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About Dan Toombs

Dan Toombs has been a member since February 10th 2011, and has created 599 posts from scratch.

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Win A Hundred Foot Journey Goodie Bag

This excellent prize could be yours!

This excellent prize could be yours!

I am really looking forward to seeing The Hundred Foot Journey which is hitting the cinemas on 5 September. It’s and East meets West film with fusion cuisine helping to build bridges. I’ll be reviewing the film shortly here but for the time being, I’d like to offer a special Hundred Foot Journey goodie bag as a prize.

One lucky winner will receive a Hundred Foot Journey shopping bag, an apron, two spice jars, a spatula, and recipe journal. When I’m not writing recipes, I work supplying promotional merchandise for my company CompuGift Limited. I can assure you this is a good quality and useful prize. I know and supply the same products to many of my own customers. All of the products in the goodie bag are things that home chefs will love to have in the kitchen and will use often.

By the way, I’ve been sent a few of the recipes that are cooked in the film and will be sharing them here on my blog. You can check out the first recipe Maison Mumbai Coconut Chicken right here. It was amazing!

You can visit the official Hundred Foot Journey website here.

Entering couldn’t be easier!

Simply fill in the widget below.
There are a number of ways you can enter. You can choose just one method or more. The more ways you enter, the better your chances of winning.
Open to mainland UK residents only.
Giveaway open until 25 September.

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Chicken Saag Balti

Chicken saag balti

I like making this curry with chicken thighs on the bone.

When I was young, I hated spinach. But then my parents never made me a Chicken Saag Balti. Back then, spinach was more of a green bowl of goo that I just couldn’t bring myself to eat. That was the 70s and my parents’ spinach dishes have improved greatly in the past 30 years or so.

This recipe is full of goodness and my kids love it. Chicken saag balti is one of my youngest daughter’s favourites so I make it often.

In fact, I have a lot of different recipes for Chicken saag balti but this is the easiest. You can actually make it in under 30 minutes so it is the perfect after work meal.

Served with fluffy white rice or fresh naans, there are few things better.

Chicken saag balti

Use the freshest baby leaf spinach you can find for the best colour and flavour.

Chicken saag balti

Baltis are usually quite dry curries but I like to add a bit more stock. The thick spinach sauce goes so well with naans.

Chicken Saag Balti
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Balti
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 6
  • 8 chicken thighs – skinned and on the bone
  • 3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 onions – finely chopped
  • 3 plum tomatoes - diced
  • 400g baby spinach leaves – chopped
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander leaves (about 50g)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 green chillies – finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon balti masala (or another tablespoon of garam masala)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Make the spinach sauce first.
  2. Remove any large stocks from the spinach leaves and place in a blender, the chillies, coriander and just enough water to blend.
  3. Blend until you have a smooth sauce. Set aside.
  4. Heat the ghee/vegetable oil over medium high heat in a batli pan or wok.
  5. When hot, toss in the chopped onions and fry until soft and translucent.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to combine.
  7. Now add the garlic and ginger pastes, the garam masala, cumin and balti masala. Coat the onion mixture with the spices.
  8. Add the chicken thighs and brown them for about three minutes.
  9. Pour the spinach sauce over the chicken and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. About ten minutes.
  10. Serve with white rice or fresh naans.

Chicken saag balit

Chicken saag balti

The heavy cast iron Le Creuset balti pan makes cooking this dish a lot more fun.

chicken saag balti

The cast iron balti pan used in this recipe was sent to me by Le Crueset to use in my recipes. I highly recommend getting one. You can view their complete range here.

Maison Mumbai Coconut Chicken

Coconut Chicken Curry

This is one awesome recipe. You’ve got to give it a try.

Last week was a bit of a disappointment for me. I was invited to the premier of The Hundred Food Journey starring Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Charlotte Le Bon and Rohan Chandin in London but living in North Yorkshire as I do, I just couldn’t get there.

Oh well, the film is out of 5 September so I’ll just have to go see it in Middlesbrough. Not nearly as exciting but I’m sure the film will be fantastic. I do love a good foodie film.

It’s not all bad though. The agency behind the film were good enough to send me some of the recipes for the dishes prepared in The Hundred Food Journey and I’ve had a lot of fun preparing them. This Maison Mumbai Coconut Chicken was gobbled up by my three kids. Caroline and I loved it too.

I did change the recipe slightly so that I could work with ingredients I had on hand but for the most part this is the recipe they sent me. One thing I found of interest was the madras masala. Please note this has nothing to do with the madras curry powders available here in the UK. The instructions said to place the whole spices in a pestle and mortar and then grind in one direction for ten seconds.

I have to say I’ve never seen this instruction in any cookbook but it worked. Usually I would use a much finer powder but the roughly ground spices were great.

If you don’t have the whole spices, you could just use a tablespoon or so of garam masala. That will work just fine too.

Coconut chicken curry

A top view. Yum!

Chicken coconut curry

I loved the crunch of the cashews and onions on top. They went so well with this curry.


Maison Mumbai Coconut Chicken
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Balti
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 - 8
  • 4 – 5 skinned chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
  • 6 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 3cm cinnamon stick
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 20 curry leaves
  • 2 onions – ½ onion sliced thinly and the rest roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons madras masala*
  • ½ cup 75g cashews
  • 2 green chillies – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ½ cup 45g shredded coconut
  • Salt
  1. In a saucepan, melt half of the ghee and then fry the chopped onions over low heat until translucent and soft.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, melt the remaining ghee and roast the cashews until the have browned evening. Remove them from the ghee and set aside.
  3. Add the cinnamon stick, peppercorns, cardamom pods, cumin seeds, bay leave and curry leaves to the ghee and sizzle for about 30 seconds to allow the ghee to take on the magnificent flavour of the spices.
  4. Add the turmeric, the green chillies, the shredded coconut and the coconut milk. You can add a little water or chicken stock to achieve the desired consistency.
  5. Add the tomato paste and salt to taste.
  6. Now add the chicken pieces, cover and simmer for about three minutes on medium high heat.
  7. Turn the heat to medium and cook for a further seven minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  8. Top with the roasted cashew and remaining onion slices and serve immediately with rice or naans.

*To make the madras masala (not to be mistaken with madras curry powder we get here in the UK) place ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, a pinch of cinnamon powder, ½ teaspoon coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 6 black peppercorns, 1 star anise, 3 green cardamom pods and ½ teaspoon ajwain seeds in a pestle and mortar. Grind in one direction for 10 seconds. This will make more than you need for this recipe but it’s good to have on hand.

Coconut and chicken curry

All ready!

Chicken and coconut curry

One last look. I love this recipe.


The cast iron balti pan used in this recipe was sent to me by Le Creuset. I love it and highly recommend getting one. You can view their whole range here.

The Big Kingfisher Giveaway 3

Kingfisher beer

One case will be sent directly to the winner’s doorstep

It’s that time again! Together with my sponsor Kingfisher Beer, I’m giving away another case to one lucky winner.

After a month off food blogging, I’m now back writing recipes! Cooking inside or out with an ice cold Kingfisher beer or two is my favourite way to spend the day.

So with this in mind, Kingfisher and I have teamed up again to bring you another prize draw. You could be the winner of a case of Kingfisher beer. It will be delivered by Kingfisher right to your doorstep.

So then… let’s get this started. You know how it goes. Just fill in the widget below.

ENTERING is EASY. There are many ways to join in.
You can choose one or all of these ways. Some offer more entries than others which increases your chance of winning.
Draw Ends On 23 Septermber 2014.
Open To UK Residents over 18.
Your’ve Got To Be In It To Win It!

Good Luck!


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Minced Beef and Pinto Bean Balti

Beef and Pinto Bean Balti

Beef and Pinto Bean Balti

This is quite a dry curry perfect for scooping up with fresh naans. I love it. It does take some forward planning as you need to soak the pinto beans overnight. It’s worth the wait.

Once your beans have been soaked and cooked, however the curry can be made in minutes. I often cook the beans in the morning, cover and leave them in a cool place to allow the flavours to develop.

Then when I get in from work, I simply add the rest of the ingredients and voila…dinner in minutes.

This recipe is also delicious served as a vegetarian dish. Just leave the minced beef out and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Beef and Pinto Bean Balti

This can be whipped up in minutes. Easy after work dinner.


Minced Beef and Pinto Bean Balti
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Balti
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 - 6
  • 1 500g bag of pinto beans – soaked in water overnight
  • 250g minced beef
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 large onion – finely chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes - diced
  • 2 green chillies – finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon balti masala - (or just another tablespoon garam masala)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
  1. Rinse the soaked beans and then place in a large stock pot and cover with water. I usually use five parts water to 1 part beans.
  2. Bring to a boil and and cook for about ten minutes. Then reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour or until the beans are cooked. Cover and set aside until ready to use.
  3. When you’re ready make the curry, heat the oil in a large balti pan or saucepan.
  4. Throw in the bay leaves and let them sizzle in the oil for about 30 seconds.
  5. Now add the chopped onions and fry until lightly browned.
  6. Pour in the diced tomatoes, chillies, garlic and ginger pastes and stir to combine.
  7. Add the minced been and the turmeric, chilli powder, cumin, garam masala and coriander powder.
  8. Stir it all up well.
  9. When the beef is cooked through, add the beans and their cooking broth. Add water of stock if you would like the curry to have more sauce. I like it so that there is some sauce but you can still stick a large spoon into the pot and it stays sticking straight up.
  10. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix in the chopped coriander.


The cast iron balti pan used to make this recipe was supplied to me by my friends at Le Creuset. It’s the best I’ve ever used. You can check out their complete range here.