Desi Gourmet Chicken Bhuna

Last night I prepared the wonderful classic North Indian dish Chicken Bhuna from Desi Gourmet. This was the second of the four Desi Meal Kits I was sent.

I also prepared ‘aloo paratha’ which is two round flat whole meal chapatis stuffed with spiced potatoes, sealed and cooked on a flattish hot plate or ‘tawa’ (top left).

The cooking and preparation time was approximately 20 minutes for the Bhuna. I heated the oil and added the sachet of sautéed onion, then ginger and garlic pastes, then chopped tomatoes, water and spice mix and lastly 2 diced chicken breasts, before simmering for 15 minutes.

Picture below shows all ingredients added and after simmering. Note the colours and all this without the addition of sugar, colouring, preservatives or msg!!

I served this with my paratha, sliced red onions and chilli infused yoghurt… was really delicious!!

Desi Gourmet Chicken Baburchi

I tried the Chicken Baburchi meal kit from Desi Gourmet last night. It was so simple and easy to use.

There was an ingredient and instruction list/card sent with kit and when I opened the kit there was another one inside which differed slightly. Inside was also the sautéed onions, ginger, garlic and spice mix.

I heated 2 tbsp of vegetable oil and added the onions, ginger and garlic. Whilst this was cooking I diced two chicken breasts and 200g (15 no) cherry tomatoes. This was added to the chicken as well as spice mix and water (I added bit extra as I liked a more fluid gravy). This was simmered for 15 minutes.

This was enough for myself, my wife and two daughters who absolutely loved it!!

The taste was a truly authentic Indian dish just like one gets in India. Overall cooking time was 20 minutes, including prep time.

I served it as below with paratha, spiced mixed vegetables, sliced red onions and it was so tasty…..can’t wait to try the others!!

My delivery of Desi Gourmet Meal Kits!!!

I picked up an unmarked parcel from the post office and was very curious as to the contents. I was so wanting to see what was inside that I opened it in the car and was so excited to receive 4 Desi Gourmet Meal Kits (along with 3 recipe cards) from the lovely guys at Desi Gourmet.

The colours of the packaging were very vibrant and the logo striking. The pictures showed the four dishes to mouth watering levels and acted as aesthetic serving suggestions. The four dishes were North Indian dishes being Bhuna, Lamb Rogan Josh, Chicken Baburchi and Chicken Saag.

The packs all contain four sachets of sautéed onion, garlic paste, ginger paste and the respective spices. All one has to do is get the meat , vegetable or paneer and anything else mentioned and follow the instructions!!

The great thing about these Kits are that there is no added sugar, preservatives, colours, gluten or MSG!!! The contents are freshly prepared in India before being sealed, packaged and available in the UK!!

I’m so looking forward to preparing them…..anyone for dinner?!?!?!

Fabulous Fresh Filling Brekkie at The Loft

I treated my two girls to breakfast at The Loft. This was the first day that the new breakfast menu went live.

The breakfast dishes were all cooked from fresh (no frozen products), were very generous in portion size, very well priced so offering great value for money and were cooked to order and delivered very promptly!!

I chose the Loft Signature fry, my two girls shared pancakes and omelette. The omelette was a juicy 4 egg omelette filled with cheese and mushroom accompanied by a tomato salad and toast (I wanted the salad as I had grilled tomato with the fry). The two fluffy pancakes were served with maple syrup and my girls wanted sausages. It was garnished with strawberry and mint. Both these dishes went down a treat!!

The signature fry had soda bread, potato bread, two sausages and bacon and a slice of black pudding, fried egg and tomato, beans and mushroom. The individual components were cooked perfectly and piping hot.

Overall a great breakfast and definitely worth a visit.

Sisters 40th at Rita’s

About 60 of us descended upon Rita's to celebrate my little sisters 40th birthday

It's been a while since I've been here and I think I shall be back sooner rather than later. It's got a real chilled out feel. We had a section cordoned off much to the chagrin of the other guests!!

Whilst we mingled we were served some delicious snacks comprising of halloumi burger, prawn and chorizo skewers, crab on toast, duck spring rolls and tomato mozzarella and basil on bread. This went down a treat and certainly sparked a debate as to which one was the nicest!!

Rita's is a super place for a private party or just for cocktails or gin!! My sister and all of us certainly had a blast!!

Magnificent Mama Masala Meal

Last night we finally dined at the newly opened Mama Masala Glengormley . My 5 year old daughter, wife and I dined and we were missing my 9 year old, who was at a friends party but gave us strict instructions to bring her back a pepperoni pizza!!

I've dined in the original Mama Masala Londonderry (owned by the same owners) and really enjoyed it so was looking forward to tasting the food! I've been following the journey of this new restaurant avidly (Metamorphosis ) and have written about the Story.

Whilst we looked at the extensive Indian and Italian menu we nibbled on fresh, crisp poppadoms served with three sweet dips/chutneys. The menu was a very well thought out and well designed one and there were plenty of dishes to choose from!!

We chose Vegetable samosa and garlic prawns to start and my little one wanted her chicken nuggets and chips!! My wife also had a mojito which she said was delicious. The presentation of both the prawns and samosas was very elegant and appetising. The 2 large king prawns were served butterflied, with tails on and in a rich, garlic sauce and were amazing. The three filo samosas looked a bit oily and when we cut into them discovered they had meat in them. We flagged this up and the staff were very apologetic and the proprietor Gagan personally served us fluffy perfect Punjabi vegetable samosas. These were exactly like one gets in Punjab itself and delicious suffice to say!! The portion size and taste of the nuggets and chips was excellent.

For main course my wife opted for the chicken penne and I the rara gosht with Mama Masala Nan. When these were served it was quite literally a "wow" moment. The pasta was served in a large dish, the lamb in a deep oval dish and there was plenty in each. What really struck us was the authenticity, the very generous quality meat content (chicken breast, lots of tender chunks of lamb interspersed with minced lamb or keema) and the flavours!!! The pasta was in a creamy, yet not too heavy sauce with a nice touch of sun dried tomatoes and basil. The rara gosht is certainly one of the best Indian dishes I've ever had, even my wife loved it and she's not a big lamb eater. The nan was soft, full of flavour (Chillies and coriander) and was ideal with the lamb and pasta!! The dish was full of flavour and spice and not oily or sweet or artificially coloured. This was the real McCoy!!

Our waiter remembered that we had ordered a pepperoni pizza to take and he duly presented it to us as we were leaving.
The venue was superb, the staff were tremendous and the food was exceptional. I can now say that this will be a firm favourite of ours and is highly commended!!

Linwoods New Hemp Protein


Linwoods in Armagh, the UK’s leading producer of healthy super foods, has launched a brand-new range of natural plant protein blends; Hemp Protein+. The innovative new product provides a natural source of protein, helping fuel the body with essential energy-boosting nutrients and heart-healthy compounds.
The launch marks the end of two years of research to produce an added-value natural plant-based protein, and Linwoods’ ongoing investment towards creating truly healthy products.
The range consists of three nutritious hemp protein blends, each with a Flaxseed base and other added-value ingredients, including the Chia Seed, Cocoa and Beetroot Powder blend, the Bio Cultures, Vitamin D and Co-enzyme Q10 blend and the Chia Seed, Broccoli and Spinach Powder blend. Each variant is a fresh tasting and easy-to-use addition to shakes, smoothies and for sprinkling into yoghurts – making it a convenient way to add healthy superfoods to your diet, every day.
To celebrate the launch of the new product, Linwoods has collaborated with nutritionists Tony O’Neill and Jenny Curran from healthy eatery ‘Tony & Jen’s’ on the Lisburn Road, Belfast. Together, they have created a range of protein popsicles, made using Hemp Protein+ and a range of other tasty health foods.
Jenny Curran, nutritionist and Co-Founder of Tony & Jen’s, talks about the exciting collaboration: “We love experimenting with new ingredients and flavours and we’re passionate about proving that healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland and boring and I think these ice lollies show the fun side of it. We say they’re like protein shakes, but way more fun!
“They are packed full of goodness and flavour, and the amount of protein in each one contributes towards the average person’s Recommended Daily Intake, helping to balance your diet or maintain and build muscle mass.”
Linwoods, a family-owned company which has been established for over 50 years, is always exploring new innovation and this new range is no exception. It is made using plant-based protein, hemp, instead of other less natural alternatives, which offers various health benefits; they are low in saturated fat, can help maintain muscle mass, prevent blood vessel problems and have the added benefit of being an anti-inflammatory.
Sarah Shimmons, Head of Marketing at Linwoods, explains: “Hemp protein is becoming increasingly popular as consumers who like to eat well choose it over whey, soya or other less healthy protein powder alternatives. Hemp Protein+ is also suitable for gluten free, dairy free and vegan diets, so is the perfect natural alternative for everyone. It can be factored into your diet in lots of different ways and hopefully our collaboration with Tony and Jenny will help inspire everyone to have some fun with it!”
The Hemp Protein+ combinations pack a powerful punch and contain an impressive 15g-16g of protein in a 30g serving and not only are they highly digestible sources and loaded full of protein. The ingredients in Linwoods Hemp Protein+ range are all natural and have no added sugar, as well as being high in Omega 3 ALA, packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Launching in outlets across the UK and Ireland, the 360g packs are available to order online from the Linwoods website and a number of independent health food stores including Eatwell & Framer Health on the Lisburn Rd priced from £16.99. Tony & Jen’s Protein Popsicles are on sale now until the end of August.