Thursday, 17 July 2014

Haloumi Salad with Dolmades and Pork Koftas: Getting a Lot off My Plate.

On the 18th November 2011 I wrote a blog.  There is nothing unusual in that, I am after all the owner and writer of five blogs.  Back then however I was a fledgling food blogger and Friday Night Take-Away was my first attempt at writing a blog post.  I had been a keen home cook for years and had been sharing my evening meals on social media with positive feedback.  People seemed interested in what I was cooking so writing about it felt like the right thing to do.

I'll be honest, that post isn't great.  The food was*, but the writing and the photograph leave a lot to be desired.  But I was on a learning curve.  I was primarily using Tonight's Menu as a tool to improve my written English skills and, over time, I think I have succeeded in that.

My original plan was to keep Tonight's Menu as a daily diary of our evening meals.  Not a recipe resource full of weights and measures, no step by step guide to cooking.  I wanted to write the story behind the food, the reason behind the meals we chose to cook.  Within a couple of weeks I found myself in a pub for my evening meal and I decided there and then that TM wasn't going to be a review blog either.  I love food and I'm quite opinionated, but who am I to judge what/how others are cooking.  I also applied this rationale to occasions when I was eating in my friends' and family's houses too, writing about the visit and the meal without feeling the need to rate anything out of 10.

This went well until I was approached to do a review for an American Diner in Leeds.  I was about to turn down the opportunity when the call of the freebie got the better of me.  That post, written in April 2012, is still the most read thing I have ever written and sadly I don't think it will ever be surpassed.  I have since accepted and written a scant hand-full of other freebie reviews, but they are not what I've been happiest writing.

I've been at my happiest when I've been thinking up and running random food challenges.  The Olympic Food Challenge, World Cup Food Challenge, and Everything But the Oink have allowed me to stretch my culinary muscle, try even more new ingredients and, to a lesser extent, boss about a glut** of food bloggers; a group of people I'm happy to call friends.

"But why are you telling us this?" I hear you cry.  Well I've decided to call it a day, give it a rest.  It's time for this old warhorse to be put out to pasture.  Time pressures and other activities mean that I just don't have the time for writing, even though it is still something that I really enjoy.  But I'm not going to drop Tonight's Menu like a hot potato.  I want to leave it as something that I'll feel proud of.

I've said for a long time that I don't have a bucket list of food that I want to eat before I die.  I do however have unfinished business with some of my food challenges and there are some dishes that I'm desperate to share with you.  So from now on every post will be one step closer to the end of Tonight's Menu.  There are going to be more endings than in Return of The King.  And at the end of it all there will be room for a little more...

For the record, Tonight's Menu was a Mediterranean meze including grilled haloumi salad, pork koftas, and dolmades.  Very nice it was too.

*I think, it's been a while.
**or whatever the collective noun for food bloggers is.

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