I was honoured to be part of a True-ly great charity event

Parveen with Tony Hadley
Parveen with Tony Hadley

So, it has been a busy week again - I had to film some new videos for my YouTube channel, including pilau rice, chick pea chaat and chicken jalfrezi and my ever popular lamb bhuna, which I cannot actually say without thinking about the really funny Peter Kay advert of TV, says Parveen The Spice Queen.

Then I was honoured to be part of the fabulous Tony Hadley Golf Classic Gala Dinner, raising funds for Action Medical Research For Children, held at the Holiday Inn.

Chicken jalfrezi

Chicken jalfrezi

We walked into a fabulous choir, who gave us a rendition of True, were then treated to a five-course dinner, an amazingly funny comedian, a gifted soprano singer and ended the evening dancing around the room to Tony Christie and Amarillo.

Tony Hadley was everything that the teenage Parveen expected from her 80s pop star crush (did I just refer to myself in the third person? Oh! I think I did.) He was handsome, charming and very tall - but then again, I am only 5ft 2 and a half, don’t forgot the half.... but back to why I attended the dinner.

I was there to be part of a live auction to raise money. I decided to offer one of my whole day cooking lessons, which also included a three- course meal for six. I wasn’t sure if anybody would bid for me but I managed raise £1,500.

Alas, Tony Hadley did not place a bid, but his manager did! I am sure Tony will come for dinner though. I just hope that my jalfrezi lives up to his expectations?

Putting the glitz and glamour aside for a moment, I just wanted to tell you why I am championing such a worthy charity. I think we all need to give back and I often attend charity events and help out where I can, but this charity’s work completely resonated with me.

They totally rely on the events to fund their researchers and are responsible for helping the polio vaccine to be developed, and the knowledge that all expectant mothers need to take folic acid for healthy babies.

Speaking of healthy babies - I was NOT. I was born premature and was in an incubator for three months. My mum always said that if I had been born back home in Karachi, I would not have survived. So, it’s thanks to the neo-natal care in this country and charities like ‘Action For Medical Research For Children’ that I am here today.

Phew, apologies for being so serious for a moment, but I just wanted to share that with you.

Ok, let’s go back to what I usually write about - yep, food.

So, as I was also saying, this week I filmed some new video tutorials. It was hard work, lots of cooking, smiling, talking and false lashes.

Who am I kidding, I love it! The best part of the shoot was when my cameraman, Mark, John and my friend Lou had finished and we all got to eat the food - well, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it, yum!

To find out more visit www.action.org.uk

Chicken Jalfrezi recipe

Try my version of chicken jalfrezi, it’s made with red peppers and spring onions, it has a lighter fresher flavour than a chicken masala but equally as tasty. There are many different recipes, but I think when you have cooked this, you will want to add it to your repertoire of dinner party favourites.

For a free spice bag just email me via my website www.parveenthespicequeen.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking time 40 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS

3 medium sized chicken fillets - cut into 3cm pieces

2 medium size onions - finely sliced

1 tin chopped tomato - 400g

2 red peppers - cut into 2cm cubes

6 cloves of garlic - crushed or grated

2cm fresh root ginger - grated

6 tbsp of vegetable oil

3 tbsp of chopped fresh coriander

1 bunch of spring onions – cut into 1cm pieces

2 tsp of Chilli powder*

2 tsp of Garam Masala*

1 tsp Tandoori Masala*

¼ tsp Turmeric Powder*

*Or add SPICE BAG

2 tsp salt

METHOD

1. Use a large pan with a lid, fry the onions in the oil until they are a golden brown. On medium heat, add ginger and garlic.

Stir in and cook through for 1 minute.

2. Add chilli powder, garam masala and salt, stir fry for 1 minute, add a dash of water to cool down the cooking process.

3. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, keep stirring, if sauce sticks, add a dash of water. Cook until tomatoes have broken down.

4. Add chicken pieces, turn heat on high and continue stirring for 10 minutes. If sauce sticks, add a dash of water. Do not leave at this point; just keep stirring on high heat.

5. Add the red pepper and spring onions, cook for 2 minutes, these do not need too much cooking as we want to keep their shape.

6. Finally, add 200ml of boiling water and fresh coriander, stir through and simmer for 10 minutes. This allows time for all the different flavours infuse.

PARVEEN’S TOP TIP

Again as with most of my chicken recipes, you can try this dish with thigh and/or drumsticks, just remember to add a further 5 to 10 mins at step 6, if you are cooking with meat on the bone.