So I contacted a few companies and accepted a few offers but I refused quite a few too, only accepting products that I would use in real life. My first review of the Axil Coolfan is one such product. I love it. It makes my mealtimes easier as while I'm dishing up the adult portions and adjusting the seasoning according, this little guy is making sure that B's portion is ready to go by the time we sit down to eat together as a family.
Onto my next review. This product is actually part of a theme of reviews that I'm doing here, Scottish products. Promoting local and national producers is something that I really believe in and so far have not seen a blog who does such a job. I'm a proud Scot and I do go out of my way to buy local products and produce over imported substitutes.
The product is Chilli Papa's spice mixes. A product thought up by Darren Mollan after struggling to find the time to make curries around that hectic time that is Christmas. Even though the company has only been running since February, Darren has set up on line shop through his Facebook site, an Ebay shop and is now stocked online at Old English Shop. The mixes are also available in David Sands in the following stores: Linburn Road, Kinross, Crossford and Auchtermuchty!
Originally I was sceptical of the product. This was nothing to do with Darren's product but at using a ready made mix. I always blend my own but as Darren noticed, it takes time. I don't use ready made jars as they are full of oil and well, taste rubbish compared to making your own from scratch. I researched the company and was very impressed by the story of the conception of the product and the fact that the mixes are oil free, allowing you to control the fat content of your meal. We all love curry in the house, even Miss B from the minute she was eating proper meals (9 months +). The amount of time it takes to blend the spices means that we rarely eat curry midweek and it requires constant tasting and adjusting and if this product lived up to its hype, then it really would make things easier.
I got to try two mixes from a range of three, Papa's Yellow Curry and Papa's 2 in 1 Tikka Mix, a mix that could be used for marinading as kebabs or as a the base for a curry mix.
Test 1: Papa's Yellow Curry.
On the back of the mix is a useful list of the ingredients you will need, to think about while you shop in preparation:
- 350-400g meat or meat substitute, fish or vegetables
- One Onion
- Garlic and ginger (can be fresh or ready chopped
- One stick cube
- 400ml coconut milk
Inside lists a detailed recipe for Papa's Yellow Curry. The instructions are brief and very simple, reassuring the novice that cooking a curry with the help of these delicious mixes is simple.
- Chop one medium onion
- Chop 300-600g of meat, meat substitute, fish or vegetables
- Add one teaspoon of ready chopped ginger or 1x2cm of fresh ginger.
- Add one teaspoon of ready chopped garlic or 2 cloves of fresh garlic.
- Crumble one stock cube.
- Add supplied kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass
- Add 400ml of coconut milk
- Add Papa's Yellow Curry Mix
- Add salt and pepper to season
- Add all of the above ingredients in a pan, cook on a low heat stirring occasionally until meat is cooked thoroughly, remove kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass before serving.
Simple! It really is that simple. Although I opted to cook the onion and chicken breast before adding the rest of the ingredients the end result was the same.
I served the Yellow Curry with homemade bhaji's, masala dhal, naan bread and some raita, relish and mango chutney.
The curry was amazing! the addition of kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass is in my opinion, genius. The troops wolfed it down and would definitely eat it again.
For Miss B's portion, I fried the chicken and onion, added the dry spices and added a little apple juice and coconut milk to make the sauce rather than the stock cube.
Test 2: Papa's 2 in 1 Tikka.
A blend of cumin, beetroot powder, garam masala, ground coriander, tumeric, and chili powder. Serves 4 - 6.
I was so looking forward to trying this out based on our first experience of the Yellow Curry but then I was struck down with a bug and there was no way that I was cooking it for the troops without being able to taste it myself! This mix can be utilised to either make a marinade for kebabs, or a tikka masala curry. I made the tikka kebabs for us and the masala for Miss B.
Again, there is a basic list on the back to assist you with prepping for the meal.
- 350g - 600g meat, meat substitute, fish or vegetables.
- One onion
- Garlic and ginger
- 500ml of yoghurt for tikka kebabs
- or 150ml for tikka masala
- One stock cube for tikka masala
- One tablespoon of tomato puree for tikka masala
For the Tikka Kebabs:
- Chop one medium onion
- Chop meat, meat substitute, fish or vegetabes into inch cubes
- Add 500ml of fat free natural yoghurt
- Add one teaspoon of ready chopped ginger or 1x2cm of fresh ginger
- Add one teaspoon of fresh chopped garlic or 2 cloves of fresh garlic.
- Add the juice of one lemon or bottled equivilent
- Add mix
- Add Salt and Pepper to taste
Add all of the ingredients in a pan/pot and stir until you have an even colour. The beetroot powder gives it a vibrant red colour. Marinade for 1 -2 hours and preheat grill to highest level for 15 minutes.
Again, it really is that simple. Once the cutlets were placed under the grill the house was filled with the most wonderful aromas. I served the meat with toasted pitta breads, raita (yoghurt dip), carrot and cumin salad, lettuce and tomato relish. I will post my own recipes of the accompaniments later.
Another great thing about the mixes is that they come with additional recipes showing the care that Chilli Papa's has taken over making your meal great. The 2 in 1 Tikka mix comes with two recipes and an additional recipe for raita. The Yellow Curry comes with a recipe for Papa's perfect rice. If you want these recipes, then you will just have to buy the mixes. I will be ordering the full set the minute I've finished this reviews and think that at £1.99 for two mixes (enough to feed 12!) they are great value too.
You can be a Chilli Mamma or Papa too. Get your mixes either through the Facebook site, an Ebay shop or online at Old English Shop. The mixes are also available in David Sands in the following stores: Linburn Road, Kinross, Crossford and Auchtermuchty!