2013 In Review: Salted caramel, soda streams and quinoa

Hello! After a month off on holidays, I’m back at work, back eating (and sweltering) in Melbourne cafes and back blogging. I feel a little reflection and review of 2013 is in order for this blog before I move on to a few new foodie delights (including upcoming blogs on yummy new Mexican menus and what vegetarians really eat for dinner).

So my partner and I hosted Christmas this year for both our families. Luckily this just meant 8 people (parents on both sides, one sibling each and us), as that was definitely the most that would comfortably fit in our little apartment. The morning started with the two of us exchanging gifts and enjoying banana pancakes (or ‘drop scones’ as I like to call them thanks to my Anglo heritage) with homemade blueberry coulis and vanilla yoghurt.

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Being the wanna-be domestic goddess that I am, I had a lot of fun planning the table setting for the Christmas day lunch. We had a green and gold theme for the table, being both Christmassy and Australian in one!

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The menu, designed to appeal to, and cooked by omnivores, pescetarians and vegetarians alike was:Image:

– smoked salmon on ricotta blinis with horseradish creme

– polenta rounds with guacamole, toasted pepitas and pomegranate

– tomato and goat’s cheese galettes

– a ham (not cooked by me obviously!) 

– chilli garlic prawns

– leek and cheese croquettes with red onion jam

– zucchini, hazelnut and baby bocconcini salad

– classic potato salad with organic dutch cream potatoes

– traditional Christmas pudding with brandy sauce and homemade vanilla bean icecream

– raspberry custard tart with gold leaf

– pistachio slice, rocky road, rum balls, shortbread and lots of alcohol!

I’m feeling hungry yet exhausted just thinking about that meal, but it was great fun! We ate leftovers in a sort of lunch-cross-dinner on Boxing Day and I’ve only just finished off the last of the rum balls, which were made by my partner’s mum and are so so very delicious.

Moving on from Christmas though, to think more broadly about ‘the best of life, love and cake in North Melbourne’ in 2013, I have to say it has been a very big year for me. Some parts have been tough, some parts fantastic. I’ve felt very down during some weeks in 2013. I’ve completely changed careers and started re-thinking about what I want in life. I’ve had to let some things go and welcome other things into my life, whether I wanted to or not (including a couple of kilos!). A constant in 2013 has been the quality and variety of food in Melbourne and the joy I get from sharing a meal with family and other loved ones. Baking a cake is still the ultimate zen-like yoga for my mind. Putting down a delicious healthy meal in front of my partner for dinner still gives me immense satisfaction. And the opening of a new café, emergence of a new food trend or the purchase of a new kitchen appliance will always fill me with joy. To finish this review blog, below are my top 5 foodie trends from 2013 and what I predict is going to be the top 5 in 2014:

For 2013

– salted caramel: I’m not complaining, I love this flavour!

– coconut water: Miranda Kerr drinks it, now everyone else does too.

– cold pressed juices: I personally think these are overrated and overpriced, but a healthy trend and very big in South Yarra apparently.

– quinoa: I’m on board, it’s like couscous but hardcore.

– the soda stream: I hate bubbles in my drinks, so not one for me, but everyone seemed to be buying them in 2013

For 2014:

– artisanal ice-cream and gelato: given global warming and the arrival of N2 and Messina Gelato in Melbourne last year, I think this is on the rise

– cold drip coffee: Auction Rooms is doing it, Di Bella is doing it, everyone will be doing it in 2014! And again with the global warming thing, hot coffee isn’t so appealing in heatwaves…

– beyond Fair Trade: I read a great article recently on the problems with the Fair Trade system of certification (e.g. a global, non country specific pricing system and complex compliance rules) and what some people are doing to get more ethical and creative options out there

– blueberries: I’m not sure why, I just have a feeling about this one, I think this little berry’s time has come to shine.

– duck eggs: More interesting than a chicken egg and less cutesy than a quail egg, I can see the appeal, but to me they kind of taste the way ducks smell. This is coming from a country girl who had several pet clutches of ducklings, most people don’t know what ducks smell like, so it’s probably not an issue, hence the prediction on their growing popularity in 2014.

Thank you for following my blog in 2013, I hope to bring you lots more cookie-filled delicious joy this year!

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One thought on “2013 In Review: Salted caramel, soda streams and quinoa

  1. My god Hannah, that menu sounds incredible! So impressive!

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