Today is the last day of 2014. The year has been filled with much joy and countless blessings; a new baby boy, lots of ‘behind the scenes’ work at home towards a house project next year and plenty of freelance work to keep me busy in between naptimes.
Looking back at my first post of 2014 (featuring a tasty recipe for Polish Apple Pancakes) I’m flabbergasted that most of what I set out to do this year did actually happen! I resolved to “banish my inner-critic” and have done a pretty good job of that, though it’s still a work in progress. I intended to “be more selective of what I spend my time on” and I’ve definitely had to to that with a newborn. I did also “bring back Simple and in Season” – a monthly blog event here on RenBehan.com that has continued to bring together a lovely sense of community to my blog. And lastly, I have enjoyed “taking inspiration from my Polish heritage and from the food of my childhood,” by way of plenty of Comfort Food-related posts for my JamieOliver.com column including my ultimate comfort food recipe for Polish Kopytka (photo above).
I also finished the year on a high by helping to promote Poland through a campaign called Polska. Spring Into for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with an article published on the Huffington Post called 5 Reasons to Fall in Love with Polish Food – over 19K likes on that one so thank you!
I expected my blogging to take a back seat this year, but despite a few interruptions to normal service, I am thrilled to have been named as one of the Foodies 100 Top 20 UK Food Blogs of 2014 – the credit for this goes to all of my lovely readers – thank you. I’m in great company, as many of my closest blogging friends in the UK have made the top 20, too.
Best Posts of 2014 on RenBehan.com
- My most viewed recipe post of 2014 was Healthy Hot Chocolate Breakfast Smoothies
- Closely followed by my Chocolate Rolo Cake for the Good Food Channel
As with last year, this tells me that my readers are split down the middle between wanting naughty or nice recipes!
My Favourite Cook Books of 2014
- This accolade has to go to Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour published by Mitchell Beazley. I’ve been able to watch Sabrina not only fulfil one of her dreams to write and publish a cookery book, but an award-winning, best-selling one at that. If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it in style!
- I’ve also loved cooking from Jamie’s Comfort Food, published by Penguin and really enjoyed attending the launch in December.
- I’m looking forward to cooking lots more healthy recipes, too, from Diana Henry’s A Change of Appetite, also published by Mitchel Beazley. Speaking of Diana Henry, have a snoop at some of her best cook book picks of the year, too.
Most Memorable Meals Out in 2014
- A dinner adventure at The Fat Duck in Bray with our good friend Matt tops the list – a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we enjoyed for his 40th birthday. We got in just in time as The Fat Duck is now closed for a refurbishment, with the team currently wowing crowds in Melbourne.
- I’ve also enjoyed a few visits to Thompson@Daycy’s here in St Albans – read my review for the Huffington Post here – well worth a visit to Hertfordshire!
Top Collaborations of 2014
- I’m incredibly grateful for all the support I’ve received for my features for JamieOliver.com and I’m hugely excited about new projects with the editorial team in 2015.
- I’m also looking forward to adding to the archives of the Huffington Post with more blogs in 2015.
- I’ve enjoyed gathering together all of your seasonal recipe submissions to my blog event Simple and in Season – thank you to everyone who has entered during 2014.
- And finally, a huge thank you also goes to Shay Bocks for helping me again with another beautiful site refresh (including a new home for My Polish Kitchen) and an upgrade to the Foodie Pro theme.
What I’m drinking
- Vodka, yes, that goes without saying! Actually, tonight for New Year’s Eve we’re staying home and so I’m looking forward to raising a (shot) glass of this wonderful Snow Leopard Vodka, a luxury vodka, handcrafted in Poland and made from rare spelt grain. More trips to Poland are on my wishlist for 2015, who knows, perhaps I’ll visit their distillery in Lublin. 15% of the profits of Snow Leopard vodka go towards conservation projects through the Snow Leopard Trust. If you are also staying in, why not shake up some vodka cocktails?
- We’ve also been keeping toasty and warm this Christmas with home made hot chocolates, to which I’ve been adding the tiniest drop of some Holy Lama Spice Drops – our favourites are the peppermint and cinnamon spice drops. There’s a very special story a behind these Spice Drops which you can read about here. I look forward to experimenting further with the drops in the new year.
- One of the finest red wines I’ve tasted this year came to me in the form of a Spanish Rioja, by Ramón Bilbao. I tried the Ramón Bilbao Edición Limitada and would highly recommend it.
Both the Snow Leopard Vodka (£33.70 for a 70 cl bottle) and Holy Lama Spice Drops (£3.49 per bottle) are available via Ocado. The Spanish Rioja is produced in Spain and is available through The Wine Reserve in the UK. All three items were received as gifts/samples – many thanks.
I continue to be incredibly grateful for all the support shown to me both by my wonderful readers and by my family, which is really, what keeps me writing, despite very often wanting to bury my head under a duvet for a few days!
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and my best wishes for 2015.
What were your highlights? I’d love to hear about them.
All links editorially given.