Last year as we unlocked briefly for the summer, we blogged about our Top Ten Tips  for the perfect stay away with friends and family.

Tip number 5 was “Food – keep it simple”. As we all start to dare to anticipate being able to meet up with friends and family, we thought we’d share some of our ideas and suggestions of how to cook for a large group.  Whilst many of us have been cooking more than ever over the last year, cooking for a large group is still intimidating.

We love cooking and when we were setting up the kitchen, we put a lot of thought in to what would make life easy for our guests to cook a meal for 14. So you’ll find the kitchen packed full of everything you will need from sharp knives to large pans to more serving dishes than you could possibly use for one meal. We even have a hostess trolley..

We love Indian food as do many of our friends, so when we have a big gathering, we organise for everyone to bring one curry dish ready made for the first night for minimal hassle. We do a little co-ordination beforehand to make sure we get a good mixture of different ones as well as things like breads, poppadom, chutney etc.

We have two “go to” recipes, adapted from the originals which we’ve shared below; both take minimum effort and are delicious for just 2 people never mind for a big group.

Top tip:  Good ingredients are key, we buy our garam masala online from the amazing family run Prashad Restaurant in Drighlington, Bradford. We keep the packet in the freezer and use it as needed. It is a secret family recipe made by Kaushy Patel using over 20 spices which are toasted, ground and it tastes amazing.

They make fantastic vegetarian Indian food at their restaurant, we had a fabulous few hours with them there learning how to cook a few of their dishes.

Butter Chicken/Murgh Makhani

We’ve lost count how many times we’ve made this recipe, which is from the slightly randomly named web site “Show Me The Curry” with some adaptations from us.

Marinade the chicken beforehand for ideally 2 hours, overnight if you can. We often make extra and freeze the chicken in the marinade for when we next fancy a curry. The curry sauce takes no time at all to make. Equally we sometimes just make a bigger batch and freeze the entire curry; perfect for when we want a curry for no effort.

This recipe serves 6 people (or 4 extremely hungry ones)


0.75kg boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 lemon
2 tsp red chilli powder
250ml yogurt
3-4 cloves garlic (peeled)
3-4cm root ginger (peeled)
2 tsp ready made Tandoori Masala paste
50g butter
2 tsp garam masala
1 black cardamon
2 green cardamon
1″ Cinnamon Stick
1 Bay leaf
3 large tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 green chilli
250 ml double cream
Bunch coriander, leaves finely chopped.


Finely chop or whizz in a food processer the garlic and ginger. Separately whizz the tomatoes with the green chilli until a puree; include the seeds if you like a slightly hotter curry.

Cut the chicken thighs into bite sized pieces and marinade in a bowl of zip lock bag with half the ginger/garlic, juice of half a lemon, tandoori masala paste, 1 tsp red chilli powder, yogurt and large pinch of salt.

Turn your grill to the highest setting, line the grill pan with tin foil and then grill the chicken in batches (spread out in a single layer) until cooked/starting to char slightly. How big your bite sizes are, and how hot your grill is plays a part in how long your chicken needs to cook. Don’t dry it out; equally it should be cooked through.

Whilst the chicken is cooking melt the butter in a medium sized pan and once hot, add the cardamon’s, bay leaf and cinnamon stick; fry for a minute. Add the rest of the garlic/ginger paste and fry for another minute. Then add the green chilli/tomato puree, sale, 1 tsp red chilli powder and garam masala. Mix well, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Add sugar and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the grilled chicken and mix well to coat the chicken (scrape any juicy bits off the tin foil into the pan as well) Then add the cream, mix again and bring back to the boil.

Take the pan off the heat and taste, adjusting the seasoning as you like. At this point, we often add more salt, another squeeze of lemon juice and sometimes some more garam masala. Add half the coriander and sprinkle the rest on when serving.

We often eat this with a side of cauliflower/chickpeas. On an oven tray, break a cauliflower into florets and toss in 2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil, and a teaspoon each of cumin seeds, cayenne, turmeric, smoked paprika, garam masala and salt. On another tray, toss 1 drained can of chickpeas in a little rapeseed oil and season. Roast at 180c fan for 25 minutes. Stir and roast for another 20 minutes. Mix the two together – the cauliflower should be slightly charred and the chickpeas crunchy.  Serve alongside the curry with some raita/rice or your favourite breads.

The good news is that for those guests who do not want to cook, we have plenty of other options of catering to suggest to you from a fully catered dinner party to great local pubs and restaurants to visit. We’re here to help make sure that your stay with us including the food is perfect.