Wednesday, 21 December 2016

2016: so long, and thanks for all the fish

2016 proved a bad year to be a celebrity or, indeed, a fan of democracy. But leaving all of that aside, the really important issue is what did we eat? I’ve been tracking back through blog posts to bring you a yearly round up. Hurrah.

Eating In

I notice that the number of recipes that I share here has fallen quite a lot, which is a shame, and something to pick up on next year. It’s partly because I invented a rule that in order to post a recipe, I needed to make it twice. So there are a load of dishes that I’ve cooked once thought, ooh I must share that, then not got round to making again. I’m rescinding the rule for 2017.

I always keep a note of what we cook at home (and how regularly), and looking at my spreadsheet, the top three meals were all fish based which is unsurprising – we loves the fish. Salmon with pasta pesto (a perennial favourite in our house) and fish pie make up the top two; for the latter, I enjoyed this recipe for its luxuriant simplicity.

I was also reminded of our phase of eating poached trout with minted mayonnaise on a weekly basis throughout asparagus season, which meant that it hit the number three spot. Stirring some fresh chopped mint and a spritz of lemon through mayo really elevates it. The original recipe, by Gordon Ramsay, called for a minted hollandaise – perhaps in 2017 we’ll get round to doing it properly, but, in the meantime, the mayonnaise was an excellent foil for the delicate fish.

Looking through the list, I’ve come across some dishes which were only cooked once but definitely deserved to be eaten more regularly. How is it we only managed to only have that fantastic Vietnamese style braised pork dish on one occasion? Or that fantastic cauliflower risotto (which recipe is, fortuitously online – thanks, Jamie O!)

Of the recipes that I did get around to posting, a surprisingly high proportion were baking themed which I suppose is indicative of what I’ve particularly enjoyed cooking this year. I am becoming a much more confident bread maker, which is lovely, and one of my goals for 2017 is to get a sourdough starter going. I’ve especially enjoyed our forays into homemade pizza. Our freezer currently lacks both pizza dough and sauce – that will definitely need to be remedied in the new year.

Talking of homemade stuff though, I am dead impressed with D’s first experiments in sausage making. He’s done two so far – a boudin blanc and a Merguez and both of them were excellent. If you’re interested, he’s used this book for both, and the recipes have turned out beautifully.

Eating Out

Our trip to Paris in November saw us having some stunning meals, including a simple plate of lamb and mushrooms which I have already tried to re-create at home. A possible contender for my dish of the year.

Earlier in the year, and a bit closer to home, we visited the only Michelin star restaurant in Leeds. It wasn’t really my thing. But elsewhere, we have had some fine meals in this fair city, and, in Ox Club, found our favourite brunch spot. The thought of the Korean Fried Chicken still makes me smile – another possible contender for my dish of the year.

Without a doubt though, my favourite new local restaurant is the superlative Hana Matsuri which is just around the corner from us in Meanwood. I can’t stop thinking about their amazing sushi. Every single thing that I have eaten there is yet another possible contender for my dish of the year.

I’m nothing if not indecisive.


Er. I tried Smart Points. I hated Smart Points. I made some half arsed attempts to revert to counting Pro Points, or even just calories, but nothing really took root.

Towards the end of the year, I decided to give 5:2 a whirl, and although the results were not particularly conclusive, I’m going to be fasting with gusto throughout the first couple of months of 2017 to see if I can make it work for me in the long-term.

My weight has not really changed much all year – the fluctuations up and down have all been within the same three or four pounds. Considering that it has been a year of considerable stress at times, I suppose I should be slightly pleased with that. It looks as though I may have conquered my demons with regards emotional eating, always a major factor in my weight gain. It also looks as though breaking free from the tyranny of counting has finally got rid of that feast or famine mentality which is so inherent in the long term dieter. I didn’t gain weight after a two week holiday in Scotland, or an indulgent long weekend in Paris, because I have learned the art of balance. That’s fantastic. But the scales need to go down.

I must admit, part of me is slightly panicky as to what I will do if I can’t get 5:2 to work. What the next plan is. I’m trying to ignore her for the time being.


  1. Don't panic! Sounds like you've had some real success this year. I'm delaying the starve days until next week, with sensible dieting this week, rather than shock the hell out of my system. Not sure if this is good sense - or cowardice mascarading as sense.

    And happy new year.


    1. Judging how grotty the two fast days were this week, I'd say good sense. Combining fasting with going back to work has been bloody miserable!

      Happy new year to you and yours too. x

  2. So, how is the 5:2 going? Did you manage any starve days over Christmas? I must confess I would not have been able to do it. Maybe with a co-dieter... Happy New Year! Lxx

    1. Fast days? Over Christmas? Hah, yes, that vague plan lasted all of about five minutes! But we were back on it on the 2nd so hopefully will undo December damage relatively quickly. Am going to be looking to you for fitness inspiration this year - I need to get my lardy behind moving!

      Happy new year to you, Rich and the girls. x