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Infamous Ice: Buckfast Ice cream @ Bloc+ Glasgow

Posted on 12/02/2017 by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Eat Out
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When those who do not live in Scotland think of this great country they think of Kilts, ginger hair, haggis, and Mel Gibson with a questionable Scottish accent shouting “FREEDOM” from a field in Ireland somewhere. When the true Scots think of our country one of the first things that comes to mind is the famous – or perhaps more infamous – Buckfast Tonic Wine. This week I took to Facebook to ask my friends for recommendations of some slightly less mainstream places to eat in Glasgow that are still friendly to the student pocket. And they definitely delivered.. Bloc+ is an independent live music bar, music label, and restaurant located at 117 Bath Street in Glasgow city centre.  The venue boasts an underground punk theme which perfectly suits its location – literally underground. The only sign of the restaurants existence is a large flashing neon plus sign that can be seen from down the street. The menu is full of delicious and alternative takes on classic meals that cater to all nutritional needs. But the main attraction of their menu is their now-famous Buckfast flavoured Ice Cream. For those of you who have had the pleasure of tasting this cultural drink you will know that it tastes very similar to bile. However this gem of the Glasgow restaurant scene has found a way of turning this wine into an ice cream dessert – and it tastes rather good.

ice creee

Bloc+ Menu – “Glasgow’s notorious street drink, transformed into the best ASBO ice cream you’ll ever have, topped with finger licking windae smashin, Buckfast syrup.”

The ice cream still has the traditional taste of Buckfast but with the bitterness replaced with the sweetness of the syrup and creaminess of the ice cream, making for a very tasty and surprising dessert. Bloc+ gained much notoriety when a VICE video called ‘Getting Buzzed off Buckfast: MUNCHIES Guide to Scotland’ featured the restaurant and its famous dessert in its first episode. So when I took to Facebook I had many responses telling me that I had to try this place out. I certainly was not disappointed. The place was packed. With awesome punk décor, great music, fabulous food, and friendly staff I would recommend for anyone looking for a great meal and night out in Glasgow.

WARNING: Video contains strong language.

The bar of Bloc+

The bar of Bloc+

burger

Classic Burger. Photo courtesy of Bloc+.

Peanut Bomb - "Melted Reeses peanut butter cupcakes, layered with home-made salted caramel, vanilla mascarpone and broken sweet biscuits"

Henderson’s of Edinburgh

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Eat Out
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Edinburgh is arguably the most beautiful city in the UK. The contrast between the old stone areas of the city and new cosmopolitan areas make it the perfect place to find different and exciting places to eat and drink. Although Edinburgh has the reputation of being fairly posh there are still student – and pocket – friendly places to eat that aren’t just contained within the Princes Mall food court.

Within the crypts of Saint John’s church on Lothian Road is Henderson’s of Edinburgh, a vegetarian and vegan bistro. Its location adds extra quirkiness as the walls of the bistro share the same dark stone and archways as that of the church giving the whole experience a real medieval feel. Alternatively there is the option to eat in the outside garden in the shadow of the beautiful church with a stunning view of Edinburgh castle and the surrounding areas.  If you are lucky enough to go on a warm and sunny day I recommend taking the opportunity to sit outside and take in the atmosphere of Edinburgh. The food certainly suits the al fresco style of dining.

Al fresco dining at Henderson's of Edinburgh

Al fresco dining at Henderson’s of Edinburgh

I understand whenever the words “vegetarian” or “vegan” come up they can send some people into a carnivorous fit of rage or fits of laughter at the ‘hippie’ way of living, but Henderson’s of Edinburgh create some of the loveliest and freshest food I have tasted – and trust me I’ve tasted a lot. All main meals come with a choice of three generous portions of hand-made salads and sides. I chose a pea and green bean salad, a bean Pâté and a big scoop of humus. The sides were perfect and complemented each other fantastically. There were also many other choices of sides for whatever mood you’re in at the time. For my main I decided to try the Spanakopita. I’d never heard of it before either. Spanakopita is a Greek savoury pastry filled with a variety of foods but mainly featuring spinach. The version I tried contained spinach, goats cheese and olives. The crunchiness of the spinach blended perfectly with the softness of the cheese and oiliness of the black olives. It was divine.

Nearest plate: My meal. Furthest away: Spanakopita with fruit coleslaw, Waldorf salad (apple, celery and walnuts) and humus. Both with pots of honey mint sauce.

Mosque Kitchen – Edinburgh

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Eat Out
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Fine dining is a luxurious way of treating yourself to some quality food in a true cosmopolitan style, but isn’t always possible for students or budgeters.  I always find there’s something refreshing about stepping away from commercialised dining and choosing somewhere truly small and authentic. And I found exactly that at the Potterow Mosque in Edinburgh.

The Mosque Kitchen and Aroma Café are located within the grounds of the Mosque and offer authentic Indian takeaway style meals with a difference. The café has two parts – an indoor seating area where you are served by waiters and waitresses, and an outside seating area where you go up to the counter and they serve you what you desire on a paper plate with plastic knives and forks. Do not be put off by the simplicity of this. What it lacks in utensils it makes up for in price, portion size and most importantly taste.

Front of the restaurant on the grounds of the mosque.

Front of the restaurant on the grounds of the mosque.

We opted for the outdoor seating area due to the blue skies that day. I was originally put off by the school dinner style way of serving but as soon as I saw my meal my opinion changed. I chose the Chicken Jalfrezi while my vegetarian friend opted for the Saag Aloo. Jalfrezi is fried meat marinated in oil and spices usually including green chillies, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. The meal came with spiced rice and I chose a vegetable samosa to go with it. The chicken was perfect and tender and the Jalfrezi sauce was spicy but flavoursome. The rice was cooked perfectly and the samosa was crispy and packed full of veg.  Saag Aloo is spiced spinach and Bombay potato curry sometimes including paneer cheese. The mix of spinach and the potato was amazing and very filling. Overall our combined meals came to less than £9. Each meal was enough for two people so we both struggled to finish but the tastes where so good that we tried our best.

Front plate: Chicken Jalfrezi with vegetable samosa.  Back plate: Saag Aloo.

Front plate: Chicken Jalfrezi with vegetable samosa.
Back plate: Saag Aloo.

After our meal we were offered a tour of the Mosque by one of the kitchen workers who was more than happy to answer our questions. We were greeted by friendly worshippers who offered us tasty dates and seemed keen to teach us about the Islamic religion, allowing us to watch them carry out Wudu (quiet, contemplative cleaning of the body before prayer which is meant to cleanse the soul). When I asked one of the worshipers his opinion on allowing non-Muslims in the Mosque, he replied with a laugh: “Everyone is welcome – as long as they take their shoes off.”

The grand Mosque.

Stereo Cafe – Glasgow

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips
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If you live in the centre of Glasgow you will probably agree that the city centre has a number of fairly dodgy looking side streets, the kind your parents warn you not to wander down or where your mate goes for a post-club toilet stop on the way home at 3am. One such street is Renfield lane, however this is a street worth wandering down. Here lies the brilliant Stereo Café and music venue.

Stereo boasts the best of both worlds:  a cool, minimalist restaurant and bar with a delicious and shockingly cheap home-made vegetarian and vegan menu, AND a grungy basement music venue where the beer’s serviced in plastic cups and the music is always good.

The menu consists of a mains and a tapas section. We opted for tapas in order to taste as much of the menu on offer. We were not left disappointed.

I cannot stand when restaurants advertise tapas and there is only enough for one bite each – and that’s between two people, but Stereo left me licking my fingers in delight at the sizable plates which we ordered five six of – we’re hungry students, don’t judge us.  At between two and four pounds each you can’t really blame us.

We decided to go for:

  • Bread with extra virgin olive oil and dukkah.
    • An aromatic blend of spiced nuts and seeds
  • Hummus
    • Freshly made and served with flatbread
  • Spring Rolls
    • With sweet chilli and soy dip
  • Falafels
    • Served with tahini dressing and sesame seeds
  • Buffalo Cauliflower
    • Lightly battered in a classic spicy buffalo sauce. Served with garlic mayo
  • Extra Flatbread

All these tapas plus two large cokes came to £23 all together and I would have happily expected to pay more for the quality of food and customer service we received.

My highlight of my meal would have to be the buffalo cauliflower. As my favourite vegetable I was sceptical about how a spicy sauce would work considering it’s traditionally served with cheese.  However it tasted fantastic. The soft of the cauliflower complemented the crunch of the batter perfectly and adding the spicy buffalo sauce really topped-off the great taste.

Need more of an excuse to head down to Stereo? Every Monday from noon you can get yourself 5 tapas plates for £12! There’s no greater place for students.

Our fantastic meal. Featuring my boyfriend who insisted on being in the picture.

Himalaya Cafe – Edinburgh

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Eat Out
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“Himalaya is colour, Himalaya is love, Himalaya is flavour, Himalaya is therapy, Himalaya is Community.”

This quote features on the Facebook Information page for the famous Edinburgh eatery Himalaya Café. Often said to serve the best Chai tea in Edinburgh, Himalaya Café resides at number 20, South Clerk Street and offers authentic, home cooked Indian, Nepalese, and Tibetan cuisine.

Himalaya Café provides a serene and relaxing environment away from the constant bustle of the Edinburgh streets, with soothing Tibetan music and tranquil authentic décor, the café really places itself well above all other places like it.

The café has an interesting history. It was founded by a woman named Reka whose dream had been to open a shop. After meeting the Dalai Lama in 2005, his words  inspired her to open the wonderful Café in 2007.

Mango Lassie

I often frequent Himalaya Café when in Edinburgh. Thick, creamy and topped with cinnamon, their mango lassies are a delightful and refreshing treat. Their menu is full of feel-good food that tastes delicious and it is obvious when looking and tasting that much care and thought has gone into preparing every meal.

I would recommend trying one the Himalaya’s delicious wraps.

Stuffed and packed full of flavour with a delicious home-made salad and a pot of crisps on the side, these wraps will leave you feeling full and happy.

Wrap

Himalaya café also sells hand-crafted jewellery, bedding, stationery, clothing, pottery, and incense. This means there is now no excuse to not visit this lovely place. The staff are knowledgeable, happy to talk, and very efficient and friendly.

Himalaya Café’s aim is to “Bring a piece of Tibet to Scotland” And they have achieved this beautifully.

Wrap Menu - Himalaya Cafe

13th Note – Glasgow

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Eat Out
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Glasgow is king for the beloved restaurant/music venue mix. The minimalist restaurant and bar mixed with the grungy basement venue make for a great evening out.

The 13th Note in Glasgow’s Merchant city is one of these beloved phenomenon. Boasting a fantastically bright and open bar area, with high ceilings and friendly staff. Don’t get me wrong the openness of the room doesn’t take away from the intimacy of the restaurant which is provided by the cosy booths, dark wood tables and various art installations throughout the bar area.

The food served at 13th Note is vegetarian and vegan. I can hear you sign friends, but 13thnote do some of the best food in Glasgow, and I would even speculate that they have the best vegetarian burgers in town.

So far I have visited 13th Note twice. After seeing a facebook friend tag themselves there and doing a little further research I realised it was a place I wanted to visit, so on a whim I grabbed patient boyfriend and set off. The second time I went was to celebrate a loved one’s birthday. Both times I was utterly impressed with their food.

Food what we had:

  • Ginger, Lemongrass and Risotto Cakes with a Thai Green Curry
    • This was the first thing that caught my eye on the menu. The crunch of the shell, the softness of the rice, the fieriness of the curry, and the fresh taste of the lemongrass and ginger made the meal a total delight. The meal was served with a generous slice of doughy flat bread.

 

  • Spicy Veggie Burger with Hummus, Fried Onions, Fries and a Fresh Salad.
    • Literal best veggie I have ever had. The mix of a soft fried veg patty, the crunchy toasted bun, crispy fried onions and creamy hummus was fab. A total contrast from the normal soft bun/chewy patty of a meat burger. Filling and less likely to kill you than other burgers.

 

13th Note also has an extensive range of vegan and vegetarian beers for those meat-haters who still like a good bevvy. For those of you who think beer tastes like death (me) there is also a fantastic cocktail menu.

Head on down to 13th Note.

 

rice cakes

Rice Cakes

Cheap and easy garlic bread recipe!

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Health Tips
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Garlic Bread has one of the most distinctive smells of any food. It’s also incredibly popular and can be eaten on its own or with pretty much any saucy dish.

So here’s a cheap and easy way of impressing your tinder date with your mad garlic bread skills – although I would advise mints after.

What you need:

  • 3 Bread Slices – Any type. Can be loaf, baguette etc.
  • Butter – Any type, for a vegan recipe use Sunflower Spread.
  • 3 Garlic Cloves – This is for a medium garlic taste, use more or less cloves if you want a stronger or weaker flavour.
  • Frying Pan
  • Grill
  • Mushrooms – Optional
  • Italian Herbs – Optional

 

Step 1.

  • Preheat grill on medium heat for later.
  • Crush and peal the garlic. Finely chop the inner parts of the garlic. Slice up 2 mushrooms into tiny bits if using.

Step 2.

  • Add the garlic and 2 heaped teaspoons of butter into a preheated pan.
  • Cook the garlic and butter in a high heat until the butter is a golden liquid and garlic very lightly browned.
  • Add mushrooms and Italian herbs if using.

Step 3.

  • Cook the mixture in the pan for a further few minutes or until the mushroom pieces have softened. Keep mixing.
  • If not using mushrooms cook for a further few minutes anyway. Keep stirring.

Step 4.

  • Spread the garlic and mushroom butter onto 3 slices of the bread of your choosing.
  • Place the bread under the grill. This allows the bread to toast and the garlic mixture to seep into the bread – at this point you can add some grated cheese for cheesy garlic bread if you wish.

Step 5.

  • When the bread looks golden or is toasted to your liking remove it from the grill.

Step 6.

  • Serve and enjoy as a snack or with your meal
  • garlic

Violife Vegan Cheddar Cheese

Posted on 29/01/2017 by Amy Byrne under Cheap Tips, Health Tips, Review
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If you’re anything like me, the thought of vegan cheese sounds wrong, gross and ultimately pointless.

BUT

I made the decision to do Veganuary, and since doing that I thought I would try my best to find a cheese alternative to curve the cravings I would (and ultimately did) have.

Violife cheddar was the winner. While I still wouldn’t recommend snacking on a slice on its own, as a topping or filling it’s the best substitute I could find.

Violife Image

The taste is hard to describe. Yes,  it’s cheesey, but there’s something artificial about it. The best way to eat this cheese is melted on a toastie. It melts well and exactly the same as ordinary cheese, it tastes nice, and it’s not too expensive.

My recommended serving for a delicious vegan toastie would be: 2 slices of bread, 2 slices Violife cheddar, tomato purée, Italian seasoning, 1 toastie/panini maker and you’re golden.

If you are looking for a vegan cheese either because you’re vegan, trying veganuary, or are lactose intolerant, I would definitely try this cheese. It’s available at any Holland and Barrett.

Revolucion De Cuba

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Eat Out, Review
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Revolucion De Cuba Collage

The taste of Cuba has landed in Glasgow thanks to this new eatery. I was lucky enough to sample their cuisine, cocktails and service before their official launch.

Revolucion de Cuba has fun, Caribbean vibes with bright and funky decor. The minute you walk in, it’s easy to tell the new restaurant is going to be a winner in Glasgow. With an impressive cocktail menu and drinks selection, Rev De Cuba is following in the footsteps of the likes of Missousla and Las iguanas, by not only being a great eatery but also a sought after night-out destination.

Let’s get onto the food:

The first dish I sampled was a taster of their shredded pork with special seasoning. The season includes orange and lime power, cumin, garlic, paprika and chilli. It was delicious, I would definitely recommend sampling it.

Our selection of tapas was:

Sticky chicken skewers
Pork belly skewers
Calamari
Battered prawns
Cajun cream mushrooms
Cauliflower wings

The food at Revolucion De Cuba is very good. Great tastes at fair prices. Although the restaurant is, in fact, a Britain wide chain the food is all freshly prepared by knowledgeable and talented chefs.

My meal highlight was the Cajun cream mushrooms. They were creamy she so full of fantastic flavour.

Rev de Cuba is definitely a place to check out if your in the city centre.

Riverhill West Nile St.

Posted on by Amy Byrne under Eat Out, Review
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I recently visited Riverhill twice in a short Space of time. The first time I went there for lunch on a whim after a stressful day. The second time was for an early breakfast before a day of travelling. Both of these visits were absolutely fantastic.

The first time I went, I had the meat and cheese platter. The platter was delicious with tasty cured meats, rich tangy cheese, and sour dough.

Riverhill Food Image

The second time I went I had the breakfast potato naan, stuffed with salmon, avocado, cream cheese, and chili jam. I also had the poached eggs. The whole breakfast was so tasty and fresh. The naan was a delishously different dish that I would urge everyone to try. The poached eggs were perfecy light and fluffy. Wash it all down with a cold glass of their freshly squeezed orange juice.

Riverhill Food Image 2

I also had the opportunity to try the scrambled eggs of the day which were filled with feta and spinach. This was an inspired breakfast dish which I hope is added to the permanent menu.

Riverhill is a modern and peaceful eatery which serves fresh food with a smile all through the day. I will definitely be back.

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