Thursday, 11 October 2018

Top 10 Glasgow Lunch Spots


Readers, after a load of DIY and a few pieces of sponsored content recently, I felt it was time to get back to my routes and pop up a foodie post.  My round up posts have been well received recently, so today I’m doing a top 10 places to eat for lunch in Glasgow.

I’m fortunate enough to work in the city, and I love trying out new places. I’ve tried to pick places from across the city centre and into the Southside too (hey, it’s my neighbourhood).  

Glasgow has so many food joints, that a food blogger like me has to try as many as she can!

Bun Life at Strata – Queen Street, Glasgow City
Bao buns, buns and more buns.  Great value, filling and plenty for meat eaters and veggies. Top tip… the prawn one is amazing.

bun life strata what claire did


Bar Soba – Merchant City, Glasgow City
Another Asian hotspot, that does a meal and a drink for £7 at lunchtime. Some great sides too including dirty katsu fries.

bar soba merchant city glasgow what claire did

 Temaki – Hope Street, Glasgow City
I’m really going for the Asian theme here… small sit in space, or take away, their dumpling and katsu combo is a winner.

temaki glasgow what claire did

 Babs – West Nile Street, Glasgow City
My dad loves this place. Honestly. Mediterranean food, kebabs and the type of place you can take your 60 year old pops. He loves the lamb koftas.

babs glasgow what claire did

Max’s Bar & Grill – Queen Street, Glasgow City
Poutine of the week… every week. I honestly don’t need to say much more. Big bar grub menu and iPads to order on.

maxs bar glasgow what claire did


Halloumi – Hope Street, Glasgow City
Small plate greek food, that does 3 plates for less than £10 at lunchtime.  Not a limited menu either and some good veggie options on the list.

halloumi glasgow what claire did


Oaka Supercity – George Street, Glasgow City
Back on the Asian grub again.  Try their dim sum selection if you want a bit of everything. Hot, steaming and ready in 5 minutes. Benches for you to sit on whilst you get stuck in and you’ll get a filling lunch for £5.50.

halloumi glasgow what claire did


Fylkir of Copenhagen – Newlands Road, Glasgow Southside
Our local Danish café… it might be tiny, but it packs a punch. Good coffee and Danish open sandwiches are the order of the day. Good for hangovers… and getting your hygge on.

fylkir of copenhagen glasgow what claire did


Phillies of Shawlands – Kilmarnock Road, Glasgow Southside
New menu just launched, but I like to go old school and get fired into their pizza.  They can also make a slightly smaller pizza at lunchtime. Means you’ve room for a bowl of fries alongside it.

phillies shawlands glasgow what claire did


Babylon Café – Clyde Place, Glasgow Southside (just!)
It’s over the River, so I count it as a southside joint.  It’s a local, neighbourhood hidden gem… the type of place people have gone to for years. Totally unpretentious and the food is amazing. Trust me on this one. Lebanese, Persian and Middle Eastern classics are served with love. 

babvylon cafe glasgow what claire did


Sunday, 30 September 2018

Upcycling a Chest of Drawers with Door Furniture Direct


Readers, hello! I’ve failed miserably in blogging my way through September, sorry about that! It’s been a busy month, with a couple of weddings, catching up with friends and spending the rest of my time doing some upcycling.

As you’ve possibly seen over on my stories on Instagram, I’ve recently collaborated with
Door Furniture Direct, on an upcycling project and thanks to them, they really helped me finish my upcycle on this old chest of drawers.  

Ikea malm upcycle unit in grey what claire did

We bought the unit 5 years ago, when we bought our first place and as it’s always lived in the spare room, we never really gave it a second thought. The spare room has always been a bit unloved, but we’ve recently done a whole makeover – painting this chest of drawers, the wardrobe and doing the walls and soft furnishing, but that’s another post that’s coming soon.

door furniture direct rose copper knobs 32mm

Today I’m chatting just about the Malm unit upcycling, which features these amazing rose copper knobs from Door Furniture Direct.  I was allowed to pick anything I wanted, up to the value of £30, so managed to get 6 of these for my project. The unit was painted in Anthracite grey furniture paint by Rustoleum and then varnished with a matt varnish to protect it. 

ikea malm upcycle in grey with copper handles what claire did


As most of you will know, the Malm units don’t have pre-drilled handle holes because of the top opening, so I had my first drilling experience (no jokes at the back please) trying to measure, find the right drill size and then drill 6 holes, in equal positioning, across the 3 drawers.   The drawer knobs were really easy to fit and came with screws etc, so all I had to do was drill through, push the screw through from the back and then tighten the knob on the front of it. 

ikea malm upcycle in grey with copper handles what claire did


If you are considering your own upcycling project, if I can manage to drill and add drawer pulls, then anyone can do it.  My painting tips from my bathroom upcycle still apply – use a shellac based primer (one coat) before you start, 2 coats of paint and at least 2 coats of varnish to make sure it doesn’t chip or damage.

And when it’s becoming really important to think about what we throw out and what we keep, could now be your chance to show some love to some old furniture and make improvements? And for those of you who are interested... this is where I started... 



Disclaimer – I was gifted the rose copper oval cup knobs from Door Furniture Direct in exchange for a post on my blog. Any opinions expressed are my own.


Sunday, 23 September 2018

Microwave Cooking… It’s Not The Enemy!


Readers, a slightly different post for me tonight, as I wanted to chat about that thing that sits in the corner of our kitchen, has several settings and a digital clock on it.  It beeps after a few minutes… yep, it’s the microwave.

Microwaves get a bit of a bad press, but to coincide with the launch of Panasonic’s new range of Combi Microwave Ovens, I’m sharing 5 reasons why microwaves aren’t the devil’s cooking equipment.

Great tool on the Panasonic website - providing specs and dimensions, to help you plan your kitchen space!
Image Credit: Panasonic

1. It’s a time saver

Tight on time?  The microwave can be your friend.  I’m not a massive advocate for ready meals, but the microwave (or combi oven if you’re fancy) allows a meal in minutes solution, when you’re late in from work, dashing between appointments etc. Leading me to…

2. It’s all about what you cook in there

Thing is, you genuinely don’t need to fire frozen microwave meals in there.  Honestly.  I’m a huge fan of re-heated leftovers in the microwave. Or my other favourite is the baked potato trick.  Stick it in for 8-10 minutes depending on size and then finish off in the oven for a 5-10 minutes for the crispy skin effect.  It’s a lot quicker than putting a raw potato in an oven. Trust me.

 

3. Batch cooking and freezing

If you’re like me and love cooking, but are often time pressed, Sunday is a great day to lock yourself in the kitchen and cook away.  Tupperware becomes your best mate and you can cook up, batch up and freeze your home made creations, ready for reheating.

4. The power of de-frost

And to number 3 – my point above – once you’ve made all these cracking batch dishes, you’ll be able to hit the defrost function and speedily defrost those leftovers. Word of warning though – don’t do it with raw meat that’s frozen. Do the whole “leave in fridge for 24 hours” thing with that.
The defrost function is great for bread and rolls to… or if you’re in a hurry for your ice cream, 20 secs on defrost will get the spoon in the tub quicker.  Just saying.

5. The microwave mug cake

And the holy grail of PMT induced cooking… cake in a hurry. I’ve got an old recipe on my blog (apologies about the photos – it was a hurried post) that shows you how to make a cake in a mug, in the microwave.  Get it bookmarked, one day you’ll thank me for this speedy sugary treat.




Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Panasonic. Any opinions expressed are my own. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Rainbow Sprinkle Cake Bars


Readers

Remember when this blog used to be about baking… all the baking? As most of you know, I rebranded earlier this year, to focus more on travel, lifestyle and dining out, but when I can, I still try to do the odd recipe post. 

In Florida I did a trip to Walmart to buy up all the rainbow sprinkles because the ones in the UK are so much less jazzy. The American version may well have some seriously strong colouring but, for creating amazing cakes, they are so much better.  The colour doesn’t bleed during baking either. I wish I'd bought more, so if anyone is headed to Walmart... can you sort me out?

So today’s weekend bake is super simple, but looks great and can be made into cake bars great for parties or office Friday treats. And as a Glasgow food blogger, I'm always trying to put new food content on my blog! 
rainbow cake bars what claire did


There’s so much nostalgia around these bars… does anyone remember having them in school (usually square shaped) and the highlight of school lunches?  These are a bit more modern – snack bar format, rather than full on pudding but still a big nod to my youth!

Happy Baking guys and if you give this a go, let me know!

Rainbow Cake Bars

Ingredients (makes 10 bars)

150g self raising flour
30g plain flour
150g caster sugar
150g butter
3 medium eggs
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp rainbow sprinkles (add last)

Icing

200g icing sugar
Warm water to mix – add slowly
Few drops blue gel colouring
1.5 tsps rainbow sprinkles

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180c (fan).
  2. Grease a silicone 8in x 8in baking pan.
  3. Sieve both flours, add caster sugar, eggs and chopped butter to a large mixing bowl.  Whisk with an electric mixer to mix to a cake batter.  Add a little milk to loosen the batter and mix some more.  This is the all in one method… total time saver!
    all in one batter what claire did
  4. Add a tablespoon of rainbow sprinkles to the batter and gently fold in, don’t overmix.
    add in sprinkles what claire did
  5. Add the cake batter to the pan, spread evenly and bake for around 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the mix comes out clean.
    rainbow cake batter what claire did

  6. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
    rainbow cake what claire did


Icing

  1. Don’t start until cool!
  2. Add around 200g icing sugar to a bowl and slowly add in warm water, until a thick paste has formed.  Add a few drops of gel icing to the mix and combine.
  3. Spread the icing paste over the top of the cake and allow to set for a few moments.  Then, sprinkle more rainbow sprinkles over the top and allow to set before slicing.
    icing rainbow cake what claire did
  4. Top tip – for clean looking bars, take a sharp knife and slice off each edge, for a neater finish, before slicing into 10 rectangular bars.
    rainbow cake bars what claire did

Storage- Keep in an airtight container for a few days (if they last that long!)

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

From Monifieth to Malawi… The Wildlife Wonders I Saw

Readers, tonight’s blog is my entry to the Trips 100 / #AudleyBloggerChallenge where I’m writing about my amazing experience seeing wildlife in the natural habitat on the shores of Lake Malawi. Instead of my usual Glasgow food blog posts, I'm doing something different tonight!

Audley Travel are on the hunt for bloggers to share their adventures... and if you keep reading, you might be able to enter a competition yourself to win an African safari! 

For those of you reading this, Monifieth is a tiny village in the north east of Scotland… and well you probably know where Malawi is.

This post is a mission to convince you that it’s an AMAZING place to go. People often have visions of starving children, poverty (it can’t be denied, there is poverty, with NGOs trying to resolve this) but maybe, just maybe, we could use the powers of sustainable tourism to drive visitors to this wonderful, friendly country and learn there’s much much more than what’s shown on Oxfam adverts.

So queue my story.  I was 19.  Young, not really what you’d call “well travelled” (I’ve done my best to change that since) and was invited to go and do some volunteer work in a country called Malawi.  I’d heard of it, but had never even been out of Europe at that point.  There I was on a plane bound for Johannesburg.  Then on a tiny plane to southeast Africa.  
audley travel trips100 travel blogger challenge
Amazing views and landscapes in Malawi

The heat was dry and searing, people looked at me, stroked my skin (I’ve since learnt in the more rural parts, they’d never seen a white person) but something struck me.  Those huge smiles.  It didn’t matter there was a language barrier, we’d find a way to communicate.
audley travel trips100 travel blogger challenge
Traditional cooking in a Malawian mut hut


For 3 long weeks, I laid bricks, built walls (not my profession now, my skills were average at best). I taught English in schools and ran wild in the playground with the kids. It was emotionally exhausting, but totally rewarding and at the end of the trip, hopped on a minibus for a 4 hour ride to Lake Malawi.

For those who like facts, it was only discovered 150 years ago.  You’ll find fishing villages dotted on the shore, next to golden sands and beach resorts. We didn’t have time, but I’m told the crystal clear waters make for great snorkling, where you’ll see a vast array of fish swimming in their habitat.  But oh what you’ll see… watch for Nile Crocodiles!  There’s around 700 species of fish in the lake alone.  Plenty to spot on your adventures.
audley travel trips100 travel blogger challenge
The shores of Lake Malawi at 7am. Beautiful, peaceful and tranquil


For me, though, the best part of all, was taking a water safari along the Lake.  This wasn’t just to see the animals living in the lake… it was the banks of the lake where the magic happened.  Walking by us were herds of elephants.  The entire family on a slow walk by the river… tiny babies surrounded by grandparents, with years of wisdom and survival experience.
audley travel trips100 travel blogger challenge
Elephants and birds on the shores of Lake Malawi, from our boat

Looking closely, there were hippos baking in the midday sun, rolling around in the mud.  Doing as hippos do, one would assume. 

Those famously stripy zebras peeked out from the tall grasses as we sped past on our boat.
Birds swooped overhead, magnificent colours and sizes – just some of the 650 species you’ll find in the country.
audley travel trips100 travel blogger challenge
Cooling off in the waters of Lake Malawi


I was in awe… having never been somewhere so exotic, and seeing animals that only existed in the encyclopaedias and picture books of my youth, to be almost touching distance of an elephant, was without a doubt… breath taking.

***

Win an African safari with Audley Travel by sharing your best wildlife photograph or video on your social media channels. To enter write #AudleySafari and @AudleyTravel on your Instagram or Twitter post or share directly on the Audley Travel Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/audleytravel/. To find out more or enter via the website, visit www.audleytravel.com/social.  Entries must be posted between 20th August – 23rd September.