Auntie Tab’s chicken korma

That’s a pirate waist coat – I don’t dress him in gold epaulettes, much as it’s the closest sartorial match for his personality that there is.

I wrote the recipe down on here a couple of days ago when we ate it and Bert did demolish it – I realise that this blog implies that Bert eats a rainbow of veg every day, but in the interests of honesty I’ll admit that for dinner tonight he had a hot cross bun, a peanut cookie and a Kinder Surprise.

Serves 3

1 small onion

1/2 red pepper, puréed with the onion in a blender

1 1/2 dessert spoons korma paste

Dessert spoon butter

Splash vegetable oil

3 chicken breasts, diced

1/2 tin chopped tomatoes

1/2 sweet potato peeled (or half a large carrot) and chopped and puréed with the tomatoes

1 dessert spoon tomato purée

Teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons plain yoghurt

1 dessert spoon mango chutney

Melt the butter and oil in a saucepan, and add the onion and pepper purée and the tikka paste. Cook gently for fifteen minutes then add the chicken, tomato purée and tinned tomato/ sweet potato purée. Season, cover and cook for 15 minutes till the chicken’s tender. Then stir through the yogurt and mango chutney and serve.

(Auntie Tab chops the onion and pepper, frying the onions on their own with the salt, adding the pepper and then proceeding the same way. But pirates can object to pieces of sauce-soaked, soft, cooked veg so I puréed mine. I’ve also – since I first blogged the recipe – tweaked it again to add the sweet potatoes for a thicker sauce, extra sweetness and another veg towards our ten a day.)


Tandoori chicken

Every day I’ve dropped Bert at nursery since a week or so before Christmas, he’s clung to me sobbing. Nursery’s solution: peel him off me, weeping, and ask him what he wants for breakfast. My solution: wait outside till I hear him stop crying then go home and worry. 

This morning he said he didn’t want to go to ‘school’ and started to sink miserably into the sofa and hide his face. We talked about why and found out it was saying goodbye he hated (don’t we all), so we came up with the solution of taking a different dinousaur in to show his mates every day. He skipped, smiling, into nursery with his robot dinosaur and didn’t look back.

What’s a blog for, if not to share the rare moments of smug parenting?

But now he’s eating this with his hands in front of the TV. Bert: do dinosaurs eat rice? Me: yes. Bert: do dinosaurs eat chicken? Me: yes, they do.

Serves 2-3

4 skinless chicken thigh fillets

150ml plain yoghurt (with low-fat yoghurt, this works for 5:2ers – 2 thighs and a small portion of rice is about 350 cals)

1 teaspoon each of: smoked paprika, cayenne, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, ground ginger (or a tablespoon of tandoori spice mix) – this has a kick but isn’t hot; adjust the paprika and cayenne for less heat

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper

Mix the marinade ingredients together, slash the chicken thighs, cover with marinade and leave to marinate for at least an hour, ideally overnight. Then preheat the oven to 200 or gas mark six and bake for around twenty minutes.

We had ours with brown rice and peas, and crunchy carrot and cucumber salad. If I’d been cooking for adults with less veg-suspicion, I’d have probably gone for sag aloo, coconut naan and cucumber raita.

Tomato, ginger and chicken curry


Haven’t we made a beautiful boy?

Serves 3

2 chicken breasts (they were big, though; I’d go for three or four if they were small)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 piece ginger, grated or finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 small onions, sliced

2 teaspoons turmeric

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

6 tomatoes, quartered

Salt and pepper

Small bunch coriander, stalks chopped and (separately) leaves chopped

Couple of tablespoons of water

Fry the onion, garlic and ginger till translucent and then add the chili, turmeric and chopped coriander stalks. Fry for another minute or so then add the chicken, frying till white, and the tomatoes, salt and pepper and water. Season, cover and cook for another ten to fifteen minutes.

Stir through the chopped coriander when you’ve taken the curry off the heat to serve. I dish up Bert’s before I add the herbs as helping him pick each small piece of leaf off is too much of an arse-ache not the best use of my time.

We had ours with rice and spiced cauliflower. Bert carefully laid each piece of cauliflower out in a neat row by his dish, making his point clear, though he did try some later.

Thai green curry

thai curry

New haircut!

Serves 3

4 chicken breasts, sliced into thin strips

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

150g button chestnut mushrooms

150g green beans, topped and tailed

1 tin coconut milk

4 kaffir lime leaves

For the curry paste:

2 cloves garlic

1 small onion

1… thumb sized piece of ginger (of course!)

1 lemongrass stalk

1/2 teaspoon chili flakes

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 bunch coriander

1/2 bunch basil

3 dessert spoons fish sauce

To make the curry paste, bung all those ingredients in a food processor and pulse till it’s a paste.

Fry the chicken breast in a hot pan in the sunflower oil till it’s white all over (about five minutes), then add the veg and curry paste and fry for another couple of minutes – you want the onion and garlic to cook through. Then add the coconut milk and lime leaves and simmer for about another ten minutes.

Bert ate the lot, mushrooms and all.


Too-tired-to-cook curry


Bert pushed his bowl away and refused to eat then sat on our knees, one at a time, working his way through all of our food. Every time we tried to take a mouthful he’d point at himself and say ‘Ber’ firmly. We’re going to market it as the Bert diet.

We probably shouldn’t dwell too closely on the total lack of parental control.

Serves 2.5

2-3 chicken breasts (we had two, but they were big), cut into bite sized pieces

Splash of olive oil

1 dessert spoon tikka curry paste

1 can coconut milk

Peas – pour in until it feels ‘pea-y’ enough


Briefly brown the chicken in the olive oil then add the tikka paste and coconut milk. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 20 minutes, adding the peas in the last 5 minutes. Season to taste.

We had ours with rice and Indian spiced root veg (add 1 teaspoon of nigella seeds and one teaspoon of turmeric to peeled and batonned root veg, toss in olive oil and roast for 30-40 minutes).


Creamy chicken curry


This is a version of an absolutely delicious Nigel Slater recipe. I can’t honestly claim it’s better than the original, but it is a bit more toddler friendly.

Served 2.5. Bert ate so much we’re worried we’ll wither away as he swells to giant proportions.

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

The seeds from 10 cardamom pods

1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 tablespoon sunflower oil

2 small onions, diced

3 cloves garlic, crushed

400g diced chicken

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

6 diced tomatoes

4 tablespoons plain yoghurt

Juice of half a lemon

1 tablespoon creme fraiche

Small bunch of coriander, finely chopped.

Crush the teaspoon of cumin seeds with the cardamom seeds, combine with the sunflower oil and chilli flakes and then toss the chicken in the oily spice. Fry the onion, garlic and turmeric in a bit more oil, then add the rest of the cumin seeds, the chicken, the tomatoes and the yoghurt. Bring to a fast simmer then turn the heat down and cook for about 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken, add the lemon juice and turn the heat right up, reducing the yellow sauce down to a thick sludge. Then return the chicken and stir through the creme fraiche and coriander. We had ours with rice and spicy cauliflower.

Bert’s hair was a beautiful, crisp, pale yellow by the end of this meal.

Chicken tikka masala and spiced cauliflower


Serves 2.5

For the chicken:

2 chicken legs (breasts would do just as nicely, I just had legs in the fridge)

A thumb of ginger, grated

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of smoked paprika

2 teaspoons of garam masala

4 dessert spoons plain yoghurt

For the sauce:

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

Glug of sunflower oil

1 tin of tomatoes

1/2 tin coconut milk

2/3 cup ground almonds

For the cauliflower:

1 cauliflower in small florets

1 teaspoon nigella seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

Good couple of glugs of sunflower oil

This looks like a lot of ingredients but all the steps are pretty easy. For the chicken, combine all the marinade ingredients, coat the chicken in it and leave it in the fridge under cling film for about 3-4 hours. (Overnight would probably be even better but I’m not that well organised – I did it while Bert was napping and dreaming about chocolate buttons, blueberries and grabbing the soft fur of put-upon spaniels.)

For the masala sauce, fry the onion and garlic, add the liquids and almonds and simmer for around 15-20 minutes. Blitz to a smooth sauce before serving.

Put your chicken in a hot oven (200-220 degrees or near the top of the Aga roasting oven) for about 40 minutes. At the same time, toss the cauliflower in the spices and oil and cook in a moderate oven (180 degrees or the middle of the Aga roasting oven) for 30 minutes. The cauliflower’s a Leon recipe so I can’t take credit but it is bloody delicious.

We had ours with rice.

Baked chicken sag aloo and easy coconut naan


Serves 1.5; probably more, but I was greedy

For the naans:

100g self raising flour

75ml water

1 teaspoon melted butter

25g dessicated coconut

For the curry:

1/2 an onion

2cm fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves

1 dessert spoon garam masala

Tablespoon sunflower or vegetable oil

1-2 chicken breasts in bite sized pieces

2 or 3 small potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

2 large handfuls spinach, chopped

200ml passata

Half a can of coconut milk

Mix the ingredients for the bread into a dough and knead for a couple of minutes till smooth.

Boil the potatoes till tender. Blitz the onions, garlic and ginger in a food processor and fry in the oil with the spices till the onion’s translucent and the spices are warmly fragrant. Add the chicken and brown, then add the liquid and bring to a fast simmer. Put the spinach and potatoes into an oven proof dish, pour over the chicken and sauce mixture and pop in the oven at 180 degrees (or the middle of an Aga roasting oven) for half an hour.

Cut the dough in half and roll out to two teardrop shaped pieces about 1cm thick. Don’t worry too much about the shape unless you have a particularly critical baby. Put them under a hot grill for 7-10 minutes, keeping an eye on them. You want them to be soft and pillowy, not crisp.

As you can see, Bert had his with a side of snot.

The curry’s warm and spicy but not hot. It would be nice without the chicken, too.

Lamb korma and coconut rice


I thought this was a bit of a risk, but Bert loved it. And so did I. I imagine that, other than the inevitable ‘thumb’ of ginger, this is totally inauthentic.

Serves 2.5

3 or 4 lamb steaks (or any lamb cut that needs quick and hot rather than long and slow cooking)

3 tomatoes, cubed

3 tablespoons ground almonds

3 tablespoons plain yoghurt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 heaped teaspoon garam masala

Fresh ginger, peeled – about 3 centimetres. Okay, a thumb sized piece.

2 cloves of garlic

1 small onion

1 or 2 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil

1/3 mug coconut milk

1 mug basmati rice

Measure the coconut milk into a mug, fill up with cold water till you have a mug full of liquid and add to the rice in a pan. Bring to a boil then simmer on a very, very low heat with the lid on for 25 minutes till the liquid’s absorbed. For once, the Aga actually excels here – pop in the simmering oven for 25 minutes once it’s boiling.

Blitz the onion, garlic and ginger to a pulp in a food processor. Hold your baby with one arm while he plays the spoons one centimetre away from your face, and fry the onion mixture in a couple of tablespoons of oil with the spices. When the spices smell warm and fragrant and the onion’s translucent, add the lamb, cut into bite sized pieces, and brown. After about five minutes, add the tomatoes, almonds and yoghurt. Cook for around another 10-15 minutes on a medium heat, till the lamb’s cooked through. Salt yours on the plate – I thought it needed it.

Bert even managed to gum his way through quite a lot of the meat here, but the dog did end the meal covered in coconut rice confetti.