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

Twitter: @EatRainbowLove
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Friday, 18 January 2013

Steak and ale pie

Hands down, this is the best pie I've ever had. You've probably seen on here that I love both the chicken and mushroom pie and turkey and leek pie (both Lisa Faulkner recipes) but this was another level - absolutely delicious and perfect as a winter comfort food. Traditional British pub food that has brilliant flavour and textures. I served this with cheesy mash and veg but it would work equally well with chips or home-made wedges too! Sorry if the photos look unappetising - pie is a bit tricky to dish up looking spectacular...

Serves 3-4
- 450g beef (stewing steak, diced beef etc.)
- 10g flour
- olive oil or butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 100g mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 200ml good-quality ale
- 250ml beef stock
- salt and pepper
- ready-rolled puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten

1. Coat the beef in the flour and season.
2. Cook the meat in the oil or butter in a large saucepan until browned.
3. Add the onion, carrot, mushrooms, thyme, ale and stock. Stir and bring to a simmer, then cover for an hour, stirring occasionally. 
4. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees and grease a baking dish.
5. Cut out the puff pastry to line the dish and pour in the beef mixture.
6. Top with more puff pastry, sealing the sides, and glaze with beaten egg.
7. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed up. Serve with potato of your choice.
Enjoy :)

Pasta bows

This is my absolute favourite meal, and for the first time ever I actually cooked it myself. This is one of those special meals that my mum always cooks and it is just absolutely delcious (even better when she makes it) - I guarantee this will be up there with your favourite pasta dishes. I had no clue what to call this since in our family we just call it 'pasta bows' and the original recipe is called 'McEvitt's bows with meat sauce' as it's named after someone that made it. I wanted to give more of an indication of what it actually is in the title but 'pasta in mince, cream, parsley, white wine and parmesan sauce' didn't really sound all that special... I love how this is a creamy dish but is perfectly balanced with the mince and parsley and therefore isn't rich and sickly like other creamy pastas can be. The flavours in this are just amazing together - what is better than cooking with wine and fresh parmesan and herbs!? My mum changed the chilli powder to cayenne pepper and I would use all olive oil and not butter for frying but other than that this is the original recipe from an old cookbook. Definitely stick to pasta bows, it would not be the same with any other pasta!

Serves 2
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, finally chopped
- 250g minced beef
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper
- 100ml white wine
- 150ml double cream
- generous amount of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 50g parmesan, grated
- 250-300g pasta bows

1. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan and add the onions, cooking for about 5 minutes until softened.
2.  Stir in the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until browned. Add the pepper and seasoning.
3. Pour in the white wine and bring to the boil for a couple of minutes to reduce.
4. Reduce the head and add the cream and parsley - cook for a further ten minutes.
5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to packet instructions.
6. Add the parmesan to the sauce, leaving some for sprinkling on top.
7. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce to heat through, then serve with the remaining parmesan and a sprig of parsley

Enjoy :)

Festive baking

This is a very late Christmas baking post but I really wanted to show you what I made over the festive period. Since Christmas has been and gone, I won't actually provide the recipes like usual but if you do want to know more information then feel free to leave a comment or contact me via the links above and I will happily give you the recipes and method etc. Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year and that you enjoy the pictures!

Yule Log
I made this for Christmas day but because the Christmas period is so hectic I opted for the shop-bought chocolate swiss roll which I then cut up and positioned in the below shape (my mum's influence!) and  made the chocolate buttercream to spread on top. It looks and tastes better than the finished shop-bought ones but takes almost no time at all and is really simple. It would not have been Christmas without this!

Mince Pies
Again, you are going to think I'm really lazy, but I 'made' these gorgeous mince pies with ready-made shortcrust pastry and a jar of mincemeat! And I'm actually not ashamed to admit this since they were so yummy and although one day I would love to make them entirely from scratch, this way means you can whip them up in under an hour and they still look really impressive. It is never too late for a mince pie so I definitely recommend making these while the weather is still cold - warm from the oven mm mm.

Cinnamon and chocolate biscuits
Half of these were chocolate and cinnamon, and the other half just mixed spice and to be honest, I couldn't really tell the difference but they were so warming and delicious all the same. The stars and holly leaves I just used cutters and then decorated with writing icing, and the snowmen I used royal icing, food colouring, writing icing and silver balls. I loved making the snowmen, I think they look so cute. These biscuits are basically just the same as any recipe but just add the spices and they're even more delicious!