The Foodie Scientist.


I’ve been absent, I get it. My hands are up in surrender. But I’m here now and shouldn’t that count? And as a little bit of an apology, this post is going to be inundated with yours and mine’s favourite, food.

I’ve loved cooking and baking and it goes without saying…experimenting. Mind you, this love affair only began once I realised that cooking wasn’t a chore and onerous task. The first mess up I made, I don’t even remember the dish, my mum simply said start again and don’t worry about the mess. That made me see that the kitchen was much more like my lab. You don’t give up after a single failed experiment, you change parameters, you optimise and you try again. You start off following protocols, but you adapt to make it work for you and your conditions. And that’s exactly like cooking, you start with a recipe and you adjust it to your taste and what you have available. Except please don’t taste your Ringer’s buffer and your SDS-PAGE gel!

I’m really not embellishing when I say ‘inundated’ with food…take a look for yourself! I won’t lie, I’ve found much easier to post my foodie exploits on my Instagram page (I know! Nazra has moved into the 21st Century with social media!) @q.nazra 🙂

 

Khaman Dhokla

Chicken Jalfrezi with rice

Butter chicken with naan

Steak and Chips from Toro’s steakhouse, Manchester

Quarter peri peri chicken from Toro’s steakhouse, Manchester

Refreshing mocktails from Toro’s steakhouse, Manchester

Halal full English breakfast from Millie’s tearoom, Hayfield

The Indian inspired Veggie breakfast from Millie’s tearoom (and B&B), Hayfield

Rose, Lemon and Pistachio drizzle cake

Oven roasted Salmon fillet with herb roasted potatoes and mint salsa verde!

Spinach pesto and chilli pasta

Salt and pepper chicken with veg noodles from Oodles chinese, Coventry (my fav takeout!)

Cake Box (can never say no to cake!)

Fruit scone from Rising cafe, Coventry

Smoked salmon and poached egg breakfast from Cosy club

Veggie breakfast from Cosy club

Garlic mushroom from The Farmhouse, Coventry

Passionfruit Daiquiri (mocktail of course!), The Farmhouse, Coventry

Steak! From The Farmhouse, Coventry

Indian fish and chips from The Farmhouse, Coventry

Cardamom panna cotta with a strawberry coulis

Chana daal with gourd (dudhi/kaddu)

Palak paneer, made with tandoori spiced paneer! It’s soo good!

Brownies! Recipe inspired by Roojie The Foodie #RTF

Curried cauliflower

Lasagna

Veggie Hot Pizza from Pizza Hut

Rava idli with sambhaar!

Oodles chinese! Kung pao and crispy chicken

Egg fried rice

BBC Good Food recipe – nutty chocolate bread!

Chicken and green bean curry

Chicken 65 – recipe from Fauzia’s Kitchen Fun (FKF)

Mixed veggie curry (aubergine, potato and pigeon peas)

Creme caramel

Cheesy pasta

My famous ‘Flaounas’

Achaari chicken!

Semolina pudding (sooji)

Chicken khao suey

Veggie pasta

Fudgy Oreo brownie cake

Las Iguanas dessert

Mac n cheese @ Las Iguanas

Masoor gosht with rice (brown lentil and lamb curry)

Fish curry – Sea bass

Egg and kebab curry

Creamy Philadelphia tagliatelle

 

Food Glorious Food


Well as promised, this one is all about the food stuff.

It’s an eclectic mix and I finally managed to kick some things off my bucket list (wahay!). Hmm, there’s a lot more than I expected, but can you blame a lover of food?

 

It’s been a while since I was last at Warwick…in fact just over a year! And boy did I miss it. Just look at those trees!!

The stage set up for Othello after the intermission…although the lights were blinding, the actors were superb and the performance was incredible! I fail to be disappointed at the Warwick Arts Centre.

Spanish Cod although lacking any real flavour…kind of a fail.

Vegetarian Moussaka, my first ever and I was definitely not disappointed! It was just what the coldish weather needed!

I’ve been wanting to go to Xanana ever since I was an undergrad and finally 6 years after graduating (yikes!) I finally made it happen! Will definitely be going back.

This was a new find at Creams (although I’m sure it has always existed) – The Choco Crunch. It was absolutely yum, just a shame about the very tepid custard, could’ve done with a decent warming through. Would’ve asked for another but wasn’t keen on waiting.

Take 2 of my chocolate cake (Ultimate chocolate cake recipe from Tasty…sans alcohol and potentially many other ingredients!) and it was even better than last time, when a recipe says to divide your mix into several tins, just do it!

This was courtesy of the amazing coupons that Tesco have in their monthly magazine (which I always picked up but never bothered to use), and it wasn’t until the craziness surrounding these particular coupons that I realised how incredible it was to get Vegan Magnum for just £1!!! And the taste was yum!

I paid £5 for mango pulp on ice…I’m still ”face-palming” myself. Not worth it at all (Jamjar). In my defence I’d spent my morning at an interview in Aston and then had a rich breakfast (to follow) and needed something sharp…which was not delivered by the mango cooler. Sweet and sickly.

PJ’s breakfast looked and from what I heard…tasted much better than mine (below).

Should’ve stuck with the regular vegetarian option instead of the Huevos Rancheros…neither PJ nor I even like avocado and for some reason there was an acrid taste to the dish as a whole. The eggs were amazing though…but that’s difficult to mess up? Tried Giraffe at Grand Central to appease my obsession with using my student discount. Would probably try something else next time.

Cutesy. Giraffe, Grand Central, Birmingham.

Giraffe, Grand Central, Birmingham.

My ‘You passed your Viva’ cupcakes courtesy of SS! Perfect is the only word that could describe those!!

Sea bass at Zizzi. Apparently made very well (in contrast to the poor Spanish Cod). Would’ve made me happier if I’d remembered to use my student discount *face-palm*.

My treat at Zizzi for the gang after kicking butt at my viva! Humility has been tossed aside for tonight.

The mozzarella was incredible, but the dish as a whole (Spaghetti pomodoro) lacked a depth of flavour which wasn’t satisfied even with the addition of chilli oil. Would I go back to Zizzi? Quite possible, but only if I have the advantage of using my student discount, otherwise it’s far too expensive for what is on offer.

Costa, a firm favourite as always, I can’t quite remember exactly what this is…but I recall something about a brioche, orange – cinnamon bun hybrid?

Did anyone else obsess about the Bonfire Spice hot chocolate? No? Just me then? Well, that’s even better because now no one else is allowed to have it and…neither can I (I asked for it recently and they looked at me confused).

This is a very decent breakfast, lunch, dinner option for when you just can’t decide if you want to follow mealtime ‘rules’. I’d happily eat that again with some black pepper, yum!

This was supposed to be a Chocolate volcano cake…but I didn’t see any eruptions. At least this time Creams managed to give me hot custard!

Coffee at Basement Browns, not what you would immediately associate with them, but actually quite nice.

The vegetarian breakfast sandwich (vegetarian sausage alternative) at Basement Browns. I liked the bread…does that count?

Chips at Basement Browns. I love chips. End of statement and end of post.

 

Good night, I’m only mildly hungry now(!)

Keep going, keep going, keep going.


Almost four weeks into the job and I still can’t believe that after almost 9 years of higher education, I’m finally in a full time, paid job. It’s a little victory for the person who’s desperately wanted to get her foot on the employment ladder…even though it has meant still not having submitted my PhD thesis. I suppose it’s a small consolation knowing that my thesis has been written up and from my end…it’s all done. Dusted. Written up. Cut a billion words (well, it certainly felt like it). Polished up an abstract. Wrote a list. Wrote another list. I think you’re getting the gist. But in case it’s not clear, let me explain…I was so bored yesterday that I decided to read through my thesis. That’s right, I skipped YouTube videos and Buzzfeed Tasty and went to my thesis of all things. And that followed the response of ‘You need more friends’ by a colleague. Whilst that may be true to a certain extent (*shakes head profusely*…and cue headache), actually, I just want to make sure that when I get that go ahead, that my thesis can literally be sent ahead without a second thought.

I feel like things are the ‘calm before the storm’ right now…I know that things are only just starting, with work and with the PhD. Because even though the research phase and the write up phase is done, the defence is the final and most important stage. And difficult too, let’s not forget that. Oh well, I’m getting bored just writing this and…now I understand what it must look like to see someone proofread their thesis, out of boredom.

So, as promised, here is the little hamper/basket of goodness I made for a cousin. I love putting things together. I suppose it’s the last part of my creativity left. I used to paint, sketch, design, sew and make things that were innovative and pretty to look at. Don’t get me wrong, I love science and the problem solving and analytical thought process behind it all (even though it’s incredibly frustrating about 90% of the time), but I genuinely miss the creativity. Especially with writing. I started writing a novel around 10 years ago…and although I only have 3 chapters left to finish, it simply hasn’t happened. Not just because the creativity has slowly seeped out of my ears, but also because life got in the way.

Okay…what is with this tone? Let’s be cheery and look at photos! Yeay (!) Let’s face it, food is happiness (facepalm). So let’s eat, sleep and be merry.

 

Two levels on a lift, one giant leap of faith.


I feel like it’s been forever since I last posted, and in the blogosphere…it most certainly is long! But, I have cake…or rather I HAD cake.

Here you go.

 

Kake temptations is based in Leicester and I’ve been drooling and dreaming of cakes for months now! Especially since I spend almost everyday stalking their Instagram page (despite not having Instagram!). And whilst I was VERY excited, I must say that I wasn’t completely disappointed. I really, really enjoyed the red velvet cheesecake (that gets a huge 4.5/5) and I really liked the texture of the Victoria sponge (4/5). My mum and I agreed that we liked both, but siblings were a little less keen with the sponge (found it too sweet and not tart enough?). But the red velvet cheesecake was a winner by far! PJ also agreed with the siblings…but on re-tasting (after a nudge!) the sponge was good! Wahay! A potential contender for a big cake!

*drum roll* I’ve also gotten a job! Yeay! Everything happened so quickly that it’s been difficult to keep on top. It’s a research position and clinical-ish! So a huge step forward for me! AND…(gosh lots of huge breaking news!) I’ve finished my thesis write up completely! And now just awaiting feedback, fingers crossed!

Wedding season has hit and the first of the season is this weekend (follow up for the little bridal basket I made!) and that means lots of shopping (for reasons that only the crazy female brain can comprehend). It seems as if everything is on track….Oh!!! And I’m going back to Saudi!! Wahay! IA for the last few days of Ramadhan! 2018, you have been very kind, hope you remain kind!!

 

Peace Out! NQ (eventually to be Mrs NQ, eek!)