Jamie’s AMAZING Chicken Tikka Masala

I LOVE a good chicken tikka masala, it’s my favourite curry by far, but there are so many crap restaurants out there, and here in Oxford in particular I find most of them pretty awful – the kind of thing that comes in a neon red/pink sauce and tastes horribly sweet and you can’t even imagine what ingredients might have been used….

However I found a few years ago a really good Jamie Oliver recipe which makes curry for about 20 people, and today I decided to try a slightly different version which serves 4 (a different but similar Jamie Oliver recipe) and it was A-MAZING.

Like, properly the best curry I’ve ever made – DELICIOUS.

His original recipe is here, I have just written it out here for your convenience with a few notes – try it, you won’t be sorry! Continue reading

Salted Caramel Chocolate Truffles

Got this recipe from a free magazine at the Co-op a few weeks ago, and it’s also on their website.

They were surprisingly delicious and truffley, and a good thing to make if you’re stuck at home and need a treat (assuming you can find the ingredients).

Ingredients:

  • 40g toffees
  • 50ml double cream
  • 200g 85% dark chocolate broken into pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder/desiccated coconut/ground pistachios or alternative things to roll them in!

(I found this really really super dark, so ended up adding a lot more cream than the recipe suggests. I think next time I would try half dark half milk chocolate maybe for balance – they were MEGA rich in the end, though this may have been because I doubled the amount of cream!).

Steps

  1. Put the toffees into a saucepan on a low heat and stir occasionally until melted (I was very impatient with this part but they do go eventually)
  2. Stir in the double cream and then add the chocolate, keeping on a low heat, stirring gently until melted and smooth
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the salt, then transfer the mixture to a bowl and leave in the fridge to cool for at least 4 hours (I tried after 3 hours but it wasn’t enough – this def needs the full chilling time).
  4. Once cool, lay out your toppings on plates and make small balls and roll them in the topping of your choice. (The original recipe suggests oiling your hands but this didn’t work at all for me – my hands were so warm they melted in my hands almost immediately and it all got VERY messy. I found it easier to use a spoon to squish and roll the ball shape first, so it didn’t melt too much while I was making the balls).

Quarantine Diary: Week 1

Sunday 22nd March

Took the toddler to the supermarket as we had been away and needed to do a weekly shop. We arrived around 10am, which is when the shop usually opens on a Sunday. Was shocked to discover the car park was FULL. I’ve lived here 9 years and never once seen it full. Grabbed a trolley and joined the queue to get into the store – lined up all along the car park, but was quite fast-moving so only took around 20 mins to get inside.

Continue reading

Lockdown

By now, Coronavirus, or Covid-19, is one of the most well-known illnesses around the globe. It has caused widespread fear, panic-buying, stockpiling and empty supermarket shelves, closed down schools and businesses, caused a shortage of hospital beds and ventilators, and of course many, many deaths. It has shut down entire countries, one by one like dominoes falling in a line and is likely to lead to a pretty serious worldwide recession not seen since the great depression of the 1930’s. It’s a very strange time to be alive, and certainly one that will be taught in the history books in the future. Living through it feels exactly like every Hollywood disaster movie – the signs were there but were we too slow to take action? Continue reading

Who you gonna call?

So, I don’t plan on entering into the huge Coronavirus debate on here. I have my thoughts, and lots of people I know disagree with my viewpoint, so I have no desire to start any further debates here. I also feel that the media and social media are huge driving forces adding to the panic and hysteria so writing more about it isn’t all that helpful.

However, in spite of all that, I realised that this virus presents a very strange and unique predicament that I might need to plan for, which I thought was worth writing about. Continue reading

Cheat’s Risotto (Mushroom, Asparagus and Bacon Risotto)

I’ve been continuing to test out new recipes. This was another great find in my free Slimfast book. (Some have been awful but there are a few really good ones in there!).

This one is a cheat’s risotto – it’s quick and easy, not “real” risotto but much easier to cook. I like it for the speed and convenience as cooking my real risotto takes forever and requires constant stirring, as well as have so much butter and cheese and wine in that it’s incredibly unhealthy. Once again this claims to serve 2 but easily serves 3 – such a surprise for a diet book but the portions are extremely generous (and I love a big portion). Continue reading

Spicy Minced Pork Lettuce Cups

Ok so admittedly this is a recipe from a free Slimfast recipe book I recently picked up, but it was really good so I’m sharing it!

Now, the recipe claims to serve 2, but when I made it, there was enough for 3 enormous portions, or 4 regular portions (and I love a big portion). I don’t know if they were expecting me to use smaller carrots and peppers, but it’s a huge amount! Also the calorie count checks out, so if, like me, you can’t possibly eat half of it, then it’s a fairly low-calorie meal.

I also found that the seasoning was a tiny bit bland so I always end up adding a little more chilli or soy sauce than suggested, but that’s something you can adjust as you go.

And finally, I have always pooh-poohed lettuce cups as they seem so unfulfilling, but these left me feeling stuffed and full for hours, so are great for a proper big dinner where you feel full but with hardly any carbs (must be all that protein!). Continue reading

Celebration Day

Even though the Adoption Order was granted on the 7th January, when everything was formally made legal and official, there have still been quite a few minor admin things to do.

We needed to wait for the court bureaucratic wheels to slowly turn and issue various bits of paperwork so that she can be entered officially into the Register of Adopted Children, which once completed means that you can apply for an Adoption Certificate (which is very similar but slightly different from a birth certificate). This document has her new legally changed name on it, which you need to supply in order to do other official things, like apply for a passport, or change her name on other official things like the NHS/Dr’s surgery records, and her child benefits account, etc.

i have now received this, she now legally and officially has my last name/family name, and I have already applied for a passport so that we can hopefully go to Australia soon and visit my brother and dad and the rest of our family can meet my daughter! Continue reading