Book Review & Competition: Mumnet’s Best Ever Family Recipes – Top Bananas *


Besides being big foodies, we love a good read as well and especially if it involves some recipes which we can whip up for our kids or entertain friends with. So its with great joy that we share with you our latest review, a 320 page hardback cookbook titled Top Bananas, Best Ever Family Recipes written by Claire and Lucy McDonald for Mumsnet to review.  Aimed at parents who want to prepare good, healthy and nutritious food for their kids and families. There are about 120 recipes in the book that are easy and quick to prepare hence perfect for working parents or busy mums who struggle with work and kids.   The book starts off with a foreword by Justine Roberts, the founder of Mumsnet stating why they have written the book.  Then it goes on to Introduction, where helpful advice and tips are shared on how to get the kids to eat healthily, details about nutritional information, food allergies as well as meat alternatives for kids.

The recipes are broken into different categories such as Breakfast, Packed Lunch, Soup, Fast Food, Sunday Lunch, Veggies, Slow Cooking, One Pot Wonders, Cooking with Children, Party Food, Pudding and Baking.   The recipes are suitable both for children and grown-ups alike so you don’t need to be making two lots of different dishes with fussy eaters.  These recipes are tried and tested by real mums and we are lucky to be asked to review this book for our website.

Looking through the book, we decided to test out three recipes which caught our eyes.  The first was Beef Stifado, the second was Italian Baked Chicken and the third was Party Toffee Popcorn.  Do read on to find out more about each of the dish, what we thought and the recipes so you can try recreating it at home (feel free to download the photo and enlarge it to see the words clearer if you are having trouble viewing the recipes).


Beef Stifado

I actually cooked this recipe for the whole family and served it with a side of garlicy green beans. The best part about the recipe was that I was able to prepare it and then put it in the slow cooker which meant that on a busy day (which a Monday in our house normally is) tea was all done by 9.30am!  I cooked it on low and check it towards the later part of the day and found that we needed to add a little cup of water – this may have been due to us not being generous enough with the wine.


I served the dish together with spaghetti and garlicy green beans for my husband and three children who cleared their plates – their only complaint was the taste that the wine gave the sauce. The recipe was really straightforward, my only complaint would be that to a novice cook a slug of wine is a little vague to know exactly how much to use, and actually don’t think I used enough. When I make this again I think I may perhaps change the wine for either a tin of passata or maybe the equivalent of beef stock – and this isn’t because the recipe didn’t work this is purely based on my family’s taste. But for anyone who enjoys coq-au-vin this is a perfect addition to a week time menu.


Italian Baked Chicken 

Here’s the recipe for Italian Baked Chicken from the book, hope you give it a go.


I couldn’t wait to try this recipe – I love chicken and pesto together but have never made it like this.  Although the recipe said two chicken breasts as I made it for two adults and three children hence I increased it to four chicken breasts. I kept everything else the same. I also didn’t use asparagus as my children don’t like it although I love it and I am sure it would have been even more amazing than it was with it.


This didn’t take a long time to get ready. I actually put it all into the dish in the morning and covered it over and popped it back in the fridge until I was ready to cook it. This meant I knew tea was ready by the time I had collected the children from school and taken them to their various activities. Again the recipe was really easy to do and I can’t believe how something so simple to make could taste so good. It is something I will be making again very soon and is definitely impressive enough to make for guests too. The combination of spinach and tomato and the melted mozzarella and pesto was just so moreish, and really worked well together.  We had it with mash but it would just as easily go with pasta. YOU HAVE TO TRY IT!


Party Toffee Popcorn

Love popcorn? Now you can make it at home with your kids.


I regularly make popcorn at home but the only sweetness I add is a dust of icing sugar. I had always thought of toffee popcorn being a cinema treat that you bought, I have never thought about making it at home.


Following the recipe was straight forward however my only issue was not knowing how long to cook it for, as I do cook popcorn quite often hence I did stop when it started to boil slightly, however someone with less knowledge may struggle as it simply says to “mix and sizzle for a bit”. Also as instructed, I put the lid on the pan and shook the mixture over the popcorn but this didn’t quite cover all of it, so I would suggest just giving it an additional mix with a wooden spoon which ensured all the popcorn had a nice coating.  It was DELICIOUS and would be a great idea as gifts for friends.  You could also mix it up a bit by adding some dried coconut or fruit or nuts to the mix for a more adult treat.


What we thought

Overall we were really impressed with the recipes in the book as well as the beautiful photography throughout the book.  There were lots of new ideas there which we thought was great flavour wise and very often we find that not all recipes in a cook book work,  yet all three recipes wich we tested out worked perfectly! We also love that on each recipe, there is a healthy bit mentioned, and also if the dish can be frozen or if its vegetarian.  We can’t wait  to work our way through the book.  Some of which include Honey-Roasted Parsnips, Curried Bake Beans, Simple Soda Bread, Chocolate Bride Biscuits and Guaranteed-super-squidgy-chocolate brownies ooo and the list goes on.

Follow & Retweet to win yourself a copy of Mumsnet's The Best Ever Family Recipes - Top Bananas!

You can win yourself a copy of this fabulous book by heading to our Twitter account.

About the Book

Title: Top Bananas
ISBN Number : 978-1-4088-5049-7
Size: 246 x 189 mm
Number of Pages: 320

How much is the book and where can I purchase it?

The book retails at £9.41 and you can get a copy of it here.
 About the Author
The authors are Claire and Lucy McDonald who are sisters and bloggers. They both started off writing Crumbs Family Cookbook and were later asked to write this book by mumsnet. They are both from journalistic backgrounds but have families and busy lives which means they are always inventing new things to cook from their store cupboards.
About Mumsnet

Mumsnet was conceived in early 2000 when Justine Mumsnet embarked on a disastrous family holiday. Her idea was to create a website where parents could swap advice about not just holidays but all the other stuff parents talk about.  Seventeen years later and who’d have thought it would come to this? Mumsnet is now the UK’s biggest network for parents, with over 12 million unique visitors per month clocking up over 120 million page views.

You may also want to read this: The Sugar Free Family Cookbook
* We were given a copy of the book in exchange for a review. All opinions are our own.
Mummy in a Tutu


  1. February 27, 2018 / 8:35 pm

    This recipe book sounds great and I love that in has family meal times in mind! That Italian baked chicken looks and sounds delicious, I think it would be a big hit in our house! I spotted you mentioned it has a packed lunch section too, what a great idea!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 28, 2018 / 8:35 am

      Yes it totally has, lots of ideas for healthy packed kids lumch. The itallian baked chicken is one of our favourite dish now x

  2. February 27, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    I absolutely love a good cook book! I have to say, a veggie version of the Italian Baked Chicken would be right up my street! It looks incredible, plus, I’m a huge fan of Italian foods! I’m so glad you found a gem here!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 28, 2018 / 8:34 am

      Thanks Lily, yes do try a vegetarian version and let us about it x

  3. February 27, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    Now this sounds like a great cookbook I love that is full of so many different recipes that are perfect for the whole family!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 28, 2018 / 8:04 am

      Yes great as a family cookbook for sure

  4. February 28, 2018 / 10:26 am

    Oh a very tasty looking recipe book, I much prefer books to using online recipes x

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:15 am

      Yes we are with you there as well Rhian x

  5. February 28, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    That dish looks so impressive. I love it when a recipe turns out really well – looks like this one certainly did!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:15 am

      Yes cause when we started to make it, we were not sure if it would turn out as well as it did. So it was a lovely surprise.

  6. February 28, 2018 / 12:42 pm

    This looks like a great addition to any cookery book collection with so many varied and delicious recipes to try. Thanks for sharing.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:14 am

      Your welcome Emily x

  7. February 28, 2018 / 1:34 pm

    oh i do love the look of these thank you for the new additions , italian baked chicken is definitely my fave

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:14 am

      Totally! We can’t wait to try making it again!

  8. February 28, 2018 / 2:03 pm

    Yummy! The recipes look so delicious. I would give the beef stifado a go as it is one of hubby’s favourite dishes. I would also try the popcorn, yummy!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:14 am

      There is something for the whole family there, even sweets as well as packed lunch ideas.

  9. February 28, 2018 / 4:43 pm

    The recipes you chose were very nutritious! I seem to look on Pinterest these days when I fancy something new. But I do love a good cookbook too. I haven’t bought one in ages and it’s easier to follow recipe on a book than online.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:13 am

      Yes we prefer hardback or paperback books to the e-version anytime

  10. February 28, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    The party toffee popcorn looks amazing, I so want to make that

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:12 am

      Hope you get the chance Kara x

  11. February 28, 2018 / 8:44 pm

    these look like great recipes for all of the family – sounds like a winner. I need some inspiration for mealtimes so it sounds good to me 🙂 x

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:11 am

      Loads of ideas here Rebecca in the book for sure

  12. February 28, 2018 / 8:59 pm

    This book looks to have really nice wholesome family recipes 🙂 The popcorn looks yummy.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:10 am

      It was totally! And yes lots of recipes too

  13. March 1, 2018 / 8:47 am

    That Italian chicken looks immense! Sounds like a great book x

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 10:34 am

      It sure is Jenni x

  14. Dannii
    March 1, 2018 / 11:43 am

    Oh I need to check this out. It would be great to have a go-to for family favourite recipes.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      Yes we totally agree Dannii, great stuff in there

  15. March 1, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    Your recipes look great ! One of my fave things about living in Cyprus was stifado it’s made me crave some now lol

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      You can now recreate it Claire x

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:50 pm

      Thanks Dani, glad you enjoyed reading it

  16. Bryanna Skye
    March 1, 2018 / 1:23 pm

    I’ve been getting more into physical cookbooks recently. They’re so great to flip through when you’re not quite sure what you want 🙂

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:49 pm

      Yes we prefer reading hardcopy books to e-books. So this is a great choice to get

  17. March 1, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    I rarely buy recipe books but always find myself in need of one when I want to try something simple or won’t load on my tablet. I am loving the look of this book, it seems to have some great recipes

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:49 pm

      Yes lots of child friendly recipes too

  18. March 1, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    The popcorn looks great!! Love cookbook reviews 👏

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:48 pm

      Thanks Alice, it was delish

  19. March 1, 2018 / 2:51 pm

    I love reading about other people’s cooking!! This recipe book sounds amazing!! All of the things you tried looks amazing! They’re so colorful! I would love to cook these and follow these recipes :)! The price is decent too!!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:48 pm

      Yes and the recipe is there too so you can try it Kelly x

  20. March 1, 2018 / 3:17 pm

    So many family recipes to choose from! The beef stifado looked so tasty! Substituting the wine with the beef stock will probably give a richer flavour to the dish. The chicken and pesto looked amazing too! These dishes are real comfort food and healthy too!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:48 pm

      Yes totally agree Lana, you have so said it right

  21. March 1, 2018 / 5:52 pm

    Wow, you’ve won me over with these recipes. That Italian chicken sounds unreal. I’m off to check the book out now!

    Katie xoxo

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:48 pm

      Hope you get a copy Katie

  22. Jemma
    March 1, 2018 / 6:06 pm

    This book looks great for some inspiration and easy midweek meals.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 1, 2018 / 8:47 pm

      Definitely Jemma, you will enjoy it x

  23. March 2, 2018 / 8:33 am

    This books seems really great! And dishes you cooked look absolutely amazing and delicious!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 2, 2018 / 9:09 pm

      Thank you so much !

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 2, 2018 / 9:09 pm

      Tottally agree Michaela, so many kid’s friend recipes here x

  24. March 2, 2018 / 12:21 pm

    Beef stifado is one of my fave recipes so that book would be a winner for me! H 🙂

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 2, 2018 / 9:08 pm

      So glad to hear that Harriet

  25. March 2, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    That baked chicken looked GOOD! I have always wanted to own a cookbook and try and make new things I’ve never heard of! Love this!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 2, 2018 / 9:08 pm

      Glad you loved it Flo, the chicken tasted so good. This is a great book to own.

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 4, 2018 / 1:30 pm

      Yes it is Kayla, lots of recipes there

  26. March 4, 2018 / 3:42 am

    I love recipe books! I really want to try the toffee popcorn! Sounds delicious 😀

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 4, 2018 / 1:29 pm

      Yes it does, hope you follow the recipe on the blog

  27. March 4, 2018 / 5:57 am

    I like the idea of children-friendly recipes that work for adults, too! A lot of kids cookbooks I’ve seen focus only on the first part, so then you’re stuck with cooking or at least adjusting twice over. 🙂
    That popcorn looks delicious! I need to start making my own more often!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 4, 2018 / 1:28 pm

      Hope you do make some popcorn Evelyne

  28. Maud
    March 5, 2018 / 1:34 pm

    Oh my, that all looks incredible! You take great pics by the way, amazing post!

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 5, 2018 / 5:51 pm

      Thanks Maud, so glad you enjoyed reading the post

  29. March 6, 2018 / 10:36 pm

    I am always looking for books with new recipes to try! Love the photography in this one too 🙂

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 8:35 am

      Thanks Ashleigh

  30. March 7, 2018 / 1:54 pm

    Love a good recipe book and this one looks like the cats bananas!! I want to try that Italian chicken recipe but the veggie version!
    Thanks for linking to #foodiefriday

    • yeahlifestyle
      March 7, 2018 / 7:00 pm

      No problem at all, hope you do have a go at it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *