Orange & Raspberry Swirl Cookies #Bakeoftheweek

Orange Raspberry Swirl Cookies

I’m super happy to be back in the Costello kitchen. If you have read my post earlier today you will realise why I’ve not been around much. It hasn’t stopped me constantly thinking about and reading about food though, so the good news is, there are tons of recipes coming up!

Some more after-school cookies for this week’s Bake of the Week – Even my jam-hater, Violet loved these cookies. You can experiment with various flavours of jam and even use lemon or lime zest for different effects.

Orange & Raspberry Swirl Biscuits

Orange & Raspberry Swirl Cookies

Serves 20-24
Prep time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 27 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold
Occasion Casual Party
Crumbly tangy orange cookies with a raspberry jam swirl - Perfect for after school snacks and great for freezing


  • 200g Softened Butter
  • 110g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Oranges (Use the zest of both and juice of 1)
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 6 tablespoons Seedless Raspberry Jam


Using an electric whisk, mix together the sugar and butter until pale and well combined.
Add the egg, orange juice and zest - ensuring they are well mixed in.
Fold in the flour and baking powder and bring together in a dough
Wrap in double cling film and refrigerate for 45 minutes
Roll out onto a floured surface until 1/2 cm thick and a rectangle shape
Spread over the raspberry jam and roll into a long sausage
Wrap in double cling film again and place back in the fridge for another 10-15 minutes
Meanwhile, line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and preheat the oven to 180C
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut into slices approx 1cm thick
Arrange about 6-8 per baking tray depending on the size of your tray and bake for 12 minutes or until turning golden
Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Bake the next lot of swirls.

My featured bake from the last Bake of the Week entries is the brilliantly named Christmas Morning Wife Saver – I have such great intentions of relaxed, leisurely breakfasts on Christmas Morning but the reality is we tend to have coffee served with a side helping of wrapping paper and chocolate. Perhaps this ingenious recipe from Made With Pink that can be prepared beforehand will change all that?

Christmas Morning Wife Saver

Bake of the week baking entries

1. I just love the simplicity of Sprinkle Cakes and A Strong Coffee’s is one of the prettiest. Don’t be fooled though, they are incredibly messy to make!
2. Perfect for autumn snacks, these Apple & Cinnamon Chunk Muffins from ET Speaks From Home are just divine. Love the muffin cases too.
3. I didn’t think Gingerbread could get any better but Domestic Gothess has gone that step further with her Toffee Apple Gingerbread Loaf.
4. Perfectly mobile and ultra tasty, Hijacked by Twins’ Yorkshire Parkin Buns are ideal for getting through these winter months.
5. A real table showstopper, Peanut Butter Cake from Hijacked by Twins
6. The More Than Occasional Baker has over achieved again with her Banana, Chocolate & Walnut Waffles – these look so rich and filling. Delicious!

We are now open for entries for our next Bake of the Week – as usual there is no theme, anything baked in an oven or slow cooker counts. Sweet, savoury, little, large, novice or professional. Old posts are welcome as long as you include the badge (below). If you tweet your recipes, don’t forget to tag me @CasaCostello and include the hashtag #Bakeoftheweek and I will share like crazy.

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Apple & Walnut Oat Loaf #FeelingFibrant Oats & Veg Box Giveaway

Apple & Walnut Oat Loaf

This is an advertorial feature.

There are times when you want the feel and comfort of a piece of cake without the guilt of indulgence. Contrary to popular belief, I more than occasionally eat heathily – You can’t bake as often as I do without having a selection of ‘healthier’ recipes in the repertoire.

This Apple & Walnut Cake manages to be tasty enough to eat on its own and interesting enough that even the kids enjoy it. They never guess that it is healthier than some other cakes. Containing vegetable oil instead of butter, this cake is not as high in saturated fats as most cakes, therefore being a better treat for people watching their cholesterol levels. The oats too, have been linked to lowering cholesterol. Over time, I’ve managed to reduce the sugar content – I use Pink Lady apples so they are not too tangy and just 100g of soft brown sugar. You may even find that you can reduce the amount of sugar you like in the cake even more than me. The crunch of the pecans and the spice from the cinnamon keep this cake interesting – There’s no need for any topping or icing. Its definitely a sit down with a good book and a brew type of cake.

Tea & Walnut Apple Oat Loaf Cake

I’ve talked before about my love of using oats in my baking – cakes, breads, crumbles, biscuits all benefit from substituting flour with some oats. Quaker Oats are challenging bloggers to come up with creative recipes using oats. I struggled to do just one – I put oats in nigh on everything!

Slices of Apple & Walnut Oat Loaf Cake

Apple & Walnut Oat Loaf


  • 60g Oats (equivalent of 2 Quaker Oats packets.
  • 260g Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 100g Light Soft Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 150ml Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Pink Lady apples – Grated & juice squeezed out.
  • 60g Chopped Walnuts


  • Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 2lb loaf tin.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and sugar.
  • Whisk together the eggs and the oil and add to the dry mixture. Mix together until just combined.
  • Add in the grated & squeezed grated apples and walnuts and mix.
  • Pour into the prepared loaf tin and flatten down the surface.
  • Cook in the oven for 30 mins.
  • Reduce the heat to 160C and cover the loaf with tinned foil. Continue to bake for a further 1 hour.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • Best eaten within 24 hours – Suitable for freezing.

Apple Walnut Oat Loaf Cake

  • Oats contain a form of soluble fibre called beta glucan, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. High levels of blood cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.
  • The recommended daily intake of fibre has recently been increased from 24g to 30g per day. The UK has a traditionally low fibre intake compared with other countries – Oats are high in fibre content and can contribute towards this daily suggested intake.
  • Oats are 100% wholegrain – Dietary guidelines suggest we should be achieving an intake of 48g of wholegrain per day.

I’m happy to be hosting a quick competition to win a 3 month supply of Quaker Oats plus a 3 month fruit & veg delivery from Abel & Cole. To enter, simply leave a comment telling me about one of your recipes that includes oats. The competition closes on Friday 27th November after which time, I will chose my favourite from the entries. Please see Terms & Conditions for more details.

Fruit Oat Loaf Cake

This blog post was commissioned by Quaker Oats and Foodies100 as part of the Quaker Oats #FeelingFibrant campaign. I was compensated for the cost of ingredients and my time.

This giveaway can be found over at Competitions at ThePrizeFinder – See more at:” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>The Prize Finder

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Aperol Mascarpone Trifle

Aperol Mascarpone Trifle

Aperol is a new discovery for me. I was approached a couple of weeks ago to try it but must admit to being unfamiliar with the drink. Its certainly not a new drink though – originating in 1919, it became a popular drink for young adults in Italy, post war.

Aperol is a bright orange colour (I spotted a lady drinking it in the Trafford Centre last week and straightaway knew what it was!) with a mix of orange & herb flavours. It is described as a unique taste and it most definitely is. Not too strong, it is not overpowering which makes it more than suitable for a variety of cocktails.

The most popular way of serving Aperol is the Aperol Spritz – A combination of 2 parts Aperol, 3 parts prosecco & splash of soda.

I wanted to test its use in a different type of recipe though so tried it in a simple Mascarpone Trifle.

Aperol Mascarpone Trifle

Aperol Mascarpone Trifle

Serves 6
Prep time 2 hours, 40 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
If you like a stronger alcoholic jelly, feel free to add more Aperol! This makes a perfect substitute for Christmas Pudding if you fancy something lighter.


  • 2/3 packets Lady Fingers/Sponge Fingers (This really depends on how sturdy you like your triple sponge base)
  • 1 pint Orange Jelly (1 Packet made according to instructions on the cover)
  • 1 tablespoon Aperol (Per Individual Trifle serving - About 6 tablespoons in total)
  • 250g Mascarpone
  • 8 tablespoons Icing Sugar
  • 284ml Double Cream (Thickly whipped)
  • 2 Segments Terry's Chocolate Orange (Grated for decoration)
  • 2 Zest Orange (Finely Grated)
  • 1/2 Orange Juice


Pour the jelly over the lady fingers and allow to soak in. Mash with a fork until fully combined and lump free.
Stir in the Aperol - If making individual portions, distribute into glasses now. Leave to set in the fridge for 2 hours.
Using an electric whisk, mix together the mascarpone, icing sugar and double cream until fully combined. Stir in the orange zest and juice.
Spoon or pipe on top of the Aperol jelly and keep in the fridge until needed - Leave at least 1/2 hour.
Just before serving, sprinkle the grated chocolate orange on top

Aperol Individual Orange Trifles

Other trifle recipes can be found at these blogs:

British Blackberry & White Chocolate by Emma from Supper in the Suburbs.
Raspberry & Gin Trifle from Claire at Foodie Quine (I hope if I ever meet Claire she makes this for me!)
And not forgetting my own Christmas Lemon Curd & Amaretto Trifle

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Aperol – I have been provided with expenses to produce this post. All findings and opinions are my own and accurate at time of publishing. There is a short video showing how to best make an Aperol Spritz here.

We're going on an adventure

Scouse – Bake of the Week #TravelodgeFoodies


If you didn’t know where I lived, you would never guess how close to Liverpool we are by my accent. The combination of a Dad from Leigh and 4 years at uni in Preston have given me a proper Lancashire accent. I do love Liverpool though – One of the best cities on earth.

Its a common debate around here what you call Scouse. My mum calls it Hotpot (but I tend to think that is more slices of potatoes?) and other St Helens folk call it Lobbies? (presumably because you ‘lob’ it all in?)

I was hoping to bring you lovely news of a relaxed Bonfire evening with traditional Scouse and treacle toffee but this happened last night and we spent the night in A&E. OH stood on a sewing needle and it broke off in his foot. We are waiting a call to go back for surgery to remove it. What joy!

Needle in foot

I’m not precious about what meat I put in Scouse – Most people put lamb in but tonight we only had a tiny amount of lamb so actually added beef too.

Two things are compulsory though – there must be HP sauce and bread to dip in!


Serves 6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 45 minutes
Total time 3 hours
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party
Region British
Warm & Hearty Scouse - perfect for Bonfire Night & New Year's Eve


  • 12 Medium Potatoes
  • 2 Carrots (Chopped into circles then halved)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1kg Diced Beef or Lamb
  • 3 tablespoons Plain Flour
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 splash Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1l Beef Stock
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 10 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • Brown Sauce & Fresh Bread to serve


In a large pan, boil the potatoes and carrots until just soft - Keep to one side
Heat the Olive Oil in a large casserole pan, and add the meat - browning all over. Add the flour and coat all over.
Add the beef stock & herbs and heat through. Drain the potatoes & carrots and add to the pan.
Add the worcestershire sauce, s&p to taste & bake in the oven with a lid on for 2-2.5 hours. Make sure the liquid doesn't evaporate - you may need to top up.

Travelodge are asking bloggers to highlight one of their local delicacies in the hope that we can invite people to our area. I’m in a lucky position to be so close to Liverpool, Manchester & parts of Lancashire – I could keep going with local recipes forever! They have more information on Liverpool dishes over on their website. If you do come over to Liverpool, give me a shout and make sure you pick up some Everton mints!

Scouse Recipe

Now I know that this Scouse recipe is a bit of a departure from my normal Bake of the Week style but after making an Apple & Walnut Oat Loaf and Toasted Coconut Cupcakes this week, I needed some savoury home cooking. Scouse is still mostly cooked in the oven so happily still fits in the Bake of the Week theme.

Thanks to all who joined in last week with BOW – I have learnt to use Bake of the Week in the title, otherwise no-one knows it is there! We learn something every week :-)

My featured Bake of the Week is from th lovely Eileen at Et Speaks From Home – Eileen is such a great participant in the Bake of the Week family. I love these Chocolate & Walnut Brownies – I think brownies are definitely more interesting with nuts and her presentation is just delicious!

Chocolate Walnut Brownies

I’m highlighting large cakes/tarts and individual portions this week in my round up – Here’s what has been going on in the food blogging world this week:

Bake of the Week Roundup

1. The workmanship in Domestic Gothess’ Blackberry Elegantly Gothic Halloween Cake is breathtaking – I could admire the colour, design and those magnificent black roses forever. This is one cake that MUST be re-enacted next Halloween!
2. Fancy some Lemon Chantilly Cream & White Chocolate Ganache? This Lemon Drizzle Cake from Baking Queen 74 has it all! Hope she is getting over the Bake Off coming to an end x
3. I would never have thought of trying the combination of these flavours in Only Crumbs Remain’s Lemon Tart with Goat’s Cheese. Sounds like a tart for the grown upS!
4. Reminding me that I don’t use Peanuts in baking nearly often enough is Kirsty From Hijacked By Twins with this lovely Peanut Butter Cake

Now for the individual, mostly squares but some wonderful crescents too – Not enough food is crescent shaped!

Bake of the Week

5. Who wouldn’t love these Meringue & Toasted Nut Crescents from Lemon and Lime Thyme? I just love the idea of combining dough, meringue & toasted nuts and those tree pictures are stunning!
6. I am so intrigued by Winnie’s Honey Magic Cake – How those layers appear is just a mystery and truly quite magical.
7. Tempting us with Apple & Cinnamon Madeleines is Baking Queen 74. These would disappear off that plate very quickly in this house!
8. Loving the idea of ‘studding’ these Pumpkin Spice Squares with Chocochips from Potpourri. There’s also a great recipe for making your own Pumpkin Spice in this post.
9. I agree with Patisserie Makes Perfect that Homemade Marshmallows taste much better than shop bought but I really need to get better at making them. Looks like PMP has cracked it with her Strawberry & White Chocolate Marshmallows though!

The link is now open for our next Bake of the Week – It will remain open until Tuesday next week (10th Nov) when hopefully we will be minus a needle in a foot.
As usual there is no theme, all bakes welcome – sweet, savoury, oven baked, slow cooked, small, large. All entries are commented, pinned, tweeted, yummed & Google+ed as well as links back in the roundup. If you could please add the badge below to your post and share the Bake of the Week love? Any comments left on other entries are much appreciated too!

I’m looking forward to the December Bakes of the Week – Hoping to start giving some prizes away!

Casa Costello
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Toasted Coconut Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting

Toasted Coconut Cupcake with Orange Buttercream Frosting

Now aren’t you yearning for one of these? One of my favourite flavours of buttercream – light and not to claggy (I think that’s a word – you know, when it just sits in your mouth). The zesty citrus breaks through the homely toasted coconut cakes brilliantly.

I was asked a couple of days ago if I would showcase a recipe I make that uses Clover. I’m a bit of a stickler for the right sort of spread in my cooking and baking. Clover has the same great taste as butter as it made with buttermilk but has half the saturated fat of butter. For me, there is no recipe that showcases the quality of a buttery taste than buttercream. Cannot stand artificial spreads that make buttercream inedible. Clover contain no artificial ingredients.

Weighing Clover

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream

Serves 18
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 18 minutes
Total time 48 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party, Formal Party


  • 200g Clover Spread
  • 300g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Egg Whites
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 225g Self Raising Flour
  • 180ml Semi Skimmed Milk (plus 3 tbsp of milk for the buttercream)
  • 100g Desiccated Coconut
  • 400g Icing Sugar
  • 2 Zest Oranges


These cakes are fine to freeze prior to the buttercream frosting being added. Store in an air tight container and defrost at room temperature for 2-3 hours before piping the frosting on.


Toast the coconut lightly for 2-3 minutes in a dry frying pan - Keep stirring continuously and remove from the heated pan as soon as the coconut starts to turn golden. It will catch and burn really quickly if left. Keep to one side until needed.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line 18 muffin tray with cupcake liners.
Using an electric whisk, mix together the caster sugar and 100g of the Clover, on a medium speed until well combined
Slowly add the egg whites and full egg, one at a time whilst still whisking. Add the vanilla extract.
Alternate adding a tablespoon of the flour with a small drizzle of the milk until both are fully added. Keep clearing down the side of the mixing bowl to make sure it is all combined.
Add in 80g of the toasted coconut and gently stir through until all mixed in.
Distribute evenly in the cupcakes cases and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden.
Orange Buttercream Frosting
Meanwhile, mix together the remaining 100g of Clover with the icing sugar and 3 tbsp of milk - You want a sturdy, thick buttercream that will hold its shape when piped.
Add in the grated zest of the oranges and fill a disposable icing bag with a plain nozzle
Pipe in a swirl and top with a sprinkle of the remaining toasted coconut

Piping Orange Buttercream

Clover are also hosting a competition over on their Facebook page to win personalised fridge magnets (with your face on) and branded oven gloves. Simply share a picture of a dish you have made using Clover to enter.

Disclaimer: This post was commissioned by Clover. As always, all views expressed are my own personal opinions.

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes with Orange Buttercream Frosting

Toasted Coconut Cupcakes

Homemade Pea & Ham Soup – Secret Recipe Club

Homemade Pea Ham Soup

Well, we are definitely into autumn now the soup recipes come out! Another month has raced by so quickly and it is time once again for Secret Recipe Club reveal. I was partnered with the lovely Claire from My Hobbie Lobbie. Claire was very kind about my blog last month and it has been an absolute pleasure to search through her blog this month, trying to choose just one recipe.

I decided on the Homemade Split Pea and Ham Soup but have the Thai Chicken Salad and Stick Pork Ribs firmly on the list to make over the next few weeks too. One of the reasons I love being part of the Secret Recipe Club is finding kindred spirits all over the blogosphere. I reckon me & Claire would get on just great – She love, love, LOVES baking and is a bit of a crochet addict just like me. Pity for me that she is based all over the other side of the world in Australia!

Anyway back to the soup – I’ve been looking for a good standard recipe for Pea & Ham Soup for a while. I’m also using up those blasted red lentils that have appeared in so many of my recipes over the past few months. I used these instead of Split Peas and they worked very well. I changed the recipe slightly to thicken it up by adding 10 Charlotte potatoes and blending them all together at the end. I must also admit to omitting the garlic – I’m just not a fan in some dishes. I thought the use of carrots in this soup was a great idea – I grated them and then blitzed them at the end too.

We had some single cream to use up (Millie thought she would buy a huge pot just for her apple pie last night) so did a bit of a designer drizzle.

Homemade Pea & Ham Soup

Homemade Pea & Ham Soup

Serves 8+
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 10 minutes
Meal type Soup
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Hearty Homemade Pea & Ham Soup - Perfect for autumn evenings


  • 100g Red Lentils
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Small Onion (Finely Chopped)
  • 2 Medium Carrots (Grated)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1l Vegetable Stock
  • 6 Rashers of Bacon (Chopped into small chunks and fried)
  • 10 Charlotte Potatoes (Boiled until soft)
  • Pepper (I do not add salt due to the bacon being quite salty)


Soak the lentils in cold water for 1 hour then rinse
Cover with cold water and bring to the oil - Leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes - leave to one side
Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onions until soft and transparent
Add the grated carrots, bacon, stock, bay leaf and heat through. Add the lentils and the bacon and continue to cook whilst stirring for 15 minutes
Using a hand blender, blitz the soup until fairly smooth (a few bits left are quite nice)
Season with plenty of pepper and a drizzle of single cream

Secret Recipe Club

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Joining in with Lavender & Lovage & The Hedgecombers for Tea Time Treats

Tea Time Treats Pea Ham Soup


Homemade Digestive Mummies

Halloween Mummy Digestives

I wanted a biscuit that was not too sweet to go with all the icing on these Mummies – I’m determined that this year, my girls won’t feel left out at Halloween but will also manage not to eat as much processed, sugary rubbish. Well, that’s the plan so far anyway!

The ideal biscuit is the digestive – Oaty and not too much sugar. I made my own in less than 20 minutes but obviously used shop bought if you need to be even quicker.

Halloween Mummy Cookies

Homemade Digestives

Serves 12-15
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 37 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Halloween
Homemade digestives with quick and easy decoration to look like a Halloween Mummy


  • 100g Self Raising Wholemeal Flour (Yes, I'm still using it up!)
  • 45g Porridge Oats
  • 60g Soft Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons Milk


Place the flour, sugar and oats into a bowl and rub in the butter with your fingertips until just combined.
Stir in the milk with a spatula or kitchen knife until it starts to come together in a ball of dough
Sprinkle flour on the work surface and roll out the dough to a 1/2 cm thickness and prick 3 times with a fork
Chill for 10 minutes while you heat the oven to 180C
Bake for 12 minutes until just starting to turn golden
Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack
Dip into melted white chocolate and add 2 M&M's of the same colour to each biscuit
Pipe loosely with the remaining white chocolate in zig zags to look like a mummy

Homemade Digestive Biscuits Cookies

My featured Bake of the Week this week, comes from Jibber Jabber with her Cut & Come Again Cake – I love the idea behind this cake in that its all about friendship. Ness shared this cake at her local Clandestine Cake club (Which reminds me I haven’t been to one near me for ages! Must remedy that asap). This cake can be be prepared and baked in less than an hour – all in case of unexpected friends popping in.

Cut come again cake


Bake of the week

1. Totally divine Black Forest Gateau from the super talented Eileen, Et Speaks From Home

2. Making Brownies even more spectacular with her Raspberry Fudge Brownies is Tin & Thyme – These remind me that I really must join in with We Should Cocoa this month!

3. Giving us some fabulous tips to stop pastry shrinking along with these pretty Mini Chocolate Tarts is Patisserie Makes Perfect

4. More Halloween Cookies and a welcome return to the Bake of the Week family is Julie’s Family Kitchen.

5. If you like your chocolate then this Chocolate Croissant Bread & Butter Pudding is the one for you! Many thanks to De Tour Coeur Limousin for the recipe.

6. These amazing Chocolate Salted caramel Hazelnut Tarts are what Domestic Gothess produces after a mini blogging break. Just incredible!

7. Beautiful Chocolate Apples (even with the help of the children) from Et Speaks From Home.


bake of the week

8. I am so tempted to see what the combination of these flavours taste like in Winnie’s Apple Tart with Nuts – There’s Caramel & Cinnamon in there too! The overall look is a work of beauty.

9. Another beautiful bake and quite a light one is Winnie’s Oatmeal Lemon Bars – I love using Oats in cooking so am definitely bookmarking this one!

10. Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen is sharing a very personal recipe from her Grandmother this week – Polenta Cake with nuts

11. Happy Birthday to Pot Pourri , who was celebrating with her tarty and zingy Lemon Bundt with lemon frosting.

12. Using some of her supplies from her wonderful Kitchen Shed Veg Garden is Sarah from Tales from the Kitchen Shed with her Pumpkin & Cranberry Bread

13. No boring Iced Fingers for Only Crumbs Remain – We have Barm Brack Fingers with Blackberries & White Chocolate. Fabulous!

14. Reminding me that I have never yet tried a Pumpkin Spice Latte in a well known coffee shop is Baking Queen 74. I would love to try her Slow Cooker Spiced Pumpkin Cake though!

15. What a great alternative base for a cheesecake to use Peanut Butter – This Cheesecake from ET Speaks From Home sounds divine.

16. Truly beautiful and inspired flavours from Lancashire Food with her Fig, Yogurt & Rosemary Loaf Cake – Those figs are just a stunning addition!

17. Possibly one of my most favourite #Bakeoftheweek ideas ever! Apple Crumble Ice Cream – Whatever the weather, I would eat this from Only Crumbs Remain

The linky is now open for your entries – Up to 3 from each blog please. All entries are linked to in the next roundup as well as commented, Pinned, Google+ed and tweeted – I do get round to them, I promise! If you tweet your entry and tag me in @CasaCostello then I will also retweet.

Here’s the badge to include and share the Bake of the Week love:

Casa Costello
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M&M’s Halloween Eye Balls

M&M Halloween Eye Balls

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Feeling a bit creative and want some Halloween fun that does’t take too long? Well, these M&M’s Halloween Eye Balls could be for you! They are certainly popular in our house. The aisles in Tesco are rammed with Halloween goodies but also plenty of opportunity to be creative and make your own treats.

Just one grab bag of M&M‘s makes nearly 100 of these Eye Balls. I used the Chocolate M&M’s as they were smaller but if you prefer the Peanut version, then just make your White Chocolate disks a little larger. Instead of using black & white food colouring to paint the ‘eye balls’, tiny balls of black and white fondant icing are just as good. Stick on with a tiny amount of sugar glue or cool boiled water.

M&Ms Mars

To Make:

Equipment & Ingredients:

  • 2 x 150g bars of High Quality White Chocolate (I used Tesco’s Finest Cooking Chocolate)
  • 1 x Grab Bag of Chocolate M&M’s
  • Gel Food Colouring (Black, Red & White)
  • Fine Paint Brushes
  • Cool Boiled Water for painting (or clear alcohol if giving to adults)
  • Baking parchment or reusable oven liner
  • Optional: Clear Bags & Ribbons for giving as gifts



  • Melt the White Chocolate in a heat-proof bowl over a pan of boiling water – Do not allow the boiling water to touch the bottom of the bowl.
  • Spoon 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate onto the baking parchment and smooth down into a round disk – Make sure they are at least 5mm thick.
  • Allow to cool slightly but not so much that it sets completely.
  • Pop 1 M&M into the centre of each chocolate disk.
  • While the chocolate is continuing to set, paint a black spot into the centre of each M&M. Add a white spot on top of the black.
  • If the chocolate is still to set, you can place the disks (while still on the parchment) into the fridge for 20 mins.
  • Finish off by painting red wiggly lines with the red food colouring coming out of the sides of each M&M.

Making White Chocolate Disks

Halloween Chocolate Gifts

NOTE: M&M’s are a product of the Mars Group. Mars are currently working with Fair-trade towards it commitment to having all of its cocoa supply being produced in a sustainable way before 2020. More information can be found here

White Chocolate M&M's Halloween Eye Balls

Cheese & Pink Peppercorn Dinner Rolls – Bake of the Week

Cheese & Pink peppercorn Dinner Rolls

These beauties came about after a friend was telling me about some amazing Cheese & Black Pepper Bread she had bought. I couldn’t resist having a go but when it came to the point of adding the pepper, I remembered some pretty pink peppercorns I brought home from France. Obviously, it goes without saying that any colour peppercorns will work just as well!

The recipe listed is for 8 Dinner Rolls – Please take my advice & make double – They will disappear in a flash.

Cheese & Pink Peppercorn Dinner Rolls

Serves 8
Prep time 1 hour, 50 minutes
Cook time 22 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 12 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Bread, Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Misc Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Barbecue
Wow your dinner guests by serving Pink Peppercorn and Cheese Wholemeal Dinner Rolls - Crunchy yet soft


  • 125ml Warm Milk (Blast in the microwave for 20-30 seconds should do just fine)
  • 3 teaspoons Dried Yeast (This is about 1 packet)
  • 1 teaspoon Caster Sugar
  • 110g Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 25g Melted and cooled Butter
  • 1 Medium Egg (Whisked)
  • 2 teaspoons Crushed Pink Peppercorns
  • 100g Grated Cheddar Cheese


Warm the milk in the microwave and stir in the yeast (make sure the milk is only lukewarm) Leave for 5-10 minutes until you notice the milk mixture starting to bubble
Place the flour, Salt, and sugar into a large bowl and make a well in the middle.
Pour the warm milk, whisked egg and milk into the well and stir through gently until fully combined. This should now start to feel dough like.
Knead the dough for 9-10 minutes - You will start to notice the dough feeling more elastic. It is really noticeable in this recipe so if you haven't quite got that elastic feeling, carry on kneading until you do.
Lightly grease a large bowl with vegetable oil & leave to prove in a slightly warm place (I use my oven that has been on 140C for 5 minutes then turned off with the door slightly ajar) for 1-1.5 hour
After an hour your dough should have doubled in size.
Remove from the bowl and pour onto a floured surface - Knead in the grated cheese and the crushed pink peppercorns.
Split the dough into 8 even sized pieces. Roll them each into a sausage shaped around 6 inches long and tie in a loose knot. Sit the bun/knot on top of its end to stop them unravelling. I place them on 2 lightly greased baking trays.
Prove again for 45 minutes until risen again, then bake for 22 minutes - the underneath should be golden aswell as the top. leave to cool on a wire rack and eat same day.

It has been so difficult to choose a featured bake from last week’s Bake of the Week entries but this Triple Chocolate Tart with Mango from Only Crumbs Remain just really appealed to me. Pastry still scares me a little if I’m honest – I think its now my weakest baking area, after conquering yeast. I love the extra decorations – so delicate and inviting. Well done!

Triple Chocolate & Mango Tart

So many lovely entries again last week – I’ve separated the bakes into Fruit Bakes and Non-Fruit Bakes this week:

Fruit Veg Bakes of the Week

Having huge technical difficulties with numbering pictures this week so apologies if its a little difficult to work out which bake is which.

We have 7 Fruit & Veg Bakes:

  1. Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen provided this moist Carrot Cake complete with pistachios.
  2.  Totally perfect for snuggling up on wet & windy afternoon, these Apple & Blackberry Cream Turnovers from Giraffes Can Bake.
  3. Healthy yet tempting Apple Flapjacks with the extra bonus of Chia Seeds from Jenny at Mummy Mishaps.
  4. Using up a stash of pears and tempting us with talk of blackberry gin is Domestic Gothess with her Dark Chocolate, Pear & Hazelnut Cake.
  5. Amazing colours in these Beetroot & Vanilla Cupcakes from Snack to the Future.
  6. There’s no such thing as a boring cake from De Tout Coeur Limousin – Spicy Carrot Cake with marmalade Frosting.
  7. And an ultra pretty carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from PoPourri Saswati.

And 7 Bakes in the other category:

BeFunky Collage

  1. Absolutely love this transfer/stencil on Winnie’s Chocolate Cookie Cake
  2. Luxurious beauty from ET Speaks From Home’s Coffee & Mascarpone Cupcakes.
  3. Blimey these Peanut Butter & Jelly Stuffed French Toasts are original – Giraffes Can Bake
  4. Love the story behind ET Speaks From Home’s Traditional Piglet Mooncakes and they are super cute too!
  5. Ooh Domestic Gothess, I don’t think I could stop at one Chocolate Dipped Lime Shortbread Biscuits.
  6. Cannot resist a pretty loaf and Winnie’s Honey Challah is gorgeous!
  7. Just look at the shine on Baking Queen 74’s Very Chocolatey Tart!

Thanks so much everyone for continuing to join in – There’s been so much sharing of the Bakes of the Week entries that I hope you are seeing more traffic and engagement in your posts.

The link is open until Monday 19th October – up to 3 entries per baker and no theme as usual. I will continue to share on Twitter, Pinterest, Yummly, Google+ & comment.

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Wholewheat Pancakes with Chocolate Chips & Orange Blossom – Secret Recipe Club

Chocolate Chip & Orange Blossom Wholewheat Pancakes

How have I never made Chocolate Chip Pancakes before? Such a simple idea, easy & quick to make but really tasty! Its Secret Recipe Club time again – That last month just flew by. This month I was paired up with Elizabeth from Food Ramblings – A blogger who seems to love food and yarn as much as I do! I spent forever searching Elizabeth’s past recipes deciding which one to do – There are several containing ‘Hot Sauce’ that we don’t seem to have readily available in the UK that I really fancy. After doing a bit of research, I thinking perhaps Hot Sauce means Hot Chilli Sauce? Anyone know?

Anyway, I opted for a sweet recipe, Chocolate Chip Pancakes – I’ve talked before about my girls’ love of pancakes so I knew this recipe would be a winner. I used a slab of Dark chocolate that I chopped into Chocolate Chip sized chunks – I like using Dark Chocolate in cooking as the flavour stands out so much better. I’ve also got an abundance of Orange Blossom so threw a few drops of that in too – the results were magic! I’m still using up all our Wholewheat flour and bunged that in too! A very frugal recipe :-)

Wholewheat Pancakes with Dark Chocolate Chips & Orange Blossom

Wholewheat Pancakes with Dark Chocolate Chips & Orange Blossom

Serves 3-4
Prep time 3 minutes
Cook time 6 minutes
Total time 9 minutes
Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Light fluffy Wholewheat Pancakes with Dark Chocolate & Orange Blossom


  • 1 Medium Egg (Whisked)
  • 1 cup Wholewheat Self Raising Flour ((approx 125g))
  • 1 cup Semi Skimmed Milk ((I used a bit more than Elizabeth's original recipe due to using Wholemeal Flour))
  • 3-4 drops Orange Blossom Extract
  • 100g Dark Chocolate (Chopped into Chocolate Chip sized chunks)
  • 3-4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil (For frying)


If you don't have any Orange Blossom, Vanilla Extract is just as nice!


Mix together the flour and the egg.
Gradually add the milk until fully combined - Will take only 1-2 minutes (Wholemeal flour doesn't tend to go lumpy)
Add the chopped chocolate and the orange blossom and stir in
Use a small frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil until just starting to sizzle
Add a small ladle full of pancake mix and cook on both sides for 2-3 minutes until golden & crispy
Remove from pan and blot on a piece of kitchen roll
Serve whilst still hot with a serving of vanilla ice cream

Secret Recipe Club

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