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

spice trail badge square

  • 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

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

spice trail badge long

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

August’s Recipes for Life challenge: milk, eggs and flour

eggs flour milk

So here we are, the final month of Recipes for Life, the challenge I launched back in February with the charity SWALLOW to help its cookery club find tasty new recipes for members to make themselves.

We decided to go right back to basics for this last challenge and our final three ingredients are milk, eggs and flour. You can’t get more basic than that now, can you?

What would you make with eggs, milk and flour? The options are wide open. Sweet or savoury; breakfast, lunch or dinner (or breakfast, dinner or tea!), or even supper – the choice is yours.

As ever you can add any extra ingredients you fancy but just please make sure they are the kind of thing you’d find in most fridges or store cupboards, or else easily and cheaply available in any supermarket or grocery store. Full guidelines on how to take part are below.

The plan is to include the best recipes from the seven months of the challenge in SWALLOW’s new cookery book. SWALLOW is a Somerset-based charity, supporting adults with learning disabilities to lead more independent lives. They run a wide range of programmes for its members, empowering them with the skills and experiences to live their lives to the full, from therapeutic art courses and drama groups to domestic and work-based training.

As part of its Fit for Life programme, SWALLOW runs cookery courses, helping members learn to prepare simple, inexpensive and nutritious meals. SWALLOW is looking for new recipes for its members to cook on the course, and ultimately to include in its cookbook, that don’t require a lengthy list of ingredients and aren’t incredibly complicated to make.

We’ve had a fantastic response from the food blogging community to date, offering a diverse collection of tasty, cheap and easy dishes made from everyday ingredients. Let’s see if we can make this month the best month yet!

wpid-swallow-recipes-for-life.jpeg

Recipes for Life: how to enter

  1. Display the Recipes for Life badge (shown above and available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  2. You may enter as many recipe links as you like, so long as they are based on the three main ingredients selected for this month and accompanied only by everyday items.
  3. 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 Saturday 31 August 2013.
  4. If you tweet your post, please mention #RecipesforLife@BangerMashChat and@SWALLOWcharity in your tweet and we will retweet each one we see.
  5. Feel free to republish old recipe posts, but please add the information about this challenge and the Recipes for Life badge.
  6. As entries come in, links to these will be added to this page and at the end of the month there will be a round-up of all entries received.
  7. SWALLOW staff and members will choose their favourite recipe at the end of each month, and the winner will receive a small prize.
  8. A selection of recipes entered each month will be featured in the SWALLOW cookbook to be published later this year, helping the charity to raise much-needed funds for its ongoing work.

We really look forward to seeing your entries this month, and you never know – there might be a special prize as it’s the final challenge. You’ll just have to wait and see!

August’s entries

  1. Fluffy Golden Pancakes from Recipes From A Pantry
  2. Gingerbread Pancakes from Recipes From A Pantry
  3. Banana Pancakes from Recipes From A Pantry
  4. Pancakes with Raspberries from Happiness is Homemade
  5. Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Fried Bananas from Happiness is Homemade
  6. White Chocolate & Cherry Muffins from The Crazy Kitchen
  7. Königsberger Klopse – German Meatballs from Mummy Alarm
  8. Flammkuchen (Bacon and Creme Fraiche Tart) from Under The Blue Gum Tree
  9. Ham & Tomato Pancake Pizza from The Crazy Kitchen
  10. Pea-nut-ella Rolls from Cutchi Kitchen
  11. Pizza Pancakes from The Garden Deli
  12. Tarte Tatin from Bangers & Mash

 

Round up: July’s Recipes for Life challenge

Oats, berries and honey were the three set ingredients for July’s installment of the Recipes for Life challenge and I was rather impressed with the variety of dishes we received.

While we might not have attracted as many entries as in previous months, I’d say it was definitely a case of quality over quantity and the team at SWALLOW still had a pretty tough job to decide the winner. But before we make that announcement, let’s run through the entries…

Raspberry and Toasted Coconut Flapjacks with Yoghurt Drizzle from Under The Blue Gum Tree

Raspberry and Toasted Coconut Flapjacks with Yoghurt Drizzle from Under The Blue Gum Tree

Claire at Under The Blue Gum Tree got in there first with her tempting Raspberry and Toasted Coconut Flapjacks with Yoghurt Drizzle, which would be equally welcome at breakfast time as a well as lovely teatime treat. I do like the idea of serving them with custard too for a perfect pud.

Honey Nut Granola and Raspberry Yogurt Parfaits from Whatever Gets You Through The Day

Honey Nut Granola and Raspberry Yogurt Parfaits from Whatever Gets You Through The Day

Another entry I could easily see myself scoffing for breakfast are these deliciously virtuous Honey Nut Granola and Raspberry Yogurt Parfaits from Iris at Whatever Gets You Through The Day. Like Iris, granola is one of my favourite foods and I love the look of hers. Everybody should make their own granola!

Strawberry & Honey Super Smoothies from Bangers & Mash

Strawberry & Honey Super Smoothies from Bangers & Mash

Regular readers of this blog might have noticed I’m rather partial to a fruit smoothie. They’re a pretty standard feature of our more leisurely weekend breakfasts in the Bangers & Mash household. These Strawberry & Honey Super Smoothies are a tasty and energising way to start the day.

Fruit and Nut Granola from Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary

Fruit and Nut Granola from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary

Elizabeth from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary brings us another granola as her entry. Her Fruit & Nut Granola is jam-packed with juicy fruity nutty goodness and I’m definitely stealing her idea of using cashew nuts next time I make up a jar.

Duck with a Honey and Oats Crust Served with Berries Compote

Duck with a Honey and Oats Crust Served with Berries Compote

Martin from Spurs Cook always comes up with surprisingly ingenious entries and this month was no exception. Check out his Duck with a Honey & Oats Crust and Berries Compote - not something you’d expect to see here, right? But it looks pretty damn good nonetheless.

Blueberry and Oat Drop Pancakes from Rich in Flavour

Blueberry and Oat Drop Pancakes from Rich in Flavour

Another inventive entry comes from Rich at Rich in Flavour with these gorgeous Blueberry and Oat Drop Pancakes, for a deliciously lazy Sunday brunch with a clever combination of the classic winter breakfast, porridge and the American pancake of choice, blueberry. I do look forward to trying them out myself.

Chewy Honey & Oatmeal Cookies with Summer Berry Jam from The Crazy Kitchen

Chewy Honey & Oatmeal Cookies with Summer Berry Jam from The Crazy Kitchen

Helen from The Crazy Kitchen has been a fantastic stalwart of the Recipes for Life challenge and despite being away on holiday she still managed to get an entry in this month. Her Chewy Honey & Oatmeal Cookies with Summery Berry Jam look absolutely irresistible and I’m rather taken with the notion of serving cookies with homemade jam.

Cherry Crumble Muffins from Bangers & Mash

Cherry Crumble Muffins from Bangers & Mash

The final entry is one of mine but technically I shouldn’t really allow it as it features cherries which of course are not actually a berry. This really didn’t occur to me until I was posting the recipe last week but I went and entered it anyway. Cherries are very similar to berries, aren’t they? And you could easily substitute them for blueberries or blackberries. Anyway, here are my Cherry Crumble Muffins.

So there you go – July’s mouth-watering entries for Recipes for Life. Which one would you choose to win? I’m very glad the decision wasn’t down to me. That was the task for the team at SWALLOW, who are collecting recipes for their cookery club to try out, the best of which will appear in their new cookbook coming out later in the year. So which one did they go for? Drum roll please…

This month’s winner is the talented Martin from Spurs Cook with his Duck with a Honey & Oats Crust and Berries Compote and a very deserving winner he is too. Huge congratulations to Martin – a little something will be on its way to you shortly from SWALLOW.

That really should have been the last month of the Recipes for Life challenge but due to ‘popular demand’ we have decided to extend it by another month. Watch this space for news of the next three ingredients. Will you rise to the final challenge?

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Strawberry and honey super smoothies

Strawberry super smoothie

We slurp our way through a fair few smoothies in our house. They’re the perfect way to use up ripe bananas, especially when it’s way too hot to consider baking banana bread, and they are a brilliantly healthy start to the day. Although saying that, quite often our smoothies are rather indulgent, especially when my husband makes them with lots of vanilla ice cream.

This strawberry and honey super smoothie is of the healthy variety. It features a couple of spoonfuls of rolled oats, making it extra thick and creamy and perfect for a fuel-filled breakfast.

And of course they’re ridiculously easy to make, which is essential first thing in the morning.

strawberry super smoothie

Strawberry and honey super smoothies

2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
400g strawberries, hulled and chopped
4 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp rolled oats
1 pint ice cold milk

Simply pop all the ingredients into your food blender and whizz until smooth and frothy. That’s it.

Serve alongside your bowl of cereal or dippy eggs and soldiers for a top brekkie.

strawberry super smoothie

Because these super smoothies are so easy to rustle up and contain this month’s trio of ingredients (honey, oats and berries), I’m entering them into the Recipes for Life challenge, which I also happen to be hosting.

wpid-swallow-recipes-for-life.jpeg

July is the penultimate month for Recipes for Life. Each month we challenge food bloggers to create tasty, healthy and easy-to-make dishes using three key ingredients.

I’m running the challenge on behalf of a brilliant charity called SWALLOW, which supports adults with learning difficulties. Their cookery club will have a go at making the recipes themselves and the best ones will be included in a new cookbook later in the year.

Perhaps you’d like to get involved in the challenge? Find out more here.

 

July’s Recipes for Life challenge: berries, honey and oats

berriescollage

This was supposed to be the final month for the Recipes for Life challenge. Can you believe we’re onto month six already? Time flies when you’re having fun, eh? But due to popular demand – well, a bit of banter recently on Twitter – we’ve decided to extend the challenge by another month.

So, I welcome you to the penultimate month for Recipes for Life! July’s three ingredients, as selected by the cookery group at SWALLOW, are berries, honey and oats. What mouth-watering, healthy, easy-to-make dishes could you create with those?

The berries can any kind of berries you fancy – gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries – the list goes on. The berries can be fresh, frozen, tinned or dried. The honey can be set or runny. The oats can be Scotch or rolled. As ever, we’re pretty flexible really. All we ask is that you keep your recipes as simple as possible and any other ingredients you use should be found in most fridges or store cupboards, or otherwise easily sourced from any supermarket or grocery shop. Full guidelines on how to take part are below.

At the end of the Recipes for Life challenge, the best recipes will be included in SWALLOW’s new cookery book. SWALLOW is a brilliant charity in Somerset, supporting adults with learning disabilities to lead more independent lives. Your recipes will also be recreated by SWALLOW’s cookery group, which is run by the lovely Tracey. The group meets every Wednesday and introduces its members to simple but delicious dishes they can make on their own.

wpid-swallow-recipes-for-life.jpeg

Recipes for Life: how to enter

  1. Display the Recipes for Life badge (shown above and available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  2. You may enter as many recipe links as you like, so long as they are based on the three main ingredients selected for this month and accompanied only by everyday items.
  3. 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 30 July 2013.
  4. If you tweet your post, please mention #RecipesforLife@BangerMashChat and@SWALLOWcharity in your tweet and we will retweet each one we see.
  5. Feel free to republish old recipe posts, but please add the information about this challenge and the Recipes for Life badge.
  6. As entries come in, links to these will be added to this page and at the end of the month there will be a round-up of all entries received.
  7. SWALLOW staff and members will choose their favourite recipe at the end of each month, and the winner will receive a small prize.
  8. A selection of recipes entered each month will be featured in the SWALLOW cookbook to be published later this year, helping the charity to raise much-needed funds for its ongoing work.

We have been absolutely thrilled at the support we have had from food bloggers for the Recipes for Life challenge – thank you all so much. And we look forward – hungrily – to your entries for July!

July’s entries

  1. Raspberry and Toasted Coconut Flapjacks with Yoghurt Drizzle by Under The Blue Gum Tree
  2. Honey Nut Granola and Raspberry Yogurt Parfaits by Whatever Gets You Through The Day

  3. Strawberry & Honey Super Smoothies by Bangers & Mash
  4. Fruit & Nut Granola by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
  5. Duck with a Honey & Oats Crust and Berries Compote by Spurs Cook
  6. Blueberry and Oat Drop Pancakes from Rich in Flavour
  7. Chewy Honey & Oatmeal Cookies with Summery Berry Jam by The Crazy Kitchen
  8. Cherry Crumble Muffins by Bangers & Mash

June’s Recipes for Life challenge: salmon, pasta and courgette (aka zucchini)


salmonpastacourgetteCollage

I’m still recovering from writing the round-up last night for May’s Recipes for Life, so I’m keeping this post short and sweet.

The three ingredients for June’s Recipes for Life are salmon (fresh, smoked, tinned or cured), pasta (dried, fresh, homemade, shop-bought, you can even use a tin of spaghetti hoops if you’re so inclined!) and courgette – also known as zucchini in certain parts of the world.

So get your culinary thinking caps on! What tasty creations can you come up with featuring salmon, pasta and courgette?

recipes for life

Through the Recipes for Life challenge, we’re looking for easy-to-follow, healthy dishes for members of SWALLOW’s cookery club to recreate in their sessions. Any other ingredients you use should therefore be readily available in most grocers or supermarkets.

SWALLOW is an amazing charity based in Midsomer Norton, which supports adults with learning disabilities to lead more independent lives.

The Recipes for Life challenge is running for six months and at the end, the best recipes will be included in SWALLOW’s new cookery book to help raise much-needed funds for the charity.

Recipes for Life: how to enter

  1. Display the Recipes for Life badge (shown above and available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  2. You may enter as many recipe links as you like, so long as they are based on the three main ingredients selected for this month and accompanied only by everyday items.
  3. 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 25 June 2013.
  4. If you tweet your post, please mention #RecipesforLife@BangerMashChat and@SWALLOWcharity in your tweet and we will retweet each one we see.
  5. Feel free to republish old recipe posts, but please add the information about this challenge and the Recipes for Life badge.
  6. As entries come in, links to these will be added to this page and at the end of the month there will be a round-up of all entries received.
  7. SWALLOW staff and members will choose their favourite recipe at the end of each month, and the winner will receive a small prize.
  8. A selection of recipes entered each month will be featured in the SWALLOW cookbook to be published later this year, helping the charity to raise much-needed funds for its ongoing work.

Thanks to everyone who has supported and taken part in Recipes for Life so far. We can’t wait to see your entries for June!

June’s entries

  1. Salmon and Prawn Fishballs in a Tomato and Courgette Sauce from Spurs Cook
  2. Foil-baked Shetland Salmon with Orzo & Courgette Ribbons from Elizabeth’s Kitchen 
  3. Smoked Salmon, Courgette (Zucchini) & Dill Pasta from Blue Kitchen Bakes
  4. Smoked Salmon and Courgette (Zucchini) Pasta from JibberJabberUK

  5. Salmon Canneloni from The Crazy Kitchen
  6. Smoked Salmon, Raw Courgette (Zucchini) and Spearmint Cannelloni Bites from On Top of Spaghetti
  7. Smoked Salmon and Courgette Carbonara from Chez Foti

  8. Angel Hair Pasta with Salmon and Courgettes from Spurs Cook
  9. Warm Pasta Salad with Courgette & Herbs from The Garden Deli
  10. Smoked Salmon & Courgette Orzotto from Under The Blue Gum Tree
  11. Salmon and Courgette Ravioli from Rich in Flavour
  12. Simple Salmon Croquettes with Courgette & Baby Leek Hollandaise from Bangers & Mash

Round Up: May’s Recipes for Life challenge

rhubarbCollage

I knew when we announced the three ingredients for May’s Recipes for Life it would prove a popular month for the challenge, and I wasn’t wrong. Faced with a trio of rhubarb, lemon and spice, food bloggers demonstrated just how creative they can be in the kitchen, concocting both sweet and savoury dishes from fools and muffins, ice creams and sorbets to curry and cous cous and even spaghetti!

Let’s take a look at each of those lovely seasonal rhubarb dishes in turn…

rhubarb compote

I got the rhubarb party started with a simple Rhubarb Compote. It’s very good as an accompaniment to roast duck, pork or lamb, and if you make a little too much, use up the rest in a big thick cheese sandwich. My compote is flavoured with ginger and mixed spice, but you could go with whichever spices take your fancy really.

rhubarb-fool

I love a good fool and this Rhubarb, Ginger and Lemon Fool from Claire at Under The Blue Gum Tree looks especially good, don’t you agree? Tracking down fresh rhubarb in South Africa proved something of a challenge but I admire Claire’s dedication to the cause as she succeeded eventually in finding “a few gnarly sticks” at her local grocers which she was able to transform into this delectable entry.

rhubarb-lemon-scones

Next comes the turn of Sarah at The Garden Deli who brings us these Rhubarb and Lemon Scones as a tempting teatime treat. They sound incredibly easy to make, which is always a bonus in my eyes, and I can just imagine they’d be perfect served straight from the oven with some butter and jam. I’m making myself hungry just writing this…

funasagranrhubarb

I’ve discovered that rhubarb infused with star anise is one of my favourite flavour combinations of all time, which is exactly the combination brought to us by Fun as a Gran with her Rhubarb, Lemon and a Spice entry. It looks a great pudding for anyone watching their sugar intake, as both the sponge cake and stewed rhubarb are made using agave sugar.

rhubarb jam with sconesMichelle at Utterly Scrummy Food for Families made the most of the glut of rhubarb on her allotment by whipping up a big batch of this utterly scrummy Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam. I’ve never tried making jam with rhubarb before and so didn’t realise that it is rather low in pectin, which is what generally helps jam to set. I was interested to hear that Michelle uses lemon juice and the pips in a muslin bag to increase the pectin levels. I’m storing that tip away for future reference…

rhubarb crumble muffins

I’d considered attempting some Rhubarb Crumble Muffins myself but when I saw these beauties from Chez Foti I knew mine would never be able to compete. Don’t they look so good and sweetly satisfying? And they’d be just as good for breakfast as they would at teatime or as an after-school snack. Yes, I can imagine munching one or two of these at just about any time of day!

rhubarb and lemon sorbet

So instead of making muffins, I came up with Spiced Rhubarb and Lemon Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookies. They’re both incredibly easy to make and there is something just so magical about the perfumed flavour of star anise with the sharp tang of rhubarb. I could eat this all day. And all night.

rhubarb ripple ice cream

Another icy treat comes in the fabulous form of this Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream with Hazelnut Oat Clusters from Elizabeth’s Kitchen. Doesn’t it look sensational? I can just imagine how good that creamy rhubarby ice cream tastes alongside the nutty crunch of the hazelnut clusters. Oh yes, this is my kind of dessert.

rhubarb friandsIt’s the turn of Ness at JibberJabberUK to tempt us next with her pretty Rhubarb, Lemon and Ginger Friands. There’s something very cute about mini loaves; I think I might have to get myself some mini loaf tins so I can have a go at these. They look perfect for a properly civilised afternoon tea.

spicedlemoncheesecake

It was a delight to welcome Rich In Flavour to the Recipes for Life challenge for the first time and what a wonderful first entry! This Spiced Lemon & Rhubarb Cheesecake looks simply gorgeous and I love the sound of the lemon syrup flavoured with star anise and Szechuan pepper. I simply must try this recipe!

rhubarb lemon muffins

Janice from the Farmersgirl Kitchen baked us another batch of muffins; this time Spiced Rhubarb & Lemon Muffins, featuring cinnamon and “little nuggets of intense crystallised ginger”, which sounds right up my street. They look lovely and moist and as with the earlier muffins from Chez Foti, I can easily picture myself consuming a few of these with a mug of coffee for a lazy Sunday morning brunch.

rhubarb syllabub

Fun as a Gran returns with a second entry next; a very creative Rhubarb Syllabub served with a lemon meringue, which I imagine would bring a perfectly light crunchiness to complement the smooth creaminess of the rich syllabub.

Rhubarb-ginger-cream

Laura at How to Cook Good Food always comes up with heavenly creations and this Lavender Poached Rhubarb with Ginger Custard Cream is no exception. It sounds like Laura has been getting through quite a lot of rhubarb recently from her allotment, including rhubarb vodka which I’m rather intrigued by, as well as raw rhubarb in an Ottolenghi sour salad. But this poached rhubarb is definitely the one I want to try first. Simply beautiful.

fennel rhubarb

There is nothing remotely foolish about this Fennel Rhubarb Foolish from Mel at Edible Things. She flavours her rhubarb fool with fennel seed and it is garnished with candied fennel. This sounds to me like an incredible flavour combination; one Mel was inspired to come up with after eating fennel-flavoured sausages with roasted rhubarb as part of a rhubarb tasting menu at the Rollende Keukens festival in Amsterdam. Love it!

rhubarbicecream

We have a second helping of  Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream now, this time from Helen at The Crazy Kitchen and served with Mini Spiced Lemon Cookies. As Helen says herself, this is “bloody gorgeous”!

curry

I really wasn’t expecting to see a curry amongst our entries this month, but here it is, a Pork and Rhubarb Curry with Lemon Pilau Rice from Spurs Cook. Martin says he got the idea of using rhubarb in a curry by a certain celebrity chef who stir fries pork with rhubarb. He decided to go in a slightly different direction and came up with a curry. Inspired!

moroccanlamb

Here’s another delicious savoury rhubarb dish – The Crazy Kitchen’s Moroccan Lamb & Rhubarb with Lemon & Coriander Cous Cous. Helen freely admits she’s not completely convinced rhubarb even grows in Morocco but it’s the cinnamon and dried fruit in this dish that give it a wonderful Moroccan flavour. It’s an incredibly easy recipe, mostly throwing things in a pan and leaving them to do “their thing”, which is the kind of cooking I adore, and I know my family would really go for these flavour combinations.

rhubarb lemon and ginger cakeBack to baked goodies next with this Rhubarb, Lemon and Ginger Cake, a second tasty entry from JibberJabberUK. Ness made it for her local Clandestine Cake Club meeting and it was completely devoured save for one slice. And those clandestine cake makers certainly know their stuff!

rhubarbcustardpizza

Why do pizzas have to be savoury? This is the question posed by Helen at The Crazy Kitchen as she delivers a fabulous Rhubarb and Custard Crumble Pizza. Isn’t it a great idea? Another lovely simple recipe from Helen that I can’t wait to try out.

lemonpudding

Not content with three rhubarb dishes, here comes Helen at The Crazy Kitchen with entry number four! She offers us a scrumptiously rib-sticking Lemon and Rhubarb Pudding that reminds me of an old fashioned pud my Nana often makes. I’m starting to drool slightly thinking about just how satisfying this would be. Nom nom!

tart

Guess what? Here’s The Crazy Kitchen with her fifth (yes, I said fifth!) entry for May’s challenge! This time she’s rustled up a Cheese and Rhubarb Chutney Tart - is there no end to Helen’s culinary talents when it comes to the humble rhubarb?! I’ve been thinking I should make a rhubarb chutney to use up some of the bags of rhubarb stocking up my freezer, and now I have the perfect recipe.

rhubarb ice cream

I’m really pleased to welcome another first-timer to the Recipes for Life challenge. The Grumbling Tummy has created another tempting Rhubarb Ice Cream which she serves with Lemon Spiced Biscuits - I can’t believe this is the first time Hazey has made her own ice cream as it looks fantastic.

Rhubarb_spag

I was surprised to receive a curry recipe this month, and I was equally surprised when Matt and Corpy told me they were planning on making Poached Rhubarb Spaghetti as their entry. I was totally intrigued to see how it would turn out and the two dads didn’t disappoint. Doesn’t this look so good? I know my girls are going to love it when I give it a go very soon.

rhubarb cinnamon cake with Splenda
Finally here is another entry from yours truly – a simple Rhubarb Cinnamon Cake which I made the other weekend for a friend with diabetes using a sugar alternative. It’s not half bad and we ended up eating some the next day for breakfast. How many times have I mentioned eating cake for breakfast in this post now I wonder?

So you see what I mean? A truly eclectic assortment of wonderful rhubarb recipes and not a single crumble in sight, unless you count crumble-topped muffins, which I don’t. Who’d have thought rhubarb could be so very versatile?

Now it’s time for the announcement you’re all waiting for… The winner of May’s Recipes for Life challenge…

The cookery group at SWALLOW found it nigh on impossible to settle on a single winner, and so we have two – one for a savoury dish and one for a sweet.

The winner of the sweet category is The Garden Deli for her beautiful Rhubarb and Lemon Scones. We all thought these looked so deliciously delightful, yet so simple to make too, which is what we look for in Recipes for Life. Congratulations Sarah!

And the winner of the savoury prize? Well, it had to be The Crazy Kitchen for her incredible Moroccan Lamb and Rhubarb with Lemon and Coriander Cous Cous. Another dish that’s simple to prepare and absolutely packed full of flavour, this had to win top place – even though it means Helen has now won three months in a row! This woman is on a serious roll! But seriously Helen, you totally deserve it and we’ll all been staggered by the support you have shown this challenge. Thank you!

Thank you also to everyone who entered May’s Recipes for Life. I was blown away by the number of entries this month, every one a winner its own right. If you’re stuck with a glut of rhubarb, you can’t fail to be inspired by this little lot!

Watch this space for details of the three ingredients for June’s challenge – I’ll be announcing the next lot very soon and I really can’t wait to see what you make of them. Until next time!

recipes for life

May’s Recipes for Life challenge: cooking with rhubarb, lemon and spice

rhubarbCollage

Take part in the Recipes for Life challenge and you could see your dish featured in SWALLOW’s new charity cookbook!

We are now well and truly into rhubarb season, as Sarah who works for SWALLOW knows only too well. She has a huge patch of rhubarb in her garden and she doesn’t know what to do with it. So this month we are using the Recipes for Life challenge to help Sarah out by providing her with lots of delicious ideas on how she can put her rhubarb to good use.

Of course, the rules of the Recipes for Life call for a trio of ingredients, and so we’re teaming the rhubarb with lemon and spice – ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, chilli, cardamom, star anise – whichever spices take your fancy and tickle your taste buds. All you have to do to enter the challenge is to combine these three ingredients to make a tasty, simple and wholesome dish and post it on your blog. Make sure any other ingredients you include are easy to come by.

We’re using Recipes for Life to come up with a stock of easy recipes for members of SWALLOW’s cookery club to make in their sessions. SWALLOW is a fab charity based in Midsomer Norton in South West England, supporting adults with learning disabilities to lead more independent lives. The challenge is running for six months and at the end, the best recipes will be included in SWALLOW’s new cookery book to help raise much-needed funds for the charity.

recipes for life

Recipes for Life: how to enter

  1. Display the Recipes for Life badge (shown above) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  2. You may enter as many recipe links as you like, so long as they are based on the three main ingredients selected for this month and accompanied only by everyday items.
  3. 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 28 May 2013.
  4. If you tweet your post, please mention #RecipesforLife@BangerMashChat and@SWALLOWcharity in your tweet and we will retweet everyone we see.
  5. Feel free to republish old recipe posts, but please add the information about this challenge and the Recipes for Life badge.
  6. As entries come in, links to these will be added to this page and at the end of the month there will be a round-up of all entries received.
  7. SWALLOW staff and members will choose their favourite recipe at the end of each month, and the winner will receive a small prize.
  8. A selection of recipes entered each month will be featured in the SWALLOW cookbook to be published later this year, helping the charity to raise much-needed funds for its ongoing work.

As my first entry, here’s a very simple rhubarb compote. It’s lovely served with roast duck, pork or lamb, and I’m also rather partial to it in a big thick cheese sandwich.

rhubarb compote

Rhubarb compote

knob of butter
small onion, chopped
1 tsp chopped ginger
½ tsp mixed spice
150g rhubarb, chopped
handful of sultanas or raisins
2 tbsp apple juice
2 tbsp lemon juice

Melt the butter in a pan and gently cook the onion and ginger until soft and golden. Stir in the mixed spice and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the rhubarb and dried fruit and mix well to coat the fruit in the spicy butter. Cook for a few minutes before adding the apple and lemon juice. Stir and allow to stew gently for around ten minutes until the rhubarb is soft and mushy but still holds its shape. Serve at room temperature.

rhubarb compote with roast duck

May’s entries

  1. Rhubarb, Ginger and Lemon Fool from Under The Blue Gum Tree
  2. Rhubarb and Lemon Scones from The Garden Deli
  3. Rhubarb, Lemon and a Spice from Fun as a Gran
  4. Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam from Utterly Scrummy Food for Families
  5. Rhubarb Crumble Muffins from Chez Foti
  6. Spiced Rhubarb and Lemon Sorbet with Cinnamon Cookies from Bangers & Mash
  7. Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream with Hazelnut Oat Clusters from Elizabeth’s Kitchen
  8. Rhubarb, Lemon and Ginger Friands from JibberJabberUK
  9. Spiced Lemon & Rhubarb Cheesecake from Rich In Flavour
  10. Spiced Rhubarb & Lemon Muffins from Farmersgirl Kitchen
  11. Rhubarb Syllabub from Fun as a Gran
  12. Lavender Poached Rhubarb with Ginger Custard Cream from How to Cook Good Food
  13. Fennel Rhubarb Foolish from Edible Things
  14. Rhubarb Ripple Ice Cream with Mini Spiced Lemon Cookies from The Crazy Kitchen
  15. Pork and Rhubarb Curry with Lemon Pilau Rice from Spurs Cook
  16. Moroccan Lamb & Rhubarb with Lemon & Coriander Cous Cous from The Crazy Kitchen
  17. Rhubarb, Lemon and Ginger Cake from JibberJabberUK
  18. Rhubarb and Custard Crumble Pizza from The Crazy Kitchen
  19. Lemon and Rhubarb Pudding from The Crazy Kitchen
  20. Cheese and Rhubarb Chutney Tart from The Crazy Kitchen
  21. Rhubarb Ice Cream with Lemon Spiced Biscuits from The Grumbling Tummy
  22. Poached Rhubarb Spaghetti from The Good Stuff
  23. Rhubarb Cinnamon Cake from Bangers & Mash