Bacon, Mushroom & Basil Savoury Muffins #Bakeoftheweek

Bacon, Mushroom & Basil Savoury Muffins

Picnic season is in full swing around here – Over the summer holidays we eat on the beach most days. I’m not a huge sandwich lover (Mr C is though) so am constantly looking for sandwich alternatives. Savoury muffins are definitely handy, they can be frozen and defrosted just in time for impromptu days out too.

I can highly recommend savoury muffins for trying out new taste combinations – the rest of the ingredients are inexpensive and they are not too time consuming to prepare. If you have some random vegetables or cooked meats loitering in the fridge, bung them in. See what happens!

My Bacon, Mushroom & Basil Muffins are a tried and tested recipe and taste combination – I find it hard to eat bacon without mushrooms.

Bacon, Mushroom & Basil Savoury Muffins

Serves 12
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Breakfast, Lunch, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Savoury Muffins packed full of bacon, mushrooms & basil - perfect for picnics

Ingredients

  • 70g Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 125g Self Raising Flour
  • 60g Chickpea Flour (Or Wholemeal flour if you have that. Or plain flour if you only have that!)
  • 200ml Milk
  • 5-6 Rashers of Bacon (Chopped into 1/2cm pieces)
  • 1/2 Onion (Chopped finely)
  • 4 Medium Chestnut Mushrooms (Chopped into small pieces)
  • 12 Medium Leaves of Fresh Basil (Chopped finely)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Splash of vegetable Oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 170C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with Cupcake/Muffin Cases
In a medium frying pan, heat the oil then gently fry the onions until transparent. Add the bacon and continue frying until just cooked.
Spoon out the onion/bacon and fry the mushrooms until soft
Re-add the bacon/onions (it will still be hot) and the basil and mix together.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg and butter - Add 2 tbsp of flour to stop it curdling
Add the flour and milk alternately a tbsp at a time, whilst mixing on a slow speed
As soon as you have added all the ingredients, stop mixing and stir by hand using a spatula
Add in the bacon/mushroom/basil mixture and divide evenly between the 12 cases
Bake for 20 minutes - You may need to bake for a further 3-4 minutes if not quite cooked
Best eaten warm but if freezing, leave to cool and freeze the same day

Coming soon: Cheese, Onion & Rosemary Savoury Muffins

Bacon Basil & Mushroom SAvoury Muffins

My featured bake for this week is from Sarah at Maison Cupcake – Great to see that Sarah has joined the Bake of the Week gang. This week she is sharing this incredible Blackberry Chocolate Charlotte Cake. She tells us that if you can melt chocolate, you can make this cake – so there’s a challenge! Just a beautiful cake!

Chocolate Blackberry Charlotte Cake

Now because I’ve done a savoury bake for this week’s Bake of the Week, I’ve highlighted other savoury entries too. I’m trying to cut down on some sugar at the moment – Don’t worry, it won’t last long. Its just occurred to me that in a few weeks I’ll be parading around a french campsite in a swimming costume. That’s my attempt at dieting!

Bake of the Week savoury

Left to right:
* Cheesy Mexican Corn on the Cob from Petite Raisin – My girls devour all signs of corn. They would marvel at those beautiful leaves.
* I can almost smell this divine Garlic & Herb Twister Bread cooking – Homemade is always better than shop bought! Tales from the Kitchen Shed is right about it being a fabulous centre piece.
* Not strictly savoury but with a savoury ingredient – These Marmite Macarons will divide the nation. They would in fact divide our house – One of the only things Mr C won’t eat – I can lick Marmite off a spoon!

Bake of the Week

1. I cannot think of a more appropriate way of using those blue & pink sweets on a cake than this baby shower/gender reveal cake from Mummy Mishaps – Love it!
2. Making great use of an abundance of summery fruit with these Peach, Pistachio & Rose tarts from Domestic Gothess.
3. What child wouldn’t love these Oreo Surprise Cupcakes from Mama Mummy Mum?
4. Rhubarb Strawberry Meringue Tart from the Gluten Free Alchemist – Its amazing what this lady can do when she starts to tinker with a recipe!
5. I don’t think I’ve ever baked with Ricotta – This Ricotta cheesecake from Winnie’s blog has got me intrigued. Very clever!
6. Truly Madly Kids has produced the cutest video on how to make Wimbledon Cake Pops – She and her girls are naturals in front of the camera I tell you!
7. Lemon & Sultana Scones to rival the best of them from A Free From Life – Perfect with Chia Jam & Coconut Cream
8. Vicki from the Free From Fairy has excelled with her Oat Free, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, Chocolate & Coconut Flapjacks – They look so moist and rich.
9. I feel for Baking Queen 74 this week. She has ripped her hands to shreds picking gooseberries. Ouch! This Gooseberry Frangipane Tart is worth it though ūüėČ
10. Super cute Milkshake Cupcakes from A Strong Coffee – I know a few teachers that would love these as an end of school year gift!

And ta-dah! We finally have a Bake of the Week on time! Thanks again for all of your entries – I didn’t even do a Twitter reminder this week. If you do not want me to send you a reminder, please let me know – I won’t be offended. I’m still making my way around all of the entries to comment but have been busy sharing. Please add the badge to your post as usual – Up to 3 entries per blog. No theme.

Casa Costello
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Chilli & Coriander Pesto

Chilli & Coriander Pesto

Speedy, easy & versatile. Sums up this recipe. It occurred to me last time I made this Chilli & Coriander Pesto that I have never blogged the recipe before. Its so easy and a case of bunging ingredients into the blender, that it almost doesn’t feel like a recipe. I can’t remember how I found that the ingredients just worked together – they just did! I think the addition of the chilli came last, I had mixed the other ingredients and thought it needed a bit of a kick. If you want a really spicy pesto, then go ahead, bung 2 chillies in.

Chilli Coriander Pesto  

Chilli & Coriander Pesto

Serves 10+
Prep time 5 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Condiment
Misc Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue
Spicy and fresh Chilli & Coriander Pesto - Perfect for an alternative to traditional basil pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 Red Fresh Chilli (Chopped into small pieces - You can use the seeds if you like it spicy)
  • 3 Handfuls Fresh Coriander
  • 5 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 100g Whole Almonds
  • Salt & Pepper

Note

If you like a garlicky taste, this also works well with 1-2 garlic cloves added

Directions

Place all the ingredients in a blender or strong food mixer - You might want to chop the nuts up slightly first if you are worrying about the rest of the mixture going too mushy but there is no need
Blitz for 1-2 minutes - keep scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure it is all combined
Keep refrigerated, covered with cling film

Potatoes with Chilli & Coriander Pesto

We mostly use this pesto recipe on top of scorching hot potatoes or mixed with prawns in a lovely light salad. Perfect for al fresco eating at this time of year!

Chilli & Coriander Pesto

Honey Balsamic Peaches & Pineapple – Due Vittorie Balsamic Giveaway

Honey Balsamic Peaches & Pineapple

I never fail to be amazed by how versatile Balsamic Vinegar is – Long gone are the days of only using it on a tomato & basil salad (Although it is still pretty delicious nonetheless!)

I am very pleased to be working with Due Vittorie Balsamic Vinegar as they launch their range of vinegars at Ocado. There are 2 types, Oro for every day use (£9.99) and for extra special occasions when you are really trying to impress, the Tradizionale (£49.99 for 100ml). I have been putting both types of balsamic to the test and can confirm that both the Oro & Tradizionale are pretty special.

Due Vittorie Oro Balsamic Vinegar

 

Honey Balsamic Peaches & Pineapple

Serves 2
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Tangy grilled peaches and pineapple served with a thick honey & balsamic glaze

Ingredients

  • 1 Peach per person
  • 2 Pineapple Rings per person (I used fresh pineapple as this is a stronger taste)
  • 3 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Runny Honey
  • 50g Almond Slices

Optional

  • Sprinkling of Demerara Sugar

Directions

Slice each peach into 2 halves and remove the stone. Place in a small oven proof dish
Place the pineapple in the gaps left by the peaches. I chopped mine into 4-5 cm pieces first.
In a cup, mix together the honey and the balsamic then pour over the fruit. Make sure all the fruit is covered.
Place under a pre heated grill for 10 minutes
Remove and stir thoroughly - I turned the peaches upside down and cook for a further 5 minutes
Repeat step 5, this time turning the peaches right side up again
Remove from the oven and leave to cool at room temperature
Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until just starting to turn golden
Serve the fruit with whipped double cream and sprinkle over the nuts and some Demerara sugar if required

Baslamic Peaches & Pineapple

Due Vittorie Balsamic Vinegar Giveaway

I have one bottle of Due Vittorie Oro Balsamic Vinegar to giveaway so you can make your own Balsamic delight – To enter, please follow the Rafflecopter widget instructions below. As per usual, to enter your comment must be at the bottom of this post, rather than in the widget itself.
UK entries only I’m afraid – The competition will end at 11.59 on 17th July 2015.
I will ask for the winner’s details to send to the company who will send on your prize – Your details will not be used for any other marketing.

Good Luck to everyone who enters!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Honey Balsamic Peach & Pineapple

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Mint Aero Swiss Roll #Bakeoftheweek

Mint Aero Chocolate Swiss Roll

This has turned out exactly as I imagined/hoped it would. If you are a fan of Mint Aeros, then this is the cake for you! Not too many ingredients and fairly quick to make.

Mint Aero Chocolate Swiss Roll

Serves 8+
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 14 minutes
Total time 39 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Light chocolate swiss roll with the flavour of Mint Aeros - Splendid for any table centre piece!

Ingredients

  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 3oz Caster Sugar (Plus another 2 tbsp for sprinkling on the baking tray)
  • 2oz Plain Flour
  • 1oz Cocoa Powder
  • 113g Mint Aero Balls
  • 284ml Double Cream (Whipped until very thick)
  • Green Food Colouring
  • 1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract

Directions

Preheat the oven to 190C and line a Swiss Roll tin or Silicone Tray with baking parchment - Sprinkle the 2 tbsp of caster sugar on top of this parchment
Whisk the caster sugar and eggs with an electric mixer for at least 10 minutes until thick and pale. When you lift the whisk out of the mixture, the lines should remain there for a few seconds after.
Gently fold in the flour and cocoa until just combined
Spread gently and evenly across the baking tray and bake for 12 minutes - turn once, then continue baking for a further 2 minutes
Remove from the oven and as soon as you are able, bend the cake over to a roll shape - Unroll then allow to cool fully
Meanwhile, chop the bag of Mint Aeros (except for 10 balls that you will use as decoration) and add half to the whipped double cream, along with the peppermint extract
When the cake has fully cooled, sprinkle the remaining chopped Aero Balls on top of the cake, then spread the cream evenly on the cake - I took 3 tbsp of the cream mixture to one side to use as decoration
Roll the cake from one of the thin ends until it looks like a swiss roll then decorate with the remaining Mint Aero Balls and cream mixture

Mint Aero Chocolate Swiss Roll

Caramel, Vanilla & Chocolate Nut Cake

My chosen featured bake for this week has left me yearning for buts, caramel and vanilla – 3 Flavour Eclair Cake from Winnie’s Blog

Bake of the Week Entries

1. If you fancy a change from normal chocolate cupcakes, these roasted Strawberry Chocolate Cakes sound so intense and dreamy from Tin & Thyme

2. Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Icing from Nic’s Bakes

3. A mega post from the Free From Fairy containing some wonderful Chocolate Tahini Cookies that just ooze with goodness.

4. Dark, squiggly and completely tantalising, Dulce de Leche Brownies from Maison Cupcake – A warm welcome to the Bake of the Week gang!

5. Bringing back memories of my summer hols with her Mojito Cupcakes is Mummy Whiskers – Just in time for my next holiday! Yay!

6. Gearing up for the 4th July festivities is A Strong Coffee with American Flag decorated Cupcakes

7. Red Velvet Tiramisu Brownies from The Not SO Creative Cook

8. Love these Ramadan Themed Cut Out Shapes Sugar Cookies from The Not SO Creative Cook – Lovely to have you back!

Bake of the Week

9. Summery and light, Asparagus & Pesto Puff Pastry Tart from Julie’s Family Kitchen

10. Jibber Jabber Uk shared with us a fantastic Summery Strawberry & Cream Victoria Sponge

11. I would never have thought of using a slow cooker for Bread & Butter pudding nor strawberries – Baking Queen 74 has excelled with her Brioche Strawberry Pudding

12. Wonderful Plum Sugar Cake – Great for using up plums from Winnie’s Blog

13. Low Carb Courgette ‘Pasta’ Lasagne from Claire at Six Degrees of Harmony

14. Just delightful and so perfectly up my street, Gin & Tonic Cake from Truly Madly Kids

15. Recreating Mum’s Apple Pie with Spiced Wholemeal Pastry this week was Searching for Spice – This is my Mother-in-Law’s favourite dish. I might treat her!

Slice of Mint Aero Chocolate Swiss Roll

Normal rules apply for Bake of the Week – Up to 3 posts per baker. No theme – all welcome – they don’t have to include a recipe, just a post about a bake whether it be sweet, savoury, small, large, decorated, disaster, slow cooker or oven. Please include the badge to spread the word in your post and if you get chance visit some of the other entrants to admire their bakes.

Casa Costello
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I’m so pleased to be able to join in with one of my favourite linkies this week – The theme for #thegallery is CAKE – How perfect! Click the badge to see what other people are entering.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Casa Costello is going to BritMums – Introducing my sponsor!

I’m going to BritMums Live

FloraQueen Logo

Its all go in our house tonight. If you have been anywhere near Twitter recently you will probably have heard of Britmums Live 2015 – The biggest UK conference dedicated to blogging. Its not just Mummy bloggers as the name suggests – there fashion bloggers, travel bloggers, daddy bloggers and of course, food bloggers too!

I had resigned myself to not being able to attend this year – Millie was due to be at England Talent training in Surrey tomorrow (Saturday). On Tuesday though, I received notification that training was being postponed. The idea started pottering around my head about maybe attending BritMums but was quickly dismissed. Our car decided to die a death on Wednesday night, the kids had parties – it just seemed too difficult. But maybe not …

On Friday afternoon, I received an email offering me sponsorship from a company I have been recently working with. You may remember my recent post introducing FloraQueen flowers – I’m sure you remember the beautiful flowers! I am delighted to say I will be working with FloraQueen over the coming months and am being sponsored to attend tomorrow’s BritMums Live conference in London. Yay! I think I got the last ticket available – the hotline was closing 30 minutes after I booked my ticket.

Flora Queen internet flower ordering

So here’s some questions about my trip to BritMums

What am I looking forward to?
Apart from seeing plenty of fellow bloggers (It will be lovely to see particularly the North-West bloggers and the Foodie Bloggers), I’m really looking forward to the Breakaway sessions – I will be learning about design, graphics, understanding Social Media & even a session with Carol Smilie – Yes, THAT Carol Smilie.

How will I be getting there?
On the 6am train from Runcorn – Ouch!

What will I be wearing?
This has been a massive hot topic across social media this week – The honest truth is I haven’t given it a second thought. If my pyjamas and slippers were ironed I might be tempted to come in them – experience tells me that truthfully no-one notices or cares what you wear. I have got a new dress from Pepperberry that has been sat on our dining room table since Wednesday so cross your fingers that it fits!

Hair – Cut at 11pm by my husband

Nails – By my 12 year old – Please don’t tell her I’ve smudged them already!

What will be in my bag?
Erm, my kindle? Valuable reading time on the train on the way. Phone (obvs!) – Until you have been to a blogging conference you have not experience thousands of people tweeting at the same on their phones.

I will take plenty of notes and look forward to updating you about the event on my return.

Many Thanks to the following people for making this weekend happen …
FloraQueen, My Mum for looking after the children, Mr C for the haircut and the encouragement to go & Team GB Synchronised Swimming for cancelling Millie’s training!

When the Costello girls became models with Matalan

Matalan children sizing event

Model Tara – She’s got some work to do on her pout!

A couple of weeks ago we were invited to a children’s sizing event, ‘Fashion Fit’ with Matalan. I have worked with Matalan before and always try to support their events. Happily, all 3 girls were available and the event was only 10 minutes up the road at Matalan’s new swish Head Office in Knowsley.

The purpose of the day was to talk about children’s clothing styles, what we like buying (Good quality, tasteful, well-fitiing clothes), what we don’t like (Huge logos) and what sizes we tend to buy for each child.

Matalan is one of the only shops that consistently manages to have sizes and styles suitable for all 3 of my girls – Millie may be almost 13 but is very small – Doesn’t mean that she want to dress like a young child though.

The room was sectioned off into Teenage style, Pre-teens, Schoolwear, School Shoes, Accessories, Fancy Dress and Nightwear – The ladies in all of the sections were so patient and spoke to each child properly. They were asked if they would like to try on some of the clothes – I will admit my heart was in my mouth – Would M have a teenage moment? Would T have a pre school meltdown? Well no, all 3 trooped off into the makeshift changing rooms – giggling and smiling. Well done Matalan – Brownie points there for starters!

Tara Uniform

Now trying clothes on is definitely not Violet’s cup of tea but she played the part – The ladies just seemed to get it though and asked her if she would like to take some items home to try out and feedback on later. These included some little vest bra tops -Oh my, that little girl is in heaven! The bond between a 9 year old and her vest tops is immeasurable – I’m not kidding I have to vet when she puts them on. I have visions of her parading around school at PE time. The good news is they have washed brilliantly and are very comfortable with no scratchy seams – even last night when I caught her wearing one in bed! Violet also got a winter coat to try – which I had to ban last week when it was 23C.

Millie on the other hand, is a clothes horse and the ladies in the Teenage and Pre-teen sections spotted it straightaway. She was in and out of that changing room for hours and loved every minute.

We were so pleased to be able to help out at Matalan – The girls enjoyed their morning of being models – Tara very much enjoyed her Elsa dress that she was gifted. We even got a glimpse into what Tara will look like in September in a school uniform – Too cute!

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies

These are not quite the perfect look that I was after but they have gone down so well with the kids. It was definitely time to put the Baker perfection in me aside – we had such great fun assembling these cookies that I decided to show them anyway. I will make them again for nicer photos but for now, embrace the mother in me!

A sugar cookie recipe that I have used time and time again – just made a little more child friendly with oodles of gel food colourings! Warning: Liquid food colourings will not work for this recipe – someone comes along and steals all the colour the minute they go in the oven.

Tips for making them look better (Now, there’s a catchy title!)
* Separate the dough into 1/3 and 2/3 – Only colour the 1/3 – I think the coloured sections of my cookies are a little too thick
* Make sure all the coloured sections meet up – I had small gaps which seemed to grow in the oven
* Don’t be frightened of using a rolling pin to flatten down the different sections in the cookies
* Experiment with different flavours – Lemon, Lime and Orange Zest all work really well in these cookies. Use the zest of at least 2 x whatever fruit.

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies

Serves 12-14
Prep time 2 hours, 20 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Bright Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies - Perfect for Children to help bake and for birthday parties

Ingredients

  • 250gg Plain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • pinch Salt
  • 140g Butter
  • 170g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (See post for alternative flavourings)
  • Gel Food Colourings (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet)

Directions

Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment
Using an electric mixer, whisk together the butter and sugar until well combined and fluffy
Add in the egg whilst still mixing and then the vanilla
Stir in the flour, baking powder, bicarb & salt
Bring together in a large ball of dough and double wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge for 1 hour
After 1 hour - remove from the fridge. Slice the dough in half - keep one half in the fridge and split the remaining half into 6 even pieces.
Colour each of the six small pieces with the gel colour
Roll out the uncoloured half to around 1/2 a cm thickness in a rectangle shape
Roll each colour into long thin sausages and line up - Take care to make sure each colour touches the one next to it or you will get gaps in the colour like I did. You will need some extra flour to cover your hands as the dough can get very sticky
Lightly roll over the coloured sausages to make sure even - Roll the dough widthways until you get a long thick sausage
Place in double cling film again and freeze for 1 hour
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 160C. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut into 1cm slices with a sharp knife
Arrange on the baking sheets and cook for 10 minutes - Check after 5 minutes. You may need to turn them for an even bake in the oven

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies

Whilst we are having a colourful week, I thought I would choose Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen as this week’s featured baker – This week she has shared her Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Puff Pastry Tart in wonderful Italian colours.

Tomato, Mozzarella & BAsil Tart

We are starting this week off with an abundance of cookies and cupcakes – One can never have too many!

Bakeoftheweek

1. These Double Chocolate Tahini Cookies even help you climb up mountains (week almost according to the Free From Fairy)
2. Its been the week for Minions (My kids are uber excited about watching the Minion movie next week Рwill you be watching it?) ET Speaks from Home came up with these brilliant Steamed Sweet Corn Cakes decorated as minions.
3.¬†More biscuit loveliness and a huge Happy 80th Birthday to Lancashire Food’s friend – Cranberry & Citrus Cookies

4. These Blondie Cupcakes from Lemon & Lime Thyme are just perfection РThe purple Blackcurrant Buttercream with those pretty flowers are too cute!
5. ¬†In answer to Truly MadlyKids’ question, Yes! Real men do eat cupcakes – At least they all disappear very quickly in this house and it certainly isn’t me and the kids that eat the most! Father’s Day Cupcakes looking wonderful.
6.¬†Practically so healthy they couldn’t be enjoyable – but I bet they are! Winnie brings us Chocolate Chip Oat Banana Cookies
7. Making a perfect and very kind gift this week are these Golden Syrup Ginger Cupcakes from Eating Enhanced
8.¬†Baking her way through a broken freezer is the Gluten Free Alchemist with Strawberry Crumble Muffins – Doesn’t look too much of a hardship to eat these to me!
9. ¬†Bringing back memories of a recent visit to the US with beautiful Red Velvet Cupcakes is Nic’s Bakes – Does anyone else really fancy some Cream Cheese frosting after reading this post?

Lets move onto Breakfast and Bread Products – Perfect way to start the weekend!

Bakeoftheweek

10. Extremely beautiful Mini Chocolate Stuffed Vanilla Bean Brioche from Domestic Gothess
11. I wish Truly Madly Kids was in our house every morning to provide us with Lemon Breakfast Pancakes
12. Are they bread rolls or are they barm cakes? The discussion is endless – Cheese & Herb Bread Rolls from Baking Queen 74
13.¬†I cannot believe I’ve never made Baba Ganoush – Will rectify very soon after seeing Petite Raisin’s fab pictures
14. I have to admit my Slow Cooker is stashed away for the summer РHijacked by Twins is clearly making the most of hers though with this Slow Cooked Pork in Cider
15. Dream Baker is even tempting me into making Homemade Croissants which take a whole 3 days to come to fruition РThey actually look and sound worth the effort though! Read her post!
16. Hoping the picnic weather makes a return soon – Hijacked by Twin’s Cheese & Onion Quiche is perfect for¬†picnics
17. Domestic Gothess is making bread special with her Pain a la Creme РOtherwise known as Double Cream Bread Rolls. How decadent do they sound?

BAkeoftheweek

18.¬†I wish I hadn’t demolished that Chocolate Orange quite so viciously last night after seeing these Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Brownies from Giraffes Can Bake. Never mind, a good excuse to go buy another!
19.¬†One of the most perfectly formed Strawberry Pavlovas I’ve ever seen – I’d be proud of this one if I were FarmersGirl Kitchen
20. I love how Mummy Mishaps has embraced the Pi√Īata Cake and comes up with more and more extravagant ideas – Her Strawberries & Cream Pi√Īata Cake is excellent
21. Caramelised White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Ice Cream from Giraffes Can Bake РI dare you to look at these photos without yearning for some! Stunning!
22.¬†Cloud Jellies featured on Kidgredients this week can bring all sorts of health benefits – I will never look at gelatin in the same way again (Although we do tend to use more of it on Millie’s hair than in cooking in this house!)
23. This Cashew & Almond Praline on top of Almond Cake sounds just divine from Kirsty at Hijacked by Twins
24.¬†Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake on a super rich Hazelnut Crust – Perfect for Chocolate Loving Fathers out there this Father’s Day weekend – Winnie’s Blog

Many thanks to those of you who volunteered to cover #Bakeoftheweek during our summer holiday – I still need a couple more, so if you are tempted, please shout.

Please add the badge to your post when entering so we can spread the word and more bakers can find us and join in. I love the variety of bakes – all welcome! I’m going to try to be earlier next week in posting – These Wednesdays just keep speeding up!

 

Casa Costello
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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

The Silent Hours – Cesca Major

Its not often a book warrants a blog post all of its own. I fully intended on moving all book reviews over to Casa Costello’s sister site, 2 Adults 3 Children.

The Silent Hours is something special though.

I was sent the book through BritMums book club and to be honest, it took me a while to finally get into it. This book is the reason why my 100 page rule works though. I never give up on a book before the 100 pages are up – I didn’t think I would have to give up on this story at any point though, I was just taking ages before getting thoroughly hooked.

Something happened around page 95 though that made me keep thinking about the book – From then on, there was no stopping. I apologise to anyone that wanted to chat over the weekend – It was just me and the book at poolside.

Set in France during WW2, we are introduced to a variety of characters. I think there was a lot of scene setting at the start which looking back was completely necessary. We meet Adeline, who is living in a convent – Adeline has lost the ability of speech due to an event that we only later learn about. We meet Isabelle, the local teacher and the daughter of a shop keeper as she starts on the most delicious of relationships with Sebastien. This is no ordinary romance – The couple cannot be together – The reason why completely opens up your eyes to a whole different part to the war that I just hadn’t considered before.

The writing is wonderful – I really felt for all the people in the convent in their desperate attempts to help Adeline speak again. The desperation of Sebastien trying to locate his parents is awful – That sense of doom when you just know that something is going to happen.

This is a book that will stay with me for a long time – I have felt the need to talk about it since I finished. The sign of a good book is a reluctance to start another – I just want to savour this one for a little bit longer.

A definite 5 out of 5 stars.

Note: This review contains an associate link

Minions Sweetcorn & Lime Cheesecakes

Minions Sweetcorn & Lime Cheesecakes

Now I know sweetcorn isn’t a typical cheesecake ingredient but you really must try it! The joy of sweetcorn is its versatility between both sweet and savoury dishes. For this recipe, I pureed the sweetcorn – I still left the skins in as it was plenty smooth enough but if you want it super smooth, then you can sieve the pureed sweetcorn before adding to the cheesecake mix.

No Bake Sweetcorn & Lime Cheesecakes

Serves 8
Prep time 2 hours, 20 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Perfect zesty lime cheesecakes with creamy sweetcorn - Decorate as Minions for extra fun!

Ingredients

  • 165g Green Giant Sweetcorn - I Pureed using a hand held blender (198g tin drained)
  • 360g Full Fat Soft Cheese
  • 150g Icing Sugar
  • 284ml Double Cream
  • 3 Zest of Limes
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Grey and white fondant icing (You only need about the size of a plum of grey and an apple of white for all of the cheesecakes)

Optional

  • Yellow Food Colouring (I use a Gel food colouring and only need a tiny amount)

Directions

Sweetcorn & Lime Cheesecakes
Drain the tin & Puree the sweetcorn - If you want the cheesecake to be extra smooth you can sieve before adding to the mixture but I did not find this necessary
Using an electric mixer, whisk together the soft cheese and the icing sugar - You may want to stir together first to avoid an icing sugar cloud!
Add in the double cream and whisk for at least 3-4 minutes until really thick
Add in the lime zest and vanilla
Stir in the sweetcorn and add a small amount of yellow food colouring if you want to
Divide evenly between small pots - ramekin dishes are perfect sizes and refrigerate for 2 hours
Decorate with the icing - or use fruit decorations if you want to be even healthier
Eat within 24 hours and keep refrigerated

Minions #GreenGiantSweetcorn Cheesecakes

For more Minion Madness, visit my Creme Egg Minions & Minion Birthday Cake posts.

Green Giant Sweetcorn & Lime Cheesecakes

If you are wanting to be even more healthy – I have decorated some cheesecakes using fruit instead of fondant icing – They are just as much fun!

Fruity Minion Cheesecakes

This recipe is part of the Tots100/Foodies100 #GreenGiantMinions Challenge – Follow the hashtag on Twitter to see all the other entries

Minions Green Giant Sweetcorn

Lime Charlotte Cake #Bakeoftheweek

Lime Charlotte Cake

I’m surprised that there haven’t been Charlotte cakes popping up everywhere with the arrival of Princess Charlotte. (Did you see those pictures last weekend? How cute?!)

I’ve taken inspiration for this week’s Lime Charlotte Cake from Baking Heaven magazine. You may have seen my recent post about being a magazines.co.uk ambassador – I’m loving it!

I only made the cake in the recipe – There is a section for some filling containing condensed milk and limes. We had so much cake going on in the kitchen though that I just couldn’t justify so much sweetness. So I opted for whipped double cream with the zest of 2 more limes in it instead!

We have had the ladyfingers in the kitchen cupboard for ages. They really needed using up so I decided not to make my own. The girls were delighted – they love them!

Lime Charlotte Cake Above View

Cake Ingredients:
115g (4oz) Butter, Softened
115g (4oz) Caster Sugar
2 free range eggs
115g (4oz) Self Raising Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1tbsp Buttermilk or Sour Cream
Grated Zest of 2 Limes

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 6.5 ” cake tin with baking parchment – I only had a 7″ so did it in this. It was quite a shallow cake though and took a LOT of strawberries and grapes to fill it so I would definitely recommend a 6″ or even a 5″ next time.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the butter and sugar and gradually add the eggs until they are well whisked
Add the lime zest and fold in the flour, baking powder and the buttercream
Pour into the cake tin and bake for 20-30 minutes. (After 20 minutes the cake was still very wobbly but starting to turn golden on top so I turned it down to 160C and carried on cooking for a further 15 minutes)

To Assemble:
When the cake has fully cooled place on a flat plate or cake stand
Spread half of the double cream (I used a 284ml tub whisked until very thick) on top of the cake
Use the rest of the cream to dot on the bottom of the ladyfingers and stick around the sides
Secure with a ribbon
Fill in the centre with plenty of strawberries and grapes and sprinkle with icing sugar to finish
Eat immediately

Lime Charlotte Cake

I have to choose these Cherry Lamingtons from Domestic Gothess as my featured Bake of the Week – They are so well done. Hannah makes them look so easy. I first heard about the Australian Lamington when I first started blogging. I read tons of Australian baking blogs (and still do) I’ve never tried them with Cherry jam – I bet they tasted incredible.

I’m always intrigued by the combinations that other bakers come up with – Some prefer using classic combinations and others like just having a go and seeing what works. I’ve got a post coming up in the next couple of days that tests preconceived ideas of taste combinations – Watch this space! So lets celebrate Combinations!

Bake of the Week combinations

1. Combining 2 of my most favourite flavours – Marzipan & Cherry Scones from Hannah at Domestic Gothess

2. Making good use of what is in her cupboards to produce a magnificent Chocolate & Cherry Cake is Jenny from Mummy Mishaps

3. I would love these Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables with Bulgar Wheat & Feta for a summer’s evening sat outside – Snap Happy Bakes

4. A warm welcome to Eating Enhanced who joins us with Maple & Banana Cake – Welcome to the gang!

5. A lovely combination of rhubarb & almond in Lancashire Food’s cake

6. Making good use of perfectly ripe fruit with her Peach & Rhubarb Upside Down Cake is Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen

7. Carrot & Almond Cake – Perfect for Coeliacs too from My Little Italian Kitchen

8. These Chocolate Coffee Cardamom Biscuits from Domestic Gothess take just 10 minutes to cook

9. I love Truly Madly Kids description of her Strawberry & Rhubarb Crumble as a Heavenly Summer Crumble – Sure looks like it to me!

Bake of the week

10. Stunning Fraisier from Patisserie Makes Perfect – Definitely perfection!

11. One of the first ever cakes I decorated was a Swedish Princess Cake in a uni job in a cake department – Bringing back happy memories is Lili’s Cakes

13. I’m loving these Mini Mango Charlottes from The Dream Baker – perfect for using up store cupboard ingredients

14. Utterly beautiful Peach Custard Pie from Petite Raisin – Super quick to make too

15. Creating Slow Cooker masterpieces is Lucy from Baking Queen 74 with her fantastic Blueberry Madeira

16. Brilliant way of sneaking carrots into bread – A Spiced Carrot Soda Bread that even non-veg lovers will enjoy – The Sneaky Veg Blog

17. Great tutorial with an alternative way of producing the ever popular Chocolate Pouring Cake from A Strong Coffee

If this recipe has got you in the mood for more Lime bakes try some of my favourite bloggers’ recipes too:

Matcha & Lime Cheesecakes from Rough Measures
Mini Amaretti & Lime Cheesecakes from Penne For Your Thoughts (Cor!)
Lime Coconut Drizzle Cake from Jen’s Food
Lime Pistachio Cake with Chocolate Shards from Tin & Thyme (I’ve made this, its blissful!)
White Chocolate & Lime Shortbread from Bake of the Week regular Baking Queen 74
Easy Iced Lime Cake from Fab Food 4 All

Thanks as always to everyone who visits all the other bakers – Its lovely to see that you have beaten me to it when I visit all your blogs. You really are a talented bunch and I thank you so much for sticking with me – especially this week and last week when life has definitely got in the way! There’s no theme as usual – All posts will be commented on, tweeted (if I know your twitter profile) and google+ed – And not forgetting our Bake of the Week Pinterest board which at time of writing has an enormous 48K followers! There’s no theme – all bakes are welcome.

I’m currently planning for my summer break – If you would be interested in hosting Bake of the Week for a week in the summer, please let me know. I would be ever so grateful.

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