As 2011 comes to a close, I find myself with Neil and his mum, Rosemary, sitting on Lummi Island looking out on this:
We’re staying at the Nettles Farm Cabin (there are many chickens right outside the window!) at the Willows Inn and are excited for our five-course tasting menu tonight (which I will battle through even though I am not well, the things you do for the blog, right?) and whilst it’s not as far flung as some of us would like to be for New Years (Neil, I am looking at you!), it’s a very nice way to spend the holidays. The past week or so has been an opportunity for me to really slow down and take stock on what has been a jam packed year. I’ve never done a “looking back” post for my blog in its short life and I am sure many of you are sick of reading everyone’s recaps, but it’s been a great year for me in many ways and I wanted to do this for me.
It’s been a wonderful year for Les Petits Chefs. Week after week, the boys have chopped, cooked, stirred and laughed their way into many of your hearts and I think you all know by now that Mondays are just that much better because I have cooking club to look forward to after school.
I know one of the high points of Les Petits Chefs’ year was being featured on Jamie Oliver’s website. We were all SO excited (especially those of us who recognised our hands in the photos accompanying the article!) and I was so proud. I can’t wait to see what 2012 holds for the club!
Regular readers will have followed along our Charcutepalooza journey this year.
I learned a lot along this meaty journey but I think the most important thing is that (with a lot of help from Neil), I can pretty much achieve anything. With most of the Charcutepalooza challenges, I stuck to the recipes provided in the book, not wishing to veer too far off track with items I had never made in my life. I should have had more faith in our abilities. Charcutapalooza has taught me that I can pretty much conquer anything I put my mind to – in 2012, I hope to put some of these lessons to use and create some original recipes for some of the items we enjoyed the most.
In 2011 I had my first article published in a Canada-wide magazine called Ensemble Vacations.
Seeing my name in print (and my words and photos) has made me realise that yes, this is what I want to do. Write. About food. Because, remember, this is the year I took an extended leave from my PhD studies as well. THAT sort of writing wasn’t doing it for me right now. Food writing does. Let’s see where I can go with that in 2012. And yes, once I can share the complete article with you all, I absolutely will!
I am sure it was no surprise to you that my first published article was about macarons….
For this has, indeed, been the year of the macaron for me. I finally (with a lot of help from my friends!) cracked the code to the fail-proof macaron (well, as much as macarons can be). I took a few (more) classes in Paris and I began teaching macaron classes in Toronto. I know the macs probably have a limited shelf life so I am taking advantage of the interest whilst it’s there.
Apart from my determination to conquer all things macaron, I am also stunned to realise that I have not missed one, single French Fridays with Dorie post since it began, 62 weeks ago. Wow. That takes some determination and organisation too.
Working my way though this book has led me to meet a lovely bunch of fellow “Doristas” and learn a whole lot of techniques I never thought I would be able to master. Dorie makes French food so “do-able”. I was also fortunate enough to meet Dorie when I was in France this summer – a definite highlight of my year!
Ah yes, summer in France – (Paris, Burgundy and Alsace with a few days in London tossed in for good measure).
I ate my first Michelin starred meal at L’Auberge de l’Ill in the delightful company of Neil and our friend Cathy as well as the lovely Cathy Barrow and her husband Dennis. Such an experience that there are no photos. It was a place you needed to live in the moment and I am very glad I chose to do so. I am back in France this coming summer too – Paris, Champagne and the Rhône and I am excited for the possibilities such a trip might bring!
2011 hasn’t been all rose-coloured though, I was the most unwell I have ever been in my life, suffering from a severe inner ear viral infection resulting in ongoing vertigo. It’s been a challenge dealing with this for sure, but 10 months on, I am finally getting some treatment for the vertigo that everyone told me would just “go away”. Well it hasn’t and I am ready to have my old life back, so here’s to 2012 being the year I get myself back on track health-wise. I am sure Nurse Cleo will be devastated there’s no more reason to crawl under the covers to “help”.
(this is what I woke up to many days when I couldn’t get out of bed!)
To end on a happy note, 2011 also saw the birth of Food Bloggers of Canada.
So there you have it, it’s been a wonderful year of success and I’m even trying to draw some positive out of the more challenging parts. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason.
Wishing you and your families health and happiness in 2012. Because nothing much else matters, right?