Our ghastly Halloween showstopper

Every year I watch the Great British Bake Off and every year I feel inspired to get the kids in the kitchen to join me in creating some crazy, outlandish showstopper-style masterpiece*.

The problem is, and I know I’ve said this before on the blog, but I’m just not a natural-born baker. That’s not to say my bakes don’t taste good. Nine times out of ten they most certainly do. But all too often they just don’t look good. And that’s the whole point of a showstopper, isn’t it? To impress? To wow? So perhaps our attempt this year at a ghoulish bake for Halloween is more a pause-glance-and-nod-approvingly before moving on than a full-blown stop-them-in-their-tracks-in-awe showstopper. The children loved it though, and that’s what’s most important.

*easily interchangeable with ‘monstrosity’, but quite appropriate really for this time of year. Continue reading “Our ghastly Halloween showstopper”

Making sushi like child’s play

Making my own sushi has been on my list of things to try for years now, but I’m not known for my tidy, careful ways in the kitchen and I always assumed my clumsy fat fingers would be something of a hindrance in the delicate art of sushi.

So when the team at Yutaka got in touch to see if my kids might be up for having a go at rolling their own sushi, I had to volunteer them. If Yutaka reckon children can make sushi, then surely I can have a go too? Continue reading “Making sushi like child’s play”

Review: The Little Table of Delights

little table of delights8

Playing with food has always been something I’ve encouraged at Chez Bangers, so there really couldn’t be a more appropriate theatrical experience for my little ones than The Little Table of Delights, which we were lucky enough to be a part of last week at the Yeo Valley Canteen.

Created by Bristol-based Theatre Damfino in collaboration with chefs Matt Williamson and Claire Thomson (The Five O’clock Apron), this brilliantly interactive show tells the story of what we eat and where it comes in five acts, taking us from bread and then beetroot, through to spices, eggs, milk and honey. Continue reading “Review: The Little Table of Delights”

Green chiller

green chiller

The Halloween-fuelled experiments have been continuing in full force in our kitchen. As well as our macabre muffins, the kids and I have also come up with this delicious green juice chiller.

green chiller3

Featuring kiwi fruit, canataloupe melon and coconut water, it’s super quick to make and delighfully zingy on the tastebuds. It’s a suitable shade of ghoulish green as befits this time of year, but you’ll be happy in the knowledge that no matter how nasty your little monsters are endeavouring to be, there are no nasties at all in here. Continue reading “Green chiller”

Healthy Halloween muffins

Halloween Collage

The Halloween frivolities have started a little early here. Last weekend we had an absolute ball at the Halloween-themed Reach for the Bubbles afternoon disco in Frome. We painted each others’ faces, scoffed West Indian style hot dogs, drank mulled cider (and hot apple juice), played drum and bass musical statues and took part in a Thriller line dance, all to an awesome soundtrack provided by the phenomenal Lionel Richtea on the decks.

We’ve also been experimenting with some gruesome bakes in the Bangers & Mash kitchen. The kids wanted to see if we could come up with some terrifying but tasty snacks ready for the Halloween party season. And I wanted to see if we could make them vaguely healthy rather than the sugar-fuelled treats we generally seem swamped by this time of year.

Healthy Halloween Muffins Collage

Our experiments resulted in these cheesy vegetable muffins, which the girls have delightfully called Fungus the Bogeyman Muffins (spinach and black olives) and Blood and Gore Muffins (beetroot and carrot). If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to tempt the little monsters at your Halloween party or to fend off the trick-or-treaters, then I definitely recommend you give these a go. I promise they’re much more delicious than they might look or their names might suggest. Continue reading “Healthy Halloween muffins”

Out and about in the North East: Beamish Open Air Museum

Durham and Northumberland Collage

The children are back at school. My oldest finds herself in her final year of primary school – where on earth did that time go? And life is quickly settling back into the old routine again. But before the school holidays become too much of a distant memory, I thought I’d bring you a few highlights  of our summer break up in the North East.

I’ve been chomping at the bit to take my family up there for several years now, keen to revisit lots of the places I so loved growing up there. But, to date, sunny, beach holidays have always won out – until this year, when I finally managed to get my way.

It’s a long drive from the South West to the North East but well worth the effort. I’d forgotten quite how beautiful the region is and how varied the countryside. From the craggy, purple-heather cloaked hillsides and lush green pine forests to the vast, serene, sandy beaches. Just breathtaking.

Beamish

Our week in the North East started with a couple of  days in County Durham, where I lived from the ages of about five to seven. I have extremely fond memories of visiting Beamish Open Air Museum when I was little. I was even on the local TV news there. I can’t remember what the occasion was but my class got to dress up in old fashioned clothes (I loved all those petticoats) and play with the toys of the era, like spinning tops and hoops. My first taste of fame and I loved it. Continue reading “Out and about in the North East: Beamish Open Air Museum”

The festive Family Foodies round-up

It might seem strange bringing you a round-up of festive foods at this time of year, but it just wouldn’t be right to wait until next December. So you’ll simply need to bookmark this post for when you start planning your party foods for the next festive season. Although saying that, I think you’ll find there are plenty of tempting treats in this Family Foodies round-up you’ll be keen to try out whatever the time of year. Continue reading “The festive Family Foodies round-up”

Swiss roll ice cream cake

swiss roll ice cream cake3 web

This is going to sound nutty but I’ve started watching cookery shows at six in the morning. I’m on a desperate get-healthy-lose-weight kick and so, as well as going back on the 5:2 diet, I’ve also started getting up half an hour earlier than I need to in order to fit in some exercise time. And I’ve found one of the best ways of taking my mind off all the stomach crunches and tricep dips is to watch celebrity chefs on the Food Network at the same time. I know. It’s not normal behaviour, is it?

The other morning I found myself drooling while I worked out as Lorraine Pascale made her Swiss Roll Bowl Cake. It looked so insanely easy and yet such a work of genius at the same time, I decided there and then I had to make it. My kids would love it, and I only need have the tiniest sliver. What’s more it’s frozen, so it’ll be around for a while. Plenty of time to have a few tiny slivers. On non 5:2 fast days, of course. Continue reading “Swiss roll ice cream cake”