University of Birmingham graduate with a passion for food & cooking as part of a healthy lifestyle

Twitter: @EatRainbowLove
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Tuesday, 23 October 2012


Sorry for this unappetising picture - camera quality isn't great and I always find pasta bakes impossible to present nicely - especially when I'm starving and want to eat it quickly! My dad has made this in the past and I loved it - it's a Greek dish since it has cinnamon and greek yogurt in it which gives it that warming but fresh flavour. It's really comforting as it's pasta and mince, and the tomatoes and yogurt/egg topping almost make an omelette like texture on top. I can't really describe this dish in a way that does it justice, it's a very different pasta dish but in a oh-my-god-why-haven't-I-tried-this-before way! It's a lot more simple than other pasta bakes like lasagne as there is no slaving over the pan trying to make the perfect bechamel sauce. Although this takes a long time simmering and baking in the oven, it is easier than most other dishes and is worth it - you won't be disappointed.

Serves 4
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 450g lamb mince
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 300ml chicken stock
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 200g dried macaroni
- 2 beef tomatoes, sliced
- 300ml Greek yogurt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- handful of cheddar, grated

1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Heat the oil in a large pan and soften the onion and garlic. Add the lamb mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and cook until browned all over.
2. Stir in the tomato purée and the flour, cooking for 1 minute, then add the chicken stock and the cinnamon. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover for around 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, cook the macaroni according to packet instructions in salted water. When cooked, drain, and add the pasta to the mince mixture.
4. Spoon into a large ovenproof dish.
5. Arrange the tomato slices on top
6. Mix the yogurt with the eggs then spoon over the top evenly, and sprinkle with cheese.
7. Bake in the pre-heated oven for around 45 minutes.
Enjoy :)

Millionaire's shortbread

I've been tempted by this recipe for a really long time - it's from Lisa Faulkner's cookbook (my all time favourite recipe book). I was going to change it up a bit, but I'd heard how good these were so I decided to just stick to what she wrote so no credit goes to me on this recipe really. The only change I made was mixing dark and milk chocolate together for the topping, since I think all dark is too bitter and all milk is too sickly... This is a great recipe, so definitely try it out, I had a lot of fun making it - never made caramel before and it's surprisingly easy and tastes so delicious so is definitely worth all the stirring! 

Makes about 12 squares
- 125g butter or margarine
- 50g caster sugar
- 175g self raising flour
- 175g dark and milk chocolate (i used 80% dark cocoa and cadbury's dairy milk)

For the filling:
- 200g sweetened condensed milk
- 125g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a baking tin (roughly 7 x 11 inches)
2. To make the shortbread base, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then fold in the flour until well mixed.
3. Press the mixture evenly into the tin and bake in the oven for about 12 minutes, or until golden, and leave to cool.
4. Meanwhile, for the filling, place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and gently bring to the boil. Then simmer for around 5-10 minutes, stirring continuously so the sugar doesn't stick to the pan and you get a soft,  even texture. When it is a light caramel colour take the pan off the heat and pour over the shortbread base.
5. Leave this to cool/set. Then, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the caramel, spreading evenly and thickly. Place in the fridge to set for an hour or two.
6. Cut into squares, gently, with a sharp knife and voila!
Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Roast chicken

This was my first time roasting a chicken and I was so pleased with the results! The chicken was really moist and had lovely flavour. I made roast potatoes and we had it with shop-bought sage and onion stuffing, yorkshire puddings, carrots and mange-tous, and instant gravy. The roast wasn't as good as one of my mum's (she will love reading this..) but I can't master everything at once so for now I'm just pleased I managed to roast such a huge thing! It was just a whole chicken from Sainsbury's - quite a big one that served 6 people, so that my boyfriend could use the chicken in sandwiches and other meals, so it works out as really good value for money. Don't let cooking a roast chicken seem daunting - I was in a massive flap about doing it by myself but realised it was super easy!
- 1 large whole chicken (mine served 6)
- olive oil
- 3-4 fresh garlic cloves, crushed
- Fresh or dried thyme
- Dried oregano
- 2 red onions, cut into thick chunks

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees / gas mark 5.
2. Place the chicken in a roasting tin and brush with a generous amount of olive oil all over.
3. Brush on the crushed garlic and sprinkle with the herbs as well as salt and pepper if needed.
4. Cover with foil and roast in the oven for about an hour. Then add the onions to the tin and cook for another 45 mins to an hour - the chicken should be cooked through, really moist, and slightly crisp!

Enjoy :)

Carrot cake cupcakes

I hadn’t tried carrot cake until the other week and I fell in love with it. I don’t really like nuts or citrus which are all things I thought the cake would taste of but it didn't at all. I decided to make my own mini versions and they worked really well – they are really moist and warming from the cinnamon, and have great texture from the occasional crunch of walnut and soft sultanas. The frosting is to die for and compliments the flavours in the sponge so well. The carrots on top are white chocolate cake decorations from Sainsbury’s. You could also decorate them with walnuts or chocolate mini eggs for Easter time. If you like that citrus twang, then feel free to add some orange zest into the cake mix or the frosting! This recipe will be appearing in my uni newspaper - Redbrick, yay so if you're at the university of Birmingham make sure you pick it up!

*Just a quick apology for the infrequency of posts - I'm busy at uni and my laptops been playing up. I've got lots of posts I want to do though so keep checking back! I really appreciate everyone who looks at my blog*

Makes about 12 cupcakes
275g caster sugar
50g margarine
150ml sunflower or olive oil
4 medium eggs
4 carrots, grated
50g walnuts, finely chopped
50g sultanas, finely chopped
225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp cocoa powder

For the cream cheese frosting:
125g butter, softened
125g cream cheese
275g icing sugar

1.       Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees / gas mark 4. Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases.
2.       Mix together the sugar, margarine and oil in a large mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs then stir in the grated carrot, walnuts, and sultanas.
3.        Sieve the flour and baking powder, cinnamon and cocoa powder into the carrot mixture and stir well until combined.
4.       Spoon this mixture into the muffin cases (about 2/3 full) and bake for around 25 minutes. Leave to cool on a wired rack.
5.       To make the frosting, whisk together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
6.       Add the icing sugar, stirring until combined and smooth. Spoon on to the cupcakes and smooth over with a knife. Decorate as you wish!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

3 simple pasta dishes

Spaghetti bolognese, carbonara, macaroni cheese, and even pasta and pesto can get boring (can't believe I just said that!) so I have come up with 3 really easy pasta meals that taste delicious. They may not be the lowest in fat but they are still fairly nutritious with chicken or tuna, and a variety of different veg. Give them a try - they will not disappoint!

1. Chicken and bacon pasta with garlic and herb cream cheese
This is so delicious, I had this tonight and the flavour is amazing from the smoked bacon and garlic. It was really filling as well and contains a variety of different vegetables. 

Serves 2
- olive oil
- 1 chicken breast, sliced
- 3 rashers of smoked bacon, chopped
- 175g pasta
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- handful of mushrooms, sliced
- green beans, cut in half
- 1/3 200g pack of garlic and herb Philadelphia cream cheese
- handful of fresh spinach leaves
- sprinkling of cheddar cheese

1. Fry the chicken breast in olive oil until browned, add the bacon and stir for a few minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
3. Add the garlic and onion to the bacon and chicken - cook until softened, then add the mushrooms.
4. Add the green beans to the pasta water about 5 minutes till the end of cooking time. Then drain and add to the chicken and bacon pan.
5. Stir in the garlic and herb cream cheese until all coated, and serve on a bed of fresh spinach leaves (or stir them in if you prefer them more wilted) with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Voila!

2. Cheesy, tuna pasta
This was a really thrown together meal when I couldn't decide what to have. I had some leftover tuna and mayo that I had in a sandwich the previous day and decided to have this with pasta. This was such a delicious meal but fairly naughty with butter and lots of cheese. Thinking about it, I should have added peas or sweetcorn, or both, to make it a bit more exciting and nutritious. I really love tuna and mushrooms together but for those of you who don't like mushrooms, you don't have to add them!

*This is an instagram photo so sorry for quality - follow me on instagram for photos of food, fashion etc. my user name is 'lottierainbow'*

Serves 1
- 100g pasta
- olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- handful of mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 tin of tuna mixed with little bit of mayo
- knob of butter
- big handful of cheddar, grated

1. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
2. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil and fry the garlic and mushrooms until softened.
3. Stir in the tuna and mayo. Drain the pasta and add to the pan.
4. Stir in the butter and cheese and serve!

3. Creamy pesto pasta
The basis for this recipe came off the campbells condensed, creamy chicken soup tin! It is just a more interesting way to enjoy pesto, since it's really creamy and comforting. I decided to add peas and onion as well, and I used turkey instead of chicken.

Serves 2
- 175g pasta
- 1 chicken/turkey breast, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tin of campbells condensed cream of chicken soup
- 120ml milk
- 1/2 jar of green pesto
- peas
- cheddar cheese, grated

1. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
2. Fry the chicken and onion in some olive oil then add the soup and milk, stirring. Bring to the boil then simmer.
3. Add the peas to the pasta about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
4. Stir the pesto in with the chicken and soup mix and simmer for around 5 minutes.
5. Drain the pasta and peas and add to the sauce, stirring until all mixed together.
6. Serve with grated cheese on top!

Enjoy :)

Quick sausage casserole

This is just a really simple but good recipe I got from a student cookbook. It's a perfect student or family meal as it is fairly inexpensive, using mainly store-cupboard ingredients, and is very satisfying and warming for the upcoming colder months! This recipe made enough for 3 big portions - the first time I had it we had mash with it, and the second time I served it on a jacket potato with green veg. In the recipe it says just to used baked beans but I wanted more types of beans so instead of using cannellini as well I bought the new Heinz 'five beans' which has the normal baked bean in plus kidney, cannellini and 2 others. I definitely recommend doing this!
(Sorry for the not-so-great photo - I've started using my phone now instead)

Serves 4
- 6 sausages
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- tin of chopped tomatoes
- tin of Heinz five beans

1. Fry the sausages in some oil until browned, then set aside.
2. In the same pan, fry the onion and pepper until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil then simmer.
3. Cut up the sausages and add back to the pan, followed by the baked beans. Stir and heat through for a few minutes.
4. Serve with anything you like - mash, wedges, jacket potato, or even rice or pasta!

Enjoy :)

Friday, 5 October 2012

Perfect potato wedges

This is just a quick post to show you how to make some really good wedges to go with every meal. They are  soft inside even without parboiling, and really crunchy with tons of flavour. I made some to go with chicken drumsticks the other night, mm mm (perfect with BBQ sauce too!)

Serves 1
- olive oil
- 1 baking potato
- schwartz season-all spice (salt, paprika, pepper, garlic etc.)
- mixed herbs

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Drizzle some oil in a baking tray and place in the oven to heat.
3. Meanwhile, cut the potato into wedge shapes - fairly thin. (Do this by cutting the potato in half lengthways, then in half again, and keep doing this with each part until you get a number of wedges!)
4. Take out the oiled try, and place the potato wedges on, turning over so coated in the oil.
5. Cover with a sprinkled of season-all or some salt, pepper, paprika etc. followed by some dried mixed herbs.
6. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes, or until golden brown, crisp and soft in the middle!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


 This is the perfect comfort food now we're getting into the winter months. This is just a standard lasagne recipe, nothing special, just absolutely delicious pasta, mince, sauce and cheese! It takes a fair bit of time but it is definitely worth it and this made enough for two huge portions for my boyfriend and I, plus 3 extra meals for me to freeze for other dinners - yipee! I served this with some make-shift garlic bread - my mum bought me up some home made soda bread which is yummy on it's own, but we made some garlic butter (just melted butter and crushed fresh garlic, believe it or not) and spread it on top and baked in the oven, mm mm.

Serves 4-5
- 500g lean beef mince
- 2 red onions, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 red peppers, chopped
- handful of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1/4 a jar of tomato pasta sauce (or more chopped tomatoes)
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- dried mixed herbs (basil, oregano, parsley etc.)
- pack of dried lasagne sheets
- 25g butter
- 25g flour (plain or self raising)
- 500ml milk
- generous handful of cheddar cheese, grated

1. Brown the mince in a large pan, then add the onion and garlic, cooking until softened. Add the peppers and the mushrooms, and cook for another few minutes.
2. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil, then simmer. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees / gas mark
3. Spoon some tomato pasta sauce in the bottom of some baking dishes and place some lasagne sheets on top. Put a layer of the mince mixture on top then layer with some more lasagne sheets.
4. Meanwhile, to make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Gradually add in the milk, stirring constantly until thickened. This can take up to 20 minutes - be patient and just keep stirring, it will be worth it!
5. On top of the pasta sheets place another layer of mince, followed by some bechamel sauce. Finish with a final layer of lasagne sheets, followed by bechamel sauce and lots of cheddar
6. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes, or until piping hot, the pasta is soft and the top is golden brown.

Enjoy :)