I am reviewing Indian cooking sauces from the Spice Tailor.

Do you like Indian food?  Would you like to create spicy dishes with the wow factor for your family?  Are you daunted and unclear on just what type of spices to use?

When I make a curry, it is usually edible enough but never reflects the true sense of  Indian delights.  That is proably because I really don’t know what flavour combinations to use or what is the “right” quantity of curry powder or spices.

I need worry no longer as TV chef and cookery writer Anjum Anand has launched her own range of cookery sauces called The Spice Tailor.

I combined the fragrant and zingy mangalore herb curry version with beef.  You can choose to use any red or white meat.

The first thing that impressed me was that you get a little packet of spices that really look the part and get you in the mood.   You heat them in oil for just 20 seconds and then add your cubed meat for 2 minutes, browning lightly.  You then take the sauce which has such a rich colour, stir it in and 7 minutes later, you have your completed dish.

Fast food but not as we know it.

When we tasted the results, we were impressed with how balanced the flavour was.  A definite kick but not too daunting and lovely with our naan breads.  It looked beautiful too.

The Spice Tailor products come with preparation guidelines but also lots of different ways to adapt the recipe to taste.

The Spice Tailor sauces are easy to use so anyone can create great tasting, authentic Indian dishes using them.

Highly recommended by me!

Bay adds a sophisticated herbaceous note to this cherry and bay pie recipe

Cherry and bay pie recipe

Serves 6-8

Cherry And Bay Pie Recipe

Ingredients

350g self raising flour
160g cold unsalted butter, cubed
Pinch of salt
Tbsp vanilla essence
Ice Cold water: 90ml-100ml
1 egg
Granulated sugar, to garnish

100g/3½oz good-quality black cherry jam
½ tsp grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp cornflour, mixed to a paste with 2 tsp cold water
500g/1lb 2oz fresh cherries, pitted and halved

Method

For the pastry for this cherry and bay pie recipe, put the flour, salt and butter in a bowl and rub in the butter until you have breadcrumbs. Add the vanilla extract and then the water, a tablespoon at a time, combining the mix with a knife or spoon, bringing it together until the mixture starts to clump together into a dough. You need to be cautious at this stage as you don’t want sticky pastry. Add a little more water if necessary, you want a smooth, solid ball of dough. Divide the lump into two and then flatten both into disc shapes, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and grease the pie dish. Remove a disc of pastry from the fridge, unwrap it and roll it out on a generously floured work surface to 3mm/¼in thick and about 2½cm/1in wider than the pie dish. Transfer to a floured baking sheet and chill for about 10 minutes. Repeat this process with the remaining disc of pastry.

Heat the jam for the filling in a saucepan with 100ml (3½ fl oz) water, nutmeg, bay and the vanilla extract. When it’s all melted together, add the diluted cornflour and stir together until smooth and thickened. Add the cherries and gently coat them in the mixture, being careful not to mush them up, so you preserve their shape. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Using a floured rolling pin, carefully transfer one of the chilled pastry sheets to the greased pie dish and drape it across the dish. Let it sink into the dish and, holding on to the edges, lift and tuck the pastry into the edges of the dish, all the way around, to line it. Trim off any excess pastry and lightly prick the base with a fork. Fill the dish with the cherry filling (including the bay leaf). Use a pastry cutter to cut holes in the remaining pastry sheet, covering an area just smaller than the diameter of the pie dish, leaving a large border intact. Place it over the pie filling and fold the edge of the top crust over the edge of the bottom crust, crimping it together with your fingers to seal.

Brush the pastry with the the beaten egg and sprinkle over the granulated sugar. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is golden, then reduce the oven temperature to 180C/350F/Gas 4, covering the top of the pastry with foil if you need to, to avoid it burning, and bake for a further 30 more minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is golden, firm and lightly puffed.

Allow the pie to cool for about one hour before serving with cream.

This cherry and bay pie recipe comes highly recommended and I hope you try it.

Link up your recipe of the week

I am looking back at the journeys where my life suddenly changed quite radically.

1. From Romford Road to Epping Forest

I was born on the Romford Road but very quickly, my mother decided she did not want me in her life.  I was taken to a convent in Epping Forest.  So you could say I became a convent girl at a very early age.    As a child, very occasionally we would travel through Epping Forest and I would get the strangest feeling.  It was only in my forties that I discovered that once it was home.

2. From Epping Forest to Dewsbury

I was fostered at the age of 11 months and by the people who would eventually become my adoptive parents.  They were older than the norm so it was felt they would make a good fit with a child who was also that bit older.   So unusually, I was adopted outside of the local area and found myself as a Yorkshire lass.  Mum and Dad took me home on Bonfire Night so I have two birthdays like the Queen.  Mum said it was so exciting taking their first daughter home and how it felt like all the fireworks were marking a new chapter for all of us.

3.  From Dewbury to Cambridge – Stage 1

This is the first life-changing journey that I remember.  My Dad drove me to my interview for entrance to Cambridge University.  It was my very first interview for anything and very daunting.  I remember babbling all the way down about war poetry and all the things I would say depending on what questions I was asked.  I will never forget walking through the arch and seeing college for the first time.

4. From Dewsbury to Cambridge – Stage 2

It was a glorious day as we set off to get me settled in at Trinity Hall, Cambridge University.   My parents wanted to make it a lovely day so we stopped for a picnic on the way down.  Dad had bought a copy of the good university guide to reassure me that Cambridge really was good enough for me lol.  We arrived and the magic began and continued for 3 lovely years.

5.  From Cambridge to Dewsbury

I don’t think I had ever quite believed Cambridge would end.  I remember travelling home and it felt like my whole world had ended.  Goodbye to wonderful friends, lovely architecture and parties most nights of the week.   I remember feeling bleak and also wondering how on earth I was going to tell my parents that actually I had decided I did not want to be a lawyer after all.

6. From Dewsbury to Carlisle

It took me a long time to work out what to do next.  I ended up getting a job in an  advice agency in Carlisle.  This was the journey with Mum and Dad where I had to face the rather uncomfy fact that , like it or not, I was an adult and had better start making my way in the world.  I remember thinking what a beautiful county I was moving to and Mum saying about a zillion times that I would be OK and it would all be amazing.  I was in Carlisle for 3 years and apart from meeting the man who would hurt me most in the world, it was a good time.

7. From Dewsbury to Exeter and Back Again

My Dad drove me down to collect my things after I was told by my then partner that he had moved a girl in whilst I was away for the weekend.  I remember Dad saying that if I let said fella con me again, it would be the end of my relationship with Mum and Dad.  Of course, when someone decides they don’t want you and you still think you love them, things are not simple.  I remember feeling sad and tearful all the way down.  We collected my things and headed North so that at the age of 29 I could start all over again.

8. Back to Convent Girl

My college friends decided to start to repair my broken heart.  We went on a sunny weekend to Wales where one of them had surprised us all by becoming a nun in an enclosed order.  I remember meeting up with my friends at Birmingham New Street and suddenly feeling like me and realising that when you are part of a couple, some of that gets lost somewhere.  We laughed, we had fun and one of my friends remembers me talking on and on about the man who is now my husband.

9. The Journey to Motherhood

When I went into my labour with my first child, I got into our car and within minutes it broke down.  It was the middle of the night and we lived in the countryside so it was hours before a taxi turned up for us.  I remember the driver was playing Beatles music and told me to scream along as much as I wanted.  I took the poor bloke at his world.  This definitely qualifies as the noisiest journey of my life and the one with the best prize at the end of it.

10. BritMums Live

I am going to BritMums Live this year having missed out last time round.  I have a feeling it is going to change my life in ways I cannot imagine yet.  It feels significant.  So right from the moment I set off, I am going to savour every moment.  Time away from family responsibilities, time to maybe discover how to let my hair down and time to travel to the next chapter.

 

Wild Trail, the award-winning wholegrain popcorn cereal bar proudly made in Great Britain, is delighted to announce its launch in Sainsbury’s.

Wild Trail’s delicious Double Cut Cranberry and Fruit & Double Nut bars will be available to purchase in triple packs at selected Sainsbury’s from 24th June.  The 135g packs retail at £2.39 and can be found on the cereal bar aisle.  

Wild Trail’s Double Cut Cranberry bar won gold in the prestigious Great Taste Awards. Crammed with plump & juicy cranberries the bars also contain almonds, walnuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds, honey and wholegrain popped corn.

The Fruit & Double Nut bars contain Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, raisins, sunflower seeds as well as wholegrain popcorn and are hand-coated in yoghurt. 

 Wild Trail bars make for a wholesome snack. They are made with natural ingredients and are free from artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives. They contain no hydrogenated fats and are suitable for vegetarians.

Described as “nutritional gold nuggets” by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania in a report out last month, popcorn is extremely high in antioxidants – as well containing high levels of fibre, Vitamin B, Vitamin E and is low levels of fat. 

The bars are hand-made and are the brainchild of 37 year old entrepreneur Gordon Leatherdale. Whilst eating popcorn in the cinema two years ago having been stood up by a date Gordon began to wonder if it was possible to make it a healthier snack from popped corn … this marked the beginnings of what would become Wild Trail Foods.

The bars are also sold in single bar format, including a third flavour Apple & Raspberry (rrp 99p). Four more exciting flavours being rolled out over the coming months. The single bars are available now at selected Morrisons stores, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Whistlestop Food & Wine outlets and online from Amazon.

Our family tried these bars and nobody really liked them I am afraid. 

They may be worth a try for picnics or packed lunches depending on your individual tastes.

This is a sponsored post in that I received some bars to enable a review.