Thursday, 31 December 2009

Review of 2009

2009, the year I started food blogging. This time last year I just another reader of food blogs and never did I imagine that I would start my own. Then in February I cooked a three course dinner for valentines day and after reading blog posts about the same thing I became inspired to start my own. I have to say I had my doubts about how long I would keep it up and still continue to be amazed by the things I have done cooking wise this year.

Initially I started this blog as a way of recording recipes I would like to cook again but food blogging has done so much more for me than that. I'm a much less fuss eater. I've tried raw fish, an ever increasing variety of vegetables (I was previously a carrots, peas and sweetcorn girl!) and also fish (fish fingers and salmon only this time last year). I got my first kitchenAid, which is still much loved and used. It pushed my bread baking onwards and also inspired me to join the Daring Bakers. Highlights include my first challenge, a Bakewell tart, the Dobos torte and Decembers gingerbread house. At the same time I joined the Daring cooks and a newly formed bread baking group Fresh from the oven. Highlights of the daring cooks challenges this year include Chinese potstickers, sushi and salmon en crute. I started out as a member of Fresh from the oven on their first challenge in June, in August I hosted the challenge of English muffins and took over the running of the group along with Jules of butcher, baker. I also joined the UK Food Bloggers Association and try to be an active member in the forum as much as time allows. And of course my blog reader continued to grow with more and more great blogs.
Another thing I have come to love about food blogging is the social side (you can find me on Twitter here). I have got to know some like minded people via this blog and twitter. Hopefully blogging and tweeting about my love of cooking/baking and sharing my successes (and sometimes failures) in the kitchen will stop me boring my none foodie friends and family! I have read and appreciated all the comments you have given me so thank you all and keep them coming.

Other foodie highlights of 2009 included a trip to the lake district and one to the Anglesey Oyster and welsh food produce festival (I even tried an oyster) where I discovered smoked bread flour. Favorite recipes other than those mentioned above have included authenitc spaghetti carbonara, blueberry crumble muffins and beetroot and spring greens risotto.

So what does 2010 have in store?
In mid December my boyfriend and I got our first DSLR camera (a second hand Canon EOS 400d) as an early Christmas present. I hope that this will start to make a difference to the photos on my blog.I hope to revive and complete my whats in season series which was side tracked due to lack of time. I also plan to continue trying to grow vegetables in our tiny garden. This year produced a bowl of mangetout and 2 courgettes! but I live in hope of producing more.

Bread wise I want to continue to bake the majority of bread we eat and to try lots of recipes and types. First up I plan to attempt sour dough again (you can read a bit about my first attempt at sour dough here) it was an epic failure but it was over a year ago now (pre-blogging) and the memories are fading enough for me to consider trying it again! This time I will be following the recipe from The handmade loaf by Dan Lepard, no doubt a much better recipe than the Jamie Oliver one I tried last time (sorry Jamie I have had great success with all your other recipes but not the sour dough).

I also received some ravioli cutters for Christmas so I'm hoping to experiment with them sometime soon. I didn't have much success with ravioli why I tried earlier this year but I'm hoping another Christmas present I received may help - The Italian cookery course by Katie Caldesi. Talking of cookbooks this year has also seen my collection expand exponentially. I got 3 for my birthday in October, 2 in Borders sale last month and 3 for Christmas alone. Favorites this year include Tender by Nigel Slater, Ottolenghi the cookbook and Larousse Gastronomique. I plan to try new recipes more often (especially from all these new cookbooks) because as I blogged last week I find cooking new recipes inspiring and therapeutic. All too often I fall in to the trap of planning a week of meals and writing a shopping list at the last minute and filling it with the same old meals. I hope to be more organised in 2010.

I plan to continue being a member of the daring bakers and daring cooks as I enjoy the excitment each month of what the next challenge will be and it pushes me to try recipes I wouldn't normally try. I also hope that myself and Jules can build on the success we have these last 6 months running Fresh from the oven.

All thats left is for me to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!

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James B said...

Happy New Year Claire. Thanks for your comment earlier.

Good luck to you too with your resolutions! I love your round up, you have done so much in 2009 - congratulations!

Nicisme said...

Great post Claire, and you're going to love that new camera!
Best wishes for 2010!