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

ginger white chocolate frosting hi hat cupcakes

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

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

Ginger & White Chocolate Hi Hat Cupcakes

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

gingerbread loaf parkin

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

bake of the week collage

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

and yet more goodies …

bake of the week

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

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

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

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

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

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Chocolate Orange Pumpkin Bombe #UnileverHalloween

chocolate orange pumpkin bombe halloween

I’ve been wanting to make a Bombe for ages. I knew it wouldn’t be super easy, otherwise everyone would be making them, wouldn’t they? I was set the Halloween Challenge by Unilever when they sent me some products to come up with a Halloween creation. I decided to combine my Bombe with a Pumpkin and the Chocolate Orange Pumpkin Bombe was born.

For a first attempt, its not too bad. The taste of the orange creme is fantastic – I am so pleased with it. However, it just wouldn’t set – until I froze it for 3 days! I’d definitely recommend more icing sugar than I used. I mushed up the tangerines into the cream but I think if you wanted the cream to set firmer, I’d place them on top of each layer of cake instead.

inside a pumpkin bombe

Tip: Get all of the icing completely ready before you get it out of the freezer – Make it really easy to cover whilst it is still frozen. I used a chocolate Matchmaker for the stalk.

Chocolate Orange Pumpkin Halloween Bombe

Serves 10+
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party, Halloween
Rich chocolate cake with a tangy orange creme wrapped inside a fondant pumpkin shell

Ingredients

  • 200g Butter
  • 200g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 4 Eggs (Separated)
  • 200g Self-Raising Flour
  • 100g Good Quality Cooking Chocolate (Melted in 2tbsp water)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 284ml Double Cream (Whipped until thick)
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • 2 Tangerines (Zest and Pulp mashed up)
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Extract
  • 500g Fondant Icing
  • 3 tablespoons Buttercream (or Boiled Jam for sticking the icing on with)

Note

To be eaten within 2 hours of removing from the freezer!

Directions

Preheat the oven to 170C and line 1 x 8 inch & 2 x 7 inch cake tins
Whisk together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy
Add in the egg yolks and the vanilla whilst still mixing
Add the melted chocolate which should have cooked slightly beforehand whilst still mixing
Fold in a tablespoon of flour at a time
Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks and fold in gently
Separate the mixture evenly into the 3 tins and cook for approx 35 mins until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
Meanwhile add the orange extract and orange zest to the whipped cream - I also coloured my creme with orange colouring. Keep in the fridge.
Colour most of the fondant icing a vivid orange colour - keep a small bit aside to colour black for the pumpkin features.
When the cake has cooled, get a pyrex bowl or similar sized bowl and grease slightly at the base and sides. Line with a double layer of cling film.
Flatten the largest cake into the bottom and press down - it will come up the sides
put 1/2 of the orange pulp on top of the cake and spoon 1/3 orange creme on top.
Put one of the 7" cake on top of this and then more tangerine pulp, then creme. You might not end up using all of the creme - Feel free to eat the rest out of the bowl with a large spoon!
Place the last 7" cake on the top and wrap tightly with the cling film.
Freeze at least overnight.
Roll out the fondant until 1/2 cm thick and cut out black triangles for the pumpkin features - My eldest daughter tells me I have done the smile upside down but hey! character!
Take the cake out of the freezer, take out of the bowl and tip upside down. Spread the buttercream or jam over the top.
Cover with the icing and stick the triangles on with boiled water.
Boo!

Disclosure: I was sent some ingredients to use by Unilever to make my Halloween Creation

chocolate orange pumpkin bombe halloween

Linking up with Honest Mum’s Tasty Tuesdays & A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week & Supergoldenbakes’s Cook, Blog, Share

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com#CookBlogShare

Monkfish Linguini – Foodie Friday

monkfish linguini, tomato fish dish

foodie friday casa costello romanian mum

I’ll never forget the first time we had Monkfish. We had not long bought our first house and we were starting on our cooking journey – I’d just about mastered a chilli and Sweet n Sour, but wanted to experiment with fish. Someone had told us to try Monkfish saying how meaty it is and that we would love it – How right they were. I love how filling it is, so often with fish I feel a little bit empty as soon as I’ve finished my meal. (Our second experiment with fish wasn’t quite so successful – the fish was off and the cat went crazy trying to jump up and get it- Have never felt the same about bony fish since).

So, back to the Monkfish – I’ve had it several times since (not that often though as it can be quite expensive). Tip: the best time to buy Monkfish is last thing on a Saturday night in an supermarket, they often slash the price by half.

I do love a tomato and spice Monkfish dish – It goes so well with chilli. I like that the rest of this dish is fairly cheap and uses simple ingredients that we tend to always have in. If I spot a Monkfish bargain, I can pretty much guarantee that I can make this that night.

Monkfish Linguini

Ingredients

  • 1 Shallot (Finely Chopped)
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 500g Monkfish Tail (This is approximate - If you can only get 350g that will do just fine! Chopped into 2-3cm chunks)
  • 1 Red Pepper (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 cloves Garlic (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Red Chilli (Finely Chopped)
  • Linguini (Cooked until just soft - Between 75g -100g per person depending how hungry you are)
  • Rocket to garnish

Directions

Slowly cook the shallot in 1.5 tbsp vegetable oil until transparent and just starting to soften - You don't want them to brown
Add the vegetable stock and tinned tomatoes, and the monkfish. Replace the lid on the pan and allow to steam cook for 8 minutes until just cooked
Add the peppers, chilli and garlic and continue to cook (lid off) for a further 2-3 minutes
At the last minute, add the cooked, drained linguini to the fish and mix until all combined - the fish is quite sturdy but you still don't want to be too rough and break it all up.
Serve with rocket on the top and a good grind of pepper

Really happy to be in charge of the Round Up for #FoodieFriday this week. There were some brilliant posts linked up to Romanian Mum last week – I’ve added quite a few ideas to my ‘To Cook’ list!

My ultimate favourite from last week was Boo Roo & Tigger Too’s Pain au Chocolat & Orange Pudding – Just perfect for the autumn evenings and features one of my favourite combinations of chocolate and orange. Congratultions on being our featured post!

pain au chocolate orange pudding

I’ve compiled a display of all the other entries – They are so varied. There are such very clever bloggers out there!

foodiefriday

From top to bottom:
1. Easy Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from 3 Children and It – This was my husband’s favourite from this week’s collection!
2. Eton Mess with a Twist – I’ll let you read Bod for Tea’s post to find out what the twist is.
3. Double Chocolate Oaty Cookies – Oops they’re mine!
4. Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse from A Mother Thing – How bright and cheery are these?
5. Marshmallow Eyeballs from Eats Amazing – I daren’t show my children her blog, they would think I’m rubbish at lunches!
6. I do this linky so I can discover new blogs to read and get inspired for my cooking, My Fussy Eater is one of those blogs I think I’m going to be spending a lot of time reading! Mango Coconut Chai Pudding

foodiefriday

7. Mini Strawberry Tartlets from Food For Dissertating – Who wouldn’t love these in their packed lunch box?
8. The wonderful Pink Velvet Malibu Rum Cake that has been in my thoughts all week – From Chez Maxima
9. Saturday Banana Smoothies that my 3yo would absolutely love from Mum in a Nutshell
10. Pixie Dust, I LOVE your Maple and Bacon Cupcakes – These are definitely on my list!
11. I’m a sucker for anything with a surprise centre so love these Surprise Centre Muffins from Inside the Wendy House
12. So not good for the waistline but perfect for the palate – Rocky Road Cheesecake from Garden Tea Cakes and Me
13. The Recipe Resource describes herself as a Baking Novice – Her Date Muffins beg to differ!

The linky is now live for this week’s #FoodieFriday – The theme for this week is NO THEME!! Yep, its a free for all – join in with up to 3 posts. Just please remember to display the badge and link to Casa Costello and Romanian Mum

If you tweet your entry please use the hashtag #foodieFriday and we will do our best to retweet. We visit each entry with a comment, Pin it, tweet and Google+.

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Makeaway v’s Takeaway with Sainsbury’s

homemade takeaway ideas

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

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

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

Thai Green Chicken Curry

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

Ingredients

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

Note

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

Directions

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

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

coconut battered prawns

 

Battered Coconut Prawns

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

Dishes that work being made at home:

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

Sometimes only the takeaway will do …

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

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

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

Double Chocolate Oaty Cookies – Bake of the Week

double choc chip oaty cookies

My kids are going to love me when they get home tonight – A true family favourite are these Oaty Cookies. I forget how much the kids love these – they were actually one of the first recipes I ever made. I think I added some nuts but have done without today. These are also lovely with raisins, cranberries and toasted almonds in – The possibilities are endless.

Super easy to make – less than 15 minutes in the oven and 2 minutes to cool – if you can wait that long!

They may not be the most good-looking of bakes but the fact that they are delicious/your children will love you/your children will keep their rooms tidy for 3 weeks after eating them* makes them worth it.

* May not strictly be true

chocolate oaty biscuits

I used 2 types of chocolate buttons – White chocolate and Milk Chocolate. I was sent some samples of Hadleigh Maid’s Baking Buttons to review a couple of weeks ago and have had a hard time keeping everyone’s fingers away. Now the bags are open, its going to be impossible. More information about Hadleigh Maid at the base of the post.

 

Double Chocolate Oaty Cookies

Serves 24+
Prep time 8 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Chewy Oaty Cookies with both milk and white chocolate chips - Perfect for packed lunches or after school snacks

Ingredients

  • 150g Butter
  • 140g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 130g Porridge Oats
  • 175g Self Raising Flour
  • 200g Chocolate Chips (I used about half and half milk to white chocolate ratio)

Note

These can be frozen (although mine never last that long) Just put them in a tupperware box lined with kitchen roll for up to 1 month

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180C and line 2-3 baking trays depending how large they are
Using an electric Mixer, whack the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy
Continue mixing whilst you add the eggs to the mixture - Scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition
On a slow speed, add the oats and the flour - only mix for 1 minute or until the mixture starts to come together
As the chocolate baking buttons, I used were larger than I normally do, I broke them into uneven sized chunks with my hands
Stir through until combined. This is a recipe that is quite hardy so can cope with children being quite vigorous with their mixing
Using 2 spoons, scoop out a dessert sized blob and drop onto the baking parchment - I put about 8-10 on each tray
Bake for 12 minutes until starting to go golden - As soon as they are out of the oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

My featured bake from last week’e entries for #Bakeoftheweek is this wonderfully bright (yet dark) Chocolate and Beetroot cake from Jibber Jabber. Just love the look of this. The beetroot is grated so no need to pre-boil. Have you ever baked with beetroot? Its on my list for this autumn.

chocolate beetroot cake

I can only share 5 of our entries for #Bakeoftheweek – Unfortunately, if right click is disabled, I cannot get a pic. I will list as always but if you would like a pic to be displayed, please feel free to email me a pic to use. Thank you :-)

bake of the week

1. Just love the flavour combination of this Pumpkin, Ginger & Orange Traybake from Feeding Boys and a Firefighter- Pure autumnal goodness!
2. Aren’t these 100′s & 1000′s Mini Cakes from ET Speaks from Home just beautiful – The shape is just perfect, Eileen must have been moulding them forever!
3. I read somewhere earlier today that Pink Velvet is ‘THE’ cake of the season so Chez Maximka is very on trend with her Pink Velvet Malibu Cake
4. Lucy from Baking Queen is feeling all generous with her Tear & Share Brioche this week – I think I’d keep it all to ourselves!
5. Can you believe Chocolate Log Blog didn’t even get to eat her own cake this week? Just stunning is this Salted Caramel Birthday Cake
6. And I urge you to pop by and check out this amazing Frozen Spiral Cake from Mummy M’s Memories – There’s even instructions how to make your own.

AS ever, a huge thank you to everyone who has taken part, shared entries, commented and visited other bakes – Love my #Bakeoftheweek community.

The link is now open for you to add new bakes and here’s the badge to add to your posts …

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hadleigh maid baking buttons

Disclosure: I was sent Hadleigh Maid’s Baking Buttons for the purpose of review. I thoroughly enjoyed using them and they taste great (I *might* have nibbled on quite a few as I was baking!) More information about Hadleigh Maid Baking Buttons can be found on their Facebook page including the chance to win some Buttons of your own and other baking goodies. The RRP for 350g bags (3 flavours Dark, Mlik & White Chocolate) is £3.99. I have also been sent some of Hadleigh Maid’s Walnut Whirls which I have a great Halloween post coming soon for.

Linking up with A Mummy Too, SupergoldenBakes, Honest Mum and Romanian Mum’s #FoodieFriday this week:

tasty tuesdays honest mum

CookBlogShare

recipe-of-the-week

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Apple, Date & Cinnamon Flapjacks – Bake of the Week

apple date cinnamon flapjacks

Sometimes you should just accept that things are not going to go your way – The first 2 times of making these Apple, Date & Cinnamon Flapjacks was one of these times – I came down with a rotten cold on Sunday evening but tried to ignore it. Not feeling quite right, I thought I would opt for an easy Bake of the Week – Especially as last week’s was a bit time-consuming (but delicious)

1st attempt – Burnt the apple
2nd attempt – Forgot to add the syrup (quite difficult to bake flapjack without!)
3rd attempt – Burnt the 2nd layer of oats
4th – PERFECT!

Please don’t be put off – any normal person without copious amounts of snot would find these super easy and quick to make. They are so moist and chewy – perfect for kids with the hidden fruit too. I’m thinking this might be the last of the bumper crop of apple recipes this year.

 

Apple, Date & Cinnamon Flapjacks

Serves 18
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Casual Party
Chew fruit flapjacks with a soft apple and date centre

Ingredients

  • 125g Butter
  • 135g Light Brown Sugar
  • 140g Golden Syrup
  • 325g Porridge Oats
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 3 Large Cooking/Baking Apples (Chopped into small chunks)
  • 3 tablespoons Water
  • 25g Caster Sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 80g Dried Dates (Chopped finely)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 9" square cake tin (I use a silicone tin as it is easier to get the flapjacks out)
Melt the butter in a pan and add the brown sugar, heating through until the sugar is melted
Take off the heat and add the syrup, oats, flour and the cinnamon - Stir through until well combined
Add half of the oats mixture to the cake tin and cook for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, heat the chopped apple, caster sugar, lemon juice and water until just starting to soften in a medium pan
Add the chopped dates to the apple and continue to heat for another 5 mins - The mixture should be really soft and able to be mashed
Remove the oats from the oven and spread the apple/date mixture on top. Leave to settle for 5 minutes
Add the remaining oat mixture on top of the apples and cook in the oven for another 20 minutes
As soon as the flapjack comes out of the oven, chop into portions (whilst still in the tin) and leave to cool completely
Serve with a good, strong brew (and Lemsip if you are suffering like me!)

fig blackberry crumble

The featured bake for this week is Franglais Kitchen’s wonderful Fig & Blackberry Crumble – Perfect as the weather has turned really wintery this week and we seem to be craving more and more comfort food.

individual portions bakes

1. Mini Egg Tarts are the latest amazing creation from Et Speaks From Home – Eileen has had her own disasters this week too. Nice to know I’m in good company.
2. More Apple and Cinnamon featured over at Feeding Boys and a Firefighter with her Toffee Apple Cupcakes – These look just up my street!
3. Love the staging on Alida’s Chocolate Biscuits – They look so tempting.
4. I love hearing about how Laura from I’d Much Rather Bake Than comes up with her baking inspiration – This week it was Chocolate Chip Iced Latte Crumble Muffins
5. Perfect for making me feel more human and still cake! Super healthy carrot cake muffins from The Free From Fairy

big cakes

6. I look forward to tasting the combination of these 3 flavours in Franglais Kitchen’s Coconut, Raspberry & Blueberry Cake
7. Tell me you counted the layers too! How amazing is this Schichttorte from Kirsty at Hijacked by Twins? Just incredible.

The link is now open for you to add your Bakes of the Week – I’m planning a big week of sharing, publicising and visiting all the baking going on around the internet! All entries are tweeted, commented, Pinned & shared on Google+. Feel free to follow the #Bakeoftheweek Pinterest Board The code for the badge to add to your post is below:

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Taking part this week in a few linkies …A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week, Honest Mum’s Brilliant Blog Posts, Supergoldenbakes’s Cook,Blog, Share and finally my co-host, Romanian Mum this week’s #FoodieFridays – Don’t forget to add anything Sweet you blog about – The linky is open until next Friday.

foodie friday casa costello romanian mum

CookBlogShare

recipe-of-the-week Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Welcome to Foodie Friday! Chorizo, Pepper & Chutney Pinwheels

foodie friday casa costello romanian mum

chorizo, pepper chutney puff pastry

I’m very pleased to have joined up forces with the lovely Otilia from Romanian Mum in celebrating all things food. Every Friday we will be taking it in turns to lead the Foodie Friday linky. We would love as many people as possibly to join in and share what you are cooking with us – We have very easy themes to follow each week – This week feel free to share anything SAVOURY! Here’s how to join in …

* If you have a recipe or post that fits the theme, add it to the blog hop linky below – It can be a new or old recipe
* Please visit at least lone other entry and share the love. Let them know how you found them by add #foodiefriday (or even #foodiefridays)
* If you tweet your entry add the #foodiefriday hashtag and we will do our best to retweet
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Throughout the course of the week, myself and Otilia will be commenting, tweeting, google+ing and pinning your entries – Feel free to follow the Foodie Friday Pinterest Board.

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a recipe to celebrate our new project – I’m sharing today my Savoury Chorizo, Pepper & Chutney Puff Pastry Pinwheeels

Chorizo, Pepper & Chutney Puff Pastry Pinwheels

Serves 10+
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 1 hours, 5 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Crispy Puff Pastry pinwheels filled with tasty chorizo & pepper

Ingredients

  • 1 packet Ready to Roll Puff Pastry
  • 1 Red Pepper (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Yellow Pepper (Finely Chopped)
  • 50g Chopped Chorizo
  • 5 tablespoons Onion Chutney
  • 50g Soft Cheese

Directions

Take the puff pastry out of the fridge to soften slightly
In a small pan, sweat the peppers until soft and add the chorizo for 3 minutes - Remove from the heat
Spread the Soft Cheese all over the pastry and spread the onion chutney on top of this
When the peppers and chorizo have cooled, spread them evenly over the chutney/cheese
Roll the pastry as tightly as you can and double wrap in cling film
Place in the freezer for 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare 2 baking trays
Chop the pastry roll into 1cm slices and place on the sheets
Bake for 25 mins until crispy and golden - Enjoy!



Pecan & Maple Brioche Rolls – Bake of the Week

pecan maple brioche rolls

Oh my! This just might be my favourite thing I have ever baked (I’m sure I’ve said that before?!) These Pecan & Maple Brioche Rolls aren’t necessarily the quickest bake ever but they are more than worth it. You do need to do the preparation a couple of nights before to get the brioche dough ready but please don’t be put off. I will admit to thinking on Monday night that these were a bit of a faff and surely they couldn’t be worth it, but they most definitely are!

We were away on Tuesday night at a brilliant hotel (review coming very soon) so I used Monday to make a start on Bake of the Week. I first made Brioche dough about 4 years ago and they were a huge disaster. Since then, I have worked on perfecting my proving techniques (which I’m sure you are all heartily sick of hearing about) so back to Brioche dough it is! They worked perfectly – I can’t remember now what I used to find so hard about dough.

pecan maple brioche bites

 

Pecan & Maple Brioche Rolls

Serves 10+
Meal type Bread, Breakfast, Dessert, Lunch, Snack
Misc Freezable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party
Crunchy sticky pecan and maple syrup topped brioche dough balls - These are irresistible!

Ingredients

  • 80ml Warm Milk
  • 1 sachet dried yeast
  • 5 Egg
  • 500g Plain Flour
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 330g Room Temperature Butter
  • 1 Large Pinch/Grind of Salt
  • 70g Runny Honey
  • 100g Maple Syrup
  • 150g Pecans (I crush them with my fingers until they are in about 8ths of a whole pecan)

Note

You can freeze the dough before baking for up to 1 month.

Directions

Preparing the Dough
In a jug, mix the warm milk and packet of yeast and leave for 5-10 minutes until it starts to froth
Put 150g of the flour into a large bowl and add 1 whisked egg, mixing through with a spatula. Add the yeast/milk mixture and continue to mix until all combined. Pour 100g of the flour on top and leave in a warm room for one hour.
You will be amazed at what happens - The dough takes on a yellow colour with a white cracked crust - pure chemistry!
After the chemistry has occurred, add the dough to a heavy duty mixer with a dough hook. A hand mixer just won't be up to the job.
Add the sugar & salt to the mixer and start to mix on a medium setting.
Whisk the remaining 4 eggs and continue to mix on medium.
Add the remaining flour a tablespoon at a time, reduce the speed to slow when you are doing this.
When all the flour is incorporated, increase the speed to medium and whisk for a solid 15 minutes. I stopped the mixer twice to clean down the sides with a spatula.
Microwave 170g of the butter for 10-15 seconds until it is quite a loose consistency but not warm
Add a tablespoon of butter at a time whilst still mixing (reduce to a slow mix speed). The dough will start slapping about and look awful but keep mixing for 5-7 minutes and it will come together as a dough again.
Once it is in a dough ball again, remove from the mixer and add to a large oiled bowl - Cover with oiled cling film and leave in a warm room for 2 hours.
THEN ... refrigerate for at least one night and up to 3 nights! At this point you are saying, no chance - its not worth all that effort but bear with me!
Dough Rolls
When you are ready to use, remove the dough from the fridge. Cut into 2 and roll out half on a heavily floured work surface until about 14 cm square.
Microwave 60g of the butter for 10 seconds until very soft but not warm and spread out over the rolled dough
Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar together and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough. No need to go completely to the edge on the from and back of the roll but do go to the edge at the sides.
Roll up very tightly and double wrap in cling film and freeze for 30 minutes.
Remove from the freezer and chop into even slices (about 1cm thickness) and place in a buttered oven dish and leave to prove for 2 hours. They will double in size and meet up.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Melt the remaining 100g of butter and the brown sugar in a pan. Add the maple syrup and honey and boil for 1-2 minutes.
Pour in the pecans and remove from the heat
Cook the dough in the oven for 10 minutes and quickly pour over the pecan mix then continue to cook for another 20 minutes
Remove from the oven and as quickly as possible separate the rolls/spirals from each other while they are still soft
Best eaten the same day and absolutely incredible eaten with cookie dough ice-cream!
Remember, you still have half of the dough left over in the fridge - you WILL want to make another batch of pecan mix the next day!

 An absolutely incredible week for Bake of the Week – Thanks so much to everyone for getting involved!

My featured Bake of the Week is Baking Queen 74 who quite by chance made Povitica. She had no idea that the GBBO were going to feature Povitica that week either! Lucy didn’t just stop at one Povitica (or Poviticas? Who knows what the plural is?), she made 3 different types in one week! The woman is on a mission! They all look amazing, super job Lucy!

povitica baking queen

There were 7 bakes this week that incorporated chocolate …

chocolate bakes

1. Debra from My Little Kitchen seems to love pavlova as much as I do – Who could resist the beautiful colours of this Mixed Berry Pavlova?
2. Ooh Amaretti & Chocolate Crunch Cake – I need a slice of this from The Foodie Couple Blog. I cannot believe anyone has leftover Amaretti biscuits waiting to be used!
3. Emily’s Recipes and Reviews delights me with her White Chocolate & Salted Caramel Eclairs - Match made in Heaven?
4. One for everyone’s repertoire? Paul Food World shares beautiful Chocolate Orange Brownies
5. I will admit to never having heard of a Gianduia cake but it looks delicious from My Little Italian Kitchen – Described as luxurious, nutty and elegant.
6. Patisserie Makes Perfect makes our mouth water again with these Hazelnut, Cranberry & Chocolate Biscotti.
7. White Chocolate & Raspberry Blondies – What a perfect combination of flavours. I bet these were really fresh tasting from Paul’s Food World.

bake of the week

8. Eileen from Et Speaks From Home is excelling herself recently with her beautiful bakes – This week she shares White Lotus Sandwich Cookies which are just stunning.
9. If you are after true efficiency, then look no further than Hayley from Hay in a Day’s Pitta Pizzas
10. Kirsty from Hijacked by Twins has excelled again with her Darjeeling Earl Grey Tea Loaf
11. What fabulous flavour combinations from Feeding Boys and a Fireman with these Banana, Nectarine & Cinnamon Muffins
12. And one of my most favourite taste combinations ever! Apple & Almond tray bake from I’d rather Bake Than
13. So light and fluffy, this American Sour Cream Cake from Food Jam has gone straight onto my To Bake List.
14. Since I made my Muesli Brandy Snaps, I’m really intrigued by using seeds in baking – ET Speaks From Home has done just the same with her Almond & Sunflower Seed Tuiles – Gorgeous!
15. The colour of this Boozy Bramble Cake is just fab from Blue Kitchen Bakes1
16. Pretzels will always remind me of last year’s GBBO! These are just wonderful from Corina at Searching for Spice.

The link is now open for next week’s bakes – The code for the badge to display is below. Well done on sharing the Bake of the Week love last week – We had our busiest week yet! Don’t forget all entries are commented on, Pinned, Tweeted and shared on Google+ – If you could visit one other entry that would be great and share #Bakeoftheweek but no pressure.

Casa Costello
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.casacostello.com" title="Casa Costello" target="_blank"><img src="http://casacostello.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Bake-of-the-week.jpg" alt="Casa Costello" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

For those people who also like to cook savoury items, you may be interested to know that from tomorrow (Friday) I am joining forces with Otilia from Romanian Mum in hosting Foodie Fridays. Tomorrow’s post will be all about celebrating everything savoury – Otilia will be doing the round up of all your entries next week.

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Linking up this week with Honest Mum’s Brilliant Blog posts

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com and SuperGoldenBakes’ Cook, Blog, Share

Bacon, Balsamic & Black Pudding Risotto – Organic September

bacon balsamic black pudding risotto

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

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

organic food sainsbury's

 

Bacon, Balsamic & Black Pudding Organic Risotto

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

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

Total cost of Risotto for 2-3 = £3.31

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

Toad in the Hole & Gin & Lime Cake: Great British Dishes with Waitrose

gin lime drizzle cake recipe

I was set the challenge by Waitrose to recreate some good old Great British Dishes recently. I like to think that my cooking repertoire is fairly full of traditional British dishes that I will pass onto my girls as they grow older. There’s plenty of time in life for the fancy food but a family of 5 needs good solid meals to function on. These are the sort of dishes that take hardly any time to prepare and can be waiting for us when we get home from dancing/swimming/brownies/gymnastics …

Both of the recipes that I have come up with below started life off as quite normal recipes – I can never leave well along though, and constantly have to meddle with recipes.

toad hole onion chutney

I used Waitrose’s own ingredients for each and was really happy with the outcome – Even better, the kids loved both!

I love Toad in the Hole but have to admit, its sometimes not that interesting – I added some onion chutney painted onto each sausage and suddenly the dish was so much exciting. It takes mere seconds to do and you will think the chutney will slide off but somehow it doesn’t. If it was a weekend, I may have made my own chutney but this was a Wacky Wednesday and Waitrose’s Red Onion Chutney was just perfect.

Onion Chutney Toad in the Hole

Serves 5
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Wholesome family food Toad in the Hole made more interesting with the addition of onion chutney

Ingredients

  • 12 Waitrose Pork & Herb Sausages
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 8fl oz Milk
  • 8oz Plain Flour
  • 8 teaspoons Waitrose Onion Chutney

Directions

Grill the sausages until they are just about cooked - They will continue cooking as the Toad in the Hole cooks so you don't want them charred to start off with
Remove from the grill and leave to one side - Make sure the oven is preheated to 230C. Place an oven dish in the oven to heat up.
Whisk the eggs and slowly add the milk and S&P whilst continuing to whisk
Add the flour, a tablespoon at a time and whisk until all the lumps have gone and you have a smooth batter
Spread 1 teaspoon of onion chutney over the top of each sausage - doesn't have to be too tidy
Remove the oven dish from the oven and place the sausages at the bottom straightaway.
Pour the batter over the top and place straight back into the oven.
Bake for 30-40 minutes - I'm still constantly amazed that it rises and works every time but it does!
I serve with corn on the cob and onion gravy - I have to admit to the lazy way of making gravy on a weeknight: Chop 2 shallots finely, sauté in a small pan then add a pot of onion gravy and top up with boiling water. Tastes delicious and a lot less faff than making gravy from scratch!

onion chutney toad in the hole

I know that there isn’t much Gin in the Gin & Lime cake but wasn’t going to chance turning my girls into zombies so baked them a simple Lime Drizzle cake – More Gin cake for me & Mr C! They were very content with their very own cake too.

Gin & Lime Drizzle Cake

Serves 10+
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Light fluffy lime sponge cake with a crunchy gin & lime topping

Ingredients

  • 8oz Butter (Leave at room temp for 15 minutes before using)
  • 8oz Caster Sugar
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 3 Limes (Zest & Juice)
  • 10oz Self Raising Flour
  • 3 tablespoons Milk
  • 25ml Gin (I used Tanqueray from Waitrose as it was on offer)
  • 2oz Granulated White Sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 160C and line a 10" square cake tin (or 1x8" and 1x6" if you are wanting to do a gin-free cake for the kids)
Using an electric whisk, mix together the caster sugar and the butter until light and fluffy
Whisk the eggs and add, one at a time whilst still whisking on a medium speed. Then add the milk until combined.
Add the juice of 1 time and the grated zest of 2 limes
Turn the mixer down to a slow setting and add 1 tbsp flour at a time until just combined
Pour into the cake tin(s) - Divide if using 2 by putting 1/3 in the smaller tin and the remainder in the large tin and bake for approx 30 mins, until golden
Meanwhile, mix together the remaining lime juice, granulated sugar and gin (take 1/3 of the mixture away before adding the gin if doing a child friendly version)
As soon as the cake is out of the oven pour the sugar/gin mixture over and leave to cool in the tin.

 

Disclosure: I was asked to recreate Great British Dishes by Waitrose and sent vouchers to cover the cost of any ingredients bought. I have never used Waitrose home delivery service before but found their customer service exceptional. Our delivery driver was super polite and friendly. I found that there were some excellent offers on food and that the quality of the products we used was excellent.

Linking up with Lucy at SuperGoldenBakes for her Cook, Blog, Share linky

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