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

Twitter: @EatRainbowLove
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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Marbled chocolate cheesecake

I wish I could say that I created this recipe but unfortunately, the triumph goes to Mary Berry. I made this for an anniversary party and was nervous because I'd never made a chocolate cheesecake before and didn't know how the marbled effect would turn out, but it was a massive success! Everyone loved it and it turned out to be the most popular dessert. It will definitely impress - super rich, creamy and chocolatey will always be a winner - people didn't believe that it was home-made! Don't shy away from making this because it's baked and more effort than just whacking it in the fridge, baked cheesecakes have a much more velvety texture and are just to die for. You have to make this, and it will be a recipe you are passing on for years, I just wish it was my own!

(I did change the measurements slightly - the original recipe only had 100g biscuits and I found that this just wasn't enough to fill the 8 inch tin)

Quick tip: use only the best ingredients when making a luxury dessert - for me this means McVitie's biscuits, lurpak butter, philadelphia cheese and proper belgium cooking chocolate!

Serves 8-10
- 150g plain chocolate digestive biscuits, crushed
- 75g butter, melted
- 150g plain chocolate
- 700g full fat soft cheese
- 225g caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 eggs, beaten

1. Grease an 8 inch spring bottom cake tin and pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees / gas mark 3.
2. Mix together the melted butter and crushed biscuits and press firmly into the bottom of the cake tin.
3. For the cheesecake mixture, beat the soft cheese in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in the sugar and vanilla essence and beat until glossy, then gradually stir in the beaten eggs until fully combined.
4. Melt the chocolate in a separate bowl.
5. Meanwhile, spoon half of the cheesecake mixture onto the biscuit space in separate blobs with gaps in between.
6. Add the melted chocolate to the other half of the cheesecake mixture and mix together until smooth and silky.
7. Spoon the chocolate mixture in between the cheesecake mixture already in the tin, then swirl the top to give a marbled effect.
8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cheesecake is puffy round the edges but still soft in the middle. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake in there to cool. 
9. Once fully chilled (best overnight in the fridge), run a knife around the edge to loosen the cheesecake then gently remove and you are ready to serve!
Enjoy :)

Friday, 8 November 2013

Apple and Cinnamon Muffins

These are a little bit of heaven. They smell and taste just like autumn - you've got soft apple chunks, 'chewy' dried cranberries, crunchy pumpkin seeds and the warming cinnamon flavour. These muffins are perfect for this time of year - they are super moist and crisp on top just the way I like them. They kind of taste like Starbucks pumpkin spiced lattes which are so yummy, I think it must just be the cinnamon.These are honestly one of my favourite baking creations to date, I will be coming back to this recipe every autumn now. If you make them please have one straight from the oven for me! mm mm

Makes 8 muffins
- 200g plain flour
- 50g soft brown sugar (plus extra for the topping)
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon (plus extra for the topping)
- 100ml milk
- 80ml sunflower oil
- 1 large egg, beaten
- few drops of vanilla essence
- 1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- 75g dried cranberries
- 50-75g pumpkin seeds (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees / gas mark 6.
2. Mix together all the dried ingredients in a large mixing bowl (flour, sugars, baking powder, salt and cinnamon)
3. In a jug, mix together the milk, oil and beaten egg until combined.
4. Gradually stir in the mixture in the jug into the dry ingredients until combined, then add in the apple chunks and mix together.
5. Next, stir in the dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, if using, and mix until well combined.
6. Line a muffin tin with muffin cases and spoon the mixture into them.
7. Fill them quite full, then place in the oven for around 20 minutes or until golden grown on top.
8. When they are done, take them out of the oven but leave them in the tray for a few minutes while you mix together some brown sugar and ground cinnamon in a small bowl, for the topping.
9. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture over the top of each muffin whilst still hot, this just makes them look nicer and gives extra flavour and sweetness! Place on a wired tray to cool or enjoy warm from the oven.
I accidentally ate one when it was hot out of the oven (don't worry, it was a mis-shapen one because it didn't fit in the muffin tray). It was so delicious - this is what it looked like inside, of course the other muffins looked better because they weren't flat and squished.  

Enjoy :)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Spaghetti Carbonara

I was craving creamy pasta so bad the other week that I had to whip up a classic carbonara. It was so delicious it didn't stay on my plate for very long. This dish is right at the top of my favourite comfort foods, and is great for a special occasion if you don't have much time but want something that will impress. Perfect served with some oozing garlic bread.

Serves 2
- 100g pancetta, cubed
- 150g mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 200g spaghetti
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 150ml double cream
- pepper
- fresh parmesan, grated

1. Fry the pancetta in olive oil or butter until it starts to crisp, then add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until softened.
2. Meanwhile, in salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions (about 10 mins).
3. Mix together the beaten egg and cream in a jug and add as much black pepper as you like. Stir in a generous amount of grated parmesan.
4. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain and add to the pan with the pancetta and mushrooms.
5. Pour in the egg and cream to the pasta and stir until combined over a low heat for a few minutes.
6. Serve immediately and grate a generous amount of parmesan on top and some more pepper, et voila!

Be sure to follow me on instagram if you like to look at pictures of food and see what I've been eating! 'lottierainbow'

Enjoy :)

Smoothie & pumpkin seed hype

So I am a massive fan of making smoothies and although they're not always super 'healthy' since they are loaded with sugar from fruit, they are still a great way to get some good nutrients in and I love that you can put absolutely anything you want in them!

Below I have linked two smoothie recipes I have posted before, the pineapple and spinach one I particularly love and it is nearly always the one I go for when making a smoothie. It has such great, tangy flavour from the pineapple and you get all the goodness from the spinach and oooof just is too good.

My boyfriend has got a new blender recently which he is obsessed with so we've been making a lot of great smoothies. One of our favourites has had pumpkin seeds in which I've recently discovered and love (what have I been doing this whole time!?) - they make smoothies more filling and add a new dimension of flavour. Plus they are a great source of fibre so you can't really go wrong. I also expected them to be quite pricey since nuts and seeds tend to be, but I got these from Lidl and they weren't bad at all and they seem to last ages so I would definitely pick some up. You can also use them in baking, add them to cereal or yogurt etc.

Makes 2
- 2 bananas, broken into smaller pieces,
- big glug of almond (or soya) milk 
- 4 heaped tbsp of low fat natural yogurt
- big handful of frozen berries
- big handful of pumpkin seeds
- big handful of spinach (optional)

(Sorry nothing is very specific - the good thing about smoothies is you can add as much of anything as you want)
Another one we tried was a garlic smoothie which was a shock to the taste buds as you can imagine. Lets just say it kept the vampires away... But, garlic is really good for the immune system as well as many other things, so eating it raw is the best way to benefit from it. We used the same recipe as above but just added two cloves of garlic (one each) and a bit of honey as well. It was so strong! So I wouldn't recommend it if you want to sit back and enjoy your smoothie, but if you want a good detox, health-kick smoothie then that is the one!

I also made a garlic smoothie recently but replaced banana with pineapple hoping it would mast some of the garlic flavour but I was very wrong...

Hope you try out some of these ideas and jump on the pumpkin seed bandwagon! Just to prove how much I love them, here is a picture of the breakfasts I've been having
It's bran flakes, dried fruit (raisins, sultanas and cranberries), pumpkin seeds and soya milk - so delicious!

Enjoy :)

Halloween cupcakes

Sorry this post is so late - I'm going to try and post more frequently now although I am quite busy but I will do my best!

I thought I would share with you my Halloween cupcakes anyway, I made chocolate chip cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and they went down a treat. I have posted this same cupcake recipe time and time again so I will link it below for you to follow if these take your fancy and you want to indulge in some delicious, home-made chocolate cupcakes! The only difference is obviously the decorations on top (from Lidl) and that I put milk chocolate chips in the sponge. 

To make the chocolate buttercream just follow the same recipe above but add 100g dark cooking chocolate (I used Sainsbury's Belgium dark cooking chocolate) for a rich, chocolatey flavour. Never stint on ingredients when making buttercream - always use good chocolate and butter, for me, that's always Lurpak!
I just piped on the buttercream using a disposable piping bag and a large star piping nozel. I started to run out of icing though so I just spread the rest on but it still looked good!
Oh and the gold cupcake cases are from Sansbury's.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Chicken, chorizo & potato bake

This is a new mid-week favourite of mine - super delicious, quick and easy but different to anything else I usually have. Definitely one for you all to try as it has tons of strong flavours and the crisp texture from the roasted potatoes compliments the soft chicken and chewy chorizo perfectly. The best part is, everything cooks together in one roasting tin!

Serves 2 

- 250g new potatoes
- olive oil
- 4 chicken thigh fillets (skinless & boneless)
- 1 tsp paprika 
- sprinkle of ground cinnamon
- sprinkle of dried thyme or mixed herbs
- dried chorizo sausage, sliced
- 75g cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 garlic clove, crushed

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Halve or quarter the new potatoes and toss with plenty of olive oil in a baking tin/tray and season. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
3. Cut the chicken thigh fillets in half and place them in a bowl. Add the paprika, cinnamon and herbs and stir until the chicken is coated.
4. Take the potatoes out of the oven and place the chicken in the tray around them. Scatter the chorizo,  tomatoes and fresh garlic around the chicken and potatoes as well and place in the oven after seasoning and sprinkling with some more herbs.
5. Cook in the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes crisp.

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Bolognese bake

 (I only took one photo when out of the oven - apologies!)
Super easy, delicious food that everyone will love. A twist on a good old spag bol - take an exciting, different pasta like conchiglioni (large pasta shells) and bake with mozzarella and fresh basil!

Serves 4
- 450g lean beef mince
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 red onions, chopped
- 200g mushrooms, sliced
- jar of good pasta sauce (I used Sacla with whole tomatoes in - see pic below)
- glug of balsamic vinegar
- seasoning
- 350g conchiglioni (or pasta of your choice)
- 1 ball of mozzarella, sliced
- handful of fresh basil
- handful of cheddar cheese, grated

1. For the bolognese part, brown the mince in a large pan then add the garlic and onions and cook for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms.
2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water according to packet instructions.
3. When the mince mixture is cooked through, add the sauce, balsamic vinegar and seasoning. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5-10 minutes.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
5. When the pasta is cooked, drain and mix with the bolognese mixture.
6. Pour everything into a baking dish and top with the slices of mozzarella and torn basil leaves. Don't forget to grate some cheddar on top too.
7. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top.

Enjoy :)

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Cottage pie

Perfect comfort food! Home cooking doesn't get much better than a delicious cottage pie fresh and hot from the oven. The rich meat filling (with lots of hidden vegetables) with the buttery, crispy cheese topped mash will satisfy everyone.

Serves 2-4
(We eat quite big portions so adapt this accordingly - we saved one portion of mince mixture to freeze - if you were using all the mince then do slightly more mashed potato!)
- olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 500g lean beef mince
- 150g mushrooms, sliced
- dried mixed herbs
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- generous dash of Worcester sauce (Lea & Perrins)
- generous glug of red wine
- 450ml beef stock
- 600g potatoes, chopped
- dash of milk
- large knob of butter
- cheddar cheese

1. Heat some olive oil in a large pan, then add the onions and carrots, and soften for a few minutes
2. Add the mince to the mixture and cook until browned, stirring to break up the meat.
3. Add the mushrooms and sprinkling of dried herbs, and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the tomato purée, Worcester sauce and the red wine.
5. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about half an hour, or until the sauce is reduced and thickened.
6. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees, and boil the potatoes in salted water.
7. When the potatoes are done (after about 20 minutes), drain and return to the pan. Add the milk and butter and mash until smooth and creamy.
8. When the mince filling is ready, pour into a circular baking dish, and top with the mashed potato, smoothing with a fork. Top with a lot of grated cheddar!
9. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling, and the top golden brown. Serve straight away with some green veg! 

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Crispy chicken goujons

These moist chicken goujons are full of flavour and have a golden, crisp crumb - perfect for whipping up a quick, delicious meal. Making chicken goujons from scratch isn't as time-consuming or as tricky as you may think, and they taste far better than shop-bought goujons. The other good thing is that they taste just as delicious cold, for lunch the following day!
Makes 8 goujons
- 8 good quality mini chicken fillets
- handful of plain flour
- seasoning
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 slices of wholemeal seeded bread
- handful of freshly chopped parsley
- olive oil

1. Take 3 shallow bowls and fill one with flour - season well.
2. Fill another with the beaten egg.
3. In a food processor, blitz the slices of bread until crumbed, then mix with seasoning, and the chopped parsley, and add to the third bowl.
4. Take a chicken fillet and first, dip in the bowl of flour, coating the chicken (this helps the egg to stick).
5. Next, dip and coat in the beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs until fully coated.
6. Set aside, and continue this process with the rest of the fillets.
7. In a large pan, heat some olive oil, then fry the chicken goujons, turning when one side is crisp and golden.
8. Cook for about 20 minutes on a medium-high heat to ensure the chicken is cooked through, and to get the breadcrumbs perfectly crunchy.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Smoked salmon breakfast

For a special occasion, or just a weekend treat, try smoked salmon with scrambled egg on English muffins for breakfast. It is really delicious - the rich smoked salmon compliments the soft, creamy eggs perfectly, and isn't too unhealthy either! Lots of protein and 'good' fats on wholemeal muffins that will leave you utterly stuffed and satisfied. The perfect brunch.

Serves 2

- 4 wholemeal English muffins, sliced
- butter or margarine, for spreading
- good quality smoked salmon
- 4 eggs
- dash of milk
- salt & pepper
- dried mixed herbs
- knob of butter

1. To make the scrambled eggs for two people, beat 4 eggs in a measuring jug and add a dash of milk, and season well with salt, pepper and dried herbs.
2. Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan and add the egg mixture, cooking on a low-medium heat and stirring often.
3. Meanwhile, toast the English muffins and butter them when done.
4. Keep stirring the eggs until scrambled to your liking.
5. To serve, add a few slices of smoked salmon to each English muffin, then top with a generous amount of scrambled egg. Top with some black pepper and voila!

Another special breakfast/brunch idea that is on the less healthy side of the spectrum, is smoked bacon and brie croissants - mmm.

Enjoy :)