Stuffed Meaty Mushrooms – #FoodieFriday

stuffed meaty mushrooms

One of my most favourite recipes ever! If there is stuffed mushrooms on any menu when we go out, you can guarantee I’ll be ordering them – Indian, Italian …even those breaded ones on most pub menus! The good news is this recipe is even better than the bought versions.

The quantities given are enough for 4 large mushrooms and comfortable serve 2 hungry adults as a starter (or if you are feeling greedy, all 4 for one person!)

Stuffed Meaty Mushrooms

Serves 2
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Snack, Starter
Misc Serve Hot
Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe with bacon, breadcrumbs & walnuts

Ingredients

  • 4 Large Flat Mushrooms
  • 4 Rashers of Smoked Bacon (Chopped into small cubes)
  • 25g Walnuts (Crushed with some small chunks left)
  • 100g Soft Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Parsley
  • Breadcrumbs (using 2 rounds of stale bread)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180C
Bake the mushrooms for 15 minutes
Fry the bacon in a small frying pan
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the soft cheese, crushed walnuts, breadcrumbs & dried parsley. At the last minute, stir through the cooked bacon.
Season with a vigorous grind of black pepper and spread evenly across the top of the 4 mushrooms
Place under the grill for 5-6 minutes until starts to crisp over on top and turn golden brown
Serve with a fresh salad

beef shin mushrooms foodie friday

So let’s move onto the #FoodieFriday roundup: I’ve chosen a featured recipe from our last entries that my husband would just love. I’m going to try to recreate this Braised Beef Shin & Mushroom next week – He’d be thrilled to come home from work to this. Foodie Quine’s blog is jam packed full of loveliness – be prepared to lose hours of your life pottering through it and being generally tempted!

foodie friday

1. Sadhna from Herbs, Spices and Tradition is definitely tempting us to the sweet side with her Coconut & Strawberry Pinwheel

2. Definitely a popular choice this month, one of 2 Tirimisu This from Bakewell Junction – Stop tempting me!

3. And here’s the other equally pretty Tirimisu in individual portions from Alida at My Little Italian Kitchen

4. I love how unusual these Matcha & Pistachio Cookies look from More Than An Occasional Baker

5. Milano Cookies Chocolate Cake to make our mouths water from I am Dream Baker

6. I can never resist a trifle and a raspberry drizzle one sounds divine from Kate at the Gluten Free Alchemist

7. Utterly cute Mini Aero Cheesecakes shared by Nadine from Juggle Mum in her Valentine’s Roundup – Remember romance isn’t just for the 14th Feb!

8. A very pretty pistachio Chocolate Bark from Truly, Madly Kids – I’m thinking of making some of this as Easter gifts instead of eggs for adults this year

9. Utterly cute Oreo Penguins that all the kids would adore from More Than An Occasional Baker

10. Still got some Candy Canes left over from Christmas? You could make these creative Chocolate Candy Cane Hearts from More Than An Occasional Baker

11. Simple, good combination of flavours from Mum in the Madhouse with her Apple & Cinnamon Muffins

Casa Costello
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The linky is now open to add all your entries – There is no theme as usual and all food related posts are welcome. Just a couple of things to remember …

* No more than 3 links per blog please
* Please follow Casa Costello on one of my social media channels
* Please add the badge above to your post – Old posts are fine as long as they include the badge and link
* It would be lovely if you could try to visit at least 2 other people who are entering
* The linky will remain open until next Thursday morning (5th March)

I will comment on all entries and share on Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. The new Foodie Friday Pinterest board is here:

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Minion Birthday Cake & Party – Bake of the Week

minions birthday cake despicable me

Well, its a bit of a different Bake of the Week from me this week. I hadn’t realised how long it had been since I did a properly decorated cake until Tara said ‘Wow Mummy, did you do that ALL by yourself?!’ Bless her! We had our crazy happy week last week, when Tara & Dermot celebrated their birthdays on the same day.

There was no question that the theme of Tara’s party was going to be Minions – She’s mad on them. Her nursery bag has to be Minion, her favourite t-shirt is her Minion one (That has to be washed and ironed in lightning quick speed).

minion birthday cake

 

It was rather strange to get back into my sugarcraft drawers and I was a bit apprehensive that I might have forgotten how to do cake decorating. I think the results were ok? In fact, I really enjoyed an afternoon of creating Creme Egg Minions So much so, we started talking about maybe taking orders for some cakes after Tara starts school in September and saying YES to a possible wedding cake in November!

kevin minion creme egg cake topper

giant minion

 

The party itself was a real traditional one in our church hall which is a lovely, light, clean and spacious place. We were gifted some Minion party supplies courtesy of Party Bags & Supplies and added to the rest ourselves. That giant Minion balloon has been everywhere that Tara has this weekend – It even went strapped in the car to Manchester for synchro practice!

minions party supplies

minion party bags

Ready made party bags from Party Bags & Supplies

homemade minion party bags

Homemade Party Bags made by Millie

Tara 4th birthday party

I love a 4th birthday party, its great to see children dressed in their party gear – Girls wearing their party dresses and the boys with their little body warmers on. Too cute!

Tara was wearing a gorgeous yellow dress and navy card from Next – It wasn’t intentional that she matched the Minion colour scheme but rather fitting! Even Violet was colour co-ordinated, also wearing a yellow top and cardigan from Next.

For the entertainment, Tara chose Fran from Jo Jingles, Warrington. We attend Fran’s class every Monday and Tara just loves it. It has really brought her out of her shell and she talks about Jo Jingles all the time. Fran has amazing control of a large group – All the parents were marvelling at how she gets them to join in and keeps them contained!

jo jingles warrington 4th birthday party

jo jingles birthday party

older siblings at birthday party

Older sister, Violet with her mates, cousin & a HUGE handmade Minion!

So many amazing creations entered for our previous Bake of the Week – One flavour combination really stood out for me as a must to try …Apricot Cheesecake with Amaretto Caramel. This sounds just too incredible and right up my street from a newcomer to the Bake of the Week family, Giraffes can Bake

apricot cheesecake amaretto caramel

chocolate bakes

1. Pretty Triple Chocolate Hidden Heart Cake from Mummy Mishaps
2. Perfect pastry from Winnie with her Chocolate Halva Tart
3. Goodness me, these Red Velvet Brownies with Oreo Cream Cheese look tasty – Domestic Gothess
4. This Chocolate Chip Layer Cake is certainly the ultimate as its name suggests from Giraffes Can Bake
5. Classic combination of strawberries & White Chocolate from Baking Queen 74
6. A warm welcome to Mrs B’s Kitchen with her stunning Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
7. Introducing us to Milano Cookies with her Chocolate Cake is Dream Baker
8. I can’t get enough of cheesecake brownies – one of the best inventions ever! Jibber Jabber Uk
9. A very pretty Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake & another warm welcome to Chardonnay & Samphire
10. Looking simply heavenly …Mars Bars Stuffed Salted Caramel Blondies from Baking in Pyjamas
11. The crazy for Salted Caramel is still as popular as ever with these brownies from Baking in Pyjamas

small bites morsels

12. If you are trying to be healthy with your baking, try these Blueberry & Orange Muffin Bars from Tales from the Kitchen Shed
13. Super pretty Marshmallow Flower Cupcakes from Searching for Spice
14. If you are still feeling romantic, try these Pink Velvet Lofthouse soft cookies from Baking Chocolatess
15. Super cute Heart Oreo Sandwich Cookies again from Baking Chocolatess
16. I really fancy trying these Pineapple Cookies from Dream Baker – They are dairy free too!
17. We have got in the habit of buying Peanut Cookies for after training, I’m going to try making these from Dream Baker
18. These Lemon Velvet Squares from Baking in Pyjamas would be perfect to fit in with the yellow theme at Tara’s party

bake of the week

19. Tempting me away from my classic lemon & sugar with her Nutella Spelt Pancakes is Baking Queen 74
20. Adding Cranberry to the classic combo of Maple & Pecan in her cake is Jen’s Food – A warm welcome to you too!
21. Tasty looking Chinese Chicken Pie (but also make sure you check out those super cute Tunnocks Teacakes Sheep!) from Foodie Quine – Welcome!
22. I can’t resist a good Orange Sponge Cake & this from Snap Happy Bakes looks very tempting – a warm welcome to you too!
23. Loving these Lentil Stuffed Peppers from Herbs, Spices & Tradition
24. For the vegans amongst us, we have Valentines Vegan French Toast from the Free From Farmhouse
25. A comforting, gluten free Prune & Raisin Loaf from Lancashire Food
26. Much underused Grapefruit is added to this Honey & Almond Cake from Chocolate Log Blog and a Happy Bloggiversary to you!
27. Apple & Almond perfect pairing with My Little Italian Kitchen’s Pie – Alida seems to love almonds almost as much as I do!
28. How beautiful is this Heart Swiss Roll from Winnie’s Blog? The decoration is so clear.

Huge thank you as ever to everyone who entered their bakes – I really appreciate it and love finding all your blogs. The linky is open for this week’s #Bakeoftheweek – Feel free to tweet me @CasaCostello to let me know you have added your link and I will retweet.

Casa Costello
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Please add the badge or a link to your post to share the word about Bake of the Week – The linky will remain open until next Tuesday 3rd March.

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Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Also found over at: Share your cup Thursday

What we learnt from a visit to Alton Towers

costello children alton towers

We are just back from spending a couple of days at Alton Towers – We stayed overnight in the Alton Towers Hotel and had a day each in the Splash Landings Waterpark, then today at the theme park. We’ve been to the hotel quite a few times before but haven’t visited the theme park as a family since Millie was about 2.

I’ve seldom seen the girls as excited as they were about this trip – Violet was physically squeaking when we entered the water park and declared that her ‘dreams have come true’! Millie reckons her favourite part was the theme park and Tara just loved all of it.

So what did me & Dermot get out of it? Well, we learnt a few things too:

Alton Towers have rooms that cater for 5!!…
This is a biggie – I’m not talking a travel cot shoved in a corner of the room but a proper double bed, bunks and a single – And it was like we are completely normal for having 3 children! I love holiday resorts that cater properly for ‘larger’ families. Can you recommend any others?

alton towers sonic spinball

My children are super brave …
I watched Millie storm along the single riders queue for the Sonic Spinball ride today and chat happily to a lady in her cart (Who incidentally, was telling her that her boobs were going to escape at any moment but we’ll try to forget that). That ride looked truly horrific but she loved it.
We all went on the Runaway Mine Train which had me screaming like a baby but Tara (Aged 3 for 1 more day) thought it was brilliant.

On the other hand, we found out that Tara is properly scared of anyone dressed in an oversized fancy dress costumes – I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Mike the Knight for Tara screaming and doing a runner.

handstands

My children also have to do cartwheels and handstands EVERYWHERE …
Most families were watching the evening entertainment at the Pirate Ship. Mine were enjoying it too … just while they were stood on their hands.

alton towers postman pat ride

Husbands are not designed for the Postman Pat ride …
He enjoyed it really ;-)

No matter what shoes you wear, your feet still hurt …
I’ve tried it all, trainers, flats, boots – All feet ache at the end of the day trekking around the park – You will never be as pleased to see a bus to take you back to the hotel (The monorail does not open until the start of the season)

alton towers lifts

Lifts can be fun …
Anyone who has ever been in either the Alton Towers Hotel or the Splash Landings Hotel will know that the lifts are part of the enjoyment. Flashing lights, funny music – We’ve all been caught dancing when the doors open.

mr bloom alton towers

I think I like Mr Bloom more than my children …
We didn’t hang around too long for the show but I thought he was rather lovely and natural with the kids. There was a game to pick up loads of leaves, great to see a celeb not frightened to actually get stuck in with the crowd.

Disclosure: We were not asked to write about our time at Alton Towers – I just wanted to share a couple of brilliant days that we thoroughly enjoyed. We will definitely be back to visit again – I may even brave one of the water slides!

Vegetarian Spring Rolls – #JLCook

vegetarian spring rolls main

I’m a big lover of Chinese Food but don’t often get round to making it from scratch. My ultimate in a lazy night is a Hot & Sour Soup with a portion of prawn crackers to dip in. Can’t say I’m not classy! To become more proficient at cooking chinese dishes is definitely on my list for this year though. When I was asked by John Lewis, to have a go at their Vegetarian Spring Rolls as featured in their quarterly food mag, COOK, I though ‘Here’s my chance’.

COOK magazine is a free quarterly food magazine, packed full of seasonal recipes, handy cooking tips all with the signature John Lewis feel. The recipe for Vegetarian Spring Rolls is one of TV Chef & Food Writer, Ching He Huang’s. There is a video to support anyone attempting Chinese cooking at JohnLewis.com/chinesevideo

chinese ingredients
So how did we get on? I decided to follow my own rules and prepare all the ingredients before I started cooking – I’m so glad I did. I felt much more in control especially as the initial cooking of the veg only takes such a short time.

We are not exactly exotic in St Helens but managed to get all of the set ingredients except for Cavolo Nero – We used Curly Kale instead and it was just fine.

filo pastry spring rolls
The recipe gives a choice of Spring Roll Wrappers or Filo Pastry – We chose the Filo Pastry as it meant we could bake the spring rolls in the oven and cut down on the frying. TIP: Only use 2 sheets of Filo at a time, wrap the rest straight up as it dries out REALLY quickly.

filling spring rolls #JLCook

The end product seems really authentic, which we liked. Good strong flavours – I may cut down a tiny bit on the amount of five spice powder but only because we are not used to using so much. I couldn’t quite get the 12 spring rolls that we were supposed to out of the recipe but it was so easy to follow and all made sense that I would quickly be able to make some more filling.

I have fallen in love with my Julienne Peeler which we were sent for preparing the carrots – I have a feeling lots of recipes are going to feature Julienne veg from now on.(Julienne cakes anyone?) Disclosure: We were asked by John Lewis to try out the Vegetarian Spring Rolls recipe and compensated for our time. All views are my own.

making vegetarian spring rolls #JLCook

If you have popped over to see #FoodieFriday then hello – I have extended the link for another week and will be back with a full round up next Friday – Feel free to add your foodie posts below:

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Dulce De Leche Kisses – Bake of the Week

dulce de leche kisses

There are some things I make that surprise even me, how popular they are. These Dulce de Leche kisses never fail to disappear and I’m always surprised how quickly they do! I have a confession though, I used shop bought Dulce de Leche instead of making my own. I’ve had a huge tub that I bought in Costco before Christmas that I wanted to use up. Its definitely not as good as homemade but for a quick bake and when you are only using a small dollop, shop bought is just fine.

dulce de leche valentines heart

 

Dulce de Leche Kisses

Serves 30
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 52 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party, Valentines day
Mouthful portions of crumbly coconut cake with delicious Dulce de Leche decoration

Ingredients

  • 75g Butter (Cold but chopped into small chunks)
  • 3 tablespoons Soft Cheese - Full Fat
  • 96g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 190g Plain Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 60g Dessicated Coconut
  • 3 tablespoons Dulce De Leche

Note

These can be frozen before the Dulce de Leche is added - allow to defrost at room temperature for 2 hours before adding the Dulce de Leche

Directions

Add the soft cheese and vanilla whilst still mixing on a medium setting. Add the egg yolk .
Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the flour and the baking powder until just combined.
Stop the mixer and fold in the coconut.
Bring the mixture together by hand into a dough and wrap in cling film - Freeze for 30 minutes
Preheat the oven to 180C and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment
Roll the dough into small balls - about the size of a Ferrero Rocher
Make an indentation in the centre with something approx 1/2 cm wide - I used a plastic cake dowel and kept dipping into flour to stop it sticking to the dough. At a push - a little finger belonging to a 4 year old would do!
Bake for 12 minutes - You might want to move the tray around after 10 to ensure an even bake but these are so small that it is not necessary
Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 1-2 minutes then pipe the Dulce de Leche in - I use a disposable piping bag as it is fairly runny

blueberry blood orange cake

Well, we had the biggest week ever for Bake of the Week this week – I’m so grateful that you all join in and am loving finding so many new bloggers that bake.

My featured Bake of the week is a lovely creation from Hey Cakes! with her Blueberry & Blood Orange Cake – The decorating is so pretty and I love the thought of that flavour combination.

I’ve separated all the other bakes (all 24 of you lovely people!) in different categories – In honour of Saturday being the most romantic day of the year, we start with Romantic Bakes

romantic bakes

1. Its lovely to welcome Baking in Pyjamas to the Bake of the Week gang with her delightful Raspberry Chocolate Heart Cookies – I think even Dermot might find these romantic!
2. I love the simplicity of Baking Queen 74’s Raspberry Shortbread Hearts – I can imagine children up and down the land making these for their parents
3. How pretty is this Chocolate Cherry Cake from Winnie’s blog? – Beautiful as ever!
4. And even more beautiful (and rather ambitious!) is this White Chocolate Mud Cake again from Winnie’s Blog
5. Just WOW! to the idea of a box of chocolate made from cake – Jibber Jabber nails it! And so much for your ‘limited decorating skills’ – you are amazing!
6. There’s no more romantic day to get married on than Valentines and this wedding cake from Caroline Makes is just exquisite – Such delicate decorations.
7. Not strictly for just Valentine’s Day but these cute little hearts make Baking in Pyjamas’ Cherry Chocolate Coconut Slices romantic nonetheless

For the dough makers amongst us …

dough

8. Domestic Gothess combines timeless Chocolate & Cherries with her Challah complete with the most amazing six strand braid
9. I’m not a fan of olives but could be tempted by this Black Olive Focaccia from Baking in Pyjamas – I will be baking focaccia very soon too.
10. And Baking Queen 74 takes slow cookers to a new level again with her Spinach & Feta Focaccia

Sometimes you don’t want to share, you just want a portion all of your own …

individual bakes

11. You have GOT to read Baking Chocolatess’ post on her Brownie Marshmallow Cookies for the full glory of the marshmallow centre. Cor! – A big warm welcome to her too!
12. Happy New Chinese Year to Eileen and her family from ET Speaks From Home who is celebrating with her peanut cookies
13. Another new entrant and a big wave ‘hello’ to These Little Lights with her Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – I can imagine these disappearing quickly in this house too.
14. Super decorative cookies from Herbs, Spices & Tradition with her Eat Sum More Christmas Cookies made with her grandchildren
15. Using only 5 ingredients but turning out amazingly, Sea Salt & Pepper Caramels from Patisserie Makes Perfect
16. Perfectly uniform Vegan & Gluten Free Rhubarb & Custard Doughnuts from Allotment 2 Kitchen – Incredible for the first time making them.

bake of the week

17. A superb, rich & dark Chocolate, Peanut & Banana Loaf from Baking Chocolatess
18. Bringing back lovely memories of my Grandma who also used to bake a Coconut Raspberry Cake like this one from Julie’s Family Kitchen
19. Classic Tiramisu and a hello to Bakewell Junction – This looks rather light and delicious!
20. Bonjour to De Tout Coeur Limonsin with her rich, luscious Chocolate Fudge Brownies
21. Another newbie with her lemon white chocolate bars – I’m very tempted to have a go at these from Emotional Baker (Love that blog name!)
22. Super neat almond cake which is also Gluten and Diary Free from This is not my Home – Hello and Welcome!
23. A vegan carrot cake that looks full of goodness and taste from Free From Farmhouse – A lovely blog that I have only discovered this week.
24. And finishing with a flourish is Farmersgirl Kitchen with the sort of Tea Time Cake good bakers should always have in their larder ready (I haven’t :-()

Here is the badge for everyone to include in their post – a link to Bake of the Week is just fine if you’d rather not use the badge but please tell everyone about our gang!

Casa Costello
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Its half term next week and its also the most manic of weeks in our house – Baby T is a big grown up 4 next Friday (on the same day that her Daddy turns 37!) Where have those 4 years gone?!? Remember this post? The linky will be extended for 2 weeks so feel free to enter up to 4 bakes each over the fortnight – I’m thinking I will be showcasing a special little girl’s birthday cake next time! I’m also off to Crystal Palace and back (twice) with Millie as she starts her England Talent training for 2015 next week – plus we are squeezing in a couple of days at Alton Towers … and a birthday party!. What are your plans for half term?

In other news, did you watch The Secret Life of 4 year olds last night? Hilarious – I will forever be calling people a ‘Green Toilet’ ;-)

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