Dragons of Chinatown
2009, what a year.
I don't know about you guys, but it certainly was an interesting one for me. In January, I was in a hospital bed wondering what the hell this year had in store. I had just had a kidney transplant, kindly donated from my mother after 6 years of dialysis. As I lay motionless in my bed, it gave me plenty of time to try and get my mind in focus. Of course, all I did was watch TV, play computer games and do sudoku.
One of my favourite dishes of the year, a chicken and ham hock salad from Skylon
What it also meant was that a whole new world of food was opened up to me. Previously, I had to watch what I ate and drank quite closely. My diet had to be finely balanced, too much potassium, salt and water amongst other things may have odd effects on me. With the new kidney, I could eat again without worry. And that's sort of where this blog came from. Bored and my minding slowly melting to jelly after hours of daytime TV prompted me to look for other avenues for mental stimulation other than Jeremy Kyle and endless Stargate Atlantis. Treefroggirl suggested I write a play, but not knowing where to start, a rather unusual chinaman was born.
Pike Market in Seattle
It started out as musings, an online diary of every day comings and goings. It swiftly dawned on me that all I did was eat so the natural evolution of the blog gravitated towards that. During this year, I have met many new people and made many new friends. I have eaten many things I never thought I would and have also been able to travel again since July, which saw me head to Edinburgh, Dublin, Seattle, New York and Las Vegas. So after all that waffle, here are some highlights of the year.
Best Meal of the year - L'Ecrivain, Dublin
It was a tough one, as I have been fortunate to eat at so many great restaurants this year, but when I think of this place it just brings a smile to my face. Having visited on a quick 3 day trip with my younger cousin, every dish was finely balanced and packed with my favourite ingredients. Amazing flavours and a thoroughly warming environment just added to a wonderful evening meal. Other notable mentions include the Ledbury (an enjoyable and comfortable dining experience in a formal space, supplemented by superlative cooking) and Goodman (amazing steaks).
As I mentioned earlier, the food blogging world has introduced me to many, many new people. Through this network, I have met the weird and wonderful, people from all parts of the world, truly diverse in nature. But one thing unites us all and that is our love for food and the search for that perfect dish. Here are a few of the people who have made much of this year a pleasure.
Catty from the Catty Life (not cattylife) - Pint sized blogging powerhouse, with an inimitable way with words.
Mark from Food by Mark - Big cuddly bear with plenty to say but not enough time to blog about it ;)
Kang from LondonEater - Blogger/Photographer and rubber enthusiast
Charz-Siu from Tasty Treats - International woman of mystery and fountain of food knowledge.
Lizzie from Hollowlegs - Big opinions, big heart and an even bigger appetite. Cake and curry queen.
Danny from WMPC - One man dinner blagging machine who even got me to cook for him.
Carla from Canbebribedwithfood - Crazy and lovely carrot hater
Jassy from Ginandcrumpets - She makes mince pies with beef mince. Awesome
Rachel McCormack - No blog but a weegie who likes food and dislikes zombies
Helen from WorldFoodieGuide - An inspiration who has gone into retirement. Honorary tweatup member.
There are so many more. Thank you all.
Other notable events
Easy, we won the Ashes and I was there. Amazing.
As a rule, I don't believe in these. But I thought I would put together a few I know I can keep.
1. To say I write about food with pride
2. Keep on expanding my culinary horizons (including trying goose and maybe an anchovy)
3. To get others to try more (carrots Carla?)
4. Be a better son
5. Spend more time in my kitchen and cook
6. Enjoy my life
Who knows what's going to happen in 2010. Big things are happening at work and trips have been scheduled to Malaysia and Bali as well as the big one, nearly 3 weeks touring South Africa during the World Cup with my bru @cyberdees.
Food wise, hopefully I will make it to the Fat Duck and who knows, maybe this year I will get that elusive reservation at El Bulli. Explore a bit more outside of London and continue on my quest for the perfect roast duck and crispy pork and rice.
Thank you all for reading this and I hope I can keep you all coming back for the year to come.
And just for you Cat!