Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 : What A Year

12 months seems like such a long time but for me, 2013 has flown by in the blink of an eye.  So much has happened, mainly good with some sadness, and this is a chance for me to do a month-by-month roundup of what was memorable for me in 2013.

A quiet month after the excesses of the festive season.  Fennel & Mushroom Ragu made an appearance on the blog.  And I make it at least once a month as a great freezer filler.

The month of romance.  And Valentine's Day birthdays for the two Mammies.  Red Velvet Cupcakes were a bit hit.

Full of wonderful things including the launch of Real Italian Foodies range of pasta sauces (coming to a new retailer near you very soon, I believe) and my waffling in Isle Magazine about my love for Belfast. Oh and Ethan's 10th birthday so I made an epic Skull Cake for him.

Babaduck managed to get shortlisted for a Britmums Brilliance in Blogging award, which was lovely.  I celebrated by making homemade Mushroom Soup and having a girls brunch with Lucy in Paris Bakery.  Actually, the highlight was being invited to be a judge at the Irish leg of the Great Taste Awards 2013.

A quick trip to Belfast with The Hubs where we had a memorable dinner at Mourne Seafood Bar.  I returned to my old primary school thanks to Innocent and gave the kids a hands-on demo.

Off to France we went, where we ate lots of delicious food including this impromptu French Strawberry Pudding and I instagrammed lots of photos of my view from the sunlounger.

Dodgy Back kept me very quiet for a few weeks so once I had made this impressive Pride Cake for Kerrie and Joyce, I took an enforced rest.

Back with more of a whimper than a bang, I made Plum, Almond & Vanilla cake to sweeten my return. I also 'fessed up to some internet shopping from my sickbed - only to make these pretty chocolate sable biscuits (more of these later...).

My birthday month and we celebrated at The Park in Arklow where Orla and Colin prepared a feast for us. The Childerbeasts decided to bake me a cake too.  At the end of the month, we went on a little trip to Lille and London to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

This was a whirlwind of a month - remember those Chocolate Sable Biscuits in August?  They ended up in Sainsbury's Magazine!  It was also the month of the Pear - a giant bucket from the Parentals got used in 4 very different ways.

A chill in the air brought Italian Sausage Stew, full of warming vegetables and spicy Italian sausage.  To bring a bit of sweetness, those pears reappeared in the form of Chocolate, Pear & Mascarpone Cake.

Crowning glory this month was winning the Office Bake-Off.  There was some very stiff competition and we raised much needed funds for hurricane relief in the Philippines.  My winning entry was a Raspberry & Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Baileys Icing.  I only managed to snag a small slice as it vanished in less than an hour!  Oh, and my Christmas Cheese Star biscuits appeared in the launch edition of Brilliant Baking magazine.

Looking back, it's been a very busy year and I hope that 2014 brings as much fun as 2013 did (but less dodgy back and health scares, ta...).  Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year

Aoife x

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