my favourite things from 2022

Here my favourite things I’ve cooked, eaten, and made in 2022. Join me as I look back over 2022 with some of my favourite posts and projects at BigSpud HQ.

Ajwar roasted cauliflower

A friend introduced me to ajwar this year, an Eastern European paste of mashed veg. It’s tasty just as a dip, but using it as a marinade for cauliflower before roasting at a high temp makes it sweet and delicious. Served with wraps with a garlicky yoghurt and pickled onions for a great dinner.

Cheese doughnuts

A friend was disappointed when the restaurant they visited didn’t have the cheese doughnuts as advertised. I had to make some, with a little wholemeal flour for extra savouriness. As you bite into a hot dough ball cheese sauce comes oozing out. Delicious!

Broccoli in garlic sauce

Full credit to Adam Ragusea for this one but this is probably the recipe I’ve made the most this year: super simple, incredibly satisfying and not even slightly subtle. Try it!

Broccoli in garlic sauce

The Cow, Tapnell Farm

I’ve had some good burgers in my time. During a holiday in the Isle of Wight I found one that is right near the top. At Tapnell Farm the onsite restaurant The Cow is well worth a visit.

the cow burger

Their ‘Big Smoke’ burger is very tasty: a loose textured patty full of flavour, layered up with so many good bits and pieces. An extremely good burger and well worth a trip.

House, The National Theatre

Situated on the edge of the Thames, the National Theatre in London has a cracking restaurant called fittingly enough House. This roasted cod dish was terrific, meaty, fresh and full of spring (which is when I ate it!).

roasted cod at the national theatre

House at National Theatre

Making my own BBQ trolley

Like most people I had one of those ridiculous 2′ high BBQs designed I think just to give you back ache while you burn sausages. After seeing the brilliant Proper DIY YouTube channel repurpose his and mount it on a trolley, I had to do the same. With the help of a woodworking mate we put this together. It saw regular use throughout the summer and beyond.

How Heston Blumenthal changed British Cooking

I had the idea to make this documentary in my head for several years. Heston has always been a fascination and inspiration of mine so putting together something of a biography was a true passion project. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out, and I want to do more in this space next year, looking at the careers of famous chefs and food personalities.

Recreating Heston’s the Sound of the Sea

Continuing the above, I was keen to dive into Heston’s repertoire. Probably his most iconic dish, fusing sound with eating is something chef Blumenthal has been fascinated with for decades. I went on something of a pilgrimage to get great produce and track down some obscure ingredients. It was pretty epic and a fascinating journey.

Heston’s Sound of the Sea

Most popular with you

Meanwhile, what were the top posts that kept readers coming back this year?

Top rump roast beef – a perennial favourite, my guide to top rump is a post I’m really proud of. It’s a very common cut of beef in supermarkets and usually cost-effective. I take you through how best to keep it beautifully tender and savoury.

Actifry roast potatoes – these are a great way to cook ‘roast’ potatoes that are very economical and do the trick when you’re in a rush. With the cost of living crisis more and more people have turned to air fryer recipes due to shorter cooking times and more efficient cooking.

Roasted beef roasties – a great spin on roast potatoes, but an old-fashioned technique: roast your beef over your potatoes. Makes a mess but so tasty.

Sous vide gammon with honey – I cook a gammon every Christmas eve, slightly different every time. This recipe is always popular around New Year’s Eve, as there’s very little recipes out there for sous vide gammon.

Plain flour v strong flour in pizza bases – this question intrigued me so I gave it a go. Based on this outcome, I generally use plain flour in my pizza bases as I prefer a thinner, snappier, less bready base.

Thanks for reading in 2022. I look forward to sharing more food fun with you in 2023!

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