Christmas Recipes Round Up – #FoodieFriday

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

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

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

christmas recipe roundup

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

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

stollen recipe no candied peel

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

panforte recipe

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

turkey, chestnut, oven risotto

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

white chocolate marshmallow pecan nuts sweet popcorn

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

I’ve picked 3 favourites to highlight …

foodie friday roundup

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

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

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Walkers Deli Crisps – Grown Up Crisps & Caramelised Onion & Garlic Dip

walker's deli crisps

Crisps are definitely my go to snack when hungry and no energy. You know when people say they couldn’t live without bread or cheese, well my saviour is crisps every time (and maybe cake but that’s a post for another day!).

Walkers Deli crisps have brought out a new range of crisps specifically aimed at Grown Ups and have asked me to taste test them – Oh the trauma! NB Kids are quite welcome to eat them too, if they can prise them out of my hand. The crisps come in 3 varieties, Classic Potato Chips, Pita Chips and the more hearty Tortilla Chip. The flavours have taken inspiration from European markets which are ever so popular at the moment:

walker's deli pita chips

Potato Chips:
Cornish Mature Cheddar
Wiltshire Cured Ham, mature cheddar & farmhouse chutney
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena – Went down superbly well as an after school snack for us 4 girls curled up on the sofa. Lovely balsamic aftertaste.
Flame Grilled Spanish Chorizo with Roasted Onion

Tortilla Chips
Anglesey Sea Salt with Cracked Black Pepper – Sadly we didn’t eat these in Anglesey but happily they were just as lovely in St Helens!
Roasted Red Chilli with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato

Pita Chips
Roasted Garlic with Mediterranean Herbs
Roasted Red pepper with English Tomato

caramelised onion garlic dip

Now there’s an unwritten rule in our house that you can’t eat Chilli crisps without a good dip. My favourite combination is Caramelised Onion & Garlic Dip which went perfectly with the Walker’s Roasted Red Chilli Tortilla Chips with Mediterranean Sundried Tomato. The dip may not look that attractive but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it and all that …

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 White Onion – Finely Chopped
1/2 Celery Stick – Finely Chopped
1/4 tsp Crushed Garlic
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Twist of Black Pepper
1 small tub Natural Greek Yogurt

Method:
In a small frying pan, heat the oil and add the celery and the onion and sweat for 10-12 minutes until completely soft and starting to brown
Add the Worcestershire Sauce and the garlic and stir through. Continue sweating for another 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
When completely cool, mix together well with the Yogurt and the black pepper.
Best eaten within 2 days – Keep in the fridge.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our tasting sessions of the Walker’s Range – The Pita Chips are really chunky so you feel like you’ve had a good snack. As I type, I’m snacking on Wiltshire Cured Ham Potato Chips – The things I do for this blog!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

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Christmas Cupcakes – Bake of the Week

christmas tree cupcakes with a hidden surprise inside

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

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

How to bake a surprise star inside cupcakes

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

santa cupcakes

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

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

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

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

how to bake shapes inside cupcakes

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

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

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

Bake at 180C for 18-20 minutes.

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

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

marzipan christmas trees

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

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

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

Ta-Dah!

Bake of the Week Round UP

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

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

Olive, tomato & Herb Bread tree

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

choux cygnets

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

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

owl birthday cake

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

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christmas tree cupcakes

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Walnut Crusted Cod with Spicy Puy Lentils #HealthyTreats with Rennie

walnut crusted cod spicy puy lentils

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t eat cake EVERy day in our house. We do try to have a mix of good, healthy & nutritious food – especially this week in the run up to the National Synchro competition, when 50% are suffering with sore throats!

I have been asked to share a favourite #HealthyTreat recipe by Rennie. One in which contains as many natural ingredients as possible. When I think about eating healthily, I automatically want to make the food as tasty as possible – The last thing I want is for my mind to start thinking ‘diet’ and therefore ‘hungry’. I’m actually sharing 2 of my tastiest meals both of which contain spice for the ultimate in taste explosion.

I’m a big believer that what we eat past massively to how we feel. If I sense my girls are a bit ‘inside out’, out come the good, healthy recipes. I’m convinced that children’s behaviours and sleep are hugely affected by what they have eaten.

Walnut Crusted Cod with Spicy Puy Lentils

Serves 3-5
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Allergy Fish
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Spicy Puy lentils jam packed full of vegetables served with a crunchy walnut crusted baked cod fillet

Ingredients

  • 3-4 Cod Fillets (Depending on size of fillets - Sometimes we get 5 small fillets out of this recipe)
  • 50g Walnuts (Crushed)
  • 2 tablespoons Wholemeal Breadcrumbs
  • 8 Basil Leaves (Finely Chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Ground Black Pepper
  • 200g Puy Lentils (Rinsed in cold water and drained)
  • 600ml Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Red Pepper (Chopped into small diced cubes)
  • 2 Sticks of Celery (Chopped into small cubes)
  • 1 Red Chilli (Finely Chopped)
  • 5 Small Tomatoes (Chopped into small chunks - No need to deseed)
  • 1 juice Lemon

Directions

Walnut Crusted Cod
Preheat the oven to 180C and line an oven tray with parchment paper.
Mix the Walnuts, Breadcrumbs and half of the basil leaves in a small bowl. Add a grind of black pepper.
Add the Olive Oil and stir through until the nut mixture is covered with the oil - It will still be crumbly
Press the nut mixture firmly on top of the Cod and bake for 35 minutes - the nut mixture should be just starting to turn golden and the cod still flaky
Spicy Lentils
Add the puy lentils to a pan (no lid needed) and pour over the stock. Bring to a slow boil and simmer for 25 minutes - They should be soft but still have a slight crunch texture
Add the celery to the lentils and allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Add the pepper & chilli and continue cooking
Just before you are ready to serve, add the tomatoes and basil and stir through until heated
Serve in a bowl with the Cod on top and add the lemon juice at the last minute

My other #HealthyTreat recipe I want to share is one of my beloved soups – Just because you are trying to eat healthily doesn’t mean you need to eat watery soups. I get the illusion of a creamy soup by adding coconut milk which makes for some healthy luxury. Again, I add spice with a whole chilli (half if you want it very mild) and some cumin, which is my spice of the moment!

Spicy Cumin Sweet Potato Soup

Serves 4
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 24 minutes
Total time 34 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Snack, Soup
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Creamy Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash soup with a kick of chilli and cumin

Ingredients

  • 3 Large Sweet Potatoes (Peeled and chopped into cubes)
  • 200g Butternut Squash (Peeled and chopped into cubes)
  • 1 stick Celery (Chopped)
  • 1 Red Chilli (Finely Chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Veg Stock Powder
  • 500ml Water
  • 1 tin Coconut Milk
  • Pepper & Parsley to garnish

Note

I use my soup maker to make this speedy soup however it is just as easy to make in a pan. Soften the veg, add the spices and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes. Blend using an electric whisk and finally add the coconut milk!

Directions

Put the Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Chilli, Cumin powder, Celery, Stock & Water into your soup maker and cook on a smooth setting
Add the coconut milk at the end of cooking and either stir or whizz together to make sure fully combined
Serve immediately with a sprinkling of black pepper, sprig of parsley for decoration and some fresh crusty wholemeal bread

spicy cumin sweet potato soup

This post has been supported by Rennie®, but all thoughts are my own. I was reimbursed for any ingredients used in the making of this recipe. The recipe is an original CasaCostello recipe. I am entering the Walnut Crusted Cod recipe into a competition to win a variety of prizes offered by Rennie.

Joining in with Emily’s Recipe of the Week and Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesdays and Supergoldenbakes’s Cook,Blog,Share

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Marzipan Puppy Chow/Christmas Crack Recipe – Foodie Friday

Please Note: Not to be shared with dogs!

marzipan puppy chow

I have no idea why this sort of snack is called Puppy Chow – All I know is that it is delicious and very addictive. I have numerous combinations of Puppy Chow – The original version should contain peanut butter but I much prefer my almond version.

Perfect for when you have guests over Christmas but make sure you make double! The idea for puppy chow originates in the US and uses Chex cereal – These look like Shreddies but are not malted. I find that Golden Grahams taste just right. There is no need to be exact in your weighing of the ingredients – This recipe is meant to be fun, quick and easy and different with every delightful mouthful!

Marzipan Puppy Chow

Serves 4-6
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 10 minutes
Meal type Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Almond Puppy Chow snack recipe with toasted marzipan

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Cereal such as Golden Grahams
  • 150g Milk Chocolate
  • 50g Flaked Almonds
  • 100g Marzipan (Lightly toasted under the grill for 2 minutes until just turning golden)
  • 100g Icing Sugar

Directions

Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water - Remove from the heat when runny
Add the cereal and nuts to the chocolate and mix through
Chop the toasted marzipan into tiny cubes and mix through into the chocolate cereal mix
Pour the icing sugar into a large strong food bag
Add the chocolate cereal and shake until all cereal/nuts/marzipan are covered by the icing sugar
Serve immediately

Very quiet week last week for Foodie Friday – don’t forget that even if it isn’t Friday any more, the link is still open until the next Thursday evening. For Otilia’s week we have these 3 entries:

foodie friday

From left to right :
Melt in the Mouth Churros from Truly Madly Kids. I’ve made Churros and know how hard they can be to keep their shape so massive well done!
Slow Cooked Beef in Red Wine Sauce from Dragons and Fairy Dust. Cor! How inviting does this look?
And last but not least this delicious looking Marinated Flank Steak Recipe from Broward Saves

The linky for this week is now open – I’m going to be sharing like mad so you will all be sick of seeing me. The theme is a super easy one …SWEET!! Yes all things sweet, cakes, chocolates, sauces, dips, sugarcraft – Remember you don’t have to include a recipe – just a post (or more than one!) about sweet food is fine. As usual, all entries will be commented, tweeted, pinned and shared on Google+. Here is the badge to include in your post – Feel free to spread the word about Foodie Friday. Otilia will be back next Friday to do the roundup and open a new theme.

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I’m joining in with the following: Emily’s Recipe of the Week, SupergoldenBakes’ Cook,Blog,Share

Gluten Free Angel Cake – Bake of the Week

gluten free angel cake

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

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

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

Gluten Free Angel Cake

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

gluten free dairy christmas cake

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

bake of the week

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

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

bow2

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

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

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

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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

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Apple & Cinnamon Palmiers – Bake of the Week

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

apple cinnamon palmiers

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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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

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

chocolate nutella frosting mint ganache chiffon cake

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

teacakes3-225x300

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

bake of the week linky

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

bake of the week roundup

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

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

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

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Win A Perfect Night In with Sainsbury’s

lego blocks

My younger self would despair if she could see how much I enjoy a rare night in now. I used to work with plenty of mothers who used to talk about what made their perfect night in. I swore I would never stay in, if there was the chance of a good night out. Well, guess what? 3 kids later and 5 trips to Manchester every week plus numerous other after school activities, I crave my home and my sofa.

The 2 nights that I tend to stay in are a Friday and a Sunday. Dermot works early on a Saturday, so we are not exactly wild. I do love the company of my kids, but like most parents LOVE that moment when they all go quiet and snuggle down for the night.

So what do we do? Prepare to be thrilled bored rigid …

The Entertainment:

Pre-Kids Bedtime … Its all about the Lego and Building Blocks … probably last week’s X Factor – Yep it really does take us 5-6 days to catch up!

Post-Kids Bedtime … Casualty of course (Has anyone else watched it right from the beginning?) and MasterChef Professionals (Marcus Waring is actually growing on me)

 

The Outfits:

Onesies for the girls obviously! I haven’t succumbed to owning a onesie yet so PJs it is. (Told you we are riveting!) How cute are these little wee slippers though?

onesie

She’s having a great night – Can’t you tell?

The Food:

The lazier, the better – Sorry, if you were hoping for an exotic home cooked meal – this is not the post for you! We’re talking ready meal & more often than not, there will be dips – A recent favourite is my Chocolate Orange Dip (recipe coming soon)…

  gin cointreau cocktail

The Drink

Hot Chocolate for my girls, Gin Cocktail for me & Mr C …

Gin Cointreau Cocktail

  •  1 Tbsp Cointreau
  • 2 Tbsp Gin
  • Cloudy Lemonade – Filled until 1cm from the top of the glass
  • 1 Tbsp Mandarin Sorbet
  • 3 Cocktail Cherries

Directions: Add the spirits to the bottom of a tall wine glass, Fill up with lemonade then add the sorbet. Allow to melt slightly and drop 3 cocktail cherries into the glass – They taste amazing once the drink has gone.

Sainsbury’s are offering one lucky household the chance to win their own perfect night in. Here’s what you could win:

  • A 40″ HDTV
  • £250 Sainsbury’s vouchers
  • Sainsbury’s Top 10 bestselling DVDs

Its super simple to enter – All you have to do is visit http://www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/money-matters/perfect-night-in-prize-draw.shtml and describe your perfect night in. Go for it everyone – Its a fantastic prize.

Terms & Conditions Apply – Entries close this Friday 14th November. The winner will be chosen at random by Sainsbury’s on Monday 17th November.

This is a sponsored post – I was commissioned by Sainsbury’s to highlight this competition and received payment for the post.

White Chocolate Cheesecake – Foodie Friday

white chocolate baked cheesecake

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

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

White Chocolate Cheesecake

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

Ingredients

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

Note

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

Directions

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

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

Mummified-hotdots-3

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

halloween body parts ideas

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

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

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

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

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

peach clementine bundt cake

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

bundt sponge cake

 

Peach & Clementine Bundt Cake

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

 

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

chocolate cookie pizza

bake of the week linky

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

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

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

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

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

CookBlogShare

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