And that was 2008! What for 2009? Part 1

So, that was 2008! Hard to believe that it was only this time last year that I was typing away about 2007, full of anticipation, wondering what 2008 would bring. What a year it was! Alot happened, so much so, that when I started this post I realised I should publish it in two parts, as it was turning into something of an essay. And, we don’t want one of those!

2007 had presented some personal challenges and large changes, and I was determined that 2008 would be the year that I started focusing my energies and really pushing myself, more than I had done before. I really wanted to push myself creatively, try new things, improve my photography and generally to explore. I was going to do things I hadn’t done before, learn new things, take risks, and jump right in.

Easy to say, but did I do it? That’s for you to judge. I thought 2008 was a great year. Lots happened, and like any year, it had it’s ups and downs. But, the ups, well, they were great. Rather than bore you with the minutiae, I’ll detail my highlights.

The Guardian got in touch and asked if I’d mind being interviewed, as a blogger, for a piece they were doing on Graduates. I thought, why not! I answered their questions and met their photographer on a cold spring morning in King’s Cross, and lo and behold, a few days later, there was my mug in print! I was very tired that morning, it had been a busy few weeks, I wished I had had my beauty sleep and erased those dark circles from under my eyes, but hey-ho! It was wrapping fish and chips within a few hours anyway.

At Easter, I entered the London Restaurant Week food photography competition. My photo of Rhubarb Fool was selected in the final ten and was invited to the launch party. Exciting! Drinking (lots of) pink champagne and eating (lots of) food, watching Paul Young and various Big Brother and Hollyoaks folks pose for the camera. I was very entertained! I was very surprised and happy to win, so surprised, in fact, that I almost heard Jean Christophe Novelli announce it from the loo. But, that’s another story! I received a lovely prize of a Michelin starred dinner for two, which we ate at Keralan restaurant Quilon. I decided not to blog it and just to enjoy it, as a product of this venture. I’ll go again and blog it then.

Next up, was a video interview with TrustedPlaces, community reviewing site, and one I would get to know quite well, when I started working with them later in the year. I was nervous at the prospect of a video interview as I had ever done one before, but it was fine, and I featured in many more TrustedPlaces videos before the end of the year.

This lil blog turned one last year! It feels to me that have been inhabiting this space alot longer, but history tells otherwise!

A year would not be complete without some food festivals and markets, two of which I attended were Taste of London and Taste of Cork. Taste of London provided many opportunities to taste the best of the London restaurant scene, and (reasonably) within budget. It was a monumentally sunny day for London and lots of fun. Aidan Byrne at The Dorchester and Le Cafe Anglais were the food highlights for me. Sadly, I never did get to eat at The Dorchester before he left.

Shortly after, I was in Cork for their equivalent, Taste of Cork. I was particularly impressed by this. Cork is a much smaller place, with a tiny population by comparison. Yet, the quality of food on offer, matched that offered by the best in London. Food highlights were the venison chimichanga with chili and chocolate sauce from The Ivory Tower and the roast fillet of pork with black pudding, potatoes, caramelised compote of apple and plums and marjoram juice from Orchid’s at Hayfield Manor. Another great day was had, although, not surprisingly, it wasn’t particularly sunny. Nor did I expect it to be! Cork has many other charms that compensate.

Next, was another food photography competition. Two of my photos were shortlisted for the Konstam UK Food Photography Award. The Award was announced at an exhibition of the photos at Calumet on Drummond St. It was a lovely evening with great Konstam canapes and lots of Chapeldown sparkling wine. I didn’t win, but was delighted to be shortlisted.

Life was so busy at that time, it never made the blog, as was also the case for the fantastic evening soon after at Food & Sherry Matching with Heston Blumenthal at Shoreditch House, organised by the Sherry Institute of Spain. A lovely evening, and an education. Sherry is something I must explore further this year and if I made it to The Fat Duck, I’d be very happy indeed.

Some travelling was next, a trip to Riva for a friends wedding and lots of eating! The food was very different to my expectations, being very Germanic, with lots of schnitzel and frankfurters and lots of potatoes! We did find two wonderful local restaurants serving delights like tagliatelle al tartufo and seafood lasagne.

I suspect I’ve lost most people by now, as this is turning into quite a ramble, however, I’ll persevere! Next was the Food & Wine Blogger’s Meetup at Cantaloupe which I organised as part of my new role at TrustedPlaces. It was so great to finally meet the people behind the blogs, and it’s kick started a series of meetups and friendships. It’s always fun to have people to share your obssession with!

This time last year, I was very much blogging in isolation, save the interactions that I’d had with other bloggers via a browser. This year afforded me many opportunities to meet them, put faces to the names, find new names and new faces, and discover many great new people, that have become regular features in my life. That was something I never expected. When I started this venture, I expected it to become anonymous and to stay that way, how quickly things change. And for the better!

So, that was Part 1. Think you can handle Part 2? I’ll publish it over the next few days if you want to put yourself throught it!



Written by Niamh
Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.