Bangers & Mash is a blog for anyone who, like me, is trying to cook good family food and eat well on a budget.
My name is Vanesther Rees and I’m a working mum based in Somerset, England. I’m married to the gorgeous Jason (who cooks a mean spag bol and rather fiery chilli con carnes) and our two daughters, Jess (8) and Mia (5).
You might have a family to feed, or not. But you are looking for ideas and recipes to keep meals interesting without breaking the bank and without compromising on taste or quality of ingredients.
A couple of years ago I changed the way I cook and shop, and pretty much halved my grocery budget in the process, simply by putting a bit more time into planning our meals.
As well as slashing costs, I’ve also cut down on food waste and my family is eating a healthier, more varied diet. You can read more about this in my first blog post. And I still manage to buy mainly organic fruit and vegetables, while most of our meat comes from local butchers.
I’m not an expert in the kitchen by any stretch of the imagination. Before having children, I could barely cook at all. But I enjoy learning and see the kitchen as the starting point for all kinds of culinary adventures. Some might be surprised at the ingredients I use when cooking for children and it’s true, I do use all kinds of spicy and strong-flavoured ingredients. I should point out though that my children are not foodie saints. They do not eat everything that’s served up to them. Jessie despises mushrooms – they are the devil’s food, while Mia cannot stand prawns and mussels and other ‘funny looking’ things from the sea.
But I believe it’s all about constantly trying new things with children, opening them up to that sense of adventure, curiosity and excitement when it comes to food. If the adults around them delight in good and interesting food, then that’s got to give such a strong message to the kids.
When I’m not cooking, writing or thinking about food you’ll find me helping organisations, particularly those in the charity and public sector, with their PR and marketing needs. Sometimes I work from home and sometimes I work in clients’ offices. So I understand the time pressures on working parents and the temptations of the ready meal. But planning and preparing meals in advance really does make for more enjoyable mealtimes.
The way I shop and cook works for me and my family. In Bangers & Mash I share my experiences of what works and what doesn’t. I offer them up in case they’re of use to anyone else. As well as posting regular recipes on the blog, you’ll find recent meal plans here.
Do let me know what you think and if you’ve got any recipes or suggestions I’d be only too pleased to receive them. Email me at email@example.com.