Eating out: Turtle Bay

Turtle Bay Collage

I have to admit to being slightly surprised when the Caribbean chain Turtle Bay invited my family and me to review their new Bristol restaurant, which has recently opened on Cheltenham Road. Having been to the launch event a few weeks back, I know it’s got a strong reputation for being party central and when I asked friends at work about it, all everyone talked about were the great cocktails.

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Eyeing up the food at the launch party earlier this summer

But since I was told that Turtle Bay is also very popular with families and since we love eating out with the kids, especially when there’s spicy food and good tunes on offer, well… we just had to give it a go. Continue reading

My Upfest gallery

Upfest Collage

I realise it’s all been a little quiet on the blog in recent weeks, but anyone that follows me on Instagram will know that the family and I have been thoroughly making the most of being back in the city since our return to Bristol in February.

This last weekend has pretty much summed up, for me, why I’ve longed to be back here, in this creative powerhouse of a city – albeit one of the most chilled out, laid back powerhouses you could wish for. For this weekend, street artists from around the world descended on Bristol (and indeed our very own patch of Bristol, Bedminster) in their hundreds for Upfest, Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival. And the people followed in their thousands. Continue reading

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

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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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