I've never really been one for New Year's Resolutions - I don't even bother with generalised ones like "lose weight". But after I came out of a long relationship a few years ago, I made a list of resolutions that was more like things I wanted to do, and steadily worked my way through the list - ranging from taking ice skating lessons to starting a blog. I thought it would be fun this year to make some foodie and blog-related resolutions - or at least, a list of things I want to do. Why not leave a comment in the box below and tell me if you have any similar foodie resolutions?
In 2014 I want to:
- Redesign my blog. I put very little thought into it when I started the blog and was only capable of using the blogspot template, but as my boyfriend is something very senior in IT, I'm sure between us we can work out how to make it look a bit better!
- Improve my ranking in the Foodies 100. I was almost in the top 100, at 108, when they changed the way the metrics were calculated, and at the same time I changed my web address from carolinemakesblogspot.co.uk to carolinemakes.net and I fell several hundred positions.
- Figure out and start using the likes of Kred, Klout etc - I probably need to do this to achieve the above resolution, though so far it's been hard to find the time.
- Reach 400,000 blog hits. I am at 290,000 at the moment, so I think 300,000 is a far too easily achievable target, and I may as well aim for the next big one!
- Make better use of Facebook to promote my blog and start using Google Plus. I think I do OK with using Twitter to promote blog posts but I could definitely be better at replying to tweets.
- Work out how to get on more company/PR mailing lists for product reviews and so on - if anyone has any advice please let me know!
- On which note, make more of an effort to reply to comments on my blog. I do appreciate them everyone, honestly!
- Take a cooking or cake decorating class - I've already signed up to an 8-week evening class in royal icing and piping, starting in January, and before the end of the year I'd like to do something else as well.
- Sort out my cake decorating cupboard that has gotten into a complete mess again!
In 2014, I want to eat at:
- Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium - which is hopefully opening soon! I've got a voucher for afternoon tea for two already as I contributed to the crowdfunding scheme to help the place open - I am a little bit feline-obsessed!
- Bubbledogs - I wanted to go here in 2013 but never managed it
- The Lazy Cow in Salisbury (my home town)
- Bubba Gump's, if and when it finally opens in the UK (there was meant to be one opening in London in November but it has all gone quiet)
- Anywhere in Cambridge - I've wanted to take my boyfriend there for a long weekend for a while and so far we haven't found the time. He's never visited Cambridge, and it's where I went to university and where a lot of my friends still live, so it means a lot to me.
I realise none of these are particularly high-brow and most people would have places like the Fat Duck on their list, but I am a fussy eater and don't think I would enjoy it!
In 2014, I want to cook:
- Salmon in a dishwasher - apparently it's a good method of cooking fish, and other things!
- Bread: I've never made bread (apart from the bread sticks I made at Christmas) other than using my breadmaker so want to try out some proper Paul Hollywood recipes
- Heath bar pie
- something to use up a lot of the ingredients that are nearing their use-by date, including candy I brought back from America
- something to try out some pieces of baking and cake decorating equipment I have bought but never used. That's a fairly generalised comment but for instance I've got the Wilton heart-shaped tasty fill pan which was quite expensive and I've never used (though it doesn't help that the recipe leaflet with it calls for some ingredients I don't think you can get in this country), and some ice shot glass moulds I want to use for a chocolate dessert.
- Giant cupcake - I've tried a couple of times but it's never turned out that well so I really want to get to grips with it this year.
- Something using the Lakeland R-evolution Cuisine kit I got for my birthday and haven't used yet
- a proper cream pie like the one I had in Wyoming
- a really good approximation of a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake; the recipes I've tried before haven't quite tasted right.
- Something from my Artusi cookbook even though it is in German so will take me longer to figure out
- Homemade mozzarella sticks, as my boyfriend loves the ones you get in TGI Friday's
- Try out a couple of the Great British Bake Off technical challenges that I haven't already made - perhaps angel food cake or doughnuts.
- More "food from fiction" - often when I read a novel I am transported by the description of food and there are some books in which food and meals play a large part. I am occasionally inspired to make something based on the book but haven't done so for several months so I want to get back into it, as I have several books in mind! I do regularly take part in Food n Flix, which has a similar idea of making food based on a movie, but the films are chosen by someone each month and I want to make some of my own ideas.
- I want to try out some meals with 'hidden veg' as my boyfriend and I are very fussy eaters, but there are plenty of recipes I could try - like a pasta sauce - where I can add things we wouldn't normally eat and hopefully not notice! I think I will also need to make some more freeze-ahead meals too.
That's all I can think of for now, but I might add to this list as other things occur to me. Do you have any suggestions for things I should try to cook or bake this year?