17 recipes inspired by India

India Recipes Collage

If you’re in the mood for an ‘Indian’ but fancy something a little more adventurous than your usual Saturday night chicken curry and naan bread, here is some spicy inspiration to stir up your senses from food bloggers across the globe.

India Collage 1

(1) Saag Paneer and (2) Paneer Tikka from Eat Like You Love Yourself
(3) Channa Saag-ish from I’ll Cook, You Wash
(4) Marinated Paneer Salad from Searching for Spice
(5) Chicken Tikka Kebabs with Spiced Vegetables and (6) Raitas from Bangers & Mash

India Collage 2

(7) Vegan Slow Cooker Red Lentil Dhal from Mess Makes Food
(8) Curried Cream of Cauliflower Soup from Brittany Jackson
(9) Tandoori Chicken with Coronation Macaroni from Chef Mel’s Kitchen
(10) Puttu with Kadala Curry from Subha’s Dairy Free Treats
(11) Quinoa Carrot ‘Meatballs’ in Tamarind Sauce from Allotment 2 Kitchen
(12) Vegan Marrow Curry with Tricolour Couscous from Allotment 2 Kitchen

India Collage 3

(13) Gujarati Thali from Home Cook Food
(14) Spicy Stuffed Baby Eggplants from Home Cook Food
(15) Dal Bukhara from Home Cook Food
(16) Eggless Kesar Milk Masala Custard & Sooji Halwa (Sheera) Dessert from CHINSKITCHEN
(17) Kulfi from Cakes from Kim

selection of natco products

And the winner is…

I’m delighted to announce the winner of this month’s Indian-themed Spice Trail challenge is Miss Messy (aka Holly from Mess Makes Food) for her heavenly and insanely tempting Slow Cooker Red Lentil Dahl - don’t you just want to dive right in?

Holly is the lucky winner of a brilliant hamper of Indian goodies from Natco, purveyors of the most fantastic and comprehensive range of Indian foods and spices. You can find out more about their ingredients at www.natco-online.com.

Massive congratulations to Holly and thanks to everyone who submitted entries for this India-inspired challenge. If you’re up for another challenge, October’s Spice Trail is open and the theme is Preserves and Pickles.

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White chocolate, beetroot and cardamom mousse

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Look away now if you’re on a diet. While this mousse might contain a generous helping of roast beetroot, I can make no claims for it being at all healthy. It’s rich, indulgent and highly calorific. Which is why it tastes so darn good.

Isn’t it the most amazing colour? You can imagine the look on my girls’ faces when they first saw it. Continue reading

Norwegian gravlaks and a simple beetroot pickle

gravlaks with beetroot pickle and dill mustard sauce 3 text

Normally I have the family in mind when I post recipes on my blog, but on this occasion this dish is all about me, me, me!

I adore fish and seafood you see, but I don’t get to eat or cook with it as much as I might like. My husband is sadly unable to eat most fish and seafood and I don’t really like cooking separate meals for different family members if I can avoid it. That’s why you don’t generally see that many fish recipes here. Continue reading

Pretend it’s still summer with an Appletiser mocktail

appletiser mocktail 2

The weather’s turned rather grim here in the West Country. Just yesterday we were out paddling in the local stream, and then the heavens opened overnight and it suddenly feels rather chilly and wintry today. The slippers and big jumpers have come o ut and I think the central heating might be back on soon.

But that hasn’t stopped us from pretending it’s still summer. Appletiser sent me some bottles of their new Apple & Pomegranate sparkling fruit juice to try out, which are the perfect base for some summerlicious cocktails and mocktails, particularly if you have a bag of berries stashed in the freezer. Continue reading

Cooking with kids: October’s Family Foodies challenge

cooking with kids Collage

We’re already into October and I’m pleased to say it’s my turn to host the Family Foodies challenge. This month our theme is Cooking with Kids and we’re looking for your recipes and ideas to encourage little ones to get active in the kitchen.

Children are never too young to help out with the cooking – although I use the term ‘help out’ quite loosely here! Since my girls were little babies, I’ve been getting them to ‘help’ me prepare meals; from playing with pasta shapes or rolling dough sat in their high chairs to banging pots and pans on the kitchen floor as I did pretty much the same thing on the stove top. Even before they could walk, simply watching and playing alongside me has meant they were learning about where food comes from and how it is made.

PizzaCollageAs my daughters have got older, so they’ve grown more and more independent in the kitchen. When they were toddlers, their role was to put the toppings on the pizza. Next they’d be allowed to chop the ham and grate the cheese. And now, aged nine and six, they pretty much make the pizzas from scratch, from preparing the dough to popping their finished creations in the oven.

And as often as possible I encourage the girls to plan and cook their own meal for all the family. We start by leafing through children’s cookbooks to choose a main course and a pudding, before writing a shopping list and then helping me buy the ingredients. Spaghetti Bolognese and chocolate cake tend to be popular choices. I can just about let our oldest Jess get on with it alone now, although I tend to hang around in the kitchen in case she needs a hand, while I act as Mia’s ‘kitchen slave’ so that she’s in charge and I only do what she instructs me to do – within reason!


I can’t wait to hear how you involve your children or grandchildren or nieces and nephews in the kitchen. What are your favourite recipes to make with children? And do you have any tips for making sure the whole thing doesn’t turn into complete and utter mayhem? Post your recipes in the usual way and link up to this challenge by the end of the month or feel free to dig out posts from your blog archives and link those up too.

gingerbread houseWin a gingerbread house cutter set!

Our prize this month is this brilliant Lakeland cutter set to make your very own gingerbread house. With Christmas just around the corner, this could come in very handy.

The set includes a gingerbread recipe and 12 cutters to stamp out walls, roof, tree, a snowman and his gingerbread friends. You then simply mix some icing sugar to ‘cement’ the house together, before decorating with all your favourite sweeties and a dusting of icing sugar snow.

Family Foodie entry guidelines

  • You may submit any recipe on your blog that fits this month’s theme, new or from the archive, and there is a limit of three entries per blogger. You’re also welcome to submit the post to other challenges too. If the recipe is not your own, please give the appropriate credit.
  • Send your recipe URL to me at vanesther-at-reescommunications-dot-co-dot-uk, including your own email address and the title of your recipe or post. The closing date this month is Friday 31 October 2014.
  • Display the Family Foodies badge (above) on your recipe post, with a link back to both Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash, as well as details of this month’s challenge.
  • If you’re on Twitter, then please tweet your post to myself @BangerMashChat and Lou @Eat_Your_Veg and include the hashtag #FamilyFoodies. We’ll retweet all that we see.
  • You may enter from anywhere in the blogosphere, but prizes can only be posted to UK addresses.
  • At the end of the month a guest judge will choose a winning recipe. The winner will be announced in a monthly round-up of all the entries. Winners will get to display a Family Foodie Winner annotated badge on their blog if they wish and their recipe will go through to the Family Foodies Hall of Fame on each of our sites.
  • All entries will be added to the Family Foodies Pinterest Group Board.

Any questions, do drop me an email at the address above.

Thanks so much to everyone that entered the August/September challenge hosted by Louisa at Eat Your Veg, where the theme was The Under Twos. Louisa will be announcing the winner of the M&S Tiny Taste Buds goodies very soon.

For the low down on other foodie challenges, competitions and giveaways, head over to The Food Blog Diary.

October’s entries

  1. Chocolate Hummus from Recipes From A Pantry
  2. Holy Eggs! from The Hedge Combers
  3. Indian Rice pudding with Fluffy Indian Bread from Home Cook Food
  4. Chilli Cheese Sandwich with Chinese Tomato Soup from Home Cook Food
  5. One Minute Microwave Masala Omelette from Home Cook Food
  6. First Day at School Chocolate Cake from Tinned Tomatoes
  7. Oaty Ginger Chocolate Biscuits from Chocolate Log Blog

Win a cheese & olives hamper in October’s Spice Trail challenge

Cheese and Olives

It’s safe to say autumn has arrived here in the UK. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Plus all those glorious pickles, chutneys, jams and all manner of preserves.

That’s why October’s theme for The Spice Trail simply has to be Preserves & Pickles. This month I’m looking for your pickled pears, onions or even eggs, your piccalillis and preserved lemons, chunky chutneys, fruit-laden jams, jellies and marmalades. All are welcome – just so long as they also include a healthy pinch of spice!

And what would go better with all those pickles and preserves than a tasty hunk of cheese? One lucky winner this month will receive a fabulous Cheese & Olives hamper from Serenata Hampers. Featuring a trio of beautiful cheeses (Abbots Choice Cheddar, Cropwell Bishop Blue Stilton and a Wensleydale with cranberries), specially selected garlic and chilli olives and crunchy oatcakes, this hamper offers a superb collection of delicacies for all real food lovers.

How to enter The Spice Trail

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  • Display the The Spice Trail badge (above and also available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  • Up to three recipe links accepted per blogger, so long as each one fits this month’s theme and features at least one spice.
  • Feel free to link up recipe posts from your archive, but please add the information about this challenge to the post and The Spice Trail badge.
  • Send your recipe URL to me at vanesther-at-reescommunications-dot-co-dot-uk, including your own email address and the title of your recipe or post. The closing date this month is Friday 31 October 2014.
  • If you tweet your post, please mention #TheSpiceTrail and me @BangerMashChat in your tweet and I’ll retweet each one I see.
  • As entries come in, links to these will be added to the bottom of this page.
  • At the end of the month a guest judge will choose a winning recipe and the winner this month will receive a Serenata Cheese & Olives hamper.
  • The winner will be announced in a monthly round-up of all the entries.
  • Entries from bloggers all around the world are accepted, but unfortunately the prize can only be shipped to a UK address.
  • All entries will be added to The Spice Trail Pinterest Board.

I’m really looking forward to seeing your entries, and do watch this space for the round-up of September’s A Taste of India challenge.

October’s entries

  1. Tomatillo and Tomato Chutney from Mrs Portly’s Kitchen
  2. Green Bean and Caramelised Onion Chutney from The Gluten Free Alchemist
  3. Carrot and Green Chili Pickle from Home Cook Food
  4. Apple and Sprouted Chickpeas Pickle from Home Cook Food
  5. Sweet and Spicy Lemon Pickle from Home Cook Food

A right pair of raitas


Whenever we eat curry, we always have raita on the side. It’s quite simply a match made in heaven. I’ve never actually followed a raita recipe though, generally just making it up as I go along, chucking together some yoghurt, mint, cucumber and perhaps a pinch of spice or squeeze of lime, depending on my mood.

But the other day when I made Madhur Jaffrey’s wonderful chicken tikka kebabs from her Ultimate Curry Bible, I came across a couple of her raita recipes and thought I’d give them a go. And they are ever so good. Continue reading