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

 

Twin Shadows. The beginning.


It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally all real and all settled in. No, I’m not yet in the research job of my dreams, but Dr NQ has just added to her life, my very own live in bestie. Also known as a ‘husband’. That’s right! Nazra got married! Wahay! Almost encroaching a month now and things have settled despite families to please, setting up the house and of course working in between.

I would describe the events in detail…but they truly are 4 days of just blurs. Great blurs. I actually enjoyed everything, which is almost like saying that Pluto IS a planet. It was amazing fun and having my friends share the experience with me was the most I could ever ask for, everyone was happy (which for a wedding…is incredibly rare!), the food was great and I got to do the important things my way. Make up free for my entire wedding. Wearing white. No henna and no jewellery. Just the way I like it. We planned a million things, I had bought so many extras…and none of that manifested, but what happened was spontaneous and so much better. I loved my wedding day. An incredibly strange feeling for a non-girly ‘girl’ (I feel like being in my twenties means I can still get away with ‘girl’) who has never enjoyed weddings, not even the thought of them. I surprise myself far often than not. I surprise myself with the strength and belief I have in myself, with how much I have been through, all the heartache and tears…but they all made me the stronger person that can proudly be assertive, authoritative and all the way remain realistic and grounded.

But enough about me, let’s talk about the important stuff! Food! The last 3.5 weeks has been cooking, eating out, exploring and getting used to the idea of my own home. Awesomeness.

Here’s some of the food I’ve devoured. More to come. Yuminess infinitely…well, at least according to the husband.

Lasagna – first ever meal!

Set mung daal prep (my sister’s fav)

Dry fish curry – Seabass

Chicken stir fried egg noodles

Twin shadows – The beginning of forever

BBQ day with the in-laws

Deadly fruit salad (kiwi!) and mocktail!

Chicken Karahi!

Label maker obsession

Masoor lentils

Lamb curry with potatoes

Breakfast with homemade wedges

Cauliflower, cabbage and pigeon pea curry

Tonight’s dinner…Butter chicken.

 

The next post hopefully won’t take as long to come up! Expect some reviews on food and hopefully more food pics, just in time before the best month ever descends…Ramadhan! Can’t wait!

 

Dr/Mrs NQ out.

You say snow, I say samosa!


Well, we all know what has dominated the headline in the past week…’The Beast from the East’, which has a slightly funny connotation in my own mind, aside from the sand like snowstorms. So what does that mean for Britain? Well, mainly panic, and of course from my own perspective, being afraid to walk outside after experiencing a comedic fall a few months ago. I now look at the snow, see ice and then immediate associate it with falling down and not only bruising my ‘ego’ but also the limb which is landed on. So what do I do to distract myself from writing my thesis when I have no other option but to stay indoors? I make samosas…from scratch. That’s right, procrastination again! I sometimes think I should change my PhD to ‘Doctorate of Procrastination’.

So here you are, some people look at snow and think ‘let me get cosy’, I say ‘let me freeze in the kitchen and make samosas’. Absolutely. Worth it. Which of course is naturally vegan!

 

It only makes sense to also have some images of the snow, after all we all did panic quite a bit, but lucky for us, it all disappeared on Sunday with A LOT of rain! That certainly put me at ease, no ice for me to slip on, but the again I’ve been known to slip on air (facepalm). But the disappearance of the ‘Beast’ has another important reason, which I will indulge in another post. So for now, look at the snow!

 

What time is it? It’s Vegan time!


Yummy vegan and vegetarian food!

The ‘Wicked Kitchen’ range of exclusively vegan food is actually Wicked; from what I’ve managed to try, they’ve managed to get a lot of flavour into their products, which is something I often find lacking in most packaged foods, especially catered for vegetarians/vegans. My favourite has to be the sourdough caponata pizza with mint salsa verde (tasted amazing!).

So as the title may hint, I’ve been experimenting with a changeup of my dietary habit, just because! I’ve always liked vegetarian/vegan food, but it’s always been very Indian, and as I’ve mentioned before a lot of Gujarati food is vegetarian, in fact on closer inspection it’s actually vegan. So I figured why not!

It started off quite easy and for the first two weeks (the last two of Veganuary) it was great, I was very strict with what I would eat and I actually found myself more focussed and more energetic, probably because I wasn’t binge eating as much nor was I indulging. I actually really enjoyed the vegan food I cooked at home, and sometimes it would end up being vegetarian if I couldn’t escape certain ingredients, but nonetheless, I really enjoyed cooking and eating freshly made food at home! I even managed to re-write my results chapters for my thesis and write the majority of my conclusion too.

But the great start was not to last, a few cravings later and I found myself seriously wanting a different texture and taste, notably chocolate. And of course, since JamJar recently opened in Coventry, it was a no brainer. The mix chocolate cookie dough was divine! Very indulgent but perfectly sweet, not too much and not too little and the hazelnut gelato was a much preferred accompaniment to the hot cookie dough over vanilla ice cream served elsewhere. If I had more of a sweet tooth I would be going back regularly! But luckily I’m not overly hyped on dining out! Save the pennies AND the pounds! A necessity for a student.

So whilst it lasted it was certainly interesting, I lasted a lot longer than I had initially given myself credit for and I think I’m certainly going to change my dietary habits, mostly cutting back on the binge eating and trying to consciously include freshly cooked vegetables into my everyday eating pattern. And although ‘Wicked Kitchen’ is incredibly pricey, I will certainly be looking out for offers and marked down prices, because the food is good and the tub is reusable! Perfect!

 

PS. Food listed from left to right, top row: Mustard seed potatoes (Gujarati – rai vara bataka), Chana masala, Delhi dal makhni (ready to eat range from Ashoka). Bottom row: Gluten free mac and cheese with spicy mushrooms, Spiced brussel sprouts and sugar snap peas, Mushroom curry.