Secret recipe revealed: Ed’s Jungle Garlic Chicken Curry

Written by Ed Pitts, Second Chef

This is a curry I’ve adapted from a traditional Bengali recipe. Bengalis are renowned for putting extra onion in their curries, creating curries such as the Dopiaza. As the capital of British-colonialised India, Bengali cuisine has for many years been adored by us Brits and Bengalis have clung to their traditional cooking practices and recipes. Good job too, means we get to enjoy these great, timeless recipes today!

Serves 4, approx 45 mins

Ed’s Jungle Garlic Chicken Curry

Ed Pitts cooking curry4 chicken breasts, diced
4 white onions, roughly chopped
2 red chillis, deseeded
12 cloves garlic, peeled
2cm cube of fresh ginger, peeled
3 tins of tomatoes
250g butter
2 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp coriander
2 tbsp turmeric
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
100ml water

1. Clarify butter by melting it on a low heat so the foam of the butter separates from the liquid below. Lift the foam off and discard.
2. Place your clarified butter in a pan, add the onion and cook on a medium heat until golden brown.
3. Drain the onions, retaining the butter mix.
4. Put your onions, garlic, chillis and ginger into the food processor – you may need to do this in stages if the quantities are too much! – and blend to a paste.
5. Add chopped tomatoes and blend these too.
6. Take a large pan, reheat your butter mixture and add the paste you’ve created. Cook for 3 mins on a high heat until the edges start to bubble.

Chilli by Graibeard via Flickr

Chilli by Graibeard via Flickr

7. Add all spices excluding the garam masala and cook for 2-3 mins more. If the curry starts to spit, just add a drop of water to calm it down.
8. Add the diced chicken, plenty of salt and pepper and 50ml water. Turn the heat down and simmer for 20-25mins, adding water if the curry reduces too quickly.
9. Add the garam masala and chopped coriander. Cook for a further 5 mins and then serve.

For a tasty vegetarian alternative why not substitute chicken for fresh veg? Root vegetables such as sweet potato, potato may benefit from a pre-roasting in spices.

This curry is medium to hot in spice but can be made hotter with more chilli, or made milder by stirring in some yoghurt when serving.

Serve with…..

Fragrant Rice

4 mugs rice
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
3 cloves
3 cardamom pods
125g butter
Salt and pepper

1. Wash rice.
2. Add ingredients to thick-based pan.
3. Cover with cold water to just above the surface.
4. Cook for 15 – 20 mins approx. or until rice is of a good texture.
5. Drain and serve.

A final thought from Ed….
Curry is one of my favourite dishes. Many a night of debauchery has been spent in the curry house, larking about and causing mischief with mates. It’s one of those dishes that works well, whatever the occasion.

To try a taste of Ed’s curry, come along to one of our comedy club curry nights or one of our big name comedy gigs (you can get discounts on your curry if you book in advance at the Box Office: 01432 340555). But if you can’t wait til then pop into The Courtyard Cafe Bar this weekend, as Ed puts his Jungle Curry on our specials board. Yum yum!


Jens Lens – The Open Mic Comeback

Last night I had the pleasure of acting as photographer and general aide for the re launch of The Courtyard’s Open Mic night.

The Open Mic night has been an event The Courtyard have persevered with for approximately 4 or 5 years now, and one that has seen many a talented Herefordian showcase some hidden and undiscovered music, verse and comedy.  It has been my pleasure to work with Nicky Jaques of The Music Pool in revamping the Open Mic night and bringing local music in through The Courtyard’s doors.

Nicky plays with her brother Tom in a band called KeyGreen, (check them out on Facebook) and the two did a great job of producing an atmospheric evening which struck the right balance between chilled and lively.  The sound and technical equipment was handled efficiently, and each act was introduced personally.  KeyGreen were the first to break the musical ice, and played us three songs that blended vocal harmonies with melodic guitar and wind/brass instrumentation.

KeyGreen (Nicky & Tom Jaques) hosting Open Mic

KeyGreen (Nicky & Tom Jaques) hosting Open Mic

The night saw a total of 10 performers over the course of 2 hours, who brought a diverse and varied range of performances along with them.  The Cafe Bar was full of attentive listeners who soaked in folk melodies from Sally Stamford, some classics on harmonica from Robin Shaw and some brilliant covers from Chris Rooney.  Johnny got the audience going with his powerful vocal chords and Tom Dillon delighted with his own material.  Bym and his Steel pan band of Ben and Jo bought a slice of Tropicana with them as they beat out covers ranging from Jason Mraz to Louis Armstrong!  Phil Rochard took to the stage and played some amazingly beautiful guitar pieces using harmonics, some seriously skilled finger picking (I don’t know how he does it!!) and percussion.

Bym, Jo & Ben on the Steel Pans

Bym, Jo & Ben on the Steel Pans

It was a great evening that really established Hereford, and The Courtyard as a growing hub for local music and performance.  All this engulfed within the appetising aroma of the kitchen’s meal deal of Bangers ‘n’ Mash, which more than a few couldn’t resist.

Tom Dillon plays to a full bar

Tom Dillon plays to a full bar

Do make sure you come down to the next evening, either as a prospective artist or as a punter.  The next Open Mic LIVE SESSIONS will be held on Tuesday 5 March at 8pm.  The same meal deal of Bangers ‘n’ Mash plus a half pint of draught for £5 applies. (Seriously, who can resist that bargain?!)

To be the first to hear about The Courtyard’s Open Mic news, The Music Pool and Nicky’s LIVEWIRE project,  to ask questions about the night or pre-book a slot please like our Facebook page at, call 01432 278118 or email

I look forward to seeing you next month!

Healthy & Luxury delights in The Courtyard Cafe Bar for 2013!

You may have noticed passing through The Courtyard lately that there’s some snazzy new furniture and we’ve spruced up the menus and added a few tasty changes and extras into the mix. We’ll highlight a couple for you here… but for the full picture take a look at the new menu. Plus there’s some healthy options on our January specials board for those of you getting conscientious after Christmas.Whether you are looking for a delicious home cooked meal, a delectable dessert, or simply a coffee - then look no further than the Cafe Bar.

A true celebration of all the best that the county has to offer. A delicious homemade pie filled with Herefordshire beef, slow cooked in Dorothy Goodbody’s Golden Ale from the award-winning Wye Valley Brewery and topped with Little Hereford cheese and a potato pastry lid. Served with buttered locally-sourced carrots, baby roast potatoes and seasonal greens.

(This tasty offering got the Cafe Bar shortlisted for a Flavours of Herefordshire Award!)

Herefordshire pork shoulder & chorizo in a spicy tomato, red pepper and butter
bean sauce. Served with sautéed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.


Spicy free range Herefordshire chicken breast with peppers, onions, coriander and low fat soured cream in a seeded tortilla.

King prawns, fresh vegetables and noodles in a sweet chilli sauce.

Braised tomatoes, mushrooms, aubergines, spinach and red peppers in tomato sauce, layered with leeks in place of lasagne.

You might be too late to book in for our special Valentine’s meal now (we’ve had unprecedented uptake) but there’ll still be delicious hot and cold options downstairs for you hungry Les Miserables film fans and those of you getting your teeth into our stand-out drama this season, Finding Joy.

Business lunches, a bit of afternoon cake with a friend, a celebratory meal with family and friends; The Courtyard Cafe Bar caters for all for great value, so if you fancy a tasty treat then get booked in. Reservations at: 01432 346525 or email:

Join us on twitter, tweet us a nice photo of #janscake @CourtyardArts and we’ll pick our favourite photo to win a freebie next time you’re in!

Free pint for folkies with your ticket to Sproatly Smith, Thursday 3rd January

Sproatly Smith are a seven piece psych folk band from Herefordshire. Their fourth album The Minstrel’s Grave on Folk Police Recordings has been winning critical acclaim since it’s release last year, and has been regularly played on Radio 3’s Late Junction.

“The Minstrel’s Grave is an album to cherish, enjoy, and play over and over again. I really like this band. Their sound world of bucolic, psychedelic folk, referencing late ‘sixties Floyd, Circulus and Gorkys, is a joy to listen to. Original, engaging, marvellous.” ~ TerrascopeSproatly Smith album cover - The Minstrel's Grave

Their new album is called Times Is n’ Times Was, which will come out as a download and on vinyl in the new year.

Sproatly Smith’s hugely evocative and atmospheric sounds will have true folkies whisked away along their melodic pagan paths. Mystical lands of ‘yore are their speciality along with a progressive use of foley to enhance their soundscape of the abstract rural world.

Because we’re especially lovely, Sproatly ticket holders will get a free pint of Wye Valley’s Butty Bach, widely corralled as the pint for ale drinkers. Download and print off this coupon, bring it to the bar and you can claim your tasty freebie.

Sproatly Smith Ale Coupon – download, print and bring it to the gig!

And if you haven’t bought your tickets yet, you know what to do: Buy tickets to Sproatly Smith here

Presents from us to you this festive season!

Because we’re feeling all festive and giving and we know you’re weather-beaten and worn from the eternal trudging from shop to shop, we’ve decided to tempt you into the Courtyard over these Christmassy days to get yourself warmed up, well-fed and entertained in our studio watching a movie.

There’s a couple of great December offers so get your eyes around these, book in and treat yourself, your family, your friends to a bit of fun and TLC. It shouldn’t all be hard work and shopping ’til you drop.


SparkleFor every group of four booking to seeSparkle (12A)’, Whitney Houston’s final feature film, grab a free bottle of wine between you and a half-price homemade pudding each from our Café Bar. Plus you’ll be entered into a prize draw to win your own karaoke plug & play microphone to share on a ‘girly night in’ and £30 of vouchers to get yourself pampered in Hereford at Beautiful Spirit Clinic & Spa!

The perfect treat for your post-shopping relax, bring your girls along and have a chill.


Join Transylvanian Transvestite Dr. Frank-N-Furter in his crazy castle as he plays host to all manner of weird and wonderful people attending an Annual Transylvanian Convention in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (12A)’.The Rocky Horror Picture Show MC

This 2-for-1 deal gives you the chance to re-experience this cult classic on the big screen. Bring a mate or two, don your high heels and fishnets and join us as we do the Time Warp again!


Bring the kids on a family trip* to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol (U)’ or Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (PG)’ during December and we’ll give you one adult ticket free. We’re feeling festive so call it a treat!Madagascar 3

* For the purposes of this offer, family is sized at two adults and two children.

To book any of these deals call the Box Office on 01432 340555


Make the most of the Café Bar this festive season and book in your party of 10 minimum for our Festive Fork buffet! Why not combine it with tickets to the Panto or a Christmas Comedy Club?

The buffet includes such delights as: Honey Glazed Baked Gammon, Salmon & Dill Terrine, Turkey with Cranberry and Goats Cheese & Caramelised Onion Tart.

Book ahead at or ring 01432 346517cherry cake

Get in early and book your Valentine’s meal at the Courtyard Cafe Bar. Our chefs take great pride in providing delicious food, locally-sourced and made with love. You can even catch Les Misérables in the cinema after.

2 course & 3 course options with a glass of bubbly on arrival and coffee included.

Book in at the Box Office on 01432 340555