Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2017 - the year in review

And so, Christmas has been and gone and with it the final hurrah of 2017.  I spent most of the year’s dying days snuggled up at home doing little more than watching crap on Netflix and eating chocolate biscuits.  I weighed myself this morning; up 5lbs from the beginning of December which I am quite peaceful about considering that we abandoned 5:2 and any pretence of moderation right at the start of the month.  I am hoping to get most, if not all, of it shifted by the end of January.  Today sees me on my first fast day since…well, weeks ago, and there are even rumours that the Treadmill in the Garage will be grinding back to life very shortly.  As ever, I will keep you apprised.
Before we venture forth into 2018, as always, it is worth having a quick look back.  Firstly, weight loss and health matters – I committed to 5:2 at the start of the year on the basis that:
a) I still need to lose weight
b) Weight Watchers did not agree with me anymore – the constant counting and measuring and weighing and planning was, ultimately, not doing my mental health any good and
c)  Any other formal “diet plan” would likely be just as bad. 
5:2 seemed like the answer to the problem, in that it would require fierce commitment for 2 days of the week, but the rest of the time I could pootle along as I pleased. 
Well, it has worked in the sense that I am 2 stone down over the course of the year.  It’s not what you would call an amazing result, but it is a result nonetheless, and given the number of weeks where we’ve sacked off one or both fasts for reasons both spurious and genuine, I am pleased.  I have genuinely eaten well on non-fast days – aiming for moderation rather than restriction has really helped me develop a peaceful relationship with the food that I eat for the first time in my adult life. 
And talking of eating, D and I have agreed that some of our favourite ever meals were consumed in 2017.  We were lucky enough to visit several amazing restaurants and to pick a favourite is very, very difficult. 
The stand-out, in the end, is The Raby Hunt, which we visited at the beginning of November.  It has two Michelin stars and it is not London based – the conjuction of these two facts do tend to imply quality – but we have learned that Michelin stars do not always make for the best eating or for the best dining experiences (in our opinion.  Clearly not in the opinion of the mysterious Michelin inspectors who I fondly imagine cruising the country’s dining scene in pinstripe suits).  Raby Hunt, which I wrote about here, is just absolutely fabulous.  And the dish of razor clam and celeriac and almonds is probably, probably the best thing that I ate all year.

Razor clam and celeriac at The Raby Hunt
But there are honourable mentions to be made too: the thought of the lamb at Lake Road Kitchen in Ambleside still makes my mouth water all these months later.  And we had a last minute contender in the form of scallop with fermented celeriac at TheBlack Swan at Oldstead just the other week.  It’s rather odd – I didn’t even think that I liked celeriac that much, but in expert hands, it turns out that it is rather sublime.  I probably need to cook with it a bit more.  We also absolutely adored 64 Degrees in Brighton – another superlative lamb dish, this one served with gochujang.

Lamb at Lake Road Kitchen
Dessert of the year probably, again, goes to one of the offerings at The Raby Hunt, but I can’t help but remember with very great fondness the fabulous miso caramel ice cream that we ate at Skosh in York.

Miso caramel ice cream at Skosh
Our own home cooking has, naturally, encountered new influences and ideas throughout the year (gochujang and sushi rice are now both permanent fixtures in our storecupboard), but I honestly think that one of the nicest things that I made was this summery broad bean dip.  I am already looking forward to broad bean season rolling around again so that I can make this dip by the pint.

Broad bean dip at home
We managed to make a bit more use of our extensive recipe book library, but want to ramp this up for 2018 and are aiming to cook a new dish at least once a week.  What with that and plans to visit (among other places) Joro in Sheffield and Where The Light Gets In in Stockport, I think 2018 will shape up to be pretty damn fine itself.


  1. 2 stone down pver a year when you have also eaten all those goodies os a splendid effort. Well done and keep it up!! Lxx

  2. My spelling is rubbish....going too faat!