My pantry

A Bombay Love Story and Curried Mince

July 10, 2012

The year is 1945, and we’re in India.

Bombay had a pretty cranking swing scene (the music style, not the extra-marital lifestyle) and there was a rather happening 7-piece band called The Broadway Boys.
The B Boys were led by a handsome young chap by the name of Fred Steller, who blew a pretty mean clarimaphone.

One evening, The Broadway Boys had a guest singer come in for a set or two. She was a 15 year old, dark eyed, brunette by the name of Maxine. Incidentally, Maxine’s mother, Vera, had been advised not to name her thus as it conjured images of French prostitutes. Gloria was offered instead…..ironically, Gloria conjures images of trannies, so luckily Vera wasn’t swayed.

Young Maxine had the voice of an angel, and was more than a little bit cute. Fred asked her if she would become the regular singer for the band. Not so secretly, our dear Fred had a crush on Maxine, and seeing as her father was the Deputy Commissioner of Police, no doubt it seemed the safest way to make his move.

This pair of young hipsters became very fond of each other over the next few years, and although India was in a great state of unrest, they fell in love amidst the turmoil.
Five years later, in 1950, Fred proposed to Maxine, but in true Romeo and Juliet style, the very next day he sailed away on a ship, the Himalaya, permanently bound for Sydney, Australia. The young love birds didn’t have a plan, and Maxine was still under the charge of her parents. It seemed a kinda hopeless scenario, but you know how it is with young love?

Maxine’s heart broke as she wished her love farewell, but I guess she had faith that they were meant to be.

Deputy Commissioner Taylor had just been offered a new post n the hills, and although the status of the English in India was getting more and more precarious, Maxine’s father was determined not to leave their homeland.

Our Maxine could be very persuasive, it seems, as 6 months and an ugly incident involving a her father and a stoning (not the fun kind) later, she and her family were on board a boat, heading for Sydney and her one true love.
God bless Maxine’s wily charms, for our star crossed lovers were reunited under the broad, blue Australian skies.

Fred and Maxine were married shortly after. Over the next 10 years they had a daughter and three sons, who in turn gave them seven grandchildren. They are now proud great-grandparents to three gorgeous squawkers.

Fred and Maxine are my Nana and Grandpa. 

They are neither young, nor hip any longer. In fact, they’re now more deaf and arthritic but they still love each other, 67 years later.
Can you imagine how annoyed you would be after hearing your husband’s stories for 67 years? I reckon she just pretends to be hard of hearing.

Anyway, I think that’s a pretty good love story.

Today’s Indian inspired meal is something I’ve eaten with them a million times.

There’s an easy way to make this, or an even easier way. The easier way is buy a jar of good curry paste and use a couple of spoons of that. It’s good to have stuff like that in the cupboard or fridge for those nights that you need a helping hand. I’m all for cheating sometimes. I have all of these spices at hand, so its easy for me, but if it’s cheaper and easier for you to buy a jar of paste – whatevs.

D Man will eat this if it’s not too chilli hot, also, I add a good spoon of raita when serving and he likes that. Adjust the heat for your family.

Yield : 3 adults and two toddlers or 4 adults

You will need :

  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamon seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 dried chilli, chopped
  • 5 curry leaves (optional – I had some from my Grandparents garden)


  • a couple of tablespoons of Pataks or Sharwoods Curry Paste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 2/3 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • a slug of Worcestershire sauce
  • a tin of chopped tomatoes
  • fresh coriander

Throw your chopped onion into a heavy based pan on a medium heat. When translucent, add your garlic. After a minute or so, add your spice mix (except curry leaves) or paste.
When it’s all deliciously aromatic and gorgeous, add your mince.
When it’s all cooked through, add your carrot and cook for a further 2 minutes. Toss in your tinned tomatoes, stock and add a slug of Worstershire sauce. Pop your potato in and give it a good stir. Salt to taste and leave to cook over a low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
You want most of the liquid to evaporate, leaving a thick Bolognaise type consistency.
Serve with rice, raita and katchumber.

Raita is a pretty loose thing. It’s made with yoghurt, and finely chopped or grated veges. The most popular is cucumber, fresh mint or coriander and salt. Some people add garlic, some people add  cumin, some people add cayenne pepper.
I do garlic, cucumber, mint and yoghurt.
I always serve my curries with kutchumber too. Recipe can be found here.

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  • Reply peta July 10, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks for that story and those photos. Still as cute 67 years later. x

  • Reply EllaDee July 11, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Great story & photos. Curried mince is a favourite in our house, as I think it is in many Australian households, an adopted classic.

  • Reply Strange BBQ beasts, and Moroccan Chicken Pie | Keeping Up With The Holsbys April 15, 2014 at 7:32 am

    […] Chicken mince is a cracker for fussy eaters because the flavour is fairly innocuous. It would work it’s butt off with my San Choy Bow recipe, or my Curried Mince. […]

  • Reply Nature Lover April 11, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I can say fab story even after years has pass through!

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