Apple Pecan Crunch – Bake of the Week

apple pecan crunch crumble sundae

I promise you, you will never look the same way at Apple Crumble ever again after eating this! Much as I love a traditional dessert, sometimes they need a bit of refreshing. I suppose in posh circles this would be called a deconstructed Apple Crumble – Whatever you want to call it, its delicious. And once again, very easy to make!

I love this served hot or cold – Obviously the ice-cream melts very fast if the Apple Pecan Crunch is still hot.


Apple Pecan Crunch

Serves 4-6
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Occasion Casual Party
Perfect dessert for a hot sunny day with ice-cream or to warm your cockles with custard


  • 5 Large Baking Apples (Peeled and chopped into medium slices)
  • 1 Juice of Lemon
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 100 = 1.5 tablespoonsg Plain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
  • 100g Pecans (Crumbled into small chunks)
  • 150g Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mixed Spice
  • 120g Melted Butter


In a large bowl, pour the lemon juice onto the apples and mix thoroughly.
Mix together the caster sugar, cinnamon and 1.5 tablespoons of the plain flour and mix into the apple. Pour into an oven dish - I use a large oval one. It doesn't have to be very deep.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
In another large bowl, place the pecans and mix in the remaining flour, brown sugar and mixed spice.
Pour over the melted butter and mix well - Add on top of the apple mixture. You will think it will look soggy but it will turn out lovely and crunchy.
Bake for 1 hour - Serve with ice-cream (My favourite is Cookie Dough when the apple mixture is slightly warm)

Its all about apples this week in our house – we have been gifted some baking apples from our lovely friend, Sue and I have a huge bag of apples from nursery. When Violet left, we bought the nursery an apple tree as a leaving gift. Apparently this year is a bumper crop for the tree (must be because Tara now goes there!) and I have offered to make some mini cakes for the kids with the apples. The gift that keeps on giving?!

To keep with the apple theme, I’ve chosen Franglais Kitchen’s Cinnamon Apple Meringues as my featured bake – They are just lovely. I love anything meringue so am desperate to have a go at these!


It was a hard decision as usual, due to the amazing array of bakes that keep on being submitted …

bake of the week linky

1. Chocolate Orange Cupcakes for Grown Ups by Jaisee Mummy – This comes complete with tons of decorating suggestions. This woman is amazing!
2. More apple again with Apple & Honey Cookies from Family-Friends-Food – These look a lovely bake with a really chewy middle. Yum!
3. Ooh I so very nearly awarded featured bake to these Violet & Vanilla Cupcakes due to my love of all things violet – by Mummy Whiskers
4. A beautiful Mary Berry Austrian Cake from the delicious Searching for Spice in line with the GBBO European week.
5. Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart – My mouth waters every time I see this from Baking Queen 74.
6. It was the pistachio icing on these Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes from ET Speaks From Home that did it for me. Mmmm.

We are now open for business for your new entries for Bake of the Week – Don’t forget to spread the word and invite new members. Here’s the badge for your post.

Casa Costello
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All entries are shared around the web. Don’t forget to tweet if you’ve entered if you get chance #Bakeoftheweek.

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I’m entering into A Mummy Too’s Recipe of the Week as usual and posts by Honest Mum


Sweet Chilli Oat Biscuits – Bake of the Week

sweet chilli oat biscuit crackers

I’m so pleased with this recipe – Completely made up of course, but pleased nonetheless. I’ve been demolishing Tesco’s Sweet Chilli Oat Biscuits for a while and its been bugging me that I’m paying for such a small packet (There’s only about 10 biscuits/crackers in the box). I’m always up for a culinary challenge so have come up with my own version. Mr C highly recommends these – He liked them on their own but certifies them as ‘gorgeous’ with lashings of Soft Cheese on them.

If you like them really spicy you can add an extra 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper or even sprinkle some on top of the soft cheese – The fresh chilli was enough for us though. These definitely have a kick!

Sweet Chilli Oat Biscuits

Serves 25
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 25 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Lunch, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party
Oat biscuit crackers with a kick of sweet chilli - Perfect served with Soft Cheese as a snack


  • 150g Porridge Oats
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Caster Sugar
  • 1 Red Chilli (Deseeded and very finely chopped)
  • 1 Clove of Garlic (Finely Chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons Tomato Ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 5 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 125ml Water


  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper


Preheat the oven to 175C and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment
In a blender, add the oats, sugar, salt and flour and pulse until fine crumbs.
Add the chopped chilli, garlic and ginger (and cayenne if you are brave) and pulse again until just combined.
Add the ketchup and the water and oil and blend until it just starts to come together as a dough
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 5mm thickness and cut out using a circle cutter.
Prick each biscuit 3 times with a fork and bake for 15-17 minutes - Turn the tray around half way through baking
Allow to cool and serve with Soft Cheese

sweet chilli oat crackers

What a fantastic week for Bake of the Week last week, great to see so many people enthused by the Great British Bake Off. I had a really hard job picking my featured Bake but I kept coming back to one – Lemon Drizzle Croissants from Patisserie Makes Perfect – Just lovely and I suspect the tang of lemon adds something wonderful to croissants. These are high on my list of bakes to make!

lemon drizzle croissants

As usual we had tons of other wonderful bakes shared with us – There must have been some delicious smelling houses around last week!
I’m starting the the unusual bakes – I love the internet for encouraging us to come up with unusual taste combinations.

Unusual Bakes


1. Cider Punch Drizzle Loaf Cakes – I cannot wait to give these a go. Love baking with beer and cider.

2. Swiss Roll SnowSkin Moon Cakes – I’ve threatened Eileen that I’m going with her next time she goes to Singapore to try some of these.

3. How amazing is this Almond Milk Dessert from Alida at My Little Italian Kitchen?

4. I love the unusual title of Marie’s Cut & Come Again Cake from The English Kitchen.

There were also plenty of chocolate bakes around …

chocolate bakes

5. They may be retro but I’ll always love Black Forest and these BF Cherry Friands are perfect for lunch boxes

6 & 7 We’ve had a twice this week! I don’t think its ever happened before but thanks to the GBBO we have 2 Chocolate Orange Custard Tarts from Emma at The Mini Mes and Me & Jenny at Mummy Mishaps. Great minds think alike eh? ladies?

8. Many Happy Returns to Janice at Farmers Girl – To celebrate she had Chocolate Banana Nut Cake


And some fruit and veg featured this week too ..

fruit vegetable baking

9. We just don’t hear enough about Blondies for my liking – I’m tempted by Corina’s Raspberry Blondies from Searching for Spice

10. Marianne at Mari’s World gor arty with her delicious looking apricot crostada

11. These Banoffee Buns from Kirsty at Hijacked by Twins are very cute!

12. And finally one that is definitely on my ‘To Bake’ list, Hayley from Hay in a Day shared her Chicken, Mushroom & Thyme Tart

Thanks again for everyone who is doing such a brilliant job of sharing Bake of the Week and visiting other entries – I’m loving our ever growing team!

Link now open for next week’s – I’m definitely going to round up next Tuesday so the link will close first thing Tuesday morning. Here’s the badge to include in your post…

Casa Costello
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As usual I’ll share your bakes all around the net … tweeting, commenting, pinning and google+ing … and pretty much anywhere else that takes my fancy!

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East India Tea Company – Afternoon Tea Hampers

afternoon tea hampers tea biscuits

I’m well known for my love of a good brew – I’m seldom seen without a cup in my hand. What better to accompany a good cuppa than a biscuit?

When the East India Company sent me some First Estate Assam tea and Butter Shortbread biscuits to review – they got the right person. These are part of the selection that you get when you order one of East India Tea Company’s Time Stops for Tea Hamper. Afternoon Tea seems to be the craze that doesn’t appear to go away. It’s great for me as tons of my mates love supping tea and nibbling on goodies. This hamper is available for £40 and contains the AFirst Estate Assam Tea, Butter Shortbread biscuits with Clotted Cream, Strawberry & Pepper Jam & Strawberries enrobed in White Chocolate.

Don’t you just love my new glass teapot? I ordered it as a Christmas present to myself – I couldn’t possibly review tea without a new flashy teapot to put it in! Just big enough for 2 good cups and looks gorgeous too.

The Assam tea itself is a strong, black loose leaf brew – I would normally put 2 teaspoons of tea leaves in a pot for 2 but this definitely only needs one. They really swell up and you can even top up with hot water for another brew – Most cost effective. I’ve been brought up on tea leaves as opposed to tea bags so I reckon this is definitely a tea my Mum will approve of. I’m thinking of making some tea biscuits this week to see how the strong flavour relates to cooking.

The Butter Shortbread with Clotted Cream biscuits were divine – A good 2-biter but small enough to be able to be dunked (I’m sorry I cannot pretend I’m too posh to dunk!) Beautiful strong, buttery flavour that copes well with the strong taste of the tea.

The Time Stops for Tea Hamper is just one in a wide range of hampers available from the East India Company

Disclosure: I was sent the tea and biscuits as part of a review – All my opinions are my own as I was given free reign what to write. Many Thanks to the East India Company.

White Chocolate & Raisin Fudge – Edible Homemade Gifts

Every Christmas, I have a huge list of Foodie Gifts that I intend on making. Time always seems to run away with me but surprisingly enough, this year I actually seem to be getting somewhere. The rest of my present buying is practically non-existent but I have been spending some time in the kitchen.

One of the biggest successes so far has been this recipe for White Chocolate and Raisin Fudge. It has been reliable time after time. I love that it takes hardly any ingredients and that they don’t have a short shelf life either before or after making the fudge. Even better, the fudge is fine to be kept out of the fridge once it is made. I have a real issue with truffles that have to be made at most a couple of days before they are given and then have to be kept in the fridge – Who has time for that in December?

Expect plenty more Edible Gift recipes and ideas over the next few weeks – If you are making any, please feel free to link up below. I am doing an Edible Gift roundup on Thursday 12th December so the link will remain open until then.

I’m also joining this recipe in with Karen from Lavender & Lovage‘s Tea Time Treats challenge and the One Ingredient Challenge over at Howtocookgoodfood & Franglais Kitchen.

White Chocolate & Raisin Fudge

Rating: 51

White Chocolate & Raisin Fudge


  • 500g White Chocolate Chips or Chopped into small pieces
  • 45g butter - At room temp, chopped into small chunks
  • 1 tin of condensed milk - Mine was 395g
  • 100g Raisins


  1. Add the White chocolate, butter & condensed milk into a microwaveable bowl
  2. Heat on full power for 4 x 30 seconds stirring well each time.
  3. Depending on how strong your microwave is, you might need one more blast of approx 20 seconds.
  4. Add the raisins and mix so evenly distributed across the fudge. If you like quite a few raisins, add more.
  5. I used a 8" square tin but I think a 9" square would probably be better as my fudge was quite tall.
  6. Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
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Tea Time Treats


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Foodie Penpals April Edition

My box this month was exactly what being in a penpal scheme is all about. Exploring new tastes and products, whilst getting to know someone at the same time. My second month of being in the Foodie Penpal gang and our numbers are growing.

My penpal for this month, was Andrea from Made With Pink (a blog I could just read for hours – so pretty). Andrea said she was worried in case I already owned everything foodie and cakey – Dear Andrea, a girl can NEVER have too much baking stuff. When my parcel arrived, I was delighted. Andrea is originally from Canada and during a recent trip home, did her Foodie Penpal shopping – how lucky am I?

What did I get?

* Lemon Whoopie Pie Mix = I’m going to have a go at these this weekend. Can’t wait!
* Movie Theatre Popcorn = The girls are very eager to break into this.
* Some Maple Extract – I’m having great fun coming up with ideas that I can put this into. Gammon with Maple and Honey is springing to mind.
* A Coffee Crisp – Like a Coffee flavoured Creme Egg
* Cinnamon Roll frosting flavouring – I’m a new convert to cinnamon so this will go down a treat.

Thank you, Andrea – I love my parcel.

Of course, I sent a parcel out too – Mine was some little pink tagine pots (Which I have tried not to think about every day since I sent them but I’m going buying some tomorrow), some ‘proper’ chocolate and a selection of nuts. Yep, I forgot to take a picture but I believe my recipient, Sarah from NorthWestNosh was as in love with the little pots as I was.

Foodie Penpals are co-ordinated by Carol Anne from ThisisRockSalt – get it touch if you want to join the gang. We’re not that scary! The original idea is from Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean.

Things that make me happy

Its the Easter Holidays. The kids are still in their PJs at 11am. Not a TV in the house is turned on and they are getting along brilliantly playing good old fashioned Barbies.

Is there anything that has made you happy this week?

What inspires my blog? The British Parenting Calendar 2011

Let me tell you a little story. There once was a cake. Yes a pretty cake but apart from that you wouldn’t know anything about who the cake was for. So I started a cake blog. I knew nothing about blogs, didn’t even realise the world of parenting blogs existed but I had the urge to write more about cakes. Sometimes there are stories about why a particular cake is chosen. Sometimes I’m particularly proud of a certain bit of a cake and sometimes I’m just plain made up that I can even do the cake. And so my cake blog was born and happily it ticked along with me not realising how many people were reading it.

And then there were these 3. The most important things in my life (Yep, even more than cake) and that urge came again. I wanted to capture important parts of our life for us to remember. The funny bits, the unusual bits, the plain weird bits.

And then we bought this and found that the five of us have massive adventures that we really don’t want to forget.

And there you have it. How Casa Costello came to be – who knows how it will change in the next few years but I love my little spot of the internet. I love that people read about us and the cakes and even feel inspired to leave messages. How fab!

So why am I telling all of this? In June of this year, I went to Cybermummy and took part in the Parent Blogging Calendar photoshoot under the Foodies section. Organised by Tara Cain and Jay Mountford, there are 100 calendars available supplied by Snapfish in exchange for our blog CV. I’m game for a go so here’s my history!

A Real Life Fairytale through the eyes of a child

Violet and I were having a conversation earlier. We were discussing our next door neighbours (Win & Jim) whose daughter (Lynn) had just arrived to visit. It went something like this ..

Violet: Did Lynn used to live with Win & Jim?

Me: Yes

Violet: Oh yes, she will have lived with them before she got married.

Me: Yes (I was driving, plus it’s hard to get a word in edgeways with Vi)

Violet: She must have lived in a different house with them before she moved to her palace.

Me: Palace?

Violet: Yes Mum!?! (Insert rolling of eyes here) You get married, are a Princess for a while and then become a Mummy.

Me: Oh?

Violet: Mum, have you forgotten Kate – she got married to Prince William and is a Princess now while she is waiting to be a Mummy.

Have you ever heard anything as cute?

(And yes, they are our neighbours real names and yes, I think you have to have a rhyming name in that family)

Saturday is Caption Day 2

I had great fun reading everyone’s caption suggestions for last week’s Saturday Caption post that I decided to have another go this week. I was out all day last Saturday so couldn’t comment on anyone else’s but will be able to get round the other entries later today – Here’s hoping my brain can come up with some witty suggestions! (don’t hold your breath!)

So here you go…Here’s my entry for Saturday Caption Day

If you fancy a go at putting a caption to the other entries go to Mammasaurus Blog