This year marked the progression from lifestyle to food blog, and I think it is one of the best possible things that could have happened. While I sometimes do miss putting together a good outfit post, my real passion is food; working on recipes for you all and photographing them, and discovering new restaurants to share with you all too. Food is what I'm passionate about, and I've been enjoying writing this blog so much more since the transition. This year also marked a massive change for me, in that I moved back from my apartment on the West Side of LA where I had been attending classes at UCLA, and back to London for my final year.
1. Discovering that Preserved Lemons make the perfect addition to a Chicken Mayo Sandwich at The Sycamore Kitchen in La Brea. | 2. Finding one of my favourite lunch spots in Los Angeles, Toast on West 3rd Street in West Hollywood. | 3. The only 'cold' day I can actually remember in Los Angeles where I had to wear a coat and a scarf! | 4. Discovering another one of my favourite foodie spots on West 3rd Street in West Hollywood, Joan's On Third which is practically a LA institution. | 5. Enjoying beautiful golden sunsets, yes again on West 3rd. | 6. Shooting photos for the first time with amazing photographer and my best friend on the West Coast, Nicole.
I woke up on the first day of 2013 in my apartment on Los Angeles' Westside. I get asked all the time if I miss Los Angeles and I really, really do. I miss my life in Los Angeles every single day, and while I really wanted to come home at the end, and if someone said I could go back to live tomorrow I'd choose to stay doing my London-Countryside-France flip flop here, I can't wait to go back to visit. I lived in LA for 10 months and I fell in love with it. I miss Saturday mornings on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, weekend walks along the ocean front, shopping in West Hollywood, and to constant sunshine. And there are so many more restaurants in Los Angeles I have not had a chance to eat in yet!
1. Making the perfect, all American breakfast oatmeal with bacon, maple syrup and blueberries. | 2. Enjoying Santa Monica beach with my friend Evie. | 3. My first time at my favourite brunch spot in Los Angeles, The Tasting Kitchen on Abbot Kinney. | 4. Discovering the secret to the perfect quick and easy tomato pasta sauce. | 5. Creating my go-to carrot soup recipe. | 6. Celebrating this blog's 4th birthday, again on Santa Monica beach.
1. My first ever food truck experience, and probably one of the best meals I've ever had at LudoTruck when it was parked up in Mid City. | 2. Creating one of the most popular recipes on this blog, Green Eggs & Ham, inspired by a dish I ate at The Huckleberry Cafe in Santa Monica. | 3. I wrote an article about what it is like for my friends, having to eat out with me when I am always photographing my food! | 4. Celebrating my 20th Birthday. | 5. My birthday lunch at Gjelina on Abbot Kinney. | 6. I think I did some of my best baking in my LA kitchen, these are my Salted Caramel Double Chocolate Chip Rolo Cookies.
1. Creating my own recipe for Homemade Chicken Fajitas. | 2. Stumbling across what became my recipe for 3-Step Chocolate Brownies one Sunday. They are now the most popular post on this blog. | 3. Shooting my profile images on a beautiful Spring Break afternoon at the Venice Canals with Nicole. | 4. Visiting Downtown LA's famous Bottega Louie. | 5. Discovering my favourite taco joint in LA, Blue Plate Taco on Santa Monica ocean front. | 6. Finding that soup does in fact make a wonderful brunch dish at Axe on Abbot Kinney.
1. Creating the first run of what has become my signature dish, Indian Spiced Leftover Summer Vegetable Fritters. | 2. Chickening out from trying a Rattlesnake sausage but still having a fantastic lunch at Wurstkuche in Venice. | 3. Roadtripping down to Newport Beach, Orange County with Nicole over Memorial Day Weekend. | 4. Brunching at what is apparently a Newport institution, Haute Cakes Caffe. | 5. Indulging in 3-Ingredient Nutella Cheesecake Cups. | 6. Remaking one of my favourite Ottolenghi dishes, his Marinated Mozzarella with baby mozzarella in a jar.
1. Mussels and fries at Breadbar inside Westfield, Century City before picking up some of the things from J.Crew and Sephora I wanted to take back to England with me. | 2. Discovering the absolutely incredible burgers to be found at Short Order LA at the Original Farmers Market in West Hollywood. | 3. Viewing my incredible second city in its entirety, during the daytime for the first time just before I said goodbye to it up at the Griffith Observatory.
In June I finished up my Spring Quarter finals at UCLA and it was time for my last few weeks in the city I'd absolutely fallen head over heels with. My best friend Kathryn flew out to enjoy my last 10 days with me, and while writing this post is making me miss Los Angeles so incredibly much, I was glad to finally be heading back to England.
1. Getting back into the swing of my favourite 'Places To Eat In London' column at Drift Bar at the bottom of the Heron Tower. | 2. Sharing one of my families favourite barbecue recipes, Honey Mustard Chicken Skewers. | 3. Throwing together a quick Caprese Salad and sharing some photos from my French home in Brittany. | 4. Kicking off my 'Cocktail Hour' column with Lemon Lavender Vodka Lemonade. | 5. Rachel Phipps got nominated for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards 2013 in the 'Best Food Blog' category. Congratulations to my reader Sophie who won the category, and to one of my newer blogger friends I met over the Summer Bailee, a California native who was the runner up. | 6. Learning to make pasta at The Underground Cookery School.
July was the month where I got to know all of my favourite places that I call 'home' all over again. Obviously, this meant being back on the farm in Kent for the Summer to barbecue and start off my cocktail column, both of which meant (much to her upset that it would no longer stay tidy!) reacquainting myself with my Mother's kitchen! After a week or two at home I also got to go back to the French house for the first time in over a year, where I realised how much I had really missed it, and while I did not yet have my flat there and I was still staying with friends or day tripping off of the train, I got to reintroduce myself to London, my favourite playground.
1. Showing my friend from UCLA Katie, visiting London that English food can be truly fantastic at Jamie Oliver's Union Jacks in Holborn. | 2. Throwing together what has turned out to be my go to potato salad recipe in my French kitchen. | 3. Throwing a dinner party for my closest group of school friends, the first time we were all together around one table since before I moved out to LA. | 4. Making Chilled Peach & Tomato Soup with bruised peaches. | 5. Creating a Bacon & Spinach Quiche with The Lake District Quark Co. | 6. Sharing some of the fantastic things I ate in France that Summer.
1. Having a total revelation and realising that I actually adore raw fish at Lima in Fitzrovia. | 2. Reviewing my new bread bible, Brilliant Bread by James Morton and realising that for most basic breads, no kneading is actually necessary! | 3. Sharing a family favourite Bolognese recipe. | 4. Stumbling across a newly opened pub with fantastic food in my hometown of Canterbury, The Shakespeare. | 5. Teaming up with Total Yogurt to create this 3 Ingredient Blueberry Frozen Yogurt recipe. | 6. Finally getting around to sharing a recipe I developed in Los Angeles for breaded prawns.
1. Discovering what I think must be the best hangover cure brunch in London at Recipease in Notting Hill. | 2. Making these adorable Miniature Jelly Pumpkins for Halloween. | 3. Stumbling across one of my new favourite London restaurants, Whyte & Brown. | 4. Sharing one of my go to dinner recipes of Pea & Mozzarella Soup. | 5. Hitting up Street Feast for the first time at its home for that Summer, Dalston Yard. | 6. Kicking off my 'Borough Market Challenge' column with Mussels with Chilli & Samphire.
1. Getting sent Mr. Todiwala's Bombay to review and discovering that I do, in fact actually quite like Indian food. | 2. Filming my first ever cooking video, a recipe for Autumn Vegetable Fritters. | 3. Spending reading week at the French house. | 4. A wonderful evening in the Fifteen training kitchen with Andy Appleton, head chef of Fifteen Cornwall, Jon Rotheram and the amazing Gennaro Contaldo, learning how they all like to cook pheasant. | 5. Enjoying my first afternoon tea in eons, festive edition at Bond & Brook, hidden away in Fenwick Bond Street. | 6. Back at The Underground Cookery School learning how to make a Soufflé.
1. Having my joint (with LudoTruck in Los Angeles) best meal of 2013 at Hotel Chocolat's new Rabot 1745 restaurant in Borough Market. | 2. Making my best cocktail invention of 2013, the Italian 75 for New Years Eve. | 3. Putting together a leftover Christmas Pudding Parfait for Selfridges. | 4. Discovering one of my new favourite breakfasts in London at Dishoom. | 5. Collaborating with my Mummy for a recipe post on her personal Mince Pie recipe. | 6. Finally perfecting my classic French style chocolate mousse technique.
I hope everyone has a great New Years Eve tomorrow night, and I hope that the New Year will bring you everything you could ever wish for. I'll be cooking New Years Day we're hosting my Dad's family for lunch, and I'm so excited about the menu that is planned (and which I have a dish in that I'm planning on sharing with you over the next week or so). Also, just a reminder, if you enter the discount code LETITSNOW at the checkout, you can get 25% off of all blog sidebar advertising until midnight tomorrow night.