When we hit 2009, I did a roundup of the year. It went down very well, so I thought that I would start doing monthly ones. It should keep me on my toes. Already, I can see that I haven’t blogged enough and the pile of drafts that have yet to be published is climbing high. I’ll give you a sneak preview of those in a bit!
January started very nicely with an email from the people at Wikio, stating that this humble blog was number 2 in their Top 100 Gastronomy Blogs. Now, how did that happen? Lovely news and I was chuffed. There are so any blogs I read that are more deserving of the position!
The month started with a roundup of 2008 in two parts (part one, part two), followed by the top posts for 2008 and my personal favourites. Take a look if you want to see what everyone’s been cooking, your feedback on those posts has been lovely!
Pork was a strong feature of January: pork belly, roast pork, bacon, sausages. So, it won’t come as a surprise that the next post for the blog was some delicious Roast Yorkshire Pork. Tender, moist and with crispy crackling, it was a treat. It’s always so good to find a good producer, or a source of a good product, and I definitely found a winner in Paganum, the online Farmer’s market based in Yorkshire. I couldn’t face a full roast dinner after all my Christmas indulgence, I just wanted to enjoy the tender, juicy pork, and found it went down well with some kale, steamed with the juices of the pork in the oven, it’s definitely a dish to be repeated, I could see it being a spring winner with some lovely new potatoes.
A much overdue trip to Baozi Inn was next, recommended by a number of people, including fellow blogger, Lizzie of Hollow Legs. I really enjoyed it, as did my three dining companions, one of whom lived in China (Chengdu) and proclaimed it some of the most authentic Chinese food that she has had in London. Service was efficient but friendly, it’s certainly not a place to linger but it is a good cheap eat.
Reports seem to be mixed, so, I’ll be interested to see how others find it and I’ll be trying it again. I am also keen to try those Sichuan restaurants that I’ve yet to eat in: Red & Hot on Charing Cross Rd and The Sichuan in Acton.
The last post for January was a comforting soup; Salsify & Roast Garlic Soup. Nutty, savoury and delicate, it was also quite healthy with red lentils supporting the salsify.
If I did only these things, I would have had the quiet January I had aimed for. Typically I didn’t. It wasn’t crazy, by any means, but I did do lots of nice things, some of which I will blog about over the next week. I also made some nice food, and some awful food (rhubarb muffins, I am talking about you!). As a rule, things that don’t make it to the blog, do make it to flickr, so I’ll share them with you, for now, in pictures.
Two things I have no pictures of, and I’ll tell you about first. I had a delicious lunch at Scott’s of Mayfair with the people from Lactofree. It was very interesting, with three doctors discussing lactose intolerance and managing it, which for me, a lactose intolerant with a background in physiology, it was very interesting. The food was delicious. I’ll go back!
The second was a fantastic wine tasting experience at the Saatchi Gallery: Handmade by Bibendum, organised by Bibendum Wines. The Saatchi Gallery was transformed into a wine lovers paradise, with rooms dedicated to different contries, wine regions, champagne, fine wines, spirits etc. It was on all day, unfortunately, I only made the second half due to previous commitments. It was a fantastic experience and included a Twitter Taste Live, which I had the pleasure of taking part in. I’ll write more about that and publish some photos soon.
I paid a visit to Chinatown on Chinese New Year. I love the buzz there, and the dragons calling into local businesses etc. It’s great fun.
I went to one of my favourite restaurants, New Tayyab’s in Whitechapel, twice. Once with fellow bloggers Chris, Helen, Lizzie and Joel and Charles from Tipped, we were VIP’s that night and seated in the VIP room which was very exciting. The food as always was divine. I went again with 7 Tayyab’s virgins, who loved it as much as I do. Yum!
I had the pleasure of attending a fantastic bloggers’s dinner at St John in Farringdon, just after they were awarded their first michelin star. We started the evening at lovely Vinoteca across the road with some delicious Portugese wine, and our meal was accompanied by gorgeous Dinastia Vivanco wines from Rioja. Thanks to Rob of The Wine Conversation and Rafael and Hugo from Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco for hosting.
Not a bad start to 2009, eh? Looking forward to tucking into February.