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:

Casa Costello
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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


Rooted In Thyme

Gousto – Home Recipe Kit Box Review

home recipe box review

A couple of weeks ago we were sent a box from Gousto containing all we needed to make 3 different meals for 2. We didn’t get to choose which meals we had as we were reviewing the box but that added to our surprise of how much we enjoyed our experience. I will admit to being a bit nervous – What if I really didn’t like the choice of meals? What if the instructions on how to prepare the dishes were really difficult?

I needn’t have worried though – in fact, we were thrilled by how successful the whole box was and are even considering making a periodic order for ourselves.

baked chicken tikka

We were incredibly lucky that all 3 meals were exactly what we like to eat – Good, healthy food, plenty of fresh ingredients that are easy to come by in ‘normal’ shops for when we make the dishes again and very tasty choices:

Our 3 meals were:

  • Pork & Mushroom Stroganoff
  • Mediterranean Burger
  • Spicy Chicken Tikka

gousto menus

We were also surprised how often Mr C & myself find ourselves eating separately to the children – Not sure why we were surprised at this, we are running about with swimming most nights of the week. Therefore, it was absolutely no problem that the meals were only for 2 people – in fact, the portions were generous enough that if we had had to, we could have shared a little with one of the girls (But we were glad we didn’t have to!) If you prefer though it is possible to order meals for 4 people.

Mr C said he would do the majority of the cooking to see how someone relatively new to cooking found the menu cards to follow. He was very impressed and had no trouble at all. Absolutely everything came out as should be.

what you get in a recipe box

All the fruit and veg that comes with Gousto is organic. The meat is British meat and high quality. Each week recipients can choose 3 out of the 10 meal choices – All the nutritional information is available on the Gousto website about the meal plus how long it will take to prepare and cook. Some more about the Gousto boxes:

  • Delivery is free.
  • If you are not going to be in, you can tell the delivery driver where to keep the box – i.e. with a neighbour, in the porch – The packaging will keep your food safe until the end of the day.
  • Some meals are specially invented with kids in mind – Hidden vegetable but high in nutrients. Gousto realise how fussy children can be sometimes.
  • You can skip a week or two whenever you are on holiday – in fact, there is no tie in period so you can cancel your subscription at any time.

Prices of the boxes are as follows:

  • Meat box for 2 people – £34.99 per week
  • Meat box for 4 people – £49.99 per week
  • Veggie box for 2 people – £33.99 per week
  • Veggie box for 4 people – £47.99 per week

preparing the food

Dsiclosure: We were sent a complete Gousto box for review. All our findings are genuine and we were extremely pleased with the whole experience.

pork mushroom stroganoff

Family Fever

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


  • 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)


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


Little Crackers Juice Drinks – Giveaway

little crackers juice giveaway

Well half term is over and hasn’t it flown? Its back to school for us tomorrow which means back to packed lunches. I have to admit we got into a rut of boring ham sandwiches towards the end of term – I have great plans for exciting pasta and potato dishes in the run up to Christmas. Violet was lucky enough to try some Little Crackers juice cartons at the end of last term though which made a pleasant change for her lunch break.

Little Crackers juice cartons are from The Cracker Drinks Co. and are 75% pure juice with a splash of water. They contain no artificial additives which I really like and come in 4 different flavours,

  • Orange & Lemon
  • Apple & Raspberry
  • Blackcurrant & Cherry
  • Pear & Vanilla

I pinched one of the Apple & Raspberry flavours and really enjoyed it. They are not too strong for even little Toddlers, which makes them perfect for car journeys for all of my 3 too.

I have 4 packs of juice cartons (3 cartons in each pack) to giveaway to one lucky winner which by my reckoning makes 2 weeks of packed lunches and a weekend snack too! Little Crackers Juice Cartons have a RRP of £1.99 for a 3 pack.

juice carton giveaway

Simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter:

Please note: Please leave a blog comment at the end of this blog post, not on the Rafflecopter form or it cannot be counted as an entry (Sorry!). I check all entries to make sure they are valid. The giveaway ends on November 16th at 11.59pm. Sorry UK entries only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

Casa Costello
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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

Autumn Picnics with #Vitapicnics

I’m going to let you into a secret – There’s a place I know. Its rather perfect. Don’t tell everyone – They’ll all want to go. If you’re thinking of setting out on an autumn picnic over the half term – you may want to think about going.

hell's mouth

Let me tell you about Hell’s Mouth (No, not the hole in my face that talks a bit too much – That’s a completely different type of Hell’s Mouth) A wonderful beach just near Abersoch – I’ve probably told you about it before. Perfect for surfing, perfect for walking, perfect for picnicking – Which is why I’m telling you about it.

vita coco kids

Vita Coco Kids have a campaign running this autumn to keep us picnicking. Just because the weather is a bit fresher doesn’t mean to say we can’t eat al fresco anymore. I’m all in favour of this idea and have been for years – We do outdoor day trips all year round – We are your forever optimistic picnickers – There’s not much a good coat and an umbrella can’t protect against.

Vita Coco want me to tell you all about our favourite picnic spot but shhh! remember to keep it quiet!

Let me introduce you to Hell’s Mouth …

FREE car park – This is a perfect spot for surfers so will spot some brilliant camper vans and maybe the odd half naked man getting into a wetsuit. Its a cross we all have to bear! Even better there is a tea van so if you finish your flask – there’s always a top up!

car park hell's mouth

There’s a sandy walk (about 200m) down to the beach – Good exercise but not too far and you are nicely warm by the time you reach the beach. Perfectly safe to let the kids walk on ahead.

walking to the beach

There’s plenty of waves for the active type – Disclaimer: This is Dermot and not me!

deem surfing abersoch

There’s even peace and tranquility (Maybe not if you take your 3 kids)

surf board beach wales

We don’t live on the doorstep of Abersoch – in fact, we have a good 2 1/2 hour drive to get there but it is well worth it. We quite often set out mid morning on a Sunday and don’t get back until late evening. We take an almighty picnic but it soen’t stop us devouring the chippy at Conwy on the way back.

Disclosure: We were sent a fabulous picnic set to encourage us to talk about our favourite picnic spot. Vita Coco Kids is fruit-flavoured Coconut Water using natural flavours, containing on average 20% less sugar and calories than other fruit juice drinks. I tested the drinks out on the kids without telling them that they were new and they went down really well. My 3yo loved the mango & pineapple flavour (Apple & blackcurrant flavour also available)

Makeaway v’s Takeaway with Sainsbury’s

homemade takeaway ideas

We don’t have traditional Saturday nights – We area back too late from Synchro trainings and have to be up at 6am on Sundays. It often means that come Sunday nights, we need something really simple and quick. I’m a bit of a one for a takeaway but Derm is always conscious that they are fatty and often ends up with stomach pains.

Sainsbury’s contacted me and asked if I would take up their Takeaway v’s Makeaway challenge. I had to make a dish that we would probably get from a takeaway and see how it went.

I like my curries to be tasty with a bit of a kick rather than blow your mouth off spicy so made a Thai Green Curry (We actually cheated and made it mid week). We were sent some sticky rice as part of our package from Sainsbury’s to review – I didn’t know Sticky Rice could cause such hilarity. We endured such questions as ‘What sort of glue do they use to make it sticky?’ (AM pretty sure its not Pritt Stick!), ‘Who puts the glue in?’ (have never seen a job vacancy for Glue Inserter), ‘Could you stick your homework together with the sticky rice?’ (Don’t try it!)

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Serves 4-5
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot


  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Small Onion (Chopped Finely)
  • 4 Chicken Breasts (Chopped into 2cm pieces)
  • 1 Red Pepper (Chopped into small cubes)
  • 100g Mixed Frozen Chopped Peppers (This meal is all about speed and easiness!)
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 1/3 jar Sainsbury's Green Thai Curry {sate
  • 50g Cashew Nuts (The plain ones not the salted variety you eat in the pub)
  • Dried Parsley to decorate


Don't be tempted to add more than 1/3 of the jar of Thai curry paste - It will have a pleasant kick with just this amount!


Heat the oil in a large pan and Soften the onion for approx 3 minutes
Add the chicken pieces and continue to cook until just cooked through
Add the peppers (both raw and frozen) I like a crunch of pepper so therefore why I don't use all frozen
Add the can of coconut milk and 1/3rd jar of Sainsbury's Green Thai Curry Paste and stir through. Keep cooking for 2 minutes - should be bubbling.
At the very last minute add the cashew nuts and stir through
Remove from the heat and serve with Sticky Rice

I also eat loads of prawns when I get a takeaway so made Battered Coconut Prawns – These were so easy, quick and tasty that I will never buy in again. Just loved them dipped in a sweet chilli dipping sauce.

coconut battered prawns


Battered Coconut Prawns

Serves 3-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Allergy Shellfish
Meal type Appetizer, Lunch, Snack, Starter
Misc Serve Hot
Crunchy battered coconut prawns perfect dipped into Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce


  • 1 packet Sainsbury's Tiger Prawns (I use Ready-to-eat as again this recipe is all about speed)
  • 1 Ramekin of Plain Flour
  • 1 Beaten Egg
  • 1/2 Ramekin of Desiccated Coconut


Arrange the Ramekins in order Flour, Egg then Coconut. Have a piece of kitchen roll ready to transfer the prawns to when they are just cooked to drain.
Heat up at least 4 Tablespoons vegetable/sunflower oil in a small frying pan
Dip the prawns in the flour, making sure all covered.
Then into the Egg
Then into the coconut
Then fry until both sides are just golden (approx 2-3 minutes)
Leave to drain on the kitchen roll and repeat from Step 3 until all prawns are used up
Eat immediately whilst still hot and dip into Sainsbury's Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce

Dishes that work being made at home:

Boiled Rice – which now includes sticky rice (with or without glue!)
Soups – Hot & Sour Soup is fabulous! Recipe coming soon :-)

Sometimes only the takeaway will do …

Spring Rolls
Prawn Crackers
Chicken Chat – Just haven’t perfected it yet – but I’m determined!

What meals do you turn to the takeaway for? Have you found any dishes that are much better made at home?

Disclosure: We were sent some Sainsbury’s Thai products to try out for our challenge and a voucher to cover the cost of other ingredients. We could choose whatever dish we liked to cook. All in all, we were really pleased with our efforts at a takeaway – we didn’t have that horrible bloated feeling that we often get when we order in and both dishes were really tasty.

#MorningWin with Belvita

belVita #morningwin

Ah, mornings – don’t we all just love them? Here’s how they go in our house …

If we wake before 8.30
If the uniform is not dirty.

If the ham is still in date,
making lunch won’t make us late.

If we find shoes, left and right,
If the kids don’t start to fight.

If all homework is completed,
properly saved, and not deleted.

If the kids get out of bed,
shouted once, not seeing red.

If belVita’s in the tin,
we have what’s called a #MorningWin!

This post is an entry for #MorningWin Linky Challenge sponsored by Belvita Breakfast. Learn more at

#morningwin belvita
This is Violet ‘enjoying’ a belVita – Seriously. she is – you want to see how grumpy she normally looks in a morning!

We were sent some BelVita to test as part of our entry into this competition – We tried 3 flavours, Apricot, Hazelnut & Choc Chip. I had no trouble getting my girls to taste test them – in fact they were devastated when we ran out. Vi’s favourite is the Choc Chip (See pictured – She just hasn’t told her face! She is so not a morning person). My fave by far are the Hazelnut belVita’s – perfect for dashing off on that school run! Even better dipped in a brew!

Bacon, Balsamic & Black Pudding Risotto – Organic September

bacon balsamic black pudding risotto

We are coming towards the end of Organic Food Month and I’ve been trying to do my bit. I will admit to thinking in the past, that organic food was mainly for the rich and picky, expensive cuts of meat and teeny vegetables. I have been educated over the past few months though, and it is great to see that organic products feature more and more on our supermarket shelves. Sainsbury’s have been celebrating Organic Food Month with #OrganicSeptember – they currently have over 250 So Organic food products stocked in stores with more being added all the time.

I was set the challenge of producing a recipe using organic products – I wanted to use every day ingredients that we would have in our fridges and cupboards. The weather started to change last week so I was right in the mood for a comforting risotto. I’ve talked about my love for risotto dishes before and am very familiar with preparing them.

organic food sainsbury's


Bacon, Balsamic & Black Pudding Organic Risotto

Serves 2-3
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Snack
Misc Serve Hot
Organic Bacon, Balsamic & Black Pudding Risotto - Tasty, filling and warming for a cold winter's day


  • 6 Rashers of smoked back bacon
  • 1/2 Small Onion (Chopped finely)
  • 250g Sainsbury's Organic Arborio Risotto Rice
  • 1l Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Slices of Black Pudding
  • 1 knob Butter
  • Sainsbury's Organic Balsamic Vinegar


Chop the bacon into 1-2 cm pieces and cook through at the bottom of a large risotto/saute pan
Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving to one side and add the onions. Sweat in the bacon fat until transparent
Add the Risotto rice and approx 100ml of the vegetable stock, stirring continuously
Keep adding the stock as it evaporates, while still stirring - Do not allow the pan to run dry. This will take approx 15 minutes until the rice is lovely and tender
Meanwhile, grill the black pudding slices for 3 minutes each side and remove from the heat. Chop roughly into chunks - I like some small and some more hearty.
When the rice is just about al dente, add the black pudding and stir through for 1-2 minutes. This will help break down the pieces too.
Season with Salt & Pepper and remove from the heat.
Serve in large bowls and drizzle a generous helping of organic vinegar over the top

What I used: Like a lot of people, I thought that buying organic meant spending a lot. I worked out the following costs for the ingredients I used:

Organic Risotto Rice = 80P (£1.60 per packet)
Organic Onion = 11p
Organic Balsamic Vinegar = erm 5p? (£2.00 per bottle)
Black Pudding (unfortunately I was unable to get organic BP) = 65p (£1.25 for 4 slices)
Vegetable Stock = 20p
Organic Bacon = approx £1.50 (This was the item that was the greatest difference between regular and organic)

Total cost of Risotto for 2-3 = £3.31

Disclosure: I was sent a variety of Sainsbury’s Organic Products and vouchers to cover the costs of any other ingredients used. I was given free choice what recipe to come up with.

Homemade Bread with Sainsbury’s

sainsburys bread mix

I’ve talked before about my new found love for working with yeast – Its like a chemical experiment that suddenly I seem to get right and I love it. I’ve never used a pre-made bread mix though and wondered how they differed from bought bread. Do they really taste superior and yet save time? Sainsburys asked me if I would like to try one of their bread mixes to have a go.

We tried the Golden Multiseed Bread Mix – I made this loaf after school on a Thursday and loved it. All I had to do was mix in water and olive oil and leave to prove for an hour to double in size. I did this just before going on the school run so was all ready to go on my return. It really did double in size too!

The timings on the packet were exactly right – when it says cook for 30 minutes, it was dead on.

I loved the inside of the bread – just dense enough but with some larger air holes (I’m pretty sure this is what Paul Hollywood would call a ‘good structure’) I loved the seeds which made the bread so much more interesting than plain bread.

The verdict from the rest of the Costellos was just as good – When I got back from taking Millie to training later that night, over half of the loaf was gone – Always a good sign?

My tips for the perfect prove:
Turn the oven onto 140C for 10 minutes.
Turn off and leave the door slightly ajar for 5 minutes.
Place the dough in a metal bowl, covered with oiled cling film then place in the oven with the door closed.

making wholemeal bread

Disclosure: I was sent the bread mix to review and a voucher to cover the cost of any extra ingredients needed.

Linking up this weeks with Kate & Colette’s Tried & Tested linky

We're going on an adventure