Merry Christmas and let’s use up all the leftovers.

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

As final preparations take place for Christmas and the New Year (how did it come around so quickly?) and bookings for workshops and team builds for 2019, come in thick and fast, thank you.


It’s been a brilliant year, thank you to each of you that have cooked with me, used my spices, watched my demonstrations and supported me through another fabulous year and it wouldn’t be so without you, so thank you.  It’s been an amazing year of fabulous events, Supper clubs, all centred around YOU learning to cook authentic Indian food.

Before I go to plan our Christmas (I’m always last minute), don’t worry, it’s all in one place on a spreadsheet, totally calm.

Let me share some Christmas Spicing tips that might just help you along.

Ideas for Leftovers:


Take your cooked, cold leftover veg. and stir fry them with a generous knob of butter (it is Christmas), some nuts, a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp of turmeric (it’s a superfood) and a big pinch of chef crush or roasted cumin seeds.  Perfect to accompany baked ham or pack it into an omelette.

For your sprouts sprinkle a touch of Garam Masala to add a little spice to them, you can roast, stir-fry, boil or steam them.

Lajina Masala Garam Masala


alloo tikkiLittle Veg Tikkas

Bubble and Squeak, the usual – pop any cooked veg., turkey, stuffing, bacon, sausages into a big bowl.  Mix with a handful of herbs, chopped chilli or teaspoon of chilli flakes and a half teaspoon of Garam Masala. You can shape this mix into flat cakes and fry in butter, or bake them in a hot oven, make sure it’s crispy and super hot.  Serve with chutney and a cold beer.


Turkey Pie – there’s usually pastry in my fridge at Christmas, so I take the leftover turkey and ham, add some veg. and gravy, place in a baking dish.  Season with a large pinch of Garam Masala, cover filling with pastry to form a lid and bake on an oven setting of about 180 for 45 minutes until the pastry is golden.  My family look forward to this during the Christmas holidays.

Omelettes are super delicious and lovely spiced up.  The simplest method would be to take 4 eggs, add half a teaspoon of Garam Masala, a pinch of salt, chopped fresh chilli and some herbs, parsley, coriander, thyme. Beat the mix and fry in a really big frying pan, and once set, add any leftover veg. to the omelette and place under the grill for a few minutes, then place a handful of grated cheese (cheddar is good) and place back under the grill until golden. This makes an ideal brunch dish or a bright supper.

Pasta Bake, bet you weren’t expecting that.  Yes, I’ll cook a pasta bake with some leftover ham and turkey, make a simple cheese sauce and add some veg.  I’ll season with Chef Crush, maybe top up with some breadcrumbs or cheese and then place under the grill. A simple, tasty dish, served with a fresh salad is great to share with your family.


Somosas, season any leftover cooked veg. and meat with fresh grated ginger and garlic, fresh chillies, Garam Masala and salt, perhaps a little butter and herbs.  Fold, wrap and bake or fry using filo or flaky pastry or use wraps.   Fancy a traditional somosa?  Here’s the recipe, get the kids to help:


Or, you could come to my workshop on Tuesday 26th Feb at Little Wenlock Village Hall, Shropshire, we start at 6 pm until 10 pm and the price is £65 per person.  Please drop me an email if you’d like to come

Curry, of course, make curry. 

Why wouldn’t you? The tips to cook a great curry start with cooking onions: here’s the link to making a great curry sauce.


  • Just remember if your veg. and turkey has been cooked then you must make sure it’s piping hot when you make the curry and it must not dry out.  The skill is ensuring the spices don’t burn, use a splash of water to cool the pan down, create a sauce and allow the spices to cook through.  Or, cook a super speedy and tasty curry without using onions, the spices seem to cook really quick.  Add a good spoon of butter, it is Christmas!

Here’s a Salmon Curry as an example, notice how quickly we cook it?  Please message me if you are stuck.


Biryani – any leftover veg. can be layered with cooked rice and baked, use Chef Crush to season the rice.  Rice is tricky but, I have a class on 17th Feb, 12-4pm at Little Wenlock Village Hall.                Ring, message, email me if you’d like to come, the price is £65 per person.


Soups, simply fry some onion, add some garlic, pop in any leftover veg, raw or cooked into the pan with some stock, cover and allow to simmer.  Maybe blitz it, add fresh herbs or cream or nuts to make it super special. I’ll be making a pea one, just because I love soup. The key is to season it, lovely to wrap up warm and watch a movie with your loved ones.

Toasties and Wraps, we always have bread, ham, chutneys, pickles, tomatoes, spinach floating around.  Pop your filling in your chosen bread with a sprinkle of chilli or Garam Masala and toast them. A great lunchtime or supper snack.


Parathas – you can pop any cooked, cold vegetables into parathas, even raw grated cauliflower works.  Serve them any time of the day, particularly popular as brunch in Indian households. Think Mexican Quesadillas and you have the Indian version. We make these in our 17th Feb class, please message me if you’d like to learn in person.


Pakoras, you make turkey ones, vegetable ones, serve them with ketchup, try them in a sandwich whilst they are crunchy from the fryer… well, it is Christmas.  Or just come to my class on 19th March to learn to make these, you are most welcome!


I feel there’s this super rush to make Christmas special, we buy extras in and I like to use all the ingredients in my fridge, to save having to go back out and I can usually rustle something tasty and delicious.  It frees me up to watch movies, snuggle up in a blanket and just enjoy the break.  We deserve it, absolutely.

The only problem with home cooking is I have a young man who helps me, my son Sam and guess what?  He has an eye on my kitchen kit, comments on how he loves a certain pan or my food processor because I made this lovely pesto for pasta this week.  What a lovely, lucky problem to have?  Not only is he learning to cook, but he’s also learning to eat well. It’s a small price to pay to lose my best kitchen kit to a student flat in London!

So as the party hats come out, I’d just like to take this opportunity to THANK ALL OF YOU for your support in 2018, to wish you a very Fabulous Christmas and the happiest, brightest New Year for us all.

With love from the team at Lajina Masala.







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About Lajina

Lajina Leal, Lajina Masala

Lajina Leal, Founder, Lajina Masala

Lajina had a Corporate Career as an Accountant for many years and whilst discussing an impending redundancy in an Indian restaurant with her friends, they persuaded her to set up an Indian Cooking School.

The fun started in October 2013 and the business has grown from strength to strength.

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