December Recipes – Chili Prawn Masala

by Alison Stuart

My family’s favourite ‘get together’ food are curry lunches with everyone contributing their favourite dish to the table.  I lived the early part of my life in Kenya where there was a large Indian population and one of my earliest memories is the smell of spices in the Indian ‘bazaar’.  In more recent years I lived for 3 years in Singapore where I expanded my repertoire of curry recipes through the teaching of a genial Indian lady, Kirti. This is one of Kirti’s recipes and now a firm family favourite.

While it is not exactly ‘seasonal’, I think it would do very nicely on a Christmas table. Apart from the essential ingredient being prawns, its tomato base gives it a gorgeous colour.


(for 3-4 people – I always make double quantities)


  • 500g unshelled green prawns
  • 2 large onions (cut lengthwise)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (cut into wedges)
  • 1 tsp of tomato paste
  • ½ tsp ginger paste
  • ½ tsp garlic paste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ to 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ¾ tsp garam masala powder
  • Salt to taste
  • lime or lemon juice to taste
  • 1-2 tblsps coriander leaves (chopped)
  • 3 tblsps vegetable oil


  1. Deshell and clean prawns, leaving tails intact (I buy the frozen packets of green prawns and defrost them). Wash and pat dry. Marinate with salt and ¼ tsp of turmeric powder.
  2. In a heavy based pan, fry the onions in oil until they change colour. Add the garlic and ginger paste,  crushed garlic and the chilli powder.
  3. Add in the salt, turmeric powder, tomatoes and tomato paste and fry well. You may cover the pan and cook on a low flame for 5 mins so that the tomatoes will get soft.
  4. When the masala is aromatic and richly coloured, add in the prawns. Keep on stirring until the prawns are well coated with the onion and tomato mixture.
  5. If mixture is too dry, add water. Stir and then allow the dish to simmer by covering and cooking on a low heat. Cook for around 10 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK THE PRAWNS.
  6. Lastly stir in the garam masala powder and turn off flame. Sprinkle with lemon/lime juice and garnish with coriander leaves.
  7. Serve with rice or Indian bread.


The second in a tantalising trilogy from award-winning author Alison Stuart, about warriors, the wounds they carry and the women that help them heal.

Feed Your Readers: September New Releases!


A Cinderella story about mothers and movie stars, mud boots and Manolo Blahniks, and dreams that do come true.

25081 (1)

The second in a tantalising trilogy from award-winning author Alison Stuart, about warriors, the wounds they carry and the women that help them heal.

Available Now!


An all-access pass to Sex, Love, and Rock ‘N Roll. Because what happens on tour doesn’t always stay on tour
KM Golland kicks off Secret Confessions: Backstage with a story about a guy having a bad day, a girl who can help him out, and the naughty things two fans can get up to in an isolated stairwell. 

Available 10 September


An all-access pass to Sex, Love, and Rock ‘N Roll. Because what happens on tour doesn’t always stay on tour

Eden Summers explores just what one fan will do to get Backstage…

An Interview with an Anti-Hero…Kit Lovell from Alison’s Stuart THE KING’S MAN

You met him in By The Sword; you saw him fall at the Battle of Worcester. It is now 1654, three years since the fateful battle of Worcester. Let’s take a moment to have a chat with Kit Lovell, a friend of Jonathan Thornton’s, where he’s been for the last three years – and if he can ever forgive himself…

AS: It’s 1654, England has been under the rule of Oliver Cromwell for the last three years, and things are looking pretty grim for the supporters of the late Charles Stuart and his son, currently in exile in France. I have with me one of the King’s most loyal supporters, Christopher Lovell.

KL: Please call me Kit, everyone does.

AS: I believe things have been tough for your family since the defeat of the royalist cause, Kit?

KL: They certainly have, Alison. My father and I took the royalist side in the wars of 1642-1648. Father died in the defence of our home and I went into exile. Most of the estate has been sold off and my step mother and my sister live in the ruins of the family home. I send them what money I can make off gambling and …other means, whenever I can, but I’m afraid I’ve not been very much help to my family.

AS: What became of your brother, Daniel, who followed you to the Battle of Worcester?

KL: I don’t wish to talk about Daniel. He was lost at the battle of Worcester in September 1651. Stupid young fool thought he would follow in my footsteps. Not particularly worthy footsteps to follow in! My step mother blames me of course…

AS: So what have you been up to since the battle of Worcester?
KL: Oh, I spent an uncomfortable few months as a prisoner but managed to escape. Since then I’ve drifted between Paris and London, trying to make whatever money I can to keep body and soul together and a decent pair of boots on my feet.

AS: I hear you have something of a reputation with the ladies?
KL: Now don’t believe everything you hear, Alison. It’s true I have managed to land a wealthy widow as a mistress who keeps me in the manner to which I am accustomed and obligingly gives me the time I need for my other occupation.

AS: Which is?
KL: Cards and, oh yes, planning the overthrow of Cromwell’s regime and the restoration of the King.

AS: Any success?
KL: Well, I’m very good at cards but every plot to overthrow Cromwell is foiled by that master of spies, John Thurloe. Cromwell picked a wily man as his Secretary of State. Trouble is it’s hard to know who’s in Thurloe’s pay and who can be trusted these days! Even the most loyal of the King’s men may have good cause to turn coat. Let’s talk about women…that’s my favourite subject…

AS: You told us about your mistress, do you have any other women in your life?
KL: I take it you are referring to that infuriating music teacher, Thamsine Granville? I rue the day I ever saved her life!

AS: What happened?
KL: The stupid girl had just lobbed a piece of rock at the Cromwell’s coach. If she’d been caught…well I shudder to think what would have become of her.

AS: Why would she have done such a thing?
KL: Thamsine is like me, the flotsam of war. Her family also paid a price for supporting the King. In her case she found herself thrown out of her home and living off the streets of London. If I hadn’t saved her that day she would have been forced into prostitution just to keep herself alive. Now I’m stuck with her.

AS: What do you mean?
KL: Look, my life is… complicated. I’ve got a job to do and she’s a distraction I don’t need. I’ve got the girl some work at an inn, what more does she want?

AS: You, perhaps?
KL: I don’t want romantic attachments, Alison. Anyone who gets involved with me is just going to get hurt. I use people for my own ends and she may find she’s no different.

AS: What do you mean you “use people”?
KL: Is that the time? I really must get going. My friends are meeting at the Ship Inn and I’m expected. Perhaps I will see you there?

Read Kit and Thamsine’s story in The King’s Man by Alison Stuart. Available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo and all good ebook stores (Click HERE for a complete listing)

To celebrate the release of The King’s Man, Alison is running a Rafflecopter contest with the prize of a Kindle e-reader.

To enter click this link:

25081The second in a tantalising trilogy from award-winning author Alison Stuart, about warriors, the wounds they carry and the women that help them heal.

London 1654: Kit Lovell is one of the King’s men, a disillusioned Royalist who passes his time cheating at cards, living off his wealthy and attractive mistress and plotting the death of Oliver Cromwell.

Penniless and friendless, Thamsine Granville has lost everything.  Terrified, in pain and alone, she hurls a piece of brick at the coach of Oliver Cromwell and earns herself an immediate death sentence. Only the quick thinking of a stranger saves her.

Far from the bored, benevolent rescuer that he seems, Kit plunges Thamsine into his world of espionage and betrayal – a world that has no room for falling in love.

Torn between Thamsine and loyalty to his master and King, Kit’s carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. He must make one last desperate gamble – the cost of which might be his life.

What’s Not to Love About Men With Long Swords?

By Alison Stuart

BTS_FINAL_GIFOn March 22, By The Sword hits the shelves of Escape Publishing, as the first in a three book series called The Guardians of the Crown, spanning the years 1650-1660.

This is not one of your better known periods of history, but it is a period of history I am passionate about – should I say passionate about. It spans the twenty years known as “The English Civil War and Interregnum” from 1642 to the execution of Charles I in 1649. The period from 1649 to the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 is properly called the “Interregnum” (translated as “between Kings”), although it is generally lumped in with the English Civil War period.

Perhaps it is best described in the romantic parlance of cavaliers and roundheads. The dashing cavalier with his long curls and wide brimmed beaver hat, and the sour faced round head with his cropped hair and puritan collar. In the 1930s a little book came out with a potted history of England called 1066 And All That in which the cavaliers are described a “wrong but wromantic” and the roundheads as “right but repulsive” which kind of sums it up!

alison-5My own love affair with the Roundheads and Cavaliers began when I was probably no more than about 8 or 9. My darling father would read to us every Sunday afternoon and one such book he chose was Daphne Du Maurier’s The King’s General, the story of an ill fated (and fictional) love affair between Sir Richard Grenville and his crippled mistress Honour. The struggle between King and Parliament, laced with romance and skeletons in secret tunnels had me in a thrall. I was lost!

edit 2So here are five reasons why I, personally, love this period….

  1. Family legend has it that I am descended from a “regicide” (one of the men who signed the death warrant of Charles I) . However no evidence has been found to support that claim but who ever let fact get in the way of a good family legend!

  1. The very idea of a Civil War throws up so many possibilities for an over active imagination: father against son, brother against brother, friends destined to become foes! Intrigues, plots, assassinations, revenge… What about the families… the wives, the mothers…the lovers?

  1. You may (or may not) have seen the latest BBC series of the Three Musketeers. What is there not to love about men with broad brimmed hats, lace collars and bucket top boots. It is pure swashbuckling… every pirate fantasy you ever had (without the pirates!).

  1. Seriously… do you realize that the events of these twenty years established the foundations of our own system of democracy, the concept of a standing army and many of our legal privileges that we enjoy today?

  1. Just the sheer drama… a King executed! Unthinkable and yet to be repeated 150 years later during the French revolution. What did this mean for the ordinary people of England?

So, if you are bored with regencies, medieval and blokes in kilts, try a dashing cavalier such as Jonathan Thornton the hero of By The Sword. Later in the year, one of Jonathan’s friends and comrades at the Battle of Worcester, Kit Lovell, has his own story in The King’s Man and rounding off the GUARDIANS OF THE CROWN series with the Restoration of the King, will be Kit’s brother, Daniel in Exile’s Return.

And if you’ve got a minute, check out the trailer!

What is the period of history you are most passionate about and what kicked off that passion? 

(By the Sword is available for pre-order now. Please note, this is a digital book)

23545From award-winning author Alison Stuart comes a stirring historical trilogy about soldiers, spies, and the strong women that love them. 

England 1650. In the aftermath of the execution of the King, England totters once more on the brink of civil war. The country will be divided and lives lost as Charles II makes a last bid to regain his throne.

Kate Ashley finds her loyalty to the Parliamentary cause tested when she inherits responsibility for the estate of the Royalist Thornton family. To protect the people she cares about, she will need all her wits to restore its fortunes and fend off the ever-present threat of greedy neighbours.

Jonathan Thornton, exiled and hunted for his loyalty to the King’s cause now returns to England to garner support for the cause of the young King. Haunted by the demons of his past, Jonathan risks death at every turn and brings danger to those who love him. Finding Kate in his family home, he sees in her the hope for his future, and a chance at a life he doesn’t deserve.

In the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester, Jonathan must face his nemesis, and in turn, learn the secret that will change his life forever. But love is fragile in the face of history, and their lives are manipulated by events out of their control. What hope can one soldier and one woman hold in times like these?