Here for the super quick chicken and spinach curry and can’t wait until we give you the ingredients so you can look at them and order a takeaway instead? Well I’ll need you to calm your tits, Susan, because there’s the little matter of some blog nonsense to get your laughing gear around first.
As neither Paul or I have any current life outside of looking after our dog, we shall of course go straight to Goomba news. He’s fine: 13 weeks old now, got teeth that could open a tin of corned beef without breaking a sweat and fully capable of scenting a room with the rich smell of shite with the tiniest farts you can imagine. It’s a bad job when I have to ball Paul’s streaked knickers into my mouth and huff just to let my vision clear.
We’ve been able to take him walking for twenty minutes a couple of times a day, which is just the right amount of time for him to pretend he doesn’t need to offload some freight, fuss about on the field and then send a fax right outside the neighbour’s front door when we’re twenty feet away from the house. It took a solid two weeks of training to get him to that point, but we nailed it. And I’ll say this: I still can’t get past the way that he eyeballs us as he does it. I’ve since learned it is because he feels at his most vulnerable when he’s dropping the property value and is looking to me for reassurance. He’s out of luck: I’m usually bent over dry-heaving into my elbow, but this behaviour does go some way to explaining Paul’s need to leave the door open and announce his efforts (“oooh, I don’t half feel lighter, ooooh, when did we have Cheerios, oooh, call the plumber”) when he goes.
I’m sorry, you don’t come to our food blog to read about our dog’s bowel movements, do you? So forgive me for that, although it will doubtless initiate eighty-seven private messages telling me how awful I am for letting the dog poop on grass or not brushing his ears or not rigging up an oxygen tent in the spare room lest his lungs pack in from climbing over the doorstep. Honestly, and I say this with a touch of hyperbole admittedly, I’ve never known an activity elicit such feedback as owning a dog. I could announce tomorrow that I’ve been smacking Paul about and nursing a merry hard drug addiction to less controversy and ire. Which is silly: I’m no good with needles and the thought of making my own dinner leaves me aghast.
It’s not a complaint, though, as people mean well, but it just leaves me paralysed with choice and options. I’m indecisive at the best of times – or am I? – and you must understand that any decision I eventually make is normally backed up by eighteen months of feverish googling and pained expressions as I discover a counterpoint opinion to something I’d finally accepted. But, I know such advice is given with good intent and therefore I can take no real issue with it, even if I do now have four different harnesses for Goomba because each previous one has been debunked to the point you’d think I was strapping him into a brazen bull when I took him out. Honestly, between this and Paul’s tendency to buy fifteen new toys for the dog every time he goes out – he has that poor-kid-to-comfortable-adult character trait where he can’t leave a shop with both arms the same length – we’re about two weeks from declaring bankruptcy.
One cheery update is that we have found an excellent doggy day care centre where Goomba can socialise with other dogs a couple of afternoons a week. Even cuter is the fact that he doesn’t get to go into the big dogs school yet but rather ‘Little Legs’ club because he’s so wee. I had to chaperone Paul on the first day just in case they assumed he was joining as well. I can see now why parents get so anxious and fretful about their children going to school for the first time: would Goomba fit in, would he be bullied, how many tabs do I need to stick behind his ear so they think he’s cool – all the usual presentiments that come with new experiences.
We needn’t have worried. At the induction he was placed with a tiny pug who immediately chased him about the garden for a few minutes until Goomba realised that she wasn’t a threat. Indeed, he did such a volte-face regarding his opinion on this pug that he set about chasing her and then, somewhat embarrassingly, mounted her. There’s something a touch unseemly about discussing payment plans with a trainer whilst your dog is jabbing his lipstick into thin air with a lurid leer immediately over her shoulder. Goomba isn’t a big dog by any means but sexual intercourse between a Springer Spaniel and a Pug is going to be the equivalent of trying to park a bus in a tissue box.
He’s since been back a few times and is absolutely loving it, which is a relief, as it does free up some of my day-time for occasionally remembering to work and to attend to my chores. Thursday was an especially productive day: I had a builder round to look at the side of our house (still covered in paint and varnish from the shed fire) and we mutually agreed that it hadn’t magically disappeared in the five months since someone last came round to look at it. A dishwasher repair man then managed to fix the leak in our dishwasher and Paul and I had a giddy forty minutes of clean plates before realising it was still pissing lemon-scented detergent all over the kitchen floor. I called Goomba in from the kitchen and momentarily thought he’d developed rabies.
Looking sharp, though.
But most exciting of all was the surprise appearance of a group of tree surgeons that I had clean forgotten I’d arranged who had come to remove a couple of dead trees from our garden. Well of course they’re from the garden, they’re not likely to be growing in our utility room now are they. The tree at the back was in danger of falling over and crushing that which I hold most dear – my car – so that was an easy decision, but the tree at the front goes some way to masking us from the gaze of some of our less cheerful neighbours. Though, to be fair, it’s perhaps not that startling that the tree is dying given one of those aforementioned neighbours spends so long staring daggers at us that I’m surprised she hasn’t burned straight through it like Homelander.
Thusly I did get to spend a merry hour watching very talented blokes cutting the tree down and feeding it into the chipper, although they did nix my request to have a go at it myself. Probably wise: I’m an inherently clumsy person and I’d have only ended up tumbling in face-first after tripping over my own shadow. They did such a terrific job and, even better, left without taking payment – the ideal situation. I did agonise for a few moments before calling them back and pressing a bundle of notes into his hands like a nana giving pocket money. The garden seems a lot lighter now, which is handy as it matches my wallet.
And that’s us for now. Before I get to the quick chicken and spinach curry recipe, just a quick word of apology. With us having to look after Goomba so much and get him settled him, we’re very conscious that we haven’t been quite as active about replying to messages and comments as we normally are. If you have contacted us, or tagged us in a story, or made our recipes – we thank you, and apologise for not replying. Happily, we’re back on an even keel now and that ship should right itself shortly. Thank you for persevering with us, I know we’re awful.
Oh – a double apology! My phone is taking absolutely gash photos at the moment. Looking to get it fixed, but yeah, bear with.
The chicken and spinach curry tastes a lot better than it looks, I swear
Now you get to see the chicken and spinach curry from a different angle, I do spoil you.
The quick chicken and spinach curry, then!
quick chicken and spinach curry
Yield 4 servings
So, a quick chicken and spinach curry - we've done a great number of these over the years but this one is enlivened with some mango chutney and the fact it takes no time at all to cook. I'm sure it would be made all the better by a long, slow simmer but if you're already tearing about like your arse is on fire, rest assured it's all done in around twenty five minutes.
Calorie wise this comes in at (roughly) a modest 665 calories per person (with rice) and the recipe serves four. Freezes well too. We work out calories using Nutracheck's app which is terrific, but please read the notes about that.
This is a Hello Fresh recipe which we have tweaked to make more slimming friendly. Normally we would stick in a referral link here but I can't in all good conscience: we're having serious issues with the quality of Hello Fresh at the moment, with lots of the vegetables turning up already past their best and items missing from each bag. If that improves, we will recommend them once more because lord knows they are convenient, but for now, hold off if you're considering it.
- 300g basmati rice
- 2 onions, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 green chilli
- 500g diced chicken thighs
- 4 tbsp korma curry paste (we use Patak)
- 4 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 200g baby spinach
- 400g passata
- 2 tbsp mango chutney
- 1 bunch coriander
- bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with ¼ tsp salt
- when boiling, add the rice and cook for 12 minutes, then drain in a sieve and return to the pan with the lid on until ready to serve
- meanwhile, finely dice the onion and peel and grate the garlic
- halve the chilli lengthways, deseed and finely chop
- spray a large frying pan with a little oil and place over a medium-high heat
- add the diced chicken and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden
- add the onion and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until softened
- add the korma paste, garlic, tomato puree and half of the green chilli to the pan, stir and cook for one minute
- add the passata, 200ml water and crumble in the stock cube, and simmer until thickened (about 6-8 minutes)
- meanwhile, roughly chop the coriander (stalks and all) - unless you're the sensible sort like me, where you'll scrape it immediately in the bin)
- add the spinach to the pan a handful at a time and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes
- simmer until everything has reduced slightly, which will take about 3-4 minutes
- add the mango chutney and half of the coriander to the pan and stir well
- stir the remaining coriander into the rice and serve along with the curry, and sprinkle over the remaining chilli
- rice: if you follow our advice to the letter, you'll have perfect rice - but remember rice is a fickle thing indeed - if you measure out enough for four people you'll get enough for nine hundred, or you'll take a look at the end of the boil and see that there's only three grains of rice in there and they're all sticking their fingers up at you
- feel free to use chicken breast but thighs are so much tastier and worth the insignificant extra calories
- up the amount of spinach as high as you want too - we love spinach here and could cheerfully double or triple the amount
- not sure on syns for this - it won't be high, I think the only thing to syn would be the mango chutney and the chicken thighs, so I'd hazard a guess around 4
- our second cookbook is going great-guns and people are loving it: order yours here!
- the first book is a bit cheaper but still no less glorious: click here to order
- we have a handy diet planner too: here
- three of our favourite bloggers now have either a book out or a book coming, and we encourage you to support them as much as you can:
- The Slimming Foodie has a book out now which is full of recipes that'll make your heart sing - good slimming food which, like us, uses proper ingredients rather than crappy pretend recipes - order it here; and
- Slimming Eats has a book coming out at the end of the year and again, we can't recommend her enough if you want good slimming food that tastes amazing - you can pre-order here
- Sugar Pink Food also has a recipe book out and lord is she the Queen of food that looks like it shouldn't be good for you but is really bloody stunning - give her a whirl here
- both Pip (Slimming Foodie), Siobhan (Slimming Eats) and Latoyah (Sugar Pink) are the kindest, most decent people you could hope for when it comes to other bloggers and it really would mean a lot to us if you could support them. They've both been at this for such a long time (like us) and really know their stuff - so go for it!
- we are getting a few comments that calories that people have worked out on Nutracheck are slightly different to our total and wondering why - the reason is simple - we may use different brands to you. For example, there's a 60 calorie difference between Tesco and Waitrose chicken thighs, presumably because that extra smugness of the Waitrose chicken adds extra
- to that end, make sure you're adding your recipe as you go along if you use Nutracheck, although if you're happy with the rough estimate, more power to you
I think that’s us done for the day, but if you were needing a different curry idea, may I suggest clicking the image below to be taken to another delicious dish?