Sunday, 30 August 2015

Masala la la Chicken - National Curry Week

Masala Chicken

Masala means spice mix and most Indian households will have their own version of this mix of individual spices in a small pots. I actually have two spice containers, the first contains the traditional Indian spices for a curry base; clockwise from the top dhani (coriander) powder, jeera(cumin) powder, turmeric, red chilli powder, garam masala, salt, and jeera(cumin)seeds in the centre. I buy all of these from either an Indian supermarket or just my normal supermarket which sells them all too, apart from the garam masala which I get from my mum, who gets it from her mum who makes it at home. 

The second contains a mix of Indian and my most commonly used spices; sesame seeds, allspice berries, fenugreek seeds, paprika, red chilli flakes, garlic salt, and dried coriander in the centre.


Masala chicken uses most of the spices in my first pot and is a relatively simple curry to make, not as time consuming as a Butter Chicken curry and much healthier. It is still creamy, full of flavour and a big bowl of warming comfort when served over hot rice. Had a few requests for more Indian recipes so hope you all enjoy cooking this one.

Serves 4


3 tbsp. Rapeseed Oil
2 tsp Jeera Seeds (cumin)
5 Garlic Cloves
6 Bombay Onions(pink small onions)/4 Normal Brown Onions
Knob of Butter
1 ½ inch of Ginger grated
2 Green Chillies
1 tbsp. Tomato Puree
500g Passata
1 tsp Salt
1 ½ tsp Coriander powder
1 ½ tsp Jeera powder
1 tsp Tumeric
½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Chicken curry Masala
½ tsp Black Pepper
600g Chicken Breast diced
4 tbsp. Water
2 tbsp. Plain Yoghurt
½ cup of Coriander finely chopped


Food Processor


1.In a food processor chop the garlic and onions, you can also finely chop these by hand but to save time I find it quicker for larger quantities to use my mini Kenwood machine

2.Heat oil in a saucepan and once hot add jeera seeds – cook for a minute or so until they release their aroma

3.Add finely chopped garlic and brown for around 3-4 minutes

4. Add onions and cook until a deep brown colour this can take around 15-20 minutes – the most time consuming part I find but essential this stage is not rushed

5. Add ginger and chillies cook for further minute

6.Add in all spices, tomato puree and passata and cook out until oil begins to separate from mixture can take around 5-10 minutes

7.Add in chicken pieces and water, place lid on the pan and cook for a further  15 -20 minutes until chicken is cooked through

8.Add in yoghurt

9. Finish with fresh coriander and serve with hot rice, chapattis or naan bread

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Pesto Pasta Pronto

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Grilled ChickenI just love fresh pasta at the moment, maybe because we have had quite a cold  and rainy august that I have been craving the warmth of creamy carbs! I really hope it improves for September!
Unfortunately I did not have time to make my own pasta or pesto for this dish so the next best thing was to use fresh pasta and pesto from the supermarket. Bubba is also nearly one now so for his evening meals he just eats the same as we do most days and this dish was defiantly a success with him! In order to make it a success with Mr S though,  I did have to add a piece of grilled chicken on top. Very quick and easy to make and I am sure once I am back at work next month I will be making this one often.

Serves 4


3 Chicken Breasts
½ Garlic Salt
½ Dried Thyme
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp Olive Oil
300g Fresh Pasta
2 tsp Butter
2 tsp Plain Flour
1 cup Milk
½ cup Fresh Pesto Sauce
¼ cup Parmesan grated, plus extra for garnish


Baking Tray
Saucepans x2


1.Season chicken with garlic salt, dried thyme, salt and pepper, place on baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and grill for 15-20minutes until cooked through.

2.Boil a large pan of water and add pasta, cook according to instructions normally around 7-10 minutes

3.In a large saucepan melt butter, add flour and mix until smooth

4.Whisk in milk slowly until all absorbed and mixture begins to thicken

5.Whisk in pesto and parmesan

6.Drain pasta and add to pesto sauce, top with chicken and sprinkle of parmesan

7.Serve with a side salad and garlic bread

Monday, 24 August 2015

Thai Thai Noodle Salad

Thai Beef Noodle Salad

This dish has been inspired by our travels to Thailand and more recently Mauritius where we had a delicious version of this by a sunny poolside. Hopefully the bright colours and tasty flavours can bring some sunshine to your Monday!
The dressing is the key to this summer salad, zesty, tangy, spicy and a slight sweetness create the perfect balance. I let the salad sit in the dressing for around 10-15 minutes to slightly marinate and pickle the vegetables. Serves 2.


100g Noodles – I like the thin Rice Vermicelli
½ Cucumber
2 Carrots
2 Spring Onions
1 small Red Onion
2 tbsp. chopped Coriander
2 tbsp. crushed Peanuts
250g Steak
1 tsp oil
knob of Butter
2 Limes juiced
1 tsp Fish Sauce
1 tbsp. Water
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tsp Sriracha
1 tbsp. Brown Sugar
½ tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Peanut Butter
1 Birds Eye Red Chilli
Salt & Pepper


Grater or Julienne Peeler
Frying Pan


1.Boil a large pan of water and cook the noodles for around 4 minutes then place into cold water to stop them cooking further and sticking together

2.I prefer using my julienne peeler rather than grating as you get long strips of vegetables but either will work. Grate or julienne carrots, cucumber, red onion and finely slice spring onions

3.Mix all dressing ingredients together

 4.Combine noodles, vegetables, dressing and coriander

5.Heat a pan until very hot and add knob of butter

6.Oil and season steaks and fry for your liking, we like medium rare so cooked for 2 minutes each side and left to rest for 3 minutes

7.Assemble salad ingredients topped with sliced steak and finished with crushed peanuts.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Leek, Spinach and Feta Slice

Leek, Spinach and Feta Slice

This pastry slice is very easy to put together and makes a delicious light lunch with a tasty salad on the side.  I love salty cheese like Feta and Halloumi; it makes this simple dish taste delicious. Perfect for weekend dining when you want something delicious without spending ages in the kitchen. Serves 2 as a main, 4 as lunch/starter.


300g Ready rolled Puff Pastry
Knob of Butter
1 tsp Oil
2 Leeks finely sliced
300g Baby Spinach
1 Garlic clove finely chopped
Fresh/Dried Thyme
100g Feta
Black Pepper
½ tsp Garlic Salt


Baking Tray


1.Heat the oil and butter in pan, add leeks, garlic and thyme and fry on a medium heat until they are soft – around 5-6 minutes

2.Add spinach and cook down for a further 2 minutes

3.Roll out pastry onto baking tray – spread leek and spinach mixture on top and crumble feta all over

4.Sprinkle over black pepper and garlic salt

5.Brush edges of pastry with egg/milk wash

6.Bake in a Preheated oven at 200 fan, 210 or Gas Mark 7 for 20 minutes

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Crumbed Fish

Crumbed Fish

Another perfect summer dinner as it is so light, we enjoyed this fish with roasted new potatoes and veg on the side. It's just a shame it's not so perfect summer weather today. Very quick and easy to make for a mid-week meal; can even put it all together after the Bubbas have gone to sleep.

Serves 2


¼ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp dried Coriander
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1 tbsp. Grated Parmesan
Black Pepper
2 tbsp. Mayonnaise
2 fillets of white fish – I used River Cobbler in this case
2 tsp Olive Oil

Baking Tray


1.Preheat oven to 190 degrees fan/200 degrees/Gas Mark 6

2.In a bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, herbs, spices and parmesan cheese ( I omitted salt as the parmesan and garlic salt contained enough seasoning for us)


3. Place fish fillets onto baking tray and cover with mayonnaise, followed by breadcrumb topping and drizzle over olive oil

4.Bake in over for 15-20 minutes until fish is cooked through and crumbs are golden brown


5.Enjoy with potatoes and veg on the side

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Beautiful Banana Loaf

Beautiful Banana Loaf

This is one of my all-time favourite loaf cakes to make. I normally make a huge bunch of 5-6 of them for family pre wedding functions as they will stay moist over an Indian wedding week and taste just as great with a cup of tea as they do with a scoop of ice cream to create an instant desert.
The other reason I love them is they are great way to use up over ripe bananas which is what happened when I made the ones below. One of the reason I have not been posting as much lately is little Bubba has started nursery which took up a lot of time during the day whilst settling him in and also in the evenings. He used to eat a banana a day nearly but since he is at nursery more and more he would have his fruit snacks there so I ended up with lots of very ripe bananas in my fruit bowl, which is the perfect excuse to bake two beautiful loafs. I always make two as one is just never enough and disappears very quickly, they also freeze wonderfully to though so you can always freeze one for ‘banana loaf emergency’ occasions. 
This is not a quick recipe, or something you would do after work; I would definitely save this for spare hour and half at the weekend.


325g Soft Light Brown Sugar
200g Stork
300g Plain Flour sifted
½ tsp ground Cinnamon
½ tsp ground Ginger
2 tsp Baking Powder
4 Eggs
3 ripe Bananas (black and squishy are best)
130g Chocolate Chips
20g Walnuts plus extra to decorate on top
Spray Oil


2lb Loaf Tin
Greaseproof Paper
Stand Mixer/ Electric Hand Whisk


1.Preheat oven to 170 degrees fan/190 degrees/Gas Mark 5

2.Line a loaf tin with greaseproof and spray oil on the sides

3.I use a stand mixer to cream together the sugar and stork for around 7 minutes until it is a pale brown colour and creamy, can also use an electric hand whisk to achieve same resultv

4.In a separate bowl sift plain flour, cinnamon, ginger and baking powder

5.Add two eggs followed by half the flour mixture

6.Repeat with remaining eggs and flour mixture, do not over-mix at this stage just until combined

7.Mash bananas together and add to mixture along with chocolate chips and chopped walnuts

8.Place into loaf tins and decorate top with walnut pieces

9.Bake for around 60 – 75 minutes, mine took around 70 minutes but I would begin to check after 60 to see if they are done using a wooden skewer

10.Allow to cool in tins for 5 minutes before removing to enjoy