I had all kinds of posts planned for the last couple of weeks of the year:-
- I had such a great response to my twitter survey on which foods and drinks people were most and least looking forward to over the Christmas period that I had decided to share some with you.
- I thought I'd join in with those journalists and bloggers providing lists of their favourite cookery books of the year.
- And of course, I wanted to cook and share some more festive recipes with you before the year was out.
Which is my excuse for not posting any of those ideas, above...
So what shall I do to see out 2009 - the year I joined the mushrooming ranks of food bloggers?
Review my year in food, via my blog posts, that's what! Whilst sharing a few photos from our recent trip to Lapland!
(Although I didn't start the blog until April, I copied over content I'd shared in my personal blog as well as reviews I'd shared via email or in food discussion boards, hence the archive of older content).
In my first post dated for 2009 I shared my favourite banana bread recipe - thank you Mr Charles Campion. A moist, gooey affair, this is far more cake than bread which is just as I like it!
I also posted a review of the lovely La Trompette restaurant in Chiswick.
Not long afterwards, I visited sister restaurant Glasshouse, in Kew Gardens, also very good.
I also attended the filming of Market Kitchen, an interesting experience, not at all how I'd imagined it! I went once more, later in the year, to see some different chefs and presenters.
I'd idly thought about starting a food blog many times over the years, having enjoyed reading many of the earliest ones for so long. Somehow, attending the Guardian Word of Mouth blog's Chocolate Tasting Event proved to be the catalyst and I began creating the blog on getting home that evening, tweaking the formatting and copying across the archival content the next day.
With the zeal of a newbie, that first month was prolific!
I posted recipes for hot cross buns and real fast stroganov.
I visited and reviewed Oliver Rowe's Konstam restaurant.
I eulogised the alphonso mango.
I fell further in love with Paul A Young's chocolates.
And I got to grips with a slow cooker, since when we've made home-made stock far more often (and more easily) than ever before.
As May came around my sister and I made The Cookies of Dreams for the first (but not last) time.
Twitter friends helped me choose a boston baked beans recipe for pork belly slices.
I shared Pete's cheesey potato bake - such a simple recipe and yet so incredibly delicious and comforting and fantastic!
A tale of two crumbles closed the month of May.
Having a blog - even a small, recently created one such as mine - helped open doors. The first of which were those of the new Artisan du Chocolat store in Westbourne Grove.
I thought it about time I told my readers a little more about myself. The Wonder Years was the first installment.
By June I was really enjoying meeting wonderful new friends in the world of food (both fellow bloggers and the wider food industry).
As summer rolled in we enjoyed eating more and more garden bounties.
In July I discovered the great affinity of coriander and mango!
We continued to enjoy eating lovely produce from our garden.
And my mum and cousin helped me make vast quantities of pickles, chutneys, ketchups and jams in readiness for my one-off market stall the following month.
I finally shared the second part of the "who am I?" posts.
And I enjoyed some very fine cheese!
The rest of the month was spent preparing for the big day at Covent Garden and enjoying a week's holiday in Dorset.
And, once I'd recovered, I shared our experiences of hosting a market stall at Covent Garden's Real Food Market.
In Dorset, I'd had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Mat Follas, winner of Masterchef 2009, at his new restaurant, The Wild Garlic, which we then visited for dinner with friends.
I attended a photography workshop at the Scandinavian Kitchen.
Pete and I had a marvellous weekend in Bristol including a really fine meal at Bell's Diner.
October's excitement in the food world was for Pierre Koffman's pop up restaurant - I was lucky enough to visit for the first lunch on the first day of opening (and again a few weeks later).
My sister and I celebrated our (shared) birthday with a lovely evening at Jun Tanaka's Pearl restaurant.
I met one of my favourite food bloggers for lunch at Leong's Legend.
I realised that I'd developed a bit of an obsession with preserving - making even more jams and chutneys (and I didn't even blog the spicy tomato ketchups I made more than one batch of!).
I spent a week on a photography course in Inzigkofen, Germany and shared this tragic romantic story.
I had a really most fantastic evening with Paul A Young - charming, passionate, sweet and funny.
And I became involved in the Blaggers Banquet through which food bloggers raised money for Action Against Hunger.
In November I fell for Paganum - their meat that is! Here's a recipe for boneless leg of lamb braised in red wine and garlic and how about some curried beef marrow bone?
I reviewed some cookbooks including The Ultimate Student Cookbook and Michel Roux's Sauces.
I found out more about organic versus free range chicken with a fun (but yes, statistically irrelevant) taste test.
The main night for the Blaggers Banquet came and went and was rather splendid (after which I invested a shocking number of hours during the next several weeks running the online auction and payments phase of the fundraiser).
I had fun participating in a christmas pudding cookery competition, creating a home-made custard-based ice-cream with chunks of Christmas pudding that came out better than I'd dared to hope for.
And I recommended some fine tea gifts for Christmas lovers.
It may have taken a few months but I was finally able to cook for my friend, Daisy (better known as Dan from FoodUrchin) for his Where's My Pork Chop? project.
I was thrilled to be able to learn about Fair Trade from Divine Chocolates. I went on to use their chocolate in a fantastic stem ginger & chocolate chunk cake recipe from their own book as well as my own Cookies of Dreams recipe (which worked fantastically well).
Pete and I found another great way to use leftover roast chicken in these nifty croquettes.
And I ended the year with my face on a box of Jordan's Country Crisp Cereal!
I also wanted to tell you how very, very much I have appreciated the wonderful comments left by friends and strangers alike. Thank you for visiting and reading and especially for taking the time to let me know you're here.
Wishing all of you the very best for 2010!