Round-up: The Spice Trail beach barbecue challenge

spice trail badge long

I’m loving this extended summer we’re having here in Somerset, particularly as it means we can continue having barbecues. In fact we enjoyed a teatime barbecue just yesterday when the children got home from school.

And so I don’t feel too bad about having taken so long to bring you this round-up of delicious beach barbecue recipes from August’s The Spice Trail challenge. I’m hoping there’s still time to enjoy a fair few of these dishes al fresco before the weather turns and autumn proper sets in…

Beach Barbecue Collage Continue reading “Round-up: The Spice Trail beach barbecue challenge”

Summer spice and all things nice…

The rain was verging on torrential yesterday in the Westcountry and I was watching telly last night in slippers and a big woolly jumper, wondering if it is too soon to turn the heating back on. So it seems slightly ironic that I’m now sat here writing a round-up of summer spice dishes. The scorching heat of July seems another world now, but hopefully the thought of these deliciously vibrant recipes will brighten the mood just long enough for the sun to make a reappearance.

Summer Spice Collage 1

We start with these tasty Pudina Paneer Tikki or Mint and Indian Cottage Cheese Patties (1) from Linsy at Home Cook Food. Made with mashed potato, grated carrot and paneer and flavoured with lots of mint, lime, chilli and ginger, these would be delicious served with your favourite chutney – or perhaps some of this mouthwatering Usirikaya Pachadi / Goose Berry Pickle (2) from Shailaja over at Sahasra Recipes. Continue reading “Summer spice and all things nice…”

Family Foodies round-up: chill out, baby!

Here in Somerset, we’ve been enjoying some real scorchers in recent weeks, which has been perfect for the start of the school holidays. Your entries for July’s Family Foodies challenge have proven simply perfect inspiration for deliciously refreshing ways to chill out in this sticky heat.

chill collage 1

Continue reading “Family Foodies round-up: chill out, baby!”

Quick and easy gazpacho


I like to think of this as a summer salad in a soup. A beautifully refreshing, fragrantly deliciously ice-cold soup, perfect on a hot, sticky day.

It’s an excellent way to use up those salad ingredients that have been sat in the fridge just a little too long. I always seem to be over ambitious when I buy salad stuff. Ideally you should buy your salad the day you’re going to eat it – ideally from a fabulous farmer’s market where all the produce has been grown within a few miles’ radius. But like most people, I do a weekly shop at the supermarket and by the end of the week, the contents of the salad drawer are beginning to look a little sad. This soup is definitely the solution.

What’s more, it’s a cinch to make too. I can’t be bothered to peel and seed my tomatoes, or peel and salt the cucumber, as gazpacho recipes usually demand. Clearly if I were entertaining and out to impress, I might push the boat out and make a little more effort. But when I’m rustling up a speedy lunch, I simply bung everything in a food processor, give it all a quick whizz and in seconds you have the most glorious gazpacho. Job done!


Quick and easy gazpacho

Serves 2

Half a cucumber, chopped
750g ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 spring onions, sliced
handful fresh mint, roughly chopped
handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
juice of half a lemon
celery salt

This really couldn’t be easier. Simply place the cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions, herbs and garlic in a food processor and blend. I like my gazpacho to be quite smooth, while my husband prefers it a little chunky. So we usually end up somewhere in between.

Stir in the olive oil and lemon juice, and season with celery salt and pepper to taste.

Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and, if you like it really cold, a couple of ice cubes.


I’m entering my quick and easy gazpacho into a number of blog events…


No Croutons Required is a monthly blog event for soups and salads suitable for vegetarians, hosted by Lisa’s Kitchen and Tinned Tomatoes. I think this soup fits the bill.

vegetable palette800

Vegetable Palette is a new vegetarian blog challenge from Allotment 2 Kitchen, which calls for dishes made from fruits or vegetables of a chosen colour. July’s theme is red, so I think this tomato-based soup is perfect.


With all that tomato and cucumber, I think this gazpacho definitely qualifies as a serving of Extra Veg, which is the theme for the blog challenge hosted each month by Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy, and this month is being guest-hosted by Juggle Mum.


Of course, I’ve got to enter my soup into July’s hosted Family Foodies, the blog challenge I take turns in hosting with Louisa at Eat Your Veg. This month the theme is Chill Out, Baby!


Al Fresco is the theme for this month’s Four Seasons Food, a seasonal blog event hosted by Eat Your Veg and Delicieux. I reckon this gazpacho would make a lovely lunch to eat out on the patio.

cooking with herbs

Basil is the theme for July’s Cooking with Herbs challenge hosted by Lavender & Lovage, and as my soup features lots of lovely basil (and mint too), I’ve just got to enter it.


And finally, with all those seasonal salad goodies, I’ve got to enter it into Ren Behan‘s Simple and in Season challenge, hosted this month by My Custard Pie.

The Spice Trail: summer spice challenge

summer spice

Enter your Summer Spice dishes to win a fantastic gift set from Holy Lama Spice Drops!

I’m giving you almost completely free reign with your choice of spice in this month’s Spice Trail challenge. So long as your dish has a sense of summer about it and a splash a spice, then it fits the bill.

Your dish could come from any of the four corners of the world, be sweet or savoury, snack or main course, drink or dessert – the choice is completely yours. Just so long as it’s a) spicy and b) summery, and I’ll be happy!

spice dropsHoly Lama! What a prize!

This month the lovely Gouri Kubair from Holy Lama (a chartered accountant turned serious foodie) is our guest judge and she’s offering an amazing prize for one very lucky winner – a gift set of summery Holy Lama Spice Drops, including fennel seed, mint, lemongrass, rose and pepper, presented in a beautiful handcrafted wooden stand.

The Spice Drops range of products, which recently came in the top 5 in Ocado’s ‘Top Supplier’ competition, are concentrated extracts of natural spices and herbs in the form of drops, offering a simpler, more consistent way to infuse food and drink with pure, vibrant flavours. Forget peeling, grinding, scraping and measuring and simply add a drop or two at any stage of the cooking process. Spice Drops contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and a few drops go a long way!

What’s more, Holy Lama manufactures their products in an ethically-run factory employing marginalised women in the local community in Kerala, India.

See the full range of Spice Drops on the Holy Lama website and read a recent interview with Gouri here.

So what are you waiting for? I really can’t wait to see your Summer Spice entries!

How to enter The Spice Trail

spice trail badge square

  • Display the The Spice Trail badge (above and also available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  • Up to three recipe links accepted per blogger, so long as they each one has a Summer Spice theme and features at least one spice.
  • Feel free to link up recipe posts from your archive, but please add the information about this challenge to the post and The Spice Trail badge.
  • 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 Tuesday 29 July 2014.
  • If you tweet your post, please mention #TheSpiceTrail and me @BangerMashChat in your tweet and I’ll retweet each one I see.
  • As entries come in, links to these will be added to the bottom of this page.
  • At the end of the month a guest judge will choose a winning recipe and the winner this month will receive a gift set from Holy Lama.
  • The winner will be announced in a monthly round-up of all the entries.
  • Entries from bloggers all around the world are accepted, but unfortunately the prize can only be shipped to a UK address.
  • All entries will be added to The Spice Trail Pinterest Board.

I’m really looking forward to seeing your Summer Spice dishes and drinks. Any questions, please tweet or email me.

And thanks to everyone who entered June’s cumin challenge – the round-up and winner announcement will be coming very soon.

July’s entries

  1. Mint and Indian Cottage Cheese Patties from Home Cook Food
  2. Usirikaya Pachadi / Goose Berry Pickle from Sahasra Recipes
  3. Ginger Zinger Cake from Lancashire Food
  4. Kale Spinach Muthia from Home Cook Food
  5. Chimichurri Sauce from Home Cook Food
  6. Summer Coolant Salad from Drizzling Delicacies
  7. Chipotle Chilli Sauce from How to Cook Good Food
  8. Lemon, Lavender & Almond Cake from Family-Friends-Food
  9. Peach Streusel Kuchen Traybake from Tales From the Kitchen Shed
  10. Mejadra – Middle Eastern Rice & Lentils from Family-Friends-Food
  11. Courgette Pakoras from Lapin d’Or and More
  12. Fasulye with Dukkah Roasted Tofu from Chocolate Log Blog
  13. Apple & Pineapple Eve’s Pudding from Casa Costello
  14. Briouates Stuffed with Spinach & Meat from Madhouse Family Reviews
  15. Patatas a lo pobre (poor man’s potatoes) from Madhouse Family Reviews
  16. Moroccan Kefta Meatball Tagine from Madhouse Family Reviews
  17. Bobotie Spiced Beef Burgers from Bangers & Mash

Summer Spice image: nkzs

Family Foodies: chill out, baby!

chill out baby

It’s always hard to predict what the weather might have in store for us Brits in July. It ought to be a month of long, hot, lazy days, of trips to the seaside, cheering the kids on at their school sports days and keeping the ants off the sarnies on those impromptu picnics in the park.

In reality though, it’s very often about trying to the stop the children jumping in puddles wearing only sandals (I know, there’s really no point), countless games of cards to stop everyone getting cabin fever and spontaneous visits to museums and art galleries to escape the rain.

But ever the optimist, I’m holding out for July being a gloriously golden, sunshiny month where sunscreen and sun hats are the order of the day.

So that’s why this month’s Family Foodies challenge has the theme Chill Out, Baby! We’re calling for your tasty eats and drinks for chilling out and cooling down in the summer sun: tempting icy treats suitable for the whole family. From frozen ice creams and sorbets to refreshing salads and smoothies, we can’t wait to see your recipes for chilled and frosty delights to tantalise our taste buds while cooling our heated brows.

Recipes from my Mother for my DaughterAs usual, we have a prize for the overall winner and this month we are giving away a copy of Celebrity Masterchef winner, Lisa Faulkner’s fabulous cookbook Recipes from my Mother for my Daughter. Not bad, eh?

To get the ball rolling, I’m entering my elderflower cordial, which I posted on the blog a couple of days ago. Mixed with fizzy water and lots of ice, it’s my idea of the perfect summer cooler.

But it’s your ideas, we really want to hear about…

Family Foodie Entry Guidelines:

  • You may submit any recipe on your blog that fits this month’s theme, new or from the archive, and there is a limit of three entries per blogger. You’re also welcome to submit the post to other challenges too. If the recipe is not your own, please give the appropriate credit.
  • 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 Tuesday 29 July 2014.
  • Display the Family Foodies badge (below) on your recipe post, with a link back to both Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash, as well as details of this month’s challenge.
  • If you’re on Twitter, then please tweet your post to myself @BangerMashChat and Lou @Eat_Your_Veg and include the hashtag #FamilyFoodies. We’ll retweet all that we see.
  • You may enter from anywhere in the blogosphere, but prizes can only be posted out to UK addresses.
  • At the end of the month a guest judge will choose a winning recipe. The winner will be announced in a monthly round-up of all the entries. Winners will get to display a Family Foodie Winner annotated badge on their blog if they wish and their recipe will go through to the Family Foodies Hall of Fame on each of our sites.
  • All entries will be added to the Family Foodies Pinterest Group Board.

Any questions, do drop me an email at the address above.



July’s entries

  1. Elderflower Cordial from Bangers & Mash
  2. Lime Ice Cream in a Ginger Snap Crust from Selma’s Table
  3. No-churn Raspberry Swirl Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Fino Sherry from Selma’s Table 
  4. Banana Split Milkshake from Home Cook  Food
  5. Chickoo Kulfi – Sapota Indian Ice Cream from Home Cook Food
  6. Mango Coolatta and Pineapple Coolatta from Home Cook Food
  7. Four Fruity Frozen Treats from Family – Friends – Food
  8. Raspberry, Banana and Coconut Ice Lollies from Sneaky Veg
  9. Strawberry Mousse from Self Sufficient Cafe
  10. Salted Caramel Coffee Cooler from The Crafty Larder
  11. Quick and Easy Gazpacho from Bangers & Mash
  12. Frozen Peach Yoghurt & Oaty Crumb Topping from Tales From the Kitchen Shed
  13. Homemade Yoghurt from Tales from the Kitchen Shed
  14. Raspberry Ripple-White Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream Bars & Bites from The Gluten Free Alchemist
  15. Chicken, Goat’s Cheese & Avocado Salad from Mad Avocado
  16. Instant Choc-Ana Ice Cream from Eat Your Veg
  17. Vegan and Raw Raspberry Ice-cream from Allotment 2 Kitchen
  18. Strawberry & Rose Ice Cream Soda from Bangers & Mash
  19. Chocolate Blackcurrant Sundae from Chocolate Log Blog