So, where was I? 2011. So, Comfort & Spice had just been published, which was a heart stoppingly nervous time. I won the OFM Best Food Blogger Award (my heart still jumps when I type that!) and I started my Evening Standard column.
I was also doing a little travelling, well a lot of travelling. Which makes me so happy, as cooking, writing and travelling are the three things that I love to do, and this is what I have been working towards for almost 5 years. Taking the jump was scary but I am glad I did it. It has been hard at times, and very hard work, but worth it.
My next trip was to Istria. It had been planned for months with my friend Denise who writes The Wine Sleuth. She has some friends who import wine from Croatia – PC Wines – and they said if we wanted to come over, they had an apartment we could stay in and that – obviously – they knew lots of winemakers, but also some food producers. It seemed a perfect trip. I had been to Dalmatia some years earlier (pre blog life) and island hopped there. I had had a thwarted attempt to fly to Istria too, we were turned away because Ryanair were being evil about a slightly ruffled passport, and wouldn’t let us fly. I burst into tears, I had been looking forward to it so much.
Anyway! So we went to Istria. It was so lovely, so different to Dalmatia (which is lovely in its own way but it is like a different country). People are very passionate and dedicated to whatever they turn their hand to, and are very much wedded to their land. In the case of wine expressing their terroir, and for food too many to mention but lots of great wild food, brilliant olive oil and truffles. Lots of truffles.
I went for a week, but could easily have stayed longer. It was a very interesting trip with lots of things to tell, which I will soon. I plan to go back soon too.
I went to Duck Soup 5 times, and eventually wrote about it. I love it there.
Then I went to Seville…
I was nominated for a Red Hot Women Award. Which was pretty amazing. I didn’t win but being nominated is pretty ace.
I went to Hong Kong & Beijing. That was incredible and I have yet to write about it, but as you can see I was very busy!
I went back to market for a couple of weeks which was great, but hard work, and financially very challenging when using the best ingredients. So I have retired now. Maybe another market, another time.
I cooked a big Comfort & Spice Xmas lunch at Blacks for lots of people. Great fun and I loved being in a proper kitchen cooking for so many people.
I made Whiskey Bacon Jam for market, and published the recipe. It has proved popular over Xmas!
The year finished on an exhausted high, with Comfort & Spice being listed in The Irish Times Best Foodie Books of 2011 and in The Telegraph’s Christmas Books: Cookery Special list.
And that was 2011 folks. Brilliant but very hard work, and I am tired now. I am really geared up for 2012 but will start gently, based mainly in London. I hope to kick start my next book very soon, and I have even more travel plans than last year.
Sometimes it is challenging trying to do everything, and often I wonder if anyone is reading, even though I can see that you are in the stats (lots of you!). Comments are very welcome I promise. When no one responds, I wonder why I bother. It seemed everyone would comment like crazy with a give away – literally in their hundreds. That may seem whiney, and it is, but it is the truth so there you go. A little comment every now and then would be really lovely – thank you! I know people comment on twitter, and I do appreciate that, but it is not the same thing.
So the next post will be after a full nights sleep, the first in a while. I should be bouncing to the kitchen and then to my laptop. And I will probably regret the last paragraph. Hey ho!
And so on with 2012. This promises to be an exciting year too with my book being published in the US in April – I think I might need to make a trip there and bake folks some blaas! Well, why not, eh?
Happy New Year all and the very best for 2012. Back very soon with lots more food antics.