Being a terribly sad spreadsheet obsessive, I keep a record during the year of our evening meals. Not all of them, just the ones that we would be happy to repeat. I also note how many times that particular dish is cooked so that I can measure the popularity. I've been doing this on and off since midway through 2012. I probably need to get out more.
Anyway, it does mean that come the end of the year I am well equipped to reflect upon what we have been cooking (and eating). Which is lucky for the purposes of this post.
As ever, our most consumed dish is the ubiquitous pan fried salmon fillet with pasta pesto. which we have had seven times this year. I don't know what it is about this particular combination of flavours that we love so much but it is a household staple. The pesto is out of a jar, making this incredibly quick and simple to throw together. Often, we stir ribbons of courgette and a handful of peas through the pasta for added green. I don't think that I will ever get tired of eating this.
We try and have a roast dinner at least every other Sunday, and 2015 was the year of the roast lemongrass and turmeric chicken from Diana Henry's stunning "A Bird in Hand". This recipe is all kinds of tasty. And, as an accompanying side dish, my coronation rice salad works perfectly. I'm so proud of that recipe - it definitely surpasses the original supermarket version that inspired it in the first place.
Continuing on a theme of spice, 2015 was the year when D created the masala spiced fish finger sandwich as an anniversary meal which I absolutely loved. A good sandwich is a thing of beauty and a joy forever and this one was superlative.
Another innovation for 2015 was to institute "Sunday breakfast" as a way to extend our early morning fare beyond bacon sandwiches. We've had some gorgeous dishes so far, but my favourite is probably the bhurji pau - spicy scrambled eggs. I owe Babu Street Kitchen a debt of gratitude for opening our eyes to the possibility of spice at breakfast time.
From India to Italy - and one of my ingredients of the year (I banged on about it enough) has to be the 'nduja sausage that I bought from The Ham and Cheese Company. Oh, but I love this stuff. I've got lots of ideas for introducing it into different recipes, but to be honest, you probably will never better just spreading it thinly on toast, drizzling with a little olive oil and flashing it under a piping hot grill to melt slightly.
Talking of toast, I think that this year I might finally have conquered my fear of bread making. Certainly, I have become distinctly more proficient and my confidence continues to grow. The satisfaction of eating freshly baked bread, warm from the oven, is immense. I don't have a huge repertoire as of yet but this Hairy Bikers' recipe for a rustic Spanish loaf is definitely a current household favourite. I might have to write that up over here actually, as recipes on the BBC website have a nasty little habit of disappearing.
And finally, there was very little in the way of Weight Watching this year and nowhere is this more evidenced than by this remarkable dessert that we made at Easter - hot cross bun pudding with salted caramel. We served it with a stollen flavoured ice cream, but it would be just as good drowned in cream.
Here's to more good cooking and eating in 2016!