Recipe: Thai Yellow Curry

I love a good curry, but summer has me craving something lighter than a Indian – especially as I tend to be limited with a creamy Korma. Thai Curries are a good antidote to this, fragrant and spicy, a little creamy, a lot lighter and often packed with veg.

This one has slightly less veg than I’d like as it was a bit of a dreary, drizzly evening, but it hits the right balance between comforting and light. It’s fragrant aromatics are reminiscent of Thai foods, yet the spicing definitely has its Indian influences. Almost as good as a Massaman!

 photo Curry Pastes 6_zpsan3dnnzw.jpgThe great thing about Thai curries is that they are relatively easy to make completely from scratch. There’s no need for an excessive spice cupboard, and my recipe certainly doesn’t require a trip to eight different supermarkets. Timewise it’s pretty quick too and, even better, it freezes fabulously.

 photo Curry Pastes 2_zpsahyq7nik.jpgVery Lazy sent me over a few ingredients to try out, which I’ve used here, but you could just as easily substitute fresh versions.

Ingredients (Paste)

  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic
  • 1 chilli (or more if you like it hot – I tend to just grate in more into my finish curry to adjust at the end)
  • 1 tablespoon Very Lazy Ginger in oil
  • 1 tablespoon Very Lazy Lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon Very Lazy Coriander
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder – or teaspoons each of any or all of the following; ground coriander, cumin, tumeric

Ingredients (Curry, Two Servings)

  • 1 full quantity of paste
  • 250g chicken (or other meat)
  • 100g potatoes, cubed chunkily
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Cashew nuts
  • Coriander, to garnish, if you like

To make the paste, first roast the onion and garlic. Don’t peel them, simply slice the top and bottom off the onion, throw onto some foil, drizzle with oil and create a ‘parcel’ – then bake at 180C for around 25 minutes. Let cool. photo Curry Pastes 4_zpsvcbnjfbz.jpg

Once the onion and garlic is cool enough to handle, peel and throw into a small blender. Add the rest of the paste ingredients and whizz until it looks like a curry paste – adding more or less of ingredients as you fancy. I’m not the biggest fan of lemongrass and I love ginger, so my go-to doubles the ginger here.

Either use immediately, store in the fridge for up to 24 hours, or freeze (I use ice cube trays – easier as they cubes can be cooked from frozen).

To make the curry, heat a little oil in a pan then fry the paste until fragrant. Add the meat, fry until sealed, then lower the heat and add the potatoes and coconut milk. Simmer gently for around 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and potatoes tender.

 photo d4c17f1f-2685-42ae-8737-c973c1b8d3d7_zps2nvdlxud.jpgStir through the cashew nuts and a little fresh coriander, and serve. It’s good with rice for a carb fest, though goes nicely with some lightly cooked green vegetables too. A lovely Yellow Curry, fragrant like a Thai yet as indulgent as an Indian. Lovely!

What’s your favourite curry? Do you make your own?

Lifestyle: August Favourites

Geeky confession time: I LOVE September. I think it’s that Back to School feeling, which makes no sense as for years I hated school. But possibly it because it’s the starting again, the possibility of reinventing myself. And a new diary, obvs (joys of being a student = academic diaries, so much prettier than annual ones!).

 photo August Favourites 7_zpsfiynq23r.pngFinishing my placement last week, having a relaxing and slightly damp weekend in Devon, it’s all meant I’m raring to go this week in order to make this academic year, my last academic year, the best yet. I have some goals I’ll be sharing next week, but let’s just reflect on summer for a little. I’m hopeful for a little more sunshine, but it’s definitely been a good one. Here’s my standout bits and pieces from August…
 photo August Favourites 11_zpsacrcxmed.jpg photo August Favourites 12_zpspvzfxgdu.jpg photo August Favourites 14_zpsk8aw4qol.jpg photo August Favourites 15_zpshorz4rjv.jpg

Devon

A part of the UK that I adore, when my parents invited me and W to share some of their holiday with them there was only one answer. We traveled down on the train to spend a long weekend with them and it was wonderful. I turned my phone off (mainly), even left my camera at the cottage. I read five books, ate two ice creams, multiple portions of fish-and-chips and got soggy from both rain and sea. I’ll write more about my little break soon, I’m still in holiday mode currently…

Oh, and how cute is that curly-haired donkey?!

New Phone

Long-time readers and those who saw my #BigBloggerConference ‘grams will have noticed that my phone camera couldn’t really function as a camera. Casting a pink/purple tinge over all photos unless in perfect light it was pretty horrific. Not to mention the lack of vibration, the only-making-noise-when-a-text-comes-not-a-call, the lagging, the flickering screen, the dropping calls, and the crappy contract I was on… Safe to say I’m pretty glad to have a new phone. I’ve only had it since Friday, and since then it’s been mainly off than on, but so far so good. I may actually do a more dedicated post as I’ve steered away from Apple, Nokia, Sony, Samsung and HTC…

Lip-Liners

I discovered lip-liners only a few months ago, and bought a load of them from KIKO at the beginning of the month. I’ve found them perfect for keeping a wash of colour on my lips throughout the whole working day. It makes refreshing for a night-out super easy and I’ve not found them particularly drying.
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The Perfect Dress

One of the most flattering, versatile and totally ‘me’ dresses I’ve found, I umm-ed and ahh-ed for days before splashing the cash in Topshop. It fits wonderfully, is the perfect transition piece and seems high-quality. Love, love LOVE.

Doggy Cuddles

No puppies this month, but lots of cuddles with my dog! A whole long weekend with him was perfect, though it’s made me a little sad to see he’s no longer up to running up and down the beach. I took a lot of photos of him during our weekend, so much so he now curls up into his blanket when I pull my camera out. Ah well. Plus dogs = the perfect accessory for outfit photos (when used responsibly…).
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Roasts & Leftovers

I’ve finally ticked off a New Year’s Resolution! Since moving to the flat me and W have cooked a roast every single week. Admittedly he’s done most of them, but last night I roasted a chicken completely and utterly by myself – it was resting and I was cooking gravy (from scratch!) by the time he came home from work. Almost more delicious than the roast dinner, we’ve made some fab leftovers. Think harissa chicken pasties, the most wonderful shepherd’s pie ever (four hours it took, four hours!), and today I have a chicken chowder simmering away. This Sunday brisket is on the menu…

Leaving Gifts

It’s a really difficult one without showing off, but I was over the moon and unbelievably chuffed with my leaving gifts from work. I wasn’t expecting such generosity, but equally the thoughtfulness is amazing. They know me so well – a mini satchel, a chocolate making workshop, fancy pens set and a personalized wooden spoon. Major love for my (unfortunately former) colleagues!

And yep, it takes my satchel count up to 8. #sorrynotsorry
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Blogging Events

Living in London has given me the chance to attend some wonderful events over the last few weeks. I’ve watched Mean Girls on a barge, learned a lot at the BigBloggerConference, and had a picnic in a fabulous setting. I’ve met some lovely ladies, though I’m still hoping to meet some of my favourite bloggers before I leave London in a few weeks.

I know I say it pretty much every month, but August flew by unbelievably quickly. We’re now here in Autumn, I’m craving fluffy socks and chunky knits and ankle boots and stew with dumplings, and it will be Christmas before we know it. Here’s to a slightly slower September!

Did August fly by for you too? What were your highlights of the past month?

Beauty: A Love of Lip Liners

Up until six months ago I thought lip liners were a waste of time and my precious pennies. Why on earth would I need another layer of colour to do what my lipstick was doing perfectly well?!

 photo db7ea3b6-0f0e-46fc-99a1-c9ec80161bd4_zpsvm151mfz.jpgAnd now I have loads. Most of them are from a recent trip to Kiko, where I added a grand total of six to my collection. Safe to say I’m pretty obsessed.

I’ve matched most of them to my lipsticks, but I also have some brighter, bolder colours to wear either on my own or under a sheerer colour (I find MAC Patisserie a really wishy-washy colour without a bold liner behind it – definitely not one to live up to it’s hype). I’ve found the perfect match to Velvet Teddy, a match that keeps the red-brown tone and doesn’t turn it mauve like most of the recommended liners seem to do. I’ve found the most lovely colour that is almost a match to my natural lip colour, just a touch more red. I’ve found deep berries, vibrant fuschias and even a warm coral (not entirely convinced this suits me).

 photo 2015-05-15 20.29.34_zpsbo6bk1z4.jpgI’ve written about my L’Oreal wine-toned liner before, and whilst it’s not my favourite formula (a little too much slip), the colour is second to none. Max Factor provided me with an introduction to lip liners, and I do love the formula. For a while. I find these dry out really quickly, especially if the lip falls off in a crammed make-up bag. A little disappointing perhaps…

 photo b1dd371a-2161-41dd-9572-1a560ea64d4d_zpseemhyxk3.jpg photo 11c5dec1-9efc-4e7d-97c6-d6691a2bc06a_zpswvweygvd.jpgThe Kiko formula is pretty much spot on. A couple of the pale-pink colours don’t have quite the pay-off I’ve like, but the bolder and nude ones? They apply like a dream. Soft and creamy enough to wear on their own, these have a great lasting power that really glues my lipstick on. They haven’t dried out yet, the colour selection is amazing (I really need a dark brown one!), and the best bit – they cost £1.20. Can you really blame me for picking up a handful?!

 photo c0d418f2-b3ae-4ad0-b608-38ce64d273f2_zpst33aykaj.jpgA bit of a quick post from me today, I completely forgot to schedule anything for today until late Thursday night. Slightly tipsy from leaving drinks, an early train to Devon on Friday. I knew I wouldn’t have chance to get anything live and had this half done in my drafts. I was planning on doing a ‘matching liner with lipstick’ post, so do let me know if that’s something you’d still like to see and I’ll whip the camera out!

Are you a fan of lip liners? What’s your favourite Kiko product?

University: Applying for a Student Visa

Luckily this isn’t something I have had to personally worry about, but talking to friends and colleagues it can be the bane of some students’ lives. Complicated, time consuming – it doesn’t sound an easy process!

 photo iStock_000044027192_Large_zps4pwrvkup.jpgWhen Taylor Rose sent over this infographic I couldn’t help but share! It looks insanely helpful for overseas students applying for a UK student visa, so maybe it can help someone somewhere!

TR InfographicI actually lived with a lot of international students in my first year (though I didn’t exactly enjoy my living situation!) and I didn’t have a clue how lengthy the visa process was! I can’t imagine having to jump through all those hoops ‘just’ to go to university – it’s made me think how lucky we are in the UK really. UCAS may be a pain, SFE might have seen me swear at it multiple times, but it’s a lot simpler!

*Sponsored post, all opinions are my own!

How were people’s experiences in applying to university, student visa or not?

University Guest Post: Dissertation Hints & Tips

I’ve done it before, but now I’m hoping to do it more regularly – introducing guest posts here on ninegrandstudent! I set up this blog to help out students and, whilst it’s no longer it’s only focus (it’s pretty much my diary!), I still like to think of it as helpful. Yet my experience of university isn’t going to be like anyone else’s, and with that in mind I want to add a bit of variety. Guest posts are perfect for that, and this one is great. I’m lucky enough in that my degree doesn’t require a dissertation (school friends only need to remember ‘EPQ’ and they will understand why I don’t wish to do one!), but many students do need to do one. I wouldn’t know where to begin in advising students on how to approach one, so when Josie from Confessions of a Postgrad offered her guest post, well, I couldn’t say no!

 photo Dissertation Tips1_zpsfst0dvmu.jpg photo Dissertation Tips10_zpsdjgtumpa.jpgAh, the dissertation, that terrifying culmination of your university studies which is hovering over your summer threatening upcoming stress and many sleepless nights of typing. If you are due to write your dissertation this year, don’t fret! It is honestly not as bad as you think, and you will end up being very proud of it. As I embark on my second dissertation for my Masters, here are my tips for making the experience as pain-free as possible:

1. Just start. I know, the thought of producing your longest and most important piece of work yet is seriously daunting. So much so, that you can stress yourself out wondering where to even start. The best thing you can do is not worry about starting in the right place, or with the right information, but to just not overthink it and just start. Pick up any book relevant to the topic and start making notes.

2. Start early. Expanding on the above, you will be doing yourself a huge favour if you start your research nice and early. Trust me, this will reduce the pressure later on when you have other assignments to complete as well. Why not use the free time you have this summer to start compiling a reading list? Once you have found one book, a good place to look for further reading is in its bibliography.

 photo Dissertation Tips9_zpsvoogyxkv.jpg photo Dissertation Tips6_zpsmq3lz0ng.jpg3. Note down references as you go. As you read and research, note down book titles and page numbers in the margins of your notes. This is just 100% worth the effort – it will make your life so much easier when it comes to typing up and referencing what you have read!

4. Break it up. Probably one of the worst things you can do is to think of your dissertation as a whole – this is far too overwhelming and daunting. Instead, split it up into manageable chunks. I decided on chapters for my dissertation and then treated each one as a mini essay on its own – this is much easier to tackle!

5. Figure out when you are most productive, and use this time wisely! Personally I am very much a morning person, so I would get up early and work on my dissertation all morning and afternoon until about 3 o’clock – then I could relax for the evening knowing I had achieved what I wanted during the day. Other people however, prefer to work at night. Figuring out when you work best will save you a lot of wasted time and feelings of unproductivity getting you down.

6. Last but not least, take time out! I know it’s obvious, but it can be tempting to work yourself to the bone just to get in finished quickly. It is so important to take time away from your work, not just for your own sanity, but for the quality of your project as well. And if you have started early enough, you can take the time to relax without feeling the pressure!
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I hope these tips offer some help or inspiration! Do any of you other dissertation veterans have some tips to add?

The London Diaries: Market Wanderings, Nitrogen Ice-Cream & A Duck Confit Burger

One of the things I love most about London is it’s markets. Be it foodie heaven (ahem, Borough), street food munching, vintage hunting, or even just the farmer’s market across the road from my flat, there’s always something going on.

 photo 2014-10-11160243_zps52409faf.jpgPortobello Market is somewhere I need to visit properly before I leave London next month. I walked through a few weeks back, on the way to unsuccessfully queuing for a Dave Gorman recording (the queue was cut right in front of us – more than annoying as the couple in front had been space-saving for others!). It may have been cold and rainy that day, I may have been rather ill, but it was an area of London I instantly fell in love with. The amount of dresses I could have bought on the spot was insane, so maybe it’s best if I don’t pop back…

 photo cba40020-601a-418f-81a5-39ecce17bfe3_zps0d519448.jpg photo 9503e468-b958-4156-800a-7d70491997bf_zpsa81b1024.jpg photo 9832aaa7-8f08-4458-a291-8667736625c4_zps03f73642.jpgBorough Market is my idea of heaven. Amazingly fresh produce to buy and cook at home (I’m desperate to spy the ‘grow your own mushroom’ pots they did a few years back), street food, baked goods and a buzzy atmosphere, I adore it. I could spend hours here.

 photo Camden Market13_zpsjx7wlg8y.jpg photo Camden Market12_zpsoofwqjk8.jpgNow, Camden. This is a bit of a controversial one, and it often surprises people that know me well – but I LOVE it. Growing up I was one of the more ’emo’ types (I HATE those kind of groupings), I may have shopped in Punky Fish, and me and my friend used to beg her parents to bring us to Camden each school holiday. We danced around Cyberdog being filmed by a Spanish TV company, ate far too much free fried chicken, bought outrageously studded belts. Camden was the first place where I bought my own clothes (a surprisingly feminine beaded dress I actually still own and wear seven years on). Recently I’ve introduced my sister to Camden, she loved it to so I’m hoping to drag her down over my Christmas holidays for another day out.

 photo Camden Market1_zpskh8n5bl0.jpg photo Camden Market11_zpssod5vz1h.jpgWithin Camden there also happens to be one of the best ice-cream shops I’ve ever been to. I thought it would be a bit naff to be honest, all show and no flavour, but I was wrong. I’ve blogged about Chin Chin before a while ago – I’ve been back several times since. This time I went for the standard Chocolate ice-cream topped with Cinnamon Toast. My sis went for Vanilla topped with Heather Honeycomb, and my mum had Melon with Almond Crumb, the dairy free option.

 photo Camden Market4_zpspun4t75y.jpg photo Camden Market8_zpsmbanoizh.jpg photo Camden Market10_zpsad6covaj.jpgAll were delicious. The chocolate flavour is not for the faint-hearted as it is shockingly rich (I struggled to finish it), intensely chocolatey and quite bitter. The vanilla is perfectly flavoured. The dairy-free is a revelation. I’ve had their dairy-free options before and can voucher for how smooth they are – and my dairy-intolerant mum says it’s the best ice-cream she’s had in a while. Whilst all our toppings were yummy, I have to say I have a massive soft spot for the grilled white chocolate. It’s a must-try!

From sweet to savoury (and only two days later…), me and W came out of the Decision Exhibition starving and ready to eat. We had mixed feelings about the exhibition, there’s probably not quite enough there to warrant the ticket price but the concept is brilliant – and the queues were so long we spent over an hour longer than expected. Our plans for a cheap sandwich grab gone, we headed over to the Southbank Street Food Market. A quick wander round and allergy check, there was one clear winner – Duck Confit Burgers from Frenchies. I’ve seen these doing the rounds on blogs so was definitely eager to try! The burger is essentially a decent portion of duck confit, some duck crackling, melted cheese, onion relish, mustard and rocket, all served in a brioche bun. Our cheese of choice was the Smoked Cheddar, and W chose to hold the mustard (weirdo).

 photo Frenchies Duck Confit Burger - 5_zps2huhzszp.jpg photo Frenchies Duck Confit Burger - 2_zpsw9qmlem4.jpg photo Frenchies Duck Confit Burger - 1_zpsrotodxht.jpg photo Frenchies Duck Confit Burger - 3_zpsuhvipopx.jpg photo Frenchies Duck Confit Burger - 4_zpsj0kadoyk.jpgThey were delicious. Hands down the best street food I’ve tried so far (I’m taking recommendations for other places to try!). Rich, salty, tangy from the cheese and mustard, a sweetness from the chutney, crunch from the crackling and a soft bun. And obviously meltingly tender and flavourful duck. Just wonderful. I can’t recommend this enough.

You might be able to tell, I’m absolutely loving London life. I’ve been able to make loads of blogging events and meet up with some lovely ladies. I’ve eaten far too much food, done a little too much shopping and generally just had fun. I don’t want to leave in a few weeks!

What’s your favourite part of London? Any street food recommendations for me?