It's my one year blog birthday! Blirthday? Bloggiversary?
Whatever it's called, I'm really pleased that my little blog has made it this far. I feel like I've progressed in so many ways, most notably my photography. Here's the first photo that appeared on this site exactly one year ago:
Mmm - attractive! I kind of feel bad for laughing at myself, but honestly... what was I thinking? I didn't even know that there was such a thing as photo editing - though having said that, even my raw, unedited photos look infinitely better than that now. Not too sure what I was doing there. When I was looking at my blog stats the other day I noticed that one reader seemed to like my blog so much that they'd gone back through every single page of it, right back to last November. While I'm thrilled and flattered that they took the time to check out everything I'd posted, I kind of wanted to be able to tell them not to go back too far because it gets a bit embarrassing.
Anyway, let's focus on the positive. Today I'm going to revisit some of my most popular posts from the last year. Sometimes I post a recipe that I think will be really popular and nobody seems that excited by it (sometimes I just want to say honestly, it was seriously good, why is no-one commenting?), and other times a recipe that I thought would go largely ignored is really popular. So, let's see what you guys were enjoying most over the last year.
#10 - Creamy mushroom and chickpea curry (vegan)
I'm glad that this recipe just about made it into the top 10! This creamy curry turned out to be vegan but I didn't even originally set out to make a vegan curry, so it makes me happy that I was able to include vegans in this recipe too. I think that's the best type of vegan recipe - food that is naturally that way, without any forced or awkward substitutions. This curry was filling and satisfying, and the heat offset the creaminess perfectly.
#9 - Simple stuffed mushrooms
We're clearly on the same page, because you liked this insanely simple stuffed mushroom recipe as much as I did. It's mental what you can do with just 5 ingredients. It's pretty hard to beat cheesy garlic mushrooms with fresh herbs and crispy breadcrumbs. I think I'll have to make these again around Christmas time; they'd make a great little appetiser (or even a canapé if you used smaller mushrooms) for a family meal.
#8 - Microwave potato crisps
Once again, you love to keep it simple! This recipe is perfect for when you're craving a snack but can't bring yourself to leave the house (i.e. me every day). They're easy to whip up for a single portion, and taste just as good as the shop-bought version. I went for simple salt and pepper flavour crisps, but you could play around with using different spices. The wrap you can see in the background of this photo is my portobello and red pepper wrap with roasted garlic mayonnaise, which was also seriously good.
#7 - Spinach and black bean enchiladas
This recipe was from only a month ago, but has already shot up well into the Top 10 recipes I've ever posted. The easy, no-cook filling makes these really quick to make, unlike lots of other enchilada recipes I've seen. These also use my homemade red enchilada sauce recipe, which takes less than 5 minutes to make. This is definitely an enchilada recipe I'll be coming back to again.
#6 - Cheese and chive scones with garlic butter
This was the first ever photo that got accepted to FoodGawker (you can see my accepted pictures here) - I was so excited I remember being in a good mood all day. It had taken a lot of declined submissions to get one accepted. Honestly, I think this one was a bit of a fluke because the other photos in that post aren't so good - the light just happened to catch the scones in a nice way for this photo. The recipe was so tasty though - cheese, chives and garlic butter were never going to make a bad recipe, were they.
#5 - Slow cooker sweetcorn casserole
Another really recent recipe! I guess you guys are getting seriously excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas, because you went mad for this one and pushed it straight up into the Top 5, despite its somewhat unfortunate appearance. Either that or you're just as lazy as I am, and really love your slow cookers! Whatever the reason, you were right to like this recipe, because it was just the perfect combination of sweet, savoury and spicy... plus it's sweetcorn, which is always a hit in my book.
#4 - Enchilada stuffed pasta shells
I definitely can't blame you for this one - I'd have a hard time not clicking on a picture that showed a pan full of cheesy goodness. It was also crammed full of pasta stuffed with black beans, corn, ricotta and all sorts of other delicious things. I can still remember exactly what these stuffed shells tasted like, and to me memorable means good. I must make this one again soon.
#3 - 5 minute dinner rolls and the best tomato soup
I think it was the rolls that drew people to this post, but the tomato soup deserves an honorable mention too; I wasn't exaggerating when I said it was the best tomato soup I'd ever made. But, the rolls were the star of this post. I've tried a lot of quick breads in my time (I try to avoid using yeast whenever possible), but so far this is the only recipe that's given me anything like a real bread roll. For the sake of the 5 minutes it takes to whip up a batch, you may as well go and try these right now, no?
#2 - Lentil and bulgur soup with lemon and parsley
You guys make the best choices. This soup definitely deserves to be right up here. It's perfect all year round - the lentils and bulgur mean it's hearty and filling for winter, but the lemon and parsley keep it tasting light and fresh. The ultimate soup! Plus it will go down in history as the soup that turned me onto bulgur wheat, and inspired other fabulous recipes such as my recent bulgur salad with roasted butternut squash, walnuts and goat's cheese (which you should definitely check out if you haven't already).
So, what's number 1? The most popular post of all time?
#1 - Corn and feta potato cakes
Quite an old recipe, so this one takes me a little by surprise! It deserves to be up here though - the inside of these little potato cakes were irresistably soft and creamy, and they were perfectly crisp on the outside. A little unintuitively, adding the potato to the pancakes made them light and fluffy. These would be great for an informal brunch, or dress them up a bit more for a formal appetiser. This is yet another a recipe I must revisit soon.
So, 5 out of the top 10 recipes are from September or later, which I can only take as a good sign!
Thank you to everyone who's liked my Facebook page (there's still room for a few more...) but most importantly, anyone who's ever left a lovely comment or said anything nice about my blog. For quite a few months it felt like I was just talking to myself and my mum, so it's aaaalways nice to hear from someone else. Please keep it up, every single comment is enormously appreciated (apart from the spam ones which tell me about a new diet pill - those ones are more likely to get you a slap in the face).
Here's to the next year!