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The ten most amazing things I ate last year

This time of year sees social media feeds and blog posts full of new year's resolutions.  All offering promises of a New Year and a New You. A trick for young players, I have never thought that much of the idea, mostly because I'm hopeless at sticking at anything that's good for me, (and let's face it does anyone make a NY resolution to eat more chocolate, spend more money and do less exercise?). Instead, what I am doing this January is focusing on good intentions.

One of those intentions is to write here more often and I'm setting myself a target of 50 blog posts for the year.  That's do-able right?  But starting is often the hardest, and finding something to write about even harder.  I figured to get myself into the swing of it, I'd start with a topic I'm always happy to write about; food, because I always have something to say on the matter.  

So, let's begin shall we, with typical January story, a review of last year in the form of The Ten Most Amazing Things I Ate Last Year. *flexes fingers over keyboard and rolls up sleeves*................

Well, actually I thought that would be easy but as I scrolled though my many phone photos I realised that it's rather ambitions to narrow this list down to just ten things.  Given that I did travel to Italy and the UK, mostly to eat, last year was certainly filled with more than its fair share o' deliciousness. However, rules are rules, and it's a little early to breaking those intentions so early in the year.  So I've whittled those tasty moments to ten things in no particular order:

1. Franca's Swedish Buns 
I ate these a lot actually, Franca is a pastry chef who moved to Tasmania and I feel particularly lucky that she chose to live so close by and that she opens a pop up bun shop on Tuesday. Franca's kanelbullar are fragrant with spice, not too sweet, soft but with a crunch from the sugar pearls.  I wish I had one now. How long til Tuesday?

2. Hot Salt Beef and Mustard Bagel at Beigel Bake
When a friend told me about these legendary bagels, I had to race home and try and make a batch of bagels, corned beef and pickles to try this irresistible sounding combo for myself.  As good as it was, my bagel skills need some work, so top of my must do list was a pilgrimage to London's Brick Lane to eat the original. I'd been schooled on how to order like a local in this tiny, but busy bakery, with queues out the door, and warned not stop to peruse the menu or you'll feel the wrath of busy Londoners behind you. I moved to the front of the line and said "Salt Beef please" and that warm little bundle snug in its paper bag was handed over and promptly eaten standing up on street outside.

3. Brown sugar meringue with kefir cream and preserved blueberries at The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery.  
The combination of crispy caramel meringue, thick tangy kefir cream and preserved blueberries with their irrisistable texture stopped me in my tracks. So much so that I've bottled my own blueberries so I can recreate this one for later.

4. Fresh sheep milk curds and whey sprinkled with raw sugar.
I ate this on a cool summer morning,  in a bright white cheesery in Sicily that smelt of warm milk on a plastic plate with a plastic spoon. Made by a deeply tanned shepherd dressed in white called Fillipo. I'll never forget it. Even without a photo.

5. Caci e Pepe;
On a photoshoot in Devonport, Ben Milbourne made this classic Roman pasta dish that traditionally has only three ingredients; pepper, cheese and pasta.  I've tried so many times to make it since and never managed to get that creamy cheesey peppery  dish right. More a hard cheesy ball with water and pasta. Sigh we'll alway have this photo.

6. Brown Shrimp and Sea Kale, River Cottage
On a seaside foraging class with the delightful John Wright, we went shrimping for, er shrimp and picked sea kale on the shores of a Devon beach, then rushed back to River Cottage HQ where they were sautéed in oil and garlic before being shared at the large table.  It's such a treat to eat things you've read about for years, and then find them just as delicious as you imagined.

7. Cake feast at Flour and Stone Woolloomooloo
With my dear friend Jane Grover, we ate carrot cake and fine apple tart, date scones and canelle. All squished onto a tiny table with pots of fragrant tea.  The Canelle! The Fine Apple Tart! The Carrot Cake! Sadly the baker wasn't there, but she made sure we ate well and not just one thing but many, a cake smorgasbord I'll always cherish.

8. Laver Pancakes
Laver is a traditional Welsh dish of boiled seaweed. I had read many stories of this this traditional Welsh food, most of it disparaging. But in the hands of Jessica Seaton, co-founder of Toast, the laver was mixed with softly fried shallots and bacon, tossed with oats, gently fried, then topped with a poached egg and asparagus. Think the umami taste of seaweed, with the comforting flavours of bacon and oats. I can think of no finer dish.

9. La Tabacchiera Peach
I spent a week at a cooking school in Sicily last year, and I had so many delicious dishes during my stay, but I though it best to limit one thing I ate there for this list.  That would have to be a little flat peach, that I plucked from a tree on an early morning work through the garden.  Sweet, juicy and fragrant, a perfect summer moment. Forbidden Fruit? Perhaps, and it certainly was heaven.

10. It doesn't look like much, this salad of gem lettuce, shallots, capers, croutons and snails, partly because I let it sit while I ate the other salad I ordered (rookie mistake) but oh my, it was so fresh, tangy, crunchy and crispy and it was in London and it was at St John Bread & Wine, where even snails and wilted lettuce taste amazing.

What amazing thing did you eat last year?  


  1. I am SO happy to see you pop up in my blog feed! And the fact you are aiming to do that more often makes me even happier!
    I can think of 3 things that were really, really good. 1. My ever improving sourdough. I know I’m super braggy in the bread front & maybe lots of other people wouldnt like it but because it’s taken me so very long to get to this place with my bread every slice I eat makes me happy. 2. A mushroom & haloumi burger that was so meaty you’d never know there wasn’t a slab of beef in there! It has these super thin fried onion pieces on it & a spicy mayo, oh so good! And third would be these dumplings that when you bite into them it’s soup inside. Of course I came home to google how to make them but I doubt I’ll ever go to the effort. I just like knowing how to make stuff.
    And I like to think I make pretty decent bagels, they have a good chew to them, I just never make them for myself but I totally intend to this year!

    1. Aw thank you Reannon, you're always so supportive of things I do! Thank you! I love watching your bread baking exploits! Your sourdough looks amazing and there is nothing more satisfying when you've worked hard to nail a recipe. But everything on your list sounds bloody delicious to me! Mxx


    We followed this recipe tothe letter and the result was magical, hope you get to try it again. Great list. I have had that salt beef bagel in brick lane, and the swedish buns in sweden. Yum

    1. Oh thanks so much for the link Debbie! That's really helpful, it's all about technique isn't it?

  3. Glad to hear you are planning on writing more posts this year, I often check in to see if you have added anything new & am disappointed when you haven't. The food on your list sounds delicious. Keep up the great work.

    1. Oh thank you Karen, and I am committed to writing more this year. I plan not to disappoint!

  4. Ah your list sounds delicious and has made me so so hungry! Happy to see you're back and also super happy to see more here soon :)
    Bagels is on my list to cook this year... just waiting for cooler days so I can turn my oven on again. Thanks for sharing x

    1. Ha! It makes me hungry too! Bagels are pretty easy to bake, but I could never get close to the Brick Lane ones. I was however on flight home from Sydney with a woman who had the biggest bag go bagels as her carry-on. She stocks up on bagels from somewhere in Rose Bay whenever she visits Sydney. So I'm tempted to hunt them out next time I'm there!