Friday, 26 August 2016

What's Cooking at The Madhouse? menu plan 26/8/16

Well, our traditional mammoth summer travelling has drawn to an end, after a week visiting family in the UK, two weeks in Lanzarote and a week in Brittany at the in laws', so it's time to get back into menu planning. After four weeks without cooking, I've got a big backlog of bookmarked recipes to get through, as well as my Italian-themed Kitchen Trotter box to play with, but after stuffing our faces for a month, we're all looking forward to some lighter meals too !


lunch - probably McDonalds if the kids have their way, otherwise beefburgers, rice and ratatouille

dinner - big mixed salad with something unusual like grilled peaches and goats cheese to make it more exciting


lunch - roast dinner or BBQ depending on the weather

dinner - soup of some description - possibly chilled cucumber & avocado soup (which sounds weird but I'll try anything once and Madhouse Daddy ate lots of gazpacho in Lanzarote so he should be a fan !) & courgette involtini bruschetta


lunch - sesame chicken with broccoli & noodles

dinner - zuppa d'orzo, an Italian barley soup


lunch - Veal (or chicken) Milanese with sage and sweet and sour onions and rice

dinner - a Cuban dish, Ropa Vieja


lunch - spaghetti carbonara

dinner - Macau African chicken with rice or buckwheat


lunch - back to work for me so the kids will be fending for themselves !

dinner - tomato & lentil soup (we grabbed some half-price New Covent Garden soups and shoved them in the freezer so the first day back at work sounds like the prefect day to eat one of those !)


lunch - back to school so possibly the school canteen or a sandwich at home, depending on when they finish (might only be a half day to start with) - not sure if I'm home or not yet, depends on my timetable that I'll get on Thursday

dinner - coconut shrimp curry


Bara brith
semi freddo with Sicilian pistachio cream

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Book review : The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

I tend to shy away from best-sellers because I'm often disappointed when they don't live up to the hype, but when I saw The Girl on the Train on the swaps bookshelf at our hotel in Lanzarote, I couldn't resist picking it up. 

I was immediately drawn to the unusual structure. It is told by three different narrators - Rachel, Anna and Megan - but starting from different time periods that rapidly converge. The main character, and the one that we are first introduced to, is Rachel, the girl on the train from the title. Although she seems likeable enough, we immediately realise that she has a big drink problem and an unhealthy obsession with peering into the windows and the lives of the people who live along her daily commute to London. As the book progresses, we learn more about her motives and the reasons for her failings - she used to live in one of these houses and her ex-husband, now with new wife and daughter, has kept on the house that he once shared with Rachel. Although the reader still views her as a mentally unstable woman who makes very dubious life choices, we do empathise with her a lot more from this point onwards.

Rachel is particularly obsessed with the house opposite a faulty signal that the train always stops at - the inhabitants, who she often sees indulging in very public displays of affection on their roof terrace, have been built up in her imagination to represent the ideal loved-up couple, the perfect partnership that she could have had but lost. Then one day, her idealistic vision is shattered when she seems something that makes her realise there's trouble in her invented paradise. Should she leave these people to get on with their lives or is this the perfect way to introduce herself into their reality?

As it is a first person narrative, the reader knows that we are only getting a subjective view of the truth. By comparing the different narrators' versions though, we do manage to get the bigger picture and possibly end up with a better view of reality than each separate voice. Characters are presented through their eyes and we follow their changing viewpoints as the novel progresses. 

Maybe I read too many psychological thrillers but I did actually work out the probable ending from very early on. I still found it to be a tense and totally gripping novel though and liked seeing all the different parts of the story slot into place, even if I thought the characters were a bit one dimensional. The film version will be hitting the big screens in October and I'll be keen to see how it translates into a movie.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £7.99

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan (5 May 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552779776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552779777

Giveaway #578 : Win a Braun Beard Trimmer - closing date 11/9

Recent research has shown that 55% of men restyle their look depending on the occasion: facial, head and body hair is a natural extension of their attitude and overall style. With this in mind, Braun has introduced its new Styling Range, a series of six products that deliver unparalleled precision and agility to help every man achieve his own unique look all over his body.

From trim length to shaping, on anything from smooth skin to sexy stubble and bushy beards, the new Braun Styling range combines world class design with in-depth grooming expertise for precision styling from head to toe. One of the products in the range is the Braun Beard Trimmer (RRP: £39.99).

The new Braun Beard Trimmer offers ultimate precision for the perfect look. It makes it easy to achieve an exact trim length and precise contours, for a perfectly groomed beard.

• It has lifetime lasting sharp blades and 25 length settings for 4 x more precision styling

• The ergonomically-designed dial gives complete control over texture and style thanks to 25 different length settings

• The Precision Comb cuts hairs to between 1mm and 10mm in 0.5mm steps, whilst the Long Beard Comb trims hairs between 10mm and 0mm in 2mm steps

• The slide out Detail Trimmer works even with the comb on for easy and efficient styling of beard lines

• Because it can be used corded or cordlessly it never runs out of power (powerful NI-MH batteries fully charge in an hour for 50 minutes of cordless trimming)

• 100% washable for easy cleaning under running water

The new Braun Beard Trimmer is also available with an extra attachment comb and a storage bag for RRP £49.99.

The Braun Styling range is available from Spring 2016 at Tesco,, Argos and major supermarkets. Please visit for more information.

I have a Braun Beard Trimmer to give away to one lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader. Fill in your entries via the Rafflecopter widget below.

UK only. Closing date : 11/9/16

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook, twitter and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

Giveaway #577 : Win 2 x A Dozen Summers - closing date 3/9

Giveaway #576 : Win 2 x Moving On Series Five and Six - closing date 28/8

New Cheerios Oat Crisp review

It's almost back-to-school time which means the long leisurely breakfasts that we've been enjoying during the holidays will soon be a thing of the past. Forget pancakes, bacon sandwiches, smoothies or breakfast muffins, you'll be lucky to get a slice of toast in our house once we've all gone back to work and school ! A bowl of cereal is often the quickest and simplest option so we were delighted to discover the new range of Cheerios Oat Crisp from Nestlé, which seem to offer the perfect balance of healthiness and great taste.

Available in original or cinnamon flavours (which was our unanimous favourite), Cheerios Oat Crisp is a mixture of crunchy flakes of oat mixed with light crispy O’s. Both varieties are a natural source of beta-glucan, that can help lower cholesterol by binding with it in the digestive tract and stopping it from being absorbed into the body, as well as being high in fibre and low in saturated fat. 

 According to the cholesterol charity Heart UK, over half of all adults in the UK have raised cholesterol which is a risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease. Getting your oats with a bowlful of Cheerios Oat Crisp every morning is a simple step to look after your heart because just one bowlful will provide 1/3 of your recommended intake of beta-glucan.

A 40g portion with 125ml semi-skimmed milk contains 214 calories and 15g of sugar. The boxes are smaller than many cereal brands (350g) though which is a bit of a shame because it means they don't last long !

RRP: £2.49 for 350g

Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Book review : Nothing Short of Dying - Erik Storey

Clyde Barr could be described as a bad boy turned good. He's fresh out of prison, with a dream of living a tranquil life in the back of beyond in the Yukon, putting his murky past behind him. Unfortunately he's also a bit of a shit-magnet (if you'll excuse my French - I failed to find a suitable synonym without profanity !) so his dreams of having a peaceful life have next to no chance of coming true.

He's killed more people than the world's most prolific serial killer but only the bad guys, whether from his own personal life or the nameless, faceless villains that he disposed of, fighting as a mercenary in Third World countries or hunting down illegal poachers in Africa. He wants to turn his back on the violence and killing but a phonecall from his sister, asking for help, drags him back into the criminal underworld that he desperately wanted to escape. If Clyde has one Achilles heel, it's being totally incapable of refusing to help the underdogs in life. 

He soon finds himself caught up in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game, trying to outsmart the local thugs, a drug-lord and the FBI, just so that he can bring his sister back home safe and sound. Although Clyde often seems invincible, he does get hurt, both physically and mentally, and some of the key characters get killed off, adding a dose of realism that this kind of fiction sometimes lacks.

It's a fast-paced and adrenaline-packed read that will appeal to both sexes (men will probably want to identify with him and women will undoubtedly swoon over him !) and I couldn't put it down. I'd love to see Clyde brought to the big screen (I wonder who'd play him though) and I am delighted to see that this is the first in a series so we'll be seeing lots more of him. He's the perfect antihero, whose character is full of paradoxes - he's strong but vulnerable, kind-hearted but ruthless - so there is still plenty of scope for getting to know the ins and outs of his psyche and his personal story.

The writing is very atmospheric and convincing so I wasn't surprised to learn that author Erik Storey lives deep in the rugged badlands of Western Colorado. He grew up in the wilderness, hunting deer and driving cattle, working as a wilderness guide, dogsled musher, and ranch hand, and his books are alive with hard-earned authenticity. Apparently he spent his last $9 mailing the manuscript to Darley Anderson, agent to the likes of Lee Child, Chris Carter and Martina Cole !

I'll definitely be looking out for the next installment when it's published because I think Clyde has a lot more adventures (and misadventures) left in him !

star rating : 5/5

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (25 Aug. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471146839
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471146831
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm

Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to write an honest review.

Late summer adventures with Persil’s Wild Explorers App

Have you had lots of fun adventures this summer? If you're shaking your head sadly, saying that you didn't go anywhere on holiday this year, never fear - you don't have to go far away to exotic locations to have an adventure. All you need is your local park or your back garden and a little bit of imagination and you're good to go !

That's where Persil can help out with their ‘Persil Wild Explorers’ app, created in conjunction with  The Wild Network. It's an absolutely free resource packed with over 100 exciting ideas to encourage kids and families to play, learn and get dirty outdoors - whatever the weather!

Whether creating a Mud Volcano or becoming an ant detective, little explorers – and their parents – will soon discover the endless play opportunities the great outdoors has to offer. Many activities take as little as 10 minutes to enjoy and none of them ‘cost the earth’.

‘Persil Wild Explorers’ includes a huge variety of fun ideas to help families choose outdoor activities to fit their lifestyle, including those living in urban areas or who are always short on time. Budding adventurers can get started by going ‘smell collecting’ or ‘playing conkers,’ whilst seasoned explorers can share their skills with ‘making your own nature show’. Families can choose to further embrace outdoor play by becoming mildly mucky or even really quite grubby!

A must-have for parents, Persil has created the free app following research revealing the decline of outdoor play as three quarters of UK children (74 per cent) spend as little time outdoors as the 60 minutes recommended for prison inmates ! With the help of this clever tool, parents can win the battle to free the kids and encourage them to step outdoors and away from their screens.

Jennifer King, Senior Brand Manager for Persil UK & Ireland at Persil comments:
“Playing outdoors isn’t just fun – it also helps a child’s development by teaching them important social skills such as team work, as well as inspiring creativity and imagination. We know that parents struggle to encourage their children outdoors, so we’ve worked with the experts at The Wild Network to compile a host of exciting activities – some requiring as little as 10 minutes of ‘Wild Time’. With Persil taking care of the resultant mess and stains, parents will be sure to enjoy it just as much as their kids.”

The Persil Wild Explorers app is available to download now absolutely free on iOS and Android, allowing parents and their children to:

· Explore family-friendly activities for different locations
· Discover an activity for any weather condition
· Find outdoor play ideas ranging from 10 minutes to hours of fun
· Uncover activities for explorers of all ages
· Track Wild Time adventures

Some of our favourite activities from the app are :

- Build A Fairy House – Bring a bit of magic to the end of your garden and build your very own fairy house
- Nature in Focus – Put your favourite bits of nature in front of the camera and share them with the world

- Daisy Chain – From bracelet to long necklaces, learn how to make awesome summer daisy chains

- Go Crabbing – Explore some rock pools and get friendly with the crabs. Watch the nippers!
- Be A Seashell Artist – See what colours, shapes and sizes you can collect and create a seashell masterpiece

- Fly A Kite – Bit breezy outside? Great – it’s perfect weather for flying a kite!

Have you been having much outdoor fun over the summer? I'd love to hear what you've been getting up to.

For further information and even more ideas on getting out and getting dirty, visit

Summer recipe : Cream cheese fritters with English summer maple cherries

Cream cheese fritters with English summer cherries and pure maple syrup from Quebec make a lovely breakfast, brunch or dessert. The delicate creaminess of the cheese offsets the rich sweetness of the cherries and maple syrup to create a light yet indulgent summer treat.

Cream cheese fritters with English summer maple cherries

Ingredients :

For the fritters:

200g cream cheese
250g cottage cheese, well drained
2 large eggs
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
40g maple sugar
40g chopped raisins
Grated lemon zest
75g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil

For the cherries and maple syrup:

175ml pure maple syrup from Quebec
200g fresh cherries
1 lemon, squeezed for juice

Method :

Place cream cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl.
Beat until smooth. Stir in raisins and lemon zest.
Sieve flour and combine.
Cover and refrigerate for four hours, or overnight.
Roll into balls with excess flour, flatten into disks.
Place on baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Melt butter and oil in frying pan and cook fritters for 2 minutes each side until golden brown.
Keep warm in low oven.
Heat maple syrup, lemon juice, cherries and 1 tbsp of water in a pan until cherries become soft.
Serve the fritters warm with cherries.
Any fresh of preserved fruit can be used. All seasonal fruits can be used e.g. poached pears and pineapple would be a good alternative.

Recipe courtesy of @welovemaple.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

We've gone a little bit fruit and nutty about Forest Feast snacks ! (review)

Forest Feast, the premium dried fruit and nut snack company, recently sent us through a lovely selection of their products to try out, suggesting that they may be great lunchbox-friendly treats for the Madhouse kids when they go back to school. There was a lovely mix of spicy nibbles and ingredients that could be used in baking, so I'll be experimenting with muffins, cookies and traybakes in the next few weeks. 

Surprisingly, one of the biggest hits was the crunchy coated peas. When I hear "perfect mums" (a category that I most definitely do not claim to fit into !) saying that they fill their kids' lunchboxes with rice cakes, unsweetened dates and carrot sticks on a daily basis, and that their kids would rather eat fruit than sweets, I'm always slightly dubious. The Madhouse kids like to nibble on all of those things, but they are also rather partial to the unhealthier snacks such as crisps, biscuits and cakes. Well, I may have just found a new ally. The peas, which come in a variety of flavours, are pleasingly crunchy and sweet and the spicy coatings really complement the pea flavour. Each 40g pack contains less than 170 calories and they have the benefit of being naturally low in fat and high in protein. Flavours include Smokin' BBQ, Spicy Chilli Lime and Hot & Sour Sriracha and the manga-inspired packaging makes them even more appealing to kids.

We also loved their Street Food range, both for the taste and the exotic locations relating to the flavours. The lovely crunchy peas are back in force in the Louisiana Hickory Barbeque pack, which is a mixture of hickory smoked almonds and barbeque green peas with Jalapeno and honey and mustard sesame sticks. I thought they would be too spicy with both mustard and jalapeno in them, but the whole family loved them, including the kids, who often turn their nose up at spicy snacks.

We also tried Koh Samui Thai Spice Street Food mix, which is a fruity blend of Honey Red Pepper Almonds & Thai Spice Cashews with Pineapple & Coconut. These were again a big hit with the whole family and the kids particularly loved the chunks of sweet chewy pineapple, that perfectly complemented the crunchy peanuts.

If you want a sophisticated twist on a bag of peanuts, I can highly recommend the Sesame Glazed Peanuts with Almonds and Cashews. They are wonderfully crunchy and taste really fresh so they are ideal in bowls of nibbles, but could also be incorporated into salads and stir fries.

Next we tried the Roast & Salt Assorted Nuts, which are equally crunchy and tasty, but we did find them a bit too salty for our tastes. They'll be great in baking or stir-fries though so they won't be going to waste. We also tried a selection of the Forest Feast fruit pouches, which you can see in closer detail below.

The Sour Mango is moist and chewy with a sweet and slightly zingy flavour that the kids were happy to much on in place of sweets. The Dried Sliced Coconut has a much fresher flavour and crunchier texture than the dessicated coconut that I usually use in baking. The intriguingly named Dried Wonder Berries are a mixture of cranberries, goji berries, physalis and blackcurrants that are sweet but tart and juicy. They are all lovely to nibble on straight from the pack but could also be added to yogurt or muesli and used in home baking.

All of the products that we tried got a positive reception so they're all great to have in the cupboard for snack-time or for livening up back-toschool lunchboxes. Fresh fruit can be fiddly to eat for little fingers if it needs peeling or pulling into sections, and chopped slices of fruit tend to go brown and mushy before they get eaten, so dried fruit is a convenient and healthy alternative. If you find it hard getting your children to eat their 5-a-day, it's a great way of sneaking extra fruit into yogurts, muffins and stir-fries too.

for more information :

Disclosure : We received the products in order to write an honest review.

Book review : The Soul Collectors - Chris Mooney

I'm a total bookworm and will happily read any genre of fiction but I do have a particular penchant for heart-stopping, grisly crime novels. Every time we walk past The Works, I have to go in and pick up a bundle of books in their 3-for-£5 section and Chris Mooney's The Soul Collectors was one of my latest buys.

The Soul Collectors is the fourth Darby McCormick novel but you can still enjoy it as a standalone novel. In fact, you might enjoy it even more if you haven't read the others, because I have read one of them - The Missing, the first in the series (click through to read my review) - and I found it unlikely and unrealistic that the same cop would be kidnapped and imprisoned by another serial killer and still get out alive. I'm not sure if this is the basic premise for each of the other novels in the series, but it makes it all a bit predictable and less convincing.

Darby McCormick is summed up by one of her less politically-correct colleagues in the book as Rambo with tits. She's one tough cookie, highly trained in combat skills and an expert in forensic investigations. She knows how to get into the minds of serial killers and kidnap victims because she was targetted by one such psychopath, dubbed The Traveller, when she was a teenager (vaguely mentioned in this book and described in more detail in The Missing). She seems to have more lives than a whole litter of proverbial cats and can come out of gunfights, explosions and armed combat with barely a scratch.

In The Soul Collectors, Darby is summoned to a hostage situation, along with a SWAT team, by the man with a gun, claiming to be Charlie Rizzo, a child kidnap victim from some twenty years ago, holding his own family at gunpoint, and requesting to speak to Darby. Darby remembers the kidnap but it's hard to tell if it is really Charlie or not because his face has been replaced by a hideous mask made out of human skin. Before she can get to the bottom of things, the SWAT team burst into the house, shooting the entire family at close range and leaving Darby for dead.

Despite being on a suspension from Boston PD, Darby can't let it go and delves deeper and deeper into the case, uncovering horrors that even someone with her own past could never imagine. She unearths a sinister religious cult who have kidnapped and tortured hundreds of children, always the youngest sibling in the family, over the past few decades across many states, and it appears that nobody is safe, even within the police and FBI. Darby and her colleagues are soon running for their lives in a deadly cat-and-mouse game but being killed is the least of their worries, because, where these people are involved, there most certainly is a fate worse than death.

It's a dark, nail-biting, fast-paced read that I found unputdownable while I was racing through it, but once I'd finished, I was left feeling slightly unsatisfied on several counts. In many ways, the book leaves you at exactly the same place where it picked you up - Darby's will-they-won't-they romance with her soul mate Coop is still in limbo and, despite resolving a vast number of cold cases, there is no real closure for this killing spree because the criminals go to ground and are still at large, leaving messages for Darby wherever she goes so that she knows she can't escape them, however hard she tries. I've devoured a lot of crime fiction in my time but I've never read a novel with such a high body count (literally in the hundreds so you can't empathise with any of them as individuals) and so many bent cops. The torture and imprisonment scenes are chilling and the descriptions of the perpetrators sometimes shift into the horror genre rather than crime fiction, but I found it less psychologically disturbing or gripping than many other titles that I've read because they were skimmed over. Scenes like the mass grave or the horrific torture amphitheatre at the end were dealt with in just a few short sentences whereas they could have been developed into something much more spine-tingling with greater detail. I also felt that there were a lot of questions left unanswered - we still don't really know who the killers are or why they started, what the significance of the skin face mask or the other mutilations were, the fate of key characters, such as Jack Casey's wife, are left unclear (we know she survives but in what state?) and Charlie's question in the opening pages, about what his "dear" daddy did all those years ago, is still left largely unanswered at the end.

In short, it's an enjoyable read but I did find it a bit samey compared with the other book I've read in the series, and this has left me feeling less inclined to read the others. Darby's character also seemed less convincing this time around because I think it's highly unlikely that one person would get into quite so many life-or-death situations. I'd be willing to read one more book from the series to see if it's as enjoyable as the first one, but as it stands, I was less blown away this time around.

star rating : 3.5/5

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241957419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241957417

Monday, 22 August 2016

#KitchenClearout July/August roundup and September linky

I knew I wouldn't be around for pretty much the whole of August (even if you probably didn't notice I'd gone because I scheduled daily posts for when I was away) so I planned on doing on a double-month summer #KitchenClearout linky post for July and August, but being a cheapskate, I only use the free version of inlinkz, the linky creator, and it won't let you run a linky for longer than 33 days - rotten burgers ! I also knew that everybody would be too busy gallivanting around in the school holidays to join in much last month, and, as predicted, it ended up being a bit of a me,myself and I roundup in July ! Luckily, I knuckled down and had a big clearout in my kitchen, as well as totally winding down the fridge before heading off on holiday, so I still have a nice roundup to share with you this month. This month's linky will run for 33 days until the 24th September, when I'll start a new linky.

So here's what July's linky offered :

Continuing my efforts to use up my (slightly dwindling but nevertheless huge !) stash of oats, I made these delicious Banana & Coconut Flapjacks which were beautifully gooey and moreish. They also finished off a half-used bag of coconut sugar.

Some leftover baked potatoes were transformed into some Moroccan-inspired tuna & potato briouates, which also used up some spice paste and spices.

Turning to the freezer, I found a tub of frozen raspberries that had been in there since last summer, so they were made into a delicious raspberry and white chocolate loaf cake.

This Meatball & Couscous One Pot Wonder was a tasty way of stretching a 2-serving pouch of couscous into a meal for a family of 5.

These deceptively simple, 5-ingredient Lemon Cream & Raspberry Tarts were the perfect way to finish off the end of the frozen raspberries, and also used up the end of a jar of lemon marmalade that was lurking in the fridge feeling unloved.

I will admit it, the Ready Brek, Apple & Banana Muffins were a complete experiment, but they ended up having a lovely moist texture and were wolfed down by the kids as both breakfast and mid-afternoon snacks.

My Pork, Pepper & Pineapple Stir Fry used up two bottles of cooking sauce. It started life as Habanero Pineapple Chicken/Pork (using leftover cooked meat from the Sunday bbq) but once I'd tasted the sauce on my little finger and blown my head off, it evolved into a stir fry with a much milder chilli & ginger sauce. Either way, both bottles were disposed of - one was eaten and one thrown away - which made some more space in the cupboard, as is the aim of #KitchenClearout.

Tostadas are the ultimate #KitchenClearout recipe because you can use up everything that is lurking in the fridge : tomatoes, salad, cheese, olives, cooked rice, ... I also rummaged in the cupboards and found a tin of refried beans, a guacamole seasoning sachet and a bottle of chipotle & bourbon bbq sauce, which were all incorporated into the dish. Just like fajitas, they are also great fun to eat because it's a total free-for-all with everyone assembling their own tostada.

Winding down the fridge to go on holiday and still having a whole punnet of mushrooms, I made Mushrooms √† la Grecque, which can be eaten as a refreshing cold starter or hot with rice as a main meal. 

My deep fat frying days are long behind me as I always use my Actifry now, but as I had a pan of oil from making prawn crackers (which wouldn't work in the Actifry, I don't think !), I decided to make BBQ Fried Chicken as a special treat. I used up the end of a bottle of honey barbecue sauce in the breadcrumbs, which gave it a lovely sweet and smoky flavour.

A big warm welcome to Shaheen from the Allotment2Kitchen blog for her lovely summery Cold Minted Pasta Salad, which looks perfect as a light lunch or supper when it's too hot to cook. Extra brownie points for being the only person to join in this month !

I look forward to seeing what you make this month, or catching up with any #KitchenClearout recipes that you made in August. I have several to link up from just before we went off on holiday already so it could end up being a bumper month !

Fancy joining in? Have a rummage through your kitchen cupboards, spice rack, freezer or fridge and see if there's anything that needs using up then come and share your creations with us. Or if it's way past its sell-by date, throw it in the bin and come and tell us what you found ! It would be great if you could add my badge and a link to this post for anyone else who wants to get involved.