Walnut & Honey Granola – Bake of the Week

Walnut Honey Cranberries Crunchy Granola

I’ve always had to practically force myself to eat breakfast – I fallen into the typical Mum trap of surviving on strong coffee until about 11am. I would go berserk at my girls if they didn’t eat breakfast though. Time to lead by example?

I do have a few breakfast dishes that I really enjoy actually – when I was working in an office I used to take some crunchy cereal with some fruit and low fat yogurt and happily devour at my desk. I have stopped buying the crunchy clusters of cereal now though – I get tired of there being so few actual clusters and the remainder being dust at the bottom of the packet.

I never thought I’d hear myself say it but I prefer making my own Granola. Now before you think I’ve gone all healthy on you – give it a go. It is really crunchy but filling too. You definitely don’t feel like you are being made to eat dust!

Homemade Breakfast Cereal Walnut Honey Granola



Walnut & Honey Granola

Serves 10+
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 55 minutes
Meal type Breakfast, Snack
Misc Serve Cold
Crunchy clusters of nutty granola with a sweet vanilla and cinnamon taste


  • 100g Porridge Oats
  • 120g Walnut Pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 3 tablespoons Runny Honey
  • 60g Dried Cranberries


Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking parchment
In a arge bowl, add all the ingredients apart from the cranberries
Mix together with 2 metal spoons - or you can get really stuck in and mix together by hand. You will have some clumps that are larger than other - split them if they are significantly larger than the rest of the mix
Spread out on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes - Mix together and fold over the mixture at least 3 times during the bake to make sure it is baked evenly and the nuts don't catch. if you think it may catch slightly, turn the oven down to 170C
Turn off the oven and leave the mixture inside until the oven has cooled or for 30 minutes
When the mixture is cool, mix in the cranberries - Serve with chilled yogurt and chopped grapes. Gorgeous!
Will keep in a glass jar for 2 weeks

Walnut Honey Cranberries Crunchy Homemade Granola

My featured Bake this week is Wonderful Cardamom & Saffron Brioche with a crispy Pecan crust from Lemon & Lime Thyme – A huge welcome to the #Bakeoftheweek clan! (Number 10 in the Roundup pictures)

Bake of the week Roundup

1. Super pretty Raspberry & Coconut Cupcakes from More than An Occasional Baker

2. These Strawberry & Pistachio Financiers would be just perfect at a Summer Afternoon Tea – Patisserie Makes Perfect

3. Gluten-Free & Dairy Free Iced Gems from The Free From Fairy

4. Rainbow Cupcakes from Modern Family Baking

5. Mini Lime Yoghurt Loaf Cakes from Domestic Gothess

6. Ooh I must try rum soaked raisins next time I make a Carrot Cake – Beautiful Carrot Loaf Cakes from Baking in Pyjamas

7. Celebrating the use of vegetables in baking with a good old favourite, Carrot Cake Muffins is Foodie Quine

8. Another warm welcome to a new member of the #Bakeoftheweek team, Multicultural Motherhood who joins us with her delicious Jam Sandwich Biscuits

9. You don’t get much more chocolatey than these Totally Chocolate Choc Chip Cookies from Baking in Pyjamas

Bakes to Share #Bakeoftheweek

11. Almond & Cinnamon Cake from ET Speaks From Home

12. Freshly back from her hols and inspired by her lovely Italian home is Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen with an Italian Soft Raisin Cake with Almonds

13. Perfect after school treat, Slow Cooked Apple & Raspberry Oat crumble from Baking Queen 74

14. How pretty is this Lemon Curd Swiss Roll from Petite Raisin – We really do have some exceptional bakers that join in with #Bakeoftheweek

15. I really like that this Vanilla Salt Salted Caramel Cookie Cake is edged in buttercream rather than smothered with it – less is definitely more in this case! Baking in Pyjamas.

Thanks as ever to you all for taking such an interest in #Bakeoftheweek. I really enjoy visiting all your blogs and wonder each week what you will come up with next.

We are now open for next week’s bakes –
* Up to 3 from each blog are allowed
* Please add the badge below to your post to share the Bake of the Week message
* No theme so all bakes and slow cooked items allowed
* I comment, tweet, Pin & Google+ all entries aswell as link in the roundup
* If you add your bakes, feel free to Tweet me @CasaCostello to let me know and I will RT

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Our Bake of the Week Pinterest board now has nearly 500 Bakes on it – Follow the board to keep up to date with all the other Bakes of the Week

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

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com


Dulce De Leche Marshmallow Brownies #Bakeoftheweek

Dulce de Leche Marshmallow Brownies

I don’t often blog about Brownies – They feel like a bit of cheat as they are so easy. Brownies are definitely my go to bake if I need something sweet in a rush. And Oh My! these are delicious!

I’ve given approximate guidelines for the Dulce de Leche and Marshmallows but go for your life, sprinkle liberally. Who is to know?

My tips for perfecting brownies are:
* Baking Parchment – Never Greaseproof paper, you’ll be picking it off the brownies for weeks.
* Silicone Tin – No idea why, it just works.
* Take them out of the oven 2 minutes before you think they are done.

Dulce de Leche Marshmallow Brownies #Bakeoftheweek

Dulce de Leche Marshmallow Brownies

Serves 8+
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Rich decadent Brownies with a soft centre, topped with the most gorgeous Dulce de Leche and sweet marshmallows


  • 10oz Butter
  • 5oz Caster Sugar
  • 7oz Light Brown Sugar
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 5 tablespoons Golden Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 5oz Plain Flour
  • pinch Salt
  • 5 tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 5 tablespoons Dulce de Leche
  • 1 Handful of Mini Marshmallows


Preheat the oven to 180C and line a silicone tin (I use 9" square) with Baking Parchment
Using an electric mixer, whisk the butter and sugars until well combined
Add the eggs, one at a time whilst mixing on a medium setting
Turn the mixer off and add the syrup and vanilla whilst stirring with a spatula
Fold in the flour, salt and cocoa until combined
Pour into the tin and spread out evenly - this is a mixture that doesn't rise so you don't need to leave a hole in the centre
Spoon over the Dulce de Leche - If your hand slips and you manage to add more don't worry ;-)
Sprinkle over the marshmallows and bake for 25 minutes - check how it is going after 20 minutes and reduce the temp if the edges are starting to catch
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack
Cut into even squares and enjoy with a cuppa

In honour of my Brownies, I have also featured another Brownie recipe for this week’s Featured Bake – The lovely blog, Petite Raisin has shared with us her Flourless Black Bean Brownies – Fudginessa and Chocolate Chips – What more could we ask for?

Black Bean Brownies

Bake of the Week #bakeoftheweek

1. Making Victoria Sponge interesting with Lemon Ripple – can almost feel the tang from here from Baking in Pyjamas
2. A Girl and Her Home has made the most perfect Carrot Cake complete with Vanilla Bean Frosting
3. And another perfect Carrot Cake with Neilsen Massey Vanilla Bean Frosting - Definitely a week for carrots! Domestic Gothess
4. I defy you not to gasp when you see Domestic Gothess’ Cookie Dough Chocolate Brownie Layer Cake
5. Useful for birthday parties, an Easy Thomas Cake from Modern Family Bakes
6. Finding another use for that cornmeal I need to use up is The Little Italian Kitchen with her Sbrisolona Crumble Cake
7. Hay Cakes has made a stunning Double Chocolate Cake with brilliant decorations
8. Classic but beautiful combination of Chocolate and Strawberries in Domestic Gothess’ Tart
9. Baking Queen, your flavour combinations are awesome! Marzipan & Pistachio Cardomom Buns
10. Simple yet stunning Coconut decoration on this Coconut Layer Cake from Baking in Pyjamas

Bake of the Week #bakeoftheweek

11. Truly beautiful Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies from Petite Raisin
12. I’m loving the name Brookies this week – So Creative from The Not SO Creative Cook
13. I’m wishing we had some of The Not SO Creative Cook’s Mini Challah Rolls for tomorrow’s picnic!
14. Adorable Mini Cheesecakes with the shiniest Blueberry Compote from The Dream Baker
15. Wow to the Nutella Souffle that is designed to catch a blob of Ice Cream in the middle – The Not SO Creative Cook
16. There is not a kid in the land that wouldn’t want a try of these cute green sugar cookie bars from Baking in Pyjamas
17. This lady has a talent – making Butternut Squash pretty with her Butternut Squash Muffins – ET Speaks From Home

Its back to school next week so normal service should be resumed with the roundup posted on Tuesday – Don’t forget there’s no theme, all welcome if they are baked in an oven or slow cooker. Please try to comment on at least one other entry to share the love.

Thanks once again for all your entries and for being such a brilliant part of the #Bakeoftheweek family – Really appreciate it!

If you are wondering where #FoodieFriday is – I’m hoping to be back next week with a full roundup – #FoodieFriday will be incorporated into a new weekend linky where we look at what you have been cooking, where you have been, what you have been reading and what you have been crafting over the past week – I really want to celebrate my love of all things craft, reading and cooking, so watch this space!

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Bacon, Onion & Basil Quiche #Bakeoftheweek

bacon, onion basil quiche

I’ve got news for you. Real men do eat quiche! This is the quiche that finally got Mr C eating a quiche and declaring it ‘Niiiice’! Hurrah, at last. It also turns out that Baby T also loves quiche – firmly polishing off both her sisters’ slices that they turned their noses up at. Oh well, their loss.

I don’t know about you, but after Easter weekend I need a breather from baking cakes and sweet stuff. We are wading through the chocolate steadily but the last thing we need is more cake. I like a good quiche but don’t often bake one as up until now it has only been me eating them.

I’m super happy with the pastry too – very light and crumbly and no soggy bottom. This is definitely not a recipe for the dieters – a whole tub of double cream, bacon and cheese but served with a crisp salad, you needn’t feel too guilty. There’s no guilt allowed around food at the Costellos!

basil bacon onion quiche


Bacon, Onion & Basil Quiche

Serves 6-8
Prep time 45 minutes
Cook time 50 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 35 minutes
Allergy Egg
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Crumbly pastry encases a tasty Bacon, Onion & Basil Quiche filling - Perfect for a summer's lunch


  • 220g Plain Flour
  • 1 Medium Egg Yolk
  • 2 Medium Eggs + 1 Egg White
  • 110g Butter (Very cold, chopped into tiny squares)
  • 4 tablespoons Water
  • 1 packet Bacon (Around 200-250g with the rinds cut off)
  • 8 Large Basil Leaves (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Finely Chopped)
  • 284ml Double Cream
  • 150g Grated Cheese (I used medium Cheddar)
  • Salt & Pepper


Pastry Case
Grease a 9" tart/quiche tin with butter
In a medium sized bowl, rub in the cubes of butter using the tips of your fingers until just combined. Add a pinch of salt
Add the egg yolk and 3 tbsp of the water and mix together with a blunt knife - You may not need to add the final tbsp of water if the dough comes together without
Bring the dough together and wrap in double cling film. Refridgerate for 30-40 minutes
Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Press the dough against the tin with a spare piece of pastry and fill in any gaps. Leave about 1/2 cm hanging over the sides of the tin. Prick lightly with the tip of a sharp knife and put back in the fridge for 15 minutes
Blind bake the pastry case at 200C for 15-20 minutes by covering with tinned foil and weighing down with either beans, rice or lentils
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes
Quiche Filling
While the pastry is chilling, sauté the bacon and onions for 5 minutes until cooked and leave to cool for 10 minutes
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the leftover egg white. Add the tub of double cream and mix together
Add in the chopped basil, bacon and onion and mix together
Grate in the cheese and add plenty of pepper - You should not need to add any more salt as there is plenty in the bacon
Pour into the cooled pastry case and bake at 185C for 20 minutes
After the first 20 minutes, turn the quiche around to ensure an even bake and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes until the top is golden and the quiche loses its wobble

I thought I’d go the whole hog and have a savoury featured post too for this week – I’m sharing Snap Happy Bakes’ Lasagne. I too have the same thoughts about losing my cookery skills whenever it is anyone new over for dinner! This make-the-day-before lasagne looks just the thing to easy the worry.


I couldn’t resist mentioning 2 featured posts this week though – This Jewel Box Cake from Jibber Jabber has stuck in my mind all week = Brilliant and so easy to achieve with glace cherries

Jewel Box Cake

For this week’s roundup I have separated the bakes into Individual Portioned Bakes and Large Bakes:

bake of the week

1. There’s beautiful Coconut Easter Eggs and exciting cookbook news over at The Lass In The Apron
2. How luxurious do these Caramel Kiss Brownies from Foodie Quine look – so dark and tempting!
3. Super cute and colourful Smarties Cookies from Giraffes can Bake
4. Discussing things that make us smile and especially these Best Chocolate Chip Cupcakes from The Not SO Creative Cook
5. Traditional Peanut Pancakes aka Apam Balik from ET Speaks From Home – I love how Bake of the Week helps me learn about different cultures and their foods
6. Making good use of potato flour and producing marvellous Gluten Free Blondies this week is Winnie’s Blog
7. Celebrating luxurious weekend cooking and long showers with lemon madeleine cookies is Petite Raisin – Welcome to the gang!
8. Being ever so creative with her Homemade Pop Tarts is Mummy Whiskers
9. Finally, a wonderful recipe for non mixed peel Hot Cross Buns! The GF Alchemist is on my favourites list!
10. Just because it is free from dairy, gluten, eggs, nuts doesn’t mean you do without yumminess – Banoffee Cheesecake from Free From Farmhouse
11. Utterly cute and easy to achieve, Mickey Mouse Cupcakes from Modern Family Baking
12. Combining coffee & butterscotch to create these tasty looking cupcakes is Mummy Mishaps
13. I’m going to let Modern Family Baking off with a non baked item this week as they are so cute! Fruit Pops that would make perfect decoration for any party table
14. Domestic Gothess is keeping it simple this week with her impressive Double Chocolate & Almond Cookies
15. I hardly ever bake using Saffron – These Glazed Saffron Buns from Jens Food have convinced me to change that straightaway. Just stunning.

bake of the week

16. Mixing Mango with Banana Bread to make a wonderfully interesting bake full of energy – I can see me making this for the athlete in the family – Giraffes Can Bake
17. No shortcuts from Domestic Gothess with her Pear & Ginger Tarte Tatin – Tarte Tatins are definitely a favourite on this year’s Masterchef which I am sooo hooked on!
18. Moist and full of whole grain goodness is Baking Queen 74’s Slow Cooker Apricot Spelt Loaf
19. Chocolate is not compulsory at Mummy Whiskers over Easter – they celebrated with a fabulous Cherry Bakewell Cake
20. Multicultural Motherhood is teaching us about a Turkish Breakfast Dish with her Cheese Borek this week
21. Delightful Eccles Cake from Naking in Pyjamas – lovely bake
22. How luxurious is this Kahlua Drenched Espresso Cake? Super rich from Baking in Pyjamas
23. Perfect for kiddies and adults alike – Mini Egg Chocolate Covered Blondies from Baking Queen 74
24. Why not start every day with a serving of freshly made Fruit Bread Crown? Baking Queen 74
25. Easter weekend may be over but its definitely not too late to make an Easter Simnel Tea Loaf courtesy of Hijacked by Twins
26. A stunning GF Chocolate Swiss Roll from Winnie’s Blog
27. Celebrating important 6th birthdays this week is Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen with her delicious Hazelnut & Chocolate Birthday Cake
28. Rich Vanilla Bean Buttercream completes this Victoria Sponge from Baking in Pyjamas
29. For a first Easter Simnel cake this is pretty impressive from Searching for Spice – Traditional and beautiful
30. Subtle beautiful colours in Jaisee Mummy’s Spring Pastel Cake

Link now open for next week’s Bake of the Week – I’m hoping to be posting the round up on Tuesday/Wed as usual – Easter holidays could mean anything though! As usual please add the badge to your post to be included in the roundup and no more than 3 bakes per blog please.

I’m steadily catching up on all the sharing – thanks for bearing with me. Everything is shared on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ as well as being commented on.

There’s no theme so feel free to join in if your post has been anywhere near a slow cooker or oven – All bakes allowed!

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Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Relish – Secret Recipe Club

Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Relish

My second month of being a member of the Secret Recipe Club and no less exciting (or nerve-wracking). I was paired up this month with Sara from the Cupcake Muffin. I did expect a blog mainly about baking so had in mind that I would have to do another cake post (what a hardship!) But no! Sara covers all sorts of recipes – in fact there are hundreds to choose from. I could spend hours flicking through her recipe (in fact, I did) but finally I had to make a decision.

I wanted to make a savoury recipe – I’m part of this club to expand my knowledge and repertoire of all types of cooking. There was one that kept catching my eye and I kept coming back to all month – Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Relish.

secret recipe club

We are huge fans of relish here – A good relish can jazz up the most boring of ham sandwiches or cheese & crackers. I’m out of stock of my famous Costello Chutney so thought Sara’s relish would be an good substitute.

I wasn’t wrong! Super simple to make – We roasted the peppers when we were cooking our huge legs of lamb for Easter lunch and the other ingredients took less than 5 minutes to prepare. We ended up just using the relish as a dip with Doritos which made a great snack when we were flagging after a long day celebrating Easter. We have plenty more relish/dip left in the fridge for tomorrow’s picnic.

Sara’s recipe calls for Aleppo pepper which I wasn’t familiar with. After turning to trusty Google, I found that it originates from Syria, therefore making it incredibly difficult to get hold of due to the civil war there. Advice from other cooks is to substitute with 4 parts paprika to 1 part cayenne. Seemed to work a treat. I think I’ll be a little braver next time and maybe add a chilli for extra kick.

Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Relish Dip

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Easter Nest Cupcakes with Stork

Stork Easter Nest Cupcakes

Happy Easter! One of the loveliest days of the year – full of pastel colours, chocolate and little chicks. Hope you are having a super day.

You may already be sorted for Easter baking but in case you are still yearning for something sweet and crunchy, the bakers at Stork have invented the Easter Nest Cupcake for our delight. All about making the humble cupcake that little bit more interesting with the addition of their very own Cornflake Nest on top, they are speedy to make and great for sharing. If that wasn’t enough, we are encouraged to add a couple of Mini Eggs to the top for decoration too!

Easter Nest Cupcakes

We enjoyed ours at our family Easter lunch with this bunch of crazy kiddies! Safe to say, the cupcakes went down very well! We even played Egg & Spoon balancing using the Easter Cupcakes – They weren’t very good at balancing!

Egg & Spoon with Easter Cupcakes

Easter Nest Cup Cakes
Servings: 12
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
115g (4 oz) Stork tub
115g (4 oz) caster sugar
2 large eggs
115g (4 oz) self-raising flour, sieved together with
1Ž2 teaspoon baking powder

Chocolate Nest
40g (1 1/2 oz) Stork tub
3 tablespoons golden syrup
6 tablespoons drinking chocolate powder
18 tablespoons cornflakes or branflakes
To decorate: Cadbury Mini Eggs


1. Place all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat until well mixed. Place in 12 muffin paper cases

2. Bake in preheated oven 190°C, 170°C fan, Gas mark 5 for 15 -20 minutes. Cool.

3. For chocolate nest, gently melt Stork and syrup and stir in chocolate and cornflakes. Place a tablespoon of mix on each cupcake in a nest effect and leave to set. Serve decorated with Easter eggs.

 Energy                   Fat          Saturates     Sugars  Salt
1079 kJ/ 281 kcal 12,8 g     4,2 g          24,3 g   0,8 g
14 %* 18 %* 21 %* 27 %* 13 %*

Stork have also provided us with full step by step instructions on how to make these cupcakes plus a super clear video featuring the lovely Ruth from The Pink Whisk.

Violet Phoebe

Make the Easter Nest Cupcakes your own with some suggestions for adding variety:

  • Try some chopped Glace Cherries mixed into the Cornflake Nest mixture
  • Add some edible glitter for super sparkly nests or some sprinkles for yet more crunch
  • Flavour your cupcakes with any of the following:
    • Lemon/Lime Zest, Almond Extract (1/2 tsp), Replace 1 Tbsp of the flour with 1 Tbsp of Drinking Chocolate powder or 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • Add 1 tsp Raspberry jam to the top of the cakes just before adding the Nests – The mixture of Chocolate & Raspberry is incredible

Definitely make a double batch – these disappear fast!

Easter Nest Cupcakes

Disclosure: This is a commissioned post for Stork

Lemon & Almond Easter Cake #FoodieFriday

Lemon Almond Easter Sponge Cake

Hopefully everyone is having a pleasing Good Friday – The weather is rather dreary so I am happy to be copped up indoors. Mr C has done a scoot around the shops for last minute Easter Eggs – I normally buy them as soon as they come out in February but time has slipped by this year.

We are having a family day on Sunday and have bought the biggest leg of lamb I’ve ever seen – I’m not convinced it was actually a lamb looking at the size of it – Its more like a dinosaur leg! Of course, for any celebration, you must also have cake so I’ve practised our Easter cake for this year. I didn’t want anything stodgy like a Simnel Cake so opted for a light Lemon & Almond Easter Sponge Cake instead. I have made homemade lemon curd this morning and have added lashings of whipped double cream … and a couple of Easter chicks for good measure!

Lemon & Almond Easter Cake

Serves 8+
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 45 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Easter
The cake can be made in advance and frozen for 1 month. The lemon curd can be made 1 week in advance and kept in a sterilised jar in the fridge


  • 225 + 175g Caster Sugar
  • 225 + 125g Butter
  • 8 Medium Eggs
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 4 Lemons (Zest of 4, Juice of 3)
  • 200g Self Raising Flour
  • 25g Ground Almonds
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 1 Tub Whipping Cream
  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • Yellow Gel Food Colour


Sponge Cake
Preheat the oven to 160C and line 2 x 8" Cake tins with baking parchment
Using an electric mixer on a medium speed, whisk the 225g of caster sugar and 225g butter together until pale & fluffy
Whisk 4 of the eggs in a jug and add gradually to the sugar/butter mixture until well combined
Add the zest of 2 & juice of 1 of the lemons & almond extract - You may need to add 1 tbsp of the flour to stop it curdling. Turn off the whisk
Mix the flour and ground almonds together lightly and fold gently into the cake mixture
When all ingredients are just combined, divide equally between the 2 cake tins and bake for 45 minutes. A skewer should come out clean when fully cooked
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on wire racks
Lemon Curd
Whisk the remaining eggs and egg yolks in a large microwaveable jug until just starting to get fluffy
Add the remaining sugar, butter, lemon zest and juice of lemons and mix with a small hand whisk
Cook in the microwave at 30 seconds intervals for at least 8 minutes - You must use the hand whisk in-between each cooking session to stop the eggs from scrambling
I also make sure I wash the hand whisk in between the cooking sessions as by the end your eggs will be cooked but you are using a whisk that has had raw egg on it - I'm paranoid!
The last 2 sessions will see the curd thickening significantly
Divide into sterilised jars if you are not using all the curd at once and allow to cool fully before placing in the fridge or using
Decorating the cake
Once each of the elements if fully cooled, spread a thick layer of curd on the bottom tier
Add a layer of thick whipped cream and place the top layer of cake on top
Make the icing sugar quite thick so it doesn't run down the sides of the cake and sprinkle more lemon zest over the top - You could also sprinkle some grilled marzipan over the top if you want it more almondy
Place 2 cute little Easter chicks on top and serve. Happy Easter!

lemon almond easter cake

Ginger pear pancakes

This week’s featured #FoodieFriday entry must win the award for the most unusual name – Birnenpfannkuchen or Ginger Pear & Ginger Pancake courtesy of HodgePodgeDays – Described as a bit like a sweet Toad in the Hole, it would definitely be a winner in this house!

foodie friday

1. Domestic Gothess has given us a fascinating insight into her childhood along with some spectacular Caramelised Red Onion & Goat’s Cheese Tarts this week

2. I’m loving how Sadhna from Herbs, Spices & Tradition is expanding my knowledge of different cooking techniques – Her Chhole Bhature with puffy Naans looks just up my street. Definitely one to try.

3. You seriously cannot beat an excellent Beef dish and Foodie Quine’s Spring Roast of Scotch Beef looks very tempting.

4. Nina & Co has written a really thought provoking post on whether Pay what you like restaurants are a genius idea or foolhardy? What are your thoughts? I rather like the idea and would love to go to one soon.

5. Very much admiring the bread making skills of the Gluten Free Alchemist with her Perfectly fluffy Gluten Free Oat Bread

6. Also featuring super cute Easter Chicks is Snap Happy Bakes with her incredible Cup a Cake – I love the fact that Cup a Cakes are so acceptable now

7. Foodie Quine has shared with us her Spaghetti Carbonara Frittata which looks so filling and hearty. Fabulous!

8. I agree with Kate from the Gluten Free Alchemist – Her Banoffee Cheesecake with Salted Caramel definitely screams EAT ME!

9. Encouraging us to make at home rather than takeaway with Sweet & Sour Chicken is Wheelie Good Meals

10. Super speedy and easy Pesto Double – also masquerading as Pesto & Cheese Tart – Continuing my love of Puff Pastry this week is Wheelie Good Meals

11. If you are still in need of sweetness for an Easter dessert, why not try Miss Pond’s Vanilla & Chocolate Cheesecake – Simply stunning.

The link is open from now until next Thursday for your foodie posts- I love that we are not only getting recipes but general foodie posts and information too. Please add the linky badge to your post to let everyone know that you are part of the Foodie Friday team. I will be emailing the winners of the Featured post each week for them to place a ‘Featured on #FoodieFriday’ badge on their site if they wish.

* As usual, feel free to link up to 3 posts (old ones are fine as long as they display the badge.
* I will share all posts on Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ aswell as commenting.
* Try to visit at least one other entry if you have time – Feel free to use #foodiefriday to let them know how you found them.
* If you want to tweet me @CasaCostello with your link & #FoodieFriday, I will do my best to RT

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Potato & Ham Croquettes #FoodieFriday

potato ham croquettes


I promise you, once you have made your own Potato Croquettes you will never go back to shop bought again. I used to love Potato Croquettes meals when I was young and have to admit for years thinking that making your own would be too much of a faff. But seriously, they are very much worth it.

I’m always wary of saying a recipe is great for using up leftover potato as it sounds a bit pretentious and quite frankly I don’t want to presume that everyone else is as bad at portion control as me. If you end up boiling potatoes especially for this recipe though, its not the end of the world.

potato ham croquettes salad


Potato & Ham Croquettes

Serves 2-3
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Crunchy potato and ham croquettes with a soft inside - you can experiment with various fillings - great with mozzarella or some finely chopped onion


  • 400g Mashed potatoes (If you have less its fine, just try one less egg to start with)
  • 4 Eggs (Beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons Plain Flour
  • 50g Smoked Ham
  • 2 Bread Rolls (Lightly toasted and broken into breadcrumbs)
  • Vegetable Oil for frying
  • Salt & Pepper


In a medium bowl, mix together the potato, 2 eggs, ham and flour until well combined. Season with Salt and Pepper.
Shape into croquette shapes about 1 inch wide with your hands - You can leave to set in the fridge if you like but I don't tend to bother
Place the remaining 2 eggs in a small bowl and dip a croquette in one at a time throughly covering it all
Immediately dip the eggy croquette in the breadcrumbs and cover well
Fry in a small frying pan, keeping constantly moving. You do not need the heat to be very high - you want the inside to be cooked and the outside to be golden not brown - This will take approx 3-4 minutes per croquette
Remove from the pan and place on a piece of kitchen roll to remove any excess oil
Serve whilst still hot with a tomato, onion and basil salad

Mami Tales describes her Nutella Brigadeiros as a Chocolatey Bomb that goes off in your mouth – Sounds perfect fun to me. I know my girls would go wild for these – We accidentally ran out of Nutella earlier in the week. Tara soon let us know about it! Congratulations on being this week’s featured #FoodieFriday post!

Nutella Brigadeiros

foodie friday

1. Talking about her love of social media and sharing her fabulous Cream Cracker Fish Recipe is Foodie Quine

2. A warm welcome to Claire from Six Degress of Harmony armed with tips on baked beans and her recipe for Crazily Easy Vegetarian Quesadillas

3. The perfect combination in one – Cookies and Brownies – What’s not to love? Madhouse Family Reviews

4. Sadhna from Herbs, Spices & Traditions deserves a medal for making 100 of these delicious looking bread rolls for her party – If you want to make a few less, she has shown us how!

5. Sharing a truly magnificent Caramelised Cauliflower – Foodie Quine

6. An ode to St Delia Smith with her GF Squidgy Chocolate Cake that looks absolutely divine – the Gluten Free Alchemist

7. How can something that looks so tasty be so good for you? Rocket & Mixed Veg Bean Burgers from Mummy Mishaps

8. Catering for my love of Amaretti with her Ricotta & Amaretti Cake is Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen

9. Try to pronounce these babies from Bakewell Junction – Trc’niegl (or Zeppoles if you are a chicken like me!)

10. You won’t get many recipes with as few ingredients as this one – Singing Swede from Foodie Quine

A huge thanks as always to everyone who entered this week – well done for spreading the word about #FoodieFriday, great to see that we are growing. Remember, there is no theme – all food posts are welcome and are shared as long as they have the badge. If you would like to tweet me to let me know you have entered, include the hashtag #FoodieFriday and I will do my best to RT (@CasaCostello in case you don’t know me on Twitter)

If you would like more inspiration on recipes, feel free to follow the #FoodieFriday Pinterest Board:

Follow Casa Costello’s board Foodie Friday on Pinterest.

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Cornmeal Pancakes – Foodie Friday

cornmeal pancakes

I’m still using up that bag of cornmeal and remembered how amazing cornmeal pancakes are – Crispier and more cake-like than normal pancakes. How could I forget how divine they can be? And so quick to make – This batch were measured, made and photographed in 10 minutes! Now currently being devoured by Millie as I type. The perfect after school snack.

I’ve served them with bacon & maple syrup but they are equally good with whatever pancake topping you usually use.

Cornmeal Pancakes

Serves 12
Prep time 4 minutes
Cook time 4 minutes
Total time 8 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Lunch, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Speedy after school snack = crispy cornmeal pancakes with a fluffy, light centre


  • 90g Cornmeal
  • 65g Plain Flour
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons Caster Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 250ml Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • Vegetable oil for cooking


Mix all the dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, salt & sugar) in a medium bowl
In a jug, measure out the milk. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk.
Gradually add to the dry mixture, constantly whisking. Leave to settle for 1-2 minutes while your frying pan is heating up
Add 3 scoops to a frying pan allowing space for the pancakes to spread a little
As soon as they start to bubble on the top (after 1-2 minutes), turn over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes
Stack on top of each other and add your favourite topping

 Last week’s #FoodieFriday was all about the giveaway for the cake book (Still time to enter until 12th April). We still had some entries though and my featured post for last week is Herbs, Spices and Tradition with her Tandoori Naan (Stuffed with Potatoes and Onion) Sounds amazing doesn’t it? I love Sadhna’s post for its explanation of family tradition of cooking in the tandoor.

stuffed Tandoori Naan

Right so onto this week – Lets spread the word that FoodieFriday is well and truly back. All posts are shared on Twitter & Pinterest (& Google+ too). I comment on each one and feature one if not more post in the following week’s roundup.

Here’s the badge to include in your post:

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Chocolate Orange Cornmeal Biscotti – Bake of the Week

chocolate orange cornmeal biscotti

I have recently fallen in love with homemade biscotti – Not quite as harsh on the teeth as shop bought and so much more versatile – So many flavours match perfectly with this type of dough. I like my chocolate orange to be properly tangy so use the zest of 2 oranges. The chocolate also has to be properly identifiable so I use Extra Dark chocolate but feel free to experiment with how you like it. I’ve had cornmeal in the cupboard for ages and decided to mix this in with the flour – As well as adding a lovely yellowy tinge, it makes the biscotti extra crumbly. I love using ingredients up in my kitchen, with successful results!

Chocolate Orange Cornmeal Biscotti

Serves 16
Prep time 1 hours, 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 2 hours
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Slightly softer than shop bought biscotti - you are in less danger of breaking your teeth! No less tasty though - Can be kept for up to a week in a biscuit tin


  • 150g Caster Sugar
  • 115g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Zest of Oranges
  • 125g Plain Flour
  • 170g Cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Grind of Salt
  • 100g Dark Chocolate (Cut into small (tiny) pieces)


Line a large baking tray with baking parchment
Using an electric mixer, whisk together the butter and sugar until well combined and light in colour
Add the eggs gradually whilst still mixing at a medium speed
Add the orange zest
In a bowl (or your weighing scales bowl if you are feeling lazy) stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt
Add to the sugar/egg combo a tablespoon at a time whilst mixing on a slow speed - Stop the mixer as soon as all the flour has been added.
Add the chocolate and stir through until spread evenly throughout the dough
Split the dough mixture into 2 halves and lightly shape into a long flat sausage, wrap in double cling film
Freeze for up to one hour - it will really stiffen up - Preheat the oven to 180C
You might need to flatten down the dough and spread out until both sections measure approx 20cm long and 4cm wide
Bake for 25 mins
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes
Using a saw knife, slice the biscotti into pieces (about 1-1.5cm thick) - The end pieces can be the parts that you nibble on
Place cut side down on the baking tray and bake for another 8 minutes
Turn over so the other cut side is on top and continue to bake for a further 7 minutes
Allow to cool on a wire rack - Perfect served dipped into a hot cup of coffee!

before cutting biscotti

Arranging the biscuits for their final bake …

how to make biscotti

I’m rather well known for my love of Creme Eggs so there was an obvious featured Bake of the Week for me this week – Baking Queen 74’s fantastic Creme Egg Chocolate Ganache Tart – I love that people are being so creative with their use of Creme Egg’s this year. I’ve yet to make some Spring 2015 Creme Eggs Easter figures yet so this Tart has inspired me to get on with them!

creme egg chocolate tart

bake of the week

1. Making a brilliant job of inserting shapes into French Sable Cookies this week is The Dream Baker – I will have a go at this very soon, I keep promising myself.

2. I’m a massive fan of anything tiny so completely adore these Red Velvet Crinkle Kisses from The Not So Creative Cook.

3. Nova from Cherished By Me tells us these Coconut Chocolate Bars are a cross between a Twix and a Bounty – I’m sold!

4. The lovely Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen has got the biggest, most exciting announcement ever on her blog this week – I’m not going to spoil it for you, pop over to her post to find out what it is!

5. Any mother would be delighted to be presented with such a beautiful Mothers Day Cake Bouquet – ET Speaks From Home

6. I’ve got to try these fabulous Marshmallow Cookies from The Not So Creative Cook – Just love the step by step instructions.

7. I just love the thought of the addition of lavender flowers in this Apple Shortcake with Honey & Cinnamon -This bake from Winnie’s Blog has got just about everything you could ever want!

8. There’s no stopping ET Speaks From Home this week – She’s even found time to make the cutest Mini Monsters!

9. Making a terrific job of her sugarcraft with this Baseball Cakelet is ET Speaks From Home

10. Getting arty with her White Chocolate & Vanilla Choux Buns is Eileen from ET Speaks From Home

11. Experimenting with Coconut Oil this week is Tales from the Kitchen Shed with her Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscuit Bars – Looks like the experiment worked :-)

12. Beautiful photography and an even more stunning Lime & Coconut Loaf cake is A Girl and Her Home

13. A perfect Honey & Date Syrup Swiss Roll from Winnie’s Blog – The Swiss Roll may just be the most versatile cake ever!

I have had the loveliest message today from one of our Bake of the Week contributors that they have nominated me for a Brilliant in Blogging award – What a lovely thing to do. I’m so chuffed. Details of the awards are here if you want to take part – Any nominations would be lovely but totally not expected. I was so pleased to be there at the awards last year and am even more pleased that someone has thought of me this year. Good luck to everyone!

Thank you as always to everyone who has taken part in Bake of the Week – I really appreciate it. I will continue to mention each entry and link back to you as long as possible – Takes forever but feel it is only right if you have taken the time to enter. Please also add the Bake of the Week badge to your post and if you have time, comment on a couple of other entries.

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Let's Talk Mommy

credit crunch munch

This Is How We Roll Thursday

Joining in with A Simple Pantry for their Create & Share party I’m also joining in with this month’s CreditCrunchMunch because I’m finally using up that bag of cornmeal! Pop over to these lovely people to see who else is entering: Jo’s Kitchen, FabFoodForAll, Fuss Free Flavours and also Domesblissity Thriving on Thursdays

Sunshine Cookies – Bake of the Week

sunshine cookies

Its been a gorgeous day today – the sort of sunshine that makes everyone smile. You can’t help but comment in shops on how lovely the weather is – terribly British I know!

In honour of Spring doing its hardest to appear again, I’ve carried on with the Spring baking theme with my Sunshine Cookies. Soft, sweet cookies with a citrus zing. Totally addictive, one will never be enough.

Sunshine Cookies

Serves 25
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 27 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Casual Party
Soft citrus cookies with a sugary crispy shell


  • 100g Granulated Sugar
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Oranges (The Zest Of)
  • 1 Lemon (The Zest Of)
  • 120g Softened Butter
  • 220g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 6 tablespoons Icing Sugar


Preheat the oven to 180C and line 3 baking trays with baking parchment
Mix the sugar and the zest of the orange & lemon.
Using an electric mixer, whisk in the butter until fully combined and light and airy
Keep the mixer on a medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla whilst still mixing.
Reduce the speed to a low setting & add the flour a tablespoon at a time, until just added.
Turn off the mixer and fold through with a spatula until just combined
Put the icing sugar in a dessert bowl - Sift if contains any lumps
Using a dessert spoon, scoop up a spoons worth of dough (it is a sticky, loose dough) and drop into the icing sugar. Coat all over the dough and roughly mould into a ball shape.
Arrange no more than 12 dough balls on an oven tray and bake for 12 minutes until just turning golden
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack
They will have a lovely sugary shell and be light, fluffy and soft inside

sunshine orange lemon cookies

My featured Bake of the Week from last week’s entries are these delightful little Chocolate Bundtlettes – How cute? And topped with a strawberry is even cuter. Like me, Jhuls from The Not So creative Cook is a migraine sufferer and is contemplating the relationship between migraines and chocolate in her post. Doesn’t put either of us off eating it though!

chocolate bundtlettes

I also want to give a special mention to Baking Queen 74 for inspiring me to make these Brownies – They are just too tempting. I’ve ended up buying 3 lots of raspberries this week, just because of these pictures!

raspberry brownies

And onto the roundup:

bake of the week

1. Oh good gracious, how incredible does this Lemon & Coconut Pull Apart Bread look from the Domestic Gothess? Those spring colours and flavours!
2. Oatmeal Peanut Butter Scones – I’m imagining eating these on a hot sunny afternoon in the garden – Baking in PJs
3. Giraffes can Bake asks who could possibly not like Creme Brûlée? I’m afraid that’s me! Even I have admit that her Lime & Ginger Brûlées look wonderful though
4. Haman’s Ears or otherwise known as Baklawa Hamantachem from Winnie’s Blog – I love anything with nuts and cinnamon!
5. Tres Leches Cake is nowhere near as popular in the UK as it should be – This looks one of the best from Giraffes Can Bake
6. Reminiscent of visiting my Grandma’s: Raspberry Coconut Loaf from Baking in Pyjamas
7. Salted Honey Walnut Pie from Baking in Pyjamas – Such an unusual combination of flavours – I bet it tastes amazing
8. Uber pretty Triangular Shortbread from Winnie’s Blog. I can feel a Baked Shapes Roundup coming soon!
9. Always popular at this time of year but consistently go down super quick with the kids, Mini Egg Rice Krispie Treats from Baking in Pyjamas
10. Small but perfectly formed, Chorizo, Red Pepper & Cheddar Quiches from Jen’s Food


11. Happy 1st Birthday to The Dream Baker who is celebrating the first whole year of her lovely blog this week with this Chiffon Chocolate Cake
12. Showing off her incredible baking talent with this Almond Vanilla Twisted Bread is the Domestic Gothess
13. This pretty Orange Raspberry Swirl Bundt has been torturing me all over the internet this week: the Gluten Free Alchemist
14. Perfect looking baked donuts from Edible Reflections – Amazing for a first time donut baker
15. Putting Buckwheat flour successfully to the test with her Chocolate Muffins is I’d Rather Bake Than
16. And finally the lovely Lancashire Food with her ever so pretty, Spring Lemon & Lime Drizzle Cake

Thanks as always to those people who entered – I have a lot of people saying that they want to enter but are not expert bakers – we love learning to bake around here! Get entering and join in our lovely, friendly baking community. Please add the badge or a link back to this post so people know you have taken part.

I’m still getting round to visiting everyone but there are lots of shares going on around the internet. Feel free to follow the Bake of the Week Pinterest board

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

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Entering into The Baking Explorer & Cakeyboi’s Treat Petite linky – Their theme this month is MUM, so I tarted the cookies up with a pretty ribbon to make them ideal for a Mother’s Day gift.

Also sharing with Lavender & Lovage & The Hedgecombers whose Tea Time Treats theme is happily Biscuits & Cookies this month.

Tea Time Treats Linky