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 aubergine and hummus dips

aubergine and hummus dips

I reckon we’re pretty good in the Bangers & Mash house when it comes to snacking healthily. Just as I sat down to write this post, my girls came in with their usual mid-afternoon demand: “Mummy, we’re hungry! Can we have a snack?” They are now happily munching their way through a bowlful each of dried apricots.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not food saints by any stretch of the imagination. We enjoy our potato crisps and chocolate biscuits as much as the next family, but these are clearly seen as occasional treats rather than everyday snacks.

As well as dried apricots, the girls also love their dried apples, which we dry ourselves above the Aga – perfect in late summer when our apple tree is heaving. Dried apple is a perfect ingredient for our fruit & nut balls and granola, both of which make ideal snacks. Cherry tomatoes, chunks of cheese and cucumber, and carrot sticks are also snacktime favourites with my girls.

Healthy Snacks Collage

But probably the snack the kids ask for most are dips and breadsticks. We always have a pot of chunky hummus or some other dip, such as this deliciously smoky aubergine puree, on the go in the fridge. I used to spend a fortune on the shop bought varieties, until I realised just how cheap and easy they are to make at home. And so much tastier too.

Both recipes are based on ones I found in Leon cookbooks, but I’ve tweaked them slightly for my family’s tastes, in particular by increasing the amount of garlic involved in the proceedings.

aubergine dip

Aubergine dip

Use yoghurt instead of the tahini to turn this dip into babaganoush.

3 large aubergines
125ml tahini
juice of 3 lemons
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220°C / gas mark 7.

Prick the aubergines with a fork and bake in the oven, direct on the rack, for around 20 minutes until the skins have blackened.

Peel off the aubergine skins using a sharp knife while they are still warm.

Whizz up the aubergines in a food processor, together with the tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Taste and season with salt.

Pour into a large bowl to serve, drizzled with olive oil.

easy hummus

Easy hummus

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tbsp tahini
70ml extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
½ tsp paprika (optional)

Simply place the chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, tahini and olive oil into a food processor and blitz until you reach a good consistency. I like mine fairly chunky but you might prefer yours smoother or looser. If it seems to dry, add a little more olive oil and/or lemon juice.

Season to taste and pour into a bowl to serve. Sprinkle with a little paprika if you like.

Why not serve your dips as part of a mezze?
Why not serve your dips as part of a mezze?

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. As my children like to say. Both dips are a good accompaniment to crudités, breadsticks or warm pitta bread, or serve as part of a mezze.


I’m entering these dips into April’s Family Foodies challenge, hosted this month by Louisa at Eat Your Veg. The theme this month is Healthy Snacks. Do pop over there to take a look through the other recipes entered so far – there are some really good ones this month. In particular, I’ve got my eye on the Easy Peasy Mackerel Pate from Casa Costello, which looks delicious and wonderfully simple to make.