Retrospective 2008

Collage2008 

We've come full circle! Here we are at the cusp of a new year. As we stand on top of the hill looking forward to all 2009 will bring, I can't help but take a quick glance back at 2008. 

Even though we've just experienced an extremely volatile year with the economy down to it's worst, terrorists in Bombay and the yo-yo prices of gas to name a few issues, personally it was a good year with several great highlights scattered throughout.

Blogwise I had so much fun with What's For Lunch, Honey? this year, learning so many new things in the process. There were exciting experiments in the kitchen, new baking techniques learnt, practicing and playing around with new photo techniques, researching on ingredients and studying up on food styling. I am not sure if I am doing a good job, but one thing I can tell you for sure - I certainly am having a ball doing it!

In 2008 I composed 138 posts. When one considers it takes me a total of 3-4 hours spread across 2-3 days to put one post together - that is a lot of time spent on this blog. That's 552 hours - hours I loved spending here, probably because of you! Yes, you - all my readers and cherished friends. Without the support, motivation and friendship you offer I am sure this would be half as much fun. Sometime this year I noticed that this blog had managed to hit it's 1,000,000 visitor mark. I guess I was so dumbfounded that I forgot to celebrate it with you! Whereas in 2007 I hit the 500,000 after two years of blogging, 2008 bestowed the same amount in a period of almost 12 months! I am shaking my head, still unable to grasp this, as I write these figures.

I thank every single one of the half a million people visiting my humble blog this year. It's been a true pleasure having you over. I thank you for the time you take to read through my rambles and to write a comment. I love getting your mails and appreciate your patience when I answer (I have to improve on this!). Your questions and queries are invaluable and I hope I am able to help you answering or finding the solutions to them.

Thank you - my daily readers, fantastic friends, supportive advisors, anonymous lurkers, encouraging cheerleaders and of course my loyal and loving family - for keeping What's For Lunch. Honey? alive with your spirit and making this blog a fun place to come home to.

I know many of you have your favorites from this blog. In your comments or mails you share your thoughts on a picture, a post, a recipe or emotions and it's always exciting to read what your favorites are. Keeping with the trend from last year's retrospective, I share with you my favorites in 2008.

I started 2008 with a very good resolution and got to the business of introducing myself to you properly. This has now become my official "About" page.

Bollywood Cooking is a series I truly love. Not only because I am able to research the background or the origins of the dishes I grew up on but mostly because many of the recipes are often from my grandmother or mother's kitchen or recreated with my mother's advice and tips. In reproducing them and writing them down for you I once again have a chance to be close to both of them. One is watching me from the heavens above and the other encourages me and gives me tips over the phone from miles away. I hope both will approve of what I have done with the series.

Butter Chicken 01 framed

This year it was all about street food and popular restaurant food. My favorite was certainly the delicious and creamy butter chicken. The vegetable paneer frankies were such a delight and nourished my homesickness after I returned from visiting my parents in Dubai. I enjoyed researching for this particular post - going back to the several types of street food offered in India was enlightening and a lot of fun. Fun was also joining a few of my Indian blog buddies in our fried food frenzy making the most famous of all Indian street foods - Vada Pav. I enjoyed adding my little twist to it!

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Cooking School provides a similar concept just recreating and researching other very popular dishes and recipes from around the world. This year I made hot cross buns, spaghetti alla bolognese, zabaione and zimtsterne to name just a few posts in this series. My favorite however was the preserving 101 with several recipe ideas for chutneys, relishes and jellies.

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The Food Guide provides me an opportunity to look into produce and other ingredients more closely. It's enriching to know how a vegetable or fruit ticks - all what I find out, I share with you and as a special goodie I usually share a recipe using that particular ingredient. This year we did plums, tomatoes, butter oil and rhubarb to name only a few. I had two favorites this year - the currently featured parsnips and making my own homemade quark.

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There were so many interesting recipes I shared this year and it really was hard to choose. Maybe you will enjoy my top five:

Ummm! Now I am hungry all over again.

Strawberry Panna Cotta 02 framed

Desserts, cakes and everything to satisfy the sweet tooth was once again plentiful this year. There was that tangy lime brûlée, a cooling strawberry pistachio frozen parfait, mum's coconut lemon cake and the delicate saffron and cardamom panna cotta. I had two favorites, each one offering a plethora of tastes and satisfying each sweet craving. The sensational strawberry panna cotta and my peachy peach cardamom goat cheese tart. Oh boy were they good!

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I celebrated my first anniversary with the Daring Bakers this April and in August, I hosted my own challenge, getting the hundreds of very daring bakers to make chocolate eclairs. There was a lot of baking with this fantastic group throughout 2008. We partied with a party cake, went for a night out with the opera cake, had fun tossing dough with a medley of pizzas and braided a Danish braid. The three challenges I enjoyed and learned the most from were the crispy French baguette, Lavash crackers and our most recent French Yule log.

 Summer Berries 03 framed

Photography is not only a hobby but a passion. It's my way to relax or vent. This year my two favorite guys surprised me by setting up a small photo studio for my birthday. I splashed out on the Lowel Ego set and was ready to learn new lessons in food photography. This corner is my recluse, a place where I go to be creative, to read about photography or food styling. I am still learning so much especially with the lights and I was not always happy with the results I produced. Personally I found the quality of the photos a bit erratic this year. Sometimes I captured difficult motives with ease and the so called easier ones created so much agitation. My favorite was summer berries and all the reasons I love summer!

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So, getting the Inspiring Food Photography award March 2008, looking good in the host's award for tropical fruit salad and clicking it with the reader's choice award were all a huge encouragement for me to keep at it. These three awards were precious awards because they came from you. An honor for me and my gratitude goes out to you for making it possible.

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It was a busy but an exciting year and I am so glad your were there every step of the way. I took you to Dubai with a peak behind the scenes of a pastry kitchen, you enjoyed the summer in Austria with me, got so aggravated with the Indian press for stealing my picture and you joined Soeren and me for our cookie-for-charity event. 

It's really been a lot of fun! As I look towards 2009 I know there will be changes and a big adventure coming our way. On the whole we are excited, but there will be a lot of emotions and probably a fair bit of temperament involved. However, I know whatever comes my way you will be right there to help me get through it.

Wishing you all a jazzy, funky and foodie new year. I hope 2009 brings you joy, happiness, prosperity and health. I look forward to your blogs, recipes and friendship and thank you for allowing me to be a part of this incredible community.

Party hard tonight! ;-)

Hugs and see you next year!

Srivalli will be doing a roundup of all our best ofs and faves for 2008 in her Best of 2008. This is going to her!


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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41 comments:

  1. You have a great blog, so I'm looking forwards to reading you and admiring your recipes aas well as your amazing photos in 2009!

    Best wishes for the New Year and have a wonderful evening!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. I love your blog. It s time well spent :) thanks alot! Hope you have a 2009 better then 2008 :) Happy New Year

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  3. Hi Meeta!

    Great congrats because you've reached several goals - you deserve all them - in friends, traffic and of course your delicious posts that are real pleasure for every one of the senses!! :D

    I wish You a Brilliant and Happy New Year 2009!!

    Gera .:. sweetsfoods

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  4. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

    We have enjoyed the journey as much as you have Meeta. Looking forward to a new year with more exciting posts.

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  5. Happy New Year! Looking forward to more exciting posts from you in 2009.

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  6. I have loved every minute of your journey, dear Meeta...hope to join you in your future ventures too :-)

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  7. Your efforts are highly valued dear Meeta. Wishing you all the best for the new year!!

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  8. Meeta,

    Happy New Year and here's to all the lovely things you made this year and to looking forward to cooking with you a bit more in 2009.

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  9. Happy New Year Meeta and looking forward to more of your wonderful receipes and stunning photos:)

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  10. Great to have found you this year Meeta. Happy 2009!

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  11. Happy, Happy New Year to you and you beautiful family.

    Best,
    Paz

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  12. Congrats on crossing the million visitor mark!! Wish you and your family a very happy and healthy new year! :)

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  13. Happy New Year Meeta! Your blog is one that inspires (especially the photos), educates (I really enjoyed the rhubarb tutorial), and is just plain fun. Always glad to visit you through your blog, especially when Daring Baker time comes around. The eclairs were a great challenge. Wishing you a wonderful foodie 2009!

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  14. I've enjoyed every moment spent on your blog and do so appreciate the amount of time that goes into creating it. Wishing you and your family all the best in the coming year! xoxo

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  15. this is a wonderful place to be meeta....and i wish you all that you wished us right back and twofold....have a good one!!

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  16. Meeta, thank you for introducing me to many new sights, tastes and experiences through WFLH, this year. Wishing you an exciting and loved-filled 2009.

    Priscilla
    A fan from Dxb

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  17. Fabulous year for you and your blog!! Can't wait to see what's in store for 2009 :-)

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  18. For all the effort you put in WFLH keeps getting better and better! The pictures tell the story!

    A Happy new Year to you and yours!

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  19. I love each and every post of yours. I can feel your energy, enthusiasm and time you put into composing these.
    Wishing you A Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

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  20. In some parts of this post I could hear what I wanted to say myself too - only I could never have said like you did!! Beautiful post - a delight as always!! Happy New Year and keep that adrenalin flowing - the results are amazing:)

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  21. A great roundup of many great posts this year. I hope you and yours had/have a happy new year!

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  22. Happy new year Meeta - have enjoyed reading WFLH over the past year with all the lovely recipes, reflections and photos and look forward to more in 2009!

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  23. This was a fun read. I also love that photograph with the bowls stacked up and the berries on top - marvelously fun composition. I've been very glad to have discovered your blog this year, and wish you and the family a very happy new year!

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  24. Happy New year Meeta. We sure enjoyed this year at WFLH :-)

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  25. You are a brave woman. I am afraid to figure out how many hours I spend working on my blog!
    Thanks for all that you do with your blog, it's a pure joy.
    Hope 2009 brings you much happiness.

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  26. Happy New Year. Looking forward to more delicious recipes.

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  27. Happy New Year Meeta! Maybe this year we will finally manage to meet, who knows!

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  28. thts a great self-round up :p

    congrats on the mark! I wish ...i can someday....!

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  29. And thank you Meeta for making it so exciting to come here to WFLH. You have a remarkable blog. Good luck and all the very best for 2009. May it bring you all your heart desires. Regards Angela

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  30. Dear Meeta, your blog is a delight for all senses.. Wish you a fabulous new year filled with love, joy and lots of yummy food!

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  31. Hey Meeta,
    Happy New year 2009 !
    Your blog (content, pictures & recipes) is simply mindblowing !
    You have a great sense of decoration and presentation..I always visit your blog for "out of the box" ideas. I always look forward to readings your new posts, so please keep up the good work and congratulations on running such a successful blog !
    Wish you & your family a very Happy 2009 !
    Cheers
    S

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  32. Folks you are always amazing! Thanks for such lovely wishes and comments. You know this is making me feel good don't you? LOL!

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  33. Happy New Year to you too, dear Meeta.

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  34. May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life's passing seasons bring
    the best to you and yours!

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  35. Love all your recipes and the photos even more. Wish you a very happy new year!

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  36. Great wrap up and fanatastic photos.

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  37. Hey Meeta here's wishing You,Tom and Soeren a very warm,peaceful and Food filled year
    All the food looks shockingly awesome and i can imagine the amount of hard work and time dedicated by u to compile this post
    Wishing u, All the very best for a successful New year, both on professional and personal front....
    Cheers !

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  38. It's been WONDERFUL getting to know you Meeta, & each post brings us closer. What a fab year it's been indeed...& your retrospective post is gorgeous! Hugs to you.May 2009 bring you, Tom & Soeren loads of joy & happiness! Take care my friend, love always, Deeba

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  39. Have enjoyed reading and the visual appeal of your blog, Meeta and will continue to do so.

    A very Happy New Year to you and your family.

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  40. I'm a bit behind getting her (and everywhere else) but wanted to wish you a belated Happy New Year!

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  41. What a great year 2008 was - and I know 2009 will be even better for you!! I love coming here and look forward to what the new year brings!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta