Eat, Sarah, Eat

Exactly a week from today my plane takes off from the lovely city of Edinburgh and I will fly back across the pond to my awaiting family.  At breakfast this morning, my friend and I were reminiscing on how quickly the time in Scotland has flown by, and how grateful we have been for this wonderful experience.  Per usual, I started thinking about my travels based on my food adventures, so here is a list of the top things I ate while abroad.

Cheese and bread at IJ Mellis 

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Wine and cheese nights become a special dinner that my friends and I rallied behind.  We all would pitch in to create a beautiful spread.  Then would spend hours appreciating the food, wine, and good conversation.  We are having our last wine and cheese night today!

Tofu Teriyaki at Henderson’s Vegan Restaurant 

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Scotland might not have its fair share of health food, but I was able to find Henderson’s Restaurants in Edinburgh. Their fresh and nutritious food gave me a detox I needed a couple of times in the semester.

Danishes at Vedels Konditori 

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Honestly, I think the picture alone does this pastry justice.  If I could spend every breakfast eating this danish and latte I would.

Prince of Cambridge Scone at Gorgeous 

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There was nothing better than getting an afternoon tea and scone in between classes this semester.  Clotted cream was a game changer; a mix between butter and whipped cream to put on your scone alongside jam of course.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict at Patisserie Valerie

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Scotland’s smoked salmon demand is expected to drop very low after my departure.  I could not get enough of it! This was the best brunch meal I had.  Brioche bread topped with plenty of salmon, poached eggs, and ladled with hollandaise.

Biscoff (Cookie Butter) Tray Bake and Raspberry and Nutella Cake at Mimi’s Bakehouse 

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My sweet tooth was definitely satisfied abroad from all of the fabulous Scottish bakeries.  “Let them eat cake with a cup of tea” is my new mantra.

 

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Going Ham

This post is far overdue. In October, my study abroad program and I went up north to Inverness, Glen Coe, Loch Ness, etc. We stayed at the Inverness Youth Hostel, which provided us a quick breakfast each morning. Lunch was on our own during bus stops in between each of the attractions. We toured Dunrobin Castle, the battle site of Culloden, a whisky distillery and a sheep dog farm! Everyday we were greeted with even more beautiful Scottish scenery and I would definitely recommend making the trek.

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On one of our breaks, a few friends and I went to One Up Restaurant. I ordered the cheese and ham toastie.  My choice reminded me a lot of my little brother.  He LOVES ham, and especially likes it when my mum roasts it for Christmas or Easter.  The cheese was perfectly melted and the ham was better than your typical grocery store variety.  The sandwiches in Scotland have been a staple of mine, since people do not really eat salads for lunch… or anytime for that matter 🙂

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This is Dunrobin Castle which is situated directly on the coast.

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I took this picture on my way to Loch Ness.  It reminded me a lot of New England.

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And this is Glen Coe.  A few minutes before this picture I saw where Hagrid’s hut was filmed!

 

Sharing is Caring

Throughout my days at St Andrews, there are certain moments when I realise my contentedness.  It hits me when I am walking back from a Hillwalking (Hiking) Pub Night. Or when I am sitting in a cafe alone eating a scone and drinking tea.  Or especially, when I am sharing a meal with friends.

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Last Wednesday, a few friends and I had a wine and cheese night.  We got cheese and bread from a local store I J Mellis, and spent hours eating bread, cheese, butter, and drinking wine.  We had brie, blue, and cheddar cheeses.  And a bread with cheese and leeks, a cornbread of some type, and a sourdough.  The combination of everything was heavenly.

Two of the friends are German post grads that I met on a food tour of St Andrews.  The other two are also undergrad study abroad students.  We talked about the politics of both of our nations, the aura or tragedy surrounding the famous Kennedy’s, what parties look like in both countries, etc. etc.

Walking away from that night I realised how wonderful it is to be at an international university where I can learn about so many different spheres in the world.  Not only can I offer up my own perspective, but being able to see the similarities and differences among others,  then gives me a chance to reflect on my own.

These moments where I can share bread with people I never would have met back at home, are ones that I hold close to my heart, and are what shape my St Andrews experience.  I wanted to study abroad to grow, step outside of my comfort zone, and LEARN.  And what better way to do it then over bread and cheese? 🙂

Roxy’s Grilled Cheese

What started out as an esteemed food truck in 2011, now has several “brick and mortar” locations around the greater Boston area, including in Allston, just a few minutes from the Green B line.  Roxy’s does not just slap together American cheese between two slices of Wonder Bread, but takes it to the extreme, with delicious add ins, such as avocado, fig spread, and caramelized onions.

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Walking in, you are greeted with solid wooden tables and metal chairs, creating a tough guy feel, but the amazing sandwiches will surely make your heart melt.  I ordered the Allston which had herbed goat cheese, fig jam, caramelized onions, and arugula.  Biting into the sandwich instantly sent the cheese oozing outwards and fig jam started running down my fingers. FYI make sure you have many napkins within reach before digging in! The tangy goat cheese was a perfect compliment to the very sweet fig jam that almost tasted like a glaze. The bread was buttered and perfectly toasted, providing a nice texture element to the otherwise soft interior.  My lovely companion ordered a side of hand cut truffle fries which were very addictive, as she let me share.  Roxy’s also offers poutine, which is french fries topped with gravy and cheese curds, and I have to try that next time!  Roxy’s is located next door to two of my other favorite hang outs… Whole Hearted Provisions and FoMu.

Prosciutto Caprese Sandwich

I got the idea for this sandwich from my go to order at Cafe Rustica in Somerville.  Fresh bread topped with pesto and sliced tomatoes and mozzarella.  Simple but good ingredients make it a treat whenever I order it.  This version has an addition of prosciutto de parma, which melts in your mouth and adds another salty element.  Wicked easy to make you will be stunned by how delicious it is!

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Prosciutto Caprese Sandwich

Sliced focaccia

Pesto

Thinly sliced prosciutto de parma

sliced mozzarella

sliced tomatoes (sprinkle with salt and pepper)

Slather the bread on both sides with the pesto.  Layer with the prosciutto, mozzarella, and tomato.  Dig in!!

Creamy Grilled Corn

This side dish was inspired from traditional Mexican street corn, but I substituted many of the ingredients for what I had in my cupboard. A great accompaniment to burgers and dogs, it will be sure to grace the table at countless cookouts.  My sister claims it is her new favorite dish!  Grilling the corn is really easy, just brush it with olive oil and place on the outside sections of the grill until it is cooked through.

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Creamy Grilled Corn (serves 4-6 as a side)

4 ears of grilled corn

salt and pepper

olive oil

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

2.5 limes juiced

zest of one lime

red pepper chili flakes to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)

2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Remove the corn kernels with a sharp knife.

Pour olive oil in a pan on medium/ high heat.  Put corn in pan.  Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Cook until everything is heated and serve hot.

 

Balsamic Ravioli

This recipe is basically a spin-off from one of my favorite salads.  Spinach, feta, dried cranberries, walnuts, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.  I swapped out the spinach for asparagus and ravioli to make the meal a little more substantial.  I love how there are tart, sweet, salty, and savory elements in this pasta dish, and it takes less than thirty minutes to cook!

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Balsamic Ravioli (serves 1)

Cheese ravioli (cooked per instructions on the package)

Asparagus, rough ends removed, and cut into one inch pieces

Butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Feta cheese to crumble on top

Dried cranberries

Chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

Heat the butter in a skillet at medium heat.  Add the asparagus and salt and pepper.  When the asparagus is cooked through add the balsamic and olive oil.  Turn the heat on high and cook for a few more minutes, stir the sauce so the vinegar does not burn.  Add the ravioli, cheese, walnuts, and cranberries, and cook until the ravioli is warmed through.  Then plate and dig in!

Baked Broccoli and Pasta

This is a “healthier” alternative to straight up mac and cheese because there is an addition of broccoli!  You can serve this as the main course, or as a side as well.  It is great to make on a busy night because it only takes around an hour to prepare.  It is my mom’s recipe and starts off by making a roux based cheese sauce.  Then you toss pasta, broccoli, and the sauce together and finish it in the oven.  It is pretty filling and perfect for a winter meal.

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Baked Broccoli and Pasta (8-10 servings as a side)

1 pound pasta

8 oz of grated cheese (I used Fontina this time, but have also used mixtures of cheddar, mozzarella,  etc.)

2-3 cups of steamed broccoli

5-6 tablespoons of salted butter

5-6 tablespoons of flour

1 cup milk, or cream if you are feeling especially indulgent (may need more if the cheese makes the sauce too thick)

1 cup of panko (or any other type of breadcrumbs)

1/2 stick melted salted butter

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Start boiling water in a pot to cook the pasta.  Cook according to the box’s instructions, but remove the pasta from the heat a couple minutes early (because you will finish baking it in the oven).

Place the panko and melted butter in a small bowl and mix until incorporated.

Heat the butter in a pan on the stovetop.  Slowly add spoonfuls of the flour and incorporate it into the butter before adding more.  Then slowly add the milk to this mixture.  It will be thick and should coat the back of a spoon.  Add in the cheese and mix until melted.

In a large baking/ casserole dish place the broccoli and drained pasta.  Pour the cheese sauce on top and mix everything together.  Sprinkle on the panko to cover the pasta.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

 

 

 

 

Cheese and Spinach Omelette with Home Fries

This meal could be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.  The omelette is quick to assemble and can be adapted to whatever fillings you have on hand.  The home fries take a little longer, but the wait is definitely worth it.  I could eat the home fries alone, but the omelette is a nice healthy addition.

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Cheese and Spinach Omelette (serves 1)

2 eggs lightly beaten

handful of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

1-2 oz. cheese (I used slices of Dubliner which is a sweet nutty Irish cheese)

butter to coat a pan

Heat the butter in a pan at high heat.  Pour in the eggs and turn down the heat to medium/ low.  Cook until the edges are set and the eggs look almost cooked through.  Using a thin knife or spatula pry the egg from the pan and flip over.  Be careful!  Reduce heat to low.  Add the spinach and cheese to one half of the egg circle.  Flip the other half of the egg on top.  Cover the pan and cook until the cheese is melted.  When plating I folded the omelette once more in half to make it look pretty.

Home Fries (serves 6)

6 yukon gold potatoes

olive oil to coat bottom of a large pan

1-2tablespoons butter

salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Place potatoes on a sheet tray.  Bake until a fork goes through easily, around 2 hours.  Let the potatoes cool.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the potatoes into small cubes.  Pour olive oil in bottom of pan at medium/ high heat.  Add butter.  Add the potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  While cooking the potatoes allow them to crisp up.  Then use a spatula to flip them, so they get crispy all over.  Keep repeating the process of waiting for the potatoes to get crispy, then flipping until they are golden brown.  The outside of the potatoes should have some crunchy bits, but the middle is still soft.  If the pan starts to get dry, add more olive oil and/ or butter.

Now, you can eat the potatoes just like this, OR you can take it one step further to get them extra delicious.

Place the cooked potatoes back on the sheet tray and cook in the oven for 30 minutes more.  I know this recipe looks like a lot of work, but if you bake your potatoes beforehand, the final 2 steps in the pan and oven only take an hour.

And these home fries are amazing so you will not be disappointed.  Serve them alongside eggs, waffles, pancakes, etc.  The options are endless.unnamed-2