Kitchenboy's Year in Review: 2011

On the last day of the year, it is inevitable that one looks back over the past 12 months and reminisce about what was. And what should or could have been.

Twitter and Facebook has been buzzing over the past week or so, with people saying what a terrible year it's been and how 2012 can only be better. I guess 2011 has been a difficult year for many people, considering the state of the world economy and one only has to pick up the newspaper to realize that we are probably in for more of the same in the coming year.

For me, however, 2011 has been a great year. I will always remember 2011 as a year of big changes in my life. I've changed cars, motorcycles (one can't be without one in Taiwan) and schools (after 6 years at the previous one). I have turned 40 (that's big) and also became a citizen of Taiwan (that's even bigger)!

Some things also stayed the same, like the love and support from my family, friends and readers. It has been a year where I made so many new friends via social media and this blog - it feels like I have known some of you for years. I can't wait to meet each one of you in the near future!

Any way, as this is supposed to be a blog about food, please allow me to count down the Top 5 most viewed posts (by you, of course) of 2011.

Number 5: Non-glamorous Cottage Pie

In February I had the opportunity to visit my good friend, Marion Erskine (and Afrikaans chic-lit author) in Abu Dhabi. What an experience that visit was! It is truly the land of dates, olives, hummus and moutabel. And meat. Any kind of meat, as long as it isn't pork! I made this (non-foodista) cottage pie for dinner one evening with what we had in the cupboards and fridge. Nothing special, but good!

Number 4: Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

This is quite honestly one of the most delicious chocolate cakes you will ever bake. I remember this cake from when my mom baked it when I was still in primary school. The idea of mayonnaise and chocolate together in a cake sounds revolting, I agree. But if you think about it, what is mayonnaise other than eggs and oil?

It took me a while to get a recipe for a good one, but eventually my friend Christelle Pretorius Botha came to the recue with a luscious looking recipe! I still get messages of Facebook from people who have tried it and loved it.

Number 3: Easy Home Made Bread

Chef Tyrone Jubber, of Tyrone's Kitchen, taught me how to make this beautiful rustic bread. It is a very basic recipe and with a little adjustment, you can also turn it into a tasty focaccia.

Number 2: Bobotie

There are as many Bobotie recipes out there as there are households in the Cape, I'm sure.  However, this one is my absolute favourite.  I was passed to me by my mother and apparently this is the recipe used by late Tannie Elize Botha, 1st wife of late State President P.W. Botha when entertaining heads of state at Den Anker, The Groot Krokodil's holiday retreat.

This Bobotie is worth a try.  It was even mentioned in Francoise Steynberg's column Ek sê maar net in Die Republikein (a Namibian newspaper) on 23 April 2009.

Number 1: Easy, no-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter & Oats Cookies

At number 1 we have these easy to make, no bake peanut butter and oats cookies. They are also quick to make, with the minimum fuss - we even made them as a fun activity at the elementary school I teach at. They are very sweet, so keep a cup of coffee handy!
Here's to a Happy and Prosperous 2012 for us all! See you again in the new year. Cheers!!


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