It’s Getting Toastie in Here

In Scotland, you will see the word “toastie” as an option for your sandwich.  What this means is that it will be toasted, or griddled like a grilled cheese.  At St Andrews Brewing Company, I ordered their cheese toastie alongside a mug of their tomato basil soup, and it felt like a taste from home.  The soup was really thick and creamy, and the grilled cheese reminded me of my mum, who would make that for the four of us kids growing up.  Dipping the toastie in the soup was definitely the way to go.img_5769

I really liked the vibes of the Brewing Company.  Their menu is stacked with stick to your rib favourites like mac and cheese, burgers, and nachos.  The bar is the central focus of the restaurant where you can order their homemade beer.  The dark wood and slightly narrow layout makes it feel really cozy and intimate, especially as more people saunter in throughout the night.

Definitely give it a go! And check out their merchandise and beer bottles as well.  Their logo is a really cool design.

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Soup bro?

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I have never been able to complete work in a completely silent environment.  At home I will play music as I study, and I need some sort of background sound.  When it is deathly silent, I hear a pin drop and become distracted.

At the Union, St Andrews’ student centre, there is Rector’s Cafe, my favourite place to do homework.  Rector’s plays pop and oldies music, and is open in the early morning when I bike into town.

Every Monday I have lunch at Rector’s with one of my friends, and either bring a sandwich from home, or order their soup of the day.

It is a great hang out spot because it has wifi, outlets for laptops, and huge windows which let a lot of natural sunlight in.

They also have a fine selection of sandwiches, snacks, tea, and pastries.  If you are a student and frequently buy hot drinks, ask for a stamp card.  They will stamp it every time you order a hot drink from Rector’s or the Old Union Coffee Shop, until you receive a free hot drink (around the 8th buy).

DRA Dining

Since arriving to Scotland, I have found myself eating a lot of fried, heavy food, and drinking a lot of delicious gin… BUT I am hoping my diet takes a more healthy route since I have finally arrived at St Andrews.  Today was the first day I tested out my meal plan, since I have a catered residence.  I get two meals a day.  Breakfast consists of a variety of hot and cold options.  I went with the traditional Scottish “parritch” or porridge, and some fruit and coffee.  The oatmeal was pretty good and the ability to get eggs reassures me I will not have an issue finding something I like.IMG_5431.JPG

Lunch had a lot of hot meals, like mac and cheese, a type of meat, roasted veggies and potatoes, and a salad bar.  I opted for the tomato basil soup and vegetables, and the soup was VERY good.  Before arriving I had heard the soup and stew would be good in Scotland, and that claim is true.  Probably because it gets so cold here people need something to warm them up!

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Today I also wandered down to the East Sands Beach (there is also a West Sands Beach) with a few friends.  It was BEAUTIFUL!!! It really reminded me of the beautiful beaches in Maine I go to back at home.  And the stretch of it is very vast.  It looks like the beach recedes into the distance!

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Only a couple days in and I really am beginning to fall in love with Scotland itself.  I’ll have moments throughout the day where the beauty of the landscape really hits me, and it causes me to pause and soak it all in.  We will see if that happens when the rain and cold start to kick in 🙂

Gazpacho Andaluz

While in Spain, I fell in love with gazpacho, which is a cold vegetable soup that originated in southern Spain.  My favorite gazpacho was prepared at the Restaurante Botin, and I found a recipe supposedly mimicking the dish online.  I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it, it transported me right back to Madrid!  It is a perfect summertime dish and I think next time I will top it with grilled shrimp.

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Gazpacho Andaluz (four large servings)

6 slices of bread, diced

3 tomatoes, VERY ripe

1 cucumber, chopped

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 quart water

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

4 ice cubes

Garnish: chopped egg, drizzled olive oil, extra chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, croutons

In a large bowl combine the diced bread, tomatoes, cucumber, olive oil, and water. Let it soak in the refrigerator for an hour.

After the hour puree the mixture in the blender in batches and pour into large bowl.  The original recipe called for you to put this mixture through a sieve, but I did not have one and it still turned out great.

Add the garlic, wine vinegar, salt, cumin, and ice.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

When plating pour the soup in a bowl and top with cubed vegetables, egg, etc.  Drizzle over a little olive oil on top.

 

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Microwave Tomato Soup

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This is literally the easiest tomato soup on earth. Only six ingredients, and it’s all cooked in the microwave. Great for a quick meal!

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 Ingredients

2 pounds of tomatoes

2 onions

1 garlic clove

1 tbsp of sugar

2 tbsp of olive oil

a pinch of salt

Directions

Chop the tomatoes,  onions, and garlic into large chunks.

Put all the ingredients in a large dish. Cover the dish and put it into the microwave for 20 minutes on high.

Put the cooked ingredients into a food processor. Process the ingredients until smooth.

Add salt if necessary.

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