A year ago today I made my first tentative steps into the world of blogging. I had always thought of blogs as the domain of the self righteous and geeks but, I had been getting some very positive feedback from people about the food I had been cooking for my evening meals so a blog felt like the most logical step. The thing that was stopping me was self doubt. Would I be able to write something that people would read and more importantly, would anybody read the dashed thing?
My biggest fear was my mental block for written English. I have always read a lot but whenever it came to putting pen to paper I froze. I only ever scraped past written exams, even if I knew the subject inside out, so choosing to write for the sake of it was a scary proposition. Fortunately Z has been on hand to proof read for me, because this would not be the blog it is if it hadn't been for her.
I decided from the outset that I didn't want to write a recipe blog, I felt that the story behind each dish would be more entertaining*. I hope that I was right and that whether you've been reading all year or have only just stumbled across Tonight's Menu, you like what you have found. Hopefully you have even been inspired to cook something, who knows?
As this is the first birthday of Tonight's menu I had thought about cooking a celebration meal, or looking back through a year of cookery to choose a favourite to cook again. However, capricious fate has played me like a Mississippi Boat Whore and rather than rustling up a delicious meal I'll be spending the evening in the company of the Idiot B*stard Band.
To keep your culinary juices sated I have looked back over the last year to check on the most popular blog posts and present them here for your pleasure. As tradition would dictate they are in reverse order.
10. Venison and Chocolate Casserole. The antidote to Halloween and it's Americanisation was to cook something inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations.
9. Chorizo and Bean Stew with Gurnard. Possibly my favourite dish in the top ten. The lightness of the poached fish really worked with the earthy Spanish flavours from the bean stew.
8. Fish and Greens with Fufu. The only entry in the top ten from the Olympic Food Challenge, an undertaking that completely took over Tonight's Menu during the summer. The fish in question was Catfish which we had never eaten, or cooked with, before. It was very good too, a strong meaty fish with no fiddly bones.
7. Cheese Club, Cheese with Added Stuff. From only last week and the first of three top ten hits from Homage 2 Fromage, Leeds' first and only cheese club.
6. Yorkshire Cheese. The second entry from Homage 2 Fromage, this time with a local twist.
5. Posh Fish and Chips. With three fish blog posts in the top ten I'm assuming that there is an apetite for seafood out there. I'm still trying to eat fish that isn't cod or haddock whenever possible. The posh fish in this meal was marlin and it was good.
4. Irish Cheese at Homage 2 Fromage. The higest ranked cheese club post is here at number four. The Irish theamed night included a visit from the wonderful Cooleeney Farm.
3. Yorkshire Chicken Mole. I'm happy that highest ranked recipe for the year is this Yorkshire twist on a mexican classic. Chicken and chocolate are a marriage made in Wakefield.
2. Leeds Pork Pie Challenge. The first self imposed challenge on Tonight's Menu was to try and find Leeds' best pork pie. I like to think that I was thorough, although I am still willing to be proven wrong.
Which brings us to number one, top of the pops, the big cheese, the most read post in a year of writing almost 300 musings about the food we eat.
1. Johnny Fontane's. This is the only restaurant review I have written and, saddly, Johnny Fontane's did not make it to it's first birthday. To my astonishment, even after it closed, this post is still being read a couple of times a week. Perhaps I should do more reviews, but then we wouldn't want more restaurants going bust would we?
So there we have it, the ten most read posts from a year of blogging. It has been a fun year that I have taken a lot from. I think my writen English has improved and I know that my photography certainly has. This list does not actually include my favourite meals of the last year, but I'll save them for a different post in a day or two**.
Thank you all for continuing to read and talk about food with me. Finally I think we should all thank Z, without her this really wouldn't be Tonight's Menu, it would probably be Tonights' Menue.
*if not for you my loyal reader then for me.
**I'm allowed a couple of monatages, it's my birthday.