A Weekend in Glasgow

Scotland is such an interesting country, but I’ve only really spent any time in Edinburgh and St Andrews so when I had an oppportunity to visit Glasgow, I took it! Glasgow is a really great city with some really beautiful architecture and an interesting history. I travelled there at the start of December for a research trip at the University, but I made sure that I had time to explore the area and do some sightseeing.

glasgow university statue lisabeth westwood

Day One

I live in Leeds, so it was only a four hour train journey to Glasgow. I packed lots of books and snacks to keep myself amused and fed along the way. I arrived in Glasgow in the late-afternoon so I headed straight to my B&B. The Argyll Guest House is in the west end of Glasgow, only about a 15 minute walk from the university. It is the more affordable sister to the Argyll Hotel.  My room only cost £60 for two nights, including breakfast!

argyll guest house glasgow Lisabeth Westwood

The room was small, but it had a brand new ensuite (with bath! I made good use of that). I had only booked a single room and was happy to find that the room had a double bed, which was super comfy.

After checking in, I did a little work in my room before heading out to dinner at Number 16. This was a really cute restaurant (it is quite small so I’d advise booking in advance) with such friendly staff. They were only running a Christmas menu so I got a 3 course dinner for £32.

Lisabeth Westwood number 16 glasgow

To start, I had chicken liver parfait with savoury granola and cranberries. I decided to go traditional for my main course and ordered the turkey with all the trimmings – it was so good though, even the sprouts were delicious! I was already pretty full when the time came to order dessert, but I decided to go with the chocolate and brown butter ganache. It was beautiful and very rich so I felt like a lie down afterwards, but it was totally worth it.

Day Two

After having a big breakfast at my hotel (it was a standard continental with cooked options, nothing to write home about but still nice and filling), I headed to the university. It was a lovely, crisp morning. I was all wrapped up in a coat, scarf, and gloves and everything looked so pretty all covered in frost. The sun was just rising and was casting a beautiful light on the buildings (#nofilter).

Lisabeth Westwood glasgowglasgow university frost lisabeth westwood

I walked through a really pretty little park and over a bridge to get to Glasgow University. It was so quiet, just a few dog walkers and parents taking their children to school. It was such a lovely way to start the day.Lisabeth Westwood frost glasgowLisabeth Westwood university glasgow statue

I spent the entire day in the library so I don’t have much to report. For dinner, I really wanted to try Ox and Finch, a restaurant that had an amazing menu of tapas (with a Scottish edge). They were fully booked (again, book way in advance) but they keep one table free for walk-ins. It was beautifully decorated with an open kitchen so you could see the chefs at work. A perfect place for a date! Lisabeth Westwood ox and finch glasgow

I had mozzerella, parma ham, with pear followed by butternut squash and merguez haggis, roasted carrots. I finished off with an amazing praline crémeux with ginger icecream that tasted just like a ferrero rocher! The best dinner I’d had for a very long time.

Day Three

I had finished all my work early, so I decided to spend the rest of my time in Glasgow doing some more touristy/cultural stuff. I started off by walking to Great Western Road, which has lots of cafés and cute shops. I stopped at this book shop and spent half an hour brousing the shelves. I came out with a couple of great second hand books for the train journey home.

caledonia books Lisabeth Westwood glasgowLisabeth Westwood glasgow caledonia booksLisabeth Westwood caledonia books glasgow

I was in need of some caffeine so I stopped by a vegetarian place, the V&V café. I had my first (and probably last) matcha latte, it just tasted too much like grass for my liking.

Lisabeth Westwood matcha latte

I then finished off my trip with a few museum visits. First, I headed to the Hunterian museum on the University campus. It is housed in a really beautiful building, and had such a diverse collection – something for everyone! It had roman ruins, dinosaur and animal skeletons, and a really fascinating medical collection. I even saw a vial of Joseph Lister’s urine (gross, but kinda cool for those that did the History of Medicine GCSE module!).Lisabeth Westwood Hunter museumLisabeth Westwood Hunter museum

Last on my list was the Kelvingrove art gallery and museum. Like the Hunterian, this imposing building has wide range of items, but the art galleries are not to be missed. They have interesting impressionist collections, but my favourite was the selection of works by the Scottish colourists. Definitely worth a visit, and it is free!Lisabeth Westwood Kelvingrove museum glasgow

Once I had done a tour of the Kelvingrove, it was time to head back to Leeds. It was such a great mini-trip. I wish I had more time to explore the city centre more, I was definitely focussed on the west end of Glasgow. I hope to make another visit soon, perhaps on the way to the Highlands!

If anyone has any other recommendations, please let me know!

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My Lazy Saturday and the Three Best Cafés

I like nothing better than spending a lazy Saturday drinking coffee and eating delicious food at coffee shops.

I’m lucky that there are some lovely independent cafés in my local area. Love Rouge Bakery, The Bowery, and Whites are all on the same street and all serve great food and great coffee in a relaxed environment.

Love Rouge Bakery @LoveRougeBakery

51 Otley Rd, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3AB

Lisabeth Westwood Love Rouge cafeAs the name suggests this café bakes wonderful cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and more for your delight. They also make cakes and cupcakes to order for special occasions. I go there a lot for the cake: there are a HUGE range of cupcake flavours and always a layered cake or two. But today I headed there for breakfast and it was oh so good.

I have a sweet tooth (their maple syrup and bacon pancakes are delish) but today I went for savoury waffles, poached eggs, veggie sausage, and a little dressed salad. fullsizerenderI love to go there on a weekday afternoon and settle down in one of their comfy leather sofas with a book, slice of cake, and a flat white. It has a really chilled vibe and the staff are lovely. Their hot chocolates are great to take-away on a cold, winter morning.Lisabeth Westwood love rouge cupcake

The Bowery, @theboweryarts

54 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2AL

Lisabeth Westwood Bowery cafeThis is such a gem. It houses a gallery, shop, and a coffee shop that does lovely lunches. They even run short courses and workshops on creative writing, sewing, and drawing, amongst others.

It is a quiet and relaxed café with the best coffee in Headingley and some amazing sandwiches. The manchego and chorizo focaccia sandwich is to die for – I wish I had a photo but I always eat it as soon as it arrives.Lisabeth Westwood bowery cafeI love to buy the Sunday paper and spend a long afternoon reading and drinking so much coffee. Their range of cakes isn’t that extensive so if you want a sweet treat, then I’d recommend the Bakery instead.

Whites, @whitescafebar

9 Otley Rd, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2UJ

Lisabeth Westwood whitesThis coffee shop/restaurant/bar is cool and is always full with such a diverse clientele. They host regular events and gigs in the evenings but their lunches are a great shout.

Their Eggs Benedict is delicious with the perfect poached eggs and their coffee is pretty decent too! I like to come here after work for a beer or a glass of wine to relax after a long day surrounded by lots of people meeting up with friends…or going on dates (they are always fun to watch!).

I’m slowly making my way through all the cafés in Leeds. Let me know if you have any amazing coffee shop recommendations for me to visit!

Recipe: Mars Bar Cookies

I love cookies so much. Baking them, eating raw cookie dough, and (when I can restrain myself) the baked cookies! There are so many ways of customising cookies and I really like these because they have chunks of Mars Bar in them! I make these all the time – probably far too often – and I thought I would share them all with you. They are really easy to make and are perfect for afternoon snacks or an evening treat. Let me know how yours’ turn out!

Ingredients

Lisabeth Westwood cookies

  • 1 egg
  • 1 Mars Bar
  • 150g self raising flour (sifted)
  • 75g soft butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g soft brown sugar
  • 25g cocoa powder

Makes about 12-15 cookies.

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celcius (fan)
  2. Cream the butter and the sugars together with a wooden spoon or an electric hand whisk until light and fluffy.

3. Once smooth, add the egg and mix together.

4. Add the flour and the cocoa powder then stir until combined fully.

5. Chop the Mars Bar length-ways and then into small sections

6. Mix to combine and then put it to cool in the fridge for 10 minutes.

7. Either line an oven tray with greaseproof paper or use a tray like in the photos.

8. Use a spoon to create equal sized balls of dough.Lisabeth Westwood cookies

9. Put in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes

10. Cool and eat!!!

 

I hope you enjoy these food posts. Check out my chilli con carne recipe: it is SO good!

Recipe: Chilli Con Carne

Chilli is my favourite home-cooked meal: it was one of the first things I learnt to cook when I went to university and I made it almost every week! My and my old housemates would make a big pot with some rice and garlic bread (with wine of course): they were some of the best evenings for me. What is better than eating good food with good company.

Chilli is everything you want in a food: it is spicy, comforting, and delicious. What’s even better is that it goes with rice, pasta, baked potatoes – pretty much anything really so it is a really versatile dish. It is perfect for lunchboxes, autumn evenings, dining alfresco on a summer’s night.

If you were to come to my house for dinner the chances are that I’d be whipping up a batch of chilli. I mostly make vegan chillis but I thought I’d share my recipe for the meaty version.

Ingredients

chilli ingredients face on

  •  500g beef mince
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 red pepper
  • Half a carrot
  • 400g can of kidney beans
  • 500g carton of passata
  • 1 tsp each of cumin, chilli flakes, cinnamon
  • Optional: chocolate, tomato purée, beef stock cube

Serves

This makes a HUGE panful so this will last me for about 5 servings but it depends on your portion size.

Method

  1. Chop all the vegetables. I chop the onions finely and the rest roughly diced.
  2. Heat the oil in the pan and add the onion. Sauté for about 6 mins, stirring frequently until lightly browned.
  3. Then add the spices and garlic with 3 tablespoons of cold water. Stir well.chilli spices

Note: I like spicy food so you might want to change the quantity of the chilli flakes according to your preference.

4. Cook for several minutes until the spices are cooked through. Then add the vegetables and stir well to mix and cover all the veg with the spices.

chilli veg

5. Cook the vegetables for about 10 minutes then add the mince. Lightly brown the mince.

6. Add the passata. Then fill the carton with cold water and add this to the pan. Stir well. If you are adding any of the optional ingredients, do so now. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Turn the hob down to a simmer and leave for 15 minutes.

chilli no kidneys

8. Drain and rinse the kidney beans; add them to the pan and stir well.

chilli kidneys

9. Leave for as long as you can on a low simmer. Stirring every so often to ensure the chilli does not stick to the pan.

10. Serve with whatever carbs and accoutrements you like (sour cream, grated cheese etc.)

chilli finished

 

I hope you all like this recipe and I’m going to go tuck in a big bowl right now!

Check out my post about my favourite food blogs!

 

My Favourite Food Blogs

I think we can all agree that food is awesome.

I love cooking (particularly baking), eating out, and I’d snack all day if I could. However, my love of cheese and my very sweet tooth means that my cravings tend to be less on the healthy side. So, I started looking at food blogs for inspiration for new meals and ways to make the things I love a little bit better for me.

Oh She Glows

from oh she glows
Photo from Oh She Glows

This has got to be my favourite. The recipes tend to be vegan which is great for me as my sister is vegan and I like to make new things for her when she visits. Her recipe for vegan chilli is delicious and is a firm favourite of mine although I haven’t tried the cashew sour cream. Her recipes are easy to follow and don’t have too many ingredients (I’m skint so the fewer the better!). There is an app too!

Minimalist Baker

from minimalist baker.jpg
Photo from Minimalist Baker

As with Oh She Glows, the Minimalist Baker writes recipes that require 10 ingredients or less or take less than half an hour to make. That is a win/win combination for me as, although I love cooking, I don’t want to spend all evening in the kitchen. However, because the recipes tend to be for vegan baking they can often include items that aren’t very easy for me to find in my (tiny) local supermarket or they can be out of my price range (the PhD budget is pretty tight) but they are great for inspiration.

A Couple Cooks

From a couple cooks.jpg
Photo from A Couple Cooks

This blog is run by a husband and wife team and provides the biggest range of recipes of the three blogs I’m discussing. The recipes are mostly plant based and cover lots of different cuisines. The photography is beautiful and the website is easy to navigate. They also include snippets of personal life with stories and background to recipes and I really like learning about their lives as well as the food they make.

A Beautiful Mess

abeautifulmess
Photo from Oh She Glows

ABM is a lifestyle blog so recipes don’t come around as often as with dedicated food blogs but when they do they are great! They do quite a lot of drink (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) recipes and lots of food that would be suitable for parties or entertaining. I also like the seasonal recipes they bring out around Christmas and Easter. ABM is one of my fave lifestyle blogs so I’d definitely recommend that you check them out.

 Who are your favourite food bloggers?