Aka the best things I’ve eaten this year, in no particular order.
Beetroot & Pistachio Bake At Home
I found this recipe in Olive magazine and made it for the first time in January, and then got addicted to it and ate it for weeks and weeks. It’s easy to make and it tastes delicious.
Dinner at Lofoten, Oslo
I went to Norway for work and took the BFF with me, and we went to Lofoten in Oslo, and I fully recommend it. It was not cheap, and sometimes with super-posh places it’s a case of style over substance, but that was not true here. The food was p h e n o m e n a l.
Dinner & Drinks at The Caketail Club, London
I discovered Hammersmith’s Caketail Club in May and have been a regular visitor ever since. They do a range of sweet and savoury options, and they’re constantly changing the menu.
These are some vegan fake chicken bites, with a dark and smoky sauce which is dangerously moreish; and some plantain tostadas with some kind of wonderful mango salsa on top. Brilliant.
Their cocktail-inspired cakes are also wonderful; so far I have tried the espresso martini one and the strawberry prosecco one, both of which made me far too happy.
And of course, the drinks are excellent too. I thoroughly recommend a visit if you’re in West London.
Dinner at Slaw, London
This year, for the first time ever, I celebrated my birthday with friends. We went to Slaw in Islington, and it was a very nice evening. The beetroot daal with spinach raita was fantastic.
Lunch at W6 Garden Centre Café, London
This year they’ve made some changes to their already excellent menu, and it’s still a great place to go for breakfast or brunch or lunch. I can usually be found there on Tuesday afternoons, typing away furiously and downing a smoothie or a hot chocolate, depending on my mood and the weather.
Gujurati Carrot Salad At Home
Another entry based on a recipe in Olive magazine (I’m so glad I bought a subscription!), this Gujurati carrot salad is very good for you and extremely moreish. I went through a phase of making a load of it on Sundays and then sticking it in a wrap with a tofu wild garlic fillet and a dab of hummus for lunch every day.
Dinner at Noble Rot, London
Yup, more oysters. When I finished writing the first draft of my novel in August, I took myself to Noble Rot to celebrate. I had some oysters to start with, sitting outside with a glass of champagne, and then I moved inside and had the rest of the meal, which was so good that I forgot to take pictures of it.
Cherries and Chocolate at Home
This year I discovered Lemon & Limes, an excellent greengrocer in Turnham Green, and it helped me to improve my relationship with food. The cherries in this photo came from there, and the chocolates came from Melt, which I maintain is the best chocolate place in West London.
Dinner at Clarke’s, London
I have lived in West London (on and off) for thirteen years and Clarke’s has been on my list of places to visit for many of those years. Finally, a few weeks ago, I managed to try it and it was even better than I’d hoped. The food was excellent, the wines were sublime. I will be going back – not often, because my bank account won’t stretch to it, but for very special occasions it’ll definitely be top of the list.
Ginger Nuts and a Cuppa at Home
Proving that enjoyment is all about context and sometimes it’s the simplest things that count the most, one of my favourite gastronomic experiences this year was munching several ginger nuts with a perfect-strength cup of tea while I was working from home one day.
I was having a particularly busy couple of weeks in the late summer / early autumn, and I was exhausted and wanted something comforting, but I didn’t know what. At the supermarket I stumbled upon the biscuit aisle and realised I couldn’t remember the last time I’d eaten a biscuit.
On a whim, I bought a packet of ginger nuts, went home, made a cup of tea, and sat down to continue working. I dunked the ginger nuts in the tea (just the right consistency to go a bit gooey but not fall apart) while I proofread articles and felt a shot of pure happiness.
Sometimes it really is true that all you need is a cup of tea and a biscuit.
2018’s food reflections can be found here.