Why do I write a food blog? It’s a question I’ve been pondering quite a bit recently but one for which I don’t really have a straightforward answer. Continue reading “How to be a successful food blogger: Wells Food Festival workshop”
When I first guest-hosted the Herbs on Saturday blog challenge for Karen at Lavender & Lovage back in July, I found the experience such good fun, particularly discovering so many talented bloggers and a whole heap of tasty new recipes to try. But I was rather surprised at just how many entries were submitted; 30 in total. Putting off writing the round-up to the last-minute was a bit of a silly move. I vowed if I were ever to host Herbs on Saturday again, I’d compile the round-up as I went along to save myself from a last-minute panic.
Hosting Herbs on Saturday second time round has been a real blast and I’ve loved the steady flow of emails arriving in my inbox offering a diverse array of tasty and tempting dishes. But guess what? Yes, you’re right. I failed to learn my lesson and so last night I had another last-minute panic on my hands. This month Herbs on Saturday attracted a whopping 43 entries – you lot are incredible! And each and every one is a wonderfully delicious celebration of cooking with herbs.
Since we’ve got a lot to get through, and I have a slight tendency to waffle on a bit, I’ve decided to be extremely strict and limit myself to just three words to describe each entry. So let’s get this show on the road…
Nigel Slater’s Hangover Salad from London Busy Body
Herbed Cheese and Bacon Souffles from Caroline Makes
Cumin Spiced Chicken with a Puy Lentil and Chargrilled Courgette Salad from How to be a Gourmand
Mushroom, Onion and Thyme Focaccia
from Lancashire Food
Swamp Juice from Tinned Tomatoes
Parsley and Almond Pesto from Chez Foti
Slow Roasted Pork Neck in Thyme, Rosemary & Bay with Mint Flatbreads from Bangers & Mash
Creamy Lemon Butter Beans from The Garden Deli
Roast Chicken with Bulgur Wheat Stuffing and Roast Butternut Squash from Food Eat Love
Bacon-Wrapped Salmon from Fab Food 4 All
A Really Useful Asian Broth with Awesome Add-Ins from Food to Glow
Rosemary and Thyme Chickpea Pancakes (Socca de Nice) from Food to Glow
Saltimbocca alla Romana from Rita Cooks Italian
Spicy Pork Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Beans from Farmersgirl Kitchen
Parsley Pesto from The Botanical Baker
Chicken, Sausage and Vegetable Hotpot
from Lavender & Lovage
Dukkah & Sun Dried Tomato Muffins
from Fuss Free Flavours
Fridge-Raid Smoked Salmon Spaghetti
from Crumbs and Corkscrews
Tiger Prawn Curry with Basmati Rice from
Lavender & Lovage
English Parsley, Walnut and Stilton Pesto
from Marmaduke Scarlet
Easy Shakshuka (Spiced North African Tomato and Eggs) from Food to Glow
Carrot Ginger Lime Soup with Sweet Potato Hummus from The Taste Space
Butternut Risotto with Butternut Crisps from Chez Foti
Middle Eastern Chicken Salad with Hummus Dressing from Bangers & Mash
Chicken Breast Fillets with Sage from
My Little Italian Kitchen
5:2 Diet Minestrone Soup from Tinned Tomatoes
Rillettes de Canard from Blue Kitchen Bakes
Cauliflower & Pear Soup from Elizabeth’s Kitchen
Croustade de Canard (Duck Pie with Figs) from Delicieux
Roasted Mushrooms with Rosemary from Cherrapeno
Zero Effort Spicy Carrot Soup from Dinner with Crayons
Thyme, Black Garlic and Tomato Flatbreads from
Blue Kitchen Bakes
Bresaola Spirals from Leeks and Limoni
Shakshuka from Exploits of a Food Nut
Peashoot, Bacon & Ricotta Penne from Anne’s Kitchen
Nigella’s Chicken Tagine from Blue Kitchen Bakes
Kroppkakor – Swedish Style Dumplings from Delicieux
Belleau Minestrone from Belleau Kitchen
Sicilian Style Tuna with Salsa Verde from 8&Ruth
Smoked Mackerel Salad with Yoghurt, Horseradish & Dill Dressing from Recipe Junkie
Lemon Chicken with Cannellini Beans and Rosemary from Lavender & Lovage
Cheesy Chorizo Flatbreads from Blue Kitchen Bakes
Goats Cheese Souffles with Thyme from Maison Cupcake
Now how’s that for an impressive selection of recipes, providing a veritable wealth of culinary inspiration? I look forward to working my way through the list. I’m starting the 5:2 diet next week and will be trying out the Lemon Chicken with Cannellini Beans and Rosemary from Lavender and Lovage, and I’ve also got my eye on the Croustade de Canarde from Delicieux, as I have some duck breast in the freezer. Which dishes have caught your fancy?
“But who won the prize this month?” I hear you cry. Well, the lucky winner of Your Kitchen Garden: Month-by-Month, by the renowned gardening author Andi Clevely, is none other than Rachel from Marmaduke Scarlet for her fashionably green pesto made with English parsley, walnuts and Stilton. Karen’s mystery judge this month is a professional herb grower based in North Yorkshire, who we’ll call The Herb Lady.
The Herb Lady said: “It took me a long time to select the winner but I chose Marmaduke Scarlet’s pesto as it is so fresh and innovative and a good use of parsley, which is so often relegated to garnishes and sauces. Using walnuts instead of pine nuts makes this a thoroughly British pesto.”
Congratulations to Rachel and we hope you have lots of fun devising new ideas for your kitchen garden with inspiration from your new book!
Before I sign off, I’d just like to say a huge thank you to Karen at Lavender & Lovage for once again entrusting her Herbs on Saturday challenge to me. I’d love to host again some time – once I’ve fully recovered from compiling this round-up! And now I think I need a little lie down…
This time last year I had absolutely no idea what I was about to launch myself head first into.
Yes, it’s a year ago to the very day that I summoned the courage to hit the Publish button for the first time and with it created Bangers & Mash, complete with hand drawn pictures and dubious photography. (I do cringe a little when I look back at those early food shots.)
So I would like to take this opportunity to wish Bangers & Mash a very happy first birthday! I hope you like my little cake in honour of the occasion.
In my first post, I attempted to justify why we need another food blog? If you’re interested, and I haven’t already bored you senseless on the subject, you’ll find this post lays out my ethos of cooking wholesome, family food using good quality, seasonal ingredients, without it costing you a fortune. I also talk at length, as I am prone to do in a verging on obsessive way about meal planning, particularly how it has helped dramatically reduce our shopping bills and food waste and encouraged us to eat a much more varied, healthy and adventurous diet.
The first recipe I posted on Bangers & Mash wasn’t actually one of mine. It was my husband’s fabulous carrot cake. But in a way, that’s very appropriate, as I hadn’t a clue about cooking until I moved in with my other half. It’s funny to think back to my early 20s when I had no idea how to cook anything really and no inclination to really bother. How things change!
While I would by no stretch of the imagination consider myself a fully fledged food blogger quite yet, I do believe I have come a long way over the last 12 months.
My recipes and photography are improving all the time. The main reason for that is the feedback and support I get from friends and family, but perhaps most importantly other bloggers. That’s what has surprised and impressed me most – the support network provided by the enormous blogging community out there, through both our blogs and Twitter (a platform I avoided like the plague for quite a long time).
When I started out, I pictured blogging as a rather solitary pastime, sitting alone at a PC and broadcasting thoughts and ideas to an invisible audience. But what I’ve discovered I enjoy most about blogging is the interaction and conversation. I didn’t realise just how much I would learn from others as a result of writing a blog.
But that’s enough of that. The children will be getting up soon – as usual, I’m writing this in the early hours of the morning when the house is still and quiet – and my day must start properly. I’ll be back soon with my latest concoction. And I look forward to hearing about yours!
My cheeks are getting really rather sore now. There’s only so much grinning one woman can do. But every time my grin begins to subside, I remember the events of Friday night again and bam! I’m beaming again!
It rather took my by surprise. There I was at the MAD (Mum & Dad) Blog Awards ceremony in London, feeling just so thrilled because I was actually out on a Friday night and what’s more I was wearing the most beautiful dress I have ever owned in my life AND I’d just had my photo taken with the very gorgeous Myleene Klass. And then the name Bangers & Mash was read out as winner of the Best Food Blog category. I almost fell off my chair.
Of course I wanted to win. I’m one of the most competitive people I know. But I had done a really good job of convincing myself I had absolutely no chance as I was up against some very talented food bloggers.
And yet win I did and I am now the happiest mummy food blogger on earth. I owe a whopping big thank you to everyone that voted for Bangers & Mash to win and to everyone who has sent me the loveliest messages over the last couple of days via the blog, Twitter and Facebook.
But my favourite message of all was the one I received when I got back home the next day, attached to a single red rose…
I hope to bring you some more photos from the awards ceremony in the next few days, but in the meantime you can pop over to Storify for some of the Twitter highlights…
Did I mention I’m a finalist for in an exciting UK parent bloggers award? Well, it’s true!
I’m very, very excited. Only I feel a bit uncomfortable shouting about it. I’m hoping people will just vote for me without me having to do a big song and dance about it. That there are enough people who like what I do on Bangers & Mash.
But the thing is, I’d really, really like to win. So I’m going to have a quick shout if you don’t mind. If you like this blog, would you mind doing me a very lovely favour and vote for me? There’s only one week left til voting closes at 5pm (British Summertime) on Wednesday 6 June.
You can vote for Bangers & Mash in the Best Food Blog category of the MAD Blog Awards here. It only takes a couple of minutes. Please? Pretty please? OK now, I’m begging. That’s more than enough of that…
The aim of the MAD Blog Awards is to raise the profile of parenting blogs and bloggers, so please do take a look at the other finalists’ blogs – there is some amazing writing here – funny, helpful, thought-provoking, moving and inspiring. I’m only just realising how many incredible parent bloggers there are in the UK, and I feel very humble and priveledged to find myself in their company.
Finally if you fancy a laugh, here’s a great video put together by the MAD Awards organisers, featuring many of the finalists – including me. I’m the one in the hammock, paddling pool and trampoline! The theme of the video is parenting isn’t perfect – but blogging it can be.