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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013: A Foodie Review

Tonight another year comes to an end.   I started this blog in April and therefore I have decided to review from that point, this time next year I will be covering the whole lot, but since this is my first review I am treating it as a practice.  Sitting here with my iPad calendar open as a reminder of what I did I hope to summarise the last 9 months and set a few goals for the new year.  Apologies, this post does not contain a recipe, instead its more like a diary entry.  Skip it if you like, next post will be back to normal.

April 1st was the start of my Easter holidays and my normally I would fly over to Thailand and visit my dad.  This was the first year that I decided to take a break from Thailand in April and wait until the summer for my main holiday.  Next year I shall go back to Thailand, hopefully booking the tickets soon.

Instead of Thailand I still managed to get away for a few days on a city break.  This time I visited the lovely city of Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden.  Freezing cold as it was, ice was floating in the port, I really enjoyed my visit, the most North I have ever been.  This biggest shock was everything was DOUBLE the price it was back home - a small hazelnut latte was £5 in Starbucks, a three course meal around £30 (no including drinks) and a McDonalds Big Mac meal...about £7!   Most of my spending money went on food, a lot of walking took place that holiday and it was really great to go on the train across 'the bridge' to Sweden.  I didn't get chance to visit IKEA though :-(

On returning from 'up North' I finally decided to start writing a blog.  After a week or so trying to think up a unique name I finally decided on 'and stir well'.  Other choices where 'Preheat the Oven', 'Cold Jelly and Custard' (already taken) and 'Gas Mark 10'.  I am sure I had some other ideas but I can not remember them and its history now anyway. 

My first post was for pizza - strangely enough a recipe I used last night when my friend Kate came round for our ritual 'Pizza and Film' night.  Only one post in April, most of the month involved creating the layout and joining up to a number of foodie websites to self-publecise this blog. 

May, the start of Spring, came and went rather quickly for me.  It included my first BBQ of the year and I remember making Nigella's Feta and Watermelon salad and a not so successful Tart au Citron by Tamasin Day Lewis.  It was also the month I really went for it with this blog and wrote 7 posts and actually started to feel like I had achieved something.  Recipes included Tart au Chocolate ( I was going through a tart stage this month), my first book review (another to follow early next year) and a discussion on my favourite expensive gadgets.

June, 8 posts, wow, the most posts I achieved in one month.  Summer was on its way and I remember the weather really improving around this time.  It was the month I used my blender to create a range of slushy ice drinks, experimented with cupcakes and treated myself to my favourite breakfast of all time, Eggs Benedict.  

This was the month I said goodbye to my form at their prom and took part in a 'flash dance' routine - I think I still remember the moves.  It was also the end of an intensive diet period where I managed to lose a stone just before the summer.  Alas I have now put that stone (and more) back on and need to really get myself in to shape before my Thailand holiday - a new years resolution if you must.

July/August, the best time for a teacher, the six weeks holidays.  July mainly consisted of just getting to the end of the school year, by this point everyone is winding down and thoughts of long holidays are all anyone can think about.  My summer holiday this year was a two week trip to Tunisia.  I have been to north Africa before but never this part and was really looking forward to it.  Two weeks of perfect sunshine and chilling out, just what I needed after the long year at work.  Only 5 posts this month and included a behind the scenes tour of my small kitchen where I showed off my OCD side.

On returning from holiday August was also my first experience of cooking with children - that was interesting!  Creating a Sachertorte and dusting down my old ice cream maker to produce a fab coconut and lime ice cream.

September, the start of yet another school year, started with a recipe of Frasier Torte, a final trip back to summer and ended with one of my favourite recipes this year, Sticky Toffee Pudding.  This month was mainly taken up with getting used to being back at work, meeting new classes and adjusting to new schemes of work.  I managed to post 5 items however many of these were from my summer backlog.  

October...what a month... finding out my mum was very ill, my birthday and wearing t-shirts in Barcelona.  Not a sentence I thought I would write in September!  Well, mum is getting better now and everything looks encouraging that things will return to normal soon.  My birthday was rather overshadowed, however I didn't care, and seemed to come and go rather quickly.  Once I got over 30 I honestly am not that bothered about making a fuss - this goes to the point of not even telling anyone.  Barcelona was the only part of the month that I enjoyed - four days and it felt like summer had returned.  First day 26C and t-shirts and shorts where out.  Ok, so a little rain the second day, but overall it was amazing and just what I needed before the cold harsh British winter set in.  I only managed 1 post this month, Apple Pie, it may only be one post but it was a good one.

November, 4 posts, still not fully over the issues of October.  This month I made my first recipe from the IKEA cookbook - Swedish Black Forest Gateau.  Strangely enough I made it again yesterday for my Grandma to take to her Near Years Party tonight.  I also made my first ever batch of Scottish Tablet with Kate, a very fun experience that must be repeated soon and my only savoury recipe of the month - leek and potato soup.  Winter never really took hold this month, it may have been cold by no sign of snow and only the odd frost in the morning (so much for a snow day)  Here is hoping that next year will be cold and we may even get the odd extra day off.

Which brings me to December, this month, Christmas.  Although I have only posted 2 recipes this month most of my cooking took place last week therefore I simply have not had time to publish anything yet.  It is my intention to get a number of posts completed next month and really try and focus on this blog.  I made it in to the Foodies 500 chart and was featured on  All I can say is that I must be doing something right so I am just going to carry out and see what the outcome is.

Do I apply for the Great British Bake Off? idea.

What new gadgets can I put on my Christmas list next year? idea.

Will I make my target of losing weight and getting fit by Easter? idea.

Will I finally pay off a credit card, or two? idea.

Will I lose two stone in weight before Thailand? idea.

Next year is filled with 'no ideas' although I am sure I will have plenty...bring it on!

Happy New Year.