it will soon be two months since we moved into our new flat, and the time has been marked by both good and bad experiences. i now live east but i used to live in the west end like a lot of other students in glasgow. it's been great to finally break out of that cliché and create a whole new life for myself in a totally different part of the city. glasgow seems bigger to me now as i got into a kind of routine of just travelling back and forth between the centre and the west without exploring anywhere else. i've discovered some really cool new places to east and drink, like tapa, one of the best bakeries i have ever been to. and the best thing is that i get to see mathew everyday which is really nice and has totally stabilised my life. and! we have a tv which is a luxury i have never known since moving out from my mum's house five years ago.
on the less positive side, the neighbours downstairs are really noisy and play the most awful dance music until eight in the morning. that isn't so good and i can't pretend that my new home is perfect. i also saw a lady shouting racial abuse at a man walking down the main street just outside my house. this was obviously a really disturbing experience and badly affected me at the time. she was feeding the pigeons as she said it though and i have a feeling she was just plain mad. these negative aspects of our new place have made me realise just what a bubble i was living in in the west end. the east end of glasgow is a more deprived area but i am glad i am being made aware of these problems as opposed to staying ignorant. i would love it if the music stopped though. maybe i'll lend them a low record and see if that improves the situation....
on friday i went with janis to the bbc good food show. i was hoping for a really light-hearted day out- which it was- especially when we got to see mary berry and paul hollywood do a live cooking demonstration. it was probably one of the stranger things i have ever seen on a stage but good fun. there were lots of stalls selling their produce and a few were really good but me and janis were saying afterwards that we both had expected a bit more, on the whole the stalls and lunch options seemed quite standard. i don't know if there is a selection process but it seems like just anyone can have a stall even if their food isn't very good! i got a few photos anyway, janis gives a more detailed account of the day here. they had a tunnocks stall though so i should just stop complaining.
janis going in for the ginger rapeseed oil. this stall was by a company called supernature and i really like their infused oils- especially the packaging! so pretty.
i got this little book for my sister a few years ago as a gift back from a holiday (not sweden funnily enough). i asked her if i could borrow it recently because i wanted to draw lucia (the last picture) for a christmas card design. i forgot what a beautiful book it was, with lovely two-page spreads of the swedish countryside. for some reason it always gets me excited for christmas, though i don't think i'm allowed to mention that yet
i have been really missing paris recently. maybe its because i haven't been in a while but i think paris in the cold wintery weather is when it's most beautiful, and it's certainly getting to that time in glasgow. i've been at least once every year since 2009. i don't know why i choose to go there over everywhere else (probably the cheap ryanair flights from glasgow) but i just love going back and re-visiting some of my favourite places. i've decided to do a series of posts over the next few weeks intended as a paris travel guide, full of my favourite things to do, see and eat in the capital. i'm no expert on paris but i have built up a kind of routine of places to visit when i'm there, and hopefully this will be helpful for anyone who is thinking of going. the first is on places to go for food. there's so much to talk about that i will split it up into two parts. the pictures were taken by both myself and my sister tasha
PLACES TO EAT/PART ONE
1. ROSE BAKERY
this is always one of the first places i visit when i get to paris and so normally i get there for breakfast/brunch. it has a nice breakfast menu, things like pancakes and bircher museli, and the maple syrup scones are delicious (but tiny). it becomes a bit livelier in the afternoon for lunch and they have a lot more options, mainly salads and tarts. the one i normally visit is located on the rue des martyrs but there is also one now in le bon marché. the selection of cakes is wonderful and we normally take something to go when we leave
merci is a really cool shop located on the boulevard beaumarchais and has three different places to eat inside- the bookshop cafe, the cinema cafe and a restaurant on the lower ground floor. i've been to the bookshop cafe mostly. they do simple meals for lunch like soup and goats cheese on toast with chives. you can only really go to merci for lunch/coffee because they close too early for dinner
3. LE HANGAR
this next one is probably my favourite place in paris ever. it's tucked away down a little alley just opposite the pompidou centre. i've been with friends, family and with just mathew and it always has a wonderful atmosphere. the food itself is simple, classic french cooking and the restaurant's always full of locals. if you get there early around seven or eight in the evening then there's no need to book. my favourite meal is the chicken with honey and fennel, which they seem to always have on the menu
i've been making lavender shortbread quite regularly recently. it's cheap and easy to make, you just have to remember to infuse some lavender sugar for a few days in advance. i do this by taking a few springs of dried lavender and putting them with caster sugar in a jar
here's what you need:
125g lavender sugar, plus extra for dusting on top
300g plain flour
50g ground rice
cream together the sugar and butter. some recipes tell you to sieve the lavender out and put it in later but i just shove it all in cause i think it looks nice in the bowl. sieve in the flour and the ground rice and mix with a wooden spoon until it resembles bread crumbs. mold it together with floured hands until it forms a paste, then chill in the fridge for fifteen minutes. take it out, cut it in half, roll out and cut into shapes about 5mm thick. place onto grease-proofed baking trays and put back in the fridge again for around half an hour. meanwhile pre-heat the oven at gas mark 4. before putting it in the oven sprinkle some more lavender sugar on top. the shortbread should take between fifteen to twenty minutes to cook. take it out when it just starts to colour round the edges and looks slightly golden. then dust more sugar on top when it comes out