Review and giveaway: Copas Traditional Turkeys

Copas Turkey Collage

Normally I try not to start thinking about Christmas until at least the first of December. Yes, I know the decorations are already up in our shopping centres and our social media timelines are chock full of festive cheer, but it just seems wrong to be talking about Christmas until the first door of the Advent calendar has been peeled open.

Which is why it felt very strange to be roasting a turkey in November for this review. But at the end of the day, it’s really only a rather large relative of the chicken, so why consign it to just a couple of days in December? Our friends in the States will be consuming vast amounts of turkey this week after all to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Copas Traditional Turkeys is a small family business that has been producing free range, hand-plucked and game-hung turkeys just for Christmas for the last half a century. Based in the beautiful Berkshire countryside, Copas has a reputation for combining centuries old production methods with state-of-the-art facilities, as well as taking their time for a superior taste. Continue reading

Jessie’s chocolate orange chess cake

chess cake5

My oldest daughter has a thing for making the teeny-tiniest models out of Plasticine. She loves to create tiny food items, like burgers and cakes, and she recently made miniatures of the Blue Peter characters in order to try and win herself another BP badge.

blue peter

For her current homework assignment, Jessie decided to bring two of her favourite activities, model-making and baking, together in the form of this ambitious chocolate chess cake, inspired by the Great British Bake Off and now Junior Bake Off.

New Horizons is the theme of her homework project and over the course of a month, she has to  try her hand at a number of new things and write them up as a special report. As well as this monumental show-stopper of a bake, she’s also tried her hand at SLR photography, stop motion videos and is having a squash lesson from her dad at the weekend.

To be totally honest, I wasn’t entirely sure she’d make this baking experiment work. Why not start with flapjacks or a fridge cake? But work it most certainly did. Not only did it look suitably impressive, it was also extremely delicious too. Continue reading

Chocolate, apple and blackberry chutney

chocolate apple and blackberry chutney

Now, chocolate is not of course a complete stranger to savoury dishes so I can’t say I’ve invented something radically new here. In fancy restaurants I’ve been served sumptuous chocolate sauces with roast venison and partridge, while at home I’ve added chocolate to a chilli con carne. But I’ve never come across chocolate in a chutney before.

I have though tried, and very much enjoyed, a chutney featuring chocolate stout. Last Christmas, my not-so-secret Santa gift from my mate Sam in the office was a jar of chocolate stout, plum and chipotle jam from Ginger Beard’s Preserves. It was very, very good and got me wondering: if chocolate stout works in a chutney, then couldn’t chocolate itself work rather well too? It took me a few months to finally get around to it, but I eventually put my hypothesis to the test. Continue reading

Review: The Little Table of Delights

little table of delights8

Playing with food has always been something I’ve encouraged at Chez Bangers, so there really couldn’t be a more appropriate theatrical experience for my little ones than The Little Table of Delights, which we were lucky enough to be a part of last week at the Yeo Valley Canteen.

Created by Bristol-based Theatre Damfino in collaboration with chefs Matt Williamson and Claire Thomson (The Five O’clock Apron), this brilliantly interactive show tells the story of what we eat and where it comes in five acts, taking us from bread and then beetroot, through to spices, eggs, milk and honey. Continue reading

Green chiller

green chiller

The Halloween-fuelled experiments have been continuing in full force in our kitchen. As well as our macabre muffins, the kids and I have also come up with this delicious green juice chiller.

green chiller3

Featuring kiwi fruit, canataloupe melon and coconut water, it’s super quick to make and delighfully zingy on the tastebuds. It’s a suitable shade of ghoulish green as befits this time of year, but you’ll be happy in the knowledge that no matter how nasty your little monsters are endeavouring to be, there are no nasties at all in here. Continue reading

Healthy Halloween muffins

Halloween Collage

The Halloween frivolities have started a little early here. Last weekend we had an absolute ball at the Halloween-themed Reach for the Bubbles afternoon disco in Frome. We painted each others’ faces, scoffed West Indian style hot dogs, drank mulled cider (and hot apple juice), played drum and bass musical statues and took part in a Thriller line dance, all to an awesome soundtrack provided by the phenomenal Lionel Richtea on the decks.

We’ve also been experimenting with some gruesome bakes in the Bangers & Mash kitchen. The kids wanted to see if we could come up with some terrifying but tasty snacks ready for the Halloween party season. And I wanted to see if we could make them vaguely healthy rather than the sugar-fuelled treats we generally seem swamped by this time of year.

Healthy Halloween Muffins Collage

Our experiments resulted in these cheesy vegetable muffins, which the girls have delightfully called Fungus the Bogeyman Muffins (spinach and black olives) and Blood and Gore Muffins (beetroot and carrot). If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to tempt the little monsters at your Halloween party or to fend off the trick-or-treaters, then I definitely recommend you give these a go. I promise they’re much more delicious than they might look or their names might suggest. Continue reading