What's happening, Glasgow?

T.G.I.F! First of all I wanted to thank you all for your reaction to my last post. I really appreciate all comments and feedback, and its reassuring to know that I'm not alone in how I feel when it comes to everything I was discussing. On Tuesday I head up to Shetland with work for two weeks, so rather than being sad or anxious about being away from home and the job being quite tough, I'm going to try and put a positive spin on it. I can take all my 'life admin' stuff with me to get sorted, my camera and laptop for blogging, a couple of books, and hopefully on my day off I can go explore some of the island. It will be strange having evenings to myself, and no cats or Pete to entertain! So I guess I'll just need to make the most of it - have lots of bubble baths, paint my nails and indulge in some cheesy shows on Netflix. I'll hopefully be home in time for my 26th birthday, then I'll only have a month of the job left and will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I shared a little bit of my love for Glasgow at the end of the last post. There are so many fun things happening in the city over the coming weeks and months, I thought I'd share a handful of the events I am looking forward to (skipping straight past the Brand New gig the first week in June... which I am now going to miss, sob!)

Sunday Best

I can't remember the last time I titled a blog post with Sunday Best. It makes me nostalgic for my early days of blogging, when this was a very personal diary with not many people reading it, google reader was the way to catch up on blog posts, and blog comments were much more of a regular thing (I mean leaving them as well as receiving them) Blogging has changed so much over the years and in all honestly I've found it really hard to keep up. I love the people I've met and the friends I've made. I love working with some of my favourite brands - and I promise you that I wouldn't do it if I felt like it compromised the heart and soul of this blog. I could never not be true to myself or you guys either. My blog has always been quite a slow burner, and I've come to accept that it will probably continue to be that way. I write what I want and when I can, but I still feel the pressure and comparisons creeping into my brain (of other blogs that started out around the same time as me, but are now massive!) They say you get out what you put in, and I guess that is true. I just feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do, with regular blogging being one of them. My full time job is so hectic that I am considering a change in career once this 5 month TV job is finished. It's just not giving me the routine or lifestyle that I want anymore, which saddens me because I love the core of what I do, but I feel like my life and personal priorities have changed and my job makes me compromise almost every aspect of my life.

I don't quite know what I am trying to say, or if any of that makes sense. I feel like my thoughts right now would take a proper essay in order for me to fully communicate them. I turn 26 next month and something has changed in me, and my priorities are slowly changing (quarter life crisis, alarm bells ringing?!) I'm not the person I was last year, or even 5 years ago when I made a lot of life/career/etc decisions which have brought me to where I am right now. I am the happiest and the most 'me' I have ever felt, so maybe that's why I am itching and craving for change. I know what I like, and I sure as hell know what I don't like. It all seems to be career orientated, so that's where I need to have the biggest brainstorming session once I finish this job. My anxiety also seems to drive a lot of the thoughts and ideas that I have, and I am working carefully to suss out when it's my anxiety talking, and what my inner voice REALLY wants and needs. Some days I will completely pick my life apart and analyze absolutely everything, and then other days I literally just think 'fuck it' - everyone is making it up as they go along at some point eh.

Recently I have been focusing on the mantra 'Not every day is good, but there's something good in every day' - and it works really well when I am feeling deflated, defeated, or generally a bit down in the dumps. You should try it, some days it has helped me stop the very reddest of mists from descending! Here are some things I am grateful for recently:

When fitness is fun

I really envy those of you who actually enjoy going to the gym and fitness classes. They say three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit automatic, and despite being a member of my local gym for over a year now, I wouldn't quite call my frequenting of it a 'habit'... Today I thought I'd share a few sports I've taken part in over the years which are brilliant for burning calories without even realising you are working out. This sort of fitness is the most rewarding for me, when it's fun too and doesn't feel like a chore!

1. Surfing

Sunday cookfest

I love food. Moving into my new house with a massive kitchen has been an absolute godsend when it comes to preparing and cooking meals. I don't get much time during the week to cook big feasts from scratch, but at the weekends I have started to enjoy spending time making nice meals. I'm not the best chef, and don't like being rushed... but I'm getting better (baking will still always be my forte!) A couple of weekends ago Pete and I had a go at a Scandinavian dish from the Transun blog, rather than our normal hungover Dominos order. Here is our attempt at Langoustines with smoked potato puree and soured cream:

For the Barigoule:
50ml Olive Oil
1 Carrot
1 Brown Onion
3 Garlic cloves
2 Bay leaves
2 sprigs Thyme
1 tbsp Fennel seeds
100ml White wine
100ml White wine vinegar
200ml Water
1 Lemon (in halves)
5 Small parsley roots
300g Fennel

Peel the carrot, onion and garlic and chop into smaller pieces. Fry them in the olive oil together with the bay leaves, fennel seeds and thyme for about 3 minutes. Add all the fluids and the halved lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Split the parsley root and fennel lengthwise. Simmer in the broth for 20-30 minutes, until soft. Then allow to cool in the broth.

Smoked potato puree:
300g Potatoes
50g Butter
100g Crème fraiche

Peel the potatoes and boil them gently in salted water until soft. Remove the water and pass the potatoes through a sieve. Add the butter with a spatula and add crème fraiche until you have achieved a smooth and creamy texture. Add salt to taste. Smoke according to instruction.

Langoustine broth:
Shells from the langoustine
300ml of the barigoule liquid
5 red cherry tomatoes

Roast the langoustine shells in the oven for approximately 5 min at 150°. Place in a saucepan with halved tomatoes and strain the Barigoule liquid into the pan. Bring to the boil and steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a clean saucepan. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Champagne cream:
200ml Double cream
2 tbsp White wine vinegar
Mix vinegar and double cream, add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Let steep for 5 minutes, then whisk lightly. Cool until serving.

The other ingredients:
10 Langoustines
100ml Panko
100g Butter
10cm Leek (the white part)
2 tbsp Leek ashes

Shell the langoustines according to instruction, place in fridge. Slice the leek so all guests get one slice each, steam for 5 minutes. Warm leek with parsley root and fennel in the oven with some Barigoule liquid. Bread the backs of langoustines with panko, fry gently in browed butter on the back only. Remove tails from the raw shrimp. Garnish with leek ash over the top.

We followed the recipe in that order to start, but then it included a bit of chopping and changing, looking ahead and keeping an eye on a few different sections at the one time. Unfortunately we didn't manage to make the leek ashes, or have such lovely presentation as the Aveqia chefs do!

Okay, when it comes to presentation I have to laugh because as quite a creative person I could not make this dish look pretty at all! Pete tried one plate and I did the other. Mark and Emma over at Food and Drink Glasgow blog did an absolute stellar job on presenting their dish. I need to learn a few lessons from them for sure. We snapped a few quick photos then got tucked in, and it tasted absolutely divine. The langoustines themselves in the panko breadcrumbs were delicious, and I would definitely make them again along with the potato puree. It was the barigoule that took the most time, and although it tasted amazing it's not the sort of thing you want to start making from scratch when you are starving and feeling impatient. The whole dish took an hour and a half from prep to plating up. I am a big fan of seafood, and although de-shelling the langoustines was time consuming (and ugly, hello little alien prawns) it was totally worth it.

What sort of meals do you like to cook from scratch at home? I want to make more time for cooking, and take it as a relaxing and enjoyable experience rather than a stressful or rushed one. Definitely need to get back into baking again too. I've had the thought of Nutella Cupcakes floating in my brain for months now...