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

Twitter: @EatRainbowLove
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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Ham, cheese and chive bread

This is a Lorraine Pascale recipe (from her 'Home Cooking Made Easy' book) and it turned out amazing. It's a really quick loaf to make - it doesn't have yeast in it so doesn't need time to rise etc. so my expectations weren't too high - I thought it would be a bit dense and dry. But thankfully it was delicious, especially hot out the oven with butter mm mm. I made it to dip into baked Camembert (see previous post for recipe) and it was probably the best lunch I've ever had! I don't know what this bread would be like the next day - probably dry but I'm sure it would be fine toasted. I would recommend making it when you know the whole loaf will be eaten for lunch or brunch straight from the oven though, since that's when home-made bread is always best. It has a lovely crispy outside but is still soft in the middle. Don't be afraid to try baking bread because this really is super easy!

Makes 1 loaf
- 425g self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 150g mature cheddar cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top
- generous handful of fresh chives, finely chopped
- black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 6 slices of ham, chopped
- 200 - 225ml water

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Put all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl except for the water and extra cheese. Mix well until combined.
3. Gradually stir in the water - add about 200ml water first. The dough needs to be soft but not sticky. Once the mixture is coming together, use your hands to gently knead it, adding more water if necessary.
4. Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten slightly. Slash the loaf three times vertically then sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
5. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until golden.
6. Serve warm with lots of butter or dip in baked Camembert!

Enjoy :)

Baked Camembert

I am a huge cheese lover so for me there is no better lunch than an oozy baked Camembert with caramelised onion chutney and crusty bread. This is really simple and easy but is packed full of flavour and is perfect for a special treat. I made the ham, cheese and chive bread to go with the Camembert - recipe in my next post!

Serves 2-4 people
- 1 whole Camembert
- 2 garlic cloves
- few sprigs of fresh thyme
- dash of olive oil
- caramelised onion chutney (Sainsbury's taste the difference one is perfect!)
- fresh bread or breadsticks

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
2. Remove all of the plastic packaging from the Camembert and place back in its wooden box.
3. With a sharp knife cut about 6 slits into the cheese. Crush or chop the garlic and push into the slits.
4. Pull the thyme leaves off the sprig and roughly tear. Push these into the slits as well and sprinkle some on top.
5. Drizzle the Camembert with olive oil then place in the oven to cook for around 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted all the way through. 
6. Remove from the oven and open the harder top of the cheese and top generously with caramelised onion chutney. Dip in warm, crusty bread!

Enjoy :)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Chicken casserole

Once again, sorry for the un-appetising photos but there's no pleasant way to photograph any sauce that has leeks and mushrooms in ha... This was something I threw together at the last minute and it turned out really well in the end. I called it a casserole but it doesn't even go in the oven so it's really simple and quick to make but tastes delicious. It's made with chicken thighs which I love as they're so tender. Best served with rice!

Serves 2
- olive oil
- 3 skinless and boneless chicken thighs, cut in half
- plain flour
- 1 leek, sliced
- 3 rashers of bacon, chopped
- 100g mushrooms, quartered
- 100ml white wine
- 250ml chicken stock
- 1 tsp dried parsley or mixed herbs

1. Heat some olive oil in a pan and coat the chicken thighs in some flour - cook the chicken thighs in the oil until golden brown. Set aside.
2. Next, fry the bacon, leek and mushrooms in the pan until softened. Pour in the wine and chicken stock and simmer for about 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, cook the rice in a separate pan)
3. Return the chicken to the pan and add the herbs and seasoning. Cook for a further 5 minutes then serve with the rice.

Enjoy :)

Lemon and parsley trout

There is really no attractive way to present cooked parsley... but don't let the picture put you off. I've posted this simple fish marinade before but with salmon, but I have recently discovered that I much prefer trout. It seems a lot more moist and I just generally prefer the flavour - it was also a bonus that the pack of two fillets was half price! This delicious, tangy marinade is great with fish so give it a try with three simple ingredients. Perfect served with vegetables and new potatoes, rice or even pasta.

Serves 2
- Two trout fillets
- knob of butter (about 25g)
- 1 lemon
- fresh parsley, chopped

1. Melt the butter in a dish, squeeze in as much of the lemon as you wish and stir in the parsley.
2. Rub the trout fillets in the marinade and leave in the fridge for 10-20 minutes.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and wrap the trout fillets in foil and place on a baking tray.
4. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until tender and flaky.

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Honeycomb cheesecake

If you love cheesecake now, you will love it even more after trying this. It is so delicious! I've wanted to make this for a while since I love the honeycomb cheesecake from Prezzo - and I will definitely be making this time and time again, particularly because it's so quick and easy as well. The biscuit base was a little crumbly, but it didn't detract from the amazing flavour or the creamy, soft texture. I just used Cadbury crunchie bars as the honeycomb but you can use any kind, or make your own. This dessert will definitely impress!

Serves 6-8
- 200g milk chocolate digestive biscuits, finely crushed
- 50g butter
- 150ml double cream
- 50g icing sugar
- drop of vanilla essence
- 200g good quality cream cheese
- 2 Cadbury crunchie bars (or any honeycomb), roughly chopped

1. Grease a circular loose-bottomed tin, or line a normal circular tin with grease proof paper.
2. Melt the butter and mix with the crushed biscuit. Press into the tin until compact and set aside.
3. Whisk the double cream with the icing sugar until thick consistency, and add the vanilla essence. 
4. Beat the cream cheese in a separate bowl then stir into the cream and sugar mixture until combined.
5. Stir in half of the chopped honeycomb/crunchie bar then spread evenly on top of the biscuit base.
6. Sprinkle the remaining honeycomb on top of the cheesecake, then chill in the fridge for an hour or two.

Enjoy :)

Cheddar, bacon and golden syrup muffins

'A savoury muffin!? Life is full of enough disappointments...' - a quote from Miranda which I totally disagree with. I have had a few savoury muffins in my time (cheese, pesto etc.) and all have been delicious. These muffins are sort of American pancake style since it's sweet and savoury from the bacon and syrup, a combination which I think is amazing. They are soft and moist out the oven and are smoky from the bacon with that sweet tang from the syrup - to die for! They are perfect for a brunch. I would say, however, that they tend to dry out quickly and are not so good the next day, so I recommend eating them straight from the oven, or on that same day. I froze a few of these and defrosted them in the microwave so they were warm when I ate them - not quite as good as fresh but still delicious and a good way to preserve them if you've made too many to eat at one time! I got this recipe from my lovely sister who made these for me before.

Oh, and sorry that they look burnt in the picture - my oven at uni is very strong and although they look burnt, luckily they didn't taste it!
Makes 8
- 4 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 50g mature cheddar cheese, grated
- 75ml sunflower oil
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- 150ml milk

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
2. Fry the bacon until crisp.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl, then stir in the grated cheese and cooked bacon.
4. Pour the oil into a jug and mix in the egg, milk and half the golden syrup until just combined.
5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden brown. (A knife inserted in the middle of the muffin should come out clean)
6. Serve warm, with the remaining golden syrup drizzled on top.

Enjoy :)

Friday, 1 February 2013

Rocky road

I didn't know whether to call this rocky road or refrigerator cake - but either way it's biscuity, chocolatey goodness. I didn't put raisins in which I would prefer, and there are no nuts either since I'm not that keen, but the good thing about these is that you can basically add anything you want to them. They're so quick and easy to make with no baking at all!

Makes 8 squares
- 50g butter
- 100g milk chocolate
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 100g dark chocolate digestives, crushed
- handful of marshmallows, chopped

1. Simply melt the butter and chocolate in a pan over a low heat. Stir in the honey.
2. Mix in the crushed biscuits and chopped marshmallows.
3. Line a baking tin with grease proof paper and pat down the mixture into it. At this stage I decorated it with edible glitter and chocolate hearts.
4. Refrigerate for about two hours then cut into squares. 

Enjoy :)