Wednesday 27 March 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Saag.........

I love chicken saag, a chicken curry with spinach, so endeavoured to convert a recipe for the slow cooker.   It worked really well, so happy to share.   Will be on the menu for my next dinner party :)

260g pack of fresh spinach
2.5cm piece of ginger
(or helper, tho I used the real thing for once)?
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 green chilli roughly chopped
(I used birds eye)
150ml water
1 tbs oil
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1 onion, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped (boil in water to loosen skin for peeling)
2 tsp curry powder (I used medium)
1 tsp chilli power (I used hot)
3 tbs plain yoghurt (I used Greek 0% fat)
8 chicken thighs, skinned and boned, diced
More yoghurt and chilli powser to garnish
(I also added a bit of coriander that I had)

Wash the spinach then put straight into a pot and cook for 5 minutes with the lid on.    Put the spinach, ginger, garlic, chilli and 50ml of water in a food professor/blender, and whizz to a thick puree.

Heat the oill in a pan, add the bay leaves and peppercorns and fry for 2 mins.  Stir in the onion and tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes.   Stir in the curry and chilli powders, spinach puree and 100ml of water, then add the yoghurt 1 tbs at a time, stirring in between.

Finally, add the chicken and ensure coated with the sauce.  Tip into the slow cooker and cooker between 6 and 8 hours.  

Drizzle with more yoghurt and dust with chilli powder and serve with whatever you like! 

Amazing flavours and made loads, plenty for 4+!

Enjoy, all feedback gratefully appreciated :)
Annie x

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Keralan Coconut Curry from The Spice Tailor

I was lucky enough to be invited to join the #BoothsCheers party tonight, and the lovely people from Booths supplied me with some sauce and spice combos from @thespicetailor created by Anjum Anand.

I had two to choose from, Original Tikka Masala or Keralan Coconut Curry.   I chose the latter for tonight.

I don't normally use anything like this, preferring to cook from scratch, but I was very impressed that, rather than just a jar of sauce, they come with spices and herbs separate.  This makes the curry a lot more authentic as you get to fry the spices first, to release the flavours, before adding the rich sauce, with powerful aromas.   They are also produced and packaged in India, guaranteeing authenticity.

I am also impressed that they are for 2-3 people.  Although the ideal is to eat for a family, with the hours we work we have to eat after the children have gone to bed, so this is perfect, rather than jars of half used sauces in the fridge.

They are also very quick and easy to use, and can be served in 10 minutes, but I have actually chosen to slow cook mine.  With my job I feed children breakfast, lunch and dinner, with 2 snacks over the day too.   It is easier for me to prep our dinner in the afternoon, whilst the little ones sleep, then after ours are in bed I can just prepare the rice and serve.

They suggest that you can use with fish, meat or vegetables, more versatility!  I wanted to use Monkfish, but my local supermarket didn't have any so I ended up with Pollock!  I decided that its a nice firm white fish and I'd let the Spice Tailor works it's magic.  I also got some giant raw prawns to add towards the end, just as an extra touch. 

When it comes to curry I naturally want to add fresh coriander to it at the end, and always have some fat free yoghurt to hand in case it's too hot for the palate.
As I type this I am sitting in my kitchen, the smells are amazing, I cannot wait to try it tonight.   I've also been given some lovely Spice Trail white wine, which is chilling in the fridge, and a bottle of HPA Pale Ale for Chris.  Chris has been working at an exhibition and been away since Sunday, so this will be a lovely homecoming meal for him.

As you can see from the lead photo, it turned out beautifully and was blown away by how gorgeous it tasted.  Can't wait to try the Masala sauce, will update on that too :)

Thanks for reading!
Annie x

Thursday 14 March 2013

Slow Cooked Mustard Chicken Curry, with Spinach and Pilau Rice

This is a variation on a non slow cooked recipe I've tried before, but as usual I've jiggled about with the ingredients, cos I like to do that, and added a few too,
2 tbs sunflower oil                                                              
1 large onion or 2 s/m onion sliced                                    
2 tsp brown mustard seeds                                                 
2 garlic cloves chopped
4 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tbs medium curry powder
750g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
2 tbs plain flour
125 ml water
6 tbs natural yoghurt (I use 0% fat Greek)
Salt and pepper
Some spinach, I used what was left of my frozen
(of course fresh would work as well)
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish

Optional - I served it with Pilau rice - using my cheater seasoning,
and yoghurt mixed with mint.
Fry the onions in the sunflower oil for a few minutes.  Add all the spices to the pan and stir.  Add the chicken and brown.  Add the flour, stir, then the water, stir and finally the yoghurt.  Bring it to the boil then add to the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours, then add the spinach and cook for another half hour. 

Serve as you like, I served with Pilau and my minty yoghurt.

Yummy :)
Annie x

Monday 11 March 2013

Olbas for Children

As a little girl I vividly remember Olbas fondly, my father was a big fan, and we were often given the little drops on a tissue to breath in.  That however was in the early '70's and it's great to see how the product has developed.

My son currently has the sniffles, and having gone for an audition for the tissues, is now a huge fan.  You know how hard it is to get kids to blow their nose!  I have been sent some stuff for the bath too, so he will be using that this evening.

My children are now 8 and 5, but I remember how anxious I was if mine had colds and flu as babies, so I was interested to read the background on the Olbas children's products. 

Breathe Easy, Sleep Easy
Children with a cold need a good night’s sleep

When a child has a nasty cold or the flu, not only do they feel under the weather, but a blocked nose also prevents them from having a good night’s sleep.   As a result, no-one else gets much sleep either!  

According to The Sleep Council, young children and babies need 10-11 hours sleep a night, older children no less than 9.  Just one hour less of sleep a night can cause considerable memory and concentration problems, as well as slowing down the recovery process from a cold or flu.  55% of teachers questioned in a recent Sleep Council survey agreed that the brightest children in the classroom are the best slept and most wide awake.  Sleep also plays a crucial role for children, and for all the family, in keeping common colds and flu at bay.

Selecting the right products for your child can be confusing. That’s why Olbas provides a chart to help select the right product for the correct age – there is a product suited to every member of the family:

About Olbas for Children
Formulated especially for infants over
3 months, Olbas for Children is a gentle
decongestant that relieves congestion
and catarrh to make breathing easier.
Priced at £3.79 / 15ml

More about the Olbas range
Made with a combination of essential pure plant oils, such as eucalyptus, mint, clove, juniperberry and cajuput, Olbas products are formulated to help noses large and small breathe easy and aid in a good nights sleep. It’s the combination of these natural ingredients which releases those distinctively soothing and relieving natural vapours. 

Kathleen McGrath, Paediatric Nurse and sleep expert, says, “Children have small air passages so even a minor blockage can affect their breathing pattern and disrupt sleep, which is essential for a quicker recovery from colds and flu.

“Young children do not know how, and hate being encouraged, to blow their nose.  An easy solution is to use an infant decongestant to help clear their nose, allowing children to fall asleep to a quicker recovery.”

McGrath offers some practical actions that parents can do to help a child suffering with congestion before bedtime:
·         Make sure your child drinks plenty of cold fluids
·         Don’t let your child get overheated – put them in cotton night clothes
·         Make sure their bedroom is well ventilated
·         Put a few drops of natural infant decongestant on the child’s pillow or baby’s bed sheet
·         Raising the head higher than the rest of the body can make it easier to breathe while sleeping. Place a towel underneath the head end of the mattress
·         From 2 years of age, teach little ones to blow their nose.  A good way to do this is to explain that “it’s like sniffing but backwards”

To watch McGrath's YouTube video you can watch it here :)

Who is Lanes Health?
In 1930 Gilbert Lane was the head of a thriving family business that developed a wide range of effective remedies to treat many common ailments.  These treatments were based on his understanding of the medicinal properties of plants.  Today, Lanes Health continue their founder’s tradition of developing treatments to help improve our health and quality of life.

Let's just all pray this cold weather is gone soon, the Spring is finally sprung and all the colds and sniffles are a distant memory!

Good luck!
Annie x

Monday 4 March 2013

Segway Rallying thanks to

Yesterday we were very excited to be invited to try Segway Rallying, courtesy of, as it's one of the many national deals they have on offer.

It was held in the grounds of a beautiful country hotel in Cheshunt, and we were blessed with a gloriously clear and bright day.  Chris had already been on a Segway, but I hadn't and was a little nervous/cautious to start.

The two instructors from Segrally - Andy and Joe, were brilliant though, and quickly put us at ease.  It wasn't long before we were rallying through the wooded circuit.   It was fantastic fun and now of course I want my own!

For more deals on Segway experiences visit

Give it a go, hairnet and helmets aside I think our beaming faces says it all :)

Annie x