Inspired by similar posts by Alanna and Anne.
I blogged about many of my favourite dishes back in January - chicken with 40 gloves of garlic (photo above) and dulce de membrillo and coconut & beetroot soup, to name just a few. Our beautiful daughter Nora Adeele turned one, and we celebrated it with marzipan-topped Princess cake.
Favourite recipes back in February were colorful quinoa salad with lobster tails and avocado, cream cheese spread with horseradish and beetroot (photo above), yummy chocolate muffins, decadent Lenten buns with raspberries, Hummingbird's raspberry cheesecake brownie. It was a loooong, cold and snowy month, hence the number of baked cakes :P
In March I loved the caramelised rye bread ice cream and ate lots of Georgian food (incl. fried Suluguni cheese and egg and walnut salad). Anticipating the Easter, the month ended with another lovely pashka recipe (photo above).
At the end of the month we spent a week in Davos, Switzerland. Unfortunately I was down with a nasty cold most of the time, so I missed many of the culinary delights on offer. I did manage to try some spätzle and raclette, of course, as well as some of the local cakes.
The highlight of the month was our traditional Easter brunch. As the cold and snow melted away, I fell in love with light salads again. I loved the quinoa salad with beetroot and fennel, Ottolenghi's cucumber salad with poppyseeds. I've made the Georgian spiced and creamy mushrooms on several occasions - and it's been a great hit with Estonian foodbloggers as well ;)
For my birthday at the end of the month I made three different birthday cakes, including my usual mocca cake and the popular Brita cake.
Last, but not least - in April we got four new pets, called Evita, Carol, Daisy and Madame Fifi. Here are the first three (a pure or mixed Araucanas):
and here's Madame Fifi (a French Marans) posing in front of their cool bright orange Eglu:
(And they do belong to the culinary overview of the year, as these lovely chicken have been providing us with free-range eggs that come with a dark yellow yolk and are hidden inside a beautiful pale blue or olive green egg shell :))
In May I shared more lighter recipes - gnocchi Puttanesca, wild garlic tzatziki, chickpea and tuna salad. Oh, and I provided some ideas for Estonian snacks to help you host an Eurovision fan party - the idea came to me after several e-mail requests for such post :)
As the summer season began, I blogged about a new cool café in Pärnu, the "summer capital" of Estonia (one of their popular cakes is pictured above). We loved the cooked whole fish under a salt-crust, and Ottolenghi's roasted eggplant/aubergine with saffron yogurt. The Italian tonnato mayonnaise was a frequent dish on our table during the summer, and the Estonian pork shashlik was a must-try on our Midsummer table.
We also celebrated Nami-Nami's 5th birthday, asking you to name your favorite recipes on the blog. You gave fantastic feedback, thank you!
July was hot! hot! hot! I almost stopped cooking during the month, as the temperatures were simply too high for a Northern girl like me :D I did blog about grilled chicken liver with sherry and honey marinade, and then moved on to pretty much uncooked dishes. Cottage cheese and egg salad, Danish sweet buttermilk soup with summer berries, watermelon salad, cold beetroot soup, harissa-spiked hummus.
And of course, as any other true Estonian, I ate lots of kama with local wild and cultivated berries (photo above) :)
We also took a daytrip to Helsinki, visiting Café Stringberg for a coffee (our little must-do in Helsinki) and having lunch at one of the hottest eateries in town, Juuri (they're famous for their Finnish tapas, sapas, but these weren't served during lunch-time, unfortunately):
I August we really reaped the benefits of our vegetable garden. Just look at the beets we harvested (above), coming in all shapes and colours!!! Favourite recipes back in August were this tomato salad (we had LOADS of tomatoes as well), oven-baked zucchini/courgettes and tomatoes with feta cheese, cherry and plum compote (our orchard is too young to pick our own stone fruit just yet, but soon, hopefully). We had some friends over for the first ever Nami-Nami tomato tasting party (photo below; hopefully this will become an annual tradition):
It was an exceptionally good year for wild mushrooms in Estonia this year, and we ate lots of them, of course! If I get hold of some black trumpet mushrooms again next year, I'll be definitely making this black trumpet chantarelle salad again - loved the flavour and the bite! I also shared a recipe for lovely simple scones and Snickerdoodle cookies.
September was eventful. In the beginning of the month we spent over a week in Germany and France (with a short detour to Switzerland), attending our friend Margit's wedding in Köln. Of course we sampled lots of culinary delights on the trip, most memorable being maultaschen in Heidelberg:
a proper Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte in a Bizenberger family café in the Schwarzwald area of Germany:
The traditional and the more modern porcini & parmesan cheese flammeküche at L'auberge Saint-Martin in Kinzberg.
And last, but not least - a trip to the famous Bernard Antony, Eleveur de Fromages in Vieux-Ferrette was all worth it!
Back home, things were getting exciting, too. Our daughter began attending a small local nursery (luckily, she loves it!), I went back to work after a long maternity leave. We had another tasting party at home, this time getting to know the infamous Swedish "delicacy", surströmming (an event that's NOT going to be repeated any time soon).
The garden was still providing us with excellent vegetables - like these beautiful eggplants/aubergines. My favourite recipe back in September was definitely this super-easy but very flavourful cauliflower cheese with lots of mustard.
October was a good month for good recipes, if I may say so. The American apple pie, pumpkin scones, the Dutch apple cake and this coconut dhal (above) are all worth repeating again and again.
As the nights got darker and days shorter, I began cooking more substantial meals again. I loved this roasted cauliflower with bacon and garlic (thank you, Jaden, for inspiration!), the beet and blue cheese risotto, the Danish brunsviger cake (photo above). I also posted a recipe for a Latvian dish, Kurzeme stroganoff, that hopefully many of you will try.
I took my dear K. for a special birthday dinner at Bordoo, the new restaurant of one my favourite chefs, Tõnis Siigur. The 6-course tasting menu was nothing less than spectacular and I'm looking forward to going again a.s.a.p.
The last month of the year just flew by. On December 1st, my first cookbook (photo above) hit the bookshelves here in Estonia, and we had a lovely book launch party that evening (the book has been doing pretty well, thank you for asking ;)). I spoke in several radio channels during December (KUKU, R2, Vikerraadio), and the Estonian print media (and bloggers!) have been very generously reviewing and covering the cookbook as well. I feel so honoured and blessed! (Again - a HUGE thank you to dear Ximena for making the book look so special and beautiful!).
Although December has been very much centered around the cookbook, I did manage to attend a special dinner at NEH and a foodbloggers' lunch at CHEDI (serving excellent modern Asian food), visited the brand new (and very cool!) Sadama turg (Harbour market) and even blog about some dishes (these cheese popovers and soft gingerbread cakei are especially recommended.
We hosted a Christmas Eve dinner to our families again (food was pretty traditional, too). And on the Christmas day we got home two new chickens - a blue and black Orpington (still nameless; these two are to keep Evita and Carol some company over the winter).