My first full year of food blogging. Personally some of my best achievements, but also some of the worst times I've encountered so far over the past almost 22 years. 2014 is certainly a year I won't be forgetting in a hurry, and it was only putting this roundup together I realise how much I've managed to pack in. So, in the middle of your preparations to see 2015 in in style this evening, make yourself a nice cup of tea and join me down memory lane for a moment if you will looking back on some of my favourite moments and blog posts, recipes and restaurant reviews from the past year. I moved from London back to Canterbury, and I've been to France, Spain, Norway, Iceland and Scotland. And it's certainly been a colourful one!
1. I discovered what is, in my mind the very best brunch in London at Beagle in Hoxton. | 2. I visited East London's beautiful Columbia Road Flower Market for the first time. | 3. I created this Moroccan Chicken Goujon recipe which ended up on the side of a Total 0% yogurt pot later in the year. | 4. I made this Forced Rhubarb & Cardamom Breakfast Compote when I resolved to eat better breakfasts in 2014. I did not succeed. | 5. I made this Baby Spinach, Walnut and Pomegranate Salad as part of a big family spread on New Years Day. | 6. I created this Mint Aero Ice Cream which has to be one of my favourite recipes I've ever posted.
1. I discovered the joys of pork schnitzel and smoked eel salads at Boopshi's. | 2. I had my first ever Burger & Lobster experience. Why had I never eaten there before?! | 3. I made this 5 Minute Skinny Smoked Mackerel Pate that has been in my regular lunchtime rotation ever since.
1. I celebrated my 21st birthday at home with my family in Kent. | 2. I created a pair of brunch toasts for my Borough Market column which amount to the piece of freelance recipe work this year that I'm the most proud of. | 3. I cooked up this Sausage & Onion Roast for Sunday Lunch one chilly weekend for my family. | 4. I attended the soft launch of Big Easy in Covent Garden; a must for shellfish and barbecue fans! | 5. I made homemade tzatziki and experimented with making my own homemade pitta breads. | 6. I took my Mummy out for a spot of shopping in Chelsea and afternoon tea at Gallery Mess by way of an early Mothers Day treat.
At Easter I attended my final university class, and while I still had essays and my dissertation due, I was basically done with my formal education. After 19 years of schooling, it was a very odd feeling. From then onwards, while I still held onto my London flat for another month or two, I moved back to Kent full time.
1. I put together a throw back to my time living in Los Angeles with this Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado & Tomato Chopped Salad with Skinny Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. | 2. Pork & Co. opened in Canterbury, and if you're local they do the most amazing pulled pork baps with the hog in the shop window. | 3. My close group of old school friends and I started what we hope will become a yearly tradition of going to Charing Point to Point together on Easter Saturday to watch the races. | 4. I started covering a bit more street food on the blog with a feature on Rola Wala at KERB. | 5. I made this Classic Sangria which I'm very, very proud of. I also got rather drunk on it watching the Boat Race (I'm a Cambridge supporter, so I needed to down my sorrows!) | 6. I had one of the best meals I've ever had in London at Polpetto.
In May, everything properly changed. I finished my dissertation at the French house and wrote the blog post declaring that I would be blogging and freelancing that afternoon. I was overwhelmed by all your positive feedback to this announcement, which really kept me going during the very tough, first few months. I think September was the first month I was not really worried about how much money I was making!
1. I announced that as I graduated university I was going to go full time with the blogging and freelancing. | 2. My friend Izy and I literally spent a whole day at a window table at The Fable in the City, brunching, enjoying cocktails and dinner. | 3. I made this great Fattouch with Radishes and Sumac using things out of our garden for my family. | 4. I kicked off a sunny Shoreditch Sunday afternoon restaurant and bar crawl with a stunning Peruvian brunch at Andina. | 5. I covered Campo Viejo's Streets of Spain food festival on Southbank. | 6. I made a cardamom infused bread pudding with leftover croissants in my French kitchen.
1. Barbecue season! This mant my Skinny Sticky Storecupboard Barbecue Chicken. | 2. A big group of my favourite people and I went to Finals Day at Chesterton's Polo in the Park at Hurlingham Polo Club. | 3. A sunny Friday night found my friend Jon and I eating our way around Street Feast in Dalston Yard. | 4. I made the classic French Quiche Lorraine. | 5. This Ottolenghi salad is one of the best things I made last Summer. | 6. Barbecue S'mores Bananas were mu favourite thing to cook on the last of the hot coals.
Last week of June, beginning of July I went on an amazing trip around Norway, Iceland and Orkney. I saw such beautiful feats of both man and nature, and so many breathtaking shades of blue. Bathing in the Blue Lagoon was one of the best experiences I've every had. If you have not read them already, click though and read my posts, browse the photos to even just get a little taste of what was simply an incredible trip. It was also a fantastic opportunity to kick off the travel writing here on the blog, and for me as a freelancer. Travel is something that goes hand in hand with food, but with all my university commitments it is something (aside from upping sticks and traveling on the other side of the world, which I did!) I did not really have much of an opportunity to do before. I think I really started to realise the freedom I'd never had before.
1. I headed to Ålesund in Norway for Art Deco architecture, fiskesuppe and sjokolade mousse torte. | 2. The Scandi of my Summer holiday met with Californian avocados for this lunchtime tartine. | 3. I went boating on the beautiful Olden lake in Norway. | 4. I threw my Summer dinner party this year with a Provincial French theme. | 5. I taught everyone how to make fresh homemade pasta in my Borough Market column. | 6. I bathed in Iceland's famous Blue Lagoon.
1. I visited Suðureyri, Iceland's most sustainable fishing village. | 2. I went in search of a local lunch in Reykjavík, Iceland's exciting and lively capitol. | 3. I visited the stunning Balfour Castle on Orkney for afternoon tea. | 4. I had revelatory meatballs at Polpo in Notting Hill. | 5. Speaking of my mid-afternoon dinner (best way to get a reservation!) at Polpo, it inspired this White Peach, Pea Shoot & Mozzarella Bruschetta. | 6. I finally got around to making the Eton Mess Ice Cream I had promised Great British Chefs all Summer, and I was head over heels for the result.
1. Off on my travels again, I headed to the La Rioja region of Spain for a long weekend with Campo Viejo to take part in the wine harvest, visit their micro-winery, and to eat obscene amounts of incredible food, alongside an awful many glasses of fantastic Rioja. | 2. I got my Sloe and Damson Gin jars started to be ready to drink over the holidays in December. | 3. I made this Wood Pigeon Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Reduction from pigeons from the farm and our own home grown raspberries. | 4. I attended my first ever supper club, a Vietnamese feast at Uyen Luu's East London home. | 5. I discovered and reviewed the amazing Japanese spot Tamago in Canterbury, which quickly became one of my go to favourites for a quick, yet satisfying lunch in the city. | 6. Also in Canterbury, I finally got around to reviewing Salt, the small plates place on the King's Mile, full of delicious local produce.
1. Girly Peruvian Sunday lunches at Señor Ceviche in Soho. | 2. More London lunching, this time a Mummy Daughter affair at Roast in Borough Market. | 3. This Giant Israeli Couscous with Pomegranate & Pistachio is one of my favourite blog recipes from the last year. | 4. I received a mini baked doughnut pan in the post, which created a new baking addiction. First? Mini Vanilla Baked Doughnuts with Limoncello Glaze & Freeze Dried Raspberries. | 5. I reviewed the Honey & Co. Cookbook with these delicious Prawns with Tomato, Orange & Cardamom. | 6. I put together a suped up version of my famous brownies by giving them a raspberry ganache filling.
1. I got my first new camera in 6 years and I took it to experiment with the fact I can now shoot in dark places out to dinner at Boopshi's, and then onto Simmons Bar in Fitzrovia. | 2. A simply fantastic British Mummy Daughter lunch at 108 Brasserie in Marylebone. | 3. I used up some of the glut of pumpkins we grew in October in this delicious and basic Pumpkin & Coconut Soup.
1. I caught up with my friends and made some new ones, all the time stuffing my face with fantastic food and delicious cocktails at Jamie Oliver's book party for Jamie's Comfort Food. | 2. My favourite recipe I've produced this year, my Ginger & Pomegranate Sandwich Cake for my Borough Market column. | 3. Baking up a storm making some Classic Cheese Straws to nibble on in front of the television at the French house. | 4. Messing around with some of my new kitchen gadgets sharing another classic family recipe, a really easy Chicken Liver Pâté, paired with a new favourite, my crunchy Winter Slaw. | 5. I put together a round up of some of the cookbooks I simply could not live without to help with all your Christmas shopping. | 6. For festive breakfasts, I made up a batch of Christmas Granola, scattered with Christmas chocolate!
I think all that is left now is to wish you all, in advance of tonight for all my British, European and American readers (but perhaps somewhat on time for all you Aussies out there?) a Happy New Year! I hope that 2015 brings you all that you hope it will, and good luck with all of your new years resolutions. I've got some very fresh, light and bright recipes planned for January (all to be ruined by something totally indulgent to celebrate the blogs 6th birthday on February 1st!) and I simply can't wait to get started!