Happy New Year to all my readers 2013 was full of ups and downs as I’m sure it was for you. I’m only going to focus on the ups as life is all about how you react to the challenges that come your way and I’m always trying to channel my inner Pollyanna (even though sometimes it’s really hard)!
My highlight of 2013 was meeting Michel Roux Jr at a Mark Wilkinson demonstration evening. I thought I might be a bit tongue tied speaking to someone I’ve admired and seen on the TV but it was just like meeting an old friend, he was so lovely and easy to have a chat and a joke with. It’s great to know that what you see on the TV is not an act for the cameras he really is exactly the same on and off screen!
Other highlights during the year have been the tweets I share with Nigel Slater which have become fewer as I’ve got busier and he has far more followers to interact with! It’s still a special moment though when you see thats he’s taken the time to reply to you! Again another lovely guy who inspires me endlessly.
Finally I am going to share with you my Top 10 Recipe Posts of 2013 as I have finally got to grips with Google Analytics! I’ve also joined Facebook and G+, wonders will never cease!
1. Damson Jam
During 2013 I started making jam in a big way and buoyed by winning 1st prize at my local Parish Day with my Peach & Apricot Jam I found I couldn’t stop. I thought I would alienate my audience with so much jam making but I just couldn’t help myself as I absolutely love making jam. So the biggest surprise was that rather than alienating my audience I found I also reached a whole new audience and hopefully encouraged people who thought jam was complicated to have a go. At times during my journey I came under fire from the “Jam Mafia” but I rode out the storm and found many of my jam recipes appearing in 1st position in google searches. When my parents aged Damson Tree came into fruit I knew exactly what I had to do and set about creating a recipe after a lot of research and found a new way of dealing with the pitting issue by using my sturdy cherry pitter! So I’d just like to thank my parents for my number one post as I couldn’t have done it without them (literally, dad was on a ladder shaking branches whilst mum & I picked up the fruits)!
After a 2 hour stint of foraging for blackberries and apples I wasn’t in the mood for a fussy jam recipe and so created this one as I really couldn’t see the logic in dirtying 2 pans when surely one would suffice. My theory worked and it seems the public also agreed as I had so much positive feedback from people who’d made this jam with their foraged fruits.
I can’t really take much credit for this recipe as I based it on Nigel Slater’s with a few changes. It was however the best chutney we’d ever tasted and even my mum rang up and just said “Wow” one day after trying her jar. We’ve never got through chutney so quickly in this house and found the tiniest of excuse to have it with most of our meals during the summer. Again I have to thank my sister and mum for giving me this glut of tomatoes which were going cheap and which spurred me into action!
Well I can’t take any credit at all for this recipe as it is Sophie Dahl’s! Having seen it in a newspaper with a not very good photograph I must say I wasn’t inspired to make it as the picture simply didn’t do it justice. After contacting Sharpham Park about their spelt I suddenly found myself in possession of some spelt flour and grains and a few of their recipes. The only one I had ingredients for was the Spelt Banana Bread so I decided to make it with no expectations what so ever. Well how wrong could I be? It turned out to be an absolutely brilliant recipe because not only is it a piece of cake (excuse the pun) to make but it tastes absolutely fabulous too!
Here I gave a Bacon Roly Poly recipe a makeover from an old Birds Eye Book which used to belong to my grandmother. I had no idea how popular this dish was and loved receiving so many people’s comments with their memories of the Bacon Clanger as it is also known!
This is one of my daughter’s favourite dishes and has obviously struck a chord with others too:-)
My husband was surprised to see this in the top 10 but then it was one of his favourite dishes when he was growing up so I replicated it for him! Simple no fuss comfort food – always a winner!
I developed these to enter a competition but they did not get anywhere. What did I care when they started trending on Google and tasted fab to boot:-)
Another recipe which I can’t take credit for as it was given to me from a newspaper clipping by my children’s old play group leader. After many years of sitting in a drawer I finally got round to making it and it’s one of my families favourite puddings – naughty but nice!
An adaption of an old Lemon Crisp recipe I had from school – can’t believe how popular this post has become!
So those were my Top 10 recipes for 2013. I hope I am challenged further in 2014 to come up with more simple but delicious family friendly recipes. Being sent new ingredients to play with is key to this and I’d like to thank all the lovely companies who have sent me their products to try throughout the year. I’d also like to thank all the kitchenware manufacturers for their brilliant products too!
I wish you all a Healthy and Happy New Year.
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