Cooking for a Crowd!

A little while ago, you may remember me mentioning about myself and my friend Marie making a cake for her eldest son’s, Owen 3rd birthday party.  Well this time,  it was Brendon’s turn who is the younger sibling and my godson. Brendon’s party was limited, unlike to Owen’s to only family and a small amount of friends therefore Marie decided to do mostly hot food. She cooked a lamb curry and I cooked a Chili con Carne. Both recipes are below.  Marie and I received rave reviews for both dishes so we decided to share both of the recipes with you today to make yourself when cooking for a crowd. Marie also made Brendon’s cake which she expertly decorated with IgglePiggle from In the Night Garden children’s tv show. I think it is really cute! Anyway, to the recipes:

Lamb Curry (words by Marie)

My curry recipe is adapted from a jamie Oliver curry but I like the taste of marinated meat and the lovely melt in your mouth texture so that’s how this recipe came about.

Ingredients for marinade

  • 1 large green chilli (chopped)
  • 1/2oz salt
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 2tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1oz grated root ginger
  • 1oz fresh coriander
  • 1tbsp red food colouring
  • 2tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 1/2 to 1 pint natural yogurt depending on how much meat you have

Method for marinade

Mix oil, ginger, tomato puree, garlic and green chilli. Add salt and spices and blend together well. Stir in coriander and food colouring them blend in yogurt until mixed. Put your meat into the mixture and cover with cling film and refridgerate overnight.

Method for Curry Paste

The curry is made in two processes here is step one.

Paste ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • An inch cubed of Ginger
  • 3 roasted peppers from a jar
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 2tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2tbsp groundnut oil
  • 2tbsp tomato purée
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 2 fresh red chillies
  • Small bunch fresh coriander
  • Spices to toast – 1tsp cumin seeds, 1tsp fenugreek seeds, 2tsp coriander seeds, 1tsp black peppercorns

Toast spices for a minute until you hear them ‘popping’ then use a spice grinder or food processor to grind them to a powder. Put all other ingredients together in a food processor and add the freshly groud spices and mix well then set aside until you need them.

Method for Curry base


  • 2lb cubed lamb pieces, I used shoulder but neck is also fantastic
  • 2 large onions (halved and sliced)
  • 1 or 2 fresh red chillies (finely sliced)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1in cubed ginger (chopped)
  • Groundnut oil
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Good sized knob of butter
  • 1 or 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 700ml boiling water
  • 1 large handful of red lentils

Put a large pan on a medium heat and add butter an oil, now add the onions, chilli, ginger and bay leaves and cook until golden. Add the lamb and some salt and pepper and cook until quite well browned. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for a few mins then add the tomatoes, boiling water and the curry paste you made earlier. Now stir in the lentils, bring to the boil then simmer with the lid on for about an hour and half but check to make sure the curry is not getting too dry, if it is add a little more Water as required.

Now sit back and enjoy, I like my curry with a lovely nann bread or poppadums.

Chili Con Carne

My chili recipe is based on one I did on an earlier post. All I really did was change the quantities to make a larger amount and let it simmer on the stove for longer.


  • 4 medium sized onions, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 large red or green chili, seeds removed, chopped finely
  • 3 bell peppers, seeds removed, chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • 1.6kg lean steak mince
  • 3 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons hot chilli powder
  • 1 beef  stock cube
  • 2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • few drops of Worcestershire Sauce
  • few drops of soy sauce
  • hot water from the kettle
  • Salt and pepper
  • garlic bread to serve
  • kidney beans (if you like them, I do not)


In a large saucepan (I used a 5 litre stockpot), put in the olive oil and allow to warm slightly. Add the onions, peppers and the dried spices and some salt (it draws the water out of the onions, so they go soft but not brown) and allow to cook until the onions are nearly soft. Then add the chilli and the garlic and stir before adding the mince.  Allow the mince to brown, and add the oxo cube (just crumble it in). Then add the tomatoes and kidney beans (if using). Add the  Worcestershire and Soy sauce. Add hot water should the sauce get to thick and allow to simmer for 10 min’s.  Once the chilli is at the right consistency for you, serve with  garlic bread. Enjoy!

Note: I would usually serve chili with rice as well as garlic bread. However I do not advise cooking rice for a crowd of people. It is a lot of hassle and has always gone wrong when I tried to do it.

Red Hot Chili Pepper Forum

On the subject of chili’s- in around about kind of way, my godmother Rebecca has started up a forum dedicated to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. You can find the forum here. It is full of exciting and interesting people like me!  (only kidding!) So why not pop along and say hello! You can also join us on Rebecca’s other forum which is a general forum with a witchy twist. I look forward to seeing you all there!

That’s it for today. I will be back later on the week with a special guest post from Mapperz.

Happy Cooking! :-)

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