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Saturday Recipes

This is a longer post than usual, so make a cup of tea and sit back and (hopefully!) enjoy …

I had a request from Mary-Louise, who kindly left a comment a few posts ago, for my chicken curry recipe, so here it is:

Whenever I cook I always try to gather the equipment and ingredients together, empty the dishwasher so that I can add dirty pots as I go, and have a clean and tidy work surface upon which to work.  This is simply good kitchen practice but I dare say I’m speaking to the converted. However, I do wish this was instilled in all those who participate in so many cookery programmes on TV.

The ingredients:  this quantity makes four generous portions, or in our case, a meal for two people and then a meal for two in the freezer.

Approx 280 gr cold, cooked chicken, chopped into bite-size pieces (no gristle, no skin, certainly no bones.)

Sufficient oil for sauteeing, about 1 tablespoon

2 rounded dessertspoons of flour (for thickening, self raising flour or plain flour)

1 large white onion

2 heaped teaspoons medium curry powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

80 gr of pineapple chunks (or slices of a peeled and cored dessert apple; I use tinned pineapple)

1 pt vegetable or chicken stock (I use vegetable Oxo cubes but you could use boullion)

a pinch salt (I use Maldon sea salt crystals)

1 dessertspoon chutney (any kind; I use curried pineapple chutney)

1 dessertspoon tomato puree

80 grs dried fruit – I use sultanas and raisins

the pineapple juice from the tin in case you need extra liquid



Start by chopping and sauteeing the onion in the heated oil and cook until slightly softened.

On a low heat add the curry powder, cumin and coriander, then the flour and mix well. The mixture will feel quite dry at this stage.

Now add the stock, gradually, so that the mixture thickens but without the flour going lumpy.

Now add the tomato puree and the chutney and mix well. You can now turn up the heat, but take care to stir so that the mixture doesn’t ‘catch’ on the bottom of the pan.

Now add the dried fruit and chopped pineapple (as much or as little as you like) followed by the cooked chicken pieces.

Once the mixture has come to the boil, turn down the heat so that the curry gently simmers for approximately 1/2 hr.  Cover with a saucepan lid, but remember to stir occasionally.

Adjust the seasoning if necessary by adding a little salt if you wish, and perhaps a little more liquid – I add the juice from the tinned pineapple – and if necessary, an extra vegetable cube or some extra boullion.  Just keep tasting until you feel it is to your taste satisfaction.

While the curry is simmering, cook the rice – I use brown wholegrain Basmati rice – and once it is soft and fluffy, rinse it with boiling water through a sieve to remove any extra starch. This prevents any rice grains sticking together. It is now ready for serving with the curry.

I used ring moulds to arrange the rice neatly on the plate and a little parsley to set it off. (I read recently that you shouldn’t serve any ‘white’ savoury food without a little greenery.)

I would add that this is a very mild curry; after trying this recipe you might find you need to up the quantity of spice.

* * * *

After all that cooking, we need to relax a bit,  so here are some flower photos for you.  I bought these pink lisianthus on the 5th March and they are still looking good.  They are almost like tissue paper, and each flower on each stem is a slightly different shade of pink.

The look even more wonderful in close up …

Yesterday, because I knew bad weather was again heading this way (as I speak we are having a light snow shower) I cut some hellebores in the garden so that we might enjoy the last of the flowers, for they’re going over now.

I was surprised when I saw that the colours in the rug ‘go’ with the plummy shades of the hellebore.  And before you ask, yes that is a photo or husband and me, but taken many years ago.

And the plummy double tulips are gradually opening up and looking very pretty.

* * * *

While I was in the cooking mood, I thought it would be nice to have a home-baked cake this afternoon with a cup of tea, and so quickly assembled the ingredients for a lemon drizzle cake.

Only 7 cubes of cake here – this cake makes 16 such cubes, but of course you can cut larger pieces!

The ingredients:

140 gr margarine (or butter, but I use margarine)

140 gr caster sugar (I use golden caster sugar)

2 large eggs, beaten slightly

The grated zest of 1 lemon

140 gr of self raising flour

For the drizzle:

The juice of the lemon

4 or 5 dessertspoons of granulated sugar (I use golden granulated)


Set the oven at 180C, 350F or Gas 4.

Prepare the tin – I use a 20cm square tin, which I grease lightly around the edges and then use a waxed paper cake liner.

Place the margarine and caster sugar in a mixing bowl plus the lemon zest and cream the ingredients together.

Add the beaten eggs, gradually.

Add the self raising flour.

Now tip the mixture into the prepared tin (I use a tin liner so that there is no chance of the cake sticking to the tin.)

Place on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes.

When baked, check that the cake has cooked through (I use a skewer for this) as although I’ve said 20 minutes baking time, everyone’s oven is different.

Place the tin containing the cake on a wire cooling rack and prick the cake all over with a skewer.  Quickly mix the granulated sugar into the lemon juice and pour all over the cake while it is in the tin.   Now allow the cake to cool completely before you remove the cake from the tin.

And after the cake had cooled, we enjoyed some with a small dollop of low-fat double cream and some raspberries, and a cup of tea …

I cannot take the credit for this recipe, it is from the book Afternoon Tea by Susannah Blake

On a quite different subject, I finished reading the third in The Seven Sisters sequence of novels by Lucinda Riley yesterday, The Shadow Sister.  As the fourth, The Pearl Sister, hasn’t yet been published in paperback (I don’t use an e-reader) I thought I’d try one of Lucinda Riley’s other novels (I have read some of her early ones) and ordered this one (below).   It arrived – which made me smile, considering the summer-time cover – in a slight snow storm, the delivery-van driver no doubt keen to get back  into the warmth of his vehicle!

And the daffodils you can see here, lovely large doubles, are coming out in the warmth of the sitting room, bringing a ray of sunshine to an otherwise very dull day.

Wherever you are, I hope you are having a good weekend and, especially if in the UK, keeping warm during this cold spell.

Until next time.

About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. My lemon drizzle cake never seems lemony enough. I like it to be tart. I shall try your recipe for a change.
    The curry looks good. Again I like quite a strong flavour, but not too hot, and I always add pineapple. I’ve not made one in a while so perhaps next week. Your recipe pictures look good enough for an online tutorial. A commentary next time, too, I think!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We find this recipe quite lemony, Eloise, but you could always add a dollop of lemon curd to the mixture and just a little more flour to compensate for the extra runniness of the subsequent mixture.
      Yes, the curry has a good flavour, but isn’t hot, that’s why we like it.
      Thank you for your kind remarks re my recipe ‘tutorial’ photos!
      I made a correction to the curry recipe. It’s Medium curry powder, not Mild.

  2. Um………….. I poured a glass of wine and sat 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Ooh, I’d not thought of suggesting wine, Fiona! Perhaps because we seldom drink alcohol although I did enjoy Tia Maria in the autumn and at Christmas and love an ice-cold G&T occasionally, but we’ve gone right off wine, whether red or white or rose. What I do like occasionally, though, is a dessert wine over ice and a slice, as an aperitif. Now, that is lovely!
      Made a correction to the curry recipe. It’s Medium curry powder, not Mild.

  3. Hmm, another one who had a glass of wine to enjoy your post Margaret, in my case a glass of chilled rose, not exactly in line with the current very cold period of weather but I have been fancying it for a while now.
    Thank you for the recipes, they both look delicious and will be added to my online recipe book.
    We are due the worst of the weather tomorrow but with nowhere in particular to go are quite prepared to have a quiet day at home.
    Hope you have a good weekend and stay warm.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Well, I think I might manage a glass of chilled rose now and again, although I do prefer a G&T, I think. I always find wine just a little too acidic and it usually upsets my tum, even half a glass. I dislike the fashion for those huge glasses into which you could pour almost half a bottle of the stuff. Wine glasses – like plates – never used to be so large!
      It has been sleeting here, but nothing has actually remained, and I hope after the last lot of snow, we won’t have any tomorrow either. But if we do have snow, we have sufficient supplies and a warm, cosy home, we can just tuck ourselves up with warm drinks and rugs and enjoy films or read the paper or books. Bliss, really.
      PS made a correction to the curry recipe. It’s Medium Curry Powder, not Mild.

  4. Mary-Louise Mielcarz

    Dear Margaret,

    Thank you for sharing that thoughtful and comprehensive Chicken Curry recipe. As fate would have it I will be roasting a chicken for Sunday dinner so the timing is perfect for this leftover opportunity to try something new in my repertoire. I would not have thought of it if not for your previous post.

    Let me also take this time to thank you for sharing your everyday moments. I enjoy seeing the attention to detail and the pleasure you take in doing the things you do.

    Untill next time,


    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Mary-Louise, and best of luck making the curry. Of course, you can amend it as you wish – sometimes I leave out the cumin and coriander and just use curry powder. Sometimes I add cardamom as well, removing the seeds from the pods before adding them to the curry. I hope you like it!
      Thank you for your kind comments. When I decided to have a blog – and I thought about it long and hard – I decided what I wanted was something which was personal but at the same time general, so that it might appeal to like-minded women (and maybe even men) everywhere. A bit like a magazine, which is why I always try and illustrate it with my photos.
      It has been a very cold day here in South Devon, but indoors, cooking and baking, I’ve been warm. And now I have my new book to read. I think it will be an early night – our electric mattress cover (electric blanket) is already on, warming our bed!
      PS Made a correction to the curry recipe – it’s Medium curry powder, now Mild.

  5. Thanks for the recipes. I’ve wondered what goes into a chicken curry and now I know. I’ve never had it before, let alone made it. I will try it one of these days. It reminds me that when I make chicken salad – for a bed of lettuce or for sandwiches – I always put curry in. It gives it an added something, I think. When I see chicken salad in the deli I always think it looks “too white” with too much dressing, but when I make it myself I love it!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Jeannine. The kind of chicken curry you describe sounds very much like a dish invented around the time of our Queen’s Coronation (2nd June 1953) and was called, appropriately, ‘Coronation chicken’ and this dish has curry powder in it and mayo. I quite like it, but the disadvantage is that the spices which make up the curry powder aren’t cooked, they’re ‘raw’, an thus can give me indigestion. But it’s very tasty, I admit! Chicken curry is very easy to make and is a good way of using up left-over cooked chicken.

  6. Really enjoyed your post, Margaret. Just read it with a cappuccino at a cafe next to a ‘swap meet’ I like to go to on a Sunday when possible (i.e. if I mange to get up early enough!). They’re called swap meets here, I think they are usually called car boot sales in UK? It’s held in the car park of a shopping centre. There are a few regulars here, selling plants and candles and antiques, but also people who do it as a one-off, to have a clear out. It’s always fun. Today is an absolutely beautiful Autumn day in Perth, so it was easy and enjoyable to get up and head out. It will start getting cooler and wetter soon. My best friend often sells at this swap meet. She has a real talent for finding antiques and quality stuff at the charity shops, and selling it at the swap meet for a decent profit. But she’s not here today – must be having a sleep in. Have a lovely Sunday!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      That is a totally new description to me for what we know as a car boot sale, but I do like ‘swap meet’, a lovely description. Yes, I am sure some people actually make a business out of doing swap meets/car boots, but to get the cream of the crop I believe you have to roll up very early in the day, far too early for me! But what a lovely scene you paint, having a cappuccino in a café to read my post, while here I was tucked up in bed, fast asleep no doubt, given the time difference between our two countries. And rather than a nice autumn day, here we have snow again! Deep stuff this time, the deepest I can ever recall having in Torbay since the 1960s, and it all descended within an hour or two. But as it’s unusual, I love it! I feel sorry for those who have to get home from goodness-knows-where, but to see the whiteness everywhere is lovely.

  7. Delicious recipes. I love the way that you present your food for your husband and yourself. So gracious.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Ratnamurti. Both recipes are easy. They might look complicated because I’ve photographed every stage of the curry, but they are both very easy to make.

  8. Just as your cold weather has returned, so has our hot weather. Thursday was lovely for us, there was a breezes keeping us comfortable. Friday started to heat up and yesterday afternoon and today have been quite uncomfortable. I gave in this afternoon and put on the air conditioning so I could be comfortable. Our summer has been so long it has worn out its welcome. I’m longing to wear jeans, tops with 3/4 sleeves, ballet flats, scarves, etc and cook soups, bake cakes, make casseroles and all those other comfort foods. Autumn seems to be missing in action for us in Australia. Mind you, Darwin (in the far north) is on warning for a Tropical Cyclone, which must be terrifying. I hope it passes without damage.

    Your recipes and photos are all delicious. We are having sausages (from our local butcher as I don’t like supermarket sausages), mashed potato and steamed veggies for our dinner this evening. Certainly not fancy fare but one of our favourites and a regular feature in our home.

    All of the flowers are beautiful. The colours show up very well in your photos. Thank you for sharing them with us xx

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We are both experiencing extremes of temperature at the moment, I think, Lara. You should be in autumn and it’s hot and we should be in spring and we have deep snow, even here in Torbay, known for it’s mild climate! It is cold today, not the bitter cold of a fortnight ago, but even so we have deep snow, about 4 to 6 inches has fallen since 9 o’clock this morning, (it’s now almost 1 pm) We wont’ have having a proper lunch today as we had a very late cooked breakfast, but I will make a cooked supper (some call it tea, some call it dinner) at around 5.30 pm, a sausage casserole with mashed potatoes and veggies.
      I do hope that Darwin doesn’t suffer from a tropical cyclone, that sounds awful to me! We seldom have such extremes of weather but with global warming, I think extremes are what we will all face in the future.
      Yes, the flowers are beautiful, they bring a splash of colour, especially in winter.

  9. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    Thankyou for sharing your recipes Margaret, we don’t like curry really spicy, so it’s always mild here. I will add your recipe to my collection.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, the curry I make is mild, Marlene, as Chris will only tolerate a very mild curry, but it has a good flavour. I hope that if you make it, you will enjoy it.

  10. Lemon drizzle one of my favourites and meringues and I noticed you had sherbet lemons,yummy. The Olive Tree looks intriguing, something to lighten up this wintery weather we are having.We awoke to about a half of an inch of snow this morning, hopefully the last snow we have!We have beef casserole and dumplings today cooking in the slow cooker. Sun is on its way tomorrow, in the “old days” we called them calcium days! Enjoy the rest of your day take care Margaret.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      The lemon drizzle cake made a lovely change from rock buns, fruit cake or even bought macarons, Margaret, and we really enjoyed the small pieces we had.
      I have started The Olive Tree and am enjoying it, but only a few pages in thus far.
      Beef casserole sounds the ticket this weather! I’ve not heard of ‘calcium days’, that’s a new one to me!

  11. Both those recipes look lovely.

    We’re back to snow here (north east of Bristol). Showers yesterday which didn’t pitch, but we’ve got a couple of inches on the ground now and it’s still snowing. I’ve made cottage pie for dinner today, it feels like cottage pie weather!

    I have some lovely creamy white daffodils at the moment that I bought from Waitrose earlier in the week. They opened up within a day and I think they are the best bunch so far this Spring.

    Friday it felt like Spring when we went out with the family for a day. I hope we get some more of that very soon.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Our younger son is now back from just close to Bristol, Alison. They set off early this morning and just made it. They didn’t go up Telegraph Hill just off the M5 motorway, that is notorious for being impassable in snowy/icy conditions, but came instead around the coast, and just made it home. And it’s still snowing here, this is really unusual for Torbay. You don’t often see palm trees covered in snow!
      I’ve not seen any of those lovely creamy white daffodils this year anywhere and only bright acid yellow ones in Waitrose. I do wish they’d had some white ones! We go in there at least once, if not twice, a week, and I’ve not noticed any. They are my favourite.

      • I suppose they must just send certain daffodils to different places! I bought mine in the Chipping Sodbury branch but I have bought several bunches there previously this year and they were all yellow. I’m really enjoying them.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          I am forever hopeful that on my next visit to Waitrose they might have some creamy white ones, but perhaps, as it is a very small branch compared with other branches, they might get what’s left, you never know! They have stopped having several things we used to have, such as Lurpak garlic butter (I’ve forgotten the other things, but the garlic butter is one we liked – I used to kick-start casseroles with it and it was lovely for frying croutons for soup.) You are in the Cotswolds, a posher area than where we are, ha ha, perhaps you get the cream (pun very much intended!) of the crop!

  12. That was such a lovely post, I enjoyed it very much. The curry we make here in India is a bit different. You might find it spicy and the flavours, a little overwhelming:) The cake looks so good. I will try it soon. The lisianthus are beautiful, so many shades of pink!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, Kavitha, I’m glad you enjoyed that post. Yes, Indian curry is real curry – what we make is no doubt nothing like an authentic Indian curry, which we might find too spicy, but I say “might” as we’ve not had one made by an Indian, and I do think the Indian restaurants here in the UK make something which they think the British palates will enjoy, a bit like our spaghetti bolognaise is nothing like what might be eaten in Italy.
      The lemon drizzle cake is lovely and very easy to make, a sponge really, with lemon zest added, and then the mixture of lemon juice and sugar added over the cake while it is still warm from the oven, so that it seeps into the cake and makes a lemony, sticky cake. This is lovely as a dessert with custard (or cream), too.

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