Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Retrospective: Looking Back On 2014

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! 


February 2014

March 2014


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.
April 2014
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!
May 2014

June 2014


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. 

August 2014
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.

October 2014
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.

November 2014
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.

December 2014
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!  


  1. What a year - well done! Lovely to meet you this year, here's to an even more amazing 2015 - Happy New Year!!

    Rosie xx

  2. Thank you! And you too. Happy New Year! We should grab lunch and have a catch up sometime in the New Year x

  3. Oh my goodness, what an amazing year and congratulations on achieving so much whilst still studying! I am awestruck. Looking forward to having a browse over your posts :) from a fellow Canterbury native (well, Margate ha) xxx
    Lucy @

  4. Thanks! Honestly, now I'm finished I kind of miss that feeling of trying to do way too many things at once! x

  5. Pretty amazing just how much you achieve in a year! To many more food posts and recipe book gifts in 2015 ;)

  6. Thank you. Honestly, I just feel like I've stepped off a roller-coaster now 2014 is over, I actually cried with relief a few seconds to midnight the other night that it was over! And yes! Happy New Year to you too x

  7. You have had an EXTREMELY busy year!

    Maria xxx

  8. Trying to do way too many things at once has been my default setting for so long, I don't really know any different - though 2014 was a bit more of a mental year than usual! x

  9. Suuch a packed year! Happy New Year Rachel!

  10. As always! Happy New Year to you, too! xx

  11. Wow, what an amazing year! Thanks for writing your blog, which during 2014 inspired me to try some new recipes (pissaladiere; pasta with courgette, lemon and chilli; brownies), buy a new cookbook (Honey & Co) and visit a new restaurant (Salt). My new year's resolution is to write a food blog of my own, which I'm in the process of researching at the moment! Every best wish for your continued success in 2015! Steve

  12. So glad you enjoyed the recipes - I love seeing your results popping up on my Instagram. How are you finding the Honey & Co. book?

    Can't wait to see your blog once it launches!

  13. Thanks Rachel! Yes, very impressed with the combination of simplicity but decent results with Honey & Co. I made the mushroom and cumin sfiha for my vegetarian sister, which turned out so well. I'm still struggling to sort out hosting and a good domain name but will hopefully get something launched soon -- I'll let you know when I do!

  14. I just wanted to say that I think I've found my favourite blog to read. ever.

    i just want to stick my face into my laptop and eat all your delicious recipes!!!

    Apologies if I become slightly stalkerish - your blog is such a feel-good place!

    Betty x

    The Betty Stamp