Pecan Cookie Bites – #FoodieFriday

pecan cookie bites foodie friday

These were not at all like we were expecting, the first time I made them. For some reason I thought they might be chewy but they were definitely biscuit/cookie like. This made them all the more popular with the girls – especially Violet.

For complete luxury, they are wonderful dipped into Duce de leche or caramel but beware, it can get messy! I use browned butter for more depth of flavour but if you are short on time, regular melted butter works too.

Pecan Cookie Bites

Serves 22
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 23 minutes
Total time 38 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Crunchy Pecan Cookie Biscuit Bites with a fluffy icing on the outside


  • 125g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Cornflour
  • 3 tablespoons Soft Dark Brown Sugar
  • 125g Pecan Nuts (Blitzed in a blender for a few seconds to make a powder with some chunks remaining)
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 4oz Browned Butter
  • 150g Icing Sugar


Brown the butter first and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking parchment
Mix together the flour, cornflour, baking powder & pecan 'flour' in a bowl
Add the brown sugar & combine and then add the vanilla
Add in the brown butter and immediately start to mould into balls about the size of a Ferrero Rocher. It will take a bit of force to get them to stick. You will get approximately 22-25 balls.
Bake for 23 minutes & remove from the oven.
Pour the icing sugar into a medium sized bowl and as soon as your hands can stand it, roll the balls in the icing sugar. Place back on the oven tray. I do 3 balls at a time.
The heat of the balls and the tray will melt some of the icing sugar as a first layer. Then double dip them back in the icing sugar.
Eat within 2 days (this is hilarious - they will never last that long!)

A great start to the ALL NEW #FoodieFriday last week – I’m still making my way through all the entries – I love the variety of foods that people cook with. Do you find that you just simply don’t have all the time needed to try all the combinations? Food is so interesting, isn’t it? Anyway, I’ve veered off track …

My highlight of last week’s #foodiefriday linkup are these grilled asian wings from Beets & Blue Cheese – I love the title of the post ‘winging it again’ just as much as the recipe. They are less guilt ridden that typical wings – I’m ashamed to say that we sometimes buy supermarkets’ own wings which are quite often riddled with fat, high in salt and who knows what quality of chicken.

So well done, Beets & Blue Cheese – may your recipe stick in the teeth of the blogging community this week! (Just my teeth then?)

Grilled Asian Wings


1. Nadine from Juggle Mum has shared with us her Healthy & Slimming Carrot Soup – I think this looks really hearty and welcoming. I wouldn’t feel short changed if I was served this.
2. This is a wonderful photo of a Mango Smoothie from Herbs, Spices & Tradition – I can almost feel the tang of the mango!
3. How pretty is this Spinach & Ricotta Pasta from Domestic Gothess? Just beautiful colours.
4. Macarons are a true labour of love for the Gluten Free Alchemist but these Blackcurrant & Dark Chocolate ones are definitely worth the effort.
5. Fancy a guilt free roulade – Juggle Mum has some tips for you with her Black Forest Roulade oozing with deliciousness!
6. I cannot think of a more perfect way to start a day than Patisserie Makes Perfect’s Raspberry & Rose Cronuts
7. Or maybe the day could be even better if you also had these blueberry muffins from Truly Madly Kids!

Thanks so much to everyone who joined in and commented on each other’s entries last week. The badge is below for you to add to your posts for this week’s linky.

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The linky will remain open until next Thursday. Feel free to add up to 3 foodie posts each – There’s no theme as usual and all entries will be commented on (eventually!), pinned, tweeted & google+’ed. Feel free to leave a comment letting me know you’ve linked up and let me know what you think of the Pecan Bites.

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Brown Butter & Vanilla Weekend Cake – Bake of the Week

brown butter vanilla mini loaves

I’ve been a member of the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group off and on, for a couple of years now. I don’t have time to join in with every bake and sort of fell out of love with the last book we were working through. We are now on a new book though Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan and its chok-a-blok full of recipes I’m desperate to try.

This week’s bake (which was made and eaten on a Tuesday by the way!) caught my attention as it contains brown butter – I know its the ingredient of the moment but I’m fascinated by adapting recipes to include brown butter rather than normal.

To Brown Butter:
Place how ever much butter you need in a small saucepan and heat up on a medium heat.
I stir with a rubber spatula until the butter is melted.
Leave for about 4 minutes, swirling the pan around – The butter will be bubbling but you are looking out for it to fluff up.
After about 5 seconds of the butter becoming really fluffy, a brown spot will appear in the centre.
You will have sediment at the bottom of the pan, this is part of the brown butter mixture.
The difference between brown butter and black butter is just a couple of seconds, but miles apart in taste.

The Brown Butter & Vanilla Weekend Cake is basically an extra tasty madeira cake (Pound cake in the US) – The instructions say the flavour deepens if left for 24 hours before eating – Ha! As if! I did split the mixture into a large loaf and mini loaves which were super cute.

Brown Butter Vanilla Weekend cake dorie greenspan

My highlighted Bake of the Week from last week’s entries are Pear & Vanilla Pies from Blue Kitchen Bakes – I just love sweet almond pastry and these look delightful. I know how hard it is to make Pear pies and not end up with a soggy pastry so fair play to you!

pear vanilla pies

I’m also highlighting Family-Friends-Food’s Mincemeat & Apple Shortcake Slices as I think the flavour combinations used here will taste incredible!


A warm welcome to our new members of Bake of the Week and a big thank you to everyone who has returned once again – Great to have you baking along!

bake of the week baking linky

1. Darling little GF Polenta & Almond cupcakes from Alida at My Little italian Kitchen
2. My kids would devour these healthy digestive biscuits with tons of butter! Tales from the Kitchen Shed
3. Ever wanted to know how you get shapes inside our cupcakes? Visit A Strong Coffee for her tutorial
4. Super cute Olaf Biscuits that capture how cheeky he is from Searching for Spice
5. Beautiful colours from Winnie’s Blog with her Nut, Almonds & Dried Fruit Tart
6. Bet you didn’t expect these Pack-a-punch muffins to contain sardines? Fascinating bake from the Free From Fairy
7. Memories of childhood from Snap Happy Bakes with her Cheese Scones
8. How cute are these Heart Pies with sprinkles from Winnie’s Blog?
9. Magnificent Chocolate & Raspberry cake suitable for a special occasion from More Than An Occasional Baker
10. And beautiful whoopie pies with lovely piping from ET Speaks From Home

We are now open for you to add your next bakes – remember to try to visit a couple of other entries too and add the badge to your post

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I’ll be back with another round up next Tuesday (or possibly Wednesday!) – In the meantime, don’t forget you can still add your #FoodieFriday entries that don’t fit in with this baking one until tomorrow. There’s no theme. Click here for info.

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Valentines White Chocolate & Raspberry Swiss Roll – Bake of the Week

Valentine's White Chocolate & Raspberry Swiss Roll

There were times yesterday that I began to dislike this cake! How can something you have made over and over again, be so awkward? The moral of my story is ‘Do not bake when you are running around like a headless chicken and expect it to turn out perfect’. I’ve said it so many times, I really should listen!

Anyway, back to the bake – There was actually nothing wrong with either bake that I made yesterday – I can vouch for this as I ate more than my bodyweight in Swiss Roll yesterday and it was all light and gorgeous. Just not photo worthy. I was leaving the house within the hour to go to choose wedding dresses with my youngest sister and tried to stretch time by popping in a quick Swiss Roll – Now this recipe is quick but not even this one can be finished within 30 mins.

We are not the most romantic of households, it has to be said. This may well be the only nod to Valentines Day that we do – There’s plenty of love in our family, but not many hearts and flowers. I actually tagged Dermot into my Facebook status yesterday at the bridal shop, asking if we should do the marriage stuff all over again .. His response?..’Could you be bothered?!’ And they say romance is dead!

I piped the hearts and baked for 4 minutes before adding the rest of the mixture. My tip would be to use a Size 2 nozzle and make the heart shaped really defined. Make it look stupidly so – sharps points, the lot. I coloured 4 tbsp of the cake mixture (before adding the chocolate) with RED RED paste food colour.

Valentine’s White Chocolate & Raspberry Swiss Roll

Serves 6-8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Serve Cold
Occasion Valentines day
Beautiful fluffy light white chocolate sponge swiss roll with tangy raspberries and decorative cake hearts


  • 160g Caster Sugar (Plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling on the oven tray)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 160g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 80g White Chocolate (Grated)
  • 5 tablespoons Raspberry Jam
  • 50g Raspberries (Crushed)
  • Tub of Double Cream (Whisked until thick)


Preheat the oven to 160C and line a baking tray with baking parchment - sprinkle the extra caster sugar evenly across it
Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and the remaining sugar until pale and thickens - Should take around 8 minutes
Fold in the flour and baking powder very gently
Remove 3 tablespoons of this mixture and colour red - Using a piping bag, pipe small pronounced hearts (see instructions above) and bake for 4 minutes
Remove hearts from the oven. Add the grated white chocolate to the remaining cake mix and fold through.
Pour evenly over the hearts trying not to move any and bake for a further 11 minutes
Leave to cool for 3-4 minutes then try to introduce a roll shape (still with the baking parchment attached to the cake) - Allow to then unfold and cool the cake completely
Mix the raspberries with the jam and spread evenly on the cake. Add the double cream and roll as tightly as you can.
Eat immediately

valentine's swiss roll

I just love this week’s featured Bake of the Week – Plum & Marzipan Braid from Hannah at Domestic Gothess.

plum marzipan bread

Plenty of other delicious entries from around the blogging world too this week …

bake of the week

1. Delightful Apple Cinnamon Donuts from Winnie’s Blog
2. Also celebrating Valentines with some pretty pastel meringues is ET Speaks from home
3. Love the thought of these jam muffin donuts from Winnie’s Blog and even better that they are baked not fried.
4. You can imagine you are in Sicily with My Little italian Kitchen’s Sicilian Reginelle Biscuits
5. Happy Birthday to Julie’s son from Julie’s Family kitchen – He celebrated with a football cake
6. If you are after some crunch, try the Domestic Gothess’ Orange Cornmeal Biscuits
7. For the healthy ones amongst us, try Slow Cooked Pumpkin & Mango Oat Bars courtesy of Baking Queen 74
8. Galina at Chez Maximka tempted us with her Orange Angel Slices
9. Hey Cakes shared these lovely Cottage Cheese & Almond Rolls
10. Making a welcome return to Bake of the week with her Matcha Breakfast Cakes is Kirsty from Hijacked by Twins
11. Mummy Mishaps went super frugal with her 5p mincemeat in these flapjacks
Centre: Super tempting Malted Chocolate Bundt Cake from Chocolate Log Blog

The link is now open for this week’s #Bakeoftheweek and here is the badge to include in your post

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Thanks again to everyone who entered and visited each others – Us bloggers live on feedback(and cake) so we love your comments. Don’t forget to join in with #FoodieFriday this week which I am officially now taking over – No theme and anything foodie is allowed. Open all week, not just Friday!

For Bake of the Week entries, all types of bakes are welcome – savoury, sweet, healthy, biscuits, cakes, bread, pies – I share them all on twitter, Pinterest and Google+ and comment on them all. Feel free to join the Pinterest board where there are over 300 entries!

Honeycomb Macarons – Bake of the Week

honeycomb macarons recipe

Now I know these aren’t the best pictures or the prettiest macarons you’ll ever see but believe me, they taste good!! I forgot to bang the tray with the macarons before baking to get rid of any massive air bubbles, so they did pop a little but no matter, they still got devoured!

I love watching and making honeycomb being made – Its a true chemical experiment how it fizzes and comes together. I can’t eat too much of it on its own though – The worry about rotting my teeth ruins it a little. I have absolutely no problems eating hundreds of macarons though!

Honeycomb Macarons

Serves 25
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Tempting mouthfuls of macarons with the distinctive taste of honeycomb and a creamy centre


  • 165 + 125g Caster Sugar
  • 65ml Honey
  • 40ml Water
  • 1 tablespoon Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 125g Ground Almonds
  • 125g Icing Sugar
  • 4 Egg Whites (At Room Temperature fro 20 mins before using)


Add the honey, the 165g caster sugar, water & syrup to a medium sized pan and bring to the boil. Do not stir - allow to bubble gently for 5 minutes. Periodically, brush down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush and extra water. This stops it sticking to the sides of the pan.
Once the temperature reaches 154C (Won't take long) remove from the heat for 1-2 minutes until it all settles.
Add in the bicarb of soda - This is the fun bit - it will fizzle and bubble up. Stir like mad for 1-2 minutes until all combined.
Transfer onto a sheet of Baking Parchment and flatten out evenly until it is the thickness you want.
Leave to cool completely, then break into chunks - Ready to eat this stage as normal honeycomb
Honeycomb Macarons
To make the macarons, blitz half of the honeycomb mixture in a food processor until fine crumbs
Whisk the egg whites until the reach stiff peaks - Add the remaining caster sugar one tablespoon at a time until combined. Your mixture should still be stiff.
In another bowl, sift the ground almonds and icing sugar and add in one tablespoon at a time, until combined.
Gently fold in the honeycomb powder until combined too
Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a 1cm hole, onto 2 baking trays covered with baking parchment and pipe macaron shapes - You should get about 50 (making 25 full macarons, but you knew that!)
Slam the tray twice to get rid of air bubbles and bake at 150C for 15-20 minutes until crisp on the top
Serve with whipped double cream or dip individual macarons into melted chocolate. Enjoy!

 Lots of lovely entries as usual to last week’s Bake of the Week – Even healthy eating January can’t deter some people!

My stand out Bake of the Week are these Caramel Apple Crisps from Et Speaks From Home – Just perfect for packed lunches, which we are back in the swing of following our Christmas break from synchro. Just love the triangle shape and that they are crispy yet soft in the middle.

caramel almond crisp cookies

bake of the week entries food linky

1. Stunning marbling with this Marbled Chocolate & Peanut Butter Banana Bread from Domestic Gothess
2. Shortbread Cookies with Nuts & Almonds from Winnie’s Blog – Love the unusual shape!
3. Lovely Pastel colours in these Steamed Rice Cakes from ET Speaks From Home
4. Very tempted by this Cream Cookie Cake with Sugar Coating from Winnie’s Blog
5. Fulfilling my love for all things orange is Searching for Spice with her Orange Buttermilk Cake with Marmalade Cream Cheese Frosting
6. My eldest has just been eyeing these Strawberry Mini Meringues up by Baking Queen 74 – Beautiful!
7. Hurray for a no mixed peel recipe for Spanish Saffron Cake from Chez Maxima

Entries are now open for next week’s Bake of the Week – I share all entries on Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest aswell as comments. Each entry also gets a link back on the following week’s roundup. If you enter a #Bakeoftheweek – feel free to tweet about it too so I can RT and spread the love.

Please also place the badge in your post:

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Christmas Recipes Round Up – #FoodieFriday

Its getting exciting now – Less than 3 weeks to go before the BIG DAY. I’ve still got tons to get sorted but can’t help my mind wandering to Christmas Food (to be fair, my mind is never that far away from food!)

This week’s #FoodieFriday them is all things CHRISTMAS – In fact we are going to be keeping the linky open for the next MONTH! Yes, you’ve got ages to be able to link up as many Christmas inspired recipe as you like. Whether they are savoury, baking, cakes, veggies or using up leftovers – they are all welcome here. The linky will remain open until Thursday 1st January 2015.

To celebrate I have compiled a list of my most favourite Christmas recipes that I have shared over the past couple of years – no surprise that they are mostly sweet – I do eat the odd sprout but don’t seem to have blogged about them.

christmas recipe roundup

In addition to the most recent recipes for Christmas Tree Cupcakes and Marzipan Puppy Chow, We also have one of my most favourite recipes ever – My Lemon Curd & Amaretto Trifle. The photo might be rubbish but the taste was magnificent – Definitely on the list to be made again this year.

I’m waiting impatiently for the children to break up from school so we can crack on with the real Christmas baking – Over the past year, I’ve really worked on my relationship with yeast so am much more confident about getting a light and airy Stollen – Even if it is rather flat like last years’ it will still be delicious!

stollen recipe no candied peel

My panforte will no doubt be making an appearance at the annual Costello Christmas party – I think last year we had a competition between my Auntie Linda’s panforte and mine. Couldn’t possibly tell you who won!

panforte recipe

Of course, we need the obligatory savoury recipe, my Oven Baked Turkey, Chestnut, Bacon & Prosecco Risotto – This was perfect on New Year’s Eve last year.

turkey, chestnut, oven risotto

If you run out of time or get unexpected guests, my Celebration popcorn is a perfect quick make!

white chocolate marshmallow pecan nuts sweet popcorn

Brilliant response to last week’s #FoodieFriday – There were some truly creative recipes and foodie posts.

I’ve picked 3 favourites to highlight …

foodie friday roundup

From left to right:
Spanakopita from In the Kid’s Kitchen – I love how this went down a treat with her children and everyone couldn’t help staring at her fussiest loving it. Every parent’s dream!
Seasonal Spanish Persimmon Jelly from All About You – So pretty – Any guests should be honoured to receive some of this.
First Apple Pie from Mami Tales – complete with a beautiful story of teaching her little one how to make an apple pie. A legacy that will last a lifetime.

Best of luck with all of your Christmas baking and cooking – I’m sure I’ll be sharing a few more in the next 3 weeks but in the meantime, feel free to add yours to the linky below. There is no theme – Just anything that is remotely Christmassy. Please add the badge to your post and if you could link back to Casa Costello and Romanian Mum, that would be fantastic. Old posts are fine as long as they contain the link. If you are inspired to do your own Christmas Foodie roundup, you are welcome to include it too!

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Christmas Cupcakes – Bake of the Week

christmas tree cupcakes with a hidden surprise inside

I’ve enjoyed having a play with some Christmas Cupcakes this week. I’d forgotten how time consuming they can be though – and how quickly they get demolished in our house. These are batch 2 – The first lot got eaten before having their pictures taken, when I was out. Cardinal sin in the world of food blogging but amazing that it hasn’t happened before now with 3 kids!

I wanted to make something a little more challenging than ordinary Christmas cupcakes so made secret hidden stars inside of them – I did start with hidden Christmas Trees but didn’t fancy a green inside to my cupcakes and didn’t like that the Christmas design wasn’t really clear enough. I’m quite happy with the stars though – I used one of the kids old star cutters that isn’t that sharp on the edges so reckon that if you used a better cutter, the design would be even sharper.

How to bake a surprise star inside cupcakes

I was set a challenge by the Cake Decorating Store to come up with a Christmas cupcake design. Me being me, couldn’t leave it at just one design – after all, who wants just plain old trees? You must have a Santa too!(Santa cake toppers supplied by the Cake Decorating Store)

santa cupcakes

And so onto how to make the Christmas Tree Cupcakes with a surprise hidden inside.

I used my usual vanilla cupcake recipe. Line cupcake trays with cupcake cases and preheat the oven to 180C.

I took approximately 1/4 of the mix out and coloured it red with gel food colour.

Spread it out on a lined baking tray to a depth of about 5mm and bake at 180C for 3-4 minutes.

how to bake shapes inside cupcakes

AS soon as it comes out of the oven, cut out stars using a cutter. Press 2 stars together for the correct depth.

Spoon 1tsp of the plain cake mix into the bottom of each case then add the star.

Spoon the rest of the plain cake mix around and on top of the stars – make sure the star doesn’t fall over.

Bake at 180C for 18-20 minutes.

When cool, spread a thin layer of white frosting over the cupcake. (I used ready made frosting from the Cake Decorating Store)

Roll out a cone of marzipan and stick on top of the cupcake.

marzipan christmas trees

Colour some more frosting a pale green colour, and put in a piping bag. It doesn’t really matter what nozzle you use as long as it is fairly thin with a serrated edge.

Pipe little peaks from the top of the cone down, working evenly and leaving some peaks sticking quite proud.

Sprinkle over with tiny Christmas coloured sugar balls immediately before the frosting sets.


Bake of the Week Round UP

I know I’ve said it before, but I am absolutely gob smacked by how many wonderful bakers take part in Bake of the Week – I am so grateful for each and every one of you. We are almost up to 300 posts on our Pinterest board which is phenomenal. Thank You!

Because there were so many entries over the 2 weeks, I am stretching my own rules and choosing 3 featured bakes.

Olive, tomato & Herb Bread tree

My first is carrying on the Tree theme and is this wonderful Olive, Tomato & Herb Christmas Tree from Tales from the Kitchen Shed. What a fantastic idea for arranging and baking bread. On the blog, there is also a sweet version of this tree. Just wow!

choux cygnets

My next featured bake is from a baker that has 5 bakes entered into this week’s Bake of the Week, ET Speaks From Home – This lady knows how to work hard! Her Choux Cygnets are beautiful and so delicate. I’m also very jealous that she has been baking with Brendan of GNNO fame recently!

And I couldn’t leave this cute Owl Cake out. So simple yet really effective from Green Gourmet Giraffe

owl birthday cake

The linky is now open for your next Bakes of the Week – I’m catching up on all the comments and sharing of the posts at last! Please place the badge somewhere on your post to let people know you are one of the B of the W team. I comment, Pin, Tweet and Share on Google+ all entries. There is no theme, anything that you bake can be included.

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christmas tree cupcakes

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Gluten Free Angel Cake – Bake of the Week

gluten free angel cake

I’m not going to pretend this is the prettiest cake you’ll ever see – it is so light and refreshing though. Even with heaps of cream. Very quick to bake although you really must take your time whisking the eggs and combining the rest of the ingredients. This cake is all about the air. Fat free (until you add the cream obviously) and Gluten Free – I used Doves Farm Potato Flour which was part of a pack of Gluten Free Flours sent by Doves’ Farm. The flour was so much lighter than traditional flours – felt very corn floury and I did query whether the cake would work. I shouldn’t have worried though, the inside was a white and delicious as every other Angel Cake I’ve made.

Angel cakes are so versatile – Not only quick to prepare and handy as a gift to take to a friend’s but they suit so many different flavours. Soft fruit like strawberries and raspberries are the obvious choice but most types of Jam go equally well. I used some Duerrs Rhubarb & Custard Baking Jam Again, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste of the Jam – I thought it may be too ‘Rhubarby’ but the combination of fruit and custard was really smooth and perfect for the light Angel Cake.

I think it is testament to how good this cake was that it disappeared within a couple of hours – and we didn’t have any visitors!

Gluten Free Angel Cake

Serves 8+
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Casual Party
Light and airy Gluten Free Angel Cake


  • 4oz Potato Flour
  • 3oz Icing Sugar
  • 8 Egg Whites
  • 5 1/2oz Caster Sugar
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract


Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line with baking parchment 2 x 9" cake tins
Sieve the flour and the icing sugar - This is one of the only recipes that I honestly sieve
Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff peaks - Best to be done when at room temperature
Very very slowly, add one teaspoon of the caster sugar at a time whilst still whisking on a slow speed - the mixture should keep its stiff texture
Fold in the vanilla, salt and cream of tartar then slowly add the flour/icing sugar mixture - stirring through using a figure of 8 motion
Separate the mixture between the 2 tins and bake for 40 minutes. Turn the oven off and keep the tins in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool in the tins before removing.
Spread with jam and lashings of double cream and enjoy huge chunks!
Eat the same day x

While I’m on a Gluten Free roll, I have chosen the Free From Fairy’s Gluten Free and Dairy Free Christmas Cake as my featured Bake of the Week. I admire people who consistently cater for GF and DF diets.

gluten free dairy christmas cake

Brilliant entries as usual from everyone last week – I am still working my way around everyone’e fantastic bakes – Thanks so much for joining in.

bake of the week

1. Another incredible baker that caters for special diets, Garden Tea Cakes and Me with her Vegan Peanut Butter & Banana Cookies
2. How gorgeous do these Quadruple Chocolate Cupcakes look from Domestic Gothess?
3. Super creative Chocolate & Peanut Butter Oat Bars from the lovely Winnie’s Blog – One of my new favourite blogs.
4. I always forget how much I love to make (and eat) Madeleines until I saw these Cranberry & Orange Madeleines from Baking Queen 74
5. I love how versatile these Chocolate Hazelnut Jumbles from Baked Potato Mummy are. Perfect for baking with the kids.
6. Almond Meringue Cookies from ET Speaks From Home – Just can’t get enough of the taste of almond. So pleased its nearly marzipan season!
7. I’d Much Rather Bake Than waited a huge 3 YEARS to make these Tunis Cupcakes and aren’t they pretty?

So they were the individual portioned bakes for this week – If you fancy a huge chunk of a bake, try these:


8. Oh wow! to this Apple Halva Cake with Caramel Glaze from Winnie’s Blog. Just gorgeous!
9. Eileen at ET Speaks From Home made this Olive Oil Bread for dinner guests – Hope I’m invited one day!
10. I thoroughly agree with Hey Cakes that sharing is caring – and I wish they would share some of this delicious Blueberry Crumble Pie!
11. The perfect solution to my husband not liking quiche problem, make one of these Neapolitan Potato Gateaux from My Little Italian Kitchen instead.

I’m going on a very exciting blog trip to Ireland next week so Bake of the Week will run until the Tuesday after (2nd December – DECEMBER!! When did that happen?) If you bake more than one thing between now and then, feel free to add as many bakes as you like. All types of bakes (cakes, biscuits, pies, tarts, bread etc) are welcome – I comment on them all and share across twitter, pinterest & google+. Here’s the badge:

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Disclosure: Many Thanks to the following brands who supplied me with products for review purposes : Doves Farm, Duerrs & Happy Egg Company.

gluten free flour

I’m sharing this post with some favourites and some new links too this week … Recipe of the Week, Cook, Blog, Share & Brilliant Blog Posts




Designs By Miss Mandee

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Apple & Cinnamon Palmiers – Bake of the Week

I’ve been practising for our WI Cake & Bake Night this week – Our theme for next week’s get-together is Pastry. To be honest, there’s no shortage of ideas that I could use but once I started mooching in my recipes I came across Palmiers – The trouble I had was choosing Plain Sugar, Plain Cinnamon but Apple & Cinnamon won!

apple cinnamon palmiers

Another crazily easy recipe but if you are as busy as I am at the moment, you may be glad of it. Mr C came home from work and said “wow’ when he saw these. He obviously doesn’t remember watching how easy and quick they are to make from last time.


  • 1 pack Chilled Puff Pastry
  • 1 Large Apple -I like tangy so use a Braeburn
  • 3/4 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Caster Sugar


  • Peel the apple and grate it.
  • Squeeze all of the juice out of the grated apple and dab with kitchen roll – you need it to be quite dry for this recipe.
  • Roll out the pastry and sprinkle the apple evenly all over it.
  • Mix together the sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle this over the pastry and apple evenly too.
  • Roll the long sides of the pastry in towards each other so they eventually meet in the middle.
  • Cut into 1cm pieces and lay down on the oven trays – leave 2-3cm gap to allow for room to spread.
  • Place back in the freezer for 20-30 mins.
  • Bake at 200C for 12-15 (turning after approx 9 mins) until each side is crispy and golden.

Wow! So many entries into last week’s Bake of the Week – I’m still getting round to you all and sharing, sharing, sharing – Love you all for joining in, my wonderful Bake of the Week family!

chocolate nutella frosting mint ganache chiffon cake

There was one bake that really caught my eye this week – A newbie to the Bake of the Week gang, I am The Dream Baker shared with us her Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Nutella Buttercream Frosting & Mint Chocolate Ganache. Cor! We eat so much minty stuff around here – Mint Ice-Cream last barely hours in this house so this cake will be a huge hit with my girls. Thanks loads for taking part!


I can’t only choose 1 though – I have to give a nod toward Jaisee Mummy for her magnificent Chocolate Tea Cakes – I have been meaning to make my own for months now. I like to think they are not as time consuming and fiddly as I first thought, but actually from the pics, they look even more so! Fair play to you for doing such a brilliant job!

bake of the week linky

1. I’ve never thought to bake using Milo – We used to drink tons of it when I was a kid. Great Milo Almond Cookies from ET Speaks From Home.
2. I’d Much Rather Bake Than has had a busy old week with her trips to London and made a special Speculaas purchase – Speculoos Spiced Shortbread is the result.
3. Beautiful photography and Baked Gingerbread Friands from Baking Queen 74
4. Oh My Goodnes, I bet this Salted Dark Chocolate Licorice Fudge tastes heavenly from MisPlacedBrit

bake of the week roundup

5. Perfect alternative to rich Fruit Christmas Cakes – Chocolate Piñata Cake from Mummy Whiskers
6. The Ultimate comfort food from All You Need Is Love and Cake with her Jam Roly Poly
7. More Apple goodness from My Little Italian Kitchen with her delicious sounding Soft and Moist Simple Apple Cake
8. Chocolate Log Blog just had this recipe hanging around her drafts folder – Like you do! What a crime ;-) Gorgeous Chocolate Treacle Cake
9. And providing us with some savoury baking is Farmers Girl with her stunning Muesli Rolls

As usual, please add your posts to the linky below and the badge is here for you to add to your posts:

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Joining in with A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week as usual, SupergoldenBakes Cook, Blog, Share and Honest Mum’s Brilliant Blog Posts


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White Chocolate Cheesecake – Foodie Friday

white chocolate baked cheesecake

Well, its soon come around to my turn to host Foodie Friday again. This week it is all things CHOCOLATE! One of my favourite subjects to discuss, I’ll be honest. To mark the occasion, I’m sharing my White Chocolate Baked Cheesecake which is just a joy to eat. A fairly quick bake to prepare and cook – I made this yesterday afternoon 25 minutes before leaving the house and got it in the oven (and washed up!) The slow part of this recipe is leaving it alone in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (preferably overnight). Its worth it though, the texture really solidifies and makes it fantastic to eat with a spoon.

The real beauty of this recipe is that so many flavours, sauces and toppings can be matched with it. Raspberry coulis is a favourite but chopped hazelnuts, dark chocolate sauce, blueberries are all wonderful too. Or eat it on its own! I went all retro with memories of boxed cheesecakes with some mandarin sorbet.

White Chocolate Cheesecake

Serves 10+
Prep time 3 hours, 20 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 4 hours, 5 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Creamy luxurious baked white chocolate cheesecake


  • 8 Shortbread Biscuits
  • 100g Butter (Melted)
  • 3 Eggs (whole)
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 150g Good quality White Chocolate (I used Green & Blacks Baking White Chocolate)
  • 1 tablespoon Plain Flour
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 600g Full Fat Soft Cheese


This can be frozen by wrapping up with foil when still in the tin for up to 1 month


Preheat the oven to 160C and line a solid bottom cake tin - I used an 8" square tin and lined it with a disposable cake liner
Bash the biscuits until really small crumbs and mix the melted butter in while it is still hot.
Pour into the base of the tin and press down really firmly
Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water - Take care not to let the water touch the base of the bowl or the chocolate will burn
Scoop out 3 tablespoons of the chocolate and spread over the biscuit base in a very thin layer. Allow to set.
Using an electric whisk and a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, soft cheese, vanilla and sugar until well combined
Add the whole eggs and egg yolk one at a time - scrape down after each addition
Stop the whisk and stir the remaining white chocolate through the mixture
Pour over the biscuit base and bake for 45 mins on 160C. I put the tin inside another big tin and fill will 200ml boiling water to use as a water bath. The top should just be starting to turn golden and it should have stopped wobbling.
Remove from the oven really carefully as the water bath can easily topple over and leave to cool on the side for approx 1 hour.
Transfer the cheesecake to the fridge and cool for at least another 3 hours - preferable overnight
Serve with a choice of toppings

There were some truly marvellous Halloween creations for our last FoodieFriday linky. I had a job choosing a favourite but in the end Dragons and Fairy Dust just pipped it with their Mummy Pizzas and Mummified Hotdogs. My kids will have me making those hotdogs all year round.


Thanks so much to everyone else who shared their Halloween treats – I couldn’t show every entry but decided to showcase a selection featuring body parts!

halloween body parts ideas

1. Dream of Leaving gave us a run down of the Creepiest Halloween food ever especially these Fingers. Ew!
2. I have GOT to make this witches jelly hand next year – in fact, I don’t think I’ll even wait that long. Chez Maxima, that is just brilliant!
3. Even a fiery chilli can be spookified at Halloween with addition of Olive Eyeballs – Love this idea from Given to distracting others.
4. You can still be healthy and scary at Halloween with Monsieur Frankenstein aka A Pepper. Genius! Motherhood Diaries.
5. These Cheerio Frankenstein Monsters make me smile – I can imagine my kids loving assembling them – Mad House Family Reviews
6. Some Spooky Zombie Fingers from Eileen at ET Speaks From Home – These still spook me out every time I see them!

The link is now open for this week’s entries – Remember it is anything that contains chocolate. Doesn’t have to be a new recipe or post but please add the badge to your post and link to me at Casa Costello & Otilia at Romanian Mum

If you tweet, why not tag @CasaCostello and/or @RomanianMum and we will Retweet you.

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Joining in for the second time this week with Emily Leary and her Recipe of the Week linky

Peach & Clementine Bundt Cake with Drizzle Syrup – Bake of the Week

peach clementine bundt cake

I needed to use up some peaches and clementines this week so there was only one option for Bake of the Week – My Peach & Clementine Cake. I love my Bundt tin and every time I use it, tell myself to use it more regularly. If you don’t have clementines handy, of course you can use oranges, tangerines and instead of peaches, I’ve been known to throw a few nectarines in. Hey, its home baking – lets be relaxed! The idea for this cake originally came from the blog, Week of Menus but of course, I had to mess around with it.

bundt sponge cake


Peach & Clementine Bundt Cake

Serves 10+
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Light airy sponge cake with hidden peach and nectarine - finished with delicious peach/nectarine drizzle syrup. Just gorgeous!


  • 4 Peaches (Peeled and chopped into very small cubes)
  • 2 Clementines (Peeled and Chopped finely)
  • 8oz Butter
  • 12 + 6oz Caster Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 14oz Self Raising Flour
  • 1 Small Pot of double cream
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice
  • Icing Sugar or Royal icing to decorate


Bundt Cake
Preheat the oven to 180C and spray a bundt tin with Cake Release (If you don't have some, grease with butter then dust with plain flour)
Separate 3/4 of the peaches and 1/2 of the clementine and keep to one side
Using an electric whisk with a paddle whisk, beat the butter and the 12oz sugar until pale and fluffy
Add in the eggs whilst still whisking on a medium speed, scraping down regularly. Add the vanilla and 1 Tbsp OJ.
Alternately, add 1 tbsp flour and Double Cream whilst still mixing on a slow speed until all added. Use a spatula to make sure fully combined.
Bake for 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes.
Drizzle Syrup
Meanwhile, using a hand held mixer, mash together the peach and clementine until very smooth. You can push through a sieve if you don't want any bits but I don't bother.
Add to a small pan with the remaining sugar and OJ then heat up until just starts to boil, Remove from the heat.
Bundt Cake Decoration
Turn the cake out of the tin onto a wire rack and spoon over the syrup - I used more icing sugar sprinkled over it and cornelli icing to finish.


My eldest daughter, Millie picked the winner of this week’s featured bake – All You Need is Love and Cake’s Giant Triple Chocolate Cookie Pizza – Not much gets your excited when you are 12 and doing your homework, but this did!

chocolate cookie pizza

bake of the week linky

1. My kids would adore me if I baked these White Chocolate & Oreo Blondies from Baking Queen 74
2. The Lass in the Apron is giving Nigel Slater a run for his money with his Chocolate Beet Cake. If Nigel himself would like to come and bake for me that would be very acceptable!
3. How beautiful is this Vanilla and Pomegranate Panna Cotta from My Little Italian Kitchen
4. Super Christmas Spice STar Biscuits from new member, Gluten Free Alchemist – Welcome!
5. Massive fan of loaf cakes and this is definitely going on my list – Cinnamon Apple Sauce Loaf Cake from I’d Much Rather Bake Than
6. Another warm welcome to a new member, Alice Megan with her Chilli Chocolate Kick Pots – Bet these are super heart warming!
7. And still up for baking even after all her Great Blogger Bake Off exertions we have Mummy Mishaps’s Orange & Pumpkin Cake – Yum!

A quieter week last week but now the kids are safely back in school, I’m on a mission – Lets get sharing the word about Bake of the Week as people get on with their Christmas Baking. Have you started yet? I’ve bought my fruit for the famous Costello Christmas Cakes so there’s a start!

AS usual all bakes are welcome, Pies, Cakes, Biscuits, Tarts, Meringues, Flans and are shared on Twitter, Commented On, Pinterest, Google+ and linked to here – Tons of exposure for your blogs. Please include the badge somewhere in your post – If you would like to include it in your sidebar to let people know you are an important part of BOTW then even better.

Link tool will remain open until next Wednesday morning and Roundup will be posted Wed PM

Casa Costello
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Joining in with A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week, SupergoldenBakes Cook, Blog, Share and Honest Mum’s Brilliant Blog Posts


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