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.

Ta-Dah!

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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:

bow2

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

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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.

Ingredients:

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

Method:

  • 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!

teacakes3-225x300

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Note

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

Directions

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.

Mummified-hotdots-3

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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

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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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Individual Christmas Pavlovas with Prosecco Creme & Pomegranate – 100th Casa Costello Recipe!

prosecco pavlovas

Its that time of year again when we start to plan the Christmas Menu – Up and down the land, you hear people asking ‘Do you host Christmas Day?’. The answer is yes for us, its either that or go to my sister’s for Pot Noodle. I love her very much but draw the line at that for Christmas Dinner.

Its probably no surprise that one of my favourite parts of Christmas Lunch is the dessert. I’m not a fan of Christmas Pudding so don’t offer it to our guests – We do tend to offer a selection of desserts though. No surprise there!

Most years I offer some sort of meringue based dessert – For when you are completely stuffed but feel the need for something sweet. Its got to be special meringue though for Christmas – so how about Prosecco Creme, topped with Mini Marzipan Holly leaves and Pomegranate Berries – And for extra indulgence, a sprinkling of edible gold glitter!

taste the difference prosecco

We used Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Prosecco – I really like that it comes in miniature bottles of 20cl – This recipe only needs 80ml which is plenty for up to 6 pavlovas (Don’t forget to do the kiddies some alcohol free ones).

individual christmas pavlovas

Individual Pavlovas with Prosecco Creme

Serves 8-10
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 25 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 45 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Christmas
Luxurious Individual Pavlovas with Sparkling Prosecco Creme for the ultimate Christmas Dessert. Complete the effect with Marzipan Holly Leaves and Pomegranate Berries and sprinkling of edible gold glitter

Ingredients

  • 4 Egg Whites (Left at room temperature for 15 minutes)
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Corn Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon White Wine Vinegar
  • 284ml Whipping Cream
  • 80ml Prosecco
  • Pomegranate Seeds to garnish
  • Natural Marzipan (A ball about the size of a plum, coloured green is fine)

Directions

Pavlovas
Preheat the oven to 150C
Using an electric whisk, in a VERY clean bowl, start whisking the egg whites on a medium speed increasing to a fast speed after 1 minute. Carry on whisking until you have stiff peaks
Slowly (and I mean really slowly) gradually add in the sugar whilst still whisking - This should take at least 10 minutes. I use no bigger than a teaspoon to add each addition. You should still have a fairly stiff meringue
Turn off the whisk and very gently fold in the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla
Scoop the meringue into large piping bags with a star nozzle tip and pipe circles from the centre outwards. I go over the outside circle to make it slightly taller. I do a variety of sizes - I give adults pavlovas of around 5cm but children a fair bit smaller.
Place into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 120C
Bake for between 18-25 minutes. Turn off the oven put keep the pavlovas in there for at least 2 hours or until the oven is completely cooled. I often leave them in overnight.
Prosecco Creme
When you are just about to eat the pavlovas, whisk the cream until it is stiff
Pour in the prosecco and keep whisking on a medium speed until it is all combined and you have a stiff creme again
Use a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle to pipe in the centre of the pavlovas
Finish off by topping with a marzipan holly leaf and a pomegranate berry. Sprinkle lightly with edible gold glitter dust
Serve immediately - Pavlovas without creme added can be kept for 2-3 days in a dry atmosphere - lightly covered

Guess what?! This is my 100th recipe that I am sharing on Casa Costello – How appropriate that I am celebrating with a bit of fizz. I’m loving sharing all our family recipes and producing new recipes. We are eating so much better and the kitchen is definitely the heart of our home. Thanks for sharing the journey with me so far … plenty more recipes and treats to come!

Disclosure: I was asked by Sainsbury’s to suggest a recipe using Prosecco. I had full editorial control of what recipe I chose and what I did with the leftover prosecco! ;-) I was supplied with Sainsbury’s vouchers to cover the cost of any ingredients I bought to make this recipe.

prosecco pavlovas

I’m adding this recipe to A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week

recipe-of-the-week

Halloween Cake Pops – Bake of the Week

pumpkin mummy cake pops

I hope I’m not running before I can walk, but I think I may have finally cracked Cake Pops!! I’ve talked here so many times about not being able to master them – I’ve still got a long way to go before they are perfect but I’m more than a little bit pleased with my Halloween Cake Pops.

Last week, Dr Oetker asked if I’d like to use some of their products to make their Ghost Cake Pops. My first thought was to decline knowing that I’ve never been successful at them yet but being the stubborn mule that I am, I took the challenge head on.

ghost cake pops

I did a fair bit of googling to see if there were any tips that I could follow – The biggest difference I came across was to have the cake mixture still quite crumbly and not use very much buttercream/frosting. I think this is where I have been going wrong – my pops were just too heavy and kept popping off the sticks – even with dipping the end of the sticks in melted chocolate to help them stick.

I decided to stick with my good old faithful madeira cake recipe as I know it so well and used a really firm buttercream using cold real butter. I was sent 2 bags of white chocolate drops to use for the covering – The Dr Oetker drops are tiny which work really well when melting them. They melt before the mixture either burns or turns unusable which so easily happens when melting white chocolate. I also added 1 tbsp of Trex Vegetable Fat (Try not to think about it too much!) to the white chocolate to make it runnier and easier to coat the pops. Worked brilliantly!

painting cake pops

I used Dr Oetker black Food Gel for the decorations – It has a nozzle to pipe it on but I prefer to paint it for really small details.

ghost cakepops

I felt so much safer covering the pops knowing that I was going to cover them again with a layer of sugar paste – I used a Garrett Frill Cutter to make the Ghost’s cape.
Then I got a bit braver and used ‘Naked’ Cake Pops dusted with Orange food dust for the pumpkins. I piped melted white chocolate over the cake pops to make the Mummies. I’m so chuffed with them!

There was a stand out bake last week which I have chosen for my featured ‘Bake of the Week’ – The amazing Chocolate Candy Cake from The More Than Occasional Baker. She used drinking straws for the effect of keeping the candy bags floating (I’ve also heard that balloon sticks are also good for this too!). Completely brilliant cake!!

floating sweet candy bags cake

bake of the week

1. How pretty are these steamed Rose Buns from Eileen at ET Speaks from Home?
2. Spiced Honey Shortbread with special Halloween decorations from Family Friends and Food
3. I love these Scarborough Fair Oatcakes – Really must try – from The Lass in the Apron
4. I do wish Pecan Pie was more popular here in the UK – I bought a huge bag of Pecans last week so am armed to make this from Bourbon and Brown Sugar
5. leftover treacle toffee? Make these Bonfire & Apple Muffins from I’d Much Rather Bake Than
6. Happy Anniversary wishes go to the Free From Fairy who has celebrated with her GF Heart Cake this week

The Linky is now open for all your bakes of the week – Savoury, sweet, cakes, pies, biscuits … the possibilities are endless. Here’s the badge for your post – Lovely to see that people are visiting each others’ bakes too.

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Disclosure: I was sent some Dr Oetker products to use when making my Cake Pops but still had full editorial control. More information and a video tutorial on how to make Cake Pops can be found here

Ginger & White Chocolate Hi Hat Cupcakes – Bake of the Week

ginger white chocolate frosting hi hat cupcakes

Once you taste this White Chocolate frosting you will never want to go back to ordinary buttercream ever again! Believe me, this is one of the finest tastes in the world. The white chocolate matches perfectly with the spicy ginger cake. I covered the Hi Hats with milk chocolate but they are equally nice covered in all white chocolate – especially for the very sweet toothed amongst us.

I’m a massive fan of anything ginger at this time of year – I’m never fully dressed without a ginger creation (parkin, gingerbread, cupcakes) at any Halloween or Bonfire event so these fit in just great.

Ginger & White Chocolate Hi Hat Cupcakes

Serves 24
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 18 minutes
Total time 38 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Light ginger cupcakes with thick luxurious white chocolate frosting dipped in a choice of milk or white chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 8oz Soft Dark Brown Sugar
  • 6 + 8oz Butter
  • 10oz Golden Syrup
  • 1lb Self Raising Flour
  • 2.5 teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 pint Milk
  • 8oz White Chocolate
  • 7oz Icing Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 6oz Milk or White Chocolate (For Dipping)

Directions

Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 160C and line 24 cupcakes tin with liners/cases
In a medium pan, melt 8oz of the butter and the brown sugar until the grainy feeling has gone. Do not allow to boil.
Add the syrup and stir through while still heating for 1 min
Remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least 3 minutes (I'm always too impatient to leave for longer)
Pour the butter/sugar mixture into a large bowl containing the flour (No need to sift beforehand) and stir through.
Mix the milk and egg in a job and whisk, then add gradually to the cake mix, stirring until all combined - It will be a loose mixture.
Divide evenly into the cupcake cases and cook for 18-20 minutes - When cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Frosting
Meanwhile work on the frosting/white chocolate buttercream - Mix together the remaining butter and the icing sugar until smooth.
Melt the white chocolate gently in a bowl over a pan of boiling water - do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water
Add to the butter/icing sugar and add the vanilla - it will be a stiff buttercream
Pipe the frosting in a swirl ending in a sharp peak on top - For a true Hi Hat you are supposed to pipe right to the edge of the cake but we always feel that's just a bit too much frosting
Put the frosted cakes into the fridge for 10-15 to harden
Melt the remaining dipping chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water - White chocolate is absolutely gorgeous for this but looks more effective in Milk Chocolate
Briefly dip the tops of the cupcakes into the melted chocolate until the frosting is covered and replace back in the fridge

I’ll be honest, this was one of the hardest Bake of the Week’s to do a featured post. There is so much autumn goodness out there this week. In the end, I based my decision on the bake that I’m most likely to bake first – that is Lancashire Food’s Spicy Gingerbread Loaf. I’m planning on taking it to my friend’s when we go to see her in North Yorkshire for Bonfire Night. It will be the first time I have managed to visit her at home since she moved there 15 years ago! Gingerbread and Parkin just sum up this time of year for me and I can just picture me with a big tupperware container dishing out the gingery loveliness!

gingerbread loaf parkin

A big warm welcome to new members of the Bake of the Week team who are joining us for the first time. I’ve divided the rest of this week’s bakes into sections as usual. First we have CHOCOLATE

bake of the week collage

1. Making Brownies even more divine with her Cappuccino Brownies – Bourbon & Brown Sugar
2. Making her condensed milk for her Gluten and Dairy Free Sticky Chocolate Orange Slices – The Free From Fairy
3. Kirsty from Hijacked By Twins had an exciting day out last week making Lime & Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
4. How amazing is this Room on the Broom cake from the ever talented Mummy Makes Cakes?
5. And more tasty brownies in the form of Cheesecake Cherry Brownies from Poole Mamma – Mmmm!

and yet more goodies …

bake of the week

6. Apparently this Champagne & Strawberry Cake was nearly a disaster – looks pretty spectacular to me! Pauline’s Baking Adventures
7. Patisserie Makes Perfect’s Pistachio & Almond Macaron Cake makes me gasp – Just perfect
8. I always forget how easy and tasty fritters are – My Little Italian Kitchen’s Apple Fritters look homely and moreish!
9. I’m learning something new every week with this baking adventure – This week we’ve been introduced to a Guernsey Gache Melee from Tales from The Kitchen Shed – I can almost taste that butterscotch sauce!
10. Baking Queen 74 has been joining in the trend to bake cakes in the slow cooker with this hearty Plum & Almond Cake
11. I didn’t realise I was quite so much of a wimp, until I was creeped out by ET Speaks From Home’s Spooky Zombie Fingers this week. Just brilliant!

Mummy Whiskers also joined in with her wonderfully creative Halloween Spiced Biscuits, which can be found here

We are now open for next week’s Bakes – Here’s the badge to include in your post. Don’t forget to pop round to a couple of your fellow bakers and say hi/generally admire their work! I will comment, tweet, pin and Google+ all entries as usual!

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Psst! While you are here, why don’t you enter my giveaway to win a copy of the fabulous Baking Book, What to Bake and How to Bake It? Click HERE to enter

Joining in with CakeyBoi & Baking Explorer(Hosting) in their Treat Petite linky this month

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What to Bake & How to Bake It: Baking Book Giveaway

baking book giveaway

This book has a completely different feel to other baking books – Both in its content and the actual texture of the book. I was intrigued as soon as I opened my copy – Its a substantial sized book – If you gave someone this for a gift, they would feel they had got a decent present. A hard back with a matt cover and hand drawn pictures on the outside.

So what about what’s in it? The book is described as containing ’50 easy-t-follow recipes for all home bakers. Every stage explained with step-by-step photographs’. These step-by-step photos are what stick in your mind when you have been reading it. Very uncluttered and perfect for those bakers who are never quite sure what texture a substance should be.

tarte au citron The wonderful Tarte au Citron[/caption]

The recipes themselves are good homely bakes – There are the usual suspects, Victoria Sandwich, Seriously Chocolate Cookies and a wonderfully yellow Tarte au Citron that can form part of your baking repertoire. Even the more elaborate and fancy recipes all contain ingredients that are likely to be found in a home baking cupboard or easily found in most supermarkets – 3 flavours of macarons, 4 types of cupcakes, wonderful seasonal recipes like the Chocolate Hazelnut Log and Cranberry Stollen. At the top of my ‘to bake’ list form the book is the Strawberry Meringue Cake (see pictured below)

strawberry meringue cake

The book is divided into 5 sections, Introduction (This is rather a long intro but very handy if you are new to baking), Simple Family Baking, Morning Coffee & Afternoon Tea, Special Bakes and Desserts & After Dinner. I’m a bit of a sucker for a bookmark ribbon and this book has 2 – For someone who regularly takes their cookbooks to bed, these are invaluable.

how to bake a chocolate log

What to Bake & How to Bake It has a RRP of and can ordered here. I was given my own copy of the book for review and let loose with my own thoughts!

baking book giveaway competition

I have one copy of the book to giveaway – Perfect for a Christmas present, or you could just keep it and bake your way through the book – It would be easily done! Just fill in the Rafflecopter details below (Please remember to actually leave a comment on this blog post rather than the Rafflecopter widget – Otherwise your entry won’t count).

The closing date is November 4th 2014. The lucky winner will be chosen at random and contacted for their postal address to be sent the book as soon as possible after the closing date. Please reply within 5 days – Sorry UK entries only. Good Luck and Happy Baking!

a Rafflecopter giveaway