Category Archives: Food


This is a post inspired by hunger. Not any kind of metaphorical hunger, just literal “I’ve been hungry all day” hunger. I went to the gym as normal…as I often do…I went to the gym as I sometimes do when the muse takes me, and felt fine, but ever since then I’ve just been starving.

So, in honour of that, let’s talk all about takeaways.

Why are takeaways so appealing? I walked into the house to a scattering of menus all over the doormat, and now all I can do is debate which would be better if I were to get one (which I’m not, because…well, gym). The thing is, I know all of the restaurants, and I know them all to be rubbish. And here’s the thing. I’d still buy food from any one of them, simply for the joy that is eating takeaway food and not caring.

My parents having lived in India, Indian food has been a bit of a life-feature for me, so naturally that’s always a welcome choice. However, since living on my own, it’s also the takeaway meal I have the least. I’ve thankfully moved on from kebabs as well (well, my body is thankful, my heart is still a bit sad). Now if I’m going to order in, it’s a pick between pizza, Chinese, or some kind of take on Middle Eastern.

The issue is that in the UK we do eating so wrong that none of these foods work well. Pizza is the most acceptable, because it’s a given that we share a pizza, but then that means that you have to conform to what someone else wants on top of an entire pizza and that is a lot to give up. The other two just don’t work because with Chinese inevitably everyone in the room insists on ordering a single dish and having it to themselves – which is just plain boring. The whole point of food like this is to have a tiny bit of 10 different dishes, not eat an entire box of special chow mein to yourself (#me).

The issues with British people and Middle Eastern food are the most difficult for me. Where to begin. Again, it’s sharing food. It’s also finger food and if you’re not comfortable with that then you need to learn to wash your hands properly. Also, olives are great, especially cooked. Also, there is nothing that isn’t improved by a mixture of hummus, tzatziki and harissa. Also, falafel. But only good falafel. Why do we not eat this all the time?

So, onto the list which was always going to follow this post. If you live in Leeds, my picks are:

PizzaEcco Pizzeria
There’s takeaway pizza, and then there’s takeaway pizza. If you want greasy hangover food, this is not the recommendation for you (maybe go with Pitza Cano). Ecco is the best of pizza. Fancy toppings, random volumes (buy by the half metre, because whatever). It’s delightful.

ChineseEast Ocean
t’s nothing special to be honest, it’s just a Chinese takeaway. But it’s a nice, well priced Chinese takeaway that I’ve never had a bad experience with. And they are few and far between.

Middle EasternOranaise
My Dad chats to the Algerian owners whenever we go in, and it’s always hilarious. They have a lovely café and their takeaway menu is just as good. They even do takeaway mint tea, which is frankly hilarious (and delicious).

McDonalds, get down from that high horse

Let’s just quickly have a talk about how McDonalds need to get down off their high horse. They’ve got a radio advert which I’ve been meaning to bring up for a while. It comes on towards the start of every month, and is all about how wonderful they are for giving away free fruit.

One Friday a month.

This month, it’s one pineapple stick.

McDonalds, this does not make you a good company, and it does not make up for the shocking quality of the rest of your food. Just because you use good meat, doesn’t mean it’s a good meal when you pulverize it and fry it to death. In the same way, just because you offer a tiny amount of fruit for free, one day each month, doesn’t make you a “healthy option”. Just step away from the horse. It’s not the right place for you.

Weekend Away

This weekend has been a slow one on the blog because I’ve been away visiting my lovely parents, who have just moved house. This was the second foray back into train travel of recent weeks, and it wasn’t a much more pleasant experience than the last time. I worry that when I took the train frequently maybe I was as obnoxious as all the other passengers…because really, you have to be a certain level of something if you’re willing to broadcast to an entire train of people that you are cheating on your wife. Which is what one gentleman (*ahem*) was doing.

However, trains aside, it was a fantastic time. We went down to Cambridge and watched “The Taming of the Shrew” in Homerton College gardens, as part of the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival. It was a bit rainy, but it’s a nice way to spend time, and we caught up with some family friends as well. Then it was back to explore the new house (which is luuuurvly) before a good night’s sleep. Sunday was reserved for a BBQ down in London, where again we had a lovely time. The weather held, my cousins food was brilliant and it was great to see all the family.

Finally, on the Monday my other Auntie and Uncle came to see the house, before I made my way home (on ANOTHER HIDEOUS TRAIN RIDE…but I’m over it). A lovely weekend was had all round, though not much blogging was done, and too much delicious food was eaten, which my waistline won’t thank me for. I’ll hopefully get back into the swing of things quickly now…but I have to admit having had a little break I’m already craving another holiday. Ah well.


I have the absolute luxury of sometimes working from home, and that was the case today. So when Boyfriend pointed out that we were out of bread, there was only one natural thing to do (following on from my foray into the baking cupboard earlier in the week) – bake bread.

I have never been good at bread, it’s one of those things which never ceases to frustrate me. I’m not sure what I’m doing explicitly wrong, but I think it has to do with patience, making a day when I am at work an excellent time to try again. I bunged the stuff into my mixer and set it to chug away while I got on with my various work-y tasks, and then only dealt with the bread in natural break-points. I didn’t faff or fiddle, I just let it do it’s own thing, and I’m happy to say that I think it actually worked.

first provesecond prove

Now, bear in mind that my flat has quite high ceilings, and for whatever reason God has deemed that Friday should not be a sunny day, so it’s also chilly. Not ideal proving conditions. However, I got a good rise on my first prove, and an even better on my second. Which left me, all told, with this beautiful specimen –


Now, remember back when this accidentally became a nail blog for a short while? I promise it’s also not going to become a baking blog. Probably.

Cake cake cake

Yesterday, to the symphony of building work (which continues today, only louder, and more like a dying manatee) I baked a cake. It didn’t go well.

The reason it didn’t go well is that the battery in my scales ran out, and rather than buying a replacement battery I decided to see if I could manage without. The result was something which I could have anticipated pretty early on. I used too much egg and too much butter (or not enough flour, one way or the other) and the result – while not inedible – was not exactly nice.


However, undeterred, I went out today and bought a new battery, with the idea of trying again, and try again I have. I present to you my almond and chocolate chip loaf cake:

When I was at school I got really into baking, and I’ve been trying to get back there ever since, because I found the science of it amazing. I have to admit, I’ve forgotten a lot (hence el-disastro-cake above) but at least I can always remember how to make a basic cake the way my Mum taught me. 4-4-4-4 otherwise known as 4 eggs and 4 ounces of everything else, which is 225 grams.

  • Mix 225g of sugar with 225g of butter until it’s pale and fluffy. I went for a 3 way mix of white granulated, demerara and golden caster.
  • Whisk 4 eggs lightly and then gradually add them into the mix. I also added some almond extract at this point.
  • Sieve in 225g of self-raising flour and fold together. I mixed in some ground almonds (because they are delicious).
  • Add in chocolate chunks – I sliced up a bar of chocolate which was asking to be used, but chocolate chips would have been as good.
  • Bung it all in a greased and floured loaf tin, and stick it in a pre-heated oven at 180° for 20 minutes(ish) or until you can poke a skewer in and it come out without stuff all over it. I say 20 minutesish because with my rubbish oven this actually took almost an hour of constant checking. However…

cake2-2 cake2

Taa-daa! A far better cake than the first attempt, and this one shall be a gift to the Astrophysics researchers of Leeds tomorrow, because I’m not trying to eat a full cake to myself right now.

Part of the reason for the baking is that a site which I have a bit to do with are running a #Bakespiration competition (and to be honest, to try again after that first cake I’d have to have some quite strong inspiration!) This isn’t a proper entry as I’m not allowed to enter, but if you are a baking fan then you can enter here (it’s worth £400, so there’s really no reason not to!)


In an exciting turn of events, my blog views appear to have gone up. I’m not sure how I feel about the idea of someone actually reading this funny stream of consciousness I call a website, since that hasn’t happened since I lived in Morocco (such a long time ago now). Thanks, anyway.

Mostly this blog is about general views I have, so I wanted to share some of my experience of earlier today, and some of my views which were shattered (somewhat). I took a group of Leeds University Spanish Department (as was) alumni on a tour. This year marks 50 years since they graduated, and 50 years since the department moved into the current building. It was a fantastic and absolutely fascinating experience.

Firstly, I had some preconceptions about the gentlemen which were all proved completely false. It was a mistake to think that they would be “elderly” in the stereotypical sense – they were all very sprightly and incredibly chatty. I don’t really know why I ever expected otherwise, given that my grandparents continue to be some of the most energetic people I know, despite their age. They give the truest meaning to the saying that “age is just a number”, and these gentlemen were no different.

I also had the view that they would be nostalgic for the Leeds which they had experienced, but I was totally off the mark here as well. They all have contributed towards the university for years, and were so eager to see the improvements and innovations, as well as having lengthy discussions with me about my BA course, my MA and what I thought of language teaching practices and standards (I held off ranting about the current state of education in Britain, you’ll be glad to know).

In short, I had a fascinating time, feel like I know much more about my department now, and I hope I can be here in 2018 when they’d like to return and celebrate the centenary of the department. What a great idea!

Miley Cyrus

Why would you bother to write about Miley Cyrus, I hear you ask.

Well, there’s a very good reason. A while ago I wrote a post called Leeds, Cyprus and Other Things, and since I’ve been doing my blog overhaul I keep coming across it, as it’s near the top of my page of uncategorised posts. And I keep catching it out of the corner of my eye and wondering what ever possessed me to write a post on Miley Cyrus.

So you see, we’re in the same boat you and I, because I also have no idea why I’d bother to write about Miley Cyrus. Her shock-tactics in the last year do not shock me, because this is what celebrities do all the time. Does no-one remember Lindsey Lohan and her impressive freefall into the oblivion of “being famous”?

In other news, I am craving Msemen like nothing in the world after reading some more of my old posts. Moroccan food is the best food, and I want some NOW.

Look how beautiful and unhealthy the look…

Pumpkin Pie

One of the puddings I made last week for Halloween was pumpkin pie, and I made a lot of it. If you’re looking to use up fresh pumpkin after carving then pie is not the best way, because even one pumpkin-worth is a LOT of pumpkin. Here is how I did it:

1. Make pumpkin puree. I used a whole pan of pumpkin insides, cinnamon, nutmeg and granulated sugar. Boil it up into wonderfulness, for about 15 minutes.
Pumpkin puree ingredients
Once it has finished boiling, blend it up.
Pumpkin boiling

2. Next you’ll need some pastry. Shortcrust pastry is quite easy, so I made my own. I’d give you a recipe but I mostly guess (she said guiltily). It’s just flour, butter and water, so it’s hard to get it wrong.
Shortcrust Pastry

3. Once the pumpkin has cooled, you can make the pie filling. The recipe I use is this one, but obviously I swap out the tinned pumpkin puree for my own mix.
Pumpkin pie filling

4. The last step is simple. Get baking! I blind-bake my pastry for about 10 minutes on 180 degrees, then add the filling and leave for another 15 minutes, or until the centre is between bouncy and firm (and not sticky). Here is my finished product.

You’re welcome.

Creepy Treats

For our Halloween party I put together a little menu of creepy eats. I made most things, but Boyfriend had a large hand in the grand finale. I did my best to make the food as creepy as possible (mozzarella in the shape of the spiderweb on the pizza, for example).

The menu was as follows:
Spiderweb pizza (veggie and meaty)
Goats cheese and caramelised onion tart
Goopy guacamole (and tortilla chips)
Poisonous Pesto Pasta

Halloween food

and for dessert

Mini tangerine pumpkins
Pumpkin pie

AND (drum roll)

The wicked witch’s cottage from Hansel and Gretel

Haunted House

Complete with its own fondant pumpkin


In the evening

Today’s post is a little late because I decided to drive home tonight. I had a few different motivations.1) I feel like driving at night is less of a waste than driving in the day
2) I was missing Boyfriend
3) I wasn’t sleeping well at my parents’ house (I have no idea why)
4) There is a badass meteor shower which I thought was tonight, and I wanted to see it with Boyfriend.

But it turns out that the meteor shower (which is called the Perseids meteor shower if you were wanting something google-able) is actually going to be most impressive tomorrow night, not to mention it’s cloudy and raining, so instead I find myself in my living room at 11.30 pm staring at this:

Which is a Devil’s Food Cake, because I’m watching something called “Baking with Martha” or “Martha’s Baking Time” or “Learn to Bake with Martha” or something with Martha. You get the idea.
Did I mention I’m on a diet?
Despite the quest to lose a few of my less necessary pounds of padding, I can’t give up my one big vice, which is Good Food channel. I’m doing well at monitoring my calorie intake and I’ve (so far) been disciplined when it comes to amping up my workout routine, but in the evenings I still have a tendency to sink salivating into the sofa (you came for the alliteration, right?) and indulge in a hearty helping of Good Food. It’s heavenly.