Ticking Off That List

December 31, 2011

I’m a list girl. This is true. I just love the make them (preferably using a brand new, fresh, pretty pad and pen – are you with me?) and I love the pleasure that comes with ticking things off. Or crossing them off….either way. But let’s go with ticking. I find ticking to be that little bit more satisfying. Tick! Done. See?

Ok, so do you remember my post from the start of the year – the one where I ever so loudly proclaimed, without too much trepidation, that 2011 would be the year that I conquered some of my food fears? Here is the link, if you need a refresher.

Who would have thought that cupcakes and pastry were scary? Well, they were to me. And, my friends, I can proudly say that I did it. It has been done. Tick!


As I looked back on my little list last month, I found that all of the items (except one) had I ticked off quite naturally, without a lot of planning nor reference to said list. Well how do you like that? I had actually used these ingredients or made these dishes that for so long eluded my dining table. Marvellous.

Pastry was made early in the year, when I made a Rhubarb and Ricotta Tarttick! And then it was made again. And again and again, during my pie phase. I am still a little obsessed with pies. Blueberry, blackberry, apple and chocolate cream, with spelt crusts or sour cream dough – it’s an incredibly romantic notion to me. And in all honesty I don’t see myself falling out of love with pies any time soon. And I’m fine with that. Give me a pretty apron and a rolling pin and I’m a happy lady.


Valentines Day was the perfect occasion for a romantic meal involving Clams and Musselstick! Spaghetti Vongole is truly one of my favourite meals, Ben’s too, so I thought it would be the perfect Valentines surprise. And it was. Although I did learn that next time I would purchase pre-cleaned mussels (gah). We’ve cooked with clams and mussels in this similar, rustic Italian style quite a few times this year, and I’m getting better with each go. However I am yet to make that bouillabaisse. Maybe next year…


Come Easter I put my serious, big girl apron on and used Yeast for the first time – tick! I made Cinnamon Buns, and it was one of the happiest kitchen experiences I can recall. I feel slightly perturbed by the fact that I have not used yeast since, as I truly adored this baking process. I do wish to become even more acquainted with yeast in the future. I’m sure we’ll be great pals.


Roast Chickentick! One of my main issues with roasting foods was that previously, my oven was….shit. Yet since moving apartments I have been blessed with a beautiful new oven, one that cooks roast potatoes to perfection. And chickens too, it would seem. I took Maggie Beer‘s tip of ensuring that you have a room temperature bird, so that it cooks more evenly, and it worked so well. And yes, it seems that every roast chicken I shall make will be showered with garlic. What?

I do recognise that I need to experiment more with cooking whole birds and large pieces of meat, and I shall endeavour to do so in the future. I must say though, Valli Little’s Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic still rocks my socks as the most delicious, moist and (importantly) easy Roast Chicken recipe. I’ve made it numerous times again this year.


So what does that leave?…..Oh yes, Cupcakes. Sweet, dear little cupcakes. Who ever would have thought that out of the above foods, cupcakes would be the one that I leave off my list and never once think to bake this past year. In all honesty I have never been much fussed with cupcakes. I appreciate mini ones from quality stores, yet I never yearned to bake them myself. I prefered canelés or macarons for my sweet treat (neither of which I have made myself, either, but let’s move on…).

If I’m honest, I believe I thought I was above the cupcake craze of late. How elitist of me. Yet to ensure I completed my list I realised that even if I never made cupcakes again, I would have to make them at least once this year. And so I did – tick! Gingerbread Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream.

And then something amazing happened…

I fell in love with cupcakes. Or maybe it was the buttercream? Either way, I’m now completely in love with the idea of these darling, little cakes – deciding on a flavour, combining the ingredients, popping them in the oven, creaming the butter and then having fun decorating. Oh, and the eating part too, of course.

Who would have thought it? I was certainly shocked. I suppose it’s a little similar to way we can feel about children. They’re all very lovely, but until you bake your own (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) you don’t fully appreciate them. And then you think that yours are simply divine, clearly better than anyone else’s. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids, but it’s not until you have your own that you really understand that beautiful parent-child (baker-cupcake) connection. Well, I imagine this is the case, anyway. It certainly resonates with me and my newfound feelings towards cupcakes. But maybe we’ll just leave it at that…

*note: for this recipe I added 1.5 times the amount of nutmeg and doubled the quantity of ginger. I recommend doing so if you enjoy a prominent spiced cake.


And there you have it. My List. All ticked off. Done.

What does next year hold? Perhaps another list…I’ll see. I find comfort in the fact that I completed most of my list rather naturally, without much fuss at all. This may mean that I am quite driven and ambitious in my cooking desires, or perhaps that I pick my aspirations wisely so as to not set myself up for failure. Or maybe both. Either way, I’m happy. I made pastry and pies and cinnamon buns and spaghetti vongole. And I surprised myself by falling in love with cupcakes. And Buttercream – less of a surprise there.

Life has been particularly delicious this past year. I’m quite certain that next year will be scrumptious also.

Heidi xo

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  • Hotly Spiced December 31, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Congratulations! Well done on achieving your goals. Your cinnamon buns look perfect. And I agree – a dud oven can ruin a good roast. And Happy New Year!

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) December 31, 2011 at 8:46 am

    here's to a wonderful 2012!

  • Blithely Unaware December 31, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Ha! I forgot about your little list, then remembered it because of this post. SO happy you ticked things off it… you've inspired me to make a list of my own for next year!


  • msihua December 31, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Well done on ticking off your list! I like lists too! Here's to 2012 and a great year for weddings!! Yayy!

  • Michelle Chin December 31, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Congrats for conquering your food fears and managing to fall in love with something new!! It's always a wonderful thing to know about something new, isn't it?

  • Hannah December 31, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Bravo my darling! You must be one of the few people in this world who actually manages to tick off all the items on their New Year to-do/conquer list 😉

    I'd be more than happy to come over for you inaugural Bouillabaise feast. Because that's the kind of caring, giving friend that I am.

    Happy New Year, Heidi! I already know mine will be starting off with wonderment, courtesy of your face. 😉 xoxo

  • Hannah December 31, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Love this post! Congrats on making all these delicious foods Heidi 😀 I'd love to experiment with pastry more in the new year!! I'll have to bookmark the cinnamon buns…it's been lovely reading your blog this year xx

  • The InTolerant Chef January 1, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Congratulations on completing your entire list! I love lists too, they are so satisfying aren't they, and I'm definitely a tick girl too 🙂 This its going to be a big busy one for you, and I hope it brings you much joy!r

  • Iron Chef Shellie January 1, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I'm a list girl too!! now to make more lists for the new year! xo

  • Lucas January 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I too am afraid of roast chicken, and really anything that involves handling a full carcass.

    I've not baked with yeast either, so I'll give that cinnamon buns recipe a go in the new year.

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella January 2, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Well that was a really delicious list! And I'm so glad that you ended up loving cupcakes. I still adore them too and my love hasn't abated over the years. And I'm totally a list girl too!

  • Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy January 3, 2012 at 9:42 am

    There is one food fear I have to conquer on that list, pastry. You have inspired me to get cracking with this! Those cupcakes look so beautiful!

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) January 3, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Congratulations on ticking of *all* the things on your lists! I'm also a list girl, but usually there are a few things remaining … 😉

    Happy 2012 to you! May it be even more delicious!

  • Heidi January 4, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Hotly Spiced – thanks so much! Yes I'm so in love with my new oven 🙂

    Lisa – absolutely!

    Blithely Unaware – oh, fun! love it 🙂

    msihua – yay, wedding buddy!

    Michelle – oh yes it is 🙂

    Hannah – weeeee! so much fun, can't wait. I shall book you in for Bouillabaise fun too.

    Hannah – thank you, I've loved reading yours too! & yes, do make the cinnamon buns!

    InTolerant Chef – thanks, lovely lady 🙂 you too.

    Michele – yay for lists!

    Lucas – haha " handling a full carcass", well put. indeed it is a little scary 🙂

    Lorraine – so happy to be on the cupcake bandwagon 🙂

    Anna – oh yes, do get into pastry! It's so so easy & fun. Start with Maggie Beer's Sour Cream Pastry, it's perfect. Good luck!

    Kath – thank you, Kath, you too!

    Heidi xo

  • Lisa January 4, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Congratulations on getting through your list! I will be moving soon and am a little terrified at the thought of leaving my fantastic oven behind. Ahh well, the things we do for love hey.

    Those cupcakes look gorgeous, I do love a cupcake, I think it is because I've always liked individually portioned things and somehow eating a cupcake doesn't make me feel as guilty as eating a slice of cake. Very random but true.