Monday, 4 January 2016

Remembering 2015 (Hazily)

This isn't the usual sort of stuff that I blurt out on this blog but I'm in a reflective mood and so I thought I'd look back on 2015. I wasn't able to do as much cooking or blogging as I would have liked last year and I really must apologise to both of my readers for that. Here are some of the things that I remember from 2015– albeit a little hazily.
  • Alice celebrated her 150th birthday.

Alice in Devon
  • Many food blogs left the building.

Sad to say, a number of the food blogs that I'd been reading ground to a halt or disappeared last year. Worse still, I recently came across a  list of the blogs that I used to read regularly in 2010. Around three quarters of them are now defunct. Back then one of the great attractions for me in the food blogging world was that it offered such a refreshing alternative to the branded, self-promoting world of many cookery books, TV shows and websites. Last year there was a commercially successful book published that had just over 100 recipes (fair enough) and 64 pictures of the author. It's probably an age thing but I genuinely don't understand how 64 pictures of the author helps when you're trying to cook a meal. I still want to read and try out interesting and original recipes and I much prefer the alternative, nonprofessional and idiosyncratic blogging world without all the commercial hype. I hope it doesn't disappear altogether.

  • It was the best year that I can remember for roses.

I Promised You A Rose Garden
  • Avocado was placed on toast.

You couldn't move very far last year without someone offering you avocado on toast, which is fine by me. But there were also numerous offers of recipes in very expensive books for avocado on toast and I find that decidedly odd. Another age thing, probably.

  • It was 600 years since the battle of Agincourt.

Yes, this really is a picture of the battlefield – or rather, the road round it.
Azincourt


That's enough nostalgia for 2015, it's time for a few words about 2016. I started this blog to record the recipes that I used and developed and, six years later, I've almost come to the end of my list of recipes. I've posted around 200 so far and how many recipes does one man really need? I'm not quite finished, though - there are still some dishes and bakes that I'm determined to get right or just finally get around to publishing. But, unless I discover a bunch of new recipes under a rock somewhere, 2016 will probably be the last year of this blog.


Some of the recipes that I've yet to write down are the ones that seemed more personal and, occasionally, odd and so didn't seem to fit what I though was the food blog brief. But they're actually recipes that I use quite regularly and are often based on ingredients from local suppliers. It's my resolution to make an effort to correct those omissions and mention some more local food. It might mean that things get even more wayward and eccentric round here - sorry about that.


I'll start by admitting that I've spent far too much time hanging about and enjoying myself in Bronte's CafĂ© since it opened last year. They do a fine avocado on toast (see above) and excellent coffee from the local organic coffee roasters Beanberry. That's two local mentions already. Who says I can't stick to my resolutions?
Brontes
Normal (well, sort of normal) recipe service will resume shortly. I'm off for a coffee.

Happy New Year

20 comments:

  1. I sincerely hope that this is not the last year of your blog.
    I have enjoyed reading it not only for the recipes but also for the witty anecdotes and suchlike. Yours is a classy blog, no waffle or rubbish.
    I am with you on pictures of celebrity chefs in their books. One on the cover so we know what they look like is enough. Maybe one extra inside would be acceptable. But one for nearly two thirds of the recipes is just ludicrous. I'm trying to work out which book you are referring to.....
    Happy New Year to you, too. I hope it's a good one.

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    1. Thank you for those very kind words. I did have some recipe notebooks that I lost somewhere over the years and maybe if I ever track them down then I might have more to say. At my current cooking rate, though, it will take me until the end of 2016 to get anywhere near to completing the current list.
      I really did bother to count the 64 pictures in that book, but there are probably other books with just about as many. I would say that even in the apparently enlightened times of 2016 the books with the most pictures of the author do seem to be those written by young women.

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  2. I can only hope you're distracted in your cooking endeavours and it takes longer to finish your task!

    So many of the blogs I read now seem much more commercial; many recipes seem to be devised just to promote 'free' gifts of ingredients. I'm not totally blameless on this front, but freebie-related posts are only a tiny fraction, and I only accept things that fit into my style of cooking and blogging (perhaps that's why I don't get offered much!).

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    1. I'm very easily distracted, so you never know how long I'll be around. I'm definitely not against commercial books or blogs and I certainly don't think that there's anything at all wrong with what you choose to post - I'm always keen to read your blog. I do think that sometimes it's taken to extremes in books and some blogs and I just hope it's not putting some people off writing blogs at all. I was just so surprised to look back and see how many really good blogs had gone in the last few years.

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  3. Happy New Year! I really haven't done much blogging for the last couple of years, but am trying to get back into it this year. And, yes, definitely a good year for roses - a couple of mine are still flowering!

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    1. It's good to have you back. I have a very long memory for flowers - or, to put it another way, I'm just very old, but it was an extraordinarily good year for the roses. (Sorry, I went a bit Elvis Costello there). Sadly all my roses are over now but there are plenty of other plants flowering when they really should know better.

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  5. I will be sad to see if this is your last year of blogging, I enjoy reading your blog greatly, your writing style is refreshing :)

    Guilty as charged, I do agree blogging has become very commercial, its tempting when you get offered freebies all the time but for me it does take away the joy slightly of blogging something I have created on a whim, rather than being paid to do something that's when it becomes more like a job. I already have a main job which is more than enough really and my blogging has taken the back burner a little whilst I decide to stay with my blog or move on to pastures new too.

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    1. Thank you for those kind thoughts. People write blogs for different reasons and if their main interest is in commercial success then I've absolutely no objection. But I do find that the blogs can get a bit repetitious and predictable as a result. There are plenty of websites and organisations promoting "professional" food blogging and some of the really interesting and eccentric blogs have fallen by the wayside. I also worry that some potential new authors have felt intimidated by the "things you must do" approach. I had a brief conversation with another food blogger about a year ago. She asked what I wanted to do in 2015 and I talked about recipes. She seemed to think I was a bit odd and talked about Facebook likes targets, twitter and chart positions. I suppose that we just didn't understand one another. (Although, I'm genuinely sorry to say that her blog has been deleted in the last year too, so maybe she just lives on Facebook now).

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  6. Nooooo Phil! You can't stop now! Blog from Bronte's!

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    1. Actually, that's a really good idea - I might just do that.

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  7. Oh Phil, I do love this age thing - I'm with you all the way. But please don't give up blogging. Not until you've given me at least another 50 unusual recipes for small European cakes. And where, I'd like to know did all these other readers suddenly spring from??? May 2016 get you falling back in love with blogging again :)

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    1. Thanks Choclette. I do still enjoy blogging a lot but finding the time has proved a little difficult. I'll do my best with more cakes, although 50 might be pushing it a bit. You never know, though, there must be at least 50 out there waiting to be discovered.

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  8. Oh, good Lord! You have made me smile with this post! I am one of those blogs that has scaled back considerably on activity, not for lack of interest, but because of other creative activities that eat up my time! Also, I found myself making beautiful, wonderful food, blogging it and then forgetting about it! What's THAT all about? I decided to cut back on the new recipes and return to some of the wonderful stuff i've made over the last five years of blogging ... perhaps, you too, will lay low for a bit and come back to us with a new exciting foods that stir you to share them! I have admired your spot because you have such a wonderful sense of humor, aren't commercialized, and have an adventurous palate ... if you choose to never post again, you'll still have those traits and I'll still admire you for them! Happy 2016 !

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    1. Thanks Susan - you're very kind. I do understand the desire to go back to food that you've loved in the past. Always searching for the new is not necessarily the way to happy eating. Come to that, when do I get the chance to try other people's recipes? For instance, I've been meaning to get around to your fig newtons for a while, but I haven't yet found the time. But I still have a number of things to share so I won't be going anywhere just yet. In fact, talking about older recipes has made me think of some classic, familiar, tried and trusted recipes that I've not shared perhaps because they're too classic (or, maybe, old-fashioned) and I'd definitely like to give them some attention. Many thanks for your thoughts.

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  9. Oh Phil, your blog will be very much missed if you do decide to stop keeping it up. I hope you find the rock with all the new recipes under very soon. Your way of telling your stories is charming, humorous and interesting. I hope 2016 brings you inspiration. Kath

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    1. Many thanks, Kath, and I hope that 2016 is very fine for you. As a matter of fact I have dug up a few forgotten recipes in the last week and, if I can find time to make them, you never know what might happen.

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  10. Phil,you musn't stop blogging. I love reading your comments and recipes. Am sure you could find hundreds of cake recipes in the French regions to keep you busy!

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    1. Well, there are a couple of French cakes that I just haven't had time to publish yet and a couple that I haven't quite perfected so far and they'll be on the blog later this year I hope. Researching cakes that I've missed up until now would be fun and so I promise to do my best to find the time.

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