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Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to all!

By December 22, 2017

Where does the time go? 2017 has been and gone in a flash and a lot of recipes have graced the pages of Kitchen Exile. First of all I'd like to thank you, the readers, it's nice to know that there are a few people out there who read my recipes, often you feel you're sending them out into the ether, never to be seen again. So, it means a lot to get comments and responses when you do.

There seem to be a lot of firm favourites recipe wise. I'm glad to see that many of you liked my slow roasted Goat recipe, good to see less popular meats creating some interest. The top favourite seemed to be Beetroot cured salmon which was closely followed by my beef and guinness stew with marrowbone.

2017 certainly got off to a great start for me as I got to meet my food hero chef Fergus Henderson, author of one of my favourite cookbooks Nose to Tail and chef at my favourite restaurant in London St John. Ironically I met him here in The Netherlands and not in London at a collaborative dinner at Restaurant Rijks in Amsterdam.

I also cooked at the Big Green Egg flavour fair in the summer which was hard work ( mostly due to it being the hottest day of the year) and immense fun. It was strange being on the other side of the grill for a change as opposed to being a visitor. It was an interesting collaboration with Ataros spices cooking West African Suya and we got a lot of interest as many people had not tried Nigerian cuisine before. We were kept pretty busy on the day and got a lot of good feedback on the suya chicken dish. 

The latter half of the year brought some new collaborations with Magimix, a brand that I've been using for many years now, it started off with me testing their Cook Expert and lets just see where our collaboration takes us in 2018. I was also really pleased to start a collaboration with Big Green Egg too, you've seen me cooking on the Egg for a few years now and it has changed the way I cook, so it's always nice to to associate with brands you respect. I've also started to collaborate with local businesses such as Kitchen Art in Leiden (and also my favourite kitchen shop), so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming cooking demonstrations in the New Year.

There have been many excellent dinners and lunches over the year and also many great cocktails. I've got to know a lot of chefs and bartenders over the year and have a lot of respect for the hard work they put into their craft. I've had some standout dishes at BAK, Daalder and Rijks in Amsterdam and my eternal favourites here in Leiden at Jeanpagne, Terroir and Better Bagels. It's was also lovely to meet with Malaysian chef Norman Musa and looking forward to meeting him again next year at his future pop ups. I really shouldn't leave out the guys from Bar The Tailor in Amsterdam, who have made some wonderful concoctions for me over the past year. I've also had the pleasure of meeting some inspiring distillers from Wyand Fockink and Brewers from Lowlander Beer.

Of course my cookbook addiction has not abated, in fact I think it may have gotten worse, but it's not a bad addiction to have. I do have a few standout books for this year; Nigel Slater's Christmas Chronicles, a must read, wonderfully written and inspiring. Jeroen Hazebroek and Leonard Elenbass' Hete Rook (only available in Dutch), which is a great read for any aspiring BBQ'er and also a wealth of information for the more experienced one. The first cookbook from Joris Bijdendijk, Een Keuken voor de Lage Landen (The Lowlands Kitchen) is a celebration of Dutch ingredients and has some wonderful recipes, I do hope it is published in English so the rest of you can enjoy it.

So that was the year that was. 

All that's left for me to do is wish you all wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.

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