A former school worker has fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition by launching her own range of DIY curry kits.
Ever since she was a child, Sally Hares was fascinated by cookery and wanted to work in the food industry. So when the mother-of-three was made redundant last year she decided to throw her creative energies into developing a new range of “cooking-from-scratch” curry packs.
Today, Sally is the driving force behind Hare’s Moor, an exciting new Walsall-based company that aims to give amateur cooks the chance to conjure up authentic masala and rogan josh without having to think too hard and, even better, work too hard.
Her £3.50 packs stock all the magic ingredients for a tasty homemade curry, including the blended spices, curry leaves, chillies and ginger. All you have to do is provide the onions, tomatoes, the meat – and a degree of concentration.
The recipes also double brilliantly as vegetarian curries and have the added advantage that cooks can control the amount of heat, the consistency of the dish and the fat content. The dishes always turn out just how you want them to. I have tried a few at home and they really are very good, streets ahead of any supermarket pastes or concoctions.
My first tastes of Hare’s Moor (Hares is Sally’s married name, Moor her maiden name) was a Timatar Masala (with potatoes and spinach) and a rogan josh (which I made – all right, my wife made – with chicken). Both were excellent.
The packaging is clear and the instructions are faultless. The kits are designed to serve two to three with meat, or up to four with vegetables.
Sally, aged 45, of The Butts, Walsall, said: “Even competent cooks can be overwhelmed by cooking curries. People love curries and everyone loves homemade curries but they think there is an alchemy to it.
“But with the packs it is not that difficult and they taste so much better than take-away curries.”
Sally worked for ten years as marketing manager at a local comprehensive but lost her job as part of funding cuts last June. She was wondering what to do when she was hit by a revelation.
Sally recalls: “I woke up at four in the morning and had this idea. I sat bolt upright and said, ‘It is In The Bag, which is what I was going to call the company. I ran downstairs and started drawing pictures of products. It was really strange.”
With the help of her 22-year-old daughter, Stefanie Winnall, Sally set about experimenting with the contents and packaging for her new curry kits. Eventually, the business started to take over the kitchen and dining room of Sally’s home so the duo took on a unit in John Street, Walsall.
Sally’s best friend, Sue Cowley, who has a background in catering management, joined up to help with product development.
The business can produce 5,000 units a month with current staffing levels but this could be increased to 20,000. Sally is keen to find a mentor to help develop Hare’s Moor and hopes a slot on an as yet untitled prime-time BBC 1 show, planned for the spring, will help to give her curry kits further exposure. She and Stefanie were selected to go on the show from thousands of applicants.
* Hare’s Moor curry kits are available in selected delis, butchers and farm shops. They are also set to be sold in the Nisa-Today’s food stores or can be ordered over the internet at www.haresmoor.co.uk.