Marzipan Puppy Chow/Christmas Crack Recipe – Foodie Friday

Please Note: Not to be shared with dogs!

marzipan puppy chow

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

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

Marzipan Puppy Chow

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

foodie friday

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

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

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

Gluten Free Angel Cake – Bake of the Week

gluten free angel cake

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

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

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

Gluten Free Angel Cake

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

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

gluten free dairy christmas cake

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

bake of the week

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

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

bow2

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

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

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

gluten free flour

I’m sharing this post with some favourites and some new links too this week … Recipe of the Week, Cook, Blog, Share & Brilliant Blog Posts

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Apple & Cinnamon Palmiers – Bake of the Week

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

apple cinnamon palmiers

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

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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

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

chocolate nutella frosting mint ganache chiffon cake

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

teacakes3-225x300

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

bake of the week linky

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

bake of the week roundup

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

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

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

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Win A Perfect Night In with Sainsbury’s

lego blocks

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

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

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

The Entertainment:

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

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

 

The Outfits:

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

onesie

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

The Food:

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

  gin cointreau cocktail

The Drink

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

Gin Cointreau Cocktail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

White Chocolate Cheesecake – Foodie Friday

white chocolate baked cheesecake

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

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

White Chocolate Cheesecake

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

Ingredients

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

Note

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

Directions

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

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

Mummified-hotdots-3

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

halloween body parts ideas

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

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

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

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

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

peach clementine bundt cake

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

bundt sponge cake

 

Peach & Clementine Bundt Cake

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

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

 

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

chocolate cookie pizza

bake of the week linky

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

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

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

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

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

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Individual Christmas Pavlovas with Prosecco Creme & Pomegranate – 100th Casa Costello Recipe!

prosecco pavlovas

Its that time of year again when we start to plan the Christmas Menu – Up and down the land, you hear people asking ‘Do you host Christmas Day?’. The answer is yes for us, its either that or go to my sister’s for Pot Noodle. I love her very much but draw the line at that for Christmas Dinner.

Its probably no surprise that one of my favourite parts of Christmas Lunch is the dessert. I’m not a fan of Christmas Pudding so don’t offer it to our guests – We do tend to offer a selection of desserts though. No surprise there!

Most years I offer some sort of meringue based dessert – For when you are completely stuffed but feel the need for something sweet. Its got to be special meringue though for Christmas – so how about Prosecco Creme, topped with Mini Marzipan Holly leaves and Pomegranate Berries – And for extra indulgence, a sprinkling of edible gold glitter!

taste the difference prosecco

We used Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Prosecco – I really like that it comes in miniature bottles of 20cl – This recipe only needs 80ml which is plenty for up to 6 pavlovas (Don’t forget to do the kiddies some alcohol free ones).

individual christmas pavlovas

Individual Pavlovas with Prosecco Creme

Serves 8-10
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 25 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 45 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Christmas
Luxurious Individual Pavlovas with Sparkling Prosecco Creme for the ultimate Christmas Dessert. Complete the effect with Marzipan Holly Leaves and Pomegranate Berries and sprinkling of edible gold glitter

Ingredients

  • 4 Egg Whites (Left at room temperature for 15 minutes)
  • 250g Caster Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Corn Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 teaspoon White Wine Vinegar
  • 284ml Whipping Cream
  • 80ml Prosecco
  • Pomegranate Seeds to garnish
  • Natural Marzipan (A ball about the size of a plum, coloured green is fine)

Directions

Pavlovas
Preheat the oven to 150C
Using an electric whisk, in a VERY clean bowl, start whisking the egg whites on a medium speed increasing to a fast speed after 1 minute. Carry on whisking until you have stiff peaks
Slowly (and I mean really slowly) gradually add in the sugar whilst still whisking - This should take at least 10 minutes. I use no bigger than a teaspoon to add each addition. You should still have a fairly stiff meringue
Turn off the whisk and very gently fold in the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla
Scoop the meringue into large piping bags with a star nozzle tip and pipe circles from the centre outwards. I go over the outside circle to make it slightly taller. I do a variety of sizes - I give adults pavlovas of around 5cm but children a fair bit smaller.
Place into the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 120C
Bake for between 18-25 minutes. Turn off the oven put keep the pavlovas in there for at least 2 hours or until the oven is completely cooled. I often leave them in overnight.
Prosecco Creme
When you are just about to eat the pavlovas, whisk the cream until it is stiff
Pour in the prosecco and keep whisking on a medium speed until it is all combined and you have a stiff creme again
Use a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle to pipe in the centre of the pavlovas
Finish off by topping with a marzipan holly leaf and a pomegranate berry. Sprinkle lightly with edible gold glitter dust
Serve immediately - Pavlovas without creme added can be kept for 2-3 days in a dry atmosphere - lightly covered

Guess what?! This is my 100th recipe that I am sharing on Casa Costello – How appropriate that I am celebrating with a bit of fizz. I’m loving sharing all our family recipes and producing new recipes. We are eating so much better and the kitchen is definitely the heart of our home. Thanks for sharing the journey with me so far … plenty more recipes and treats to come!

Disclosure: I was asked by Sainsbury’s to suggest a recipe using Prosecco. I had full editorial control of what recipe I chose and what I did with the leftover prosecco! ;-) I was supplied with Sainsbury’s vouchers to cover the cost of any ingredients I bought to make this recipe.

prosecco pavlovas

I’m adding this recipe to A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week

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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

TreatPetiteLogo

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+.

Casa Costello
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