Best Bits of 2015

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Its good to look back over the year we’ve just had and to review how you went. Did you achieve the goals you wanted to in 2015? If you did, congratulations! It takes hard work and effort to get to your goals, so well done.

If you didn’t manage to tick off a few goals take a minute to figure out why that was. Maybe it wasn’t the right time? Maybe you didn’t put in enough effort? Maybe you broke your leg and that stopped you for a while. Whatever it was that held you back, identify it so that in 2016 you can face your goal head on without those distractions.

Need advice on goal setting?

If you want more advice on goal setting and achieving a goal, in January I’ll be releasing my first ebook about how to set goals for the gym so you can achieve your exercise goals. I know, it’s not food related, but the same techniques will work for helping you learn to cook and creating a healthier life.

Thank you for making 2015 a great year

For me, 2015 has been a fantastic year. Besides writing my first ebook the blog has grown from 200 readers a month in January to over 1200 in December and I’ve past the 10,000 page views milestone. Thank you to everyone who has continued to read my anecdotes on all things cooking and kitchen related.

I hope some of my advice has been useful to you and that you’ll come back in 2016 for more. Next year there will be even more advice, anecdotes, and interesting things for me to share with you to help you on your way to learning to cook.

As always, connect with me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know what you need help with, or ask me about a topic you really want to see explored in more detail on the blog. I’m here to serve you so let me know what you love or hate, and if you’ve got a few minutes take the survey so I can make Spiced Anecdotes a better place for you.

This year has had plenty of high points, so its hard to list just a few of them here. I really want to show you that no matter your level of comfort with cooking, there’s always something you’ve learnt or are really proud of. So I’m proud of each of the things I’ve listed below and I’m taking the time to share them with you so you can see that everyone, including me, still has lots to learn and conquer when it comes to the kitchen. But remember, you’re not alone in this, and everything gets easier with practice.

 

My proudest moments of 2015

Best baking moment:

Sheep cake – I loved the fact I was able to find a cake design on the internet then I was able to replicate it at home. It looks so cute! But under all that ‘wool’ is a beautiful moist carrot cake that I was just as proud of. Here’s the recipe.

Best homemade dessert:

Orange and almond cake – The recipe for this one was incredibly easy to replicate and that cake tasted amazing, but it was the opportunity to play around with sugar that got me excited. I made sugar shards and tried to make sugar powder, which didn’t work, but the whole thing taught me a lot about working with sugar. Plus it looks stunning!

Best meal:

Butter chicken – I really love getting butter chicken when I go out to eat, but I found a recipe for it at home which I really loved. I made it using cayenne pepper instead if the red chilli in the recipe and the taste was the same but the colour was a bit darker. Next time I’ll get the right chilli powder though. Really, really worth the effort.

Best new cooking technique:

Polenta – I finally found a polenta recipe where the polenta comes out beautifully soft and creamy. I now make the polenta and leave it to soften for 30 mins on the stove and it makes the best polenta ever. Add some grated cheese and this recipe is just so yummy!

Best place I ate out:

The Conservatory – This one might be a cheat because I’ve been to the Conservatory at the Crown Casino in other years, but they have my all time favourite breakfast buffet (and I’m still in love with their almond croissants!). I even blogged about it earlier this year. (Link to conservatory blog).

Best new recipe I tried:

Banana muffins – I followed a recipe I found online by Nigella Lawson, and it was beautiful. I added blueberries and walnuts to the recipe because my husband pleaded with me to do so, and it all work really well. I didn’t have my oven hot enough when I put the muffins in so they didn’t rise much, but they tasted amazing!

Best recipe that made it into my recipe collection as a regular favourite:

Cauliflower pizza bases – I don’t usually eat cauliflower because it doesn’t agree with my tummy but I tried this recipe when I gave up all yeast and sugar for a month back in April. The recipe worked so well that when my hubby and I want a week of dinners without carbs we bring this recipe out. I tell you though, the cauliflower pizza bases made with your favourite toppings taste great and are way more filling than the usual flour bases.

Best new appliance:

Food processor – it saves me time, its easy to use, I love the appliances and I don’t even mind having to wash it up each time I use it. The food processor has definitely helped me improve my lifestyle and certain meals too. I even blogged about it.

Best new ingredient:

Sweet potato – Okay, so I have eaten sweet potato before 2015, but I just feel
That this year I finally liked it and that it became an ingredient that I found a few recipes to eat it with, such as Jamie Oliver’s BBQ beans in the pic below.

Best new practice:

Choosing fast meals on weeknights and menu planning them out one month in advance – has made me more productive each evening, I cook healthy meals from scratch every night and I’m getting lots of variety as I rarely make the same thing twice in the same month. Plus I save money planning it all in advance.

Best source of inspiration:

BBC Good FoodThe BBC Good Food website became a really big source of inspiration for me this year. I found lots of simple recipes with ingredients I use all the time that are really tasty. In fact, its where I found the cauliflower pizza base recipe I mentioned above.

Favourite cooking TV show in 2015:

MKR – Although I’m a die-hard fan of Masterchef this year I really got into My Kitchen Rules. I just loved the 2 British guys and Jac and Shaz from Mt Isa were fun to watch too. I did learn a few new recipes along the way too so it was a great year. I really enjoyed myself watching it.

If you want to compare my best bits of 2015 to recent years also check out my best bits of 2014 series (4 posts) or my best bits of 2013.

I’ll see you back here in 2016! Happy holidays!

What are you proudest of in 2015? And what are your goals for 2016?

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