The year 2017 might have been a right stinker in terms of celebrity deaths, horror movie politics and the revelation that Terry’s Chocolate Orange has shrunk by 18g but it’s been pretty decent for my greedy alter ego, Hungry Harriet.
You may or may not know that this here blog site has been knocking about since my student days when I was writing about things like Alfred Hitchcock and many other more embarrassing topics which I have now concealed from prying eyes. I sadly abandoned my blogging for a few years on account of not really knowing WTF to blog about but since my food & drink-based rebrand and my transformation into ‘Hungry Haz’, my fingers have been on fire. Partly because I’ve rediscovered cooking and am still getting to grips with a new gas cooker but partly because I’ve had a whole load of fun and consumed a whole heap of delicious stuff to document.
So seeing as it’s the last day of 2017, here are some of my personal highlights:
Discovered a penchant for afternoon tea
Yep, I definitely unearthed a taste for afternoon tea and my dad became my very willing accomplice through it all. We enjoyed everything from fine patisserie and traditional finger sandwiches 300ft up in the air at Panoramic34 to a festive afternoon tea at the Liverpool Malmaison complete with swing singer.
Ate my way from New Jersey to NYC
We spent the most amazing week stateside in honour of my brother’s graduation and as you can imagine, it involved a whole lot of eatin’ and drinkin’. New Jersey’s top pick had to be White Manna Hamburgers – an authentic American diner in Hackensack – and New York City came up trumps with Black Tap’s freakshakes and Monte’s Trattoria. Read all about those right here.
Learnt how to make gluten free pasta
I attended a Pasta Masterclass at Gusto Heswall, sponsored by Peroni and hosted by the wonderful girls from Burro e Salvia. We were taught how to make fresh, gluten free pasta from scratch and how to perfect some of the most classic pasta shapes. Cooking classes are definitely something I want to do more of in the new year so I can start expanding my culinary horizons.
Revealed the secrets to the perfect scrambled eggs
With a little help from some of the fabulous foodie friends I’ve made over the past 7 months, I put together your ultimate guide to cracking the perfect scrambled eggs. From secret ingredients to the magic of method, my taste-buds and I have got your breakfasts covered.
Dug out the best burgers in the UK
Some more of my foodie friends were also quick to deliver the goods when I enlisted their help in rooting out the best burgers in the UK. From Liverpool to London and Cardiff to Essex, we present a portfolio of the country’s most mouth-watering patties but you better believe it’s a work in progress. I vow not to leave any burger bun unturned by the time I’m done. Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 if you’re looking to tick some new burger joints off your list in 2018.
Made Beetlejuice pasta
As somebody who once won a Best Dressed Goth contest (not in fancy dress either), I couldn’t have let Halloween slip by without whipping up something special. I searched high and low for zebra striped pasta in a bid to create my Beetlejuice-inspired dish – a tasty concoction of tagliatelle, pesto chicken, spinach, beetroot and goats cheese that Tim Burton would be proud of.
Ate a burger with a black bun
Similarly spooky, I also stuffed my mush with the infamous BLK Burger from Archie’s, complete with charcoal bun. Probably more about style than substance, the presence of charcoal in this particular recipe gives nothing more than a subtle smokey aftertaste but it looks bloody cool doesn’t it?
Sampled cryogenic gin in a gin nest
One of my favourite culinary adventures of 2017 had to be checking out the brand new Impossible Manchester that opened it’s doors in Spinningfields earlier this year. Like one big cabinet of curiosities, Impossible definitely brings something fresh to the market. At the restaurant/bar/immersive theatre we were treated to tacos served on a license plate, some of the most beautiful desserts in town and cryogenic gin in the cosy Impossible gin loft. Not one to be missed if you’re out and about in Manchester.
Wrote an angry letter about beer
Yes, that I did. You’d have to read it to believe it.
Graduated from the Weber® Grill Academy
Last but by no means least is the afternoon I spent at the Weber® Grill Academy in the beautiful rural surroundings of Harthill Cookery School and what a wonderful afternoon it was. All there to brush up on our barbecue skills and learn a little more about outdoor cooking, we tried our hands at handmade burgers, beer can chicken and smokey, smokey sausages. I even learnt how to bake brioche buns on a BBQ and some basic knife skills.
So all in all, 2017 was pretty bitchin’ and after a fantastic year back in the blogging saddle and making some fabulous new foodie friends, I’m quite literally chomping at the bit to see what 2018 has in store for.
Bring it on, baby – I hope it’s a bloody goodun for you all too!