Recipes for Life: the final round-up

swallow cookery So here we are – the final round-up in the Recipes for Life challenge. It really doesn’t seem like seven months ago since I kicked it off in partnership with SWALLOW, an amazing charity in Somerset supporting adults with learning disabilities to lead more independent lives.

The idea of the challenge was to find easy, wholesome dishes for members of their cookery club to try out and also to appear in their new fundraising cookbook. And each month food bloggers have done us proud, posting the most incredibly diverse and delicious range of recipes, based each time on just three simple, core ingredients.

Tracey O’Leary, SWALLOW’s cookery tutor says: “Thank you to all of the entrants of Recipes for Life. We have been amazed by the variety of recipes that have been submitted.  It has also provided us with a good stock of simple, tasty and nutritious meals for our group to learn to make over the coming weeks and months!”

And Stephanie one of SWALLOW’s members, adds: “I have really enjoyed cooking, and eating, the winning recipes.”

This month, as well as announcing the winner of August’s challenge, we’re also naming one overall winner of the whole Recipes for Life challenge, who will receive a copy of Yeo Valley’s rather splendid Great British Farmhouse Cookbook by Sarah Mayor. I got hold of this book recently and it’s rapidly become one of my favourite cookbooks.

great british farmhouse cookbook Firstly, let’s take a look at the entries to August’s challenge. I must apologise for taking so long to post this round-up – work has been frantic the last couple of weeks, and the blog simply hasn’t had a look in. But better late than never, eh? The trio of ingredients for August were eggs, milk and flour, possibly the most rudimentary of ingredient combinations you can get. As ever, food bloggers came up with a sensational selection of both sweet and savoury dishes, starting with…

…Mabintu of Recipes From a Pantry who gave us not one, not two, but three tempting pancake recipes: fluffy golden pancakes, gingerbread pancakes and banana pancakes. The latter are a personal favourite of mine; they remind me of lazy Sunday mornings and of course that classic Jack Johnson song.

Recipes from a Pantry Collage Sylvia from Happiness is Homemade also brought us pancakes, accompanied by her gorgeous photography. Don’t these pancakes with raspberries and chocolate chip pancakes make you just want to reach into the screen and grab a spoonful?

Happiness is Homemade Collage One of Recipes for Life’s most loyal supporters from the outset has been Helen from The Crazy Kitchen, and in the final month she rustled up a couple of beauties: a deliciously simple ham and tomato pancake pizza and some very tempting white chocolate and cherry muffins.

The Crazy Kitchen Collage I hadn’t heard of Königsberger klopse before but I really like the look of these German meatballs entered by Carolin at Mummy Alarm, and intend to try them out on my lot very soon. They are a traditional German meal, usually made from veal but Carolin created hers with beef mince in her family-friendly, budget version.

recipe-Königsberger-Klopse-German-meat-balls-with-white-caper-sauce Claire from Under the Blue Gum Tree decided not to enter a clafoutis after “one too many claggy-clafoutis attempts” but to be honest I’m rather pleased she entered her Flammkuchen instead, as this is just the kind of food my family adores. It’s a bacon and creme fraiche tart, which originally comes from the Alsace region of France. Tasty and rather good-looking to boot. Ticks all my boxes!

flammkuchenNext up are these gorgeous Pea-nut-ella Rolls from Cutchi Kitchen, which I think would go down well at breakfast time or as an after-school snack. Anyone who likes Reese’s peanut butter cups will know how well peanut butter and chocolate go together and the thought of them together in a warm roll is making my stomach growl…

pea-nut-ella rolls

Sarah at the Garden Deli has been another regular entrant in the Recipes for Life challenge, and I’m really pleased she made it just in time with her summery Pizza Pancakes, filled with the essentials of a good pizza topping – tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Simply delicious and so quick and easy to rustle up.


I left it to the very last minute to get my entry in. I made my first Tarte Tatin while we were on holiday in France and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to make. I tried a Nigella Lawson recipe using Danish pastry, which works really well and is just as good eaten cold the next day.

tarte tatin

There you go, that’s the final round-up and didn’t we do well? But who, I hear you ask, is August’s winner? Well…

* drum roll *

I’m very pleased to announce that August’s winner is Claire from Under the  Blue Gum Tree for her scrummy Flammkuchen. The team at SWALLOW loved the fact it was a little bit different yet still very easy for their members to make themselves. So huge congratulations to Claire on her very well deserved win! A little gift from SWALLOW will be on its way via airmail to you very soon.

But of course, there’s still one more announcement to go. Who will take the prestigious title of overall winner of the Recipes for Life challenge? To be honest, it was an obvious choice. It just had to be Helen from The Crazy Kitchen for her sheer dedication to the cause. She has won the monthly challenges no less than three times – and in a row too – and has entered a CRAZY number of recipes, each and every one of them fulfilling our brief for tasty, wholesome and easy-to-make dishes.

Helen will receive a copy of the Great British Farmhouse Cookbook from Yeo Valley, who incidentally are also based right here in Somerset. We hope you like it!

So that’s it. The Recipes for Life bloggers challenge is over. But watch this space for news of SWALLOW’s new cookbook, featuring many of the recipes entered over the last seven months. And also watch this space for news of a another cookery challenge I will be launching very, very soon.

Thanks again to everyone that has taken part – both the team at SWALLOW and I are very grateful for all your support!


August’s Recipes for Life challenge: milk, eggs and flour

eggs flour milk

So here we are, the final month of Recipes for Life, the challenge I launched back in February with the charity SWALLOW to help its cookery club find tasty new recipes for members to make themselves.

We decided to go right back to basics for this last challenge and our final three ingredients are milk, eggs and flour. You can’t get more basic than that now, can you?

What would you make with eggs, milk and flour? The options are wide open. Sweet or savoury; breakfast, lunch or dinner (or breakfast, dinner or tea!), or even supper – the choice is yours.

As ever you can add any extra ingredients you fancy but just please make sure they are the kind of thing you’d find in most fridges or store cupboards, or else easily and cheaply available in any supermarket or grocery store. Full guidelines on how to take part are below.

The plan is to include the best recipes from the seven months of the challenge in SWALLOW’s new cookery book. SWALLOW is a Somerset-based charity, supporting adults with learning disabilities to lead more independent lives. They run a wide range of programmes for its members, empowering them with the skills and experiences to live their lives to the full, from therapeutic art courses and drama groups to domestic and work-based training.

As part of its Fit for Life programme, SWALLOW runs cookery courses, helping members learn to prepare simple, inexpensive and nutritious meals. SWALLOW is looking for new recipes for its members to cook on the course, and ultimately to include in its cookbook, that don’t require a lengthy list of ingredients and aren’t incredibly complicated to make.

We’ve had a fantastic response from the food blogging community to date, offering a diverse collection of tasty, cheap and easy dishes made from everyday ingredients. Let’s see if we can make this month the best month yet!


Recipes for Life: how to enter

  1. Display the Recipes for Life badge (shown above and available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  2. You may enter as many recipe links as you like, so long as they are based on the three main ingredients selected for this month and accompanied only by everyday items.
  3. Send your recipe URL to me at vanesther-at-reescommunications-dot-co-dot-uk, including your own email address and the title of your recipe or post. The closing date this month is Saturday 31 August 2013.
  4. If you tweet your post, please mention #RecipesforLife@BangerMashChat and@SWALLOWcharity in your tweet and we will retweet each one we see.
  5. Feel free to republish old recipe posts, but please add the information about this challenge and the Recipes for Life badge.
  6. As entries come in, links to these will be added to this page and at the end of the month there will be a round-up of all entries received.
  7. SWALLOW staff and members will choose their favourite recipe at the end of each month, and the winner will receive a small prize.
  8. A selection of recipes entered each month will be featured in the SWALLOW cookbook to be published later this year, helping the charity to raise much-needed funds for its ongoing work.

We really look forward to seeing your entries this month, and you never know – there might be a special prize as it’s the final challenge. You’ll just have to wait and see!

August’s entries

  1. Fluffy Golden Pancakes from Recipes From A Pantry
  2. Gingerbread Pancakes from Recipes From A Pantry
  3. Banana Pancakes from Recipes From A Pantry
  4. Pancakes with Raspberries from Happiness is Homemade
  5. Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Fried Bananas from Happiness is Homemade
  6. White Chocolate & Cherry Muffins from The Crazy Kitchen
  7. Königsberger Klopse – German Meatballs from Mummy Alarm
  8. Flammkuchen (Bacon and Creme Fraiche Tart) from Under The Blue Gum Tree
  9. Ham & Tomato Pancake Pizza from The Crazy Kitchen
  10. Pea-nut-ella Rolls from Cutchi Kitchen
  11. Pizza Pancakes from The Garden Deli
  12. Tarte Tatin from Bangers & Mash


Simple banana smoothie

Normally my children have pretty healthy appetites, so when they tell me they’re not hungry that’s a sure-fire sign they must be poorly.

Over the past couple of weeks both my girls have been a bit ill – and my husband too – and so I’ve turned to the good old smoothie to make sure I get some sustenance into them. Even when they’re feeling pretty grotty, they can generally manage a glass or two of smoothie.

Of course these smoothies are too good only to have when illness strikes and they’re a brilliant way to use up those over-ripe bananas. You can also add any soft fruit you happen to have in. We keep a bag of berries in the freezer and I like to chuck in a handful or two of those. But here’s the basic banana recipe.

Simple banana smoothie

Serves 4

3 or 4 bananas
4 tbsp plain or Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp runny honey
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 pints of cold milk

Chop the banana into a blender or smoothie maker and add the rest of the ingredients. Simply whizz up until smooth and serve to your patients.