World Cup snacks with Aldi

Between you, me and the goal posts, I’m not the world’s biggest football fan. While I’m proud to say I can actually explain the off-side rule, I’m not one to get in a frenzy about a full month of coverage of the beautiful game. The last time I got vaguely excited about watching the World Cup, I was 15 back in 1990 and for some reason I did get rather swept along by the nation’s response to England’s roller coaster performance. If I were ever asked to name English footballers, the only names I’ll be able to come up with are the likes of Lineker, Platt, Gascgoigne, Pearce and Beardsley. So no, I really don’t know much about football.

However, introduce the notion of food to the prospect of watching a match, and my interest is piqued. When Aldi invited me to create a menu to accompany today’s Denmark versus France group stage game, there was a challenge I couldn’t resist.

Food for a footie feast really doesn’t need to be overly fancy, but it’s got to be tasty and easy to eat. So finger food it had to be. Here’s my menu…

I’m a big fan of Aldi. While I don’t do my full weekly shop there – mainly because they don’t offer online delivery – I do pop into our local store on North Street at least once a week, as I really like their fresh fruit and vegetables and their range of meat is pretty good too. Aldi has great value deals on meats, fruit and veg every week as part of their Super 6 deals. And did you know Aldi recently won The Grocer of the Year at the Grocer Gold Awards 2018? Not surprising when you consider I picked up all the ingredients for my menu for less than £25. And there were some top notch products in there, including a Somerset Crunchy Vintage Cheddar, which won Silver in 2017 British Cheese Awards no less, and some very delicious smoked salmon. The brioche rolls are very good too.

For my Danish / French inspired snacks, I decided to keep things as simple as possible yet packed full of flavour. My croque monsieur mini tarts are insanely moreish – something to do with that gorgeously salty Somerset Cheddar I’d say. Yes, I know croque monsieur should really be made with Gruyere, but it’s good to include a little West Country twist too. Hot dogs are an easy option too and always a crowd pleaser. Topped with either gooey brie or sweet tangy agurkesalat (sweet pickled cucumber which apparently Danes eat with just about anything), the humble hot dog becomes a tad more interesting.

And of course the Danes are famous for their smørrebrød or open sandwiches made with dark rye bread. My mini nearly bite-sized versions are topped with a creamy smoked salmon tartare, fresh and zingy crushed peas with tarragon, and one of my favourite dips – beetroot and mint; such a bargain at just 95p a tub. I can pretty much guarantee they’ll have been devoured well before half-time.

Best of luck to both France and Denmark today. Let’s hope I’ll be as impressed by your skills on the pitch as I am your snacks from the kitchen. Although I’d be surprised!


Mini croque monsieur tarts

Makes 12 – 16 mini tarts

1 sheet ready-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
100g strong Cheddar cheese (or Gruyere), grated
150ml creme fraiche
1 tsp Dijon mustard
100g cooked, sliced ham, roughly chopped
1 sprig fresh flat parsley, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 200ºC / gas mark 6.

Roll out the puff pastry and use a cookie/scone cutter to cut out vol-au-vent size circles. Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Using a slightly smaller sized cutter, gently score an inner circle but be careful not to cut all the way through the pastry. Gently prick this inner circle with a fork – again not all the way through.

Brush the pastry circles with the beaten egg.

In a large bowl, mix together the cheese, creme fraiche, mustard, ham and parsley. Season to taste.

Place about a desert spoonful of the cheese and ham mixture onto the inner circle of each of your pastry tarts.

Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden. Delicious served warm or cold.

Crushed pea and tarragon smørrebrød

Makes around 12 mini open sandwiches

100g frozen peas
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
2 sprigs of tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
2 large slices rye bread
cream cheese
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Cook the frozen peas in boiling water for a few minutes until just cooked, and leave to cool.

Place the peas in a blender with two tablespoonfuls of lemon juice and the tarragon. Whiz for a few seconds until roughly chopped. Season to taste, and add more lemon juice if needed.

Slice the rye bread into smallish squares and spread generously with cream cheese. Carefully spoon the crushed peas on top of each one. Serve with wedges of lemon and another grind of black pepper.

Smoked salmon tartare smørrebrød

Makes around 12 mini open sandwiches

100g smoked salmon, roughly chopped
small shallot, finely chopped
2 sprigs of dill, chopped (plus more for garnish)
zest of 1 lemon
1 pickled gherkin, finely chopped
1 tsp Dijon mustard
150ml soured cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 large slices rye bread
1 lemon, cut into wedges

In a medium bowl, mix together the salmon, shallot, dill, lemon zest, gherkin, mustard and soured cream. Season to taste.

Again, slice the rye bread into little squares, and generously spread with the smoked salmon tartare. Garnish with dill and serve with lemon wedges.

Beetroot and mint smørrebrød

Makes around 12 mini open sandwiches

2 large slices of rye bread
1 pot Aldi beetroot and mint dip
Green olives

This really doesn’t need a recipe. Simply slice the bread into small squares and top with the dip and an olive. And scoff!

Danish pickled cucumbers – agurkesalat

1 large cucumber
table salt
80ml cider vinegar
40ml water
30g caster sugar
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 sprigs fresh dill, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Slice the cucumber as thinly as you can – I used a mandolin on its finest setting – and place in a large bowl. You then need to salt the cucumber.

Sprinkle generously with salt and place a small plate on top, weighed down with any heavy items to hand in the kitchen, such as tin cans. Leave for 20-30 minutes or so. Place the cucumber slices in a colander and rinse well with cold water. Wrap in a clean tea towel and squeeze out the water.

Place the cucumber slices in a large, clean jar.

In a jug, combine the vinegar and water and stir in the sugar until dissolved. Pour the vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and add the coriander seeds, dill and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Pop on the lid and place in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Great in sandwiches or use as a relish on hot dogs or burgers. Or straight from the jar using your fingers, if you’re my sister-in-law!

Danish dog with agurkesalat (pickled cucumber) and French dog with brie

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Aldi commissioned me to develop these recipes, and supplied all the ingredients. As always, all opinions are completely my own and I only ever work with brands I genuinely like.

Easy tagliatelle and summer berry tarts

Recently we’ve been eating rather a lot of tagliatelle. Tagliatelle with sweetcorn, peas and bacon. Sometimes twice a week, and maybe again at the weekend. Oh, and fruit tarts too. Lots and lots of fruit tarts. That’s what happens when one of your kids makes it through to the finals of a young chef competition. You have to get in an awful lot of practice. Continue reading “Easy tagliatelle and summer berry tarts”

Burgers with Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce

I keep reading articles announcing the arrival of the barbecue season. However, for us Brits, there really is no such thing as a barbecue season. It’s much more of a grab-the-opportunity-when-you-can season, as you just never know how long the sun is set to shine for.

I’m pleased to confirm the sun is most definitely shining this weekend here in Bristol though, and so the perfect time to bring you a very easy but very tasty burger recipe for the next time you get the chance to fire up the barbie. Continue reading “Burgers with Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce”

Homemade KFC

After several failed attempts and a fair bit of tweaking, I’m very pleased to finally bring you this recipe for baked KFC-style chicken. For ages my family and I have been talking about coming up with our own homemade alternative to KFC, as the kids have had it drummed eating them that the real thing from the fast food chain simply isn’t allowed. There are a number of reasons for this, namely that it’s not the healthiest of foods and they have KFC has a terrible track record when it comes to animal welfare. Continue reading “Homemade KFC”

Middle Eastern lamb lettuce wraps

Over the last few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed developing recipes for the Devon-based Well Hung Meat Company, making the most of their delicious organic lamb. The last in this series is this recipe for summery Middle Eastern lamb lettuce wraps.

Featuring little gem lettuce stuffed with lightly spiced minced lamb, this is a beautifully versatile dish to evoke warm sunshine on the dreariest of days. Serve alone as a starter, as part of a mezze, or with a simple cous cous salad for a light lunch, it’s fun finger food that goes down well with children as much as adults.

middle eastern lamb lettuce wrap 2 - web

It’s a feast of textures and flavours: the crisp lettuce, the crunchy carrot, and the juicy, nutty pomegranate through to the succulent, soft, spicy lamb; the sharp olives, capers and preserved lemon paired with the bitter tang of the tahini dressing; all perfectly balanced by the soothing, syrupy sweet pomegranate molasses and creamy crème fraiche.

For a dish that boasts so much, it’s also ridiculously easy to pull together. So, a winner on all fronts.

Middle Eastern lamb lettuce wraps

Serves 6 as a starter

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
400g Well Hung Meat Company lamb mince
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
50g pitted green olives
2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 heads little gem lettuce, leaves washed and separated
100 pomegranate seeds

For the dressing

50ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp tahini
1 preserved lemon, rinsed, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 tsp water
200g Holy Cow crème fraiche
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and gently sweat the onion until translucent.

Add the garlic and fry for a minute or so before adding the minced lamb, ginger and cinnamon. Mix together and continue cooking for around 7 minutes until the lamb begins to brown.

Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the green olives, capers and pomegranate molasses.

Keep warm until ready to serve.

To make the dressing, pour the olive oil and tahini into a jug with the chopped preserved lemon and water, and puree with a stick blender until smooth. Stir in the crème fraiche and pomegranate molasses. If it feels too thick, mix in a little more water.

Just before serving, stir the grated carrot into the warm lamb mixture. Spoon the lamb into the separated lettuce leaves and arrange on plates. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and scatter with pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately.

middle eastern lamb lettuce wrap 3 - web


spiced rack of lamb 3 - web



Spiced rack of lamb with braised lettuce and herb mash


moussaka and greek salad 2 - web



Easy lamb moussaka



Disclosure: I was supplied with a complimentary samples of lamb from the Well Hung Meat Company and crème fraiche from Holy Cow in order to develop this recipe. As ever, all views expressed are mine and only products I genuinely like make it onto my blog.  

Spiced rack of lamb with braised lettuce and herb mash

Generally when we think of roast lamb for a special meal, we picture a succulent slow-roast shoulder or leg; always delicious and a real crowd-pleaser too. But if you’re after something a little quicker but with equal pizzazz, then a rack of lamb is the way to go, with guaranteed oohs and aahs when you carve it into cutlets at the table.

Continue reading “Spiced rack of lamb with braised lettuce and herb mash”

Free-form spelt pie with spicy beef, butternut squash and feta

It’s British Pie Week and Brits up and down the land are apparently celebrating by indulging in their favourite pies, whether homemade or shop-bought, sweet or savoury.

And as a fan of just about anything that comes wrapped in pastry, I felt compelled to offer you one of my own latest pie experiments.

freeform spiced beef and butternut squash pie 2

As I’m sure you know by know, baking isn’t really my forte, so a free-form pie crust is right up my street as it’s meant to look ‘rustic’ or, in other words, a bit of a state.

This pie is so quick and easy to pull together, and the spelt wholemeal pastry is surprisingly light and crisp and very tasty. Filled with savoury mince, roast butternut squash and tangy feta cheese, lightly spiced with sumac and cumin, it’s an ideal light lunch or supper dish.

The children loved it and the husband too – although he reckons it would be better served with gravy. I was happy with a yoghurty dressing, but I’ll leave you to make up your own mind on that.

freeform spiced beef and butternut squash pie 3

Free-form spelt pie with spicy beef, butternut squash and feta

Serves 6

Half a medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
4 tbsp Pomora rosemary oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
500g beef mince
large pinch of sumac
100g feta cheese, cubed

For the pastry

200g wholemeal spelt flour
large pinch of salt
100g butter, diced
4 tbsp cold water

For the dressing

6 tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tsp wholegrain mustard

1 egg, beaten

steamed green beans to serve

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Place the butternut squash in a roasting tin and toss in 2 tablespoons of the oil. Roast in the oven for around 20 minutes until tender.

To make the pastry, place the flour and salt in a large bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture forms a consistency like breadcrumbs. Gradually mix in the water until you a dough forms. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Heat another 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion until soft and translucent.  Add the cumin seeds, garlic sumac and fry for a minute or so before adding the minced beef. Cook for around five minutes until the mince is browned. Stir in the roasted butternut squash and cubes of feta.

Cover a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Flour your surface, and carefully roll out the pastry into a large circle. Pile the beef filling into the middle of the pastry and gently fold up the sides towards the middle, leaving a small opening.

Brush the pastry with egg was and sprinkle with a little more sumac. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

To make the dressing, simply place the yoghurt, pomegranate molasses and mustard in a bowl and whisk together. Pour over green beans to serve.

Ropa Vieja and Bienmesabe

Today has been quite possibly one of the coldest days of the winter so far; a cold-to-the-bone kind of cold when it takes an hour in a hot bath to thaw out. In the depths of winter, I can’t help but dream about summer holidays in warmer climes…

When Monarch Holidays invited me to recreate some traditional Spanish recipes for their new online Island Cookbook, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to feed my craving for sunshine food and cheer up these dark, dank days. I took my inspiration from the third largest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria, where I have fond memories of holidaying with my family as a teenager Continue reading “Ropa Vieja and Bienmesabe”

Claudia Roden’s kofte kebabs

I know I do harp on a bit about cutting down the amount of meat we eat. And yet, while I love vegetarian food, I could never give up meat completely. My blog is called Bangers & Mash for a reason. Plus, it would mean giving up dishes like this. And that’s simply not happening.

This is one of my favourite recipes from one of my favourite cookery writers, Claudia Roden. I met her briefly following a talk she gave at the Bath Literary Festival a few years back when she signed my copy of Arabesque, from which this recipe comes. I talked to her briefly about my blog and she wished me lots of luck with it, although it was clear the concept of blogging was a bit of a mystery to her. And I successfully managed to refrain from telling her how beautiful I think she is. Because she is. But that might have come across just a little too creepy. Continue reading “Claudia Roden’s kofte kebabs”