October has had me driving Poppy around Devon to farmers markets and food festivals, often getting home as the fog settles in after sundown. Our country roads can be exhausting.
The joy I get from spending the best part of an hour painstakingly blending spices, preparing ingredients, and simmering stocks is something I strangely look forward to at the end of a long day. But as autumnal weather takes hold and daylight hours dwindle, sometimes I find the need for a fast fix when I get through the door.
I need something warming and uplifting – a curry. I remember that nestled in my spice cupboard alongside the myriad of jars are a couple of paper pouches. Purposefully stashed away for times like this, when I just don’t have the time or energy to toast and grind seeds but still remain stubborn enough to cook fresh food and not order something in. Tearing one open, I get to work.
These ready-to-go blends aren’t my own, but instead from the innovative Boom Kitchen. Over the past 2 and a half years, James and Carl have revolutionized the way that home-cooked curries are being made in the area around their North Devon base, and the demand for their products is understandably growing.
Our rural location has often left us in want of good quality spices, whose freshness is essential to their potency. The curries served up on dining room tables all over our county are far too often based upon mass-produced jars or stale powders, lacking the pungency and aroma of the dishes from the Indian, Thai or Nepalese restaurants. The Boom Kitchen Curry Kits really do change that.
“All of our kits contain the Boom Base,” James explains “Our curry stock that you just add to water, giving a perfect sauce to the dish.” Each kit also has it’s own spice mix, a separate packet to season your meat or veg in the pan, before mixing in the Boom Base to finish.”
The appeal to use these kits comes from their simplicity and the excitement when you open them. My favourite is the Tarka Masala – it’s like a tikka, but a little ‘otter.
But the real secret comes from the passion behind it, the real drive to make authentic and fresh ingredients readily available. I asked Carl where he found this passion. “I was in Indonesia, learning from the locals how to make a classic Beef Randang. After making notes on all of the spices and preparing ingredients, the dish itself was cooked in half an hour. All of that hard work in the blending and toasting meant that the time spent on the stove was minimal, but the dish itself was astounding.”