Tag Archives: Resolutions

Resolutions Revisited

A table laden with sparkling wine

Cheers!

A very Happy New Year to you all! I hope that you had the party that I had, but that you skipped the hangover that nearly felled me once and for all yesterday!

And what a year it has been, with weddings, parties, anniversaries, and significant birthdays. It all culminated for me with a new job, and throwing a retirement party and 65th birthday party for my Dad, whose birthday was on New Year’s Eve. I cooked a load of things for that, including more tarted up mince pies and many other things, including some gluten free bits; some of which will appear here soon.

I thought that I would start 2013 with a bit of reflection on what I got up to, with a look back on last year’s resolutions, and to make a few more for the coming year. I’d also love to hear yours, if you want to leave them in the comments.

Varzea Viva, Portugal

Viva Varvea! Permaculture in Practice

Last year, I resolved to go on a permaculture course, and get better at growing food. I had a lovely 10 days in Portugal, with a great bunch of people where I learned about permaculture design. I have since volunteered in a permaculture garden at home, and it has made me a more knowledgeable gardener. I put some of the theory into action in my own garden, mostly with a lot of companion planting, and I hope to blog a bit more about that for this year’s plants.

Purple Eye Potatoes

You Can Only Get ‘Em Two Tone if You Grow Your Own

I also joined the 52 week salad challenge run by Michelle at veg plotting, and started Seedy Penpals  with Carl. All of these things have made me better at successional sowing, and growing in general. I have been exposed to a lot of new plants and new varieties this year, and I’ve met some brilliant people. Although I still haven’t met many of them in person, I have come to look on some as friends, through here and on Twitter.

Mornng Glory

I Found the Story, and It’s Inedible

I had to visit Japan for work once, and the dashis and ramen that I ate there often contained a pretty and pungent leaf vegetable that the English translation often listed as Morning Glory. I decided to track it down to try and grow it for myself. I was given a packet, and was disappointed that they are, in fact, not edible. It turns out that the little leaf I had eaten so often was actually shiso. Luckily, I’d also got hold of both the red and green varieties, and have been enjoying it in salads all summer.

I resolved to investigate more Asian and Middle Eastern food. I have eaten a lot more than in previous years; including pho, Hom Bao, a Lebanese –Inspired Chickpea dish, and have some Persian flavours in some blog posts that will follow. However, I probably could have done better.

Sprouted chickpea bread

Salad as Staple

Something else that I have done as a result of a resolution made last year is bake bread, although not as regularly as I’d hoped. Much of it has been fairly standard, so I have not blogged about it. I did manage to make some nice sprouted chickpea bread, and some hot cross buns, as well as the Hom Bao, which count as a bread, because you make a dough that needs proving.

I had hoped to do some butchery. I didn’t quite manage a whole beast, as I’d hoped, but I have deboned and jointed birds, and a rabbit or two. I have some of the adventures in photos ready to type up, but have been putting it off, because I know quite a few vegans and vegetarians follow my blog and I don’t wish to alienate or upset any of you. I may go ahead with these posts, but make most of it only visible if you click through to the whole post, then you don’t have to see the photos if you don’t want to. I’d be grateful if you are not a meat eater if you could let me know if this would suit you.

I have brewed many things, from blackberry wine and liqueur, elderflower champagne, elderberry wine (which I have great hopes for, this batch is still not ready but preliminary tests have proved promising) up to flavoured spirits from foraged goods. For reasons that I am not really sure of, I have not blogged any of the brewing. Maybe I will just get on and do so; I would like to share them.

Finally, I had a long list of places that I would like to visit. 2012 was not really the year of fine dining, so I didn’t make it to any of those on my shortlist. Ah well, there will always be exciting new and good restaurants to eat at.

And so we come to the year ahead. I have had a lot of fun making the resolutions, and stuck to a surprising number of them, even if I didn’t achieve as much as I’d hoped. So for this year, I have another list that I think is pretty ambitious, but will be fun to try and achieve.

Again, in no particular order, for 2013 I would like to:

  1. Grow unusual vegetables and fruits – especially a lot more perennials.
  2. I’m going to blog more boozy posts. I am going to make nettle beer this year, to see how that goes. I’ve also found wild hops this year, so maybe a beer from scratch could be on the cards?
  3. I want to learn how to smoke food. I’ll have to get hold of a stove top smoker (or a wok with a better lid than the one that I have), and hopefully start experimenting with smoke. My neighbour has a larger smoker in his shed, so maybe I’ll be able to work my way up to smoking with him – although I expect that will take much more than a year.
  4. I want to experiment with cheese. I’ve made soft curd cheeses, but I am just curious about the process and what could be possible in small batches, and without anything in the way of specialised equipment.
  5. I have developed a bit of an obsession with Bath Chaps. It will probably be a challenge to source a well reared pig’s head, but I’m going to give it a good try, then I’m going to attempt a brine, and we’ll see where it goes.
  6. Given my new job I’m going to have a go at some Filipino food, although maybe not some of the most adventurous dishes.
  7. Finally, I’m going to say that I intend to eat out more this year than last, and revisit the resolve to eat at some fantastic restaurants across Europe. I’m not going to list them this year, but if I do get the chance to eat at some, I am going to blog about them.

So let’s see how far I get this time.

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New Year Food Resolutions

Sydney Harbour Bridge New year 2012

Happy New Year!

I am not really one for making New Year’s resolutions. In fact, I don’t think I can remember the last time I made any. However, I often decide that I should start to do more of this or more of that in my foodie life. So, I decided to make some food-related New Year’s resolutions, as it will be a useful way to record my thoughts, and interesting to see if I actually manage them.

So, in no particular order, in 2012 I would like to:

  1. Grow Better: I already grow a lot of food, but this year I resolve to try to be more organised in the garden, so that my stuff  gets sown on time, and I actually manage to reach the holy grail of good successional planting.
  2. Go on a permaculture course, hopefully to help me with number 1
  3. I am going to investigate more asian and middle eastern food. I was lucky enough to get a book of recipes from the Philippines, from a friend of mine, but I want to understand more about Thai, Vietnamese, Philippines, Indonesian, Malay, Chinese, Japanese, Lebanese, Afghani, and many other cuisines from these regions.
  4. I am going to source and try to grow Morning Glory to help me with number 3, but I will be otherwise adapting the recipes to use ingredients that I can source locally.
  5. I am going to cook bread more regularly. I love making bread, and actually a lot of it can be quite easy. I have made some wonderful English muffins that don’t require a lot of proving, and make the perfect brunches. I  have made spelt bread that takes two hours from the time you tip the flour into the bowl to the time you take it out of the oven. With just a little planning, bread baking need not be an arduous chore, and it need not take hours and a lot of kneading. Expect this to appear on these pages sometime soon.
  6. I would love 2012 to be the year I manage to source half a well-reared beast, and butcher it myself. However, I would need to go in with friends on this venture, so I may also need to find some friends with a large freezer!
  7. I want to continue on my adventures in brewing. Elderflower champagne is a must for this year, but I also want to try my hand at beer from scratch, and many other things. I also intend to brew me some interesting vinegars this year, from start to finish.
  8. I am absolutely going to eat at Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner, but would also really love to give Michael Caines’ Gidleigh Park, Matt Moran’s Aria, Marcus Wareing at the Berkley, Ron Blaauw, La Rive, Marius, and Ciel Bleu a go. I intend to go back to Texture, which I thoroughly recommend if you are looking for a high-end London restaurant. I also want to start blogging about them here.

There are many other things I want to dabble with. I am currently being persuaded by friends to get into supper clubs, which I would love to try, but I am really scared of doing, but who knows, maybe 2012 will be the year when I pluck up my courage. However, the above list seems to be enough to be getting on with.

So have you made any New Year’s food resolutions? What are they?

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