Coffee Viennese Whirls


Whilst I’ve been off work recovering from last Friday’s knee surgery for the last couple of days, boredom is taking its’ toll. I can’t stand for long periods.  I can’t drive, and can only walk very short distances. What I can do, though, is browse the internet for ideas from inspirational people.  My friend Lynn over on Ink Sugar Spice, shared a delicious recipe recently for Pistachio and Mascarpone Cream Viennese Sandwiches. I have no pistachio paste, but I do have (and love) Nielsen Massey Coffee Extract, and as well all love coffee in this house, it was a done deal!

Digging out my old trusty Be-Ro recipe book that my mum bought me many, many years ago (it was my first ever cook book). I know that this recipe works as I’ve used it lots in the past.  Just a tweak and a little twist was all it needed to produce these deliciously crumbly and delicately tasting biscuits.

Coffee Viennese Whirls


  1. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
  2. Beat the butter and the icing sugar together for 3-4 minutes until light and airy.
  3. Grind the vanilla powder and coffee together until very fine.
  4. Add to the butter and icing sugar mix along with the flour.
  5. Stir until very well combined. This should produce a fairly stiff paste.
  6. Place a large star nozzle in a piping bag and place the biscuit mixture into the piping bag.
  7. Pipe an even number of circles of the biscuit mixture onto the parchment paper and place into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 160℃ (fan), 180℃ conventional.
  9. Place the baking tray into the oven for 15 minutes until the biscuits are pale in colour.
  10. Remove from the oven, but leave the biscuits on the trays to cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Transfer the biscuits to a cooling rack and leave until cold. (These biscuits are very ‘short’ and therefore quite delicate, so handle them gently).
  12. Beat the Philadelphia cheese, butter, icing sugar and coffee extract together until smooth.
  13. Transfer the filing mixture to a piping bag and pipe a circle on to half of the biscuits.  Sandwich the other half of the biscuits together.
  14. These will keep for a couple of days in the fridge (store them there, due to the butter and Philadelphia), but allow them to come back to room temperature to improve the flavour and smooth texture of the filling.

Coffee Viennese Whirls
Thanks to Lynn for giving me the inspiration to play with this old recipe and to give it a different little twist.

Book Giveaway – Holly Bell’s Recipes from a Normal Mum

The competition entry deadline has passed to win a copy of Holly Bell’s ‘Recipes from a Normal Mum’ book.  Of the entries received, 25 had the correct answers to all three questions.

All correct entries were numbered in the order that they were received, between 1 and 25 and Holly was asked to pick a number in this range as the winner.

She chose number: 22
Which belonged to: Karen Moses from Ulverstone in Cumbria

The correct answers to the questions were:

1. What year was Holly a contestant and finalist on the Great British Bake Off? 2011
2. In Holly’s recipe for Sweet Potato Chips on her blog, how long do you need to bake them in the oven for? 35-40 minutes
3. In Holly’s recipe for Healthier Fish and Chips recipe on her blog, what fish does Holly recommend using? Coley

Congratulations to Karen, who wins a copy of Holly’s book ‘Recipes from a Normal Mum’.  If you email your address to I’ll get your book in the post in the next day or two.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter, sadly only one person could win, but every entry was greatly appreciated.


Book Review & Giveaway – Holly Bell’s Recipes from a Normal Mum


I’m a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off and even applied to take part in the series a couple of years back.  Obviously, you haven’t seen me on it, as I didn’t get accepted onto the show!  Nevertheless, I still watch it and admit that I do cringe at some of the ‘creations’ and mistakes that are made at times.

Holly Bell was a finalist on the Great British Bake off and runs her very successful blog Recipes from a Normal Mum.  Being relatively locally based to Holly in neighbouring counties, I attended one of her cupcake decorating classes a couple of years back, followed by her bread class too.  Being so local and getting on so well (same cheeky sense of humour), I also popped over to help her out and ease her burden by being her ‘sous chef’ on a few classes too.  I feel very lucky to have kept in contact with this lovely lady since that time as Holly is one of the most genuine (& naughtily funny) ladies that I know.

Based on the roaring success of Holly’s blog and being a finalist on the Great British Bake Off, she has written a book of the same name as her blog that’s jam pack full of fabulous recipes, amazing photographs and little snippets of stories telling where the recipes have come from and hints on how to demystify and simplify the art of baking ‘Holly Style’.

I was recently invited to receive a copy of Holly’s book to review.  Along with my review copy, I was kindly sent an additional copy that I could offer as a giveaway on my blog.

There’s recipes in chapters such as ‘The More the Merrier’, ‘Feeding Goldilocks and Baby Bear Too’ as well as ‘Recipes for Chefs in the Making’ and ‘Presents from the Heart’. The simplicity of some of Holly’s recipes, along with the tasty, tried and tested recipes makes this every good cookery bookcase’s staple addition.

With the busy Christmas season upon us and the New Year of 2015 only days behind, what better time to choose than now to win yourself a copy of Holly’s book. Come January, you too could be baking like one of the best bakers that the Great British Bake Off has introduced us to, with the aid of Holly’s fabulous book.

In order to win this copy of Holly’s book, simply email me at with the answers to the following questions.

1. What year was Holly a contestant and finalist on the Great British Bake Off?
2. In Holly’s recipe for Sweet Potato Chips on her blog, how long do you need to bake them in the oven for?
3. In Holly’s recipe for Healthier Fish and Chips recipe on her blog, what fish does Holly recommend using?

All answers can be found on Holly’s blog Recipes from a Normal Mum. The closing date for this giveaway is 6pm on Sunday 28th December 2014.  I will announce the winner shortly afterwards and will post out the winning book to reach the lucky recipient that week.  Due to the weight of the book, postage will be to the UK only.

I’m off to the kitchen to try out Holly’s Hex Family Stollen recipe. Catch you later!

I was sent a review copy and an additional copy of Holly’s to give away book free of charge.

Book Review – Jamie’s Ministry of Food


If there’s one book that you should buy someone who needs a bit of encouragement to get themselves into the kitchen and to give them the confidence that they really can cook, then you should treat them (& ultimately yourself) to Jamie’s Ministry of Food.

It’s not a recent book and was originally published in 2008 but is still a bestseller today.

To give you the background why I bought this book.  I met my husband when I was 16 and he was 19.  We married 4 years later and, I’m proud to say, are still together today, 30 years and 2 children later! (Am I really that old?! Surely not!!!!)  Anyway, for almost the first 25 years of our relationship it was me in the kitchen probably 6 days out of 7.  My husband would cook the odd meal but always to a limited repertoire and was daunted to try anything new without my guidance.  I changed jobs and worked away from my home town which meant that for the first time, he was home before me each evening and the menu was starting to get ‘a little challenging’ for the family.  Let’s just say the kids were bored with spaghetti bolognese and frozen fish portions! It would be too late for me to get home and start preparing dinner from scratch as I’d always done, so something had to change.

Then, one day on a visit to a bookshop, browsing my favourite section (cookery), picking one of my favourite chef’s books up and realising it would be perfect for my husband, it just happened to fall into my shopping basket and my husband’s quest to become an accomplished cook began!  I personally love Jamie Oliver’s style of cooking – simple ingredients, easily accessible to source, often British and in season.  No faff and no fuss.

The book covers everything from essential Kitchen Equipment; not the gadgets and gizmos of the top chefs, but the tongs, bowls, pans and spatulas that every kitchen deserves to have.  There’s the basic larder, fridge and freezer ingredients that will see you to preparing anything from a boiled egg to the simplest cheese on toast through to a casserole, pie or a decadent dessert worthy of any good dinner party. It’s packed with hints and tips that will guide you from the initial preparation, via cooking and on to serving and enjoying your meal.

There are several favourites from this book that my husband loves to cook and he does so now with a flourish and such confidence that I never thought I’d enjoy seeing, namely:

* Chicken and Leek Stroganoff
* Classic Tomato Spaghetti (which is enjoyed with Jamie’s recommended addition of a tin of tuna flakes)
* Broccoli and Pesto Taglietelle
* Mini Shell Pasta with a Creamy (unsmoked) Bacon and Pea Sauce
* Parsnip and Ginger Soup
* A Cracking Burger (yep even home made burgers!)
* Baked Carrots in a Bag
* Salmon Fish Cakes

For a novice cook to be able to work from a book and create the flavours that you imagine when you see the photographs and read the ingredients and instructions can only mean that this book is incredibly well written, easy to follow and an essential to any book case; novice and experienced alike.

A job well done Mr Oliver, Sir!  Bring on the next book because I have all of your current ones!  The only downside is that I am now forced to share all of these as well as my ever increasing cook book collection with my husband!

What’s your favourite Jamie Oliver book?  Drop me a comment and let me know what’s your favourite recipe(s) from them.