Healthy snacks for NSPCC’s Big Board Game Day

Big Board Game Day Collage

It’s Big Board Game Day on Friday 27 May 2016, a chance for us all to unleash our inner board game demons while fundraising for the NSPCC.

Big Board Game Day is for absolutely everyone; whether you’re a Sore Loser, Rule Master, a Puzzled Player or The Lucky One. Taking part is so simple: all you need to do is get together with friends and family and play your favourite board games. It’s as easy as Connect Four! Visit www.nspcc.org.uk/boardgameday to find out more on how to get involved.

If you decide to take part, and I really hope you do, how about whipping up some tasty and healthy snacks for your games night? When the NSPCC asked if I’d contribute some snack ideas for Big Board Game Day, I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate. The tag line for my blog after all does state that it’s fun to play with your food!

In my eyes, finger foods are best for games snacks, but as I was keen to steer clear of the usual pizzas, sliders, creamy dips and crisps, I thought I’d have a go at a few healthy alternatives and tried them out on the family over a game of Trivial Pursuit.

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Thumbs up for… HECK’s new meat-free range

HECK

It’s National Vegetarian Week – yay – a week to celebrate all things vegetastic! Now, with a blog called Bangers & Mash, it’s clear I do enjoy eating meat, and yet I am not a raging carnivore through and through. These days I’d say my family eats meat-free two to three days every week, and for all kinds of reasons – environmental, health, variety, taste and budget.

I love discovering new ways to enjoy a vegetarian diet and convincing my family a dish doesn’t require a meat component to make it a ‘proper’ meal – without feeling like I’m simply opting for vegetarian alternatives to meat. That’s why I’m giving this new meat-free range from HECK a big thumbs up… Continue reading

Thumbs up for… our favourite chilli sauces

chilli festival

Today is Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) when Mexicans commemorate their victory over the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Since Mexicans are renowned for their passion for chillies, I thought I’d use this national celebration as a tenuous link for my latest ‘Thumbs Up For’ round-up – my family’s favourite chilli sauces.

Any regular reader of this blog will know that I have a bit of a thing for anything hot and spicy, and most of my family share that obsession. My husband and oldest daughter are probably even more obsessed with chilli that I am, while my youngest daughter does all she can to avoid the hot stuff. What she doesn’t realise though is that there’s a touch of spice in most of our dishes, so she already has a fairly high tolerance compared to most eight-year-olds!

As well as hot spice in our cooking, there’s generally hot sauce on the table as a condiment – along with ketchup for the little one – and there are generally around five bottles of chilli sauce on the go in the fridge at any one time. Wherever we go, we seem to pick up another bottle to try out, and our first mission at any food festival is to track down the chilli stall to investigate their wares.

So here’s a quick round-up of some our favourite chilli sauces… Continue reading

Review: Anna Mae’s Mac n Cheese

Mac n Cheese Collage

“But don’t you only really need one recipe for mac ‘n’ cheese?”

That’s the reaction I had from most of my friends when I told them I was reviewing a mac ‘n’ cheese cookbook. Normally as a Brit, I’d say macaroni cheese of course but since Anna Mae is all about spreading the Southern-food love (Southern States of America as opposed to the Southern Counties of England), really – only mac ‘n’ cheese will do…

So do we need a whole cookbook of mac ‘n’ cheese recipes. Oh Lordy, yes indeed. If the first two Anna Mae recipes I’ve tried are anything to go by, then keep the variations coming!
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Chilli beef pasta with Savoy cabbage and caraway for the #OrganicUnboxed Challenge

cat in a box 2

Like many of my fellow food bloggers, I’ve been taking part in the #OrganicUnboxed challenge this last few weeks. The idea of the challenge is simple. Organic UK is sending bloggers a big mystery box of organic produce to see what easy, every day dishes they might come up with to inspire more people to switch to organic. In my excitement I failed miserably to get a picture of the organic goodies being unboxed. Which is why I’ve brought you a gratuitous shot of our cat Tango in the box instead. Now, hasn’t that brightened your day? Continue reading

Spiced rhubarb compote with whipped ricotta and honey

spiced rhubarb compote with whipped ricotta and granola

For me April is rhubarb month. I can’t get enough of the stuff. I suspect the rest of my family get rather bored of it, but not me. Rhubarb crumbles, fools, cake and salsa… I’m not quite sure what it is – the vibrant colour, that distinctive sharp flavour, its sheer Englishness, or the simple fact that something that grows in such abundance like a weed could taste so good? Friends with rhubarb in their gardens know now to bring their surplus to me. Continue reading