LIFE: What a Year

Hello my lovelies! Happy New Year. I hope you are filled with dreams and promise and ready to tackle a fresh 365. If someone told me five years ago that I would be where I am now it would have seemed ridiculous. If someone had told me we would have a single year in which so much would happen in the world in such a strange fashion it would have seems impossible. In 2018 y’all loved to make yourself some tacos and two preserves cracked the top five posts. Bless your hearts! Christmas flew by. I’m planning what to do with myself this year. And I’m elbows deep in preserving season. One of my favourite times of year.

2017 has been the most challenging and rewarding year of my life. There were more tears, more sleepless nights, more meltdowns, more recipes, more loaves of bread, more knowledge, more friends and more love and support than ever. Thank you to every person who read, clicked and especially baked. It is my sincere wish to make baking easier, more fun and more adventuresome for everyone. It warms my heart every time I hear someone say they made a recipe and loved it. It’s been a rollercoaster for someone like me who craves organisation and is so used to working inside an existing structure with well defined goals set by someone else. I’ve had more than a few moments of abject terror. I’ve even had times when I’ve lost the joy I have always found in making food. But I’m learning how to deal with these things. I’m looking to new sources of inspiration and creativity. And I’m learning to accept and benefit from the support of those around me. I met so many friendly inspiring people doing amazing things with food. And I even made new friends. Proper ones. Overall it’s been a major win. Something something personal growth….

I had a look at your favourite recipes of 2017. You can’t get enough of two classics. And fair enough. Making fresh soft tortillas for tacos is something I still do almost every week, I’m going to do it today in fact, and I’m so glad so many of you are doing it too. Lemon Weetbix Squares just can’t be beaten. To be honest just thinking about them now I want to make some. Chocolate Peppermint Crunch is still a crowd pleaser too. What makes me so happy is to see two sweet preserves in the top five. Gooseberry + Ginger Jam and Lemon and Ginger Curd. Ya’ll sure do love lemon. And ginger it seems. Showing excellent taste. Let’s try and get some breads in the top 5 for 2018. Yeast is your friend. And you need some toast to go with that jam.

Christmas is fading away far too rapidly. I had a week away at my parents’ place. A green oasis of calm and birdsong. I napped, baked cookies, made bread, shopped and did sweet FA otherwise. We had a roast duck for dinner. And Plum and Almond Meringue Tart for dessert. AKA Meringue Pie Bars in a circle cut into wedges. It’s all about how you sell it. Even at Christmas. My Dad made me fabulous baguette flipping boards, spatulas and serving platters of wood. We even moved a poly-tunnel greenhouse to it’s new home including lifting it over a deer fence twice. Working up an appetite for dinner.

I had a bit of a meltdown since I got home after Christmas thinking about the year ahead. I basically have too many choices. It’s so open-ended. I proved that I can keep a roof over my head and essentially the sky is the limit. But the sky is big. So big. It was overwhelming. What if I choose incorrectly? What if I fail? Said the person with anxiety. Lol. Someone smarter than me told me the only incorrect choice is to do nothing. Hmmmpf. So I have started planning. Right now it mostly involves a forest of post-its on my dining room wall. Options options. Getting everything down. Then pruning with happen. And a plan will emerge. Wish me luck!

It’s preserving season. Our hot early summer brought a lot of fruit on early. I have already made plum jam with part of the major stash I smuggled back in my carry-on luggage after Christmas. Today I made feijoa and ginger jam with last year’s frozen stores. Making room for a new crop. I am watching apricots like a hawk to get a decent haul to make my all-time favourite jam. I have a list of pickles and jams as long as my arm to make. A lot of new ones and some replenishing of stores. Smoky Plum Sauce is on the horizon. Bin that tomato sauce and never look back. So much fruity delicious promise.

Think big. Treat yo’self. Find joy. Make something real. Look after each other.


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