With the start of a new year, one inevitably tends to look back and reflect on the year past. Celebrate the success and preferably forget the disasters. Of course this is no different for us food bloggers. These represent (in my opinion) the very best of the creations to have come out of my kitchen in 2009. Have a look, try them out and who knows, they just might become your favourites too.Following on from the trend I'd set early on in my blogging career, in 2009 the focus fell heavily on the foods of various foreign cultures. Some of my fondest memories came from the making (and eating!) of these three classics:
- Sweet Potato Burritos - Good-for-you food has never tasted quite so good! Guaranteed to make even the most hardened carnivore swoon with each mouthful of it's vegetarian goodness.
- Borscht -The Eastern European classic - and rightly so. The beetroot shines in its starring role, enhanced only by the dollop of sour cream and the liberal sprinkling of dill. Good-for-you food has never tasted quite so good.
- Spaghetti a la Carbonara -The very definition of Italian comfort food, I had to master this after my first creamy mouthful at a local restaurant. And master it I did, much to my tastebuds' delight.
Blog events/challenges also formed a big part of The Creative Pot in 2009, with one of my favourites being the Regional Recipe Roundups (hardly a surprise considering my penchant for exploring different cultures through food). The top three to come out of these challenges were:
- Stroganoff with Pickled Cucumbers and Honey -Tessa Kiros outdid herself with this stroganoff, which I submitted for the Scandinavian roundup. I, in turn, outdid myself with the greediness with which I wolfed this dish down, it was just that good.
- Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef) - My submission for the Cuban roundup, this was the gift that kept on giving, not just for the number of portions it delivered, but also for the great blend of flavours that lived on in our memories long after the last of the leftovers was polished off. The olives was a particularly welcome touch and one which definitely bears repeating.
- Swedish Meatballs (Kjøttkaker) - A surprise hit, considering my disdain of mushed berries, these meatballs could be nominated for Scandinavian of the year, so awesome were they. The cranberry jam and sourcream sauce on the side pushed them over the top and they were polished in an indecent amount of time between myself and TheHusband. Definitely one not to be missed!
Indian-inspired foods featured quite prominently on the menu (and would you expect any different with a blogger coming from Durban, home of curries in the Southern hemisphere?). The pick of the crop was as follows:
- Indian Pork with Pickling Spices - This one really surprised me (and in a good way!). Fresh and zingy, it will challenge your notion of what Indian food is all about.
- Butter Chicken with Pumpkin Squash Naan - I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that this is one of the best butter chickens I've had. The marinade makes the chicken meltingly tender and when paired with home-made naan you'd be hardpressed to find a more suitable definition for bliss.
- Sushi with an Indian Twist - The piece de la resistance. Unusual to say the least, this really got my creative juices flowing and the end result was a smashing success. Dragon rolls will never be the same again...
I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the heady aromas of the Middle-East. Some Middle-Eastern favourites were:
- Moroccan Lentil & Spinach Soup - Filling, flavourful and best of all superhealthy. What more could you want from a soup?
- Orange, Olive & Red Onion Salad - Serious contender for favourite salad ever. This is as refreshing as they come and the bold flavour combo will stop you in your tracks and make you a convert. No jokes.
- Aubergine, Bulghur & Lentil Salad with Fresh Salsa - Not strictly originating from the Middle-East, this salad nevertheless embodies the spirit of the region's cooking for me. Boasting a fresh approach to salads, by combining two in one dish, this is set to become a fixture in the Creative household.
2009 was the year that I discovered a love for cupcakes. And boy did I bake up a storm! But my firm favourites were these three:
- Rooibos Chai Latte Cupcakes - A little bit of spicy, a whole lot of moist with a deliciously different, yet very delicious taste.
- Chocolate Beetroot Cupcakes - The result of a happy accident and probably the most unlikely of pairings, these are moist, yet loosely crumbed with the creamcheese frosting the perfect foil for the uniquely flavoured cupcake.
- Oreo Cupcakes - If it's chocolate you're after and nothing else will do, look no further than these cupcakes. With an oreo cookie baked into the base, lashings of cocoa and a touch of almond essence to intensify the dark chocolatey flavours, this will satisfy even the most devout chocoholic.
I hope you've enjoyed this round-up as much as I enjoyed the walk down memory lane. And here's to many more culinary favourites in 2010!