the 2015 blog year in review

2015 was the year that I really started blogging. Technically I started tentimestea in 2014, but this was only a brief one month affair.

It’s been a year and yet sometimes when I look back at this past year of blogging, I feel like I’ve gotten nowhere. I haven’t made even a thousandth of the things I wanted to make (and I never really will get there–there just isn’t enough time in the world! or enough butter). I didn’t develop any recipes of true perfection. I didn’t take any startlingly beautiful photos or write deliciously unforgettable prose.

Ergo (I needed to use this word at some point), the review. A concrete reflection over the past year because surely, surely something has happened. And well, some things indeed have.

Below I’ve briefly touched on some of my favourite posts, and highlighted what came out of each of them, whether a particularly good buttercream or something deeper and more profound(??!?! actually nope. Having finished writing this post, some deeper meaning is just not to be found).

chestnut mont blanc

This was the first post that was a bit more a project. The mont blanc overall worked quite well, and I thought the vanilla creme diplomat was particularly stellar… perhaps it’s only with rose-coloured lenses, but I think that was one of my favourite smoothest, creamiest pastry creams that also held its shape. Looking back though, it’s full of some  strange angles and awkward lighting…which still happens, but hopefully the fact that I can recognize it means I’ve improved a bit since!

rhubarb and hibiscus macarons

So I didn’t notice this until now, but gosh, everything is very blue! That aside, these macarons turned out surprisingly well from flavours to textures. While the shells weren’t piped too cleanly, the filling was a great opportunity to use natural colouring (hibiscus) to heighten the colour of the rhubarb curd filling (which otherwise would have been a sort of off-beige-pink-yellow. I also got to use a lot a lot (i.e. an overabundant and overenthusiastic excess) of process photos…

white nectarine, black sesame and mochi tart 

While I was planning this tart I was so absolutely certain it would not work out well. That the mochi layer would be starchy and dry and in combination with the shortbread crust and cream, would make for something more unpalatably mouth-drying than a pail of unsweetened chokecherries. Yet, it did manage to work, and quite well! I played around with the mochi a couple times until I ended up with something very soft and lovely with the cream and just springy, not rubbery and too dry against the crust.

This post was also one of the few times I managed to have a bit of an anecdotal narrative preamble; finding something to write about is quite a challenge that I find difficult to surmount with almost every blog post!

poached rhubarb and hazelnut tart

What I loved about this tart was not the crust (which was soggy…as I’ve come to realize, I really need to blind bake!) but the flavours were good. I also made some good use of the shape of the tart pan. In the end what truly impressed me though, was that fact that I persevered in my rhubarb-poaching efforts until I ended up with lengths of cardamom and vanilla poached rhubarb more delicate and tender than I thought would be possible.

lemon dill rolled cake 

The introduction of dill, an herb I always associate with savoury, to a sweet cake and their subsequent agreeable interactions with each other was encouraging for my eventual goal of fitting parsley or cilantro into a dessert. The filling was a structural disaster and blindingly sweet, however the cake turned out nicely (the cake is not my recipe, so that makes sense). I made the cake again recently, with half spelt and 7 g of toasted ground black sesame–once again, it was the perfect light roll cake and went wonderfully filled simply with a good slick of unsweetened whipped cream.

rhubarb layer cake

I suppose I included this as a formality; this was the tentimestea birthday cake, which I had been planning for a month. It didn’t actually turn out very well though; the cake layers were tough and dry (something I’ve since learned to fix–well, sort of) and overall the cake was simultaneously too acidic and too sweet. The main achievement was the rhubarb buttercream. It was tart, not too sweet, and actually tasted of rhubarb–I’m still quite happy when I think back to it.

garden tart

I not only was able to pay homage to one of my favourite food blogs, but also try one of the recipes that she has posted. It was lovely, even victim to my own clumsy hands and questionable fridge contents.

goat cheese cake with figs and onion greens

There is no way about it. This was just simply a spectacular failure, and sometimes it is quite exhilarating to be writing about those because there is inherently so much to say and so much to muse about and so much to consider.

a spring quiche and a winter quiche

I always love a good character foil, and, for that matter, a good quiche foil as well. On one hand we have a light and generously herby spring quiche and on the other we have an aggressively Swiss chard-packed quiche suffused with gruyere. Even the lighting seems to be in contrast when the two are juxtaposed. Oh my! I can see the beginnings of a great and gorgeously heart-breaking story already…

That aside, the constructive benefit of these two quiches is the realization of pure versatility: how well a vegetable tart of any sort can respond to the seasons and the contents of the fridge. Perhaps not quiche every time, but a flaky galette, or a crust of brioche, or a thin rye shortbread–any of it could be a base to a vegetative portrait.

(My tart enthusiasm is to blame for the effusive nature of the previous sentences.)

Best of luck to everyone in the (Gregorian calendar) new year! Happy blogging and reading, happy cooking, baking and eating, and most of all, take care and enjoy yourself.

See you again next year…

13 thoughts on “the 2015 blog year in review

  1. Brilliant review and reflections Laurie! So nice to see your bakes again – great photos too! Always exciting, interesting and inspiring! Wishing you a wonderful year 2016 with lots more fun baking and experimenting! 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Laurie! The course is finished but will be doing lots of tweaking and experimenting at home… maybe even the croquembouche!! lol. Hope you’re having a lovely start to the year. 🙂 x

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The course is finished! It sounds more intensive with everything I hear about it–the last thing I remember was midterms, just a few weeks ago 🙂 I’m excited to see what inspiration you’ll be taking from your experience!! xx


  2. Love your line-up – I know what you mean about those mixed successes! I always wonder what could have been improved, and how, and making it a couple of times, just to get it right …
    Thanks for sharing, it makes me feel better, if not almost normal 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m always very lenient on myself in the search for perfection… it’s more the search for something edible and perhaps nice tasting as well! Haha, I do hope that’s normal!! At least we can always give something another try, though maybe with a bit of a different twist so as to not get tired of it 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts Ginger! xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lily! I am excited to see what comes out of 2016–hopefully some delicious things and some mistakes and subsequent learning as well of course! Happy New Year, and all the best for 2016 🙂


  3. Your blog is gorgeous, your recipes superb and you photography beautiful! As a blogger who keeps trying to improve (my bar is much lower, I’m afraid – I’m just trying to produce a pic of food that looks edible and possibly attractive, haha), I understand exactly what you mean but I think you HAVE produced startling beautiful photos and meaningful prose – but more importantly, I see a joy coming through. That will carry you a lot further than perfection!

    Happy New Years, and I’ll be stopping by more often!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mollie, what a lovely and thoughtful comment! I’m so touched. I love the tone of writing in your blog–it’s so engaging, it’s what I’m trying to aim for. (And, another side note, your food looks more than just attractive and edible–it looks delicious!) So while the blog is partially dissatisfaction which helpfully makes me try harder, I’ll remember what you’ve said about joy. There really is nothing better than that 🙂


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