About Sally & Stef

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You can find a selection of our freshly ground spices, whole spices and freshly ground spice blends at Sally & Stef Spices

Stef is my eldest daughter and we’ve been cooking together since she was tiny. Now she’s all grown up, we still enjoy our time together in the kitchen, although nowadays the teaching isn’t all one sided!

Six years ago, we came up with the idea of putting together all of the fresh ingredients that are needed to make a curry from scratch, in just the right amounts, including freshly ground spices and recipe card. Late in 2015, we made the decision to move on from the company. Our time there was fun and we’re proud to have been the inventors of such a fantastic product, but the ‘business’ side of the business became the only thing that we did. We didn’t have time for cooking, inventing recipes or discovering new ingredients. We’ve since been asked several times to start up another business, but for the time being we’re happy re-discovering our passion for cooking and writing.

We want to help people to start falling in love with their kitchens again and make them the beating heart of their home. The taste of home cooked food can’t be beaten and the pleasure and pride that comes from feeding family and friends is addictive. It’s an addiction that we’d like to feed.

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Fifty years ago we spent 100 minutes cooking our evening meals, now we spend an average of just over 30 minutes – that means that a lot of us spend less than that preparing dinner. Celebrity chefs perpetuate the idea that we shouldn’t be spending more than 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 10 minutes cooking something for ourselves and our families, so that we can get back to the computer/TV/video game/emails as quickly as possible.

We buy millions of cookery books every year, but most people stick to the same 10 or less recipes and rotate them. For everything else, there is a ready-made version to pick up from the supermarket. We tend to copy what our parents taught us to cook, so if our parents didn’t cook it means that in all probability we won’t either. 1 in 4 people say that they couldn’t manage without jars of sauce. The amount of ready-made/processed/frozen/prepared food in the supermarkets has made us lazy cooks.

Sixty years ago, there was a lot less choice and the nation was healthier for it. If your family fancied doughnuts you could make them at the week end and enjoy them together – maybe even involve the children in the process of making them. Because doughnuts take a bit of time and effort to make they wouldn’t be made every day, it would be an excitedly anticipated treat and they’d be eaten with reverence because of that time and effort. Now we expect to be able to grab a ‘treat’ from every corner shop every day if we want to, without a thought of: who made it; how it was made; or what it’s made of. ‘Treat’ items have become our staples and this is causing us problems as a Nation.

Nothing that you can buy ready made tastes better than the same dish cooked at home from scratch. None of them have the flavour of love and pride that comes from taking the time to cook for your friends and family – nothing feels better than when the people you love tell you how wonderful dinner tasted and there are clean plates all round. Or when friends ask you for the recipe. Or when you remember that the kids were chatting away to you while they sliced the mushrooms or stirred the sauce to stop it burning.

Stef and I have six years’ experience of devising and writing recipes for supermarkets, answering customer cooking questions and demonstrating recipes. We also have a combined collection of recipes that we use ourselves on a day-to-day basis at home, cooking for our families. I taught Stef to cook at an early age (as I do with my other children: Sam 22; Emily 11) and now she introduces me to exciting new ingredients and teaches me what to do with them. Stef still has my recipes, but she adds her own tweaks as I did when my Mum passed them onto me.

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