Sarah Cooks 2016 Roundup

1/02/2017 10:11:00 AM

Hello there! Happy New Year to you! Let's hope that 2017 is a truly excellent one for you! I spent New Year's Eve in Germany with family, drinking Champagne, eating crisps and watching cheesy TV (Alle One Hit Wonder und die Hits 2016, in case you're wondering). We rang in the new year with fireworks on the street, and woke up this morning to a light blanket of snow. SNOW! Needless to say, this Australian's mind was blown.

So, now that we're in the new year, I wanted to take the opportunity to take a look back at the year that was for Sarah Cooks!

I did 66 posts this year, fewer than previous years, but I'm still updating regularly, with 4-9 posts a month. Importantly, I'm still really enjoying it, even after twelve years of blogging. And yes, I did celebrate my twelfth blog birthday with a big lunch party, serving the first cake I ever blogged - Nigella's Gooey Chocolate Stack.

Gooey Chocolate Stack


I didn't think that travel was a big feature of 2016 (one trip to Germany in May, plus our current trip to Germany now), but looking back on the year, I did a lot of travel posts!

I started 2016 by blogging about some trips from the previous year - A (work) Trip to Geraldton, and finishing off the series on our trip to Germany in August 2015 with a post on Restaurants and "A Day in Trier & Bernkastel-Kues".

Pages Beach, Geraldton

As I've blogged about Germany many many times before, for our May 2016 trip, I just did one big round-up post. (I also blogged about my One Night in Paris!)

Brezel, Knacke und Bier

Even though we didn't visit any new overseas destinations this year, we did quite a few little weekends away. There was A Weekend in Apollo Bay, a City Break at the DoubleTree by Hilton (with their freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!), A Weekend at the Langham (a delayed post, the actual weekend was in November 2015), a Weekend in Wilsons Prom, and a Weekend Away on the Mornington Peninsula. Phew!

View from Point of View, Apollo Bay

We also did a fab short holiday in Cairns in October - blogposts to come!


I did slightly less recipes this year than in previous years, with about 24% of my posts being recipes (usual ratio is approx. 33%). Are you as interested in ratios as I am? Hehe.

There were very few savoury recipes this year - only four! Luckily they were good ones. German Kartoffelpuffer (fried potato pancakes), a super easy and tasty Anchovy Spaghetti, a pretty springtime Asparagus Tart, and a tea time treat of Dainty Finger Sandwiches.

Asparagus Tart

Cream cheese cinnamon rolls with caramel pecan topping

Non-breakfasty sweet treats included the plain but delicious Banana Buttermilk Cake, the petite and cute Mini Blueberry Tarts, and my Favourite Cheesecake.

Mini blueberry tarts

You may have also noticed that in the run-up to Christmas I did heaps of baking! There was classic Shortbread, German Vanillekipferl, Coffee Stout Gingerbread with Coffee Gaze, and the Raspberry Bakewell Cake.



We didn't entertain heaps this year - I mean, we did have friends over throughout the year, but it was for more casual get-togethers, not as an excuse for me to cook extensive multi-course meals! Notable exceptions were my twelfth blog birthday, and the Brunch Party!


Other menus that I put together were smaller affairs for my family - the Australia Day Lunch, Fathers Day Afternoon Tea, and of course the Small Christmas Lunch and Big Christmas Lunch!

Afternoon Tea


I attended a few events this year - a mix of venue launch parties, travel famils, cooking demonstrations and so on. Fun times! All my eating adventures make their way onto my Instagram and my Unblogged Files posts, and invited events are no exception. (Instagram Stories are particularly suited to capturing the atmosphere of a launch party!) I'll generally devote a whole blogpost to an event if there's something interesting or unusual to write about at length, and / or if the experience and food we've been given is something similar to what a paying customer could expect on a normal visit. (As per the restaurant posts below).

This year I posted about our Weekend Away on the Mornington Peninsula, the South Wharf Progressive Dinner, and the launch of the Bon Fromage Festival of Cheese. (Oh my, all that cheese!)



I did quite a few restaurant posts this year, and looking back there were a lot of invited meals. Some of these were bloggers' dinners, others were just individual invites to come and check out the restaurant. For some of these I blogged a few restaurants together - Belleville, Royal Stacks and Hochi Mama were in one post, as were Penny Drop, The North Melbourne Hotel and CōchinHouse of CrabsSimply Spanish, and the Morris Jones Champagne Lunch each got their own post, as the meals themselves were longer, and I wanted to share lots of photos and blab on a bit more!

Fried chicken, garlic prawns and morning glory with pork belly at Hochi Mama

I greatly enjoyed all of these meals (indeed I wouldn't have blogged them if I hadn't enjoyed them), but extra shout-out to BellevilleRoyal StacksHouse of Crabs and Simply Spanish. These were all great, and I've re-visited them all again on my own coin.

Lobster fries at House of Crabs

The other restaurants I blogged this year were a mix of styles and cuisines - there was the Venetian-inspired Vaporetto, cozy deliciousness at Merricote, experimental cocktails at The Noble Experiment, that stalwart Abla's, as well as a stunning seasonal seven-course degustation at Estelle by Scott Pickett.

Chicken and Rice - Exquisitely flavoured rice pilaff with minced lamb, chicken, almonds and pine nuts - $28


Cafes didn't feature particularly heavily on the blog this year - I do enjoy brunch, but I'm not someone who needs to go out for brunch for the weekend to feel complete. However, I did enjoy The Winey Cow in Mornington, and Maddox Cafe in Brunswick. I also did a slightly epic post, East Side Cafes, where I blogged seven different cafes on the East side of town. (And come to think of it, my preference for doing long posts like that goes some way to explaining why the number of posts on my blog is down).

"3 Little Pigs" at The Winey Cow


And there were some other posts that don't neatly fit into any of the above categories - of course we have my usual end-of-month Unblogged Files, and the 2015 Year-in-Review. We also had my Chinese New Year post, and a post about my extended birthday celebrations.

Chocolate raspberry pavlova

I got into juicing in a big way this year, and had to tell you all about it! I also did a review post on Nigella's new book, Simply Nigella (woohoo!)


2016 marked ten years since I completed my Sarah Discovers How to Eat project, and I wrote a post with some reflections (and numbers!)

And that was the year that was. Big thanks to everyone who's been reading along, leaving comments, and interacting with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! All the best for a wonderful year ahead!

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  1. What a delicious year it has been for you Sarah and you did some fabulous trips too! :D Here's to a wonderful 2017!



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