Limonello Cheesecake #EvenBetterBaking with Dr. Oetker

Limoncello Cheesecake Slice

I’m well known for not being able to stop myself tinkering with a recipe – the first time I follow a recipe, I try my hardest to keep to the rules but surely the beauty of baking is that the second time around you have a play? Dr. Oetker have given me permission to do just that. I was asked to try out making their divine Limoncello Cheesecake with my own personal twist.

This is a real luxurious, light yet rich tasting cheesecake. I don’t normally use ricotta as a cheesecake filling (I’ve always thought it would be a little too ‘cheesy’) but was pleasantly surprised. I will definitely use ricotta again (I’ve got another 2 pots left in the fridge for a start).

My version of the Limoncello Cheesecake contains crunchy crushed Amaretti biscuits – the flavours balance so well and the crunch is a welcome addition – I even use more crushed biscuits for decoration.

Dr Oetker Limoncello Cheesecake

To make the Limoncello Cheesecake:

Ingredients:

(Sponge)
1 x Large Egg
40g (1.5 oz) Caster Sugar
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) Dr. Oetker Sicilian Lemon Extract
25g (1 oz) Plain Flour

(For the cheesecake)
400g (13.5oz) Dr. Oetker Fine Cooks’ White Chocolate
5ml (1tsp) Dr. Oetker Madagascan Vanilla Extract
275g (9.5oz) Ricotta Cheese – At room temperature
75ml (5 tbsp) Limoncello
Dr. Oetker Sunshine Yellow Gel Food Colour
5g Icing Sugar
1 x Lemon for decorative rind

Optional – 7 (+2 for decoration) crushed Amaretti biscuits

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C, grease & line a 7″ square cake tin
  2. Using an electric mixer, whisk together the caster sugar, egg and lemon extract for at least 3 minutes until pale and thickened
  3. Sift & fold in the flour with a metal spoon – be careful to fold not stir and you want all the air you have just whisked in to stay
  4. Spoon this mixture into the cake tin and bake for 10 mins until golden and a skewer comes out clean – Leave to cool on a wire rack
  5. Line a 500g (1lb 2oz) loaf tin with cling film (see tip below) – cut a large enough piece of the now cooled sponge to fit snugly into the bottom of the loaf tin
  6. Melt 100g of the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water – be careful that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Remove the bowl from the heat
  7. Mix in 75g (3oz) ricotta and the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly – Place it in the tin on top of the sponge. Bang on the surface to get rid of any air pockets and chill for 30 mins (see tip below for speedy chilling)
  8. Continue by melting the remaining White Chocolate using the previous method. Place the remaining ricotta, Limoncello and a good quirt of the yellow food colouring to make a vibrant yellow (it will dilute later when the White Chocolate is added). You need to use nearly the full tube for an effective yellow colour
  9. Add the White Chocolate to the ricotta mix and beat together thoroughly to ensure well mixed – If you are making the Amaretti biscuits version, you would also add the crushed biscuits at this point
  10. Spoon out on top of the other layers in the loaf tin and smooth down the surface – Chill for at least 2 hours
  11. To serve, remove from the fridge, dunk a sharp knife in boiling water and cut quickly for a clean slice – Alternative decorations can be sprinkling the icing sugar (or cocoa) on top, sprinkling the remaining crushed biscuits to form a line or cut lemon peel spiralled around a chopstick

Dr Oetker Limoncello Cheesecake

Tips for #EvenBetterBaking

  • For a child friendly, non-alcoholic version – the grated zest of 2 lemons & 1tsp Sicilian Lemon Extract gives a wonderful lemony flavour to the cheesecake mix
  • To make sure the loaf tin is properly lined with cling film – Grease first with a thin layer of butter/vegetable fat then use 3 layers of cling film for strength
  • For an ultra quick set, try placing the loaf tin in the freezer – takes half the time

Disclosure: This post was commissioned by Dr Oetker – The original recipe can be found here

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Send your bakes that you have made using Dr. Oetker products and tell them what inspired you to make it with #Evenbetterbaking.

Each week Dr. Oetker will pick a Star Baker who will win a goodie bag, and entry into their prize draw to win an Ultimate Baking Hamper worth £500.

To keep up to date with all the latest Even Better Baking news, follow @droetkerbakes on Twitter, DrOetkerBaking on YouTube or like www.facebook.com/DrOetkerBaking.

Limoncello Cheesecake with Crushed Amaretti Biscuits

Easy Cherry Scones #Bakeoftheweek

Cherry Scones

Firstly, I must give huge thank you to Jen from Jen’s Food and Lucy, Baking Queen 74 for doing such a brilliant job of hosting #Bakeoftheweek while I was away. It was lovely to see people taking part while I was sunning myself (it rained quite a lot so there actually wasn’t that much sunning!) I know that the roundups take forever to do and both ladies embraced them fully – really appreciate it, thank you!

Hard to believe that there is only one week remaining of the school holidays – I’m in full blown panic now about how I’m going to be separated from little Tara next week. I’m just not ready for her to go to school but she is. Its speedy recipes all the way for the next couple of weeks and if the kids can get involved with the bakes, all the better. Every second I’m spending with them counts. (The checkout operator in the supermarket the other day, said she bet I couldn’t wait for them to go back to school – I told her that actually I like my children and enjoy spending time with them! Bet she wasn’t expecting me to be quite so honest)

Anyway, back to baking – Cherry Scones it is. I had to check that I haven’t already posted a recipe for Cherry Scones as they are such a popular bake in this house but no. I get the littlies to help chop the butter into tiny cubes and snip the glace cherries with scissors.

Cherry Scones

Serves 12-15
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Quick and easy cherry scones - Perfect for afternoon tea or baking with the kids

Ingredients

  • 350g Self Raising Flour
  • 85g Very Cold Butter (Cut into tiny chunks)
  • 3 tablespoons Caster Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 75ml Milk
  • 200g Glace Cherries (Chopped into 4 ish pieces)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 210C and line a baking tray - This recipe makes 4-5 large scones and 12-15 mini scones
Place the flour and sugar into a medium bowl and rub the butter in with your finger tips - work as quickly as possible, you do not want to over work the dough
Add the lemon, vanilla & milk and mix together until just combined
Gently stir through the chopped cherries until just about evenly spread throughout
Bring the dough together and roll out until about 3-4cm thick and cut out using your preferred size of scone cutter - I particularly like the small sizes for this recipe
Bake until golden on top and bottom - About 20 mins for large scones, about 12-15 mins for small scones
Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack - Best eaten same day

Cherry Scones

For more scone goodnes, why not try some of these fello bloggers’ recipes?

Wild Garlic & Cheese Scones from Foodie Quine
Cheese, Ham & Potato Scones from Fab Food 4 All
Rich Chocolate Scones from Tin & Thyme
Orange Scones from Sew White
Gluten Free Scones from Lancashire Food
Hot Cross Scones from The Crafty Larder
Mini Lemon & Lime Scones from Casa Costello

My featured Bake of the Week is one that I cannot stop thinking about – I am in awe of how smooth and white this frosting is on Andrea from Made with Pink’s Black Forest Cake – Just beautiful. I love the simplicity of the decoration and that’s even without thinking how gorgeous it must taste! I’m loving the revival of Black Forest after its recent appearance on GBBO.

Bake of the Week Black Forest Cake

Bake of the Week Cakes

I’ve split the entries into cakes and other bakes – As the nights draw in, there’s few things better than settling down with a brew and a slab of cake. There’s plenty of delicious recipes here if you fancy trying a new cake flavour:

  1. You cannot beat Malteser’s for fast, easy & effective decoration – Janice from Farmer’s Girl teams Malteser’s with Caramel in this luscious birthday cake.
  2. A classic combination of Coffee & Walnut in Jibber Jabber’s tempting offering
  3. Gin & Tonic Cake for an alternative way of eating madeira cake from Its not easy being greedy
  4. A warm welcome to Judith from Mostly About Chocolate with her creamy & dreamy Best Chocolate Cupcakes Ever!
  5. I’ve tried made traditional Snickerdoodles but never in cake form, this from Winnie’s Blog looks great

Bake of the Week

6. Mmm to Sew White’s Black Forest Brownies – Brownies are definitely on my ‘to bake list’ before the kids go back to school
7. More Brownies from Kerry Cooks with her Easy Gooey Triple Chocolate Brownies – Cor!
8. Pistachio & Caramel Biscotti – another inspired by GBBO recipe but perfectly executed by All You Need Is Love and Cake
9. Super pretty Shortbread Sandwich Biscuits from Winnie’s Blog
10. Gluten Free Chocolate & Pear Torte from Linzi at Lancashire Food – I’m lamenting the poor crop from our pear tree this year – only 10 useful pears!
11. Blueberry & Pecan Galette – Reminiscent of my recent travels to France from Petite Raisin

Casa Costello
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I’m going to leave the linky open for 2 weeks – I hope you understand, I want to savour every minute with the 3 girls before school especially Baby T. As usual there’s no theme and all types of bakes count – If its cooked in an oven or slow cooker, then you are welcome to take part. The badge is above for you to include in your post. Every entry will be tweeted, pinned, commented & Google +ed aswell as being included in the roundup. Feel free to join in the Pinterest board – If you would like to join the board and be able to link up any baking pins, please shout!

Follow Casa Costello’s board Bake of the Week – Link Up your Baked Creations every week on Pinterest.

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Cranberry & Almond Quick Loaf #GBBO

Cranberry Almond Quick Loaf

 

Bread Week! 2 words that used to strike fear into my heart – Regular readers may remember that over the past year I have grown in confidence with bread and yeast in particular. I was pleased to be working with Tesco Real Food for the Great Bloggers Bake Off challenge – I thought how hard can bread week be? Turns out, not that hard – It was Quick Breads that were the signature bakes this week – A combination of Baking Powder/Bicarbonate of Soda mixed with buttermilk to create a bread like texture without the aid of yeast (and also without waiting hours to prove).

I chose a combination of tarty dried cranberries and rich almond marzipan to flavour this quick bread – I haven’t used cranberries in a bake for ages. To add that little bit of luxury, I couldn’t resist a drizzle of white chocolate on top of the bread.

Cranberry Marzipan ALmond Quick loaf

 

So how did it turn out? Well delicious, but rather cake like in texture as you can probably tell from the photos. Probably because I forgot to add the buttermilk to the mixture so its a miracle that it worked at all. Here’s the recipe (including the buttermilk) if you fancy having a go yourself.

I am hoping to add this to Jenny from Mummy Mishaps’ Great Bloggers’ Bake Off linky – This is my first week of being able to take part this year. Its been torture being away for so long – More about that later.

Cranberry & Almond Quick Bread

Serves 8+
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hours, 20 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Bread, Snack
Quick Bread recipe containing tangy dried cranberries and luxurious marzipan

Ingredients

  • 300g Plain Flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 175g Butter (Melted)
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 75ml Buttermilk
  • 55g Ground Almonds
  • 55g Flaked Almonds
  • 175g Dried Cranberries (Plus a handful extra for decoration)
  • 100g Marzipan (Chopped into very small cubes)
  • 50g White Chocolate (Melted)

Directions

Grease & Line a 2lb Loaf Tin and heat the oven to 160C
Add the flour, baking powder, melted butter and sugar to a large bowl and combine - do not over mix
Whisk the eggs and add alternately with the buttermilk to the flour mixture
Add both types of almonds, cranberries and sprinkle in the marzipan
Mix together as little as possible then add to the loaf tin and bake for 80mins
Remove from the oven and as soon as possible remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack
When cooled, drizzle the white chocolate over and arrange the remaining cranberries for decoration

Tesco Baking Supplies GBBO

 

PS: Bake of the Week will be back with a full roundup tomorrow

This is a sponsored post – I was invited by Tesco to take part in the #GBBO challenge

Cranberry ALmond Speedy Bread Recipe

Mummy Mishaps

IngenuiTEA Teapot Giveaway

IngenuiTEA Teapot Giveaway

This one is for all the Tea drinkers & gadget lovers – An individual teapot that clips onto your cup and dispenses your brewed tea, exactly as you like it! I’m not ashamed to tell you, I’m a woman that likes her tea super strong – stand your spoon up in it. Most people can’t cope with tea that strong (or wait that long for it to brew either) so an individual teapot works just nicely.

No special cup needed (my trusty Denby mug holds the teapot just fine). You do need a decent sized cup though as the teapot holds quite a bit of liquid – you may have spillage if you prefer drinking from tiny delicate cups and forget when you are releasing the liquid. Makes a great gift for a tea lover.

This IngenuiTEA teapot comes from Adagio Teas that not only do tea drinking gadgets but also a splendid range of artisan teas too. We’ve been trying out the vanilla tea & peach flavoured loose-leaf tea which make a summery change from traditional teas. If you are new to flavoured teas, Adagio also have tea sampler sets so you can mix & match until you find your favourite. For the true tea lover, there are also tea clubs where you are sent a monthly selection of artisan teas.

I have one of these IngenuiTEA teapots (RRP £16) to giveaway to one lucky reader plus some samples of loose-leafed teas. To enter, please follow the Rafflecopter instructions on the widget – As usual, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post rather than on the widget.

The giveaway remains open until 11.59PM on 19th August (My birthday – yay!) Sorry UK entries only. Make sure you head over to Adagio Teas to admire their impressive range of loose leaf teas – Which ones do you fancy the most?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

In My Kitchen

There are just some months when it feels like there is so much going on but I am getting nowhere. Every July is like this – the nearer we get to the end of term, the more the girls seem to have on. I am officially useless at running down cupboards and the freezer – It seems like we have ‘stuff’ everywhere but not much to cook a meal with. I’ve done an emergency fresh food shop tonight to get us through – You know its bad when the girls are swinging off the cupboard doors, sighing with disappointment that we have no bread AGAIN! (PS I do feed my kids honestly, they are just really dramatic!)

So what is going on in the Costello kitchen? For starters, there will be cupcakes-a-plenty to send to nursery with Tara for her last day (weep!) and the possibility of a 13 cake for the resident teenager in the house but more about them later in the week.

Vita Coco Coconut Water

Who doesn’t like receiving surprise gifts? These Vita Coco Coconut Waters were a lovely unexpected gift last week – Nephew Sonny is a huge fan & thoroughly enjoys slurping on them.

Special K new breakfast range

We had a HUGE delivery last week from the people at Special K. Gone are the days of bland tasteless flakes (that were all the rage when I went to uni). The new range of products aim to add colour to our lives – I’m not entirely sure my life was lacking colour but I can confirm that the Special K granola has gone down very well. We all tried it yesterday – First impressions are that it is super chocolatey – the smell hits you before the taste. Even Millie tried a bowl and declared it nice. Dermot didn’t feel short changed by the low fat version (it is said to contain 30% less fat than other granolas) and Tara’s disappeared super quick!

Suckies Yoghurts

In the past month, the girls were also sent some Suckies Yoghurts – I really liked the approach of this company. We were not asked to include them in the blog (but I’m doing it anyway) and the package was all about the children. Suckies just wanted the girls to be their tasters – My girls are well used to giving feedback, however it always helps when there’s at least one cousin around to get involved too. The blueberry yoghurts were definitely the favourites. The strawberries went down well but both M & V questioned that they could still feel ‘bits’ when the packaging says definitely no bits.

Suckies yoghurt testing

We are big fans of shopping local & get real buzz when we can support small local businesses. This delicious package of spices comes from The Spice Kitchen who’re based in Penketh, Warrington which is less than 10 miles from St Helens. The spices have only just arrived but I am looking forward to using them on my return from the hols. They smell glorious! Spice Kitchen Spices

Mash Direct Vegetable Burgers

I’m never sure what to make of ready made burgers but have had a soft spot for vegetable burgers over the years. These burgers from Mash Direct are free from artificial colourings, preservatives & flavourings and are really chunky! The kids were not that keen unfortunately but we adults thought they were fine. Stuffed with veg (which is why I suspect the children were sceptical) – We cooked them the traditional way, under the grill but BBQing is also possible. The packaging did create moisture (probably due to the high veg content) but this didn’t detract from their taste.

Tyrrells Crisps

Tyrrells Poshcorn

And lastly our favourite deliveries of the month, a range of unusual and new flavours from Tyrrells crisps and popcorn. My personal favourite is the Coconut & Caramel Poshcorn – The quality of their corn is great, nice and crunchy with a mild flavour and not too many hard un popped corn to break your teeth. The Summer Butter & Mint crisps are a great addition to a table when entertaining – we love this time of year when friends and family pop in and end up staying!

So let me know – What is going on in your kitchen this month? Will you be getting the kids in the kitchen during the school hols or is it just too hot to cook? Are there any products here, that take your fancy? I’m  off to nibble on more poshcorn!

Lemon & Grapefruit Drizzle Bundt Cake – #Bakeoftheweek

Lemon Grapefruit Drizzle Bundt Cake

Sometimes you just want a cake that zings at you – Simple to prepare, but substantial that you can have hearty chunks but yet it is light and crumbly – and oh Wow! How tasty.

Grapefruits are synonymous with holidays for me – I first discovered the joy of eating them outdoors for breakfast in France about 4 years ago and very much look forward to carrying on the tradition this summer. In true holiday preparation mode, I bought a grapefruit earlier in the week and remembered how amazing this cake can be.

Lemon & Grapefruit Drizzle Bundt Cake

Serves 10+
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 55 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 15 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Light & crumbly cake with tangy lemon & grapefruit

Ingredients

  • 225g Butter
  • 500g Caster Sugar
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 1 Juice & Finely Grated Zest of Grapefruit (Keep a little of the grapefruit juice to one side for the icing drizzle)
  • 3 Finely grated Lemon Zest - Keep one lot of zest aside for decoration (plus juice of 2 of the lemons for the cake & 1 for the icing drizzle)
  • 380g Self Raising Flour (Plus around 3 tbsp extra for lining the tin)
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 180ml Milk
  • 225g Icing Sugar

Directions

Cake
Preheat the oven to 170C and butter the inside of a bundt cake tin. Sprinkle flour inside the tin until all the butter is covered and shake out any excess
Using an electric mixer, whisk the butter and caster sugar until well combined and pale & fluffy
Add the eggs, one at a time, carrying on whisking on a medium speed - Add the vanilla extract
Add the grapefruit & Lemon juice & grated zest - Add 3 tbsp of flour at the same time to stop it curdling
Add the rest of the flour, one tbsp at a time & the milk alternately. As soon as the last tbsp of flour & all of the milk has been added, turn the mixer off and continue to fold together by hand using a spatula
Pour into the bundt tin and bake for 55 minutes - Check after this time, if a skewer comes out clean then it is done - alternatively, the cake may need another 12 minutes - I sometimes turn the oven down to 160C at this point to stop the outside getting too dark
Drizzle Icing
When the cake is cooling, mix together the remaining lemon/grapefruit juice with the icing sugar
Pour over the top - allow it to drizzle down the sides and into the centre. Sprinkle over the remaining lemon zest

Lemon & Grapefruit Bundt Drizzle Cake

There was one recipe that stood out for me as a ‘must try’ from our last entries – These are Tin & Thyme’s Chinese Walnut Cookies – I love the thought of crunchy exterior and soft middles – the addition of walnuts are just my sort of thing. They are really small cookies too, so there is plenty of excuse for more than one! They use buckwheat flour which happily I have sitting waiting to use in the baking cupboard.

Chinese Walnut Cookies

Lets have a chocolate roundup – I’m off to France, where we will no doubt be consuming tons of the stuff!

Bake of the week Chocolate

1. Wonderful healthy & GF chickpea brownies from Lancashire Food – Lyndsey assures us we won’t even notice the chickpeas
2. These GF Chocolate Slices from the Free From Fairy do look truly decadent and contain just 6 ingredients
3. Another bakers that is rather fond of swiss rolls is Winnie who shares with us her Banana Swiss Roll with Chocolate Cheese Filling
4. A No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake from Et Speaks from Home – With interchangeable biscuit base depending on how sweet your tooth is
5. A beautiful Nutella Croissant Pudding and an incredible sad tale of broken baking dishes from the Not so Creative Cook

We are going through so many berries at the moment – the girls can munch their way through punnets without even noticing – Some great berry recipes included in this week’s entries:

Bake of the week berries

6. How amazing does this Mixed Berry Charlotte Russe look from Domestic Gothess – That Bavarian Cream looks heavenly!
7. Freshly back from her own holiday, Petite Raisin has created a speedy Peach & Blueberry Greek Yogurt Cake
8. A warm welcome to the Bake of the Week gang to Living Life who joins us with her Fruity Olive Oil Cake – Good to have you with us!
9. Wimbledon Cupcake with a delicate rose flavour from ET Speaks From Home – I’m sad Wimbledon is over for another year, did you love it?
10. There are few things in life as good as Homemade Strawberry Tarts – well worth making your own pastry and custard – Tales from The Kitchen Shed has shared her very beautifully arranged ones
11. Perfect dessert for after Sunday lunch from Baking Queen 74 with her Blackberry & Rose Crumble – Mouth wateringly good!

I think this week is one of the most creative we’ve ever had – there’s so many ingredients that are all too forgotten when baking:

Bake of the Week

12. Enjoy the joy of quiche without the guilt of too much pastry with Hijacked by Twins and her Crustless Quiche – Full of veg and taste!
13. Perfect party food from My Little Italian Kitchen with her Olive & Pepper Focaccia
14. Totally melt in the mouth Butter Shortbread Cookies from Winnie’s Blog – Too pretty!
15. A very exciting week as I’d Much Rather Bake Than finally gets her own kitchen – I would adore some of her Cheese & Marmite Muffins – Are you a lover or a hater?
16. Another perfect Picnic Snack from A Free From Life with her Courgette & Chive Tartlets – This post is jam packed full of ideas!
17. Campfire Salmon that is proving popular over on Pinterest from Truly Madly Kids – We might very well indulge in this on our hols

Right, I’m off on my hols so I’m leaving #Bakeoftheweek in the capable hands of 2 lovely blogging friends for the next few weeks – Here’s the timetable:

This linky will remain open until Mon 27th July

Tues 28th July – Head on over to Lucy at Baking Queen 74 – Link will be open for 2 weeks

Tues 11 July – Jen at Jen’s Food will take over until Tues 18th August

Thanks so much ladies for taking over – Please support your hosts by sharing their posts

Plea: If you could remember to add the badge to your posts, I would be ever so grateful – I know that life comes first though and it is easy to forget! Its the only way we will build the #Bakeoftheweek gang and gets your posts shared everywhere!

Casa Costello
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Lemon & Grapefruit Drizzle Bundt Cake

This Is How We Roll Party Button

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Eat Your Heart Out

The Teenage Years Start – #MumsKnowBest

Mum Pretty Green Photography

*This is a sponsored post*

From next week I am the mother of a teenager! Eek – How fast did that come around? In fact, from next week I am the mother of a teenager for the next 15 years! Here could be where spreading those children out age wise becomes interesting (Believe me, life in this house is already interesting!)

I’m sure I will be turning to the 2 Grandmothers for advice and reassuring at various points during the next 15 years – after all, between them they have raised 7 children, with 6 grandchildren having gone through or already in the teenage zone.

My mum always laughs that I will check with her if she thinks something is still safe to eat – You know, when its been in the fridge a little too long or has it been in the oven long enough? Force of habit cannot get me out of this … not even my Advance Food Hygiene Certificate, 3 children of my own and my own food business! (The picture above is of my Mum and her 6 grandchildren recently taken at Pretty Green Photography – Blog Post about our photo shoot coming soon)

Mr C’s mum is very quiet with her advice but its always there. She has the best sayings imaginable which appear when we most need them. Such as:

* You can run but you can’t run from yourself (On someone who blames everyone else for their life being a bit rubbish)

* They look at you like ‘I’m it, your **it’ (This saying doesn’t really reflect how gentle and warm my MIL is …but it is a perfect way of describing some folk!)

and my favourite when I was expecting Violet and not all that hungry …

*An empty bag won’t stand up – Brilliant!

Over on the Casa Costello Facebook page, I asked for your mum’s favourite sayings. Here’s what you came up with …

Sonia – You canne have your pudding if you dinne eat your meat.

Paul – When she’d forgotten what she was about to say:
“Must’ve been a lie!”

Jayne – When you fell over, Mum used to wipe it with a cloth and say “that will be a pigs foot in the morning”. I never really understood it but still checked the next day

Sue – You won’t feel the benefit when you go outside, I.e take your coat off. (I bet ALL mums have said this!)

Sarah – My mum warning me about boys..” it doesnt matter how nice they are or how shy they are, they all know it’s not for stirring their tea with”

Jane – Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves

Barbara – ‘Go to foot of our stairs’. used when surprised amazed etc …

Karen – Something that my grandma says in difficult times is ‘they won’t always be dark days’

Paul – The other one my Grandma said that used to make us giggle was “Better an old man’s darling than a young man’s slave.”

Sarah –  “Keep your pecker up” was my mums catch phase and answer to everything! Even thought of having it on her grave stone.

Pippa – A friend to all is a friend to none.

And my favourite is from Jackie – My mams favourite is you’ll be twice married before you’re dead. She’d use this when we hurt ourselves.

Thanks for joining in everyone – A little gift will be making its way to you soon, Jackie.

As part of Littlewoods #MumsKnowBest campaign they have produced a series of videos about Mums. In honour of the Costello family approaching the teenage years, I thought the short film (34 seconds) below was appropriate: (PS So far Miss M is a dream and showing no signs of teenage rebellion – She may however kill me when she reads this post!)

Just before I finish, don’t forget to leave me your pearls of wisdom on how to cope with teenagers – If gin is your answer, that’s completely fine!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

A Lovely Week

Tara School Visit

As we come to the end of the school year, there are so many happy events taking place.

We have started a ban on Minecraft in the last week – straightaway the craft boxes came out, the girls started chatting, they played outside and life became more about the family. I’m terrified to hear that Minecraft is being considered as an addition to the curriculum – please no!

The girls’ social calendars are bulging – Even Baby T is flitting from one party to another. Last week saw my baby go to her first party where I could leave her for a while. It was at our friend’s house but even so I thought she would insist on me staying – How wrong I was, she couldn’t wait to be left!

It wasn’t the only big event in her week though – Little Tara had her first afternoon in school! I know! How fast has THAT gone? There were absolutely no nerves whatsoever – It helps that she knows loads of little ones who will be in her class. The teacher must be wondering what a year she has in store, with all these confident kids starting at once.

We were to leave the children for about 1/2 an hour while we filled in paperwork. Again, not a nerve in sight – We returned to find the children sat drinking juice and eating biscuits on the carpet. The teacher was asking them about their brothers & sisters – Tara didn’t talk about her sisters, she just wanted to tell everyone she had a cat!

Minion Movie

We also had a visit to the Minion movie on Monday – complete with plenty of minion accessories! The girls (and one boy) sat really still throughout – aided by plenty of popcorn obviously!

In other news, I had a great night out with Violet watching Millie in the school dance show – I actually watched it twice, having a rare night out with my mum too.

And so we start another crazy week with plenty of plans – I’m hoping we have little Sonny come to visit again this week. Who knows what his outfit will be this week – this pirate ensemble was last Monday’s creation!

Sonny

So how has your week been? I’m joining in with Tanya from Mummy Barrow who has started a linky inviting us all to share our weeks – Bit of a crazy one here this week … Blackpool, School Music Concerts, Leeds x 3, Awards Ceremony, Art Festival, Christmas in July London, Bristol & Manchester. Next week’s instalment is going to be enormous!

Mummy Barrow My Week Linky

Passion Fruit Mojito (Mock or not!) – Secret Recipe Club

Passion Fruit Mojito

There’s not many recipes I can think of that get Mr C singing Club Tropicana and pretending to be George Michael! Safe to say, we are in holiday mode here and counting down the days. Bearing that in mind, my choice for this month’s Secret Recipe Club is definitely holiday inspired.

This Passion Fruit Mojito is the brainchild of Claire from ClaireKCreations. Claire C (formerly Claire K and hence the blog name) has an utterly beautiful blog – clean and fresh exactly how I like them, jam-packed full of appealing dishes. Claire’s blog has made me wish that we actually got to visit our Secret Recipe partners – she hails from Brisbane, Australia which is a part of the world I’ve long had on my Travel WIshlist.

Claire had a love of baking too – I’ve got my eye on making her Coconut & PassionFruit pound cake and also this incredible Chocolate Butterscotch Pavlova!

Passion Fruit Mock Mojijto

Now, the Mojito I have pictured is strictly a Mock Mojito – Contains Passion Fruit (mushed up), Lime juice, Sparkling Water and plenty of crushed ice. I couldn’t get hold of any mint but if you can, scrunch up a good few leaves and add. We’ve since had this again and used lemonade by accident – still works!

Shortly after taking the shot though, we experimented and can confirm that adding a slug of gin, makes it taste pretty wonderful too!

To see what everyone else has been creating in this month’s Secret Recipe Club, visit the entries below. There’ll be no Secret Recipe from me during August as we are away – Have I mentioned, I’m going on holiday? 😉

Secret Recipe Club

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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 😉
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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