As a new year starts, it’s been fun to look back at activity around Life Through the Kitchen Window in 2012. This was my first full year of blogging, and it’s been full of adventure and enjoyment for me.
An unanticipated benefit of blogging is the sense of supportive community with other bloggers. It’s been so gratifying to make connections with so many talented and interesting people who are eager to share their recipes and teach others. And learn, I have! I originally set out wanting to write about our family recipes for my children, but I have learned so much about cooking through this experience that a large proportion of my posts are about recipes and foods new to me. I’m grateful for all the visitors to my blog and the interest and support they’ve shown.
I think my biggest accomplishment, blogging-wise, was the improvement in my photography. (The photos above are a baker’s dozen of my favourites of the year – can you tell I had trouble choosing?.) I don’t have any fancy equipment; most of my photos are taken with a five-year-old Canon PowerShot SD750 and a few with my iPhone which takes surprisingly good photos. Most of what I’ve learned about food photography has been from other bloggers who’ve written about their approach, a bit of internet research and good old experience. This fall I treated myself to a light box to make up for losing the evening light for outdoor photography, and it’s made a tremendous difference. I’m also making fuller use of the editing tools that come with iPhoto. I think these two photos really showcase the improvement in my skills (I’m feeling a bit embarrased about that first picture now). For those of you starting out and feeling the need to improve your food photography, take encouragement!
I am appreciative of all the supportive comments and feedback I’ve received from fellow bloggers, followers and folks who’ve just dropped by. My number one commenter for 2012 was none other than my Culinary Enthusiast, who is unflagging in his support and encouragement. Thank you, my dear! In the category of commenters who aren’t in love with me, Chicago John of From the Bartolini Kitchens left the most feedback. John is unstintingly generous in his comments, and always puts a lot of thought into what he writes. He also is my go-to resource for Italian cooking! My next most prolific commenter is Barb from the lovely, elegant and inspiring blog Just a Smidgen. Barb is wonderfully supportive, and a comment from her is like a note from my best friend. Please take a moment and visit both John’s and Barb’s blogs; once you’re there, I’m sure you’ll want to visit again and again.
Life Through the Kitchen Window had about 11,000 views in 2012, from 100 different countries. The United States was at the top of the list, followed by Canada and Great Britain. And, I’m happy to see that Belgium was number six on the list! I hope this means relatives and friends there are dropping by and seeing what’s cooking in Canada!
It’s always interesting and sometimes perplexing to look at the search terms people used to find my blog. The top search terms were related to chana masala spice mix, black bean salad and easy elegant desserts. On a more curious note, some folks made their way here using the search terms crushed spirit (oh dear), schmancy pepper mill and virtuous flowers.
And finally, the countdown to the top five most-viewed posts on Life Through the Kitchen Window in 2012 …
and … drum roll … in first place, Another Indian Spice Blend ❊ Chana Masala.
Thanks again to everyone who supported me and Life Through the Kitchen Window in so many ways in 2012. I look forward to the adventures to come in 2013!
And now, to pay tribute to the fact that it was an Indian recipe that was my most-viewed post in 2012, not to mention all the search terms related to Indian food that brought people to the blog, I’d like to introduce you to what I think of as an Indian-inspired cauliflower fritter. I made these a few months ago, and we quite enjoyed them for dinner. They’re relatively simple to make, crispy and very tasty. It would be an easy thing to gobble up a whole batch of these!
Indian-Inspired Cauliflower Fritters
Serves four. This recipe is very lightly adapted from the lovely blog Cook Eat Live Vegetarian, and Natalie adapted it from Ottolenghi – The Cookbook. Trust me, you don’t need to be vegetarian to enjoy Natalie’s beautiful blog and the food she presents; visit it today and you’ll see why! Note, I halved the recipe for the two of us to enjoy as a side dish, and as mentioned above, we had leftovers. Next time, I’ll let these crisp and flavourful fritters be the star of the meal. Natalie’s recipe also includes a Lemon Cilantro Yogourt Sauce; I didn’t make it but it sounds delicious.
One more note before I get to the recipe; I just realized I used the cauliflower raw when I made the fritters (yes, I was in a rush!). It was still tasty and I liked the texture, but I think I would blanch it next time to make it easier to work with (my fritters were pretty lumpy). The recipe calls for 15 minutes to cook the florets, but I’ve changed it to 5 – 10 minutes and would give the cooked florets a quick chop before adding to the batter.
- 1 small cauliflower (about 400 gr) in small florets
- 120 gr flour (I used chickpea flour)
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 4 eggs
- 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 500 ml sunflower or other oil for frying
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil and cook the cauliflower florets for 5 to 10 minutes, until soft with a bit of bite. (Note, the original recipe calls for the cauliflower to be cooked until very soft.) Drain well in a colander. If you’ve left your cauliflower al dente, I recommend coarsely chopping it.
Meanwhile, put the flour, cilantro, garlic, onions, eggs and spices in a bowl and whisk together. When smooth, add the hot cauliflower and whisk together. If you cooked the florets until very soft they should break down into the batter. Taste and adjust seasonings if required.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. When it’s hot, carefully add large spoonfuls (about 3 tbsp each) of the batter to the oil, working in small batches. Separate with a metal spatula. Lower the heat a bit and fry for about two minutes per side, or until nicely browned, carefully turning the fritters over.
Set on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil and keep warm in the oven while making the rest of the batch.