When Sylvanian Families meet the Costello Family – Review

sylvanian families forest nursery

Sylvanian Family toys are huge favourites of my girls – they are just the sort of thing they love- lots of tiny pieces and many possibilities for variations. I’m not promising that they don’t occasionally find themselves hidden in a bike or a rogue dolls house too. They are really versatile.

We were asked a couple of weeks ago if we would like to review one of the sets – the Forest Family with the Chocolate Family. I asked my girls to gauge their reaction and all 3 jumped at the chance. There’s not many toys I can think of that all 3 ages 12, 8 & 3 can cater for. Miss M 12 is responsible for setting up the shots in the garden – you wouldn’t believe how long she was out there for arranging the various scenes.

chocolate rabbit family sylvanian families

The Forest Nursery is a 3 sided building that comes with 30 extra pieces, including nursery furniture and toys for in the nursery. Some of the items need actually putting together, like the card building blocks pictured below.

forest nursery ready to play

The Forest nursery retails at £16.99 with free delivery and is suitable for ages 3 and upwards. I particularly like that the nursery can be attached to some of the other items in the Sylvanian Family range – the Country Doctor Clinic and Maplewood Hall. I hold fantasies that one day all of our toys will be in a neat array on display. I KNOW that this will forever be a fantasy!

chocolate bunny

I asked around my fellow holiday makers what their thoughts on Sylvanian Families are:

Miss M (Aged 12) – ‘I like to play hide the character in the garden with my little sisters’

Miss L (Nearly a teenager) – ‘I loved my Sylvanian Families – Wish I hadn’t given them away to my younger cousin so soon’

Mrs D (21+) – ‘I would love more career based Sylvanian Family sets that would perhaps appeal more to boys as they are so well made. For example: A Fire Engine, An Airport’ – I love this idea!

What are your thoughts on Sylvanian Families – Do you ever play the Hot & Cold, Hide ‘n’ Seek game?

Lemon & Lime Swiss Roll – Great British Bake Off 2014!

lemon lime coloured cake swiss roll rainbow

There’s much excitement in the Costello Household tonight – Series 4 of The Great British Bake Off is back! My girls have dictated that we MUST be sat down at 8PM to watch together. Of course, for any important viewing there has to be snacks – I’ve heard a little rumour that tonight is Cake night and Swiss Rolls may feature. So I’ve made my own – Looks horrendous doesn’t it?

I present to you the brightest Swiss Roll you’ll see tonight – Its not as risen as I’d like but that is due to some over zealous stirring when I was adding the colouring. Its based on my previous Swiss Roll which is a recipe I love but I wanted a summery version. We are off on a picnic tomorrow so this will no doubt be joining us.

There’s still time to have a go before series 4 starts at 8PM. Here’s how:

Lemon & Lime Swiss Roll

Serves 10
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 11 minutes
Total time 31 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
A tangy Lemon & Lime Swiss Roll perfect for a summery picnic

Ingredients

  • 125g Caster Sugar (plus 2 Tablespoons of extra sugar for decoration)
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Zest Lemon (plus half of its juice)
  • 1 Zest Lime (plus half of its juice)
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 5 tablespoons Marmalade (I used Lemon & Lime)
  • 284ml Double Cream (Whipped until thick)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray or Swiss Roll tray with Baking parchment.
Sprinkle the extra caster sugar evenly over the baking tray - the cake will bake on top of this
Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and the sugar until thick, pale and fluffy
Add the zest and the juice - slowly folding through
Sift the flour & baking powder and fold in gently
Divide the mixture in half and colour one half yellow (mine is a bit orangey) and the other green.
Pour the mixture into 2 piping bags and snip a small hole at the top - Pipe even stripes lengthways down the tray. Hopefully your mixture won't be as runny as mine.
Bake for 11 minutes and remove from the oven.
As soon as the cake is cool enough to handle, roll up - its ok to do this with the baking paper still attached. It will unroll but this will still make it easier to roll when it is fully cooled.
As soon as fully cooled, spread the marmalade and the cream and roll as tight as possible - Ta-Dah!

coloured cakes
I’m entering this into one of my favourite links – Jenny from Mummy Mishaps is hosting The Great Bloggers Bake Off – Sadly I can’t partake every week but I’m in when I can!

gbbo badge

I’m also linking up to Karen from Lavender & Lovage and her Tea Time Treats linky:

Tea Time Treats

 

Raspberry & Almond Scone Slices – Bake of the Week

scones2

I call these scones but really I suspect they are a mixture of scone and biscuit because of how I cook them. They are twice cooked because I love the proper crunch of the exterior and the softness of the inside. I use double cream because when I first made them, it needed using up but if you are trying to be slightly healthier, warm milk will do just as well.

This is an adaptation of my Scones with Jam & Cream recipe – another Baking With No Eggs recipe.

Raspberry & Almond Scones

Serves 12
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 26 minutes
Total time 31 minutes
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Zesty Raspberry scones with a hint of almond

Ingredients

  • 350g Self-Raising flour
  • 85g Butter (Very Cold)
  • 3 tablespoons Caster Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract (plus 1/2 teaspoon for Icing Drizzle)
  • 100ml Double Cream
  • 60g Icing Sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Milk
  • 50g Flaked Almonds

Directions

Raspberry Scones
Preheat the oven to 205C and prepare an oven tray with baking parchment
Sift the flour into a large bowl and rub the butter in as quickly as possible with the tips of your fingers
Quickly stir through the caster sugar
Warm the cream in the microwave for approx 30 seconds and stir into the flour mixture - Bring together in a dough - The key to scones is to handle the dough as little as possible.
I make mine into one large scone and score 12 separate segments - Bake for 18 minutes until golden on the outside
When the scones are out of the oven cut fully into segments and turn on their sides - continue cooking for 4 minutes on each side until golden and crispy - You will thank me for the extra cooking!
Icing Drizzle
Mix together the icing sugar, milk and extra 1/2 tsp of almond extract until a smooth runny paste
I use a disposable piping bag to drizzle over the scones
Sprinkle over the flaked almonds and serve with fresh raspberries

My feature Bake for this week was one that should have had my name on it! I will be most disappointed if I don’t get baked one of these for my birthday in August! Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes describes the perfection that is Elderflower Gin Cake – Oh my goodness, there are 10 shots of gin in this bake!

Elderflower Gin Drizzle Cake

Last week’s entries were as fabulous as ever – We had an equal mix of individual portion bakes and larger cakes …

individual bakes

1. Easy Recipe Banana Crumble from ET Speaks From Home – The presentation of these is just wonderful. I’d be so pleased to be served one!
2. I reckon these Chocolate and Ginger Cookies by Julie’s Family Kitchen would be perfect on one of the many summer picnics that we are having lately.
3. Love the idea of the combination of chocolate, lime and courgette in these beautiful cupcakes from Kirsty at Hijacked by Twins
4. You don’t much more iconic than a 99 in summer – Hayley from Hay in a Day has shared her 99 Flake Cupcakes. Fab!

larger cakes

5. Celebrating the imminent arrival of the GBBO is Jenny from Mummy Mishaps with her Chocolate & Orange Jam Jaffa Cake – Don’t forget to join in with her #GBBO linky!
6. How cute is this Duck Pond Cake? All made with the arrival of the next series of #GBBO in mind (I’m so excited!) from Searching For Spice
7. Another Courgette spectacular (I really must bake more with courgette!) in this Chocolate Cake from Cutlery & Catering
8. You can almost get your 5 a day when eating this Redcurrant & Orange Loaf from Baking Queen
9. For those posh people amongst us! We have Earl Grey Tea Loaf from Lancashire Food

The linky is now open for our new Bakes of the Week – Please add the badge to your post and lets spread the word!

Casa Costello
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This is my last Bake of the Week for a while – I have a lovely crew of fellow Bakees who have kindly volunteered to host from next week while I am sunny myself with a cocktail running around the beach after the kids:

Tues 12th Aug: Kirsty from Hijacked By Twins
Tues 19th August (MY birthday!): Hayley From Hay in a Day
Tues 26th Aug: Lindsey from Lancashire Food

Massive thank you to these 3 amazing ladies for keeping our Bake of the Week going! Really appreciate it x

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I’m joining in as usual with a few other links this week – A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week, Vicki from Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesdays and Lucy from Supergoldenbakes’ Cook, Blog, ShareTea Time Treats as hosted by Lavender & Lovage and The Hedgecombers – Their theme this month is Picnics – What better than a scone eaten outside with a flask?

recipe-of-the-week CookBlogShare tasty tuesdays

Tea Time Treats

Kids go Free over the Summer with CBeebies Magazine

cbeebies kids go free offers

There is much excitement in Casa Costello tonight – tomorrow sees us trooping off to Alton Towers for the day courtesy of CBeebies Magazine. I’m solo parenting (with a little help from my niece) as Mr C has got to work, but looking forward to it nonetheless.

Little Miss T, Violet and I are attending an event prior to going into the main theme park, hosted by CBeebies Magazine – CBeebies Magazine has come up with the genius offer to giveaway free child tickets to major kids attractions in the UK over the summer. I can honestly say that ‘Operation Keep The Kids Entertained Over Summer’ is in full swing here – every night, my 3 ask where we are off to tomorrow? We’ve had to have a couple of home days this week as we have been struck by the Bug of Doom but fingers crossed all that is over!

Every issue of CBeebies Magazine from now until 7th October will have 2 tokens for kids to go free at selected locations: See below for more details – there’s massive savings to be had! The magazine only costs £2.99 to buy!

• Issue 410 (30th July) – Chessington World of Adventures – Save £68 (£34 per ticket)
• Issue 411 (13th Aug) – Alton Towers Resort inc. CBeebies Land – Save £86.40 (£43.20 per ticket)
• Issue 412 (27th Aug) – Warwick Castle – Save £39.60 (£19.80 per ticket)
• Issue 413 (10th Sept) – Legoland and Legoland Discovery Centre – Save £82.80 (£41.40 per ticket)
• Issue 414 (24th Sept) – Sealife Centres and Seal sanctuaries – Save £39 (£19.50 per ticket)

Some terms & conditions apply

So that’s it for now – I’ll feed back how we got on at Alton Towers. We’re due to meet one of the CBeebies characters tomorrow … Tara would love it to be Topsy & Tim (whoever they are!). I think Vi would like Nina (with or without her neurons) and I wouldn’t complain at Mr Bloom (as long as he’s scrubbed his nails!). Knowing my luck it’ll be Tree Fu Tom! ;-)

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Apple & Pineapple Eve’s Pudding – Bake of the Week

apple pineapple eve's pudding cake

I knew I loved this dish long before I knew it was called Eve’s Pudding. Many moons ago, my primary school used to serve this on really rare occasions. I don’t remember much about my school dinners but I do recall just loving this – it was the sweetest of all the desserts. Those dinner ladies certainly didn’t skimp on the added sugar! Most people would have this served with steaming hot custard (or maybe lumpy cold custard if that’s how your school serves it) but I’m strictly an ice-cream girl!

I had some fresh pineapple left over from the weekend so used that up too – it doesn’t need pre cooking, just cut into thinnish strips so it cooks evenly with the apples in the oven. I would have been tempted to add some coconut flavouring but I had none so cinnamon it was – I will try the coconut one day for the true tropical feel.

Eve’s pudding has changed over the years – It is now basically stewed apples with a Victoria Sponge on top but in the 1800′s when it was first recorded, the sponge mixture used breadcrumbs and egg. Ew! It then went onto incorporate suet – To give the dish it’s proper name we should be using ‘Mother Eve’s Pudding”. Raisins are rather popular to be included but I wanted to bring out more of the pineapple so omitted them.

Apple & Pineapple Eve’s Pudding

Serves 6-8
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party
Light and fluffy sponge cake with a fruity base - Tropical Eve's Pudding

Ingredients

  • 3 Apples (I used Pink Lady) (Peeled and chopped into chunky slices)
  • 100g Fresh Pineapple (Chopped into medium chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 175g Caster Sugar
  • 175g Butter
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 175g Self-Raising Flour

Directions

Preheat the oven to 160C
Cook the apple in a medium pan with 2 tbsp water until just starting to soften - approx 3 minutes. Take off the heat and stir through the cinnamon.
Line the bottom of a medium oven dish with the pineapple and add the apple on top.
Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Sift in the flour and combine using a figure of eight to keep the air in, until just mixed through
Pour on top of the fruit mixture and bake at 160C for 45-50 minutes - It should be golden and a skewer inserted should come out clean.
Perfect served hot with custard or eaten later served with ice-cream.

apple pineapple eve's pudding

It feels like ages since I did a Bake of the Week roundup – Great to see so many entries once again.

My featured Bake of the Week is this wonderful Light Sponge Cake with yogurt and raspberries from My Little Italian Kitchen – There are so many fruity bakes around at the moment. Soft fruits are definitely in abundance! I love how much creamy innards there are in this bake – Alida has definitely not scrimped on her offerings.

yogurt raspberries swiss roll

I’ve done a round up of the many fruity bakes entered into last week’s Bake of the Week …

bakes of the week round up

1. Celebrating National Cherry Day we had Eileen from ET Speaks From Home with these really cute Cherry & Chocolate Chip Muffins
2. One of the best flavour combinations and presented so perfectly in tray bake form from Jenny at Mummy Mishaps, White Chocolate & Raspberry Traybake
3. I have GOT to try these Raspberry & Cointreau Tarts – Just a genius combination from The Lass in the Apron.
4. Beautifully presented – Who could resist Kirsty from Hijacked By Twins’ Chocolate & Apricot Cream Cakes?
5. I’ve never seen Blackcurrant Focaccia before but will definitely be trying this recipe from Baking Queen 74.
6. Another wonderful combination of Peach & Streusel Traybake from Tales from the Kitchen Shed.
7. Fiona from Coombe Mill sacrificed her Gin & Tonic Lemons for this dazzling Lemon Drizzle Cake – We appreciate it!

There were yet more non-fruit delicious bakes this past week too ..

bake of the week online baking group

8. It may be simple but its still mouthwateringly appealing! Tomato & Mozzarella Tart from Julie’s Family Kitchen.
9. Like most households containing children, our has its fair share of loom bands so I did chuckle when I saw Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me’s Loom Band Cake – Its a piñata cake too – genius!
10. And let’s not forget, the relatively healthy with Anne’s Kitchen’s Coconut Brownie Cake – I NEED to get my teeth into those chunks of coconut!

The link for this week’s Bake of the Week is now open! I’m being helped in the kitchen for the next few weeks by my children – I’m bearing up! The link to add the badge to your post is here …

Casa Costello
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I’m joining in this week with a few links … A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week, Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesdays, Otilia Stocks Foodie Fridays and of course, Lucy’s Cook, Blog, Share.Bangers & Mash’s Spice Trail – where they are celebrating Summer Spice – I’m entering my Tropical bake as its as summery as I get!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com recipe-of-the-week

Romanian Mum

 photo 9af5d0df-b279-4c3c-92ad-fc98f562a39a_zpsaca21226.jpg spice trail food link up

 

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

Competition now closed: The winning entry has been drawn at random and verified – Pleased to announce that the lucky winner is Jo Glasspool! Thanks for taking part everyone and congratulations to JO!

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?

“SuperLucky

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

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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

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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

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