It’s National Curry Week from 7th October to 13th October and what better excuse to try a few simple and easy recipes to spice up your week? The main ingredients that make Curry, one of our favourite dishes are the spices. Once rare and expensive, spices are now some of the most useful ingredients available to everyone and work with any meat, fish or vegetable.

Spices are the dried parts of aromatic plants and may come from the fruit, bark, seed, leaf, root or flower bud. Spices mostly come from hot countries and in curries the most popular are cumin (comino), fenugreek (fenogreco), tamarind (tamarindo) and turmeric (cúrcuma). We start with the basic curry powder which is very easy to make and if you do it yourself, it can be adjusted to suit your palette. I have a big pot of curry powder made from the recipe below which I can make a quick meal from or marinate the meat over night for more flavour.

Buen Apetito

Curry Powder
30ml (2 level tbsp) cumin seed
30ml (2 level tbsp) whole fenugreek
7.5ml (1½ level tsp) mustard seed
15ml (1 level tbsp) black peppercorn
120ml (8 level tbsp) coriander seeds
15ml (1 level tbsp) poppy seed
15ml (1 level tbsp) ground ginger
5ml (1 level tsp) hot chilli powder
60ml (4 level tbsp) ground turmeric

Combine all the ingredients in a blender or coffee grinder until a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Curried Parsnip Soup
40g butter
1 medium onion diced
700g parsnips (peeled and finely diced)
5ml curry powder (as above)
1 litre of chicken stock
Salt and pepper
150ml milk or single cream
Paprika to garnish

Melt butter in pan, add onions and parsnip and fry gently for 3 minutes. Stir in curry powder and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the stock and seasoning and bring to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and then add cream or milk. Once milk or cream is added you can reheat but do not re-boil. Serve as it is or puree in a blender until smooth. Sprinkle paprika to serve.

Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken pieces for 4 people
2 garlic cloves
2.5cm fresh ginger or ground ginger
400g can chopped tomatoes
4 tbsp natural yogurt
1 onion
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp Masala curry paste
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp plain flour
50ml water
3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Chop chicken into cubes, peel and chop garlic and ginger. Put tomatoes, garlic, ginger and yogurt into a blender until smooth. Peel and chop onions and heat oil in a pan and fry onions for 3-4 minutes until light brown. Stir in curry paste and fry for a further 1 minute stirring once or twice. Add the tomato mixture and chicken to pan and mix together. Mix the flour and water together and add to the pan while taking pan off the heat. Return to heat and boil stirring constantly. Simmer for 15 minutes and then add coriander and serve.

Broccoli and Curried Eggs
700g broccoli
6 hard boiled eggs
30ml mango chutney
50g butter
225g onion
20ml curry paste
30ml flour
300ml milk
284ml soured cream
Toasted almonds to garnish

Trim 175g off the broccoli stalks and cook them until cooked but firm and chop finely. Halve the eggs; mix the yolks with the chopped broccoli, chutney and seasoning. Spoon the mixture back into the eggs. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onions, curry paste and cook gently. Stir in the flour and cook for further 1 minute while stirring. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk and bring to the boil. Meanwhile cook the broccoli for about 8 minutes until tender and drain. Arrange the eggs and broccoli in a dish and spoon the sauce over the eggs. Garnish with almonds

Curried Rice
25g butter
1 medium onion chopped
225g long grain rice
25-50g currants or seedless raisins
15ml curry powder
600ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in a saucepan, add onion and fry for about 5 minutes until soft. Add the rice and fry for a further 2-3 minutes stirring all the time. Add the currants, curry powder, stock and seasoning and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes until tender but firm. Serve without draining into a warm dish.