Okay, it's New Year's Eve and it's time to look back at 2014. I have collected here my favourite photos, moments and recipes from 2014 and linked back to the posts (obviously not all recipes aren't originally mine, and when that's the case I have mentioned it). There were many dishes made this year, and I have selected here some of my favourites. I didn't want to make a too long post, so I had to be very selective with the recipes, and also chose to add picture collages instead of the individual photos.
As I was looking back at the year, I realised how lucky I have been with all these wonderful travels and good food. I had more trips than ever, mostly to my home country but also to others. I certainly appreciate a lot that I was able to do this.
In January I celebrated my first blog anniversary and grew more and more fond of blogging the whole time. I visited Oxford, where I try to go at least once a year and stay in the hotel Malmaison, which used to be a medieval gaol and Victorian prison just next to a Norman castle. I have many favourite pubs in Oxford, but one of them is The Eagle and Child, where the local literary group the Inklings used to drink. I love making my own pasta and made red pepper ravioli.
In February I was often cooking British food, and one dish in this category was Scottish tattie scones – what a perfect breakfast it was! I also baked traditional Finnish Runeberg's torte, a recipe that I'm trying to perfect each year. I'm a big fan of veggie pizza, so one evening I had a mini pizza party.
Spring came to England in March and I feasted on homemade falafel, followed an Ottolenghi recipe for roasted aubergines, drank mojitos and made zucchini and feta pancakes. There was also a big celebration as the dearest of them all, my granddad, turned 90.
In April a dream came true for me and I got to visit Paris for the first time! Spring in Paris really is well worth experiencing. During this month I was inspired to cook a lot French style, but also posted some Easter recipes such as lemon and white chocolate muffins.
In May many Paris posts still appeared on the blog, but I also visited the Swanage Railway Diesel Gala and Beer Festival in the idyllic Isle of Purbeck in southern England. I made my first veggie sausages and as rhubarb was in season, I baked a rhubarb pie.
I started June by making my “most accomplished curry so far” (says my partner), which was a pineapple curry. I've made it a couple of times since and it has always been well received. Also in June I celebrated Midsummer in chilly Finland and made a three-part burger post consisting of basic burger buns, pea and leek burgers and broccoli and cheese nuggets.
I just loved the whole warm summer this year, and July was a particularly busy month for me. My brother visited me with his girlfriend and we showed them some of the southern English countryside and London, but I think that the shetties and their foals in New Forest were the highlight. Then I returned to France to make holiday in Avignon and its surroundings. July was the right time for eating salads and I made among others this mixed summer salad. Balcony gardening was going well and I was able to bake spelt and carrot rolls from my own small carrots, which were the first carrots I've grown on the balcony.
In August I was being a clumsy cook as I burned my small hedgehog paw when frying a pizza made from Provencal produce. The fried pizza was so tasty though that I didn't mind the injury too much. Then I had another great holiday when I visited my family in Finland again. It was a great summer, weather being warm throughout.
In September I admired the growth of my tomato Tigerella and balcony garden plants in general. I started serious squash cooking and posted an onion squash tart recipe. I also cooked some pepper nuggets and crushed potatoes.
October was all German themed. I wrote my first trilingual post about a German classic Currywurst, but of course made its vegetarian version. Later that month I visited Hamburg and Bremen for a few days.
With November the cold and rain came to England and due to that my cooking got very autumnal and I ended the tomato growing season by making green tomato chutney from the last of the crops. Among others a garlic soup and a Moroccan style squash stew were warming me during the chilly weather. I finally managed to make a vegetarian sushi post thanks to the rice cube gadget that I purchased and I posted my first cooking video ever.
In December we got to my favourite holiday and I started posting all things Christmas. I baked a flourless chocolate cake and set Spike on top of it. I made a warm and cold acorn squash, halloumi, lentil and pomegranate salad. Then I spent Christmas with my family in Finland. Yesterday I got back from a short trip to Oxford, where I got a huge shock when I detected that my favourite tree (and that of J.R.R. Tolkien), the magnificent old Pinus Nigra, had been felled. Of course the Botanic Garden wouldn't fell it just for the sake of it, but there had been an incident in the summer, when two large limbs had suddenly fallen off the tree. As the result they had no other option than to fell the whole tree, as it had become structurally unsound. It was an extremely sad sight and I had to shed a few tears when I saw it. Below is a photo taken of the tree in January this year and then the chopped pile of wood from December, and also a visiting squirrel on the pile (there's also another photo from the Garden with the pine on it in the January section).
Obviously this wasn't the best ending for the year, but I still feel that I have been very lucky and happy this year and am excited to see what 2015 will bring.
Now I want to thank you all for this year and wish you a wonderful New Year! See you next year!