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

Twitter: @EatRainbowLove
Instagram: lottierainbow

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Cider & wholegrain mustard chicken

Tender chicken thighs in a creamy, cider sauce with a wholegrain mustard & parsley tang.
Best served with rice and tenderstem broccoli
Serves 2
- olive oil
- 250g chicken thighs
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 200ml cider
- 100g crème fraiche
- 2 generous tsp wholegrain mustard
- handful of fresh parsley, chopped

1. Fry the chicken thighs in the olive oil in a deep pan until cooked, then remove and set aside.
2. Fry the onion and garlic in the same pan then add the cider and bring to the boil.
3. Return the chicken to the pan and cover and simmer for ten minutes, or until reduced.
4. Stir in the crème fraiche, mustard and parsley - bubble for 5 minutes then serve on a bed of rice.

Enjoy :)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Butternut squash, mushroom & stilton risotto

Comforting & delicious
The blue cheese gives this dish a gorgeous, strong flavour which works perfectly with the more subtle flavours of the mushrooms and butternut squash. The best part - it all cooks in one pan!
 Sorry for the un-appetising photos, but butternut squash and mushrooms don't make the most pleasant of colours...

Serves 2 (big portions)
- olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp lazy garlic, or 1 fresh clove, crushed
- 200g butternut squash, chopped into chunks
- 150g mushrooms, sliced
- 125g brown rice
- 500ml vegetable stock (use 1 and a half vegetable stock cubes)
- dried sage & parsley
- 50g stilton, crumbled (or any blue cheese)
1. In the oil, fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes. Add the squash and mushrooms and fry for a few minutes longer.
2. Stir in the rice, then pour in the stock and add the herbs. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
3. Stir in the cheese and serve!

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Smoked salmon, spinach & blue cheese toastie

Treat yourself to a crisp, toasted sandwich oozing with blue cheese, soft smoked salmon & spinach
For 1 toastie
- 2 slices of good quality bread (wholemeal seeded is my favourite)
- butter
- creamy blue cheese (whichever you prefer)
- few slices of smoked salmon
- handful of fresh spinach leaves
The smellier the ingredients, the better
1. Turn your toastie maker on, and generously butter each slice of bread.
2. When fully heated, place one slice of bread, butter-side down, into the toastie maker. Top with as much blue cheese as you would like, then layer on the smoked salmon. Finish off with the spinach, and then the other slice of bread butter-side facing up.
3. Pull the lid down on the toastie machine and leave to toast for a couple of minutes, then serve hot!
Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Coffee & walnut mini loaf cakes

A little slice of heaven
The perfect size for a naughty treat (bigger than a cupcake!)
And a fantastic idea for afternoon tea
I couldn't help but smother them in coffee buttercream too (and more walnuts)
Makes 4-6 mini loaf cakes
- 2 eggs
- 70g brown sugar
- 120g plain flour
- 100g butter, melted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- handful of walnuts, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp instant coffee
For the buttercream
- 50g butter, softened
- 150g icing sugar, sifted
- dash of milk
- 2 tsp instant coffee

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and flour mini loaf tins.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until a little foamy.
3. Gradually sift in the flour, baking powder and add the salt and melted butter. Mix until combined.
4. Stir in the chopped walnuts. In a mug, add a tiny amount of boiling water to the coffee, then stir into the cake mixture (you can make it as strong or as weak with coffee as you would like).
5. Divide the mixture between the moulds (about 2/3 full), and sprinkle with some grains of instant coffee and some more chopped walnuts.
6. Place the moulds on a tray, and bake in the oven for around 25 minutes, or until a knife in the middle of the sponge comes out clean. Leave in the tins to cool slightly before turning out onto a wired rack for further cooling.
7. While cooling, prepare the icing. Cream together the softened butter and icing sugar, then add the milk and coffee, stirring until smooth and well combined - add more icing sugar if too runny. Taste to see if more coffee needs to be added depending on how strong you like it (but try not to eat all of it!)
8. When the cakes are cooled, roughly spread on top with a knife then top with a walnut in the middle of each, some more chopped walnuts, and some more coffee grains.
Enjoy :)

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Beef casserole & roast potatoes

A hearty beef casserole to warm you up through the cold weather
Perfect with some crispy-bottomed roasties
Serves 2-3

For the casserole
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, thickly chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 450g casserole steak, chopped
- plain flour
- salt & pepper
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 400ml beef stock
- 100g mushrooms, chopped
- sprigs of fresh thyme

For the roast potatoes
- maris piper or king edward potatoes, halved or quartered
- olive oil
- seasoning (spice & herb blend or whatever you like)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. In a large pan, fry the onion and garlic in a generous amount of olive oil for a few minutes. Then add the beef, a sprinkling of flour and seasoning and stiry to combine, cooking for a few more minutes.
3. Next add the carrots, then the best ingredient
4. And the beef stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer.
5. Add the mushrooms and fresh sprigs of thyme, then transfer to a casserole dish with a lid, and cook in the oven for about two hours (stirring halfway through). 
6. Meanwhile, while the casserole is cooking, for the roast potatoes, prepare as many as you wish (depending on your appetite) and par-boil in salted water for around 10-15 minutes.
7. Drain and place on kitchen paper, leaving to cool and dry out for 20-30 minutes.
8. Pour a generous amount of oil into a roasting tin and place in the oven, turning it up to 200 degrees, until the oil has heated up.
9. Remove the tray from the oven and transfer the potatoes into the dish, coating in the hot oil. Season well and then roast in the oven for around 40 minutes, or until crisped to your likening.
10. By the end of the two hours, your casserole should be thicker (add cornflour if not) and ready to serve, accompanied by roasties that are fluffy in the middle, and crisp on the outside.

Enjoy :)

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Chicken tabbouleh

A light, summery bulgur wheat dish
Perfect for a healthy lunch (can prepare the night before and eat cold the next day) or for a light dinner.
My version is not spicy as I am not a big fan of spicy food but feel free to cook the chicken with spices. Since the onion is raw, prepare for strong flavours but they work so well together and this dish tastes deliciously fresh and nutritious!
This will be perfect at barbecues or picnics in the summer time but it's okay to start a little early!

Serves 2
- 2 chicken breasts, chopped
- olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- paprika
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cucumber, chopped
- 100g bulgar wheat
- lemon juice
- fresh mint, torn (I didn't have any but I would recommend)
- fresh parsley, chopped
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, then in a small roasting tin, brush the chicken with olive oil, and coat in the garlic and as much paprika as you would like, as season. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for about 20 minutes.
2. Place the chopped onion, tomatoes and cucumber into a large bowl and set aside.
3. Prepare the bulgar wheat according to packet instructions (Cook in a pan of boiling water - enough to be fully absorbed - keep adding more until soft to bite).
4. Mix the cooked bulgar wheat into the large bowl with the other ingredients and stir until combined.
5. When the chicken is cooked, stir into the bulgar wheat mixture than squeeze fresh lemon juice on top and mix in the parsley and mint, leaving some to garnish.
6. Either eat straight away as a warm dish or leave to cool for later or the next day!
Enjoy :)

Monday, 10 February 2014

Sun-dried tomato stuffed pepper

A delicious meat-free dish, perfect as a starter or for a healthier mid-week dinner

Serves 1 as a main, or 2 as a starter
- 1 large red pepper
- 60g cous cous
- 2 tsp red pesto (I used a Napolina tomato & garlic one)
- salt & pepper
- dried mixed herbs
- sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- soft goats cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 slice of bread, crumbled
- parsley to garnish

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Cut the red pepper in half and de-pip it. In a baking tray, brush the pepper inside and out with oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes (or olive oil). Place in the oven for 10 minutes to soften.
3. Prepare the cous cous according to packet instructions (add boiling water to a bowl of dried cous cous and cover for 5 minutes until soft to the bite and fluffy).
4. Stir the pesto into the cooked cous cous, season with salt & pepper and dried herbs, and stir in as many sun dried tomatoes and as much goats cheese as you wish.
5. Remove the peppers from the oven (they should be softer and have a bit of colour), and stuff each half with the cous cous mixture.
6. Sprinkle with the chunky breadcrumbs then bake in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or when the pepper is cooked and the breadcrumbs crisp. Garnish with parsley and serve!
Enjoy :)

Friday, 7 February 2014

Valentine's chocolate & raspberry cupcakes

Double chocolate chip cupcakes with a raspberry jam centre, chocolate frosting and a raspberry topping
Perfect for Valentine's day - for your boyfriend, girlfriend, friends, family, or just for yourself!
They taste divine too

Makes 18 deep cupcakes
- 225g margarine
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 225g self raising flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- dash of milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- cocoa powder
- 100g milk chocolate chips
- raspberry jam
For the frosting and topping
- 200g butter, softened
- 275g icing sugar, sifted
- dash of warm milk
- 150g dark cooking chocolate, melted
- fresh raspberries
- freeze dried raspberry pieces (or red sprinkles or hearts)
- edible glitter (optional)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a cupcake tin with cases. (Use special ones for valentine's day!)
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until well combined. Whisk in the beaten egg, then fold in the flour and baking powder.
3. Stir in the milk, vanilla essence, enough cocoa powder to change the mixture to a deep brown colour, and the chocolate chips. Mix until well combined and then spoon into the cupcake cases (about 2/3 full).
4. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until a knife comes out clean from the middle.
5. Once cooled, cut the top centre out of each cupcake and spoon in a teaspoon of raspberry jam into each.
6. Place the tops back on (trying not to eat them) and set aside.
7. To make the chocolate buttercream frosting, beat together the butter, icing sugar and milk until smooth (be patient). Then stir in the melted chocolate.
8. Spoon the frosting into a large piping bag with a star nozel and get piping! (you can also just spoon and spread onto the cakes if you prefer)
9. Place a raspberry on the top of each cupcake and sprinkle with the freeze dried raspberry pieces, or whatever decoration you are using, and finish with a dusting of edible glitter.
They will look something like this when you finally get to eat them!
Enjoy :)