GUEST BLOG #16 - by Parveen Ashraf, aka The Spice Queen


Sometimes in life it’s the little things that we miss, especially now…its Mother’s Day this Sunday but it looks very different to the ones gone by. For me personally, I miss my mum hugging me; her amazing food and her stories. Gosh her stories…I wish I had listened more. The last time she came to stay with me, she told me how she had to have 4 months bed rest whist pregnant as she nearly lost me. This was new to me and it took her 50 years to tell me that…As I said, I wish I would have listened more and appreciated her more.

My late mother was a very traditional Asian lady - she wore henna on her nails, covered her head with her beautiful white silk scarves and always smelt of Oudh (oil based sweet aromatic perfume)…However, when it came to Mother’s Day she would suddenly become very British and she would wait with baited breath for all her Mother’s day gifts. There was 7 of us, so she usually got pretty spoilt. Mum always used to say that of all the traditions in the western world, this was the best!

My mother was an orphan, so her world was just dad and us. For the last 20 years or so, we brothers and sisters would take time out from our busy lives and all get together at mum’s house. The noise levels at mum’s house got louder and louder as one by one we would turn up with our other halves, children and their other halves. Mum would sometimes complain about the noise but secretly I think she loved the fact that we made the effort to come and see her on Mother’s Day…As I said she loved the presents but I know the real pleasure was the gift of all her adult children together in one room.

Now as a mother of three adult children myself, I can really appreciate where she was coming from. Don’t get me wrong – I too love the presents but it’s so much more than that. I love the fact that my adult children all come home. However, unfortunately this year, that cannot happen, so we all have to make the most of it. I honestly think when we come out of the other side of this pandemic, we will all appreciate the little things in life. It’s amazing what we all took for granted. O.K. I don’t want to get to melancholy, you know me, I always try and look at the positives. Naturally of course, for me that’s all about food.

So, what will you be doing for your mum this year? Breakfast in bed is always appreciated; a nice Sunday lunch goes down well or what about treating your mother to a lovely spicy supper. Remember it’s the thought that counts, even if it’s something small that you buy or do for your mother. I guarantee as a mother myself, it will be appreciated, as long as it’s done with good intention and of course – LOVE.

If you would like some ideas, try my simple step-by-step Chicken Masala recipe. Best of all, you can order all the ingredients on-line from SaveCo, no queuing, no masks, just browse their on-line shop, order all your spices, meat, fresh coriander and even my cook book which is on offer.

Happy Mother’s Day. And happy cooking everyone!

Parveen Ashraf

Chicken Masala By Parveen The Spice Queen

You may know it as Chicken ‘Tikkah’ Masala, which is actually not as authentic as it was actually invented in Britain so don't be surprised if you meet an Asian that hasn't tried it before. So, we just say Chicken Masala, as Masala means sauce, and this dish is just chicken in a sauce – simple.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes | Cooking Time: 40 minutes | Serves 4-6 people 



  1. Heat the oil in a heavy based steel pan and add onions. Fry the onions for 5 to 10 minutes or until they are a golden brown. On medium heat, add ginger and garlic, stir in and cook through for 1 minute.
  2. Now add chilli powder, Garam masala, turmeric and salt, stir fry for 1 minute. Keep the heat on a medium and enjoy the lovely aromas as the spices release all their flavours.
  3. Add tomatoes and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes keep stirring, if the sauce sticks, add a dash ofwater. The oil will separate and the sauce should have a thick consistency now.
  4. Simmer for 5 minutes allowing all the flavour to infuse.
  5. Add chicken pieces, stir well, and make sure that all the chicken is covered in the sauce. Turn heat up to 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.
  6. Add 100 ml of boiling water, add the coriander, stir through and simmer for 10 minutes.

Treat yourself to all of Parveen's recipes with her step by step guide to cooking authentic Indian Food.

Buy the Parveen the Spice Queen Recipe Book 


Parveen The Spice

 About the author

Parveen Ashraf is a passionate foodie, author, TV chef and entrepreneur and newspaper columnist. Her humorous and relatable writing style is always a winner with SaveCo customers and her recipes and blogs are amongst the most viewed pages.  

For more recipes please visit:, follow her on Instagram and subscribe to the Youtube channel.  
Guest blogParveen ashraf - the spice queenRecipe

1 comment

Tracey Johnson

Tracey Johnson

I purchased your book a year or so ago and every recipe I have made from it is excellent, occasionally I tweak them as I like extra hot food but the flavours are wonderful

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