Sarah Cooks 2012 Roundup

1/06/2013 10:59:00 PM

Happy new year everybody! Time for my round up of 2012! It was a really prolific year for me, with a hundred and thirty one blog posts! Woah! I wasn't working for the first half of the year (or "blogging full time" as I jokingly called it!), which meant I was publishing between eleven and fourteen posts a month. I reckon I didn't slack off too much once I started full time work again in August, with an average of nine posts a month. Wooh! Let's share a glass of champagne to celebrate!
Champagne, oysters, Tomato mozzarella salad
It seems fitting that I start 2013 with a roundup post, seeing as I became obsessed with them in 2012! I started doing a monthly "Unblogged Files" post, rounding up all the fun foodie things that I was excited to share but that didn't warrant an entire blogpost. Keeping the motivation up for new segments can be hard but I got into the routine of doing this one really easily, and I'm pleased to say I kept it up for the whole year! This segment combines my love of food with my obsessive need to record and catalog things. Win!

Still enjoyable, but not quite as prolific, was my new "Featured Dish" series - short, sharp posts where I highlight a truly excellent dish that I've enjoyed recently. I've only done these sporadically, but plan to continue as and when I find great dishes! In the meantime, do check out my featured dishes so far: Panko-crumbed Eggs at Goldilocks, the Bo Peep at St. Ali, Snag Stand's Currywurst, and the Beef on Fried Noodles at Hills BBQ.
Featured Dishes

I joined Instagram in April. I'm addicted. Follow me, I'm sarahcooksblog!
Instagram shots from 2012

This year I made a quiet resolution to myself to publish more recipes on the blog. Those of you who've been with me for longer will know that I used to use my primarily blog to review and compare recipes, and I'm certainly not in the habit of reprinting recipes verbatim from recipe books. However, this year I've been pushing myself to create more recipes from scratch or adapt existing recipes and actually note down what I've done. I wasn't really monitoring this consciously, but when I sat down to write this post, I realised I actually did 29 recipes this year. Yay!

Savoury dishes tended to be either comfort food or quick-and-healthy. In the comforting category we have: Herbaceous Burnt Butter Ricotta Gnocchi, Baked Pasta with Eggplant, Beef and CheeseThe Best Roast Pork Shoulder (better than pork belly!) and Oma Frieda's Griesskloeschen mit Kirschen.
CRACKLING! The best roast pork shoulder
On the healthy and quick(ish) side there were: Greens and GrainsMusselsSilken Tofu with Century EggPower SaladSarah's Sabih and Simple Salmon with Soba and Chargrilled Broccolini.
Silken tofu with century egg

Sweet recipes were, unsurprisingly, very well represented - there were a couple of German recipes (Juicy Nut CakeAmerikaner); some biscuits (Mexican Wedding Cakes, Pistachio Shortbreads with White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Icing, Matcha Sabl├ęs); cakes (Gold Bar Banana Bread, Black Forest Cupcakes, Crowd-Pleasing Chocolate CakePumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze)...
Pumpkin bread with cream cheese glaze

...desserts (Pandan and Toasted Coconut Sherbert, Rapadura Sugar Sticky Date Pudding, Perfect Chocolate Mousse, Burnt Butter Honey Madeleines, Mince Pies) and a few breakfasty treats (Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake, Apple Donut French Toast, Apple Cinnamon Nut Muffins, SconesBanana Choc Chip Pancakes). Phew!
Blueberry crumb coffee cake

Not working for the first half of the year meant I had heaps of time to do fun little daytrips and weekends away. I was lucky enough to have a few of these trips sponsored by the respective tourism boards - discovering the Cider & Ale Trail in the Yarra Valley, visiting different towns that make up the Goulburn River Valley region, enjoying excellent restaurants in the Mornington Peninsula, soaking up history in Ballarat, and even going up to Canberra as a winner of the Human Brochure competition.
Stuffed quail leg with, cinnamon gnocchi, dried grape juice and a deep-fried quail egg - Terminus Restaurant at the Flinders Hotel in the Mornington Peninsula

I also made quite a few trips on my own coin - visiting Canberra, Sydney, the Yarra Valley and Mount Martha at separate times in the year.
Spanner crab roll, celery salt chip - $22 at the Bar at Momofuku Seiobo in Sydney

I only (only!) went overseas once this year, on a fantastic trip to Malaysia in February, where we visited Kuala Lumpur and Penang. I loved showing off my homeland to Sandra - "Wow, so all you guys do here is eat and shop?" Yup! Highlights were the fantastic Indian food in Kuala Lumpur, Penang's awesome kopitiams and hawker food, and of course, my favourite hotel ever: the Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa in Penang!
Satay, Goodall Cafe, Penang

Roti, Devi's Corner, Bangsar (Kuala Lumpur)

Swimming pool, Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa, Penang

My favourite cookbook this year was definitely Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice - previously I'd never been much into Chinese cooking at all, but thanks to her book I'm absolutely loving it! Check out "My Love Affair with Sichuan Cooking" and my Chinese Lunch Feast for more.
Pork dumplings
A close second was Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem - such a gorgeous book! Recipes from both books were often my inspiration for weeknight dinners. (For more, see Sarah's Sabih, or "The Best Pita Ever!", my "Unblogged Files" and my Instagram feed.)
Sarah's Sabih, recipe adapted from Jerusalem

We still entertained a lot this year, albeit in more intimate groups, with less of the massive parties and BBQs of years gone by. There were mini burgers, pork crackling and pavlova at our Australia Day Party, a decadent Lobster Dinner, the epic Ice-Cream Party, handmade tortillas at Mexican Feast II, even tastier handmade sopes at Mexican Feast III, crackling galore at PORKDATE and PORKTOBERFEST III, a Yogurt Party where I used up all that Chobani Yogurt that I'd been given, the Lamb Dinner and that Chinese Lunch Feast.
Mexican Feast II

I blogged quite a few events this year: Phillippa's Evening of Easter Treats, pig on a spit with Napoleone & Co cider at "The Garden of Eden", a cooking class with Chef Matthew MacCartney, the launches of Belvedere Bloody Mary and Unfiltered vodkas, a Vintage High Tea at the Werribee Mansion, a Jazz Apple Masterclass with Fast Ed, romping through the incredibly buttery Charlie's Cookies Factory, a fun lunch at The Merrywell, a Spring dinner at Spoonbill, and even had George Calombaris' mum cook Cypriot specialties for me (and 80 other guests!) at the Hellenic Republic.
High tea at The Werribee Mansion

My favourite cafe of 2012 is definitely the adorable Beatrix Bakes in North Melbourne. We've been a whole bunch of times and can't get enough of their fab ciabattas and sweet treats!
Handmade sweet treats at Beatrix Bakes
Other cafes I visited were The Pour Kids, Elceed, Coffeehead, Lil Boy Blue, and Essenza. In Sydney, I totally loved Flour and Stone.

Restaurants - Top meal of the year was the stunning degustation at Tetsuya's in Sydney! Everything was perfect, and I cannot recommend this place highly enough!
Confit Ocean Trout at Tetsuya's

I also enjoyed perfect steaks for my birthday dinner at Bistro Thierry, a great-value lunch special at St. Katherine's, fab handmade pasta at St. Peters, a great Sunday lunch at the now-defunct Embrasse, excellent seafood dishes at Fitzrovia (N.B. this was complimentary), Merchant, The Bottom End, Madam Kwong's Kitchen and Wonderbao. A little further from home, I loved Aubergine in Canberra, Montalto and the Flinders Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula (N.B. both of these were complimentary), and the bar at Momofuku Seiobo in Sydney.

And then there was Christmas...
Flaming pudding

And that was 2012 in the world of Sarah Cooks! Big thanks to all of those who've been following my blog this year, leaving comments, tweeting me and liking my Facebook and Instagram posts. Looking forward to another year of fun and deliciousness for 2013!

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  1. Full time blogger sounds like a great job haha. Where do I apply?

    Such an Instagram addict now. Or should that be #Instagram #addict ;-)

    So many great posts and love reading about your recipes. I should try to cook more and try some.

    That high tea Werribee Mansion photo is my favourite of them all, perfection.

    To another great year of eating and blogging. Cheers.

  2. Thanh - Thank-you for all your comments tonight!!

    I know, I can't go anywhere without #instagramming!

    I'm so glad you liked the Werribee Mansion photo - I spent ages choosing the right pics and that was my favourite one too! Yay!

    xox Sarah

  3. It looks like 2012 was an incredible food year for you Sarah! I hope 2013 is similarly delicious :)

  4. Looks like a mouth watering 2012! Can't wait to see what 2013 bring all of us :)

  5. Yay. Great round up, Sarah! Here's to a bumper 2013.

    And I like your Featured Dish series - I may steal that idea :)

  6. Lorraine - Thank-you so much!

    I-Hua - Hopefully lots more foodie adventures :)

    Agnes - Thanks, it took me ages lol! Aww thanks for liking my Featured Dish series! Please, go ahead and steal! After all, it was your blog where I got the idea to do roundup posts in the first place! :)

    xox Sarah



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.