A book worm and foodie, studying English Literature at the University of Glasgow, writing about food, books and travel while aspiring to be a writer.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Edinburgh's best BURGER

One of my New Years resolutions (probably my only one, as I don't tend to put much stock into the things) is to stop being so lazy and BLOG MORE. So, now that I am home for Christmas and exams are over, along with the first term of second year - gulp, where has the time gone? - I am going to catch up and stay caught up.

For the first installation of my invigorated blog I am going to do a restaurant review, which will be followed by a heap of easy festive recipes. 

In terms of food, Christmas time is without doubt the most wonderful time of the year. If human beings hibernated, it wouldn't be so much of a problem. Regardless of the fact that we don't, everyone still gains ten pounds of sheer indulgence and happiness which wonderfully sets you up for the guilt and self hatred that is January. Even still, I wish it was acceptable to eat Christmas food all year round and just be fat and merry. 

I am going to start my festive series by talking about (sigh) burgers. Again. THESE burgers are acceptable though, because they are sort-of-slightly-almost Christmassy. The restaurant is called BURGER, fittingly enough, and is in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh. Knowing my weakness for anything sandwiched between two bits of bread, Calum took me one day when I was visiting on the pretence of a good, cheap burger. I've visited twice now and it definitely deserves a mention.
 The interior is unusually minimalistic and contemporary, but really lovely and straightforward. They place a refreshing emphasis on local ingredients which not only keeps prices down, but makes everything more delicious. The made-to-order burgers are wrapped in greaseproof paper and served on metal, cafeteria type trays and the whole experience is sort of like posh school dinners but oh so much better. 

The menu consists of, predictably, burgers and hotdogs. There is a classic, bacon or cheese burger, all customisable, as well as katsu-chicken and vegetarian options. The most expensive burger on the menu is £8.20, and that's a double cheese and bacon burger, with the normal price a mere £4.95. The Haus Dog, served with sauerkraut, onions, pickles and mustard is available in a pork or veggie dog, as is the chilli dog, neither costing more than seven quid. When Calum went the first time without me he got a hotdog, surprising in itself because he normally hates the things, and was very impressed. 
The two times I have visited I have had the specials, which change regularly and are always refreshingly different and delicious. 

Biblical Beef

On my last visit, I had the "biblical beef" burger from their december winter menu. We didn't go for the whole deal which includes a main, pudding and drink for around £15 quid, because we were on our way to the cinema, but you can just order the main individually. On my biblical beef was bacon, "cheeses of Nazareth", sage and onion mayo, maple roast parsnips, tomato and godly gherkins. The whole thing was, dare I say it, like Christmas dinner but better. Paired with an order of their amazing skin-on fries and a pot of wasabi mayo (which I will definitely be making at home because it's incredible) the whole meal cost me under £15 quid. The portion size and the quality make that more than reasonable. 
Calum had the Christmas Katsu: a chicken katsu burger with cranberry chilli sauce, stir fried sprouts, chipolatas and red wine jus. He got the chilli mayo with his fries which is to die for. 

Chicken Katsu

The previous visit we both had the special at the time, which I can't remember the name of, but that was probably one of the best burgers I have ever had. For anyone who knows me, that is really saying something. It was beef, with bacon and pecan chutney (WOW), gherkins, tomato and a special kind of mayo that escapes my mind. It was so good that I didn't put it down once. That time we also had a strawberry milkshake which was spot on. 
Special number 1

As you can see, this has turned into a bit of a rave. If there was one in Glasgow, I would be doomed. Thanks to the local ingredients and simple but effective presentation keeps the food cheap and does wonders for the quality. Now that I know about it, I think it will be a regular outing in Edinburgh, especially if I'm ever going to the cinema, it's within a short walk to both Fountain Park and the Odeon. 

I highly recommend it to anyone who lives in or is visiting Edinburgh. It won't break the bank and whilst I haven't tried any of the regular menu, the specials are always amazing and so are the fries and milkshakes.  
Their motto is 'a good thing happening' and I think they're definitely right. 

Enjoy! Lindsay x

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

10 to 10 in Delhi; a little bit of heaven in Edinburgh

Calum, my boyfriend lives in Edinburgh, which means I am in the lucky position of getting the best of both cities. A few weekends ago, I went through to visit him (and do a bit of shopping while I was at it). While we were out on the Saturday it was time to get something to eat. Opting out of a Subway, or sub-standard supermarket sandwich, Calum suggested we went to a place on Nicholson Street called 10 to 10 in Delhi. He had been a few times before with friends and raved about it. My friend Mel actually also visited on a trip to Edinburgh and recommended it, so it was probably about time I visited.

From the name you might be able to guess that 10 to 10 in Delhi is a little Indian cafe/restaurant, which is probably what my version of heaven will look like.
It is tiny; decked out head to toe in cushions, throws, colour and sparkles, it is full of little tables to crowd around and it smells like the most heavenly curry in the world. The ceiling is amazing.
Walking in you feel like you have been transported to a little piece of India and were it not for the view out of the window of the incredibly busy Lidl, you could almost forget you are in the city centre of Edinburgh. They even show Bollywood music videos, which I have to admit are a guilty pleasure of mine.

The menu is relatively small, but obviously very well thought out. There is a variety of Roti rolls, which are Indian wraps filled with the chef's special curries and served with salad, light dishes, student deals as well as their speciality curries. Everything is made on site and the menu is bursting with vegetarian dishes made from lentils, chickpeas and paneer, as well as curries including chicken and seafood. They also do sharing plates, if you can't decide what you fancy. You can choose between rice or nan as a side and add extras as you desire.

I had the Chicken Domuda, washed down with a lychee Rubicon (very good by the way), which was chicken breast in a spicy, creamy peanut sauce, served with rice. Calum opted for the Dhal curry, traditional and made with lentils but with the chefs own twist. I'm being completely honest when I say that it was one of the most simple yet effective and delicious curries I have ever had in a restaurant. It wasn't heavy with too much cream and the spices were perfect and fragrant. Portion size was right on too.

Calum's dhal was similarly good. It all tasted home made and very authentic, I would have been pleased to have it in any Indian restaurant.

Then there is the price, which, apart from the food itself of course, is probably the best thing about this place. For my curry, which was just enough to make me full but not in that uncomfortable, I'll-never-eat-again way, was £4.95, including rice. Calum's was £3.95. It would be difficult to remember a time when I've ever had such good value for money, especially when Indian takeaways can often be pricey but average.

The food was delicious, unbelievably so for the price and you will be left wanting to try everything on the menu. They also serve dessert, although I was too full, lassi and authentic Chai tea.

I will definitely, absolutely be going again. I can't believe it's taken me this long to go and I want to make up for lost time. I would recommend it to anyone in Edinburgh, especially if you're a student, because you can eat out almost guilt free. Whilst I wish there was one in Glasgow, a little part of my brain thanks goodness there isn't... I would be huge.

So, I urge you, GO. If you like cushions, curry, and places that won't break the bank, 10-to-10 in Delhi is definitely for you.

Lindsay x

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The MacDog. Lunch at The Crafty Pig.

So I'm spending my Sunday as one should; somewhat hungover, in my pyjamas and watching Netflix... with some course reading thrown in so I feel I'm at least doing something worthwhile-ish. Whilst I was eating my hotdog flavour Walkers crisps (good, by the way) I found myself thinking about a slightly more substantial lunch I had earlier this week, not for the fainthearted.

If any of you read my blog from the other day, you will know that I've been wanting to go to the newly opened 'The Crafty Pig' on Great Western Road. Brewhouse and smokery, their craft beer menu is just as impressive as the American BBQ style food selection, consisting primarily of burgers, hotdogs, ribs and pizza. Earlier this week me and Lauren went, not only to check it out, but as a ceremonial 'new-flat' celebration... and one that marks the end of eating out for a while at least.

I'd only been to the Little Urban Achiever's Club once, but the new interior is definitely more cosy. A fusion of sports bar, casual restaurant and games tables it feels friendly and fun. The real trouble began when we got the menu though. I had looked at it before but not in detail, and it's not an understatement to say I was torn. It is reasonably priced, the portions are huuuuge and there is a big variety, you will want everything. There is also a lunch menu during the week for £4.95 which has a really good selection of dishes on it which was very good value for money, not that either of us ended up going for it though.

Lauren; pre food-coma
What we did go for is something so bad it's good. Not just good, amazing. The MacDog. A hotdog, covered in macaroni cheese, and more cheese on top. Yes. Served with a mountain of skinny fries to boot.
Not exactly first date food, or second, or even third, it was messy. In fact, don't even go there unless your love interest is very much committed and won't be put off easily. Mustard and cheese was everywhere by the time I had finished eating, and it was a good thing I looked in the bathroom mirror before I left because there was a massive blob right on the end of my nose, sexy.
The portion was huge, I didn't quite finish my hotdog. I managed all my fries though, of course.

It was as amazing as it sounds, the macaroni cheese was excellent, the hotdog was good quality and the fries were amazing. We didn't have beer, as I'm not much of an expert, but I'm sure for those who are interested you could definitely find something you fancy. Whilst the booze is a bit more expensive than some other places, you're paying for quality and individuality which gives the place a nice edge.

(two pictures wasn't enough)

But I'll cut a long story short, because trust me I could harp on about the MacDog for a long time, even though I don't think a hotdog covered in macaroni needs anyone to do it's talking for it.

I will definitely be going back to The Crafty Pig, to probably have the Cow Bell bun (pulled beef, coleslaw and BBQ sauce, mmm) and absolutely to try the fried pickles, which I am very intrigued by.

An excellent place if you want to pig out (quite literally) but yes, don't take your date there the first time you go out... and maybe not if you plan on wearing a tight dress at any time during the next month.

Lindsay x

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Back to Glasgow and Blogging; Hillhead Bookclub's new lunch menu.

With my return to Glasgow comes a return to my blog, yippee! Unfortunately, there was only so much in Aberdeenshire to write about and between my job and well... sleeping, I couldn't quite sustain it. 
But now that I am back in the beautiful west end of Glasgow there is no excuse, apart from university I suppose, but that didn't get in the way last year. I'm also looking for a job this year, so if anyone knows of anywhere looking for either a retail assistant or waitress preferably in the west end PLEASE drop me a comment and I will be forever in your favour. 

Term hasn't started yet, but freshers week definitely has. Me and my new flatmate Lauren live right on the main path from halls to uni. Several times this week I have been smiled at by sympathetic Freshers helpers, who obviously think that because I am in Tesco on my own I'm a complete social pariah and have made no friends, or am possibly lost. I keep getting swept into tours and don't even get me started on the flyers. I feel like I should be wearing a t-shirt which says '2nd Year' on it, because I'm the first to admit I still don't look old enough to be at university full stop. 
Mind you, if you're going to give me free stuff... 

I've been here less than a week, which has mainly been spent building things from Ikea (I can now proudly say I have three functioning bookshelves to my name) so there hasn't been anything wonderful going on in my kitchen yet. I did however, introduce one of my friends, Sarah, who has just moved to the West End to the wonders/necessity of Hillhead Bookclub, discovering that they have a new lunch menu. 
Sadly, the brisket sandwich, which was one of my favourite things in life, is now gone, but the new menu isn't short of exciting new offerings (and still contains the burger, thank goodness). I had the new book club veggie sandwich, which is their veggie version of the club. Filled with mozzarella, hummus, roasted vegetables, a chickpea fritter and pesto it was amazing and had that wonderful feeling of being healthy, even though there were six bits of bread involved. I had it with chips too, of course. 

Sarah had the new chorizo meatball baguette, as indulgent as it sounds, with BBQ sauce and sour cream (if I remember correctly). It was huge, and whilst I'm not the biggest lover of chorizo in the world it looked amazing and I'm pretty sure it will become Lauren's and Calum's new favourite. Next time I go for lunch though, possibly very soon, I'm going to try their homemade sausage roll and beans; ultimate comfort food. 
Washed down with a raspberry daiquiri and (cough) maybe more than one gin and tonic, (only £2 though mum) it was the perfect welcome back to Glasgow.
I've not had a look at their new dinner menu yet but from the Instagram posts it looks just as tempting... And with bingo coming up this Wednesday who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and win the first round again. 

There seems to be a variety of new restaurants popping up all over the West End, all of which I am way too excited to try. Me and Lauren might be heading out for a celebratory 'welcome to the new flat' lunch soon though, and one place I'm desperate to try is 'The Crafty Pig', which has opened on Great Western Road, in what used to be the The Little Urban Achiever's Club (next to Viper, for all you students). It's a brew house and a smokery and glancing at the menu tells me that the one thing it looks like they do with relish is, you guessed it, burgers. With relish... Geddit? Hawhaw. 
So hopefully that will be the next thing I blog about, but regardless I will definitely posting reviews and recipes regularly once more! 

For now though, I have to go and vote and take the bins out and finish reading 'The Tempest' by Shakespeare. Not my favourite so far, to say the least. 
So, happy voting, be nice to everyone and if it all gets to much, I would recommend an impartial burger to ease your woes.
 Lindsay x 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Yes, it's Courgette Cake.

So, I have the day off work today and since it's a bit of a rainy one I thought I would take the time to share a recipe with you guys. Life in the 'deen(shire) is same old same old, lots of working. Saying that though the weather has been kind enough so that my tan from Greece hasn't faded yet, so it's not all bad.  Happily I'm off down to Glasgow tomorrow for the weekend to parrrrty, which I am unbelievably excited about. As much as I love living in the country, and am probably a country girl (very) deep down, it's starting to feel like I've been here a bit too long. The familiar lights of SubClub can't come fast enough.

The recipe I'm gonna give you guys today may illicit a few 'eughs' or 'what?'s from you upon first reading, BUT; fear not. This courgette cake really, really is a lot better than it sounds. If you like carrot cake, this is definitely one to try. Or if, like me, your dad has a glut of courgettes in the garden and you're fed up of making pasta dishes, I would also try this out.

The recipe is one from of my all time favourite baking books, the Hummingbird Bakery 'Cake Days'. I have this book as well as the original Hummingbird book and everything I have ever made from them has been sublime. The next time I am in London I am going to make a pilgrimage to one of their bakeries, following them on twitter is enough to illicit longing. If you like baking, easy recipes and fun things to do with ingredients (Courgette cake? Come on guys) then I would highly recommend picking either of the books up.

You will need three 8-inch loose bottomed sandwich tins, and these ingredients -

No, this isn't mine, sadly.

  • 3 large eggs
  • 300ml sunflower oil
  • 300g soft light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 300g peeled and grated courgettes
  • 100g roughly chopped walnuts, plus extra to decorate
And for the icing (I only made two thirds, as the books always seem to make far too much, but here are the original measurements)
  • 240g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 750g icing sugar
  • 75g plain Greek Yoghurt
Now, I just want to state, as a disclaimer, that the cake will not taste like courgettes. So if you aren't a big fan of the vegetable, don't let that put you off. In many ways it is like a carrot cake; they are added to give moisture and with the tangy greek yoghurt icing this makes for a nice change from the ordinary.

  1. Preheat your oven to 170C, Gas mark 3, then line the bases of your baking tins with baking parchment. 
  2. The book recommends using a hand held electric whisk, and for this recipe I would have to agree. As much as I like to stir using a good old fashioned wooden spoon, there are a lot of ingredients and you don't want to have a big lump of courgette somewhere in the finished article. So, using your mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla essence. 
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarb with the ground spices. Then, running your mixer on a low speed, add this to the egg mixture in two batches, beating well after each addition until everything is mixed through evenly. Then, add the courgettes and walnuts to the batter, and mix them in until distributed.
  4. Divide the batter between your three tins, and bake for around 35-40 mins, until the top is golden brown and springy to the touch. I would check them after half an hour. If you can't fit them all in the same level of the oven, bake two first then the next one after, but remember that your oven will be hotter and so the last one may take a shorter time to bake. 
  5. Once they are done, let the cakes cool in the tins for around 5 mins, before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  6. For the icing; mix together the butter, cinnamon and icing sugar with your (cleaned) electric whisk. Mix until the butter is fully incorporated and the mixture looks sandy. Then, add the yoghurt on a low speed until the ingredients are combined, and then increase the speed and whisk until the icing is light and fluffy in texture. 
  7. Once your layers are cooled, ice them by spreading each top with icing, and then icing the whole thing. I have to admit while I make good cakes I am an appalling icer, so I can't really advise you on the best way to do it. Using a palette knife is best though. 
  8. Then, decorate as you like. Unlike the pristine cake in the book (I like to imagine it took a few attempts before it looked that good) I textured my icing by flicking it with the tip of a fork, then covered the whole thing in chopped walnuts and dusted with cinnamon, mainly to cover any dodgy patches. 

My 'rustic' finished cake.

Viola! Even my fussy little brother, who doesn't like courgettes and despises carrot cake, loved this. So I beg of you, put aside your vegetable prejudice and give it a go. 

Mum has just asked me to make another cake today, so I will probably be posting another baked recipe soon. It seems as if I can't escape baked goods... when I'm not serving scones to OAPs I am making cake for my family... Oh well, there are worse things to be overexposed to. 
Hopefully I will get a chance to do exciting things this weekend in Glasgow, there are a few things on the cards, so you will all have a fix of the city life I am craving. For now though, give this a shot and I promise you will not be disappointed. 

Lindsay x 

Monday, 30 June 2014

Post holiday catch up blog - things to do in Rhodes.

Things have been pretty quiet from me in the blogosphere recently, for a number of reasons.
One of them is excusable enough, I just got back from a gorgeous week in the town of Lindos, Rhodes with my boyfriend Calum and sneakily poaching wifi didn't allow for anything too lengthy.
Another not-so-lame excuse is that I got a job, wahey! So, with summer income sorted via waitressing my spare time is limited, and when I do come off a shift I mainly just want to shower and get the smell of food out of my hair, believe it or not.

Now for the limp excuses; 1) it is remarkably difficult to write a glorious food blog full of restaurant reviews when you a) don't live in the West End of Glasgow anymore and b) you instead live in rural Aberdeenshire. Don't get me wrong, there are lovely places to eat where I live, but they are fewer and further between, so reviews will just have to be the same.
2) This one is on the recipe front. I am still cooking, of course, BUT I live at home now... with my mum... and I must admit that since I have returned home from uni I have been enjoying the luxury of having a mum who is not only a wonderful cook, but who also enjoys making dinner every night.

So it seems inevitable that over summer, I will probably blog a little less, but when I do, I hope it is just as enjoyable. I will still be making visits to Glasgow, which will give me opportunity to go to old favourites and new favourites again. I'm also going on holiday in August which will give me some material, and then down to London which I am really looking forward too.
Other than that, I will be posting my recipes for those of you who are interested, as well as little updates of Aberdeenshire life, although it might be a far cry from the restaurants of Glasgow.

For the remainder of this post I want to tell you about Lindos and Rhodes. I know a few people who are heading there this summer so this might be useful to a few of you and maybe just jealousy inducing for the rest.
Being Calum and I's first holiday abroad together, being on the plane was almost excitement enough, but when we actually got there it exceeded my expectations altogether. The town of Lindos itself is beautiful. The kind of town you imagine when you picture going to stay in a small Greek village. Our apartment did the job, although it did have that drainy smell that seems intrinsic in summertime Europe. We also, stupidly, didn't think that we would need to pay the 50 extra Euros for air conditioning for the week.
For anyone going to Greece this summer, or anywhere with the same climate, please, don't think that the money isn't worth it. Nights were dreaded, delirious and on one event so bad that Calum had to get up three separate times to have a cold shower and remain sane. I went around Cambodia for a month last summer, and I don't think I sweated that much then, even whilst trekking.
The money is worth it, trust me.
Apart from that (and a huge dead cricket in the shower) our apartment was within sight of the beautiful St. Pauls Bay (worth a Google if you want to be jealous heh heh heh) and so made up for the sleepless nights.

The food was wonderful. We lived on crepes during the day, had the occasional gyros (kebab) and when we ate out we ate lovely Greek food, my favourite of which was vine leaf wrapped chicken, stuffed with red peppers and pesto. I'm going to try and recreate it as soon as possible, as well as a feta stew called kleftiko (I think) and greek meatballs. The people are lovely, but be prepared to be near-dragged into every restaurant you walk past come six o'clock. I would recommend Stephano's restaurant, if only for the charming front of house.

We drank lots of cocktails, if you like chocolate milk I would definitely recommend the lehmumba,  and lots and lots of Mythos (greek beer). Our favourite bars were 'Lindos by Night', which played a surprisingly excellent mix of Northern Soul and other Brit classics through the ages; preferable to the chart bangers most bars play. The 404, a mod bar in the centre of town is also worth a visit, again for a break from the Eurotrash, a friendly chat and even purely for the novelty value.

Days were spent lying on the beach reading, swimming and jumping off huge rocks. We met up with friends and went to the Waterpark in Falaraki, apparently the second largest in Europe - you had to get around on a miniature train. It was one of my favourite days out, almost like Disney land but with water slides. The slides were scary, fun and there was plenty to choose from. If you're not a fan of the scary ones, you could spend hours on the lazy river. If you go to Rhodes, go to the water park, and go on the WetBubble. If this ever applies to you, you will know what I mean.
The Acropolis is definitely worth a visit too, the views are stunning but go as late in the day as possible; lots of steps + over 35degree heat = extreme irritation.

It was a gorgeous week, which makes me even more excited to go away to Mallorca in August with Calum and his family, although it has to be said, the waterpark in Mallorca doesn't compare...
I will be posting soon with some hopefully successful Greek recipes, which are perfect for summer, even if it isn't quite as hot in Scotland as it is in Greece.
For the moment though, I have just been abandoned by my mum who has gone out for lunch. I think there is some left over macaroni cheese in the fridge with my name on it... Sigh.

Lindsay x 

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Lamb and feta koftas

I haven't done a blog in a while, but I can say it's been for good reason. Last weekend, me and Calum were at Parklife Festival, down in Manchester. We went last year and it was just as good this time around, despite the odd shower and a lot of mud and a (self inflicted) lack of wellies...  Although we did get sunburnt, so I can't really complain. We even partied in the smallest club in the world, which as it turn is out is exactly the right size for me, I was the only person who didn't need to crouch!

The music was just as amazing as expected, we got to see some of my favourite dance artists as well as legends like Soul to Soul and Public Enemy. The food was just as good, I love festival food. One of the things I was most excited about when we bought tickets was the Thai Street Food stall they have there, sort of missing the point I know, but the Massaman Curry IS life-changing.
Something about food from a van tastes so much better than it would if you were eating it in a restaurant, even (or perhaps especially) if it's slightly dodgy Chinese. SO, my recipe today is semi-inspired by a falafel wrap I had when we were there. I say semi-inspired, because they aren't really similar at all, apart from being in a wrap and tasting like you would eat it on a Greek holiday. And being great with hummus.

Since I am going to Greece soon, food like my lamb and feta koftas seem especially perfect for summer BBQs, if you want something a bit more unusual than a burger, but with a similar appeal. Little spiced lamb meatballs, infused with feta cheese; these are delicious, AND I can proudly say, one of my own recipes.

What you'll need to make these is as follows. These make about 15 meatballs.

  • 500g lean lamb mince
  • 1 tbsp dried, or fresh (finely chopped) mint
  • 1 clove of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin 
  • 1 block of feta cheese, crumbled (I don't know the exact weight, but it's the small block you can buy in Tesco)
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • A good few grinds of black pepper 
  • Salt, to taste
  1. Put the mince, and all of the spices into a bowl, and combine with your hands until everything is evenly mixed through. 
  2. Then, add your crumbled cheese, and do the same.
  3. Once you've added the cheese, pinch off ping-pong ball sized pieces of mince and shape into meatballs. Place on a foil lined baking tray. When they are all shaped and the same size, put the tray into the fridge for twenty minutes to firm the meatballs up. 
  4. Then, either grill or BBQ, turning frequently until the outsides are crisp and brown, and when you cut one in half the mince is cooked all the way through. This should take ten-fifteen minutes, but depending on the size might take more or less time. Keep checking them. 
Done! Easy peasy. My favourite way to eat these is  street food-esque, i.e in a pitta bread, with some mixed leaves, hummus and tzatziki, which you can easily make by chopping up some cucumber and mint, and mixing with greek yoghurt.
Oooh, and with Pimms. 

Definitely try these out to zizz up a BBQ, and if the British summer fails you they are just as easy to pretend with, under the grill. 


Lindsay x 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Cauliflower buffalo wings

The break in blogging has been because of what I would love to say was a well deserved break up by the beach in Findhorn. It was not well deserved in fact, as I am currently spending my days woefully job-hunting (if anyone in my local area knows of any part-time work going, PLEASE leave a comment) but regardless of that it was lovely. Blisteringly hot, by my standards, and three books and a weekend of sunbathing later I actually have the beginnings of a tan!

The recipe I'm writing for you guys was one I cooked before going up to Findhorn though, and one I would definitely, definitely recommend trying, vegetarians and meat lovers alike. It's super for if you are a fan of spicy, BBQ-y, mexican summer food, would make a great side to a BBQ, a starter, party offering or part of a lunch of salads (as mine was). An ingenious and healthy way of combining the guilty-pleasure of buffalo wings with vegetables... gluten free cauliflower buffalo wings everyone!
I can sense how dubious you are, but trust me, even if you aren't a big cauliflower fan these are worth a try. By the time the recipe is finished they are no longer just cauliflower, but bite-sized chunks of spicy heaven.

I can't take the credit for this recipe, it's one my mum suggested I cooked, from a website called MindBodyGreen, definitely worth a skim for all the health eaters out there, which I am trying to be before I go on holiday....

Ingredients -

  1. I head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized chunks
  2. 1 cup of garam flour (chick-pea flower) which you can find in most supermarkets or health stores
  3. 1 cup of water
  4. 1 tsp of garlic powder
  5. 1/2 tsp of salt
  6. 1 tsp melted butter
  7. 1/2 cup reggae reggae sauce
  8. 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
  9. 1/2 tbsp piri piri sauce (spice to taste)
Now, the recipe says to simply use 2/3 cup of hot sauce, but since I wanted mine to be particularly sticky and sweet, with a kick of spice, this is the sauce combination I used. I admit, I am no longer sure if that means they are gluten free, but they are even more delicious!

  • Preheat your oven to 450F, 230C or gas mark 8. 
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, salt (I just used garlic salt instead, but either would be fine) and water. Whisk together until you have a smooth batter, and all the flour is combined. 
  • Toss the cauliflower in the batter, coating each chunk completely. Then, place the chunks on a greased, non stick baking tray. 
  • Bake for 15 mins, tossing hallway through. 
  • Meanwhile, combine your sauces and melted butter. When the cauliflower is done, let it cool for a minute then toss it in the hot sauce mixture. Make sure you include any battery bits that come off of the cauliflower, these are delicious too. 
  • Place the cauliflower back on the baking tray and bake for another 25 mins, until crispy. 

Viola! I served mine with a simple greek yoghurt dip, with some mint and lemon juice in it. They would be wonderful with a blue cheese sauce, or anything creamy really!
I cooked them for company who all went home demanding the recipe, and I have to say they exceeded my expectations, I will definitely be making them again. They taste like a guilty treat, just not so guilty! 

Now, it's back to the (potential) grind, i.e. the job hunt for me. If you're having some friends over soon, a BBQ or even just as a treat for yourself or your family, definitely try these, they are delicious!

Lindsay x

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Hello Fresh Meal #3 - Paneer and Aubergine Curry

Since I returned home, cooking from two has turned into cooking for five. SO, I decided to incorporate this curry into a bigger Indian meal, so I still got to cook and try out the recipe, and my brothers didn't moan at me, or tuck into the biscuit cupboard, after dinner for still being starving.
With the help of my mum we made a feast of brown rice, prawn korma, tandoori chicken and of course, my HelloFresh paneer curry. 
Vegetarian curries are, in my opinion, often the most delicious. If the spices are right you can't go wrong. This is also really healthy, with only 464 calories per adult serving (half of this recipe yield) so it's a curry, but without the guilt! I hadn't cooked with aubergine much and was intrigued to see how this turned out, so here it goes!

Ingredients (for two, or as a side dish)

Mixed curry paste
  • 1 onion
  • 1 Aubergine
  • 150g brown rice  
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 2 tbsps tomato puree
  • 1 cup paneer, cubed
  • a handful of fresh coriander
  • 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp bang curry spice (a pre mixed spice, so unfortunately I can't tell you what's in it, but you can find out more at www.bangcurry.com)
  1. Boil a large pot of water on a high heat, with 1/2 tsp of salt for your rice. Peel and very finely dice the onion and garlic. Peel the ginger and either grate or chop very finely. 
  2. Rince the rice in cold water for 30 seconds, and add to the boiling water. Cook the rice for about 25 mins until it's soft, drain and leave to the side. 
  3. Meanwhile, slice the aubergine in half lengthways then slice each half lengthways into 1 cm strips. Now, chop widthways into bite-sized cubes, then toss in 1 1/2 tbsps of oil. 
  4. Heat a non stick pan over a high heat. When it's really hot, dry stir fry the aubergine in batches until it is cooked through and browned off. Remove from the pan and set aside for later. 
  5. Reduce the heat to medium, and add 1tbsp of oil to the pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry for 5 mins until golden. 
  6. Mix the curry spices, tomato puree and 3 tbsps of water to make a thick paste and add to the pan. Cook for 2 mins then add the yoghurt and 1/4 tsp of sugar, or mango chutney. 
  7. Season the aubergine with a pinch of salt and add to the pan. Chop the paneer into bitesized chunks, season with salt and add as well. Turn down the heat and cook for about ten minutes. Add some water to loosen the sauce if it gets too dry. Chop your coriander and stir into the curry just before you serve, over rice and with a touch more coriander on the top! 
Finished paneer curry! 

An Indian feast!

Done! The recipe was easy to follow, lots of chopping, and I would perhaps have added a touch more yoghurt because, ashamedly, I am a big fan of creamy curry. I would definitely recommend using these ingredients for a curry, with your own spice mix or otherwise. I would definitely use cumin, but I think the base ingredients would work well with whatever kind of curry you prefer, spicy, creamy or fragrant. 

Well, that's it from my fruitful HelloFresh box. It has been a fun, rather lazy way of cooking. I felt like a TV chef, with everything miraculously measured out for me before I began, very glamorous indeed. Unfortunately, my student budget means that without the initial voucher, I won't be able to afford a full price HelloFresh box. However, I would recommend them if you are in the market for something easy and fresh, with great quality ingredients. Great to try for some inspiration, but don't be afraid to get out there and find fresh ingredients for yourself. 

A fun three meals, thanks HelloFresh! Now, it's back to having my thinking cap on.. 

Lindsay x 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

HelloFresh Quesadillas - Meal #2

So I moved home yesterday, which I was why there has been a delay in posting the second of our HelloFresh meals; the quesadillas. Me and Calum were really excited about cooking/eating this recipe so we decided to have it for lunch on Thursday.

The ingredients were again lovely and fresh, and the recipe card just as easy to follow as last time. I would definitely recommend trying this recipe out, whether for a lunch or a dinner, it was delicious and easy to make. It's, of course, vegetarian and completely delicious. If you're a lover of Mexican food, definitely try it out!


  1. 1 large potato
  2. 4 flour tortillas 
  3. 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  4. 1 tin organic black beans
  5. 1 tin organic sweetcorn
  6. 1 large red chilli
  7. 1 onion 
  8. 1 vine tomato
  9. 1 Tbsp of smoked paprika
  10. 1 small bunch of coriander
  11. 1 lime

  • Peel a cut the potato, into 1cm cubes, and cook in boiling water for about ten minutes until soft.  Drain it when it's cooked, but save 1 tbsp of the water for later.
  • Peel the onion, and finely dice it along with the chilli. Roughly chop the coriander.
  • Cut the vine tomato in half, scoop out the seeds, and dice the flesh into small cubes. 
  • Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan, on a medium heat, and add all but 1tbsp of the onion and 3/4 of the chilli. Cook over a medium heat for 5 mins to soften the onion. Add the smoked paprika and cook for a further 1 min. 
  • Drain and rinse the black beans and add them and the potato to the pan, alongside 1tbsp of the cooking water from the potato. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir in 1/2 of the coriander. 
  • Now for the fun bit; lay out your tortillas and split the mixture between them, covering half of the tortilla only. Sprinkle the half with the mixture on it with cheese and fold the other half over, to make a half moon shape.
  • Heat a large frying pan with 1tbsp of olive oil, and fry each tortilla until golden brown on each side; this doesn't take long at all. 
  • For the salsa; drain the sweetcorn and mix with the remaining onion, chilli, coriander and diced tomato. Add the juice from 1/2 the lime, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1/4 tsp of salt and mix thoroughly. 
  • Serve your tortillas with the salsa straight away!

This was a lovely recipe to make. Despite a wee typo where chorizo was confused with chilli (I presume, this is meant to be a vegetarian recipe after all) and a couple of quick pan washes, down to only having one large frying pan, it was all easy and clear. 
I have to say, me and Calum agreed that this meal was our favourite over the pasta. We both love Mexican, and despite there being no meat in it, it was filling and rich in flavour. It wasn't overly spicy, which was nice for a change, but I would suggest adding another chilli, or serving it with some hot sauce to spice it up if that's what you prefer! I will definitely be making this again, I might try it with chicken or some quorn and see how it turns out. I will definitely be making this for my vegetarian (and non) friends and it would be easy to make for a large group simply by multiplying up the ingredients. A winner.

The salsa could have been eaten on it's own as a snack. It was sweet and zingy and fresh, not to mention cheeringly colourful. I put a bit more lime juice on mine for an extra zing (I'm all about the zing). I will be recreating it for many different meals, be them Mexican or as a side to a summer BBQ. Maybe adding a bit more tomato, but otherwise it was perfect, fresh and very delicious. 

Another success! I will be posting the curry tomorrow, but if we're going by these quesadillas as an indicator of quality, I am very excited. 

Happy Sunday everyone!

Lindsay xx 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Hello Fresh! Meal #1

About a week ago Calum got a voucher through in the post which gave him £25 off of something called a 'Hello Fresh' box. Unsure what it was, we went on the website and found that the idea behind it is similar to that of a Graze box, apart from this one sends you the ingredients to make a number of meals. You can choose a box for two or four people, and whether you would like meat in it or not.
With the voucher, we ended up paying £11 for a 'veggie' box, to feed two people, which had three meals in it. Of course, being the sad foodies that we are, we went for it.

Our gorgeous ingredients delivery
The box took about a week to arrive; they tell you your delivery date so you don't miss it, incase your produce goes funny. When it came it was like food Christmas, a cardboard box absolutely full of delicious looking fresh ingredients, spices, pastas and tins. The ingredients come with recipe cards so you know what you're going to be making. We ended up with seasonal rigatoni, with porcini mushrooms and pecorino; paneer curry with aubergine and brown rice; and quesadillas with tomato and corn salsa.

The prospect of cooking recipes I wouldn't normally be able to find/afford all the ingredients for was very exciting indeed, and so yesterday we decided to try the rigatoni. Here's how we got on... Whilst I obviously can't take credit for these recipes, I thought I would trial them to see if they are as easy/tasty as they claim to be, and so you can adapt them yourselves if you fancy!

The recipe cards they send with you are great. They give you a list of ingredients as well as instructions as to how to assemble the dish, complete with pictures. The quantities you need are already measured out; it should be as foolproof as it's possible to be in the kitchen.
The ingredients for the pasta were wonderfully fresh and seasonal, we couldn't fault the freshness and quality of the produce, even the creme fraiche came from a British farm and was of a higher standard than the stuff I normally get in Tesco.

Ingredients -

  • 250g rigatoni
  • A handful of asparagus
  • 1/2 cup fresh peas
  • 1 tbsp dried porchini mushrooms
  • 2/3 cup leeks, slices (I just used the whole leek they sent)
  • 5 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 1 tbsp hard italian cheese (they send pecorino) grated
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely diced. 

  1. You start off by finely chopping your parsley, and soaking the dried mushrooms in a cup of hot water until they have softened, then chop them too. 
  2. Snap the ends off the asparagus and chop into 2 inch pieces, then slice the leek in half lengthways, wash, then slice thinly widthways. 
  3. Boil the asparagus and peas in a pot of boiling water for two mins. Immediately remove them and run under cold water for about 30 seconds. The recipe card tells me that this 'refreshes' the vegetables, and sure enough they are still crunchy and fresh when the meal is complete. 
  4. Cook the pasta in the water you boiled your vegetables in, until al dente, for around about ten mins. 
  5. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil (or butter), and add the peas, asparagus, leek and mushrooms when it is hot. Toss the veggies around in the pan for about five minutes. 
  6. Add your creme fraiche and cook for 1 min. When your pasta is done, add it to the pan with the sauce and mix. 
  7. Stir in 3/4 of the parsley. Then, serve with a sprinkle of the pecorino cheese and the rest of the parsley to garnish!
Done! The recipe was simple and easy to follow, everything did what it was meant to and the result was great. 
I would recommend putting some ground black pepper through the sauce and maybe some cheese. Me and Calum felt it was lacking a certain something, and the sauce needed something other than the creme fraiche to give it a bit more flavour. 
However, other then that there were no complaints. We had some leftover which made a great supper and the pasta had so much lovely green veg in it that it was as filling as it was healthy. I will definitely be recreating this recipe on my own, whether with the same ingredients or not. 

The next recipe I am going to try is the Quesadillas one, which I am really looking forward to cooking. I don't often make Mexican food, but because of my new found love for it, I want to start. Hopefully this will be an easy introduction.

So Hello Fresh, so far so good. Let's see how we go! 

Lindsay x