Sunday 3 January 2016

Reflections on 2015: most popular, blog overview etc

I meant to start this 2015 reflections post with a collage of favourite photos but it was too overwhelming and time consuming so instead here is my green giraffe pancake that I am thinking of using as a new avatar on my blog this year!
Whew!  2015 was a busy year with lots of change.

Dolly and Frozen receded into the background of Sylvia's life, to be replaced with the likes of Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.  Sylvia kept us busy with her netball, basketball, tennis, swimming, gymnastics and ukulele lessons.  She is now reading chapter books and anything she can.

We went on holidays to Ocean Grove and Echuca, saw more movies this year, enjoyed lots of days out, and had fun at lots of E's ukulele gigs.

I had a new part time work, continued volunteer work, took up body balance classes, took part in a book club and occasionally attended a singing group.  Which meant I didn't have as much blogging energy as I would like.  With photos, I was frustrated by Apple changing the photo editing software and excited to experiment with a light box.

2016 was also the year of aquafaba, nutella doughnuts and vegan degustations.

My two special people!
Where Green Gourmet Giraffe was featured:
Thanks to everyone who has featured Green Gourmet Giraffe on their blog from event organisers to columnists to ordinary bloggers sharing my recipes to those on social media.  Everyone except the people who shared a pre-blogging photo under the title of cake fail!  Moving along swiftly!  Here are a few of the places online you could find links to GGG:

One of my favourite books of the year at Green Refectory in Brunswick where I discovered what might be the best vegan sausage rolls on sale in Melbourne!
Best of 2015
So here are some of my favourites of 2015.  Bear in mind that it was very hard to decide in most of these categories.
  • Favourite Film: The Imitation Game
  • Favourite Children's Film: Minions
  • Favourite Overseas TV: Humans (UK)
  • FAvourite Australian TV: Please Like Me
  • Favourite Children's TV: Hank Zipster and Curious George
  • Favourite Book: All the Light We Cannot See
  • Favourite Young Adult Book: Bright Young Things
  • Favourite Children's Books: Lob, Seven Little Australians and The Naughtiest Girl books
  • Favourite Cafe meal: Moroccan deli-cacy
  • Fabourite Restaurant meal: Bar Idda
  • Favourite Gig: Blur

CERES organic market.  A place I have visited quite a lot this year.
What I was eating in 2015
I know it looks like a long list but this is only a fraction of the food I ate and posted this year:

We have been quite taken with Minions this year.  Though our cat Zinc is not impressed!
Statistics and overview
There has been a little tinkering with my blog over the year but not as much as I would wish.  I continue to try and take some good photos but FoodGawker and I continue to often disagree on what makes a good photos though I have learnt to try and lighten my photos in the photo editing more.  I continue to participate in blog events (where bloggers share posts) and find these a great way to connect with other bloggers.  Here are a few numbers:
  • Number of posts this year was down to 160, though I am happy with this averaging 3 posts per week.
  • On, I was no 64 in Australia and no 9 in Victoria.
  • Foodgawker shared 35 of my posts, and rejected more than I thought reasonable!
  • I now have 294 FaceBook likes.
  • I have shared 23 cafe reviews on Zomato (formerly UrbanSpoon).

12 most popular posts of 2015
According to Google Analytics
  1. Celia's overnight sourdough bread - step by step photos
  2. Japanese curry
  3. Whole roasted cauliflower with tomato broth
  4. Vegan meringues - made with aqua faba (chickpea brine)
  5. Jeanette's coconut and date slice
  6. Living Candida-Free, Asian Napa Cabbage Salad and recipe testing
  7. Vegan quiche with tofu and besan
  8. Apple rose tarts, a woven paper box and random moments
  9. Lime and coconut cake, glazed tofu and mistaken identity
  10. Frozen castle birthday cake - step by step
  11. Pea, quinoa and feta fritters and random bicycle moments
  12. Stuffed nut roast for Christmas in July dinner party

A sneak peak of our New Year's Eve trifle.
Happy New Year
Thanks to family and friends for sharing so much good food this year, for comparing recipe notes and giving feedback on recipes.  A special mention to E for being great company, being willing to try lots of new food and for all those dishes; and to Sylvia for making my meals interesting and reminding me that plain vegetables are yummy.

I am fortunate to have met up with bloggers online at picnics and restaurants this year.  It has been great fun and I am so delighted to spend time with such interesting and generous friends.  Most of my blog interactions however are online and I thank you for reading my blog, for commenting or emailing, and making my blog a friendly place where I love to hang out.  I also thank those other bloggers who keep me inspired with great recipes, beautiful photos and honest writing.  I look forward to reading more of it this year.

I wish you a great 2016 filled with good food, good company and good cheer.  It seems that this year will give me less energy for blogging but I have much to share and plan to continue posting here as much as possible.  I hope that the new year will bring more healthy bowl food, more aquafaba experiments, more blogger meet ups, and a few spectacular cakes!

Onwards and upwards!


  1. What a lovely and heartfelt honest post Johanna.
    I love your new avatar.
    I loved Humans too, but was really really disappointed with the ending. I have made a decision not watch a second series when it appears on the horizon.
    I love your blog space too and enjoy coming here to 'hang out' albeit virtually.

    1. Thanks Shaheen - I was left with so much to think about after each Humans episode but I agree the ending could have been better. I think I will be so intrigued that I will have to watch a second season. And love hanging out with you here and on your blog :-)

  2. I really enjoyed your post Johanna. I hope you have a wonderful 2016, give love to the sweet girl and your hubby from us x

    1. Thanks Jac - and many happy new year wishes to you and family too

  3. Happy New Year Johanna! 2015 was a great year for you - hope 2016 is just as good.

  4. There was definitely a lot of aqua faba! I think you experimented with it more than anyone I have met! I hope 2016 is a wonderful year :)

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I am very excited by aqua faba - can't wait for more experiments in 2016

  5. Happy New Year, to you and your family. And thank you for being such a constant source of inspiration and good ideas.

    1. Thanks Alcessa - much happiness to you in 2016 and many thanks for your kind words

  6. What a lovely end of year reflection, and appropriately so for a full year of blogging, cooking and living. I really value your posts and your recognitions across the year are well deserved. It's nice to think of Sylvia reading more books too - a fun time and if she's enjoying books like the ones you listed under favourite children's books, she has good taste :-)

    1. Thanks Kari - I appreciate your lovely words! It is lovely that Sylvia is reading more now (except when we don't want her to know about the desserts on the menu - ha ha). We have read the books to her that are listed on the favourites though sometimes when she is really interested in a story she reads a bit more in bed after we finish reading to her. She is on a sleepover tonight and I loved that she packed a book to take with her.

  7. Your pancake is so adorable!! Perfect avatar for the blog =)
    Frozen to Swift, huh? I guess she's growing up. I love that she loves reading!
    Congrats on all of those features! That's amazing =) So happy and proud for you.
    I really enjoy seeing your 2015 favourites.
    "Favourite Book: All the Light We Cannot See"
    I read that last year too and it was really an amazing book. I originally bought it from a book store that allows you to return it and get half the price of the book back to purchase another book... but I think I have to keep it.
    35 FoodGawker???? I have yet to have them accept mine, although I don't submit regularly as I get tired of regular rejection haha ;p
    I've been fortunate this year to meet some bloggers in person and have loved it. I would really like to meet you in person, but we live so far apart, I'm not sure when it could happen. In the meantime, I will keep you as a treasured online blogging friend =)
    Happy New Year Johanna!

    1. Thanks Kimmy - what a lovely comment - how now we both read that book - it was so amazing with such new perspectives on the war. I get tired of regular rejections on foodgawker too and go through periods when I submit nothing - and yes it is a shame we are too far away to meet in person but if you are ever in my neck of the woods I would love it!

  8. What an exciting and busy year you have had Johanna. I love the green giraffe pancake...... perfect for an avatar (my daughter thinks I should make one........ don't think I am quite up to it though!!!!)
    I laughed at your comments about food gawker...... they make some interesting rejections from pics I send them too..... I am often seen to be shaking my head when I see 'declined' and mumbling 'really??' I get quite frustrated when I am declined for 'awkward angle' only to look at their home page and see angles which are so odd I can't even tell whet the dish is...... hey ho! Keep trying and have a great 2016 x

    1. Thanks Kate - I've had a bit of practice at the squeezy bottle pancakes - you should see some of my first ones! And yes dear old foodgawker is like the stern head mistress that you just can't please! I had a photo rejected later so I resubmitted another photo from the post that was accepted and I much preferred the first photo! And sometimes the more I am certain they will accept the less likely they are to - it is such a mystery

  9. Very late to the party but this was a lovely reflection post! It was certainly a busy year! I truly enjoy reading all of your posts, even though I don't get around to commenting on them all. I too look forward to the day when 'Frozen' leaves our household. Just let it go already!!! :)
    Your pancake art is amazing!


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