10 Reasons to love Google+

10 Reasons to love Google+

I’ve got a feeling this blog post is about to divide opinion. I’m a fan of Google+ and have used it more and more this year. I know though, that many people haven’t had the same relationship with Google+ that I have. One of my most frequent discussions on social media is why I use G+ – For the past 18 months there has been rumours (and then slightly stronger hints from Google themselves) that G+ will be disappearing. I completely understand why some people think its not worth the bother to get familiar with yet another social media channel but I’d like to share some of my G+ findings with you. Feel free to wade in with your thoughts but please be nice!

I get tons of interaction on my G+ posts and there’s so many ways to let someone know you like their post. You can G+ it (Its a bit like saying you ‘LIKE’ the post). You can share the post (It will show up on your profile, showing the sort of posts that you are interested in) or you can simply comment. I tend to find that when I comment it often leads to more followers.

I love the communities on G+ – There’s hundreds of them and you can tailor them to whatever you are interested in. I’m a member of 16 foodie communities alone – I know that if I searched, I could easily find another 16 within seconds. All the people in those communities are members because they’ve added themselves and are likely to be interested in your post too. There’s no adding your friends to bump up the numbers of your own community.

Each post has a photo attached to it that is a good size and is shared when you/someone else shares your post. There’s none of that annoying habit that Facebook has, of sharing a completely random picture from about 4 posts previous.

Ugh, the technical stuff that is the holy grail of all bloggers. Simply put, because G+ belongs to Google, they prioritise G+ posts, leading to better rankings. Each post gets its own Google ranking as they are seen to be separate than just one G+ account. All helps to attract readers to my blog.

Its quick to share
Once you get used to the layout, it can be really speedy to add your blog posts. The wheels behind G+ find your blog post really quickly once you input your link. Even quicker if you have a G+ share button already on your blog post (I use Shareaholic to display a G+ button above & below each post).

Sharing Other People’s Posts
Its not only a place to publicise your own post, I love to discover other blogs, read posts and often share them on G+ too. It’s quick, the other blogger gets to know you’ve visited and shared their post. Commenting is easy & there’s no nasty Capta either!

In just 2-3 minutes I shared my last post to a massive 343,037 people signed up to either my G+ feed or 8 of the communities I posted to. Within seconds, I was shared 6 times which never happens that fast on my Facebook page or Twitter feed.

G+ is reliable
Have you ever known G+ to go down? Its one of Google’s babies – One of the world’s biggest search engine is going to look after their own.

Blog Traffic
I get traffic galore from Google+ – Its my 3rd largest source of Traffic (after general Google searches and Pinterest). Even I was surprised when I discovered that a couple of months ago – That was after just 2 months of making a concerted effort to remember to share on G+.

Happily, there doesn’t seem to be any! I’ve never experience any Spam accounts following me, never get any annoying requests to share posts and no troll comments either. Its definitely my happy place :-)

So there you have it – My quick guide to all that is good about Google+. Do you use it?

A Bit Of Everything

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Epiphany Cake – Bake of the Week

Gateau de Rois, kings cake

Well, I’ve finally got back in the kitchen! It has taken a course of antibiotics (that thankfully seem to be eventually working) but I’m so happy. I’ve missed getting creative with recipes and the cupboards are positively bulging with leftover Christmas food that we were just to ill to do anything with.

As usual for January, the daylight is shocking for taking any pictures. Doesn’t detract from the taste though.

My first recipe of the year is an Epiphany Cake. There are 2 versions of an Epiphany cake, I opted for the Northern French version which is a puff pastry base and top with a frangipane or apple filling. The other version is more common to Spain and New Orleans and is more cake or brioche based with candied fruits and plenty of sugar.

The French version is also known as gâteau des rois (or King Cake) which I love as it gives a real nod to the feat of the Epiphany, when the Kiings (or Wise Men) visited the Baby Jesus. This also, as you know, signals the end of the Christmas festivities. So take down your tree! (Our lasted until the 27th December – First one at the recycling centre!)

gateau de rois

There’s not that much you can do to tart up puff pastry but I added a pastry crown which went down well with the girls. It is traditional to hide a gift (like a toy figure) in an Epiphany cake – whoever finds it, is the King of the Table. How fab – I’m definitely adopting this next year!

Epiphany Cake – King Cake – Gateaux de Rois

Serves 8+
Prep time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 2 hours, 15 minutes
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Cold
Occasion Casual Party, Christmas
Region European
Crispy puff pastry with a sweet frangipane centre - Perfect for celebrating the Epiphany or the Feast of Kings


  • 2 packets Puff Pastry (Packets tend to be 500g)
  • 130g Butter (Chopped into small cubes)
  • 130g Caster Sugar
  • 120g Ground almonds
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
  • 1 Lemon - Juice and Zest of
  • 1 Orange (or Tangerine) Juice & Zest of
  • 2 teaspoons Disaronno or other Almond Liqueur


Make the frangipane first - needs to chill for 1 hour. Using an electric mixer, whisk the sugar and butter until pale and smooth.
Add the egg and yolks, one at a time until well combined. Add the ground almonds.
Continue mixing whilst adding the zest, extract, liqueur and juice.
Remove from the bowl and Roll in at least a double thickness of cling film. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a flat baking tray with baking parchment.
Roll out one pack of pastry to a thickness of about 1/2cm. Cut around the edge of a 10" bowl and place the pastry circle on the baking tray.
Place the frangipane in the centre of the circle - You will be able to mould it so it is a round shape - Leave a 1 1/2 cm gap around the edge of the frangipane where you can still see the pastry.
Brush the pastry edge with milk or boiled water.
Roll out the second packet of pastry, this time make the circle approx 12" diameter. Place on top of the first pastry circle and frangipane, smoothing down the edge. You may want to trim the top layer where it meets the base pastry.
I went retro and used my cake crimpers to join the two layers together and made a pastry crown with some of the leftover pastry.
Brush the whole top of the cake with milk and bake for exactly 1 hour.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

gateau de rois

Huge thanks to everyone that left Bake of the Week entries over Christmas – You sure enjoyed some lovely goodies! As usual it was so difficult to chose a particular Bake of the Week but I’ve gone for it – Well, actually I’ve chosen 1 sweet and 1 savoury.

The Savoury bake of the week is from Herbs, Spices & Tradition with her Savoury Baked Cake (also known as Mathhi Lagan) – The colour is just fantastic!

mathhi lagan

For my sweet choice (sooo hard!) I went with Corina at Searching for Spice’s Dulce de Leche cake – I was so inspired by this cake, I went & bought the most enormous tub of Dulce de Leche for a really lazy version of it.

dulce de leche

The link is now open for our next week’s Bake of the Week – I’m going to go back to showcasing all the entries from next week and will be posting on the Tuesday. Don’t forget to visit the other entries and getting sharing about #Bakeoftheweek – I will retweet any of your tweets.

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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

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