Friday, 22 January 2010

Bon Anniversaire à Nous! Happy Birthday Bon Appétit!

We’re 1 today! A whole year later than I began this blog and I’m still here – unbelievable. And it’s thanks to you – everyone who signs up, or follows, or comments…and of course, the main star of the show; the food!

What a year it’s been: I’m sitting in the same chair as I began my writing but the wall that was behind it is no longer there (neither’s the ‘hatch’ that I used to serve tea through!); there’s a different hole through both room which has been filled with a multi-fuel stove; the kitchen that was so difficult to manoeuvre around has now vanished and been replaced by an ultra-sleek, ultra efficient white version, although it hasn’t improved the quality of food delivered from it I’m afraid!; and my fiancé finally turned into my husband! Wow. (Pause for breath!)

Looking back at my first ever post, I’m quite surprised how well it was written; I really must have had inspiration that evening and a head full of words and phrases ready to jump from my thoughts to my fingers! As the blog grew, so did the use of the apostrophe and it’s something I’ve really had to look out for along the way.

I guess the purpose of this is to see what happens. It's like when I pick up a wet leaf from the pavement - just to see; you never know what amazing patterns you're going to find underneath. Look at my little dinosaur leaf in Budapest! I couldn't just leave (he he he) him lying there on his own! So that's what this blog is: a leaf, well, the pattern left by it on the pavement. An experiment. To see what happens if I write a blog.

So, what pattern has been left? Over the course of the year, what influences have I responded to? Where and when were the highs and lows? And the best plate of food this year?

There ‘wheres’ are easy: two very different meals, at very different prices and eextremely different costs! The first in the year was at a shed on the island of Mersea, off the Essex coast. When I say a shed, it’s more of a barn, The Company Shed, brimming with atmosphere and fresh, just-caught fish. You queue outside to put your name down, bring your own extras, and lap up the simple, clean and fresh fish. Delicious! The second was a wedding present from friends; vouchers to Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley. A completely different experience with excellent service and food.

Cooking at home has also taken a turn for the better with far more inventive things being trialled. A One of my successes has been learning the benefits of patience, especially while making bread-related products, such as Bread Pots and Flat breads. After several attempts, and much waiting around, looking to see how much each batch had risen, they finally ended as they should; puffy, airy, light and golden.


As for the failures, there have been a few! But, you only learn through making mistakes, if, and it’s a big if, you know what went wrong and how to change it; unlike my Raspberry soufflés, which I had to re-name soup in case of misrepresentation! I was a little upset this is such a common mistake, but am determined to learn more about them in order to improve. All suggestions gratefully received. A long-lasting favourite is the Chilli Jam, of which I have made several batches, many given away to friends.

I’ve been lucky enough to gain many blogger friends whose ideas I’ve stolen over the year, two brilliant ones being Dan’s Chocolate Fondants and Anne’s Sweet Potato Bites, both of which will be made again and again and certainly become a classic in our household.

Growing and cooking our own food has also been a highlight of the year. I sorted all the raised beds and surrounding area a the beginning of the year and soon began to dig and sow; soon I had a row…of…cabbages from the Cabbage Patch. It’s fantastic knowing where the food has come from and that it’s wholesome and good for you. 

Eating with friends has been far higher on the agenda than any other year, and two memorable events stand out. The first was a Walkers’ Taste Test on 5 new flavours, and the second a round of Come Dine with Us, which is, at the time of writing, still unfinished with one to go.

Enough of the past, though, let’s look forward to the next year. My main ‘hope and dream’ would be to do this full time. How I wish to cook, invent, create, photograph then write about it. Any offers?!


  1. Well done on making it through your first year! Can't believe how that leaf does look so much like a dinosaur. Look forward to more tasty food soon!

  2. well done hun.... as the main benefactor of your travails in the kitchen I am probably best placed to say well done its been amazing, and long may it continue x

  3. Penblwydd Hapus!
    Congratulations on sticking with it...a great achievement!
    Tidy job:)

  4. G'day Span,

    Congratulations. As you know, the blog has been a genuine inspiration over the last 12 months. Keep up the good work.

    Right, I'm off to cook the pork and beans super food...




Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Merlotti x

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