Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Drygate Brewery: Glasgow!

Anyone in Glasgow or planning on visiting soon, I have the perfect day out for you!

My flatmate, Ashleigh, works as a tour guide for the Tennents's brewery on Duke Street and I decided to go on the last tour [the 6pm tour] that she was taking before we went out for dinner with another friend at the Drygate Brewery right down the road. 
I know that she works there and therefore I'm a tiny bit biased but it is actually a really good tour! Plus, you get a free pint and 4 tasters at the end of it so its a great couple of hours for anyone who loves beer! Even if you don't [like me], its still a great tour! Plus, you can tie it in with a lunch/dinner at the Drygate Brewery straight after!

Anyone going here should definitely try the elderflower cider. I asked for a strawberry cider and the waitress suggested an elderflower cider instead so I thought I'd give it a whirl and oh my goodness, it was so good. It's fruity and herbal and fairly sweet. Just so delicious. But on to the food!

I had their soup of the day to start [we decided to go all out and have a couple of courses each] and it was amazing. Carrot, coriander and coconut. It was one of the best soups I've ever had I think! So yummy.

I had the Drygate beef burger & jerk ox cheek for my main course which is pretty surprising for anyone who knows me cause I'm really not a burger person but I had really been craving it for a few days by this point. It was alright. To be honest, I didn't think it tasted like much and the jerk ox cheek was a lot spicier than I thought it would be so it was just this kind of hot, bland taste in my mouth. Although I'm not a burger person so maybe that was the problem. The rest of the menu looked good though! And my amazing starter more than made up for it. 

Even without it being the best burger ever, it was still a great day. Great tour with a nice meal out afterwards with some drinks :) Good way to spend a Wednesday night in Glasgow!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Dangers of drugs for tourists in Thailand!

I absolutely love Thailand. I've been a couple of times, once on a school trip [to Chang Mai] and another time with a couple of friends after we graduated school, to Koh Samui. 

Koh Samui was beautiful and it was so much fun. I definitely recommend it.

There were beautiful beaches...

... loads of fun activities to do, like jet skiing...

... going on quad bike treks through the jungle...

... and much more. Plus, the people were so nice!

This was one of the guys that worked at the hotel we were staying at. He actually knocked on our door the night before we were due to leave to ask to have a picture with us. Could be seen as kind of creepy... but he was really nice about it. 

Despite all the fun we had, it was obvious that there were loads of tourist traps and it was mainly a huge party place. When we went to one of the main areas, it was just bars and clubs and strip clubs again and again and again. Each place serving BUCKETS of alcohol for hardly any money at all. It's no wonder that we saw so many drunk (mainly Westeners) going crazy. 

Also, whilst we were there, the Full Moon Party was going on. Everywhere we went, people were trying to sell us tickets to the infamous party but I had been banned by my parents from going plus it wasn't really our scene anyway. There are horror stories that come out every year from the Full Moon Parties and its just one of the situations in which drugs and alcohol are a major danger to tourists in Thailand. 

One of my latest pieces for Affairs Today is on the danger of drugs for tourists in Thailand - give it a read and let me know what you think!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Dissertation handed in!

It's in! It's finally over!

I finally got to hand in my dissertation a few days ago and what a relief! I say that, but it wasn't actually as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Everyone always complains about how dissertation time is the worst time of your life but it's not that bad. Well, maybe it is if you leave it till the last moment but for some reason I started mine really early so I actually managed to finish it pretty early without getting too stressed out over it. I even handed it in before the due date!

The worst thing about it was cutting the words down. No matter what I did, my word count didn't seem to be going down or was barely going down at all. It was so annoying! There were so many times where Word said that my word count was under and I'd check a bit later and it was over again. I don't know why it kept on doing that... Maybe it just kept on not counting my footnotes. Which are so annoying by the way! I don't see why they're included in the word count. It doesn't add to your dissertation and it decreases the amount of words you can use to actually make your point. It's so annoying. But oh well! It's over!

For anyone that's interested to know, I did a comparison of the design of the main pieces of legislation in the UK and Nepal on child trafficking. Essentially, the conclusion I came to was that the Nepalese legislation [The Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act 2007] is designed better in order to meet the aims of Nepal, than the UK legislation [the Modern Slavery Act 2015] is designed in order to meet the aims of the UK. Unfortunately, however, there are more obstacles that Nepal have to navigate around i.e. poverty and government corruption and so child trafficking is worse there than it is in the UK, who have a much simpler problem to get around in order to combat child trafficking, even though the legislation is designed better.

And in order to celebrate my dissertation hand-in, my lovely sister made me dinner on Friday night! We had smoked salmon and cream cheese to start, a sweet potato curry for the main course and strawberries and chocolate sauce for dessert! It was really yummy and so nice of her. 

Anyone else just handed in/about to hand in their dissertation? How did you find the whole process? And what was yours on?

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Adam Johnson and the idolatry of football players

As most of you probably know, Adam Johnson, the ex-Sunderland football player, has been in the news recently due to his 'relationship' with a 15 year old and the subsequent court case. 

I've done two articles for Affairs Today on the subject - one news piece on the court case and one opinion piece on the idolatry of football players.

If anyone wants to give them a read, the links are above! 

Let me know what you think!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Baked Italian Oregano Meatballs!

Who doesn't love meatballs? I've never made my own and a few weeks ago I decided to go all out and get all the ingredients to make my own by hand. They were so good. And so satisfying to know that you made them all by yourself!

They're also really fun to make if you like getting your hands dirty. Since getting my kmixer I've stopped baking by hand so I don't really get to feel food in between my fingers anymore. This meatball recipe made up for it though! I got to squish all the sausage, eggs, bread and flavours together to make the yummiest meal ever.

The only thing wrong with this meal was that you don't fry the meatballs at all - you bake them. Although this is probably healthier, you don't get the crispy crust that I really like on meatballs. Without it I thought the meatballs were a little too soft and didn't have the colour that I wanted on them.

But that's a lesson learnt for next time! Even by baking them, these were still delicious. There's so much flavour packed into them and again, I can't emphasise how accomplished you feel when you make your own meatballs from scratch instead of just buying them from the store. 

Let me know if you make these meatballs and what you think of them! Its one of my favourite blogs - I love all their recipes and the pictures they use to show them off. Check it out!

Friday, 11 March 2016

FBI v. Apple

For those of you who don't know, there's an ongoing legal debate right now between the FBI and Apple. 

The FBI want Apple to give them access to a terrorist's iPhone and Apple won't do it because they don't want to breach the privacy of all their Apple customers. One of my latest articles for Affairs Today is on the conflict.

Give it a read and let me know if you agree or not! You can comment on the article yourself if you want!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Red Kidney Bean Curry

Shout out to all the University students going through the dissertation struggles right now! I'm right there with you.

I did the standard procrastination procedure and completely tidied out my desk so I could get to work writing my conclusion and going over the rest of my essay. And there's no way I could work on my dissertation without multiple cups of tea and an entire packet of biscuits... Nice biscuits, in case you were wondering. For someone who doesn't like coconut, I really love these coconut-flavoured biscuits...

During a stressful time like this, you really end up craving hearty, warming meals - such as this red kidney bean curry. Another recipe from my favourite cook book at the moment [Recipes From An Indian Kitchen]!

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 onions, finely chopped
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 fresh green chillies, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground coriander 
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
800g canned red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp palm sugar
500ml warm water
1 tsp salt

  1.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the cumin seeds. When they stop crackling, add the onions and fry until they are soft
  2. Add the ginger and garlic, fry for 2 minutes. Add the green chillies, tomatoes, ground coriander, crumin, turmeric and garam masala and stir fry for 12-15 minutes.
  3. Add the red kidney beans, palm sugar, water and salt and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the beans are soft.

Again, this recipe is so easy to make. And again, if your cupboard is well stocked this meal literally costs nothing. Perfect for cash-strapped students! I only had to buy a tin of chopped tomatoes (I used those instead of 2 large tomatoes) and 2 tins of red kidney beans. All the rest of the stuff I had in my cupboard! It pays to invest in your spices!

For anyone out there going through a stressful time or just desiring a really warming, slightly spicy and filling meal, this dish is perfect for you! Takes hardly any effort to make, is really quick and is just what you need to calm down and relax.

Let me know if you like it!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Butter Chicken!

Carrying on from my great experience with the salmon curry I made from the cookbook, Recipes From An Indian Kitchen, I decided to make their butter chicken recipe. It was really yummy. And it lasted for days as well because it serves 4-6 people and it was just me eating it... well, Ashleigh had one bowl but it was mainly me. It's also surprisingly fast to make... 

1 onion, chopped
2 tsp garli
2 tsp ginger
400g canned chopped tomatoes 
1/4-1/2 tsp chilli powder 
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt 
2 tbsp vegetable oil
125ml cold water
1 tbsp tomato puree 
40g butter
1/2 tsp garam masala 
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1/2 tsp ground coriander 
1 cooked tandori chicken, cut into 8 pieces [I just used normal chicken breasts which worked just as well but I can imagine using tandori chicken will make it taste so much better - even though it tastes amazing using normal chicken]
4 tbsp double cream

  1. Put the onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, chilli powder, sugar and salt into a good processor or blender and process until blended
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan/pot/wok over a medium-high heat then add the blended mixture, the water and the tomato puree, stirring
  3. Bring the mixture to the boil and then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens

4. Stir in half the butter, the garam masala, cumin, ground coriander and the chicken pieces and stir around until they are well coated. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the chicken is warmed through [if you are using normal chicken breasts, fry them first until they are browned] 

5. Stir in the cream and the rest of the butter until it melts - and its done!

See? So quick to make! The only hard thing is waiting for the sauce to simmer a few times. 

It's such a great meal - so yummy.
Let me know if you try it and what you think of it!

Friday, 4 March 2016

Assisted Suicide in Scotland

One of my latest articles for Affairs Today is on the Gordon Ross appeal case and assisted suicide in Scotland in general [read here http://affairstoday.co.uk/gordon-ross-appeal-assisted-suicide-in-scotland/ to find out more]. 

Although assisted suicide is so interesting, I thought there would just be too much to write about in one article and so I focused on the Gordon Ross case. It's a case I've actually been learning about in my Contemporary Issues in Healthcare law class and I decided to write the article after my lecturer sent the whole class an email informing us that the appeal case had been released. 

Hope you like it!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Maharashtrian Salmon Curry

I have found my new favourite salmon dish guys. It's a dish originating from the west-central state of Maharashtra in India and it is so cheap and simple to make. It literally takes 15 minutes. So even if you've had a long day and don't think you can be bothered to cook, you literally just fry the salmon then put all the other ingredients into the pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes and voila, it's done! Not only is it quick, but it also saves on the washing up. 

It's one of those meals that as long as you have a pretty well stocked pantry, you'll only need to buy salmon steaks/fillets [you can get a pack of 10 frozen salmon fillets for 4 pounds in Morrisons or use any cheaper fish you can find] and whatever you want to go along with the curry - I chose rice - so it's really cheap to make! Most of us even have rice floating about in our cupboards so it's really just the fish you need to buy! Fortunately I had everything I needed for this meal except the tamarind paste, which was surprisingly easy to find in Morrisons, and the coconut milk. 

Here is the recipe: [serves 4]

6 tbsp vegetable oil
8 salmon steaks, each about 150g [5 + 1/2 oz]
2 tsp cornflour 
1 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground turmeric 
2 tsp ground cumin 
1 tsp ground coriander 
2 tsp salt 
1 tsp tamarind paste 
400ml coconut milk 
400ml water 

Heat the oil in a non-stick saucepan and add the fish. Fry the salmon [or whatever other fish you've decided to use] for 1-2 minutes on each side.
Mix together the cornflour, spices, salt, tamarind paste and coconut milk. Pour this mixture into the saucepan with the water.
Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and cook gently for 10-12 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly [it is still a pretty runny sauce]
Serve with rice or whatever else you want to use to soak up all the yummy sauce!

For a meal that takes no more than 15 minutes to make, it is really quite delicious. So creamy and slightly spicy because of the hot chilli powder, paprika, turmeric and cumin and the salmon is so moist and flaky. I love that the sauce is so runny, because it makes it seem like there's so much more of it that you can soak up with your rice!

I got the recipe from an authentic Indian recipe book that I got a couple of Christmas's ago from a friend, called Recipes From An Indian Kitchen. I haven't used it that much which really is a crime because all the dishes look so amazing and if they're anything like this Maharashtrian Salmon Curry, they're all bound to be delicious.

Let me know what you think about the meal!