thelittleloaf 2011: A Year in Review

18 Comments
garlic_baguette

Garlic bread, ready to assemble

As the Christmas festivities draw to an end, the last of the crackers have been pulled, the turkey pie polished off and the bottom of the bowl of Quality Streets begins to appear, food may be the last thing anyone wants to think about. Unless, of course, they are a food blogger.

The internet is currently alight with annual reviews and round ups, top ten recipes, restaurants and trends, and predictions for foodie fads in 2012 and beyond. Rather than eschewing eating in response to the season of overindulgence, bloggers everywhere are wallowing in the delights of what has been, what they are enjoying now and what is yet to come.

homemade_croissants

Marmite croissants – you’ll either love them or hate them…

Back in February this year I wouldn’t have believed I could happily spend so many hours in front of my computer, reading and writing, reviewing recipes and creating new ones. Every hour in front of the screen is matched by many more in the kitchen, happily whiled away on my own, with friends and fellow food bloggers or accompanied by my boyfriend, and when I’m not writing, talking or thinking about food, I’m probably dreaming about it. My blog is not just a hobby; it has become a part of my life.

ferrero_rocher

Homemade Ferrero Rocher

I started this blog as a challenge to myself, to expand my baking repertoire and to experiment with making different types of bread. Since then I’ve made simple white and seeded spelt loaves, crusty baguettes, fluffy golden focaccia, fougasse, pizza and pastry, from sausage rolls to flaky croissants and even a controversial Marmite version. A couple of weeks ago my experimentations with bread culminated in an incredible day of baking with Richard Bertinet – you can read the top then things I’ve learnt about bread this year here.

chocolate_cake

Flourless Chocolate Cacao nib cake with Vin Santo ice cream

Nutella also seems to have played a major part in my year, from cupcakes and brownies to gianduja ice cream, toasted panettone sandwiches and my most searched for recipe yet, homemade Ferrero Rocher.

I’ve always baked my own birthday cakes, but this year I’ve started making many more for friends and family, from Chocolate biscuit birthday cake to a Rose and cardamom creation, Toffee popcorn cake and a Honey Chocolate Cake, with a buttercream which tastes like the best honey sandwich you ever ate (in cake form). Yum.

honey_bees

Chocolate bees for a Honey Birthday Cake

In July I got an ice cream maker for my birthday, and since then I haven’t looked back, churning out gallons of creamy confections and filling the freezer with frozen treats. I’ve experimented with various nostalgic takes on chocolate bars from my childhood – Salty Snickers ice cream bars and Salted Caramel Rolo Cups, but my most exciting moment was when ice cream guru himself David Lebovitz left a lovely comment on my Butterscotch Pecan Tartufi post. Small (ok, very loud) squeals ensued.

chocolate_cardamom_rose_cake

Double Chocolate Cardamom & Rose Cake

Over the course of the year I’ve also eaten in some incredible restaurants. I’m lucky enough to live in London, one of the gastronomic hotspots of the world, and I can’t begin to list the restaurants, cafes and incredible food stalls I’ve been able to enjoy in 2011. I’ve also visited Italy and Spain, browsed La Boqueria in Barcelona, the food markets of Madrid and enjoyed a birthday meal at my favourite restaurant in the world, Uliassi.

salted_caramel_ice_cream

Salted Caramel Rolo Ice Cream Cups

And finally I’ve met some incredible people, both in person, on Twitter and via their various blogs. Every day I’m amazed by the creativity, talent, kindness and quirkiness of the bloggers out there, whether looking at an amazing photo, reading a recipe or seeing something in a different light thanks to one writer’s reflections on a certain subject.

senigallia_uliassi

Beautiful beachside simplicity – a table at Uliassi

2012 looks set to be a very exciting year. There’s so much to think about, to do and a world of food to explore, but I’m not going to write any lists or make resolutions. Like the simple white table setting above, I’m leaving my canvas blank, ready for anything that might happen, open to new experiences and the promise of good things to come.

Happy New Year to all my readers and here’s to a wonderful 2012.

18 RESPONSES TO thelittleloaf 2011: A Year in Review

  1. Emma -

    Looking forward to what you’re going to conjure up in 2012 already! Keep up the good work.

  2. Kavey -

    Have so enjoyed reading about your incredible creations through the year! Hope we are able to get together for our ice-cream Wednesday in the new year!

  3. what a year for you!!! and so much more to come. all the very best for 2012. its going o be a goodun

  4. Amy -

    I love how you ended this. It does seem like you accomplished a lot this year with this blog (whoa to all the breads you’ve made!) but I think being open to anything/everything is the best way to look forward. Happy New Year to you!

  5. Lisa -

    YUM…reliving some of your mouth-watering creations in one post is just too much for me..I must have some of those homemade Ferrero Rocher! I think I I’ll take the mini-croissants without the marmite, though. I tried, believe me.,..don’t think it will happen lol Happy New Year to you and yours, my friend! xo

  6. This is a beautiful blog and a great post! I never dreamed that I’d spend this much time in front of my computer either……blogging, looking at blogs, cooking, looking at recipes and so on……you know!!!

  7. What a lovely post especially the simple white table at the end. Happy New Year 2012 and I look forward to reading more on your blog next year.

  8. Happy Hogmanay, Happy New Year, Bonne année et bonne santé!
    Karen
    XXXXXXXXXXXX

  9. Have so enjoyed reading your lovely and interesting posts as well as gawking at your amazing photographs. It sounds as though you’ve had a great year and going on the baking course was a great way to finish it off. Wishing you a very happy New Year.

  10. happy new year to you, littleloaf!
    thank you for such a diverse and informative blog. keep it going in 2012, i can’t wait for all the recipes to come!

  11. Happy New delicious year of 2012! :)

  12. Love your round up of 2011 and your blank canvas approach to 2012.

    I only started my blog 6 months ago. Like you, I never dreamed it would take over my life as it has. But I enjoy every minute of it. Well, maybe not figuring out all the backend stuff :D

  13. Happy new year. Great round up. I love following your blog as I too am a keen bread baker.

  14. Dear Little Loaf, here is wishing you a really happy new year and looking forward to a while new bunch of great recipes from you in 2012!

    • Emma – thank you, me too!

      Kavey – thanks and definitely, can’t wait until Ice Cream Wednesday comes back into action :-)

      Ruthie – thanks, you too :-)

      Amy – Happy New Year to you too!

      Lisa – thank you. Those Marmite croissants definitely divided opinion – the plain ones are yummy too so happy if you stick to those!

      Culinary College – it’s amazing how big a part of your life a blog can become :-)

      Baking Addict – thanks and here’s to a great 2012!

      Lorraine – thank you :-)

      Karen – Happy New Year to you too!

      Choclette – ah, thank you. I’m hoping to make the photographs better this year – one of my resolutions is to get a proper camera and stop snapping on my iPhone!

      Jenni – thank you, happy new year to you too!

      Sophie – you too!

      Christina – thank you. Here’s to 2012 and a full year of fabulous blogging and eating :-)

      Lottie – thanks, and yes, of course!

      Purely Food – thank you. Hoping to get much more involved in the FFTO challenges in 2012.

      Nuts About Food – thank you. Looking forward to 2012 and sharing as many great new recipes as possible :-)

  15. Happy new year :D its been so fab reading your blog. Cant wait to see what this year has in store!!

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