January is month of philosophising. I live in my head as the year abruptly changes and I seem to think it’s like cleaning out the attic – shifting around boxes of to-do lists, piles of hopes and dreams, trying to gain some sense of order. This way, I think we all feel like we can tackle that new year with its new number at the end, and by the time December rolls around again we will feel some kind of satisfaction for what we have achieved.
Since the pandemic hit, we’ve all learnt to be much more wary as we now have proof that the best laid plans can come to nothing. Instead, we need back ups and alternatives – Plan Bs, just in case disaster strikes. After two years of saying, ‘this year will be MY year’, I have noticed a far greater sense of caution as 2022 picks itself up.
However, while life can throw its share of cruel curveballs, it doesn’t mean we can’t afford to dream. I have a Word document on my laptop onto which I carefully type the dishes I would love to cook. It’s categorised by month so everything feels fittingly seasonal. In 2021, with all this new-found time thanks to the UK lockdown, I finally made (and ate my way through) my own pasta, not one but two babkas, discovered that rice pudding could make the creamiest pancakes, feasted on pork and ginger gyozas, and filled my Instagram with rhubarb ketchup, baked Alaska and squidgy, stodgy jam roly poly.
However, I always experience disappointment when, each and every month, I don’t get round to making a majority of the recipes I had planned. All dreams and goals are relative and I found I was setting goals impossible to achieve. I would curse myself for it, but always forgot that life is complicated and busy and sometimes the activities I enjoy the most are the easiest to sacrifice.
This year I will be kinder to myself. Therefore, I wrote my Food Bucket List for 2022.
There are just 10 recipes on this list – less than one a month as no one is more aware than me that I didn’t write a single recipe last summer – the 10 most exciting and challenging and adventurous for me right now, and 10 in a year feels easily obtainable. It’s that gentle push to flex my cookery muscles and challenge myself in the kitchen instead of complacently sliding into my easy-breezy comfort zone.
And so, without further ado, what are those 10 recipes I dream to make in 2022?
- Sweet flaky pastry hand pies
- Fondue Savoyarde
- Crab soufflés
- Something salt-baked… vegetables, fish, chicken, there are so many options!
- Prawn ceviche
- Apricot tart
- Spaghetti alle vongole
- Prawn toasts*
- My own attempt at pain au chocolat
*I clearly have a thing for seafood this year.
So, bring on the next year of blog posts detailing the stories, trials and tribulations from my kitchen, and hopefully we will encounter these 10 as they sneak their way in! I hope to see you along the way and happy new year!