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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.