As we say goodbye to 2019, and I reflect on a year of minimal blog posts (I really do want to do better in 2020), I thought I’d share a picture or two from every month of the year, to try and sum up 2019 in food.
Picking one picture per month was challenging, but here goes …
Here’s my delicious vegan tofu South East Asian inspired style salad bowl, which probably well illustrates my mentality at the start of each year where I try to eat healthily and mindfully … although that hasn’t worked this year! Probably a good start would be to eat lunch away from my desk …
In February we travelled to Harrogate to visit Ioan’s cousins Ellis and Ffion, and of course we had to have fish and chips. There’s something about the fish and chips up north which is special – probably the way they are fried in dripping. Clearly my wholesome start to the year with tofu salad didn’t last past early February!
March saw Ioan help me to make traditional welsh cakes for Saint David’s Day. During this dough rolling he lent too close to the granite worktop and smashed his top tooth, cracking it. After some initial tears (from me too) and a trip to the dentist, who confirmed there was no serious damage, Ioan became very proud of his ‘sharp tooth’.
Although pie and mash might not be the most spring-like meal, it’s worth sharing because my mum has been making us her pies regularly – either minced beef or chicken and leek fillings, and she makes enough so that we can freeze a few, which means I always have a handy homecooked meal in the freezer. I served these minced beef ones with frozen truffle mash from Ocado – definitely give it a try if you haven’t, it’s delicious, and jazzes up a humble pie.
For May I am sharing a favourite dessert- and one which looks fancy but is so easy to make. This is a monster cream slice, made with layers of puff pastry, chantilly cream, jam and fresh strawberries. It’s a crowd pleaser.
In June I went to the first of three supper clubs I attended in 2019. The first was at Hot Milk in Bounds Green, where their theme was around wasted food. This course was asparagus veloute with cheese croquettes – all of the ingredients would have been chucked away for being too old or ugly, but the meal was utterly delicious.
In July I attended Alan Rosenthal’s Middle Eastern feast at The Renaissance in Bowes Park, and here is the chef himself serving up dessert. It’s fantastic that my local area (literally, 10 minutes walk from home) has such a great foodie culture.
In August we visited Canada to see our great friends the Condies. I start of with a picture of all of us on Prince Edward County having a snack in the sunshine – this picture really sums up what our holiday was about – great experiences with great friends.
But Timbits also sum up Canada for us (so much so that our other Canadian friends bought us a Tim Hortons Christmas decoration this year) – Ioan adores these little baby doughnuts, especially the chocolate ones. And they also remind me of the baby doughnuts I used to get from Mum and Dad when I was a little girl, which always seemed so much more fun than a normal ‘adult’ sized doughnut. If only I could stop at one …
Finally, spider sausages around the campfire – another reminder of a wonderful holiday, and what the great outdoors can be like (easy to forget when you live in the middle of a city, and are scared of nature like me!).
In September we were lucky enough to go on holiday again, this time to Tuscany. Our friends hired a villa with us, and we had a week of 6 adults, 3 toddlers and 2 babies – eating, drinking and making merry. It was a wonderful holiday and luckily all of us are greedy, so we did get to sample a lot of the local cuisine. This first picture is of the oh-so-simple penne with tomato sauce, Parmesan and basil. So simple, so delicious.
I couldn’t resist another photo of we three mums with our little ones having gelato in Bologna on our final day in Italy. I hope our kids are as good friends with each other as us when they are older.
In October, I hosted a supper club of my own, with Ioan and a few of his little friends. I bought all the kids chefs outfits, and here is Ioan, cheerfully modelling his! Each child decorated homemade wholemeal pizza dough with tomato sauce, cheese, and a selection of toppings. The kids did a great job, and the pizzas were very tasty. I promise that Ioan had a smile on his face by the end of the afternoon.
November has to be stir it up Sunday – this represents one of the many foodie traditions I have started since Ioan was born. Although I make Christmas cake instead of Christmas puddings, each of us in the family still takes turns to stir the mixture. Ioan will have a collage of photos to look back on when he is older.
And finally, here’s an office Christmas party with a difference! Ever since I went back to work, my mum has looked after Ioan at our house every Wednesday and Thursday. As I work from home on Thursdays, it gives me the chance to pop downstairs from my home office and have some lunch with them, and in December I took them out for Christmas lunch at another local eatery in Bowes Park, The Step. We even all had our Christmas jumpers on.
So that’s a goodbye to 2019, and a hello to 2020. I can’t wait to see what adventures the new decade brings us.
Happy New Year!