Thursday, 15 December 2016

Quick and Easy Cullen Skink!

I'm off home to Singapore tomorrow for Christmas, and I can't wait!
All my exams are done and essays are handed in so all I have to do now is get through the long flight... When I checked in online it was also ridiculously full... so this could end up being an uncomfortable flight. I am crossing my fingers that I get upgraded.

Anyway, onto more foodie topics...
I've posted a cullen skink recipe before but this is a quick version if you don't have the time to wait a few hours for a hearty bowl of soup. Still has all the flavour though! 


This recipe only takes about 20 minutes to make and it is still so yummy. FYI, I used leeks in this recipe instead of an onion. 


This soup is creamy and salty and smokey and just so yummy. All that for just 20 minutes of work. Most of which is just waiting for it to simmer. I didn't even bother peeling the potatoes just to make it even easier for myself. 

Serve with some nice crusty bread and you've got yourself a perfect meal for a wintery night that takes no time at all.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Christmas Wish List!

It's December 1st!! 
Officially the Christmas season! Even though it's actually been going on for ages...

I'm currently lying in bed listening to Christmas playlists on Spotify and looking at things I want to open on the big day. I will get back to studying soon, I promise!



 

First is this bottle of No7 Dramatic Lift Mascara from Boots. 
My mum gave me a little freebie bottle that she got and I've used it all up now but it was amazing!
It really did make my lashes look so long and 'dramatically lifted' them. It also didn't clump them all together but helped them all separate out so my eyes looked big and bright!





I absolutely love these videos on Facebook. I watch them all the time and I'm always cooking them. They're just so easy and, well, tasty! 
Plus they normally involve a copious amount of cheese...
It's not actually a set book I don't think. You get to choose 7 sections like 'Pastas and Bakes' or 'Light Meals' or just 'Cheese' and then each themed section will pick 7 of the most popular Tasty recipes and put them into a book for you!






Another cookbook! 
I don't know if I've made my love of this show clear before... but I love it. It's amazing. And it always puts you in such a baking mood when you're watching it!
What better than to have a recipe book with some of the recipes from this year's show in it!
I'll get to try out some of the technical challenges and see how I'd fare if I was on the actual show! Probably not very well...






My dad bought me the 2016 version of this calendar from Waterstones sometime this past year and I love it. Plus it helps me keep track of all my shifts at work and any essays or exams I have coming up. It has all these quirky/witty/sarcastic little pictures in it for each month and they always make me laugh. In fact, I always put an Instagram up of the calendar when it's the first of a new month and just yesterday, the artist [David Olenick] regramed my November picture with the best caption:


Dr. Martens. I love my black Dr. Martens so much [even though my mum hates them] and I've wanted new ones for ages but they're pretty expensive...
I'd love any new pair to be honest but I've found these two which I really like: 




The Pascal ASP Light Grey ones...


... and the Black Victorian ones.

Again, any new pair would be amazing. I just love the look of them and they're really comfy. I do need insoles for them though because I have flat feet so even though they're comfy my feet do start to hurt after a while, like they do with any flat shoes. 





And lastly, sweaters/jumpers. I am loving knitwear at the moment. My outfits recently have consisted of black jeans, my Dr. Martens and different jumpers. Any new jumper/sweater would be amazing.

 There's this grey oversized vintage jumper from Boohoo which I love and which I've had my eye on for a while and also this black velvet sleeve sweater dress from Missguided which is a bit different but which I've also fallen in love with. It combines my two favourite things! Sweaters and velvet! I kind of love velvet at the moment...












So there we have it. My Christmas Wish List :)

What is everyone else asking for for Christmas?

Friday, 18 November 2016

Isabelle!

It's been almost a month since my last post! I've really let things slide... I've just been so busy!
I've started a job with Levy Restaurants, so I'm working at the SECC/Hydro/Armadillo in hospitality, doing anything from barista work to bar work to setting up events etc. I'm liking it so far! Everyone is so nice, there's always someone to hang out with/talk to, no matter what shift I'm doing. Between that and uni work and writing for Affairs Today [I need to post my latest opinion articles on here soon] and trying to make time for people, I've not really had the time to write my blog!

But there is something that I just couldn't wait to share... my newborn niece!


Isn't she gorgeous? Isabelle Elizabeth Park :) 

I love her so much! She's only two weeks old. Colleen and I went down to see her last weekend and she is just precious.

 
 I may not look very amused in that picture but trust me, I was loving life. I was just watching tv at the same time which is why I have a very strong look of concentration on my face...

Not only is she absolutely gorgeous but she is also so alert for a newborn! Constantly looking around and turning her head and engaging with people/sights/sounds. And she does not cry! I think I heard her cry for about 5 minutes in total the entire weekend. As long as she's being held she's as content as can be.


 So there you have it. Baby Isabelle :) Absolutely gorgeous.

I promise to try and get back on top of my blog posts. I will definitely be posting a list of my latest opinion articles for Affairs Today!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Chicken curry with Coconut milk!


I was having cravings for Indian food a while back and was really fancing a curry but had ordered one too many takeaways by that point... so I thought, why not make my own curry! And a healthy one at that.

 
Not only was this really yummy and healthy [only 213 calories!!] but it was also really easy and quick to make. Took about 5 minutes to prep and then you just leave it to cook for half an hour. Perfect!


I think the hardest part about this dish was peeling the potatoes. I don't know how I do it but I obviously do it wrong because I always end up with grazes on my hands from the peeler... Clearly have to take a lesson in potato-peeling!

The thing I loved most about this meal was how all the spices made it so warming. The garam masala, cumin and curry powder didn't make it spicy, per-se, but it created a really nice warmth in my mouth that was perfect for a cold day. 

Pair it with some naan bread and you're good to go!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Broccoli Cheddar Quiche!

So I have seriously slipped in my blogging recently. I started my Masters and I've been frantically searching for a job which has been going absolutely terribly... So I've felt a bit overwhelmed and my phone has been backing up with loads of pictures of all the meals I've made but haven't posted about online yet. So here we go! Back on it with a post about broccoli cheddar quiche!


This was a bit of a hit and miss situation. I think having the wrong size pastry dish didn't exactly help me out very much. 


It needed to be deeper and smaller in size so that all the liquid could actually cover all the brocolli and the cheese but I couldn't be bothered to buy a new pastry dish so I made do with what I had!


I feel like these pictures paint a very un-appetizing picture... But it was actually really good! Once it managed to cook. The recipe calls for it to be baked for 40 minutes but this was in the oven for a few good hours and it still was really liquidy! 


But once it was baked through, it was great! The recipe also has its own pastry recipe within it so you can make the entire thing from scratch which is always a good way to impress people! 
I think next time I make this I'll add in some feta or goats cheese to give it more of an intense flavour. And also use the right sized pastry tin!


Try this one out and let me know how it goes!

Thursday, 15 September 2016

White Chocolate Cheesecake!

I recently made one of the best looking desserts I have ever made in my life. It looked beautiful and I was so impressed with myself. And it tasted amazing as well.


It was this white chocolate cheesecake. I think basically it's the pie tin. Everything I make in there comes out really well and I love the ridges around the edge. I just think it looks so professional. This dessert not only looked amazing, however, but tasted amazing as well which is all down to this recipe


In place of the oatcake biscuits that the recipe called for, I used shortbread. This was Ashleigh's suggestion actually. Actually the entire dessert was her suggestion - she said she wanted a white chocolate cheesecake and I felt like baking so it gave me a great excuse.


The recipe suggests serving it with a rhubarb compote. Well I absolutely hate rhubarb so I did not do that. You could of course use any fruit you want like raspberries or strawberries but I couldn't be bothered to make any type of compote cause I'm really lazy. 

You do need something tart to cut through the richness of the cheesecake however cause it is very rich. I started feeling sick after starting my second slice. I had a brainwave, however. We had jam in the fridge and that's basically compote, right? So I added some strawberry jam to my cheesecake :) 

Unfortunately this jam was pretty sweet itself so that didn't really help that much... But if you have any tart jam/marmalade floating around in the fridge and you can't be bothered to make your own compote, throw it right on the cheesecake! It will work!

Monday, 5 September 2016

Greek Orzo Salad!

New favourite dish that is so fast and easy to put together? This Greek orzo salad dish.


It's really good and is so, so easy to make. Cook some pasta, cut some onions and cucumbers [and tomatoes and olives if you're using them], crumble some feta and make the world's easiest vinaigrette and then you're done! It's also healthy! I'm pretty sure...


Such a good one to make if you're back in from a busy and long day and you can't be bothered to cook a big meal or you don't want to order a takeaway. Or to make the day before for lunch the next day. It's actually even better after it's been in the fridge for a while so it's a perfect idea to make to bring to work/uni for lunch. 

Give this recipe a try! It's so easy and pretty yummy. Will be a bit oniony afterwards though...

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Sweet Potato Pie!

I made one of the most traditional American desserts recently - sweet potato pie!
What could be more American than taking a really starchy, sweet-tasting vegetable, blending it together with sugar and pouring it into a dish that has been covered with a really buttery pastery? 

I joke, but really this pie was amazing. I love it just as much as pumpkin pie, which is saying something. Although it pretty much tastes just the same...


I was very proud of myself actually. I made the pastry from scratch and it actually worked and held its shape! And the filling set and it was just overal really amazing. Despite me describing it to my sister and her saying "Toni that is disgusting."


 I guess the idea of having potato in a dessert isn't really appealing... but sweet potatoes are so 'sweet' [funnily enough] and go so well with cinnamon and other spices that it really works. 


The Americans did a good job when they came up with this dessert! I highly recommend it to anyone looking to try out a new recipe. You won't regret it!

Saturday, 20 August 2016

3 Exercises that will kill your arms!

Popsugar is one of those blogs where I always bookmark their posts on exercise ideas, but never actually end up doing them. Mostly because I'm too lazy. 


This morning however, I decided to get my butt back to the gym after not going for ages and instead of just running, which I normally do, I thought I'd do some toning exercises as well. I remembered that I had bookmarked one of their posts on '3 Simple Exercises That Will Give You Sexy, Sculpted Arms', so I thought I'd give that a go!

You know that trick where someone puts their hands inside yours and pushes against you as hard as they can, as you push back against them for 30 seconds and when the time is over it feels like there's an invisible ball in yours hands because you can't push your hands together? It's something to do with your muscles tightening and then taking a while to get back to the relaxed stage but anyway, it's a weird sensation. Yeah, after doing these arm exercises I went for a shower and I couldn't lift my arms properly to wash my hair because it felt like something was pushing them down like an invisible weight or something. That's how effective these exercises are! They kill your arms afterwards! Might not sound very pleasant but at least it means they're effective!

Basically you do a bicep curl and overhead press for 20 reps, downward dog into cobra pose for 15 reps, and then lateral and forward raises for 15 reps. The post tells you how to do each exercise and gives you pictures to help you out as well so don't worry if you haven't heard of them before!

If you're looking for some new, intense arm exercises, these are it! 

Let me know what you think!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Differences in police tactics in America and the UK

Latest opinion piece for Affairs Today is up!


This one is on the different tactics used by police forces in America and the UK when it comes to dealing with potentially violent assailants.

My brother-in-law gave me the idea for this topic after tagging me in the video I talk about in the article, on Facebook. There's a link to the video at the beginning of the article and it's quite an interesting watch if you want to give it a go!

Give me a read and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Spicy Baked Mac and Cheese

Finally posting the other mac and cheese recipe that I used recently!

Sorry that it took so long. I've been writing a lot of articles for Affairs Today recently so my blog has kind of been put on the back-burner... But now I'm back!

I made this recipe because a friend of mine said that he was craving mac and cheese and asked if I would make some for him. As I said in the last mac and cheese post, I was browsing through Spoon Fork Bacon and found a few recipes - this being one of them. I knew that my friend likes spicy foods so I thought that this recipe would be perfect to make for him. And I was right! It says that it feeds between 6-8 but there were 3 of us... and we finished it all. Oops!


This one is completely different to the brie and camembert mac and cheese I made. Mostly because the cheese's used aren't as strong and it's not quite as saucey and it is pretty spicy. I think it was a bit too spicy for me but it was still enjoyable! 

There's a big divide between mac and cheese lovers. You either love it when there's loads of sauce or you love it when it's baked and the pasta soaks up all the sauce. I think I'm definitely more of a sauce-y mac and cheese kind of girl so I prefer the brie and camembert recipe, but for all you baked mac and cheese lovers out there who like a bit of a kick to your food, this recipe is definitely for you!

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Black Lives Matter v. All Lives Matter

Latest opinion piece for Affairs Today! 

This one is on the Black Lives Matter movement and the 'All Lives Matter' rhetoric that people always fire back with. 


Let me know what you think!

Also, I haven't been posting the news articles that I've been writing. Otherwise I'd constantly be bombarding you with blog posts about stuff that you probably already know! So I've decided to just post my opinion pieces. But feel free to check up on the Affairs Today website or like us on Facebook to keep up to date with all the latest news stories!

Friday, 15 July 2016

Brie and Camembert Mac and Cheese

A couple of mac and cheese posts are going to be coming your way in quick succession because I've gone through a bit of a mac and cheese phase recently.

It all started when I found my new favourite food blog: Spoon Fork Bacon.
I was browsing through their recipes and quickly bookmarked two mac and cheese ones. I read them out to my mum and she was determined to have this one for dinner that night. And who could blame her. Brie and camembert together in one creamy pot of mac and cheese goodness? Sounds amazing, right? Well, it was.


Yes the topping looks a tad burnt, but who doesn't love an extra crispness to their meal? 
Just look how yummy that looks. All that bie and camembert just melted together to make such an ooey-gooey-yummy cheesy sauce and the specks of whole grain mustard that you can see [the recipe calls for Dijon but I used whole grain instead] gave it just a little tang. 

The only thing missing was some salty, crispy bacon which would have pushed it over the edge into food of the Gods. Because everyone knows that everything is better with bacon. So what did we do with the leftovers that we were saving for lunch the next day?


Fried up some bacon to top the mac and cheese with, of course. I highly recommend anyone trying out this recipe to do the same because it really just completes the dish.

Anyone wanting to try out this yummy recipe can find it here: http://www.spoonforkbacon.com/2014/04/creamy-skillet-mac-cheese/

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

ISIS is not Islam

Latest opinion article for Affairs Today is up!

This one is on the wrongly believed assumption that ISIS is Islam, which is not the case.



Let me know what you think!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Les Miserables @ The Esplanade, Singapore

I saw one of my favourite theatre productions yet in June at the Esplanade in Singapore - Les Miserables. It was incredible. Amazing cast, fabulous music, incredible staging - it had it all.




















I've only ever seen the movie and I absolutely loved that. I love the storyline and I love the music. It's so evocative. 
I get goosebumps everytime I watch the movie so I knew watching the production live would be 10x more amazing. And I was right.  

 

 It's so hard to pick a favourite song because they are all so good. Everytime I think about writing my favourite down I think of another and I have to reconsider! 
I Dreamed a Dream is obviously one of the most famous songs and for good reason. I loved that song but I actually thought [unpopular opinion coming] that Anne Hathaway sang it better in the movie than the actress did in the show... Not that she wasn't amazing, because she was! I just prefered the movie version. 
I love One Day More because so many different characters are singing their own songs and it's just so dramatic and amazing to watch and listen to. They all blend together so well but at the same time you can pick out each song and it's just so incredible. 
Similarly, I love Do You Hear the People Sing/The People's Song because it gives me goosebumps everytime I hear it. Seeing all the people on stage coming together getting ready to fight for something they believe in whilst singing this song is amazing. It is also played at the finale so it's the last song you hear in the musical so again, it's a really big moment.
 On My Own is close to being my favourite song from the show. It's a beautiful song and it's so emotional. The actress in the production sang it so well, as did Samantha Barks in the movie. 
My overall favourite song though, oddly enough, is probably Master of the House. It's the only song in the entire musical that provides some comic relief and not only is it really catchy and happy, but it is also really funny. I think the Thenardiers are actually my favourite characters of the whole show because they are so amusing to watch/listen to. 

 

I went with my dad, one of my parents friends, and one of her friends because my mum refused to go. She thought it would be too sad for her to watch and whilst it does have its sad moments, they handle it well. 
[SPOILERS]
When Gavroche is killed, the spotlight falls on him and its silent for a moment but then his brother carries him off center stage and the scene carries on. Because it doesn't dwell on the moment, it doesn't get too sad/emotional for the audience. Well, it didn't for me anyway. The only time my eyes welled up, was when Eponine was dying/singing with Marius. And it was mostly because of the music and the fact that it carries on for a while. It's a sad song but it's also a sad moment. Not only is she dying but it's the first time Marius has ever shown any affection to her in the way that she wanted. 
My mum definitely would have handled it but I'm also glad she decided not to go because it meant I could!


 If anyone gets the opportunity to go see Les Miserables, you should definitely go and see it. I guarantee you'll love it. 
For anyone in Singapore, it's still showing at the Esplanade so go get your tickets!
Also, look out for the staging. It is done so flawlessly and cleverly. The way the scenes transition and the way the spotlights are used when a character dies. Especially when {SPOILERS] Javert dies. They use a moving screen as the backdrop of the stage to make it look like he's falling off the bridge and into the water. It is pretty spectacular.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Victim blaming - Stanford rape case

Latest opinion article for Affairs Today is up! By latest, I mean it was actually posted on the 19th June... Still relevant though!


This piece is on the infamous Stanford rape case and how this case was the latest evidence for the culture of victim blaming that is prevalent in our society. 

Unfortunately for this victim, and for so many others, the court and the media focused more on what she had done on that night to have this awful assault happen to her and how this would affect the assailant's life and his swimming career, instead of focusing on the terrible act that Turner had committed and how it will haunt this girl and her family for the rest of their lives. More blame was placed on the victim for being drunk than on Turner, who had sexually assaulted an unconscious woman. Whilst the fact that he was drunk gave an excuse for his actions, the idea that the victim was also drunk somehow meant that she had been asking for this to happen to her. This double standard is all too often prevalent in many rape cases.

Have a read and let me know what you think!

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The Delancey @ Wild Honey: Singapore

Wild Honey describe themselves as a cafe that loves breakfast and with meals like the Delancey, I 100% believe them.


I've talked about how much I love Wild Honey before, and how amazing their breakfast meals are. Whilst this may not be a traditional breakfast dish - definitely more of a brunch option - I would gladly have this to start off my day any morning of the week.

What's not to love? Sacha & Son's [a New York Delicatessen] pastrami piled up high on thick slices of toasted brioche, topped with two poached eggs and covered in a grain mustard hollandaise sauce. Delicious.


This is everything you want from a meal. Slightly sweet from the brioche, peppery and juicy from the pastrami, rich from the poached egg and tangy and creamy from the mustard hollandaise sauce. It was so good. And it was nicely washed down with a prosecco mimosa! Which Wild Honey make rather strong, FYI. 

If anyone is looking for a new dish to try out at Wild Honey, or if anyone is going for the first time, I highly recommend the Delancey. You won't be disappointed!

Monday, 27 June 2016

I Graduated!

I graduated!


I am officially a graduate of the University of Glasgow with a 2:1 LLB Honours Degree :) 


It was a good day :) A long day, but a good day. I had to be there to register by 8:30 [!!!] and to get my robes and sash. Note to anyone graduating, bring a safety pin with you! The sash was really big so it kept on falling down. You really need something to pin it up with. Saying that, even with the safety pin holding the front up it was still really annoying because it kept on dropping down my shoulders. But still, it was pretty cool to wear the big robes that you always see people wearing in movies/pictures.


It was a bit of an awkward day because the ceremony finished at about 12:30 but my dinner wasn't booked until 6:30 so we had lunch and then there was a bit of milling about, trying to kill time. Dinner was good when it finally came around though! We had it at the Corinthian, a really nice casino/bar/club/restaurant in the city centre of Glasgow. Another post on that to come!


I thought that the ceremony was going to go on for ages, or at least feel like it did, but it went surprisingly fast! They just went through everyone's names so quickly - there wasn't really a pause between anyone. There were also so many people on stage at once. I was nervous about being on stage in front of everyone but you're blocked by so many people and the focus isn't really entirely on you because there are so many people in front of you that I wasn't nervous at all when I got up there!


The longest part of the day was queuing for the pictures after the ceremony. Oh my goodness. My feet were killing me by that point because my heels were really high and I was so hot and sweaty because of the big robes and I just wanted to sit down but I couldn't! Definition of first world problems!

But who cares, because in the end I managed to get one of these to hang on my wall :)

 

Congratulations to anyone else who's recently graduated/about to graduate!