Sarah Cooks 2017 in Review

1/16/2018 11:26:00 PM

Hello and happy New Year! Well, there's no escaping it - we are well and truly into the new year now! The in-laws have flown back to Germany, my summer holidays are over, and I went back to work this week. The early morning starts have been a bit of a struggle, but other than that I'm well rested and ready to get back to my usual routine! For one of my first posts of the year, I'd like to take a look back at 2017 in the world of Sarah Cooks!

I did 71 posts in total, a slight increase from the previous year's 66 posts. Woop woop. A lot of 2017's posts (20, in fact), were for my new segment: Meal Prep Monday, where I blog a new meal prep recipe for a week's worth of lunches. I've really enjoyed flexing my creative muscles and coming up with new healthy meals, and am looking forward to continuing the segment this year.

Meal Prep Monday

Speaking of segments, over 2017 I kept up my monthly Unblogged Files posts, rounding up the eating adventures of the previous month, and shocking myself, frankly, with how much I eat. However, as much as I've enjoyed doing these posts over the past six years, I feel now the time has come for that segment to end. When I first started these monthly round-ups in January 2012, I wasn't on Instagram (and it certainly wasn't the behemoth that it is today!), and there was more pressure among the food blogging community to blog everything you ate or cooked. These days, I think Instagram is a better platform for publishing those short observations that I captured in my Unblogged Files, and the long-form blog is better for longer posts with lots of detail. The Unblogged Files posts take quite a bit of time to put together, so I'm hopeful that I'll be able to spend this extra time crafting more of those longer posts, editing my photos, and so on. I think that six years of consistent posting with a segment is pretty good going! To farewell The Unblogged Files, I'll leave you with one of my avocado montages, and say thank-you to all of you who read along and sent me messages and comments!

Avocado Montage


There wasn't much big travel in 2017 - we'd used up all our annual leave on numerous trips to visit family in Germany over the previous years, so this year's travel was all about mini breaks and snatching time on long weekends. I started the year finishing my posts on our September 2016 trip to Cairns ("Sightseeing and Activities" & "Food").

Gelocchio, Cairns

I then moved on to writing about our Christmas 2016 trip to Germany ("Christmas in Germany"), which of course included the obligatory side-trip to Paris! (See: "A Wintry Weekend in Paris", "Sweet Treats from Paris", and "Bistro Paul Bert").

Weisswurst, Brezel, Bier in Germany

On the way back from Germany, we did 2 Nights in Singapore, and it was great to revisit after 11 years away!

Por Kee, Tiong Bahru, Singapore

Closer to home, there was A Weekend in Castlemaine, plus an uber-luxurious weekend at Spicers Sangoma Retreat. I've also got weekends in Launceston and Uluru to write up soon!

Free-flowing Veuve Clicquot at Spicers Sangoma Retreat


Restaurants! Only five restaurant posts this year, and that's mainly because I visited fewer restaurants than previous years. (Certainly fewer fancy restaurants). However, the restaurants I did blog are ones that I thoroughly enjoyed! I blogged two invited dinners in full - there was all the meats (and those swoon-worthy buttermilk biscuits) at Fancy Hanks BBQ, and punchy south east asian flavours in a chillaxed setting at Bang Bang at the Rifle Club.

Bang Bang at the Rifle Club

My first post of the year was about one of my favourite, most often visited restaurants: Harley House. And I pulled out the old "featured dish" format for the ridiculously delicious Chicken & Waffles, Belle's Hot Chicken. I can't get over how good the waffles are! A new favourite is Syracuse. I have to admit, I was totally out of the loop and didn't realise that Philippa Sibley had been heading up this restaurant for a year. Whoops. It's excellent, highly recommend. Save room for dessert, obviously.

Million Dollar Jaffa Dessert, Syracuse


I blogged a few different cafes last year. There was the properly Austrian coffee house, Das Kaffeehaus, in Castlemaine; family friendly Third Chapter, in Eltham; and the launch of LuxBite's Viennoiserie range. I also did a big round up post of nine different cafes in my Melbourne Brunching post. I've been brunching quite a bit lately, so look forward to some more brunch posts as the year progresses!

Kuchen at Das Kaffeehaus


The next couple of posts don't fit into any particular categories but I was very keen to write about both of them! I got a copy of Green Kitchen Smoothies, and made so many of their fab smoothie and breakfast recipes that I had to share with you. Total breakfast inspiration! (This also reminds me I need to blog all the things I've cooked from Nigella's latest, At My Table).

Kiwi Kale Chia Parfait, Green Kitchen Smoothies

Another great experience was A Day at CherryHill Orchard with a group of lovely food bloggers as guests of the Victorian Cherry Association to launch the cherry season. There was cherry picking, cherry drinks, cherry ice-cream and more! (And of course I busted out my cherry dress, woohoo).

Cherries at CherryHill Orchard


I did 32 recipe posts this year, representing 45% of total blogposts this year, higher than my usual ratio of 33%, and certainly higher than last year's 24%. (I love numbers). 19 of those were Meal Prep Monday recipes, and the remainder were regular ol' recipes.

Only three savoury recipes, but all three are winners in my opinion: KäsespätzleZucchini and Four-Cheese Galette and How to Roast a Duck (much easier you'd think).

Zucchini and Four-Cheese Galette

Looking back, I'm super excited about the four breakfasts recipes I did: Peanut Butter GranolaCornflake-Crusted French ToastBanana Cottage Cheese Oat Pancakes, and Cottage Cheese and Oat Protein Pancakes. All four of these recipes have become firm favourites. I've lost count of the number of times I've made the PB granola and the cottage cheese and oat protein pancakes! (If it weren't so decadent, I'd be eating that cornflake-crusted French toast ALL THE TIME).

Cornflake-Crusted French Toast

There were a few desserts too. A decadent Hot Cross Bun Pudding, made with the leftover hot cross buns I got at a Baker's Delight Easter Baking Masterclass. For my birthday, I channeled Beatrix with a Cocoa Sour Cream Cake with Chocolate Cheesecake Icing and Raspberry Whipped Cream. (The raspberry whipped cream is SO stable and don't you forget it!) Blueberry Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake makes a gorgeous generous slab of cake, perfect for afternoon tea or a treat of a breakfast. And Nigella Lawson's Cherry Pie is an old favourite that I make all the time.

Hot Cross Bun pudding

I got really excited about making gym snacks this year (i.e. small, wholesome treats to eat before a gym session to prevent me from fainting), and had grand plans to try a whole bunch of different ones and make it a regular thing on my blog. However, I only ended up doing two: Salted Peanut Rice Krispie Treats, and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Balls. Seriously, once I tasted those peanut butter cookie dough protein balls, I knew I'd never need another gym snack. They are perfection! I have pretty much always got a batch of those on the go in the fridge.

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Protein Balls

Celebrations / Entertaining

Finally, I also did a few posts on celebrations and entertaining. Chinese New Year is always a highlight of the year, as are my birthday celebrations. (See: "Happy Birthday to Me!"). We also hosted Sausagefest!, a big German dinner party to thank our friends who helped us move our fridge.

Schnitzels, Sausages for Sausagefest!

And of course there was Christmas! We did a little ham dinner for Christmas Eve, as well as the whole turkey shebang for Christmas Dinner. Yay!

Roast Turkey for Christmas

And that was 2017 in the world of Sarah Cooks! I can't quite believe it's been THIRTEEN years since I started my blog in this little corner of the Internet. Thanks to everyone who has been reading along, sending me emails and comments, and following me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

All the best for an amazing 2018!

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  1. Anonymous6:23 PM

    I will miss the Unblogged Files posts. I loved the round-up format. :(

    1. Aww! Well thank-you for your kind words, and I'm glad to hear you liked them! I do hope you like my new posts too. :)

  2. I will also miss Unblogged Files — I greatly enjoyed them! But this means I'll just have to keep an eye out for your Instagram posts :) Thank you for persisting with them for so long x

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Sonia! I hope you enjoy following me on Instagram and I hope my new posts bring you joy too :)

  3. I'll miss unblogged files too, loved them! But looking forward to all your new content, the meal prep posts are so inspiring!

    1. Hi Kim, thank-you for your lovely words! I'm glad you are enjoying the meal prep posts - I'm enjoying creating them!



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