Friday, 4 January 2008
Looking back at 2007 and forward to 2008
Photo from Flickr.
2007 was a great year, jammed full of exciting foodie adventures. The stand out highlight was our sensational trip to El Bulli. Never before and never again will we experience a meal so challenging and conceptual. It gives us a great frame of reference to approach the rest of our foodie lives.
Other highlights include our trips to Croatia, Istanbul and Whitstable along with a great exerience down in Cornwall and Devon where we had the most most amazing seafood BBQ imaginable. O... and I almost forgot the sheer excitement of cooking "Beer Can Chicken" in the Welsh mountains!
We've had some very memorable coffees this year. My ristretto at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen was magical; my Turkish coffee in Istanbul was like drinking compost and our coffees in the back of a VW camper van in Whitstable were pure joy.
I've enjoyed putting the slow cooker through its paces over the last few months, churning out unctuous slabs of tender meat when they were initially tougher than a Mexican boxer's stare. I've recently started to finesses the "stew" into pasta sauces, ragus and the basis for pies. I've found that you need to reduce the liquid down either by removing the lid for the last hour or two of cooking, or more dramatically to boil it down in a separate pan until it becomes thick and glazed. It makes all the difference.
My big regret of 2007 is my embarassing failure to use my sausage maker that Cowie gave me for Christmas last year. I am now in need of some fresh hog skins/casings so I can master the art of sausage making. I even bought a sausage making book and everything!
The only major low-light was our terrible trip to the Essex Serpent in Covent Garden. It just goes to show how good all the other places we've been to are and how high the standard is across London. Luckily our ice skating afterwards more than made up for the shambles at ES.
So what does 2008 have in it's store cupboard? I am hoping for more of the same please! Second helpings!
Here are the main things that I want to accomplish in 2008:
1. Build a pizza oven
2. Cook on my car engine
3. Cook a salmon in my dishwasher
4. Get some articles published
5. Become an expert in the food of Clapham Junction and Balham
6. Make more foodie friends
7. Do a butchery course
8. Help Robert out with FaceFeeder
9. Develop a collaborative dining enterprise
10. Eat at: L'Enclume, Finos, Barraffina, Locanda Locatelli, River Cafe, Le Champignon Sauvage and Great Queen Street
11. Make full use of my amazing new Sushi kit
12. Be more calm and friendly to Cowie in the kitchen
13. Play more squash and lose weight!
14. Go the market more often and shun "bad meat"... vivre le Hugh!
15. Go to River Cottage HQ again
16. Make full use of my sausage maker
17. Make full use of my Magimix
18. Get Mum and Dad's orchard up and running
19. Explore Scotland, Ireland and Wales
20. Supercharge the Paunch
21. Learn to take better photographs and get more involved in Flickr
22. Go on some cooking courses
23. Learn to write better
24. Progress interest in mushrooms
25. Make shorter lists.