Food from a Physicist who loves to cook

Category Archives: The bubble

I never thought I would love anchovies, I mean the first time I tried them on a pizza I thought they were overly salty and overpowered everything else. Someone should warn you, that anchovies on a pizza are not like anchovies in cooking, anchovies that you have cooked into a meal are silky smooth, tangy and add so much depth to a meal.

Plus they come in a gorgeous can

A gorgeous can of anchovies

I first used anchovies when making the spicy topping for Jamie Olivers cauliflower risotto (fantastic by the way), made by frying anchovies and bread with garlic and chilli, I knew I liked three of those ingredients so I thought why not. I loved it. This then grew into a pasta sauce, having bought anchovies to use with the risotto I then realised I wanted something quick, so using the three best ingredients from the topping, anchovies, garlic and chilli along with red wine and a tin of tomatoes I made a sauce that will knock your socks off. The anchovies and garlic give it depth and the chilli adds a fiery heat, and then the wine softens it back down. I cannot do it justice in writing all I can say is make it yourself.  My sister loves this sauce so much that when she once came to visit me in St Andrews, we went to every shop searching for them, we went to Aldi, Morrisons and Tesco, No Luck. We went to the delis, Mitchells, Butlers, Tail end, NO LUCK. Finally we went into kerachers fish and game shop, and there we bought a small Styrofoam cup of fresh anchovies! I’d never used fresh anchovies before but I persevered on and it made 5 Tupperware’s of fantastic sauce. So Laura this recipe is for you.

Anchovy pasta sauce


makes enough sauce for 2-4 people depending on how much you love it

  • one tin of anchovies, or about half a jar if you buy them like that
  • Three cloves of garlic crushed
  • Chilli flakes
  • A tin of tomatoes
  • one large glass of red wine (Something you might drink yourself)
  • Parmesan
  • Pasta tubes, or something with ridges that hold the sauce.
  1. Start off the pasta, the sauce takes as long to make as the pasta takes to cook.
  2. Tip the anchovies oil and all into a non stick sauce pan and separate, allow these to melt down to nothing, add the chopped  garlic and the chilli flakes as much or as little as you like. Be warned it may spit at this point.
  3. After the garlic has softened add the tin of chopped tomatoes and stir well. Allow to reduce slightly then add the glass of wine, stir again.
  4. Allow the sauce to reduce down by about a third or a half, if it seems too dry add more wine or some of the water from the pasta, it should coat the pasta with a thick layer of sauce.
  5. Serve by mixing with the pasta and adding a generous grating of parmesan. Enjoy.

Sorry its been a while, this whole senior honours thing is harder than it looks, plus my camera died as you all know. But its a new year, a new camera (yay!) and another set of exams to procrastinate away from!

So firstly I hope every one had a happy new year, I did, I spent my new year in the lake district eating lots and lots of food, and walking up hills and climbing. I love the lake districts it’s always pretty what ever the season and this winter it was beautiful, as you may recall it was freezing around christmas and this mean that the lakes had frozen over. That is quite impressive I mean 2 square miles of water frozen right across.

brrr cold

One of the piers where in better weather you can get a ferry across the lake.

So as New year happens you tend to make a resolution, this year I made two, one I intend to stick to, and one I will try my hardest to but will probably only half manage. So here they are:

  1. To eat better quality meat. That is to say I will get all my meat from butcher or farm shops or if I have to get it from a super market, I will not buy value. This resolution will probably mean I eat less meat but I feel it’s a stepI should be taking.
  2. To write on here more often, to be honest I don’t think it’ll be every day or even every week but probably every fortnight.

Finally I leave you with an image of whats to come.

Apparently this is a butternut squash, its huge i have made 3meals with it so far and still havent finished!

So this is the third time I’ve attempted to write a post on here and hopefully it will be a successful attempt, what with uni work and the weather and just general winter blues I haven’t had the motivation to write, and sometimes I haven’t even had the motivation to cook. However, my little sister was visiting this weekend which gave me the opertunity to cook for more than one person, which to me means only one thing. MEAT!! As many of you know I live with a vegan, which means we rarely cook together, so when I do get to cook for other people I kind of go all out and cook a fancy meat dish. This time it was Braised Oxtail, and the recipe was in fact from the times so here it is with a few modifications.

Braised Oxtail

  • 4 chunky rounds of oxtail
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 big carrots, finely chopped
  • 4 plump cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 bushy sprig of rosemary
  • 2 large bay leaves (or 3 small ones)
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 500ml red wine
  • Juice of 1 orange
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Cut off the larger bits of hard white fat from the oxtail. Put the flour in a bag with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Throw in the oxtail rounds and shake until they are all dusted with flour.
  2. Heat the oil in a casserole large enough to hold all the meat and vegetables. Brown the meat and then set to one side.
  3. Add the vegetables, herbs and star anise. Sweat over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes until starting to soften, then stir in the tomato purée. Add the browned meat (plus any accumulated juices), wine and orange juice, then season well. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  4. Place in the oven. Cook for about 3 hours, stirring halfway through. Depending on the oxtail, it may be ready half an hour earlier or later. Prod it – you want the fat to be soft and gelatinous and the flesh falling off the bones. Check the seasoning and spoon off as much of the fat as you can.


I removed the star anise half way through cooking as the smell coming from the pan was starting to be over powered by its scent, but it is up to your own tastes what you do. I like this recipe as it seemed very festive, the wine and spice mix put me in mind of mulled wine and the combination of flavours is lovely and warming. The Oxtail was from the new farm shop out side of St Andrews, somewhere that is well worth a visit, the butchers is amazing and very reasonably priced, and the veggies are impressive, with onions the size of my head!

With Wills and Kate announcing their engagement St Andrews has been the focus of the media this week, with everyone wanting to know more about the place the two met and fell in love. My friend says that the BBC are camped outside of sallies ( St Salvator’s hall for those of you from outside our little bubble.) since that’s where WIlls stayed when he was here. On top of that out lovely union has decided to put on a Kate and Wills bop this friday with the tag line “Get your tweed out, don your pearls and bare your Barbours for this weeks WILLS AND KATE BOP!”

This is what they think we want?

And then of course there is the much discussed (in St Andrews at least) telegraph blog by Andrew M Brown “Kate Middleton is a typical St Andrews girl” Please feel free to read the full article here

Now I know so many people have already commented on the blog, but it really does need commenting on. Its portraying a stereotype as a majority. I cannot say if this is in fact what St Andrews was like when Wills was here but it’s defiantly changed now.  Here is the authors opinion of a St Andrews girl

“Kate Middleton belongs to this group. In fact you could almost say she’s a classic St Andrews girl. They are fresh-faced and wholesome and they typically wear Barbours, pashminas, tailored tweed jackets, padded bodywarmers, pearls and Tiffany hearts. They’re prosperous, obviously – they drink spirits in the bars, not beer – and they’ve probably picked up the habit of flicking back their expensively highlighted hair when it falls into their eyes. Not that they’re a bunch of squares. Underneath the demure exterior there may lie a streak of raciness: witness that university fashion show when Kate sauntered down the aisle in a see-through dress.”

This is basically a description of a yah girl, never heard the phrase, well urban dictionary it. Now walking through town you could be convinced that theses are the only girls who go to St Andrews. LOOK CLOSER, they are just the girls who make their presence known, walking in big groups, talking loudly flicking their hair in your face, and congregating at night in the lizard, or the Westport. The rest of the girls in St Andrews, well they are bundled up, it is Scotland after all, usually with their hair in a style that can’t be destroyed by the north sea wind, and are normally found in their department, or the library or at home, working. Because St Andrews is a prestigious university, it has high standards and for those of us who have come to university to get a degree and help our futures. (Instead of those who came because they thought that should or because it is what society accepts.) Those of us working, are working hard to secure a high class degree, one that will help us with future academic pursuits or career.

So yes there are Yahs in St Andrews, but not as many as you think, it’s just that the normal girls (though normal doesn’t really fit such a broad spectrum) are keeping themselves to them selves and either working or catching up with friends, or having fun, but mostly not caring about what people think of them.

Oh and Andrew M Brown if you’re going to write about a university at least do your research, the fact you got the universities name wrong says it all,  WE ARE THE UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS, goodnight.

So I’ve been in the bubble now for 7 Days. For those of you who don’t inhabit it yourselves, the bubble is St Andrews. I guess it’s called the bubble for a few reasons, it’s pretty secluded for one, everybody kind of knows everybody else and it’s got it’s own microclimate. Very Bubble like.

So I’ve been back a week, freshers last week, and so hectic and busy and mad. Today Lectures started again, and since I’m in senior honours they have piled on the work, with online lectures and tutorials and books to look up in the library. All very scary. Plus with this being my third year here, I’m allowed to adopt my own little academic children to mess with, so far I have two little American children – yay!

Framing the bridge

Anyway, back to the food. Today has been a hard day, only one lecture but over 2 hrs of personal study already and that’s scary. Plus I’m really not sure I’ve fully recovered from freshers, so a hearty meal is in order.

Haggis Stuffed Chicken with rich Gravy

  • Chicken ( I used de boned thighs but breast would probably be better)
  • Haggis (Shamefully mine came from a can but hey it was cheap.)
  • Stock
  • Whiskey
  • Seasoning
  • Cream
  1. De bone the chicken if you are using thighs, and place about a teaspoon of haggis in the middle, roll this into a tube, imagine the haggis is the bone, and tie in place.
  2. Brown the chicken in a pan with a little oil, then roast in the oven at about 200.
  3. In the pan you browned the chicken in, add about half a pint of stock, if you like you can add a little haggis to this. To the stock and haggis add some cream, the amount depends on how you like your gravy. Finally add a little whiskey, I used about a tbsp, and then season with pepper.

This was served with cabbage, parsnip and pots, all mashed together, and as per usual  when I mash I got the

proportions wrong. Sorry there are no photos of the actual food I have a new camera and can’t quite figure out the flash, so everything is overly bright, plus it’s not the prettiest of meals anyway. Hope you all like it.

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week, it has been my last week working on my project and my last week in  the bubble for  a while, in fact as a type I’m just over half way through my horrifically long  journey home. So with it being the last week I have been emptying the fridge and cooking unusual combination of foods none of them blog worthy.

I haven’t had the energy to cook recently either, I get into work at 9 30, and by 10 I am dressed in a paper jumpsuit, complete with hairnet, blue plastic shoe covers and gloves, I then step into the world of the clean room, with its eiry orange light, that reduces the UV, and its constant hum of air flow, which gets worse when machines are turned on. I will then be in that room till lunch, and then again after lunch, working with machines that scare me just a little bit, and post grads who look at me with distain.So by the end of the day all I want to do is sleep.

This is however all over, and though i will enjoy having a break i will also miss it quite a bit, it’s been excited and well interesting. But heading home means that i will be cooking a lot, both at home and in Chamonix, where I have been informed that myself and the eldest of the family I am traveling with, will be the chefs for the two weeks we will be there. I’m actually looking forward to it. Though there wont be any posts during that time, I will be writing a food journal and taking photos of what I eat. SO hope fully this blog with get more interesting.

Anyways I shall try to have another recipe up on here soon. Bye!

So today the proper tourists have returned to the bubble, none of these Golf tourists we’ve had over the past two weeks because of the open, but  proper dazed tourists. Which I personally love, particularly the japanese/East Asian tourists, because they take photos of the cutest things, for example, a group were stood out side bibi’s bakery taking photos of the buns, and today a group were carefully watching a baby rabbit  and taking eager photographs. Now I don’t blame them, St Andrews is full of cute animals, and the rabbits are my favourite, they hope about the parks and gardens looking so cute, and they are so tame. Tame enough to get close and take pictures, they’d have to be with the number of students who wander through the parks during term time.

Tiny Baby bunny

As well as Bunny’s there are ducklings from late spring well into the middle of July which is lovely, it makes walking around such a joy, well maybe only for me but I love cute animals.

A blurry cute duckling

Well enough with the cute animals, or sort of enough, I am going to move on to talk about another cute spring animal, but in more of a food related way. My flat mate and best mate, contacted me today for this recipe, she wants to cook it for her mother, and who am I to deny her that. SO without further ado, I present.

Rosemary and Garlic, Mustard Lamb

This is a lovely recipe, that makes said flat mate come into the kitchen and take great sniffs, and she is a Vegan so I think that’s an achievement.


  • Lamb cut (The cut is entirely up to you.)
  • Several cloves of garlic (as many as you are comfortable with
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh rosemary
  • whole grain mustard about 2-3 teaspoons
  • A splash of olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • a little butter
  1. Blitz all but the lamb in a food processor adding more or less to get the quantity you want.
  2. Marinade the lamb in this, kind of massage it in, messy but of so much fun. Leave it for as long as you can, be that overnight, all afternoon or only an hour. I’ve left it for a whole afternoon and then only 30mins it’s good either way.
  3. Wrap the marinade lamb in foil and cook in the oven at about 200 for 5-10 mins, then grill the lamb till cooked the way you like it. Any marinade that drips off can be used as sauce for any veg, or be drizzled over the finished meal.

I like to serve this with seasonal green veg, and some potatoes, as the marinade makes a lovely sauce for them. I’m sorry that this post is in slightly bad taste, but my flat mate wanted the recipe and it has been a spring animal filled day.

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