When I was a child, I never could understand grownups telling me that time seems to pass faster the older you’d get. “Another year has whizzed by”, they’d say, as I furrowed my head and thought, “no it hasn’t!” What’s more, I couldn’t foresee that I would ever come to feel the same way or say those same things. And yet here I am, marvelling bemusedly at how fast another year has whizzed by and, hang on a second, wasn’t it just a few weeks ago I was trying to remember to write 2013 rather than 2012?
And yet, when I look back through the posts I’ve shared through the year, I can say that it’s been another wonderful year, regardless of how quickly it seems to have sped past.
The Apple, Date & Ginger Chutney I made went on to win me first prize for chutneys at our local allotment show later in the year.
I was thrilled to be able to share my favourite food photographs on the back of my new Moo mini blog cards.
For Christmas 2012 I made a strikingly colourful Beetroot and Lemon Zest Cured Trout, finally sharing the recipe I used just in time for Valentine’s day. If that sounds too time-intensive, I also made some really quick No Bake Mini Lemon Ricotta Cheesecakes. Probably the recipe that excited me the most (and has kept on giving us pleasure as we work our way through the jars) was How To Can (Bottle) Apple Pie Filling. We’ve made variations of the simple King Oyster Mushroom & Cream Pasta a number of times since.
On a more gadget-focused note, I reviewed a spice and nut grinder from Cuisinart.
I wouldn’t usually include a giveaway in my annual roundup but the chocolate badger from Bettys really caught readers’ imaginations and I’ll be sharing further news from that later this year.
Still reliving the holiday to Japan, I posted the last of my six posts about Japanese temples and shrines we visited and took you on a Meander through Kyoto’s Nishiki Market. Back in London, I found a taste of Japan at Bincho Yakitori in Soho.
Things were quiet in my kitchen, but the No Churn Jelly Belly Ice Cream Recipe was fun!
There were more recipes on the blog including Butter, Sage and Lemon Roasted Chicken, Cheat’s Chocolate Cherry Baked Alaska, an incredible Roasted Aubergine Macaroni Cheese recipe by Gastrogeek, tasty Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry Rice and a Billingsgate Fish & Egg Pie.
Pinterest and I are good friends. I explained why I love it and how I use it, here.
I sneaked in another post about Japan, sharing our little rest stop for Amazake and Warabi Mochi at Bunnosuke Jaya.
And there was lots more cooking including a Chicken Tarragon Pasta Bake I urge you to try, a Simple Miso Cod which we served with pak choi and rice, a delicious Home-made Tomato Soup and classic Garlic & Rosemary Roast Lamb.
That roast lamb made a delicious leftovers meal of Lamb & Spring Onion Hoisin Lettuce Wraps.
Supperclubs have been steadily growing in number and popularity for the last few years, but I don’t get to many. I did have a lovely evening at a Japanese supperclub hosted by The London Foodie.
Oh and I got a new Samsung S4 phone, which I still love!
In late May we returned to Islay for the whisky festival, our third time attending. I loved up some Squat Lobsters and Crab.
I experienced the shock of finding great food a stone’s throw from where I was working in Watford.
I never did write up the lovely weekend I spend attending the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery. But I did share an excellent guest post on the basics of Cooking a Stir Fry, written by my friend Diana, who I met over the weekend.
We had a lovely meal out in Naamyaa Cafe in Islington.
A quiet month on the blog, as I was immersed in planning for our second trip to Japan.
I wrote all about the history of apples and our educational visit to the National Fruit Collections at Brogdale.
September recipes included a Persia Meets Mozambique Peri Peri Baked Chicken & Yoghurt Rice, Spicy Sungold Tomato Ketchup and Easy Butternut Squash Soup with Candied Bacon.
And a little tip on using DIY teabags to immerse spices into one’s cooking!
And just before we headed back to Japan for our second trip, Pete spent the day with the London Brewing Company in The Bull in Highgate, creating a collaboration Coffee Porter.
I enjoyed hot chocolate and fudge at Camden market.
My friend Diana wrote another guest post, this time sharing some comprehensive tips on making Egg Fried Rice, with many variations. Pete made a really tasty Pork and Apple Stroganoff Pie with Cheddar Crust.
And I wrote a letter to my beautiful niece.
This month has been altogether more Christmas-focused with my 2013 Gift Guide full of ideas for the best presents, my recommendations for bottles to buy for a sweet-toothed alcoholic celebration and a review of marzipan fruits.
I also introduced Cocoa Runners, a great way to buy the very best bean-to-bar chocolate from around the world.
In a fit of nostalgia, I did a restaurant review of childhood favourite, a Beefeater restaurant.
And my last recipe of the year was a really old classic – Mrs Beeton’s recipe for scones, served with home made black cherry jam.
That’s it, the year is done. Hope you’ve had a great one too!
Wishing you happiness, health and success in the new year.