Happy New Year everyone! I wish you all the best in seeing out the old and welcoming in the new. New Year’s Eve has come and gone in our household yet again. The haggis nachos are devoured, washed down with some wonderful raspberry lemonade. But rather than share the recipes just yet, I wanted to write a little round up of 2009.
Let me start with the brightest highlight in the shape of dear Sylvia who was born early this year. She is just gorgeous and has brought immeasurable joy to E and me and both our families. Life has been a rollercoaster of change with her arrival and will continue to be next year when I return to work.
I was surprised just how much time I was able to devote to cooking and blogging after Sylvia’s birth. She has been such a good baby with her sleeping and playing, although, now that she sleeps less and moves about more, I am finding that she is demanding more of my energies. Zinc (our cat) and the garden also continue to be other delightful distractions.
The other personal highlight of the year was our trip to Edinburgh to visit E’s family. Edinburgh is such a beautiful city that it is a delight to wander around the atmospheric old streets and gaze at the gorgeous historic buildings.
But best of all was having Sylvia meet E’s Scottish family and friends. They absolutely loved her and it was such a pleasure for us to spend time with E’s parents and his sister’s family. It was great to be able to share Sylvia’s Christening with them as well as an early Christmas dinner. Leaving Edinburgh made me sad not to be living near them on a more permanent basis.
I have made a best of 2009 list but this year has been one where I can count on one hand the number of films I have seen at the cinema and the same might be said of new cds and gigs. On the other hand I have watched too much tv and read too many trashy novels.
Best of 2009
- Best television – Mad Men, Foyle’s War (repeats) and Masterchef
- Best film – Bright Star
- Best dvd – Millions Like Us
- Best cd - Fourteen Autums and Fifteen Winters: The Twilight Sad
- Best adult book – Neon Pilgrim by Lisa Dempster
- Best children’s book – Peepo by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
- See list below for blogging and foodie highlights
Now onto the blog highlights. I had thought I could do a best of each month as I did last year but in the end there was just too much good food this year to narrow it down to 12 posts. Instead I will just do a list of some of the highlights:
Blogging and Food Highlights of 2009
- Blogging was made easier at the start of the year with a new computer and new camera. My blog now has more and larger photos as I have developed more confidence in my photos.
- My ‘About’ posts on apricots, apples and broccoli.
- Enjoying quirky combinations: broccoli in burgers, chocolate on beetroot risotto, sweet filling in ravioli, pumpkin and chocolate in bread pudding, and chocolate on pizza.
- Pleasing E with chocolate caramel slice, mars bar slice, butterscotch surprise cake, dal makhani and sour skon.
- Discovering a gingerbread and panforte that make excellent gifts.
- The adrenalin rush of cooking with that stinging superfood, nettles, and the pleasure of finding that they make excellent soup. (Thanks AOF)
- Finally discovering the most delicious and satisfying vegan and gluten free sweet recipe: pumpkin brownies.
- Making old favourites chulent, miso soup, crackers, potato boston bun, hedgehog, apricot sponge pudding and sponge cake, which have all been on the to do list for a long time.
- It was the year we finally got a compost bin working but the most environmentally friendly discovery was making vegetable stock with scraps stored in the freezer.
- Cooking with ingredients that I had only read about before: purple carrots, rose petals, cavolo nero and fresh cranberries.
- A link from the Wikipedia nut roast entry to my main nut roast page, where I am continuing to add links to nut roasts I make. (I am up to number 12.)
- Enjoying many loaves of the great sourdough bread from Andres.
- We have managed to eat out at many great places during the year. Local highlight would have to be Hellenic Republic and Scottish highlight was The Witchery.
- Writing a new About Me post, and developing work-in-progress Index by Ingredients and Kitchen Notes Ingredients and Substitutions. I am sorry to say I have not managed to update the latter two posts as much as I would like.
- Meeting bloggers at recent vegan potluck (which I will write on soon).
As I have said in previous years, I am not into new year’s resolutions. I merely hope for health and happiness and the strength to throw out my beloved manky old oven mitts. I have many ideas for blog posts that I hope will appear in 2010, a small backlog to post and a huge list of bookmarked recipes to try.
Finally, I end with a huge thank you to everyone who reads this blog. Thank you for your comments, your ideas and suggestions, your thoughtfulness, your feedback, your sharing, your support. I continue to connect with wonderful people in reading many favourite blogs and discovering great new ones. It was encouraging to hear from family and friends in Edinburgh that they read my posts. I send best wishes for 2010 to fellow bloggers, family and friends. (Picture below is of me and Sylvia by my little 4 year old niece Grace. She and my other nieces make great contributions.)
Most of all I want to thank my mum and E. Thanks Mum for all your support and friendship this year while I have found my feet with Sylvia. Thanks to E for his constant support in doing dishes, keeping the music playing on the stereo and trying almost anything I care to cook. I would not have cooked and blogged so much this year without E to encourage me and keep an eye on Sylvia while I am in the kitchen and on the computer.