Chilli & Coriander Pesto

Chilli & Coriander Pesto

Speedy, easy & versatile. Sums up this recipe. It occurred to me last time I made this Chilli & Coriander Pesto that I have never blogged the recipe before. Its so easy and a case of bunging ingredients into the blender, that it almost doesn’t feel like a recipe. I can’t remember how I found that the ingredients just worked together – they just did! I think the addition of the chilli came last, I had mixed the other ingredients and thought it needed a bit of a kick. If you want a really spicy pesto, then go ahead, bung 2 chillies in.

Chilli Coriander Pesto  

Chilli & Coriander Pesto

Serves 10+
Prep time 5 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Condiment
Misc Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue
Spicy and fresh Chilli & Coriander Pesto - Perfect for an alternative to traditional basil pesto


  • 1 Red Fresh Chilli (Chopped into small pieces - You can use the seeds if you like it spicy)
  • 3 Handfuls Fresh Coriander
  • 5 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 100g Whole Almonds
  • Salt & Pepper


If you like a garlicky taste, this also works well with 1-2 garlic cloves added


Place all the ingredients in a blender or strong food mixer - You might want to chop the nuts up slightly first if you are worrying about the rest of the mixture going too mushy but there is no need
Blitz for 1-2 minutes - keep scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure it is all combined
Keep refrigerated, covered with cling film

Potatoes with Chilli & Coriander Pesto

We mostly use this pesto recipe on top of scorching hot potatoes or mixed with prawns in a lovely light salad. Perfect for al fresco eating at this time of year!

Chilli & Coriander Pesto

Honey Balsamic Peaches & Pineapple – Due Vittorie Balsamic Giveaway

Honey Balsamic Peaches & Pineapple

I never fail to be amazed by how versatile Balsamic Vinegar is – Long gone are the days of only using it on a tomato & basil salad (Although it is still pretty delicious nonetheless!)

I am very pleased to be working with Due Vittorie Balsamic Vinegar as they launch their range of vinegars at Ocado. There are 2 types, Oro for every day use (£9.99) and for extra special occasions when you are really trying to impress, the Tradizionale (£49.99 for 100ml). I have been putting both types of balsamic to the test and can confirm that both the Oro & Tradizionale are pretty special.

Due Vittorie Oro Balsamic Vinegar


Honey Balsamic Peaches & Pineapple

Serves 2
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Tangy grilled peaches and pineapple served with a thick honey & balsamic glaze


  • 1 Peach per person
  • 2 Pineapple Rings per person (I used fresh pineapple as this is a stronger taste)
  • 3 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Runny Honey
  • 50g Almond Slices


  • Sprinkling of Demerara Sugar


Slice each peach into 2 halves and remove the stone. Place in a small oven proof dish
Place the pineapple in the gaps left by the peaches. I chopped mine into 4-5 cm pieces first.
In a cup, mix together the honey and the balsamic then pour over the fruit. Make sure all the fruit is covered.
Place under a pre heated grill for 10 minutes
Remove and stir thoroughly - I turned the peaches upside down and cook for a further 5 minutes
Repeat step 5, this time turning the peaches right side up again
Remove from the oven and leave to cool at room temperature
Toast the almonds in a dry frying pan until just starting to turn golden
Serve the fruit with whipped double cream and sprinkle over the nuts and some Demerara sugar if required

Baslamic Peaches & Pineapple

Due Vittorie Balsamic Vinegar Giveaway

I have one bottle of Due Vittorie Oro Balsamic Vinegar to giveaway so you can make your own Balsamic delight – To enter, please follow the Rafflecopter widget instructions below. As per usual, to enter your comment must be at the bottom of this post, rather than in the widget itself.
UK entries only I’m afraid – The competition will end at 11.59 on 17th July 2015.
I will ask for the winner’s details to send to the company who will send on your prize – Your details will not be used for any other marketing.

Good Luck to everyone who enters!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Honey Balsamic Peach & Pineapple

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Mint Aero Swiss Roll #Bakeoftheweek

Mint Aero Chocolate Swiss Roll

This has turned out exactly as I imagined/hoped it would. If you are a fan of Mint Aeros, then this is the cake for you! Not too many ingredients and fairly quick to make.

Mint Aero Chocolate Swiss Roll

Serves 8+
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 14 minutes
Total time 39 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Light chocolate swiss roll with the flavour of Mint Aeros - Splendid for any table centre piece!


  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 3oz Caster Sugar (Plus another 2 tbsp for sprinkling on the baking tray)
  • 2oz Plain Flour
  • 1oz Cocoa Powder
  • 113g Mint Aero Balls
  • 284ml Double Cream (Whipped until very thick)
  • Green Food Colouring
  • 1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract


Preheat the oven to 190C and line a Swiss Roll tin or Silicone Tray with baking parchment - Sprinkle the 2 tbsp of caster sugar on top of this parchment
Whisk the caster sugar and eggs with an electric mixer for at least 10 minutes until thick and pale. When you lift the whisk out of the mixture, the lines should remain there for a few seconds after.
Gently fold in the flour and cocoa until just combined
Spread gently and evenly across the baking tray and bake for 12 minutes - turn once, then continue baking for a further 2 minutes
Remove from the oven and as soon as you are able, bend the cake over to a roll shape - Unroll then allow to cool fully
Meanwhile, chop the bag of Mint Aeros (except for 10 balls that you will use as decoration) and add half to the whipped double cream, along with the peppermint extract
When the cake has fully cooled, sprinkle the remaining chopped Aero Balls on top of the cake, then spread the cream evenly on the cake - I took 3 tbsp of the cream mixture to one side to use as decoration
Roll the cake from one of the thin ends until it looks like a swiss roll then decorate with the remaining Mint Aero Balls and cream mixture

Mint Aero Chocolate Swiss Roll

Caramel, Vanilla & Chocolate Nut Cake

My chosen featured bake for this week has left me yearning for buts, caramel and vanilla – 3 Flavour Eclair Cake from Winnie’s Blog

Bake of the Week Entries

1. If you fancy a change from normal chocolate cupcakes, these roasted Strawberry Chocolate Cakes sound so intense and dreamy from Tin & Thyme

2. Carrot Cupcakes with Orange Icing from Nic’s Bakes

3. A mega post from the Free From Fairy containing some wonderful Chocolate Tahini Cookies that just ooze with goodness.

4. Dark, squiggly and completely tantalising, Dulce de Leche Brownies from Maison Cupcake – A warm welcome to the Bake of the Week gang!

5. Bringing back memories of my summer hols with her Mojito Cupcakes is Mummy Whiskers – Just in time for my next holiday! Yay!

6. Gearing up for the 4th July festivities is A Strong Coffee with American Flag decorated Cupcakes

7. Red Velvet Tiramisu Brownies from The Not SO Creative Cook

8. Love these Ramadan Themed Cut Out Shapes Sugar Cookies from The Not SO Creative Cook – Lovely to have you back!

Bake of the Week

9. Summery and light, Asparagus & Pesto Puff Pastry Tart from Julie’s Family Kitchen

10. Jibber Jabber Uk shared with us a fantastic Summery Strawberry & Cream Victoria Sponge

11. I would never have thought of using a slow cooker for Bread & Butter pudding nor strawberries – Baking Queen 74 has excelled with her Brioche Strawberry Pudding

12. Wonderful Plum Sugar Cake – Great for using up plums from Winnie’s Blog

13. Low Carb Courgette ‘Pasta’ Lasagne from Claire at Six Degrees of Harmony

14. Just delightful and so perfectly up my street, Gin & Tonic Cake from Truly Madly Kids

15. Recreating Mum’s Apple Pie with Spiced Wholemeal Pastry this week was Searching for Spice – This is my Mother-in-Law’s favourite dish. I might treat her!

Slice of Mint Aero Chocolate Swiss Roll

Normal rules apply for Bake of the Week – Up to 3 posts per baker. No theme – all welcome – they don’t have to include a recipe, just a post about a bake whether it be sweet, savoury, small, large, decorated, disaster, slow cooker or oven. Please include the badge to spread the word in your post and if you get chance visit some of the other entrants to admire their bakes.

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I’m so pleased to be able to join in with one of my favourite linkies this week – The theme for #thegallery is CAKE – How perfect! Click the badge to see what other people are entering.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies

These are not quite the perfect look that I was after but they have gone down so well with the kids. It was definitely time to put the Baker perfection in me aside – we had such great fun assembling these cookies that I decided to show them anyway. I will make them again for nicer photos but for now, embrace the mother in me!

A sugar cookie recipe that I have used time and time again – just made a little more child friendly with oodles of gel food colourings! Warning: Liquid food colourings will not work for this recipe – someone comes along and steals all the colour the minute they go in the oven.

Tips for making them look better (Now, there’s a catchy title!)
* Separate the dough into 1/3 and 2/3 – Only colour the 1/3 – I think the coloured sections of my cookies are a little too thick
* Make sure all the coloured sections meet up – I had small gaps which seemed to grow in the oven
* Don’t be frightened of using a rolling pin to flatten down the different sections in the cookies
* Experiment with different flavours – Lemon, Lime and Orange Zest all work really well in these cookies. Use the zest of at least 2 x whatever fruit.

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies

Serves 12-14
Prep time 2 hours, 20 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Bright Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies - Perfect for Children to help bake and for birthday parties


  • 250gg Plain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  • pinch Salt
  • 140g Butter
  • 170g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Medium Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (See post for alternative flavourings)
  • Gel Food Colourings (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet)


Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment
Using an electric mixer, whisk together the butter and sugar until well combined and fluffy
Add in the egg whilst still mixing and then the vanilla
Stir in the flour, baking powder, bicarb & salt
Bring together in a large ball of dough and double wrap in cling film. Place in the fridge for 1 hour
After 1 hour - remove from the fridge. Slice the dough in half - keep one half in the fridge and split the remaining half into 6 even pieces.
Colour each of the six small pieces with the gel colour
Roll out the uncoloured half to around 1/2 a cm thickness in a rectangle shape
Roll each colour into long thin sausages and line up - Take care to make sure each colour touches the one next to it or you will get gaps in the colour like I did. You will need some extra flour to cover your hands as the dough can get very sticky
Lightly roll over the coloured sausages to make sure even - Roll the dough widthways until you get a long thick sausage
Place in double cling film again and freeze for 1 hour
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 160C. Remove the dough from the freezer and cut into 1cm slices with a sharp knife
Arrange on the baking sheets and cook for 10 minutes - Check after 5 minutes. You may need to turn them for an even bake in the oven

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies

Whilst we are having a colourful week, I thought I would choose Alida from My Little Italian Kitchen as this week’s featured baker – This week she has shared her Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Puff Pastry Tart in wonderful Italian colours.

Tomato, Mozzarella & BAsil Tart

We are starting this week off with an abundance of cookies and cupcakes – One can never have too many!


1. These Double Chocolate Tahini Cookies even help you climb up mountains (week almost according to the Free From Fairy)
2. Its been the week for Minions (My kids are uber excited about watching the Minion movie next week – will you be watching it?) ET Speaks from Home came up with these brilliant Steamed Sweet Corn Cakes decorated as minions.
3. More biscuit loveliness and a huge Happy 80th Birthday to Lancashire Food’s friend – Cranberry & Citrus Cookies

4. These Blondie Cupcakes from Lemon & Lime Thyme are just perfection – The purple Blackcurrant Buttercream with those pretty flowers are too cute!
5.  In answer to Truly MadlyKids’ question, Yes! Real men do eat cupcakes – At least they all disappear very quickly in this house and it certainly isn’t me and the kids that eat the most! Father’s Day Cupcakes looking wonderful.
6. Practically so healthy they couldn’t be enjoyable – but I bet they are! Winnie brings us Chocolate Chip Oat Banana Cookies
7. Making a perfect and very kind gift this week are these Golden Syrup Ginger Cupcakes from Eating Enhanced
8. Baking her way through a broken freezer is the Gluten Free Alchemist with Strawberry Crumble Muffins – Doesn’t look too much of a hardship to eat these to me!
9.  Bringing back memories of a recent visit to the US with beautiful Red Velvet Cupcakes is Nic’s Bakes – Does anyone else really fancy some Cream Cheese frosting after reading this post?

Lets move onto Breakfast and Bread Products – Perfect way to start the weekend!


10. Extremely beautiful Mini Chocolate Stuffed Vanilla Bean Brioche from Domestic Gothess
11. I wish Truly Madly Kids was in our house every morning to provide us with Lemon Breakfast Pancakes
12. Are they bread rolls or are they barm cakes? The discussion is endless – Cheese & Herb Bread Rolls from Baking Queen 74
13. I cannot believe I’ve never made Baba Ganoush – Will rectify very soon after seeing Petite Raisin’s fab pictures
14. I have to admit my Slow Cooker is stashed away for the summer – Hijacked by Twins is clearly making the most of hers though with this Slow Cooked Pork in Cider
15. Dream Baker is even tempting me into making Homemade Croissants which take a whole 3 days to come to fruition – They actually look and sound worth the effort though! Read her post!
16. Hoping the picnic weather makes a return soon – Hijacked by Twin’s Cheese & Onion Quiche is perfect for picnics
17. Domestic Gothess is making bread special with her Pain a la Creme – Otherwise known as Double Cream Bread Rolls. How decadent do they sound?


18. I wish I hadn’t demolished that Chocolate Orange quite so viciously last night after seeing these Chocolate Orange Cheesecake Brownies from Giraffes Can Bake. Never mind, a good excuse to go buy another!
19. One of the most perfectly formed Strawberry Pavlovas I’ve ever seen – I’d be proud of this one if I were FarmersGirl Kitchen
20. I love how Mummy Mishaps has embraced the Piñata Cake and comes up with more and more extravagant ideas – Her Strawberries & Cream Piñata Cake is excellent
21. Caramelised White Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Ice Cream from Giraffes Can Bake – I dare you to look at these photos without yearning for some! Stunning!
22. Cloud Jellies featured on Kidgredients this week can bring all sorts of health benefits – I will never look at gelatin in the same way again (Although we do tend to use more of it on Millie’s hair than in cooking in this house!)
23. This Cashew & Almond Praline on top of Almond Cake sounds just divine from Kirsty at Hijacked by Twins
24. Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Cake on a super rich Hazelnut Crust – Perfect for Chocolate Loving Fathers out there this Father’s Day weekend – Winnie’s Blog

Many thanks to those of you who volunteered to cover #Bakeoftheweek during our summer holiday – I still need a couple more, so if you are tempted, please shout.

Please add the badge to your post when entering so we can spread the word and more bakers can find us and join in. I love the variety of bakes – all welcome! I’m going to try to be earlier next week in posting – These Wednesdays just keep speeding up!


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Tasty Tuesdays on

Minions Sweetcorn & Lime Cheesecakes

Minions Sweetcorn & Lime Cheesecakes

Now I know sweetcorn isn’t a typical cheesecake ingredient but you really must try it! The joy of sweetcorn is its versatility between both sweet and savoury dishes. For this recipe, I pureed the sweetcorn – I still left the skins in as it was plenty smooth enough but if you want it super smooth, then you can sieve the pureed sweetcorn before adding to the cheesecake mix.

No Bake Sweetcorn & Lime Cheesecakes

Serves 8
Prep time 2 hours, 20 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Perfect zesty lime cheesecakes with creamy sweetcorn - Decorate as Minions for extra fun!


  • 165g Green Giant Sweetcorn - I Pureed using a hand held blender (198g tin drained)
  • 360g Full Fat Soft Cheese
  • 150g Icing Sugar
  • 284ml Double Cream
  • 3 Zest of Limes
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Grey and white fondant icing (You only need about the size of a plum of grey and an apple of white for all of the cheesecakes)


  • Yellow Food Colouring (I use a Gel food colouring and only need a tiny amount)


Sweetcorn & Lime Cheesecakes
Drain the tin & Puree the sweetcorn - If you want the cheesecake to be extra smooth you can sieve before adding to the mixture but I did not find this necessary
Using an electric mixer, whisk together the soft cheese and the icing sugar - You may want to stir together first to avoid an icing sugar cloud!
Add in the double cream and whisk for at least 3-4 minutes until really thick
Add in the lime zest and vanilla
Stir in the sweetcorn and add a small amount of yellow food colouring if you want to
Divide evenly between small pots - ramekin dishes are perfect sizes and refrigerate for 2 hours
Decorate with the icing - or use fruit decorations if you want to be even healthier
Eat within 24 hours and keep refrigerated

Minions #GreenGiantSweetcorn Cheesecakes

For more Minion Madness, visit my Creme Egg Minions & Minion Birthday Cake posts.

Green Giant Sweetcorn & Lime Cheesecakes

If you are wanting to be even more healthy – I have decorated some cheesecakes using fruit instead of fondant icing – They are just as much fun!

Fruity Minion Cheesecakes

This recipe is part of the Tots100/Foodies100 #GreenGiantMinions Challenge – Follow the hashtag on Twitter to see all the other entries

Minions Green Giant Sweetcorn

Ultimate Chocolate Birthday Cake with White Chocolate Frosting #Bakeoftheweek

Ultimate Chocolate Birthday Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

It feels like AGES since the last #Bakeoftheweek – As suspected, half term was crazy busy with Millie’s England swimming training. This week is all about Violet – My lovely, kind, crazy, extreme, beautiful girl is now a very grown up 9! How did those years disappear so quickly? The baby that arrived in less than 1.5 hours has turned into a stunning young lady that makes us so proud and makes us tear our hair out in equal measures.

I couldn’t share this week’s #Bakeoftheweek before the birthday girl had seen her own cake, could I? She had a full on day, plenty of sweets after school, a special pick up by her cousin, followed by the opening night of Wicked at The Lowry. Violet is amazing to go to a show with – she gets completely stuck in, laughing heartily and clapping like mad. Love it!

And so back to the cake. A rich chocolate cake with melted dark chocolate (use milk chocolate if you like – totally not precious here!) I split the mixture into 2 cake tins and then sliced them in half making a 4 tier cake. Filled in with plenty of white chocolate frosting and completely covered in approximately 34 Kit Kat fingers, One bag of Aero Mint Balls, One bag of Maltesers and One bag of White Chocolate Buttons. I MAY have bought some spare chocolate packs just to make sure we had enough – I’m sure you understand!

Ultimate Birthday Cake


Ultimate Chocolate Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Serves 10+
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 45 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Ultimate Chocolate Cake - Easy to decorate but with the WOW factor - Chocolate Sponge Cake with White Chocolate Frosting decorated with various chocolates - A true Showstopper!


  • 300 + 220g Butter
  • 300g Soft Dark Brown Sugar
  • 6 Eggs (Separated)
  • 2 + 1 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 300g Self Raising Flour
  • 200g White Chocolate (Melted)
  • 350g Icing Sugar
  • 100g Dark Brown Chocolate (I use 85% cocoa and melt at 10 second intervals in the microwave)
  • 2 tablespoons Double Cream


Chocolate Cake
Preheat the oven to 160C and line 2 x 8" cake tins with baking parchment
Using an electric mixer on a medium setting, whisk the first lot of butter and dark brown sugar together until pale and fluffy
Add in the egg yolks and 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract gradually until fully combined
Stir in the melted dark chocolate
Fold in the flour, until just coming together
Whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks and fold into the cake mixture gently to keep as much of the air as possible
Separate the cake mixture between the 2 tins and bake for 45-55 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. When cool, cut the cakes into 2 halves - If you are not confident about slicing the cakes in half (across) then it is fine to leave as 2 whole cakes
White Chocolate Frosting
Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate at 10 second intervals in the microwave and leave to cool slightly
Mix together the remaining butter and the icing sugar in an electric mixer and add the white chocolate and remaining vanilla.
Add in the double cream. If the frosting is not as stiff as you would like or it is a particularly hot day, you may need to add more icing sugar
Stack the cooled cakes, spreading a layer of frosting between each layer and fill in any gaps with remaining frosting
Stick Kit Kats around the sides of the cake until you meet up - You may need to add extra frosting to help a couple of them stick - this cake is perfect for disguising any lumps and bumps in cake (I also turn the top tier of cake upside down for a flatter surface)
I made 6 segments and separated them with matchmakers but just us whatever you have - Extra Kit Kats will do but they will be thicker
Fill in the segments with whatever chocolates you prefer and consume within 2 days - Keep in the fridge if you have room!

Supreme Chocolate Birthday Cake White Chocolate Frosting

Princess Castle Cake

So many wonderful bakes once again for this week’s #Bakeoftheweek – I have to give a special mention to Eileen from ET Speaks From Home with Princess Castle Cake – I know that this will have taken forever and she has done such a great job. Lucky little girl!

Baked Asparagus

I also want to mention Herbs, Spices & Tradition with Baked Asparagus – I love that this is entered into #Bakeoftheweek – completely the spirit of the linky that anything baked is valid …and I don’t eat enough Asparagus, so thanks for the reminder!

For the first time ever, we have enough Cheese related entries to have their own section! So I present to you the Cheesy Bites …

Cheese Bake of the week

1. Paul’s Food World with Ultimate Cheese Scones
2. Baking Queen with Feta, Pepper & Courgette Filo Pie
3. Jen’s Food with Wholemeal Stilton & Broccoli Pasties

We move on now to the individual portions – For people like me that just don’t find it easy to share!


4. Hijacked by Twins with Muesli & Chia Seed Morning Buns
5. Paul’s Food World – Chocolate Rolls
6. Julie’s Family Kitchen with Chocolate & Cashew Buckwheat Cookies
7. Kidgredients with Cacao & coconut seedy bliss balls
8. Snap Happy Bakes with Mexican Veggie Burgers
9. The Dream Baker with Homemade Char Siu Buns
10. Misplaced Brit with Caramelised Cherry Tomato Tarte Tatin
11. Nic Bakes with White Chocolate & Strawberry Cookies
12. Lemon & Lime Thyme with Chocolate Biscuit Scones & Vanilla Glaze
13. Winnie’s Blog with No Bake White Chocolate & Strawberry Marshmallow

And the more substantial bakes – Perfect for showpieces!

Bake of the week

14. Domestic Gothess with White Chocolate, Passion Fruit & Coconut Layer Cake
15. My Little Italian Kitchen with Moist rich chocolate Pie
16. ET Speaks From Home with No Bake Chocolate Tarts
17. My Little Italian Kitchen with Strawberry Crumble Recipe
18. Hijacked by Twins with Chocolate Mint Cake
19. Mummy Mishaps with Choco Aztex Spiced Tea Cake with Blackberry Cream
20. Truly Madly Kids with Banana & Pecan Cake
21. Baking Queen with Zebra Striped Vanilla & Chocolate Cake
22. Petite Raisin with Pistachio Pavlova with Strawberry& Rhubarb Cream
23. Winnie’s Blog with Chocolate Mousse Cake on Hazelnut Crust

Thanks so much once again for your entries into Bake of the Week – Hopefully next week’s #Bakeoftheweek will be bang on time next Tues/Wed! There’s no theme so get spreading the word when you see someone baking online. Have a great week!

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Pecan & Almond Baklava

Pecan Almond Baklava

Its only been recently that I’ve discovered how versatile and easy to make Baklava is. For some reason the thought of that honey syrup and fill pastry made me think it would all go terribly wrong. Whenever I see any form of Baklava I have to remind myself that it doesn’t taste like it looks. AM I the only person to think it looks like a mince beef pie?

I have been baking Baklava as part of my involvement with Expedia Uk’s World On A Plate challenge. Search the hashtag #ExpediaWorldOnAPlate for more examples. Last month, cooks from all over covered Spanish dishes on their blogs. This month is all about Turkey.

This sweet treat was the most obvious for me to make – Sadly, I have never taken to Turkish Delight even though I have really tried!

My Pecan & Almond Baklava is quite a traditional version of Baklava but I urge you to have a go at playing around with other alternatives:

    • Shredded Sweetened Coconut
    • Finely chopped Apricots
    • Finely Chopped Glace Cherries
    • Pistachio nuts
    • Raisins/Sultanas
    • Even a thin layer of Nutella
    • Different types of flavoured honey – I use runny honey, try the Orange Blossom version. Yum!

Turkish Tea & Baklava


Pecan & Almond Baklava

Serves 10+
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 40 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Region Turkish
Traditional Turkish Sweet Treat, Baklava made with Pecan and Almonds with a sticky honey syrup


  • 1 packet Filo Pastry (Chilled)
  • 220g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Runny Honey (I used Orange Blossom on this occasion)
  • 1 Lemon - Juice & Zest of
  • 1 Orange - Zest
  • 200g Pecan Nuts (Chopped into tiny chunks but not blitzed in a food processor)
  • 100g Sliced Almonds
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 125g Melted Butter


Preheat the oven to 170C and brush a silicone dish with melted butter - Including up the sides. I use a 9" square
In a mixing bowl, combine the nuts, vanilla and cinnamon
Remove half of the filo pastry from the fridge and cover the other half with a dampened clean tea towel. You need to work quickly with filo or it will start to dry up and go crispy. If you think you might work too slow take less pastry out at a time.
Lay one layer of filo pastry in the base of the silicone - You can chop off around the edges but I leave it and fold it in later. Brush on top of this later with more melted butter, making sure it is all well covered.
Add another layer of pastry and repeat. At this point you can start folding in the extra bits of pastry from around the edges. Repeat until you have 6 layers of pastry.
Sprinkle half of the nut mixture evenly on top of the layers of pastry - You will start to think that there will be too much to fill the height of the dish but don't worry, the weight will flatten it down.
Brush another layer of pastry and place buttered side down on top of the nuts. Brush on top of this layer with more melted butter and keep adding more layers until you have another 6 layers of pastry
Use the rest of the nut mixture to spread on top of these pastry layers and finish with a last 6 layers of pastry.
Place in the fridge to set for 20-30 minutes
Once removed from the fridge, cut into 2cm squares - I do it on the diagonal as it seems to keep neater but its up to you.
Bake for 30 minutes then increase the heat to 180C and heat for another 5-10 minutes until it is the shade of golden that you are looking for
Honey Syrup
While the Baklava is cooking, make a start on the syrup - In a small pan heat the sugar, honey and lemon juice and zests. Bring to the boil for 1-2 minutes then reduce the heat to simmer for another 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat - it will thicken by itself. When the Baklava comes out of the oven, spoon the syrup over it evenly - If the syrup has thickened a little too much then just heat again slightly.
Leave to cool at room temperature - Best eaten same day or at least by the next day

Turkish Pecan Almond Baklava

It has been some years since Mr C & myself went to Turkey – A little town called Gumbet, near Bodrum – At least 13 as we were child free! I have really enjoyed reminiscing about one of our most favourite holidays – we were treated to the works if I remember, rose petals on the bed, turkish massages (for Derm) and I finished tons of books! For more Turkish food suggestions visit the Expedia website, Turkish page


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post – I was given free reign which recipe to make and how to prepare it. All opinions are my own.

Cherry Bakewell Tart #Bakeoftheweek

Bakewell Tart

Wow! Isn’t the sun incredible today? Or at least I hope it is where you are too. Its not often that the camera shouts that the subject is too bright!

This is no ordinary dry Bakewell Tart – It contains a whole jar of black cherries that I brought back from France last year. They have been taunting me in the cupboard ever since. I actually think the frangipane could do with slightly longer in the oven – Use your judgement – It is a really hot, sticky day here and the icing is oozingly melting.

Cherry Bakewell Tart

Serves 8+
Prep time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 15 minutes
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party
Juicy Cherry Bakewell Tart containing real black cherries and moist frangipane


  • 250 + 35g Plain Flour
  • 75 + 100g Ground Almonds
  • 150 + 110g Super cold butter
  • 60g Icing Sugar
  • 2 Eggs + 2 Egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Iced Cold Water
  • 1 jar Cherries (I used black cherries)
  • 110g Caster sugar
  • 1 Lemon Zest
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract


If your cherries are very runny, remove some of the juice and crush with a fork before adding on top of the pastry


Almond Pastry
Mix together the first lot of plain flour & Icing Sugar with a knife in a medium bowl
Cut the 150g butter into tiny chunks and rub into the flour/icing sugar until just combined. The key to good pastry is to handle it as little as possible. Add in the 75g of ground almonds
Mix the egg yolks and the 2 tbsp water in a small cup and gradually add to the rest of the pastry mixture
You will think it is too dry but all of a sudden it will come together as a pastry. Stop kneading and roll in double cling film.
Keep in the fridge for 30 mins to an hour
Grease a 9" tart tin and preheat the oven to 170C. Take the pastry out of the fridge - it will be really quite stiff
Roll out to about 1/2 cm thickness and spread evenly in the tin. Leave hanging over the sides by about 1 cm - you can always trim this later.
Cover with tinned foil and press down evenly on the pastry, cover with baking beans or lentils and bake for 12-15 mins until golden
Allow to cool and start to prepare the frangipane - Place the remaining butter in a small pan and melt. Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes
Mix together the remaining sugar, lemon zest and add the 2 whole eggs, whisking until light and fluffy
When the butter has cooled - add to the rest of the frangipane mix.
Stir in the remaining flour and ground almonds and almond extract
Spread the cherries evenly on top of the cooled pastry and pour the frangipane mixture on top
Bake at 180C for 30-40 minutes - If it starts to catch on the edges but is still very wobbly, loosely cover with tinned foil for the remaining cooking time
Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully - Cover in a layer of icing and sprinkle lightly toasted almonds on top

 An utterly stupendous week last week for Bake of the Week – I am in awe of the baking talent out there. It is getting harder and harder to choose a featured bake each week. There was one recipe that stood out though as I’ve got to make that! The More Than Occasional Baker with her magnificent Mini Pork Pies with Quails Eggs – I really think my taste buds are changing. This is miles away from the recipe I would have yearned for a couple of years ago but I have such an urge to bake it now. I haven’t attempted hot water pastry in ages so relish the thought of giving it a go.

Mini Pork Pies with Quails Eggs

I’ve separated this week’s bakes into a wealth of fruitiness – Let me present to you ‘Feeling Fruity!’

Bake of the Week fruit

1. Beautifully presented and a classic taste combination from Hijacked by Twins – White Chocolate & Raspberry Cake
2. After my disaster last week with fudge, I’m admiring Foodie Quine’s stunning Baileys fudge with pistachio & cranberries
3. Apparently Domesetic Gothess wasn’t all that happy with the appearance of her Red Wine & Poached Pear Chocolate Frangipane Tarts – I think they look luscious and so inviting!
4. Jen’s Raspberry, Rose & Pomegranate Cake definitely has the WOW factor – Perfect for any centre piece!
6. Nic is using up her cupboard food this week in preparation for a holiday – She has produced some lovely Lemon Blueberry Greek Yogurt Muffins – Have a great holiday!
7. An incredibly beautiful, flour less, tasty, appealing and HEALTHY cake from the Gluten Free Alchemist with her Gluten Free Flourless Orange Cake complete with Honeyed Raspberry Coulis
8. Such an impressive looking cake from ET Speaks From Home this week with her Blueberry Chocolate Roulade
9. Making a fantastic job of pro ducting Choux Pastry for the first time with her Lemon Choux Buns this week is Baking Queen 74 – Well done!
10. Bringing new life to a classic Victoria Sponge turning it into Plum Cake is Hijacked by Twins
11. I adore triple layer cakes and this Strawberry, Elderflower, & Almond Layer Cake from Domestic Gothess may just be one of the prettiest and striking ones around
12. For the super healthy amongst us, Sarah from Tales From The Kitchen Shed has produced some Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins
13. A warm welcome to the Front Porch Gourmet with this wonderful Russian Apple Cake

Bake of the week

14. Just look at the shine on these Sausage Hotdog Buns from The Dream Baker – WoW!
15. Wonderfully creative Rainbow Ice-Cream Cupcakes from Mummy Mishaps – She makes it seem so easy!
16. A true favourite and perfect for picnics Ginger and Treacle Loaf Cake from the lovely blog at Alice Megan
17. Another firm favourite and so well executed from Eat Your Heart Out (A warm welcome to another new blog) Coffee & Walnut Cake
18. Who says Quinoa has to be dull? An amazing Quinoa Chocolate Cake from Winnie’s blog
19. Melting Moments Vegan style in honour of the Free From Farmhouse’s Mum with her Easy Vegan Biscuits
20. Ebracing the joys of weekend baking with a toddler is Petite Raisin with some lovely Chocolate Caramel and Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Squares
21. I will always remember the first time I baked a New York Cheesecake – It will forever be one of those magical moments of science when unbelievable everything comes together to taste like pure heaven. Baking Queen 74’s Nielsen Massey Baked Vanilla Cheesecake looks no less magical.
22. Last but not least, These Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies from Winnie’s blog would go down a storm after school in this house

We are now open for next week’s Bake of the Week – slightly later than usual – It is Holy Communion Week and its all systems go! I’ve got a clean front door but that’s about all the cleaning I’ve managed to do so far – Eek!

There’s no theme as usual for Bake of the Week. Please add the badge and it would be great if you would visit a couple of other bakers. All bakes welcome Savoury, sweet, slow cooked. Feel free to add up to 3 bakes per blog.

Casa Costello
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Brilliant blog posts on

Thyme Mini Crackers #Bakeoftheweek

Thyme Mini Crackers

Ah my love for anything miniature is making a re-appearance this week. How cute are these mini crackers? Perfect for popping in your mouth whole. Once again they are super easy to make – I’m going to be experimenting with different flavours too – I’m thinking Oregano would go perfectly with tomato toppings and Chilli ones would be great with cream cheese too.

Thyme Mini Crackers

Thyme Mini Crackers

Serves 10+
Prep time 1 hour, 20 minutes
Cook time 17 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 37 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Bite sized savoury herb thyme crackers - Perfect for nibbles when entertaining


  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 90g Wholemeal Flour
  • 120ml Warm Water
  • 40ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Dried Herbs - Thyme
  • pinch Salt


Using an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment, add both of the flours & salt.
Mix the water and oil together in a jug and add approx 1/4 to the flour mixture - Turn the mixer on to a slow setting
Continue adding the rest of the oil/water mixture and increase the speed to medium - Mix for 7 minutes. The dough should come together in a ball.
When finished mixing, cover your hands with more Olive Oil (eew!) and wipe all over the surface of the dough ball.
Leave at room temperature for 1-1.5 hours to rest - Cover with a clean tea towel or cling film
Preheat the oven to 180C and split the dough ball into 2-3 smaller balls
For each small dough ball - sprinkle over 1 tsp of dried thyme (or whatever dried herb you are trying) Knead for 1 minute until the herbs are spread evenly
Roll out on a floured surface to a 5mm thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out small neat squares
Bake for 15 minutes then increase the oven temp to 190C for another 2-3 minutes if you want your crackers to be a little more browned - be careful, they may start to burn!

My featured post this week comes from a beautiful blog that I always head to when I want a little escapism – Elizabeth describes herself as possibly Britain’s most northerly blogger – Her post about travelling to BritMums always stays with me. Makes my little trek from St Helens to London seem like a stroll in the park. Anyway, this week Elizabeth has shared a Mediterranean delight also using Olive Oil (flavoured olive oils like the one use in Elizabeth’s recipe would also work with the Mini Crackers), Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Bundt Cake

There are still plenty of chocolate entries around if you are in the mood for chocolate – Let me present to you THE CHOCOLATE COLLECTION …

Bake of the Week Chocolate Entries

1. I have never been tempted to bake with Aubergine before but The More Than Occasional Baker has presented such a rich looking Chocolate Aubergine Cake that I think I could give it a try
2. These Chocolate, Cherry & Vanilla Cupcakes from Modern Family Baking are super pretty and all for a good cause too
3. I still stand by my belief that there is no better taste in the world than good marzipan – The Lass in The Apron has made her own delicious Chocolate Covered Homemade Marzipan this week
4. Milo brings back memories of when my sisters loved it when we were young, ET Speaks From Home has been very creative with Milo & baked a fabulous Milo Tirimisu
5. The Gluten Free Alchemist’s daughter has talked her into making Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Brownies with a cute Whipped Peanut Butter Mousse for decoration – Well done that girl!
6. I’d Much Rather Bake Than is super early and organised for next Easter with her Malted Chocolate Easter Naked Cake 😉
7. You can’t beat having a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in your collection, ET Speaks From Home has been testing out a new recipe this week, with good results.

I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your entries throughout the week – I love the variety of baking ideas that bloggers have, how flavours are married together and how you present your bakes so beautifully – Here is the VARIOUS COLLECTION …

Bake of the Week various

8. Making the most of rhubarb season with a pretty Rhubarb Buttermilk Cake is Baking Queen
9. More Olive Oil baking with a striking Apple & Olive Oil cake from the lovely Alida at My Little Italian Kitchen
10. Creating a beautiful partnership of Apple, Strawberries and Balsamic with her crumble is Mummy Mishaps this week.
11. A powerful post creating awareness of Coeliac Disease and also sharing colourful Raspberry & Blueberry Muffins – The Gluten Free Alchemist
12. A warm welcome to a new comer to the Bake of the Week gang, Sneaky Veg (Love the blog name!) Mandy joins us with her Carrot & Banana Cupcakes
13. Another herby bake from My Little Italian Kitchen with Rosemary Parmesan Biscuits

Casa Costello
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We are now open for your next entries to Bake of the Week. Please add the badge somewhere in your post to spread the Bake of the Week word. I will be back with a round up next Tues/Wed – Who will be the featured Bake of the Week? As usual, I will be commenting, pinning, Google+ing and Tweeting all your entries. Feel free to invite your other baking blogging friends to join us – the more, the merrier! Up to 3 posts are allowed per week – Please try to visit a couple of other Bake of the Week entrants too.

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Baileys Chococcino Cheesecake Cake

Baileys Chococcino Cheesecake Cake

It’s been Nanna Val’s birthday this weekend – A pretty significant 65 on the 1st May. Now Nanna Val is rather partial to a tipple of Baileys – She rarely drinks it neat but a cup of coffee just isn’t the same without some. In honour of the birthday girl, I decided to make a substantial cake – We are off out for the day tomorrow, so this is joining us.

A triple Chococcino Cake (Coffee & Chocolate) with luxurious Bailey’s cheesecake sandwiched between – Topped with a soft Bailey’s frosting, made into pretty roses. Definitely not one for the kids – although they’ve been hinting about a slice of the cake all day!

Piped Roses on Baileys Cheesecake Cake


Baileys Chococcino Cheesecake Cake

Serves 8+
Prep time 2 hours, 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 3 hours, 30 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Serve Cold
If you like a really strong Baileys taste, feel free to substitute one of the teaspoons of milk for Baileys in the Rose frosting


  • 8 + 3oz Butter
  • 8oz Caster Sugar
  • 2 + 1 + 1 teaspoons Cocoa Powder
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 3 tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • 10oz Self Raising Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baileys Irish Cream
  • 100ml Double Cream
  • 250g Soft Cream Cheese (Full Fat)
  • 150g Melted Chocolate (I used half white/half milk chocolate)
  • 2 TBSP + 10oz Icing Sugar
  • 2oz Milk


Preheat the oven to 160C and line an 8" Cake Tin with Baking Parchment
Using an electric mixer, whisk the 8 oz of butter and the caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract
Reduce the mixer to a slow speed and add the flour and cocoa powder, one spoon at a time
Pour into the cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes until a skewer comes out clean - remove from the oven and allow to cool fully
Baileys Cheesecake
Using an electric mixer on a medium speed, whisk together the cream cheese and the double cream until they start to thicken
Add the Baileys and 1 of the remaining teaspoons of cocoa powder and the 2 TBSP of icing sugar and mix through thoroughly. Stir in the melted chocolate which should be cool by now.
To Assemble
Cut the cake into 3 even layers - this can be quite tricky to do so just do 2 if you are not confident
Re-line the cake tin with fresh baking parchment and place the bottom cake layer at the base of the tin
Scoop half of the Baileys Cheesecake on top of the first cake layer and smooth out evenly
Add the middle cake layer and repeat with the remaining cheesecake
Top with the top cake layer and place in the fridge for 2 hours
To Decorate
Using an electric mixer, whisk the remaining butter, icing sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract until well combined
Add the milk a splash at a time - if the frosting is getting too runny, then add a couple more tbsp of icing sugar
Scoop into a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe roses on top of the cake (I use a Wilton 2D nozzle for mine)

Making a Chococcino Cake

If you fancy having a go at piping your own roses, its a lot easier than you think – I’ve produced a super short video showing you how (Its only 8 seconds long!)

If this recipe has whetted your appetite for more Baileys recipes then why not try some of the recipes over at the Bailey’s website

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. This recipe uses just under 2 units of alcohol in this recipe. The NHS recommends that you do not regularly exceed 3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women a day.

Bailey Chocolate Coffee Cake

The Gang at Nanna’s Birthday Meal

We're going on an adventure