Who would have thought, 4 years and 554 posts ago, that I would still be doing this blogging thing? I certainly never imagined that blogging was going to be quite so addictive! I never imagined that people from all corners of the world would take the time out to read my posts and sometimes even comment on them. I thought probably my mother would read it, as another way of maintaining contact from the other side of the planet, but I thought that would be pretty much it. Frankly, I am moved and humbled by the kindness of my readers in coming back, post after post.
I have learned a lot in the last 4 years.
I have learned that a crappy-looking cake gets twice as many comments as a delectable offal dish, but dishes involving melted cheese get more comments than anything.
I have learned that the home-cooking of the United States is second to none, and is a rich, untapped seam of goodness for those of us on the outside looking in. And you don't have to use frozen non-dairy whipped topping for anything, ever.
I have learned that generally speaking PRs don't read the blogs they contact and haven't got the slightest clue about how or why to effectively involve social media in their projects.
I have learned that a post without a picture is pointless. To that end, I have also learned to make my pictures prettier. Bless that macro function!
I have learned to appreciate having a husband who will not only eat pretty much whatever I put in front of him, but will participate in some of my whackier experiments.
I have learned that there is a massive community of people who like food, books and animals as much as I do. They all have internet access. They are quite amazing.
I have learned that as nice as it is to experiment with new flavours and techniques, some times you just have to rest on the classics. I had planned to make something a bit fancy to celebrate this milestone. I was thinking about Dan Lepard's coconut milk layer cake, Signe Johansen's Norwegian Spiced Chocolate Cake or Grace's zorse cake. Then I put all those ideas to one side and went with the family favourite, friands from Luke Mangan's recipe. It still astonishes me that these delectable little almondy, buttery, eminently forgiving little cakes are not better known. I made these with lemon and lime zest in the batter, and mixed peel stirred through. Paul was thrilled - he gets tired of being my guineapig sometimes.