We are well into the twilight zone that is the week between Christmas and New Years. I’m not sure what day it is, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in wanting to leave this year far behind! 2021 included 20 client photoshoots and one interstate trip for my birthday, immediately followed by 108 days in lockdown. I’ve said it before but my gratitude journal got me through it, and whether I wrote down 3 things or 3 pages, a little bit of gratitude every day helped to improve my mood and put things into perspective. I kept the habit going after lockdown and now I’m at 189 days of consistent journalling every morning. My new goal is to make it to 365 days!
I am also proud that I published 20 blog posts, including some of my long-time favourite simple dinners. Over 2020/21, I fell in love with gardening and preserving. I really loved making recipes that used my home grown vegetables, fruit and herbs from my little backyard garden.
I also just want to say again, THANK YOU for stopping in here, reading my latest posts, trying out my recipes and saying hi on Instagram. I am truly so grateful. In 2022, this little food blog will turn 15. I honestly can’t believe that and I can honestly say that I still love coming here and sharing new recipes. It is my biggest goal to post more consistently here in this coming year! So on that note, here are my favourite recipes posted in 2021. If you have tried any of these, leave me a comment below!
This is one of our absolute favourite quick and easy dinner recipes that we make all the time. I can’t believe it took me this long to share it! The “sauce” comes together in less time than it takes to cook your pasta. I have also loved making this recipe with home grown cherry tomatoes and basil from the garden. We love to serve it with burrata or torn bocconcini and lots of fresh herbs and cracked pepper.
Just before lockdown, my sister Beth and I had a spontaneous apple picking adventure, which was so much fun. We drove to Bilpin, which is about 40 minutes away and picked a few kilos apples, which I then obviously had to bake with. Apple Crumble is such a classic winter comfort dessert, but the addition of miso is absolutely delicious. The homemade (no churn) ice cream is also the perfect accompaniment.
Another thing I am growing in the garden this year is Calamansi – a citrus fruit used in a lot of south-east Asian cuisine. They are so delicious – a little sweet, and it has this incredible floral citrus scent that I wish I could wear as a perfume. I used the zest and juice to make these Creamy Calamansi Bars that everyone just loved. They have a shortbread base and a creamy filling that was easy to make but ended up being one of my favourite recipes of the whole year.
I recently turned my famous Fruit Mince into this festive Fruit Mince Wreath! Ohh this was a good one. It’s great to share – just cut into generous slices and serve with custard. It looks so impressive and makes such a lovely afternoon tea or dessert. However, I wouldn’t be opposed to serving this for a decadent Christmas Day breakfast either!
This one pot wonder is another one of our favourites – actually a recipe that I’ve been making for over 10 years! This recipe is halfway between a minestrone soup and a risotto. It is chunky, hearty and filling but still feels fresh with lots of vegetables that bring colour and texture. It is somehow perfect any time of year.
I spent an hour researching the difference between chutney and jam while writing this post, and honestly I’m still not sure 😂 We are still enjoying this Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney on every single cheese board. I really really love this recipe! It’s perfect with a sharp cheddar and some fancy crackers. I love preserving summer fruits to use all throughout the year. This recipe also used home grown chillies and kaffir lime leaves!
This simple loaf cake is adorable and delightful. We really loved having big slices of this Blueberry Loaf Cake with a cup of French Earl Grey tea. It’s the perfect afternoon tea treat! The best part is when you get a little of everything in the one bite – the tender cake, a jammy blueberry and some of that delicious glaze too.
And finally, this recent recipe was one of my favourites this Christmas season. We absolutely loved these Cheesecake Bars, which felt festive and elegant. I’m so glad that I finally made it after this recipe sat on my “To Make” list for about 3 years! I loved everything about it, especially the fact that it’s completely No Bake and can be made in advance. Bookmark this one for next Christmas!