New Year Food Goals: 2018

If you’ve not clocked it yet, 2018 is here – time to make some goals!

Credit: Anna Morais

For some people eating is simply a necessity, it can even be a chore for others.

I don’t fall into either of those categories.

I’m passionate about the food I eat: where it comes from, what it looks like – everything. So it makes sense that someone like me will be pretty regimented when it comes to making a list of goals for the New Year.

Now I know – making lists, especially concerning something so subjective and personal as ‘goals’, is such a typical girl-blogger thing to do. I can almost hear your eyeballs rolling in to the back of their head. Well before you lose your sight altogether, just wait a minute and hear me out.

This post is not just an excuse for me to nostalgically reflect on how amazing my 2017 was. It’s certainly not an excuse for me to obsess over how much weight I need to lose and I will personally promise you right now that there will be no desperate wishes for my life as a singleton to end – this is a food blog first and foremost, no drama, no bragging: I promise.

So, here we go – my FIVE FOODIE GOALS FOR 2018:

Prepare and cook a Beef Wellington

Credit: @elliotjamessmith

The Beef Wellington is one of my all-time favourite British meals, but it’s one of those things that I’ve always been told is so much better if you make it yourself. Now, I don’t spend much time at home, so much so that I probably cook for myself 5 times a month – tops. So, you might be able to guess that my cooking skills are somewhat lacking now…so the prospect of preparing a Beef Wellington from scratch is more than a little intimidating. Fingers crossed Jamie and YouTube will see me through it!

Host regular dinner parties

You didn’t think I was planning on eating the whole Wellington myself did you? I’m hoping to spend more time at home this year and that means I’ll be able to invite people round more often. I’m always mercilessly ripped into for never hosting parties, so I’m going to chance that this year and try to do dinner at mine at least once a month. It might take me a while to build up to the Beef Wellington, but I can always fall back on a few classics from my student days if needs be. Spag bol’ anyone?

Dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant

Credit: @countingmichelinstars

My first (and only) trip to a Michelin-starred restaurant was a life-changing experience. It opened my eyes to how a simple meal could be transformed into something other worldly and led me to starting my career in the industry. To my great shame, that was years ago and I’ve not been back to a Michelin recognised establishment yet. I’ll still be zipping all around the UK this year, so I’m hoping to get a last minute reservation at a first-class restaurant at some point – I just hope my bank account will be ready for it…

Hit up a Summer-time Food Festival

Credit: @singerfood

Food festivals are all the rage now for families, young people and old folks alike. Last year I was lucky enough to get invited to a couple of Festivals, unfortunately I was working at the time, so I spent most of my time schmoozing instead of stuffing my face. This year I’m going to get a group of girls together, find a perfect sunny weekend and hit up one of the big ones. Although there are some great events being planned every year, the one I’ve got my eye on is the Great Indian Food Feast in London – watch this space!

Become a BBQ Queen

I’ve got a fantastic back garden which is slowly but surely starting to resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the centre piece of all this chaos is a rater forlorn red-brick barbecue which my Father built for me nearly a decade ago. I’d like to say that I made great use of it when I first moved in, but the truth is that I’ve not even used it once. In truth, fire does scare me just a little bit, so the notion of digging out the barbecue and then filling it with coals just doesn’t appeal to me. Still – I’m going to fight my fear and do what I can do become a true BBQ Queen come the end of this Summer.

I’ll make sure to keep you guys updated if I manage to cross any of these off my list!

American Breakfasts in the Heart of Bowland

I’ll take any excuse for a weekend away.

Whether it’s a housewarming, christening, wedding, funeral, concert, garden show – literally, any excuse to go on a road trip.

My latest excursion had me flying my weekend warrior flag high, as I missioned a gruelling five hour on a Friday Night, straight from the office in London up to Bowland Fell, a static caravan site and holiday/retirement park for over 50s. My absolute favourite Uncle and Aunt had both just packed their jobs in down South and had decided to retire to one of many residential park homes in Yorkshire. Although they’d stressed time and time again that they weren’t staying in a caravan, I was still expecting to be bunking on a spongy sofa that vaguely smelt of damp – it turns out I was a little far from the mark…

Credit: Bowland Fell

I could tell my Aunt Rose was proud of her new home and she was even happier to see how surprised I was by the condition of her new home. Although it was only a 2-bedroom bungalow, the state of the finish was a far cry from your traditional caravan. Glittering white walls were accompanied with some classy decor which I could tell were a particular boon for Aunt Rose, who was keen to pick out each piece, with a little side-note as to how much money she had saved. I was sure to make all the right sounds and gestures, which were mostly genuine.

What both of them were most excited to tell me about was a new restaurant that they had found in the local town of Clitheroe.

They’d always struck me as traditionalists when it came to food, their dinners mostly consisting of the classic formula of ‘Meat and Two Veg’, so I was surprised to hear them so enthused about a new ‘style’ of eating. They were so excited that they’d booked us a table for Brunch the next day at Hoof and Rooster, an ‘American inspired Smokehouse and Bar’…in Clitheroe.

For context – here’s a map of Clitheroe and it’s surrounding area:

Now – I’m always one for experimentation, but I feel like there’s something inherently wrong, taking locally sourced meat from the area and turning it into gourmet American food, a trend that was on trend well over 5 years ago now.

Let me try and explain myself here:

There are certain foods which are just a little too difficult to stomach when they’re out of context.

Credit: Pixabay

Gourmet Burgers, for example, sit comfortably on most modern high streets; but transplant them into an utterly English rural town, like Clitheroe and something doesn’t quite feel right.

It’s a little like Disney Land Paris. Despite it’s distance from the city there’s something innately un-American about that particular resort – you just know that what you’re getting is a cheap imitation, rather than the real thing. You know in that Mickey Mouse suit, there’s no friendly, vaguely brainwashed, failed actor; you’re more likely to find an overweight French fellow, who’s desperately looking forward to his next fag break.

Now, the question of authenticity is a dubious one when you’re dealing with the physical manifestation of a global brand like Disney, but when it comes to authentically replicating specific types of food it’s a little easier, especially when you’ve eaten as much food as I have. Often a chef can try as hard as they can for authenticity and end up shooting himself in the foot. Despite my reservations, I found myself enjoying the American-flecked breakfast that I had at this recently opened establishment and I could see why my Uncle and Aunt liked it.

Credit: The Hoof & Rooster

The decor inside the The Hoof & Rooster (Neon lights, bare bulbs in wire cages, taxonomy and industrial props) might well feel a little rote to experienced diners from the city, but these little touches made the restaurant stand a mile out in Clitheroe, a place that has clung to it’s traditional values for some time. Going there made Aunty Rose feel ‘young and hip’ and that’s something that I would never dream of taking away from a woman in her mid-50s.

Especially one who’s just moved into a caravan – sorry – ‘residential static home’.