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Feeding the Family with Coates Butchers Durham.

Updated: Feb 6

39 year old butcher, husband & father of two desperately trying to provide healthy meals for a growing family on a budget!


Okay so I'm 38 slightly balding, slightly over weight and I've worked at Coates Butchers for coming up 25 years. Personally I'm a father of two and it's always been important for me and my wife to try and provide good quality nutritional meals for the family without blowing the budget.

Like many of you it get's to the end of the month and I find myself wondering "is there anyone left who wants to take a share of my wage?" usually the answer is yes and whether it's the tax man, the electricity company or just trying to put fuel in the car there's not a lot left in the bottom of the jar.

This Blog isn't designed to be all doom and gloom though. At Coates Butchers we're constantly looking at ways we can help families. So were going to start at having a look at our latest offer the "family variety hamper" throughout this blog I'll be looking at the products offered within this hamper and taking a trip down memory lane to when I first started cooking and my Gran used to talk me through her recipes over the phone after School.



meals for seven nights.
Family hamper




So I thought it would be helpful if I break down some of the elements and tell you what I would do with them. It's probably the right time to point out that I'm not a Chef but I've always had a passion for cooking, as mentioned above at 15 years old I would get in from school and ring my gran up asking her how to make a cottage pie, sometimes I'd follow her recipes to the letter and other times I'd experiment (22 years ago my Mam, Dad & Sister just weren't ready for garlic in a cottage pie) but that's a different story and their loss. 😀


Chicken breast fillets & Diced Chicken


Easy to cook and a very versatile product. I'm a massive fan of chicken, It's a great source of protein, It's a product that goes well with both Tomato based sauces and creamy sauces. Obviously Chicken is a great source of protein and a fantastic product to add to curry.


Curries are great go to comfort food dishes. Personally I'm a massive fan of bulking up a chicken curry out using left over vegetables, potatoes, green beans and curly Kale. By adding these sort of ingredients into your curry your padding the curry out and giving it a completely different dynamic.


A lot of people love to buy jars of curry sauces, these jars are really convenient but can be quite expensive. Although its not a traditional paste I use the following recipe to produce a generic curry paste which can easily become the base to many different curries such as buttered chicken, Chicken Balti and even Chicken korma, but don't be afraid to experiment.


Curry paste recipe,

1tbsp Garam masala, 1tbsp, Turmeric, 1/2tbsp Ginger, 1/2tabsp Cumin, 2 fine diced cloves of garlic, 1/4tbsp cayenne pepper 1 red chilli, 1 fine diced large onion and half a tube of tomato paste.


add the dried spiced to a warm pan and toast off on a very low heat for about a minute. add the onions, garlic and chilli to the pan mixing well. fry on a low heat until the onions begin to soften but be careful not to burn the spices. move the mix to one side of the pan and add the tomato paste to the opposite side. heat the tomato paste for about 30 seconds then bring the mix together to form a paste.


This will give you a great base for any curry just add the rest of your ingredients and experiment with adding butter, cream, chopped tomatoes or even coconut milk to generate different flavours. I've done many of these for the shop and their always a big hit.

Final thoughts.

The great thing about cooking & using fresh ingredients is it helps to bring the family together. Even if you make a mistake, it may become a talking point for years to come but it's an experience and something to learn from. Make the most of your family time and get the kids and family members involved. It's a great way to spend time together.

click the link below, try our new hamper and gain and extra 10% off your first online order with discount code "orderonline".



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