Friday, 31 December 2010

2010 in review

2010 has been a pretty good year for me.

I’ve managed to:
• Keep my job via 5 short term contracts and 2 job interviews (don’t ask!)
buy it!
• Go on two overseas holidays to Sweden & Rome and Spain's Basque Country & Galicia (yay fun, boo credit card debt)
• Get included in the book “Foodies of the World: a collection of profiles and recipes from the best blogs around the world” (yippee)
• Do some writing for the SBS Food website on famous chefs Wylie Dufresne and Yotam Ottolenghi (woohoo)
• Put on 10kgs (oopps)

I also reached a rather big number in years and saw a forest of gray hairs sprout just in time for this momentous birthday. Thanks ageing process, you suck ass.
Now here’s my usual Year in Review formula . . . stay tuned for my 2011 Food Challenges tomorrow.

The Losers of 2010

Somewhat surprisingly, as you’ll read in the Winners of 2010, I have gone off sweets and moved towards savoury.

This meant chocolate was a minor loser in 2010. Interestingly, I still cooked a lot with chocolate and made desserts (and was well supplied by the lovely people at Lindt), but I didn’t eat as much chocolate as I have in previous years.

Lindt’s new Intense Sea Salt and their old staple 70% Cocoa were the only chocolates I chose the snack on in 2010, and probably because they are intensely flavoured and high in cocoa which makes them more on the savoury side.

But the real loser of 2010 was vegetarianism.

In August, the veggos of the world lost a faithful, dedicated brother who had held the line (no meat, no seafood) for over 16 years. My wonderful husband finally succumbed to my enticements, like Adam to Eve, and joined the ranks of the evil carnivorous flesh-lovers.

Once he made the decision to start eating meat, he didn’t look back.

Interestingly, he's quite dedicated not to be hypocritical about meat eating and will try any animal or body part as long as it isn’t endangered or the texture isn’t like jelly (jello). In his short few months as an omnivore he has more meats and cuts than most people who have eaten meat all their lives (for example goat cutlets, raw horse tartare, pickled ox tongue, grilled veal sweetbreads etc). It's impressive.

His new diet has helped him lose around 15kgs because he no longer eats so much cheese. Whereas I'm eating more meat now and gaining some tummy tyres.

But our lives together have actually improved. There was nothing wrong with him being a vegetarian, and we worked hard to make it possible for both our food habits to thrive in our kitchen, but nowadays cooking less work for everyone and we are able to share our experiences. It’s brought an unexpected harmony and closeness that we would never have guessed.

The Winners of 2010

One could almost say that 2010 was when my taste buds matured. A noticeable change was my increased interest in savoury over sweet and I found surprising pleasure in food that I had eaten many times before but never really enjoyed until now.

Capsicum (peppers)

After travelling through Spain with two vegetarians, I had to overcome my greatest food hurdle: my intense dislike of capsicum. Despite loads of fresh produce for sale in Spanish markets, when the Spanish eat out they really don’t order a lot of veggies and hence restaurant menus are pretty much green-free-zones. The exception to this are pimientos de Padrón and Gernika, small green peppers flash fried and salted. The appearance of these peppers at every meal may have turned my vegetarian friends off them for life, but they helped me overcome my distaste and these days I order them when I see them in Sydney.

Toasted, these nuts have become my all time favourites. The texture is like a walnut with a crisper bite and sweeter flavour. They match wonderfully with maple syrup . . .

Real Maple Syrup
I’m ashamed to admit it, but I never understood the fascination with real maple syrup. I always thought it tasted weak compared to maple flavoured syrup and frankly I preferred the fake stuff. Then I decided to invest some serious $$$ into a good quality Canadian maple syrup and the wonderful caramelised richness floored me. Maple syrup, I will never doubt thee again.

No, not the coffee. I’m talking about equal parts Campari and Cinzano Rosso over ice, topped with soda water. Despite having tried it many times before, it was only in Rome last January that I finally appreciated the balance of sweet and bitter, complemented by the citrus of an orange segment.

In 2010, I also started drinking more water. I have never been good at remembering to imbibe the clear nectar, but in the last half of the year my levels increased and I even started thirsting for it. Soda water has also gotten a real work out in my kitchen, going wonderfully with a dash of verjuice or simply drunk on it’s own.

Sydney's new restaurants have been delivering a good tongue lashing. Bloodwood does a wonderful smoked, shaved tongue as part of their charcuterie plate and Porteño makes a mean pickled tongue that would convert even the most lingua-phobic person into a major tongue kisser. Sydney chefs, keep that tongue coming!

Favourite M&M recipes of 2010

Ispahan Cupcakes
(raspberry, rose, lychee)

Raw Rhubarb Salad

Maple & Pecan Granola &
Vanilla Poached Pears

Chipotle & Tomato Sauce

Middle Eastern Orange Cake

Spiced Cherry Pie

Orechiette w Peas, Creme Fraiche & Pancetta

Passionfruit Marshmallows

Radish & Broad Bean Salad w
Green Tahini Dressing

Smoky BBQ'd Pork Ribs

Banana Bread

Batida Morango

And as I mentioned previously, stay tuned for my 2011 Food Challenges tomorrow!


  1. Wow, looks like you had an amazing year Anna! LOL!
    Keep the yummilicious recipes coming and good luck shifting those extra tummy tires. Take them to the dump for the new year! lol!

  2. yum that looks like a delicious roundup! and here's to more meat! happy new year anna and here's to more delicious eats!


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