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

Twitter: @EatRainbowLove
Instagram: lottierainbow

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Poached egg, pea & bacon spaghetti

Inspired by a Sainsbury's recipe card, I whipped up the most delicious spaghetti.
So simple - smoked bacon, peas & spinach mixed with spaghetti just with a little olive oil and some cheddar
 The best part is the oozing yolk of the poached egg 
And the garlic with the smoked bacon, ooof.

Serves 2
- 200g spaghetti
- 4 rashers of smoked bacon, chopped (I used the Sainsbury's be good to yourself smoked medallions)
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 125g frozen peas
- olive oil
- generous handful of extra mature cheddar cheese, grated
- 100g fresh spinach leaves
- 2 eggs
- black pepper
1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions.
2. Meanwhile, fry the smoked bacon and garlic until cooked then keep warm.
3. When the spaghetti is 5 minutes from being cooked, add the peas to the same pan. When both the pasta and peas are cooked, drain and return to the pan.
4. Add the bacon and garlic to the pasta and peas, drizzle with some olive oil, and add the grated cheddar and the spinach. Over a low heat, stir until combined and heated through. Serve onto some pre-heated plates to keep warm.
5. Bring a pan of water to the boil and gently crack in both eggs - poach for two minutes then remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place on some kitchen paper to drain before carefully placing on top of the pasta. Finish with some black pepper, and voila!
Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

I don't normally do this type of post but I really enjoy reading What I Ate Wednesday posts and looking at what other people eat throughout the day, so I thought I would give it a go and see if you find it interesting/helpful!

I have this most days - a cup of mango & passion fruit green tea, and a bowl of branflakes with milled linseed mix, raisins, sultanas & cranberries mix, pumpkin seeds and skimmed milk.

Today was strange - I nearly always have a banana or some sort of snack between breakfast and lunch (I have to eat every 2-3 hours or I get so hungry), but I had an early lunch instead. It was a tuna mayo sandwich with spinach leaves, in Hovis wholemeal seed sensations bread - the best bread ever!

I have recently discovered these Belvita strawberry & yogurt wholegrain breakfast biscuits and they are amazing for an energy boost throughout the day and taste so yummy! I would never survive off one of these for breakfast though... and of course I had my usual banana right before I went in the gym.
 After the gym I always have a Juice Plus shake, I have the vanilla one and just fill it up with water at the gym so I can have it straight after my workout. It is so so good for rehydrating after a workout, I just feel so energised after drinking this and won't feel hungry for a while after (although I do find that this is because a workout just gives me more energy anyway). This shake will give me some good nutrients and help repair my muscles etc as it has quite a high protein content. It definitely stops any post-workout-shakes too, from low blood sugar levels or overworked muscles!
 I also had a multi-seed Ryvita thin with some tzatziki while I was cooking my dinner but I forgot to take a photo of this...

I cooked something new tonight, inspired by a Sainsbury's recipe card it's spaghetti with bacon, garlic, peas, spinach, cheddar cheese and a poached egg. It was amazing!! So delicious - keep checking back for the recipe as I will be posting it soon.
 And of course, I cannot go a day without some sort of chocolatey treat and tonight it was some Galaxy cookie crumble chocolate mmm. The honeycomb one is also amazing!

Sweet Potato Cottage Pie

Cottage pie is the perfect way to feed all the family - it contains 5 different vegetables, and is delicious and very filling - it will go a long way so is great value for money. You can prepare it in advance, and is a great way to get in some veggies without really noticing. Also perfect as a meal for one or two as you will be left with portions for the rest of the week or to freeze and re-heat at a later date.
Just look at that cheesy goodness making it the ultimate 'healthy' comfort food!
Sweet potato is a great alternative to normal potatoes as not only do they have a great flavour, but they are also higher in vitamins and have a lower GI, so they transform the traditional cottage pie to a more tasty and healthy meal for the family!

Serves 4
- 2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped
- olive oil
- 500g pack of extra lean beef mince
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 5 large mushrooms, sliced
- few generous glugs of Worcester sauce
- tomato ketchup (or tomato purée, if you have it)
- dried mixed herbs
- small handful of plain flour
- 500ml beef stock
- 200g frozen peas
- dash of milk
- knob of butter
- salt & pepper
- 75g extra strong cheddar cheese
1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the sweet potato until soft (about 20 minutes), and pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil into a large saucepan and brown the mince. Add in the onion and carrot and cook for a few more minutes.
3. When softened, add the cloves of garlic, mushrooms, Worcester sauce, tomato ketchup, dried herbs and flour, and mix together until combined.
4. Pour in the prepared beef stock and bring to the boil, then add the frozen peas. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until reduced and thickened.
5. Drain the sweet potato when cooked and return to the pan. Pour in some milk, butter and season, then mash until smooth.
6. Pour the mince mixture into a large oven-proof dish, then smooth the sweet potato mash on top using a spoon. Grate the cheddar on top and bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, or until piping hot in the middle and golden on top.
7. Serve hot from the oven with green veg of your choice (I had long-stemmed broccoli!)

Enjoy :)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Chicken, broccoli & stilton pasta bake

A great pasta dish to make in advance for a quick, family meal, or to re-heat for lunches in the week!
This pasta bake is really moist and full of flavour - it would also be great with bacon in too.
I have posted a similar recipe before, here.

Serves 4
- 450g pasta (I used penne and farfalle)
- olive oil
- 4 chicken thighs (or breasts), chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 large broccoli, chopped small
- 50g butter
- 50g plain flour
- 500ml milk
- few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- salt & pepper
- pack of stilton, crumbled
- parmesan, grated
1. Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water according to packet instructions.
2. Meanwhile, fry the chicken thighs in olive oil until browned, then add the garlic and onion. Once cooked, leave to one side.
3. When the pasta is about 5 minutes from the end of its cooking time, add the broccoli florets. When the pasta is cooked, drain with the broccoli and set aside.
4. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan then stir in the flour. Using a whisk, over a low heat, gradually whisk in the milk until fairly thick - not too runny but enough to generously coat all of the pasta and ingredients.
5. Add the Worcestershire sauce and season to taste then take off the heat.
6. Return the pasta and broccoli to the large pan they were cooked in, then stir in the chicken and onions, and coat in the white sauce, stirring until well mixed. 
7. Stir in about 3/4 of the crumbled stilton, then pour the pasta into a large baking dish. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.
8. Top the basta bake with the remaining stilton and sprinkle with a generous amount of grated parmesan.
9. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until bubbling and golden on top! (May need longer if prepared way in advance - make sure it is piping hot in the middle)

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Creme Egg Brownies

 You know you want me
I even have white chocolate chips in
I am the ultimate chocolatey, gooey brownie
There is no going back this Easter

Makes 12 sensational brownies
- 185g dark chocolate
- 185g slightly salted butter
- 85g plain flour
- 40g cocoa powder
- 3 eggs
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 225g caster sugar
- 75g white chocolate chips- 6 Cadbury creme eggs
(Make sure you get the best ingredients like Belgian cooking chocolate, the cheap stuff won't taste the same!)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a deep, rectangular baking tin.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring continuously. Leave to cool to room temperature (and try not to eat it all).
3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder.
4. Take a large bowl, and whisk the eggs with the sugar until foamy and doubled in size - this may take a while and test the arm muscles!
5. Fold the cooled chocolate and butter mixture into the egg mix until combined.
6. Next, add the flour and cocoa powder and gently fold until smooth. Add around 50g of the white chocolate chips and stir.
7. Pour the brownie mixture into the baking tray, top with half of the remaining chocolate chips and bake in the oven for around 15 minutes.
8. Meanwhile, chop the creme eggs in half.
9. Remove the tray from the oven and gently place the 12 creme egg halves in rows of 4. Sprinkle with the remaining white chocolate chips, and bake in the oven for another 10 minutes.
10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely in the tray - the brownie will be very gooey in the middle, don't worry, it will be cooked and it will set more as it cools.
11. When cooled, cut into 12 brownies and oooo and aaahhhh over one, eat, then repeat.

Enjoy :)

For another super quick, easy and delicious Easter treat, try these no bake chocolate biscuit squares!

Tapas ideas/recipes

I have already posted individual recipes for Patatas Bravas with chorizo and sweet potato fries but just wanted to share some other 'tapas' ideas and quick recipes to make at home for the perfect Saturday night in!

1. Cheesy garlic pizza bread with brie & red onion
Shop-bought cheesy garlic pizza bread then simply slice a red onion, and whack on some brie and freshly chopped parsley! Heaven.

 2. Smoked cheese & tomatoes
 Visit your local fresh cheese counter and see what you can find - I bought some smoked cheddar with a paprika crust (to die for), and just bought some simple cherry tomatoes.

3. Lamb & mint meatballs with tzatziki
 You can't make everything... so you can pick these delicious meatballs up from Sainsbury's - they have amazing flavour and taste so good dunked in tzatziki (which was also not home-made...)

4. Chicken & mushroom wholegrain mustard wraps
Fry some chicken chunks in olive oil until cooked, then add in some fresh garlic and mushrooms. Once cooked, stir in a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and some soft cheese (e.g. Philadelphia). Serve in a bowl then spoon into wholegrain wraps with some fresh spinach leaves. Delicious!

5. Don't forget the dips!
Of course you can make your dips from scratch but if you don't want to be slaving in the kitchen all night long then opt for some ready made salsa, tzatziki and garlic mayonnaise - perfect dips for all of the above dishes.

Enjoy :)

Patatas bravas with chorizo

You can't have tapas without crispy, well-seasoned, fried potatoes smothered in a rich, smoky tomato sauce - or patatas bravas as it is known! The perfect side dish to a main meal or just one of many tapas dishes.
 Feel free to add spices or hot paprika to this recipe - I am not a huge fan of spicy food so that is why this recipe won't be particularly 'hot'. The chorizo I bought was quite spicy so that's what gave this dish flavour.
With hardly any ingredients, this is really easy to whip up, especially in advance as it can be oven-baked later on to heat through - perfect for dinner parties or as part of a tapas buffet!

Serves 2
- 2 baking potatoes
- olive oil
- seasoning (paprika, dried herbs, pepper, spices etc)
- 1/2 ring of chorizo, sliced
- tin/carton of chopped tomatoes (I used the Sainsbury's one with olive oil & garlic in)
- parsley, to garnish

1. Peel the potatoes and chop them into small cubes. Bring a pan of water to the boil and par-boil the potato cubes for 5 minutes, then drain.
2. In a large frying pan, heat a generous amount of olive oil to fry the potatoes in. Put on a high heat, add the potatoes, and generously sprinkle with whatever seasoning you prefer. Fry in the hot oil for about 15 minutes, frequently tossing the pan to evenly fry and coat in the oil and seasoning. They should be soft in the middle and crispy on the outside when finished.
3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the chopped tomatoes and stir in the chorizo. Cook on a high heat until the tomatoes have reduced and the sauce is quite thick.
4. When cooked, stir the potatoes into the sauce then serve in individual dishes ready to eat straight away or to be re-heated later.

Enjoy :)

For another tapas idea, try these sweet potato fries!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Sweet potato fries

 I made some 'tapas' dishes this weekend (well, my version of tapas) which included these honey glazed sweet potato fries which were the star of the show. Super easy to make and taste delicious.
Perfect dipped in garlic mayonnaise, tzatziki, and salsa (on separate dippings of course!)

Serves 2
- 1 large sweet potato
- olive oil
- seasoning (salt, pepper, paprika, dried herbs etc.)
- squeezy honey

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and place a baking tray with a generous amount of olive oil inside.
2. Peel the sweet potato and slice into thin chip shapes, or wedges if you prefer.
3. Take the tray out of the oven when the oil is heated and place the chips in the hot oil, turning and shaking to make sure they're evenly coated (drizzle extra oil on top of needed!)
4. Sprinkle on some seasoning and drizzle honey over the top. Place in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, checking and turning half way through.
5. Check that they are soft in the middle, then remove from the oven and pour the chips out onto some kitchen roll, and dab with more kitchen roll to remove any excess oil. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then serve!

Enjoy :)

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Bulgur wheat stuffed pepper

This is an even healthier version of cous cous stuffed pepper, where the cous cous is swapped for bulgur wheat (lower in calories, higher in fibre etc), and goats cheese swapped for spring onions. The flavour is still amazing thanks to the red pesto, sun dried tomatoes, spring onion & parsley, so you really can enjoy a nutritious meal.
Serve with green vegetables or a big handful of fresh spinach leaves!
Serves 1 as a main, or 2 as a starter
- 1 large red pepper
- olive oil- 75g bulgur wheat
- 2 tsp red pesto (I used a Napolina tomato & garlic one)
- salt & pepper
- fresh parsley, chopped
- sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- spring onions, chopped
- 1/2 slice of bread, crumbled

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 olive oil. Place in the oven for 10 minutes to soften.
3. Meanwhile, cook the bulgur wheat according to packet instructions - on the hob in boiling water for around 15-20 minutes.
4. Remove the peppers from the oven (they should be softer and have a bit of colour).
5. When the bulgur wheat is cooked, stir the pesto, season with salt & pepper, and stir in as many sun dried tomatoes, spring onions and parsley as you wish.
6. Stuff each pepper half with the bulgur wheat mixture, sprinkle with the chunky breadcrumbs then bake in the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until the pepper is cooked and the breadcrumbs crisp. Serve straight away!

Enjoy :)