Sunday, 7 September 2014


Good Afternoon to you,

We have had the most fabulous weekend here in Newcastle, as there have been exciting things afoot.... I sound like Sherlock Holmes don't I. 

It started on Friday evening at the Newcastle and Gateshead Quayside, to celebrate the countdown to the Great North Run's millionth finisher.  We were among thousands of people who turned out to enjoy the singing of local lads, born and raised in the North East of England..... Sting, Mark Knoffler and Jimmy Nail. There were light shows, readings and plenty of fireworks.... and I have to tell you, I love a good firework display. It really was the most fabulous evening.

.... and today, we enjoyed watching the Great North Run. Each year, thousands of people run or walk the 13.1 miles from Newcastle to South Shields to raise thousands of pounds  for their favourite charities. Since the start of the race in 1981, 250 million pounds has been raised for charities, such as the Heart Foundation, Cancer Research, The Royal British Legion, Help the Heroes and so many, many, more.

The oldest runner today was a  93 year old gentleman named Jim Purcell, who is known locally as 'Jarra Jim'.  I feel it is truly a marvellous achievement, that he took part in the Great North Run today.

It is a wonderful race to watch as you will see elite wheelchair racers, such as Jordi Madiera, elite runners, such as Mo Farrow and Mary Keitany and then, the most amazing ordinary people, just like you and I, who take part in order to raise money for their favourite charities. You can be watching the race, and one minute see a normal runner, dressed in appropriate clothing passing by, and then a second later the next runner you will see could be a man dressed as Spider Man or a man and woman dressed as a bride and groom. The race is always fun to watch and we never miss it. The weather was kind today, which always makes for a more enjoyable day for everyone.

I was thinking, that really I should have made a traditional North East dish, in honour of the Great North Run, but instead,

we are visiting India for a Paneer Tikka Masala.... well the Indian part is the Paneer, I'm not so sure about the Tikka Masala part of the dish.

Apparently, one of the most popular curries here in England, is Chicken Tikka Masala, which surprised me, because I thought it would have been one of the spicier curries.  Chicken Tikka Masala is a curry I love, because it is not too spicy.  No one seems certain of it's origins, but it is thought that Chicken Tikka Masala was created by an Indian chef living in Birmingham.  I have also read that this was a curry created for our English taste buds, because traditional Indian curries, at the time of Chicken Tikka Masala's creation, were far too spicy for our palates.

I remember my father, loved curries and for him the spicier the better.  He once told me that the spiciest curry he had ever eaten was a curry made by the wife of his friend from Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka).  My father said he had been invited for an evening meal and he was looking forward to the curry, but the curry was so spicy that he could feel the curry burning his mouth.  He had hoped to finish the curry, but on this occasion he was defeated.... he certainly had met his match in the curry stakes.  I know whenever I made a curry for him, I could never make it spicy enough.... and I don't think piri piri sauce was around in those days as that would have certainly spiced the curry for him.

......but don't worry, my curry is a mild curry and we are not using chicken we are using an Indian cheese called Paneer.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to is,

Crocodile Shoes by Jimmy Nail.  I have played Sting and Mark Knoffler before, so I thought you would enjoy listening to the Geordie singer Jimmy Nail.  George used to live close the the River Tyne, so his favourite song is 'Big River' as the song is about how the River Tyne used to be. I enjoy 'Crocodile Shoes' and 'Once Upon a Time'. So whilst I am listening to 'Cowboy Dreams' I will organise my ingredients.


450g Indian Paneer Cheese
4 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 large onion
1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of chilli powder
2 teaspoons of paprika
3-4 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
1 tin of tomatoes or 3 fresh large tomatoes
1 pint of chicken stock
1 teaspoon of salt



Finely chop the onions

pour 2 tablespoons of  olive oil
 into a large
wide pan

cook the onions
until they are golden brown.

Grate the fresh ginger
and add to the pan.

Crush the garlic
add to the pan
and cook for a minute or so.

Add the ground coriander,

the turmeric

chilli powder and paprika.

Using a low heat,
stir everything together.
You will find a thick paste will be formed,
so you will need to move the paste around the pan
to prevent it from burning.

Add the yoghurt,
a tablespoon at a time
and stir to combine all the ingredients.

Chop the tomatoes
and add to the pan,
stirring all the time.

Bring the pan to a simmer,
 and cook
for 5 minutes.
(Keep an eye on the pan, as the mixture is still thick,
if needs be, stir every so often)

Add the chicken stock and
stir the ingredients together.
Place a lid on the pan and simmer
for 20-25 minutes.
The sauce will reduce by a third.


Cut the Paneer Cheese into cubes


2 tablespoons of olive oil to
 a medium sized
wide pan

and cook the
Paneer cheese
until it is golden brown.

Be very careful and use a splatter guard.
I cooked the Paneer cheese in small
batches as it tends to spit and spat everywhere
and you do not want to burn yourself.

When golden brown,
remove the Paneer cheese and
place on a paper towel to drain
any excess olive oil.
(You will find there will be very little)

Add the Paneer cheese to the Tikka Masala Sauce.
Stir everything together
and cook for 2-3 minutes,
by which time you will have,

the tastiest mild curry you could wish for.

We enjoyed the Paneer Tikka Masala
with something other than
normal rice.
I made a healthy
cauliflower rice,
which I will show you how to cook on

I first came across Paneer Cheese on our first visit to India. Natasha cooked Paneer  for us and we loved it.  When we returned home, I set about trying to find Paneer, with out much luck and it wasn't until George had to go to the garage to get one of our car tyres changed, that he discovered a little shop which sold Indian food. He surprised me with a couple of packets and I have been making Paneer Tikka Masala ever since.  

Thinking about it now, although it is a tenuous link.... the Paneer cheese, which I buy in Newcastle, is my Geordie food link.

Before I leave you, I just had to share a couple of photos with you,

firstly, the Tyne Bridge as the elite runners were crossing the bridge.

..... and secondly, when every one else started crossing the bridge. There were people as far as the eye could see..... what a fabulous sight.

So I hope your weekend has been as wonderful as ours.  Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,


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