Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a wonderful time eating your body weight in cheese and became a literal pig in a blanket. I took a bit of a break from social media this festive season and decided not to post any blog posts during the Crimbo Limbo but I decided this morning that I’d really like to make this my last blog post of 2018.
When I look back on this year, the thing I have loved most has been food. All of my favourite memories and trips include food in one way or another. Thanks to travelling more, some great blog opportunities and having Dan as my very willing partner in food, I’ve eaten at three Michelin star restaurants, had a private chef cook for me at my house and been introduced to some incredible dishes. I’m still thinking about some of these foodie experiences so I couldn’t resist taking you back through the year and showcasing some of my best eats of 2018.
So, in no particular order (you couldn’t possibly make me choose!) here are my food highlights of 2018.
Seaside fish n’ chips in Southwold
Back in February, Dan took me to Southwold for a very lovely Christmas present. He booked a night at The Swan Hotel and we spent the afternoon distilling our own gin at Adnams Distillery, which is my favourite gin. Preceding that, we strolled along the seafront and ate the best fish n’ chips from The Little Fish & Chip Shop. Fish n’ chips always seem to taste better when you’re by the sea, it’s 4 degrees and you are trying to shield your chips from getting nicked by a seagull. However, I think the fact the fish is local and freshly caught and made with light beer batter makes these fish n’ chips extra special.
Banoffee Wafffle at The Greedy Italian
We first visited The Greedy Italian in Bletchley back at the start of the year with some friends. It was one of the most memorable nights of the whole year because the food was so amazing! The Greedy Italian is a petite spot but the food is off the scale. I haven’t forgotten about this dessert though; this epic sharer consists of three waffles, vanilla ice cream, caramelised bananas, toffee sauce and popcorn. This made everyone say ‘OMG’ and we’ve been thinking about it ever since…
Truffle bread at Le Parc Franck Putelat, Carcassone
In May, Dan and I went on holiday to Carcassone with his family. And of course, we were just down the road from Franck Putelat’s 2 Michelin Star restaurant so we decided to treat ourselves for the evening. Franck Putelat is somewhat of a celebrity chef in France and owns his own brasserie in Carcassone town as well as Le Parc. The stand out dish remains this gorgeous truffle bread made with Castelnaudary beans,
Pakoras with Red Onion chutney from Saf’s Kitchen
Street food is having a moment in Milton Keynes, an I’ve discovered so many amazing vendors this year. Saf’s Kitchen is my favourite street food vendor, cooking up amazing Indian food from curries to samosas to pakoras – and I’ve eaten more of her Pakoras this year than I could possibly count! These deep-fried delights are made with spinach, onion and potato combined with Indian spices. Saf serves them up with her special red onion chutney and raita, and they go down an absolute treat.
White Chocolate & Blood Orange cheesecake at Paris House, Woburn
Back in April, I took Dan to Paris House in April for his birthday and we had a 10-course tasting menu at the Chef’s Table. There were some absolutely amazing dishes, many of which I was contemplating for this shortlist, but I think the white chocolate and blood orange cheesecake remains one of my favourites. It was served with a hibiscus sorbet which created such a delicate balance of flavours.
Lasagne at Felice a Testaccio, Rome
Okay, so it’s not the prettiest dish of the bunch, but I am still thinking about this lasagna I ate on our last night in Rome. I mean, it’s hardly surprising that a Roman lasagna was so good because we were in Italy but there was something very special about this one. Rich tomato beef ragu with a savoury bechamel sauce which had mozzarella folded into it, giving it a bit of bite as it cooled. Absolutely sensational.
Duck egg, Semolina & Sweetcorn at Portland, London
My second Michelin star restaurant of the year was Portland in London, which was my birthday present from Dan. Every aspect of. the meal was completely flawless, but my favourite dish was a slow-cooked duck egg on a bed of semolina and grilled sweet corn. The duck egg had been slow-boiled for just over an hour, so the white was like a smooth jelly and the yolk rich and silky. All aspects of the dish worked together in perfect harmony to create a savoury yet sweet dish that has been intelligently executed.
Scallops with Strawberry & Balsamic at Nonna’s, Woburn Sands
Nonna’s is my favourite restaurant in Milton Keynes. They have a very fresh and innovative menu and they do the best brunches! Dan and I were invited along during the summer to sample their summer menu which was an absolute dream. We sat outside on their terrace enjoying the Indian summer, sipping G&Ts. My starter was outstanding – scallops with strawberries and balsamic topped with vanilla foam and lime. The sweet strawberries combined with succulent scallops almost made this feel like a dessert but the balsamic balanced out the sweetness out nicely. I hope they bring this back for next year’s summer menu!
Moussaka at Tslenti in Fiskardo, Kefalonia
My sailing holiday to Greece was definitely a highlight in itself and as always the food is fantastic. We spent an evening in Fiskardo harbour and stumbled across a lovely little spot called
Pork Buns at Momofoku, New York
Our trip to New York was also one of my travel highlights this year. There were so many contenders for this post but I think these pork buns from Momofoku were the dish I could eat again and again. Soft bao buns encased rich, succulent pork belly, cured cucumber and spicy siracha sauce. It was perfection on a plate and they were so good we ordered a second plate.
Turnip & Crab at Moor Hall, Ormskirk
The third Michelin Star restaurant of the year, and possibly overall foodie
So there we have it, my year in food highlights. Food has become such a big part of my blog now and I really do love writing about it and sharing all my experiences with you. Look out for more MK Food Guides going into 2019 and there’ll be plenty more restaurant reviews too. I have a few trips planned and Dan and I have already got a Michelin Star meal in the diary…