To touch base, here’s a few things: I moved to Glasgow, started a Masters, started two new jobs, became vegan, became anaemic, rediscovered fish and chips, rediscovered happiness. I had these vivid plans for food blogging in Glasgow – the U.K capital for vegan eats and all-things deep-fried (they even deep fry pizza here and call it “pizza crunch”, don’t you know) – and I had envisioned that I’d be eating out twice a week, free of charge of course, like I did during my undergraduate in Exeter.
Added into the mix:
The state of my unhygienic postgrad accommodation has largely stunted any attempts to conjure up any new recipes (there’s no opportunity for aesthetically pleasing photographs when your kitchen hobs are that grimey). I have, however, lived with ten fascinating Americans (woops, and one Canadian, sorry Emilie) over the course of the year. They’ve introduced me to the joys of sweet potato casserole (thanks, Keely from Chicago), Jif peanut butter (thanks, Noah from Minnesotta), Cheezits (thanks, Rachel from North Carolina) and poutine (thanks, Emilie from somewhere in Canada). Apparently combining the sugary hells of the American diet shipped over seas and the deep-fried-ness of the Glaswegian lifestyle makes a postgraduate student such as myself rather distracted and disorganised. I left a lot of things behind when I moved 450 miles north, and a lot of things have gone on hold.
I didn’t bring my baking supplies or my succulents here, because I was stubbornly adamant that I wouldn’t settle in Scotland. I expected to move back down to the old smoke as soon as I hit submit on my dissertation.
But here are some confessions: I actually like Irn Bru now, and I buy it of my own accord. And not even the sugar free version. I like, not just the taste, but the lurid orange colour and the way Glaswegians call it “juice” even though there’s no fruit pulp in it and that you can get it as an ice cream flavour and the fact that my pal who works in the NHS archives has access to the original, secret recipe and that recipe apparently is so sought after that it holds this strange, mythical status. I even own an Irn Bru clock.
Second confession: I still haven’t tried an empire biscuit. God knows why they’re such a big deal…it’s just two pieces of biscuit, a white icing glaze and a jelly tot.
Third confession: I hate shortbread.
So, I ventured down South in a bid to navigate through the fog and retrieve my baking goods. And on the 5 and a half hour train journey up from London to Glasgow I noticed that you can measure the milage by the difference in the passengers’ accents, the increase in their happiness, and the amount of times you’re offered a Red Stripe.
To kick things off, I thought I’d stay true to the unhealthiness of my current adopted diet (an amalgam of American and Glaswegian influences) and produce these bad boys.
Tunnock’s teacake brownies (vegetarian; makes 6 “sharing” brownies)
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped
- 175g unsalted butter (I’m forever loyal to Stork)
- 300g caster sugar
- 130g plain flour
- 3 large eggs
- 6 Tunnock’s Teacakes (I went for the dark chocolate variety)
- Pre-heat the oven to 170°C. Line a rectangular baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- Using the bain-marie method on the hob, melt the butter and chopped dark chocolate until smooth, stirring consistently.
- Remove from the heat. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar and melted concoction. Sift in the flour and mix until well incorporated. Then, crack in the eggs, mix well.
- Pour the mixture into a prepared baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes, remove and add the teacakes. (We don’t want these to burn). Bake for a further 20-25 minutes, until the surface begins to crack. Allow to cool before serving.