2016 - A year in the life of a food blog!

2016 has definitely been a rollercoaster of a year. It’s not been a great one for the world as a whole, but for me personally, it’s been pretty successful. Another year of working on the blog full time can’t be bad! Thanks to each and every one of you for reading and sharing my recipes – you make this blog possible, and I wouldn’t be where I am without you.

(insert communal ‘awwww’)

I quite enjoyed writing my Year in Review post last year, so I thought I’d do something similar this year, and look back at 2016 – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Amuse Your Bouche in 2016

Number of new blog posts: 120

Number of new recipes: 102

Number of new giveaways: 4

Total number of blog posts: 746

I think that’s pretty good going for a year’s work! That’s an average of 10 new blog posts each month, or about one post every three days. That’s about what I aim for, so I’m pleased with that! I also write four posts a month for Brit+Co, so that keeps me busy.

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2016’s most popular new recipes

popular-recipes-2016

Very veggie lentil bake (from October)
Slow cooker burrito bowls (from March)
Low carb tikka cauliflower rice (from January)
Tofu bacon BLTs (from January)
Creamy Peppadew pasta (from May)
Vegetable cobbler (from September)
Low carb cauliflower tortillas (from March)
One pot vegetarian chilli mac (from March)
Banana and peanut butter overnight oats (from March)

Looks like March was a good month for successful blog posts! If there’s anything in particular you love to see, please always feel free to let me know – just email me, send me a Facebook message or tweet me, and I’ll do my best to accommodate.

Of course, certain older blog posts always remain popular too (it would be a bit disappointing if they disappeared into oblivion once the year was over…)

Older recipes that were popular in 2016

All the usual suspects…

old-popular-recipes

Homemade chip shop curry sauce (from February 2014)
Easy slow cooker saag aloo (from February 2014)
Crock-Pot mushroom stroganoff (from October 2014)
Sautéed gnocchi in garlic butter sauce (from February 2014)
Perfect roast potatoes (from December 2014)
How to cook halloumi perfectly (from June 2015)
Quick red Thai curry noodle soup (from July 2013)
Low carb cauliflower risotto (from May 2015)
Honey soy tofu (from November 2015)

2016 recipe fails

It wasn’t all success in 2016, though – I had a few recipe fails too. I didn’t photograph all of them (usually it’s all been dumped in the bin before I remember to snap a photo), but I did manage to get a few shots to show you. Just in case anyone was under the illusion that food bloggers never make cooking mistakes!

recipe-fails-2016-1

I told you about this one when I posted the successful version of this recipe, smoked cheese and bean sausages. I originally tried omitting the egg and breadcrumbs – I can’t remember what I used instead, but it obviously didn’t work, as I ended up with one big sheet of cheesy beans. Delicious, but not exactly what I was going for.

recipe-fails-2016-2

A similar thing happened with my first attempt at making my mushroom and kidney bean koftas – they splurged a little as they cooked and ended up looking… well, not exactly appetising. But let’s not go into details on that.

recipe-fails-2016-3

I tried making little tarts that had ratatouille (I think) underneath, and a cheesy rarebit topping. I do love this idea and will probably give it another go at some point, but this batch ended up soggy and undercooked. Some tweaking of the recipe is definitely needed (or at least another few minutes in the oven).

recipe-fails-2016-5

I also tried to make one of my favourite Indian dishes, brinjal bhaji (basically an aubergine curry), but rather than cooking down and giving a rich stew, the aubergine just stayed hard and super bland. Again, I’ll give this one another go at some point, but this was definitely not the right way to make it!

recipe-fails-2016-4

I bought a packet of dried soy beans and tried to make soy bean burgers – but after spending ages soaking and boiling them, I ended up with the driest, most crumbly burgers ever. They were absolutely terrible. Any tips for making decent burgers out of dried soy beans would be appreciated!

Behind the scenes photos

I try my hardest to make my photos look appealing, but truth is, they’re all shot on my dining room table, on a white wood-effect board (it’s actually meant to be a floorboard!). I sometimes use another board propped up as a white background, and a piece of white foam board as a reflector (not pictured). I also use an (enormous!) daylight lamp in the winter when it’s grey outside.

It looks a bit like this, but the table is usually a bit (a lot) more cluttered…

photo-set-up-1

As you can see, the white board is actually quite small – I have to crop my photos pretty closely! It’s amazing sometimes what’s just out of shot. Never trust photos you see on the internet!

While I’m taking my photos, if I turn my head I usually see something like this:

pip-1-2

i.e. Pip wanting to play. Isn’t that photo just the absolute definition of ‘puppy eyes’?! She’s very hard to resist.

Anyway, I hope you’ve all had a great year despite everything. This will be my last blog post for 2016 – I’m taking some time off to relax (something that’s very hard to do when you’re self-employed!).

I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas if you’re celebrating (and a fabulous couple of weeks if you’re not!).

See you in 2017!