Ciao bambino! The Family Foodies Italian challenge

ciao bambino

In my eyes, Italian food has to be one of the most child-friendly cuisines in the world, in the same way Italian restaurants are very often the most child-friendly places to eat with little ones in tow.

Italian dishes feature frequently in my family meal plans. There’s the now staple penne with pesto or a simple tomato sauce, spaghetti with meatballs, crowd-pleasing macaroni cheese and homely lasagne. There’s pizza and calzone – both the homemade and from-the-freezer varieties. There’s gnocchi and minestrone soup and risotto. And then there’s the puddings – the ice creams and semi-freddo, the tirimisu and panna cotta.

So for our latest Family Foodies challenge, we’re inviting food bloggers to share their favourite family-friendly, Italian-inspired dishes. From the traditional and authentic to your own unique twists on Italian classics, all are welcome at our Italian-themed feast.

What will you bring to the party?  Continue reading

What’s your favourite spice mix? Share yours in The Spice Trail

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For April and May’s Spice Trail challenge, I’ve decided to celebrate the spice mix in all its many and various guises.

Every country, continent and cuisine around the world has its own spice mixes and blends. From North African dukkah and ras el hanout to French quatre epices and Jamaican jerk seasoning. The Middle East has given us baharat and za’atar, while from Asia we have garam masala and panch phoron. Continue reading

Festive family foodies

festive family foodies

There’s nothing quite like a big family feast or party to mark the season’s festivities. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Eid, Diwali or Hanukkah, food’s at the heart of it all.

Whatever you’re celebrating, this month on the Family Foodies challenge we want to hear about your favourite family foods and drinks that are guaranteed to get your party started. Continue reading

The Spice Trail: summer spice challenge

summer spice

Enter your Summer Spice dishes to win a fantastic gift set from Holy Lama Spice Drops!

I’m giving you almost completely free reign with your choice of spice in this month’s Spice Trail challenge. So long as your dish has a sense of summer about it and a splash a spice, then it fits the bill.

Your dish could come from any of the four corners of the world, be sweet or savoury, snack or main course, drink or dessert – the choice is completely yours. Just so long as it’s a) spicy and b) summery, and I’ll be happy!

spice dropsHoly Lama! What a prize!

This month the lovely Gouri Kubair from Holy Lama (a chartered accountant turned serious foodie) is our guest judge and she’s offering an amazing prize for one very lucky winner – a gift set of summery Holy Lama Spice Drops, including fennel seed, mint, lemongrass, rose and pepper, presented in a beautiful handcrafted wooden stand.

The Spice Drops range of products, which recently came in the top 5 in Ocado’s ‘Top Supplier’ competition, are concentrated extracts of natural spices and herbs in the form of drops, offering a simpler, more consistent way to infuse food and drink with pure, vibrant flavours. Forget peeling, grinding, scraping and measuring and simply add a drop or two at any stage of the cooking process. Spice Drops contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and a few drops go a long way!

What’s more, Holy Lama manufactures their products in an ethically-run factory employing marginalised women in the local community in Kerala, India.

See the full range of Spice Drops on the Holy Lama website and read a recent interview with Gouri here.

So what are you waiting for? I really can’t wait to see your Summer Spice entries!

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 they each one has a Summer Spice 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 Tuesday 29 July 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 gift set from Holy Lama.
  • 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 Summer Spice dishes and drinks. Any questions, please tweet or email me.

And thanks to everyone who entered June’s cumin challenge – the round-up and winner announcement will be coming very soon.

July’s entries

  1. Mint and Indian Cottage Cheese Patties from Home Cook Food
  2. Usirikaya Pachadi / Goose Berry Pickle from Sahasra Recipes
  3. Ginger Zinger Cake from Lancashire Food
  4. Kale Spinach Muthia from Home Cook Food
  5. Chimichurri Sauce from Home Cook Food
  6. Summer Coolant Salad from Drizzling Delicacies
  7. Chipotle Chilli Sauce from How to Cook Good Food
  8. Lemon, Lavender & Almond Cake from Family-Friends-Food
  9. Peach Streusel Kuchen Traybake from Tales From the Kitchen Shed
  10. Mejadra – Middle Eastern Rice & Lentils from Family-Friends-Food
  11. Courgette Pakoras from Lapin d’Or and More
  12. Fasulye with Dukkah Roasted Tofu from Chocolate Log Blog
  13. Apple & Pineapple Eve’s Pudding from Casa Costello
  14. Briouates Stuffed with Spinach & Meat from Madhouse Family Reviews
  15. Patatas a lo pobre (poor man’s potatoes) from Madhouse Family Reviews
  16. Moroccan Kefta Meatball Tagine from Madhouse Family Reviews
  17. Bobotie Spiced Beef Burgers from Bangers & Mash

Summer Spice image: nkzs

November’s Family Foodies challenge: lunchbox ideas

family-foodies

Hot on the heels of The Spice Trail, today I bring you news of a second blog event I am hosting here on Bangers & Mash this month.

Family Foodies is the brain child of Lou at Eat Your Veg and I was thrilled when she invited me to co-host this recipe-sharing challenge with her. October was the inaugural month and the Weekend Slowies theme attracted a fantastic array of tempting recipes, providing lots of ideas for delicious family food to cook when you have a little more time to spend in the kitchen.

Now it’s my turn to host the challenge and for November the theme is Lunchbox Ideas.

Every parent and carer knows how easy it is to get stuck in a rut when it comes to thinking up tasty and appealing fillers for packed lunches. So come on fellow food bloggers – let’s get together and pool our ideas for easy, healthy ways to fill our children’s tummies, make sure they get their five-a-day, tickle and tantalize their taste buds, all while giving them a loving, foodie ‘hug from home’.

Whether it’s suggestions for nutritious sandwich fillings or different types of homemade bread or wraps, new takes on salads or dips, or inspiring twists on muffins, flapjacks or other home-baked goodies – we want to know what your children love to eat in their lunchboxes and how to give them them the energy boost and brain power they need for the afternoon ahead.

Oh, and there just might be a prize for the best lunchbox idea at the end of the month too!

Family Foodie Entry Guidelines:

  • You may submit any recipe on your blog that fits this month’s theme, new or from the archive, and feel free to enter as many times as you wish. 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 Thursday 28 November 2013.
  • 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, and we’ll happily post out any prizes.
  • 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.

I’m really looking forward to seeing your entries!

November’s entries:

  1. Bread Pudding from The Crazy Kitchen
  2. Savoury Vegetable Cake from Allotment 2 Kitchen
  3. Apple & Smoked Cheese Pasties from The Garden Deli
  4. Chocolate, Orange & Cranberry Cookies from Utterly Scrummy
  5. Bento Sushi Rice Shapes from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
  6. Super-Fruity Banana Loaf Cake from Eat Your Veg
  7. Spiced Muesli Cake from The Crazy Kitchen
  8. Soul-Cakes from Lavender & Lovage
  9. Honey Mustard Sausage Plaits from Mint Custard
  10. Gluten Free Sausage, Bacon and Apple Rolls from the Gluten Free Alchemist
  11. Cheesy Pumpkin Scones from Eat Your Veg
  12. Easy Iced Lime Cake from Fab Food 4 All
  13. Mini Lunchbox Pasties and Tarts from Bangers & Mash
  14. Spiced Pumpkin and Chocolate Muffins from Leeks & Limoni
  15. Chilli Corn Chocolate Muffins from Chocolate Log Blog
  16. Luchito Honey Glazed Ham from Eat Your Veg
  17. Pumpkin, Walnut & Poppy Seed Muffins with Cheddar Cheese from Lavender & Lovage
  18. Cheddar Cheese, Apple & Sage Scones from Bangers & Mash
  19. Hedgehog Rolls from Eat Your Veg
  20. Dried Fruit & Nut Balls from Bangers & Mash

The Spice Trail: a new monthly event for food bloggers

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Celebrate cooking with spices and win a Mexican recipe box

This month a new challenge comes to Bangers & Mash: The Spice Trail – a monthly food bloggers’ event, showcasing dishes from all around the world that celebrate cooking with spices. In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m ever so slightly partial to cooking with spices myself. Being a family cook with two daughters (aged five and eight), some people are surprised at how much spice features in my food and I’m often asked how I persuade my children to eat spicy food or whether I have to prepare them separate meals in order to satisfy my personal spice cravings. Thankfully my girls are pretty adventurous most of the time. They were introduced to spices when I was weaning them onto solid foods, and possibly even earlier – when they were in the womb. (Both babies were overdue and I consumed an awful lot of spicy curries in those final days of pregnancy hoping to bring on labour!) Jess and Mia might not always be up for hotter, pungent spices but they’re more than happy to tuck into foods flavoured with spices like coriander, cumin, paprika, cardamom, turmeric, cinnamon – the list goes on. Family food doesn’t have to be bland food. So through this new challenge, I plan to offer you some of the beautifully spiced foods I like to feed my family – and I hope you will join in and share your favourite spicy foods too. Every month there will be a different theme; sometimes a specific spice, other times a particular world cuisine or type of food.

November’s challenge: cooking with chillies

To launch The Spice Trail, our first month’s theme is Cooking with Chillies and I’m really excited to see what delicious chilli recipes you have up your sleeves. My husband and I are both self-confessed chilli-heads and it’ll be fantastic for us to have a stock of new chilli recipes to work our way through. cooking with chilli Technically, chillies are only classed as a spice when they are dried or powdered, but I’m more than happy to accept recipes this month featuring fresh chillies as well. Quite simply, I love chilli in any form!

Win a Kitchen Nomad Mexican recipe box

kitchennomadmexico

Think of chilli and probably one of the first cuisines that comes to mind will be Mexican. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Kitchen Nomad for the winning prize for this first challenge, as their recipe box this month is full of the hot and spicy flavours of Mexico. The recipes in Kitchen Nomad’s Mexican box are from Thomasina Miers, an English cook, writer and television presenter. In 2005 she won the BBC cookery competition MasterChef, and she is founder of the Wahaca chain of Mexican street food restaurants. Dishes include stuffed chillies, black bean soup, rajas tacos and chilli honey crumble. I subscribe to Kitchen Nomad’s boxes and I am thoroughly enjoying working my way thorugh this month’s recipes and ingredients.

How to enter The Spice Trail

spice trail badge square Display the The Spice Trail badge (on the left and also available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post. You may enter as many recipe links as you like, so long as they feature this month’s key ingredient – chilli (fresh, dried or powdered). 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 Thursday 28 November 2013. If you tweet your post, please mention #TheSpiceTrail and me @BangerMashChat in your tweet and I’ll retweet each one I see. Feel free to republish old recipe posts, but please add the information about this challenge and The Spice Trail badge. As entries come in, links to these will be added to this page. At the end of the month a guest judge will choose a winning recipe and the winner this month will receive a fabulous Mexican-themed food box from the good people at Kitchen Nomad. The winner will be announced in a monthly round-up of all the entries. All entries will be added to The Spice Trail Pinterest Board. I can’t wait to see what dishes you come up with for The Spice Trail. Any questions, please tweet or email me.

November’s entries:

  1. Slow Cooked Mexican Style Beef from Mamacook
  2. Kinda Vietnamese Chicken Salad from Mamacook
  3. Pineapple, Cinnamon & Red Chilli Frozen Yoghurt from Deena Kakaya
  4. Sweet Lychee and Hot Chilli Dipping Sauce from Deena Kakaya
  5. Chilli Oil with an Indian Accent from Deena Kakaya
  6. Lamb, Butternut & Apricot Tagine from Eat Your Veg
  7. Homemade Harissa from Chef Mireille’s Global Creations
  8. Chilli, Ginger & Persimmon Tarts from Chocolate Log Blog
  9. Slow Cooker Coconut Lentil Curry from Recipes from a Pantry
  10. Lamb Curry from My Golden Pear
  11. Plantain Peanut Soup from Chef Mireille’s Global Creations
  12. Sicilian Style Beef Chilli Pasta from Spurs Cook

  13. Cheryl’s Paella from Bangers & Mash
  14. Chocolate & Chestnut Spiced Loaf from Blue Kitchen Bakes
  15. Vegan Spiced Parsnip Samosa Pies from Allotment 2 Kitchen
  16. Pork Meatballs and Pasta from Searching for Spice
  17. Creamy Vegetable Soup from Chef Mireille’s Global Creations
  18. Tagliatelle with Lamb’s Liver from Bangers & Mash
  19. Smoked Mozzarella & Chipotle Cornbread from Fromage Homage
  20. Chilli con Carne from Jibber Jabber UK
  21. Luchito Honey Glazed Ham from Eat Your Veg
  22. Winter Root Soup with Spiced Tadka from Cook Eat Write

  23. Chilli Beef Pie with Spicy Potato Wedges from Bangers & Mash
  24. Joe’s Homemade Baked Beans from Eat Your Veg
  25. Chilli Con Carne with Black Bean Sauce from Reluctant Housedad’s Recipe Shed
  26. Peri Peri Sauce from My Golden Pear
  27. Scotch Bonnet Sauce from Tales from the Kitchen Shed