Bisto's power down pledge
Sponsored by Bisto
With our busy lives, too few families find the time to sit down to have a dinner together even though they want to. Research has revealed that more than half of British families no longer eat their dinner together in one room, and almost a quarter say they use social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, while eating with their family.
Bisto is doing its bit for family mealtimes with its Power Down for Dinner campaign. It aims to encourage families to re-embrace family meals without the disruption of emails, calls and virtual pokes.
Bisto's Facebook and Twitter-connected site, www.powerdownfordinner.com, will allow users to change their status easily to let friends know they're logging off to eat with their family, inviting them to join the campaign in the process.
Geoff Beattie, a psychologist at Manchester University, says: "With nearly 60% of us getting distracted by technology during the rare family mealtime, it's never been so important to make the effort to re-embrace the quality family meal without the disruption of emails, calls and virtual pokes."
Gravy recipes for your family's Powering Down Dinner
Bacon and onion gravy
For a tasty gravy, try frying some a sliced onion and three rashers of bacon in 1 tbsp of vegetable oil until the onions are soft and bacon is cooked. In a non-stick pan, make up the Bisto Favourite Gravy then add the fried onions and bacon. Serves four.
For an extra-rich gravy, try adding a dash of red wine. It's delicious served with a traditional roast dinner.
Gravy for meatballs
Make Bisto Favourite Gravy following the pack instructions, then stir in 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and 1 tsp of chilli powder. Pour gravy over meatballs and place in the oven at 190C (gas mark 5) for 25-30 mins, until the meatballs are cooked and the sauce is piping hot. Serves four.
For variety, try adding some dried mixed herbs instead of chilli powder. And if you want a richer sauce, add a dash of red wine.
Make Bisto Best Lamb Gravy as per the pack instructions, then stir in 2 tsp of mint jelly. Serves four.
This gravy is a delicious accompaniment to roast lamb served with roast potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Alternatively, you could try adding the gravy to cooked diced lamb and serving with a mashed creamy parsnip and potato topping.
Creamy mushroom gravy
Pan fry six sliced medium-sized mushrooms in 1 tbsp of vegetable oil for a few minutes until soft. Make the Bisto Best Chicken Gravy as per pack instructions, stir in 2 tsp of crème fraîche and add to the pan of mushrooms. Serves four.
This gravy makes a great accompaniment to roast chicken with seasonal veg and creamy mashed potatoes.
Mumsnetters' top tips to keep family mealtimes internet-free
We asked you for your family's top tips on how to make sure everyone sits down together for a family mealtime. Here are some of our favourites:
"Get a blackboard/bit of posh slate on the wall, and get your children to write down tonight's menu as poshly as they can, trying to make it sound as tasty as possible." MouldyMoldie
"Rules: No TV, no electronics (phone - son), (iPad - husband)." Whippet
"Try and have everything ready on the table so you don't have to keep getting up and down for extra drinks etc. It breaks the flow of the conversation if you are constantly having to leave the table." Evenstar
"Trial new food in a low-stress environment. I make things for me then save a portion to serve them later - as it's already cooked, I don't mind so much if they reject it. Then, if it's a hit, we'll all eat it together another time." longdarktunnel
"Make the table look nice. Adding that little bit to your surroundings can really help you relax." TorcherQueenie
"We like to listen to music. We take it in turns to choose and the chooser's taste is respected (so sometimes its The Muppets, sometimes classical, and sometimes death metal). Listening to music provides a good kickboard for conversation if the teen (or anyone else!) is being non-communicative." mollyroger
"Get them involved. My two love cooking something that everyone enjoys and, whilst it's harder work as they are little, they will eat it as they've made it." HollyTwat
"We sing at the table - generally an ode to a potato - completely tunelessly to the theme of nursery rhymes. Makes the kids laugh and stick around longer. Also don't discount the dinnerdinnerdinnerdinnerdinnerdinnerBATMAN! chant for getting bums on seat." whomovedmychocolate
"The children enjoy telling Daddy off for things which they get into trouble for - for instance, not coming when called, or leaving the table before everyone has finished. Of course, Mummy would never do anything like that!" MaryBS
"My old Aunt says 'Families that eat together, stay together.'" solo