan 28

    • Veggie Enchiladas
    • Green curry with noodles (Wagamamas)
    • Black Bean Burgers with noodles (Jamie’s 15 minute meals)
    • Lazy (baked) Mushroom Rissoto
    • Good Ol’ Mac n Cheese
    • Meatloaf

The meatloaf got rolled over to be our Sunday roast and in its place was chicken (left from the roast) with leeks and mushrooms. Yum

My favorite from last week was the random prawghetti…recipe to follow this week
And I have to share a picture of last nights naughty but so nice meat feast…periperi marinaded steak, salsa Verde, garlic & lemon dipping sauce and chips. Hells yeah