Homemade Ice Lollies: Peach Melba Smoothies – Center Parcs Family Blogger Challenge

  cooking with kids smoothies

The last in my monthly Center Parcs Family Blogger Challenges – Its been a brilliant experience making blog about various challenges and being involved with the Center Parcs crew. This month’s challenge was just up my street – We had to get in the kitchen, with the kids and come up with some Homemade Ice Lollies. I chose to make Smoothies – Always on the lookout for ways to increase the girl’s fruit intake. Both Violet & me really dislike bananas which feature in about 99% of shop bought smoothies – This is why homemade smoothies suit us so well.

If you can’t wait for these to freeze, these are great as chilled pots of smoothy goodness – even better served with ice-cream! I followed the lead from Center Parcs’ own Ice Lolly expert, Deb Rogerson (yes, there is actually such a job!) and sprinkled some hundreds and thousands in the base of the mould before freezing. Deb does suggest for maximum impact, dipping the tip into white chocolate after freezing then straight into hundreds & thousands. Her other Ice Lolly tips can be found on the Center parks website.

Peach Melba Smoothies

Serves 8
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party
Great way to increase children's fruit intake. Fabulous for those of us who crave banana free smoothies! These are more filling than you think, you only need small moulds.

Ingredients

  • 5 Peaches
  • 1 Punnet Raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons Honey
  • 2 tablespoons Icing Sugar

Optional

  • Hundreds & Thousands to decorate

Directions

peach raspberry smoothies
Wash and Chop the peaches (No need to remove skin) and blitz in a food processor until smooth
making homemade smoothies
Add the raspberries and honey and sprinkle in the icing sugar and blitz until all combined
decorating homemade smoothies
In the bottom of each ice lolly mould, sprinkle approx 1/2 tsp of hundreds and thousands
Add the mixture to the moulds and freeze overnight

no banana smoothies peach raspberry

‘I’m a Center Parcs Family Blogger and have visited Whinfell village with my family. If you want to enter to win a place as a wildcard winner just go to the challenge page to find out how bit.ly/1url80d’

Linking up with A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week

recipe-of-the-week

Hotter Shoes – Not Old Lady Shoes! Win a £20 Voucher.

hotter comfort shoes

There’s a major bonus to working from home … you can wear your slippers to work! Now you can picture just how glamorous I am, can’t you? Seriously though, I have noticed a massive change in my feet since I left office work and stayed in my kitchen. I used to be a heels girl, spending 8 hours a day on my feet delivering training courses. I just can’t do it now – in fact, I’m to be heard grumbling if I even have to place my trotters in outdoor wear.

I do like to be able to walk to school for the afternoon pick up from time to time though, which makes it difficult to decide which shoes to wear. I’m prone to blisters and stingy balls (not entirely sure that’s the technically correct term but you know what I mean – when you feel like the base of your feet are on fire?)

When I was invited to Hotter shoes in Bury a couple of weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to finally get the feet sorted (Figuratively you understand! My slippers would fall off if I actually jumped). I’d heard of the ‘Hotter moment’ but was sceptical whether there was such a thing. What is supposed to happen is, you try the shoes on, you stand up to do the gangly walk around the shop and you have an ‘Aah’ moment when you realise how comfortable the shoes are. Hotter say that they started life making slippers – they pride themselves now on making shoes that are as comfortable as slippers.

Well, did it happen? Yes it did! We had been shown a brief video and presentation about how Hotter shoes came to be and the success of the business so far, then we were offered the chance to mooch around the store and choose a pair of shoes to our liking.

#shoesies

suede nude shoes

Still looking good after a couple of weeks – The grass needs cutting though!

Nope, I don’t think you quite got how awesome that was! We could choose whichever shoes we liked! Now judging from some of the footage of the olden days of Hotter, I’m thinking I would have struggled to find a pair I liked – I could have easily chosen half a dozen different shoes at the moment. There are heels, sling backs, sensible walking shoes, trendy shoes, canvas shoes, exercise shoes and even trendy men’s footwear. And that’s before I get onto the bags and purses!

hotter canvas wedges shoes

I opted for a pair of suede nude heels – I can wear them for meetings, WI events, meals out and even the odd trip to the pub that we keep promising ourselves we’ll have. I wanted to do the ultimate test though and do the walk to school! I’m happy to confirm they give the ultimate squishy Hotter moment (Its not compulsory to give an involuntary ‘Aah’ but you just might do) and even better, NO STINGY FEET!

The ladies at Hotter (there were no men there) pride themselves on giving an individual service – They do not go solely off what size you normally are – there are wide fittings, go up to size 9 and have half size fittings and certain styles will fit different foot shapes – Your feet are in their hands! ;-)

men's hotter shoes

What you might not know about Hotter:

  • They are the Uk’s biggest shoe manufacturer.
  • They produce a pair of shoes every 20 seconds.
  • In just 4 years, they have gone from 5 stores to currently 67 stores!

I’m pleased to announce that Hotter have offered a £20 voucher to the lucky winner of a Hotter giveaway on Casa Costello. To be in with a chance of winning, you just have to follow the simple Rafflecopter instructions below. Entries will close on the 5th August at 00.00. Please see Terms & Conditions on the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

suede heels comfort shoes
 

Disclosure: I was invited to Hotter and offered a pair of shoes. I was given free reign about what to write and all opinions are honest and my own!

Linking up with Pippa from Red Rose Mummy for her What’s Happened,Whats’s Happening linky – Why not pop on over to see what else people have been up to?

What's Happened? What's Happening?

Chocolate Piñata Cake

piñata birthday cake

EDIT: The story behind the Chocolate Piñata Cake …Maybe not the neatest or best decorated cake I’ve ever made but certainly one of the quickest. I’d made the cakes on Friday morning (2 shallow and one deep in case you are interested) then I had 15 minutes to decorate on the Friday afternoon before we went out to celebrate Millie turning 12. It was at this point I discovered I had no icing-sugar – so I used powdered Fondant Icing (I’m thinking its nearly the same) to make the buttercream.

I cut out a circle in the middle of the deep middle tier and poured the chocolates in – Warning! This type of cake used LOADS of sweets. I used 2 packs of Mint Aero Bubbles, 2 packs of maltesers, 1 pack of Chocolate M& Ms and 2 packs of White Chocolate Buttons. To decorate around the outside I used Maltesers, More White Chocolate Buttons and a packet of Jelly Babies. This is not the cake for dieters!

Next time I make a Piñata cake, I will think more about the outside decoration but for such a quick cake, I’m rather chuffed!

There’s still some left in the fridge – want some?

Cadbury’s Twirl Ice-Cream Cupcakes – Bake of the week

cadbury's twirl ice-cream cupcakes

There’s not just Cadbury’s Twirl ON these cupcakes, there’s Twirl IN them too! AND in the sauce! A triple dose of chocolatey-ness!

Last week, Cadbury’s asked me if I could find it within myself to come up with a recipe using their chocolate bars. I managed to drag myself off the sofa to stick the oven on & came up with my good old Chocolate Cupcakes. Its been a fair old warm week in St Helens (not often I get to say THAT!) so the recipe needed an injection of cool with some ice-cream to even out the creamy chocolate. I’m a bit obsessed with Baked Alaska’s so went down the route of hidden ice-cream in the cupcakes. Dead easy, just scoop out about 1/3 of the cupcake and insert a tablespoon of ice-cream then squeeze the lid back on.

hidden ice-cream cupcakes

I wondered if the cupcakes wouldn’t be quite chocolatey enough but they were great. Lovely and light with plenty of taste – the added chocolate sauce and crumbled Twirls definitely helped though!

cadbury twirl recipe

 

Cadbury’s Twirl Hidden Ice-Cream Cupcakes

Serves 16
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 18 minutes
Total time 28 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
These cupcakes are perfect for freezing before the sprinkle of extra chocolate bar and sauce is added.

Ingredients

  • 200g Butter
  • 200g Light Brown Soft Sugar
  • 4 Eggs (Separated)
  • 3 packets Cadbury's Twirl
  • 2 teaspoons Cocoa Powder
  • 4 tablespoons Double Cream
  • 4 tablespoons Milk
  • 200g Self-Raising Flour
  • Vanilla Ice-Cream (Approx 1tablespoon per cupcake)

Directions

Chocolate Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 170C and line 16 cupcake mould with cupcake cases. I like fairly substantial sized cupcakes so if you want to make smaller ones, you may get up to 20 out of the mixture.
Using an electric mixer,cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the egg yolks, one at a time - Scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix through.
Crumble one of the Twirl bars into a microwaveable bowl and mix with 2 tablespoons water and melt at 20 second intervals until just melted. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
Add one tablespoon of the SR Flour & 1 teaspoon of cocoa at a time until just all combined.
Whisk the egg whites until they come to stiff peaks.
Mix the chocolate into the butter/sugar/egg mixture and fold in the egg white mixture.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean and allow to cool
Chocolate Sauce
Crumble one of the other Twirls and the remaining teaspoon of cocoa powder into a small pan and add the cream/milk - Melt on a low heat until the chocolate is just melted.
Decoration
Using a small teaspoon, scoop out about 1/3 of the cooled cupcake and replace with a spoonful of vanilla ice-cream. Try to press down the top of the cupcake that you have just removed - You may not be able to use it all, just the crispy 'lid' will disguise the ice-cream. Crumble the last remaining Twirl and use to sprinkle over the cupcakes. Add a drizzle of the sauce. Eat immediately.

One of my most favourite flavours ever, has to be Passion Fruit. Its really not used often enough for my liking – I have awarded Bake of the Week to Kirsty from Hijacked by Twins for her Passion Fruit Cake which looks simply oozing with taste! Kirsty was one of our first and most prolific entrants for Bake of the Week – it is completely lovely to see her back after a short break.

passion fruit cake recipe

Plenty of other entrants too for which I’m very grateful – Especially as time has been against me this fortnight with posting. Anyone else sooo relieved that school is coming to an end?

Lots of lemon around in the baking world at the moment – some delicious looking fruity bakes in general too. I’m always in awe of people who can get a successful strawberry bake without sogginess!

online baking group

1. All About You Blog – Courgette & Lemon Cake – This looks so light and fluffy, just mmmm :-)
2. Julie’s Family Kitchen – Toffee Shortbread - Anything with toffee in it, is a winner for me – These are definitely on my To Be Baked List.
3. Hay in a Day – Lemon Tart - I’m in awe of the pastry skills of this woman! So thin and that tart looks so neat.
4. Lancashire Food – Ginger Zinger Cake - Another speciality flour for the GF bakers!
5. Baking Queeen – Lemon & Blackberry Cake - Brilliant combination of flavours, I bet this has real zing!
6. What Claire Baked – Strawberry & Lemon Roulade - I think I’m a little bit addicted to roulades – I love how awesome they look but how quick they are to prepare.

Thanks to everyone who volunteered to help host Bake of the Week during the holidays – I will be in touch over the next few days.

The linky to next week’s Bake of the Week is now open – Please add the badge to your post and spread the word about our group. If you have chance and can comment on some of the other entries, that would be fab too! I’m so behind this week so I am going to leave this link open until a week on Monday – 28th July (Where did July disappear to?)

Casa Costello
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Many Thanks to Cadbury’s who supplied me with plenty of bars of chocolate to help with this recipe (and some extra for the writing up part too!). Cadbury’s have asked me to share details of a competition available where you can get a sculpture of your favourite item made IN CHOCOLATE! Entry is through special promotional packs of chocolate (including Twirls) For more details please visit http://www.freethejoy.cadbury.co.uk/ There’s also the change to win other prizes worth up to £5000!

As usual I’m entering this recipe into Emily’s Recipe of the Week, Vicki’s Tasty Tuesdays and Lucy’s Cook, Blog, Share

CookBlogShare

tasty tuesdays

recipe-of-the-week

Toffee & Pecan Roulade – Bake of the Week

toffee pecan caramel roulade

Remember the caramel recipe from last week? I promised that there would be follow up recipes, using the leftover caramel (well, the bits I didn’t eat straight off the spoon!). This is a dessert that me & Mr C buy as our treat once in a while. It bugs me every time I buy it though, because I know that I could make it.

And I finally did! And it was fantastic. And it was twice the size and at least half the price of the shop bought version!

 

Toffee Pecan Meringue Roulade

Serves 8-10
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 18 minutes
Total time 33 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Much bigger than the shop-bought versions! This meringue roulade is easy to make and so deliciously light. Serve with loads of caramel sauce and a sprinkling of pecans.

Ingredients

  • 5 Egg Whites
  • 260g Caster Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon White Vinegar
  • 100g Pecan nuts (Chopped into small pieces)
  • 284ml Double Cream
  • 6-8 tablespoons Caramel (See Coconut Sponge with caramel sauce post for recipe details)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 160C and line a suitable oven tray or swiss roll tray with baking parchment
Whisk the egg whites until you get stiff peaks
Slowly (and I mean really slowly) add the sugar - No more than a dessert spoon at a time. Keep mixing at a medium speed. You should still have a fairly stiff mixture.
Very gently, fold in the cornflour and the vinegar.
Spread evenly on the baking tray and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle on 30g of the pecan nuts on top of the meringue & Bake for 16-18 mins until golden
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Use this time to whisk your double cream until it is thick. and get your caramel out of the fridge to help it spread more easily.
Turn over the meringue onto another piece of baking parchment (some of the pecans will fall off) and peel away the cooked paper gently. Using a knife, cut about 1cm in (only 1/2 way through the meringue) - This will help the meringue roll more evenly.
Spread the caramel over the meringue - I ended up with some areas that had huge blobs but this adds to the taste. Spread over the cream too and sprinkle the remaining pecans over the cream.
Start to roll, using the paper to guide you and keeping the roll as tight as you can.
Eat a huge chunk with a cup of tea (even at 24C a cuppa tastes brilliant!) and keep the rest in the fridge. Will keep for up to 2 days.

Let me know how you get on – I’m particularly intrigued how people that usually buy this find the homemade version!

 

  portion toffee pecan roulade

Huge variety of bakes for this week’s Bake of the Week. It was really difficult to choose one that struck me. I’ve gone with Eileen from Et Speaks From Home’s Lavender Shortbread. I was watching Breakfast news this morning (a very rare occasion in-between episodes of Ben & Holly) and they were reporting from a field of lavender. The news reporter was pretending to like the lavender biscuits she was eating all in the name of tv. There would be no preceding with Eileen’s biscuits – they look wonderful. Such an event bake and fantastic photos!.

lavender biscuits

Chocolate featured massively in this week’s bakes. Here are the entries …

chocolate bakes

1. Cadbury’s Marvellous Mix Ups Piñata Cake from Mummy Mishaps. How amazing does this look? I bashed my first edible piñata this week and loved the experience!
2. Delicious looking and so neatly presented Cocoa Molasses Fudge from The Lass in the Apron
3. Jen from Mum In The Madhouse has been baking with her kids this week and produced these luxurious Chocolate Pots. And guess what? She even says they are healthy-ah! Does that mean we can have 2?
4. I can’t get over Marie’s Snickers Stuffed Peanut Butter Cookies with their gooey centres – Just pure bliss!
5. If you go over to the Chocolate Log Blog today, you sure of some Chocolate Waffles with Lemon Curd & Strawberries – The colours in this post are incredible!
6. Rocky Road was and still is, one of my favourite things to make with the kids 0 Mummy Whiskers has incorporate Alpha Bites into her Alphabet Rocky Road (the baked ones not the frozen potato version!)

If chocolate isn’t your thing, there were plenty of other bakes available too. Seriously, I’m bowled over by how many of you play along with my in Bake of the Week – Thanks loads!

bake of the week linky part 2

7. I actually gasped when I saw this masterpiece: A Brazilian Baked Custard Coconut Flan from Vohn’s Vittles – Oh how I wish I liked Custard! The shape is so precise – a centrepiece for any celebration! Fantastic.
8. The colours again on this Strawberries & Cream Cheesecake look so inviting. I love that very pale pink – so very different to the colour of shop bought cheesecakes.
9. Rebecca from AAU Blog made me chuckle with her No-Bake Muesli Bars – Now that’s how to make breakfast appealing!
10. A throw back to my childhood with In the Playroom’s Easy Jam Tarts – Again, Anna has been baking with the kids this week.
11. Another wonderful creation from Jenny at MummyMakesCakes – An Elsa’s Ice Palace – I know many a young lady who would LOVE this!
12. And last but in no way least, the most luscious Strawberries & Cream Naked Cake from Lucy at SuperGoldenBakes – I know the stress of making these naked cakes and to get the bake so even and neat show true skill. Just WoW! (PS Its up to you if you want to eat it whilst naked!)

The linky is now open for next week’s – I know I’m late so I’m giving you until Tuesday morning to enter before I close the link). If you would be so kind to add the badge to the bottom of your posts, that would be fantastic. Thanks x

Casa Costello
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I’m trialling the InLinkz linky tool as no-one (including me) liked the previous way of linking – If its any better or worse, please feel free to say!

REQUEST: I’ll be off on my hols in a few weeks and would love Bake of the Week to continue in my absence. If anyone is interested in hosting for a week, please shout! You seriously can’t do any worse a job than me! Thank you!

I’m linking up as usual to a few fellow links:

Emily at A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week, Vicki at Honest Mum and Lucy at SupergoldenBakes

tasty tuesdays CookBlogShare recipe-of-the-week

Paddington Bear joins forces with Warbeartons

For the first time in its 138-year history, Warburtons is changing its name to Warbeartons on over 6 million Half & Half products to celebrate it's partnership with Paddington Bear 7

Psst! Don’t tell my kids but I’m rather partial to a Bear. Not just any old bear, but Paddington Bear. Just the sound of his name and the sight of his blue duffle coat transports me back to my childhood. It was always a disappointment that I just wasn’t that keen on marmalade.

I’m the bearer of news (Sorry!) Paddington Bear i taking over Warburtons bread. for the first time in its 138 year history, the brand is changing its name …to… Warbeartons! (Clever eh?) From this week, when you go shopping you will see that many of Warburton’s Half & Half products will ‘bear’ the name Warbeartons (I’m full of it today!)

warbeartons half & half bread

Everyone knows Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear is a great adventurer and Warbeartons are encouraging families across the land to develop that same sense of adventure. Paddington Bear will be touring Britain this summer in a double decker bus. Families are encouraged to spot the bus when it comes to a venue near you and upload a picture to the Warburton’s Facebook Page.

If you do go to meet Paddington on the bus, you will have the chance to win a holiday of a lifetime, sample Paddington Bear’s favourite marmalade (not one for me unfortunately), take home a special summer adventure guide and best of all meet Paddington Bear. I can almost feel myself being transported back to when I was 8 (a couple of years ago ;-))

This is all in preparation for the launch of the Paddington Bear film which is released on 28th November this year.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

Lemon & Raspberry Cream Sundae – Summer Sweet Treats with #MorrisonsMum

lemon raspberry cream sundae

This is the perfect dessert for a warm and sunny afternoon – Tangy raspberries with luscious dreamy lemon cream. The addition of toasted marzipan provides a wonderful texture and chewiness. We use homemade lemon curd which adds an extra wow but if you were really stuck for time (dreaded surprise visitors?) a jar would do too. Me & Mr C have taken to eating our Thursday lunches outside and finishing with a huge glass of this before he starts work in the afternoon. Thursdays have never been so good!

Don’t be put off at the thought of making your own lemon curd – the microwave method is super easy and quick, you get tons and the taste is amazing. If you fancy trying this recipe with limes instead – go for it, it works equally well.

 

Lemon Raspberry Cream Sundae

Serves 4
Meal type Dessert, Lunch
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party, Formal Party
Tangy raspberries layered with a dreamy lemon cream, topped with toasted marzipan to finish a stunning summer dessert.

Ingredients

  • 100 Grams Butter (Melted and allowed to cool for at least 3 minutes - Available on price checker)
  • 3 Eggs (Whisked - Price Checker Eggs Available)
  • 4 Medium Lemons - Zest and Juice of all (If you are using large lemons you might only want to use 3. I sometimes use half lemons/half limes which is lovely.)
  • 1 Punnet Raspberries
  • 4 tablespoons Icing Sugar
  • 50g Marzipan
  • 300ml M Extra Thick Double Cream (Price Checker Available)
  • 200g Caster Sugar

Directions

Homemade Lemon Curd
In a microwaveable bowl, mix the eggs and the caster sugar together well. Slowly add the butter (making sure it has cooled down well).
Add in the juice of the lemons and most of the zest (reserve at least 1 tbsp for decoration)
Blast in the microwave for 1 minute on full then remove and whisk well with a small hand whisk.
Keep blasting at 30 second intervals, each time removing from the microwave and whisking well.
It will start to thicken on about the 4th blast (depending on your microwave). I normally stop around 6-7 times of microwaving. The curd will be quite thick by now.
Taking care not to burn yourself, transfer the curd to a sterilised jar - I have a special Kilner jar just for my lemon curd (How posh!). Allow to cool then transfer to the fridge. It will keep well once opened for around 5 days - Mine never lasts that long!
Toasted Marzipan Topping
Preheat the oven to 160C and line an oven or baking tray with either Baking Parchment or reusable liner. I find greaseproof just sticks.
Roll out the marzipan to around 5mm thickness then bake for 3-4 minutes until it just starts to turn dark gold. It will start to catch quickly so don't leave it.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for approx 5 minutes, then chop into tiny squares.
Raspberry Layer
Mash the raspberries and the icing sugar together well and start to layer your serving glasses. I use normal wine glasses as we like BIG desserts.
Lemon Cream Layer
Whisk the double cream until really thick (this will stop the layers mixing together too much) and add 6 tbsp of the lemon curd. Mix well and layer up - alternating the lemon cream and raspberry. I also add a sprinkling of marzipan half way through.
The Finale
Sprinkle the marzipan on the top and finish with the remaining lemon zest.
The toasted marzipan is simply gorgeous - I may start having it with every meal!

The toasted marzipan is simply gorgeous – I may start having it with every meal!

This post is an entry for the #MorrisonsMum Summer Recipe eBook Challenge sponsored by Morrisons, which has recently cut prices on over a thousand every day products. Find out more here price checker tool. I’m entering my recipe into the Sweet Treats section in the hope of being included in an E-Book containing blogger recipes.

lemon raspberry easy sundaes

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Toasted Coconut Sponges with Caramel Sauce – Bake of the Week

toasted coconut sponge with caramel sauce

This Caramel sauce is definitely my new addiction. Paired up with the delicious taste (and chewiness) of Toasted Coconut in a light sponge – You have a dessert made in heaven.

These little cake are just as good made into a large cake (I have a large version cooling in the kitchen as I type) and again work equally well with Buttercream frosting but with the caramel sauce?? Just wow!

The great news about the caramel sauce is that it is super easy to make, makes tons and I will be producing loads of recipes over the next few days that you can use it in. Or you can just eat it from a spoon on its own! Slurp!

thick caramel sauce recipe

 

Toasted Coconut Sponges with Caramel Sauce

Serves 10+
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Light toasted coconut sponge cake with a smooth, creamy thick caramel sauce

Ingredients

  • 185g Unsalted Butter
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract (plus one teaspoon for the caramel sauce)
  • 220g Self Raising Flour
  • 180ml Milk (I use Semi Skimmed which works out fine)
  • 100g Toasted Dessicated Coconut plus extra for decoration (Cook on a baking tray at 180C for 6 minutes - Keep folding over to ensure an even toast)
  • 200g Granulated Sugar (Caster is too fine and will burn more easily)
  • 90g Butter (Room Temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 120ml Double Cream

Directions

Sponge Cakes
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a 9" cake tin if you are making a large cake or use cupcake liners if making cupcakes. I used a silicone mould and greased it using butter and sprinkling plain flour round the mould.
Using an electric mixer, whisk the first lot of butter and the caster sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes)
Beat the eggs and add them one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla.
Alternate adding a spoonful of the flour and a splash of milk until it is all used up and just combined.
Add in the toasted coconut and fold in gently.
Bake for approx 40-50 minutes for a large cake and 18-22 minutes for cupcakes
Thick Caramel Sauce
Meanwhile you can be making the caramel sauce. In a large pan, add the granulated sugar and heat. Keep stirring with a spatula (Be careful not to get any on you!) It will turn into a liquid - Do not worry if you get some crystals - As soon as these have dissolved you will know its ready.
Take off the heat and add the soft butter. Stir through quickly and put back on a slow heat until it has just melted. Remove from the heat again.
Add the last tsp of vanilla and then the cream, Whisk with a small hand whisk until all combined and allow to cool.
Once the cakes have cooled, drizzle a tbsp of caramel over each one and sprinkle some more toasted coconut on top. This is gorgeous served with vanilla ice-cream.
Place any leftover caramel sauce in a sterlized jar and place in the fridge. It will thicken up as it cools completely.

Can you believe a week has gone since my last Bake of the Week roundup? It only seems like yesterday but still lovely to see people getting involved.

While this week’s recipe from me is focussing on mini sponges, I’m going to choose My Little Italian Kitchen as this week’s Bake of the Week. Alida shares with us her Almond Chocolate Speculaas which she describes as Addictive Mini Bites. I’m sure they are! Congratulation also go to Alida for winning the Uniform Foodies Challenge that I got involved with a couple of weeks ago.

almond chocolate cakes

Its that lovely season when Berries are ripe and so good to include in bakes – Let me present you with The Berry Collection!

Bake of the week berries

From Left to right:

bake of the week

As usual, we also had some really individual bakes: From Left to Right ..

  • Brazilian Banana & Chocolate Chip Tapioca Cake – A super gluten free bake made using tapioca flour. This lady is ingenious with her creations!
  • A wonderfully neat BritPop cake from Julia at WannabeFoodie. Julia did a brilliant job keeping me company at BritMums and I think she’s still sane!
  • A #BoredomBake (her words, not mine) from Claire at Life, Ninja Killer Cat in the form of this delicious looking Carrot Cake

The link is now open for this week’s Bake of the Week. Don’t forget to spread the word – I will spread your posts all across the internet too! Any bakes welcome as usual – Savoury or sweet – as longs it has been near an oven, that is fine. I’ll be doing my Baking round up for Foodies100 over the next coming days so will be looking closely for any flavour combinations that you use. Its my chosen topic of the month.

Casa Costello
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As usual I’m linking up to a few people…

Emily at A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week, Lucy at SuperGoldenBake’s Cook Blog Share, and Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesday

tasty tuesdays CookBlogShare recipe-of-the-week

Churros Bites with White Chocolate & Hazelnuts

white chocolate hazelnut churros

Impossible to eat only one, I tell you! I much prefer smaller Churros to long thin ones – They are so much more convenient to eat. These are quite delicious on their own, simply rolled in sugar but for extra wow, try them dipped first in white chocolate, then chopped hazelnuts. I’m all about luxury on this blog!

I first came across Churros on our honeymoon in Acapulco, Mexico (which was a massive 14 years ago! How did I get so old?) I’ll be honest and admit we chose Mexico for the food. Mr C should have known what was in store even back then!

Generally, the food was rather disappointing in Mexico – It took us a long time to go back to eating fajitas after so many disastrous versions in Acapulco. One thing we did discover though, were Churros. The smell that would greet us as we walked along the street would waft along and tempt us. I seem to remember them being a lot smaller than we find in this country, which suits me – I love to be able pick at street food.

I decided to make my Churros with the chocolate and nuts already on them – Who wants to walk along the street with a separate pot of chocolate? I never have that many hands free nowadays.

I have been set the task of writing about my favourite street food by Vue Cinemas to celebrate the launch of the movie, Chef next month. They are hoping to come up with the ultimate Street Food Menu – And I’d love to be dessert!

These churros are best eaten warm and straightaway which is perfect for eating on the move. If you are making these at home, I cannot stress enough that you need to let the batter rest for at least 20 minutes – It becomes more stringy and dough-like and will hold its shape better. Because I was making mini Churros, I wasn’t too bothered if they puffed into balls (In fact, I love them even more as mini churro balls that you can just POP into your mouth)

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz (25g) Butter melted and mixed into 7 fl oz Boiling water
  • 8 oz (225g) Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1.5 oz  (42g) Caster Sugar plus extra for rolling the Churros in later
  • 1 packet (100g White Chocolate) Melted
  • 2 tbsp Chopped Hazelnuts
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

 

How to make churros

 

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, place the flour, sugar and baking powder (No need to sift.
  2. Stir in the Melted butter/Water mixture until combined. Leave to cool for at least 15-20 mins until cool – THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! When cool, transfer the batter (which should be thick) to a piping bag with a star tip nozzle.
  3. Heat a medium sized pan with at least 3 cm depth of Vegetable Oil until it starts to sizzle when you drop a test drip of batter into it. You don’t want it quite as hot as if you were making pancakes. I like to make the centres of my churros are properly done – Nothing worse than undercooked doughy insides :-(. Pipe the mixture into the oil. You can go as long as you like but I like smaller churros.
  4. Cook for approx 2 minutes on each side, until nicely golden. Remove with metal tongs. Leave to drain on paper towel then roll into the extra caster sugar.

 

To Decorate:

  • Dip the end into melted white chocolate – Leave for 5 seconds to set a little.
  • Then Dip into the chopped hazelnuts – A small ramekin is the perfect size for this.
  • Then Eat! I like to serve mine in card cones for the authentic street food experience.

 

churros white chocolate and hazelnuts

 

Disclosure: I was asked to produce this recipe for Vue Cinemas – I received no payment for this exercise – I just fancied having a go!

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Cherry Streusel Loaf Cake – Bake of the Week

cherry loaf cake bake of the week

The Costello Kitchen was closed for a few days last week (to baking – we still manage to eat other things than cake!). BritMums and school stuff seemed to take over. The ovens are back on with a vengeance today though.

I started with something hearty and easy to make – I reckon we can get away with calling this Cherry Loaf Cake ‘rustic’ – Is that code for ‘A bit of a mess’?

I’ve got the knitting needles out as you can see from the photo above – I’m determined this will be a calmer week and I’ll get some relaxation time. Its not looking likely so far though!

Cherry Streusel Loaf Cake

Serves 10
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold
Occasion Casual Party
Light summery sponge cake with hidden cherry gems and a crunchy streusel topping - Perfect for picnics!

Ingredients

  • 1oz Plain Flour
  • 1oz Butter (Very cold - cut into small chunks)
  • 1.5oz Demerara Sugar
  • 0.5oz Flaked Almonds
  • 6oz Melted Butter (Left to cool for at least 5 minutes)
  • 6oz Caster Sugar
  • 3 Eggs (Whisked)
  • 1 Zest Lemon
  • 100g Greek Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Lemon Curd
  • 7oz Self-Raising Flour
  • 4oz Glace Cherries (Cut into quarters)
  • 1 tablespoon Plain Flour

Directions

Streusel Topping
In a medium bowl, mix the plain flour, Demerara sugar & cold butter chunks with a knife. Then rub together with your fingers until just combined - you want some small chunks of butter and sugar remaining. Add the almonds and quickly stir through. Leave to one side.
Cherry Loaf Cake
Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a alb loaf tin - I use Lakeland disposable loaf tin liners - Brilliant!
Using an electric mixer, whisk the melted butter and the caster sugar until creamy.
Add the eggs gradually whilst still mixing.
Stir in the lemon zest, greek yogurt and the lemon curd ( I like a really lemony taste - You can get away with just 1 tbsp of curd if you like more of a subtle lemon flavour)
Stir in the self raising flour until just combined. Do not over-work the flour.
Roll the cherries in the 1 tbsp of plain flour.
Add a layer of cake mixture to the bottom of the tin, then add a handful of cherries spread out evenly.
Keep alternating the cherries and the cake mixture until it is all used.
Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly on the top of the cake mix and bake for 50 minutes.
After 50 minutes, reduce the heat to 150C and bake for approximately 15-20 mins more - until a skewer comes out clean.

Last week was the best week ever for Bake of the Week. I love that we are getting so many participants and even lovelier that people are starting to comment on other people’s posts.

The star bake for last week was Mummy Makes Cakes. Jenny must have been working on her party for months – Read the rest of her post for her other Frozen inspired ideas but for now just marvel at these lovely Snowflake cookies. I love how acceptable it is for snowflakes and snowmen to still be around in June this year, thanks to Frozen!

snowflake frozen cookies

Thanks loads to the other bakers from last week – Links to all the photos are under the collage as usual. We will hopefully hit 100 Bakes of the Week this coming week – Could you be number 100?

baking on line group

1.Lemon Curd and Cream Cheese Bars from Allotment 2 Kitchen. Welcome to the gang!
2. Date & Cashew Chocolate Drops from The Lass in the Apron. I love the photos on this blog – I get lost for hours!
3. I’m definitely going to make these Mini Lemon & Lime Sandwich Cakes by Kirsty from Hijacked by Twins – Delish!
4. Looking for a healthy but tasty breakfast? Try banana & raisin muffins from Hellie’s Corner
5. A warm welcome to Leeks & Lemoni with her Strawberry & Orange Muffins – Just lovely!
6. Julie’s Family Kitchen gave us some Triple Chocolate Cookies. I had the brief pleasure of meeting Julie on Saturday (while I was racing to a meeting) I can confirm she is just as lovely as her bakes but I am gutted we didn’t get chance to meet up again :-(

bake of the week entries

7. A really unusual but brilliant idea to use Chickpea flour for a GF Chocolate Coconut Cake from Chocolate Log Blog
8. For people needing No Dairy bakes, Romanian Mum, Otilia serves us with this Easy Peasy Chocolate Dairy Free Cake
9. Welcome to the gang to Emily from A Mummy Too with her bright and cheery Apricot & Custard Danish Pastries
10. Jenny from Mummy Mishaps shares with us these ultra neat Ice-Cream Cone Cupcakes – Gorgeous!
11. Wow, Mummy Whiskers, this Strawberry & Custard Sponge Cake wouldn’t last long around our house. Just divine!
12. Lucia from Torta di Rosa has made the most perfect looking Strawberry Jam Rustic Tart this week. Bit different to the jam tarts I make with the kids!
13. A lovely summery bake from Mami Tales with her Greek yogurt & Lemon Curd Tart
14. Another one for my ‘To Be Baked’ list – I can’t resist Amaretto & this Amaretto Chocolate Torte looks amazing from Lancashire Food
15. A beautiful combination of Lime & Coconut with this Luscious Drizzle Cake from Blue Kitchen Bakes.

The link is now open for your entries – Please attach the badge at the bottom of your post.

Casa Costello
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As usual, I’m linking to A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week, Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesday & the award winning Super Golden Bakes‘s Cook, Blog, Share and The Spicy Pear and her cohorts Delicieux & Eat Your Veg for Four Seasons Food.
recipe-of-the-week

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com